4th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Is the Minister of Defence aware that since he answered my question during the week, and said that he would give an instruction against the employment of solicitors in Cadet prosecutions, a boy has been brought before the Children’s Court, in Sydney, for having offended against military discipline, and fined 25s., namely, 4s. for costs of Court, and £11s. for professional costs? Will the Minister kindly tell us whether he is going to enforce the decision in regard to this matter, or to allow this official to do as he likes ?
– Before the Minister replies, may I ask a question bearing on the point? Two Melbourne newspapers in two consecutive issues contained contradictory statements as to the number of those who are not discharging their duty under the Defence Act. I wish to ask which of the two statements is correct - one was practically that there is no shortage, and the other that there was a serious shortage - as it has some bearing on this question of prosecutions.
– In reply to Senator McDougall, I wish to say that I have never stated that no costs will be charged in a case of prosecution. The statement I made was that no solicitors are to be allowed to be employed without Ministerial authority. The ordinary cost of the summons will, of course, have to be met in every case. As regards the case in point, I ask the honorable senator to give notice of a question in order that I may ascertain the facts. I have not seen the reports to which Senator Millen referred, and I think that he can easily understand why.
– I can; the honorable senator has been sowing seeds of mischief elsewhere.
– If the honorable senator will favour me with the dates of the issues in which the reports appeared, I shall have them inquired into.
– The reports were published during this week.
– Will the Government see that the proceedings of the conference of engineers which is to take place next week as to the settlement of a uniform gauge for Australia are fully reported by the press? A very important subject is to be dealt with, and it is only right that the people should understand what takes place.
– Order! The honorable senator cannot argue the question.
-I amsimply explaining my question, sir.
– I do not see what the Government can do. We have no authority over the press. We cannot compel newspapers to report anything, but I hope that the necessary publicity will be given to the proceedings of the conference. I would remind Senator McColl that it is not a Federal conference. I feel sure that the States will take every care that any resolutions arrived at are made known to the people.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs tell me the date of the last visit of the lighthouse expert to the Wonga Shoal lighthouse, and whether there is a report available ?
– I am not able, here and now, to tell the honorable senator when the latest expert visited this particular lighthouse.I ask him to give notice of a question.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
-The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Relative to the reply given by the VicePresident of the Executive Council to Senator Givens recorded in the Journals of the Senate,27th November, 1912, paragraph 6 -
Did the Government refer to the State Government of Tasmania for information for the purpose of replying to Senator Givens ; and, if so, with what result ?
Is the Government aware that, after notice of the question had been given by Senator Givens, the Premier of Tasmania is reported by the Tas manian and Inter-State press to have stated that the total reduction in taxation was estimated at £16,700, of which at least£7,000 would be in relief of those receiving incomes of less than £125 per annum - that£18,000 of this years special grant would be applied to new works - and that the balance would be devoted to the reduction of the State’s floating deficit?
Is the Government aware that the Income Tax law in Tasmania provides for a higher rate and a lower exemption than in any of the other States of the Commonwealth?
In the circumstances, is the Government of opinion that one of its members should comment, in the Senate, upon the action and policy of the Tasmanian Government as unofficially presented in the form of a question?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are -
Senator PEARCE laid upon the table the following paper: -
Defence Act 1903-1912. - Regulation (Provisional) amended -
Military Forces, Financial and Allowance -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 224.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the report be adopted.
Amendment (by Senator Findley) agreed to -
That all the words after the word “ That “ be left out, with a view to insert the following words : - “ the message and amendments of the House of Representatives be recommitted for the reconsideration of amendments Nos. 9,113, 123, 156, and177.
In Committee (Recommittal):
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - After clause 5 insert the following new clause : - “ 5A. A ship shall be deemed to be engaged in the coasting trade, within the meaning of this Act, if she takes on board passengers or cargo at any port in a State, or a Territory which is part of the Commonwealth, to be carried to, and landed or delivered at, any other port in the same State or Territoryor in any other State or other such Territory :
Provided that a ship shall not be deemed to be engaged in the coasting trade by reason of the fact that she carries -
passengers who hold through tickets to or from a port beyond Australia and the Territories under the authority of the Commonwealth; or
cargo consigned on a through bill of lading to or from a port beyond Australia and those Territories; or
mails between any ports in Australia or in any of those Territories :
Provided further that the Governor-General may by order declare that the carrying of passengers or cargo between ports in any Territory which is part of the Commonwealth, or between ports in any such Territory and any other Australian ports, shall not be deemed engaging in the coasting trade.”
– In another place there seems to have been a little misconception regarding this provision. I think that honorable members there were perfectly willing that the trade between Papua and Australia should be deemed to be coasting trade. According to the discussion which took place, an attempt was made to bring the Papuan coast within the coasting trade, and the Minister incharge of the Bill thought that that was going too far. In the amendments which have been circulated for the last fortnight I have endeavoured to overcome the objections which were raised in the other House. It will be seen that in the first paragraph I propose to substitute under the authority”for “ which is part,” which, I think, honorable senators will agree is a very fair proposition. Then I propose in paragraph b to insert after “lading” the words “in the same ship,” because if we leave the provision as it is there will be room for absolute evasion of the whole of our coastal agreements. Take for instance a steamer belonging to a German line which comes to Australia by “Torres Straits, calls at various ports in Queensland, and takes in cargo, but with no intention of returning to England, and tranships the cargo into another ship of the same line at Sydney. That will destroy our coasting trade entirely. Under the second proviso the Governor-General may by order declare that the carrying of passengers or cargo between ports in any Territory “which is part” of the Commonwealth shall not be deemed engaging in the coasting trade. I want to substitute “ under the authority “ for “ which is part.” If my amendments are agreed to the amendment of the other House will read - “ 5A. A ship shall be deemed to be engaged in the coasting trade, within the meaning of this Act, if she takes on board passengers or cargo at any port in a State, or a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, to be carried to, and landed or delivered at, any other port in the same State or Territory or in any other State or other such Territory :
Provided that a ship shall not be deemed to be engaged in the coasting trade by reason of the fact that she carries -
passengers who hold through tickets to or from a port beyond Australia and the Territories under the authority of the Commonwealth ; or
cargo consigned on a through bill of lading in the same ship to or from a port beyond Australia and those Territories; or
mails between any ports in Australia or in any of those Territories; or
passengers or cargo between ports in the Territory of Papua :
Provided further that the Governor-General may by order declare that the carrying of passengers or cargo between ports in any Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, or between ports in any such Territory and any other Australian ports, shall not be deemed engaging in the coasting trade.”
I am only asking that we shall extend what we have done for all parts of the Commonwealth proper to territories under its authority and exactly on the same conditions.
– Does that correspond with the request which came to us from Papua?
– No. The people in Papua said that they wished to travel and send cargo by any ship whether British, or Chinese, or Japanese, or Dutch, or German. We have to recognise that some people did the pioneering trade to the South Seas. Foreign Governments, more especially the Dutch Government, are subsidizing ships with a view to take that trade away from the pioneers who, I freely recognise, acted in the interests of Australia. I am anxious to see the Bill go through, but I am also anxious to make it as perfect as possible, and to conserve Australian interests. I first ask honorable senators to agree to the amendment to leave out the words “ which is part,” and insert “ under the authority.” The change effected would be this : Under the Bill at the present time the coastal trade is confined to ships engaged in the Commonwealth, and does not extend to Territories under the authority of the Commonwealth. I think it is a fair thing to ask that the coastal trade shall be extended to the Territory of Papua. A provision is also made in the Bill that if any monopoly is established, and hardship is caused, the GovernorGeneral can allow other British ships to come in and compete for the coasting trade. This is absolutely a British preference, and I do not think that honorable senators will raise any objection to granting
British preference in Australian waters. I move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “ which is part,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ under the authority.”
– Two questions are involved in the amendments which Senator Guthrie has circulated. I suggest that we should confine the debate to the first amendment, inserting “ under the authority “ in place of “ which is part.” The other question, involved in inserting “ in the same ship “ after the word “ lading “ in paragraph b, is different, and should be separately discussed. We should limit the present discussion to whether the Papuan trade shall come under the Bill or not.
– I am willing to fall in with the suggestion of the Minister. I admit that arguments may be raised, however, regarding the establishment of monopoly in the Papuan trade, and I am prepared -if necessary to submit an amendment to prevent a monopoly being established.
– We can regard the first amendment as a test question. Senator Guthrie will recognise that the sense of the Committee is against the inclusion of the Papuan trade if he is defeated on this amendment.
– No, I shall not, because I shall be prepared to insert a proviso to meet an objection which is likely to be raised by honorable senators regarding the formation of a monopoly.
– I* does not seem to me that the amendment which Senator Guthrie has now moved covers the ground which he intends to cover. Would it not be wise to make the words “ under the authority “ additional to “ which is part “ instead of their being in substitution? We might make the clause read “ which is part of or under the authority of the Commonwealth.”
– The point which Senator Rae has just raised also occurred to me, and I took the opportunity of ascertaining the opinion of the Crown Law officers. It seemed to me that Senator Guthrie’s amendment would not achieve what he desired. But the Crown Law officers think that it would. That is to say, if Senator Guthrie’s amendment is carried the trade between Papua and theCommonwealth will become part of the coasting trade. The insertion of additional words would not have any more effect than that. If we left in the words “ which is part,” and also added “ under the authority “ the effect would be not only to make the trade between Papua and Australia, but also the trade round Papua part of the coasting trade. Senator Guthrie does not want that. By striking out the words “ which is part,”” and inserting “ under the authority “ we should make the trade between Australia and Papua coasting trade. That is* Senator Guthrie’s object. As to the merits of the amendment, the object is to make the coasting trade provisions of this Bill apply to ships carrying passengers or cargobetween Australia and Papua. We all know what those conditions are. They. involve the payment of Australian rates of wages, and the observance of other conditions which are laid down in this Bill. First of all, we need to look at the position of Papua in relation to the trade. Thecoasts of Papua are not part of the Australian coast. But Papua lies on the traderoute between Australia and the East. Vessels engaged in the Eastern trade donot call at Papuan ports merely for thepurpose of securing Papuan trade. Thereis nothing in the Papuan trade of itself toaccount for the vessels that now ply toPapua calling there. Their visits aremerely due to the fact that Papua lies on. that trade route.
– The trade itself would! not be sufficient.
– No. The effect ofexcluding those vessels from the trade unless they complied with Australian conditions would not be to cause them to comply with Australian conditions. It would! merely be to cause them to cease to call; and take part in the Papuan trade.
– As the trade they dois very small, the injury would be correspondingly little.
– The injury to the shipping companies would be- slight, but the injury to Papua would be very great because the trade that the ships do with Papua is small compared with their total? trade.
– How much?
– I shall give somefigures later on.
– It would mean great inconvenience to Papua.
– It would.
– Nothing of the sort. I can go over to Papua every week if I want to.
– The fact of the trade, from the steam-ship companies’ point of view, being small, leads to this result : To compel them to comply with our conditions would shut out those vessels from the Papuan trade. On the other hand, the inducement offered to other lines to trade with Papua would not be sufficient to induce other steamers to take part in the trade. That is to say, we should shut out the companies now trading with Papua, but should not induce other ships to call, because the trade of those ships would be limited entirely to the local trade between Australia and Papua, which is not a sufficient inducement in itself. It is not contended that the effect of our including Papua in the coasting trade would be to induce Australian ships to take part in the Eastern trade. It is not contended that they could successfully do so.
– There are some Australian ships that engage in the Eastern trade now, I think.
– I think not. What I call the Eastern trade is the trade to Japan and China.
– Burns, Philp, and Company’s ships go to both places.
– What ships?
– Burns, Philp, and Company have no ships going to China and Japan.
– I came down by that route a little more than twelve months ago and made inquiries. I learnt that the only steamers running to China and Japan were the Dutch steamers, the China line and the Japanese line.
– Burns, Philp, and Company’s ships go there.
– I do not think that a single one of them goes beyond Java.
– Does not the honorable senator call Singapore in the East?
– I do not speak of ships that go to Singapore as being engaged in the Eastern trade in the ordinary acceptation of the term. As I said before, I call the Eastern trade that which includes China and Japan.
– What steamers calling at Port Moresby engage in the Eastern trade ?
– I am going to give the particulars. There are four lines of steamers now calling at Papua. They are Burns, Philp, and Company’s ships, holding the Commonwealth mail contract between Australia and Papua, making nine calls per annum; the North German Lloyd vessels trading from Australia to China and Eastern ports, making six calls per annum; the Dutch Royal Packet line, running from Australia to Java, Singapore, and the Dutch East Indies, making twenty-four calls per annum; and Burns, Philp, and Company’s Sydney-Singapore vessels, calling at Port Moresby on the outward voyage only, twelve calls per annum. Both the German and the Dutch lines are in receipt of subsidies from their respective Governments, and both these lines and Burns, Philp, and Company’s SydneySingapore line employ coloured crews. So that Burns, Philp, and Company’s SydneySingapore line is on the same footing as the two foreign subsidized lines in respect to coloured labour. These lines, if Senator Guthrie’s amendment were adopted, would either have to conform to the conditions prescribed by this Bill or they would be shut out of the Papuan trade. I think it is reasonable to assume that Burns, Philp, and Company are only able to compete with the other companies in the Singapore trade by reason of the fact that they employ coloured crews.
– The foreign companies would be shut out of the trade too.
– Oh yes, of course, unless they complied with the conditions of this Bill.
– That is to say, we should apply the same conditions as apply to coasting vessels in other parts of Australia.
– Yes, although the conditions as regards other parts of Australia are not the same by any means.
– The conditions are not the same in any two ports.
– But there are greater variations in this case than in regard to any other Australian ports.I say again that these lines would either have to conform to Australian conditions or go out of the Papuan trade. The foreign companies would not be likely to conform to Australian conditions, because there would be no inducement for them to do so. The Papuan trade would not be worth their while. As to Burns, Philp, and Company, if they conformed to Australian conditions with theirSydneySingapore ships for the purpose of retaining their Papuan trade they would inevitably lose the trade which they now have with Singapore, because they would be paying Australian rates of wages and observing Australian conditions in competition with subsidized foreign companies employing coloured labour and not observing Australian conditions. The effect would be to reduce the steam-ship services now trading with Papua to the extent of about 80 per cent., bringing the number of outward calls down from 51 to 9, and the number of inward calls from 31 to 9.
– Eighty per cent, of what ?
– Of the total number of calls. I think we have a right to pay some regard to the wishes of the white people of Papua. They are without representation in this Parliament. They have a local Legislature under the authority of this Parliament, and we ought, I think, to pay regard to the views they have expressed on this question. They are vitally affected - nore vitally affected by any change than the people of Australia would be. If Papua were sunk in the sea I suppose that Australia would go on without feeling the effect of the blow. But a change of this sort would be felt by the white people of Papua in a vital fashion. Strong protests have been received from, amongst others, the Lieutenant-Governor, the Executive Council, and the Legislative Council. Petitions for the exemption of the trade from the coasting-trade provisions of this Bill have been signed by every white person in the Territory other than those interested in Burns, Philp, and Company. I understand that those petitions are now on their way down. The view which the Papuan people take is thus stated -
What would happen if the amendment were carried would be that these boats would bring the rice to some port in Australia where it would be transhipped and taken from that port to Port Moresby, because it would not pay the boats to call at PortMoresby merely for the purpose of landing the rice.
– That is a mere say-so.
– I think that it is logical. I am putting the views, which have been placed before the Government as those of the white residents of the Territory, and they ought to be listened to whether they are right or wrong. The statement continues -
Those are the objections put forward by the Papuan settlers, and they deserve consideration. I wish now to put the position of Papua from the political point of view. Whilst it is true that Papua has been placed under our jurisdiction, it is also true that politically the Territory is a separate entity. It has its own Legislative Council, and though I do not say that that is a satisfactory or democratic form of government, it is the form of government existing: there to-day with the consent of the Federal Parliament.
– Papua has Home Rule of a kind.
– That is so, and whether the form of government is satisfactory or not from a democratic standpoint, it will be admitted that the peopleof Papua have some right to a say as to the conditions under which trade shall be carried on between the Territory and the outside world. If Senator Guthrie’s amendment be agreed to, this Parliament will be forcing conditions upon the people of Papua, which they not only do not ask for, but against which they protest. If there should be any desire in Papua to have the provisions of this Bill applied to the tirade of the Territory, it will be within the power of the Papuan Legislative Council to take the necessary action to give effect <to that desire.
– So far as the Papuan coastal trade is concerned. My amendment does not touch that trade.
– The coastal trade -and the other trade as well. Senator Guthrie desires to force upon the people of Papua conditions which they oppose as against their interests. So far do we recognise the right of the Papuan Legislature to control the affairs of the Territory that »we permit them to impose a Tariff upon Australian goods. We do not say that they shall adopt our Tariff, but allow them to fix a Tariff for themselves. I take it that when we accepted the control of Papua, we did so because it was believed by the Imperial Government, the residents of Papua, and ourselves, that we should be just as solicitous for the best interests of the people of the Territory and its development as the Imperial Government could be. I ask honorable senators whether, if Papua had remained under the control of the British Government, the Imperial authorities would have countenanced the extension of the conditions imposed by this Bill, and their consequences, to the Papuan trade. I do not believe that the British Govern- ment would have done so. If we force “this legislation upon the people of Papua against their desire, and in spite of their protests, they will have just cause to complain that we have forced upon them something which, while it will not benefit the Commonwealth, will be injurious to them -.and militate against the development of the “Territory.
– The same argument will apply to the Northern Territory.
– The Northern Terri.:tory might be dealt with in this matter by exemption by the Governor-General in Council if it were found necessary. What will be the advantage to our seamen if Senator Guthrie’s amendment be carried? “I venture to say that it will be infinitesimal. I doubt whether it would lead to the employment of a dozen more seamen on the Australian coast. What inducement can we hold out so far as the trade with Papua itself is concerned. Unless we follow this up with a series, of heavy subsidies, I predict that not an additional steamer would “be engaged in the trade. Senator Guthrie lias said that honorable members in another place, when dealing with this matter, were under some misconception, and considered that this would affect the coastal trade only. Let me say at once that there was no. such misconception in another place.
– The AttorneyGeneral said so.
– Neither the Minister nor honorable members in another place were under any misconception. The whole discussion there centred round the question of the trade between Papua and Australia, and not merely the local coastal trade of the Territory. Burns, Philp, and Company have at present one boat running to Papua, and already manned under Australian conditions. It rival lines are shut out of the trade, the most that can be expected is that for an additional subsidy Burns, Philp, and Company may put on another boat giving employment to perhaps thirty or forty men. But what will they do if they do not receive an additional subsidy? Can we believe that when this service is said to be scarcely paying now, though freight at the rate of 30s. per ton is charged - and if there were no competition the rates would probably be 50s. per ton - they would put on another boat knowing that the trade is completely in their own hands, and the commercial interests of Papua very largely in their hands, unless the Commonwealth practically guaranteed, not merely the cost of running an additional boat, but a profit on its running? I am informed that there is some doubt as to our legal power to deal with this trade at all. The position is put in this way : Our power under the Constitution to legislate in regard to navigation and shipping is limited strictly to that “ with other countries and among the States.’’ Papua is not another country, nor is it an Australian State. There is consequently considerable doubt as to our power to regulate the trade between Australia and the Territory.
– Does the honorable . senator put that forward as a serious argument ?
– It is a view held somewhat strongly amongst officers of the Crown Law Department.
– That would indicate that we have less power over Territories than over States of the Commonwealth.
– This is not a question of our power over a Territory. We have power over a Territory, but we are here dealing with trade, and our power in this connexion is limited by the words in the Constitution “ trade with other countries or among the States.”
– The honorable senator does not deny that we can determine the conditions under which any vessel may enter an Australian port.
– We can do so. If Senator Rae will look over the decisions of the High Court, he will, find that the Court has put a very , narrow interpretation, from a layman’s point of view, on the meaning of the words I have referred to.
– And, I think, on the meaning of nearly all words.
– I admit that there is something in that contention. We have to consider this important point. We should not insert in this Bill provisions that are of doubtful constitutionality. If there is some important principle at stake, and an opportunity is afforded to materially benefit the Australian people we should give the benefit of the doubt to ourselves, and assert our right to take the necessary action. But where the question is doubtful, the benefit to the Commonwealth infinitesimal, and the injury consequent upon the adoption of a certain course obvious, we should be very foolish, indeed, if we risked the constitutionality of the Bill, or a portion of it, in order to carry out a particular idea. To sum up, I have to say that this trade is in an exceptional position. We should give due weight to the protests of the people of Papua., and take into consideration the enormous difference which the adoption of Senator Guthrie’s amendment would mean in the facilities for trade with Papua which, even under existing conditions, are very limited. The lack of trading facilities makes Papua isolated and difficult of access. This hinders the development of the country, and we should hesitate before doing anything which will still further isolate the Territory in the development of which we are deeply interested. On the facts submitted, I believe that Senator Guthrie’s amendment, if agreed to, must have the effect of retarding the development of the Territory.
. - In arriving at a decision upon this question it is desirable that the Committee should free itself from the influence of the special pleading indulged in by the Minister’ of Defence. Thehonorable senator has made a very long speech, the only effect of which has been to cloud the issue, which is,- after all, a very simple one. To take his last argument first, the Minister asks the Committee to hesitate before doing anything, which would limit the opportunities of the residents of Papua for frequent communication between the Territory and the mainland, which is necessary for ils development. If we accept the honorable senator’s advice, what shall we do? We shallgive the residents of Papua frequent opportunities of communication, but at the expense of the policy of a White Australia, which is the settled policy of the Commonwealth. On that ground alone the Minister’s arguments will not hold water. Whilst we should be prepared to afford* every facility for communication between’ Papua and the mainland, we should not do so at the expense of the White Australia policy which we have indorsed and maintained since the establishment of the Commonwealth.
– Are there not somecoloured people producing sugar in Queensland at the present time?
– There are coloured: people employed in every one of the States. There are many producing furniture in Melbourne, but we should not give special facilities for the employment of such people, and it should be our aim to continually reduce the number of them employed1 in the Commonwealth and the Territoriesunder its jurisdiction. If we reject Senator Guthrie’s amendment, we shall encourage a considerable section of our peopleto employ coloured labour, almost to theexclusion of white labour.
– The White Australiapolicy is not completely carried out at thepresent time.
– I do not quarrel’ with that statement, but I ask whether Senator Lynch is prepared to lend himself to a new invasion of that policy. No conscious vote of mine will be given to extend in any way the employment of coloured labour in Australia or on our coast. The Minister of Defence has said that we should listen to the protests of the residents of Papua, and give them due weight. 1 agree with that. We have listened to the arguments which they put forward, and have given them due weight. But, having done so, I ask whether we should sacrifice the “interests of Australia generally - and Papua must be recognised as an integral portion of the Commonwealth, because, although it is only a Territory of the Commonwealth, -we have taken it over and made ourselves responsible for it - are we to sacrifice the major interests of the greater portion of Australia for the interests of the handful of settlers in Papua ? It has been pointed out that there is no necessity to sacrifice the interests of the residents of Papua, and no reason why the Government should not afford proper facilities for communication between that Territory and the mainland.
– By one line of -steamers.
– No, by half-a-dozen lines of steamers, if necessary.
– How many of the settlers in Papua are agents of some -company ?
– There are not many who are not agents of some company. The number of independent white people in Papua is far too limited for the promotion of the best- interests of the Territory. I wish especially to point out that the residents of Papua will labour under no grievance if, as Senator Guthrie proposes, we treat them in this matter in the same way that we treat people in every other part of the Commonwealth, lt has been said that these people will labour under very serious disabilities. . In my view it should be the duty of the Commonwealth Government to see that they do not labour under a serious disability, and, if necessary, not only should we subsidize one line, but two or three lines or more. That is the cost which the Commonwealth is justly called upon to bear in order to maintain the White Australia policy. We have been told that we should accede to the wishes of the people in Papua, whatever they may be. If we had acceded to the wishes of the sugarplanters would we have ever put our White Australia policy in force? Never. If we had acceded to the wishes of any particular section which was interested in any legislation would we have ‘ever made any progress ; would we have ever effected any of the desirable alterations which the Labour party thought necessary for the good of Australia? No. If the people of Papua cannot get sufficient means of communication while maintaining the White Australia policy, except by breaking it, it is the duty of the Commonwealth Government to see, no matter at what cost to its people, that those settlers are fairly treated. What will be the result if the Bill passes in its present form without this amendment? The result will be. that an Australian firm, or the Australian trade, will be penalized for the benefit of foreigners who have no interest in Australia.
– That Australian, company does not recognise the White Australia principle.
– I do not think that any Australian company would recognise that principle if not compelled. I do not think that the companies care a straw about anything but profits. In this mattei let us have equal justice at any rate. If the foreigner is to be allowed to trade between Papua and the Australian coast under any conditions he pleases, and to employ any sort of crew he likes, let us be equally fair and say to the Australian, “ You can do the same.” Why should we penalize our own traders, our own. companies, by saying to them, “ You shall comply with a fixed set of conditions,” while we say to the foreigner, “ You can come in and trade without any conditions?” That is what we shall do if we pass the Bill without this amendment. Papua is not so much isolated as the Minister would like to make out. It is, comparatively speaking, only a hop, skip, and a jump from Australia. One can get luggers and boats of all kinds to run from the North Queensland ports to Papua at any time. In certain weather I can go across from Cooktown to Papua in a day. Scores of mining prospectors and diggers have, instead of bothering about a steamer, chartered a boat for a few pounds to take them and then equipment across to the Territory. In th’s Bill, which I believe will meet with the approval of nine-tenths of the people, we have insisted upon certain conditions which are calculated to make the Australian mercantile marine one of the superior services of the world. We have tried to make the conditions of seamen, firemen, engineers, and officers as ideal as possible. .We have also provided that our mercantile marine shall be manned solely by people of our own race and colour, who can not only become, but remain, good citizens of the Commonwealth. That has been deemed essential, not merely from the mercantile and economic point of view, but especially from the defence stand-point. Should we depart from that settled policy for the mere sake of offering a little extra convenience which is not, after all, essential to the little handful of settlers in Papua, while at the same time they can be equally served by a small sacrifice on the part of the people of the Commonwealth, without surrendering a great principle? Are we going to wipe out the Australian firms? 1 ask honorable senators to eliminate from their minds altogether the firm of Burns, Philp, and Company, seeing that another company may get the next contract, and view this matter in the light of abstract fair play and justice. “Senator RAE (New South Wales) [11.40]. - I think that in practice we have denied to the people of Papua most of the rights and privileges which we in Australia possess. In the first place there is no selfgovernment ; their Legislative Council is not elected by the residents, and therefore whatever temporary stop-gap functions it may fulfil, they cannot be said to possess many of the rights and privileges we enjoy. I am inclined to deprecate the light way in which Senator Givens disposed of what he called a mere handful of settlers. I contend that one man has as much right to be considered as have ten -millions of men. I admit that the residents of Papua are subject to very many disabilities, which we should do nothing to increase. We should bear in mind, too, that if they are subject to many disadvantages, their number is likely to remain small, and that the way to increase the number and, therefore, to make them of more importance in the eyes of Australia is to place facilities in their way. I do not look at all lightly on the disabilities which the settlers labour under. We should do something very substantial to ameliorate their condition, because, during my visit, I formed the impression that they have not such a wonderful prospect of either making a competency or great profits, or in any other respect leading a delightful life, that we should throw any obstacles in their way. We should go out of our way to confer some of the advantages of civilization on that small white community. At the same time we should guard these islanders against what is only natural. If all other firms are shut out of this trade except the one which now enjoys a subsidy, the consequence will be that the conditions which are approaching a monopoly will have a tendency to be accentuated, not merely in regard to commerce between Papua and Australia, but also, in the carry ing on of trade within the Territory. At the present time there is no doubt that Burns, Philp, and Company not only have.a big say in the trade between Australia and Papua, but also a number of branchesof their business there, and, to a great extent, a big pull over other traders. I am, not saying a word against the conduct of their business, nor do I wish to say anything against the advantages which they gain from the position they occupy, but I. do say that in the interests of the white residents and the natives we should di> nothing to put in the hands of a firm & monopoly of the business there. At the same time we have to bear in mind that Burns, Philp, and Company were the pioneer traders in these waters. It does; not seem fair that we should allow a. foreign-subsidized line to come in and cut” into this trade which this Australian firm: did so much to build up. I deprecatealtogether the attitude which some honorable senators take up of denouncing the other traders because they happen to be Dutchmen. I have no objection to foreigners trading in our waters, and I would not. put a single obstacle in their way if they conformed to Australian conditions. li* regard to the inhabitants of Papua, whose: interests are really foremost in this matter,.. we should hesitate before we consign them to conditions which, to say the least, will? be inconvenient to them. At present we~. have no telegraphic communication, and a* very infrequent mail service. Consequently there is but little encouragement for white men to go to Papua and settle there-. . There are but few opportunities for those’who are there to get their wives or children back to Australia when they are suffering;from disease or ailments which cannot beadequately dealt with on the spot, or from> the effects of the tropical climate. Therefore every facility for intercourse betweenthe mainland and the Territory should, asfar as possible, be maintained. Now, how are we to reconcile this principle of a White Australia and fair conditions in our mercantile marine with conserving all thebenefits, and even conferring more, uponthe inhabitants of the Territory rather than - taking any away ? I confess that thereare big difficulties in the way. I do notlike the attitude of those who make light . of either the views or the circumstance* surrounding the white residents. I repeatthat the fewness of their number is largely due to the disabilities under which they labour, and the sufferings which any body of persons have to endure are none the less difficult and hard to bear because the persons happen to be few in number. I have no sympathy with any cry against men because they are Dutchmen, Frenchmen, Dagoes, or anything else. I have met Dutchmen who were very good, and I have met Englishmen who were very bad. I arn really a cosmopolitan. I cannot hate a man because he happens to have been born under a different flag and speaks a different language to myself.
– The honorable senator would hate a Dutchman because he gets lower wages.
– No; I should not hate the Dutchman, but I should hate the system. There is considerable difficulty in reconciling the principle which I desire to maintain with the interests of the white people in Papua and the general circumstances surrounding the settlement there. It is idle to say that they have the same facilities and rights as we have in Australia. Theoretically, they may have. But, as a matter of fact, they have no selfgovernment, and no representation in this Parliament. Moreover, they suffer grievous disabilities of a physical and material character which do not affect us in Australia. We have, therefore, to consider how we can maintain the principles embodied in this Bill on the one hand, whilst on the other preventing the people of Papua from suffering further disabilities by reason of our action. I consider that the only way in which we can legislate so as to reconcile those conflicting conditions will be for our Government, by some amendment of this Bill, or by an understanding which our party would honorably observe, to agree that whatever the white people of Papua are deprived of by reason of this amendment shall be made up to them by subsidy, or by direct action. Personally, I favour the latter. I consider that it is the bounden duty of the Government to see that the Papuan people are not deprived of any facilities they at present possess, and that, if necessary, we should suspend the operation of the amendment - presuming that it will be carried - until such time as we can supply Papua with the facilities of which they would be deprived by the operation of the amendment. I consider that it is our duty to do this by direct action; that is to say, by running boats, to maintain a regular and fairly frequent system of communication between the Territory and the mainland of Australia. I do not think that it is impossible to give effect to such a proposal as that. It would not involve a vast expenditure to run a line of mail boats from Northern Queensland, ports to Papua. There is a great deal of weight in the argument of the Minister that the people of Papua have almost unanimously protested against the inclusion of the Territory in the coasting trade. Not unnaturally, the few isolated settlers there, who are already deprived of many of the advantages of civilization, view with alarm and resentment any attempt to diminish the few facilities they now possess. That is a position which we ought to respect.
– If the honorable senator were there, would he employ coloured labour?
– If the men I employed were Papuans, certainly. I would not employ coolie labour, but 1 recognise that the native Papuans have a prior right to that country. I would not hesitate to employ them at good wages. I would not subject any native race to disabilities in its own country, where we are intruders. I intend to support Senator Guthrie’s amendment ; but, at the same time, I want the Government, and our party, to see that the people of Papua shall not be penalized by the fact that we are sticking to what we regard as a valuable principle. It is an easy thing for us to stand by that principle, because we suffer no disadvantage by doing so. It is very easy for us to carry out our lofty ideals. But I admit that 1 would rather see the amendment lost than have the white people of Papua, for any length of time, deprived of the few advantages which they at present possess. It will be for our party, if the amendment is carried, to recollect that these disfranchised, unrepresented people, who are few in number, ought not to be penalized and sacrificed in order that we may uphold what we regard as a glorious principle. We must be prepared to see that any sacrifice that is called for in the interests of a principle shall be borne by the, comparatively speaking, large population of Australia rather than’ by the few white people in Papua.
– I wish to give my support te Senator Guthrie’s amendment. A great deal has been said about the disadvantages under which the white people in Papua suffer. I do not think that they are so bad as has been made out. There are very few poor, struggling people there. The people chiefly affected, apart from the official class, are those engaged in trading.
– There are the miners.
– The miners use the boats very little. I have no hesitation in saying that the miners in Papua would prefer to travel by a boat manned by good Australians rather than by a boat worked by coloured labour. We can eliminate the miners altogether.. The real difficulty is as to how the companies that are now established in Papua are to get their products carried to Australia and to other countries. In my opinion, those companies are too powerful to allow themselves to be subjected to unfair conditions from any shipping company that might endeavour to establish a monopoly. It would not be very long before they would make their influence felt. I have no hesitation in saying that some of the companies which are strong financially would probably have their own luggers to carry their produce to Australian ports, and would not use the steam-ships at all. Personally, I have no objection to Papuan crews being used on boats trading between Papuan ports. It is only proper that they should be allowed to trade in their own country. At present, they do so very successfully and skilfully. But I would not have them trading between Australia and Papua. I have no hesitation in saying that, when Papua is connected by means of wireless telegraphy, the people there will be in a better position in regard to facilities of communication with the mainland than are the people in many Australian ports.
– They will not be in a better position under this amendment; their position will be worse.
– I think not.
– The ships will not call there.
– The ships that call at Papuan ports at present go there because it pays them. If they withdrew their services, I have not the slightest doubt that some Australian shipowners would enter into the trade. I shall vote for the amendment with much pleasure.
– There is no doubt that this is a difficult and, from some points of view, a delicate question. The Government must take the full responsibility for the course which they adopt.
– Then the honorable senator will accuse them of favouring black labour.
– I do not know that any Government - even one headed by myself, if such a thing can be imagined - could have avoided the position. This Parliament is bound to come up against problems of the kind from time to time. We have to remember that the island of New Guinea is in the possession of three Powers, all of which naturally . desire that it should be developed. We desire particularly to develop the portion known as Papua. We wish it to be developed, as far as possible, by the white race. In order that that may be done, ought we not to give all the facilities that we possibly can to the white people there? The Government are seeking to discharge their responsibilities with respect to a certain line of policy.
– For which the honorable senator will thrash them afterwards.
– Any Government must be prepared to be flogged by an Opposition. Ministers who are not prepared to take that responsibility upon themselves are unfit for their positions.
– The honorable senator is the spider, and says to the Government, “ Come into my parlour.”
– I will not retort as I might do, because I wish to lift this question to the level of. a broad matter of policy. Our desire to treat the white people in these outlying Territories according to their wishes is complicated by our White Australia policy. It may be that if we follow the course proposed by the Government, we shall afford some opportunity for the employment of a class of labour that is not popular in Australia, or in harmony with the White Australia policy. But I remind honorable senators that virtues pushed to excess become worse than vices. If there be no serious conflict with any other great interest involved, it is common sense to say that if we can promote the settlement of white people in the outlying portions of the Commonwealth and its Dependencies, that will be a perfectly sound application of the White Australia policy. Why should the German and Dutch Companies and their agents in New Guinea be permitted facilities of communication, and some of the existing facilities enjoyed by our own people in the southern portion of the island be taken away ?
– Does the honorable senator not know that there is such a marked division between them that practically the residents of each division of New Guinea do not know one another, and ‘ have little or no intercourse with each other.
– It requires but an elemental knowledge of geography to be aware of that, but a statesmanlike policy must have regard to the future, and the honorable senator will agree that if we are successful, and the Dutch and Germans are also successful in their colonization of New Guinea, the settlers of the different divisions must come more frequently into contact with each other. It may be that if we do anything which will deprive the residents of Papua of advantages which will continue to be enjoyed by the residents of German and Dutch New Guinea, we shall give our rivals in the colonization of the island a position of ascendancy. We have not had much information as to how this question affects Port Darwin. Perhaps the Minister will give the Committee some information on that point.
– Port Darwin will have to be dealt with under the general provision for exemption.
– We ought to give the people of Papua every opportunity to avail themselves of their peculiarly advantageous position in connexion with the eastern trade. The Dutch and Germans will have no scruples in the matter, and we may assume that they will give their settlers every opportunity to secure that trade.
– I do not think that their ports are as favorably situated as are ours.
– By reason of the proximity of Papua to Thursday Island and Queensland, the residents of the Territory are, in this connexion, placed in a very strong position of advantage. Queensland is bound to develop very rapidly, and there is no doubt that, in a short period of time, that State will be one of the greatest, richest, and most populous of the States of the Commonwealth. Trade will be bound to come to Queensland, and will pass from that State to the East, and the Papuan ports will be in the position of a half-way house in connexion with that trade. It is most desirable that especially in the beginning we should strengthen our position in New Guinea, and enable the residents of Papua to command the eastern trade, lt is a good political maxim that when one is in doubt upon political questions he should give his vote on the side of freedom.
– No; he should vote with the Government.
– Certainly, if he believes that the Government proposal is on the side of freedom. It seems to me that the people of Papua, especially in the beginning, require the utmost freedom of trade, and the Government proposal is attractive from that point of view. The residents of Papua have petitioned us very strongly to relax our White Australia policy in this matter in their interest.
– So did the sugar growers of Queensland, in connexion with the employment of black labour.
– That may be so, but all the residents of Papua are not nigger drivers. There are miners and settlers engaged in commercial and agricultural pursuits in that Territory, and we should respect their opinions. They are emphatic in their desire that every facility should be afforded them to carry on trade with the mainland, and that they should not be deprived of a tittle of their trade and intercourse with the East, which, if we are to succeed in New Guinea, should ultimately be their greatest heritage. An honorable senator said something about preference, and I should like to know what preference may mean in this case.
– It will be preference for the German.
– It seems so to me. I have seen the circulars addressed to us by a powerful shipping company, and have weighed them carefully, lt is clear that the company is a monopolist, though it may be a beneficent monopolist, in this trade. The Commonwealth Government have done fairly well bv them, and doubtless they have done well by the Commonwealth, but Senator Guthrie would strengthen their monopoly.
– What has the Dutchman done for Australia ?
– To the extent to which he trades with us, the Dutchman has assisted in our commercial development, and so has the German. Senator Rae is quite right, and, meek though he is, the Lord has not yet given the Britisher the whole earth. Other nations have a share in the trade and commerce of the world, and we cannot prevent that. If I thought there would be unfair competition. or that the advantage to be secured by the Government proposal in this matter would be infinitesimal, I should hesitate to countenance any departure from our settled policy. But I ask honorable senators whether this Parliament is to say the last word on this matter. The successors of the present Government may find it desirable to review our work. The main consideration is, What is the best course to follow to increase the facilities of communication between the Commonwealth and Papua in the interests, not only of the white people who are already there, but of those whom we desire to see settled in the Territory?
– I wish to refer to one or two matters which have been dealt with in the debate. The reply to my statements by the Minister of Defence indicated an absolute departure from the policy which the Government have hitherto followed. When the Bill left the Senate, it included vessels trading to Papua. In clause 5, the definition of “ Australian-trade ship “ reads - every ship (other than a limited coast-trade ship or river and bay ship) employed in trading or going between places in Australia, and every ship employed in trading between (a). Australia, and (4) Territories under the authority of the Commonwealth, New Zealand, or the Islands of the Pacific.
Why is it now proposed to make an exception in the case of Papua ? I do not think that a logical argument can be advanced against my amendment. We have taken up a strong position in this matter since the beginning of Federation. Sir Edmund Barton, in his speech at Maitland, declared that the Commonwealth policy was the protection of Australian shipping, and no Government that has had control of the affairs of the Commonwealth has departed from that policy. An attempt was made in the first place to give effect to the principle in the Immigration Restriction Act. Members of this Parliament voted for it then in order to secure the employment of white labour on Australian ships. There was an attempt subsequently to make all ships trading on the Australian coast subject to our Conciliation and Arbitration law. There was strong opposition to that proposal, but the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was finally passed in such a way as to cover ships registered in Australia, or employed in the Australian coastal trade. We were constantly told, when considering the Immigration Restriction Bill and the Con ciliation and Arbitration Bill, that what we wished to do in the interests of our seamen ought properly to be provided for in the Navigation Bill. The Navigation Bill is now before us, and the Senate has already passed a provision extending the Australian trade so as to include New Zealand, the Territories of the Commonwealth, and the islands of the Pacific, Yet here we have an attempt to exclude the trade with Papua. Why such a proposal is made I am at a loss to understand. We have engaged in the trade at present an Australian company working under Australian conditions, and even in some respects under an award of our Conciliation and Arbitration Court. At the same time, we have a few straggling ships coming from- Java, with consignments of rice for Port Moresby or Samarai, and these vessels are prepared to take cargo for Australia at any rates offered.
– The Minister says differently.
– The Minister cannot say differently. A few months ago the Government had under consideration the question of subsidizing a - line of steamers to carry mails from Australia to Papua . D id they then consider the ad visability of entering into contracts with Dutch companies carrying Coolie crews? They would not have thought of doing so, and they could not possibly have done so. But they did enter into a contract with an Australian firm, and in dealing with the matter they had power to fix the maximum rates for freight, the passenger rates, and the number of trips which the vessels were to make within the year between the Com-, monwealth and Papua in the carrying out of the service. A member of a previous Government some time ago made a declaration at a public meeting that he was a Protectionist on shore, but a Free Trader at sea.
– Who was that?
- Sir John Forrest. I am afraid that some other persons are prepared to follow the right honorable gentleman’s lead, and pose as Protectionists where the votes are sure, and as Free Traders where the votes are uncertain.
– Where are the votes’ uncertain ?
– The men who go to sea have no opportunity to record their votes. We have decided to extend the Australian conditions provided for in this Bill to vessels trading to the South Sea
Islands and New Zealand, and I should like to know why it is now proposed to exempt vessels trading to Papua. So far as 1 can see, the only reason is that Dutch and German vessels make Papuan ports ports of call. We know that they call only when they like, and are largely subsidized by their own countries. I believe that the Dutch Company receives a subsidy of ,£15,000 a year for running steamers between Java and Australia, calling at Papua. A loud cry was raised some time ago about America dumping goods on our shores; but here it is proposed to allow a foreign line, subsidized by its own Government, to undercut Australian steamers. The object of my amendment is not to interfere with foreign steamers coming to Australia, but merely to prevent them from engaging in the coasting trade. At present the quantity of cargo which is carried between Papua and Australia is very small, and we cannot expect Australian companies to increase the number of their steamers unless the whole of the trade is put into their hands. If my amendment is made, there cannot possibly be a monopoly, because the distance between Australia and Papua is not great. If, however, the people of Papua and Australia should find that there is a monopoly, it will be easy for them to run a service of their own. I would rather see the Commonwealth, even were we to lose money, running its own steamers than put the trade into the hands of foreigners. I believe that when the Tariff was under consideration every honorable senator on the other side voted for giving a preference to Great Britain on all goods. If they vote against my amendment to-day, they will absolutely reverse the vote which they gave then, and give a preference to the Dutch and the Germans.
– An equal opportunity to all, and preference to none.
– The amendment of the other House will give a preference to two companies, which are subsidized by their own Governments.
– What subsidy do Burns, Philp, and Company get for carrying the mails?
– They receive a subsidy of ,£19,850 to run two steamers -
Papua has one white-crew steam service, and the Dutch companies steamers with alien crews call at Port Moresby on their voyages to and from Java once a month each way. Our Singapore service, also with alien crews, but officered and engineered by Australians, under Australian rules, also calls at Port Moresby monthly on the outward voyage. In addition the N.D.L. steamers call at Samarai every ‘two months en route from Japan and China to Australia. As the Dutch company is receiving from its Government a subsidy of ,£12,500 per annum for the service between Java and Australia, vid Papua, it stands to reason that we cannot continue such an uneven competition.
If honorable senators will only compare the rates of wages which have to be paid in Australia with the rates of wages paid by the Dutch steamers, they will see that the difference in the subsidy is entirely made up. If we do not protect this trade, the Dutch and the Germans will get it. At present the crews are shipped in Sydney, not only for the ships tra’ding between Sydney and Papua, but also for the ships employed in the Papuan coasting trade, and wages are paid according to the award of the Court. Unless my amendment is passed, we shall be entirely deprived of the trade. 1 feel satisfied that these people cannot afford to run against the competition that there is. Now, if the coasting trade is good between Port Darwin and Sydney,’ or between Wyndham and Fremantle, it is equally good between Sydney and Papua, which is under the authority of the Commonwealth. My amendment does not propose in any way to restrict the right of the Papuans to control their own coasting trade, but it provides that companies and men who are under obligations to Australia shall run their ships in certain circumstances. I hope that it will be carried.
Senator LYNCH (Western Australia)
CI2-37]- - After listening to the remarks of Senator Guthrie and the Minister, I am sorry that I cannot agree with the views put forward by the former. I realize how very hard it is to apply a rigid navigation law to the whole of the Commonwealth, as well as to the Territories under its authority, without, at the same time, imposing an unfair disadvantage upon people living in isolated places’. If the members of this Chamber could be transported bodily to Papua, or, perhaps, even to Western Australia, and subjected to the inconvenience and the disadvantage, and the possible loss arising out of the infrequency of communication, I venture to say that the remarks given expression to here would be very much modified. What will be the effect of this amendment ? It will have the effect of increasing the number of seamen, employed, and insuring that better conditions shall obtain as regards a very small complement of seamen. If the attainment of that result means the giving of a set-back to Papua, and the denial of reasonable means of intercourse to its residents, is it worth while to run the risk ?
– Will it ?
– I think so. According to the Minister’s statement, it is quite clear that the people of Papua will not have frequency of communication if the law’ is rigidly applied to that Territory. I think the honorable senator will agree that, in the case of Wyndham, the State Government made an effort to bring the people of that town and other places into more frequent contact with persons in other parts of the Commonwealth.
– By what means?
– The State Government started a line of steam-ships which will co-operate in the effort to bring the people of Wyndham and other places similarly situated into a reasonable degree of contact with people living elsewhere in Australia.
– Cannot the same thing be done for Papua?
– Burns, Philp, and Company want a monopoly ; they do not want the Government to come in.
– The people who reside in Papua are the best stamp of citizens I know of. Men who will go into wild and waste places, found homes, and settle the country, preparing the way for others to follow in their footsteps, are more entitled to our consideration than are any people in the big cities or close centres of population. When my honorable friend seeks to impose upon the residents of Papua the same rigid rule as applies to people living in pleasant situations, he is going too far.
– You are prepared to give them black servants.
– I am not prepared to do anything of the kind.
– That is what the amendment of the other House permits.
– In Papua there are, to my knowledge, men who would go quite as far as any of us is willing to go to realize the White Australia policy. There are miners of my acquaintance who used to work in North Queensland, and who know too well the great burden which this Bill would impose upon them if they had to wait for the occasional service which Burns, Philp, and Company’s boats would supply. I would point out to Senator
Guthrie that Wyndham is not a place which can be compared with Papua, because it is about to be supplied with a more frequent service through the action of the State Government.
– Could not the Commonwealth Government do the same thing for Papua ?
– There will only bea monthly service. Until the Commonwealth is prepared to give to the peopleof Papua the same facility of communication as the people of Wyndham are enjoying, it will be unfair to apply the Bill to its coasting trade. If we were prepared* to run a line of steamers, as the Western Australian Government are doing in the caseof Wyndham, there would be ample ground for supporting Senator Guthrie’s amendment. I regret I am not able to support it. At the same time, I believe that asPapua increases in prosperity and population the time will come when it will be fair to apply to its coasting trade the same rule as obtains in other parts of the Commonwealth. It will be remembered that when we were debating the extent of the power we could exercise under the constitution in regard to navigation, it wasvery sternly contended by each Administration that we should at least have the right to regulate our shipping in our own way. When we gave authority to the population of Papua to control their affairs in. their own way, we did not give th*.m the same degree of power which we insisted’ upon exercising to the full. We insisted upon the right to regulate our coasting trade according to our own idea. While we were quite prepared to give Papua a form of control which amounted to a kind’ of Home Rule, we axe now wiping out that grant of power by insisting that they shall have no right to get that communication with the mainland which best suits their purposes. In fact, we are making the Papuans accept our laws, although, they have no share iti the framing of them.
– This amendment does not touch the coasting trade.
– The coasting trade of Papua is governed from the mainland. There are no ship-owners in the Territory.
Senators Guthrie and Rae. - Yes, there are.
– In Papua they call a canoe a ship.
– The ships to connect Papua with Australia will be maintained and controlled entirely from this side. We are endeavouring to fasten on to the people ot Papua a regulation in the framing of which they have no voice. We shall commit a great mistake, until such time as Papua has developed upon a much greater scale than it is at present, in fastening upon its people a rule which will certainly give a set-back to settlement there.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- 1 move-
That the amendment be amended by inserting after the word “ lading “ the words “ in the same ship.”
As the Bill stands it leaves room for evasions. A ship belonging to a foreign company can come on to our coast, take in cargo at various ports, tranship it at one of the southern ports into another vessel belonging to the same company, and take it away, thus robbing the coastal trade of Australia. That is what will happen from allowing through bills of lading. The result of my amendment will be that cargo must be taken away on the ship on which it has been laden.
– I do not think that Senator Guthrie’s amendment is necessary. The present practice is that a bill of lading refers only to the goods on the ship on which they have been placed. No cases have been known to the navigation officers of the Commonwealth where bills of lading covered goods on various ships. Occasionally goods on a bill of lading for a particular ship have been transhipped to another vessel under these circumstances. A ship may come to Australia laden with goods from Great Britain. By some mistake in stowage cargo intended for Melbourne may be put below goods intended for Sydney. The goods intended for Melbourne are taken on to Sydney. The ship may not return to Melbourne. In such a case it is usual to take the goods out and send them to Melbourne by another of the company’s ships, without having a fresh bill of lading. We do not know that such a practice as Senator Guthrie has mentioned has been followed, but if one should spring up there is power under this Bill for the Governor-General to make regulations.
– The Governor-General cannot make regulations in contravention of any provision of the Bill.
– Such a regulation would not be in contravention. It would be quite possible to provide by a regulation that bills of lading, issued in regard to goods carried by one ship, should not be transferred to another. If it is found in the future that the practice feared by Senator Guthrie is followed, we will meet it by a regulation, or if an amendment of this Bill becomes necessary we will propose one. Our experience of Commonwealth legislation teaches us that we have had to amend practically every Bill passed by the first Parliament. This is the biggest Bill that Parliament has yet tackled, and it is almost certain that before many years have passed it will have to be amended in some particulars.
– A cheerful prospect.
– It is almost a certainty. The Law Officers advise us that the point can, if necessary, be met by regulation, or if a more drastic course is advisable, by an amendment of the law. But we do not think it necessary to meet an imaginary danger by such an amendment as is now proposed.
– The reasoning of the Minister is scarcely worthy of his capacity. He tells us in so many words that we should pass this Bill in such a form as to leave scope for an amendment to be made afterwards. The Minister himself would throw the strongest ridicule upon such an amendment if it were advanced by an opponent.
– The Minister said that an amendment could be made if the danger did arise.
– The inference from his observation is that we may as well leave the Bill in such a form that there will be more work for us to do later on.
Sitting suspended from i to 2.30 p.m.
– I am sure that the general sense of the Committee is in favour of making this measure as perfect as possible while we are dealing with it. It is unsound to leave a clause loose because we may have an opportunity in the future of amending it. The only argument of the Minister against Senator Guthrie’s amendment is that cargo is sometimes overcarried on account of being badly stowed. If such mistakes are made the shippers should bear the cost of their own carelessness. A large body of trade is not affected by such errors, and . we do not want to pass exceptional legislation to meet cases due to mistakes of that kind. But there is a danger that some of the big lines may cut into the Australian trade to a considerable extent if we leave a loophole for transhipping cargo, and thus enable them to evade the conditions laid down in the Bill. Surely we do not want to make the measure so rigid as to enable provisions to be systematically evaded. There is not a scintilla of evidence to back up the contention of the Minister that it is reasonable to wait until an evil has grown to sufficiently large dimensions before we try to meet it. Surely the adage that “ prevention is better than cure “ applies to a case of this kind.
– - Since the adjournment the departmental officers have been looking into this question, and they have suggested to me an amendment which they think will meet any case that may arise, whilst not inflicting a hardship as regards ships which overcarry cargo. If Senator Guthrie will withdraw his amendment, I will move to add after the word “ Territories “ the words - and which is not transhipped to or from any ship trading exclusively in Australian waters which is not licensed under this Act.
To engage in the coasting trade a ship has either to be Australian registered or ro have a licence. That is why the term “ licensed “ is used in the amendment.
Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia- [2.35]. - On a casual glance I think that the amendment suggested by the Minister meets what I want, though it uses more words than my amendment does. Mine was short, terse, and every one knew what it meant. If, however, the Minister gives me an assurance that it will meet the case I shall be satisfied. He states that very little transhipping takes place. I can assure him - and I have it on the most reliable authority that it is possible to get - that there are German vessels which come through, Torres Strait, call at Rockhampton, and other ports, and take cargo 011 through bills of lading. They tranship this cargo at Sydney into other ships belonging to the same company engaging in the coasting trade.
– This amendment will) stop that.
– No doubt theMinister’s advisers have looked into thelegal bearings of the question. If he is satisfied that his amendment meets the case- I shall withdraw mine.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move -
That the amendment be amended by addingafter the word “Territories” the words “and which is not transhipped to or from any ship trading exclusively in Australian waters which is. not licensed under this Act.”
The case which Senator Guthrie has men>tioned has been brought under our notice.. As he says, German oversea ships bring goods on through bills of lading, and tranship them at Brisbane to other ships of the same line which, engaging in the coasting trade, take the cargo from Bris.Dane to Townsville or Rockhampton. Under this amendment that practice will be prevented. We shall accomplish all that Senator Guthrie desires, but will not at thesame time inflict the hardship to which I have referred.
– Perhaps the Minister will say whether the amendment will meet such a case as I propose to refer to. A vessel whose terminal port is Sydney leaves New York. She has cargo for Adelaide, which is carried on to Sydney. It isthere put into another boat and brought along to Adelaide. That is a case that frequently happens, and I should like to know how it would be dealt with under theamendment.
– The answerto the honorable senator is that the cargo - for Adelaide carried on to Sydney would- have to be brought from Sydney to Adelaide in an Australian registered ship, a ship licensed to engage in the coasting trade, the ship that carried it to Sydney, another ship of the same line, or another ocean-going ship.
– I am not arguing as to whether the amendment is good or bad, but I wish to be quite clear as to what its effect will be. I understand it to be a prohibition against any foreign-going vessel transhipping cargo to other ships unless those which are trading under our coastal conditions or other foreign-going vessels. I understand that if a vessel from America, whose destination is Adelaide, brings cargo for Sydney which is discharged at Adelaide, under the amendment another American vessel, or any other foreign-going vessel, calling at Adelaide will be able to bring the cargo on to Sydney without having to comply with our coastal conditions.
– Where does the honorable senator get that?
– A foreign-going ship would have that right. That is an exception to the principle, of which probably not much advantage will be taken, but it would certainly exist under the amendment.
– - If Senator Millen has properly interpreted the amendment, it is not clear to me that it will have the effect desired. Why should any foreign-going ship be able to carry on goods from a port at which they have been discharged by another foreigngoing ship ? The matter dealt with by the Minister was the over-carriage of cargo, and in most cases that would be represented by a package or two. If my luggage is over-carried, I have to take my chance of getting it back, and why should not the other fellow have to do the same?
– The honorable senator would probably resent a law which would add to the difficulties of getting his luggage back.
– Not if there were compensations. I take it that no ship would over-carry hundreds of tons of cargo, but merely packages of cargo that were overlooked.
– Half-a-dozen bales or cases of goods are sometimes over-carried.
– In such cases the shipping companies would be responsible for bringing the goods back to their port of destination without any additional charge to the importer. That would involve merely an extra charge on the ship-owner.
– The importer might have to wait until the ship is returning.
– I think we can assume that the importer would not tolerate such treatment as that, and certainly no shipping firm would be allowed to retain its trade if it treated its clients in that way. The probability is that advantage would be taken of the first vessel leaving the port to which the cargo was over-carried to have it returned to the port of destination. It. is difficult to understand what the effect of the amendment will be, but if Senator Millen’s reading of it be correct, it will allow a good deal more to be done than apparently is contemplated by the Minister.
– I put the case of a cargo steamerleaving London for Sydney via Adelaide. She has cargo for Adelaide, which has been put down below ; it is impossible to get at it when she reaches Adelaide, and it is carried on to Sydney. The vessel waits there for a fortnight, and then brings the cargo back to Adelaide. In such a case the Adelaide importer may have to wait for his goods a month longer than would be the case if the goods were landed in the first instance at Adelaide.
– There is a great deal of difference between the over-carrying of cargo referred to by Senator Vardon and the circumstances. I had in view. I was taking the case of a ship leaving America with the bulk of her cargo for Adelaide, but having on board 100 tons for Sydney. Under this provision the 100 tons of cargo for Sydney could not be shipped from Adelaide except under our coastal conditions, unless it was shipped in another foreigngoing vessel, which, for instance, might be despatched from London for Sydney via Adelaide. I am speaking, if the terms be not contradictory, of a through bill of lading with transhipment at Adelaide. I assume that under the amendment one foreign-going vessel will be able to tranship into another foreign-going vessel.
– That is so.
Motion agreed to.
– Having taken a vote on the first amendment, and the numbers being against me, I intend to bow to that decision of the Committee.
– The superior judgment, the honorable senator means.
– No, the mistake made by those who did not support my amendment. In the circumstances, I shall Jet the other amendments go. But I wish to make it quite clear that those who voted against me have done so under a wrong impression. I feel sure that, in a very short time, it will be found necessary to repeal what we have done to-day.
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 252 -
All ships registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade shall be provided with an independent chain connexion to the rudder body ready for immediate adjustment in case of emergency.
Penalty : Fifty pounds.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit “ All”, insert “ The regulations may provide that any “.
– In dealing with this clause we added to the amendment of the House of Representatives, which proposed the omission of the word “ All “ and the insertion of the words The regulations may provide that any,” the words “ ships of such class or classes as may be prescribed or.” That will not read properly, and in order to improve the drafting of the clause I move -
That consequential upon the amendment of the House ofRepresentatives the clause be amended by leaving out the words “ ships of such class or classes as may be prescribed of “, and inserting after the word “ships” the words “of such class or classes as may be prescribed.”
Motion agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Insert new clause 271A.
– This was a new clause inserted by the House of Representatives dealing with hospital accommodation. Sub-clause 3 reads -
The hospital shall, wherever practicable, be placedon the top deck aft or on the boat deck as far back as practicable.
I move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out word “back,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “aft.”
This is merely a verbal amendment, proposed to satisfy Senator Guthrie, who has discovered that some landsman has been at work in drafting the clause, and has used the word “ back “ where he should have used the word “aft.”
Motion agreed to.
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 349 (Master to take in pilot).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit “ the ship into his charge,” and insert “ the charge of piloting the ship to that pilot.”
– I move -
That consequential upon the amendment of the House of Representatives the clause be amended by inserting after the word “pilot” the words “ for a port which has been proclaimed as a port at which the employment of a pilot is compulsory.”
If this amendment be agreed to the clause will read -
The master of any ship requiring the services of a pilot for a port which has been proclaimed as a port at which the employment of a pilot is compulsory, shall receive on board the first pilot offering himself, and shall on demand of that pilot give the charge of piloting the ship to that pilot.
It was pointed out by Senator Millen that under this clause, where a master was entering a port at which pilotage is not compulsory, though it might be a matter of convenience for a master to engage a licensed pilot, he would be allowed no choice as to the man he would employ. This did not appear to be reasonable. The amendment I now propose will meet that difficulty by confining the provision to compulsory pilotage ports, and it will only be where a master takes on a compulsory pilot that he will be obliged to take the first pilot offering his services.
Motion agreed to.
Schedule11 (Scale of crew).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit schedule and insert new schedule.
– In the scale of seamen for passenger steam-ships carrying not more than ten passengers, and cargo steam-ships, and in the second last paragraph, on page 14 of the schedule of amendments made by the House of Representatives, I move -
That the word “ four “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ two.”
The paragraph will then read -
One apprentice or boy extra for every additional 1,000 tons or fraction of 1,000 tons above 2,000 tons net register, but not exceeding two apprentices or boys altogether.
Then in the scale of seamen for passenger steam-ships carrying more than ten passengers, and in the second last paragraph on page 15 of the schedule of amendment’s, I propose to substitute “three” for “ six,” so that the amended paragraph will read -
One apprentice or boy extra for every additional 1, 000 tons or fraction of 1,000 tons above 3,000 tons gross register, but not exceeding three apprentices or boys altogether.
It has been represented with, it is thought, a good deal of truth, that in steam-ships engaged on the coast, doing short runs between port and port, there is not the samescope for the employment of boys and apprentices as exists in the foreigngoing steam-ships, and that in ordinary circumstances there would be practically nothing to occupy the time of the full number of lads specified in the scales. It would, of course, be worse than useless to have boys on ships with but little or nothing to do. That would be a most undesirable training for them. In the circumstances I ask the Committee to reduce the minimum numbers from four to two in cargo steam-ships, and from six to three in passenger steam-ships.
Motion agreed to.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to.
That the word “ six “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ three.”
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Reported that the Committee had agreed to amendments 9, 113, 123, 156, and 177 of the House of Representatives, with amendments and consequential amendments.
– In moving -
That the reports be now adopted,
I desire to thank honorable senators for the consideration which they have extended to me and my colleagues in the very difficult task we have had in piloting this Bill through. It has been a monumental work ; in fact, one of the biggest tasks undertaken in the Commonwealth, so far as the extent of operations is concerned. I am confident that honorable senators on both sides have done their best to bring the Bill into a shape in which we can all take pride. Perhaps it may not be out of place if I give at this stage a short history of the measure. The first Navigation Bill was introduced into the Commonwealth Parliament by ex-Senator Drake on the 17 th March, 1904. On the 27 th April of that year the Bill was discharged from the notice-paper, on the motion of Senator McGregor, Vice-President of the Executive Council in the Watson Government. On the 29th June, 1904, a Royal Commission was appointed by the Watson Government to examine the Bill that had been introduced. The Commission pre sentedan interim report on the 15th June, 1906. In 1905 the Secretary of State for the Colonies proposed the holding of a: Navigation Conference. After considerable correspondence, the Conference was convened, and met on the 26th March,. 1907. The resolutions of the Conference were examined by the Navigation Commission, and a final report was presented by the Commission in. which satisfaction was expressed that the Navigation Conference had generally indorsed the recommendations contained in their interim report. On the 13th September, 1907, ex-Senator Best moved the second reading of the Bill introduced by his Government. No further consideration was given to the Bill during that session. On the 23rd September, 1908, ex-Senator Best again moved the second reading of the measure, and it was read a second time on the 1st October, 1908. Seventeen clauses were dealt with in Committee, and progress was finally reported on the 6th November, 1908. The proceedings on the Bill were resumed on the 27th May, 1909, but no further action was taken during that session, and the Bill lapsed at the prorogation of the Parliament. The present Bill was introduced into the Commonwealth Parliament by myself on the 24th August, 1910. The second reading was moved a week later, and agreed to on the 27th September,. 1910. About three-fourths of the Bill was dealt with by the Senate in Committee during the 19 10 session. During the 191 1 session the proceedings on the Bill were revived. The remainder of the Bill was. dealt with by the Senate in Committee, and the third reading took place on 6th October, 191 1, when the Bill was forwarded to the House of Representatives.. The total number of amendments made by the Senate was seventy-seven. The second reading of the Bill was moved in the House of Representatives by the Minister of Trade and Customs on the 16th July, 1912, and the third reading was agreed to on the 25th October, 191 2. The Houseof Representatives made 178 amendments in all. We have now dealt with those amendments;, we have agreed to 163 of them without amendment, agreed to twelve with amendments, and agreed to three, and made consequential amendments. I think that this record will give an indication of. what a vast amount of work and time has been devoted to this very important Bill.
– The Minister’s narrative of the progress of the Navigation Bill is interesting indeed. It recalls to us a good deal of work and care and patience exhibited by the respective Governments which have occupied the Treasury bench. The Senate has the honour of having originated the measure. It is now approaching its completion. One can very well parody to some extent a line of Tennyson, when the Bill finally leaves this chamber -
And may there he no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.
The history of the measure is instructive; it has a moral to it. The Act on which it is very largely founded is the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894. We took six years to pass a Navigation Bill, but I believe it is a matter of history that the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 was passed in the House of Commons in less than halfanhour.
– That was hasty legislation.
– In less than half-an-hour that monumental Bill passed the House of Commons. A comparison possibly will suggest both a reflection and a moral. Of course, the reason of that was that the measure was cast into the melting-pot of various Select Committees. From time to time the Committees met, and having thoroughly gone into the measure from every point of view, they presented such a perfect piece of work to the House of Commons that it was passed in twenty minutes.
– I feel that I ought to pay a tribute of thanks, and I think that the members of the Committee owe some thanks, to the departmental officers who have guided us through the many intricacies of this Bill. I am sure that they have done good work. Personally I extend my thanks to them for the very valuable work they have done, and I am sure I am echoing the feelings of honorable senators generally in that regard.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I think that after the arduous work of dealing with all the amendments of the other House in the Navigation Bill honorable senators are really entitled to some rest. An evening or two ago I intimated that it might be necessary to meet on Tuesday next, but in view of the work which has been done up to the present time by the Senate, the assistance which the Government has had from all parts of the chamber, and also the great expectation that expedition will be exercised during the remainder of the session, I do not think it is necessary to meet on Tuesday of next week. Therefore, I shall not move in that direction, but simply move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I desire to give publicity to a little matter to which I called the attention of the Government yesterday by means of a question, and that is as to whether medical men had taken in some instances action in regard to the maternity allowance, which reflects no honour on their noble profession. An instance has come to my own knowledge. So far as I saw the documentary evidence from the father of the child, his wife asked the doctor who was attending her to sign the necessary form to make a claim for a maternity allowance, and he absolutely refused to do so unless she paid him an additional fee of halfaguinea. I do not think that there are many doctors who would dream of doing such a thing. As a general rule, the members of the medical profession are very good to their poorer clients, frequently serving them for nothing. I think that if I had absolute proof of the case - the moral proof is all right - I would not hesitate to mention the doctor’s name. I think that all parties, however they may regard the maternity allowance, would be only too pleased if such cases were sheeted home. As the Government states, we have no constitutional power to penalize these men in any way, but we can take steps to advertise to the world those who would be so mean-spirited as to throw such discredit upon an honorable profession. I mention the matter now in the hope that the Government will not go back upon their acceptance of the suggestion I made to that end.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.20 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 29 November 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1912/19121129_senate_4_68/>.