2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at11 o’clock a.m., and read prayers.
SenatorMILLEN. - I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he is in a position to state if the announcement in this morning’s press relative to the appointment of the Attorney -General and Mr. Higgins to the High Court Bench is correct or not, or whether an appointment has been offered to each of those gentlemen ?
SenatorPLAYFORD. - I know nothing about the matter.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he is prepared to offer, not to me, but to the Senate, an explanation relative to the publication of certain correspondence? On Tuesday, with his consent and unanimously, a motion was carried to the effect that the correspondence relative to appointments to the High Court Bench -should be laid upon the table of the Senate. No such return has been tabled here ; but this morning we find that the correspondence is given, apparently in full, in the daily newspapers, and also that yesterday it was laid upon the table in another place without any motion having been moved. I ask the Minister to explain why he is treating the Senate in what I venture to say is a contemptuous way.
– The honorable senator is altogether misinformed. A resolution was passed that certain papers be laid upon the table of the Senate; and the return was handed to the Clerk early yesterday morning-
– By whom?
– By me. In response to the order of the Senate, the correspondence was handed to the Clerk in the proper way. It was not my duty to lay the return upon the table and submit a motion.
-i do not wish to throw any reflection upon any officer of the Senate, who, I think, ought not to be reflected upon by Senator Playford.
– I did not reflect upon any one, but only stated the facts.
– Arising out of the answer to my question, I desire to ask Senator Playford whether he in any way conformed with the practice of the Senate? Did he intimate that he was laying any papers upon the table?
– It was not my place to make an intimation. The Senate ordered a certain paper to be laid upon the table; it was not my place to lay it upon the table, but to give it to the Clerk, who had then to lay it upon the table. The proper course was followed.
– I venture to say that is not the proper course.
– It is.
– I understand from the Clerk that the paper was handed to him by the leader of the Senate some time yesterday, and that he had no opportunity of laying it upon the table during the course of the day.
– Was it not the duty of the Minister, sir, to lay the paper upon the table?
– No. If I lay a paper upon the table it is either by command or pursuant to statute. Where the production of a paper has been ordered by the Senate, the practice is for the Minister to hand the paper to the Clerk, and it is then laid upon the table. I followed the usual course.
– There was no intimation given to the Senate.
– I complied with the standing order on the subject.
– I have no objection to lav the report upon the table, although it is marked confidential.
Senator KEATING laid upon the table the following paper: -
Public Service Act - Amendment of regulation 148 - Statutory Rules, 1906, No. 83.
The Clerk laid upon the table the following papers: -
Return to order of the Senate of 28th August, 1906 - Tobaccoes, Cigars, and Cigarettes, Employes engaged in the manufacture of.
Return to order of the Senate of 9th October, 1906 - High Court, Correspondence between Prime Minister and Chief Justice of South Australia re appointments.
– I desire to ascertain from the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he will ask the’ Prime Minister, when he attends the Conference in London, to ascertain on what terms the Commonwealth can obtain from the Admiralty an obsolete war-ship to act as a training ship for boys in Australia?
– I shall ask the question.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, a question relative to a return which was ordered on the motion of Senator Pearce some time ago. I believe I am correct in saying that the Minister now. has some information: on the matter, and I desire to know whether he will disclose it to the Senate ?
– I have some information on the point. A return was moved for by Senator Pearce, and at the request of Senator’ Millen it was agreed that we should obtain further information if we possibly could. It could only be obtained from the States with whom the Prime Minister communicated. The Premier of Victoria replied that there was no return available from which the information asked for could be compiled ; that the valuation of land under the Land Tax Act was based upon its sheep-carrying capacity, and that neither the capital value nor the unimproved value was taken into consideration. The Premier of South Australia, replied that the cost of compiling the particulars would be from £500 to £600, but that if particulars respecting the areas of separate holdings should not be wanted, the cost could be reduced to about ^200, and he inquired whether the Commonwealth would incur the expenditure. The Premier of Tasmania said he regretted that the information desired could not at present be obtained. The Premier of New South Wales replied that the staff of the Commissioners of Taxation would be unable to commence the preparation of the return until after the 17th
October. The Premier of Western Australia asked to be advised of the meaning, of the term “private-owned lands.” He desired to know whether it was intended to refer to land held in fee simple only, or to include land held under the “conditional purchase “ provisions of the State. He pointed out that should the information be required, special expenditure would have to be incurred, and inquired whether the Commonwealth would reimburse the State for the outlay. The Premier of Queensland merely acknowledged the Prime Minister’s circular of the 26th July. The Commonwealth Statistician was also asked whether he could furnish any additional information on this matter, but he was unable to do so. It will be seen, from the replies, that in some cases the Commonwealth may get the additional information if it is prepared to incur such expenditure, but that in other cases it is not available.
– Judging from the answers which the Minister of Defence has read, the difficulty appears to be in regard to the unimproved value of the land. I desire to ask whether he will consult the officers whose duty it would be to prepare the return, and see if he can get any portion of the information sought. Particulars as to the number and size of the holdings, irrespective of their value, would be of advantage. The honorable senator might be able to get some portion of the information sought without incurring any expense.
– I shall make inquiries, and see whether we cannot get as much additional information on the subject as is possible.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, another question with regard to information which honorable senators have sought toobtain from the Ministry. Yesterday he agreed that the report of the Public Service Commissioner should be circulated amongst the members of the Senate. It is hoped by him, I suppose, and certainly by us, that this will practically be the last day of the session, and that it will mostly be devoted to the consideration of the Appropriation Bill in Committee. I again ask the Minister why it is that, up to this hour, no member of the Senate has received a copy of this report, and whether he can explain why it has not been circulated ?
– I gave an instruction yesterday that the report was to be distributed immediately that could be done, butmy secretary was informed that sufficient copies were not available. That was all I could do in the matter.
– The circulation of the report has been delayed so long that no knowledge of its contents will become known before the Appropriation Bill is dealt with.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 10th October, vide page 6380).
Clauses 2 and 3 postponed.
Parliament : The President : Controller of Refreshment Rooms.
Divisions 1 to 10(The Parliament),
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to reduce the item “President, £1,100,” by£500.
On previous occasions I have explained the reason why I have sought to make this reduction. It is not on account of any personal feeling towards the senator who has occupied the Chair very efficiently during the last five or six years, but because I believe that the salary is too high. I find that while the salary of a senator in the United States is $5,000, equivalent to £1,000, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives each receives a salary of $8,000, equivalent to £1,600, or about £100 more than is paid to the President of our Senate. If our President were paid in the same proportion as the President of the American Senate, instead of getting , £1,100 as President, and £400 as senator, he would be paid about £650 in all. In Canada the payments are very much smaller than is the case here. The Speaker ofthe Senate gets a salary of about £300 a year, together with an allowance of £300 a year as senator, and it is the same with the Speaker of the House of Commons. If my proposal were adopted, the total payment to the President of our Senate would be £1,000. That
I consider to be quite sufficient for the office.
– I am one of those who think that the President of the Senate should, at any rate, be paid as high a salary as is paid to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. I should have to enter my objection to Senator Stewart’s motion on that ground, if there were no other. Throughout Australia the Presidents of the Legislative Councils are looked upon as gentlemen holding such high positions that they should be able to maintain them properly out of their official incomes. We have nothing to do with the President’s private means. It would be very’ invidious if the President of the Senate were not paid as liberal a salary as is received by the President of any other House of Legislature in Australia. We canvery well afford to pay such a salary as will enable our President to maintain his official dignity in comparison with the occupant of any other position with which his can be compared. It must be remembered that in Great Britain the occupant of a corresponding office receives a salary of £5,000 a year.
– The honorable senator would not vote for anything like that, surely. What is the use of talking nonsense ?
– I wish to see the dignity of the Commonwealth Parliament maintained, and desire that our officials should be paid on a fairly liberal scale.
– Extravagance !
– No. I do not believe in extravagance, but I shall do all I can to maintain thedignity of the office.
– I quite recognise that the matter raised by Senator Stewart is one about which there can be considerable difference of opinion ; but we must allrecognise that the honorable senator has raised the point at an opportune moment. He has’ raised it under circumstances that are within our knowledge. We have had a public intimation from the present occupant of the office of President that be does not intend to seek re-election to this Parliament. We are therefore in the fortunate position that we can debate the matter without the slightest reference to personal circumstances. I am glad that we all recognise that. The personal note need not be introduced into the debate. The argument has been used that in order to main tain the dignity of the Chair it is necessary to attach a high salary to it. I venture to say that that is not entirely true. I~do not accept the statement that we enhance the dignity of the Chair merely by attaching a large monetary consideration to the occupant of it. It may also be argued that the position of President of the Senate is one of very great importance, and that it is open to the whole of Australia as a high and important post. I venture to say that that argument is very fallacious. The range of choice is, as we all know, limited to the thirty-six senators who will be in this chamber when Parliament meets at the commencement of next session. I do not believe that it is necessary, in order to choose a fit and proper occupant of the Chair out of those thirty-six senators, to regard the selection as being made from all Australia. Nor do I regard the occupant of the Chair as having to discharge any particularly onerous duties apart from those discharged by any other senator. I do not wish to enter into particulars as to what the duties of the President of the Senate are, but I venture to say that he has to discharge no more onerous duties than those discharged by the occupant of the chair in which you, Mr. Chairman, are now sitting. Indeed, if we had to determine which of the two presiding officers had the harder work to do, I fancy that most of us would say the Chairman of Committees - that is to say, if the question were one of personal hardship. With regard to another question that has been raised, I venture to submit that the Senate will be setting a salutary example to Australian Parliaments generally if it agrees to make a reduction in the salary of its President. A salary of £1,000 a year is, in my opinion, quite sufficient. I venture to hope that the Senate will give the motion very serious consideration, and that, remembering the circumstance that the present opportunity is one when the question can be determined apart from personal considerations, it will not be influenced by the erroneous impression that the dignity of the office will be enhanced simply by attaching a high salary to it. If the Senate were meeting for the first time, composed of thirty-six senators, who had by some means acquired a full knowledge of what the duties of the President were, does it seem likely that we should decide to allot to the occupant of the chair a larger total salary than ^1,000 a year? I venture to say that if the question were put before the Senate in that form, not surrounded by personal considerations, there would be no doubt as to what the decision would be. I hope that Senator Stewart’s motion will not only be pressed, but will be carried.
– Honorable senators always recognise when a matter of this kind comes before us that it is an extremely delicate one to discuss. Whether we like it or not, there is always the feeling that the personal element is mixed up with the question. But it is fortunate that at the present time, owing to the fact that the gentleman who at present holds the office of President does not intend” to seek reelection, we can discuss the matter with the greatest freedom. I do not think that it is the duty of this Parliament to continue setting the example of paying high salaries to its officers. The amount to which it is proposed to reduce the present salary is a reasonable one. It will still leave it at a. very handsome figure. It is time we began to set an example to the States Parliaments in this direction. It must have been realized bv many senators on many occasions that not only in connexion with Parliaments, but in other departments of government, there is in Australia too much dignity to maintain. When we desire that any State Parliament or public department shall do any little bit of business for us that we believe it is well qualified to do, we are met with questions of dignity at every turn. It is time that we set an example; and if we, as the highest House of Legislature i’n Australia, determined to do what is proposed, we shall virtually compel the States Legislatures to be more economical in regard to equivalent offices. If we can achieve that purpose we shall have done very good work. It must be admitted, itf we compare the allowances paid to some Speakers and Presidents connected with Legislatures in Australia with the payments made in this Parliament, our salaries are not extravagant; but, at the same time, I agree with Senator Clemons that the amount of money that we pay in connexion with a certain office does not add anything to its dignity. If we were to consider that view of the matter, what would have to be said of the President of the United States?
– It is being proposed to increase his salary to ^20,000 a year.
– If there is any public man in the world who requires a considerable sum to be paid to him to maintain his official dignity, surely it is the President of the United States. But the principal man in that great Republic receives a salary of something like £10,000 a year.
– It is an entirely different position.
– I admit that the comparison is not perfect, but I quote that instance to show that the amount of money attached to an office certainly does not add to its dignity. I am quite sure that no amount of money that might be paid to the President qf the United States would add greater dignity and honour to the office. Perhaps there is no man in the world whose words carry more weight than do those of the President of the United States. Nevertheless, he is paid the comparatively modest sum of £10,000 per annum. Looked at in that light, we should all realize that we shall not deprive the office of President of the Senate of any dignity by reducing the salary as proposed by Senator Stewart.
.- It may sound very well to move a reduction of £500 in a salary of this kind, and probably another place would agree to the proposal. I feel certain, however, that if the Senate were to request that a reduction be made in the Speaker’s salary, our interference would be resented. I think that Senator Clemons is taking a wrong view of the situation. If the President were a senator from Western Australia, South Australia, or a remote part of Queensland, he would have to separate himself from his family, and undertake an immense amount of travelling.
– So has every senator from distant places.
– Senators may obtain pairs, but the President is bound to be here all the time.
– The honorable senator ought not to mention pairs.
– I remember the pairs referred to.
– I should think so !
– I am not ashamed of the transaction. We are not supposed to aggrandize all those positions, of which I do not think Victoria has any great share.
– Ira view of the announcement in the newspapers this morning,
I should think Victoria has a very fair share.
– Every man in an exalted position like that of President has to put his hand in his pocket to assist all sorts of charities, and, possibly, he may finish up the year with a balance on the wrong side. I am not in favour of high salaries ; but surely we ought to recognise the demands of a position of this kind ; and I hope the Senate will not make the reduction proposed. The salary of the President is fairly well on a par with the salaries paid to Presidents of Legislative Councils, and, of course, the President of the Senate, living as he does away from his own State, has greater demands made upon him.
– There are no greater demands on the President than there are on any other senator.
– A senator mav refuse to comply with those demands, whereas the President may at any time have to contribute anything from £10 to £50 for a charity. Of course, a wealthy man could afford to keep up a, position of the kind; but we are not all wealthy.
– This proposal is a sort of hardy annual, though on this occasion it has received unexpected support from a member of the Opposition.
– Why unexpected?
– Because Senator Clemons never supported this proposal previously.
– I sympathized with the proposal before, but, because there was a present occupant of the Chair I refrained from giving it my support. The circumstances are now different.
– Of course that is a reason for the honorable senator’s action. I hope, however, that the Senate will not stultify itself by reducing the salary. If we do reduce the salary of the President, we ought, in common fairness, to reduce the salary of the Speaker.
– And of other officers.
– We can on.lv make requests; and if we sent down a proposal that the salaries of the two officers should be reduced, the House of Representatives might acquiesce in regard to the President, but refuse in the case of the Speaker. The President would then be placed in a position of inferiority, not only in this Parliament but in the Parliaments of Australia. The position of President is not overpaid; and it is one of great honour to which honorable senators may aspire as time goes on. An immense amount of personal sacrifice is involved, as honorable senators recognise when we have been sitting all night, and the President has to remain within the precincts of the chamber. At such times the temper of senators is perhaps ruffled ; and the President or Speaker may be called upon at any moment to interpret the Standing Orders. The position is one of great dignity and honour ; and I hope the Committee will not support the request.
– As £ have already said, the allowance has nothing to do with the enhancing of the dignity of the position of the President. But comparisons have been made; and I venture to suggest a further comparison between the amount allotted to the President and the amount which, rightly or wrongly, is allotted to each Minister. It has been alleged that the President has a great deal to do; but it must be admitted that when Parliament is out of session there is no call whatever upon him. On the other hand, a Minister, if he discharges his duties fairly, is never idle from January to December; and when Parliament is in session he has not only to attend to his administrative work, but also to discharge his duties in the House. Let us compare the position occupied bv Senator Playford with the posi- tion of President. Senator Playford is in charge of a large Department, the administration of which 5s intricate and difficult ; and during the last month or so he has had to devote almost every moment of his waking time to affairs in the Senate, in addition to attending to the duties of his Department. If a comparison of the work be asked for, I need go no further. I venture to say that for every hour’s work done by the President during the last month or six weeks, Senator Playford has had to do ten hours, and he has had, in addition, all the care and responsibility of the Department on his shoulders. Indeed, there is no comparison between the work of the President and the work of any Minister administering a Department ; whereas the difference in the remuneration given to the two officers is very little. The salary of the President is almost as much as that given to a portfolioed Minister : and I dare say that by the time a Minister has met all charges there is very little difference between the allowances. The idea should not be entertained for a moment that a large salary adds dignity to the occupant of any particular office.
– That i3ea is exploded.
– But I am afraid the idea still lingers in the minds of some honorable, senators. Having regard to all the circumstances, I should say that Senator Stewart’s proposal comes much nearer to a recognition of the due proportion of things than the present allowance. The request . is submitted on good and substantial grounds, which ought to commend themselves to every honorable senator, if he can divest himself of personal feeling.
– I cannot support the request of Senator Stewart. I should feel myself to be in a very uncomfortable position if I were to vote for a reduction, of the President’s remuneration, without also supporting a reduction of the remuneration of the other officers in this division. If I supported a reduction of the President’s salary I should be compelled to vote for a reduction of at least 25 per cent, or 30 per cent, in the case of each of the officers which fellow in this division.
– To be consistent we should have to vote for a reduction of our own salaries.
– To be consistent I should practically have to vote tor :i reduction! of nearly every item in the division. My- complaint has never been thai the President is too highly paid. My experience during the present session satisfies me that the President is not paid one penn more than he honestly deserves. I may further say that ever since I became a member of this Chamber my complaint has been that honorable senators are paid a salary which is altogether too small. I should like to see the salary of honorable senators raised to at least ^600 a year. I am very anxious that that increase should take place; and I am not going to be a party to a reduction of any of the salaries in this Appropriation Bill. I did vote for the reduction of a salary twelve months ago, but that only meant a reduction to ^750, which I considered a very ample allowance.
– What salary was that ?
– I think it was the salary of the Secretary to the Home Affairs Department. I have had sufficient evidence during the past session to convince me that on that occasion it was possible that the step I took was taken without due consideration. If I voted for the request, in order to be consistent, I should have to vote for a. salary of £200 a year for the Chairman of Committees, and honorable senators will agree that that would be out of all reason. I should also have to vote for a proportionate, reduction in the salary of every officer receiving more than £500 a vear.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [11.46]. - I do not propose to make a speech. If honorable senators are to make speeches on every division in the schedule, we shall not finish the work of the session for another fortnight. I rise merely to say that, in mv opinion, it is desirable, in the interests of the Senate and in the public interest, that the salary proposed to be voted to the President of the Senate should be voted.
-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [11.47]. - There is nothing new in the suggestion that the salary of the President should be less than that which he has hitherto received. Honorable senators will recollect that, when the first Estimates submitted to the Federal Parliament came before us, we found that provision had been made for the salaries of the President and other officers of the Senate on a lower scale than those voted for officers holding corresponding positions in the House of Representatives. It was recognised that the intention was to place the Senate in a subordinate position, since if our officers were paid lower salaries than those of the House of Representatives their status would be reduced. At that time the matter was fully debated, and the Senate determined that the salaries of its officers should be the same as those paid to corresponding officers of the House of Representatives. If we were now to reduce the salary of the President, honorable members in another place would be quite willing to give their assent, because they would naturally say that we had a right to control our own officers, and to say what salaries they should be paid. But if, having reduced the salary of the President bv £500 a year, we were also to reduce the salary of the Speaker by the same amount, our action would be received with a storm of indignation in another place, and we should be told that the House of Representatives could not allow us to interfere with the salaries of their officers. The Clerk of the House of Representatives receives a salary of £900 a year, and the Clerk of Parliaments, the Senate’s officer, receives a similar salary. It might be said that the President has not as much work to do as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and that a man of equal knowledge, experience, and ability is not required for the work. In the same way it might be contended that it is not necessary that the Clerk of Parliaments should be a man of the same standing and parliamentary experience as the Clerk of the House of Representatives. We know, however, that that is not the case,_ and I should be inclined to oppose any reduction of the salaries of the officers of the Senate unless an equivalent reduction were made in the salaries of the officers of the House of Representatives.
– One House must begin, if reductions are to be made.
.- If Senator Stewart could give an assurance that, if we made the reduction he has moved, the House of Representatives would follow suit in dealing with its officers his case would be half won. Difficult questions of interpretation and parliamentary procedure are as likely to arise in the Senate as in the House of Representatives. It is necessary that we should have in the position of President a man who will devote his time and attention to making himself fully acquainted with the various questions of order and procedure which are likely to arise from time to time. He must do so if he is to give such rulings as will guide us in the conduct of our business and protect our rights and privileges. We should paysuch an officer a salary commensurate with his work. It would be a very great mistake to belittle our officers by reducing their salaries. A comparison has been made of the salaries paid to a Minister of the Crown and to the President, but whilst I admit that a Minister of the Crown has to incur many expenses which reduce his salary, the President of the Senate has also to meet certain expenses. The gentleman appointed to the position of President of the Senate must possess parliamentary experience and aptitude for the work, and as he is obliged to give up his business or profession, he should be remunerated in a reasonable way. I am strongly of the opinion that, in the salaries paid to our officers, we should see that a position is maintained for them equal in every way to that of corresponding officers of the House of Representatives.
– I hope the Committee will not agree to the request. Senator Stewart is always poking about the north of Queensland looking for some discontented individual. I have travelled Australia from one end to the other, and I have never heard any grumbling or discontent with respect to the allowances paidto the officers of the Senate or of the House of Representatives. It will be time enough for us to do what Senator Stewart proposes when there is an outcry on thepartofthepeople for such reductions. The officers of the Senate have carried out their duties faithfully and efficiently, and have given every satisfaction, and, so far as I know, no one has ever grumbled at the remuneration they have hitherto received. These chronic requests for interference with their allowances ought to come to an end some, day, because they raise such uncertainties in the minds of men eligible for these positions that they are unable to decide whether it is advisable to accept them or not.
.- There is only one way in which we can maintain the dignity of the Senate, and that is by seeing that our work is efficiently done; and our business is conducted with decorum. I have preached economy for some time, and am determined to continue to do so. I shall not shrink from the application of my principles, and I shall therefore vote for the request. I do not agree with the argument that we should consider what honorable members in another place are likely to do. If we carry the proposed request, I presume that we shall also reduce the salary of the Speaker in the same way. I decline to agree with the contention that one House has nothing to do with the salaries paid in the other. It is not our money, but the money of the taxpayers, that we are voting, and we have no business to wink at extravagant salaries in either House.
– There are no extravagant salaries in Tasmania, where legislators are paid £100 a year.
– I wonder what will happen to a gentleman who gets £1,500 a year when Socialism has arrived. He will probably be obliged to put half of it into the socialistic pool. When I entered politics first I was astonished at the high salaries paid to legislators, and never could see any reason for it. Thirty-six of us meet here during the session; we have to give up our homes and our business to a great extent, and we are content with the dignity of the office and a salary of £400 a year. We appoint one of out number to preside over us, because we consider him a man of considerable parliamentary experience and ability, and if we give him 50 per cent. more than double the salary we receive he will be well paid. If the President receives £1,000 a year for five or six months work he will be sufficiently paid. We are told that the gentleman occupying the position is expected to give dinners, suppers, and lunches, but we should not expect that of the occupant of this office, and we should not pay him a salary out of the taxpayers’ money for the express purpose of enabling him to do that kind of thing. I shall vote for Senator Stewart’s request, and if that be not carried, I should be prepared to vote for a reduction in the.salary of £300. If we carry the requested amendment the House of Representatives may be willing to agree that the salary ofthe Speaker be reduced in the sameway.
– I have been astonished at the poverty of the reasons, I cannot call them arguments, which have been given for voting againstmy request. Senator McGregor has said that he has not heard any one complaining of the salaries paid to our officers, but he ought to know that all over Australia complaints are made with regard to the extravagence of the Federal Parliament. In the matter of the salaries paid to the President and officers of this Parliament, I maintain that we are extravagant, because we are paying salaries altogether out of proportion to the services rendered. Senator Fraser talked about the dignity of the Chair - as if a money payment could maintain the dignity of the Chair. What is it thai lends dignity to the Chair? It is impartiality, knowledge of procedure, and character. These are the attributes which lend dignity to the occupant of the Chair, and not the monetary consideration paid to him.
– Must not a man be liberal ?
– Senator Fraser asks whether the President must not give money away in charity. It is probable that he does, but are we going to vote him a sum. of money every year so that he may spend a portion of it in charity ? If that is the case we ought to state definitely in the vote that so much is intended for charity, and so much for services.
– Charity has nothing to do with it.
– No; we pay a salary to the President for services rendered. I ask honorable senators to remember the proportion which his salary as now fixed bears to the salary of a private senator, and to compare the duties in each case.
– Senator Fraser says that the President might have to come from Western Australia.
– I would remind Senator Fraser that Senator de Largie has to come from Western Australia. He cannot devote himself to any business other than that of a senator. The trouble with some honorable senators is that they want to carry on their own business while at the same time representing, or pretending to represent, the people efficiently here. I maintain that the two things cannot be done together.
– Many a man must try to keephis own business together.
– Every senator must leave his own State unless he happens to live in Victoria, and neglect either his own business or that of the Senate. The President, therefore, is in exactly the same position as any other member of the Senate. Senator Fraser has said that other senators can get a pair. The President must attend more regularly than other senators. He cannot leave the chair to avoid listening to a drone. He must sit there all the time, but he gets a salary of £1,100 for doing that. I do not propose to ask him to do additional work for nothing. I propose that he shall ‘be paid a salary of £600, in addition to his allowance of £400 as a senator, because he cannot come and go as he pleases. As he must occupy the chair during the greater part of the sitting, his freedom is to a certain extent limited ; but an additional payment of £600 ought to be quite sufficient for any extra services which he may render in that way. Senator Smith has pointed out that if we reduced the salary of the President we must also reduce the salary of the Speaker of the House of Representatives,
I hold that we ought to deal with each case on its merits. If my motion be carried, I shall submit a request in relation to the salary of the Speaker.
– The honorable senator may want to reduce other high salaries.
– Yes ; I think that there is a large number of cases inwhich a reduction of the salary is absolutely necessary and quite justifiable. While we pay those salaries we may fairly be accused of extravagance by the people. Some senators say that if we reduce the salary of the President we must also attack the salary of the Speaker, and that, if we do, the other House will resent our attack, and say that we have no business to make a request with regard to its presiding officer. The whole position resolves itself into this, that, because we cannot get the Houses to act unitedly or at once, then neither House will make a move, and we shall be continually saddled with huge and unjustifiable salaries.
– Until we have a deficit, which will compel the other House to retrench.
– The Commonwealth is in that blessed position that it will always have a surplus. It is only a State which may have a deficit. In many cases a private senator has to do more work than the President. For instance, the latter does not take any part in the general business of the Senate. He does not keep himself abreast of the business which is brought forward, but simply sits in the chair and maintains order, and takes no part in the debate.
– The worst of it is that sometimes he takes part in debate when he should not.
– That is very seldom. So far as actual work is concerned, in my opinion, an ordinary member of the Senate does just asmuchas does the President. In any case, we are not proposing to ask any senator to fill the position for nothing, but are offering a salary of £600, in addition to the senatorial allowance of £400. I ask honorable senators seriously to consider whether£1,500 a year is not an unjustifiable payment for a position such as the President occupies? In any case, I trust that they will support my request, and thereby show the States a good example in economy.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I wish to move a request in regard to the salary of £550 for the Usher of the Black Rod, Clerk of Select Committees, and Secretary of the Joint House Committee. First, because it is too large ; and, secondly, because it is not earned.
– The honorable senator does not know what he is talking about.
– I shall deal with the question of this officer acting as Secretary of the Joint House Committee. I desire to make no reflection on the officer, but I hold that the Parliament made a great mistake - and I believe that every member of the House Committee will indorse my statement - when it asked him to look after the catering here, and made him an allowance of £50. It is a ridiculous thing to expect a man who discharges the duties of Usher of the Black Rod and Clerk of Select Committees to be thoroughly up in the business of catering. I am not going to blame him because matters in connexion’ with the refreshment rooms are not carried on satisfactorily. I blame the Parliament for asking such a man to do the work. As we all know, or ought to know, the conditions with regard to the refreshment rooms are not satisfactory, and I venture to suggest that we ought to intrust the steward with the catering and the management of the refreshment rooms, and ought no longer to ask the Usher of the Black Rod to do work which obviously he cannot do, and which we ought not to expect him to do. We ought . topromote the steward -I do not. know himpersonally-toa better position.
– The honorable senator, does not propose to do away with the allowance of £50 for the additional responsibility.
– No. All I want to do isto transfer that allowance from the Usher of the Black Rodtothe steward, whoever he may be.
-Suppose that we cub off the £50, that will not makethetrans fer to the steward.
– We can. easily make the transfer of the allowance to the salary of the steward.
– It is not worth while.
– It isworth while With regard to the Appropriation Bill,I have always beentold that it isnot worth our while to attempt to effect any improvements. Somesenators immediatelysays “ Leave it alone, let. it go.” It is that attitude towards Appropriation Bills whichI resent. I am perfectly certain that, ifthere be any member of theSenate who has given the subject consideration, or has read the’ reports of the House Committee, hewill agree with me that, if we want to put the refreshment rooms on. a better footing,we ought to intrust the duty of managing them to some one else ; not that. I wish tomake any reflection upon the officer who is at present in control, butthat heisaskedtodo work which it is perfectly absurd to expect him to do. What experience can we suppose that the UsheroftheBlackRod has had to qualifyhim to actascarter?
– Surelyitwouldbe better to deal with this question whendiscussing the vote for the refreshmentrooms
– I think it can be better dealt with where the salary of the officer occurs.IhopeIhavegivensufficient reasons formyaction,andInow move. -
That the House of Representatives berequested to reduce the item “ Usher oftheBlack Rod, Clerk of SelectCommittees, and Secretary of the Joint House Committee,£550,”by£50.
– I fancy that Senator Clemons willbe doing more than he intends to do if he succeeds in carrying his motion. The salary of the officer in question is£550, in addition to which he ispaid£50 as controller of the refreshmentrooms.If the salary be reduced by £50, and the allowance made as controller of the refreshment rooms be transferred to another officer, the result will be that the total payment to the Usher of the ‘Black Rod will be reduced by £100, making his salary £500.
– I have no desire to do that.
– But would that not be the result? I think it would be better for him to withdraw his motion, and submit a request that the salary be reduced by £r, by way of signifying his opinion.
Senator Sir RICHARD BAKER (South Australia) [12.20]. - As chairman of the Joint House Committee, I should like to call the attention of honorable senators to some facts. The officer who manages the refreshment department has control of a good deal of money. We ought to have a responsible person in that position. In the next place, he has not only managed our refreshment department during the five and a-half or six years that this Parliament has been in existence, but he managed the refreshment department of the Parliament of .Victoria for a. considerable time before the Common wealth was inaugurated. Therefore he has had a good deal of experience. I am not prepared to deny that the department does not work satisfactorily. Indeed. I know of no refreshment department of any Parliament that does work satisfactorily. In connexion with all the Parliaments in Australia there is a considerable expenditure above the income of the refreshment department. In some States the difference between the expenditure and the income is far greater than is the case in this Parliament. In New South, Wales. I believe - speaking without book - the expenditure comes to something like £2,000.
– Much more.
– The Joint House Committee has tried all manner of experiments with the object of reducing expenditure, but has not been able to do so. It has twice called for tenders from outsiders, but found that the cost would be quite as great under the tendering system as when the department was managed by our own officers.
– Does the total salary received bv the Usher amount to £550 or £600 ?
– His salary is £550, with an additional allowance of £50, as indicated by the footnote to the Bill. Of course, if the Committee thinks it right to cut down the salary of the officer, 1 have nothing to say, except that I see no reason why he should be particularly picked out. I merely rose to explain the position so far as concerns the refreshment rooms.
– I suggested in an interjection that it would probably be better to deal with the control of the refreshment-rooms when discussing the vote for that branch. I am still of that opinion. I agree with Senator Baker that we should pay an officer something for undertaking the responsibility of looking after the moneys and the books connected with the management of the refreshment department. But I also think that the steward who is responsible for the choice and purchase of foods, the breaking down of spirits, and the general attention necessary for the discharge of his duties, should be paid more than £182 per annum. I am not prepared to say that the Usher of the Black Rod or any other officer of this Parliament is receiving too high a salary. The position that I have always taken up in regard to salaries is that which I have maintained regarding the wages of working men. In my opinion salaries and wages alike are insufficient. Of course, if a man is not suitable for the position he occupies, he should be discharged, and a better officer should be appointed. But I would take no step to reduce salaries, because I repeat that, in my opinion, under the competitive system under which we live, both salaries and wages are not high enough. The salary of the Usher might be allowed to stand, and when, we reach the vote for the refreshmentrooms something more may be said in reference to it.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [12.25]. - Clearly Senator Clemons is not aware of the fact that the officer whose salary he proposes to reduce is practically the permanent head of one of the Government Departments. He is responsible to the Treasury for the accounts that he keeps. He supervises the expenditure in connexion with the Senate’s part of the building in which we meet. He has control of the operations of officers who are employed in connexion with this Chamber to the tune of many thousands of pounds per annum. His functions relate not only to the management of the refreshment-rooms, but to the whole expense of lighting, water, fire insurance, and in fact the books connected with every salary in relation to those works. He occupies a highly responsible position. His duties in this Chamber as Usher of the BlackRod are merely a bagatelle compared with the total work that he is continually doing in his office in relation to the books which he has to keep under the supervision of the Treasury.
– Surely the honorable senator does not say that this officer takes charge of all the salaries and the books relating to them?
– The whole scope of the department is under his charge. I do not mean to say. that the salaries of the clerical staff go through his hands. But hehas to do with the fittings and furnishings of the chamber, and all such works on this side of the building. As to what the President has said, I can state, as a member of the special committee appointed to inquire into matters relating to the refreshmentrooms, that in the New South Wales Parliament £2,900 a year is paid for salaries and wages alone in connexion with the refreshment-rooms. I have been through the records myself recently. The steward in New South Wales receives £700 a year with quarters. I may also point out that with the exception . of the one line of fish on the menu, the prices in ourrefreshment-rooms are from 33 to 100 per cent. higher than are the prices in the New South Wales parliamentary refreshment-rooms. I have spent days and days looking over the accounts and balance-sheets of the House Committee, and I say. as the result of a more complete investigation than I suppose has been made by any other member of the Senate - because no one has been charged with the same responsible task - that affairs are conducted herewith economy, with probity and with as much satisfaction as the low prices charged permit. For these reasons I do not think that there is any justification for making a reduction in the salary under discussion, whatever reason there may be for making an increase in the salary of another officer. As to that, however though I have not looked up the Constitution, I think that what Senator Clemons desires to do is not within our province. I doubt whether we can make a request to increase a salary.
– Senator Clemons desires to transfer a payment from one officer to another.
– I doubt whether we can. do that.
– Surely we can request the other House to transfer a sum of money from one salary to another.
– I do not know that we can. I am very doubtful about it. However, that is a matter which we cannot settle here. For the reasons I have given, I do not think there is any justification for the reduction of this salary, or for transferring the duties of the position to the steward. However effective the steward might be, I do not see how he could undertake all the bookkeeping and other duties which really amount to those of a public accountant in connexion with the Treasury.
– After what has been said,I ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion, by leave. withdrawn.
Motion (by Senator Clemons) put -
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the item (Refreshment Rooms) “ Allowance to controller,£50.”
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 18
Question so resolved in the negative.
External Affairs : Repatriation of Kanakas : Australian Men of Letters Fund: Advertising Resources of Commonwealth.
Divisions 11 to 15(Department of External Affairs), £62,247.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to increase the item “ Repatriation of Pacific Islanders, £12,500,” by£10,000.
I intimated, when we were discussing the Pacific Island Labourers Bill, that when we reached this part of the Estimates, I should ask the Senate to request the House of Representatives to restore the amount, of £25,000 which was originally proposed for the repatriation of the Pacific Islanders. When the Bill passed through the House of Representatives, the amount was reduced to ,£12,500 ; and since then the measure has been somewhat altered in the way of exemptions, so as to increase, if anything, the number of islanders who will have to be returned. Under the circumstances I think it is only fair that the House of Representatives should have an opportunity to reconsider the matter. I have a very strong opinion that it is our duty to do something in the way of providing’ for the islanders who are being returned ; at all evenTs, in the way of providing for their immediate necessities. For a great number of years past the Queensland Government have been acting as the guardian of those islanders in Australia. It has been recognised that as these islanders’ had no settled government of their own, the Queensland Government could assume to make laws and regulations in regard to their conduct, without asking their consent or the consent of any other persons. ‘We are now returning these islanders to their homes; and I contend that we cannot all at once disclaim responsibility in reference to them. We should have some regard to their future welfare, and should not hesitate to spend a little money in order to give ‘them a start when they reach their own islands. Reference has been made more than once to the little group of islanders who have huts on the banks of the Fitzroy River. At the end of the first session of the Federal Parliament, in 1902, I saw these islanders, and found them very much disturbed in their minds. They were under the impression that at the end of this year, the Government would forcibly take them out of Australia and put them down, it might be, in some strange islands where their lives would be in danger. I was a member of the Government at the time; and, although I .was not authorized to do so, I assured these kanakas that the Commonwealth Government would, at all events, treat them as kindly as they had been treated by the Queensland Government. I told them that if they had to leave Australia they would receive com- pensation for any little property they had to leave behind, and that if they did not desire to go to their own islands, they would be sent to some other, where their lives and property would be just as safe as in Queensland. The kanakas seemed to be perfectly satisfied; and, as the present Premier was a colleague of mine at that time, I hope the Government will be ‘ disposed to honour the assurances I gave. I told the kanakas at the same time that I could hold out no hope that they would be allowed to remain in Australia. I think the sum of money which I suggest should be voted in order that the Government may do three things ; in the first place, compensation should be given where kanakas who are deported are compelled to leave any of their property behind. The humpies at Rockhampton, for instance, represent a value that is scarcely worth speaking of, but it is better that these men should be given a few pounds in compensation for the buildings they have put up than that they should have the shadow of an excuse for saying that they have been unjustly treated by the Government of the Commonwealth.
– That should be done by the State.
– It should be done by somebody. I hope that the matter will not be passed backwards and forwards between the Commonwealth and. States Governments, with the result that nothing will be done in the end. It is a matter of indifference to me whether it is done by the State or by the Commonwealth Government; the important consideration is that it should be done in the interests of Australia. Then I think that some provision should be made for the comfort of the islanders on their way back to the islands. Many of them have been for a considerable time in Australia, they have acquired our customs, and their children have been going to our schools. As I have already said, I think that a settlement should be established on some neutral island, with a Government officer in charge, for all thosewho do not desire to return to their own islands. I think that a school should be erected there, and provision made for teachers. If European teachers are not easily available very excellent native teachers can be obtained from Samoa. Many of them are employed in the islands of the Torres Straits and the New Guinea islands, and I was informed by one of the mission- ers that they give very great satisfaction. There should also, I think, be erected what is called a mission house - a building which the kanakas might use for religious services, or for purposes of general assembly. I have already said that when sending them back we should send with them a few head of cattle, sheep, and poultry, and they should also be supplied with seeds and agricultural implements. Those of them who have been for many years in Australia know something of agriculture, and we should take advantage of the opportunity to give them a start in their own islands, and a chance to rise In the scale of civilization. Since the Commonwealth has been established we have been talking about the extension of British influence in the .New Hebrides, and in the South Sea Islands generally. Here is. an opportunity to do something to increase British influence in the South Seas. The Pacific Islanders are a docile and affectionate people, and we have now an opportunity to obtain a hold on their gratitude, and so do more towards establishing British influence in the South Sea Islands than we could do by almost any other step which we could take. I hope the Committee will agree to make the request.
– I am with Senator Drake in his desire to extend every consideration to the kanakas who are to be repatriated, “but the honorable senator will find that the item before the Committee does not in any way provide for what he suggests. I take it that it is meant merely to cover the cost of returning the kanakas to their islands.
– It is for their repatriation, and should cover what I have suggested.
– From the remarks which were made on the vote in another place, I think that it is intended to cover merely the cost of ‘ the return passages of the islanders. I am prepared to go quite as far as is Senator Drake in extending the most humane consideration to these people, but I shall not be a party to a vote intended to save the pockets of the planters, the Queensland Government, or whoever “is responsible for the cost of returning these “ boys “ to their islands.
– The probability is that, if the vote is increased, the shipping company will get the benefit.
– No; because the contract has already been made with the shipping company.
– I understand that the cost of a return passage of a kanaka to his native island is estimated at about £5, and it was stated in another place that, owing to the necessity of sending a very large number away at one time, a larger sum per head is demanded. When the kanakas were recruited, it was a part of the agreement entered into with them that a sufficient sum should be provided to send them back to their own islands at the termination of their engagements, and £5 per head had to be deposited for this purpose. I am given to understand now that, notwithstanding the fact that a large number of these men have died -in Queensland t there is not a penny left in the fund which” was intended to provide for their return.
– Who has got it?
– That is a question which ought to be answered before we can give an intelligent vote on this item. The death-rate amongst these people in Queensland has been very high, and nearly 1,000 of them have died during the few short years within which we have been dealing with the question. The money deposited should now be available for the purposes of deportation. I am quite prepared to vote money if I am assured that the kanakas will get the benefit of it ; but I object to one. farthing being voted to save the pockets of the Queensland Government, or of the rich planters who brought these men into the country. We should have a clear understanding as to the purpose for which this money is voted. While I am sure that no member of the Committee would have the slightest objection to do what might be necessary to give the deported kanakas a fresh start in life in their own islands. I believe that the vote now before the Committee will not be used for the benefit of the kanakas in any way.
– The passage money is what is being provided for, and we require something more than that.
– I object to this, item if it is to cover merely the cost of returning tHe kanakas to their islands. I do not think that Queensland should callupon the other States to contribute anything for that purpose. There should be sufficient money in the Queensland Pacific Islanders-‘ Fund to meet that expense.
– The Government, in the first instance, submitted a vote of £25,000 for the repatriation of the kanakas. It was thought at the time that we should have to pay the whole of the cost of deporting these men, but subsequently an arrangement was made with the Queensland Government, by which they agreed to provide £5 per head in respect of those deported. We thought thatthey should have been prepared to give £5 per head for every kanaka brought into the State, as that money had been deposited in a fund for the purpose of returning the kanakas to their islands. It has been explained, however, that a great deal of the money has been spent in providing hospitals, rations for destitute islanders, and assisting them in other ways, and the fund has become depleted to such, an extent that, in paying £5 per head on the number deported, the Queensland Government must put their hands into the State Treasury to the tune of some £7,000. We thought that we should have to pay £25,000 for the deportation of these men, but we find now that £12,500 will be ample, not only to provide for return passages, but also for everything necessary to enable the deportations to be carried out as humanely as possible. I can say this on behalf of the Prime Minister that if Senator Drake will show him how these people can be assisted after their deportation he will.be only too glad to hear what the honorable senator says, and, if he thinks fit, to incur the expense necessary, trusting to Parliament to relieve him of any responsibility afterwards. I do not think that what the honorable senator suggests can be done. It would not be right for us to start in the New Hebrides, for instance, a special colony of our own with magistrates, policemen, and other officers under the control of the Commonwealth. These kanakas will be distributed amongst a great many of the islands. Large numbers will no doubt be returned to the Solomons and the New Hebrides, but a very great many will be deported in twos and threes to other islands. As we are assured that the vote of £12,500 will be ample for the purpose intended, I hope theCommittee will not agree to the request.
– I would ask honorable senators to kindly postpone the private business of which they have charge, in order that we may get on with other work this afternoon.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [2.31]. - A few months ago I suggested that the time set apart for the consideration of private business should be abrogated,but I did not meet with much courtesy, and certainly I met with no sympathy. I am sure that I shall be meeting the wish of not only the Minister, but the whole Chamber, in allowing, so far as I am concerned, public business to proceed this afternoon. I move -
That the consideration of notice of motion No. 1 (Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway) be an order of the day for this day fortnight.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Stewart) agreed to -
That the consideration of notice of motion No. 2 (Customs and Excise Duties) be an order of the day for this day fortnight.
Motion (by Senator Col. Neild) proposed -
That order of the day No.1 (Federal Capital) stand an order of the day for this day fortnight.
Amendment (by Senator Higgs) proposed -
That the words “this day fortnight” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ to-morrow.”
– I wish to speak to this motion. I understood that there was a general consensus of opinion that the consideration of private business should be postponed. It was on that account that I refrained from speaking when the motion was moved by Senator Neild. But if it is intended to bring on this order of the day to-morrow, there is no reason why it should not be proceeded with now.
– I am willing to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Dobson) agreed to -
That order of the day No. 2 (Training of Cadets) be read and discharged.
Motion (by Senator O’Keefe) agreed to -
That order of the day No. 3 (Distribution of Revenue and Expenditure) be read and discharged.
Motion (by Senator Henderson) agreed to-
That order of the da.y No. 4 (Printing Committee’s Report) be an order of the day for tomorrow.
In Committee : (Consideration resumed vide page 6448.)
– I want the Committee to report progress, for the purpose of allowing the Senate to receive a message from the House of Representatives, and deal with it.
Progress reported ; leave granted to sit again, on motion.
– I have to report the receipt of the following message: -
Message No. 49.
The House of Representatives returns to the Senate a Bill intituled “A Bill for an Act relating to Duties of Customs,” and acquaints ihe Senate that the House has thought fit at the present stage of this Bill to make the requested amendment No. 1 of the Senate as originally requested, instead of the amendment made by the House and transmitted to the Senate, and desires to inform the Senate that, in the opinion of the House, the amendment previously made by the House was clearly a modification of the amendment requested by the Senate.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Bill be now read a third time.
– Are you’, sir, putting the question that the Bill be now read a third time?
– Yes. This is a Bill in respect of which we made a request. According, to the practice, and according to the opinion of the Senate, we pass all those clauses of a Bill in respect of which we do not make a request. In this case we made a request which the House of Representatives has complied with. Therefore the Bill seems to me to have been finally dealt with.
– But the motion for the third reading has to be passed vet.
– The Senate can negative the motion, but we cannot deal further with the Bill, because every part of it has been agreed to by both Houses.
– Of course it is competent for every honorable senator to debate the motion no matter what circumstances may have conduced to the question for its third reading being submitted. I have merely risen to suggest to Senator Playford that the third reading should be postponed until a later hour. I have no particular wish to debate the matter now. I understand that there is no great hurry to rush the third reading of the Bill through, especially until we have had time to consider the other question. Does the honorable senator wish to take the third reading now ?
– We should have had a better opportunity for discussing, the third reading of an important Bill. We do not even know to what extent we have been committed. However, in view of certain information I have, I do not propose at this stage to debate the question any longer. Whether I shall vote for the third reading of the Bill or not is of course another matter.
– - The least the Government could have done when the Bill came before us again was to state fully and frankly what it proposed to do with the matter covered by it.
– I shall do that when another message is reported.
– Exactly. The Government is now asking us to assent to the third reading of this ‘Bill with a full knowledge - which is not yet officially before us - that the moment it is done it proposes to come down with another Bill and ask us to debate this measure.
– I do not think that that can be done.
– I am not saying whether that can be done or not ; I am dealing merely with the action of the Government. This is another case where the Government has not told us fully and frankly what it proposes to do. Senator Playford knows as well as I do, although the Senate has no official knowledge of the fact, ‘that as soon as this motion has been agreed to he intends to ask us to pass a Bill to undo the very thing which he. is now asking us to do.” The Senate may arrive at the conclusion that it is a wise and proper thing to do. I hold that a Minister, when he is asking the Senate to. assent ‘to’, a certain course of action, ought to tell us immediately what is behind his proposal. We should have been told fully what the Government has in hand.
– I am quite willing to tell the Senate now.
– The Senate should not be asked to legislate in the dark.
– Does any other senator wish to speak?
– Yes, I do.
– But we want the Minister to supplement his speech?
– If the Minisiter speaks, it will be in reply.
– Can he not be allowed to supplement his remarks?
– The Minister cannot speak twice and then reply.
– But he has not yet spoken.
– So far as I understand the position, the Bill which we are now asked to read a third time cannot be assented to by the Governor-General, but must be reserved for the signification of His Majesty’s pleasure.
– That is another matter.
– We have heard of a telegram from the Board of Trade to the effect that the Bill is in contravention of the provisions in certain treaties with foreign countries, and that., consequently, the representative of His Majesty must withhold his assent. But presently we shall be asked to pass another Bill practically to amend this Bill.
– Is it possible, sir, to discuss a Bill which is not before the Senate?
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [2.42]. - It appears to me that we are simply duplicating, and from an opposite stand-point, that which was done last night. A majority of my honorable friends on this side were then most anxious to insist upon a request made to the other House. But since they have got their way, they are prepared to prevent a formal acceptance and fulfilment of their desire. That, I think, is an absolute waste of time. It is reducing the proceedings of the Senate to little better than afarceto insist upon an amendment being made one day and to refuse to accept it the next day.
– Notwithstanding the sudden, change which has come over the scene, I think that our course is a plain and easy one at this stage, and that is to agree to the motion, and to deal with the other measure on its merits. The amendment requested by the Senate has been made, and I do not see how we can fairly refuse to agree tothe third reading of the Bill. Whether it is assented to or reserved isanother matter. I would counsel the Government to get the Bill passed as quickly as possible.
– If I make a statement now, it will not waste time.
– I do not think, sir, that the Minister ought to reply now. I want to hear from him the statement which we ought to have heard in the first instance, and then to debate the question.
– Under the standing order, I cannot allow any senator to make a second speech except in reply.
– Surely, sir, you can allow the Minister to supplement his speech ?
– No; if I allowed the Minister to make a second speech, how could I prevent any one else from doing the same?
– The Minister has treated the Senate very Badly, I think.
– I am quite willing to adopt any course which honorable senators may desire. Do they desire me to state now what will follow the passage of this Bill, or do they wish me to withhold the statement until the otherBill comes on ?
– We would rather that the Minister replied to the debate on the motion for the third reading of this Bill.
Question - That the Bill be now read a third time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … …10
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Bill received from House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Bill be now read a first time.
– I shall take the usual course and call for a division.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 14
Question so resolved in the negative .
In Committee (Consideration resumed vide page6449).
.-We havebeen agreeing to votes forseveral thousands of pounds without any information being given. I should nowliketo have alittle information from the Minister. I direct attention to item 3, under, the heading , “ Miscellaneous,”- “Australian men oflettersfund-£500.”
Can the Minister tell the Committee what the money is for, and how it is to be disbursed ?
- Senator Drake already has a request before the Committee. It would be desirable for that to be withdrawn before we deal with, another item.
– I have ascertained the feeling of honorable senators with regard to my request, and find that it would not receive strong support. I propose to withdraw it, but intend subsequently to move a request for the addition of a. sum of£5,000 for assistance to repatriated Pacific islanders.
Request, by leave, withdrawn.
– Perhaps the Minister of Defence will now give me some information as to the vote of£500 for the Australian men of letters fund. I should like to know what it is for, and how the fund is to be distributed?
– The fund is intended to assist Australian authors who may be considered worthy of assistance. The Prime Minister in another place informed honorable members that it was intended to appoint a Committee to supervise the distribution of the fund. It is not to be distributed by the Minister solely, and no part of it is to be paid to any author who may be in indigent circumstances until the Committee has reported.Information concerning the method in which the fund isdistributed will be laid before Parliament,so that the honorablesenators will have an opportunity of expressing their opinion .
.- I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the item “Australian men of letters fund -£500.”
TheParliament woulddowell to listen to the criticism which is launched against this item. It is desirable to help men of letters whoare in bad circumstances, but Ido not know of any case of the kind, and itwouldseem as though this item were in anticipation.
– There aremany cases.
-Doesthehonorable senator mean to say thatit is theduty of this Parliament to pick out men in one particular calling for assistance of this kind ? If any literary man is very badly off, I presume that the State in which he resides would be quite willing to assist him. I do not desire to deprive the States of any opportunity to reward or maintain, if they like, men of letters ; but’ I am against all items of expenditure which can be saved.
– I should not be averse to a business- like proposition on the part of the Government to lend assistance to literary men who may need it. But I see that a Committee is to be appointed to administer the fund, and the danger is that the. recipients of assistance will be simply those who, for some reason or other, are in close touch with parliamentarians, and can, therefore, get their cases persistently represented before the distributing body.
– It need not be a parliamentary Committee.
– The Committee will be non-political.
– The Committee is to be appointed by theMinister.
– But the names will be submitted to Parliament.
– The answer of the Minister that the names will have to be submittedto Parliament condemns the pro- posal.Thedistribution of such a fund should be placed even beyond parliamentary criticism.
– Isthehonorable senator’sobjectiontotheamountorto theproposedmethodsofdistribution?
SenatorMILLEN.-Iamdealingwith theproposedmethodsofdistribution.Isee noparticularobjectiontotheprinciple Inmyopinion,themthodproposedmight result in assistance being given to those whom thecountry,asawhole,wouldnot elect as the recipients of their bounty.
SenatorSTEWART (Queensland) [3.6]. - This vote appears to have , had its origin in a purely; sentimental source. There is a common opinion abroad that men of letters fare worse than ordinary individuals, so far as the good things of this life are concerned. If the Commonwealth Parliament is to start on a career of assisting every one who fail’s, why . should we not embrace the whole category of industries?
– Politicians are usually unsuccessful financially.
– That is so; and also inventors, and many other most useful men. Those who devote themselves to particular forms of agriculture - to the im proving of our wool clips, and assisting in the development of new fruits and other products - are well known to be usually financial failures. In my opinion, we are going altogether outside our province in proposing to start a fund of this kind. Then there is the very forcible objection raised by Senator Millen. I am afraid that the money would be divided, not in accordance with the merits or demerits of the parties concerned, but just in proportion as they could ear-wig Members of Parliment.
.- I should willingly vote for this, or a greater sum, if the Minister laid before us any statement to justify the expenditure. Under the circumstances, however, I do not think that the Committee would be justified in passing the item, which may be found to be premature.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Questionso resolved in the negative.
.- I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to, amend the. item “Australian men of letters fund, , £500,” by adding the following words : - “ to be applied and administered by the Councils of the Universities of, Melbourne and Sydney.”
– Avote has been taken- on: the item. The honorable senator willobserve that “£500” stands at the end of it in a separate column, and I cannot allow him to propose the insertion of any words previously.
-I mean the. words to be subsequent to the item. I did not propose the words before, because had the item been struck out, they would have been unnecessary. The Committee have decided that the item shall stand, and the criticism was levelled at the method of distribution.
– The honorable senator will see that he is challenging my ruling.
– I have no desire to do that if you rule that I cannot propose this addition.
– That is- my ruling, the item having been passed.
– I .move -
That the House of Representatives be requested 10 insert under the heading of “ Miscellaneous,” the following ; new item: - “ 4a. Assistance to repatriated Pacific Islanders, £.5,000.”
Only a few days ago it was pointed out that one of the dangers attending the repatriation of the Pacific islanders was that there might be a scarcity of food in the islands. If it were only to avoid any risk of that, it would be worth our while to vote the small amount that I suggest should be provided. When I moved a request that the vote on the Estimates for the repatriation of the kanakas should be increased, it was contended that the money might be used solely for the payment of the return passages. These are provided for in the vote which appears on the Estimates, and there should, therefore, be no fear that the new vote which I suggest would be used for that purpose. As we have decided to send these people back to their islands, it will be a graceful thing for us to make at least temporary provision for them until they become accustomed to the new way of living.
– Senator Drake is taking more for granted than he is justified in doing. We have had no specific information from the Minister as to what it will cost to return the kanakas to their islands.
– This amount would have nothing to do with the cost of passages. That is already provided for.
– What authorityhas the honorable senator for making that statement? The only statement which the Minister has made is that £12,500 will be ample for the purpose.
– To cover the cost of passages and some little comforts to enable the deportation to be carried out humanely.
– There will be no objection taken to the Government treating these people generously, but we should be assured that they will get the benefit of any .money we vote. I strongly object to vote any money to .meet the cost of returning them to their islands. I believe that, on their return, they should be supplied with agricultural implements, seed, and stock, but I contend that the cost of returning them should be paid out of the Queensland Pacific Islanders Fund, which was established for that purpose. We ought to leave out the item which appears in the schedule, and the Government could then bring clown a. measure embodying a complete scheme covering what they think ought to be done for the kanakas on their return to their islands.
– This session ?
– Yes; even now that could be done. The Committee will make a great mistake if they allow the item to be passed, because the Commonwealth ought not to be asked to pay a penny of the cost of the return passages. Senator Drake, in introducing the Pacific Island Labourers Bill in the first session of the first Parliament, crave us to understand that every kanaka was brought to Australia under an agreement, which provided for the deposit of £5 in a trust fund to meet the cost of returning him to his island at the close of his engagement. We were told that, as that money was held in trust, it would not cost, the Commonwealth anything to deport the kanakas. A large number of those who were brought to Australia have since died, and there should, therefore, be more money available to deport those who remain. The Minister of Defence has told us that the Queensland Government have spent the .moneys of the fund on hospitals, and I ask why the taxpayers of the other States should be asked to supplement a Queensland hospital fund ? We have no right to vote money to supplement a fund which has been wrongly spent on the hospitals of Queensland.
– It has not necessarily been wrongly spent.
– I hold that it lias, since the money was deposited in the trust fund for a. specific purpose.
– For the benefit as well as the deportation of the islanders.
– Was not the £5 per head deposited solely to meet the costofreturningtheislandersto their islands?
– Not necessarilyfor that purpose alone.
– Then we have been misled, because we were plainlytold that it was for no other purpose.I strongly object to spend thetaxpayers’ money to save the pockets of rich planters in Queensland, who are legally and morally bound to carry out their contract, and at their own cost to return the kanakas to the islands from which they were recruited. We should not allowthem to break their agreement, and shift their responsibility to the taxpayers of Australia. I intend to move theomission of the item which appears in the schedule.
– I do not wish to stand in the way of the honorable senator, but Senator Drake has moved a request to insert an item immediately after that to which Senator de Largie referred, and that request should first be withdrawn.
Request, by leave,withdrawn.
– I direct attention to the fact that during the last few years there has been a determined attempt on the part of some persons to prevent the deportation of the kanakas. When they have come to the ports from which they expected to be able to embark, theyhave been kept hanging about until what little money they have, had was spent, and they were then obliged to renew their agreements, and go to work again. That has led to very few of the islanders being returned. We certainly have no right to do anything which would assist those who have tried to defeat the object of the legislation we have passed. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the item : - “ Repatriation of Pacific Islanders - £12,500.”
. -I intend to vote,not only for the item which appears in the schedule, but also for the request which has been suggested by Senator Drake. I am prepared to do that with a full knowledge of the fact that thiswill benew expenditure, and will bedistributed per capita. I hope the Government will be successful in carrying theitem which appears inthe schedule, andIlookfor the assistance of Ministers to carry the request suggested by Senator Drake. Though I should not care to classify honorablesenators, I sup pose that the Committee might be divided intothose who wish to see the kanakas sentout of Australia once and for all, and those who have no objection to their being allowed to remain. Those who object to the deportation of the kanakas should be prepared to do their utmost to see that they are treated humanely if they are deported, and it is even still more incumbenton those who desire to see the kanakas sent away from Australia to assure themselves that in achieving their object, every possible precaution is taken to insure that the islanders shall be accorded humane and proper treatment when they get back to their islands. I hope that when a question of humanity is at stake, the Committee will not be divided as to whether the expense should be met by Tasmania or Western Australia, or by the Queensland planters, or the Queensland Government. I am certainly much more concerned in seeing that the deportation of these people in a humane manner is dealt with in a national spirit.
– I feel that I must support Senator de Largie’s contention in this matter, and in doing so, I have no fear that rny humanitarian feelings and principles will be affected in any way. I have always been under the impression that the Queensland people in bringing these kanakas to their country were under an obligation tosee that they were safely returned to the islands from which they came.
– The Queensland Government would have had enough money for the purpose if the business had continued under the old conditions, but when the Commonwealth said that it must be continued no longer, the cost of sending back the islanders went up.
– The Commonwealth Parliament had a perfect right to say that thetraffic should be continued no longer, but that does not in any way relieve the people of Queensland of their obligations. Wedesire that the kanakas shouldbe deported, and Senator de Largieis quiteright in saying that we have not had a tittle of information as tothe way in which the vote of £12,500 is tobe expended.Itis submitted in a lump sum, and we are merely told that itwillbe amplefor the purpose. The probability is that the Government may be able to do asmuch again as it is legitimately required to do with the money.
That is a stronger reason why we should have an explicit statement as to how it is to be expended. It is quite evident to me that the Government is not ready yet to deport the kanakas, although it knew that, according to Federal law, they would have to leave bv a certain date. Apparently Ministers have not the slightest conception as to how they are going to carry out the law, otherwise they would have been able to clearly indicate the course which they intend to pursue. This is not a matter of a few hundred pounds, but a matter of £12,500. If, as has been suggested, trust money has been devoted to another purpose by the Queensland Government, it is a gross injustice that the Commonwealth should be asked to replace that money. I shall vote against the item.
.- I trust that the item, with the’ addition suggested by Senator Drake, will be agreed to. A fund was created by the planters to provide for the return of the islanders, and I understand that it was drawn upon by the Queensland Government for the erection of hospitals for those, persons, schools for their children, and sundry other purposes. In the circumstances, it would be unfair to call upon the planters to pay anything additional. They have paid what they contracted to pay.
– It is the Queensland Government which ought to pay. (Senator FINDLEY. - We -should not look at this matter in a narrow spirit. The White Australia policy is a national one, and, extremely anxious as I am to see as many kanakas as possible deported. I do not desire to see an injustice done to them when they are deported. I prefer to take a humanitarian view, like Senator Drake, and a national view like Senator Clemons. We should be verypaltry indeed if we did not unanimously agree to an expenditure of £5,000 for such a purpose. I understand that the Queensland Government, because it drew upon the planters’ fund for the purposes I have indicated, will have to provide £7,000. When a sum of £5,000 is spread over all the States it will not be felt, and at the same time it will establish a principle that, while every one favours the White Australia policy, he is not prepared, under any circumstances, to do an injustice to the kanakas.
.’ - I cannot understand why any honorable’ senators should desire the item to be struck out, unless it is that they have not sufficient information. When each kanaka was brought in and engaged, £5 was paid on his behalf by the planter to a special fund. Upon the completion of their engagements, some kanakas got tickets of exemption, and with them we cannot deal. The planter was only responsible for the maintenance of the kanaka during the term of the engagement. Upon its completion the kanaka came under the supervision of the Pacific Island inspector. When an inspector found any darkies in sickness and need, the necessary assistance had to be; given. The fund was provided, not only by the planter’s contribution of £5 for each kanaka, but bv the addition of deceased islanders’ estates. The Government said, “ As all “the money in connexion with the Pacific islanders has gone into this fund, we are entitled to draw therefrom money for the purpose of assisting kanakas in distress, and not ask the taxpayers to bear the cost.” The fund has also been drawn upon to provide small hospitals, school houses, and teachers.
– Are the taxpayers of the Commonwealth to be called upon to supplement the fund?
– No. The Queensland Government has undertaken to pay the total amount which has been paid by the planters into the fund, and that isi the full extent of its liability. When inlanders were going to and fro, the passage money was less per head than it is to-day. The Queensland Government is prepared to take from its consolidated revenue, if necessary, a sufficient sum to fulfil all its engagements in connexion with the deportation of the kanakas. Why should we ask the people of Queensland to foot the whole of the bill ? Surely the Federal Parliament passed the Pacific Island Labourers Act with a full understanding that any expenditure over and above the liability of Queensland would be borne by the Commonwealth? I do’ not see how the Parliament can for a moment think of shirking its liability in the matter.
– This is a large sum which we are asked to vote. A few words of explanation from the Minister would have set at rest ali doubt as to what sum Queensland is going to contribute towards the deportation of the kanakas.
– I have given all the information.
– Is Queensland going to contribute £8, 000?
– It is going to contribute £5 per kanaka.
– -I should like to get a precise statement from the Minister.
– The Queensland Government is in possession of a fund, amounting to £8,000. That represents the balance of the money which has been paid by the planters for the deportation of the kanakas.
– How may kanakas have to be deported?
– About 3,000. Queensland has to find £15,000 for the purpose. The balance to the credit of the planters’ fund is £8,000, and, therefore, the State has to make up a deficiency of £7,000. The Commonwealth wants a vote of £12,500 to make up the sum of £27,000 which is required. We think that that vote will be ample to provide the balance of the passage money, after Queensland has discharged its liability, and to leave in hand a few thousands to be used, if desirable, in providing comforts and so on for the kanakas.
– Why did not the Minister make that explanation before?
– I did.
– 1 i>m glad that Senator Dobson has succeeded in extracting from the Minister the information which I could not obtain.
– The information was given by the Minister before.
– No. It was because the Minister would not say how much money was in hand, or how many kanakas were to be deported, th’at I renewed my request for information. But, even now, he is inconsistent, as Senator Turley is too. The statement of the Minister is that, instead of there being in. hand £5 for each kanaka to be deported, only half that sum is available. The Queensland Government had no more right to take that money to provide hospitals and schools for the kanakas than it had to hand it to me for mv own use. I have clearly defined mv attitude on this question. If it were a matter of giving the kanakas a fresh start on their islands,
I should be quite prepared to vote double the amount we are asked for. But I certainly object to one penny piece being paid for the benefit of the Queensland Government or the rich planters. The statement was made by the Prime Minister in another place that the amount of passage money would be only 10s. more per head than that originally estimated. That is to say, instead of the amount being £5 per head, it would be £5 10s. That amount of money ought to be available, and in the hands of the Queensland Government. Where is the money that ought to bc in hand on account of those kanakas who have died? We understand that 1,000 of them have died. Apparently not a penny of that money is in existence. We have a right to know where it has gone to. I am as ready as any one can be to give the kanakas a fresh start on their islands, but I object to a penny being spent for what I consider to be a wrong purpose in every sense of the word. This is the most shameful business ever proposed, lt is all very well to take shelter behind a sentiment of generosity towards the kanakas, but that is not the question now. We want to know why we should be generous to the Queensland Government and. the sugar-planters, who are responsible for the money deposited for the return of the kanakas to their islands. We have been paying “.through the nose” on account of this kanaka business all along. We have paid too much in several directions. I trust that the Senate will express its disapproval of what is proposed.
.- I should like to have a little more information from the Minister. He tells us that the Queensland Government has £8,000 at its disposal for the purpose of deporting kanakas. It has made itself responsible to the extent of £5 per head for their deportation. There are 3,000 kanakas to be deported. At £5 per head the sum to be paid by the Queensland Government would be £15,000. I believe if is true that the cost of deporting the men is now found to be, not £5, but £5 10s. per head. ‘The Queensland Government being responsible for £15,000, that would leave £1,500 to be paid by the Commonwealth Government. But’ supposing that it cost .£5 per head to deport the kanakas, it would only mean an additional expenditure of ,£3,000. Why, then, should there be a demand for £12,500? Yet Senator Drake proposes “that an additional £5,000 shall be placed on the Estimates to provide comforts for the men.
– That is all provided for.
– See how indefinite the information is ! I can see no necessity for voting an additional £5,000.
– I have opposed that4 and have stated that the amount proposed by the Government is ample.
– The Minister has told us that the kanakas are to be deported by means of the regular boats running to the islands. It must be understood that those vessels cannot call in at a number of places along the coast where the kanakas are. It therefore follows that they will have to be brought to some central place, where they can be put on board.
– Who should pay for that ?
– The Queensland Government has nothing to do with that. Probably there are a number of kanakas at Mourilyan or Halifax, who have to be brought to Lucinda Point. It will’ cost something to take them there.
– What will it cost to bring them down the few miles from Halifax ?
– I do not know how much. In that case there is a tramway; but certainly there is no tramway from Cooktown to Lucinda Point, or to Townsville, or any other place where the boats will call. The vessels will not go to every place along the coast to ship darkies, but will take them from some convenient port; and the duty of conveying them to that port will devolve upon the Federal Government, with the assistance of the inspectors ‘ under the Pacific Island Labourers Act.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia.) [4.0!. - The honorable senator who has urged that I know but little about this matter threw some light upon it by the statement that the Commonwealth would have to bear the cost of conveying kanakas from Halifax to Lucinda Point.
– I did not say that the Government would have to bear that cost.
– The honorable senator certainly suggested that the cost of conveying the kanakas to the port of shipment would have to be borne by the Government. The journey from Halifax to Lucinda Point is a very short one, and
Senator Findley has pointed out that the amount on the Estimates is not required. If the sum which the Queensland Government have in hand for this purpose has been correctly stated a third of it should be sufficient. The cost of shipment will te £5 Jos. per head, and the additional sum of 1 os. per head to which reference has been made by the Minister represents the increased expenditure that will be necessary owing to the fact that a very large number of kanakas must be deported within a short space of time. The figures given by the Minister show that we shall have to pay at least one-half the cost of £5 1 os. per head. I object to our incurring such a liability, but apparently the Committee is prepared to vote any sum for this purpose.
– How does the honorable senator arrive at the conclusion that we shall have to pay one- half of the cost?
– Because it is admitted that there is only a sum- of £8,000 in hand, and that the total cost will be about £15,000.
– The Queensland Government is going to bear a portion of the cost.
– It is useless to argue that point. I am satisfied that if this” item be agreed to the money will be devoted to a purpose other than that which honorable senators have in view.
– The longer we discuss this question, the greater is the light thrown upon it. We may accept the statement made in another place by the Prime Minister that £5 10s. per head is the contract price for deporting the kanakas. To that amount the Minister has added 15s., which I feel satisfied is designed to make provision for meeting the difficulties to which Senator Turley has referred. It will make good the expenses incurred in connexion with the work of collecting ‘ ;he kanakas and conveying them to the ports of shipment. Senator Turley unquestionably gave away his case when he proceeded to draw a graphic picture of the work of collecting the kanakas, and pointed out that the cost of this would fall upon the Commonwealth. The Queensland Government should bear the expense so incurred. Prior to the passing of the Pacific Island Labourers Act, they were responsible for the deportation of the kanakas, and I presume that at that time the difficulty of gathering them at the ports of shipment was as great as it is to-day.
– The difficulties in the way of deporting them under the old system were not as great as they are to-day.
– Because Queensland did not send them back.
– That is the point. If the Queensland Government is to pay £15,000 towards the cost of deportation, then unquestionably the Federal Government are making ample provision to render a great service to the kanakas. If, on the other hand, this sum of £12,500 is to be provided merely to relieve the Government of Queensland of the liability to pay £7,000 towards the cost of deportation a great injustice will be done to the people of the Commonwealth. If Queensland is to pay £15,000 for this purpose, £10,000, as the Minister has said, should be an ample expenditure on the part of the Commonwealth. The discussion, if it has done nothing else, has clearly shown that the proposal made by Senator Drake that the item should be increased by £5,000 is a monstrous one.
– The fair fame of Australia is involved in this matter. We have to deport several thousands of kanakas, and the Government should be provided with sufficient funds to enable them to carry out the work in a handsome way. It has been shown that the amount on the Estimates is not extravagant, and I trust that the Committee will agree to the item without further debate.
– I fail to see why the Commonwealth Government should incur any expense in collecting the kanakas in Queensland and conveying them to the ports of shipment.
– We cannot treat them as cattle.
– I do not desire that they should be so treated ; but I would point out that very few of them are at any distance from a port. They can be conveyed at trifling cost to the ports of shipment. If they had to be maintained pending shipment for any length of time I could understand special provision being made for the cost of food supplies and so forth, but I failto see why we should have to provide for travelling expenses on land. Notwithstanding SenatorTurley’s denial, I am quite satisfied that it will be urged hereafter that a large expenditure had to be incurred in conveying the kanakas from various parts of Queensland to the ports of shipment. We have been given to understand that the Queensland Government have placed at our disposal the services of immigration agents who will collect the kanakas, so that no expense should be incurred in that direction. I object to one farthing being voted to save the pockets of those who have a legal as well as a moral right to bear the full cost of deporting the kanakas. I have from the first taken up that attitude, but if the Government wish to place on the Estimates a vote to be expended for the benefit of the kanakas, I shall not object. I hope that they will see that this money is spent solely for the benefit of the kanakas.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the item “ Repatriation of Pacific Islanders, £12,500” - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 18
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to insert under the heading “ Miscellaneous “ the following new item: - “4A. Assistance to repatriated Pacific Islanders.£5,000.”
I submit this motion in order that it may be perfectly clear that the Government have the authority of Parliament to expend money for compensation to islanders who may have to leave property behind, and in providing for the wants of the islanders, and,_ if necessary, giving them a start in their new homes. In regard to the vote just passed, there may be a considerable amount of doubt. Senator de Largie, when I proposed that the vote of £12,500 should be increased to £25,000, objected solely on the ground that the money might be spent on the expenses of deportation ; he, apparently, would have had no objection if the money were to be spent for the benefit of the islanders. ‘ The motion I now submit is in the direction favoured by Senator de Largie.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [4.23]. - The other day I threw a jocular jibe at Senator Drake in regard to kanaka matters; but I cannot allow this motion to go to a division without saying that I intend to vote with the honorable senator. I am very glad that there is now offered to the white people of Australia some small evidence that we are not quite so brutalized as some people would have us regarded, but that we have some feeling of human kindness towards those who have been strangers within our gates, and who have now to re-start life afresh in the islands. This vote, if passed, will afford evidence that we desire to assist those unfortunates in a reasonable manner if the necessity arises.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) £4.24]. - I oppose the motion. In another place, where a sum of £25,000 was at first proposed for the repatriation of the kanakas, it was pointed out that £12,500 would be quite sufficient. In any case, if the latter amount is proved inadequate, whatever Government is in power will find some means to render further assistance. There are thousands of white men, women, and children in Australia who are just as needy as are the kanakas, and I do not think it right to give away money recklessly without consideration. The charitable expressions of Senator Neild were very nice to listen to; but he is quite at liberty to contribute his share to the missionary associations who look after the kanakas, without calling on rich and poor alike to contribute to this vote. I should not care, by adopting this proposal, to deprive a kind-hearted man like Senator Neild of an opportunity to show his charitable inclinations.
.- I am disposed to support the proposal of Senator Drake. Senator McGregor, in my opinion, put the case unfairly when he said * it was proposed to vote this money recklessly without consideration. The idea of Senator Drake is that, in the event of any pressing case arising, there may be funds available to afford relief. I am an outandout White Australian, but I do not believe in White Australia at any price. If there is anything that’ would tell against the Labour Party, or those who favour the White Australia policy, it would be a charge that we have no consideration for the lives, comforts, and future happiness ofl the kanakas. We are not now discussing the case of the white people who may be in need, and who deserve consideration ; and we ought not to confuse the issues. The sum proposed is only £5,000, spread over the whole of the Commonwealth, and, according to the Minister, it may never be required. The money is intended for another purpose altogether from that to which the £12’, 500 has to be devoted.
– I think that Western Australian senators ought to put aside any feeling there may be in regard to past discussions and divisions on certain Bills; but I am inclined to think that there is something in the opposition of those honorable senators quite apart from the amount proposed.
– Has the honorable senator any right to attribute motives to the Western Australian senators?
– I did not quite catch what Senator Findley said, but if he imputed improper motives he is out of order.
– I should be sorry to impute improper motives; but surely I can say that Senator de Largie has proved himself consistent in his inconsistency in this matter.
– I intend to oppose the proposed new item. Senator Drake’s idea is to make it clear that the Government have authority to spend £5.000 in certain directions; but we have already had an assurance from the Minister that the vote of £12,500 gives the Government power to do precisely what Senator Drake desires.
– There will be about £8,000 out of the £12,500 for the purposes indicated.
-We now hear from the Minister that”, ‘ ‘after’ paying all expenses,. “including’1 extra passage ‘ rates - which I think we should not be called upon to pay - there will be left £8,000 to devote to philanthropic purposes amongst the deported kanakas. I wish honorable senators to understand that I claim to be quite as sympathetic towards the kanakas and every other black-skinned man in Australia as is any other member of the Committee. But because the milk of human kindness on which he has expatiated flows as warmly in me as in Senator Drake, I am not, therefore, prepared to hoard up a few thousand pounds for a purpose of which we know absolutely nothing. No definite scheme has been put before us, and it might take £50,000 to accomplish all that should be done. If it is subsequently found necessary, in order to do justice, and to act towards these people in a Christian and humane manner, that we should vote additional sums, I shall be most willing to support such expenditure, but I do not propose to hand over to the Government £5,000 more than thev think is necessary merely to enable them to say that the money is there.
– It is very difficult to account for the sudden spasm of generosity which has taken hold of certain honorable senators who only a few minutes ago opposed a paltry vote of £500 for the benefit of men of letters of our own race, who might be in need. They are now so generous that they are prepared to give the Government more money than they require. Ministers have said that they will be able to carry out what is suggested for the sum placed on the Estimates, and they should certainly be the best judges of the amount that will actually be required. If a larger sum should be necessary I shall be prepared to consider the matter when it is brought before us in next year’s Estimates. Seeing that no scheme has been submitted, and we have no information as to what will be done with the money, I am not disposed to vote a further sum of £5,000 to provide “ assistance to repatriated kanakas.” In view of the fact that the amount for which they originally asked was so large. I think the Government might very well have submitted a scheme to Parliament indicating what they proposed to do to give the kanakas a fresh start in their islands. We should then have been able to decide whether the amount asked for would be ample for the purpose. In the absence of information as to the way in which the money will be spent, I refuse to add to the vote to which the Committee has already agreed.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the item : - “Advertising resources of Commonwealth - £5,000.”
Honorable senators will recollect that some time ago the Prime Minister suggested a scheme under which the Commonwealth might help the cause of immigration. I propose to refer briefly to the correspondence which took place between the Prime Minister and the various States Premiers, and I think that I shall be able to adduce from it arguments in support of the omission of this item. If there is one thing more than another that Australia wants it is increased population. It is only a question of the best way of getting it. History has repeated itself, and Ministers in this vote are trying to do what they sought to do in connexion with the Bounties Bill. They are proposing that the Commonwealth shall undertake work which the States can do very much better for themselves. In my opinion the correspondence to which I refer constitutes an absolute snub to the Prime Minister, as the States Premiers, with unanimous voice, replied, “ Leave us alone.” It is true that we have now the sole right to make laws with regard to immigration, but the States have control over their lands, and are now obtaining, and will continue to obtain, such immigrants as they desire. In his letter on the subject the Prime Minister said -
It is intended to establish an office in London for the purpose of making known to the people of Great Britain the facilities for settlement in Australia. . . .
The Agents of the Central Staff, as soon as they have induced a suitable person to favorably consider the idea of coming to Australia, would refer him to the Agents for the States, among which he would make his choice. The Agent of the State would then make all necessary arrangements as to his passage, and reception at his destination.
This letter was sent to the Premiers of the different States, with a request for certain information. The Premier of New South Wales made a reply, in which he asked for information on. the following points: -
Agents-General now attend to the work to be undertaken by the proposeJ Federal Government Agency ?
It is clear from this that the New South Wales Premier saw at once that there would be two dogs gnawing at the one bone, and he wished to know how far the Central Department suggested bv the Prime Minister would assume the most important functions at present exercised by the Agents-General of the States. He went on to say -
I may mention that New South Wales has lately re-organized its London office, especially having regard to the matter of attracting immigration and advertising the resources of Australia, and in pursuance of this policy three of the best officers of this Government were sent to England at considerable cost.
There we have the Premier of a State representing a population of about 1,500,000 making the statement that the State Government have re-organized their London office, and have sent to England three skilled officers acquainted with the land laws of the State. And yet, in addition to that, the Prime Minister is now asking that we shall spend £5,000 a year in advertising Australia, and to do this he proposes to send to England officers to form a central staff. The Premier of Tasmania wrote -
With regard to the appointment of State representatives to act in conjunction with the central staff, Ministers are of the opinion that it would be as well, as far as this State is concerned, to wait until they have received further information as to the possibility of the proposed scheme being effectively carried out. It is thought that a small State like Tasmania, where the prospects of closer settlement are not so attractive as those of the other States, the number of immigrants who will come here will not be very large.
In these circumstances, it would therefore be possible for our Agent-General to act in the capacity suggested, and he could deal with persons desirous of emigrating to this State.
Practically he repeated what the Premier of New’ South Wales said. The AgentGeneral of Tasmania can act in the capacity which the Prime Minister suggests. I do not believe that any State would object to the Commonwealth spending £5,000 a year in advertising facilities for land settlement in the States, but I intend to object. When the Prime Minister was asked for further information, all he could say was -
How absurd it is for the Prime Minister to say that he wants to send Home a staff to supervise the work of advertising our resources, when there are in London six Agents-General, each of whom is doing what he thinks fit in that direction !
– And every one of whom is quite capable of spending the money, or any further sum, without an additional appointment being made.
– Quite so. In his second letter, the Premier of New South Wales said -
According to the present outlook, this State will readily be able to place an average of 100 adult immigrants or heads of families each week. It must, however, be distinctly understood that a fair proportion of our immigrants must be men who are in possession of sufficient capital to enable them to take up “ a living area” ofland, whether for dairying or mixed farming - men with at least£500 to £1,000 capital, who will be able to do the necessary preparatory work in making a farm and a home, and provide the necessary labour and living expenses for the first year, without having to apply to the Government for assistance before there is any possible chance of beginning to make a living off the soil.
The Premier of Queensland sent the following reply to the Prime Minister : -
Reverting to your letter of the 2nd ultimo, regarding your proposal for the attraction to Australia of suitable immigrants, I have the honour to inform you that, after giving the matter careful consideration, I am of opinion that it would be unwise for me to come to a definite conclusion on the matter until I am favoured with the details of your scheme.
The Premier of Victoria wrote as follows : -
With regard to this question, I beg to state that the Honorable the Premier of New South Wales has favoured me with a copy of his letter to you, dated the 12th ultimo, and numbered A4542, in which he urges that in any arrangements which may be made, care should be taken that the work which the States have already accomplished in the same direction should not be overlooked; that the claims of State officers in London now engaged in such work should receive proper consideration when the staff of the Federal Immigration Agency is being organized ; and that to these ends the Agents-General of the “several States should be consulted, and that their views should be met as far as practicable.
I desire to say that I concur in the views expressed by Mr. Carruthers, and I shall be glad if you will be so good as to give his representations your most favorable consideration.
The Premier of both New South Wales and Victoria showed at once that no good purpose could be served by the Federal Government in pretending to advertise - that they must either undertake the whole business or do nothing. To those communications, the Prime Minister sent the following reply: -
As you have already been advised, this Government intend to ask Parliament to vote a sum of money to enable us to carry on the work of advertising to the people of Great Britain the many advantages for those seeking new homes Australia possesses over other countries.
On the 25th June, having received no sufficient reply, as he thought, to his letter of 2nd May, Mr. Deakin wrote again to the Premier of Victoria and the Premier of Western Australia, to get an answer about the details for which he asked.Fromthe Premier of Western Australia he received this,reply-
Afterhavinggiventhisquestion agood deal of personal consideration, I cannot admit that theofficers oftheCentralStaffofyour proposedofficewould be ina position tosatisfactorily represent all theStates; more especially in view ofyour remark that, once your officers had induced a suitable person to favorably entertain the idea of coming to Australia, they would refer him to the agents for the States, among which he would make his choice.”
I am quite certain that in the present AgentGeneral, and in the gentleman who is to succeed him, this State possesses men who have a wide knowledge of its potentialities and general conditions, and in the opinion of my Government it is infinitely preferable that they should be the persons first approached by intending immigrants to Western Australia, rather than that the agent should be waited upon after having been dealt with in some more or less incomplete manner by the representatives of the Commonwealth Government.
If that is not a mild and respectful snub to Mr. Deakin, I do not know what would be. The Premier of Western Australia naturally wanted to know what would be the use of the Federal officer getting hold of a man, talking to him out of His own knowledge, or ignorance, of the different States, and then pretending to discuss with him a particular State. Of course, the only thing to be done in a case of that kind would be for the Federal agent to send the man to the Agent-General of the State to which he thought of going. Mr. Moore continued -
In conclusion, I may state that the AgentGeneral’s Office has been furnished with all possible data, and if, in the event of your office being established, you should require any reliable information, I am sure Mr. James, or his successor, will be only too willing to assist you in advertising the resources of Australia and this State in particular, with a view to encouraging a desirable class of persons to emigrate from the Old Country.
I should be glad, however, to receive some further particulars from you on this subject, more especially regarding - (a) the details of the scheme of the Commonwealth Government; (b) the estimated cost of same per annum; and
in what manner it is intended that the States shall reimburse the Commonwealth Government for any expenditure incurred in connexion with its immigration policy.
Of course, Mr. Moore saw at once that the Commonwealth and its central staff would be spending money and asking the States to reimburse them when they were incurring more or less expenditure on theirown account. Mr. Jas Ashton, Minister for Lands in New South Wales, submitted to itsPremier, Mr. Carruthers, the following memorandumin Mr.Deakin’s letter:-
Havingregard tothe strong local demand there isfor every areaundoubtedly suitablefor profitable occupationin small areas, I have to confess that I regard thepolicy of reserving suchlands against local people in the interests of immigrants as an impracticable one.
The Prime Ministerpointedoutthat if the Commonwealthdidestablisha Federal office in London, and try to persuade immigrants to come to Australia, it would be absolutely essential that land should be reserved for them, so that they might be’ provided for on their arrival, but Mr. Ashton believes that the idea is impracticable. He pointed out that it is sufficiently hard for the local applicants to get the lands which they required, and, in the face, of a shortness of supply, it would be madness, to tie up any lands on the supposition that the Federal agent might be able to send out a few more immigrants. He went on to say -
Apart, however, from such a system as this, I cannot see what we can do to attract agricultural settlers from abroad, except by representations of a general character as to the conditions and prosperity of the State, relying upon the ordinary resources of the State for the absorption of those who come independently of direct governmental assistance.
Mr. Price, Premier of South Australia, sent the following reply: -
I would also point out that, as the local demand for land is now much in excess of the supply, it is not considered desirable to at present offer special inducements to immigrants in this respect.
Here is Mr. Price absolutely resenting the idea. I cannot quite understand his reason, but he knows the business of his State better than I do. When asked for further information, Mr. Deakin wrote again in these terms : -
It has not yet been possible to frame the details, as the scope of Federal operations depends largely on the extent to which the States are capable of absorbing new settlers.
He wrote once more to those States which had not furnished the proper details, and then the Premier of Western Australia sent this letter to him -
I’ have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th inst. (No. 2977), on the subject of immigration, and in reply beg to state that immigrants are arriving in this State at the rate of seven hundred and fifty (750) per annum. There is every likelihood, however, that this number will be considerably increased at an early date, in view of the further promising developments in connexion with our agricultural industry and new sold discoveries.
I regret that I am unable, at the present time, to give you any more definite information than is contained in this letter, and that of the 29th June last.
What could the Commonwealth do by establishing in London a central s,taff, and spending £5,000 a year to advertise its resources, when Western Australia is getting immigrants at the rate of 750 a year, and hopes to increase the number? I shouldhave thought that Western Australia and. New South Wales were managing their immigration business splendidly. We know that every office at Home is thoroughly uptodate. I know that, month after month, the Agent-General of Tasmania asks for. further information, for leaflets, handbooks, and lantern slides.
– Has Tasmaniamuch “land to offer to new settlers ?
– No; but we have a good deal of fruit-growing land. We send to our Agent-General all the information we can. We have sent him about 500 slides of photographs of our best scenery, and lectures are being given under his auspices in order to attract immigrants and tourists. In these circumstances, how is it possible for the Commonwealth to intervene and help the States? Of course, we could vote money to the States, but I do not think that it is needed. Having written to the StatesPremiers, on the 2nd May, we find the Prime Minister writing, on the 29th August, to the Premier of Queensland and1 the Premier of Tasmania, asking for information. Is, it not plain from the correspondence that the States wish to be left alone, but that if the Commonwealth is willing to put £5,000 in their way, they are ready to take it? I hope that the Minister of Defence will concur in a request for the omission of the item. TJ is of no use for the Commonwealth to attempt to undertake duties which belong to the States, when we have quite enough to do to discharge our responsibilities under the Constitution. I believe that if this money were voted, it would be wasted.
– Senator Dobson forgot to mention that the paper from which he quoted related to the subject of immigration. The Prime Minister was trying to ascertain what area of land the States could place at the disposal of immigrants,, so that the information could be supplied in London to intending immigrants. His desire then was, not only to establish a- bureau, but to assist to a considerable extent in securing suitable immigrants,. What we have to consider now is, not that question, but the voting of £5j°°° to advertise the resources of the Commonwealth. The money is -required for the purpose of establishing a centra! office in London to supply information to persons as to the States..
– Are not all the States providing for the supply of that information?
– They are not acting so satisfactorily as they might do. It is proposed to have a small central Commonwealth s,taff to control the advertising of Australia generally, and to present to likely immigrants” statements to be furnished by the representatives of the States, and to set out their requirements. Perhaps, if I am allowed to read an -extract from his speech, it will convey to honorable senators the reasons which actuated the Prime Minister. He said -
Each immigration agent seeks to point out the advantages of his own Stale. When interrogated as to the prospect in some other part of Australia with which he has no relation, he is not disposed to represent it as favorably as those of his own section. The competition between rival agents may have stimulating uses, but it has greater disadvantages. The people who seek information do not obtain that which they desire. What they wish to know first of all is information about Australia as a whole. That we propose to supply. If the States consent to work with us, we intend to have a central office, which will undertake the work of making known throughout the length and breadth of the United Kingdom all the opportunities for settlement offering in Australia.
– Who is to be in charge in London?
– The bureau is not yet established, and therefore I cannot say who is to be in charge of it. When the money is voted we shall select the agents. The States are quite willing that we should do this work. Some of them are opposed to the Commonwealth taking upon itself the regulation of immigration, but they have no objection to the Commonwealth advertising the resources of this country in Great Britain. Later on in his speech the Prime Minister made a further statement on the subject.
– Cannot the Minister say something for himself in support of the item?
– I have not had anything to do with the inauguration of this scheme. It does not concern my Department. I have not looked into it as closely as the Prime Minister has done. He has not only spoken about it, but written about it, and sent letters to the various Premiers, as well as addressing a Conference some time ago. I contend that it is a very useful scheme. It will enable good work to be done on behalf of the whole Commonwealth. I trust that the Senate will agree to the vote.
– I am not disposed to agree to spending the sum of £5,000 for the creation of a Commonwealth Immigration Bureau in London. Senator Dobson has said that what is needed in Australia, is population. I quite agree with him. But there are already in Australia hundreds of people who cannot fmd work to do. People are leaving this country for New Zealand and South Africa, owing to the lack of employment or of land upon which to settle. The Prime Minister has written to the various Premiers, asking them what are the possibilities as to settling people on _ the land in their States. Some of the States are not disposed to settle people on the land at all. Indeed, they follow a policy that is rather calculated to cause people to be settled under the land. Tasmania is a State of that kind. She is making no progress, and is always in a bad way. Senator Dobson approaches every question with the words, “This is a very grave question.” -His State has been in a grave way for a considerable time, having always followed a backward policy. The honorable senator mentioned that the Agent-General for Tasmania is doing all that is possible to induce immigrants to come to that State. But what prospect have they when they arrive ?
– We cannot do more than our best.
– People are leaving Tasmania as fast as they are able. It is the most hopelessly backward and Toryridden State in the Commonwealth. It is cruel to induce people to come out from Europe to a State like that, knowing the industrial conditions that obtain there.
– They would be far happier in Tasmania than in the honorable senator’s State.
– What prospect would thev have in the absence of land onwhich to settle population, labour laws, an eight hours system, and dozens of other progressive measures ? Tasmania is no place for an immigrant if he wishes to improve his condition.
– :1 really do not understand the relevancy of these remarks.
– It will be far better for the Commonwealth to spend £5,000 in establishing a bureau in this country, to furnish information to. people regarding labour conditions and land settlement, than to spend such a sum in establishing an office in London. I am not opposed to an . immigration policy, but it is cruel to lure people from England to the Commonwealth when there are thousands of men and women here who want work and land, and are unable to get either. When I was in Sydney recently I read a short article in one of the morning newspapers, to the effect that six young English countrymen, farm hands, had been informed by officers representing New South Wales in London that if they came out to that State they would find no difficulty whatever in obtaining employment. They were led to believe that they would very soon obtain suitable employment at high wages, and under conditions far preferable to those under which they worked in England. But when they landed in Sydney, to their amazement they could find no work for a considerable period, and ultimately the only employment they could get was as farm hands at 10s. a week and their keep. They had left- a part of England where they were earning from 12s. to 14s. a week, in addition to which their employers enabled them to cultivate a piece of land for their own benefit. Under these circumstances I am disposed to follow Senator Dobson in objecting to the item, though not for the reasons which he has given. It is our duty to look after our own people first. We ought not to induce others to come here while we have workmen walking about unemployed. It would be advantageous for us to copy the policy of the New Zealand Government. That Colony has a Labour Department, and a labour journal, together with a. Labour Bureau, which is worked, according to all accounts, on a very much better system than obtains in connexion with any organization of the kind in Australia. The New Zealand labour journal” is full of information regarding industrial conditions and the possibilities of employment in every part of the country. If the Commonwealth Government would follow in the footsteps of the New Zealand Government in establishing a Department such as that, with a labour journal attached to it. and if it would, in addition, take steps to ascertain from the States the possibilities of land settlement and employment, it would do valuable practical work. put the present proposal appears to me to conduce to a complete waste of money. I shall vote against it.
– I feel that I am in the position stated so briefly by Mr. Kidston in his letter which has been quoted by Senator Dobson, when he said that he was not able to express a definite opinion until furnished with details.
– I think that, as honorable senators have to vote on this question, they ought to listen to the debate. - [Quorum formed.”]
– We have had no definite information as to what it is that the Government proposes to advertise, or where they are going to advertise it. Is it intended to advertise our production of wheat and wool? Is it intended to point out to the people of Great Britain that we have large mineral resources ? I am unable at present to see the possibility of the Government doing any more than spend this money without deriving any advantage from it. A great deal is said with reference to the advantage of lantern lectures. I received quite recently from a friend in England a letter in which he pointed out that he himself attended one of these lectures, and found that the people who went to them were town people and children who highly appreciated a gratuitous entertainment, but that it was evident that efforts in that direction were misdirected, because they failed to reach the very class whom we desired to attract.
– There are lots of people in Australia who want land and cannot get it.
– There is a general agreement in the States that something should be done to attract population, and chiefly small farmers with a little capital of their own. Probably if there is room for any additional population in Australia at all it is people of that kind. But, as has been pointed out by Senator Findley, and in a very forceful manner bv Mr. Ashton, the present Minister of Lands in New South’ Wales, Australia is not at present in a posi tion to offer any inducements to small farmers to come here. I take it that it is not competent for the Federal authorities to offer land to such immigrants. That being so. the first dutv of the Federal Government is to try to arrive at some arrangement with the States bv which land can be made available. Failing that, it is of little use to enter upon such a project as this, which merely amounts to a wastefulexpenditure of £5,000 in the creation of more or less permanent employment for a limited number of people. What are we going to advertise with this £5,000? Shall we advertise that land is available for people who desire to immigrate to Australia? Or is it proposed to advertise that every time a block of Government land is offered it is rushed at the ballot? Is it intended to advertise that in every State of Australia to-day the Governments are busily engaged in trying to solve the problem of land settlement, or is it intended to tell the people of Great Britain that we are unable to find land for those who are in this country ? I am whole hearted in my desire for a sensible businesslike scheme to induce people of the right class to come to Australia, but I hold that the Government are commencing at the wrong end. Unless the Minister can give us a more satisfactory guarantee than he has already done that this money will be expended in a proper way, I hope that the item will not be agreed to. I venture to predict that after the amount has been expended neither the Government nor Australia will have anything more to show for it than the vouchers which, I presume, will be submitted by the officers favoured with the duty of drawing on it. Apart from the merits of the proposal, I thin.k that we are entitled before agreeing to this vote to have more details. I recognise that the Minister cannot be exoected to be familiar with the details of every item ; but since this is a new proposal - a proposal for the creation of a new branch of the service - he should be able to give us full particulars of the Government scheme. In neither House of the Legislature has any statement been made of how it is proposed to advertise Australia. Are the Government going to advertise its political history, its natural resources, or what? The people of England would be interested in reading of our natural resources, but they already ha.ve a fairlv extensive knowledge on the subject. What we need to do is to offer some inducements to a desirable class in the old world to come to Australia. But what inducements can we offer until the land problem has been fettled, either by the States individually, or acting in conjunction, so that a reasonable guarantee may be offered to people in the old country, that on coming here they will be able to obtain on easy terms and without vexatious delay land on which to settle? Until we can give that guarantee, we shall not only throw away money by advertising as proposed, but do a great injustice to those who may be induced to come out under existing circumstances.
– If I thought that this money was to be expended in Great Britain to induce people to come to Australia under false pretences, I should certainly vote against the item. It may be said that the people of Great Britain are familiar with Australian conditions, but my acquaintance with people who have recently come from the old land satisfies me that they know very little about Australia, and that what they do know is not creditable to the Commonwealth. They are led to believe that this is a howling wilderness governed by a class of people scarcely fit to inhabit any part of the earth.
– We shall not be able to give any one three meals a day by removing those impressions.
– But their removal will have a great effect upon Australian progress. Senator Dobson quoted the replies of the Premiers to the communication addressed to them by the Prime Minister, and I was much struck by the straight-forward opinion expressed by the Premier of South Australia, who stated that the land available in that State is not equal to the local demand. That is an absolute fact. We carry on a very large business with Great Britain, and a knowledge on the part of her people of the resources of Australia would be a great benefit, not only to business men there, but to the producers of Australia. As there is no land available for settlement, why encourage immigration unless we propose to assist industrial pursuits, and thus open up new avenues of employment? I have been informed from an authentic source that only one immigrant has landed in Tasmania duringthe last few years.
– And he has been verv sorry for it ever since.
– No; as a matter of fact, he was left by mistake in Tasmania. There is no land available for settlement there, or in. other States, and until land is available it is idle to talk about immigration. I am quite willing, however, that this item should be passed to enlighten the people of Great Britain in the truest sense of the word with respect to our vast resources.
– When I first saw this item in the Estimates, I was certainly under the impression that it was intended to encourage immigration, and, having regard to the small ness of the amount, and the fact that there is no land available for settlement, I regarded it as a somewhat farcical proposal. It is absurd to offer inducements to people to come to Australia to settle on the land until land is available for settlement.
– And until we can find land for our own people.
– Quite so. I am informed by Ministers that the chief object which the Government have in view in asking Parliament to vote this item, is the establishment of a bureau of information in Great Britain. We are sadly in. need of such a bureau to furnish reliable information as to the resources of Australia, the geographical situation of the States, and other matters, and as the item is a small one, I feel disposed to vote for it. There is a lamentable lack of knowledge on the part of many people in Great Britain as to what Australia is, and as to the relative geography of the several States. I heard only a few days ago of a lady tourist from the old world, who, when proposing to visit Australia, was told by some friends that she would land at Fremantle, and would probably be able to take a cab thence to Sydney, where she desired to go. That is an illustration of the knowledge possessed by many educated people in Great Britain as to the geographical position of the States. We frequently hear of letters being addressed say, to “ Mr. Jones, Sydney, Victoria, New South Wales,” or “ Mr. So-and-so, Launceston, Tasmania, Victoria.” The establishment in London of a central bureau of information would do much to remove wrong impressions, and would be an improvement upon the several offices now maintained by the AgentsGeneral. As to the encouragement of immigration, I can thoroughly indorse what other honorable senators have said on the subject. In Tasmania and other States the demand on the part of Australian applicants for suitable land is greater than the supply.
– And Tasmania is losing its adult population year after year.
– I do not think that Tasmania is singular in that respect. Other States have been losing a large proportion of the most desirable part of their population.
– And the honorable senator recognises how specially appropriate it is that the accusation should come from a representative of Victoria.
– The honorable senator who made the interjection recognises that the same observation will apply to Victoria.
– Hear, hear.
– And he is prepared to go further than some honorable senators will go towards remedying the trouble. I was pleased to bear Senator Millen’s observations as to the absurdity of seeking to encourage immigrants until the States Parliaments make it easier for them to get on the land. I hope that if Senator Millen is returned to the next Parliament he will be found joining with the party which is prepared to do something more than talk.
– I am quite willing to join a party that will act if it does so honestly, but I am not going to join a party of confiscation.
– I am tired of hearing people talk about the desirability of white immigrants being brought here to protect Australia in time of trouble. The people who talk in that way always refuse to take-
– The honorable senator’s course !
– They always refuse to take the steps which almost certainly would be effective in providing land for immigrants. I certainly hope that Senator Millen will, in the next Parliament, join a party which will stop talking, and do something towards encouraging a good class of farmers to come to Australia, and providing land for them on fairly easy terms. Believing that this sum of £5,000 is not intended to hold out inducements to immigrants, but is to be spent in disseminating true information regarding the country, I shall vote for it.
– If ever there was an object on which the spending of money was amply justified, it is that now under discussion. I have recently been brought face to face with some of the absurd mistakes referred to by Senator O’Keefe; and a friend of mine who arrived by the last mail boat has shown me the necessity for a better knowledge in England of Australian affairs. I am told that it is almost impossible for an ordinary individual to get an Australian newspaper, and that information regarding the country is practically unavailable. My friend tells me that there is endless literature about New Zealand; and the result is that people have an idea that that Colony is a very large place, and that Australia, relatively, is about the size of Tasmania. So much better known is NewZealand, that the necessity is obvious to do something to remove the false impressions regarding Australia and Australian affairs. There are certain political false impressions, which it certainly would be worth our while to counteract ; and if the resources and conditions which obtain here are truthfully placed before the people of the old country, there can be no possibility of injustice to any one. Any man who wishes, to emigrate from the old country to Australia ought to be placed in possession of full information, not only as to the resources of the country, but as to the state of the labour market. If any one, after receiving that information, undertook tj come to Australia., he could not say that he had been misled.
– It is amusing to listen to speaker after speaker giving reasons why they should not vote for the expenditure of this sum, and then telling the Committee that they will support it. For whom is this knowledge intended? The rich man or the investor can easily get all the information that he requires; and the people we desire to reach are small farmers and others, who have little or no capital except their labour. We can tell the people in Great Britain that there are millions of acres of fertile land unoccupied in Australia, but that those acres are in the hands of monopolists, and cannot be obtained unless at a rack rent, or at a price “ which places them altogether beyond the reach of the average immigrant. What is the use of spending money in order to give people information of that kind ? Instead of promoting immigration, such information would have the opposite effect, of deterring people from coming here. Could the representatives, of Australia in Great Britain tell any tradesman or ordinary artisan that he would be sure of employment in any one of the Australian capitals ? As a mat ter of fact, the’re is a large number of unemployed in each of the capitals.
– Why not let the English workman know that?
– That is “ advertising the resources of Australia “ !
– It is advertising the resources of Australia, with a vengeance ! I know that in this proposal the Government desire to follow the example of New Zealand and Canada. But in Canada an immigrant can get about 160 acres for a few dollars within easy distance of a railway line - there is a section for every immigrant. Before New Zealand started advertising, herculean efforts were made to break up the land monopoly’, so as to provide employment for immigrants. The result to-day is that New Zealand is crowded with newcomers - there is land and work.
– Is the honorable senator not going to break up the land monopoly in Australia?
– I have been trying; I am trying; and I shall continue to try to break up the land monopoly in Australia. I think that that is where the Commonwealth Government and Parliament ought to begin. Let us deal a deadly blow at this monopoly to start with ; and then let us advertise the resources of Australia; because then those resources will be available for hundreds and thousands of immigrants. In the meantime, however, the land is locked up, and it is of no earthly use telling, the people of Great Britain that there are thousands of acres of beautiful soil on the Darling Downs with a better climate than can be found at Home, and every prospect of making a good living. That land is unoccupied, and there is a railway and a market, but the larid is in the hands of the monopolist ; and until his iron grasp is taken off. we need not waste our, substance in advertising or attempting to advertise the resources of Australia.
– There is a large area of good land in other parts of Australia.
– But it is not available for immigrants.
– There is a large area of land available in Western Australia.
– I know that for every piece of decent land that is available there are dozens of applicants; indeed, I have known hundreds of men rush a few blocks.
– I believe that is so in Victoria.
– It is; but I am referring now more particularly to New South Wales. I remember reading recently that for about a dozen blocks in the Glen Innes district there were no fewer than 700 applicants - all local men and mostly born and bred in the district. We ought first to break up the land monopoly, and, secondly, try to establish local industries by means of high protective duties. When all that has been done I shall be quite willing to spend, not £5,000, but £25,000, in advertising the resources of Australia. In the meantime, however, I consider that the expenditure would be a pure waste of money.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the item, “Advertising resources of Commonwealth, £5,000 “ - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Attorney-General’s Department. Printing : Compensation to State Officers - Mr. O’Halloran: High Court Travelling Expenses.
Divisions 16 to 19 (Attorney-General’s Department), £11,301.
.- I have a question to ask which applies to nearly every Department in the Estimates. I direct attention to the fact that in sub division 2, of division 16, there are two items for -
Account, record, and other books, including cost of material, printing, and binding.
I should like to know what is covered by the item “ other printing “ ?
– The honorable senator is aware that in connexion with every Department there is a certain amount of printing and stationery which is not included in the item to which he refers. For instance, there are many forms on which notices are sent from one Department to another, or to the States. I could not enumerate them in detail, but every Department has necessarily a certain amount of printing to be done apart from the printing of these forms.
.- The Minister’s explanation is certainly not satisfactory. I have no doubt that the printing covered by these items is required, and I suppose it is all done in the Government Printing Office. But printing is printing, and, knowing something of the business, I wish to understand why there should be two separate items for printing in connexion with the one Department. Similar items will be found under the head of nearly every Department of the Commonwealth service, and I think some better explanation should have been given.
– It would be worth honorable senators’ whileto compare the schedule with a copy of the Estimates, which give an indication of the extent to which the expenditure of the different Departments is growing. This Department is no exception to the rule, nor was the last. The vote we have just dealt with shows a considerable increase on the vote for the External Affairs Department for last year. Dealing with the AttorneyGeneral ‘sDepartment. I find amongst other things that, whereas the appropriation for the year 1905-6 for the High Court was £4,250, which was the amount set down in the Estimates bythe preceding Government, the actual expenditure amounted to £5,681 - a considerable increase, for which no explanation has been offered. I might summarize the matter in this way : The appropriation for 1905-6 in connexion with the Secretary’s office, Crown Solicitor’s office. High Court, and Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, was £8,969, and the proposed appropriation for this year is £11,301. Thus the increase in the expenditure on each Department goes on from year to year until one is forced to wonder if the time will ever come when it will stop, and we shall consider the possibility of decreasing it.
.- On the item, “ Compensation for services of Commonwealth and State officers, £530,” I have a word or two to say in reference to a gentleman named Mr. O’Halloran, who is the Prothonotary employed by the State of Victoria. In common with other States officers, he performs certain work for the Commonwealth. I am informed on reliable authority that he has done very valuable work, and that the Commonwealth Government have recognised his services by voting him the sum of £40 each year over a period of three years, or ^120 in all. I find that the State Government has taken possession of that money, and Mr. O’Halloran, although some of the work for which the money was voted to him was done after he had finished his work for the State, has not been able to obtain the consideration which the Commonwealth desires that he should be given.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that the officer did same of this work after hours?
– Yes. I understand that he did so in connexion with the disputed election case of Chanter v. Blackwood. I believe I am correct in saying that nearly the whole of the work in that case was intrusted to Mr. O’Halloran. It is somewhat strange that the Victorian Government should not permit their officers to receive payment from the Commonwealth for services rendered when the other States Governments allow their officers to receive gratuities voted by the Commonwealth Parliament. I direct the attention of the Minister to the matter, and I hope that if possible he will see that the amount to which this gentleman is justly entitled shall get into the right hands. Another point to which I might direct the attention of Senator Keating is that while the bulk of the work in connexion with the High Court is done in Melbourne more money is voted for the payment of officers employed in the Sydney office, which is a subsidiary office, than is paid to those employed in Melbourne.
– I am not familiar with the case which has been referred to, but we know that the , States undertake a considerable amount of work for the Commonwealth, and in some instances the Comonwealth does work for the States, and arrangements have been made for payment for such work. It is quite possible, if not probable, that in most instances, while a State officer is engaged in doing work for the Commonwealth some other person must be employed to do work which he would otherwise have had to do. In such cases the persons doing such work for the State have to be paid, and the State should be reimbursed the expense. If ‘this work is overtime work some one should certainly pay the officer for it, but it would be a dangerous thing for us, without very great justification, to interfere between States servants and States Executives. All that we are responsible for is that we pay for the work that is done for us. If subsequently, .any act of injustice is done, it seems to me that the remedy must be sought in some other Parliament.
– I direct the attention of the Committee to the item “ Travelling expenses, £2,950” under the High Court division. Last year after considerable expressions of dissent, we agreed to appropriate the sum of £2,000 for this purpose. We considered that a generous allowance, but- 1 find from the Estimates that the actual amount expended was £2,692. As if that were not enough, we are asked now to increase the vote to £2,950. The Government might just as well have asked for a vote of £5>95° at once, because it will soon climb up to that amount. I hope that Senator Keating will be able to give the Senate some information as to why the liberal travelling allowance of £27000 voted last year was increased to £2,690, and whyit is now proposed to increase the vote still further to £2,950. In giving the information, I hope the honorable and learned senator will supply the Committee with such particulars as will enable honorable senators to trace the expenditure.- and form some opinion as to whether it is justified. I assume that the whole of the travelling expenses are not to be credited to the three Judges of the High Court, and from my point of view the amount expended includes a totally unnecessary allowance to the associates, tipstaffs, and the other persons who for some reason or another surround them.
– With regard to the matter which Senator Findley has brought under notice, the work done in connexion with the High Court by Mr. 0 ‘Halloran, I agree with the honorable senator that in that gentleman we found a very able and efficient officer. The question whether the money paid by the Commonwealth for his services should go into the pocket of Mr. O ‘Halloran or into the Treasury of Victoria has been under consideration. The Attorney-General in another place quite recently intimated that he would use his best efforts to persuade the Government of Victoria to give consideration to Mr. O’Halloran’s personal claims in connexion with any money payment which might be made by the Commonwealth for his services. I do not think that Senator Findley was quite correct in saving that Victoria is singular in this respect, for I believe that some of the other States follow a similar practice. At any rate, he is correct to this extent, that there is a divergence of practice with regard to the appropriation of moneys that are paid by the Commonwealth for services rendered by State officers. If my memory serves me correctly, this matter was dealt with, but not finally disposed of, at the Premiers’ Conference in Hobart. The Attorney-General has had under consideration the desirableness of establishing a uniform practice in dealing with the States, so that the Commonwealth may know exactly whether it is paying money into the Treasuries of the States or into the pockets of particular individuals. Senator Findley has also drawn attention to an apparent discrepancy between the treatment of Melbourne and Sydney with regard to expenditure of this kind. We recognise that the great volume of the work comes through the Melbourne office, of which Mr. O’Halloran is the chief ; but we do not seek to differentiate between one registry and another, except in so far as the necessities of the case arising from the - volume of work may compel. So far as Melbourne is concerned, Mr. O’Halloran has a clerk, who appears in sub-division 1 as “ Clerk in Principal Registry, £235,” and who is a very efficient officer. In Sydney we have not a corresponding officer, consequently, there may be an increase in the payment Ave have to make for the use of States officers in New South Wales. In reply to Senator Clemons, I would point out that the Estimates show that the vote for travelling expenses for the High Court for 1905-6 was £2,000. The actual expenditure last year was £2,692, and the amount required for the current year is £2,950. The vote for travelling expenses includes railway fares, steamer tares, and the allowance that is made to the Judges under the Order in Council.
– How many Judges travel when the Court is travelling?
– Three Judges, associates, and tipstaffs. From the 12th October, 1903, to the 31st December, 1904, there was no Order in Council regulating the rate of expenditure. The expenses allowed under this head were the actual expenses, without any maximum limit. From the 1 st January, 1905, to ‘the 18th June, r905, the allowance was three guineas per day for a Justice and associate, the latter’s proportion being 15s. per day. From the 19th June, 1905, to the 4th August, 1905, the allowance was two guineas per day for each Justice travelling singly to take business in original jurisdiction, and five guineas per day for three Justices travelling together to take Full Court business.
– They do not buv their railway fares out of ‘an allowance 01 £3 3s. a day ? .
– I am now speaking of the allowance which is made to the Justices, and which does not include railway, steamer, or other fares. On the 5th August, 1905, a new Order in Council was passed, and is still in operation. It allows -
Such sums as the Justice certifies under his hand to have been actually expended, not exceeding the average of three guineas per travelling day for the financial year, exclusive of fares for conveyance.
It will be seen that the Order in Council fixes a maximum beyond which a Justice cannot certify, and whatever amount has been paid must be actually certified by the Justice under , his hand. When we submitted the Estimates for 1905-6, we naturally based the vote on -our experience of the previous year; but, as a matter of fact, the work of the High Court has considerably expanded, and, of course, the travelling has increased. The work has expanded to such an extent that Parliament has seen fit to strengthen the Bench numerically. In 1904-5 the travelling, days for each Justice averaged 120, and the average cost per day for each Justice was £3 9s. 9’d. In 1905-6 the travelling days for each
Justice averaged 193, and the average cost per day for each Justice was £2 19s. nd., being practically 10s. less per day. The total expenditure under this head last year was £2,692. We must assume that the business of the High Court will continue to increase, and that the travelling expenses will also increase. We know as a fact that the strength of the Bench has been increased.
– It is very hard to explain how they can spend £3 9s. 9d. a day, exclusive of fares.
– The expenditure of £2,692 for last year was for a Bench of three Justices, while the vote of £2,950 this year is required for a Bench which will consist of three Justices for a certain portion of the year and of five Justices for the remainder. I think that in view of those circumstances honorable senators will recognise that the amount asked for is not at all disproportionate to what we may naturally expect will be expended during the current year.
– Does this item include the travelling expenses of the associates and the tipstaffs?
– It covers all the estimated travelling expenses in connexion with the High Court during the current year.
– I hope that some senators have been satisfied with the Minister’s explanation, but I am not. If it reveals anything it reveals a most extraordinary expenditure of £3 9s. 9d. per day on travelling.
– But that was for the year 1904-5.
– I intend to quote some figures with regard to specific occasions. Here is a statement which was made at first hand, and to which I ask honorable senators to give their attention -
The expenses of the Chief Justice for about 16 clays, at the rate of £$ 5s. per day, came to £68
Those expenses were incurred when the Court was stationary, not travelling.
The expenses of Mr. Justice Barton, with the additional days up to the 13th November, came to ^84 3s. id., at the rate of £$ ner day. The expenses of Mr. Justice O’Connor from the 25th October to the 10th November - for about 16 days, at £5 ros. per day - came to £88 12s. The total expenses of the three Judges and three clerks or associates came to /241 os. id., being an average of £1$ per day, or over one hundred guineas a week.
That is the sort of thing which has been going on.
– Will the honorable senator, read the dates, please?
– If Senator Keating will refer, to Hansard, vol. xxix., page 5839, he will get the dates.
– The dates show that the expenses were incurred during Melbourne Cup time, when the Justices had to pay double rates for everything at Menzies’ Hotel.
– Perhaps they specially chose that time to come here. I venture to say that the expenses in connexion with the High Court are a scandal. I shall now take the lower scale which Senator Keating quoted. He read a statement with a certain amount of satisfaction, apparently to show that one Judge and one associate have incurred costs amounting ro £3 9s- 9^- a day for bare living. I do not wish to interfere in any way with the dignity of the High Court, or to diminish the respect that ought to be paid to the Justices. But I do submit that to a man with frugal notions a daily expenditure of £3 9s. 9d. for each Judge and his associate - whose daily allowance is 15s. - is far too much.
– How does that compare with the allowance to senators?
– We must not drag the Judges of the High Court down ‘to the level of senators.
– ‘But I want to take senators up to their level.
– That is another matter. Senator Keating has not yet told me how much of the expenditure of £2,692 last year was spent on the Judges and how much went to the associates and also to the attendants. I think that the Committee is entitled to be furnished with that information in order that it may, if it thinks fit, attach blame to the right person. It may be that the three Judges have not been extravagant, but that the associates have been. It may be that to a large extent the expenditure has been incurred in connexion with the attendants. Can the Minister tell us how many days’ travelling this expenditure represents for the Justices, and how many days for their associates, and how many for their attendants?
– Of the £2,690, the allowances to Judges and their associates amount to £1,730; the expenses in connexion with tipstaffs to £290; and £670 represents railway and steamer fares.
– I understood that the Judges had railway passes.
– But we do not get them for nothing. We pay, I think, £60 a year for each judge. The average travelling days of each Justice for the year were 193. That is to say, there were 579 travelling days for the three Justices.
– Where do the associates come in ?
– The £1,730 includes the expenses of the associates.
– Can the Minister separate them?
– No, I cannot. Senator Clemons. - Does the £1,730 cover the 193 days?
– Yes. Senator Clemons. - That is an average of £9 per day.
– Of course, the Judges stay at first-class hotels, and they each require to have more than a bedroom. They have a tremendous amount of work to do singly and collectively after they rise from the Bench. They also have to carry with them a considerable quantity of law books. It will be easily understood that a judgment delivered early in the morning has probably had a great deal of midnight oil spent upon it, and the Justices, when travelling, have to meet and work in rooms in their hotel to consider their judgments. They require more than ordinary privacy. Honorable senators know, as a matter of practical experience, that hotelkeepers are not expected to be philanthropic persons, and would not be likely to av to a Judge of the High Court : “ We are so pleased to see you that we will give you accommodation on especially low terms.” Let ray honorable friend ascertain what would be the cost of such accommodation as a Judge would require at a first-class Melbourne hotel.
– What does the honorable senator think he would have to pay?
– I do not know. I have not occupied such a position.
– Is it proposed that the two extra Judges shall have associates and tipstaffs?
– The sum of £2,950 is estimated to be the expenditure for travelling expenses for the Judges for the year ending. 30th June, 1907. ls it expected that there will be economies, or is it anticipated that the expenses of the two new Judges will be lower than those of the three present Judges? Is it expected that £2,950 will be sufficient for five Judges, seeing that £2,690 was spent upon three?
– That’ is what we anticipate.
– It is a very optimistic anticipation, and is certainly not based on previous experience.
– The five Judges will not always be travelling. Two may be stationary.
– If Senator Keating and I are both here next year, I shall draw his attention to this item. It seems to me to be ludicrous to expect that £2,950 will suffice.
– When we increase the Bench from three to five, we do not necessarily increase the travelling expenses in the same ratio.
– I am perfectly certain that the amount set down is an under-estimate. However, I suppose it is of no use to divide the Committee upon the item.
Home Affairs : Census and Statistics Branch.
Divisions 20 to 27 (Department of Home Affairs), £243,470.
– I draw attention to division 24, “ Census and Statistics, £8,704.” This is, I think, a new Department.
– I observe that it has no relation to any particular State. Where is the Department to be administered from? Are there to be branches in the States?
– It is to be administered from the Seat of Government.
– With regard to almost every other Department, there are branches in the various States. For instance, -in connexion with the votes for the Inspector-General of Works, there are officers in New South Wales, Victoria, and other States, and I should like to have some information as to how the new Department is to be worked. Is it attached to the Department of Trade and Customs, which, at present, collects most of our statistics? What information can the Minister give?
– It will be remembered that last session we passed an Act to establish a Statistical Department. It is intended to compile statistics for the whole Commonwealth. It will be established for the present in Melbourne, and permanently at the fixed Seat of Government. At present a considerable . amount of statistical work is done by the Customs Department, and the question whether the statistical officers of that Department shall be transferred to the new Department is under consideration. I can indicate what is intended to be done by the new Department. It is intended to have a Central Bureau of Statistics, which will deal with -
Trade and Customs; Post and Telegraphs; Railroads; Highways; Waterways; Inland and Maritime Navigation. Industries and Industrial Establishment - Mining: Labour; Agriculture, Pastoral pursuits, Farming, Forestry ; Pisiculture ; Water conservation. Finance, Banks and Institutions of Credit ; Insurance. Population, Vital Statistics, Public Charity, Tenure of Land, Buildings, Public HygieneEducation - Arts, Science, Museums, Justice, Police, Criminology, Defence.
The Department will also arrange matters in connexion with the census, and its operations will cover the entire range of the work done by the States Statistical Departments.
– Following Mr. Coghlan’s lines?
– That is to say, the figures are to be collected by the States Statisticians, and the Commonwealth Department is to arrange them?
– The Department will go beyond that. There wil! be a chief compiler under the Statistician, and, in addition to collecting statistic information from all parts of the. Commonwealth, there will be comparative statistics collected from other parts of the world. This will all be on a scale beyond anything a single State could attempt.
Sitting suspended from 6.33 to 7.45 p.m.
Message received from the House of Representatives, intimating that it did not insist on its amendment to the Senate’s amendment in the Bill, and that it had agreed to the said amendment.
Message received from the House of Representatives, transmitting a copy of thefollowing message from the GovernorGeneral, recommending amendments in the Bill, to which it had agreed, and in which it requested the concurrence of theSenate: -
In accordance with section 58 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia, the’ Governor-General returns to the House of Representatives a proposed law intituled “ An Act relating to Duties of Customs,” and known as the “ Customs Tariff [British Preference) 1906,” which has been presented to him for the King’s assent, and transmits herewith the following^ amendments, which he recommends to be madein the said proposed law.
Melbourne, nth October, 1906.
Amendments recommended : -
The Schedule - In the column headed “Duties,” omit all words in the first and second” sub-headings after word “ Kingdom.”
Motion (by Senator Playford) agreed to-
That the Standing Orders be suspended toenable the message to be at once considered.
In Committee :
– I move -
That the amendments be agreed to.
I wish to put the position briefly before the Committee. When the Bill came to us from another place we decided to request the House of Representatives to amend the heading to the third column of the schedule, by inserting, after the word “ships,” the words “until the 31st day of August, 1907, inclusive, and thereafter on such goods imported in such ships,” and the Bill was, at the end of last week, returned with a message asking the House of Representatives to make that and some other requests.
– The request was made at the desire of the honorable senator.
– Yes, though afterwards we moved to strike out all subsequent words. As honorable senators must be fully seized of the facts, I do not wish to go into detail unnecessarily. After our message had been sent to the House of Representatives, and before it met this week, the Governor-General received the following telegram, which he forwarded to the Ministry : -
Referring your telegram, 3rd October. Board of Trade point out that while rights of giving preference in respect British goods is beyond question, preference to such goods by reason of British nationality of vessel carrying them would seem to be violation of number of treaties binding some or all of the Australian Colonies, namely, treaties with AustriaHungary, Honduras’, and Peru, which contain clauses providing that vessels of the foreign country and their cargoes shall be treated in every respect as national ships and their cargoes. Treaties with Colombia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Morocco, Peru, Russia, and Salvador, which contain certain clauses specifically providing that no other or higher duties shall be imposed on goods imported in vessels of the foreign country than if imported in British or in some cases national ships, and treaties with certain other countries which were entitled to most favoured nation treatment in the matter referred to.
Thereupon the House of Representatives determined not to make the amendment requested by us, and struck out all the words after “kingdom” in the headings to the third and fourth columns of the schedule. They then asked us to agree to what they held to be a modification of our request, but when their message was received, the point was taken that they, under the Standing Orders, had no power to make such a modification, and we sent back a rider expressing that view. There, were then three courses open to the Government : to drop the Bill, to send up a special amending Bill, or to’ obtain a message from the Governor-General recommending the amendments. The second course was taken early this afternoon, and the amending Bill sent up Avas negatived here on its first reading. Thereupon the Government obtained a message from the Governor-General recommending the amendments, to which we have hitherto refused to agree. Those amendments have been made by the House of Representatives, and they now ask us to concur in them. The position is a clean cut one. Those who vote against the motion will practically defeat the Customs Tariff (British Preference) Bill.
– No. If the preference to British ship-owners and British seamen be abolished, the Bill will not go far enough.
– It is questionable whether, in view of the treaties to which reference is made in the telegram which I have read, the consent of the King would be given to the Bill as it stands. At any rate, I think it is not worth while to take the risk of losing the measure, and, therefore, I ask the Committee to reconsider the position, and to support the Government. The treaties which have been mentioned prevent us from discriminating against certain foreign vessels. That being so, I cannot say what the result will be if the Committee negatives the motion, but the chances are that it will defeat the object of the framers of the Bill.
– I hope that those who think that we should give a preference to British goods will vote for the motion. I supported the amendment to give preference to British ships and to white seamen, and am still of opinion that it would be desirable’ to do so. But as practical men we have to consider what it is possible for us to dp. I think that it will be better for us to take what we can get rather than to lose everything in an effort to achieve the unobtainable. If the Bill becomes operative, it will accomplish two objects. In the first place, it will _protect British goods in our markets.
– And in the second place it will bulldoze the Senate.
– I do not know how the Senate can be bulldozed. Of course, the position would be different if any one had the power to take the Senate by the neck and make it do something that it had no wish to do. We have expressed our approval of the main principle contained in the Bill, and it is now discovered that the whole of the provisions of the measure cannot be carried into effect. If the amendments recommended are agreed to’, protection will be given to British goods in our markets. We must all deplore the fact that it is impracticable for us to retain the provision which would afford protection to British shipping and British seamen, bud it is useless for us to refuse to give any preference unless our views are carried out in their entirety. “Unless we remove from the Bill the provision which would conflict with the treaty obligations of the motherland, the other portions of the measure which we specially desire to see brought into operation can have no effect. We are hampered in so far as British shipping is concerned by the operation of treaties in the making of which we had no hand. Some honorable senators may urge that we should not be. bound by treaties in the making of which we were not consulted, but we cannot take up any such position. We form a portion of the British Empire, and we hold our powers of legislation subject to the will of the Imperial Parliament. “ We are incapable of dealing legislatively with the treaties that have been referred to.
– What danger can arise in connexion with a treaty entered into between Great Britain and Honduras, for instance?
– Irrespective of the danger that may attach to these treaties, the Imperial authorities and ourselves are bound by them. The provision which it is now sought to eliminate from the Bill is declared to be in derogation of some of these treaties. Upon this point, we have the word of the British Board of Trade, which can speak authoritatively upon all matters within its domain. I think that we should be content for the present to pass the Bill in a form which will enable us to afford substantial protection to British goods in our own markets, and to incidentally increase the protection enjoyed by our own manufacturers. I strongly urge honorable senators to withdraw from the position they have previously taken up, and agree to the amendment necessary to render the Bill effective.
. -I am a strong believer in preferential trade with the old country, and I gave every credit to the Government for being actuated by a desire to confer some commercial advantage upon British, manufacturers, although I did not think that their proposals were sufficiently generous. In connexion with this matter, I feel that it is necessary for the Senate to uphold its status and to maintain its rights and privileges. The Bill which was sent forward for our acceptance was not in the form in which it was originally introduced bv the Government. It was amended in an important particular, contrary to the wishes of Ministers. Steps might have been taken to secure the recommittal of the measure in another place, in order to excise the objectionable provision, but the Government, although they believed that the advantage conferred bv the measure would be largely reduced, made no effort in that direction.’ Thev preferred to send the Bill to this Chamber, in the hope that it would be emasculated in a certain manner, and when thev found that their object could nor be attained in that War. thev made an unconstitutional effort to bring the Senate into accord with the views entertained by members in another place. They even went to the length of endeavouring to pass a Bill to amend a measure that had not yet become law. If we, by our action tonight, prevent the Bill from becoming effective, practical legislation in the direction of extending preferential treatment to British goods will be delayed only for a few months. The next Parliament will be afforded an opportunity to deal with the matter upon a broader basis, in connexion with the general Tariff revision, which will soon have to be undertaken. Therefore, although I am strongly in favour of giving preference to the old country, I do not think that much harm can be done if the Senate expresses its resentment at the action of the Government in dragging the GovernorGeneral into the arena of party politics. I shall vote in the direction of preventing the Bill from becoming law.
– I think that we ought to discuss this matter fully before we take a step which we may regret. We know perfectly well that the Bill which it is now sought to amend embodied the principle of preference to Great Britain, and also contained a provision relating to the employment of white seamen upon British shins conveying preference goods to the Commonwealth. I voted for the latter provision-. Now it has been discovered that, owing to the obligations imposed by the treaties entered into by Great Britain without in any way consulting us, the conditions relating to the employment of white seamen cannot be carried into effect. In order to remove the condition in the measure which conflicts with the treaty obligations of the motherland, which also extend to us, the Government have adopted the course open to them under the Constitution, in order to afford’ the Senate another opportunity to deal with the question. We know that there are three parties in this Chamber, one which is opposed to anything in the way of preferential trade with Great Britain, another which is in favour of preferential trade, and a third par-tv which, besides favouring preferential trade, is also anxious to secure additional protection for Australian manufacturers. I would urge those who believe in preferential trade and in giving added protection to Australian industries, to surrender the condition as to British ships, in order that the remaining provisions may become operative. We may enlarge the scope of the measure at some future time. I do not think that there is any force in the observation that the Governor-General has been dragged into the mire of party politics. Ministers have power under the Constitution to adopt the course that they have followed in this case, and His Excellency has taken no more personal interest in this matter than in any other in regard to which he may forward a message to Parliament. There is nothing in the suggestion that an attempt is being made to bulldoze the Senate. What is being done now is this : it has been pointed out to us that we cannot get all our own way, but the Government is giving us an opportunity to obtain part of that which we desire. Are we going to refuse the whole simply because we cannot secure everything that we desire? That would be a foolish policy.
– That is what the honorable senator did in connexion with the kanaka business.
– If the honorable senator is referring to the Immigration Restriction Bill, I would point out that we compromised with our consciences even on that measure. Every member of the party was in favour of the direct exclusion of all coloured races, and yet we agreed to the language test, as the only possible compromise. We are asked now to take a similar action in this connexion. Britain has entered into engagements which she cannot abrogate, even if she would, without notice. Her commerce being world-wide, her engagements must be kept. That being the case, apparently we cannot get all that we want. I wish that we could. I voted for the provision that is now under discussion.
– And voted against it this morning. The honorable senator has voted both ways.
– I beg to give the honorable senator’s assertion a flat denial. I always vote consistently . I votedf or a White Ocean, but if I cannot get all that I want I am not one of the whole-hog type. If I cannot get all I want, I take what I can and reach out my hand for more. Apparently some honorable senators, if they cannot get the whole, will have nothing. I have outlived that period of my existence. I have lived long enough to know that if I cannot secure everything I want I shall be wise if I take that which is placed within my reach.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
Resolution reported. Report adopted.
In Committee (Consideration resumed vide page 6474) :
.- I wish to know whether the item “ Messenger, £77,” in subdivision 1 of Division 24, relates to a junior or a senior messenger ?
– A junior messenger.
Department of Trade and Customs : Advertising Australia.
Divisions 35 to 43 (Department of Trade and Customs), £272,315.
.- I should like to ask the Minister of Defence for an explanation of the item, “ Expenses incurred by British Consul, Chicago, advertising Australia, £150.”
– It is proposed to take advantage of the office of the British Consul, Chicago, to have full information made available to answer questions in regard to this country, and to advertise it by displayed matter, by the distribution of samples, and, if possible, by showing samples of the progress and resources of the country.
Defence Department : Training Ship.
Divisions 44 to 179 (Department of Defence), £639,001.
.- I hope the Minister of Defence will remember his promise to remind the Prime Minister about obtaining one or more of the obsolete British war vessels as training ships for Australia. It is important that one or more of the States should have vessels, such as the Sobraon, in order to train our boys and youths, and excite their interest in our naval defence. With such ships we could train our youths to be sailors, and the vessels would afford a satisfactory method of dealing with boys whom we do not desire to send to gaol, but who would be improved by reformatory methods.
Postmaster - General’s Department : Gavegan v. Commonwealth : Hart v. Commonwealth.
Divisions 180 to 186 (PostmasterGeneral’s Department), £2,646,201.
– If honorable senators turn to the second report of the Commonwealth Public Service Commissioner, which has been placed in our hands to-day, they will find that he deals very exhaustively with two Queensland matters which came before the Supreme Court recently. I am sorry that this report was not placed at our disposal at an earlier period, because it contains a great deal of controversial matter, and enters exhaustively into details relating to the management and conduct of the service. At any rate, he deals at much length with the case of Gavegan v. Commonwealth, and also the case of Hart v. Commonwealth. I think that honorable senators who reoently assisted the Government in refusing me access to the documents in connexion with those cases mav very well regret the action that they then took. I was only interested in discovering, if possible, where lay the fault for the gross mismanagement which resulted, not only in the Commonwealth losing several thousands of pounds, but in two public servants being hunted out of the service, and practically ruined. Had these papers been placed before the Senate we should have had some opportunity to discover whether all the fault and blame lay on the side of the officials. On page 33 of his report the Public Service Commissioner says -
Hart entered the Queensland Post and Telegraph service in July,1888, as an assistant at Roma. He appears to have conducted himself satisfactorily up to 1897 -
I am directing the attention of honorable senators to a few of the Commissioner’s remarks, which I claim bear their own refutation on the face of them. In the next sentence theCommissioner proves himself to have made a gross misstatement, because he says -
From thetime of his entrance to the service, Hart appears to have suffered badly from cacoethes scribendi.
The Commissioner might have put that in English, so that honorable senators, who are not blessed with his superior education, might know exactly what he means. The Commissioner goes on to say - the departmental files, disclosing that, instead of devoting himself to his own duties, he was continually writing to the head of his Department, in a tone quite unbecoming a junior official, proffering advice as to how that officer should administer his Department.
How is it possible for a man to do his work satisfactorily ifhe does not attend to his own duty? It appears to me that the Commissioner, in his desire to make out a strong case against Hart, lays himself open to the most severe criticism. The Commissioner’s statement is either correct or incorrect; and, if correct, then, according to the Commissioner, it was all right for Hart to devote himself to other than his own work during business hours. The Commissioner goes on to say -
In addition to this, he was repeatedly making application for increases of salary.
This is the first time I have ever heard that it is a deadly sin for a member of the Public Service to apply for an increase of salary ; and I hope that the Committee will not countenance any idea of the kind. If a member of the Public Service thinks he deserves more salary than he is receiving, he has every right to apply for an increase ; but, apparently, the Public Service Commissioner regards such a step as a sin, for which the erring employe is deserving of the most severe punishment.
– There was a proper way of doing it - through the chief of his Department.
– Why should not a man make an application for an increase of salary? I am astonished to hear such sentiments expressed in a Chamber sup- posed to be constituted of democrats. A man who has. an article to sell is entitled to ask the best price he can get for it, and why should a man who has only, his labour to sell be stigmatized as a criminal, if, like Oliver Twist, he asks for “ more”?
– He has a right to ask every day.
– He has a right to ask periodically.
– There is nothing in the regulations to prevent him.
– That is so, but the Public Service Commissioner frowns upon him with his, most severe frown.
– There is more in the paragraph than the honorable senator has read.
– I have read’ sufficient for my purpose, which is to show that the Public Service Commissioner’s statement is, to describe it by no more expressive term’, a highly-coloured ex parte statement. If I were permitted access to the papers, the probability is that I might easily have refuted it, but, as I have already pointed out, it carries its refutation on the face of it. The trouble towards the end arose from a very trifling cause. It appears that, like a great many people filling much higher positions in life, Hart was troubled with a stomach that did not do its work properly, and, on the advice of his doctor, he found it necessary for his health that he should have a hot lunch every day. It appears that this, offended the susceptibilities of the high and mighty heads: of the Department in which he worked. The other employes had bowed the knee to Baal, and had accommodated themselves to the order that no man was to leave the building for lunch without permission. Hart did not, or would not
– We are told that he came late to work.
– Then why was he not dismissed? That is what I have tried to discover. It is said that, like the Irishman, he came late in the morning and made up for it by going away early in the evening, and that during trie day he spent his time on work other than his own particular duties. If those statements were true, why was he not dismissed?
-He ought to have been dismissed, but we know that the Department is always too lenient.
– That is a very easy way out of it, but there is, another assumption which I prefer to adopt. If this man offended in the way alleged, his superior officer was grossly at fault for not having reported him, and ought to be dismissed. It was, only when Hart began to tread upon the corns: of these people in a real fashion that they started a persecution which ultimately resulted in his being turned out of the service and practically ruined. The Public Service Act allows, every assistant officer three-quarters of an hour in which to take his lunch, and says nothing which would prevent his going out to get it. I undertake to say that the heads of Departments do not take a cold lunch inside the building, with tea heated up a second time. I am sure the Public Service Commissioner treats his stomach much more gallantly than apparently he is prepared to ask his subordinates to do. If he does not, he is a bigger fool than I take him to be. In his, report, he has quoted the following remarks of Mr. Justice Chubb . made to Hart during the hearing of the case : -
AH I can say is that if you were in my service, and it was not agreed that you should go out to lunch, and you then went out without mv permission, you would not stay in my employ for ten minutes - no, not for five minutes.
But it was agreed - and that is just where Mr. Justice Chubb missed the point, and the Public Service Commissioner also misses it - that Mr. Hart should have time to go out for his lunch. I claim that no head of a Department, and not even the Public Service Commissioner himself, has any right to deny to a public servant an opportunity to obtain his food in proper time and in a proper fashion. It is said that Hart fixed his own luncheon and breakfast hours, irrespective of departmental or public convenience. But if that is true, why was he retained in the service? My own impression is that this statement is a direct falsehood, got up for the purpose of shielding the officers of the Department.
– Then the chief witnesses in the case should be prosecuted for perjury.
– We have the Public Service Commissioner’s statement that Hart performed his duties satisfactorily, and apparently the Commissioner’s idea of satisfactory performance of duty is for an officer to come in late and go out early, do nothing in the meantime, and to fix his own meal hours. Does not the whole thing bear on the face of it the stamp of deliberate falsehood? If the statements made are true, the men in charge of Hart should have been dismissed years ago.. It is probable that, like many others, Hart had his peculiarities and-he has had to suffer for them. But I do contend that there is something rotten in the Postal Department when such things can happen. Honorable senators may recollect that last year I referred to what was a scandalous affair - a case in which a man had actually been paid over £80 in salary during the time he ought to have been in gaol. The Public Service Commissioner in Hart’s case studiously conceals the fact that the Department paid him over £200 while he was kicking his heels about in Brisbane, doing nothing, and did not even enter the office. He was paid this money under the nose of the Public Service Commissioner, and with ‘his consent. That again proves abundantly that there is something very far wrong in the Postal Department. I know that Hart’s case is now beyond remedy, and I wish to say a few words with regard to the Gavegan case. The Public Service Commissioner goes verv minutely info this case also. He states everything carefully which might be made to tell against Gavegan, but studiously conceals a vital point in connexion with the case. Sneaking of Gavegan, he writes -
The plaintiff was transferred to the position of line repairer in’ charge at Bauhinia Downs in November, I 800. a position which apparently was not to his complete liking.
When I tell honorable senators that Gavegan was a married man, with a f amily of nine or ten young children, and the only accommodation provided for himself and family at Bauhinia Downs was the operating room and one other room, they will not wonder that this particular station was not altogether to Gavegan’s liking. I know some members of the Committee who, if they were subjected to an indignity of this character, would make the very elementsring with their complaints. I claim that the transfer of Gavegan to this position at Bauhinia Downs was merely an incident in a continued persecution which had been carried out against him by his superior officers for years, and which culminated in that particular act of maladministration. I need not say any more about Gavegan. He is out of the service. Probably he did not behave in every particular as he ought to have done. How many members of any service have done so? The question is whether he deserved to be sent away with his family to a place where there was no accommodation for them, where there was no school, and far removed from civilization. If he really deserved punishment of that kind, it would have been more humane to have turned him out of the service at once. My information is that Mr. Gavegan was a good officer, and his only fault was that he stuck up like a man for his rights, and would not allow himself to be trampled upon by his superiors. He was, in fact, a bit of an agitator, like some of my friends on the other side, who have very little sympathy with Gavegan, or with the man who is talking about him. That is the reason why Gavegan, and Hart also, fell into disfavour with the superior officers of the Department. He was a man, not a thing like a great number of them. He would not crawl to his superiors ; he stood upright, as any other man would, and that is the reason why he was submitted to all this persecution, and ultimately hunted out of the service. There is only one other thing I wish to say in regard to Hart. It is a most peculiar thing that, in his report, the Public Service Commissioner says that inducements ought to he held out to enterprising and energetic men who recommend improved methods of carrying on the business of the Post Office. I think that every encouragement should be given to members of the Post Office staff to think out and suggest methods by which the business of the Department may be more effectively carried on. On several occasions Hart had recommended improvements which were adopted by the Department; but in doing so it is evident that he earned the resentment of his superior officer. He was too clever, and had to be got rid of, hence the systematic prosecution was initiated, which resulted in his being turned at last out of the service and completely ruined. If the session were not nearing its end, I would again ask the Government to allow me access to the papers in connexion with these cases. I do not know whether it would be in order next session, if I live, to make a motion in that direction, but if it is, I trust that honorable senators, instead of supporting this star-chamber business in connexion with the Department, will assist me in letting in the light of day. Mv concluding remark is that, whatever the faults of Gavegan and Hart may have been - arid I do not claim that they were without faults - the faults of the men in charge, who are still in receipt of their high salaries, and who are still, it may be presumed, mismanaging their branches of the Department, as ‘ they were then, have not been discovered and laid bare, as they ought to be.
.- I desire to emphasize what I said yesterday on the very much discussed question of overtime work bv telegraphists in the larger cities. I have looked up a regulation, dated May, 1:902, which says in effect that whenever telegraphists are asked by the postmaster to come back and work on Sunday, they shall be paid at the rate of time and a half for Sunday work. It is a strange thing that, on the 31st January, 1906, another regulation was issued, the effect of which was to annul the other. It em-‘ powers the Department to pay at the rate of time and a half -
Where an officer already having worked six days during the week is necessarily required, in addition thereto, to attend on a Sunday for a whole day.
When the Parliament enacted that all Sunday -work should be paid for at the rate of time and a half, its evident intention was that if any telegraphist were required to come back to work op a Sunday, when in the previous week he had worked for three, or five, or six days, he should be paid time and a half for Sunday work. After that Act was passed, a regulation was issued to carry out the provision, and for some time I suppose it was observed. The intention of the Parliament was to discourage Sunday work as far as possible. For some time, apparently, the heads of the Departments in the various States - and I understand that this applies to only the head offices-
– No; it applies rightthrough the service, I understand.
– Probably the information of the Honorary Minister is later than mine. At any rate, the effect of the later regulation is that Sunday work is, if anything, encouraged, not discouraged. We ail want to discourage Sunday work as far as possible. I hold that if any officer is required by the Department to work on a Sunday he should be paid at the Sunday rate. Private employes set an example to the Department in that regard. In a large number of occupations if a private employer wants his hands to work on Sun day he pays them at the rate of time and a half or time and a quarter. In the mining industry, for instance, when a man is asked to do Sunday work, no matter how necessary it may be, the general rule is to pay him at the rate of time and a half. Surely the Post and Telegraph Department should not treat its servants with less consideration than private employers treat their hands ! In my opinion telegraphists labour under a grievance when they are not paid overtime for Sunday work. In every walk of life a man likes to have his Sunday to himself. A large number of the telegraphists are married, and it is only natura] that they should wish to spend’ Sunday at home. Some men may have religious scruples, and would rather not work unless it were absolutely necessary. Of course where Sunday, work is necessary, every officer should be sufficiently loyal to go back on that day and serve his Department. But the point is that Parliament has enacted a provision that if Sunday work is required of an officer it shall be paid for at the rate of time and a half. The regulation is, I submit, a dishonest means of evading the spirit of the Act, and the wish of Parliament, and the dishonesty must be on the part of the Commissioner. He should be asked at once to give reasons for his action, and unless he can furnish very good reasons indeed the improper practice should be discontinued. I am not always in sympathy with very many complaints which we hear from public officers, because I know that very many of them are better off than they would be if employed outside. But this is a case where the manifest intention of the Parliament is being evaded, and, I hold, dishonorably evaded, by the action of the Commissioner. The very wording of the second regulation shows that it is being intentionally done, because the words “ having already worked six days in the week” were not contained in the first regulation. I hope that Senator Keating, will ask the Postmaster-General to remedy the grievance of the telegraphists. The Public Service Act says that by regulation a climatic allowance may be’ made to public officers who are employed in remote parts of the Commonwealth or in places where the severity of the climate or other extraordinary cause makes living dearer than elsewhere. I believe that a climatic allowance is generally paid in the warmer parts of Australia. When it was first mooted
I brought under the notice of the Parliament the fact that there was one place in Tasmania where there was fust as much reason for giving a climatic allowance as in any other part of the Commonwealth.
– I may mention that since the honorable senator asked his question the other day the Department had that locality under consideration.
– I am very glad to hear that statement. I asked the other day whether a climatic allowance was made to public officers on the West Coast of Tasmania, where it rains on 260 days in the year - practically on two days out of every three - and living is much more expensive than in other parts. In every avocation there private employers have to pay more there than is paid elsewhere. Let me give one instance. In other parts of Tasmania the average wage of an underground miner is 7s. 6d. per shift, or £2 5s. per week, while on the West Coast the lowest wage paid is 8s. 4d. per shift, or £2 10s. per week. All grades of employment connected with mining are remunerated on an increased scale there in comparison with other parts of the country.
– Eight shillingsand fourpence is the rate paid in other parts of the country where the men work in water.
– An ordinary miner on the West Coast, working in a dry mine, gets the same rate of wage as a miner employed in a wet-working mine in other parts of the country. Living on the West Coast is also dearer by 5s. a week than in other parts of the State. This is a very fair instance for theMinister to bear in mind when the case is being reviewed. It was always understood that the climatic allowance would be extended to the West Coast of Tasmania, which practically comprises only mining fields. I trust that the Minister will see that justice is done to the officers in that part of the country.
Schedule agreed to.
Postponed clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without request ; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ message) -
Senate’s Amendment. - After clause I insert She following new clause : “1a. TheConstitution is altered by the addition of the following section : The powers of the Parliament relating to the public debts of the States shall extend to debts incurred since the establishment of the Commonwealth.”
House of Representatives’ Message. - Omit “since” and insert “at any time after.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
As the clause was sent down by the Senate, it did not repeal the provision of the Constitution, which says that if the Commonwealth takes over a portion of the debt of any one State, it must take over an equivalent amount of the debts of the other States in proportion to population. The effect of the second amendment made by the House of Representatives is to enable the Commonwealth to take over any part of the debt of a State without taking over a corresponding part of the debts of the other States. I believe that that amendment will effect a great improvement. But at present we are dealing only with the first amendment which is to omit “ since “ and insert “at any time after.”
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Message. - After “ Commonwealth “ add “ and to any part of the public debts of the States.”
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 11
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the report be adopted.
– The adoption of this report, it seemsto me, will have to be carried by an absolute majority. The Constitution says that aBill of this nature must be passed by. both Houses by absolute majorities; and the passing seems to be the final act before it leaves this Chamber. Although there has been only a very small amendment made, so far as the wording is concerned, since the Bill was passed in this Chamber by an absolute majority of the Senate, I cannot say whether or not that amendment may have an important effect. The view I have now suggested was that taken in another place. There must be a division.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 15
Message reported from the House of Representatives, stating that it did not insist on the amendments in the Bill recommended by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral as agreed to by the House, but disagreed to by the Senate.
– I move -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn untila quarter to 3 o’clock to-morrow.
I have to announce that the prorogation will take place at half-past 3 o’clock. I desire to give notice that I shall move that the report of the Committee on the State Debts Bill be adopted to-morrow, in order that the Bill may. be returned to another place.
– We must deal with one matter at a time.
– I shouldlike to know what is the nature of the business we are expected to discharge between a quarter to ‘3 o’clock and the prorogation to-morrow afternoon? The Minister speaks of some report ; but I should like to know the whole of the business we are to transact.
– My desire is that we may consider once more the question of adopting the report on the State Debts Bill. I understand that the question on which the vote was taken to-night was, “ That the report be now adopted.”
– The question on which the vote was taken was, “ That the report be adopted “ - not “now “ adopted.
– Under the circumstances, I find that I cannot give notice ; and I ask leave to amend the motion before the Senate, by making the hour of meeting a quarter-past 3 o’clock.
Question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at9.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 October 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19061011_senate_2_35/>.