3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Mr. President, I wish to ask whether there is any foundation for the impression which prevails that the lower side galleries were reserved yesterday for the wives of Ministers and a few favored ladies, while the wives and daughters of other senators were sent to the upper galleries on the ground that there were no vacant seats, when a number of seats were vacant all the time? I should like to know who instructed the attendant to send the lady friends of some senators upstairs while a number of seats in the lower galleries were empty ?
– I am not aware that there was any reason for pursuing a course of that character. The tickets were issued in the usual way, and the seats were supposed to have been occupied. If there has been anything wrong done, I shall cause inquiry to be made, and ascertain the reason of it. But I assure the honorable senator thatthere was no desire on the part of anybody to show any want of courtesy to the wives of honorable senators.
– It was done, sir.
– I shall cause inquiry to be made. I may say that this is the first complaint that I have heard.
asked the Vice-
President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Vice-
President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions’ are as follow : -
– I wish to call the attention of the Minister representing the Postmaster-Generai; to the fact that twelve months ago the Petersburg Trading Association in South Australia was promised a telephone exchange, provided a certain number of subscribers at £4 per annum was assured; that more than the required number applied, and the subscribers’ money has been in the hands of the Department since about the 1st March last, and ask, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Vice-
President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Whether raw sugars in transit to refineries are insured against loss to the extent of the Excise derivable therefrom after they are refined ?
– The answer tothe honorable senator’s question is as follows -
The raw sugars referred to are transferred under bond, and every effortis exercised by the Customs to insure payment of thefull Excise.
– May I point out to the Minister that that answer does not disclose whether the Government insure with insurance companies against loss of Excise duty?
– I believe that the Government do not ; but I shall have further inquiry made.
Motion (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the days of meeting of the Senate during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week ; and that the hours of meeting, unless otherwise ordered, be half-past 2 o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday andThursday and half -past 10 o’clock in the forenoon of Friday.
Motion (by Senator Best) proposed -
That during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, the sittings of the Senate or of a Committee of the whole Senate on sitting days be suspended from 6.30 p.m. to 7.45 p.m., and on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 2.15 p.m.
– I point out to the honorable senator that these are purely formal motions, as no objection was taken to their being dealt with as formal when I called them over.
– That was by mistake. I ask the indulgence of the Senate to move an amendment.
– I am very sorry for the honorable senator. I do not think that I can ask the Senate to grant that indulgence where a motion of this character has not been objected to as formal at the time the formal motions were being called over.
– That is purely the result of an oversight.
– That is unfortunate, but it is questionable whether, whenever an oversight occurs, an honorable senator should have the right to have such motions recalled.
– After this, if any honorable senator wishes to move a motion without notice, I shall object to his doing so.
– This motion is not moved without notice.
– I ask leave of the Senate to move an amendment. Can I not do so by leave?
– The Standing Orders provide that -
No amendment or debate shall be allowed on a formal motion or Order of the Day, but the Senate may proceed to division thereon as in other cases.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the present Session, unless otherwise ordered, Government business take precedence of all other business on the Notice-paper, except Questions and Formal motions, and except that Private Business take precedence of Government Business on Thursday, after 7.45 p.m. ; and that, unless otherwise’ ordered, Private Orders of the Day take precedence of Private Notices of Motion on alternate Thursdays.
The following Sessional Committees were appointed (on motion by Senator Best) -
The President, the Chairman of Committees,
The President, Senators de Largie, McColl, McGregor, Mulcahy, Colonel Neild, and Turley.
Motion (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act relating to navigation and shipping.
Motion (by Senator Walker) agreed to -
That leave be granted to bring in a Bill for an Act authorizing any joint stock company formed or incorporated in any State to form reserve funds for the express purpose of providing or accumulating funds to protect the shareholders in such companies against their liability in respect of the uncalled capital or reserve liabilities on their shares, and to provide for the creation of corporate bodies in which such reserve funds may be vested.
Bill presented and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Chataway) agreed to-
That a return be laid upon the table of the Senate showing where and how the sum of £666,972 17s. 6d., shown as at credit of Trust Funds on 30th June, 1908, was held, what proportion was bearing interest and the rates of interest earned.
Motion (by Senator Colonel Neild) agreed to -
That there be laid on the table of this Senate a copy of the table or ‘rules of precedence for the Commonwealth, approved by His Majesty the King.
Debate resumed from 16th September (vide page 20), on motion by Senator Lt. -Colonel Cameron -
That the following Address-in-Reply be presented to His Excellency the Governor* General : -
To His Excellency the Governor-General -
May it please Your Excellency :
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
– There ;is an old saying that practice makes perfect, and if, as I believe, there is some sound truth in that maxim, I am sure honorable senators generally will join with me in congratulating Senators Cameron and Trenwith upon the perfection at which they have arrived, as the result of long practice, as sponsors for the AddressinReply. We live in an age of specialization, and I assume that it is in conformity with that movement that these gentlemen have become specialists in this particular- department of work.
– Long may they live to be so.
– The only thing that appeals to me is the consideration of what might happen to the Government if, for instance, Senator Trenwith were laid by the heels with influenza, or something went wrong with the machinery that brings Senator Lt. -Colonel Cameron from Tasmania to the scene of his legislative duties. In the friendliest manner possible, I wish to offer a suggestion to the Government. As a precaution against such a catastrophe, mav I make a suggestion to my honorable friend? The Ministry, of which he is a member, has , exploited the idea of honorary Ministers to an extent that hals never been attempted before. Might it not be worth the consideration of the Government whether they should not add another office to the Cabinet - that of sponsors to the Address-in-Reply - so as to include my two honorable friends, and confer upon them Ministerial rank? That would save a great deal of time, and, I venture to think, some trouble. At the present time I assume that it is necessary to convey the decisions of the Cabinet per medium of Senator Trenwith to the party of Senator Cameron. If those two honorable senators were included ‘ in the Ministry, the one consultation would serve all purposes. If the Vice-President of the Executive Council is not prepared to adopt that heroic policy, I think that he should at least take out an insurance policy on the lives of my two honorable friends, so that if anything happened to either of them the Government would have something with which to compensate themselves. Turning to the Address itself, I must say that, in common with every other honorable senator, I was very much cheered when I heard his Excellency the GovernorGeneral read paragraph 2, which says -
In order to complete the pressing work of the session before the close of the year -
When his Excellency had reached that point, I felt quite delighted, and I was led t”> hope that the Government had at last determined to take a firm grip of the business of Parliament, and to allocate a regular period to its sessions. I still venture to hope - despite what follows - that they will seriously address themselves to the task of bringing the session of each year to a close within that year. Hitherto we have had a kind of political goasyouplease, the session of one year being permitted to go over and become merged in that of the next year. There is no reason why the sessions of this Parliament, if properly conducted, should not commence before the termination of the financial year, and end before the close of the year.
– Will the honorable senator agree not to “ stone wall “ ?
– My honorable friend is such an expert at “ stone- walling “ that he need not refer to me in that connexion. I venture to say that nothing done upon this side of the Senate can be held responsible for the undue delay which occurred in bringing the last session of this Parliament to a close, and the same remark will be applicable to this session. The protraction of our sessions has not been the result of undue talk upon either side of the Senate.
– What about the multiplicity of parties upon the other side of the chamber?
– It is the multiplicity of measures in which the Government dabble which causes the session to be prolonged. I ask honorable senators to seriously put this question to themselves - and I wish that I were in’ a position to put it to them, not in the full glare of publicity, but privately : “ Do they think for a moment that, between the present time and the close of the year, it is possible for this or any other deliberative body to deal with the measures which are set out in the GovernorGeneral’s speech”?
– It is “ possible,” but it is not probable.
– It is neither possible nor probable, if we discharge our duty as we should, by giving careful consideration to each mea.sure submitted to us. In my judgment, the Government would have done very much better had they confined their attention to those measures which they intend to place on the statute-book before the session closes. Honorable members would then have had’ a reasonable assurance that with due diligence we could hope to close the session this year. But when such a number of measures is enumerated in the vice-regal speech we have no guarantee - no matter how diligent we may be or how we may curtail our right of debate - that the session will terminate this year. I make these remarks with a view of emphasizing the desirableness - even in the early days of the session - of throwing over a large number of Bills which are apparently to be introduced merely in conformity with custom and tradition. There can be no serious intention of dealing with them this session, and therefore it would be better for the Government to tell us exactly what measures they propose to proceed with, so that we might join with them in expeditiously disposing of them. Coming to the matters dealt with in the Governor-General’s speech, it was only fitting that some reference should be made to the visit of the American Fleet. I am sure that every one is heartily pleased that such an enthusiastic reception was extended by our people to our kinsmen of the great republic. T venture to express the hope - and I believe it to be a fact - that that pleasure was mutual. But it would be folly to ‘allow the Fleet to depart from our shores without endeavouring to learn some lessons from its visit. One of the lessons which it teaches is that science is annihilating space, and that as progress and development proceed, that isolation which surrounds Australia, and which has been to some extent its protection, is rapidly disappearing - that the time has gone by when Australia could proceed “ forgetful of the world and by the world forgot.” We are daily being brought closer to those great movements which may tend to disturb our peaceful progress as they have disturbed that of other countries. Australia has undertaken a peculiar mission, and one which has never before been attempted - the mission of establish; ing a western civilization amidst Oriental surroundings. There is no need to be an alarmist, but if history teaches us anything at all, it teaches that where racial feeling is aroused, friction sooner or later must result. We all hope that Australia will never know anything but peace. At the same time, I am unable to shut my eyes to the fact that “ East is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet.” It is, therefore, a source of satisfaction to know - should diplomacy prove unequal to the task expected of it - that our American kinsmen have evidenced that they intend to take a hand in the development of the Pacific. Another lesson which the visit of the Fleet teaches us is that we are absolutely dependent for our present liberty and protection upon the British flag. That voyage which was made here by friends in time of peace, and apparently without any strenuous effort, could be repeated by enemies in time of war. We should entertain a very poor regard for our own country if we supposed for a moment that there are not many nations which would like to claim Australia for their own. It is simply due to the fact that Britain is still the “mistress of the seas” that Australia has been left to pursue its peaceful destiny. There are among us those who begrudge the payment of the beggarly subsidy hitherto contributed to the British Navy. But when we consider what we owe to it, even if there be a desclination to continue the payment of that subsidy - a disinclination which I do not share - we ought at least to be decently thankful to it. Arising out of that consideration is another matter to which reference is made in the vice-regal speech - I refer to the question of defence. The visit of the American Fleet seemed to me to emphasize the necessity for putting our defence system upon a sound, and satisfactory footing. T am quite unable to share the somewhat alarmist views of Senator Cameron, in this matter, nor do I think it necessary to entertain those views in order to justify the assertion that we ought to get our house in order. Whether that necessity is urgent, as he apparently thinks, or whether it is remote, nobody knows, but it is clear, that as a matter of business insurance, we ought to have a defence system equal to our probable requirements. In dealing with this matter, honorable senators will notice that the reference contained in the address is simply to “ defence.” Before we consider that, we have to read into it a proposal which was put before the Senate upon a former occasion, and which has been voiced in the press - a proposal to include in the Defence Bill a provision relating to com’pulsory service. In dealing with that question, I start by at once agreeing that it is the duty of every citizen to take a share in the defence of his country. But we still have two questions to ask ourselves - first, “ Do the conditions of Australia require that every man should be trained in the use of arms,” because it will be obvious that unless they do it would be simply an economic waste to take men from the paths of peace - from our shops and from our wharves in order that they might play at soldiering. That is the first thing that has to be considered. The next point is - how best to inaugurate this system ? There is something more required than that a certain number of able-bodied men should be trained. It is upon these two points that the Government scheme seems to be in danger of breaking down. I must admit at once that I speak with some hesitancy as to what the Government scheme is, because, so far as I can see, their ideas upon the subject have so far been nebulous, fluctuating, and contradictory.
– At this stage my honorable friend will see that I cannot go into details in regard to the matter, but I say that the ideas of the Government have been contradictory to this extent : that, in the first instance, we were told that the training was to be universal, whereas now we understand that it is to be partial. Between “ universal “ and “ partial “ there is certainly a contradiction. It also seems to me that the Government have been fluctuating in their ideas as to the means by which they should proceed. I find no fault with them on this point, however. To the extent to which they have been affected by criticism and advice they are to be com plimented. If having discovered defects in their scheme they had not profited by the criticism which was offered, and had not, proposed to modify it, they would have’ been to blame. I am not, therefore, quarrelling with them on that point. “I should be more inclined to quarrel with them if they had ignored the weaknesses which have been pointed out and had not attempted to remedy them. We all recognise, however, that if the scheme of the Government were introduced to-morrow it would break down within twenty-four hours. If we had to-morrow a system of absolute compulsory military service and universal training, under which every man of full age in the country was called upon to undergo training for the defence of Australia, the scheme would, I say, break down for lack of the machinery for training the men, and of the arms with which to equip them. Honorable senators probably recollect that a few months ago in this very State a few hundred men went out on a training expedition from Melbourne, on which occasion the whole plan broke down because of an accident to the baggage waggons. Our equipment at present is not sufficient for the men whom we have to train. We also know that we have not the instructional staff at present to train our men. In short, if every man in the country were called upon to render service the Department would not know what to do with them. The point which I wish to emphasize is this. If we do decide to have a compulsory system it ought to be brought* in by degrees, so as to enable us to develop our instructional staff, and to permit it to cope with the men who have to be trained. It is of no use building schools and calling scholars together unless you have the schoolmasters and teachers to educate them. Similarly it is of no use calling upon men to serve their country in a military capacity unless you have the officers to train them,, and the arms to equip them. It, therefore, seems to me that we ought to pay attention to that part of our requirements before we call upon the men of this country to go into camp for training. We ought to be sure that we have the arms to place in their hands, and the instructional staff to train them1.
– The honorable senator knows that we have a large army of officers in reserve upon whom we can call.
– I quite agree with Senator Cameron that we should ap- p roach the discussion of this matter free from all party feeling. It is a subject to which every man, both inside and outside Parliament, should give the best thought of which he is capable. Whether my views be right or wrong, I am expressing them with an honest desire to see established in this country an efficient defence force upon which Australia will be able to rely. I believe that Senator Cameron will agree with me that in the attainment of that object efficiency rather than numbers is the most valuable consideration. A large army inefficient and ill-equipped would be uselessfor our purposes.
SenatorLt. -Colonel Cameron. - We must have both numbers and efficiency nowadays.
– I quite agree with my honorable friend, but I fear that he does not see my point. It is this : The principle that we ought to keep in view is that, before talking about equipping and training a much larger force, we ought to be sure that the instructional staff and the equipment we possess are sufficient for the force that we have already. But I have seen nothing in the handling by the Department of the officers and the small force which we have in Australia to-day, to entail the belief that to-morrow the Department would be capable of handling a very much larger force.
– Surely an increase of the means of training and equipping a larger force would be part and parcel of the scheme of the Government?
– Of course it ought to be; but as a matter of fact the scheme of the Government seemed to be based upon the one point of compelling every man to undergo military training. I am pointing out that the very essential of an efficient defence scheme for Australia entails securing the services of competent officers and training them before we can expect to equip and train a large army.
-Colonel Cameron. - We should have our military college for the education of our officers.
– But how long would it take to establish a college for the education of a sufficient number of officers?
-Colonel Cameron. - It could be done in a couple of years, and we have the old material with which to carry on in the meantime.
– That is where I differ from my honorable friend. I have never heard it suggested anywhere that the existing staff is at present capable of handling and training the men under their control.
– There is too much criticism and not enough building up.
– So far as criticism is concerned, there has been far more of it from other quarters than from the Opposition in Parliament. But if my honorable friend Senator Cameron thinks that because he has spoken on this subject, and because the policy of the Government has his approval, therefore it is sacred from criticism, he makes a very great mistake. Nor does it help his cause for my honorable friend to show himself restive under criticism. If the scheme be good, criticism will do it no harm, but will on the contrary tend to improve it.
– The trouble is that the honorable senator does not want a scheme at all. Let us give the Government a chance, and get the scheme going.
– And break down ; and then have to set to work to patch it up ? I do not want to see a breakdown.
– The honorable senator will do nothing.
– My honorable friend never made a greater mistake in his life. If he had listened to my opening remarks upon this subject, instead of allowing his impetuosity to run away with him, he would be aware that I laid it down as a first principle that it was the duty of every man to share in the defence of the country.
– But the honorable senator would find means to prevent every man doing it.
– I would do nothing of the sort; and I must express my regret if anything that I have said should have led my honorable friend to entertain such an idea. It seems to me that the Government have launched their scheme without giving due attention to the multiplicity of details which have to be considered, and I have pointed out that if we are to have a scheme in accordance with which Parliament will be asked to pass a Bill compelling every man in the country to be trained for military service, it will be necessary, if that is to be done under existing conditions in the Department, to make radical changes with respect to the equipment and training of the forces. Otherwise the scheme will break down. Does my honorable friend want that to occur? I am sure that he does not.
-Colonel Cameron. - I do not think that there will be any failure.
– At any rate there seems to be a general agreement that the training of our forces under Federation has not been an unqualified success. I pass from that subject to another one which is intimately associated with the question of defence, namely immigration. It is a question that has been played with far too long in this country. We have had magnificent speeches from the Prime Minister, and we have had discussions upon the subject in public from time to time, but :’…. all so far as the Commonwealth is concerned we have up to the present done absolutely nothing.
– Great cry and little wool !
– That exactly describes the position. I have associated the question of immigration with that of defence for several good reasons. In the first instance, whatever system of defence we may decide to adopt, it will necessarily be burdensome upon the public of this country. It is evident that a population of 4,000,000 people cannot bear a burden of that kind so easily as can a population of 8,000,000. Therefore every additional man brought into the country to join the great army of our wealth producers not only bears his share of the cost of maintaining our military system, but is available to do his duty as a defender of the country should it become necessary to call upon Rim. For those two reasons it is evidently desirable that an honest effort should be made to fill some of the waste places of Australia, and in this regard I venture to think that the Government has allowed itself to be paralyzed by the appearance of hostility in two quarters. It cannot be said, to put it mildly, that my honorable friends opposite have even concealed their hostility to any vigorous proposal to bring fresh bone and sinew into Australia.
– It is the honorable senator’s side which prevents immigration. They will not give people an acre of land. There would not be an acre of land on which immigrants could put their feet if that party had their way.
– My honorable friend does not mean that, he (inly says it. Nobody knows better than himself that in his own magnificent State he canfind district after district capable of con-, taining a whole community.
– Yes, if the land wereproperly accessible.
– And hardly an axehas been used in those areas.
– The good land which, is accessible is locked up by the landlords.
– My honorable friend admits that the land exists, and tomake it accessible merely a railway is required. If I turn to Western Australia and am told that there is no land available there, I would remind Senatorde Largie that on one occasion when an interjection was made here reflecting upon the agricultural possibilitiesand openings in his State, he indignantly denied it, and pointed out that it was the one State which, so far as agriculture was concerned, was making thegreatest progress, and had the most attractions to offer.
– But just as in>Queensland, the best lands are locked up- - that is the lands along the railways.
– Only about 6 per cent, of the land of Queensland has beenparted, with, and I appeal to its representatives whether there are not simple dis- tricts capable of containing the whole of its present population. Therefore, whatever may be wrong with our land laws - . and I do not contend that they are right - however necessary it may be for us todo something to facilitate settlement in the inner districts, it is a libel on Australia to pretend that it has been so manipulated’ that there is no room for any men within, its borders. With a view to indicating the attitude of the Government, I propose to give a short quotation from the report, of the last Conference of State Premiers. Mr. Wade, Premier of New South Wales, is reported to have put this position to the-. Prime Minister -
Mr. Wade : Suppose the States did not supply the information as to the special suitability of their own territory for a certain class of” labour, would you feel justified Qua the Commonwealth in advertising New South Wales,, for instance, as a field for agricultural labourers, and Western Australia as a field for artisans?
Mr. Deakin : No, I should not.
I think that he should. If the great Commonwealth, recognising, as it must,’ that it has a Feder:J obligation to attend’ to the matter of immigration, has been- placed in the position that a State refuses to furnish information as to its possibilities, the Commonwealth ought not to stand still’ merely because of the disinclination of a State to supply information. If the State, seeing the Commonwealth anxious to advertise its resources, to invite people to come out and settle here - should for -any reason, good or bad - and I should assume that it must necessarily be bad - -decline to supply the Commonwealth with information, I should say that the answer of the Commonwealth would be, not as the Prime Minister said, “ No, I should not,” but “ The Commonwealth of Australia has a work to do; it is going to do it with the cordial co-operation of the States if that can happily be secured, but if it is refused the Common-wealth will still go on with the work that has been intrusted ;to it by the Constitution.” I want to see the Prime Minister taking up that attitude. It appears to me that he has allowed his desires to be frustrated by the scarcely-concealed hostility of my honorable friends opposite, and, I think, somewhat by the rather petulant attitude of some of the State Premiers.
– But mostly by advocates of land monopoly. .
– I really have not dme to deal with a gag which may be useful on the platform, but which has no -weight here.
– About 5,000 persons apply for one selection in New South Wales..
– The honorable senator knows why that is the case.
– Because of the scarcity of land.
– It is because land is being offered at less than its market value. There would be just the same scramble if I offered a sovereign in this chamber for ten shillings, but perhaps I may be pardoned for hot trying the experiment. I want to deal with another matter of considerable importance, and that is the financial relationship between the States and the Commonwealth. If I were to believe that the newspapers of my” own State and the State Ministry correctly voice the views of my constituents, then I am rather afraid that I should have to contemplate the possibility of finding myself, to some extent, out of touch with them. But I am prepared to believe that the people of New South Wales will freely and fully recognise the responsibilities which rest upon the
Commonwealth, and that in order to carry them out it must have sufficient money at its control. I am anxious to see handed back to the States from the Commonwealth every penny that can honestly and fairly be spared from its requirements. But I hold that we have to be just to the Commonwealth before we can even afford to be generous to the States. The object I aim at above all is as soon as we can to bring about a complete separation of State and Federal finance. I want if it is possible to relieve the Commonwealth of the position of being for all time a tax gatherer for the States. It does not appear to me for many reasons that we should seek to continue that a day longer than is necessary. I should be very loath to approve a system which, however much it might tend to the satisfaction of the States to-day, might tend to cripple the Commonwealth in the future. I want to put to honorable senators a question in regard to various matters which are generally approved by the great body of the people. Let us take, for instance, the question of defence. I assume that while we may differ as to details, every man and every journal in Australia has come to the conclusion that we want a more effective Defence Force, and that means a larger Defence bill. I pass on to the question of the Northern Territory. I take it that there is a universal opinion that the Commonwealth ought to take over the territory and proceed to develop it, and that again means money. Next I come to the question of the railway to Western Australia, a proposal which I did not approve, but which obtained the sanction of the Senate.
– Not the railway, only the survey.
– In order to meet the views of my honorable friend, let me say that in Australia there is a considerable section which demands or asks that that railway shall be carried out. That can only be done by a demand on the Federal Treasurer. Then I come to the question of old-age pensions. Although the adoption of a -Federal scheme may relieve some States of an amount which they are now paying, still it will mean on the whole a bigger demand on the revenues contributed by the people of Australia. It is the same with regard to the bounty system which has been initiated. We have hardly yet been faced with a demand for the money that will have to be paid, but the Government now promise to ask the
Parliament to pass an Iron Bounty Bill. That, I believe, is generally approved.
– I am not speaking for my honorable friend’s party, but for Australia when I say that that is generally approved. I believe that the matter of immigration, if I understand public opinion at all, also has general support, and that too means money. I want to know where the money to carry out all these and other projects is to come from; unless the States are content to receive in the future less than they have hitherto had. That is the position as it presents itself to my mind without going into any figures which can be more appropriately presented on another occasion.
– I think that the honorable senator has omitted another important matter- that of the Federal Capital.
– My honorable friend will see at once that its very importance justified me in reserving that matter until the last. As I know his keen desire to observe both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution in that regard, I feel that I can rely upon him at an early date to support any proposal for bringing that matter to a satisfactory conclusion, but that also will require money. All these projects will involve demands upon the Federal Treasury, and to the extent which they are approved it means that we shall be in a position to pay back less to the States.
– Does the honorable senator propose to take it all out of revenue ?
– My .honorable friend will see that the money for carrying out a great many projects, such as immigration and bounties, and meeting any loss on the working of the Northern Territory, must surely come out of revenue.
– The State Governments used not to take the immigration vote out of revenue.
– We hope to improve on the practice of the past. I admit at once that there are certain undertakings for which we may legitimately borrow, but it is obvious that the principal matters I have mentioned are matters which fairly and honestly ought to be charged to annual revenue. As these matters are generally approved, as they will all necessitate further inroads upon the Federal income, the Commonwealth will in future not be in a position to pay back as liberally to the
States as it has done. I want the States and the people to recognise that fact, so that when the time does come they will not conclude that the Commonwealth is withholding moneys which it can do without simply because of some want of kindness or regard for the obligations of the States. I venture to think that for every penny which the Commonwealth withholds, the Senate and the other House will see that there is a just and earnest need for its use, and if that need does not exist, every oneof us will be only too glad to see that itis handed over to the States. Now, from this Speech there are one or two omissionswhich seem to me a little curious. For the first time in our history, we have a Speech which fails to make mention of a High Commissioner. Am I to assume that all the aspirants for the position have ceased to aspire, or why is it that no reference is made to that important matter? 1 venture to hope that a position which hasbeen dangled before very many personswill be placed out of harm’s way very shortly. It is time that Australia had inLondon some person capable of advancing its interests, and if the necessity should arise, of putting the Australian view of things fairly before English people. I should be only too delighted . if we could” have cheaper postage than at present, but a knowledge of what is taking place today in country districts does not induce me to view with enthusiasm this proposal for penny postage. Quite recently I received’ from the Department letters declining togive facilities to country places because the revenue was only so much whilst the expenditure was very much more. If that is the course to be pursued, it is obvious that the further off will the Government proposal put from remote parts those mail facilities which I think are necessary for their development. That being so, I am not pre-, pared to advocate penny postage until I see the Department placed in such a positionthat, with present charges, it is fairly able to supply the wants of country settlers.
– The Department has been starved year after year.
– I do not know whether that is so, but I do not think that thosein charge of the Department make the best use of the money they have. They are certainly not doing as much work as the people have a right to ask them to do. It does not seem to me that we should help them to do so by making such a serious inroad upon the revenue of the Department as would be represented by the reduction of the postage by one-half. There are two other matters to which I shall refer, and 1 shall then have concluded. First of all, I see here a reference to the new protection. T cannot help being amused at the way in which it is referred to. It is the first proposal mentioned, but it is not to be the first proposal brought in -
Recent decisions of the High Court render necessary the submission of an amendment of the Constitution relating to the “ New Protection “ which will be laid before you when measures defining the Seat of Government and providing for National Defence are sufficiently advanced.
– It is nicely mixed.
– It is, and one can almost see the reason for the mixing. The Government were evidently anxious to persuade my honorable friends opposite of their keen desire to bring this matter well to the front.
– And to please representatives of New South Wales by referring to the Federal Capital in the same breath.
– The honorable senator has put it aptly. The Government have desired, apparently, to make everybody think that their business was going to be taken in hand first. It is not very complimentary to the intelligence of the Senate, but there it stands.
– The honorable senator is aware that a Bill to alter the Constitution must be introduced in the expiring session of a Parliament.
– I do not forget that, but it would have been just as well to have made that clear .in the Governor-General’s Speech. We are told that the Government propose to bring in measures dealing with the Seat of Government, national defence, and the new protection, and the Government might have thought that my honorable friends of the Labour Party would have been alarmed if the measure in which they are interested were not placed in the front row. Now the measures are mixed up in such a manner that everybody appears to come in first in some way! With regard to the new protection, I am unable to discuss it, and I do not propose to do so at this stage, because it is quite clear .that so much or so little might be meant by the phrase used in the Speech. When the harvester duties were before the Senate, I and others expressed the belief that it was not an inequitable proposal that, where we gave additional benefits to manufacturers, those bene fits should be shared by their workmen. But it seems to me that under this proposal there might be - I do not say there is,, because I do not know - an attempt” to’ take from the States Parliaments absolutely all control over their industrial legislation. Before I express any opinion as to what should be done, I should like to know the extent of the Government proposal, and in order to do so I must await the presentation of the measure. I wish only to add one word to what I have said, and that is that I feel perfectly certain, not only so far as I am personally concerned, but so far as honorable senators generally on< this side are concerned, that every effort will be made to bring the session to a closewithin a reasonable period.
– What is the honorable senator’s opinion about the Federal Capital site?
– I have made only a reference to it, and there can be no greater proof of my desire to compress my remarks within a reasonable compass than, the fact that I. a New South Welshman,, have contented myself with a mere passing; reference to what in my State is a matter of very great importance. I have doneso, not because I have overlooked the importance of the matter, but because it is. to be dealt with in the first measure promised by the Government, and because It anticipate that at a very early date I shalL be able to thank my honorable friends, opposite for the assistance they will .givein passing the measure.
– We shall pass it all right.
– That is all I ask.. I desire only that a definite decision shall, be arrived at. I should, of course, likethe decision to be in conformity with my. views, but whether it is or not, I wish tosee the matter finally and definitely settled, and I nope every member of theSenate will assist to bring that about. I believe that every member of the Senatewill join with me in trying to deal with, our work this session expeditiously. In return for that assurance,, we might ask. the Government to handle their business, in a business-like way. If that- be done,. I venture to think that, though we may not pass all the measures in the list submitted1 to us, we shall be able to- pass some of the more important, leaving the minor matters for the work of future sessions…
I have pleasure in offering my congratulations to Senator Millen upon the temperate character of his remarks, and at the same time my congratulations upon the splendid manner in which, by reason of their experience, referred to by the leader of the Opposition, my honorable friends, Senators Cameron and Trenwith, discharged their duty, in moving and seconding the Address-in-Reply. Following his usual custom, Senator Millen endeavoured to be somewhat humorous in dealing with the fact that Senators Cameron and Trenwith have discharged this duty so frequently. It cannot be that the honorable senator is envious of their efficiency in that regard, but I ask him to look at home, to be good enough to look at the six leaders on the other side of the chamber, and divide the rank and file amongst those six leaders, and then tell me how many each has as a following.If he desires some ground for ridicule and for his shafts of humour, so far as the strength of parties in this Chamber is concerned, he will there find his opportunity. I was under the impression that the honorable senator desired that this should snot be a Chamber of parties, but rather one in which a broad and patriotic consideration should be given to all matters coming before it, and in which the one object aimed at should be the best interests of the Commonwealth.
– And to keep the present Ministers where they are.
– My honorable friend could not do better than keep the present Ministers where they are. When the leader of the Opposition invites honorable senators to so conduct the business as to bring the session to a speedy conclusion in the way they have done in the past, he could not give more eloquent expression to his admiration of the way in which Ministers have conducted the business in the past.
– Does the honorable senator believe in a Government without followers?
– Does my honorable friend believe in leaders of the Opposition without followers? That should be for him a more pertinent question. Senator Millen was very pleased at the prospect of terminating the session before Christmas. I give my assurance that, so far as we can help in that direction, it is our intension to do so. It is most desirable in the interests of Parliament that it should get into a regular stride. We look forward naturally to getting to our homes before Christmas, and not to be called upon to conduct the business of Parliament when the more arduous and severe hot weather is upon us. We wish to be able to transact our business during the cooler portions of the year. The Government in furnishing a full programme for the short session which we are now entering upon are acting, to some extent, in accordance with what takes place in the Old Country, where, as my honorable friends are aware, there is usually an Autumn sitting, commencing about the end of August, with a view to winding up the session before Christmas. We hope that by this means we shall bring the sessions of Parliament into a regular stride. We are reproached because we have submitted a full programme, but it is for Parliament to say how far we shall be permitted to go by diligent attention to work during the limited session we have suggested. If we had suggested a meagre programme, we should have had a far more bitter and effective criticism from the leader of the Opposition than the little banter which the honorable senator has seen fit to indulge in. I do not pretend to say that it will be possible for us to get through the programme which we have outlined, but I do say that if the Government is prepared with measures to be submitted, it is for Parliament itself to say how far it will permit the programme presented to be completed.
– If Parliament were ever so willing honorable members could not do all the work proposed in the time at our disposal.
– That may be so, but we can make a very good effort in that direction. The leader of the Opposition dealt with the subject of defence. In this connexion I point out that in regard to the matters mentioned in the GovernnorGeneral’s Speech we have now to speak in a broad general way, and to discuss principles. When the several measures are introduced, they will, of course, supply necessary details, and detailed criticism of them must then be expected. But what I will say is that our scheme of defence, the result of most thoughtful consideration, and of great experience and research on the part of the Prime Minister in particular, was outlined in December last. The main principles of that scheme of defence remain today, and those main principles we are hopeful of carrying out. I may point out that if it is found by reason of experience or as the result of criticism that it is desirable in the interests of the Commonwealth that it should be modified in any particular, we of course will not be unmindful of any representations made.
– Or amplified.
– It is the duty of every Government not to be unmindful of, but to consider such representations. I agree with the leader of the Opposition that the visit of the American Fleet in this connexion was not only welcome, but opportune. It was an object lesson, directing the attention of the people of this Commonwealth to their grave national responsibilities. It has shown that we have been too apathetic and unmindful in the past of our duties of citizenship. Should the result be to give an impetus to the feeling which was being stimulated by the Government to carry out a broad scheme of defence, efficient so far as our funds will allow, and the necessities of the Commonwealth demand, then a great deal will have been accomplished even by the delay which has taken place in dealing with the matter. I admit at once that the problem we have to face is a grave and serious one, which, as my honorable friend says, must not be considered from a mere party stand-point, but from the broad general stand-point of the necessities of the Commonwealth itself. We have a great coast line some 8,000 miles in extent. We have great unpeopled solitudes in this vast territory of 3,000,000 square miles, and, having regard to these grave and important features, the limited population and limited funds at our disposal, the problem we are called upon to deal with is indeed a serious one, and can only be dealt with at all effectively or with a reasonable approach to effectiveness by each individual citizen realizing his responsibilities in this connexion. For this reason the Government propose to proceed on a solid basis. We start with our cadet system. We recognise at once that we have but a handful of cadets, but we are proud of their efficiency, and recognise that they afford a great object lesson to the rest of the community. We admired their demeanour and discipline at the recent review. That handful of cadets at least gives us a start. These lads, numbering some 20,000 at the present moment, certainly enable us to make a beginning. That beginning and that limited number are capable of considerable extension. These lads will be trained in discipline, and to a full appreciation of their great responsibilities as the future citizens of this Commonwealth. Then we propose to go a little further, and to say that there must be an age when they are leaving school - an age. speaking roughly, between eighteen and twenty-one years, we cannot bind ourselves to any definite period - when there shall be cast upon them the obligation of further continuing their military training. Now this is where the element of compulsion comes in, and I say that that compulsion is of a very limited character.
– It is merely an extension of the compulsory system” of education.
– As my honorable friend reminds me, it is merely an extension of the compulsory system of education to which we are accustomed. We propose to say that these lads shall give to their country a limited service during thoseyears. We also hope to keep in close touch with them for a further period of five years, and by that means we contend that we shall at least get men imbued with the spirit of discipline and with a high sense of their responsibilities as citizens. So far as this compulsion is concerned, it has not at any time been suggested that it shall apply to any lad who is at present of the age of eighteen years. It is not to be retrospective in its operation. It is to apply wholly to those who hereafter attain the age of eighteen years, or such other period as we may fix in the neighbourhood of that age. I appeal to my honorable friend, “ Could anything be more reasonable, could anything be fairer ? “ It is not intended - as Senator Millen suggested - to withdraw for a considerable period of the year a large proportion of our population from the various avenues of industry. It is not intended that the compulsory provision shall be applied with that harshness which has been characteristic of conscription in other parts of the world. But it is hoped, by the gradual process to which I have referred, to stimulate in our midst a spirit which will conduce to the recognition by our citizens of their full responsibilities in connexion with the defence of this country. We admit our responsibility in the matter of the fortification of our harbors and in the construction of a naval flotilla for the purpose of assisting coastal defence. These are matters of broad general outline which have already been indicated by my honorable chief, and which will, I hope, be developed with the assistance of all parties in the community. The next question to which my honorable friend referred was that of immigration. I admit that we have not the free hand in this matter that we should like. Senator Millen must acknowledge that by reason of the very terms of the Constitution which reserve the lands of the country to the States, our sphere of operations is somewhat limited. He must be aware that there has at all times been an anxiety on the part of the Government to co-operate with the States with a view to the introduction of suitable immigrants. Moreover, we have been prepared to invite Parliament to vote considerable sums of money towards’ advertising the Commonwealth, and, if necessary, towards assisting immigration, provided that we could get some reasonable assurance from the States that they would aid us in securing employment for immigrants upon their arrival here, or their settlement upon the land. Nothing has been wanting in zeal or energy on the part of the Government in that connexion. When my honorable friend suggests that our efforts in this matter have been thwarted by the Latour Party, heis doing an injustice, not only to that party, but to himself. As a matter of fact, that has never been an element in consideration, because I am not aware that the Labour Party is opposed to immigration, provided there is any reasonable prospect of securing the settlement of the new arrivals upon the lands of the country. Senator Millen also said that we have permitted ourselves to be thwarted by the States. It is true that we have appealed to them, and have sought their cooperation. In time they will have forced upon them the necessity of giving us greater aid in the direction of securing suitable lands for the purpose of attracting immigration. In this enormous territory it is idle to suggest that there is not room for millions and millions of people, and it is only a matter of time and evolution when we shall secure closer settlement. The Commonwealth is simply peopled round its fringe, and we, as a nation, are not content to remain in that perilous position, having regard to the menacing character of our surroundings. I can only add that the Government are still willing to actively cooperate in the direction to which I have referred. The next matter of which Senator Millen spoke was that of the finance’s. After much thought and consideration the Government have submitted proposals for the purpose of bringing about a settlement of the financial relations of the Commonwealth and the States, and I would invite honorable senators to give close and careful consideration to the fundamental features of those proposals. I take this opportunity of saying that the terms of the Constitution undoubtedly set out that after the year 1910 the Commonwealth should have complete control of all the revenue received by it for the development of its jurisdiction. The spirit of that Constitution imposes certain obligations - moral obligations, at all events - upon the Commonwealth. The first of these obligations is - andthis is a moral obligation that we cannot ignore - that we should take over the States debts. The feature of the Constitution is that surplus revenue and State debts are inextricably interwoven, and therefore cannot be severed.
– No, never.
– That is the position which, I trust, Parliament will always take up. That is the obligation which is cast upon the Commonwealth by reason of the freedom of its funds after 31st December, 1910. It must take over the States debts.
– The obligation is that it shall pay the interest upon those debts.
– I go further, and say that the obligation is that the Commonwealth shall take over the debts themselves. Idesire to ask the consideration of honor - able senators to the particular branch with which I am now dealing - the obligation to take over the States debts, which is embodied in the spirit of the Constitution in accordance with section 105.
– Will the VicePresident of the Executive Council pardon me for a moment? In the Governor-General’s Speech reference is made to the financial proposals “ to be brought forward,” whereas the honorable senator is speaking of proposals that have been brought forward.
– My honorable friend has at times posed as a Rip Van Winkle, but I understood that his activity of late pointed to a recovery from his lethargy. He must be aware that the Government have already outlined certain proposals in regard to the settlement of the financial relations of the Commonwealth and the States. In order to consummate those proposals, it will ultimately be necessary to introduce legislation.
– The GovernorGeneral ‘s Speech does not speak of legislation, but of proposals. Do the Government intend to submit new proposals?
– The Government will submit no new proposals whatever. They have indicated the general trend of the fundamental principles upon which they propose to act in regard to the settlement of the financial relations of the States to the Commonwealth. I admit that it is a problem of the very greatest difficulty. The first thing that we have to set ourselves out to do - and I was very glad to hear Senator Millen’s remarks in this connexion - is to sever the finances of the Commonwealth from those of the States. I say that it is a matter of the greatest importance that that object should be achieved, and that, in future, we should not permit ourselves to continue as mere tax gatherers for the States.
– We shall be in that position if we take over their debts.
– I think not. Will the honorable senator permit me to remind him of some of the principles to which I have referred? The first proposal that we placed before Parliament in this connexion was that we should pay to the States a fixed sum of ,£6,000,000 annually. Honorable senators are aware that the present annual interest obligation of the States upon a debt of, approximately, £244,000,000 represents .£8,753,556. The proposed annual payment by the States to the Commonwealth for a period of five years has been set out in detail, assigning the proportion payable by each 01 the States, and representing in the aggregate the difference between ,£6,000,000 and the annual interest liability of .£8,753,556, namely, .£2,753,556. So far as New South Wales is concerned, it is proposed that for a period of five years that State should annually pay to the Commonwealth the sum of ,£847,813. This amount is based upon the average sum represented by three-fourths of the Customs and Excise revenue collected for the five years ending 30th June, 1907. Under the Government scheme it is proposed that New South Wales shall annually pay to the Commonwealth the sum of .£847,813, Victoria £286,594, Queensland .£795>563. South Australia ,£679,298, Western Australia £4,540, and Tasmania .£139,748. As we have some wry immediate obligations pressing upon us, such as the payment of oldage pensions, it is proposed that, for a period of five years, these sums - representing the respective proportions which will be due by the several States of the difference between the fixed sum of £6,000,000 which the Commonwealth proposes to pay and the annual interest charges upon the debts - shall be paid over to the Commonwealth direct by the States. At the end of the five-year period such annual payments would, it is proposed, be continued, but be reduced by a sliding scale operating annually for thirty years, when they would cease, the States being then free of all liability for the debts taken over. The effect of this would be, in other words, that we as a Commonwealth would assume the whole responsibility for the annual liability, together with the amount of the gross debt of something like £244,000,000. Now it is contended - and this upon the advice of experienced financiers ; and I am almost disposed to think that my honorable friend, Senator Walker’s London experience will bear us out in this connexion - .that the creation of a Commonwealth stock will permit us to borrow on terms at least one-half per cent, better than those on which the States can borrow at present.
– That is questioned, the honorable senator Knows.
– It is questioned, I admit ; but we are relying upon the best financial advice we can secure. If that be so, it is contemplated that the difference between the interest at which we can borrow and the interest which the States are at present paying will, during a period of something like eighty years, ultimately - by means of the creation of a sinking fund - pay off the principal liability itself. It will be admitted that eighty years is as nothing in the life of a nation. If the scheme cannot be carried out in eighty years, it can be carried out in ninety or one hundred years ; and if the problem is capable of solution in ‘ that direction the result will be that in time securities which are at present hypothecated will be freed from the liability to which I have referred. The matter is one which- is well worthy of the thoughtful consideration of Parliament, and which involves, of course, further considerations as to the future borrowings of the States. Certain proposals have been made by the Government in this connexion, namely, for the creation of an impartial tribunal whose duties will be to avoid the competition in London on the part of the States which has existed in the past, and to arrange for a more satisfactory system of borrowing in the future. Those are the lines of the Government’s proposals. I cannot say at this juncture, until we introduce our measure - or, for that matter, until these financial proposals are further discussed by the. Premiers of the several States - what the details will be. We cannot bind, ourselves to them. But it must be admitted that, at , least. we have made a substantial advance towards the severance of the finances of the States and Commonwealth to which I have referred. We have, I think, made our proposals on broad and generous lines. By some they may be considered to be excessive on the side of generosity. We hope, at any rate, that we shall be able to arrive -at a satisfactory scheme as between the Com. monwealth and the States for the purpose of carrying out some such proposals as those which I have outlined. The Government will, at all events, take steps in that direction. My honorable friend, Senator Millen, has made the complaint that the High Commissionership is not mentioned in the Governor-General’s Speech.
– Not a complaint; I expressed wonder.
– I should like to assure my honorable friend that it is the intention of the Government to introduce a measure on that subject this session, and we hope to be in a position to introduce it scon.
– With the name of the High Commissioner in the Bill?
– Very likely not. I want to emphasize a point to which I have already referred, namely, the great responsibility that is cast upon the Government in the direction of developing our functions under the Constitution. Honorable senators are aware that, according to section 51 of the Constitution, we are placed in the position of being trustees for the purpose of carrying out the various branches of jurisdiction there handed over ±0 us. The spirit of the Constitution is that the powers of the Commonwealth there set forth shall be applied. My honorable friend Senator Millen drew the attention of honorable senators to some ot them. I may mention also the question of defence, that of the Northern Territory, old-age pensions, the Federal Capital, the question of immigration, and the establishment of a High Commissioner. In addition to these, there are a number of other financial responsibilities, which I could mention. There are such obliga tions as the increased amount of Post Office expenditure, the interest and sinking fund on account of transferred properties, and the further States services to be taken over. The expenses in connexion with the High Commissionership entail not only outlay in connexion with the office itself, but also in securing for ourselves a London establishment if we are to carry out the duties with any degree of efficiency. So that we must pay regard to the grave and important responsibilities which are by the Constitution cast upon the Federal Parliament as to the disposal of its revenue in the future. Having regard to the magnitude of those responsibilities, I appeal to honorable members as to whether our proposals to the States to pay them a fixed sum of £6,000,000 per annum does not rather border upon excessive generosity than incur the criticism which has been made of meanness and want of generosity on the part of the Commonwealth. The last matter to whicli Senator Millen referred was that of the new protection. We have indicated our intention of bringing in certain proposal.-! on that subject. My honorable friend complained that the new protection is not in the forefront of our policy. It is not very far behind, and it will be for us, of course, ultimately to determine as to when it can be most advantageously brought on. But it is a matter of great difficulty - one of grave difficulty indeed. What the Government propose to do before they actually formulate the wording of their measure is to put their views and intentions in the shape of a memorandum, whicli I hope will be circulated during the next week or ten days. Then honorable senators will have the opportunity of knowing the lines upon which we propose to act. Ultimately the Government will come down with the exact form of the amendment of the Constitution which they propose to ask Parliament to submit to the country’. It will be realized that the matter is one of such complexity that it involves more than passing consideration. We are anxious to do that which is right to all concerned. The Senate is aware that we have proceeded upon an assumption as to our powers which two Judges of the High Court considered to be sound. But we have learnt from the interpretation put upon the Constitution by the majority of the High Court that that assumption was not held to be sound. That interpretation must be loyally accepted. But the Constitution itself provides the means, if the people so desire, of moulding the Constitution in accordance with their wishes. Under the 128th section the matter is in the hands of Parliament and of the people themselves ; and we have nothing to fear when such care has been exercised in the Constitution itself to have the wishes of the people embodied in the charter. We were accustomed in pre-Federation days, in connexion with our system of protection in several of the States, to regard that policy as being intended not for the benefit of the manufacturer only, but also for the protection of the worker against competition from depressed foreign standards of wages and living. Having come to look upon the one system of protection as the corollary of the other, there was introduced what was called the policy of new protection, although, as Senator Trenwith stated, it is really, in effect, an old form of protection. We had been so accustomed to regard the one as incidental to the other that it came as a shock to most of us to find that though we are enabled under the Constitution to call industries into life, we have not the corelative power of regulating those industries. Under these circumstances, it is felt to be essential, if the fiscal policy of this country is to be effective, that we should give full consideration to the necessity of creating a high and sound standard of wages. We now learn that the process which, we adopted for carrying out that policy has not been successful. We find that we have been under a misapprehension with regard to it. It is, therefore, the duty of the Government and of Parliament to give the people of Australia the opportunity of saying whether the powers which we thought that we had should not be given to the Federal Parliament in order that we may achieve our ideas. I do not know that I have omitted to deal with any of the matters that have been mentioned by my honorable friend, Senator Millen ; but I do think that there is in the scheme which has been submitted to Parliament by the Government a full opportunity, by prompt and diligent attention to business, of putting some most useful measures upon our statute-book even within the time at our disposal during this limited session.
– This debate at the commencement has been so friendly and pleasant in its tone that I hope I shall say nothing whatever that will have the effect of changing its character. The speech of His Excellency the Governor-General may . be called a multum in -paroo speech. There was a great deal in it contained within very small compass. With regard to the High Commissionership, I quite agree with my leader. Senator Millen, that it is to be regretted that no satisfactory allusion to the subject is made in the speech. But I draw attention to the fact that the document contains a reference to certain administrative measures which may be introduced during the session. > I hope that that allusion carries with it an indirect reference to the High Commissionership, and to arrangements which will have to be made for Dur.chasing a site for offices in London. It is really very surprising to me that the Commonwealth has remained unrepresented by a High Commissioner for so long a period in the capital of the Empire. Canada has a High Commissioner who is almost a power in the land at Home. It is true that each, of the States has an Agent-General who,, no doubt, does his best; but there is not, on behalf of ‘the Commonwealth, that visibility, if I may so express it, that we should like to see. I do therefore hope that steps will be taken in that direction before long. I recently had an opportunity of looking at the sites for offices which were under offer to the Government. Oneof them is in the Strand, and one ‘is opposite Trafalgar Square, having frontages to Northumberland-avenue, the Strand’ and Parliament-street. The latter, in my opinion, is the better site. Personally, I am a great believer in securing the freeholdof properties on which one intends to build. The Trafalgar Square site offers that advantage. It is a spendid site in itself, and’ I hope that the Government will succeed’ in purchasing it. Personally, I prefer it to’ the site in the Strand, though I admit that that also is a very good one. The prominence and central character of the site facing Trafalgar Square constitute a great advantage in its favour.
– It is an. opportunity not to be lost.
– I quite agree withthe honorable senator, and I hope that notime will be lost in securing the site. It is alleged that negotiations are at an end,, but I hope that that is not true. With regard to recent decisions of the High Court, I was very pleased with the tone of the remarks made by Senator Trenwith. It does-“ not become us to find fault with the High. Court. It is the appointed guardian ot the Constitution, and when it says that a certain power is not granted in the
Constitution, the obvious course for us to take is to go for an amendment of the Constitution, if we think that desirable. In regard to the proposed amendment of the Constitution, however, it should be remembered that in the States there is a very strong feeling against having their existing legislative powers curtailed. It should be borne in mind that, in the matter of industrialism, each State has its own peculiar conditions. If we were to have one industrial law for all Australia, it might be found absolutely unfair to one part, whereas it might be fair to another part. For instance, an institution with which I have some connexion is represented in all the States except Tasmania, and also in New Zealand and Fiji. We find it necessary to distinguish in the rates of pay in certain places. In Fiji, we allow our officers a 12 J per cent, climate allowance. In Western Australia and elsewhere we grant a gold-fields allowance. Would it be fair that persons in outside places should receive exactly the same remuneration for the same services as persons living in a beautiful climate such as we find in Victoria?
– What !
– I think that, in many respects, Victoria is Australia Felix. I am1, in sentiment, practically an Australian, and I recognise that Victoria has a very fine climate.
– It is very changeable.
– With regard to the Federal Capital, I am very glad to see that some action is to be taken - I hope very quickly - to settle the matter, once for all. It is well known that, if I had a choice, I should prefer Tumut to any other place, but I recognise that each person must give way a little for the benefit of the whole, and, as there is a strong feeling entertained by our honorable friends opposite, that they ought to have a site not very far from the coast, they still think that Dalgety has all the good points. No one denies that it has a magnificent water supply. It is also a certain distance from Twofold Bay.
– Which also has a good water supply.
– Yes. But some of us think that there is another place which 3has certain advantages as compared with even Dalgety. We believe that Dalgety is rather a bleak place in winter time. The westerly winds which come over Mount Kosciusko are simply terrible. One very seldom sees any timber about the pro posed site, proving that the winds are so severe that, unless great care is taken, it is difficult to get trees to grow. We admit that it has a fine water supply, but, after all, we cannot live on water alone. The soil about Dalgety is a granite soil, and, therefore, perhaps not the richest that one might desire. I am in favour of supporting Canberra, which is only 91 miles from Jervis Bay, where there is a harbor very superior to Twofold Bay.
– Question !
– I have figures here to show that it is so. I believe that when the time comes, we may be able to get from New South Wales the lease of a large slice of country to connect Canberra with Jervis Bay, so that if a railway is wanted, it can be made.
– We do not look forward to New South Wales giving us much.
– I do not know about that, and I have been in communication with its Premier on the subject. The water supply of Canberra is, perhaps, not so good as that of Dalgety, but still it is good enough for 100,000 inhabitants, at a comparatively small cost, and there will be no difficulty in getting a catchment area of 150 square miles, in addition to the area of 100 square miles mentioned in the Constitution. The area prescribed in the Seat of Government Act is 900 square miles, but there is not the slightest chance of the State offering to give that. When I was in the United States six years ago, I went to see Washington, the capital of a country with a population of about 85,000,000 people. The total area of their federal territory is 67J square miles. Originally, they were granted 100 square miles, but they found that a portion of the land was on the other side of the Potomac, and they preferred to have 67 J- square miles on one side of the river. If we ever expect to be as populous a country as the United States we shall find an area of 100 square miles, with probably another area of 150 square miles for catchment purposes, amply sufficient. At present we have a population of about 4,250,000 persons. Just imagine the difference between our population and that of the United States. I listened with great pleasure to the remarks made by Senators Cameron and Best in regard to the defence question. I am not at all clear that I understood the former correctly. I thought he said that he wished every man to be trained.
– Hear, hear.
– Does that refer to any particular age?
– I would exempt the honorable senator.
– If the honorable senator wishes cadets and young men up to twenty or twenty-one years of age to be trained, I am thoroughly with him, but I do not approve of compulsory training for persons over that age. I very much doubt whether, after the next general election, those who supported such a proposal would find themselves in the places where they would like to be.
– That has never been suggested.
– I am glad to hear that. With regard to naval defence, I quite agree that the visiting fleet of sixteen American battleships has given us an object lesson. I hold in my hand a table showing the cost of the fleet, and also the cost of keeping up a battleship. Without going into details, I may mention that the annual cost of maintaining a battleship varies from £95,000 to £130,000, and a battleship probably becomes obsolete in ten years.
– It is said that even the Dreadnought is growing obsolete.
– Yes. I only mention these figures to show the great mistake which is made by those who think that we can afford to build battleships of our own. For many years to come, we must depend for our first line of defence, at any rate naval defence, upon the British Navy. I, for one, will gladly support any proposal of the Government to pay an annual subsidy of , £500,000 to the British Navy. I believe that it would be money well spent. Some person here has calculated that the payment of one penny per week by every man, woman, and child in Australia would yield £1,000,000, so that a payment of a half-penny per head per week would produce £500,000. I am sure that Senator Stewart would not object to pay a halfpenny weekly.
– I would pay a penny.
– That averages about £1 a year for each family.
– If it is the case that the Government only propose to drill young men up to twenty years of age, I am with them, because I consider that they ought to be drilled. I had the pleasure of serving with the London Scottish for a couple of years, and I was very pleased with my experience. I think it is a pleasure for a young fellow to belong to a corps. When my sons went Home they joined the King’s Colonials, and they, too, seemed to enjoy that sort of life. At the same time the young men are getting healthy exercise. Another matter on which I wish to speak a little more fully is the question of a loan policy. I think it is now recognised that sooner or later we shall require to. borrow. We cannot expect to go on much longer without a loan policy. We are bound by the Constitution to take over the pre-Federal State debts, namely, £201,000,000, even if we are not authorized to take over subsequent debts. We have to pay for properties taken from the States, with interest thereon, and that represents a considerable sum, probably £10,000,000 or £12,000,000. We have to take over a certain portion of land required for the erection of public buildings in the Federal Capital, and to pay for territory outside the area of 100 square miles, unless it should be given to us. We have to face the cost of taking over the Northern Territory, and when it is taken over we shall be required to release South Australia from a debt of £3,000,000 or £4,000,000. Whilst admitting the desirability of paying for all public buildings out of annual revenue, is it reasonable or fair to charge the present generation with the total cost thereof? Why should not posterity bear its share of the cost? It should be recollected that each unit of our population, on an average, contributes at least , £2 5s. a year to the Customs.
– About £3 this last year.
– It is very evident that the more population we have the larger our income will be.
– The sum per head will fall.
– Possibly, but I think £2 5s. per head is well within the mark. Remembering that each immigrant becomes a revenue producer through the Customs House, I maintain that it would be a legitimate step to initiate a vigorous immigration policy, even though we were to borrow some money for the purpose. Quite one half of the prospective cost of immigration should be included in a loan. Granting that each assisted Government immigrant cost £20 - and I see thatin Queensland they are getting them for £12 under the proposed new arrangement which Mr. Kidston has been making at Home - for that £20 on an average the Customs duties would be increased by £2 5s. a year, an investment giving a return equal to 11 J per cent, per annum. That seems to be a very excellent return. Charging £10 out of each £20 to loan account, the annual interest on £10, even at 3J per cent., would only amount to 7s., as against 11¼ per cent, on the other £io, ox, say, £1 2s. 6d. a year - a profit of over 15s. per annum per immigrant. Not only so, but of the £10 paid out of annual revenue doubtless the State receiving the immigrant would be willing to pay a portion, if not the whole cf it. We must have immigration on a greatly accelerated scale if Australia is to progress otherwise than at the existing snail’s pace. I understand that the Queensland Government are making arrangements for the introduction of immigrants by ships coming via Torres Straits, and for which they are prepared to allow £12 per head. Mr. Kidston seems to be rapidly setting aside the ideas of some of those with whom he was formerly associated politically, and who hold the view that assisted immigration was a mistake. His eyes have evidently been opened.
– He has become fossilized. He has gone back to the stone age.
– It is simply preposterous that since , Federation was established seven years ago our total imported population represented by the excess of immigrants over emigrants is only something like 7,000 or 8,000 people. The next point upon which I propose to speak is the Northern Territory. How long are things to remain itf statu quo ? Failing taking over the Territory, cannot the Government offer to the South Australian Government to pay a certain proportion of passage money of immigrants from Europe, Canada, or America, provided the State Government will agree to give, say, land orders entitling each immigrant to buy or select land to the value of ^50 subject to certain conditions of residence? Valuing land at 5s. an acre, that would be equal to giving each immigrant 200 acres of land. Those who were in Queensland in the early days will remember the land order system then in force. It was the means of the introduction of a very great number of desirable immigrants. Each full paying immigrant was given a land order of the value of .£30 which might be used in the purchase or selection of any land except town allotments. It istrue that those land orders were madetransferable, and many men who obtained’ them took less for their land orders thanthey were really worth.
– I suppose the banks bought them all up.
– Some of the honorable senator’s capitalistic friends possibly secured some of them. I know that mensold their land orders for £18 and £20. I think we are all agreed in the Senate that it is desirable that there should be morepopulation in Australia.
– Yes, if we could provide some place in which to put the people.
– I may mention my own experience in this connexion. When I landed in Queensland, in June, 1862, I believe the population was not more than 46,000. To-day the population of that State is 546,000. There has been an increase of 500,000 in the population in that time, and I imagine that the average man gets as good wages to-day as were paid1 when I landed in the country, whilst he has much more comfortable surroundings. So that the introduction, or increase, of 500,000 people has not had the effect of reducing wages, since wages are ashigh there as they ever were, whilst the State has become a very much better place to live in. If that experience does not supply an object lesson on the value of immigration, I do not know what would. I do not wish to say anything which would’ hurt the susceptibilities of my honorable friends who believe in a White Australia, but sometimes I really think that what they mean by a White Australia is an Australia for the whites who are already here and for nobody else. I came across an article in a newspaper the other day giving the capital value of an immigrant, and I shall take the liberty of quoting it -
Some interesting calculations have been made by various authorities as to the value of a man to the community. These are very interesting, especially in view of our pursuing a more vigorous immigration policy. We know that each newcomer that lands first of all bringsa little, in some cases, considerable, capital with him. He furthermore assists to reducethe -per capita burden of national debt, instead of owing, say, j£6o per head were our population to double itself, our indebtedness would shrink to the more respectable average of £30 per head, till, by renewed borrowings, we went on magnifying the total. But there are other directions also in which an immigrant is valuable. He patronizes our railways personally> and nas his goods carried by them also. He uses other public services, for which he must pay. Furthermore, he pays taxes, of which not the least important are Customs imposts. Certainly, on the other hand, he brings liabilities along with him also. His children must be schooled, we have to provide him with police protection, and possibly charities. But he is n consumer all the time, while he may be a producer also. Assuredly he is a recruit for the Defence Force. But apart from his value in other ways, and they are many, the immigrant has a substantial cash value. Take a man who is .capable of earning but £200 a year, and reckon him up on a 4 per cent, basis. Estimating with the Insurance Press that a man’s expectation of life at 25 years of age is 38.S1 years, then his capital value is £3,796; at age 3?) £”3>65S (35-33 years); at age 35, £3,49° (31- 75 years); at age 40, £3,288 (2S.18 years); at age 5°. £2,772 (20.91 years); at age 60, £2,130 (14.09 years); at age 70, ,£1,494 (8.48 years). On the basis of 3 per cent, the figures are : - ASe 2S. £4.420; 3°. £4.218; 35, £3,984; 40, :£3.7’2; 50, £3’°54; 60, £2,288; 70, £1,534. By living, and continuing to earn £200 a year, Ihe will reduce his value for the remaining years’ of the period of expectation of life. By earning more he will increase his value. In the event of his death, his earning power must be assumed by an invested fund, if he would have those who were dependent on him receive an amount each year equal to what he earned, and expected to earn if he lived. In other words, in the event of the death, at age 25, of a man who was earning £200 a year, £3,796 must be invested at 4 per cent., or ^4,400 at 3 per cent., to provide £200 each year of the period lie expected to live - 38.81 years. At the end of the period his dependents would have nothing, unless a part of the yearly income were put aside or reinvested. The figures above given are worth considering.
Certainly that is rather an original way of putting it. Now, with regard to the consolidation of the States debts. That is a matter in which I have always taken a very great interest. To me it passes comprehension why the States in their own interests have not ere this brought this question to an issue.
– It passes my comprehension why the Commonwealth, in its interests, should insist upon taking over the debts.
– By completion of debt consolidation the States will, for all time, protect themselves against the possibility of being deprived, after 31st December, 1910, of the equivalent of a substantial return of revenue from Customs and Excise duties. There was a time when States public securities were not included on the London market as “ trustees! securities,” &c. It was therefore believed at that time, that if the Commonwealth public funds had that advantage, a great saving in annual interest would result by federalizing the debts. Since the States debts have been included in trustees’ securities the relative advantage of consolidation has been considerably lessened; still, even now, it has its advantages, and I therefore think that as little time as possible should be lost in bringing the matter to a point. In this matter the Government will certainly have every assistance that I can give them. May I be permitted to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether it is the intention of the Government to issue a Gazette notice taking* over the subject of quarantine?
– An officer is engaged at the present moment making the necessary arrangements.
– I am glad to hear that, as I think the Commonwealth cannot undertake this business a day too soon. There is another matter in connexion with which I cannot help thinking that the Government are likely to make a mistake. 1 hope that they will really consider the great advantage of the installation of wireless telegraphy in the Commonwealth, and especially the advantage it would be in securing communication between Papua and the mainland. It would, be of very great advantage to the people of Papua to have wireless telegraphic communication with the Commonwealth. The Marconi Company went to very considerable expense in exemplifying their system, apparently to the satisfaction of the authorities, and surely in the “public interest, the Government might. . without difficulty, have availed themselves of the stations erected by the company at that time. When at Home had the pleasure of meeting the representative of the company, and I may tell honorable senators that he was anything but elated at the result of his negotiations with the Government when in Australia. I believe that the company spent about £4,000 in trying to show the advantages of wireless telegraphy. < I am aware that it cannot be brought about without the passing of an Act of Parliament, though I wish it could, and I should like to see free-trade established between the Commonwealth and New Guinea. If that were brought about, instead of granting the authorities of New Guinea ,£25,000 a year, I should be prepared to give them a larger sum. It seems to me an extraordinary thing’ that there should be Customs duties imposed between the Commonwealth and what is practically, if not technically, a territory of the Commonwealth. With regard to the New
Hebrides, latest accounts go to show that some British subjects there are becoming French subjects. Why is this? The reason given is that, as naturalized Frenchmen, their goods are, or would be, admitted upon more advantageous terms into the New Caledonian market, whilst the duties we have imposed prevent British settlers in the New Hebrides being placed in an equally advantageous position in our market. I direct the attention of the Government to the fact stated, and I have not heard that any French settlers in the New Hebrides are becoming British subjects. There is another matter which might be mentioned, and which would be appropriate to the discussion of a proper system of defence. I refer to the establishment in the Commonwealth of a uniform railway gauge. Of course, New South Wales has adopted the standard gauge, but I presume , that if this matter were undertaken by the Commonwealth Government each State would be prepared to pay aper capita proportion of the cost involved. There is no doubt that a uniform gauge would be a very great advantage in the moving of troops. When I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Eddy, the New South Wales Railways Commissioner, many years ago, he told me that if we had a uniform railway gauge in Australia we could make all our own working plant, and that would give enormous employment to engineers and mechanics in connexion with railway management. With the adoption of a uniform gauge we probably should be able to travel from Brisbane to Melbourne in about thirtyfive hours, whereas, under existing conditions the journey takes. I suppose, about forty-five hours. The last matter to which I wish to refer to is one which should appeal to Senators Stewart and Macfarlane. As one who, like themselves, has the pleasure of hailing from north of the Tweed, I may perhaps be permitted to refer to it, in the hope that something may yet be devised to correct what some worthy folks evidently look upon as a deliberate and uncalled for slight on the Scottish, Irish, and Welsh sections of the British nation. I refer to the so-called “ Australian Coat-of-Arms.” Possibly the unfortunate mistake has arisen through the preponderance of members of English descent in the Deakin Cabinet. Be that as it may, I learn that the St. George cross is made the chief feature of the CoatofArms, and that, excepting by heraldic representation in colours of red, white, and blue, recognition of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales is ignored, whilst of the three colours mentioned, red and white are claimed by England. It is a very interesting fact, which Senator Stewart will corroborate, that, historically, England may, with a certain amount of humorous truth, be looked upon as an appanage of the Scottish Crown, King James VI. of Scotland, himself a Stuart, graciously accepting by inheritance the Crown of England on 24th March, 1603, some thirty-six years after he became King of Scotland. On 24th October, 1604, he was duly proclaimed “ King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland.” To do our Premier bare justice, I notice that he wrote to the Council of the St. Andrew Society of Edinburgh that he for one - and I wish that more would follow his example - always used the term “ Britain and British “ instead of “ England and English.” Under the circumstances, I trust that it is not too late to get a fresh Coat-of-Arms chosen by Garter King-at-Arms in conjunction with Lyon King-at-Arms and Ulster KingofArms. His Gracious Majesty, with his well-known desire to please all sections of his subjects, would, perhaps, on application, kindly give his approval to the proposed amendment or course of action. In Scotland, what is known as the nemo me impune spirit is very strong, and certainly in this matter I cannot blame my fellow countrymen - nay, I commend them. I trust that I have not said anything to offend the susceptibilities’ of any member of the Senate .
– May I draw attention to the absence of a quorum ? [Quorum formed.]
– This debate, which is very interesting, appears to be in imminent danger of collapse unless some honorable senator steps into the breach, and, seeing that we have an evening to spend in one shape or another, it may not be altogether inappropriate for me to say a few words in regard to the policy of the Government as foreshadowed in the Speech from the Throne. We must all admit that that policy is a very comprehensive one. One measure upon which the Government lay special emphasis is that relating to the new protection. If we were not surprised we were certainly disappointed when the High Court declared the legislation relating to the new protection to be ultra vires - to be outside the Constitution, and incapable of enforcement. Under these circumstances, it appears to me that the only thing for us to do is to alter the Constitution. I am very glad to see that the Government propose, to submit this very important question to the people at the next general election. I am sure that a vast majority of the electors will be in favour of giving the Commonwealth Parliament such powers as will enable it to enforce the policy of the new protection. It would not be proper for me to make any comment upon the decision ~of the High Court, but, speaking as a layman, it appears to me that our system of fiscal taxation has undergone something of a revolution during recent years. At one period a Tariff was regarded as a mere revenue - producing machine, and its effect in creating industries was either not considered or not understood. Now, so far, at least, as a certain section of this Parliament and of the people of the Commonwealth are concerned, a Tariff is an instrument which is used to create industries, rather than as an instrument of taxation. I merely .mention this fact to show that, from my point of view at any rate, one aspect of the Tariff has completely altered during recent years - that the Judges have probably not advanced with the times, and that they have interpreted the word “ Tariff “ according to its old meaning, according to its power to levy taxation. In any case, the people of the Commonwealth have it in their hands to vest this Parliament with the necessary power to make the policy of the new protection law, and I trust that before this session’ closes the necessary measure will have been placed upon the statute-book.
– Such a measure can have no effect if passed now.
– But it can pass one House of the Legislature this session, and be in a sufficiently forward state to pass the other Chamber in time for the next general election. I had not the good fortune to hear the speech of the leader of the Opposition, but, I understand, that he particularly desired that the Government should place in the forefront of their policy the question of the new protection.
– No. He desired that they should indicate exactly what they meant by it.
– I think that Senator Millen knows perfectly well what is meant by the new protection.
– I think that he wanted to know whether the Government merely mean to introduce a Bill to cover the legislation to which objection has been taken.
– That will be made clear, I presume, when the measure is brought forward. I trust that the Government will make their proposals as comprehensive as possible. I do not believe in half measures in connexion with matters of this kind. I think that this Parliament should have complete control of industrial legislation. With regard to the Federal Capital Site, we are told that this is a matter of very pressing importance, and that a measure dealing with it will be introduced in another place at the earliest possible moment. Now, I understood that this question was settled years ago.-
– That was a misunderstanding.
– I know that an Act was passed which fixed the site of the permanent Seat of Government, which prescribed the area of the Federal territory, and which complied fully with the requirements of the Constitution. Yet, for some reason or other, nothing further has been done. It appears that the site selected by the Commonwealth Parliament does not suit the people of Sydney.
– Not the people of Sydney, but a few little Australians.
– I do not know who they are, or what they are. But whether they are a small or a large number, they are capable of making a very great noise, and it appears to me that they have some influence with ‘the Commonwealth Government. For my part, if I had anything to do with the matter, I should proceed to set aside the area which has already been chosen by this Parliament, and to erect upon it such buildings as may be necessary for the conduct of Commonwealth business. But the Government have apparently decided to take a different course. I regret that they have not proceeded upon the strict vote recorded by this Parliament some years ago. I refuse to acknowledge the right of New South Wales to any predominating voice in the choice of the Federal Capital Site. That is a question for the people of Australia to decide through this Parliament. The people of New South Wales have no more say in the matter than have those of Queensland. As a matter of fact, the former possess an advantage over the people of other States in that the Federal Capital must be located within New South Wales territory, though outside a limit of 100 miles from Sydney. I think that they ought to be satisfied with that. To my mind, they have obtained an undue preference over the people of other portions of Australia.
– New South Wales would not have entered the Federation if the Federal Capital had not been located within her borders.
– In any case the provision is contained in the Constitution, and we cannot ignore it unless we secure an amendment of that Constitution. The people of New South Wales ought to be satisfied with their position without demanding something which I consider is very unreasonable indeed. Senator Walker seems to think that a very small area would be quite enough for a Federal Capital Site.
Senator Walker. What about Washington ?
– Washington, no doubt, is situated upon a comparatively small area, but I do not see that we ought to be bound by what the people of the United States did when they chose their capital. We have different ideas nowadays from those which were in vogue then. Why. in Australia we have seen a complete change of public sentiment in regard to the laying out of cities, and the construction of streets even in our own time. When Sydney was first settled, its people - not realizing what a spacious continent they inhabited - began building their streets upon the same lines as those which obtain in Great Britain. There the territory available is so small and crowded that any one living there is in danger of being pushed over the side into the sea.
– I think that the honorable senator was pushed over the side, and came to Australia ; happily for Australia !
– I am very thankful that I was pushed over the side, and that fortune blew me in this direction. I can assure my honorable friend that I am much better off here than I could ever hope tu be in my native country. That being the case, I feel that I owe something .pf a debt t’j Australia, and I am endeavouring to discharge it by trying to persuade honorable senators and the people of this country not to crib, cabin, and confine themselves so far as territory is concerned, when they are choosing a site for the Federal Capital. A small area may have its advantages, but t also has its disadvantages. I think we chose 900 square miles, which means a territory of 30 miles x 30. There are hundreds of sheep and cattle stations in Australia which are quite as large as that. Indeed, I am not sure that there are not many which are not larger. A station 1,000 miles square is a common thing in Queensland. Why should we not have a territory equal in area to that for our Federal Capital ? I trust that the Government, whatever they do, or whatever site mav be chosen, will insist upon the area which was first decided upon. Let us have plenty of room to expand. There is the question of defence to which Parliament is to be invited to direct its attention at an early moment. Every one will admit that it is a matter of the most serious importance to the people of Australia. We are never tired of proclaiming to ourselves and to the world that ours is the best country on earth - that we have the best of institutions, and that we are the most prosperous people, and the freest.
– We certainly are the freest.
– I certainly agree. In many respects we are also the most prosperous people under the sun. We have such institutions as any country ought to te proud of. We live in a community the existence of which every citizen of it ought to be ready to fight for to the last of his blood and his breath, to UK a common, expression. That being the case, the question ot defence must be one of the most, serious importance. We have a comparatively small population. We have a rich territory, a very great portion of it unoccupied, whilst the older countries of the world are becoming more and more densely populated every year. Therefore. Australia offers a continual temptation to the more thickly inhabited countries of the world. It behoves us, then, to set our house in order, to prepare ourselves in such fashion as we are able to defend our country against any possible invader. How can we do that? There are only 4,000,000 of us here. What are we against the hundreds of millions of people in China. India, and in portions of Europe? We are as nothing compared with those populations. The population question is intimately associated with the defence question. If this country is to be placed in such a position as. to be able to defend herself, she must have a larger population than she has at present. How is that population to be obtained? There is, of course, the natural increase. The birth rate in
Australia is fairly high, and the death rate is comparatively low ; the result being that the annual natural increase in Australia is probably proportionately greater than in any other country. But the natural increase will never give us the numbers which we require for defence purposes. How are we to get the additional population? Great Britain has millions of men and women who are unable to obtain a decent living there. On the Continent of Europe there are also many millions of people who would be very glad if, by some means, they could be transported from the poverty and wretchedness which surround them, and brought out to a country like Australia. But even if we were ready to bring them, and had means to land them on our shores to-morrow, where is the land on which to settle them? There is plenty of land in Australia, no doubt, but we have one of the strangest positions that has ever existed in any country. It is, I believe, unparalleled in the history of civilization. We ‘have a huge territory, occupied by only 4,000,000 of people; and yet we have a land hunger such as exists in no other country, not even in the most densely populated lands of the Old World. In every State of the Union, the question of how to get land upon which to settle the people is becoming more and more a burning one every day. Look at the futile and impotent efforts which have been made in Victoria to find land for the people. What is the result? Although there are millions and millions of acres of the finest land in Australia lying idle in this State, thousands of young Victorians are compelled to go to other States to get land. The same state of things exists in New South Wales, and also, unfortunately, in Queensland.
– Not to the same extent in Queensland.
– It is not so bad there, but, still, it is very bad.
– People are not leaving Queensland.
– They were leaving Queensland for some time. I suppose that my honorable friend, Senator St. Ledger, will get up after I have done, and tell the Senate tha.t there are millions and millions of acres in Queensland available for settlers. There is no doubt a vast area of land up there which has not been alienated, and which, I have no doubt will some day be settled by a thriving population. But, for present purposes, that land may be classed as unavailable. The proof of that statement is this : that the present Government of Queensland has secured authority to spend .£500,000 a year in repurchasing land from property owners upon which to settle people. Not only has the State Government received that power, but previous Governments- have also spent somewhere between .£1,000,000 and ,£2, 000,000 in repurchasing estates from private individuals. If there is so much land, as some people would try to make us believe, available in Queensland, why is it that the Government has been compelled, in this fashion, to spend such huge sums in repurchasing properties ?
– People do not care to go out to the back country.
– Why should they go out from the railway lines? Why should they be compelled to settle on an inferior country while there are hundreds of thousands, nay, millions, of acres of the best land in Queensland along the railway routes? My honorable friend, Senator Walker, will tell me that other people have had to go out to the back country. Of course they have; and it was very foolish policy in the past to compel them to go out. Does not my honorable friend realize how stupid his policy, if persisted in continually, would be? My honorable friend’s policy is to build a railway up to a certain point. The probability is that all the land on both sides of the line up to that point will be in the possession of a few large holders. People wishing to settle cannot get any of that land. They are compelled to go 20, 40, 50 or 100 miles beyond the railway. The Government of the State are placed in this very stupid position - that they are compelled to force those selectors away from the railways, and are consequently compelled to build fresh railways, following out the people who have been unnecessarily compelled to go beyond the then available line of settlement. A policy of that kind can only be pursued with anything like success for a limited time. The time comes when, _ if persisted in, it will inevitably bring its own reward, and that is national bankruptcy. My own opinion is that, so far as Queensland is concerned - and, indeed, I think the same applies to New South Wales, ‘South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, and even to Victoria - that sufficient railways have been built to do for the next quarter of a century. Not another mile of railway should be built until all the lands on both sides of the present railways have been fully occupied. I wish to direct the attention of honorable senators to the system which has prevailed in Canada. I do not believe in private railways. I am an opponent of them. But the system which has been adopted in Canada has had much better results, so far as settlement on the land is concerned, than has our system. In the Dominion the railways are constructed by private enterprise, but each alternative block of land on both sides of a railway is handed over by the State to its builders. What is the result? The persons who own the railway do not want any unoccupied land along the route. They know that if the land is not occupied and cultivated there will be no return on their money.
– Why not adopt the same system here?
– I should adopt the same system here with this difference - that the railways would be built by the State as is done now, but that settlement along each side of a railway would proceed on the Canadian principle. The Government should never rest until every acre is settled in small holdings, or in holdings according to the capacity of the country. What has been the system followed in Australia? In old times, members of Parliament - when there was no payment for their services, and when they paid themselves handsomely - got hold of large areas. Squatters, for instance, got hold of hundreds of thousands of acres for the price of a mere song. The next thing they did Vas to go to Parliament, and engineer a railway through their property. The community borrowed the money, according to Senator Walker’s policy, spent it right royally, made princes of the men, improved the values of their holdings, and gave them an importance in national affairs.
– What a beautiful country Queensland must be !
– I am referring now not to Queensland particularly, but to every portion of Australia, where this borrowing principle has been in operation for many years, and where it is now in full blast. Railways were made not for the good of the country, but to aggrandize private individuals. If we want more population - and we do - this system must be broken down. The large land-holders must be treated as public enemies, as men who must be got rid of in some way or other. There is only one way of achieving the end, and that is by the process of a graduated land tax.
– King Charles’ head again.
– My honorable friend evidently forgets that King Charles’ head came off. This tax is going to come off, and no one ought to be more thankful for that than Senator Neild, because New South Wales suffers from the evils of land monopoly probably to as great an extent as any other portion of the Commonwealth.
– Oh, no.
– I am going to give Senators Walker and Neild some information about their own State, which’ probably will be new to them. Take the Illawarra district. Recently I read in a newspaper, published in Kiama, that for two selections which were thrown open by the Government, there were 1,200 applicants, namely, 700 for one, and 500 for the other. I also read of three other selections, for which there were over 1,200 applicants. In fact, whenever a decent piece of country is thrown open in that State there is such a rush of applicants that the authorities have to provide police to prevent the people from treading each other down.
– The land must be worth money.
– It is not that the land is worth money. In New South Wales there is plenty more land which is equally good, but it is held by the monopolists. An artificial scarcity of land has been created throughout Australia by the system which has been in operation ever since it had responsible Government. There is not a real scarcity. Everybody knows that there is plenty of land available in Australia, but then it is cornered by a few men. There was an attempt made at one time to corner wheat in a certain country which is mentioned in the Old Testament, but the Government took the man who engineered the corner and hanged him before his own door. I do not mean to say that we should hang the land monopolist, but we ought to break down the monopoly by a land value tax. I am very sorry not to see any reference to that system of taxation in the policy of the Government. Apparently they are in favour of bringing more people to Australia, but what provision is to be made for them? A proposal to bring men here to increase ‘land values and to lower wages will not have my support, nor will it have the adhesion of any man who desires to see Australia progress along commonsense lines. We who are supporting the Government have done our best to create new avenues of industry. We have voted for a protectionist policy, but we have received no assistance from our friends sitting in Opposition. They will not help lis by means of a Tariff to create industries which would provide employment for immigrants.
– The honorable senator got very considerable help.
– Nor will they help us by means of a land value tax to break up the land monopoly, which must be done if population is to flow into Australia.
– The Government have not proposed a policy yet, so how can the honorable senator expect to be assisted ?
– We are proposing that policy all the time; but the Government have not done so, and even if they did, I do not expect that honorable senators sitting in Opposition would give them any assistance.
– How can the honorable senator know that?
– At any rate, they have not shown the slightest disposition in that direction up to date. What they want is immigration on the old lines. They want, an the first place, to shut up the land, and in .the second place to restrict our industries by a free-trade policy as much as possible, and to rush in immigrants by the thousand.
– But does the honorable senator really believe what he is saying ?
– Of course I do.
– I am sorry for the honorable senator.
– The honorable senator only now realizes the wickedness, the stupidity, of his own policy when it is laid down to him in such plain language as I have been using. He did not realize before what it meant. Any one who cares to look up the votes given during the recent Tariff debates will find that on almost every occasion honorable senators sitting on the Opposition benches voted, not for protective duties, but for revenue duties. When a land tax or any form of direct taxation has been mentioned here, they have scouted it as ridiculous, so that we have nothing to hope for from them. In any case, the ultimate decision lies with the people of Australia. If they want effective defence they must have more population, and to achieve that object this land monopoly which is strangling Australian progress must be broken up by the imposition of a land value tax. I hope that every man in the Senate who has referred to the necessity for more people - and Senator Walker is one of them - will throw his prejudice to the- winds and vote for any proposition of that kind when it is submitted. With regard to the question of compulsory training, I do not wish to say very much. I suppose that, to begin with, some difficulty will be found in administering a measure of that kind, and it may cost a good deal of money ; but it appears to me that if Australia is to be placed in a position to make an effective defence when assailed, something of this kind must be done. We cannot provide a fleet which would be of any service against the large fleets possessed by certain Powers; we have not the means or the population, and, therefore, it would be the height of folly to attempt to do so. But we can train every youth to the use of arms. We can put from half a million to a million of young men into the field, if necessary, to defend their hearths and homes if assailed, and that, being within our reach at a moderate expenditure, we ought to do. I did intend to refer to the financial arrangements between the States and the Commonwealth. My ideas on the subject seem to be so out of harmony with those which generally prevail that I do not think that I shall trouble myself to air them. It appears to me that parties generally have made up their minds that the interest upon the National Debt, that is to say, the debt which has been incurred for development work, ought to be a perpetual charge upon the Customs.
– I do not think that members have made up their minds to anything of the sort.
– I think that the majority of members in both Houses have made up their minds in that direction. I know that there is a minority, composed of members who think that that is unsound finance, and who are of opinion that no permanent progress is possible in Australia until some new, common-sense, and businesslike system has been adopted.
– What is that sys-tern?
– The system of direct land value taxation. The £240,000,000 which has been borrowed by the people of Australia have been spent very largely in the building of railways, the making of roads, and in development works generally.
– Which have increased the value of the land.
– And the value of all property in the same way.
– I am dealing now with the land. The ^240,000,000 which has been borrowed by the people of Australia, and spent in the way I have indicated, have increased the value of land to an enormous extent, and by at least an equivalent sum. That is to say, that a sum of ^240,000,000 has been presented by the people of Australia to the private land-owners of Australia. Capitalized at 5 per cent., it means that something like j£i 2,000,000 per annum is going into the pockets of private individuals which ought to be paid into our various public Treasuries. If we had a system of sound finance, the interest on the National Debt would be paid in that way, and not by means of Customs taxation, as at present. When Federation was established, it appears to me that the members of the Convention, realizing that complete power over the Customs must be handed over to the central authority, made this proviso with regard to the debts so as to insure that a certain amount of that revenue would be devoted after Federation as it had been before Federation, to the payment of the interest on the National Debt. And, up till the date of Federation, I have no objection to offer to the arrangement that was made. Whatever debts existed then, I say it was a moral obligation on the part of the Federation to continue to pay the interest on those debts in the way adopted previous to Federation.
– The whole of the interest was not paid out of Customs taxation previous to Federation.
– There was land taxation.
– The land taxation was of very little moment.
– Do not the railways earn interest on the money spent on their construction ?
– No, they do not. During the last few years, of course, they have been earning working expenses, and, in some cases, interest on the cost of their construction; but if we consider (heir operations over a period of twenty years, we shall find that the railways of Australia have not earned interest on the cost of their construction. That places us in 1 hisvery remarkable position - that not only areprivate owners getting all the benefit out of this expenditure, but the people are being actually called upon, in addition,, to pay whatever losses have been incurred in the working of the railways. That isa most extraordinary position for any people to be placed in. If continued long enough, it simply means that it will ultimately land the people of Australia in the; Bankruptcy Court. I do not see any escape from it unless the system is altered,, and a sound and business-like basis adopted. With regard to the Northern Territory, I think that the Government should? proceed with the taking over of that Territory at the earliest possible moment.
– And the debt upon it?
– The debt must betaken over with the Territory. Every obligation which lies upon the people of South> Australia ought to be accepted loyally by the people of the Commonwealth, if they take over the Territory. I say that it is. absolutely necessary, in the interests of Australia, that the control of that Territory should be assumed by the Commonwealth, but if South Australia hands itover to us she ought to do so without making any conditions. If we become responsible for it, and take over the Territory as it stands, with all its obligations, then I say that South Australia is not entitled to make any other stipulation whatever.
– The Bill passed1 by the South Australian Parliament is a very liberal one.
– South Australia has attempted to impose some conditions. Those conditions ought not to be accepted by the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth authorities should say to South Australia, “We will take over the Territory with its debt, and with every obligation attached to it, but for the future management of the Territory the people of Australia will be responsible.” We ought not to allow the dead hand of South Australia, so to speak, to interfere with the administration of the Territory for a decade or a’ couple of decades to come. The Commonwealth should have perfect freedom to pursue whatever policy it desires in that portion of Australia.
– And to take the railway around by Queensland.
– If the people of Australia desire that, all right. If they do not desire it I am sure that I shall not object whatever way the people of Australia say the railway should go. They will have to build it, they will have to pay the piper, and surely they may be permitted to name the tune. But what Senator W. Russell desires is that the people of South Australia should say what is to be done, whilst the people of the Commonwealth should have the privilege of paying for it.
– I do not desire anything of the sort.
– Then what does the honorable senator desire? Let me repeat that if we take over the Northern Territory, with its debt and every other obligation attaching to it, then for the future development of the Territory we shall be responsible, and we should have a completely free hand to build the railway wherever we please or to leave it alone.
– The people of South Australia might have put the Commonwealth under obligations regarding that matter, but they held their hand out of decency to the Commonwealth.
– So much the better, but I do not think South Australia is entitled to any particular consideration on that score.
– Has the honorable senator read the Bill passed by the South Australian Parliament?
– I have read the Bill. I trust that the Government will press forward with their policy with all speed, that we shall have a short and fruitful session, and that Australia will benefit by whatever is done here during the coming months.
– I believe it is one of the customs established in debating the Address-in-Reply to direct attention to acts of administration during the recess. There is one matter in connexion with the administration of the Government during the recess to which I direct the attention of the Senate with some pleasure. As a result of some difficulties in connexion with the sugar industry, and in order to inquire into the administration of the Customs Department the Minister of Trade and Customs visited Queensland during the recess. It is well known that the sugar industry raises various vexed questions. I had the pleasure of meeting the Minister two or three times, and I must compliment him on his zeal and the care which he took to discover the difficulties connected with the industry and their solution. Let me express a hope, not merely on behalf of Queensland but on behalf of the Commonwealth generally, that he has discovered a solution of those difficulties that will be satisfactory both to those owning and working the land and those engaged in manual labour in the carrying on of the industry. It gave me particular pleasure to hear the Minister say in the midst of a most prosperous sugar district in Queensland
– I thought the honorable senator’s crowd always said that the sugar industry would be ruined?
– I am’ not responsible for the actions or the speeches of any “crowd.” What I have said or done in the matter inside or outside of Parliament is of course a legitimate subject of criticism. I had very great pleasure in listening to the Minister of Customs in a rich sugar district in Queensland, when speaking about it and thanking the people for the hospitality and courtesy accorded to him, pointing out in unmistakable terms that the supreme need of the State of Queensland was an increasing stream of immigration. After what he had seen of the vast and rich agricultural lands of Queensland, and the abundant evidence everywhere of vast mineral wealth and the possibilities of extension in every direction, he was good enough to add that the State was capable of receiving tens of thousands of immigrants. I am giving from memory the substance of what the honorable gentleman said, and he stated that, from what he had seen of the country’s resources, he believed that Queensland could take immigrants as rapidly as the buses and trams pour their passengers into a city. I wish to compliment the Minister of Trade and Customs upon that flattering estimate of the capacities of the State I represent. I have made the same remark here previously in regard to my own State, and no doubt it is equally applicable to every other State in the Commonwealth. Our supreme need to-day is immigration. It is admitted both by the Government and by their supporters - or rather their controllers - that, it is highly desirable that we should attract a copious stream of immigrants to our shores. But the objection urged against that course is that sufficient land is not available upon which new arrivals may be settled. Possibly, we shall have an opportunity of debating that question in detail at a later stage. But in my own State, which - if I may be allowed to use a pardonable exaggeration - I know from end to end, there are millions of acres of the richest land upon earth available to every agriculturalist who desires to settle there. I have always held that it is white settlers whom we desire to attract to our shores.
– The honorable senator also advocated the introduction of niggers.
– I can only say that the honorable member is labouring under a huge delusion.
– Nothing of the sort. The honorable senator and his party always advocated the introduction of niggers.
– In ordinary society it is usual for one gentleman to accept the disclaimer of another. The honorable senator is labouring under a misapprehension.
– Nothing of the sort.
– In this chamber repeated references have been made to our appreciation of the splendid services rendered to the Commonwealth by the late Governor-General, Lord Northcote. In recognising those services we have done no more than pay a well-deserved tribute to his merits. It is worthy of note that in bidding farewell to Australia Lord Northcote complimented the citizens of Queensland upon the rich heritage which they possessed, and pointed out how they might attract a constant stream of immigrants. He emphasized the fact that the rest of Australia occupied a similar position, and, with what I consider was a stroke of genius, he pointed out that almost every question of moment to us in Australia is either directly or indirectly connected with the solution of the problem of settling our vast empty spaces. In passing, I may mention that I was subjected to some very violent criticism - to use no stronger term - because when I entered this Senate I laid special stress upon the same fact. But every word that I uttered upon the occasion in question has been abundantly justified. I trust that speedy effect will be given to the policy of the Government in respect of immigration. There is no doubt that the question of defence is of equal importance with that of immigration. As has been already pointed out by Senator Millen, there are certain main principles upon which we are all agreed, although we differ as to the means of applying them.
I desire to address myself to a question which has not been referred to by any previous speaker. Hitherto our policy has been to rely for our defence upon our volunteers - upon what is sometimes called our “militia system.” Upon that system we have expended many millions sterling. The principle of a voluntary defence force is one which permeates the whole of the self-governing portions of the Empire. As a matter of history, I would point out that in those countries where the greatest acquisitions of territory and wealth have taken place the volunteer system has always been found adequate for defence purposes. The maintenance of a standing army and of compulsory military service has hitherto been regarded as repugnant to the spirit and genius of the nation.
– What about the pressgang? What is the honorable senator talking about?
– The press-gang of which the honorable senator speaks applies only to the Navy.
– But it still applies to the navy.
– I am speaking of the army.
– The term “ defence “ includes both the Navy and the Army.
– The honorable senator is labouring under quite a pardonable misunderstanding. From the context of my remarks, however, it ought to have been evident to him that I was referring to the Army. I repeat that compulsory military service, which the Government propose, is quite a revolutionary idea. As it involves such an important departure from recognised policy, I contend that no Government is warranted in adoptingit until it has been well discussed, and until, it has received the ratification of the people. Personally, I shall oppose that principle mainly upon the ground which I have mentioned, namely, that it is due to the people that the question should be discussed in all its phases before being adopted by a responsible Ministry and by Parliament.
– Provision is made for compulsory service in our present Defence Act.
– I think not.
– Only in time of war.
– The only principle which has hitherto received the assent either of the States or of the Commonwealth is the voluntary principle. They have never assented to compulsory service. When a vast change of this character is proposed, we are entitled to know what is the reason underlying it.
– Incapacity in high places.
– My honorable friend must be an authority on the subject ; and there is no reason why the revolutionary principle proposed by the Government should be adopted until we find whether by our contributions to our Defence Forces we cannot remedy the existing state of inefficiency. I do not say that so far as the youth of the Commonwealth are concerned it is not highly desirable that they should be trained to the use of arms. But that is quite apart from the question either of defence or of militarism, because there is not an educationist to-day who is not thoroughly seized of the fact that for the purposes of physical as well as mental development no course of training is so valuable to the youthful mind as instruction in drill and the use of arms. The Commonwealth has power to arrange for this military training in our schools, colleges, and universities, and it will be as well to encourage it in every direction. The cadet system is one to which the people of the various States have assented. Any extension of that system may be said to have received their ratification. They will, no doubt, willingly bear the increased cost incidental to any necessary development of that scheme. But beyond that, upon broad, sound political principle, I contend that we have no right to spring surprises upon the people.’ We want them to know exactly what will be the cost of the great change which it is proposed to introduce.
– The principal question which we have to consider is, “ Is the change necessary for our own salvation ? ‘ ‘
– Exactly. I thank Senator Fraser for his interjection. Before we can give the assent of which the Government seems desirous, we should subject the scheme which they have submitted to the closest possible scrutiny, and should be convinced that it is absolutely necessary. The Government have never given a’ single reason for it. I am not saying that for the mere pleasure of making a jibe or thrust at the Government. I have read very carefully indeed the Prime Minister’s speech on the question of defence. Throughout the whole of that long rhetorical appeal I cannot see a single tittle of reason for this great departure. Let me allude to an important historical fact in the recent history of the British Empire. When Great Britain went to war against the Transvaal Republic, the enemy had a military force which was estimated not to exceed 60,000 men. Possibly it contained only 40,000 actual combatants. They, however, were well trained, well armed, and well officered. Yet these 40,000 or 50,000 men kept one of the greatest nations on earth at bay for two years, and very probably would have defeated the Mother Country if it were not for Great Britain’s unchallenged supremacy of the sea. I suppose that the members of the Transvaal army may be called patriots, because they were fighting for what they believed to be their rights. We may, however, leave on one side all controversial questions, and the fact remains that 40,000 or 50,000 well-armed and welltrained men kept 200,000 of the best soldiers on earth at bay for two years. Now, is not that a strong reason for supposing that if we concentrated our attention upon a comparatively small number of_men, and had them well armed and well trained, and provided with sufficient artillery, such a force of 40,000 or 50,000 men would be sufficient for the defence of Australia? It is well worthy of earnest and serious consideration whether it is not better to devote whatever defence resources we have at our disposal to bringing into existence a well-armed, efficient, and thoroughly instructed army of 40,000 or 50,000 soldiers rather than to devote ourselves to what may be thought to be a more or less chimerical scheme of having hundreds of thousands of raw, partially trained troops, who are to get only thirtysix days’ training in three years. Of course, the question of finance is referred to in the Speech from, the Throne. It is an ever-recurring annual. I dare say that it must be so. But it is evident that we are coming close to the time when the whole financial relationship between the States and the Commonwealth Government must come up for very careful consideration. The time when the Braddon section terminates is approaching. I think that something more was due from the Government than a mere line or two in the Speech, informing us that we should be asked to consider the financial relations of the Commonwealth and the States. We have heard the speech of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and it seems that the Government are simply trying to find light for themselves. The question of the consolidation of the debts has been referred to by Senator Walker. It is a very vexed question. That of providing for our own extensive programme of works must also necessarily occupy our serious attention. I cannot congratulate the Government either on account of anything that it did at the Premiers’ Conferences or of any public information which it has given us with the object of throwing light upon these great questions. It is premature to discuss them in detail now. The proper time will very probably be when the Budget is brought down by the Treasurer. I may, however, be permitted to express the hope that we shall, on this occasion, have an opportunity of discussing the important question of finance with greater amplitude than we have done in the past ; so that we may have what we have not had since this new Parliament commenced its career, a thorough overhauling of the finance policy of this and past Governments, with the object of foreshadowing, for our own benefit and that of the States, what is to be our future relationship with them. There is one matter which we can profitably discuss; and the sooner we do it the better. On looking up the amount of expenditure upon public works by the Commonwealth Government up to the present time - that is, expenditure by this and previous Governments since the inauguration of Federation - I find that we have spent a sum of nearly £3,000,000 out of ordinary revenue upon works which may be called permanent, and in the benefits of which future generations will share. It appears to me that this and previous Governments have pursued a works policy that has been constructed on stupid lines. Prior to Federation every State in Australia built its works out of loan money. I have asked for a return to throw more light upon the subject, and when we get the figures we shall be able to discuss it with fuller information. I am willing to admit that, probably, the loan policy of the States was rather reckless and improvident, inasmuch as they did not provide a sinking fund, or any system by means of which the indebtedness incurred would be gradually liquidated during the life of the works. But because the States probably went too far in that direction, and in some respects were reckless in their expenditure, and because they made a mistake in not providing a sinking fund, is that a reason why we should year by year take hundreds of thousands of pounds out of current revenue for the purpose of constructing, works from which posterity will benefit? I contend that it is unfair to the Government of the Commonwealth, and unfair *to the people of Australia, who have to contribute the taxation, that they should be called upon to bear the whole of the burden for the construction of permanent works, many of which are absolutely reproductive. It is unsound finance. The proper policy would be to classify the works proposed to be undertaken by the Government, and to provide for paying for reproductive works out of loans; taking care, however, to establish a sinking fund so as to pay the cost of the works during the currency of their life. If that were done, I hold that no sound principle of public, or even of private, finance, would be violated. If the principle which has been applied to the gradual extinction of the National Debt of Great Britain were adopted here, ft would be equally sound. It is a principle which has the approval of the best financiers in the world. If it be a sound principle with regard to the extinction of a debt which has been incurred mainly for war purposes, surely it is equally sound if applied to the payment for public works which are of a permanent and in many cases of a reproductive character. There is another alternative which I will venture to suggest for the consideration of the Government. > If they are not prepared to enter into a loan policy for constructing works, or are prevented from doing so, there is no objection to the Government instituting what may be called a capital account. That is to say, they might classify their works, arranging them according to their estimated life, and then take out of each year’s revenue a certain sum of money so that a sinking fund would be created to pay for the works during their life.
– That is the permanent annuity system.
– Yes, it would be something of that sort. Of course, I do not pretend that I have explained the complete principle which should be adopted in this matter, but I have thrown out a suggestion based upon a principle which has the approval of sound financiers. If it be sound in the main, what would be the result of such a system? Take the Post and Telegraph Department, which is craving for increased expenditure. I hold that the work of the Post Office is second only ;to that of the railways in importance to the people of this country. The Post Office is like the school - it is both the link and the torch of civilization. In a new and vast country like Australia, the PostmasterGeneral is entitled to ask that whatever grant of money he requires for the extension of his work shall be granted with a free and elastic hand- But what is the spectacle that is presented to us now ? We cannot get away from the fact that there is constant friction and conflict between the Treasurer on the one hand, who wants to take as little as possible from the people, -and the Postmaster-General on the other.
– As little as possible ! He takes every penny he can.
– I should say that every Treasurer does his best to take as little as possible from the people. No doubt the honorable senator is thinking of the Tariff ; but it must be remembered that high duties were proposed as part of an industrial policy as much as for revenue purposes. Why should we place the whole burden of expenditure which has to be incurred on account of the Post Office on permanent works on the current year’s revenue ?
– Because the Government have to do what they are told.
– I may have what is called an arriere pensee in >my mind, (but I do not think that it would be good form or good manners, on the occasion of speaking to the Address-in-Reply, to speak more plainly on that point. One of the most important judgments that has ever “been delivered in any Court of Law in the Empire has just been pronounced as the law of the Commonwealth by the High Court. That that judgment was bound to be delivered in such a form was apparent to every member of both Houses of this Parliament when the Tariff was introduced. The Tariff made very great demands upon the pockets of the people. In the first year of its operation it required from four millions of people ,£12,000,000, which, per capita, is the highest Customs taxation “in the world. It was conditioned with the principle of new protection. The Government were warned time and again in both chambers, and if I may be excused for saying so, by myself here, in very clear terms, that that principle would, probably, he found to be unconstitutional.
– When was this?
– I expressed that opinion when I spoke on the Bounties Bill.
– What was wrong with “that Bill ?
– It proposed to deal with certain industries in a particular way, and I pointed to certain clauses of it which dealt with the question of wages.
– Does the honorable senator say that those provisions are unconstitutional ?
– I did not say so, but I pointed out the risk. I have very much pleasure in drawing the Minister’s attention to the speech which I made on that occasion. We all realized that the principle of new protection must go to the High Court for decision. That has been done, and we now know what is the law of the Constitution on that head. After reading the judgment of the High Court every ordinary citizen can thoroughly understand why the principle was declared to be unconstitutional.
– In other words, twelve months after the Excise Bill was passed the honorable senator warned us that it was wrong !
– I was not here then to give a warning to the Government while that Bill was under consideration.
– But a warning was given to them that it was unconstitutional.
– I am glad to hear that a warning was given then. I want to compliment Senator Trenwith upon the good taste which he displayed in referring to the judgment of the High Court, because it affords a splendid example of the way in which that, august tribunal should be referred to. It is extremely to be regretted that better counsels did not prevail on other occasions when references were made to its decision in the harvester case. It has been represented in some influential quarters that it has interfered with the privileges or the powers of the citizens of Australia. Substantially that was the effect of a good many criticisms which have emanated from more or less influential quarters. But no graver misrepresentation of the actual position of affairs than that was ever made, because by its judgment the High Court has not diminished by one tittle any power which a State possessed prior to Federation. The real issue is not whether the powers or privileges of the citizens have been taken away or interfered with either by our action or by the decision of the High Court, but whether the States will consent to transfer to the Commonwealth their power of controlling and developing their industries. I wish to speak strongly and clearly on this subject because I believe that a certain confusion of ideas has been more or less deliberately attempted in order to satisfy the exigencies of party politics or appeal to the passions or prejudices of the people. The question of the relations between manufacturers and workers as regards the Tariff was never the real issue. It will be the duty of every man on this side of the chamber to see that the real issue is clearly put before the electors at the next election, and that is whether the States should transfer to the Commonwealth their control of industrial matters. In no other Federation was ever such a principle proposed. I venture to say that if it had been proposed as a basic principle for the union of these States, no Federation would have taken place.
– In Canada, they have gone much farther than that, so that there is nothing to be alarmed about.
– Apart from the question of Federation, no Government in Canada ever proposed by means of a Tariff to interfere with the relations between manufacturers and employes. Neither the United States nor Switzerland ever asked for such power; in fact, the United States never hinted at asking the States to surrender their control of local industries.
– Does the honorable senator say that in the United States they could not do this?
– I said that they did not do it.
– Nor did the States. It is not the policy of the country, and that is the only reason why it has not been done.
– In Canada, the Dominion Parliament can do it if it chooses, but the Provincial Parliaments cannot. It is a question of policy, and not a question of power.
– If I understand aright the decision of the High Court, the American Constitution, on which ours is modelled, would have to be amended, just as ours will have to be amended before such a principle could be enacted.
– The honorable senator never saw anything of the kind in the judgment of the High Court.
– That statement will, I think, help to clear the issue, and to remove some misconceptions with regard to that very important judgment. For any honorable senator to allege that itwas a disappointment and a surprise to him< is to make a gross misrepresentation of the position, because some years ago each Houseof this Parliament passed a resolution in which it distinctly stated no more and less on that important question than did the judgment of the High Court. On the 14th June, 1901, the following motion was moved in another place -
That, in the opinion of this House, it is expedient for the Parliament of the Commonwealth’ to acquire (if the State Parliaments see fit to grant it, under section 51, sub-section 37 of theConstitution Act), full power to make laws for Australia as to wages and hours and condition? of labour.
– It is a totally different thing.
– I do not wish, to identify any honorable senator with that.
– Did the other; House carry that motion ?
– Not in that form, because the Prime Minister of the day objected to the use of the word ‘ ‘ acquire “ on the ground that it was not a* proper one to be used in a motion of that kind. At his suggestion, the mover agreed to the substitution of the word “accept,” and the motion in its -amended form was passed unanimously. If my memory serves me correctly, it was also passed by this Chamber.
– And unanimously ignored by the States.
– I am not concerned with that.
– The States could not ignore it.
– It is a matter of history. The resolutions are on therecords of both Houses of this Parliament, and if honorable senators read the debatethey will find that I am not misrepresenting the history of those resolutions in any way.
– The honorable senator overlooks the correspondence.
– There was nocorrespondence. There was merely a debate on the resolutions.
– There was correspondence.
– So there was. The honorable senator is right. When Parliament carried the resolution the Government of the day entered into negotiations with the State Governments to seeif they would consent. The fact remains that both Houses of this Parliament, on the 14th June, 1901, unanimously assented to the proposition that they had no power to deal with the regulation of wages in the several States. When the Government were bringing forward their Tariff proposals, and holding up the bauble of high wages to those engaged in various industries, they were warned of this, but they persisted in spite of that warning. In the circumstances, it is, to my mind, hypocritical or pharisaical, or, possibly, a mixture of” both, to say now that the judgment of the High Court was unexpected, or in the nature of a surprise, because the effect of the judgment of the High Court is only to place upon the records of that Court, in legal language, the very opinion which was recorded unanimously by both Houses of this Parliament. I have now to refer to the proposal to take over the Northern Territory. This is a matter of very great moment to the Commonwealth, and especially to the State of Queensland. The question whether we should take over that Territory, for better or for worse, with its debts and possibilities, is a very grave one.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7 . 45p.m.
– The transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth is bound to occupy our attention sooner rather than later.
– I suggest that the subject the honorable senator is discussing is a rather important one, and there should be a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– I wish, in connexion with the consideration of this important question, to direct the attention, especially of the Government in their negotiations with the South Australian Government, and in their relations with the two Houses of this Parliament, to the position which Queensland especially occupies in the matter. This should be regarded as one of the most powerful considerations affecting the future of the Northern Territory. I hope that honorable senators from South Australia will pardon me for saying that the matter is of greater importance to Queensland, in view of her position, than to any other State in the Commonwealth.
– Is it not of greater importance to the whole of Australia than to any one State?
– Its importance to Queensland equals its importance to the Commonwealth, and it is of greater importance to Queensland than to any other State in Australia.
– Queensland has shown that during the last . forty years.
– When there was any burden to hump Queensland showed that.
– Queensland is being developed by four great trunk lines of railway, running from commodious ports into the centre of the country.
– Three trunk lines.
– Four, if we include the railway from Cairns, which is being extended right on to the Etheridge. The next step in the railway policy of Queensland is bound to be the linking up of those four great trunk lines. One of these lines penetrates now as far as Cloncurry, the centre of one of the richest mineral districts, not only in Australia, but in the whole world. Cloncurry is not more than about 100 miles from Cammoweal, and Cammoweal is very close to the border of the Northern Territory. The trunk lines to which I have referred are opening up pastoral, agricultural, and mineral districts unsurpassed in their resources by any other districts in Australia. The whole of the development of the north-eastern tropical portion of Australia by means of a white population, and by the industries carried on by a white population, is being conducted directly along those lines of communication. I believe that the distance from Pine Creek to the Queensland borderof the Northern Territory is not more than 500 miles.
– In what latitude ?
– I am unable to give the latitude.
– What would be the relative Queensland port?
– The nearest Queensland port for the development of that country is Townsville.
– What country?
– The whole of the north-western portion of Queensland. The pastoral, agricultural, and mineral development of that country by a white population is being extended as a consequence of the richness of the country, and through the agency of the great trunk railways to which I have referred. There is a trunk line extending from Rockhampton to Longreach, and another, the Southern and Western line from Brisbane to Cunnamulla, and these lines, with that from Townsville, form three great arteries for the development of . the north-western portion of the State. I have said that the next step to be taken in railway extension in Queensland, and it probably will be taken shortly, is the linking up of these three great lines, so that throughout the centre of Queensland, which is a very large portion of Australia, as well as from the interior to the coast, there will be established a magnificent system of communication. When the Government are considering the question of the development of this territory - which is the richest district in Australia
– That is a matter ot opinion.
– The physical as well as the geographical conditions point unmistakably to the direction which a Commonwealth transcontinental line should take. I intend, personally, to leave it an open question whether we should accept the conditions attached to the taking over of the Northern Territory and its debts, but I have no doubt that if any conditions as to a policy of railway construction are to be attached, they must be subordinated to the claims of the State of Queensland in the matter of railway development. Neither Queensland nor any other State in Australia should be burdened with the cost of railway construction in connexion with the transfer of the Northern Territory, unless consideration is given to the physical and geographical conditions, and to the great natural resources to which I have referred.
– The honorable senator desires to make it a condition that, having taken over the Northern Territory, the railway line should be continued through Queensland territory?
– The honorable senator will pardon me. He has not drawn the inference I desired from my remarks. If any condition of railway construction is to be attached to the transfer of the North- ern Territory, the railway must follow first the line I have indicated, not only because of the richness of the country through which it would pass, but because it would then follow the natural line of development by the white population, and because such a line would provide an additional artery of communication through magnificent country. These are the physical and economic conditions which make it imperative that every other consideration should be subordinated in the arrangement of such railway policy. Apart from the economic conditions which should determine our policy in this regard, I should like to add that consideration must be had for the strategic conditions if we are ever to be confronted by an invasion of Australia from the north-west. A line of railway traversing the route I have indicated would enable defence operations in the north-eastern portion of Australia to be most effectively conducted.
– And in the north-western portion.
– And probably in the north-western portion as well. Population is flowing there. If we had a railway coming down through that country any foe which might attempt to evade us upon that side would at once have to reckon with a population of about 3,750,000, and our troops - it is hoped that by that time we shall have an efficient military force - would then be able to move with considerable rapidity to one of the most vulnerable points in Australia. I ask my South Australian friends to point to any other line which, from the stand-point of defence operations, can offer one tithe of the protection that would be afforded by this line. This question is of such importance to Queensland, and to the whole of the Commonwealth, that it will be a misfortune if, for political or any other reasons, the advantages offered by such an undertaking are ignored. If the Government seriously entertain the idea of accepting the Northern Territory they will at once seek the fullest information upon this point by placing themselves in communication with the Queensland Government with a view to definitely ascertaining what railways are to be constructed in that direction. I feel certain that if impartial consideration be given by both Houses of this Parliament to the remarkable attractions offered by this particular portion of the Commonwealth, and to the great advantages which would be conferred by the building of such a line, the project will commend itself, not only to the Government, but to every party in this Parliament. Another reason why I emphasize this point it that a most vigorous immigration policy is about to be adopted by Queensland. A large portion of its immigrants will be attracted to its magnificent mineral resources, and another considerable section - as well as a large number of its own population - will devote itself to developing its rich pastoral and agricultural areas. If the policy that I have .suggested is not adopted by the Government they are likely to receive the strongest opposition from the four eastern States - especially from Queensland.
– The honorable senator is merely advocating the interests of Queensland from first to last.
– I hope that we shall never have to rely merely upon representations of State patriotism, or upon mere parrot cries of our respective States.
– The honorable senator has been doing nothing but cracking up his own State.
– He is only uttering parrot cries. ‘
– Nothing of the sort. If it can be shown that railway development has better attractions in any other direction by all means let the fact be demonstrated. If the Government wish to have’ this matter thoroughlytested I am perfectly certain that Queensland representatives will welcome this discussion. If Senator Vardon, or any other South Australian representative in this Chamber, will throw down the gauntlet by asking for an investigation of the claims of a rival railway, their challenge will be promptly accepted. I have merely touched upon some very important questions which are bound to occupy the attention of both Houses of this Parliament for some, time to come. I can only hope that in considering some of those questions we shall sink all party considerations and devote .ourselves to the task of ascertaining the best means of solving the great financial and other difficulties with which we are confronted. I hope that the Government and its supporters will credit members of the Opposition with being equally desirous with themselves of doing their best in the interests of this great Commonwealth.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [8.3]. - There are now present, sir, yourself, Senator Pulsford, and myself from New South Wales ; Senators Guthrie,
– The honorable senator would be absent as often as anybody.
– It is quite possible that I should, and, if so, I should be prepared to take the consequences. We receive a reasonable remuneration for being present, and it is our duty to be here. If I am absent when the quorum bell rings I am quite willing to take the consequences.
– The public will be reminded of the fact upon every occasion that the honorable senator is absent.
– Perhaps the action that I have taken may not endear me to some honorable senators, but I think they will recognise that I merely desire that the business “of this Chamber shall be conducted with the quorum present which makes our deliberations legal. There are one or two points upon which I wish to make a few brief remarks. The bulk of my observations will have reference to the Government proposals concerning defence. There is, however, one matter to which the ViceRegal Speech refers as preliminary even to that of defence. I allude to the Federal Capital. I do not propose to traverse old ground in dealing with this question, or to re-open old sores. But I do know that there is abroad in New South Wales a strong feeling that faith has . not been kept with that State in the matter of the settlement of the Federal Capital Site.
– New South Wales did not keep faith with the other States.
– I do not desire to raise one topic which can be made the subject of controversy in this connexion. I am merely offering in all humbleness to honorable senators the proposition that there is in New South Wales a widespread feeling that the Federal authority has not kept faith with that State in respect of the establishment of the permanent Seat of Government. The fact that New South Wales will part with a portion of its territory for the purpose is not the point at issue. It will be remembered - and this is the only historical reference I shall make - that on the first occasion upon which New South Wales was asked to accept the Federal Constitution it declined to do so. Then the Premiers met, and certain things happened.
– The requisite number of affirmative votes was not secured upon the first referendum.
– I do not desire to go into those details, but I can do so if the Vice-President of the Executive Council wishes it. Nobody knows much more about that matter than I do, because I was the man who passed through all its crucial stages, in the New South Wales Parliament, the Bill which killed the first referendum on the Federal Constitution in that State. Rightly or wrongly, I repeat that the people of New South Wales are under the impression that the Federal authority has not kept faith with that State in the matter of the selection of the Federal Capital. Some time ago, when we were debating a railway project, a great deal of stress was laid upon what was stated to have been an honorable understanding arrived at prior to the consummation of Federation. The fulfilment of that honorable understanding was 1 clamoured for. Surely an honorable understanding that is more than an honorable understanding - that is the subjectmatter of a distinct agreement between State and State all through Australia in respect of sections of our Constitution - is at least entitled to the same consideration as was given to an alleged honorable understanding in respect of a cross-country railway. I congratulate the Ministry that they are proposing to bring in as a very early measure a Bill that aims at the definite settlement of a question which, I give honorable senators my most respectful assurance, means very much more than the mere settlement of where the Capital is to be. It involves, as you yourself know, Mr. President, very much more than a geographical fact. It involves the maintenance of good will amongst the States of Australia. Because, with the greatest respect to the other States that are not so numerically strong as is New South Wales, it is impossible to overlook the fact that a State which contains one-third of the whole population of the Commonwealth is at least so important a factor that its good will and its friendly relations with the rest of the States must of necessity involve the largest issues connected with the successful working of the fraternal partnership into which Australia entered a few years ago. I wish to put it in that way, not as a question of bargaining, not as a question of conflict, but as a question which involves the harmony without which Australian Federation can never achieve that which its most ardent supporters designed. I trust that when this question pf the Federal Capital comes on, whether the Bill be introduced here or in another place, honorable members in both chambers of the Federal Parliament will consent to put aside prejudice possibly, strong views possibly, and come together with the deliberate and designed effort to achieve a happy issue out of all our conflicts in this direction. I do not desire to labour the matter, but I may mention that there was a meeting some little time ago in a part of this building at which an effort was made to arrive at an understanding as to where the Capital ought to be. There were .present New South Wales members of Parliament belonging to all parties. I am not going .to say what took place at that meeting, but I trust I shall not be guilty of any indiscretion if I repeat what I said there as applying to the proposal of the Government. I am prepared to abandon my first choice of a site ; I am prepared to abandon my second choi’ce of a site ; I am prepared even to abandon my third choice - so long as any reasonable, rational, friendly arrangement can be achieved by which this much-vexed question may be happily settled. That is the spiirt in which I hope honorable senators will approach the Bill which is to be introduced.
– The honorable senator was one of the first to draw attention to the advantages of Dalgety.
– Mr. President, I am sorry that that interjection has come from my honorable friend ; and I use the phrase in the double sense of compliment and personal regard. But as He has made reference to Dalgety - and God forbid that I should open up any questions of the kind - I will say this: I do regard Dalgety, .from the stand-point of water supply, as being ahead of every other position in New South Wales as’ a site for the Capital.
But there are other points that have to be taken into consideration before even the question of water supply. The largest city of Australia is placed in the position of being dependent on a water supply derived 30 or 40 miles away. I speak of Sydney. I do not know the distance of the source of the water supply of the great city of Melbourne. But there are certainly other considerations beyond water supply that have to be regarded. Melbourne would not be where it is if it were merely placed here on the basis of an abundant supply of water.
– But suppose that Melbourne or Sydney had to go outside their own States or territories to obtain water - what then?
– The observation of the honorable senator may appear to him to be exceedingly pertinent, but it does not seem to me to be very apt. There is a widespread feeling in New South Wales that the Federal authority has not kept faith with that State in this matter. I urge, therefore, that when the Government Bill comes forward, a worthy, substantial, and manly effort will be made by every member in both Chambers of the Federal Parliament to fulfil the obligations, not only of the letter of the Constitution, but of the good faith between one State and another, which is akin to the good faith which should prevail between one man and another. There are one or two other matters upon which I wish to speak. I regret that Senator Millen is absent just now, because there was something that I was going to say in his presence. As he is not here it can stand over. As to the question of defence, I listened with very considerable interest and great respect to the words that fell from the honorable and gallant gentleman who moved the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. And when I employ the term “gallant gentleman,” I do not use it in a perfunctory sense, because I believe that Senator Lt.-Colonel Cameron is entitled to the appellation of gallant by reason of his service with the colours. But it is possible for a man, no matter how eminent and how gallant, to take erroneous views, or what other people may regard as erroneous views, in connexion with, not military operations per se, but the possible movement of troops, and the dispositions of defences for so great a country as Australia is. I am sure that no one will more readily admit than Senator Cameron himself that it is possible for a man to be the most gallant soldier under fire who ever lived, and yet not be a great strategist. We have in considering the defence of Australia to consider, not the conditions that obtain on, say the South Australian coast, the Victorian coast, the New South Wales coast, and part of the Queensland coast ; but we have also to consider the great portion of Australia that is at present practically devoid of population, but which is the vulnerable point in the armour of Australia if ever occupied by a foe. My honorable and gallant friend’s speech yesterday, as I understood it, seemed to imply that the one thing we had to endeavour to achieve was a great land force. I am with him there. But I think that his figures approached something like 450,000 men. Granted that the honorable senator’s estimate is a good one, what is the use of having 450,000 men in this part of Australia when we have 4,000 miles of coast that we cannot reach by a railway and cannot approach with troops ?
– Why not construct a railway?
– That is an easy observation to make. But, Mr. President, we had the statement in the press the other morning that with all the fervour of the present Government in encouraging cadets, they could not dream of going to the expense of providing twenty-five shilling pop-guns for the boys in that branch of the Defence Forces. They could not bring cadets down from Ballarat to the review of a century, and the lads had to pad the hoof, as the phrase goes. I used the term “ twenty-five shilling pop-gun,” because we know that it is not a military weapon. It is a toy rifle with which a small boy is able to carry out certain evolutions, and attain a very rudimentary knowledge of rifle shooting. But if the Commonwealth is too poor to provide twenty-five shilling shooting-irons for the cadet movement, in which the press has been taking a most notable pride of late, how can we talk about a compulsory system, which is to embody all the able-bodied legal infants of the community who are to defend Australia?
– Where did the honorable senator see that?
– It can be seen in almost any newspaper that one takes up. I am afraid that my honorable friend does not gain that instruction which the columns of the daily press afford him.
– Let the honorable senator look again.
– I know that the Government proposed to abolish the manhood defence of Australia, and to hand it over to school boys. I offer my respectful congratulations to the Government that they have abandoned the exceedingly silly proposition to demolish the present Defence Forces in favour of a kindergarten army, and that they do not propose now to disturb the establishment of the many regiments who on two notable occasions lately - at ihe reviews in the Centennial Park and at Flemington - showed that there existed in Australia a fine type of manhood citizen soldier, and not a school boy only - a fine type of men who are either iti receipt of a very small pittance as militia men, or without the receipt of any emoluments as volunteers, who are giving their time and their energies to perfect themselves as far as possible in the finest and noblest type of duty in citizenship, that whicli requires a man to sacrifice everything that belongs to himself as an individual in order that he may defend the hearths, the lives, and the properties, particularly the lives, of those amongst whom he is permitted to dwell. I have heard the unfortunate observation that the whole financial responsibility of Australia should be thrown upon the monied classes, because it was only they who had something to lose.
– Does not the honorable senator think that if the poor people offer their lives as a sacrifice, they are doing quite sufficient? Seeing that they have no money or property, what greater contribution can they give ?
– Is not that what I am saying?
– Then I have not succeeded in making myself clear to the honorable senator.
– I understand what the honorable senator is after quite well.
– I think that the life of a wife, a child, or any one who is dependent upon the protection of a strong man’s arm is of greater value to Australia and to humanity than any possession of dollars or property of any kind.
– That is a fine excuse for property-owners to get out of their just share.
– I have never been, and, please God, I never will be an advocate for property against hum.u> bodies. In my respectful opinion the lives of the people are as much, or more deserving of protection than is the property of a portion of the people, and therefore the duty of defence is not one that should be placed on the back of any particular class; it should be borne by all. But the Government have acknowledged the force of views expressed by others as well as by myself. In the Call. - the organ of Colonel Campbell and Mr. W. M. Hughes - I have been abused. They wrote to me asking for my opinion with reference to universal service. In a great hurry, I typed off something, and sent it to them, but I was scalped, soto speak, because I pointed out the impossibility of applying in such a community as Australia the principle of universal compulsory service. I showed that so large a proportion of the people lived under conditions of geographical distance from their fellows that we could not possibly, except at an inordinate -expense, train the peoplein far-away divisions, and that thereforethe duty of what is called universal service would have to fall upon the centres of population, not upon the widely-scattered portions of the Commonwealth. I found in a Melbourne newspaper the other morning a statement to the effect that the Government recognised the impossibility of applying conditions of universal service to people in far-away districts on account of the cost. Let me point out with great respect to honorable senators who may differ with me that we cannot train a man without some one to train him; that we cannot send instructors into far-away divisions, and that we cannot bring to training centres people who would have to travel perhaps 100 miles. So the imposition of universal service in a country like Australia is a matter of much greater difficulty than enthusiasts suppose. The Government, as I understand it, propose a system which will really involve about fourteen days’ training - that is two weeks’’ training in the year. Nominally, it ,i? sixteen days ; but, as at least a couple of days would be occupied in travelling to and fro, it means that there would be fourteen days’ training, including two Sundays, or twelve days’ actual training. I have had some experience of military affairs. I do not want to pose as an authority; but, having raised a regiment, sworn in by myself personally at least a couple of thousand men, and trained them during a period of ten years, I am not without some knowledge. Put a youngster of eighteen, nineteen, or twenty years of age at a piano, give him fourteen days’ tuition, and then not let him see an instrument for fifty weeks; give a lad two weeks’ training at a type-writing machine, and not let him see one again for fifty weeks ; give anybody two weeks’ training on the back of a horse, including the saddling of it, and not allow him to see a horse for fifty weeks, and what will follow? I do not want to elaborate matters. I have given three examples, and I appeal to the sense and experience of honorable senators to say whether at the end of fifty weeks a lad would go back to the piano, or the typewriting machine, or the horse, with very much knowledge of how to go ahead. We have all passed through that stage. I own that on one occasion, when I returned from a six or seven months’ trip to England, I found that I had forgotten so much of my military work that I had to start practically de novo, and that I am sure would be the experience of young men under similar circumstances. In the interim, I had -crowded upon me official, public, and business obligations, with no time to think of military drill, and so, at the end of six months, I had to begin practically de novo. That would not, I own, have occurred if the visit to the other end of the world had taken place after I had had a longer military experience. I had not had any lengthy military experience at the time, and my case seems to me to fit that of a boy who is taken away from the milking stool or the plough, or the front of the cart, and rushed to a training ground for a fort.night. At the end of that time he will not be able to take his rifle with him, because the Commonwealth cannot supply a 25s. shooting-iron for a boy, nor can it give a 5s. rifle to a citizen soldier. If the lad takes away any kind of .uniform, the moths will have the benefit of it. He will go back to his milking stool, or his counting house, or his factory, and .does any one mean- to tell me that, after the lapse of fifty weeks, when the time for training comes “round again, he will remember much of what happened to him on the previous occasion? Speaking from my experience as a regimental commander for ten years or more, I say, with the greatest respect for those who differ from me, that the crowding of the training of a young man into two weeks out of the year is not the way to make a bond fide soldier of him. I am not claiming that he should undergo more than two weeks’ training, but that it should be distributed a little more throughout the year.
– Does not the scheme involve that the young man shall have received a grounding in military training as a schoolboy?
– Undoubtedly it does.
– He will not forget all about it in fifty weeks, will he?
– I suggest to my honorable friends, who have merely a theoretical knowledge of these matters, that it is easier to theorize than to know. I admit the beauty of theory, but can any one float a public company on theory ? The best theories that were ever invented will not do to float a company nowadays.
– They have been floated on less than that very often.
– That may be so; but my honorable friend knows what I mean. You need a solid substratum of facts to accomplish any good, and the mere hope that a more or less military training of a child will stand him in good stead all his life does not, at my age and with mv knowledge of men and affairs, appeal to me. I desire that the periods of training proposed, whether the force is voluntary or compulsory, should be spread over a greater portion of the year. Surely that is not putting forward a proposition that, need give rise to any animosity or even any serious objection. It will be admitted that 24 inches of rain falling in one month of the year will not do nearly as much good as would 18 inches falling at different times throughout the year. In the same manner the training of a boy, and I do not care to what he is put, is better spread throughout the year than given altogether at one period. I ask Senator Cameron whether, when he first became a member of this Chamber, he did not, after returning from a vacation of six months, and not of fifty weeks, feel a little rusty, and require to look up the Standing Orders to know how to go about the simplest procedure of this Chamber? With twentyfive years of parliamentary experience behind me. I find myself in a similar difficulty. I cannot carry in mind the details of our Standing Orders and procedure throughout the recess as I can while in attendance here.
– Am I to understand the honorable senator’s line of argument to be that it would be better to distribute thirty drills over twelve months than to concentrate them in sixteen days ?
-Colonel Cameron. - Then I cannot say that I agree with the honorable senator.
– There may be this difference between Senator Cameron and myself : He may think that I believe that the drills should’ be distributed-
– The one is a soldier and the other is-
– For God’s sake hold your peace, you noisy old man.
– Order ! I ask honorable senators not to interrupt, and I ask Senator Neild not to reply to interjections in that strain.
– Perhaps Senator Cameron is under the impression that I mean that the sixteen days’ training should be sixteen detached days of training. I do not mean anything of the kind.
– Then I beg the honorable senator’s pardon.
– I think that better results could be achieved by dividing the sixteen days’ training into two or three divisions of training.
– Then I am sorry to say that I think that sixteen days’ consecutive training would be infinitely preferable in securing efficiency in a soldier than would a similar period of training spread over the twelve months.
– Senator Cameron is in the position of having been an officer of the regular Army, where “ Tommy “ in barracks has to do exactly what he is told to do, and, perhaps, the honorable senator has not had an equal experience in dealing with the very different conditions that are proposed in the Government measure.
– But I find the Australian soldier as good as anybody.
– I have no doubt the honorable senator does. What in the world is the use of making an observation of that kind ? Whoever said anything to the contrary? It is a gratuitous observation, and seeks to place me In a position in whch Senator Cameron ought not to have sought to place any one.
– 1 had no wish to place the honorable senator in an awkward position - far from it.
– Senator Cameron could not have said what he has said if he had to control the honorable senator.
– It has been laid down by a good authority that ridicule is the ever ready weapon of fools, and, upon my soul, I think that occasionally in this chamber there are evidences of the aptitude of that remark.
– Order ! I point out that the honorable senator is disorderly in making such reflections upon honorable senators, though such references may be made to persons outside this chamber.
– Then, may I say that in my walk in life I have occasionally met with evidences of the aptitude of the proverb I have just quoted. To get away from the question of the training of the class of troops with which Senator Cameron is best acquainted, namely, mounted infantry, I come to the scientific branches of the military service, without which no army is worth twopence. Even _the Boer army, the most effective mounted force of which, I suppose, we have any valid record, was largely dependent upon at least one of the scientific arms of the military force, the artillery. I do not know much about military engineering in connexion with the Boer force; perhaps there was not much evidence of it. But it is recognised by military authorities that it takes longer to trainmen for the scientific arms of the service, artillery and engineering, than to trainthem as rifles, whether mounted or on foot.
– Senator Cameron admits that, and surely it is a weak point in the Government scheme that exactly the same length of training is proposed for the infantry and mounted rifles as for the men devoted to the scientific arms of the service. Surely that is more than a weak point? It is a fatal objection to thescheme. If the strongest chain is governedby its weakest link I venture to submit that the Government’s scheme is self -condemned,, inasmuch as it proposes no further training for scientific arms of the military service than is proposed for the least scientificarms of that service. It stands condemned” on that account alone.
– I am afraid that the honorable senator’s first objection was not abig success. He came down rather heavily over it.
– On that point Senator Cameron differs from me, but that does not necessarily make me wrong. I do not propose to say that Senator Cameron is absolutely wrong because I differ from him. I am quite sure the honorable senator is too good a soldier to say that he is absolutely right when very high authorities can be cited on both sides of the world who hold different opinions. I respect Senator Cameron’s opinion, and I have no doubt that he respects mine, even though we are not in agreement. But that does not make me wrong.
– Neither does the honorable senator’s objection make the Government wrong.
– I admit that ; but if the Government were shown to be absolutely wrong at the instance of a single member of this Chamber, what a pitiful position they would be in. I recognise that they have had at their back numerousopinions, and if I am offering opinions in opposition to those that support the Government it is not that I seek to prove that they are positively wrong, but merely that I am putting forward views based . upon some little experience, and certainly offered with no ill-will. I ask the Government not to lightly disturb - as the British Government, unfortunately, did recently - existing defence arrangements in favour of new schemes. The British Government recently did away with some 300,000 or 400,000 citizen soldiers, volunteers and militia, and from the latest advices I have had a chance of perusing all they got in their place was some 80,000 men.
– No, 160,000 men.
– What is 160,000 out of 400,000? Senator Best will not pretend that the scheme of the British Government, and the fresh start they made, has proved the success that was anticipated. I. am putting this forward not dogmatically, but argumentatively, as a point to be considered by the members of this Parliament in dealing with this great question.
– Can it be said that the English scheme has proved a failure? Has sufficient time yet elapsed?
– Well, it would be a rather awkward position if there were somebody knocking at the door wanting to come in. ‘ There is one feature which strikes one as a little remarkable that appears to apply to the Commonwealth of Australia to-day, and nowhere else in the world, and that is that we are running an army without anybody at the head of it. We started with a very great deal of fervour, and I remember that I was one of those who strongly supported the Government of the day in the appoinment of Captain Collins as Secretary for Defence. He is a very capable gentleman, I believe, but he was scarcely installed in his onerous position before he was sent off to London, apparently to look after the Laing mail contract, because we certainly heard more of him in connexion with that contract than in connexion with anything else. After having been, for heaven knows, how many years without a Secretary for Defence, we now suddenly find tha: we can do without an Inspector-General of the Forces. I do not know whether InspectorGeneral Hoad has gone to look after ‘ the next mail contract, but, at any rate,, he is not in the Commonwealth, and from the newspapers this morning I see that, according to an answer given by a Minister somewhere or other, the senior officer of Australian defence is a Colonel Somebody. He is a very capable gentleman, no doubt ; but it is an odd thing that the chief defence officer of Australia should be a colonel, whilst the State Commandant of New South Wales is a general. So that we have the defence scheme sufficiently upended to have a colonel bossing a general. If the Defence Department of Australia can be run in the absence of its two chief officers, and the officers in charge have less seniority than some of those to whom they give orders, it is a most extraordinary condition of affairs.
– In times of peace?
– “ In times of peace prepare for war.”
– That is exactly what we are doing. We are sending the InspectorGeneral to England to gain further experience.
– I think that the idea of my honorable friend and his colleagues in dealing with this matter is much less in the direction of military defence thanin the direction of some kind .of maypole dance for the youngsters in our public schools. I have referred to the annual period of compulsory training proposed by the Government, which isto extend over fourteen or sixteen days. However adequate that period may be ire the case of riflemen, whether they be infantry or mounted soldiery, it is certainly inadequate so far as the higher branches of the Defence Force are concerned. But what about officers ? Where are we to obtain competent officers for the instruction of the enormous number of men whom it is proposed to bring under military enrolment? At the present time our Defence Force is short of nearly 400 officers. For years it has been short by 25 per cent, of the officers required by the very meagre establishment which exists in connexion with our various voluntary corps. If we suddenly establish - as Senator Cameron suggests - a force approaching halfamillion men, how they are to be officered is a conundrum which I should be very glad for him to explain.
– Have we not the raw material for officers, and cannot we train that raw material ?
– Does the honorable senator know so little of military matters that he imagines that officers can be trained by devoting themselves to their duties during a fortnight in each year?
– If they are all like the honorable senator himself it would take a life-time to train them.
– That remark’ is simply a vulgar stupidity which is unworthy of notice. The military law of the Commonwealth provides that a lieutenant appointed on probation shall be allowed a whole year in which to pass the examination which will confirm his appointment. Should he be unsuccessful during that twelve months he is allowed an extra six months in which to qualify himself. I know of cases in which men who are in command of regiments have gone up for their examination not once or twice as provided by the regulations, but probably half-a-dozen : times, and by passing in certain subjects during one quarter and in other subjects during a subsequent quarter they have finally managed to scramble through. This fact evidences that an officer cannot be .made in a day. I admit that the average Austraiian possesses an amount of knowledge which fits him without any training to do a great many things which a man less self-reliant and, capable would have to be taught to do. Such simple things as lighting a fire, cooking a meal, or boiling a billy, the average Australian can do without any training at all. But in Europe a man has to be taught to do these things. One cannot work an engine without steam, and steam cannot be engendered without stoking the boilers. In the same -way we cannot work a soldier without stok ing the boilers with a bit of something to eat and a drop of something to drink. The man who can go on service and do such things for himself already possesses a knowledge that the average recruit in Europe has to be carefully and deliberately taught. I admit therefore, that the colonial soldier has a good bit in hand when he enlists. But that remark does not apply to the officers. I believe that we can take a thousand or ten thousand average Australian men and make decent soldiers of them with six weeks’ drill. But we cannot make an officer in six Weeks.
– But an officer does not boil his own billy.’
– An officer is a poor fellow if he cannot help himself. He is very scon condemned by his men if he cannot do what they can do. But upon him is placed a burden of responsibility that does not fall on the rank and file of an army, and that responsibility cannot be dip charged in a light and airy manner. An officer has to undergo an amount of training which is not necessary for the man in the ranks, not because he is any better than the man in the . ranks, but because he has to discharge higher duties. The individual who, with a bricklayer’s trowel, is engaged ir the erection of the lofty buildings to be found in so many Australian cities, may be just as good a man as the architect, but the latter has to do an amount of designing of which the former knows nothing. So it is in military affairs. The officer has to be instructed in a manner that is’ hot required of the rank and file of any army in the world. The Government scheme of defence, I contend, is bald in that it makes no adequate provision for the training of the thousands of officers the creation of which it contemplates.
– The honorable senator wants it all to be done at once.
– I do not want to throw away dirty water before I can obtain fresh. I do not wish to see forces, which have been built up in the different States by means of a large public expenditure, and of very considerable patriotic service on the part of the men who composed them, disbanded until we have provided something adequate with which to replace them.
-Colonel Cameron. - I understand that those forces are to be retained.
– Then where are the necessary officers to be obtained?
The Government scheme originally proposed that the men of the existing forces should provide the officers of the numerous force which is to be brought into existence. Such a scheme showed upon its face a lack of knowledge, because there are plenty of men who are very good soldiers,, but who would never make good officers. Every one must recognise that. Every man is not a leader. How many Lt.-Colonel Camerons are there in Tasmania? Only one. I have made these few observations, and I am sure that no honorable senator will say that they have been prompted by any ill feeling or violent opposition to the Government proposals. I have merely attempted to point out from my own .knowledge and experience some of the difficulties which lie in front of those proposals. I am not going to vote for conscription, but that is a matter which can be better discussed when the Defence Bill is under consideration. In the meantime, I suggest that what is required for the defence of Australia is not a force of halfamillion men. As a matter of fact, the highest authorities in the Empire set down the number at 50,000. But in order to avoid the suspicion of meanness, let’ us say that a force of 100,000 is necessary. You, sir, know from your military experience that if upon a volunteer army of 100,000 we expend the same amount of money that will require to be expended upon 500,000-
– I think that this question is of sufficient importance to demand the presence of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– I was just about to bring my remarks to a conclusion, but I notice that the quorum has disappeared. [Quorum formed.] The amount that will require to be expended upon a needlessly large force scattered all over the country would suffice to maintain an adequate force which would readily spring into existence under more favorable auspices than have obtained for some time past - a force based upon the old-fashioned British voluntary system of soldiering. I would point out that the period during which the Government propose -that the youth of this country shall devote themselves to military training, namely, from eighteen to twentyone years of age, is the very period when they are trying to make a start in life - when they are usually looking round for the girls who are to be their partners in life. And it is just at the time when he is looking forward to be able to provide a home. His occupation, whether he is in a counting house or a store, or on a farm, is interfered with; his position is jeopardized, and his emoluments are reduced j and he is put in a different and a worse position than whom? Than a young fellow of his own age who is suffering from some constitutional ailment, and is not therefore capable of rendering military service. A sick man would be the better man from the employer’s point of view, and would get the job.
– But the women will go for the uniform.
– The girls dote on the military, as the honorable senator knows.
– My honorable friend is only trying, with a little good! humoured badinage, to hide the seriousness of the issue, which is this : that when the employer is looking for a man for his shop, or factory, or farm, he will give the preference to some young man who is not liable to be taken for military service at a juncture when, perhaps, he is most indispensable to his employer.
– That is a very unfairthing to say ‘about employers.
– Honorable senators may say that it is unfair ; I can only reply that my honorable friend issingularly ignorant of human nature.
– I have been an employer for nearly forty years, anyhow.
– Employers will act: from motives of patriotism.
– Patriotism, your grandmother ! Why, sir, officers in-< the Commonwealth service have actually been refused leave of absence from theirduties to attend the annual training of theDefence Forces ; and if that is the casewith the Federal service, what can be expected of private employers?
– I do not know of that.
– It appears tome that some honorable senators do not know what chey are talking about, and, what is a great deal worse, do not seem tocare.
– What the honorable senator has stated is not the case.
– He is very unfair to employers.
– It is the case - with the Commonwealth Government, and ‘ I will mention the particular Department. In the Post and Telegraph Department officers have been refused leave to attends the annual training of the Commonwealth Forces in New South Wales over and over again; and I myself have made representations on their behalf. For honorable senators to contradict me in making this statement is to indulge in so much frivolity, and so much detestable ignorance.
– Has it occurred within the last two years? I had the pleasure of issuing a regulation to exactly the opposite effect last year.
– The Minister of Home Affairs is talking about last year, while I am talking about a series of years.
– Within the last two years what the honorable senator has described has not been the case.
– The Minister is not at the head of the Post Office, and does not know.
– But I am at the head of the Department which controls the whole Public Service.
– The Minister will acknowledge that he is not an authority on everything.
– There is only one authority, that is the honorable senator himself.
– There is perhaps no stronger evidence of the pertinence of criticism than the impertinence of the reply that the criticism produces. That I have had the pleasurable experience of meeting with- a good deal of opposition from honorable senators whose ideas are entirely theoretical, and who have no kind of personal knowledge, let alone professional knowledge-
– The honorable senator has only a theoretical knowledge of employers.
– I suppose that the honorable senator does not know that I have been an employer myself? Probably I have employed as many men in my life as he has done, and certainly I have had more men under my direction than he.
– The honorable senator should not judge other employers by his own standard.
– That is purely a piece of impertinence, and I will take no more notice of it than to describe it in those terms.
– Order ! Honorable senators must not interject so frequently. They must permit the debate to proceed.
– What I have said as a representative of the people, and not as a representative of my own ideas, I have felt it to be my duty to say by way of forecast of the manner in which, at the proper time, I propose to deal with the proposals of the Government, when in some form or another they are submitted. But these defence proposals have undergone so kaleidoscopic a succession of changes that it is quite possible that I may have discussed some that have gone by the board. I suppose that I am not drawing upon my imagination for facts when I say that the defence scheme of the Government has undergone upwards of twelve or more changes; and exactly in what form they are to eventuate, goodness only knows. But so far as compulsion is concerned, I am against it. Otherwise, in any other legitimate way in which the Government may propose to cope with the question after all these years of shillyshallying, after all these years of impotency, all these years of occasionally and furtively looking at the matter, I shall help them. I do not refer to the present Government only, but to Governments of the Commonwealth in general - to all of them if honorable senators like. The one thing for which the Commonwealth was created chiefly was defence. Yet we are today in a worse position as regards defence than the States were before the Commonwealth started. Therefore, if the Government will deal with this question in any sensible way, apart from the hateful idea of conscription, and the contemptible method, in my view, of throwing upon the youth, the boyhood of the community, the responsibility of defence, which should, fall upon the manhood, I will help them. I shall be very glad to give the Government all the help in my power as a member of the Senate to secure some adequate defence for Australia. But if we are going’ to have half-a-million of our men in one corner of Australia we cannot make any satisfactory use of them, or even of a much smaller number of troops, unless we at the same time have adequate naval power to secure their conveyance from the settled districts of Australia to the faraway districts, of which clearly many honorable members of this Chamber are as ignorant as they are of the geography of Timbuctoo. I wish that the members of the Federal Parliament would study the coast-line of Australia, and make them- selves better acquainted with the distant parts of it than is to be done by acquiring a rudimentary knowledge such as is to be picked up by occasionally looking at a map.. It is not thus that honorable senators can obtain more than a limited knowledge of the great question of Australian defence. We cannot defend Australia from Port Jackson or from Port Phillip. We require very much more than an armed force ashore for that purpose. ‘Senator Cameron may have his half -million of men here or in Tasmania, but how is he going to convey them to Port Darwin? Remember that as soon as the Central American Canal is opened it will be possible to draw across the map two lines, one through the Suez Canal, and one through the Central American Canal, and honorable senators will find that those lines will meet in the immediate vicinity of Port Darwin. Port Darwin is therefore one of the great factors of Australian defence that has to be considered more even than Port Phillip or Port Jackson. We must consider Port Darwin as of more consequence than Thursday Island or Cape York, or any other part of Australia from a strategic point of view, because if an enemy were ever to enter Port Darwin, how should we get him out? We could not get him out even by means of Senator St. Ledger’s boomerang line of railway from Adelaide to Townsville. With great respect, I submit that in considering this problem we must not do as Senator Cameron has suggested, and devote our whole energies to the militia defence of the country. We must devote ourselves much more seriously than we have done to naval defence. It is only by naval power that the coastline of Australia can be defended. It cannot be defended from inside. We must have garrisons ; have them by all means at the back of every principal port where the population of Australia is centred. But we cannot have an armed force at Port Darwin unless we have a regular professional army, because the people are not there, and are not ‘inclined to go there in sufficient numbers while the more temperate portions of Australia are open to them. We may import people in thousands from Europe, or- elsewhere, but we shall not find them remaining at Port Darwin when they can live more comfortably elsewhere. Therefore, in providing for the defence of the north and north-western Australia, we must do one of two things - either have a strong per manent professional army, or a sufficient naval force to be ab’le to go where an enemy can go, but where an armed land force cannot go. How could we get an army to Cambridge Gulf ; and that is an inlet that would be only too welcome to an invading force? There is there a sheltered harbor that would give an enemy a base of operations from which to send out expeditions all round Australia. We must consider such ports as Cambridge Gulf as well as Port Darwin. I have no doubt - without elaborating the matter - that any: one who gives the least study to the admiralty charts of Australia as I have done, and as I know that Senator Guthrie has done many a time, will have obtained a more satisfactory knowledge of the situation than can be acquired merely by looking at a map occasionally. Any student of those charts is aware that there are any number of harbors in Australia that would be splendidly adapted to serve as a base of operations for an enemy desiring to operate against the more largely-settled districts, and to none of these is there any railway communication ; to none of these would a single line of railway be of much use, because it would be the easiest thing in the world for a man, with a couple of pounds of dynamite, to ride along the line and destroy it. Do not let us forget that, with our freedom to admit men of all nationalities to our shores, we may be admitting as citizens men who are inimical to us. At any moment we may find some of those whom we have looked upon as placid citizens operating in the interests of an invading force. I do not wish to be an alarmist, but let me point out one weak link in our great railway system. I have never heard it mentioned by any military authority, and that fact only shows how little they think. What about the Mittagong tunnel, near Mossvale? Let a cruiser come in from the offing, after dark if you like, drop her steam launch, and send a boat load of men. Half-a-dozen could commandeer a buggy or two at, say, Nowra, which is only a couple of hours’ drive or thereabouts from the Mittagong tunnel. If a few pounds of dynamite were used there, what would become of the railway communication between the two great cities of the Southern Hemisphere? It would be gone, and there would be no chance of making good the damage that could be done in “three or four hours. It might even be done bv a man living there,- and we should never know anything about who did it. It would be just as hard to catch him as it would be to catch any criminal who escapes the hands of the police.
– We could go round the coast.
– We could do all sorts of things, but wecould not do them quickly, and in war quickness is of the most eminent importance. Again, what about the bridge over the Hawkesbury River? There is not a gun in position to defend the bridge. The reason why I name a couple of places in New South Wales is because I wish to speak of things that I know and understand. My remarks lead me up to the question of either continuing the subsidy to the British Navy or establishing a navy of our own. I, as an Australian, am very delighted that Australians are learning the duties of citizenship under the guidance of responsible authorities, both in the British Navy and also in our own naval contingents on shore. That they have shown what they can do in some directions at least has been proved by their services in China and by their excellent appearance, both at Flemington Race-course and at the Champs de Mars in the Centennial Park, Sydney. Even if they are long-shore sailors, they have shown splendid ability in marching, and carried themselves in a manner which indicated their possession of a sound naval training. That is an evidence that Australia has the men. The popular music hall song says of England -
We’ve got the ships;
We’ve got the men ;
We’ve got the money too.
Australia has the men ; it has not the money, and it has not the ships.
– Australia has one ship.
– We have several ships, but I do not think that my honorable friend would take a long sea voyage in one of them.
– The Protector went to China, and came back.
– If it should thr found that the Surplus Revenue Act is a sound effort at legislation, it will be a most desirable and proper thing for the Commonwealth to put aside year by year funds that will enable it eventually to possess a navy. But, having in view the rapidity with which ships and guns get out of date, it will be a cheaper bargain for Australia to have a succession of reliable vessels from the British Navy than to attempt to build up a navy of its own which would be inefficient; inefficient as a fighting force, because next year we may have half-a-dozen vessels, and before we can afford to buy another half-dozen the first lot may become obsolete. I am sure that we would be proud of possessing some of the vessels which annually go on to the scrap heap in Great Britain. England throws aside as useless vessels which we would be proud to own. Why? Because England is determined to have an up-to-date navy.
– Great Britain.
– My honorable friend is quite right, but, at the same time, let me point out to him that four out of every five men in the British Army are Englishmen, and that eighty-nine out of every 100 men in the British Navy are Englishmen. So, if we do venture to use the term “ England,” it is not done out of any ill-will to the sister kingdoms which, linked together, make the grand United Kingdom that is able to stand and uphold its own against all the world. The British Navy is undoubtedly a navy up-to-date. Lately Great Britain has been throwing aside’one vessel after another. Why ? Because she has been making a most worthy effort to have an up-to-date navy and not a collection of pot boilers. It is to avoid the collection of the craft which may look very pretty with a new coat of paint, but which would help us to live in a fool’s paradise rather than to enjoy a valid protection - it is on that account that while I wish to see the beginning of an Australian Navy I do not want to see Australia in so desperate a hurry to have its own navy that it will run the risk, for patriotic reasons, of possessing a less strong fighting force than we may be able to secure by the continuance of the small marine insurance premium that we pay to the British Navy by way of subsidy, for that is all it is. Some persons - I do not say members of this Chamber - describe that subsidy as a tribute and represent Australia as being in an inferior position because it pays England for the service of the Navy. When we pay an insurance company an annual premium for protection against fire or a premium for marine insurance we do not consider that we are paying a tribute. We get value for our money, and the section of the British Navy which comes to these shores is simply an insurance. There is no more tribute about it, no more loss of national status, no more degradation or loss of dignity in our paying such a sum than there is in a man walking down the street to-morrow and insuring his house in the first insurance office that opens its doors to receive his business. For these reasons I am in favour of continuing the British Naval Subsidy, and increasing it. Let us have an increasing force. Let it be borne in mind that if we contemplate naval adventures we must not wait for the enemy to drive us on to our own coasts before we fight them. Let it be remembered that we have an enormous commerce - a commerce which per head of the population is greater than the commerce of any other country.
– What increase does the honorable senator suggest?
– I am not a nautical authority; I am not professing to say what ought to be the number of ships or guns, but I am prepared to take the responsibility for my constituents of voting the people’s money in the direction I have indicated, believing that I shall have their full support. I am prepared to lose my seat here so long as I do what I think to be my duty to those who trusted me with the large powers which are intrusted by the people of Australia to every member of this Parliament, and, above all, to the members of this Chamber, returned by the largest constituencies in the Empire, and therefore having a larger and more important responsibility to bear than perhaps those whose spheres of duty and limits of representation are more contracted.
– I do not wish to detain honorable senators very long ; in fact, I think thatI would have taken the responsibility of voting onthe motion without speaking had I not been so new to the Senate, because I confess that I look upon this debate as being almost useless. The measures which are outlined in the Governor-General’s Speech must be presented to us separately, and it seems to me that then will be the proper time to discuss them. I do not intend to address many words to the motion. I compliment the Government upon presenting one of the most concise and businesslike speeches from the Throne that I have ever seen. I assure the Government that promptness and conciseness will not be wanting on my part to put the measures submitted through as quickly and in as business-like a way as possible. But I imagine that we shall not be able to deal with all the measures; I think that it would be better if the Government were to introduce only thoseBills which in their opinion can be passed this session, and give usan opportunity to deal with them as quickly as we possibly can, because it is not a good thing to extend the session over the heat of the summer months. It would be better, I suggest, to close the session before the end of the year and to resume our work in the cooler months. It is with a good deal of pleasure that I learn from the Speech that the question of the Northern Territory is to be dealt with. As a matter of simple justice to South Australia, this question ought to be taken up and settled as early as possible. That State has carried this burden long enough. Her people have done their best to develop the Northern Territory, but for one reason and another they have been unable to make much progress with that development.
– They have made it possible for Australia to be a white nation for all time.
– I shall refer to that later. I think we can claim some credit for having, during the whole of the time we have been in possession, held the Northern Territory white.
– Let the honorable senator go up there and look at the youngsters, and say whether South Australia has kept the Territory white; they are of all the colours of the rainbow.
– How long was the honorable senator up there? I wish to say that we must have a railway connecting us with the Northern Territory. That is an absolute necessity if we are to develop it. South Australia did make some attempt to secure such a railway. We constructed a line as far as Oodnadatta from Adelaide, and another from Port Darwin to Pine Creek. If we are to effectively defend Australia, railway communication with the Northern Territory is an absolute necessity. I was unable to follow Senator St. Ledger in this connexion. That may be due to my lack of intelligence or to the honorable senator’s peculiar way of describing things, but I confess that when he concluded I was in a considerable muddle as to what he meant by his references to the railway. South Australia would have constructed a line connecting Adelaide with the Northern Territory if she had been able to do so. It was fully recognised that such a railway was necessary.I have no love for land-grant railways, but in the South Australian Parliament, as a forlorn hope, I voted for a land-grant railway to see whether we could not secure a connexion with the Territory, and so get the country settled. I may be allowed to say here that it was “ little South Australia,” as the State has been described here more than once, that stretched the telegraph line north and south across Australia. She did so unaided, in any way, and for some years was subjected to a good deal of unfair competition for having done so.
– She refused the cooperation of Victoria in that enterprise.
– That does not matter, I consider that the people of South Australia were . subjected for some time to unfair competition in connexion with the working of that line. I believe it is the duty of the Commonwealth now to take over the Northern Territory, and to see that it is developed and properly settled, because in its unoccupied condition it is a very serious menace to Australia. I believe that if the railway were constructed those engaged in its construction might, by the offer of favorable conditions, be induced to remain in the Territory. The men employed in the construction of the line might be offered land on very easy terms, and thus might be induced to settle in and develop the country after the_ construction of the Tail way. I think that the people of South Australia have a right to ask that the two points, Oodnadatta and Pine Creek, should be connected by rail.
– No hope.
– Speaking as a representative of South Australia, I think there is some hope that that will be done. We. have to consider not only the taking over of the financial responsibilities of the Northern Territory. There is a current deficit of something like .£1,300,000, and there is the money borrowed for the construction of the railway, and so on, making altogether between £3,000,000 and £4,000,000. But it must not be forgotten that South Australia, having constructed the line to Oodnadatta, has during the whole of the time since its completion been losing something like ,£45,000 “a year. I think that it is only fair that the railway should be extended from Oodnadatta. I do not say that it should follow the telegraph line, as it might be advisable if the country were better that it should deviate somewhat to the east, but I do expect that, after all that South Australia has done, Oodnadatta and Pine Creek shall be connected. If the Federal Parliament does not see its way clear to approve of that, I think it would be only fair to South Australia that her northern boundary should be extended so as to include the McDonnell Ranges. If that were done the Government of South Australia would be given some encouragement to continue the railway line, which now ends practically in a cul de sac, so that the mineral resources of the district surrounding the McDonnell Ranges might be developed.
– If that suggestion were adopted, how much further north would the South Australian boundary be?
– It would be practically 200 miles further north than at present, and that would mean the construction of a further 200 miles of railway by the South Australian Government. I do hope that the members of this Parliament will deal with the question in a generous and not in a parochial spirit, and will do justice to the little State that at a very great sacrifice has done much for the Northern Territory. Another measure which I am very glad to see referred to in the Governor-General’s speech is one for the establishment of an Agricultural Bureau for the Commonwealth. I believe that on account of the importance of the industries on which they are engaged, our primary producers are entitled to every consideration. If the proposed bureau- is established on the lines of that in existence in the United States of America, it may be made of immense value to our primary producers. The authorities of the United States Bureau of~ Agriculture do everything possible for the man on the land. They analyze soils for him, they instruct him in the best methods of draining, and the best methods of carrying out his work in different parts of the States. They tell him what can be profitably cultivated in any particular district, and they come to his aid in such a way that when making a start he need not waste money in useless experiments, or in carrying on a class of agriculture unsuitable to the locality in which he_ resides. They also give information with regard to stock. I hold that we must help men to undertake the occupation of the vacant spaces in the Commonwealth, lt is all very well to. talk of the resumption of land near railways, but there will still be vast areas of unoccupied territory which we require to have profitably occupied. I notice that it is pro- posed to make some alteration in the electoral law. I do not know the nature of the alteration proposed, but I should very much like to see introduced into our electoral law the system of proportional representation, especially so far as elections to the Senate are concerned. I believe that all parties in the community ought to be represented, and under a system of proportional representation, which is scientific and just, I believe that we could secure fair representation for all political parties.
– The simplest way is to have only two political parties, and then we shall not need proportional representation.
– If there were but two political parties, they should be given representation according to their numerical strength, and the system of proportional representation provides for majority rule, and at the same time for minority representation.
– That is not what is understood by proportional representation.
– I think that if my honorable friend studied the question, he would find that proportional representation! would work out in that way. I notice that it is proposed to submit some amendment of the Public Service Act. I think that it needs amendment. I am aware that some South Austraiian officers, especially in the Post and Telegraph Department, have suffered a good deal of injustice under the existing Act. I do not believe that what is provided for in the Constitution for the preservation of their existing and accruing rights, has been fairly considered, or that they have been given justice in that matter. I think that they have, to some extent, been ignored by the Public Service Commissioner. I am glad to say that the men have accepted the position, and have continued to render loyal service, though some of them feel particularly sore, believing that they have suffered grave injustice. I cannot pretend to discuss the question of defence. I listened carefully to Senator Cameron, and to the last military authority who has just addressed the Senate.
– And who cleared out after he finished his speech.
– And who cleared out without any endeavour to maintain a quorum so that somebody else might get a hearing. The authorities I have referred to seem to differ very widely, and when doctors differ, I do not know where laymen are to come in. I confess that I do not like the idea of compulsion. It seems to me that in the British mind there is an instinctive dislike to compulsion. I intend to maintain an open mind on the subject, and I may submit to what is proposed if I find it absolutely necessary. I thoroughly believe in the establishment of the cadet system. I believe that its establishment has been a good thing for our lads, providing one of the things most wanted in Australia. They are, under the system, being taught drill, and also discipline. I attach great value to lessons of obedience, which I feel sure will not be lost in years to come, and which will lay the foundation for later training.
– I think there is not a quorum present. [Quorum formed.’]
– I agree with Senator Neild that we do not require a large standing army. I do not think that at all necessary, and I do not know how we -should handle it or maintain it if we had it. But I do believe that we require a body cf thoroughly . well disciplined troops. I think we require good marksmen, and we also require that our men should be thoroughly well officered. I agree with Senator Cameron, especially in his remarks with regard to the training of officers. If they are to render efficient service, we must obtain from the best -sources the very best training we can secure for them, practical as well as theoretical. If we consider the experience of the Boer war and the RussoJapanese war, and if I have read aright the lessons which they teach, they were won very much by generalship. There was great mobility of the forces engaged, large bodies of troops were moved quickly from point to point, and the men themselves knew how to shoot. I think that that is one of the main considerations today, and I believe that instead of having a large army of 400,000 or 500,000 men, a force of 40,000 or 50,000, properly drilled, disciplined, and officered, would probably render us better service. I have no expert knowledge upon this matter. I intend to maintain an open mind upon it, with a view to being guided by the best information that I can obtain. But I wish to know what is to become of the force that is at present in existence? Are the rifle clubs to be disbanded ? Personally, I think that we ought to encourage the formation of rifle clubs in every possible way, and I hope that in whatever scheme we may adopt that will be done. I am anxious to obtain the details of the Government scheme, in the hope that we shall approve that which is in the best interests of Australia generally. There is one other matter to which I desire to refer. It is mentioned in paragraph 3 of the Governor-General’s speech, which reads -
Recent decisions of the High Court render necessary the submission of an amendment of the Constitution relating to the New Protection.
– The High Court referred to is the Labour caucus.
– At present I am not inclined to agree that the decision of the High Court renders an alteration of the Constitution necessary. I am not at all sure that the Commonwealth should take over control of industrial matters, and, unless it takes over the entire control of them, there is bound to be overlapping so far as industrial legislation is concerned. Personally, I believe that it is better to leave the control of industrial matters in the hands of the States for the reason that the conditions which prevail in one State are different from those which obtain in another. I look upon the Arbitration Courts as a dismal failure. They cannot be pronounced a success, no matter where they have been established.
– What authority has the honorable senator for that statement?
-I am speaking of the Arbitration Courts of New South Wales, New Zealand, and Western Australia.
– In Western Australia the Arbitration Court has been a success.
– Has its establishment prevented strikes?
– Has it done so absolutely? I believe a great deal more in the principle of wages boards. I believe in cultivating the idea of conference, of conciliation, of mutual goodwill, and of a community of interests as between capital and labour, and I say that the men who are best qualified to determine the conditions under which an industry shall be carried on are those who are engaged in it - the representatives of both sides.
– It is only when they fail to arrive at an agreement that the Arbitration Court comes in.
– I think that the States themselves can deal with industrial legislation better than can the Commonwealth.
– What State could deal with a maritime dispute?
– I am speaking of” industries generally. The maritime industry is about the only one which extendsright round the Commonwealth. The new protection touches every industry. To my mind, k is impossible for any man - unlesshe has an intimate technical knowledge of” a particular industry - to give a fair award.
– Under the Tariff every State receives the same measure of protection. We did not impose” different duties for the various States. Seeing that the manufacturers throughout the Commonwealth receive uniform protection, surely they ought to pay uniform wages.
– Would the honorable senator make the wages on the goldfields of Western Australia and South Australia uniform?
– Certainly. Does not “the honorable senator think that the men. engaged in mining in the MacDonnell Ranges are entitled to as good wages as those who are employed at Coolgardie?
– The conditions being unequal, it is muchbetter that this matter should be left in the hands of the States. I have no desire to detain the Senate at greater length. I should not. have risen to-night had I not been new to the Senate, and I merely desire to add that the want of interest exhibited in the debate is a sufficient warrant for saying that in time to come the discussion of the AddressinReply may well be dispensed with.
– I merely rise for the purpose of referring to a question which I asked earlier in the sitting, and the point of which I fear the Vice-President of the Executive Council misunderstood. I asked whether the Government insured sugar in transit from the factories to the refineries to the extent of the Excise which would be recoverable upon it. I put this question in no captious spirit, and I will cite a concrete instance to show what I mean. Some time ago the steamer Mareeba started from North Queensland with 1,000 tons of sugar on board. She was wrecked, and the sugar was lost. The Commonwealth had paid something like £3,000 by way of bounty to the growers of the cane from which that sugar was manufactured. Consequently, unless the Government have some means - whether by insurance in the ordinary way, or by internal insurance - of recovering that loss, they are faced with a very serious position. Of course it is a polite fiction that the bounty does not come out of the Excise, although we know that the Excise is imposed for the purpose of enabling the bounty to be paid. Sugar from Queensland is usually shipped to the refineries in cargoes ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 tons. If the Government pay ,£15,000 in bounty upon the cane from which 5,000 tons of sugar are produced, and fail to recover the ^£20,000 Excise which they would obtain if that sugar passed into consumption, it must be apparent that they sustain a serious loss. The Vice-President of the Executive Council apparently did not appreciate the point which I desired to make this afternoon. I merely wish to emphasize the fact that it is necessary to protect the revenue.
– A floating policy is what is required.
– The trips are very short, and the payment of a very small sum by way of insurance would cover these cargoes.
– And they constitute an insurable interest.
– The commercial community usually finds it worth while to insure anything that is valuable. The Government may be adopting that practice as far as I know.
– I do not think that they are.
– Then the VicePresident of the Executive Council should confer with the Treasurer with, a view .to seeing if the revenue cannot be protected to that extent. While the leader of the Opposition was speaking this afternoon we heard the usual interjections to the effect that there was no land available for settlement in Australia. I merely wish to say that in Queensland for the year ended 30th June, 39°7- 75°j00o acres were selected in small areas for the purpose of being made freehold, exclusive of pastoral holdings. According to the papers published a day or two ago - so far I have merely seen the telegraphed reports - the settlement upon the same lines during last year embraced an area considerably in excess of 750,000 acres. These facts evidence that a very large area is available for the purposes of closer settlement. I would further point out that at the present time the Queensland Government is busily engaged in constructing railways with a view to making more land available for closer settlement, and that not long ago a cable from England was published to the effect that Mr. Price, the Premier of South Australia, had affirmed that in that State there was room for millions of immigrants.
– The assertion made was that no land was available for settlement in certain States of the Commonwealth.
– It was made by Queensland senators.
– What number of persons was settled upon the land during the period to which the honorable member refers ?
– I cannot say, but the largest area selected is a comparatively small one. It is scarcely worth while to discuss this matter at length on the present occasion, but when the assertion is made that there is no land available in Queensland, it is just as well to show that closer settlement in that State is proceeding very rapidly. There is a large area of land available, and as the Government of Queensland are very wisely constructing a number of lines out of revenue, so as to open up the land to make it available to incoming settlers, the position in that respect is satisfactory.
– I have tried to exercise patience in listening to the debate on the Address-in-Reply during the last few hours. I have paid earnest attention to the speeches of the mover and seconder of the motion, and to those who have taken part in the debate. I was in search of information, as I always am. I presume that the Government desire to close the debate to-night, and, that being so, late as the hour is, if I did not speak I should not have the chance of saying the few things that I desire to say. In matters of defence I thought that I should be safe in sitting at the feet of Senators ‘Cameron and Neild. But the old saying appears to be true in regard to military men - “ doctors differ.” We must be puzzled about coming to a sound conclusion when we find two men of tact and ability holding such opposite views as they do. I am driven to the conclusion that, after all, we laymen, inexperienced as we are - some of us having had to follow the plough instead of commanding forces - would probably do the right thing in exercising our common sense with regard to the facts of the case that is presented to us. Military men do not seem to be assisted to arrive at a sound conclusion on such matters, even by the wearing of such beautiful garments as I saw my honorable friend, Senator Neild, wearing at the recent review. When I pointed him out to a lady who was with me, she said, “ Oh, what a fine-looking gentleman ! “ It was very pleasant to be in Melbourne while the American -Fleet was here. Some of us Labour members are suspected of not being very loyal. The suspicion is unjust. I am thoroughly loyal. I am pleased to say that we enjoyed the visit of the Fleet. We had a grand time, and I am sure that the Americans have left a splendid impression behind them. We have also derived some useful lessons from their visit. I agree with much that has been said by Senator Neild with reference to the Federal Capital. I take this stand in reference to New South Wales - that she has not had justice done to her at the hands of the Federal Parliament. I have frequently heard it said in South Australia, “ Why not leave the Seat of Government in Melbourne.” But I have always replied, “No; it may be an advantage in some respects, and it may be easier to get to Melbourne from South Australia than to a situation in New South Wales. But there is an honorable understanding that the Capital is to be in New South Wales, and, as a senator from South Australia, I am prepared at the earliest possible opportunity to vote in that direction.” I wanted to draw Senator Neild on one point whilst he was speaking. I wished to ascertain the views of the representatives of New South Wales in the Federal Parliament as to where the Capital should Be. I recognise that the feelings of the New South Wales people should be considered, and if the representatives of the State would tell me what site they intend to support I should be very pleased.
– Dalgety, for instance?
– No, I do not believe in Dalgety. I regretted that the question was not pressed forward last session. I do not desire to blame the Government for the delay, but it appeared to me to be odd that, although the Bill was on the business-paper for a Jong time, it remained practically undealt with. So anxious was I in reference to the matter that on one occasion, towards the end of the session, when, owing to ill-health, I was unable to attend Parliament, I wrote to Senator Millen informing him that my health did not at that time permit me to attend, but that if the question came forward for settlement, and the i’ssue was be tween Canberra and Dalgety, I was for Canberra all the time. The honorable senator did not reply to my letter, but he did not lose a vote on that account. He knew that he could trust me.
– I do not think that the letter called for a reply.
– I simply desired to do what was just and fair towards New South Wales, although I must admit that sometimes the Premier of that State has not acted as a sane man ought to do. Still, however, that is no reason why his State should not receive justice at the hands of the Commonwealth. I am glad that the Government appear to be ready to take the matter up in earnest.; I have always stated that my principal desire is to see justice done to the mother State. I regret that Senator Vardon has spoken so strongly against the new protection policy. Personally I am proud and glad that the Government have included the subject in thenpolicy. I can inform them that they would not get much support from me if they did not proceed with it. It is a serious matter. Many of us were returned to the Senate pledged to that policy, which was partly, embodied in the form of a Statute before we were returned. There was an Act upon the statute-book applying the new protection in the case of harvesters. I am free to admit that if the decision of their Honours the Judges had been given before the Tariff was finally dealt with I might have voted differently on several occasions. Quite a number of honorable members and senators seem to believe that Judges are infallible. I do not. It is possible that a mistake may be made even by Judges. I do hope that the Government will stand to their guns. I pledged myself to the electors that if the workers did not get an advantage from the policy of protection, as well as the pro-, ducers, tthe farmers, and the users of implements, I should not consider the policy satisfactory. I know that there is a constitutional remedy for the present position. I am aware that the Governor-General in Council may take action and reduce the Tariff on agricultural machinery against the outside world. There are men who are humane - and I know some in South Australia - and who carry out the principle; while in Victoria there are some men who are not paying a fair living wage. That places some of us in a very awkward position.
– Are they not acting under a Wages Board in Victoria?
– I am sorry that Senator Vardon, who had so much to say about Wages Boards, has . gone. He was a member of the Legislative Council of South Australia which for five or six years hung up an Act -providing for Wages Boards, because it refused to pass the necessary regulations to bring the law into force. That is what we may expect from the State, but I am not here to discuss the pros and cons of that matter. Senator Chataway seemed to wanf to have a parting shot at the question of whether or not there was available in Queensland land for closer settlement. It has been, said that there is practically little available for that purpose, but that honorable senator said that there is a lot. If the country possesses suitable land on which to settle people, why does it repurchase estates to the value of £500,000 a year?
– They have 370,000,000 acres unsold.
– In South Australia we have land unsold, but what is the rainfall ? Reference has been made to our Premier, Mr. Tom Price. Some of the statements which he is supposed to have made in England he never uttered. He said just the opposite. The Labour Party are not opposed to immigration so long as it can be shown to us that there will be work for immigrants when they arrive onour shores, and that they can obtain land without being in any way detrimental to those who have been here a long time, and who have failed to get land. I propose to cite the case of Nicholas Travers, who is one of the whitest men I know, and who has a family of four sons and six daughters, or vice versa. Owing to the fact that some of his sons and daughters have grown up, he wanted to secure a little more land than he can hold in his own name under the Closer Settlement Act. He assured me the other day that on seven different occasions he had tried to obtain additional land, but had failed to get any.
– And South Australia has a Labour Government.
– Under the Labour and Liberal Government, which has now been in office for a little over three years, South Australia has had a surplus of £600,000.
– And yet people cannot get land.
– It is a very difficult thing to get land, near the railways. There are million’s of acres ofland where there is, perhaps, 5 or 6 inches of rainfall, per annum, but of course it is unfit for cultivation. When Mr. Price returned to South Australia he said he was quite willing that immigrants should come when land or work could be found for them without their becoming detrimental to present inhabitants. While an honorable senator was speaking yesterday, I interjected that I believed in compulsory voting. I told the electors that I did, and I hope that if any alteration of the electoral lawis to be made that will be provided for. 1 also believe in compulsory registration. Another thing in which I believe, and in which I think Senator Neild believes, because to-night he had a difficulty in getting a quorum, is the compulsory attendance of members of Parliament, at least within some degree of reason. I advocated that view before the electors, and I do so now here. We often hear about “ theFederal grab,” and of men who weresupposed to beopposed to the increase of the allowance spending less, than half their time here, and taking; as much as those who attend regularly.. Whatever may be the opinion of the general public, and the Parliament of Australia, as to the need for military reform; the present members of the Defence Forces are eagerly awaiting some definite action. To them the future is shrouded in mystery. Occasionally they hear of -some projected action which will affect them; but so far there seems to have been a maximum of talk and a minimum of action, and the cost of upkeep for the handful of troops now wearing the uniform of the Commonwealth is beyond all reason. . The reference to uniform reminds me that although successive Governments andParliaments have emphatically declared for simplicity and utility in the dress of the soldier, yet surely and slowly the old order of things is creeping back. Permissive regulations allow different corps to assume “ full dress,” providing that the cost thereof is borne by the Corps Clothing and Contingency account. In many corps this permission has been taken advantage of, and thousands of pounds have been spent in the provision of gaudy uniforms instead of extending the facilitiesfor rifle shooting and physical exercise. In South Australia not a single gymnasium for military purposes is in existence. Different corps have tried to establish them, but want of support and dearth of funds have killed every effort. I assert that better physical training and more regular opportunity for rifle practice is of infinite more value to Australia’s army than the wearing of fancy clothes. So far I have referred more particularly to the rank and file, the clothing for whom is met by calls upon a clothing account. But the officers are penalized by the neces~sity of supplying extra uniforms, &c, and the paltry 30s. per annum allowed for the purchase and upkeep of all military equipment is woefully inadequate, even for the most simple uniform, and would be shockingly insufficient if from it gold lace and feathers had also to be provided. In view of the cry for simplicity, why are such things allowed ? Why are staff officers clad in scarlet coats and gilded braid, with fluttering feathers decorating cocked hats or billycock helmets? I may be told that the officers pay for these things themselves, but why should they? Why should the service be made expensive, and therefore exclusive? How many good men may be dissuaded from joining because of this wicked expense? Let us have done with it. We are a young country with” our future only a promise as yet. Shall our progress be retarded because we hang on to customs and frivolities of older countries ? The savage in his barbaric ignorance decorates himself in striking if somewhat scanty attire when he wishes to display his warlike spirit; and, after all, the plumes and feathers, the pomp and foolishness of the fancy military uniform, is only another form of that’ same savage spirit. Although there may be diverse opinions about the future defence policy of Australia, yet nearly every section of political thought agrees that the training of the young is an essential, and the cadet movement is applauded as an evidence of administrative wisdom. But why is it that so soon as the boys are enrolled the authorities lose all interest in them? How is it that a battalion of senior cadets enlisted months ago in South Australia is still without rifles, and, what is more important still, without a commanding officer. The boys are drifting away again, disheartened and disappointed. Is there need for it? Why is it done? I wish the Treasurer had a seat in this Chamber so that I could draw ms attention directly to what is happening. It is most discouraging for the boys. I can remember that when I was a boy if I got even a watch key from my mother to play with
I prized it as worth a’ great deal more than it actually cost. In this case young boys, that Senator Cameron would like to see trained up as military men, go to drill times without number, and there are rifles for only a third or a quarter of them. Is that fair ? We should not need compulsion if our forces were properly treated. We should take ourselves back to our own boyish days and think how we felt in matters of that kind. When these boys left their homes, dressed up for the occasion, we can realize what they would think of themselves if they had rifles, and how disappointed they would be when told that the Treasurer had not provided funds to buy sufficient arms for them, or that those whicli had arrived from the Old Country were out of -order and would require some time to put into repair. I know what I am speaking of, for my information comes from a reliable source. Those are evils that have to be remedied. If we want boys or men to do something for nothing we must treat them better than those boys in South Australia have been treated, and better than the Ballarat boys were treated when they wanted to come to Melbourne during Fleet week. I heard something said to-night about officers, and am pleased that Senator Cameron is present to listen to the following
While I am referring to military matters, I should like to ask why it is that in South Australia the officer commanding the S. A. Brigade is also the officer in charge of a battalia of infantry, and the officer commanding th>; Port Adelaide Defences is also the officer in .barge et the 16th Light Horse Regiment. Is it necessary that these two officers should hold between them the four most important appointments of the Field Forces? Is there an inference that no other officer is capable? If so, the matter want« immediate inquiry. If Col. Rowell, nic Commander of the S. A. Brigade, is the only fit officer to command the Infantry Battalion, which is part of his brigade, there surely must be a question as to the fitness, or otherwise, of the second in command and other officers of that Battalion. If the Forces had to take the field “to-morrow, which position would Col. Rowell assume? Presumably, that of Brigade Commander, and that would mean that an officer who is apparently not considered fit to command in time of peace would have to assume that responsibility iri time of war. Precisely the same situation exists in regard to Col. Dean, who is the dual holder of the posts of Commander of the Port Adelaide Defences and the 16th Light Horse. He must drop one or the other some time, and the man who will have to take up the job should have the advantage of previous training. The estimates and establishment make all these positions separate and distinct, and the fact that these officers are of senior rank should not allow the intentions of Parliament to go astray.
I believe that every word of that statement is correct. Are those things as they ought to be ? I should like to hear Senator Cameron, who takes such an interest in defence matters, commenting on the state of affairs that the writer discloses. There must be somethingradically wrong, and as these statements will appear in print, I hope that the Government will give them consideration. I am not an Oppositionist, but intend to support the Government all I can while they run a straight course. If they fight for the new protection I will stand by them, and if they go for a progressive land tax later on I will stand behind them and push them along. With regard to defence matters, if the men and boys received the encouragement to which they are entitled it would cheer them on wonderfully, and lay the foundation for the training of soldiers such as Senator Cameron has proved himself to be. I am pleased that one of the first questions to be decided this session is the fixing of the site of the Federal Capital. I hope that a speedy decision will be come to in that matter. I have much pleasure in supporting the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, and apologize to the Senate for occupying its time ‘ at this late hour of the evening. My reason for speaking was that this Information had been furnished to me and I wished to have it in print. I am sure that those who prepared the statement knew the ropes, and that some good will follow if their advice is taken.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the Address-in-Reply to the GovernorGeneral’s opening speech be presented to His Excellency by the President and such senators as may desire to accompany him.
Of course, honorable senators will be duly informed of the day and hour at which it will be convenient for His Excellency to receive the Address.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill presented by Senator Best, and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday next.
– Pursuant to standing order 31, I lay on the table my, warrant nominating Senators Dobson, McColl, and Colonel Neild, a panel to act as temporary Chairmen of Committees when requested to do so by the Chairman ofCommittees, or when the Chairman of Committees is absent.
– Pursuant to standing order 38, I lay on the table my warrant appointing the following senators to be the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications : - Senators de Largie, Chataway, Macfarlane, Henderson, Sir J. H. Symon, Turley, and Walker.
Motion (by Senator Best) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I should like to inquire if theNavigation Bill isready for distribution to-night.
– Not to-night; it will be distributed early to-morrow.
– Is there any change in the Bill?
– There are some changes, but not in principle.
– Perhaps it will save a waste of time later in the week if I offer a suggestion to the Vice-President of the Executive Council, now. The measure which has been refeired to is a highly important one, and, in view of the statement that it varies from that presented to the ‘Senate last session, honorable senators will naturally, desire, afterhearing the second-reading speech, to see in what the variations consist.
– I propose to point them all out.
– That will, of course, assist honorable senators, but I pointout that it will not be unreasonable, after the honorable senator’s second-reading speech on such an important measure, to request that some opportunity should be given honorable senators to consider both the speech and the measure. I am now making the suggestion in order that, if at that time a request is put forward for a little delay before proceeding with the debate, the Government may be prepared with other business.
– None of the fundamental principles of the measure are altered, and if my honorable friend prepared a speech on the basis of the Bill previously introduced, he would have no difficulty in assimilating the alterations.
– I am merely pointing out that such a request as I have referred to would not be an unreasonable one to submit, and I desire that there should be no unoccupied time next week.
– A Navigation Bill, as honorable senators are aware, was introduced last session. I then took advantage of the opportunity to deal very fully with the measure from the historical stand -point, and also from the standpoint of the” deliberations, arid report of the Navigation Commission, and the deliberations and debates of the Imperial Conference, and the resolutions arrived at there. I also dealt with the leading fundamental principles’. of the measure, and especially with its departure from British legislation. The measure then introduced . was before honorable senators, and was freely circulated. My speech on the occasion of the second reading is, of course, in Hansard. While it is true that, by reason of certain representations made by the Board of Trade, some alterations are being proposed, they are . of such a character thathonorable senators will have no difficulty whatever in readily understanding them with the aid of the explanation I hope to make.
– There is a good deal of interest taken in the measure outside.
– There is, of course, a great deal of interest taken in the measure. It is a most important piece of legislation, but the fullest notice has already been given ofitsgeneral principles. . 1 have not had an opportunity to introduce any otherBills with which we might dealand any other Bill which we might consider would be more unfamiliar to honorable. senators than the measure the second reading of which I propose to proceed with on Wednesday next. Honorable senators, are aware . that I have taken advantage ; of the . very earliest opportunity to introduce the Bill, andcould not have introduced it sooner except by the suspension of the Standing Orders.. In the circumstances I do not think that it is unreasonable to ask honorable senators to be prepared to proceed with it on Wednesday.
– I think it is most unreasonable.
– Ifthat be the general feeling, I shall of course be prepared to consult the wishes of the Senate, but I am pointing out that there are many reasons why I think we should be allowed to proceed with the measure, and’ particularly the lengthy and full explanation of its main principles which I have already given. If we do not proceed with the discussion of the measure on Wednesday next, it will simply mean that the Senate must adjourn until such time as shall be determined upon. As the Senate is aware, the Government are no party to any waste of time, but, on the contrary, are anxious to fill up every hour of the session.
– The honorable senator knows what he is going tosay, whilst other honorable- senators do not.
– Still, I thinkI make a very fair representation to honorable senators when I point out that so far as. its general principles are concerned, the measure to be dealt with on Wednesday is practically the Bill of last session, and in the circumstances might be proceeded with. That is plainly the position of matters, and it is reasonable to ask honorable senators to be prepared to proceed with the debate on Wednesday.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 September 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080917_senate_3_47/>.