4th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Defence Acts 1903-1904. - Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. - Cancellation of Regulations 155, 156, 157, 158, and 159, and substitution of new Regulations (Provisional) in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1910, No. 75.
Audit Acts 1901-1906. - Repeal of Treasury Regulation g6 (d) and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1910, No. 72.
Bill received from House of Representa tives, and (on motion by Senator McGregor) read a first time.
.- I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill is of a somewhat formal character. Those who have read it will see that it merely carries out what necessarily ensues from the passing of the Surplus Revenue Bill. Owing to the variations in the consuming powers of the various States, bookkeeping sections were included in the Constitution. To carry out those sections the Customs Act, in sections 272 and 273, made provision regarding goods passing from one State to another in which they were consumed. Section 272 of the Customs Act reads -
As regards goods imported before the imposition of uniform duties of Customs into any State, or into any Colony, which, whilst the goods remained therein, becomes a State, and which on thence passing into another State within two years after the imposition of such duties become liable by the Constitution Act to any duty chargeable upon the importation of such goods into the Commonwealth, less any duty paid in respect of the goods on their importation, this Act and any State Act relating to Customs shall apply to the collection of the duty to which such goods are liable in manner prescribed.
Section 273, which practically repeats the words of the Constitution, reads-
During the first five years after the imposition of uniform duties of Customs, and thereafter until the Parliament otherwise provides, the Customs shall in manner prescribed collect particulars of the duties of Customs chargeable on goods imported into a State and afterwards passing into another State for consumption, and the duties of Excise paid on goods produced or manufactured in a State and afterwards passing into another State for consumption, and the same shall be furnished to the Treasurer of the Commonwealth so that the accpunls between the States may be kept as required bv the Constitution.
The carrying out of what the Constitution requires has been productive of a considerable amount of interference with free intercourse between the States, and has also led to considerable irritation in consequence of delay. The necessity for the retention of the sections which I have quoted having ceased, this Bill is introduced for their repeal. It is interesting to notice the way in which the receipts of revenue per head of papulation have been approximating in the various States as the’ years have passed ; and as this is probably the last occasion on which the subject will be referred to, I propose to put on record figures showing the revenue receipts per head during the first and last of the ten years. In New South Wales, in 1900, the receipts per head were £1 6s. 4½d. ; in 1910, £2 15s. 3¾d. ; in Victoria, in 1900, £1 19s. 3d. ; in 1910, £2 6s.10¼d. ; in Queensland, in 1900, £3 3s. 8¼d. ; in 1910, £2 15s. 6d. ; in South Australia, in 1900, £1 15s. 8½jd. ; in 1910, £2 12s. 3¼d. ; in Western Australia, in 1900, £5 6s. 2d. ; in 1910, £3 12s.0½d. ; in Tasmania, in 1900, £2 16s. 6½d. ; in 1910, £21s.10¼d. The average in 1900 was £21s.5¼d. ; in 1910 the average was £2 13s. When those figures are studied it will be found that, with the exception of Western Australia, there has been a remarkable approximation of the consumption per head in all the States. Another reason why this Bill needs to be passed as soon as possible is that it will enable the Department of Trade and Customs to abolish the border stations between the States. Those stations still exist, and they will not all be abolished at once. There are between New South Wales and Victoria fourteen border stations ; between Queensland and New South Wales, four; between Queensland and South Australia, two; between Victoria and South Australia, three; and between South Australia and New South Wales, four.
The abolition of those stations will save to the Commonwealth an expenditure of ^3,941 per annum. The introduction of a Bill of this character was inevitable, and I request honorable senators to restrict debate as far as possible in order to enable it to go through its remaining stages to-day.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [3. 11].- I am sure that honorable senators will not in any way hinder the passage of this Bill. It appears to lae a corollary to the passing of the Surplus Revenue Bill. Moreover, the measure intimates to us that we have reached the period for which we have been looking forward for a great many years. But I fail to see how it can well be brought into operation before the end of this year.
– The departmental officers say that there is no practical need foi delaying the operation of the Bill, inasmuch as the accounts so nearly approximate.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - It does not appear to me that there is any need to debate the Bill at length. Years ago we looked forward to a time when there would be absolute Free Trade between the States and a complete cessation of bookkeeping. But, in consequence of the variations in the quantities of goods consumed in the different States, and owing to goods being imported from one State into another, accounts had to be kept. Of course, this is not a proper time for discussing the principle of the Surplus Revenue Bill. Parliament has determined upon a basis of distribution for the future. The subject has been debated over- and over again and the policy of the Government has received the approval of Parliament. Personally, I offer no objection whatever to the passage of this Bill in the manner desired by the Minister.
– It appears to me that a little further explanation is required as to how the Government can do without a bookkeeping system between now and the 31st December, inasmuch as the Commonwealth has to return to the States three-fourths of the Customs and Excise revenue during the current six months. I do riot see how the amount of that revenue can be ascertained without bookkeeping.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
Sections two hundred and seventy-two and two hundred and seventy-three of the Customs Act 1 go 1 are repealed.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [3.16].- Senator Walker just now desired some information as to the way in which in future the revenue derived from Customs in the various States would be estimated. Perhaps the Minister will explain the matter on this clause.
– The sections of the Customs Act referred to in this clause do not refer to ordinary importations into a State, but to those which are subsequently re-exported to another State. The object of those sections was to have the revenue derived from importations credited to the State in which they were consumed. It has been found in actual practice, and especially during recent years, that in the debiting and crediting under the sections of the Constitution referred to the balance has worked out between the States about equally. Broadly speaking, by crediting each State with the revenue derived from direct importations, no injustice will be done to any of them. During the next six months, and in future, the States will be credited with the revenue derived from importations through their own ports, and no attempt will be madeto trace the transfer of imported goods from one State to another.
– Is not the Government bound to trace these transfers up to the end of the year?
– No; the honorable senator will find on reference to the Constitution that that provision was made obligatory for only five years.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - There will now be perfect Free Trade between State and State, and no bother with Inter-State certificates?
– That is so. All Inter-State certificates will be abolished after the passing of this Bill.
– After the explanation given by the Minister, I think we may allow this Bill to go. Under the Constitution the Government were for five years obliged to make returns on the basis mentioned by the Minister of Defence, and after that on such terms as Parliament thought fair and equitable.
– Those terms are embodied in the Surplus Revenue Bill.
– We have the assurance of the Minister that by crediting each State with the revenue upon direct importations the balances work out about equally, and that the provisions of the Surplus Revenue Bill are sufficient for an equitable adjustment of the matter.
– The Minister of Defence stated on the second reading of the Bill that all the border Customs offices would not be abolished. If we are to have absolute Free Trade I should like to know what is the reason for continuing any of the border Customs offices.
– The figures quoted by the Minister of Defence are very interesting, as showing the close approximation in the revenue per head derived from Customs in each of the States. The most remarkable contrast is shown by the figures for Western Australia. In 1900 the Customs and Excise revenue in that State was£562,000, and last year it had fallen to£268,000 bringing the amount per head to within us. of the average per head derived from the same source in the other States. These figures indicate either a very remarkable development in production in Western Australia to supply the needs of the State or a very great falling off in the consumption of dutiable articles.
– They are largely the result of the consumption of Australian in preference to imported goods.
– I should like to say also that the figures seem to meto raise some doubt as to whether the concession provided for Western Australia in the Surplus Revenue Bill is justified. Originally the concession was supported 011 the ground of the great discrepancy in the Customs revenue per head between Western Australia and the other States, but, as the revenue per head in Western Australia now so nearly approximates that derived in the other States, it occurs to me that Western Australia will be given more under the Surplus Revenue Bill than she deserves.
– In reply lo the question asked by Senator Stewart, I may say that the only border Customs stations that will be retained are those where there are bonded warehouses established for the convenience of firms. The firms using these bonded warehouses pay the Customs Department for their use, and the expense of keeping Customs House officers in charge of them. The stationsat which these bonded warehouses areprovided will be continued only until the warehouses are given up by the firms for whose convenience they have been established.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.
Bill read a third time.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia -
Minister of Defence) [3.26]. - I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
In submitting this motion, I confess that I am dealing with a subject of which I cannot claim to have any special knowledge, except such as I have acquired as a member of the Senate, and as I have gained by a more than passing acquaintance with Bills dealing with the same subject which have preceded this. I have, on behalf of the Government, to say that we recognise to the full the great services rendered to the Commonwealth by the Navigation Commission which investigated this matter, and of which Senators Guthrie, De Largie, and ex-Senator Macfarlane were members. The Commission took a considerable amount of evidence, and inquired very fully into the question j and their recommendations have been, to a large extent, embodied in the Bill. We have also had the advantage derived from the holding of the Navigation Conference in England, at which Mr. W. M. Hughes. Mr. Dugald Thomson, and Sir William Lyne represented the Commonwealth. There has been, in addition, correspondence with the Board of Trade on matters relating to the subject.’ No one can say that, on this question, there has been any hasty legislation. It might be said that this measure has been, if anything, too well considered ; and honorable senators should be thoroughly conversant with its principal provisions. It is one of considerable magnitude, comprising, as it does, eleven parts, 419 clauses, and three schedules. It has had a very interesting history; and, as I hope this will be the last time that the main Bill will be before the Senate, I propose to give a sketch of that history. The first
Bill was introduced by ex-Senator Drake, on 17th March, 1904. The basis of the Bill then submitted was the British Merchant Shipping Act, the New South Wales Seamen’s Act, and Shipping Act of 1898, the New Zealand Act, and, to some extent, the Marine Act of Victoria. On 27th April of that year, the first Bill was discharged from the notice-paper, on the motion of Senator McGregor, who was then Vice-President of the Executive Council in the Watson Government. On 29th June, 1904, a Royal Commission was appointed by the Watson Government to examine the Bill that had been introduced, and the Commission presented an interim report on 15th June, 1906. In 1905, the holding of a Navigation Conference was proposed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and, after considerable correspondence, the Conference was convened, and met on 26th March, 1907. The resolutions of the Conference were examined by the Navigation Commission in Australia, and a final report was presented by the Commission, in which they expressed satisfaction that the Navigation Conference had generally indorsed the recommendations contained in their interim report. On 13th September, 1907, exSenator Best, as Vice-President of the Executive Council, moved the second reading of the Bill introduced on behalf of the Government to which he belonged. No further consideration was given to the Bill for exactly a year. On 23rd September, 1908, ex-Senator Best again moved the second reading of the measure ; and it was read a second time on 1st October, 1908. The first seventeen clauses were passed in Committee, and progress on the measure was finally reported on 6th November, 1908. The Bill now before honorable senators is one which can be much more conveniently considered in Committee; and I, therefore, trust that the second-reading speeches delivered on it will be as brief as possible. The first important feature of the measure is that it does not apply to ships of His Majesty’s Navy, and, in this respect, follows the Merchant Shipping Act, and the New Zealand Act. When it becomes an Act, the measure will be administered by ihe Department of Trade and Customs. It provides for a .proper manning scale, not only for officers, but for crews as well. In this respect, it goes beyond the Merchant Shipping Act, and is, I think, more advanced than any other law on the subject. The manning provision applies to vessels registered in Australia, or to ves- sels engaged in the coastal trade. I propose to confine my remarks largely to principles ; and I may say that this measure contains the principle that the Australian coastal trade shall be reserved exclusively for vessels complying with Australian conditions. The Government contend that this is in accord with the protective principle which has been adopted in regard to trade in other directions. We have to remember that, in building up our mercantile marine, it is necessary for us to adopt a similar method to that which has been adopted in relation to other industries. We have to recollect that our mercantile marine is subject, not only to similar competition, but, in many respects, to a more formidable competition. Other industries are subject to the competition of foreign manufacturers who are themselves the. subject of competition in their own country, but our mercantile marine is subject to the competition of foreign vessels which are very often subsidized by foreign countries to enable them to successfully compete in Australian waters, and in the waters of other countries. Again, the competition in our waters with Britishowned vessels is very often of an unfair character, because those vessels are in all cases manned by crews whose members receive less than the Australian rate of wage, whilst, in many cases, they are manned by coloured crews who are paid even a very much lower rate.
– Yes. I also know that many steamers which are competing in our coastal trade are bounty fed. Yet they pay lower rates of wages to their crews than do Australian vessels ; so that our ship-owners are subject to a doubly unfair competition in that, whilst their vessels are not bounty fed, they are required to pay a fairly decent rate of wages.
– No British vessel is bounty fed.
– No. The competition with foreign vessels is really more unfair to our ship-owners than is the competition with British vessels. The foreigner is in a better position to oust our ships than is the Britisher. Nevertheless, the British ship-owner enjoys an advantage over the Australian ship-owner, whilst the foreigner enjoys a double advantage. This Bill attempts to make the conditions of seafaring life on our Australian coast such as will induce young Australians to embark upon it as their life vocation. Its object is to encourage them to become seafaring men, as were their ancestors.
– The Australian lives on a huge continent, whilst his ancestors lived on a speck of land in the middle of the ocean.
– But we have to recollect that the bulk of the trade of this continent is sea-borne, and the very size of our continent renders it necessary that the bulk of that trade shall always be seaborne.
– No; it will be carried by railway.
– Wherever a railway has to compete for trade which can be sea-borne, it will be found that sea carriage is much cheaper than is carriage by rail. Of course, we all know that, as long as Senator Stewart can prevent us from building railways, we shall not be able to get any constructed. We believe that if this Bill becomes law, it .will render the conditions of life aboard ship much more bearable, and much more attractive - in short, that it will induce many young Australians who now regard a seafaring life as the last resort to enter that calling. Thus, we shall secure a better class of workmen, who will be able to enjoy some of the comforts of life. In the shipping industry, we have three sets of people to bear in mind. In the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, we had only the employer and employe; but in this measure we have also to safeguard the interests of the customer of a ship, whether he be a passenger or an individual who sends freight by it. The Bill practically lays down the whole law relating to these matters. Another interesting feature in connexion with this Bill is to be found in ihe fact that, being part of the British Empire, we are subject to certain limitations in dealing with questions affecting international trade, and, therefore, affecting navigation. Every Colonial Legislature in the British Empire has to recognise that fact. Provision has to be made for it, and these limitations have to be reckoned with. In this connexion, I desire to point out that the Navigation Bill which was previously before the Senate was the subject of a number of communications between the Board of Trade, representing the British Government and the Commonwealth Government. The Board of Trade sent out forty-two suggestions to the Commonwealth Government; and I desire to outline to honorable senators what has been done in regard to them. Of the forty-two suggestions in question, seventeen were accepted and embodied in the Navigation Bill of 1908. One suggestion which was eliminated from that Bill, has been accepted and embodied in the measure now before the Senate ; so that there are eighteen suggestions by the Board of Trade incorporated in this measure. In three cases the Board of Trade is evidently satisfied with the explanation which was’ given to it by the Department of Trade and Customs in its memorandum in reply to that body. In three cases a compromise has been accepted, and in two others there will be power to deal with the suggestions by regulation if it be deemed necessary to do so.Fifteen suggestions by the Board of Trade have not been adopted, either in the Bill of 1908 or in the measure which is now under consideration, and one sugges-tion which was embodied in the Bill of 1908 has been omitted from this measure. Consequently there are sixteen suggestions by the Board of Trade, which have not been incorporated in the Bill. I intend having circulated amongst honorable senators one memorandum showing the difference between this Bill and the Bill of 1908, and another setting out the suggestions made by the Board of Trade, and assigning reasons why certain of those suggestions hav,e not been accepted. Consequently I shall not deal in detail with those matters now. The Bill marks another very important departure from the measure previously submitted, to the Senate, in that it extends the scope of what is recognised as “ Australian trade “ to the Islands of the Pacific. When we. consider the important position we occupy in relation to those it-lands and New Zealand, I think it will be admitted that the departure is a wise one.
– Will it extend to all the islands of the Pacific? ‘
– Yes. So far as our mercantile marine is concerned, we hope that the bulk of that trade will be controlled by Australia, and therefore we! provide that vessels trading between those islands and Australia and vice versa shall be treated in the same manner as vessels trading round our coast-
– Then we shall have to extend our Tariff to them.
– I am afraid that the honorable senator is becoming affected by the microbe which has been left on the Opposition benches. Then the Bill makes better and more liberal provision in the matter of accommodation for the officers and crews of our ships than did previous measures relating to this subject.
– What about the passengers? They want better accommodation, too.
– If the honorable senator will look at the Bill, he will find that ample provision has been made for the accommodation of passengers. I wish now to direct attention to a very important provision, which is contained in clauses ti and 12, which deal with officers. Clause 12 has practically been redrafted.’ It will be recollected that that clause was the subject of a considerable amount of discussion when it was previously before the Senate. If honorable senators will refer to the two clauses I have mentioned, which relate to certificated [officers, they will see that we have now provided a system of grading, under which it will be possible for a greaser or a fireman - assuming that he applies himself sufficiently to obtain the necessary certificate - to pass through all the gradations until he secures a Board of Trade certificate, and becomes a first-class engineer. We think that that is only right.
– In the limited coastal trade, no provision is made for a second mate.
– In connexion with an engineer, do the Government intend to drop the provision that a man must possess the necessary shop experience ?
– I do not wish to discuss details at this stage. There are a hundred-and-one details in connexion with this Bill which cannot possibly be [dealt with upon the motion for its second reading. The Bill also differs materially from the measure which was previously before the Senate in regard to the supply of seamen. I suppose that, in modern times, no class has suffered more at the hands of those who supply labour than have seamen. The evils of crimping - or what is called “ shanghaing “ - read more like the history of mediaeval times than that of to-day. Under this Bill it Ss laid down that the only persons who will be able to supply seamen will be the superintendent, or, in certain cases, the seamen’s inspector - both Government officials - the actual owner of a” vessel, the master, the mate, or the engineer. By that means we entirely eliminate the agent and the boardinghouse-keeper who in the past have battened on the seaman, and who have very frequently deprived him of his liberty, and made him the victim of an unfair contract.
– What is meant by the word “supplying”?
– The practice has been for a boardinghouse-keeper, for example, to furnish a certain number of seamen, and to receive so much per head for supplying them. Consequently there was an inducement for the boardinghousekeeper to get seamen intoxicated, or even to have them drugged. Cases have occurred in which they have been drugged and taken aboard ship, and in which they have known nothing whatever about the bargain which had been entered into, until they found themselves at sea. That practice is severely dealt with in this measure. The Bill also provides that a seaman may be rated after serving three years before the mast, or as an apprentice. . Clauses 41 to 43 deal with the crews of vessels, and will apply to ships registered in Australia, or to ships, British and foreign, which are engaged in our coastal trade. Clauses 44 to 58 relate to the agreement made between the crew of a vessel and its owner. An important provision in these clauses is that a seaman must possess a sufficient knowledge of English to understand the orders issued to him. Honorable senators who have read some of the accounts of shipwreck, which have been brought under my notice during the past few days, will realize how important is that provision.
– The seamen should’ have a thorough knowledge of English.
– In one case which was brought under my notice, the crew were of such a mixed character that when their ship was wrecked off the coast of Scotland, the people who went to their rescue could not communicate with them, and had to get several interpreters before they could open up communication. There were about halfadozen nationalities represented in the crew. With regard to officers, the Bill provides that they must be British subjects, and thoroughly conversant with the English language. In division x., we give protection to seamen in the payment of wages. They must not be paid in advance; they must be paid in the presence of the superintendent, who is, I repeat, a Government ser- vant. Th”. wages of seamen employed in the Australian trade, or limited coast-going ships, are to be paid monthly; and, in the case of foreign-going ships, the wages are to be paid as prescribed. The Navigation Commission pointed out that there should be a provision to enable a seaman to draw a proportion of his money when he came to a port, as the articles of his agreement might not provide for that to be done. In this Bill, we may prescribe by regulation that, in the case of a vessel not trading round our coast, a proportion of the wages of the seamen shall be paid at certain periods or places. Then the Bill confers jurisdiction on any Supreme Court, or any Court having Admiralty jurisdiction, to deal with wages cases. The maintenance of discipline on a ship is a most important matter, because, when a ship leaves the coast, she practically becomes a country under a Government of her own. She is away from the civil power, and the captain and officers cannot call in a policeman. They are in practically the place of the Civil Government, and have to administer the law. In the past, this fact has led to a very harsh scale, and a very harsh method of dealing with offences against discipline. In times gone by, before the spread of education, and when, perhaps, men were not so intellectual as they are to-day, and possibly not so well trained and law-abiding, that scale may have been, in some instances, justified ; but, while many matters have been improved in relation to seamen, in very many cases the old ideas of rough justice and vengeful treatment of offenders against discipline have survived. In this measure, the Government have endeavoured to bring the treatment of offences against discipline more into accord with the civilization of to-day, to give power for seamen to be treated very much more like men are treated ashore for similar breaches of discipline. A very important feature of the Bill is that which deals with the supply of provisions. A scale of provisions is set out in schedule 3, and it is provided that complaint may be made by at least three persons against the provisions supplied. If it is found, on inquiry, that they are not up to the scale, then compensation shall be paid to the seamen who have suffered. Another important feature which was brought forward by the Navigation Commission, and which I think will command the undying thanks of seamen of the future, is that there should be carried on every steam-ship of over 500 tons a certificated cook. Those who have had the misfortune sometimes to eat meals prepared by a bush cook will appreciate what that means at sea. Part xiv. provides for the health of the crew. That is an important consideration, because there are numberless instances where the shipmaster has landed a sick man at a sailors’ home, or other place, and sailed away, leaving him at the tender mercy of somebody or nobody. It is provided in this measure that, before a seaman can be left behind sick, there shall be deposited a sum of £50 to provide attendance, and, in addition, his wages must be paid to the superintendent. The accommodation for officers and crew is also an important matter, and one upon which a mass of evidence was taken by the Commission. Their recommendations have been practically embodied in the Bill. They are that there shall be provided for officers engaged in the coasting trade 180 cubic feet of space each, and that, in the case of small ships, this amount may be decreased by two officers being placed in one cabin, but a proportionate reduction made in the amount of cubic space for each. There is a very great difficulty in regard to this provision. We have attempted to meet it in the best way we can. A large number of vessels were built before any such provision was thought of, and a large amount of capital is invested in them. Necessarily, if the Government were to call upon the owners to conform to this measure rigidly, it would mean a huge expenditure, and throw out of use very many ships, because it would not pay to make the required alterations. An attempt has been made in the Bill to meet that difficulty. The provision relative to accommodation is to be interpreted rigidly in the case of all ships to be built hereafter, and of ships which can be adapted to meet the requirements of the Act ; but in the case of those ships which cannot be adapted, the space to be provided is to be such as will satisfy the Minister acting on the advice of his medical advisers. In the case of seamen and apprentices, it is provided that there shall be not less than 120 cubic feet of space, and not less than 28 superficial feet, measured on the deck and floor, and 5 feet between the bunks. Again, acting on the recommendation of the Navigation Commission, it is laid clown that mess-room accommodation must be provided separate and distinct from the sleeping accommodation. Honorable senators who have travelled, even in some of the so-called modern steamers, as I have done, must have been disgusted at finding that the seaman has been expected to eat his meals, to wash himself, and, in bad weather, even his clothes, in the small space provided for his sleeping accommodation.
– Seventy-two cubic feet.
– Sometimes alongside where cattle and horses were stowed.
– Very frequently. In the future mess-room accommodation, separate from sleeping accommodation, must be provided on an open deck. Sanitary and bathroom accommodation will also have to be provided. We have to remember the conditions of men in a modern steamer. The fireman, for instance, follows an occupation which covers him with coal dust, and causes him to perspire freely, and therefore bathing accommodation, even to conform to ordinary decency, is an absolute necessity. That must be provided under the Bill. I am pleased to be able to say that since the Navigation Commission made its report more than one steamer which has been built for the Australian trade has been fitted with all this accommodation, although there is yet no law to that effect. That shows that in this Bill we are not seeking to impose any undue hardship in asking owners in future to make such provision in all cases.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - I think that that provision was made in view of the indication of Parliament’s desire.
– Yes. The owners saw that the enactment of such a provision was possible, and so they provided the accommodation. I think that the Wyreema and the Karoola are fitted with all this accommodation. I have been through those vessels and can say that their accommodation is most excellent compared with that provided on the old steamers. The Bill provides that all ships shall be liable to inspection and survey, and that steam-ships over five years old must be surveyed at least once in six months, and up to that time once in twelve months. Of course, we have made the necessary machinery provision to give effect to that principle. We also take power to provide that such steamers as may be prescribed shall carry wireless telegraph apparatus. No’ doubt honorable senators remember the account cf the sinking of the Monarch steamer in the Atlantic Ocean, and the saving of her passengers’ lives by summoning to their aid, by wireless telegraphy, a steamer which was scores of miles away, and quite out of reach of ordinary signals. I am informed on reliable authority that all passenger steamers travelling on the Pacific coast of America carry wireless telegraph apparatus.
– The Government will have to provide stations ashore.
– A site has already been secured in Sydney, and a station will be erected there shortly. Another site has been chosen, in Fremantle, and other points will undoubtedly be provided as time goes on. It must be remembered that the warships on the Australian stations are provided with wireless telegraph apparatus. The new torpedo destroyers have their equipment, and the naval stations ashore will each be equipped. The Bill makes provision for proper deck and load lines in order to insure safety. In clauses 268 to 280 Senator Stewart will find all the clauses dealing with provisions to be supplied to passengers.
– Oh, but that is to be the subject of regulation.
– The honorable senator will find in the Bill quite a number of provisions relating to passengers and their treatment.
– Why not prescribe the space in the Bill itself?
– The Bill already contains 419 clauses, and if we were to deal with all the other things relating to passengers and others which can be provided for quite as well by regulation, we shall require an additional 400 or 500 clauses. Clauses 281 to 292 may perhaps* be called the king pin of the whole principle of the Bill, in that they define “ the coasting trade,” and how a vessel can enter it. Clause 282 reads -
This part of this Act shall come into operation on a date to be fixed by proclamation, but shall not come into operation on the date fixed for the commencement of this Act unless the proclamation fixing that date expressly declares that this Part is to come into operation on that date :
Provided that the next following section shall come into operation on the date fixed for the commencement of this Act.
Clause 283 says -
A ship shall be deemed to engage in the coasting trade if she takes on board passengers or cargo at any port in Australia, or any territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, to. be carried to, and landed or delivered at, anyother port in Australia or in any such territory :
Provided that the carrying of passengers who hold through tickets to or from a port beyond Australia, or of cargo consigned on a through bil! of lading to or from a port beyond Australia, or of mails, shall noi be deemed engaging in the coasting trade :
Provided further that the Governor-General may by order declare that the carrying of passengers between specified ports in Australia, by British ships, shall not be deemed engaging in the coasting trade.
Clauses 284 to 290 provide that vessels taking part in the coasting trade under the two clauses I have read must pay the Australian rate of wages - either the current rate, or the rate fixed by the Arbitration Court, as the case may be.
– Then that means that British ships, carrying passengers, say, between Fremantle and Melbourne, will have to pay Australian rates of wages while on our coasts ?
– Yes, unless it is declared by order that they do not com,. under the paragraph of clause 283, which says that -
The Governor-General may by order declare that the carrying of passengers between specified ports in Australia, by British ships, shall not be deemed engaging in the coasting trade.
– That is not good enough.
– Clause 292 gives recognition to international treaty rights. The clause, of course, is one which we must insert, because we have to recognise the existence of treaty rights entered into by the United Kingdom with other countries.
– Suppose that a German passenger ship took on passengers at Perth 3nd brought them round to Sydney, would she have to comply with this clause? ‘
– She would be deemed to be engaged in the coasting trade, and would have to comply with Australian rates of wages.
– It is proposed to give preference to British ships.
– We do not” propose to give preference to any ships, but simply provide that khe Governor-General may declare that certain British ships shall not be deemed to be engaging in the coasting trade.
– That means that all British ships will be exempt.
– The exemption will be made by order of the Government, and not by Statute. The Bill merely confers upon the Government the power to declare that the carrying of passengers on British ships shall not be engaging in the coasting trade. Any order made will have to be laid before Parliament. I do not propose now to discuss the reasons for the provision, but in Committee, if necessary, I will give full reasons.
– The reasons are contained in the Navigation Commission’s report.
– They are. Another important departure in this Bill is that the pilot services throughout the Commonwealth are to come directly, under the control of the Commonwealth Government. The pilots are to be public servants. I shall pass over the parts of the Bill dealing with wrecks, salvage, and a number of other interesting and important subjects. They are matters of such detail that they really cannot be dealt with in a second-reading speech. Clause 418 is the next one to which I invite attention. It provides for the appointment of a marine council, representing merchants, underwriters, officers, and seamen, to advise the Minister as to the scale ot officers and crews, and as to the scale of provisions. That is a new departure, which, I think, will prove to be of very great advantage, not only to the Minister, but to the various parties interested. I shall not allude at greater length to the provisions of the Bill. If honorable senators will apply themselves to the memorandum which I have had compiled, they will find full information, which will be interesting to those who were members of the Senate when previous Navigation Bills were under consideration, and will enable them to bring themselves up to date. I advise those who were not previously members of the Senate to study the report of the Navigation Commission, from which they will be able to obtain a thorough grasp of the principles covered by this Bill.
Debate (on motion by Senator Lt. Colonel Sir Albert Gould) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the consideration of the Bill be an order of the day for Friday next.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [4.8].- I should like the Minister to fix a later date for the resumption of the debate, in order that honorable senators may make themselves properly acquainted with the provisions of the new Bill, and may compare it with those contained in previous Bills, and with the British Merchant Shipping Act. A large number of documents have to be considered, and an opportunity ought to be afforded us to make ourselves fully acquainted with them.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia- like to comply with Senator Gould’s request, the Government desire to keep the Senate fully employed. If honorable senators will look at the notice-paper, they will see that there is just a possibility that, if this Bill were postponed for a week, we might not have sufficient business to occupy us for the remainder of the present week. I therefore propose to set down the Bill for Friday next, though, if we have other business to proceed with, I shall be glad to fall in with Senator Gould’s wishes.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That the Order of the Day for the second reading of this Bill be discharged, and that the Bill be withdrawn.
Senator Lt. Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [4.10].- I think that some reason should be furnished to honorable senators as to why the Government desire the Bill to 6e discharged from the notice-paper. Many honorable senators may have been taken by surprise. We have spent several days in debating the Bill, and when we were on the point of arriving at a decision a motion is submitted that it be withdrawn.
– The reason why this Bill is to be withdrawn is obvious. At any rate, it is obvious to me, because, Mr. President, you will recollect that on Monday last I intimated to you privately - in order that you might have an opportunity of looking up the point - that I intended to take a point of order on the ground that the Bill was not properly before the Senate. Probably the Government were apprised that such a thing was to be done, and they very properly, after consideration, came to the conclusion that the Bill was not constitutionally before the Senate. Section 53 of the Constitution is emphatic on this point -
Proposed laws appropriating revenue or moneys, or imposing taxation, shall not originate in the Senate.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council could have got over that section by striking out a certain clause.
– But we are not competent to deal with a Bill containing a clause appropriating revenue. How could we strike out a clause in a Bill with which’ we were not competent to deal at all? Clause 19 of the Bill does appropriate money. It says -
There shall be payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund which is hereby appropriated to that extent accordingly, such moneys as are necessary to enable the Commonwealth to pay all interest and sinking fund payments payable by it under the provisions of paragraphs a, d, and e of section -1 of the agreement.
I agree with Senator Gould that there are several other clauses which impose burdens upon the people. When the Government take the measure into consideration, . with a view to its re-introduction, I trust that they will look carefully into this matter, and see that the Senate is not placed in the false position of overriding the Constitution by dealing with subject-matter which the Constitution has forbidden us to deal with in a Bill originated in this Chamber.. The whole trouble could have been saved’ if a little consideration had been given to the subject. I trust that such consideration will be given to this and other Billsin the future.
– In reference to what has been said by Senator Gould, honorable senators will clearly recollect that when introducing this.
Bill I said that it contained a provision involving an appropriation, but that I intended to strike it out. The Bill was originally prepared to be introduced in another place, but, owing to the condition of business, it was deemed advisable to introduce it in the Senate. The law advisers of the Government saw nothing in it to prevent its being dealt with here, provided clause 19 was struck out. Accordingly an intimation was made by me that that would be done. It was surely not a very kindly act on the part of a supporter of the Government that he should go fossicking around with statements to the authorities charged with the maintenance of the Standing Orders and the Constitution.
– I did not ask any one’s opinion or advice concerning the Constitution. I merely intimated to the President what I proposed to do.
– Would it not have been a friendly act on the part of a supporter of the Government if he had come to me, or one of my colleagues, and made such an intimation? Would it not have been a fair thing if such a course had been taken?
– That course could have been taken weeks before.
– Why was not the objection raised when I made the announcement to which I have referred? Of course, there may be conflicting opinions about this matter, but the Government did not intend to take any risks. It is quite clear that some honorable senators might permit the Bill to go to its second reading, and then raise that objection, thinking they had done a very wise thing. It would not be so very wise, after all, because what would ensue would be that the Bill would be withdrawn, and a similar Bill introduced as quickly as possible, when, I should hope, all causes of objection would be removed. Honorable senators who have already spoken on the second reading of this measure will, if they wish to carry out their duties to the country, refrain from making elaborate speeches on the second reading of the new Bill. Their work in that connexion has already been done. They have expressed their views, and they ought to be satisfied, though, of course, they are at liberty to take whatever course of action they please. After the statement made here this afternoon, the rumours current, and the indications that are recognised, I think it will be admitted that the Govern ment are taking the best and safest course in proposing to withdraw the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Will the new Bill be introduced in the Senate?
– Yes, and by leave of the Senate, I wish to give notice to-day that to-morrow I will move for leave to introduce a Bill dealing with the transfer of the Northern Territory.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould.- - The honorable senator has already ob:tained leave to introduce a Bill dealing with the transfer of the Northern Territory.
– I think I have exhausted that leave.
– The question is that Senator McGregor have leave to give notice of the motion to which he has referred for to-morrow. There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Then 1 give notice that to-morrow I will move for leave to introduce a Bill dealing with the transfer of the Northern Territory.
Debate resumed from 18th August (vide page 1672), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This is a measure, which if it does not absolutely solve the problem, will at least lay soundly and truly the foundation of a defence policy which will be capable of expansion.
We must recognise the force of the honorable senator’s remarks, and they are confirmed by the fact that the Bill now before the Senate proposes an expansion of the system laid down in the Act of 1909. That measure, as introduced by the late Government, was dealt with here as a non-party measure, and every member of the Senate bent his energy to make it as complete as possible. The question might have arisen at that time as to whether the measure proposed the adoption of right lines. But we now have the gratification of knowing that the late Government, having made arrangements with Lord Kitchener to visit Australia to secure the benefit of his advice, knowledge, and experience, had from him a report in which he stated his satisfaction with the terms of the Bill considered last year. In the introductory remarks in the memorandum supplied by Lord Kitchener, the says, speaking of the Bill of last year -
The new Defence Act will give sufficient numbers to defend the country efficiently if the force provided under it is sufficiently trained, organized, and equipped. It must, however, be distinctly recognised that a national force maintained at a high standard of efficiency can only be reproduced by the work of years, and that such work must be steady and continuous. Any divergence from the policy decided on may, and probably will, lead to chaos and useless expenditure of money.
I take it that in that paragraph Lord Kitchener placed the seal of his approval upon the scheme laid down by the late Government for the defence of Australia. We must, of course, have a permanent force for the training of our Citizen Forces, and for looking after our fortifications and defences, as also others requiring constant supervision and attention; but the Act of last year provided primarily and mainly for a Citizen Defence Force. It should be remembered also, that, on leaving Australia, Lord Kitchener went to New Zealand, and his recommendations for the defence of that Dominion followed upon the lines laid down in our Defence Act of 1909 by the late Deakin-Cook Government.
Senate, asks us to increase the age for training up to twenty-five years, and the period of training, in order that the men shall have a longer period during which they will be working together, and we may so provide a more efficient and cohesive force. In that particular I do not think that any member of the Senate will raise objections to the provisions of this Bill. The measure deals with other matters besides the extension of the time of service and the period of training. It provides for the establishment of a military college. I regard the establishment of a military college as one of the best safeguards we could have for the efficient and patriotic defence of the country. It should open up a sphere of action to the young men of Australia, in which they might make a name for themselves and do a great deal of good in the interests of the country at large. Senator Pearce, in introducing the Bill, stated the probable expenditure that would have to be incurred in connexion with the defence of Australia. If I am not mistaken, I think he estimated the cost at something like£2 , 000,000 per annum. The estimated cost under the scheme of last year’s measure was between£1,700,000 and 800,000. I feel that the people of Australia are now alive to the fact that it is absolutely necessary they should adopt efficient means for their own protection and defence. Prior to Federation, and when Federation was being discussed, it was strongly urged that the defence of Australia was in a most unsatisfactory condition, because we had only small forces in each of the States, when we should have a united force for the Commonwealth, that might be moved from one end of the continent to the other as the necessities of the time demanded. It must be regarded as a reproach to the Commonwealth that it should have waited so long before any scheme of defence had been approved which could be regarded as at all satisfactory. In the early days of Federation, instead of increasing our expenditure on defence,’ the demand by many members of this Parliament was that we should reduce expenditure on that account very materially. When we federated the expenditure upon defence in the different States amounted to about£834,000 per annum, and this Parliament set to work to cut down that expense, by reducing the Defence Force and so making what was regarded prior to Federation as an insufficient force, still more inefficient. I have taken the trouble to ascertain the cost per head of the population of Australia for defence in preFederation days. It amounted to 4s. 4d. And yet, under Commonwealth control in 1902-3 the defence expenditure per head was reduced to 3s. 7d., a reduction of 9d. per head in the amount expended on defence prior to Federation. Instead of facing a reasonable expenditure for this purpose, the Commonwealth Parliament proposed an expenditure of only between £700,000 and £800,000 per annum to defend this immense territory, almost as large as the whole of Europe, with its vast population. In the early days of Federation it is evident that Parliament was not alive to the necessities of the case, and it is only quite recently that matters assumed a different aspect, and we have begun to realize that Australia is not so far removed from the possible theatre of warfare that we can afford to neglect the important question of defence. We have been dependent upon the British Navy for many years; and to-day we are just as dependent upon it as we ever were. All our legislation for the amelioration and improvement of the social conditions of our people, for the establishment of high wages and reasonable hours of labour - even our White Australia policy itself - is absolutely dependent upon the strength of the Empire to which we belong. If we were left to ourselves, some of the weakest nations of the world could gobble us up, take possession of our territory, and absolutely alter the whole trend of our legislation in such a way as to retard its development for hundreds of years. I come now to the question of the expenditure which is involved in an adequate defence of Australia. The Minister of Defence has already stated that the expenditure under this Bill will approximate £2,000,000 annually, and we all know that the estimated expenditure upon an Australian Navy is about £750,000 annually - a total of £2,750,000. “ Can any one seriously urge that that amount represents one sixpence too much, seeing that the whole of it is to be expended upon the defence of this continent ?
Senator Lt.-Colonel CAMERON (Tasmania) [4.44]. - I rise upon this occasion with extreme satisfaction, because I am able to offer my hearty congratulations to the Minister of Defence uponthe speech which he delivered in moving the second reading of this Bill, and upon his elucidation of all the matters connected with the scheme which Lord Kitchener submitted to the late Ministry, as well as upon the proposals which he himself has embodied in the measure. I should like to reiterate the statement made by him and by the last speaker, that the defence of “Australia is entirely a national and in no way a party question. It has been so treated by the Minister, and in passing I wish to say that it affords me great gratification to find that two successive Ministries which practically represent all sections of the Commonwealth have been united in a determination that some kind of universal training, even backed up by compulsory conditions, shall obtain throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth. With these preliminary remarks I shall proceed to quote from Lord Kitchener’s report the paragraph in which, after speaking most warmly of the services of Australians from personal knowledge, he says -
The conclusion I have come to is, shortly, that the present forces are inadequate in numbers, training, organization, and munitions of war, to defend Australia from the dangers that are due to the present conditions that prevail in the country, as well as to its isolated position.
In a previous paragraph he had said that, having had considerable experience of Australians working in the field during the South African war, he was not surprised to find amongst the young manhood of Australia excellent material from which its defenders must come. He goes on to say -
I noticed in the camps the greatest keenness displayed by all ranks in rendering themselves proficient, and in applying the military knowledge they had acquired to the practical conditions of work on the manoeuvre ground.
With those two clear enunciations of Lord Kitchener’s conclusions before . us - one as to the material which we have at hand, and the other as to the conditions which exist in the Commonwealth, and which he had an opportunity of viewing - we have to take our thoughts back a little way and ask ourselves whether this new proposal is likely to fulfil the Irequirements which, apparently from his report, are absolutely necessary.
Within the last six weeks, in the Daily Mail, Admiral Mahan - a great authority on questions of international defence - gave his views as to the present position of affairs. He pointed out how the great advance made in naval matters by Germany had necessitated the concentration of the British Fleet in the Home waters. And he put the position in this way : That while not necessarily regarding Germany as hostile to Great Britain at present, there is the possibility of events occurring which would render her an enemy to our national existence. In that event, and even at the present juncture, we might have as an ally France, but conditions might arise under which she would cease to be able to cooperate in a friendly way with us. Our position in the Mediterranean would then be imperilled, because we have an insufficiency, not of people, but of trained and efficient soldiers in the Mother Land to enable the British Fleet to be withdrawn from its shores to carry out the work which hitherto has been looked upon as necessary, that is, to seek in other waters the enemy which it might be necessary to clear therefrom in order to keep open the lines of communication with our great dependencies. Admiral Mahan brought this idea out clearly in these words -
As it is we have only a small expeditionary force, and as we have to concentrate so much of our navy in the homewaters, we have not even command of the sea outside of those waters.
While he does not say so in so many words, Admiral Mahan suggests that we cannot even be sure of our allies, because they could not depend upon our supporting them adequately in the hour of danger. What is the position in the Old Country? As the result of having an inadequate number of trained and efficient troops, its military defence depends upon what is described as a small expeditionary force. The policy of Great Britain does not admit of its great naval power being withdrawn in the event of it being required elsewhere.
I ask honorable senators to carry their minds back to the recent Manchurian war, from which Japan emerged as one of the greatest Powers of modern times. So thoroughly organized and developed is her navy now that she is the Power which, in alliance with Great Britain maintains the security of this country. That fact has to be grasped and understood. That is a statesman’s view, apart from mine. Our position as a great Dominion of the Empire depends upon the friendly services of our ally, which has recently risen to power, but was before the war with Russia an unknown quantity. What is the position of Japan ? Some years ago we heard much talk about the Pacific going to be an American lake. In my opinion, there is more danger of the Pacific becoming a Japanese lake before many years have passed away. That it will ever become an American lake is -a remote possibility. Our existence as a White Australia and a part of the British Empire will depend upon our alliance with Japan. What have the Japanese soldiers and sailors recently done ? They have brought to their feet what was considered to be the greatest Power of Europe - the Russian Tzar and his great army. In face of great difficulties, the Russion armies were defeated time and again, and their navy was wiped out of existence. The Russian Navy does not exist at the present day. We may be called upon, if we wish to maintain this country as our own, to meet troops that have already beaten some of the best soldiers in the world. While this Bill makes an improvement upon what has been going on for the last ten years, inasmuch as it provides for sixteen days compulsory training, can. any reasonable man imagine that the scheme now launched is capable of producing soldiers in Australia fit to meet the trained troops of Japan? And Japan, remember, may be a possible enemy, although she is an ally just now. I have grave doubts as to whether this scheme will give us the Defence Force that we require. To supplement my view, may I read a few lines written by a great soldier, and a man who was devoted to his country. I allude to General Washington, the first President of the United States. He said -
R’egular troops alone are equal to the exigencies of modern war, as well for offence as defence, and, when a substitute is attempted, it must prove illusory and ruinous. No militia will ever acquire the habits necessary to resist a regular force. The firmness requisite for the real :business of fighting is only to be attained by a constant course of discipline and service. I have never yet been a witness to a single instance that can justify a different opinion, and it is most earnestly to be wished that the liberties of America, - and I may add, the liberties of Australia may no longer be trusted in a material degree to so precarious a defence.
– I regret that, owing to the rearrangement of business, I have to speak under difficulties, without the notes which I had gathered upon this subject. I may say, however, that, no matter how much we may differ as to the means by which the defence of Australia may be made effective, we ought all to agree that our defence policy should be entirely removed from party politics. We should, therefore, be free to express our individual opinions upon matters of policy. The one distinguishing feature of this Bill is that it carries somewhat further the principle of compulsory training which was, in a manner, reduced to working “form by the last Bill. The compulsory system under that Bill extended, if my memory serves me rightly, as far as the age of twenty. Youths were to be trained first to prepare themselves for the use of arms, and when they reached the period between the ages of eighteen and twenty, were to be compelled to undergo some sort of military training. The present Government adopt that principle; but they propose to extend the : compulsory training from the age of twenty-one up to the age of twenty-six by compelling youths who join the Citizen Forces to undergo partly home training and partly training in camps. Compulsory training of that kind was strongly resisted by certain members of the last Government; and I dare say that it will be resisted by some honorable members again. I have failed to find any justification in expert opinion for the institution of adult compulsory service in this country. I have listened with considerable interest to the concluding portion of Senator Cameron’s speech. Upon military matters, he is always heard with attention and respect. I willingly concede that the opinion that he has expressed is worthy of great attention. But, nevertheless, it is a remarkable fact that, for the last 150 or 200 years, no British-speaking community has accepted the principle <.of compulsory service. The Mother Country herself, which has the greatest military and naval responsibility of any nation on earth, has steadfastly refused to accept this principle. She has_ maintained an absolutely unchallenged position in military and naval history by purely voluntary service.
– Do not the highest military authorities in Great Britain recommend compulsory service?
– No; they do not.
– They do.
– I could quote opinions from the highest military experts. Colonel Henderson, who planned the strategy of the Boer War, expressed his preference for voluntary service in an unqualified manner. He said that the great principle upon which voluntary service depended was that service of that nature is of six or seven times the value of that of pressed men in time of emergency.
– Like all the Hendersons, he sometimes made sad mistakes !
– What does Lord Roberts say?
– I admit the authority of Lord Roberts on the other side, but if I had had time to search the military journals I could have found in abundance expressions of expert opinion in favour of voluntary service. Mr. Haldane, the present Secretary of State for War in Great Britain, has refused over and over again to accede to the principle of compulsory service. It must be conceded that he has an intimate knowledge of the requirements of Great Britain, and has spoken with the advantage of expert advice. He has, over and over again, refused to respond to the clamour - which is conspicuously a Tory clamour - for the institution of compulsory military service. It is, therefore, idle to say that we who oppose compulsory military service have not high expert authority behind us.
– How can the honorable senator say that when he knows that
Lord Roberts and other very eminent military authorities have advocated the compulsory principle?
– Surely, if Lord Roberts be quoted on the one side, I am entitled to quote on the other Mr. Haldane, who speaks from a position of knowledge and authority, and who is the Minister responsible for the integrity and safety of Great Britain.
– He belongs to the old Manchester school.
– Well, the Manchester school of thought has carried the Empire through some of its greatest troubles. Here may I say that there seems to be an apparent contradiction in our system of administration. The Minister has had offers from a section of the community to form voluntarily a regiment to take its part in the defence of the country. This section would have provided some 3,000 or 4,000 men. That offer has been rejected for reasons which are, no doubt, fairly strong, and which were indicated in the speech of the Minister in moving the second reading of the Bill. But, at the same time, it is a contradiction, in terms and in fact that, while the Minister thinks it necessary to advocate compulsory service, he refuses the services of thousands of volunteers. The Minister’s answer may be divided into two parts. He says, first of all, that from his experience of the working of the Department, confirmed as it is by the experience of his predecessor in the office, and the traditions of the Department, the volunteer system may be regarded as having broken down, and that it would be impossible to work together the compulsory and volunteer systems. That may be so, but, as a matter of common sense, it is an irreconcilable contradiction to introduce a Bill to provide for compulsory service when the Government reject an enthusiastic and whole-hearted offer of what promised to be an effective and increasing body of volunteers. The honorable senator objected on another ground that it would be impossible to balance the various arms of the service so that they might be made fully effective if the volunteer system were in part adopted. That may be considered a sufficient reason from the point of view of the Minister, and the administrative officers of the Department, but neither can get away from the fact that we do need an increased number of infantry regiments. This Bill is intended to secure them, and I would ask how an increase in the number of volunteer infantry regiments could interfere with the efficiency of artillery, engineers, or torpedo corps.
– Would the honorable senator accept Lord Kitchener as an authority on a properly-balanced organization?
– Then, if the honorable senator will read Lord Kitchener’s report, he will find that he states what a properly-balanced organization would be, and how many regiments of infantry, light horse, and artillery it should comprise.
– I have seen the report, and quite appreciate what Lord1 Kitchener has to say on the subject, but J. differ with the Minister on the inference to be drawn from the report. Lord Kitchener does not say that the existence of volunteer infantry regiments would interfere with the proper balance of our organization.
– He was never asked the question.
– He did not address himself to such a question. What would Lord Kitchener have said if he had been told that the Government had an offer of thousands of volunteers, and that, if they were liberally supported by Parliament, and assisted by the administrative officers of the Department, their numbers might be considerably increased? Would he have said that it is absolutely necessary that compulsory service should be provided for? I think the Minister of Defence cannot escape the dilemma except by saying that he is bound to follow, in this matter, the advice of his administrative officers. While giving due weight to the recommendations of such eminent authorities as Lord Kitchener, and others, who have advised the Government, I am still unconvinced either of the wisdom or necessity of refusing the offer to which I have referred. Lord Kitchener, in estimating the cost of the Defence Force at £1,750,000 per annum, -was referring to the scheme outlined in the last Defence Bill, but this Bill goes very much further than that. I may be only approximately correct in anticipating the results of this measure, but, in a year or two, we shall have added to the Citizen Forces for recruit training from 18,000 to 20,000 youths and young men drawn from the Senior Cadets. Estimates of expenditure upon public services of this kind are very frequently found’ to be under, and not over, the amount which Parliament is ultimately called upon- to vote, and it is not unreasonable to presume that the expenditure on the force provided for under the last Defence Bill would run up to £2,000,000 a year. If that be so, considering the additions which will Be made to the force under this Bill, and the expense of the training involved in order to make the force efficient, it is not unreasonable to anticipate that the expenditure will be considerably over £[2,000,000, and very probably nearly £3,000,000 per annum. Such an expenditure upon land defence is pretty considerable for a population of 4,000,000. It must be remembered that Australia is an island continent, and the traditional policy of defence adopted by the little island, which is the Mother Country, from which we have sprung, ought to be followed here. We are confronted with the same physical and geographical conditions, and the same dangers. During the last 400 or 500 years the Mother Country has made her defence upon the water her first line of defence, and has exhausted all her resources, when necessary, to make her Navy supreme. The school of naval thought which has carried out this great tradition is known as the “ Blue Water School.” Many of the leading exponents of that great principle are emphatic that the best means to secure the defence of the Mother Country is to make her Navy supreme. That tradition has been followed with such success that, notwithstanding the fact that Great Britain has been hampered in modern times by the volunteer system, her Navy has continued supreme.
– For what?
– For the maintenance of the integrity, not only of the Mother Country, but of the whole Empire.
– Where does Australia come in?
– Australia has come in all the time under the wing of the Mother Country. She has been maintained in her position of security from invasion because, in the United Kingdom, there has been at all times within the last century a sufficiently powerful party in the House of Commons prepared to devote the resources of the Kingdom to” making the British Navy supreme against the navies of even two or three of the other Powers. Our conditions are remarkably similar to those of the Old Country, and the problems we have to face are much the same. We are, therefore, bound to consider the future requirements of our Navy. If we are going to pile up expenditure on our land forces to the extent of something like £3,000,000 per annum, with a consequent increase of taxation for the purpose, the question arises : What are the Government going to do with the Navy? Do they intend that all our resources shall be applied to the maintenance of land defence, and neglect the Navy ? We have not been given by the Minister any indication of the policy the Government propose to follow in regard to the Australian Navy, and its coopera tion with the Imperial Navy. Honorable senators opposite have blocked the attempts made by the party on this side to strengthen the Australian Navy by a loan policy. If they intend to continue the policy of naval expansion, we ought to be told where the money is to come from.
– We have taken down the three balls which the honorable senator’s party put up.
– The honorable senator may content himself with that phrase, but time will tell whether what he describes as the “ three-ball “ policy would not, as applied to the defence of the country, be at least as effective as what, from indications we have had, we may describe as the forced loan policy suggested by the other side to meet the same emergency.
– There is no forced loan yet.
– We will have it tomorrow.
– The Minister of Defence is responsible for the naval, as well as the land, defence of Australia, and we ought soon to have some indication as to what the naval policy of the present Government is. If the defence of Australia is to be made effective; we cannot confine our attention to strengthening the land forces, and we should hear something as to what the Government propose to do to maintain the naval defence of Australia. Their silence on the subject is a grave omission in the defence policy of the Government upon which we should have some explanation very shortly in this Chamber. I should like to say that I do not believe very much in the Minister’s scheme- for compulsory service as an additional safeguard for Australia. I do not believe that it will prove better, or more effective, for the purpose intended than the scheme of the last Bill.
But there is one portion of the Bill which is, in many respects, identical with the provisions of the last measure, and with which I heartily agree. I expect more from it in the way of providing for the effective defence of Australia than any other portion of the Bill. I refer to the provisions for the establishment of a military college. Senator Cameron has referred to the necessity for trained soldiers. I admit it, and the contention has a thousandfold more force when applied to the necessity for having thoroughly well-trained officers in command of whatever force we may have in the field, whether voluntary, compulsory, or partially or wholly trained. Without well-trained officers, our forces will be ineffective in war, and may be a danger to ourselves. I may have misapprehended some portions of the Minister’s speech, in which he referred to the way in which the proposed Military College is to be administered. I understood the honorable senator to say that admission to the college was to be entirely free.
– That is so.
– And that, possibly, in proportion to population, a number of scholarships would be offered in the different States to secure that entrants to the college shall satisfy the Department as to their physical and intellectual fitness to undergo the training. Whilst admitting that there is a great deal of good in the proposal, I still venture to offer a criticism upon it. I will not call it an objection. I do not think it is quite fair to make the entrance to that college and the training which students will receive there, entirely free for the reason that in a few years h military career in Australia will possess great attractions for our educated youth. Many of them will be the sons of wealthy men, who can well afford to pay for their training in the college. I hold that, in the administration ,of a public Department, it is a fairly sound principle that persons who can afford to pay for their training in any career in life should be called upon to do so before any demand is made upon the public purse.
– Would the honorable senator have some students at the college paying for their training, whilst others are not paying?
– Then the honorable senator would brand the non-paying students as paupers?
– Nothing of the kind.
– That would be th* effect.
– I think that what the Minister suggests is a bogy. We all know the point of view from which education has been considered in every State of Australia. What is the idea underlying the establishment of scholarships, and secondary education generally - of which military training will form only a part - but that children who show an aptitude for and desire to embark upon a military or other career, shall be afforded an opportunity by the State to give effect to their desire if their parents cannot afford to give them the necessary training. Let me put the converse of the proposition which has been urged by the Minister. Is it right for the State to pay the cost of training for a military career, students whose parents are well able to pay it for them ? I say that those who can afford to pay should be compelled to do so. As a corollary of that principle, it follows that any youth possessing the aptitude and desire to launch upon a military career, but lacking the means to do so, has a strong claim upon the State to see that his poverty does ‘not act as a bar to his ambition. In England, where recently the closest attention has been with to secondary education in connexiondon every scholarship given by the London County Council for admission to the technical schools, every entrant has had to produce a declaration from his .parents that their income is below a certain amount. Until that declaration is forthcoming the scholarships are not granted. Will the Minister of Defence say that every youth seeking admission to such schools writes himself down as a pauper, and the son of paupers? Nothing of the kind. The same principle ought to apply to the proposed Military College.
When the Minister of Defence was dealing with this question he announced that the college was to be conducted largely upon the lines of the West Point College in America. He was then asked by one of his own supporters whether West Point had produced men of any eminence in the United States, and it was then pointed out by interjection from this side of the Chamber that many of the best men in America had been turned nut by that college- I wish to say that West Point has produced some of the finest soldiers of modern times, and that to the training which they received there they have publicly attributed their subsequent
– Who were they - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo?
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council is more or less of a farce without making himself unduly conspicuous.
– Order !
– I repeat that military critics outside of America have admitted that the work of the West Point College, in turning out such officers as Generals Lee, Beauregard, and Stonewall Jackson, was worth many legions to the Confederate forces, and that for the first eighteen “months of the war their military genius was such that several times they brought the great Republic to its knees.
– Jackson held UP a far superior force.
– And he admitted, again and again, that it was the training he received at West Point College which enabled him, with the assistance of General Lee, to at once bring up their forces arid to make them effective.
– Jackson was like the honorable senator - a very effective “ stone- waller. “
– He was also a very effective fighter.
– And he was also <i gentleman.
– I do not know exactly the application of my honorable friend’s remark. I join heartily with the Minister of Defence in the hope which he expressed that the proposed Military College will be to the Commonwealth what West Point is to America. Any one who is acquainted with the necessities of warfare nowadays knows that the effectiveness of any commissioned officer in the field depends largely upon the result of his training. We also know that the safety of hundreds and thousands of men may be dependent upon it. In the interests of those whom our officers will lead in time of war - and we all recognise that war is no mere play when the guns begin to boom - it is imperative that those officers should be well trained. To my mind, one of the weak
– That has been the fault of Parliament, and not of the Department.
– I do not admit that. Parliament has voted very large sums of money for defence purposes ; but I am afraid that it has been devoted to the production of feathers, rather than of brains and energy. That is the opinion which I have formed of the administration of the Department. I hope that the result of the establishment of the Military College will be a keener and quicker grasp of the defence problem of Australia. Upon several occasions, I have heard discussions between civilians and military officers, and I regret to say that at one gathering, at which the officers were arrayed as Solomon in all his glory was never arrayed, it was made plain that some of them knew very little of what were strategical problems, of what were tactical problems, and of the relative value in war of various arms. 1 remember taking part in one conversation, at which certain officers admitted that they knew nothing of the strategy which led up to the battle of Waterloo, or of the tactical movements which decided Austerlitz. I hope that we shall have no more of that sort of ignorance displayed. I shall now sum up my conclusions in regard to this Bill. I say that we have no warrant from Lord Kitchener for the adoption of the principle of compulsory service. Upon the whole, his report shows that he was fairly well satisfied with the provisions contained in the Defence Bill of last year. I complain that we have had no declaration on the more important point of what we are going to do in the matter of creating a navy which, in my opinion, is the right arm of our defence system. I hope that, before the second reading of the Bill is carried, we shall have a clear and explicit statement from the Minister of Defence as to what is the policy of the Government in that connexion. I quite agree that it is time public attention was awakened to the necessity of a Minister occupying the chair of Defence in such a way as to make the officers of that Department realize the grave problem which confronts us. If the .Minister does that, I think that Australia will be safe. It is to be hoped that this Bill will prove effective, and that a new era will commence with regard to defending and safeguarding the interests of Australia. I listened with close and well-deserved attention to many portions of the speech in which the Minister of Defence laid down, in lucid terms, the objects of the Bill. With pleasure and interest I heard him tell the Senate about the danger of our position, the sparseness of our population, the immensity of our resources, the growth of armies in Europe, and what might happen to Australia in case she was struck and found helpless. I agree with every word of what he said. I believe that the situation is such that even his strong words did not more than express the danger which confronts us. Many of the just and graceful expressions which he used were worthy of himself, of the difficulties we have to face, and of the occasion. May I say that many honorable senators on this side, while not going so far as he would go in the matter of defence, have pointed out in equally strong and clear terms the danger and the way to meet it? My honorable friend very properly rested a great deal on the efficiency of the defence scheme, its necessity, and the means by which he proposes to carry it out. I tell him that if he armed every man in Australia, if he had the wealth to pay legions, his defence scheme, both military and naval, would be defective, unless he and his party will supplement the armed forces of this nation by a strong, continuous stream of immigration of our own race, which is the first, the last, and the only line of defence for its people.
– I am afraid that a remark” which fell from the last speaker, and an interjection which I made, may be misconstrued. When he was referring to the Defence Department as the least responsive to public opinion, and the most conservative of our various Departments, I interjected that that was not the fault of the Department, meaning that it was not the fault of those at its head, but the fault of the Parliament itself. Senator St. Ledger seemed to think that the fault lay with those who were at the head of the Department, but I do not agree with that view. .We can easily understand where the weak spot in our defence comes in, when we recall how the defence policy has been knocked about from one party to another for nine or ten years, and that no complete scheme has ever been laid down. There is a certain amount of excuse for that position. Defence is a science which is ever on the change. Every war has had a great deal to do with the changed views of politicians. Consequently, politicians, and not the Department, have been at fault for not having brought in a defence policy for Australia. Bill after Bill has been brought into the Parliament, and, seemingly, we are quite as far off an efficient defence scheme today as we were when the first measure was introduced. A reference has been made to the large sum expended by the Department.. Whilst the expenditure may seem large from the Australian stand-point, it is a mere bagatelle when compared with the amount spent, by other countries. In Australia popular opinion has ever been against the expenditure of a large sum on defence.That idea is, I think, due to the position which Australia has occupied in the world’s politics in by-gone generations. We have ever thought ourselves so free from attack, so far removed from the zone of danger and conflict of nations, that we did not need to trouble about defence. We thought that we were so far removed from other parts of the world that we could afford to neglect defence. That is practically what we have been doing up to the present stage of our history. But that policy will not suffice any longer. I dare say that every politician in this Parliament has recognised that fact for some time; but the trouble is that no definite policy has yet been fathered by either one party or another. To a certain extent, the Labour party have come down to the principle of compulsory training. Still, we are not altogether unanimous on that. There are doubters even on this side, and, as Senator St. Ledger has made evident to-day, there are doubters on the other side. When he was referring to the question of compulsory training, he lauded the volunteer idea. In my opinion that idea is completely played out; and in no place is that more plain than it is in connexion with the Defence Force of Australia. Indeed, it has been so discredited here that I cannot understand any Australian public man holding on any longer to the volunteer principle. Senator St. Ledger also referred to the attitude taken up by the authorities at Home. He said that Mr. Haldane, having been advised by the best military authorities, still stands by the volunteer principle.
– They have a standing army, in addition.
– I question verymuch the efficiency of that standing army.
– But it is voluntary to a certain extent.
– It is on the volunteer basis. In Australia we have followed the volunteer system. We have followed the ideas of the old Manchester school of freedom, and so far as our defence is concerned, it has been a complete failure. I hold that it has been equally so at Home. Of course, we occupy a different position. But when we compare the Army at Home with the armies of European nations, how does Great Britain come out of the comparison? Although one of the greatest Empires in the world - if not the greatest - occupying more area, representing more wealth, and being in every respect we may say the greatest nation in the world except as to arms, yet has now only a third-nation army.
– That army smashed up Napoleon.
– No. it was the various armies of the monarchical Powers of Europe, and not the British Army which smashed up Napoleon. No doubt English money played a very prominent part, and as to numbers represented in the army opposing that great soldier, I dare say that the army of the United Kingdom did all that could possibly be expected. But to say that it smashed him up is to contradict the whole military history of that time. There is no getting away from the fact that for a great army the English Army is inefficient. That fact, and the further fact that that army is based on a system of volunteerism should, I think, be sufficient to teach us that that is not the right system to adopt nowadays. I have already said that our own experience does not warrant us in going any further with the volunteer system. The question is, How are we to defend a large area with a small population? Common-sense at once suggests that the only -way in which that can be done is by utilizing every ablebodied man in the community. How is every such man to be made the most of in the interest of himself and of his country unless we say to him, “ Here is a method by which you can fit yourself for the defence of your country “ ? That principle is laid down in the present Act. Everybody admits that the defence of a country should be considered quite apart from party considerations, and placed on a broad national basis. We are likely to remain in our present position for a considerable time, because this country is not going to be flooded with population at a great rate. If Senator St. Ledger’s ideas of a volunteer army for the Commonwealth were put into practice to-morrow, all the mercantile marine plying between here and Europe could not bring to our shores enough people to give us a defence through population alone. Therefore, we must look to the principle of compulsory training, and make the best possible use of it. If we do that we shall be following out what common-sense dictates as the best defence policy for Australia. There is one remark in the report of Lord Kitchener to which I wish to refer, and which I think confirms the suspicion which many other parts of his report suggested to my mind when I was reading it, and that is that he is hostile to compulsory training, that he has imbibed the ideas of the old Manchester school of liberty.
– That is what I gathered, too.
– I gather that he is opposed to the cadet movement, and to the compulsory principle of training.If he is, and he holds his views strongly, any report which he makes should be discounted when we are considering the question of defence. The paragraph to which’ I wish to direct attention reads as follows -
While the cadet training is valuable as a preparation, it cannot, in my opinion, replace recruit training, which is a necessary preliminary to the production of an efficient and trained citizen soldier. For this reason I class the iS-rg year men as recruits, over and above the peace establishment of 80,000 men, but liable to be put in the ranks of war.
The words to which I wish to direct special attention are, “ In my opinion cadet training cannot replace recruit training.” Now what is recruit training? I admit that I am not an expert in defence matters, but the word “ recruit “ has ever conveyed to me the idea of a complete novice in military matters. When a man is first taken in hand here or in the Old Country, when he does not know even the goose step or how to handle a rifle, he is railed a recruit. He is taken at once into the barrack-yard, and taught the various military exercises. He is called a recruit until he has passed the preliminary stages. Still, we have a report pointing out to us that cadet training at school, notwithstanding the fact that the boys will be cadets from fourteen to eighteen or nineteen years of age - the most adaptable age - cannot dispense with recruit training. Either I misunderstand the meaning of the word “ recruit,” or Lord Kitchener does not understand the use to which we propose to put our cadets. I hold that our cadet training will advance a boy far beyond what is known as the recruit stage in the Old Country. In this respect the report is not quite satisfactory, notwithstanding that it emanates from the greatest organizing mind in the British Army. Possibly it is a mere matter of misunderstanding terms; or it may be that there is some prejudice on the part of a professional soldier against the rather amateurish ideas which have been adopted in Australia in the past. If Lord Kitchener means, as I understand him to do, that the knowledge acquired by a cadet is not equivalent to that learned by a recruit in’ the British Army, I dispute his judgment. I hold that an Australian youth put into the Cadet Force at the age of fourteen, and kept there until he reaches nineteen years of age, must necessarily receive more training than a recruit in six months. At all events, if our cadets do not learn recruit drill efficiently, I should like to know what they do learn. We are certainly sacrificing much by inducing our youths to devote a certain number of hours to training. Yet here we have a great soldier who belittles the movement, and considers it quite ineffectual. Surely there is something wrong, and the Minister ought to find out where the wrong lies before going any further, lt is, of course, possible that there has been so much chopping and changing about in connexion with the Defence Force that no system yet initiated has had anything like a fair trial. The present Government are not likely to be displaced for a considerable time; and after this Bill has operated for a number of years we shall, at all events, have some data to go upon, and some experience, to enable us to form a better opinion than we can form now. The constant changes in method have really afforded no opportunity of marking the progress that has been made. Much has been said about our first line of defence being the Navy. I cannot share that view. I hold that Australia cannot yet build up an efficient navy worthy of the name. I know that I am somewhat out o£ touch with some members of my party on this question ; but 1 hold that if we were to spend all the money that we could afford on the training of our military arm, leaving what is called the first line of defence to the Imperial Navy, we should get better results for our money than we are likely to do at present. Australia is not sufficiently populated to be able to afford a navy worthy of the name. At all events, we now have some hope of seeing a definite and well-thought-out policy brought into practice, a policy based upon the democratic principle that it is the duty of every citizen to defend his country.
.- I hail the introduction of this Bill with great satisfaction, because it embodies the principle of compulsory service. I remember that in the year 1901, when the question of compulsory service for the manhood of Australia was not at all a fashionable one to advocate, I held strong views on the matter, and was not afraid to give utterance to them. I have always been of the opinion that any man who enjoys the benefits of free citizenship in any country should be prepared to defend his citizen rights, even to the extent of laying down his life if necessary. I have never been able to understand the objections that have so frequently been raised to the principle of compulsory military service. Constant droppings wear away a stone, and we find that during the last few years compulsory service has become almost a religion in Australia. Those who advocated it kept pegging away with such persistency that at last nearly all sections of the community are in accord.
– Is there not a little panic about the matter?
– I do not think that there is. I am of the opinion that Australia has awakened to a sense of its responsibilities and its dangers. The honorable senator may choose to characterize that state of mind as panic, but I regard it as a valuable step forward. I have for years maintained that we have been living in a fool’s paradise. Let honorable senators read to-day’s newspapers, and they will see there a cable message relating to Customs duties as between Great Britain and Japan. To my mind, it appears to be an absolute certainty that Japan does not intend to renew the present offensive and defensive alliance with Great Britain. I am beginning, indeed, to feel a little bit afraid that if we do not put ourselves into a state of preparedness we shall simply offer an invitation to that nation, which, perhaps, even now, is casting envious eyes upon the great empty country of Australia.
– Would our troops be able to keep the Japanese out of the Northern Territory r
– I hope that the time is reasonably near when we shall be able to keep them out of the Northern Territory. When we have a railway through the centre of Australia that will assist us to keep them out. The unification of railway gauges seems to me to be a vital part of any sound defence scheme. I touched upon that question last week. We ought to bring our railways into such a state that we should be able to effect a complete and rapid mobilization of our troops if the necessity arose. Therefore, it is of supreme importance that we should have a uniform railway gauge. I trust that the Minister will impress upon his colleagues at the earliest moment the advisability of looking into that question.
– The matter to which the honorable senator is referring has nothing whatever to do with the Bill.
– I am sorry, sir, that you take that view. I am disappointed that you do not think that the matter of railway gauges is an essential part of a sound defence policy. No doubt, however, I have said sufficient to impress upon the Ministry the necessity for. giving consideration to the subject. I think I shall be permitted to say that until we have the means of rapidly transporting our troops from all the main centres of population, and mobilising them at the point of attack, we cannot claim to be in a state of preparedness. The other question on which I was ruled out of order, seemed to me to be inseparably associated with that feature of our scheme of defence. Amongst modern novelists, there is one man who, although he may have written a great deal that is worthless, has, more than any other fashionable novelist of the day, directed the attention of British people to the dangers with which the Empire is confronted. I refer to Mr. E. Phillips Oppenheim. He has recently had published a book called The Illustrious Prince, which I have no doubt many honorable sena tors have read. There is a passage in it in which reference is made to the danger confronting Great Britain today, and that is also our danger, and it is to guard against it that compulsory service, the guiding principle of this Bill, is proposed. I am sorry I have not a copy of the book with me ; but, in the passage to which I refer, the “ illustrious prince,” who is supposed to be a cousin of the Emperor of Japan, and who, though he is not officially attached to the Japanese Embassy in London, admits that he is in England to gather all the information he can to guide the Japanese Government in their decision as to whether they should renew the present alliance with Great Britain, is made to say many things which have great significance for Australia. Amongst other things, he refers to a matter which I heard the present Minister of Defence deal with very ably in the Senate four or five years ago. The writer of the book reminds us of a fact which must have been patent to every one of us, and that is, that until we lay down the principle of compulsory service in Australia, we shall never get the native-born young men of the country to realize the responsibility that rests upon them for its defence. Without compulsory service, it will be impossible for us to induce the Australian youths who, Saturday after Saturday, sit round a football field or a cricket oval, watching the players engaged in football and cricket matches, to take any interest in the defence of their country.
– I think that Wellington has said something on that point.
– I am aware that a more illustrious man than I has said that many of England’s greatest battles were won on her football and cricket fields; but, no later than last Saturday afternoon, I saw about 15,000 Australians watching thirty-six men playing football ; and honorable senators must admit, the force of the argument that, if our Australian youths are content to sit round an oval and look on at a game of football, the probability is that they will be prepared to look on when it comes to a question of preparing for the defence of the country, and will let others take up that responsibility.
– The honorable senator is presuming that it is only youthful people who look on at football matches.
– I do not presume anything of the kind, as the honorable senator would know if he had permitted me to continue what I wished to say.
– Would the honorable senator like to see the 15,000 people after the ball?
– I should like to see the 15,000 exhibiting some of the spirit of enthusiasm for the sport which is displayed by the players of the game. In my opinion, it is an indication of grave danger in connexion with the question of the defence of this country, that so many young fellows should prefer to sit still and watch others, rather than engage in the game themselves. I know of nothing but compulsory service which is calculated to make them give up some of their Saturday afternoon time in order to train themselves for the effective defence of their country.
– Thousands of those who witness football matches on the Saturday afternoon have put in time during the week in training themselves for the defence of their country
– Am I to undersand that Senator Findley, who is a member of the Government, objects to compulsory service? I am inclined to believe that it is only his sense of loyalty to the Ministry, of which he is a member, that closes his mouth and prevents him from opposing the principle. The honorable senator need not be afraid, because, unfortunately, for him, his age will prevent the application of the principle to him.
– I have noticed a strong desire to make service compulsory upon the other fellow.
– That cannot be applied to me, because many years ago, when I was of. an age at which I could be called upon to serve under this Bill, 1 advocated compulsory service as strenuously as I do to-day. I would remind Senator Findley that, perhaps, it would be just as well if he did learn to shoot, because in certain contingencies he might be called upon under the Defence Act to bear a part in the defence of his country. I hope the time will not be long in coming when it will be unnecessary to call upon the youth of Australia, or of any other country, to fit themselves for its defence. I hope the time will soon come when the workers of the world will take this question in hand. They have neglected it too long; but, when in every country in the world they take up the question, there will be no more wars for the purpose of acquiring territory. However, the chances are that we shall have passed to “ the great beyond “ long before that time arrives, and, in the meantime, until the workers in every other country are. as peacefully inclined as we are ourselves, we must be in a state of preparedness to defend Australia. Up to to-day we have, as Senator de Largie has very aptly put it, been fooling with the question of defence. In .1901 the different States of Australia federated for great public purposes, the greatest of which was the defence of the country, but we have fooled with the question until now. I am proud indeed to be a supporter of a Government which, from the time I became a member of this Parliament, is the first to bring forward a measure which embraces ‘the only principle calculated to enable Australia with her limited financial resources to put herself in a state of preparedness to meet a foe. It is entirely beyond our resources to rely for our defence upon hired fighters. We are brought back to the old position that, if a country is worth living in, it is worth defending, and every man of fighting age should be prepared, if the occasion unfortunately arose - and I am afraid it will arise, and in a very few years, in Australia - to defend his country. He should regard it as one of his greatest privileges to be able to strike a blow for the defence of the country that gives him the fullest and freest rights of citizenship.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7-4-5 p.m.
Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) [7.45I. - I am rather pleased that the debate has been so short and concise, and I do not know that there have been many points raised by honorable senators which call for a reply. One point was raised by Senator St. Ledger, with which I dealt in my speech upon the motion for the second reading of the Bill, but apparently he either did not note what I said, or was not satisfied with my statement. I am referring to what are called “ sectional “ regiments. In moving the second reading of this measure, I explained that the Government have no objection to sectional regiments as such, but that the requests which were recently made for the formation of certain sectional regiments were such that, had they been granted, they would have caused a disturbance in the organization of the forces. For instance, a request was made for the formation of a Scottish regiment on the eastern gold-fields of Western Australia. Now, upon those gold-fields we have at the present time an infantry regiment which is not up to the authorized establishment. The proposal made to the Government was that we should establish another regiment there, although the one in existence is not up to strength. I need only state these facts to show how unsound that policy would be.
– Was that to be a militia or a volunteer regiment?
– It was to be a volunteer regiment, although the regiment in existence there is a volunteer one. If the gentlemen who made that request are anxious to serve their country, surely they can do so just as effectively by joining the existing organization as they could by establishing another regiment.
– But if they join the existing regiment they will not ha.ve the kilts.
– I would remind the honorable senator that, when it comes to a question of war, the kilts will have to be dropped. In the South African war the Scottish regiments wore a khaki apron over their kilts. But our objection was not to the kilts. We simply thought it would be unwise to permit of the establishment of another regiment on the eastern gold-fields of Western Australia, when the existing regiment is not up to strength. A second request preferred was for the formation of an Irish regiment in Melbourne. Now, there is already a Scottish regiment in Melbourne, and Irish and Scottish regiments in Sydney. The position is that the forces of Australia as a whole are mapped out with a view to preserving a proper balance between the respective arms of the service. This is not a question upon which a politician can express an opinion. It is entirely a question for the soldier. We are advised that, in order to have an effective army, we must preserve a proper balance between the different- arms of the service. In other words, we must have so many infantry, so many artillery, and so many light horse. The forces of Australia have been mapped out in their organization upon that principle. In Victoria the infantry is up to the full strength apportioned to this State, but the light horse at the time the request was made was 400 below strength - almost that of a complete regiment. The proposition made to the Government was that we should establish another regiment of infantry to be called the Irish Regiment. Obviously it would bc unwise to adopt that course. All the military authorities strongly press the point that it would be unsound to form another regiment qf infantry in Victoria. If the forces are to be increased in this State, they should be increased by the formation of another regiment of light horse. That is the reason why these two requests were refused. We have adopted, rightly or wrongly, on the advice of Lord Kitchener, one of the greatest authorities on organization which the British Army possesses, an area system as the basis of the strength of our forces instead of the system which obtained in the militia and under which we formerly raised our forces wherever we could get them. Under the latter system we might have a regiment spread over a large area, or over a very small area. The principle underlying it was that wherever we could obtain the men, there we should establish the unit. Honorable senators will recognise that when a country has been mapped out in areas, and the size of those areas is determined by the number of men which can be raised within them, each area being of a size sufficient to permit of the raising of a battalion, there will necessarily be in that battalion men of all nationalities - English, Irish, Scotch, and Australians. Consequently, we cannot say that in one particular area we will enrol only Irishmen, that in some other area we will enrol only Scotchmen, and that in some other area we will enrol only Australians. If we are going to adopt the area system we cannot adopt the system of sectional regiments. Then we have the militia system under which we have sectional regiments.
– Under the volunteer system, but not under the partially-paid or militia forces.
– The volunteers will shortly become militia. When I used the term “militia” I meant it to include volunteers. All the sectional regiments are composed of volunteers, but all will shortly become militia. Honorable senators will see that we do not propose to extend the old system. Under that system we find it impossible to keep the regiments up to strength, and the new system has been adopted because of the failure of the old system. As it is impossible, under the territorial system to have sectional regiments, we have decided simply to maintain as they are the existing volunteer and sectional regiments. We have Irish and Scottish regiments in New South Wales, a Scottish regiment in South Australia, and another in
Melbourne. But, as neither the proposal to form a new Irish regiment in Victoria, nor that to form a Scottish regiment m Western Australia was necessary under th* old system to keep the forces up to th”. authorized establishment, and as the adotion of either proposal would have upset th3 balance of the respective arms of the service, the requests were refused. I wish it to be distinctly understood that at present it is not proposed to disturb existing arrangements in regard to sectional regiments which have already been established. That is my reply to Senator St. Ledger’s request for information. The honorable senator also stated that he entertained a strong objection to the institution of a system of free scholarships for admission to the proposed Military College. He declared that those who are able to pay for their training in that college should be compelled to do so, and that those lads who qualify for admission to it, but whose parents are not able to pay for their training, should be permitted to enter the college free of charge. I say that that would be a most objectionable system.
– He proposed that they should be allowed to pay, but that they should not be made to pay.
– If we allowed them to pay, we would have two classes of students in the college, and the taunt would be thrown by one scholar at another : “ My father is paying for my training, whilst your father is a pauper.”
– What about the University students who win scholarships?
– Under this Bill, no lad will be able to enter the Military College until he has won a scholarship. Entrance to it can be obtained only by securing a scholarship. Nobody will be able to buy his way into it. Why should we say to the great majority of the people of Australia: “If you wish your sons to enter the Military College, they must qualify by merit” j whilst saying to a limited section : “ If you have money your child may secure admission to the college, whether he has brains or not” ?
– Nobody advocates that.
– The honorable senator’s statement that those who can pay should be allowed to do so, pre-supposes that there would be no examination.
– Then what is the honorable senator driving at? Our propo sition is that there shall be a competitive examination of students, and that the highest, from the standpoint of merit, shall be admitted to the college. When once a student has gained admission to it, he will become part and parcel of our Military Forces. Consequently, we do not intend to ask his parents to pay for his training. On the contrary, we shall pay him, because we are asking him to accept service in our Military Forces.
– It is a very liberal proposal.
– It is a liberal proposal ; but I think it is also fair, and that it will have the effect of giving us the cream of the intellectual youth of this country.
– The only point about which the Government have to be sure is that the students are physically fit.
– We provide for that by a rigid examination by a Medical Board.
– There is no military college in the world where a similar system obtains.
– I quite admit that. But that is no reason why we should not adopt the system here. In regard to the honorable senator’s thirst for information concerning the naval policy of the Government, I must again refer him to my speech upon the motion for the second reading of this Bill, in which I stated that we propose, during the current session, to introduce a Naval Bill, when our intentions will be fully disclosed. I come now to the point raised by Senator de Largie, as to whether Lord Kitchener’s report revealed, in that officer’s opinion, a weakness in our cadet system. I do not think that Lord Kitchener intended his observations to be interpreted in that way. He took our Defence Act and reported upon it as he found it. He did not report upon what he thought it ought to be, but upon what it was. If honorable senators will study that Act, and what is proposed under it, they will see that, whilst it is true” that, in a sense, we do provide recruit training for our senior cadets, there is a sense in which we do not give them that training. For instance, they are to be exercised in company drill, and occasionally in battalion formation. But it is not proposed that the senior cadet, at any time of his training up to the age of eighteen years, shall be either put into camp for the more extended train-* ing, or shall be trained as part of
– Practically the whole of his tactical instruction.
– Yes. When the senior cadet reaches that age, and passes into the Citizen Force, in the directions I have indicated, he will practically be a recruit. What Lord Kitchener means, I think, is that for the first year - that is, from eighteen to nineteen years of age - the lad cannot be regarded as anything but a recruit, because up to that time he will not have had an opportunity of taking part in these exercises. According to his statement, Senator de Largie seems to think that the senior cadets ought to be afforded an opportunity for this practice, but I think that there is a very good reason why their training should be kept distinct from the training of the Citizen Force. When a boy becomes a senior cadet, he will be little more than fourteen years of age. We Bo not want to split up our forces into too many compartments. Therefore, we divide them into three compartments, namely, the Junior Cadets at school, the Senior Cadets from fourteen to eighteen years of age undergoing the elementary training, and from eighteen years onwards the Citizen Force, liable to be placed in the firing line in time of war. That is, I think, the reason of the reference made by Lord Kitchener to the recruits, and that he had no desire or intention to reflect on the training which is given to senior cadets, or to suggest that it is not ample for the requirements. Senator O’Keefe has referred to the part which the railways will play. We recognise the necessity of doing something in that regard, but the position is complicated by the fact that the railways are the property of, and under the control of, the States. Lord Kitchener recommended the formation of a Railway Defence Council, consisting of a Railway Commissioner of each State and a representative of the Defence Department. The Government are already in communication with the State Governments on this question, and if we can get them to agree to his recommendation, the Defence Railway Council will become part of our defence system. We hope to establish a connecting link between the Defence Department and the railway system, and by that means to make the railways more effective for the purpose of defence than they have been hitherto.
– That will help immensely in mobilization.
– Undoubtedly, and there are no men better fitted than the Railway Commissioners to deal with that question. We have not yet received replies to our request, but we hope that, in view of the strong point which Lord Kitchener made of it, the State Governments will see their way to give their consent.
– Will that council have power to spend money ?
– No j it will be simply a council of advice to the Federal Government through the Defence Department.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clauses 1 to 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 -
Section sixty-one of the Principal Act is repealed, and the following sections are substituted in its stead : - “61. The following shall be exempt from service in time of war, so long as the employment, condition, or status on which the exemption is based continues : -
Provided that, as regards the persons described in paragraphs (/), (g), and (h) of this section, the exemption’ shall not extend to duties of a non-combatant nature…..
– On this clause I wish to raise the question of whether we should include within the ambit of this Bill those who have religious scruples with regard to military service. It will be noticed that, while the clause exempts those who satisfy the prescribed authority that their conscientious beliefs do not allow them to bear arms, the exemption is not to extend to duties of a. non-combatant nature. In order to test the feeling of the Committee, I move -
That the word “ and “ be inserted between “ (/) “ and “ (g) “ in the proviso.
If that amendment is carried, I intend to ask the Committee to delete the words “ and (A),” in order to exclude such persons from military service altogether. I am not a member of the Society of Friends or against military service generally, but I know that they are unanimous in abhorring military service in any form. It seems to me that if we are to exempt them from ser-. vice in the firing line, we might as well exempt them altogether. I cannot but see that they would be helping in a war if they were engaged in the field in passing arms or ammunition. We should not make an exemption in a half-hearted fashion. The passing of arms or ammunition, or other work in the field, would be just as much opposed to their religious scruples as would service in the firing line. I do not think that the number of these persons is likely to be very great. I do not like to force the conscientious religious convictions of any man in this fashion, and, therefore, I submit the amendment.
– On a previous occasion I opposed a proposal of this kind, because I considered that it might be abused very much. The clause exempts any person who has conscientious scruples against bearing arms. I would not exempt a person on any ground except physical or mental deficiency. We have had a similar provision in connexion with the Post and Telegraph Department, but it was so grievously violated that it was brought to the point of a burlesque, and had to be abolished. When Sunday service was required to be rendered in the Melbourne telephone exchange, the girls were given the option of not attending if it were opposed to their religious scruples. So many persons objected on the ground of religious scruples, that the whole of the work of the exchange was practically thrown upon the shoulders of a few persons. That is the only guide we have as to what is likely to happen if we adopt this amendment. I think it will be found that if we permit persons to say that they have religious scruples against bearing arms, there will be so many ‘who will suddenly find themselves troubled by such scruples that our defence system will become a burlesque. In my opinion, those persons who do not bear arms should be compelled to take part in the defence of their country by assisting the medical corps or by nursing, or by doing other necessary work. A provision enabling persons with conscientious scruples to do. their duty in such capacities will be quite sufficient. But I am satisfied that Senator Vardon’s amendment would not work satisfactorily, and that sooner or later we should have to do in this case what had to be done in the case of the telephone operators
– I cannot accept Senator Vardon’s amendment. There are with every army in the field noncombatants who, whilst not bearing arms, are engaged in performing deeds of mercy. That is to say, there are nurses and stretcher bearers who have to go out in the firing line without arms, running as much risk of being shot as do the combatants themselves. No matter what objection a man may have on religious grounds to use force against another, no scruples can prevent him from rendering succour to the wounded and the dying. A person who says that his religious scruples prevent him from rendering succour to the injured is not a religious but an irreligious man. We propose to call upon those who on religious grounds do not desire to bear arms, to assist in the defence of their country in such capacities as I have indicated. But we cannot allow any religious body to be above the law. I remind the Committee of what took place in this city during the trial of the case Ronald versus Harper. The Court called upon the Presbytery of Melbourne South to produce its minutes. But the secretary took up the ground that, as the regulations of the Presbyterian Church forbade him to hand the minutes over to anybody but a recognised church authority, he could not recognise the demands of the law. Mr. Justice Hodges, who was the presiding Judge, put the matter in a very plain fashion. He pointed out that if that kind of thing were to be allowed there would be nothing to prevent any little sect from making a law for itself. No body of persons can be permitted to override the law which gives them the power to make subsidiary laws for themselves. In the case at present under consideration, as a matter of public policy, Parliament is engaged in passing a law to determine the conditions under which military service shall be imposed upon the citizens of this country. If Senator Vardon’s amendment were carried it would undoubtedly give any body of persons constituting themselves a church, power to pass by-laws overriding the whole principle of the Commonwealth law. ‘ Whilst we do not propose to call upon persons whose religious beliefs are such that they cannot conscientiously take up arms to do so, we nevertheless feel bound to call upon them to render some service to their country in case of need. If their religious beliefs do not permit them to go into the firing line as combatants, we call upon them to exercise the principles of religion by rendering succour to the wounded and the dying.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [8.21].- The case cited by the Minister of Defence was hardly parallel to the present case. The incident which arose in Ronald v. Harper affected the law as it exists. If a Court requires the production of certain documents they, of course, have to be produced. We are not necessarily called upon to exempt persons who belong to the body known as the Society of Friends; for there is a safeguard in paragaph // which provides that such persons must satisfy the prescribed authority that their religious beliefs do not allow them to bear arm:; shall be exempt from doing so. This provision does not enable any body of men to go to the Minister and say, “ Our conscientious beliefs do not allow us to bear arms,” and so secure exemption. They have to satisfy the prescribed authority, and that would have to be done in such a way that nobody could escape his duty by a mere pretence. There are certain bodies of religious people, as, for instance, the Society of Friends and the Seventh Day Adventists
– No; they do not object. I had a deputation from them.
– I thought they did. We know, at all events, that the Society of Friends do not believe in bearing arms under any cir cumstances. The Minister, in order to meet their conscientious objections, has inserted in the Bill the provision under consideration, leaving it to the prescribed authority to be satisfied before any person is allowed to stand out. That strikes me as being a reasonable provision. Whilst undoubtedly it is the duty of every man to prepare to take up arms for the defence of his country, nevertheless, if there is a small body who prefer to render some other service they may be allowed to do so under such conditions as are here laid down. I have every respect for the opinions of those religious persons who wish to be exempt from duties of a combative nature, but is it not reasonable to require that such persons, although not called upon to go into the firing line, shall render some sort of assistance to those who are fighting in defence of their country? The argument is very specious that if persons cannot on religious grounds take up arms as combatants they ought not to be compelled to engage in duties involving the rendering of assistance to combatants. But we need to strip that argument and see what it amounts to. It is every man’s duty to take part in defending his country. If he does not want to fight, and we are satisfied that he really has conscientious scruples, I see no objection to saying, “ You can render some other assistance to the people who are performing what we consider to be their duty as citizens.” I think, therefore, we should allow the clause to stand as it is.
– I sincerely hope that the Committee will not carry the principle of exemption beyond the provision already made. There are in Australia thousands of people who are entirely opposed to war. I for one have no desire whatever either to see war or to be a participant in it. But, at the same time, I recognise that we have a citizen’s duty to perform. The exemptions already made are quite sufficient to cover all requirements’. There are no greater reasons why we should exempt members of the Society of Friends than why we should specifically exempt Wesleyans. Why not put a provision in the Bill to the effect that all Wesleyans, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and Anglicans shall be exempt from defending their country ? . What would be our position then? Where would our fighting line be ? We should not have sufficient people left to strengthen our ranks or to. supply our armies in the day of danger.
– You Presbyterians would not keep out of the firing line.
– Well, Presbyterians are not all bloodthirsty. There are many of them who would rather be out of a fight than in it ; though I admit that, once they get into a fight, they have a great fondness for taking their fair share of it. But that is no reason why Presbyterians should not have the same right of exemption as members of the Society of Friends, if they desire it. I hold that it is one of the most religious acts that a man can perform to his nation to be prepared to defend its highest interests. I trust that the Committee will by no means extend the exemption. In fact, I have occasionally thought that there are two or three provisions of the clause that might well be very much limited in extent.
– The desire of honorable senators generally to include in this Bill the section of the community referred to by Senator Vardon implies no disrespect to them. We respect their conscientious scruples, and believe that they hold them honestly, and do not suggest that they make their request from any craven fear. But there is another aspect of the question which has not yet been touched upon. These people have asked that their children shall not be subjected to the drill and physical exercise which, under this Bill, other children will be compelled to undergo.
– That would be very wrong.
– I think it would be a terrible thing to permit these children to evade the drill and physical training which is to be imparted in the schools, because they would be regarded with contempt by their fellows, and their self-respect would be destroyed. The Minister has put the matter very fairly indeed ; and those who conscientiously object to military service will be asked only to perform other useful work in the interests of the Commonwealth, which will not outrage their religious feelings.
– - I would ask Senator Vardon, before pressing his amendment, to consider whether, after all, the provisions for exemption contained in the Bill are not very liberal, and the conscientious objections of persons opposed to bearing arms sufficiently respected. I invite honorable senators to consider what would happen if it were found necessary to impose taxation to en able us to carry on warlike operations. They must admit that they would not be prepared to listen to any plea for exemption from that taxation by persons urging conscientious objections to bearing arms. We should scarcely be prepared to carry the principle of exemption on the score of conscientious scruple as far as that. But what, in principle, is the difference between permitting: people to evade a tax imposed for the carrying on of a war and allowing them, from conscientious scruples, to escape their duty in the firing line? Under the Bill provision is made that, if necessary, they may be asked to perform those works of mercy which are the fundamental obligations of Christianity .
– The honorable senator is reducing the matter to an absurdity.
– No, I think the Bill, as it stands, sufficiently recognises, the conscientious objections of the people to whom reference has been made; and if the amendment were accepted on the ground stated by Senator Vardon, we should have no logical ground for objecting if persons holding these views refused to pay a penny of taxation imposed for purposes of defence.
Senator Lt.-Colonel CAMERON (Tasmania) [8.35]. - I am sorry to have to oppose Senator Vardon, but I hope that, after the Minister’s explanation, he will see fit to withdraw his amendment. Having gone so far as the Minister proposes in this Bill to meet the conscientious scruples of a particular section of the people, I am afraid that the acceptance of the amendment would only make the position which they occupy more conspicuous. I may elucidate the matter, and, possibly, make it easier for Senator Vardon to withdraw his amendment, if I inform honorable senators that, when I stood for the Senate, a very staunch and sincere Quaker in Tasmania had his doubts as to whether he would be justified in supporting me, since I made defence so prominent a part of my political platform. But he put the matter to me in this way. He said, “ I am a man of peace. There are various ways in which to secure peace, and, under the conditions obtaining in the world at the present time, I do not think I can do better than support a professional soldier.” I think that is a complete answer to the conscientious scruples of the man of peace. Tae gentleman to whom I refer is prepared to support anything that may be necessary to secure the peaceful development of his country. I think we might leave the clause as it is, and it is possible that, should difficulties arise in the future, these people will be so carried away by their enthusiasm that they will be found amongst the most vigorous defenders of their country in the hour of need.
– - I received a circular from the religious body now under discussion, asking me to support an amendment of the Bill which would exempt the children of members of the Society of Friends from drill, and from the physical exercises to be carried out in the schools. Having thought the matter over, I came to the conclusion that I could not support such an amendment, if it were only because the training the children would receive would be beneficial to them in after life, even though they should never be called upon to take their place in the firing line. 1 cannot see why these people should ask more than the Bill already provides for. I am prepared, at all times, to respect the conscientious and religious scruples of others ; but it is possible to go too. far in this direction. These people are residents in the country, and enjoy the protection of its laws. Should war be declared, her soldiers and sailors will be called upon to protect their lives and property ; and, in the circumstances, it is not too much to ask that they should perform non-combatants’ duties. With respect to the proposal that the children of these people should not be asked to undergo drill or physical training, we have all been boys, and we know what boys are. The number of these children attending the schools will be very small, and they would be called cowards by their fellows, and their lives would be made miserable, if they claimed that they should be exempt from the physical exercises. ‘ I hope the members of the Society of Friends will be satisfied with the Bill as introduced, and try to make the best of it.
– Honorable senators are mixing up two things. There is no reference whatever in this clause to the children of members of the Society of Friends. The Minister of Defence is aware that there is no more staunch supporter of the cadet movement than I have been. I think that one of the best provisions of the Bill is that which provides for the physical training of boys in a scientific manner. I have not the least intention of moving that the children of members of the Society of Friends shall be exempt from physical training, lt is said that, if the amendment were agreed to, we should have a number of religious bodies claiming exemption under it. The answer to that is that no other religious body has, so far, made any complaint of the existing provisions of the clause. Another safeguard in the matter is provided in the proposed new section 61 a, which, reads -
Where any question arises as to whether aperson is exempt from service in the Citizen Forces, the burden of proving the exemption shall rest on the persons claiming the exemption and applications for exemption shall be decided by the Courts authorized in that behalf by the regulations.
No man is to be allowed to escape service merely by saying that he has religious convictions which prevent him from bearing arms.
– The best plan is to make every man liable to service who is physically fit for service.
– That is Senator Henderson’s opinion, and he is welcome to it. 1 am now voicing the opinions of people who have religious scruples against bearing arms, and I remind honorable senators again -that there is a safeguard against the abuse of the exemption in the provision requiring the applicant to prove that he ought to be exempt. I am aware, from expressions of opinion by members of the Committee, that they are not prepared to make the provision for exemption any wider than is proposed by the Bill. I should not have moved in the matter at all if this provision tor partial exemption had not been included in the measure. I did not see the good of going halt-way. If we are to make any exemption at all, I see no reason why we should not give these people all that they ask tor, in view of the safeguard to which I have referred.
– I have a good deal of sympathy with people who apply for exemption from war. As a good Christian myself, or as one who believes in the sacredness of human life, I would not willingly deprive any one of life. I have a great deal of sympathy with the members of the Society of Friends, but we must face the position before us. I do not believe in war, in murder, or in killing any one; but if a man comes up to me with a sword, and threatens to run me through, I should like to run him through, if I could get my blow in first, or use my legs to avoid him.
I say that what an individual must do, if he desires to preserve his own life, a community must do. Are those friends of ours, the Quakers, prepared to carry their policy of non-resistance to its logical issue? Would one of them permit a person to kill his child before his eyes without raising his hand in defence of that child? If he would, there would be some justification for the Quakers coming here with this appeal. But I am sure that no man with the feelings of a father in his bosom would see his child deprived of its life if he could prevent it by taking the life of its assailant.
– Would he allow his house to be robbed?
– I do not know.
I do not know whether the Quakers sue people in the Courts - whether they carry their policy of non-resistance quite so far. But, in a matter affecting the fate of a country and the welfare of tens of thousands of families who live in Australia, there is no room for sentiment. If we are to preserve our own lives and those of our wives and children, if we are to preserve our property and our liberty, we must be prepared to defend the country should any Power attack it. I do not admit that any citizen, no matter what may be his conscientious convictions, has a right to say that he must be a non-combatant. If a section of the people desire to live in a country where such opinions hold sway, they must go to that country. But, unfortunately for the Quakers, there is no such country. Australia is the most peaceful country in the world. We do not desire to attack anybody, butwe do wish to place ouiselves in a’ position to maintain our independence should some other Power attack us. If the inhabitants of Australia are prepared to defend the lives and property of Quakers, if the former are ready to maintain the rights and privileges of those individuals, surely the latter ought to be willing to do something themselves towards achieving that end. I think it was General Sherman who said, “ War is hell.1’ It is hell ; and during war I believe that the Ten Commandments are suspended. The Standing Orders are swept away, and selfpreservation becomes the first law of nature. I say, therefore, that everybody who lives in Australia ought to be prepared, in some way or ether, to assist in its defence. Consequently, I do not intend to vote for Senator Vardon’s amendment. The Government have gone quite far enough in the direction of meeting the views of persons who hold conscientious convictions against war. I hold conscientious convictions in that connexion, and I do not believe in exposing my skin to the enemy if I can help it. I would rather use my legs than my arms any day. But if compulsion is to be brought into play, I must stand and fight, andother people should be placedinthe same position. We are dealing very fairly with our Quaker friends when we propose to allow them to take up the position of non-combatants by helping with the commissariat, acting the part of nurses, digging trenches, and thereby raising good heaps of earth between themselves and the enemy. At any rate, they ought, in time of war, to discharge such duties as persons who hold conscientious convictions against firing guns at an enemy and killing them, may be fairly be called upon to discharge. I must oppose the amendment.
– Before this clause passes, I wish to direct the attention of the Minister of Defence to a rather peculiar feature in it. It declares that certain persons shall be exempt from service in time of war. Paragraph c seeks to exempt -
Judges of Federal or State Courts, and police, stipendiary or special Magistrates of the Commonwealth or of a State.
– The provision relates to time of war, and not to the question of training.
– It may happen that the Judges of all our Courts will be called out for service in time of peace. They are exempt from service in time of war.
– The clause does not deal with the question of training at all.
– I quite recognise the Minister’s point.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 8 agreed to.
Clause 9 -
Section sixty-three of the Principal Act is amended -
by inserting after paragraph (db) the following paragraph : - “ (dc) Establish and maintain horse depots, and farms and stations for the breeding of horses;” and
by omitting from sub-section (3) the. words” Central Staff “ and inserting in their stead the words “ clerical staff of the Central Administration, Pay, and Ordnance Branches.”
– This clause seeks to give authority to the Defence Department to establish and maintain horse depots, and farms and stations for the breeding of horses. Every military force in the worldprovides for that, or its equivalent. What the clause is doubtless intended to authorize is the breeding of horses for military purposes ; but, in its present form, the Government, or the Minister of Defence, may establish horsebreeding depots for other purposes. Its meaning would be made perfectly clear if the Minister would consent to insert after the word “ horses,” in line 7, the words “ for military purposes.”
– Suppose that at these depots some horses were culled which were not fit for military purposes. Would the honorable senator deprive the Minister of the power to dispose of them?
– The Minister would have that power. At present, he has power to purchase guns and ammunition. If the guns are useless he may destroy them or he may have them recast. I hope that he will never do what one Minister of Defence is credited with having done, namely, sell them. But a Minister of Defence may have a fancy for doing certain things with horses. For instance, he may breed race-horses or coach-horses.
– Generally, a good military horse is a good coach horse.
– I know that. But every coach horse is not a good military horse. The insertion of the words I have indicated would make the meaning of the clause perfectly clear, and would prevent the Minister of Defence from giving effect to fancy notions. I therefore move -
That after the word “ horses,” line y, paragraph a, the words “ for military purposes “ be inserted.
– I ask the Committee not to accept the amendment. It is proposed to confer this power on the Defence Department, but one can quite conceive that, if the Government establish a horse-breeding dep6t in Australia, it would be exceedingly unwise to tie their hands in the way suggested, and thus prevent them from supplying horses to the Postal Department, for example. Further, one can easily imagine an arrangement being entered into between the Commonwealth and the Police Department of a State, under which the former might undertake to supply the latter with horses. As Senator Givens has suggested, there would have to be a considerable culling of the horses raised at any Government depot. A large num ber would not be fit for military services
– Would it not be better to bring in a separate Bill dealing with that matter ?
– The idea is that the horses shall be bred for military purposes. But to tie the hands of the Government in the way that is suggested by Senator St. Ledger would be very unwise.
– The Government would not keep a lot of horses idle.
– The amendment is totally unnecessary, and would needlessly tie our hands. I hope that Senator St. Ledger will not press it.
Senator Lt.-Colonel CAMERON (Tasmania) [8.58]. - I am very loth to oppose any provision in the Bill ; but I think, that the proposal in this clause is a very unsound one. The experience of all countries has been that it is a most difficult thing to breed a specific class of horse for a specific purpose, and a matter of this kind may be far better left in the hands of the general public, so that the Defence Department may enter the market and purchase those horses which are best suited for military purposes. We require a certain type of horse for various kmids of artillery. We need transport horses, and light horses for mounted infantry. In the future, I hope to see a class of horse bred in Australia which will be equal to the best horses required for cavalry purposes. With all these objects of a purely defensive character in view, I should much prefer to see the clause altered to authorize the Government to establish, not a breeding depot, but a remount depot, or remount depots. I should much prefer to see the Minister retain the power in his hands if he wants to have an effective Department: and an efficient force; otherwise he will besaddled with all sorts of nondescripts, of which he may, or may not, be able to get rid.
– Even if the Government do establish a breeding station they will not deprive themselves of the right to go in to the market to buy horses.
Senator Lt.-Colonel CAMERON.That is quite right, but why undertake to do an extravagant thing when, for one-half of the money, it could be done more efficiently and effectively?
– That is only an assertion.
– No, it is the experience of Governments, military experts, and Defence Departments everywhere under similar conditions. I urge the Minister to withdraw the clause, and consult his experts.
– In my opinion, the Ministry are trying to do the right thing in the wrong way. I do not agree with the amendment, which would confine the establishment to the breeding of horses for military purposes. If the Minister would drop the clause, and bring in a Bill empowering the Commonwealth to establish a station for breeding horses, not merely for military purposes, but for postal work, I believe that it would be a profitable thing.
– The honorable senator is becoming a Socialist.
– I am rather a better Socialist than the honorable senator, because last session he wanted to put in this provision for military purposes only.
– I suggested then that it was wrong to put it in a Defence Bill.
– The honorable senator voted against it.
– The Commonwealth will directly be taking over the Northern Territory, which includes the best country in the world for the breeding of horses. In the centre of Australia the Government might establish a station, and supply a splendid stamp of horse for all the requirements of the Commonwealth.
– Why should they not breed cattle to feed the troops as well?
– The honorable senator has only, to get on to the Barclay table-land, in the Northern Territory, to find enough cattle - and very fine cattle, too - to feed, not only the Commonwealth army, but all the armies of the world. We need not have any apprehension on that point. I do not ask the Minister to restrict his operations, but to take the power in another direction, and in a broader way, because, in my opinion, it would be in the interests of the Commonwealth to do so.
. - I intend to vote against the amendment. I think that the Government are doing a very wise thing in seeking to establish a horse-breeding station. I am sorry that it does not go a step further, and provide for the establishment of cattle and sheepbreeding stations, because the troops will require, not only horses to ride on, but also cattle and sheep to eat. What the Com monwealth wants is to have as many good and effective horses in time of war as it is possible to get; and, that being so, I was rather surprised to hear the remarks of Senator Cameron. He ought to know something about this question, and he evidently thinks that the supply of horses ought to be left in the hands of private enterprise. I have read in histories of cases where Governments fell in most dreadfully when they had to rush into the market in time of war and purchase horses by the thousand, many of them being old crocks, which could not find a buyer in other circumstances.
– There is no necessity to wait until a war breaks out. YOU can establish your depots before.
– I think that the wisest thing for the Commonwealth to do is to breed its own horses if it can, and I see no reason why it should not. In my opinion, it is more capable of doing that than are any number of individuals. Senator Cameron stated that this experiment has been tried before. But I do not remember ever reading of a Government trying to grow horse-flesh. This is a proposition which we may very well support. In portions of Australia there is ample room for a huge horsebreeding establishment. I think that we ought to take advantage of our unique position. It may be that if we are put to the test some day our horses will be our salvation. I hope that when they are required they will be good ones, and not like many of the horses which we have read of as having been used in various wars in Europe and elsewhere. I shall oppose the amendment.
.- I am not at all astonished at the stand taken by Senator St. Ledger on this matter, because it is in accord with his whole political history and actions in recent years. He dreads the intrusion of the Socialist tiger. He does not want the Socialist tiger to put his nose in anywhere, but I remind him that the whole of our defence system is based on Socialism. Nobody proposes to leave the defence of the country to private enterprise, or to hire mercenaries. I must confess, however, that I am not only surprised, but extremely astonished, at the attitude of Senator Cameron, because no one knows better than he does how extremely difficult it is to get the right type of horses for military purposes. If the breeding of horses for those purposes is left to the haphazard efforts of private individuals, each with his own ideal and idiosyncracy, it will be a very poor lot of horses that we shall be able to procure. But what will be the result if the Government goes into this matter wisely? They will have an objective. They will have an accurate idea of what they require, and will be able to buy a quantity of brood mares and sires which come as near as possible to the ideal which they have in view, with the result that if the selection has been carefully made they will get a large number of horses which will come very near to the military standard. What will happen afterwards? As time goes on they will be able to continually cull and weed out unsuitable horses, to purchase sires of the highest quality abroad, or wherever they can be got, and to build up continually towards their ideal, with the natural result that there will be ample horses of the finest type for military purposes, and they will be bred at first cost, without any intermediary getting a profit out of them. What usually happens when a Government are in a difficulty for want of a large quantity of horses to meet a sudden emergency ? They have to accept any sort of scrubbers they can get at an extortionate figure generally. Privateenterprise people then usually show their patriotism by exacting the last farthing out of the Government without giving them anything decent in return. If, however, we breed horses, and the station is wisely conducted, we shall always have an ample reserve of the best horses which may be required. We shall improve, not only the class of horses required for our own purposes, but also the class of horses generally in the country, because the Government will always have available some of the best sires obtainable. After the sires have been used for a number of years, they can be placed at the disposal of persons outside and replaced. In that way, we shall accomplish a much-needed object in the improvement of the breed of horses generally in Australia. For these reasons I intend to support the clause, and, like Senator Stewart, the only regret I have is that it does not go far enough to suit my taste.
– The reasons which the Minister gave for the non-acceptance of my amendment appear to me to be the strongest reasons why it should be. adopted. He has told us that the amendment, if made, will fetter the Department, because it may be able to use its horse-breeding establishment for the purpose of supplying the Post Office. The answer to that suggestion is that the kind of horse which is wanted for military purposes will probably be utterly unsuitable for postal purposes.
– If the Post Office is to get the culls of the establishment, it is quite possible that the Minister will never get an effective kind of horse for other purposes. There will be a horsebreeding establishment under the patronage of the Defence Department, where pressure will be brought to bear on the Minister, to purchase every old crock in Australia which has a trace of blood. If it is not fit for military purposes, at least it will be excellent for postal and other purposes. In his defence, the Minister begs the whole question of the necessity of the Commonwealth Government going in largely for horsebreeding, which may, or may not, be economically or otherwise a sound policy, and he is raising a most important issue on two lines of a Defence Bill. It is clear, from his own explanation, that he contemplates extending the horse-breeding establishment to far larger dimensions than he originally intended. Consequently, I indorse the criticisms made by Senator Cameron when he said that the clause is a dangerous one, although, perhaps, I do not indorse all the reasons which he gave. It is clear now that the Minister is going, by means of a side issue, to bring in the whole question of breeding horses, not merely for the defence of the Commonwealth, but for public service purposes. The importance of obtaining a certain class of horses for defence purposes is so manifest that it would be wise to discuss it on its merits. It is a pity that the Minister should mix up with this proposal the breeding of horses of all kinds.
.- I should like to ask the Minister whether the term “horses” here used will include mules ?
– And asses?
– I am afraid that the honorable senator would not be of much use. It is well known that for transport purposes mules are far superior to horses. They were largely used during the South African war. Last year, when I was visiting some of the army depots in the United States, I found that far more mules than horses were used. In fact, in Honolulu I did not see any horses ; mules only were employed. I do not want the Minister to be circumscribed in his action after the Bill is passed.
– I am obliged to Senator McColl for mentioning the point. I find from Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary that it has been held in England, in connexion with the Metropolitan Markets Act, that the term “horse” includes “mare, ass, mule”; and that under the Army Act of 1881, the term “horse” includes a mule. The Dictionary goes on to say that the term applies to any beast of whatever description used for purposes of draught or for carrying persons.
– That would depend on the wording of the Act, I think. The word “ horse “ in itself would not include a mule.
– The Army Act which, like this Bill, makes provision for defence, includes under the term “horse” any beast used for draught, burden, or riding. 1 recognise the force of what Senator McColl has said. Undoubtedly the South African war proved the usefulness of the mule. We also know that the humble animal mentioned by Senator Needham is of considerable value as a beast of burden. Reference has been made to the Minister of Defence in connexion with this matter as if he were a kind of a Tzar, but this provision must be governed by the annual Estimates. Parliament has full control. If Parliament is opposed to the extension, of horsebreeding by tha Commonwealth Government, it will restrict operations by means of the Estimates.
– The Minister might have been more frank in telling the Committee what is in the mind of the Government with reference to horse-breeding. Last year Parliament was furnished with a report from military officers on the question of the Commonwealth Government owning horses for military purposes. The carrying out of that report would involve very considerable expenditure. I find that the Military Committee proposed the establishment of breeding stations. The cost of the horses would come to no less than ^40,560. The cost of land for breeding depots would be .£15,000. Stabling, and so forth, would cost £1,400. The total capital expenditure, less an allowance for horses on hand, would be £56,960.
The expenditure of so large a sum of money ought not to be authorized without due consideration. Moreover, the annual cost of maintaining these breeding stations would’ be £391059. That is a very large sum to spend in carrying out therecommendations of a Committee which did’ not go beyond the needs of the Defence Department. But the Minister proposes to breed horses also for police purposes and for the Post and Telegraph Department. If we breed gunners for artillery purposes they will be of no use for police purposes, nor will they be of use for postal purposes unless the Postal service is to remain, so far as horse traction is concerned, as slow as it is now, or become slower. ft was true that the Military Committee recommended that a saving of something like ,£23,000 might be effected by the hiring out of horses belonging to the Defence Department. In other words, it was proposed that horses should be bred for military purposes, and hired out to persons who, of course, would work them as much as they possibly could.
– It is neither proposed to accept nor to reject the proposals of the Military Committee to which the honorable senator refers. It has not evenbeen decided by the Government whether any horse-breeding station shall be established.
– Will the Minister say that horse-breeding establishments will not be commenced “until Parliament has had an opportunity of expressing its opinion ?
– Parliament will have an opportunity of expressing its opinion before any system is adopted.
– I fully accept the assurance that the Government will not establish such a system by regulation.
– Money would have_ to be voted by Parliament before anything could be done.
– Parliament will have an opportunity of voting on the subject before this session concludes.
– The question is whether the Government intend to go further, and to adopt the system of breeding horses and hiring them out. I am afraid that that might be done by regulation. It would not require money to be voted by Parliament to enable the Government to hire out horses belonging to the Commonwealth. That would be receiving money, not paying it away. However, in face of the statement of the Minister that no such system is contemplated until Parliament has had an opportunity of expressing an opinion, I do not propose to proceed further with the discussion of the recommendations of the Military Committee. The point that has been raised by Senator St. Ledger has also suggested itself to me - that this clause might not go far enough to enable the Government, if they so desired, to adopt any system such as that which has been recommended. The clause merely enables the Government to breed horses. It does not give any authority to dispose of those horses in the event of their not being suitable for defence purposes. I agree with Senator Symon and Senator St. Ledger that we ought not to insert in a Defence Bill a clause which the Minister must admit gives the Government authority to breed horses for the Postal Department. If they wish to do that they should bring in a separate measure. I intend to support the amendment.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [9.28]. - The discussion has travelled a good deal beyond the subjectmatter of the Bill with which we are concerned. The Bill deals with defence, and this provision regarding the establishment of stations for horse-breeding is to my mind simply incidental to a system of defence. It is for that reason that I shall oppose Senator St. Ledger’s amendment. 1 do not think that it is necessary. The intention of the amendment is to restrict the operations of the Government to the breeding of horses for military purposes. My view is that, whether that amendment is inserted or not, the operations of the Government under this clause will be restricted to the breeding of horses for military purposes. The Minister is mistaken in thinking that the Government could set up horse-breeding establishments with a view of supplying their own wants, not only for military, but for Post Office purposes, and for supplying surplus horses to the market.
– The Government would have power to sell.
– They would have power to sell the culls, but not to breed horses for general purposes. This is a Defence Bill, and the clause is inserted to enable the Government to carry out effectively a system of defence. This is not a provision to enable them to establish general horse-breeding stations. It is for that reason that I ventured to interject that it would Le better, if they contemplate that sort of thing, to bring in a Bill to enable them to do it. I am not at all sure that it would not be a very good thing to enlarge the area of the Commonwealth Government’s operations, to the breeding of horses not merely for defence purposes, but for purposes of the civil administration.
– The honorable senator regards my amendment as superfluous.
– I do; because without it the operations of the Government under the clause would be restricted to the breeding of horses for defence purposes. In the circumstances, the honorable senator would do well to withdraw his amendment. There is a great deal to be said in favour of a measure enabling the Commonwealth Government to breed horses for other, than military purposes. Senator Vardon’s arguments on the point were very strong, and they are still further strengthened by the prospect of the Government shortly being in possession of a very large area in the Northern Territory of the finest country in the world for the purpose. From information supplied to me by colonels in active service, there are no horses to be found anywhere in Australia superior to those bred on the hard dry country in the centre of Australia for military purposes of all kinds. In voting for the clause, honorable senators need not be under the impression that the Government will have power under it to carry their operations beyond the breeding of horses for purposes of defence.
– - I should not have risen to speak if I were not under the impression that the amendment is proposed with the object of nullifying the clause. If the Government were unable to dispose of surplus stock, or of horses unfit for military purposes, their hands would be tied hard and fast.
– If the words “ for military purposes “ were inserted, the Government would still have power to sell culls and horses unfit for military purposes.
– I can easily imagine that if the amendment were agreed to a professional brother of Senator St. Ledger might, in the Senate or in another place., at some subsequent date, raise an objection that the Government were taking advantage of a provision in the Defence 4.ct to breed horses for sale or for purposes other than military purposes. If the clause is allowed to remain as it is, such a difficulty could not arise. It must be admitted that if we have not a sufficient supply of suitable horses, the efficiency of our Defence Force will be seriously impaired. The proposal that the Commonwealth should undertake the breeding of horses is made in a report over the signature of two military men, in which they say that “ the efficiency of the horse is necessary to the efficiency of the man.” If the clause is not passed as it stands, we may in the future have to depend for our supplies of suitable horses for military purposes on private breeders. I ask if that system has proved successful in the past? We have one famous illustration in recent history of the way in which it has operated. When the Australian Contingent was sent to the Soudan, the New South Wales Government, in their hurry to purchase horses to equip the contingent, had to fall back upon a number of discarded ‘bus horses, and the story goes that when the contingent entered the field the men in charge of the horses were unable to induce them to “gee-up” until some one made a noise in their ears like the shutting of a ‘bus door. The story Has every appearance of truth.
– Only they were infantry, and not mounted men who were sent to the Soudan.
– What kind of a bargain will the Commonwealth Government be able to make in the future for the supply of horses for the Defence Force if the clause is not agreed to? In the open market they will be unable to purchase a suitable horse under £40 or £50. As one sent here to guard as best I can the public purse, I say it would be a mistake to commit ourselves to so expensive a system. Senator Chataway did not correctly read the figures given in the report to which he directed the attention of the Committee, in saying that £55,000 might be the expenditure in carrying out the provisions of this clause. The honorable senator neglected to inform the Committee that the estimate is arrived at by presuming the purchase of 427 horses in New South Wales at £30 each, a similar number in Victoria at the same price, a number of horses in each of the other States, and the purchase of land.
– T mentioned that the estimate included the purchase of horses, and I gave the total without mentioning the number to be purchased in each’ State. I did not mislead the Committee in any way.
– I accept the honorable senator’s explanation. I understood him to quote the figures with a view of showing how unwise it would be to adopt the clause as it stands.
– In any case, the proposal of the Committee is not before us now.
– I feel that if the amendment is carried it will prevent the useful operation of the clause, and that is what I wish to avoid. On the question of the wisdom of enabling the Commonwealth ‘.Government to breed their own horses, I should like to ask what has been the experience of the Postal Department in South Australia ? According to the Deputy Postmaster-General of the State, Mr. R. Waddy, the South Australian Government have been providing their own horses for quite a long time, and at a very low cost to the taxpayers of the State. In Mr. Waddy’s report, which Senator Chataway omitted to read, the statement is made that the South Australian Government at present find horses for postal purposes for the very small sum of 30s. per head. Where is the inducement to the Committee to agree to a proposal which may mean the payment of £40 or £50 for what we might get for 30s. ?
– Does the 30s. include the services of the entire?
– Perhaps I had better read Mr. Waddy’s report. He says -
We have not been extensive breeders of stock, but have simply bred enough to supply our own wants.
We pay ros. each for gelding the colts, and when we’ have not a good horse breaker in our own employ we pay £1 each for breaking in the horses. This is the only cost, as the natural grasses provide all food necessary, and the horses are attended to, mustered, &c, by the officers and men employed at the telegraph stations.
The horses being reared in such dry country can travel if necessary two days without water, and this is sometimes an advantage.
I ask, in all seriousness, what better quality we could look for in a horse for military purposes than the capacity to go two days without water. The’ limited opportunity at present afforded us to secure suitable horses for military purposes compels me to support the clause as it stands, in order that the Commonwealth Government may have unlimited power to breed the horses they require, as the South Australian Government has done with advantage to the taxpayers and the Government Departments.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted - put. The Committe divided.
Ayes … … … 4
Noes … … … 20
Majority … …16
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 10 agreed to.
Clause 11 -
After section One hundred and twenty-three c of the principal Act the following sections are inserted : - …. 123E. Military uniforms shall be supplied free of charge lo all ranks of the citizen forces.”
. -I desire to ask the Minister of Defence whether it is also intended to provide uniforms for officers free of charge ?
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 12 to 17 agreed to.
Clause1 8 -
After section One hundred and forty of the principal Act the following section is inserted : - 140A. The Governor-General may by proclamation grant a temporary exemption for a period not exceeding one year to
persons who reside outside the areas in which training is carried out; and
persons who reside at so great a distance from the places appointed for training that compulsory attendance at the training would involve great hardships.
– I move -
That the following new section be inserted : - “140b. Ministers of religion and students in the final course of their studies for the Ministry or religious profession shall be deemed to be in an employment exempting them from military training.”
At this hour of the evening I have no intention to unnecessarily delay the Committee. I merely desire to point out that we cannot expect ministers of religion to bear arms. Nor do I think it is desirable that the studies of young men, who have decided to follow a religious calling, should be interfered with. As honorable senators are aware I am a very ardent advocate of compulsory military training with a view to establishing a citizen soldiery, but I do not wish to impose upon men who, if successful in their studies, will eventually become ministers by compelling them to abandon those studies in order to qualify for military service.
– They are the most bellicose citizens in the community.
– They are men who in time of war will be non-combatants. In time of peace they will act as chaplains to the various sections of our Defence Force. Should Australia be so unfortunate as to be visited by war, they will doubtless render that spiritual consolation to our soldiers which every Christian desires to obtain when in the shadow of death. 1 submit that, if my amendment be adopted, it will not affect the strength of our citizen soldiery in 1912, to any great extent. 1 do not think it will affect it by a quarter per cent. I could advance many reasons in favour of the amendment, but in view of the lateness of the hour I shall content myself with saying that theological students ought not to be interfered with, seeing that they intend to adopt a religious profession.
– The Government cannot accept the amendment, and I do not think it is one which ought to be carried. The persons covered by it will not be called upon to devote sufficient time to military training to interfere with their studies to any considerable extent. If honorable senators will look, at the period of training they will see that it forms an insignificant part of the year. I do not know that ministeis of religion or theological students have any claim to be considered apart from any other students. It cannot be urged that the military training which they will receive under the Bill will in any way injure them in their religious calling. As a matter of fact, the presence of such men in military camps will have a beneficial influence. We have also to remember that military chaplains will requireto he appointed, and the probability is that these men will act in that capacity in’ the battalions to which they are attached. Under these circumstances I ask the Committee not to adopt the amendment.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 19 -
Sections one hundred and forty-seven and one hundred and forty-eight of the Principal Act are repealed, and the following sections substituted in their stead : - “ 147. - (1) There shall be established a Military College under a Commandant, assisted by a staff as prescribed, for the education of candidates for commissions in all arms of the Military Forces. “ (2) The Commandant shall in each year furnish to the Minister, for presentation to Parliament, a report on the Military College. . “ 147 a. Persons enrolled as cadets at the Military College shall be formed into a corps and shall form part of the Permanent forces. Service in this corps shall be deemed lo be service in the ranks of the Defence Force. “ 147B. No person who is not a British subject shall be admitted to be a student at the Military College, but British subjects not permanently resident in Australia may be admitted to attend on such conditions as are prescribed, and while so attending shall be subject to this Act in the same way as other students. “ 148. No person who is not a graduate of the Military College as prescribed shall be appointed an officer of the Permanent Forces :
Provided that this provision shall not take effect until the expiration of five years after the establishment of the College.”
– I move -
That all the words after “ Sections,” line1, be left out.
The Minister of Defence is well aware that I strongly favour the establishment of a military college. I regard that proposal as one of the best features of the Bill. Tt is intended that admission to the college shall be absolutely free, and the Minister, in dealing with my attitude upon this question, affirmed that I desired facilitie:; to be granted to the sons of wealthy parents to enter the institution, irrespective oi whether or not they possessed the necessary qualifications. I wish to disclaim any such intention. Entrance to the college without a fairly comprehensive examination would render it more or less useless.
A certain educational qualification must” be insisted upon, otherwise the instructors at the college will not be able properly to. discharge their functions. Evidently the Minister misunderstood my remarks upon that point. I maintain that by making admission to the college free to everybody the Government are introducing a new and vicious principle. I object to the poor being taxed for the purpose of benefiting the rich who can well afford to pay for the tiaining of their children. The way to overcome the difficulty is to provide liberally for scholarships which shall be open to youths who intend to embark upon a military career, so that they may enter the college without any expense to their parents.
– I thought that the honorable senator was a Democrat?
– There is grear virtue in the word “ Democrat.” But i would point out that many men who are just as democratic as is the honorable senator, object to the introduction of a principle under which the poor will be compelled to pay for the education of the rich.
– In what way ?
– Under u.e clause the whole community will be taxett in order to maintain this military college.
SenatorBarker. - The same cry was raised against free education in the earlier stages of that reform.
– Nothing of the kind. Every progressive country imposes the condition that those who can pay for the military training of their sons shaH do so. Of course, I know that some per-, sons hold the idea that there should be a ladder from the gutter to tlie university.
– From where?
– I am using Huxley’s celebrated term, in order to emphasize the position. He did not use it offensively, nor do I, but he said that there should be a ladder from the gutter to the highest ranks, and he may certainly be considered as one of the best authorities on higher education in all its branches. So also I wish the ladder to be there, but I strongly object to the community being taxed, especially those who can ill-afford it, for the preparation of persons for a professional career. I do not think that the poor should be called upon to pay equally with the rich for the maintenance of this institution. Can the Minister point to a single case where such a thing occurs? There are portions of universities which are devoted to the education of medical students, and so on.
– Yes, the poor are taxed to keep up the universities, but their children never have the opportunity of entering them.
– That is not an objection to my contention, but an objection to the fact that the doors of the universities are not sufficiently wide open to those who are fit to enter, and show by their industry and intelligence that they are fit to receive the proper kind of training. That is far different from the assertion of the principle that persons who can pay for the professional education of their children shall not pay for it, but that rich and poor alike shall be taxed in order that the children of the rich may. benefit by it.
– That same principle led to the destruction of the British Array. Those who had the money could pay.
– I admit to a certain extent the force and propriety of the interjection. I believe that there has been too much class conservatism, by reason of the strict and expensive course at the military colleges in Great Britain. But two wrongs do not make a right. Every virtue can be stretched- so far that by the exercise of it, it becomes a vice. Although this provision seems remarkably liberal, and in itself has not only a generous, but a wide and useful purpose, in the achievement of the object which the Minister so strongly desires, yet he is carrying it so far as to inflict an injustice on a certain portion of the community by reason of the extra taxation which it involves, and which they can ill afford to bear. I have had a great deal of experience in the work of preparing candidates for examinations, but I have never assented to . the principle, because it is not consistent with my idea of what is right and just in- a Democracy that the poor as well as the rich should pay for the professional education of the children of those who can well afford, and who ought to be made to pay.
– I hope that the Minister of Defence will not make it compulsory that every officer must have gone through the Military College.
– That is dealt with in another clause.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 20 and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
” The Age “ and Senator St. Ledger.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I takethis opportunity of reading the concluding lines of the letter to the Editor of the Age, which I was reading when the Senate was counted out on Friday -
You have chosen to be personal in your comment. You may therefore permit a personal comment in reply. Apparently, the dictionary has been exhausted to find suitable adjectives to express your personal and literary contempt for my article in the Contemporary Review, which you have made the subject of so much “ tubthumping.” It may be all you say of it, but [ take this unction to my soul, that the Editor of the Contemferary Review is probably as good a judge of the merits, of the substance, language, and style of on article as is the Editor of the Age. How many of us in office forget Bobby Burns’ remark about the granting of good conceit to ourselves, and the class of persons on whose behalf he made that immortal appeal.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.9 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 31 August 1910, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1910/19100831_senate_4_56/>.