3rd Parliament · 4th Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator E. J. RUSSELL presented a petition from 2,252 electors of the Senate praying that a referendum be taken in regard to the abolition of State Governments and Parliaments.
Petition received and read.
– Has the VicePresident of the Executive Council received a statement in connexion with the imposition of fines in the Brisbane Post Office, and, if so, is he prepared to lay it upon the table of the Senate?
– Through the head office, I have received some reports from the Brisbane Post Office. I shall be very willing to place them in the hands of the honorable senator, and if he should desire them to be laid on the table of the Library, I shall do so; but I fancy he will find that the information he will have obtained from their perusal will be quite sufficient.
– Is the VicePresident of the Executive Council now in a position to furnish the Senate with information as to what action has been taken during the period mentioned in previous questions by me relative to the granting or the refusal of public telephones to hotels in the metropolitan centres of Australia ?
– As I informed the honorable senator yesterday, a return reached me ; but as the information contained therein did not appear to be complete, I referred it back to the Department, with the result that I am now informed that it will be necessary to send to Sydney for information which was obviously missing.’
– I beg to ask the
Minister of Trade and Customs when the promised report regarding the work of the trawler Endeavour is likely to be laid before Parliament for the information of the’ public ?
– As the Director of Fisheries is expected to return to Melbourne on Monday, I am hopeful that I shall be able to give the honorable senator definite information on Wednesday next, if he will be good enough to renew his question.
Senator Sir ROBERT BEST laid upon the table the following paper : -
Papua. - Ordinance of 1909. - Gold-field Reward.
The Clerk Assistant laid upon the table
Return to Order of the Senate of 7th October, 1909-
Post and Telegraph Department, Queensland : Fines and Offences, 1908-9.
Application of Charles Bluett
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Will he lay on the table of the Senate all papers and correspondence connected with the application of Charles Bluett, Rockhampton, for a commission in the Naval Militia?
– The papers will be laid upon the table of the Library.
askedthe VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
There were about 170 candidates at the ex amination in Melbourne on Saturday . 10 enable young ladies to qualify for appointment to the Federal Public Service. It was held at the premises of Messrs. Stott and Hoare, Bradshaw, Zercho, and the Central Business College, where the necessary accommodation for the shorthand and typewriting tests was available. The Commissioner (Mr. McLachlan) states that the arrangements were admitted by the candidates to be very satisfactory. “I have no doubt,” . remarked Mr. McLachlan, “ that when the results are known it will be seen that the Commonwealth has got the cream of the young ladies of Melbourne and Sydney “ (where a similar examination was also held). The papers are now being examined, and the results will be published in about two or three weeks?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Department, or privately owned ? If in some cases the former and in some the latter, what distinction is made in the matter of allowances?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows : -
Inquiries are being made, and the desired information will be furnished as early as possible.
– With reference to the question standing in my name on the notice-paper, I do not think it is necessary to call attention to the fact that the steamship Waratah is missing, because every one is aware of the fact, but I desire to refer to the doubts which have been expressed about her stability.
– I point out to the honorable senator that it is not in order to make a statement concerning his question.
– But I gave notice of my intention to call the attentionof the Minister of Trade and Customs to certain facts.
– The question appears on the notice-paper, and whatever is necessary to direct the Minister’s attention to the facts is embodied therein. IfI were to allow the honorable senator to make a statement now, it would be very inconvenient to the transaction of business, and, of course, every other honorable senator would expect a like privilege.
– I bow to your decision, sir, and simply put my question to the Minister without any further remarks -
Will the Government cause an inquiry to ascertain if the aforementioned vessel’s stability was such as to secure the safety of passengers and crew?
– Any information available can be obtained from the State authorities only.Inquiry will be made therefrom, and the result will be communicated to the honorable senator.
Motion (by Senator Colonel Neild) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Public Service Act.
Bill presented and read a first time.
Motion(by Senator E. J. Russell) agreed to -
That there be laid on the table of theLibrary the papers relating to the purchase from Clarke and Co. of a block of land at the rear of the Money Order Office; Little Bourke-street, Melbourne.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreedto-
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from 27th October (vide page 5048), on motion by Senator Millen -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
.. - I rise to support the second reading of this Bill. I believe that it will do a great deal of good for the purpose for which it has been introduced. ‘ I do not think that it will lead to overlapping with what is being done by the States. We cannot have too much information about agriculture, and we cannot do too much to assist in its development. Agriculture is one of the main-stays of the Commonwealth. The more people we get on to the land, and the more we. do to assist them, the better it will be for the Commonwealth as a whole.
– Will the honorable senator vote for or against the Bill?
– I have said that I intend to support the second reading.
– Is that what the honorable senator has said outside?
– It is exactly what I have said outside. I have said repeatedly that [ intended to support the second reading.
– Does the honorable senator intend to go any further ?
– I am not prepared to say whether the Bill is going any further ornot. That is for the Government Co determine. The whole question with me issimply this - that if we have a Bureau of Agriculture, carried on by the Federal Government, much expenditure can be saved to the States. As we stand at present, if an inquiry has tobe made into any agricultural matter, or experiments have to be conducted, the States act independently. We have had experts sent to America, to England, and to Germany, to find out what it was best to do in certain circumstances. In such circumstances, the efforts of one State often overlap those of another. If we have a Federal Bureau, one expert can be sent abroad by the Commonwealth, and the results of his researches will be. at the disposal of every State.
– The honorable senator is a nice State Righter ! He is no better than a Unificationist !
– I am not proposing to interfere with State Rights in any respect. But I do not see why each State should be put to separate expense in sending men abroad to conduct investigations for the benefit of the whole Commonwealth. There is nothing to prevent the central authority acting for the common good in such respects. There is no reason for saying that a man believes in unification because he believes in the Commonwealth performing a service for the whole of Australia. Before Federation, each State had a separate Post Office system, and a separate staff. Now we have a Post Office Department for the whole of Australia, controlled by one authority, matters concerning each State being under the supervision of a Deputy PostmasterGeneral. The same sort of thing can be done in regard to a Bureau of Agriculture. Each State can carry on its own functions, but the Commonwealth can assist all the States.
– Is that required ?
– That is a matter of opinion. I may have my doubts concerning some parts of this Bill. It may be amended in various respects in Committee. I am prepared to assist in making amendments wherever I think they are necessary. I am not a supporter of needless Departments and billets, but I see no reason for not allowing this Bill to be read a second time.
– I wish to give one or two reasons why I consider this Bill unnecessary. I have listened to nearly the whole of the debate on the second reading; but I have not yet heard any statement made which would justify the establishment of a Federal Bureau of Agriculture. No reason has been given why the Commonwealth Government should go to the expense of establishing a Department to do work which is already being done admirably by the State Departments of Agriculture. The people most interested in agriculture in Australia have shown that they are satisfied with the work which the State Departments are doing for them. They might agree that in the future it may be necessary to establish a Federal Department of Agriculture, but they certainly think as I do, that the time has not yet arrived for the establishment of such a Department. It has been urged that, under this Bill, experts might be appointed to investigate the various pests and diseases with which the agriculturists of Australia have to contend. I am of opinion that, owing to differing climatic conditions in the different States, it would be better that the diseases and pests peculiar to each State should be investigated by a State expert than that the work should be undertaken by a Federal Department. It would be an enormous task for one office to undertake. Previous speakers have pointed out that at various agricultural conferences that have been held in different parts of the Commonwealth, this Bill has been protested against. Only last week, an Agricultural Conference held in Melbourne decided against it”. Sir John Quick, who has taken a lively interest in the establishment of a Federal Bureau of Agriculture, attended this Conference, with the object of explaining the Bill now before the Senate, to the agricultural experts assembled at the Conference. The honorable gentleman indulged in a great deal of special pleading to induce the Conference to recognise the virtues of this measure. An endeavour was made before the Conference met to find out the feeling of persons interested in agriculture throughout Victoria on this subject ; and at the conclusion of Sir John Quick’s address, the Chairman of the Conference, Mr. M’ Tier said that -
After the Bendigo Conference the various bodies affiliated to the Chamber of Agriculture had been circularized, and asked for an expression of opinion on the subject. To the seventyfive circulars sent out, only nineteen replies have been received, the majority of which was antagonistic to the scheme.
That is an indication of the opinion of the very people for whose benefit it is .proposed to establish a Federal Bureau of Agriculture. These people know exactly what they want, and yet only nineteen out of seventy-five bodies interested in agriculture thought it worth while to reply to a circular sent to them on the subject, and the majority of the nineteen were antagonistic to the Bill. Some members of the Chamber of Agriculture objected to the Bill on the ground that it would merely lead to a duplication of billets. I think that they were perfectly justified in that objection. The newspaper report of the proceedings concludes in this way -
The pros and cons , of the matter were debated at length, and ultimately a resolution was passed ; to the effect that the Senate should be asked to postpone consideration of the Bill until an opportunity had been given of testing the feelings of those interested in- the other States, failing which certain amendments were suggested, limiting the functions of the Federal Bureau and .increasing those of the States.
This shows that those who are most interested in agriculture in Victoria, and I think the same is true of all the States, see no necessity for the establishment of this new Department. The Federal Government are, in fact, forcing upon the State Governments something which they do not desire, and which the people of the States are protesting against. 1 direct attention to the fact that in .manufacturing and industrial matters the Federal Government adopt an entirely different attitude. They, are very careful to avoid interference with the rights of the State Governments in that respect. They -have intimated that they would prefer that the State Governments should themselves deal with such matters, and have gone so far as to waive some of the rights of the Commonwealth authority in order to enlarge the powers of the State authorities in dealing with them. I agree with other honorable senators that the Government have no real intention to pass this Bill this session. They desire merely that the second reading shall be carried, and the measure will then be dropped so that -when they go to the country they may be able to tell the farmers that they proposed certain legislation in their interests, but for lack of time were unable to carry it. I shall vote against the second reading of the Bill, because I believe it to be entirely unnecessary, and because I think that it would lead to the creation of a new Department which would involve considerable expense, and which for a number of years would be useless to the people in whose interests it is proposed to be established. The Government have not yet shown how they intend to raise the necessary funds to meet liabilities to which they are already committed, and yet they propose under this Bill to establish a new Department involvin£r further expenditure, and which, in my opinion, as *well as in the opinion of those most directly interested in the matter, would be useless.
– At first sight, I was inclined to vote against the second reading of this Bill, because I know that the State Departments of Agriculture are doing good work, and that the State Governments, to some extent, resent interference by the Commonwealth in this particular matter. The object of the Bill is to establish a Federal Bureau of Agriculture for -
The acquisition and diffusion among the people of the Commonwealth of information connected’ with agriculture, dairying, horticulture, viticulture, live stock, and forestry, &c. -
I recognise, therefore, that the real purpose of the Bureau is the dissemination of information connected with agriculture throughout the Commonwealth. The States, I think, would welcome the establishment of an institution which had that object in view. I am inclined to vote for the second reading of the Bill,because I believe that the dissemination of such knowledge would be to the great advantage of our people. At the same time, I hope that no large expenditure will be incurred in giving effect to the objects of the Bill. Clause 4 provides -
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 investigations ;
The supply and distribution of information.
Nobody ought to object to a central Bureau of Agriculture supplying and distributing knowledge of that description. Consequently I can see no objection to assenting to the second reading of the Bill, especially as no great expenditure will be incurred in establishing the Bureau. If that were to be the case, I should object to the expenditure.
– I would support the second reading of this Bill if I thought that it represented a genuine effort to assist the agricultural industries of the Commonwealth. But, looking at it in its bald form, it seems to me that it provides an inefficient way of helping those interests. This leaflet of a Bill proposes no organization in connexion with the projected Federal Agricultural Bureau. It merely expresses a pious hope that something may be done in the future. In my judgment, it would have been very much better to leave the whole subject severely alone until the Government were prepared to bring down a Bill embodying a form of organization and prescribing the duties of the officers who would be attached to. the Department. I shall vote against the motion for the second reading of the measure, but I can assure the Government that when they make provision upon the Estimates for financing a sound scheme - in other words, when they show me that they really mean business, and that they are not merely seeking to advertise themselves - I shall be found supporting them. This Bill is nothing but a huge political placard. It is a bundle of vagueness from start to finish, and evidences no intention of a desire to assist those interests which it pro fesses to assist. A more honest declaration of the intentions of the Government would have read -
Whereas it has been considered expedient to encourage the development of agriculture throughout the Commonwealth on sound, safe and scientific lines, and whereas it is not intended to do anything definite and practical by means of this measure to accomplish such a worthy object, but simply to express the pious belief that something may or should be done, be it therefore enacted as follows : -
That the various agricultural interests deserve fostering, and are hereby fostered accordingly.
Some such declaration might have fitly taken the place of the Bill and would have deceived nobody, because it is an open secret that this measure is not to be persevered with. I recognise that the agricultural interests of Australia are at present fairly well served by the State Agricultural Bureaux. At the same time I admit that there is room for the establishment of even a seventh Bureau. When the Government submit a proposal for the payment of salaries to officers connected with this Department I, shall be. found voting for it. Probably when that time arrives the Ministry will have to rely more upon the votes of members of the Opposition than upon those of their present supporters. I shall welcome any sincere attempt on the part of the Government to establish a Federal Agricultural Bureau, because I hold that we cannot have too much knowledge upon matters pertaining to agriculture. We cannot continue to allow persons to settle in the drier areas of Australia, there to be brought face to face with problems which they have no means of solving. When they enter into occupation of the dry interior, it is of the first importance that they should know what breeds of wheat they ought to sow, and what kind of fertilizers they ought to use. Whilst the State Agricultural Bureaux are doing very good work, we could with advantage supply the people with very much more knowledge in this connexion. In America the Bureau of Agriculture, which has been organized on a substantial basis, has been the means of bringing untold benefits to the, agriculturist. For instance, it has been instrumental in abolishing pleuro-pneumonia in cattle.I need scarcely remind honorable senators of the serious nature of that disease, and of how it has driven many a man from his home, besides dissipating the earnings of his life. The United States Bureau has also investigated the causes of many other diseases to be found in plants and animals. Up to the present it has saved- the people of that country thousands and thousands of dollars as the result of its scientific research, and I feel that it is up to the Commonwealth to * establish an institution upon similar lines. I will vote for any proposal to finance this Bureau, and to organize it upon -a scale which will show that the Government really mean business. At present, however, the Bill is merely the expression of a pious hope on the part of the Government that something may be done. In reality, they intend to do nothing. One honorable senator has stated that it is upon all fours with the Census and Statistics Act, and the Meteorological Act. It is nothing of the kind. ‘ The Act under which the Census and Statistical Department was established defines the duties of officers connected with that Department. But the Senate is entirely in the dark as to what action- the Government propose to take in organizing the proposed Federal Bureau of Agriculture. T regret that they have not brought down a Bill which reflects an earnest desire to establish a Department which would be capable of doing good work.
– Upon this Bill the Government have refused to give a pair to Senator McGregor.
– Order ! I would point out that that interjection is not relevant to the Bill which is now under consideration. As a matter of fact, we take no official cognisance of pairs.
– The usefulness of the projected Federal Bureau of Agriculture will largely depend upon the arrangements which may be made with the various States. The latter may hamper the Bureau to a considerable extent.. I should like to see excised from the Bill any provision which sets forth that the usefulness of the Bureau is “to depend upon the goodwill or favour of the State Agricultural Departments. Under the Bill, the bureau may do certain things by an arrangement with the State Departments. But those Departments would act in obedience to the instructions of their respective Governments, and might be so jealous of their own status and investigations, that they would not readily lend themselves to any co-operation with the Federal Department.
– We could not force them to co-operate.
– That is quite true; but I do not see the’ necessity for providing in the Bill for the making of an arrangement with the States. Shall we not have sufficient authority of our own to act if we should so desire without consulting the States ?
– In that case, we . shall be struggling in hobbles, and shall certainly collide with the States at every step that we take. If there is to be a mere bureau for the purpose of gathering agricultural information, and disseminating it, let us understand that at once. But if it is to be established on the same basis as the American Department of Agriculture, and is to investigate diseases affecting animals and plants, it will be hampered at the outset, because the six competing Departments of the States will be only too anxious to safeguard their own status and resent any interference with their work. At the same time, I feel that there is room for a seventh authority. We should not, how?, ever, set forth that the usefulness of our Department shall wholly, or even partially, depend upon the good will or co-operation, of the States. We should take untrammelled control of our Department, andshould not rely upon the co-operation of the States. If, hereafter, the Government should show an earnest intention to organize a Department, and submit proposals for financing it, I shall vote for them. But. at present, I feel that they are not engaged in a genuine effort, and therefore I cannot support the second reading of the Bill.
– I do not desire to occupy the time of the Senate at any great length ; but one or two statements have been advanced which seem to me to invite criticism. One of the most general statements made has been that the Bill does not really contemplate anything, but is a mere empty placard. Side by side with that statement we had a denunciation of the Bill because it was alleged that by means of it the Commonwealth Government would be duplicating the work which is carried on by the States.
– That is the” States’ opinion.
– I absolutely fail to understand how a Bill under which the Government are to do nothing can be made the ‘ vehicle of a charge against them_ of doing something which is to be a duplication of that which is already being done. I should like honorable senators to make up their minds as to what it is that they mean. Is the Bill to be a mere empty placard from 1 which nothing will result? If so, it is clear that there can be no duplication of State action.
– Those who think so make a mistake.
– That there will be duplication ?
– There will be duplication. Those who think that the Bill means nothing, make a sad mistake. It means the creation of unnecessary billets.
– The criticism directed against the Bill hasbeen selfdestructive. Honorable senators, like Senator Henderson, have denounced the Bill because they say that it will involve an expenditure which is, in essence, a duplication of that already incurred by the States. I could understand that argument if it stood alone, but side by side with it we have those who, like Senator Pearce, have denounced the Bill, because they say that they are in favour of the Commonwealth establishing an Agricultural Bureau, but are not in favour of this Bill, because it is a mere empty placard, or, to use the words of the last speaker, a mere pious expression. Whether the Bill is to mean anything, whether it is to be a Bill under which active operations will be undertaken, or a Bill under which active operations will become extensive and prolonged, will entirely depend upon Parliament. At every stage it will have full opportunity of deciding how far the Bureau shall be an active agency, and, of course, that control it will exercise through the appropriation. No appointments could, or would, be made until Parliamentary sanction had been sought through the Estimates’. That being so, honorable senators can see at once that they can dismiss all idea of any extravagance being incurred, unless it was extravagance to which they were parties. I would point out to honorable senators that, without the authority of an Act of Parliament, we have Departments in existence to-day. I make that statement in answer to the charge that this Bill is an empty placard, inasmuch as it merely affirms that there shall be a Bureau of Agriculture, and sets out to define its duties. It is said that because the Bill is not more definite, because it does not proceed to appoint various officers, therefore it is the mere declaration of a desire. But. in the Commonwealth, and also, I believe, in the States, we have Departments which have grown up . without Parliamentary sanction other than that expressed in the appropriations. This Bill can be as operative or inoperative as Parliament likes. The extent and area of its operations will unquestionably depend upon the appropriations which Parliament may from time to time sanction.
– Is there not another corollary, that the Department can be created without the aid of a Bill?
– There is, of course, an opportunity to do that, and we havein existence to-day a Department which was created without Parliamentary sanction, in the form of a measure of this kind. Senator Lynch attempted to take Senator Keating to task for having affirmed that a parallel to this Bill is found in the Census and Statistics Act, and also the Meteorological Act. I venture to say that Senator Keating was absolutely correct. Of those two Acts, the latter merely affirms that a meteorologist shall be appointed, and proceeds to describe his duties. This Bill’ affirms not that a Director of Agriculture shall be appointed, but that there shall be a Bureau of Agriculture, which, of course, corresponds with the declaration in the Meteorological Act that there shall be a meteorologist.
– Yes, but from that point the parallel dies.
– No, it becomes closer and closer - if it is possible for a parallel to do that. As we read on we find that in the Act the duties of the meteorologist are set out, whereas, in this case, we find that the duties of the Bureau of Agriculture are set out. It is an absolute parallel.
– But it fails in this respect, that while one is useful the other is useless.
– My honorable friend is not now confining himself to the argument to which I am addressing myself, and that is as to whether or not Senator Keating’s contention is correct, that, in the two Acts I have cited, we have a parallel to this Bill. With regard to the Census and Statistics Act, the same parallel is observable.Senator Lynch has, I think, made a mistake in looking at the number of sections in that Act. He failed to recognise that the vast majority of them are obligations placed upon the public and directions to officers as to secrecy and otherwise. This Bill, I venture to submit, contains all that is necessary at this juncture;. It is a measure by means of which Parliament can authorize the creation of a public Department. .
– It contains a lot that is unnecessary.
– My honorable friend is, of course, opposed to the Bill. I am not arguing from that stand-point, but merely saying that it is quite sufficient for the purpose. The honorable senator admits that his objection to the Bill is that it will be operative.
– That is my objection.
– My honorable friend has now conceded my point, that the Bill is not a mere empty placard, but one which, subject to Parliamentary appropriation, can be made an active agency in the direction indicated.
– It is a piece of good matter.
– My honorable friend must see that he has already answered that remark. It is a mere question ofwhether or not we shall create an agency for the dissemination of agricultural knowledge.
– I do not intend to argue with my honorable friend, who is an expert on that point, because Senator Henderson’s fear is not that the Bureau will be a mere engineering agency, but that it will become an active agency for the employment of scientific officials and the expenditure of public money.
– Not a bit of it. I have not thought of that. It is not meant for that purpose.
– What the honorable senator said just now was that he feared that under theBill the expenditure of public money would be incurred, and that we should duplicate work which was already being performed by the States.
– Hear, hear !
– My honorable friend has assented to that proposition. We could only spend money under the Bill in one way, and that is by the appointment of officers. I venture to say that no Government would be absurd enough to appoint officers to keep them in idleness. If we do employ officers we may assume that they will carry on some work. Whether it will be a duplication of work already performed or not is quite beside the point. It is clear from this admission that the Bill, if passed, would result in the creation of an Agricultural Department, in spite of all the statements which have been made by
Senator Pearce and others that it is lacking in essence. I would point out to honorable senators that in Committee they will have every opportunity to put in those clauses which they think it lacks.
– The honorable senator wants us to frame the Bill for him ?
– My honorable friend knows that I do not intend to ask him to do that. I accepted his statement that he is not opposed to the work contemplated by the Bill. His point was that it did not contain the machinery to carry out the work which I understood him to say ought to be carried out. If that is so I submit to my honorable friend that the correct course for him. to take is to assent to the second reading, and in Committee to propose such machinery clauses as he thinks ought to be provided.
– Which he knows he cannot get, with the brutal majority against him.
– A remark of that kind is hardly entitled to much notice, but I would point out to the honorable senator that I have no objection to amplifying the provisions of the Bill. If, however, honorable senators do amplify them, they will not hasten the work one bit, because they will be inoperative until Parliament has made financial provision to give effect to them. It does not matter, therefore, whether the machinery is contained in one clause or set out at great length in twenty clauses. Whether Parliament wants this Department to be a large or small one must always depend upon the one fact of appropriation. I ask honorable senators to assent to the second reading of the Bill with a clear intimation that I shall have no objection to any reasonable proposalsfor enlarging the machinery clauses.
Question - That this Bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Bureau of Agriculture).
– I appeal to the Government to report progress now. The Vice-President of the Executive Council invited honorable senators to suggest amendments. The division that has just taken place was somewhat surprising, and we have not yet had time to frame amendment?. It would be convenient to report progress, having regard to certain arrangements that have been made.
– Ihad intended to move that progress be reported, but there seemed to be such a desire to proceed with the measure that I hesitated to take such a step. I have, however, no objection to progress being reported.
– I think that we ought to proceed with the Bill”. If we are to take the present attitude of the Government as an indication of how the measure is to be treated in Committee, it is evident that the Bill cannot be regarded very seriously by them.
– I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday next.
I submit this motion in view of an announcement which has been made to me, not only by individual senators, but by the Acting Leader of the Opposition, that a number of members of both Houses of this Parliament are anxious to take advantage of an offer that has been made by the
South Australian Government to afford facilities for a visit to Oodnadatta. The train leaves at 4 o’clock, and I am submitting the motion with the object of enabling those honorable senators who wish to get away to do so.
– I have no objection to the Senate adjourning until Wednesday next, but I wish to point out that it is quite evident that the policy of the Government in this Chamber is merely one of marking time.
– The honorable senator will not be in order in discussing any other question than the motion that the Senate at its rising adjourn till Wednesday next.
– I thoughtI was addressing myself to that motion. If you, sir, had allowed me to proceed, you would have been of the same opinion. Surely I have a right to express my view as to the manner in which business is being conducted. It must be obvious that what I said was perfectly correct.
– Order !What I pointed out to the honorable senator was that the only debatable question was as to the date to be fixed for the next meeting of the Senate. The honorable senator has a perfect right to make any comment he pleases with regard to the conduct of the Government on the next motion which will be submitted.
– As I said before, I have no objection whatever to the Senate adjourning until Wednesday.
– That is the only matter before the Senate.
– And it is the only matter which I wish to debate.
– The honorable senator has said he has no objection to an adjournment till Wednesday.
– Surely I have a right to comment on the date on which business is to be resumed. Whether the Bureau of Agriculture Bill is to. be considered in Committee to-morrow or on Wednesday next makes very little difference, because it is plain that we have not much business to go on with, and that the Government have merely adopted this method of getting out of their difficulty. I suppose that had it not been that some honorable senators desired to go to South Australia to- day we should soon have disposed of the whole of our business.I have already expressed my doubts as to whether the Government are in earnest with reference to the Bill with which we have been dealing, and I intend to find out next Wednesday whether they are really sincere or not.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.35 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 28 October 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1909/19091028_senate_3_53/>.