3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Charge for Tents
– I beg to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, without notice, if he is yet in a position to give the Senate any information in regard to the team of New Zealand riflemen being charged for the use of tents at Randwick recently?
– I have been making inquiries into the matter to which the honorable senator referred the other day, and the letter which he then quoted. From the Department of Defence I have received a letter which states that with reference to the honorable senator’s question about the tents for the New Zealand team of riflemen, Major-General Gordon, the Commandant of New South Wales, has telegraphed, as follows -
Have seenColonel Cresswell, who says statement in press not correct. Secretary National Rifle Association states tentage and furniture supplied visiting teams free of charge.
I am advised by the Secretary to the Department that he has sent a copy of the letter read by the honorable senator to the Commandant of New South Wales for a report, inasmuch as it conflicts with the contents of the telegram I have just quoted.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Home Affairs, without notice, if he can make a statement in regard to a claim made by Mr. Spencer for the resumption of land at F reman tle?
– The case has been referred to more than once. A notification has been received -to-day to the effect that the appeal made by Mr. Spencer has been successful to the extent that although Mr. Justice Higgins had awarded him £2,250 as compensation for his land, on appeal, the Full Court of the High Court has granted him , £3,000. The original claim was for £10,000, and we paid into Court about £3,200, with interest. Mr. Justice Higgins awarded Mr. Spencer less than the amount which we had paid in. On appeal,
Mr. Spencer succeeded in getting£3,000, but that is considerably less than the amount of his original claim. The principle of law laid down by Mr. Justice Higgins has, I think, had a very salutary effect on claimants in other parts of the Commonwealth.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice - 1.Has the State Government of Western Australia at any time sought the permission of the Federal Parliament, under section 91 of the Constitution, for the right to grant bounties to assist the industries of that State in the production of goods?
– The answer to both questions is “ No.”
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
In view of recent developments in connexion with the administration of the Excise Tariff Act of 1906, will the Government consider the desirability of amending the Act so as to provide that the Excise duties levied under it shall be equal to the import duties under the Customs Tariff Act of 1906.
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
At present the Government can give no assurances in the direction suggested, but the matter will receive careful consideration in connexion with the general question of the new protection which is now engaging the attention of the Government.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answer to the first question is “ Yes,” and to the second question “ No.” But it is only fair to add that I have been fortunate enough to receive information from Mrs. Chataway that she did not use the words “ bad character “ or any words which were capable ‘ of that construction.
.- Arising out of the question, sir, I would advise that in the future ladies’ names should not be mentioned in the Senate.
– They are citizens of the Commonwealth.
– Order ! We cannot have a debate on the matter at the present moment.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow - 1.£4,892 14s. per annum.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
In view of the scanty information given by the newspapers of the Commonwealth with reference to the proceedings of the Federal Parliament, would it not be desirable, in the public interest, to publish a daily Hansard to be circulated at a cheap rate?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
The Government would not feel justified in entering upon such an important departure on account of probable heavy expenditure, but, strictly speaking, the matter is one for Parliament itself to decide.
Motion (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to parliamentary elections and to. provide for the settlement of questions relating to the qualifications of members of the Parliament and to vacancies in either House of the Parliament.
Bill presented and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Best) put -
That this Bill be now read a third time.
– The “Ayes” have it.
– There was only one “No” sir.
– Senator Macfarlane said “ No.”
– I will put the question again.
– I think the “ Ayes “ have it.
– There were two “Noes,” sir.
– I only heard one “ No.”
– Senator Walker said “No.”
Bill read a third time.
– I claim a division, sir.
– It is too late now. I put the question a second time in order that there should be no doubt. I distinctly heard the honorable senator say “no,” but I did not hear a second “no.”
Debate resumed from 25th October (vide page 5208) on motion by Senator Keating -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– This is a Bill which can be discussed better in Committee than in the Senate. I believe that its general principles commend themselves to every honorable senator. During debate only one question has been raised, and that is whether the Commonwealth should have the power to interfere with quarantine outside the vessels which come to our shores from abroad; in other words, whether it should have the right to interfere in quarantine between the States or inside a State ? We must all realize that in a very large number of cases those who have been responsible for the administration of the Health Acts in the various States have found themselves absolutely helpless when there have been epidemics of infectious disease. We all remember what occurred in New South Wales when the bubonic plague broke out. The municipal authorities who were responsible for safeguarding the health of the citizens of Sydney had not discharged their duties well, -and the Government had to step in and assume the responsibility of dealing with the outbreak. In Queensland, when the disease was introduced, it was found that some of the local authorities had done the sanitary work very well, but that others had neglected to take the necessary precautions and to exercise their powers under the Health Act. The State Government had to intervene, and appoint men who could act with the full power of the Government behind them, and say to the municipal authorities, “ You” must do the work which the State Parliament has directed that you should do, otherwise we are here to see that it is carried out.” The objection that has been taken to the third clause of the Bill is that under it the Commonwealth will have the right to interfere in matters of quarantine inside the seaboard, and if necessary within a State. I want . to know why it should not have that power. I want to know why, if the Government of a State neglects the duty with which in this matter they are charged, the Commonwealth should not have the power to say, “This work must be done.” If it is not done by the State authorities it should be within the power of the Commonwealth Government to see that it is carried out. If we recall the legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament we must remember the great opposition which has been directed against it. Reams of correspondence have been sent from States Parliaments and institutions to members of the Federal Parliament, praying that on no account should the Commonwealth Government be allowed to interfere in matters which were held to be matters for State control. We have had complaints and petitions from Chambers of Commerce and local authorities of every kind throughout Australia, asserting that the Commonwealth Parliament was all the time overstepping Commonwealth bounds, and interfering in matters of State concern. I have made a list of some of the Commonwealth . legislation which gave rise to these complaints. When this Parliament was considering the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, although it was admitted that we had the power to deal with the matter, and might proceed to exercise it, we had protests’ from interested parties, who insisted that to pass such legislation would me’an the ruin of industries in Australia. The Contract Immigrants! Bill was received in the same way. This Parliament was flooded with opinions from Chambers of Commerce and other States institutions that the proposed legislation involved an interference with the rights of the States in the matter of immigration.
– Does the honorable senator think that we have sufficient immigration at the present time?
– I am not saying whether we have or not. The legislation to which I refer certainly did not interfere with immigration to any great extent.
– It did t’o some extent.
– I am dealing with the cry of interested bodies that ruin stared Australia in the face if the Commonwealth Parliament persisted in interfering by legislation with matters of this kind. The Immigration Restriction Bill and the Sea Carriage of Goods Bill were received in the same way. Opinions were sent in by all sorts of people against that legislation insisting that it dealt with matters which should be left to the States Parliament. These matters had never been attended to by the States Parliaments, but as soon as the Commonwealth Parliament proposed to take action there was an outcry from those whose opposition showed that they were not interested in the welfare of Australia as a whole. In the same way we were told in connexion with the workers’ clauses in the Trades Marks Bill, that to protect the workers in the way proposed would mean the ruin of Australian industries. The Australian Industries Preservation Bill Was another piece of legislation which provoked protest and criticism, though we have just dealt with a Bill intended to give more power to the Government than was provided for in the first measure. The Commerce Bill met with similar opposition. Honorable senators will remember that the wails of interested parties to which attention was directed by certain honorable senators, and certain representatives in another place, when that Bill was being con sidered, might have led one to believe that if the measure were passed it would mean disaster to all interested in the commerce of Australia. It will be remembered that we had a large amount of correspondence from Tasmania, and that representatives of that State told us that the Commerce Bill if passed would interfere with the export trade of the State, and would mean ruin to a very large number of people engaged in growing produce for which a market was found in the outside world. To such an extent was the opposition to the measure carried in Tasmania, that one of the representatives of the Government in the Senate, coming from that State, was practically boycotted. His meetings were broken up, and he was taunted with having assisted to pass legislation injurious to the State, because the objects which the Federal Parliament had in view in passing that measure were absolutely misrepresented by those whose interests it was to misrepresent them. The Act has now been in force for twelve months, and we have the opinion’ of the gentleman who has been administering it in its favour. The Tasmanian Minister for Lands and Works, Mr. Hean, made a speech in the State Parliament on the r;th September last, which is recorded in the North-Western Advocate, and the Emu Bay Times, of Devonport. He was referring to the apple export trade, and dealing with the operation of the .Commerce Act he said -
At first it was considered that the working of the export provisions of the Commerce Act would unduly harass and da-mage the industry, but I am glad to say since the control of these provisions has been in the hands of thoroughly competent officials, the growers, exporters, and general shippers have become quite reconciled to this new legislation, especially when it became known to them that vessels such as the Durham, Hector, _ and Himalaya, amongst other vessels, shipped to Home markets 150,000 cases of fruit which had to undergo inspection, according tothe requirements of the commerce regulations, and export permits issued for every case, wascarried out with the aid of a staff of five inspectors on the Hobart Wharf without any delay whatever to the boats. These three boats referred to were all loading practically at thesame time, and if it had not been for the thorough system adopted, this state of affairs could not have been possible.
There is testimony to the beneficial effects of legislation passed in the teeth of strong opposition from people interested in the export of produce from Tasmania. ; It would appear that they are now perfectly satisfied with that legislation. So it hasbeen all through, whilst we have had from,
States Parliaments, Governments, muni- cipal authorities, Boards, and Chambers of Commerce, the same complaint that all the legislation we proposed was going to be derrimental to the interests of Australia., as soon as it has been put into operation, it has met with the approval of the very people who went out of their way inopposing it, to defame the best interests of the Commonwealth.
– Perhaps the honorable senator will admit that amendments proposed by the Opposition have, in many teases, done good.
– I admit that a concensus of opinion has sometimes led the Senate to adopt amendments proposed by members of the Opposition that have not proved harmful ; but I also assert that honorable senators on the other side have often submitted amendments which, if accepted by the Government, would have rendered the measures absolutely ineffective.
– Would have wrecked them.
– Would have very much modified them.
– They would have been very much modified, just as the legislation we are now considering would be modified if some honorable senators had their way. It is said that the Government have the right, under the Constitution, to assume the power to administer quarantine in respect of diseases which might be introduced by vessels coming from oversea; but that the Commonwealth authorities should not interfere with internal quarantine. If we were to accept amendments which would give effect to that view, while we might play into the hands of a few parochialists who are afraid that all power is going to be assumed by the Federal authority, we should find that, as has happened in the past, the States Parliaments would leave the work to local bodies, who would not carry it out. When honorable senators object to the control of internal quarantine by the Federal authority, I wonder whether they remember many of the cases of the spread of disease which have occurred in Australia. Senator Chataway, in speaking on the second reading of the Bill, referred to the tick pest that spread through, Queensland. It did not originate in that State; it was introduced from the north and spread down the coast. The State Government did everything they could to prevent the spread of the ticks. Although the Government spent a very large amount of money, and private people were also at great cost through the loss of stock, and the expense of the erection of dips and barriers to prevent the spread of the pest, it was not stopped until the ticks had reached the south of Queensland. When, as in that case, the State Government and the people did all they possibly could by the expenditure of money, the appointment of inspectors, and the adoption of various methods to prevent the spread of a disease, what was the action taken by another State? The Government of New South Wales issued a set of regulations by which they divided the whole of the State of Queensland into different districts. Maps were issued in Queensland showing districts from which cattle and horses might not be transferred without having to serve a quarantine of two or three months, and others from which they could not be transferred until they had undergone a quarantine of six months. There was only one portion of Queensland from which cattle and horses were allowed to enter New South Wales without quarantine, although the stock in many other parts of the State were equally clean. From a report submitted by the Queensland Department of Agriculture, I find the following, which appears under the heading of “ Border Stock Restrictions “ -
The last New South Wales stock restrictions issued on 10th March, 1905, provided that all horses that entered the areas, SchedulesT and Z (Darling Downs), would require to remain in those areas at least four months and another two months in the area known as Schedule W (Maranoa), or six months in all in the latter area, and then be dipped again at the border. As a result of the Conference the New South Wales authorities have agreed to have their regulations altered as follows : -
All clean horses from Darling Downs, areas T and Z, to proceed direct to New South Wales on dipping at Warwick, Stanthorpe, and the border with seven days between each dipping ; or
dip at Warwick or Toowoomba, then remain two months in Schedule W (Maranoa) before crossing the border after dipping thereat, which was the restriction prior to March, 1905 ; or
remain six months in Schedule T, Z, and W, according to regulation of10th March, 1905.
The opinion of the Queensland Government at that time is stated in these words -
The restrictions placed by New South Wales upon the interchange of stock with this State, which threatened to seriously interfere, if not to destroy, the horse markets at Toowoomba and Warwick - markets that are now of considerable dimensions and of repute with buyers from outside the Commonwealth - Mr. J. P. Orr, the
Deputy Chief Inspector of Stock, was instructed to proceed to New South Wales to confer with the officers of the Department of Agriculture and Stock in that. State, and to endeavour to secure a removal of restrictions that were causing serious inconvenience in this State.
The report goes on to point out that the mission of that gentleman was fairly successful, and says -
The New South Wales authorities have also promised that if Queensland can show m the future reasonable grounds, consistent with safety, for further relaxation, same would be favorably received, and in the meantime will consider applications for the interchange of stud swine, and thus reciprocate with Queensland. Furthermore, as this State has promised to notify New South Wales of any advance of the tick pest towards the border, that State will in return notify Queensland of any contemplated regulations.
Here was a case where one State exercised the power to interfere with the transfer of stock from another State, no matter whether the animals were clean or not. We have lately heard a great deal from the newspapers against power being given to the Federal Government to deal with matters of quarantine. Let me quote what one of the Queensland newspapers said when New South Wales divided up Queensland in the manner I have described. I quote from the Brisbane Courier of the1st April, 1907 -
The new regulations imposed by the New South Wales Government on Queensland stock travelling across an imaginary border line to the south are likely to prove vexatious to a large and increasing trade. It was generally supposed that Federation would break down Inter-State barriers, but here is evidence that one State may erect walls as high as those of ancient Babylon against another State, and there is apparently no redress except appeal to moral considerations, which may or may not carry weight when material interests are put on the scales. It will, of course, be still possible to send horses from Toowoomba to Brisbane for the Indian market, but the export of horses from the Darling Downs into New South Wales will be rendered practically impossible. In another direction, the transit of stock has not been interfered with; but it is a coincidence that in this case the benefit goes to the centres of sale in New South Wales. Thus, stock from the Gulf of Carpentaria and the districts west of Roma will have a clear run into the adjoining State, so that the Bourke horse sales will not be interfered with, and it will still be possible for the run-holders to draw stock from the west of Queensland for fattening purposes.
Here was a state of things which I maintain that the Federal Government ought not to have allowed to exist. One State ought not to be permitted to do such an injury to the producing interests of another State.
– Does the honorable senator know whether those tick-infested cattle came across the Richmond to the injury of cattle in New South Wales?
– Every precaution was taken by the Queensland Government to prevent stock from crossing in that direction. But with the object of influencing markets in New South Wales, the Government of that State divided Queensland into a number of sections, and said, “You shall not shift stock, whether clean or otherwise, outside a particular portion of Queensland into New South Wales unless you drive them, perhaps, 100 or 200 miles, and then allow them to stop there for a period of from two to six months.” The very newspapers which, like the Brisbane Courier, were then crying out about the injustice meted out to the large producing interests of Queensland are the journals which at present are protesting a,gainst the assumption of power as to quarantine by the Federal Government. I suppose that the Courier is representing the views of the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce, or some such body. But they forget that the Federal Government is proposing to take a power which they themselves, a few years ago, said they understood was given to the Federation to prevent the recurrence of such things as were complained of. I have before me a volume of the New South Wales Gazette, which contains a quantity of information regarding the way in which New South Wales cut up the State of Queensland at that time. I shall not read it, but for the information of honorable senators I may say that the State was cut up into seven sections. New South Wales would not permit stock from some parts of Queensland to travel into New South Wales at all, whilst in other parts stock had to be quarantined after being driven for a long distance, for a period of from two to six months. This, I think, is the most prominent example we have had in Australia of one State exerting its power to the detriment of another.
– The honorable senator is absolutely wrong if he thinks that New South Wales did that with the intention of injuring Queensland.
– I am stating what appeared in the report of the Department of Agriculture, which is an official publication, and also in what is by some people regarded as the principal newspaper in Brisbane.
– Does the honorable senator believe that New South Wales did it purposely to injure Queensland?
– I am not saying that New South Wales did it purposely to injure Queensland, but I do say that that was the effect. The regulations hampered the movement of stock, and prevented it from crossing the border. That is one reason why 1 think that the Federal Government should take into its own hands’ the power to say, when one State is prepared to do an action which is diametrically opposed to the interests of another State - whether it means to do that or not - that it shall be prevented. Paragraphs g, h, and i of clause 13 give the Federal Government power to -
That is a reserve power which, I think, is absolutely necessary in the interests of the people of Australia as a whole. In sub-clause 3 of the same clause it is provided that -
The powers conferred on the Governor-General by this section, in relation to the matters specified in paragraphs (g), (h), and (i) of sub-section (1.), 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.
It seems to me that the outcry that has been raised against this Bill, and which is similar to the outcry raisedagainst other legislation that we have passed, will prove to be absolutely wrong. As soon as the legislation is carried, and is put into working order, we usually find that the very people who objected to it come along and ask that the provisions shall be put into operation in their interest. The experience that we have had ought to be sufficient to prove to honorable senators that legislation of this character is necessary. But we are told that quarantine should apply only to animals and persons coming from oversea. There is the possibility of diseases and pests affecting both animals and plants breaking out in various parts of the Commonwealth. If a State neglects to do its duty in the direction of the eradication of such diseases and pests, the Federal Government must have a power superior to that which can be exercised by any State, to insure that the people in every part of the Commonwealth shall be protected. It must have the power to compel the States to pass or to administer laws to prevent pests and diseases from spreading. We are also told that great trouble will arise in connexion with the administration of such legislation. I cannot see where the trouble will occur. There are in the States Health Acts and laws relating to diseases of animals and plants. Those laws are now being administered. But we do not know that a particular State may not take exception to animals or fruit that are clean, and try to prevent them from travelling from one State to another, as articles of commerce. It is neither fair nor reasonable that one State shall be allowed to penalize another by preventing it from carrying its produce if that produce is clean. But such means of prevention can be put into operation unless the Federal Government step in and say - “ We have the power to deal with all matters of quarantine - affecting not only stock which may come down from India, or small pox or similar diseases that may be introduced from abroad, but also to make regulations with regard to quarantine as affecting the commerce between State and State.” If any disease breaks out in any part of Australia, and the local authorities do not think it worth their while to adopt rigid precautions to prevent the spread of it, the Federal Government ought to exercise that power. What happened when the plague broke out in Australia? Although Health Acts have been in existence for some time in the different States, the centralGovernments have had to take steps to compel the local authorities to administer the law. I know that the Queensland Government had to send one or two medical men to different portions of Queensland to put the law into operation over the heads of the municipal authorities. Some of them said that they had not the moneyto enable them to do what they would like in the administration of the Health Act. Others had hesitated to increase their rates for the purpose of carrying out a proper system of inspection. Because the municipal authorities did not do what was necessary, the central Government had to step in and compel them to act. That is all that is asked under this Bill. [ do not see why there should be any objection to the Federal Government getting a power like this. It seems to be the only wise precaution which we can take. Some honorable senators have suggested that the power of the Commonwealth should be limited to oversea quarantine. That would do practically no good. Vessels often come here with diseases on board. They have been passed on some occasions, and people and goods have been landed and transported large distances, perhaps into other States. Do honorable senators mean to say that the Federal Government should not have the power to interfere in those cases? It is the only body that should have the power, and it is the body to which the people of Australia delegated the power when they accepted the Constitution. So far, that is the only question in dispute between the members of the Opposition and the Government, and between the people representing smaller bodies outside and the Federal authorities. If the Senate gives the Government such power, thereneed be no fear that it will be abused. We know that it will be used, as the other legislation which I have mentioned has been used, in the interests of the people of Australia as a whole. The best thing that the Federal Government can do is to retain that power and exercise it, as I believe they will, in a way which will hot be detrimental to the interests of the people of Australia. By so doing they will not only keep the other authorities up to the mark in seeing that the quarantine laws are observed and well administered, but will have the power to step in at any time and interfere for the good of the people, who run the risk of contracting disease; and also of those who are producing stock or raising produce of any description, which, living in a clean State, they desire to be able to transport from one part of the Commonwealth to another.
.- I agree with Senator Turley that quarantine isa matter in which the Commonwealth should exercise supreme control . That power has been bestowed upon the Commonwealth by the Constitution. If there is any one subject that we should control it is this. But I must confess, after going through the Bill very carefully, that I am in some doubt as to where we stand with regard to that control. As the Bill was first drafted theintention was that the Commonwealth should have absolute control over everything connected with quarantine. The intention seemed to be to ignore the States. That impression is borne out by remarks made in another place. But representations were made there, and changes were effected in the: Bill. The views of the Government as to the future administration of the measure appeared to become considerably modified as its consideration proceeded. The Minister in charge in another place first of all said that it was intended to take away all power from the States. The House was then told that the Federal power was to be a concurrent power, and, finally, that power was to be taken to deal with all classes of people, animals, and goods, under all sorts of conditions. Consequently, I do not know exactly where we are. That point was not cleared up by the Minister in charge of the Bill in another place. The Bill itself was considerably modified by the introduction of a new sub-clause to clause 13, which has reference to the States. An amendment to clause 59 was the only other change made in another place. The speech of the Minister of Home Affairs in moving the second reading was very long, elaborate, and creditable. The honorable senator dealt; with great deliberation and very learnedly with the whole subject. He certainly elaborated the constitutional aspect of the question far too much. A great deal more than is necessary has been said with regard to that matter. There is no doubt that the power was given to us in the Constitution, and should be exercised by us to the very fullest extent that the welfare of the people require. Unfortunately, I could not understand from the Minister of Home Affairs exactly where State action was to terminate and Federal action to begin. The impression left on my mind - I shall be glad to be corrected if this is not the case - was that the States were in future to do the business just as they had been doing it in the past, and that the Federal power was to be exercised only in the way of supervision over and interference with the States when interference became absolutely necessary. I shall be glad if the Minister when replying will clearly explain that point. He said that it was not intended to establish a Federal Quarantine Department, but merely to see that the States carried out the administration of the quarantine law upon Federal principles. That seems very anomalous and involved. I suppose that the intention is that the States are to do the work, the Commonwealth merely holding a dormant power to see that the States do it properly, and not exercising that power unless it becomes absolutely necessary to do so. We have been given no information on the question of the cost. We do not know whether the Commonwealth is to take over the officers, as it has done with regard to the Defence, Post and Telegraph, and Customs- Departments, and pay them out of the Commonwealth revenue, or whether the States are to find the salaries as they have done in the past.
– They will not do anything of that kind. If the Commonwealth takes the power it will have to find the money.
– But the States and not the Commonwealth are to do the work.
– The States, will throw the work and the cost onto the Commonwealth.
– The States are evidently not anxious to do so, to judge by a letter from the late Premier of New South Wales, which has been placed in my hands, and in which very strong objection is taken to the Commonwealth assuming control over Intra-State quarantine. If the States object to the Commonwealth acting in that direction, I suppose that they intend to pay the cost of the work if they are allowed to do it in the future.
– One of the Premiers’ Conferences held two or three years ago agreed without discussion that the Commonwealth should assume control over quarantine.
– I think that by “quarantine” they understood something quite different from what is proposed in this Bill. I imagine that that Conference meant simply quarantine at the ports to deal more especially with human beings and animals coming here from outside. This Bill takes a very much wider grip of the question. The cost of the buildings in connexion with quarantine in the different States amounts to ,£320,124, made up as follows : - New South Wales, £123,600; Victoria, £63,150; South Australia, £22,294; Western Australia, £32,825; Tasmania, £12,255; an<* Queensland £66,000. Is it the intention of the Government to pay the States the cost of those buildings or simply to pay interest on the value if it takes them over? The cost of administration in the States has been £16,101 per annum. It is estimated that the cost of Commonwealth administration, if the same officials are to be employed, will be about the same, but that if interest at 3 per cent, is to be paid on the value of the buildings, a sum of £9,624 will have to be added, making a total cost of £25,725.
– Does not the honorable senator add interest to the cost of maintenance- when the States are doing the work?
– The States have not added the charge for interest. What is given is merely the actual cost of administration. It is proposed that the Commonwealth shall carry on the work with the same staff as before with the addition of a secretary at £600 per year, travelling expenses £150, clerk £”200, and incidental expenses £150. Apparently those are the only additional officers with whom the Commonwealth proposes to administer this important Act. I should like to be perfectly clear how much the States are going to do, what is the exact position which the Commonwealth is to take up, and what the whole thing will cost. I give a very hearty support to the Bill, except that there are one or two slight amendments which I should like to see made, because they are absolutely needed. We-, had in Australia a thoroughly clean country at the start, and nearly all our. pests and infections, and other troubles, have- come- in from outside. This is- a country where, owing to climatic conditions, pests and diseases spread more rapidly than in other countries., whose climate is more rigorous. The codlin. moth will breed, perhaps, two or three times a year in the south of Tasmania, whereas in the north of Victoria the same pest will breed .six, seven, or eight times in a year. All the pests that are introduced reproduce themselves very quickly in this country, because of the favorable conditions. I fear that the divided control may not work well. In the administration of this measure we must have either absolute control in the hands of the Commonwealth’, or the most cordial co-operation on the part of the States if the Commonwealth wishes to work with them. Otherwise we shall not be able to administer the Act properly. If a disease is allowed to come in through the want of proper administration or supervision, it is not the States, but the Commonwealth, that will get the blame, because the Commonwealth] is practically taking over the control. No doubt, as our relations with the outside world become closer, as our commerce increases, and as more ‘ people come here, there will be greater risk of pests and diseases being introduced, and greater care will require to be taken. I should like to. impress upon the Government that the ‘Pill is weak as regards inspection at the ports, especially the inspection pf animals. The ordinary officers there are supposed to pass animals and plants. We need experts to make the examination in those cases, in order to insure that. the animals and plants introduced are clean and healthy.’ If we leave the inspection to the ordinary officers, we shall be running a very great risk. I have given notice of one or two amendments, which I trust the Government will accept, in order to strengthen considerably the inspection at the ports. Almost every disease that has affected our stock in this country has come from outside. Very few, if any, diseases have been indigenous. Seeing that our horses, cattle, pigs, and sheep represent a value of nearly £90,000,000 and that’ we depend so largely on our production of stock and plants of various kinds, it is necessary that we should take very great precautions to see that Australia is kept clean. Great precautions are taken with regard to human beings. Only skilled medical men are allowed to conduct the examinations, and as the lives and prosperity of human beings are largely affected by diseases and pests which may be brought in by stock or plants,- we should have the best skill at our ports to see that unclean stock or plants, or anything^ which will convey disease, are not permitted to enter.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [4.1]- - I have a few interesting works of reference on the bench, and perhaps I cannot do better than commence my remarks by relating an incident that occurred before the Full Court of a Colony in the -old days. When a junior counsel appeared at the barristers’ table with a large array of volumes, the learned Judge on the Bench said, “ Surely counsel does not propose to refer to all those authorities?” “Not if your Honour knows the law,” he replied. It would not be necessary for me to refer to these authorities if Ministers had remembered the law. May I premise by saying that, although I have all these volumes here, I do not propose to speak at any length.
– Hear, hear.
– The honorable senator’s enthusiasm is worthy of a better cause, because there is no other member of the Senate who lets himself go at such considerable length as he does when everybody is weary. I have the advantage of the honorable senator to-day in that no one has yet become weary.
– Not at all.
– I do not think that I shall weary honorable sena: tors, and, though I have a good many authorities here, my speech will not be long.
– Refer to them all.
– When the honorable senator addresses the Chamber, he speaks in so admirable a manner that I listen with bated breath and never interrupt him. I hope he will not interrupt me, and that he will pay rae the compliment of listening with bated breath to my few remarks. What I desire first to prove is that this Bill deals with matters which under no interpretation of the English language, legal or common-place, come under the head of quarantine. Furthermore, I desire to point out that it deals with matters which could not by any possibility have been considered quarantine matters by the distinguished gentlemen who, like my friend and colleague, Senator Walker, and my friend and enemy, Senator Trenwith were, members of the Federal Convention. It could not by any possibility have entered their minds that cattle diseases and plant tribulations came within the meaning of the word “ quarantine,” and for this reason, that in not one of the then Colonies were cattle and vegetable diseases dealt with by Statute as matters of quarantine.
– Yes, they were, because quarantine was mentioned in several of .the Acts.
– Undoubtedly the word “ quarantine “ was used - I have the Statutes here - but in every case it applied to human beings or goods conveying or likely to convey infection injurious or fatal to human beings.
– It also appeared in the Stock Diseases Acts.
– If by any chance the word was used improperly in a Stock Diseases Act, that does not change by one hair’s breadth the fact that in all the latest dictionaries - common-place, legal, and, if my honorable friend likes, judicial, because I shall quote from Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary - and in all the Acts of the different States, quarantine is strictly confined to human beings and human maladies, and does not include potato blight, or rust in wheat, or tick in cattle, or any other of the many tribulations that afflict vegetable and animal life. I think it is of consequence to show, first of all, the meaning which must have attached to the word “ quarantine “ in the minds of the educated, prominent statesmen, or politicians of the Colonies who sat together in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney, and framed the Constitution under which we meet. In the first instance, I shall quote from. The Imperial Dictionary of the English Language, which I am- sure will .be recognised as a very late and a sufficient authority. But, sir, it is just as well that we should have a quorum, for I know that some honorable senators do not i ike to receive information. - (Quorum formed.] - From The Imperial Dictionary I make this quotation under the head of “quarantine.”
I ask the attention of the leader of the Senate, as a member of the legal profession, to the following definition -
– That is very ancient law. There have been developments and expansions since then.
– My honorable friend, perhaps, takes up the position that he is so immature an authority that he regards a .statement in a very new work as being antiquated. However, there is one other meaning attaching to the word, and I shall read it all, because I will not lay myself open to the charge of having read only a portion -
To put under quarantine; to prohibit from intercourse with the shore; to compel to remain at a distance from shore for forty days, or for other limited period on account of real or supposed infection : applied to ships or to- persons, and goods.
Now, on that authority, I hold that two thirds of this Bill is out of court, because it proposes to deal with any vegetable or animal tribulation. Clearly according to The Imperial Dictionary, the Bill is out of court as dealing with matters which are not contained within the meaning of the word. I shall now quote from The Nm English Dictionary, so novel a work that my honorable and learned friend cannot say that it is old-fashioned, as it has not yet been bound.
– I never said anything’ about that. What I .said was that the law which the honorable senator was quoting was very ancient law.
– My honorable and learned friend as a lawyer, will’ scarcely venture to deny that ancient law is still good law, and that two-thirds of the law of the British Empire is ancient law.
– Law is like wine, it improves with age.
– Very often Ministers, when they are members of the legal profession, are placed in an invidious position. They have to give opinions as Ministers which thev would not dare for an instant to give as lawyers. Senator Best knows that so well that I shall not attempt to “rub it in.” I am quite sure that the mere mention of the fact must make it patent to his mind. Evidently he sees the point, because he is laughing over it, and he would not be laughing so pleasantly unless he recognised the oddity of the proposition.
– I think it is a good joke.
– No doubt the honorable gentleman does, because, -while he gathers in the six and eightpences for good law in one street, he comes here and gathers in something a year Tor bad law. I hope he will not find fault with this, The New English Dictionary, even if he does with The Imperial Dictionary, and, coming from a.gentleman with his Imperial tendencies, I am rather taken aback by his fault-finding. This modern work has not yet been completed, and certainly is not bound up.
– It is the greatest dictionary in the world.
– This is what we find under the head of “ quarantine “ in this very new work - 1.Law: A period of forty days during which a widow, entitled to dower, had the right to remain in the chief mansion-house of her deceased husband ; hence, the right of a widow to remain in the house during this period.
My honorable friend may say that that is very ancient law.
– Put that in the Bill.
– It is unfortunate that a member of the learned profession should be girding at opinions laid down by a much higher authority than, I think, would be assumed for the views of any member of the Senate..
– The widow’s quarantine referred to was preserved by Magna Charta.
– That is an actual fact, as I shall show directly by a quotation from the Judicial Dictionary. The term “ Quarantine “ was never applied by any authority in the Empire to cows and potatoes, and that is what we are now proposing to do, to put it brusquely. I come now to the second explanation in this dictionary.
– It was never applied to widows forty days out of a dowry, either.
– No, it was not.
– It is a good plan to try to get rid of a difficulty by a little pleasant hilarity, and as an exponent of that excellent method, I. congratulate the. Vice-President of the ExecutiveCouncil. I regard the honorable senator as a pastmaster in these efforts to get rid of awkwardnesses by a little good-natured hilarity and a pleasant smile that captivates always, and frequentlycauses the subsidence of members of the Senate who are not as deadly in earnest asIam. I assure the honorable senator, however, that much as I appreciate his hilarity, he will not put me down, and he willnot get rid of The New English Dictionary. The second definition given of this word reads thus-
A period (originally of forty clays) during which persons who might serve to spread a contagious disease -
My honorable friends will note that the reference is not to. cows, pigs, potatoes, wheat, or cabbages, though all of these are included in this Bill under the term. In the Imperial Dictionary, from which I quoted; I direct attention to the fact that it is persons, and not apples or vegetables, who are referred to under the head of any meaning attributed to the word “ Quarantine.” The second definition in the dictionary from which I am now quoting reads -
A period (originally of forty days) during which persons who might serve to spread a contagious disease are kept isolated from the rest of the community; especially a period of detention imposed upon travellers or voyagers before they are allowed to enter a country or town and mix with the inhabitants ; commonly the period during which a ship capable of carrying contagion is kept isolated on its arrival at a port. Hence the fact or practice of isolating such persons or ships, or of being isolated in this way.
Then there is a third explanation referring to the period of forty days in other connexions, which I need not quote. I have sufficiently shown by reference to these two dictionaries-
– They are out of date.
– My honorable and I cannot say learned friend, for two reasons - first, because with all the honorable senator’s learning and abilities he is not entitled to be described as learned; and, secondly, and what is of more importance, in view of his singularly inept interruption, the honorable senator has given the Senate amost clear indication of the fact that he is not learned. I believe the honorable senator was here at prayers, and I congratulate him on attending prayers, because it is so desirable that he should do so. I direct his attention to the fact that I was quoting from a dictionary which is so new that it has not yet been bound up in a volume. I suppose I shall be told that the authority which I now propose to quote is also antiquated, . inaccurate, or something else. I propose now to quote from Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary, second edition, butI am glad to say that I am not going to quote from it at any great length, because I am not in the mood to make a speech to-day, and should not attempt to do so, if Idid not consider it my positive duty to put forward these views. I am afraid that nothing said from this side will have any effect. It has been said from theMinisterial Bench that my honorable and learned friends opposite are not sure whether the measure they are bringing forward is within the four corners of the Constitution. They are not positive that if they pass this Bill into law it will not be booted out by the High Court.
– Who said that?
– Neither Senator Best nor his colleague said it in plain language, but they indicated a lack of confidence in their own admirable efforts to achieve something which the Constitution will not enable them to accomplish.
– I never expressed, nor have I, the slightest doubt on the subject.
– Then I am very sorry that the honorable and learned senator has not indicated that doubt which, as a lawyer, anticipating a 6s. 8d. fee, he would undoubtedly attach to any opinion offered to me, or to any one else, and if the fee were to be 13s. 4d., the more admirable would be the lack of confidence.
– It is very difficult to imagine any one who has not a doubt about it.
– I should say so. However, we will take the definition of the Judicial Dictionary, and if what I have to quote will not meet with the approval of the learned Vice-President of the Executive Council, I am extremely sorry that I should have to quote so eminent an authority in opposition to the honorable senator’s view. This is the definition given -
Quarantine is where a man dyeth seised of a manour place, and other Lands, whereof the wife ought to be endowed, then the woman may abide in the manour place, and there live of the store and profits thereof the space of forty days, within which time her Dower shall be assigned, as it appeareth in Magna Charta, cap.
I have now referred honorable senators to three authorities. I. may say that, having teen to the Library, and personally obtained the very latest authorities which it was possible for me to lay my hands on, I find that there is not one word in either of the two great dictionaries, or the Judicial Dictionary, from which I last quoted, that affords the smallest excuse, or the remotest pretence of a justification for the introduction of a measure which, under the head of “Quarantine” proposes to deal with sick cows, sick pigs, rust in wheat, and blight in potatoes. My honorable and learned friends opposite will, I hope, ‘forgive me if, with the persistence of a man who feels that he has justification for what he is saying, I urge upon the Senate that the Bill is one which seeks to go a great deal further than there is any warrant for in the English language. Now I come to the question to which I referred when I first rose. It is impossible fo believe that the authors of the Commonwealth Constitution, when they assembled in the Convention, could possibly have entertained the idea that quarantine involved anything but human beings, or diseases to which human beings are likely to be subjected’. I recognise very fully the importance of the reference in one of the dictionaries from which I have quoted to infected goods. Of course, I am aware that a bale of Persian rugs has before now been the means of introducing the plague into Europe. I have no doubt that the germs of various diseases have been introduced into different parts of the world in goods, bales, bundles, or cases. But this does not involve cattle, green vegetables, and fruit. To prove my view that none of the members of the Federal Convention could possibly have had any idea that quarantine involved these matters, I propose to refer briefly- to the Acts’, passed by each of the Australian Colonies now forming States of the Commonwealth, to show what was the understood meaning of a quarantine law entertained in every one of the States at the time the Federal Convention sat. I begin with New South Wales; but I think I should have a quorum. [Quorum formed.] I wish to avoid taking up more time than I can possibly help, and so far as New South Wales is concerned, I shall refer honorable senators to an Act, No. 26, of 1901, passed in that State. I admit that that Act was passed after the Convention had sat, and just after the establishment of the Commonwealth. It deals with stock throughout, and shows most conclusively that it recognises no reference to, and has no connexion whatever with, the quarantine laws of New South Wales, which have to do with maladies with which human beings may become afflicted through their introduction from oversea. Here, perhaps, I may say what I might advantageously have said a few moments ago. I intend to vote for the second reading of the Bill, but in Committee it is my intention to seek to limit its operation to the widest possible interpretation that can, by any fair process of reasoning, be attached to the word “ quarantine.” If my honorable and learned friend, the Vice-President of the Executive Council will Limit his measure to port quarantine, and border quarantine, I shall support him; but if he desires that the Commonwealth shall go pettyfogging round every cottage in Australia where somebody can set up an allegation of the existence of scarlatina, I shall be against him. The proposition is preposterous. It is one of those irritating interferences with State authority which are bringing the Commonwealth into dislike amongst the people of Australia. I referred just now to a measure passed in New South Wales immediately after the establishment of Federation. I also have before me the Act that was in force at the time the Convention sat. Clearly, what was the law of New South Wales must have been in the minds of the representatives of New South Wales in the Convention rather than some eccentric application of phraseology which has never been propounded by any human being on this earth except, perhaps, my honorable and learned friend’s colleagues in Cabinet. The New South Wales Act, No. 25, of 1897, was in operation whenthe Convention was elected, or certainly at about the time when the Convention was sitting. I find in turning over the pages of the Act - and there are a great many of them - that there is not a line in it that has anything to do with internal quarantine, or even with border quarantine.
– Is that any reason why it should not be dealt with in this Bill?
– There is every reason why it should be dealt with, as applied to the whole Commonwealth.
– My honorable friend, Senator Needham, not having heard the earlier part of my speech will not recognise the inapplicability of an interjection which, standing by itself, is, I admit, pertinent. But what I am seeking to prove by reference to the laws of the different States of Australia in existence at the time of the Federal Convention, is the extreme improbability of any members of the Convention dreaming that quarantine had reference to cows or potatoes. I have also here the Victorian Acts. There are several of them. I am not quoting from them, but, having indicated where they are to be found, shall leave it for honorable senators to look them up for themselves. If
I were to quote from them extensively it would be alleged that I was endeavouring to consume time. The Victorian Health Act 1890 does not contain one solitary word that has the slightest relation to anything but human beings - not one word that has the slightest reference to cattle or plants. It is almost needless that I should go through the Acts of all the States, but I will do it because it is the discharge of a public duty, and not a frivolity. Look at the Queensland Act, 50 Victoria, No. 25. It was passed in 1886. I will defy any one to discover one word in that Act that has the slightest relation to the brute creation, or to plant life.
– Notwithstanding all this, cart the honorable senator getone solitary lawyer in the Senate to accept the same view as he holds?
– It is very difficult to answer for every legal member of the Senate, but I venture to say that there is not one lawyer in this Chamber who would give a legal opinion in support of my honorable friend’s proposition, no matter what political opinion he might express.
– My honorable friend is wrong.
– The Western Australian Act, 58 Victoria, dated October 10, 1894, was passed six years before the establishment of Federation. I challenge my honorable and learned friend opposite to show that there is one word in it which conveys the impression that quarantine involves animal or plant life, apart from human life. By some means the South Australian Act has been removed from the Chamber, and therefore I cannot refer to it now, as I could have done a few weeks ago, when I thought that this Bill was likely to come on.But I have here the Tasmanian Act, which goes back to 1881. It is entitled “An Act to provide for the performance of quarantine.” It was in force before the FederalConvention sat. After these references,I can say beyond all possibility of challenge or contradiction that there was not at the time the Federal Convention sat, an Act in force in any one of the States of the Commonwealth that implied or involved that which is sought to be involved in the Government’s Bill, namely that the term “ Quarantine “ includes the dealing with the diseases of cattle and plants. That being so, I hold that it was impossible for the members of the Federal Convention that sat in the latter days of the last century, to have in their minds the idea that quarantine, as specified in the Constitution, involved these entirely extraneous matters of cattle and plant diseases. My whole argument is that the task of dealing with diseases in cattle and plants should be undertaken by means of a separate measure, and not by bunching the two matters together in a furtive and foolish attempt to place potatoes, pigs, and human beings in the same category. It is unwise; worse than that, it is silly.
– “ Spuds,” bacon, and human beings go well together !
– The capacity of the honorable senator as a gourmand may certainly lead him to such an impression, but that is entirely different from the intellectual capacity which enables any person to comprehend an argument. Now, let me vary my discourse for a moment or two in order to refer to Senator Turley’s speech. Senator Turley is a member of this Chamber for whom I have the most profound regard. I am sorry that he took up an attitude which I do not think he could substantiate with reference to the action of New South Wales during the tick outbreak. I understood Senator Turley to lay down the proposition that New South Wales acted in a somewhat scurvy manner towards the great neighbouring State in relation to the tick trouble which broke out a few years ago, and still affects certain portions of Queensland. The statement that New South Wales prevented Queensland cattle from entering the former State is absolutely erroneous. There are certain localities on the coast where fat cattle and store cattle are hardly to be found, but where there are considerable herds of dairy stock.
– What reason is that for handing over this power to the Federal Government?
– I do not know that it is any reason.
– What Senator Turley said may be a reason for preventing a recurrence of what then took place, but it is not a reason for more extended quarantine powers.
– Certainly not. But I wish to answer Senator Turley’s statements very briefly. The tick trouble of Queensland did not, so far as my knowledge goes, extend to the inland parts of the State. It was, and still is, a trouble affecting the scrub country of the coast. Probably there are some honorable senators who know that country as well as I do; it is unlikely that any one of them knows it better.Therefore, I can speak with some assurance of accuracy in saying that the trouble was one chiefly affecting the belt of scrub country that extends from Nerang, in Queensland south, to about Ballina, Coraki, and Casino, on the Richmond River. In that area, there is a thick belt of magnificent scrub land, and it was in this country, on the Queensland side, that the tick made its appearance. Naturally the New South Wales men, who are all dairy farmers - they are not raising stores for sale elsewhere, land is too valuable for that - had their milking herds to consider. Necessarily, the New South Wales Government made whatever efforts it could to prevent the desolating tick from injuring the great dairying industry - an industry so large that at one factory alone, Bryon Bay, £50,000 per month is paid for cream. It is almost the greatest industry in Australia, as regards the enormous interests concerned.
– I desire to call attention to the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.]
– It is astonishing how a little conviviality during the day upsets the proceedings sometimes. I was pointing out, in reply to the statements made by Senator Turley, that the difficulty that New South Wales set up in respect of tick-infested Queensland had nothing to do with the chief herds of Queensland; and that the only real action taken by New South Wales was in respect of the scrub country along the coast. In the inland districts there was no trouble, except where the ticks existed. A quarantine area was set up by mutual consent on the Queensland side. It was only where cattle had passed through that infected area that any trouble arose. New South Wales was just as strict with her own people as with the people of Queensland. One of the standing jokes of the whole business is that on one occasion the New South Wales authorities quarantined a motor car, in case it might have ticks aboard. I intend to vote for the second reading of the Bill. That is no indication of party feeling or opposition in an ordinary and reasonable sense, but I certainly shall endeavour when in Committee to limit the operation of the Bill to oversea, interport, and border quarantine. I do not object to quarantine at the border, but I do object wholly to the Commonwealth dabbling - as being mischievous and calculated to provoke that animosity between the States and the Commonwealth which should not be promoted, but rather should be avoided - with little matters of scarlatina, or measles, or a bit of potato blight, or a lump in a cow’s throat, or any of the trumpery things that could be dragged in under this measure as an excuse for Commonwealth interference. There is no provision in the Bill, as I understand it, for the employment of medical experts, but the States are to be relied upon to furnish them. Then why cannot the whole matter be left in the hands of the States, at least with respect to those internal questions? If the Commonwealth is so helpless that it cannot provide its own authorities, and is’ relying upon the State authorities to carry out this precious measure, why does it seek to intervene at all? While I do not think there is much excuse for the Commonwealth taking over border quarantine, it is possible that it might have some good effects. There has been in certain of the States an embargo against any plant life coming from New South Wales. I should like to relate an incident in my own experience twenty years ago, when I was Royal .Executive Commissioner for New South Wales at the Adelaide Jubilee International Exhibition. I had sent to me on that occasion, for the decoration of the New South Wales court, some large plants of birds-nest fern, staghorn fern, and macrozamia - one of the Cycads. They were obtained from the scrub land in the Shoalhaven District, on the south coast of New South Wales. They travelled through New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia by train, but when they reached Adelaide, I was not allowed to obtain possession of them. They were pleasant little parcels, many of them weighing half-a-ton each. I do not think that I ever swore so much in my life - on paper. I had to make I cannot say how many sworn declarations and affidavits, declaring in the most solemn, and at the same time most farcical, manner that those bush plants had not come out of a New South Wales orchard - just as if any such plants were to be found in any orchard under heaven ! It was only after having made all those declarations, and1 signed heaven knows ‘how many documents, that eventually I obtained possession of the plants.
Since then I have seen almost anything, do for an excuse in certain States to prevent New South Wales fruits from being: received. New South Wales has never placed any similar embargo upon the vegetable products of the other States. It may be that none of the other States has such a thing, as a vegetable mischief amongst them, and that the whole of those objectionable features are to be found in New South Walesalone - but it is not probable. I should say it was scarcely possible. I see by thepress to-day that the Minister of Agriculture of Victoria has, with a broadmindedness and freedom from petty trammelsthat does him credit, determined to revise the Victorian regulations so that under proper conditions New South Wales fruit shall no longer be debarred from entering; Victoria. I hail that change as beneficent in the interests of the common brotherhood of Australia. I do not say that it is undesirable that the Commonwealth should exercise a similar authority in respect of all the States, and, although I do not think that cattle diseases and vegetable tribulations properly come within the term “ quarantine,” as used in the Constitution, I am prepared to chance the constitutionality of the matter and to vote for the Bill, so far as it relates to quarantine on the borders, as well as at the ports. Further than that I am not prepared to go in this Bill. Whatever may Le thought of my attitude by the strong supporters of the Bill, I do not think that any rational man would accuse me of taking up an extreme attitude, nor would any one in hiscommon senses allege that, in expressing a willingness to grant quarantine on the seacoast, and quarantine on the borders in respect, not only of human maladies, but of cattle diseases and diseases affecting plant life, I am at all limiting or restricting the rights of the Commonwealth to legislate for the well-being of the different States of Australia. According to this Bill, the Commonwealth looks to the State authorities to give effect to its provisions, and to that extent acknowledges its inferiority to the States in administering the Act. I therefore hold that, by limiting the authority of the Commonwealth to the ports and borders we shall have done all that we as a Commonwealth have a right to do, and that, if we seek to pettifog and peddle with the internal affairs of the States, we shall raise up against ourselves a crop of troubles that can be productive of no good to any human being, but must be of considerable disadvantage to the whole of the people of Australia, whom the Commonwealth should seek to weld into a harmonious whole.
– I have no intention to discuss at any length at this stage the question of quarantine . I recognise, as clearly as does any other honorable senator, the importance of a measure of this character. The question of public health always appeals to me as greater almost than any other which we can consider. I am. fully in accordwith every one of the provisions intended to prevent the importation of any of the diseases to which men, animals, or any other forms of life are subject. At the same time, I am not yet convinced that the wide provisions contained in the Bill are justified by the evidence that so far has been afforded by the speeches on the second reading. I have listened very carefully to nearly all the speeches. On Friday, when Senator Pearce was referring to the attitude of South Australia towards Western Australia and vice versa and to-day when Senator Turley was commenting on the action.of Queensland and New South Wales - almost a similar case - I was. wondering whether they were fully convinced that their line of argument was an absolute justification for. the Commonwealth to take away from the States their control of quarantine. After listening to the remarks of those two senators I must candidly confess that I am still unconvinced that their contention is a logical one. I admit frankly that at times the States have displayed a mischievous or cantankerous temper. Apparently, when it has suited one State to place an embargo on thetrade and commerce and general conditions of any other State, that temperamerit has beenparamount, and the State has been quiteready to act in that way. But I question very much whether it justifies this Parliament in saying to the States : “ From this time forth you shall no longer control quarantine of any description.” I am not satisfied that this Parliament would Be justified in taking up that attitude. I quite agree with those who seek to empower the Commonwealth to deal with, quarantine as that word was originally understood. Whatever technicalities may have been drawn round the subject, quarantine has always been understood to have a strict application to maritime operations. I am with those who on that understanding seek to give the Commonwealth absolute power to quarantine vessels, passengers, stock - in fact, everything which may come to our ports. There may be a good deal in the contention that the control of quarantine at the State borders should be given to the Commonwealth. If we are to pay any attention to the illustrations which were made use of by Senator Pearce, Senator Turley, and, I think, Senator Dobson, it would appear that, in order to prevent the States from wilfully or otherwise injuring each other by border actions, it is necessary to give the Commonwealth control of quarantine on the borders as well as at all ports. With that view I am almost inclined to agree, but when it comes to a question of giving the Commonwealth power to control the internal health matters of any one or all of the States I think I see a difficulty. It may be that it is a difficulty which in Committee can be explained away easily. I only mention the point now, because I am not by any means convinced that a good case has yet been made out for the absorption of all quarantine powers by the Commonwealth. I anticipate that when we come to deal with the internal operations of the States we shall experience a very great difficulty indeed. If the Commonwealth assumes that power it may have to do some of the very things of which Senator Turley has complained as having been done by one State against another. As long as tick exists in Queensland the possibility of its spreading may necessitate the Commonwealth taking precisely the same precautions as New South Wales took in regard to Queensland. Probably it may compel the Commonwealth to take exactly the same stand as South Australia has taken against Western Australia, and vice versa.
– In a State the Commonwealth may have to take the same stand to protect one county against another county.
– That is possible.I doubt if we are likely to improve the position very much by even granting the powers which the Bill will confer on the Commonwealth Government as. reserve powers. It has’ been announced by Senator Keating that it is intended by the Commonwealth to use the existing State machinery in the carrying out of internal quarantine. That in my opinion is a very great objection to our interfering in any way with Inter-State quarantine. It is only fair to say that the health of each State is the first, or one. of the first, considerations with its public bodies. For a considerable number of years I have had the honour to be a member of a local Health Board. I have a very vivid recollection of the efforts which have been made from time to time by local Health Boards in Western Australia to conserve the good health- of the people and to maintain sanitary conditions. Immediately on the approach of an epidemic of any kind the Health Boards have endeavoured to prevent, if possible, its spread. I am afraid, if we take away that power from the local bodies and invest them with authority from the Commonwealth to continue their, operations quite apart from the mandate they have received from their constituents, that we shall make a mistake for which hereafter we shall be sorry. I am prepared to support every effort which may be put forward for the preservation of the health of .human beings and animals. I am prepared also to do all that is possible to prevent ‘the spread of plant pests in Australia. But I am not satisfied that the Bill before us is likely to succeed in that direction. I am somewhat afraid that it may lead to endless complications between State and State, as well as between the States and the Commonwealth. It is possible also that all we may effect by it will be to transform what are now jealousies between State and State into jealousies between the States and the Commonwealth. It may be contended that the Commonwealth authority is exercising its quarantine powers of interference with the internal affairs of a State unfairly in one State as compared with their exercise in another. I am heartily in favour of giving full power to the Federal authority to deal with oversea quarantine. If it can be shown to be constitutional, I shall be prepared also to give the Federal authority control over quarantine on the borders of a State. But I must in Committee on the Bill hear better reasons than any to which I have listened in this debate to induce me to support a measure which will interfere with the right of a State Government to deal with the internal quarantine of the State.
– I am entirely opposed to the object sought to be achieved by this Bill. I think that the Government should (leal with the question of quarantine on lines different from those on which this Bill is based. In the past quarantine meant only that if a vessel arrived from an infected port she was put into quarantine for forty days, no matter what was the state of health of her passengers or crew. That was a harassing condition, not only to shippers and passengers, but also to trade and commerce. There was an absolute quarantine, whilst what we have had in every one of the States of Australia during the last few years has ‘been a system of limited quarantine, which, although not quite so harassing, has been attended with absolutely worse results than the old system. The quarantine systems of the States, and that provided for in this Bill, are based upon the conditions existing in Australia thirty cr forty years ago. I may say that the existing systems of quarantine in the various States are absolutely futile. Day after day ships- are arriving in Australian ports from Colombo, a port which is always infected with small-pox, one of the most dreaded diseases, against the introduction of which we seek to provide. The period of incubation in the case of small-pox is something like fourteen days, and yet vessels sailing from Colombo arrive at Albany in seven days. The medical officer examines the passengers and crew, and the vessel is granted pratique, because the disease has not shown itself. The same thing happens in Adelaide, and the vessel may arrive at Melbourne before any indication of the existence of small-pox on board appears. I can quote plenty of instances from my own State to prove the absolute futility oi our existing quarantine legislation.
– What would the honorable senator propose - that the vessel should be detained for seven days at the first port of call?
– I should propose what is done at the present time in England. There quarantine, in the sense in which we understand it, and as provided for in this Bill, has been abolished. Clause 4 of the Bill provides that -
In this Act quarantine has relation to measures for the exclusion, detention, segregation, isolation, protection, and disinfection of vessels, persons, goods, animals, ot plants.
That is the scope of the Bill, and there is no provision made for the adoption of the practice followed in England of ascertaining the names and destination of passengers arriving by any vessel in order that they may be kept under observation by local medical authorities in the event .of any disease breaking out. Innumerable cases have occurred in which people arriving from abroad have mixed with the community, and disease which has afterwards broken out has been found tq be due to contact with them. There is no provision made in this Bill for the observation of passengers arriving in Australia from oversea, which, I take it, is necessary in any system intended to prevent the introduction or spread of disease. Clause 4 further provides - and having as their object the prevention of the introduction or spread of diseases affecting man, animals, or plants.
When we come to deal with the spread of disease, we at once reach the difficulty which honorable senators who have preceded me have pointed out. They are afraid that we shall have a deadlock between the Federal and States authorities in carrying out measures for the prevention of the spread of disease. My contention is that the Federal Government would be exercising their full functions by a close inspection of every ship arriving in our ports, and should leave to the States, with their Boards of Health, Agricultural Departments, -and other similar institutions, the work of preventing the spread of disease within the States. It has been strongly argued that, under the Constitution, we have the power to deal with internal quarantine ; but my point is that a Federal Quarantine Bill is not the measure in which such matters should be dealt with. I recognise that the States Governments in the past have made use of their quarantine laws for the purpose of prohibiting, without sufficient reason, the introduction of products of other States. That should not be allowed in a united country as the Commonwealth is to-day.
– This Bill would have a tendency to restrict that.
– I question whether this Bill is the proper measure in’ which to deal with such matters. My opinion is that Inter-State trade and commerce should be dealt with by an InterState Commission, and not by quarantine authorities. 0
– If we leave to the States full powers with reference to internal quarantine, the Inter-State Commission could not override their legislation.
– -I remind honorable senators that a State Government may wish to quarantine or to prevent the transfer of certain animals or plants from one part of a State to another, and the question ‘we have to consider is whether we should take over the power to deal with such a matter as that.
– There is nothing in the Bill to prevent what the honorable senator has stated.
– I think there is, as under the Bill we take over authority to deal with such matters. In our relations with the States we, as the Commonwealth authority, should recognise no boundaries but the sea, and we should legislate for the Commonwealth as a whole.
– Clearly, that is the purpose of this Bill.
– That is not the purpose of the Bill.
– It is.
– I do not think so. We can, I admit, deal with some of the matters referred to better than can the States authorities ; but I do not think a Quarantine Bill is the proper measure in which to deal with them. As quarantine has been regarded in other countries, it has not extended beyond the sea ports. Dr. Collingridge, the medical officer for the part of London, defines quarantine as -
The enforced detention and segregation of vessels arriving in the port together with all persons and things on board believed to be infected with the poison of certain epidemic diseases for specified periods.
He also says that -
The system is based on a theory which is no longer tenable. It has never been found possible to maintain it absolutely, and consequently a country is subjected to a barbarous, unnecessary, and costly system without even the satisfaction of knowing that the experiment is complete. Where carried out as strictly as possible it has not arrested the importation of disease. Sanitation and a rational system of medical inspection have proved more efficacious and at the same time less burdensome.
In proof of that, I may give a few. instances recorded in a pamphlet on quarantine by Dr. Borthwick, Medical Officer of Health for the city of Adelaide. He writes -
Since 1886 sixteen vessels have reached our shores with small-pox, or supposed small-pox, on board. I shall only bring those cases under your notice which illustrate various points. The s.s. Yarra touched at Albany in October, r88g, and reported a case of chicken-_pox on board ; this diagnosis was confirmed after examination by the Medical Officer of Health at Albany, and by the Medical Officer of Health at Largs Bay on her arrival here. There was also a case of “ gastric fever “ on board, which the Medical Officer of Health did not see. Pratique was granted, and the patient landed and went to a boarding-house in North Adelaide. On the following day he called in a. medical man, who al once suspected small-pox, and ultimately diagnosed it as- such. Later a servant in the house also developed small-pox. The patients and
Other inmates of the house were removed to Quarantine Island, and the house was disinfected. It . was found impossible to trace all the passengers who landed here ; and in regard to those who were traced it was considered sufficient to carefully watch them, and to depend on the co-operation of the medical profession in promptly reporting all suspicious cases.
Inquiry showed that the “gastric fever” patient had shared the same cabin with the “chicken-pox” patient; and it is interesting to note that, although the ship had in the meantime been granted pratique at Melbourne, the Government Medical Officer, having been put on his guard by a telegram from Adelaide, decided, after a close examination, that the latter patient had undoubtedly suffered from small-pox.
The s.s. Oroya reached Largs in June, 1892, and the ship’s surgeon reported a death from bronchitis, and a case of skin disease in a child on board. Pratique was granted in the absence of the Medical Officer of Health (who was at the time himself in quarantine) and thirtytwo passengers landed. When the vessel reached Melbourne, the child was pronounced to be suffering from small-pox. An attempt was then made to trace the passengers who had landed here, and twelve were removed to the Quarantine Island - eight had already left the Colony, so that twelve remained unaccounted for. The medical profession was asked to co-operate as in the previous instance.
The s.s. Oroya again arrived at Albany in October, 1895, with a disease on board, which was diagnosed by the ship’s surgeon and by the Medical Officer of Health at that port as chicken-pox. On the vessel reaching Largs this diagnosis was confirmed by the Medical Officer of Health here, and sixty-four passengers landed. At Melbourne the disease was decided to be small-pox. In this instance no attempt was made to trace the passengers who had landed - it was considered sufficient to watch such as were known ; some of the Governor’s staff were passengers by this vessel.
The s.s. Australien arrived at Largs in December, 1895, with a patient suffering from chicken-pox, as diagnosed by the ship’s surgeon and another medical man on board, - and also by the Medical Officer of Health at Albany. The Medical Officer of Health here came to the conclusion that the disease was small-pox, and this diagnosis was confirmed at Melbourne. Twentythree persons were sent to Quarantine Island.
The s.s. Himalaya reached Largs in April, 1897, with a case of venereal disease on board, according to the diagnosis of the ship’s surgeon. At Albany the Medical Officer of Health and another medical ‘man had decided that the disease was not small-pox. The Medical Officer of Health at Largs in consultation with an Adelaide medical man, decided that it was a case of small-pox, -and all the passengers were quarantined.
The s.s. Polynesien arrived ten days later with a patient which the Medical Officer of Health at Albany regarded as possibly smallpox. The ship’s surgeon considered the disease to be chicken-pox ; and the Medical Officer of Health here, after an examination of the patient, and supported by the opinion of a well-known Adelaide medical man, who was a passenger, agreed with the latter diagnosis, and granted pratique.
Of the remaining ten vessels, in eight instances there was no difference of opinion as to the disease being small-pox; in two instances no knowledge of the disease was forthcoming until small-pox broke out among the passengers on shore.
Thus in . eight of sixteen vessels - that is, in 50 per cent., the disease was either missed altogether or there was a serious difference of opinion as to whether it was small-pox or not.
The consideration of these facts opens up important questions. I venture to say that our system of medical inspection at the present time is nearly a farce.
– It is absolutely a farce.
– I may mention an instance which occurred in my own seafaring career to show how absurd a medical examination can be. A ship upon which I was engaged sailed from the West Coast of Africa to Rotterdam. No less than eight of our crew died from some disease contracted there. That left five of us to work the ship. When we arrived at Hel.voetsluis early in the morning, the first signal that we made was for labour to come on board to assist us. A number of men consequently came on board. About breakfast time the doctor arrived, and ordered the crew to be mustered. The five of us, who were virtually incapacitated from the same sickness as the others had died from., were left below, whilst the labourers who had come on board early in the morning were mustered before the doctor, and pratique was granted to the ship. Underline system pursued in England, that sort of thing could not possibly occur. The whole of the crew .would be mustered before the medical officer, the ship’s articles would be inspected, and the names, of the men would be seen. Each of them would be .examined before they were allowed to go ashore. Of course, where a ship. carries her own doctor there is not so .much danger. Take the case of one of the Orient Steam Navigation Company’s, or the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company’s, steamers, on board which there is proper accommodation for the absolute isolation of a patient. Suppose that a Iascar on board a Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company’s ship was overtaken by some disease. The ship’s doctor would find out what was the matter with his patient. If he discovered a case of infectious disease, the patient would at once be isolated, and every precaution taken to prevent the passengers or crew from being infected. But another ship which entered port at the same time might be dirty, insanitary, and full of rats, which might carry disease from one end of the vessel to the other. Under our present quarantine laws, both vessels would be treated in just the same way. In Western Australia we have an elaborate quarantine station, erected at great cost. At Adelaide we have another station. Now, Colombo is always more or .less affected by small-pox. Ships come from Colombo to Western Australia and South Australia, and then proceed to Melbourne and Sydney. There may be a case of small-pox on board, but the disease may not be discovered until Melbourne is reached. Under our present system, if the disease broke out between Melbourne and Sydney, the whole of the passengers who went ashore in Western Australia, South Australia, and Victoria would have mingled with the population. Probably no trace of them could be found.
– Is any record kept in England?
– Yes ; and more than that, the members of the medical profession in England are brought into the service of the State. As soon as a case of infectious disease is discovered, it is isolated, and the health officer for the district takes it over. They have isolation wards in the various hospitals. But consider what occurs in this country. Take Adelaide. There we have a quarantine station, expensive to maintain, although insanitary. The whole of our quarantine stations are in the same category. They are situated at places where there is absolutely no water supply, and where it is not possible for anything like decent sanitary conditions to prevail. When a case of small-pox breaks out, the passengers on the ship affected are made to suffer.
– Does the honorable senator know of any cases where small-pox has broken out on a ship after she has been granted pratique in Western Australia?
– I have quoted ten cases where ships had left Western Australia with a clean bill of health, although afterwards disease broke out on board. I had hoped that when the Federal Parliament legislated on this subject up-to-date methods would be adopted. We shall be told that this Bill is based on the recommendations of a Conference of quarantine officers. I believe that every one of those- officers endeavoured to do’ his duty to the Commonwealth, but I am afraid that the Government has not followed their recommendations, in this Bill. What the Conference suggested, if I understand its recommendations aright, was a system that would not necessitate the whole of the passengers of an infected ship being put into quarantine, but would place them under surveillance. It was recommended that it should be within the discretion of the medical officer to allow the passengers to go on condition that they reported themselves every day for a certain period. When the Bill gets into Committee, I shall endeavour to get an amendment inserted in clause 4, with the object of providing a more uptodate system than the one here proposed- I have one other remark to make before I sit down.- This Bill has come up to the Senate from another place. The Government thought it wise in making appointments to the Navigation Conference in England to select as their representatives certain maritime authorities in another place. I am therefore surmised, considering the number of nautical authorities who handled this ‘Bill elsewhere - all of whom were full up to the eyes with knowledge obtained at the Imperial Conference that such a Bill as this should have been allowed to pass. For instance, in clause 21, it is provided that -
The master of every vessel subject to quarantine shall -
Hoist the quarantine signal at the maintop of his vessel.
Now, every boy who has ever been -on- a wharf knows that two-thirds of the ships trading to Australia nowadays have no main-top to fly a flag from. But any master of any vessel who does not comply with this regulation is to be liable to a penalty of a hundred pounds In paragraph b the master is required to - keep the quarantine signal hoisted at the maintop of his vessel while entering or being in any port or quarantine station.
During the day-time the quarantine signal is to be- a yellow flag of six breadths of bunting.
I hope the Minister will be able to tell us what the size of such a flag as that will be. At night-time, the signal is to be “ a large signal lantern.” The Bill does not say whether there is to be a red light, a green light,, or a light of any other colour, but simply .that there is, to. be a large signal lantern. It says nothing about the character of the lantern being as prescribed, or what the nature of the signal is to be. L suppose the lantern is to be hung at the maintop like the flag. I think that what the draftsman meant was that the flag or lamp should be displayed, not at the main- top, but at the maintop-masthead. However, that is a matter which can be put right in Committee. Provision should also be made as to the flag to be used by the health officer. That generally adopted for the purpose is a yellow flag, with a red St. George’s cross. It is of the utmost importance to lay down what flag shall be flown by the health officer when coming alongside a ship, so that there may be no mistake. Under the new code of signals which came into force a couple of years ago, a yellow flag means simply “ I am liable to quarantine.” The quarantine flag of to-day is a yellow flag with four squares, two of yellow and two of black, with the yellow to the mast. The flying of that flag means that the ship has some such disease as cholera, plague, or small-pox on board. I ask the Government to revise these clauses, in order to make them more workable.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 (Parts).
.- As the marginal notes of the Bill do not indicate the Acts from which the clauses have been taken, will the Minister intimate, when we reach important clauses, their origin ?
– The main provisions are based upon the recommendations of the Quarantine Conference.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 -
In this Act, Quarantine has relation to measures for the exclusion, detention, segregation, isolation, protection, and disinfection of vessels, persons, goods, animals, or plants, and having as their object the prevention of the introduction or spread of diseases or pests affecting man, animals, or plants.
That after the word “detention,”line2, the word “ observation “ be inserted.
It is unnecessary for me to elaborate the necessity for observation after landing, even under existing circumstances, of passengers who come from an infected port. Some record should be kept of them, or they should be compelled to report themselves until the incubation period is over.
I do not want to go so far as to put in the word “ surveillance.”
– What is the difference?
– “ Surveillance “ means that the doctor would keep his eye on the patient; “observation” means that the patient would have to keep his eye on the doctor, by reporting to him daily.
– The Government are inhearty accord with Senator Guthrie’s suggestion that we should have in use in Australia the modern system of surveillance. In moving the second reading, I stated that the old system of quarantine, if rigidly carried out in any country, would almost block that country from commercial intercourse with other countries at certain times, but that, on the other hand, there was the surveillance system which obtained in London, and that we had tried to strike the happy mean between the two. There is already in clause 34 a provision dealing with surveillance. That might even be amplified, but in the meantime the amendment is not out of place, and I offer no objection to it.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 5 postponed.
Clauses 6 to 10 agreed to.
Clause 11 -
The Governor-General may enter into an arrangement with the Governor of any State in respect of all or any of the following matters : -
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 ; (b)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 otherin preventing the introduction or spread of diseases affecting man, animals, or plants.
– Have the Government any scheme in view for the purpose of acquiring the existing quarantine areas and stations from the States, or is the matter to be left entirely to subsequent negotiations with the States? What will happen if a State declines to allow the Commonwealth Government to use its stations? The quarantine station in Sydney Harbor is very large and valuable, and the New South Wales Government might require a very high rental. Are all those buildings to be taken over by the Commonwealth, or are less expensive sites to be chosen?
– The object of the clause is to enable the Federal Government “to arrange with the States Governments to obtain from them, wher- ever desirable, properties that have been used heretofore in connexion with the quarantine administration of ihe States. If it were desired to obtain from a State Government any particular area for a new quarantine station, that would be arranged for by negotiation, or the Government would exercise its powers under the Lands Acquisition Act. The object of this clause is to empower the Government, if thought desirable, in connexion with any particular area heretofore used for quarantine purposes, without resorting to any power which they may have under the Lands Acquisition Act, to make special arrangements which may be of varying characters to meet varying circumstances in various States.
– I was under the impression that the Commonwealth would take over, with the control of quarantine, the quarantine stations. Otherwise, we should not be in an independent position. The existing stations are mostly for maritime quarantine.
– And Inter-State.
– I am not aware of a New South Wales quarantine station having been used, except for persons or animals coming from oversea. Are not the quarantine stations to pass to the Commonwealth? If a State declined to allow the Commonwealth to use its quarantine station would the Commonwealth have to go to the expense of providing a station of its own ? I thought that, the Commonwealth would take over the quarantine buildings in the same way as it took over the Customs Houses.
– If we take over the Department, the properties follow.
.- The clause seems to imply that, unless the Commonwealth ‘ takes definite action, the whole of the quarantine stations and areas are to be left under the control of the States. Will the Minister explain now what part of the quarantine administration is to be left to the States, and what the Commonwealth is to take over? Are the States to remain in charge, as at present, unless the Commonwealth sees fit to inter fere; or will the Commonwealth take charge at once?
– I explained just now that the circumstances will possibly vary in different States, and it is therefore necessary that the Government should have the amplest power to make varying arrangements. Many of the matters now dealt with by the States as quarantine matters are dealt with in. association with matters of internal health and sanitation, and consequently the properties are used jointly for those different purposes. We do not propose, therefore, in exercising our quarantine powers, to say to the States, “ We are going to exercise our powers under the Lands Acquisition Act, throw you out of those properties, and compel you to find others on which to carry on your internal health and sanitation administration.” We ask in this clause for power to arrange with the States in such cases for the use, control, and management of the premises, either jointly with them or separately. A particular property may derive three-fourths of its value from its use for local sanitation and health purposes, and the other fourth from its use for quarantine. In another property the reverse may be the case, and this clause is designed to enable the Government in all such cases to come to amicable arrangements with the States.
– Will not the Government have to acquire some- of these properties ?
– Undoubtedly ; and we can acquire them under the Lands Acquisition Act, or by taking over the Department. In that case, properties used wholly and solely for quarantine would come over to the Commonwealth, in terms of section 85 of the Constitution, which provides that-
When any Department of the Public Service of a State is transferred to the Commonwealth, all property of the State of any kind, used exclusively in connexion with the Department, shall become vested in the Commonwealth.
As a matter of fact, in the taking over of the Customs and Post and Telegraph Departments, numbers of . properties have passed over to the Commonwealth which were not used, prior to Federation, exclusively for the purposes of those Departments.
– A quarantine station cannot be used for anything but quarantine.
– Some of the properties are used also for local health and sanitation administration, and in those cases it is desirable that the Government should have power to arrange with the State authorities with regard to their control, user, and management.
.- The Minister has scarcely given an answer to my question. Paragraph a certainly deals with buildings, but under paragraph b the Governor-General is empowered to enter into an arrangement with the Governor of a State in respect of - any matters necessary or convenient to be ar- ranged 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.
I desire to know “where we are in regard to the Bill. Are we to have a system of Commonwealth quarantine, or the present system of State quarantine just as it is? In moving the second reading of the Bill, the Minister said it was not intended by the Commonwealth to create a Quarantine Department, but simply to see that the States administered the quarantine laws on Federal principles. I desire to know what that means. Are the States to take control or is the Commonwealth only to interfere when it thinks that they are not doing their duty ? If we are to have that sort of divided authority, I am afraid that we shall not have that effective system of quarantine for which we are looking.
.- I cannot see how we are going to have that system of divided authority which some senators fear. Of course, if we have quarantine officers who are determined to quarrel, we shall have no end of trouble and friction. But I do not think that there is any occasion to anticipate that state of things arising. I understood from the Minister’s speech that it is intended to administer the Bill through the agency of the State quarantine officers. He expressed the hope that the Commonwealth would seldom, if ever, have to use its reserve powers. But he admitted that a time might come when it might be more beneficial to all the States that the Commonwealth should act in relation to some disease affecting either animals or human beings. I presume that then the Commonwealth would act in aid of the States, and might have to take control through State officials.I do not understand that there will be a system of dual control. The law will be administered solely in the interests of the States.
– By the Minister of Trade and Customs.
– If honorable senators press their arguments too far, we may have a Federal Department set up, in addition to the State Departments. The Bill has been framed to avoid that expense. We have had the assurance of the Minister that it will be administered through the State authorities unless something exceptional happens, or unless one State is not doing its duty properly, or is not uptodate. I thought that we were nearlyall agreed that it will be wise to give the Commonwealth power to intervene in such circumstances.
– After the explanation of the Minister of Home Affairs concerning the administration of the measure, I am strongly inclined to agree with Senator Dobson that the machinery clauses, which provide for the co-operation of the States, should be allowed to pass. It seems to me that the Government are simply asking in clause 11 for power to co-operate with and assist the States in carrying out a system of quarantine for the whole of Australia. At any time by regulation, or if necessary by a special measure, the Commonwealth can assume its. exclusive power in relation to oversea quarantine. But it is well not to take that step until a difficulty arises. This clause appears to be very well worded, and evidently the intention is that the co-operation of the States shall be sought by the Commonwealth Government and vice versâ. As the administration of quarantine law by the States is fairly satisfactory, I think it is a wise policy to create Federal machinery to carry out State laws when necessary. It will not, I submit, be a case of dual control. It is well to show the States that we merely desire to use their machinery in co-operation with our own for quarantine purposes. I cannot see anything objectionable in the provision. On the contrary, I believe that the States will welcome the administration of the measure in that way.
– I desire to ascertain from the Minister whether there is to be a kind of partnership in the management of the quarantine establishments, or whether there is to be a Federal system. As I understand the position, the reserve powers are not to be exercised by the Commonwealth until a particular occasion arises, and until that event happens the States are to carry out the quarantine laws just as they are now doing. It appears to me that the difficulties which were mentioned by Senators Pearce and Turley will arise with tenfold intensity if that is a correct interpretation of the measure. That is my candid conviction, and, therefore, I wish the point to be cleared up by the Minister. If that is really the intention, I shall certainly have- to vote in opposition to the provision.
– I want to put a case to the Minister. Suppose that a ship arrives in New South Wales, and is put in quarantine, will the expense fall upon the State or the Commonwealth? At present the State bears all expense.
– It will fall upon the Commonwealth, as I explained when I was moving the second reading of the Bill.
– That will necessitate the creation of a sub-department, with officers to carry out the necessary operations. I can quite see that, in order to work the Quarantine Departments properly, the Commonwealth must create a sub-department, with its own officers. Then comes the question of whether friction may not arise between Federal and State officers. I hope I am wrong, but I fear that a good deal of trouble lies ahead of us. I am strongly of opinion that the Commonwealth should have a Quarantine Department, and the States their own Departments for carrying out internal quarantine.
– It appears to me that the question now being discussed does not properly arise on this clause. Clauses 8, 9, and 10, which have been passed, will enable the Commonwealth to control quarantine, or to control it in co-operation with existing institutions. But this clause provides for the .acquisition of properties, if necessary, for quarantine purposes. Under clause 8, the Minister of Trade and Customs is made the head of the Commonwealth Quarantine Department, and under clause 9 the Governor-General may appoint quarantine, and other officers for carrying out the measure. We are all agreed- that, generally speaking, the quarantine laws are administered with reasonable efficiency by the -States, and that it is desirable that, -so far as is possible, uniformity should be achieved. Hence it is .necessary to federalize the quarantine institutions. In my view, the Bill aims at doing a desirable thing without unnecessarily creating friction or upsetting existing arrangements. Under the clauses I mentioned, power is given to take whatever experience may teach us is the wisest course in the future:
– We have reached a stage when it needs to be very clearly shown how the powers of the Commonwealth and the States will work. The three clauses mentioned by Senator Trenwith refer to officers who will be appointed by the Commonwealth, and by nobody else, but this clause enables the Commonwealth to enter into arrangements with the States.* By this we understand that the States will be a party to the contract.
– We propose tq clothe the States with Federal authority for those purposes.
– We do not know that.
– The States officers will become practically Federal officers.
– The clause, I repeat, takes power to the Commonwealth to consult and enter into arrangements with the States. If we agree to that provision, we must acknowledge a degree of supremacy on the part of the States. The question arises whether or not they will be agreeable to enter into arrangements of the kind.
– They will have to.
– If that is the case, we can understand the position. Suppose, however, that a State Government does not think it wise or prudent to hand over to the Commonwealth the control of a quarantine station - in what position shall we be placed ?
– Our power will be supreme.
– If that is the case, why is the clause made so ambiguous? Before it is passed, we ought to be satisfied that no friction will . arise between the Commonwealth and the States.
– This is the usual provision which has been inserted in all measures dealing with similar subjects.
– We have had a*n instance of the great mischief which is worked under a system of dual control. Many instances might be mentioned to show the mischief worked by dual control. If we take the Police Force, for instance, the police in the different States are employed in the carrying out of Commonwealth laws, but recently, where an occasion arose for the exercise of force, the New South Wales police authorities obeyed the Government, from whom they received their salaries. The Commonwealth Government, with all its power, could not do what it desired, for the simple reason that the police force, on whom they had to depend to carry out their instructions, preferred to obey the instructions of the authority to whom they are more directly subject. We wish to know what will happen where a State authority does not think it wise to adopt the course recommended by the ‘Commonwealth authority. In such a case, which authority would the officers in charge of a particular quarantine station be likely to obey ? Senator Trenwith’s reference to the three first clauses have no bearing on this matter, and in this clause we have arrived at a stage at which it is necessary that we should have a definite declaration as to whether the Federal or the State authority would be supreme in carrying out the work of quarantine at the stations.
– The Minister has already obtained leave to postpone one clause, and I suggest that he should also postpone the clause we are now considering. I am afraid that the Minister’s justification for this clause, that it is’ the usual one to be found in Federal measures of this character, is not sufficient. In dealing with certain matters, the loss of time involved in the negotiations between the Commonwealth and States authorities may not be pf very great importance, but in this Bill we are dealing with matters affecting the public health. The Federal authority may request the State Government to grant the use of certain buildings to enable them to cope with an outbreak of some dread disease. The State authority may, far a term, stand upon its dignity, and refuse to enter into any arrangements for the purpose. The disease would not wait until the argument was settled. Paragraphs a and b of the clause would, I think, have the effect’ of extending an evil that exists to-day in the States, and to which I referred in speaking on the second reading of the Bill. I mentioned that in some cases the Central Board of Health’ of a State has come into conflict with local authorities in time of danger to the public, and under this clause the evil might “extend to differences between the Federal and State authorities. It would be wise for us to determine now whether we shall take over the quarantine buildings and administer the quarantine law ourselves, or allow the States authorities to administer it. I am inclined to believe with other honorable senators that if this clause is passed as it stands, instead of safeguarding the people of Australia from the introduction and spread of disease, we shall enact a provision which may endanger the public health whilst negotiations are pending between the Commonwealth and States authorities.
– In this clause the Minister is seeking for authority to deal not so much with matters of internal quarantine as with oversea quarantine, and is trying to deal with the latter in an economical way. I suppose that Thursday Island may be regarded as one of the most important quarantine stations in the Commonwealth. It is necessary that at that place a very close inspection should be made of all ships arriving from the East, and intending to proceed along the eastern coast of Australia.
– They make no inspection there. I came through by that route without any inspection at all.
– Very likely the honorable senator’s appearance was such as to show that there was not the slightest need for an inspection, but we may not all appear to be so robust. In this clause the Government ask power, for instance, to make arrangements with the State Government of Queensland to take over the quarantine buildings at Thursday Island, and such quarantine officers as are employed there, who would then become Federal officers. They wish to have power to manage a station like that of Thursday Island as a branch of the purely Commonwealth Administration. There would, in such a case, be no question of a dual control, and I should think that the State Government of Queensland would be only too anxious to assist the Commonwealth in that direction. They, might say, “ You desire to guard the whole of the eastern coast’ of Australia. You have the power to do so, and we have not, and this is a station at which you can give effect to your desire.” The clause gives sufficient power for the carrying out of an arrangement’ of the kind in a very desirable way. It is necessary that we should consider the matter, not from the point of view of dual control, but of mutual help between the States and Commonwealth authorities in dealing with matters of so much importance. I take it that the cost Of the administration of public health laws in Australia cannot be much less at present than from 150,000 to ,£200,000 per annum. If we can carry out the work effectively at far less expense, and that is what the Minister seems to be aiming at, why should we not do so ? I think the critics of the Bill have so far given no reason why we should fear dual control in dealing with these matters. We should have’ power under this clause to take over the quarantine station at Thursday Island, and that at Albany on the other side of the continent, and at those stations the Commonwealth officers would be able to exercise a superior control - I do not care to use the word “ supreme.”
– “ Supreme” is the proper word to use, because they must supersede the States authorities.
– I agree that “supreme” is the proper word to use- in this connexion, because it is necessary that, at such a. station as that- established at Thursday Island, the Commonwealth Government should exercise supreme power.
– This clause would not give them supreme power.
– I think it would. Certainly, it would not lead to dual control. Under this clause, the Commonwealth Government would be in a position to exercise all necessary powers of inspection and control at Thursday Island.
– Who would’ be responsible for the upkeep of the- station when there was no one in quarantine at it ?
– I presume that the cost would be debited to the Commonwealth Government. The expense of managing such stations must be borne by the Commonwealth, and the persons employed there must be Commonwealth officers, and would have to be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue of the Commonwealth.
– Does the Minister mean to say that the Commonwealth will have an officer stationed in the Botanic Gardens at Adelaide, to look after the quarantining of plants?
– Wherever an officer is” required, he will be supplied and’ paid by the Commonwealth. It may be that an officer appointed for the purpose may be a State officer performing work for a
State and getting a salary from the State for its performance.
– If we put up valuable improvements alt quarantine stations, to whom would they belong?
– If we put them up they will belong to the Commonwealth.
– They may be carried out by a State Government.
– That would be a matter ‘ for arrangement. We are doing the same thing now in regard to the Statistics Branch and the Meteorological Branch of the Commonwealth service.
– I am sure that no member of the Committee desires that the Commonwealth Government should be hampered in dealing with these matters, whilst, on the other hand, we do not wish to be involved in unnecessary expense. Under this clause, provision is made to enable the States to act in co-operation with the ‘Commonwealth authority, and in that respect, it breathes the true Federal spirit. There may be some room for assuming that a conflict of jurisdiction is likely to arise, but I think that, with careful administration, it would be found that the Commonwealth Government, under this Bill, would have sufficiently strong powers to safeguard the public health of the people of Australia, especially in connexion with the control of oversea quarantine. I think it will be found that the States Governments will be very .willing to transfer a great deal of their machinery and property for the regulation of quarantine, and that we shall get generous and loyal assistance from them in this matter.
– The Government of Queensland are opposed to this proposal.
– I have been in communication with the authorities in Queensland,, and I do not gather from their correspondence that they are opposed to the proposal. I believe that the Commissioners of Public Health in the various States are anxious that the Commonwealth Government should assume very large powers indeed in the control of oversea quarantine. I admit that, so far as my own State is concerned, they desire to be allowed a great deal of freedom in the control of internal quarantine.
– If the Commonwealth Government take charge of external quarantine, and the States Governments control internal quarantine, is there not the greatest possible risk of conflict or., friction through ‘both authorities attempting to use the same premises for different .purposes ?
– That is a difficulty which, I think, may be said to confront us in every Department of administration undertaken by the Federal Government ; but I am pointing out that this clause deals very largely with oversea quarantine. There can be no doubt that we have supreme power to deal with oversea quarantine if we choose to exercise it. I believe that this clause would not weaken the powers of the States authorities, and that under it we might look for their help. Should the. health of the people of Australia be menaced, especially by inefficient supervision at such a station as that established at Thursday Island, we can, by our implied powers under the Constitution, at once dissipate any fears arising from the possibility of dual control. I think it would be safe for the Committee to pass the clause.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [7.45]- - I desire to address the Committee, but I wish the Committee to be present before I begin. [Quorum formed.] I beg to draw attention to the fact, which may not be known to some of the newer senators, that about five years ago the Commonwealth Parliament passed an Act to enable the Government to take over State properties, which had been previously made use of in connexion with the transferred Departments. But since that Act was passed nothing has taken place under it, except that we occasionally see paragraphs in the newspapers informing us that Colonel Miller, of the Department of Home Affairs, has been here, there, and everywhere, trying to fix up the question of valuations. This clause simply proposes to perpetuate what has been a source of infinite friction and annoyance to every State in the Commonwealth. The properties ‘taken over from the States are valued at something like ^.5,400,000. I am speaking from memory, but I believe that figure to be near the mark. The Commonwealth has had the use of those properties, and has neither paid rent nor interest on them, although the States are under an obligation to continue to pay the interest upon the money borrowed for their construction. My own State has been hit particularly .hard in this respect ; but every
State in the Union has continued to be in an exceedingly unsatisfactory position.
– The position is very undignified.
– I am prepared to go further, and to say that the position is’ utterly, illegal, and one which none but a paramount Government would dare, to continue. If, instead of being a Commonwealth Parliament, we- were single individuals, or members of a corporate company, we should have been pulled up in the Law Courts long ago for taking possession of property for which we paid neither rent nor interest. I venture to think that no clause that has ever been before the Senate has been so calculated to breed dissension and friction between the Commonwealth and States as this. It provides that the Governor-General may enter into an arrangement with the Governor of any State with respect to the matters!, particulars of which are given. Senator Trenwith, explaining the Bill on behalf of the Government, has assured us that the clause gives the Commonwealth Government paramount power. I can quite understand Senator Trenwith trying to make the best of a bad job on behalf of the Ministry, but I venture to think that a clause worded as this is gives the Government no power whatever except to enter into negotiations. It gives ho power to acquire. What is to become of a quarantine law in connexion with which there are no premises in which to enforce quarantine regulations? This Bill deals not only with human maladies, but also with the diseases of animals and plants. The quarantine that has hitherto existed in Australia, with some small exceptions, perhaps, has dealt with nothing but human ailments. But if this clause means anything, it means that the Gover: nor-General can negotiate with the Governor of any State to enable the elaborate quarantine grounds and premises that have been constructed for the purpose of dealing with human diseases, to .be used to quarantine cattle or vegetables suspected of infection. There is no distinction in this clause or in any part of the Bill, between’ human maladies and animal and vegetable diseases. It means that in a State where there are quarantine grounds there is every prospect of a conflict of opinion as to who is to be the rightful occupier of them. Suppose that a State says that it does not consent to give up its quarantine grounds. What is the Commonwealth Government going to do then? It cannot establish all the paraohernalia of a quarantine station in a few hours. I have the best professional warrant for saying that the quarantine station at the north head of Port Jackson is one of the best arranged places of the kind in the world. But it contains no provisionfor tubercular cattle or measly pigs, nor does it contain provision for blighted potatoes or rusty wheat.
– Is there not a quarantine station for cattle at Middle Head?
– Middle Head is simply occupied with forts, and there is no quarantine ground of any sort there. Perhaps my honorable friend is thinking of the home for imported dogs at Shark Island, or of the small cattle station at Bradley’s Head. This clause simply authorizes negotiations. It does not give the Governor-General the right to take over the very costly quarters at North Head, Port Jackson, which have taken many a long year to build up. I cannot say what the present Premier of New South Wales contemplates, but I do know that the late Premier, Mr.Carruthers, sent to me and to my colleagues most urgent representations against this Bill. I cannot suppose that a change of Ministry, especially with the same side in politics in power, means a change of policy. I believe, and I am happy in the belief, that there is a possibility of the present Premier of New South Wales, the Honorable Mr. Wade, conducting negotiations with the Commonwealth in a manner that will be less calculated to provoke friction than has been the case in respect to one or two matters in the past. But I do not know of anything that has happened to induce the governing party in New South Wales to look with favour upon the extreme character of this measure. I think that the Government and people of that State are quite prepared to accept - as, indeed, they are obliged to accept - Commonwealth oversight and administration of oversea quarantine. They go so far as to accept Inter-State quarantine. But I am well assured that they are not content to accept a form of internal quarantine, such as is proposed in clause 11. The clause has no meaning and is valueless unless the Government of the Commonwealth is possessed of the control of the quarantine properties of the different States. If effect isgiven to it to the extent of the Commonwealth taking over those properties, then the States must surrender the internal control of health matters, which, I am instructed, New South Wales and Queensland at least are not prepared to surrender. I was astonished by Senator St. Ledger alleging to-night that Queensland approved of this Bill. I have communications from the Government of that State in opposition to the Bill, as interfering with internal quarantine matters. I am discussing the question of internal quarantine on this clause merely with the object of showing that if the States are to maintain any right to internal quarantine they must have quarantine premises of their own. The clause means something or nothing. It means that the Commonwealth shall either take over or not be in a position to take over the States quarantine premises. There is not a word in it that authorizes or empowers the Commonwealth Government to take them over. Therefore it is an empty beating of the air, in that it makes a proposition which may never have the smallest effect. It authorizes the Governor-General to negotiate. The Minister and his colleagues recently negotiated with Croker for a mail contract, and they never got one. If in this case the Governor-General cannot negotiate successfully, I suppose that the Government will come to Parliament with faces as long as the proverbial fiddle, and ask for an amending Bill. Half of the time of this Parliament is occupied in dealing with Bills by which we try to tinker up measures previously passed. The passing of this clause will simply mean that, before twelve months are over, if there happens to be an outbreak of measles or scarlatina, or one of the other little details that the Minister is so deeply immersed in, he or his successor will come to us with a plaintive voice and placid countenance beseeching us just to put through a little amending Bill that will make everybody happy, no matter whom it ruins. It will be the same old gag that we have heard for the last five or six weeks - “This is a little Bill to amend an Act which we have never tried to put into force.” Bill after Bill has been brought in’ to amend Acts which the Minister and his colleagues have never dared to put into force, because they knew before they made any effort in that direction that those Acts were just as puerile and futile as this Bill will be. In this case I dare play the role of prophet. It is a very unthankful role, especially if you are going on weather, and you can just about as well bet on the weather as you can on the probable direction of the
Government’s legislative propositions. I dare to say prophetically that, if this Bill is gassed, and the Government attempt to give it effect, it will prove a nullity, and the Minister or one of his colleagues will in a future session ask Parliament to pass an amending Bill to make good that which is deficient and unconstitutional in this Bill. I am assured, on very high legal and constitutional authority, not connected with this Chamber, that the Bill is outside the four corners of the Constitution, and that if one of the States chooses to seek the intervention of the High Court to test its constitutionality, if it ever becomes law, the High Court will unhesitatingly affirm that it is unconstitutional. As I purpose moving an amendment on the next clause, I shall not take up the time of the Commitee by making a long speech at this stage, although this is a matter of extreme moment to the States, as well as to the Commonwealth. I beg that honorable senators, however strong their sympathies with the Government may be, will not lightly vote for a clause in a measure which is unquestionably calculated to provoke friction between at least some of the States and the Commonwealth.
Senator Lt.-Colonel GOULD (New South Wales) [8.15]. - It does not seem to me that it is either desirable or necessary to pass the clause as it stands. It says -
The Governor-General may enter into an arrangement with the Governor of any State in respect of all or any of the following matters : -
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 ;
It is not necessary to empower the GovernorGeneral and the Governor of a State to enter into an arrangement with regard to the acquisition of a quarantine station, because any property which is used for a quarantine station will, under the Constitution, pass to the Commonwealth when the Department is taken over. Section 69 of the Constitution reads -
On a date or dates to be proclaimed by the Governor-General after the establishment of the Commonwealth the following Departments of the Public Service in each State shall become transferred to the Commonwealth : -
The Quarantine Department of a State will thus become transferred to the Commonwealth so soon as the Government issue a proclamation under that section, and the Bill makes provision for such a proclama tion to take effect. When we turn to section 84, we read -
When any Department of the Public Service of a State becomes transferred to the Commonwealth, all officers of the Department shall become subject to the. control of the Executive Government of the Commonwealth.
Then it is provided in section 85 that when any Department of the Public Service of a State is transferred to the Commonwealth -
All property of the State of any kind, used exclusively in connexion with the Department, shall become vested in the Commonwealth.
There is also a provision to enable the Commonwealth to acquire property which is not used exclusively in connexion with a particular object.
– But the object of paragraph a of this clause is to meet the case of properties which are not used exclusively for quarantine purposes by a State.
– Assuming that any properties are not used exclusively for quarantine purposes, the second paragraph of section 85 of the Constitution empowers the Commonwealth to acquire the property of a State without the necessity of passing this particular clause. I presume that the Lands Acquisition Act contains all the necessary machinery to enable the Government to take control of any property.
– We can do so by compulsory process, if we choose ; but we do not want to take that course when we wish to get into joint occupation of the property of a State.
.- Does it not contain a provision which empowers the Governor-General and the Governor of a State to enter into negotiations with a view to bring about the very object which the Minister says this clause is intended to effect ?
– Not to bring about this object.
– Not to acquire property?
– In many instances, we may have to use State properties which are being used for their own local health and sanitation purposes. In that case, we want the Governor-General to be able to enter into an arrangement with the Governor of a State. We do not want to compulsorily acquire the land.
.- I shall assume, for the sake of argument, that the honorable senator has explained exactly the object for which he wants this clause. Once we determine to establish a system of quarantine, the Departments dealing solely with quarantine will pass over to the control of the Commonwealth. In paragraph a of this clause the Government is taking power for the Governor-General and the Governor of a State to negotiate with a view to vesting the control and management of any quarantine station in the State authorities. The Minister shakes his head, but that is my interpretation of the paragraph. It will be competent for the Commonwealth to pass over the control and management of a. quarantine station to a; State or vice versa. There is no need for a State to have that power. Then the question arises as to how far the Commonwealth is entitled to pass to a State Government the control and management of a quarantine station once it is placed in its hands. It appears to me that the provision contains the germs of a dual authority - an authority which will be exercisable partially by a: State and partially by the Commonwealth. It will be a fruitful cause- of discontent, dissatisfaction and trouble between the States and the Commonwealth when a dual control exists, and a quarantine station is under the control of A to-day and of B to-morrow, and when perhaps A and B will want control of it at the one time. Suppose that the control of officers who are administering quarantine and other matters in a State is given to the Commonwealth and to the State. Those officers will have two masters, and at times it may be difficult for them to determine which master they ought to serve. If it is intended to place quarantine, as I believe it ought to be placed, with proper restric-tions, under the control of the Commonwealth, we ought to take every precaution in order to avoid the possibility of any conflict of authority arising at any time with regard to. the use of buildings or offices or lands. Under paragraph b of this clause the Governor-General is empowered to enter into an arrangement with the Governor of any State in respect of -
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.
I may be told that it is very desirable that we should enable both bodies to meet and act in harmony. But if there is a con- flict of authority, one party or the other must be dominant. It will then be said that the Commonwealth ought to prevail. When this Commonwealth Parliament legislates on any subject on which it is entitled to legislate, State legislation on that subject is superseded to the extent of its inconsistency with the Federal legislation. We certainly reach a position when the Commonwealth will be the dominant party, but we are proposing to bring two bodies together for the purpose of discussing matters, and there again we have the germs of difficulty. I fear that . if the Commonwealth takes powers of this character it will create trouble. On the part of some States there is a strong feeling against the Commonwealth assuming the control of all the quarantine matters embodied in this Bill. I do not want to discuss how far the Parliament is entitled to legislate with regard to the quarantining of diseased animals or plants, because that I .assume is a matter for the High Court and not for the Senate to determine. At the same time, it is well, for honorable senators not to disregard the fact that grave questions may arise as to how far the use of the word “Quarantine “ in section 51 of the Constitution enables the Parliament to place a multiplicity of powers in the hands of the Commonwealth Government. When it is known that the States are entirely opposed to our legislating with regard to the diseases of animals or plants, the Parliament ought to be very careful not to legislate on those matters unless it is absolutely clear that it is clothed with that legislative power, and is acting in the best interests of the Commonwealth at large. We know . that each State is dealing satisfactorily with regard, to the diseases of animals and plants. We have not heard that outcry raised with regard to the diseases of animals that we have heard in regard to the diseases of human beings.
– There” was a good outcry at the Premiers’ Conference held in Brisbane- a few months ago.
– When a ship arrives from an infected port and goes into quarantine, we want that one quarantine to suffice as regards the whole Commonwealth. Once a man comes out of a quarantine station at one port or other in the Commonwealth, he should not be in danger of being sent into a quarantine station in another State. Once’ a ship is declared clean at one port, she ought to be regarded as clean in . every port in the Commonwealth. Animals and plants do not travel from State ‘to State, or from place to place, in the same way as do men and women. Suppose that tropical plants are placed in a quarantine station in some of the colder portions of Australia. At the. end of the term it is very possible that they will not require any more quarantining, because they will have been absolutely destroyed. That point has been brought out . most clearly by some of the Queensland authorities.’ In Australia, comprising as it does such a large territory, it is not a simple matter to determine how we should deal with plants. We know that when men come from a hot or cold climate any quarantine station into which they may be put will not be dangerous to life because of its temperature or for any reason. I should like to see the clause eliminated, but if that cannot be done, at any rate the latter portion of paragraph b, dealing with animals and plants; should be omitted. Of course the Government will say that it is necessary to the very object which they want to achieve. Some of their friends have said that when the Government are proposing, to establish a system of quarantine, they should take all the powers .which it is possible to take under the head of quarantine, and for that purpose to construe the word in the very broad manner in which it has been construed by the draftsman of this Bill. If honorable . senators will consult either a legal or general dictionary,, they will find that the definition of the term is restricted to ships and human beings. It does not contemplate quarantine in relation to animals or plants. It may be said by honorable senators-, or by the Government, that the Parliament has the right to legislate1 according to its interpretation of the term. But, in reply to that, let me point out that no definition by this Parliament can extend the true meaning of the word. Last week, before the Supreme Court ‘ of New South Wales, a question arose as to the meaning of a certain word, and the complaint made by one Justice was that he could not find any definition of it in his legal text-books. If was not very clear what the general acceptation of the word was. The Judge, in the circumstances, said, “Let us turn to the dictionary.” He did so, and’ it was found that, according to the general acceptation of the meaning .of the word, it had not the wide scope contended- for by counsel. I refer to this to show that, in dealing with any question depending upon the meaning of terms, if there is any doubt as to their generally accepted meaning, we must consult the legal or general dictionaries in order to ascertain their meaning.
– What about clause 4 ? It defines quarantine.
-Colonel Cameron. - Why cannot the Government define the meaning of the term as they propose to use it?
– In clause 4 it will be seen that the Government have attempted to define the word “ quarantine “ by saying that-
In this Act quarantine “has” .relation to measures for the exclusion,’ detention, segregation, isolation, protection, and disinfection of vessels, persons, goods, animals, or plants.
But neither the’ Government nor- this Parliament has any power to give to the word ‘ quarantine ‘ ‘ a meaning which it does not bear apart from any definition we may attempt. We cannot extend any more than we can restrict its meaning. If, in’ the ordinary acceptation of the term, “ quarantine “ does not embrace animals or plants, we have no right to say that it does, or to lay down a definition of the term which will not be recognised by the Courts or , bv the public generally.
– “Why should we put a narrow construction upon the term if a broader one is open to us?
.- The broader one referred to has not been accepted at the present time.
– It has, by another place.
.- I do not care what has been done in another place. If we are to be bound by an argument of that kind, it is of no use for us to consider the matter at- all. In 1900 it was laid down that- the Federal Parliament, subject to the Constitution, should have power to make laws with respect to “ Quarantine.” Whatever that word “ quarantine “ covered at that date, it covers to-day, and not a jot more. The question as to what is meant must be determined judicially by the High Court, and it is no part of the duty of this Parliament to pass laws which will make it necessary for people to appeal to the High Court to obtain a proper interpretation of the. terms used, unless we are reasonably satisfied that the interpretation which we put upon a term, and the. use to which we apply it, would be approved by the Court.
– If a doubt exists, had we not better ta’ke the benefit of it?
– Which way ?
– We should avail ourselves of the widest powers.
– We have no right to define “quarantine.”
-Colonel Cameron. - Would not Senator Gould’s object be served by leaving out the words “ animals or plants “ in clause 4?
-Colonel GOULD. - It was possible for the Committee to have dealt with the matter in considering that clause if honorable senators had seen fit to do so. Although clause 4 has been passed, and the Government have given the term a certain definition, we are not bound to that definition if, on further consideration, we believe a mistake has been made. We can recommit the clause to bring if into harmony with what we believe to be right, and with the Bill as we may ultimately agree to pass it. If we left out the words “ animals and plants “ in clause 4, and made consequential amendments in other parts of the Bill, it would he in our power to recommit the interpretation clause in order to bring it into harmony with what we had done. I wish to impress upon honorable senators the fact that if the clause were passed as it stands we should be confronted with two or three difficulties. There would first of all be the trouble of dual control, and the difficulties which might arise between the Government of the Commonwealth and the States Governments. There is the further difficulty that apparently we are deliberately authorizing the Government to depute to a State Government the quarantine powers which should be controlled by the Commonwealth Government. Whilst under the Constitution, once we assume the control of quarantine the whole control passes into the hands of the Commonwealth Government, it would be possible under this Bill for the Government to depute its powers in relation to quarantine in New South Wales and Western Australia to the Governments of those States, and at the same time to refuse to the Governments of the other States the right to control their internal quarantine. Would not that place the Commonwealth and the States in a very unfortunate position ? Whether or. not quarantine embraces the control of diseases of animals or plants, we are aware that two or three of the States Governments have stated in no uncertain fashion their opposition to the proposal that the Commonwealth should assume the control of such matters since they have themselves passed legislation to deal with them ? Do we desire to come into conflict with the health authorities of the States? We know that the States have the right to deal with matters affecting their own internal concerns. They have the power within their own boundaries to deal with diseases under their several Health Acts. We have no power to pass health laws for the various States in this Parliament, but under this Bill we are being asked to interfere with the health laws of the States. I see in this clause a fruitful source of trouble and difficulty, and I urge the Committee to consider very carefully how it shall be dealt with. It mav be that some honorable senators are not inclined to interfere in these matters at the present time. In common with some other honorable senators I hold the view that it may be necessary to hammer at this subject for some time in order to bring about what we consider a proper system of quarantine control. I hope it will not be contended for a moment that because honorable senators choose to differ with regard to the way in which these powers should be carried out, and .as to the meaning and scope Of the word “quarantine” as it is used in the Constitution-, they are therefore opposing this Bill from partisan motives. If charges like that are to be made, it will mean that honorable senators who do not see eye to eye with the promoters of “any Bill are to be regarded as partisans, desiring to interfere with legitimate legislation.. I think I can say that honorable senators have no desire to interfere with legitimate legislation, but wish rather to bring this Bill into such a shape as they think will be most conducive to the interests of the country, and most in conformity with the intentions of the framers of the Constitution and the powers with which we have been intrusted.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [8.42]. - I had hoped that after the criticism to which the clause has been subjected, the Minister would say something in order to satisfy the minds of honorable senators on a matter as to which’ there is very grave doubt. Whether we are greatly influenced by it or not, none of us can deny that there has been, if not in all, certainly in some, of the States a good deal of. uneasiness expressed with regard to the’ powers proposed to be conferred on the Commonwealth Government under this Bill. I know that there has been a good deal of feeling on the subject in my own State, and the Ministry at present in’ office in that State have formed a strong opinion adverse to the very large powers sought. I dare say that other honorable senators from . South Australia have, like myself, been communicated with by the Premier of the State with a view to having those powers restricted and limited. This is a matter which should be carefully considered by the Government. Even if I disagreed, which I do not, with the view taken bv the Government of South Australia on the subject,’ I should still think it my duty to bring strongly under the notice of the Committee the adverse views as to these very extensive powers which exist in South Australia, and in some of the other States. The trouble arises in two ways. Senator Gould has “laid a good deal of stress upon the constitutional aspect of the question. There are two aspects which require to be considered. The first is whether we have a right under the Constitution to assume the large powers of control proposed to i>e given by this Bill, and, if we have, whether it is good policy on our part to assume them. Large powers are sought with a view to the regulation of what are practically matters of internal health administration in the different States. It is a fundamental part of the Constitution that everything relating to social legislation should be left to the States Parliaments. As a matter of policy, we should not go one step beyond what is absolutely necessary in the assumption of the powers given to this Parliament under the Constitution. Let us take one step at a time - “ line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.” There is no need to endeavour to utilize all the powers we possibly can, including some as to which we may have a doubt. Every State is at one with the Commonwealth in thinking that the whole of what is strictly and properly called quarantine should be taken over by the Federal authority ; that is, that the Commonwealth should control the quarantine, which has always been understood to be strictly and technically confined to matters relating to oversea vessels and the introduction of diseases from abroad.
– As ap- plied to man, and not to animals or plants ?
– Not as applied to animals, plants, or goods. But, as I said when offering a few remarks upon the second reading of the Bill, I am not looking at it from a constitutional point of view, because we are not the proper authority to deal with that. I am not prepared to say that a tribunal interpreting the word “quarantine” as used in the Constitution might not be disposed to enlarge its meaning. I do not offer any opinion about that. It is for the High Court to decide. But I do agree with Senator Gould that nothing that we can do, no provision that we can insert in this Bill, can extend the meaning of the word “quarantine” as it stands in the Constitution one single hair’s breadth beyond what the High Court may define it to mean. If clause 4, which is very vague, attempts to define the meaning of the word, it is in that. respect so much waste paper and waste ink. ‘ When the matter comes to be dealt with by the High “Court, in any proceedings properly initiated, the definition of that tribunal will prevail, no matter what provision we introduce in this .Bill. In passing, I may remark that it does not appear to me that clause 4 raises the crucial question. It may be read quite consistently with that limitation of the meaning of the word to which I have referred.
– I think that the words “or spread,” used in clause 4, extend the meaning.
– Those words do not extend the meaning. The spreading of a disease is consequent upon its introduction. There is not a single word in clause 4 that may not be read consistently with the limited definition of ‘the word “quarantine,” which I suggest as the proper one,” and which, for ‘my own part, I believe the High Court will put upon it.
– The word ‘“quarantine “ was used in South Australia in connexion with the prevention of the diseases of stock in the Stock Act of 1888.
– That is a secondary use of the word, and is not what was intended when the control of quarantine was handed over to the Federal -Government under the Constitution. It did not mean, in my opinion, that the States were to be interfered with in respect to stock and plants within their own borders. With regard to clause 11, with which we are immediately concerned, I agree with Senator Gould that paragraph a is unnecessary, and that it would be very much better if it were left out. I do not think there can be any doubt that the transfer of the quarantine stations passes at once to the Commonwealth. Paragraph a refers, not to properties used partly for quarantine stations and partly for other purposes, but to State quarantine stations or other places used for such purposes. It does not relate at all to buildings or pieces of land that are used partly for one purpose and partly for another. The clause is intended to enable the Governor-General to enter into an arrangement with the Government of any State for the transfer of properties used exclusively in connexion with quarantine. It ought to be amended if it is intended to refer to properties used partly for quarantine stations and partly’ for other purposes. If paragraph a has been introduced from a sense of abundant caution, I can understand it.
– Are there any properties which are used for quarantine purposes and for other purposes at the same time?
– I should think not. A quarantine station, as I understand it, is a place which must be used exclusively for quarantine. I see no particular objection to paragraph b, except, perhaps, the reference to animals and plants. If honorable senators wish to raise that question now, separately from the larger question whether we are going to interfere with matters of so-called State quarantine, we can proceed by striking out the words “animals or plants.” But, subject to that, I do not see any harm in the paragraph, because it only authorizes the Governor-General to enter into an arrangement with the Governor of any State in regard to any matters necessary or convenient to be arranged, in orderto enable the Commonwealth quarantine authorities and the State health. authoritiesto act in aid of each other. I do not seewhy they should not act in harmony.
– Senator Trenwith, speaking on behalf of the Government, said that those words gave the GovernorGeneral absolute authority to take over properties.
– I do not think that they do. I suggest to the Committee that the crucial and vital question may be raised much better uponclause 12, upon which Senator Neild proposes to move an amendment. Perhaps he might secure his purpose by moving to leave out the words “or in” after the word “ beyond “ in that clause.
– The same thought came into my mind.
– So far as concerns our powers under the Constitution, I do not propose to move any amendment, because we cannot settle the question. The responsibility must be with the Government. If the Government intend to drag into the net of this measure every kind of power of interfering with the health powers of the States, and the Senate is agreeable, I only say that they must do it. My only criticism is upon the question whether it is politic to do it. But we should, have an amendment moved to elicit an expression of opinion by the Committee as to whether we are justified in trespassing upon that area of State control in reference to matters of health where not men, but animals or plants are concerned. Whilst I think that an amendment can be moved upon this clause to raise the question whether the Federal control over quarantine should be extended to animals or plants, I think that the Committee will do well to lay stress upon clause 12, with the view of determining what the real scope of the measure is to be.
– Since the discussion which has been raised upon Senator McColl’s remark upon this clause, I observe that some honorable senators seem to have doubts as to whether it has not been introduced for some sinister purpose. So far from that being the object, the very opposite is the case. The clause is similar to sections introduced in other measures passed by this Parliament. During last session Parliament passed the Meteorology Act, and in the previous sessionit passed the Census and Statistics Act. Section 6 of the Census and Statistics Act of 1905 is as follows - 6. (1) The Governor-General may enter into any arrangement with the Governor of any State providing for any matter necessary or convenient for the purpose of carrying out or giving effect to this Act and in particular for all or any of the following matters : -
The supplying of statistical information by any State Department or officer to the Statistician.
In the Meteorology Act passed last session, section reads as follows -
The Governor-General may enter into an arrangement with the Governor of any. State in respect of all or. any of the following matters.
Then follow paragraphs a, b, c, and d. Paragraph c, for instance, gives power to make arrangements for -
The interchange of meteorological information between the Commonwealth and State authorities.
For the like reason, the clause under discussion is introduced into this Bill. Honorable senators need not have any apprehension of friction being the result of it. As an illustration of how a similar provision works in the Meteorological Act, I may observe we are now making arrangements with some of the States for the officers of the Education Departments - that is State school teachers - to take for the Federal Meteorological Department the necessary daily observations and readings, and transmit them. Obviously it would be impracticable to arrange to have our own officers in every centre to do that work, and it is desirable that State and Commonwealth should, wherever possible, work in harmony. Honorable senators, when they realize that the object of the clause is to bring about the harmonious co-operation of Commonwealth and States in matters of common concern, will support, rather than oppose, it. As to the buildings and lands occupied in the past by State authorities for quarantine purposes, it so happens, in some of the States, that quarantine grounds, when they are not being used for quarantine purposes, are used at times by the State for other purposes. I understand that that is so in South Australia. The clause may have been introduced, as Senator Symon said, for “ abundant caution,” but the Government were aware of the possibility that in various parts of the Commonwealth there might be difficult questions to. settle as to whether certain properties were exclusively used in connexion with the Department of Quarantine in the State. In order that, in any such case, there should be no difficulty, provision is made to authorize the Governor-General to arrange with the Governor of any State for the use of such property “or other place as a quarantine station,” and to make arrangements as to control and management, It has been suggested that under a provision of that kind it would be possible for the State to have control and management of such a station. . It might be so. It might; happen that in a certain case property held by a State - not a State quarantine station, but some “other place” - was required for a few weeks or months, in a case of emergency by the Commonwealth, to be used as a quarantine ground on account of an outbreak of disease. If so, this clause would permit the Governor-General to arrange with the State for theCommonwealth to obtain the use of that property for a limited period, and also to make arrangements as to its control and management while it was in the use of the Federal authorities. This is an elastic provision. It enables arrangements to be made in every conceivable contingency. Honorable senators need not regard it as ambiguous. It is designedly very widely worded, in order to cover all possible emergencies. Any quarantine measure that did not contemplate the arising of unexpected emergencies would be a very poor one. As to the second paragraph, I have already directed attention to the fact that it may be necessary to obtain, as quarantine officers for the purposes of this Act, officers who are in the employ of a State in other capacities. I hope it will prove that our; quarantine officers will have, in the main very little to do, but we must have then at all the ports which are proclaimed as first ports of entry for vesselscoming from abroad. Obviously, however, our quarantine officer would have very little to do in many instances from one year’s end to the other, and we could not be expected to maintain him as a quarantine officer, and nothing else, andpay him a salary commensurate with the responsibilities of the position.
SenatorColonel Neild. - How cannot the Commonwealth do it when the States do it ?
– Because the State, in many instances, uses as quarantine officers capable men, who are also discharging for the State other functions which in the main, are the justification for their salaries.
– They have private? practices.
– That is so in many cases.In Launceston we have a private practitioner as quarantine officer, butthe quarantine officer in Hobart is the Chief Officer ofHealthfor the whole
State. Hewould do forty times as much work in that capacity as he would do as quarantine officer for the port of Hobart, and his salary is receivedin the main becauseof the work he does as Chief Health Officer of the State. Should a quarantine officer be required in the port of Hobart, he can discharge the duties of that position with ability. But would it be reasonable for the Commonwealth to take such an officer from the State service as the quarantine offi- cer for the port of Hobart, with no other duties, and pay him a salary equal to what he is now getting? Consequently we make provision in paragraph bthat the Governor - General may arrange with the Governor of any State “ 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.” Whilst the officer was acting as quarantine officer, he would be acting as the officer of the Federal Government Honorable senators need not anticipate that conflict of duty of which some of them are . a little apprehensive. We have found in the past that State officers charged with Federal responsibilities have acted with a sense of loyalty to the Federal authority, which for the time being, and in that particular capacity, represented their superior officer. I hope that honorable senators will see that there is no danger in the clause as it stands, and no reason for the grave apprehensions which some of them have expressed.
– I cannot understand the opposition to this clause. I could understand it if the clause were mandatory, and gave the Federal authorities a compelling power. I have often heard criticisms directed from this side of the Chamber against interference by the Federal, with the State authorities. This clause is designed to promote friendly understanding and cooperation. The negativing of it would practically mean that the Governor-General should not enter into an arrangement with the States. I shall never be a party to any decision of that kind. I can find nothing to object to in paragraphs a or b. The question of the Federal control over diseases affecting animals or plants is very debatable, but there will be ample and bettertime and opportunity on another part of the Bill to go into the merits of that question. Iwelcome this clause, and the Government should be congratulated on having shown a, clear desire to promote friendly co-operation between the Federal and State authorities.I find in the clause nothing ambiguous, and nothing that conflicts with the strictest ideas of State rights. I hope that it will be passed . as printed.
.- When , I first drew attention to this clause I asked for information from the Minister. He gave the Committee a certain amount of information, but. not all that I wished to elicit from him. My object all along has been, as. I stated on the second reading, to eliminate from the Bill any reference to plants. Therefore, to test the feeling of the Committee,I move-
That the words “ animals or plants,” lines 15 and 16, be left out:
I am not sure that this is the best place in the Bill on which to test the question, but as the point has been raised, this is perhaps a fitting time to decide it. All the States have protestedtheir unwillingness to allow the Commonwealth to take jurisdiction over animals and plants. In my second-reading speech I read a letter from the Premier of Tasmania on the question, and all the Premiers wish to retain control within the States of this matter.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.12]. - The Minister’s remarks with reference to the undesirableness or, as he called it, the impossibility ofhaving Federal quarantine administered by Federal officers, are singularly unlike his usual wise observations. He said it was the custom, in localities where the duties of a quarantine officer were not great, to allow the officer to pursue private practice, and for the State to give him a comparatively small emolument. If that is right under State administration, and the honorable senator proposes to perpetuate it under this Bill, why should not the same rule apply to a Commonwealth officer whose duties are not great? Senator Lynch this afternoon pointed out that there had recently been a difficulty in Sydney in consequence of the State police, who almost invariably obey the behests of the Commonwealth Governmentthrough the proper channel, obeying in one case, as they were bound to do, the orders of the people who appoint them, pay them, and also have the power to sack them. It is proposed to have adual control in this case on a much more important and delicate matter. The Minister says that in any port where the duties of a quarantine officer are not great he is allowed to have private practice.
– I said that that was so in some cases, but in other cases the officer is doing for the State Government other work which occupies more of his time. Dr. Ramsay Smith, in Adelaide, is coroner, officer of health, and also quarantine officer.
– Then the Minister’s contention is that the business of a large port is to be dealt with in a halfhearted and unsatisfactory manner to save a few pounds, because in some smaller port with less shipping some special local arrangements exist, i am prepared to assist in voting all the supplies which are necessary for the appointment of suitable officers to carry out a measure of this kind properly. But it does seem to me extraordinary that, although this was one of the questions specially selected in the Constitution Act to be dealt with by the Parliament, apparently without delay, it is only now - after the Commonwealth has been in existence for nearly seven years - that the Government bring in a measure on the subject. They seem prepared to swear to every line of the Parliamentary Draftsman, irrespective of all the urgings from critics who, like myself, are not unfriendly. No one called for a division on the second reading. There has been no party feeling, but there has been very strong personal feeling, and, if my honorable friend likes, strong State feeling. I have here a letter from the Premier of New South Wales. I also received a letter from the Queensland Government, but .’ I cannot put my hand on it, owing to the miserable accommodation, which is afforded for. senators’ correspondence.
– I have read the letter from Queensland.
– Then I shall read two paragraphs- in -the letter from the Premier of New . South Wales. Writing on the 1 2th August, he says -
With reference to the BiU now before the Parliament of the Commonwealth to enable the Federal Government to assume control, not only of maritime quarantine, but of epidemical diseases among human beings, animals, and plants already within the State - I desire, on behalf of this State, to ask that you will use your best endeavours to have the Bill in question so amended as to restrict its operation to maritime quarantine only.
As perhaps I need hardly mention, there is » strong feeling among the States that the removal of the control of diseases already within their borders from the State Governments is very inadvisable, even if it be not . absolutely unconstitutional ; and, quite apart from this, it is generally recognised that the change proposed must tend to litigation and confusion.
For the sake of brevity, I shall read only those two paragraphs. In the concluding paragraph, the writer says he believes that the Premier of each State is communicating with its representatives in the Federal Parliament to a somewhat similar effect. But of that I cannot speak, as I have not seen any communication except the’ one from Queensland. Unquestionably, clause ii seems to me to provoke the litigation and’ confusion which the writer of the letter I read suggests. We ought to avoid conflict with the States so far as we possibly can. I urge that as during six or seven years there has been not the slightest trace of anxiety on the part of any Federal Ministry to deal with this subject, there is no need now for the Government to take the extreme course which they seem bent upon taking. Surely it would be more reasonable to take a course which would meet with support from all sides of the Chamber? Every honorable senator is prepared to give the Government a reasonable BiU. There is riot one senator who seeks to deprive them of reasonable control, but some of us, at least, believe that there is so much fisk of litigation and confusion that we deem it our duty to make more than a formal protest, and endeavour, as far as we can, to induce the Government to take a course that will end in or lead to the passage of a measure which will be free of friction and for the best interests of the whole of Australia, whether, those interests be in the first instance Commonwealth or State. However they may originate, they must be the interests of the whole people of Australia, and that, I take it, is what those who urge this amendment upon the Government desire to achieve.
– I cannot see any reason why any honorable senator should be alarmed at a clause of this description. It does not raise any principle with respect to quarantine, nor does it involve the question of taking over any property, or the question whether the quarantine laws shall extend to Inter-State or State health matters. It involves no principle except that of enabling the Commonwealth and a
State to make an arrangement for the smooth administration of the law. It involves no party principle. I credit every honorable senator with the desire to act entirely in the interests of the people of the Commonwealth from his own point of view. If the measure is passed as it stands, the quarantine officers of the States will have to administer the same law, and in this clause the Government ask for power to enter into an arrangement with the State for its proper administration by States officers, who, of course, are very well qualified to discharge such duties. If, however, the States refuse to enter into such an arrangement, it will devolve upon the Commonwealth to administer the law through independent officers. If it does not operate through this clause, it will be obliged to operate through clause 9, which empowers the Governor-General to appoint officers to carry out the law. I believe that every senator will be well satisfied if the Commonwealth can enter into an arrangement with the States to administer the law. The Health Officer in Adelaide is also a coroner, and discharges several other duties. Instead of administering the Quarantine Act of South Australia, he will be called upon to administer this measure, and I do not think that it is possible to get a better man for the purpose. The clause has nothing to do with properties which may be taken over by the Commonwealth. It merely enables the Commonwealth, where a difficulty arises in respect to a quarantine area, to arrange with the State to get a particular place for quarantine purposes. But where a property is used exclusively as a quarantine station it will be taken over. I differ from Senator Guthrie with respect to the quarantine station in South Australia. It may be visited by picnicking parties when there is no disease on the island. So far as I can learn, it is used exclusively for quarantine purposes, but the control is very confusing. Generally it is under the control of the Works and Buildings Department but when any persons are Quarantined it is under the control of the Health Department. I hope that if it is taken over by the Commonwealth it will be placed under the sole control of thequarantine officer. That, I believe, will give general satisfaction in the State.
– Part of the island is under the control of the veterinary surgeon.
– Yes, but all those matters can be settled by an arrange ment between the Commonwealth and the State. I hope that honorable senators will agree to this permissive clause, whatever opinions they may hold with respect to other provisions in the Bill.
SenatorMACFARLANE (Tasmania) [9.30].- I should like to say that it is not my object, in every case, to prevent altogether the transfer of animals and plants, but to prevent interference by the Commonwealth authority within a State. I wish to prevent friction between the States and the Commonwealth. I think that my object will be best served if I withdraw the amendment, and submit it again on clause 13. I ask leave to withdraw the amendment at this stage.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 12 agreed to.
Clause 13 -
The Governor-General may, by proclamation
– The question of the quarantining of animals and plants is continually cropping up, and it arises again in connexion with this clause. If Senator Keating would consent, the Committee could best test the question involved on a recommittal of clause 4.
– It is the first clause under which the difficulty arises.
– It is the best clause on which to test the question, and if the Minister would consent to recommit it, I think the Committee would make rapid progress with the other clauses of theBill.
– If it is understood that there will be no debate on the question on subsequent clauses I shall have no objection to the recommittal of clause 4 for the purpose of considering the matter, when, if amendments are made in the clause, they can be followed by consequential amendments.
– That is what I rose to suggest.
– I am agreeable to that.
– I think I can best attain the objects I have in view by moving an amendment on paragraph g of this clause. Iwish to prevent the Commonwealthacting within the boundaries of a state by preventing the removal of animals and plants from one part of a State to another part of the same State, or proclaiming a particular part of a State a quarantinable area. I should prefer to have the paragraph struck out altogether. But if the Committee is not agreeable to that, I move -
That the words “or partof the Commonwealth,” lines 5 and 6, be left out.
If that is agreed to it will be necessary to omit the same words from a latter part of the paragraph.
– Before the Committee decides to leave out these words we should know exactly what the effect of the amendment would be. I take it that these words refer to such places as New Guinea and the Northern Territory, which cannot be described as States, but which the Government may intend to cover. I should like the Committee to discuss the whole question of. whether the Commonwealth Government should interfere in the internal control of diseases of animals and plants within the States. The question might be fittingly discussed on paragraph g of this clause. I said all I have to say broadly on the second reading in the course of a short speech, and I wish now only to repeat that while the Premiers’ Conference, which sat in Brisbane in April, carried a resolution asking the Commonwealth Government to introduce a quarantine law, it was held that it should be confined to oversea quarantine. The matter was fully discussed, and it was evident that the States Governments did not desire that internal quarantine should be interfered with. I am still of opinion that the people on the spot, possessed of local knowledge, and the State staffs already in existence, are best fitted to deal with internal quarantine, at any rate, so far as diseases of animals and plants are concerned, and only these are mentioned in paragraph g.
– No ; goods are also mentioned.
– I take it that “ goods “ there refers to straw packing, and so on.
– It would cover hides.
– They may be grown on trees, but I was always under the impression that hides are parts of animals. The various States have now organized staffs for dealing with internal quarantine, and it should be left in their hands. The States Government desire this, and I see no reason why the Commonwealth Government in introducing a Bill which should be confined to oversea quarantine should include in its provisions extraneous matter conflicting with the internal administration of the States.
. -If paragraph g were amended as Senator Macfarlane proposes, it would read -
Prohibit the removal of any animals, plants, or goods, or parts of animals or plants, from any State in which any quarantinable disease affecting animals or plants exists to any State in which the disease does not exist.
That would give the Governor-General power by proclamation to prohibit the removal from an infected State, to any State not infected, of animals, plants or goods. At present the clause gives greater power, because under it the GovernorGeneral might prohibit the removal of animals, plants, or goods not only from an infected State to a State not infected, but from one part of an infected State to another part of the same State. The reason for that provision is that the Commonwealth is responsible for preventing not only the introduction, but the spread of quarantinable diseases front State to State, and it is not considered advisable or politic, as I said when introducing the measure, that the Commonwealth authority should stand so to speak on the border-line of a State, note a disease gradually spreading to the border-line, and say, “ When it gets to theborder-line we shall take action, but not before.”
– We do not want the Commonwealth authority to do either. We donot believe in the Commonwealth authority standing on the border.
– The honorable senator might not, and he is entitled to express his opinion, but I am giving the reason why the Government thought that, in certain circumstances, the Commonwealth authority should not wait until a disease actually reached the border of a State. There might be circumstances where it would be necessary for the Commonwealth Government to step in to keep a disease back, or endeavour to eradicate it, or get the State authority to do so, and, in the meantime, adopt precautionary measures to prevent it spreading further in the State in which it arose in the direction of the border line, and so into another State. In other words, they thought it well to be guided by the principle that prevention is better than cure.” I draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that the power provided for under paragraph g of this clause can be exercised by the Governor-General only in certain circumstances, referred to in sub-clause 3, which was inserted as an amendment in another place, and did not appear in the Bill as originally submitted. It was put in in deference to the expressed opinion of several of the States Governments, and I was under the impression until now that it met, if not wholly, certainly to a very large extent, the objections raised by some of the States Governments to the assumption of powers under the Bill as originally submitted. Sub-clause 3 provides that -
The powers conferred on the Governor-General by this section in relation to the matters specified in paragraphs (g), (h), and (i) of sub-section1 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.
That was the declared reason for the power given in paragraph g of this clause, and it was asked that it should be put into the Bill. Reference is made in paragraph g to goods as well as to animals or plants, and when Senator Chataway was speaking, I suggested that it would cover hides, hoofs, or other parts of animals by which infection might be carried. It might, in addition, be necessary to prevent the removal of passengers’ luggage.
– Or packages in cases.
– Or personal belongings. A passenger arriving from abroad might pass into the Commonwealth and those who submitted him to an examination might be unaware that he was suffering from any disease, as at the time of his examination the period of incubation of the disease might not have expired. He might find his way inland, before the disease developed, andit might then spread considerably. It is possible that in some cases it would be necessary to prevent the removal of the goods or personal belongings brought with him by such a person on the journey during which he contracted the disease. I hope that honorable senators will see that there is real justification for giving this power to the Governor-General, and will not adopt the amendment. I hope they will also recognise that this is not a power which would be wantonly exercised at any time, seeing that it . can only be exercised under the conditions set out under sub-clause 3, where the Governor-General is satisfied that he is going into a State, so to. speak, to carry out executive action in thatState designed to prevent the spread of disease not only within the State itself, but across the borders into another State. With that safeguard, honorable senators should rest satisfied that this power is not an extraordinary power, but one with which the Government of the day must be vested in the interests of the people of the whole of the States.
– I have listened attentively to Senator Keating’s explanation ofthe words “ State or part of the Common wealth.” Thereis no doubt that this collocation of words is somewhat misleading. The words are at any rate redundant, because a State is part of the Commonwealth. Why is it necessary touse theword ‘” State “ at all ? It would be desirable as a mere matter of drafting to amend the clause in this respect.
– To leave out the word “ State “ altogether ?
– Certainly ; itis unnecessary. It creates confusion. We should certainly leave out the words “ State or.” The amendment would not affect the validity of the clause from the point of view of the Government, but would make it clearer. Sub-clause 3 may have been inserted with a laudable object, but the tendency of it would not be to prevent conflict between State and Federal authorities. I desire to see the two authorities work harmoniously, but this sub-clause would not secure that object. It will be seen that the powers conferred can be exercised in any case where the Governor-General is satisfied that the exercise of such powers is necessary to prevent the spread of disease. But looking at the clause from a practical point of view, what does it mean ? It means that if the Federal authorities are satisfied that a municipality in a State is not doing its duty they can interfere. It means, therefore, that in some cases the Federal authorities will decide that Federal intervention is necessary, and in other cases they will not. I do not think that that is at all a desirable state of affairs to bring about. I am perfectly certain that it will create conflict and dissatisfaction. If, for instance, a municipality in any part of Australia is engaged in combating diphtheria, and the Federal authorities are not satisfied that it is being attacked in a proper way, they will be able to interfere. I do not think that that is a desirable result, and so far as the clause has that effect I shall oppose it.
– If the local authorities arenot combating disease effectively, would itnot be a good thing to allow some other authority to intervene?
– That question brings us to the consideration of whether we should not leave such matters tobe dealt with by the States themselves. I see a danger in the clause as it stands, and do not think I can support it. At any rate, I hope that the Minister will, for the sake of better phraseology agree to the amendment which I have suggested.
Senator Lt.-Colonel GOULD (New South Wales) [9.50]. - I do not think there can be any question as to the soundness of Senator Clemons’ criticism upon thewording of the clause. The alteration which he has suggested would make it very much clearer, and enable the object of the Minister to be carried out more effectively. The use of the word “ State “ is absolutely unnecessary. But beyond that we have to consider what the effect of the clause will be and how far as a matter of policy it is desirable to give these powers. Under the clause the Gover nor-General might declare measles or scarlet fever to be quarantinable diseases. That would give the Federal authorities power to enter into any town or municipality to cope with such diseases. Take a municipality in which typhoid fever is prevalent. It would be within the power of the GovernorGeneral, under this clause, to declare typhoid fever a quarantinable disease. Thereupon the Federal authorities could enter into that municipality and quarantine the whole area as against any other part of the State. They would be able to prohibit the removal of animals or goods from that particular place to any other portion of the Commonwealth. That is, we propose to give the Commonwealth power which should properlybe in the hands of the State authorities. Is it desirable that the power of the Federal Government should be brought to bear to deal with such diseases as typhoid within a State? Is it not like using the proverbial steam hammer to crack a nut?
– Is not the illustration far-fetched?
.- It is often necessary to point to extreme cases to show what would possibly be the effect of a particular measure. Say, for the sake of argument, that half a State was afflicted by a particular disease. Then the Federal Government would have power to quarantine that part of the State against every other part of it, and against the whole Commonwealth. Would not that be an interference with the duty of the people of the State themselves? Some time ago, there was a good deal of plague in Sydney. Had this clause been in operation, the Federal Government would have had power to declare an area within so many miles of Sydney a quarantine area, and to prohibit communication between it and the other portions of the State and of the Commonwealth. Surely that is a matter for which the State itself should take the responsibility. Of course, if a State declined to take the responsibility in the case of an outbreak of infectious disease, I should have no objection to give the Federal Government power to prevent the spread of the disease to any other State.
– So long as a State was doing its duty, the Commonwealth would not interfere.
– Whether a State does its duty or not, the Commonwealth should not interfere within a State. TheState Parliament would take good care to see that the State Government did its duty.
– The question is - who is to be the judge of whether a State Government is doing its duty ?
– If a State was not doing its duty in preventing the spread of infectious disease, the Commonwealth Government would be able to step in and say, 1 ‘ We will protect the other States of the Commonwealth against you.” But we do not want the Commonwealth to appear to interfere unduly in any matter which is primarily of State concern. It has always been understood that the States should manage the affairs that pertain to them as States. In order to protect the people- of the Commonwealth, it is simply necessary for the Federal Government to say that it will exercise its powers .where the Governor-General is satisfied that the exercise of them is necessary to prevent the spread of disease. I assume that the Government would not proclaim these general powers unless it was satisfied that it was necessary to prevent the spread of a disease or pest affecting animals or plants. I do not assume that, with or without ‘ a clause like this, the Governor-General would be advised to issue a proclamation simply for the sake of issuing it. Subclause 3 really carries the matter no further than it is carried by the first five or six words of the clause. It is ‘not desirable to exercise a power by which in extreme cases a municipality or town might be proclaimed as a quarantine area against the rest of the Commonwealth, including the whole of its own State. To proclaim a whole State as a quarantine area as against other States is the extent of the power which the Commonwealth -Government should seek to obtain. All questions affecting the spread of diseases within a State should be left to the health authorities, of that State. We are not charged with the responsibility of ‘ the care of the health of the States as States. That ‘ matter is reserved to the States themselves to deal with through their own health officers. We should not enact that a superior power may set aside what they do. The health authorities might advise the State Government that they were using every means to crush out disease, but the Governor-General might, notwithstanding that, declare himself satisfied that the central Government should intervene and override the State in dealing with its own internal affairs. Senator Macfarlane’s proposal is fair and reasonable. It will prevent that interferencewith State authorities in State matters which should not be attempted by the “Commonwealth under any pretence in this or any other legislation.
– Will Senator Macfarlane withdraw his amendment temporarily, to allow me to move a prior’ amendment?
– I have no objection.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
. Senator Clemons’ suggestion to omit the words “ State or,” in paragraph g, would make the clause less cumbersome and mon easy of interpretation. I move -
That the words “State or,” line 5, be left out.
– I must oppose the amendment. If it is carried, and my amendment is negatived, we shall be worse off than ever.
.I exceedingly regret that I cannot agree ‘ with Senator Gould. The Federal Parliament and Federal Government can manage things better than the State Parliaments and Governments can.
– .They do not think so.
– We are here, not to represent any State Government, but to represent the people. If things are to be done in a uniform way, they must be done through the Commonwealth. We have heard repeatedly to-night that if we give too much latitude to the Governor-General, which means the Government, they will play the’ deuce with everybody. I can trust the present Government to the fullest extent, because even when they have machinery they never move a .hand to use it Where would the glory come in if the Government made use of the GovernorGeneral merely for the sake of interfering with a State? I cannot see why we should be afraid to trust the Government in this matter. They practically do nothing, and only a sense of duty would compel them to take any action whatever. Notwithstanding any view attributed to the Premier of South Australia, or communicated by him to us, we are here to represent the people, and not the Government of any State. I am prepared to support the clause to its fullest extent, in the belief that it is necessary.
– The Minister, while making the wording of the clause clearer, is also evidencing the fact that he desires that the Government Shall have power to intervene in State health administration. Senator Macfarlane’s contention is that that power should not be given, and it is well that the sense of the Committee should be thoroughly tested. If drastic powers are constitutional, the question is whether it is advisable to take them, and, if so, upon what grounds. Neither the Minister nor any other supporter of the clause has brought forward any serious case of negligence on the part of the State health authorities. One of the most dreaded diseases that we have had in the Commonwealth was the tick fever, which broke out in Queensland, coming, probably, from the Northern Territory, and, possibly, from the East. It affected immense numbers of cattle in that State. The Queensland health authorities grappled with it at once, and proclaimed an immense buffer area in order to protect southern Queensland and the rest of Australia from it. Those measures were successful. The machinery of the State of Queensland for dealing with diseases affecting animals is in a highly advanced state. I do not suppose that there is any other State in Australia where such care is taken to trace the origin and arrest the progress of diseases affecting animals.Every State has the most powerful incentive to prevent the spread of disease. The Commonwealth can have no greater interest than each State has in the integrity and immunity of its own territory. If we confine ourselves to those matters over which we have clear and undoubted jurisdiction, in order to prevent the spread of disease from one State to another, and encourage the States to continue to protect their own property, as they are bound to do, our ends will be best served. If, however, we assume power to enter a State and take control of internal health affairs, some faddist in the employ of the Federal Government may desire, because of a local outbreak of diphtheria in the centre of a State, to prevent people, goods, animals, and plants from passing from one portion of that State to another portion of it. I haveshown an undoubted case where the Queensland Government, in dealing with a stock disease, acted for the benefit of the whole of Australia. It spent thousands of pounds in scientific research, but if the Commonwealth Government take the powers now proposed, it is possible that the Queensland Government will abandon any further research in that direction. The States are with the Commonwealth in any proposal to take control of oversea quarantine to guard the health of Australia from diseases which may come from abroad, but I know from the Queensland authorities that they wish to retain their present powers to deal with their own internal health affairs. The Bacteriological Branch of the Queensland Department of Health is one of the best equipped in Australia, and equal to many in Europe.
Senate adjourned at 10.15p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 30 October 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1907/19071030_senate_3_40/>.