3rd Parliament · 4th Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 . p.m., and read prayers.
Motion (by Senator Pearce), by leave, agreed to -
That a message be sent to the House of Representatives requesting that the House of Representatives give leave to the Honorable Hugh Mahon to attend and be examined by the Select Committee of the Senate on Press Cable Service.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether, in view of the fact that the excitement due to the racing season is now past, he will be kind enough to lay upon the table of the Senate a statement showing a list, so far as each State is concerned, of the numbers of persons who the Postmaster-General decided, in the period from 1st September to the 6th inst., shall not receive correspondence through the Post Office? I desire that the statement should specify the individual’s locality as to each State, and which paragraph of section 57 of the Post and Telegiaph Act he comes under -
If the Postmaster -General has reasonable ground to suppose any person to be engaged either in the Commonwealth or elsewhere in receiving money or any valuable thing -
-I am under the impression that the names of those whose correspondence is prohibited are duly gazetted, and that when a prohibition is withdrawn a Gazette notice follows. Whether that is so or not, I shall bring the request of the honorable senator under the notice of the Postmaster-General.If my view is correct, it should not be difficult to obtain the information.
– The reasons are not specified in the Gazette notices.
– It may take a little time to do so! but I shall endeavour to obtain the information for my honorable friend.
-It will be remembered that on Thursday last the subject of the Postal Commission was dealt with on a motion for adjournment.I see that on that occasion I spoke for just four minutes, but certain remarks which I made seem to have been misunderstood, and to have led to quite severe attacks upon myself outside the chamber. I desire to refer to those points. It is assumed that I charged the PostalCommission with beingguilty of wrong-doing in regard to the fees of its members, whereas myremarks on that point, as reported at the timeby Hansard, are as follow -
No doubt there will be asatisfactory reply on the point of personal expenditure. Until to-day I have not had the ill luck to be on a Select Committee. I have some sympathy with those who have had frequently to attend upon such bodies.
It will be seen that not only did I not make a charge in regard to fees, but I expressed myself as having no sympathy with the suggestions that had been made. I then proceeded to deal with the length of time which the Postal Commission had been sitting, and to draw attention to the Select Committee on Press Cable Service, stating that, although it had just been appointed, Senator Pearce had moved that it should report within about a month from the time of its appointment. I concluded with the followingremark, which I quote exactly from Hansard -
Surely the time has come when we may look to the Government for some expression of a determination to bring to a close a Commission which by reason of its lengthened sitting has become a public scandal.
Honorable senators will see that my wordswere very clear, and that I referred only to the lengthened sitting as objectionable, but elsewhere it isassumed that in using the word “ scandal,”I wished to suggest that something was wrong. Honorable senators, I suppose, know that the word’ “ scandal “ is one of very wide application. In order to make myself clear on that , point, I referred to Webster’s International Dictionary, and found there seven different illustrations of the use of the word. The first is the following, which is taken from Shakspeare -
O, what a scandal is it to our Crown
That two such noble peers as ye should jar.
There Shakspeare uses the word “scandal” in connexion with a quarrel between two peers of the realm. I used the word without the slightest thought in my mind of any moral delinquency. I wish to make that quite clear, and that is all I wish to trouble the Senate with.
– I have to lay on the table of the Senate the fifth report of the Standing Orders Committee formulating and tabulating decisions arrived’ at during the session of 1908. I may inform honorable senators that the document wilt be printed and copies of it circulated to them.
– When are we likely to get the new issue of the revised Standtrig Orders?
– A meeting of the Standing Orders Committee was held today, and they contemplate issuing a new edition of the Standing Orders and the Constitution Act. It. is proposed to issue what will really be a Parliamentary handbook. In addition to the Constitution Act and the Standing Orders as revised, it will contain some of the Acts most frequently referred to by honorable senators, and the decisions which have been given from time to time on various points raised in connexion’ with the interpretation of the Standing Orders. Necessarily, there will be somelittle delay in the publication of the book.It is proposed, also, that it shall contain a list of all the Acts passed by the Federal Parliament, so that honorable senators may be able to ascertain readily what Statutes have been passed, and where they can obtain particulars of them. The book will contain, for instance, copies of such Acts as the Acts Interpretation Act, and an Act which we passed some time ago making provision for the incorporation of amending Acts with the Acts which they were passed to amend. The object of the Standing Orders Committee in the issue of the volume is to supply honorable senators with what, though it may not be absolutely complete, should be a very handy compendium of reference. 1 may state, further, that the amendments of the Standing Orders have been printed in pamphlet form, and will be circulated to honorable senators. They can insert them in their books of the Standing Orders, and will probably find them more convenient than the slips which are in use at present.
Senator MILLEN laid on the table the following paper : -
Return showing -
Persons whose birthplaces were various Asiatic countries, enumerated at Census of 1 901.
Arrivals and departures of Asiatics in and from the Commonwealth from 1st January, 1904.
Deaths of Asiatics in Australia from 1st January, 1907.
SenatorPULSFORD asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
How many Asiatics did the censuses of 1901 show to be in Australia?
Between the time of the censuses of 1901 and 30th June, 1909, how many Asiatics (a) arrived in Australia (4) departed from Australia?
What, if any, record is there of the number of deaths of Asiatics in Australia since the censuses of 1901.
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is contained in the return which I have just laid on the table, and which was too lengthy to read.
– Before the first Order of the Day, Government business, is called on, I. should like, sir, for my guidance, to ask whether it is possible for me to postpone the consideration of all the Orders of the Day,
Government business, until after the consideration of notice of motion number 4, private business, in the name of Senator Pearce. If possible, I should prefer to take that course rather than to submit a motion to that effect specifically, as each Government Order of the Day is called upon.
– I do not think that that can be done, as the Senate has already ordered that certain private business shallfollow the consideration of the motion standing in the name of Senator Pearce.
– Private business must take precedence in the evening after 7.45 p.m. At the same time, the Senate may desire now to alter the order of business.
SenatorPearce. - I would remind you, sir, that last week, what the Vice-President of the Executive Council now proposes was done in order to give precedence to a private matter in the name of Senator Trenwith.
– The standing order provides that Ministers may arrange the order of notices of motion and Orders of the Day. I shall put the question -
That Orders of the Day 1 to 4 Government business be postponed, and take precedence after notice of motion number 4 private business.
– I take a point of order. The Senate has already made an order fixing the order of the business on the paper for to-day, and it is not possible for that order to be set aside without a specific motion. The Senate hasordered that Senator Lynch’s motion, which is the first item of private business on the paper, shall be taken next after the notice of motion, private business, in the name of Senaator Pearce. . In the circumstances, it is not possible to wedge in Government business between the two items of private business, the order of which has already been fixed. The Minister has proposed to take action too late.
– Too late to consult the President ? That is the only course I have taken so far.
– I know what was intended, but it has not been appropriately carried out. So far as I am personally concerned, I raise no objection on the ground that I have private business on the paper - quite the contrary Still, I submit that the Senate has made an order, and the only way in which effect can now be given to the desire of the Vice-President of the Executive Council isby first dealing with Senator Pearce’s motion, and then, when Senator Lynch’s motion is called upon, postponing that until Government business is dealt with. That is the only course- which can .now be properly taken.
– In the first place, it must be borne in mind that Government business takes precedence-
– Unless otherwise ordered.
– That is so.
– And the other order has been made by the Senate.
– Not yet. The position is that Government business takes precedence until the dinner adjournment. Immediately after that, under the order which has been made, Senator Pearce’s motion would be taken first, and then the motion in the name of Senator Lynch. The Vice-President of the Executive Council now desires to postpone Government business until after Senator Pearce’s motion has deen dealt with. He proposes to give one : of private business precedence over Government business, and with the consent of the Senate, that may be done. I, therefore, put the question to the Senate. I think that, apart from technicalities, it is mv duty to see that the business is conducted in such a way as, while reasonably conforming to the Standing Orders, may best meet the wishes of honorable senators.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Under your ruling, sir, Senator Pearce’s motion must come on at a quarter to 8 o’clock.
– Under the ruling I have given, I intend now to call on Senator Pearce to submit his motion.
– I move -
That the Select Committee on press cable service have leave to sit in Sydney, New South Wales.
I thank the Vice-President of the Executive Council and honorable senators for having given me the opportunity,, to move the motion at this stage. I desire to say on behalf of the Press Cable Service Committee, that we have found it necessary to examine at least four witnesses resident in S viney. They are all professional gentlemen. I would direct the attention of the Senate to the fact that the question involved is really one of expense. If honorable senators will turn to standing order 306 they will find that it reads -
Payment should be made according lo the following” scale to any professional or other witnesses, or to persons whom the Committee may deem it necessary to employ in furtherance of the inquiry with which the Committee is charged ; and the Chairman’s certificate on the face of an account shall be sufficient authority for its payment by the Clerk of the Senate. . . . Additional compensation for loss of time in certain cases aud special payments shall be determined by the Committee.
I am given to understand that in the case of professional witnesses the attendance fee has been fixed at a guinea per day, that the attendance fee of an ordinary witness is 10s. 6d. per day, that travelling expenses at the rate of 6d. per mile each way are allowed to witnesses, in addition to hotel and other expenses, which are fixed at 10s. 6d. per day, unless the Chairman certifies to a larger amount, which must not exceed 15s. The provision relating to the allowance of 6d. per mile for travelling expenses either way is a most extraordinary one.
– It is intended to cover coach f H.r£S
– That standing order means that if the Committee exercises its power to bring these four witnesses to Melbourne it will have to pay first-class railway fares for them both on the forward and return journey, 6d. per mile for travelling expenses, a fee of one guinea per day each, seeing that they are professional witnesses, and, in addition, an allowance of 10s. 6d. per day to cover their hotel expenses. Under these circumstances it would be more economical for the Committee to proceed to Sydney, especially as two of its members are resident there, and as the expenses of the remaining members of that body will be limited to the expenditure that is actually incurred by them. It is ( only right that I should make this explanation to the Senate as to the reason why we desire to proceed to Sydney.
– Has the Committee power to compel the attendance of these witnesses in Melbourne if they do not wish to come here?
– Yes. The Senate has already given the Committee that power. It has authorized it to call for persons or papers.
– But the Committee cannot compel the attendance of witnesses.
– Upon that matter a good deal of misapprehension exists. A Select Committee appointed by the Senate possesses all the powers which are possessed by similar Committees of the House of Commons, which powers have been declared by Statute, lt has all the powers of a Court to compel the attendance of witnesses.
– The Committee could force witnesses who refused to attend, to the Senate, and the Senate could then act.
– Until the powers of Select Committees appointed by the Senate are declared by the Commonwealth Parliament, such Committees possess all the powers of similar Committees appointed by the House of Commons.
– I merely desire to make one observation in regard to this motion. I objected to it being regarded as formal entirely in the interests of the Committee itself. It appeared to me that an opportunity should be afforded the Chairman of making clear the reasons which animated the submission of the motion under which it will be authorized to depart somewhat from the beaten track. It is well that an opportunity should have been afforded its Chairman to make a public explanation upon that point.
– In supporting the motion. I realize that it would be absolutely impossible for the Committee to discharge the functions with which it has been intrusted if its sittings were confined to Melbourne. I wish to ask Senator Pearce whether it is possible for that body to complete its labours by sitting in Melbourne and Sydney, or whether it will be required to sit else-‘ where. Should the latter course be necessary, I suggest that the Chairman of the Committee should follow the usual practice in such circumstances, hy moving that the Committee have power during a certain period to adjourn its sittings from place to place.
– Including Port Darwin, of course.
– I do not think that any cable service is supplied to the press at Port Darwin, although most of the cable news comes through that port. Does not Senator Pearce think it is desirable that the sense of the Senate should be taken upon my suggestion that the Committee have power to adjourn its sittings from place to place, which is the usual form adopted in connexion with motions of this character. He has already in timated that the Senate may expect the Committee’s report to be presented on the 24th inst. Whether it will be possible for it to present its final report upon that date I do not know, but if the honorable senator is prepared to go further, I am quite willing to support hiin.
– - In reply to Senator Keating, 1 wish to say that the Committee has considered the question of whether it will be necessary to visit any capital city other than Melbourne and Sydney, and, so far as we can learn, it will not. We shall be able to complete our evidence by sitting in Melbourne and Sydney, and that is why I have not submitted a proposal that the Committee should be empowered to move from place to place.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 10th November (vide page 5543), on motion by Senator Millen -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– It- would be justifiable upon an occasion of this kind to compliment the Vice-President of the Executive Council upon the very clear speech which he delivered on the motion for the second reading of this Bill. Senators Pearce, Dobson, and others, are deserving of similar con.gratulations, and, therefore, I occupy a somewhat awkward position in being obliged to follow them. But my object in rising is not to oppose the measure, although it contains much with which I do not agree, and to which I strongly object. But realizing as I do how the numbers will pan out, it would be foolish on my part to oppose its second reading.
– That circumstance does not bind the honorable senator.
– The honorable senator will hear enough from me in that respect. I am not hobbled. I have expressed my own convictions on other occasions, and I am prepared to do so again. i can scarcely see how the introduction of this measure can be justified. Strong efforts were made by the then Opposition, and principally by Mr. Joseph Cook, to coerce the Labour Government into doing what they did not believe in. It was sought to cajole them into giving a Dreadnought, or even two, to Great Britain. But the Fisher Government did not allow their hands to be forced, nor were the efforts made to compel them to call Parliament together before the usual time in order to consider the Dreadnought question successful. Mr. Joseph Cook condemned the Fisher Administration for ordering three torpedo boat destroyers without the consent of Parliament. But the fact of the matter is that it is now recognised that the Fisher Government initiated a strong defence policy. A Defence Bill was under consideration by Senator Pearce, who was then Minister of Defence, and the draft of that mea.sure has since come into the hands of the present Minister. Senator Millen has consequently been able to make the most of the fact that the late Government supported the provisions of this Bill. It is argued that had the Fisher Government introduced a measure containing some of the objectionable clauses which are in this Bill, I and other members of the Labour party would have been compelled to support them. But nothing of the kind is the case. It matters not to me what Government is in power ; I support measures in which I believe. Indeed, contrasting the speeches delivered by Senator Millen and Senator Pearce, I am rather inclined to favour the more moderate ideas of the representative of the _ Government than those of my honorable friend, Senator Pearce. The principal objection I have to the measure is that it embodies the principle of compulsory military service. I contend that compulsory service is unnecessary in this country. When, a few years ago, an emergency’ arose, and Great Britain wanted assistance at the Boer War, there, was no trouble in raising troops. In South Australia the trouble was, not to induce volunteers to come forward, but to make a selection. Whilst the excitement was on, thousands were ready to rush into the field, without considering whether or not war was justifiable.
– Would the volunteers have been less ready if they had had previous training?
– As it was, they were successful. They accomplished’ their object without having had previous training. Even on the field of battle they could take their place beside the best-trained troops without fear of comparison. Senator St. Ledger is in the habit of addressing the members of the Labour Party as if they were Ishmaelites, or something very bad. I regret his tone, but I have to acknowledge that I am in agreement with him in many respects on this question. I challenge any member of the Senate to show that they have a mandate from the electors of the ‘Commonwealth to institute compulsory military service. The platform of the Labour party has been referred to. The new plank of that platform regarding compulsory military service will not be effective until the next election. The question should first be submitted to the people.
– Did not the honorable senator agree to accept the Labour platform ?
– Yes ; but when I was elected to the Senate three years ago the platform on which I was elected did not include compulsory military service, I nevertheless declared myself opposed to compulsory’ military service. I ami of the same opinion now. How can I change my attitude when I have not yet completed three years of my term as a senator? Surely that is a substantial reason for my attitude. It is repeatedly said that the members of the Labour party are bound and shackled, and have to do what they are told. Such is not the case. For my own part, I shall act with a free hand, and if Senator St. Ledger moves any amendment which will help me to give effect to my views, I shall gladly co-operate with him.
– But Senator St. Ledger’s caucus will not give him the freedom that the honorable senator enjoys.
– I am stating the real position so far as I am concerned. I am prepared to stand to the end of the chapter by my statements to the electors, and not even the caucus shall have a constraining influence over me in any shape or form. If Senator St. Ledger could claim a free hand of that kind we might join in a fusion of two on this Bill. I regret the absence of Senator Cameron, to-day, because I desired to congratulate him upon the eloquent speech which he delivered on Friday last. I did not agree with the honorable senator’s views, but I recognised that he made a special effort as a practical man and a soldier of some standing, and I inferred that we should have the advantage of his presence, whenever we were considering the measure. He blamed the Government for not going far enough. A good many attempts were made to ascertain what remedy he had to suggest, and at length he said that in his opinion there should be a system of compulsory military training for twelve months at a stretch. That is, I think, militarism gone mad. What would be the result to the country if that very extreme remedy were adopted? How would a farmer with a few sons fare? There would be no loophole; they must put in an appearance. How would it affect the poor working man - he generally has a large family - if his sons were taken away to serve in the Army for a mere pittance? No matter from what direction the honorable senator’s proposal is viewed it is quite unjustifiable and unnecessary. Again, it is proposed that teachers shall drill some of their pupils from twelve to fourteen years of age. I notice that it is intended to substitute “ten” for “twelve.” Let me point out one of the difficulties which I foresee. In South Australia nearly one-half of the teachers are women. Are they to be trained in order that they can drill others? I think not. I rather approve of the statement which Senator Millen made the other afternoon while Senator Pearce was speaking. He recognised that it would be practically impossible to compel all children in the outside districts to attend the drills. Senator Dobson objected because the Minister admitted that 40 per cent. of the lads would not come under the system. It would be quite absurd to require every lad to be drilled. I appeal to Senator Mulcahy, who recently paid a visit to Oodnadatta. As that is dry country the homes are situated a long way apart. If some of the residents had young sons, how could they be got together and trained?
– There are thirtyseven children at the Oodnadatta school.
– Yes, and some of them are black, who, of course, would not be eligible. That is one of the troubles which confront us. Again, there is a certain class of persons who on conscientious grounds object to military training. I hold in my hand a letter which I have received from the Society of Friends. I think it is only proper that their opinions should be read to the Senate.
– We all know what their opinions are.
– I desire to impress the honorable senator with them. My correspondent writes in these terms -
May we respectfully ask your careful consider ation of the following points relative to the Bill now before Parliament, enforcing the principle of compulsory military service : -
On behalf of the General Meeting of Australian Friends, held at Hobart, September 28 to October 1, 1908.
William Cooper, Clerk. “ Edgmond,” Wahroonga, Sydney.
I now desire to refer to proposed new sections 123a and 123b, which deal with the question of the canteen.
– Keep in those provisions.
– Certainly. Last week I had a conversation on this question with Senator Pearce, a teetotaller, in whom I have the greatest confidence.
– But he supports the caucus.
– I am not dictated to by the caucus. I promised my honorable friend that before I finally decided what I should do, I would interview several military officers in South Australia. I interviewed two gentlemen holding the rank of major, whose names I shall not disclose, except privately, because they do not desire to be advertised. For a long time they Rave been connected with the Defence Force, and they both said that the greatest cause of trouble in camp life was strong drink.
– Where was it procured - from the canteen or from outside?
– It can be obtained outside the canteen.
– Yes, but the publicans have to pay a licence fee. I do not profess to be a teetotaller, but I have always believed in the principle of local option. If men cannot be in a camp for a few days at a time without the use of intoxicating liquor the discipline is not what it ought to be. There’ should be a provision to the effect that if a member of the force left camp without permission and was found in a public-house, he should be apprehended. The Bill also contains a provision with regard to the use of cigarettes. That also I shall support.
– Is the honorable senator prepared to extend the prohibition to tobacco pipes?
– If Senator Chataway will move an amendment to that effect I shall consider it. The proposed new section 123B provides that no person shall sell or supply cigarettes in any form to a junior or senior cadet while under training, and if any one does so a penalty of £20 is provided for the offence. I wish to impress upon honorable senators the fact that this proposed new section was agreed to in another place without a division. That should carry some weight with the Senate. Senator Millen has told us that in a few years it is probable that the cast of the defence scheme proposed by the Government would amount to ^2,700,000 or ^2,800,000. Senator Pearce endeavoured to show that it would probably amount to a great deal more. The Government have carefully abstained from letting the Senate know how they propose to raise the moneywhether by loan or by taxation. I should like, even at this stage, to be told what they intend to do. I have been favoured with a copy of a speech dealing with this question, delivered on the 5th November, 1908, by the Honorable Hugh Mahon, the representative of Coolgardie in another place. In common with other members of the Labour party, 1 sincerely believe that if a war is to be carried on and money must be spent for military purposes, it should be raised by direct taxation. Mr.. Mahon has, in a very able and careful I v prepared speech, dealt with this matter much better than I could. I think that I shall not be wasting time in reading extracts from that speech.
– I hope that the honorable senator does not propose to read the whole of the speech.
– No; I intend merely to read extracts from it. I have certain convictions, and I find that my ideas on- this matter do not harmonize with those of many other honorable senators. I do not think that we should permit our- selves to be carried away by excitement. I like to be cautious. I appreciate very much some of the remarks which Senator St. Ledger made yesterday, in which he showed that unless under the most favorable circumstances for them it would be practically impossible for an enemy to land on our shores. On the 5th November, 1908,. Mr. Mahon moved the following motion in the House of Representatives -
In submitting that motion the honorable gentleman said -
The proposition which I have the honour to submit embodies a principle so obviously just as to be unchallengeable on any ground of equity. Stated in the fewest words, this principle is that the cost of national defence is a proper and legitimate charge against the wealth of a nation. This resolution, indeed, runs parallel with that ancient canon of taxation which provides that the contribution of citizens towards the expenses of government should be in proportion to the revenue which each enjoys under the protection of the State. The development of highly-organized society has evolved some complex problems, but it has also conferred upon the units .in society increasing benefits directly and indirectly. To the owners of wealth, organized society guarantees security of ils possession and continuance of its enjoyment - a service for which organized society is entitled to be directly recouped. I propose to show that our existing system of taxation is defective in this regard ; that it permits wealth to escape adequate payment for the protection extended to it, and imposes the larger share of the burden upon the small incomes of the middle class and upon the scanty earnings of the workers and the unpropertied mass. It is quite true, of course, that national defence is instituted for additional ends other than the protection of the .country’s wealth. We maintain it for the preservation of home and liberty, because we desire to hand down to our children all the benefits of an enlightened civilization. This separate aspect of the question cannot be ignored, and in its proper place it will receive consideration. Now, whatever objection may be offered to this resolution, it cannot be opposed on the ground that it introduces an innovation. From the earliest times the wealth of England was levied on to provide the sinews of foreign wars as well as the funds for internal defence. At first the obligation rested on the King, whose resources were supplemented by exactions from the nobles. It is on record that the estates of the King, from the Conqueror to the Confessor, covered the country and comprised numerous manors, many towns, together with rights of rent-charge over other towns. His resources were, therefore, abundant. The army and navy were certainly recruited from the common people, but the taxation for wai purposes did not directly touch them. Indirect taxation was scarcely known at all in early England, the then existing duties of Customs yielding merely nominal amounts; while the device of Excise taxation was not acclimatized in Britain until about 1642. It is interesting to recall that the Parliament of the time borrowed it from the Dutch.- and that the King and the Cavaliers denounced it as an unheard of tyranny. They speedily adopted the system themselves, however, collecting the tax whenever they were able. Excise was again denounced at the Restoration ; but, as Professor Thorold Rogers points out, it was made hereditary so that the great landlords might emancipate their estates from feudal dues at the expense of the general public. The reproach has a modern application, for in re,lieving wealth from its proper share of the cost of protecting it, we are granting its owners undue advantage similar to that which the great landlords wrested from Parliament centuries ago.
– Will the honorable senator take his seat. While I have no objection to the honorable senator reading extracts, and it may be somewhat copious extracts from the speech to which he is referring, they should be relevant to the matter before the Senate. He should remember that we are not now considering the means by which revenue may be raised for the purpose of carrying out the system of defence, which the Bill before the Senate is intended ».o provide, for. The honorable senator would be in order in pointing out that our pecuniary resources are not, in his opinion, adequate for the purpose. I remind the honorable senator of the distinction observed in another place between a Committee of Ways and Means and a Committee of Supply. In the Committee of Ways and Means the means proposed for raising money are considered, but in the Committee of Supply, the House is asked to appropriate money, the raising of which has been dealt with in the Committee of Ways and Means. A somewhat similar distinction must be observed in this debate. The Senate is now being asked to consider a Bill to provide for a Naval and Military Force for the defence of the country. The question of how the money required for the purpose is to be raised, is quite another question, and must be dealt with by a distinct motion. The honorable senator may quote extracts so long as they are relevant to the Bill, and do not refer to an aspect of the question which is not dealt with in the Bill.
– I have no wish, sir, to come into collision with you in any shape or form ; but it is very difficult for me to believe that what I was reading does not deal with the subject under discussion by the Senate.
– I do not consider that the portions of the speech which the honorable senator quoted just now, are relevant to the Bill. -They may appeal to the honorable senator in connexion with the question as to how the money to provide for defence is to be raised ; but that is not the question with which the Senate is now dealing. If the resources of ihe Commonwealth, as we know them at present, are, in the opinion of the honorable senator, insufficient for the purpose, he will- be justified in pointing that out, and in urging that as a reason why we should not adopt a scheme of defence which would involve great expense.
– That is just what is done in the speech from which I am quoting. I have so far quoted only the preliminary passages of the speech, and am giving the arguments as they occur. Later on in the speech, Mr. Mahon explains the method by which, in justice and fairness to all classes in the community, the money required for this purpose should be raised.
The PRESIDENT. That is the very reason why the honorable senator is not in order at the present time in alluding to the matter. No motion could be submitted in connexion with this Bill dealing with the way in which the money required to give it effect is to be raised.
– I am not submitting a motion.
-The honorable senator will see that he is debating that question. He is not at liberty now to discuss various methods of taxation which might be adopted to raise revenue for the defence of the country. His quotations must be relevant to the Bill, or to some proposal which could be incorporated in it by way of amendment. I am afraid that, the honorable senator does not clearly see the distinction I am endeavouring to draw. The Government in this Bill ask the Senate to provide for the establishment of a Defence Force. Until the Parliament is asked to appropriate the money necessary to cover the cost of that force, it will be represented merely by an enactment on paper. When the Government come forward and ask Parliament to appropriate ^1,000,000 or £1,500,000 to cover the expediture upon the force, they may be asked how they propose to raise the money, and honorable senators may approve of or dissent from the proposals of the Government for finding the money. We are not now dealing with the sources from which the money required to carry out the defence proposals of the Government is to be derived. Honorable senators at this stage are being asked to say whether it is right to pass a Bill for the establishment of a Defence Force on the lines laid down by the Government ; and I ask the honorable senator to confine himself as closely as possible to the Government proposal.
– I presume, from your ruling, that I cannot refer to the financial aspect of the question at all. lt is, in my opinion, a very serious matter to pass a Bill which will involve the expenditure later on of between £2,000,000 and ,£3,000,000.
– The honorable senator cannot now refer to the financial aspect of the question in the way he proposes.
– It is only fair that we should be informed of the Government policy in regard to this question. Mr. Mahon has dealt with that matter, and if you, sir, will not allow me to do so, it seems a pity that I sit upon this side of the Senate.
– Order. The honorable senator must not reflect upon the Chair.
– I object to your manner.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that I have ruled that he will not be in order in reading certain extracts. I can assure him that I am dealing with him in no different way from that in which I would deal with any other honorable senator.
– I do not believe it.
– I will not allow, the honorable senator to defy the Chair. I must ask him to withdraw that remark.
– As a matter of form, I suppose that I must.
– I must ask the honorable senator to withdraw the remark, and to make no comment on his withdrawal. The Standing Orders require obedience to the Chair. Is the honorable senator prepared to withdraw his statement? Surely he must see that it is necessary, that due respect shall be paid to the decision of the Chair. Not only is the remark which he made utterly disrespectful to the Chair, but it is disrespectful to every honorable senator, because we must all recognise that the President is placed in the Chair to represent the Senate in its corporate capacity, and it is his duty to confine honorable senators as closely as possible to the question which is under consideration, for the time being. I would further point out that if any honorable senator considers himself aggrieved by any ruling of the Chair, it is quite competent for him to move to dissent from that ruling. I would ask Senator W. Russell to withdraw his observation, if not out of respect to the Chair, from a sense of what is due to his own self-respect.
– I have no need to trouble about my own self-respect.
– I again ask the honorable senator if he intends to withdraw his statement?
– I withdraw.
– I presume that at this stage we can deal only with the general principles of this Bill, and that we must leave all matters of detail to be discussed in Committee. As far as the principles which are involved in the measure are concerned, it will be admitted, I think, that the Senate has been face to face with them for some time. It cannot be urged that the broader principles enunciated in the Bill are entirely new, or that they have not been previously considered by this Chamber. Upon more than one occasion very interesting debates have taken place here upon the desirableness of establishing a compulsory system of defence. Speaking personally, I may say that I have been a convert to that principle for many years, and I have repeatedly endeavoured to induce the political party with which I am associated to agree to it. At more than one Labour Conference, I have moved in that direction, and I am pleased to say that at the last gathering of that kind which I attended, I had the pleasure of supporting a similar proposition. But at former conferences, I submitted motions in favour of compulsory military service, and almost succeeded in getting the principle affirmed. Since then, the Federal Labour party, by a majority of its members, has subscribed to that doctrine. Consequently, we are dealing with a principle whichhas been very closely considered.
– Not in caucus.
– I quite agree with the honorable senator that the members of our party were not elected upon this principle. I know that he is just as strongly opposed to the principle as I am in favour of it. However, it is now one of the planks of the Federal Labour party’s platform,and consequently all future candidates for the support of that party must subscribe to it. The Bill does not appear to me either to affirm the principle of compulsory military training or to oppose it. Its provisions partake somewhat of the nature of a compromise. It seems to be the irony of fate that Ministers, upon assuming Ministerial responsibility, are nearly always obliged to swallow principles to which they have previously offered strong opposition. The Minister of Defence affords a striking illustration of this. In the past he was a sturdy opponent of the principle of compulsory military training. I do not find much fault with those who differ with me on this question, because I recognise that there is very much to be said on both sides of it. I can quite understand the position taken up by men who are older than myself, and who may have imbibed their ideas of militarism from the conditions which formerly obtained in the Old Country. I recollect” the time when any suggestion to apply the principle of compulsion in military affairs would have been promptly scouted. That may have been due to the fact that in bygone years the idea of conscription was often associated with the principle of compulsory training. It was because of the difficulty of severing the two things that those who do not believe in conscription have been driven to oppose compulsory training. I recognise that that is the chief reason why Britishers do not subscribe to it. We must all recognise that in the past conscriptionwas practised in a way which cannot be defended. We are all familiar with the abuses which were perpetrated under that system, and with the way in which the freedom of the individual was interfered; with. But I scarcely think that the principle of compulsory training is an entirelynew one so far as British people are concerned. As a matter of fact, instead of constituting an innovation, its adoption would merely mark a return to a system which underlies many of the ancient laws of the United Kingdom. I wish now to discuss whether the Commonwealth is in a position to create a standing army such as has obtained in the Old Country for so many years. Of course, it will be admitted that in Australia we occupy an entirely different position from that which is occupied by the masses in the Old Land In the first place, we have probably the freest Constitution in the world. Ours is, perhaps, the purest Democracy known to the present age. In Australia every man and woman has equal political power, the poorest as much as the richest, so far as our laws can make the circumstances equal. Our Federal Constitution secures absolute political freedom to every adult inhabitant of this country. Every citizen is on terms of political equality with every other citizen. Every adult has a vote. We may say, in a word, that every grown-up person outside the prisons and lunatic asylums, no matter how rich or how poor, is politically free and equal. Now, a country governed on principles of pure Democracy must necessarily be in a different position regarding a question of this kind from a country governed, as England is, for example. There, the House of Lords is entirely beyond the reach of the people.. It is constituted in such a way that the electors of Great Britain might as well not exist, so far as the influence which they can exert upon the Upper House is concerned. The Senate of Australia, in which we sit. is, in some respects, an equivalent legislative body to the House of Lords. But every man in Australia has a vote for the election of members of the Senate. Consequently, we occupy an entirely different position from the people of the Old Country. Again, we have to remember that to provide a standing army sufficiently strong, to protect our enormous territory would require a vast expenditure. Let us recollect the sparseness of our population and the immense geographical area which we have to defend, and it becomes evident that if we were to attempt to accomplish the task through the instrumentality of a professional army, our revenue resources would be taxed to such a degree that the burden would become intolerable. I feel quite sure that if the case were put directly to the people of Australia, whether they were prepared to pay the amount necessary to maintain a professional army, or to adopt the principle of compulsory military service to defend the country, there would be no doubt as to the result. The argument has been used - notably by Senator St. Ledger - that we in Australia are almost immune from attack. But that is not an argument against the principle of compulsory training. It may be an argument against having any kind of military defence whatever. If we are to consider the subject from that stand-point, and give weight to the argument of those who contend that we are far removed from attack, and that the countrystands in no danger, we should abolish our Defence Force entirely. Consequently, those who use that argument seem to me to have no leg to stand upon. It will be generally agreed that Australia is a country that is worth defending, and that Australians are prepared to defend it. The question simply is: How are we going to defend it? Shall we defend it by means of a defence force such as is sought to be organized under this measure, or by a professional standing army? We have to choose between the two alternatives. The question of how the money is to be raised, of who is to pay the piper, necessarily arises at this point. It may be contended that the masses have very little to defend. I have met with some who hold that the wherewithal should be provided bv the rich, who have so much to defend. There mav be much in the argument that the workers of Australia have very little propetty to defend, but we certainly have our lives and our liberties to defend. Surely they are worth defending. The man who, because he had less property than somebody else, would make that an excuse for n:.t doing his duty in defending bis country, would be showing a very poor spirit from the point of view of citizenship. It will be admitted by most of those who think about the subject, that our lives and liberties are worth defending, and on this ground, if for no other reason, we should be prepared to make our means of defence efficient. No doubt, in time, the cost will be heavy. It is not to be ex- pected that we >can set up a great military machine such as this - which will soon be costing us, according to the figures given by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, £1,750,000 per annum, and which, including naval defence, will ultimately cost not less than £2,500,000 per annum - without finding other sources of revenue. I do rot dispute that we shall have to devise ways and means for raising the money. When that time comes I do not question but that the workers will see to it that those best able to pay, those who have the most to defend, those who have the most to gain from an effective defence of Australia, are taxed according to the property they possess. That is a fair and equitable policy. It will be simply like asking our well-to-do citizens to insure their property and to pay a premium according to the amount insured. Therefore, it is fair and equitable that those who have most to protect should pay the most for the training of protectors. It has been argued more than once that if we encourage a spirit of militarism in this country we shall be encouraging the younger and more hot-headed members of the community to give rein to the spirit of Jingoism. Personally, I hate the Jingo. He may be defined as a man who would shed blood merely for the sake of shedding it, or for the sake of the glory that may be the outcome. A man who would wantonly go to war for no better reason than that is a monster, scarcely fit to live. I should be the last to desire to encourage the spirit of Jingoism amongst the people of Australia.
– I am glad to hear the honorable senator say that.
– It is not the first time I have said it. I have not lost sight of that danger. I have tried to view the question from all stand-points, and I quite agree with those who, like Senator W. Russell, urge that there is some danger of Jingoism. But, no matter- what military system we adopt, that danger still exists. There is Jingoism in Great Britain, where the voluntary system obtains.
– It is not the Jingo who goes to war;- he stays at home and sings the songs.
– I hardly agree with my honorable friend. The Jingo is often foolish enough to go out on the rampape on his own account. It would seem that the more civilized a country becomes the more likely are its people to be imbued with the spirit of Jingoism. The most cultured and learned nations of the world have manifested that spirit. France has suffered more from Jingoism than any other nation we can mention. Germany., another civilized and highly-educated nation, has suffered from it likewise. The English people have often been strongly affected by Jingoism. No matter what principle of military defence a country may adopt, that spirit is sure to be prevalent. I should be very sorry indeed to do anything to encourage it amongst Australian people. But we cannot forget that we have a country to defend, and the question insists upon an answer : What means of defence shall we adopt? It would be impossible to bargain with ari enemy who was inclined to come here and attack us. It would be useless to reason with him. We might like to read him a nice lecture on the immorality of his conduct. But reasonings would be brushed aside. Eloquence would be of no avail. The onlyway in which a nation can meet force is by force. If we are to retain the enormous continent which we at present possess, and which, undoubtedly, foreign nations will covet, we must take means to defend it. It has been urged that the principle of voluntarism is characteristic of the British race. It is like Free Trade. It has been elevated into a fetish, to such an extent that there are some who think that to break away from1 it would mean overthrowing the established order. But I think that I can show that the principle of compulsory service is not a new one, even so far as Great Britain is concerned. I will quote as my authority a great writer on the laws andinstitutions of England. I refer to Blackstone, who, in his Commentaries on the Laws of England, brings forward some admirable reasons in favour of the principle laid down in this Bill. In the first volume of his’ great work”, chapter 13, there are some arguments which support the contention that is made for establishing a Military Force such, as is required to defend Australia. I’ will quote a portion of the chapter for the benefit of those who are opposed to -the principle of compulsory service. Blackstone says -
In a land of liberty it is extremely dangerous to make a distinct order of the profession of arms. In absolute monarchies this is necessary for the safety of the prince, and arises from the main principle of their Constitution, which is that of governing by fear ; but in free States the profession of a soldier, taken singly and merely as a profession, is justly an object of jealousy. In these no man should take up arms, but with a view to defend his country and its laws; he puts not off the citizen when he entersthe camp, but it is because he is a citizen and’ would wish to continue so, that he makes himself for a while a soldier.
The laws therefore and constitutions of these kingdoms know of no such state as that of a perpetual standing soldier, bred up to no -other profession than that of war; and it was not till the reign of Henry VII. that the kings of England had so much as a guard about their persons. … It seems universally agreed by all historians, that King Alfred first settled a national militia in this kingdom, and by prudent discipline made all the subjects of his dominion soldiers ;
That is, I admit, somewhat new to me, because my reading had not extended quite so far. It seems to be so clear and decisive that I hope Senator W. Russell is paying attention to it.
– How many hundred years ago was it?
– That does not matter. The same principles hold good for national defence to-day as held. good in the days to which I refer. Blackstone continues - but we are unfortunately left in the dark asto the particulars of this his so celebrated regulation ; though from what was last observed, the dukes seem to have been left in possession of too large and independent a power; which enabled Duke Harold, on the death of Edward the Confessor, though a stranger to the Royal blood, to mount, for a short space, the throne of this kingdom in prejudice of Edgar Atheling the rightful heir.
It is now proposed to follow the example of the Great King Alfred of England, ana to make soldiers of all our citizens -
Upon the Norman conquest the feodal law was introduced here in all its rigor, the whole of which is built on a military plan. I shall riot now enter into the particulars of that Constitution, which belongs more properly to the next part of our Commentaries ; but shall only observe that in consequence thereof all the land’s in the kingdom were divided into knight’s fees, in number above sixty thousand ; and for every knight’s fee a knight or soldier, miles, was bound to attend the king in his wars for forty days in a year ;
A much longer period of service was demanded in those days than is required under the Bill ; but the principle of providing for the national defence by applying the system to all the citizens is involved in each case - in which space of time, before war was reduced to a science, the campaign was generally finished, and a kingdom either conquered or victorious. By this means the king had, without any expense, an army of sixty thousand men always ready at his command. And accordingly we find one, among the laws of William the Conqueror, which in the king’s name commands and firmly enjoins the personal attendance of all knights and others.
Blackstone points out that, according to the law, it was not possible to compel a man to leave England ; that whilst he was obliged to serve his country and to serve for forty days of each year, he had the right to refuse to leave his country. The writer proceeds to explain how the position of affairs was changed. First of all, he states that the lands of England were practically taken from the Saxons by William the Conqueror, and handed over to his victorious soldiers who, according to the area which they received, had to provide a large number of men. He shows how the tenure of the land was changed, and how the military tenure was abolished. He says -
Soon after the restoration of King Charles the Second, when the military tenures were abolished, it was thought proper to ascertain the power of the militia, to recognise the sole right of the Crown to govern and command them, and to put the whole into a more regular method of military subordination ; and the order in which the militia now stands by law is principally built upon the statutes which were then enacted. It is true that the two last of them are apparently repealed, but many of their provisions are re-enacted, with the addition of some new regulation, by the present militia laws; the general scheme” of which is to discipline a certain number of the inhabitants of every country, chosen by lot for three years ; and officered by the lord lieutenant, the deputy lieutenants, and other principal land-holders under a commission from the Crown.
The system of militarism which was established by William the Conqueror, and under which the land-owners had to provide a number of men to serve for certain days in each year, in order to provide for the national defence of England, was abolished, and the principle of conscription was introduced at the time of the Restoration by Charles TI. j so that, instead of men being allowed their freedom either to enlist or to do anything else, the whole matter was settled by law, and the landlords of the country were put into the position of officers of this force.
– What a time they must have had ?
– It should be borne in mind that it was not until the middle ages that the principle of conscription and a standing army was introduced into the laws of the Kingdom, and the principle of compulsory service is more ancient than the principle of a standing army or the Volunteer Force which we have at present.
– In England, they have had the compulsory system much more recently than that.
– Yes; but it was started there in the reign of Charles II., and since then it has been more or less in vogue. It was the employment of conscription gangs which created the hatred of compulsory service which exists to-day amongst English people. Blackstone continues -
When the nation was engaged in war, more veteran troops and more regular discipline were esteemed to be necessary, than could be expected from a mere militia. And, therefore, at such time more rigorous methods were put in use for the raising of armies, and the due regulation and discipline of the soldiery, -which are to be looked upon only as temporary excrescences bred out of the distemper of the State,-
That is a very strong statement to make in reference to standing armies or professional soldiers. and not as any part of the permanent and perpetual laws of the kingdom. For martial law, which is built upon no settled principles, but is entirely arbitrary in its decisions, is, as Sir Matthew Hale observes, in truth and reality no law, but something indulged rather than allowed as a law.
All this goes to show, I think, that the ancient laws of England are not in opposition to the principle of the measure ‘before the Senate. Nor does the principle of compulsory training violate the traditions of the country from which we come. As Blackstone says, the laws and the Constitution of the United Kingdom know no such state as that of a professional soldier. Therefore, the Labour party’s plan of a citizen soldiery is in accordance with British traditions, and it cannot with any truth be called a new-fangled idea. It cannot be claimed by any stretch of imagination that we seek to introduce a Continental practice which is unknown to English-speaking communities. I should like to cite two equally weighty authorities before I proceed’ any further, lest I might forget them. Adam Smith is, I think, recognised as one of the greatest political economists who have ever lived-
– He was the apostle of F’ree Trade.
– He was also a supporter of the principle of a citizen army, and his word ought, I think, to carry some weight with the Senate. In his Wealth of Nations he says -
In a citizen army the character of the labourer or tradesman predominates over that of the soldier, but in a standing army that of the soldier predominates over every other character.
In the chapter from which I took that extract he says that a professional army is the greatest danger or menace to the liberty of the community, and that, therefore, he was opposed to it. In his Principles of Government, Locke says -
Every man has given up a right to the Commonwealth, to employ his force for the execution of the judgments of the Commonwealth. Whoever has the legislation of the Commonwealth is bound to prevent foreign injuries, and to secure the Commonwealth from inroads and invasions, and to employ the whole force of the people where there is need.
All that this Bill seeks to do is to provide that the whole force of the community shall be brought into an efficient state with a. view to it being applied to the defence of the country whenever needed. I cannot understand how in these days any one can be opposed to such a common-sense proposition. I think it will be admitted that at present, owing to the ignorance of the community about how to defend the country, we should be like a mob of sheep if an invader came. To suffer our population to remain in that ignorant state would, I think, ‘be almost criminal, especially in face of the developments which have occurred so near to our shores. Senator St. Ledger referred to the safety we have through being situated at a great distance from other communities. But the means of locomotion and attack are changing so rapidly that soon distance will assure very little safety.
– The honorable senator must not forget that I quoted expert criticism to the effect that Germany could not get into England with a dinghy, although the countries were separated by only a few hours’ steam.
– I am afraid that when such experiments had been made it would be too late to sit down and commune over the matter. We shall adopt the wiser course if we take all the ‘ precautions in our power. In my opinion, if, by the adoption of the proposal in this Bill for the training of our young manhood, our industrial life is not too seriously interfered with, or the prosperity of the country retarded, the experiment is well worth trying. Our provision for defence hitherto has been farcical. Our force has been described as a “ defence force,” rather as a sarcasm than with any idea that that was a correct description of it. Our defence hitherto has been a mere sham, and the sooner we realize that the better. With a knowledge of the history of the past, we should not hesitate to adopt the course proposed by the Government in this Bill merely on the ground that it may be considered a breaking away from British traditions. We have not yet reached the age in which the people of any countrymay be content to make no provision for defence. Every day some improvement is noted in military science and weapons of warfare, . and the nations are as keen today as ever they were to avail themselves of these improvements to secure, if possible, an advantage over their neighbours. We have not yet reached the era of the thousand years peace, and I am afraid we are not likely to reach it in our generation. In the circumstances, we must act as common sense dictates, and render our country as secure from invasion as possible by adopting such reasonable measures of defence as this Bill provides for. In the past we know that countries lost their freedom, and nations became slaves to other nations, because they made no provision for their own defence.
– Can the honorable senator mention one?
– There have been instances of the kind even in our own generation. The Boers lost their independence only quite recently because they w7ere unable to defend themselves. It is true that it has since been returned to them. Countries have lost their independence merely because their people have not desired to encourage the spirit of militarism. I might refer to the Peruvians. They were a nation very much advanced in the science of government, and possessed the advantages of an advanced civilization, so far as they understood it.
– An inferior race will always go down before a superior race.
– The Peruvians were a very superior people in many respects. They were well advanced in architecture, iri mining,, and in the’ production of many valuable commodities. It was the discovery of articles of enormous value on a ship belonging to the Peruvians that gave Pizarro, the Spanish explorer, an idea of the state of civilization reached by those people. He landed in the country with a force of less than 200 men, and with them was able to overcome a population of something like 10,000,000.
– That is rather a bad argument, because he used professional soldiers against citizen soldiers.
– The honorable senator is a little previous. Pizarro’s men were adventurers, as were many others of his nation who took part in the discovery and exploration of new countries. As a matter of fact, they were sailors, and not soldiers ; but they were armed, and used weapons of warfare which the Peruvians knew nothing whatever about.
– The honorable senator is quoting the triumph of the volunteers who went with Pizarro.
– They were trained in the science of warfare, and because of their greater efficiency as fighting machines, and their better equipment, they were able to conquer a nation of 10,000,000.
– They were trained buccaneers and robbers.
– That may be so, but we must admit that many of our own early explorers might be similarly described. We do not know that a buccaneer force may not effect a landing on our shores some day. The fate of the Peruvians is an instance of what may happen to a community that refuses to provide for a sufficient defence. Any people who are so foolish as to ignore the necessity of being prepared for war, and who, because of a feeling that war is not humane, are prepared to depend on the mercy of an invader, must come to grief as the ancient Peruvians did. They were living in a state of advanced communism. They were so opposed to the idea of war that they would not recognise it in any shape or form ; they made no preparation for their defence, and the result was that a force of 200 men were able to take their country from them. They lost their independence, and for centuries remained the slaves of the Spaniards. That is not an example which we should be anxious to imitate. If we do not make adequate preparation for our defence we shall find ourselves in the sa/r.e helpless position as the Peruvians did should a force stronger than ours invade our shores. I do not wish to see anything of that kind occur, and I am prepared to consent to compulsory military training rather than leave this country without such provision for national defence, as I believe any sensible people would be prepared to make.
– I regret that my personal limitations are such that I feel I cannot add very much to the knowledge of the Senate in connexion with this matter. But there are a few points to which I should like to refer. First of all, I think that we in Australia are inclined to be a little too pessimistic as to our powers of defence. It is said in the first pi ace that we have a population of only 4,000,000. But the fact is ignored that our population of 4,000,000, from the point of view of our power to defend ourselves, is equal, I suppose, to 6,000,000 of the average of the population of the United Kingdom. We have, in the first place, a very much larger proportion of men, and I should say that the average quality of our men is superior to the average quality of men in the Old Country. There is a smaller proportion of what might be called degenerates in our population. Therefore, our power of defence, if we use it aright, is really greater than is represented by the mere figures of our population. Not only have we great powers of defence in our people, but we have the negative advantage of isolation. We are very remote from any country whose people could possibly desire to attack us. We are not in the unfortunate position of nations in Europe who adjoin other nations, and who may not know the day when they may be subjected to an attack by hostile troops stationed only a mile or two from their borders. We should bear this in mind in connexion with rumours of war. and the constant fear of war which we find expressed in Europe. If we in Australia’ are more or less under the influence of war rumours, what must be the effect of such rumours when hostile troops are stationed, as it were, in the next town? This consideration should induce us to sympathize with our fellow-Europeans on the Continent, who live under such conditions. I have to admit that our task is a very big one, because Australia is a continent. We are meeting now in the capital of Victoria, and generally in Australia we are inclined to consider Victoria as a comparatively small State. But I remind honorable senators that the State of Victoria is larger than five European countries that could be named - Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and Greece. This comparatively small State exceeds in area the area of the five countries I have mentioned.
– Of the five put together ?
– Yes, the area of Victoria exceeds that of the five countries mentioned by some 5,000 or 6,000 square miles. This should give honorable senators some idea of the greatness of the task of defence that lies before us. We may be attacked from the east, the north, the west, or the south. This lays upon us the necessity for providing for a considerably larger force than would be necessary if we formed a concentrated community established upon a smaller area. In the case of a sudden attack upon Western Australia, for instance, how difficult it would be in the absence of any railway communication with that State to arrange for its defence if it were necessary to send troops there from the east. The facts of our position seem to indicate that we must so arrange our military strength that we shall have a certain proportion located in the east, the west, the north, and the south, which would only require strengthening if a time arrives when war becomes possible. We often hear about the war which took place in South Africa, and 1 think we are apt to be misled a little by the experiences of that war. A peculiarity of the war in South Africa was that it was waged inland. The Transvaal and the Orange River Territory are both a long way from the coast, and our troops had to cross the intervening country, whilst the country in which the Boers were fighting was very difficult country. Honorable senators know that in Australia our population, our trade, and our wealth are practically to be found along our coast. It might, therefore, be possible to conduct warlike operations in Australia with a much smaller body of troops than it was necessary to employ in South Africa to conquer the Boers. We have also to be very much alive to the necessity of securing a thoroughly competent staff. We must have good officers to supply the brains of the Army. We may get together thousands of soldiers, but unless they are effectively officered they will make but a sorry display in time of emergency.
– Does not the honorable senator think that we can produce military genius in Australia?
– Undoubtedly. I have already said that the average intelligence of our men is above that of the men of Great Britain. But we do not want multitudes of brave Australians simply to be led to slaughter. Rather do we wish to see them led to victory.- In my opinion it is most important that we should secure a perfect system of training for a sufficient number of officers. When we have done that wc shall be able to gather round us plenty of soldiers.
– When the honorable senator speaks of “ officers “ does he mean citizen officers?
– I mean both citizen officers and officers of the permanent staff. I think that we ought to have a larger number of trained officers in our Permanent Forces - more than the Army itself requires - who would be able in case of an outbreak of war to properly train our soldiers.
– How would the honorable senator distinguish between the citizen officer and the permanent officer?
– That is a mere matter of detail. I hope that while he is in Australia full advantage will be taken of the presence of Lord Kitchener to obtain from him information upon all the points of organization upon which I feel certain we ought to be informed. I listened with some regret last night to Senator Neild’s references to MajorGeneral Hutton. The honorable senator is the sort of man whom Johnson loved. He is a good hater, and he never forgets that he had a quarrel with Major-General Hutton. Consequently he is prepared to make disparaging remarks of that officer upon all occasions. I hope that upon Lord Kitchener’s arrival in Australia we shall be able to take full advantage of his unequalled knowledge of organization. The defence of Australia is a many-sided subject, and not only is it necessary that we should have a perfect military organization, but it is also requisite that we should possess an extended railway system. The east and the west, the north and the south, must be connected. We must also be prepared to extend and perfect a system of wireless telegraphy. Further, we must be ready to take advantage of all discoveries in aerial navigation. Until we have done all these things we shall not have done what is necessary to insure the effective defence of this continent. But when these matters have been attended to I see no reason why Australia should not be able to secure her own defence in the future.
– In view of the general tenor of the debate upon this Bill which has revealed a very pleasing acceptance of its main provisions, I scarcely deem it necessary to detain the Senate at any length- at this juncture. There are, however, one or two features of the discussion to which I may be permitted briefly to refer.’ One of these is the very prompt confirmation which we have had of the statement which I made in introducing the Bill that experts do not regard it as fashionable to agree amongst themselves. This debate has confirmed that statement. We have heard assertions made . by gentlemen who are entitled to be regarded as military experts, and who not only cannot agree with each other, but some of whom even experience a difficulty in agreeing with themselves. Under these circumstances the Bill has probably struck a very happy mean, lt does not. present every feature which everybody may desire, but it does offer a scheme of defence, sufficient for our present requirements, and one which is capable of expansion when the adoption of that course may become necessary. Senator Cameron, after indulging in a very fierce denunciation of everything connected with the Bill, declared that had it been offered as an instalment of a defence scheme he would have accepted it with some measure of satisfaction. It is not pretended that this Bill represents the last word upon the subject of defence. Probably there never will be a last word upon it. But I do say that it represents a marked and substantial advance on anything that we have hitherto had in Australia, and that it lays the foundation of a scheme which, if not found adequate to our requirements, is capable of future expansion. Senator Pearce, in addressing himself to this measure, expressed the hope - which I am sure we all echo - that it would be approached from a nonparty stand-point. It is very pleasing to hear a gentleman occupying the important position that is occupied by Senator Pearce make a statement of that sort, and as a result I hailed it with a great deal of satisfaction. But my pleasure was quickly turned into disappointment when the two succeeding speakers showed how little they appreciated that announcement.
– Is the Vice-President of the Executive Council referring to Senator Cameron ?
– Yes ; and to Senator Henderson. If we are to approach the consideration of measures from a nonparty stand-point, there must be a discontinuance of the practice of imputing motives to each other.
– Surely the VicePresident of the Executive Council does not regard Senator Cameron’s speech as a party one?
– In reply to the honorable senator’s interjection, I will quote the concluding sentence of that speech. It reads-
I say, without hesitation, that this Bill is playing for political safety, and not for national security.
Honorable senators who plead that we should deal . with matters of great national importance, free from all party considerations, should cease for the time being to use the weapons of party warfare. Senator Cameron was followed by Senator Henderson who, having expressed his approval of the declaration made by Senator Pearce, proceeded to give effect to it in these words - -
Like the honorable senator who preceded me, I feel that there is in this Bill more in the nature of political jugglery than of really earnest defence purpose.
These are strange remarks to emanate from gentlemen who profess to approach this Bill from a non-party stand-point. They are specially strange, coming from Senator Henderson, seeing that the party to which he belongs, supports the main outlines of the measure. But, notwithstanding that, the honorable senator denounced the measure as one which partook more of the nature of political jugglery than of really earnest defence purpose. I would suggest that if we are to approach the consideration of this Bill in the way th;at Senator Pearce desires, suggestions of party motives, and efforts for party gains, shall alike be laid aside. There are one or two points upon which a little information may be of assistance to honorable senators when we come to consider the Bill in Committee. Senator Pearce spoke of the medical examination of cadets. After having read the report of his speech, I think it is probable that he somewhat misunderstood the purport of an interjection which I made while he was speaking. The Bill does, I think, provide all the machinery that is necessary for such an examination, should it be thought desirable ; and in this connexion, I would refer honorable senators to proposed new sections 125 to 138. But, in order that there may be no doubt on the subject, I propose to circulate, early in the morning, an amendment which will make it abundantly clear that the power to subject our junior cadets to a medical examination is there, if when their training is in full operation it is thought necessary to exercise it more completely than can be done under the provisions in question. Senator Pearce also questioned the accuracy of my statement that the naval proposals of the Government would be covered by an annual expenditure of .£750,000. He argued that, because the upkeep of the British Squadron in Australian waters is ,£600,000, the sum of £750,000 annually would not be sufficient to provide for the Australian unit, to pay interest, and to establish a sinking fund tor the repayment of its capital cost.
– I understood the VicePresident of the Executive Council io mean that the Government intended to build the unit out of that money.
– The statement which I made was that the annual charge of £750,000 would be sufficient to pay for its’ upkeep, to provide for interest, and to establish a sinking fund to cover the capita! cost of the ships. If it were decided to obtain the money for this unit at the outset, while it is true that the charge in the first year would be heavier, it would certainly be less in subsequent years, because there would then be no interest and sinking fund to provide. The one great point at issue between Senator Pearce and the supporters of this Bill is that he finds fault with the period of training for which it makes provision. In doing so, he appears to place himself upon the horns of a dilemma. He affirms that the period of training provided for in the Bill is too brief, and, accordingly, he proposes to ask us to extend it from eighteen to twenty-six years of age. Yet, when he occupied Ministerial office, he brought for- ward a Bill in which it was proposed to limit the training to three years. The dilemma is this. He has either to admit that he is asking this Parliament to do something which is unnecessary for the national safety, or that when in office he was proposing something which was less than was requisite for national safety. I have not the slightest doubt that when my honorable friend made his military proposals he thought that the three years’ training proposed was adequate. I cannot conceive that Senator Pearce, or any other Minister charged with the responsibility of launching a defence policy, would submit for Parliamentary acceptance a proposal that was utterly inadequate. But if three years’ training was adequate then, what could have occurred since to furnish any justification for increasing the period of compulsory training from three to eight years? Yet that is the honorable senator’s proposition. I appeal to him to consider not only the tremendous change he proposes to make, but that as compared with the scheme he introduced, this Bill provides for more efficient training. The honorable senator’s scheme stopped short with the three years’ training. There was nothing beyond.
– There was voluntary enlistment beyond.
– For which provision for a very small number of troops was made. It was clearly indicated - and the financial forecasts showed that no considerable number of men was expected to be enrolled - that no considerable number of voluntary enlistments was anticipated. Senator Pearce’s scheme was practically three years’ training without any substantial increase in the Militia, and with a few in the Volunteer Forces - which were problematical. This Bill proposes two years plus the Militia. We propose two years’ training in the Citizen Forces on top of the training in the Senior Cadets, and surmounted by a Militia of 29,000. I ask whether that is not superior to the proposal prepared by my honorable friend some months ago. We have to consider what these militia corps are. Senator Pearce gave some figures, the full significance of which I do not think’ he grasped. He said -
Since the establishment of the Commonwealth, we have had a militia force of approximately 25,000 men, the great majority of whom range from twenty-five to thirty-five years of age. About one-third of that number has annually dropped out of the force. That is to say, that each year about 8,300 men have dropped out of our militia force, the great majority of whom have had three years’ training therein. It, therefore, follows that there are in Australia to-day 60,000 men who have had upwards of three years’ military training.
Under this Bill all these men would have passed through their period of compulsory training. They would have been undergoing military training for nine years - four years as senior cadets, two. years as ordinary trainees, and three years in the Militia; and the three years in the Militia may be described as the crown of their instructional and training course. It will add immensely to the value of the instruction which they have received before. If honorable senators only look at these facts they will, I think,* be satisfied. Senator Pearce will agree that for all practical purposes one-third of the Militia drop out every year. Consequently, to retain the Militia at 29,000 would mean that something like 10,000 would drop out every year. Therefore 10,000 new men would pass into the Militia every year. There will be brought under compulsory training from 18,000 to 19,000 every year, and half of those will have to pass into the Militia.
– If they choose.
– The assumption is that it is possible. That assumption is based upon the reports of officers concerned with keeping up our militia standard to 29,000.
– Does not the honorable senator think that it is rather a blot on the Bill that a large percentage of the trainees will lose touch of their training; and should not some means be provided for giving them drill or passing them into the rifle clubs?
– That remark expresses the criticism which ‘ mv honorable friend made in his speech upon the Bill, namely, that we have not gone far enough. He thinks that the Bill should do more than it does.
– In the way of rifle practice.
– I ask my honorable friend to balance the amount proposed to be expended on our Military Forces with the comparatively small amount which is set aside for naval defence; and considering that question of balance, I ask him whether, before we seriously accept more responsibilities in the matter of military defence, we should not rather consider the advisableness of enlarging the expenditure on naval defence.
– Personally I think that the proportions ought to be changed.
– I do not say that; but until we think the time has arrived when we can afford to spend more than £2,500,000 on defence, it is a serious question whether additional expenditure Should not be incurred on the naval s:de rather than by increasing the cost of our land defences.
– Under this Bill could the Government enforce compulsory rifle practice ?
– Only upon those undergoing training.
– I should be glad if my honorable friend “would accept an amendment to. that effect, so as to provide for compulsory rifle practice for those between the ages of nineteen and twenty-six.
– I recollect the closing sentence of an address delivered in
Australia some years ago by a distinguished lecturer, Max O’Rell. He said, “ Every rose has its thorns, but thank God the thorns are not as large as the roses.” Let me ask my honorable friend, ‘Senator Dobson not to look so much upon the thorns which he thinks he perceives in this Bill, but let him pay more heed to the roses and be glad that the flowers are there.
– I am asking for one more bud. To include a provision regarding compulsory rifle practice would not cost much.
– All these little things do not cost much, but they mount up; and already the expenditure provided for amounts to £t, 750, 000. I venture to express the opinion, from my knowledge of the estimates of experts, that that estimate will be exceeded. I am not blaming the officers, because I have not the slightest doubt that they have exercised all care ; but I shall be surprised and pleased if the cost of the machinery provided for works out at no more than the amount estimated.
– Has the Minister had the advice of the skilled officers of the Defence Force, and do they approve of this Bill?
– I differ from my honorable friend if he thinks that it is the business of the officers of the Department to propound a policy for the Government.
– Do the experts approve or disapprove of the Bill ?
– I am not concerned with whether they approve or not. The position of a Minister in charge of a Department, and of his colleagues, is that they must define the policy “to be pursued, subject to Parliamentary approval ; and, having defined that policy, they look to their experts to show them the how and the wherefore of carrying it out.
– Has not the Government consulted experts regarding this Bill?
– Not as to policy.
– Surely the Government got their advice.
– I look upon experts in all branches much in the same way as I regard an architect. If I want to build a house, I do not ask an architect to tell me what sort of house I want. I tell him what 1 want, and expect him to furnish me with information and plans to enable me to carry out my wishes. There is nothing that I regard with greater suspicion and caution than the opinions of experts ; and for this reason, I have never known experts yet who did not appear to <me to ignore everything but their own special line. They commonly lack a sense of proportion. The matter with which they are immediately concerned overshadows everything else in their judgment. If you go to a Public Works Department to ask a question about a particular work, you find that the engineer wants the biggest possible scheme that you will allow him to undertake. Officers connected with our Defence Force may, in the same way, naturally desire to see erected the biggest and, probably, the most perfect machine possible, regardless, and perhaps oblivious, of general requirements and policy.
– I should have thought that, having military experts, the Govern, ment would have consulted them, and would have held them responsible for the advice which they gave.
– When I call in an architect, I do not expect him to tell me how many rooms I shall have in a house which I want to build. I tell him how many I want and ask him for advice. I treat other experts in the same way. There is another matter that has engaged some amount of attention during this debate, and that is the supply of officers for our forces. I say at once that this is one of the most critical and difficult problems which we had to face. Senator Pearce candidly admitted that he’ himself, while in office, had not solved the problem. Senator Neild said that he could form no idea of where officers were to come from. Senator Cameron also referred to the subject. ; and here I may remark that I was rather surprised to find the advocates of a purely citizen army applauding Senator Cameron, whose ideal was to create opportunities for the professional soldier. Surely that applause was not well considered. What would be the effect if his proposals were carried out? What did he propose ?
There shall be a college where officers could go through a long course of instruction, which could be continued subsequently in connexion with the existing forces when the youths became junior officers.
I ask honorable senators to consider what that proposal means. If we are to have a citizen force, it means that our young men are still to keep in touch, with our industrial life, and equip themselves for the calling which they have elected to take up. But to have the training which Senator Cameron aims at, would mean that almost from .the time a lad left school he must go into the Military College for a long course, stop there until he had become a young man and obtained a commission, only to continue his course there. For what purpose? To remain an officer in the Militia. He would have to lose the years of his life which” he should have devoted to acquiring a business or profession, and enter the College to become a militia officer. The whole thing would be possible only under one condition, and that is that it was limited to the sons of the wealthy. We do not want that. I am not assuming for a moment that Senator Cameron put forward his proposal with that object in view, but that would be the effect of it. Honorable senators have to recognise that what might be possible for permanent officers, if they are content to have” a professional soldiery, is not possible if they insist, as I think they should, on the maintenance of a purely citizen soldiery. That would bring about a difficulty. Seeing that we still want officers as highly qualified as possible, and that that limitation is there, it follows that what we have to do is not, perhaps, the ideal thing, but the best which we can do in the circumstances. We cannot tell exactly what the circumstances are likely to be. Under the Bill it is intended to establish a College.
– At least, we know that we shall have 35,000 men to train besides 39,000 militia.
– The circumstance which we do not know is the extent to which men will qualify themselves for officers.
– We have our past experience to guide us.
– Yes, to some extent. But that deficiency increases the difficulty to which my honorable friend refers.
– Every campaign produces the best type of officers.
– Yes, because the men are then at a practical military college. We all recognise that that is, perhaps, the chief difficulty which is to be overcome. I do not wish for a moment to say anything to minimize the difficulty. I am rather trying to show that the officers and the Department alike recognise it, as I am sure the Senate does. But it is of no use to say that it will be solved by adopting suggestions such as those of Senator Cameron, which do not fit the case at all.
The Bill proposes to establish a Military College. The ground it will cover has yet to be determined, and probably that cannot be done until its head is appointed. From that point we shall have to feel our way largely. We shall have to find out the extent to which men will come forward to receive instruction and submit themselves for examination as officers^ We may find persons coming forward in sufficient numbers. On the other hand, we may experience great difficulty in getting students. But at present no one can say what result will be produced by the new system. I am hopeful, and my colleague is extremely hopeful, that, having brought into existence a citizen army, those who have already undergone the drudgery of a training from fourteen to eighteen years of age, and have before them a further service of two years, will have acquired, by the age of eighteen years, a knowledge which will enable them, if they so desire, shortly after entering the Citizen Force, to pass the necessary examinations and obtain commissions. That, I admit at once, is only a hope. But it is not an unfair view of the position, I think. Our young men do not lack ambition or industry. If we direct their energies into a channel which would excite their interest and appeal to their patriotism, as this would, I venture to say that we shall find a very much better supply of officers in the future than we have had in the past. If, however, that anticipation were not realized, the difficulty would have to be grappled, because officers must be found. Senator Pearce put an argument, but, unfortunately, he did not furnish an answer to it. He said -
Seeing that we cannot at present get sufficient men to become officers when they go into camp for only four days in the year, how does the Minister think he is going to get them when they would have to go into camp for eight days a year? Does he not realize that the difficulties are going to be immensely increased ?
– That is the problem which I found myself up against.
– The honorable senator is very candid. If the difficulty of obtaining officers is going to increase in arithmetical proportion to the number of days spent in camp, and we are going to make that difficulty enormously greater by raising the number of camp days to eight, what sort of difficulty was he setting out to create when he proposed’ to increase the number of camp days from four to sixteen ?
– The difficulty is not incapable of solution, though.
– No; but my honorable friend did not offer the solution. The Bill does, at any rate, recognise the existence of the difficulty, and makes some provision to meet it. I refer to the proposed establishment of an instructional college which will largely perform the functions of instruction and examination.
– What is the general idea behind the travelling staff?
– When I used the word “ peripatetic “ the other day, I did not think for a moment that it would be seized upon and interpreted as literally as it has been. I introduced the Bill by stating that I assumed that honorable senators had made themselves fairly familiar with what had taken place elsewhere. Had I suspected that they had not taken that step, probably I should not have used the term, of would have explained a little more in detail what was meant. All I meant to convey was that the college, as a college, must be stationary ; the principal source of instruction will be at its headquarters. To those who are prepared to give up the time, or wish to become permanent officers, and other officers, the college will be available. It is manifest that in a country like Australia, with - tremendous distances to be covered, and relying upon a- citizen soldiery, we cannot expect that for very long periods we are going to drag men from Perth to Sydney, or from Brisbane to Adelaide, for the purpose of meeting at a central point, when, at any rate, portion of their studies and examination could be carried out just as well near their homes. For instruction which cannot be acquired in their own localities, the men must go to the college. Very great military value is, I believe, attached to what’ is known asthe staff ride. Would any one suggest for a moment that we should bring twenty officers from Perth to Sydney, to be put through a staff ride? On the contrary, would not honorable senators say at once that it would be far better for the Director of the Military College, or an instructor, to go to Perth to carry out the staff ride in. the locality which, at some future time,, the men might have to defend? I submit that view, because I am sorry that any misapprehension should have arisen from my use of the word “ peripatetic.” When Senator Cameron was outlining the scheme which he preferred, and which, of course. was widely different from the one put forward by Senator Neild and Senator Pearce, he said -
The spirit in which it would be carried out would determine its efficiency or otherwise.
If that remark, to which I absolutely subscribe, was applicable to his own scheme, it is applicable to any other scheme which may be adopted. No matter what provisions you may make, you can mar the effect of an Act by bad administration, or you can make a faulty Act effective by wise and patriotic administration. The success of this Bill, whilst only providing the machinery for a defence force, will depend largely upon the spirit in which it is administered, by the supervision which Parliament will exercise, and the assistance which it, through the appropriation, can give, The result of the Bill will, I repeat, depend largely upon the spirit in which it will be carried out, and that spirit will determine its efficiency or otherwise.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 2a. After section one of the Principal Act the following section is inserted : -
a. In the constitution and maintenance of the Defence Force and in all regulations made under these Acts the following principles shall be followed : -
It is the duty of every Australian citizen to assist in the defence of Australia in time of war, and, in time of peace, to be so trained as to fit him to perform such duty.
The object of these Acts is the creation and maintenance of an efficient Defence Force for the protection of Australia.
The training, equipment, clothing, and all other provisions involving public expenditure shall be limited to what is required as a preparation for war.
In the allotment of persons to the seve ral arms, the fixing of the numbers of the several arms to be maintained and the various ranks therof, and in the transfer of members of the Defence Force from one part of the forces to another or to the Reserve Forces, public necessity alone shall be considered.’ “
As the result of the short experience I had, I am submitting this provision as a direction to any Minister who may have to administer the Act. I believe that it will be a distinct advantage to lay down certain principles in the Bill for his guidance and protection. In the first place, I think it is desirable to lay it down that this Defence Force is organized for the protection of Australia, that it is, in reality, as the Minister said, organized for defence, not for defiance. Another object of the Bill is that the men who are to constitute that force are to be trained in time of peace to perform such duties as would fit them for the defence of Australia.
– Does the honorable senator not see that paragraph a of his proposed new section absolutely proposes to enact universal military service ?
– It would not enact anything. It is only a declaration.
– It would not enact anything; but it would lay down a principle which, in my opinion, is the principle of the Bill. The Bill merely says that for geographical and other reasons, it is inexpedient to make the service universal. It proposes, also, that the training shall be such as to fit the trainee to perform his duty in the defence of Australia.
– But, according to the honorable senator’s clause, every Australian citizen is to be so trained. That is universal service.
– The Bill proposes a limitation, and for the present, it would apply only to a certain section. The reason why I say that our citizens shall be trained in such a way as to fit them to perform their duty to assist in the defence of Australia, is that there is a constant tendency in military circles to regard the Defence Force as established for quite other purposes. There is a tendency on the part of many military men to treat the members of the Defence Force as if they were to be trained for show and parade purposes, and for purposes of selfglorification. Honorable senators may smile ; but that idea undoubtedly exists in the minds of many military men. And it is a tendency against which every Minister of Defence must be on his guard. What I propose, is a direction to the Minister who would have the administration of the Act, that these men who are called upon to sacrifice a certain portion of their time, must be trained, and their training should only be such as would fit them to perform their duty in time of war. Let me tell honorable senators who smiled at my reference to the tendency to which I have referred, that I know as a matter of absolute fact that, during the time Major-General Hutton, was in command of our Defence Forces, an instructional cadre of mounted men was trained to perform practically dance evolutions with a field battery.
– That is quite true.
– For what’ purpose? It was not for any purpose connected with the duty they would have to perform in time of war ; but in order that at a garden party they might, for the edification of the guests, go through the evolutions with the field battery. That is an absolute fact ; I saw them go through the evolutions myself. On making inquiries, I found that they had been for some time specially trained in order that they might go through the movements.
– Does not the honorable senator know that in all armies there are small bodies specially trained in these outside flourishes?
– There is, then, all the more reason for this declaration. We do- not want anything of the kind. We are not organizing a Defence Force for anything of that sort. This would be a clear declaration for the instruction of the ‘ Minister, that the training is to be only such as will fit the trainees for the defence of the country.
– Would it not be rather hard to say that the physical training of junior cadets shall be such as would be useful only for purposes of defence?
– I do not think so. It is universally recognised now that the men- composing an army must be physicallysound. Before we start to train men in military movements, they must be physically sound and strong ; and we must, therefore, start with their physical training as youths. The object of that training is still service in the defence of the country.
– Might not the declaration limit the physical training of cadets to training which would be regarded, as military training?
– I do not see why it should. Does the honorable senator not know that an army that cannot march is an army that cannot fight? Is he not aware of the fact that one of the great difficulties with which a general has to contend is the bad feet and other physical defects of his soldiers? Because of these physical defects men drop out on the line of march. The march is as important as is the battle itself, and if an army cannot march it cannot .fight.
– What about the Highland piper at Darghai who was so wounded that .he could only sit on a ‘rock and blow his pipes ? He could not march.
– He could not fight either, though he could blow his pipes.
– That is a very essential part of a Scotchman’s duty.
– There are some other people who can do a good deal of blowing. I do not know that Scotchmen are peculiarly proficient in that exercise. I shall leave the honorable senator to explain why this is so. Paragraph (c) of the proposed new section reads -
The training, equipment, clothing, and all other provisions ‘.involving public expenditure shall be limited to what is required as a preparation for war.
I wished many times while I was Minister of Defence that I had some such provision as that on which to depend. What did I find in connexion with the question of clothing - and this matter is of special importance as bearing upon an essential feature referred to by the Vice-President of the Executive Council in connexion with the supply of officers? I found that a practice had grown up under which uniforms had come to be regarded, not as clothing necessary in time of war, but as intended to give an attractive appearance to the persons wearing them. The cost of officers’ uniforms was enormously increased by the addition of a great number of altogether superfluous things - ornaments which would at once have been thrown upon the scrap heap if a war broke out. Certain things were deemed essential in an officer’s uniform which I guarantee Lord Kitchener would never have allowed any officer to wear in South Africa. They are not only useless, but would be an absolute source of danger in time of war. Why should we have these things in a force raised by a system of universal service? If it is the duty of a citizen to defend his country, then it should be unnecessary to tempt him to join a force for its defence with tinsel and feathers. I am quite ready to admit that the privilege of wearing these uniforms was not the impelling reason inducing officers to give their services. If it had been they would never have sacrificed the time they have sacrificed to make themselves efficient. When it was suggested to me that many of these useless extras might be dispensed with, so that the cost of uniforms might be reduced, and men encouraged to join the forces who had not much money but had a great deal of brains, I found that there was an immediate outcry from all the officers who had these particular gew-gaws.
They did not wish to part with them. They wanted this and that superfluous addition to their uniforms because they looked nice. Although I was able to cut down the expense of the officers’ uniforms by about one-half, I found that my action gave rise to a tremendous storm of opposition and indignation. Even to-day, if a man is promoted to the position of a captain, he finds that he must be at considerable expense, amounting to upwards of £20, to provide himself with a full uniform. I propose that the uniforms shall be such as would be useful, in war. The Defence Force is established for war purposes, and that should be the governing consideration in the choice of the uniforms. I say that this provision would serve as a direction to any Minister of Defence who desired to lay clown principles for the management of the Defence Force. Paragraph d of the proposed new section reads -
In the. allotment of persons to the several arms, the fixing of the numbers of the several arms to be maintained, and the various ranks thereof, and in the transfer of members of the Defence Force from one part of the forces to another, or to the Reserve Forces, public necessity alone shall be considered.
I venture to say that any one who desired to raise a force to defend the country would raise it where it was most likely to be required, and would like to be able to decide whether the men should be enrolled as infantry, mounted men, or artillery - to have the absolute disposition of the men offering for service. In this connexion I shall make an open confession of what happened in my own case. Members of Parliament came to me, as I found, by the records, they had come to every previous Minister of Defence, to say, for instance, that a troop of light horse was wanted in a certain locality. A number of young fellows get the idea that they would like to form a troop of horse. They approach the member for the district, and he goes to the Minister. If he can bring sufficient pressure to bear upon the Minister, permission is given to raise the troop, though it might be in a part of the country where such a force would be absolutely useless, and where, in any strategic disposition of the forces, an entirely different force might be required, or, perhaps, no force would be required at all. I came across numerous instances in which pressure was brought to bear upon Ministers of Defence, from time to time, to consent to the raising of certain forces in particular districts. Efforts were made to resurrect previous attempts which had failed, in the belief that I might give way, to have troops raised in districts where they were not necessary from a strategic or military point of view.
– The honorable senator is entering upon a compulsory system now.
– It might be that the Minister would say that in that particular district what was wanted was infantry, and not light horse, but a light horse regiment might be more popular, or young fellows might desire to form a half battery of artillery, and the pressure was still continued.
– How would the honorable senator’s declaration stop that?
– It would be regarded as a direction to the Minister, and th<> Minister could refer any member of Parliament who called upon him to it, and say that he must take the advice of his experts.
– The proposed new section does not say so.
– I think that that is the clear reading of it. It refers to the allotment of the several arms, and who is to decide the allotment of the forces if it is not the experts? If I vere Minister of Defence, I should not take it upon myself to say that light horse or infantry were required for a certain district. With this declaration in the Act, the Minister would, no doubt, seek the advice of the Military Board, who, I take it, would lay down the establishment, as they have done in the past. This would be a clear instruction to the Minister.
– This declaration is not necessary if the Minister is to rely upon the decision of the Military Board.
– I remind the honorable senator that it has not always been relied upon. I think the declaration would be of great assistance to the Minister. I say, as the result of my experience in the office, that if these principles were laid down in the Act, they would greatly strengthen the Minister in carrying out its intentions. I ask that, as a matter of convenience, the various paragraphs of the proposed new section may be submitted to the Committee separately, as some honorable senators may be in favour of one paragraph, and not in favour of others.
– I have no intention of questioning the very good motive which has animated Senator Pearce in submitting these declaratory provisions. But I ask the Committee to be a little practical and to decline to accept them. Whit do they mean? They merely correspond to the preamble of the Bill. They practically tell a man that he ought to be good. Take paragraph *a of the proposed new section as an illustration. It reads -
It is the duty of every Australian citizen to assist in the defence of Australia in time of war, and, in time of peace, to be so trained as to fit him to perform such duties.
It contains no affirmation that a man shall do this, that, or the other. It is merely a general declaratory platitude - the expression of a sort of pious hope that a man will do his duty. Suppose that I were to say, “It is the duty of an Australian citizen not to get tipsy, and not to break the law.” Would such a declaration have any effect upon those persons who felt inclined to get tipsy or to break the law? It seems to me that the provisions which Senator Pearce seeks to insert in this Bill are utterly without purpose. The Bill itself tells a citizen what he has to do. 1 scarcely know what term to apply to the proposals submitted by Senator Pearce, because they seem so utterly out of place in a Bill of this description. I come now to paragraph b of the proposed new section. It is the most extraordinary of the quartette. It states -
The object of these Acts is the creation and maintenance of an efficient Defence Force for the protection of Australia.
I invite the Committee to consider that affirmation. Here is. a Bill which is supposed to set out its purpose, and vet it is seriously proposed to insert another provision to accomplish the same object. It seems to me grotesque in the extreme that we should be asked to insert in the Bill a provision declaring what is its object. I have heard of declaratory measures, but they are deemed to be necessary only in cases in which Acts have been declared to be deficient by the Courts. But having stated what we desire to put in a clause, it would be grotesque for us to say, “ The former clause means so and so.” We might just as reasonably insert a fresh clause after every clause in the Bill, declaring the mean ing of the previous provision. Paragraph c of Senator Pearce’s proposed new section reads -
The training, equipment, clothing, and ali other provisions involving public expenditure shall be limited to what is required as a preparation for war.
Who is going to determine what is required “ as a preparation for war” ? One Minister of Defence might think that as a preparation for war it was desirable to attract men te undergo military training by the. use cf an expensive outfit.
– Why does the VicePresident of the Executive Council wish ,to> attract men .to the Defence Forces if they are to be required to undergo military training?
– The honorable senator must recollect that super-imposed on the compulsory training system is our first fighting line - the Militia.
– According to the statement made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council in moving the second reading of this Bill, he expects that more than one-half of the men will serve voluntarily.
– The honorable senator has completely answered his own question. The interjection means that we must attract them to the forces. The element of compulsion ceases when a lad has reached twenty years of age, and the attraction must then commence.
– We do not want a few feathers to attract him.
– The whole point is that if I were Minister of Defence, I might use a few feathers for the purpose of attracting men to the forces. But who is to be the judge as to whether the use of those feathers is “ a necessary preparation for war “ ?
– The -Minister.
– Then, in the absence of this clause, the Minister can judge of whether their use is necessary to-day. The whole question resolves itself into what the individual would regard as being a necessary preparation for war. I have never yet met a man who regarded himself as being extravagant. One man may establish a certain standard to-day, and another individual may upset it to-morrow. There is nothing to restrain the acts of a Minister except the views of Parliament as they, are expressed in the Appropriation Bill. Paragraph d of the proposed new section reads -
In the allotment of persons to the several arms, the fixing of the numbers of the several arms, to be maintained and the various ranks thereof, and in the transfer of members of the Defence Force from one part of the forces to another or to the Reserve Forces public necessity alone shall be considered.
The provision is merely a declaration that the Minister shall do what he is supposed to do - his duty. Is he likely to be induced to do it simply because he is told to do it? There is absolutely no practical value in these proposals; and whilst I am not at all opposed to their spirit, I hold that it would be grotesque in the extreme to include them in a Bill, seeing that they express nothing more than pious opinions or platitudes.
– It would be more in accordance with our Standing Orders, which forbid us, after we have amended a clause in any Bill, to go back to a former portion of it, and it would also simplify our procedure, if the whole of Senator Pearce’s clause were open to discussion. Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.50]. - I would suggest that the proper place for the insertion of the declarations contained in this proposed new section - which is without parallel in the legislation of the Common- wealth, and, indeed, in that of any British speaking people - is the preamble of the Bill. It reminds me very forcibly of the gentleman who painted an animal with four legs,, and who afterwards thought it necessary to inscribe beneath the picture, the words: “ This is a horse.” First of all, I take exception to paragraph a on the ground that it contains a declaration which is absolutely in opposition to the rest of the Bill. It is a declaration that every adult male in Australia ought to undergo military training, and as the Bill does not contain any such provision, I regard that declaration as an insidious attempt to destroy the measure for the purpose of substituting the scheme which was agreed tq by the Brisbane Labour Conference. The paragraph in question is opposed to the intention of the Bill, and on that account ought not to be inserted. Paragraph b of the proposed new section merely carries the provisions relating to universal service a little further, and it does so without sufficient reason. In regard to paragraph c, I thoroughly indorse the remarks of the Vice-President of the Executive Council. As it does not define the authority who is to determine what is required as a preparation for war, we might cover a hundred sheets of parchment with such declarations without hampering the Ministerial head of the Department in any way. I would also point out that if this proposal is to be regarded seriously, we are to prepare for war by providing our men with training, equipment, and clothing. Apparently, Senator Pearce has forgotten that when they go to war, they will require to use arms. The equipment and clothing are to be things which are required for preparation for war, though not for war itself. When the author of the amendment asks this Committee to adopt this provision we must read it literally as well as trying to ascertain what he means by -it ; and as it stands it means that equipment and clothing are to be provided not for the purposes of war but for the preparation for war.
– Would not equipment include arms?
– According to military parlance which must be used to interpret this provision equipment does not include arms.
– Soldiers do not have feathers on their arms.
– The honorable senator is giving way to a piece of ad captandum vulgus nonsense. The uniform of an Australian soldier is plain enough. A one-time general officer did introduce uniforms for the use of the staff that are fairly ornate, including feathers ; -but ‘the uniforms of our citizen troops are as plain as any uniforms to be found in the world.
– What about the “optional” uniforms.”
– What does the honorable member mean by that?
– I am referring to the part of a uniform of an officer which it is optional for him to purchase.
– The honorable senator is referring to mess jackets which, are u’se’d because it is easier for a man to sit down to dinner in a little jacket than in a tunic. As a matter of fact, mess jackets are more used by sergeants than by commissioned officers.
– Some of them cost j£& or £9
– I am. afraid that my honorable friend is trying to ‘ ‘ pull my leg,” because they do not cost anything like as much. A mess jacket is usually a harmless little red or grey garment which is comparatively cheap. The honorable senator himself would look very well in one. A gentleman of his picturesque appearance would look well in any uniform. “ Equipment,” as the term is generally used, includes such things as leather belts, harness, leggings, and articles which may be described as being half-way between clothing and arms. There are many details comprehended under the term “ equipment “ which, however, does not include clothing or weapons. Senator Pearce has left out arms altogether, and does not seek to protect the unfortunate person who may happen to be Minister of Defence from being the prey of the harpies of the service who may seek to track him into all kinds of unnecessary expenditure. The honorable senator, when Minister of Defence, made heroic efforts to cut down needless expenditure. He abolished 6s. 6d. box-spurs without a declaratory provision in an Act of Parliament. But, though he achieved that monumental reform without legislation, he wants his successors, for all time, to be bolstered and buttressed round with declaratory provisions as to what may be done. This is a most indefinite proposal. No authority is prescribed. Is the Minister to go to the High Court for a decision as to what the provision means? The High Court is the authority that declares the true intent of a Commonwealth Act of Parliament, and is the only authority to which the head of the Department can appeal. Will the Minister have to go to the Chief Justice to determine the true meaning of this provision? It appears to me that this is a kind of legislative “ piffle.” It can do no goo-di it may dp harm. At all events it is a novelty, inasmuch as it proposes to surround the Federal Minister of Defence with such declarations, the like of which are not to be found in any Act of Parliament in the British Empire.
– I hope that Senator Pearce’s pro,posal will be carried, if only on account of paragraph c. I had the effrontery to interject while Senator Neild was speaking on the subject of dress, because I admit that I have very little knowledge of the question and I recognise that one who has been a member of our Defence Force is entitled to speak with authority. When I made a remark concerning the cost of mess jackets, I was thinking of a passage in the annual report of the InspectorGeneral for 1907. It includes a paragraph regarding uniforms. It gives the approximate cost of the uniforms .of a lieutenant of infantry at £44 8s. 6d. This expenditure offers no inducement to young men to become officers. Amongst the items are jackets and stars, £2 15s. ; pantaloons (cloth), 12s. 6d. ; Sam
Browne belt, £1 10s. ; mess uniform (optional), £8 ; great coat, £.4 10s. ; sword (with two scabbards), £4; full dress (optional), £9 15s. In regiments for which scarlet is full dress, the tunic trousers, white helmet and waist sash cost £14 7s. Senator Neild was inclined to ridicule my statement as to the cost of a mess jacket; but the mess uniform is put down in this report at j£8.
– I should say that that is ah absurd figure.
– The InspectorGeneral in his report observes that -
It will be noted that some of the articles are shown as optional, but no officer cares to attend parades dressed differently from his comrades.
We can well understand that. If two officers of the same regiment are doing the same kind of duty, one will not care to appear dressed differently from the other. I wish opportunities to be made for poor men to become officers. This expenditure on uniforms seems to me to attain an outrageous figure. I am surprised that there is so much opposition to the amendment.
– I am strongly opposed to paragraph a of the proposed new section, because, in my opinion, it would make the Bill worse than it is. In some parts of the country the principle of compulsory training is not to be applied, at any rate, for a time. But the insertion of this provision would affect those who, on conscientious grounds, would decline to act in a military capacity. It is my intention to support the adoption of the other paragraphs.
– The effect of paragraph a, if adopted, would be to strike at a principle of the Bill, and to introduce adult compulsory service. Under that provision, the Minister of Defence could call out the adult citizens almost at his sweet will, and that is what we have strongly opposed. The ‘ amendment is open to the objection that it is not consistent with the Bill ; but I shall not raise a point of order now. I ask Senator Pearce to consider the effect of paragraph b. Suppose that the Minister said to Brown, an artillery officer in Victoria, “ As there is a superfluity of artillery officers in Victoria, go to the mounted infantry in Queensland. ‘ ‘ Under paragraph d, Brown could call the attention of the Minister, in the usual way, to the fact that he did not consider that arrangement one of public necessity, or that the public in- terest had not been considered. He might say, “ According to my view of the public necessity, it is far better for the country that I should continue my duties here as an artillery officer.” How would the Minister get over that point; or, if at first Brown refused to go, in the circumstances, what remedy would the Minister have? The officer might say, “ I refuse to go, because the Minister, in administering the Act, did not consider the public necessity.” The paragraph, if adopted, would leave a loop-hole, and give an inducement for absolute insubordination throughout every rank in the service. I should like to know what object Senator Pearce is seeking to obtain by the insertion of the provision, because, it seems to me that, in its present form, it would tempt an officer to plead as against the order of a superior officer, to serve in a particular way, or with a particular arm, to at once become insubordinate and restive. And, even if the Minister did exercise the power of dismissal, he might find himself brought’ before a Court to defend an action for damages for wrongful dismissal. The Minister must admit that if there is any service of the Government in which discipline must be unquestioned, and there must not be the slightest loop-hole left for insubordination or unwillingness to carry out orders, it is the Defence Department.
. - I think that Senator Pearce must have startled some honorable senators when he said that certain persons in high authority have been using portions of the Defence Force as a sort of draw to afternoon-tea parties for the women of the class to which they belong. Is that sort of thing to be allowed to continue, or are we to get a different administration? Evidently the Minister must have known what is going on. Senator Neild said that it is well-known to every one.
– It goes on in connexion with every Military Force in the world.
– Apparently it is going on all over this country. If the Citizen Defence Force is intended to be taken out as a sort of “ monkey ontheorgan ‘ ‘ business, the sooner that persons know that they are to be enrolled for that purpose the better it will be for them. We do not want men to be trained with the idea that they are to be taken round to enliven afternoon tea parties. . If we want men to take an interest in the defence of the country, we should see that they are properly trained. I was very much surprised when I heard the statement of the ex-Minister of Defence, and I think it will be news to 80 or 90 per cent, of the people to learn that large portions of our Defence Forces have been specially drilled to dance with horses and accoutrements before the elite of the place where the officer commanding is stationed. If we can stop a practice of that kind we shall, by doing so, render a good service to the country. I suggest that it is the duty of Senator Neild to do all he can to accomplish that end, and if he does not think that it will be accomplished by the present amendment, I am sure that Senator Pearce and his colleagues on this side will be prepared to support any satisfactory proposal which he may submit.
– When the honorable senator has finished his speech, I shall put the whole thing straight in two seconds.
– I shall be very glad if the honorable senator will put the case clearly before the Committee and the country. To my mind, there is a good deal in the objection to the heavy cost of an officer’s uniform. It is all very well for some persons to think that men who can afford to dress themselves at an enormous expense will be required as officers for the Citizen Defence Force, but I do not hold that view. I remember the time when the Defence Force of each State was practically a farce. It was resorted to by a number of men simply because it enabled them to go about in a gorgeous uniform, and to acquire a sort of distinction. I am very pleased to know that during the last few years a good deal of that feeling has been wiped out. Perhaps its disappearance may have been due to the experience which a number of our officers and men acquired during the war in South Africa.
At any rate, the cost of an officer’s dress is not so enormous to-day as it was a few years ago. If it is still too high, it is well that honorable senators should express their opinions, especially if they think that the retention of expensive uniforms would bar certain men. I understand that the desire is to establish a force which shall be recruited from all “classes, and in which a man with a good banking account shall not derive any very great advantage over a man who has to work for another person. According to Senator Lynch, a lieutenant in an infantry corps, if he dresses in the same style -as his fellow officers, is obliged to put his hand into his pocket to the extent of £45.
– The cost of the uniform has been reduced to . £25.
– Even that amount is too large. What chance has an ordinary worker of becoming an officer in the Citizen Defence Force, no matter how brainy or enthusiastic he may be, when he cannot write a cheque for£25 ? It is to the class who do pretty well, and are able to clothe themselves at a cost of £45 or £25, that we shall have to look for the officers of our Citizen Defence Force.
– Has every officer to buy his own uniform?
– I understand that at present the officers have to purchase their uniforms.
– But we are now engaged in framing a new law.
The PRESIDENT announced the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives intimating that it had authorized the Honorable Hugh Mahon to attend, if he thought fit, before the Select Committee of the Senate on Press Cable Services.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– I move-
That in order to insure the more successful production of agricultural products throughout the Commonwealth, the Senate is of opinion that the Bounties Act should be amended in order to provide for the payment of a substantial bonus for the discovery and working of phosphatic deposits in the Commonwealth, and the territory under its control.
This is the second time within the last twelve months or so that this motion has made its appearance on the business-paper of the Senate. I was in hope when the motion was carried on the last occasion that it would be unnecessary to encroach upon the time of the Senate in order to discuss it again. But although I have noted that there has been time to make provision for other schemes, the Government appear to be unable to find any time to give effect to the specific recommendation of the Senate when it passed this motion. It is true that some time ago I got a promise from the Minister in connexion with the matter, but it was the usual stereotyped promise which holds out no hope of Government action. The Minister told me that when circumstances permitted the Government would do something, but so far no action has been taken to provide for the payment of a bounty for the discovery and working of phosphatic deposits in the Commonwealth. The official promise is so very unsatisfactory that I have decided to appeal once more to the Senate in order to get a further declaration of its desire in this matter. Apparently it is not the intention of the Government to give effect to the decision solemnly and deliberately arrived at by this important branch of the Legislature. The object of the motion is, briefly, to place those who are engaged in the primary industries of the Commonwealth in a better position to successfully compete against the producers of other countries in the markets of the world. I believe that by offering a substantial bonus for the discovery and working of phosphatic deposits we should to a material extent lighten the burden of production in the Commonwealth. Honorable senators have only to look at the map of Australia to be satisfied that our producers have to carry burdens which are not borne by the producers in other lands. They will recognise that the cost of the carriage of agricultural products from remote inland districts to a port of shipment must be excessive. To this disadvantage must be added others which are due to the erratic nature of the climate of Australia. It must be realized that the lot of the producers in remote districts of the Commonwealth is a very hard one, and that it is difficult to place them in a position of equal advantage with the producers of other countries, against whom they must compete in the markets of the world. Dickens has told us that a lot can be done by the farmers. I believe that he made use of the aphorism, that if the farmer only cultivated the area within the ring fence of his own skull, he would have quite enough to do, and it would be a profitable occupation for him. We are living at a time when, although the farmer may apply himself as intelligently and as diligently to his work as do men engaged in other pursuits, there is still room for the State to come to his assistance, not only in ways in which he is at present assisted by the State, but in the direction covered by my motion. When the Bounties Bill was under consideration, I proposed the payment of a bounty for the discovery and working of phosphatic deposits. Unfortunately, sir, you ruled the amendment I submitted out of order, on. the ground that it would alter the destination of the appropriation proprosed by the Bill. The next opportunity I had to ascertain the will of the Senate in this matter was when I moved a motion similar to that I have now submitted. That motion was passed by the Senate, but no action has been taken upon it. I hope that this is the last occasion on which it will be necessary for me to move in the matter. I trust that I shall now secure a final declaration on the part of the Senate which will be followed by action on the part of the Government. When the Minister told me that action would be taken in this matter when circumstances permitted, he may have been under the impression that there was no money available for the purpose. I wish to remind him that since the Bounties Act came into operation only a very insignificant portion of the amount appropriated under it has been spent in the payment of bounties upon the production of the several articles specified in the schedule. The Act came into operation in 1907-8, and for the balance of that year a sum of £175 was paid in bounties under it During the whole of last year only £2,633waspaid to producers under that Act, and for the first quarter of the present year only £611 was paid under it.
– That is a geometrical progression.
– It is in an inverse ratio to the intention of the Act. There has been paid out under the operation of the measure to date only £3,420, although the Act provides for payments in the shape of bounties to the extent of no less than £151,000 up to the end of the present financial year. I am aware that a maximum of £70,000 is fixed in respect of the products set out in the schedule, but the Act makes provision for a payment of no less than £151,000 in bounties up to the end of the year 1909-10. As a matter of actual fact, only £3,420 of this sum hasbeen paid under the operation of the measure. It is plain that before fifteen years are past, there will be a big balance to the credit of that appropriation. There is already a considerable balance unexpended, and it is not unreasonable to ask that some of this money be devoted to the payment of a bounty for the discovery and working of the phosphatic deposits of the Commonwealth.
– Where are they?
– That is what Iwish to discover. Up till a few years ago, it was not thought that such deposits existed in South Australia. But to-day they are being successfully worked there. A similar remark is applicable to the islands in the Great Australian Bight, and to those which lie off the west coast of Western Australia.
– Unfortunately, those islands have got into the hands of commercial men.
– The Western Australian Government has prohibited the exportation of guano from that State in any shape or form. My figures in reference to the amount which has been paid away under the Bounties Act, conclusively prove that, under the operation of that measure, a large sum is available which will never be required to encourage the production of the commodities which are therein enumerated. Consequently, it is our duty to amend that Act so as to afford some assistance to our primary producers. May I draw the attention of the Government to the fact that last year the quantity of fertilizers imported into the Commonwealth was 2,695,000 cwt., or 134,770 tons, which was valued at £400,000. These figures ought to offer a strong inducement to our Protectionist friends in the Ministry, who are at present in the majority-
– Is that all that was used within the Commonwealth?
– No; that was the quantity which was imported last year. In addition, we may have within our boundaries, and on islands which are under out: jurisdiction, vast quantities of phosphatic deposits similar to those which are imported from Christmas Island and Ocean Island, which lies in the Indian Ocean. Of course, a large quantity of these fertilizers are imported in their manufactured state ; but the total value of the raw and finished products imported last year was, approximately, £400,000.
– What are the Government of Western Australia doing in the matter ?
– They have not any power to pay bounties. They have prohibited the exportation of fertilizers in any formfrom that State.
– What power have we over the islands of which the honorable senator has spoken ?
– We own them. We possess the same jurisdiction over them in the matter of the payment of bounties as we do oyer the mainland. We know, too, that this particular fertilizer is largely used in almost every primary industry. It enters largely into fruit culture, viticulture, wheat-growing, and into the cultivation of grasses. At present, Australia occupies a very unfavorable position as compared with the rest of the world from the stand-point of wheat production. It is true that the industry employs a large number of hands ; but, although” we hear a lot about Australian productivity, our yield stands very low upon the list of the world’s wheatproducing countries, According to the Government Statistician, Belgium stands at the head of that list, with an average production of 34 bushels per acre and Holland comes next with 31 bushels per acre. The United Kingdom has a yield of 30 bushels per acre, and Canada, one of the great rivals of Australia in the markets of the world, averages 20 bushels per acre. The yield of the United States is 13 bushels per acre, and the list then tapers down to Australia with10½ bushels per acre .
– But the yield per acre is no indication of the total production.
– The quantity exported from Canada is considerably in excess of that exported from Australia.
– It does not exceed it by very much.
– What is the production of the Argentine?
– I cannot say offhand. Australia occupies the twenty-second place on the list of the wheat-producing countries of the world. The lowest countries on that list are Uruguay, in South America, and Siberia.
– The Australian average is rising.
– There is ample room for it to rise very much higher before it achieves a satisfactory position, especially when we consider that the production of old countries of the world, the soil of which is regarded as being impoverished, compares so favorably with Australia with its virgin soil. Although we have experienced very bounteous seasons lately, the production of wheat in 1907-8 was very little in excess of that for 1901-2. In the latter year the total production for the Commonwealth was 10,100,000 bushels; and in 1907-8 it was 10,700,000 bushels. It is quite true that in the interval the total yield fluctuated considerably, but regarding it from the stand-point of a normal season the result is a poor one. This fact evidences that something needs to be done to encourage the production of cereals within the Commonwealth. The production of oats and barley has not made any advance of recent years, which is a further reason why action should be immediately taken to enable persons engaged in those industries to more successfully compete with their rivals.
– In Tasmania the production of oats and barley has increased, whilst that of wheat has decreased.
– The particular fertilizer to which I urge that encouragement should be given, is undoubtedly the foremost in the field at present. It has been found by experience in Victoria and New South Wales to be the best manure that is obtainable. From the Journal of Agriculture, in South Australia, I extract the following -
Taking the general results right through, mineral phosphates have given the best returns.
That statement is borne out by the experience of farmers generally. The Victorian Journal of Agriculture states -
Minor tests have confirmed the superiority of superphosphates over other formsof phosphatic manures.
That is the finding of Mr. Lee, the Superintendent of Agriculture in Victoria. So that from the stand-point of quality alone this form of manure far out-distances other fertilizers.
– It would depend entirely upon the quality of the land.
– From his long experience as a farmer, Senator W. Russell must know a great deal more about this matter than I do. He has just reminded me of the special advantages which this fertilizer possesses from the stand-point of its use in the drier portions of Australia. Unfortunately, we know that from several causes intending settlers have been pushed out on to the drier portions of Australia where the rainfall is lighter than it is elsewhere. This form of fertilizer might be used with special advantage by such settlers.
– A Commonwealth Bureau of Agriculture would have been just the thing then.
– No. I am looking for something more substantial than a dry set of regulations. I hope to see the primary producers encouraged by cash offers being made to them. I hope that Senator Gray, who is the professed champion of the primary producers, will upon the present occasion exhibit a more sensible frame of mind than he has previously exhibited. * I know that at one time it was considered almost the act of a madman for a settler to venture on land beyond the 15-in. or 20-in. rainfall.
– In South Australia we do not call districts with that rainfall dry districts.
– Not now. To-day we find that men are farming successfully upon a rainfall of even 10 inches. But while that rainfall may be reliable in certain seasons of the year it is uncertain in others. Sometimes the rain falls at the wrong season, when the farmer does not want it, and when it rather impedes agricultural operations than helps them. But in Western Australia we have the advantage that rain usually falls at a time when it assists’ rather than hinders the farmer. It is necessary that fertilizers should be obtainable by our farmers of such quality and at such prices as will enable them to cultivate to advantage. I am much interested in the welfare of those producers who, through stress of circumstances, have pushed out into the more arid portions of Australia. If we neglect this opportunity of assisting them we shall be regardless of our duty. The experiences gained in South Australia and Victoria are similar in reference to the value of superphosphate as a fertilizer. A letter which I have received from the New South Wales Department of Agriculture states that -
In 1890, practically no superphosphate was used in this State. The Department of Agriculture was formed in that year, and the educational work done by it soon stimulated the use of artificial manures. During last year 17,000 tons of bone superphosphate was made in this State. . . . The use of superphosphate for wheat growing has steadily increased year by year, more especially owing to the excellent results obtained from small dressings in South Australia. It is now used on several thousand of our wheat farms, one grower alone at Grenfell using a whole train load this year - about 500 tons. The cause of its popularity is its solubility which makes it so peculiarly valuable in dry districts where the moisture is not very great. It is used on 5,517 holdings of all kinds - wheat, fruit, and vegetables.
That makes good my point that this kind of fertilizer is not specially used for wheat growing, but is also largely used for viticultural and orchard work -
Superphosphate is very much used in all our combined manures, and is really the basis of the greater part of those used in our orchards, on the market gardens, and our flower gardens. It is generally considered that soluble manures, such as those manufactured from it with sulphate of ammonia and sulphate of potash, give the best results in our drier districts. If rock phosphate could be found in this Continent it would, of course, make superphosphate much cheaper than it is at present, provided it could be cheaply conveyed to market and was not too remote from a railway. At present we are using the charred bones from the Colonial Sugar Company’s refinery, and our superphosphate costs 60 per cent, more than the similar article of equal value made from rock phosphate in Florida, United States of America. If this manure could be made cheaper, say,’ at £3 5s. per ton, instead of £4 10s. as at present, it would, undoubtedly, stimulate the use of it. I estimate that if the wheat-growers in the older districts, where the soil is somewhat impoverished after from twenty to forty years cropping, would use dressing of about sixty pounds per acre, the total used in the State would amount to 100,000 tons.
The significance of the last sentence is that the wheat-growers of New South Wales have to pay 60 per cent, more for fertilizers than the growers in the wheatproducing areas of the United States. That fact should induce us to endeavour to remove as far as possible the disadvantage under which our producers are labouring -
I may add, that Thomas’ phosphate, .or basic slag, as it is sometimes called, which is a byproduct in the smelting of steel, can be purchased in Europe for £i_ 10s. per ton, and is used in enormous quantities. Therefore it can be readily seen the great advantage European wheat-growers have over those in Australia where the cheapest phosphatic manure is three times as dear.
It is, therefore,, evident that the Australian wheat-grower is at a great disadvantage as compared with the European wheatgrower in this respect. The information which I have received from Victoria is to the effect that phosphatic fertilizers are being used in increasing quantities. From 1 90 1 to 1906 there was a remarkable in crease in their use. In 1901 the percentage of the total area under crop manured was 18.77; whereas, in 1906, the percentage of total area under crop manured was 60.9. Therefore, it can easily be seen that the practice of fertilizing is almost universal throughout Australia. The belief that unless land is fertilized the producer has no chance in placing his crops upon the market and obtaining an adequate return for his labour has become a conviction.
– Land has to be fallowed in South Australia, or not much can be made out of farming.
– I understand that the farmers in South Australia have to fallow ; but fallowing without fertilizing is not so profitable as fallowing with fertilizing. The increased value of land in South Australia is a very fair indication of the great assistance which that use of fertilizing agencies has been to the farmer. Through the use of fertilizers alone it has been possible to sell land at prices in some cases twice as high as those for which they sold eight or nine years ago.
– We have had good seasons and good prices, which have had something to do with the rise in values.
– But even with bad seasons it has been found that the use of fertilizers will enable a farmer to get a crop out much quicker than he could do otherwise. I submit the motion in the hope that the Government will take heed of what the Senate did on a former occasion. I trust that an early opportunity will be found of availing ourselves of the balance of the expenditure appropriated under the Bounties Act for the purpose of looking for, working and developing, deposits of phosphates within our own borders, or on islands around Australian coasts, which, for want of encouragement, may have been left untouched..
– I take no exception to the action of Senator Lynch in bringing forward this motion, but at the same time I shall suggest to him that it would be rather unreasonable to ask the Senate to assent to it in the circumstances under which he submits it. The honorable senator has phrased his motion in definite, not to say emphatic, terms. The operative portion of it provides that the Bounties Act shall be amended in order to provide for the payment of a substantial bonus ; for the discovery and working of deposits in the Commonwealth. The honorable senator has not given us sufficient information to enable so emphatic a declaration to be assented to. Whatever view I may entertain with regard to the desirableness of making such an affirmation, I do not propose to discuss the merits of the proposition just now. But it is one thing to ask for an inquiry into a matter, and quite another to affirm that, upon the limited information which the honorable senator has brought forward, we should immediately commit ourselves to the statement that it is desirable that a bounty should be paid in this particular way.
– The Senate passed a similar motion on a former occasion.
– Yet nothing was done.
– I have the record before me. The honorable senator submitted his motion on 26th November last year, under a Government for whose sins I am in no way responsible. I notice that Senator McGregor, then Vice-President of the Executive Council, although he supported the motion, said -
If the motion is carried, and any amendment of the Bounties Act is submitted to Parliament, I have no doubt that the matter dealt with in the motion will receive every consideration.
Senator McGregor had not been long in office, but evidently he knew how to make a discreet reply. I can hardly hope to imitate him in that regard. Coming down to the present time, I may point out that on the8th September last Senator Lynch asked a question as to whether the Government had decided to give effect to the resolution carried in the Senate last session. The. reply given was -
This matter will receive every consideration if a favorable opportunity for amending the Bounties Act presents itself.
– That was just as diplomatic as was Senator McGregor’s statement.
– No; Senator McGregor rose to the sublime point of a hope, but here we have a definite assurance that on a certain contingency arising the matter will be considered. Senator Lynch has not said anything to-night which would justify any one of us in asking for the expenditure of public money. What he has said may have caused us to reflect whether the time for inquiry has not arrived. But we should be very indiscreet,without any further, information, to pass this motion.
I do not think that Senator Lynch himself would say that, as a business proposition, a bounty ought to be paid straight away without further inquiry. Yet that is what his motion means. It does not ask that investigation shall be made, but that the Senate affirm forthwith that a bounty should be offered. I can hardly subscribe to that. What I would suggest to my honorable friend is this : It is clear that the motion, even if carried, cannot become operative this session. Even if the Government were entirely favorable, and thought that the time for action had come, it would not be possible to give effect to the motion this session. Senator Lynch loses nothing, having ventilated the matter to-night, if he withdraws the motion. Otherwise he places those who are not adverse to his proposition, but who, nevertheless, are not prepared to support it straight away, in a false position. 1, for one, am not in a position to affirm, without further information, that a bounty should be paid ; but, at the same time, I do not want to affirm that it should not be paid, and therefore the honorable senator places me in an entirely false position by the manner in which he has framed the motion. Nothing can be gained by pressing it. On ‘ the contrary, that may be attended with a distinct disadvantage. The Senate should noi lightly pass a motion unless it is satisfied that it will stand- criticism. Will this motion stand criticism? With the scanty knowledge that we have on this subject, would any honorable senator put his money into an undertaking of this kind? I invite my honorable friend either to amend the motion so as to call for inquiry, or, better still, to withdraw it, at any rate for the present, after the discussion has terminated. I shall see that the matter is not lost sight of, and will again bring it, with any remarks which may be made here, under the notice of the Minister more particularly concerned with the administration of the Bounties Act. I can assure the honorable senator that it will not be regarded as a mere perfunctory matter to be forgotten the moment this discussion is ended.
.- I think that I shall be able to furnish Senator Millen with a little information. The Senate having affirmed a proposition of this kind, and it not having received the attention which it deserved, it is only wise that my colleague should again bring it before our notice. While he was speaking he was asked by way of in terjection, what the Western Australian Government did in this connexion? I hold in my hand a cutting from the Age of the 14th November, 1908, which certainly shows the necessity for extending the Bounties Act in the direction indicated by my colleague. The information is contained in an article which is dated from Perth on the 4th November, and headed “Amphibian Guano - Namban Caves Deposit “-
Discoveries -of more than ordinary importance to the agriculturists of Western Australia -
I am not quoting the article from a State point of view, but merely for the purpose of suggesting to honorable senators that in at least one portion of the continent, and it may be in some other portions, there are deposits which, if this motion were agreed to, might be developed - and of considerable scientific interest, have been recently made in the limestone hills which fringe the coast line north of Fremantle, from the Moore to the Arrowsmith rivers. One of the imperative needs pf the fanner is phosphatic fertilizers, of which some 17,000 tons, costing about £60,000, are annually imported, exclusive of guano brought from the Abrolha Islands, off the Geraldton coast ; and, as the demand is rapidly and greatly increasing, the importance of a local supply at a cheap rate of agricultural phosphates can hardly be overrated.
Senator Lynch referred to the fiscal side of the question. In at least one portion of Australia is to be found a supply of an article which the farmers recognise is necessary for the successful working of their land. In answer to the inquiry as to what the Western Australian Government has done in this connexion, the writer says -
The Western Australian Government some three months ago engaged Mr. Goeczel, a Hungarian geologist, to report upon certain discoveries of phosphatic rock on the Moore River, about go miles north of Fremantle, and with the assistance of a couple of practical miners he has since prosecuted investigations with highly valuable results.
– Has anything been done since that article was published?
– I am not in a position to say whether further investigations have been carried out, but I am inclined to think so. The article continues–
The country between the- Irwin River and the eastern railway, the Indian Ocean and the midland railway, is among the barrenest in Australia, but it contains patches of extraordinary fertility, the existence of which among such sterility has been a puzzle, now held to be explained by the phosphatic discoveries . of Mr. Goeczel
That was one of the principal points of Senator Lynch’s address.
Senator Gray.Why has “ riot the Government of Western Australia rushed this rich soil for the ‘benefit of its agriculturists?
– I do not know what the State Government intend to do.
It is not merely phosphoric rock which has been found, but in a series of large caves discovered in limestone ranges about five miles from the coast of Namban, vast deposits of phosphatic manure, the guano of the gigantic saurians which swarmed on this part of the Australian coast towards the close of the Cretacean period. In the caves already opened up lie great piles of this deposit, having the appearance of gardeners’ best “ potting “ soil ; and a series of analyses proves it to be rich in phosphoric acid, with traces of nitrogen and potash. Two samples gave from 19 to 21 per cent. of phosphoric acid, or 39 to 46 per cent. of phosphate of lime. More detailed analyses gave the following results : - Water-soluble phosphoric acid, 5 per cent. ; citrate-soluble phosphoric acid, 7 to 14 per cent. ; acid soluble phosphoric acid, 1 to 2 per cent. Now Thomas’s phosphate, which is largely imported for fertilizing purposes, at a cost of from£3 5s. to £3 7s. 6d. per ton, contains from 13 to 17 per cent. of citrate-soluble phosphoric acid. This amphibian guano, while variable in value owing to leaching in some places and admixture of wash sand in others, will, it is estimated, by judicious blending, give an even sample of fertilizer containing 14 to 16 per cent. phosphoric acid. On an analytical basis it is therefore a duplicate of Thomas’s phosphate, but has the advantage of an organic, instead of an inorganic, basis.
The main practical value of the discovery lies in the fact that these extinct saurians’ guano deposits, of which about 10,000 tons are estimated to be in sight on the floors of the limestone caves already explored, can be readily and cheaply made available.
My object in quoting this article is not to put the case of the State before the Senate, but to supply the Minister with evidence as to the advisability of extending the Bounties Act in this direction. Probably it may be found that other States contain equally rich phosphatic deposits which could be made available to the agriculturist at a much cheaper rate than he is paying for the imported article. The article continues -
The Namban caves are five miles from the coast, with good anchorage for luggers at Cervantes Islands, ninety miles by sea from Fremantle. Bagging, cartage, freight, working and handling expenses are estimated at 30s. per ton - less than half the price of Thomas’s phosphates landed at Fremantle. The country in which the caves are situated is all Crown land, and is now under reservation, so that the deposits are not open to capitalistic exploitation and the consequent enhancement of the cost of the fertilizer to the farmer.
– Who does the honorable senator propose should receive the bounty?
– I do not make any proposition. I believe that the intention Senator Lynch had in view, and which I think the Senate had in view when a few months ago it affirmed this principle, was to extend the benefit of the Bounties Act to the agriculturist in this direction. In my opinion, Senator Lynch has advanced fairly reasonable arguments to-night, and I admit that the Minister has met him in a very reasonable manner. I have no incentive in quoting this article except to prove to the Minister that there is a possibility of phosphatic depositsbeing found in other parts of the continent.
– Does the honorable senator propose that the bounty should be given to the discoverer of such deposits or to the agriculturists ?
– I do not care who gets the bounty so long as the agriculturists obtain a benefit from the discovery of the deposits. I would point out that the utility of these deposits has been proved in many parts of the continent. In view of the fact that we have given a bounty in other directions, I think that one might well be given in this direction.
– We do not give a bounty anywhere for the use of an article.
– No, but we do give a bounty for the discovery and manufacture of certain articles. If that is the only objection which can be offered to the proposal of Senator Lynch, let the bounty be given to the discoverer of the deposits, who in turn will give the benefit of the discovery to the farmers.
– One discovery of phosphatic deposits has already been made, and to whom would the honorable senator give the bounty?
– I have no desire to press this proposal from a State point of view, but merely to furnish the honorable senator with the information which he asks for. I dare say that if the files are turned up by honorable senators it may be found that other States contain similar deposits. Whether the bounty should be given to the discoverer of the deposits or to anybody else is a question which does not affect this motion. So long as we encourage the discovery of phosphatic deposits and bring an excellent fertilizer nearer to the farmer who believes in its utility, we shall have done something good and beneficial. I do not think that we need split hairs as to who should receive the bounty or the State to which it should be allotted so long as we secure the production of a local article, and bring it nearer to the farmer.
– Why does not Western Australia do that?
– It has made a start in this direction, and it is just possible that other States have followed or are about to follow its example. We should not lose sight of the object which Senator Lynch has in view. We should deal with this question irrespective of the boundaries of States, or of what Government does this thing or that thing. Our only consideration should be to encourage the discovery of phosphatic deposits and to try to bring an excellent fertilizer to the farmer at a cheaper rate than he is paying for the imported article.
.- Senator Lynch deserves some credit for the persistence he has displayed in connexion with this matter. The honorable senator made an interesting and illuminating speech upon his motion. He has brought out several very interesting facts. One is that the bounties we have offered under the Bounties Act have so far proved to be of very little use. I ventured to predict when the Bounties Bill was before the Senate that very little of the money would be claimed for some years to come, and I said that it would have been very much better to have expended it in education.I was not aware until I heard the statement made by Senator Lynch, that my prediction had been realized to the extent it has. I am still of the opinion that it would have been better to have expended the money on education.
– The honorable senator recognises that it was not anticipated that very much of the money would be claimed in the first year or two.
– I admit that. Senator Lynch was correct in saying that the use of fertilizers has very much increased of late years. He was right also in saying that a large area of land in this country, that was formerly deemed to be worthless for the production of cereals, is now being cultivated by the use of fertilizers. In the first seven years of Federation the use of fertilizers was increased by 70 per cent. Of late years the manufacture of these fertilizers has been taken up by the Mount Lyell and other companies, and the market is now better supplied than it used to be. The honorable senator, however, was wrong in saying that these chemical manures can be applied with the best results in dry areas. As a matter of fact, moisture is required to enable the soil to assimilate their chemical and manurial qualities. In the semi-arid regions of America they do not use these chemical manures at all.
– Nor do they use them in dry parts of South Australia.
– They require the presence of moisture to give the best results. In dry areas better results are secured by fallowing and by a rotation of crops than by the use of these chemical manures. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of the loss of phosphoric acid in connexion with agriculture in a country such as this. Wheat takes more out of the ground than does any other cereal plant that can be grown, and if land is continually cropped with that cereal it becomes impoverished. In such cases the use of these chemical manures is not all that is necessary to restore the original fertility of the soil, because they will not give the humus which the soil requires. There is an old adage, and a very true one, to the effect that these manures “ make a rich father and a poor son.” The meaning is that their continued use so impoverishes the land that whilst the father may get rich by their use, the son becomes poor by continuing to use them. Still, properly used, they are very valuable, and I agree with Senator Lynch that some reward might be offered in order to stimulate people to search for these phosphatic deposits. The glowing description given of the deposits referred to by Senator Needham leads one to wonder why some one has not rushed the place to which he refers in order to put them on the market. The honorable senator was quite right in bringing the matter before the notice of the Senate, but after his description of the deposits it is difficult to understand why they have not been placed upon the market. I happen to know that the Prime Minister has been making inquiries with a view to securing some of the islands from which phosphatic manures are obtainable. He has found that they have been leased by the Imperial Government to speculators and others, and that is probably the reason for the high price at which they are placed on the market.
– Does the honorable senator refer to the Ashmore Islands, or to islands on the Western Australian coast?
– No, to other islands altogether.I believe the Prime Minister has not yet given up all hope of being able to do something in the matter. Another fact brought out by the discussion is that all blame for lack of action in connexion with this matter is not to be placed upon the present Government. The motion was passed on a previous occasion, when another Government was in power. That Government simply ignored it, and if there is any culpability it should be. shared bv the previous Government with the present Government. I arn in sympathy with the motion, but I do not think that Senator Lynch will gain anything by pushing it to a vote. I think that his purpose has been served by having the matter so well ventilated as it has been this evening. The honorable senator will doubtless receive
Credit if any action is taken, and if he will fall in with the suggestion of the VicePresident of the Executive Council, anr! withdraw his motion, in view of the Ministerial promise, I shall be prepared to give him my best assistance in keeping the Government up to the mark in order that something may shortly be done. The mere passing of this motion will effect nothing. To divert to this purpose any money appropriated under the Bounties Act, would require the passing of an Act of Parliament. As Senator Lynch has pointed out, there will doubtless be a good deal of money to spare from the appropriation provided for under the Bounties Act, and a few thousand pounds could be well spent in the way proposed by the honorable senator. I am strongly in favour of the object the honorable senator has in view, but if he takes nw advice, he will withdraw his present motion.
– I had not an opportunity to listen to the speech with which Senator Lynch introduced his motion, and I do not know exactly what the Government have promised in reply to it. I am satisfied that the motion is of supreme importance to the agricultural industry of Australia. There is not the least doubt that the use of these manures has revolutionized agriculture in very many parts of the Commonwealth. If there are rich phosphatic deposits in any of the States, it is well worth our while to encourage people to discover and develop them, even though we should do so by the payment of a bounty for the purpose. I am inclined to support the motion, unless Senator Lynch thinks it wise to accept the promise of the Government, and withdraw it. If the honorable senator intends to persevere with the motion I should like to know exactly what he means by the words “ a substantial bonus.”
– Something which will induce people to look for these deposits.
– It is difficult ‘ to know where the use of such an expression, might land us. I should prefer to see the word “ substantial “ left out. In South Australia there are a number of phosphatic deposits, but their percentage is so low that they could scarcely be worked profitably. I have suggested to Senator Lynch that after the word “ deposits,” in the last line of his motion, he might add the words “of a quality to be prescribed.” We should then know what we were paying the proposed bonus for. It would be useless to offer a bonus to encourage people to discover phosphatic deposits which, because of their low quality, it would not be worth while to develop.
– The bounty would be paid under regulation.
– If Senator Lynch thinks that it would be better to use the words “of a quality to be prescribed,” I have no objection, but I think that some qualification is necessary. If the honorable senator is prepared to amend . his motion in the way suggested, I shall support it.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council, in reply to my remarks when moving the motion, laid special stress on my failure to give any information.
– - The honorable senator is not accurate. I did not say Lha’t he did not give any information, but that he d-.fj not give sufficient information to justify the passing of such a bald motion as that which he has proposed.
– We need not split straws upon the matter. Shall I say that thi.- honorable senator was of opinion that I had not given sufficient information to warrant the Government in accepting the motion ?
– I am not responsible for the honorable senator’s impressions, but there is a big difference between “ suf ficient information” and “any information.”
– If I could give information of the localities in which people might’ find phosphatic deposits, I should take my own tip and go out and find them myself. What is the purpose of offering rewards for the discovery of minerals if it is not to encourage people to take the risks, and undergo the hardships of exploring remote places, in order to discover them? I am suggesting in this motion the offer of an inducement to people to look for something which it is at present believed does not exist in the Commonwealth. If the Minister expected me to give information as to localities in which these deposits might be discovered, it was the most extraordinary expectation in which he ever indulged.
– I did not speak of information as to localities.
– I have no information but that which I have given. I have pointed to the fact that in the production of cereals we lag behind in Australia, and that that is due, in part, to the lack of a cheaper and better supply of fertilizers. I have proved that by the records, which show that the average production in Australia is10½ bushels, and that we are only twenty-second on the list of wheat producing countries. I have shown, also, that our yield has not increased in the last seven years.
– The honorable senator should not forget that we have a limited rainfall.
– In travelling in my own State, and in the drier portions of New South Wales around Temora, I have been urged repeatedly by men who are using fertilizers, and who have heard that I was moving in this direction, to go ahead in the matter, and secure for them, if possible, some reduction in the present price of these fertilizers. I do not wish to labour the subject. I think the motion is one which might be passed without discussion, and certainly without dissent. It deals, in my opinion, with what is a vital question to those settled on the outer fringe of the cultivatable area of Australia. They have been pushed out there by a combination of adverse circumstances, and for them a reduction of2s. per acre in the cost of production would mean all the difference between success and failure. Those people have withdrawn from the labour market in the towns ; they ought to be encouraged, and we should strain every effort to come to their assistance. I do not feel in the least inclined to withdraw my motion. Let me say that if a Labour Government were in power, and took no action in this matter, I should find as much fault with them as I do with the present Government. We cannot afford to postpone action in this matter to the dim and distant future, or to relegate it to the limbo of forgotten things. I believe that thousands of our people are looking to something of this kind to enable them to reduce the cost of production. The passing of the motion, would, I think, benefit people engaged in other industries; but the people whom I chiefly desire to serve are those who find it so hard at present to make ends meet - those who have been pushed out as the result of land monopoly and other causes which I shall not refer to now, even though it were in order to do so, into the drier areas of the Commonwealth. So far as my information goes, the same prices are charged at the present time by all dealers in fertilizers. It does not matter from whom one may inquire for a consignment of these fertilizers, the same price is always quoted. I do not know whether any combination exists for the purpose of controlling prices, but if so the effect of increasing the supply would be to reduce prices. It is our duty to rectify in some measure the existing condition of things.
– Unfortunately the payment of a bounty will not rectify it.
– So long as we can insure an increase in the supply, the result must be a reduction in the price of these fertilizers. I am quite prepared to accept the suggestion of Senator Vardon. I do not know that he can cavil at the use of the word “substantial.” Unless a “substantial “ bonus be granted for the working of phosphatic deposits any such encouragement would have very little effect. It would be for the Government to determine what was a substantial bonus. I think that the motion in its amended form-
– No amendment has been proposed.
– Then I ask the leave of the Senate to amend my motion by omitting the word “ substantial “ and by inserting after the word “ deposits “ the words “ of a quality to be prescribed.”
Question amended accordingly, and resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed, from 14th October (vide page 4551), on motion by Senator Colonel Neild -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [9.0]: - In pursuance of the leave granted to me by this Chamber some time ago, I propose to complete the speech which >was then interrupted, and to make a pointed reference to two cases, one in Victoria and the other in New South Wales, which emphasize the great need which exists for such an amendment of the criminal law of Australia as is contemplated under this Bill. I intend to make a quotation or two, which I was about to make when this matter was previously before the Senate, from the utterances of some of the leading lawyers of Great Britain. Resuming my quotations from the speech of Lord Loreburn, G.C.M.G., K.C., Lord Chancellor, when introducing what is now the British Act into the House of Lords, he said -
Another case where an appeal is allowed at present is that limited kind of case in which by certiorari the case has been brought up for trial in the King’s Bench Division, and then there is an appeal both on law and on fact. But those cases are very rare. The result is that no matter how bad the law may be that the Judge lays down - and criminal law is not always absolutely clear - no matter how erroneous the verdict of the jury may have been, there is at the present moment no means of obtaining redress in any Court of Appeal in this country. To put an extreme case, a man may be tried for his life and have no appeal ; he may wish to get a case involving only ^100 tried at Glasgow instead of Bristol, and he may take that question up to the House of Lords. Surely, my Lords, such a state of things is a plain absurdity.
There is an ingrained disposition on the part of members of the legal profession to resist reforms affecting the law. I do not mean that their motives are anything but the best.
I will recall one instance. Lord Campbell, who was a great authority, resisted to the last the proposal some fifty years ago which allowed parties in civil actions to give evidence.
He declared that it would be the ruin of the administration of justice, but four or five years afterwards you will find in his note-book the confession that he had been entirely wrong, and that the reform had not only proved useful but had been absolutely necessary for the administration of justice.
I submit that it comes with a sense of novelty for a man to learn that not more than fifty years ago parties to civil actions were not allowed to give evidence on their own behalf. Seeing that -hat great change was made with the best possible results to the administration of justice, surely it is an instance which may be honorably cited with a view to showing that reforms in our criminal jurisdiction - however much they may be opposed by some members of the legal profession - are worthy .of consideration and adoption. While Australia has led Great Britain in a great many matters, the Old Land in this particular matter is leading Australia by at least a couple of years. Lord Loreburn continued -
It is said that the Bill is a Bill for the rich and not for the poor.
If every prisoner is to be entitled to an appeal, to have the report of the Judge, and the evidence taken at his trial, sent forward to the Court of Criminal Appeal for consideration, how can it be said that it is an appeal for the rich and not for the poor?
I think some proposal of this kind is necessary, because of the fallibility of Judges. There is’ an appeal, substantially, in a.’l civil cases, both on the law and on the fact; and it is a significant thing that miscarriage of justice has been not infrequently proved in civil causes, even when they are tried before special juries and eminent Judges. I agree that the administration of the criminal law in this country is deservedly lauded throughout the world. What I desire is to make it as perfect as it can possibly be. Is it to be said that Judges and juries who are fallible in civil cases are infallible in criminal cases?
Surely, if there is a liability to error in one Court, there is a liability to error in the other Court also ; and, as there is nothing more dreadful that, an innocent person convicted and sent to gaol, an effort should be made to have some sort of appeal in criminal as well as in civil cases.
I hope I am not an unreasonable person, but I did think, and I still think, that there ought to be as free a right of appeal in, criminal cases as there is in civil cases.
That wish has met with full fruition in the Old Country, and with the assistance of the Commonwealth Legislature I desire to see the same happy results accrue to the public of Australia. I wish now to quote the remarks of the Right Honorable Lord James of Hereford, P.C., K.’C, and ex-Attorney-General. I have already quoted the opinions of two Liberal lawyers in British politics, and now I intend to cite the words used by the Attorney-General in the last Conservative Administration upon the occasion on which he introduced what is now the Imperial Act into the House of Lords. I need scarcely remind honorable senators, therefore, that the measure has been fathered by both sides in Imperial politics. Originally introduced by the Conservative Government, it was passed into law bv the Liberal Government. Lord James of Hereford said -
I would ask your Lordships’ permission to say a few words, a few very sincere words, in support of this Bill. Few things in my political life have given me greater pleasure than the prospect at last o.f seeing a real Court of Criminal Appeal in this country.
As Attorney-General, and as a private member, I have drawn three of these Bills in different
I believe your Lordships are not aware of the number of innocent people who are convicted in this country. 1 know - for I was in consultation with him on the subject - that Sir William Harcourt made most diligent and conscientious inquiry into this question, and was convinced, after he had discharged during the first three years that he was Home Secretary twelve innocent men whose cases had come accidentally before him, that they represented only a few of the cases of innocent men who had been convicted.
I do not know that I have ever spoken in other than terms of the highest appreciation of the Judges of this country, but I must say they never have been legal reformers. They are more disposed to oppose reform than to support it. But there is an authority to be found. Very conspicuous Judges have been liberal and generous enough to see the necessity of such a measure as is now proposed. In 1889, a distinguished member of this House, Lord Fitzgerald, who must be remembered by many of your Lordships, appealed to my noble and learned friend, who was then Lord Chancellor, to institute a Court of Criminal Appeal, andhe based his arguments, upon the report of the Committee of 1878, consisting of Lord Blackburn, Mr. Justice Lush, and two other experienced Judges.
If my noble and learned friends will turn to the last sections of their report they will find that the four Judges who sat on that Committee recommended an appeal upon questions of fact - an appeal against the verdict of the jury - with the qualification that it should be with the leave of the Court or Judge. That is a distinction, but still the infallibility of juries verdicts was thrown over by these four Judges. Lord Fitzgerald, in an eloquent speech, appealed to my noble and learned friend on the subject, but his appeal was in vain. The late Lord Esher, who had been accidentally absent when Lord Fitzgerald was speaking, wrote
My noble and teamed friend has described a jury as a constitutional tribunal. So it is. But my noble and learned friend does not hesitate to let a Court over-rule the finding of a jury in every civil case in this country, and if they think right they are entitled to enter a verdict of fact against the finding of the jury. Yet, in the case where men are suffering all the torments of a long conviction and all the torture that men can suffer in this world, my noble and learned friend will do nothing for them, but wishes things to be left as they are. We may approve of the exercise of conservatism to a certain extent, but surely we cannot steel our hearts against the demand that justice shall be done to all innocent men who are charged with crimes in this country.
Those words would suffice to bring to a worthy close any speech on such a measure. But I said that I would mention two cases that have arisen - one in Victoria, and the other in New South Wales. The Victorian case is a pitiful one. A man of position in the community - a man ofeducation - was charged, on insufficient evidence, with having committed the crime of perjury, because he said that he did not know a certain tramp by an alias which he had assumed. This man occupies a position of some consequence to-day. He has suffered imprisonment for perjury, and could obtain no redress forthe simple reason that under the Victorian law nothing could be done by way of appeal because his counsel, unhappily, did not take a point of law at the psychological moment. Counsel may have been an. inexperienced junior, but clearly it was an oversight not to take the point of law at the proper time.’ But there is no redress for this man, who is branded for life as a criminal, though he committed no crime. The New South Wales case is one which has been filling the press of that State. A Chinaman was convicted of murder under such circumstances that at last; in consequence of letters addressed to the press, the Government interfered. A Supreme Court Judge and a jury had found this man guilty, and he had been sentenced to death. But now under the rather absurd provision! of the New South Wales law, apolice magistrate has been told off to takefresh evidence, and practically re-try the case I want this Commonwealth Parliament to give a better form of appeal that re-hearing by an inferior . authority I do not ask that where a casehas been tried by the highest Courts in the country, and a failure of justice is supposed to have occurred, the matter shall be handed over to a less instructed authority practically for re-trial. I am asking that there shall be an appeal to the highest Court in the land. I think that such a case should be heard on appeal by three of the principal Judges.
– I hope that my honorable friend, Senator Neild, will not object to my moving the adjournment of the debate.
– I haveasked that the. second reading of the Bill shall be taken to-night:
– Unfortunately, my legal colleague is absent, and therefore the task of dealing with the Bill has fallen upon my shoulders. I do not propose to discuss its terms. It is customary, the second reading of a Bill having been moved, for an adjournment of the debate to be agreed to. Especially should that course be followed now, as my colleague, who, by reason of his legal training is better equipped for discussing the measure, is not present. ‘I could not permit the motion to go without a division, and should not like to divide the Senate upon it without further debate.
– Very well.
Debate (on motion by Senator St. Ledger) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at9.20 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 November 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1909/19091111_senate_3_53/>.