4th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Will the VicePresident of the Executive Council state what steps have been taken, or if anything has been done, by the Government to give effect to the almost unanimously expressed wish of the Senate that the Oodnadatta railway should be pushed northwards at once?
– The Government have decided to have an exploratory survey made from Oodnadatta to the Katherine River.
– On behalf of Senator Ready, and at his request, I wish to ask the Minister of Defence if he is now in a position to answer the following questions : -
– The answers are-
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Postmaster-General’s Department - Second Annual Report, being for Year 191 1.
Audit Act 1901-1909 -
Transfers dated 20th December, 1912. -
Regulations amended, &c. (Provisional).
Statutory Rules 191 2, No. 248.
Statutory Rules 191 2, No. 249.
Public Service Act 1902-191 1. - Appointments, Promotions, &c. -
Department of Home Affairs. - G. E. Healy to be Clerk, Third Class, Clerical Division, Accounts Branch, Central Staff.
Postmaster-General’s Department - E. G. Terrill to be Accountant, Second Class, Accounts Branch, South Australia.
Department of the Treasury- -M. J. ‘Hillary to be Clerk, Fourth Class, Clerical Division, Pensions Branch, South Australia.
Department of the Treasury - R. M. Cantwell to be Clerk, Fourth Class, Clerical Division, Accountant’s Branch, Central Staff.
Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911. - Statement of dealings and transactions during year ended 30th June, 1912.
Ordered to be printed.
Defence Act 1903-1912. - Regulations amended, &c-
Military Forces. - Statutory Rules 1912, No. 237.
Universal Training -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 22a.
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 238.
Naval Defence Act 1910-1911. - Regulation amended, &c. -
Naval Forces - Financial and Allowance -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 239.
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 240.
Post and Telegraph Act 1901-1910. - Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 193.
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 198.
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 213.
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 214.
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 215;
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 222.
Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905. - Regula tion amended.- -Statutory Rules 1912, No. 212.
– Seeing the large and important amount of private businesson the notice-paper, will the Vice-President” afford to honorable senators an opportunity of getting that business dealt with before the session closes, and endeavour to keep a quorom for them for that purpose?
– We cannot keep a quorum for private senators’ business. That lies with themselves.
– I asked you to endeavour to keep a quorum.
– The Government are not bound to keep a quorum, and very often they are not able to do so for themselves.
– Private senators have to keep a quorum for you.
– We must have the numbers to adjourn the Senate, otherwise we shall have to come back on Tuesday next at 3 o’clock.
– That does not answer the question.
– Can the Minister of Defence tell me what is the standard of examination for the entrance to the Naval College, and if it is a fact that the standard is so high that it is considered almost impossible for a boy to pass unless be has passed a grammar school or equivalent examination ?
– The standard of examination was fixed after consultation with the Directors of Education in several of the States, and it was intimated to them that I desired a standard which would give lads who were being educated at State schools an opportunity of successfully competing in the examination. There have been twenty-eight successful candidates out of a total number of 165, and of the successful candidates eighteen received their education at State schools, and ten at private schools.
– I desire to now ask the Minister of Defence if the subjects set down in the syllabus of the School of Gunnery for officers -
– I do not think that the honorable senator quite anticipated an answer to his inquiry this morning.
– An answer at some other time will do.
– I ask the honorable senator to give notice of the question for the next day of sitting, and I will see that an answer is forwarded to him.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till Wednesday, 15th January, 1913.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council a question of, perhaps, more than passing interest to most senators, and that is whether a date has yet been fixed for the next general election.
– I cannot state the date, as I do not know.
The PRESIDENT reported the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives asking the concurrence of the Senate in the following resolution : -
That this House, with the consent of the Parliament of Queensland-, and in accordance with Chapter VI. of the Commonwealth Constitution, is prepared to form two new States out of the territory now known as Northern and Central Queensland.
– As no one seems to have been asked to take charge of this resolution I, by leave of the Senate, move -
That the message be taken into consideration on the next day of sitting.
– Everybody anticipates from the action of the Government that we are not to be allowed much opportunity to deal with private business.
– Why was not an arrangement made with an honorable senator to look after this business?
– I do not know anything about the matter; I was waiting to see if somebody had been asked to take charge of the resolution. When it devolved upon the Minister to deal with other private business from the House of Representatives he did not want to postpone the consideration of the message until next day, but proposed to consider it on that day. We have not such a lot to do that we might not proceed to deal with this very important question now.
– Look at the business on the notice-paper.
– This resolution particularly concerns the State I represent, and I am anxious to see it dealt with. I intend to move an amendment. ,
– If Senator Givens desires to take up the question, I withdraw.
– I object to your withdrawal.
– I move-
That all the words after the word “ consideration “ be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ forthwith.”
– I cannot accept the amendment of Senator Givens unless he gets leave because the Standing Orders forbid a message being dealt with forthwith. Its consideration must be set down for a future time unless the honorable senator obtains leave.
– I ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council to do me the favour of moving the suspension of the Standing Orders, as he did in a similar case last night.
-i cannot withdraw my motion.
– I am in the position, sir, of proceeding to address you on a question which is apparently before the Senate, but, as to which question it is, both Senator Buzacott and myself are in entire ignorance. The reason for that is that Ministers have got into the habit of speaking in such a low tone that honorable senators at this end of the chamber cannot hear them.
– We waited four seconds to see if any honorable senator would rise, but no one did.
– I was under the impression that, perhaps, I was a little below normal, so far as hearing is concerned, but when I discovered that Senator Buzacott was in a similar position I began to think about things. I hope that Ministers will be kind enough to raise their voices just a little. I know that each of them has something of a voice when he likes to use it. If they do not use their voices, so that I can hear them I shall be under the painful necessity of finding out in some way or other, what the business of the Chamber is, what papers are presented, and what is being done. This whispering to you, sir, and across the chamber is most deplorable. It ought not to be carried on in a place where national business is transacted, and Ministers have no excuse, because this is a very small chamber, and any man with a very ordinary voice can make himself heard. I trust that Ministers will consider the convenience of, honorable senators, and try to make themselves heard.
– It was I who read the message, and I think that my voice can be heard at the other end of the chamber.
– Well, I did not hear the message.
– The Minister moved that the message be taken into consideration on the next day of sitting.
– Senator Stewart has got into a humour which is rather incongruous at this season of the year. On any pretext whatever he proceeds to berate the Government.
– Why do you not speak out?
– The honorable senator has been long enough in Parliament to know that it is not the duty of the Government to watch over private business.
– I am not talking about private business. That is what you do with public business.
– The honorable senatorhas had his say, and I think that he might give the Government, in addition to belabouring them on occasions, an opportunity of saying something in reply, and even stop to listen to them. It is the usual practice for a member carrying private business in one House to arrange with some member of the other House to take charge of it there.
– Why was not that done last night?
– It was done.
– It was not. Senator McGregor took charge of Senator Walker’s private business.
– I am afraid that Senator Givens is also suffering from some hallucination.
– No; the record will show that what I say is correct.
– The records will show that the motion to make the business referred to an order for a later hour of the day was moved by Senator Walker.
– It was not ; and if that appears in Hansard, Hansard must have been faked.
– Senator Stewart has been long enough in Parliament to know the practice to which I have referred. The honorable member who moved this motion in another place with respect to the division of Queensland into two States apparently did not arrange with any honorable senator to take charge of the motion in the Senate, nor did he communicate with the Government on the subject. When the President read out the message, as he did in his usual tone of voice, it must have been distinctly audible in every part of the chamber. I naturally looked to Senators Stewart and Givens to see if they were going to take any action. After a pause of some seconds, and in order that the message might be dealt with, I suggested to the Vice-President of the Executive Council that he should take the action he did. There was only one course which he could take, and that was to move that the message be taken into consideration on the next day of sitting. Senator Givens displays an anxiety to belabour the Government on any pretext, whether there is any foundation for his complaint or not.
– Why was not Senator Walker allowed to deal with the message concerning his Bill?
– The honorable senator is mistaken in that matter.
– I challenge Senator Walker to deny the statement that I have made.
– I ask Senator Givens to keep order. The matter to which he is referring is not under consideration at the present time.
– I would ask Senator Stewart before he rises to belabour the Government on every question to make sure that he is not himself to blame. If he had been attending to the business of the Senate, he could not have failed to hear the message when it was read by the President, and as he took no action he is as much to blame as any one else in the matter. The Vice-President of the Executive Council asked for leave to move the motion he did, and that indicated that he had no authority to take charge of this business.
– I did not hear the message or the statement of the VicePresident of the Executive Council. I think I must change my seat for one nearer Ministers.
– It might be well if the honorable senator did. so. Many of his misunderstandings appear to arise from the fact that he takes such a distant view of the action of the Government that he has got out of sympathy with them.
– I have a word or two to say on the motion. Our Standing Orders make special provision in these matters so that ample notice may be given, of all business to be discussed in the Senate. Senator
Givens has himself, and quite recently, protested against what he described as the “ sneaking in “ of business. It was to prevent that practice that our Standing Orders have been so framed,; but the honorable senator is to-day lending his patronage to the process of “sneaking in” which he so much reprobates when applied to other business. I hold the opinion that themessage before us ought not to be considered to-day, or at any time, first of all because the motion didnot obtain a majority in another place. It was carried only because there was not a quorum of honorable members available, and if a division had been called for the proceedingsof thatChamber would have been brought to a close. Then I say that honorable senators are not prepared to discuss the big problem raised by this message. I certainly decline to consider it until I have been given: some opportunity to make myself seized of the facts which should determine one’s judgment on so important a matter.
– Ifno other honorable senator has any further remarks to offer on the motion I should like to say a word. I am told that my voice is failing, I can scarcely believe it. I think that the difficulty is that Senator Stewart is getting too old. Consequentlyhis hearing is bad, or else he has lethis hair grow too long. For any of these things I am not accountable. When the message was read, I had no intimation as to the course of action I should take.I interfered out of deference to the mover in another place, who is a particular friend of mine. I waited to see whether any honorable senator from Queensland would take the question up. It will be” recollected also that when I rose, I asked leave of the House to submit my motion, because I had no right to move such a motion without leave. Then when Senators Givens and Stewart rose in their wrath, I asked leave to withdraw the motion in order that the business might be transferred tothem. But the Leader of the Opposition saw fit to object to that, as he had a perfect right to do.
– To support the Government.
– I do not think the honorable senator would like me to praise the actionof the Government. I took, the action in good faith, because no one else seemed to be willing to take charge of the matter. I should be prepared to withdraw my motion now, if the Leader of the Opposition will permit me to do so, and let Senator Givens, Senator Stewart, Senator Chataway, Senator St. Ledger, or any other member of the Senate take the matter up. It has nothing to do with me. I should like, sir, to ask what will happen if my motion is negatived.
– If the motion is negatived, the business will lapse. The Standing Orders distinctly provide that the Senate shall fix a future time for the consideration of a message.
– I do not think that the end of the world will come any sooner if the motion is negatived. Although” I shall vote for the motion, because I have moved it, I shall not be offended if no other member of the Senate votes for it. I have done my best in the matter.
Question resolved in the negative.
Debate resumed from 5th December (vide page 6453), on motion by Senator McDougall -
That, in the opinion of the Senate -
As a matter of national policy, the Australian Citizen Army shall be entirely Australian, administered, trained, and -led by officers raised from the ranks of the Forces.
An Imperial officer (of General rank) may be engaged to act as Inspector-General, but it shall be no part of his duty to suggest any departure from the national policy of Defence.
– This is a most important motion, dealing, as it does, not only with our national defence, but with the question of the influence of national sentiment, and national feeling in regard to it. I am informed, and believe it is true, that Senator McDougall himself belonged to the Citizen Army of Australia at one time, and occupied a high and honorable position in it. It is, I understand, only because of the honorable senator’s modesty that he is not addressed as the “ honorable and gallant Senator Major McDougall.” The fact that he takes a very great interest in the Defence Forces has been shown by the speeches and questions he has addressed to the Senate on the subject. It is evident from this motion that he is keenly interested in the encouragement “of national feeling and sentiment amongst our citizen soldiers. The Australian Citizen Army cannot be Australian and national ‘un less it is entirely Australian. The honorable senator says that it should be administered, trained, and led by officers raised from its ranks. It cannot be a purely Australian Army if the officers are not also Australian. I ask whether it is not desirable that our Citizen Forces should be officered by men culled from the ranks who have shown special capacity. There is no man in Australia who will deny that -we have here sufficient talent to raise officers for our own Army. It is most desirable that our citizen soldiers should feel as the soldier of the French army felt in the days of Napoleon, namely, that he had a marshal’s baton in his knapsack. That is the way to foster, not only a national spirit, but that esprit de corps that will redound to the credit of our young Army, and make for its efficiency. Some people have the idea that a military officer to be efficient must have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth. In great Britain, in order that the Army may be kept in the hands of the titled, wealthy, and aristocratic classes, matters are so arranged that it is impossible for a young man to be an officer and live on his pay. I am assured that, in some regiments, he must have a private income of about £600 a year.
– I am told that, in some regiments, officers can live on their pay.
– The best information I have is that it is impossible in any British regiment for an officer to live on his pay, and in some regiments his private income must be very high. The Minister of Defence, as a matter of loyalty to the Australian Army, should gladly welcome Senator McDougall’s motion.
– Hear, hear ! So I did.
– I give the Minister full credit for that. I believe that no one is more heartily in sympathy with the idea that every man should have an equal opportunity to rise in our Citizen Army, and no one has a deeper contempt for the feeling in the Old Country which would preserve officerships in the Army for the sons of the titled, the rich, and the aristocratic. History shows that some of the world’s greatest generals have risen from the ranks, and had no pretentions to aristocratic birth or wealthy connexions. Such was the’ case with Napoleon. Yet he proved his wonderful abilities above all the dukes, barons, and princes who were pitted against him. . He led his victorious armies from one end of Europe to the other, and it was only by a combination of circumstances, and the fact that France had been desolated by continuous wars that he was at length overthrown. Some of the greatest generals in the Grand Army, men whom history regards with the greatest admiration, rose from the ranks. The soldiers of Napoleon positively adored him and obeyed his commands with unquestionable loyalty. Yet he did not belong to the aristocracy, nor did he gain his position by wealth or family connexions. I hold in my hand a copy of the Australian Navy list. I do not question the Minister’s loyalty to the principle to which he adheres, but I must point out that this list contains the names of scores of officers of all ranks who have been lent to us by the British Navy. Perhaps that policy had to be followed in the beginning in order that we might have officers to train our young men. But I trust that the Minister will give the matter his serious attention, and as our own officers become trained and capable will, as far as possible, discontinue the practice of importing British officers. I give the motion my hearty support.
Senator MCDOUGALL (New South Wales) fi 1. 10]. - I did not anticipate that I should have an opportunity of replying to the speech of the Minister, and I do not intend to do so at length now. I make no apology for anything that I said in submitting the motion. I am satisfied that what I said was correct, and am prepared to repeat every word of it. I am pleased to know that the Minister is in sympathy with the motion. I have received letters from numbers of people, some of them in high places, thanking me for bringing the matter forward. One letter, which is a sample of many, has come from an Inspector of Schools in New South Wales, who tells me that he, as an ardent and aggressive Australian, with a full faith in the efficiency, ability, and energy of his fellow countrymen, agrees heartily with the motion that I have submitted, and considers that I hit the nail right on the head. I have also received a letter from an officer in our Army, standing high in the service, expressing his approval of the action I have taken, and appreciating what I said in submitting the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 7th November (vide page 5157), on motion by Senator Ready - _ That, in the opinion of this Senate, it is desirable that the Government should, as early as possible, establish a fleet of Commonwealthowned overseas and Inter-State steamers, commencing with the linking-up of Tasmania, as an integral part of the Commonwealth, with the mainland, by means of a line of steam-ships.
– It will be readily admitted by those who listened to his speech that Senator Ready made out an excellent case for the establishment of a Commonwealth-owned line of steamers between the mainland and Tasmania. He gave facts and figures to show that such a Commonwealth enterprise would be highly remunerative to the taxpayers of Australia, while it would, at the same time, give the residents of Tasmania greater facilities for communication with the mainland than they have at present. Another strong argument in favour of carrying this motion has been put forward by a Committee which was appointed by the Tasmanian Parliament to deal with the matter. The following is an ‘extract from a Melbourne newspaper -
The committee was appointed as the result of long-standing complaints and dissatisfaction with the present shipping services. The committee took evidence in all parts of the State, and, at the request of the Premier (Mr. Soloman), information was obtained regarding the policy adopted by the Japanese Government -for the development of its mercantile marine.
The committee states that the matter of maritime transport with the other States is a manysided one, and that the greatest difficulty was experienced in making recommendations. The committee believes that such a magnificent harbor as Hobart should possess docking facilities.
One of the recommendations which the Committee made was -
That, in the interests of the tourist traffic and the full development of Tasmania’s trade resources, the Government should open up negotiations with the Commonwealth Ministry, with a view of ascertaining the largest amount of subsidy that will be paid to the State of Tasmania in the event of the Tasmanian Government deciding to build two vessels of modern type to trade between Northern Tasmania and Victoria, and that action be taken according to the nature of the replies received to the above questions.
I may state that the Committee was not composed of a majority of members’ of the Labour party, who are supposed to be in favour of the nationalization of steamer services between one part of the Commonwealth and another. The majority of the Committee was composed of followers of the present Government of Tasmania, which is generally opposed to nationalization, and the fact that the Committee made such a strong recommendation regarding the desirableness of the State Government seriously considering the question of running a State service between Tasmania and the mainland shows that there must be very urgent necessity for some alteration in the existing service. The Committee proposed that the Commonwealth Government should be approached, with the view of finding out what subsidy it would give the State of Tasmania, in the event of the State instituting a service. The Committee have not quite the sameidea as is conveyed by Senator Ready in this motion, but it emphasizes the urgent necessity that exists for improving the service between Tasmania and the mainland in the interests, not only of the people of Tasmania, but of those on the mainland. Speaking from a long experience of the difficulties and disabilities which Tasmania labours under, through its present inadequate service, I believe that there is a better chance of a Commonwealthowned service being more remunerative than a State-owned service, and I favour the proposal of Senator Ready rather than the recommendation of the Committee appointed by the Tasmanian Parliament. There is ample precedent for the Commonwealth entering into this undertaking. It has already undertaken an enormous liability in connexion with the railway between Western Australia and the eastern part of the Commonwealth, and the reason why the Commonwealth entered into that liability was on account of the comparatively isolated State of Western Australia. Although that railway will involve the taxpayers in a loss for some years after it has been running, the majority of members in both Houses willingly voted the money, because they considered that the circumstances justified them in doing so.
– Not from the commercial, but from the defence aspect.
SenatorO’KEEFE. - From a number of aspects. One of the strongest reasons which impelled me to change the views I held for a number of years, and to eventually vote in favour of the construction of that railway was that, from a defence aspect, the early construction of the line was necessary. A splendid case has been made out . for the establishment of a Commonwealthowned line of steamers, and when the Commonwealth Government is approached ‘by the Tasmanian Government, as it will be very shortly, with a view to ascertaining what subsidy the Commonwealth will grant to a State-owned service, I ask the Government to seriously consider whether it would not be better for the Commonwealth itself to establish a line of steamers between Tasmania and the mainland.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the amendment made by the Senate in this Bill.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia-
Vice- President of the Executive Council) [11.31]. - I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Seeing that we have finished a very arduous session, I wish to thank all the loyal supporters of the Government who up to the present time have never failed in having a quorum present to carry on the business of the country, and seeing that it is so near Christmas, I desire to thank the members of the Opposition for their moderation and their kindly feelings from a personal point of view, so far as the Government is concerned. I also desire, on behalf of the Government, to thank the officers of the Senate, who have carried out their duties so faithfully and so well, and I particularly wish to extend the thanks of the Government to our secretary, Mr.
Knowles, who has assisted us in our work in a manner which could not be surpassed. I also desire to thank the Hansard staff. These gentlemen have had such a task imposed upon them that it is almost marvellous how they have carried it out. I am sure that no honorable senator who reads over the reports of his speeches in Hansard as the work of these gentleman can have a word of complaint to make. I have never heard one word. I thank all those who have contributed to the success of the session.
– I desire to acknowledge the remarks of the Vice-President of the Executive Council so far as they have application to honorable senators on this side of the chamber, and to acknowledge with him the very great service which has been rendered to honorable senators by the Hansard staff and the officials here. I feel that I should hardly carry out the purpose for which I rose if, following the example of the VicePresident of the Executive Council, I failed to acknowledge the considerable assistance which the Opposition has received on occasions from such independent senators as Senator Givens and Senator Stewart. We quite appreciate that assistance, and I venture to say that the country at large will be under a debt of gratitude to gentlemen who could occasionally break loose from the bonds of party and express the truth that was in them.
– We have never opposed the Government except when they had the united support of trie Opposition.
– Senator Givens, I venture to say-
– The Government ought to be leading me.
– He is irrepressible.
– Very often the Go- .vernment is not leading the honorable senator. On behalf of my friends on this side I wish honorable senators all the compliments of the approaching season.
– Before putting the question which winds up the session I must thank honorable senators on both sides of the chamber for the courtesy and consideration which have been extended to the Chair during a fairly long session. I do not expect that any occupant of the chair can so manage things that some one will not feel a bit ruffled now and again.
– You have done very well.
– As regards being impartial and giving a fair deal to honorable senators on both sides, that has been my endeavour from the very beginning, and I believe that I have succeeded, at any rate to a considerable extent. I wish to thank the officers of the Senate for the work which they have done in very difficult circumstances. We have been unfortunate. At the beginning of the session Mr. Boydell himself was not too well ; then Mr. Upward took ill almost as scon as he returned from a furlough, and we had to do without his services in the chamber for a considerable time. The Speaker has asked me to thank the members of the Library Committee, and to specially mention Senator Symon, who, with Mr. Glynn, has undertaken the work of advising him in the selection of books. He desires to acknowledge that he has received a considerable amount of assistance from those gentlemen in the performance of his duties as Chairman of the Library Committee. As regards the Hansard staff, I know that on quite a number of occasions they have been rather hard pushed, because they have had sickness in their ranks, and it has not been easy on occasions to get men who were competent to sit down at the table at a moment’s notice, and do the work in an efficient manner. We are endeavouring to see that arrangements will be made, at any rate before the opening of another session, which will enable some relief to be given to the members of the staff in the event of such long sittings occurring again. I thank honorable senators for their courtesy and consideration, and wish them the compliments of the season.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at ir.38 a.m.
Commonwealth of Australia to wit
By His Excellency the Right Honorable Thomas, Baron Denman, a Member of His Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Council, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 December 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1912/19121221_senate_4_69/>.