12 October 1906

2nd Parliament · 3rd Session

The President took the chair at 3.15 p.m., and read prayers.

page 6484


Senator MILLEN:

– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he is in a position to make a statement to the Senate regarding the collection of duties under the Customs Tariff (British Preference) Bill?

SenatorPLAYFORD. - Instructions have been given to discontinue the collection of theduties, and to refund those already paid.

page 6484



Minister for Defence · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · Protectionist

– I shall lay the report upon the table presently.

page 6484


Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following papers : -

Report on Military Forces by Major-General Finn.

Ordered to be printed.

Commerce Act Regulations (Statutory Rules 84 and 85).

Banking returns for the various States and New Zealand for the quarter ending 30th June.

page 6484


Assent to the following Bills reported : -

Lands Acquisition Bill.

Customs Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Bill.

Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Bill.

Excise Tariff (Sugar) Amendment Bill.

Customs Tariff (South African Preference) Bill.

Electoral (Advertisements) Bill.

Patents Bill.

Excise Tariff (Spirits) Bill.

Spirits Bill.

Pacific Island Labourers Bill.

page 6484


The PRESIDENT announced the receipt of a message from His Excellency the Governor-General, that he had reserved the Bill for the signification of His Majesty’s pleasure thereon.

page 6484



Senator DOBSON:

– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether, in accordance with his promise, he has had time during the last few busy weeks, to alter the regulations relating to the sale of spirits in the canteens ?


– I have not had sufficient leisure for that purpose; but the matter will be attended to shortly.

page 6484



Senator DOBSON:

– With regard to the vote of , £5,000 for advertising in London the resources of the Commonwealth, I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether it is proposed to establish a central, office in that city, or to spend the money throughthe medium ofthe Agents-General of the States?


– I would ask my honorable friend to give notice of the question.

page 6484



Senator CROFT:

– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether the Department of Defence has reached finality in the case of Colonel Price ?

SenatorPLAYFORD. -I do not know whether we have reached finality, but we propose to pay Colonel Price the sum which was awarded to him by the Board of Officers which inquired into the . cause of the accident with which he met. I believe that the amount is either £400 or , £500.

Senator DAWSON:

– Without consulting Parliament ?

Senator de Largie:

– And in defiance of Parliament, too


– Order !

Senator DAWSON:

– Arising . out of the answer, I wish to ask the Minister of Defence whether this money is to be paid to Colonel Price, without consulting Parliament,’ or in defiance of it, because, if so, I absolutely object.


– Order ! The honorable senator must not argue the question.

Senator DAWSON:

– I do not wish to argue the question, sir, but to ascertain from the Minister if he intends to pay the money without first getting the consent of Parliament.


– This case comes under the ordinary rule which allows a payment to be made-

Senator DAWSON:

– The Minister cannot pay a solitary shilling without the authority of Parliament.


– It will be paid out of the military vote for officers who have been injured in the service, and on whose cases a Board has sat and reported that they are entitled to certain compensation.

Senator DAWSON:

– I do not wish to be ungenerous or to create any disturbance, but I want to ask the Minister whether he intends to take this step on “ his own “ without consulting Parliament?


– An answer has already been given by the Minister to that question.

Senator DAWSON:

– No, sir, he has nol answered the question.


– I propose to consult my colleagues on the matter.

Senator CROFT:

– Arising out of the reply, I desire to ask the Minister of Defence whether I am to understand him to say that Colonel Price is to receive compensation for injuries received as the result of an accident, and for that only.


– Yes, as reported on by a Board of Officers, under the Military Regulations.

page 6485


Motion (by Senator Playford) agreed to-

That order of the day No. 1 (Bounties Bill) be read and discharged.

page 6485


Western Australia

– In view of the fact that the report of the Printing Committee has been in the possession of honorable senators for a considerable time, T do not propose to make any reference to its subject-matter, but to content myself with moving -

That the report be adopted.

Senator DOBSON:

.- I think that there is more room for economy in the matter of printing than ih any other direction, and I hope that next session the Printing Committee will take into account the necessity of making a reduction in the expenditure.

Wes tern Australia

– As the Chairman of the previous Printing Committee, 1 desire to state, in answer to Senator Dobson, that the alleged waste of money is not the fault of the Printing Committee, but the fault of the Senate. Whenever a Minister lays a paper on the table, almost invariably an honorable senator moves that it be printed, without any conception of its size, or what the cost of printing would be, and when the printing bill comes up at the end of the session the Printing Committee is blamed. If the Senate would adopt the same procedure as is followed in the House of Representatives, of referring all papers, unless of extreme urgency, to the Printing Committee for a recommendation as to whether they should be printed or not, and, before coming to a decision, ascertaining what the cost of printing1 each paper would be, a great saving would be effected, and, at the same time, all necessary printing would be done.


– This matter is not under my control in the slightest degree. When the Senate orders a paper to be printed, the President and the Printing Committee have nothing further to do with the matter.

Senator Dobson:

– It ought to be left to the Printing Committee to make a recommendation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 6485


His EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNORGENERAL entered the chamber, and, being seated, a message was forwarded to the House of Representatives, intimating that His Excellency awaited the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber, who, being come, with their Speaker,

Mr. SPEAKER presented the Appropriation Bill.

HIS EXCELLENCY was pleased to notify to the Clerk of tEe Parliaments his assent to the Bill.

page 6486


HIS EXCELLENCY was then pleased to deliver the following speech: -

Gentlemen, -

  1. I am pleased to be able to release you from your earnest labours, rendered more arduous by the obligation to close the session as soon as possible; in order to expedite the elections.
  2. Fortunately, I am able to congratulate the people of the whole of Australia upon the plentiful and seasonable rains with which we have been favoured. The prosperity of the continent in production, exchange, finance, and accumulation surpasses anything enjoyed since the establishment of Federation.
  3. The Second Parliament of the Commonwealth, though commencing under serious disabilities, owing to the existence of three independent parties, has, during the last two sessions, proved fruitful in practical measures of great value to the community. With the acceptance during the next Parliament of the remaining administrative responsibilities conferred upon you by the Constitution, the Commonwealth will enter into the full enjoyment of its powers.
  4. A measure has been passed for the preservation of Australian Industries ; the repression of destructive monopolies; and the prevention of dumping of imported goods on these shores. It prohibits contracts or combinations in restraint of trade or commerce to the detriment of the public, and aims at maintaining a fair, active, and healthy competition in the industrial and commercial world.
  5. Legislative effect has been given, with some modifications, to certain valuable Reports of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the working of the Customs Tariff and its effect upon Australian Industries. My Advisers regret that time did not permit of further reports being made and dealt with,thoughthe necessities of other industries and of the desirability of meeting them without delay were fully recognised.
  6. As a preliminary step to the establishment of Preferential Trade relations with the mother country, a Tariff advantage in the markets of the Commonwealth was proposed to certain of her manufactures. My Advisers earnestly trust that their effortsmay lead to closer commercial relations, and foster the sentiment of unity between the United Kingdom and the selfgoverning dominions.
  7. A mutual concession of preferences, has been arranged with South Africa, from which both countries will reap benefits. This will afford another object-lesson of the potentialities of Intra-Imperial Preferential Trade.
  8. The negotiations of My Adviserswith the late Prime Minister of New Zealand for Preferential Trade relations between that Colony and the Commonwealth resulted in resolutions being approved by them which were welcomed in this Parliament; but as they were not acceptable to New Zealand, the project has been postponed.
  9. Provision has been made for the appointment of two additional Judges to the High Court, “which has now acquired the numerical strength appropriate to its statusas one of the tribunals of highest judicial authority in the Empire. The Court, asconstituted, will be enabled to efficiently exercise its appellate and original jurisdiction, and, at the same time, to permit one of its members to preside in the Arbitration Court designed for the purpose of securing industrial peace.
  10. A contract has been entered into for a new line of specially-constructed steamers, to carry the Australian mails to and from Great Britain and Europe. The vessels will be registered in Australia, fly the Australian flag, give a faster mail service, and! afford much larger accommodation for perishable products.
  11. A measure providing for the taking of a Referendum for proposed alterations of the Constitution has become law. The first reference under it to the electors of Australia will be made immediately upon a proposal to change the date upon which, Senators commence their term of office. If this be assented to, the effect will be toallow the triennial elections to be held in the autumn, instead of in the summer, asheretofore.
  12. The financial relations of the Commonwealth and the States between themselves and to the holders of their debenturesare among the most important matters now demanding consideration in the interests of Australia. Your Advisers deplore the fact that a determination of these relations has been deferred. A proposed alteration of the Constitution extending the powers of the Parliament to permit the taking over of the whole of the debts of the States not having obtained an absolute majority in one House cannot now be submitted to the electors.
  13. My Ministers regard it as unfortunate that the authority to levy special duties for specific purposes, although approved by a majority of votes in both Houses, failed to secure in the Senate the absolute majority required by the Constitution, in order that the proposal might be submitted to the people. My Advisers were anxious to obtain this power for the purpose of providing without delay for the payment of Federal Old-Age Pensions.
  14. The discussion of the financial situation by the Conference of Ministers of the several States now sitting in Melbourne will, it is believed, contribute to a better understanding of the imperative urgency of early action, so far as that may be possible. Until the Constitution is amended, any advance in this direction must necessarily be of a limited character.
  15. A Lands Acquisition Act has been passed, re-enacting the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act 1902, providing for the simplification of procedure in effecting more speedily the settlement of claims for compensation for property acquired by the Commonwealth. Certain administrative difficulties have been removed, and the machinery clauses amended, in the light of the practical experience gained.
  16. A proposal has been made to South Australia for the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth, involving the ultimate construction of railways from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie and from Pine Creek to the southern boundary of the Territory. Owing to the necessary closing of the session, a Bill for the survey of a route for the western line has not yet been approved by Parliament.
  17. The extremely valuable report of the Imperial Defence Committee enables the Government to review and revise the whole of our system of Defence, so as to .considerably reduce “the previously estimated cost of our fortifications by a re-adjustment of their armaments.
  18. But, in addition to the recommendations of the Imperial Defence Committee, it is proposed to provide for the protection of our harbors and coastal commerce by obtaining torpedo boats and destroyers, some of which, if possible, will be constructed in Australia.
  19. Important alterations in the conditions under which Australians serve in the Imperial Squadron have been suggested by, the Naval Commander-in-Chief, which would provide a highly-trained body of men available for service upon the local Floating Defences or for promotion in theRoyal Navy.
  20. Large additions have been made during the last twelve months, both to the strength of the Cadets and Rifle Clubs, and to the stores of weapons and war materiel which cannot at present be obtained within the Commonwealth.
  21. The cost of the Land and Sea Forces will be carefully investigated to insure the utmost economy consistent with efficiency. It is confidently believed that the net result of the re-organization now proceeding will be highly advantageous to Australia.
  22. The Act relating to Industrial Designs completes the legislation on the related subjects of Patents, Trade Marks, and Designs, and qualifies the Commonwealth to take advantage of the Interna’ tiona] Convention for the protection of industrial property. 23.. A measure has been passed providing for the establishment of a Meteorological Department, and authorizing agreements with the States for work of this character hitherto undertaken by them, the object being to assist the agricultural, pastoral, commercial, and shipping interests, by enabling Australian forecasts to be issued, meteorological records to be taken; and storm warnings to be published.
  23. Steps are being taken by the Commonwealth, by arrangement with the Government of Queensland, for the repatriation of the Pacific Island Labourers in keeping with the terms of their original engagements under which they were brought to Australia. The assistance of the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific in carrying out this duty has been generously tendered.
  24. Provision has now been made to relieve those using the telegraphic service between Tasmania and the mainland of the cable charge hitherto levied, thus placing the island State in this respect on, precisely the same footing as her sister States.
  25. My. Advisers regret not to be able to inform you that the Convention providing for the future control of the New Hebrides has been agreed upon, or that a joint protectorate over . the group by the Imperial

Government and the Republic of France has been proclaimed.

  1. The Territory of Papua, having come under the control of the Commonwealth, is being governed under the Constitution passed in 1905. An inquiry into the best method for its administration is proceeding, and action to promote settlement and cultivation is about to be taken.
  2. At the request of the Government of New South Wales several fresh sites approved by its Parliament have been inspected bv Federal representatives. Owing to the delay which these visits occasioned, the Bill denning the precise area of the selected Seat of Government could not be further proceeded with this session.
  3. The Bill providing for the payment of Bounties to encourage the establishment of new. and valuable primary industries which can readily be developed, though approved in one Chamber, has not been passed into law. It would, in the opinion of My Advisers, have greatly conduced to the permanent and profitable settlement of portions of Australia not yet* utilized.
  4. Mv Advisers regret that it was not possible to give effect to their proposals for the imposition of uniform postal rates throughout the Commonwealth by the introduction of the Penny Post in Australia and to other parts of the British Empire.
  5. I thank you in the name of His Majesty for liberal Supplies granted for the services of the Commonwealth.
  6. An Imperial Conference, to be attended bv the Prime Ministers of the selfgoverning Dominions under the Crown, has been summoned for April, 1907.. Your Ministers have forwarded a list of important subjects for discussion.
  7. A Navigation Conference, upon which Australia will be represented, will be held in London to consider the. best means of bringing the Navigation Caws of the Empire into unity.
  8. A sum having been voted towards the encouragement of suitable immigration, the preliminaries necessary for commencing operations in London for bringing the many exceptional advantages that Australia possesses under the notice of those who are seeking new homes will be completed with as much expedition and upon as large a scale as is warranted by the present inducements to settlers offered by the States.
  9. Resolutions for the purpose of giving effect to the recommendation of the Cornmissioners appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, for the redistribution of electorates throughout the Commonwealth, have been adopted, and the new boundaries and divisions will be observed at the elections shortly to take place.
  10. New regulations for the introduction of the “toll system” in connexion with future subscribers to the Telephone System will shortly be in operation. It will then be possible ‘for subscribers, particularly in country districts, to secure telephonic communication at much lower annual rates than have hitherto been levied.
  11. 1 now declare this Parliament closed until the 31st day of October, 1906.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 October 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.