3rd Parliament · 4th Session
The. President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to call the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to a statement made by Mr. Membrey in the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, and repotted in the Age of today, as follows : -
It was the intention of the Victorian Government to proceed with the policy of “settling poor people on the poor lands of the State.” and to ask, without notice, the following questions : -
In view of that statement of the policy of the State Government of Victoria, does the Government consider that the vital national need of closer settlement and largely increasing the population of the Commonwealth by giving vastly increased numbers an opportunity of making a prosperous living on the land can safely be left in the hands of the various State Governments.
Does the Government approve of the policy of “ settling poor people on poor land “ ?
Will the Government consider the advisr ableness of taking such , action as may be neces-. sary to insure that poor people will bc afforded an opportunity of settling and occupying the good lands of Australia?
– I ask the honorable senator to give notice of the questions.
– I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, ‘ without notice, whether the Government has negotiated, or intends to negotiate, with the proprietors of the London Daily Chronicle for advertising or other space therein ?
– I ask the honorable senator to give notice of the question.
– Surely the Minister can say whether the Governmenthas or has not.
Motion (by Senator Walker) agreed to -
That one month’s leave of absence be granted to Senator Macfarlane on account of urgent private business.
Finance : Commonwealth and States - New Expenditure - Land Monopoly - Naval Defence : Offer of Dreadnought - Reduction of Cable Rates - Training of Cadets - Tariff - Immigration - Land Values Taxation.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
[2.37]. - I beg to move -
That this Bill be now read a first time.
This is a. Bill to grant and apply out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund the sum of £883,699. That amount includes a sum of . £763,699 for ordinary services, transferred and other, a sum of £20,000 for refunds of revenue, and a sum of £100,000 for advance to the Treasurer. It would be quite idle for me to ignore the fact that various objections have been raised in connexion with the Bill. The first objection which seemed at one time to be urged strenuously was that it was at least somewhat unusual, if not improper, to attempt to interrupt certain proceedings elsewhere with a Bill of this kind. I need only point out that if that objection were sustained it would be quite open to prolong the debate on a want of confidence motion for the next month or two, and in the meantime the public servants would go unpaid, and likewise the public creditors. But from time to time various political parties have recognised that such a position would be illogical, and they have laid down what seems to be an unanswerable position. In 1904, when Sir George Turner was Treasurer, and Supply was required while a motion of want of confidence was under consideration, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Watson, said -
I admit that it is unusual to interrupt the debate on a motion of want of confidence with a proposal of this, character ; but I do not seeany escape from the situation. We must meet the engagements of the Commonwealth, and, in view of the assurance of the Treasurer that the Bill contains no items beyond those usually included in such measures, I think that we may safely agree to pass it.
The Supply Bill was passed. Again, in 1907, when Sir John Forrest wasTreasurer, and Supply was urgently, required before the Address-in-Reply had been agreed to, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Joseph Cook, stated that if the Government were so pressed for money as to make the grant of Supply necessary he would offer no opposition, and it was granted.
– Supply for twomonths ?
– If my honorable friends will allow me, I shall’ endeavour to deal with these objections, and submit for their consideration, in the interests of public business, certain features of the matter.
– Deal with what objections ?
– I trust that the facts which I shall place before the Senate will be sufficient.
– With what objections is the honorable senator going to deal ?
– No objection has been raised here yet.
– It has been stated that the Government have some political object in the action which they are taking. So far as I am concerned, and I speak on behalf of the Government, all that we desire is to have proper facilities for the transaction of public business. Nothing whatever beyond that is present to our minds. I admit that it is urged - and urged very strongly - that it is somewhat unusual to ask for two months’ Supply prior to the delivery of the Budget. But I would sav in reply that it is by no means unusual to “ask for Supply prior to the deliverv of the Budget. The Budgets of the Commonwealth have been delivered at various times. In 1901 the Budget was delivered on 8th October ; in iqos. in September : in 1903, on the 28th July ; in 1904, in October ; in 1905, on the 22nd August; iin 1906. on the 31st July; in 1907, on the 8th August ; and in 1908, on the 14th October. I venture to sav that at no time has the Commonwealth Budget been looked forward to with greater interestthan will attach to the Budget this year. Hence it would be simply misleading the Senate to suggest for a moment that a new Government and a new Treasurer could hope to bring the Budget before Parliament prior to the middleor perhaps the end of August. But I will give the assurance that the Budget will be brought in at the earliest possible moment. It requires careful consideration in its preparation, and espe- cially so when it is borne in mind that-
– We have read all that in the Age already.
– I am very glad to hear it. The honorable senator has been very well instructed. By reason of the importance of the Budget this year, it would be idle for me to attempt to suggest that there is much likelihood of its being delivered before the end of August. The Budget will have to deal to some extent with the relationship between the Commonwealth and States. It will have to deal with the question of old-age pensions, and with a number of cognate important matters. It is usual to get Supply before the delivery of the Budget. If we take the last two or three years, we shall find that in 1908, three months Supply was granted on 10th June.
– What was the reason for that?
– Because of the advent of the American Fleet
– And the Government want two months’ Supply this year because of the advent of the fusion party.
– We ask for two months’ Supply because the Budget cannot be ready much before the end of that period. It would be idle to waste the time of Parliament, and to delay public business, by asking for one month’s Supply, when to do so would simply mean that we should have to bring forward another Supply Bill in a month’s time; and that also would be introduced before the Budget.
– I thought that the Government had a heaven-born Treasurer, who would be able to do things more quickly than any one else.
– We have Treasurer who will try to do his duty in the public interest.
– The Government will keep us in the dark in the meantime.
– Honorable senators will not bekept in the dark. Thegranting of Supply to meet current expenses before the delivery of the Budget is not an unusual thing. While it is quite true that Supply has been granted for one month in the past, yet, as a matter of fact, there have been nine occasions when Supply has been granted for two months, and on twooccasions there have been grants of Supply for three months. I venture to say that there is considerable urgency on the present occasion. While it is quite true that the public servants are paid fortnightly, and that their salaries will not become due until about the middle of the month, there are, nevertheless, urgent claims which have to be met. I may specify some of these. There is a sum of £30,000 which should be remitted to London to-day in connexion with the postal subsidy. There is also a sum of £28,000 which should be remitted to-day to Western Australia in connexion with some London orders. We have also to pay the weekly wages of a number of men to-morrow. If it be desired to send a clerk away to-morrow, there will, unless this Bill is passed, be no money in the Treasury, and he will have to meet his expenditure in the meantime out of his own pocket. The Post Office has to pay non-contract vessels for the carriage of mails. We also have to pay mail contractors and other persons who have not drawn their accounts on the 30th June. There are various progress payments in connexion with contracts falling due, to say nothing whatever about the general ordinary requirements as far as petty cash is concerned.
– I thought it was usual for the Minister to make an explanation of this kind at the second reading stage?
– It was only right that I should follow the course that I am pursuing, and supply honorable senators with reasons for the urgency of this measure.
– Senator Givens would be the first to complain if the Minister did not do so.
-Of course. I think that honorable senators are entitled to. some assurance so far as the contents of the Bill are concerned. I have especially asked the officers of the Treasury, and theysay that no amounts are included in the Bill except such as have been previously voted, and such as are required to meet ordinary recurring expenses. No extraordinary or special expenditure has been included. Under these circumstances I am sure that for the reasons that I have urged, and in the public interest, honorable senators will not hesitate to grant the request that is made. As regards the sum of , £100,000 which is included in the Bill, no less than £80,000 represents the estimated sum which has to be paid on account of public works during the two months. As regards refunds of revenue, , £20,000, the amounts are in connexion with objects similar to those which I have explained from time to time, having relation to refunds granted under various circumstances. Having regard to the urgency which I have explained, and especially to the fact that it is practically impossible for the Treasurer to get his Budget ready much before the end of August next. I submit that it would be waste of time to ask for less than two months’ Supply.
– The ‘ Treasurer is too slow. Why not get a better man ?
– In the interest of the speedy transaction of public affairs, I trust that honorable senators will see their way to grant the Supply asked for.
– I fancy that the Minister of Trade and Customs must have something on his mind, to account for the way in which he has suggested that there may be a very great deal of opposition to the granting of Supply. I have never heard from any quarter that there is likely to be any very strenuous opposition in the Senate to the granting of Supply. I am sure that no honorable senator on this side has any desire to block the business of the country.
– That is good news.
– I should think so.
– Did honorable senators opposite ever imagine anything else ? Already I have remarked ‘by way of interjection that all that we heard from Senator Best was a repetition of statements and suggestions which had appeared in the Melbourne morning newspapers. It would appear that the Government are taking very great pains to prepare the minds of the public for something which they imagine is going to happen, but which has not occurred to any one else. We all know that at the beginning of the financial year it is necessary that the Treasurer should have money at ‘his disposal to meet claims that may be made upon the Government., No one has ever suggested, especially in theSenate, that any obstacle should be -placed; in the way of the passage of a Supply BillBut what I, in common, I believe, with, every honorable member of the Opposition, do object to is that we should be asked to< depart from what has been the almost invariable practice in the Commonwealth, Parliament since its inception, and togrant more than one month’s Supply, un-. less some exceptional circumstances justify such action. What urgency has the Minister of Trade and -Customs suggested in> justification for the Government’s request for two months’ Supply on this occasion? Is the American or the Japanese fleet coming here again? Is there any intention that theSenate or the House of Representativesshould have another adjournment over three weeks, or over a longer period, with the re-, suit that Parliament might not be sitting at a time when further Supply was necessary, if only one month’s Supply were granted; now ?
– We cannot say what will happen.-
– No one can give the Opposition any assurance that it will be the same Government that will have the privilege of spending the second month’s Supply as the Government to whom the firstmonth’s Supply is granted. And it is just possible that the Opposition might not havethe’ same confidence in any other Government that they have in the present Government. They are, therefore, justified in objecting to grant Supply for a longerperiod than is absolutely necessary. I am quite sure that the Opposition will be willing to grant what is really necessary. The Minister of Trade and Customs has given the Senate no reason why more than one month’s Supply should be granted. I hope that good health will continue to be the portion of every member of the Senate, and that we shall all be here next month, and able to grant further Supply, or take any other action that might be necessary in the interests of the Commonwealth. I have no objection to the granting of Supply on the present occasion; but I do object to grant two months’ Supply, and at the pro-; per time I shall submit an amendment ‘confining the request to one month’s Supply.
– I hope, with Senator McGregor, that only one month’s Supply will be granted by the Senate. The introduction of these Supply Bills has year after year been, responsible for delay in the delivery of the Budget statement, and for the fact that members of the Federal Parliament have been unable to get a grip of the real financial position of the Commonwealth until near the close of the financial year. There may be some excuse for granting two months’ Supply prior to an adjournment, when it would be inconvenient to bring some members of the Federal Parliament away from their homes to supplement the Supply already provided for, but at the commencement of a session no earthly reason can be given for granting more than one month’s Supply. I do not know why the Minister of Trade and Customs should have been so anxious to anticipate opposition to his request. Of course, it is the business of the Opposition to closely scrutinize the proposals of the Government, and the Opposition in the Senate can be depended on to carry out that duty faithfully. In view of the fact that the present Treasurer has earned, not only in the Commonwealth, but in the State of Western Australia, a reputation for extravagance, and remembering that the right honorable gentleman reached the Treasury in a way which reflects very little credit upon him, we have now a double reason for the closest scrutiny of every proposal made by him. Senator McGregor ‘has referred to newspaper criticism of the Opposition “in dealing with Supply Bills. The Opposition will do! nothing -which would be likely to injure the people who are depending on the passage of a Supply I,il’ for the payment of their wages, ft was “by such people that the members of the Opposition were returned to this Parliament, and we can claim to have their interests as much at heart as honorable senators opposite. I refuse to be dictated to by the Age newspaper. The Age may dictate to Victorian representatives.
– To some Victorian -representatives.
– I should have said to some. I am sure the Age cannot dictate to Senator Findley.
– Some Victorian representatives have to do what they are told “by the Age.
– Unfortunately, that is only too true.
– Is that so? That is dreadful.
– I am glad that Senator Fraser stood up tb the Age.
– Senator Fraser had to promise the Age in writing that he would be a true Protectionist.
– I am sorry that the honorable senator should have gone back upon that promise. I know that the honorable senator’s action was challenged by the Age, and that the editor of that journal called upon him to resign, because he had gone back on the fiscal promise he gave at election time.
– Nothing of the kind. The honorable” senator is dreaming, as Senator McGregor was.
– I know that Senator McGregor- asked ex-Senator Baker, when President of the Senate, to bring the editor of the Age to the bar of this Chamber for making such charges against a member of the Senate. 1 give Senator Fraser credit for having on that occasion had the pluck to defy the Age, and I wish there were others of his kind in Victoria, who would stand up to the Age in the same way. At the same time it is just as well that we should let it be known that the members of the Opposition are here despite the newspapers, and that they intend to remain here. They have gained their present position in politics in absolute defiance of the press. That circumstance in itself constitutes the best reason why we should pay no attention to any attempt a dictation on its part. There is no denying the fact that honorable senators opposite are the creatures of the newspapers. Only yesterday an article was published in the Age which was in the nature of dictation to this Parliament. It described the Executive of the day as a “ Junta,” and said that if the gentlemen constituting it chose to follow the practice that is ordinarily adopted in Parliament under similar circumstances they could coerce the Opposition into passing the Supply Bill. I need scarcely remark that there is precious little likelihood of the present Government threatening a dissolution. It is about the last thing that they would think of.
– Resigning their offices was the first thing of which the late Government thought, I suppose?
– The sandbagging tactics that were employed to displace the Fisher Administration constitute abundant warrant for the use of similar tactics by the Opposition. I shall embrace the first opportunity which presents itself of voting for the extinction of the present Ministry. Certainly the people are anxious for its deposition. They recognise that this Parliament has no right to exist any longer. At every meeting which I have addressed in Western Australia at which I have made that statement it has been applauded. The electors recognised that the Government are in office under false pretences. I f the passing of this- Supply Bill were necessary to enable an appeal to be made to the electors no objection would be raised to it.
– Then why did the honorable senator head a requisition to the late Government begging them not to seek a dissolution?
– I have never headed any such petition. So far as I am aware, there has teen no such petition by any outside organization or by any individuals. I am afraid that the honorable senator has hold of the wrong end of the stick. If he knows that anything of - the kind ever took place it is his duty to make the information public.
– I do not wish to expose the honorable senator and his friends.
– As a matter of fact, Senator Neild has nothing to expose, otherwise he would only be too ready to take action. The fact that the present Treasurer has a reputation for extravagance throughout the Commonwealth is a sufficient reason why we should not grant Suppi y for a longer period than is necessary. For that reason I intend to support the proposal which has been outlined by the Leader of the Opposition.
– It is a matter for regret that the Government have, not yet taken Parliament and the country into their confidence in regard to their financial proposals for the ensuing few years. There has never been a time in the history of the Commonwealth when the financial outlook presented so many problems for solution as it does at present. It is extremely desirable that the countryshould know the mind of the political conglomeration which now occupies the Treasury benches upon this matter. It will be recollected that Mr. Deakin severely criticised the late Prime Minister for not having been sufficiently definite when he outlined his financial proposals at Gympie. That criticism was entirely unwarranted, seeing .that Mr. Fisher did outline as much of his financial proposals and of the means bv which he intended to solve the financial problems with which we are faced as the time at his disposal permitted. But such a criticism comes with all the more ill grace from Mr. Deakin, seeing that since his assumption of office he has not taken the country into his confidence at all in reference to the financial proposals of his Government. Instead, he proposes to enter into a Conference with the State Premiers, and I believe that steps are now being taken to arrange such a gathering. What I wishto ask is, “ Who are the State Premiers that they should be consulted in this matter by the Prime Minister?”
– The honorable senator’s statement is not correct. The Prime Minister has never made a suggestionof the kind.
– We see it stated almost daily in the newspapers that the Prime Minister is to hold a Conference with the State Premiers. I should like to know what standing the latter gentlemen have under our Constitution ? This Senate was specially created to safeguard State rights, and for the Prime Minister to confer with’ the Premiers of the States upon this question is an abrogation and usurpation of its functions.
– The Age to-day says that the Senate is an excrescence.
– Simply because this Chamber has not fulfilled the wishes of the framers of the Constitution in that it has not proved a stronghold for wealth and social influence, the Age attempts to ignore it. I repeat that the Senate was constituted for the express purpose of protecting State rights, and therefore it is the tribunal which should be consulted upon the financial problems, with which we are faced and” not the State Premiers. I wish now to point out the absurdity of the financial’ schemes which have been suggested by these gentlemen. As honorable senators are aware, several of these Conferences have been held, at which both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer of the Commonwealth . have been present. I have no objection to the Prime Minister receiving suggestions from the State Premiers just as he might receive them from other citizens of the Commonwealth. What I complain of is that by meeting them in Conference and discussing with them the matters to which I have referred, he is ignoring the Senate as the Chamber which is specially representative of State interests, and treating the Premiers as if they were the custodians of State interests, whereas, under the Constitution, they have no standing. In their earlier Conferences the Premiers wanted a continuation of that section of the Constitution which is known as the Braddon 1 “ blot,” and under which threefourths of the total net revenue from Customs and Excise is returnable to the States until the end of 1910. They did not care a. straw about, and would give no consideration to, the requirements of the Commonwealth. At the last Conference, held in Hobart, they modified that proposition, and asked that three-fifths of the total revenue - not the total net revenue, mind - from Customs and Excise should be returned to the States for all time. They asked that that provision should be embodied in the Constitution, so that it could not at any time be altered, no matter what the exigencies or requirements of the Federal Government or Parliament might be, without an appeal to the people. That is an absurd and ridiculous proposition. No Federal Parliament, having the interests of the people of Australia at heart, would for a moment consider it, much less consent to it. There is no need, and would be no need, for the Commonwealth to return a single farthing to the States, except for the desire of the States to get a large return from indirect taxation. There would be no need for the Commonwealth to raise a shilling for the States, or return a shilling to them, were it not for the desire of the State Premiers to have a large portion of their revenue raised by indirect taxation.
– They have to meet the interest on their debts.
– I will come to that point directly. My statement is borne out by the fact that, apart from the Customs and Excise revenue, the States have the whole field of taxation open to them. If they want to raise money by direct taxation as against indirect taxation, they can raise as much as they please without let or hindrance from anybody. It is an absolutelydemoralizing principle, which cannot be upheld by anybody, that one authority should :be responsible for. raising the money and that another, authority should have the spending of it without any responsibility. If there ;is any .possible loop-hole for getting away from such .a pernicious principle, we should immediately .embrace it.’ Senator
St. Ledger interjected that the States have to meet the interest on their debts. If there is any interest to be found over and above the amount produced from the works on which the loan money was spent, the proper persons to pay that interest are the men who have derived a benefit from the expenditure, and not the poor men, who are taxed by indirect taxation. If there is a deficit on the working of the railways of anyState, the proper men to pay it’ are those who have reaped an enormous advantage in the added value given to the land by reason of their construction.
– What the honorable senator means is some of them, because he proposes to exempt certain men who share that benefit.
– I do not mean some of them at all. If there was a proper system by which lands along existing lines were fully and profitably occupied, all the railways would pay; but it is because the lands are locked up, and population is prohibited from using them, that the traffic on the railways is not sufficient to make them pay. I repeat that the persons who have derived a benefit from the expenditure of the money are the proper ones to provide any deficit in the interest, and any proposal we make for an exemption from taxation has nothing to do with the States. It is their business to raise the money, and the proper persons from whom they should raise it are those who have derived a benefit. That is my reply to Senator St. Ledger. I am, and always have been, opposed to indirect taxation. It is a cunningly devised scheme by which wealthy people have been able to escape their proper share of taxation, and place it on the shoulders of the poor. We need only study the history pf indirect taxation, and the speeches which have been made from time to time by men who were proposing it in Great Britain to find that that was their motive. One of them declared, only a little while ago, that if he were to ask for that amount of direct taxation, which he was expecting to receive from the increase in indirect taxation, it would cause- a “ bloody revolution.” These were his exact words, not mine, nor was he using the great Australian expletive. He was using the “word in its literal sense. The position assumed bv -the State’ Premiers at their last Conference that threefifths of the total revenue from- Customs and Excise should be ‘returned tq them, simply means that if this Parliament were to accede to the request they would have to pile on the people an additional 50 per cent of indirect taxation, mostly to be borne by the poor people, as I intend to prove immediately. One of my great objections to indirect taxation is that it causes a far greater burden on the people who pay it than the actual amount of the tax. Every storekeeper, every hotelkeeper, every man who deals in articles which we wear, eat, and use, is a collector of the tax, and must be paid for his work. Indirect taxation means that not only will the taxpayer have to pay theamount of the tax, but he will also have to pay a profit and interest on the tax. He will have to pay a profit on the tax because, when a merchantbuys£100 worth of goods, on which he will have to pay a duty of £25, the merchant, if he is not to go insolvent, must make a profit not on £100, but on £125, and the unfortunate user of the articles has to find that profit in addition to the tax. And as most business men are working on accommodation from the banks, every time the merchant pays the duty, the interest thereon is going on, and the customer has to find that interest as well as a profit. Thus the unfortunate taxpayer, by this diabolical sinful method of taxation, has to pay not only the tax, but also a profit and interest on the tax. It may be said that I have voted for the imposition of that sort of taxation. I have never done anything of the kind. I have voted for the highest protective duties I could get, but, whenever I have seen a purely revenue duty, I have conscientiously and consistently voted against it. The only revenue duty for which I have ever voted or will ever vote, is a duty on alcoholic liquor.
– What is the simple Tariff of the honorable senator returning ?
– The whole field of taxation is wide open to the States.
– How much money has the honorable senator helped to raise?
-During the last financial year the present Tariff produced less- than£1 1,000.000. If the result which we, who believe in Protection, hope for, accrues, the revenue will be constantly diminishing, because if the Tariff is effective, it will induce the local manufacture of the goods, and, consequently, they will pay no duty. I assure my honorable friends opposite that unless the Tariff iseffective, in that way, then we, on this side, are going to do our very utmost to secure a Tariff which will be effective in that direction. I do not want to raise a shilling by Customs or Excise except on alcoholic liquor.
– How long would the honorable senator reign as Treasurer if he did.
– We often hear that sort of tiling. A Treasurer says “ Oh, if you were Treasurer for a little while, you would find out the difficulty.” The poor man is always the nearest person for a Treasurer to jump on, and with a great statesman like Senator Mulcahy, who graced the Tasmanian Ministry for a while, and made such a mess of things that population is leaving the State even to this day., that was their great remedy, to pounce upon the poor man, and to allow the escape of the rich man, who has the press behind him to hunt the Minister out of office if he does not do the rich man’s bidding. Treasurers have always to turn to indirect taxation, because they get at the great mass of the people who have not a voice in the press to speak for them, and who, until late years, had no representation in Parliament. These were the men whom the heaven-born financiers who have governed the country for so long, and brought it to such a disgraceful position, pounced upon.
– This is the wealthiest country on God’s earth.
– Of course, my honorable friend can easily say that. He enjoys all the good things of life. In fact, Solomon in all his glory was a fool to the honorable senator, because, so far as I can learn, he. did not have two or three motor-cars to carry him round.
– I have worked a jolly sight harder than the honorable senator has ever done.
-Last year the total receipts from the Tariff amounted to less than £ 1 1,000,000. If it continues to have the effect which we are entitled to expect, owing to its protective incidence, then undoubtedly the revenue will decrease year by year, and at the end of 1910 he would be a very sanguine man who would expect it to yield one shilling more than £10,000,000. I do not think any one can dispute that it is scarcely within the bounds of possibility that it will produce more than that amount at the end of next year. That being so, what does the proposal of the late Premiers’ Conference amount to? They say that we must return to the States three-fifths of the total revenue from Customs and Excise. Examine for a moment what the requirements of the Commonwealth are likely to be at the end of 1910. We find that during last year the total estimated revenue from the Post and Telegraph Department -was £3,483,000. The expenditure was estimated to be £3,046,751 ; not including works and buildings. In addition to that, a sum of £552,000 was to be spent on works and buildings. The total expenditure for the year from the Post and Telegraph Department was £3^98, 751 ; leaving outside of that sum £15,751 estimated. I am quite well aware that the amount spent on works and buildings last year was exceptionally high. It was considerably over £500,000. But in this expenditure is not included a single shilling for interest on works and buildings, on which a large amount of public money has been spent ; nor has a shilling been charged for sinking fund to redeem the loans from which those buildings were erected. Therefore, it is a safe thing to say that the total amount of our expenditure last year is about the amount of expenditure that we shall have to face year by year. That being1’ so our absolute total expenditure, including that on posts and telegraphs, was estimated to be £6,513,799. If we take from that the receipts from the Post Office, it will be seen that an amount of £3,130,779 had to be taken from the Customs and Excise revenue to make good the expenditure of the Commonwealth. In the immediate future that amount will have to be very largely increased. As a matter of fact it will have to be increased this year in consequence of a further deficit on account’ of the Post and Telegraph Department; because I understand - the figures are not yet available - that the estimate of total receipts from the Post and Telegraph Department will not be realized by about £70,000. Therefore, that additional deficit will have to be added on to the amount which we had to draw from Customs and Excise revenue for the various services of the Commonwealth. In the immediate future - in fact, beginning to-day - -.we have an enormously increased expenditure to face. We have the expenditure for. old-age pen-, sions, which. will be at least £1,500,000 per annum; some authorities say that it will be £250,000 more. But accepting the lower estimate, we must face that expenditure. Honorable senators must recognise, however, that the whole of that is not new expenditure. It is not an added burden upon the people. ‘ When we assume that expenditure we relieve the States of a great part of the expenditure which . they have hitherto’ been incurring in that direction. Then, again, we shall have facing us an increase in our military and naval expenditure to the tune of £500,000 a year. Everybody is agreed as to that. It is not a party question. We ali agree that we must put our defences ona better footing. If that be so, then undoubtedly we must be prepared to find the money. Every one is agreed that the minimum for which we can put our Military and Naval Forces on’ anything like an efficient footing, is an extra £500,000 per annum. We shall have to take over the Northern Territory, which is another thing that is necessary for our national development. We shall have to find the money for that. The best e’stimate which we can get shows that in order to take over the Northern Territory and meet the deficit on the public debt of the Territory, and to find money for development, the cost will be not less than £200,000 per annum. Then we shall have the Capital Site Bill to face. I hope that my honorable friends on the Government benches will show a little more earnestness in connexion with that question than their predecessors did, with the exception of the Labour Government. I trust that they will do something to push the matter forward. They should do something definite, and not merely talk about it. As I have said, the expenditure in connexion with the Federal Capital will be a’t least £200,000 per annum for a few years. Then, again, we are1 going to take over quarantine and the lighting service around our coasts, as well as several other services, which I put down as costing us another £100,000 a year. The total added expenditure on the most moderate , estimate is £2,500,000 a year. That sum, added to the £3,200,000 which we had to take from Customs and Excise revenue this year, makes a total of £5,800,000, which we can foresee that we shall have to incur at once. We shall have to make that sum good, in addition to our Post and Telegraph expenditure, out of our Customs and Excise revenue. That means, if it means anything, that, at the end of 1910, our requirements from our own sources of taxation, in addition to our revenue from Post and Telegraph Department, will be £6,000,000 per annum. We have a few additional small items of revenue which are hardly worth taking into account. We derive a small amount from copyright, patents, and trade marks, but the receipts are very small, and do not materially affect the calculation. If honorable senators have followed me so far, they will see that, whereas our expectation of revenue from Customs and Excise at the end of 1910 amounts to only ,£10,000,000 per annum, at that time the necessary expenditure which will have to be incurred out of the Customs and Excise revenue will have amounted to no less than £6,000,000 per annum.
– That leaves only ^£4,000, 000 for the States, then?
– Under the present system, it leaves only ,£4,000,000 for the States.’ What do the Government propose? If the State Premiers had their way, Ave should have to raise ,£9,000,000 for them. That is to say, we should have to raise a total of £^15,000,000 per annum from Customs and Excise. In other words, seeing that under present arrangements our receipts cannot be expected to be more than £10,000,000 from Customs and Excise, we should have to increase the taxation on the poor people of this country by 50 ner cent, in order to give the State Premiers the amount that they are demanding.
– Would the honorable senator advocate giving the States only £4,000,000 ?
– I stand bv the policy enunciated by Mr. Fisher at Gympie, in which he said that we should give to the States £5,000,000 per annum. In my opinion, that would be exceptionally generous treatment. I should like to know from the Vice-President of the Executive Council what this Government propose to do.
– All in good time.
– The people have a
Tight to know what they propose to do. That is the position. We cannot under our present Tariff expect a revenue of more than £10,000,000 per annum at the end of 1910. If we are to return to the States three-fifths of that amount, then, in order to raise a sum necessary to find £6,000,000 per annum ourselves, we shall require to raise from Customs and Excise a total of £15,000,000. We shall be compelled to increase the burden of taxation upon the people of this country by 50 per cent., and 1 say, as one member of this Parliament, that neither now, nor in the future, will I ever consent to an iniquitous system of that kind. And all for what? In order that the wealthy people of this country may escape their just share of taxation, we are to pile another 50 per cent, on the backs of the poor.
– Who has put that scheme forward ?
– The State Premiers, at their last Conference. But what is my honorable friend’s intention? That is what I want to know. That is what we have a right to know, and what the country wishes to know now. I. have given the actual official figures. I have cut down the estimates of the added new expenditure to the very lowest. In order to carry out the duties which have been cast upon us by the people of Australia when they adopted the Commonwealth Constitution, we shall have to meet this extra new expenditure.
– Mr. Fisher was leaving us in a< very tight place, according to the honorable senator’s figures.
- Mr. Fisher put forward, in addition to the Customs and Excise revenue, methods of direct taxation. He put forward methods of raising money by proposing that the Commonwealth as the national custodian should take charge of a national currency. But what does this Government propose to do? Do they propose anything in . the nature of direct taxation? Do they propose anything in the direction of a national currency, except with, regard to the coining of silver? Does this Government propose to do anything to raise the money which is required, not only for the purposes of the Commonwealth, but to satisfy the inordinate demands of the State Premiers? Do they propose anything except indirect taxation? That is what we are interested in finding out. In addition to’ what I have stated, there is another matter which I have not mentioned. This Government propose to give a. Dreadnought on behalf of Australia to Great Britain, thus incurring another £2,000,000 of expenditure, without saying a word as to where one farthing of the money is to come from. The new expenditure from which there is no escape will amount to at least ,£2,500,000 a year. If this Parliament, and this
Government, are going to do their duty by the Commonwealth, so as to provide efficiently for old-age pensions, to ‘provide for efficient Naval and Military Forces, and for the taking over of the Northern Territory
– What does the honorable senator put .down for the new Military and Naval expenditure?
– The modest sum of £500,000 a year; and 011 account of the Northern Territory, I put down £200,000 a year. I have purposely framed these estimates very low.
– Has the honorable senator provided for paying South Australia the £3,000,000 expended in the Northern Territory?
– I think, that Australia will do her duty if. we take over the Territory, together with the debt.
– Why should the Commonwealth take South Australia’s property without paying for it?
– I think there is a little confusion in the honorable senator’s mind as to what I mean. What .1 am proposing is that the Commonwealth- should take over the Northern Territory, together with the debt with which it is properly saddled.
– Take the responsibility for the £3,000,000?
– Yes; and pay the interest on it.
– In other wards. Senator Givens does not propose to pay anything for the equity of redemption.
– No; I do not think there is any equity of redemption on account of the Northern Territory, because, unfortunately, it has been a losing concern for the South Australian people.
– What does the honorable senator allow for the railway from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek?
– In my anxiety to cut down the Estimates as low as possible, I have provided nothing either for the railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta., or for the Oodnadatta to Pine Creek line;
– The honorable sena- tor’ has only .taken what Parliament is already committed to.
– I have taken what the Commonwealth Government is committed to up to the present. I challenge any one to show that my figures are incorrect. I say again,, that we have a right to know what the Government propose to do to solve this important financial problem. As far as I can see, there has beenan organized conspiracy among the wealthy people of’ Australia for a considerabletime to escape their proper share of taxation, and to drive this Commonwealth into a borrowing policy on the one hand, and into a policy of raising revenue by meansof extra Customs and Excise taxation on the other. Ever since the first Tariff waspassed there, has been an outcry, and more than one attempt which I am sorry to say was nearly successful on one occasion, tosaddle the poor people with an extra largeshare of the cost of Government, by imposing taxation on such necessaries of life astea and kerosene. Is that the remedy which the Government intend to propose. If it be they must expect the most strenuous opposition they have ever had ‘to face. As soon as mention of a land tax is made in Parliament the cry of confiscation is raised, although we know that the landlords are the greatest confiscators in the country. Australia has a public debt of over £250,000,000. The greater portion of the money borrowed has been spent on the construction of railways, the improvement of harbours and rivers, and the erection of public buildings, and as a result of this expenditure, the private owner of land has had the value of his property doubled, trebled, and quadrupled. It is the general taxpayer who all the time is called upon to pay the interest on the borrowed money, the expenditure of which has added to the value of privately owned land. The private owners of land confiscate every year the value which public expenditure has created. ‘ They are the great confiscators of the country.
-Colonel. Cameron. - I amsure the honorable senator does not believe that.
– It is as clear as a problem in Euclid, and as capable of demonstration.
– Who got the wages paid for the construction of the railways ?
– Senator Walker invites me to consider the great benefit conferred on the workers who received wages for ‘the construction of the railways. But what would the owners of land’ in the Commonwealth have done with those who werepaid for the construction of the railway? Let the land-owners drive the working people out of Australia, and what will their property be worth then? The land-owners are the great confiscators, and they robbed the people, legally I admit, and according to every canon of convention, of the wealth which the people generally have created.
– I hope the honorable senator does not own a bit of land himself.
– I do not own a single rood of land, on which I should not be prepared to pay the highest tax imposed on any one else. If I owned 10,000 acres of land in the richest part of Victoria, I should still say the same. I say that it would be better even for the owners of land in moderate areas to have to paydirect taxation than that they should be taxed indirectly in ways which, escape their observation. It is better that a man should have to pay £^5 under direct taxation than that he should have £10 extracted from his pocket indirectly.
– Honorable senators opposite do not propose to remit other taxation from those who are to be asked to pay a land tax.
– I propose to avoid the necessity of increasing our revenue from Customs and Excise taxation by 50 per cent., as the State Premiers have told us that we ought to do. I propose that we should compel the landlords to return each year for the use of the public a very small portion of the amount which the public present to them in the shape of unearned increment. *
– Of course the difficulty about the imposition of a Federal land tax is that already land taxation is imposed by the State Governments.
– The land taxes in force in the ‘States do not amount to much.
– Do they not? Let” the honorable senator buy some land in Tasmania.
– The trouble is that the land tax in Tasmania is not sufficiently high to make land cheap enough for the people to get it. What is the position in Tasmania.? According to the latest statistics, during the first half of the present year, Tasmania lost about 5,000 of her population. That is an absolutely disgraceful condition of affairs.
– That must have been due to the inducements held out to Tasmanians by Queensland.
– It should be the duty of those in charge of affairs in Tas- mania to hold out better inducements than are offered by Queensland.
-Colonel Cameron. - We cannot compete with Queensland, especially in view of the fact that that State is represented by so distinguished an advocate as the honorable senator.
– The condition of affairs in Tasmania is due mainly to the fact that men like Senator Cameron have monopolized all the land.
– Proportionately, the number of small holders of land is larger in Tasmania than in any other State.
– And the small holders are driven to take up the bad land. A gentleman who visited Tasmania recently told me that he drove through a. beautiful valley between two hills in that State. . He said that it would have accommodated 700 or 800 families, and there were only a few people settled upon it. But away up on the sides of the mountains, the settlers were to be found. They were perched there like owls, and it would almost require an airship to get at them.
– -There is no such valley in Tasmania.
– Well, the person from whom I received this graphic description of the valley in question is present in this chamber, and 1 hope he will give the honorable senator the benefit of his experience. In Victoria we have the same kind of thing. In this State the settlers are driven to the Mallee, to the dry lands, to the districts where they can be sure of a crop only once in every three years. These are the districts in which the small settlers are to be found. It is reported in the Age of this morning that it is the intention of the State Government to settle poor people on the poor land of the State. I contend that the poor people should be given the very best land to settle upon. That is the only way in which we can expect to have successful settlement, and the only way in which we can expect that the settlers will be able to make a comfortable living and bring up their families in something like decent comfort. I have always advocated the imposition of a scientifically graded land tax, so as to compel the lands of Australia to be put to the best use. That is an essential, not only for national prosperity, but for national defence. Unless we have about 40,000,000 of people, instead of the 4,250,000 that we now have, no matter how much we spend on defence we can never be secure. If we can bring about the successful settlement of our good land by a teeming population, prosperity to Australia will be assured, and its defence need never cause any anxiety. We can then go on our way building up a nation that will .be, not only a credit to ourselves, but a splendid example for the rest of the world. That is my ambition for Australia. Honorable senators opposite have no such ambition for this country. Their idea is to allow the “ fat man “ to go on adding acre to acre.
– Is not the honorable senator the fattest man in the Senate?
– The expression “ fat man “ has come to be regarded as an excellent description of the man who gathers to himself riches, who piles up treasure upon earth.
– It has more regard to his financial than to his physical condition ?
– Undoubtedly. It is in that sense that I use the expression. I hope that before the Bill is passed the Government will be prepared to give the Senate, if not a general outline, at least some indication of the proposals they intend to ask Parliament to assent to in order to meet the vital financial problems which we must face in the near future. As Senator Symon has pointed out, I have rather under-estimated than over-estimated our liabilities. I left out of consideration some important matters which in due time will demand attention and’ a large increase of expenditure. But briefly stated, the position is this : The most we can expect next year from Customs and Excise duties will be a revenue of £10,000,000. At that time we shall require to draw upon our own sources of revenue, apart from the revenue from the Post and Telegraph services, to the extent of £6,000,000 per annum. Then if the proposal of the Premiers’ Conference be assented to, and three-fifths of the total revenue is to be returned to the States, we shall have to raise a total revenue of £15,000,000, which will mean an increase of our Customs and Excise revenue by 50 per cent. That is an unthinkable and iniquitous proposition to which I, for one, will never assent. I do not believe that this Parliament, when seized of the enormity of the proposal, will consider it for a moment. This Parliament should not consider such a brazen and audacious proposal for robbing the poor people of this Commonwealth.
– - ^ one desired to find objections to granting the request of the Minister of Trade and Customs for two months’ Supply he could not do better than read some of Senator Mil len ‘s speeches, as that honorable senator has always hitherto objected to the passing of Supply Bills for two months. There have been occasions, when an adjournment of the Senate has been proposed, that in order to get over the interval two months’ Supply Bills have been passed. But this is not such an occasion, and there is no reason why we should not pass another Supply Bill next month. I should like to impress upon honorable senators on both sides the fact that in another place half a day is set apart in every week when honorable members are given an opportunity to discuss grievances. In the Senate we have no such opportunity. The only opportunity of the kind given in the Senate is when we are about to adjourn, and the senator who gets up to ventilate grievances at that time is looked upon as a public nuisance by every other senator, and particularly by the Government. On the first reading of Supply Bills we can discuss matters other than those dealt with in the Bill, and if we adopt the practice of passing two months’ Supply Bills we shall have only one opportunity in every two months to ventilate matters of importance. Honorable senators represent the various States, and I wish to bring under their notice a certain action taken by the present Government. When the answer of the British Government to the offer of a Dreadnought, or its alternative, came back, the Prime Minister is reported by the Argus to have said in an interview that he had, after an interval of about a week before the reply was made public, sent that reply to the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria. In doing so he practically apologized for not having sent it earlier. Now I want honorable senators to realize what that means. He did not send that communication to all the State Premiers, but only to the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria. It is a. fact that the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria were the only State Premiers who, when the Fisher Government refused to offer a Dreadnought to the Mother Country, stepped into the breach and offered a Dreadnought on behalf of their respective States. The Premier of Queensland, when approached on the matter, said that it was one for the Commonwealth Government to deal with; the
Premier of South Australia made a similar reply, and the Premier of Western Australia declared that he. would be prepared to do whatever the other States did. I think that the Premier of Tasmania said that, in view of the financial position of that State, he could not take any action. At any rate, the action of the Prime Minister appears to me to be in the nature of a reprisal upon those States which had declined to follow the course that had been adopted by Victoria arid New South Wales. If the answer of the British Government was a communication which should have been forwarded to the State Premiers, obviously it should have been forwarded to all the States, irrespective of the action which they had taken.
– Does the honorable senator honestly think that the action of the Prime Minister was intentional ?-
– Whether it was intentional or not, it was absolutely wrong.
– It must have been intentional. How could it have been otherwise?
– The Prime Minister must have had some reason for not sending a copy of that communication to the Premiers of all the States, and the only reason I can suggest is that he wished to punish those States which had not done what he thought they ought to have done. In my opinion, he had no right to communicate the reply of the Imperial authorities to any State Premier. He had no more right to send it to the Premier of New South Wales than he had to send it to the Lord Mayor of Sydney, because, if any person has distinguished himself upon this matter, it is the Lord Mayor of Sydney, who has made more noise over it than has any other man in Australia. I suppose that he will get his reward in due season. In passing, I may also remark that, at some risk of personal violence,, the Mayor of Perth refused to give a public meeting which he had convened the right of expressing its opinion upon this . question. That gentleman had called a meeting for the purpose of securing an expression of opinion that a Dreadnought should be presented to the Mother Country. But the meeting carried an amendment to a contrary effect, whereupon the Mayor rose and said that the meeting had declared in favour of the gift of a Dreadnought. . At this announcement the citizens in the hall made for the platform, and the Mayor thereupon beat a hasty retreat. Surely his gallantry should be rewarded.
– He proposes to give 10s. 66. to the Dreadnought fund. He has suggested a per capita tax.
– I think that the Prime Minister cast a slight upon the Governments of the States other than New South Wales and Victoria by the action which he took. He practically singled out the two big States for a special favour, and I can only assume that he did so from a desire to reward them because their action happened to be upon all fours with what he himself had advocated. A Press Conference has recently been sitting in the United Kingdom, and I wish to direct attention to a proposal which has been adopted by that body, and which is now before. the Government - a proposal which, I understand by the press, is very favorably regarded by the Prime Minister - that there should be a reduction in the cost of press messages over the Pacific Cable, and a corresponding reduction on the landing rate of those messages in the Commonwealth. We have to recollect that the loss on the Pacific Cable has to be made up by the taxpayers of Australia. Therefore the Press Conference has practically asked that the people of the Commonwealth -should be taxed in order that our big newspapers may obtain their cable messages at a cheaper rate. I believe that it would be a great reform if we could get cheaper cable messages. If, for instance, we could secure the reform for which Mr. Henniker Heaton has laboured so strenuously - cable messages at a penny per wo.rd - a great benefit would be conferred upon the people.
– That is all that the Prime Minister has said so far.
– The Prime Minister has not definitely committed himself, but he has said that he looks upon the proposition with favour.
– That is the proposal for cheapening the cost of cablegrams.
– No. He was referring to the proposition which has been adopted by the Press Conference that a reduction should be made in the cost of press messages only. I trust that the Government will- not come forward with any proposal to tax the whole community for the benefit of a newspaper monopoly, because we must recognise that the cable service at present in existence is one of the closest monopolies in Australia. It practically controls the news supply of the Commonwealth, and it also limits the possibility of newspaper competition throughout Australia. No newspaper can start to-day in competition with the existing journals except by leave of the cable monopoly.
– The lower the cable rates are made, the more the press monopoly is likely to be broken down.
– No. It does not matter how much we reduce the cost of press messages, because the daily newspapers of Australia practically get their cable news for nothing. The country press pays for the cables of the metropolitan dailies owing to the operation ‘of the cable monopoly.
– It would be much easier for a new combination to enter the field if the cable rates were reduced.
– One man could not form a combination. A number of individuals would have to enter the field, and such a combination would require to possess a very large capital. The resolution adopted by the Press Conference is merely a move to give the present newspaper proprietors a lever with which to exert pressure on the. Eastern Extension Cable Company. At the present time the very newspapers, which are endeavouring to exert pressure on the Pacific ‘Cable Board, do not have their messages sent over that line. There is just one other matter connected with the Defence Department that I wish ‘to ventilate. During the “past week a parade of cadets took place on the Yarra Bank. Senator Neild has referred to the cadets as “ legal infants,” but, to my mind, they are “illegal infants,” because they are not yet under the compulsory system. Between 5,000 and 6,000 cadets were present at the parade to which I have referred, and were inspected by Major-General Hoad.
– My remarks had no reference to our cadets, but to the proposal to establish a compulsory cadet system.
– During the . short time that I acted as Minister of Defence, I realized that the cadet system is a very valuable one, and one which is capable of doing much more than it is doing. But, to my way of thinking, a great many foolish practices have arisen in connexion with that system. It is obviouslv foolish to attempt to make miniature soldiers out of boys of ten, twelve, and fourteen years of age, and that is what our cadet system has been doing. I found that in one of the States, on a hot day, during the summer months, a number of cadets had been taken out for field work and manoeuvres, with such effect that a number of them had fainted on parade.
– That has repeatedly happened in South Australia.
– Who is responsible for such nonsense?
– In “ my opinion some of those responsible for this sort of thing regard the Cadet Force from an entirely wrong stand-point. I look upon it as a means of affording the boys instruction in the A B C of military education, and I think that our chief aim should be to give them physical drill, with a view to developing their bodies. But instead of that, the practice is to equipthe lads with a rifle, which is within three pounds of the weight of that used by the militia, with a belt in which a bayonet is stuck, and to compel them to wear a heavy khaki cloth uniform. Several hundreds of these lads are frequently taken out, and put through field manoeuvres, irrespective of the weather and of their physical condition.
– The persons who are responsible for that sort of thing should be sent to the treadmill.
– That has been the regular practice.
– They are also sent into camps where they complain of the poor food supplied to them.
– I can assure honorable senators that there is in the Defence Department to-day a report by a medical officer which I could not read in this chamber. That report contains statements regarding what took place at a junior cadet camp which I could not discuss here.
– If these camps are merely picnic’s they are all right, but not if they are to be regarded as serious military operatiops.
– To my mind, instead of making the cadet movement the base of the military system, the authorities are attempting to make it the pinnacle of that system. I wish also to point out that the object of wearing a uniform is to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, and thus to prevent noncombatants from being shot. When we bear that fact in mind, we are compelled to ask what is the object of making it compulsory that a junior cadet before he can obtain any instruction in drill must purchase a uniform? Now, the Government grant for these uniforms amounts to only 7s. 6 el. per head, and as they cost rup to 22s. 6d. each, it is obvious that the parents have to subscribe at least 15s. Now. those of us who know the struggle -which is experienced by the ordinary working man who has a family of four or five boys, will realize what that means. It means that those boys can never become cadets. It is an absolute fact that a class distinction has been drawn between the cadets of the Commonwealth, and a penalty inflicted upon those who are unable to purchase uniforms. By sanctioning these regulations, this Parliament has practically said to the parent, * ‘ Unless you can buy the boy a uniform, we refuse to allow him to become a cadet or to train him.” As the result of that, thousands of boys have been unable to take any share in the movement. When this state of affairs dawned upon me, I brought it before the Military Board, and, after considerable discussion, we laid down certain basic principles. We decided first that every boy, irrespective of whether his parents were able to buy him a uniform or not, should have the opportunity of becoming a junior cadet ; secondly, that it should not be compulsory for him to purchase a uniform, that if he could do so, well and good ; but if he could not, that was not to be a bar; thirdly, that no boy was to be turned off parade because he did not we.ar a uniform. It is a fact that some boys were admitted into the force without a uniform ; but if they ever dared to turn up to a parade without a uniform, they were immediately sent away. Again, Ave laid down this principle, that the object of the Junior Cadet Force should be the physical training of a lad, and not his military training. Military training is absolutely farcial, unless you have a boy with a physical frame which is fit for it. I have seen, on the railway stations, little pigeon-chested lads who never ought to have been allowed to carry a rifle. The afternoon would have been far better spent in giving them a little breathing or dumb-bell exercise, or some physical drill in order to expand their chests and build up a physique which would enable them to carry a rifle. But no, a lad of that type was put alongside a sturdy and strong lad, made to carry exactly the same equipment, to go through the same marching and exercise, and treated as if he was as physically strong as the other. We laid down these principles, determined to aim at physical drill, rather than military training. With that object in view, we convened a conference, in order to get the cooperation of the State Education authorities.’ It sat recently, and adopted a course of physical training. Before these boys knew how to handle a rifle and its construction had been explained to them, they used to be taken to shoot at rifle ranges. That can be obviated by the erection, at the State schools, of miniature ranges where the lads fire with a light rifle, and where the elementary stage of rifle shooting is explained to them. That was the position of things when I left the Department. From what I knew of the discussions at the Military Board, I had hoped that we were going to proceed along those lines; but I am sorry to say that I have evidence which goes to show me that one of the chief officers on that Board - apparently, with the consent of the Minister of Defence, though I. hope not - is proceeding to reverse that policy, and that is Major-General Hoad. Here is his report of the recent parade of cadets, furnished, I presume, to the Minister, and afterwards handed to the press. He is referred to as InspectorGeneral ‘; but that is a mistake, as he is Chief of General Staff. He has only recently returned from England. He was not on the Board when these reforms, as I call them, were decided upon, and, therefore, he took no part in the matter. In my opinion, his action in bringing about the ceremonial parade on Monday last, was a distinct attempt to reverse what had been done.
– Are not parades desirable ?
– A ceremonial parade for these boys is an absolute farce.
– Any parade is ceremonial, to some extent.
– Why collect 6,000 lads on the Yarra bank and march them past an Inspector- General who is getting £1,500 a year?. Are we to pay a man that salary to see a number of lads march up and down? There is far more important work waiting for him in his office, than to sit there and watch a parade of that kind. But that is not the worst feature of the matter. Before quoting from the earlier portion of his report, I shall read the summary of his conclusions -
Summarizing, in- conclusion, his impression of the parades of both junior and senior cadets, the Inspector-General said : - “ Good progress has been made, and while the parade consisted mainly of ceremonial work and a short route march, and gave an opportunity of concentration of the metropolitan cadets, yet, for some reasons, it is regretted that, as has happened, owing to the shortness of the days and the chance of inclement weather, it was . not thought advisable to hold an instructional parade for field work and manoeuvre.”
Here is this officer regretting that he did not have the opportunity to go back to the system of taking small lads out to a fieldday parade and manoeuvres.
– Were they all junior cadets ?
– No, junior and senior cadets. Major-General Hoad does not distinguish between them. Earlier in his report, he noticed the very thing to which I have been drawing attention, and which caused us to reverse the policy. He says -
I am of opinion that there was a good percentage of lads on parade yesterday who were not strong enough to carry and use a rifle, and, doubtless, this may be the same in the country corps.
There was a number of lads on parade, he said, who were not strong enough . to carry a rifle, and yet he regretted that there was not an opportunity to take them out to fieldmanceuvres.
-Do I understand the honorable senator to say that when he was at the Department, a decision, I presume a Ministerial one, was arrived at, that there should be an alteration in the training of these cadets?
– It was not a Ministerial decision ; but a decision of the Military Board, ratified by me as Minister. But it was arrived at with the object of doing away with field manoeuvres for junior cadets ; doing away with half -day ceremonial parades, and substituting a system of physical drill, and doing away with fieldfiring, and substituting rifle training on miniature ranges at State schools.
– Is the honorable senator quite certain that that decision of the Military Board came under MajorGeneral Hoad’s notice?
– It was sent as a memorandum to every commanding officer of cadets throughout the Commonwealth,, and it is on record in the Department. I feel positive that every offiGer there to whom Major-General Hoad would speak, and the Secretary of the Department, are thoroughly conversant with it, because the discussion on the matter extended over some weeks, and the very conference which arose out of the discussion and the decision has only just ceased to exist, having sat since Major-General Hoad’s return from the Old Country.
– Who ordered or sanctioned the cadet parade the other day?
– It- was reported in the press to have been held at the direct instigation of Major-General Hoad. The first cadet parade, I may say, was held in Sydney, and the second one in Melbourne.
– Has he anything to do with the Military Board?
– He is the first member of it.
– The Board which advised the honorable senator sanctioned the movement ?
– I speak subject to correction, but I venture to say “ no.” From what I know of the opinions of the Board, I venture to think that they would not have sanctioned the holding’ of the parade.
– If the honorable senator objects to field manoeuvres and ceremonial marches past, what form of parade or review does he think ought to be sanctioned ?
Senatof PEARCE. - For junior cadets, no parade or review is necessary. What they require is training and physical drill, and elementary rifle shooting at miniature ranges.
– The honorable senator wouldbreak the boys’ hearts if he did not allow them to turn up sometimes.
-I know that the general opinion is that boys would rather be strutting about in uniform than doing anything else, but that is erroneous. I was told that was one of the objections brought to me against making the uniform noncompulsory. But I went to the State schools to make some inquiries, and five out of every six of the cadet officers to whom I spoke said that the boy’s would rather spend half-an-hour at a miniature range than half a day at a parade at any time.
– Has Major-General Hoad any power to overrule that decision?
-No. It has to be overruled by the Military Board and the Minister, but, of course, if the latter sanctioned the parade, then Major-General Hoad was acting within his rights. The statement in the press was that he had arranged for a ceremonial parade for the cadets in the metropolitan district of Victoria.
– Does it not come to this, that he authorized the parade, or overruled the decision of the Military Board?
– Yes; speaking with a knowledge of the duties laid down for the Chief of General Staff, I say that he has absolutely nothing to do with the cadets.
– They will soon ruin the cadet system if they go on in that way.
– In another paragraph of his report, Major-General Hoad says -
Some of the cadets were too small, and the minimum age of twelve years provided by the regulations should have been strictly observed, and even then a lad who was not sufficiently physically developed should not be enrolled.
Every lad who is not decrepit should be enrolled in order to be properly developed. We laid it down that for senior cadets a more advanced drill should be taken on, that they should be exercised in company and battalion drill, and armed with a heavier rifle, taken to ranges, and taught to shoot at distances up to 500 yards. The first stage was the junior cadet, the second stage was the senior cadet,_ and the third stage the militia man. . My remarks must be understood to be directed entirely to the junior cadets. I have no objection to what was done in regard .to the senior cadets, who are generally healthy and strong lads of over fourteen. A parade, or even field manoeuvres, would do them no particular harm.
– But did not the parade on Monday popularize the movement amongst the parents of the junior cadets ?
– There is not the slightest occasion to hold a parade for that purpose. If we provide rifles and miniature ranges every lad at a school will be anxious to become a cadet.
– But we do not want to give rifles to boys of twelve and thirteen years of age.
– We do not give the rifles to the boys, but keep them at the schools for their use.
– It would not popularize the movement among parents if a boy of ten or twelve years of age were sent home unconscious from a parade.
– There have been one or two inquiries held, and some very startling reports made as to the treatment to which the lads have been subjected in the endeavour to make them miniature soldiers.
– There have been many accidents with pea rifles.
– If the lads were all taught to use a rifle there would be fewer pea rifle accidents than there are. I want to direct attention to another particular feature affecting this officer. The officer who has been sent to Great Britain to take part in the Imperial Military and Naval Conference, Colonel Bridges, hitherto held the position of Chief of the General Staff on the Military Board. When he vacated that position to take up his appointment in England, Major-General Hoad took his place. Colonel Bridges is, in my opinion, one of the best officers we have in the forces. He is certainly one of our brainiest men. When he’ was Chief of the General Staff, he had under him a director and three or four clerks, but no staff officer or aide-de-camp was attached to him. Major-General Hoad is now discharging exactly the same duties. He has no power to do anything more than Colonel Bridges did. But I have before ma a copy of the Gazette, No. 35, for the 26th of June of the present year, wherein I find the present notice -
His Excellency the Governor-General, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, has been pleased to approve that the undermentioned officers of the Citizens Forces, holding appointments (in addition to their regimental duties) on the staff of the Inspector-General, be transferred to similar appointments on the staff of the Chief of the General Staff, as shown, to take effect as from the 26U1 May, 1009.
To be Staff Officers :-
Major C. W. Campbell, Australian Field Artillery (Victoria).
Captain (temporary Major) H. Foster, 12th Australian Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion (Tasmania), and lo continue to hold the temporary rank of Major.
Captain F. J. Thorn, 5th Light Horse Brigade (Queensland).
To be Aides-de-Camps : - and to continue to hold the temporary rank of Captain -
Lieutenant (temporary Captain) R. S. Sands, ist Australian Infantry Regiment, ist Battalion (New South Wales).
Lieutenant (temporary Captain) E. T. Dean, Australian Field Artillery (South Australia).
Lieutenant (temporary Captain) H. S. W. Parker, Australian Field Artillery (Western Australia).
To be Honorary Aide-de-Camp : -
Lieutenant O. Hoad, 5th Australian Infantry Regiment, ist Battalion.
Minister of State for Defence.
Here we have this officer surrounded with a staff, consisting of three military officers and four aides-de-camp - a staff which is not paralleled by that of the Governor-General himself. His present duties do- not take him away from Melbourne, unless he may be sent on some particular mission. He is not expected to carry out any duty that requires a staff, other than the technical and clerical staff under his direction. The appointment of all these officers on his staff is merely so much frill.
– Does the honorable senator say that it is not MajorGeneral Hoad’s duty to visit the various States ? As a matter of fact he does it.
– He did as InspectorGeneral. But he has just vacated the position in which it might have been necessary for him to have an officer in each. State with whom he could co-operate. As Chief of the General Staff, Colonel Bridges, a most efficient officer, at whose work no one can point a disparaging finger, and who did his duty thoroughly, had no staff whatever.
– Do these appointments mean extra pay ?
– I do not know.
– If not, what is the use of bothering about them?
– I deprecate the idea of this officer, apparently with the consent of the Minister, surrounding himself with a huge staff, as if he were holding a position that necessitated such appointments.
– He does ‘hold a high appointment.
– The ‘ previous officer-
– Not one of the other officers holds the same appointment. Surely the honorable senator knows that.
– Colonel Bridges was Chief of the General Staff just as Major-General Hoad is to-day. That officer has ceased to be Inspector-General.
– I will explain; the matter in a minute or two. The honorable senator evidently does not understand it.
– Seeing that it was I who presented to the Executive Council’ the order by which Major-General Hoad vacated his position as Inspector-General, and that I left a minute to the effect that the position of Inspector- General was not to be filled at present, I ought to be sure of my facts.
– The honorable senator certainly ought ; I quite agree with him.
– My only object in directing attention to the matter is that I think the time has arrived when, in our Defence Forces, we ought to have as little frill as possible, and to have men who will deal with the questions before them in a practical fashion. The Minister ought to furnish very good reasons before allowing such an innovation as I have indicated. I have only to say in conclusion that, when the Bill gets into Committee, I trust that the Senate will support the Leader of the Opposition in taking such action as will give the Government the necessary Supply for one month, and that we shall have another opportunity of dealing with Supply when next month arrives.
– The remarks made by Senator Givens as to the condition of Australia, and the awful dangers that menace the working people of this country, might possibly create an impression which would be unfortunate, if they were left untouched by criticism. In answer to the honorable senator’s dark picture, I desire to say that my opinion with regard to the condition of Australia and its suitability for farmers and other classes of immigrants, agrees with that presented by a member of the Labour party, in another place. He said that any man in the Old Country who plucks up courage to come to Australia, is sure to better his condition in life, because there is no better country in the world, nor one where a work- ing man can do so well. That may not toe a precise quotation, but it is my recollection of something which I read in a book called Hansard, and which, if my memory serves me rightly, expressed the opinion of the honorable member for Maranoa, a member of the party to which Senator Givens belongs. 1 believe that Mr. Page accurately expressed the opinion of the people of this country with regard to the conditions of life here, and the opportunities for those who choose to come. I indorse the statement in Hansard, and set it in contradistinction to that of Senator Givens. I hope that the statement will be given that respect to which its truth entitles it. and that Mr. Page’s colleagues will carefully consider his words.
– Severn! matters have been mentioned during the debate which are df consequence to the Commonwealth, and ought to be seriously taken to heart by the party which is now supporting the Government. I am afraid, however, that the new combination, instead of promoting the best interests of Australia, will have the opposite effect. Under the late regime, when we had the :so-called Liberal party in office supported by the Labour party, some attempts were certainly made to pass legislation which would have the effect of increasing the population and the prosperity of Australia. For instance, our Tariff legislation was very largely passed with the object of creating new industries which would afford employment for a probable, a possible, and a -desirable increase of population. I find, however, that under the new arrangement, nothing more in this direction is to be attempted. The Tariff is not to be touched, according to the Leader of the Government in another place, except for revenue purposes; which means that the already too heavy burden of indirect taxation which has been placed upon the shoulders of the poor, is to be increased- How one like Senator Best, who obtained entrance to the -Senate as a Protectionist, and is one of the high priests of Protectionism, can sit .tamely by and see his favorite policy abandoned, is more than I can understand. But he is not responsible to me for the extraordinary position in which he has placed himself. The people of Victoria will deal with him. He promised them that he would endeavour to secure a Tariff which would protect Australian industries. That was ?the pretence on which he obtained entrance to this Parliament. He has now abandoned that policy, and is a Revenue Tariffist
– What absolute nonsense.
– Will Senator Best deny the statement?
– Absolutely; there is not a scintilla of foundation for it.
– Then the policy, of high Protection which the honorable senator has always advocated has not been abandoned? But, according to Senator Millen, the Tariff is not to be touched or interfered with, except for revenue purposes and the rectification of anomalies. I should like to know, from some well qualified authority, what is the meaning of “ anomalies.” I certainly do not understand the meaning of it in this connexion, and being a very ardent searcher after knowledge, I should be pleased if some of the honorable gentlemen who are responsible for the document in which the word appears would give us an explanation of it. Failing that, I come back, to the original position. One portion of the Government says that a policy pf high Protection is to be continued, and another says that the Tariff is not to be interfered with except for revenue purposes. Here we have the Government speaking with two voices - a Protectionist voice and a Revenue Tariff voice. Which of these voices is to prevail ? In my opinion, the policy of the present Government will be coloured by its majority. Is its majority on the Free Trade or the Protectionist side? Let us look at the Government benches in this Chamber. What an array of Protectionists ! There is a solitary one sitting there now, and on some occasions he is supported by two more. But we see a serried phalanx of honorable senators who smuggled themselves into this Chamber on the pretence that they were Free Traders, and who have now, for some reason best known to themselves, abandoned that faith, and become a kind of - I do not know what word to use in order exactly to describe the situation. The situation is an entirely new one, and a new word is required to describe it adequately. I suggest to honorable senators opposite that if they are honorable men, and I believe the are, it is their bounden duty to resign their seats, and go to the people who sent them here, for an indorsement of their conduct.
– But if we resigned our seats, we would not get to the people.
- Senator Millen was sent to this Chamber as a Free Trader, and, according to Senator Best, the honorable senator is now a Protectionist. Senator Pulsford, another of the hierarchy of Free Trade, has also abandoned his faith.
– The honorable senator says he has not.
– But Senator Pulsford is supporting a Government which, we are told, is a Protectionist Government. Rea 11 v we are witnessing one of the most extraordinary medleys that have ever been p 1 a f e d in any House of Parliament.
– Were all the members of Parliament who supported the late Government of one fiscal faith ?
– I am not troubling just now about the late Government. The members of the late Government came into Parliament as honest men always do. The Free Trade members of the Labour Party came in here after telling their constituents what they were. They did not pretend to be something they were not.
– No; but they were something they did not pretend to be.
– The Protectionist members of the party entered Parliament after telling their constituents that they believed in Protection. Labour members did not come in here as Free Traders, and afterwards abandon Free Trade, or as Protectionists, and afterwards throw Protection over when it suited them. They came in professing to be exactly what they were. I am not finding fault with Senator Millen for changing his opinion, but I say that the honorable senator has some responsibility to the people who sent him here. I think lie recognises that, and if he does, it is his bounden duty before he betrays them, before he turns his coat, before he does ‘something which he promised he would not do, when he obtained- their votes, to go back to them, and ask for their indorsement of the action he is now taking. I do not wish to apply hard words to my honorable friends opposite, but if any member of the Labour party did what those honorable senators have done, he would be termed a traitor to his party, a betrayer of the people who elected him, and he would be properly designated a person unworthy to hold a seat in any Parliament, or to represent any electorate, because he had not in him the first principle of political honesty. This is an expression of my personal opinion. So far as I am personally concerned, hon orable senators opposite are free to perform as many acrobatic feats as they find themselves capable of, to turn themselves inside out as often as they desire, to swallow themselves, and then vomit themselves up again as often as it pleases them, but I say they have a responsibility to the people who sent them here which should- not be ignored. There is another aspect of this question which deserves consideration. At the last general elections the people of Australia bv a huge majority signified their desire that the policy of Protection, . which had been initiated, should be pursued until-
– The bitter end.
– No, not until the bitter end, but until it had been brought to a position of scientific perfection. That was the order of a huge, majority of the people of Australia, but apparently for some reason or another that order is to be ignored, Protection is to be hung up, and Revenue Tariffism established in its place, and all without saying to the people “By your leave.” I say that in these circumstances, it becomes the duty of every member of the Senate to do everything he possibly can to prevent a Government made up of such opposite particles from pursuing a policy directly opposed to the will of the people, as expressed at the last general elections. I repeat that honorable senators opposite should take the very first opportunity that presents itself to them to see what the people think of their conduct. We cannot have Protection and Revenue Tariffism at one and the same time. If we are not tohave Protection for our infant industries, how are they to be fostered, and if there are to be no industries in which the people can be employed, how is the population of Australia to increase and multiply, as I am sure we all desire it should do? Yet in the face of this policy and in conjunction with, it the present Government actually proposeto inaugurate a system of immigration. They propose to bring people here, whilst at the same time they absolutely refuse toprovide opportunities of employment for those people. Yet honorable senators opposite call themselves patriots, statesmen, and lovers of their country. My honest opinion is that each one of them is either adirect or indirect agent of the financial institutions of Australia that are so largely interested in the lands of the country, and’ that the present combination has been accomplished for the express purpose of maintaining the strangling land monopoly which at present exists in the Commonwealth. The combination has been accomplished for one of the most nefarious purposes that ever any political combination was brought about to effect.
– We are regular vampires, are we not?
- Senator Walker has used the word which accurately dennes honorable senators opposite. I say that the men who are holding up the lands of Australia against the people are human vampires. They, ought to be treated as vampires, and I hope that in a short while they will be.
– Is not the honorable senator a bit of a vampire himself?
– In what way ?
– It is rumoured that the honorable senator is fairly well off in the matter of land.
– I am not a land monopolist.
– Which form of investment secures the honorable senator’s preference?
– I am not like Senator Best. I may be a vampire and every wicked thing under the sun, but I never yet sold my principles for the sake of getting office in any Government, and that is what the honorable senator has most undoubtedly done.
– Order. The honorable senator is not justified in making a charge of that kind against any member of the Senate.
– Well, for the word “ sold “ I shall substitute the word “ abandoned.” There is not the slightest doubt that Senator Best has abandoned his principles, and for no other reason under heaven than that he might become a member of the present Ministry. So far as I have been able to discover, the honorable senator is much more interested in securing some official position in ‘the Senate than in promoting ‘the welfare of the people who sent him here. If honorable senators opposite are satisfied with that sort of thing, it does not matter very much to me, only conduct of that character has a tendency to degrade public life. Every member of Parliament suffers when a member of it is guilty of actions of that description.
– We are suffering just now as the result of the honorable senator’s impropriety.
– I think that the institution of Parliament is degraded in the eyes of the public when it is found that some of its members are prepared at the call of office to abandon the principles upon which they were elected. Parliament, as a whole, is degraded when that sort of thing takes place. I often hear it said outside that politics is a dirty business. I have not found it dirty, simply because I have never touched the pitch. But other men make it a dirty business. If I were to abandon the principles upon which I was elected for the sake of obtaining a position in any Government, I should have committed the worst political sin that it is possible for me to commit. There is nothing that any man can do worse than to secure his election to this Chamber upon certain principles and then for the sake of personal gain and advancement to abandon those principles. That sort of thing does degrade political life. It makes it stink in the nostrils of the public, and compels people to pour contempt and obloquy on the institution of Parliament. It would be a most excellent thing if the Legislature coul’d be purged of men who do this sort of thing. If the electors only had a little common sense-
– The honorable senator will find that they will’ have plenty of common sense at the next elections.
– I hope so, and I trust that the honorable senator will get his reward. If the electors only exercised a little common sense they would not permit this sort of thing to continue for twenty - four hours. To-day, I find the Argus - the Revenue Tariff organ in Melbourne, which has consistently prophesied that all sorts of calamities would overtake the Commonwealth if a Protectionist policy were adopted - is supporting Senator Best. In other words, it is emb*racing a Protectionist. Why ? Because it recognises that so far as Protection is concerned the honorable senator is as harmless as a sucking dove, and that no more industries will be created so long as the present alliance continues. But so facile is the Minister of Trade and Customs that if a more profitable arrangement could be presented for his acceptance next week, he would not have the slightest hesitation in seizing it with both bands.
– The breeches-pocket argument comes in, does it?
– Evidently. I do not know of any other reason why he should have abandoned his principles. I do not say that Senator Walker has gained anything in a personal sense by sacrificing his principles, if he ever had any. The only thing he has gained is that the forces of reaction are now united against the forces of progress. The Labour party is now isolated, and is, as the honorable senator supposes, impotent.
– Isolated through its own fault.
– I am not complaining of the isolation, I am rather glad of it. For years I supported the Government of which Senator Best was the representative in this Chamber. I thought that its members were honest, reputable men. 1 am glad, however, that they have discovered themselves in their true characters, and I do not think it is at all likely that I shall ever be again induced to repose very much trust in them. In any case, it is a matter which they must settle with the electors. But actions of this kind have a distinct tendency to degrade Parliament as an institution in the eyes of the public, and that, I think, is a most unfortunate circumstance. The Parliament of the people - the place where the people’s business is transacted - should be above reproach. The men who represent the people should be faithful to the policy on which they are elected, and if they are faithful to that policy the purity of our public life will be maintained, and it will be very much better for all concerned. I stated a little while ago that the present combination was brought about for the purpose of defeating a proposal to attack land monopoly in Australia. I have frequently dealt with that question here, and Senator Givens also dealt with it very exhaustively this afternoon, so that it is not necessary for me to say very much about it upon this occasion. The evil of land monopoly must be apparent to every lover of Australia. That being the case, some remedy must be devised. If the remedy proposed by the Labour party is not a sufficient one, will the present Government do something to break up this land monopoly? I remember reading the report of a speech which was delivered by Mr. Deakin in Brisbane quite recently. At that meeting he was entirely in favour of breaking up the land monopoly. He said that the lands of Australia must be made available to the people, that the defence of the Commonwealth, nay, itsvery existence, depended upon a larger population, and that that” population could not be obtained unless the lands were made accessible to the people who were now here, and to those who might come to live with us. I said to myself on reading that report, “ This is a most excellent deliverance. At last we have obtained something definite from Mr.. Deakin.” But, To and behold, before very long, he got into very Bad company. Apparently Mr. Littleton Groom, who is now a member of the Ministry, got his ear, and the Pastoralists’ Association, I think, also had something to say to him. At any rate, when he reached Ipswich he had changed his tune. He was not thenquite so sure about the wisdom of land values taxation, and by the time he arrived’ st Toowoomba he was in direct oppositionto a Federal land tax. He declared that the duty of making the lands of Australiaavailable to the people devolved upon theStates, and that the Commonwealth had nothing whatever to do with it. I think that Mr. Deakin was sane in Brisbane, but r do not know how to describe himwhen he reached Toowoomba. In any case, we have very little to hope for from the combination which at present occupiesthe Ministerial tenches. The Government will do nothing to break up the land” monopoly, and to create new industries. Yet they propose to spend tens of thousands of pounds of the people’s money in- bringing immigrants to the Commonwealth.
– The honorable sena- tor does not like *hat.
– I do like it, and’ I desire it. Senator Mulcahy does not know what I want. He does not know his own mind, and he cannot know mine.
– The honorable senator does not know what he wants, and’ he will not be happy till he gets it.
– When SenatorNeild makes a speech in this chamber I am prepared to listen to him, but as aninterjector he is positively unbearable. I wish to see a teeming population settled’ in Australia. At present we have about 4,000,000 of people in the Commonwealth, when we ought to have at least 20,000,000. I suppose that the reason ‘we have not the- 20,000,000 is to be found in the existence- of the Labour party - the’ wicked Labour party. Now I propose to read a few statistics which will prove to the people of Australia - if they do me the honour to read them, which I do not suppose they will - that under a Labour Government one State of the Commonwealth has increased its population at a very much greater rate than has any other State. Let me glance at the population statistics for 1908. I find that in that year throughout the ‘Commonwealth there were 111,545 births, and that the deaths numbered 46,426. Thus the excess of births over deaths, or, in other words, the natural increase of the population, was 65,119. During the same year the number of arrivals in excess of departures was 13,150, so that the total increase of the population throughout the Commonwealth was 78,269. Now, I think, we ought to have a much larger increase than that. Under proper conditions our increase from abroad ought at least to be equal to our excess of births over deaths. If that were the case, instead of adding to our population at the rate of about 80,000 per annum, we should have an increase of approximately over 130,000 per annum. Taking the position in the individual States for the year 1908, we find rather a curious state of things. The excess of births over deaths in New South Wales was 26,403, and the excess of departures over arrivals was 3,672, so that the actual increase of population during last year was only 22,7131. In Victoria the excess of births over deaths was 15,331, and the excess of arrivals over departures was 7,748. The State is getting out of the wood. Things are improving here, but, unfortunately, very slowly. The total increase in its population last year was 23,079. In Queensland the excess of births over deaths was 9,1:50; the excess of arrivals over departures was 1,430, and the total increase of population was 10,580. In South Australia the excess of births over deaths was 5,873 ; the excess of arrivals over departures was 8,642, and the total increase of population was i4>5IS- 1 wish to direct the attention of honorable senators most particularly to the figures for this State. It had the largest increase of population of any State in the Commonwealth. It is most extraordinary that while this increase was taking place the Premier was a Labour man, and in every one of the other States the Premier and the Government were Conservative.
– Cause and effect?
– Yes. The policy pursued by the Labour Premier ana Labour Government of South Australia had the effect of increasing the population by 8,642. That is a nut for my honorable friend to- crack. While his State was flourishing to such an extent that her population was increased from outside by 8,642, Ne;v South Wales, under her reactionary Government, lost population to the number of 3,672. .Comment is unnecessary.
– These statistics are in doubt. There is a dispute between the Federal and State statisticians.
– If these statistics, which come from the ‘Commonwealth office, are not correct, that is not my fault. In Tasmania the excess of births over the deaths was 3,486, the excess of departures over arrivals was 1,670, and the actual increase in population for the year was only 1,816. In Western Australia the excess of births over deaths was 4,876, and the excess of arrivals over departures was only 672. That State also appears to be suffering from the blight of Conservatism, when the total increase in its population for the year was only 5,548. From these statistics one fact sticks out with very suggestive prominence. In all the States ruled by Conservative Governments there was either a loss of population or a very small increase, while in- the one State which had a Labour Premier and Labour Government, there was a large increase.’ The population subject is an extremely important one. It is now forcing itself upon the attention of every public man. We have all come to the conclusion that some, day, sooner or later - and let us hope that it may be later - the people of Australia will have to fight for their national existence. If we are assured of that, then we ought to strain every nerve to so increase our population that when that day unfortunately comes, as 1 believe it will, the people will be in a position to effectively defend themselves. We hear a great deal about defence now - about presenting Dreadnoughts to the British Empire, about a fleet, and about making preparations for defending ourselves generally. To my mind, the basis of defence is a large population. Without a_ very much larger population than we have it will be absolutely impossible for the people of Australia, should Great Britain lose her supremacy of the seas, to hold this territory. We want a permanently settled and prosperous population. I have here an analysis of the increase” of population in the Commonwealth between 1901 and 1908, issued by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. It tells a most pitiful tale. In 1901, the excess of arrivals from abroad over departures was only 4,000; and in 1902, it was 2,000. In 1903 the excess of departures over arrivals was 7,000, and in 1904, it was 3,000.In 1905 the excess of arrivals over departures was 7,000; in 1906, it was 3,500; in 1907, it was 12,000; and, in 1908, it was 13,000. During the last couple of years, the population has been gradually improving, but there is still great room for improvement. If we are to grow a larger population here on the one hand, and induce people from Europe to come here on the other hand, we must provide avenues of employment. So far as I can see, there are only two ways by means of which that can be done. The first method is by breaking up the land monopoly, which exists in every State; and the second is by means of the Tariff. I regret very much to see that the present Government hold out not a single ray of hope in either direction. It absolutely refuses to attack the land monopoly. It says, “ We will not touch it; that is the duty of the States.” It will not create industries by means of the Tariff ; it absolutely refuses to do so. It says that the policy of Protection is in suspension, that the Tariff is not to be touched, except for revenue purposes. So far as I can see, the policy of the Government is one which will not, and does not, provide for any increase of population. It is of a very vague and indefinite character. I am now directing my attention to what I believe to be the most important issue before the people of this country. We want, not only the people who are now here to be fully employed, but a great many more people to come here. What hope does the policy of the Government hold out in that direction? None whatever. There is to be no interference with the land monopolist. He is sacred. He must not be touched.
– That is one of the reasons why the fusion was brought about.
– I believe that it was the chief reason. I believe that the fusion was brought about by the pressure of financial institutions, which have loaned huge sums of money on present values, and which are afraid that, if a land values tax were imposed, those values would be interfered with. Those people place -what they conceive to be their own private interests before the welfare of Australia.
– And the fusion party are their pliant tools.
– They are the pliant tools of the land monopolists and the Employers’ Federation. The fusion was worked up in the office of the Employers’ Federation.
– Kill them !
– I have no desire to kill them,’ but I do desire to rescue Australia from the domination of an institution which is driving this country to ruin as fast as it possibly can.
-1 hP honorable senator has a splendid imagination.
– I should be very thankful if this were only imagination. But I am afraid that it is going to be very real one of these days. If a foreign enemy appears on our coasts, where will the land values which now prevail be? Where will be the security of the financial institutions then? They will be worthless. Their best security is a large and prosperous population. I stigmatize Honorable senators who refuse to lay hands on the evil monopoly which is crushing Australia as enemies of their country. They may not mean to be, but that is ‘the effect of their policy. They are taking up an attitude as detrimental to the best interests of Australia as they did when the White Australia question was being agitated a few years ago.
– Ninety-three per cent, of the land is still in the hands of the Government of these States.
– Fortunately the good sense of the people of Australia enabled them to beat down the attempt to flood this country with Asiatics that had its origin in the office of the Employers’ Federation, and in the secret recesses of the financial institutions. I believe that the good sense and patriotism of the people will enable this battle also to be fought to a successful issue. Unless the lands are thrown open, what is to become of our country? Half the people of Victoria are living within a few miles of Melbourne, and in New South Wales naif the people live within sight of the post-office clock, Sydney.
– We are rapidly losing our rural population.
– Because it appears to be the policy of every State Government to put poor men on poor land.
– The rural population is going into the city.
– Because they find it so exceedingly difficult to make a living on country land. Senator Clemons knows that there is ample room in Tasmania for six times the present population of the State. If the land were dealt with as it should be, instead of Tasmania losing population, as is the case every year, there would be a large accession. As to New South Wales it is simply a scandal that during 1908, that huge, rich State, which is borrowing money and spending it right royally, and obtaining a large revenue from the Tariff and from land sales, actually lost population to the number of between three and four thousand. That shameful fact should make honorable senators put their thinking caps on and discover the reason.
– Those figures are almost certain to be erroneous.
– I am not vouching for them. But they are official.
– They are only estimates.
– If the honorable senator knows that the manner in which these statistics is compiled is wrong, he should bring it before Parliament and have’ the error rectified.
– I think we should have a quorum present. [Quorum formed.].
– If anything is to be done to better the condition of Australia, the land monopoly must be broken up. Senator Vardon has interjected that a large proportion of the land of Australia is still in the hands of the States. That is undoubtedly true. But it is nevertheless a fact that the State Governments have had to re-purchase land. The only land now available to selectors is that upon which it is exceedingly difficult for any one to make a living. Why is it necessary for the State Governments to re-purchase estates?
– Because people want land close to a railway,’ and because they have not the pluck to go out and subdue the country as their fathers did.
– If the honorable senator were a farmer he would want land near a railway.
– I should not want somebody else’s land.
– He would know that if he wished to make a living for himself and family, without enslaving them, he must have cheap land, good land, land near a railway, and a fair rainfall. All these things .are requisite for success upon the land.
– Last .night I gave an instance of millions of acres of land being available, upon which, according to the testimony of a Labour man, people can go and make prosperous homes.
– I hope they will go there. I know of land in Queensland upon which people could make prosperous homes if they were allowed. But the land is in the hands of private monopolists, who demand a monopoly value for it.
– People can get land in South Australia for one-eighth of a penny rental, and upwards.
– I should like to ask Senator W. Russell whether- that statement is correct. He is a farmer, and knows whether- the land of which Senator Vardon speaks is available for poor selectors.
– What I know is this: The South Australian Government may say that the land is valuable, but they ar<? still re-purchasing other lands for closer settlement.
– I quoted the words of Mr. Clarence Goode, a practical farmer and member of the Labour party.
– But that land is nor surveyed. Mr. Goode ‘knows that.
– I shall be very glad to learn that that land is taken up. Apparently under the influence of the Labour party, settlement has been proceeding more rapidly in South. Australia than elsewhere.
– The Labour Government had nothing to do with it. They came in on the flood tide of prosperity, and could not go wrong.
– There has been prosperity elsewhere, and yet the departures from New South Wales have exceeded the arrivals. In Tasmania the same is the case..
– The Labour Government in South Australia claimed that alf the good seasons were due to their advent to office.
– I say that every portion of Australia has Been equally prosperous.
– New South Wales has not.
– New South Wales was never more prosperous. Yet in spite of ‘ good seasons, the expenditure of loan money, and a huge revenue from the Tariff, as well as the large sums which were annually paid into the Treasury from sales of land, people were leaving the State faster than they were coming in. There must be something radically wrong with the administration of the State when that can be said of it.
– No, there is something radically wrong with the honorable senator’s figures.
– It is all very well to blame the figures. I take the figures as I find them. I did not manufacture them. This question of land monopoly must be dealt with in the immediate future. The lands of Australia must be made available to the people at a reasonable price if our population is to increase as it ought. The people of Australia will have to choose between the land monopolist and progress. If they choose the land monopolist, they must take the consequences. I hope and believe they will choose progress, and if they do, a number of honorable senators opposite who are allied with each other to prevent progress and to prevent the increase of our population will find themselves in a very curious position.
– What nonsense !
- Senator McColl says “What nonsense!”
– So it is; absolute nonsense.
– No man in Australia should know better than Senator McColl that what I am saying is not nonsense.
– To say that any body of men in Australia are banded together to prevent the progress of the country is ridiculous.
– I say that honorable senators opposite are allied for that purpose, because that must be the effect of their policy.
– We say the same of the policy of honorable senators on the other side.
– We know that Senator Chataway was allied with the Black Labour party in Queensland for years’.
– I was hooted in North Queensland because I was against black labour.
– Of course, the honorable senator was hooted because he advocated the introduction of coolies, kanakas, and all the coloured scum of Asia.
– The honorable senator is. saying what he knows is not true.
– Was the honorable senator hooted in the streets for advocating black labour ?
– No, for advocating white labour.
– I did not know that the honorable senator advocated white labour.
– The honorable senator knows nothing about it ; he never heard of it.
– I know that the honorable senator was a strong advocate of black labour, and that for many years he edited a newspaper that sympathized with black labour, and in which he was never tired of stating that if the kanakas were deported the sugar industry would be ruined.
– I could prove to the honorable senator that I did not do it, if that would be of any use to him.
– For once the honorable senator was a false prophet, and I hope he will be a false prophet in this case also. I can assure him that the people who Carried the White Australia policy will bring the land monopoly question also to a proper issue. There is another means of adding to the population of Australia, and that is by the operation of the Tariff. Senator Best tells us that the policy of Protection of the previous Deakin Government has not been departed from.
– Which previous Deakin Government?
– I do not know. There have been so many that I think they should be numbered and labelled.
– The honorable senator supported them all, and he should know.
– I would ask Senator Neild whether he is prepared to support a really Protectionist Tariff which will create industries somewhere else than -in
New South Wales. If he does so in future, it will be such a reversal of his form that I shall be astonished.
– The honorable senator means to ask whether Senator Neild will support prohibition.
– And what about Senator Gray? Will he support a Protectionist policy? The honorable senator has not done so hitherto, but I do not know what he may do in the future.
– Will the honorable senator support prohibition?
– I shall support the highest possible Tariff I can get. I wish to see everything that it is possible to manufacture in Australia made here by Australian hands.
– And the honorable senator would prevent anything going out of the country, for the one thing implies the other.
– Nothing of the kind ; Senator Gray is drawing on his imagination. I see from these statistics that during the last twelve months we imported over £12,000,000 worth of iron manufactured goods.
– Does the honorable senator think that the present Government will introduce a new Tariff?
SenatorSTEWART.- I do not think they dare touch the Tariff, except to screw more money out of the pockets of the poor people of this country. Mr. Joseph Cook has said that the Tariff shall not be interfered with except for revenue purposes.
– Did the late Government propose “to introduce a new Tariff?
– The late Government proposed to go in for land, values taxation, and they proposed to make the Protectionist policy of Australia as. complete as it was possible to make it in the way of new Protection.
– There is not a word about it in the Governor-General’s speech.
– No, but the honorable senator would have found it out later. I can assure him that if thelate Government had not done so they, would not have had my support.
– That would not matter.
– Possibly it would matter more than the honorable senator imagines. The Labour party is not like’ the party with which he is now associated. Every member of the Labour party has a voice iri framing its policy. The majority of the members of the party are Protectionists, and if the party had remained in power I am sure they would have insisted upon the policy of Protection being carried to its scientific conclusion.
– Would the majority in’ the party have compelled the Free Trade members of the party to go with them?
– Our Free Trade members would not have required any compulsion. I think that Senator Millen must be perfectly aware that the hitherto Free Trade members of the Labour party have now accepted Protection on condition that it is accompanied by the new Protection.
– And if it is not accompanied by the new Protection?
– It would be accompanied by the new Protection if the development of the policy were left in the hands of the Labour party.
– And if in present circumstances it is not accompanied by the new Protection, what, then?
– Speaking now for myself, I say that I believe in the old Protection and the new, and if I cannot get the new from this Government and can get the old, I shall take the old and look for the new from some other Government. I know that we cannot have the new Protection without the old Protection. It is idle to talk about the new Protection unless we have industries to protect. I do not knowhow other members of the Labour party may regard the question. They may say that unless we have the new Protection we shall not have the old. I should not agree with that. I say, let us protect our industries, and then we shall see that the men engaged in them are also protected.
– Does the honorable senator believe in the old Protection without the new?
- Senator Needham is trying to puzzle me. It should be evident to the honorable senator that the new Protection can be of no earthly value to us unless we have industries established here, and we cannot have industries established unless we create them by means of a protective Tariff. Having protected industries, I say ‘we must have the new Protection as well. I should like to point out to honorable senators that the question of land monopoly is intimately associated with the policy of Protection. I say that the policy of Protection can never secure a fair trial side by side with land monopoly. Protection and destruction of land monopoly are complementary. If we could destroy, land monopoly the cost of living in Australia would be materially reduced. Recently I read statements in some of the journals blaming the Tariff for the increased cost of living, but I say that land monopoly is responsible for the increased cost of living. W.hat are the commodities the prices of which have been increased? Do we import beef? Why is beef so dear in Australia? Why is fruit and all the edibles so dear? There is no other reason under heaven than that we are cursed by this vicious destroying land monopoly.
– It is the middleman who puts up the prices.
– Senator Neild is an excellent military authority, but he knows nothing about the production of potatoes.
– More than the honorable senator knows, or has the brains to understand.
- Senator Neild has held a position of great honour and responsibility in the Military Forces, and I therefore assume that he knows something about defence, but I think that he does not know much about growing turnips.
– That simply shows the honorable senator’s ignorance.
– I shall be very glad if the honorable senator can enlighten me on the point. He may know a great deal more on such subjects than I imagine.
– That is exactly the fact.
– I am glad to hear it, and if that be so, the honorable senator will agree with me that if we had a much larger population on the soil growing beef, mutton, wheat, potatoes, onions, and all the other eatables, the prices of articles of food would be very much lower than they are at present. I honestly believe that for the increased cost of living which has been referred to land monopoly is largely responsible. I observe that during the last twelve months we imported something like ,£12,000,000 worth of iron manufactures. I say that a very large proportion of the articles included in that importation should be manufactured in Australia. We imported also about £15,000,000 worth of apparel, cotton and woollen goods. Being a large woolproducing country we ought to manufacture here every vard of tweed required in the Commonwealth. We should not only, manufacture what we require for ourselves, but we should be exporters of woollen goods. Instead of sending our wool to Great Britain for manufacture and getting a large proportion of it back in shoddy, we should manufacture it here ourselves and so give employment to our own people. The present Government will do nothing in connexion with the Tariff which will extend the manufacture of woollen goods in Australia. Have we anything to hope for from the Government in that direction ?
– We shall get a tax upon tea.
– I think that that is very probable.
– The Labour party were themselves responsible for a tax upon tea.
– The honorable senator is entirely wrong. I have always opposed the taxation of tea and -kerosene.
– - -The Labour party were instrumental in securing the imposition of a duty of id. per lb. upon packet tea.
– I am not quite sure that I voted for that duty, but if I did, it ‘was to promote employment in Australia. Will the Government do anything to encourage the manufactures to which I have referred? Senator Millen, I am sat,isfied, will do nothing for us in that connexion. Senator Gray will do nothing for us, Senators Walker and Neild are Free Traders, and as for Senator Fraser I do not know what he is. That honorable senator has been all round the fiscal compass. He has been a Free Trader, a Protectionist, and a Revenue Tariffist. He is this to-day, that to-morrow, and something else next week. When the Tariff was under consideration in the Senate, his visits to the Protectionist side of the chamber were like those of angels - few and far between. I believe that his Joss had on one occasion to take him to task, and I have even heard that the honorable senator had actually to sign a document pledging himself to support Protection, before he received the support of that very influential Melbourne newspaper.
– Was not the honorable senator himself a Free Trader at Home?
– Certainly I was, and if I were in Great Britain to-morrow the probability is that I should be a Free Trader. I should be behind the Imperial Government in insisting upon the taxation of land values.
– Without any exemption ?
– Never mind the exemption. The honorable senator is always talking about exemptions. If there were no exemptions, would he vote for a tax upon land values?
– Much sooner than I would vote for it with exemptions.
– The honorable senator wishes to get at the poor man all the time. We get at him now through the Customs House, and the honorable senator would get at him through a tax upon land values. I am not going to tell him what is my opinion in regard to exemptions. If the exemption proposed by the Labour party were found to be too high, there would be nothing to prevent it being lowered, and 1 should offer no opposition to it being lowered.
– I thought that the honorable senator was not going to tell the Senate that.
– I have not said how far I am prepared to go in reducing the exemption. The two great questions before the public at the present time are those of land monopoly, and a revision of the Tariff such as will lead to the creation of new industries and the consolidation of those which are already established in a tentative kind of way. Now, I ask the Government whether we have anything to hope for from them so far as the solution of these questions is concerned? I do not think that we have. They have declared against a land values tax. They say that they will not interfere with the land monopoly, and that they will not revise the Tariff except for the purpose of raising more revenue. They evidently wish to pile more taxes upon the poor man. They will tax his tea.
– Have they said that they will ?
– They have not said anything definite yet, but I think that we have a pretty clear indication of what is in their minds.
– Is the honorable senator in their confidence then?
– No. I do not “believe that the honorable senator himself knows what is the policy of the Government. He is content simply to support them against the Labour party.
– I am against the caucus every time.
– The honorable senator is against the Labour party all the time. He is in favour of the land monopolist. He is opposed to the new “Protection.
– The honorable senator is wrong there. I am quite in favour of men receiving adequate wages when the Tariff extends protection to native industries.
– I am very glad to hear that. I suppose that he will support the proposal of the Government in regard to the new Protection because he knows that it is worthless and will accomplish nothing.
– Will it not provide billets for one or two Ministerial supporters? What about Senator Neild?
– I believe that there is something in that suggestion. But we do not want to lose Senator Neild. He is such an ornament to this Chamber. Bad as he is we might get somebody very much worse. I do not intend to occupy the time of the Senate at greater length. I trust that at an early date we shall have something definite from the Government in regard to their policy, that the ambiguities in which they are so prone to indulge will be removed, and that we shall obtain a straightforward, honest statement of their intentions during the present session.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [6.4]. - I had no intention of taking part in this debate, and would not have done so had it not been for the reprehensible diatribe of the late Minister of Defence in reference to Major-General Hoad. The honorable senator appears to have learned something from a paragraph or two published in to-day’s Herald, and he used portion of the information thus gleaned in a way that I consider absolutely and wickedlv reprehensible. He has chosen to attack a gentleman who outlines in the journal to which. I have alluded the very objections which Senator Pearce this afternoon trotted out as his own ideas of what was proper in connexion with our cadet system. As the paragraph relating to this matter has no reference whatever to the proceedings of this Parliament, I know that I shall be in order in reading it.
– Senator Pearce could not possibly have seen that paragraph before he made his statement this afternoon.
– Of course he could have done so. A copy of the Herald was in the Senate club room at least half an hour - and I believe an hour - before
Senator Pearce spoke in this Chamber. The paragraph in question is headed “ Diminutive Cadets,” “Cannot Bear Arms,” and “Standards Departed From.” It reads -
Major-General Hoad, in his comments upon the parade of metropolitan cadets, held at St. Kilda-road on Monday afternoon, expressed the opinion that a good percentage of the lads who paraded were not strong enough to carry and use a rifle. Some of the lads were under the standard fixed, both in regard to height and age, and it is admitted by officers that this has not been rigidly adhered to, through a desire to increase the numbers - they refer to it as the “ strength “ - of the corps as rapidly as possible.
In view of General Hoad’s observation, it may be of interest to state the weights of the rifles issued to cadets. They are of two types, viz. : - The Francotte, of . 23 calibre, weighing 5lb. 2½oz., and the Wesley-Richards . 310 bore, weighing 51b. 1302.
For very small boys those rifles, carried for hours, become a serious burden. This may be appreciated when it is stated that the “rifle carried by militia men is only a little more than two pounds heavier, and these prove burdensome enough during a long march or protracted parade.
That is precisely what we heard from Senator Pearce this afternoon. That honorable senator also seems to have seen the next paragraph in the Herald, which is headed “ Minister’s’ View,” and “Physical Training Required.” This paragraph reads -
The Minister for Defence was interviewed to-day regarding General Hoad’s statement. “It is desirable,” said Mr. Joseph Cook, “ that before the boys come to the stage of bearing armsthey should have a thorough physical training to set them up, and enable them to carry rifles. That appears to be the general view of military expert authorities throughout the world. In Switzerland, for instance, it is stated that they do much belter with the senior cadet after he has had physical training in his younger days. It stands to reason that the better physically the better are the boys able to stand up to the requirements of discipline and training.” “ You would have the training carried out in the State schools?” “ No doubt,” said the Minister, “ training undertaken sufficiently early will help many a’ weak boy on the road to strength, and fit him for the duties . of citizenship in after life. Altogether, apart from the military point of view, training of the body as well as the mind in the schools of the Commonwealth is of the highest possible importance to the coming nation.”
It is remarkable that Senator Pearce should have expressed these very sentiments only this afternoon at a time when copies of the Herald were in circulation in the Parliamentary Buildings, and, I believe, in this chamber,I agree entirely with the statements contained in the extracts which I have read. But there was no reason whatever why Senator Pearce should have made an attack upon the inspecting officer.
– Does the honorable senator say that Major-General Hoad is art inspecting officer?
– He was an inspecting officer upon the occasion in question. Anybody with the most rudimentary knowledge of military matters knows that any officer may rbe an inspecting officer. A captain may be sent to inspect’ a company or a major or colonel to inspect a battalion.
– I was careful to say that I did not know whether Major-General’ Hoad had convened this cadet parade, but it was stated in the press that he had, and the statement has not been contradicted.
– But because that officer convened the parade, he was not responsible for the condition of the boys who attended it. He gives an order, and the details are left to the officers in command of the,different units to carry out.
– He knows what the junior cadets are.
– He knows what the duty of the cadets is, but he is not responsible for their enrolment. I think the majority of honorable senators pay no more attention to defence matters than to make them the subject of jocularity, very often ill-timed. Any one who knows anything of Major-General Hoad as an Australianofficer, knows that he is the very last manto be guilty of that which the late Minister of Defence so refinedly described as “ frill.” If there is a man in our forces who sets his face against anything in thedirection of needless display, and gives anexample to the contrary, it is MajorGeneral Ho.ad.
– I did not charge him with being responsible for what has passed, but the Minister.
– The honorable senator abused this high officer of State in a manner which was highly discreditableto him as the late occupant of the Ministerial portfolio. His conduct was most reprehensible.
– That is not so, and the honorable senator knows it.
– He quoted him allthe time as the Inspector-General.
– In connexion with thestaff, I charged the Minister with putting on the “ frill.”
– This is a good’ “ stone-wall.”
– I do not think that the “honorable senator would make even a good brick in a wall.; he is not big enough.
– Order ! I ask Senator Needham not to interject further.
– This will be the last military man to fill a gap in any trouble in Australia - the honorable and gallant colonel.
– Order !
– I will box the little beggar’s ears.
– The honorable sena- . tor imagines that he is a military man.
– Order !
– The exMinister of Defence has made a strong attack
– On the alleged colonel.
– The honorable senator might be caught in a butterfly net.
- Mr. President, I appeal to you to maintain order.
– Order ! Senator Needham must realize that the last interjection must be offensive. I ask him now* to desist. Interjections must be discontinued, because business must go on ; ‘ I shall see that it does. ,
– Mr. President, did you hear any other honorable senator insinuate that Senator Needham might be caught in a butterfly net? Was not that an insult to him?
– Such an interjection should not have been made.
– It has been made from the other side.
– It has been made, sir, and it is quite evident that you hear one side, and not the other.
– Order ! I ask the honorable senator to withdraw that statement unreservedly, and to apologize for making it.
– I withdraw the statement. I do not apologize.
– Does the honorable senator withdraw the statement and apologize? I ask him now to apologize.
– I do not see the necessity of apologizing.
– I am the judge of that at present, and I ask the honorable senator to apologize.
– If I have offended you, I will.
– I understand that the honorable senator has withdrawn the remark and apologized?
– I have done so.
– Mr. President, may I ask whether you heard an honorable senator interject-
– Order. The honorable senator will resume his seat. If an interjection’ or a disorderly statement is made, the duty of any honorable senator who hears it is to at once call the attention of the Chair to it, but we cannot go back to what preceded the statement of Senator Needham. Interjections are altogether too frequent and of a character which they ought not to be. I do not say that the interjections come from one side more than from another. Both sides are offenders in that respect.
- Senator Pearce strongly denounced the appointment of certain officers, one in each State, in connexion with the position now occupied1 by Major-General Hoad, and declared that the duties which he has now to discharge are exactly the same as those previously discharged by Colonel Bridges, who had no similar retinue or staff. I reply that the duties to be discharged by Major-General Hoad as Chief of the Imperial Staff - he is here in an Imperial as well as a Commonwealth capacity - are most distinctly different from the duties which Colonel Bridges discharged as a. member of the Military Board. Colonel Bridges was necessarily, and still is,, an officer junior to Major-General Hoad,, but the duties of the position occupied bv Colonel Bridges had relation solely to Australia. The duties which Major-General’ Hoad has now to discharge involve a connexion between the Commonwealth Forcesand the British Forces, and it isonly right and proper that this connecting link should have in each Statean officer under his immediate personal authority to attend to correspondenceand obtain returns or detailed information at the moment it is required without: it having to filter, as it must necessarily otherwise do, through the head-quarters staff in Melbourne, and the district staff in each State; involving needless correspondence and a most unnecessary minuting of papers and consequent delay. How can these various gentlemen, scattered all round, give a personal importance to the Major-General, who will never have them together at any one time? In each State he visits he will have one officer in attendance upon him. That will save travelling expenses ; that is a great deal better than carting a staff all over the country. But what has this officer done in the past? He has travelled all over, the “Commonwealth without even so much as an aide-de-camp or a commissioned officer in his train. By mail-boat and train - and I speak of my own knowledge - he has travelled with no other retinue than a warrant officer. He has not had even a commissioned officer, the most junior ‘ lieutenant in the forces, to attend upon him. No man who has ever occupied such a position of importance as he occupies has put the country to a smaller expense in the matter of personal attendance or professional retinue.
– The honorable senator is fighting a shadow. Nobody has said anything different.
– I know no more about the matter than what I heard the honorable senator say, and what I read in the newspaper.
– The honorable senator has never heard me say anything different from that. He is only flogging a shadow.
– Let the honorable senator read the report of his eloquence to-morrow morning, and be ashamed of himself when he does.
– Order. The honorable senator is not in order in stating that an honorable senator ought to be ashamed of himself.
- Mr. President, if I used any improper phrase, I will withdraw it, but I think that in the noise which was going on, you scarcely caught what I said.
– Will the honorable senator apologize for his statement?
– Senator Pearce-was denying certain allegations that I made with reference to his statement, and I said : “ Let the honorable senator read the report of his eloquence to-morrow morning, and be ashamed of what he has said.” You will see, sir, that it merely has reference to what might happen, but if you think it was out of order, I will withdraw it at once.
– I point out to the honorable senator that it is objectionable to say that another honorable senator ought to “be ashamed when he sees the report of his -speech in the press.
– May I say, sir, that the statement was directed at me, but coming from the honorable senator, I take no notice of it.
– Order. I ask the honorable senator not to make the position any worse.
– That is quite correct.
– Yes, when it is on this side.
– Order. I call upon Senator Guthrie to withdraw that statement.
– The remark was made in reply to Senator F laser’s interjection, sir.
– I thought the honorable senator referred to myself.
– I only said, “ That is quite correct.”
– I have no knowledge of these matters. They have not been reported to me, but I necessarily know something of what has gone on in the Defence Forces for many years, so far as any charge can be levelled against the gentleman occupying now the most responsible position which any military officer has ever occupied in Australia, inasmuch as he is a very important and official link between the Australian Defence Forces and the Dafence Forces of the rest of the Empire. No man has ever occupied a position of somuch responsibility with less attempt at personal aggrandisement, or, to use Senator Pearce’s phrase, with less frill, than has Major-General Hoad.
– That is all the honorable senator knows about defence - the records of the Department.
– There are some things that are worth answering ; and there are some “ things “ that are not worth answering.
– The honorable senator cannot answer.
– Order. I ask Senator Neild to proceed with his speech.
– Passing from Senator Pearce’s remarks, I wish to say a few words about Senator Stewart’s most extraordinary collection of propositions. His speech was a sort of lucky bag. If he was trying to repeat himself without doing it in such a mann-r as to attract attention, he managed it most effectively. But while he was at one stage demanding increased protective duties, as the only possible method of saving the country, he was. also declaiming about the manner in which people are leaving the country to flock into the towns. Why, sir, that is one of the most notorious things in the whole world. The more duties you put on, the more you encourage manufactures, the more you attract persons from the country to the towns. That is one of the greatest certainties. You cannot es tablish factories all through a scattered population ; you can only have factories where there is a density of population. In no country are factories to be found to any great extent, except in centres of population. If you have this method of drawing the people from the country to the city by the encouragement of industries - I prefer to put it that way - there must be exactly that very condition of affairs which Senator Stewart howls over. He howls in a marner in comparison with which the wail of a moonstruck dingo is absolutely musical. He demands an increase of Customs duties, ..and then denounces those who would impose duties upon the poor and suffering people of this country. How can we have increased duties unless they hit “the people ? I am not raising the question of Free Trade and Protection. Free Trade has always been impossible under the Commonwealth Constitution. I opposed the adoption of the Constitution because of the certainty that it would destroy what has been the traditional policy of New SouthWales ever since that State had her own system of government. When the Constitution of the Commonwealth destroyed the fiscal policy of the State from which I come, it. was of no use to demand that we should put our fiscal beliefs fully into operation.
– The honorable senator is not allowed to raise the fiscal question now. He dare not do it.
– It is of no use to make an attack upon a man who, if he could put his Free Trade principles into practice, would do so, but who cannot because a majority of the people have rendered the application of his principles an impossibility. I have never shirked the fact that it is the duty of a member of Parliament, no matter on which side he sits, to endeavour so to arrange matters as to do the greatest good to the greatest number, and the least amount of harm possible. It is not in the least degree useful. to raise the question of Free Trade and Protection now.
– The honorable senator raised it on steel rails.
– If I could put a heavy duty on my honorable friend, with the object of taxing his efforts at wit, I should do so in the interests of the Senate. I arc heartily with the Government proposal with regard to the new Protection, if it can be carried out. I see a thousand difficulties. For many years I have been in favour of profit-sharing on some equitable and legitimate system. I am not like those whose idea of Customs duties seems to be merely the enrichment of employers.
– What about sharing the losses?
– I know that there are abundant difficulties. But if the Government can bring into -force an equitable system of dividing the advantages that may accrue from any fiscal policy between the man who holds the money and the man who has the muscle, I shall be a supporter of such a policy.
Debate interrupted tinder sessional order, and sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
In Committee :
– I have to.take the report of the Chairman of Committees as it is given to me. There is no point of order..
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [7.47].- I have said all that I have to say. I should have closed my speech, before dinner had I noticed the clock.
– The honorable senator said that he did -not make use of such a remark.
– I have nothing further to say.
– During the afternoon Senator Pearce drew attention to a paragraph appearing in one of the newspapers as to the recent review of cadets. In the course of his speech, he took the Senate into his confidence, and drew attention to a decision which had been arrived at .by the Military Board in regard to the training of cadets. I think that I am justified in saying that the honorable senator asked whether or not Major-General Hoad was seeking to get behind the decision of the Military Board. I have recapitulated what I understood the honorable senator to say, because if I have not correctly stated his meaning, p*ossibly he will set me right before I go further.
– I asked whether we are to take it that the statement that time did not permit of the cadets being taken into field manoeuvres indicated that the policy laid down had been reversed.
– I merely wish to take up a point which, if allowed to stand, might seem to some extent to cast a reflection upon Major-General Hoad and upon the Military Board.
– No such thing was intended.
– I wish to make the matter quite clear. The decision arrived at by the Military Board was in these words -
It was decided to recommend that the object of the Cadet Forces was to be (a) the physical improvement of boys under the age of 14 years, and such elementary drill as may be useful to” them in later life.
– The honorable senator has left out the word “ all” before the word “ boys.”
– The paper from which I quote was supplied to me by the Department this afternoon, and the word “ all “ does not appear in it. But that is immaterial. The object is stated to be the physical improvement of boys up to the age of fourteen years. “ Of boys” and “of all toys” would mean the same thing. But it does not matter whether some boys or all boys was meant; the question raised was whether or not, as the result of the decision of the Military Board, boys, some or all, were to have physical training substituted for military drill. ‘
– They were ‘to be drilled whether they had uniform or not. That is where the importance of the word “ all” comes in.
– It was assumed that the object of the Committee was to recommend that the purpose of the Cadet Force was to be the physical improvement of boys up to the age of fourteen years, and the giving to them such elementary drill as might be of use to them in later life. There is in the paper a second paragraph which deals with boys over fourteen, but that is not material, and therefore I do not intend to read it unless the honorable senator wishes me to do so.
– Will the honorable senator read the first paragraph of the second part?
– I am afraid that that has net been supplied to me. The honorable senator now tells me that he had no intention to reflect upon Major-General Hoad or the Military Board. I am prepared to accept his assurance. But my point is this : Although the Board did in November last make a certain recommendation concerning the training to which junior cadets were to be subjected, it was impossible to bring it into operation at once. So far as the honorable senator’s words can be construed as a reflection upon the present Minister, let me point out that the decision was arrived at on the 20th November. If any Minister of Defence had it within his power to give effect to the decision it was the Minister who was in office from the 20th November up till the end of May, rather than the Minister who can hardly be said to be warm in his seat.
– I did all that I could.
– I do not doubt that. But the honorable senator’s words were to be construed as associating the present Minister of Defence with his criticism. This system, which apparently has the approval of my honorable friend, is one which the present Minister approves and proposes to give effect to. So that so far as policy- is concerned there does not appear to be any difference between my honorable friend and Mr.. Cook. But let me point out this - that it was recognised by those who made the recommendation that it was not possible to bring it into operation at once.
– Hear, hear.
– The very wording of it shows that it was not to be regarded as a military order, and to take effect immediately, but as a recommendation affirming that the object of the training was to be set out in the words I have quoted.
– Apparently the Department has not supplied the honorable senator with the whole document. It goes, on -
Recommended that effect be given to these proposals as opportunity occurs, and that future regulations be framed in accordance therewith.
– Just so. The remark of the honorable senator this afternoon would, I think, have led the Senate generally to believe that there had been a definite order given at the end of last year that a new system was to be introduced. All that was decided - I think wisely - was to suggest that there should be an alteration in the method of training junior cadets, to substitute physical drill for elementary military drill. That decision was arrived at, however, with the full knowledge that it takes some time before we can pass from one system to another.
– Especially if you do not want to pass into the new system.
– I say again that if there was one Minister whose want of action may be taken to show want of sympathy it was not the Minister who has only been at the Department for a few weeks, but the one who was there for months. I do not say that Senator Pearce did not attempt to give effect to this recommendation of the Board. I do not say that there was any want of sympathy on his part. But because the Minister who has only been there a few weeks has not given effect to the policy, he ought not tobe blamed seeing that the colleague of honorable senators opposite, who was there for months, was unable, for reasons which I have no doubt were good and substantial, to launch it. Honorable senators must see that before a system of physical drill can be introduced, it is necessary to have instructors, and a hundred and one preliminaries have to be arranged. I take it that that is a reason whySenator Pearce, while approving of the principle, found himself unable to bring it into immediate operation. I am glad, however, to know that in any efforts which, the present Minister of Defence may make to give effect to the policy, he is assured beforehand of the hearty co-operation of my honorable friends opposite.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania.) [7.56I. ; - I am extremely sorry that at the present stage of the session the Ministry, in introducing this Supply Bill, should have asked for two months’ Supply. I am sorry, not merely because the proposal represents a continuance of a practice which has been rightly denounced by very many members of the Senate during the nine years of its existence, but also because it is a clear indication that the present Treasurer feels himself unable to present his Budget statement within the time covered by one month’s Supply. I should have preferred that the Minister for Trade and Customs, when moving the first reading of the Bill, should have frankly put the position before the Senate, and have said, in unmistakable terms, that the Government were asking for two months’ Supply, because, owing to the very grave financial position in which we find ourselves, the Treasurer admitted his inability to prepare his Budget statement within the time which would be covered by one month’s Supply.
– That is “ exactly what I did say.
– I was not here when the honorable senator spoke, but I made inquiries on the subject, and I did not understand that that was said. Admitting that it was said, it would still have been much better if the Ministry had asked for only one month’s Supply, because then we should have had some reason to hope that the Treasurer would make an earnest effort to submit to Parliament his Estimates and his Budget statement within the month. There certainly never was a time in the history of this Parliament when the adoption of such a course was more desirable than it is at the present time.
– I said also that the Treasurer would submit his Budget at the earliest possible opportunity.
– I accept that assurance in the spirit in which it is given, but Senator Best must be aware that, in sneaking in another place, the Treasurer held out no hope that he would be able to present his Budget before the end of August. That, I suppose, is what we must expect. The condition of affairs this session is such that the Budget and Estimates will practically represent a Ministerial statement on the most important subjects with which we shall have to deal during the session, subjects which have been little more than* hinted at in the Ministerial statement issued a few days ago. Though it may be inconvenient to Ministers to be told them, there are other reasons why it is most desirable that the Budget should be presented before the end of August. The people of the Commonwealth are deeply anxious to know what the financial proposals of the Government are, seeing that they affect so many serious questions, such as that of defence. I do not wish to anticipate anything I might desire to say later on on another motion, but it must be admitted that every one in Australia is most anxious to know as early as possible what Ministers intend to do in respect to the great financial questions before us. From previous experience, in session after session, we may assume that if the Budget statement is not delivered in another place until the end of August, we cannot hope to have the Estimates before the Senate until late in October.
– Does not the honorable senator think that anticipation too sanguine ?
– I wish to take a view which will not press unduly upon the Ministers. I say that the most sanguine member of the Senate cannot expect that we shall get the Estimates before October. That means that we shall have to go on with further Supply Bills, that the Estimates will be threadbare before they reach us, and the greater portion of the money covered by the votes to be proposed will have been allocated, and a great deal of it spent. We shall then repeat our usual practice when the Estimates come before us of deploring the fact that it is too late to make any serious alteration, and that we find ourselves absolutely bound to accept what is put before us, whilst any fair opportunity to debate the Estimates will be denied us. I cannot entirely agree with Senator Givens’ references to the existing relations between the Commonwealth and the States. As a fair-minded man, I am sure that the honorable senator will recognise that so long as our financial relations as to the disposition of revenue are governed as they are, and will continue to be, until 1910, the very least that can be expected of the Commonwealth is that some kind of courtesy and consideration will be shown to the various State Treasurers. After 19 10, I hope that the position will be altered, but, under existing conditions, it is fair that that consideration should be shown to the Treasurers of the States. I do not know what obtains in Queensland, but I know that in the small and comparatively unimportant State of Tasmania, the position is that the State Treasurer does not, will not, and cannot, make any statement with regard to the revenue and expenditure of the State until he knows how his revenue is likely to be affected by the way in which the revenue of the Commonwealth will be determined by the Budget of the Commonwealth Treasurer.
– He could form a fairly accurate estimate of his revenue?
– If Senator Givens has followed with me the aberrations of Federal finance for the last eight years, he should know that the State Treasurer would be a bold man who would attempt to make any explicit or definite financial statement until the Budget of the Commonwealth Treasurer had been presented. I do not contend that for that special reason any obligation is thrown upon the Federal Treasurer to introduce his Budget at an early date, but I think that is one reason which, in addition to others, should have consideration. If the Budget is not to be presented in another place until the end of August, it will mean that the Tasmanian Parliament must go into recess, because the State Treasurer has said, and the public officers of the State quite agree with him, that it is impossible for him to prepare his financial statement until the Budget of the Federal Treasurer has been issued. I think I have shown reasons for the regret I expressed in my opening remarks that the Government should have asked for two months’ Supply. I am certain that it will be conducive to delay in the delivery of the Budget, or. that, at any rate, it will add to the opportunities which the Federal Treasurer mav avail himself of to postpone its delivery. I regret that this Ministry, whose policy, when it is disclosed, I should like, if possible, to support, has begun by practically postponing important business. I am afraid they are already falling into the habit of attempting to satisfy Parliament with talk whilst doing very little. It would have been better if they had taken their courage in both hands, and made an effort to let Parliament have a financial statement within a month. Such a feat would have been an indication of strength in the Ministry, which, I believe, honorable senators on both sides would welcome. But when I find that instead of bringing forward the Budget statement without delay, they are, by means of this Supply Bill, asking leave to postpone its delivery for at least a month more than is necessary, I regret the request which has been made, and I shall be unable to support it.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South . Australia) [8.6]. - As I understand the intention is to go right on with the considera- tion of this Bill, and to take, on the first reading, the whole discussion which would ordinarily take place on the first and second reading, so as to save time, which is a very desirable object, I wish to say a word or two before the debate concludes. When in the middle of his explanatory statement on the first reading, an honorable senator inquired of the Minister of Trade and Customs whether such a statement was necessary, I thought it would have been a pity if, having embarked upon a discussion of details, the honorable senator did not complete what he desired to say. But I make a protest now, and say that I consider it a very undesirable practice for the Minister in charge of a Supply Bill to speak at length on the motion for the first reading. So far as I am aware, this course has been followed in the Senate only by Senator Best. So far as the Minister in charge of a Supply Bill is concerned, there is no difference between the motion for its first reading and the motion for the first reading of any other Bill, but” members of the Senate generally are entitled to avail themselves of the opportunity afforded by the motion for the first reading of a Supply Bill to discuss grievances. Judging by indications noticeable around the Chamber while Senator Best was speaking, I feel sure that if he had contented himself with merely submitting the motion, it would, in all probability, have been passed without discussion.
– I had assurances to the contrary.
– Then I think the honorable senator was very unwise to encourage a discussion instead of putting a wet blanket on it at once by quietly submitting his motion in the ordinary formal way, and thus throwing the responsibility for a lengthy debate upon those who wished to avail themselves of the. opportunity to discuss grievances. I feel sure it would have been more conducive to progress and expedition in the transaction of business if the old practice which has been departed from, so far as I arn aware, only by Senator Best himself, had been reverted to. With regard to the Supply asked for, it seems to me that one point has altogether been overlooked. Senator Clemons laid particular stress on the delay which might take place in presenting the financial statement of the Treasurer, but we have not reached that stage at all. There may, or may not, be doubt as to the proceedings which will eventuate, but there is no doubt that the Government is upon its trial. I am not aware of any precedent for a Government that is upon its trial asking for extended Supply. I think that we must look at the constitutional and parliamentary position. In taking that view, I do not seek to prejudge the issue in any way whatever. I am sure that the Treasurer will deal with this matter with his accustomed capacity, but the situation has been discussed as though the Treasurer who asks for the Supply is sure to be the Treasurer who will prepare and deliver the Budget. I say that that assumption is entirely unwarranted. My honorable friend, Senator Millen, having regard to the saving of valuable time, has suggested that the discussion upon the Ministerial statement of policy should be taken now. That course I think would be a more or less convenient one, but the effect of following it would be to treat the proceedings in another place, which have given rise to the present peculiar situation, as though they amounted to nothing. My own view is that we occupy much the same position as I had the good or ill fortune . to occupy in 1904.
– The honorable senator had my sympathy on that occasion.
– And I extend my sympathy to the Vice-President of the Executive Council now. I do not know whether it is a good or a bad omen, but the honorable’ gentleman will doubtless recollect that I emerged from the ordeal triumphantly. Upon that occasion, it fell to my lot to ask for one month’s Supply, which represented approximately £400,000. That is the amount which is usually asked for by a Government that is upon its trial, the assumption being that its fate will be determined before that Supply is exhausted ; and that if it does not emerge triumphantly from that trial, its successors will ask for a further grant of Supply. But no Supply save that which is absolutely requisite has ever been asked for, either in this or any other Parliament, while a no-confidence motion has been under consideration. I am aware of no precedent for the course which has been adopted on this occasion. From the constitutional and parliamentary point of view, it is undesirable that more than one month’s Supply should be granted now.
– It is indecent to ask for it.
– I do not say that. It was probably asked for upon an unwarranted assumption by the Government. I repeat that while a Government is upon its trial, it should ask only for Supply sufficient to enable it to carry on the affairs of the country until its fate has been determined. This afternoon, I .was very glad to hear what Senator Pearce had to say in regard to our cadets. I did not understand that he intended to cast any censure upon the present Minister of Defence. As Senator Millen has stated, it is impossible for any man holding that office to become absolutely seized of every detail connected with it within a period of two or three weeks. Personally, I thought that Senator Pearce spoke with very great moderation. But what I specially appreciated was the fact that he brought under the notice of the Senate a most important matter. If the practice which he explained is to prevail in regard to immature boys, it will strike- a fatal blow at our cadet system, which is, and ought to be, the foundation of any properly regulated defence scheme. No mother likes her young boy to be ill treated either by being subjected to severe discipline, or by having his immature physical powers exhausted. No mother would like her son to be sent home in a fainting condition, or labouring under a physical disturbance which would Jay him up for days. If we once destroy the disposition of parents to send their boys into the cadet corps, we shall absolutely strike at the root of the whole system, and it will crumble away. I have had brought’ under my notice, instances which bear out what has been so well said in this connexion. I am quite sure that my honorable friend, Senator Millen, will pass on to his colleague the criticism which has been levelled against the existing practice, and I hope that every effort will be made to continue our Cadet Force upon the best footing possible by making it rest upon the encouragement offered to boys by their parents to become members of it. Reference has been made to a great many other matters which, in reality, do not bear upon the question of Supply. Grievances of one kind and another have been aired, and in regard to them I say nothing. I have no particular grievance to ventilate myself, but I hope that the suggestion which. I have made in respect of the motion for the first reading of this Bill will be’, taken into consideration. I am sure that my honorable friend, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, cannot point to any case; - other than the present - in which a Minister, in submitting n motion for the first reading of a Supply Bill, has made a speech.
.- I am one of those who, during the last two sessions, strongly objected to the late period at which the Estimates were submitted for our consideration. As a matter of fact, the Estimates for last year were agreed to by this Chamber only just prior to the or st December. I hope that their consideration will not be delayed to such a late period this session. If I thought that business would be expedited by the granting of Supply for only one month, I should be ready to support the amendment that has been foreshadowed by the Leader of the Opposition. But I believe that the only effect of granting Supply for one month would be to enable another week to be wasted in discussing the next monthly Supply Bill.
– Oh, no.
– At any rate, that has been my experience. Upon the motion for the first reading of Supply Bills in the Senate, hours have been devoted to the ventilation of grievances.
– In 1904, there was comparatively little discussion on that motion.
– That may have been the case in this Chamber, but it was not so in another place. The Bill which we are now debating has been under consideration for three days. If honorable senators opposite desired to delay business, a SupplyBill would provide them with an excellent opportunity to do so. But I think we were returned to this Senate to proceed with the consideration of the many urgent problems which are awaiting our attention. I have heard it said that the Government do not intend to give effect to the measures which they have outlined in the Ministerial statement. I am not bound to the Ministry, and if I believed that statement, I should not support them for a moment. But I think that they do intend to give effect to those measures. At any rate, let us force their hands by giving them the opportunity to bring them forward. Then if they attempt to shelve them, we shall be in a position to punish them. I intend to support the granting of two months’ Supply.–
– We knew that beforethe honorable senator commenced his speech.
– I am prepared to debate the measures which may be brought forward absolutely upon their merits. If I then find that Ministers are not sincere in their desire to place those measures upon the statute-book, 1 shall be one of the first to oppose them.
– I have no desire to enter into a discussion of this Bill. As a matter of fact, this is the first opportunity that I have embraced of saying a few words upon a motion for the first reading of a Supply Bill. I have refrained from doing so simply because I have never been so wellstocked with grievances as have some honorable senators. But I should not like the opportunity of ventilating! grievances to be taken away from the Senate. In mv opinion it is the right of every honorable senator to have such an opportunity. If the Government prefers to ask for Supply at the end of each month, it alone is responsible for honorable senators standing on the floor here, and, as Senator Sayers described it, wasting the country’s time. The Government has an alternative. It can present a financial statement to the Senate in order that it may be dealt with before the money is spent.
– That has never been done by any Government yet.
– It was done once by Sir George Turner, and he lost a whole session through doing it.
– Even if that were a fact, it does not for a moment justify the holding up of the Estimates and the submission of Supply Bills from time to time. The point raised by Senator Symon ought to be remembered by every honorable senator. On this occasion the Government has no right to ask for two months’ Supply. It has no constitutional authority for taking that course. It has not the slightest knowledge whether at the end of the present month it will be occupying the Treasury benches. Consequently, the usage of asking for a month’s Supply at a time ‘ought to be adhered to.
– Even then public creditors and the public servants must be paid
– That is all right, but that is no reason why the Government should seek for funds which in the course of a few weeks might have to be disbursed bv a different set of men. It is clearly the duty of the Government to look after its own position, and to meet the obligations for which it is responsible, but it is certainly going far beyond its duty when it seeks* to shoulder the responsibilities of those who at any moment may be placed in possession of the Treasury benches. For that reason I think that every honorable senator ought to assist in conserving the rights of the Senate, and requiring a Supply Bill to be presented from month to month in order to know exactly what we are doing. If a financial statement is submitted so that we can cover the financial year, all these opportunities for ventilating grievances and wasting the country’s time will be abolished, and the Government will go on with its work and have nothing else to do but to bring forward those practical measures which my honorable friend anticipates, and which I candidly admit I . do not anticipate. I do not think that during the existence of this Parliament the Government has the remotest intention or wish to have business brought before the Senate which would lie of any utility to Australia.
. -Surely the last argument presented by Senator Henderson is one why we should pass this Bill. “The Government,” he says in effect, “ is insincere; it does not want to introduce any Bills.” If we want the Government to introduce Bills the proper course for us to adopt is to remove every possible obstacle, and to leave no alternative to Ministers but to prorogue or bring something before us. Clearly that is the logical outcome of the honorable senator’s argument.
– I have never yet heard the honorable senator object to the Senate adjourning.
– I have no objection to the Senate adjourning when there is nothing to do, but I am very pleased to go on with work when there is something to do. In my opinion there is a great deal to be done, and we have not very much time at our disposal. The honorable senator stated that these opportunities for discussion can be obviated by introducing an Appropriation Bill and carrying it to a certain stage. He has not had much parliamentary experience, else he would not say that. All parliamentary experience teaches us that no Parliament will intrust a Government with the Appropriation Bill until the session is about to close. I remember that in his salad days in the State Parliament, Sir George Turner was won with the plausible argument that Parliament has the right to deal untrammelled with the finances, and he promised to bring in his next Budget as early in the session as possible. I believe that he brought it in in the third week, but he did nothing during the whole of the session until we adjourned at Christmas. The Budget was enough. The Parliament would not let the Budget go until it was time to prorogue.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Sir Robert Best) agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent SupplyBill (No.1) passing through all its stages without delay.
Motion (by Senator Sir Robert Best) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– I do not want to be a nuisance, but I feel that I must reply to statements made by Senator Neild this afternoon.
– Where is he now?
– Of course he is away, as he always is when a reply is being made. I wish to assure the Minister that in anything I said I had no intention to insinuate that my successor was going to take a different attitude on the cadet question. I only wanted to know whether what had taken place recently was an indication that there was to be a reversal of the policy. If the Minister assures me that there is to be no reversal I shall be all the better pleased.
– Has it been explained why there has been this temporary reversal so to speak ?
– There has not been a temporary reversal. The new system has not been brought into operation.
– The. new system had been brought into partial operation, and had reached this stage that, acting upon the recommendation of the Military Board throughout the Commonwealth, this year no junior cadet camps were to be held. Furthermore, I issued a Ministerial instruction . that no boy was to be sent off parade because he was not in uniform, and every available penny that I could get in installing miniature ranges was spent in that direction, all being based on that recommendation. It has been attempted by Senator Neild and by no other senator to construe my remarks into an attack on Major-General Hoad. I disclaim any intention or desire to make an attack on that officer, and my remarks do not bear that construction. I quoted his own report on the recent parade, and it was on that I based my ‘request for information as to whether there was to be a reversal of the policy. In his report he said -
Good progress has been made, and while the parade consisted mainly of ceremonial work and a short route march, and gave an opportunity of concentration of ‘ the metropolitancadets, yet, for some reasons, it is regretted
By that term he means, I take it, that he regrets. that, as has happened formerly when I have been inspecting, owing to the shortness of the days and the chance of inclement weather, it was not thought advisable to hold an instructional parade for field work and manoeuvre.
That desire expressed by him would, if carried into effect, be -a reversal of the memorandum carried by the Military Board, because it expressly said that for junior cadets there was to be no parade for field work or field manoeuvres. If, however, it is explained by the Government that that passage only refers to senior cadets, I shall be thoroughly satisfied, but that is not clear, as Major-General Hoad in his report refers to senior and junior cadets. I propose to read the whole of the Board’s memorandum, because evidently the Minister was supplied with only a portion of it, and my object is to show what was in the mind of the Board as to the foundation on which the junior cadet system should be built.
Considered at meeting of the Military Board, 20th November 1908, and decided to recommend -
That the object of the cadet forces shall be -
The effect of this will be to physically and militarily train the boys of the Commonwealth so that such military force as may be in existence at the time may be able to recruit from a fairly well-trained population.
It goes on to indicate what the training shall be, and this is the part with which the Minister was not supplied -
The training of the cadet forces shall consist of
Recommended that effect be given to these proposals, as opportunity occurs, and that future regulations be framed accordingly.
In order to give effect to the memorandum I, through the Minister of External Affairs, got into communication with the State Governments. After the lapse of some time we obtained the consent of the Education authorities to hold a conference. It assembled just . as my predecessor took office, and he presided at ‘the opening meeting. In carrying out the recommendation of the Military Board as regards physical training, I recommended that the Government should indicate to the States that it was prepared to provide any material required for fitting up gymnasiums, and toget together instructors who should attend the summer schools in order to instruct the teachers in physical training.. That is my reply to the Minister’s question as to whether anything was done to give effect to the decision while I was in office. I agree with him that the present Minister has not had an opportunity to give effect to the recommendation. I come now to the statement of Senator Neild. I am glad that for once he is in his place to hear a reply to his attack. In the first place. I never accused Major-General Hoad of having organized the staff to which I have made “ reference. I know that that was done by the Minister, because the Gazette notice is over his signature. But I take it that it was done on Major-General Hoad’s recommendation. What I wanted to know was why the Minister saw fit to give effect to a recommendation to constitute a staff for the Chief of our General Staff, when such a staff was not found necessary in the case of his predecessor.
– He never had a predecessor, and the honorable senator knows that.
– Senator Neild has said that as Major-General Hoad represents the Commonwealth on the Imperial General Staff, it is necessary that he should have an officer at his service in each of the States, to supply him with information. But Senator Neild has made a manifest mistake. The position is that Major-General Hoad is to be the representative of the Commonwealth on the Imperial General Staff in Australia. Colonel Bridges is the Com monwealth representative on the Imperial General Staff in London.
– I said so a dozen times.
- Senator Neild is in error. The Imperial General Staff is not yet constituted. It will not be fully constituted until the various self-governing Dominions have sent their representatives to it. It will be constituted by the Army Council in Great Britain. As it has not yet been so constituted there is not yet an Imperial General Staff in existence. A further misconception of Senator Neild was this. The officers on Major-General Hoad’s staff are not gazetted for the work of the Imperial General Staff at all. A memorandum has been drawn up by General Nicholson, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff in the United Kingdom, as to the system upon which the staff is to be based. The memorandum sets out who are to be the officers in Australia, and they are not the qfficers set out in this Gazette notice. They are yet to be appointed. Another statement of the honorable senator was that MajorGeneral Hoad was present at the parade this week, in pursuance of his duties as Chief of our General Staff.
– I never said anything of the kind. The honorable senator must be mad.
– When the honorable senator reads his Hansard I think he will find that what I have said is correct. Now, on page 157 of the Regulations and Standing Orders for the Military Forces of the Commonwe alth, the duties of the Chief of the General Staff- here called the Chief of Intelligence - are set forth as follows : -
Defence schemes and stragetical considerations; co-operation of naval and military forces ; regulation of traffic in defended ports; mobilization schemes; organization; intelligence; topography ; staff ride schemes ; general supervision of work of Australian Intelligence Corps.
There is not a line specifying that the duties of this officer include inspections.
– I never said so.
– The honorable senator said that Major-General Hoad was there in pursuance of his duties.
– I wish the honorable senator would not put into my mouth statements that I did not make.
– In another regulalation it is laid down that these inspections are to be made by the District Commandant. The only other officer, so far as the central administration is- concerned, who is authorized to make inspections, is the InspectorGeneral. As there is no InspectorGeneral just now, there was no other officer but the District Commandant whose duty it was to make the inspection.
– Was the District Commandant there to make the inspection ?
– He was there in conjunction with Major-General Hoad.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [8.46]. - The statement just made by Senator Pearce gives away all that he has previously said. He now says that it is the duty of the State Commandant to conduct inspections. He also says that at the particular inspection about which there has been so much discussion, the State Commandant, Colonel Stanley, was present. If so it was Colonel Stanley’s inspection. If Major-General Hoad was there merely as a spectator, why should Senator Pearce have occupied a large portion of the afternoon in abusing him ?
– I did not abuse him.
– The thing is perfectly preposterous. If I had known that it was Colonel Stanley’s inspection I should not have described MajorGeneral Hoad as the inspecting officer. But the superior officer present at a parade, no matter in what capacity he is there, is, as soon as he arrives, the chief officer for that parade. If he is present at the parade he is necessarily in command. That is the commonest rule in military affairs. All that I laid down, and sought to convince the Senate about, was that the inspecting officer, as I called Major-General Hoad, was not responsible for the getting together of the parade and the people who were put on parade. It appears, from the newspaper report, that Major-General Hoad went there, and subsequently expressed his disapproval of bringing upon parade so many youngsters who had not sufficient strength to bear the weight of the duties placed upon them. I entirely sympathize with the view expressed by Senator Pearce upon that position. What I did earlier in the debate was to take exception to an attack upon Major-General Hoad because of matters for which he was in no way responsible, and which, as it turns out, he repudiated. Furthermore, the opinion expressed with reference to these small boys is one that I have myself expressed in the Senate. I think that far too much is asked from these little nippers - good lads as they are. You. cannot make a small boy into a strong man by overloading him in his childhood. About that there is no difference of opinion.
– They are much better playing football or cricket.
– They are much more likely to meet with accidents when playing football than when soldiering. But there is plenty of time to play football and still go on parade once a month.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
There shall and may be issued and applied for or towards making good the Supply hereby granted to His Majesty for the service of the year ending the thirtieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and ten the sum of Eight hundred and eighty-three thousand six hundred and ninety-nine pounds out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, for the purposes and services expressed in the Schedule to this Act, and the Treasurer is hereby authorized and empowered to issue and apply the moneys authorized to be issued and applied.
– I wish to move a. request on this clause, in accordance with the intimation that I gave at an earlier stage. I wish, before doing so, to disabuse the minds of the members of the Government of the idea that there is any intention on the part of the Opposition to block the granting of Supply. I have already said so, and now wish to prove that it is not our intention to do anything of the kind. I will show how we could have blocked this Bill for another day at least if we had desired to do so. When the Minister of Trade and Customs moved the suspension of the Standing’ Orders, objection could have been taken, and further if a division had been called for he would have required an absolute majority of the Senate. He knows that. He knows, also, that he could not have obtained an absolute majority. The fact that we did not take advantage of our opportunity shows that we had no idea of blocking business as far as relates to the grant of Supply. But, as already stated, we do not think that it is fair for the’ Government, under presart circumstances, to ask for two months’ Supply. The amount set down in this Bill is £883,699. Included in that amount is £100,000 for liabilities which the Government have to meet, and £20,000 required for ‘refunds. We have no desire to take those amounts from the one month’s Supply. It is calculated that one month’s Supply, with the addition of those two sums, would be .£501,849 10s. That is the amount which we think the Government ought to ask for. I am sure every member of the Senate is prepared to vote so much cheerfully. Consequently, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the words “ Eight hundred and eighty-three thousand six hundred and ninety-nine pounds,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ Five hundred and one thousand: eight hundred and forty-nine pounds ten shillings.”
[8.55]. - Senator McGregor has been good. enough to convey the assurances of those sitting with him that they desire to facilitate the passage of this measure, and I am gratified with the evidences that they have so far given in that direction. It is now proposed to request a reduction of the amount asked for to one month’s Supply, with certain provision for refunds and Treasurer’s Advance added. That must involve very considerable delay, and I think that it would be a calamity if the request were agreed to. It would mean that the measure would have to be recast, and the various amounts appearing in the schedule practically halved.
– The Ministry would have to go out of office.
– The Bill would have to be reconsidered in another place. The result, therefore, would be that for days to come the money asked for would not be passed.
– It could all be done in an hour.
– My honorable friend has a very expeditious way of doing these things, but I wish honorable senators to take a practical view. Two months’ Supply are -asked for, and it is suggested that the Government are practically on their trial because a want-of-confidence motion is pending elsewhere. That is. so, but I have given honorable senators an assurance that this Supply Bill contains provision for only the ordinary recurring expenditure. Whether this or any other Government is in office, the money asked for by this Billmust me paid.
– Then why did not the honorable senator ask for three months’ Supply ?
– We, asked for two months’ Supply, knowing that more than one month would be required for the preparation of the Budget. I ask Senator Clemons to remember that the Government has just come into office, and that the Treasurer has to master the existing condition of the finances. The honorable senator admits that the next Budget will be one of the most important ever presented to this Parliament. The Treasurer has frankly stated that he requires extra time, for the reasons I have stated, for the preparation of his Budget, and surely his representations are entitled to consideration ? We do not desire to present a hastily prepared or immature Budget statement. We desire that reasonable time shall be afforded to enable the Treasurer to do justice to the grave and important task before him. I appeal to honorable senators to reject the request on various grounds. I say. first of all, that time will be saved by passing the measure as it stands; secondly, it matters not what Government is in office, the amounts provided for in the Bill will have to be paid ; thirdly, the time asked for is required for the proper preparation of the Budget; and, fourthly, large sums of money are wanted at once. I have said that the sum of ,£30,000 should have been paid to-day in connexion with Postal business, and that ,£28,000 should have been sent to Western Australia to-day. Further, at the present moment, in the Post and Telegraph Department, there are something like 500 men who have to be paid today or to-morrow. If the passing of this measure is delayed, the payment of money under it will be hung up whilst disputes and differences are taking place between the two Houses. We shall be doing ourselves serious injustice if we adopt a course which will lead to such a result without very good and sufficient reason.
– Will the men the honorable senator has referred to not be paid to-morrow?
– Certainly not- if this Bill is not passed. The constitutional position is that there is not a shilling at the disposal of the Treasurer for the purpose of any payment, and has not been since 12 o’clock last night. The Treasurer is unable to make payments which have not been authorized by Parliament.
– Will .he not have authority from Parliament if he is given one month’s Supply?
- Senator Givens evades the important fact that if the request -is agreed to, the measure must be returned to another place, and a dispute will arise between the two Houses.
– Then why risk that by bringing down a Bill for two months’ Supply ?
– Because the request was so reasonable that it was considered beyond conception that my honorable friends opposite would object to it. It is impossible to say what delay would be caused by the acceptance of the request.
– If the amount is reduced by one-half, as proposed, will the 500 Postal employes mentioned not be paid to-morrow ?
-‘ Certainly not. That is what I have been pointing out.
– Then why was not the measure introduced before?
– It was introduced in ample time. It was hoped that it would have passed another place last Friday.
– It is true that it was introduced in ample time if it is to be carried as printed, but it was introduced so late that no opportunity is given to the Senate to alter it.
– It was introduced on Friday last in another place. It was contemplated that it would have been passed there on Friday, and then we should have had it as the first business of the Senate on Wednesday. In fact, relying upon that, I did not give the usual notices for the suspension of the Standing Orders.
– It was, therefore, regarded as purely a matter of form that the Government would get Supply.
– I remind my honorable friend that the passing of a Supply Bill, framed as this Bill is, is to a large extent a matter of form.
– I am not saying whether it is good or bad, but does not the honorable senator’s argument amount to saying that the Senate has no control over Supply Bills?
– I hope Senator Symon will not expect me to agree to that. The question really is whether the ordinary services of the Government shall be paid for. Apart from the’ discussion of grievances, such Supply Bills are passed almost as a matter of form. lt was expected that this Bill would have been passed in that way in another place on Friday last. If its consideration had not been completed on Friday it was thought that at least it would be completed on the following Tuesday, and I took it for granted that we should- be able to deal with the Bill here as the first business on Wednesday. Relying on that, I did not give the usual notice for the suspension of the Standing Orders, believing that their suspension would not be necessary.
– That the Senate would play second fiddle to another place?
– The honorable senator is doing me an .injustice. I assure honorable senators that nothing is to be gained by accepting the request, proposed, but that, on the contrary, it is calculated to cause serious and unnecessary inconvenience bv reason of delay in the payment of moneys which should have been paid to-day.
– Can the honorable senator suggest any other way in which the Committee could express an opinion that the period for which Supply is asked in this Bill is too long?
– My honorable friend has already, with others, joined in an expression of that view which cannot be disregarded. The Government had no ulterior political object whatever in providing in the Bill for two months’ rather than for one month’s Supply. I have already said that it is immaterial what Government is in power, the amounts provided for in the Bill must be paid. I again ask honorable senators to take into consideration the inconvenience that would be caused by the acceptance of the request, and to pass the Bill in the form in which it is submitted.
– The argument that it is wrong to grant Supply for more than a month at a time by means of Supply Bills, is one that always appealed to me, but-
– “ But.”
– My honorable friends opposite found a “ but “ useful when they supported a Bill for two months’ Supply that was objected to by the then Opposition. To grant less than two months’ Supply on this occasion might bring about the earlier introduction of the Appropriation Bill.
– Would not that be desirable?
– It would perhaps be desirable, but we must not forget the fact that we are very rapidly approach- ing something like a financial crisis in the Commonwealth, and that some new departure, whether in the direction of increased taxation or the initiation of a borrowing policy, must necessarily be proposed.
– The sooner we know about it the better.
– That is so, but the Government only . came into office at the beginning of the, session.
– Does not the honorable senator think that we are nearer to a political crisis than to a financial crisis ?
– I do not think that Senator Findley is so anxious as he would have us believe to be near to a political crisis. If we had any reasonable hope that, by passing only one month’s Supply, we should compel the Government to submit the Estimates and the Appropriation Bill earlier, we might be justified in insisting upon it, but I can see no possible hope of it. A practice has grown up between the Commonwealth and the Governments of the various States, which I do not regard as a proper practice, of holding Conferences in regard to finance. I think that the ‘Conferences should take place, if at all, between the Governments of the States and the Federal representatives of the States. We are informed that there is likely to be another of these Conferences held.
– Does the honorable senator think that he is assisting them?
– I do, because it is unreasonable to expect that the financial affairs of the Commonwealth with the present session’s outlook before us, can be properly grappled with in such, a short .time as the present Government have been in office.
– I do not think that the remarks of the Minister of Trade and Customs have materially strengthened his case. On the contrary, they have made it appear in a worse light. The only inference which can be drawn from them is that if the Government see fit to delay the introduction of a Supply Bill sufficiently long, they are in a position to make it cover any period that they may choose. That is what absolutely follows from’ the honorable senator’s remarks. Another argument which he used - and the employment of which he ought to regret - had reference to 500 Post Office employes. Not only did he shelter himself behind those employes, but he deliberately took hold of there and used them as a justification for the Ministerial action. He declared that the Government had no ulterior motive. He was scarcely ingenuous or consistent when he made that statement. Admittedly the reason why the Government are asking for Supply for two months is that the Treasurer cannot prepare his Budget at an earlier date.
– What does the honorable senator regard as a reasonable time in which to prepare a Budget?
– I will reply to that question by reminding the VicePresident of the Executive Council of the circumstances under which this measure has been introduced. His interjection recalls the fact that the Government came into office after a long series of deliberations in respect of their policy. If they had not engaged in those deliberations their action in displacing the late Government would have been even more previous than members of the Opposition appear to regard it. If anything could have justified them in giving the coup de grace to the Fisher Ministry, it was the fact that they had carefully prepared a policy to which the)’ desired to give effect.
– Would that have placed them in possession of the figures in the- Treasury ?
– If it were merely a question of securing the necessary figures from official sources, one month would be ample time to allow the Treasurer to prepare his Budget.
– I admit that.
– If I were not convinced that the delivery of the Budget is intended to be’ a serious disclosure of politics, I should say that one month was ample to allow the Treasurer for its preparation. But the whole justification for this Bill has been based upon the peculiar circumstances of the present time. We all recognise that the financial position of the Commonwealth involves a declaration oS. Ministerial policy.
– That declaration cannot be made in the absence of the necessary figures.
– As I have already stated, if the task of preparing a Budge* depended upon the collection^ of information from officials, one month would be ample to allow the Treasurer. But if, on the other hand, time is needed to enable him to prepare a statement covering a serious policy, the object in view ought not to be described as an ulterior one. That being so, it is not fair to place before the Senate a Supply Bill in such a form that we cannot object to it without doing injury to 500 postal employes. The Minister of Trade and Customs has declared that there is not a single item in the Bill which is not represented by ordinary current expenditure. If that argument justifies the granting of two months’ Supply, why should it stop there? Why should it not justify the granting of Supply for six months?
– I explained that.
– I do not think that any member of this Committee required the Minister’s explanation. His argument did not touch the question at issue. Not one reason can be advanced against the granting of six months’ Supply which cannot with equal force be urged against the granting of two months’ Supply. I am sorry that I shall be obliged to vote against the Government upon the first division taken this session. I regret that they have placed me in that position. Nobody knows better than Senator Millen - because we discussed these questions when we were in opposition, and when proposals of a similar kind emanated from another source - that we could always find ample justification for our opposition to them. Does the Vice-President of the Executive Council expect me to become a mere dummy, and to tacitly acquiesce in that to which 1 seriously objected when I was in opposition ? I do not think that he does, and consequently he can scarcely be surprised at my action.
– One remark was made by Senator Clemons which I should like to make the text of the few observations which I propose to address to the Committee. He used the words 1 ‘ the circumstances of the case. ‘ ‘ I say that the Government may well rest their appeal to the Senate upon the “ circumstances of the case.” I ask honorable senators to reflect what are the circumstances in which the Government are now placed ? No member of this Committee has fought more strenuously than I have - and I received very little support from the Labour party - for a. fair and reasonable opportunity of looking into the finances of the country. And I repeat from the Ministerial side of the Senate the declaration which I made when sitting in opposition time and again.
– But the honorable senator’s actions do not tally.
– The circumstances to which I desire to direct attention are that this Government came into power constitutionally, whatever some people may say to the contrary. It then asked for and obtained an adjournment, which, I venture to say, nobody could regard as unreasonable. After that adjournment we met here. When ? Yesterday week. In other words, the Senate has had four sitting days only, and the House of Representatives five. On the second day of sitting in the other Chamber the Government introduced this Supply Bill.
– But they had had an adjournment for three weeks.
– These interjections will not turn me from the point that I desire to make. I wish to deal with the Supply Bill as distinct from the Budget. I want to show that we have not hung up this measure in any way, and that there has been no delay on our part in introducing it.
– It is the amount applied for to which we object.
– I can quite understand the honorable senator’s desire to mix things up, as he is seeking to do now. Last Friday the Government introduced this Supply Bill. The moment its consideration was completed elsewhere - and surely Ministers are not responsible for any delay which occurred there - the Bill was laid before honorable senators. It was introduced into this Chamber at the earliest possible moment, and in it the Government ask for two months’ Supply, instead of only one month.
– Nobody has charged the Government with not having introduced it as early as was possible. The VicePresident of the Executive Council has been knocking something down which nobody has set up.
– The fact that Senator Clemons restricted his observations to one argument will not prevent me from dealing with the whole position.
– It was the Leader of the Opposition in another place who prevented the Government from proceeding with this Bill when they desired to do so.
– I do not overlook that fact. The Government submitted this
Bil! at the earliest possible moment. During this debate two other contentions have been made ; first, that the Bill should cover only one month’s Supply, and secondly that the Budget should be delivered earlier than has been promised. In reply, I repeat the words of Senator Clemons, “the circumstances of the case. ‘ ‘ The first circumstance that must impress itself upon us in connexion with our request for two months’ Supply is that if we applied for and obtained only one month’s Supply the whole process would have . to be repeated within a few weeks.
– If the Government had asked for only one month’s Supply the Bill would have been put through long ago.
– My honorable friend knows quite well that we have never had a Supply Bill put through in that expeditious way, and I have yet to learn that the Opposition here is going to be any kinder in that regard than previous Oppositions.
– That is very ungenerous, seeing that we have not offered a single bar, although we could have done so.
– The assistance of the Opposition in that respect has been acknowledged. The circumstance which induced and justified the Government in asking for two months’ Supply was the absolute knowledge - present in the mind of everybody here, as well as in their mind - that if that were not done it would be necessary to make a second application before the month was out. Instead of making two applications, either of which was likely to occupy and fairly to occupy some days in getting it assented to, the Government has deemed it wise to apply for two months’ Supply and thus economize public time. There is a business-like reason for the course which the Government is taking. I admit at once that if it were possible to bring in the Budget in July there would be no necessity to ask for two months’ Supply now. But does Senator Clemons think that it could be brought in in that month?
– I think that it ought to be.
– Seeing that the accounts must be completed for last year before the Treasurer can proceed to work, that the accounts will not be closed until to-night, and probably may require further information from distant parts of the Commonwealth ; and that the Treasurer can only start on the figures to-morrow, I put it to the honorable senator whether he thinks it at all reasonable to expect the Budget to be delivered before the end of
– I certainly do.
– The honorable senator may expect it. I admit, with him, that it is desirable to get it as early as possible. Since Federation, eight Budgets have been delivered, and only two .of these have been delivered in July.”
– Does not that seem to imply the possibility of bringing down the Budget in July?
– Of those two Budgets, one was delivered on the 28th July and the other on the 31st July, while the delivery of the other Budgets ranged from August to October.
– If it has been delivered twice in July, probably it could be done a third time.
– I might also apply the converse of that proposition, and ask, if it has been done two or three times in September, why should it not be done in September of this year ?
– Because the honorable senator agrees with me that that is undesirable.
– I have admitted that it is absolutely desirable to bring forward the Budget at the earliest possible moment, but humanly speaking, an ordinary Budget cannot be produced until the end of July. My honorable friend has admitted that this is not an ordinary Budget, and if an ordinary Budget cannot be delivered until the end of July, surely it is not too much to ask a body of fair-minded men to grant for the preparation of an extraordinary Budget at least a week longer.
– Why is it an extraordinary Budget ? Because the Government is not ready with its policy?
– The honorable, senator need not ask that question, because he affirms that it is to be more than an ordinary Budget.
– Is it not more than an ordinary Budget, because it is a case of the Government policy plus the accounts?
– If that were so, I might put in an additional plea, which I do not propose to do, and it is that a Government just brought into office might reasonably ask for an extra week in the preparation of its Budget.
– The Government has already had three weeks to prepare its policy.
– I have just had placed in my hands from the responsible officer of the Treasury, a statement that the accounts are not balanced until the 15th July-
– How is it that they are published in this evening’s newspaper then?
– Those figures are only approximate.
– It is admitted that no one has asked for the delivery of the Budget before the end of July. There are circumstances recognised by Senator Clemons why the coming Budget is to differ in some regards from an ordinary Budget. In these circumstances, it was quite a reasonable thing for the Government to anticipate that a little longer time would be taken in the preparation of it. But even if it were possible to bring down the Budget in the time mentioned by Senator Clemons, that is, in one month, the Government would still stand under tha necessity of getting a Supply Bill either now or before next month, if the Commonweatlh was to be in a position to pay accounts on the 2nd August.
– Hear, hear; there is no objection to that.
– For the purpose of expediting business, the Government deemed it better to ask for two months’ Supply in one Bill than to bring forward two Bills for a month’s Supply each. It has been asked why three or four months’ Supplyhas not been asked for. For the same reason as I have mentioned. Our two reasons for asking for two months’ Supply are : first to avoid an unnecessary consumption of time, and secondly the possibility of having the Budget here before the second month’s Supply is exhausted. That is the reason why three months’ Supply is not asked for. No one probably recognises better than Senator Clemons that there was no justification for asking for three months’ Supply such as there is for asking for two months’ Supply. The Budget undoubtedly will be here before a third month’s Supply is required. I have been in opposition, and quite recognise the tendency to acquire bad habits on that side. But I put to honorable senators the position in which the Government stood. Having newly come to office, and having only about a week at their dis posal - five sitting days as far as the Senate is concerned - they have acted with the utmost promptitude. Every effort has beer* made tq adhere to the declaration, to which,. I think all parties here subscribe.
– We will admit that-
– The honorable senator’s sole trouble seems to be that the Budget cannot be brought in before the middle of August.
– My trouble is that the Government’s policy is not in, and will not turn up until the Budget comes.
– The honorable senator’s sole trouble seems to be a matter of a fortnight. He wants the Budget some time in July, and the Treasurer says that it is impossible to supply it until about the middle of August.
– Until the end of August.
– No; his statement ‘ is that he will endeavour to deliver it in the middle of August. As Senator Clemons’ sole trouble seems to be a matter of a fortnight, I put it to him whether, believing as I do that he is as anxious as any one else that we should get on with public business, the Government should not have an opportunity of introducing its Bills as well as its policy. I submit to him that in the circumstances, and in view of what I and others have stated, there can be no serious harm, and certainly no great crime, in granting the two months’ Supply now asked for.
– - I have listened most carefully to some of the principal speakers on both sides. I recognise that the Bill has been badly managed. When ir was introduced, Senator Best was not as usual. He seemed to shake hands with the devil before he met him. He seemed to recognise that great difficulties were in the way, and he put up an Aunt Sally, thinking we would throw stones at it, when we had no such intention. I listened most attentively to Senators Millen and Trenwith. I understood what Senator Mulcahy meant this time. He said that there is a financial crisis. That supplies me with a reason why this Government should not be trusted in that respect. They are panic stricken, and cannot . be trusted with too much money. They might dream that the Germans were approaching, and squander the bit of money that they have. It is far better for the Senate, which is charged with the duty of looking after the interests of the States, to insist upon knowing a little about the Government’s policy before it trusts Ministers. I have frequently tried to trust them.
– But their difficulty is that the honorable senator might not trust them then.
– Even my honorable colleague, whom they tried to woo to their side, cannot get information. That is most unfair to our constituents. Being here to represent State rights, we ought to be taken into the confidence of the Government and told what they intend to do.
– .They do not know.
– They ought to know. I have no faith in them, because they are panic-stricken. They .were so anxious to get into office that they forgot themselves. Then they cried out, “ Give a Dreadnought,” and now Senator Mulcahy says that they have no money to go on with.
– They cannot pay the letter-carriers.
– In many cases in South Australia the Commonwealth holds money - £24 in one case - belonging to persons who want telephonic communication. The Department say that they cannot provide the service because they have not the money, and yet the Government want to squander money without letting the people know how they intend to get it. and refuse to trust the representatives of the people here and elsewhere. If Senator Best had not been so nervous, if he had taken us into his confidence, and asked for one month’s Supply only, the Bill would have been passed. I do not see why Senator Millen should be so frightened that at the end of a month the Government would have to ask for a month’s Supply again, seeing the friendly treatment that we were prepared to extend to them if they had made a reasonable request on this occasion. I have always had a great admiration for the honorable senator. I promised last session, if not previously, that if he would take action in these matters, I would stand by him. But he had not the courage to do it. Whatever wickedness he may suspect the Labour party to be guilty of, he cannot deny that, at least, I was prepared to stand by him. I admired the attitude which he said he would take up. I admired him when he was fighting side by side with Senator Clemons in these matters. But when I see him now sitting as though he were at a love feast with Senator Best, the situation is so amusing, but at the same time so risky, that I must vote for granting only one month’s Supply to the Government which he represents.
– The reason why the Opposition objected to granting two months’ Supply is, as far as I can gather, that they are anxious to know the financial policy of the Government. Taking all the circumstances into account, it is only natural and proper that at this stage the Senate should know what the policy of the Government is, if they have any. Senator Millen claims the indulgence of the Committee for the Government on the ground that it has had no time to decide on a financial policy But when we consider the circumstances, we find what a very flimsy excuse that is. The parties to the fusion had about six weeks of cutting, and clipping, and paring before the pieces were joined together. One would expect that after so many preliminaries they would have a fairly clear idea of what their policy was. In addition to that, after so much initiatory preparation, the Government secured an adjournment for three weeks, during which time its members were supposed to meet in solemn conclave for the purpose of framing a policy. After all these preliminaries, we find that they are as much at sea as ever they were. I am extremely astonished to find this state of affairs, seeing that we have one of the greatest financial geniuses in the Commonwealth as Treasurer.
– “What does the honorable senator call him?
– I call him one of the greatest financial geniuses in the Commonwealth - in his own estimation. To hear the right honorable gentleman dilating on finance when he was in opposition, one would think that if he only had command of the Treasury everything would be put right, and straight, and square immediately. But now that he has got there, we find that the Treasury bench has demoralized him, just as it has demoralized nearly every one who has occupied it.
– There are exceptions.
– Consider the change that has taken place in the case of Senator Millen. When he was Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, he was constantly active, and nimble, and critical. He was like a flea in a blanket But now he has lost all his agility, and has become just as slow with it as the ordinary member of a Government. This Government has had time to frame a policy, and should insist upon that policy being put before Parliament - at any “rate, before the end of August. I will tell the Committee why. As has been admitted, the financial position of the Commonwealth is more critical now than it has ever been. Senator Millen gave that as a reason why the Budget should be delayed. I claim it as a reason why we should have the Budget at the earliest possible moment.
– I did not give that as a reason.
– The honorable senator did. He has a most convenient memory.
– I distinctly deny that. I did not give it as a reason for delay, but said that it was impossible to bring in the Budget earlier.
– I do not think that it is impossible. The Government have had time to frame a policy. They have had about two months.
– The Government is not a month old yet.
– The mere figures of a Budget are nothing. The difficulty arises in the framing of a policy. We should insist upon having the Budget here before the end of July, because a number of very important questions are to be dealt with during the present session. For instance, there is the new departure - borrowing. The Commonwealth, according to the minute issued by the Government, intends, as I gather, to go in for borrowing. That is quite a new departure. The Senate will surely have something to say on so important a question. Then, there is the finding of money to carry on the various new Departments which will inevitably be taken over by the Commonwealth in the near future. Then there is the matter of the State debts. Are they to be taken over by the Commonwealth, or what is to be done with them? There is some proposal regarding the financial relationships of the States and the Commonwealth. All these are questions of first rate importance in the discussion of which the Senate will have a voice. Suppose that the Budget is not introduced until the end of August. When will it be dealt with in the House of Representatives? Will one month be sufficient? Will it occupy two months? It will probably be the end of October or the beginning of November before the Senate can discuss the financial policy of the Government.
Now, I ask any honorable senator whether, coming to the Senate at that late period of the year, the Budget is at all likely to receive that fair and ample consideration which the important financial proposals involved in it demand? Nothing of the kind’ can come about. The end of the sessionwill be at hand. Everybody will be anxious to get away to his electorate, because early next year there will be an election. The consequence will be that the financial proposals of the Government will not be discussed by the Senate at all. or will be discussed in a most perfunctory fashion. The Senate is intimately interested “in these proposals. We ought to discuss them. Indeed, the Senate was created under the Constitution to discuss such questions. They intimately affect the relations of the Commonwealth with the States. The Senateought to have ample opportunities for discussing them exhaustively. I submit that if the course of procedure intimated by the Government is carried out, we shall have no adequate opportunity of discussing the financial proposals. I do not know whether the Government intend that that should be the case. Unfortunately, all previous Governments have treated the Senate in almost exactly the same fashion. The Labour Government was very little better than any other Government. They have all been tarred with the same dirty stick. They have jumped’ upon the Senate and treated it with disrespect and scorn. The Senate has taken this treatment lying down all the time. But if the Senate is not to be looked upon as an excrescence, as a useless institution; which may very well be abolished and its members sent to do useful work elsewhere, we must assert our rights. If we agree to give the Government two months’ Supply, upon the present occasion, we shall deliberately abandon our right to discuss the financial proposals. But if we refuse to give two months’ Supply, the Government will be compelled to introduce the Budget towards the end of this month. The probability is that it will then come to the Senate towards the end of September or the beginning of October, when there will be some opportunity of dealing with it. Senator Best pleaded with the Committee not to carry the request because 500 men in the Post Office will not get their wages tomorrow if that be done. Every one here knows that I sympathize as deeply with the men in the Post Office as any member of the Government. I am not sure that I do not sympathize with them more. But I recognise that there are much more important questions at issue than the mere paying of joo men. If they are not paid to-morrow the Government, not the Opposition, will be to blame. The Government ought to have foreseen that this Committee would probably refuse to grant two months’ Supply. They ought to have made arrangements accordingly. They would not have had an adjournment for two months when so long a period was not necessary. Therefore, if anything happens it will not be the Opposition who will be to blame, but the Government, for the tardy bringing in of the measure. Some time ago we had the present Prime Minister and a number of his supporters sending a round robin to the late Prime Minister asking him on the score of emergency to call Parliament together in April. There was a tremendous hurry then on the part of the members of the present Government to get on to the Government benches.
– The Government of the honorable senator’s party did not want to get off.
– They had a policy to submit to the country. I am not grumbling because the present Government turned the last Government out. I am merely saying that there was a tremendous hurry to call Parliament together in April, professedly to get on with business, but there is no hurry now when the present Government are safe and sound “on the Treasury benches and dividing the 12,000 golden sovereigns between them. I am not so much concerned as to what .Government is in power as I am that legislation for the benefit of the country should be passed, and that the Senate should have a voice in the framing of that legislation. Every one admits that the present is going to be one of the most important sessions since Federation, from a financial point of view, and I say that if the Committee agrees to-night to give the Government two months’ Supply, then we shall have no more voice in the framing of the financial legislation to be dealt with this session than the man in the moon. I hope that every member of the Committee who desires that the Senate should keep up its end of the log, and fulfil the purpose for which it was created under the Constitution, will vote as I shall, against the proposal for two months’ Supply.
Senator TURLEY (Queensland) [10. o”.We have listened to a lot of special pleading from Ministers in urging that this Supply
Bill should be put through straight away. We have been told that a considerable amount of time has been wasted, and that two months’ Supply is .asked for in order that time shall not be wasted later on which might be used in the. discussion of Government business. What has been our experience in the past? Has it not been a common occurrence to find Bills for one month’s Supply passed in another place and in the Senate in one day?
– No, not in one day.
– At least they” have often been passed at one sitting of each House. The Government have themselves to blame for any time which has been wasted i,n connexion with this Bill. I undertake to say that more time has been wasted because the Government have asked for two months’ Supply in this Bill than would have been occupied in the passing of two or three separate Bills providing for one month’s Supply at a time. The Minister of Trade ‘and Customs has said that provision is made in this Bill only for the ordinary recurring expenditure. That may be so, but it is no reason for a departure from, the ordinary practice of asking for only one month’s Supply at a time. Senator Millen has asked that the Government should be given two months’ Supply in order that they may be able to introduce the measures which will indicate their policy. I do not know what Bills the Government propose to go on with that will in any way indicate their policy. Look ing at the business-paper I find that the Minister of Trade and Customs is to ask leave to introduce a Bill to amend the Australian Industries Preservation Act. Every one knows that the intention is to meet a decision which was lately given by the High Court.
– There will be much more than that in the Bill.
– That is the principal reason for its introduction. Leave is to be asked to introduce a Bill to amend the Patents Act. The object of that Bill will be merely to make such amendments as have been found necessary in the working of the existing Act. The measure will in no way indicate the financial policy of the Government. Then leave is to be asked to introduce a Bill for an Act relating to Compensation to Seamen.
– Is not that important ?
– It is, undoubtedly, but the measure will not indicate the general policy of the Government. As a matter of fact it will have no relation to the policy of the present Government, because Governments of the Commonwealth were committed to its principles before the present Government came into existence. Then a measure is to be introduced to amend the Old-age Pensions Act. That is a legacy from the previous Government, who found that it was necessary to amend the existing Act in certain respects. Everyone will admit that the country should at the earliest possible moment know what the general policy of the Government is to be.
– The country cannot know it until the trawler comes back. She is out fishing for one.
– Unfortunately the trawler is engaged in a very much, more serious business, as Senator Guthrie should know ; in a work which should not be the subject of ridicule at all.
– There was no ridicule of the work in which the trawler is engaged ‘ in Senator Guthrie’s interjection There is no member of the Committee or of the Federal Parliament who has sought to a greater extent to protect the interests of seamen than has Senator Guthrie. He has always advocated that the Commonwealth should pass legislation which would place every facility at the disposal of the authorities to render assistance in such a matter as that to which Senator Best has referred. Let me say that I object to any threat by a Government intended to prevent members of the Senate from doing their duty to the public. The Minister has threatened honorable senators that unless they . pass this Supply Bill without any requests they will prevent some hundreds of men from receiving their wages. If it would prevent the whole of the service from receiving their wages to-morrow, such a threat would not have the slightest effect on me, if 1 thought it my duty to object to the legislation proposed.
– There has been no threat whatever.
– I hope that no threat of the kind will have any effect upon the Committee. I understood that the Government had sufficient money voted under the Appropriation Act passed last session to carry them on until 30th June. This is only the 1st July, and surely it is not necessary to pass a Supply Bill to meet expenditure incurred in the year previous to the introduction of the Bill.
– Certainly it is; all moneys falling due after the 30th June will remain unprovided for until this Bill is passed.
– The honorable senator told us that the men to whom he referred are paid by the week.” I think it will be found either that their week was up some time ago, or will not be up until the end of this week.
– Precisely, but they require to be paid their money.
– A request can be submitted from the Senate and the Bill returned from another place in plenty of time for the payment of these men when their wages are due. Even if their payment should be delayed for a day or two that is not a sufficient reason for asking honorable senators to set aside the only control they can exercise in matters of finance.’ I intend to vote for only one month’s Supply, and if any inconvenience arises the blame must rest with the Government for not introducing a Bill for only one month’s Supply. If they had done that the measure would have beenpassed in another place on Friday last, we could have dealt with-it yesterday,and there would have been no trouble.
Question -That the House of Representatives be requested to leave, out the words “ Eight Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Six Hundred and NinetyNine Pounds “ - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
Heating of Senate Chamber - Advertising Australia : “Standard of Empire “ Contract.
– Under the heading of “the Parliament,” I desire to say a few words in reference to the heating of this chamber. Recently, I read in the newspapers that great care had been taken to provide for the comfort of members of the Commonwealth Parliament, and I came down from Queensland thinking that the Senate would be something akin ‘to a hot-house. Instead, I find that it rather resembles a refrigerator. As the result of my endeavours to glean information upon this subject, I have learned that, owing to some mistake, the whole of the hot air that is generated in the parliamentary building is being driven into the House of Representatives. Probably its members require it more than we do ; but, nevertheless,’ I think that we could do with a little more warmth. I ask the Minister in charge of “the Estimates whether something cannot be done to make the temperature in this chamber more agreeable ?
Senator Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [10.17]. - The honorable senator has ‘referred to a matter in which we are all interested. In reply to his remarks, I desire to say that inquiries are being conducted as to the arrangement which has been made for heating the- two branches of the Legislature. It appears that under the existing system, the heat which is generated elsewhere does not find its way here as it ought to do. I hope, however, that within a week or two the trouble will be rectified. I understand that it will be necessary to put in some additional pipes.
– Seeing that we have a Department of Home Affairs to effect necessary improvements of the kind indicated, I think it would only be fair if the Government insisted that the officers responsible for blunders of this description themselves “bore the additional expense to which the Commonwealth is put, as the result of their blundering. A great deal of expenditure has been incurred in generating in these buildings hot air which is being transmitted only to another place. We are supposed to have experts in the Department of Home Affairs - gentlemen who know all about these matters - and if they are not capable of doing their work, somebody else ought to be engaged to do it for them, or they should be called upon to bear the additional expense to which the country is subjected.
– I wish to direct attention to the item, “ Advertising resources of the Commonwealth, £2,000.” Will the Minister tell the Committee the way in which this advertising is conducted, and how much money the Government intend to spend in that connexion during the present financial year ?
[10.21]. - The advertising of the resources of the Commonwealth has so far taken the form of the purchase of such journals as Australia To-day. Upon that publication, £350 has been expended.
– It is a rubbishy publication.
– It is a very fine one. In connexion with- the Year-Book of Australia, £47 has been expended; the Clarion, £244; the Southern. Cross, £1,000; the Standard of Empire, £821; and The Times, £100. The sum of £2,200 has been spent upon cinematograph films. Altogether, £8,643was spent in advertising theCommonwealth last year.
– Has the £2,000 provided for in this Bill been already expended ?
– Of course we have obligations to meet, but the money cannot have been spent, seeing that it has not yet been voted.
– Has the liability been incurred ?
– Yes; we have an arrangement, for example, with the Standard of Empire.
– That contract ought to be terminated at once.
– This is a matter which has been the subject of consideration by several Governments. They have regarded the plan - which has been adopted as a valuable means of advertising the resources of the Commonwealth. Upon last year’s Estimates the sum of £”“20,000 was provided for this purpose, of which £8,643 was expended.
– Can the Minister of Trade and Customs tell me whether the contract with the London Standard has a considerable time to run, or whether it will lapse shortly? I ask this question because I have recently had many opportunities of perusing that journal, which in its Thursday issue devotes a portion of its space to information concerning the Commonwealth. As the result of my investigations, I wish to say that I shall certainly question any vote which may be placed upon this year’s Estimates for the purpose of renewing that contract.
Senator Sir ROBERT BEST (Victoria- - Minister of Trade and Customs) [10.24]. Last year the sum of £821 was expended on the Standard of Empire, and I am informed that the contract has still a few months to run.
.- If we are to believe what has been said concerning the Standard of Empire that publication had no existence until its promoters were subsidized by the Deakin Government, and the Canadian Government, to such an extent as to permit them to launch it, and to make substantial profits. We have no information as to its circulation, or the atmosphere in which it circulates, but we know from a rough calculation that the amount it receives for the advertisement is about 27s. 6d-. per inch. To me that seems an outrageous price for the Commonwealth to pay for the insertion of information which is absolutely misleading.
– - Does, the honorable senator mean an inch in a column, or an inch extending the width of a page?
– I do not mean an inch extending the width of a page, but an inch as it is ordinarily measured in a daily newspaper.
– Then it is a scandalous price.
– An advertisement for which we pay 6s. an inch in the daily newspapers here costs 27 s. 6d. an inch in the Standard of Empire.
– Compare our advertisements with those of Canada and other places. The latter occupy pages of the paper as against our half-page.
– We ought to have the fullest information as to the negotiations entered into between the late Deakin Government and the proprietors of this publication. In different parts of Great Britain there are well established journals,, with a large circle of readers, and with an influence and a power behind them. But the Standard of Empire only came into existence because of the subsidies it received from different Governments. Are the Government to expend the people’s money in that direction to enrich some speculators? When the advertisements are inserted they are absolutely misleading, because promises are held out that to any Britisher the Commonwealth will offer land” and a home on his arrival. No doubt many persons have been induced to come here because of the inviting advertisement in this newspaper.
– How many farmers would see it?
– We ought to know why public money is being expended on this particular newspaper.
– The honorable senator will get all the information he wants, I promise him.
– I hope so. The other day I noticed a statement that negotiations were being ‘entered into with the London Daily Chronicle to advertise the resources of the Commonwealth. I do not know whether there is any truth ‘in that public . statement, but if there be I want some information regarding the matter. I hope that the Senate will be furnished with the fullest information regarding the advertisement in the Standard of Empire.
– This discussion has been made a little more interesting by the fact that Senator Findley has been addressing himself to the question. I believe that the contract with the Standard was renewed by the lateGovernment.
Senator - Pearce. - It was in existencewhen our_ Government took office.
– It certainly came into existence under the previous DeakinGovernment. The Minister should make some inquiries, because it is desirable that the Committee should be furnished with information. He might also ascertain whether the contract was renewed by the lateGovernment. I think he will find that it was, which of course adds some point to the remarks of Senator Findley, and at the same time places him in an unfortunateposition.
– No matter what Government was concerned,- I would have the same criticism to make.
– I think that the Government may take it for certain that our contract with the Standard was quite a material factor in determining whether it should continue in existence or not. I know that to such a condition is it reduced in regard to its circulation and general prosperity that this contract means a great deal to it. If the Government inquire into the matter they will find it desirable to withdraw the advertisement also because the Commonwealth is by no means getting value for its money in subsidizing this newspaper. On every Thursday the Standard brings out a special supplement which is devoted to Australia, and on Friday it brings out a special supplement for Canada. Many years ago the Standard was a newspaper of very great repute, although its politics may not have coincided with those of my honorable friends opposite.
– It was the great organ of the Tory party and the Protectionist, and it is now the Tariff Reform newspaper, in a small way.
– I entirely disagree with its policy at the present time. From a commercial point of view, it may have been a useful newspaper some years ago in which to advertise Australia, because of its very large circulation, but at the present time its circulation is extremely limited. From the point of view of any person in Australia, whatever his political creed may be, is it desirable to retain the advertisement in the newspaper because of the class of persons amongst whom it circulates? It hardly gets out of London, and even there its circulation is very small. Its circulation has fallen.
– It is a third-rate newspaper.
– It is a third-rate newspaper, even in London, with a very little circulation in the provinces. I ask the Ministry to look into the matter, and stop the renewal of the contract if they agree with me, as they probably will.
– I am not astonished at the fact that the Deakin Government entered into a contract with this newspaper to publish an advertisement for Australia at 27s. 6d. an inch, when I remember the circumstances under which it was made. Nor do I think that that price was excessive, considering all the circumstances, if I may paraphrase Senator Millen. It will be remembered that the contract was made either at the time, or very soon after, Mr. Deakin paid a visit to Great Britain. It will also be remembered that during that famous visit, instead of attending severely to the business on which he was sent by the people at their expense, and that was to look after Australian affairs, Mr. Deakin allied himself with the Tory party, and became a hero, getting the utmost advertisement from all the Tory organs. When he found that one of “the great organs was in a very parlous state, almost on the verge of insolvency, was it too much for him then to offer this newspaper a handsome gratuity for its services in advertising himself, and all his meetings, as an ally of the Tory party?
– The contract seemed quite good enough to be renewed from time to time. It was rot made in the interests of Mr. Deakin.
– The consensus of opinion in the Senate has always been that the contract should not have been entered into, much less renewed. Even if it was renewed by the late Government, it is just as worthy of condemnation, as if it had been renewed by anybody else. I am not here to palliate any action, because it was done by any Government or party. I do not care what party does a good action, it will receive my cordial approval. I do not care what party is guilty of doing a bad thing, it will have my strongest condemnation. The circumstances were that Mr. Deakin, going round the whole country as an ally of the Tory party, and gratuitously interfering in English politics with which he had no concern, and which Australia did not pay him to do.
– But the honorable senator and his party knew all about it at the time.
- Mr. Deakin’s conduct on that occasion had my condemnation then just as well as it has now. I have not waited until to-day to express my views. When statesmen go to the Old Country to represent Australia and its interest, they should confine themselves to that business, and should not ally themselves with any party, and go round with any special object to interfere with English politics. That is the part- of a busy-body, and Mr. Deakin evidently embraced the opportunity to pay with good Australian money for the notoriety he was getting from the Tory press.
– The lamentable part of the thing is that the Labour Government have been paying for the continuance of the advertisement. They renewed the contract, and paid a large sum to the newspaper.
– Possibly, “they may have done so. Knowing the opinions which, have been expressed here and elsewhere, the act is worthy of condemnation, no matter by whom it was done. The contract was originated by Mr. Deakin, and possibly the microbes which infest the Treasury bench might have infested Labour members.
– It is a dreadful thing if the Labour Government renewed the contract.
– Of course it is, especially in view of the unanswered and unanswerable criticism which was directed against the contract both here and elsewhere. With regard to the question of advertising ‘ generally, I do not think that there is any particular need to advertise Australia. My opinion is that the only thing required is to afford in Australia opportunities such as we have an abundance of, if utilized, to persons to engage in profitable occupations. If we passed good legislation, and had good administration, not only should we keep our own population, but should induce others to flock here. The proper advertising policy for Australia is to make the prospect attractive. People would then come of their ‘ own accord. With regard to the Standard, that newspaper, even in its prosperous days, was simply the organ of the old aristocratic Conservatives of Great Britain. ‘ It never penetrated to a farm, whatevergot into the hands of labourers. Are we going to endeavour to attract dukes, earls, and country squires as immigrants?
– They are leaving Great Britain on account of the taxation.
– Of course, we learn that capital is leaving every country in the world on account of labour troubles; and our Tory friends will soon be seeking to colonize the moon, where, perhaps, they will have free scope. I am aware that Parliament must redeem existing obligations; but I hope that if any sum is to be expended in the future in advertising the resources of ‘ Australia in Great Britain, the advertisements will not Be inserted, in a small exclusive aristocratic paper which never reaches the sort of people we want to attract, but in some journal circulating amongst the great masses of the people.
– This sum of £2,000 will be absolutely wasted. I have said before, and I repeat, that until the Commonwealth takes up a national policy it is a wrong thing to insert inviting advertisements to attract immigrants
– The advertisements are never seen in such newspapers as these.
– Whether they are seen or not, what will happen to immigrants who come to Australia attracted by them ?
– They will be very fortunate men.
– They will not be happy men if they come at the present time. The Age recently pointed out that until a vigorous land policy was adopted there was no opportunity for immigrants in Australia, where they would not be likely to find land for settlement” or suitable employment. The Commonwealth cannot advertise that it has land for immigrants, and it cannot offer employment to a single immigrant. It is therefore most unbusinesslike to spend money in this direction. The advertising is absolutely useless. There are thousands of men in Australia at present who are eager to, get on the land and to find employment. The Government need not advertise in Great Britain when there are plenty of people in this very State who cannot find opportunities of earning a living. They would only be too happy to read in their local newspapers that opportunities were awaiting them to settle or find work. Yet we are spending £2,000 in -advertising the resources of Australia among British people. As long as the Government propose to expend money in these useless directions, I shall raise my voice in protest, and shall continue to do so until a different policy is adopted.
– I have had placed in my hand a copy of the Standard of Empire, in which the advertisement in question appears. Three-quarters of the page is occupied by a,n advertisement in three different sections. The Commonwealth advertisement is at the top. Below there are special ‘ advertisements for Victoria and Western Australia. The other States are not advertised, although their people pav their share for the Commonwealth advertisement.
– Only Western Austraiian and Victoria have joined with the Commonwealth, but the other States can join if they like.
-The people of Queensland, Tasmania, and South Australia pay for this advertisement inserted by the Commonwealth, although their States are not mentioned.
– The other States get a reference occasionally, and sometimes it approximates to accuracy.-
– The people of Tasmania have a right to complain that they are paying for this advertisement, whereas only Victoria and Western Australia are mentioned.
– Those States pay separately.
– But the whole advertisement is covered by the heading “ Commonwealth of Australia.”
– Similar’ opportunities are afforded to every State.
– The Commonwealth advertisement is in itself misleading in everything that it says. I do not knew whether honorable senators desire me to read it. The advertisement is as follows -
The Commonwealth of Australia. A land of sunshine and prosperity.
– Does the honorable senator not believe in that?
– Yes, when the settler has a chance to settle. The advertisement proceeds : -
Australia, with its area of 1,903,731,840 acres, and present population of only 4,120,000, wants emigrants, and extends .a hearty welcome to those of the white race who will farm her lands and become citizens of the Commonwealth.
– There is no fault in that, is there?
– ls there no fault in circulating such an advertisement amongst people who -may break up their homes, and, when they arrive here, find that the land is all taken up by squatters? I shall read no further, but enter a protest against the continuance of this advertising contract. I may point out that, while three parts of the column is taken up by advertisements of Australia, the balance advertises the newspaper itself, and it would appear to me that we are absolutely keeping the paper alive by means of a. subsidy which is not justified.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [10.54]. - I have some remarks to make in reference to the Defence Department, which will occupy some considerable time.
– In the circumstances I will consent to an adjournment.
Senate adjourned at 10.55 P-m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 July 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1909/19090701_senate_3_49/>.