3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow -
– I desire to correct an error into which I fell during the debate on Senator Henderson’s motion to establish a Commonwealth line of steamers. Whilst I was speaking, Senator Gray interjected about the profit made by the Orient Steam Navigation Company, and I replied to the effect that Mr. Anderson, when examined, declined to show his books, and prove that statement before the Royal Commission on Ocean Shipping. At that time I was under the impression that the fourth paragraph of its report was absolutely correct, and, of course, it was on that paragraph that I based my statement. Since then, Mr. Anderson has written to me pointing out that in writing he had drawn the attention of the Chairman of the Commission to the error in the paragraph, and that the latter had been good enough to admit that it was erroneous. I had no knowledge of that correspondence until Mr. Anderson’s letter reached me. As I do not desire to make a statement, or to use my position in a way which would be unfair to any person in the community, I avail myself of this opportunity to correct what I said on the floor of the Senate.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This is a measure which Parliament is called upon to consider, not merely because it is invested with power to legislate in regard to quarantine, but also because of the manifest duty which devolves upon a central authority, as soon as convenient after it’s establishment, to institute a uniform system of quarantine for the whole of the territory under its control. That power is specifically intrusted to this Parliament under section 51 of the Constitution. There has been in existence in each State, as in other countries, a system of’ quarantine ; but those systems; although perhaps they have been more or less moulded on one original plan, have in them many divergences. That is not the least unpleasant or awkward feature of the situation, because, apart from the internal divergences between the several States systems, there is this difficulty - that any individual or merchandise coming into the Commonwealth under those six different systems is. repeatedly subject to the possibly unnecessary and harassing restrictions which must more or less accompany every system of quarantine, no matter how up-to-date or how modified it may be. It is well known that in the past a vessel coming to’ Australia from the westward may, under the law of Western Australia, have been subjected to quarantine , restrictions, quarantine supervision, and possibly to quarantine regulations, and after having successfully demonstrated her freedom from any disease of an infectious or a quarantinable character, she may have been allowed to proceed on her way. She would then arrive at a port in South Australia, and to a certain extent ignoring what had been done in Western. Australia she would possibly have to undergo de novo the whole of the inspection and surveillance to which previously she had been subjected. The same thing might occur to the vessel a few days afterwards, when she arrived at a port in Victoria, and so on as she proceeded round the coast. What I have just said applies with an equal degree of force to a vessel coming to Australia from the East or’ across the Pacific, touching first at a port in Queensland and afterwards going on to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia. This position has been unnecessarily vexatious. At the same time, not the slightest degree of blame can be attached to each State for having taken the utmost precautions to prevent the introduction of quarantinable diseases, which might spread infection amongst the community and be productive not only of great loss of life, but perhaps also of great disturbance of trade. It is obvious that it was very desirable to intrust to this Parliament the function of providing a uniform system of quarantine for the Continent, one which, while it would effectively guard the Commonwealth against the introduction, of infectious diseases, would at the same time not be surrounded with too many vexatious and harassing restrictions which might operate detrimentally to commerce with outside countries. But it would be idle were the Commonwealth to stop at that stage in any legislation, which it might enact under its quarantine power j because with the most effective precautions it would still be quite possible, as experience has shown, for disease to be introduced into a country. Disease when it is introduced into a country does not necessarily stay on the’ coast or border line. It may be taken inland either by a person or in articles or goods. Having been transported inland - by reason of contact or otherwise - the infection may be carried into the heart of the territory. The quarantine’ would be very half-hearted, which did not contemplate that possibility, and make provision, not only against the introduction, of diseases, but also for the stamping out of disease, which might, in spite of all precautions, succeed in establishing itself in one portion of the- territory under consideration. In regard to this Bill, I do not think that any honorable senator will fail to realize that in the past the ‘ inconveniences of the six different systems have been very, great. If those systemswere allowed to continue in operation, and each of them from time to time to be modified, as the circumstance’s in each caseshould dictate, .it is quite conceivable that, harassing and vexatious as they have been hitherto, they might be made considerably more harassing, and considerably more detrimental to trade and commerce, not only with other countries, but also amongst theStates themselves. Consequently, very early in the history of the Commonwealth the Government of the day proceeded .to take steps preliminary to calling on Parliament to exercise its legislative power on this subject. That led to an interesting correspondence between, the then Minister of Trade and Customs, Mr. Kingston, and the Health authorities, or Chief Health Officers of the different States. It includes a very, important and interesting letter, in which Dr. Ramsay Smith, of South Australia, deals generally with the subject. Amongst other things, it contains an interesting contrast between what might be called the up-to-date system of quarantine, and thecrude, original attempt which a country, in a state of panic and inexperience,might put forth to prevent the introduction of disease. Dr. Ramsay Smith points out that quarantine is the development of a national system adopted to prevent disease from reaching a country, or, having reached a country from spreading through it. As we air know, such a system practically found no place in the national activities of any country until four or five centuries ago. At first, .the system was necessarily, and” naturally, very crude. But as Dr. Ramsay Smith points out, a pastoral country not engaged very much in trade and commerce, as known nowadays, might very well be understood as adopting a system which would ward off all vessels from its shores, and so prevent the possibility of any disease being introduced. Such a system in a trading and commercial community would be entirely out of the question. In that connexion, he illustrates what is done in London to-day. He points out that a vessel arriving with an infectious disease on board notifies the fact to. the Health authority. Immediately measures are taken, among other things, to disinfect the vessel, and subject it to surveillance, and to keep under observation every individual on the vessel, and every one who may have landed from the vessel, as well as goods and all other sources and means of infection.
– But there is no quarantine.
– Not in the sense in which the term was originally used, but it is a term which in different countries has at different times received a different interpretation. The system adopted in Great Britain is more in the nature of surveillance, and that is carried out with a great measure of success.
– There is practically no quarantine in the United Kingdom.
– Not in the sense of detaining vessels and keeping them in quarantine, and of sending individuals into quarantine, as we understand it here, but every case of the possible introduction of infection from abroad is carefully noted, the particular vessel is attended to under a system of disinfection or fumigation, and any case of actual disease is isolated, whilst those who have been in contact with such a case and have not developed the disease, are kept under constant and close observation, are expected to report themselves from time to time, and if they do not do so, their individual liberty is likely to be very much curtailed. As I have said, it is impossible for a trading and commercial community to adopt a system of quarantine applicable to conditions prevailing generally a few centuries ago, or to a pastoral country, the people of which have no ambition or desire to enter into commercial and trading relations with the people of other countries. It seems that to suit the particular need of a community like the Australian people, something in the nature of compromise between the strict and crude system of quarantine, and such a system as that which has grown up in Great Britain to-day, and to which I have already made reference, is necessary. When the members of the Federal Convention were dealing with the very important matters in section 51 of the Constitution, which embraces so many of the powers conferred on the Commonwealth Parliament, particular reference was made to this matter of quarantine. At page1071 of the reports of the debates of the second Convention, held at Sydney, in1897, it will be found that the Honorable R. E., now Mr. Justice, O’Connor, in submitting the provision with respect to quarantine, is reported to have said -
I think there is a matter connected with this clause which deserves consideration. In the first place, we ought to be clear in our minds what we intend to cover by the word “quarantine.” The word “ quarantine “ in its original meaning no doubt applied only to the quarantine of ships - the quarantine of forty days required under the old laws for the purification of a ship from disease. But I think the meaning of quarantine has gradually extended much beyond that, and the word is now applied to an inclosure to prevent diseases that have been contracted on board ship from spreading to the land. It means general powers of isolation in all cases. I think we ought in the first place to decide whether we intend to interfere with the general health powers which the States now possess, and ought perhaps to retain, or only with those matters which are generally spoken of as marine quarantine. The question is whether we should give power to the Commonwealth under any circumstances to legislate in regard to those matters that belong to the care of the public health in the different States.
The Hon. I. A. Isaacs. - They would not do that unless they thought that the health of other States was concerned.
The Hon. R. E. O’CONNOR.- This is one of those cases in which we should first of all decide on a policy and then make a definite provision. As to what the policy should be it appears to me that the Commonwealth power should extend onlyto those matters that affect the health of the Commonwealth from outside. Therefore, I am prepared to move -
That the word “quarantine” be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ public health in relation to infection or contagion from outside the Commonwealth.”
I will point out one reason why a provision of that kind is necessary : Supposing that all the Colonies were not included in the Federation, you might have small-pox or some other contagious disease in one Colony which was not in the Federation, and along the whole line of the boundary it will be necessary to make exactly similar provisions to those which would have to be made at the sea-ports. Now, under the head of “quarantine” I doubt very much whether such a power would be included ; whereas if you say that the power is to be over matters connected with the “ public health in relation to infection or contagion from outside the Commonwealth” you state accurately what you mean. It appears to me that those words cover every possible case you want to deal with, and would make a line of demarcation between diseases that arose or spread within the States themselves - which is a matter that ought to be dealt with by the health authorities of each State - and diseases that arose outside, which undoubtedly could be dealt with properly only by one authority for the whole Commonwealth. In the first place, as far as policy is concerned, that is a matter for the Committee to decide. If honorable members decide as to policy, then how it is to be expressed is more or less a matter of drafting. But if the matter is considered worthy of consideration, I will move the insertion of the words I have suggested.
It will be observed that in that speech Mr. O’Connor was at once narrowing, as well as widening, the scope of quarantine. First of all he did not want any particular matters inside the State and inside the Commonwealth itself to come under the legislative power that was to be conferred on this Parliament. Therefore, his amendment was to insert instead of the word “quarantine” the words “public health in relation to infection or contagion from outside the Commonwealth.” Whilst that would not confer upon this Parliament the power to legislate for quarantine in connexion with quarantine matters, either inter-State or intra-State, at the same time he pointed out that in the event of one State not joining the Commonwealth, the words proposed to be inserted by him would confer on this! Parliament the power to exercise along the border line of that State contiguous to the Commonwealth, similar powers to those exercised on the coast line in relation to the introduction of diseases from abroad. Fortunately, as we are not in the position that there is one State that has remained out of the Union whose border line would have to be guarded by quarantine officers, as the ports on our coast must be, to prevent the introduction of disease from abroad, that aspect of the matter, which Mr. O’Connor conceived to be a widening of the power, need hardly be adverted to. The Honorable I. A. Isaacs followed Mr. O’Connor at the Convention, and said -
I hope that the honorable and learned member will not move an amendment to that effect. I think that the meaning of the word “quarantine “ is pretty well known. There is no doubt that leaving the sub-clause as it is preserves to every State the power that it now has to make laws in relation to all such subjects. It does not vest an exclusive power in the Commonwealth to pass such laws. The State can pass its own law and alter it as it pleases; but I think it well to do as was done in the Canadian Act in that respect - to give a power which the Commonwealth might in case of emergency employ for the sake of the general health - power to make a law respecting quarantine as it is generally understood, so as to preserve all the ports of the Commonwealth, not only from infection from abroad, but also from the danger of any infection which might have reached one part of the Commonwealth spreading to the rest of the Commonwealth. I think that there is no great harm in retaining the word “ quarantine,” and that if we were to eliminate this word the day might come when we would very much regret having done so.
The Hon. R. E. O’CONNOR. - The sub-clause as it stands now provides for the quarantine of animals.
The Hon. I. A. ISAACS. - I believe it would include the quarantine of animals if those animals when slaughtered would go into consumption as food, and might thereby affect the public health.
The Hon. Dr. Cockburn. - What about the quarantine of dogs?
The Hon. I. A. ISAACS.- I think that the Federal Parliament should have the power to deal with this matter if it thinks fit to do so. While the States might be left to protect themselves surely no harm would be done if we enabled the Federal Parliament to do more than any State could do, that is to give protection to the whole Commonwealth.
Eventually Mr. O’Connor said -
I see that there is sufficient reason for leaving the words in the clause. I drew attention to the matter because I thought that it was worthy of consideration, and when we meet again perhaps some improvement may be suggested.
In the Constitution, as it now stands, the word “ Quarantine “ appears absolute and unqualified. To what extent that invests this Parliament with power to legislate on matters ordinarily regarded as within the domain of quarantine may or may not be open to question. But I think it will be generally conceded by all honorable senators that it is eminently desirable that in exercising powers of quarantine we should not adopt any half measure. Quarantine is a power that the State exercises, not only for the prevention of the introduction of disease, but also when disease has been introduced, and it is necessary to check its spread in circumstances which, in many instances, amount to grave national emergencies. It is only by drastic as well as elastic provisions such as exist in the quarantine laws of all countries that States are able to exercise their powers in this direction effectively. After the Commonwealth had been established the first Government took the preliminary steps towards inviting Parliament to exercise its jurisdiction in this regard, and communications were addressed to the respective officers in the different States, from whom a good deal of information of a very valuable character was obtained. Government after Government have applied themselves to this subject. As we all know it has been impossible for the successive Governments of the Commonwealth to come down to Parliament, and ask it to exercise all the legislative powers with which it is invested under the Constitution. Immediately Parliament is called upon to exercise its powers under any one particular heading of the Constitution, naturally, in these early days of the Commonwealth there must arise a good deal of discussion and deliberation not only as to the extent of our powers, but also as to the propriety of the extent to which it is proposed we should exercise them. It is impossible to deal with even the most urgent matters intrusted to us under the Constitution in anything like a short period of time. As I say, successive Governments have applied themselves to this matter, and in 1904 the Government of which Mr. Watson was the head convened a Conference of quarantine officers from the different States. That Conference sat in Melbourne, and several matters were remitted to it. In a report subsequently presented by the Conference to the Government recommendations were made for a general scheme on which a Quarantine Bill should be framed. Apart from that, some recommendations were made by the Conference with regard to the system of organization that might be established in the Commonwealth for carrying out its quarantine functions. That report was, I think, circulated two or three years ago. The proposed legislation contained in the Bill now before honorable senators is based in many respects on the recommendations of that Conference. But apart altogether from the Conference to which I have referred, various Governments have from time to time considered what is the extent of the powers conferred upon this Parliament by the Constitution in relation to this matter. It has been pointed out authoritatively by the legal advisers of the Federal Government that our powers in this regard are not wholly and exclusively contained in paragraph xi. of section 51 of the Constitution. The governing words of that section read -
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to……….
It has been pointed out by our law advisers that Parliament also has unlimited powers of legislation with regard to trade and commerce with other countries and between the States, and that under the trade and commerce powers conferred by the Constitution, Parliament’s power as to quarantine is also included. In other words, the general power conferred under the word “Quarantine” is supplemented to the fullest extent by the trade and commerce powers conferred by the Constitution.
– Are the American authorities in accordance with that view ?
– Under the American Constitution, there is no express grant of power to legislate in respect of quarantine - none whatever. But Congress has a general power, as we have, to legislate with regard to trade and commerce between the United States and outside countries, and between the States themselves; and in the exercise of that power of trade and commerce, Congress has repeatedly legislated in respect of quarantine.
– Both as to animals and human beings ?
– The method adopted has been rather curious. Congress has brought into existence legislation, so to speak, in aid of State measures, and has clothed its own Federal officers with authority to give effect to State enactments. That is to say, Congress has supplemented the legislation passed by the States by clothing Federal officers with jurisdiction and powers in that regard. Mr. Justice Clark in his Australian Constitutional Law, second edition, page129, in his chapter dealing with the powers of the States, where he discusses very learnedly the powers which the States have, apart from any express reservation either under the Constitution of the central authority, or under their own Constitutions - the powers inherent in a State to protect its citizens from aggression, from disease, and from anything that would be nationally detrimental - says -
The general result of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States upon the relation of the police power of the States to the power of Congress to regulate commerce with foreign countries and among the States appears to establish the proposition that the rule which declares that the silence of Congress upon any matter within its exclusive jurisdiction is equivalent to a declaration that the matter shall remain without legislative regulation, has not any application to matters that are primarily within the police powers of the States, and that only positive legislation by Congress can restrain legitimate and necessary exercises of the police power which operate upon the conduct of trade and commerce with other countries and among the States. Many of the decisions which support this conclusion have referred specially to the laws of the several States relating to quarantine and pilotage. Both of these matters have been frequently declared by the Supreme Court to be covered by the power conferred upon Congress to regulate foreign and Inter-State commerce.
That is, without an express grant of legislative power either with regard to quarantine or pilotage, Congress has repeatedly exercised powers in that direction, and the Supreme Court of the “United States has repeatedly declared that those powers are covered by the general power conferred upon Congress to regulate foreign and Inter-State commerce. Mr. Justice Clark goes on to say -
But all the legislation of Congress with respect to quarantine and pilotage has recognised the laws of the States in reference to those matters, and has directed the revenue and other officers of the United States to aid in the execution of them ; and the Supreme Court has never expressed any doubt as to the validity of those laws or the legislation of Congress which referred to them. So far as they operate directly upon foreign and Inter-State commerce, quarantine and pilotage are matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress. And if the rule as to the effect of the silence of Congress in regard to such, matters is applicable to them, it appears as if the legislation of Congress which has. adopted the laws of the States with respect to quarantine and pilotage has been practically a delegation of its legislative power over those two matters to the States, and therefore ultra vires. If the Constitution of the United States had contained a provision similar to section 10S of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, which continues the laws of the States, so far as they are not inconsistent with the Constitution, until they are altered by the Parliament of the Commonwealth, the question of the delegation of the power of Congress over quarantine and pilotage to the States could not arise. But in the case of the United States the firmly established and unchallenged practice of more than a century has endowed this combined legislation of Congress and of the several States with a historical authority which the Federal Judiciary would never dispute ; and it is very probable that the difficulty which the existence of this combined legislation presented to the Court determined the line of argument’ adopted by Chief Justice Marshall in his judgment in Gibbons v. Ogden, and prevented any expression of opinion by the majority of the Court upon the doctrine of the exclusive power of Congress over foreign and inter-State commerce which was unreservedly asserted in the concurring judgment delivered in that case by Mr. Justice Johnson. The existence of this legislation unchallenged during a period of half a century is distinctly and pointedly mentioned by Taney, C.J., in his judgment in the Licence Cases, as confirmatory of his interpretation of the power of Congress over commerce; and there can be little doubt that the same legislation also determined the. line of argument adopted by Mr. Justice Curtis in the judgment delivered by him for the Court in Cooley v. The Wardens of Philadelphia, in which case the compromise rule as to the exclusive power of Congress over foreign and Inter-
State commerce which has ever since been followed by the Court was first formulated.
– Does not that passage go to show that the constitutional, power is to assist and not to derogate from the powers of the States?
– Not at all; quitethe contrary. My argument has been this- - that we have, first of all, the power, under section 51, paragraph xi., to legislate with regard to quarantine. That is a power that is not expressly vested in the Congress of the United States. When I. use the word ‘ ‘ power “ I would add ‘ ‘ re,sponsibility,” because responsibility must, accompany this power with which we areintrusted. The States no longer have any power to regulate oversea or Inter-State trade and commerce. Consequently we must exercise the power conferred upon usin obedience to the responsibility that fallsupon us. If the word “ Quarantine” were; not in our Constitution at all, the American authorities would support the position that under our trade and commerce authority, we have the amplest power to legislate withregard to quarantine. We could, if we chose, direct our revenue and other officersto aid in the execution of the quarantine laws of the States, as has been done in America. Mr. Justice Clark says that,: although strictly speaking such a delegation of authority in the United States might be contended to be ultra vires, yet the historical authority behind this combined legislation, extending over half a century, would be sufficient to warrant the Supreme Court of the United States in holding it to be nor’ ultra vires.
– The honorable senator’s contention is that, owing to the inclusion of the word “ Quarantine “ in the Constitution, we have additional powers.
– We have greater powers than the Congress of the United States has. Mr. Justice Clark goes on to say -
The recognition by Congress o’f the quarantine’ and pilot laws of the States was also held bythe Supreme Court in the case Morgan’s Steamshift Co. v. Louisiana Board of Health tobe sufficient to sustain the validity of the quarantine laws of the State of Louisiana; but theCourt also declared that, apart from any Congressional recognition of them, “ quarantine laws belong to that class of State legislation which, whether passed with intent to regulate commerceor not, must be admited to have that effect, and* to be. valid until displaced or contravened by some legislation, of Congress.” This declarationin reference to laws relating to quarantine ii supported- by a reference to the case of ‘Cooley v. The Wardens of Philadelphia and other cases where the rule laid down in that case was followed, but it also clearly exempts suchlaws from the operation of the rule as to the effect of the silence of Congress which, so far as such laws embrace matters within the power of Congress over foreign and Inter-State commerce, might be consistently applied to them.
My quotations from Mr.. Justice Clark’s book go to show the extent to which the trade and commerce provisions of the American Constitution have been interpreted. In that connexion, although it has been - as Mr. Justice Clark says - the custom for Congress to invest its officers with authority to aid in the execution of State quarantine laws, more recently still Congress has entered more directly into the matter of quarantine. In the Statutes passed by the 58th Congress of the United States, 1905, there is an Act, chapter 4196- to enable the Secretary of Agriculture to establish and maintain quarantine districts, to direct and regulate the direction of cattle and other live stock therefrom, and for other purposes.
This answers the question put to me by Senator Dobson as to whether Congress has legislated with regard to cattle as well as humans. This Act reads -
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized and directed to quarantine any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, or any portion of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, when he shall determine the fact that cattle or other live stock in such State or Territory or District of Columbia are affected with any contagious, infectious, or communicable disease ; and the Secretary of Agriculture is directed to give written or printed notice of the establishment of quarantine to the proper officers or rail-road, steam-boat, or other transportation companies doing business in or through any quarantined State or Territory or the District of Columbia, and to publish in such newspapers in the quarantined State or Territory or the District of Columbia, as the Secretary of Agriculture may select, notice of the establishment of quarantine.
– Have the States in America powers in regard to quarantine also?
– And do they exercise them?
– Yes. Ithas been recognised by the Supreme Court in the case of Morgan’s Steamship Company v. Louisiana Board of Health, that the quarantine laws of the State of Louisiana could be enforced. Congress has now superadded to the exercise of powers by the States the aid of Federal officers in carrying out States Acts. That has been the practice in the past, and its validity has not been successfully questioned in the Supreme Court. Over and beyond thatlegislation-in-aid, as recently as 1905, an Act was passed by Congress to authorize and require the Federal Secretary for Agriculture to quarantine any State or Territory, or the District of Columbia, or any portion of a State or Territory, or of that District, when satisfied that cattle or other live stock in that State, Territory, or District, or even in any portion of it, were affected with any contagious, infectious, or communicable disease. That goes far beyond legislation-in-aid. It goes beyond even the Inter-State aspect. It takes up the intra-State responsibility.
– Was that legislation with regard to the District of Columbia only?
– No, it authorized and required the Federal Secretary for Agriculture to quarantine the whole or any portion of” a State or Territory, or of the District of Columbia. The Act further provides for transportation from quarantined districts by common carriers being forbidden. No railroad company or steam-boat owner or other person is allowed then to take the cattle from the quarantined State or area. Delivery for transport is forbidden, and the driving on foot of the cattle from the quarantined State or area is prohibited. The Act further provides for regulations for inspection, and how the movement of inspected cattle is to be carried out. Penalties are fixed for the unlawful removal of cattle, and provision is made for punishing any interference with employes, or for the use of deadly weapons against employes. I presume that refers to the use of revolvers.
– In the case of legislation in aid of State laws, how do they manage about the administration? The honorable senator was just touching on that point.
– I only touched upon the point for the purpose of showing that without the use of the word “ Quarantine “ in the constitutional powers conferred upon Congress, Congress could act under its trade and commerce powers.
– The important point with the Australian States is administration. If we pass this Bill, what about the administration?
– I shall deal with that point before I finish.
– When laws in aid of State laws are passed in America, does each authority administer its own Act?
– I have not gone sufficiently info that question, but, as I understand it, Congress authorizes and requires its own Federal officers in different States to carry out State laws.
– And its own laws as well ?
– Yes, if it has any direct laws. If anybody questioned the authority of Federal officers to carry out State laws it would be for Congress to assert the validity of its action. That validity has been repeatedly upheld bv the Courts. Consequently if any individual were to interfere with a Federal officer on the ground that he had no authority as a Federal officer to administer State quarantinelaws, the decisions of the Supreme Court to the effect that Congress has legitimately exercised its trade and commerce powers would bar that individual from successfully resisting the officer’s authority.
– Did the Act the honorable senator mentioned refer only to the Districtof Columbia, and not to every State?
– By that Act the. Federal Secretary for Agriculture is authorized and directed to quarantine any State or Territory;or the District of Columbia, or any portion ofany State or Territory, or the District of Columbia. There are in the American Union States and Territories ; and also the District of Columbia. They all stand on different planes. I have pointed out that we have the power under the Constitution to legislate with regard to quarantine. We have also under the Constitution the like power as is conferred upon the American Congress, to legislate with regard to both foreign and Inter-State trade and commerce. Invested as we are with those powers exclusively with regard to foreign and Inter-State trade and commerce, it is not competent for the States to enter into that domain of legislation now. The power with which we are invested is accompanied by a responsibility to exercise it in the best interests of the Commonwealth in regard both to oversea and InterState trade and commerce. That power is so wide that, apart altogether from the question of quarantine, there are many decisions of the United States Supreme Court to the effect that it covers quite a number of things relating to transport, intercourse, and movement from State to State, from outside the United States into the States, or from the United States to countries abroad. Having this exclusive power, and being about to legislate with regard to quarantine, we should take no half measures. We should see that in any quarantine legislation we pass we have effective legislation.
– To enable us to deal with every emergency.
– To deal with every possible emergency. It would be a pitiful thing if hereafter at any time any disease were to be introduced into the Commonwealth, or any outbreak of a dangerous character were to occur in any part of it, and if through a division of control or authority the proper responsibility for stamping out the disease, or for omitting to take all the necessary measures to that end, were not sheeted home to the right authorities. This is a matter in which it is not only dangerous, but might be possibly calamitous to have divided authority. This measure embraces the quarantining, not only of persons, but also of animals, and even of plants. Although in the early days of the administration of a system of quarantine, persons only were contemplated, gradually with increasing knowledge as to the causes of the origin and spread of diseases it has been found necessary to go further. In the development of ideas with regard to quarantine, sanitation, and health preserving measures, regard has been had, not only to persons, but to what are called contacts, whether animate or inanimate. In the early days of quarantine, when crude measures were adopted for segregating individuals affected with disease, it was not thought necessary to fumigate, destroy, or otherwise deal with clothes or otherarticles that had come into contact with them. Now, in any ordinary case of quarantine when a vessel arrives withcases of infection on board, not only is the individual taken in hand, but his clothes and belongings and other inanimate goods are all subjected to treatment in the nature of disinfection; fumigation, or even destruction, because they, as well as the individual, may be vehicles for the spread of infection or contagion. No one can doubt the powers of the Commonwealth to legislate with regard to the quarantining of animals. We have that authority under the power conferred upon us by paragraph xi. of section 51 of the Constitution, which, it must be admitted, applies to animals as well as human beings. That view was expressed in the Convention debates, the report of which I have just read. Those animals would be subject to quarantine, whether living or dead, because, as Mr. Isaacs then pointed out, if they were slaughtered they might pass into human consumption, and so be the means of conveying infection. Apart altogether from that aspect, we go in this measure still further by providing for the quarantining of plants. That will be found in a division of the Bill by itself. This legislation has not been hasty in that it has lacked thorough and full consideration. In the early days of Federation the Government entered into communication with the Health authorities in the different States, and from time to . time since then successive Governments have given consideration to this important’ matter. Opinions of Attorneys-General and other eminent legal authorities have from time to time been received, and on this particular subject Mr. B. R. Wise, as far back as September, 1901, gave an opinion that the powers conferred upon us in the term “ Quarantine “ in the Constitution embraced the power to legislate on the subject of quarantine with regard, not only to humans, but to animals, and possibly to plants. But apart from the term “ Quarantine,” our general powers of legislation with regard to foreign and Inter-State commerce are so wide that they would cover, I submit, all the matters that are dealt with in this Bill.
– Does the honorable senator contend that the Bill will give power to quarantine a vineyard in the State of Victoria?
– Yes, if the purpose be to obviate the danger of the spread of disease, not merely in Victoria, but beyond its boundaries to other parts of the Commonwealth. That is the whole purpose and ambit of the power that is sought to be conferred upon the Federal, authorities in relation to anything within a State itself.
– Does not that imply that the Commonwealth Administration must show that their reason for quarantining the vineyard in Victoria was a fear of the transmission of infection into another State?
– That is the object, but when you are going to exercise your powers of quarantine you do not necessarily serve persons who are likely to be affected with a notice stating that the reason why you detain them as suspects is that they may possibly have contracted some disease which is not sufficiently developed yet, and that therefore you’ want to keep them under surveillance. We must have very drastic and- elastic powers to deal with all possible emergencies. The Quarantine Conference sat in 1904, at which each of the States was represented. The delegates were - New South Wales, J. Ashburton Thompson, M.D., D.P.H.; Queensland,
Astley Gresswell, M.A., M.D. (Oxon), D.P.H., M.R.C.S.; Western Australia, T. H. Lovegrove, M.R.C.S. (Eng.), Dr. Gresswell was President, and, amongst other things, the Conference dealt with the very matter to which the honorable senator has referred. On page 10 of their report, they recommended that the Commonwealth should have the power to carry out what was called intra-State quarantine or isolation in cases of grave national emergency. I may say that Western Australia and New South Wales dissented from the recommendation. I have also to qualify the statement I have made by saying that those gentlemen reported practically only in relation to the quarantine of humans. In regard to the other matters, although they were asked to give an opinion on them, they said it was desirable that experts on animals and plants should be consulted, and, therefore, they refrained from expressing an opinion. On the general question of quarantining humans, they say, at page 10 of their report -
Comment. - It has appeared necessary to the Conference to insert the above-entered provisions for the reason that it passed the following resolution, viz. : - “ In case of any quarantinable disease appearing in any State, and threatening by extension to become a danger to other States, the GovernorGeneral, on his own initiative, or on application of the Governor of the State infected, should have power to take full control for the eradication of such disease.” - a resolution which was supported by the delegates from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria, and opposed by the delegates from New South Wales and Western Australia. The delegates from New South Wales and Western Australia felt obliged to express their opinion on the question of policy involved in the subject of this resolution. They thought that the Director-General’s control -
The Director-General is an officer to whom the Conference recommended should be intrusted the responsibility of administering Federal quarantine - should extend only to persons connected with vessels recently admitted to pratique, the word “ recently “ tomean within the incubation period of the disease, as fixed for the purposes of the Act, and reckoned from the date on which pratique was granted.” They did not think that the Commonwealth Government should interfere in the internal sanitation of the States, except in as far as it is contemplated in Part X. of the Commonwealth QuarantineBill -
That means Part X. of the Quarantine Bill as recommended by them - or under an agreement specially provided in, or arrived at, under the Constitution Act. They thought any suggestion to the contrary unnecessary, imprudent, and impolitic - unnecessary, because, although the laws of certain States as they stand at present do not permit the fully efficient exercise of Government control over some matters appertaining to internal sanitation (see Special Subject (I) below), yet this is not the only way, and appears to them not the best way of remedying this defect; imprudent, as probably tending to weaken the sense of State responsibility, and as certainly diminishing the status and public authority of the chief medical officers of States, as opening a way to largely increased cost, and as throwing that cost on all the States pro râta of population, instead of leaving it to fall on the affected State ; and (an opinion which they expressed with reserve), impolitic, as inviting the Commonwealth Government to interpose in what they referred to as domestic management. But, having said so much, they did not abstain from joining in the contingent discussion, the outcome of which has been expressed above.
In view of that report, the Government have thought it advisable that it should not restrict itself in the first instance to maritime quarantine, and leave each State to take the necessary measures for stamping out an outbreak of disease within. We hold that we should have the power, not only to carry out maritime quarantine, but, if a disease passes the first line of defence of the Commonwealth, and gets into a State, to follow it up and take all the necessary measures to stamp it out ; and, further than that, should a disease, not traceable to a foreign source directly, break out in a State and become a possible menace to other States, to prevent the spread of that disease from that State across the border into other States. It is not always possible to trace a disease ; it may break out a long while after a person’s arrival in the country-
– In the meantime, is it proposed to leave to the States the quarantining of animals and plants?
– I am just coming to that point. The Commonwealth will not wait until a disease comes right up to the very border and say, “ Now the time has arrived to exercise our Inter-State powers, and we intend to exercise them, and to stop the disease on the State borderline.” But if there is a reasonable ground for believing that a disease may spread from one portion of a State into another State or other States, then it will be the duty of the Commonwealth to protect the whole of its territory.
– The Minister assumes that the Commonwealth will know more about the matter than a State.
– No; but the Commonwealth has a larger responsibility than has a State. At the same time, we do not expect that a State will regard itself as irresponsible, and neglect its duties with regard to local sanitation. Far from it. If we did not have the assistance of the States in performing to the full extent their functions with regard to local sanitation and preventing the local spread of disease, we should be called upon much more often than we should like to be to take measures which, after all, might prove very unsuccessful for lack of State cooperation in that direction. We do not want to interfere in the slightest degree with the exercise of the function of local sanitation by the States. On the contrary, we look to the States to carry out that function as well as they have done in the past, better, if possible. By their so doing, we anticipate that the causes of interposition on the part of the Commonwealth to prevent the spread of disease from one portion of a State to other States, will Le minimized.
– The Commonwealth proposes to treat its powers as reserve powers ?
– Exactly. These are powers which we pray to Heaven we shall have very few, if any, occasions to exercise, but they must be available in the interests ofl the people of the Commonwealth. Because, no matter how genuinely a State may be carrying out its responsibility with regard to local sanitation, it may be that it has not the means to cope with a disease, which may not only spread to its own borders, but may go beyond them. In those cases, there must be reserve powers in the Commonwealth. I do not think that any Commonwealth Government would be well advised to interpose in such a case, unless it was satisfied that the State had exhausted all possible means of preventing such a danger, and that there was a reasonable ground for believing that there was a possibility of the disease spreading beyond its confines.
– Suppose that South Australia will not take any trouble to prevent the introduction of tick disease from Queensland. Will the Commonwealth have to bear the expense of providing the necessary dips and so forth, to prevent its spread in South Australia?
– I do not know just now ; that is a question of which I would like the honorable senator to give notice. The general principle I am dealing with now is that these are reserve powers, which will only be exercised in a case where there is good ground .for warranting the belief that a disease may spread, not only in a State, but beyond it, and it is desirable that the Commonwealth should intervene and exercise its authority.
– Why does the Government take power to make a quarantine area for plants in any part of a State?
– In answer to Senator St. Ledger just now, I pointed out that the Quarantine Conference, with New South Wales and Western Australia dissenting, recommended -
In case of any quarantinable disease appearing in any State, and threatening by extension to become a danger to other States, the GovernorGeneral, on his own initiative, or on application of the Governor of the State infected, should have power to take full control for the eradication of such disease.
That, as I pointed out then, had to be qualified by this explanation, that it did not apply to plants, because the Conference stated that that subject could be best considered by persons who were more expert than they were. But analogously to the power which they there recommended the Commonwealth to take in regard to humans, we propose to take a power with regard to both animals and plants. These are reserve powers which I assured Senator Dobson will only be exercised in grave cases, not of State, but of Commonwealth emergency.
– Will the Commonwealth continue to use the Stock and Agricultural Departments of the States, or will it create a Department of its own?
– I am going to deal with that matter in a few moments. Senator Dobson, has asked a question with regard to the cost. On that point, the Government sought to get some information. On the 29th December, 1904, the States Premiers were asked to furnish information as to the annual cost of the present establishments and the value of the properties^ This has not yet come to hand. In 1898 a report was prepared by the Assistant Government Statist of Victoria on the then annual cost off the States quarantine as follows -
The figures for Queensland were not Quoted. I do not know why the Victorian Government Statist excluded the Queensland figures unless it be that the return was furnished for the purposes of the Federal Convention at a time when it was contemplated that Queensland was not going to join the Union. The memorandum simply states, “ the figures for Queensland were not quoted,” but I assume that that was the reason. At page .715 of Quick and Garran ‘s work on the Constitution, under the heading of the annual expenditure on Departments transferred, the following figures for 1896 are given for quarantine : New South Wales, .£5,537 ; Victoria, £4^50; Queensland, £3,496j South Australia, £1,43! > Tasmania, £165 ; Western Australia, £685/ It will be observed that these figures are the same as those quoted before, with the exception that the Queensland figures are given as £3,496. The total, inclusive of interest, on the estimated value of the properties, amounts to £15,364 per annum. It may, however, be stated here that it is not clear from these figures whether they relate exclusively to maritime quarantine or not, but we know that very little beyond maritime quarantine has been carried out by the different States Governments.
– May I remind the Minister that I put a question on this subject on the paper which has not yet been answered.
– Of course only estimates are made of the value of the properties, and the valuation might be arrived at on a different basis in each of the States ; but the total estimate of the value of the properties is something like £133,000. The Federal Treasury prepared a “statement based upon the Estimates and Financial Statements of the different States Governments for 1902-3, and quarantine expenditure is shown there as being : New South Wales, £4,9o6> as against £5*537, the figure previously quoted, and evidently excluding any provision for- interest on the cost of buildings; Victoria, £i,6n, as against £4,050 ; Queensland, £2,780, as against £3,496 ; South Australia, £695, as against £1,431 : Western Australia, £818, as against £685. The last figures quoted would appear to indicate that the Western Australian authorities have either increased their buildings or their staff. The figures for Tasmania are £94, as against £165, but it will be remembered that when I quoted the Tasmanian figures previously, I said thev referred only to the interest on the cost of properties, and it is only quite recently that something in the nature of a Quarantine Department has been established in that State. These figures give a total of £10,904. I find the comment made that if maritime quarantine only is in question it seems that the expenditure is in excess of what should be taken- over by the Commonwealth. That appears to show that the actual cost to the States at present of quarantine administration, exclusive of interest on the cost of buildings is something between £10,000 and £11,000 per annum. If for interest 3 per cent, on the estimated value of the buildings is added, the annual expenditure would run to something like £15,000 a year. It is not contemplated to establish, apart from and over and above the Departments of Quarantine that already exist in the States any big Federal Department of Quarantine. It is proposed to assume the responsibility for quarantine, and to carry out the administration of a uniform quarantine law in the Commonwealth through the existing States Departments.
– What about the DirectorGeneral of whom the Minister spoke?
– There must be” somebody at the head of affairs. The appointment of a Director-General was a recommendation made by the Conference to which I have already referred, and I might as well tell honorable senators what the. Conference, did actually recommend.
– I do not like the name. It is too big. And I am afraid that such an officer would want a big salary.
– I think the Conference recommended that he should be paid a substantial salary.
– We do not adopt their recommendation.
– No, we do not. The Conference recommended the appointment of a Director-General, and a small central staff of altogether about five or six officers.
– Does the cost of quarantine referred to include the cost of leper hospitals in the various States?
– I am unable to say, but I presume that it does.
– In New South Wales that expenditure does not come under quarantine, but under hospitals.
– The Conference recommended ihe appointment of a DirectorGeneral as the chief officer responsible for carrying into execution the provisions of the Commonwealth quarantine law. The Government do not propose to adopt that recommendation. The Bill provides that the Minister of Trade and Customs shall be the Minister responsible for the administration of the measure, and it is contemplated to use the existing quarantine staffs in the different States. A great advantage gained will te that they will be working on uniform principles. Where it is necessary to follow up a disease which, introduced from abroad, has got into the heart of any State, it is proposed to call in the aid of the State authority -in connexion with measures for local quarantining, sanitation, and health, in order to carry out the requirements of the Commonwealth. We do not propose to create a large staff of new officers. There will necessarily have to be some central supervision or control, but it is “proposed, that the existing quarantine staffs of the States shall be taken over.
– I presume that the Director-General would “be a medical man?
– The Conference recommended that an eminent medical authority conversant with quarantine matters should be appointed to take the general supervision and control of the practical operation of the Act.
– There will be no dual control?
– No; the only case in which there might be anything approaching dual control would bc where the Commonwealth would make use of States’ officers, in such an extreme case as that to’ which- 1 have already referred, in connexion with which it might be deemed necessary to exercise powers of an intra-State character.
– May not that be a case of every day occurrence in connexion with the quarantine of plants?
– I think not. I think the difficulty would arise only in such cases as that to which I have referred, and in connexion with which it might be evident that unless action were taken by the Commonwealth there would be risk of danger not only to other portions of a State, but to States other than that in which the disease was found to exist.
– Might I ask the honorable senator what is the system of administration adopted in America, and whether the Federal law there differs from those of the States Legislatures?
– In what respect?
– Have they an extensive Federal Quarantine Department or do they work through the States, as the Minister suggests ?
– In the United States each State has its own quarantine laws, and the Federal Congress have empowered their officers to assist in the execution of them. They have clothed them with authority, and, as has been held by the Supreme Court of the United States, they have, in doing so, exercised the jurisdiction which they hold under the Constitution. So that in the United States Federal and States’ officers work together in carrying out States’ quarantine laws. Over and above that, of recent years the American Congress have introduced quarantine laws such as the one which I have quoted under which they call upon the Secretary of Agriculture in certain circumstances to quarantine a State District or Territory, or any portion of a State. The Federal law leaves it at that, and the officer referred to, in the exercise of his executive powers, attends to all details. Very little detailed provision is made in the enactment itself, and the officer called upon to act seems to be clothed with all the powers necessary to carry out the various duties and responsibilities intrusted to him. The practice in .the United States for many years has been for the Federal authority, so to speak, to recognise the States’ quarantine laws, and impose upon Federal revenue and other officers the duty of assisting the States’ officers in carrying out those laws. So there have been two classes of officers carrying out States’ laws; the States’ officers and Federal officers invested bv Congress with ‘powers to act in their aid. Although there are some eighty different clauses in this Bill there are not many which I think call for comment at this stage. The measure is based upon what is the usual quarantine law in most of the States of the Commonwealth, and also upon recommendations made by the Quarantine Conference of 1904. I have said that it was necessary first of all that there should be as little confusion of authority and responsibility as possible in connexion with the administration of so important a matter. So we have called for the fullest powers first of all in relation to maritime quarantine, and in relation to what may be called Inter-State quarantine. And so far as concerns outbreaks of disease in a State, whether from a source which can be traced outside or not, we also call for reserve powers in the interests of the Commonwealth as a whole.
Further than that we do not propose to go, and, as I have said, the Bill is based on existing legislation in the States, plus the recommendations of the Quarantine Conference. There are some modifications of the existing law and practice to which I should invite the attention of honorable senators. For instance, in clause 33 there is provision made for something in the nature of a limited pratique. This is a very important matter. In sub-clause 2 of that clause it is provided that -
The certificate of pratique may be expressed to have effect in all ports in Australia, or to have effect only in any specified port or ports, or the ports in any specified States or parts of the Commonwealth, or to have effect only for a specified time.
That is a new provision.
– And a very drastic one also.
– Quite the contrary. The practice heretofore has been to issue a certificate of pratique only after a vessel has complied with certain conditions. If a vessel is found to be absolutely free from infection, and under no suspicion whatever, she might get a certificate of pratique. If, on the other hand, a case of infectious disease were discovered on board a vessel, and she had been quarantined for a certain period, and proper precautions taken to prevent the spread ofthe disease by the isolation of a particular case, and such other necessary measures, the vessel would still remain in quarantine, and everybody on board would be held up. It may be that the vessel had it in contemplation to proceed to another port of the Commonwealth, and we take power to give her limited pratique to enable her to do so.
– How would that provision work in conjunction with clauses 20 and 21 ?
– There is first of all power to proclaim first ports of entry for the whole Commonwealth. That applies to vessels coming from abroad. It would not be desirable, for instance, that a vessel coming from the East should make her first port of entry at some small place upon the coast, where there were no quarantine officers, and where it would be impracticable for us to exercise supervision. Consequently, we take power to proclaim the principal ports around the coasts to which oversea vessels may trade as first ports of entry ; and a vessel is forbidden to make any other port her first port of entry. The object of granting limited pratique is not to place any additional restriction on intercourse, but in some cases to enable a vessel which is placed in quarantine to leave port for some other port in the Commonwealth, where she can complete her period of quarantine.
– When we were coming from the Northern Territory, along the coast of Queensland, we were stopped four times.
– We desire to prevent that sort of thing. In a case where a vessel was under suspicion or observation the quarantine officer might say, “ You can proceed to the next port, which will take you three days, but the certificate of pratique which we give to you to go beyond the quarantine area of this port isto be effective only at this port, so that when you arrive at the next port the certificate will be of no avail, and you will have to be examined there.” The desire is that while taking the utmost precautions to prevent the spread of disease, we shall subject vessels to a minimum of inconvenience. In clause 34 it is provided -
Where a vessel has arrived at any port from a proclaimed place or is subject to quarantine, and the quarantine officer is satisfied that no person on board is actually sufferinsr from a quarantinable disease, but is not satisfied that the vessel is free from infection, he may, subject to this section -
refrain from giving a certificate of pratique ;
permit the vessel to proceed on her voyage without performing quarantine at a quarantine station ;
permit any passengers for that port and their effects to be landed ;
permit any cargo on the vessel for that port to be landed.
That provision is inserted to meet a case where there is no actual discovery of quarantinable disease, though the officer is not satisfied that the vessel is free from infection. It is desirable that the officer should be able to refrain from giving a certificate, but at the same time it is not desirable to detain the vessel. The same principle applies to clause 42, where it is provided that-
The Minister may, if he thinks fit, permit any vessel in quarantine to proceed on her voyage with her officers, crew, and passengers, or any of them, without performing quarantine at the quarantine station at the port at which she then is ; but the vessel and her officers, crew, and passengers shall not thereby be released from quarantine, but shall, while in Australia and until released from quarantine, be deemed to be in quarantine, and shall, except as prescribed or as ordered by the Minister, be subject to this
Act and the regulations to the same extent as if they were performing quarantine at a quarantine station.
That is to apply to a vessel that has come to Australia en route for some other country. A vessel may come to Australia on her way to the South Seas or to New Caledonia. We say, “ So long as you are in our waters you are subject to quarantine because a disease has broken out on board. Although the individual case has been isolated, yet, as the period of incubation has not expired, some other person may be infected. While you are in our waters you are in quarantine, but if you wish to go away, we will allow you to go before the period of quarantine has expired.” The clause is designed to meet the convenience of such vessels, whilst at the same time we take precautions to guard ourselves against infection. I have made reference to the powers proposed to be taken with regard to the quarantine of animals and plants and have pointed out that our authority to legislate rests not only upon paragraph XI., section 51, of the Constitution, but also upon our general power with regard to Inter-State and foreign trade and commerce. From the constitutional aspect, I do not think there can be any doubt as to our powers in that regard as affecting animals and plants which enter Australia from abroad or pass from one State to another. The object is to prevent the spread of disease not only among the States themselves but from part of one State to other States. Clause 13 contains a large number of powers which the Governor-General may exercise. It gives the Governor-General power by proclamation to prohibit the. importation of animals and plants, to prohibit the introduction of obnoxious insects and pests, the importation of articles likely to introduce infectious or contagious diseases, and the introduction of parts of animals or plants. Parts of animals may refer to such things as horns and skins which may carry infection dangerous to stock. In the last three paragraphs of the clause g, h, and i, it is provided that the Governor-General may -
But it is also provided in the third subclause that -
The powers conferred on the GovernorGeneral by this section, in relation to the matters specified in paragraphs g, h, and i of sub-sectionI shall so far as they relate to animals or plants or any disease affecting animals or plants, as regards a State or part of a State, only be exercised in cases where the Governor-General is satisfied that the exercise of those powers is necessary for the purpose of preventing the spread of a disease or pest affecting animals or plants, beyond the boundaries of that State.
So that the Governor-General would only be able to exercise the powers contained in paragraphs g, h, and i, which I have quoted, so far as they relate to animals or plants or diseases as regarding a State or part of a State, where he was satisfied that the exercise of those powers was necessary to prevent the spread of diseases or pests beyond that State. In clauseII, the Governor-General is given power to enter into an arrangement with any State for - the use of any State quarantine station or other place as a quarantine station under this Act, and the control and management of any such quarantine station.
– Would not the Commonwealth take over quarantine stations from the States?
– That is the object of the clause - to enable us to arrange with the States to take over properties from them. The clause also contains the words -
Any matters necessary or convenient to be arranged in order to enable the Commonwealth Quarantine authorities and the State Health or other authorities to act in aid of each other in preventing the introduction or spread of diseases affecting man, animals, or plants.
That is practically our declaration of policy - that we desire to arrange with the States to take over their quarantine buildings, which may be necessary to carry out the functions intrusted to the Commonwealth Government; and that we desire to arrange with the States that Federal officers shall act with theirs concurrently in preventing the spread of disease. I have already said that quarantine precautions sometimes go even to the length of the destruction of possible vehicles of infection; and power is taken in this Bill to enable animals to be killed if such course seems warranted. ‘But in each instance such an extreme course is only to be taken after information has been given to the owner or agent or consignee. Sub-clause i of clause 57 gives power to destroy any diseased animal. It says -
The Minister may, after notice to the owner, agent, or person in charge, if known, order it. to be destroyed, and it shall be destroyed accordingly.
But, under sub-clause 2 -
If any animal so destroyed is found not to be diseased compensation shall, in accordance with the regulations, be paid to the owner of the animal.
Right through the measure, so far as possible, we have endeavoured to provide that the individual shall not be put to expense, in addition to being subjected to restrictions and losses - it may be of time or of property - in the general interests of the community. Consequently we have provided that in a . case where a vessel is quarantined the persons quarantined with the vessel shall be provided with their maintenance, and that, when the period of quarantine has expired, if their destination is elsewhere, they shall be provided with passages thereto.
– At the ship’s expense ?
– At the ship’s expense. Those of us who are accustomed to using steamer tickets have doubtless noticed a statement on the back, amongst the conditions, that, should the vessel go into quarantine, the passenger will be called upon to pay so much per day for his maintenance and keep there, the amount varying for saloon and steerage passengers. Under this Bill, it is proposed to make those contracts null and void.
– Is. that quite fair?
– I think so. It is proposed to throw the responsibility upon the owners of the vessel.
– They will, pass it on by charging more for tickets.
– The responsibility is not that of the individual. It might be that a vessel has to go into quarantine through carelessness or want of precaution in allowing rats, mice, or goods subject to infection to come orv board, and it is not considered right that the individual passengers, who are subjected to quarantine also, should be called upon to provide for their own keep .during that period.
– It may put a great responsibility on the ship-owner.
– That may be. At any rate, it is a matter which we can discuss in Committee. It is my duty at this stage to point out that the principle which we are providing for in the Bill, is that the individual passenger shall be relieved of expense for that period, and that any contract he may enter into with the shipping company in that regard shall be null and void.
– That sort of provision in the case of the recent outbreak of small-pox in Tasmania would probably have shut off communication between Tasmania and the mainland. The boats would have stopped running.
– The boats did not go into quarantine.
– They did. I went into quarantine with one of them.
– At any rate, it was only for a few hours.
– Some were quarantined for a fortnight.
– I do not think it would be right in any circumstances for the owners of a vessel ordered into quarantine to be able to levy special charges upon each passenger.
– The owners of the vessel might say that if the passengers had not come aboard they would not have been quarantined.
– The passenger might retort that he had no means of detecting whether the vessel was likely to be quarantined. He takes his passage- in good faith. There is an invitation by the company to him to take a passage at a specified rate. He may be going on business, with which the quarantine may seriously interfere, and involve him in considerable loss. Or he may be going on a holiday, and spend it in quarantine.
– On the other hand, if the passenger is the reason for the vessel being quarantined surely he ought to pay.
– I admit that there is a good deal to be said on the question.
– As a rule the shipping companies do not enforce sUch contracts.
– I am not asking the Senate’ to pass this provision at this moment, but I am drawing special attention to it, because it is a departure from a practice which has prevailed in the past.
– Clause 62 appears tobe inconsistent with clause 59.
– Clause 62 deals with the case of a contact. Cases have occurred where persons unauthorizedly and innocently have boarded a vessel which has subsequently been quarantined.
– If they do it innocently, why do not the Government make the ship-owners liable for their maintenance?
– They cannot be included in the ship’s company. A man may go on board to see somebody. He takes the risk. If he goes on board before the vessel is passed, the owners should not be put to the expense of his maintenance. The provision for- maintenance in clause 59 is only for the crew and passengers. I think I have drawn attention to the special provisions of the measure at as reasonable a length as I could be expected to do. I have done so because I have invariably found that, when a measure contains special as well as general provisions, it facilitates discussion if attention is drawn to them at this early stage. The general provisions are such as would ordinarily be found in a Quarantine Act or regulations. I can confidently recommend the Bill to the hearty acceptance and support of the Senate. We all realize, ‘I believe, that this is a very important function which has been intrusted to the Commonwealth. It is one that we should be prepared to discharge at as early a date in the history of the Commonwealth as possible. We should legislate to abolish the existing practices and systems, which are not only divergent one from another, but which are also unnecessary, vexatious, and harassing, in that individuals very often have to subject themselves to several systems of quarantine, when entering this one undivided Commonwealth territory. I believe that with this measure it will be possible for the Commonwealth Government to carry out effective quarantine, protect the whole of its territory from the introduction of infectious and quarantinable diseases from abroad, and prevent the spread of any that may arise in our midst, without subjecting the’ travelling, trading, or commercial community to the numerous vexatious and harassing restrictions to which they must necessarily be subjected under six separate systems. Apart from that, the importance of- this measure cannot be over-estimated. All - our doors of entrance are sea-ports. The entrance to the Commonwealth from the outside world is necessarily by sea, and, as time goes on, various lines of steamers will be carrying on regular communication between portions of the outside world and the Commonwealth. During the last twenty years, a great increase has been observed in the trade with the East. It is largely to the East that we must look for the possible introduction of diseases “which may be dangerous to this community, and which it is very- desirable that the Commonwealth authorities should take effectual powers to shut out. So far as the approach to the Commonwealth from the West is concerned, many of the vessels that bring cargoes and passengers here travel by the Mediterranean, and through the Red Sea, touching at Levantine and Asiatic countries, where they may readily, pick up infection which it would be dangerous and perhaps disastrous to introduce to Australia. Other vessels come via the Cape, and it is quite possible that they may introduce diseases dangerous to our stock. We must contemplate the possibility, within the next few years, of the completion of the cutting of the Panama Canal. When vessels come from the Atlantic through the Canal direct to Australia, we shall be brought for the first time into close proximity to the deadly disease of yellow! fever. It is about Central America, Cuba, and those parts of the world we find that disease has its most flourishing habitat, I do- not think that, so far, any case of yellow fever has been introduced into the Commonwealth. That is due to the fact that .we- have not been in direct communication with . those, parts of the world where the disease thrives, but- with the cutting of the Panama Canal, and the opening up of increase’d communication across the Pacific, we shall necessarily open the door to the possibility of the introduction ‘of pests and diseases which may” be dangerous both to animals and human beings, and which we must at all hazards shut’ out. In these circumstances, it. will be found that the measure is not premature. Taking all the circumstances’ into consideration, it will meet the necessities of the case for Australia, not only now, but for many .years to come. If we pass the measure, I think we may cordially rely upon the cooperation and harmonious working of the States to secure the end which they have had In view in the past, and which the Commonwealth, as an aggregation of the States, must always aim at - the protection of the people of the Commonwealth from dangerous or disastrous diseases, whether introduced from abroad, or arising in our midst from sources which we may not, at once, recognise. I confidently recommend the Bill to the acceptance of the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Clemons) . adjourned.
– Senator Dobson asked a question with regard to certain resolutions of the Australian Fisheries Conference that has just been held in Melbourne. I have received a copy Of them, and now la.v it on the table.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 5th September, vide page 2873) :
Cotton, ginned ; (period) 8 years ; (rate of bounty) 10 per cent, on market value ; (maximum payable in any one .year), £6,000.
Upon which Senator Walker had moved, bv way of amendment -
That after the word “value” the following words be inserted : - “ in the first year of cultivation, and thereafter reducible annually by i per cent.”
– Yesterday Senator Dobson prefaced his remarks- on this item by asking why the Minister had not offered any reason in its favour to the Committee. It is desirable that some reason should be given to honorable senators for the inclusion of the item.
– My honorable colleague went into quite an elaborate explanation regarding the item.
– As regards the desirability of the item, there is another explanation which I have not yet heard read. It is given in a few sentences by the experts in their report. More than once we have been told that the Ministry rely very considerably on the advice which they received from their experts. In order to show honorable senators that the Government have overlooked that advice, I shall quote two extracts from page 8 of the report -
Many” extravagant claims have from time to time been made to us as to the wonderful yields of cotton that can be produced on suitable Australian soils. Quite fascinating balance-sheets have been evolved from these alleged facts,- and if only a portion of what was said could be borne out bv unchallengeable figures, the cotton industry .would be full of promise for the producers of the Commonwealth.
Nothing, I venture to submit, .could be more damning to the item than that statement of the experts. But; as if to show that it could be even more effectually damned, this further statement is made in the report -
Except for the fact that cotton seed has recently become valuable because of the oil that can be extracted from it, and the cake which can be manufactured from the residues, the cotton industry would be utterly without hope in Australia.
If we are to believe the experts, on whom the Government rely, we are asked to grant a bounty upon the production of cotton with the remote expectation that cotton seed oil “can be extracted therefrom, and further that cotton seed cake can be manufactured from the residues.
– But after considering those points, the experts strongly . recommended this item.
– I cannot quite agree with Senator Best when he makes that remark. I have looked through the report, and I can hardly_find an item in the schedule which they have more clearly damned. I do not suppose that any expert could have written anything which would be more likely to induce the Committee to reject the item than that which these experts wrote on the subject of cotton. I am much obliged to Senator Best for whispering so audibly that the experts have clearly damned the item, of coffee, but I suppose that the Government intend to try to carry the whole of the items in the schedule. Again, the honorable senator whispers audibly that he is ashamed of having made the remark. I am very glad that at rare intervals we do get from the Ministry, even in stage whispers, so to speak, an admission of the very weakness of their case with regard to bounties. I ask any business man in the Senate whethe in the light of the two extracts I have read the Government are justified in proposing to give a bounty of £6,000 annually for eight years upon the production of cotton? I cannot attach much importance to the suggestion that cotton seed oil can be extracted from the cotton seed, and “cotton seed cake manufactured from the residues. Now, for what purpose is the cake to be used? The Minister knows that I am not likely to make a rash statement as to the uses to which it could be put, but I venture to submit, with every confidence, that for whatever purpose it could be used, it would only be used as a substitute for a better article. The same remark applies to cotton seed oil ; at the most it would be an inferior substitute. Those are the only two possible grounds on which the experts suggest the granting of a bounty upon the production of cotton. If they had suggested that Australia might produce an article which isvery essential to an enormous industry, and encouraged us in the faintest possible way to hope that Australia could supply itself with all the cotton which might be wanted for manufacturing purposes, we might give serious consideration to the proposal. But that is not suggested. Can any one imagine for a moment that cotton would be produced anywhere if it were to be used for only two subsidiary purposes? Such an idea should be laughed out of court. In their report there is no advantage hinted at by the experts other than those two indirect minor advantages to be derived from the growth of cotton.
– There is in the report of the Queensland expert.
– It is not bound with the report of the experts upon whom the Government rely.
– Yes; it is published on page 7, but in smaller print.
– The Queensland expert is the only one who knows anything about cotton.
– He did not attend the Conference, and so he supplied a report afterwards.
– I am now told that there is a report by somebody else, and that he is the only man consulted who knows anything about cotton, which, to a certain extent, contradicts the report of the official experts.
– I explained that the Queensland Government said that they could not send down a representative, but that he would furnish information in writing, which he did.
– I am to gather that his information almost entirely contradicts the information given by the four official experts who signed the report.
– He is the best qualified man we have here on that subject.
– If that is so, why is the report of the four official experts submitted to us as a reason for approving the bounty?
– We thought it best to give all the information which they had supplied.
– If it is merely a question of the value of evidence, we have the assurance of the Minister and other honorable senators that Mr. Daniel Jones, of Queensland, is the only man who really knows much about the subject. I do not wish to impeach the report of the four official experts, or to say that they are of no standing or value in the community. But we have to recognise the fact that they have staked their reputation on what is printed in their report, under the head of cotton, and that they conclusively damn this proposal. When it cannot be denied that they do, I am then told as a reason why the bounty should be approved that another man, who, it is alleged, knows much more about the subject than the other four, holds a different opinion. If it is merely a collision of opinion, I see no reason why I should reject the opinion of the four experts, and accept that of one expert. In my opinion, the statements made by the four experts are sufficiently explanatory in themselves. They ought to appeal to any ordinary man. I have not read the report of Mr. Jones, and I do not suppose that he has ventured so far as to say-
– Would it not be better for the honorable senator to read his report first?
– I have read the report of the four official experts, who say that the only object to be attained by promoting the cultivation of cotton is to carry out two minor subsidiary purposes, namely, the manufacture of cotton seed oil and’ cotton seed cake. They do not say oneword about the possibility of establishing a large industry. If they fail to point to that possibility, there is very little to be said on the subject. I have no doubt that they have a bias in the direction of pointing out all they could in favour of this proposal. I venture to say that the four experts, within the limits of honest statements, did their utmost tomake out as good a case as they could. They were not likely to damn the proposal, to find out reasons by the way for stating that the industry was not worth encouraging by means of a bounty. Although the tendency was certain to be in the other direction, yet we find that to all intents and purposes they have given us strong and almostunanswerable reasons why we should not attempt to waste£48,000 in this direction. For the reasons which are given in the official report, and on which the Government rely /for support, I can not vote for the item.
. -I rise to support the item. I regret that, for this purpose, we are not asked to vote more than £6,000 a year for a period of eight years, because if there is one industry which, in my judgment, can be successfully established in Australia, it is the cotton industry. It is one which deserves to be encouraged, because we all know what it means to other countries. In my speech on the second reading of the Bill I pointed out that to America the cotton industry is worth £40,000,000 a year. A market can always be found for cotton. That cotton can be grown, and grown successfully, in Australia, has been demonstrated in years gone by. Further than that, some of the highest prices realized in -the world’s market have been paid for cotton grown in North Queensland. It is said that in regard to other countries, the labour aspect of the question must be considered, but for some years past, in the “ United States, coloured labour in the cotton industry is rapidly being displaced, and it is now very largely carried on by white labour, which the planters have found to be more economical and advantageous than the coloured labour previously employed. Senator Clemons naturally emphasized the opinions expressed by the experts, but in the general debate on the second reading of the Bill, honorable senators opposite gave very little attention to the opinions of the experts, and attached no value to their report. ‘ After all, the experts do not condemn the proposed bounty on cotton. If they had submitted a glowing report which’ might be the means of inducing people with very little knowledge to embark upon the industry, they .would have been condemned for having made statements that were too highly coloured.
– Mr. Jones,, the Queensland expert, has made a very favorable report on the subject.
– Mr. Jones, in the opinion of those who know him, is a very competent man, whose views on this question should carry great weight. He is one of the Queensland Government experts, is familiar with the conditions prevailing in that State, and knows from personal observation what has been done in Queensland in the direction of cotton culture. I know that cotton can be grown at Cairns.’
– It can be, and has been grown in West Moreton.
– It is grown in the south-eastern corner of Queensland.
– It can be grown in almost every part of that State.
– I believe that Queensland is specially adapted .for cottongrowing. Then there can be no two opinions on the question of whether cotton can be grown in the Northern Territory, for it is found growing in a semi-wild state there; though the country suffers at times from want of rain.
– There is a rainfall of 70” inches in the Northern Territory.
– That is not general over the whole of the Territory, and although a great deal of rail falls there at particular times, there are long intervals of dry weather.
– What is growing iri the Northern Territory is tree cotton.
– Not at all. It is fine cotton, and it is growing wild there.
– I am not sufficiently acquainted with the subject to be able to say that it is cotton which would find a market, if it received care and attention in its cultivation; but I have been informed by experienced Government officials engaged in making experiments iri connexion with the growth of tropical plants in the Botanical Gardens, in the Northern Territory, that there is no doubt that cotton suitable for the world’s market can be grown there successfully. If that be so, why should we hesitate about encouraging an Australian industry ? My regret is that the amount proposed to be appropriated for this_bounty, £6,000 per annum, over a period of eight years, is not sufficient.
– The amount might be’ increased later on, if that were thought desirable.
– For the reasons I have given, T am heartily in favour of the proposed bounty for the encouragement in Australia of the cotton industry.
– The item under discussion is the most important item in the schedule. If cotton can be successfully produced in Australia, it can be cultivated over an area representing nearly three- fourths of this continent, and it must therefore be of immense value to the Commonwealth. In America, where the production of cotton is pursued with the greatest success, the industry is of about as much value to the country as the wool industry is to Australia. I believe that in time, with a little encouragement, and perhaps after a few reverses in the earlier stages of the industry, the cotton industry may prove to be of as much value to us as our wool industry is at the present time.
– The industry was never assisted by a bounty in the United States.
– No; but the growth of cotton in the United States was established under a system of absolute slavery, a system which I do not think Senator Clemons would care to see introduced into Australia.
– Of course not, but slavery was not necessary for the establishment of the industry in the United States.
– No one can question the fact that cotton can be produced in Australia, because cotton of the very finest quality is being produced in the Commonwealth at the present time. If there is a reasonable prospect of the establishment of the cotton industry in a large way, any effort to secure its establishment should receive the assistance of! every person who has the welfare of Australia at heart. Mr. Jones, the Queensland cotton expert, who has devoted more attention to this particular subject, and knows more about cottongrowing than does any other individual in the Commonwealth, has submitted a very valuable report, which is included in the memoranda tabled in connexion with the Bounties Bill, and including the report of the Conference. At page 8 of this paper, after describing his visits of inspection to various districts, Mr. Jones reports -
Generally speaking, the growers were unfamiliar with the varieties of cotton sown. I was able to determine these, and also advise as to selection of the best plants for seed purposes, which should help in improving the quality of fibre. My investigations indicate conclusively that in cotton we have a valuable asset, by reason of its simple cultivation, its short period of maturity, its hardihood, and its ability to stand drought, its high value which permits’ its transport for long distances without materially adding to the cost of production. These advantages make it a safer crop to depend upon than any other that I have observed in cultivation in these districts. The quality of the staple examined was in both varieties of Sea Island and Upland, well up to the standard of their respective types. I feel assured that when the merits of this crop are realized a large influx of settlers will be drawn to these fertile and cheap lands, which are also accessible to the railway.
At this stage, I shall not quote lengthy extracts from the report, as honorable senators can refer to it for themselves. I merely say that Mr. Jones presents a valuable report as to the possibility of the successful establishment of this industry, and it should not be overlooked by the Committee. If by the expenditure of £6,000 per annum for eight years we can establish an industry the productof which will rival in value the product of the great wool industry of Australia, we shall be more than compensated for every effort put forward in connexion with this Bill, even though every other industry dealt with in the measure were to prove a failure. The growth of cotton may be an invaluable means of filling up the empty spaces in the Commonwealth in which no industry is at present carried on. I know of nothing in which we can place higher hopes for the development of the Northern Territory than the establishment of this industry. As the conditions and climate of the north-western districts of Western Australia are very similar to those prevailing in North Queensland, there is no reason why we should not look forward to a great development of the cotton-growing industry in those districts. In common with Senator Findley, I regret that the amount to be appropriated for the cotton bounty is so small. Unfortunately, we have not in this Senate the constitutional right to increase the amount.
– The Senate can make a request to that end.
– No, we can not.
– I have looked very carefully into the matter, and on the highest authority I have come to the conclusion that we have not the right, under the Constitution, to increase the amount of this appropriation in the way we should like.
– We may make any request we please.
– We have not even that right in this connexion.
– That is so; we have not.
– I am sorry to hear the leader of the Senate join with Senator Givens in belittling the powers of the Senate.
– I have only stated a fact.
– I have consulted authorities on the question.
– I ask the honorable senator not to discuss that point on this item. An opportunity to discuss it may be afforded later.
– I bow to your ruling, sir. I think it is unfortunate that we cannot increase the amount of the appropriation, but at least we can agree to continue the proposed bounty over the full period of eight years. I think that eight years is too short a period. I may mention that Senator Walker’s amendment would have the effect of considerably reducing the small bounty proposed to be given, which amounts to only 2s. in the £1. Senator Walker argues that it would be wise to reduce the bounty offered on a sliding scale, as to cease to pay any bounty at the close of the eight years’ period would be likely to cause disaster. The honorable senator’s proposal would be much more likely to have that effect, because while the bounty would be at a small rate for a few years, it would gradually become smaller, and the growers would only get about half the bounty proposed under the Bill.
– What is the market value of cotton per lb. ?
– It runs from 6d. to 13d. per lb., and on an average cotton would be worth perhaps10d. per lb.
– The bounty would represent about1d. per lb. ?
– It would amount to something like that, estimating the value of cotton at1s. per lb. I intend to vote against the amendment, and I trust that though other items in the schedule may be rejected this item, at least, will be retained.
Motion (by Senator Best) proposed -
That the Chairman leave the chair, report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
– The honorable senator left his seat before I had named the tellers.
– Might I ask, sir, if that is your ruling?
– My ruling is that Senator O’Loghlin, havingleft his seat to cross the Chamber at the time I was putting the question, is entitled to vote with the ayes.
– Do you, sir, rule that before you named the tellers Senator O’Loghlin had crossed to the other side?
– I rule that the honorable senator had crossed to my right before I named the last teller.
– That is a question of fact, and I think quite otherwise.
Motion agreed to; progress reported.
– I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
In moving this motion, I may say that it has been intimated to me that we might fairly forego the remaining two hours of the Friday sitting, as I understand a large number of honorable senators are desirous of studying the practical features of the Bounties Bill at theRoyal Agricultural Show.
– It is all very well for Senator Best, with a smile on his face, to say that it is desirable that honorable senators should go to the Agricultural Show to get a practical lesson in the advantages of the Bounties Bill, but by the Ministerial manoeuvre which the honorable senator has just successfully carried out there is no business left on the paper, and, no matter how much one may object to this motion for adjournment, we should have no business to go on with if it were defeated.
– Could we not talk at large ?
– We could, but Senator Givens will agree that there is too much talking at large in the Senate. I wished to deal with Government business, and we might have continued the consideration of the Bounties Bill this afternoon. As to the reason for the proposed adjournment, I point out that honorable senators have had an opportunity, if they had desired to avail themselves of it, to attend the Show on any morning during the week.
– I had not.
– Some honorable senators had to attend meetings of the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications.
– I have no doubt that we should be grateful to honorable senators who have worked on that Committee in the discharge of their public duty, but I still say that every member of the Senate might have attended the Show during the week. I do not see why we should adjourn the business of the Senate now, and if I stand alone I shall enter my protest against this adjournment, though I should be willing at any time to consent to an adjournment where for any good reason the Government were unable to submit business for the consideration of the Senate.
– Where was the honorable senator last night?
– I was not here, but if Senator Russell was, he must know that Government business was not discussed last night. Before I left I took special care to ask a member of the Ministry whether any Government business would be brought on.
– Business was submitted by one of the honorable senator’s colleagues.
– Even if Senator Walker himself had submitted private business last night I regret to have to assure him that I should not have been here.
– I quite believe that.
– The honorable senator will admit that, if the attraction of his wonderful learning and eloquence would not have been sufficient to secure my presence I could not be expected to attend merely to listen to the humble utterances of a fellow-senator from Tasmania. I cannot understand why Senator Best should consider it to be convenient for the Senate to cease work to-day.
– Would it not be convenient to go to lunch?
– This is the first occasion on which I have known Senator Givens to support a proposal like this. I have heard him denounce in the most violent language proposals to knock off work. I have heard him contend that our first duty is to the electors, and have a vivid recollection of his vehement utterances. We are here to do work, and there is no reason why we should not do it.
– I am delighted at the opportunity of having an adjournment. Nothing could be more instructive to honorable senators from other States than to see such a valuable exhibition as is now open in this State. We ought to have an opportunity of witnessing what is being done to develop the resources of thecountry. Personally, I wish to visit the Agricultural Show, and am therefore glad of the adjournment.
– I have on more than one occasion contended that the Senate should set its face against unnecessary adjournments, but on this occasion I shall support the motion in order that honorable senators may have an opportunity of seeing what can be produced in Australia. We shall shortly be dealing with a matter closely involving the development of Australian industries. I am surprised at the action of my honorable friend, Senator Clemons, in opposing an adjournment which means the loss of less than three hours, because, on consulting the Journals of the Senate, I find that he has been absent on seven occasions this session.
– I was only absent during the debate on the AddressinReply.
– The honorable senator is somewhat inconsistent in opposing this adjournment in view of his own absences. Personally, I am glad of the adjournment in order that honorable senators may be able to see what Australia can do in various lines of industry.
Question - That the Senate do now adjourn - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at1.19 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 6 September 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1907/19070906_senate_3_38/>.