5th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence whether the Government have yet obtained “ the high professional advice “ they deem necessary to enable them to determine the Bites of naval bases in the Commonwealth; and, if so, the name of the person who has been secured, at what cost, and under what conditions?
– I can answer a portion of the honorable senator’s question now. The Government have ob tained that advice. The gentleman who has responded to our invitation, and who is coming to Australia, is named Fitzmaurice. I am not quite certain as to either his Christian name, or, if he has one, as to his title. It is anticipated that he will leave Great Britain on the 10th October. As to the matter of the terms arranged upon, I would ask the honorable senator to give notice of a question.
– I ask the Minister of Defence, without notice -
In reference to the statement which the Right Honorable the Treasurer has telegraphed to the Mayor of Fremantle, that, in respect to the naval base at Cockburn Sound, “ Nautical men whom I have consulted much prefer Mangles Bay at Rockingham to Jervoise Bay ; as it is far more spacious, has far deeper water, is far better protected, and has better holding ground “ ; and which the Minister stated he had. referred to the Treasurer, can he yet inform the Senate of the names and professional attainments of the nautical men who have given the advice referred to?
– I do not know that I should be called upon to answer a question which involves an expression of opinion by any one.
– By a Minister?
– Even in regard to an expression of opinion by a Minister. I can only repeat the assurance I have already given. In this matter, the Government were not at all influenced by tho claims of one portion of Cockburn Sound as against another portion. That was not in any way the reason which induced them to invite the assistance of an expert engineer.
– May I ask the Minister of Defence these further questions -
– I have not yet asked the Third Naval Member for any further statement on that point.
– I wish to know whether the Minister proposes to obtain any information from the Third Naval Member on this subject. Surely he recognises that itis a very serious charge which has been made by that officer. Does he not think that he, as the guardian of the public in the Department, should ask the officer to indicate where “injudicious expenditure “ has been undertaken ?
– If that question alone embraced the point which influenced the Government in the action they took, there might be some justification for asking the officer for an explanation of a minute which he submitted. It was not that factor alone, but many factors, which induced the Government to call in outside assistance. Therefore, I do not see any reason, at the present moment, for asking any member of the Naval Board to explain the grounds which induced him to put down in black and white the opinion he has expressed.
– May I ask whether the Minister does not think that the minute referred to may be a reflection on the engineer in charge; and whether, in justice to that officer, and the other members of the Board, the Third Naval Member should not be asked to indicate the direction in which he considers that there has been injudicious expenditure?
– That view of the matter never occurred to me before. The honorable senator suggests that the statement of the Third Naval Member is a reflection upon the officer charged with carrying out the work ?
– It may be.
– If that were intended, I admit that it would be only a matter of justice and fairness to the officer charged that some further inquiry should be made. It did not occur to me that the statement was capable of that construction; but, in view of what Senator Pearce has implied, I ask him to put his question again at our next sitting.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs whether the following paragraph from the Sydney Daily Telegraph of yesterday has been brought under his notice: -
The experience of the Willoughby and Mosman Liberal Leagues in connexion with the work of candidate selection has strengthened objection to the present system. In Willoughby about 700 names, out of a total enrolment of less than 4,000, have been objected to by one or other of the various candidates in the field. At Mosman the work of revising the rolls has proved very unsatisfactory. There were 500 names objected to, and when the lists were thoroughly examined many names were found for whose membership tickets no butta could be discovered.
This is the portion of the paragraph to which I wish to draw the Minister’s attention -
It was then decided to abandon postal voting and to require members to vote personally at arranged booths. The whole matter has created considerable feeling among the candidates concerned.
The Willoughby electorate conference has decided to secure the services of an independent canvasser to interview those persons on the roll whose qualifications have been questioned.
I desire to know whether, in the face of that statement, the Minister will persist in attempting to give the postal vote to these dishonest Liberal Leagues ?
– I can only say that the paragraph has not been brought under my notice, and therefore I have no answer to give to the question.
– Is the Minister of
Defence aware that a cadet fourteen years of age, who, in some way or other, has refused to carry out the Defence regulations, has been imprisoned at Broken Hill ?
– Do you know the name ?
– The name of the lad is Yeo. I should like the Minister to give me whatever information he can in this matter. It was brought under my notice by telegram on two different occasions, and, as I know nothing of it, I shall be glad to get some information.
– I speak, of course, on the spur of the moment, but my recollection of the case is that the lad was proceeded against some months ago for having failed to comply with the conditions of the Defence Act, and was detained as the result of a decision given against him in the local police court. I believe he was released before the period of incarceration was completed. As he still failed to comply with the conditions’ of the Act, further proceedings were taken against him, and he was again detained. I issued a direction that, having served twenty days, the boy should be released, but that, of course, does not release him from his ultimate obligations under the Act as it stands.
– Was he detained in the Broken Hill gaol or in barracks!
– I cannot say where he was detained, but it was the same place on both occasions.
– Is the Minister of Defence yet in a position to answer my inquiry as to the alteration of the conditions of the men working at Garden Island ?
– I have made inquiries in regard to this matter, but I am not yet in a position to speak with sufficient definiteness. If the honorable senator will renew the question tomorrow, I think I shall be in a position to give him the information he wants.
Position of Senate.
– I should like to ask the Leader of the Government here to mention any instance where the Opposition have shown any opposition to the introduction of Bills presented by the Government ?
– In this Chamber?
– I submit that it willbe time enough to ask that question when the Government seek to introduce Bills.
– Seeing that there are many Bills which might be introduced in the Senate, and the Leader of the Government in the Senate has stated that they have introduced no Bills here yet, I should like to ask him to say whether the Government intend to submit any Bills to the Senate except those coming here from the House of Representatives?
– I quite recognise all that is involved in the very important and serious question put by the Leader of the Opposition. I desire to say that, in view of the composition of the two Houses, it is not the intention of the Government to introduce in this Chamber measures which involve . the principles they submitted to the electors, until they have first been submitted to and approved by the other branch of the Legislature. To do so would be, as 1 am sure honorable senators recognise, to deny to the Government the opportunity to ascertain the wishes of another place upon those measures.
– Where the Government have a brutal majority.
– This party never claims to have a brutal majority, though it has a majority. By the interjection I am assured that honorable senators opposite recognise that as a mere matter of ordinary common-sense procedure it is useless to introduce in this House measures involving the Government policy until they have first been submitted in. another place.
– Arising out of the answer just given by the Minister of Defence, I ask him whether, in his opinion, it is fair that members of the Ministry should go to the country and make speeches indicating that the Senate is blocking the business of the country ?
– I should like to have the specific statements referred to brought under my notice before being called upon to give a specific answer.
– In connexion with the reply which the Minister of Defence has just given, I wish to ask him, without notice, whether his statement that no Bill involving the Government policy will be introduced in the Senate until such time as it has been passed in another place, does not mean totally ignoring the Senate, which has coequal powers with the other branch of the Commonwealth Parliament?
– It does not mean ignoring the Senate. It is because we recognise the Senate and its composition that we have decided to take the course I have already indicated.
– Seeing that there are many measures referred to in the Ministerial statement presented to both Houses of this Parliament which are non-contentious, and do not involve policy - such as those dealing with the Agricultural Bureau, Insurance matters, Bankruptcy, Divorce, and many othersubjects I could mention - is it not the intention of the Government to give the Senate something to do in the way I have mentioned?
– If my honorable friend will give rae an assurance that his party will loyally assist in carrying certain of these measures, and will indicate the measures they are prepared to support, I shall see whether some of them cannot be introduced here.
– Does the Leader of the Government in the Senate want that in writing?
– I wish to ask a question, without notice, in order to make public a certain rumour. It is rumoured that one of Mr Patten’s children died, and that the Labour party refused him a pair to enable him to go to the funeral. If such a thing had been done, I ought to have known of it as well as anybody else. I was told of the rumour by the honorable member representing the district in the State Parliament. Does Senator Millen know anything of the matter ?
– I can only say that I have no knowledge of the circumstance referred to, and I submit to Senator McDougall that his question might more properly have been addressed elsewhere.
– I only wished to make the matter public.
MINISTERS laid on the table the following papers -
Bounties Act 1907-1912. - Return of particulars relating to bounties paid during financial year 1912-1913.
Defence Act 1903-1912. - Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 231, 232, 233. 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241.
Lands Acquisition Act 1906. - Land acquired under, at -
Albany, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.
Bombala, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.
Port Adelaide. South Australia - For Postal purposes.
Papua. - Ordinance of 1912 - No. 1 - Health. Public Service Act 1902-1911. -
Department of Home Affairs. - Variation of Approval of Promotions as Clerks, 4th Class. Accounts Branch, Central Staff, of-
Department of Trade and Customs. - Appointment of J. S. C Elkington as Chief Quarantine Officer, Queensland,
Postmaster-General’s Department. - Promotion of P. V. Leonard as Clerk, 4th Class, Central Staff.
The President laid on the table -
Commonwealth Bank Act 191 1. - True copy of Balance-sheet of Commonwealth Bank of
Australia made up to 30th June, 1913, together with Auditor-General’s report thereon.
The Clerk laid on the table
Return to Order of the Senate of 28th August, 1913-
Electoral Rolls : Statement by Commonwealth Statistician re Inflation.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In view of the fact that the Senate was given the opportunity of considering and expressing an opinion on the present English mail contract, will the Government give the Senate an opportunity to discuss the Launceston-Melbourne mail contract before it is ratified?
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Chief Electoral Officer, who invoked the aid of the Police Department in order to satisfy himself in regard to certain enrolments concerning which there was some doubt, owing to the persons enrolled not living at the addresses given on the roll. No new precedent was established by the above action.
asked the Minister re presenting the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Supply of Stores : Survey
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to sup ply stores to the men engaged on the TranscontinentalRailway Works at the western section at Kalgoorlie prices?
– The answer is -
Arrangements are being made under which it is anticipated that stores will be supplied at not exceeding Kalgoorlie prices.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers are -
– On the 11th Sep tember, Senator McDougall asked a question concerning the number of newspapers passing through the post, and the postage upon them. At that time I was not able to furnish the honorable senator with a reply. The Deputy PostmasterGeneral, Sydney, has furnished the following information: -
– On the last day of sitting, Senator Maughan asked a question with regard to weather warnings. Inquiries have since been made, and the reply is that the matter is receiving attention .
Motion (by Senator de Largie) agreed to-
That the Select Committee on the case of Mr. Henry Chinn have leave to extend the time for bringing up the report to this day four weeks.
Debate resumed from 11th September (vide page 1124), on motion by Senator Bakhap -
That the following Address-in-Reply be agreed to : -
To His Excellency the Governor-General.
May it Please YOUR Excellency -
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) [3.33J. - Senator Ready has been good enough to waive his right to continue this debate in my favour. I intend to confine my remarks to paragraph 6 of the Government policy, which sets out that, in view of the very large sums of money involved in the construction of dock yards, &c, Ministers deem it advisable to secure high professional advice of the best type as to the plans to be adopted, and as to the immediate and ultimate cost of the scheme. Whilst the Minister of Defence was unable this afternoon to give the Senate information of which he, as the responsible head of the Department, ought to have been in possession, I have been able to obtain that information from statements made elsewhere by another Minister. We were told by the Minister of Defence that an expert named Fitzmaurice has been appointed to report upon Cockburn Sound, and the other naval bases. I understand that he is connected with the firm of Sir John Coode. The Minister did not give ‘ the Senate information as to the fee to be paid to this gentleman, but the Prime Minister has stated - and the announcement is now in the public press of this city - that it is to be 4,700 guineas. It is very singular that the Minister who is responsible for the administration of this Department, and who sits in this Chamber, was unable to supply us with that information, whilst a Minister in the other branch of the Legislature is able to inform its members of the fee which is to be paid. Of course, that is only on a par with the general attitude adopted by the Government in ignoring the Senate, and in thus indicating that the question of the fee to be paid is not our business.
– I think so. If there is any Minister who ought to have that information in his possession it is the Minister of Defence, because this is a matter which affects the Defence Department first and foremost.
– I thought that the Treasurer was the naval authority of the Government.
– Apparently he is the only gentleman who is prepared to say anything on this subject. Some Ministers probably hold the opinion that he says too much. However, I do not doubt that he will say less in the future. I wish now to say a few words regarding the necessity for obtaining this professional advice at such a high fee. It is somewhat significant that, in reply to questions which I put to him, the Minister of Defence stated that not only was this expert to advise the Government as to a site in Cockburn Sound, but he was also to advise them in regard to the operations to be undertaken at Westernport and other naval bases. When the present Ministry took office, there were 168 men employed at Cockburn Sound, but to-day there are only 30 hands employed there. The Government have attempted to justify i hair action in practically closing down the works by pleading that, until they had procured expert advice, they could not proceed further. But the Minister of Defence has also stated that the expert is to advise them as to operations at Westernport. There are 377 men employed there to-day, and in June last there were 394 men engaged there. So that, apparently, the Government are carrying out quite a different policy at Westernport from that which they are pursuing at Cockburn Sound. Although they are going to call in this high professional adviser to advise them in respect of operations at Westernport, they have not discharged men there, whereas, at Cockburn Sound, they have taken the drastic step of closing down the works. Before proceeding to deal with this question, I wish to illustrate what I intend to say later b? means of a rough map which I have here. It is a map, drawn roughly to scale of Cockburn Sound and its vicinity. It shows th9 Fremantle Harbor to the north, and Woodman’s Point, which is 6 miles south. Cockburn Sound extends for a distance of 12 miles south of Woodman’s Point.
To the west is Garden Island, which forms the shelter from the west of Cockburn Sound, and to the north there are two sand-banks, running across from the land and completely closing the mouth of the Sound. There is another sand-bank running south across the mouth of Jervoise Bay, and behind that we have the sheltered water known as Jervoise Bay. Mangles Bay, which a prominent member of the Ministry has said is the best site in the Sound, lies immediately to the south. The South Passage is not available to ships of any draught. Not only is it partially closed, but it is partially closed by rock, whereas the entrances to the north are merely blocked by sand-banks. The red, round ring3 on the map indicate the sites of bores put down in 1887 at1 the request of no less an authority than Sir John Coode himself, who came out and personally inspected this harbor, and reported upon it. Now the Government are asking an understrapper of the same firm to come out here and report on the work of his head, at a fee of 4,700 guineas. The dots marked in red on the map indicate the bores put down to a depth of 30 feet, to enable Sir John Coode to supply his final report, which was supplied in 1891. The rings marked in blue, and the transverse marks across the sand-banks, indicate bores which have been put down by the Naval Board in conjunction with the State Government, they contributing the sum of £1,000, and lending the dredge Governor, which was returned to them in November, 1912. Those bores were put down to a depth of 40 feet, and the information regarding them was in the possession of the Naval Board before February, 1913, and also in their possession when they at their meeting came to the conclusion to recommend to me Jervoise Bay as the site for the naval base. The bores were put down to the depth of 40 feet without encountering any substance with which a dredge could not easily deal. When Sir John Coode came out in 1887 - he had previously been here in 1877 - the proposition put to him was that the Government of the day required a harbor for Fremantle. He reported on the advisability of the harbor being put at the mouth of the river, at Arthur’s Head, to the north of the Success Bank, which is the northerly bank, the southerly bank being the Parmelia; and finally on the project of putting a shipping harbor between the northerly and southerly banks, with the subsequent cutting of a channel through the Success Bank to the north. I propose to read Sir John Coode’s report, and Captain Archdeacon’s report, and to show that one of the highest professional men in the British Empire has already reported on this subject; and to quote what he says on Jervoise Bay.
– You will give the date of that report?
– I shall give the date of everything I read. When in the early part of 1912 I, as Minister of Defence, called on the First Naval Member to come with me to Western Australia - and he was accompanied by the Director of Naval Works - we had a conference there with the Minister of Works, and had before us then these reports of Sir John Coode. After the last debate in the Senate, I telegraphed to the Minister of Works, Mr. Johnson, and have now received the reports that were then before us, and am able to read them to the Senate. Before dealing with them I propose, in order to show what we have to put up with in this matter, to refer to a statement by the Treasurer, not made in another place, but telegraphed to Western Australia. In this he stated that, whilst Admiral Henderson had recommended Jervoise Bay as the best site, “ the present Government is acting on the advice of Admiral Henderson, and on the advice of no one else, and I believe is so acting with the concurrence of the Naval Board. There is no one on the Naval Board who could have been in Admiral Henderson’s service when he made the recommendation that expert advice should be obtained ‘ to thoroughly examine Cockburn Sound with a view to locating the site of the future naval dock-yard.’ “ That is absolutely incorrect. Mr. Manisty, the present Financial Member of the Naval Board, was Admiral Henderson’s righthand man, went right round Australia with him, acted as his secretary, and was in possession of all this information, and so was Admiral Henderson when they made the report. The Treasurer, furthermore, found fault with the previous Government, because he said they were going on with the works without conducting the examination that Admiral
Henderson recommended. The money for the bores, and the whole of the money that has been spent, with the exception of that for a mile of railway, has been used for exploratory and survey work, as recommended by Admiral Henderson, and all of it was available before we made t”he final choice of Jervoise Bay. The Treasurer said, further, in the same” telegraphed statement, that the dredging of the two channels across the bank would probably cost £500,000, and the dock-yard and buildings quite £1,500,000. I should like to know where he gets those estimates, because the estimate supplied by Sir John Coode in the reports which I have with me places the total cost of the channels at only £200,000.
– Would his scheme, in regard to making openings in the channels, suffice for the passage of warships 1
– I believe it would. I shall show that he made provision for the passage of the very largest steamers.
– The honorable senator mentioned provision for ordinary steamers. Provision for war-ships may be different.
– Can the honorable senator tell me a war-ship that draws more than the Mauretania, for instance ?
-Colonel Sir ALBERT Gould. - The Mauretania does not trade to these waters.
– Does the honorable senator know that the Ceramic, which came out here a few days ago, draws more water than the Australia’1. Sir John Coode’s estimate of cost, instead of being increased, should rather be decreased : because, while the size of ships has grown, the power of dredges has increased also, and the cost of dredging has been lessened. The following letter, contributed to the West Australian of 8th September of this year proves this. It is signed anonymously, but as the writer mentions specific instances, the subject-matter can easily be tested -
The modern dredge has a dredging power of 16,000 tons hourly, and a dredging depth of 50 feet. Four years ago at Bombay the Simla, a modern dredge, cut its own channel through land at some places above water level, 300 feet wide, 30 feet deep, and 3,000 feet in length, the actual dredging time being only 250 hours, which is about equal to a month of eight-hour working days. As before stated, the length of channel estimated to be deepened by Sir John Coode is roughly about 16,000 feet, which, on the above figures, could be cut 30 feet deep and 300 feet wide by a modern dredge in from five to six months - that is, providing no rock is encountered. Of course, the channel across the banks will be much wider, and at least 5 feet deeper, but -even allowing for the extra “work involved, it may safely be stated that the work could be completed with two such dredges in twelve months at the outside. It has been stated that, given two dredges of the same capacity as the Simla, and working together, a navigable channel could be cut of a width and depth equal to the Suez. Canal at the rate- of one mile for every 220 hours. Of course, it has to be remembered that it will take at least ten or twelve months from the time a dredge is ordered until her delivery.
Two modern dredges are already on order, and were on order before the late Government left office. I shall now read Mr. Johnson’s letter -
I have to acknowledge receipt of your telegram of the 13th instant, relative to Sir John Coode’s report in connexion with Owen’s Anchorage and Cockburn Sound, and in reply have to state that the following telegram was despatched to you this afternoon : - “Your telegram, 13th, forwarding extracts from Coode’s report tomorrow’s mail.”
As mentioned therein, I attach hereto copy of the reports referred to.
Here is Sir John Coode’s report on Fremantle Harbor, made in 1887 -
Having been consulted in 1877 on harbor accommodation for this port, I had in view the special features and peculiarities of the site, more particularly the effect of structures, sheltering or otherwise, on the movement of sand at and near the coast line, the sea action, and the intensity of the wave stroke to which the works would be exposed. These points I carefully investigated on the spot.
Further on Sir John Coode says -
I consequently framed a further memorandum to Mr. Wright, dated 14th August last, requesting that borings might be made through the Success and Parmelia Banks, in order that their character might be clearly and unmistakably ascertained. The results of the examinations, which were accordingly made, reached me on 5th January and on 7th ultimo, and from these additional particulars it is now clear that the banks referred to are accumulations of sand, and, although the records of depths taken from time to time by the Admiralty authorities are not sufficiently numerous to enable their growth to be clearly traced and defined, nevertheless sufficient data are at hand to show that in all probability they are fed by the preponderating southerly movement, of sand through Gage Roads and along the coast.
Although I referred at length, in my report of 1877, t0 the projects which had been put forward up to that time,, it is desirable that I should here make special reference to the suggested formation of a deep-water approach to Cockburn Sound.
He goes on to deal with the entrance to Cockburn Sound, and, I may say, expresses unfavorable views towards all of them, as well as the river entrance. Later in -this report he asked that further’ tests should be carried out, and an arrangement was made for Captain Archdeacon, of the Royal Navy, to make an investigation as to the currents, the wind pressure, and all the difficulties of navigation in the case of a ship entering these channels - that is, taking in view the surroundings of the position, the shelter, and all that kind of thing. On the 24th July, 1891, the Agent-General for Western Australia wrote to Sir John Coode as follows : - .
I am instructed by my Government to ask you to furnish me with your views generally upon the practicability and cost of opening and maintaining a passage through Success Bank into Owen’s Anchorage within the Port of Fremantle, with the object of berthing the mail = steamers of the Orient and P. and O. Companies, .
I enclose a further chart showing the out lines of Success Bank as fixed by Captain Stokes, R.N., in 1841 -
It will be seen that there has been a long series of observations of these banks. and also the outlines as fixed by Captain Archdeacon, R.N., 1874, and you will observe that very little alteration in the bank has taken place during the period of 33 years between the two surveys.
We come to a very interesting paragraph at the close of this letter.
Sir John Forrest, the Premier, suggests that as the depth on the bank has remained -so long unaltered there would appear to be reason for thinking that a channel dredged across the bank would be likely to remain open.
That is significant, in view of a later development.
– Yes; but Sir John Forrest is no authority.
– He poses as an authority. 1 now come to Sir John Coode’s report of the 14th August, 1891, which was made after he had been furnished with the observations as to the tides, and Captain Archdeacon’s report.
– Do I understand you to say that at first Sir John Coode was not favorably impressed as to the capacity of the proposed port ?
– Not only was Sir John Coode not favorably impressed with the entrance to Cockburn Sound - he said that it was a splendid sheet of water, but he did not think the entrance was practicable - but -he also condemned the river.
He said that a safe harbor could not be placed in the river ; whereas we know that for the last ten years or more the largest ships have been entering the river with perfect safety. Writing on the 14th August, 1891, Sir John Coode says -
In connexion with previous investigations for outer harbor accommodation at Fremantle, it became necessary to consider the character and composition of the Success and Parmelia Banks. For this purpose I caused certain borings to be made on those banks, towards the end of 1886, the results of which are indicated on the plan No. 2. It will be observed that they consist almost entirely of sand, and judging from the results of the borings it would appear not improbable, that a line for a channel might be selected across either of the banks named, to afford a. sufficient depth for the navigation of ocean steamers without encountering rock. Unfortunately, the borings, which were made with a different object, were not carried to a sufficient depth to enable me to determine this point now with absolute certainty -
Since then that has been done, because the borings have been put- down for 40 feet. so that, in the event of a decision being arrived at to take active steps in the matter of the formation of a channel, or channels, further borings of the character hereafter referred to should unquestionably be made before dredging operations are actually commenced, and they should be carried down to a depth at least equal to that proposed to be formed in the channel.
That, of course, has been done.
– Are the recent borings as numerous as those put down by Sir John Coode?
– They are quite as numerous, as the honorable senator can see if he will look at the chart here. Sir John Coode continues -
By the courtesy of the hydrographer I have been enabled since the receipt of your letter of the 24th ultimo, to compare the outlines of the Success and Parmelia Banks as shown on the plot of the survey made bv Captain Stokes, R.N., in 1840, with those indicated on the plan of 1873 by Captain Archdeacon, R.N. It would certainly appear from these records that but little change in the actual configuration of the banks in question has occurred in the interval of 33 years between the two surveys.
Success Bank is open to the full stroke of (he seas from north to north-west. From the latter point to south-west it derives considerable shelter from Rottnest Island, the Stragglers Reef, and the adjacent rock patches. Southward of south-west there is ample shelter. It should be noted that with a beam wind and sea, in steaming through a channel across the bank, shelter would be afforded by the outlying rock. The most unfavorable conditions for using the channel would be with a heavy northwesterly wind and sea, when only the’ shelter afforded by the bank itself would be available.
A channel through the Parmelia Bank might be considered as sufficiently sheltered from the sea for navigation purposes by large steamers in all weathers.
The heaviest gales in this locality commence from north, to north-west and travel westerly to about south-west, by which time they usually abate. The prevailing winds are northerly in winter and southerly in summer, so that Success Bank is open to the winter seas over the arc above described.
A channel through Success Bank to be of any real utility, having regard to the foregoing conditions, would require to be of abnormal width and depth, in order to allow for the effect of beam winds and the “ scend “ and direction of the sea.
I am of opinion that if a channel is to be formed through the bank it should be on the line indicated on the plan, that it should be straight throughout, and have a bottom width in the first instance of not less than 300 feet, and the depth below low water of summer levels along its course should be 35 feet, in order to admit of navigation during the winter seasons, and to allow a sufficient margin for shoaling due to sand and silt being drawn into the Cutt, which will inevitably arise.
By increasing the bottom width to, say, 500 feet, thereby entailing an additional expenditure to corresponding extent, there is every reason to believe that the channel could be navigated safely in all weathers and under all conditions.
If a channel is to be formed through the Success Bank it would certainly appear that the proper mode of procedure, and that which would produce the most satisfactory result, would be to dredge a corresponding channel through Parmelia Bank, and to erect a pier in Jervoise Bay in the north-east bight of Cockburn Sound, about six miles south of Fremantle, where, judging from the chart, a depth of six fathoms at low water is available close in shore, and perfect shelter would be provided from the north and north-west by Woodman’s Point and the Spit to the westward thereof, whilst Garden Island and the rocks to the northwards would thoroughly protect such a pier from other quarters.
He gives an estimate of the cost of the bank on the sizes mentioned by him.
Let honorable senators compare that estimate, which, be it remembered, was made in 1891, before the modern dredges had been brought to their successful standard, with Sir John Forrest’s estimate of £500,000. Sir John ‘Coode gives the details of his estimate, which, of course, are not pertinent to the question under consideration. Following that report we have an extract from a letter to the Premier of Western Australia from the
Agent- General, who, of course, was in touch with Sir John Coode, then living in England. This letter, which is dated the 19th August, 1891, reads as follows: -
I may say that I have had very many .interviews with Sir John Coode and his chief assistant, Mr. Matthews, owing to the consideration of the questions reported upon, and, in view of your telegrams and correspondence, I judged it my duty to impress upon Sir John Coode the urgent necessity existing for large ocean steamers. I am glad to think that the report I now send you recognises the practicability of cutting through both Success and Parmelia Banks. The anchorage suggested in Jervoise Bay seems to be the very best in all respects, and, in fact, the only practical shelter.
Sir John has explained to me that some sand is too fine to be worked by a pump dredge.
That is to say, when this eminent expert had the map given to him, he had a free hand in regard to all the places in the vicinity of Fremantle. He selected as a. site for a commercial harbor Jervoise Bay. I now come to the report of Captain Archdeacon, which is very valuable, because a harbor expert is not a navigation expert. Most harbor experts, before committing themselves to harbor projects, consult eminent navigators, who advise them as to the dangers of the proposals made. I do not suppose that Captain Archdeacon is heard of so much now as he was in 1891, when he was looked upon as an eminent authority in that regard. Writing from Holyhead, on the 22nd August, 1891, he says -
In compliance wilh your request of 17th inst., I met Mr. Matthews, M.I.C.E., at this place to-day, who kindly furnished me with, and explained the general details of, Sir Jno. Coode’s scheme for works in vicinity of Fremantle, as proposed on 14th inst.
I see no reasonable objection whatever to the scheme now recommended by Sir Jno. Coode. Assuming the nature of the Success and Parmelia Banks, on subsequent detailed examination, to be practically the same as the few casual borings indicated, which were taken in 1886, there appears little doubt but that the results to be attained by this scheme in its entirety are preferable to those likely to accrue from the execution of the small breakwater proposed to be extended from Arthur’s Head.
That was the proposal, as I indicated, to put a breakwater near the mouth of the river, and to have the harbor just near the entrance to the river - the proposal most favoured by the local people, because the entrance was near the town.
– Yes. The vested interests preferred the harbor to be there; but it is not to be confused with the present harbor scheme, which goes up the river.
The cost of present scheme would be infinitely /ess than that of the breakwater ; time of execution would also be less; and final result, an infinitely superior port, one suited to vessels ot the largest size, with an available optional, land-lock anchorage (Cockburn Sound) of some 12 miles in extent.
The heavy gales from the northward are not of very frequent occurrence, and in some seasons not more than one of any serious consequence has been experienced ; their duration is seldom, protracted over a few hours before veering to the westward, when the sea and swell at once abate very considerably.
The force of the ocean sea from the northward is very materially lessened by the time it approaches Success Bank, owing to the 6 and 7 fathoms bank which extends from Rottnest Island nearly to the mainland - a fact frequently observed when we were surveying the locality in 1872-73.
With wind from north-west, westerly, no swell of any consequence is met with on the Success or Parmelia Banks, being entirely broken up by the reefs to the westward and the shoal water of banks themselves. Depth of channel should not be less than 35 feet, with an ultimate bottom width of 500 feet, with a fairly gentle slope to banks on either side.
No doubt there would always be a tendency of the prevalent westerly winds to cause a slight siltage in the channel, but the amount of deposit would be small and easily removed bv dredging.
The general tendency of the prevalent currents would be to scour the channels, both summer and winter.
As Sir John Coode remarks, the space in northeast corner of Owen’s Anchorage (locally known as Beagle Anchorage) is very confined, and what is of more moment, it is surrounded by a considerable amount of very foul ground.
When you mentioned to me that it was proposed to cut through Success Bank and utilize Owen’s Anchorage, I was not aware in any way of Sir John Coode’s views, and on referring to a former letter of mine you will perceive I pointed out to you that if you cut through Success Bank you must go on and cut through Parmelia Bank, and so utilize Cockburn Sound.
Am glad to find my humble views were in accord with such an eminent authority as Sir John.
Jervoise Bay, bearing in mind the vested interests of Fremantle, is the natural site for the shipping port if Cockburn Sound is open. It is protected from winter gales by Woodman’s Point and spit extending therefrom; but somewhat exposed to westerly and south-westerly winds, generally prevailing during the summer months, which at times blow wilh considerable strength, sending in a considerable jobble for a few hours, and, therefore, it would be necessary to run out a pier of open pile work from some point of mainland southward of Woodman’s Point in a north-westerly direction ; and, with the removal of the three-fathom rock alluded to by Sir John Coode, you would have a harbor that would afford perfect safety to vessels of any class during all periods of the year. The land in the immediate vicinity is flat, and suitable for the construction of works that usually follow the construction of a harbor.
The country, both north and south, is suited to railway construction, and the port is only situated some 5 or 6 miles from Fremantle.
One important point connected with the dredging operations will be the site on which to deposit the dredge material.
Then he gives the position where that deposit could best be put; but that is not material to the point at issue. He goes on to say -
With an entrance width to north channel of S cables as proposed, and a careful system of buoyage and lighting, I consider Sir John Coode is perfectly correct in his belief that the channel could be navigated with safety in all weathers and under all conditions.
We now have a letter from Sir John Coode to the Agent-General for Western Australia, dated 2nd October, 1891, in which he says -
With reference to your letter of 15th instant, I beg to inform you that I have carefully examined the samples of sand from the Success and Parmelia Banks, which were delivered here on the 29th ult., and have compared the same generally, especially with regard to rate of precipitation, with a sample of sand now being dealt with under the pump-dredging system. I have also had the specific gravity of the Success and Parmelia samples ascertained, and have no hesitation in expressing the opinion that sands of the character indicated by the samples that you have sent here are capable of being readily dealt with by a pump dredger.
We have a further report from Sir John Coode, dated 21st October, 1891, to the Agent-General -
With reference to your letters of 15th and 19th ultimo, and to the interviews I have had with you from time to time since the preparation of my report, dated 14th of August last, relative to cablegrams and correspondence which you have received from the Colony bearing upon the proposed opening up of Owen’s Anchorage, I would beg to make the following observations : -
When framing the project for the channels through Success and Parmelia Banks, described in my report above referred to, and the opening up of Jervoise Bay, which would have resulted therefrom, and in the interviews I have had with Captain Archdeacon on the subject, we have not lost sight of the wind-waves due to the strong south-west breezes which prevail during the summer months, as described in the Sailing Directions, and which, in the absence of proper and adequate safeguards, would have caused considerable inconvenience to small craft, but not to ocean-going steamers, when berthed either at Owen’s Anchorage or Jervoise Bay.
In preparing the design for the jetty, arrangements would, of course, have been made for affording the requisite degree of shelter from these winds blowing up Cockburn Sound, so that, having regard to the shelter from the northward due to Woodman’s Point and the outlying spit, adequate and effective protection would have been provided under all possible conditions.
AsI gather, it is desired that Owen’s Anchorage, and not Jervoise Bay, should be the site for the proposed jetty.
That is desired by the local people, not by SirJohn Coode. He continues -
I may observe that, although this site is greatly inferior in deep-water area, shelter from the northward, and in other respects to the site recommended in my report of 14th August, viz., Jervoise Bay, nevertheless, if it is considered that Owen’s Anchorage, by reason of its being more readily accessible from Fremantle, possesses advantages in this respect which outweigh those of increased area, and shelter from the northward, then it becomes desirable to consider how berthage for ocean steamers can best be provided there.
As we are not concerned with Owen’s Anchorage, I do not propose to read the part of the report in which Sir John Coode recommends what should be done there. The significance of that is that this eminent expert pinned his faith to Jervoise Bay, and it was only under pressure from the State Government of Western Australia that he consented to draw up a scheme for Owen’s Anchorage. At the conclusion of this report he wrote -
In conclusion, I may observe that if the works are executed at Owen’s Anchorage and extended accommodation is necessary hereafter, as will in all probability prove to be the case, then by dredging through the Parmelia Bank, Jervoise Bay could be opened up and the magnificent site available there, utilized in the manner contemplated in my report of14th August.
There is a footnote to the report -
After carefully considering the points in the above report1 fully concur in conclusions arrived at.
E. Archdeacon, R.N.
I have here a statement of the tidal observations of the Swan River, covering all that is shown in the chart exhibited, for the twelve months from 1st December, 1673. to 30th November, 1874. These observations were taken at the request of Sir John Coode, and were in his possession when he made the reports I have been reading. They were taken and are signed by J. E. Coghlan, Admiralty Surveyor.
– Sir John Coode said that there is no reason to believe that they could not be kept open with very little dredging. Captain Archdeacon has stated that the prevalent currents will be sufficient to create the necessary scour. I may point out that at the present harbor, at the mouth of the river, where there is very little current, very little dredging has been found to be necessary. If the sand there had been of a shifting character, it would have blocked up the mouth of the river. I come now to some reports of local experts, and the first is from Captain Irvine. This is evidence, which was given by Captain Irvine, Chief Harbormaster of Western Australia, and Captain Morrison, Chief Pilot and Harbormaster at Fremantle, to Admiral Creswell, on the occasion of our visit to Western Australia, when we had a conference with the State Minister of Works on the proposed works at Cockburn Sound. It was taken in view of the necessity of securing all available information about Cockburn Sound. Captain Irvine said -
He had nearly thirty years’ experience of Western Australian waters, including seven years’ experience as pilot at Albany, and he had been at Fremantle since February, 1898, when he was specially transferred in order to pilot mail steamers into the new harbor.
He was of opinion that Fremantle Harbor could be entered in all weathers. The Oroya, a single-screw ship, had once declined to ‘enter in very bad weather.
If shipmasters (judging the weather too strong to enter Fremantle Harbor) declined to come in, Gage Roads was always a safe anchorage for a well-found ship.
I may say that Gage Roads is the water lying between Success Bank and Fremantle Harbor. Captain Irvine’s statement continues -
The weight of the north or north-westerly swell had practically exhausted itself in the gradually shoaling water before it reached Gage Roads. As proof of this there was the fact that there was no break on the Success bank in two fathoms. Only in the heaviest weather was there a patch of broken water here and there. This showed that there was no weight of swell or “scend” in Gage Roads. He, therefore, judged from this that a channel cut through Success bank of, say, 500 feet width and 40 feet deep L.W.S., would be perfectly safe and easy for any ship in any weather.
Speaking of Challenger Pass, he says -
Challenger Pass he did not think at present safe for vessels over 16 ft. 6 in. There was a heavy roll on the five-fathom bank outside Challenger Pass in heavy weather or after a blow, and this caused a lift in Challenger Pass which would make it in its present condition (with only 19 feet minimum depth) dangerous to vessels drawing over 14 feet. Vessels of 14 feet could pass out by it safely in- any weather. The removal of certain small patches (comparatively speaking, a small work) would vastly improve the channel and make it safe for vessels of 17 feet in all, or practically all, weather. Challenger Pass, with a channel 500 feet ‘wide’, having a depth of ‘40 feet at L.W.S., would be a good entrance for all vessels excepting in very extraordinary weather conditions.
South Pass could only be used at present by ships up to 9 feet. If there was any idea of opening this or Challenger Pass the survey of Coventry Reef should be extended to determine its limits.
Cockburn Sound he considered a fine roadstead, safe in all weathers for a well-found ship. No swell passed through the northern banks. Large ships, once a passage was made, could anchor there comfortably at any time, though sailing ships and lighters could not lay alongside at Rockingham Bay in occasional heavy conditions of weather.
That is the portion of the Sound which Sir John Forrest says is the best. This harbormaster states that it is the only portion where ships cannot lay in heavy weather. Captain Irvine’s statement continues -
Though the most sea would be felt at Rockingham Bay, ships of 800 and goo tons could lie at the jetties with perfect safety, except during north-west gales. There were bays in the Sound if very special protection were required. He had anchored in Sulphur Bay for protection in a gale, and in the old days vessels always coaled in Careening Bay.
Woodman’s Point as a site for a harbor, he had heard, would be better for some protection in hard westerly gales.
Case Point was completely sheltered from the west to south, and was a good position for a harbor.
Then there is the following evidence from Captain Morrison, Chief Pilot and Harbormaster, at Fremantle -
He had been fourteen years in charge of Penguin (Government lighthouse steamer), and piloting large vessels in local waters, and before that had been ten years trading on the coast. He considered the harbor at Fremantle safe to enter at any time and in any weather with any well-found steam-ship, and particularly with a twin-screw ship.
Gage Roads was always a safe alternative if a captain declined to enter Fremantle HarborThere was no lift or swell in Gage Roads to affect an ordinary ship. Ships never jumped at their chain there. All weight of heavy swell expended itself before getting to Gage Roads.
Challenger Pass was a good safe channelway for vessels up to 16 ft. 6 in. Swell was broken by five-fathoms bank, but still felt in Challenger Pass in strong weather or after a heavy blow. When this was the case about 14 feet was the deepest draught that can negotiate the passage in safety.
That is without any dredging. I mention that because I said when speaking here before that without any dredging at all, Jervoise Bay might be made immediately available as a base for torpedo destroyers and submarines, because the torpedo destroyers do not draw anything like 14 feet of water. Captain Morrison’s statement continues -
Cockburn Sound he had experienced in heavy northerly weather. The only sea felt was the short shoal-water sea, which lessened as one neared the Parmelia Bank. It had good holding ground, was well protected, and a well-found ship could lay there and hold on in all weathers. For entering Cockburn Sound a cutting in Success bank of 500 feet in width by 40 feet L.W.S. would be safe in all weathers. He had never noticed any change in the banks; no shifting sands or other movements likely to cause silting up of channels or other dredging troubles.
Woodman’s Point he had not seen in very strong northerly weather ; but considered it a good position for a harbor.
James Point was a well-protected and good position.
My object in perhaps wearying the Senate by reading all these extracts is to show that this eminent firm, to which the Commonwealth Government have now applied for advice, have already exhaustively examined and reported in unmistakable terms on the whole of the waters selected by the Naval Board and myself, and indorsed by the late Government as the site for a harbor at Cockburn Sound. I say that, in the circumstances, it is a deliberate waste of public money to again, at a cost of 4,70~0 guineas-
– And the rest.
– And the rest, because I suppose there will be some extras, to get the same firm to come out and practically go over the ground they went over twice before in 1887 and 1891.
– The fee the honorable senator has mentioned is to be paid for other services in addition to the inspection of Cockburn Sound.
– I point out to Senator Bakhap that I am a little dubious about that, because the Government say that they propose to stop all work at Cockburn Sound until they get this expert advice upon it. If that be so, why do they not stop the work at Westernport and all round ? But they are going on with the Westernport work, and by the time the expert arrives some thousands of pounds will have been spent.
– Perhaps there is no question in regard to the entrance involved at Westernport.
– There is the same question involved there as at Cockburn Sound; that is to say, no ship can go into the portion of Westernport which we are using until it has been dredged.
– According to the attitude of the Government, Admiral Henderson was a failure.
– Yes; it would appear so. The part of Westernport that has been selected had to be chosen for various reasons. It is to be the main torpedo-destroyer and submarine base; and you must have special conditions as to shelter, safety, and calm seas, for such a purpose. The inlet which has been selected has had to be dredged practically to the whole depth required, because at low water it is, to all intents and purposes, a mere swamp. The expert, when he arrives, may say that that is the wrong place. What are you going to do, therefore? Are you going on with the work until he arrives ? The Government say, in regard to Cockburn Sound, that no more shall be done; they have stopped the work; they have put every one off until the expert arrives.
– Is this new man expected to be equal to Sir John Coode and Admiral Henderson combined?
– It does seem ridiculous, after you have had a report from the head of the firm, who consulted with his partner, Mr. Mathews - because the firm is that of Coode and Mathews - and after he has made a report, and has said that Jervoise Bay is the best site anywhere round Fremantle for a harbor, that we should pass over his report and consult one of his employes. Acting upon his report, we have been boring and surveying at Jervoise Bay. Tests have been made which snow that there has been no movement in the bank for forty years, and the borings show that, to a depth of 40 feet, we meet with no obstacle but what a dredge can remove. In the face of all that information, the Naval Board recommended to me that Jervoise Bay should be selected. We approved of that. But, no sooner did this Government come into office, than it closed down the work, the reason being, they say, that the late Government went on with it without expert advice. Consequently, this Government propose to bring to Australia a member of the same firm that has twice reported on the harbor, to report on the work of the head of the firm.
– The Government must have money to burn !
– They must, indeed ?. I cannot find any reason for this action. I trust that it is not due to a desire to score a point off a political opponent. But it looks remarkably like that, because the Treasurer has made some very strong statements. He charged, me with going on with that work without obtaining the information which Admiral Henderson said was necessary. I have again and again asked the Minister of Defence to call upon the third naval member to furnish a report as to the injudicious expenditure that he says has been incurred at Jervoise Bay. The Minister has now promised to look into that question. I do say that, when a responsible officer reports to his Minister that there has been injudicious expenditure it is the duty of the Minister to ask him to be more precise and definite. All the work done - the work of survey and the work of boring - has been carried out, not by the Naval Board directly, but by the engineer who was appointed on the recommendation of the Naval Board, Mr. Walker. If he has wasted the money of the Commonwealth it is the duty of the Minister to discharge him.
– As the Government discharged Mr. Chinn.
– If this officer is un: fit for his job, the Minister should remove him from it. The Minister, however has slept upon that report ever since he used it in the Senate when we were discussing the Supply Bill. He has never asked the third naval member to give him any more information as to why he made this serious charge. If there has been injudicious expenditure at Jervoise Bay, I do not ask the Minister to shield me. I ask him to put the responsibility on the right shoulders. Let him give us the details. I should welcome them, because I am not one who would shelter any engineer if he has been found to be incompetent. The Minister has been rather lacking in his duty in not asking for details earlier. A word as to why we went on with the work. I say that the late Government did no work at all there, with the exception of the exploratory and survey work, apart from the building of one half mile of railway. I must again have resort “to the map to show why that railway was built. It branches off the line from Fremantle half a mile to Woodman’s Point. By arrangement with the State
Government we got that half mile of railway extended, and that is the only thing that has been done in the nature of a permanent work at Cockburn Sound. With that solitary exception, the whole of the rest of the money has been spent in surveying and boring. And even if Sir John Forrest’s idea to construct the dockyard at Mangles Bay is carried out, we shall still need that railway. We must in any case link up with the railway to Fremantle. The line would, therefore, in any case have to be extended down to the coast. Wherever the dockyard is placed, whether at Jervoise Bay or Mangles Bay, that half mile of railway, which is the only permanent work we constructed at Jervoise Bay, will still continue to be needed. So much, therefore, for the Treasurer’s charge that we had been going on with works without carrying out the recommendation of Admiral Henderson. I do not intend to weary the Senate with this matter any longer, but I thought that it was of sufficient importance to be ventilated to this extent. I am only sorry that the Minister of Defence is not present to make a reply.
– He has not time.
– That is an unfair observation. May I give the assurance that the Minister will reply to everything that Senator Pearce has said.
– But he has not heard it.
– It is regrettable that the Minister was not present to hear the honorable senator, but he will read his speech and reply to it.
– I cannot help thinking that the Minister has been misled in this matter. I believe that Senator Millen is too keen to take the action he has taken if he had known that these reports were in existence - if he had known that Sir John Coode had already reported on this harbor, and that he had so strongly recommended Jervoise Bay. I can only assume that the honorable senator has either been misled, or has acted without a full knowledge of the subject. I have already alluded to the statements made by Sir John Forrest. Having in view the fact that Fremantle harbor would have been at Jervoise Bay if Sir John Forrest had not instructed Sir John Coode not to plan a harbor there, but nearer to Fremantle, it is remarkable that he has shown the same antipathy to Jervoise Bay in this instance.
– The Naval Base could never have been at Jervoise Bay if the harbor had been situated there.
– Perhaps not. It is rather significant that the man who blocked the placing of the harbor at Jervoise Bay in 1891 is blocking the establishment of the Naval Base there in 1913. Sir John Forrest tells us that he knows that Mangles Bay is a superior site. Let me point out, however, that those northerly winds to which Sir John Coode refers, the seas caused by which are broken on the banks shown on the map, will have a 12-milo sweep right down into Mangles Bay. What will be the effect? At Mangles Bay you will have as big a sea as you have when the waves strike Success Bank, which is right open to the strongest gales we get in Western Australia. I do not know what Sir John Forrest’s object can be in blocking this work on the north, and wishing to bring it down there.
– Cannot the honorable senator suggest- anything?
– I cannot suggest, anything, either. I do hope, however, that the Government will get on with the work and reinstate the. men, because they already have this report of Siu John Coode in the Public Works Department of Western Australia. The plans and maps are there, the report is there, everything is there. This information was placed in Admiral Henderson’s hands before he came here. Do honorable senators think that Admiral Henderson simply went down to Cockburn Sound in a launch, looked at Jervoise Bay,, and said, “ That is the site for a dockyard?” Long before he came to Australia the Government of which I was a member wrote to the State Government, and asked them to make available whatever data they had in regard to a harbor; and that information was sent to Admiral Henderson at Colombo. He had the reports in his possession before he reached Australia. When he went to Cockburn Sound he had read them; he knew what Sir John Coode had said, he knew all about the banks, and, in tho light of all that information, he made Lis recommendation as to where the dockyard should be. T say that the Government are deserving of censure for their action in this regard, and I sincerely regret that they have taken such action.
– Is it the honorable senator’s complaint that there is data comprehensive, enough to justify a vigorous prosecution of the work in any circumstances ?
– That is my point.
.- I cannot -hope to add a great deal to what has been ‘said during the debates on the Address-in-Reply in the Senate, and in another place; but because I have one or two considerations to bring before the Chamber, particularly as affecting Tasmania, I rise as a representative of that State to take this opportunity to add my quota. Looking over the document that has been presented to us by the Government, with the reflected glory of the late elections shining upon it, I wish to say at the outset that two things are conspicuous in regard to it. The first is that of the election promises made by the party now in office, but not in power, as Mr. Cook has aptly remarked, very few have been carried out. Secondly, in this document there is a deliberate attempt to cause a conflict with this branch of the Legislature in order to bring about, if possible, a double dissolution at a time suitable to the Ministerial party.
– That is a very laudable purpose.
– It is from their point of view. But we are here to consider the view-point of the country. If the Government had brought down a programme containing a number of noncontentious measures such as would not have been calculated to provoke the hostility of this Chamber, a great deal of useful work could have been done for Australia; and the prime purpose of this Parliament is surely to look after the interests of Australia.
In Tasmania, during the election campaign, one of the chief arguments used by the Liberal party was that the Labour party was chiefly responsible for the increase in the cost of living. The Leader of the Liberal party, Mr. Cook, in an appeal which appeared in the Launceston Examiner, of 29th May, made use of the following observation -
Declare yourself for individual liberty of judgment and conscience, and for a reduction of the cost of living ; for sane and economical government. Who would be free must strike a blow.
Here is a plain declaration that the return of the Liberal party to power would have the effect of reducing the cost of living. I have searched the Ministerial policy again and again in a vain endeavour to discover any proposal by which they intend to redeem that promise. I want to know what the Ministerial party propose to do in regard to that pledge. If we are responsible for the increase in the cost of living, and my honorable friends opposite can reduce it, why do they not make the attempt? The electors of Australia have a right to expect an answer to that question. The increased cost of living was one of the points which were continually harped upon during the election campaign in the State which I represent.
There was a number of other points which were similarly harped upon, but time prevents me from dealing with them now. Some of the most despicable methods were adopted in Tasmania to belittle the Labour party. Deliberate falsehoods were circulated with that end in view. Ohe lie which was circulated most industriously, and which the Liberal party have not had the common decency to repudiate, is contained iu a pamphlet headed “ Political Tyranny,” “A Startling Position,” “ The Labour Conference the real Parliament of the Country.” This pamphlet was distributed throughout every electorate, but particularly in those divisions which are settled by farmers, who have not time to study political questions thoroughly. After dealing with the statement of Mr. Minahan, the president of the New South Wales Labour Conference, the pamphlet states -
Why was the Right Honorable Andrew Fisher not allowed to issue the official manifesto of his party recently without its being countersigned by Mr. David Watkins, secretary of the Political Trades Hall? Who is the real man in power - the Prime Minister or the Trades Hall_ secretary ? Independent electors, will you submit to this? Return to Parliament men who will cut Parliament clear of the Trades Hall caucus, and will restore free, public, and responsible government.
The deliberate untruth contained in that statement is that Mr. David Watkins, the parliamentary secretary of the Federal Labour party, is the secretary of the Trades Hall. As a matter of fact, during his long and honorable career, he has never been connected with the Trades Hall in any official capacity. It would be to his credit if he had occupied the honorable position of secretary to that body. But the inference which the authors of the pamphlet desired the public to draw from that statement was that, before the Labour party could come to any decision in regard to legislative matters, it had to consult the secretary of the Trades Hall. The statement was authorized by Mr. E. L. Bailey. Yet those responsible for the circulation of this falsehood have never had the manliness to apologize for it.
I come now to a point which has already been dealt with by Senators O’Keefe and Long, namely, the failure of the present Government to propose the repeal of the land tax. This is a very surprising omission. I admit that I have not had the long parliamentary experience of many of my colleagues. But I always endeavour to believe that even honorable senators who occupy seats upon the opposite side of the House will attempt to give effect to their promises. Let me turn up Harvard, and read what Senator Millen had to say when combating the Federal land tax proposals which were introduced by the Labour Government in October, 1910. On page 4773 of that publication, in the course of a very bitter speech, he is thus reported -
This is the first of a series of measures which can only be regarded as legislative pillage.
That is a «trong term to use. A little later on he said -
There was never a more crude and illconsidered proposal than this, which would apply to the whole of Australia, or even to the whole of New South Wales, one system, as if one system were fairly applicable to all the lands of that State.
Further on, he said -
To my mind, this Bill is crude in itself and ill-conceived, and whatever temporary benefits may be conferred on a limited number of persons, its ultimate effect will be disastrous rather than beneficial to Australia as a whole.
Ex-Senator Cameron described the tax as “plunder,” pure and simple. ‘ and Senator Clemons, who made a very bitter speech in opposition to the Bill, said -
By partial failure I mean to say that it was abundantly certain to any man who knew the Constitution and our powers that, by imposing a Federal land tax, grave and gross injustice must necessarily be done in individual cases. . . In their frantic endeavours to promote closer settlement and to smash up large estates, the_ Government and the Labour party do not hesitate to overwhelm with ruin hundreds, per- haps thousands, of absolutely innocent men - men who have committed no offence against the community, and who are employing as much labour as their land can employ.
A little later he said -
I say that you are going to inflict the grossest injustice upon a large section of the community who have done no wrong, and the injury to whom will in no way contribute towards the promotion of the policy which the Labour party have in view. But, at the same time, I say that by means of this Bill the Government are doing flagrant injustice to many men who have behaved admirably as citizens, and against whom you cannot say a word.
– There is a good deal of repetition in that speech.
– That is so. Nevertheless, I desire to place these utterances upon record. Senator Clemons concluded his remarks by saying -
I believe that one effect of this tax will be to create that form of unselfishness which indignantly resents injustice to some one else. Our people will not remain indifferent and callous whilst individuals in the community are being treated with gross harshness, and if this Bill in its operation serves to arouse them, then, in spite of the manifest injustice and hardship which it will inflict, some good may follow from it.
Then Senator Gould, on page 4888 of Hansard for the same session, is thus reported -
I say that we Ought not to levy a tax which will ultimately become confiscatory, and which might well be designated a robbery of the individual.
What did Senator McColl say ? He delivered an even more bitter speech than did any of his colleagues who preceded him. He said -
I utterly fail to sec where the want of principle which is involved in this measure, is going to lead us. . . . The Bill is not so much political as it is predatory and punitive. It breathes a spirit of spoliation and revenge, and it largely makes its appeals to cupidity. It is destitute of elementary justice.
In concluding his remarks, he declared -
I cannot conceive of a fair-minded, honest man supporting it. I cannot understand men who, in their private affairs, are the very soul of honour, bringing in legislation which is politically immoral and dishonest.
I have quoted these extracts with a view to showing the opinions which thew> gentlemen openly expressed. The land tax has now been in operation for three years. The principle underlying it is the same to-day as it was then. If it is what honorable senators opposite allege it to be, why do they not propose to repeal it?
– Let us have a double dissolution upon it.
– Yes, let us go to the country upon it. Is it fair that honorable senators . who hold such opinions about any measure should silently acquiesce in the Government bringing down proposals to strike at unionism, whilst allowing this alleged injustice and robbery to continue? What kind of gentlemen are they, anyhow?
– The public will be quick to realize that they have not carried out their expressed opinions, but are making a deliberate and concerted attack on unionism with the idea of going to the country, and there twisting and distorting the issues in the hope of sneaking back with a few more than the seven members which they have in this Chamber to-day.
– The honorable senator thinks that they will get a few more ?
– I hope that Tasmania will not return any more of the same sort as the honorable senator.
– I have no doubt that she will.
– I like to hear this one-time Socialist talk. For years the honorable senator was in advance of political opinion in Tasmania, but he is now content to drag behind political opinion in that State. I recollect the occasion when an article was published in the Monitor - which in those days was famous for its political articles, because the Labour movement was not then popular - and when a certain gentleman wrote to its editor congratulating him upon the article, aud affirming that the only fault lie had to find with it was that it did not go far enough.
– Who wrote that letter ?
– Senator Bakhap wrote it.
– I challenge the honorable senator to produce any such letter.
– The honorable senator, although he was at one time a leading Democrat, is now as far removed from the needs and aspirations of the Democrats of Australia as is a Chinaman who goes through heathenish ceremonies, and lays fruit and food on the grave of an ancestor.
To return to the land tax, what has been the result in Tasmania? Honorable .senators, like my honorable friend opposite, toured the
State, telling the people that it had not fulfilled its object, that it had not made land cheaper or more readily available, and that it had not broken up big estates. But what are the facts? I have them here,, not from any Labour source, but from the Commisioner himself. Although the tax is not as high as I should like to see it, it has accomplished more for closer settlement in three years, in little Tasmania, than all the Liberal Governments have done in the past twentyfive years. The figures prove this. In the first year of its imposition, £32,000 was yielded by it in Tasmania, and of this £16,000 was paid by ten persons. Those are the gentlemen .for whom my honorable friend opposite generally barracks. Those ten taxpayers were the following: -
– How is that information obtained ?
– By going carefully through the assessments.
– By your going to the Department ?
– If the honorable senator does not mind, I prefer to keep that to myself. Suffice it to say that the figures were obtained, and are correct.
– Those people did not like paying the tax, but they have paid it.
– Some of them are no worse off for paying it.
– And some are growling as though they had paid twice that amount.
– I make no secret of the fact that, as a member of the Senate, I should be quite prepared to make some of them pay twice as much. Desiring to ascertain the result of the tax, I wrote to the Commissioner, who very kindly supplied me with the figures as to the land sales, and the amount of land that has changed hands owing to the tax in two and threequarter years. I was surprised myself, because, according to the Commissioner’s statement, there were in Tasmania 862 sales, and £750,000 worth of land changed hands in two and three- quarter years as the result of the operation of the tax. The Van Diemen’s Land Company are cutting up their estates. Some of the gentlemen whom I have named are also cutting up their land, whilst many others, whom I have not named, and who have smaller estates, are subdividing, as the result of the tax.
In a conversation the other day with a very well-informed and capable land valuator, I was told that in Tasmania, as the result of the tax, land values had undoubtedly decreased, particularly those fancy values that were attached to some of our rich chocolate soils - fictitious values, he called them - and I can assure the Senate that he is an authority on the matter. He told me also that the tax had not only had a steadying effect, and prevented land rising beyond its fair value, but that in many cases, which he named to me, it had had the effect of reducing values, and thereby steadying speculative values in land. That is something that we claim credit for, but our friends on the other side are very careful to dodge that aspect of it when they speak to the people on the subject. The present Prime Minister spoke in Launceston on the 10th of May, just before the elections and this paragraph appeared in the report in the Examiner -
Mr. H. G. Axup wanted to know whether Mr. Cook would repeal the Federal Land Tax if he were returned to power. Mr. Cook replied that the tax wanted looking into. That half of it .was collected in one State was neither just, equitable, nor fair. ,
Yet he has made not the slightest pretence of altering the tax since he has been in office. Senator Bakhap, speaking at” the Mechanics’ Institute in Launceston, on the 20th May, is reported to have said -
The power of taxation was given to the Federal Government as a corollary to the policy of defence, and the exercise of it in the way it had been exercised was a straining of the spirit of the Constitution. . . . He considered the tax was a violation of the Constitution.
Mr. Anderson. You have denounced the Federal land tax strongly enough; would you repeal it?
– T would approve of any legislation which had for its object the restoration of money which rightly belongs to the State.
– A very careful reply.
– Yes, I congratulate the honorable senator on his diplomacy.
Senator Clemons, speaking on 28th May, is reported in the Examiner of the 29th to have said -
If the tax was to continue as a matter of policy, the money derived from it ought to go to each State in the exact proportions in which it was paid.
I notice that the Government, of which he is a member, has made no attempt whatever to return to the States the exact proportion of land tax that each one paid.
– The honorable senator wanted the Braddon “ blot “ and the land tax.
– That is so. Honorable senators opposite have the will, but not the courage, to repeal the tax; but if they were to make it one of the vital questions in an appeal to the people, our party would be anxious and willing to join issue with them. They talk in a large way when they are among their friends the big land-owners, and get a push behind to do something for them; but when it comes to taking steps towards repealing the tax, they are absolutely silent.
The most sinister clause in the socalled policy put forward by the Government is that which deals with the question of attacking unionism. They propose to repeal the section in the Arbitration Act which renders preference to unionists possible. They say -
It is proposed to amend the law relating to conciliation and arbitration in such a way as to prohibit preference being granted by the Court to members of any organization, any part of whose funds are directly or indirectly applicable to political purposes, and also to restore the exemption of rural workers from the operation of the Act, believing that the conditions of their employment ought to be left to the States.
In Tasmania our opponents have been more daring, for they have thrown off the mask, and are going to fight the question in the State Parliament. That will make honorable senators on this side realize how serious this matter is going to be.
Some time ago the unionists of Australia wisely abandoned any idea of winning fair conditions and just remuneration by industrial means only, and decided that, in order to obtain the justice to which they thought they were entitled, they must appeal to Caesar by putting men into Parliament to make laws that would enable them to get their rights without having to resort to strikes. The movement by unions to obtain political power has not been confined to Australia. In a very excellent work by Mr. Henry C. Vedder, professor of Church History in the Croser Theological Seminary, entitled Socialism and the Ethics of Jesus, an impartial and critical analysis of the principles for which Socialists stand, the author, dealing with the question of unionism, industrial and political, makes the following remarks, which go to prove that political unionism is a world-wide movement: -
In the struggle of unionism against capitalism, unionism seems certain to be defeated as long as the struggle is economic and financial only. . . Between 1881and1900 there were 22,793 strikes, big and little, of which 50.77 per cent, were successful, while 13.04 per cent, partially succeeded, and 36.19 wholly failed. These . . seem at first sight to be quite favorable to Labour. But the successful strikes were small affairs. . . . The unions go on in the same old way, challenging capital to a conflict where capital is invincible, save through its own blunders, and refusing to fight capital where it is vulnerable, at the ballot-box. In the ballot the American working man has a weapon that will insure him victory, whenever he has enough intelligence to use it. Capitalism is not afraid of strikes; it dreads the ballot, and does everything in its power to corrupt the suffrage and hinder the expression of the people’s will.
Those sentences are very applicable to Australian conditions. Capitalism at the present time is not afraid of industrial unionism, but it has seen what three years of political work on behalf of the aspirations and aims of the workers will do, as shown by the achievements of the Austral ian Labour Government. Capitalists have realized that the adoption of peaceful means by the workers will compel those who hold the wealth to contribute more of it to those who produce it than they did before. Realizing this clearly, they are making a deliberate and concerted attempt to fight unionism.
In little Tasmania the representatives of capital are not so frightened of tackling this question as they are in the other States. I have here copies of two Bills which have been introduced in the Tasmanian Parliament this session, and which are really works of genius so far as they go. The first Bill is a very short one, which was introduced by Mr. N.
ABill to prohibit the granting of preference to unionists, the boycotting of persons and goods, and for other’ purposes.
Here are the essential clauses of this unique measure -
No person shall give or counsel or advise the giving of preference of employment to any person on account of the political views he holds, or on account of his being a member of any union or organization of employes or employers.
Penalty : Minimum, Ten pounds; maximum, One hundred pounds.
Penalty : Minimum, Ten pounds ; maximum, One hundred pounds.
– If that Bill should pass the State Parliament, and come into conflict with the Federal Arbitration law it would be absolutely useless.
– That is so, but our opponents hope by means of their party to amend the Federal Arbitration Act so that it will not affect this Bill if it is passed, and I believe there is a chance of its passing -
Penalty : Minimum, Ten pounds ; maximum, One hundred pounds.
Penalty : Minimum, Ten pounds ; maximum, One hundred pounds.
That is an attack on organized trade unionism. The second Bill is even worse than the first one. It was introduced by a young and ambitious member, Mr. Fullerton.
– The first Bill you quoted from was not introduced by the Government.
– No, it was introduced by a private member, Mr. N. K. Ewing, who is a very prominent member of the Government party. The second Bill was introduced also by a private member, and is termed -
A Bill to regulate the registration, management, and control of trade unions.
For downright unfairness and a deliberate expression of class prejudice it would be hard to beat clause 16 of the Bill, which reads -
Penalty : One hundred pounds.
Penalty : Fifty pounds.
The political purposes to which this section applies are the expenditure of money -
That is a sinister provision, in view of the fact that we have a Labour press.
– You are discovering a lot which is very sinister.
– It is sinister, and I know that my honorable friend is quite prepared to excuse it. The clause continued -
On the holding of political meetings of any kind or on the distribution of political literature or political documents of any kind unless the main purpose of the meetings or of the distribution of the literature or documents is with respect to the regulation of the following matters -
A precious document is this Coercion Bill which Mr. Fullerton has seriously brought down for the consideration of a deliberative assembly ! This attempt is made in spite of the fact, as every honorable senator on this side knows, that the capitalistic institutions of Australia contribute regularly to the funds of Mr. Packer’sUnion, the so-called freeworkers - a fact which they cannot deny, because it is so well known. There is nothing to be said about them.
– Do you not subscribe to the “ square deal “ ?
– No, I would just as soon have a rattlesnake on the premises as have the “square deal” from such a source. I saw a confidential circular which was distributed in Tasmania - I hope to lay a copy of iE on the table, and which contained an appeal to the employers for help for the Free Workers’ Union. It is well known, and my honorable friends opposite cannot deny, that the Liberal party subsidize that union.
– Which party?
– Your Liberal party.
– Order! The honorable senator should address the Chair.
– They ought to subsidize the union, but they do not.
– The Liberal party, of which the honorable senator is a member, subsidizo that association. Through the Colonial Sugar Refining Company and other organizations they devote large sums of money yearly for political purposes. No attack is to be made upon these organizations, but, because the workers combine and form themselves into unions, a deliberate attempt is made to take away their rights and liberties by a party whose members get on the platform andmouth liberty and progress at every meeting they address. My honorable friends have not accepted the challenge to deny that the Liberal party subsidize this association, but I hope to prove, by quoting sworn evidence from the Age, that it is a tool of the capitalists - that it consists mainly of misguided men, who are prepared to sell their rights and privileges in order to curry favour with the masters.
– I can produce a very confidential circular.
– I will not produce a circular in this instance, but will read from the Age of 29th March, 1912, sworn evidence given before Mr. Justice Higgins, which proves that the people who were trying to smash the unions of Australia are contributing towards this union-breaking device known as “ Packer’s union.”
Charles T. Campbell, cross-examined by Mr. Arthur, said he was a conductor in the employ of the Melbourne Tramway Company, and was a member of the Australian Tramway Employees’ Association. He was not a member of the Melbourne Tramways Employees’ Union. Fifty other employees had joined him in the application to cancel the registration of the Australian Tramways Association. He supposed he could be regarded as the leader of the attack upon the association. He got £1 from the first meeting held to consider the steps to be taken to cancel the registration. His expenses so far had come from Mr. W. Marshall, the secretary of the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Employees’ Union. Speaking from memory, he thought he had received £10 or £15 up to now. No law costs had been paid so far, but he supposed they would come from Mr. Marshall. He did not think it would be necessary to pay them out of his own pocket. He had not discussed the lodging of the application for cancellation with the Brisbane union. If the application were granted he would make an effort to have another union registered. He had the requisite number of members to form the Federal Tramway Union.
In answer to his Honor, witness said that if Mr. Marshall did not pay the costs he supposed he would have to pay them himself. He would not say he had no prospect of being recouped, because he had been offered assistance from two different sources. He was not at liberty to mention names.
His Honor : You must give the names.
Witness (hesitatingly) : One of the offers came to me from a party - a political party. It did not come direct from the secretary,’ but from a gentleman whom I knew who happened to be with the secretary. I have nothing in writing. It was merely a verbal promise. Do you think it would be fair to disclose the name?
His Honor (sharply): Certainly; you must do it.
Mr. Mann : Would it not do if the witness wrote the name down ?
His Honor: No; we must have this public. (To witness) : Give me the name of the party.
Witness : This was an offer given to me -
His Honor : I have to find out that the application is made by a person interested. I want to know who are the two who have promised you assistance.
Witness : Will your Honor take them in writing?
His Honor: No; I will take them publicly.
Witness (after a .pause) : I have an offer from the Liberal Party, of which Mr. Wilson is secretary. The offer was made though a friend, Mr. Serpell. I protest against this, your Honor, because it is private.
His Honor: Exactly; and it is because it is private that I want to bring it to the light of day. Who is the other person?
Witness : He is Mr. Packer, of the Independent Workers’ Union.
Continuing, witness said that Mr. Marshall had told him to call upon a solicitor, whom he named. He said it would be all right as far as the expenses were concerned.
There is clear proof, given in a Court of law, that these people were trying to squelch the workers who are out for their rights and a “ fair deal,” not a “ square deal.”
A deliberate attempt is being made to insure that the workers shall not get their rights, and that their personal liberty shall be taken away. The attempt is a gross reflection on the Liberal party. I am glad that we on this side are not associated with an attempt to take away political rights and privileges, or to interfere with personal freedom. A public meeting was held in Hobart by a number of Liberal gentlemen, who are always very anxious to get on a platform and point out the evil things which unionism has done. Senator Bakhap was amongst those who got up.
– I was there.
– The now tame Democrat got up, and attacked the principle of preference to unionists. After speaking in support of the anti-union farrago of previous speakers, he said -
He would like to see their convictions translated into actions, and the only way to do this was to secure the complete triumph of the political party which stood for freedom. The interests of the community could be safely committed to the care of the Tasmanian Legislature, and he wished them all possible success.
The honorable senator was quite content that the welfare of the workers of Tasmania should be handed over to the Legislative Council of that State. He knows well that that body will pass nothing of a startlingly radical nature for the benefit of unionists.
– They passed the measure enabling the Federal Constitution to be brought into existence.
– And they have been sorry ever since.
– They did not anticipate that there would be the galaxy of talent at present to be seen on this side of the chamber. They did not anticipate that the people of the hobnailed boots would tramp ruthlessly upon the floor of this chamber.
– If they had not passed that Act the honorable senator would not be here.
– They passed it in the belief that the Senate would be for ever secure against the hobnailed boots of Labour. They have since discovered their mistake. The gentlemen who are making this attack on unionism condemn the Senate because it is said to be attempting to block legislation. The irony of it ! The Legislative Council of Tasmania stank in the nostrils of the Democrats of Australia, because year after year they heaved out the democratic measures which came up to them. Every State in the Commonwealth had industrial legislation before Tasmania.
– Wo have a Legislative Council in South Australia that is worse.
– If it is worse, 1 am prepared to resign my seat in the Senate, because ours in Tasmania is unspeakable. lt was not until after the election of 1910, when Fusionism was so decisively routed, and Sir Elliot Lewis told his party that they must pass industrial legislation, and that if they did not, the Federal Parliament would take the matter out of their hands, that they consented to do anything at all in this direction.
– It was introduced in 1909, before the Labour victory of 1910. The honorable senator should be more sure of his dates.
– The Bill was introduced, but not passed, because the Legislative Council always heaved it out. No industrial legislation was passed in Tasmania until after such legislation had been agreed to in every other State. This outrage on the political and industrial interests of the workers of Tasmania, proposed by Mr. Fullerton, will be perpetrated if the friends of the party opposite in that State have their way.
– In -Tasmania industrial legislation was passed only at the point of the bayonet.
– That is so, and my colleague, Senator Long, for years, as a member of the State Parliament, fought vigorously for industrial legislation before Senator Bakhap ever graced that Legislature.
– I am glad the honorable senator admits that I graced it.
– I cannot say that there is any Act on the statute-book of Tasmania that is to the credit of Senator Bakhap.
The position is that the unionists of Tasmania, the State which is most backward, politically and industrially, must make the fight of their lives if any attempt is made to infringe their rights. It will be made in the first place in the Tasmanian Legislature and Mr. Cook and his followers will back up every effort made to interfere with the legislation passed in this Parliament. I hope that honorable senators who advocate the abolition of preference to unionists will be sufficiently logical to introduce a measure making it impossible by law for the employers of Australia to give preference to non-unionists - to Packer’s brigade. If they do not believe in political unionism, and condemn unionists who subscribe to funds for political purposes, they should logically condemn the employers who subscribe to funds for the assistance of Packer’s brigade. If unionists desire to return more members to Parliament they have a right to do so.
– That is the wrong they are doing.
– I quite realize that that is where the shoe pinches our honorable friends opposite; but if they do not believe that political parties should help unionists, why do they not repudiate the assistance given by the employers to Packer’s brigade ? They cannot answer that.
– The honorable senator is iou tiding an argument on measures introduced by two private members of the Tasmanian Parliament, but to which the Liberal party, as a party, is in no way bound to subscribe.
– Senator Bakhap, after making that observation, should tie a bit of crape round his nose, to show that his brain is dead. We have a distinct proposal by the Commonwealth Government here to introduce a measure to prohibit preference being granted to the members of any organization, any part of whose funds are, directly or indirectly, applicable to political purposes.
– They can do what they like with their funds, but they are not going to be given preference, that is all.
– There is more than that in the proposal of the Government, as we shall see by-and-by, if a single dissolution does not prevent the measure reaching the Senate. There is a proposal to remove rural workers from the protection of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court. Our friends have never done much for the farmers ; but they have gone round “ smoodging “ to them in Tasmania and frightening them with the prospect of having to pay big wages. The Australian Workers’ Union is going to organize the rural workers of Australia industrially; but our friends on the other side would leave these organizations to the States. Do they really believe that the State Parliaments will pass any legislation 1o deal with the rural workers? Does Senator Bakhap honestly believe that State legislation on the subject will be anything but repressive and unfair ? He knows well that the only alternative to the proposal of the Australian Workers’ Union to arbitrate is the gospel and doctrine of the strike. That will be all that will be left to the rural workers, and, when they do strike, the honorable senator and persons of his kidney will be the first to tour Tasmania and Australia to condemn them for striking; though the honorable senator is prepared to join those who would take away the right of the rural workers to arbitration. I heard Mr. Roberts, the honorable member for Adelaide, speak in another place, aud he summed up the whole position when he said - “ The Liberal party says that John Jones, in the city, shall have the right to arbitration, and shall not find it necessary to go to the extent of striking; but John Giles, in the country, will have to strike, or put up with the conditions as he finds them.” That is an unanswerable statement of the Government proposal.
Our friends opposite do not attempt to really deal with the question. What they do is to appeal to - the class prejudice of a certain section, with the object of frightening them against arbitration. It has been repeatedly stated outside these walls, and on the hustings particularly, by our friends opposite that the Arbitration Court has not prevented strikes, and has therefore failed. They use specious arguments. They say that because a certain number of strikes have taken place within a certain time, and the number of strikes has been greater than it was a few years ago, the Federal Arbitration Court has failed. Where is the logic in that? When making the statement they know that our Arbitration Court has not power over one-eighth of the strikes, and our Act cannot be applied to them. If honorable senators would interview Mr. Stewart, the Registrar of the Court, they would find that, with the exception of the wharf labourers’ struggle, when the men were out for three or four days, and some minor breaches of awards, there has never been a big strike which our Arbitration Court has been in a position to control. Still our friends will have the people believe that it has failed.
– They try to make it a failure by opposing every application for registration.
– I know that those tales have been told, and that they will be told again, and I say that the workers of Australia will have to make up their minds during the next three years to fight to the last ditch against the attempt which will be made to infringe their rights. This attempt reminds me of the famous “ Statutes at Large,” and I took the trouble to go to the Library to cull a few notes from it. It is on a par with the legislation passed from the 15th year of King Edward III. to the 13th year of King Henry IV. The chief provisions of this legislation were -
Every person able in body under the age of 6o years not having to live on, being required, shall be bound to serve him that doth require him, or else committed to the gaol until he find surety to serve.
That is a sample of the kind of legislation which our friends opposite have the will, but lack the courage, to enforce. The next important provision says that -
If a workman or servant depart from service before the time agreed upon he shall be imprisoned.
Why do not our honorable friends bring in something like that? I am sure they could put up a good argument in support of such legislation.
– Not a good argument, but a good vote.
– That is so. The vote would be there, but the argument would be missing. Another important provision reads -
The old wages and no more shall be given to servants.
The fifth important provision states -
If any artificer or workman take more wages than were wont to be paid, he shall .be committed to gaol.
– Is there any more of that?
– I. would like to give my honorable friend some more. I am sure he would be very pleased to support such legislation if he dared. I say that the workers of Australia must realize what they are up against. Although the party opposite do not dare to bring forward such extreme measures as ‘those to which I have just referred, they are prepared to .submit anything which will smash unionism as quickly as possible. If that could be done, their aims and objects would be achieved.
– They include a lot besides that.
SenatorREADY. - That is the chief object which finds a place in their programme. The party with which I am associated will fight that to the very last ditch, and if it comes to a question of appealing to the people upon it, we shall be prepared to do so. The people need to be thoroughly seized of the great principles behind preference to unionists, and for which unionism stands. They must realize that, as Bishop Ingram, the Bishop of London, said in a speechrecently, tbe Labour movement is eminently a Christian movement, and the most beneficial that has taken place within the last 100 years. When they realize what Bishop Gore, the Bishop of Oxford, stated-
– The honorable senator has the whole bench of bishops on his side.
– Yes; if we have not much money, we decidedly have brains on our side. Bishop Gore said that every trade unionist must necessarily he a good Christian; and, as Mr. King O’Malley has said, we undoubtedly have the Christians on our side. Many eminent men, like Bishop Mercer and Bishop Delany, are also on our side. I believe, in spite of all the statements of honorable senators opposite, that when an appeal is made to the electors the Labour party will come back victorious.
Debate (on motion by Senator
Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator
Clemons) read a first time.
– In submitting a motion for a special adjournment of the Senate, I should like to make an explanation. Tomorrow is one of the chief days in connexion with the Agricultural Show of this State. I. understand that the other House is to adjourn over to-morrow after noon. I remind honorable senators that it has been a usual practice for the Senate to adjourn one day during Show week, and that day has invariably been Thursday. I understand that a motion for an adjournment over to-morrow meets with the concurrence of a majority of honorable senators. But it is only fair that I should point out that it will be necessary on Friday to pass a Supply Bill.
– Providing the Government behave themselves.
– When I say that “ It will be necessary,” I do not mean to convey the idea of compulsion. I mean that it will be necessary in the public interest.I move-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Friday morning, at11 o’clock.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 5.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 September 1913, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1913/19130924_SENATE_5_70/>.