3rd Parliament · 4th Session
The President took the chair at2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Statement showing names of Officers commanding Cadet Battalions in New South Wales, Length of Service, Examinations passed, and Schools of Instruction attended.
Lands Acquisition Act1906. -Port Melbourne, Victoria : Post Office. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land as Addition to Site.
Defence Acts 1903-4. - Regulations (Provisional) for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth -
New Regulation 129A.- Statutory Rules 1909, No. 117.
Amendment of Regulation 106A. - Statutory Rules 1909, No.118.
Sugar Bounty Act 1905. - New Regulation 12A. - Statutory Rules 1909, No. 113.
– I beg to ask the
Vice-President of the Executive Council whether, before the close of the present session, the Government will introduce and endeavour to pass a Postal Rates Amendment Bill, in order that the States may be placed on an equality with regard to postages on all postal articles as well as newspapers?
– I am not in a position to give the Senate any other information than that furnished in reply to a similar question asked last week by Senator Symon, and that is that the whole matter is under consideration.
– Arising out of the reply, I desire to ask the Minister whether the Act is to be so amended as to prevent the transmission, at newspaper rates, of a number of mushroom: publications called newspapers, and registered as such for a particular purpose, but not surviving more than one or two issues?
– I am. afraid that the honorable senator could not have heard the answer I gave to Senator Keating, which was that the whole question is under consideration.
– Is consideration being given to the aspect of the matter which I mentioned?
– Iwould point out to the honorable senator that, the answer to that inquiry is embodied in the reply that the whole matter is under consideration.
– The reply is very ambiguous.
– Is not the VicePresident of the Executive Council aware that the introduction of , a Postal Rates Amending Bill, although perhaps not dealing with penny postage, has been promised this session by the Postmaster-General?
– I cannot add anything to the statementI have made. .
-Relative to a question asked by me some weeks ago, and in respect to which the Vice-President of the Executive Council promised to obtain information, can he tell the Senate what practice is being followed with regard to the establishment of telephonic conveniences on the slot principle in hotels? I have pointed out to the honorable senator the discrimination which exists in Sydney in regard to reputable hotels, and which has operated detrimentally to some, and advantageously to others. I hope that he has the desired information in his possession.
-I have received a return giving the information which the honorable senator seeks, but as one portion of it appeared to be slightly ambiguous,I sent it back to the Department. I hope, in the course of the afternoon, to have a correction made, and then I shall be glad to bring the return under the notice of the honorable senator.
– Some time ago, I asked that the papers relating to the case of the alleged confectionery combine should be laid on the table of the Senate or the Library, and the Minister of Trade and Customs replied that some of them were confidential. I then asked ifhe would have a precis of such papers as were not confidential laid on the table, and he promised to consider my request. I desire to know whether he has yet arrived at a decision.
– I shall either show to my honorable friend the papers which are not of a confidential character, or, if he should so desire, give him a precis of them.
– Yes; but the honorable senator will see from the nature of the return that it would be extremely inconvenient for me to attempt to read it, while the information itself would be obscure.
– Quite so. May I ask if the honorable senator intends to move that the document be printed ?
– The return will come before the Printing Committee in the usual way, and I see no necessity to submit a. specific motion.
– Question No.1, Senator Colonel Neild.
– The question has been practically answered by the return which has been laid upon the table.
– Does the honorable senator desire to ask the question?
– No; that is hardly necessary, in view of the production of the return.
– Does the honorable senator ask the question?
– The information has been embodied in a statement laid upon the table of the Senate.
– Had the answer been given in the ordinary form, it would necessarily be printed, - but as the question has been answered in the form of a return, I again ask the Minister whether he will move that the document be printed ?
– The honorable senator is quite right in saying that if the return were supplied as an answer to his question, in the ordinary way, it would be printed, not as a Parliamentary paper, but in Hansard. I see no reason, however, for taking any extraordinary action with regard to this particular return.
In Committee (Consideration . resumed from 22nd October, vide page 4924) :
Clause 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 (Reservation of State jurisdiction as to railways).
– I ask the Committee to negative this clause. It was drafted at a time when it was thought that there might be a portion of a State railway within the Federal territory. As the territory has now been defined, there is no portion of a State railway within its boundaries, and the clause is, therefore, unnecessary.
Clauses 8 to11 agreed to.
– I move -
Thatthere following new clause be inserted : - 11a. - (x.) Duties of Customs or of Excise collected in the Territory shall be new revenue within the meaning of the Surplus Revenue Act 1908. (2.) Duties of Customs or of Excise collected in the Territory on goods which afterwards pass into a State for consumption shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have been collected not in the Territory but in the State. (3.) Duties of Customs or of Excise collected in a State on goods which afterwards pass into the Territory for consumption shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have been collected not in the State but in the Territory. (4.) This section shall come into operation on the proclaimed day referred to in section six.
Honorable senators will notice that the Bill makes provision for the recognition of any equitable claim which the Government of New South Wales is able to make with respect to the payment of all revenues colected within the Federal territory up to the date of the proclamation accepting that territory on behalf of the Commonwealth, and in respect of some revenue even after that date. I do not cavil at that, as I consider it is a just provision. But I would direct attention to the fact that the Bill makes no provision at all for the recognition of any claim by the Commonwealth Government for the payment of revenues from the territory to which the Commonwealth, may be equitably entitled. There is a clause providing that the laws of New South Wales and their administration shall continue until such time as the Commonwealth Parliament otherwise provides. I desire that, from the date on which the territory is accepted by proclamation, every shilling of revenue contributed by the residents of the territory shall be paid into the Consolidated Revenue of the Commonwealth. It is for this purpose that I have proposed the insertion of the new clause which honorable senators have had before them in print. I commend it to the good sense of the Committee.
– For reasons which I propose briefly to set before the Committee, I trust that Senator Givens will see his way to withdraw the proposed new clause.
– They will have to be very strong reasons, because what I propose is so manifestly fair.
– I am certain that the reasons I shall offer will appeal to the honorable senator’s common sense and business instinct. The proposal he makes is one which, in the abstract, I should have no hesitation in accepting; but we must consider the matter from a practical point of view. At the present moment the number of people in the proposed Federal territory is extremely limited.
– Could the honorable senator give the Committee an approximate estimate of the number?
– Speaking from memory, I think that the figures which I had before me last week disclosed the fact that there are some 1,200 residents in the proposed territory.
– When we take over the territory, there may be an influx of people into it.
– That may be so; but I come to my second argument, which is that we are rapidly approaching the time when, by the operation of the Constitution, or by the adoption of the proposed or any other financial agreement, the bookkeeping system will cease to exist. The honorable senator’s amendment proposes to provide for the interregnum which will occur between the time when the Bill comes into operation, which will probably be towards the end of the year, and the time when, by the acceptance of the financial agreement, or the expiry of the Braddon section, the bookkeeping system will be brought to a close.
– The new clause I propose is intended only to cover the interregnum.
– That means that it would be in operation, at the most, possibly for twelve months. Assuming that the financial agreement is adopted-
– That is too much to assume.
– Whatever the honorable senator’s anticipations may be, that contingency has to be taken into account. If the financial agreement be adopted, the proposed new clause would operate only for a very, few months, and against the very slight advantage to be derived from the receipt of revenue for that period from a population of 1,000, or 1,200 people, we have to set the tremendous difficulties and disadvantages surrounding the collection of that revenue. We should have to draw around the Federal territory a temporary cordon of Customs Houses.
– No; because all goods enter the proposed territory at two points only.
– The honorable senator will see that there is nothing to prevent goods from being brought into the territory from fifty different points. He surely would not ask the. Committee to adopt a provision which would prevent a settler on the boundary line of the territory buying goods from a storekeeper on the other. side of that line.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council says that it is not closely settled.
– At the same time, those who are settled within this particular area are entitled to a little consideration, lt would be a monstrous thing it’ a settler who was located half-a-mile inside the boundary line of the Federal Territory suddenly found, when he attempted to purchase goods from a storekeeper across the border, that he was breaking the law.
– He would not be breaking the law, provided that he filled in the necessary Customs form.
– ls a man who wishes to cross the boundary line of the Federal Territory, in order to purchase tin of condensed milk, to be required to fill in a Customs form? Of course, when the Commonwealth was dealing with large amounts it was necessary to incur that trouble.
– Has the VicePresident of the Executive Council no regard for the Commonwealth? Must consideration be extended only to New South Wales ?
– If the amount involved were a large one, there might he some force in the honorable senator’s contention.
– According to the honorable gentleman’s own showing, it would mean 50s. per capita on 1,200 persons.
– That would he equivalent to 25s. per capita for six months. I am assuming that that is the maximum period for which the honorable senator’s proposal, if adopted, would apply. Is it worth while, in view of the small amount that is involved, subjecting the residents of this area to the inconvenience which would be inflicted upon them under any such arrangement? Is it worth while requiring the Customs officers who would have to be stationed there to make the suggested division of Customs revenue? I woul’d also point out to Senator Givens that if this Bill becomes law, as I anticipate it will - and I am entitled -to indulge in that anticipation, in view of the vote which was registered last -week - it will devolve upon the Government, on the transfer of the Federal Territory, to submit further legislative proposals, providing for the internal government of that Territory. In view of that circumstance, of the small amount that would be involved, of the extreme trouble that would be experienced in collecting it, and of the irritation that would be engen dered amongst the inhabitants of the area concerned,’! submit that it is scarcely worth’ while imposing such a restriction as the honorable senator has proposed. I trust that he will see fit to withdraw the clause.
..’ - I - I do not think that the arguments advanced by the Vice-President of the Executive Council are sufficiently strong te induce any honorable senator to withdraw a proposition of this kind. If he will look at the map of the Yass-Canberra area,, he cannot fail to recognise that nearly all the settlers within that area are located irc one corner. It is idle for him to suggest that the residents along the border of the Federal Territory would be inconvenienced by my proposal. As a matter of fact, there is no settlement upon the catchment area of the Cotter River. The whole of this district is served from two points, viz., Yass and Queanbeyan. If the proposed new clause be inserted, there is nothing to prevent the Government from stationing a junior Customs officer at the railway stations of Queanbeyan and Yass to take tally of the goods which cross from New South Wales into the proposed Federal Territory,.so that the Commonwealth may be credited? with all the revenue that is properly derivable from the entry of those goods. TheVicePresident -of. the Executive Councilhas urged that the amount that would be involved is not a large one. But I notice that wherever the interests of New South Wales are concerned, provision is made for giving her every farthing to which she is entitled. I .do not cavil at that. It isthe proper thing to do. But it is equally fair that from the very moment this area becomes Federal Territory, the Commonwealth should receive every farthing of revenue to which it is justly entitled. I do not think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council can show that any difficulty would be experienced under my proposal. The honorable gentleman has assumed ‘ that the new clause, if adopted, would operate only for a very short period, because he anticipates that the proposed financial agreement between the Commonwealth and the States will probably become law. I hold that no Government has a right to assume anythingof the kind. No Minister is entitled to. base an argument upon any such assump-tion until Parliament has spoken upon thesubject. Further, it is the business of Parliament to legislate for things as they are. The proposed new clause is merely in the nature of a tentative provision which is intended to cover an interregnum. It is so eminently fair that the Vice-President of the Executive Council cannot cavil at it. I say that on behalf of the Commonwealth which we primarily represent, we should insist upon the Federation receiving the same fair deal that we are prepared to grant to New South Wales. As a matter of fact, the procedure which is contemplated in my proposal hasbeen adopted from the very inception of the Commonwealth. If I wish to send 5s. worth of goods from Melbourne to Queensland, I am obliged to fill in a Customs form.
– That is to enable a financial adjustment to be made between the various States.
– Yet the honorable senator cannot see that it is equally necessary that an equitable financial adjustment should be made as between the Commonwealth and New South Wales. I hope that the Committee will support my proposal.
– Has the honorable senator any idea of what the revenue and expenditure of the proposed Federal Territory is likely to be?
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has already told us that the inhabitants of that Territory number about 1,200. The honorable senator himself can make the calculation on the basis of 50s. per capita. The VicePresident of the Executive Council has declared that the revenue of the Territory wouldbe equivalent to 25s. per capita on 1,200 inhabitants. But that would not be the case unless the operation of my proposal were limited to six months.
– What would be the expenditure of policing that area?
– It would be practically nil. There are not three policemen in the whole area. As a matter of fact, I do not think that there is one. It is true that police are stationed at Yass and Quean- beyan, but those towns will be in New South Wales territory. Under the Bill, that State will continue to receive revenue from lands which are in course of alienation under contract, and I do not cavil at that. But while we are prepared to do a fair thing to New South Wales, we should insist upon an equally fair deal being extended to the Commonwealth, which includes the people of all the States, and not merely those of New South Wales. I intend to press my proposal to a division.
– May I point out to Senator Givens that, by the issue of a proclamation, the Commonwealth Government can, if they choose to do so, retain all the Customs and Excise revenue that may be collected within the Federal Territory. They possess that power under the Constitution. But as the Vice-President of the Executive Council has pointed out, it is questionable whether it would be expedient to harry the inhabitants of that Territory by placing around it a cordon of Customs officers. I submit that this is a matter in which we may confidently trust the Government. I repeat that they have full power to retain every penny of Customs and Excise revenue that may be collected within the Federal Territory, if they think it worth while to do so. If it is not worth while, the Commonwealth should not be put to theexpense either of collecting the Customs and Excise revenue or of harrying the residents of the district. There is not a Government in Australia that will want money more urgently than will the Commonwealth Government. They will want all they can collect. But probably the game of collecting the Customs and Excise revenue in the Federal area during the period specified will not be worth the candle. Consequently, by. carrying Senator. Givens’ proposed new clause we may be harrying the people of the district on account of little or no return, whilst the cost of enforcing the law in the form suggested may be more than the revenue derivable. The Government have plenary powerto collect the revenue if they choose to do so.Can we not trust the Government to determine between the two issues, andto collect every penny if it is worth while to do so?
– It is to be regretted that Senator Givens has seen fit to refer to New South Wales in relation, to this subject. New South Wales has not asked that she shall have a right to the duties for any period. The course of procedure proposed by . the Bill is quite natural. I feel sure that Senator Givens has not thought out the extreme annoyance that the course suggested by him might cause; and the probable costliness of it. The very sparseness of the population would be one of the causes of the costliness of checking the passage of goods throughout the area. If such a clause were passed, we should have to set up for a short period only
Customs arrangements of the most costly character.
– Nothing of the kind, and the honorable senator ought to know it.
– Probably I know a good deal more about the costliness of such proceedings’ than the honorable member does, and I say that the expense would probably be far beyond any mere temporary advantage which the Commonwealth would secure.
.- I cannot allow Senator Pulsford’s statement to go without a word of reply. First he seems to think that it is positively indecent for any one to mention New South Wales in this matter.
– I did not say anything of the sort.
– The honorable senator left me under that impression. In fact, he thinks that no one should desire to come between the New South Wales representatives and their beloved Capital site.
– Senator Pulsford said that New South Wales1 had made no claim upon this money.
– She does not require to make a claim if the Commonwealth Government allows the matter to go by default. That is what is proposed in this Bill, because no provision is made for collecting that revenue.
– It is merely a question of adjustment between the two parties.
– There is no question of adjustment. Whenever it comes to arranging matters between the Commonwealth and any of the States the Commonwealth is sacrificed. In the matter of the Capital site it was Mr. Wade who had his way. In the matter of the Financial Agreement it was- Mr. Wade again. In industrial legislation it is Mr. Wade once more. Everything is sacrificed to Mr. Wade. We are now proposing to take over territory situated in New South Wales, and we make no provision whatever for laying claim to our own revenue. That revenue will be collected in New South Wales and credited to that- State. Such a position is absolutely ridiculous. We are told by Senator St. Ledger, that what I. propose would harry the residents. We should not harry them any more than any one in the Commonwealth is harried by the ordinary administration of the Customs.
– I did not happen to say so.
– The honorable senator said distinctly, as the Ilansard report will show, that the provision which I have submitted would be unnecessarily harrying to the few people in the territory.
– “ Might be,” I said.
– My proposal would not have any such effect. As to the argument that the administration would be excessively costly, I reply that all that would be required would be the services of a junior Customs officer at each of the twostations, Yass and Queanbeyan, through which all goods enter the territory. When. 1 send a parcel of goods worth, perhaps, not more than 5s., to my home in Queensland, and have” to go to the Customs office and fill in a form, I do not whine that I am harried. I have to do that simply to enable the proper amount of revenue to be credited to each State. Why should we not also adjust the proper amount to be credited to the Commonwealth when it hasa territory of its own?
– As we can take the whole of the revenue, why legislate for it?
– I am not prepared to trust the present Government, or any Government, in matters with which Parliament should itself deal. It is not safe to trust any Government. In no Parliament with which I have been acquainted has the Legislature allowed itself to be dominated by a Government in such a fashion. No self-respecting Parliament would allow its functions to be abrogated by saying : ‘ ‘ We can trust the Government to do this.” What is Parliament for if the Government is to be trusted to do everything? It is the duty of Parliament to prescribe exactly what shall be done; and I am asking for nothing that is not eminently fair and just. Even the Minister in opposing my proposed new clause had not a word to say against the principle of my claim. It has been said that the revenue will not amount to much. It will amount approximately to 50s. per head per annum. The interregnum may cover- twelve months or moreIt may be a great deal longer. If the interregnum be shorter, this provision wilt automatically disappear. After the Braddon section expires in 1910 the bookkeeping sections of the Constitution will still remain in operation “ until the Parliament otherwise provides.” It cannot be seriously thought that this Commonwealth Parliament, having succeeded in passing this Bill, will sit down quietly and do nothing mote. Work will have to be done within the territory, and there may be a large influx of population. Although the population is not more than 1,200 now, there may be 5,000 or 6,000 people there within five or six months of the passing of this measure. Why should New South Wales get the revenue which properly belongs to the Commonwealth? It is the duty of this Parliament to see that the Commonwealth receives it.
Question - That proposed new clause 11a be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed new clause negatived.
Clause 12 agreed to.
First schedule (Text of Agreement).
– In accordance with the instruction given to theCommittee,I propose presently to move -
That the agreement referred to in the preamble be the first schedule to the Bill.
I presume, sir, that it is almost unnecessary for me to suggest that it should be first dealt with paragraph by paragraph.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
Paragraph 1 and 2 agreed to.
Paragraph 3 -
The State shall reserve from sale, lease, and occupation (except with the concurrence of the
Commonwealth), all Crown lands within the catchment areas of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers.
– I desire the Minister to tell the Committee for what term it is intended that the State of New South Wales shall reserve from sale, lease, and occupation, the watershed of the Molonglo and Queanbeyan Rivers - for a term of years, or for ever ?
– The paragraph can, I think, bear only one construction, and that is that the State shall reserve in perpetuity the land from sale, lease, and occupation. That is the intention of the paragraph, and I think that it is clearly conveyed by the words used.
– The only authority which could release the State from the clause would be the Commonwealth.
– I can assure Senator Lynch that the intention of the paragraph is that the reservation shall be made for all time.
– Iask the Minister to consider whether it would not be as well to express the intention that the reservation is to be made for all time, instead of leaving that to be inferred. We all know that in some States reservations have been made from time to time and cancelled.
– Not made under an agreement between two Governments.
– The State Government could not alter this agreement without the consent of the Federal Parliament.
– Unless the paragraph is altered it may lead to a lot of unnecessary friction. If the intention is to permanently reserve the land, the word “ permanently “ should be used. Reserves have been made by State Governments which it has been found necessary to throw open for selection and for occupation. I move -
That the word “ permanently “ be inserted before the word “reserve.”
– Would not the honorable senator like the Committee to go back and insert the word “ permanently “ before the word “surrender” in paragraph 1? If the word is necessary in one paragraph, it might as well be used all through the agreement.
– I think that in this case it is very necessary to insert the word “ permanently “ in order to make the meaning clear. The paragraphs should be so plainly worded as to remove the possibility of doubt or friction.
– Under the Constitution, both the State and its Courts are bound to observe our laws.
– I hope that Senator Lynch will not press the amendment, because I can assure him that it is wholly unnecessary. He might just as well have asked that the word “permanently “ should precede or follow the word “ surrender “ in paragraph 1, or that the words “for ever” should be inserted after the word “ protect “ in paragraph 4. The legal interpretation of paragraph 3 is very simple. It simply means that the State shall never sell or lease the land or allow it to be occupied.
– With reference to Senator Lynch’ s statement that Governments have made reserves and cancelled them, I would point out that in each case, the Government was dealing with the affairs of its own State, whereas we. are considering an agreement between two Governments.
– Is it not a reservation all the same ?
– Surely my honorable friend can see the difference between a reservation by a sovereign authority, which answers to no one but itself, and an agreement between two sovereign authorities, which are answerable to the Courts. An individual may follow his inclination in the prosecution of his business, but he cannot do that when he is bound by an agreement with some one else. This is an agreement between New South Wales and the Commonwealth, and it cannot be broken by either party without the other having the right to apply to the Court. In view of that fact and the statement by Senator Clemons,I ask the honorable senator not to divide the Committee.
– It seems almost unarguable that, if New South Wales attempted to sell or let the reserve the Commonwealth would have ample power to. restrain the State from doing so. To my mind the insertion of the word “ permanently “ would cast a doubt upon our plenary power. If the clause is passed as it stands it seems to me almost self-evident that the Commonwealth could restrain the State under that section of the Constitution which requires every State and StateCourt to ob serve our law. The amendment is quite unnecessary, and it might be dangerous to put in any word qualifying our power.
– Senator Pulsford interjected that we might as well insert the word “ permanently “ before the word “ surrender “ in paragraph 1 as insert it in this clause before the word “ reserve.” I do not profess to have as much knowledge about these matters as he has, but it appears to me that this reservation of the catchment areas of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo rivers will belong to the State, and that the Commonwealth will have no control over them except as its interests are affected,by paragraph 3 of the agreement. May I ask the Minister why the State does not hand over the catchment areas to the Commonwealth?
– If the -areas cannot be settled they will be of no use to the State.
– Why should the State retain possession of the areas if it is not to have the right to sell, lease, or occupy them ? If it can do nothing with the land what is the good of keeping it?
– The State Government might derive Customs duties or rent from these catchment areas.
– They undertake in this agreement to reserve from sale, lease, and occupation, except with the concurrence of the Commonwealth, all Crown lands within the catchment ‘ areas of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers. The interpretation put upon the agreement by Senator Clemons may be correct, but I think it would be desirable to insert the word “ permanently “ as Senator Lynch has proposed. The honorable senator has pointed out that Governments have time and again withdrawn reserves.
– There has been no agreement in those cases, and there is an agreement in this case, which makes all the difference.
– If we inserted the word “permanently” it would show the mind of the Committee. We know that Courts interpret laws andagreements in accordance with the words contained in them and without any reference to the intention of the persons who framed the laws or entered into the agreements. We ought to make it perfectly clear even to the meanest intellect that we mean that this countryshall bereserved in perpetuity from sale, lease, or occupation.
– The paragraph provides that at any and every time there shall be still the same reservation.
– With all deference to the honorable senator, I should like to say that the law is a most uncertain scieuce, if it can be called a science at all. It is often a case of “ Heads I win, tails you lose.” Decisions in the Courts often depend on the state of the Judges’ livers. We should frame this agreement so that there can be no doubt as to what we really mean.
– The paragraphs cannot mean that the reservation shall be in perpetuity unless the words “except with the concurrence of the Commonwealth “ are struck out.
– No one desires that those words should be struck out.
– I am not sure that it would not be wise to strike them out, but I am not greatly interested in their omission, because the people one hundred years hence will have the same right to conduct the affairs of the . Commonwealth that we have to deal with the matters which are now before us. Our intention should be stated in this agreement so plainly that not even judges or lawyers could distort it. So far as I can see, paragraph 3 of the agreement does not state exactly what we intend, and in the circumstances I think it is extremely desirable that the amendment should be agreed to.
.- It seems to me that it would be a mistake to accept . the amendment. The paragraph is complete and clear as it stands. If we were to insert the word “ permanently “ it might imply that for a short time the land, in the catchment areas might be subject to conditions of sale, lease, or occupation.
– Without the word “ permanently “ that might be so.
– I take the contrary view, and hold that if the word is not inserted these lands cannot be touched at all except with the concurrence of the Commonwealth.
– Whilst it is provided under this paragraph of the agreement that the lands within the catchment areas of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers shall be reserved from sale, lease, and occupation, it is not provided that they shall not be occupied by Adjoining land holders, for camping re serves or for the running of stock. There might be a hundred ways in which, subject to the reservation, these rivers might be polluted.
– Will the honorable senator look at paragraph 4 of the agreement?
– That paragraph states that the State shall not pollute and shall protect from pollution the waters of those rivers. But that is the very thing I desire to emphasize before we finally pass clause 3. We shall really have no power to force the State Government to carry out this duty effectively. I think that paragraph3 is a good paragraph so far as it goes, but it does not go f ar enough. We cannot be absolutely assured that these rivers will be protected from pollution unless we own the catchment areas ourselves. It would be impossible to alter the agreement in that respect now, because the Government would, no doubt, resist such a proposal ; but I think the Vice-President of the Executive Council might undertake to see that these catchment areas shall not be used as camping reserves or places on which to run stock by adjoining land holders, or occupied in such a way as might lead to the pollution of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo- Rivers. The honorable senator might consider the advisability of proposing some amendment to meet my objection.
– Ican assure Senator Givens that all the difficulties and possibilities present in his mind presented themselves to the AttorneyGeneral in the preparation of this agreement. It was in consequence of them that paragraph 4 was inserted. It reads -
The State shall not pollute and shall protect from pollution the waters of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers throughout theirwhole course above the Territory.
– How could we force the Government to comply with that obligation if they refused to do so?
– That objection would apply with equal force to every paragraph of the agreement. How are we to carry out this or any other agreement? There are only two ways known to the barbaric and civilized worlds; one is a resort to force, and the other a resort to law. There is no question as to which of these alternatives could be adopted in this case.
– But if we resort to law there is no provision for a penalty.
– The honorable senator assumes first of all that there will be a breach of the agreement.
– No, I say there may be.
– The fact that the Court can call to book either party to the agreement that fails to discharge its obligation, is the best guarantee that the agreement will be carried out.
– But the Court could enforce no penalty.
– The honorable senator has often by interjection suggested that in most cases the lawyers’ costs constitute a sufficient penalty. I cannot conceive that with a clear obligation imposed upon the Government of New South Wales by this paragraph, they would set out to look for trouble, and take such action as would result in a heavy penalty upon the State, even though the penalty would be in the form of lawyers’ costs, and not in the form of a fine.
– Paragraph 3 of the agreement seems to me to be a very peculiar paragraph. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has said that there is very little doubt in his mind that the Commonwealth will not require the waters of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo rivers.
– I did not say that.
– I understood the honorable senator to say that the Cotter River would supply all the requirements of the Federal Capital-
– I said that the waters of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo rivers would not be required for domestic purposes.
– It seems to me that there is some danger of the territory comprised in these catchment areas becoming a sort of no-man’s land. The Government of New South Wales agreed to reserve these areas for all time from sale, lease and occupation, except with the concurrence of the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth Government will not be anxious ‘ to extend the right of the State Government to utilize these land? If the State Government can make no use of these lands, why should they not be prepared to hand them over entirely to the Commonwealth? I am afraid that right alongside what may be a very closely populated area we shall have a no-man’s land.
– Does the honorable senator expect that a large population will be settled on these catchment areas? He cannot have been over them.
– If the State Government can. make no use of these lands I do not see why they should be unwilling to hand them over to the Commonwealth authorities, who might make full use of them. There seems to be some hope that after all Commonwealth requirements are met the State Government will be able to make some use of these catchment areas, and if that be so the VicePresident of the Executive Council might be able to say in what way it is expected that the State and Commonwealth authorities will co-operate to make use of them.
. -Iam astonished that at this stage of the discussion of this matter any member of the Committee should speak as Senator E. J. Russell has done. Because paragraph 3 provides that the State Government shall reserve from sale, lease, and occupation, all Crown lands within these catchment areas, the honorable senator assumes that these lands are utterly useless and will remain depopulated.
– No, I asked for information.
– I am sorry that the honorable senator should need information to the extent that his question has suggested. He speaks . of these areas becoming a sort of no-man’s land. If he will only look at the map he will see that this country is not a no-man’s land.
– I asked whether there was any possibility under the agreement of preventing its further development.
– There is nothing in the agreement to prevent the further development of the country within the catchment areas of these rivers unless it were found that developing them upon certain lines might involve the pollution of the rivers. In that case, by the terms of paragraph 2, the interests of the Commonwealth are declared to be paramount. No development can take place which will result in a diminution of the flow down those rivers. The same rule is applicable to the privateowner, except that the State undertakes the obligation of seeing that he does not pollute any stream. Senator E. J. Russell has argued that as the catchment areas of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo rivers are of no use to New South Wales - a circumstance which has not yet been admitted by that
State - she might as well hand them over to the Commonwealth. May I remind him that the Commonwealth asked New South Wales to grant it 900 square miles ot Federal territory, so that his proposal would mean increasing that area by about 60 per cent., seeing that there are 580 square miles within those catchment areas. When the Commonwealth asked New South Wales for a grant of 900 square miles of territory, it asked for an area which was sufficient.
– Is it not within the power of the Commonwealth to prevent the further development of this territory ?
– If its development would mean the pollution of these rivers. It is to guard against that possibility that paragraphs 2 and 4 have been inserted in the agreement. But one can conceive of a tremendous amount of development which would not entail the pollution of the streams.
– Who is to determine that - the High Court of the Commonwealth ?
-The power which ii paramount. The High Court would always have to bear in mind the fact that under this agreement, Commonwealth interests must predominate.
Paragraph agreed to.
Paragraph 4 agreed to.
Paragraph 5 -
The State shall grant to the Commonwealth (so far as the same are not already vested in the Commonwealth) without payment therefor areas of land at Jervis Bay described as follows : -
– Next in importance to the’ area comprised within the Federal territory is the area which is to be granted to the Commonwealth for the .purposes of a port. The Senate has already declared that it is necessary to have a Federal port by inserting in the Seat of Government Act 1908, a provision that the Federal territory should contain an outlet to the sea. I would draw attention to the fact that in the clause with which we are now dealing, the land which it is proposed to concede to the Commonwealth for the purposes of a port is defined as that portion of Jervis Bay which is coloured red upon the map that is hanging in the chamber. I have scaled that map, and I find that that country at its narrowest part is very little more than half a mile across. I would further point out that in the past the areas which are outlined in blue have been reserved by the State for defence purposes. These it was intended to hand back to New South Wales-
– As being unnecessary.
– Yes. But in view of the proposal that a Federal port should be located at Jervis Bay, it is now pro: posed that the areas which are coloured blue upon the map shall be vested in the Commonwealth for defence purposes. Be: tween the area that is- coloured red and* that which is coloured blue there is a small tract of country which is white, and which’ I note is to remain State territory.
– Being freehold land it was not within the power of New South Wales to grant it to the Commonwealth.
– The proposal is that the land at Jervis Bay which is to be granted to the Commonwealth, shall extend only to high-water mark. “ In other words the Commonwealth will not be able to exercise any control over the ^territorial waters within that port. We shall, of course, have the right to erect wharfs if they are necessary for Federal purposes’, but the water surrounding those . wharfs will be under State control, because under the proposed agreement the territorial waters will not be transferred to us. My first point, therefore, is that the area which it is proposed to hand over to the Commonwealth for a port is altogether inadequate. In the second place it is not of a shape which will permit of a port of any size being built upon it. I, therefore, intend to move -
That after the word “follows,” line 5, the following words be inserted, “ All that portion of the county of St. Vincent, parish of Bherwerre, lying eastward of a line running south from the point of outflow of Flat Rock Creek into Jervis Bay to a point due south on Wreck Bay, and bounded on the south by Wreck Bay, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, and on the north by Jervis Bay, and including Bowen Island and the territorial waters of such areas.” In the map which I hold in my hand I have roughly edged in blue the area which I propose we should ask the New South Wales. Government to grant to us. Approximately, it embraces ten square miles.
– I think that New South Wales would be very foolish if it granted it to us.
– In the first place, I desire the Committee to understand that practically the whole of the land defined in my amendment is Crown land, which is absolutely valueless. If honorable senators will look at the official report upon the
Yass-Canberra area, they will see that it is described as “ low lying, sandy country.”
– Then it can be of no value to the Commonwealth.
– If a port be established at Jervis Bay, it will become valuable. It will be made valuable as the result of Federal expenditure and enterprise. Ifwe are to establish a Federal port there, an area of ten square miles will be little enough.
– Can the honorable senator tell me where they had a port in America when that country established its Federal capital?
– In America no Federal territory has a port.
– And whoever interferes with the Federal Government of the United . States ?
– If the Senate is of opinion that we do not require a port, then we do not need even two square miles of country at Jervis Bay, But either we require a port or we do not. If we do, we want a sufficient area upon which we can build one, and two square miles is insufficient for the purpose. I trust that my proposal will not be treated as a party one. I submit it in perfect good faith, but I say that when we are making an agreement with New South Wales we have a right to ask that State to grant us an area which we deem sufficient for our purposes at Jervis Bay. Senator, Guthrie can tell the Committee that a good portion of the Darling Road within Jervis Bay is not navigable. Vessels would have practically to go round in a circle in order to get into the anchorage of the port if one were established there. At the present time a sand-spit runs out into the Bay for a distance of two miles, and, therefore, there is no direct entrance into that road.
– Does not the same remark apply to nearly every harbor in the world? It does to Sydney Harbor.
– I am not urging that fact as. a disadvantage. I am merely pointing out that we must not regard the area, outlined upon the map as indicative of the fact that the whole of the harbor is navigable. Vessels would have to go two or three miles into the Bay, and then turn southwards-
– Not three miles.
– Two and a quarter miles to be perfectly accurate. I trust that the Committee will look ahead in regarding this matter. If I thought for a moment that the Commonwealth was not going to have a port of more than two square miles in extent, I should say, “ Let us abandon the idea altogether.”
– Would not the Commonwealth own the waters within three miles of the shore?
– No, All the waters within three miles of the coast of Australia are under the control of the States-; 1 submit that, altogether apart from the question of area, the Commonwealth ought to control the waters of the Federal port. The area that is defined in the agreement in this connexion is altogether inadequate. I would ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he does not regard my proposal as a legitimate one, and one in which the New South Wales Government would acquiesce? I am not asking that State to forego valuable land. I merely wish to avoid future complications arising as the result of a divided control over land and water.
– Senator Pearce has raised two points. The first has reference to whether the area proposed to be ceded to the Commonwealth, to enable it to establish a Federal port, is sufficient. I do not gather that the honorable senator has moved an amendment, but I understand that what he desires is that the New South. Wales Government should be asked to hand over to the Commonwealth, in lieu of the two square miles of country coloured red upon the map, all the land east of the line which now forms the western boundary of theproposed Federal territory. That would embrace an area of ten square miles. I do not intend to argue, the question of whether, for the purposes of a port, two square miles is likely to be a sufficient area for all imaginative possibilities. But I say that the New South Wales Government has given us an area of land which was never contemplated by the Constitution. She has undertaken to grant a certain portion of land to the Commonwealth, to enable it to establish a Federal port. That area embraces a great deal more land than the New South Wales Government owns at Port Jackson to-day.
– But not a great deal more than the New South Wales Government exercises- control over.
– We are now dealing with the land which the New South Wales Government have offered to grant.
I am pointing out that, in my opinion, that area is ample. But if it be not, the Commonwealth Government have in reserve their powers of resumption.
– The Commonwealth will not have control.
– We shall have asmuch control over what we buy as we shall have over what is given up.
– We shall not have sovereign rights.
– No sovereign rights are vested in the Commonwealth over the piece of property at Jervis Bay. The whole question comes down to this : The State Government offers to grant an area of two square miles, and there is behind that area land which may or may not be necessary for Federal purposes. If it be thought necessary, the Federal Government will be able to do with that land what it is able to do with any other land that is required for public purposes - say, for the purpose of a rifle range or a post-office. It can step in and take possession, compensating the owner. In this instance, the cost of resumption would not be great. New South Wales has given up as much as we can reasonably ask her to give, in view of the circumstances of the case. Senator Pearce has said that a vessel entering the Bay would have to go two or three miles to the north-west, and then turn south. I have before me the Admiralty chart, and, so far as I can see, it would not be at all necessary to do so.
– Are there not rocks extending two and a quarter miles from Bowen Island?
– It is possible to trace with a pencil on the chart a course which a vessel could take, giving an ample depth, and not requiring her to go anything like three miles out of her convenient course. If there were anything in the objection raised by Senator Pearce, it applies equally to Port Jackson, which, as I suppose honorable senators will admit’, is generally considered to be a very fine harbor. It has there been considered necessary for ships to take a particular course, which is marked out by beacons and lights. There is one point upon which Senator Pearce touched which, I must confess, gave me some little anxiety in the first instance. I refer to the term “ high- water mark.” When I first saw the agreement I immediately drew attention to those words’. But the Attorney-General has given very considerable thought to the matter, and has pointed out that, whether the words are left in or not makes no difference. I think that we can accept his assurance with confidence. Indeed, Senator Pearce himself supplied an answer, because he has stated that, for all Federal purposes, we should be able to carry on any works or operations we thought fit, irrespective of the words in question.
– I said we should be able to erect wharfs for Federal purposes, but. should not have absolute control over them.
– I thought the words “high-water mark” were taken exception to because it was considered that the Commonwealth would be hampered if it were desired to construct wharfs or slips, or anything of the kind. But Senator Pearce has admitted that the Commonwealth would have ample power to carry out any Federal purpose that it thought fit. Senator Guthrie still seems to be dubious, but Senator Pearce and the Attorney-General together form a strong combination to whose authority I am prepared to submit. There has never been any question as to the power of the Commonwealth to do anything that may be considered necessary .to carry out Federal functions. That power will not be restrained or hampered iri the slightest degree either by the insertion or the omission of these words. They make practically no difference to our power. That being so, it would hardly lie worth while to make an amendment immaterial in itself which would necessitate the agreement having to be sent back elsewhere.
– The statement made by the VicePresident of the Executive Council was a revelation to me ; because I took it, on reading the Bill, that the land at Jervis Bay being granted by New South Wales, would become Federal territory.
– Paragraph 1 uses the word “ surrender,” and paragraph 5 uses the word “ grant.”
– I was not aware that there was any material difference between the two terms.
– They have two distinct meanings.
– That being so, T assume the State Government would have a power of taxation over the territory to lie occupied bv the Federal Government at Jervis Bay ?
– The State Government would have no power of taxation. That has been decided. The States have not even the power to tax the emoluments of members of Parliament.
– At any rate, the State Government will have powers over the area at Jervis Bay. That is admitted.
– It is a mere trifle.
– Something has been said as to what was done in America. But we have to avoid making the mistakes that have been made in the United States. We are now attempting to build up a naval Defence Force for the Commonwealth. Yet we are not to have an inch of ground for the purpose of housing the vessels of our Defence Force. The proposal is absolutely ridiculous, to my mind. Senator Millen has said that he can trace on the Admiralty chart by means of a pencil a convenient course which ships could take in entering the Federal port. That may seem an easy thing to do, but apparently the honorable senator has taken no note of sunken rocks or reefs, which would prevent a vessel from taking any but a very narrow passage indeed.
– We have steam-ships nowadavs, not sailing ships.
– Steam-ships cannot go over rocks. The Admiralty sailing directions describe the waters in question in the following terms -
Darling Road is the southern part of the bay 2 miles deep, which from the north extreme of Bowen Isle, extends N.W. by W.½ W., 4½ miles to Plantation Point ; some sunken rocks lie close to the extremity of the point. Two rocky heads project from the shore at S.W. by W.¾ W. 2¼ miles, and W. by S.½ S. 2¾ miles from the north extreme of Bowen Isle ; the north-western of the two heads having some dry and sunken rocks close off it. A sand-spit, with 2 fathoms water on it, projects half a mile north-westward from the eastern part of the bay, and adds to the security of the anchorage by breaking the swell which sets in.
The vessels that are likely to be taken into this port will probably draw more than 12 feet of water. Destroyers would draw more than 2 fathoms when they were absolutely light.
With this exception, the shores of the bay may be approached within a quarter of a mile in 6 and 7 fathoms. The shore from 1 to 2 miles southward of Plantation Point is only separated from the eastern end of St. George’s Basin by an isthmus 2 miles broad.
From those particulars honorable senators can work out the passage a vessel would have to follow. But what is more important is that the land that is to be granted to us stops at high water mark. As far as I can learn there is at Jervis Bay a rise and fall of something like 6 feet. On a sloping shore such as this there would probably be a distance of half-a-mile or three-quarters of a mile between high-water and low-water mark.
– More like100 yards.
– I do not know that the honorable senator has any authority for saying so. If we want this piece of land at all, it is for the purpose of building and repairing our ships. If the State of New South Wales decided to erect wharfs at low-water mark the Commonwealth would, of course, have power to take over the works. But the State might have spent half-a-million of money, and we should certainly have to pay a very big price.
– Is the State likely to do that ?
– We have no idea what the State is likely to do.
– Is the honorable senator not assuming that we are dealing with a hostile nation?
– Of course, we are. The experience of the Commonwealth right through has been that New South Wales has tried to domineer it and to override Federal law. We shall gain nothing by the 2 square miles to be given to us at Jervis Bay, because we shall not own the land at low water mark.
– There are no wharfs there now, and the New South Wales Government is not likely to erect wharfs before we take possession.
– But the State will retain for all time the territorial waters and the whole of the ground between high and low-water mark. The honorable senator knows as well as I do that a similar question was raised between the Marine Board of Tasmania and the Van Diemen’s Land Company, and that…. on appeal the Privy Council held that the latter had no right to the land between high-water mark and low-water mark.
– Yet the company is using the land now.
– I do not care what the company is doing.
– The company had no such power as the Commonwealth has.
-What power do we possess?
– Under the Constitution, we can do anything we like in the carrying out of Federal functions.
– Provided that we compensate the State for anything which it has done. Suppose, for instance, that the Commonwealth decided to build a ship. It would be built above high-water mark ; but before it could be launched, the Commonwealth would be obliged to go over State property. If, however, the State had erected any buildings on the land between high-water mark and low-water mark, what would be the position of the Commonwealth?
– How could the State erect buildings after it had granted that piece of territory to the Commonwealth?
– The State is only proposing to grant the territory to highwater mark.
– What could the State put there?
– A thousand and one things could be done between highwater mark and low-water mark.
– Does the honorable senator seriously believe that the State would erect some impediment in order to prevent the Federation from carrying out its functions?
– I have not said that, nor do I want to do so. But the State might erect something which it might consider useful, and which would block the Commonwealth from the water.
– The honorable senator’s fear is, I understand, that between the two marks the State might build some impediment to Federal action ?
– I have not said that. That is what the Minister has said. My point is that the State would be perfectly justified in erecting wharfs at lowwater mark.
– Abutting on to what?
– The wharfs would abut on to the Federal territory.
– How could they, get to the sea there?
– There would be nothing to prevent them from doing so. The Commonwealth would make approaches to high-water mark, and all that the State Government would have to do would be to make approaches to meet the Federal Government.
– They could not go over private property.
– Does the Minister mean to suggest that the area of 2 square miles would be kept in one block?
– To suggest that the State would build wharfs, after granting the land to the Commonwealth, is too ab surd for discussion.
– I donot know what might be done. If the State has no intention of utilizing the land between the two marks, why is it not handedover to the Commonwealth ? I intend to support the amendment, because I think that the State can have no objection to handing the land over to the Commonwealth.
– In my opinion, the amendment is a fairly reasonable one. Every one knows that I am not in favour of the Bill ; but I think that if the Commonwealth is to have access to the sea, there is good reason why it should have a sufficient area of land at Jervis Bay. In my second-reading speech, I pointed out that, although I was opposed to the Bill, the Commonwealth would no doubt be called upon to do a great deal of work in that locality. We have been offered, a piece of land which, according to Senator Pearce, is half-a-mile wide. If it is the intention of the Government to introduce a system of naval defence, we shall need a considerable area for the purpose of erecting docks and other works. I can easily understand the action of the State Government if they think that the Commonwealth should not carry out these operations on their own Territory, but should establish the necessary works at the State capitals, preferably at Sydney, I suppose, because it seems to me that the Bill is based upon the idea of securing an advantage to that city at the expense of the Commonwealth. If that is the position, I can easily understand the State Government wanting to give to the Commonwealth only a small area to provide access by railway from the Capital to the port. Senator Pearce is, however, asking that an addi tional area should be granted to the Commonwealth, in order that it may be in a position to carry out any operations which may be deemed necessary. The Minister said that we need not bother about asking for more land, because we can buy what we want. At present, the land in question is of very little value.
– Which means that the Commonwealth would have to pay very little for it.
– Yes; but no doubt the Commonwealth would proceed to announce its intention to lay down certain works, and that, of course, would considerably enhance the value of the land which it required. In making provision for the expenditure of large sums in that locality the Commonwealth would increase the value of the land on which the works would be erected. If the State Government are sincere, they will not make the slightest objection to granting the area which Senator Pearce desires to be included in the agreement. The Minister has stated that at present it is not of much value, but he is not prepared to ask the State to grant it.
– This agreement must not be altered.
– It seems to me that the Government of the Commonwealth is not supposed to dot an” i “ or cross a “ t “ so long as the document happens to be submitted by the Premier of New South Wales. A newspaper suggested the other week that for all practical purposes he might as well be the autocrat of the Commonwealth and instruct its Government to carry out his behests. It will be detrimental to the public interest if the Commonwealth does not secure an additional area of land at Jervis Bay. In connexion with naval matters there has always been an idea thatpublic money should be spent in the ports of each State. It is necessary to dissipate that . idea, and that can only be done by the Commonwealth carrying out all works of that kind on its own territory. By that means a blow will be aimed at the parochial spirit which now prevails. If Mr. Wade holds the view that a large expenditure of Federal money should be allotted to Sydney, then it seems to me that the Commonwealth Government are playing into his hands by refusing to accept this amendment. It. should be borne in mind that we are not asking for the cession of any land of particular value. I have noticed in connexion with all such agreements that the State proposes to cede to the Commonwealth land which is of very little value, and which it has not attempted to make use of. In most cases no effort has been made to increase the value of the land or induce persons to settle thereon. It seems to me that the Commonwealth Government are either not in earnest or afraid that if they accepted the amendment the Premier of Mew South Wales would tell them that they must do his bidding, which, of course, t hey would be prepared to do. I intend to vote for the amendment, because I think it is necessary that the Commonwealth should have more land at Jervis Bay than is proposed to be granted under the agreement.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted (Senator Pearce’s amendment) be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … -
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I hope this paragraph will be struck out, because it is better that the Commonwealth shouldnot be placed under an obligation to New South Wales for something that it can make no use of. As the land proposed to be granted at Jervis Bay would be of no. use to the Commonwealth, it is far better that this paragraph should be left out of the agreement.
– TheCommittee should remember that the Commonwealth will hold the land proposed to be granted at Jervis Bay on entirely different conditions from those on which it will hold the Federal territory: The land at Jervis Bay will not belong to the Commonwealth at all. We are to be given only the freehold of it.
– What right has the Commonwealth to demand any more?
– We have a constitutional right to demand what we require for Commonwealth purposes.
– We can get it.
– Senator Mulcahy is trying to prevent us from getting it.
– The Commonwealth has no right to two Federal Capitals.
– We want only one.
– The honorable senator wants one at Canberra and another at Jervis Bay.
– We require access from the sea to the Federal Capital over our own territory. I remind Senator Mulcahy that if a city of 100,000 inhabitants should be established on the land proposed to be granted to the Commonwealth at Jervis Bay, the Commonwealth Government would not receive a shilling of the revenue derived from the inhabitants of that city. Every farthing of if would go to the State Government.
– Does the honorable member regard that State as a ‘foreign country ?
– I am not concerned about the interests of New South Wales in this matter, but about the interests of the people of Australia as a whole. Those of us who are imbued with national ideas look forward to the time when we shall have arsenals, ship-building yards, dock yards, and factories established on our own territory ; and. unless we can secure Federal territory on . the shores of Jervis Bay, we cannot realize those ideas. I agree with Senator Guthrie that if we are to be cribb’d, cabin’d, and confin’d in the way proposed in this agreement, we should be just as well off without any land at Jervis Bay.
– I feel inclined, with Senator Guthrie, to vote against this paragraph. The proposal of the New South Wales Government to grant this small area of land at Jervis Bay is on a par with the stingy, mean, parsimonious and un-Federal conduct which has been pursued by the New South Wales Government throughout the whole of these negotiations. A most unFederal spirit has been exhibited, and anything that has been granted by the New South Wales Government to the Commonwealth has been offered in a most grudging fashion?
– The proof of my assertion is written all over the negotiations.
– Why did they not give us Dalgety?
– Dalgety is dead and buried. They have offered us one of the waste areas of the State as a Federal territory, and they propose to grant us for a harbor two square miles at Jervis Bay of what is known as marine flats.
– That is because they, think us marine flats.
– If we are not marine flats we should very evidently be some other kind of flat, if we accepted this agreement.
– We shall have no territorial rights over this land.
– No, we shall be merely in the position of an ordinary freeholder. My contention, however, is that the area proposed to be granted at Jervis Bay is not sufficient. I should have preferred that the area should be Commonwealth property. I think it ought to be; it is distinctly discreditable to the New South Wales Government that they should offer such a small area on such terms, but it is equally discreditable to the Commonwealth Government to agree to accept such an offer. If the New South Wales Government had been stingy and mean the Commonwealth Government has been paltry and petty. Apparently the two Governments are well met. They have long been searching for each other up and down the earth, and they , have at last met. It is a pity that the affairs of the Commonwealth should be in the hands of such “ little Australians,” who, with their little microscope set to their eyes, peer at this question.
– I do not think the honorable senator’s remarks are relevant to the paragraph.
– I was trying to describe the conduct and spirit in which both the State and Federal Governments have approached this question. The spirit of parsimony on the part of the New South Wales Government is evident in every line of this argreement. I never read of anything more grudging in my life.
– I ask the honorable senator not to continue that line of argument.
– I am confining my remarks strictly to the 2 square miles of country proposed to be granted to the Commonwealth at Jervis Bay. We should be given a larger area, and I am astonished that members of this Committee should be prepared to agree to the proposal made. Seeing that the numbers were even in the last division, the Government might very well postpone this paragraph and reopen negotiations with the New South Wales Government with a view to securing a larger area at Jervis Bay. If we can strike out the clause well and good, but I am afraid we shall not be able to do so.
– The honorable senator cannot do so.
– I hope that Senator W. Russell will help us.
– I did expect some help from the honorable senator. Surely he does not think that 2 square miles is a sufficiently large area for the Federal port of a huge continent like Australia? The honorable senator appears to be in the same boat as honorable senators on the Government side. They do not seem to have any idea of the huge area of this continent, or of the immense population which it will some day carry. Australia is nearly as large as the whole of Europe, and in the clays to come will probably have a population as great as the population of Europe at the present time. Yet it is proposed by the New South Wales Government to offer to the Commonwealth for a port no more than 1,280 acres of land. That would not make a decent farm. In many portions of Australia a dairyman would require more land to keep a dozen cows than the New South Wales Government offer to the Commonwealth for a Federal harbor.
– The value of the land would be about ^300.
– It is the small - ness of the area about which I am troubled at the present moment. Australia is as large as the United States of America, and the probability is that we shall one day have a huge fleet, and that many trading vessels will be owned by the Commonwealth Government. We shall require shipbuilding yards and arsenals, and we cannot carry out the undertakings that will be necessary upon the 2 square miles of Jervis Bay offered by the New South Wales Government. The grudging spirit displayed by that Government makes me despair for the future of the Commonwealth. My only hope is that some day the control of its affairs’ will get into the hands of men who are possessed of larger minds, and who are imbued with more generous instincts than are the gentlemen of whom Senator Walker is such an excellent example.
– I cannot see that the honorable senator’s observations are relevant to the paragraph under consideration.
– I shall vote against the paragraph, and. I trust that a sufficient number of honorable senators will share my view of it to insure its rejection as a protest against the paltry area which the New South Wales Government have offered to the Commonwealth to enable it to establish a Federal port.
– If the circumstance will afford any comfort to Senator Stewart I would remind him that the Commonwealth can purchase more land at Jervis Bay should it require it. But the area defined in this paragraph is a gift, and it is an old adage that one ought not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Personally, I hope that we shall get more land at the Federal port.
– Part of the land there is freehold.
– If more land is required by the Commonwealth I have no doubt that the Government of New South Wales will be prepared to part with it for a very reasonable sum. After all, the area which it is proposed to cede to the Commonwealth at Jervis Bay is for the purpose of establishing a Federal port. The Federal Capital is to be located inland. I hope that there will be no further delayin this matter. Personally, I am anxious, to see it settled.
– I intend to vote against the paragraph, and thus - by accepting less than the agreement contemplates - make it more acceptable to the New South Wales authorities. I do so because I do not think that it is worth our. while to take over the speck of land at Jervis Bay which is outlined in this provision of the agreement. What does Mr. Scrivener say of the land in that locality? He says -
About Jervis Bay, the country resembles that usually found along the coast, as at Botany, rocky sandstone ridges with marshy areas intervening, usually very scrubby, with poor sandy soil.
Any area which may be surrendered to the Commonwealth at Jervis Bay will be as much Federal territory in essence as will be the Capital territory itself. A staff of Federal officials will have to be stationed there, and we shall probably have to build a dock and establish a ship building yard there. ‘ Yet it is proposed to locate all those officials and all these works upon a smalt area of 2 square miles. I believe in being thankful for what is worth receiving, but I do not believe in being grateful for what is not worth having. Consequently I shall vote for the rejection of the paragraph. Of course, I quite recognise the reason underlying the attitude. of the Government upon this question. We have in charge of the Bill a gentleman who, in the past, used his influence to secure a reduction of the area of the Federal territory for which this Parliament stipulated. When the Commonwealth Parliament decided in favour of an area of . 900 square miles in the vicinity of Dalgety, he did his best to secure a reduction of that area. Consequently his action in this matter is thoroughly consistent. Senator Walker has stated that we ought not to look a gift horse in the mouth. If the animal has more than one good tooth in his head, probably we ought not to do so, but if he is an utterly shocking specimen of a horse we ought to reject him altogether. Our rejection of this paragraph may make the New South Wales authorities act more liberally towards us in the future. The country in the vicinity of Jervis Bay is in the nature of the low sandy scrub, which is characteristic of the New South Wales coast. I shall vote for Senator Guthrie’s amendment.
– I entertain two objections to the paragraph. The first has reference to the area which it is proposed to grant the Commonwealth to enable it to establish a Federal port, and which I contend is altogether too small. My second objection is that the Commonwealth will be able to exercise no territorial rights whatever over the area in question. It is well known that a State can prohibit the owners of land from doing certain things with that land, and I should like to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether it is not a fact that the New South Wales Government will be able to prohibit the Commonwealth from doing whatever it may choose with its territory ?
– It is not a fact.
– I think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council is quite wrong. A State can very frequentlyprevent a freeholder from doing just what he likes with his freehold. Will the Commonwealth have better rights than thosewhich are possessed by freeholders?
– The Commonwealth will have ample power to carry out any Federal function.
– These are my two objections to the paragraph. But I would further point out that the voting of the Senate upon this question has afforded no true index of the opinion of this Chamber, because there are a number of honorable senators who have supported the Bill, not with a view to expeditiously fixing the Federal Capital, but rather with the idea of confirming the selection of an objectionable site so that supplies to enable the Capital to be proceeded with may be refused. That is an open secret.
– I have never heard of it.
– I have.
– But the honorable senator has stated that it is an open secret.
– The statement has been made by at least two honorable senators that there is no need for hurry in this matter. The Vice-President of the Executive Council himself had to reply to those statements. Those honorable senators do not wish to see this matter settled. They are in favour of delay.
– Only two of them.
– Will Senator Vardon say that there are not more honorable senators who are imbued with the same idea?
– I have never heard of it.
– It is within the knowledge of honorable senators who have attentively followed the debate that at least two honorable senators have declared that there is no hurry in this matter.
– Do they sit on the Opposition side of the chamber?
– No. They supported the selection of Yass-Canberra.
– The honorable senator must confine himself to the consideration of paragraph 5.
– I am merely pointing out that if this miserable area at Jervis Bay be accepted, it may be an inducement to many honorable senators to refuse to vote the necessary supplies to enable the Commonwealth Government to carry on operations at a place where it could not adequately discharge Federal functions.
– It will be admitted that about the only qualification possessed by the Yass-Canberra district for the purposes of a Federal Capital site is that it offers us a Federal port. If, under the proposed agreement, the usefulness of that port is to be curtailed in any way, I would prefer to see the Bill hung up indefinitely. I have no desire to delay the acceptance by the Commonwealth of the territory to be granted by New South Wales, but if we are not to exercise full control over the frontage to Jervis Bay, and if every facility to make full use of that port is not to be granted to us, I hold that the acquisition of a Federal territory will prove of very little value. Other honorable senators have already pointed out the defects connected with this paragraph, and I have no desire to repeat them. But I cannot allow it to pass without entering my protest against the whole scheme as it is now before us.
Question - That paragraph 5 of the proposed schedule be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Paragraph agreed to.
Paragraph 6 -
For the purpose of providing access to and from the Territory from and to the sea, the State shall grant to the Commonwealth -
the right to construct, maintain, and work a railway or other means of communication from the Territory to Jervis Bay, and to procure in New South Wales timber ballast and other material necessary for such construction by paying such compensation in accordance with the laws of the State as is payable by the State when constructing State railways ; and
the right on terms to be agreed upon, or in default of agreement to be de termined by arbitration, to cross over or under, by road or railway, any State railway, and to connect with and run trains over any portion of a Staterailway
– I move-
That after the word “ballast,” line 8, the word “ water “ be inserted.
This paragraph provides for the construction and maintenance of a railway between the territory and Jervis Bay. It makes provision for procuring timber and ballast, but no provision is made for providing water for the locomotives. The railway will be approximately 125 miles in length, according to Mr. Scrivener’s report.
– Does it not follow that the right to procure water will be secured if we have the right to build and run the railway?
SenatorLYNCH. - Honorable senators opposite seem to be blindly obedient to the Minister in charge of the Bill, and will listen to no proposal to improve the agreement. Nevertheless I submit my amendment.
– It is extremely desirable that the word “water” should be added to the paragraph. Railway engines cannot be run without water.
– We could run electric engines without water.
– As far as we know it is not proposed to have electric engines. It would be necessary to provide water not only for engines, but also for men working along the line.
– And for the refreshment rooms also, I suppose?
– Apparently that is the only consideration that appeals to Senator Gray; but as water will certainly be necessary for the refreshment rooms, I claim his vote on that ground. In the opinion of honorable senators opposite it would, appear that Parliament ought not to place an unholy finger on any portion of this agreement. Parliament is to be relegated to a secondary position, instead of being the primary factor. We are here merely to register decisions arrived at between the two Governments, and honorable senators opposite do not care two straws about the interests of the Commonwealth. The most slavish adherence to the agreement is maintained by the Ministerial supporters.
– There is, rather, a solid determination to recognise New South
Wales as a State of the Commonwealth, and not as a foreign country.
– I am sorry that the Capital is not to be in Tasmania. If it were, we should have an opportunity of seeing how fine a patriot Senator Mulcahy could be in the interests of his own State. The matter is really a serious one, and I hope that the amendment will be carried.
.- The paragraph gives to the Commonwealth “ the right to construct, maintain, and work a railway.” Any ordinary individual knows that it is impossible to work a railway without water ; consequently that right is given without the specific insertion of the word “water.”
– Why, then, mention ballast and timber?
– Ballast and timber do not fall from the heavens as water does. The right to take water is sufficiently secured by Our having the right to construct and maintain the railway to Jervis Bay. It is really not worth our while to take up the time of the Committee by discussing such a trivial point. We have heard a good deal from time to time as to what has happened in America, but as soon as it is pointed out that the United States Government has no such powers as are being insured to the Commonwealth, we are told that American precedents have nothing to do with the matter. The United States Government has no constitutional right to construct railways or wharfs or ship-building yards. Yet such works have been constructed by the Federal power. In my opinion the amendment is purely obstructive. It is nothing to me personally whether New South Wales grants to the Federation the whole of Jervis Bay or a small portion of the foreshore. But I like to see a little moderation practised and some business transacted instead of . the whole afternoon being wasted.
– We are anxious to do business.
– No. This amendment has simply been proposed for the purpose of wasting time. It is quite clear from the paragraph that the Commonwealth will have the right to obtain water for the construction of the railway. Do honorable members on the other side want to make use of nonsensical arguments for the purpose of wasting time; or do they wish to proceed with the Bill ? I know that some honorable senators on that side have said that they are prepared to do any mortal thing to wreck the Bill. Of course, if they were strong enough, I would not blame them for trying to defeat the Bill.
– Who made that statement ?
– I do not wish to go into particulars. I. have heard the statement made, and so has the honorable senator.
– I have not.
– I have heard the statement made dozens of times. If any honorable senators do not believe in the Bill I do not blame them for trying in a fair and straight way to reject it, but when they find that they cannot effect their purpose no matter how much time they may waste, they should be willing to submit to the will of the majority.
– The honorable senator is himself wasting time now.
– Senator Givens entered into a fair and straightforward arrangement to take a test vote, and if defeated, not to further oppose the Bill.
– That did not mean that we should not attempt to cross a “ t “ or dot an “ i.”
– We on this side accepted that assurance in good faith, and I hope that it will be adhered to. I intend to support the paragraph, which I think meets every objection urged from the other side.
– If anything is calculated to invite opposition to the agreement or to wreck the Bill it is the reckless and unwarranted charge which Senator Sayers has made. I do not think that there is the slightest intention, on this side to obstruct. To my mind the amendment of Senator Lynch is a very pertinent one, and so far no solid objection has been offered to it. I do not think that he is actuated by a desire to obstruct or wreck the Bill. My only aim now is to make the measure as sensible and practical as possible. Senator Sayers has said that it is well known that water is necessary for the working of a railway, quoting the first few lines of paragraph a. It is equally wellknown that timber and ballast are necessary for the construction and maintenance of a railway. If it is necessary to include in the agreement timber and ballast for the construction and maintenance of the proposed railway it is doubly necessary to include the word “ water .” in order to obviate the possibility of trouble arising in that regard. I shall vote for the amendment. I hope that when Senator Sayers again rises to make a charge against any honorable senators he will be in a position to name those who have made use of threats, and will not hide himself behind generalities.
– Does the honorable senator wish me to name the senators?
– T am not so contemptible and mean as to name those whom I have heard saying these things outside. The honorable senator might be one of them.
– If the honorable senator included me in the number he ought to prove his statement. If he has heard any conversation outside the chamber which he thinks relevant to the question he ought to have brought in his proof or remained silent.
– I simply said that 1 had heard honorable senators opposed to the Bill say that they would move against it every time to wreck it. The statement was not made to me personally, but before a dozen persons.
– The honorable senator has said that it would be contemptible and mean to name the senators who he says spoke in that way. I hold that the action which he himself took was contemptible in the greatest degree.
– The honorable senator is. a great deal more contemptible.
– I rise to order. 1 was asked on one occasion to withdraw the word “contemptible” when applied by me to an honorable senator, and I claim that the same rule should be applied to Senator Needham.
– Did Senator Needham apply the word “ contemptible “ to any member of the Committee?
– Senator Sayers did
– The honorable senator applied the term to me and I retaliated, but I withdraw it.
– What Senator Sayers said was that he would not be so contemptible and mean as to mention here what he had heard outside, and Senator Needham retorted that it was more contemptible for the honorable senator to mention the matter at all if he was not prepared to’ give his proof.
- Senator Sayers applied the term contemptible to Senator Needham, and he has withdrawn it. IfSenator Needham applied the same term to Senator Sayers he ought also to withdraw it-
– If Senator Sayers thinks that I applied the word contemptible to himself, I shall satisfy his qualms of conscience by withdrawing it. 1 used the word, not in regard to himself, but in regard to his action. I resent the conduct of the honorable senator who, because other senators think that the agreement can be improved by the insertion of certain words, charged them with reckless obstruction and a desire to kill the Bill. If it is necessary to have the words “ timber and ballast “ in this paragraph, then, in order to make assurance doubly sure, it is necessary to insert the word “ water.”
– I certainly think that this is a very necessary amendment. Surely every one will admit that it is just as necessary to mention in the agreement water for the working of the proposed railway as to mention timber and ballast for its construction. I think that it will be well to mention all the articles which may be required in connexion with the railway. It may, of course, be argued that water is not a material for the construction of a railway ; but, in my opinion, the amendment is a very fitting one to make. It is not submitted with the object of delaying business, but in order to make certain that the Commonwealth shall have full control of all building and other things necessary for the construction of the line. The proposal should be treated a little more seriously than it has been.
.= - I would suggest to the VicePresident of the Executive Council, that it might meet the objection to the paragraph if, instead of the words “ timber ‘and ballast,” we used the words “all material necessary.”
Question - That the word “ water “ proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Paragraph agreed to.
Paragraphs 7 to 9 agreed to.
The State shall grant to the Commonwealth without payment therefor the right to use the waters of the Snowy River, and such other rivers as may be agreed upon, or in default of agreement may be determined by arbitration, for the generation of electricity for the purposes of the Territory, and to construct the works necessary for that purpose, and to conduct the electricity so generated to the Territory.
– This paragraph confines our use of the waters referred to for the generation of electricity. It is quite possible that in the near future some power may be discovered which will, to a great extent, displace electricity. The march of science is so rapid nowadays that we do not know what new discovery may be made next week. I think we should have the right to use these waters for the generation of any kind of power that the Commonwealth may decide to generate. I, therefore, move -
That after the word “ electricity,” line 6, the words “ or other power “ be inserted.
– What other power could be generated by water?
– I do not know. I am trying to provide for future discoveries. Will Senator Vardon tell me that electricity is likely to be the only power generated by the use of water? Under the paragraph as it stands the Com monwealth might be prevented in the future from using the waters of the Snowy River for the development of any power other than that of electricity for the purposes of the Federal territory. I think the Commonwealth authority should have the right to use these waters for the production of any kind of power that it may be possible to generate by their use.
– I did not gather from the honorable senator’s speech that he suggested any kind of power, other than electricity, that it would be possible to generate.
– I did not suggest any other.
– If we are to amend this paragraph of the agreement, on the off-chance that something we cannot now foresee may happen in the future, we might just as well alter every other paragraph for the same reason. It would, I think, be going a little too far to insert a proviso in this paragraph in order that the Commonwealth Government might secure the. whole of the hypothetical advantages of an at present unknown discovery.
– Why should the Commonwealth be confined to the use of these waters for the generation of electricity ?
– Because electricity is the only power at present known to be developed by the aid of water. If Senator Stewart can imagine that some other power will be developed by the use of water, it is as easy for me to imagine that it would be possible to take advantage of that power only under conditions which it would be impossible for the Government of New South Wales to accept. One flight of the imagination is as legitimate as the other. The paragraph contains all that we can reasonably ask the New South Wales Government to grant.
– If this agreement had been drawn up before the discovery of electricity, and the word “steam” were substituted in this paragraph for the word “electricity,” it would have been possible for the State Government of New South Wales, subsequent to the discovery that electricity could be generated by water power, to prevent the Commonwealth from making use of these waters for the generation of that power. We ought to safeguard the rights of the Commonwealth in this connexion as far as is possible. The Federal city is to be established for all time, and in the light of the .discoveries of the past, surely no honorable senator is so conservative as to assert that no force will be discovered in the future which may displace electricity, as electricity bids fair to displace steam at the present time. Senator Stewart proposes a precaution which we ought to take, to enable the Commonwealth Government to make use of the waters referred to in this paragraph, for the purpose of generating any force that it might be advantageous to make use of for railway or other purposes. It is’ not very creditable to honorable senators opposite that they should rely upon their numbers to vote down every suggestion made from this side, without giving it the attention it deserves.
– We are waiting for a sensible suggestion.
– Senator McColl, who is interested -in the scientific development of agriculture, will not contend that science is unlikely to make any advance in other directions. Aerial transport may displace railways by-and-by, and we should take the precaution suggested by Senator Stewart to prevent the Commonwealth being involved in a costly dispute, in order that it may make use of these waters for the generation of a power which may be discovered in the future, and which may displace electricity.
– - I do not think I ever listened to a more Conservative utterance than that delivered by the Vice-President of the Executive Council on my amendment. If this agreement had come before a Parliament of a hundred years ago, when the waterwheel was the machine ‘ usually driven by water power, and a similar suggestion were treated in the same fashion, we, looking back to the period, would undoubtedly be struck by the extreme Conservatism of the opponents of such a proposal. Senator Millen asked me if I could mention any power other than electricity that is likely to be generated by the use of water. I do not claim; to be a scientific inventor. All I know is that during recent years scientists have been marching from invention to invention. Will any honorable senator have the temerity to say that electricity represents the last word in the matter of power? I do not believe that it does, and I say that the Commonwealth, should enjoy the full benefit conferred bv all future inventions in that connexion. I want-
– The honorable senator wants a land tax?
- Senator Chataway need not fret his soul over that matter. He is going to have a land- tax. His anti-Socialistic- leagues and his black-labour party combined cannot prevent it.
– Order !
– The honorable senator ought not to provoke replies by interjecting. All I claim is that the last word has not been uttered in the matter of inventions. Within the next decade - it may be within a year - some other power, greater in its force and cheaper in its working than electricity, may be discovered. But under this paragraph of the proposed agreement, although that power may be generated by water, the Commonwealth would not. be permitted to make use of it.
– Why does the honorable senator limit himself to power which may be generated by water?
– I am dealing now with the right of the Commonwealth to use the waters of the Snowy River. But I need not labour the question. I hope that Senator W. Russell, who is usually a man of liberal views. - although upon this question he seems to have been hypnotized by the Government - will see the expediency of voting for the insertion c f the words which I have proposed.
– Would not the honorable senator laugh at me if I did?
– I feel rather inclined to weep for the honorable senator. However, in submitting the amendment I have discharged my duty to the ‘Commonwealth. If honorable senators choose to stand up for State Rights in opposition to the rights of the people of Australia, that is their own affair.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
– Apparently any attempt to improve the proposed agreement is absolutely idle. I wish to give the Commonwealth the right to convey electrical power from the Snowy River to the port of Jervis Bay. The clause under consideration merely gives the Commonwealth the right to convey electrical power from the Snowy River through the Federal territory, which means Yass-Canberra. I think it must be evident to all that in the future a number of works which will require to use electrical power if they are to be conducted economically will be established at the Federal port. I therefore ask the Committee to agree to a proposal under which the Commonwealth will be enabled to convey electrical power from the Snowy River to Jervis Bay. I move -
That the following words be added to the paragraph : - “ or to any place under Federal control.”
I absolutely repudiate the charge of Senator Savers that an attempt has been made by honorable senators upon this side of the chamber to waste time His accusation is absolutely without foundation, and any honorable senator who makes a similar statement is not speaking the truth.
– That is a nice proposition to address to Senator Sayers.
– I speak in the language of the Bible.
– I rise to a point of order. I submit that it is not in order for Senator Lynch to affirm that Senator Sayers did not speak the truth.
– Any such remark is distinctly out of order.
– I did not apply it to Senator Sayers in particular.
– I will do nothing of the kind, because I did not apply it to Senator Sayers personally.
– The honorable senator’s amendment would include Papua?
– I am not so facetious as is the Vice-President of the Executive Council. I do not expect to convey electrical power from Papua, but I am sane enough to desire to bring it from the Snowy River to Jervis Bay.
– I hope that the Committee will agree to the amendment,but I fear that Senator Lynch has grossly misinterpreted the intention of a large number of the supporters of the Bill.
– Who are they?
– The honorable senator is very close to being one of them. If Senator Lynch imagines that the supporters of the Bill desire that electrical power shall be brought from the Snowy River to that little sandy ridge at Jervis Bay he is making a sad mistake. Everybody can now see what is the intention of New South Wales. It is intended that the Commonwealth arsenal and all other Commonwealth works shall benefit Sydney only, and not the territory which is defined in the proposed agreement. I have no hope that the Committee will for a moment consider the advisableness of doing a sensible act - an act for which they would be applauded in the future. Under this clause of the proposed agreement the New South Wales Government practically say to the Commonwealth, “ You may build a railway through the Federal Territory if you choose to JervisBay. But so far as shipbuilding yards and works requiring the transmission of power are concerned, they shall be established at Port Jackson.” I hope that the Committee wilt agree to the amendment.
Question - That the words proposed to be added be so added - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Paragraph agreed to.
Paragraphs11 to15 agreed to.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to -
That the agreement be the first schedule of the Bill.
Postponed clause 4 agreed to.
Second schedule, preamble, and title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Debate resumed from 20th October (vide page 4740) on motion by Senator Millen -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– I do not suppose that at this stage of the development of the Commonwealth any one will dispute the proposition that the advancement of agriculture is of supreme interest to the whole of Australia. As a corollary it follows that the Commonwealth is equally interested with the States in the promotion of agriculture.
– A marvellous statement, considering that the Premiers of all the States are opposed to this Bill.
– I am fairly certain that what the Premiers objected to was interference by the Commonwealth in the jurisdiction of the States over the development of their own lands; but that is an entirely different matter from the establishment of an Agricultural Bureau. Much has been said by honorable senators opposite to the effect that by taking this step the Commonwealth may, unintentionally or otherwise, interfere with the supremacy of the States in reference to the control of their lands. I may congratulate honorable senators who use that argument upon being on this occasion champions of State Rights, though they must pardon me for saying that I can scarcely believe that they are sincere. Another argument which has been used is that the Bureau of Agriculture will cause expense, and that the States cannot afford that the Commonwealth shall spend money in this direction. I congratulate honorable senators who have become so jealous of the interests of the States, even in so small a matter of expenditure. Nevertheless, I cannot but wonder at their change of attitude. Judging from what one can read in the newspapers, one would assume that they were particularly anxious that the Commonwealth Parliament should take all it could from the States.
– Who is anxious in that direction?
– We cannot take the newspapers as invariably accurate interpreters of the views of honorable senators opposite, but I do knowthat it has been reported that there is a strong party in this Parliament which is using its endeavours to take all that is possible from the States. A senator who cannot speak from expert knowledge on the question before us has to make up his mind from arguments that have been used in the course of debate. But arguments of the kind that I have just described are not, I venture to say, very well worth listening to.
– Was that the only argument which was used?
– There were other arguments with which I shall deal in the course of my speech. It seems to me that the opposition to the Bill entirely misconceives its purpose, which is to identify the Commonwealth with the States in the work of investigating the important scientific problems which are necessarily associated with agriculture. There are very few senators who are more anxious than I am to preserve the rights of the States over the development of their territories, and if I thought for a moment that the Bill contemplated any intrusion on that domain, or any interference with the operations of each
State to develop its resources by all possible means, 1 should be against its enactment. The Commonwealth is, I take it, as vitally interested in agriculture as it is in any other feature of its work. And if it represents the national feeling, it has the right to get the best scientific intelligence both within and without its .boundaries, not merely to assist agriculture, but also to help the States in the development
Of agricultural pursuits. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has pointed out that possibly the establishment of a Bureau of Agriculture will lead to a conflict. He, in common with others on that side, has insisted over and over again that the States are doing this developmental work in a magnificent manner.
– So they are.
– I hope that the States will continue to do so, but I wish to assure the honorable senator, who must be reckoned as to a large extent an agricultural expert, that if this Bill be properly administered, it is not possible that the Commonwealth will interfere with that work. As the Constitution stands, the Bill will not empower the Federal Government to interfere in the slightest tittle with the work of the States in this regard. Honorable senators on the other side imagine that power will exist in the Bill to interfere with the States’ control of their own lands, and their development, whether by railways or by science. But if honorable senators will reflect for a moment, they will see that it cannot endow -the Commonwealth with that power, because at any time the States will have the right to ask the High Court to restrain the Commonwealth, and keep it in its place until the Constitution is amended. If recent circumstances had riot shown that there should be created a kind of guaranteeing authority which the States might consult in matters; of difficulty, 1 should not be an advocate of this measure.
– They do that now.
– I hope that they will continue to do so. But will my honorable friend say that when the States have consulted us in these matters the con sulfation has been in the slightest way prejudicial to them?
– It has involved unnecessary expense.
– I do not know that any extra expense has -been unnecessarily cast upon the taxpayers, because in the past the States have been driven by the circumstances of our position to consult with the Commonwealth authorities on subjects directly or indirectly connected with our work. But here is the position which has arisen, and which has a strong influence on my mind. As regards the development of agriculture, we know that between the States there are conflicting decisions and conflicting rules of administration as to the exportation and importation of the most valuable of agricultural produce. Over and over again a State has complained that another State has used its police power to exclude the products of that State, in order that certain producers or bands of producers might exploit their own State. Take, for instance, the potato blight. Two or three States are -now at loggerheads, and New South Wales is accusing Victoria of using for selfish reasons, its particular jurisdiction to the prejudice of potato-growers elsewhere. It is the same with New South Wales. The States have recently been brought into conflict over this matter. Frequently the State experts give to their respective Departments advice which is absolutely conflicting and contradictory. The result is that, in the interchange of products there is a perpetual and irritating conflict. If my honorable friends on the other side are content with that, I, strong supporter as I am of State Rights, am not. I am anxious to see a free interchange of products, especially manufactured products, between the States. So far as is possible, the interchange of animal and agricultural products should be placed on the same footing. At present the only bar to such an interchange is an eternal conflict between the scientific experts of the States. On the advice of its experts one State immediately proceeds to prohibit the products of another State; then the next State seeks reprisals, an3 thus the very intention of the Constitution, that there shall be a free interchange of products, is steadily frustrated. It may be urged that the States have the power to enforce their rights with regard to the interchange of products, and that the Commonwealth has a like power. If the Commonwealth thinks that a State is unduly interfering with the transmission of products into another State, it has the right to appeal to the High Court to put an end to the dispute between the- two States. Conversely, a State may think that certain regulations devised by experts are an undue interference with its trade with another State. That State has also the power to appeal to the High Court for an interpretation. The one source of relief at present is the High Court, with all its attendant expense. In the face of a difficulty of that kind, there is no State which will agree to rush into the High Court without having been given some extraordinary provocation. Conversely the proposition is equally good. The Commonwealth naturally refrains from bringing the States before the High Court, and the result is that there is a conflict between the States on this important point. The sources of conflict are continually increasing, and with a view to promoting the best interests of the States, the Commonwealth should establish a scientific tribunal which, not by reason of superior scientific knowledge, but by reason of its independent and impartial position, could be asked as a sort of scientific arbitrator, to express an opinion. The Government have no desire, I think, to intrude upon the jurisdiction or work of the States. Their aim is to establish aBureau which will comprise some scientific experts of such acknowledged eminence in their respective departments that when a conflict arises between the States, the latter will appeal to that scientific tribunal, which will be able to give an impartial decision. The Commonwealth can ask the Court to put an end to the strife, or the States may make that appeal. In the face of the loss which is being suffered by the States in the present conflict, will my honorable friends on the other side say that some expense, not necessarily a large one, cannot be wisely incurred ?
– Notwithstanding what the honorable senator has stated, the State Ministers of Agriculture have discussed the Bill and condemned it.
– I am sorry to hear that. Senator Pearce has shown that at a meeting of Premiers some time ago, there was a disinclination, not so direct as I think he desired to make out, to support the Commonwealth’s preliminary steps to establish a Bureau of Agriculture. The opposition of the Premiers is probably due to a misconception of the scope and intention of this Bill.
– To their lack of intelligence ?
– If Senator Pearce desires to put it in that brusque way, I shall not object ; but I remind the honorable senator that he is not entitled to claim that in this matter the Premiers take an absolutely correct view, and to contend, at the same time, that in a matter of far greater importance the views they have expressed are absolutely wrong. I ask honorable senators opposite to point to any clause in this Bill which expresses or implies any interference with the jurisdiction of the State authorities?
– There is nothing in the Bill. It is submitted only to waste time.
– I am glad to hear Senator W. Russell, who is an agricultural expert, admit that there is nothing in the Bill which would interfere with the jurisdiction of the State authorities. I believe that it has been introduced in order to secure Parliamentary sanction for the expenditure necessary to carry on scientific investigation in connexion with agriculture. I ask Senator Pearce to point to any clause in the Bill which would interfere with the jurisdiction of the State Governments in the development of agriculture in their own way.
– The honorable senator says that there is nothing in the Bill.
– Then why does the honorable senator oppose it ?
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– In answer to the statement that the establishment of a Federal Bureau of Agriculture is objected to by the State Premiers, I may refer honorable senators to the report of the Premiers’ Conference, held at Hobart in1905, where the matter was under discussion by the Premiers for the first time. There is so little in the report bearing upon the establishment of a Federal Department of Agriculture that I am astonished that Senator Pearce should try to make so much out of what was said at that Conference.
– They did not think the subject sufficiently interesting to discuss it.
– It is difficult to discover whether Senator Henderson is supporting me or his leader in this matter. I find that on the question of the establishment of a Department of Agriculture and the development of rural industries, Mr. McLean, who at the time was a member of the Commonwealth Administration, very properly said -
The Federal Government have the sole power to encourage production and export by means of bounties and bonuses, and naturally a Federal Agricultural Department should do what it could to encourage the establishment of new and valuable industries.
– ‘Which is absolutely nothing.
– Then why does Senator Pearce repeat that the Premiers are diametrically opposed to this Bill ? I am afraid that honorable senators opposite have not made themselves acquainted with the recent reports of these Premiers’ Conferences. I propose to quote from the report of the proceedings of a Conference between Commonwealth and State Ministers, held at Hobart in March, 1909, a few years later than that which has been referred to by honorable senators opposite.
– What about the recent Conference held in Melbourne?
– I am not aware that that Conference dealt with this subject. I believe its deliberations were confined solely to financial questions. If honorable senators will refer to page 31 of the report of the Hobart Conference of 1909, they will find the following note with regard to the contemplated formation of a Federal Agricultural Bureau -
It has always been recognised that consequent upon the powers vested in the Commonwealth to deal with the question of bounties and other matters affecting rural industries a Department of Agriculture is within the sphere of jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Parliament, and until definite steps are taken to give effect to these powers it is impossible to say whether Commonwealth action contravenes the resolution adopted by the Conference.
The resolution referred to was that of the Conference of 1905.
– Was that the Conference at which Mr. Deakin promised to withdraw the Bill?
– I am not aware that Mr. Deakin at any time promised to withdraw the Bill. The words which I have quoted from the report of the Conference held at Hobart in 1909 show that the Premiers were unable to say, until the Commonwealth Parliament took action, whether it intended to assist in or interfere with scientific inquiry in connexion with agriculture by the State authorities. Sooner or later the Commonwealth authority must follow the example set by the Government of every other civilized State, and begin the work of the scientific development of agriculture. The Government propose that we should begin this work now, .and so far from the State Premiers being directly ‘ hostile to action by the Commonwealth in this direction, they admit in their latest statement that until they know what action the Commonwealth Par liament proposes to take they are unable to say whether it will conflict with State jurisdiction or not. It is universally admitted that the work of the United States Bureau of Agriculture has been of incalculable benefit not only to that country, but to the whole world. I ask honorable senators who are opposing this Bill to say in what way the United States Bureau has conflicted with the jurisdiction of the State authorities in that country.
– The State Governments there did not take up the matter before the Federal authorities.
– The honorable senator’s interjection is not to the point. The point is that the Government of the various States of the United States has the same control over agricultural production within their boundaries that our State Governments have. State bureaux have been established, and for forty years their work and’ the work of the Federal Bureau at Washington have been coordinated, without any complaint on the part of the Government of any one of the United States that the action of the Federal Government has in any way restricted them in the work of agricultural development.
– In the United States the State bureaux- have done practically nothing.
– And here the State Departments have been doing everything.
– I do not admit that the State bureaux in the United States had done nothing up to the time that the Federal authority established its Bureau of Agriculture. It is a remarkable feature, which should arrest the attention of honorable senators who oppose the establishment of an Agricultural Bureau for the Commonwealth, that immediately the Federal Government instituted an Agricultural Bureau for the United States, the State Governments began to emulate the Federal authority in the matter of scientific investigation, and it cannot be shown that the State and Federal Bureaux have at any time been in conflict. I admit that if we had an Administration which was inspired by a desire to bring about unification some cause might exist for apprehension.
– The honorable senator heard that statement last night.
– Then, why should not the honorable senator hear it again ? If the Government were animated by a desire to bring about unification, they might precipitate a conflict with the States. But surely even a Ministry which was composed of members of the Labour party would not be disposed to lightly thrust aside the splendid results which have been obtained by the Agricultural Departments in the various States, in order to bring about a conflict with those States!. They would be rash, indeed, or worse than rash, if they attempted to do that. I take it that this Bill contemplates the establishment of a Bureau of Agriculture consisting mainly of scientific investigators whose researches will be such that, should a .conflict occur between the States themselves in reference to the interchange of plants or animals, or upon any matter connected with plant or animal disease, reference may be made to it as a thoroughly impartial tribunal. To me, it is evident that, if something be not done by this Parliament to compose the differences which at present exist between the States in regard to the exclusion of each other’s products, litigation will result in the High Court. In any such litigation, the Commonwealth will be bound to intervene. But how can the Commonwealth appear as a .litigant before the High Court unless its position can be supported by scientific experts? There need be no fear that, under this Bill, injury will be done to the Agricultural Departments of the States. On the other hand, it contains immense possibilities for good. We all know that about i860, the French vineyards were threatened with destruction by a certain species of caterpillar. The State experts failed to discover, either the origin of the disease, or a means of destroying it. The Italian Government occupied a similar position, and, therefore, the services of the great Pasteur were requisitioned to investigate the pest. He did so, and his efforts resulted in the saving of the silk industry. Indeed, it is calculated that his labours within four or five years, not only restored the silk industry - which was valued at £250,000,000 - to France, but saved it for all time. We also remember the investigations of the celebrated Koch, of Berlin, in reference to anthrax ; and we know how those investigations resulted in the development of the cattle industry, not only in France and Germany, but throughout the world. This Bill ‘ aims at establishing nothing more nor less than a Bureau of Advice consisting of impartial experts whose reputation will be sufficient to establish their standing amongst the States.
– We already have such experts.
– I am not disputing the efficiency of a single Department of Agriculture within the States. But we must all recognise that a conflict is imminent between the States in reference to the exclusion of each other’s products. Apparently, they are unable to reconcile their differences. It is of vast importance that the possibility of such a conflict shall be ended without delay. I can see only one way out of the difficulty, and that is by the establishment of a Bureau of Advice consisting of scientific experts, whose reputation will be such that the States, when they cannot agree amongst themselves, can confidently refer the matter in dispute to them. If honorable senators opposite think for a moment that this Bill goes too far in the matter of interfering with State jurisdiction, they have an effective remedy in their hands. They can refuse to grant the necessary supply to enable a Federal’ Bureau of Agriculture to be established. The Bill merely gives expression to a desire on the part of the Government to secure the best expert knowledge that is available upon agricultural subjects - to collect the results of the experiments conducted all over the globe, and to impart that information to the States. If Senator Pearce and others imagine for a moment that the Bill unduly trenches upon the powers of the States, they can resist any proposal to grant Supply for the purpose of promoting scientific investigation by the Department.
– I regret that the Senate has not been afforded an opportunity of occupying its time more profitably than it can be occupied in discussing the measure which is now under consideration. I# listened attentively to the speech which has just been delivered by Senator St. Ledger; but I am now no nearer to being induced to vote for the second reading of the Bill than I was previously. This afternoon, the honorable senator stated that the Bill will not give the Commonwealth power to interfere.
– Certainly, it will not.
– Then what power will it confer upon the Commonwealth ?
– None at all.
– Then what is the use of it ? Senator St. Ledger went on to say in his usual free and eloquent style that he had read in the newspapers the statement that the members of the Opposition were anxious to squeeze every penny that they could out ofthe States. May I point out to him that the opposition to this Bill is not based upon financial considerations at all. It is rather based upon the fact that everything which a Federal Bureau of Agriculture could accomplish is already being accomplished by the States and in a better manner. Regarding the assertion that the Opposition desire to squeeze every penny they can from the States, I wish to give it an emphatic denial. I am surprised that any honorable senator should believe such a foolish story. We are endeavouring to protect the States and to hold the scales evenly in all matters as between the States and the Commonwealth. If in doing that, we sometimes appear to be jealously guarding national interests, we cannot justly be accused of attempting to deprive the States of their financial resources. I hold that every function which is outlined in the Bill is already being adequately discharged by the States. Paragraph a of clause 3 provides that one of the functions of the proposed Bureau of Agriculture shall be -
The acquisition and diffusion among the people of the Commonwealth of information connected with agriculture, dairying, horticulture, viticulture, live stock and forestry - and paragrapha of clause 4 provides that an arrangement may be made with any State in respect of -
The carrying out of experiments and investigations ;
The supply and distribution of information ;
The exchange and distribution of seeds and plants.
During the course of this debate it has been frequently stated that many, if not all of the States, are already attending to these matters. If the position were otherwise - if the States were not paying attention to such all-important matters as horticultural, viticultural and dairying pursuits, the Bill would be worthy of consideration. My opposition to it is not of a facetious character. I recognise the importance of fully developingthe agricultural, horticultural and viticultural industries of the Commonwealth. If I did not realize that in many of the States everything possible was being done in that direction, I would welcome this Bill. But before I resume my seat I intend to prove that the States are looking after these matters in a more able and practical man ner than a Federal Agricultural Bureau could possibly do. When he was speaking upon this Bill the other evening, Senator Chataway referred to Rhodesia. He told us that in that country there was a Director of Agriculture, an entomologist, and other expert officers, assisted by a staff of junior officers ; and he gave that as a reason why we should establish a Federal Bureau of Agriculture, entirely forgetting that by so doing we should be simply adding another Department to four orfive that already exist in the States. The next point which Senator Chataway raised was in the nature of a protest against any attempt on the. part of the Commonwealth to centralize. But in the very same breath in which he ridiculed the idea of centralization he advocated the centralization of our Agricultural Departments. A more inconsistent position it is difficult to conceive. The Bill provides for the making of experimental investigations. For that purpose we shall require the services of experts. But there are experts in the various States who are already doing similar work. Consequently there is a danger of conflict of opinion and authority between the national experts and the State experts. We have in Western Australia an entomologist, Mr. George Compere, who has been sent by the Government to other parts of the world conducting investigations into the eradication of the fruit fly, and other pests by means of parasites. The expenses in connexion with his researches have been borne by the Western Australian and Californian Governments. When these experiments were first instituted there was a doubt amongst the fruit-growers of Western Australia as to whether the money would be wisely spent, and whether beneficial results would be obtained. There is now a general concurrence of opinion amongst the growers that the researches of Mr. Compere have been beneficial. But there is another expert in New South Wales, Mr.Froggart, whose opinions on these matters carry considerable weight, and must necessarily be respected. Mr. Froggart does not believe in the parasites introduced by Mr. Compere. Now, it is just possible that Mr. Froggart maybecome our Commonwealth expert. In that case, we might have him laying an embargo on the work of Mr. Compere. Although the Western Australian people might consider the work of Mr. Compere to be beneficial, the
Commonwealth expert in charge of the Bureau of Agriculture might say. “ No, you cannot proceed with that work.” There we should have at once the commencement of friction. . I have not an intimate knowledge of the work which is being done in all the States, but I do know what is being done in Western Australia. Useful information has also been given to us by Senator W. Russell as to the good work being done in South Australia. That information surely might be the means of causing honorable senators to pause before voting for the second reading of this Bill. The Agricultural Department of Western Australia is conducting practical scientific work in relation to agriculture in all its various branches. At the head of the Department is Professor Lowrie, an agricultural authority well known throughout Australasia. Under his control there are five State experimental farms, namely, these at Nangeenan, Chapman, Hamel, Brunswick, and Narrogin. The Nangeenan and Chapman farms are used for experiments in relation to cereals. Endeavours have been made to discover the wheat that is most suitable for growing in Western Australia. Every variety of wheat and oats considered suitable to Western Australian conditions has been planted under various methods in regard to soils, fertilizers and cultivation. In addition, experiments are being carried out at the Nangeenan farm, with a view to ascertain the best fodders for sheep-raising in the eastern districts. After harvesting the seed of the most successful crops is sold to the farmers. At the Hamel State Farm a special feature takes the form of experiments in connexion with permanent pastures, and Mr. Ber.thoul has carried out a number of interesting and successful experiments in hybridizing wheat. One of the varieties bred by him, known as Alpha, has proved itself to be one of the most suitable wheats for the lighter rainfall districts lying between the Midland and Great Southern railways and the ten degrees rainfall line. Further down, on the Great Southern line, at -Brunswick, there is a State dairy farm, where experiments are being carried out in connexion with .irrigation and the growing of fodder crops for ensilage, &c. There are stud stock, at the farm and the progeny , are sold to the farmers. There was a good deal of doubt when the Brunswick State farm was established as to its work. The Minister of Lands experienced a . considerable amount of opposition, founded on a doubt as to whether irrigation could be successfully conducted in that country. But by perseverance and persistency he has proved .that it can be done. There is also a stock branch of the Department under the control of Mr. Weir, who has under him a number of experienced inspectors. Throughout the winter months Mr. Weir delivers a series of lectures, in various parts of the State on diseases of stock, their prevention and cure, and on breeding and raising. We also have in Western Australia in connexion with the Agricultural. Department an analyst whose services are available in connexion with the analysis of soils and other scientific work. In this connexion I. may mention that Mr. Mann, the Government Analyst, has discovered an antidote for the poison weeds of Western Australia. In connexion with the horticultural -branch of the Department a considerable amount of attention has been paid to the prevention and eradiction of fruit pests. Some years ago the Department adopted the system of eradication of orchard pests by parasites ; and, as I have already mentioned, the Californian Department of Agriculture agreed to defray half the expenses of the Western Australian Government entomologist, Mr. Compere, incurred in this connexion. I think I have now furnished proof that so far as Western Australia is concerned there is no necessity for the establishment of a Federal Bureau of Agriculture. Similar testimony has been given from’ South Australia, and I daresay before the debate closes tangible -evidence to the same effect will be given from the other States. Reverting to the work of the Western Australian Department of Agriculture, I may mention that experts in all branches are retained to assist any of the farmers who desire their services. In the annual report of the Secretary for Agriculture complete details are given of the results of all experimental work. The Department also controls and runs its own refrigerating works at Perth, and abattoirs at Kalgoorlie. It is likewise proposed to establish further large refrigerating works at North Fremantle and abattoirs in the principal centres. Senator Millen, in moving the second reading of the Bill, quoted a resolution passed by the Nurserymen’s Association, in favour of the establishment of a Federal Bureau of Agriculture; and the honorable senator relied upon it as a principal argument in favour of the Bill becoming law. I have every respect for a resolution passed by an association which has an intimate knowledge of the subject with which we are dealing. I admit that the opinion of the association in question is worthy of consideration. But because an association of that kind has passed such a resolution that is no reason why we should pass this Bill. Any amount of evidence has been adduced to show that such an organization is not necessary. There is another phase of the question which it may be well for us to consider, and that is the importance of a local knowledge of soils, pests, and similar matters. The officers of the Commonwealth Bureau cannot have that intimate and technical knowledge of the nature of soils and the changes in the atmosphere which the experts in the State Departments have. One of the principal factors in the success of the experiments conducted by the officials of the States has been that they possess an intimate knowledge of local conditions. It has been stated by men who know what they are speaking about, that an experiment with certain parasites in Western Australia, which might prove successful there, might be a hopeless failure if tried in Victoria or New South Wales. I cannot see how a Federal Bureau of Agriculture, if created, can assist in anyway the farming, agricultural, or dairying community. Senator Chataway, in a very half-hearted speech in support of the Bill, admitted the danger of a conflict of opinion between the Federal and State experts. That is a great danger which we have to guard against. There is no escaping from the fact that, no matter how strong might be the representation of one State expert in connexion with a certain matter, the opinion of the Federal expert would always be taken, and, consequently there is a danger that some State, might suffer. I do not think that there is any necessity for me to further labour the question. It might be a very wise act on the part of the Government to beat a graceful retreat and withdraw the measure. All I have to say in conclusion is that, were there not in existence State Departments of Agriculture, which are doing this work in a more effective way than a Commonwealth Department could do it, I would support the Bill ; but, in present circumstances, I feel compelled to vote against its second reading.
– It has caused me no little surprise to find such an amount of hostility exhibited to wards the Bill. I should have expected that, long before this, the members of each House of this Parliament would have realized that the time had arrived when a Bureau of Agriculture should be instituted.
– This Bill will not bring a Department into existence.
– I heard that remark made more than once by the last speaker. In the exercise of the Commonwealth’s undoubted power to establish a Bureau of Agriculture, the Bill proposes to follow well considered lines, which have served us in analogous circumstances. By a measure which was almost parallel in form, we brought into existence our Department of Census and Statistics. By a measure similarly drafted, and by a procedure which it is proposed to follow in this instance, we established our Bureau of Meteorology. Every argument which was used by the last speaker could have been used with equal effect in opposition to those two measures. These arguments, however, were not adduced ; and if they had been adduced, our present experience of the operation of those measures would have shattered them to pieces. Will any person venture to say that the Department of Census and Statistics has not justified its existence? Although it has been in active existence for two or three years, still there remain in the several States Statistical Departments carrying out their work as theretofore. There has been no clashing with the Commonwealth Department.
– Yes, there has been.
– There has been no clashing of the character which is contemplated by Senator Needham in connexion with this Bill.
– What about the estimates of population?
– There have been differences of opinion; but there has been no clash of administration.
– Would Senator Pearce abolish the Census Bureau because of the difference of opinion to which he refers?
– Exactly. Senator Needham referred to an expert in Western Australia who has applied himself assiduously to the study of certain matters in connexion with agriculture or horticulture, and suggested the possibility, if this measure were passed, of a. Commonwealth officer intervening and preventing his methods from being carried out. There can be no possible clash of authority so far. as Executive action is concerned, although there might be a difference of opinion, and it would then be for individual agriculturists or horticulturists who were affected to take which opinion they chose. They would at least have the benefit of two opinions, instead of one. The object of this measure is not to supersede the State systems which aim at the improvement of agriculture within their several territorial limits. Nor is it for the purpose of adding an additional huge Department, which might be practically in many respects duplicating the work of one or more of the State Departments, or which would be charged with, functions that would make their work overlap. Quite the contrary. The object is to bring into existence a central body of qualified individuals, empowered by law to obtain from the State experts all the information which they possibly can regarding matters that will be of general interest, and not merely of interest to one particular State. That information will be collated, co-ordinated, and compared, and the result of the work will be distributed throughout the Commonwealth. Will it be pretended that there is in existence at present an organization which is attempting to do any portion of such work?
– Yes. It is done by the various States in connexion with each other.
– That is purely voluntary action, more or less spasmodic, and possibly only on occasions when there is no conflict between them. We have only to look at the daily newspapers for the last few months to find one State vieing with another in the endeavour to shut out staple products of a third, and that there is a conflict of opinion between the several State experts as to the desirableness or otherwise of excluding one another’s products. It is a curious coincidence, in many such cases, that the opinions of the State experts seem to be inclined to what may be considered parochial interests; and when I make that remark, I do not intend to reflect upon them. There is not the slightest doubt that very often at the first sign of disease amongst certain agricultural products of a State, a panic arises amongst those who are charged with the responsibility of keeping similar products free from disease in another State where it is not supposed to exist. I think I have made it clear that the Agricultural Bureau is not intended to be a new huge Department overlapping, in the discharge of its duties, the work which is done by, any one of the existing State systems; but that, on the contrary, it will be one which, as a central body, will receive from each State all the information which is not merely of peculiar value to a single State, utilizing it for the benefit of the whole Commonwealth. As regards the distribution of the results of. comparisons, how is it possible for a single State, or for the six States, by voluntary action in present circumstances, to effectively distribute such information? It is not possible. When we consider, however, the organization of the Public Service, we see that the Commonwealth has at its disposal every facilty which can be desired for the effective distribution of the results of the investigations of a central body. For one thing, it has the organization of the Post Office. It has also the organization which is associated with the collection and compilation of statistics, and the work which is done by that organization at present will be perfected by utilizing it for the collection and dissemination of the .results of the proposed investigations. That work, and the work of a central Bureau of Agriculture will, in a reflex way, each assist to perfect the other.
– Which clause deals with that ?
– The clause with regard to organization. My honorable friend must remember that thi? is a skeleton measure such as were the Census and Statistics Bill, and the Bureau of Meteorology Bill. It is intended, by a procedure similar to that which followed the passage of those measures, to establish a Bureau of Agriculture which, day by day, week by week, and year by year, will develop itself upon the general lines laid down in the Statute, and upon provisions that will be made by the Minister in due conformity with the Statute. In some of his concluding remarks, Senator Needham referred to the fact that in these matters, a great deal of value attached to an intimate personal acquaintance with the locality. I was rather sorry that he did not. use that argument a little earlier, because, if I remember rightly, in America at Work, Foster Fraser refers to the splendid work which is done by the Department of Agriculture at Washington. I have not had time to turn up the reference, but shall do so’ and ask some later speaker to quote it. He states that samples of soil from widely different parts of the whole territory of the United States are sent to the Department, and that it is asked to report as to the quality of the soil, its suitability or otherwise for certain productions, and the particular products for which it is best adapted.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that the State Departments are not doing that wark now, and doing it effectively ?
– No doubt they are ; but does not the honorable senator see that their work is circumscribed, that there may be, for instance, in one State of the Union far removed from another, certain soils that are peculiarly adapted for certain products which hardly find a place in the list of the State’s productions? If they are sent into the State Departments in those circumstances, those products are probably one of the last things that will occur to the minds of those who are investigating the soil.
– Oh !
– So that they do not know the capabilities of the soil unless it has been proved in their own State?
– A central Department which day by day handles samples of soil from the whole of the States, is far more likely to be able to say for which) particular production a certain sample is suitable than is one whose experience is confined to the soils, varying though they may be, of one particular State. The Federal experts will have a wider range of experience. They will know what .5- taking place in all parts of Australia. There may be one part of Australia, for instance, where a particular product is grown to an enormous extent, and another part where no individual ever thinks of turning his soil to account for that form of production. Yet it may be that there are some isolated tracts of soil in the second-named State which would be equally productive if turned to the purpose which I mentioned with regard to the first-named State. Honorable senators who oppose this Bill on the ground that it does not provide for the establishment of an effective department must find it hard to reconcile their attitude with their support of two measures of a similar character, the results from which have justified their passage beyond all expectation.
– To what measures does the honorable senator refer?
– I refer to the measures which so far as the circumstances rendered it possible were identical in form with this Bill, and under which we established the Department of Census and Statistics and the Department of Meteorology. In answer to the argument that a Federal Agricultural Bureau would overlap the work at present being done by the State Agricultural Departments, I say that honorable senators must see that that is not at all the object of this measure. Its object is rather to bring about the harmonious co-operation . of a central body in touch with each one of the State systems, drawing from each, all that is not purely parochial in character, but to the best interests of the Commonwealth. By the investigation and comparison of that information, and the publication of results, the best advantage, not of any single State, but of the whole of the States of the Commonwealth’ will be served. I hope that honorable senators will see that in passing this measure they will be exercising a power which it is not only desirable that the Commonwealth Parliament should exercise, but one which it. has too long neglected to exercise, and which m the interests of the producers of Australia it is the bounden duty of this Parliament to now exercise.
– I have listened to a great deal of the debate on the second reading of this Bill. Many references have been made to the troubles that have arisen as the result of the action of State Governments in dealing with various diseases and pests affecting plants and animals. Only two years ago- it was proposed in this Parliament that the Commonwealth authorities should deal with these matters under the Quarantine Act. Honorable senators who are strongly supporting this measure denounced that proposal as an interference with State rights. They contended then that it was necessary that the State Government should be permitted to administer this kind of legislation for themselves. Although the Government have power by proclamation under the Quarantine Act to assume responsibility for dealing with these matters, no Federal Government has since the passing of the Quarantine Act dreamt of doing anything of the sort. Complaint is made at the present time that the authorities of one State prevent the introduction of the products of another on the ground that they fear the spread of certain diseases. I have been looking up the report of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock, and I find that the Federal Government withdrew from the business-paper of a conference of experts a matter affecting the Inter- State transfer of products which had been set down for discussion. The Federal Government went so far as to inform the State Governments through this conference of State experts that they did not intend in any way to avail themselves of the powers given them under the Quarantine Act, but would leave the whole matter to the administration of the’ State Governments. On the first page of the report to which I have referred I find the following : -
An important meeting of representatives of the different Departments of the States was held in Melbourne during March to consider and suggest the best methods whereby the Quarantine Act of the Commonwealth, so far as it relates to stock and plants, could be worked to the best interests of the States. This Department was represented by Mr. J. P. Orr, the Deputy Chief Inspector of Stock ; Mr. S. Dodd, the Principal Veterinary Surgeon and Bacteriologist, and Mr. A. H. Benson, the Instructor in Fruit Culture. The findings of this Conference were submitted to the Commonwealth authorities, and, no doubt, influenced the regulations which have been issued under the Act. An important point in connexion with this Conference was that, although the power to regulate diseases by sea (Inter-State) and internally with regard to Australia, is apparently embodied in the Act, discussion upon these matters was withdrawn by the Commonwealth authorities from the. business-paper, with an intimation that there is.no present intention of interfering in such matters.
It is argued in support of this Bill that the Commonwealth Government should have the power to take action in these matters, but the fact remains that, although they have the power under the Quarantine Act, they are not prepared to exercise it, because they have intimated to the State Governments that it is not at present their intention to do so. Of what use is it in these circumstances for one honorable senator, after another, to get .up and say that if we pass this Bill it will have some effect in .preventing one State from refusing to admit the products of another and from quarantining the products, of a certain area in another State? The power to do this was given to the Federal Government by this Parliament two years ago, and we have not since had a Federal Government with sufficient backbone to exercise it. At a first glance one might be disposed to support such a Bill as this. When I saw it first I thought that it might be used to stimulate the agricultural industry in the various States. Then I began to wonder how under this Bill a Federal Agricul- tural Bureau could do any more than isbeing done at present by the various State Agricultural Departments. The Bill involves the establishment of another Federal Department, and we are told that attached to it there will be experts in all branches of scientific agriculture. I am afraid that that hope is one which will not be realized. The officers of this Department will be members of the Commonwealth Public Service and under the Public Service Act, unless the Public Service Commissioner is prepared to certify that there is no man in any Commonwealth Departments or in any of the State Departments competent to fill these positions, we shall be unable to go outside to secure men for trie purpose. If, for instance, Ave require an experienced bacteriologist at the head of this Department, is it likely that the Public Service Commissioner will certify that all the men employed in that capacity in the State Departments are incompetent? No honorable senator would contend that the Public Service Commissioner is likely to do anything of the sort. The menholding these positions in the various State Departments have been selected because they were believed to be competent, and the best men who could be secured. It is not unreasonable to suppose that many of these State experts would be applicants for positions in connexion with the Federal Agricultural Bureau, and the Commonwealth Public Service Commissioner would have to certify that they are all incompetent, before we could go outside to select an expert. This would apply to every branch of agriculture. We are told by those who support this Bill that the experts of the Federal department will be able to give advice tothe various State departments. What has been the experience of the past? Let me: say that in Queensland a great deal of’ trouble has been experienced in dealing1 with the tick pest, and I do not think that if ‘a Federal Bureau of Agriculture were established it could do any more than the Queensland Government have done in con- ,nexion “with this matter. As soon as the pest was discovered in the north, the State” Government tried by every means in their - power to prevent its spread. When theyrealized that the pest was spreading inspite of all their efforts they selected two men, Mr. Collins, an expert in stock,-; and. Dr. Hunt, and commissioned them to go to America and find out all they: could there “as ‘ to what should be done to prevent the spread of the tick pest and the red-water disease. Very little advantage was derived from the investigation of these commissioners in the United States, because it was discovered that the State Agricultural Department had by the construction of dips and the quarantining of cattle in various areas done all that it was possible to do to prevent the spread of the pest.
– That action was subsequent to the investigation.
– No, dips were being used before Dr. Hunt and Mr. Collins went to America.
– The honorable senator does not know the facts.
– I do, I was a member of the Queensland Parliament at the time.
– I was a man on the spot.
– The honorable senator was a man on one spot. But I remind him that the first quarantine line was drawn far north of Mackay. In fact it was removed three or four times.
– Only about two months elapsed before the quarantine line was removed south of Mackay.
– The Queensland Stock Department had been doing all that it possibly could to render assistance to those persons whose cattle were suffering from this particular pest. We have been told that a great deal has been accomplished by the Federal Agricultural Department in the United States. But we must recollect that in that country the central Department has practically supreme control.
– The State Departments there are doing excellent work, but they are doing it under the direction of the Federal authorities. Only the other evening Senator Chataway spoke of the way in which the central Department makes grants ofland to the States for the purpose of experimental farms. Indeed, it assists them in every possible way, so that they may keep the Central Bureau supplied with up-to-date information. But in Australia the system which has hitherto been in vogue has been for each State to do all that it possibly could to disseminate knowledge amongst those who are engaged in agricultural and stock-raising pursuits. Let me cite as an illustration the grub pest which made its appearance in the sugar industry. I contend that everything which could be done by a Federal Bureau of Agriculture in the direction of getting rid of that grub has already been done by the Queensland Agricultural Department. The Government of that State have obtained all the information that it is possible to secure in this connexion from outside sources. It also requisitioned the services of one of the recognised experts of the world-
– Who was that?
- Dr. Maxwell.
– Dr. Maxwellis not an authority on the subject of grubs. He is not an entomologist.
– But he is an authority upon the sugar industry. Mr. Tryon has been doing all that he could, from the point of view of the entomologist, to assist that industry. I repeat that a Central Bureau of Agriculture could have done nothing more in that connexion than has been done by the Queensland Agricultural Department. In no other part of Australia are people interested in the sugar industry.
– What about the northern part of New South Wales?
– There is very little sugar cane being grown there at the present time.
-£250,000 worth of sugar is being annually produced there.
– But each year the output is becoming less.
– That is an argument in favour of assisting the industry.
– It is not. As a matter of fact a large area upon the northern rivers of New South Wales which was formerly used for sugar growing is now being devoted to dairying pursuits.
– Does the honorable senator think that that is an advantage?
– I do not know. But if the residents in that area can obtain better financial results from dairying than from sugar growing, it must be an advantage to them and also to Australia.
– The honorable senator argues that if a man is in receipt of ten shillings per week he ought to be satisfied, notwithstanding that he might get£1 per week.
– No. But if the residents on the northern rivers of New South Wales get better returns from dairying than they could get from sugar growing-
– Dees the honorable senator believe that they do?
– From what I have read in the newspapers I believe that they do. At any rate a large number of them are going out of the sugar industry.
– Because they believe that dairying is more profitable than is sugar growing ?
– Order !
– The honorable senator is replying to my interjections.
– 1 would point out that the interjections of the honorable senator are wide of the subject that is under discussion.
– A Federal Bureau of Agriculture could accomplish nothing which is not being accomplished by the States at the present time. Let .us look at the work which the Queensland Department of Agriculture is attempting to perform. 1 hold in my hand the official journal of that Department. It contains reports by the principal of the agricultural division and the chemistry division, by the principal veterinary surgeon and bacteriologist, by the instructor in fruit culture, the instructor in tropical agriculture, and the colonial botanist. Some of these men are as eminent in their profession as are any to be found in Australia. In fact, the Queensland botanist is in the very forefront of that branch of science to-day. The journal also includes reports by the entomologist arid vegetable pathologist, the tobacco expert, and the dairy expert, in addition to reports from the managers of about six or seven farms, and agricultural and pastoral statistics. If the Central Bureau of Agriculture were to undertake all these functions, what would be the position ? Simply that the Government would be afforded an opportunity of extending a large amount of patronage without diminishing the expenditure of the States by a single penny, because the States would require officers to fill the vacancies caused by the appointment of any of their own officers to the Central Bureau. Unless the Public Service Commissioner is prepared to certify that none of the officers connected with the Slate Agricultural Departments are competent, their places would have to be filled - in the event of their appointment to the
Federal Bureau of Agriculture - by others. I turn now to the report of the Premiers’ Conference which was held in Melbourne during April and May, 1908. ‘
– Quote the proceedings of the Hobart Conference, which was held in 1909. They afford rather interesting reading.
– That may be so. At any rate I have no objection to the honorable senator reading it. I would point out that at the Premiers’ Conference which was held in April and May, 1908, some of these matters came up for consideration. Mr. Wade then moved -
That each State shall control the development of its own agricultural resources.
That w.as tantamount to saying that they did not require any assistance from the Commonwealth in that connexion. . When he submitted his proposal - as will be seen by reference to page 75 of the Report of the Proceedings of the Conference - he said -
I need not take up the time of the Conference in labouring this motion. It is really a complementary motion to the one we have just carried. The previous one dealt with the immigration question in connexion with land settlement, and incidentally, agricultural development as well. The second resolution deals with the development of agricultural resources purely as a matter of State concern, and irrespective altogether of immigration or foreign action, and the reason it is placed on the businesspaper is that, in my opinion, it is desirable to declare our own views upon this point; because recently on an occasional visit to Wagga, when Sir William Lyne was present, he took the opportunity in the course of a speech he made there to indicate that the intention of the Federal Government was to establish an Agricultural Department. Now, if there is one thing with which the internal policy of a States is entirely associated it is the “question of agri-cultural development and the general expansion of agricultural resources. I do not understand how at the present time the Commonwealth Government can establish an Agricultural Department without directly impinging and encroaching upon the functions reserved to themselves by the States in regard to agriculture. I think that on this question we are all absolutely in agreement. Therefore, I need not take up time on the subject, except to say that in our opinion it is necessary to declare that the work of developing our agricultural resources is entirely a question of State concern.
A number of the members attending that Conference spoke upon this question. Mr. Swinburne, who was then at the head of the Victorian Agricultural Department, said -
It is an open secret that a Bill has been prepared, and that a large amount of information is being gathered by the Federal Government for the purpose of introducing a Bill to establish an Agricultural Bureau or Department within a very short time. I have made several protests in public speeches on the matter, and have interviewed Federal Ministers, to whom I declared my opposition to the establishment of an Agricultural Bureau or Department until there has been a Conference called of the Premiers or the Ministers of Agriculture of the States in order to see whether it is actually necessary, and if it is necessary, what departmental work should be taken up by the Federal authorities, and what should be kept in the hands of the States, with a view, on account of our small population, of preventing duplication. For duplication will inevitably take place if a new Department is established.
Later on he dealt with the matter from the stand-point of what had been accomplished in America.I take it that Mr. Swinburne is a man who took a considerable interest in the Department which he was administering at that time in Victoria. I do not propose to read what he said in connexion with the matter, except to refer to the statement that the stations in the various States of America were yearly doing less. That is to say, more and more work was being taken up by the central authority, in spite of the fact that a large amount of assistance was being given by the central Government to the various State institutions. He pointed out that some of the States had been protesting against the duplication of their work by the Federal Department, and asking for a limitation of the scope of its operations. He went on to say -
For the past fifteen years the Federal Department has grown rapidly, but in spite of this growth there has been a lack of definite policy regarding the respective spheres of Federal and State activity. This has led to duplication of work and considerable friction along certain lines. One general statement holds good. The growth of the Federal Department has been accompanied by a corresponding decline in the vigour and influence in the State Departments. To-day the only State agricultural agency which can be considered to have a standing at all comparable to the Federal agricultural bureaux are the State experimental stations. And the popularity of these stations rests in some measure on the fact that they are supported in part by Federal appropriations. Last year the amount of the appropriations was 740,000 dollars. The cause of the growth of the Federal and the decline of the State bureaux lies quite largely outside the character of the work done. One is popular because the people do not realize that they are taxed for it; the other is subject to constant criticism because its expenses are known to increase taxation. The expenses of the Federal bureaux are paid from indirect taxation, and the expenses of State bureaux are from direct taxation. State legislators who make appropriations for State bureaux are always on the defensive, because this work means an increase in taxation. The congressman or senator who secures an appropriation for work by the Federal Department in his State is looked upon at home as a benefactor. Public opinion in the United States regards the Federal Treasury as a common hopper, in which forty-six States are engaged in a scramble to get the largest possible share. The congressman or senator who can secure a public building or an investigation of pear blight by a Federal bureaux has only commendation for his achievement; and this means praise for the pear-blight worker as well. The State Bureaux; especially the State experimental stations, have made numerous protests against what they term an encroachment on the Federal Department. Committees” have been appointed at their annual conventions to present to the Secretary of Agriculture the protests of the State stations against the duplication of Stale work by the Federal Department, and asking for the limitation of the scope of the Federal Department’s work. The action of these Committees has, however, lacked the vigour and definiteness necessary to accomplish anything. The reason of this is that the State stations are not supported by local sentiment or by their congressional delegations. During the past five years they have been moving along a more effective line. That is, they are pressing for Federal appropriation for State stations. Success in such an appropriation makes the senator or congressman as popular at home as in getting an appropriation for work in his State by the Federal bureaux. In the last five years there have been secured large Federal appropriations for State- stations under what is known as the Adam’s fund, an increase in the Hatch fund, and Federal appropriation for State horsebreeding establishments. I would point out that, although there has been a huge expenditure in the past on account of Federal experimental work in the United States, the matter has now taken a reverse step, and the Federal authorities are making appropriations for the State authorities to carry out that work. We want to be very careful how far we go here in initiating establishments similar to those in the United States.
The Premier of Western Australia, Mr. Moore, said -
I am entirely in accord with what has fallen from the Premier of New South Wales and from Mr. Swinburne. In reply to the suggestion made by the Acting Premier of South Australia, that any resolution we pass here can have little effect, I may say that the last time this matter was discussed in Conference at Hobart the then Prime Minister stated that the right of the State Premiers was keenly realized. They should, he said, be consulted in the sense in which responsible Ministers intrusted with responsible duties should consult other men intrusted with similar duties. He added : “ We are very anxious, before introducing measures to the Federal Parliament, to have the advantage of the opinions of this Conference.” The honorable member will see that it is the desire of the Commonwealth to have our views on this very important matter. It was brought up in Hobart by the then Minister of Trade and Customs, Mr. McLean, who stated that it was the intention of the Federal Government to establish an Agricultural Department. He said that he considered the Constitution of the Commonwealth had greatly circumscribed the power of the State Agricultural Departments to do all that they might desire in the way of developing the agricultural industries. The Constitution, for. instance, had’ taken away from the States .the .right to encourage the production or export of products by means of bounties or bonuses. But- there are many other ways in which the State Governments can insure agricultural development. Something like ^,”50,000 from revenue was spent in our State last year in connexion with the development of agriculture, while no less than £158,000 was spent from loan. We are: establishing State experimental farms in the different districts of the State, so that the settlers in those localities may have the opportunity of profiting by the experimental work that is done by the Government. I certainly think that if a Federal Agricultural Department is established there is every likelihood of a duplication of work. The development of our agricultural lands is, in my opinion, purely a matter for the States ; and I am satisfied, as far as our own State is concerned, that anything that the State Government could do in that way would be of very great value.
The motion was agreed to. The subject came up again in connexion with a motion submitted on the following day, when Mr. Swinburne then submitted the following proposition -
That in furtherance of the resolution passed on Thursday, 30th April, 1908; that each State should control the development of its own agricultural resources, this’ Conference - further resolves - that in its- opinion the establishment of a Federal . Department of Agriculture is premature, and that before any action is taken or legislation for the ‘ establishment of such Department be initiated, a Conference of State Ministers of Agriculture should be convened by the Federal Government with, a view oi preventing the duplication of work and effecting economy. < ‘
We know that a ‘Conference of Ministers of Agriculture was held. They passed a resolution in which they declared . that they were opposed to the establishment of a Federal Bureau of Agriculture - not because they were opposed on principle to the Federal Government undertaking work of this
description, but because they feared that the establishment of the Bureau would lead to a duplication of. a great deal of the work already being -done by the States. ‘ Each member of the Conference, I think, spoke upon this matter. In the first place, the opinion was expressed that it was doubtful whether the Federal Government had power to establish such a Department. ‘We have at various times passed “legislation which has been the.subject of appeals to the High Court by .the States, .and we know very well that if the States believed that the Commonwealth was ‘interfering with matters that concerned them alone, in all probability this matter .would also form the subject of an appeal. We should therefore, I think, secure an opinion from those entitled to ex- press one”, and should be satisfied as to whether the Commonwealth has under the Constitution power to deal with this matter at all. We know -the opinion of those concerned with the Governments of the States1 bn; the subject. They consider that the establishment of a Federal Bureau -is unnecessary. They believe that even if it does not do harm, it will do very little to ass’ist the States. In connexion with the motion which I have quoted, the Queensland Premier, Mr. Kidston, said -
I do not think -we should mix these two matters up at all, but should confine ourselves to the motion before us. In my opinion at present a Federal Department of Agriculture would be an unnecessary duplication of work and expense., I am utterly opposed to the Federal Govern-‘ ment interfering in matters of this kind, which I consider domestic concerns, which ought to. be .left, and are far better left, to the respective States.’ ‘
Further on he said -
I do not wish .to say anthing offensive - the Federal Government is only fussing about matters which are not strictly within its proper province, and it ought to be left exclusively to the States. The opinion’ I want to express is simply this : Whatever the future may be, whatever need the future may develop, I think that’ for the Federal Government at present to start’ a Department of Agriculture and to interfere: in that matter would be neglecting the proper- business for which that Government and Parliament were constituted, and would be needlessly duplicating work which all the States arc doing in their own province. It would simply be spending money twice over. I en- ,tirely object to the Federal Government interfering in this matter, .with or without a Conference with the Ministers of Agriculture of’ the States.
The question was then adjourned, but came up for further consideration later on, when the motion was amended. In its amended form it read - -
That in furtherance of the resolution passed on Thursday, 30th April, 1908, namely, that each State should control the development of itsown agriculture resources, this Conferencefurther resolves that before any action is takenor legislation for the establishment of a Federal Department of Agriculture is initiated a Conference of State Ministers of Agriculture should’ be convened by the Federal Government.
The Premier of Queensland said -
I do not agree with that. It assumes that we recognise that the Federal Government aregoing . to establish such a Department. I donot recognise that at all. I think that it isaltogether unnecessary.
Thereupon Mr. Swinburne expressed theopinion that perhaps it would be better towithdraw, the motion, and it was withdrawnaccordingly. Such was the opinion of menwho, at that time, were responsible to theGovernments of the States. As I have al- ready observed; there was also a Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, who likewise declared against this work being taken up by the Commonwealth. There is another aspect of this matter. If there were reason for believing that the States were not doing the best they could within their own sphere, I could easily understand the Federal Government wanting to establish a Bureau. But at present the Federal Government has not a solitary inch of land upon which to do anything in the way of experiment. There is some talk of taking over the Northern Territory.
– Is it only talk?
– As far as I can understand the position from the debates in the other House, and as far as I know the opinions expressed by its members, nothing definite is likely to be done at present, at any rate.
– Yes, there is. The Bill will be carried.
– I do not know; I am only stating what has been said and what I have heard concerning the views of honorable members in another place. At any rate, it is certain that the Federal Government has no land on which to conduct experiments. It would have to own land in various parts of Australia before it could do any practical work for the agricultural development of this country.
– The Federal Government has done such work in America.
– I have already quoted the remarks of Mr. Swinburne, a former Minister of Agriculture in., Victoria - a man who, I believe, has done everything possible to promote agricultural interests in his own State- who has pointed out that all the important work in America is by no means being done by the Central Bureau, but that there is more activity in the State Bureaux than there ever was before. But my point is that in this country we have all classes of soils, and can produce all varieties of agricultural produce. In Tasmania, in the south, we can grow products that nourish in temperate climates; in Queensland, in the north, we can grow cotton, coffee, and all kinds of tropical products. The State of Queensland has, I believe, done more in connexion with the development of tropical agriculture than any other State. If they are doing that, would they derive any assistance from the Central Bureau, established at Melbourne or Canberra? No, not unless the Common wealth was able to secure the services of men who had devoted a large amount of attention to tropical agriculture. What would that mean? It would mean that the Commonwealth would have to secure the services of men who, by reason of opportunities afforded to them had been able to become experts, or, at any rate, were students, or had been of some assistance to tropical agriculture. But that would not do any practical good, because in these matters the local interest is what has to be considered. In the case of the sugar industry, what was the position? We had an office in Brisbane, but we also had different stations established at various centres along the coast. In every district in which men were engaged in growing cane there were experimental stations, where some chemists carried on investigations and gave practical advice to the growers. There was no necessity for a man who was growing cane on the Mosman or the Mulgrave to send samples of soil to Brisbane to be analyzed, because each district had an establishment of its own. Mackay, ifI remember aright, had the best establishment in connexion with the industry. There was also an establishment in the Bundaberg district. The men who conducted these establishments were recognised to some extent as expert chemists. The Brisbane office was simply an office in which all the clerical work was done, and from which reports were issued, but the practical work was done in the various districts along the coast. Suppose that the Commonwealth established a Bureau of Agriculture at Canberra, would the men in Northern Queensland have to send samples of soil to that place before they could get any assistance, or would the Commonwealth establish experimental stations along the coast, and maintain experts there? A Central Bureau is not necessary. By means of experimental stations and tropical experimental farms, the Queensland Government are doing all that they possibly can to assist tropical agriculture in the State. We cannot expect a man who is resident in the southern portion of Australia to understand what is required in the northern portion. Only the other day we had a case in point. Bananas were being sent from Queensland to Melbourne, where the State authorities apparently knew very little about that fruit. They had a regulation that if bananas from the north were not positively green on their arrival they should be destroyed. If, however, the bananas were yellow and fit to be consumed they were not allowed to be landed, but were condemned and ordered to be destroyed. The staff of the State Agricultural Department did not include one man who had ever been in a tropical district, but lately it sent an officer to North Queensland, and he has told the residents that he had learned more there in a. month than he had ever learned in Melbourne. He recognised that the departmental regulations were altogether at fault. He stated that the Department had been penalizing the production of one part of Australia, not because it desired to do an injury to that place, but because it did not know sufficient about the business to be able to frame an intelligent regulation. The regulations have been altered, but not until a considerable agitation had been carried on, and an officer had been sent to the north to recommend to the Department the best method of dealing with the matter. That is a practical illustration of what happens under the existing system. A fruit expert came down from Queensland to Melbourne on two or three occasions to point out the true facts to the Department, but it would not interfere with the regulations until it had despatched an officer to Queensland, and now it is prepared to act far more generously than it had previously done. That is the sort of administration which is required. Unless the Federal Bureau is to be an enormous institution with experimental stations all over Australia, andofficers in touch with agriculture, dairying, horticulture, viticulture, live stock and forestry, it will be of very little use indeed.. It is to be charged for instance, with the acquisition and diffusion of information connected with those subjects. But how is it to get the information except from the State Departments?
– Where is it going to establish an experimental station for coffee and sugar?
– The Commonwealth has not a suitable place unless it takes over the Northern Territory, in which, of course, it could establish departments and carry out experiments. Otherwise it will be altogether dependent upon the men who for years have been studying and experimenting in the northern part of Queensland.
– Where would the Commonwealth get a piece of land to make experiments in the growing of flax?
– Probably the Commonwealth would be able to get places in different parts of Australia, provided that it had control of them, but, of course, at present it has not. It will have to depend upon the institutions which the Central Bureau will to some extent duplicate or perhaps supersede. I do not’ believe that the States will recede from the position which they have taken up regarding their Agricultural Departments. I. notice that one of the objects of the proposed Central Bureau will be “ the carrying out of experiments and investigations.” Where is that work to be done? At present the Commonwealth Government do not propose to establish experimental farms in connexion with tropical or semi-tropical or temperate climate agriculture. I do not see what a Central Bureau could possibly do except collect information from the State Departments, collate it, and circulate it throughout Australia. It certainly could not get more information from outside sources than do the State Departments. If I know anything about the State experts, they are obtaining from countries in which experiments are being carried out, all the information which is. suitable to assist the development of agriculture in Australia.
– And they are meeting with great success
– Undoubtedly they are, and they are doing the practical work in the very place where it is most valuable to agriculturists. My opinion is that the great body of agriculturists would never come into contact with the proposed Central Bureau. It has been stated that this Bill is similar to that under which the Meteorological Department was established, but that Department does not conduct any experiments. All that it does is to collect information from various officers in the States, collate it in Melbourne, and distribute by telegram information concerning rainfall and weather. Throughout the States it has what may be termed subdepartments. It has officers who are not only collecting information, but issuing warnings. At first I felt inclined to support the second reading of this Bill, but when I looked into its provisions more closely, I recognised that at present the Commonwealth would not be able to do any more than is being done by the States. Byandby, when it has a territory of its own to develop, it might be able to establish a bureau of agriculture which would enables the Government to assist settlers. But it; would require to collect a considerable quantity of information, especially in connexion with tropical agriculture, before it. could render useful assistance to those who would be under its direct jurisdiction. I do not think that the Government really intend that the measure shall become law, though, of course, they may want honorable senators to agree to its second reading. I do not believe for a moment that if the Bill were read a second time the Government are prepared to carry it through during this session. It seems to me that it has only been brought in to be used as an electioneering placard, to enable the Government to say, “ We wanted to render some assistance to agriculture ; we were prepared to spend a sum of public money with the object of distributing information and making experiments.” Believing that the Bill is premature, that there is no business in it, and that it has only been introduced as an electioneering placard, I intend to vote against its second reading.
– I direct attention to the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.’]
– I intend to support the second reading of this Bill, and I hope I shall be able to support the third reading, although that will depend to a great extent upon what the Government have to say as to their, immediate intentions. I support the measure, because of the supreme importance to Australia of primary production. It is the primary producer that we must support and help in every possible way. As showing the importance of our primary products, I should like to say that our export of pastoral products amounts in value to no less than £35,000,000 a year. That is in addition to what we produce for home consumption. The value of our agricultural products is something like £30,000,000 a year, and our dairy products are valued at about £9,000,000. I say that this is a wonderful record for Australia.
– Hear, hear, and without a Federal Agricultural Bureau.
– Without the assistance so far of a Federal Agricultural Bureau. It is a record of which we in Australia have every reason to be proud. If by scientific investigation, experiment, and research we could increase the average yield of wheat by merely one bushel per acre, we should more than cover the whole cost of any Federal Agricultural Department we might establish. If by research and in vestigation we can improve and increase our dairying products and other primary products the establishment of a Federal Agricultural Bureau will .be amply justified. There are 14,000,000 acres at present under, cultivation in Australia. But we all know that there are immense areas remaining to be cultivated. We know also that there are great areas of country which at one time were thought to be useless and unfit for cultivation, which can be cultivated with profit. The Adelaide express passes over a stretch of country which is to-day falsely called, “ The Ninety-Mile Desert.” There was an opinion held at one time that that country was practically useless, and unfit for cultivation, but any one travelling over the railway to-day will see that miles of that country have been brought under cultivation. Not long ago I was myself on a farm in that district, and, although the soil appeared to be worthless, sandy soil, it produced something like 13 bushels of wheat to the acre in the last wheat season. We have scattered throughout the Commonwealth great, areas of what appears to be inferior country, but which, as the result of research, experiment, and knowledge may be brought under profitable cultivation, and so vastly increase the agricultural production of the Commonwealth. It is all very well to establish and protect local manufactures, but after all we can only expect our secondary industries to supply our own requirements. We arcunable to export their products, in com petition with the products of similar industries carried on with cheaper labour in other countries.
– That argument does not apply to America.
– It does to a great extent. The honorable senator should remember that America occupies a very different position from that of Australia. The United States manufacturing centres are within six days distance from the great centres of population of the old world. They have between 80,000,000 and 90,000,000 of their own people to supply.
– They are very large exporters.
– Naturally they are I say that our distance from the markets of the world and our dearer labour as compared, not only with that of America, but with that of other countries, makes it impossible for us to export to any great extent the products of our secondary industries. It is all the more necessary that we should do all we can to increase our primary productions. I believe that the establishment of a Federal Agricultural Bureau will be of very great advantage to us in this direction. We have heard a great deal of what has been done, and is at present being done by the State Agricultural Departments. I am not here to belittle their work in any way, and I do not believe that the establishment of a Federal Agricultural Bureau would in any way injure them. I know that splendid work is being done by the Agricultural Departments in New South Wales and in some of the other States. I do not know very much about what is being done in Queensland and in Western Australia, but I know that in Australia five agricultural colleges have been established, and that there are between 600 and 700 students attending them. We have a right to expect a much larger attendance at these colleges in a country like Australia which depends for its prosperity to so great an extent upon the cultivation of the soil. It would be a great deal better if we had 6,000 students attending these colleges. I think that South Australia can claim credit for leading the way in this line of work. I believe that it was in1879 that it was first decided to establish a School of Agriculture in that State, although active operations were not commenced until about1882. The establishment of the Roseworthy college has been of immense benefit to the whole community of South Australia.
– We have had some excellent professors there.
– Professor Lowrie did splendid work in South Australia, and has since been doing splendid work elsewhere. Professor Perkins, who is now carrying on the work in South Australia, is a very worthy successor to Professor Lowrie. He is a man of vast knowledge, and of a practical turn of mind. The work he is doing is of a very satisfactory character, and of great benefit to the State. South Australia has, I think, what is lacking in all the other States, and that is an Agricultural Bureau,in addition to its Agricultural College. I happened to be very intimitely associated with the steps taken to establish the Agricultural Bureau in that State. The late Mr. Albert Molineux did a wonderful work for agricul ture in Australia - first of all, through ‘the Garden and Field newspaper, which he carried on, and which he started in my printing office. He was a compositor by trade, and I gave him the opportunity of setting up the paper for himself in my office, and afterwards printed it for him. He was the man who first advocated the establishment of what is now the South Australian Agricultural Bureau. That bureau has at the present time about120 branches throughout the State, composed of practical men, who are working on the soil. They do a great deal of good work. The members have regular meetings, at which they discuss papers of practical interest, exchange experiences, and are generally helpful to one another. We have had people in South Australia experimenting in dry farming for. many years. I believe that even the visit of Mr. Koebele to discover an aphis for the destruction of the San Jose scale in America was suggested by Mr. Molineux. Mr. Molineux has an able successor in Mr. Summers, a young man, who was brought up in the office, and is now carrying on the work there. Honorable senators have complained that this Bill does not propose the establishment of any board. I am personally very glad that it does not. Some honorable senators have said that under this measure we are being asked to give someone a blank cheque which he may fill up with any amount he pleases, but I do not regard it in that light. I consider that by the establishment of a Federal Agricultural Bureau we shall not interfere with, but shall supplement and co-ordinate the valuable work at present done by the various State Departments. Clause 4 of the Bill provides that -
An arrangement may be made with the Government of any State in respect of all or any of the following matters -
The carrying out of experiments and investigation ;
The supply and distribution of information ;
The exchange and distribution of seeds and plants; and
Any matters conducing to the develop ment in Australia of the agricultural, pastoral, dairying, horticultural, and viticultural industries and forestry.
That does not look like overlapping and duplicating the work of the State Department.
– That work is already being done in South Australia.
– I know exactly what is being done in South Australia, just as well as does the honorable senator. In opposing this measure the honorable senator may he representing some officials, but he is not representing the people of South Australia. I am nol influenced by what may be said by some official who may feel that the passing of this Bill would be detrimental to his position.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that I am?
– 1 do nol say anything at nil about it.
– Then what does the honorable senator infer ? Let him be a man.
– - When’ Senator W. Russell says that the people of South Aus-‘ tralia do not want this measure, I say that he does not know anything about it. The people of South Australia do want it. That is the position if the honorable senator wishes it put plainly.
– Senator W. Russell. has had great practical experience.
– I give the honorable senator every credit for his practical experience. There is no doubt that he is 1 good farmer. I say that what is provided for in clause 4 of this Bill does net indicate antagonism towards the State Departments or the duplication or belittling of their work. I take it that it “is intended that the Federal Agricultural Bureau shall do work which the State Departments are not doing.
– What does the Bill provide for that the State Departments are not now doing?
– Under this Bill, work can be done which the State Departments are not doing and could not do. I advocated the establishment of this bureau at all times amongst my constituents, and was never told that it was not required. I advocated its establishment for the purpose of undertaking work somewhat on the lines of that which is being’ performed by the Central Bureau of Agriculture in the United States. Senator McColl has spoken very fully of the nature of that work. Mr. Foster Fraser, the author of Amenca at Work, makes some very pertinent references to the value of the sei vices which are being rendered by the Agricultural Bureau of ‘America. He says -
To my mind the Agricultural Department of the United States is the most useful organization in the world. It does not do all it sets out to accomplish ; but the machinery is there, and the enthusiasm is there. Above nil - and this is the point - it is practical to the American. The results of experiments spell dollars. It is thorough.
Further on, he says -
The bureau of chemistry investigates the composition, nutrative value, and adulteration of food products ; a valuable work, much appreciated.
I know from what I have read that if a man wishes to start work upon the landin any part of America, he has merely to write to the” Department to obtain any information that he may require. He may send samples of his soil for analysis and get advice as to what to grow, and when to grow it.
– Imagine a man sending samples of his soil from North Queensland to Melbourne.
– In America, farmers send samples of their soil thousands of miles for analysis. Mr. Foster Fraser continues -
Within the -Department is the Weather Bureau. Every day weather maps are published- in the great centres. Forecasting has risen to the dignity of a science. From 365 centres 42,000 farms nrc, by means of the co-operation of the Post Office, which gives free delivery, supplied with forecasts. It is only a matter of development for thousands of other farms to be sent the information.
– Yet only a week or two ago honorable senators’ voted against a proposal to telegraph similar information free of charge.
– Do not let us mix up two things. The writer adds -
Ordinary agricultural societies, with a show once a year and an odd paper read in odd months after a “ market ordinary,” ore not good enough for Silas Hayseed! He is “ away up” beyond that. He has institutes., and the moment the Agricultural Departments sees the institute means business then a useful ?1,000 or so is sent along.
Last year 2,000 institute gatherings were held in half a hundred States, and attended by half-a-million farmers. These institutes are variously managed, sometimes by officers of agricultural colleges, sometimes by State - or country officials, sometimes by a fusion of the lot. Any way, there is no that is hardlyinour Department “ talk. Everything is in everybody’s Department , i f it spells success.
Mr. Foster Fraser also remarks
At Washington I went into a room and saw the work of distributing agricultural information. It was something difficult to realize. Last . year nearly 300,000 letters were received asking for information. Exactly 606 publications were issued, and 8,000,000’ of these were distributed. The Year-Book givinginabound volume of 840 pages, all the latest information, together with illustrated popular articles by experts, was distributed last year to the number of half-a-million. Each senator and representative is given15,000 to circulate among his constituents.
– That is a brilliant idea.
– I thought that it was one which would appeal to a good many honorable senators. So far as I can see, the object of establishing a Federal Department of Agriculture is to help the primary producer in every possible way.
– Is not the Central Bureau in America doing for the States what the Stales in Australia do for themselves ?
– No ; I believe that in nearly all the States of America, Agricultural Bureaux have been established.
– And they are practically subsidized by the Central Bureau.
– We have only been Federated for a few years, and prior to Federation, it was impossible for anything in this connexion to be done by the Federal authority. Consequently, the work was thrown upon the States, and right nobly they have done it. Nobody will wish to depreciate the value of that work, or to see it overlapped in any way. The work of the proposed Bureau of Agriculture is clearly defined in clause 3 of the Bill ; and it is all practical work. I am aware that as yet the Commonwealth possesses no land to which it can devote its energies. But I understand that this Parliament is going to ratify the agreement made with South Australia for the transfer of the Northern Territory. I am led to believe that it does not intend to repudiate that agreement.
– I would point out that the honorable senator will be afforded another opportunity of debating that question.
– Immediately the Northern Territory has been accepted by the Commonwealth, the Federation will possess land of its own.
– I would remind the honorable senator that no decision upon that question has yet been arrived at.
– May I be permitted to say that the Northern Territory will have to be developed, and developed by white labour. Consequently, there will exist a need for scientific investigation with a view to the encouragement of tropical agriculture. Persons who settle in the Territory will require to know what they ought to grow, and how and when they ought to grow it. We know that the Territory will produce rice and cotton. Indeed, the latter commodity is growing wild there. It will also grow indiarubber, and many other tropical products. Consequently, we shall need to do everything that we can to help the man upon the soil. I do not suggest that we should at once establish a large Federal institution. In my judgment, the first step should be the initiation of an up-to-date scientific laboratory in which experiments may be conducted which cannot be conducted by the States at the present time. Of course, inquiry will have to be made to prevent the possibility of Commonwealth functions overlapping State functions. In short, I think that the Central Bureau of Agriculture shouldbe brought into operation gradually. The question of how much it shall do rests entirely with this Parliament. The Government must state what expenditure they propose to incur, and, unless the authority for that expenditure be forthcoming, they will be powerless. I wish to see a scientific Department established to do work which the States are not capable of doing for the purpose of assisting our primary producers. I feel certain that if this enterprise be managed as it ought to be managed, the States will have no reason to complain, and that the work done will benefit alike the States and the Commonwealth.
Debate (on motion by Senator Sayers) adjourned-
Senate adjourned at10.6 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 October 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1909/19091027_senate_3_53/>.