6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Minister of Defence whether, in view of the apparently effective occupation of most of the. territories of the Kingdom of Belgium by our German enemies, the Government will take particular care that the £100,000 proposed to be voted by the Federal Parliament in aid of the Belgian people is given into the hands of some effective Belgian authority?
– I will bring the honorable senator’s suggestion under the notice of the Prime Minister.
– Is the Minister representing the Postmaster-General yet in a position to lay on the table of the Senate the report of Mr. Swinburne, wireless expert engaged by the late Government, and all correspondence, Ac, in connexion with the action brought by the Marconi Company against the Commonwealth for an alleged infringement of its patent ?
– In the absence of my colleague, I desire, for the information of the honorable senator, to read the following communication from the Department : -
With reference to your letter, of the 9th instant, covering an extract from Hansard of the 8th idem, regarding the desire of Senator Findley that Mr. Swinburne’s report upon the action which was threatened against the Commonwealth for the infringement of a wireless telegraphy patent, as well as the papers on the subject, be laid upon the table of the House, I am directed by the Postmaster’ General to inform yon that he does not think it advisable that the papers in question should be laid on the table of the House under the circumstances of the case. There is, however, no objection to Senator Findley seeing them confidentially if he so desires.
– Has the Government any objection to lay on the table of the Senate a statement of the facts leading to the settlement of the action which was brought by the Marconi Company against the Commonwealth?
– A statement show ing how the action stands.
– Yes, and whe ther it is true, as stated in the press, that the action was settled for £5,000. Has the Government any objection to give us all particulars in regard to the settlement?
– I will be pleased to bring the request of the honorable senator under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral, and let him know the reply at a later stage.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice - 1.. Is it a fact that the previous Government purchased the Australian rights of the Marconi system of wireless for £5,000?
– The answers are -
A settlement was made by the previous Government of an action brought against the Commonwealth by the Marconi. Company alleging an infringement of their wireless patent, two of the terms of which were -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Will the Government take immediate steps either to acquire for the Commonwealth the wireless installation already existing at King Island, or, failing that, establish its own wireless station at King Island for the transmission andreceipt of radiotelegraphic messages by the public?
– The answer is -
The Government is prepared to stand by the liberal offer already made to the persons concerned for the establishment of wireless communication with King Island.
– In view of the importance of the paper known as the White Book, a copy of which each honorable senator has received to-day, will the Government see that some copies of the paper bound, not necessarily in a strong form, but to save them from being torn, shall be available for honorable senators about the precincts of the Parliament ?
– Is it the inten tion of the Government to send dentists with the Expeditionary Forces to Europe?
– Not with any of the expeditions?
– No. The men’s teeth will be attended to before they go.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
If he will state, providing the information, is available, the percentage of married men enrolled in the ranks of the First Australian Expeditionary Force, 20,000 strong?
– The answer is -
This information will be available as soon as the nominal rolls are completed. At the present time it is impracticable to give the information.
– Arising out of that answer, do I understand the Minister will see that the information is. available at the proper time?
– As soon as the nominal rolls are completed, “ Yes.”
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
The following papers were presented : -
Bounties Act 1907-1912.- Return of particulars relating to bounties paid during financial year 1913-14.
Defence Act 1903-1912. - Regulations amended, &c.-Statutory Rules 1914, No. 134, 135.
Defence : Clothing Factory. - Report for year ended 30th June, 1913.
Manufactures Encouragement Act 1908-1912. - Return of bounty paid during financial year 1913-14.
Shale Oil Bounties Act 191.0. - Return of particulars of bounty paid during financial year 1913-14.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs whether there have been any official reports of the operations of the Commonwealth trawler Endeavour, and, if so, whether he will make the same available to members of Parliament?
– I will bring the request of the honorable senator under the notice of the Minister, and if there is no objection I will endeavour to carry it out.
– We ought to have them periodically, I think.
asked the Minister rerepresenting the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Will the Minister lay on the table of the Library -
All correspondence in connexion with the transfer of the Pyengana Post Office to the North River, Tasmania?
The reasons which actuated the Deputy Postmaster-General in suddenly cancelling the arrangements for a privatemail bag made up at Gould’s Country for the residents of a portion of Pyengana?
All correspondence in connexion with the private bag made up in the name of Mrs. S. Becker ?
– The answers are -
The papers in these matters are being obtained from the Deputy Postmaster-General, Hobart, and will be laid on the table of the Library as soon as they come to hand.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer,upon notice -
Whether, in view of the decision recorded in a Queensland Court requiring cheques drawn on the Commonwealth Bank to bear stamp duty, the Government will amend the law so as to abolish the necessity for such cheques being stamped?
– The answer is -
An appeal has been lodged. It is considered desirable to await the result before legislating.
– Arising out of that answer, I desire to ask the Minister whether it is the intention of the Government to intervene in connexion with that appeal?
– I have no information on the subject, but I will make a note of the question, and supply an answer at a later date.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether, in view of the disastrous effects of the bad season and the general shortage of fodder throughout the Commonwealth, the Government will consider the advisability of suspending the duties on fodder entering the Commonwealth ?
– The answer is-
The suspension of duties is of course possible only under the authority of an Act of the Parliament. The information at present available shows that importation may become necessary in some States, but the situation might be very favorably changed at any time by a good fall of rain.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Will he lay on the table of the Senate the correspondence sent from the previous Administration to Sir George Reid, the High Commissioner in London, asking for certain inquiries to be made into the distribution of Australian fruit in London?
– The answer is -
There is no objection to laying the papers on the table of the Library.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral,upon notice -
– The answers are -
When the railway was opened between Tocumwal and Finley, the train service was used for the conveyance of mails, and this resulted in an earlier delivery of the Sydney mails to Tocumwal, but rendered it necessary to hold the Melbourne mails for Finley at Tocumwal overnight. Arrangements have, however, since been made for a mail service by road between Tocumwal and Finley, in addition to the services by rail, and, under this arrangement, it will not be necessary for the Melbourne mails for Finley to remain at Tocumwal overnight.
asked the Minister ofDefence, upon notice -
Will the Minister inform the Senate when the Government intend to resume full operations in connexion with the construction of the Henderson Naval Base, Cockburn Sound, Fremantle?
– The answer is-
Instructions have been given to the Naval Board to push on with some immediate works at Henderson Naval Base with all possible speed, but as the matter of drawing plans for complete scheme was referred by the late Government to Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice, I am not able to say when full operations on permanent works will be resumed. Every effort however, will be made to get the work in full swingas expeditiously as possible.
Motion (by Senator Maughan) agreed to-
That all papers relating to the recent tests of coal for Navy purposes ho laid upon the table of the Library.
Motion (by Senator Bakhap) agreed to-
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act to amend the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 63 and64 Victoria, chapter 12.
Debate resumed from 8th October (vide page 25), on motion by Senator Guy-
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.
– I do not propose to detain honorable senators for more than a brief space of time this afternoon. In looking over the Speech which was read by His Excellency the Governor-General in this chamber last week, it seems to me that the various propositions contained therein may very readily fall under two headings - those which embody the party proposals of my honorable friends opposite, and those which have either “direct reference to the war, or which indicate action that will follow as the result of that war. With regard to the former - the party proposals - I do not at present desire to say any more than that it seems to me that my honorable friends opposite are fairly and fully entitled to the fruits of their victory. I only wish to supplement that remark by suggesting that it may be profitable to recall the circumstances under which the last election took place. As honorable senators are aware, it was the first occasion upon which the operation of the provision in our Constitution, known as the double dissolution provision, was invoked. That provision was inserted in the Constitution for the purpose of solving a deadlock which mayat any time occur between the twobranches of the Commonwealth Parliament. It enabled that to be done, but it also enabled the electors’ to express an opinion upon the matter in dispute between the two Houses. Viewing it in that way, as one of those whose opinion has been overridden on this occasion, I feel that no other conclusion can be arrived at than that the electors did approve in that particular of the attitude taken up by my honorable friends opposite. In other words, they have expressed their opinion, by the only means knows under our Constitution, that the principle of preference to unionists is a good and right one, and ought to be adopted in the Public Service of this country. I do not in any way alter the view which I have previously expressed on that point. I arn now merely stating that the Government and those who support them are entitled to claim that their attitude upon this question has been indorsed by the people of Australia.’ With these few remarks, I pass from the mere party aspect of the Vice-Regal Speech, and turn to those larger proposals, which all centre around the titanic struggle which is now being waged in Eur.ope. It seems to me, and I say it with a great deal of pleasure, that though the various paragraphs in the Governor-General’s Speech relating to this matter are necessarily vague - because it would be impossible for the Government to speak with greater definiteness at this stage - still they are paragraphs which would have found a place in approximately similar shape in any speech presented by a Liberal Government. I believe that any Government, under similar circum-.stances, would have expressed themselves in very much the same terms as the present Government, through the mouth of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, have expressed themselves. There is one paragraph to which I desire to make a brief reference, namely, paragraph 3, which, as a matter of fact, gives the clearest and most definite indication of the policy which the Government propose to pursue. Tt reads -
Immediately upon the declaration of war the Commonwealth offered to raise, equip, and maintain an Expeditionary Force 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.
That paragraph is a correct statement of events which have happened. It was the intention of the previous Government to submit to the Imperial authorities offers of three separate contingents. The main contingent of 20,000 troops, a supplementary one, known as the line of transport unit, and a further supplementary one now being formed of infantry and light horse. That was the offer made by the previous Government. Since then, I understand, the present Government have supplemented that by making an offer of a further unit.
– Of two units.
– Does the honorable senator mean two infantry and two light horse units?
– No; a complete veterinary corps and a light horse brigade.
Senator MILLEN. The veterinary corps I regard as supplementing the light horse.
– No; it is a distinct unit.
– The only point I wish to make in regard to this matter is not with reference to the paragraph I have quoted from the Governor-General’s Speech as a statement of what has been done, but with respect to the concluding words of the paragraph -
Additional troops will be sent to Europe as required, until peace upon terms satisfactory to the Allies has been secured. I regard that as indicative of the determination of the present Government, following the lines adopted by the previous Government, to pursue wholeheartedly the policy of co-operation with the rest of the Empire until a successful result has been achieved in the war. I take that to be the policy of the present Government, as it was the policy of the last Government.
– Hear, hear.
– All I wish to say on the subject is that, in the circumstances, I venture to assure the Government, for what the assurance is. worth, that in their efforts to give effect to that policy they will meet with nothing but loyal support from those who sit on this side of the chamber. However we may differ from our friends opposite, as we do very seriously and sharply upon many other matters, every attempt made to carry through to a successful issue the struggle in which the Empire is now engaged - and which I shall show a little later on means not more to the Empire than it does to Australia - will meet with nothing but support from honorable senators who are otherwise opposed to the Government. I want to utter a word of warning with regard to the present war. It seems to me that, although everybody here is aware that, as a matter of fact, the war is on, it has not yet been generally recognised that Australia is at war. A large number of people seem to me to have so far failed to recognise that this country itself is to-day as much involved in war with Germany as if the Germans were invading our shores.
– Some consider, apparently, that we are mere spectators.
– That is so. Every day we hear the expression that we are “helping the Empire.” I glory in that help. But I wish to bring home to honorable senators the fact that we are doing something more. We are fighting to-day for our national existence. In these circumstances I venture to say that any one who would hesitate to afford any measure of support, however small, which might be extended to those upon whom has fallen the responsibility of carrying on the war would not be loyal to the Empire or to Australia. In saying that, I do not wish for one moment to under-estimate or decry in any way the duty which we owe to the Empire as a portion of it. I am satisfied that if Australia were known to be absolutely safe, she would still be extending the same measure of assistance to the other and older portions of the Empire. We have every reason to be proud of this Empire, and proud of the part she is playing in this conflict. I repeat that if Australia were known to be safe so far as its own immediate interests, possessions, and national existence are concerned, if she were assured of safety upon all these considerations, she would, be found loyally and heartily extending to the Empire that assistance which she is endeavouring to extend now. I still wish to bring home to honorable senators the fact that, although in. Australia . at the present moment the horrors of war are far from us, it seems to me that there is. no portion of the British Empire which is in greater danger than is this Australia of ours. I wish, without being an alarmist in any way, to consider the whole trend and purpose of German policy since the Franco-Prussian War. For two generations there has been bred into the German people the sentiment and idea of expansion. That idea has dominated the naval and military policy of Germany. The German people did not set to work and make willing sacrifices for the expansion of their navy, with any belief that it would add to the strength and standing of Germany in Europe. Germany is strong as a military power in Europe. It: does not require prolonged or serious thought to recognise what is behind the German, policy. It is a desire, and. perhaps a natural one, ‘on the part of Germany to extend her- dependencies, beyond the confines of Europe.
– And in Europe as well.
– It may be true that, in a sense, it would strengthen Germany’s position there. I do not thinkthat any one can doubt the fact that if Germany had thrown into military affairsthe same amount of energy and expenditure as she has thrown into the building” up of her navy, it would have made her position unchallengeable there. But the motive of the German policy has not been to enable Germany to extend her power1 in Europe.
– It was colonial expansion.
– Its purpose was to stretch out to other portions of the world. Let us assume that Germany hasthis desire for expansion. I remind honorable senators that, roughly speaking, 10,000,000 of her people leave Germany annually to seek avocations in other portions of the globe. A country that is losing 10,000,000 of its people every year will naturally desire to acquire some portion of the earth’s surface wherein she might gather together those who leave her shores and form a second Germany. Assuming that that desire has animated the policy of the German people, let us see in. what way Germany might gratify thai, policy. No immediate expansion in. Europe would be likely to strengthen Germany’s position, because every area of Europe that she would bring under her flag would bring with it trouble to herself. As it would involve the annexation of. portions of other countries inhabited by people of other nationalities, and these would be to Germany what the two French provinces of’ Alsace and Lorraine have been, and what German Poland is to-day, expansion ins this way would not strengthen thenational position of Germany. She must, therefore, look abroad, and where is she to look ? Is it to be Africa, a countrythat is not generally attractive to European nations, and a country which is already densely populated ? If we turn toAmerica, or even South America, there isbetween those countries and any European nation the bar. of the Monroe doctrine. Germany, is. practically warned off any portion of the American Continent. Where, then, is she to go>?- We have always to remember that a nation seeking to promote- a colonization policy, wants, two things: many acres and few- people-
No other portion of the globe’s surface today oilers those two things with the exception of the Australia in which we stand. Whatever view we may take of the matter, the sooner we recognise the fact the better it will be for ourselves. If it should happen - which God forbid - that the German Emperor should be the victor in this struggle, in my humble judgment, Australia, or a portion of it, will be the prize claimed for the victory. If this be so, it must bring home as clearly as possible the fact that we are today not merely aiding the Empire from, feelings of loyalty and devotion to Great Britain, but are actually engaged in a struggle to defend our right to continue to live in our own way in this country which has come to us by the generous gift of the Mother Country. I make these remarks because it seems to me that the struggle is not going to be terminated very soon. I cannot resist the conclusion - I wish I could come to any other - that it is going to be longdrawnout, and, that being so, Australia will be -called upon to make heavier sacrifices than she has had to make in the past. No one will be better pleased than myself if that anticipation is falsified by the events of the next few weeks: but I do think it necessary to utter a word of warning against undue optimism regarding this struggle, because that sort of feeling, if not realized, is likely to give place to profound disappointment and dejection. We ought, so far as we can judge the difficulties confronting us, to set our teeth and steel our energies to face them, recognising that there is just one thing, and one only, that we cannot do - that is, we dare not cry a halt now that we are in the struggle. We have already invaded German territory and pulled down the German flag from some of her possessions in the Pacific. If the tide of war were to turn and Germany were in a position to do it. we should have no cause of complaint if she acted towards Australia exactly as we have acted towards her Pacific possessions. According to the rules of -war she would be fully entitled to do so. I want to bring that fact home in order to emphasize the proposition which I set out at the commencement of my speech - that it had not seemed to come home to the people of Australia that we were ourselves, actually engaged in war. I have tried -to bring home to everybody the actual position in which we stand in order that there may be no demur to any sacrifice which we aTe called upon to make; but, on the other hand, a hearty and loyal willingness to assist the Government in carrying through any operations which circumstances may require. I trust there will be shown a cheerful readiness to submit to any sacrifice, however heavy and bitter, which may be necessary to secure the continuance of our national existence. So far as it is within my power to assist in any of the difficulties with which this and the other House will undoubtedly be confronted - and I am sure that in this I speak, not merely for the extremely limited number of senators associated with me on this side, but also for a very large number of those whose votes were cast in favour of my political party at the last election, but who, owing to our electoral system, do not find representation here - there will be no captious criticism on our part of any action taken by the Government, provided that that action is directed to carrying through to a successful issue the life and death struggle in which we are now engaged. It would not be out of place at this stage to direct attention to one of the deficiencies in our defence scheme which came under my notice when administering the Department. It had not occurred to me before, for I had never been confronted with the same circumstances; but it is obvious to me now, and will be obvious to everybody once attention is directed to the matter, that our defence scheme has been designed solely for the purpose of resisting an invasion of Australia. All the preparation has been made in contemplation of some raiding party coming here, and we have made none for facing such an emergency as has recently called us to action. That is, we have made no preparation for service abroad. The result is that when this call came there had to be a great deal of extemporization. There was not a single man, officer, uniform, cartridge, or gun earmarked for anything but service within Australia. I do not think it necessary, nor do I believe Australia would approve of, any enrolment of troops in time of peace for service abroad, nor am I suggesting it; but it seems to me that when the Empire is at war - which necessarily means that Australia is at war also - there will be quite a natural desire on the part of this section of the Empire to do its share to secure victory for the common cause. If that is so, it will be a tremendous advantage to us, and to the Empire, if wehave already perfected before the emergency arises an organization for dealing with and equipping troops to send beyond our shores. That is all that I suggest. We may set on one side the equipment necessary for these contingents, keeping it in mobilization stores, and also have, if possible, lists of officers and men who will be willing to serve if foreign service is desired. In the meantime, they will still fill their places in the ordinary Citizen Forces. If that were done, it would save an amount of very valuable time when there is no time to be lost. I merely direct attention to the matter now, not because any steps can be taken at this stage - seeing that the hands of the Minister and the Department are much too full already - but in order that we may not lose sight when the war is over of the necessity of making some preparation for an emergency, for which, so far, we have been but ill-equipped. Paragraph 7 of the Governor-General’s Speech refers to the important part played by our Navy, and by Australia, in connexion with operations on behalf of the Empire. I should like to say, in addition to what is said in that paragraph, that it has been possible for Australia to render to the general cause other assistance, as to the details of which I do not propose to divulge anything at present, but it has been a great sourceof satisfaction to me, as I am sure it will be to honorable senators when they learn the details, to know that in ways quite other than those already made public Australia has been able to render very material assistance to another portion of the Empire. I would say a word about the paragraph which deals with the pensions scheme. It seems to me that the Minister should ; make some supplementary statement on this point. The Speech sets out -
Proposals for a pension scheme for Australians engaged on active service and their dependants will also be laid before you.
It is quite natural, and I can say the feeling exists, that men who are going away should like to know before they go what those provisions are. Prior to leaving office I had announced in the press the basis of a scheme, so far as it applied to the rank and file. I supplemented it by the statement that it would, of course, be subject to parliamentary approval. There is nothing in the Speech to indicate whether the Government proposeto adopt that scheme or vary it, or in what way they intend to proceed. It is quite a fair thing that men about to leave our shores on active service should be informed before they go, so far as it is possible to inform them - and they can be informed, so far as the rank and file are concerned - of the exact basis of the pensions scheme, so that every man may know exactly what provision will be made for those dependent on him in case he falls, or for himself if disabled. The scheme approved by the previous Government provided that if a married man lost his life a pension of £50 per annum would be paid to his widow during her natural life, and that if a man was totally incapacitated, he should receive a pension at the rate of 30s. per week, with an allowance in case of children. That was definitely fixed by the previous Government, so far as the Government could fix it pending parliamentary approval, and was announced in the press. There was, in addition, to be a pension of £12 10s. for each child up to sixteen or eighteen years of age.
– Up to a total of £50.
– That pension appeared to me as being, not unduly generous, but reasonable and fair, and it was one which I think the people of Australia would not only approve of, but could afford to face. When dealing with this scheme, it was not possible to complete details as regards the higher ranks. I put down for the Government Statistician the maximum to which he was to go, and left him to work out the intermediate’ rates and the details. Owing to the catastrophe which occurred on the 5th September I could not approach the matter again, and I only bring it forward now with the view of impressing on the Minister of Defence that, prior to the departure of our troops, a public statement should be made as to whether the Government propose to adhere to that scheme or to put forward one of their own. Any scheme, of course, will be subject to parliamentary approval. I do not suppose that the scheme to be submitted will be defeated by Parliament. It might be varied a little, but it would give the men an indication of the provision to be made for those dependent upon them, or theallowance which they themselves would receive should they unfortunately be incapacitated in serving the Empire. I desire to refer to one other matter, and it is the last to which I want to allude, and that is the final paragraph of the Speech announcing, the appointment of a member of the Ministry as Finance Member of the Naval Board. It reads -
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.
I should like to know from the Minister of Defence exactly what is meant by this appointment - whether, for instance, the appointment is to end with Mr. Jensen’s term as Minister, or whether, when that term ceases, he will become a permanent official of the Navy Office. My honorable friend smiles, but it seems to me that it is a very reasonable question to submit to him.
– It would be a good thing for Mr. Jensen.
– It might or it might not. I do hope that is not what has been provided by the present Government. To my mind it would be a deplorable thing that any one should hold a position in Parliament knowing that the moment he ceased to hold the position he should be available to step in and become a member of the Public Service of the country. I am not prepared to believe, unless the Minister of Defence says so, that that course has been adopted. Still there has been no definite statement made as to the position of Mr. Jensen. I would remind honorable senators that there is on the Estimates a sum of £800 attached to this position. Mr. Jensen, as a member of Parliament, cannot draw the salary - he is debarred by the Constitution from doing so - but it would be possible for him to be appointed to the position without salary for the term of the Parliament, and when he ceased to be a member of Parliament to draw the salary attached to the position. I ask the Minister to make a definite statement as to the exact terms of the appointment of which Mr. Jensen has been the recipient. I wish to mention the reason why the position of Finance Member was not filled before. It was, it seems to me, very much the same reason as …_lu. which induced the present Government to place a member of Parliament on the Naval Board. I did not leave the position vacant from any negligence, or from any doubt in my mind as to what ought to be done. I had firmly decided that it was useless to fill the position with an ordinary civilian member of the Board’s staff, and so strongly did I feel on the matter that some time ago I addressed a minute to my colleagues in the Cabinet, and put a proposition before them. The Government, as was known, and as it had intimated in its policy speech to Parliament, contemplated a re-organization of the Departments, with the view of creating additional portfolios, because we had come to the conclusion that it was absolutely impossible for the number of Ministers then existing to satisfactorily discharge the duties which those growing Departments were throwing upon them. Having come to that decision the Government deemed it advisable to hold this matter over, so that the whole thing might come before Parliament in a proper and orderly way. I should like, if I am not trespassing on the patience of the Senate, to read the substance of my minute. Having given Admiral Henderson’s proposals on the matter, which included, as honorable senators will recollect, a provision for the appointment of a Finance and Civil Member from Parliament, I went on to say -
It is quite clear from this that Admiral Henderson recognised the necessity of having finance closely under the control of some one, who in turn would be in close touch with Parliament, and would exercise that control with a knowledge of the mind of Parliament and in conformity with the policy of the Government.
The adoption of the suggestion of Admiral Henderson would be unconstitutional as regards the Finance Member, but I am convinced that some such check and connexion between the Executive and the financial side of Naval administration is absolutely necessary.
In the very natural desire to make the service as ideally complete as possible, every expenditure is regarded by the officers as necessary, and is put forward with strong recommendations. What is needed is some one who can be relied upon to maintain the balance between these demands and the resources of the Treasury. For this reason, I do not think that the appointment of an official as Finance Member will be of any advantage to the Board, while I am perfectly certain that it would be of no practical value as far as Parliament or the Executive are concerned. I repeat that the only possible effective financial check must come from some one in touch with Parliament.
My short experience at the Defence Department has convinced me that it is impossible for the Minister to exercise an effective check upon finance unless he is prepared to look very closely -into the details of expenditure. To do so, however, makes too great a demand on the time of any one individual, especially as both branches of Defence are embraced in the one Department. The Minister is consequently left with insufficient time for the larger questions requiring attention. One way by which the difficulty might be overcome would be to create a separate Department for the Naval Branch of the service. Though this may come with time, I do not recommend it now in view of the desirability of maintaining the closest co-operation between the two branches of Defence, and also because of the necessity of having, as regards finance, a common control ever both ; but, in the re-organization of public departments included in the Government’s proposals, consideration will be given to the creation of a new position “Corresponding somewhat to that of the British Parliamentary Under-Secretary; with this difference, that, in order to meet the terms of the Constitution, the occupant of the position will have to be a Minister, but he oan aa allotted as Assistant to the Minister for the Naval Branch of the Service. He would be able, in that position, in addition to other work, to attend to those duties which, theoretically, are discharged by the Finance Member of the Board. He would “be entitled in the House, and also in a position, to answer questions relating to the Department. It will also be a further advantage if, as is certain to be the case, he is appointed from the House in which the Minister did not have a seat.
The ordinary official Finance Member, as I have indicated, is, in my opinion, unqualified for the duties that are expected of him, but, by adopting the course which I suggest, the Government will have a really effective check upon expenditure, and, at the same time, a considerable measure of relief will be afforded to the Minister, to the advantage of both branches of the Defence Department.
– Has not the present Government practically followed those lines?
– I am not quite certain that it has. I was seeking to know exactly what is intended by the appointment of Mr. Jensen, whether it is intended that he shall become a public servant when he vacates his Ministerial position.
– Is it an office of profit under the Crown ?
– £800 ; I do not know whether that is profit or not.
-Colonel O’Loghlin. - That is looking a lone way ahead.
– That may or may not be. Mr. Jensen may become tired of the Ministerial position in a month if he knows that the moment he does so, he can take up the duties of Finance Member. I have indicated clearly the opinion which my experience forced upon me. What was first in my mind was the system indicated in the minute I have read, and I only regret that the Constitution does not allow us to adopt it, arid that is the system’ which operates at Home with excellent results through an officer known as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary. He is a member of Parliament.
– What about the First Lord of the Admiralty, then ?
– He corresponds to our Minister of Defence. In my opinion, the Minister requires some assistance. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary at Home is, of course, a member of Parliament, but does not have a seat in the’ Cabinet. That, I thought, would have been an ideal system to adopt here, because I am not in favour of an unduly big Cabinet; it has a tendency to become an institution for the blocking of work if it becomes unwieldy. It seemed to me that, but for the bar in the Constitution, a great reform could have been mad© by the adoption of the English practice. But that not being possible, the previous Government had intended to ask parliamentary :sanction for the creation of additional portfolios. The present Government is seeking to get over the difficulty by what, after all, I venture to suggest is a mere stop-gap, and that is by the appointment of what it terms Assistant Ministers. I suggest to the Government that, if it is its policy to add to the Cabinet, it should do, as its predecessors intended to do, and that is, put the thing on a proper basis, with parliamentary sanction behind it. It is perhaps undesirable that we should alter the Constitution for a matter of this kind, but I do venture to predict that the time will come when it will be necessary to face one or two alternatives - either an unduly large Cabinet, or an alteration’ of the Constitution - to (permit of the appointment of a Parliamentary UnderSecretary. If Mr. Jensen ‘has been appointed Finance Member -of the Naval Board only during his term as a member of Parliament, and the appointment is to cease when the Parliament expires I have nothing -to say against ait. But, on the other hand, if it is intended to be a stepping stone to a permanent position for Mr. Jensen, I feel ; that I shall be compelled ‘to -take the strongest possible exception to it, and especially to the idea of a member of ‘Parliament warming, as it were, a seat in the Public Service, occupying it during his membership with the knowledge that the moment his parliamentary connexion ceases he is to step into the office and. become one of the ordinary public servants. I think it would be not only an undesirable, but an extremely dangerous, practice to be allowed to grow up. I do sincerely trust that the Minister of Defence will be in a position to say that there is no ground for the fear to which I have referred.
– I think that I can congratulate my honorable friend opposite on having made a- record as regards speeches delivered on the AddressinReply. I believe that it is the shortest, the most concise, and, may I say without any offence, the most agreeable speech to which we on this side have ever listened from him when he has been in Opposition. I could not help but admire the dexterous and nimble way in which the honorable member skated on the thin ice of the double dissolution. I was expecting to find that he had a few valuable hints to give us for the future constitutional guidance of the Senate, because it did seem to me that to any student of the Constitution, and especially one who, likemy honorable friend, has been associated with this Parliament from its inception, the events which have taken place here during the past twelve months leading up to the double dissolution, the necessity for an election, and the ultimate result, would have suggested some useful lesson, which, with the freedom that comes to a Leader of the Opposition, he would consider it his duty to communicate for the benefit of the Senate and the country. Certainly the question of the double dissolution does bring to my mind this, fact: that not only is it fortunate for those of us who happen to occupy seats upon this side of the Senate, but it is fortunate for the country that the recent elections resulted as they did. We might have witnessed, for example, the spectacle of’ the party represented by my honorable friends opposite being again returned with a majority in the other House, but with a. minority in this Chamber. What would have happened then ? We should have had a joint sitting of the two Houses. Upon what? Upon the Bill abolishing preference to unionists in Government employment. After that sitting had been held, the position would have been one of “ as you were,” and then, I suppose, my honorable friends would have started again to deliberately bring about another double dissolution.
– No. They would have had. enough.
– They would have had to do that or else abandon their programme. I wonder that they do not admit that they made a mistake in tendering the advice which they did to His Excellency the Governor-General - that they put an unjustifiable and strained interpretation upon that section of the Constitution which provides for the solution of deadlocks. But all these things my honorable friend, the Leader of the Opposition, left severely alone, so that we are entirely ignorant of the lessons which he may have drawn from the elections or, at. any rate, we have not had the benefit of them this afternoon.
– Because I thought it was advisable, as far as possible, to refrain from dealing with party matters.
– But the Constitution is not a party matter.
– It was a party matter..
– It was madea party matter, I agree. But now that we. have gone through this experience, both parties in the interests of the Constitution, and particularly of the Senate, might very well consider what should be done in the future.
– The Minister of Defence is deducing that the Senate should not be subject to a dissolution in any circumstances.
– And, judging by my honorable friend’s experience, I do not know that he will not be found to be a strong advocate of that position in the future. As to the more urgent matter of the greatwar in which the Empire is engaged, I am sure that we all listened with great interest to the remarks of Senator Millen. Coming from him, those remarks possess a greater force because he* had to bear the brunt of the work which fell upon the Commonwealth Government during the initial stages of this war. He had to make the preliminary preparations, and to bear all the initial anxiety thrust upon the Government on account’ of that: war.
– He came throughit well, too.
– He did. The Leader of the Opposition knows - probably nobody .in this Parliament better - that our offers of assistance must be governed by a consideration of our ability to equip troops, so that it is not merely a question of raising men. I do not doubt that Australia could easily raise double the number of troops we have raised up to now. But I ask my honorable friends if we could equip them. It must be remembered that the mere raising of men and the sending of them forward unequipped must be contingent on the ability of the War Office to equip them. These are matters which, of course, cannot be discussed on the floor of Parliament for obvious reasons. But they have to be borne in mind by any Government responsible for making offers of assistance. The Leader of the Opposition knows very well the difficulties that he encountered. No doubt they occasioned him considerable anxiety, and- he knows just how rauch can be done in the immediate future in that regard. I approve of his affirmation that Australia should make the greatest sacrifices of which she is capable, and in any way that we can initiate proposals to render assistance to the Mother Country that will be done. I am sure that the Government and the Senate are heartily in sympathy with the affirmation that Australia should make the greatest sacrifices possible. We are glad that in this regard we have in both Houses the assurance of the utmost support from members of the Opposition.
X wish now to say a few words regarding Senator Millen’s suggestion that our defence scheme makes no provision for service abroad. That has always struck me as a weakness, for the reason that in the very expeditions that were recently organized by the late Government for service in the Pacific - in our sphere of influence, and in islands practically in our own seas - we could not send a single soldier unless he were a volunteer. There was no organization in existence for dealing with those islands. That does seem to me to be a weakness, and it is one which, when the present ‘ trouble is over, any Government which may be in power must set themselves seriously to think over and to deal with. It will be all the more necessary to deal with it in the future, because, if the war turns out as we- all hope it will, our sphere of influence will be widened by the fact that what wore formerly German possessions are possessions under the British flag, and, with the consent of the Allies,, may, after the war, remain under that flag. In that case this matter will become more insistent of settlement. The setting of a certain quantity of equipment aside, Senator Millen knows, is impossible. He knows perfectly well that it has taxed the whole of our resources to provide the equipment necessary for our troops without making any provision in excess of that. In regard to the pension scheme, Senator Millen did not make’ his details public.
– So far as privates were concerned, “ Yes.”
– So far as any details of the scheme are concerned, he did not make them public. He will,’ therefore, excuse me if I do exactly what he did. I cannot make them public, because at the present time those details are before the Cabinet, and I am not in the position to make them public until the Cabinet has approved them. But, so far as the minimum rates are concerned, they are not less, but rather more, favorable than were those which my predecessor himself proposed. That is as much as I am at liberty to say at present. Concerning the position occupied by Mr. Jensen on the Naval Board, I am rather glad that the Leader of the Opposition has raised this question, because it had never occurred to me that we were endeavouring to find a job for Mr. Jensen after he ceases to be a Minister. Now that it has been raised, I shall certainly see that the item of salary is struck off the Estimates.
– That will be £800 saved.
– Mr. Jensen has been appointed to his position on the Naval Board for just so long a period as he remains a Minister. Certainly he has not been appointed as an ordinary civil servant, nor is it intended that, should he cease to be a Minister, the position which he fills will be held by any other than one of the Assistant Ministers. T. was very interested to hear the minute which Senator Millen read this afternoon. The honorable senator did not leave a copy of that document in the Defence Department.
– Ministers do not leave in public Departments the minutes which they submit to Cabinet.
– That is so. That makes it all the more surprising that immediately on assuming office I should have penned a minute to the Cabinet on almost similar lines. I am glad that he approves of .the action that has been taken so far as it has gone. As he remarked, Admiral Henderson, upon page 29 of his report, recommended that there should be appointed to the Naval Board a -
Finance and Civil Member (to be a member of Parliament, of the Senate when the Minister is in the House of Representatives, and mcc versa, or as an alternative this member might be a Senior Naval Accountant Officer or a Civilian Accountant).
In setting out the members of the Naval Board, Admiral Henderson affirms that the Finance and Civil Member of that body should deal with finance, contracts, and legal questions. That is the position which is to be filled by Mr. Jensen during the time that he remains Assistant Minister. The question of the creation of additional portfolios has been rendered insistent consequent on the progress of the Commonwealth during the last four years. Admittedly we have met it only in a temporary way. But I put it that at present the temporary arrangement which has been made is the best possible one. It is not wise at the present juncture to make any drastic changes in the distribution of portfolios. Perhaps that applies to the portfolio of Defence more than to any other portfolio. Senator Millen will, I am sure, be the first to recognise that there are some Departments in which responsibility may be divided with advantage, whilst there are other Departments in which it cannot be divided with so much advantage, even though the work in them is sufficient to occupy more than one Minister. There is one advantage in dividing responsibility in the. Defence Department which does not arise from dividing responsibility in any other Department, in that there are two branches of Defence, namely, the military and the naval branch. If we have two Ministers, one controlling the naval, and the other the military side of the Defence Department, that branch of the Department which is presided over by the stronger Minister will secure a greater vote of money and more prominence than will the other branch, not because it may be the soundest from a strategical point of view, but merely from the circum stance that one Minister possesses a stronger personality than the other.
– One Minister may give greater attention to the naval work of the Department, and vice versa, and the same disadvantage will arise then.
– Both branches are essential to the defence of the country, and yet, as Senator Gould has pointed out, because a more active Minister presides over one branch than presides over another, more work may be accomplished in that branch than is necessary, and the other branch may suffer. By making one Minister responsible for both sides of this Department, he is in a position to equalize matters, and, by having the assistance of a junior Minister, he is able to accept responsibility for both branches, while at the same time being relieved of a great amount of the routine work of the Department/ Practically that is what is being done under the present arrangement. Mr. Jensen is not only to act as Finance Member of the Naval Board, but I am glad to say that he is relieving me of a large quantity of the routine work of the two branches of the Department, and is thus enabling me to devote more time to the bigger questions which must engage one’s attention. Just here may I say that, in my opinion, we have inherited a legacy of an almost vicious character from State Administrations. Prior to Federation, the Minister of Defence of the different Colonies had comparatively an easy time. He had only a small naval force and a small military force to deal with. The consequence was that he was able to give his attention to the minutest details of administration, and members of Parliament were able to bring under his personal notice minute questions of administration. At Federation all these six administrations were formed into one Department, but, unfortunately, we inherited the system of administration that was previously carried out in the various Colonies. Under that system the Minister had to approve of the minutest details of administration, and we have followed the same system. It is impossible for the Minister under Federation to deal with all the matters of routine that are now left to him as a consequence of the system we have inherited.
– Compensation to the extent - of £2 for a wounded horseman cannot be made without the matter coming before the Minister of Defence.
– That is so. A vast amount of detail comes to the Minister which it was, perhaps, possible for him to deal with in the separate Colonies prior to Federation, but which it. is quite impossible for the Minister of Defence to deal with to-day, even though he worked 24 hours in every day. If the Minister of War or the First Lord of the Admiralty in the Old Country were required by the system of administration there to do the tilings which the Minister of Defence is required to do here, what sort of progress would be made in naval or military affairs in the Old Country?
– The British Expeditionary Force- would not be away yet.
– It would not, and the British Navy would never have been built. This brings home to us the fact that we need not only to rearrange portfolios, but to rearrange methods of administration. We need to unload upon responsible officers a vast amount of the work of dealing- with details which now rests upon the Minister of Defence. Unless we do so the death-roll of Ministers must be added to.
– We do not want the honorable senator to die.
– I do not wish to die yet, but Senator Millen will I know heartily approve of what I am saying, because he has been through the mill. The. honorable senator realizes, I am sure,, that a large number of things come to the Minister that ought never to come to him at all. Taking their cue from the system of administration, members of Parliament write to the Minister upon matters of detail which no Minister can find- the time to give his personal attention to. The Minister has to send, the requests made to him to some officer to deal with, and if responsibility for manmatters of the kind to which I refer were placed upon reliable officers,, members of Parliament would be able to approach those officers, and have the matters which they wished inquired into dealt with at once. As we have inherited the system which was in force prior to Federation, members of the Federal Parliament have been compelled to follow the procedure which was followed in the past by members of the State Parliaments. The consequence is that they aTe unable to give their con stituents satisfaction. There is a lot of circumlocution before matters can be attended to, and the Minister is submerged in an ocean of details which leaves him no time to devote to bigger matters to which he should be devoting himself, especially at such a juncture as the present.
– The Government have three years in which to make alterations.
– That is so, but at the present time it is impossible to remodel anything. I am glad that Senator Millen has passed the Governor-General’s Speech with practically little or no criticism. He recognises that most of the matters put forward are inevitable,, either because of the conditions brought about by the war, or from the fact that the party now represented by* the Government have made certain pledges to> the electors-, and intend to do their best to carry them out. I trust that the friendly way in which the honorablesenator has spoken on the- AddressinReply is indicative of what we hope will prove to be a fact, that we- have a veryworkable and pleasant session before us.
– I rise to support the motion moved by Senator Guy. While it is quite true that the recent elections were, to a certain extent, fought upon the issue of preference to unionists in the employment of the Commonwealth, I think the Government have done the right thing, in: the meantime, in granting preference to unionists in Government employ by an administrative act. But I trust that they will not omit, as soon as an, opportunity presents itself, to embody the principle in an Act of Parliament. Unionists know well that,, while the present Government remain in power, preference to unionists in Commonwealth employ will be assured; but they cannot tell what might take place in the event of a defeat of the Government. Previous speakers have dealt somewhat extensively with the present position, so far as the war in Europe is concerned. T should like to say that the action of the previous Government in deciding to send a Military Force to the assistance of the Empire, and the action of the present Government in proposing to supplement’ that with’ a further- Force of 20,000 men, meets with my warmest approval. I feel sure that tlie people generally do mot yet ever remotely realize the true .position <of affairs. We are told that the -present war is due to “the dominance ‘of the Prussian element in the German ‘Empire ; but we have to recognise that, while that may be so, the whole of the manhood of the German Empire are np in arms against us, and will leave nothing undone to make the German Empire supreme, not only in Europe, but everywhere else, if they can. 1 am pleased that Australia has done the right thing in proposing to send at least 40,000 men to the support of the British Empire in the struggle. Some people are disposed to .complain that we are not doing the right thing in voting the .nominal sum of £100,000 for the assistance of the Belgian people. It is well, in the circumstances, to consider what has been done by Great Britain. The people of Great Britain are not nearly so well off as are the people of Australia, and yet the British Government have given the Belgians a free loan of £10,000,000, whilst the population of ‘Great Britain is only a little over 40,000,000. It will be seen that if Australians gave to the Belgian people in the same proportion as the people of Great Britain have done, we should be giving £1,000,000 instead of £100,000. The vote in aid of Belgium has my wannest approval. I am pleased to notice that in the proposals to be submitted later on the Government intend to submit a measure to provide pensions for those who may be left destitute as the result of the war. Nothing is more deplorable than to find that those who have been prepared to fight, and, it may be, to die, for their country, are at a later stage to be seen begging at street corners. I am pleased, therefore, that the Government are determined to take such steps as may be necessary to provide pensions for these people from the Consolidated Revenue of the Commonwealth. Another proposal under the same heading is worthy of the approval of honorable senators. I refer to the proposal to increase the amount of old-age pensions, an in- cren.se that has been somewhat long delayed. Old-age pensions, as honorable senators are aware, are purely due to the work of the Labour party. The other side occasionally claim that they are responsible for the existence of Old-ag Pension Acts on the statute-hooks throughout the Commonwealth. The Old-age Pension Act of New South Wales was exclusively the work of the industrial and political Labour movement. Up to the time they took a hand in the matter the question was discussed only in the most off-hand way. I remember that on one occasion we deputationized the late Sir William Lyne, and pointed out to him that we wanted oldage pensions for the workers of the community when they could no longer assist themselves. We told him that if he did not carry through an Old-age Pensions Bill that session we would pass him out, and he found time to do so before the termination of that Parliament. Up to that time nothing of a definite character had been done. Dealing with the matter from a Commonwealth point of view, we know that the payment of Commonwealth oldage pensions was entirely due to the action taken by a previous Labour Government under the provisions of the Surplus Revenue Bill. The present Federal Government realized the necessity of coming to the assistance of workers and others who have been worsted in the battle of life, and they are prepared to increase the oldage pension to an extent commensurate with the increased cost of .living.. I -desire to refer for a moment to the Navigation Act. This measure was enacted some considerable time ago, but, for some reason or another, it has not yet been proclaimed. I should like to know why a proclamation bringing that Act into operation has not yet been published. It is a very important measure, and one that concerns a very great number of people. I hope that the Government in the very near future will see their way clear to proclaim the Act, and bring it into operation. Amongst the measures mentioned in the Governor-General’s Speech is one referring to the Electoral Act. We are promised an amendment of that Act. While the Act, on the whole, is working satisfactorily, it would be as well to have some amendments made as soon as possible. For instance, we are told that returning officers, deputies, and poll clerks ought not to be appointed from those who have strong partisan views. Most men, whether they admit it or not, have partisan views more or less strongly marked, and any effort to fill these offices from people who have no political views must be doomed to failure. One amendment to which we may look forward with confidence would be a recognition of the fact that all men have partisan views, and that an effort should be made to insure that all parties have fair representation amongst the permanent officials. Instead of assuming that the returning officer and poll clerk have no political views, we ought to consider a proposal to pay from the Consolidated Revenue scrutineers to represent both parties. I do not wish to bring a charge against any officials, because, unless I have very strong evidence to support a charge of that character, I would not make it; but my proposal would give a degree of confidence to electors and candidates which at present they do not possess. I am pleased that the Government have decided to go on with general legislation, notwithstanding the present state of war in the Empire. I think they are doing the right thing, and I do hope that, when it comes to a question of footing the bill, they will not be advised by those who advocate that the necessary taxation should be imposed on tea and kerosene. No tax on those commodities ought to receive the support of any member of the Senate, no matter on which side he sits, for it would distinctly be a tax deliberately aimed at the poorer section of the community.
– A tax on kerosene would fall almost exclusively on country people.
– Any tax of that kind ought to be sternly opposed by all members of this Chamber. An effort ought to be made to place taxation for this purpose upon the shoulders of those best able to bear it. There are different ways in which the money can be raised, and, when the time comes to consider the question, I shall be fully prepared to express my views on it. The Government have also recognised the necessity of providing employment for the very large numbers who have been thrown out of work. They propose to deal with the locking of the Murray, the Darling and its tributaries, and, so far as I can gather from the Speech, which is somewhat vague on that point, to also go on with the necessary works at Canberra. I am sure that those proposals, when they come before us, will have the sympathetic support of honorable senators. They are urgently required, because there are large and increasing numbers of men who fail to find employment; and I trust that, as soon as possible, the Government will see their way to proceed with the works mentioned. The question of a uniform gauge for our railways will be dealt with. It has been postponed time after time, and the task is becoming more costly every year. No Government have,, so far, had the courage to tackle the problem in a definite manner, but the present Government promise to do so. I hope they will stick to their promise, and! that, at any rate, a start will be made to bring all the railways of the Commonwealth to the uniform gauge of 4 ft. 8£ in. It is indicated that the Government intend to submit to the electors, as soon as possible, the referenda proposals for the amendment of the Constitution, already twice submitted. I trust that matter will not be overlooked, because we cannot carry out many of the ideals of the Government unless those amendments are, carried into effect. I hope, therefore, that as soon as possible the Government will see their way clear toput them before the people.
– Like those who have preceded me, I do not wish to introduce into my few remarks anything superlatively controversial. Those who have addressed themselves to the Chamber so far have very properly referred in the first place to the tremendous war in which our Empire, in common with practically all the European peoples and one of the Asiatic races, is engaged. All questions of internal policy, all questions of government, must properly be regarded as complementary, and even subsidiary, to the great matter of seeing that our Empire is triumphant in the struggle. Senator Millen very properly remarked that the people of this country hardly seemed torecognise what this war means. Australia has been classed by one of our poets as the only nation from “ the wombof peace, ‘ ‘ implying that we were born in peace, have grown to material prosperity in peace, and have become the inheritors of the most important part of theKing’s oversea dominions in time of peace. A hostile shot has never been fired along our shores, and, with the exception of the trouble which took placeat Eureka fifty or sixty years ago, therehas been nothing even remotely approaching civil war amongst the Aus– tralian people. Senator Millen’s very proper remark about the Australian people not fully recognising the seriousness of the struggle applies also in some degree to the people of the Old Country. I regret to read that the statesmen of the Old Country, even at this most critical juncture in the Empire’s fortunes, have not taken into serious consideration the recommendations of that worthy general, Lord Roberts, for the establishment of a system of compulsory military service. No more pathetic sight has been presented to ‘the gaze of any person who has the Empire’s fortunes at heart than that man, with a military career behind him so honorable as to justify his Sovereign in conferring a peerage upon him, going up and down the country, not of his birth, but of his love - for I understand that he was born in India - advising the people in the piping times of peace to prepare themselves for that war, which, in his prescience, he foresaw to be inevitable.
– And they heeded him not.
– As the honorable senator very properly interjects, to our great national regret, they heeded him not. Fortunately, he still lives, and fortunately the position of the Empire, although very grave, is still, owing to her undoubted and unchallenged naval supremacy, such that there remains to us, not only the hops, but practically the assurance, of ultimate victory. We have read in communications from newspaper correspondents in the Old Country what war means. We read how our enemies, in the wildest’ paroxysms of bestial fury, pursue shrieking maids and matrons in Belgium. We have never had such an experience in this country, and God forbid we ever should, but it is one of the possibilities of war. A great many people believe that in this day of The Hague Convention war is conducted somewhat on ball-room lines, but war is a very pitiless and terrible business, and the statement is as true to-day as it was 2,000 years ago, when one of the most renowned of ancient philosophers put it into the mouth of the Cretan, that in war the wives., property, territory, and institutions of the conquered pass to and become the property of the conquerors. That is war, stripped and in its naked reality.
– A great man once said; “ War is Hell,” and I think that is the best way to sum it up.
– It is hell. A victorious war on the part of our present enemy undoubtedly holds out tous the prospect, not of being the practically independent occupiers under the beneficent protection of the British Empire of this part of the King’s oversea dominions, but of being reduced to the condition of the vassal peoples of German Poland and those otherportions of the German Empire that are subject to the domination of Prussia. I trust that if this Parliament at any time deems it necessary to make a recommendation to the Parliament and Administration of the Old Country, it will take the form that we are as firmly resolved as the people of ancient Rome to see that pur Imperial supremacy is maintained, and that we advise the people of the Old Country, in common with other portions of the Empire, to wage war relentlessly until we triumph. This cannot be a war of half measures. Much as I regret the misery inflicted by war, I would very much rather see the war prosecuted to itsultimate conclusion than see a peace patched up when there can be no real peace - a peace so patched up as to allow the old sore to be reopened later on and the conflict fought out anew. Let us recognise the fact that this is the great crisis of our Imperial fortunes, that the liberties of mankind, as we people brought up under British civilization understand them, are at stake, and that we are one and all resolved to fight this war relentlessly to its conclusion, in order to secure the triumph of our arms and the triumph of our allies. If we at any time feel that the people of the Old Country are wavering under the strain and stress of the war, let us address them as Pitt found it necessary to address the people of England in another crisis of its fortunes. He had to put heart into them when their hearts failed them on finding their Empire confronted with the gigantic power of the French Republic. We want at the head of affairs men who will shape like Pitt. He never despaired of the fortunes of his country, but relentlessly initiated combinations which would bring about the consummation of the legitimate ideal of the British people that no one continental power should ever be allowed to become so great as to cause the peoples of the free nations of Europe to feel that their liberties were at stake. That is the British ideal. That is the ideal which has been pursued by the best Administrations of the Old Country for the last 300 or 400 years. One thing has always been kept in view by the politicians of our Empire, and that is that no continental Empire should be allowed to become so great as to menace the liberties of mankind. It is, I think, a matter for congratulation that some members of this Parliament have recognised what their duty is, and that as soldiers they are about to lead certain brigades or regiments in the Expeditionary Forces on the field of battle. It does not fall to all of us to fill a military position or to have military rank, and I hail with pleasure the “fact that Colonel Ryrie and Major Abbott are going to fight for. Imperial supremacy on the battlefields of Europe as officers in command of certain units in our Forces. We may place that fact alongside the other one, namely, that sixty or seventy members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons are doing their duty on the field of European battle. That is another illustration of our determination not to be behind-hand, and I am sure that if it is necessary to fight for two or three years - or even for twenty-three years, as Great Britain had to fight Napoleonic France - we shall continue the struggle with a full assurance that we must, in the interests of mankind, achieve victory. I do not intend to attempt to slay the slain. I do not propose to bring up for discussion, unless I am forced, the question of who shall have the merit attributed to them or him of having inaugurated, and fairly well established, the Defence system of the Commonwealth. My opinion always has been that the merit could be fairly apportioned between the two political parties. That was the attitude I took during the recent campaign, and I am not going, as it were, to attempt to rehabilitate the ghosts of controversy once more. But I think, seeing we are the inheritors of a continent, that the defence scheme - even when considered along the lines on which it has been projected - is completely inadequate. My opinion is that the people of this continent will have, sooner or later, to recognise that they must have something in the shape of a standing army. We must have professional soldiers, for it is to men whose lives are, to quote an English historian, “one long preparation for the day of battle,” that we must look for victory if the Commonwealth is at any time assailed. Nations with colonial possessions have standing armies. Australia has colonial possessions, and I think that we will have them in greater measure as a consequence of the present war. We need to have men who will get more than the training which it is projected to give to our Citizen Forces. I ask honorable senators to consider this point, that the importance of the British Expeditionary Force now serving alongside the army of Republican France is not altogether due to its numbers. Of course it pleases us to think that one British soldier is, man for man, considerably more valuable than any soldier in the ranks of the armies allied to ours, or the armies opposing ours. That is pardonable on the part of all peoples. I think that Conan Doyle has referred to it in his very entertaining, if somewhat apocryphal, reminiscences of Brigadier Gerard. Gerard said his experience through the Napoleonic wars taught him that the men of all nations were brave, and if anything the French were a little braver than others. We Britishers believe that all men are brave, but that the British are a little braver than the men of other races. That may be so, but one thing is certain. It is the long training that has been given to the British soldier which makes his individuality and numbers so important at the present time. Men who have been trained for five or six or seven years are undoubtedly more than equal to men who have had only two or three years’ training, and who, perhaps, have come quito fresh from the shops, the factories, and the fields to enroll themselves in the ranks of the defenders of their country. The importance of the British ExpeditionaryForce is due to the fact that the men have had long military service; they have had that barrack-yard training which enables them to stand punishment in the face of an enemy - punishment which would completely disorganize less well-trained troops. It is the professional soldier who stands the punishment on the battle-field, and if the British unit transported to the battle-fields of “the Continent had numbered 400,000 or 500,000, instead of 150,000 - nien of the same quality as those who were sent - the issue of the struggle during the next two or three months would be beyond all doubt. In fact, that long and very severe retreat on Paris would not have had to be effected, because the battle of Mons would have resulted in an emphatic victory for Britain and her Allies. From that I deduce the necessity for the Australian people, who claim not only a continent, but a continent with appanages providing in the near future for at least a satisfactory nucleus of our Defence Force in the shapeof a standing army.
– You do not agree with Lord Kitchener on that point.
– It does not matter if I do not. I have every respect for Lord Kitchener’s opinion ; but I have a greater respect for the opinion of Earl Roberts. At the same time, my military reading has extended over a sufficiently wide field to justify me in forming an opinion of my own in these matters.
– Is your opinion contrary to Lord Kitchener’s?
– I do not know. I do not think that Lord Kitchener at any time would deliver himself of the opinion that a citizen force was equal to a regular army. I am aware that General Sir Ian Hamilton, who has quite recently reported on our Australian Forces, does not lay the flattering unction to our souls that citizen soldiers are equivalent, or will be at any time equivalent, to the same number of regular soldiers. He simply says that we may get a very fair service from the Australian Army as projected; but I think he told the. people of New Zealand that it would require two of its citizen soldiers to be the equivalent of one professional soldier; so that my opinion in the main is not in contravention of that expressed by military experts - by men who have seen service, have handled large bodies of troops, and should know the value of men in battle. It is well for us to recognise that we are facing an Empire in arms, and a people who are at least equal to us in every line of industrial life; whose scientific discoveries have at least been on a par with ours; whose technical utilization of products, investigations in chemistry, and so on, surpass our own. We had better recognise at once and for all that to defeat these people we shall require the greatest effort of which our Empire is capable. I have no doubt of the result.. Every other question is completely subsidiary to this question. There is a great difference between the two parties here. But my honorable friends can feel sure that in everything which is necessary to secure the triumph of the Empire they will have, few though we may be in numbers, the whole-souled support of senators on this side of the Chamber. In regard to any measure necessary to finance the war, or to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion to our arms, they will not find us lacking in assistance. They will also find that any criticism that we may have to offer will be of the most generous, and certainly not of a captious, character. I thought that our leader, Senator Millen, properly acknowledged that the Liberal party was defeated at the recent general election.
– We were most substantially defeated. It is a matter of bitter regret to me that we were defeated, because of one thing. I predicted, although that issue was very carefully kept from the public gaze by our opponents, that a Liberal defeat would at once be assumed by the Labour party as a justification of the principle of national preference to unionists. Many issues are involved in a general election. The fondness of the electors for individual candidates comes in. I venture to say that, had there been a referendum on the question of whether we should have national preference to unionists or not, there would have been an overwhelming negative.
– You are wrong.
– But, be that as; it may, the only course that was. open to us was taken. The verdict can be reasonably construed as adverse to us, and- we, for the time being regretting the result, do. not attempt to hide our eyes to the fact that such a result was attained. I would not have dealt with this matter had not the Minister of Defence, in rather a genial fashion I admit, expressed his surprise at our leader not having made more forcible reference to the fact. I am not going to say that I will take up the gage of battle, for it is not a battle, but I will certainly, as is my habit, take up the gage of discussion which my honorable friend has thrown down.
– You are a political prisoner of war for three years.
– I am not a political prisoner, but a free man. For the first timeI am in opposition. It has been my political fortune to support a Ministry, and the exigencies of party government are such that during my parliamentary career I have had, so to speak, to keep the brake upon myself, often recognising that things must be handled as they are. 1 have supported a Ministry, and have always been known, notwithstanding that I am not in favour of party government, as a good party man. The Minister of Defence has certainly invited a little friendly discussion of the issue that brought about the recent general election which resulted somewhat disastrously to the Liberal party. I would, have addressed myself to a consideration of tins matter even if the Minister had not invited me to do so, because I would have been impelled to that course by some of the observations made by Senators Guy and Watson, the mover and seconder respectively of the motion for the adoption of the Address-iii-Reply. The former - I have not read the Hansard report of his speech, but I hope that I shall not misquote him - said that the GovernorGeneral “was made to say” certain things. He evidently recognised the responsility of Ministers for the utterances of the Governor-General. Not only are Ministers responsible for those utterances, but, as a matter of fact, they are responsible for the actions of the GovernorGeneral. There can be no doubt of that. Now let me discuss the situation which arose in consequence of the submission to the House of Representatives, and subsequently to this Chamber, of a certain principle that was embodied in the Bill and which was responsible for the double dissolution. If there be one matter more than another in connexion with the gulf which separates the Liberal from the Labour party, it is that of preference to unionists. I am aware that many members of the Liberal party, in the interests of industrial peace, have, in times gone by, permitted legislation to be placed on the statute-book embodying the undemocratic principle of preference to unionists. I say that the punishment of the Liberal party in regard to this matter is just, for it has not been true to the principles of Democracy. I know that Australian Democracy has now to veil its face. The statue of Democracy in this country may be properly veiled in crepe, just as the statue at Strasburg has been veiled in crepe for the last forty years. T am confident, however, that, even as the statue at Strasburg has had the crepe unrolled from it since the outbreak of the present war, so the statue of Democracy in Australia will have the crepe unrolled from it. If the Labour party decries the Liberal party for objecting to preference to unionists, I am content to regard hostility to that principle as my very own.
– The Liberal party will be talking about preference to unionists in a few years as if the principle were their own.
– The honorable senator is welcome to it, if he can discover anything in my utterances to condone the undemocratic principle of preference to unionists.
– I suppose the honorable senator will admit that his leader, Mr. Cook, was in favour of it?
– I am not responsible for that. I invite anybody to discover any inconsistency in my utterances, so far as preference to unionists is concerned.
– Does the honorable senator recognise Mr. Cook as his leader?
– I ask Senator O’Loghlin to refrain from discussing what took place nine or ten years ago. It would be quite easy for me to dig up from the recorded deliberations of this Chamber ample evidence that the Labour party which is now claiming credit for our defence scheme, not very long ago expressed themselves as being hostile to it.
– I referred to what Mr. Cook said only a few weeks ago.
– If Mr. Cook is in favour of preference to unionists, he and I are Liberals of a different brand.
– Will the honorable senator continue to follow him?
– I sympathize with Senator O’Loghlin’s curiosity in that regard, but I will not satisfy it.
– Will the honorable senator admit that those who made the greatest noise about preference to unionists in Tasmania were defeated at the last election ?
– The electors were not sufficiently discriminating. Did not every one of the honorable senator’s party endeavour to hide as much as possible the principle of preference to unionists? Didthey not talk of everything but that? It was the one issue which they attempted to evade. I say that the Liberal party, by their action during the last Parliament, showed that they were hostile to the principle of national preference to unionists.
– They fought the issue upon it, and lost.
– I fought the election upon it, I confess. To my mind, that principle embodies a cardinal difference between the two political parties. The Government Preference Prohibition Bill when submitted, followed the usual constitutional course, did it not? I invite a reply from honorable senators opposite. It was presented to the House of Representatives passed through that Chamber, and forwarded to the Senate, where it was rejected. After the proper constitutional interval it was again submitted to the other Chamber, and afterwards forwarded here, where it was again rejected. Then a certain constitutional position was created. The Senate had in its full view a section which provides machinery for dealing with such a situation. Is that a correct statement of the constitutional position, or is it not?
– The honorable senator is putting the position just as it was.
– The Constitution provides machinery for dealing with a crisis such as its framers foresaw might arise.
– Does the honorable senator think that the framers of our Constitution intended that the Senate should not be able to reject any small Bill?
– The Government Preference Prohibition Hill was not a small measure. Will the VicePresident of the Executive Council deny that the authors of our Constitution made provision for a dissolution of the Senate if it designedly took up a certain position ? They provided machinery for the settlement of questions which were vitally at issue between the two Chambers.
– The honorable senator is making very heavy weather of it.
– The Minister of Defence knows that I am not. I am absolutely proving my case. When the late Ministry, which secured the passage of the Government Preference Prohibition Bill through the more popular Chamber, decided to advise His Excellency the Governor-General-
– The honorable senator is begging the question. When they decided to advise His Majesty’srepresentative to dissolve both Houses of Parliament, what justification had they for their action ?
– They are not very pleased with the result of their action.
– There is no need for the honorable senator to rub it in. We admit defeat. But I am not discussing that matter. Had His Excellency the Governor-General not accepted the advice of his Ministers, the latter would certainly have resigned. In doing so, they would only have been following constitutional practice. What alternative would then have been open to the Governor-General ? That of sending for the Leader of the Opposition, who could not possibly have carried on in the circumstances.
– Why not?
– Because he was in a minority in the House of Representatives. The only course open to the GovernorGeneral, I repeat, would have been to send for the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Fisher. Had. the latter formed a Government it would have been immediately defeated, and then the only course open to His Excellency would have been to dissolve the House of Representatives.
– And the result of the elections showed that that would have cured the deadlock.
– Let us postulate a Liberal victory upon that-
– That is unthinkable.
– The Minister of Defence knows that my argument is unanswerable, and is therefore attempting to divert me from it. Had a Liberal Administration been returned with the same or an increased majority in the other Chamber, Ministers would have been in honour bound to again submit the Government Preference Prohibition Bill. Is not that so?
– We cannot say what they would have done.
– Will honorable senators opposite admit that in such circumstances they would have recognised the verdict of the people by allowing the measure to pass through this Chamber ?
– I would not. Then the double dissolution could have come.
– Why not before?
– Because the possibilities of the Lower House had not been exhausted.
– The honorable senator recognises that the contitutional machinery could legitimately be put into operation. But since he has interjected so freely, I wish to say that, in my opinion, he very unfairly attacked the Governor- General for having accepted the advice of his Ministers.
– I attacked him for inconsistency in not submitting the referenda proposals to the people.
– The honorable senator attacked him for having taken the advice of his Ministers - advice for which they must constitutionally be held responsible. By so doing, Senator Ferricks took up an absolutely unfair position, because, as Senator Guy has pointed out, His Excellency, in his opening Speech, “ is made to say “ certain things for which the present Ministry are responsible. I say, without fear of contradiction, that His. Excellency simply put the constitutional machinery into operation.
– He put it behind his back.
– The unreason of the attack upon him lies in the fact that it fell to his lot to be the first GovernorGeneral to grant a double dissolution.-
– He was inconsistent in not sending the referendum questions to the people after having granted the double dissolution.
– The honorable senator blinks the fact that, although our Constitution is an admirable instrument of government, it has its imperfections, and he, further, blinks the fact that had the Administration of the day been confronted with the necessity of submitting the referenda questions to the people they might have avoided doing so by the simple expedient of refusing to make the necessary financial arrangements.
– Then the GovernorGeneral could have thrown the responsibility upon them.
-The GovernorGeneral did not need to throw any responsibility upon them. They accepted their responsibility. I say that a general election, -when the personal equation is bound to influence the decision of the electors, is a most improper time at which to submit to the people by referenda proposals involving a substantial alteration of the Constitution, and practically doing away with the Federal principle upon which the Commonwealth is founded.
– Because the vote was likely to be too high to suit the honorable senator.
-We will see what will be the result of the submission of those proposals at a time when there is no general election.
– I hope they will be submitted at no other time.
– If the Labour Government succeed in getting the referenda proposals through Parliament, and submit them to the people at a time when there is no general election, and if a constitutional verdict in their favour is given by the people of Australia, I, for one, will accept the situation, and bow to that verdict, but until that time I shall remain an uncompromising opponent of proposals that have for their object the utter abrogation of the truly Federal principle of our Constitution. I would not have discussed this question had I not been invited to do so. There is always some imputation of cowardice upon men who fail to discuss measures they have fathered, and which have led to their defeat. I regret my good comrades who have fallen on the political battle-field, but I say that rather than that we should have had the constitutional tangles which must have occurred had the Cook Administration been again returned with the Speaker’s casting vote and a hostile Senate to face, it is a fortunate circumstance that the decision of the electors has been that for the next three years the Labour Government have to shoulder the responsibility of administration. That is better than that we should have a Liberal Government like the last with only the semblance of power, and lacking the political means toput its measures upon the statute-book.
– It is better in any circumstances.
– I do not say that it is better in any circumstances. The Democracy of Australia may seem to be deaf and blind to the true principles of freedom for the time being. The people may not yet properly appreciate their responsibilities in regard to these matters, but I have no doubt of what the ultimate result will be. I feel sure that Liberal principles will be upheld, and that the Liberal resistance to the undemocratic principle of preference to unionists in national employment will be justified by the electors when they come to view this great question in a clearer light. This question has, for the time being, been decided by the electors, and we reluctantly accept their verdict, hoping that the decision will be reversed in a few years’ time.I have said that I would not have discussed this matter had I not been invited to do so.
– Then I am glad I issued the invitation.
– The whole business is passed. We appealed to the electors, and they thought our appeal not well-founded. But I say that if the Labour Administration succeeds in placing the initiative and referendum upon the national statute-book, the very first question that will come up for the decision of the people by a referendum, when the personal equation will not enter into the matter, will be this question of preference to unionists in national employment. I promise my honorable friends opposite that we shall have a decision upon this matter, which is so repugnant to the true principles and instincts of Democracy, at the earliest date at which the constitutional machinery for such a decision can be provided.
– The honorable senator’s contention is that the people are against preference to unionists, but the Liberal party are so unpopular that they are prepared to swallow preference to unionists rather than support the Liberal party.
– No, the Minister will not catch me in that way. I am not giving an explanation, but am accepting the fact of the defeat of the Liberal party. If the honorable senator would like to have my explanation of our political defeat I can give it to him in a word. The war had caused many electors to be apprehensive in regard to employment, and many of them, having in view the example set by Western Australia and New South Wales, thought that a Labour Administration would go to greater lengths in providing employment than a Liberal Administration could safely go. They decided, on that account, to support Labour. It was simply with them a matter of self-interest. I should like to say, also, that a very unworthy use was made of the fact that there are about 100,000 old-age pensioners in Australia.
– The honorable senator told the electors not to swop horses when crossing the stream.
– I did. I should like to see no election, involving the existence of the Ministry, take place during the currency of the war, if it should last until this Parliament is dissolved by effluxion of time. I should prefer that the Government who have been returned to power should continue to hold the reins of power, and, with the assistance of Liberal representatives, support the fortunes of the Empire in this terrible crisis.
– We appreciate the honorable senator’s condescension.
– It is not a matter of condescension, and the honorable senator would appear to be one in whom anything like a sense of political chivalry is lacking. We on this side will live to fight politically another day, although we did not run away at the last election. Honorable senators need not make any mistake about that.
– The people are good judges.
– The people judged, certainly; but I do not say that they were good judges. I take the responsibility of saying that I believe they were very obtuse and purblind judges, in regard to a vital question of Democracy - the question whether there should be preference to unionists ; and industrial sectarianism established.
– The honorable senator is abusing the bridge because it did not carry him over.
– I remind the honorable senator that it did carry me over, and that I won under a very serious handicap. Reverting to the point I was endeavouring to make, I say that there were 100,000 old-age pensioners in the
Commonwealth, and they were most unworthily and secretly appealed to to reject Liberal candidates who were said by Labour candidates to be anxious to deprive the poor old people of Australia of their pensions.
– It was quite true as regards Sir “William Irvine, who described the old-age pension legislation as “ soup-kitchen finance.”
– If, in view of the highly honorable record of the Liberal party in connexion with this matter, the honorable senator has the political effrontery to say that the Liberal party were hostile to old-age pensions, I am reluctantly compelled to believe that he is capable of saying anything. Who drafted the Constitution, which embodies the machinery for the granting of old-age pensions? No Labour man had a hand in it.
– The honorable senator supported a breach of the Constitution.
– Let me tell the honorable senator that the double dissolution provided for by the Constitution was condemned by one of his leaders, the Hon. Wm. Hughes, who, nevertheless, as a member of the Legislature in New South Wales, endeavoured to make provision for a single dissolution of the Senate if it should dare to oppose the will of the House of Representatives. In the circumstances, to say that we strained the Constitution when we put into operation for the first time the machinery provided by the Constitution, is to take up the most illogical attitude which could be assumed by any man claiming the leadership of a political party.
– When the honorable senator says that the Liberal party asked for a double dissolution, does he know the reasons why it was asked for?
– As the Assistant Minister has put a direct question to me, I am prepared to give him a direct answer. I did not know the actual verbiage in which the reasons were stated, because I was absent from the Commonwealth at the time; but I have no doubt whatever as to the reasons which were embodied in the communications from the Liberal Administration to the GovernorGeneral, and I accept my full share of re sponsibility in the matter. I was one of those who urged upon the Liberal party the necessity of bringing about a double dissolution. It was a question of the greatest importance to every man who professed himself a Liberal, in the interests of those who supported us in the 1913 elections, to bring the hostile Senate before the people for their judgment. I do not blink the situation. I was one of those who advised the course that was followed. Let me tell honorable senators opposite that the victory they secured astonished nobody more than it did themselves. In discussing questions that have been decided, I feel that I am doing something unworthy of my position as a member of the Senate, because the issues confronting the Empire are so momentous that we should not devote any of our valuable time to a prolonged and controversial discussion of questions already temporarily decided. I reiterate the conviction I expressed in 1913 that the people of this country will have to make up their minds that they have arrived at national manhood. We must provide a Fleet and an Army commensurate with our national aspirations, which, before the present war, were remarkably high. We wanted to have a say in what was done in the New Hebrides, and we looked to be consulted on questions of Imperial policy. At the same time, we found many of those who are supporting present Ministers urging the cutting down of the defence vote. I am not afraid to repeat in the Senate those state-, ments which I have made from the platform, and I am not in the habit of manufacturing false political evidence. If the people of this Commonwealth still maintain their high standard of national aspirations, they will have to be prepared to embrace with both arms a policy which will have for its object the filling up of this continent. Until we have a population of 25,000,000 in Australia this Commonwealth will not be safe. I am not one of those who believe that wars are going to end with the consummation of the war in which we are at present engaged. It may be but the prelude to other wars, and long years of havoc may yet have to run their destined course. Whilst European civilization is exhausting itself, the power of another civilization is becoming greater, and it does not require any large amount of prescience to foresee that there arc many grave problems confronting, not only the people of our Empire in general, but the people of this Commonwealth in particular. I arn not going to discuss this business in any very particular way, because I promised the electors during my campaign that, whatever my opinions might be on certain matters that were not suitable for public discussion, I would embody them in a confidential memorandum addressed to the Minister of Defence, whether of a Labour or Liberal Administration. All I can say now is that that will be done, and be my conclusions valuable or valueless, those intrusted with the guidance of affairs in this part of the King’s oversea Dominions must attach to them just the importance which they think they deserve. I believe that in the near future we shall have to take into consideration the establishment of a standing army as the nucleus of our scheme of a Citizen Defence Force. It will have to be the. kernel around which the pulp of the fruit must gather. Without that kernel of professionalism in military matters the Commonwealth cannot hope to maintain itself in the eyes of the world, for without full military training, and without full knowledge of military usage, the greatest natural courage is of no avail, but tends only to the destruction of those who possess it. I give the Minister of Defence my full assurance that the measures which his Administration project to maintain our military supremacy will receive from me, in my humble capacity, my full support, and that, if at any time I have to address criticism to any of those measures, it will be of a generous, and certainly not of a vitriolic, character.
Senator STEWART (Queensland) if 5. 27]. - I have listened with much interest to Senator Bakhap’s speech, and am in full agreement with his statement that Australia will never be in a position of safety until, instead of 5,000,000 of population, she has 25,000,000. Unfortunately, we are met here to-day considering the policy of a Government and discussing the Address-in-Reply in’ circumstances altogether new to Australia. We are at war in common with the Empire, and 1 think every one of us trusts that the Empire and its Allies will come out of the war successfully. I am not one who lays very much stress on the Imperial idea. I believe, however, that, although the path may be somewhat rugged and difficult, the end is almost sure. I believe, also, that there will be, not only a political revolution in Europe, but probably an economic revolution, as a consequence of this war. We hear a great deal about fighting the enemy, maintaining the integrity of the Empire, and all that sort of thing, but 1 wish to bring home to the minds of honorable senators that there is a greater enemy even than war stalking throughout Europe to-day, and probably having some little footing in Australia. The great masses of the people of Europe live in a continual war with poverty. War between nations has killed millions, but poverty has killed thousands of millions, and will continue to slay them unless our social and economic conditions are made somewhat different. At a time of crisis like the present, a bold policy is not only desirable, but necessary. The Government have failed in this respect. Their policy has not risen to the occasion. Something very much more might have been proposed, and something very much greater accomplished. There is, however, one item in the Government’s policy with which I am in full agreement, and which I welcome very heartily. That is the revision of the Tariff. I have been hammering at this question for a considerable period, in common with a number of other members of this Parliament. If, years ago, when the Labour party had the power to do it, they had proposed to revise the Tariff in a protectionist direction, Australia would not find itself in the position of stress and difficulty in which she is now. That must be evident even to the meanest understanding. Our industries, or a number of them, are at present paralyzed, simply because we have no means of using up within our territory the raw material which we produce. Everybody sees now the great benefit Protection would have been to Australia, but the wise man is not he who sees what ought to have been done in the past when a great crisis like this arises. The wise man is he who sees beforehand the policy which is going to be most beneficial for the people of the country. I am glad the Government have taken up the question of Tariff revision. In fact, both political parties are pledged to an alteration of the Tariff in a protectionist direction, and I hope that both parties are serious. I trust that when the revision of the Tariff is entered upon the question of revenue will be put where it ought to be - out of sight altogether.
– We must get money.
– Yes ; but not,. I trust, from the Tariff. The only use I have for a Tariff is to create industries. I can easily understand the politician of the old school - an honorable gentleman who apparently finds himself altogether out of place in a modern gathering of politicians - clinging to the old idea that the best way to raise revenue is by means of a Tariff. Honorable senators ought to know that raising revenue in that fashion means dragging taxation out of the pockets of the poorest people in the country. That method of raising revenue was instituted by the rich with the direct intention of shifting the burden of taxation, or the cost of government, from their Own shoulders on to the shoulders of the working classes. That is the whole history of Tariff legislation. If the rich saw the benefit of raising money in that Way to carry on the government of the country, if they saw that by adopting this method they could avoid paying for the cost of government themselves, and compel the working people to pay it, now that the people of Australia have come into their own and are the real governors and rulers of this country, they will surely be stupid people indeed if they do not in turn remove this load of taxation from their own shoulders and place it upon the broad, strong backs of the rich.. My only interest in a Tariff is that it shall create industries.. I am not very sure whether the Government, and the party supporting the Government, are altogether sincere in this matter.
– Is the honorable senator speaking for himself?
– I am speaking for myself now. I am on my feet, as the honorable senator can see, and I am supporting a Protective Tariff, as he can hear. What’ I said was that I am not very sure that the Government and certain members of the party are as sincere as. I would desire in seeing a protective policy carried out. My reason for making that assertion is this: Whilst everybody is sensible of the fact that great expenditure is now being incurred, and must continue to: be incurred for a con siderable time, and that revenue is almost bound to decline, owing, not only to the war, but to the drought with which we are unfortunately afflicted, the Government have given no indication as to how they are to raise revenue to meet the added expenditure. I think, therefore, that I am fairly justified in coming to the conclusion that an attempt will be made to pass, not a really Protective Tariff, but a Tariff that will still yield a very considerable proportion of taxation. We in Australia are contributing more to the taxation of the country through our Customs and Excise than are the people of any other civilized country that I know of, with the exception of New Zealand. Our present Tariff is a purely revenue one, and it has altogether failed to establish industries. The figures of our imports tell that tale to a nicety. Last year we imported nearly £80,000,000 worth of goods, and I am informed by those who ought to know that a large portion of these goods could have been manufactured on Australian soil by Australian hands if our Tariff’ had been sufficiently high to keep out the foreign article. I trust that when we come to consider the Tariff the only object we shall keep in view is the creation of industries. We hear a great deal about the money we have been sending to Germany in the past. That is what Protectionists have been crying out about all the time, but our voices have been like the voices of people crying in the wilderness. We have been buying pianos and’ a hundred and one other commodities from Germany. We have been spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in. purchasing from that country commodities which we might very well have manufactured here. We have spent millions in buying from other countries goods which might have been, and could have been, produced here if our Tariff had been such as to keep the foreign goods outside. As I have said, we are paying more per head through Customs and Excise than are the people of almost any other country. Last year I think that the sum was about £3 10s. per head. In the United States of America - a very fair sample of a country which has instituted an effective system of Protection - the revenue from the Tariff is,. I think, about 25s. per head. That is what I would like to see the yield from the Australian Tariff reduced to.
When we arrive at that point, we will have a truly Protectionist Tariff. I know that some of my Free Trade friends may point out to me that, although there is high Protection in the United States of America, a great deal of poverty exists there. But my reply to that is that that poverty is not caused by Protection, but by something quite other than Protection. It is caused principally by the fact that the natural wealth of the country lias passed into the hands of a comparatively small number of people. But Protection has done something for the people of the United States of America. It has made them probably the most accomplished industrial unit in the world to-day. The American workman, with his up-to-date machinery, can turn out more commodities, perhaps, than any other workman. Protection has done that for America, if it has done nothing else. Therefore, let us imitate its example as regards making our Tariff effective from the industrial point of view. But let us keep clear of the other danger. I do not wish to labour the subject. I trust that when we have an opportunity of dealing with the Tariff we will make it effective from a Protectionist point of view, and the other question of revenue, I think, we shall be able to settle effectively also.
– You will acknowledge it is very important that we must have more money?
– We must have money, and we know where bo look for it.
– That is good.
– I wish to allay the honorable senator’s fears. We know perfectly well where we can find money to carry on the Government without having recourse to a purely revenue Tariff.
– You will find me friendlier than ever if you know where there is such a lot of money to be had.
– I said at the beginning of my remarks that I agreed with the honorable -senator when he stated that we ought to have in Australia, not 5,000,000 of people, but 25,000,000. That is the goal which every true Australian ought to set himself or herself. How is it that we are in such a condition as we find ourselves in to-day? If -Great Britain and the Allies unfortunately are beaten in the present great struggle, then, as some honorable senator has pointed out, Australia will not exist any more, as we know it. It will become probably a ‘German dependency. How is that? How are we so completely bound up with the success or failure of Great Britain? Simply because there are only 5,000,000 people here; because we are neither able to put a fleet on the sea, nor an army on land. If we had a population of 25,000,000 we would be in a position to effectively defend ourselves, as far as I am able to see, against any possible invader. We are in duty bound, therefore, to strain every nerve to bring about that result as quickly as possible. One means of largely increasing our population I have already referred to, and that is the passing of a Protectionist Tariff. It has been calculated by persons who have taken some interest in the question that if we manufactured three-fourths of the goods now imported the number of additional people who would be employed in making those goods, and their dependants, -would nearly double the population of Australia. Surely that would be a substantial gain ! A policy by means of which it is possible to increase the population of the continent/ from 5,000,000 even to 7,000,000 is one to which I think every true Australian ought to give adhesion. The Tariff is one method by which, if it is made really Protectionist, we can largely increase the population. But, fortunately for ourselves, that is not the only string to our- bow. We have a more effective means of increasing the population if ‘we only have the courage and the honesty ‘to take advantage of it. Australia has a population of nearly 5,000,000 persons, and embraces an area of over 3,000,000 square miles, being nearly as large as the United States of -America. lt is capable, I believe, of maintaining a population equal to that which is now living in the latter country. There are over 100,000,000 persons in America to-day, and if we include the blacks as well as the whites, the total population probably is about 115., 000, 000 or 120,000,000. Australia is just as capable of maintaining a population of that number as is the United States of America. Of course, I have no hope that hi the immediate future we will reach the 100 millions point, but I do believe that, with a policy such as has been outlined - that is, ia really Protectionist policy, and a policy which will give the people access to the lands within a comparatively short period - our population will increase to 10,000,000, and 15,000,000, and 20,000,000. In 1910 the Labour party was so seized of the desirability of increasing the opportunities for land settlement, and of dealing with the question of land monopoly, that it passed a tax which was designed principally to break up the big estates, which, unfortunately for Australia, exist here in large numbers. The tax has been in operation for about four years, and while ithas yielded a few millions in revenue - between £5,000,000 and £6,000,000-I think I am safe in asserting that, as regards breaking up the big estates, it has been an absolute failure.
-Colonel O’Loghlin. - No, decidedly not.
– It is very easy to say no, but I would advise the honorable senator to do what I have done, and that is to take up the Commissioner’s reports for 1910, 1911-12, and 1912-13, and study them. If he goes through the figures which have been published he will find what every man will find for himself if he cares to examine the question, that, instead of aggregation having diminished since the passing of the Land Value Tax Bill, it has actually increased.
-Colonel O’Loghlin. - That is not the experience in our State.
– I am telling the honorable senator the facts. I have here the figures for South Australia, which I may say I had checked by the Land Tax Commissioner. I will just give the result of the last year. In the Central Division the taxable area is less by 715,706 acres than it was in the previous year. In New South Wales the area is less by a little over 30,000 acres, while in Victoria the area is greater by 125,289 acres. In Queensland it is greater by 56,342 acres, in South Australia by 520,183 acres, in Western Australia by 136..206 acres, and in Tasmania by 222.571 acres.
– By 222,000 acres?
– Yes, the taxable area in Tasmania and the other States is greater than it was a year ago.
– It shows the progress of Tasmania.
– It shows that aggregation throughout the Commonwealth, instead of diminishing as a consequence of the land tax, is actually increasing.
– In spite of the land tax, it is increasing.
– What I wish to point out is that aggregation is increasing.
– Nearly a million pounds’ worth of land has been sold in Australia by payers of the Federal land tax since the tax was inaugurated.
– I am not responsible for these facts. All that I wish to point out is that the land tax has failed to bring about the desired result. If the tax had been effective no increase of aggregation could possibly have taken place.
– Do you really believe that people can be taxed on to the land? They can be taxed off the land.
– I do believe that people can be taxed on to the land, and I believe that they are kept off the land by the failure of the State Governments and the Commonwealth Government to impose effective land value taxation. The honorable senator knows a great deal more about this subject than persons might think to hear his interjections. Suppose, for a moment, that he owned a piece of land worth £10,000, that there was no land value tax, and that he could hold on to that area in the sure and certain hope that at the end of five or ten years “he could double his money. Would he not hang on to it? Of course he would. It would cost him nothing to do so. That is what is happening all over Australia to-day. But if an effective land tax were imposed, and if he had to pay £500 a year for the privilege of holding on to that 10,000 acres of land, he would think twice about sticking to it. In. short, he would either have to use the land himself or sell it to people who would use it. That is how land values taxation will have the result of putting people on the land.
– How is it that history teaches us that it has driven people off the land ?
– The honorable senator talks about history. Let me give him a little modern history. I suppose that he knows something about the Dominion of New Zealand. He knows that between twenty and thirty years ago the people of New Zealand were leaving it just as the people of Tasmania are leaving it to-day.
– Where are the people going from Tasmania to-day?
– I intend to complete what I began to say. After I have finished I will endeavour to inform the honorable senator where his constituents are going and where they ought to remain. Between twenty and thirty years ago New Zealand occupied the same unfortunate position as Tasmania occupies to-day. Every man and woman who could pay his or her passage out of the country left it. People who had the management of affairs in their hands began to feel uneasy, and to cast about for the reason of this. They very soon discovered it, because it was as plain as is the nose on a man’s face. They saw that it was because the natural resources of the country were in the hands of a comparatively small number. The lands of the country were monopolized by a few. Those in authority set themselves to change that state of affairs, and they did so by the imposition of a land values tax. The almost immediate result of the passing of that measure in New Zealand was a large influx of population, and from that day to the present time the Dominion has not turned back. She has gone on prospering, adding to her population, and increasing her wealth in every direction, solely on account of the policy of breaking up the big estates which was adopted there.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - What was the tax and what were ‘the exemptions ?
– I am not going to enter into details.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - -The honorable senator is comparing the New Zealand tax with the tax levied by the Commonwealth.
– I am telling the honorable senator what has been the result of the tax.
– Why has not the heavier tax produced a similar result here ?
– Because it is not heavy enough.
– In the case of the middle-sized estates the tax in New Zealand is heavier than is the Commonwealth land tax.
– And in the Dominion a system is in vogue which we have not adopted, but which we might adopt with very treat advantage. There every man values his own estate, and the Government reserve to themselves the right to purchase it at that valuation, with 10 per cent, added.
– Has not that provision been abandoned ?
– I hope not. I trust that when we recast our land values taxation we shall include some such provision in our Act, because I am perfectly satisfied that the valuations throughout Australia are much lower than they ought to be. If I were a representative of Tasmania, and held the opinions which Senator Bakhap has voiced this afternoon, I would be ashamed of myself. Let us have a look at the tight little island which lies beyond Bass Strait. It contains only about 180,000 souls.
– The honorable senator’s figures are wrong- It has a population of nearly 200,000.
– I will give the island the benefit of a population of 200,000. I say that it ought to carry a population of 1,000,000, or even 2,000,000, and if it had not been governed by a lot of hoary, crusted Conservatives that would have been its position to-day.
– It has the second largest population per square mile of the Australian States.
– That is not saying much. It must be recollected that there is a comparatively large area of good land in Tasmania. There are a large number of big estates in the island.
– And close to the railway.
– Then Tasmania possesses an asset in its water power which is worth hundreds of thousands - probably millions - of pounds. Yet no use is being made of it. In the hands of intelligent people Tasmania would be the most prosperous State of the Union.
– Does the honorable senator know that the Tasmanian Labour Government are taking over that power?
– I read the announcement with very great pleasure, and I trust that some good will come out of it. I believe that Tasmania, under proper conditions would be the great manufacturing State of the Commonwealth. If its lands were made available to the people we would not witness the spectacle of her sons and daughters leaving it for the mainland. They would be delighted to stay in their native State, and thousands and tens of thousands of men and women from the more tropical portions of Australia would be glad to throw in their lot with them.
– Tasmania has lost 46,000 of her native-born.
-That is a disgrace to the Government of any community. With regard to land monopoly, I have made a broad assertion which is capable of proof, that the Commonwealth land tax has not only failed to stop the aggregation of large estates, but that it has not been successful in bringing land within the reach of small holders.
– We want to increase the dose.
– Exactly. What is our object? I will tell honorable senators what I conceive our object ought to be. In Victoria there are holdings of 640 acres and under numbering 50,564. These holdings embrace an area of 9,1 47,159 acres.I should say that that area carries a population of between 300,000 and 400,000. In excess of 640 acres there are 9,676 holdings, embracing an area of 17,363,659 acres, so that honorable senators will see that a minority of the owners occupy a larger proportion of the land of Victoria than do the smaller owners.
– Land of what class? That is very pertinent to the consideration of this question.
– I am informed that much of it is the best land in Victoria, and before going much further I shall quote something in this connexion which will probably carry some weight with the honorable senator. What do we want to do? We want to increase the number of people settled upon the lands of Australia. When we find that on areas of 640 acres and under such a large proportion of our rural population is maintained, is it not reasonable to assume that if this other huge area could be broken up into small holdings it would result in benefit to the community as a whole ?
– If the land is of the same character and class, but only then.
– Before going further, let me quote a few sentences from a pamphlet issued by James W. Barrett, M.D. Senator Bakhap will, I am sure, attach more importance to anything he may say than to anything I may say.
Dr. Barrett says ;
In the words of Professor Cherry, it will come as a matter of surprise to most of our readers to learn that the closely settled country, with its bountiful rainfall and boundless resources, is in many ways the least progressive part of Victoria. An anomalous state of affairs is found in a number of the richest districts. Taking the area under cultivation and the number of live stock kept, we find that during the last twelve years there has been an actual shrinkage in such districts as Warrnambool, Kyneton, Kilmore, and Lancefield. The land for miles round these centres is probably as rich as that in any part of the world. These districts should have closer settlement in all senses of the word. But, instead of the farm areas being reduced by subdivision, they are steadily growing larger by aggregation. Whenever a farm comes into the market it is bought up by the wealthiest neighbours. The evil is intensified because, as the land goes out of cultivation, the workmen leave the district and general stagnation ensues. As soon as the plough is laid aside the stock-carrying capacity of the district becomes stationary. Hence we can at once see why the richest agricultural centres in Victoria are the least progressive. Not one-tenth of the available land is under cultivation.
That is Professor Cherry. Here is Dr. Barrett’s own comment -
As these lands have come under the operation of the State land tax, and in some cases possibly under the operation of the Federal land tax, it is quite evident that taxation is failing to effect the desired end.
– Then will not the honorable senator concede our position ?
- Senator Bakhap immediately comes to the conclusion that as the taxation which is at present imposed has failed to bring about the desired result, so any kind of taxation which might be imposed would also fail.
– That is where I differ from the honorable senator. I say that the tax has failed because it is not high enough to accomplish its purpose. Just as the big guns of the Germans were able to reduce Antwerp with comparatively little trouble, whereas their smaller guns might have been aimed at that fortress for years on end without accomplishing any serious result, so I say the big estates in Australia might be reduced by an effective land value tax, though they remain almost untouched by the impost which is now levied upon them. My own opinion is that effective land value taxation is all that is necessary to accomplish the desired result.
– What, in the opinion of the honorable senator, is effective land value taxation ?
– The present taxation is not effective, and if anything is to be accomplished it must be increased. I do not know to what extent it is necessary to increase the tax to bring about the desired result, but, by experimenting as we do in other relations of life, we could possibly find out. I am quite in favour of experimenting in this direction. Will Senator Bakhap assist us to do so ? I do not think any member of the Senate can say definitely what tax would exactly bring about the desired result, but I believe that every one of us is in favour of trying an experiment to see what amount of taxation would be effective.
– And of going on until we make it effective.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - What about exemptions?
– I am not talking about exemptions. I have no standing here to-night to advocate any exemption other than that now provided for on the Labour platform. That platform provides for the exemption of land up to £5,000 in value. That is the policy of the Labour party at the present moment with respect to exemptions, but what its policy may be ten years hence I am unable to say. What the policy of the Fusion party may be one year hence Senator Gould could not tell me, and I do not propose now to assume the role of prophet. I have shown the position in Victoria. The State is languishing because of land monopoly. There are only 1,300,000 people in Victoria, and I “think I am well within the truth when I say that if every acre in the State were put to its best use, it could easily maintain a population of at least 10,000,000.
– It is not the lack of land, but the lack of water, that is the trouble here.
– Even the water question might be dealt with effectively. We must begin at the beginning. We must begin by destroying land, monopoly. If the State of Victoria, or the Commonwealth, went in for huge irrigation schemes, while large estates are in the hands of their present owners, the people who would reap the harvest of our endeavours would be the present owners of the land. I say that, previous to any expenditure in that direction, we should, by means of effective land value taxation, secure to those who would actually occupy and use the land, as well as to the people generally, whatever advantage might accrue from public expenditure in the direction suggested by the honorable senator.
– Is Senator Stewart aware that in Tasmania there is an Act permitting the compulsory purchase of every estate that can be classed as a large estate ?
– I may tell Senator Bakhap at once that I have always been an opponent of the re-purchase of land by the Government, for the reason that the moment the Government enter the land market, that moment values harden all round.
– If the Government desire to compel a man to sell, they should buy his property.
– I am utterly opposed to anything in the way of the re-purchase by the Government of private estates. I think it is a bad policy, and one which can have no beneficial .result to the masses of the community. Now let us look at the state of affairs in. New South Wales. In 1912 there were 75,000 holdings in the State, covering an area of 12,000,000 acres. The population settled on that area was somewhere about 500,000. I have not the slightest doubt that that number might be doubled with very little difficulty. But there is another aspect of the land question in New South Wales which invites our attention. There are 22,000,000 acres of land in that State owned by 718 people; 12,000,000 acres are split up into 75,000 holdings, whilst 22,000,000 acres are held by 718 owners.
– In what part of the State is that land located ?
– It is all over New South Wales. A very large proportion of the 22,000,000 acres comprises some of the finest territory in New South Wales. I suppose that is something new to Senator Bakhap ? This is a question which the honorable senator has never looked into, thought of, or studied.
– I took it in my stride years ago.
– I was under the impression that a large proportion of the 22,000,000 acres was indifferent country, but I am informed, on the very best authority, that this area is composed largely of the best land in New South Wales, land in the possession of big squatters, and which was “ peacocked “ thirty or forty or fifty years ago.
– And the Federal Land Tax has done them no harm?
– It has done them no harm whatever. We are languishing for population, and yet 718 people own 22,000,000 acres of the finest land in New South Wales. Will any man have - the assurance to stand up in the Senate and say that that is a state of affairs which is conducive to the prosperity or safety of this continent? I say that we want to see every acre of that land settled. How is that to be brought about? Is it by looking at it, and doing nothing, or by simply allowing things to drift, and taking no hand in their management? We shall never do it by that means. We must put our hands to this plough if we are to accomplish anything in the way of breaking up the big estates in Australia. The only way I know of by which anything can be done is the imposition of an effective land value tax.
– It would be useless to put a plough into some of that land.
– I have done more ploughing, and more thinking about ploughing, than has the honorable senator. Evidently he never gave this branch of public affairs any consideration. Coming as the honorable senator does, from Tasmania, where land monopoly is driving the young men and women out of the country every month, I can readily understand the mental condition, in regard to this question, in which Senator Bakhap finds himself.
– There is no estate iu Tasmania as big as those to which the honorable senator has referred.
– There are some large estates in Tasmania.
– Senator Bakhap is sticking up for his political friends.
– I quite understand that. I have no desire to inflict figures upon honorable senators, but I have analyzed movements in land in Australia during the period that the land value tax has been in operation. In areas of from 1 to 10,000 acres, that is including the exemption, up to 15,000 acres, there has been a decrease during the four years of about 3/4 per cent. The percentage of taxable holdings in 1910-11, of 15,000 acres and under, was 75.954. In 1913-14 it was 74.887, or a decrease of about per cent. That is a very small decrease indeed, and, at that rate, it would- take over 100 years to break up land monopoly in Australia.
– Does not the honorable senator recognise that in many cases the tax takes, at least, half the annual value of the property?
– I do not recognise anything of the kind. I am pleased that the honorable senator has made that interjection, because I shall give him a few figures before I am finished which. I think, will convince the Senate, if it does not convince him, that what he has said is not correct. With regard to areas between 15,000 and 100,000 acres, there has been an actual increase of 1 per cent, during the last four years. In areas up to 200,000 acres there has been an increase of about £ per cent. ; in areas up to 300,000 acres there has been a very small decrease, amounting to .32, or about $ per cent. Up to .400,000 acres the area stands exactly where it did in 1910-11. From 500,000 to 1,120,000 acres there has been a decrease so slight as to be almost indiscernible. Taking the whole taxable area throughout the Commonwealth, there has been an actual increase of aggregation during the four years the land value tax has been in operation.
– Despite the heaviest land tax in the world.
– The honorable senator knows, or ought to know if he does not, that land value taxation has nowhere been given a fair chance to prove its efficacy or otherwise. The honorable senator interjected that the tax in many cases takes at least half the annual value of the property. Let us take, for example, an estate which pays tax on £5,000 unimproved value. This means that the full unimproved value of the estate is £10,000. A very fair percentage to put upon that unimproved value is 5 per cent.
– What is the proportion the unimproved value bears to the capital value ? It may be a city property.
– It may be a country property. The exemption is £5,000 unimproved value, consequently the total unimproved value of the estate is £10,000. Its improved value, even if a country property, may be £20,000 or £30,000. I believe that, on the average, the total improved value is about twice the unimproved value.
– In many of the large estates in Tasmania the unimproved value is as high as 80 per cent, of the total value.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– The tax paid by the owner of that estate, of which the unimproved value is £10,000, is £24 6s. Id., the tax being calculated on £5,000 worth of unimproved value. Taking the total value of £10,000, the tax is equivalent to a little over a halfpenny in the pound. Assuming that the whole £10,000 is community-created value, and capitalizing it at 5 per cent., the owner has been presented by a grateful community with the equivalent of an annuity of £500. The very people to whom the community has been so generous are often the most pronounced opponents of what they are pleased to call doles in the way of old-age pensions or maternity allowances, but this individual, owning an estate of the unimproved value of £10,000, gets from the community per annum about as much as would pay twenty old-age pensioners 10s. a week. He has no more right to this community-created value than any other citizen of the Commonwealth. If the Senate were to vote me an annuity of £500 a year the whole community would be down on them like a ton of bricks. They would be accused of partisanship and corruption, and all the crimes in the calendar and out of it, but when this privileged land-owner gets an amount equal to an annuity of £500, not only have very few people anything to say in opposition to it, but a great many accuse the Labour party of theft and robbery when some attempt is made to get even a small proportion of it back from him. In the higher values the thing goes on in exactly the same ratio, and in the case of very large estates the .annual communitycreated value amounts to a fortune in itself. Take an estate of which the taxable unimproved value is £50,000. Adding the exemption, the total unimproved value is £55,000, and the communitycreated value, capitalizing that amount at 5 per cent., is equivalent to £2,750 a year, which has been presented to the owner of the land. For that large amount he returns under our Act £677, so that he is over £2,000 a year to the good. That £2,000 constitutes an unexplored area of taxation which the Federal Parliament is bound to enter upon if it means to finance the Commonwealth in anything like an honest fashion. A Commission was sent out here some years ago by the farmers of Scotland to discover what land was available for settlement. It was carted round the Commonwealth by the State Governments, and afforded every opportunity to get all the information possible in connexion with the land question, and it went home to Scotland and issued a report, of which the sum and substance was that all the available land in every State had already been alienated, and that there was no room in Australia for the Scottish settler.
– Did it not quote, in some instances, the number of applicants for some of the closer settlement blocks in Queensland?
– Yes ; and it might be as well to place those figures again on record. Only a short time ago five grazing selections were thrown open near Barcaldine. There were over 900 applicants for them. Shortly afterwards three selections were thrown open, and no person was allowed to apply for more than one, yet there were 700 applicants for them. Again, one selection was thrown open, and for this there were about 500 applicants.
– Were these distinct persons ?
– Yes ; each was a distinct and separate application. It is often said that a large number of these people are speculators. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that 800 out of the 900 applicants for the five selections were speculators - and that is a most extravagant estimate - it leaves 100 persons jostling each other for five pieces of country, or twenty men for every piece of land. This state of affairs in a country like Australia, and more especially in a young, sparsely peopled State with a huge area like Queensland, is not in the public interest, and that is the only interest that we have any right to consider. I began to treat this’ subject by referring to the condition in which we find ourselves at the present moment. We are at the mercy of a foreign foe. There is nothing standing between Australia and ruin but the : power of the British Empire and her Allies. If Britain goes down where are we? We become the bond slaves of some foreign power. The duty of every Australian, whether he is a native of this country or whether he was born in Scotland, England, Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium, or Russia - the bounden duty of every man who has become an Australian in fact and in sentiment - is to see that nothing is allowed to stand in the way of Australia being placed in such a position that she will be able to provide for her own defence. The only way to bring that about is to free the lands so that the people may have access to them. Will the big monopolists defend the country? Of what value are the men who own £1,000,000 worth of land as regards the defence of the country? Who are its defenders at the present time ? Are they the big monopolists? No. The sons of the working men of this Continent are the people who are bearing the burden of defence.
– Are not the sons of the others there, too?
– They are, but not in sufficient numbers.
– Are they not all there ?
– If every one were there it would not make up a decent company.
– Your insinuation was that the men would not go.
– I did not insinuate anything of the kind. I said that the men are not there to go. This brings up a new aspect of the question with which it may be interesting to deal, just to show the honorable senator what a noble company the representatives of the land monopolists would make if they all went to the war.
– So long as they go, what more could you wish?
– Let us look facts squarely in the face. When this return was made up, there were 12,150 laud taxpayers in Australia. Suppose that every one of them went to the war, what could they do to defend Australia? They could fight as men, and I have no doubt that they would do so, but of what avail would they be?
– They would help to make up the army.
– When I mentioned that half the £1,400,000 paid intothe Treasury last year was paid by 247 taxpayers, would not they form a noble company? Just think of the hold they have on Australia, arid think, too, of the thousands of our young men whom we are sending away to Britain to risk their liberty and health and everything that is dear to them. For what purpose? Largely to save the property of these 247 taxpayers.
– To save their property ?
– If Germany conquers Australia these 247 individuals will suffer very much more than the average working man will do, for their property will be confiscated.
– They will only lose their all.
– They will be reduced from affluence to poverty, but the average working man will not lose very much. He may not have as much political power- as he has now. He may not be quite the free agent he is at present, but we know* perfectly well that there is. a strong socialistic element in Germany. We know that the condition of the working men there for a number of years hasbeen at least equal to that of the working men of England or of any other European country, notwithstanding that the Government has been largely a despotism. Every man knows that the worker has. much less to lose in a case of this kind than has a man of property.
– Is not freedom greater than any material possession?
– Freedom is a. very fine thing. Freedom is the best thing in the world if you have corned beef and cabbage to keep it company, but without those articles I am not very sure that it is worth much. I arn as great a, lover of freedom as is any man. What I wish to bring out is that this condition of land monopoly is not favorable to the preservation of Australian independence. We want nien settled in this country; we want nien and women and families there, and not the- monopolists. No sentimental consideration as regards the land monopolist or other individual in the Commonwealth ought to stand in the way of the adoption of such a policy as will bring about the prosperity and safety of this* country. The lesson is here for every man to read. It is as plain as the nose on a man’s face that what we want is population. It is also plain that what is standing in the way of population is 4and monopoly. Why, sir, the people of Australia cannot get land. Not very Jong ago I read of three pieces of land at Bathurst which were thrown open for selection. Fancy 2,000 applicants for three pieces of country! The thing is a perfect nightmare.
– Are you not aware that only a very small percentage of the lands is alienated at the present time?
– I know almost every fact in connexion with the land question in Australia. I know that, nominally speaking, only a very small percentage of the lands is alienated. But the Scotch Commission condensed the whole question into one sentence. They said, “ All the available land has been alienated.”
– What does that mean ?
– The Scotch farmers do not want to take up land 10, or 20, or 30 miles from a railway line.
– Did the original ^settlers have a railway line?
– They had to put up with a great many difficulties.
– And the later settlers want no difficulties?
– It ought to be our business to see that the settlers of the present day do not have to submit to the difficulties with which the pioneers had to contend. In Queensland there is a man who came out from Scotland between forty and fifty, years ago. He was a Highlander, and I believe that in the early days he used to plough a ridge in kilts - a very strange sight to be seen in Australia. Ultimately he got into Parliament, and on one occasion I heard him say, “ Forty years ago I had to scrape a living for myself and family out of a barren ridge; there were hundreds of thousands of acres of the most fertile sands on the Darling Downs all round me, but I could not get a single rood of it.”
– I am more opposed to land monopoly than is the honorablesenator, and that is why I have always advocated compulsory purchase, for it is 4he only effective remedy.
– Compulsory purchase is no remedy at all. Let me read a little more for the benefit of the honorable senator. I wish he would read this report for himself, and I am sure that he would find it most interesting.
– I have read it.
– The Commission says, “ There are 127 resident taxpayers who hold land of unimproved values ranging from £100,001 to £1,200,000.”
– And they are paying the land tax.
– They are, and they ought to pay far more land tax.
– Oh, I understand.
– Will the honorable senator say that it is in the public interest that one man should own £1,120,000 worth of land?
– If he has acquired lt equitably, according to the law of the land, it is right. Before we take his property in the land away we should buy it from him.
– At present values ?
– At equitable values.
– I am quite willing to buy the land at equitable value.
– You want to confiscate his value, and then ask him to sell.
– After the communitycreated value has been diverted into the public Treasury, I would be quite willing to buy the land from the man, and give him full value for any improvements he has effected upon it.
– Will you define what the community has created for the individual ?
– What the man creates by his own efforts, by his enterprise and industry, I would give to him.
– Who is to make the definition ?
– Surely to goodness there is sufficient intelligence in this community to define what is communitycreated value and what is privatelycreated value! There is the position. As I pointed out before, we want more population. It is the duty of the Labour party and the people of Australia to expect the Labour party to do something of this kind. There is no hope in the Fusion party. That is why they were defeated at the last election. They thought to make capital out of the war. They fondly imagined that the people could not trust a number of disloyal men like myself, for instance, with the government of the country while the Empire was at war. But the people knew better; they said, “This is the party for us.” The electors knowjust as well as I do that what we want here more than anything else is more population. They know, also, that unless we have cheap land to offer, not only to our people, but to people from overseas, neither will our own people go on the land, nor can we get persons from other countries to come here and settle on the land. The people of Australia know also that if we desire a larger population we must adopt a system of Protection.
– Nobody is querying that at present.
– I am very glad that the honorable senator has been converted to Protection, and I hope that we shall live long enough to see him converted to the principle of land values taxation. I trust that the Government will bring down some policy in connexion with the question of land monopoly which will commend itself, not only to this Parliament, but to the country at large. There is one other matter upon which I desire to say a few words - I refer to the Northern Territory. The development of that Territory is undoubtedly in the hands of this Parliament. The Labour party have a most magnificent opportunity in that Territory of putting some of its ideals into operation. We hear a great deal about the cost of living and of the way in which it is mounting up. We hear that meat and every commodity which is required for the use of man and beast is continually increasing in price. We have a most excellent chance in the Northern Territory of providing the people of Australia with meat at cost price. All that we have to do is to establish sheep and cattle stations there, and to place them in charge of competent men. If that be done, I am quite certain that a sufficient number of sheep and cattle can be reared there every year to feed the people of Australia.
-Colonel O’Loghlin. - We must have the means of transporting them south.
– We shall have the means of transporting them. We ought also to have our own abattoirs, our own freezing works, and our own shops. In every town of the Commonwealth we ought to retail meat just as we retail postage stamps. I notice that even in conservative Victoria it is proposed to retail milk through the agency of the municipalities. That is something. Now, let the Commonwealth Parliament give an object lesson to the world. In the Northern Territory we can grow all the meat we require. It may take us some years to do it, but it can be done, and the meat can be sold to the people of Australia at cost price. Then there will be no trouble about fixing prices. It will be easy to discover what the meat costs to produce and to sell, and the public should be called upon to pay that price. Let the private grower of meat find the best market that he can for it. I do not care if he gets 2s. 6d. per lb. for it. The higher the price he gets, the better will it be for the people of Australia. That is the one way by which this continual increase in the price of food commodities can be obviated. Let us grow our own meat and wheat. Possibly in the Northern Territory there are some good wheat areas. If so, let them be utilized for that purpose. Then the Defence Department is experiencing great difficulty in getting suitable horses. Persons who have animals to sell are running up all the old crocks they can muster, and are endeavouring to secure extortionate prices for them. Why should we remain at their mercy when in the Northern Territory there is tobe found some of the finest horse-breeding country in the world ?
– In Central Australia.
– In the Northern Territory, in the Barkly Tableland. I have not the slightest doubt that we can produce all the horses we require for military purposes. Indeed, we might even have some to dispose of. There is just one other matter to which I should like to refer. The Minister of Defence stated this afternoon that our defence scheme contains no provision for sending soldiers outside the Commonwealth. I say that that position was deliberately created by this Parliament. We designedly laid it down, when the Defence Bill was under consideration, that the men who form our Citizen Forces should not be compelled to serve outside the Commonwealth, the idea being that they should be used only for the defence of Australia on Australian territory. What the developments of the future may require it is not for me to say. I really do not know, but I do not think any attempt should be made to depart from the lines which have already been laid down. I do not believe that any member of the Australian Defence Force should be compelled to serve outside Australia unless he volunteers to do so. Of course, if a man volunteers to go elsewhere and fight, that is his business. There should be no compulsion, however, so far as the young men are concerned who form our present Defence Forces.
-Colonel O’Loghlin. - Not in the Pacific ?
– I am not very sure about that. I think that we are reaching out far too much. We have a big enough territory in Australia, and if we confine ourselves to its development we shall be doing all that can reasonably be expected of us. But if we get islands here and there, we shall require a fleet as big as that of the French, German, and British Fleets combined to look after them. Like the land monopolist, we appear to be afflicted with the disease of earth hunger. My idea is that we should confine ourselves to the defence of Australia.
-Colonel O’Loghlin. - But our own defence may require us to operate in the Pacific.
– I do not know. The honorable senator has set me off upon another line of thought. We are sending Expeditionary Forces to help the Allies, and, on the face of it, no man can raise any objection to that. But the fact is that we are depriving Australia at the present moment of all our most capable young men. When our three Expeditionary Forces have left our shores, who is to defend this country if it is assailed by an enemy? I know that the reply will be that no nation is likely to assail us at present. But we do not know what developments may take place. If any enemy has the slightest idea of invading this country, now is the time for him to do it, when our best men have gone from amongst us, when we have no rifles, when we have very little ammunition, and when we are, practically speaking, in an wholly undefended position. That is an aspect of the matter which we ought to consider. Of course, if I were to say that it is wrong for us to send away these young men-
– The honorable senator and myself will have to shoulder a gun.
– Is not Australia at war ?
– Yes, but that is no reason why we should denude ourselves of our best men for defence purposes.
– If we are at war, ought we not to go where the war is?
– I am not so sure about that. I think that we should keep our best men here in case of attack.
– Who is going to attack us?
– I do not know, nor does the honorable senator. No man can tell what developments may take place within the next month.
– We are being attacked in Europe at present.
– Of course I know that the Minister is obsessed with the military idea. But the military idea is not always the right one. Indeed, the professional military idea is almost invariably wrong. I suppose that Senator Pearce read an article that was published in the Age this morning. If he did, he must have seen that 100 years ago some strategist pointed out that in course of time fortifications would become absolutely useless. But, up to the fall of Antwerp, the professional military man stuck to the idea of fortifications. The German guns could have demolished the whole thing in forty hours.
– The property owners capitulated.
– It was the big German guns and shells which were responsible for its fall. I mention these matters to emphasize the statement I have made that no living man can tell what the developments of the next month will be in connexion with this war. I think that I have occupied the attention of the Senate long enough. In conclusion, let me impress upon the individual members of the Senate that their measure of responsibility in this matter is just as great as is that of the Government. If they say to the Government “ march,” the Government must march. We want more people in Australia, and we want them quickly. One way of getting them is to make the lands of the Commonwealth available to the people. The present land value tax is not doing that. The aggregation of estates is going on, just as if the tax did not exist. Small holdings are not increasing in number, and the situation all round is most unsatisfactory. I trust that before the session is ended something effective will be done in the direction I have suggested. The people of Australia will then owe the present Government and the present Parliament a debt of gratitude which it will be almost impossible for them to repay.
– The item in the Governor-General’s Speech which seems to me to be of the greatest importance in the present crisis in Australian affairs is set out in paragraph 12, which reads -
To promote the establishment of new Australian industries, and further develop those already established, it is intended to amend the Tariff.
If ever there was a time in Australian history when the fact should have been brought home with peculiar force to the Australian people that this country ought to be self-contained and self-supporting, surely that time is now. Senator Stewart has dwelt very forcibly upon the necessity which exists for such a revision of our Tariff as will make it really Protective in its incidence. He has stated with perfect truthfulness that, at present, it cannot be regarded as a Protective Tariff, but only as a revenue Tariff. During last year we imported goods to the value of £79,000,000, more than half of which might have been made up in this country by our own work people, providing profitable employment for them, and a profitable outlet for capital invested in industries. To say that a Tariff which gives such a result in a country like Australia, with its magnificent resources for the production of raw material, is properly called a Protectionist Tariff is to juggle with words. Within the last few months, since the present terrible world’s crisis has brought the question forcibly under their notice, it must have come home to the people of Australia that we have been playing a fool’s game in the Federal Parliament since the establishment of Federation. In the early years of Federation it was my privilege to occupy a place here as a foundation member of the Senate. I took part in the long discussion on the first Federal Tariff, which took some months to go through both branches of the Legislature. There were three parties in the Parliament at the time, and amongst them those who favoured” Free Trade and Protection were very evenly balanced. No one of the* three parties was comprised of men who were all pledged to a ‘ particular course on the Tariff issue. The consequence was that members were continually crossing from one side to the other in each Chamber upon different Tariff items. I recall with pleasure and pride the fact that Senator Keating and I were the only two Tasmanian senators in the first Federal Parliament who were . always to be found in favour of really protectionist duties and of an effective AustralianTariff. For the reasons I have given a hotch-potch of a Tariff was finally passed,, and there has been very little improvement of it from a protectionist point of view up to the present time.
– Does the honorable senator not agree that originally it was thought to be a f fairly Protective Tariff ?
– As originally introduced by that great man, the late Right Honorable Charles Cameron Kingston, it was a good Protectionist Tariff, but its protective incidence was considerably reduced by the efforts of the party to which Senator Bakhap belongs to-day.
– The honorable senator has just said that the three parties then in this Parliament were divided on the question.
– That is so, and I should say that it was the honorable senator’s misfortune, and not his fault, that he did not belong to the Fusion party at that time, as he was not then a member of the Senate. Owing to the efforts of men having strong Free Trade predilections the splendidly Protective Tariff originally introduced was greatly altered in the House of Representatives.
– And- by Senator Pearce and others in the Senate.
– I am willing to put the share of blame which properly belongs to Senator Pearce on that honorable senator’s shoulders, which are broad enough to bear it. We have the gratification of knowing that as constant dropping wears away stone, Senator Pearce has become converted, and is to-day a firstclass Protectionist, because his eyes have been opened to the fact that Australia should be a self-contained and selfsupporting nation. When the second revision of the Tariff was made I was not a member of the Senate, because the people of my State thought it good for my health that for a time I should rest from politics. However, I closely followed the course of events in this Parliament, and, so far as the Tariff is concerned, I was not satisfied with what was done in either House. I am not going to shield the part1” to which* I belong from the blame properly attaching to them, because during 1910, 1911, and 1912, when they had an absolute majority in both Houses, they did not bring forward a thoroughly Protective Tariff. They had, however, a good reason for their failure to do so. It was not an excuse, because the Labour party do not need any excuse, and always have good reasons for what they do. Their reason was that when they went to the people in 1910 they advocated the New Protection. They said that if they were given a majority in both Houses, and, by an alteration of the Constitution, were given the power to enforce the New Protection, they would be prepared to increase the Tariff duties. It was because they had not this power that they failed to properly tackle the question of effective Protection for Australia during their term of office. At the close of the regime of the Labour Government a small measure was introduced to rectify a few Tariff anomalies. I am very pleased to say that to-day we are in the positon that we find very few persons professing Free Trade in Australia. There are not many who are game to say to-day, as was said a few years ago, that Australia could progress under Free Trade. I have said that last year we imported goods to the value of £79,000,000. With what gratification must the people of the country with which we are now at war regard these figures when it is shown that we imported manufactured goods from Germany to the value of £7,153,543. We sent to Germany from Australia seven million golden sovereigns.
– No, we did not.
– That is practically what it means. We sent them that money to assist them in buying ammunition with which to shoot the soldiers of the Allies. I know that my honorable friends opposite do not like this sort of talk. They have no wish to see an effective Tariff in Australia.
– The honorable senator is not fair.
– I am not referring to Senator Bakhap ; but I know that some of our honorable friends opposite do not regard with favour the statement appearing in the Governor-General’s Speech that an effective Tariff is to be brought forward. I guarantee that a Tariff schedule will be submitted in another place before this session closes, and there will be many members of this Parliament found putting up almost as strenuous a fight for Free Trade as was put up here some years ago.
– No; the Sydney Morning Herald has converted them.
– Even the conversion of the Sydney Morning Herald will not affect some of our friends. I notice that in the chief Opposition organ in this State a leading article appeared only today imploring our friends opposite not to support a high Protectionist Tariff until they get the report of the InterState Commission. Whilst we imported from Germany last year goods to the value of £7,153,543, we exported to that country from Australia, chiefly in raw material, goods to the value of £7,441,246. Some people may say that we gained by the exchange; but, as a matter of fact, we did nothing of the kind. Of our exports to Germany wool accounted for £5,050,000. Fancy Australia sending over £5,000,000 worth of wool to Germany! We sent concentrates of metals produced in the big metalliferous fields of Australia which contained silver to the value of £94,793, zinc £307,768, and copper to the value of £643,744. We also exported to Germany hides to the value of £214,000. We exported specie gold as well; but that does not count for the purpose of my argument. Last year we sent to Germany raw material in the shape of wool, silver, zinc, copper, and hides to the value of £6,310,475. It will be admitted that a great deal of that raw material might well have been made up in Australia, and it would have been if we had not been playing the fool in the Federal Parliament since 1901.
– And if we had acquired the proper metallurgical knowledge.
– If we are going to build up industries in Australia and strengthen those already established, what Senator Bakhap has referred to must follow as a matter of course. Our ideas on the subject of Free Trade and Protection must be readjusted. I have never been able to believe that Free Trade is the proper policy for Australia, because it has always seemed to me that a country producing, as we do, enormous quantities of raw material should convert that raw material into the manufactured products required by its people. Manufactured products to the value of many millions of pounds imported from Germany were made from the raw material sent to that country from Australia, and so had to carry two freights. In the circumstances, I am right in saying that we have in this Parliament pursued a foolish policy.
– Can the honorable senator mention a Protectionist country where the workmen are housed, fed, and paid decently?
– Is this the VicePresident of the Executive Council?
– I am sorry to get that interjection from a member of the Ministry, but, perhaps, I do not rightly understand what the honorable senator means.
– Can the honorable senator mention a Protectionist country where the workmen are housed, fed, and paid decently?
– That is a fair question, and I might reply, first of all, by saying that the question of Free Trade or Protection cannot, and does not, always control the question of wages.
– Why not give America as an example?
– I know there is abject poverty in America, as in every other highly-protected country; but can the honorable senator point to a Free Trade country where there is not also a great deal of abject poverty ? Free Trade or Protection in itself does not absolutely settle the question of the submerged tenth and the poverty of the masses. Something else has to be done. So long as we allow the products of sweated labour countries to flow into Australia over a Tariff barrier which is too low, we have very little chance of improving the conditions of the worker; but give us a chance to have these industries established here, and then, so far as the limits of the Constitution will allow the Federal Legislature to do so, we shall control wages and labour conditions. Where our constitutional limitations prevent us from act ing, the State Parliaments, in which I hope we shall see Labour majorities, will be able to take up and complete the work of improving the conditions of those engaged in our factories. Whatever chance we may have of seeing the best conditions established here for our work people under an effectively Protective Tariff, we certainly have none under a Free Trade Tariff.
– You can regulate your internal trade very well, but the great question will be to produce an article for export that will sell.
– You cannot regulate your internal trade if you have no internal manufactures. That is my answer to the honorable senator, and to the interjection made by Senator Gardiner. The latter will find me just as willing as he is to go to the greatest lengths, so far as we are allowed by our Constitution, to establish what we know as the new Protection. He is a member of the Ministry, and I hope his interjection does not mean that his voice will be raised in favour of what I may call a lower Protective Tariff.
– I am looking for a Protectionist who will put forward an argument to justify it.
– The honorable senator will find plenty of Protectionists to justify it. This is not a party question in the Labour party, except that our leader has publicly stated that the party intend to bring forward an effective Tariff. Consequently, every member of the party will be loyal to his leader’s pronouncement. Although there is a Labour Ministry in power, if, when the Tariff reaches the Senate, there are any items in it which I think can be improved by increasing them, my vote will be cast in that direction, even though, on the question, I may be in opposition to the representatives of the Ministry in this Chamber. I do not agree that when once the Tariff comes here from another place the last word has been said. I am glad to say that the Senate has power to increase items by request. It will have equal powers with another place in framing the Tariff, because all the powers of amendment are contained in the power of request. This question is of the utmost importance, because it bears such a close relation to the other great question which is agitating the mind of every thinking man in this country, and that is the question of unemployment and the provision of work for the unemployed.
– If we do not win the war we shall have to admit many German articles free.
-! am not going to contemplate that possibility. Sooner or later the Allies will win out.
– I want to show the honorable senator that the war governs even the question of Protection.
– Of course it governs a lot of questions. It governs the question of our ultimate existence. The great amount of unemployment in Australia to-day is closely related to the Tariff question, because if we had factories all over the Commonwealth making up the £5,000,000 worth of wool that we send to Germany, and the millions of pounds’ worth that we send to other parts of the world, that one industry alone would provide very large avenues of profitable and well-paid employment for our men and women. There is also the question of metals, which form the basis of many manufactures. We ought to have industries in Australia making up at least such articles as we use here. One almost stands aghast at the enormous value of manufactures of metals imported in a finished state from other countries year by year made out of raw material which has been won from the earth in Australia, sent to other parts of the world, and frequently made up under such wage conditions as I hope we shall never tolerate here. I do not think many real Free Traders will be found in another place or here when we come face to face with this most important of all questions - that of building up in Australia such industries that we shall be able to say we are a self-contained, self-sustaining, and self-supporting nation. I should like to see on the hoardings the placard which should be the most powerful passport to the pockets of the people - “ Made in Australia “ - not made in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, or even in Great Britain, because I want to see all these things made here. I am a preferential trader for Australia first, for the Empire afterwards, and then for those who happen to be our Allies at present, although that is a state of things which may not last for many years. I would prefer to see those who want to capture the Australian market come from the other side of the world with their capital and establish their industries here. That is a fair ideal for any Australian to have. Senator Bakhap referred to the vexed question of the double dissolution. It was an important question to some candidates, and a very burning question with us. I always held that wrong use was made of section 57, wrong advice was tendered by the Ministry to the Governor-General, and that he acted wrongly in accepting that. I do not think that any one can be blamed for stating the case in that way. I said so many times during the recent hurried campaign without using any terms that anybody could cavil at in referring to His Excellency. To show that Labour candidates were not alone in disagreeing with the advice given by the Ministry and with His Excellency’s acceptance of it, I may be allowed to quote an article published by the great London newspaper, the Times, in its weekly edition, from its Sydney correspondent. I assume that the Times, with its wellknown Conservative ideals, would not knowingly employ a correspondent who had strong Labour views. In the edition of 24th July, the following was published from the Sydney correspondent: -
The new Governor-General has at any rate begun his Australian career dramatically. He has granted the Federal Prime Minister dissolution of both Houses nominally on a question of entire unimportance, which was only raised in order to provide him with such an opportunity. He has, that is, used the most drastic and exceptional powers known to the Constitution for a purpose that seems unworthy of them. It is sometimes forgotten that the double dissolution provided by clause 57 of the Commonwealth Act in case of disagreement between the Houses is merely a means to an end, that end being the treatment of some definite proposal in accordance with the wish of the electors. This, ton. must be steadily kept in mind - that the Bill in dispute is a mere farce.
– Were we not returned in 1913 on that very issue?
– Yes ; on the iSSUE of real preference to unionists, but the honorable senator has interjected a little too soon. He will get his answer as I read on. The Bill was a mere farce, because, as the honorable senator knows, it simply purported to do something which had already been done -
Its object is to prevent preference being given to trade unionists in the Government service. Opposition speeches might lead one to believe that preference to unionists was being attacked. If it were - if the Bill, for instance, forbade the Judge of the Federal Arbitration Court to grant preference to unionists in any of his awards - thnere would be a definite and important issue before the country and one which some Liberals have often cried out for.
– Which it should have done.
– But it did not. That was the gravamen of the whole business.In the 1913 campaign the Cook party fought against real preference to unionists, and, as this article very aptly points out -
But that sort of preference is left intact.
Does the honorable senator say it was not ?
Does he not admit that that sort of preference to unionists was left intact because his party had not the courage to attack it?
– We had the courage.
– Had the honorable senator’s party had the courage to force through another place a Bill really repealing preference to unionists and knocking it out of the Arbitration Act, as they said they would do in the previous campaign, they could have done so by means of the gag, and then we in the Senate would have rejected it and brought about the same result.
– They decided not to do it.
– They did, and why? Because they thought that possibly the Governor-General would take the same view as many constitutional authorities took, and would not grant a double dissolution on that question. The article continues -
To employ for the passing of such a Bill mechanism which involves an upset of the regular routine of the Constitution is, to say the least, a very extreme measure.
This is one witness we can bring intothe box who is not a Labour witness. There is here no colouring for the Labour party from the Times. Let me put in a sub-leader which appeared in the London Daily News and Leader of 26th June. Commenting on the same question, it says -
The production of papers in connexion with the Australian dissolution is still being re fused. It is a grave matter, for the case, apart from its details, is likely to establish a precedent, and we are quite sure that it is a very bad one. What has happened is this. The Commonwealth Prime Minister, finding himself with a majority of one in the House of Representatives, and with an overwhelming majority against him in the Senate, passed and sent to the other House a measure important only on the assumption that it would be there rejected.
Not a measure important on the assumption that the Government wanted to see it passed into law, but important only on the assumption that it would be rejected. That is absolutely unsetting the old order of things.
– That is their ver sion.
– Is not that the correct version ?
– The very reasons which have appeared in print since the present Government took office, the documentary reasons which passed between the late Prime Minister and the Governor-General, show from beginning to end that the measure was only brought forward for that one purpose. Mr. Cook has said so, and it is in black and white.
– Would not the more comprehensive measure you have alluded to have been rejected?
– Certainly, but it would have been an honest measure, put forward according to the pledges of the party to which my honorable friend belongs, and the electors would have known on which side the candidates stood. But this was absolutely upsetting the old order of things, as this newspaper points out, even if not in so many words. It is generally understood that the very idea of government is that the party in power, known as the Ministry, shall prepare measures and bring them forward, strong in the hope that they will be passed by both Houses; but that order of things was reversed. Here was a measure brought forward only on the assumption that it would be rejected and this newspaper very aptly calls attention to that peculiarity of the Cook Government. It says -
It was designed to be rejected, and it was rejected. The Prime Minister thereupon demanded and obtained from the new GovernorGeneral a simultaneous dissolution of both Houses. What is of importance is the implied assumption, apparently indorsed by Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson, that a Ministry has constitutionally the right to claim a dissolution when confronted with a hostile Parliament; and a fortiori, of course, to use the threat of a dissolution to overawe a hostile Parliament. This has been declared to be constitutionally sound doctrine by quite a number of people, most of whom probably do not understand its implications. It is nothing of the kind. The claim of a Ministry to the right to dissolve is an innovation in British constitutional practice, comparatively modern in date and entirely indefensible in theory.
The keynote of this article, the keynote of the complaints made by the members of the Labour party during the late campaign, was that it was a measure which was never framed, and never brought forward, with the idea that it would pass the two Houses, but in the hope that it would simply pass the other House, and would be rejected here twice, with an interval of three months between the two rejections, so that an artificial crisis could be created, thus giving the Government the opportunity to apply for a double dissolution. Getting that opportunity, the Government applied for a double dissolution. They were never happy until they got it, like the little boy with Pears’ soap, and now I suppose they are less happy than they were before they made the request. I think lt is one of the most important subjects mentioned in the opening speech, and one which certainly should be mentioned, if honorable senators regard it as of sufficient importance, during the course of this debate, because, after all, it has established something which may be taken as a precedent in the future. If the Senate is to be treated in the future as it was treated by the last Government; if a threat is always to bo held over its head that if it dares to cross a “t” or to dot an “ i “ in the most trumpery measure sent up by another House; if it dares to disagree in the slightest detail with the verdict of the other House, it will be subjected to the penalty of a dissolution, it might as well be swept out of existence. But I am hoping that, in view of the very pronounced verdict given on this question from one end of Australia to the other, no future GovernorGeneral will act as the present one did in accepting the advice of his Ministers on a measure of such avowed unimportance as this one was.
– It is to be hoped that the Senate will have the courage to place on record a resolution condemning his action.
– One does not like to jump on a man when he is down, but even that course would be justifiable, because the action completely revolutionized the Constitution. That advice of the late Administration, and its acceptance by the Governor-General, practically tore the heart out of the Constitution, so far as the importance of the Senate is concerned. Further, when His Excellency refused to ask the opinion of the people on the important questions which the Senate wanted him to refer to them, he was absolutely inconsistent. A financial crime was committed on the people of Australia by the late Government - a crime to which His Excellency was made a party - because in one of the last few speeches he made, the late Prime Minister said that if his party obtained a majority in both Houses, he intended to put to the people certain questions for an alteration of the Constitution. In that case why did he not submit those questions at the late election ? What did his statement mean ? It meant that if he obtained a majority in both Houses he would submit certain questions for an alteration .of the Constitution.
– Not at a general election, I hope.
– If Mr. Cook did not intend to put the questions at a general election, he evidently intended to take them to the people after that event. That would have involved the expenditure of another £80,000, a proceeding for which there was not the slightest excuse.
– Can you vouchsafe any information as to the questions to which you refer ?
– I admit that they were not the questions which the Labour party wanted to put to the people. They did not go nearly as far as our questions went. But my point is that, if the late Prime Minister thought that certain alterations to the Constitution were necessary, was it not a financial blunder of the worst description, in fact, a crime, that he did not put those questions at the late election, instead of waiting to see if he obtained a majority in both Houses, and then putting the questions to the people at an additional cost of £80,000 to the country ? Why should he not have put the questions then ? He could have carried his proposals through the other House, although they would not have satisfied our party. We wanted broader questions referred to the people. We desired the National Parliament to be endowed with greater powers. But Mr. Cook could have carried his set of questions through the other House, and got them put to the people at the recent election without additional expense. Instead of doing that, he said, “I am going to alter the Constitution if I get a majority in each House.” How was he going to do that?
– We never heard anything about this.
– Then the honorable senator did not read his leader’s speeches.
– What proposals do you refer to ?
– To the proposals outlined by Mr. Cook in one of the last important speeches he addressed to the people in New South Wales. Here are his words plainly” reported.
– He had no authority from the Liberal party to put forward any proposals.
– He is the Liberal party.
– Is he? - with all due respect to him.
– The honorable senator has not a very high idea of loyalty to his leader when he repudiates his clearly pronounced utterance.
– I say that no leader of the Liberal party has authority from the party to put any proposals to the people.
– I am not disputing the honorable senator’s statement that Mr. Cook spoke without the authority of his party.
– He spoke for himself.
– The fact remains that Mr. Cook said that he and his party intended to put to the people questions for the alteration of the Constitution.
– He spoke for himself.
– My honorable friend knows perfectly well that for three or four years Sir William Irvine, another powerful member of the Cook Government, had frequently stated that certain alterations of the Constitution were necessary, but not while a Labour Government was in power. If the Liberal party had obtained a majority in each House, Sir William Irvine, we take it, would have been agreeable to submit these questions to the country, and £80,000 would have been blundered out of the Treasury, one might as well say stolen from the Treasury, if that course had been taken, seeing that the questions might just as easily have been put at the recent election. If Mr. Cook had obtained a majority in each House, either he would have put his questions to the country at a waste of £80,000, or he would have waited for three years until a general election came round. Whatever reasons there are now for these alterations to the Constitution would have gained in strength. Whatever hardships are being suffered by the people owing to the operations or the depredations of trusts and combines to-day would have been very much greater in three years’ time, and these injurious combinations would have got their tentacles fixed a little more deeply into the commercial and social life of the people. So that there was absolutely no excuse for the leader of the great Liberal party not to take the opinion of the people on these questions at the recent general election. I have no desire to occupy very much more time. The programme of the Government contains a number of proposals which I believe will gain the approval and support of the members of both parties in each House, especially those measures which make for employment within the ambit of the Federal power. It must not be forgotten when we talk about unemployment in Australia, and of how far the Federal Government can relieve the situation, that our powers are strictly limited by the Constitution. It is to the States that we must look for help ; it is to the States that the great hordes of unemployed must look for relief in that direction. I admit, of course, that the States should be backed financially, and will be backed, by the Federal Government. It is there that our usefulness will come in. When we look at the very few channels of employment- which the Federal Parliament has control of, and the large number which the State Parliaments have control of, it will be seen tha,t it is to the States that the vast number of unemployed must look largely for relief. But there are certain big national works under the control of this Parliament which ought to be taken in hand as soon as possible. The present Government have not had time, however, to get into its stride. They have been in power for only two or three weeks. They have already begun to do things. They have done some very useful things in connexion with the prohibition of the importation of certain articles. Every Minister is bending his energies in the direction of seeing how far, and how soon, this great problem of unemployment may be met by the Federal Government. There will be opportunities for increased employment on the East-West railway. There will be opportunities for increased employment in connexion with the building of the Federal Capital, although it has been decided, I understand, that the erection of the Parliament House shall be deferred for some time. There is, however, a vast amount of other work to be done at the Capital which might well be taken in hand now. Then there is the proposal to unify the railway gauges of Australia. That will provide a good deal of employment from one end of the Commonwealth to the other. There is also another work which I do not see mentioned in the Governor-General’s Speech, but which I hope will engage the attention of the Ministry. I think my South Australian friends will agree that it is desirable that we should proceed at once with the construction of the north to south railway, starting from the south. I believe that sooner or later the great heart of this continent must be bridged by rail, and although varying opinions may be held as to whether or not the line should deviate into Queensland there is a general consensus of opinion that it should be proceeded with.
– The honorable senator is now on the right track.
– I am always on the right track, and I am quite satisfied from the circumstances which have brought the honorable senator into this chamber that he will be on the right track before six years have elapsed. No doubt Queensland and New South Wales will throw out spur lines to connect with the main line.
– I will give them every assistance.
– Another great question which might be dealt with has reference to the utilization of the Murray waters. I do not profess to have given this matter very careful consideration, but I am fairly well satisfied to follow the lead of the Government. There is one other item which affects Tasmanian senators more than it does other members of this chamber. We do hope that the Government during their term of office will give effect to their promise to establish a Commonwealth line of steamers between the mainland and Tasmania. Every man who knows anything about the conditions of trade existing between the mainland and Tasmania will agree that there is vast room for improvement. Senator Bakhap has already declared himself in favour of a Stateowned line of steamers-
– In certain circumstances.
– I think that those circumstances will be found to have arisen when the matter engages the attention of this Parliament. I do not propose to raise the question of who is responsible for the establishment of an Australian Navy, but in the early days of Federation I know that not one member of the party which is now in opposition was in favour of that project. I could weary honorable senators by delving into ancient history, and quoting the speeches of members of the so-called Liberal party who at that time were opposed to an Australian Navy.
– It was not only the Opposition, but the Government who were opposed to it. The Deakin party in 1903 were against the establishment of an Australian Navy.
– The Government of that time were certainly opposed to it.
– Sir Josiah Symon was the only supporter of it.
– Then I was doing Senator Keating too much justice, because I was under the impression that he was a supporter of it. Tb-day Senator Bakhap endeavoured to make it appear that all parties were in favour of the creation of an Australian Navy. I say that all parties were not in favour of it until quite recently. But late converts are better than no converts at all. We are glad that we have won them over - we, who from the beginning of Federation, fought for the establishment of an Australian Navy manned by Australians, and built with Australian money, and not with borrowed money.
– Members of the Labour party opposed it as late as last year.
– Only a few individual members of it.
– What does our platform say?
– As I am reminded by the pertinent question of Senator Guy, who has been a member of the Labour movement for twenty years, our attitude upon this matter is clearly laid down in our platform. There is only one other item to which I desire to invite Senator Bakhap’s attention, and I am sure that in this connexion he will be interested to hear me read a few extracts. The honorable senator blamed the Labour party for having cast aspersions on the Liberal party in relation to the question of old-age pensions. He claimed that to the Liberal party was due all the credit for having established the system of oldage pensions. I wish, therefore, to read one or two extracts from Hansard bearing on this matter. Mr. Bruce Smith, for example, said -
In dealing with pension cases I have been struck with this anomaly, that the present system offers an inducement to improvidence, but we should not lend ourselves to one which deliberately discourages thrift and offers a premium to improvidence.
That quotation will be found on page 2795 of Hansard for 1911. I come now to
Sir William Irvine, who said ;
I should be very sorry, however, to see a system of old-age pensions doled out by the Treasury made a permanent part of our public policy. 1 think I am right in saying that the view of nearly all those who have been engaged in such work is that the contributory basis is Che only sound and permanent basis for a system of this kind.
Then Mr. Atkinson said -
Whilst I am not against the old-age pensions system, I should like to see some collateral system established whereby it might be brought home to the people that it is the duty of every citizen, as far as possible, to put himself above the need of an old-age pension, and also to provide for the necessities of those who are not so fortunate as he may have been. But all should be made to contribute in some way.
Here was an absolutely contributory system advocated by Mr. Atkinson, who proceeded - and when a’ man has to draw his pension there should be no stigma of charity attaching to it. He should be able to take it as a reward for his own foresight.
I am not going to enter into a discussion upon the merits of a contributory system, but I do deny the assertion of Senator Bakhap that the Liberal party were in favour of the old-age pensions system.
– Sir William Irvine drafted the first Bill dealing with the scheme.
– Then the Hon. Joseph Cook said -
I wish now to refer to the question of oldage pensions. For a long time I have feltthat our scheme is upon a wrong footing. Old-age pensions should be lifted out of thecharitable rut in which they are running.
The taint of pauperism and charity should be entirely eliminated from them. . . . The more I think of it the more convinced I am that we must come ultimately to a formof national insurance which will give every man - the millionaire as well as the poor man - who subscribes to his own insurance fund the right to receive that insurance without the taint of pauperism or charity in his old age. That is the scheme which commends itself to my mind.
Here again we have the contributory system advocated, and not the old-age pensions system which is in force to-day. At that stage Mr. Catts interjected -
If the honorable member had that scheme, would he repeal the Old-age Pensions Act? to which Mr. Cook replied -
There would be no need for the Old-age Pensions Act if there were in operation a scheme such as I have in mind.
A.s Senator Bakhap was so hurt by the aspersions cast by Labour members upon the Liberal party in this connexion, I wish to make a final quotation from a speech by Sir William Irvine, in which he said -
The people of Australia will have to take into their serious consideration how far they are prepared to go with this system of meeting all the troubles of life by paying doles out of the public Treasury. An end should come to it. I have been charged personally with being opposed to old-age pensions system. … I have never been in favour of taking away any man’s pension that has been granted to him.
– Did the honorable senator put that in the circular over his name ?
– It did not go in any circular over my name, but the statement appeared exactly as I have read it, and the words, “Any man’s pension that has been granted to him,” are even in raised type. But he went on to say -
But the policy of the Government is that we should, as soon as possible, ask the people of Australia to sanction the initiation of a contributory insurance that would meet most of these cases in the long run.
– Does that involve the non-payment of a single existing pension?
– It is of no use for Senator Bakhap to become angry on the ground that his party were maligned. Our honorable friends opposite stated from every platform in Australia that they were being misrepresented on this question, because they said they were in favour of old-age pensions. I have given quotations from a number of their leading members which show that they were not in favour of the old-age pension scheme as we have it to-day.
– Do the statements quoted involve the non-payment of a single old-age pension now being paid?
– No; that much is admitted in the quotations I have given.
– It was not admitted in the honorable senator’s circular. The word “ war “ is what he had at the top of the circular.
– The matter I have quoted appeared in some of the circulars, and it was admitted that the party opposite did not propose to interfere with existing pensions. The point is, that while Sir William Irvine, Mr. Joseph Cook, and other leading members of the party had no objection to continue the payment of pensions to those now drawing them for the few years during which those poor old people would be in a position to draw them, no additional men reaching the age of sixty-five, or women reaching the age of sixty, should, in their opinion, be able to. draw old-age pensions.
– The honorable senator knows that that is a “ bull’swool “ statement altogether.
– I do not know what “ bull’swool “ is. If it is anything like the hirsute adornment of Senator Bakhap, it is rather nice, and I am sorry I did not let mine grow. My argument is, and there is no getting away from it, that the policy advocated by a number of the leading members of the Opposition was to continue the payment of old-age pensions to those now drawing them, but to grant no new pensions except under a contributory scheme. I think I have occupied the attention of the Senate quite long enough. There is quite a number of matters in the Governor-General’s Speech upon which one would like to touch ; but I shall not weary honorable senators with any reference to them now. I hope that during thethree years in which the present Government will remain in power all the big measures referred to in the Speech will be brought forward for the development of Australia in every possible way, and will receive the cordial approval and assistance of our friends opposite, even to the extent of voting for a thoroughly sound and effective Protective policy for Australia.
Debate (on motion by Senator Lt. -Colonel Sir Albert Gould) adjourned.
– I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
In submitting the motion I desire to say that Senator Keating this afternoon asked me whether the Commonwealth was intervening in the appeal in regard to the stamping of cheques drawn on the Commonwealth Bank now before the High Court in connexion with a case arising in the State of Queensland. I have made inquiries from the Attorney-General’s Department, and I have been informed that the Commonwealth is intervening in that case.
– This afternoon I asked the Minister of Defence a question as to the number of the Queensland quota of the first Expeditionary Force. I was told that the number was about 2,200, but it was not possible to ascertain the number of those who had served as special constables during the Brisbane general strike of 1912. I did not think it improbable that the Defence Department would have the information I desired, as I believed that men volunteering for the front would have supplied the Department with a record of their civil and military services. What I wanted to ascertain when I propounded the question was to discover how many, if any, of the gentlemen who served as special constables during the Brisbane general strike had mustered up sufficient courage to volunteer for service when there was business in the air. I made exhaustive and widely-spread inquiries in the metropolitan area of Brisbane and its suburbs, and could discover the names of only four who had done so.
At the time of the general strike there were 2,000 of these special constables sworn in, and there might have been forty who volunteered for the Expeditionary Force. It seems to me that the number who did so was proportionately very low. These gentlemen were hailed as heroes and the saviours of the country, as men who were prepared to go to the rescue of a city which was not attacked. As I said on that occasion, many of them were receiving 10s. a day for the first time in their lives. Many came from the country, where there was at the time a dry spell, and were paid 12s. 6d. a day, with as much Government corn and chaff as their horses could eat. They proved to be very brave in ridingrough-shod over defenceless women and children in the metropolitan area of Brisbane, and in drawing their batons on unarmed men. Although at that time they were so very brave, I find that when there was a real chance to show their bravery nearly the whole of them seem to have gone under beds in Brisbane, or into hollow logs in the country. I mention this fact to impress upon the Senate and the people generally the class of individual who volunteers for duty as a special constable at a time of industrial dispute. These are the people upon whom our friends of the Opposition depend at such a time. When, after exhaustive inquiries, I find that hardly any of these men volunteered for service at the front, the fact goes to show that our friends and the members of the Employers Federation generally are relying upon very rotten reeds when they honour and throw up. their hats in praise of such individuals who can fight their own fellow-workers, and have no respect for defenceless women and children, but who, when an enemy has to be faced or the nation is to be defended, are not to be found when a call is made upon their services.
– In replying to a question put by Senator Keating this afternoon, I promised to make inquiries of the Trade and Customs Department in regard to reports of the work done by the trawler Endeavour. The Department has informed me that reports are issued every year, and that copies will be Laid on the table of the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 October 1914, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1914/19141014_senate_6_75/>.