8 October 1914

6th Parliament · 1st Session

The Senate met at 3 p.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.

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The Clerk read the proclamation.

The Deputies appointed by His Excellency the Governor-General for the opening of Parliament, the Right Hon. Sir Samuel Walker Griffith, P.C., G.C.M.G., Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, and the Right Hon. Sir Edmund Barton, P.C., G.C.M.G., a Justice of the High Court of Australia, having been introduced by the Usher of the Black Rod, the Senior Deputy directed the Usher to desire the attendance of the members of the House of Representatives.

The members of the House of Representatives being come,

Letters patent read by the Clerk.


Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :

We have it in command from the Governor-General to let you know that, as soon as the members of the Senate and the members of the House of Representatives shall have been sworn, the causes of

His Excellency calling this Parliament will be declared by him in, person at this place; and it being necessary that a President of the Senate and a Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be first chosen, you, Gentleman of the Senate, will proceed to choose some proper person to be your President; and you, Gentlemen of the House of Representatives, will retire to the place where you are to sit, and there proceed to the choice of some proper person to be your Speaker; and thereafter you will respectively present the persons whom you shall so choose to His Excellency at such time and place as he shall appoint. The Right Hon. Sir Edmund Barton will attend in the House of Representatives for the purpose of administering the oath or affirmation of allegiance to honorable members of that House.

The members of the House of Representatives, and Deputy the Right Honorable Sir Edmund Barton, having withdrawn :

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The SENIOR DEPUTY produced a commission appointing him a commissioner to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance,

Commission read by the Clerk.

The Clerk produced the returns to the writs issued for the election of members of the Senate.

The following honorable senators made and subscribed the oath of allegiance: -

New South Wales -

Albert Gardiner,

Sir Albert John Gould,

John Grant,

Allan McDougall,

Edward Davis Millen,

David Watson

Queensland -

Myles Aloysius Ferricks,

Thomas Givens,

William John Ryott Maughan,

John Mullan,

James Charles Stewart,

Henry Turley

South Australia -

Robert Storrie Guthrie,

John Newland,

James Vincent O’Loghlin,

John Wallace Shannon,

William Harrison Story

Tasmania -

Thomas Jerome Kingston Bakhap,

James Guy,

John Henry Keating,

James Joseph Long,

David John O’Keefe,

Rudolph Keith Ready

Victoria -

Stephen Barker,

John Barnes,

Edward Findley,

Andrew Nelson McKissock,

Edward John Russell

Western Australia -

Richard Buzacott,

George Henderson,

Patrick Joseph Lynch,

Edward Needham,

George Foster Pearce

The following honorable senators made the affirmation of allegiance: -

South Australia -

William Senior

Victoria -

Albert Edward Howarth Blakey

The Senior Deputy then withdrew.

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Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

– I desire to remind the Senate that the time has arrived to proceed to the election of a President.

Senator GRANT:
New South Wales

– I move -

That Senator Givens do take the chair of this Senate as President.

Senator McKISSOCK:

-I second the motion.

Senator GIVENS:

– I beg to submit myself to the pleasure of the Senate.

Then the PRESIDENT-ELECT, being taken out of his place by Senator Grant and Senator McKissock, and conducted to the chair, standing on the upper step, said - I desire to thank honorable senators most warmly and heartily for the very high honour they have paid me in calling me, for the second time, to preside over the deliberations of this Chamber. I appreciate it as a very high honour indeed, and I shall endeavour to do my very best to so discharge my duties as to prove to honorable senators that I have not been altogether unworthy of the trust they have reposed in me. Knowing as I do, and feeling assured as I must, that I shall always have the cordial cooperation and assistance of honorable senators on both sides, as well as the valuable assistance of the most able staff, I am enabled to approach my duties with a greater confidence. Again I thank honorable senators for the very high honour they have paid me.

Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

– I desire, on behalf of the senators on this side to tender to you, sir, our hearty congratulations on the Senate having paid you the distinguished honour of again calling you to fill the position of President. Our previous experience of your term of office justifies us in believing that you will carry out your duties with strict impartiality, and will uphold the high traditions that are associated with the chair of this Chamber. I have very much pleasure in tendering to you our hearty congratulations.

Senator MILLEN:
New South Wales

– I desire, on behalf of myself and my political friends, to tender our very hearty congratulations to you, sir, upon your installation for a second term in an office the duties of which you have already discharged so well. We are confident, from our experience of you in the chair, that you will extend to minorities in this Chamber that same impartial protection which your past term in that responsible position justifies us in anticipating. I trust, sir, that your ensuing term of office - which will in all probability be longer than your past one - will prove as satisfactory to you as I feel confident that it will to the Senate.

Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

– I beg to inform the Senate that His Excellency the Governor-General will receive the President and such members of the Senate as may care to accompany him, at 3.50 p.m., in the Library in Parliament House.


– In pursuance of the notification which I have received from the Leader of the Government in this Chamber, I beg to inform honorable senators that at 3,50 p.m. I shall proceed, with as many honorable senators as are desirous of accompanying me, to present myself, on behalf of the Senate, to His Excellency the Governor-General.

Sitting suspended from 3.45 to 3.50 p.m.

The Senate having re-assembled,


– I have to report that, accompanied by members of the Senate, I this day presented myselfto His Excellency the Governor-General, who was pleased to congratulate me upon my appointment as President.

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NOR-GENERAL entered the chamber and took the chair. A message was forwarded to the House of Representatives intimating that His Excellency desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith, who being come with their Speaker,

HIS EXCELLENCY was pleased to deliver the following speech : -


As a result of the election consequent upon the dissolution of both Houses of Parliament the late Ministry tendered their resignations. I have appointed new Advisers, who assumed office on the 17th September.

  1. You have been called together at the earliest moment after the return of the writs to deal with matters of great national importance, many of them arising out of the calamitous war in which the Empire has been compelled to engage. It is a matter for lasting satisfaction that every part of the Empire has responded with splendid devotion to the call of duty in the cause of civilization and justice, and of those high ideals for which the Empire stands.
  2. Immediately upon the declaration of war the Commonwealth offered to raise, equip, and maintain an ExpeditionaryForce of 20,000 men for service in Europe with the armies of the Empire. Further units have been since offered. These offers having been accepted by the Imperial Government, the Expeditionary Forces will be despatched from time to time. Additional troops will be sent to Europe as required, until peace upon terms satisfactory to the Allies has been secured.

I am confident that the personnel, materiel, and equipment of our Australian troops will enable them to worthily uphold the reputation of Australia and the traditions of the British race.

  1. It has been necessary to anticipate Parliamentary approval of expenditure urgently required for war purposes. A Bill covering all such unauthorized expenditure will be submitted for your consideration at the earliest possible moment.
  2. Financial proposals to meet the exceptional conditions arising out of the war, and the consequent dislocation of trade and commerce, are under consideration by my Advisers, and will shortly be laid before you.
  3. Proposals for a pension scheme for Australians engaged on active service and their dependants will also be laid before you.
  4. Upon the declaration of war the Australian Navy was immediately placed at the disposal of the Admiralty. Acting in conjunction with Expeditionary Forces of New Zealand and the Commonwealth, it has rendered considerable service to the Empire in Samoa and New Guinea. By its presence and activity these waters have been kept clear of enemy ships, and our maritime commerce has been continued uninterrupted: thus amply vindicating the policy of an Australian Navy.
  5. The disappearance of the Australian submarine A Jil and the loss of its gallant crew are deeply regretted. My Advisers join in the universal sorrow felt for the other brave men who have perished on land and sea in defence of the Empire.
  6. In recognition of the heroic sacrifices of the people of Belgium during the present war, my Advisers intend to invite Parliament to make a free gift of £100,000 to that nation.’
  7. My Advisers recognise the necessity, caused by the higher cost of commodities, of increasing old-age and invalid pensions, and also for the provision of pensions to widows and orphan children. Legislation to effect these objects will be introduced as soon as the state of the finances makes it practicable.
  8. The necessity of restoring normal conditions in Australian industries is fully recognised by my Advisers. To that end Commonwealth public works will be vigorously proceeded with, and active measures will be taken to cooperate with the State Governments, and also to supplement as far as practicable the efforts of individual employers.
  9. To promote the establishment of new Australian industries, and further develop those already established, it i» intended to amend the Tariff.
  10. Measures will be introduced to promote the production and manufacture of raw material for which no market is now open, and to secure new markets for the manufactured goods of Australia.
  11. The scheme for the utilization of the Murray waters, approved at the Premiers’ Conference in 1913, will receive early, consideration.
  12. A uniform gauge for the railways, essential to the effective defence and development of Australia, has now become a matter of such urgency that my Advisers propose to take early steps to initiate this great national work.
  13. Proposals to amend the Constitution will be placed before’ you at an early date.
  14. Legislation to enable electors to initiate and veto legislation will be introduced.

IS. The prospects of the pastoral and mining industries in the Northern Territory have improved, and earnest attention is being given to the effective development of the Territory by railway and other public works.

  1. The extension of Government influence amongst the natives of Papua is proceeding satisfactorily. A scientific expert has furnished an encouraging report on the petroleum field near the Vailala River. Provision for further operations in this district will be made on the Estimates. Many plantations have now come into bearing, and should shortly yield substantial profits. The revenue of the Territory is being well maintained.
  2. Provision will be made for the development of the resources of Norfolk Island, which has recently been added to the Territories of the Commonwealth. 1 21. It is intended to proclaim the Navigation Act at the earliest possible moment.
  3. My Advisers are in favour of establishing a line of Commonwealth steamers, and steps towards that end will be taken as soon as practicable.
  4. Legislation to deal with rights under the Patents and Trade Marks Acts held by alien enemies will be introduced.
  5. A measure will be introduced, on the lines of legislation passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom last month, to place the law as to trading with the enemy on a statutory basis.
  6. Legislation will be introduced, in pursuance of the power conferred by section 76 of the Constitution, to invest the High Court of Australia with original jurisdiction in Admiralty and Maritime matters, and to constitute that Court a Colonial Court of Admiralty.
  7. A Bill to amend the Arbitration Act will be shortly introduced.
  8. The Electoral Act calls for amendment in certain, directions. My Advisers intend to introduce amending legislation.
  9. A Bill relating to banking will also be submitted for your consideration.
  10. My Advisers propose to proceed with the consideration of a Bankruptcy Bill and an Insurance Bill on lines similar to those of Bills which were introduced in a previous session.
  11. Uniform legislation relating to Marriage, Divorce, and Matrimonial Causes upon lines already covered by existing State legislation will be introduced.
  12. Measures will be submitted -

To prevent women losing their national rights through marriage with foreigners;

To amend the Commonwealth Bank Act;

To deal with offences against the Commonwealth .

  1. In order to complete the constitution of the Naval Board, Mr. J. A. Jensen, M.P., Assistant Minister for Defence, will be appointed as Finance Member.

Commending your deliberations to the guidance of Divine Providence, I now leave you to your high and responsible duties.

His Excellency the GovernorGeneral having retired,

The President took the chair at 4.18 p.m., and read prayers.

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Message from the King.

Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

– I beg to present a message from His Majesty the King.


– The following is a copy of a cablegram received by the Governor-General from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and dated London, 8th September, 1914: -

The King has been graciously pleased to send the following message to the Governments and peoples of his self-governing Dominions: - “ To the Governments and peoples of my self-governing Dominions. During the past few weeks the peoples of my whole Empire at home and overseas have moved with one mind and purpose to confront and overthrow an unparalleled assault upon the continuity of civilization and the peace of mankind.

The calamitous conflict is not of my seeking. My voice has been cast throughout on the side of peace. My Ministers earnestly strove to allay the causes of strife and to appease difference with which my Empire was not concerned. Had I stood aside when in defiance of pledges to which my Kingdom was a party the soil of Belgium was violated and her cities lain desolate, when the very life of the French nation was threatened with extinction, I should have sacrificed my honour and given to destruction the liberties of my Empire and of mankind. I rejoice that every part of the Empire is with me in this decision.

Paramount regard for treaty, faith, and the pledged word of rulers and peoples is the common heritage of Great Britain and of the Empire. ‘

My peoples in the self-governing Dominions have shown beyond all doubt that they wholeheartedly indorse the grave decision which it was necessary to take.

My personal knowledge of the loyalty and devotion of my oversea Dominions had led me to expect that they would cheerfully make the great efforts and bear the great sacrifices.

The full measure in which they have placed their services and resources at my disposal fills me with gratitude, and I am proud to be able to show to the world that my peoples oversea are as determined as the people of the United Kingdom to prosecute a just cause to a successful end.

The Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Dominion of New Zealand, have placed at my disposal the Naval Forces which have already rendered good service for the Empire. Strong Expeditionary Forces are being prepared in Canada, in Australia, and in New Zealand for service at the front, and the Union of South Africahas released all British troops and has undertaken important military responsibilities, the discharge of which will be of the utmost value to the Empire. Newfoundland has doubled the numbers of its branch of the Royal Naval Reserve, and is sending a body of men to take part in the operations at the front. From the Dominion and Provincial Governments of Canada large and welcome gifts of supplies are on their way for the use both of my Naval and Military Forces, and for the relief of the distress in the United Kingdom, which must inevitably follow in the wake of war. All parts of my oversea Dominions have thus demonstrated in the most unmistakable manner the fundamental unity of the Empire amidst all its diversity of situation and circumstances.”

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Assent to the following Bills of last session reported : -

Supply Bill (No. 1), 1914-15.

Supply Bill (Works and Buildings) (No. 1), 1914-15.

Manufactures Encouragement Bill.

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– I have to inform the Senate that on the passing of the resolution of the 25th June last, on the subject of the granting of Home Rule to Ireland, I duly forwarded the same to His Excellency the Governor-General for transmission to His Majesty the King, and that I received the following acknowledgment from His Excellency: -

Memorandum to

The Honorable

The President of the Senate.

The Governor-General desires to acknowledge the receipt of the letter from the President of the Senate, dated the 26th ultimo, covering a resolution passed by the Senate on the subject of the granting of HomeRule to Ireland. In accordance with the request contained in the letter, the Governor-General has transmitted the communication to His Majesty the King through the usual channel.



Government House,

Melbourne, 1st July, 1914

I have since received the following further correspondence from His Excellency : -

Governor-General’s Office,

Melbourne, 4th October, 1914. Memorandum to

The Honorable

The President of the Senate.

Referring to the letter from the President of the Senate dated 26th June last, covering a resolution passed by the Senate on the subject of the granting of HomeRule to Ireland, which resolution the Governor-General forwarded to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Governor-General desires to forward herewith copy of a despatch which has been received from the Secretary of State intimating that the resolution was laid before His Majesty the King.



Down i ng-street, 21st August, 1914.

Commonwealth of Australia

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No. 511


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s despatch No. 203 of the 1st of July, and to inform you that I have laid before the King the resolution of the Senate passed on the 25th of June in favour of the grant of Home Rule to Ireland.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient humble servant, (Signed) L. HARCOURT.


His Excellency the Right Honorable

Sir R. Munro Ferguson, G.C.M.G., &c., &c

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Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

.- I ask leave to make a statement to the Senate.

Leave granted.

Senator PEARCE:

– I beg toinform the Senate that, on the resignation of the late Ministry, His Excellency the GovernorGeneral commissioned the Right Hon. Andrew Fisher, M.P., to form a new Administration.His Excellency was pleased to make the following appointments : -

Prime Minister and Treasurer - The Right Honorable Andrew Fisher, P.C.

Attorney-General - The Honorable William Morris Hughes.

Minister of State for Defence - The Honorable George Foster Pearce.

Minister of State for Trade and Customs - The Honorable Frank Gwynne Tudor.

Minister of State for External Affairs - Jolin Andrew Arthur, Esq.

Minister of State for Home Affairs - William Oliver Archibald, Esq.

Postmaster-General - The Honorable William Guthrie Spence.

Vice-President of the Executive Council - Senator Albert Gardiner.

Assistant Minister - The Honorable Hugh


Assistant Minister - The Honorable Jons August Jensen.

Assistant Minister - Senator Edward John Russell.

The following will be the arrangements for the representation of Departments in the Senate: -

Minister for Defence - Defence, Prime Minister, and Treasury.

Vice-President of the Executive Council - Postmaster-General, External Affairs, and Attorney-General.

Assistant Minister - Trade and Customs, and Home Affairs.

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The PRESIDENT laid on the table the balance-sheet of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, together with the AuditorGeneral’s report thereon. death of the honorable gregor McGregor.


– I wish to intimate to the Senate that, when I was informed of the lamented death of the Honorable Gregor McGregor, who was for so long a time a member of the Senate, I was in Central Queensland, and the news came as a great shock to me. I found it difficult to adequately express my feelings, or the feelings which I knew would be entertained by members of the Senate in connexion with the matter, but I immediately wired instructing a telegram to be sent to Mrs. McGregor, on behalf of the Senate and myself, to convey our sympathy upon the lamented death of her late husband.

Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear !


– I also took it upon myself to instruct the Clerk of the Senate to send an officer to Adelaide to represent the Senate at the funeral. Mr. Monahan accordingly went to Adelaide for the purpose. That was all I felt myself able to undertake in connexion with the matter at the time, and I hope the Senate will

Approve of my action.

Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

– In connexion with the death of the Honorable Gregor McGregor, I ask the leave of the Senate to submit a motion without notice

Leave granted.

Senator PEARCE:

– I move -

That the Senate places on record its appreciation of the great public services of the late Hon. Gregor McGregor, who was for many years a distinguished member in this Chamber, and tenders its sincere sympathy to the bereaved widow and family of an eminent citizen, whose decease is a great loss to the Commonwealth.

It is with great regret that I submit that motion. I do not know that any words of mine can add anything to what it contains. It expresses briefly the feeling which I am sure is in the minds of us all, that the Commonwealth has lost a great citizen. There is something more to be said on behalf of the Senate, and that is that each of us, no matter where he may sit in this Chamber, feels that the Senate is the poorer by the decease of our late colleague. He was a man of great personal” and manly qualities, who endeared himself to the hearts of us all, and a man whom it will be difficult to replace. We shall, as time goes on, feel his loss the more because, not only of his personal qualities, but of those qualities of the heart which distinguished him from most men, and appealed so strongly to his fellow countrymen. Very few men make so many friends, and few keep their friends, as did the late Gregor McGregor. It is only right that we should pay this tribute to his memory. Although he was not at the time of his decease a member of this Chamber, he had been identified with it from its commencement, played a great part in its proceedings, and I am sure his name will live in the history of Australia.

Senator MILLEN:
New South Wales

– I desire to second the motion, and to associate myself with the regret which has been so feelingly expressed by the mover. . With almost pathetic frequency the Commonwealth Parliament, of late, has been confronted with resolutions of similar purport to that which has just been submitted. A few months ago we were called upon to give expression to our regret upon the death of gentlemen who were in the prime of life, and before whom, ordinarily speaking, there appeared to stretch a long career of public usefulness. On this occasion we voice our sorrow upon the death of one who, if be had not reached the allotted span of life, was at least a veteran in the political army. For over twenty years the late Senator

McGregor had been in the public life of Australia - during the last thirteen, as has been intimated, as a member of this Chamber. He was one of that rapidlydiminishing band who entered the Senate on the consummation of Australian Union. During the whole of that period it was my lot to find myself in opposition to the deceased gentleman. That opposition was at all times pronounced, not infrequently it was strenuous, in sympathy with the exigencies of political warfare. But to me it is a matter of very profound satisfaction indeed that, owing to the nobility of character of the deceased gentleman, that hostility was never allowed to pass beyond the walls of this chamber, or to stretch over the boundary line of legitimate political controversy. I can, therefore, join in all sincerity in the expression of grief that emanates from his more direct political associates. He was a remarkable man, and his career must stand for all time as a record of great and useful achievements, attained by determination and courage in the face of difficulties that would have broken a less valiant heart and crushed a less resolute spirit. He discharged his duties unflinchingly, and it must indeed be a source of great satisfaction and consolation to his sorrowing relatives and friends that, though he discharged those duties without swerving to the right or left, he did it in a way that at once commanded the respect, esteem, and admiration of those who were privileged to claim his acquaintance. I respectfully second the motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing.


– In accordance with the usual practice, I shall take it upon myself to forward a copy of the resolution to the widow and relatives of the late Hon. Gregor McGregor. In view of the motion which has just been adopted, I propose to suspend the sitting until 8 o’clock.

Sitting suspended from4.35 to 8 p.m.

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Motion (by SenatorPearce) agreed to -

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 11 o’clock a.m. to-morrow.

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The following papers were presented : -

Correspondence with Colonial Office with regard to offer of further Brigade of Light Horse with Brigade Train and Field Ambulance complete.

Correspondence respecting the European Crisis.

Correspondence relating to Mr. Cook’s application for a Double Dissolution.

DominionsRoyal Commission -

Third Interim Report.

Minutes of Evidence taken in London in January, 1914; and Papers laid before the Commission.

Defence Act 1903-1912. - Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1914, No. 68.

Land Tax Assessment Act 1910-1912. - Regulations amended, &c. -

Statutory Rules 1914, No. 77.

Statutory Rules 1914, No. 85.

Public Service Act 1902-1913-

Appointments, Promotions, &c. -

Department of the Treasury -

Attorney-General’s Department -

Department of Homo Affairs -

Department of Trade and Customs -

Postmaster-General’s Department -

List of Permanent Officers of the Commonwealth Public Service as on 30th June, 1914.

Annual Return of Temporary Employes for financial year 1913-14.

Regulations amended, &c. -

Statutory Rules 1914, No. 94.

Statutory Rules 1914, No. 113.

Statutory Rules 1914, No. 136.

Statutory Rules 1914, No. 137.

Statutory Rules 1914, No. . 138.

Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904-11. - Regulation amended. - Statutory Rules 1914, No. 75.

Patents Act 1903-1909.- Regulations amended, &c.- Statutory Rules 1914, No. 69.

Trade Marks Act 1905-1912.- Regulation.Statutory Rules 1914, No. 56.

Papua.- Ordinance No. 4 of 1914.- Supple mentary Appropriation (No. 2) 1913-14.

Northern Territory. - Ordinance No. 2 of 1914. - Crown Lands.

Seat of Government. - Ordinances of 1914 -

No. 1. - Interpretation.

No. 2.- Cotter River.

Report of the Royal Commission on Powellised Timber.

Final Minority Report of the Royal Commission on the Fruit Industry.

Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Act 1911-12-

Schedule 3. - Passenger Fares during Construction.

Goods Rates : Instructions issued for Eastern and Western Divisions of Railway.

Lands Acquisition Act 1906 - Land acquired under, at -

Albion, Queensland - For Postal purposes. Baulkham Hills, New South Wales- For Defence purposes.

Bookooloo, South Australia - For Railway purposes.

Bulimba, Queensland - For Postal purposes.

Canberra, Federal Territory- For Federal Capital purposes.

Cessnock, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Clare, South Australia - For Defence purposes.

Cockburn, South Australia - For Postal purposes.

Cooktown, Queensland - For Postal purposes.

Eastwood, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Esperance, Western Australia - For Postal purposes.

Essendon, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Garah South, New South Wales- For Postal purposes.

Geelong, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Gibraltar, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Gympie, Queensland - For Defence purposes.

Harrisville, Queensland - For Postal purposes.

Inverell, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Katoomba, New South Wales - For Defence and for Postal purposes.

Killara, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Lake Windabout, South Australia - For Railway purposes.

Lefroy, Tasmania - For Defence purposes.

Little Swamp Well, South Australia - For Railway purposes.

Macksville, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Malvern, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Marvel Loch, Western Australia - For Postal purposes.

Mintabie Well, South Australia - For Railway purposes.

North Sydney, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Oaklands, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Pennant Hills, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Port Fairy, Victoria, - For Defence purposes.

Prospect, South Australia - For Defence purposes.

Redbank, Queensland - For Defence purposes.

St. Peter’s, South Australia - For Postal purposes.

Sydney, New South Wales (two) - For Postal purposes.

Townsville, Queensland - For Postal purposes.

Tuggeranong, Federal Territory and New South Wales - For Federal Capital purposes.

Unley, South Australia - For Defence purposes.

Yarrowlumla, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Yass, New South Wales- For Defence purposes.

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Senator MAUGHAN:

– Will the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs lay upon the table of the Senate next week all documents and correspondence with reference to the establishment in North Queensland of weatherwarning stations ?

Senator RUSSELL:
Assistant Minister · VICTORIA · ALP

– I shall endeavour to secure the papers and lay them upon the table.

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Senator FINDLEY:

– Will the Minister representing the Postmaster-General lay on the table of the Senate the report, which I understand has been printed, giving the result of an investigation made by Mr. Swinburne, who was brought to Australia by the late Government to report upon an action that was threatened against the Commonwealth for the infringement of a wireless telegraphy patent 1

Vice-President of the Executive Council · NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– I shall consult the Postmaster-General, and, if there are no difficulties in the way, the papers will be forthcoming.

Senator FINDLEY:

– Would it be possible to have all the correspondence ana papers in connexion with the matter placed on the table of the Senate, in addition to Mr. Swinburne’s report? I understand, from the statement appearing in the press, that the late Government settled the action that was pending for the sum of £5,000.


– I shall bring the honorable senator’s question under the notice of the Postmaster-General.

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Senator PEARCE:

– May I ask honorable senators, in giving notice of questions on Thursday, to be kind enough to give the notice for the following Wednesday, so that there may be time to procure replies ?

Senator Bakhap:

– Does that apply to all questions of which notice has been given to-night?

Senator PEARCE:

– If possible.

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– I have to announce to the Senate that I have received from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral a commission empowering me to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to honorable senators.

Commission read.

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– I have to report that the Governor-General attended the Senate chamber to-day to open the sixth Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, and that I have for greater accuracy obtained a copy of the speech which His Excellency was pleased to deliver. I do not propose to read the speech, as I understand that copies have been distributed to honorable senators. ‘

Senator GUY:

– I move -

That the following Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Speech 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.

I count it an honour to the State which I am called upon to represent that the moving of the Address-in-Reply has been placed in the hands of one of its senators. I should like, sir, to congratulate you upon being returned for the great State of Queensland at the head of the poll, and also upon having received the approbation of your colleagues in the Senate, and upon having been appointed to the honorable position which you occupy. It is no mean commendation, no mean honour, to be called upon to fill such an office. It is one of the highest positions that the country can bestow on a citizen, and so I congratulate you, sir, upon your elevation to the chair. The one absorbing topic to-day, the question of greatest importance to us, is the “ calamitous “ state of affairs, as it is put in His Excellency’s Speech, created by our nation and the foremost nations of Europe being embroiled in war. It is not a pleasant reflection; it is sad, indeed, to think that with our boasted civilization, not to say Christianity, the foremost nations of the world have not found a better means of settling their disputes than the arbitrament of the sword. I regret the fact exceedingly, and I most fervently hope that the present terrible carnage will be brought to a speedy termination - not only speedy, but satisfactory to the British races and their allies. What it means to Australia no one can say; what it might have been would be hard for anybody to conjecture. But we can congratulate ourselves on the fact that, because of the foresight and the organization of the. National Parliament, we have been in some measure prepared to defend ourselves. I believe that all parties, latterly at any rate, desire to prepare Australia to defend itself. At the same time. I do claim this credit for our own party ; that we were the first to initiate the Australian citizen soldiery and the Australian-owned navy. Of latter years I have been glad to observe that our opponents in politics have joined with us in organizing a force to defend Australia against possible aggression.

Senator Long:

– “ Opponents “ is rather a dignified term to apply to them now, is it not?

Senator GUY:

– I hope that whatever I may say here will be moderate. I shall not seek to offend anybody purposely; I shall not hesitate to criticise when it appears to me that it is necessary to do so; but in any criticism I offer T hope that honorable senators on the other side will feel that I do not mean to be personally offensive to any one. In a condition of war the masses of the people suffer most. I know that from my reading. I have read many accounts of warfare that have thrilled me with horror at the carnage and the bloodshed. But nearly always it has been the masses of the people who have had to endure the greatest proportion of the suffering. I maintain that when we have the people thoroughly represented in the various Parliaments of the world - in the foremost countries anyway - there will be an end t6 war. The people do not want war; indeed, I believe that if the people of the countries which are engaged in the deadly conflict to-day had been afforded the opportunity to say whether they would or would not have war, ninetenths of them would have said, “ No war.” I contend that the first step to take, not only here, but elsewhere, as far as we have influence, is to get the people thoroughly represented in the Legislatures, and then assuredly we shall have a cessation of warfare.

Senator Stewart:

– And have no despots like Kaiser Wilhelm.

Senator GUY:

– Yes.

Senator Stewart:

– Off with every monarchy; let us have republics, and then there will be no war.

Senator GUY:

– We want no despots.

Senator Long:

– And no tinpot ones, either.

Senator GUY:

– I hope that when the present terrible carnage ceases the despots who, possibly, have been the aggressors will be removed from their positions, and will be able to do ill no more. In such a time as the present one can almost pity the Government that has control. The conditions of Australia are sad enough in many cases. The work that lies before any Government is enough to make strong men tremble. I think that to the Australian Government to-day are due the sympathy and the support of every right-minded person throughout the country.

Senator Needham:

– Support without sympathy.

Senator GUY:

– We want their support and sympathy.

Senator Needham:

– Support.

Senator GUY:

– We will ask for both. There is no telling what this means to Australia. I believe that we have at the head of affairs to-day Ministers who will meet the situation like men, bravely and firmly, and do their best in the interests of the country. I am charitable enough to think that our opponents in the Federal Parliament to-day will join with the Government in this calamitous time, and help them to put matters on as satisfactory a footing as possible in the circumstances. There are lessons for us to learn from the events of the present calamitous time. At the outset of the war, a kind of panic set in, and there was a measure of paralysis in trade. Evidence of this panic was noticeable on every hand amongst the highest and the lowest in the community. The GovernorGeneral, in the course of his Speech, intimates that -

Financial proposals will be made to meet the exceptional conditions and the consequent dislocation of trade and commerce.

It is necessary that we should promote a feeling of confidence amongst the people. We should do what is possible to prevent any kind of panic or commercial paralysis. We should, to the utmost of our ability, encourage and promote a feeling of confidence in the trading community, in order that business may be carried on aa usual. If any state of panic were allowed to continue, it would have a most demoralizing effect upon the community, whilst if a feeling of confidence is created normal, or almost normal, conditions will prevail in Australia. I have said that there are lessons to he learnt from the present time. A number of men engaged in various occupations have been turned out of their employment because, as a result of the war, there is practically no market for their products. Every member of the Senate must be aware of many instances of the kind. I see that in the Governor-General’s Speech proposals are hinted at for the promotion of new industries to increase the avenues of employment, and for the opening up of markets for those products tie markets for which have at present disappeared, as the result of the outbreak of the war. Many of our people have been employed in the production of raw materials which have been sent beyond the seas to be manufactured into completed articles which are, in many cases, returned for sale in Australia. “We ought, as far as possible, to manufacture our raw materials into the completed articles for which there is a sale amongst our own people. This matter is referred to in one of the paragraphs of the opening Speech. It should be our endeavour to make Australia a selfcontained community, so that calamities such as that which has occurred in Europe may not have the effect of dislocating our national industries. I would appeal to honorable senators, and to the country, to help, rather than harass, the Government, until we emerge from these troublous times. After that, opponents of the Government may criticise them if they think it necessary to do so. Leaving the matter of the war and its consequences, I want to say that I was sent to the Senate as a representative of the party that is at present sitting on the Government side. Although I do not take any particular credit for it, I have been a worker and supporter of the Labour movement since I was very young, and that is not two days ago. I say in all sincerity, and without intending to cast reflections upon any one, that I have been convinced for years that there is only one party and one platform calculated to bring justice to the great mass of the people. Imbued with that idea from my early years, I have, in season and out of season, consistently worked for the Labour party. I conscientiously believe that the Labour party is destined to bring about better conditions for the great mass of the people than they have ever enjoyed before. I have watched the growth of the Labour movement in Australia from its inception. I have been pleased to note that the growth of the Labour party has been phenomenal. It is less than a quarter of a century ago since the Labour movement was started. I can remember the jeers and sneers which were cast at those who took a hand in the movement at its inception. Notwithstanding the Titanic obstacles placed in the path of the movement, the Labour party has grown as no other party ever grew in the world’s history. It has had to encounter a practically unanimous hostile press. It has had to encounter opposition and misrepresentation, and to break down prejudice. Notwithstanding all this opposition and hostility, it has grown, as I have said, in a phenomenal way. At the inception of this Federal Parliament only twenty-four members of the Labour party were returned to it, whilst there were eighty-seven on the other side. In 1906 there were forty-six members of the Labour party returned, whilst those opposed to Labour numbered sixty-five. In 1913 there were’ sixty-six Labour members returned to this Parliament, and forty-five members on the other side. Coming to the latest election, that of 1914, we find that the Labour party in this Parliament is still increasing in numbers, and we have to-day seventy-three Labour members, whilst there are only thirty-eight opposed to us. Naturally, I am very pleased at the success of a movement of which I have been an ardent supporter for the last twenty years. I am glad to see its progress, and to note that the people are beginning to realize the worth of a platform such as that put forward by the Labour party in Australia. I have argued publicly that something more than mere chance must be sought to account for the results which have followed the submission of the Labour platform to the people. I attribute the phenomenal growth of the Labour party in Australia to the fact that there is something sound and solid in the Labour platform, and something in it that appeals to the people as worthy of their support, and calculated to build up in Australia a nation of which we may well be proud. In 1910 the Labour party was, for the first time, returned to control in the Federal Parliament. I remember the many gruesome predictions that were made from public platforms as to what would happen if the people were ever so foolish as to permit the Labour party to be returned to power in Australia. All sorts of direful predictions were made as to what would be the result. I suppose that such things wore not said in this chamber, but we know that it was said outside that people who owned land were going to have it stolen from them, whilst a great many other equally silly statements were made. Not one of these crude and silly predictions has been fulfilled. Of all the evil things that were to follow upon the advent of the Labour party to power, not one has actually happened. I make bold to say that during the three years the Labour party was in power in Australia there was greater progress and prosperity in the country than ever before. .More beneficent legislation was placed upon the statute-book during that period than at any previous time in the history of Federation. I do not propose to recount the beneficent actions of the Labour party while they were in office, as it would take too long to do so. The trade of Australia increased as it never increased before during that three years’ period.

Senator Shannon:

– I hope it will do so in the next three years.

Senator GUY:

– I join with the honorable senator in the expression of that hope, although, under existing conditions, it is a great deal to expect. I shall look to the honorable senator for support for the party in bringing about that result. I want to say that, notwithstanding the evil predictions as to what would happen should the Labour party come into power, and despite the fact that we were told that capital would leave the country, we found that the value of the assets and deposits in the banks increased beyond all measure. The increase of Savings Bank deposits is always regarded as indicative of the progress of the people generally, and notwithstanding the predictions that ruin would overtake Australia, that capital would be driven from the country, and that all sorts of dire calamities would -ensue, it is an undeniable fact that during the regime of the Labour party the number of depositors in our Savings Banks increased beyond the most sanguine anticipations. “Senator Bakhap. - Does not the honorable senator think that the rain had something to do with it?

Senator GUY:

Senator Bakhap knows perfectly well that when those predictions were made they were not the subject of a proviso that they would not be ful filled if rain came. I do not claim that the Labour party were responsible for the rainfall ; but I do say that statistics prove that while the Labour Government were in power beneficent increases occurred in every department. I do not wish to detain honorable senators by entering into details at the present juncture, but I have in my possession figures which convincingly demonstrate the enormous progress that was made in Australia during that term. After the party to which I belong had been in office for three years, they discovered that there were certain limitations in the Constitution which prevented them from legislating in directions that they desired. Like manly men, they told the country that unless this Parliament were endowed with further legislative powers, they could not give effect to their desires. Accordingly, they appealed to the electors to grant them those additional powers. Their action engendered bitter opposition on the part of interested persons - persons of wealth who were exploiting the people and who recognised that their profits would be reduced if those extended powers were granted. These individuals spared no expense in their efforts to foment opposition to the Ministerial proposals, and as a result of those proposals being submitted to the people at a referenda taken simultaneously with the 1913 elections, the Fisher Government suffered defeat, notwithstanding that even for the House of Representatives the votes cast for Labour candidates exceeded those recorded in favour of their opponents. The Liberal party thus obtained a majority of one in the other Chamber. Whilst they were on the hustings, they made certain pledges to the electors, which they had failed to redeem, with the result that, after two barren sessions of Parliament, another appeal was made to the electors. That appeal was based mainly upon one measure, which prohibited preference being granted to unionists in the temporary employ of the Government. I have in my pocket speeches by honorable senators opposite which show conclusively that that Bill was made the test question at the recent elections.

Senator Barker:

– Has the honorable senator a copy of Senator Bakhap’s speech upon it?

Senator GUY:

– I have. However, I do not wish to produce it now. The result of that appeal may be seen to-day in both branches of the Legislature. The electors have given us an express mandate on that question. They have told us that preference must be granted to unionists. This Chamber reflects that mandate in the most definite and emphatic way.I come now to paragraph 5 of the GovernorGeneral’s Speech, which reads -

Financial proposals to meet the exceptional conditions arising out of the war, and the consequent dislocation of trade and commerce, are under consideration by my advisers, and will shortly be laid before you.

Paragraph 11 deals with practically the same subject. It says -

The necessity of restoring normal conditions in Australian industries is fully recognised by my advisers. To that end Commonwealth public works will be vigorously proceeded with, and active measures will be taken toco-operate with the State Governments, and also to supplement as far as practicable the efforts of individual employers.

The views embodied in those paragraphs, will, I feel sure, commend themselves to every member of this Chamber. Unfortunately, the present calamitous position has caused thousands of men to become unemployed. These men have not the wherewithal to provide food and clothing for those who are near and dear to them. Obviously, it is our primary duty to look after our own people. I am glad that the Government have taken into consideration, at the earliest opportunity, a method of providing the workers of Australia who now find themselves unemployed with an opportunity to maintain themselves and their families during this period of exceptional stress. There is one other matter to which I desire briefly to refer. Paragraph 7 of the Vice-Regal utterance reads -

Upon the declaration of war, the Australian Navy was immediately placed at the disposal of the Admiralty.

That circumstance ought to imbue us with increased confidence in an Australianowned Navy. It is to-day beyond cavil that our Navy is the first arm to which we must look for protection against possible invasion. During the present international crisis it has been of immense service in keeping our maritime channels clear, and in enabling our commerce to proceed uninterruptedly.

Senator Bakhap:

– All the honorable senator’s colleagues did not think that last year.

Senator Guthrie:

– Who did not?

Senator Bakhap:

– Two or three of them.

Senator Guthrie:

– Name.

Senator Bakhap:

Senator de Largie and Senator Stewart.

Senator GUY:

– Where there was one member of the Labour party who took that view, there were five members of the so-called Liberal party. I can quote their very words, if necessary.

Senator O’Keefe:

– I remember when there was not an advocate of an Australian Navy on the opposite side of the Chamber.

Senator Bakhap:

– Do not stir up that question, or the honorable senator may hear something which he will not like.

Senator GUY:

– For some years I have been a close reader of the debates which have taken place in this Chamber and elsewhere, so that I am not altogether ignorant of what has occurred here. I recollect the utterances of certain representatives in regard to what they termed “ tinpot “ navies and “ mosquito “ fleets. I recollect an occasion on which one honorable member after another belonging to the party opposite rose arid said that he supported an Australian citizen soldiery only in deference to public opinion. I am referring now to events which occurred in 1909.

Senator Bakhap:

– What about events in 1913 1 That is a little bit later.

Senator GUY:

– There is an old saying that “ the exception proves the rule,” and the matter to which the honorable senator is referring constitutes the exception. Surely he will not judge a whole party by the utterances of one member of it?

Senator Bakhap:

– That is precisely what the honorable senator is doing.

Senator GUY:

– Nothing of the sort. I am glad to know that we shall hear no more talk about “tinpot” navies and “ mosquito “ fleets. Instead, we shall hear nothing but admiration for our Australian defence scheme and our Australian Navy.

Senator Needham:

– Who advocated the continuance of the Naval subsidy of £200,000 a year?

Senator GUY:

– I remember that.

Senator Bakhap:

– Who advocated its reduction ?

Senator GUY:

– Paragraph 8 of the Governor-General’s Speech says -

The disappearance of the Australian submarine AE1 and the loss of its gallant crew are deeply regretted. My advisers join in the universal sorrow felt for the other brave nien who have perished on land and sea in defence of the Empire.

With that every honorable senator will Agree. According to paragraph 9 of the Governor-General’s Speech, the Government propose to make a free gift of £100,000 to Belgium. I said a moment ago that our first duty is at home, and 1’ still maintain that; but while we have duties at home we may well show our gratitude to the people of Belgium by giving them the comparatively small sum mentioned. It will amount, roughly, to about 5d. per head from the people of Australia, and I do not think any one will grumble at having to find that. I notice also a proposal to increase old-age and invalid pensions, and to extend the pensions to widows and orphan children. Considering that the cost of living has largely increased it is only fair for us to increase the old-age pension proportionately. I have long desired to see the pension granted to widows with orphans - that is the way I put it. I do not know *hat the details of the measure will be, but if it is proposed to give the pension simply to widows and orphans there may be a danger of those getting it who will not require it. I have no doubt, however, that the measure will be properly safeguarded so’ as to provide for widows with orphans who are more or less in want.

Senator Bakhap:

– Indigent widows and orphans.

Senator GUY:

– Not exactly indigent; but I hope it will be so safeguarded that the pension will not be given indiscriminately. There is no more pitiable :sight on this earth than a poor woman left with little children, the breadwinner being gone. It has been my sad duty many a time to go to the Tasmanian Government to seek some aid for women who have been left in distressed circumstances, and I must say that I have never failed to secure sympathy and support. Until recently the Tasmanian Government have been always in a more or less impecunious position, and have not been able to give as much as they would like, and so I rejoice at the fact that our Government propose to bring in a measure with the very desirable object of granting pensions to widows and orphans.

Senator Mullan:

– As a right, not as a charity.

Senator GUY:

– Certainly it should be given as a right. I notice another proposal to establish effective Protection. I have always been a Protectionist, and cannot but support a measure of this kind ; though I can see enormous difficulties in the way. Care will have to be exercised to prevent anomalies, but I have no doubt that the combined intelligence of both chambers will be equal to the task. Only the other day I received a letter from a man connected with a” firm in Tasmania that is engaged in building motor car bodies. This firm has received a notification, in view of the probable early introdution of a Protective Tariff, that if a certain firm’s cars are imported without the bodies very little will be taken off the cost. If they do not import the body with the car the cost of the whole car, they are told, will be reduced by only £6. My informant says that it will cost anythin? from £50 to £110 to build the body of the car, and yet the firm in America is going to reduce the cost by only £6. unless the whole car, including the body, is imported. We shall have to exercise all kinds of care to prevent this kind of thing creeping in. According to paragraph 14 the scheme for the utilization of the Murray waters approved at the Premiers’ Conference in 1913 will receive early consideration. I know absolutely nothing of this question, and shall not commit myself to anything of that character until I know what it is. It is proposed in paragraph 15 to deal with the question of a uniform gauge for railways. If the present war has taught us any lesson at all it is that we ought to have a uniform railway gauge, so that we may mobilize our forces with more expedition than we can possibly do to-day. It may be that I cannot see the difficulties that others see, but I have always thought it possible for the Commonwealth to control the whole of the railways of Australia. I know that there are difficulties in the way, but 1 never could recognise them as insuperable. I do not wonder that strangers think it extraordinary that we should have breaks of gauge at the borders of almost every State, where every one has to change from one train to another, and have all his luggage and goods transferred. It must strike them as a most idiotic arrangement. When the transcontinental railway is completed, it may be necessary to send troops from Queensland to Western Australia.

Senator Bakhap:

– They can be taken more quickly by water in any circumstances.

Senator GUY:

– I am very doubtful about that; but, in any case, some scheme to establish a uniform gauge for the Commonwealth is at the present time most commendable. I am rejoiced to find in the Governor-General’s Speech a proposal to resubmit the questions submitted previously to the people by way of referenda for the enlargement of the powers of this Legislature. I give that my heartiest commendation. I quite realize, in relation to paragraph 18, that there are enormous difficulties in the way of developing the Northern Territory. I am glad to notice that the prospects are improving; but if we want to build up a nation in Australia and develop the Territory, the duty devolves upon every legislator in this Parliament to have the Territory peopled, and I commend the Government for the efforts they are making. I strongly support the proposal to establish a line of Commonwealth steamers. It will be of enormous advantage to Tasmania. We in that State suffer enormously through the operations of the steam-ship companies’ combine. Our fares and freights are the highest in the Commonwealth. We have to pay more per mile for fares and freights than do the people of any other State of the Commonwealth.

Senator O’Keefe:

– It also affects many mainlanders in business.

Senator GUY:

– That is so, and it also affects many who travel to Tasmania to enjoy our beneficent climate. I am going to give that proposal my heartiest support, but not from a purely selfish State point of view, although I recognise that it will be of enormous benefit to us, and will clip the wings of the combine that is operating throughout Australia. If the Government start a line as soon as possible to connect Tasmania with the mainland, it will be a warning to the steamship companies who are exploiting the people throughout the Commonwealth to be careful as to how much they extort from the pockets of the people in the way of freights and fares. In regard to the proposal to amend the Arbitration Act, it is a duty that devolves upon every legis lator when defects are seen in any measure to seek to remedy them. Most pronounced and glaring defects have been discovered in that Act, and I commend the Government for proposing to amend them. The Electoral Act certainly calls for amendment. It has been our sad duty to-day to express in a united way our profound sorrow for the loss of an honorable senator who long occupied a seat in this chamber. The very circumstances of his demise show the need for amending the Electoral Act. They may have been fortunate for one who sits on the other side of ‘the chamber in that he was elected at the last election, but, without being disrespectful to the honorable senator, I say that he would not have been elected on that occasion had it not been for the fact that the death of exSenator McGregor left only five Senate candidates on the Labour ticket in South Australia. This points to the necessity, in one particular alone, for amending theElectoral Act, and it would be unworthy of us if we left the provisions untouched,, and allowed a similar occurrence to arise, if unfortunately it should, without providing any means to meet the contingency. We are promised a Bill relating to banking. Such legislation is also necessary. Again, uniform legislation relating to> marriage, divorce, and matrimonial causes is to be submitted. At present the citizens of one State are subject to unnecessary hardship by the lawsin the different States being so divergent. So, I think that we should seek to have uniform laws in this regard throughout Australia, and thus avoid inflicting hardships on many men and women in certain circumstances. I am prepared to givethis proposal my hearty commendation. In conclusion, let me say that I trust we shall bring all our energies to bear on measures to bring about reforms wherethey are necessary, and that we shall set out to do work that will help to build up the nation on a solid and sound footing, and bring it to the position we all hopeit will occupy. I am an Australian by birth, and I love Australia - I love thepeople more - and I hope to live to see it one of the greatest nations, and the freest nation. Already we possess the freest and fullest franchise, so that all men and women have an equal right in the selection of their representatives inthis Legislature, and I hope we shall seeto it that every man and woman and’ every child born into this community will have the amplest opportunity to live the full and free life that is the right of every human being. I have much pleasure, therefore, in moving the motion that I submitted at the outset.

Senator WATSON:
New South Wales

– I join with my friend in expressing gratitude at the opportunity afforded to me of seconding the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I regard it as a compliment to the men with whom I have been associated in the great mining industry of Newcastle, New South Wales. I am conscious of the fact that no Government could have been asked to assume the reins of office under more difficult and disadvantageous circumstances than those which now present themselves, not only to the people of the Commonwealth, but also to the nations of the civilized world. At no time in the annals of history have the peoples of the earth been confronted with a similar position. Everything calls for diligence on the part of legislators of the day, whether they be in opposition or in office. We have a duty which we owe to our race, and that is that the spirit of unity and concord should manifest itself in our legislative halls. In this Parliament the Government are in a position to carry out, in a way that will admit of little dissension, and certainly little dispute, the difficult task presenting itself to them. The facts surrounding the calamitous war are such that they give us a feeling of pride in the nation to which we belong. We realize that the British Empire has not been asleep to what was imminent, and to the great overwhelming catastrophe that, has visited civilization owing to the tactics pursued by the German people. Had British people sought a quarrel in order to limit the growing power of Germany and her determined hostility, only too apparent, undoubtedly they might justifiably have brought the Germans to their senses before this; but the fact that Germany has been allowed that interrelationship that has been so freely given to her while she was manifestly engaged in preparations for war, is but a further exhibition of the spirit of tolerance that has always marked the British people. However, when the critical hour came, and Britain had to maintain her pledges to those people with whom she had covenanted, there was ho questioning her position. It is undoubtedly one to be envied, and one to be appreciated and commended by every Power allied with her in this war. But while we regret the situation created by the war, and the difficulties confronting our Government;, we have before us in the Speech of the Governor-General a programme which will appeal in a large measure even to those who may be opposed to the policy of the Labour party. It shows that the Government are prepared to grapple with the financial difficulties confronting them,, not only in the matter of making provision for the war and for playing our partin connexion with it, but also, as is recognised in the Speech, in the direction of making provision for our people at home who are inconvenienced by reason of the war, and whose relationship in the’ industrial arena has been interfered with as a result of the war. The many thousand workers who will he displaced by both private employers and State Governments will naturally create a necessity to take some steps which will insure continuity of work. For there is no higher function of a Government than to make provision for the well-being of the people. There is nothing which will insure social progress more than will means of employment and avenues whereby the people may be enabled to sustain themselves and their dependants. Therefore, it is a matter for much satisfaction that the present Government purposes to meet the exceptional conditions arising out of the war and the consequent dislocation of trade and commerce and that proposals to that end will shortly be laid before us. This, I repeat, is a matter for much gratification,, but, after all, it is only what might be expected from a Government that, in’ every sense of the word, is a reflex of the great industrial movement. Proposals for a pension scheme for Australians engaged on active service and their dependants will also be laid before Parliament. This announcement, I am sure, will afford much gratification, and give a sense of relief to the valiant soldiers who are prepared to leave their wives and their families and cross the seas in order to stand by the old British Flag in defence of the Empire which has given us thisbright, sunny land and afforded us such ample opportunities to develop a better social life than we could possibly have- enjoyed in the congested parts of the Homeland. Our duty to the British Empire must never be questioned - must never be forsaken in any degree. I feel quite sure that the men who have volunteered to do battle for home and for country realize that those who stay behind will not be forgetful of their obligations to those who are making a sacrifice which reflects the highest credit on their manhood. The pension scheme is one which undoubtedly has become most acceptable to the people of this country, and won the commendation of other countries. It is a scheme for which we have fought and laboured, and we have had the glorious privilege of seeing in a measure its results throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth. The intimation that an increased pension will be provided for the recipients of relief from that fund will, I think, meet with the commendation of every right-thinking man and woman in the community. There can be no more pitiable sight in life than that of old, indigent persons struggling to maintain themselves in the difficult circumstances with which they are confronted. It was never assumed that the pension to old folks would meet the necessities of life, but it was regarded as a contribution to their support and as a recognition of the work which they had performed in their respective States. That was primarily the purpose of the pension scheme. So many years had to he lived in the country before it was possible for a person to receive the advantage of a pension. We have improved the scheme, but it awaits further improvement. The increased cost of living alone demands that something along these lines should be done; but there is one thing -which commends itself more to me than does, perhaps, anything else in regard to the pension scheme, and that is the determination of the present Government to provide for the widows and orphans of this country. There is undoubtedly a great deal to be said in favour of such a proposal, and very little to be said against it. There can be nothing more degrading or demoralizing to our civilization than the necessity for women who have been bereft of their breadwinners to leave their children to stray about the streets, and in some cases to become street arabs, whilst ;they, the mothers, are struggling at the wash-tub, or at some other occupation for a crust of bread for helpless children. The present Government, stands for the uplifting of the masses of the people.

Senator Bakhap:

– Oh, we will help them in that.

Senator WATSON:

– It is pleasing to hear that remark, and I feel perfectly sure that such a proposal as this only needs to be brought forward to meet, the approbation of every right-thinking man, no matter to which party he belongs. I. am convinced that the country will recognise that it is only a just and legitimate claim which these people have upon the Parliament. Now, in connexion with industrial conditions, we find this paragraph in the opening Speech -

The necessity of restoring normal conditions in Australian industries is fully recognised by my Advisers. To that end Commonwealth public works will be vigorously proceeded with, and active measures will be taken to co-operate with the State Governments, and also to supplement as far as practicable the efforts of individual employers.

This proposal to establish and maintain our industrial conditions will also, I think, meet with the commendation of both parties. The paragraph practically covers what I said in a previous remark. The strength and the stability of a country depend upon its workpeople, and unless provision is made for their employment; unless there is concerted action on the part of the Government and individual employers to open up avenues of employment, the country must necessarily remain in a state of stagnation. We go further, and say that we are prepared to promote the establishment of new Australian industries and to further develop those industries which are already established^ and therefore it is intended to amend the Tariff. This country is practically at the beginning of its career as regards building up great industrial works. We have had to depend upon Germany and other nations for a large quantity of the finished articles which we must necessarily consume. We have all the raw material for the production of everything which we require, individually or collectively. It is, to my mind, a most false position that in a young country such as ours we should be satisfied, with, all the vast opportunities before us, to remain in a state of idleness and inertness whilst other nations are diligently producing the materials of life. At the present time Australia is unable to participate in many of the blessings of civilization without transporting over many thousand miles of ocean articles required for our daily use.

Senator O’Keefe:

– Many of them made from our own raw material.

Senator Bakhap:

– It is due largely to the lack of technical education.

Senator WATSON:

– What I have to say in regard to Protection is evoked, not by anything that the present Government is determined upon, but by my life-long conviction that the prosperity of this young country depends on the protection of industries.

Senator O’Keefe:

– And on good, stiff Protection.

Senator WATSON:

– We do not seek to protect where we cannot produce, but manufactures which can be established here should be nourished and nurtured. I stand for that policy, and I am delighted that the Government, and particularly its leader, is most emphatic in the pronouncement of a protective policy. I gladly follow the lead thus given, as I believe that Protection will largely benefit the workers. But the old methods of Protection did not meet the needs of the workers, and a proposal is, therefore, to be brought forward to which I shall refer later. The people are to be asked at an early date to sanction certain proposals for the amendment of the Constitution; that, I think, will meet with the approval of a majority in each House. It is greatly to be regretted that the electors had not the opportunity to vote on the question at the last election. The late Government should have run the gauntlet on the question, as the Labour Government did in 1913. Although the Fisher Administration had a good programme of performances to its credit, it did not shrink from risking its reputation and its position by proposing amendments of the Constitution which it thought necessary. It did that, although it knew that advantage would be taken by its opponents of the possibility of misleading the electors in regard to what was proposed.

Senator Bakhap:

– Is not the possibility of that an argument in favour of submitting such questions apart from a general election?

Senator WATSON:

– The possibility of submitting the proposals at the time of a general election has been ended by the action of the last Government, whose members must take the responsibility of having refused to the people an opportunity to decide these matters. The present Government, in fulfilment of its pledges, must submit these proposals to the people as soon as possible. The six questions that must be submitted are inseparable. Furthermore, without the new form of Protection, which will protect the public as well as the manufacturers, it is impossible to build up industries which will benefit the whole community. We must protect the employes as well as the employers, and the community from the power of capitalism. We intend also to introduce legislation to bring about uniformity in industrial conditions. There is now no uniformity in industrial laws, and an amendment of the Constitution is necessary to secure uniformity and stability in industrial operations. The electors are also to be given the right to initiate and to veto legislation. This is one of the most democratic proposals that have ever been put forward, and will undoubtedly save the country from decay, and protect it from that autocracy which displays itself in every Legislature, British and other. Those who would deny the people the right of initiating legislation of a progressive character fail to understand and appreciate the position which the people occupy to-day. Education is spreading throughout the civilized world, and not only should the people be free to return to Parliament individuals charged with the making of laws who disappoint them at every’ turn1, but they should be able to develop their own ideas concerning the government of the country. It is proposed also to establish a line of Commonwealth steam-ships. This country ,-s now in the grip of shipping combines and trusts, and the growing evil cannot be counteracted unless the Government establish a line of Commonwealth steamships in the interests of the people at. large. We know how great are the benefits which the people enjoy by reason of the State ownership of the railways. The position of Australia would be very different were its railways, as are those of other countries, controlled by great capitalists. The establishment of a line of Commonwealth steam-ships will do much to break a monopoly that is operating directly against our interests. When you come to consider that men in the Newcastle and Maitland district receive only a few shillings per ton for getting coal, which, when shipped to Melbourne, is sold for from 24s. to 25s. per ton, you will readily agree that the increased cost of living, is due, not to the primary producer, but to the fact that the commodities he produces are handled by great capitalistic interests, and the people suffer as the result of their combination. We on this side realize that this is the position. From time to time we hear a great deal about the discontent of the worker. We are told that he is everlastingly discontented with his lot, and has no sympathy for law, order, and good government. For every effect there must necessarily be a cause. We cannot ignore the fact that the working population represent the bone, sinew, and muscle of every civilized nation, and the strength of every country. To say that the working people, who are prepared to sacrifice their lives in battle for their country and their flag, have no regard for constitutional law, is to utter a paradox. The reason for their discontent is self-evident, and it is that the people are not receiving justice at the hands of their Legislatures; whilst they are within the power of certain vested interests, who use them for their own aggrandizement. It is because of this that we are confronted with outbreaks that are described as lawlessness, and due to a disregard of constitutional government. They are nothing of the kind. There are no more law-abiding citizens than are the workers of the country. The fact that men go down into the bowels of the earth and work for eight hours a day, in the conditions under which these men do work for a wage that is only sufficient to keep body and soul together, is the best evidence of their fidelity and loyalty to the country to which they belong. The fact that the country must depend to so great an extent upon their labours is further evidence that they are not disloyal, but are, in fact, the strength and support of the Empire. I am gratified by the opportunity which has been afforded me to speak on this motion. I very much regret that, owing to the industrial conditions existing in the northern district, I was not able to take so active a part during the late Federal elections as I should like to have done. The trouble which arose in the Maitland district led to 2,500 men being thrown out of employment; and, as president of the organization, I felt that it was my duty to stand loyal to the men, and do what I could to assist them out of their difficulty. The cessation of work and the struggle originated, as honorable senators may be aware, over the afternoon shift, which represents merely another instance of capitalistic greed and monopoly. The men have been seeking for years, by constitutional means, to bring about the abolition of that shift, which has been proved to be absolutely unnecessary. Its adoption only confers privileges upon certain employers beyond those enjoyed by others in the same industry. There is one employer who dominates the whole industry. Whether fortunately for himself or not I do not know, but, unfortunately for society, he is in the happy position of being a millionaire. The men fought for their rights, but, unhappily, there was no means but that of passive resistance by which they could gain them. It was only when all other means had been tried to overcome the difficulty that the men voluntarily undertook to say, “ This thing shall not be.” As a loyal unionist, and as one set up to safeguard the interests of the organization, and, by so doing, to safeguard the interests of the Commonwealth, I had to stand by the men. Had these men in the northern district adopted the course which was followed in 1909 and 1910, when a smaller number was involved in trouble, and called upon others to make common cause with them, we might have been in a most unfortunate position today. The good sense of the organization prevailed, and, rather than see a general situation brought about, we determined that we would support those concerned and those dependent upon them, as far as we possibly could. By that means we were able to limit the trouble. In. the circumstances, I considered that it was my imperative duty to remain at the helm, and I did so. I make this explanation because I know what is expected of a candidate for election. I realized my obligations as such, and was fully prepared to fulfil them in every possible way. I recognised that it was my duty to win the suffrages of the people for the principles enunciated by the party to which I belong; but, in. performing my immediate duty to the organization, I was safeguarding the interests of the entire community, which should be regarded as paramount to the interests involved in a political contest. I found myself in practically the same position as that in which Senator Millen, as Minister of Defence, found himself during the Federal elections. Whilst I deeply regret that I was unable to take an active part in the political battle and put forward my views as to the policy of the Government, I am satisfied that the programme submitted by the present Government indicates a sincere desire to do everything that lies in their power to give effect to the principles for which they stand. What they are unable to do within the powers conferred by the Constitution, as it at present exists, will be delayed only until such time as the people are given an opportunity to amend the Constitution. I might here say that this is but one more evidence of the fidelity of the Labour party to the principles it has enunciated. We realize what it must mean to lay these proposals before the people. It means that we cannot remain in our cushioned seats, but must go before the people to rouse them to a realization of their responsibility and duty in the matter. We are prepared for the sacrifices that may be necessary. We have the courage of our convictions, and are prepared to fight for the principles we have enunciated, and which we believe to be necessary for the future development of this great country. I thank honorable senators for the interest which they have manifested in my few scattered remarks, and I trust that during the regime of the present Government we shall witness beneficent results from concerted action on the part of members, of this Parliament. I trust that the calamitous war which is now in progress may speedily be brought to an end, that the peace which we all so ardently desire, and for which we have been steadfastly working, may be consummated, and that the din of war may be heard no more throughout the countries of the world.

Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.

page 25


Order or Business

Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

– In moving

That the Senate do now adjourn,

I should like to intimate that I anticipate the first business to be proceeded with tomorrow will be the submission of a resolution in favour of a grant to the people of Belgium. It will also be necessary to pass a Supply Bill, and on receipt of that measure from the other Chamber it will be dealt with here. It is further possible that a small Bill dealing with the constitution of the Arbitration Court, which is now before another place, may he forwarded to the Senate. It is a noncontentious measure - purely a machinery Bill - and, if possible, we shall ask honorable senators todeal with it tomorrow.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 9.54 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 8 October 1914, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.