5th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. Myles Aloysius Ferricks took and subscribed the oath of allegiance as a senator for the State of Queensland.
– Pursuant to standing order 31, I lay on the table my warrant nominating Senators Henderson, Russell, and McDougall a panel to act as Temporary Chairmen of Committees when requested so to do by the Chairman of Committees, or when he is absent.
– Pursuant to standing order 38, I lay on the table my warrant appointing the following senators to be the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications: - Senators de Largie, Gould, Keating, Long, Lynch, Oakes, and Turley.
– By leave, I beg to move -
That the Senate records its sense of the loss the Commonwealth has suffered in the death of ex-Senator Vardon, and expresses condolence with his family in their bereavement.
In submitting the motion I feel that very few words on my part are necessary. Ex-Senator Vardon came to the Senate six years ago, bringing with him the reputation of a citizen, who, whatever political differences might have parted him from a section of those amongst whom he lived, at least carried with him their hearty good-will and support. His services in this Chamber enhanced the reputation which he brought with him, and I venture to say that we on many occasions were strengthened in our deliberations by the sound and matured advice which he tendered. Personally, I felt that in ex-Senator Vardon, on whichever side of the chamber he might be seated, we had one whom we could not only respect, but admire, and, indeed, love. I am certain that the Senate will accept the motion in the spirit in which it is submitted.
– It is always with a deep sense of sorrow that honorable senators have to pass a motion of this description. We know that the feelings of members of the Senate and another place with respect to a departed colleague are always of the kindliest nature. It never matters to any of us whether the deceased gentleman was a member of one party or the other, and that is, I think, a feeling which ought to be encouraged in our midst. I knew exSenator Vardon for very many years. As a citizen I am sure that his life was exemplary, and no doubt Australia has lost one who had the best wishes for its welfare. The members of his family deserve our sympathy and condolence, and, therefore, I have very much pleasure in seconding the motion.
– When the news of the death of the late ex-Senator Vardon arrived in Melbourne - I think on the 21st July - the Senate stood adjourned, and I took it upon myself to send the following telegram to his son: -
On behalf of Senate and self, I desire to express deepest heartfelt sympathy on the death of your father, late ex-Senator Vardon, who was a most esteemed member and valued colleague in the Senate. Please convey same to all members of family.
In sending that telegram I think I was correctly interpreting the wish of the Senate in doing something which it would have done had it been sitting.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
– By leave I beg to move -
That the Senate places upon record its high appreciation of the great public services rendered by the late Sir William Lyne, and tenders its sincere sympathy to the bereaved widow and family of one who devoted so many years of his life to the promotion of the welfare of the people of Australia.
In connexion with this motion the position is slightly different. The late Sir William
Lyne was not a member of the Senate, but he occupied so prominent a position in the public life of Australia, that I feel that the Senate will place upon record its sense of the very great loss which the community has sustained by the death of the departed statesman. I do not feel that anything I could say would add in any way to the reputation which he established as the result of many years of strenuous public life, nor to the acceptance which the motion will receive from the Senate.
– I am sure that every honorable senator must have the deepest feelings of regret with respect to the decease of such a gentleman as the late Sir William Lyne proved himself to be - one who always sturdily maintained an attitude towards the democracy of Australia which would be creditable to any citizen in this country. His widow and family deserve the sympathy and condolence of the Senate, and I, therefore, second the motion.
– I desire, as a senator from New South Wales, to add a word. The late Sir William Lyne, whom we all knew, either personally or by repute, was, as is generally known, on a bed of sickness during the time of the last election campaign, and I have no hesitation in saying, as far as any one can truly prophesy, that he would again have been member for Hume had he been able to visit the electorate in person. I deeply regret, not only the loss of that fine specimen of Australian manhood, but also the fact that party fighting was played so low down that when that gentleman was on a sick bed reports were circulated to the effect that he could never again occupy his place in Parliament. Those reports did much to prevent his return. I have been all the more disgusted on account of the amount of sentimental sympathy which has been displayed in connexion with the death of the late lamented gentleman by some of those who did their best, by the most unfair means, to prevent his return to the other House. I have no doubt whatever that if he had had a fair opportunity in the campaign his life would have been prolonged. I deeply regret that he was so unfairly treated in the party warfare which recently occurred.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to-
That Mr. President forward the foregoing resolutions to the families of the late Mr. Vardon and Sir William Lyne respectively.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether the award given by Mr. Justice Higgins in the case of the postal electricians of the Commonwealth has yet been presented to Parliament in accordance with Statute ; if it has not been presented, I should like to know the reason why, and when it will be laid before us?
– I should say in five minutes time.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether all the employes of the Fitzroy Dock who were thrown out of work through his hasty and unnecessary action in stopping the power plant have been re-employed?
– I should like to ask whether that question is in order.
– The question was not in order as it was stated, because it included certain alleged facts under cover of asking for information.
– I did not know that I was offending the Minister. I would not do that for the world.
– The honorable senator offended the Standing Orders, not me.
– I ask the Minister whether all the employes who were thrown out of work by the stoppage of the power plant at the Fitzroy Dock have been re-employed?
– I am unable to give the information now, but if the honorable senator will see me to-morrow or the next day, I will endeavour to get it.
– I wish to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, without notice, whether he noticed recently that some twelve or fourteen days after the steamer Wauchope was supposed to have left King Island for Melbourne no news was obtained as to whether she had actually left, or was still there. There was consequently great deal of alarm in the community. Is the Minister aware that there is a wireless telegraph station at King Island, and will he take such steps to work it that the island may be kept in continuous communication with the rest of the Commonwealth ?
– As the facts referred to by Senator Keating have come under my own notice, I can assure him, on behalf of the Postmaster-General, that the Government know that what he has said with regard to the steamer Wauchope is true. Secondly, I wish to inform him, that steps have already been taken to make some use of the wireless telegraphy station which has been erected at King Island.
– Some use?
– I said, “Some use,” because the use that can be made of it is limited.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he will lay on the table of the Senate the figures quoted by him in a speech delivered in the Fitzroy Town Hall on 21st July, in regard to the alleged inflation of the electoral rolls?
– I do not know that any speech I made requires me to lay the figures referred to on the table of the Senate. I obtained from the Commonwealth Statistician certain figures regarding the condition of the rolls, and 1 am prepared to lay them on the table, though not’ as coming from myself.
– Will the honorable senator lay on the table the figures as quoted by himself?
– I am prepared to lay on the table of the Senate the figures which came to me through the Commonwealth Statistician.
– I am afraid there is some misunderstanding. I asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether, as an act of courtesy, he would lay on the table of the Senate a statement containing the figures which he quoted.
– I think the honorable senator is asking something unreasonable, and I do not propose to comply with his request.
– I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs whether he. is aware that a number of Chinese who have not been naturalized appear on the roll for the Portland and Ringarooma subdivisions of the electoral division of Bass. If so, will the Minister have an inquiry made as to who is responsible for the contravention of the Act, with a view to prosecutions eventuating?
– I am not aware of the matter to which the honorable senator has referred. I shall be glad to institute an inquiry into it.
MINISTERS laid on the table the fol lowing papers: -
Audit Act1901-12. - Transfers of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council, financial year 1912-13. Dated 23rd July, 1913.
Treasury Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules1913, Nos. 139, 154, 174.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act1911. - Award by the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in the case of the Postal Electricians Union, and memorandum by the Public Service Commissioner.
Customs Act1901-1910. - Proclamation prohibiting exportation of goods packed in bags or sacks exceeding two hundred pounds in weight.
Defence Act 1903-12. - Regulations amended, &c.-
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos.180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185,186, 187,188,189, 190,191, 192, 196,197, 198, 203, 204, 205, 206, 210, 211, 212.
Designs Act 1906-12. - Regulations amended, &c-
Statutory Rules1913, No. 173.
Electoral Act 1902-11, and Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act 1906-12. - Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules1913, Nos.199, 200.
Electoral : Schedule showing the result of the authorized official inquiry under Regulations 24a and 24b, Statutory Rules Nos.199 and 200, in respect of the elections and referendums held on 31st May, 1913.
High Commissioner of the Commonwealth in the United Kingdom. - Third annual report (1912).
Lands Acquisition Act1906. -
Leases of lands in the Federal Territory -
Approval granted -
J. and M. N. McDonald, R. Moore, G.H. Rottenberry.
R. E. Hyles, J. S. Robertson, F. W. Hyles, A. McDonald.
Land acquired under, in the Federal Territory, and leased to R. Corkhill.
Land acquired under at -
Albion, Queensland - For Defence purposes:
Ayr, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Blackstone, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Boulder, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.
Canberra, Federal Capital Territory -For Federal Capital purposes.
Echuca, Victoria - For Defence purposes.
Flinders Island, Tasmania - For Postal purposes.
Geeveston, Tasmania - For Defence purposes.
Junction Park, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Marrickville,New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Pomona, Queensland - For Postal purposes.
Queanbeyan, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.
Ultima, Victoria - For Postal purposes.
Woomelang, Victoria - For Postal purposes.
Land Tax Assessment Act1910 -
Second Annual Report to Parliament of the Commissioner of Land Tax.
Remissions of penalty granted during year 1912-13.
Northern Territory Crown Lands Act 1890 (South Australia) - Berinka, plan showing proposed Hundred of.
Naval Defence Act 1910-12. - Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules1913, Nos. 201, 202, 207.
Northern Territory - Crown Lands Ordinance. Regulations amended. -
Dated 15th May and nth July, 1913.
Ordinances of 1912 -
No. 16. - Trustees and Executors.
No. 14. - Infants.
No. 15. - Insanity.
No. 46. - Registration of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.
No. 48. - Insolvency.
Ordinance of 1913 -
No. 16. - Native Labour.
Post and Telegraph Act1901-10. - Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 156, 176, 177, 178, 179, 193, 195, 208.
Public Service Act 1902-11. -
Appointments - Attorney-General’s Department -
Promotions - Department of Treasury -
Promotions - Postmaster-General’s Department -
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 209, 216, 217.
.- I ask the concurrence of the Senate to enable me to lay upon the table a paper which sets out the proposals of the Government for the present session. I should like to be allowed to add that I take this course in order that any honorable senator who wishes to discuss the proposals may be free to do so in continuing the debate on the Address-in-Reply.
– I point out that the Minister has a right, without seeking the concurrence of the Senate, to lay a paper on the table of the Senate at any time.
– This course is a little unusual, brought about by the circumstances, but it is for you, Mr. President, or for the Senate to determine what shall be done.
– It would be better for the honorable senator to move that the document be taken into consideration in connexion with the Address-in-Reply.
Paper laid on the table.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to-
That the paper be taken into consideration in connexion with the Address-in-Reply.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence if any consideration has yet been given to the report of the Federal Fruit Commission, more particularly to recommendations 2 and i of the majority report, which in effect recommend a continuation of the inquiry abroad.
– Consideration has been and is being given to the document.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence is it the intention of the Government to introduce any legislation for the repeal or alteration of the present land tax ?
– If the honorable senator will take to himself the advice he tendered to me just now, and read the document which I have just tabled, he will ascertain the intentions of the Government.
Alleged Electoral Irregularities.
– I have received the following notice from Senator Russell 13th August, 1913.
I give notice that when the Senate meets today I intend to move the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of calling attention to a matter of urgent public importance, the statement of Senator McColl, as reported in the Argus of the 21st July, 1913, as follows : - “ They had even resurrected the dead to vote. (Laughter.) The Ministry was trying to get to the bottom of it, but it was found that while the parties which passed the Electoral Act, and were responsible for the conduct of the elections, had left as many doors open as possible for wrong-doing, they had practically shut every door which would enable the mischief to be traced to its sources. Now they were saying that they were all anxiousfor an examination, and desirous of putting down wrong-doing. Very well, it would be seen, a little later on, whether these people would help an investigation. It was intended to devise measures and devices by which impersonation and double voting would become impossible, so that at the next election there might be a clean and straight fight.”
Standing order 14 provides that no business beyond what is of a formal character shall be entered upon before the AddressinReply to the GovernorGeneral’s opening Speech has been adopted. Formal business which may be entered upon includes the fixing of the days and hours of meeting, the appointment of standing committees, and any motion under standing order 360. I cannot by any stretch of imagination call this notice regarding the adjournment of the Senate mere formal business, and I suggest to the honorable senator that if he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate, the proper course for him to pursue is to move that the Standing Orders be suspended in order to enable him to do so. He will require an absolute majority of the Senate to move, without notice, to suspend the Standing Orders.
Motion (by Senator Russell) proposed -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the adjournment of the Senate being moved to discuss a matter of urgent public importance.
– Of course, it is a fact obvious to everybody that on this occasion, as on others, the Senate is absolute master of its own procedure, but I ask senators to be slow in the exer cise of the power they possess in suspending the Standing Orders unless there is clear necessity for it. The motion brought forward now is that we should suspend the Standing Orders, probably, for a very proper purpose; but I submit there is no public justification for it.
– Not after all your slanderous statements?
– I appeal to those senators who regard the procedure of the Senate as even above party questions. The Standing Orders have been shaped for the proper and orderly conduct of the Senate; and, though it is true there is power to suspend them, I appeal to honorable senators not to exercise the power I freely admit they possess and suspend them on insufficient justification. The honorable senator is under no disability, because, if he wishes to bring the matter forward he will have ample opportunity by allowing the ordinary conduct of the Senate to proceed. He has full assurance given to him by the Standing Orders, and by your presence in the chair, Mr. President, that he will not be denied the opportunity of bringing forward the matter in due course, when the proper occasion under the Standing Orders is reached.
– When will that be?
– That depends upon how long the honorable senator takes to speak. If this is allowed to drop now, and we proceed with the AddressinReply, the honorable senator can bring this forward, and any other matter he wishes.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has just taken the liberty of refusing information, and I want a reply from him.
– The honorable senator can follow the ordinary procedure under the Standing Orders, and surely he can see that there is no gain in pursuing the course he is asking the Senate to adopt. I readily understand, as an old politician and party member, that where an advantage may be scored it should be availed of, and I make no plea in those circumstances; but in this case, where it is the mere matter of the conduct of the business of the Senate, I ask honorable senators to co-operate with the Government to see that that business is carried on as properly as it can be, and in accordance with the Standing Orders. If this motion is carried now, as it is competent for the Senate to do, it is laying down a precedent of suspending the Standing Orders at any time senators choose, and then we may as well start by tearing up the Standing Orders altogether.
– I am very much touched by the appeal of the honorable senator. I admit that those who have giant strength should not always use it like a giant ; but, owing to the peculiar constitution of Parliaments generally, one House is very largely dependent on the actions taking place in another, and, consequently, if opportunity of refuting a calumny is neglected now, when it presents itself, the chance may not arise again. We have the opportunity now of refuting a scandalous statement calumniating a section, nay, a party, in this Senate, and also many of the citizens of Australia, and the sooner it is dealt with, and the real tacts are brought before the public, the sooner will a very regrettable chapter in the history of the late elections be disposed of. I shall be pleased at any time to upset the Standing Orders, or precedents of any kind, if by so doing we can get results sooner than by attending to all the obsolete forms that bind a Parliament.
.- I have considered the various forms of the Senate, but I regard the charges made as of such a serious character, reflecting on a large section of the Senate, that I consider that senators should be cleared of those charges before we proceed with any other business. I desire to get the earliest opportunity of calling attention to the matter, and therefore I am determined to proceed this afternoon.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 17
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until to-morrow at 9 a.m.
I desire to call the attention of the Senate to a speech delivered by Senator McColl in the Fitzroy Town Hall, as reported in the Argus of the 21st July, because of the very serious nature of the charges which he then made. They read as follows -
The worst of it was that a lot of people voted twice. They had even resurrected the dead to vote. The Ministry was trying to get to the bottom of it, but it was found that while the parties which passed the Electoral Act, and were responsible for the conduct of the elections, had left as many doors open as possible for wrong-doing, they had practically shut every door which would enable the mischief to be traced to its sources.
We can quite understand men, in the heat of a political campaign, sometimes making statements which we perhaps should not take too literally, but this case differs from any one that I know. After the elections had taken place, there were certain accusations levelled by various persons, and by newspapers, in nearly every part of Australia. Almost all the charges made, either from the platform or in the newspapers, were levelled against one party only, and that was the Labour party. Where a statement was not direct, the insinuation was that the Labour party availed themselves of every method of wrong-doing which was possible under, or even outside, the Electoral Act. Senator McColl was not in the position of an ordinary man speaking in the heat of the campaign. Following the elections where, I may mention, he managed to get into this Chamber by the votes of a minority of the people of this State, he was successful in obtaining a seat in the new Ministry. There devolved upon the Ministry the duty of making an inquiry into the allegations made, unfortunately, by too many people, and often by people in authority, They passed a regulation empowering the Chief Electoral Officer practically to compare the rolls used at the general elections, in order to ascertain whether any wrong-doing in the form of people voting more than once had occurred. Although strictly it was not a Committee appointed for the purpose, yet practically it was a body of men who were considered by the Government to be the best, and, probably, the most efficient to carry on the work. Senator McColl not only considered the advisability of this course being taken, but subsequently, as a member of the Executive Council, he indorsed the decision of the Cabinet. There is an impression in the minds of the people of Australia that the Fusion Government did attempt to put on their trial the members of the Labour party and our supporters for illicit behaviour at the recent elections. Having appointed a body of men to try a certain cause, at least one might have expected the members of the Government to wait until a verdict had been delivered. I have no doubt that Senator McColl regrets that he did not await that event. Had such a transaction taken place in a Court, it would have been a case for an expression of sympathy and regret for the impetuosity of the honorable senator. The charges against the Labour party are, first, that we “ resurrected the dead “ for the purpose of voting, evidently against Senator McColl; second, that we opened the doors to wrong-doing - that is, that we amended the Electoral Act in certain directions to admit of wrong being done; and, third, that we shut the doors, evidently by an amendment of the Act, for the purpose of preventing any reasonable inquiry being made into the wrong-doing. I do not know that any more serious charges could be levelled against members of Parliament and their supporters. In the case of Senator McColl, with his boasted twenty-seven years of parliamentary experience, can we for a moment believe that it was the impetuosity of youth or undue excitement which led him to make these rash statements ? Has he ever brought forward any proof in support of them ? Seeing that he has often boasted of his parliamentary experience and his knowledge of subjects outside the Electoral Act, can we accuse him of ignorance ? I would not care to make such an accusation, in view of his long experience in Parliament and his well-known ability. What was his real desire in making these charges against members of the Senate and their supporters? I believe that he was actuated by pure malice - by a desire to injure members of the Labour party aud misrepresent them in the eyes of the people of Australia.
– Is that the motivefor this motion?
– The motive is tojustify any action I took at the election; and I want to make Senator McColl justify his conduct, not only then, but since, in making statements which he knew to be deliberately untrue. I ask the honorable senator, as a responsible Minister of the Crown, on what ground he accused the members of the Labour party, or any other party, or any individual, of having “ resurrected the dead “ ? By that phrase I suppose he meant that some persons had voted for myself who should have been allowed to rest at peace in their graves - in other words, that the living had voted; in place of the dead. It may be possiblethat some persons whose names were* placed on the roll died subsequently, and’ that others may have voted in their names. But what is there in the record of any members of the Labour party in Victoria to lead Senator McColl to assume that we would be guilty of perpetrating such a crime in the eyes of the people of Australia? Again, what virtues does he, possess to entitle him to mount a pedestal* to lecture us on morality and the best means* of conducting an election in this State?’ It seems to me to be, not only the height of impudence, but decidedly unworthy of-“ any Minister of the Crown. Now, whatwere the amendments of the Electoral Act which, as Senator McColl said, opened’ the- door to wrong-doing ? It is true that the Government of which I was a supporter did bring down proposals to amend that Act. I have a copy of the measure, before me. I have looked carefully through it, and I want to know in whatway this Act opens the door to wrongdoing. In amending the previous Act in order to abolish postal voting, we did our best to kill wrong-doing, and to bring in a cleaner system. We amended the Actto give power to the Chief Electoral Officer to strike names off the roll when he had reasonable proof that they had no right to be there. We took that action for the purpose of purifying the rolls, and not in any way for the purpose of loading them. We also intrusted certain powers to the electoral officers which were requisite to the carrying out of their duties under the Act. Did that open the door to wrong-doing ? There are one or two> other amendments which were made at our instance. We did extend the absent voting facilities, so as to enable any person who would be absent from the electorate where he resided to vote at any prescribed polling-booth in Australia. If that power was used corruptly or wrongly, then Senator McColl was the gainer by the corrupt action, because he secured a majority of the absent votes iu this State. That is a rather serious thing to allege against his own supporters. I wish to emphasize the fact that in the State of Victoria Senator McColl secured a larger proportion of the absent votes than did any other candidate. He secured a larger majority of them than he did of persons who voted at their own polling booths. It is surely rather rough for him to say now, “ I am here by a corrupt system of voting.” Surely he is not prepared to maintain that his return was secured by means of an improper use of the absent-voting provisions ? There was another mode by which it might be said that we opened the door to wrong-doing, and that was by permitting a person who was leaving the Commonwealth to vote before doing so; but I have not heard of any complaints of wrong-doing being made under that head. Consequently, I need not discuss it. On the other hand, there are directions in which, undoubtedly, we shut the door to wrong-doing. For instance, we inserted in the Act a provision enabling the Chief Electoral Officer to be directly represented in any proceeding affecting the validity of any election. Section 196a of the Act reads -
The Chief Electoral Officer shall be entitled, by leave of the Court of Disputed Returns, to enter an appearance in any proceedings in which the validity of any election or return is disputed, and to be represented and heard thereon, and in such case shall be deemed to be a party respondent to the petition.
That gave a power which did not exist previously to a competent nian like the Chief Electoral Officer to be represented in Court when any wrong-doing was alleged. I do not desire to continue the discussion at any great length, beyond saying that unfortunately before the previous elections, and subsequent to them, all sorts of charges were hurled by members of the present Ministerial party and their paid organizers against the present Opposition. I regret to say, also, that the newspapers, which were, generally speaking, if not actually, under their control, at any rate largely their supporters, repeated those charges. They were made against one party in the Commonwealth, and one only. I deeply regret that in consequence of them, some very worthy persons were misled. We cannot wonder at that, when the charges were repeated by a Minister of the Crown. We had the case of a clergyman denouncing the Labour party even from the pulpit on the assumption that the charges were correct. That sort of thing makes them all the more serious. Probably if this clergyman and others who have made similar statements were asked for their reasons, the reply would be, “ Were not the charges made by a responsible Minister of the Commonwealth?” Surely that should be sufficient proof that Senator McColl ought to have been much more guarded in his choice of words at public meetings. But evidently he was actuated by one desire, and that was to continue his three months of mud-slinging after the elections were over - to get an extra month wherein to prolong that campaign of misstatements, slurs, and misleading accusations against the Labour party in which he had been indulging. I do trust that now that he is brought face to face with the charges, Senator McColl will either publicly justify them in the Senate, or will adopt the manly course of withdrawing them and apologizing.
– I think that Senator Russell ought to be the very last individual to bring up a matter of this kind. I am compelled to be somewhat personal in replying to him. Previous to the late elections, the honorable senator advised me that he was going to conduct a very hard and strenuous campaign, and to attack our party as strongly as he could, but he expressed to me the hope that no personalities would be indulged in. I cordially concurred with him.
– Does the honorable senator say that I approached him?
– That is a lie, and a deliberate one, too.
– The honorable senator must withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it, and substitute the statement that Senator McColl’s remark was absolutely incorrect.
– I will relate the incident that occurred. One day towards the end of last session I walked into the Senate chamber. Senator Russell was sitting at the table. We spoke of the coming elections, and he then said, “ We are going to have a hard and strenuous campaign, and I am going to fight your party very hard, but I hope that no personalities will be indulged in.” I said, “I am delighted to hear you say that, and I cordially agree with you.” I did not mention the honorable senator’s name throughout the whole campaign until at a certain meeting he told a deliberate untruth about myself.
– I rise to order.
– Senator McColl must withdraw that statement.
– I withdraw it at once, but I thought that I should be allowed to make it seeing that 1 was referring to a matter that occurred outside this Chamber, and that had no reference to anything that occurred here. 1 intend now to quote from the speech which I made at Fitzroy. Honorable senators are aware that after the elections the whole of Australia was in a ferment as to the way in which they had been conducted.
– In consequence of such statements as the honorable senator made.
– I had made no statement on the subject up to that time, though I myself knew personally some friends of my own who were voted on twice, and I had also heard in going through the country of people who had been voted on improperly. If I had had anything like notice that this subject was to be brought forward, I might have been prepared with proof, but I did not know that the honorable senator intended to take action until a few moments before the Senate met to-day, and therefore have had no opportunity whatever of preparing for the attack. Now, let me come to the meeting at Fitzroy.
– Did I not tell the honorable senator that I was bringing the matter forward to-day ? Be fair for once.
– The honorable senator said that he was going to bring it on.
– Did not the honorable senator thoroughly understand that I intended to bring it forward to-day, and not to-morrow ?
– I am not quite sure. The honorable senator said that he was going to bring it on.
– Be a bit truthful for once.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - I ask whether .that remark is in order.
– The statement of Senator Russell contained an innuendo, and I ask him to withdraw it.
– I withdraw the statement, and beg to say that in future I shall put anything that I desire to communicate to Senator McColl in writing.
– This meeting at Fitzroy was called a Liberal rally. I was invited to attend, and was asked to speak. I said in the course of ]fly remarks -
There never was in the history of Australian elections such a campaign as the last. There had been more names on the rolls than there were persons entitled to vote. He had these figures from Mr. Knibbs.
I was speaking from memory. There were -
Sixty thousand more in New South Wales, 60,000 in Victoria, 30,000 in Queensland, 17,000 in South Australia, 11,000 in Western Australia, and 7,000 in Tasmania. How was that?
That was a statement that there were more names on the rolls than there were persons entitled to vote. Was that statement true or not? Does the honorable senator now say that the statement is not true ?
– The honorable senator said they voted.
– T said nothing whatever about voting. The figures show that there were 175,000 more on the rolls of the Commonwealth than there were persons entitled to vote. That disposes of the first statement.
– Was that the certified roll?
– I also said -
The worst of it was that a lot of people voted twice.
– Was that the certified roll ?
– The certified roll was inflated in the same way.
– I am asking for the figures.
– That was the certified roll. There has since been an inquiry, and it has been discovered that 5,760 persons voted twice, or some other persons voted in their names.
– Nothing of the kind. The honorable senator does not understand plain English
– I have stated the figures correctly.
– The report does not say that, and the honorable senator knows it.
– Is that statement correct or not? I further said -
They had even resurrected the dead to vote.
I had heard on several occasions that dead people were voted for in several places.
– Will the honorable senator give one specific case of a dead person being voted for ?
– If the honorable senator had given me notice, I might have quoted instances. I said further -
The Ministry was trying to get to the bottom of it, but it was found that while the parties which passed the Electoral Act and were responsible for the conduct of the election had left as many doors open as possible for wrongdoing, they had practically shut every door which would enable the mischief to be traced to its sources.
I was referring to the opportunities left open for wrong-doing, because I had heard of cases of impersonation that went on to a considerable extent. I have nothing more to say. I think that Senator Russell was the last man who ought to have said what he has done, in view of his own conduct at the last election and his references to myself. He decried me on every occasion. He sneered at me, alleging that I was only here by a minority vote. At the previous election, when I fought the honorable senator, I beat him by 53,000; but I never said that he was here by a minority vote. I never sneered at him in that respect. Seeing that I was only some 2,400 votes behind him, and that he polled within a few of 300,000, I think it is very much to be regretted that he should have made use of such means. As to the attacks that have been made on my personal character, I have to say that my reputation is before the people of this country, where I am known as a straightforward and truthful man. I have only to express my regret at what has occurred to-day, and to say that it is a great pity that any member of this Chamber should delay the business of the country for the purpose of venting his spleen and spite by making such ridiculous charges as have been launched.
.- I am surprised that a gentleman occupying the position of Vice-President of the Executive Council should have characterized the statements made by Senator Russell as ridiculous. The honorable senator surely cannot seriously consider that the statements which he himself made when addressing public meetings held under the auspices of an association which rendered him signal service in the recent election-
– What association?
– The Women’s National League.
– It was not a meeting of the Women’s National League.
– It was a meeting of the so-called Liberal Association. There was, we are told, a Liberal rally. We all know the wild and whirling statements which were made with respect to the way in which the recent elections were conducted. Certain newspapers that have always shown their hostility to the Labour party went out of their way to make serious charges, by innuendo, of course, against that party. Those statements having been made, the Government, with the support of the Opposition, rightly decided to have an inquiry made into them. That decision having been arrived at, any ordinary man would have had the decency to await the result of the inquiry before getting upon a platform and repeating parrot-like the statements made by newspapers, and by a number of political bounders and busybodies. I direct the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to a few statements I propose to make. The honorable senator said, “ They had resurrected the dead.” Whom did he mean by “ they “ t
– The parties who voted in the names of dead persons.
– Here is a gentleman occupying a very important and responsible position who has had a report presented to him as the result of an inquiry, and yet he has the cold-blooded audacity to get up in this Chamber, and, as a responsible Minister, to say that as the result of that inquiry it is shown that there have been 5,000 cases of duplicate voting. I say that the report does not show anything of the kind. It merely shows that 5,000 apparent irregularities took place. The honorable senator tells us that before the inquiry was proceeded with, he knew of his own knowledge of a number of cases of persons who voted more than once. That is an extraordinary statement for an honorable man to make.
– I did not say that.
– The honorable senator went to a public meeting with that information in his possession, and took no action to have prosecutions initiated in the cases to which he referred.
– I did not say that. I said that I knew some of my own friends who had been personated at the election.
– I venture to say that there never were in the history of the Commonwealth fuller, better, or purer rolls for the conduct of any election than those upon which the last election was carried out.
– Purer rolls?
– Yes, purer, fuller, or better rolls. Up to the present time there has not been a single case of double voting proved against any individual.
– The honorable senator should give the authorities some time. The investigation has only just been concluded.
– The elections took place on 31st May, and this is 13th August. We were told that immediately the Government came into power they would cause inquiries to be made, and they were going to prove up to the hilt the statements that had been made in respect of the last elections. One case specially referred to was that of the election for Fremantle, in Western Australia. The defeated candidate said that he had names and addresses, and could prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that about 4,000 persons recorded votes which they had no right to record. We have seen as the result of the inquiry that there were, I think, only 130 such votes recorded at that election.
– How does the number of cases of illegal absent voting, or irregularities, as the honorable senator calls them, compare with the number of proved irregularities under the postal voting system ?
– There were more irregularities by far under the postal voting system.
– Not one was proved.
– I could prove a dozen.
– Any one who knows anything about the Electoral Act must be aware that a man entering a polling booth to record his vote, if it is outside the subdivision for which he is enrolled, must vote as an absent voter. In order to do so, he must attachhis name to a document; and it must be remembered that the Electoral Department possesses the signature of every elector enrolled. There should not, in the circumstances, be the slightest difficulty in tracing any man who voted as an absent voter and also voted in the division for which he is enrolled.
– Is the honorable senator aware of the statement with respect to absent voting made in another place about an hour ago by a Minister?
– Some people would make any kind of statement. Senator McColl said that he wanted to have a clean and straight fight. I say that nearly all the dirt-
– Not all; the honorable senator is bringing some of it forward now.
– And mud that was thrown at the last election came from the so-called Liberal ranks. Speaker after speaker made outrageous statements in regard to the Labour party. They put false issues before the people, and anticipating, no doubt, that there will be another election, probably before Christmas time-
– Let us hope so.
– They will not put the right issues before the people, but try to blind the people to the issues which should be placed before them.
– The issues were placed before them, and the honorable senator does not like the people’s answer.
– Look at the scattered remnants of Toryism on the Government side, and honorable senators will see the people’s answer.
- Senator McColl wanted clean rolls, fair play, and decent weather. If any party had fair play during the last elections, it was the so-called Liberal party, that had behind it nearly all the newspapers of the Commonwealth, all the financial institutions in Australia, and all the forces of squatterdom and sweaterdom. Having won the elections under those circumstances-
– Having come back with a small majority under those circumstances-
– Having cut away the majority of the party opposite.
– Not satisfied with that, a member of the Government got up at the Fitzroy Town Hall, in an atmosphere which was, no doubt, congenial to him, and made slanderous and wicked statements in regard to the party that he never ceases to denounce when he finds himself in certain company. He said that the present Government were not going to “ smoodge “ to any party. I say that the honorable senator has, by continued smoodging to almost every sect and influence in this State, managed to maintain his position as a parliamentarian
– Thank God, I never smoodged to the honorable senator.
– If it were not for his smoodging from time to time, and trying to get on any and every ticket, he would not have been in Parliament for twenty-seven years, or for twenty-seven days. The honorable senator knows what it is to get on a ticket. He is always on a ticket.
– Was Senator Findley not on a ticket?
– Yes, and I have always belonged to the same ticket - a ticket that is known to every one, and especially to the opponents of the Labour party.
– Running on a ticket, the honorable senator should not complain of others for doing so.
– The honorable senator could not get off his ticket.
– The Minister of Defence got off a ticket, or his party put him off it. The statements made by Senator McColl are absolutely incorrect. If he is not aware of the fact, he ought to carefully peruse the official documents which should be in the possession of every member of the Government. The statements he made in respect of the conduct of the elections, and especially in regard to the late Government, are so outrageous that I consider that, as a responsible Minister, he should apologize to all the electoral officers intrusted with the work of carrying out the elections on the 31st May last for having made them. His statements constitute, not only an attack upon the late Administration, but upon every officer of the Electoral Department. With Senator Russell I say that, whilst Senator McColl may treat this matter lightly, and may not be disposed to take it too seriously in this Chamber, hemay rest as sured that the last has not been heard about it. He will either have to withdraw the remarks he has made inside this chamber or will live to see the day when he will regret having made them.
– I think that the thanks of the Senate are due to Senator Russell for the action he has taken in moving the adjournment, in order to direct attention to the statements made by a member of the Australian Parliament. There is one advantage which we on this side can secure to-day which we could not secure under other conditions. I refer to the fact that any remarks we may make will be truthfully recorded in Hansard. It has been our experience from the inception of our party until to-day that, no matter what statements we may make from the public platform, they are not truthfully recorded. As a matter of fact, they are misconstrued. The honorable senator who to-day has been placed in the pillory by the motion moved by Senator Russell, and the party with which he is associated, have always had behind them the powerful capitalistic press of Australia. Almost every breath they draw is recorded in that press. It has been amusing, if not interesting, to me this afternoon to contrast the attitude of Senator McColl when trying to defend himself from the charges launched against him today with the attitude he no doubt assumed in the Fitzroy Town Hall when he made the statements complained of in the congenial company he found there. It strikes me that when a man occupying the honorable senator’s responsible position has a chance to “sling off” at his opponents where he is not immediately responsible, and may not be faced with the consequences of his remarks, he can be very brave. But the honorable senator comes here to-day, and, honestly, I was sorry for him when he stood up at the Minister’s table as Vice-President of the Executive Council, to endeavour to reply to the charges made in connexion with his statements about double voting. I think the time has arrived when public men should at least be fair, and should at least be truthful.
– Hear, hear!
– I am very glad that at last the honorable senator has discovered the necessity of speaking the truth. I hope that when he next stands upon a public platform, whether as a private senator or as a member of the Ministry, he will speak the truth and stick to it.
– The Minister’s interjection indicates that there is hope even for the greatest sinner.
– Yes, and there is an old saying that there is greater joy in Heaven upon one sinner doing penance than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance. If my scriptural quotation is not altogether correct, it at least fits itself to the senator opposite. There is a phase of the question he might seriously consider. Senator McColl, who momentarily occupies a Ministerial position, and a very precarious one at that, is not the only gentleman who has made these statements at public meetings about double voting, and that the Labour party were responsible for it. I remember a statement made by Mr. Hedges, the exmember for Fremantle in the House of Representatives. He had the audacity to state, in the public press that in the South Fremantle division of the electoral division of Fremantle every person in one street, where there were 312 voters, voted twice. What is the result of the inquiry instituted by the present Government? Out of all the votes recorded in Western Australia, totalling over 135,000, there were only 556 irregularities; and in the particular division of Fremantle, where there were over 28,000 votes cast, there were only 156 irregularities discovered.
– Assumed irregularities.
– Yea, assumed, not proved; and yet we have gentlemen like Senator McColl making these statements. I have not seen any of Senator Millen’s speeches, but I dare say he also has taken every opportunity of maligning this party.
– That is impossible.
– The honorable senator is so used to maligning his opponents that it is second nature to him. I maintain that the elections were conducted cleanly. There may have been some irregularities.
– There was no allegation against the officers who conducted the elections.
– Allegations were made not only against the officers responsible for the administration of the electoral law, but against the late Government.
– Against the late Minister of Home Affairs.
– Do not buck up the way you are doing. Allegations were made not only against officers responsible for the administration of the electoral law, but also against the exMinister of Home Affairs, and every member of the Labour Administration. They were practically charged with endeavouring to pack the rolls to secure continuity of office. The statements have been made broadcast. We humbly, from the public platform, haveendeavoured
– Did you say “humbly”?
– We are not alt so big as my friend, nor have we so vast an opinion of ourselves. But our statements have not been recorded in the public press, and this is the only chance we have. I am glad Senator Russell has put forward his motion, so that we can place in the pages of Ilansard what our opinions are of the cowards who have made these false charges against the Ministry that has just gone out of power, which charges the inquiry that has been held has proved were untrue and false.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [4.30]. - We are indebted to Senator Russell for bringing this matter before the Senate. I can assure honorable senators that the scandalous statements about the conduct of the recent elections were not confined to Victoria, but were general throughout all the States. We had in South Australia a most extraordinary statement ventilated under scare headings in the press about the conduct of the elections in that State. It was stated in a most open and glaring manner that there was a char-a-banc kept going in Unley from one place to another carrying twenty odd voters, and that they were conveyed to every polling booth to record votes where they could get them recorded.
– You did well there.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.We did well, but without any resort to impersonation or duplicate voting. However, in the press, which was wholly behind the Fusion party, these allegations appeared for several days after the elections under scare headings, and every possible publicity was given to them ; but later on, as it was found there was small possibility of substantiating these statements, excitement subsided, and we heard very little about them after the inquiry was started. When the result of the inquiry was made public those portions of the press which gave such prominence to the accusations placed the reports of the returning officers in obscure corners of their papers, and in the smallest type possible. I wish to call attention to another matter. Senators who have preceded me have pretty well ventilated this subject, but I would like to know why the Senate candidates were ignored in this inquiry.
– The motion has been moved for the express purpose of calling attention to a specific matter of urgent public importance, and except casually, by way of illustration, the honorable senator is not entitled to travel beyond the ambit of the motion.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.I do not intend to take up time to. any extent. I have already given notice of questions in regard to this matter, but it is possible the Senate will not meet for some days.
– If you move to suspend the Standing Orders you can deal with it. You can do what you like.
– I do not intend to avail myself of that suggestion. Fortunately we are in a position to do what we like without asking permission. But I would ask why Senate candidates were ignored in the inquiry when they were equally concerned in regard to these charges, and in regard to the conduct of the election? I hope that if any Minister is going to speak to this motion he will give me information on this point. I rose particularly to direct attention to it, and I do not propose to further discuss the question so fully ventilated by other senators.
– I only know from reading it what Senator McColl is alleged to have stated, and, of course, he has practically admitted that by reading it here. However much we may deplore the ill-natured and malicious utterances which have been made-
– The honorable senator is not entitled to characterize any statement made by another senator as malicious, and I ask him to withdraw that statement.
– I withdraw the word “ malicious,” but I suppose I may be within bounds in saying “ill-natured and inaccurate.” Possibly I may be permitted to say the statements were knowingly inaccurate. I am not particular as to words used so long as they convey my meaning. While we may deplore this exhibition in Victoria of what I am not allowed to call malice on the part of Ministers of the Crown, we must realize it is only a small sound compared with the general volume of malicious utterances which proceeded from every responsible individual. Throughout New South Wales similar utterances were made every day. A campaign of misrepresentation was entered on by every so-called liberal-minded man.
– This statement was made by a Government after they decided to order an inquiry.
– No doubt that is the chief offence, that after the matter had become sub judice this statement was made; but the whole position of the honorable senator and his colleagues in this Chamber and in another place has been absolutely built up on similar misrepresentations. There would not be one Minister in the position he now occupies without the/n.
– They floated in on them.
– And with the disgraceful expenditure of money aiding them in their campaign. It is a reflection, a disgrace, and a disaster to Australia, that the present Government should hold office, considering the means by which they attained it; it is an absolute disgrace to the manhood of Australia that they should, even for twenty-four hours, hold office; it is a reflection on Australia that the Government should be there, from the topmost of the Ministry to the humblest member of it, when they scored their majority by a campaign of calumny, falsehood, and misrepresentation, with which they flooded the Commonwealth from end to end. It is to be deeply deplored that, after the battle is over, in the absence of excitement and party feeling which may, perhaps, lead a man astray during a campaign, when there is no excuse or reason for excited utterances, this kind of thing should be repeated in cold blood after the Government, of which the honorable senator is a member, had submitted the matter to some sort oi judicial inquiry. It simply shows the inability of the honorable senator concerned to recognise the decencies of public life; and it is that alone which prevents him from apologizing to the Senate and the country for the disgraceful statement he made.
– The honorable senator must withdraw that.
– Well, the outrageous statement he made.
– The honorable senator must first withdraw the word.
– I withdraw “disgraceful,” and use the words “outrageously and wilfully inaccurate statement.”
– Is “ wilfully inaccurate “ a term that should be allowed to pass in this Chamber?
– If it is considered offensive to the honorable senator to whom it is applied, I must ask that it be withdrawn.
– Very well; though I can hardly understand how the honorable senator can stop short of asking me to withdraw my whole speech. It was all meant to be deliberately offensive.
– The honorable senator is not entitled to say that.
– Very well; I withdraw it. In fact, I withdraw the whole speech.
.- If Senator McColl has had a bad time this afternoon, he can only blame himself. It is not the first time he has fallen in by adopting tactics such as are challenged here this afternoon. No honorable senator, so far as I can remember, has been more often put into the stocks for things such as we are questioning here this afternoon than the same honorable senator, who seems to take a delight in attending certain gatherings and making statements of a similar kind. He has been doing it all the time he has been a member of the Senate, and I am not at all surprised at his doing it since he has attained a certain position. He has been making political blunders all the while. There has been sufficient said, I think, about the remarks of the honorable senator which have been challenged ; but there is one portion of the speech to which attention has not yet been called, and that is the portion in which he speaks of members of the Labour party as men who are always talking labour, but who never labour themselves. It is quite in his usual good taste. I do not know a singlemember of the Labour party, either today or in the past, who may not be justly described as a Labour man. I think that every Labour senator who is present thisafternoon can be spoken of as a genuine Labour man, as one who has laboured with . his hands from his boyhood up to the present time. When I hear of a man boasting of being a Liberal, and posing as onewho labours, and in the next breath admitting that he has been a member of” Parliament for the last twenty-seven, years, I wonder which kind of dryfarming he has been doing. It has been exceedingly dry indeed.
– Order ! That portion of Senator McColl’s speech to which, the honorable senator is alluding is not included in the matter of urgent publicimportance in regard to which SenatorRussell moved the adjournment of theSenate.
– If that is so, sir, I shall not be able to make any further criticism. I have only to offer oneword of advice to Senator McColl, and that is to try to be a little more cautious-, when he gets on the rampage in the ral- lies which he is so fond of attending. By exercising a little more caution, and keeping statements of this kind out of thepress, he will get into less trouble. Heneed not think that we will tolerate thesestatements all the time, and not make a protest against them. We have had toomuch capital of this kind made against theLabour party. We realize all the time that we are fighting at a disadvantage. We know that the press of Australia isin the hands of our political opponents, and that they make full use of it to circulate such statements as have been found fault with here to-day, and are made sofrequently by Senator McColl and members of his party.
– I do not desire to enter into a discussion of the intricacies of the quarrel between Senator McColl and Senator Russell.
– There is no quarrel.. It is a matter of fact.
– What is it but a. quarrel ? Does not the language which the honorable senator used, and had to withdraw, constitute in itself a cause of quarrel ?
– When slanderous statements are made.
– Does not slander involve a quarrel ? I am sorry that Senator Findley is such a precisian in the use of language. I only want to take exception to a certain statement made by one of the senators for South Australia, and also, I believe, by one of the senators who preceded him. They accused the Liberal party of making statements about the unclean manner in which the recent elections were conducted. That language is used to imply that the Liberal party have made allegations of irregular and improper conduct against the electoral officials. I have heard no responsible Liberal speaker make any statement of the sort in connexion with the conduct of the elections by the regular electoral officers, but I do know that a member of the late Ministry - and this matter particularly concerns Tasmania - was the only public man, I will not say of eminence, but of temporary prominence, who made any allegation or took any direct action in connexion with the conduct of the elections by the electoral officers. He went so far as to indulge in Czar-like action, and suggested the removal of some of the electoral officers. Senator Findley. - What has this to do with Senator McColl’ s speech?
– I am showing that one of the senators for South Australia said that an allegation was made by the Liberal party in connexion with the unclean conduct of the elections.
– I repeat the statement.
– What all the Liberal speakers I heard said, subsequent to the elections, was that the Electoral Act afforded opportunities , and opened the door for the perpetration of many irregularities; and I, when returning thanks for my election in Hobart, said that the advent of a Liberal Administration would insure one thing - a full, free, and impartial investigation of the allegations that were current.
– That was gentlemanly.
– Where is the proposal for a full inquiry?
– That investigation is proceeding.
– While it was proceeding your colleague made this charge.
– I am not here to discuss the merits of what Senator McColl said, as he is well able to keep up his end of the log. He has made his defence. But I am here to defend the Liberal party against the charge of having made allegations against electoral officers. We have made no such charges. The only overt act hostile to them of which we have cognizance is that of the late Minister of Home Affairs, who took an attitude from which he had to recede, and not by any means gracefully.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
If it is the intention of the Government to take into consideration at an early date the matter of giving full effect to the financial recommendations embodied in the report of the Royal Commission - Mr. Jensen, M.H.R., Chairman - appointed to inquire into the incidence of Commonwealth Customs taxation as affecting the State of Tasmania?
– The Government is not prepared to review this arrangement, which has still eight years to run.
asked the Minister repre senting the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are: -
asked the Minister repre senting the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are: -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister,upon notice -
Is the Government or any member thereof responsible for giving certain particulars which appeared in the Age newspaper on 8th July relative to the report of the Federal Fruit Commission, which up to that time was a confidential document?
– The answer is: -
I am quite certain that no member of the Government was responsible for giving any particulars of the report of the Federal Fruit Commission to the press. One copy only was received by the Prime Minister’s Department, which was treated as a strictly confidential document.
Presumably every member of the Commission signing the document had a copy of the report.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to-
That during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, the sittings of the Senate, or of a Committee of the Whole Senate, on sitting days other than Fridays be suspended from 6.30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to-
That during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, at 4 o’clock p.m. on Fridays the President shall put the question, That the Senate do now adjourn, which question shall not be open to debate; if the Senate be in Committee at that hour the Chairman shall in like manner put the question, That he do leave the Chair and report to the Senate; and upon such report being made the President shall forthwith put the question, That the Senate do now adjourn, which question shall not be open to debate.
Provided that if the Senate, or the Committee, be in division at the time named, the President or the Chairman shall not put the question referred to until the result of such division has been declared ; and if the business under discussion shall not have been disposed of at such adjournment it shall appear on the business paper for the next sitting day.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to -
That on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, Government business take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper, except questions and formal motions, and except that private business take precedence of Government business on Thursday after 8 p.m. ; and that, unless otherwise ordered, private orders of the day take precedence of private notices of motion on alternate Thursdays.
– When the motion standing in my name with respect to days and hours of meeting was called on, I said “ Not formal,” for the reason that, following the custom of the Senate, the motion differentiates the time of meeting on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We have been in the habit of meeting at 3 o’clock on Wednesdays and at half-past 2 o’clock on Thursdays. The reason for that was that it was desired to meet the convenience of honorable senators, particularly from my own State, who arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday, and who wished to have time after the arrival of the train to prepare for the meeting of the Senate without an unnecessary rush. But I wish to suggest to honorable senators whether it is worth while, for the sake of that half hour on Thursdays, to differentiate between the time of meeting on those two days. My suggestion is that we should meet at 3 o’clock on each day. The extra half hour is not of very great value, and even when we meet at 3 o’clock we have nine, ten or eleven hours’ work in front of us - quite sufficient time to do our business. I think that it will meet the convenience of honorable senators if we meet at 3 o’clock on both Wednesdays and Thursdays.
– We might also meet at 11 o’clock on Fridays.
– I am agreeable to that if honorable senators so desire. It is worth while considering whether the extra half hour is worth bothering about. I can assure those who have been recently elected to the Senate that after they have been sitting here during the whole afternoon till 11 or 12 o’clock at night, they will feel that they have done quite enough to suit the most industrious of them. Accordingly, I move the motion in the following form -
That the days of meeting of the Senate during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week; and that the hour of meeting, unless otherwise ordered, be 3 o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday and Thursday, and half-past 10 o’clock in the forenoon of Friday.
– I suggest, for the consideration of the Government, whether, in view of the fact that in all probability a lengthy debate will take place elsewhere, and a considerable time will elapse before very much business can be done in the Senate, the Friday sittings might not be discontinued for the time being.
– We can always adjourn over Friday if we choose.
– We can always, if there is no business available, move on Thursday night that the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until the next Wednesday.
– A suggestion came from Senator Guthrie that we should make the hour of meeting on Friday 11 o’clock. I am anxious to meet the convenience of honorable senators, and if adopting that suggestion will fall in with their view, I ask that the motion be amended to strike out” half -past 10 o’clock “ and substitute “ 11 o’clock.”
Question amended accordingly, and resolved in the affirmative.
– In view of an announcement that has been made in another place, and of a motion challenging the position of the Government, I desire, following the ordinary procedure of the Senate, to move-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday, 27th August.
– Why not make the adjournment three weeks?
– My honorable friend will probably know better than I do how long the debate elsewhere is likely to last.
– We have not the slightest idea.
– If the Senate prefers to have a three-weeks’ adjournment I shall be agreeable.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 5.2 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 13 August 1913, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1913/19130813_senate_5_70/>.