16 November 1910

4th Parliament · 1st Session

The President took the chair at2.30 p.m., and read prayers.


Wireless Telegraphy Stations : Sydney and Fremantle.

The PRESIDENT. - I Have received an intimation from Senator Givens that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz., “ the delay which has occurred in the erection of wireless telegraph stations at Sydney and Fremantle “.

Four honorable senators having risen in theirp laces,

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) [2.32]. - I move -

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till 11 a.m. to-morrow.

I have taken this course because the establishment of wireless telegraphy in Australia is a very serious matter, and one which is entitled to the fullest discussion. I am aware that a debate upon this question took place in the other Chamber yesterday, and that, consequently, it may seem superfluous to discuss it again to-day. But the chief feature of the debate in the other branch of the Legislature was the pathetic way in which the present PostmasterGeneral attempted to whitewash his predecessor, and the equally generous way in which the ex-Postmaster-General endeavoured, to whitewash his successor. Each loudly declared that if in office he would have done precisely what the other did. I say that if neither of them can do better, the sooner both are wiped out of public life the better. Such a disgraceful mess as has occurred in connexion with the contracts for the erection of wireless telegraph stations in Australia has no parallel in our history. Here is an important matter, which has been under the consideration of the Commonwealth authorities for the past six years. Tenders were called for the establishment of two wireless telegraph stations in Australia, and the contracts were let on the 4th April last - over seven months ago. Yet neither the contracts nor the guarantees in connexion with them have been signed.

Senator Needham. - Does the honorable senator wish to saddle the present Administration with the whole of the blame?

Senator GIVENS.- No. I am merely pointing out the position as it exists to-day. I am free to confess that, under ordinary circumstances, there might be some excuse for such a complete mess being made of an important public contract - a mess which might extend over a month or two. But the present deplorable muddle has continued for seven months, and it is no nearer being cleared up now than it was when the contracts were entered into. I think, too, that when honorable senators ask the Government for information on matters of public importance, the information should be supplied, to them fully and frankly. Last Thursday I asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General for certain information in regard to this question, and replies to my questions were given by the Honorary Minister. Yesterday I asked further questions, and received further replies. But the replies which were furnished yesterday were a complete contradiction of those which were furnished to me last Thursday. The answers given in another place were also a complete contradiction of the answers supplied to me last Thursday. I claim that when honorable senators ask for information the Government ought not to supply it in the most disingenuous way. I am quite aware that Ministers merely read out the replies which are furnished to them by departmental heads. But it does not matter who is responsible for those replies - my complaint is just as grievous.

Senator Millen. - There can be only one Government responsible for the delay which has occurred - the Government which accepted the tenders.

Senator GIVENS.- I will come to that aspect of the question presently, if the honorable senator will allow me to proceed in my own way, as my time is limited. On Thursday last I asked particularly if it was not a fact that the Marconi wireless telegraph system was adopted by the British Admiralty, and that that system was installed on the ships of the British Navy. I was assured by the Honorary Minister that it was not a fact, and that the system installed upon those vessels was an entirely different one. I accepted the replies in good faith.

Senator Findley. - The honorable senator might read the answers which were given.

Senator GIVENS. - Certainly. I asked -

Is it not a fact that the vessels of the British squadron stationed in Australia and also the Australian torpedo boats, are fitted with the Marconi wireless system?

The reply given was -

The ships of the British squadron stationed in Australia are understood to be fitted with the special Admiralty system of wireless, which is not identical with the Marconi. The Australian torpedo boats are being fitted with wireless apparatus by the Marconi Company’.

As a matter of fact, the ships of the British Squadron aras fitted with the Marconi system, though a slight modification of it may be adopted by the Admiralty, to suit the exigencies of the Naval Service. But the British Admiralty are paying the Marconi Company several thousands of pounds annually. for the use of the Marconi system. I repeat that I accepted the Minister’s reply in good faith, and no doubt he thought that it was absolutely accurate. But it was not. Honorable senators have a right to complain when they are supplied with inaccurate information, because such information does not permit of them arriving at proper conclusions upon any public matter. I also asked whether Admiral Poore had been consulted upon the question of the wireless system to be installed in Australia., and whether he had offered certain advice. In reply, I was coolly told that he had not been consulted, and that no advice had been obtained from him. The reply was -

No. Admiral Poore. personally was not consulted. The Admiralty, however, was consulted, and nominated the officer then in charge of wireless for the squadron to act as member of a Conference which considered the tenders. It was on the advice of this Conference that the tender for the Telefunken system was accepted.

I was quite prepared to believe the statement that Admiral Poore had never offered an opinion upon this question, and yet I was told, in answer to a question which I asked yesterday, that he had offered a very decided opinion. In such circumstances, what am I to believe? Yesterday I asked -

Is it not a fact that Admiral Poore expressed a decided preference in favour of the Marconi wireless system as against the Telefunken?

The reply given was -

No. Admiral Poore, however, before tenders for the Sydney and Fremantle stations were received, advised that from a strategical point of view Marconi’s installation should be fitted,- as, owing tq the existing contract with the Marconi Company, H.M. ships would not be able to communicate with the shore stations or carry out any trials with a view to testing the installations if any other system were adopted ; but in a subsequent communication Admiral Poore advised that the Admiralty were released from the obligation against inter-communication with stations fitted with other than Marconi apparatus, and that the restrictions on H.M. ships from communicating with or carrying out trials with any shore stations fitted with apparatus other than Marconi will, therefore, no longer apply.

In another communication the Admiralty advised that, subject to the system selected being able readily to communicate with H.M. ships and to inter-communicate with any other system in use, the Commonwealth may adopt what system they please, and need not confine themselves to any one system exclusively.

So that upon their own showing the replies furnished by the Government on Thursday last were absolutely incorrect. It is a matter for regret that when honorable senators ask for information on matters of public importance they are not supplied with full and frank replies. It is quite true that an answer may be technically correct from the stand-point of the wording of a question. But I would point out that an honorable senator would require to know what is the actual position to be able to frame a question which could not be evaded.

Senator Findley. - Surely the honorable senator does not insinuate that there was any desire on the part of the Government to withhold information from him.

Senator GIVENS. - I have already said that’ I believe Ministers are merely the mouth-pieces of departmental heads.

Senator Findley. - If we are “ rubber stamps,” God knows what position previous Ministers occupied.

Senator GIVENS.- It is obvious that if the contracts for the erection of wireless telegraph stations in Australia were let on the 4th April last, the present Government cannot be blamed for having entered into those contracts. But I fail to see how they can escape censure for having permitted the existing muddle to continue during the six months that they have been, in office. The sooner that muddle is cleared up the better. _ But how did the muddle occur? The Government practically invited tenders to all and sundry for the erection of wireless telegraph stations, but they never took any steps to enforce the conditions of tender. The’ result is that to-day we find ourselves in this position : A contract was let seven months ago, but we are no nearer to a settlement, and to the establishment of wireless telegraphy in Australia, than we were before. Every civilized country in the world has installed a wireless system in some shape or other. We have had two torpedo-boat destroyers built for the Commonwealth service. There are installations of wireless telegraphy on those vessels. What is the use of the installations on our ships at sea whilst we have no stations on shore to receive messages from them? It is absolutely useless to have the installations on the destroyers under those circumstances. The British Admiralty have erected wireless telegraph apparatus on all their stations in every part of the world. Vet we in Australia are lagging so much behind. In Canada, where there is a population somewhat similar to our own, and where practically the same conditions apply, there are thirty wireless telegraph stations. Yet -we have not a single one, and the only attempt we have made has landed us in a complete muddle. As far as my information goes - that is to say, as far as I am able to make my information public; because I am in possession of certain confidential information which I cannot use - I believe that a sort of ephemeral company was formed in Australia, called the Australian Wireless Company Limited. It was formed for the puropse of exploiting the needs of the Common wealth for the erection of wireless telegraph stations. It was a well- known fact that, as far as the company was concerned, it had neither the experience nor the capital, nor any other qualification, for engaging in the work.

Senator Fraser. - The company had enterprise !

Senator GIVENS. - The company was formed with a total capital of .£5,000, but my information is that only £300 of that was paid up. However, by a subsequent resolution the company, at a meeting held this year, increased its capital to £12,000. That is the nominal capital, but how much of that large sum has been paid up I am unable to say. Whatever the real capital may be, however, the company has never attempted to do anything to carry out its contract. The only thing it has succeeded in doing so far, is to get from the Commonwealth Government an advance of 50 per cent, on the original contract for carrying out ohe station ; and the probability is that the company will be able to put a pistol at the head of the Commonwealth Government to get another 50 per cent, advance for the carrying out of the other station. The question arises as to whether the company will be able to carry out its contract at all; or whether, if the contract was carried out, it would be of any. use to us.

Senator Clemons. - Does not the question arise as to whether there is really a contract at all?

Senator GIVENS. - The contract has never been signed in the strict legal interpretation of the term.

Senator Lt. -Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The tender has been accepted, has it not?

Senator GIVENS. - A tender was ac- cepted on the 4th April this year, but no contract was signed, nor have the guarantors yet signed any guarantee for the carrying out of the contract.

Senator O’Keefe. - In the face of that fact, has the company received an advance of 50 per cent. ?

Senator GIVENS. - The company has increased its price 50 per cent. The company offered the Telefunken system to the Government at £4,150 for each station. The tender price for the Marconi ‘ system was somewhere about £19,000 for each station, but the Government apparently never inquired as to the value that they were to get for each of those two offers. The Marconi Company offered its complete invention, which is protected by patents in every part of the world except in Germany. The company’ offered its full patent rights to the Commonwealth to be worked in every part of Australia.

Senator Millen. - That is to say, the Government could have fitted out every station they required when they had obtained the patent rights of the Marconi system ?

Senator GIVENS. - Yes ; under the conditions of tender the Marconi Company were offering to the Commonwealth Government all their patent rights. But the Telefunken Company were giving nothing at all, because they had no patent rights outside Germany. In Germany the Marconi system is not fully protected, and the consequence is that the Telefunken Company has practically pirated a great deal of the Marconi Company’s patents.

Senator Findley. - That is what every patentee says.

Senator Lynch. - Would it not be illegal to do -that?

Senator GIVENS. - Not in Germany. The Marconi Company’s inventions are patented all over the world, but for one reason or another its rights are not fully protected in Germany, and the Telefunken Company has practically raided the Marconi Company with respect to a certain portion’ of its patents in that country! The consequence is that, were the Telefunken Company’s system to be established in Australia, the Commonwealth Government would be practically liable for infringement of the Marconi Company’s rights, because this Telefunken Company, according to’ all we can learn, would have only £300 of paid-up capital, and we should be left stranded. Surely the fact that the Marconi Company was offering to us the full rights ‘over its patents in Australia should have been taken into considera- tion in the letting of the contract. Again, we were told by the Minister that at least 40 per cent, of the wireless systems of the world are under the Telefunken system. I should like to know where the Government got that information from. I have before me a list of no fewer than forty-one of the greatest steam-ship companies in the world, the vessels of every one of which are fitted with the Marconi system. All the vessels crossing the Atlantic, and all those trading to Australia, are fitted with the Marconi system, with the exception of the German mail-boats. All the important Admiralty stations in the civilized world are using the Marconi system. The same system is in use by Canada, by. the United States, by Belgium, by Italy, by Chili, by the Argentine Republic, and by numberless other countries. From what source, then, did the Minister get the fact, alleged by him to be correct, that 40 per cent, of the wireless systems of the world are under the Telefunken system? Will the Minister give us a list? It appears that Ministers are merely trying to shelter themselves behind a general statement, and to obscure the fact that a very great mistake has been made,” for. which, however, I do not entirely blame the present Government, who are not wholly responsible. It is also a fact, which I have on the best authority, that out of every nine messages received from ships crossing the Atlantic eight are sent under the Marconi system. Yet we are told that it is advisable for Australia to adopt the Telefunken system. Surely the reasons given are totally insufficient.

Senator Lynch. - I thought the honorable senator was opposed to monopoly?

Senator GIVENS. - It is not a question of having anything to do with a monopoly. We want to establish the best system.

Senator Lynch. - The Telefunken system must have some merits, or it would not be in use on all the German steamers.

Senator GIVENS.- The honorable senator talks about monopoly. The Marconi Company would have had no monopoly. They offered to sell to the Commonwealth Government all their patent rights for something like a reasonable and fair sum, and to give us a service which Australia would have used in common with all the other civilized countries of the world. I maintain that we ought not to be satisfied with anything less than the best.

Senator Millen. - The very fact that the German Government have accepted the Telefunken system for use in the German Navy might be a very good reason why we should not adopt it.

Senator GIVENS.- That strikes me as being a very reasonable remark. I asked the Government whether it was not a fact that the Telefunken system was essentially a short-range system, whilst the Marconi system was the only one which could be used for very long ranges - for distances over 1,200 miles, as specified in the contract. The Minister assured me that the Telefunken system was quite as capable of sending wireless messages over very long distances as the Marconi system. My information is, however, that the Telefunken system, as was insinuated in my question, is essentially a short-range system, and that the Marconi system is the only one which is efficient for very long ranges.

Senator Findley. - That is what persons interested in the Marconi system say.

Senator GIVENS. - Ido not know anybody connected with the Marconi system in any part of Australia.

Senator Findley. - I am not saying that the honorable senator does.

Senator GIVENS. - Nor have I received any communication from any one connected with the Marconi system.

Senator Findley. - Information does not come from Mars.

Senator GIVENS. - It is an interesting question - How did the Australian Wireless Company get this contract from the Commonwealth Government, and how were the conditions for the contract made out? The conditions, as a matter of fact, were made absolutely impossible of fulfilment by any wireless company.

Senator Vardon. - Who were the company which secured the contract from the Commonwealth Government?

Senator GIVENS. - I have here a list of the shareholders, which I shall be happy to show to any honorable senator. The principal shareholder - and I think the principal guarantor also - is Mr. H. R. Denison, one of the chief men in the Tobacco Combine. I do not know the names of the directors ; I have simply a list of the shareholders.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon. - What is the capital of the company ?

Senator GIVENS. - I have already explained that the company was formed with a total capital of£5,000 ;. but my information is that only£300 was paid up.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon. - I should say that, on the face of it, that fact condemns the bona fides of the company.

Senator GIVENS.- I have said that the conditions of contract were such that no wireless company could carry them out. The conditions were that the stations erected should be capable pf sending messages over 1,200 miles in any conditions of weather, and should also be capable of receiving messages in any weather conditions. As a matter of fact, there is no wireless system yet invented which can guarantee to receive messages over a distance of even 5 miles in all weathers; because the electrical disturbances at certain times are such that it is not possible to send wireless messages at all until the weather clears up. It is not possible to guarantee to send or receive wireless messages during thunder storms. But these people came forward and put in a tender which was very low compared with the tender of the Marconi Company. If the company were really a bonâ fide concern, why was the tender so very low? The answer is plain on the face of the thing. The tenders were issued for two stations only ; whereas it is a matter of notorious fact that if the Commonwealth of Australia is to be efficiently and well served with wireless telegraph stations, it must have at least twenty or thirty stations byandby. The company in question, therefore, tendered a very low price because they said to themselves, “ Once we get these stations established under our system, the Commonwealth will have to pay whatever price we like for other stations, because the Commonwealth will be compelled to have a uniform wireless system all over Australia.”

Senator Fraser. - The company had the Government in a hole.

Senator GIVENS. - The company could not have had the Commonwealth Government in a hole if the Government had kept their eyes open, and had gone about this matter in a business-like manner. The proper way to settle a matter of this kind would have been for the Commonwealth to take the right to establish other stations at not more than 25 per cent. advance on the price for the establishment of the stations for which the tenders were accepted. Thenthe Commonwealth could have proceeded to construct as many more stations as it liked.

Senator rae.-At schedule rates.

Senator GIVENS.- At schedule rates. That was a way to get over that difficulty.

Senator Sayers. - But the Government did not even try to get over it.

Senator GIVENS.- In the limited time at my disposal I cannot go into this matter at length. I have no desire to put the Government to any inconvenience or to make capital for any political party or individual out of it, but I say that the matter is of so much importance that it should command the attention of this House, and particularly of the Government, at the earliest possible moment. It is on the face of it a ridiculous state of affairs that a contract let seven months ago has not yet been signed, and that there is no possibility of it being signed in the near future, or of our being able to get out of the mess without severe loss. If the Commonwealth is to suffer a loss in connexion with this matter we had better submit to it straight away rather than delay the establishment of wireless telegraphy, which is a public convenience in every civilized country to-day. It is useless, apparently, for us to go on witha contract like that now under consideration. The trouble seems to have arisen from the fact that, in the first instance, the Commonwealth authorities did not know exactly what they wanted or where wireless stations should be established, nor did they know which was the best system to adopt, and they had no persons here competent to advise them in the matter with the exception of the officers of the Australian Squadron. In the circumstances, it is passing strange that the decided expression of opinion by Admiral Poore in favour of the adoption of the Marconi system was not acted upon, especially in view of the fact that the two Australian torpedo-boat destroyers now in our waters are fitted withthat system. Wireless communication can only be made between the two systems with great difficulty, in spite of the assurance of the Minister to the contrary. There is a legal difficulty in the way also, since the Marconi peopie object to the use of their system to communicate with stations in which the Telefunken system is installed, except in cases where such communication is necessary to relieve actual distress. It should not be forgotten that the Commonwealth vessels in which the Marconi system is installed will suffer from that limitation. Inall the circumstances we are entitled to a full explanation of the whole matter. It will require a good deal of explanation to satisfy any one why a contract let over seven months ago has not yet been signed, and we have no guarantee for the due performance of its conditions. I should like to know why such loose conditions and specifications were agreed to when the contract was let. I hope the Government will be able to give the information asked for, and that honorable senators will express a decided opinion in favour of having this very important matter cleared up.

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria- Honorary Minister) [3.3]. - Senator Givens in his opening remarks said, in effect, that there was a good deal of back-scratching between the present and the late PostmastersGeneral.

Senator Givens. - No, “ whitewashing.”

Senator FINDLEY. - It comes to the same thing. We were told that the pre sent Postmaster-General said kindly things of the late Postmaster-General, and that these were reciprocated by Sir John Quick. Let me say that the present PostmasterGeneral would be but a very poor man if he did not give credit where credit is due.

Senator Givens. - There is nothing but discredit due in connexion with this matter.

Senator FINDLEY. - It has been urged by certain honorable members in another place, and also by members of the Senate, that a wrong step was taken in the acceptance of a tender from an Australian company.

Senator Givens. - “ Made in Germany.”

Senator FINDLEY. - That is a very empty cry. I have as much regard for a German in Australia as for an Australian. I deprecate the attempt to introduce racial differences into the consideration of this matter.

Senator Millen. - The honorable senator raised the question.

Senator FINDLEY.- No, I did not. It was Senator Givens who said “ Made in Germany.”

Senator Givens. - In reply to the honorable senator’s statement.

Senator FINDLEY. - I do not know why the Marconi system should have been mentioned. It is not made in Australia. We are dealing in this matter with an Australian company composed, so far as I know, almost wholly of Australians. The names read out by Senator Givens are the names of well-known citizens.

Senator Givens. - I read out only one name.

Senator FINDLEY. - I thought the honorable senator also mentioned Mr. McLeod, of the Bulletin.

Senator Clemons. - They seem to have put up£300 between them.

Senator FINDLEY. - If any member of this Senate possessed as much wealth as one of these gentlemen is reputed to have, he would indeed be a wealthy man.

Senator Millen. - The gentlemen referred to will not be liable. It will be the£300 company.

Senator FINDLEY. - Senator Millen is evidently familiar with the company and its resources.

Senator McColl. - Let us have the reply.

Senator FINDLEY.- If the honorable senator will bear with me for a moment he will find that the reply will be given. There is nothing to conceal in connexion with this matter. The responsibility for the acceptance of the tender does not rest upon the present Government, since it was accepted by the previous Administration. Five tenders were received, and that of the Australian company for £4,150 was accepted. The tender of the Marconi Company was for £19,050.

Senator McColl. - Are not a number of privileges included?

Senator FINDLEY.- There is not one privilege named in the conditions of contract.

Senator Givens. - Can the Minister say why the present Government do not insist that something definite shall be done?

Senator FINDLEY.- The present Government have been doing all they possibly can in connexion with this matter. The fault for any delay in the matter does not lie altogether with the company whose tender has been accepted.

Senator Millen. - Why has the contract not been -signed?

Senator FINDLEY. - There are reasons for the delay in signing the contract. The Defence Department and the Admiralty were consulted before tenders were called. The Defence Department authorities agreed to the insertion in the contract of certain sites for wireless stations. When the tenders were received the Defence Department and Admiralty authorities dealt with them, and at their Conference no question as to the establishment of an inland site was raised. Later on, when the actual location of the site for the establishment came on for consideration, the Defence Department and Admiralty authorities stipulated for an inland station, and that was a departure from the original terms of the contract.

Senator Fraser. - The contract had not been signed. There is no contract until it is signed.

Senator FINDLEY.- I feel sure that Senator Fraser knows that the acceptance of a contract by any Commonwealth Department imposes a binding obligation upon that Department.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon. - Not until the contract is signed.

Senator FINDLEY.I am informed that the acceptance of the contract makes the Department liable. There has been a departure from the original conditions, not by the contractors, but by the Admiralty and Defence Department authorities.

Senator Millen. - Dates are important in this connexion. When was the alteration of the conditions proposed?

Senator FINDLEY.- In August last.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon. - Is not the acceptance of every tender conditional upon the contract being signed?

Senator FINDLEY. -The honorable senator has more knowledge of the law than I have, but I am afraid that the departmental authorities consider them. selves legally bound when they have accepted a contract. When the departure from the original conditions of the contract was proposed the Australian company informed the Department that it would involve additional labour and expenditure.

Senator Givens. - To the extent of 50 per cent.

Senator FINDLEY.- In the circumstances, they naturally felt disinclined to proceed with the contract.

Senator Givens. - Why does not the Government let them go then?

The PRESIDENT.- Order !

Senator FINDLEY. - The contractors, then asked for -additional payment, because of the departure from the original conditions. The departmental authorities consider that an additional payment of £2,000 would be fair in the circumstances, and that was granted.

Senator Givens. - Was the contract then signed ?

Senator FINDLEY. - The contract isnow being proceeded with, so far as Pennant Hills is concerned. The company are carrying out all that they undertake to carry out in respect to the Sydney contract. Some difficulty has arisen with respect to the site to be selected in Western Australia. The Admiralty and Defence - authorities have been at variance in regard to a suitable site there. The blame for delay, it will be seen, does not rest upon the contractors, nor altogether upon the Postmaster-General’s Department. I feel sure that every member of the Senate desires that the most suitable site in Australia shall be selected for the installation of this most necessary system. After all, the delay of a month or two is preferable to proceeding with the erection, of these wireless stations on sites which may afterwards be found to be altogether unsuitable. Senator Givens has complained that the information for which he sought was not given him in the replies which I, as the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral in the Senate, gave to the questions which he put to me yesterday. So far as I can follow those questions, the answers given to them are complete. If the honorable senator is unable to set out in the form of a question the information he desires, the fault lies with him, and not with the Department or myself.

Senator Givens. - If the honorable senator takes that line in future, he will hear all about it directly.

Senator FINDLEY. - Senator Givens said he would like to know how many stations throughout the world are fitted with the Telefunken system. I am not in a position to state the places throughout the world that are fitted with this system, but I am able to say that out of 1,800 wireless telegraph stations established throughout the world 800 are fitted with the Telefunken system.

Senator Lt. -Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - In what territory?

Senator Fraser. - They may all be in Germany.

Senator FINDLEY. - The departmental officer informs me that they are scattered throughout the world. There are some in Russia, in Germany, Belgium, and in other countries. All the main centres in Russia are fitted with this system, but I have not complete information as to the places in which it has been adopted. I wish to repeat that the responsibility for the acceptance of the tender does not rest with the present Government, because it was accepted by the last Administration, and if any unnecessary delay has taken place it is not due to any fault on the part of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. There have been differences of opinion on the part of the Admiralty and the Defence Department. So far as I can gather, the successful tenderers are disposed now, and have been disposed since the acceptance of their tender, to proceed with the works, and carry out the conditions specified. But owing to the site being taken outside the specified area, difficulties have arisen in respect to Sydney nnd Fremantle. The difficulty in regard to the Pennant Hills has been removed. The contract is being proceeded with, and it is hoped that it will be completed within a very short time.

Senator Givens. - Has a contract forthe Pennant Hills station been signed yet, and has a guarantee been signed?

Senator Guthrie. - Who is proceeding with the work - the contractor or the Government? The latter are laying the foundations.

Senator FINDLEY.- The departmental officer informs me that there is only one point to be settled before the contract is definitely signed, and that is the period in tvhich it should be completed.

Senator Millen. - Is that set out in the conditions of tender ?

Senator FINDLEY. - There was a time specified in the conditions, but owing to a departure being made from the conditions by the Admiralty and the Defence Department, the contractors asked for a reasonable time in which to complete the work. I feel sure that that additional time will, in justice to them, be conceded.

Senator Lt. -Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - But has a time been fixed yet?

Senator FINDLEY.- No; that question is under consideration. The Department is in communication with the contractors, and it is hoped that a date will be fixed within a week or so.

Senator Lt. -Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - It ought to have been fixed concurrently with the extra sum which was agreed to be paid.

Senator FINDLEY.- That has not been done.

Senator Clemons. - Is it the intention of the Department to complete the contract ?

**Senator FINDLEY.** - Yes, we have no reason to doubt the *bona fides* of the Australian company. There is a large disparity between the two tenders - over £15,000. **Senator** Millen. - It is not a disparity of£15,000, because, according to **Senator Givens,** one tender covers more than does the other. **Senator FINDLEY.-** I am told that it does not, and that the conditions are exactly the same. **Senator** Fraser. - We ought to have the papers before us, in order to judge for ourselves. **Senator FINDLEY.-** The departmental officer informs me that the conditions are exactly the same, and that the statement made by **Senator Givens** is incorrect. There is no reason for any grave anxiety on the part of honorable senators, because the work will be proceeded with as speedily as possible, and stations will be installed which will be suitable to the different localities, and, I hope, satisfactory to the constructing Department and to the citizens of the Commonwealth. **Senator MILLEN** (New South Wales) [3.19] - I venture to assert that nothing which has been said in this debate, and nothing which is likely to be said, can constitute such a caustic indictment of the officers of two Departments as did the reply of the Honorary Minister. In the first place, I wish to indorse **Senator Givens'** complaint in regard to replies which are furnished to the Senate. There is a practice for officers of Departments to take advantage of, perhaps, an ill-chosen word, the purpose of which is obvious enough, to give either a partial reply, or one which, in the circumstances, is misleading. Every honorable senator can recollect that a question has been asked, the meaning of which has been obvious, and that the reply which was put in the mouth of the Minister, and which took advantage of the phrasing in the question, caused a laugh. Why? SenatorO' Keefe. - Did the honorable senator, when he was a Minister, take steps to correct that? **Senator MILLEN.** - If the honorable senator wishes to know, I sent back answers. I am speaking as the result of my experience. I can only appeal to the Senate, which knows that what I am saying is correct, that more than once laughter has greeted the reply to a question. Why? Because it was recognised that the reply fenced with the question. SenatorO' Keefe. - It is time that we removed those officers. **Senator MILLEN.** - It is a practice which ought not to exist, and which certainly does not treat the Senate as it ought to be treated. **Senator Lynch.** - It is of no use to blame officers. **Senator MILLEN.** - A Minister cannot always watch a question which is handed in here in the afternoon. It is forwarded to his officer, and I venture to say that, in nine cases out of ten, he does not see the reply until he comes to the table here. **Senator McGregor.** - He has no right to give an answer which is wrong. **Senator MILLEN.** - He must give the answer. The PRESIDENT.- I hope that the honorable senator does not propose to enter into a long discussion of that question. **Senator MILLEN.** - I am finished, sir. Before I deal with the tender itself, I wish to refer to the question of the responsibility for its acceptance. There can be no doubt that the date fixes the responsibility on the previous Administration. But the facts which were known then are not those which are known to-day. **Senator Findley.** - They are exactly the same. **Senator MILLEN.** - We have received to-day a little information which shows that the facts which were then in the Government's mind are not those which are present to-day. **Senator Findley.** - The difficulties in regard to the site arose before the present. Government came into power. **Senator MILLEN.-** Whilst the responsibility for the acceptance of the tender was with the previous Ministry, everything which has, or has not, transpired since the end of April must, if there is to be any responsibility, rest with the present Ministry. Let us examine the Minister's statement. On the 4th April, a tender was accepted, and at the end of that month the present Administration came into power. Apparently, after that date, something transpired in reference to the selection of a site. I cannot conceive of a greater instance of departmental bungling than that disclosed by the Minister's statement today. Tenders were invited, apparently, in the most haphazard fashion - without the Department knowing where it intended to place the stations, and without a preliminary inquiry which would have elicited necessary information for inclusion in its invitation of tenders. This went on until August, when a site at Sydney was decided on, and an additional sum of £2,000 was offered to the contractors. **Senator Givens.** - And a contract was not signed then. **Senator MILLEN.** - It is not signed now, and, I understand that it need not be signed if **Mr. Denison** and his colleagues are not so disposed. It is two months and a half since the matter of the site was determined, and apparently we are not much nearer the completion of the contract, nor has a period for its completion been fixed. If there was a time when that ought to have been done, it was when the Ministry agreed to give the extra sum. Surely, when you undertake to revise a contract, and agree to pay a higher price because of additional work, or work which is alleged to be additional, that is the time to review the whole matter and the conditions of the contract. If there had been any business capacity, it is then that the Government would have asked, "If we are to pay you this additional sum, what time do you want for completing the contract?" That precaution was not taken. **Senator Givens.** - And " Are you prepared to sign it now, and to give us a guarantee? " **Senator MILLEN.** - I think it is quite clear that there has been no desire on the part of the company to sign the contract, or the guarantors to sign a bond. One of the gentlemen whose names have been given as guarantors has the reputation of being a man of wealth, but I can quite understand that he would hesitate to sign a guarantee bond for a company whose capital is to be counted by a few hundred pounds. It is immaterial that he is a shareholder in the company. It is a limited liability company, and, therefore, his liability is limited by the number of shares which he holds, but when he signs as a bondsman, his guarantee becomes a personal one, and it would be possible for the company to proceed against him. **Senator** Findley. - The honorable senator is assuming that he is indisposed to sign it. **Senator MILLEN.** - Why has he not done so ? I have ' not heard that he has kept Ministers awake clamouring at their premises for permission to sign a bond, nor has the Minister given an intimation that he has the assurance of these gentlemen that they are prepared to complete the contract. **Senator** Findley. - They are, but they want a reasonable time in which to do the work. **Senator MILLEN.-** Will the honorable senator tell me why the question of time was not settled when the increased price was arranged ? To my mind, the most deplorable announcement we had to-day was the intimation that the Government propose to go ahead with the work. I venture to say that, during the last few months, there has been a great deal brought to light in connexion with this matter. I believe that it would meet with the public approbation, and make for the advantage and safety of Australia, if the Government, even now, would terminate the work, even although it involved paying compensation to the company, and proceeding on the safe lines adopted by the British Naval authorities. **Senator** Findley. - Does the honorable senator say that we are not proceeding on safe lines? **Senator MILLEN.** - I venture to say that there are disabilities attached to this system which explain why it was adopted in Germany. **Senator** Findley. - What are the disabilities ? **Senator MILLEN.** - Germany naturally desired to have a system by means of' which it would not be so easy as it would be with the Marconi system to interchange messages with other war-ships. The same thing appeals to us here. Apparently, it appealed to Admiral Poore to have a system which was not essentially that of one of our potential enemies. I think that, in putting that forward, Admiral Poore implied more than he said. It must be an advantage to have the Marconi system. **Senator** Findley. - Since all messages are sent in code in war time, what difference does it make? **Senator MILLEN.** - Given enough messages, I undertake to decipher any code you like. I can understand that in the Defence Department there is set out a means of deciphering any code which you happen to drop across. ' It would have been a great advantage if Australia had adopted the system which prevails, not only in the British Navy, but in our own Navy. That is the explanation why the Australian Company tendered at such a ridiculously low price. I am inclined to think that if we looked into the tenders it would be found that the Marconi Company offered something in connexion with the patent rights which was absent in the case of the other company. But, if that was not so, a sinister aspect attaches to the matter. I am not prepared to believe that there is a difference of ^15,000 in a genuine offer under the system. If it undertook to supply the same material and service, it is obvious to be that the buffer' company - the company which stands between the German manufacturer and ourselves - submitted a price knowing that if we installed one Telefunken station we should have committed Australia to that system. **Senator** Lynch. - If it is obvious to the honorable senator now, it is strange that it was not obvious to his colleagues in the late Ministry. **Senator MILLEN.** - If I have said anything which reflects on a colleague in the late Ministry, I can only say that, if any responsibility is to be apportioned in connexion with this matter, the late Ministry must take their share of it. I am speaking in the light of to-day, not of months ago. **Senator** Lynch. - I suppose that the honorable senator reasoned the matter out in this way when he decided to accept the tender. **Senator MILLEN.** - I was laid up at the time. But we are speaking to-day with a knowledge which was not then current. To-day we are confronted with this question : " Because a mistake has been' made, shall we persist in the adoption of a system which we have reason to doubt is the best for Australia?" My own judgment is that the Marconi system would be worth infinitely more to the Commonwealth than would the Telefunken system. I regret that the Government have not taken the bold step of declaring that they propose to cancel the contract into which they have entered, to pay the contractors the compensation to which they are entitled, and to establish the wireless system which is in vogue in the British Navy. **Senator GARDINER** (New South Wales) [3.31]. - **Senator Givens** is to be congratulated upon having brought this matter under the notice of the Senate. Whilst I recognise that it is the duty of the Minister to defend his Department, I cannot avoid saying that his defence, in at least two phases of it, was somewhat weak. Misleading answers should never be supplied by any departmental officer to Parliament through a Minister. The sooner Ministers recognise the wisdom of taking up a firm stand in reference to such matters the better. The answers supplied to the questions put by **Senator Givens** were undoubtedly misleading, and I hope that we have witnessed the last of that sort of thing in this- Chamber. I' do not intend to discuss which Government is to blame for having entered into contracts for the adoption of the Telefunken system. If that system be not a proper one to install in Australia, undoubtedly ' the responsibility rests with the Postmaster-General who accepted those, contracts. But, in the light of recent events, it is patent to everybody that a bungle has been made, and there is even a suspicion of something worse than bungling. I am told that an additional £2,000 is to be paid to the contractors for erecting a wireless telegraph station at Pennant Hills instead of at South Head. I know something about the erection of buildings, and I should very much like to be paid an extra £2,000 for erecting a building at Pennant Hills instead of at South Head. If I also had the right to proceed with the work, notwithstanding that no contract had been signed, I should be upon velvet. This contract savours very much of a system which is in vogue in America, under which options are granted to companies. Many of these companies practically build themselves up upon these options or franchises. It may be that the wealth of one gentleman who is associated with the company to which the contract has been let is a guarantee of its good faith. Personally, I am not acquainted with him, though I have seen his name mentioned in the public prints. But in dealing with contracts, everything should be done in a business-like way - in a way that is safe alike to the Commonwealth and the contractors. If our officers cannot prepare contracts in such a way as will insure that they shall be carried out within a reasonable period, it is time that they were displaced, and that the services of new men were requisitioned. , I am altogether dissatisfied with the present condition of this contract, and with the action of the Government in connexion with it. Now is the time for the Ministry to take up a firm stand, even if by doing so they involve the Commonwealth in a small loss. I venture to say that a loss of £5,000 or £6,000 will be regarded as insignificant if it prevents the Commonwealth from sustaining a greater loss hereafter, and from incurring serious danger in the future. I trust that the Government will initiate the strictest inquiry into all the conditions sur* rounding, not merely the contract, but the contracting company itself. If it be a *bond fide* company, let the work proceed in a business-like way. But if, after a contract has been let without it being signed, the Government can increase the amount of that. contract by £2,000, where is the matter to end? I am somewhat astounded that the Government do not appreciate the magnitude of such a step. Private individuals do not do that sort of thing. Having entered my protest against the deplorable condition which at present obtains in regard to these contracts. I will resume my seat. **Senator DE** LARGIE (Western Australia) [3.37]. - When this matter was first mentioned to-day I was under the impression that a great blunder had been committed. But since glancing at a book bearing upon the subject, my view has been considerably modified. I find that the Telefunken system is much better established than I thought it was. We must recollect, too, that wireless telegraphy is a new science, and that as yet it is in its infancy. In these circumstances, it is difficult to say which system is the best one. **Senator** Fraser. - But one system is thoroughly established. **Senator DE** LARGIE.- Quite a number of systems are established. From the remarks of **Senator Givens,** one would be led to believe that only a single system has been properly established throughout the world. But that is not so. Even in Great Britain itself no fewer than three different systems are in use. The cry, therefore, that our Navy will be able to use only one system is sheer nonsense. As a matter of fact, the Marconi, the de Forrest, and the Lodge-Muirhe'ad systems are already established in Great Britain. **Senator** Givens. - Is the Telefunken system established anywhere in Great Britain ? **Senator DE** LARGIE.- I do not think that it is, but there are no less than three different systems established there. I would also remind **Senator Givens** that the Telefunken system has been installed at twentystations in Russia, at thirteen in Austria., at nine in Denmark, at five in Spain, at thirteen in Norway, at fifteen in Holland, and one hundred and fifteen in Germany, and at one in South America. Therefore, it is not the partiallyestablished system which the honorable senator claims it to be. **Senator** Givens. - My point is that it is not the best system for Australia. **Senator DE** LARGIE.- I am not able to determine the respective merits of the various systems. Nor do I think that **Senator Givens** can enlighten us upon that matter. **Senator** Givens. - I do not know which is the best system, but I do know that there ought to be uniformity in the matter. **Senator DE** LARGIE. - There is no uniformity in the matterof wireless telegraphy. Even in Germany there are more systems in use than the Telefunken system, although the latter is the most firmly established. We must remember, too, that an attempt was made to establish a system of wireless telegraphy in Australia some years ago. But nothing came of it, because the Government of the day did not regard the time as ripe for the installation of such a system. But suddenly a cry was raised that the Commonwealth was behind the times, and consequently an attempt was made to establish a wireless system in Australia. When we recollect that a preference has been given to an Australian company, I do not think it can be urged that anything very wrong has been done. **Senator** Findley. - Especially when the Admiralty nominated a man upon whose suggestion the tender was accepted. **Senator DE** LARGIE. - The fact that our Defence Department approved of what has been done- **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir** Albert Gould. -When ? **Senator DE** LARGIE.- We heard the statement from the Honorary Minister just now. **Senator** Fraser. - It looks as if the company had been created to exploit the Commonwealth. **Senator DE** LARGIE. - I do not know that. The fact that it is an Australian company is evidence that the Government did a right thing in accepting its tender. Whether the Telefunken system is better or worse than is the Marconi, I am unable to say. Nor is any other honorable senator in a position to speak in a dogmatic way upon this question. **Senator** Givens. - It is the delay which has taken place, and the mess which exists to-day of which I complain. **Senator** Lynch. - Is it not better that we should have delay than that wireless stations should be erected in unsuitable places ? **Senator DE** LARGIE.- Certainly. If the Government choose to alter the conditions of a contract after it has been entered into, they must expect to be called upon to pay an additional price. **Senator** Givens. - Have we any guarantee that the contract will be carried out ? **Senator DE** LARGIE. - I think we have sufficient confidence in our officers to warrant us in assuming that it will be done. **Senator** Givens. - The alteration in the contract was made, in August, but nothing has yet been done. **Senator DE** LARGIE.- And if nothing is done for a few months no great calamity will overtake the Commonwealth. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON (South Australia) [3.44]. - I am not prepared to express any opinion upon the relative merits of the system which is known by the euphonious name of the Telefunken, and of the Marconi system. But as one who has observed the great advance which has taken place in wireless telegraphy during recent years, it seems extraordinary that we should adopt a system which owes its use and its credit to Germany and Russia. **Senator** Findley. - We are doing it on the representations and advice of the Admiralty, the Defence Department, and the Post and Telegraph Department. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- That is not what I have gathered from this debate. It has been reported that the Admiral on the Australian Station held a different view. But I did think that it was a very extraordinary thing that we should adopt a system which has been adopted on German war-ships and mercantile vessels rather than a system which has been adopted by the British Navy and generally by the British mercantile marine. Of course, I do not pretend to pit my view on the relative merits of these scientific systems against the views of experts ; but I should think that there are good reasons for adopting the system which is in use in Great Britain and on practically all British vessels rather than a system which is used by certain great Continental Powers, and especially by one Continental Power with which at present Great Britain is engaged in naval rivalry that we all hope may not lead to any bitterness or to consequences that would be greatly deplored throughout the world. **Senator McGregor.** - Does the honorable senator think that Germany would adopt a system if it were not up-to-date? **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- I do not think that Germany would. But, at the same time, we ought not to adopt a system which would permit of messages being easily interchanged between German vessels and our shores rather than a system which would render it more difficult for such messages to be interchanged. I do not, however, wish to enter into that matter further, but there are several things in connexion with the subject which have struck me very forcibly. Some of them have been alluded, to in strong terms by **Senator Gardiner.** The first is that 1 cannot understand the position taken up by **Senator de** Largie, that it is much better to have delay than to choose a site that might be found to be inappropriate. In the next place, it is said that we are now in a position which binds us to adopt the Telefunken system, and that it is impossible for us to extricate ourselves from the difficulty, if we happen to be in a difficulty. The next point is that we have entered into business relations with an Australian company, "and that we ought, I suppose, to be blind to its demerits and dumb in regard to our opinions concerning it. **Senator McGregor.** - No one ever said anything of the kind. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- Then I do not know why these references to an Australian company should be repeated over and over again. It does not seem to me to be material whether the company is established in Australia or anywhere else. **Senator McGregor.** - It must not have a German name! **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- If the conditions attached to this work are wrong, and if the whole of the circumstances show that there has been a gross muddle, and that the public interests of the Commonwealth have been disregarded, it is perfectly immaterial to me whether it is an Australian company that is concerned or whether it is not. **Senator Givens.** - This is an Australian company with an imported article. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- It does seem a very extraordinary thing, as **Senator Millen** has pointed out, that there should be a difference of about £15,000 in reference to this comparatively small job. I cannot understand it. It strikes me that there- must be something wrong. It suggests, as has been said by an honorable member in another place, that there must be " something fishy " about the position. That view is supported by the great delay which has taken place because of the alteration of the position of the Sydney station. Either this company has entered into the arrangement without any intention of carrying it out, or else, having entered into an unprofitable bargain, the company does not wish to go on with it and desires to escape from its obligation. There must be some reason why this delay of nine months has taken place since the tender was accepted, and why no progress has been made with this pressing public work. But there is another thing that I should like to say. My honorable friend **Senator Findley** emphasized the point that the Commonwealth is bound to go on with this business. I suggested that, in my experience, when a tender was invited and accepted the acceptance was always conditional upon an agreement or formal contract being solemnly entered into. I have been furnished with a copy of the printed conditions of tender, and they show quite plainly that it was intended - and I think the late Government are to be congratulated on not having departed from the ordinary conditions of tenter - that a formal agreement or contract should be entered into afterwards. That has not been done. This is the ordinary form of tender applying to the carrying out of public works. Under it the tenderer undertakes to enter into a bond in a form approved by the Postmaster-General for the due fulfilment of the contract. Can any one deny that there must have been the grossest carelessness somewhere in view of the fact that a tender of this kind for a work of pressing importance should have been left in this inchoate and indefinite state for nine months without the contract having been - as far as I know - prepared, or the signatures of the persons concerned having been obtained? The first thing that strikes one is the disparity in the prices. We have not got all the papers, but it is perfectly obvious that the Marconi contract must have been for more efficient work or for a better service, or for entering into an arrangement which the other people did not take into account. **Senator** Findley. - Five tenders were sent in, and three out of the five were a third lower than the tender of the Marconi Company. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- We have not the papers before us, and, therefore, we are not able to form an opinion on that point. The second thing is that throughout this form of tender it is stated that there is to be an agreement, a formal contract, between the parties. That has not been entered into. The next thing is that it was specially stipulated that there should be a bond or guarantee. This guarantee was to be entered into and completed to the satisfaction- of the PostmasterGeneral within fourteen days after the receipt of notice that the bond and agreement were ready for signature. Was that done? Has that notice been given? Has that bond ever been prepared? Has the agreement been prepared? Has the intimation been given? **Senator** Findley. - Yes, the agreement was prepared. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- Was notice given to the contractors to complete the agreement within fourteen days? **Senator** Findley. - Yes, but the question of site was then raised, and that altered the conditions of the contract. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- Another question then arises. Has notice been given since the point about the site was disposed of in August? **Senator** Findley. - Yes. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- That was three months ago - six months after this guarantee ought to have been signed. **Senator** Findley. - The company have been granted ,£2,000 additional because of the alteration of the site. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- Why have they not signed the contract? **Senator** Findley. - I believe the Department is negotiating with them now, and the contract will be effectively signed within a few days. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- Negotiating what for? I am greatly obliged to my honorable friend for the information ! **Senator** Findley. - I may as well make myself quite clear by saying what I mean by "negotiations." The Government are in communication with the contractors with respect to the time for the completion of the work. That is the only difference that exists now, and when reasonable time has been given the contract will be signed. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- I was about to say, " How long, 0 Lord, how long," are these negotiations to go on? When will the guarantors sign the guarantee? May I also tell my honorable friend that these conditions of tender, when advertised nine months ago, provided for the time allowed for the completion of work ? **Senator** Findley. - For a particular site. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- I will point out something as to the site in a moment. But surely it is not a businesslike thing to allow three months to elapse since the site was determined, and since the £2,000 concession was given to the contractors, before they are asked to sign the guarantee. The Government have absolutely nothing to show. They are entirely in the hands of the contractors, as to whether the contract shall be carried out or not. If the contractors are humbugging the Government in respect of the time allowed them, and the guarantor says, " I am sick of this thing," there is nothing binding upon the contractors. They have not even been notified to come and sign the bond. **Senator** McGregor. - Then the Commonwealth does not need to pay any money to them. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON. - That is a pretty explanation ! That is a pretty excuse for a muddled contract ! We wait nine months for a person to enter upon a work which is in the public interest, and which is believed to be necessary for the defence of Australia ; and then, after waiting that time, and being humbugged by the contractors, the representative of the Government says, " It does not matter whether they back out of the contract or not, because, if they do, we shall not have to pay them any money." Surely that is a peculiar way of doing business. The next thing in regard to this contract is that the conditions of tender stipulate that within fourteen days after the receipt of notice from the PostmasterGeneral that the bond and guarantee are ready for signature, they shall be signed. That notice was given nine months ago. The matter should have been settled then. But the contractors extracted £2,000 more - over 50 per cent, above the original price - from the Government, and having secured that they humbug three months longer as to the time of completion. Then the conditions go on to say that there is to be a bond of two approved sureties. As far as I know, one of the sureties mentioned is a capable man. But he is also capable of looking after his own interests, and may decline to- sign the guarantee in the present unsettled condition of affairs. But there is one other important question, and that is the alteration of the site. I take leave to say that the Government have been robbed in having agreed to pay that £2,000. There is not a single word in these conditions in regard to the site which entitles the contractors to any compensation whatever for any change of the kind. In fact, no site is stipulated at all. The Government have simply been humbugged. The paragraph states that it is left to the tenderers or contractors to suggest the exact location of each station, but that the final decision must rest with the Government. The following conditions are, however, given as an indication of the principal requirements. The station at Sydney was to be located between the South Head, at the entrance of Sydney Harbor, and Botany Bay, or in the vicinity of the North Head, at the entrance of Sydney Harbor. That is wide enough. **Senator Lt. -Colonel Sir** Albert Gould. It is a very limited area all the same. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON.- The advertisement continues - ' In arriving at a decision as to the exact location of a station the Government will give careful consideration to any representation made by the tenderers. Preference will be given to sites which are easy of access and adjacent to existing telegraph land lines, and within easy reach of some settled township. The undertaking is only that preference will be given in certain circumstances to certain sites. The PRESIDENT. - The honorable senator's time has expired. **Senator Sir** Josiah Symon.- That is all I desired to say. **Senator** Findley. - The honorable senator has answered himself. The authorities went beyond these conditions. **Senator Sir** Josiah Symon. - But the company would be under no additional expense, as the buildings were all to be put up by the Government. **Senator McGREGOR** (South Australia - Vice-President of the Executive Council) [4.2]. - Before the question is put, I should like to remark that I consider that it was a very mean thing on the part of the Leader of the Opposition to say that, because he happened to be ill at the time when the Government of which he was a member decided a certain question, he was relieved from any responsibility in respect of that decision. **Senator** Millen. - I did not say so. **Senator McGREGOR.-** In reply to an interjection, the honorable senator said that he was ill at the time, and was therefore not responsible. **Senator** Millen. - Nonsense. The PRESIDENT.- I hope the VicePresident of the Executive Council will not pursue that line of argument. **Senator** Findley. - The Leader of the Opposition wished to relieve himself of responsibility because he was sick. **Senator** Millen. - I did not want to do anything of the sort. **Senator McGREGOR.-** I do not intend to pursue that line of argument, but I wished to direct attention to the inconsistencies of the Leader of the Opposition. If any member of the Senate is a member of the Government he is responsible for all the actions taken by that Government, whether he is sick or well. **Senator** Millen. - Quite right; that is what I said. **Senator McGREGOR.-** That is all I wish to say on that question. With respect to the argument of **Senator Symon,** that this, that, and the other should have been done, let me say that the honorable senator has replied to himself. He has mentioned an area which was set down in the conditions of contract, and it was decided by the Defence and Admiralty authorities that there was no suitable site for a wireless telegraph station within that area. As to the objection urged by some honorable senators, and particularly by those two learned gentlemen, Senators Symon and Givens, to the Telefunken system, let me say that it is a euphonious term, and there would appear to be something in a name after all. **Senator** Vardon. - We are all " funking " it now. **Senator McGREGOR.** - Some people are " funking " it, but I do not think the Government or the officers of the Post and Telegraph Department have any need to funk it. Difficulties have arisen, and they have beenexplained. When I tell honorable senators that it is fairly well known that after three years' experiments the American Navy are about to adopt the Telefunken system, and that a very large station in which that system will be installed is to be erected in New York, the information will probably relieve their minds to some extent. It cannot be such a bad system after all. I challenge any member of the Senate to make all the inquiries he pleases, and he will find that the Marconi and the Telefunken systems are the two most generally recognised. When we remember that a country like Germany, that attaches as much importance to the perfection of all its utilities as any other country in the world, has adopted this system, it is surely some guarantee that it is a good system. Russia. I dare say, is as great as any other country, and her authorities as wise and judicious, and her adoption of the Telefunken system is a further guarantee that it is generally recognised as a good system. I can leave out of consideration Austria, Belgium, Holland, and other countries that have adopted the system. Honorable senators must recognise that there are wise men in the countries to which I have referred, as well as in Great Britain, or even in Australia. When the people of these countries have adopted this system,. Australia will not make a very serious mistake in adopting it. **Senator** Givens. - Why have we not installed that system on our two torpedoboat destroyers? **Senator McGREGOR.** - The honorable senator knows everything. **Senator** Givens. - I am merely asking a question. I want a little more information. **Senator McGREGOR.-** Of what use is it for the honorable senator to ask questions when no answer given satisfies him? It would be better for his own sake that he should never ask any questions, because he repeatedly declares that he never receives answers that satisfy him. In the circumstances, I should prefer that he would not ask me any questions. I wish to inform honorable senators that there is no difficulty in the interchange of messages between different systems of wireless telegraphy. No country would adopt a system which was not interchangeable with the system adopted by other countries. It is because the Telefunken system can be interchanged with other systems that it has been adopted by the countries in which it is used. Thisis probably the reason why the Postmaster-General of the last Government and his advisers thought it well to adopt the Telefunken system. They knew that with it communication would: be interchangeable with other systems, and that no difficulty would arise from the fact that Australia had adopted the Telefunken, and Great Britain the Marconi, or the other two systems mentioned by **Senator de** Largie. But honorable senators must have something to talk about. The session is coming to a close, and, apparently, they have not said enough' already, and so this or the last Government must suffer from an infliction of the kind at the close of the session. I believe that the late Government did the best they could in the circumstances, and the present Government, in taking over the responsibility, have done the best they could ever since. **Senator** Givens. - It is a very bad best. **Senator McGREGOR.** - I am not aware that anything which **Senator Givens** has ever taken in hand has been much more successful. He should not begin to throw stones, and should remember that other people may be actuated by as good intentions as those by which he is actuated himself **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [4.9].- The great object we wish to attain is to discover where the truth lies in reference to this business. So far as I can see, there is very little evidence to justify insinuations of anything of an improper character in connexion with the matter. At the same time, we have so far received no satisfactory explanation from the Government. Tenders appear to have been invited for the erection of these stations in particular localities. A certain number of tenders were received, and one was accepted. Some time later it was discovered that the site selected for the erection of a station was not suitable, and should be changed. One would have thought that previous to the selection of the sites in the first instance the officers of the Department would have consulted with the naval and military authorities to ascertain whether they had any objection to sites suggested by the Department, or were prepared to suggest sites themselves. It is patent that any wireless station established on the coast of Australia should be in a place safe from attack by any foreign Power. **Senator Findley.** - The Admiralty and the Defence Department were consulted, and approved of the area laid down in Sydney in the original conditions of contract, but they afterwards found that it was unsuitable for the erection of a station. **Senator Lt. -Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - Am I to understand that the Admiralty authorities and the Defence authorities stated that they were satisfied that a suitable place for the erection of a station was between South Head . and Botany Bay, or on North Head or its immediate locality?.. If so,. I should like to know whether that was approved, not merely by the local authorities, but by the Admiral on the Station? If the Imperial authorities, as represented by the Admiral on the Station, were consulted, the Senate would like to know when it dawned upon those concerned that it was necessary to make a change. If the papers were laid on the table they would not, I think, disclose that the Admiral on the Station gave any authoritative opinion that a suitable site could be found between North Head and Botany Bay. **Senator Findley.** - They were consulted before tenders were called, and expressed approval of a site. After a tender was accepted, they disapproved of that site, and suggested another area. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - When the Government determined upon the selection of a new site they should have come to a definite understanding with the tenderers as to how that would affect the conditions of the contract, especially in regard to the time limit for the construction of the work. An alteration of the proposed site involved an abandonment of all the original conditions of the contract, and before the Government agreed to pay the successful tenderer an additional sum of money new conditions should have been determined upon, so that no difficulty might arise later. The Government, by their action, placed themselves in a position of very great difficulty, and I imagine that if they went into the law Courts they would find that certain portions of the specifications would not be worth the paper on which they are written. **Senator Findley.** - How can the Government be held responsible? **Senator Lt. -Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - They were responsible for the negotiations with the tenderers. We may have the best scientific experts in a Department, but if they do not understand the business aspect of a proposal the Government may very easily be led into .a difficulty. **Senator Findley.** - The difficulty was due to the change in the area for the selection of a site. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - That involved an alteration in the original terms of the contract, and the Government should have insisted upon a definite agreement with the contractor as to the time within which the work was to be performed, and how far the conditions of the specifications were to be applicable. **Senator Findley.** - That is being done. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - It should have been done when the agreement was being made as to the additional amount to be paid. What is the position to-day? We do not know when the work is to be carried out. As to the system to be adopted, are we to adopt this German system, or the system universally adopted by the Empire to which we belong? **Senator Findley.** - We ought to adopt the system recommended by those who have been appointed to advise us. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - I should be prepared to follow the Imperial authorities on a question of this kind in preference to any experts in Australia. **Senator Findley.** - The honorable senator will pardon me for reminding him that on a Conference of three that determined the matter there was a representative nominated by the British Admiralty. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - Was it not rather a matter of concurring with the desire forced upon him for the adoption of a particular system? **Senator Givens.** - There was merely a negative report that there was no particular objection to the Telefunken system. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD.- Just so. **Senator McGregor** has told us that communication may be exchanged between the Telefunken and Marconi system. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that that is all correct; is it not very much better for us to be guided by the experience of the Imperial authorities, and to adopt the system which has been adopted by the Imperial Navy, and by the bulk of the mercantile marine of Great Britain? The Telefunken system may be a very good one, but it is not adopted by our own nation and countrymen. Its use is confined to a comparatively limited area. It is used in Russia, Germany, Austria, and possibly one or two other continental countries. **Senator** de Largie. - In Norway, Spain, and South America. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - I shall assume, if the honorable senator likes, that it is used throughout Europe. He will find that there are special reasons why these continental countries should have the one system. They are all likely to have interchange of communication, but they have no great oversea dominions to instal with a system, as has the United Kingdom. **Senator** Findley. - Forty-four per cent. of the stations in the world is a big percentage. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** COULD. - We have asked where these stations are established, but we cannot get any satisfactory information on the subject. If they are all established on the Continent, that does not justify the Government in departing from the system adopted by the Admiralty. **Senator** Givens. - Forty-one of the biggest steam-ship companies in the world have the Marconi system. **Senator** Findley. - That does not prove anything. **Senator** Givens. - Even some of the German lines use that system. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - The matter is in an inchoate state. The whole business seems to have been bungled. Once a foreign system is introduced, it will have to be adopted throughout Australia. **Senator** Findley. - Not necessarily. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - But probably. It would be far better to adopt a system which has stood the test of time as far as it has gone, and has everything to commend it to us. I admit that there is a great difference in regard to the prices, but until the papers are furnished it is quite impossible for the Senate to know the cause for the difference. **Senator** de Largie. - There would have been a nice hue-and-cry if the highest tender had been accepted. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - The papers ought to be submitted to enable us to form an opinion as to the relative merits of the two systems and the business aptitude displayed by the Government. Some stress has been laid on the fact that it is an Australian company which sent in the lowest tender, and that, therefore, it ought to have some advantage. The Telefunken system is a German one. I dare say that the gentlemen who formed the Australian company arranged with the patentees to have the rights in Australia, and, therefore, they put in a tender to install the system. It is one which has been developed and worked in countries outside Australia. If we are to choose between two systems - one which comes from a foreign power and one which comes from our own country - which ought we to adopt ? **Senator** de Largie. - Do you say that the Marconi system is a purely British affair ? **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - No; it is a British-speaking affair. It is owned in America and England. **Senator** de Largie. - It sounds very much like maccaroni. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - It would be a good thing if the Government would call a halt and reconsider the whole question. It is perfectly true that if that course were taken, and another system adopted, the gentlemen whose tender has been accepted would be entitled to compensation, but it would be far better to compensate them, even to the amount of the contract, than to introduce a system which probably would not prove the most suitable for our requirements. **Senator Lt.-Colonel** CAMERON (Tasmania) [4.22]. - I congratulate **Senator Givens** on having brought forward this very important question. If there is anything which appeals to my mind, it is the absence of information on the subject, not only on the part of the Government, but on the part of honorable senators. I do not claim to possess much knowledge, but I do remember that when the wireless telegraph system became a practicable utility, the Marconi and Telefunken systems - which were then the two most prominent ones - were considered by a Commission composed of the representatives of the leading nations in the world. It was decided then and there that the Marconi and Telefunken systems could be utilized for separate purposes, so as not to be made interchangeable. Whether they could be made interchangeable is quite another matter. On this ground, the Telefunken system was adopted by the German nation, and the Marconi system was adopted by our own people for purposes connected more particularly with marine questions and great questions of naval warfare. It is for this reason that I ask the Government to be a little more careful before they adopt a Continental system in preference to our own system. I think that in the volubility of the conversation which goes on here it is forgotten that Australia could be very easily isolated in a time of national crisis. The cables could be cut. Surely if there is anything which can appeal to the spirit of Australia it must be the necessity of having means of communication with our Royal Navy. If our instruments were attuned to the Telefunken system andthe Royal Navy to the Marconi system, we should be in darkness. That is, I think, a point which the Government might very well pause to consider, and also whether it is not advisable to work in harmony with the Admiralty. I understand from views he has expressed in public that Admiral Poore thinks that we ought to adopt the Marconi system. **Senator GIVENS** (Queensland) [4.26]. - In bringing up this matter I complained, and very justly, I think, that the information supplied in answer to questions by honorable senators was not of that frank and ingenuous character which they had a right to expect. The Minister defended the Department by a cheap sneer. He said that if an honorable senator could not frame his questions in such a way as to elicit full replies that was his look-out. Without being in any way egotistical, I think that I can match my intelligence against the Honorary Minister's at any time. **Senator Findley.** - Hear, hear; I was not referring to that. **Senator GIVENS.** - Then why was a cheap sneer indulged in ? I want to show the Minister that his reply on this matter was neither frank nor ingenuous, but quite the contrary, and that in trying to inform the Senate he gave information which was entirely of a misleading character. It is within the knowledge of those who have listened to the debate that he said that the matter in regard to the Pennant Hills station, near Sydney, was now fixed up, and that work was being proceeded with. **Senator Findley.** - When did I say that? **Senator GIVENS.** - In the course of your speech. **Senator Findley.** - Work is being proceeded with. **Senator GIVENS.-** The Minister led honorable senators to believe that a contract was fixed up, and that the contractors were proceeding with the work. I ask him now if the contractors are proceeding with any work there? **Senator Findley.** - They are proceeding, with work. **Senator GIVENS.** - I venture to say that they are not spending a sixpence or doing a particle of work there. All the work there is being done by the Government in preparation. SenatorFindley.- The contractors are doing some. **Senator GIVENS.** - We have not altogether to thank departmental officers for inaccurate or misleading replies when the Minister will try to mislead the Senate on an important question of this kind. **Senator Findley.** - I did not do anything of the kind. **Senator GIVENS.-** When the VicePresident of the Executive Council spoke in high terms of the Telefunken system - I do not know that it deserves all the high praise that he gave to it - I asked him by way of interjection, if it was so very superior as he suggested, why was it not adopted for the Australian torpedo-boats ? Instead of giving a frank and. ingenuous answer, as one would have a right to expect, he did not give any answer, but merely shuffled with the question and indulged in a cheap sneer. **Senator McGregor.** - I did not hear you mention the torpedo-boats. **Senator GIVENS.** - I am sorry that I referred to the incident if the honorable senator did not understand what I said. 1 shall let it go at that. Whatever may be the merits or demerits of the rival systems, we should have uniformity. It is of no use to have a Telefunken station here and a ship with a Marconi system 100 or 1,000 miles away, and a Telefunken system there and a Marconi system somewhere else. We want a uniform system, not only in Australia, but on the ships which will have to communicate with our stations. **Senator** de Largie. - Will you say that the apparatus which is on the torpedo-boats cannot communicate with a Telefunken station ? **Senator GIVENS.** - I am borne out by the military knowledge of **Senator Cameron,** who remembers a conference in which it was pointed out that the advantage to a country in adopting the Telefunken or Marconi system was that they could be rendered non-communicable with each other. **Senator** Findley. - The honorable senator is entirely wrong, because the conditions specifically lay it down that they must be able to communicate with the different stations. **Senator GIVENS.** - The honorable senator forgets that the Marconi people have a distinct condition in their agreement with companies using their patent that there shall not be communication except in case of actual distress. **Senator** Findley. - That is not so. Marconi stations will receive and send communications. **Senator GIVENS.-** But will ships? **Senator** Findley. - Yes. **Senator** Millen. - The point raised by **Senator Cameron** was not that the two systems cannot communicate with each other, but that you can make them noncommunicable. **Senator GIVENS-** Exactly.According to the information in my possession, it is a fact that vessels which are fitted with the Marconi system are prevented from exchanging communications with vessels or stations fitted with any other system except in cases of actual distress. Then what is the use of installing the Telefunken system in Australia, seeing that all the vessels which trade here are fitted with the Marconi system? The vessels of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, of the Orient Steam-ship Company, of the NordDeutscher Lloyd Line, of the Union Castle Line, of the Aberdeen Line, and of the White Star Line are all fitted with the Marconi system. Indeed, with the exception of the German Mail Line, all the boats trading to Australia have installed that system. Another strong point is that our own torpedo boats are fitted with it. It is plain that we should make up our minds to adopt either one systemor the other, and thus secure uniformity throughout the Commonwealth. **Senator** Findley. - There is no advantage in uniformity. **Senator GIVENS.** - Does the Honorary Minister mean to tell me that the British Government have not adopted a uniform system ? **Senator** de Largie. - They have adopted three systems. **Senator GIVENS.** - They have done nothing of the kind. All the stations of Lloyd's, that great marine insurance corporation in Great Britain, are fitted with the Marconi system, as are all the postoffices in Great Britain which are possessed of wireless installations. The same remark is applicable to the lighthouses. All the wireless telegraph stations in Canada have installed the Marconi system. **Senator** de Largie. - The PostmasterGeneral of Great Britain has accepted tenders for the installation of three different systems. **Senator GIVENS.-** The honorable senator cannot point to a single station in Great Britain which is fitted with any other system but the Marconi, or a modification of it. **Senator** de Largie. - I have already mentioned three different systems which are installed in Great Britain. **Senator GIVENS.-** They may be worked by private individuals. **Senator** Millen. - Where is the authority for the statement that the British Government have established three different systems ? **Senator GIVENS.** - I cannot get that information from **Senator de** Largie. I was told the other day, in answer to a question, that it was not a fact that the vessels of the British Navy are fitted with the Marconi system. Yet we all know that it is a fact. But the gravamen of my complaint is that a complete muddle has been made in the matter of letting these contracts. They were let on the 4th April last, but, as the Honorary Minister has explained, there has been some dispute or delay in the matter of deciding upon the best possible sites for the proposed stations. The best site for one of those stations was determined in August last, and yet, although the Government have agreed to pay the contractors an additional £2,000 for undertaking its erection, the Commonwealth has no guarantee that the work will be proceeded with. **Senator** McDougall. - Perhaps it is better that it should not be proceeded with. **Senator GIVENS.-** That may be so. But from a humane stand-point - from the stand-point of life-saving - it is essential that we should have wireless telegraph stations erected round the coast of Australia. From a commercial point of view, it is also necessary that we should know the progress which ships are making, and that we should be acquainted with their positions at sea, so that we may know when they may be expected to arrive in port. From a defence stand-point, the establishment of wireless telegraph stations along our coast is of vital importance to us. It is also necessary that the outlying portions of the Commonwealth, which are not connected with it by cable, should be provided with that means of communication to which they are entitled under our progressive civilization. At the present time there is no communication with King Island, which is situated in Bass Straits. During recent years a series of shipwrecks has occurred there, and but for the kindness of its inhabitants the survivors might have starved. Then, it is desirable that we should have communication with Papua and other outlying possessions. Consequently, it is important that no further delay should occur in the erection of these wireless telegraph stations. If the company to which the contracts have been let will not carry them out, those contracts shouldbe taken from it. **Senator Findley.** - If it will not carry them out. **Senator GIVENS.** - There is no sign of it carrying them out. Up to date the contracts have not been signed, nor have the guarantees, and we have no assurance that they will be signed. As I read the conditions of the contract the company must assign all its patent rights in Australia to the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth claims a monopoly in the matter of communication by means of wireless telegraphy in Australia, and consequently we have the sole right to any particular system that we may choose to adopt. If the Marconi Company had erected stations in Australia it would have had to relinquish all its patent rights in this part of the world to the Commonwealth. Possibly, for that reason, its price was higher than that of the company to which the contracts have been let. But I do not know whether it was excessive. I do know, however, that a disgraceful muddle has been made of the whole business- a muddle that the Senate should insist upon having rectified at the earliest possible moment. I ask leave to withdraw the motion. Motion, by leave, withdrawn. {: .page-start } page 6170 {:#debate-0} ### REGULATIONS Motion (by **Senator Chataway)** agreed to- >That the Standing Orders Committee be instructed to consider the desirability of submitting a standing order, for the approval of the Senate, providing that any motion disapproving of a regulation shall be regarded as business of the Senate and shall take precedence of Government Business or Private Business. {: .page-start } page 6170 {:#debate-1} ### EMIGRATION BILL The PRESIDENT announced the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives, intimating that it had agreed to the amendment made by the Senate in this Bill. {: .page-start } page 6170 {:#debate-2} ### CALL OF THE SENATE {: #debate-2-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- The next business on the notice-paper being the call of the Senate, I now direct the bells to be rung. *Senate called.* All the senators answered to their names. {: .page-start } page 6170 {:#debate-3} ### CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (LEGISLATIVE POWERS) BILL {:#subdebate-3-0} #### Third Reading Motion (by **Senator McGregor)** proposed - >That this Bill be now read a third time. **Senator Sir JOSIAH** SYMON (South Australia) [4.45]. - Whilst I realize - in common, I think, with most honorable senators - that there is very little hope of either negativing the third reading of this Bill, or securing any modification of its provisions, I am, nevertheless, convinced that it is our duty, if we feel that way, to protest against one part of the measure, which, to my mind, is not merely a distinct invasion of the Federal principle, but strikes a fatal blow at the self-governing powers of the States. I refer, as honorable senators will gather, to that part of clause 4, paragraph *b,* which proposes to take from the Governments of the States the power of controlling their own servants by means of a provision which declares that " the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes, including disputes in relation to employment on or about railways, the property of any State," are to be subject to the law of the Commonwealth. SenatorW. Russell. - They are only governed by one section. Service, the Railway Department is under separate control. {: #subdebate-3-0-s0 .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator WALKER:
New South Wales -- As each State is equally represented here, it would not have been surprising if the Senate had been unanimous in objecting to the proposed constitutional changes. In the circumstances that is all that I desire to say. {: #subdebate-3-0-s1 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Honorary Minister · Victoria · ALP -- **Senator Symon** has, in effect, said that if the people of Australia approve of the railway servants of the States having, in common with other industrial workers, the power of citing a casebefore the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, it means destroying the sovereignty of the States ; it means, in short, the bringing about of Unification. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- I did not say that it means the bringing about of Unification. I think that there are a good many steps before that. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- If I understood the honorable senator aright, he regards this as a step in that direction. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- I . said I would rather see a definite proposal for Unification than this one. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- I hope that the people will give this Parliament the power which the Commonwealth Government is asking, namely, that in order to prevent a dispute in the railway service of a State extending beyond its borders - in order to prevent a stop to the wheels of industry and avoid industrial paralysis - the points in dispute shall be remitted to a properly constituted Commonwealth tribunal, and settled accordingly. I am not unmindful of the fact that not long ago there took place in Victoria a strike on the part of its railway servants. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- Which public opinion very soon settled. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Public opinion was not consulted. After all, what is public opinion? Is it the opinion of the man in the street, or the opinion expressed through the columns of a newspaper? Public opinion, as it is understood in some quarters, has been opposed to every kind of legislation with a democratic tendency since I have been able to understand anything. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- -You do not understand very much, then. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- If the public opinion which was in favour of the legislation to bring that strike to an end was right it must have been wrong afterwards when it repealed the legislation which disfranchised publicservants, and which was truly described as panic legislation. I venture to say that had the strike lasted for another week or so, it would have extended, probably, to two or three States. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- It certainly will do so under this Bill. You are inviting that all the time. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- No; it will prevent a strike from extending beyond the borders of a State. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- Rubbish ! No Arbitration Court has ever prevented a strike. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- Yes, hundreds of strikes have been prevented by that means. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- There have been fewer strikes since we have had Industrial Courts than there were previously. There would be much more satisfaction in the ranks of the railway servants throughout the Commonwealth to-morrow if they had an opportunity of bringing their grievances before a properly-constituted Court erected by the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- Why should not State Governments settle the grievances of their own servants? {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- They do not do so now. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- That is an indictment against the State Governments. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- In the States there are methods for the settlement of industrial disputes. In Victoria we have Factories Acts, with provisions for Wages Boards. Similar legislation exists in all the States, except that land of no desire - Tasmania. Notwithstanding the existence of Wages Boards in the States, we have a Federal Arbitration Court. What is good for those outside the State service ought to be good for those within it. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator Sayers: -- Why not take the lot at one swoop? {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- We are not asking for the lot here and now. I feel sure that some of the State Governments would be well pleased indeed to have the grievances of their railway employes settled by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. What have the State Governments to fear? If we obtain this power, it does not mean that we shall take control of the railways, because if we get this power we shall not be able to put even a solitary window in a railway carriage ; we shall not be able to make any alteration in regard to properties belonging to the States; we shall not have power to employ an additional man or to dismiss one. We merely ask that State servants shall be placed in the same position as is occupied by outside citizens. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator Sayers: -- We are to say how they shall be governed by the States. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- We are not. We simply ask that State servants shall be afforded an opportunity of citing their grievances before a properly-constituted Court, which will then decide whether or not they are being fairly dealt with in regard to wages and conditions of labour. {: #subdebate-3-0-s2 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- I cannot allow a measure of this importance to pass without saying a few words upon it. I wish particularly to refer to one aspect of the question which was dealt with by **Senator Symon..** He seems to view the proposal which is contained in this Bill from a very narrow stand-point. In one breath he affirms that we are about to appeal to a superior power, the people,, and in the next he claims that the legislation which we are asking them to ratify, amounts to a revolution. What is the revolution which is proposed? We all know that some years ago a number of distinguished gentlemen met together for the purpose of framing a Commonwealth Constitution. They made rib provision whatever for safeguarding the interests of the men who are employed upon our State railways. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- For the reason that we were framing a Federal Constitution, and thought that the States should govern their own servants. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Although the distinguished gentlemen who framed our Federal Constitution thought that the States should govern their own servants, they took very good care to insert in that Constitution a provision which empowers the Commonwealth to regulate trade and commerce upon the railways. Since then, there has been a revolution, and this Parliament is now represented by a majority of the people who had absolutely no representation in the Federal Convention. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- Oh, yes; **Mr. Trenwith** was a member of the Convention. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- And he was one of our opponents at the recent elections. A majority of the people - even admitting that **Mr. Trenwith** ably represented Labour at that time - were not represented in the Federal Convention. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- **Mr. Kingston** was also there, and the honorable senator's party could not have had a better representative than he was. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I admit that. I hope that I shall never speak flippantly of the great men who have rendered distinguished service to the Commonwealth. My point is that the interests which were represented at the Convention are not those which are represented in this Parliament. A majority of the members of this Parliament are present, not as the result of having consulted the State Parliaments, but as the result of having recently consulted their masters, the people. I would also remind **Senator Symon** that before the proposed amendments in the Constitution can be effected, we must again consult the electors. I hold that State railway servants ought to be able to ventilate their grievances, if they have any, before a properly-constituted Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration "Court. We have been told that under this Bill we shall be interfering with the sovereign rights of the States. My own impression is that many persons who voted for Federation would not have voted for it had they not thought that there would be a great interference by the Commonwealth with the sovereign rights of the States. The longer that the six States are permitted to legislate upon industrial questions the closer will this Parliament come into conflict with them. At the present time, I think that the people favour the curtailment of the sovereign powers of the States, or, at least, believe in endowing this Parliament with equal power to regulate industrial conditions. Under this Bill we do not ask for greater power than is possessed by any one of the States to-day. Surely if we are to have a sovereign Parliament with defined powers - and 1 am not going to worship the Constitution which was framed by the great intellects of twelve years ago-- {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- Hear, hear. Our Constitution is not by any means perfect. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I recognise that this Bill embodies the first great extension of Federal power. I repeat that we are not asking for greater power than may be exercised by each of the States to-day. If honorable senators are anxious to preserve the sovereign rights of the States they should be equally anxious to empower the Commonwealth Parliament to deal with the industrial conditions which obtain in the different States. In New South Wales we know that Industrial Courts have been established . before which the conditions of employment which obtain in any industry may be fully ventilated. But in those States in which the workers cannot bring their grievances before a fairlyconstituted tribunal, we know that em- ployes occupy a much worse position. The proposal in this Bill to which most exception is taken, is that men who are employed by the States shall not be afforded an opportunity of appealing to a Federal tribunal to regulate the rate of wages which they shall be paid, and the labour conditions which shall be imposed upon them. Personally, I believe that if we could consult the State Parliaments, without appealing to political prejudice, there is scarcely one of them which would not welcome the establishment of an indepen- dent tribunal to determine these conditions. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- It is open to the States to set up such a tribunal. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I believe that they would welcome the creation of a tribunal which* would regulate the wages of railway employes throughout the Commonwealth. If we were to consult the present Labour Government in New South Wales upon the question, the chances are that we should receive a reply favorable to the labour aspect of it. On the other hand, if we were to consult the Tory Governments of Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, we should perhaps obtain an opposite reply. But seeing that we are about to consult their masters upon the question of whether these Bills shall be placed upon the statute-book, and that the issue will entirely depend upon their votes, we may very well dispense with the suggestion of **Senator Symon,** that we ought to approach the States cap-in-hand with a request that they should agree to an extension of the powers of this Parliament. {: #subdebate-3-0-s3 .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE:
Western Australia -- I re-echo the sentiments expressed by **Senator Gardiner** when he declared that he would never attempt to belittle the great men who framed our Federal Constitution. I feel proud of their work, and I believe that they were as able a body of men as could be found at the time Tor the task which they undertook. But I do not wish it to be understood that ideas were not prevalent in the community which did not secure representation in the Federal Convention. The various franchises which existed in the different States prevented them from receiving that representation. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- The same thing occurred in America. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- Yes. My own reading and experience have convinced me that it is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to keep up-to-date in the matter of the science of government. We are accustomed to credit those who travel in advance of ourselves with being possessed of very little knowledge. When we have made up our minds upon certain questions we imagine that the last word has been said upon the science of government. That Ls the starting-point of Conservatism, no matter to what school of political thought we may belong. Consequently I decline to accept the theory that when our Commonwealth Constitution was framed the last word was uttered upon the question of Constitutionbuilding, whilst I do not think for a moment that we have produced as great political economists as have other lands. It would be almost impossible for a small community like Australia to produce the intellectual giants who have been produced by other countries through all generations. We can boast of no political economists like Adam Smith, or Karl Marx. But we have an opportunity of reading their works and of putting their theories into practice, and as a result I think we have reached a higher average of political intellectuality, than has any other people in the world. Yet we are far from having a perfect Constitution. That being so, we should be very chary about accepting any doctrine as *the* last word on the science of government. We all know that cherished theories to which we have clung so tenaciously for years, have frequently proved to be faulty. For that reason we should not bind ourselves hard and fast to any particular principle. There is one great question, however, which has obtruded itself very prominently during recent years, and which I think will become even more prominent in the future. It is the question, " Which is to be the supreme Government in Australia?" We all know that in the Commonwealth there are State Governments which .we are constantly reminded ought to be sovereign within their own ambits. But I hold that there can be only one supreme authority in any nation. Ours is a nation from sea to sea. The Australian States comprise one great people, controlled by one Government; and that Government, when a difference arises, should have supreme control. Indeed, our present Constitution provides for that in some cases. It is laid down that when there is a conflict between the laws of the Commonwealth and the laws of a State, the supremacy must lie with the laws of the Commonwealth. If we apply that principle to the present circumstances, we shall find a solution of the whole difficulty. Conflicts of jurisdiction will increase as time goes on, and I am satisfied that the people of Australia recognise that there is danger in having a divided authority. We may talk as we like about State rights; but there are certain things in which the Commonwealth must be supreme. I recognise, of course, that there are matters within a State which the Government of a State can control much better than can the Central Government. Local requirements are much better known to members of a State Parliament than they can be known to members of a Central Parliament. The Federal Parliament does not possess the same intimate local knowledge as do the State Parliaments. Consequently the local Parliaments should have control over such affair*. 'But unless in other things the Central Parliament has supreme power, the whole Federal structure falls to the ground. Many instances may be quoted, in which a State right, as affecting a particular State of the Commonwealth, may become a State wrong, as affecting the other five States. We saw that illustrated in a marked degree in connexion with the coal strike about twelve months ago. There was a dispute that paralyzed the industries of Australia; and simply because of a trifling flaw in our Arbitration Act the Commonwealth was not able to interfere. There is no denying the fact that every State was suffering on that occasion. The same thing may arise again. **Senator Symon** referred to that point when he said that there are certain things that both sides can agree upon, as far as State Socialism is concerned. He argued, however, that surely the States are entitled to retain the power of spreading the principle of State Socialism. With that doctrine I quite concur; but up to a certain point only, because State Socialism, in any one State, may turn out to- inflict a wrong upon the other States. I like to take a concrete case rather than to talk in generalities. Let us take what is likely to become a State monopoly in respect of one particular commodity. In New South Wales at the present time we have a Government in power which yesterday made a declaration of policy to the effect that it intends to establish the iron industry as a State concern. Whilst I agree with that policy up to a certain point, I can see quite easily that it may have grave effects on other States. One has only to familiarize himself with the position of the iron industry to realize that other considerations must be kept in view. There is not in Australia a. suffi- ciently large market to justify the establishment of more than one up-to-date iron works. The principal customers will be the State Governments, whose railways require iron for their engines, for their rails, for their bridges, and so forth. By the establishment of a State monopoly in New South Wales, controlling this particular industry, the railways in the other five States will be affected. Consequently, although it i? right of the State of New South Wales to create a monopoly in the iron industry, what is a- State right in that instance may become a State wrong, as affecting the other five States. It is quite possible that the State Governments generally will be, at some time, at the mercy of one State Government - New South Wales - for commodities which are required for the working of their railways. Notwithstanding the fact that it is a Labour Premier, **Mr. McGowen,** who is initiating this policy, I decline to hand over to him, or to any other State Minister, power over the railways of the other States, I hold, therefore, that we should be shortsighted indeed if we said that, because it is the right of one State to establish a monopoly, that is the last word to be said on the question. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- But there is no proposal to make the iron industry a State monopoly. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I understand that the policy initiated by **Mr. McGowen** at a public meeting this week, and which has been embodied in the Governor's speech to Parliament, is that of the establishment ot a monopoly in the iron industry. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- That will not affect the whole Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-3-0-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- The matter to which the honorable senator is referring does not come within the scope of the Bill under consideration. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- With all due respect to your opinion, sir, I think I have a right to show, by means of an illustration, that the power of one State to monopolize or to control an industry, dovetails into the general question of State rights. I wish now to say a few words in reply to a statement made by **Senator Millen** when this measure was introduced. The honorable senator said, in effect, that he refused to carry out the duty of what is commonly called " His Majesty's Opposition." On that occasion, he donned the mantle' of the prophet. Jeremiah. The message which he had to convey to the country was pitched in a very pessimistic key indeed. His tale was one of woe and lamentation. He said that the Senate had ceased to be a deliberative assembly simply because the various proposals which he and other members of the Opposition had made had not been accepted by the Government. **Senator Millen** ought to have recollected that although the end of the session is within sight, and it is desirable to shorten debate as much as possible, nevertheless he and his colleagues have exercised to the full their privilege of debating measures which have been brought before us. It was surely rather late in the day for him to announce that he no longer intended to exercise the functions of the Leader of an Opposition. As **Senator W.** Russell reminds me, on no one occasion has the slightest restriction been placed upon the debating instincts of **Senator Millen** or any other member of the Opposition. Much as we should have liked, on many occasions, to apply some restraint in order to abridge the oratorical propensities of **Senator St.** Ledger, nevertheless no attempt whatever was made to restrain him, and every question has been threshed out to the fullest degree. We suffered under **Senator St.** Ledger's inflictions, but we bore our suffering in the spirit of martyrs; and having received martyrdom, it was surely late in the day for **Senator Millen** to say that he intended no longer to exercise his right of debate. It seemed to me, moreover, that the honorable senator was guilty of a deliberate insult to the Senate when he charged it with being no longer a deliberative assembly. But I wish to prove beyond all question, that the honorable senator was by no means justified in making that statement. I hold that never during any session of. the Senate has greater deliberation been given to the various questions that have come before us than during the present session. **Senator Millen** cannot seriously blame the Government for not accepting amendments with which they did not agree. It is the duty of a Government to adhere to their own principles and their own Bills rather than accept the ideas and principles of their political opponents. The history of every Parliament in the world, as far as I know, goes to show that every Opposition has had to fight against the majority on the Government benches, and it is surely the duty of an Opposition to continue its work whether it fails in its efforts or not. When the present Ministerial party were on the Opposition benches, vainly fighting against the Fusion forces, our amendments were rejected time after time. But we did not turn round in a petulant, childish fashion, and say, " Because you have not accepted our proposals, we shall no longer exercise our functions as an Opposition." We did not cry, " We will no longer play in your back- yard." I want to show what has occurred in connexion with divisions in the Senate. Never has there been a greater division of opinion than during the present session. After consulting the *Journals* of the Senate, I find that there have been ninety-three divisions. In thirty-seven of these, both Opposition and Labour members voted against Government proposals. But there is much more to be said. {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- Can the honorable senator give us the number of Opposition and Labour members voting against the Government in those divisions? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I have not had time to go into all those details, but I may say that inthose divisions there was a greater number of Labour members than of Opposition members voting against the Government. {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- The honorable senator should give us the figures. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I have told the honorable senator the source from which they have been obtained, and it is for him to refute the figures I am quoting if they are incorrect. I am satisfied he cannot do so, because I have been very careful in working them out. {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- I do not question the honorable senator's general statement, but I wish to know the number of Opposition and Ministerial supporters who voted together. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I venture to say that in many of these divisions on the side on which Ministerial supporters and Opposition senators voted together, the latter were in a minority. But this does not disclose the whole of the opposition to the Government during this session. Honorable senators will bear in mind that I make this statement in reply to the statement made by **Senator Millen,** that Government business, when introduced here, had been cut and dried and arranged by the Caucus, and that it was, therefore, of no use for the Opposition to discuss Government proposals. When the honorable senator made the statement, it was known to every one here that a party caucus of the Opposition had been held only a few days before, and it was under the orders of that caucus meeting that the honorable senator spoke. The cheek of the thing is transparent when we find an honorable senator carrying out the orders of a caucus meeting of his own party in finding fault with honorable senators on this side on the ground that they are only obeying the orders of their own caucus. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I had a good laugh when I read the statement in *Hansard.* {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I agree with the honorable senator that it was more appropriate for a comic publication than for the pages of *Hansard.* I find that there have been only thirty-six party divisions in this Chamber during the whole of the session; that is to say, divisions in which all the members on one side have been supporters of the Government, and all the members on the other side members of the Opposition party. I have already said that there were thirty-seven divisions in which Labour and Opposition senators voted together against Government proposals. I find, also, that there were twenty divisions during this session in which the opposition to the Government proposal was wholly composed of Labour senators. If figures can prove anything at all, these figures show that, instead of the whole of the Government business being cut and dried in the Ministerial Caucus, there are a very great many questions on which there is anything but . unanimity amongst Labour senators. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Why protest so much now ? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I am not protesting. I am riddling the old wheeze about the " Caucus-bound party." I am bursting up and exposing a hollow political fraud. I have proved. I think, beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only party the members of which cannot act for themselves is the party now in Opposition in the Senate. The figures I have quoted show that members of the Labour party are the freest members of the Senate. In twenty divisions in this Chamber the opposition to the Government has been wholly composed of Labour senators. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- And in those divisions the members of the Opposition crossed the chamber to save the Government. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- Yes, that is so. {: .speaker-K7L} ##### Senator Story: -- They " stone- walled " for the Government on one occasion. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- The only conclusion we can come to is that the statement made by **Senator Millen** was made for party purposes, and in the interests of the Opposition party outside, because- honorable senators are well aware that there was nothing in it. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- -It was made for the people. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- It was made for people who do not think. But, unfortunately for the St. Ledgers, the Chataways, and the Millens, the people do think. They showed that when, on the 13th April last, they returned the Labour party to power to do certain things. A Labour Government is now doing those things, and the slurs which, in this connexion, have been cast upon the Senate serve only to remind us of the old adage, "It is a dirty bird that fouls its own nest." {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- -Why make this speech, then? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I make it because the honorable senator does not like it, and I intend to give him some more of it. I have shown that there was no justification .for **Senator Millen'** s statement, and that in declining to carry out his duty as a public nian, he was really 'finding fault with the electors. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- No; he said he would go to the people. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- He went to the people on the 13th April last, and if, when he learned, from the result of the elections, that they were so decidedly against his party, and knew of the sweeping victory gained by the Labour party, he had said that there would be very little use in members of the Fusion party going to the Senate, and had declared that he declined to take up his public duties in the circum- stances, and resigned his seat, there would have been something reasonable in his attitude. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Why do not the present Government resign? They have suffered a defeat. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- If the honorable senator is referring to something which has occurred in another place, let me tell him that it is only an additional illustration of the independence of the members of the Labour party, and shows again that the. cry about the "pledgebound Caucus party," for whom everything is cut and dried outside Parliament, has nothing in it. The bottom has fallen out of that story, and even the stupid Fusion party must recognise it by this time. The people declared on the 13th April last that a certain policy should be carried out, and the present Government, in giving effect to that policy, are carrying out the will of the people. With respect to the kind of legislation, we are now asked to pass an opinion upon, I have only to say that much of this legislation introduced in the past has been a failure. I have always supported legislation proposed for the control of trusts, with the object of educating public opinion in the belief that there is only one means of settling the matter. This must be brought very vividly before the people before they can appreciate it. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- What is the settlement the honorable senator wants? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- A settlement which I am quite sure the people are prepared for to-day. I desire that this Parliament should possess the power for which we are asking in this proposed alteration of the Constitution. In view of the futility of our past legislation to secure for us control of these trusts, it is idle to propose that we should continue the timorous policy of Conservatism. To do so would be to go on dropping the bucket into the well, and drawing no water out of it. That is a policy with which the people will not be satisfied. {: .speaker-K6L} ##### Senator Chataway: -- There is a hole in Tour blooming bucket, anyway. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- There is a hole in your blooming mouth, too. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- All interjections are disorderly at any time, but personal reflections across the chamber do not add to the dignity of the Senate. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I do not know that I have anything more to say. I recognise that this legislation is absolutely necessary if this Parliament is to carry out the will of the people. The only way in which we can ascertain whether the people desire that this power shall be given to the Federal Parliament is by submitting the question to them at a referendum. One of the most important things for which we can strive is industrial peace, and every assumed dignity of the State Parliaments must take second place when it is a question of conserving the peace and prosperity of the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Honorable senators on this side are not trying to stop the Government in this matter. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- Then we shall welcome the assistance of honorable senators opposite in securing this power for the Federal Parliament. If we are all found pulling at the same end of the rope the taking of this referendum should be a simple task. Whether we are or not, I am satisfied that there will be a sufficient pull on my side to drag the St. Ledgers and the Chataways over the mark, and that what the Government desire in this matter will be brought about. {: #subdebate-3-0-s5 .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP .- I rise with considerable pleasure to address myself to this question. I am very glad to be able to be present to record my vote in favour of this measure. I regret that, owing to ill-health, I have been unable to regularly attend to my parliamentary duties during the last two or three months. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- We are glad to see you here. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Notwithstanding that my medical adviser wrote to me twice and told me on no account to go near Melbourne, and, if I did, not to go near the Federal Parliament, I, in my anxiety to show which side I am on, took the bit in my teeth. I am here as a representative of South Australia to express my opinion strongly in favour of this measure, and to record my vote for its third reading, believing that it is necessary. I shall only be able to speak for a few minutes. Having regard to the legislation which has been passed during the present session, and to the way in which the legislation passed in former sessions has been treated by the High Court, what can we expect under the present Constitution? If the wish of the people is to be carried out, the Constitution must be amended. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Are you reflecting on the High Court? {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I am referring to the manner in which the Constitution has been interpreted by a majority of the Justices, and am casting no reflection on their honours. **Senator Symon** spoke eloquently in reference to the State powers and sovereignty. For six years I, in common with Senators Guthrie and McGregor, was a member of the Legislative Council of South Australia, and know what it is. If it were elected on the same franchise as the House of Assembly, it would be in a different position to-day, but only about one-third of the people are entitled to vote at the election of its members. ' {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Do you want one Chamber ? {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I want adult suffrage. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Do you want one Chamber for the Federal Parliament? {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- No. I am not dealing with that. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- I think not. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Surely the honorable senator does not want to take advantage of me, when it is with the greatest difficulty that I can speak? I want this Bill to be passed to enable certain measures of the present session to become effective. We desire to appeal to the people who sent us here.What did the Legislative Council of South Australia do in 189 1 ? I am sorry that **Senator Vardon** is not present to hear my remarks. Industrial legislation was passed through both Houses of the State Parliament to benefit some of the workers, but the Legislative Council hung it up for four or five years by refusing to pass the regulations to bring it into force. It is constituted in the same way to-day as it was then, and it is blocking the creation of Wages Boards right and left. Are we to stand by and see that done? The people believe that every man and woman on reaching the age of maturity should have a vote. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- Order ! The question under consideration is not the franchise for the Legislative Council of South Australia. {: .speaker-K3G} ##### Senator W RUSSELL:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I bow to your ruling, sir. The only way to remedy that state of things is, I contend, to hand the authority, over to another Parliament which is more in sympathy with the people. I feel confident that at the referendum the people of Australia will express themselves exactly as they did last April in New South Wales, Tasmania, and Queensland, and every State of the Commonwealth. Why should not the majority of the people prevail ? I came here to-day . at considerable risk, and, as I have said, against the advice of my doctor. I glory in having the power to be present and to speak in favour of this measure, so as to let the people know exactly where I stand and intend to stand. I support the motion. Question - That this Bill be now read a third time - put. The Senate divided. AYES: 22 NOES: 13 Majority ... ... 9 AYES NOES Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 6184 {:#debate-4} ### CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (MONOPOLIES) BILL {:#subdebate-4-0} #### Third Reading Motion (by **Senator McGregor)** proposed - >That this Bill be now read a third time. Question put. The Senate divided. AYES: 24 NOES: 12 Majority ... ... 12 AYES NOES {: #subdebate-4-0-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- There being 24 votes in the affirmative, I declare the motion carried. Bill read a third time. *Silting suspended from 6.31 to 8 p.m.* {: .page-start } page 6185 {:#debate-5} ### CUSTOMS BILL {:#subdebate-5-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-5-0-s0 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Defence · Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- I move - >That this Bill be now read a second time. The measure which I have the honour to introduce is one of considerable importance, though in it we propose to deal only with one or two main principles. In the first place, I wish to direct the attention of honorable senators to sections 50 to 56 of the principal Act. They will see that in those sections we take to ourselves considerable powers in the matter of dealing with prohibited imports. For instance, in section 52, we declare that works reproduced without the permission of the owner of the copyright, false money, counterfeit sterling and coin, blasphemous, indecent or obscene works, goods manufactured in prison, exhausted tea, oleomargarine, and all goods the importation of which may be prohibited by proclamation, are prohibited imports. It further provides that - >All goods having thereon or therewith any false suggestion of any warranty, guarantee or concern in the production or quality thereof, by any persons, public officials, Government, or country, mineral oil and mineral spirits, unless imported under and subject to such restrictions as may be declared by proclamation. are prohibited imports. The following section imposes a limited form of prohibition upon spirits, opium, tobacco, snuff, cigars, or cigarettes imported, except in packages as prescribed. Then follow certain provisions relating to the importation, of tea. Section 55 provides - > >All goods lawfully prohibited to be imported into any State shall, as regards that State, be prohibited imports for the purposes of this Act. Then section 56 declares - >The power of prohibiting importation of goods shall authorize prohibition subject to any specified condition or restriction, and goods imported contrary to any such condition or restriction shall be prohibited imports. When honorable senators contemplate these sections they will realize the extent to which we went in 1901 in taking to ourselves power to deal with prohibited imports. To ascertain the powers which we have taken to ourselves in the matter of exports, we must turn to sections111 and 112 of the principal Act. The former reads - >No prohibited exports shall be exported. > >Penalty : One hundred pounds. Section 112 deals with the general exportation of military arms, &c. I have quoted the extensive powers which we have taken/ to ourselves in regard to imports, and I wish honorable senators to remember that every civilized country has adopted similar precautions. Then I ask them to recollect that our exports are the imports of other countries. The provisions in the principal Act, to which I alluded in the earlier portion of my speech, relate to our method of dealing with the exports of those countries. Other countries, I repeat, are doing the same thing in reference to our exports as we are doing in reference to theirs, because our exports are their imports. Since the memorable Chicago meat scandals the severity and scope of the legislation of foreign countries in respect of imports have been increased. I would impress upon honorable senators that the price of the principal products that we export, depends very largely - as does also the sale of those products - upon the reputation which they bear in those countries. What could damage the reputation of any of our chief products more than the dissemination of the information throughout the world that some foreign country, in pursuance of powers similar to the very powers which we have taken to ourselves under our Customs Act, was prohibiting the importation of those products? Take our meat exports to Great Britain. We have to remember that there are powerful combinations throughout the world which are interested in the destruction of the Australian meat industry, and which would stop at nothing if they could deal an effective blow to our reputation in the world's markets. In those markets, too, our leather comes into direct and successful competition with the leather of other countries. The same remark is applicable to our butter. Under the laws of the countries to which we export our principalproducts, it is becoming increasingly possible - unless we take due precautions here - for our fair name and reputation to be blasted by the exercise of insufficient supervision upon this side of the world- by our allowing a cargo of those products to be shipped to some foreign country, and by that country preventing their importation. If such a thing occurred, the fact would be published throughout the world, and would damage, not merely the firms which had sent the diseased meat or damaged butter, for example, but the whole of our export trade. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -Give us an example. The Minister is making large assertions. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- There are examples which might be quoted. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Mention one. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- If the honorable senator will consult me privately I will give him the information. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- The Minister ought to give the information upon the floor of this chamber. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- If the honorable senator knew what I have in my mind he would recognise that the very worst thing I could do would be to mention it here. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- That is very bad for Australia. {: .speaker-K7L} ##### Senator Story: -- Apparently the honorable senator is anxious to injure Australia. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Which would be worse for our export trade - that a shipment of goods should be stopped at any of our ports, thus saving the exporter freight and insurance, or that, as the result of lax supervision, it should be stopped at the port of entry, by the importing country ? What are we doing ourselves in this matter? Under our Commerce Act we check the importation of' patent medicines. Where they bear a false trade description we prohibit their importation. Similarly, we prohibit the importation of foodstuffs which are deleterious or which are got up in a deleterious form. We check the importation of textiles which purport to be wool when they are a mixture of wool and cotton, and when, as a matter of fact, they sometimes contain more cotton than wool. We also lay down a standard as regards jewellery. If jewellery purports to be 15 carat gold, we say that it shall be 15 carat, otherwise it shall not be imported. In the first place, all these articles must bear a trade description, and that description must be an accurate one. Other countries are doing precisely the same thing. In these circumstances we ought to realize that the time has arrived when we should safeguard our export trade so as to prevent any person destroying the fair name of our products by sending out of this country diseased, or adulterated, or inferior articles. While what I have said in regard to the Commerce Act is true, all that that Act does is to declare that in regard to any article imported or exported the truth must be told. In other words, if it is inferior, adulterated, or diseased, that fact must be stated. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Is there no. power to (top the exportation of such articles where the public health may be affected by them? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Not under the existing law.- If there is to be any regulation of our exports that regulation ought to be uniform throughout the Commonwealth. It is obviously idle for any State to declare by legislation that every article exported from it must be up to the required standard. We know that the outside world does not regard our production from the stand-point of State boundaries. It regards them only as being Australian. It is either Australian butter or Australian jam. Consequently, we must deal with this question in a uniform fashion. Manifestly, no Department can deal with it better than can our Customs Department. That Department has its officers at all our principal ports. It is the practice of the Department not to rely entirely on the knowledge of Customs officers themselves in deciding upon the quality of- certain goods. It calls in the services of ex,perts That is the procedure which will be adopted under this Bill. There is another phase of this matter to which I desire to direct attention. It has reference to the protection of our native fauna. At present we have no power to prohibit the exportation of the plumage of non-edible birds. That power will be conferred by this Bill. Then the Customs officers assure us that they .are pretty positive that one of the Asiatic sections of the community is carrying on a fairly considerable trade in what is apparently stolen gold. Under this measure we shall be able to deal with that evil in co-operation with the States, and perhaps we shall be able to check it. We also propose to take power to stop prohibited exports from being transferred from one State to another. That is a very necessary power for us to possess. At present our officers may hold up a cargo of meat or jam or butter and prevent its export, and under this Bill we say that if' a cargo is too bad to permit of its being sent out of Australia, it is too bad to permit of it being transferred from one State to another. I think it was **Senator Stewart** who brought under the notice of the Senate a case in which a shipment of exhausted tea, which had been held up in one State, was promptly transferred to another and there placed upon the market. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- What would be done if the goods were transferred by rail? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I suppose that we should have to deal with them at the border stations, some of which are still in exist- ence. I come now to the Bill itself. Under clause 5, which repeals section 167 of the principal Act and substitutes a new section, it is desired to bring about a change of procedure in regard to payment of duty on articles as to which there is a dispute as to the proper amount to be charged. Briefly, the present procedure is this : In case of a dispute, first of all the duty claimed by the Department has to be deposited. Then the importer has to take action within six months. If his action be unsuccessful, the amount is retained as the proper duty. If no action be taken the amount is also retained. Under the existing procedure, the amounts so deposited were required to be paid into a trust fund ; and it is alleged that if the importers had cared to do so, and had come to a common understanding amongst themselves, they could practically have held up the revenue of the Commonwealth by simply claiming that the duties charged on their goods were not the proper duties. At the end of six months they need not have taken action, but in the meantime the Commonwealth could not have used the amounts paid in as part of the revenue of the country. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- There would have been no advantage to the importer in doing that. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- No; but it would have been an extremely awkward tiling for the Commonwealth if it had been done. What is proposed in the amending clause is that the duty shall be paid under protest, and the protest be marked on the entry. Then an action can be taken within six months, and the result will determine what amount of duty has to be paid. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- Unless the amount at stake is large, the costs of an action are likely to be more than the sum in dispute. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Costs would go with the cause. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- But there are usually costs which a litigant cannot recover. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The procedure here proposed is considered to be more convenient for the Government. Another proposal made in this amending clause will be welcomed generally by the trading public. The jurisdiction which was previously confined to the High Court is now to be extended to any Commonwealth or State Court of competent jurisdiction j the jurisdiction, of course, being determined by the amount of the claim. The only exception -will be that the Department, in its own interest, will, where any question of principle is concerned, or any question involving a constitutional issue, take the case to the High Court. Another difficulty was created under the present section in regard to the operation of new Tariffs.. The practice has been that when Tariff resolutions were tabled in the House of Representatives the new duties became collectible. If a protest were entered on account of some duty payable under a resolution it was a moot question whether the six months' period dated from the time of the tabling of the resolution or from the passing of the Tariff. In one case that came before the High Court that .tribunal practically said that the .section, as far as it applied to that particular case, was of little or no value. Therefore the new clause provides that in regard to any duty collectible under a new Tariff the six months' time shall date from the passing of the Tariff and its being assented to by the Governor-General. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- I think there is a section in the United States Tariff law dealing with the subject. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The amendment of the law here proposed is in conformity with the judgment of the High Court' and with our own practical experience. We cannot follow a better guide than the judgment of the High Court, which will have to adjudicate upon our procedure in future cases. Clause 6 of the Bill is also important, although practically it only extends to prohibited exports the power which we now have as to dutiable imports. In other words, we already have these powers in regard to dutiable imports, and it is only logical, if we are going to take additional powers with regard to prohibited exports, that we should have the same power with respect to them as we have in regard to imports. Clause 7 extends the power of search in order to carry out effectively the work of the Department. Previously we had the power of search with regard to dutiable articles. This extends the. power. Clause 8 is really a matter of convenience to the Department, and does not interfere with the public generally. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- Why, in clause 8., is it proposed to alter one month to three months ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- We find that Australia is a much bigger place than the Department evidently thought it was, and it is considered desirable that the time for the issue of warrants by a State Collector shall be extended. In Western Australia, if one posted a letter in Perth just after the mail has left for the north-west, I doubt whether ' it would get to Derby within a month. {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator Henderson: -- It would not. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- In the larger States it has been found necessary, to enable the warrants issued by the Collectors to reach the places to which they- are sent,, to extend this term from one month to three. In regard to clause 9, I wish to draw attention to the fact that we already have the power to arrest persons as to whom there is reasonable suspicion that they are smuggling goods. This clause is an extension of our powers in regard to smuggling, and has been found to be absolutely necessary, particularly with reference to opium smuggling. It' has been discovered that the ways of " the heathen Chinee " are sufficient to baffle the best efforts of the Customs officers. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- By the way, 'are all Chinese heathens? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The Chinaman does not seem to lose any of his cleverness when he becomes christianized. At any rate, some extension of our powers is absolutely necessary in this regard. Wre therefore propose that any Customs officer or police officer may, without warrant, arrest any person who he has reasonable ground to believe is guilty of committing, or attempting to commit, or of being concerned in the commission of *(a)* smuggling, *(p)* importing any prohibited imports, *(c)* exporting any prohibited exports, or *(d)* unlawfully conveying or having in his possession any smuggled goods, prohibited imports or prohibited exports. Clause 10 also has relation to the same subject, and extends the powers of the Department in regard to those who connive at smuggling; that is to say, those who use their boats or ships knowingly for that purpose. In the past the Department has found itself in a peculiar position. Although it knew that a person was in posssesion of smuggled goods, it could not always succeed in prosecuting him. Also, although the Department knew perfectly well that a person was using his boat for the purpose of conniving at smuggling, it could not succeed in an action against him. This clause will enable that difficulty to be got over. It will prevent collusion between owners or masters of ships or boats with those who are smuggling or otherwise endeavouring to defeat the law. We are all desirous of protecting the revenue and seeing that the legitimate trader is not unfairly disadvantaged by those who have escaped payment of the proper duty. If the law in regard to smuggled opium is to continue to be so lax that smugglers can defeat our officers, the honest thing to do would be toremove the prohibition. Parliament, however, is not prepared to do that, and, therefore, we desire to have extended powers inorder to prevent the smuggling of this drug. I tell the Senate frankly that weare taking extraordinary powers in proposed new section 233d which is contained in clause 11. Sub-clause 2 reads - >This section shall apply to all prohibited imports to which the Governor-General by proclamation declares that it shall apply. The intention of the Government is that theproclamation shall refer to opium. . Wedo not intend to stop at a fine by way of punishment, but propose that the penalty shall be imprisonment. I do not know whether the Department will extend the provision to another class of imports which, I think, might very well receive special treatment. I refer to indecent pictures. That matter, however, will probably be takeninto consideration. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- Has not the Department power to prohibit indecent pictures now ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- We have some power, but not enough. A man in Melbourne was found in possession of some grossly indecent pictures. In fact, hewas selling them. Although it wasclearly proved that he had the pictures in his possession, the Department was unableto prove that he had actually imported them, and accordingly he got off. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- Did not the policeprosecute that offender under the State law ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I do not know. Under this measure the onus will lie upon the person in possession of such goods of proving that he did not import them. I have already said that the Customs officialsassure us that they are not at present able to stop the importations of opium. In fact, we know from recorded police court prosecutions that Chinamen are frequently found smoking opium. We know that it comes in. We have irrefutable proof of that, and we find that the imposition of fines has not the deterrent effect we expected, because people are willing to pay fabulous prices for this article. There is one punishment, however, which the sec- tion of Asiatics who indulge in the practice of opium smoking dread more than any other, and that is imprisonment. We are assured by those who know these people well that if we substitute imprisonment for fines, it will have a far more deterrent effect upon them. Honorable senators will :notice in these clauses that we make provision for substituting imprisonment for fines in such cases. Clauses 12 and 13 are largely formal. They are intended to bring about a more expeditious procedure for the convenience of the Department. They will not interfere in any way with the opportunities afforded to the importer or exporter to defend an action. Clause 14 is intended to obviate a necessity laid upon the Department by the existing law of publishing *in extenso* in the *Gazette* all cases in. which they take action. Under this clause it will be necessary only that the facts as to the action taken shall be published. That is all with which the public are concerned, and it is all that it should be necessary to publish. Clause 15 gives power for the making of regulations for specific purposes. I direct attention to the fact that we propose to take power to make regulations as to the nature, size, and material of ' packages in which imported goods, or goods for export, or goods for conveyance coastwise from one State to another, are wrapped or packed. This is as necessary as the power we are taking to deal with imports and exports themselves. Under this clause we shall be able to deal with the much-vexed question of the size of cornsacks. We have dealt with it partially already, but not entirely satisfactorily. The Customs authorities inform us that sugar is still being imported in large sacks, and also that maize is being imported from Java in large sacks. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- This clause will give the Government power to prescribe a particular pack for wool. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Not unless wool is one of the proclaimed articles. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- But the Government will have power, under the Bill, to proclaim it. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- If wool is a proclaimed article, we shall, under this clause, have power to deal with the size or the material of woolpacks. But it is to be presumed that the measure will be administered by sane men, who will do nothing to injure one of our staple industries. All these powers are being sought in order to -protect, and not to injure, bur industries, and the measure will be administered in that spirit. We are taking power to frame regulations prescribing the conditions of preparation or manufacture for export of any articles used for food or drink by man, or used in the manufacture of articles used for food or drink by man, and also the conditions as to purity, soundness, and freedom from disease to be conformed to by goods for export. All these powers ari. found to be necessary, because, not only are foreign countries taking precautions to exercise a supervision over articles of export, but honorable senators who have been reading the cables during the last few weeks will have observed that a heated correspondence has been going on in the English papers, into which our Agents-General have been drawn, as to the conditions under which sOme of our exports are prepared and despatched to the world's markets. The question has been raised with respect to the conditions under which our exports - are shipped, but the people who have interested themselves in raising that question are just as likely to suggest that our meat is prepared for 'export under insanitary conditions. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- But the Government propose to go beyond questions of soundness, purity, and sanitation. They intend to deal with all conditions of manufacture. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- No. We provide that regulations may be framed regarding - the conditions as to purity, soundness, and freedom from disease to be conformed to by goods for export. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- I am referring to paragraph *d* of the proposed new section ri2, under which these regulations will be framed. The words used in that paragraph are " which have not been prepared or manufactured for export under the prescribed conditions." {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Certainly. What would be the use of having the power to make regulations as to the conditions under which meat is to be slaughtered for export unless, if those conditions are not conformed to, we have also the power to prohibit the export? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- My point is that the Government propose to take power to deal with all conditions of manufacture, apart from those that may be necessary on the grounds of sanitation or health. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- The honorable senator refers to wages conditions. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- yes; and to the fact that an attempt is made to regulate them in a Customs Bill. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The proposed new section 112 provides specifically for the regulation of the conditions of manufacture of goods intended for export. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- **Senator Millen** fears that, under the proposed new section, the Government will have power to deal with conditions as to wages and hours of employment in the manufacture of goods for export. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I do not think that that can be contended for a moment. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- We are looking for that power in another way - by an amendment of the Constitution. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- We propose to supervise the conditions of manufacture, and that is the only way in which we can answer our enemies and give a guarantee to our friends as to the soundness of the goods we export. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- I am quite with the honorable senator there. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- As I have said, a question has already been raised with respect to one of our exports, that it is prepared here and is shipped to the Old Country under insanitary conditions, and one of our Agents-General has been compelled to meet the charge in the press of the Old Country. A much more effective way of meeting such charges is to be able to point out that we have assumed, and are exercising, a power whichenables us to give an absolute guarantee that our exports are prepared under conditions which secure soundness and purity. It may be contended that we might use this power to do this, that, and the other, but the answer to that is that the present Government are fully alive to the fact that if they do anything which would injure the exportation of the staple products of the country, the people to whom they are responsible would suffer. Are we likely to be so foolish or so mad as to use these extensive, but necessary, powers in such a way as to injure the people to whom we are responsible? To do so would be a short cut to political suicide. I have refrained from going into many of these questions as I should like to have done if we were not so near the close of the session, but I wish to impress upon the Senate that the Government are in possession of information which has made the introduction of this Bill at this juncture absolutely necessary. I say that with a due sense of responsibility. Because of certain representations made to us from quarters we cannot disregard, we are con vinced that it would be dangerous to the Commonwealth to defer action in this matter any longer. If honorable senators require any assurance of that, I can give it to them, but they will recognise that there are reasons why it would be unwise to make certain statements on the floor of this Chamber. I assure honorable senators that these very wide powers must be given to the Customs Department if some of our industries are not to suffer seriously, and in the very near future. {: #subdebate-5-0-s1 .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN:
New South Wales -- I shall not occupy the time of the Senate long in the few remarks I wish to make on this Bill. I am in entire sympathy with nearly all that the Minister has said. Every member of the Senate must recognise that it is essential that, with our large export of primary and other products, we should see that they are placed upon the markets of the world under conditions which will enable us to command the best prices possible there. . The action of a few selfish and short-sighted individuals ought not to be allowed in any way, or in any circumstances, to damage the export trade of this country. I am, therefore, in entire sympathy with the purpose of this measure, and in favour of the extra police powers sought to strengthen the hands of the Department in dealing with those who would seek to break our Customs laws. But, while I agree with what the Minister has said in moving the second reading of the Bill, I have some doubts when I turn to the Bill itself. By interjection 1 indicated those doubts, and though the Minister dealt with the matter to some extent, he scarcely met my objection completely. I direct the attention of honorable senators to clause 4, embracing the proposed new section 112. There can be no possible objection to the Government taking whatever power is necessary to see that our exports are prepared and despatched under conditions providing for all that is necessary in the way of sanitation and cleanliness. But the proposed new section goes far beyond that. It proposes, for instance, that - >The Governor-General may by proclamation prohibit the exportation of any goods. {: type="a" start="d"} 0. which have not been prepared or manu factured for export under the prescribed conditions - It is idle to say what is in the mind of the present Minister of Trade and Customs, or of the officers of the Department, as this provision would give the Government absolute power to prescribe the hours of labour, conditions of employment and wages to be paid in the preparation of goods intended for export. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- Does the honorable senator not think that that is a strained interpretation? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I think it is a literal interpretation. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The prescribed conditions will be "as to purity, soundness, or freedom from disease." {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- No; the paragraph reads - which have not been prepared or manufactured for export under the prescribed conditions, or which do not conform to the prescribed conditions as to purity, soundness, or freedom from disease. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The last words applyto both conditions. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- No; the Minister will see that the conditions are separated by the word " or. " There can be no exception taken to prescribing conditions as to purity, soundness, and freedom from disease. We ought not to take power to prescribe anything more than is necessary for the purposes of the Bill. It may be desirable, as I think it is, and as the Senate has frequently said it is, to fix the rates of wages, the hours of labour, and the conditions of employment ; but this is not the right measure in which to do that. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- We are not trying to do it here. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I do not think that the honorable member quite grasps my point. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- The High Court has already decided that we cannot do it in an Excise Bill. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- What the High Court held was that we could not do indirectly that which we had no power to do directly. We have power to fix directly the conditions of labour, and, therefore, this would not be, in my judgment, an interference with the Constitution. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- I think that the honorable senator is making a mistake. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I hope that I am, in a sense. What is the use of these words if they are not intended to provide for something more than is covered by the latter portion of the paragraph - that is purity,soundness, or freedom from disease ? {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- You know that where drastic remedies of this kind are required, it is usual for the Government to take extra powers. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I am prepared to give all the power that is necessary for the purpose for which the Minister said he is seeking power. But I do not see that we are called upon to give him power to do something which he says he does not desire or intend to do. This matter becomes, to my mind, a little more serious in view of the declaration and the efforts which have been made by a certain section to restrain the export of some commodities. It is not long since a deputation asked the Minister to restrict the export of wheat and hides. In the language of the newspapers which reported the interviews, the Minister gave what was termed a sympathetic answer. A similar request was made in regard to the export of ores. When I know that a certain section is seeking to have that view embodied in a Statute, I am entitled to regard with some anxiety such a power as this when it is asked for by a Ministry which gave a sympathetic reply to a request of that kind. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- It has not. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I quoted the language of the newspapers. I, as a journalist, would have felt justified in reporting it as a sympathetic reply. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- I was at the deputation regarding the export of hides, and the Minister would not commit himself one way or the other, although we pressed him to do so. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I was referring more particularly to the deputation which wanted a restriction put on the export of wheat. I am very glad to hear that statement from **Senator St.** Ledger, but the fact remains that a certain section wants a restraint put on the export of some commodities. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- In Committee, I shall remove any doubt you have by repeating the words "as to purity, soundness, or freedom from disease." {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I am much obliged to the Minister for meeting my objection. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- We believe that the provision has that meaning, but, in order to remove any doubt in your mind, we are willing to repeat those words. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- The only other matter to which I desire to refer is paragraph *c* of proposed new section 112, which empowers the Governor-General, by proclamation, to prohibit exports where necessary for thepreservation of the flora and fauna of Australia. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -I thought that there would be a sympathetic response to that remark. In the main, I am sympathetic with the object of this proposal, but I would point out that we can allow sentiment to carry our legislation too far. It is today carrying us to a point in which it is constituting a real danger in Australia. In New South Wales, we have had an attempt made to preserve the emu. It is protected - with what result? Damage to the extent of thousands of pounds is done in the State, because the emu has become a pest. I do not know that the Commonwealth Government can do very much in that regard, but I hold that we can carry sentiment to an unreasonable length, as has been done in regard to that bird. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- Emus are not likely to be exported, anyhow. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- There are other pests in Australia, though. It has always seemed to me that a sort of one-sided sentiment has prevailed in these matters. Whilst laws have been passed to protect the fauna of Australia, that has always been done at the expense of the man on the land. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- Women do not wear emus on their hats. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- They wear emu feathers for muffs. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I am not speaking of that particular Torm of feminine decoration. I grant that this provision is well designed, and I hope that the Government will not' allow itself to be moved by sentiment to place an additional burden on the class I have referred to. Nothing has been done in a small way which has created more injury to the rural industries of New South Wales than has this sentimental attempt to over-protect the emu. {: #subdebate-5-0-s2 .speaker-KQ4} ##### Senator McCOLL:
Victoria .- I think that this is a measure which should meet with the hearty approval of the Senate. The only point on which I felt somediffidence was in regard to paragraph *d* of proposed new section 112, to which **Senator Millen** has referred. But after the straightforward statement of the Minister I think that the Senate ought to be satisfied. We all recognise that Australia will become a great exporting country. No precaution we take ought to be considered too extreme to see that our exports shall go out to the world in the best possible condition. We must always expect that a measure of this kind will be administered in a sane manner. It gives very large powers to the Minister, but I feel sure that they will not be used in an extreme manner except when that is absolutely necessary. Cases have come under my cognisance which show that additional powers are required. A great industry in Victoria is suffering from the want of sufficient power of search. I congratulate the Government on bringing in the Bill, antitrust that it will be passed by the Senate without delay. {: #subdebate-5-0-s3 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- The excellent speech delivered by. the Minister has removed some fears I had. I desire to call his attention to clause 5. which substitutes a proposed new section for section 167 of the Customs Act. I think it is a great improvement indeed on that section, and I am glad to see it in the Bill. I believe that when I was perusing, sometime ago, the Customs Act of the United States, or the regulations thereunder, I noticed a similar provision. It was not contained in the Customs Act of Queensland, and I am glad to find that it is to be introduced into the Customs Act of the Commonwealth. I believe that it will bewelcomed by the importers and the public as a fair, just, and satisfactory mode of settling *bonâ fide* disputes between importers and the Commonwealth. With? regard to a large and increasing export, namely, that of meat, I asked by interjection for an example, and the Minister very wisely checked me, stating that if we want to know the reason we can find it. That is always a nice way of dealing with a question of that kind, and once a man receives such an answer he knows exactly where he is. I compliment the Minister on the way in which he checked me. Whilst a great deal is said about the care which we should have for the export of our primary products, it is quite easy to bring in alarmist legislation. The Minister's speech, however, was tactful and cautious. He saw the difficulty and admitted the possibility of excesses. We compliment him in that regard, and now practically give him a free hand. With regard to a good deal that is said about Australian meat, I may say that at the time of the Chicago scandal Australian exporters were to some extent to blame for the retribution which is now sought to be meted out to us. I had it on absolute authority at the time that the Chicago exporters asked Australian exporters not to raise that cry. We all know how it arose. A person wrote a sensational book, and in view of its publication a lot of State and Federal legislation was proposed. While that was being done, our exporters were joining in the cry, until the American exporters asked them to remainsilent and to request an impartial investigation of the matter. That information was given to me in writing, and I had complete evidence on that point that the American exporters wished for an impartial investigation. I have only sounded that note now because, while we may pass legislation which in the main I approve of, we have to be very careful not to yield to hysteria. I desire to call the Minister's attention to clause 15 repealing section 270 of the Customs Act, under which - >The Governor-General may ' make regulations not inconsistent with this Act prescribing all matters which by this Act are required or permitted to be prescribed or, as may be necessary or convenient, to be prescribed for giving effect to this Act or form the conduct of any business relating to the Customs. That section gives very wide power to the Governor-General to make regulations, and it is now to be extended by the insertion of the following words and sub-section : - and in particular for prescribing - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the nature, size and material of the packages in which imported goods, or goods for export, or goods for conveyance coastwise from any State to any other State, are to be packed, or the coverings in which they are to be wrapped ; When I looked at that provision I anticipated what the Minister said, namely, that all it was intended to do was' to prevent importers, by re-exporting imports from State to State, from forcing upon workers in the ships and on the wharfs the humping of excessively heavy packages, and that it would probably apply to only wheat and sugar bags. I had a, good deal of sympathy, as I stated at the time, with so much of our legislation as prevented waterside workers from taking on their shoulders bags containing 3 or 4 cwt. of any article. I think that, to a very large extent, the Minister who moved in that humane direction was right. I believe that if those who objected to his action had to hump bags containing. 250 or 350 lbs. on their shoulders they would be a little more sympathetic. I agree with the intention of this clause, but in the light of the Minister's explanation I see where an injury may be done. Suppose that goods are imported in packages weighing 6, 7, or 8 cwt., or, indeed, 4, 5, or 6 tons. Of course, the Minister by anticipation says that it is not intended that a man shall handle a package of that character; but that may be required of him. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- It only applies to packages which are carried. For instance, the honorable senator would not say that a roll of news paper could be carried.. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- Will the honorable senator look at the language of the proposed new paragraph *a* in section 270 of the Customs Act? If that provision be intended to prevent men being forced to hump packages upon their backs weighing 3 or 4 cwt., well and good. But if, on the contrary, it is designed to prevent large packages, weighing *6* or 7 cwt., being removed from the hold of a vessel by machinery, so as to enable the men to enforce their claims, it is manifestly unjust. The Minister has stolen a large amount of the thunder which I intended to use in my criticism of this clause. No doubt he will guard this provision carefully by means of regulations. But those regulations will require to be closely scrutinized. I sympathize with the general object of the Minister, and with the efforts of previous Ministers, to extend reasonable relief to our waterside workers. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In Committee:* Clauses 1to 3 agreed to.. Clause 4 - >Section one hundred and twelve of the principal Act is repealed, and the following section substituted in its stead: - " 112 (1) The Governor-General may, by proclamation, prohibit the exportation of any goods - {: type="a" start="d"} 0. which have not been prepared or manu factured for export under the prescribed conditions, or which do not conform to the prescribed conditions as to purity, soundness, or freedom from disease ; "..... {: #subdebate-5-0-s4 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- I move - >That after the word " conditions," line 9, the words " as to purity, soundness, or freedom from disease " be inserted. I do so in conformity with the promise which I made whilst the Leader of the Opposition was speaking. {: .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator Clemons: -- And also to prevent the Act from being declared *ultra vires* of the Constitution. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- No. That is all that is intended to be done. {: #subdebate-5-0-s5 .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator CLEMONS:
Tasmania -- I think that the clause would be less cumbersome if paragraph *d* were made to read - which have not been prepared or manufactured for export under, and which do not confoim to, the prescribed conditions as to purity, soundness, or freedom from disease. The Minister could effect his purpose without repeating the words "as to purity, soundness, or freedom from disease." **Senator** Pearce.The words "prescribed conditions " have been twice used by the draftsman, and I do not wish to disturb them. Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 5 to 14 agreed to. Clause 15 - Section two hundred and seventy of the Principal Act is amended by adding thereto the following words and sub-section : - " and in particular for prescribing - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the nature, size, and material of the packages in which imported goods, or goods for export, or goods for conveyance coastwise from any State to any other State, are to be packed, or the coverings in which they are to be wrapped ; 1. the maximum or minimum weight or quantity of imported goods, or goods for export, or goods for conveyance coastwise from any State to any other State, which may be contained in any one package ; 2. the conditions of preparation or manufacture for export of any articles used for food or dfink by man or used in the manufacture of articles used for food or drink by man ;. and 3. the conditions as to purity, soundness, and freedom from disease to be conformed to by goods for export. " (2.) The regulations may prescribe penalties not exceeding Fifty pounds in respect of any contravention of any of the regulations." {: #subdebate-5-0-s6 .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator CLEMONS:
Tasmania -- I do not think that this clause ought to be agreed to in its present form. It is one of those numerous provisions the effect of which is invariably shown by regulations. Whilst it is true that a little while ago we improved our facilities for dealing with regulations, the fact remains that if regulations under this Bill are framed at the beginning of next year they will remain in force till about next September, without anybody having an opportunity to criticise them. They will become law without any member of this Parliament being able to appeal against them. The clause is an extremely drastic one. Under it, the Minister may materially affect the importation of any class of goods into Australia.It means that there will have to be a delegated Excise officer in every European house from which goods are imported. Otherwise the most minute particulars will have to be supplied to London and the European houses in regard to the nature, size, and material of the packages in which imported goods may come into Australia. Further, all sorts of restrictions may be imposed upon the method of packing such goods, and upon their coverings, and the quality of those coverings. In other words, if the Minister chose to do so, he could absolutely stop importation into the Commonwealth; I see no reason why such extreme powers should be vested in any Minister. There is no limit to what might be done under such a provision. The Government might issue regulations which would practically prohibit the importation of any class of goods. I venture to say that the clause will create endless confusion, because every importer will require to give information to the house from which he imports as to the nature, size, and the material of the packages in which goods may be imported. He will also require to inform it of all sorts of conditions which will be embodied in the regulations relative to the coverings in which goods must be wrapped, and as to the quality and size of such coverings. {: .speaker-K1I} ##### Senator Barker: -- We provide for the same thing already in respect of some goods. For instance, we impose conditions as to the size of certain tins. {: .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator CLEMONS: -- With those conditions I am heartily in accord, because they are intended to enforce the observance of honesty. But this clause will give the Ministry power to impose all sorts of embarrassing restrictions. The trouble in regard to this clause is that in consequence of regulation after regulation being made under it, there will be a perfect volume of correspondence between people in Australia who import goods and people in England from whom they import them. There will be a hundred and one vexatious proceedings under it. I admit that the clause is wide enough to meet every possible form of grievance, but it gives such drastic powers, and may be enforced in such extraordinary ways, that it will hamper trade in all directions. Paragraph *b* gives power to prescribe - The maximum or minimum weight or quantity of imported goods, or goods for export, or goods for conveyance coastwise from any State to any other State, which may be. contained in any one package. What is the reason for that? It applies to every class of goods that may be imported. Take softgoods. Why is it necessary to direct an exporter in England to send his goods out to Australia in any particular kind of package? If it were intended that the provision should apply only to cornsacks, I shouldsympathize with the object. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Might notbutterboxes be imported? {: .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator CLEMONS: -- The honorable senator knows that as a matter of fact butter-boxes are not imported. Under this provision the Department can impose any conditions it likes as to the size of packages in which goods are imported, and as to the kind of stuff that covers them. I can see no reason for it. {: #subdebate-5-0-s7 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP -- I dealt with this provision in my second-reading speech when I explained that it was aimed principally at the size of the cornsack. I told the Senate that at present sugar and maize are imported from Java in large sacks, which have to be carried on the shoulders of men. When these sacks get into the country they are used again for the export of wheat. We desire, after giving ample notice, to prohibit the importation of either sugar or maize in sacks of that large size. {: .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator Clemons: -- No one objects to that. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- It is not proposed to apply the regulation to goods of any other kind. {: .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator Clemons: -- The honorable senator will admit that the regulation would apply to goods of any kind. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- But it is not intended to apply it to other packages than sacks. Moreover, the regulation will have to be laid before Parliament. It has been found by the Department that the Chapman regulations in regard to the size of cornsacks are defeated to some extent, and we therefore require greater power to prohibit effectively the use of the large sack. {: .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator Clemons: -- Could not the provision be made to apply exclusively to sacks ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- It is not desirable to do so. Clause agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported with an amendment; report adopted. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 6195 {:#debate-6} ### AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIES PRESERVATION BILL {:#subdebate-6-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 15th November *(vide* page 6097), on motion by **Senator Pearce** - >That this Bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-6-0-s0 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- This very important subject is now before the Senate for the third time, and the Bill ought not to go through without some comment. I realize that resistance is absolutely useless, but some criticism should be made, if only with the object of asking how far legislation of this class is to go. A drastic Act, having for its objectthe preservation of Australian industries, was passed in 1906.At a later date, an amending Act was passed, strengthening the original measure. It seems to me that the industries of Australia have been undergoing a course of preservation which before we are done with them ought to be sufficient to make an Egyptian mummy green with envy. The matter of Australian industries preservation is being used for political purposes by every demagogue or aspirant for parliamentary honours, and the phrase is trotted out like"that blessed word Mesopotamia," in company with phrases about Tories, reactionaries, and others of the kind. I ask the Minister whether this is to be the last of the series of enactments by which Australian industries are to be preserved safely and finally ? After we had passed the Act of 1906, which was a very drastic and comprehensive measure, the cry arose that Australian industries were still unpresented. Indeed, it was said that they were being strangled. Parliament had to preserve them from strangulation. But somehow or other they are still in danger, and another Act must now be passed. We have no sooner finished saving Australian industries from strangulation than still another cry is raised, and this Bill has been introduced in order that they may be preserved again. I should like to know when the Australian industries will have done with this wonderful process of preservation, and when they will be allowed to find their own level, and stand on their own footing. I shall not trouble the Senate by referring to the purpose of two or three of the measures with which we have already dealt, but I shall speak of some of the objects of this amending Bill. It is proposed by this measure to amend section 4 of the principal Act. That section provides that any person who makes or enters into any contract " with intent to restrain trade or commerce to the detriment of the public " shall be liable to certain penalties. The Government propose to amend the section by leaving out the words " to the detriment of the public." I was glad to hear i"he Minister say that there are some combines whose operations are not to the detriment of the public. But why, in the face of that admission, the Government should propose to prosecute people merely for comi.ning in trade, irrespective of whether their operations are to the detriment of the public or not, I am unable to understand. In this matter I think, and I do not mind saying that I hope, the Government will find themselves just where they were before. It is proposed, under the Bill, that it shall be sufficient in a prosecution for the Government to aver that a contract has been made in restraint of trade, and from the explanation given by the Minister, 1 am disposed to think that the Government will find themselves impaled on the horns of a dilemma, which will be 'created by this measure. I regard clause 2 of this Bill as a standing illustration of the mockery and sham that is behind much of this legislation. The Government propose to amend paragraph *b,* of sub-section 1, of section 4 of the principal Act, by inserting before the words " with intent to destroy or injure" the words " to the destruction or injury of." And if amended as proposed the paragraph will read - >To the destruction ot injury of ot with intent to destroy or injure by means of unfair competition any Australian industry. I dare say that this matter will, sooner or later, get to the High Court, and it will be for the High Court, and not for us, to interpret the provision. The Minister has shirked the difficulty, and we have had no attempt at a legal explanation of the difference in effect of the principal Act, as it stands, and as it will be amended, if this Bill is passed. I do not mind saying that when this Bill is passed, we shall be pretty well where we were before. The reason is that this Parliament has not sufficient information on which to. base legislation of this kind, and we cannot get it until some case is taken to the High Court, and we have the final judgment of that Court upon every section of our Commonwealth legislation under which a combine is prosecuted. We cannot get that infor- mation. The course pursued in the United States has been to secure decisions of the Supreme Court in connexion with some of the measures which have been passed in that country. But there is no parallel in the United States, or in any country in the world, for such continuous amending legislation of the same kind to secure a judgment of the High Court as we have here, when the matters upon which we require a judgment have never been brought before the High Court. {: .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator Clemons: -- Why discourage perseverance ? {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- How long is this kind of thing to continue? {: .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator Clemons: -- I should think that this ought to finish it. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- There is an important departure proposed in this. Bill, which is probably due to some United States decisions: I refer to the provision for continuous penalties. Under previous legislation of the kind a penalty of ^500 was fixed for an offence, and there it ended; but, under this Bill, it is proposed that for every day during which the offence is continued, from the time the prose cution makes its averment, the penalty is to be repeated. In dealing with the matter, the Minister referred to a case that occurred in the United' States, in which this course was adopted; but he did not tell the Senate that in one big case in which that was attempted the Supreme Court of the United States decided that the whole proceedings were *ultra vires* of the Constitution. An amendment of section 7 of the principal Act is proposed. The section reads - >Any person who monopolizes or attempts to monopolize, or combines or conspires with any other person to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce with other countries, or among the States, with intent to control, to the detriment of the public, the supply or price of any service, merchandise, or commodity, is guilty of an offence. The Government propose that that section should be amended by omitting the words - with intent to control, to the detriment of the public, the supply or price of any service, merchandise, or commodity. The burden of proof of intent is to be removed from the prosecution and thrown upon the defendant. I suppose that the Government think that this will be conclusive. There are two classes of prosecution intended under the principal Act - prosecutions for penalties, and in the case of indictable offences. Prosecutions for penal- ties may, under the principal Act, and under this Bill, be heard before a Justice of the High Court, without a jury; but the number of offences which may be prosecuted before a Justice of the High Court without a jury is enlarged in this Bill. This means, if I am correct in my interpretation, that the number of indictable offences to be tried before a Justice of the High Court, with a jury, is to be reduced. It is a grave question whether the whole form and procedure of trial by jury for indictable offences can be altered by a measure of this kind. A trial before a jury for an indictable offence has a distinct meaning under the Constitution. The intention in preserving under the Constitution the right to trial by jury for an indictable offence was to place a distinct obligation upon the Crown. Yet in measure after measure submitted to, and passed by, this Parliament, we have provided that the obligation of the Crown to prove intent in prosecutions for indictable offences may be removed. I say that, in the case of an indictable offence under the Constitution, we cannot shift the onus of proof. What was the object in preserving trial by jury to the people of the Commonwealth in the case of indictable offences? {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- The honorable senator's leader is looking at the clock. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- That may be so; but I intend to say something on this question. I think it is well worth while to direct attention to this hasty legislation, which, I think, is playing down to the gallery. There is another question to which I should like to refer. I indicated it by interjection when the Minister of Defence was speaking. I mentioned a certain case, and asked how far it would apply. The Bill contains some amendments which deal with discovery. The original Act of 1906, the amending Act of 1908, the amending Act of 1909, and this Bill deal with discovery. There is a case before the. High Court in which that important point came up on an interlocutory proceeding. I wish to know from the Minister whether this Bill is intended to facilitate discovery in a case where it has been denied by a Justice of the High Court. I am aware that I am dealing with a very delicate question. The judgment of a Justice of the High Court has been given on this point, and it is an unfortunate coincidence for the Government that this Bill contains provision with regard to the discovery of documents which may or may not be used in a case which is *sub judice.* It is very hard for the Minister, and it may be hard for the Crown Law officers, to say exactly how far the Bill may apply when a Justice of the High Court has denied discovery under the Act. What I mean by that expression is that he has denied discovery forthe purpose of preparatory proceedings to the trial. I am inclined to think that, so far as the Government seek to enforce the continuing penalties, the Bill probably will not apply to a case which is *sub judice.* But so far as the procedure under this measure may be used as evidence to convict persons who are before the Court now, it is very difficult to say whether the Crown could use it in order, at the trial, to get those persons, so to speak, within the meshes of the law. If it is intended to be used, or will be used, in order to enable the Crown to get into its meshes some persons whom it thinks it ought to have prosecuted, but whom it could not, when it entered the process under the Act, bring before the Court, no matter who the persons are or what their evidence is, it is treating them worse than any criminal ought to be treated. I draw attention to the judgment of **Mr. Justice** Isaacs, because it is doubtful whether the Crown has brought in the Bill in order to apply it in these circumstances. I do not know if that is their intention. If they choose, possibly they can do so. Even if they make that attempt there will be difficulties in the way. I desire to raise a warning against any attempt at what may be called *expost facto* legislation on this subject. I hope it will be found afterwards that those who are before the Court will remain to be tried and punished by the Acts which we have already passed, and which they are supposed to have broken. I have marked a passage or two in the judgment of **Mr. Justice** Isaacs, because I think it is well, on a matter of discovery, that the public and the Senate should know how jealously these privileges have been guarded in Parliament and elsewhere, and how clearly they have been asserted by His Honor. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- We should not destroy the rules of evidence simply because some prosecution has failed. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- That is the very point I want to emphasize. I think that there is a tendency in this Bill to destroy the law of evidence. It is possible that on account of the judgment it got in the interlocutory proceeding, the Department may abandon the whole of the proceedings against the defendants, and start a new prosecution after this Hill comes into force. On the question of discovery **Mr. Justice** Isaacs, in *The King and another* v. *The Associated Northern Collieries and others,* said - >I come now to a question of considerable moment, but not, I think, when carefully examined, attended with any real doubt. The Crown applied for a direction that the defendants should make discovery of documents, lt must be distinctly understood that this application stands apart from any connexion with the particulars. I mean that it was not put on the ground that the particulars asked for could not be supplied, except after the defendants made discovery. The contention was put broadly and plainly that, this being a civil action, the Crown is entitled to get discovery of documents as a substantive right, and the defendants, if they desire to protect any particular documents from production, have to take the objection in the ordinary way, swearing to the tendency to criminate or penalize, as to which the Court would judge. The question is so important to these proceedings, and as a precedent, that I consider it desirable to state my reasons explicitly'. > >After stating his reasons explicitly he referred to the law of England and quoted case after case. He dealt with the arguments advanced by the Crown for the discovery of documents by which a defendant might criminate himself, and after dismissing them he pointed out that when you are asking for the discovery of documents for the purpose of enforcing a penalty you are not in the position of an ordinary plaintiff in a civil action, nor even is the defendant in the ordinary position of a defendant in a civil action, when the plaintiff, even the Crown, is pursuing a penalty. At the end of his judgment **Mr. Justice** Isaacs summed up the position in this way - > >Plainly, then, it is the result to the defendant, and not the *personnel* of the plaintiff, that affects the determination of the Court, and the statement of the law on the subject, down to ist March,1910, is thus summarized in Lord Halsbury's *Laws of England,* vol. 11, at p. 41 : " In civil proceeding where the action is brought merely to establish a forfeiture or enforce a penalty discovery will not be allowed, and if allowed may be resisted." Subsequently to that date, in April of the present year, the principle was again relied on by three, probably four, Justices of the Court of Appeal. In *re* a *Debtor* (1910 2 K.B, 59) decided that the petitioning creditor in a bankruptcy petition cannot before the hearing of the petition obtain an order for interrogatories or discovery. Fletcher Moulton, L.J., said - "When the real issue is of a penal nature neither discovery or interrogatories will be allowed." And he considered the loss of civil status was a penal consequence, to which the rule applied. Farell, L.J., and Buckley, L.J., expressly, and Kennedy, L.J., apparently, also agreed with him on this point. > >In view of these clear and undeviating authorities, I am bound to refuse the application to compel the defendants to give discovery. Two or three references are apposite to the suggestion that the defendants would in fact be sufficiently protected by the subsequent refusal to order production. There is the observation of Lord Lindley in *Martin* v. *Treacher* (16 Q.B.D. atp. 513), and the similar statement of Chitty, L.J., in *Moxborough case* (1897, 2 Q.B., at p. 121), that in such a case the proper course is to stop the matter *in limine;* and the other reference is to that of Lord Coleridge, C.J., in *Jones' case* (22 Q.B.D.,' at p. 428), that if the suggested course were taken the very mischief sought to be prevented would ensue. Said the learned L.C.J.- " The whole case for the plaintiff may depend upon his power to trace a particular document into the possession of the defendant, and upon its non-production to prove its contents by secondary evidence." > >Nothing short of a distinct legislative provision to the contrary can overcome a principle so deeply rooted and consistently enforced, and as there is no such relevant provision, I must take the law as I find it. > >His Honour refused discovery. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- Do you mind telling a layman what discovery means in law? {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: **- Mr. Justice** Isaacs laid it down that, when you seek to punish a man for a penal offence, not even under the Australian Industries Preservation Act, can you compel him to produce a document to criminate himself? You may ask a man to discover documents over and over again, but His Honour has stated that in the absence of an express provision in a law that request cannot be enforced. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- It is time that we had an Act with such a provision. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- That is exactly why I have made these remarks.. I am glad of the interjection. Does the honorable senator correctly represent the mind of the Ministry on this matter? {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- I do not know. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- Is that why this Bill has been brought here - in order to get discovery? {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- I do not know anything about the Minister's view. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- Then, why did the honorable senator speak? It is very difficult to say what may happen in a case of this kind. The Bill will probably pass without a division. My contention is that, before we were asked to make this drastic alteration of the law, we ought to have had a complete case tried in every portion of its bearings before the High Court, and with a decision from that body we should have had the law tested from every point of view - from the issue of the writ right through the interlocutory proceedings until the final judgment was given. If that course had been pursued under any one of the very drastic Acts we have passed Parliament would have had for its. guidance something which the Constitution contemplated that it should have, namely, an interpretation from the High Court, whose decision would have enabled us to understand why the law was defective, and probably would have suggested a course of procedure by which we could, supply the deficiency, if we thought that it should be supplied. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- That might, mean two or three years' delay. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- Is it not better to delay than to seek to enmesh any of these trusts or combines by treating them unjustly? I recognise that this is a work of supererogation on my part. One might as well beat the air as address these remarks to the Minister. I have only been tempted to make them in order to direct attention to the fact that if the proposed amendment of the law be prompted by a desire to interfere with a case which is at present *sub judice,* it is a prostitution of justice and a grossly tyrannical abuse of the powers of a parliamentary majority. I hope that the Government do not contemplate influencing the course 'of justice in the case in question by *ex -post facto* legislation. That is expressly forbidden under the Constitution of the United States. It may be that the Minister will reply that he does not know whether this Bill will, or will not, apply to any case which may at present be before the Court. On the other hand, he may say that the course of justice will not be interfered with by it. If he makes the latter declaration, I shall welcome it. But if the measure be intended to accomplish any other purpose, I have discharged my duty by pointing out the danger of this kind of legislation. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- The danger that the guilt of some persons will be sheeted home to them. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- I would rather that the guilty should escape than that this Parliament should bring them to justice by *ex post facto* legislation. If there are combines or trusts which have broken the law as it exists to-day, let them be prosecuted under that law. But it will be a disgrace to Commonwealth legislation if this Bill be used to provide further facilities foi prosecuting persons who are at present- before the Court, or against whom prosecutions may be in progress. The Minister of Defence, in introducing the measure, said that it was founded, not upon the legislation of the United States, but upon certain judgments of the Supreme Court of that country. In other words, he is importing those decisions into the Bill to enable him to successfully prosecute certain combines. I object to the measure being made retrospective. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- No matter how long a person has been a rogue, we must not touch him. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- I would not touch a dog in the street by *ex post facto* legislation. Those who are familiar with the history of the United States during the past twelve or fifteen years know that many of the prosecutions which have been undertaken against combines there were political prosecutions. They were instituted for the temporary advantage of a political party. Many of them were mere shams. That fact must be borne in mind. I regret that the Minister of Defence went so far as 10 say that as the principal Act, which was based upon the Sherman Act, had proved to be defective, he had actually imported into this Bill some of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. Has he imported into it the mere *obiter dicta* of the Judges of that Court, or has he imported into it the judgments of that tribunal? I do not expect the Minister to reply to my question now ; indeed, I do not think that even the Attorney-General, if he were present, would care about answering it forthwith. Apparently, the Australian Industries Preservation Act is like " the blessed word Mesopotamia." It is to be used by every reactionary, and is to be made the mere sport of political parties. I welcome the judgment of the High Court on the question of discovery, because it points out what are the rights of defendants, and what have been their rights for a long time when the Crown seeks to enforce the imposition of penalties against them. I again ask the Minister to say whether this legislation is intended to deal with any case which is *sub judice?* **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [10.9].- At this period of the evening I do not' propose to detain honorable senators by speaking at any great length. Unfortunately, I labour under the disadvantage of not having heard the speech which was delivered by the Minister of Defence in moving the second reading of the Bill. But I recognise that, as we have enacted a law to restrain monopolies and protect Australian industries, it is our duty, if we find that law defective, to endeavour to make it effective. But, in discharging that duty, we should observe the principle which for many years has underlain our system of jurisprudence in the matter of the prosecution and determination of alleged offences. That principle is that no man should be deemed guilty until his guilt has been proved. But we have, in certain instances, departed from that principle by declaring that no man shall be presumed to be innocent until he has established his innocence. The judgment of **Mr. "Justice** Isaacs, whichhas been quoted by **Senator St.** Ledger, shows that the feeling of the Court is not to push these assumptions to the extreme to which some honorable senators wish. Where an attempt is made to commit a man to a term of imprisonment for an alleged offence, it is highly undesirable that he should be convicted unless there is reasonable evidence upon which his conviction can be founded. The mere fact of a man being charged with an offence should not be sufficient to secure his conviction. But, under our Australian Industries Preservation Act, we say that if an offence is alleged against an individual, the onus of proof shall lie upon him. In other words, he has to prove that he is innocent. It is not for the Crown to prove that he is guilty. The judgment which was given the other day emphasizes the danger of such extreme legislation. It shows that if the Crown be vested with extreme powers, the interests of the accused person ought to be as carefully guarded against the inroads of the Crown as they can be within the words of the Statute. **Senator St.** Ledger has asked whether it is intended to utilize this Bill to deal with cases which are at present *sub judice?* Unquestionably, if those cases are pending when the measure becomes law, it will be possible to take advantage of the powers which are embodied in it. I have no doubt in my own mind that that is the intention of the Government. They find that, as the law stands, they have been prevented from proceeding in the way that they desired, and consequently they are seeking stronger powers. I think that we ought to follow the usual course by providing that, the Bill shall not apply to cases which are at present before the Courts. Whatever offences individuals may be charged with having committed were committed by them under the law which, exists to-day, and it would be manifestly unfair to make the Bill retrospective. Under this measure, the Government aregoing to create an artificial offence. Fifty men may have committed the offence herecreated, but it would be manifestly unfair to punish them for doing a thing which was not illegal at the time they did it. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- It is not unfair to devise new methods of finding out whether an offence has been committed. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- But the question is whether the Government are not causing an act which was formerly legal to become illegal by means of legislation. The British principle in dealing with criminal offences is never to allow legislation which is passed to-day to apply to a matter which took place before the legislation was passed. What is generally meant by an illegal act is one which is contrary to moral principle and common justice. Let me direct attention to another matter. This Bill is intended to amend an Act which was passed " for the preservation of Australian industries and the repression of destructive monopolies." Although the Bill is cited as " The Australian Industries Preservation Act 1910," still it appears tome that it contains provisions which are not in conformity with the Act of 1906. Originally it was provided that any person who engaged in a combination in relation to trade and commerce with other countries, or among the States, with intent to restrain trade and commerce to the detriment of the public was guilty of an offence. But under this Bill it is proposed to omit the words " to the detriment of the public," and to insert the words "in restraint of trade or" before the words " with intent to restrain." So that now it is intended to provide that if an action is in fact in restraint of trade it is punishable whether done with the intention to restrain trade or not. The mere act of restraining trade is to be made an offence, without regard to whether it is to the detriment of the public or not. Can it be said that a monopoly which restrains commerce is necessarily a destructive monopoly, unless it can be shown to be to thedetriment of the public? I submit that it is not a reasonable thing to deal with the subject in this way, because many so called monopolies may fairly be regarded as beneficial to the public and not to their detriment. The whole gist and gravamen of the offence is that what is done is to the injury of the public. If nobody is injured, why should the act be punishable? If we are to pass legislation of this description, actions which do no harm to anybody, and which, indeed, may be necessary, may be punished as offences. Surely we are getting altogether beyond what is reasonable. I ask the Minister in charge of the Bill whether he can point to legislation in any country that provides that any act which is in restraint of trade, but not to the detriment of the public, is punishable? It has been left to the imagination of the Commonwealth Parliament to create an offence out of an act which does nobody any injury. I feel sure that we are going too far in this direction. Then, take the clause with regard to prosecutions and fines. It is proposed to add to the principal Act a sub-section providing that it shall be a defence to a proceeding for an offence, and an answer to an allegation that a contract was made or entered into in restraint of trade, or with intent to restrain trade or commerce, if the party alleged to have offended proves that the matter or thing alleged to have been done was not to the detriment of the public, and that the restraint of trade was not unreasonable. The individual proceeded against has to prove that his action was not to the detriment of the public, and was not in. restraint of trade to an unreasonable degree, thus throwing the onus, of proof on him. Section 7 of the principal Act provides a punishment for persons who attempt to monopolize any part of trade and commerce with other countries with intent to control the supply of commodities to the detriment of the public. It is proposed to amend that provision by leaving out the words " with intent to control to the detriment of *the* public the supply or price of any service, merchandise, or commodity." So that a man will become guilty of an offence if he monopolizes, or attempts to monopolize, any trade or commerce, although he may have no intent to create a monopoly. _ I admit that the Government have the right to make the law effective, but I deny that they have the right to create an offence out of an action which may not be to the injury of any portion of the community. Here we are unnecessarily and harshly creating an offence, and rendering the law more difficult to comply with. I do not object to proposed new section 14a. which simply aims at doing away with technicalities. I have always thought that it is wise to ride rough-shod over technicalities, so long as the alleged offence charged is definite, and the man charged may know what he is charged with. But I strongly object to the provision contained in proposed new section 146, making a man answer in response to interrogations admissible in evidence against him in proceedings for an alleged offence under the Act. Under this Bill the Government are creating certain criminal offences involving penalties and, .possibly, imprisonment, and at the same time they propose to put interrogatories to the person charged with the object of eliciting from him whether he has committed the offence or not. It is not proposed at present to put the thumbscrew on the individual, but it is proposed to put him on his oath, and to make him understand that he will be liable to a prosecution for perjury if he does not give correct answers to questions which, nevertheless, may tend to criminate him, the purpose of the Government being to obtain from the man himself evidence to bring about his own conviction. That is not just. It may be right to go so far as to administer interrogatories. But it is not right to create an offence and then administer interrogatories to the individual for the purpose of using his replies to obtain his conviction. Honorable senators must realize that this Bill will be a very strong incentive to perjury. We are proposing to tell a man that he must answer certain questions, and that if he tells us the truth in answering those questions we shall punish him for having committed the offence. He may arrive at the conclusion that if he does not tell the truth it will be more difficult to convict him of perjury than of the offence with which he is charged, and we may therefore be unable to get reliable evidence. This legislation is calculated to promote deceit and fraud on the part of the community affected by it. Men subjected to examination under a provision of this kind may be tempted to make statements which they would not dream of making in ordinary circumstances. It is not fair to place any man in such a position. With respect to minutes of the meetings of companies, it is proposed to provide that- >In any proceeding for an offence against this Part of this Act,' wherein a combination or conspiracy or attempted combination or conspiracy in contravention of this Act is alleged, any book document paper or writing containing > >any minute note record or memorandum of any proceeding at aDy meeting of the persons or any of the persons alleged to have been parties or privy to the combination conspiracy or attempt, or > >any entry purporting to be a copy of or extract from any such book document paper or writing, shall, upon proof that it was produced by or came from the custody of those persons or any of them, or of a responsible officer or a representative of those persons or any of them - (i.) be admissible in evidence against those persons; and (ii.)be evidence that the matter and things thereby appearing to have been done by those persons or any of them were so done, and that any person thereby appearing to have been presentat the meeting was so present. The greatest extent to which we ought to go in such a matter is to regard such a minute as *prima facie* evidence only. My name may be inserted in a minute-book as having been present at a meeting in respect of which a prosecution may lie. I may have been 100 miles away at the time, but the insertion of my name in the minute-book will, under this Bill, be regarded as evidence, and not merely *prima facie* evidence, that I was present at the meeting. An honorable senator interjected just now that if any person commits an offence we should adopt every means to prove him guilty of it, in order that he may be punished, or that steps may be taken to prevent a repetition of the offence. But what is the principle of law which every lawyer has learned by rote, and nearly every layman? It is that no man is held to be guilty until he has been proved guilty. The reasons for the adoption of that principle are not fanciful reasons. They are based upon the experience of the administration of the law, from the time when torture was used to extort a confession from a man up to the present. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- What about the "third degree," which is used now? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- This Bill may be said to introduce the "third degree." The principle to which I have referred has grown out of the humanizing effect of enlightenment and knowledge, but under this measure in respect of a certain class of offences the Government propose to introduce the practice of the "third degree," said to be used in the United States. In the circumstances, all that one can do is to protest against this kind of legislation. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- I suppose that the honorable senator will help us to nationalize monopolies in the future? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- This has nothing to do with the nationalization of monopolies. If **Senator Rae** and I agree to go into a certain trade it might be contended that we were conducting a monopoly, and it would not be necessary under this Bill to prove that our operations were to the detriment of the public. I protest against this kind of legislation, and I think that this Parliament is making a serious mistake in legislating in this way. That has been my opinion ever since I have been a member of it. I have felt that some of the laws which we have passed are unfair and unjust. In the first instance of this class of legislation we were told that we might rely upon the Minister administering the law with discretion. I have lost all confidence in the discretion of Ministers in instituting certain prosecutions. Parliament should be very careful in passing legislation making it difficult for a person to defend himself when charged with an offence of which he has not been guilty. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- Does the honorable senator think that this Bill will be effectual in putting a stop to monopolies and trusts ? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I doubt it very much. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- I am sure it will not. There is only one remedy. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- It is not the remedy which the honorable senator would suggest. I think I can see several ways in which it would be possible to evade some, at least, of the provisions of this Bill. It may require a little ingenuity, but I think it will be found that they can be evaded, and I suppose that the Government will then propose that they should be given further powers. I hold the opinion that in this kind of legislation we are not acting fairly as between the community and the Government of the day. I say that without any desire whatever to shield any individual who has committed a breach of the law as laid down by Parliament, although his action may have been legal before that law was passed. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and committed {: .page-start } page 6203 {:#debate-7} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-7-0} #### Division Bells - The Labour Party - Case of Warder Wise Motion (by **Senator McGregor)** proposed - >That the Senate do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-KRX} ##### Senator LONG:
Tasmania -- I wish to avail myself of this motion to explain that I was out in the gardens adjoining the building this afternoon when rhe division was taken on the third reading of the Constitution Alteration (Legislative Powers; Bill, and the bell that usually warns honorable senators that a division is about to take place did not ring. That is the reason why I was not present to record my vote on that very important measure. I wish also to take advantage of this opportunity to explain an incident that has been made a good deal of in Tasmania, in a way which reflects upon the Labour party as a whole. When **Senator Symon** was speaking the otherday he said, amongst other things, that he had little hope of being able to change the opinions of honorable senators on this side. I jocularly interjected that he might change our opinions, but he could not change our votes, and mentioned that he had probably heard that before. My reference was to an old story with which, probably, most members of the Senate are conversant. A Conservative member of the Imperial Parliament who had sat for the same constituency for a great many years was asked if, during his lengthy service, he had never heard a speech from a Liberal member that had made him change bis opinions regarding Liberalism. His reply was, " Yes, I have heard many speeches that have changed my opinions, but I have never heard one that has changed my vote." My interjection has been used in the press in different parts of Australia to suggest that the members of the Labour party are bound hard and fast. It is contended that, no matter how eloquent and. convincing arguments from the other side may be, they cannot in any circumstances change the votes of honorable senators on this side. {: .speaker-K1Z} ##### Senator Rae: -- The difficulty is to make an interjection appear to be jocular. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- We shall have to instruct the *Hansard* reporters to mark jokes as jokes. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- They have sufficient to do in unravelling the jokes. {: .speaker-KRX} ##### Senator LONG: -- The *Hansard* staff have already sufficient work to do without asking them to do what **Senator Givens** suggests. The fact is that there are times when jokes are dangerous, and possibly this was one of them. I make this explanation in justice to myself, and other members of the Labour party in the Senate. I am quite sure that **Senator Symon** fully appreciated the interjection, and that, in common with other members of the Senate, he was thoroughly conversant with the old story which I revived. {: #subdebate-7-0-s1 .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM:
WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I desire to ask the Minister of Defence whether he has noticed a telegram which appeared in the *Age* of this morning in reference to the case of Warder Wise. I shall not read the whole of the telegram, because it is too long. There is only one particular phase to which I wish to call the Minister's attention, and that is that in reply to **Mr. Troy,** who had moved the adjournment of the Legislative Assembly, the Premier of Western Australia made this statement - >It would he impossible to permit any number of prison warders to undertake military service. In view of the fact that we have before Parliament a Defence Bill calling upon all citizens to undertake military duty, I ask the Minister of Defence what he thinks of the statement made by the Premier of Western Australia ? If after the Bill becomes law prison warders are prevented from taking their share of the duty of citizen soldiers, what position will the Government of the Commonwealth be placed in? I alsodesire to know if the Minister has yet received a reply from the Premier of Western Australia. Seeing that he is about to visit that State, it might be wise on his part to enlighten the. Senate as to the position we shall be faced with in the' event of other State Premiers taking a similar stand. {: #subdebate-7-0-s2 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- I saw the telegram referred to by the honorable senator. I think that the powersof the Commonwealth Government under the Defence Acts are unquestioned. The Constitution lays it down that on any of the matters on which we have authority to legislate the Federal Act shall prevail over any State Act with which it is in conflict. The Defence Bill only applies to persons who are under the age of twenty-six years, because it contains no provision for universal training. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- In the event of war there will be compulsory service. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Yes. If a warder happened "to be under the age of twenty -six years he would have to comply with the Defence Act as regards training, unless, of course, he was exempt. If anybody interfered with him there are penalty clauses which could be enforced, and the Federal law could, of course, be enforced, notwithstanding any State law or regulation .or Premier to the contrary. Warders are not exempt from training, but, of course, in time of war they are exempt. As regards my telegram to the. Premier of Western Australia, I have not yet received a reply. I shall take an opportunity when I am in that State to try to get the matter adjusted amicably. {: #subdebate-7-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### The PRESIDENT: -- Before I put the question I desire to mention that, so far as the Senate is concerned, there is no bell, and never has been' a bell, in the garden to summon -honorable senators to a division. There is a bell in the garden which, .1 believe, is rung when a division is about to he taken in the other House. I have merely made this statement because I do not wish any honorable senator to be under *a.* wrong impression. Question resolved in the affirmative. Senate adjourned at 10.50 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 November 1910, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.