6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General whether, when an important announcement is to be made by the Government in another place, it cannot be made here simultaneously for the information of honorable senators? I refer to such an announcement as was made yesterday by the Attorney-General with reference to raids made under the Trading with the Enemy Act. I understand that no announcement was made here.
– I think that not only could such announcements be made here, but they should. I shall take care that, whenever an important statement has to be made, both Houses shall receive the information simultaneously.
– Can the Minister give the Senate any information concerning the proceedings in connexion with the raids made on other firms which have not yet been exonerated f
– Probably the following communication from the AttorneyGeneral will give the information which is desired: - -
The results of the inquiry so far have disclosed no evidence of trading with the enemy in regard to the Mount Morgan, Mount Lyell, Wallaroo and Moonta, Broken Hill North and Broken Hill South Mines, and in the cases of W. S. Robinson, J. Hickmer and Sons, The Needham Carton Pierre Company, Ostermeyer, Van Rompiey and Company, R. Ritter, and Bernard and Company. The examination is not yet complete in regard to the Broken Hill Proprietary, Australian Metal Company, Max Gorier, and F. H. Snow, and George Fettlers and Company.
– Is that the list which was published in this morning’s newspapers ?
– It was given in another place yesterday.
– Did the Minister of Defence give any information to the Senate in connexion with the new appointment of Colonel Pethebridge prior to - giving that information to the press? If not, I wish to know if it is not customary on the part of the Government to acquaint Parliament with such an important transaction, and through the Parliament inform the publio prior to the press getting the information?
– You had better ask the censor.
– Members of Parliament only got the information when it appeared in the Herald the other night, and in the Age and Argus this morning.
– The duty to which Colonel Pethebridge has been detailed was not considered to be of sufficient importance ‘to warrant a statement being made in Parliament unless questions were asked. I was not responsible for the previous statement in the press, which was one of an exaggerated character, and which made it appear that an appointment of an important kind had been made. The whole matter was substantially set forth by me yesterday, - and the purport of my statement was that we have made an arrangement with the British Government to send a Force to certain islands in the Pacific, that Colonel Pethebridge will accompany the Expedition, and - make inquiries with the view of’ assisting in the making of arrangements as to trade, commerce, postal communication, and various matters of that kind. It did not seem to me that that matter was of sufficient importance to warrant a Ministerial statement. I. might add that other Expeditions have been sent away from time to time, but so far they have not been made, the subject of a special Ministerial statement. ‘
– I desire to know whether, under the commission which I assume has been given to Colonel Pethe” bridge, Rabaul, in New Britain, is within his jurisdiction ?
– Does the duty to which Colonel Pethebridge is detailed involve an appointment to another position which . may or may not be of a permanent character, but which will carry with it almost twice his present salary ? If that be the case, is it not the initiation of a. new policy which, of course, was not contemplated before the war?
– The statement of the honorable senator is based on a statement which appeared in the press, and of which I was not the author - of which some other lively imagination was the author. Colonel Pethebridge will go to the islands at his present salary. He will not vacate the position of permanent head of the Defence Department. He will return to that position, and no arrangement is being made as to salary, except that he is to be given a sufficient allowance while doing special work.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs been directed to an article which is exhibited for sale >n some of the confectioners’ shops in this city? It is headed “ MacRobertson “ ; then there are shown the Australian flag and the Union Jack, and underneath are the words, “ Patriotic prize packet for patriotic Australians.” When one opens a packet he gets a little book. The one I hold in my hand is called “ The Tailor’s Three Sons,” and it was made and printed in Germany - a patriotic prize book for patriotic Australians. Will the Government, when they are framing the Tariff, take this question into consideration so as to prevent innocent persons like myself from being exploited when they go to purchase these articles ?
– I hope that when patriotic Australians are about to buy patriotic or lucky bags they will see that the articles have been made in Australia, and if the people will move in that direction I think that the Government will give them a helping hand.”
– I understand that the late Government were making arrangements for the development of the Northern Territory with alien labour. Has the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs any objection to lay on the table the correspondence in connexion with that matter ?
– That question contains a statement that is not accurate.
– The” papers will disclose that.
– They will.
– The correspondence in connexion with the. matter will be laid upon the table of the Library.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answer is-
It is not desirable in the public interest to give such information, but the particulars when available can be supplied to honorable members privately.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Will the’ Senate be afforded an opportunity of discussing any proposed increases in telephone charges or rates before the same are brought into operation; and, if so, when and in what manner?
– The answer is-
Yes, but the Postmaster-General cannot at present say when.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator GARDINER) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a first time.
– The honorable senator is not - entitled to debate the motion for the first reading of the Bill.
– I wish, sir, to raise a point of order upon the motion submitted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. You have just read a message from the House of Representatives, asking the Senate to concur in a Bill to amend the Patents, Trade Marks, and Designs Act 1914, which has been passed by the House of Representatives. I think I am right in saying that, so far as the Senate is concerned, there is no such Act. The Government on Friday last suspended the. Standing Orders in the Senate, in order to secure the third reading of a Bill to amend the Patents, Trade Marks, and Designs Act. Senator Gould protested, and other honorable senators on this side supported him in his protest. Since then we have received no signification of the Royal assent having been given to the measure, the third reading of which was then passed. It is still a Bill. If the Government wish to amend that Bill in any way, they should follow the obvious course which has been followed on previous occasions, and have the Bill returned from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, with a message from him proposing the necessary amendment for the consideration of both Houses. I understand that the Bill now submitted proposes an addition to section 3 of the “ Patents, Trade Marks, and Designs Act 1914,” and there is no such Statute in existence. We have received no information of the Royal assent having been given to the Bill, which we had previously before us, and it is, therefore, still a Bill. It is a highly irregular procedure to ask us to amend an Act which has no existence. A perfectly clear course is before the Government in the matter, and that is to have the Bill with which we previously dealt returned to Parliament with a signification of the Governor-General’s desire that it should be amended m a certain way. This, of course, would merely mean that it is the desire of the Executive that an oversight in connexion with the previous measure should be corrected, or some anomaly rectified. I submit that the motion for the first reading of the Bill received from the House of Representatives to-day is out of order, since it proposes an amendment of the “ Patents, Trade Marks, and Designs Act of 1914,” which has no existence. I think I am justified in asking the Senate to refuse to pass the first reading of a Bill intended to amend an Act which does not yet exist.
– If honorable senators will go back a few years, they will find that a case similar to this arose on a previous occasion. I do not now recall the name of the Bill, but I know that before it was assented to by the Governor-General another Bill was submitted for the purpose of amending the first measure. Though a Bill may have passed both Houses of this Parliament, it is not an Act until it has received the Royal assent. The course suggested by Senator Keating is one which might be adopted in the present case if the proposed amendment does not conflict with the principle of the previous Bill, and is intended merely for the purpose of supplying an inadvertent omission. The Constitution provides that the Governor-General may return a Bill presented to him for the Royal assent, with a message suggesting amendments necessary to make the Bill clear and explicit, but not introducing any new principles. There are often obvious omissions from a measure, and the course suggested by Senator Keating would avoid the difficulty and trouble of withdrawing the original Bill and submitting a new one, entailing, as this might, a fresh debate on the whole principle. It is entirely unconstitutional and wrong to send to us, or for us to deal with, a measure which purports to amend a Bill and not an Act.
– There is very little in the point of order. Senator Gould says the matter was raised before. It was not. The same end was achieved in a different way, but not as the result of a point of order being raised on the Bill itself. As Senator Keating pointed out, there are two ways in which this could have been done. We could do it by amending the previous Bill, or by bringing in an amendment recommended by the GovernorGeneral, That is rather a novelty that attaches to the Federal Parliament. The Government have chosen to deal with the matter in this way. There is a precedent for what we are doing, and that precedent has been tested in the High Court. In one session we passed two Land Tax Bills. Before Parliament had been notified of the assent to the first one, the Houses proceeded with the other Bill which referred to it.
– It did not amend the other Bill.
– The clauses in it referred to, and, to a certain extent, legislated in respect of, the clauses of the other Bill. In the Land Tax Assessment Bill reference was made to the Land Tax Act, although there was no Land Tax Act then in existence. It was a Bill, and assent to it had not been notified to the two, Houses. A lawsuit followed, and the point was taken that when the second Bill was before the House there was no Land Tax Act in existence, yet the second Bill in its terms assumed that there was, just as this Bill assumes that there is a Patents, Trade Marks, and Designs Act. 1914 in existence. The High Court overruled the point. The important point is not that we must have the assent of the Governor-General before we can consider an amending Bill referring to a Bill previously passed, but that, in reporting the assent of the Governor-General, we must have the reports in the sequence in which the Bills are passed. The Bill comes to us from another place, and the whole question for the Senate is whether it is reported to us from there in compliance with our Standing Orders.
– Supposing assent is not given to the Bill of 1914, or assent is reserved, then if we pass this Bill it will mean nothing.
– No honorable senator who has spoken to the point of order has referred you, sir, to any standing order contravened by the Bill, nor can he do so. The Standing Orders clearly set out the procedure to be followed with regard to Bills. So far as this Bill has gone, all the standing orders having any bearing on the matter have been complied with. A message has been received from the other House. It has been read by the President, and on that the Minister has moved the first reading of the Bill. It is now said that because of some part of its wording this Bill is out of order. It can be out of order only if it contravenes our Standing Orders, but it does not do so. On what ground, therefore, can it be said to be out of order? The point raised by Senator Keating, by interjection just now, is met by the fact that if this Bill passed, and assent to the other Bill was never recorded, this Bill would be of no effect, but that would not make it out of order so far as our Standing Orders are concerned. It would simply have no legal effect in the Courts.
– If your argument were sustained, you might bring in a Bill which would have effect, although the Bill which it proposed to amend was not passed into law.
– No. The question whether this Bill is in accordance with our Standing Orders is the only question on which it can be ruled out on a point of order. The question whether it will have any effect or not is one for the Courts to determine after it becomes law.
– Bills have passed this Parliament and been declared ultra vires afterwards.
– Not because of our Standing Orders, but because of the Constitution. A successful point .of order against the passing of the Bill must show that we have not complied with our Standing Orders. That cannot be said here. The legal point as to whether a Bill of this kind has effect has been tested in the Courts, and I have quoted the precedent. I therefore submit that the Bill cannot be ruled out df order simply because it mentions in one of its clauses a Bill which has not yet become an Act so far as the notification of assent to the Senate ia concerned.
– I would remind the Senate and Ministers of the very awkward habit which chickens have of coming home to roost. The whole trouble seems to have arisen through the impetuous haste with which the Government insisted on carrying the other Bill through all its stages, and refused a request for a very modest delay. Had that normal delay been permitted, the mistake made in the main Bill would have been detected, and corrected in the ordinary way. Senator Pearce lays great stress on the fact that this proposal does not violate any standing order. Possibly it does not, but where our Standing Orders are silent we follow parliamentary practice. It is not parliamentary practice to bring in a Bill to amend merely a certain number of words printed on a piece of paper. Senator Keating’s interjection just now seems to be fatal to this or any other parliamentary assembly proceeding in the way we are invited to do. Senator Pearce said that if the main Bill was not assented to the amending Bill would be null and have no effect. That might be so in this case, but if we follow this practice it is conceivable that, on some future occasion, an amending Bill may be brought in to amend a Bill which has not received the Governor-General’s assent, and would never receive parliamentary assent but for the belief that the main Bill would become law. The main Bill not becoming law, the amending Bill might still become law. That opens up a vista of confused proceedings, and of Parliament being induced to consent to legislation to which it would never consent if it knew the facts. In the absence of any plea of violent urgency, the Minister would be well advised in this case to follow wellrecognised parliamentary procedure. It is obvious that there is no great pressure of time in this matter. The Minister has two courses open to him. One of these is set out in our Constitution. When it is found that Parliament has badly expressed itself, or that those responsible for the drafting of a Bill have failed to embody in it what they desired to embody, there is set out in our Constitution a clear course to follow. It is then within the power of Ministers, through the GovernorGeneral, to return that Bill to Parliament with suggested amendments. That is a provision which is absent from many written Constitutions, and it was inserted in our Constitution for the express purpose of enabling those responsible for the drafting of our laws to be able, up to the last moment, to ask Parliament to make perfect the work which time has shown to be imperfect. That being so, 1 ask the Senate, in the absence of anything savouring of urgency in this matter-
– The honorable senator must address himself to the Chair, and not to the Senate.
– I thought I was doing so. All our practice is the result of parliamentary experience, and nobody with parliamentary experience will deny that a very much greater evil is likely to arise as the result of tampering with our parliamentary procedure-
– The honorable senator is assuming that we are tampering with it, but he cannot show that we are.
– The -fact that there is no provision in our Standing Orders for cases of this kind shows that the position is quite novel. That being so, it cannot be urged that in taking the course which the Government propose, we shall be following parliamentary practice. Why was the provision to which I have referred inserted in our Constitution except to meet cases of this kind ? I cannot think that Ministers are so reckless as to the value of our procedure here, or that of the Mother of Parliaments, as to wilfully cast it aside merely to get over a temporary difficulty which can be overcome in twenty-four “hours without violating’ the proper method of procedure that has been laid down. I hope that they will not persevere in the course which they have erroneously mapped out for themselves.
– I have listened very attentively to the arguments which have been advanced by both sides of the Senate, and I have also looked up the authorities which are available on the matter, and I am, therefore, prepared to give a decision upon it now. Why the other branch of the Legislature proceeded with this Bill is no concern of the Senate. Possibly it may have received a message from the Governor-General announcing that the Bill which it is proposed to amend has been assented to. If that be so, the Senate has been flouted in that a similar message was not simultaneously forwarded to this Chamber.
– That is not- so.
– The case which has been cited by the Minister of Defence as a precedent is not upon all fours with this case. In that instance there were two Bills which were to a certain extent interdependent, but which at the same time were, in a measure, independent of each other. The course which was followed by Parliament on that occasion led to a law suit. I think it is extremely undesirable that in our parliamentary procedure loopholes should be left for law cases. It is manifestly absurd for this Parliament to proceed to amend an Act which does not exist. The measure which this Bill proposes to amend is still a Bill, and has not yet finally passed out of the control of Parliament. It will not do so until it receives the Governor-General’s assent. Section 58 of our Constitution provides -
When a proposed law passed by both Houses nf the Parliament is presented to the GovernorGeneral for the Queen’s assent, he shall declare, according to his discretion, but subject to this Constitution, that he assents in the Queen’s name, or that he withholds assent, or that he reserves a law for the Queen’s pleasure.
The Governor-General may return to the House in which it originated any proposed law so presented to him, and may transmit therewith any amendments which he may recommend, and the Houses may deal with the recommendation.
That show’s that the Bill which it is proposed to amend is still capable of being dealt with and amended in a perfectly orderly way by this Parliament, and will remain so up to the moment it receives the Royal assent. It is still in the possession of this Parliament if the proper course he followed. It is obvious, therefore, that to proceed to amend what still remains a Bill in any but the orderly way provided must be out of order. I think that the proper course for Ministers to adopt is to secure the return of the Bill from the Governor-General by means of a message setting out the amendments which it is desired to make. That message could be here to-morrow, and both branches of the Legislature could then proceed in an orderly way. Taking the whole of the circumstances into consideration^ I have no hesitation in upholding the point of order raised by Senator Keating. ,
Debate resumed from 18th November (vide page 693), on motion by Senator Pearce-
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– Although it has been stated that this Bill is an amending one, and therefore should not lead the Senate into a discussion of the underlying principles of our defence legislation, I desire to make a few remarks upon it. Before doing so, however, I would like to pay my modest tribute to the memory of the great soldier whose death we all deplore - I refer to the late Field-Marshal Lord Roberts.
– Order ! There is no allusion to the death of FieldMarshal Lord Roberts in this Bill, and I must ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the subject-matter of the measure.
– I defer to your ruling, sir; but it does seem to me a fitting opportunity-
– If the honorable senator desired to take the course which he has indicated there was an easy and proper method for him to follow.
– I did not think that in a matter of this description it was necessary for me to take any lead. I merely desired to make a cursory reference to the late Field-Marshal Lord Roberts-
– It is no hardship for an honorable senator to be kept strictly to the subject-matter of a Bill. If honorable senators, even from the most admirable motives, were permitted to make references to extraneous subjects, the debate which ensues might be almost interminable.
– You, sir, have been elected to preside over our deliberations, and any ruling, therefore, which you may give will always command my respect, and secure the deference which you are entitled to expect from honorable senators. But I do think that I shall be in order in referring very briefly to the general principles of our defence legislation which the Bill has been introduced to amend. Quite recently we had an illustration of the value of an argument I have used here previously. We had an illustration of the insufficiency of amateurism in regard to naval or military defence. Many of us were very chagrined a little time ago to hear that a couple of vessels of the. British Navy had been sunk off the coast of South America by German vessels, and many of us found it very hard to understand how such an undesirable result had been achieved by the enemy.
– I ask the honorable senator not to refer to that matter.
– Very well, sir. Recent information has disclosed the fact that the defeat of the British Fleet resulted very largely from the fact that the vessels were manned with scratch crews. Consequently amateurism is at a discount more than ever it was. These crews were only embryo-professional sailors. . An honorable senator in speaking to this measure has spoken of a military bureaucracy coming into existence in Australia, and the desire of certain officers of the Permanent Forces to secure an augmentation of the permanent units. I think, that any statement of the kind is, with all respect to the honorable senator, rather far-fetched. It is a well-established principle in all English-speaking communities, and it has been long accepted by military and naval men, that’ the military and naval powers are completely subordinated to the arm of the civil power, and British military or naval men would be the last persons in the world, at this time of day, to advance a claim to establish a condition of things which would subordinate the civil power in any way. That matter was fought out pretty well a couple of centuries ago, and in no English-speaking country is there anything like a well-based fear entertained that the civil power is in danger of being superseded by an aggressive military authority. I think that there is very little in the argument that we are on the eve of a more vigorous attempt on the part of our military authorities to secure an advantage over the civil power, which should always be the directing agent.
– I made no such suggestion ; my suggestion was that the military officers were always striving to increase the permanent units.
– If that is the sum and substance of the honorable senator’s statement, I say that the military officers are right, for we are in possession of a continent, and have increasing responsibilities - responsibilities which are ocean wide and which will entail in the near future the sending out of garrisons to take possession of those dependencies of a foreign Power which we have lately acquired, and which we are going to acquire. All these things necessitate a very large increase in what I might call our professional standing Army.
– Yes, but the officials whom Senator Millen was talking about were there before there was a war at all, and when there was no need for that expansion.
Senator BAKHAP.If the military officers before the war initiated a movement, or gave advice to the authorities which would involve an increase in the Australian Forces, they disclosed the fact that they had that necessary prescience’ which would justify us in employing them. They rendered a very great and useful service to the country by their advice, and I am sorry that it was not adopted. There will be nothing more sure in our history than that there must be a substantial augmentation of our Permanent Forces in the very near future. A full recognition of our responsibility of the fact that we inhabit a’ continent, and that we have acquired territories which are in themselves most extensive, must lead one to the conclusion that in the near future there must be a substantial augmentation of our Permanent Military Forces. As all parties in the British Empire have been culpably remiss or blind in not taking notice of the very sound advice tendered to them, so will all political parties in Australia be just as remiss and culpable if they do not see the writing on the wall, and are not prepared to substantially augment, the Forces on which we rely for the defence of this continent and its dependencies. They are markedly insufficient. The present war may last several years; it will almost certainly last one year or two. We have ample opportunity for making good our defences. While I am not going to be anything like a severe critic; while I fully recognise that it is a non-party subject which we are discussing, I, in my humble capacity, issue the warning to the Administration that it is now full time for us to take into consideration the question of an increase in our Forces which will be commensurate with, the position to which we aspire, as possibly that portion of the King’s Imperial dominions with the greatest national future. I hope that our defence system will not at any time be made too sybaritic. There is a great deal of talk about the hardships which are being imposed on lads io whom is to be intrusted in future” our defence. There is a great deal of talk about their being overworked and overtrained, about their being compelled to endure great hardships if they have to travel a few miles after their work to do the drill, which certainly is not of a very exacting character, because even when they pass through the cadet stage and become full-fledged members of our Military Forces, the training that is given to them is very much less than sufficient to enable us to class them as thoroughly efficient soldiers. Boys ten or eleven years of age will travel five or six miles on a moonlight night to shoot opossums - I did it on- many occasions when I was a boy. When boys will do this voluntarily, to say that there is any great hardship put upon them in asking them to travel a few miles to attend the not too frequent drills, is, I think, somewhat of an exaggeration, and somewhat of a tendency to make what I call too sybaritic our defence legislation. These boys have to recognise that in the future they will, in all possibility, have to go on active service, and that the duties of the soldier are such as always to subject him to a good deal of hardship. Unfortunately, I cannot come to the conclusion, at this juncture, that when the present war is over the world is going to secure peace for fifty or sixty or one hundred years.
I feel sure that we, inhabiting this sparsely peopled continent, will have to recognise that we shall be face to face with many problems of a most grave character, which may perhaps seriously imperil our possession of the continent. We know how international friendships fail or fade. We know that our Allies of to-day were twenty or thirty years ago our most feared antagonists. National combinations of all kinds are made in the course of a few years, and when this war is over problems even greater than those which we foresee will arise for settlement. We cannot regard ourselves as anything like substantial factors, if we are not able to speak to the enemy at our gate with a very good Force behind us. The stern arbitrament of war is not likely to be laid on the shelf in the years to come. Through all the generations man has been a fighting animal, and is likely to continue to be such.” There is one “matter to which I think the Government might reasonably have addressed itself in connexion with this measure. It was my intention to give notice of an amendment on the subject, but I suppose that I would have been regarded as taking up a position which disclosed a kind of bias on my part. Nevertheless, I intend to allude to the matter, though I refrain from submitting an amendment simply because I think that a question of this description ought to be handled by the Government. Section 138 of the Defence Act is amended by the Bill. But there is one part of the section which it is not proposed to amend, and the abstention at this juncture’ discloses an attitude of mind on the part of our people which lays us open to the imputation of being in a very large degree national hypocrites. The exemption provision exempts those who are not substantially of European origin or descent. Irrespective of the fact that certain people may be nativeborn Australians, may have been educated in Australia, may perhaps have lived all their lives here, and may be willing to serve in our Military Forces. they are exempted from duties other than those of a non-combatant nature in a most insulting fashion, and they are told, legislatively, that they may perhaps be taken to the battlefield very much -as the Spartans took their helots. They may be intrusted with duties of, presumably, a menial character. What are we at the present time? We are a people who are most laudably endeavouring to do a good deal in the interests of the Empire. The other day we sent away an Expeditionary Force - and I believe that a great many persons have assumed that it is to be taken to the scene of action - under the auspices of war-ships manned by Asiatics. It is notorious, too, that Asiatic troops in very large numbers, subjects of the Empire, are being used to further the efforts of the Allies on behalf of European civilization in Europe. Properly so.
– Which side is fighting for civilization ?
– The British and their Allies are fighting for civilization. No one who has any knowledge of or has enjoyed the benefits of British rule will for a moment hesitate in declaring himself in favour of the British Empire and its efforts to maintain the liberties of mankind. I have said that our troops are being taken to the front under the wing, so to speak, of Asiatic men-of-war.
– Where does the honorable senator get that information from ?
– I get my information from uncensored publications, which are issued to the people of the Commonwealth.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The Minister will not deny it.
– I hope that I am discreet enough to refrain from asking the Minister either to affirm or deny it.
– If the honorable senator were discreet he would not mention it.
– I have mentioned it because illustrated, newspapers published within the Commonwealth have disclosed the fact. They have contained pictures of Asiatic sailors, who came here for a certain purpose, and who were to be seen in our ports only a few weeks ago.
– That does not justify the honorable senator in referring to the matter.
– I feel that I am justified in doing what I regard to be my duty, in suggesting a necessary amendment of our Defence legislation. Nothing will deter me from doing what I believe to be my duty in this regard.
– We shall have to call in the censor to suppress the honorable senator.
– I invite my honorable friend to call him in. Whilst admitting all the merit which British people may reasonably claim, I believe that they have the demerit of very often exhibiting evidence of what might be called national hypocrisy. We are willing to fight alongside of Asiatics, to accept as the convoy of our Forces to the battlefield ships manned by Asiatics, and yet men who may be Australian born of an Asiatic mother or father are perforce barred from taking part in the defence of the country in which they were born. I tell Ministers that very considerable indignity is to-day being put upon certain youths who have been born in Australia. They are asked to present themselves for examination as units ‘of our Cadet Forces, the juveniles who will be the future soldiers of the Commonwealth. The officers in charge of these Forces, perhaps shamefacedly, have not had the courage to tell these lads the real reason why their services are not accepted - why they have been permitted to wander up and down for hours without being either enrolled or rejected. I have spoken to these lads, many, of whom have been educated in the colleges of the. Commonwealth, in which they have been members of their college rifle teams, and have learned to shoot. They have been asked to present themselves for examination, and have been allowed, after two or three hours’ waiting, to return to their residences without any excuse being tendered to them or to their parents for asking them to present themselves for enrolment, and without the courtesy of being informed of the reason why they have not been enrolled’. I ask that this Spartan system of regarding certain of our countrymen as helots be abrogated. I do not ask for the indiscriminate admission to the Forces of the Commonwealth of any persons who may express a desire to serve in them, but I do say -that any Administration worthy of. the name, and unwilling to lay itself open to the imputation of national hypocrisy, should see that Australians born and bred are given the opportunity to serve in the Forces of their own country when they seek the privilege, irrespective of the races to which they may owe their descent. I can tell the Minister that at the present moment there are sons of German fathers and mothers serving in our first Expeditionary Force. They are Australian-born, and have had the neces sary patriotism and enterprise to enlist in the Forces of Australia and of the Empire. I say, more power to them and good luck to them. I respect their willingness to come forward to serve Australia and the Empire.
– They are Europeans.
– They are, but, so far as race is concerned, they are Germans of the first generation succeeding the settlement of their German parents on Australian soil. Does the honorable senator believe that the son of a Japanese father and mother, born in Australia, should not have an equal right, if he seeks to do so, to serve in the Forces of the country] Circumstances are sometimes too great for even the most narrow and undemocratic legislation, and I can inform Ministers that there are numbers of men of substantially African and Asiatic extraction serving in the ranks of our first Expeditionary -Force. One or two of them, who are friends- of mine, are non-commissioned officers in that Force. In the face of these facts, is it not well at this juncture that any Administration having the interests of the Commonwealth at heart should remove the stigma which section 138 of the Defence Act puts upon certain men who are Australian born, but who do not happen to be of European origin. Some years ago, through the courtesy of Senator Keating, I visited Williamstown/ and saw there a number of recruits for the Australian Naval Forces. I remarked to Commander Colquhoun, who did me the courtesy of showing me through the Naval yards, that quite a number of the men seemed to me to be of almost purely African extraction. He said, “ Yes, and they are very good recruits for our Naval Forces. They are the descendants of Brazilian negroes, who have settled along our coasts, and form a considerable proportion of some of our fishing communities.”
– The honorable senator cannot continue to deal with the question of the admission of certain classes of people to the Defence Force. I did not feel called upon to prevent him making a casual reference to the subject. While he has been speaking I have looked into the Bill, and I see in it no proposal to amend any part of the Defence Act to which such a discussion would be relevant. It has been ruled by my predecessors in this chair that, in speaking to an amending Bill, or in moving an amendment upon it, an honorable senator’s) remarks must be relevant to the subjectmatter of the amending Sill. The fact that the remarks may be relevant to some of the provisions of the principal Act does not constitute relevancy to an amending Bill which does not propose the amendment of those provisions. I must ask the honorable senator, in the circumstances, to confine himself to the subjectmatter of the Bill now before the Senate.
– While deferring to your ruling, you will, perhaps, forgive me if I point out that the matter with which I am dealing is embodied in one of the sections of the principal Act which it is the purpose of this Bill to amend.
– I do not think so.
– I refer you, sir, to section 138 of the Defence Act. There is a clause in this Bill which deals with that particular section.
– But the Bill does not propose an amendment of that section which will affect the matter to which the honorable senator has been referring. I have endeavoured to permit the honorable senator reasonable latitude to explain his views.
– J thank you, sir, for the latitude extended to me, and I will be the last member of the Senate to show any disinclination to support your ruling. I shall only say that I earnestly appeal to Ministers, when a combined effort is being made by subjects of the Empire, irrespective of colour or creed, to assure the triumph of our arms, to remove from our Defence Act that stigma upon some of the Australian-born to which I have referred. No Administration fully alive to the momentarily widening responsibilities of Australia will fail to recognise that our defence legislation is at present radically deficient and unsatisfactory. I have heard nothing since I came here of the report upon our defence system which was secured from a very valuable and distinguished Imperial officer. Reading between the lines of that report, -or dealing entirely with its language, and without implication or inference, the conclusion must be arrived at that it does not disclose a state of things that is entirely satisfactory in connexion with the projected scheme of defence which will mature during the next three or four years, and upon which we at present appear to be content solely to rely. Australians will have to act as the people of the United States of America have found it necessary to act. We are at the present moment assuming many responsibilities, just as the United States of
America have done during the last ten or fifteen years. The people- of the United States of America have felt themselves under an obligation to keep a standing Army slightly exceeding 100,000 men. We exercise jurisdiction over territory greater, emptier, and more liable to attack than that of the United States of America. In the circumstances, we shall commit a very great error if we rely solely upon what are, after all, very raw levies, imperfectly prepared for war, and as incapable of being put into the field at a moment’s notice as are the raw levies which Lord Kitchener is engaged in licking into shape at the present time. The safety of Australian interests, and the protection of the Territories of the Commonwealth, cannot, in my opinion, be secured if we do not make provision for a more substantial increase in our Permanent Forces, or, as I prefer to say, our standing Army, than the Government seem now to have in contemplation. I am not talking for talk.ing’s sake in this matter. I am fully convinced that we are, perhaps, in graver national peril than some persons believe, and that it is imperative that we should realize that we are assuming responsibilities of almost Imperial dimensions. Our defence scheme is a partial scheme, and can be only partially satisfactory”; and, in my view, we must have a better Army than we have at present, or than some persons have in contemplation; and we must, also, have a largely augmented Fleet. I hope that Ministers will recognise that my remarks have not been made in any party spirit, and will take them into consideration. I propose to give them, privately, further information in the light of which I have spoken, and if they do not feel inclined to attach any importance to the views I express, they must not complain if, in future, I find it necessary to criticise them for not having fully realized the responsibilities attaching to them as administrators.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [4.7].- I wish to make a few remarks upon the Bill, and on some matters which have come up in connexion with it. So far as an amendment to the principal Act is concerned, Senator Pearce has, I think, given good reasons why we should make a change in the direction he has indicated. We. must recognise that our officers who are going away with our Expeditionary Forces are entitled to every consideration in the matter of promotion in the Australian Forces to which they belong. It is well-known that men seconded from their regiments for the time being are not robbed of consideration when promotion in those regiments have to be made. The Expeditionary Forces are not raised under the Defence Act, and it must be agreed that some legislation is necessary to provide that men belonging to them should be recognised as belonging to the Defence Forces generally of the Commonwealth. As matters stand now, a man who joins the Expeditionary Forces owes no allegiance to the Defence Act. His enrolment, I believe, makes him a member, not of the Australian Forces, but of the Imperial Forces raised under Imperial law, and coming under Imperial control. Thus a certain number of men take the necessary oaths, undergo the training, and pass under the control and jurisdiction of the Mother Country. Whilst the Force remains in existence there should be some means by which we could keep in touch with the whole body, so that they would form an integral portion of the Australian Defence Forces as a whole.
– Not when they come back?
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD.- Why not?
– Because they are volunteers for a specific purpose.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - Are they not equally as good as numbers of volunteers? No one is eligible for our Defence Forces unless he enters very young, and many of these men are considerably past the age that would enable them ‘to enter the Defence Forces. They are going away to fight on behalf of the country, which should be only too glad to include them in the Defence Forces to provide for any future trouble in which we may become involved. They would have had experience, and be worth far more than men, however well trained or educated, who had never been on a battle-field.
– Would you organize special corps for them?
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - I should maintain them as members of the Defence Forces. It might be arranged for them only to report themselves from time to time, or to attend a certain number of drills until they reached a specified age.
– Our citizen soldiers do that after twenty-five.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD.- Why should they not be citizen soldiers after twenty-five, even though they have not undergone training at the age of seventeen or eighteen? It would also be well to enroll a certain number of men who, under the terms of their enrolment, would be liable to serve outside Australia. Under the Act no man is liable to serve outside Australia at present, except those belonging to the Permanent Forces, but we rely mainly upon our Citizen Forces, and have only sufficient permanent men to keep things going in time of peace. Whenever Australia becomes involved in war we shall have to rely for our main protection on the Citizen Forces, and the members of the Permanent Forces will be practically a negative quantity. We should so extend our powers under the original Defence Act as to provide for the raising and enrolling of men for the express purpose of forming any Expeditionary Force that may be required in the future. Under present conditions we have to rely for our Expeditionary Forces on men who volunteer. The majority of them come_in absolutely raw, with no knowledge of the work that will devolve upon them. If, on the other hand, we had men in training, part of whose duty was to go out of Australia whenever the Government thought fit to send them, we should be able to send our Expeditionary Forces out much sooner and in a much more efficient condition. Three months have elapsed since the war started, and during all that time we had no men ready or fit to send. We knew that all we had to do was to appeal to the patriotism of Australians and they would volunteer for the work; but they had to be given a certain amount of training, and that caused delay, apart from other considerations.
– We had no ships ready.
– I said “apart from other considerations,” but even had the ships been available as soon as the men were raised, we could not have sent them out of the country immediately with any degree of satisfaction or safety, because they would have gone out as raw levies requiring training. We have given them all the training we could, and they are familiar with the rudiments of their work, but we know that they will want more training at the other end. A system by which we could have men enrolled and trained for this specific purpose would be of great value not only to Australia, but to the Empire as a whole. We all realize that our protection is being fought for on the battlefields of Europe. What help could a body of men here, no matter how well equipped or efficient, give in the present trouble if they did not go beyond our boundaries? If Great Britain were defeated in Europe we should be vitally affected. It would be within the power of the conqueror to make the surrender of Australia one of the conditions of peace. If Australia were demanded as the price of peace, our men would not have had the opportunity of fighting for its defence, but if, when war broke out, part of our Forces could be immediately sent away to defend Australia in any other part of the world, their services would be most valuable. Such a power would have to be used with great care, and possibly the Government of the time might consider it necessary to obtain the opinion of Parliament if Parliament was sitting before committing itself to the despatch of an Expeditionary Force.
– You held quite a different opinion twenty years ago.
– If we have not learnt a great deal in twenty years, we have no right to be hero. Our Navy is not kept hanging about our coasts to meet a possible enemy, because we realize and accept the doctrine that the duty of a Navy is to destroy an enemy as far as possible from its own bases.
– And it is a permanent force.
– Undoubtedly. Probably the safety of our country will depend on battles fought on the water thousands of miles away from our coast, or on the fields of Europe. That is where our defence lies, and where our men can render the most efficient service to our people.
– That is quite correct, but you have never realized it till now.
– Perhaps the honorable senator has not.
– And now it is too late.
– It is never too late to mend. We are asked to amend the law with respect only to minor matters. I want to draw attention to a much more serious matter.
– We are all the time having our men trained up to twentyfive, and, in the future, when any Force is wanted the trained men will come forward and volunteer.
– I hope they will, but they are not in a majority in the present Expeditionary Forces. There are a number of them, but an equally large number are not trained.
– A number of the men trained under the old system probably went to be trained for fun.
– Many of them did not do it for fun. They did it because they thought they might be of some value to their country in the future.
– When I came to this country they did it for land orders.
– I had no such motive when I joined the Forces, nor did I join for the sake of the pay. A professional soldier gets paid, and properly so, because it is his business. We are annexing additional territory. We have had portion of New Guinea under our control for some time, and we have now another portion previously under German occupation. We are sending Colonel Pethebridge with a Force to take possession of other islands in the Pacific, and we shall naturally be responsible for their proper administration and defence. The Japanese propose to hand over to Australia certain islands taken from the Ger- mans, and I believe the Government are prepared to accept the responsibility. If so, we must have a Force to protect them, but no man belonging to our Defence Forces can be compelled to serve there. The Government will have to raise another Expeditionary Force for that purpose ; and, therefore, we must have men liable to serve outside the Commonwealth. We have none to-day, but are entirely dependent on Imperial laws or authority in this respect, and, though the Minister may not think it necessary at present to make a drastic change in our legislation for this purpose, he must realize that Australia now that, for good or ill, she has taken over the control of territory outside her own borders, is bound to raise Defence Forces for their protection. The United States of America found themselves in exactly the same position when they annexed Cuba and the Philippines. They had to increase their Forces materially to protect their interests there, and the men raised for the purpose had no say as to where they were to go. They were enrolled sis portion of the regular Army, and their duty was to go wherever ordered. It will have to be the same with our Forces. The United States of America followed very much the same lines as Australia has done. Their policy once was, “Hands off America, and we will not interfere with any territory outside.” The moment they did so, they were compelled to adopt the same course with regard to their Army as older nations had done. We shall have to increase our Permanent Forces in the samo way, and can do it by amending our law as I suggest. If our destiny is to be what it promises to be - if we are ‘ to become the paramount power in the Southern Pacific - we must make provision accordingly, whatever honorable senators may wish or say to the contrary. I have no desire to labour this matter, hut I do feel that the present is an occasion upon which one may very well express views of this character, in order that honorable senators may have the position brought home to them more closely than it has been hitherto. Until we attempted the acquisition of territory outside the Commonwealth, no need existed for legislative provision in regard to these external Forces. We must have a large number of permanent men to give effect to our compulsory training scheme, and we ought to utilize their services in defence of our country in other directions.
– I desire to refer to a matter upon which representations have been made to me from various parts of Queensland. It appears that many persons who were attached to volunteer corps in days gone by, and who still hold military titles, are desirous of doing something in the interests of the nation at the present time. Many of them are not in a position to volunteer for service at the front owing to domestic ties, although they have the inclination to do so; and it has been represented to me that it might be of assistance to the Defence Department if these individuals were authorized to drill, in their respective localities, citizens who are not now undergoing military training. The people who desire to be trained in these areas are somewhat apprehensive of the future. They fear that the present Titanic struggle in Europe may eventually be transferred to Australia. This matter is one which, I think, should be considered by the Minister. Perhaps it may be possible to give administrative effect to my suggestion without actually providing for it in this Bill.
– The Defence Department has not an Instructional Staff strong enough to carry on our cadet training now.
– But the men of whom I speak are in a position to do the instructional work in the localities in which they reside. They would become honorary instructors. A more serious omission from this Bill is that in it no attempt has been made to safeguard Australia against foes from within, not merely in time of war, but in time of peace. These enemies of Australia and of the British Empire are not confined to the countries with which Great Britain and the Allied Forces are now at war. Many of them, I am sorry to say, pose as high-minded patriots, as great Britishers, and as professional flagflappers. For years past it has been their practice to refer to the disloyalty of the people of the Commonwealth. From the heads of these so-called leaders of thought in Australia clown to the most insignificant exponent of their allegations, it has been the custom to refer to the Labour party as being disloyal to Great Britain and the nation. Very few people are now prepared to regard them seriously, because they have seen from what section of the community in Australia military service to the nation has come. Nevertheless, these persons have encouraged the enemies of Great Britain, and have inspired them to go ahead and attack the Old Country whenever the opportunity arose. We had an. illustration of this practice from no less a person than the Bight Honorable Joseph Cook, the ex-Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. Some three or four months ago he referred to the Australian Navy as “ Fisher’s cockle-shell ships.”
– Not to the Australian Navy. The honorable senator is in error when he makes that statement. Mr. Cook was referring to the cockle-shell ships which were proposed by Mr. Fisher some years ago.
– I am not going to discuss the question of who is respon.sible for the creation of the Australian Navy.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that that matter is extraneous to this Bill.
– I recognise that. The people gave their opinion upon it on the 5th September last, and I am quite satisfied with! that verdict. But the omission from this Bill of which I complain is provision to deal with persons like those who some time since held up the present Prime Minister - after he had filled that office on two occasions - as one who had advocated hauling down the flag and cutting the painter. Still another gentleman who occupied a high official position - I allude to Mr. Elliot Johnson on, who was Speaker of the other branch of the Legislature during the regime of the late Government - openly expressed the opinion that ‘if ever an Australian Navy were established he had no doubt that its guns would be directed against Great Britain.
– He was quite certain of that. He said that we were going to establish a republic, and blow the Empire to smithereens.
– I do not think there is a Fusion politician in Australia to-day who, at some time or other, has not, for political purposes, endeavoured to trade on the alleged disloyalty of the Labour party.
– I must ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the subject-matter of the Bill. As I have previously pointed out the ruling of my predecessors has always been that remarks in regard to amending Bills must be strictly relevant to the subjectmatter of those Bills, and must not roam over the whole range of the principal Acts.
– I am merely endeavouring to show why provision should be made in this measure to guard against certain dangers in the future. It is absolutely essential to the welfare of Australia, and of the British nation, that provision should be made for interning these traitors to our country in places of military detention.
– We ought to put ex-Speaker Johnson down at Langwarrin.
– There is more in this matter than appears on the surface, and I am quite serious in regard to it. When it was given out here that the people of Australia were disloyal, do honorable senators imagine for a moment that that information was not spread broadcast throughout Germany as an intimation to the authorities there that Australia could not be relied on ?
– The German Intelligence Department would not be a very valuable one in that case.
– It would be valuable to Germany, in that it would mislead the German people. It was further said that the Home Rule question in Ireland would provoke civil war, and that South Africa was not loyal, and would break into rebellion. That sort of information tended to mislead the German people. I think that provision should be made in a Bill of this character for dealing with persons who are responsible for such gross misstatements. Any man who is guilty of treachery to Australia should be put in his proper place There is another matter to which I would like to refer, namely, that of exemptions. Under this Bill, the Minister will be given certain discretionary power. I think he is wise in reserving to himself the power to grant exemptions in various cases. The Leader of the Opposition does not approve of the idea-, and seems to think ;that nobody other than himself should express an opinion on such a matter. I have never had the distinction of being crowned with a laurel wreath on account of my military knowledge, as he was crowned at the meeting in Sydney, although that laurel wreath was pulled off his brow by the people on the 5th September last. But within the past few months certain cases of hardship have been brought under my notice, and I have been requested to bring them before the Minister. One of these was that of an orphan boy who was being kept at school by his brothers and sisters until such time as an examination for entrance to the Civil Service should be held. Within a brief period prior to that examination this lad was ordered into a mobilization camp. When the period during which he would have been required to undergo training in camp had expired, the examination would have been over. Consequently he would have been thrown on the world at the age of seventeen or eighteen years without any certificate as to his qualifications. How would Senator Millen make provision for a case of that kind in a Bill of this character ? It would be impossible to provide for every deserving case of exemption in this measure, and consequently the only remedy is for the Minister to reserve to himself the necessary discretionary power. I think he will be well advised to use that discretionary power very freely. I shall conclude by expressing the hope that the Minister will consider the offer of the unattached officers in the outside districts, who are willing to undertake in an honorary capacity the training of the people in their locality who are anxious to be prepared for eventualities in the future.
– In my reply I propose to deal first with the remarks of the last speaker about the voluntary offers from persons in various parts of the Commonwealth. We have received a very large number of these offers, and it is very gratifying to find so many of them coming forward. But there is a difficulty in many cases. Obviously, if we are going to arrange, whether for Expeditionary Forces or for local defence, it must be on some well-defined lines. Many of these offers have been of a peculiar character, though I do. not say that the offers referred to by Senator Fer ricks come within that category. In many cases some gentleman will write to the Department offering to raise a regiment or a squadron of light horse, of which he is to be the commander. In the first place, in the Forces to which we would have to attach the gentleman we may have already provided for sufficient light horse. It must be remembered that in these Forces we need to observe the proper proportion of the various arms. In the second place, it may be that the gentleman is not one who is suitable to have command of a regiment. He may have a very good opinion of himself, but in the view of the military officers he may not be the best man to put in command. Some of the offers have been rather embarrassing because of the conditions attached to them. There has been another class of offer which, on the face of it, seems a very good one. There have been offers from men to raise a regiment of light horse, each member to find his own horse. The offer, on the face of it, looks very good, but when it is examined what does it come to t It comes to a property qualification, because, no matter how good a soldier a man might be, if he could not provide his own horse he would be excluded. I am sure that Senator Ferricks would not congratulate me if I accepted that method of raising Forces. Again, gentlemen come forward and say that we ought to organize a Force for home defence, or a home training guard, and make various suggestions of that kind. They are prepared to prescribe the conditions under which the home Forces shall be trained, and what the Department shall do for them, and vice versâ. We have a defence scheme which was laid down by the man who is now thought fit to guide the defence of the Empire in the present war. We accepted that scheme, and we believe that it is capable of meeting our requirements in peace and, with modifications, also in war.
-The only trouble is that it has not been in force long enough.
– That is the whole trouble. But there .is another difficulty to be mentioned. A large number of imperfectly trained men, although they come together with the best intentions, may not give us any real strength; in fact, they may be even a source of danger t because they are largely a paper strength-
Lord Kitchener laid it down that we should have a Citizen- Force, and, as regards our reserves, the best suggestion he could make was that we should enroll our rifle clubs. Our reply to the gentlemen from whom these offers come is, “ If you wish to train for home defence there are the rifle clubs to join. They are the Reserve Forces of the Commonwealth. They are linked up with the Defence Forces, and therefore we do not need to introduce a new defence scheme. “We invite you to join the rifle clubs.”
– Which cost the Department a considerable amount annually.
– Yes, but nevertheless the rifle clubs are a very cheap and very effective means of home defence, though there is not always the same amount of glory attaching to membership of a rifle club as is attached to membership of other organizations with highsounding titles. In a rifle club the highest title to be obtained is that of a captain, so that it does not offer the attraction which other organizations possess. At the present juncture we would not be wise in starting a number of now organizations and grafting them on to our defence scheme unless of course, they fit in. Senator Ferricks, if he looks into the matter, will see that in raising the new Force3, we have taken into consideration the fact that there are some places where the light horsemen predominate. In Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales, and particularly South Australia, there are large numbers of persons who, so to speak, earn their living on horseback, and who are more or less good shot?, and just the right type of material for light horsemen. If my honorable friend will glance at the figures for the latter contingents he will find that those States are contributing light horsemen altogether out of proportion to their population, simply because of that very fact. We are relying on the States to provide the infantry and the reinforcements for them. Senator Millen, to my mind, took a very exaggerated view of the danger of extending our Permanent Forces unnecessarily. It has to be remembered that we have seven defended ports. A gunner to-day has to be a very expert man indeed. A lot of training is needed to turn out an expert gunner. He has to be a studious man. Ho has to understand a great deal about mechanism and to be fairly well educated. In these days actions are decided very quickly, as the result of the tremendous power of the modern gun and modern projectiles. In the case of attacks by ships or torpedo boats, it may be a matter of a few minutes rather than a matter of a few hours or days. It stands to reason that we must have at the defended ports, at any rate, a nucleus of thoroughly trained men. Right from the inception of the Commonwealth it has been found necessary to have more or less a nucleus- of permanent men at all these ports.
– The States had them, too.
– Yes. I may mention that Lord Kitchener said that we needed more. During my term of office the number was increased, still they were not increased up to the number which his Lordship recommended in order to bo absolutely on the safe side. I have here a return showing the total number of Permanent Forces. When it appears on the Estimates, or is mentioned in a newspaper paragraph, the total number of 2,936 seems to be fairly large, but when it is analyzed what do we find? In that number there are only about 1,500 who are actually doing the work of soldiering. The balance is made up of some 300 who, though termed military, are military clerks, not combatants at all; and some 1,100 who are associated with the Citizen Forces either as instructors or on the Ad,ministrative and Instructional Staffs, carrying on our system of citizen training.
– Do you tell us that the permanent strength of the combatant Forces is very much smaller than it appears to be on paper?
– Yes. Although the number 2,936 appears on paper, the fighting permanent soldiers number about 1,500, and when it is remembered that these men are distributed over seven defended ports, I do not think it can be said that we have a very exaggerated standing Army. Let us contrast that position with the Citizen Forces. Of the latter we have just under 60,000 citizen soldiers and 86,000 Senior Cadets, while in the rifle clubs we have a total of 196,000. “When we compare the total number of 2,936, or the actual number of 1,500 in the Permanent Forces, with the 196,000 in our Citizen Forces, it will be seen that we cannot be said yet to have a strong standing Army. Coming to the question of the Aviation Corps, at which Senator Millen shied, I may say that the aviation instructional staff numbers fifteen. I am glad to see that already there are certain citizen officers who have been trained, and have obtained their certificates. The object is not that we shall have a corps of permanent officers, but that we shall have an aviation school, at which we shall have sufficient instructors and mechanics, permanent men, to instruct all militia officers who desire to learn to fly and to take observations whilst they are flying. That is the object of the aviation school, and those who have read the cablegrams, and noticed the work which aviators have done for the armies of Europe, must realize that we will have to expand the Aviation Corps. It is not a question of keeping it down. It seems to me that, if our Forces are to fight, we shall need a far larger number of citizen officers to be trained in. the art of aviation than are capable of being trained under present conditions. I do not think that there are any other matters to which I need direct attention, because I recognise that most of the remarks made on the Bill have been of a friendly character.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Motion (by Senator Turley) proposed -
That it be an instruction to the Committee of the Whole on the BiU to amend the Defence Act 1903-12, to consider an amendment of section 123a of the principal Act.
– I hope that Senator Turley will not take my acquiescence in this motion as an acquiescence in his proposal.
– The proper place to discuss the proposal will be in Committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Stewart) agreed to-
That it be an instruction to the Committee of the Whole on the Bill to amend the .Defence Act 1903-12 to consider the amendment of section 51 of the principal Act.
Clauses 1 to 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 -
Section thirty-one of the principal Act is» amended -
by adding at the end thereof the words or except Expeditionary Forces in time of war.”
– This proposed amendment is of sufficient importance to warrant a statement from the Minister of Defence as to what it involves. I wish to be sure that it has nob the object, which the Minister stated the other day was not his intention, or the intention of the Government, of departing from the principle of the present Act, the establishment of a purely Citizen Force for the defence of the Commonwealth.
– In section 30 of the Defence Act it is provided that -
The Defence Forces shall consist of the Naval and Military Forces of the Commonwealth, and shall be divided into two branches called the Permanent Forces and the Citizen Forces.
Then, under section 31, provision is made that-
In this Bill, it is proposed to add to that the words - or except Expeditionary Forces in time of war.
The object is to give us the power, in time of war, to raise Expeditionary Forces by voluntary enlistment, in accordance” with the Defence Act. The proposed amendment of the Act would not give the Government the power in time of peace to raise a single soldier. It is specially limited to the time of war. As the members of Expeditionary Forces will be enlisted, and will not be compulsory soldiers, the terms of their enlistment may cover service within or beyond the Commonwealth. As those who choose to enlist will know the terms on which they are invited to do so, there should be no objection to such a power being given in the Defence Act. As a matter of fact, there has been no power under the Defence Act to raise the Expeditionary Forces that have already been organized. They have been raised by Executive act, and by the power vested in the Government to take such steps as are deemed necessary to protect the country. We think it desirable that this power should be legalized.
– If any person refused to enlist, the Government could not compel him to serve.
– Neither could we under the proposed amendment of the Act, The enlistment must be purely voluntary, but this amendment would give a Government, in the future, a statutory power to do what the previous Government and the present Government have done so far by Executive act. It is desirable that this power should be exercised by the authority of Parliament. The amendment would not give the Government the power to send a single soldier out of Australia without its consent. It will give them the power under the Defence Act to raise Expeditionary Forces by voluntary enlistment.
– The Minister, in. his reply, has covered certain ground that it was necessary and desirable he should cover. If this1 proposed amendment of the principal Act be agreed to, the Government, will have the power, under the Defence- Act, to raise Expeditionary Forces in time of war. I find that in the principal Act “ time of war “ means any time during which a state of war actually exists. That is tosay, that when Great Britain declares war we are at war.
– Or if we declare war ourselves.
– I take it thai we could not do that.
– “ Time of war “ is denned to mean more than the honorable senator has mentioned. It includes the time between the issue of a proclamation of the existence of war and the issue of a proclamation declaring that the war nolonger exists-. Those’ would be proclamations under our Defence Act.
– If Great Britain were to declare war, under the clause we are now considering, the Commonwealth Government would have the- power to- raise Expeditionary Forces, without consulting the people of Australia, to go- to the aid of Great Britain.
– Quite so.
– They would be volunteers.
– Yes, but the Forces would- be raised by the Commonwealth Government without appeal to thepeople. I want to know whether honorable senators think it desirable to place in the hands of the Government the power, without consulting Parliament or the people, to take part in a war which might be an unjust war.
– We might have another South African war.
– As Senator Ferricks has said, we might have another South African war.
– The Government could raise such Forces whether this clause is passed or not.
– I think it might be better to leave it to the Executive, and let them take the responsibility.
– They will take the responsibility anyhow.
– We should not, I think, force upon the Government thepower to do something which the people’ might be prepared to condemn. I wish to make it perfectly known that I do not believe in all wars. I condemned the South African war as an unjust war, and. as one of the biggest blots in the history of the Empire.
– Every one does that now.
– It is very safe to do it now, but I did it at the time, and the Labour party generally condemned it at the time.
– The honorable senator is claiming too much when he says> that every one now believes the South African war to have been an unjust war.
– I do not say thatevery one now condemns it. I do not expect for a moment that Senator Bakhap will condemn it.
– I do not think it was an unjust wax.
– I do not wish to be committed to a provision placing in the hands of the Executive the power, without consulting Parliament, to embark upon the raising of Expeditionary Forces to take part in wars which might be justas iniquitous as, in my- opinion, the-
South African war was. I know that I am treading upon somewhat dangerous iground. Some people may accuse us of being fair-weather partners of the Empire, hut <we should not be carried away by our patriotism at the present time to commit ourselves to something for iwhich we might be very sorry later on. I am not too ‘keen upon giving the Executive the power to raise Expeditionary Forces in time of war without imposing some limitations upon that power.
– If the Executive of the day does so, what power will Parliament have to prevent their action, exceptto turn them out?
– The Executive may not . call Parliament together for a considerable time af ter the departure of the Expeditionary Forces, and it will then be too late to rectify the mistake.
– They can exercise this $ower in any case.
– We should not encourage them to do so !>y providing by Statute that they may do so.
– I point out to Senator Mullan that if a Government raises an Expeditionary Force against the wishes of the people, Parliament, immediately it is called together, will have a very effective remedy. The first Supply Bill submitted must include votes to cover the expenditure upon the Expeditionary Force, and Parliament may Temove the Executive from office, or may refuse “to vote the necessary Supply . We could not include in this Bill any safeguards which would prevent the Executive from raising an Expeditionary Force if they considered it necessary, because the power is vested in the Executive to take action outside the law in time of war for the protection of the country.
– If that be so, the amendment of the Act proposed by clause 7 of this Bill is unnecessary.
– It is not necessary, except for the purpose of- giving a legal status to the Expeditionary Forces that may be -raised. It is mot desirable that we should leave the status of such Forces in doubt. This provision will not induce a Government to exercise the power any more readily than they would exercise it without such a provision. They will, in any case, be responsible to the country and to Parliament, and if their action is not in accordance with the will of the people they may be -turned out or denied Supply to meet the expense of the Forces.
.- I am in favour of the clause. I think that the Executive should have f ull power in time of war to take any steps they deem necessary to defend the country. I see no reason why we should not give men invited to enlist as members of Expeditionary Forces some idea of where they may be expected to go toMost of those who are at present being enlisted are prepared to go anywhere they are sent.
Clause agreed to.
.- I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 7a. Section fifty-one of the principal Act is amended by inserting at the end of the section the following words ‘. - ‘ Provided always that the Citizen -Forces of ithe Commonwealth shall jiot be oalled out or utilized in connexion with an industrial dispute.’ “
It is not my intention to say very much in . support of this amendment, which I believe will -meet with the approval of a large majority of the members of the . Committee. The present arrangement with our . Citizen Forces is exceedingly . unsatisfactory to . a great number of the people of Australia, inasmuch as in addition to . providing that the Forces must defend the people against foreign aggression it also provides that in the case of -internal disturbance those Forces -may be called out. I know that this is -a . new departure. It is something that has not . been attempted by any Government. But new ideas are entering into the minds of the people everywhere. We are discovering that many things -which were looked upon as sacred by our fathers were only rubbish of the meanest character. The idea prevailing in the minds of the people now is that the bond between . the Commonwealth and the members of the Defence Forces should extend only to the defence of Australia against foreign aggression. Those who have read the history of military interference with industrial disputes must have come to the conclusion that in no case where the military have been called out in. the past has that step been really necessary. It has been a favorite device of capitalistic governments everywhere, when workmen met together to improve their conditions, to surround them with military, armed with rifles and bayonets, for the express purpose of goading them into action that would bring them within the reach of the law. The moment that point was passed, an opportunity arose for giving the order to fire. That order was often given and obeyed with fatal effect. The time has come to put an end to that sort of thing. Good government is the best guarantee of internal peace. If a country is well governed, and its people fully employed and fairly treated by their employers, industrial disturbance is almost unthinkable.
– The honorable senator is begging the question. What we have to deal “with is the position when industrial disputes or any other form of domestic violence arises.
– I am not beg- ging the question, because there is undoubtedly a sentiment throughout Australia that the members of our Defence Forces should not be compelled to take part in putting down any disturbance of that character, but that the forces provided by the civil authority ought to be quite sufficient for the purpose.
.- The Government propose to accept the clause, not because it carries us very far, but because we recognise that the argument that the military have been, and may still be, used for the purpose indicated by Senator Stewart has been employed by those opposed to the Defence Act as one of their stock arguments against the Act. If this clause is passed by Parliament, even if it has’ no legal effect, and does not affect the constitutional provision relating to the question, it will still be a declaration by this Parliament, and will serve to rob the opponents of the Defence Act of that argument.
– Thos© people are against the Act in any case.
– They are able to get a great number of sympathisers and a great deal of sympathy by continually trotting out the argument that the Defence Forces are going to be used to shoot down strikers. Should the clause do nothing else, it will achieve some good if it kills that contention.
– I am sorry the Minister has departed from the well-mapped-out procedure that he indicated his intention of following when submitting the Bill last week. I understood him then to say that he would deprecate the introduction of extraneous matter into the measure. It was obviously never contemplated by the Government, when the Bill was drafted, to introduce anything of this nature, and it was absolutely necessary, before so important a proposal was discussed in Committee, that a motion instructing the Committee to consider it should be carried in the first place. The Government would have, followed a far better course if they had allowed the subject to be dealt with quite separately from this measure, and entirely upon its merits. Apart from the fact that it is extraneous to the general principles and object of the Bill, it is a subject of great importance in itself. Certain persons who are opposed to our system of compulsory training may base their opposition to it upon the apprehension that the Citizen Forces may be trained to take part in suppressing industrial disputes, and many who in any circumstances are opposed, for a variety of reasons, to compulsory training for defence, may adduce that fear as a justification for their attitude, although it is not the main reason or the real ground for their opposition. I think, therefore, that it would have been far better to take this matter into consideration on a motion such as was put on the notice-paper in previous sessions by ex-Senator Rae, or in a separate measure. It touches a very vital part of the relations between the Commonwealth and the States. It i3 provided in section 119 of the charter under which we act that “ the Commonwealth shall protect every State against invasion, and, on the application of the Executive Government of the State, against domestic violence.” What is meant by “domestic violence”? The phrase will have its own interpretation as used in the Constitution. Nothing that we can do in an Act of Parliament can give an interpretation to any term in the Constitution for the purposes of the Constitution. There is, I think, no definition clause in the Constitution. It was assumed, in its drafting, that all the words used in it would be so clear and lucid that no interpretation clause was necessary; but there is an interpreting authority, as Senator Bakhap reminds me.
– How would you interpret “domestic violence”?
– That will be the question. This Parliament cannot interpret it. If we attempt to say that violence arising out of an industrial dispute shall not he domestic violence for the purposes of the Constitution, as Senator Stewart, in effect, asks us to say, we are simply beating the air. A mere assertion of ‘that nature in an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament will have no effect whatever. “ Domestic violence “ will still be interpreted as if this Act did not exist, should occasion arise for its interpretation. For that reason I regret that the Government have acquiesced in the amendment, more especially as Senator Pearce indicated that it was his wish, and the wish of the Government, that no extraneous matter should be introduced into the Bill. This proposal not only brings the general principles of the main Act into the discussion, but also gives occasion for a very far-reaching and almost interminable debate upon the Constitution itself. The Minister has followed, perhaps, the easier, but, I think, the weaker, course in this regard. This measure is undoubtedly required, and it is desirable that it should be passed in the main with as reasonable speed as possible; but if the Committee proceeded to discuss this amendment to the extent that its importance demands, the passage of the Bill would be considerably embarrassed. As the Minister has said that the Government will accept the amendment, I realize that argument as to the wisdom of their action is, to a great extent, useless, seeing how strongly they are supported here; but I still think they have taken an entirely wrong course. This matter should have been discussed “ on its own,” and free from other considerations. In that way the decision of Parliament would have been registered in circumstances that would insure to the people that it was arrived at after the most mature and careful consideration, uninfluenced and unhampered by any plea for the expeditious passage of other amendments of the defence law.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Aus with Senator Heating’s declaration that Parliament cannot interpret its powers or functions under’ the Constitution. As legislators, we continually have to interpret the Constitution. We cannot legislate unless we do. Parliament must he prepared at times to take the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution. As concerns the question of saying what domestic violence is, we may well attempt to straighten things out and define them for ourselves. We have had many sad lessons in the past as to the use to which the Defence Forces have been put. They have been used at times for utterly wrong purposes.
– In what instances,?
– The instances are as plentiful as blackberries in autumn. It is only necessary to recall the “ Fire-low-and-lay-them-out “ phrase of a certain notorious colonel in Victoria at the time of the maritime strike, to bring to mind quite a number of instances.
– I believe what he said was “Fire low, and lay the disturbers of law and order out.” ‘
– Who were they? Time and again I have seen a peaceable strike proceeding, and the disturbers of law and order were either the police or the militia brought into the district. Time and again that has happened. But who ever heard of men of that kidney proposing to set the law in motion against such disturbers of law and order”? When the maritime strike occurred I was engaged as a miner in the Mount Kembla district. There was one old Scotchman there who occupied a subordinate position as a boss, and he was asked to become. a special constable for the purpose of assisting in the maintenance of law and order. He inquired what his duties would be, and was told that he would be required to suppress any disturbance of the peace. His reply was, “ Everything is going on quietly here. Nobody desires to injure another. But if you bring non-unionists here to displace men who have been peacefully engaged in the mining industry for so long,’ and if they are backed up by policemen and soldiers they will be the real disturbers of the peace. Am I to hit them on the head with a bludgeon ? “ That old Scotchman had a keen sense of humour. But Senator Bakhap’s sense of humour is entirely absent.
– I have studied Scotch humour, and I find a conspicuous absence of it in the honorable -senator.
– I do not assert that my sense of humour is too keen; but. at the same time, my dull sense of humour is often stirred by the honorable senator. We have to consider what is our duty when an amending Bill of this character is before us. Since we last dealt with Defence matters it must be recollected that we havefought an election. Part of the policy of the Labour party on that occasion was an amendment of the Defence Act in the direction which is now proposed. If we did not give effect to our pledges, Senator Bakhap would be one of ti’e first to remind the electors of Tasmania of our dereliction of duty. We are taking the first opportunity that presents itself to give effect to our principles. It, may be argued that considerable difficulty will be experienced in defining “domestic violence” and “industrial dispute.” As a matter of fact, very little difficulty should be encountered in defining “industrial dispute.”
– Who troubles about an industrial dispute unless it is accompanied by .domestic violence ?
– Will the honorable senator attempt to define “ domestic violence “ ?
– I will. I would define it as an interference with any citizen in the exercise of his. political, civil, social, or industrial rights as protected by other legislation.
– Had such a definition been operative- on the occasion of the Brisbane Tramways strike, when military was called out, it would have been a very bad job for Mr. Badger, the manager of the Tramways Company. But, fortunately, the generosity of the Liberal Government allowed him to go free when he should have been punished. There is just one other fact that we ought to’ recognise. We in Australia have adopted a certain compulsory system of militarism. I speak as one of the original champions of that system in this Chamber. Indeed, on two occasions before that principle was adopted by a Labour conference I moved that our party should adopt it as a plank in their platform. Compulsory training is now the law of the land, and it is the desire of every.- right-minded person that our Citizen Forces should not be used for party purposes or in connexion with the suppression of industrial disputes. The very first occasion upon which they are so used - the very first occasion on which they are brought out to shoot down, it may be, their own relatives, or persons of their own class - the death-knell of our compulsory training system will be sounded.
– What if the Permanent Forces are brought out to shoot down the disturbers of law and order?
– The same objection will hold good.
– Then there is to be no remedy whatever against violence?
– We can always depend upon the sturdy good sense of the Australian Democracy to suppress violence.
– We cannot always depend upon civilians to render assistance to the police.
– That is not correct. There is no country in the world, in which there is less lawlessness than incur streets, and in which the police obtain more assistance when it is required than they do in Australia. Here the: policeman occupies a very much higher position than he does in other countries, because he is not allowed to exercise autocratic powers. In bygone years there has been a great deal of misuse of the Defence Forces of Australia. Fortunately, we have had no such experience: since we federated. But we know what the Government of Queensland did onthe occasion of the Brisbane strike. We know that they requested military assistance, and that there was not the slightest justification for that request. If we do not provide in this Bill for what shall be done in times of bitter party feeling, we shall be encouraging an outrage on Australia. I have very great pleasure in supporting the amendment. As an old trade unionist who has been connected! with an industry which has had to undertake more hard fighting than has any other industry in the Commonwealth, I know the danger of which I am speaking,, and Senator Bakhap, who is also a miner, ought also to appreciate it.
– As a miner, I have always been able to assist in the settlement of industrial disputes without any violence whatever.
– Here is an opportunity to insure that, in times of industrial unrest, no outrage shall be committed upon Australia. We ought all to be glad of the chance which Senator Stewart has afforded us of voting upon this question.
– There is nothing which has. raised the ire of the working men of the northern district of New South Wales towards our compulsory training system more than the thought that, in time of industrial peril, the very Forces which have been organized for the defence of the Commonwealth may be called upon to render service which may be inimical to the highest and best interests of the community. When the framers of the Defence Bill submitted that measure to Parliament, I am quite sure that their object was to protect Australia against invasion by a foreign foe. They never intended to give a semblance of assent to the idea that the measure was brought forward for the purpose of keeping in subjection men who were contending for their rights - nien who found that the industrial conditions under which they were living were insufficient to- meet the needs of the situation, and who felt that passive resistance was the only way in which they could direct attention to the necessity for an alteration of the law.
– Passive resistance is not likely to be interfered with in any circumstances.
– Passive resistance is the method of a strike, and the employment of that method may lead to a state of violence.
– The honorable senator knows that that cannot be.
– I am endeavouring to show that it is quite within the range of possibility. In 1909-10 the Newcastle miners had a list of grievances in respect of which they could obtain no redress, and they determined that they would not continue at work until an open conference was granted for the purpose of affording some means of redress. That request was refused by the proprietors, and a strike lasting eighteen weeks ensued. When the proprietors had used every endeavour to bring in the arm of the law to force the men into subjection an arrest was made of the leaders on a certain night at Newcastle. A posse of police, Seventy in number, came from Sydney for the purpose of making arrests, and the leaders of the strikers actually came in the same train from Sydney. The police allowed the leaders to go to Newcastle, knowing that there was a mass meeting to be held to protest against certain acts which had taken place on the part of the Government to force the strikers into obedience. Had it not been for the action of the leaders in controlling the men on that memorable occasion a riot might have ensued in which the lives of many persons might have been lost. In the vicinity where the arrests took place there were thousands of bricks, which, if used, would have led to one of the greatest scenes of bloodshed which Newcastle had ever seen. An act of violence of this kind may arise accidentally, and the fear that is ever before the worker is that the gat- ling guns and the military will be called into action the moment that there is the slightest sign or hint that an, uprising is likely to take place; that is to say, that a mass meeting is to be held in which the people are going to give vent to their feelings with regard to the position with which they are confronted. If the terror of a Citizen Army arrayed against them is ever before the workers it will lead to a result which will undoubtedly detract from the value of our military system. We want to reserve our military system for what it was primarly intended for, and that was the protection of our shores. We ought to have sufficient confidence in the people of this country to believe that they are quite qualified to control themselves as a community and to be controlled by the civil powers. I am quite satisfied that this amendment, if carried, will remove the objection which has been raised so often, that an attempt is being made to coerce and to hold over us a power which we ourselves acknowledge to be necessary for the safeguarding, of our own shores and civilization. We are not unmindful of the fact that in our country discipline must be maintained, and that there ought to be a recognition of law and authority even in times of industrial difficulty and strife. But when you accelerate the trouble by a standing Army threatening that should the workers not implicitly obey they will be coerced and will have the guns of the military turned on them, you reduce our civilization to a standard which is not worthy of us. I sincerely hope that the amendment will be carried, as it will honour the industrialists in a way to which I think they have a rightful claim. They have a right to be considered as being capable of controlling themselves without the threat of a Citizen Army compelling them into obedience. The very existence of such a possibility naturally creates a spirit of indignation and revolt which does not make for the building up of an efficient compulsory Defence Force. To my mind, that is one of the strongest reasons why the amendment should be carried. Our system of defence is compulsory, and, being compulsory, we ought only to be compelled to drive out the enemy from our shores, leaving to the State Governments the duty of controlling the civilian interests within their territories. I am perfectly sure that if this is done it will remove the one objection which is alleged by the rank and file of the community against the present compulsory military system.
– It requires no very great degree of ability or acumen to come to the conclusion that this matter has been determined outside of this Chamber.
– Of course it has been; it was a principle at the last elections.
– Then the Administration in introducing this amending measure did not embody any provision for the enunciation of the principle, and it has been left to a private member of the Senate to take action, and evidently some action outside of this Chamber has been taken as a consequence of the notification which he gave. It does not need a Sherlock Holmes to indicate how the indorsement of the honorable senator’s action has been arrived at by the Minister. I feel pretty sure that if we could get a declaration of his individual opinion - which is impossible in the circumstances I admit - he would acknowledge that this attempt to add a proviso to the section is in direct conflict with section 119 of the Constitution. It attempts to abrogate a clear obligation imposed by the Constitution on the National Executive.
– Do you say that the Constitution provides for the Defence Forces being used for industrial purposes ?
– I am no lawyer, but I take the responsibility of saying that if this question ever comes before the interpreting authority it will be laid down that this amendment is an attempted abrogation of section 119 of the Constitution, and is ultra vires. The section reads -
The Commonwealth shall protect every State against violence, and, on the application of the Executive Government of the State, against domestic violence.
– Why should they not?
– There is no mention of any industrial dispute.
– I do not care whether my utterances are popular or unpopular. I have a homely conception of what my duty is, and I ask honorable senators opposite, Is domestic violence arising out of an industrial dispute to be allowed to proceed untrammelled and unchecked in its force? Is that to be above every Australian law? It is not a question of interfering with any industrial dispute which is being peacefully conducted. Is it asserted that the Commonwealth Citizen Forces, as they are designated, are going to be called out to invade the precincts of the High Court and to assist in the forcible determination of any industrial dispute? No; the Forces of the Commonwealth are to be employed on the application of the Executive of a State, and with the sanction of the National Executive, to put down domestic violence irrespective of the source or the influence which caused it to arise.
– A man like Denham, for instance.
– I am not to be diverted from my point. I do not wish to see anybody shot down except our foes. I do not desire to see any of the inhabitants of Australia perish by Australian hands, but revolutions are not settled with rose-water, and the duties of government sometimes entail very stern obligations.
– They are not settled with shot and shell either.
– I ask the honorable senator whether, if domestic violence arises out of an industrial dispute, it is to be regarded as above the law ?
– When did it arise?
– The honorable senator knows that it arises every day.
– Give us some instances.
– What did the strikers at Broken Hill do the other day ? They rode on the trams without paying, and they went down to houses and forcibly interfered with certain legal processes.
– People do that in Melbourne every time they get a chance.
– I recognise that every such occasion as that is not likely to entail the calling out of the Citizen Forces. I admit that anything of that sort can, by a capable State Executive, be satisfactorily dealt with, and it is only in some very remote contingencies, indeed, that the National Executive is likely to be invited to put in force that constitutional obligation which, undoubtedly, lies upon it to preserve a State from the effects of domestic violence.
– Then you would call out the military to collect tram fares?
– If men are forcibly interfered with in the exercise of a political or civil right, irrespective of any industrial dispute, I say unhesitatingly that force must be met with force.
– Even if it is to collect tram tickets?
– There is a tendency on the part of honorable senators who are the predominant political force in this Chamber to elevate any domestic violence arising out of an industrial dispute above the law and to exempt it from the ordinary provisions of laws designed to preserve order.
SenatordeLargie. - You are entirely erroneous.
– Will honorable senators who are responsible for the fathering of this amendment and its embodiment in this amending measure tell me what force ought to be employed to put down domestic violence which has attained to such proportions that it is beyond the power of any one State to subdue it?
– The police first, and the military afterwards.
– There is a Federal obligation imposed by section 119 of the Constitution. I do nob know why the term “Citizen Forces” is used when “ Militia and Volunteer Forces “ are indicated by the sections of the Act which it is desired to amend. If the Citizen Forces are not to be called out, what force has the Commonwealth at its disposal with which to carry out its undoubted constitutional obligation ?
– The police.
– What police ? Are there Commonwealth police?
– The police of the State where the trouble is.
– The police is a State force. Are honorable senators so obtuse as to fail to understand that Commonwealth assistance will only be called for when the police force is found by the State Executive to be insufficient to put down domestic violence? Of course any sensible Premier or any sensible number of Ministers constituting a State Executive would, in the very first place, secure the services of the regular police to put down domestic violence. In all probability the next step would be to employ special constables, and that is an augmentation of the police force of the State. But if these forces are insufficient, and the Commonwealth is called upon to carry out its undoubted constitutional obligation, what is the next step? The section as proposed to be amended will only reserve to the Federal Executive the power to use the Permanent Forces in the subduing of domestic violence in a State. Senator de Largie has said that he is just as averse to the use of the Permanent Forces to subdue domestic violence as he is to the use of our Citizen Forces for that purpose.
– I never said anything of the kind.
– I must have completely misunderstood the honorable senator if he did not say so. When he receives the Hansard proof of his remarks I have no doubt he will see that he did say so in reply to an interjection by me.
– I rise to a point of order. I have informed Senator Bakhap, by interjection, that I never said anything like what he has attributed to me. Notwithstanding my denial, the honorable senator has repeated his statement. It is the custom in this Chamber for one honorable senator to accept the denial of another. Senator Bakhap is ignoring all precedents in this matter.
– The honorable senator must accept the denial of Senator de Largie.
– If necessary, I will withdraw my statement, as I wish to defer to your ruling ; but I venture to say that the report of the proceedings in this Chamber this afternoon will show that, in reply to an interjection of mine, Senator de Largie said that he was averse to using the Permanent Forces to subdue domestic violence.
– The honorable senator is now repeating a statement which he has withdrawn. I ask him to withdraw the statement without qualification.
– As it is proper parliamentary procedure to do so, I withdraw the statement; but I maintain that the published report of our proceedings will indicate that Senator de Largie’s denial has not been well founded.
– The honorable senator must not continue to repeat -the statement which Senator de Largie has denied.
– Very well; I will accept the honorable senator’s denial. The Minister of Defence has told us that in our Permanent Forces of nearly 3,000 there are only about 1,500 combatants. The rest are non-combatants. If this new clause be agreed to, these 1,500 men of the Permanent Forces will be the only force available to the Commonwealth with which to carry out its constitutional obligation under section 119 of the Constitution. These 1,500 men are distributed in various parts of the Commonwealth in which there are forts. I ask, in ‘the name of common sense, seeing that the Volunteer and Militia Forces will not be available if this clause be agreed to, what force will be available to the Commonwealth to carry out its obligations? Will these 1,500 permanent men be mobilized and taken from the various garrisons in which they are now -placed to one State to enable the Commonwealth Government to carry out the duties devolving upon it under the Constitution ? Common sense forbids such a supposition. Assuming full responsibility for my utterances, I say that this is a deliberate attempt to place, persons guilty of domestic violence in a major degree, provided that it arises out of an industrial dispute, in a position above the law.
– That is where they ought to be.
– It will put the blacklegs in their proper position.
– I have no objection to any of these interjections, since they serve merely to buttress the position I am taking up. Honorable senators supporting this proposal are willing to condone any domestic violence arising out of an industrial dispute. I say that the terms of the Constitution in this matter are general, and make no reference to an industrial dispute. Provision has been made for the establishment and utilization of Courts for the peaceful settlement of industrial disputes. If, in defiance of the establishment of such tribunals, the parties to an industrial dispute persist in indulging in domestic violence, do honorable senators, as . custodians of the interests of the people, seriously contend that all the Military and Naval Forces at the disposal of the Commonwealth should not be employed, if necessary, to subdue that violence, and bring about tranquillity in the State in which it has arisen?
– We are not dealing with domestic violence, but with industrial disputes.
– We have established certain tribunals under the Constitution to deal with disputes of a Commonwealth character. If those tribunals are flouted in connexion with a dispute extending beyond the limits of one State, and domestic violence arises as a consequence, is the National Executive to deliberately deprive itself of the assistance of those Forces with which alone it can carry out its constitutional obligations? The Commonwealth claims jurisdiction over industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of one State; and that being so, there is a clear obligation upon the Commonwealth Government to reserve to itself such force as may be necessary to subdue domestic turbulence. At the instance of Senator Stewart, the present Government of the Commonwealth is abrogating its constitutional obligations by divesting itself of the Forces necessary to carry them out.
– The honorable senator says that an industrial dispute is domestic violence.
– What will the Forces be employed for, unless domestic violence follows as a consequence of the dispute?
– The honorable -senator wishes to use the Military Forces to take sides in industrial disputes. Now we know where we are.
– Do honorable senators really believe that the Executive Government of any of the States is capable of invoking the assistance of the Commonwealth to deal with . an ordinary industrial dispute that is not attended with domestic violence?
– What would have happened at the time of the Brisbane strike had the Commonwealth Government of the day acceded to the request of the State -Government to call out the troops ?
– I think that the strike would have been brought to a speedy . termination, without the application of any force at all. The very manifestation of a determination on the part of the Commonwealth Government to maintain -law and order would have been quite sufficient to secure what we all profess so ardently to desire.
– The assistance asked for was not required. That was proved.
– -Who proved it?
– It was proved by the fact that the force asked for was not used.
– As a matter of fact, the State Government of Queensland, in that case, had to exercise the powers it possesses to secure the assistance of a force other than that of the police.
– For what purpose?
– For the purpose of maintaining law and order.
– But the High Court has said that there was no dispute.
– There was, perhaps, in a technical sense, no dispute bringing the matter within the provisions of the existing Commonwealth . arbitration law; but will Senator Mullan seriously contend that there was no domestic violence ?
– There was no domestic violence; that was clearly proved.
– The State Government of the day, which is not the present Queensland Executive, because a parliamentary dissolution has intervened since-
– There has been an election, but the -State Executive is practically the same as it was then.
– A parliamentary election has intervened in Queensland since the occurrence of the dispute referred to, and the electors of Queensland at that election indorsed the action of the Executive by returning the Ministerial party to power with a substantial majority.
– The electors of the Commonwealth indorsed the action of the Fisher Government twice.
– We all know that public opinion ebbs and flows^ and that very likely the Brisbane strike was completely forgotten when the Federal elections took place. As a matter of fact, honorable senators representing Queensland have supported this view because their recollections are not quite clear as to whether my utterances on the subject are correct or not.
– The Brisbane strike would never have been forgotten if the Fisher Government had been foolish enough to send the military to deal with it.
– Will the honorable senator . say that there will never at any time in the history of the Commonwealth be domestic violence necessitating the employment -of the Federal Forces to put it down?
– Let us wait until it comes.
– I sincerely hope that no occasion will -arise necessitating the enforcement of this provision of the Constitution.; but I say that it is absolutely cowardly for -a Commonwealth Administration to aid any attempt legislatively to divest it of the Forces necessary to carry out its -constitutional -obligations. Is it proposed to establish a Federal police force, to enable the Government to carry out . these obligations ? It is questionable whether we have the power to establish such a force. Is it contemplated that the 1,500 combatant units of the Permanent Forces should be mobilized for such a purpose? That is obviously nonsensical. In all the circumstances, I think that I am quite Tight in maintaining that the Commonwealth Administration of the day is designedly accepting a proposal which will divest it of the power to carry out this constitutional obligation, if at any time it should be imposed upon it. I am sorry to say that the action of the Government in connexion with this amend: ment is indicative of the fact that our legislation, to all intents and purposes, is carried out by one Chamber, and that such Chamber is neither the Commonwealth House of Representatives nor the Senate.
– We have been treated to a very lengthy speech from my honorable colleague from Tasmania on the text of law and order and constitutional obligations. I maintain that in the consideration of important questions such as that now before us something else has .to be considered. There is the question of human rights, human happiness, and the welfare of this nation, as distinguished from the welfare of a few of those persons of whom Senator Bakhap is the champion.
– Is not domestic violence likely to impair human rights and destroy human happiness 1
– It is generally recognised’ that in Australia industrial disputes are temperately and reasonably conducted. There are very few instances in modern times where it can be shown that the men concerned in disputes have not conducted themselves honorably, or have not maintained the good name, not only of their class, but of Australia also.
– Then there is no need for this amendment.
– There is need for this amendment-
– Why not have a referendum on this proposal?
– I hope that as a result of the next referendum we take in Tasmania Senator Bakhap will disappear from the Senate.
– It is very likely that it will be Senator Ready who will disappear.
– Judging by the results of the double dissolution and the fact that Senator Gould’s prophecies in connexion with that have not been realized, we need not pay any great attention to any prophecies the honorable senator may make in the future. Senator Bakhap has ignored the fact that our Defence Force was created for a specific object.
– The Commonwealth was created for specific objects also.
– That has nothing to do wilh my point. It was obligatory upon us to defend Australia. We had to take up our share of the burden of the defence of the Empire.
– It is obligatory upon us also to govern Australia.
– The primary reason for the establishment of our Citizen Defence Force was that it was necessary for us to take our part in the defence of the Empire, about which we have to listen to so many speeches. When the Act was first passed, the fact that every boy was liable to be trained in defence of his country created a natural and reasonable suspicion that in case of a strike they were liable to be called out to shoot down their OWn relatives.
– In connexion with all these peaceful disputes of which the honorable senator speaks?
– No; in connexion with disputes that are .nearly always aggravated by the class the honorable senator represents.
– If they are peaceful disputes, where do the military come in ?
– The provocation may be so great as to bring about a temporary outbreak.
– Does the honorable senator say there will be peaceful disputes with domestic violence?
– No; nothing of the kind. It is a question, not of domestic violence, but of industrial disputes. The men generally maintain law and order, but in cases where they do not the blame is usually on the side of those who unfairly provoke them. One of the worst means of provoking them is to make a show of military force. That was a reasonable objection to our defence scheme when first initiated, and we, as a party, decided to lend no hand in calling out against a body of men engaged in a strike their own relatives, who might be even their own brothers. The honorable senator is silent, but he knows that that is a real contingency that may arise in case of a squabble between a body of strikers and a military force.
– It arises in connexion with the police. A policeman is sworn to arrest without fear or favour even his OWn relatives.
– Not as much as it would arise if the local militia were called out. We, on this side of the Senate, know that when great strikes reach the point of violence the men are worked up because the provocation is great - so great, as instanced in the past, as even to make them throw stones. According to the honorable senator that would be domestic violence, and he would send for the militia. We wish to prevent that sorb of thing. In most cases the men arn provoked by unfair treatment to any small breach of the peace that may occur, and when men are angry, small breaches of the peace can be easily intensified by a display of armed force. That is what we are anxious to prevent. We are patriotic Australians because we desire that our Citizen Defence Force should Jive. We do not want its efficiency to be impaired. A Queensland senator interjected that if, when Mr. Denham asked Mr. Fisher for troops to deal with the Brisbane strike, they had been sent, it would have been the end of the Citizen Defence Force. That is probably what Senator Bakhap desires.
– Does the honorable senator believe that the Commonwealth should have the power to call out any of th9 Permanent Forces in pursuance of its constitutional obligation ?
– If the need arises, I do not think there will be much trouble, should the case be a just one, in getting volunteers. I do not think the Commonwealth will have to appeal twice for them, but we do not want men who have gone into the Defence Force to defend Australia to be called out to shoot down their own relations, as the honorable senator does.
– But this clause will do away with any chance of using volunteers.
– The honorable senator knows that the Government could do anything they choose. The object of the present Government is to preservethe dignity and integrity of the Defence Force. We want it to succeed, and that is our main object in putting the clause into the Bill. The honorable senator has been talking about law and order. Law and order in the past has meant government mainly in the interests of one particular class, who have not hesitated to use bayonets when necessary to enforce their decision. We object to that on principle. We desire to secure a sound and safe future for the Defence Force, and to prevent the occurrence of anything that will weaken public confidence in it, or make those who entered it in good faith in any way regret their decision. I hope all the specious arguments put forward by the other side will be disregarded. Our object is so clear that I object to all these misstatements being dragged in. No honorable senator has the right to so misrepresent our attitude as to convey the impression that we are trying to justify a violent outbreak in connexion with industrial disputes. We deprecate force. We have tried moral suasion successfully. We have tried arbitration; but, largely owing to my honorable friends opposite, we have not been so successful with it as we could have wished. We want to use reason, and not force, in settling the great industrial disputes that may occur in the future, even in the best-regulated community.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [6.17]. - I should have been satisfied if effect had been given to Senator Pearce’s first statement in introducing the Bill, that it should be treated as an urgent measure, and that more vital amendments of the Defence Act might be left to next year; but, the amendment having been moved, I cannot refuse to indorse the principle that those who are compelled to join the Citizen Defence Forces should feel that they will not be under the obligation to use force against their fellow citizens, who might be their own relatives, in a commotion arising out of an industrial dispute. Honorable senators opposite, Senator Bakhap in particular, have exaggerabed the effect of the proposal. Other means than the use of the citizen soldiers can be found for the suppression of a riot in a State. There are the forces of the State itself, in the shape of the police. The States, also, have the power to call for special constables, as was done recently in Queensland. Nor does the amendment debar the employment of the Permanent Forces of the Commonwealth if it is thought necessary. I do not think it ever will be found necessary, nor do I think that, in the whole history of Australia, it has ever been necessary to call out the military, although in some cases they were called out when under State control. I believe thatall those disputes could have been settled more amicably and quickly if military force had not been resorted to at all. Since the establishment of Federation, in any industrial dispute that has arisen, particularly the Brisbane strike, the forces of the State itself, and the power to call for special constables, have been quite sufficient to deal with the trouble. I think the resources of the State will always be found sufficient to deal with any trouble that may arise in a law-abiding community such as this is. The principle of not calling on soldiers domiciled in a particular locality to engage in a fratricidal fight has been indorsed quite recently by the Imperial Parliament. Only the other day, when trouble was threatening in Ulster, a trouble which has now happily passed away owing, to the patriotic fervour evolved by the war, it was laid down in the House of Commons, by no less an authority than the Prime Minister, and then Minister of War, Mr. Asquith, that soldiers domiciled in that province should not be called upon to act against their own relatives and comrades if, unfortunately, military intervention became necessary. We are only establishing the same principle here. If such a condition of revolution as Senator Bakhap’s fervid imagination bodes forth should ever arise out of an industrial dispute - an impossibility in a law-abiding community like Australia - -there is ample provision for calling for volunteers to suppress it. Our Citizen Defence Force is not bound to go outside Australia under the existing law, but, when the Mother Country was involved in war, volunteers when called for came forward in thousands. Is it to be supposed., therefore, that if our own country was in danger of revolution through violence we should not have ample volunteers to come to the rescue ?
– The amendment precludes the possibility of volunteers being employed.
– It does not. The principle asserted by the amendment is one which those who have the interests of the Defence Force at heart should indorse every time.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [6.23].- Considerable heat has been imported into the discussion. A great deal has been said about settling industrial disputes without undue excitement or violence, and I quite agree that this should be done- where possible; but there are times when- this “ sweet reasonableness “ is not to be found on one- side’ or the other. I have a lively recollection of what happened some years ago in New South Wales, when men took up arms to prevent other men carrying on their avocations, and burnt woolsheds and the steamers used on the rivers for the transport of workers. There was a great deal of violence, and some Judges, in their reports, said that there was practical revolution or civil war existing in certain parts of the State at that time. Everybody deprecated the position, and, no doubt, that circumstance was largely responsible for the establishment of a system by means of which we thought we would put an end to all these troubles. I admit that the blame for such troubles could not be altogether laid to the door of either party. As a result of the industrial unrest which then obtained we decided to adopt a system of arbitration. But what has been our experience of that system ? Whenever the awards of the Court have been inimical, to the interests of the workers they have refused to obey them.
– Like the employers do every day.
– No. When a penalty is imposed on an employer it is much easier to enforce it than it is to enforce a penalty levied upon his employes. Only the other day the decision of the Court in regard tothe Newcastle miners was absolutely flouted at the instigation of their leaders. I. believe that if a secret ballot of the men themselves could be taken whenever an. industrial dispute arises, in nine cases out of ten it would be settled without resort to a strike. They would arrive at an amicable agreement with their masters.
– Why does the honorable senator use the word “ masters “ ?
– Anybody who chooses to read the decision of Mr. Justice Heydon in thecase to which I refer will see how little thespirit of “sweet reasonableness” can be expected from the leaders of the employes. If the Government would introduce a Bill to enable the men to take a secret ballot unknown to their leaders, there would not be a tithe of the strikes that we now experience. It is the leaders who “egg” on the men-
– That fallacy lias been*, exploded long ago.
Sena tor Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD.- That is the only conclusion which one outside the ranks of unionism can draw. These strikes are instigated by persons whose business it is to keep the men as discontented as possible. Honorable senators opposite may laugh as much as they please. The fact is that they are all tarred with the same brush. They come here to stand up for the rights of a particular class as against all other classes of the community.
Debate interrupted tinder sessional order, and sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
Bill presented, and (on motion by Sena tor Russell), read a first time.
– I would like to re mind honorable senators that under new standing order 75, which was adopted last session -
If any business before the Senate, or a Committee of “ the Whole, be interrupted by the operation of any sessional order, such business may be dealt with at a later hour of the day, or shall appear on the noticepaper fur the next day of sitting at the end of Government or private business, as. the case may be.
It will be seen, therefore, that the business which was interrupted by the suspension of the sitting at the dinner-hour may now be proceeded with without any further action being taken.
In Committee (Consideration resumed) :
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT
GOULD (New South Wales) [8.4].- When the sitting was suspended I was speaking of the attitude which has been adopted by persons imbued with Labour ideals. I was pointing out that but for the position taken up by many of the leaders of trade organizations we should not have nearly so many industrial disturbances as we now experience. Many years ago strikes partook almost of the character of very serious ‘ civil disturbances. At that time it was pointed out that employes who felt aggrieved at the industrial conditions under which they laboured had the constitutional remedy in their own hands - that they had the power to secure parliamentary representation. They accepted the advice which was tendered to them and have since been strongly represented in the State and
Commonwealth Legislatures. I have no objection to that. It is the right of every man in the community to endeavour to secure the free expression of his own views in Parliament. My chief complaint is that whilst the employes in various industries have assisted to establish Arbitration Courts and Wages Boards for the settlement of industrial disputes, they have on many occasions disregarded the awards of those tribunals. I hold that when once Courts have been created for the purpose of determining disputes both sides should honorablyobey their awards.
– The trouble commenced then. There was no trouble till the special constables were sworn in.
– The honorable senator was in Brisbane at the time; I was not; but it appeared to me that there was a good deal of trouble and strife in that city. Whether the swearing-in of special constables provoked the action of the men or not, it became absolutely necessary that some steps should be taken in order to restore peace. I have no doubt that when that step was first taken a great many men felt themselves impelled to stand up and resist force by force. At any rate it was shown that the State had in itself the power to put an end to the whole of the trouble. We are now asked to enact a provision that it shall not be in the power of the Commonwealth Government to use . the Citizen Forces for this particular purpose.
– On that occasion the State of Queensland violated the Constitution by raising an armed force.
D- Every State has the right to raise a force of special constables, and is entitled to arm them if necessary. My honorable friend, Senator Millen, reminds me that Mr. Fisher did not raise that question at all. If the Go vernment of the Commonwealth are called upon by a State to intervene, and consider that the State is unable to control the trouble within its borders, honorable senators admit at once, by this very amendment, that they have the right to send a portion of the Federal Forces in order to put an end to the trouble, and that is the Permanent Forces. Then some honorable senators say, “ We saw what happened in Ireland the other day when there was a probability of a disturbance arising in Ulster. The Imperial Government permitted officers who were living in the district concerned to abstain from interfering in any way.” I take it that if the Government of the Commonwealth were called upon to deal with domestic violence, and were determined to deal with it, the first men they would look to naturally would be those of our Permanent Forces. It is not likely that they would call upon the men in the Citizen Forces only to put an end to a disturbance unless, of course, they were reduced to the last extremity through being unable to achieve the purpose with the Permanent Forces. Suppose, for instance, that Mr. Fisher had been called upon to intervene in the case of the Brisbane strike, and that he considered a necessity to intervene existed. He would not have sent citizen soldiers, but permanent soldiers, there if any portion of our Defence Forces were to be employed. What does this proposal to amend the Defence Act mean ? It means that in an extreme case, when the Commonwealth Government are unable by any other means to put an end to civil strife, they should not be allowed to call upon any portion of the Citizen Forces to take part in that work. I admit that it would be most unseemly on their part to attempt to call upon a man to go to a scene of strife and attack his brother or father or other near relative. It would be a matter of discretion with the Government of the day, and if they did not exercise the discretion properly they could not expect to retain their position. If it comes to a question of which is the more valuable, a number of special constables or a number of men taken haphazard from the Defence Forces, there can be no doubt that it would be very much better, and tend to put an end to the trouble more rapidly, to employ special constables. In the case of Brisbane the special constables believed that they were giving their ser-: vices to the State, which had right and justice on its side. Necessarily you would get much better work from special constables in a case of that kind than you would get from a number of men one-half of whom might sympathize with those who were causing the disturbance. I cannot conceive that the amendment can be of any great value to the Defence Act or to the people of the country. If it is enacted I do not think it will do very much. It will only provide against cases of industrial trouble. It will not provide against anything else. Take the case of Ulster. The trouble there was not industrial. Under this amendment it would be perfectly competent for the Federal Government to send Citizen Forces to any portion of the Commonwealth to put an end, if possible, to any disturbance of such a character as that which occurred in Ulster. Honorable senators can surely conceive that there are many other circumstances in which it would be necessary to use force in order to bring about a state of quietude. Some honorable senators will say, as one did just now, that the trouble at Brisbane only commenced when armed force was introduced. I feel quite sure that no Government would ever have asked for military assistance unless they had believed, rightly or wrongly, that there was a necessity to call upon the Commonwealth Government to intervene.
– There was absolutely no necessity.
.- (Mr. Fisher thought not; and the evidence showed that the State was able to quell whatever trouble existed by employing the forces at their own disposal.
– There was no trouble at Brisbane till the State forces raised it.
– That is a matter of argument. I have heard opinions expressed in a contrary direction to that in which my honorable friend speaks. I believe that he was one of the active participants in the trouble, and for that reason, perhaps, he is less able to judge of the real circumstances than a man like myself, who had no connexion with the disturbance. I do not want to discuss the strike, though I may say that the whole dispute, in its initiation, was, in my opinion, silly. If my honorable friends could only induce their supporters to accept honorably and fairly the decisions of the Law Courts, whether given for or against them, it would be very much better, and we would not have one-half of the trouble that we now have. Honorable senators, I know, think that possibly I am more imbued with the views of the employer than with the views of the employe; but I tell them that I do not object to any man fighting for his rights, so long as he keeps within the law. If a law is not deemed to be just, let it be altered. Under the Constitution, the majority are entitled to rule. No one can say of me that I have ever been sorry to see any man in the community, the poorest or the least educated, improve his position. I recognise that we are a great community, and that, to a certain extent, it is the .accident of circumstances that men occupy different positions in life. Once we recognise that there are certain rights which attach to every individual, whether poor or rich, and rejoice when a man gets an opportunity to improve his condition, the community will be very much better off, and greater harmony will prevail in the land. As to the amendment, we know that there is only one decision which will be arrived at. It has, however, had the advantage of affording an opportunity to honorable senators to place their views clearly before the Senate. It has also given food for thought, and in this connexion I think that the debate has been valuable. At the same time, I do not know that the amendment, if carried, will make very much difference, except in this way, that it may be a placard held up to the community, “We have selected one particular class of trouble concerning which we shall not allow the Citizen Forces to be used, and that class represents the industrial disputes that occur, unfortunately, from time to timo.” I do not think it is desirable to put up a poster of that character when, at the same time, it is said, “For any other purpose we will employ the Citizen Forces, or make them liable to serve,” because it would mean that there is one particular class who desire to get certain advantages, but who arc prepared to allow other classes to “ go hang.”
– I do not see the force of that reasoning at all.
– The moment that my honorable friends say that the Citizen Forces shall not be used in connexion with one class of trouble, they place that class almost beyond the control of the law.
– As far as participants in a particular class of work shall not be brought into conflict with their coworkers; that is the position.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - All the men who are in the Citizen Forces are not co-workers with all the trades which get involved in trouble, because every lad, no matter what his position in life may be, is liable to serve in the Citizen Forces, and to do the duties which may devolve upon him without fear or favour. It would be a fatal mistake on the part of my honorable friends to bring about a conflict which would tend to show that they are trying to set one section of the community against another section. In these cases we must always look to the Government of the day to act. If it was considered necessary to intervene in any case, it would be their duty to use, in the first place, the Permanent Forces ; and if those Forces were nob sufficient to put an end to the strife, very great care should be exercised as to the men who should be sent to assist them in that work. For instance, the Government could take troops from Victoria to Queensland to deal with a disturbance at Brisbane, for they surely would not employ Queensland troops for that purpose.
– And breed enmity between State and State.
– No. The honorable senator rather appreciated what was said in regard to the course followed in the case of Ulster. Was that course taken to bring about enmity between one part of the country and the other?
– I should not have risen to take part in this debate were it not for the statement by Senator Gould of a certain opinion which I thought had been exploded years ago. I really did not think that any one ‘was under the impression today that it is the men who are at the head of the unions who cause strikes. Senator Gould has said that if secret ballots of the members of unions were taken before a strike took place there would be no strikes. I have been a fairly long time now in the Labour movement, and my experience has been that in the case of every strike with which I have had anything to do it was not fomented by the men at the head of the unions concerned. Nine times out of ten they have acted, as I am sure you, sir, have often acted, as a brake upon the men in their unions. But when the members of a union have decided to enter upon a dispute, their leaders have loyally recognised” their duty to their unions. What would be thought of the members of the executive of a union if when a dispute arose they said, “ We have been your officers for a long time and have carried out your instructions, but we intend now to go back upon you and will not carry out your instructions in connexion with’ this dispute “ ? Such men would not be fit for the positions to which their fellow unionists had appointed them. I think that there is no member of the Senate who now really believes that there is much force in the old contention that industrial disputes are due to the leaders of unions. There have been ballots taken in connexion with strikes, and they have been decided upon by overwhelming majorities of the members of the unions concerned. Why has this been the case? It is because the members of the union have been suffering serious disabilities which other people have not recognised. It is only those who wear the shoe who can say where it pinches. It is easy for one person to say to another, “ Those are very nice shoes, and I should imagine that you find them very comfortable,’’ while the person wearing them may ‘know that they are really very uncomfortable. An idea seems to be prevalent that the average workman is always looking for strife. On the contrary, -he is opposed to a strike if it can possibly be avoided. He wants to live peaceably. He has his own obligations to his wife and children. No one knows ‘better than does a member of a -union what those dependent upon them may have -to put up with as the result of a -strike. Tt is because the ‘members of a -union wish to prevent strikes that they have had recourse to the law. I have ;known ‘numbers of -men who have been getting along -nicely in the world, and Have established little homes for themselves, and who ‘have joined in a strike though it has meant the loss of their homes, simply because the disability under which they “were ‘working was so great that they considered anything better than that they should continue to suffer under such conditions. Senator Gould has made a reference to an industrial difficulty which arose some years ago, and which resulted in the calling out of the troops. Let me tell the honorable senator that the matter to which he has referred has been largely responsible for the fact that members of the- Labour party are in a majority in the National Parliament to-day. There were no members of the Labour party as such in Parliament prior to that time.
– - Yes, there were.
– They were not in Parliament directly under the banner of Labour as they have been since the strike of 1890. I remember that before that time there was a strike in Western Queensland. A stranger to Queensland, reading the newspapers at that time, would have come to the conclusion that the western country- was in a state of revolution. As a matter of fact it was nothing of the sort. It was suggested that it was necessary that every one who could carry a gun should be sent to the western districts of Queensland immediately to put down the revolution. The strike was stopped as a result. There were rumours that it was possible that wool sheds would be burned.
– A good many wool sheds were burnt.
– I think that my memory of the matter is more accurate than- is that of Senator Gould, and I say that there were no wool sheds burnt at that time. I remember that one rumour was given publication in Queensland at that time that shocked the community. It was said that the men on strike had poisoned a tank of water in the west. It is necessary to say that it was not an ordinary 400-gallon tank that was referred to, but a tank holding many thousands of gallons. Representations were made to the Home Secretary in Queensland to have the water analyzed, and samples of it were sent to the Home Secretary’s office for the purpose. It would have required not a little poison but tons of strychnine to have poisoned the water in that tank. If there is one thing which the men in the back country would not put up with it is the poisoning, of water. They know the value of water perhaps better than any one- else, for they know what it is to be on a dry track. I mention this as an example of the rumours, which were published to stir up feeling, and induce the people of Queensland to believe that there was a state of revolution in the western country. I should liketo say that the men on strike went intocamps, and the storekeepers in the nearest, town supplied them with everything they required, though they had to depend merely on the word of the secretaries of the different organizations for payment for the goods they supplied. I know of the case of a woman who kept a store in the* neighbourhood of one of these camps, and. supplied goods to the value of some thousands of pounds. She had some stock running on country near the camp, and when she found that the strikers requiredmeat she gave them permission to kill the stock and obtain all the meat, they required. They were not able to pay her for the goods she supplied for two or three years. She sold out her business later, but she received every penny due to her for the goods she supplied to the strikers on credit. So far from there being a state of revolution in Western Queensland at the time, there were no acts committed which might not be committed any day in the streets of the city.
– The water referred to by the honorable senator was not poisoned ?
– No. A bottle of water was fixed up so that the rumour might be published broadcast in the newspapers to injure the men on strike. Senator Bakhap has said that Senator Stewart, by his amendment, proposes that we should abrogate the provisions of section 119 of the Constitution. The honorablesenator should know very well that we cannot do anything of the sort. He knows that the Constitution must be observed by the Executive. I think that this is a fair amendment of the Defence Act for the Senate to make, and I hope that persons outside will not be misled in connexion with it.
– Does the honorable senator think that it is in accordance with the Constitution?
– The honorable, senator seems to be under the impression that the Executive have no other means but the use of the Military Forces to deal with industrial violence. I hope that that is not the impression of the people generally. The reason why we do not desire that the services of citizen soldiers should he used for this purpose is that submitted by Senator Gould. However, the honorable senator has suggested that the Executive would not take the citizens of the same State and put them against each other, but that what they would probably do would be to use Victorian members of the Citizen Forces against Queenslanders, and members of the Queensland Forces against Victorians. That, in my opinion, would be just as bad as setting the workers against their fellow-workers in the same State. We have organizations of carpenters, bootmakers, seamen, and other trades established throughout Australia. They may not all be members of the same branch, but they all belong to the same organization, and honorable senators should realize that what we are objecting to is that the members of one branch of an organization should be called upon to shoot down the members of another branch of the same organization. I rose chiefly to contradict a statement which I thought had been exploded many years ago. I believe that the amendment will do good. If, in order to settle trouble of a domestic character, our citizen soldiers are called out, the effect will be to make our defence system a great deal more unpopular than it i3 to-day.
– It strikes me that if a resident of the United Kingdom who was in the habit, as most people are, of reading the public prints of the. country in which he lives, were to be present here to-night to hear the new clause proposed, and the debate which has taken place upon it, he would find himself in a state of considerable mental bewilderment. Senator Stewart proposes that the Citizen Forces of the Commonwealth shall not be called out or utilized in connexion with industrial disputes. That must at once carry to one’s mind a conviction that it is possible that an industrial dispute may be associated with violence, otherwise it would not be necessary to call out the Forces in connexion with it. Having heard this, our imaginary visitor would be not a little puzzled to understand a pamphlet issued in the Old Country, and also in Australia not long since, from the pen of the AttorneyGeneral, in which that honorable gentleman declared that all our industrial disputes are now settled in the peaceful atmosphere of the Law Courts without resort to strikes or violence. Our imaginary visitor might be pardoned if, in the circumstances, he said that he did not understand the position. It would appear from the amendment which Senator Stewart has proposed that there is still a belief in the minds of our honorable friends opposite that industrial disputes are not being settled, or are not likely to be settled, in the peaceful arena of the Law Courts.
– Not wholly.
– Then the AttorneyGeneral’s pamphlet is not wholly correct. I am quite satisfied, from the interjection of my sometimes discreet friend, Senator Lynch, that I have made my point. Taking the amendment as it stands, I am absolutely unable to see that it will effect any purpose, good, bad, or indifferent. It means the prohibition of the utilization of our Citizen Forces in connexion with industrial disputes. In another branch of the Federal Parliament, as important as this, honorable members have for some time been discussing the question as to what is an industrial dispute, and they have so far been utterly unable to determine it. We have had, not only in the other chamber, but in the Courts themselves, an utter inability to decide what a dispute is. Yet a great deal of the virtue, or want of it, in the motion turns on the question of what is aud what is not an industrial dispute. My position with regard to calling out the military should industrial disputes develop into riots is best illustrated by reminding the Senate of the old story of a celebrated professor of. chemistry, who declared that he could call up spirits from the vasty deep, but added, after a dramatic pause, “ but, of course, they will not come.” If an industrial disturbance took place and the Government ventured to call out the Citizen Forces, not a single unit would respond.
– All the more reason why the power to call them out should not be there.
– I am simply stating what I believe is a fact. That being the case, is there any advantage in passing the clause? An industrial dispute might develop, not so rauch between a number of employes and their employer or employers, but, as in the case that threatened very serious trouble in New South Wales recently, between one section of the community and another. I refer to the Rural Workers Union and the farmers. If those two bodies came to grips, should Parliament stand by and allow them to fight out their own battle? In an ordinary industrial dispute the Government would not be wise to call out the military, nor could it rely on their coming out if it did; but in such a case fis I have just mentioned, every man in the community outside the ranks of the two sections engaged would insist at once on the Government taking some action.
– What would happen then ?
– The Government could first call on the permanent soldiers, if they wished to do so. They would also have power to invite volunteers as special constables.
– What would the State be doing ? It would be its first duty to take action.
– The State might attempt to take a hand, but an unfortunate dispute, such as I have indicated, might spread over every State and become very serious. I merely put this case because I regard the utilization of the military as the last resort, but still a very necessary and final reserve power that must vest in the Government. It is impossible to lay down any hard and fast rule as to when the Government would be justified in calling upon that reserve force, and that is why the Senate found it impossible to entertain the motion submitted on two or three occasions by exSenator Rae - a motion which was much wider in its terms than this. Senator Pearce made a very forceful, clear, and logical speech, to show the impossibility and absurdity of the motion as then submitted. This amendment strikes out all the words that mean anything, and is limited to the mere question of an industrial dispute. Its advocates have turned from a motion which meant something to a motion which means nothing, because there would be no need to call out any force to deal with an industrial dispute. Our laws presuppose that industrial disputes will be settled by the Law Courts. Even if we passed this amendment into law it is not improbable that, if circum stances arose rendering the use of force necessary, that force would be used, not in connexion with an industrial dispute at all, but to quell violence that had arisen in consequence of it. The whole thing seems to be very much a bugbear in the minds of my honorable friends, and, holding the views I do, as to the futility of calling out the military, they will, perhaps, pardon me for questioning their judgment. No Government is likely to call out Citizen Forces for any industrial dispute of which we have had experience here so far. If called upon to exercise force, the Government would rely on the permanent soldiers first. If it was merely an industrial dispute, that force would be quite sufficient to deal with it, but if it spread beyond that, and not merely involved groups of workers here and there, but became a determination on the part of two sections of the community to make war on each other, some power would have to be left in the hands of the Government to call out all the reserves of the State to quell it. While the trouble which occurred in my own State in connexion with the rural workers’ log reached almost to fever heatit fortunately passed away, for it seems to be characteristic of our race to instinctively stop short of that final movement which precedes civil war even in a limited degree. If we adopt the amendment we do not make the slightest difference in the law as it stands, although it may please my honorable friends opposite, and allay the fears of some over-nervous people outside. If ever the matter became so serious that it could not be dealt with either by the permanent soldiers or the police, and became such a danger that the foundations of the State were threatened, the Government, whether the law was there or not, would do exactly as was done when the present war broke out. There was no law then to authorize the despatch of an Expeditionary Force, but beyond all written law, there stands the one which must be obeyed, that the safety of the State is the highest law.
– Why did Deakin challenge the Fisher Government for not sending the military to Queensland?
– I could quote the authority of one of the honorable senator’s own Ministry that the true reading of the Constitution was that when a State asked for military assistance the
Commonwealth Government was bound to supply it.
– Then the honorable senator would have sent the military 1
– I would not. The most stupid thing during an industrial disturbance would be to call out the military.
– But Deakin challenged the Fisher Government, and he was your leader.
– One of the honorable senator’s leaders laid down in Hansard the principle that I have quoted. The honorable senator’s whole concern about this motion is to make a little political capital out of it, and he is welcome to all that he can make out of his interjections. After all, nothing that we can say or do in this Chamber will alter the obligations of the Constitution. We may pass fifty resolutions, but if anything in the nature of domestic violence occurred it would still be competent for the State to apply for military aid, as it would be competent for the Federal Government to refuse or respond to the application. In the circumstances, I am not going to oppose the motion, which I regard as a mere idle declaration that will mean nothing. The Law Courts have failed to define what a dispute is, and another place is arguing over the difficulty of defining it, yet with the greatest confidence we proceed to put into a motion the very terms which have caused so much perturbation elsewhere. In further confirmation of my views that it is necessary for the Government always to have a reserve power, and to be free to utilize it, let me remind the Committee of the discussion that took place at the Hobart Labour Conference in 1912. Two gentlemen whose names must carry some weight in the Labour movement pointed out there that one could never tell what would happen. I have here the official record of the proceedings of the Conference, but the most interesting portions of the pamphlet are, so to speak, the portions which the discreet official reporter saw fit to leave out. Having some knowledge of politics, it is not difficult to imagine what has been left out and why it has been left out. According to the official report, Mr. Watson expressed- himself in these words -
They never knew what would happen. It was only a little while ago that an occurrence took place in Sydney respecting the seizure of wire netting that might easily have been the torch that lighted civil war throughout Australia. It could easily have been the starting point of strife. They could not allow that anarchy should prevail, as far as the Labour movement was concerned.
– He must have said more than that.
– The honorable senator is now confirming my statement that certain things have been left out of this report. Senator Grant, with a very intimate knowledge of what took place, and being a perfect martyr to truth and frankness, is compelled to come forward and strengthen my suspicion that a good deal was said on that occasion which has not found its way into these pages. Another gentleman who is prominent in the ranks of the Labour party - our esteemed and respected President - also appeared to regard the motion with a great deal of doubt. He said -
He supported the idea in the motion. He agreed that no citizen soldier should be called upon to bear arms against those engaged in industrial trouble. However, it was not inconceivable that there might be civil war in Australia in the future.
If I were called upon to express my own view in four or five lines I do not think that I would wish to improve upon that utterance.
– Senator Givens seconded the motion.
– It is not so disclosed in the report.
– I read it that way.
– According to the report, it was Mr. Crampton who seconded the motion. Of course, it may be that there are two editions of this report, one for the faithful and elect and the other for dissemination amongst those who do not come within that category.
– That is a bowdlerised edition which the honorable senator has.
-:Then I am merely the possessor of one of the ordinary editions. What I wish to impress upon honorable senators is that, so far as the prohibition against the utilization of citizen troops in what is ordinarily understood to be an industrial disturbance is concerned, I am in thorough agreement with it. But I ask honorable senators opposite whether, if effect can be given to it, they will not be placing on the hands of the
Government some shackles which circumstances may prove hereafter to be politically disastrous. I do not know that I can conclude my remarks on this question better than by reading a few quotations from the very excellent speech which was delivered in this chamber by the present Minister of Defence when ex-Senator Rae submitted a motion with the same object in view. I wish it to be distinctly understood that I am not accusing Senator Pearce of any inconsistency. He seemed to me to lay down certain fundamental principles which are just as fundamental to-day as they were then.
– But the honorable senator admits that the two motions were of a different character.
– I have already said so. I am not putting forward these quotations with a view to suggesting inconsistency on the part of Senator Pearce, because to do so would be to charge myself with equal inconsistency, seeing that I voted with him on that occasion. My own view is that we must leave in the hands of the Government as a final reserve the power to call to their aid any Forces under their control if the needs of the State should demand such action. Senator Pearce, as will be seen by reference to Hansard for 1911, page 2153, said-
The honorable senator - referring to ex-Senator Rae - also made a statement which shows the entire lack of necessity for any such alteration of the law as he suggests. He said, “ So long as wehave a Government which is representative of the people there is no fear of any domestic outbreak in Australia which will make it necessary to call out the Military Forces.” Exactly so; and there you have the only thing which needs to be stated to show that no such alteration of the Federal law as is proposed is necessary.
SenatorRae. - Oh, no; that does not prove it at all.
– Unless we agree to that, we must say that we are already convinced that democratic government is a failure; that government of the people by the people and for the people has been found wanting; that the people cannot be trusted; that there is a danger of the people using force against themselves.
Dealing with the question in a larger aspect, Senator Pearce, on page 2154, said -
We have, in order to maintain ourselves as a nation, to uphold the laws of our nation not only against foreign aggression, but also against internal aggression. The whole duty of government is summed up in that. It is to uphold and enforce the law. The people of Australia have declared that they will have a military system for the defence of Australia us a nation, and I say that that does not merely mean that we will defend Australia from foreign aggression, but that we will defend the laws of Australia, no matter from where the attack may come, if that attack takes the form of force.
A little later on he said -
I say that our Defence Force is raised and maintained, not merely for the purpose of defending the country against foreign aggression, but also to defend the laws which have been framed, through Parliament, by the majority of the people of this country.
I assent to every word of that, and I believe that the Minister, if called upon to do so, would express similar sentiments to-day. But I foresee that a difficulty will arise in determining exactly where an industrial disturbance has ended and domestic violence has commenced. That is a difficulty which is not to be overcome by the use of the words which have been submitted for our acceptance to-day. I do not propose to challenge this amendment by vote, for the simple reason that I do not think it would be desirable in an ordinary industrial dispute to look to the military for assistance. Nor do I think it would be necessary. But. nevertheless, I am confronted with the belief that circumstances might arise when the original industrial dispute might become of quite secondary importance, when domestic violence might walk rampant through one or other of the States, and when a Government which failed to call to its aid all the Forces at its command would be recreant to its trust, and would be committing a crime against the welfare of the country. I regard the amendment as little more than so many waste words. Until it is possible to define what is an industrial dispute - a matter which, as I have indicated, has already torn both Parliament and Courts asunder - and to express the intention of this Parliament in clearer terms, I shall be compelled to regard the proposal of Senator Stewart, even if constitutional, as a mere chip in porridge.
– I was very pleased to hear the declaration of the Leader of the Opposition on this important matter, and I am sure that the sympathy of this Chamber must go out to his colleague, Senator Bakhap. Had the latter been present when his leader commenced his address,. I am sure that he would have winced beyond description because of the way in which Senator Millen declared himself on this issue. That honorable senator did not give the proposal now under consideration his benediction, but he does not intend to vote against it. He regards it as quite an innocent proposal, which may safely find a place in the Bill. But what did his lieutenant say this afternoon ? Senator Bakhap described it in language so powerful and reckless that some of us were prone to believe that it was akin to the beast in Revelations. It is refreshing to know that his leader does not regard it as anything of so baneful a character. In fact, he regards it as almost a necessary part of the measure with which we are dealing. I need scarcely point out that there is much less difference of opinion on the question between the leaders upon this side of the chamber and Senator Millen than there is between Senator Millen and Senator Bakhap. Between the latter there is quite an unbridgable gulf. Those of us who have come through the firing line in this and other countries know that, in all Governments, there has been a section whose main impulse has been to put down industrial disturbances with a strong hand. Whenever the people have attempted to secure greater freedom, or a more just reward for their labour, that section has been in favour of sternly repressing them with a view to impressing the community generally. We have not been taught these lessons for nothing. They have burnt into our inner consciences, until we have come to regard the introduction of Military Forces into industrial disputes as a menace to the public welfare. On this subject of armed interference in domestic troubles it is well to recall that a wide difference of opinion exists, not only amongst honorable senators opposite, but also amongst the gentlemen who composed the same party at other times in the political history of this country. During the great maritime strike of 1890 in New South Wales., when things were approaching a crisis, and it was feared that blood might be shed, members of the Government of that State exhibited a marked difference of opinion as to the policy which should be pursued. One Minister - Mr. McMillan - so strongly dissented from the views held by his chief that, though he did not resign from the Cabinet, he talked about doing so. His policy was to suppress the dispute by means of coercion, and of the stereotyped strong hand. I have also a lively recollection of the utterances of another Minister on that occasion, who thought that the strikers should be shot down.
– Does the honorable senator revive the libel of Mr. W. N. Willis ?
– No. I am pointing out the difference of opinion which existed between members of the Government of that time, which was not a Labour Government. A strong section of the Parkes Ministry believed in suppressing the strike with the police and the military, but Sir Henry Parkes took the wiser and saner view of the situation, and, instead of agreeing with Mr. McMillan and other members of his Cabinet, he simply took hold of the helm again and said, “These measures will not do.” The final result in New South Wales was that, so far from the military being called out, the maritime strike progressed right to the end, and, according to my recollection, there was not a single soldier called out to deal with the strike.
– Nor in any other State.
– Exactly. Since it is shown very clearly that the resources of the State Government were equal to the occasion, and since the Liberal Government of the day saw no necessity to call out the military, as Senator Bakhap assures us, there is a vital necessity-
– I say that it may be a necessity in only one case out of a hundred. Still, there is a constitutional obligation to intervene.
– Since a Government which the honorable senator would have supported found it possible to cope with a difficulty of great magnitude^ - a difficulty the equal of which has not been heard of in the State since that time - wherein comes the danger of adhering to the course which that Government proved to be successful and adequate for the purpose? At the same time, this proposal is one about which we need not get overheated - that is in respect to its necessity, or in respect of the way. in which it will accomplish the end it- has in view. I am rather inclined to think that it is an innovation which only goes a certain length. At the same time it seems to me to open up a vista of difficulties of which we know nothing. For instance, Senator Stewart proposes to prohibit strictly the calling out of the Citizen Forces for one purpose, and for one purpose alone, and le leaves it very clearly to be inferred that the Citizen Forces may be called out to deal with other forms of domestic violence. Therefore, by introducing this one step to accomplish what, after all, is only a portion of the distance to be accomplished, the honorable senator does open up a vista of difficulties, which I say, in the interests of the Citizen Forces, it is not well to do. We can imagine other forms of domestic violence occurring. According to the amendment of Senator Stewart, it would not only be possible, but it would be the bounden duty of the Government to call out the Citizen Forces to suppress another form of domestic violence, although they would not be called upon to suppress a domestic violence connected with an industrial trouble.
– That is why it is so illogical.
– Yes, because it only lakes one step.
– That is the resolution of the Conference.
– That is quite so. I do not know how the discussion took place at the Conference. I am pleased to think that even Senator Millen agrees with the resolution of the Conference, or, if he does not agree with it, he says no harm will be done by its adoption. I nm pleased to think that the Leader of the Opposition here can see no wrong in the verdict recorded by the Labour Conference at Hobart a few years ago, but I certainly do see the germs of something which may provoke a very difficult situation in the future, whether the proposal has been agreed to by the Conference or not. I can imagine forms of domestic violence occurring where it would not only be incumbent upon the Citizen Forces, but it would be their plain duty, to come out to suppress the violence. Therefore the proposal will create a very invidious position for the citizen soldiers to be confronted with. In the first place, it says to them, “ You shall not come out to quell a disturbance if it has its origin in an industrial trouble, but you must come out to quell a case of domestic violence if it has not its origin in an in dustrial trouble,” thereby producing a situation which, as far as the Act is concerned, will place us in no logical or intelligent position.
– There have been very few domestic troubles in Australia.
– I can cite a few instances. I can cite a case which occurred in Western Australia, where, if it was not an industrial trouble pure and simple, it was very closely allied to it. The gold miners believed that they were entitled to all the alluvial gold which might be found anywhere on a gold-field. So strongly was the feeling expressed by the men that when the agitation had come to a climax, and when at length the demand was placed before the country in concrete form, it had the support of, I believe, no fewer than 10,000 men. Some of these men were armed, and did not disguise the fact, and it only required a match to be struck at that time, especially when the State Forces were called into action, to create a very serious riot out of what was a disturbance closely allied to an industrial one. Sir John Forrest has a very lively recollection- of what happened on that occasion. I can imagine a disturbance of that kind which, while strictly not one of an industrial nature, would be so closely related that there would be no alternative but for the Federal Government to call out the Military Forces to suppress it if necessary. Therefore, this amendment would place the Citizen Forces in a most invidious position. It would test their loyalty to their oath.
– That was not an industrial disturbance.
– I do not know what my honorable friend would call it.
– It was much the same as the disturbance at Eureka or Lambing Flat.
– Yes. That is one sample which would seem not to come directly under the head of this proposal. It is one outside that class altogether, and one in which my honorable friend must admit the Citizen Forces would, and should, be called out to maintain order. I can recall an instance which occurred at Waihi, in New Zealand. It is just as well for us to look at the weak points of every argument. While industrial disturbances in the past, in my opinion, had all the virtues and qualities of right and reason on their side, we have arrived at a time when, perhaps, owing to the growth of better feeling among the citizens, industrial troubles will arise in which opinion will be very evenly divided. In the case of the Waihi strike in New Zealand, public opinion was so much divided that the genuine unionists, who were standing out for principles which they cherished and for which they were prepared to sacrifice much, were found to be in a great minority. Owing to the action and overbearing manner of their opponents in the township, in this gold-mining district, the genuine unionists had to fly into the office of the trade union, and seek shelter there from the onslaughts made upon them. Here was a case in which opinion was divided, rightly or wrongly, and it was divided in such a way that it would certainly compel any impartial observer to say that, if such a case occurred in the Commonwealth, it would be the duty of the Government to bring out whatever Forces they thought necessary to preserve the public peace. That was an industrial trouble of which it is hard to say what the end might have been had. not wiser counsels prevailed. I can imagine that, had the opposing forces in the Waihi strike pushed things more to a conclusion, and armed themselves, and met in open conflict in the street, it would have been the duty of the Government of New Zealand to see that force was applied to the suppression of the riot, or disturbance, or whatever it might be called. It is clear that an industrial disturbance was brought about in which public opinion was overbalanced to the extent of the” unionists having to shelter themselves from the attacks of their opponents. In a case of that kind in the Commonwealth it would be very convenient for the Government to have a force to hold the scales evenly, and not to allow those opposed to genuine unionists to have the field to themselves.
– You ought to vote against this proposal, then.
– The amendment has placed me in a serious quandary. The consideration of it opens up very curious features. These instances are not the product of imagination at all, but facts. What happened in the past is a fair guide as to what may happen in the future. While I am in favour of this - according to the Leader of the Opposition - innocent proposal of Senator Stewart, I think it is just as well to try to see what it is worth. ‘I feel, too, that there is every justification for not asking our Citizen Forces to take part in the suppression of any industrial disturbance, unless, of course, dire necessity requires such action to be taken. I intend to vote for the proposal, although I believe that it will create some very awkward positions. We can only hope that the wisdom of the Government of the day will be equal to the solution of the difficulties when they do arise.
– It seems to me that every effort made by the representatives of the workers is objected to by members of the Opposition. Many years ago, when the workers commenced to organize themselves into trade societies, they were prosecuted by the opponents of Labour, but ultimately the latter got quite used to the idea, and were content to recognise trade societies so long as they were conducted on proper lines. Then, when we discovered that ordinary trade societies were not strong enough to cope with organized monopoly, and we decided to fake a hand as trade societies in political matters, our opponents redoubled their efforts against our work. Now, when we ask that a slight amendment be made in the Defence Act, we find that the opposition to its enactment is very strong. What does it amount to ? About fourteen years ago a number of gentlemen were elected to draft a Constitution for the Commonwealth. Most of these men to-day are either out of public life or in fairly substantial billets which they themselves created, but their work remains. We have amended the Constitution several times, and, while it is quite true that recently our requests for further amendments were . rejected, when they are resubmitted, as I hope they will be in the near future, they will be carried in every State. We now ask for a very sligh! amendment of the Defence Act to provide that the Citizen Forces shall not be used as indicated in the amendment. It is not proposed by the amendment to prevent the Permanent Forces being so used. The amendment is a very slight one, and, judging by the discussion which has taken place here, will be approved by the Senate, and probably by the whole Parliament. I take advantage of the opportunity to enter my protest against the contention that industrial disputes are brought about by the action of the leaders of industrial societies. There is no truth in the statement that the president, paid secretaries, and “sleek, well-fed organizers “ of industrial societies are the persons responsible for strikes. On the contrary, strikes are invariably brought about in the teeth of the strongest opposition from the leaders of those societies.
– What is the name of the gentleman who told Mr. Carmichael, in New South Wales, that he wanted to retain the right to strike if the decision of the Court was against him ? Was he not a leading official of an industrial society?
– If such a man said so, he was expressing his individual opinion. If Senator Bakhap attempted to sway the members of a trade society, and induced them to adopt his view of a matter, he would find that he had a very tough proposition in hand. A man may bring forward a proposal in an industrial society to amend ite platform in a way which he is convinced would be of advantage to the society, and he will yet find it almost impossible to bring a majority of the members to his way of thinking. If they are asked to throw down their tools, interrupt the continuity of their employment, and take upon themselves unknown responsibilities, they will very strongly resent it. It is only when the members of the society have suffered from a long series of injustices that they themselves decide to go on strike, and they do so almost invariably in the teeth of the strongest opposition of their leaders. I say that as the result of a fairly long experience of the work of these societies. I think it is to be regretted that a verbatim report of the proceedings of the last Hobart Conference was not published, but one fact that has been published is of importance, since it shows that a similar proposal to that which we are now discussing was carried by the Conference by a majority of six-“ teen to seven. That clearly indicates the general opinion in the Labour movement of this proposal. There has always been a strong desire on the part of the opponents of Labour to call out the Military Forces to settle industrial disputes though there has been no occasion for such action at all. I have never known of any industrial dispute in Australia that required the employment of the military to quell re.
– How often have the military been called out for such a purpose ? They were never called out, except at Eureka.
– Really the desire to call out the military has been in order to create disturbances. So far as I have been able to judge, the local police have on every occasion been sufficiently strong to cope with any industrial dispute that has so far taken place, and it should be remembered that the State Governments have the right to call upon persons to act as special constables. I am strongly opposed to our Citizen Forces being called out for the purpose of dealing with industrial disputes. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our Forces into disrepute.
– What about our Permanent Forces? Would they not be brought into disrepute.
– Of course they would.
– They are Australians. Why should they be called upon?
– We should not call out either, in my opinion.
– The honorable senator does not want any one called out.
– The Permanent Forces occupy a different position from that of the Citizen Forces. I repeat that the local police and other forces at the command of the State Government will be found more than sufficient to enable them to quell any trifling disturbance that may take place.
– It is most peculiar that, in the discussion of this matter, Senator Millen should say that it is impossible to define what an industrial dispute really is, and that he should then, before the close of his address, practically give his benediction to the amendment now under consideration by saying that he could quite see the advantage there might be in refraining from bringing out the Citizen Forces to deal with an industrial dispute. Boiled down, the honorable senator has said that an industrial dispute cannot be defined, and an attempt to deal with the undefinable is worthy of his blessing. There should really be no difficulty in the mind of any honorable senator as to what is an industrial dispute, though it may be very difficult to find the exact language in which to describe it legally. There is a very material difference, as Senator Millen has admitted, between what might be determined domestic strife and an industrial dispute. There are cases similar to those mentioned by Senator Lynch in which it may be necessary for the Government, though I hope it will not be in our time, to have forces that have remained latent for some time behind them to quell what might be termed “ domestic strife “ when it extends beyond a mere dispute and results in serious trouble. Too often in times past there has been a tendency on the part of Governments to use force where force is not the remedy for the disease. There has been an attempt to overawe when there should have been an attempt to conciliate. When the Government should have approached a matter as peacemakers, they have too often done so as intimidators, and to uphold the strong arm of the law. I believe that the amendment will draw the line clearly, and enable us to keep our Citizen Forces out of an industrial dispute, as I think we should. We should recognise that it would be one of the most disastrous things to our Citizen Army that it should be embroiled in any way with the settlement of an industrial dispute. It would mean that, from that time forward, very little attention would be paid to it by a section of the community who now so largely compose it. But in connexion with domestic strife I recognise that those members of the Citizen Forces will be as ready as any other persons to stand true to their oaths. I think that the class of cases to which Senator Lynch has referred are passing away, because of the tendency of the worker to-day to prefer arbitration to the strike. There is evidence to-day that the “ sweet reasonableness “ which leads to the settlement of disputes by conciliation and arbitration is taking possession of the community. With the solitary exception of Senator Bakhap, from the little island across Bass Strait, there has been a strong feeling expressed on the Opposition side that industrial disputes should be settled, not by the strong arm of the law, but, as Senator Gould has said, by masters and men meeting in a spirit of conciliation.
– Does the honorable senator really charge me with being opposed to the peaceful settlement of industrial disputes?
– It is quite unnecessary for me to manufacture charges against the honorable senator. He has himself9 manufactured sufficient to last him for the remainder of his natural life.
– I ask that the honorable senator should withdraw the imputation that I am opposed to the peaceful settlement of industrial disputes. What I have argued for is the observance of the Constitution in the case of a pronounced domestic disturbance. I hope that there will never be any such thing as a domestic disturbance requiring that observance; but I hotly resent the imputation that I alone amongst the honorable senators on this side am not in favour of the peaceful settlement of any dispute.
– If the honorable senator takes exception to the words used by Senator Senior, I am sure that that honorable senator will withdraw them.
– I do take exception to the statement that I alone of honorable senators on this side am not in favour of the peaceful settlement of dis.putes
– I call upon Senator Senior to withdraw the statement to which Senator Bakhap objects.
– I am quite sure that I never intended to impute to Senator Bakhap anything but what the honorable senator’s own words convey. I leave the honorable senator entirely to the effect of his own words, without any interpretation of them by me. I find that there is a tendency towards conciliation, which must justify the Senate in the action now proposed to be taken. Honorable senators on both sides are becoming convinced that the workers prefer arbitration to warfare, and the inclusion of this provision will mark a real advance in that directon. Senator Bakhap has raised the question that the amendment involves a subversion of the Constitution itself. The honorable senator is aware that if that be so the Constitution will remain supreme.
– I have said so. 1 have said that this amendment is ultra vires of the Constitution.
– If it is, although the amendment be carried, the Constitution will prevail.
– The interpreting authority will decide if the occasion to do so should unhappily arise.
– Industrial troubles are very often fomented because the worker cannot reach the Arbitration Court to which he is so anxious to appeal, and because the interpreting authority there interprets the Constitution to mean something other than he thought it meant when he went to law. Some statements have been made with regard to the rebellion of the worker against the decisions of the Courts. When the worker obtains a decision that does not violate his sense of justice, or that of any impartial man, he is always willing to abide by it. He does not always get a decision in his favour, and yet he abides by it. But when he finds that in case after case, after years of delay - and the law’s delays often extend to many years - his efforts to secure what he believes to be justice are frustrated by mere technicalities, can we wonder that he should rebel 1 In return for’ his willingness to surrender the right to strike, the worker is entitled to be afforded every means to reach the Arbitration Court and have his case reviewed there. This amendment will show that we are not in favour of strikes, but that, if they do come, we do not believe in the Citizen Forces being embroiled in them. We want it known that the Defence Force is enrolled for the defence of Australia, not only outside, but within its borders.
– Senator Gould practically accused the leaders of the Newcastle miners of being responsible for the position created in that district. I give that assertion a most emphatic denial. The strike is practically the result of Judge Edmunds’ decision that, if certain employers desired to work the afternoon shift in that district, they would have to pay 25 per cent, in addition to the ordinary rates, but that those collieries where they were then working the afternoon shift were to be exempted from that imposition. That exemption is regarded by every fair-minded man, and. even by the colliery proprietors themselves, as most unjust and iniquitous. . The reason why the men did not pursue other methods to have the matter further considered was that they were told there was no power in the Constitution to enable the Legislature to bring in a law for the aboli- ti on of the afternoon shift. It has been admitted since that the Minister of the Crown who made that statement was in error, but, as no promise was forthcoming to the men that such a measure would be introduced, they simply refused to work the shift. In the present position, if any assistance is given by the Commonwealth Government to suppress the strike, the trouble will only be intensified. The proprietors are using all the means at their command to fine and otherwise punish, by means of. the law, men whose only crime is that they have taken funds from members of the union and handed them over to those who are out of employment to keep their wives and children from starvation. For this the union has been fined £2,500. The leaders of the union are also called upon to show why they should not be imprisoned up to six months for continuing to defy the injunction taken out against them for using the funds in that way. The employers are practically trying to starve the men into subjection, and the men are simply fighting the battle for their rights and the rights. of those dependent on them in the only way they know how to fight it. If the proprietors are not successful in coercing the men into subjection, and seek to bring other men to fill their places, and trouble should arise as a consequence, will the Commonwealth Government call out the citizen soldiery to subdue them ? If they do, the danger of acts of violence will be intensified and we shall be led to the verge of civil war. It must be remembered that, not the mature minds of the Military Service, but young men from eighteen up to twenty-six years of age, would be called out to fight their own fathers, who are fighting the battle of industrialism in the only way that the present-day civiliza-.tion will permit. I regret as much -as any one that there should be need for a strike’, but without a law that will give even-handed justice, we can never hope to do away with strikes. Senator Bakhap asks who demanded the right to strike if the law did not suit them. I know what he is aiming at, but the question was not fairly put. It casts on those who are leading the miners in the’ Newcastle -district the imputation that, unless they can get things all their own way, they are - going to defy law and order. Such is not the case. Unless there is a law in the State that will give justice in the settlement of industrial disputes, we demand the right either to submit our case to arbitration, or to settle it in our own way, by making terms with our employers in the same mutual manner as we did when there was no Industrial Disputes Act in existence. We take up the position that, until the law is based on equity and- justice, we do not regard ourselves as bound by any system of compulsory arbitration. The limitations of the Constitution make it impossible, at the present day, to institute a proper system of arbitration. There is no question that strikes at the root of our civilization more than the one that has’ been before us to-night - the question of how the great industrial army of workers can best be assisted to work out their own destiny, to achieve their industrial freedom, and secure a ‘ greater share of the profits of their labour. The movement is growing, and the presence of so many Labourites in this Parliament is an augury that it will shortly succeed. When that day comes, there is no doubt that we shall have solved the great problem of industrialism.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
The following paper was presented
Public Service Act 1902-1913.- Postmaster- General’s Department - Appointment of J. F. Kirk as Assistant Engineer, Class D, Professional Division, Electrical Engineer’s Branch, New South Wales.
– In moving -
That the Senate do now adjourn,
I may say that the Defence Bill will be the first business to-morrow, although an Arbitration Bill is expected. If it arrives I shall try to get the second reading moved to-morrow, and the Bill as far advanced as I can. The second reading of the Navigation Bill will also be moved, if possible, and there will be no objection to the debate on that measure being adjourned until next week.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) the desirableness, in the interests of a large number of people, of proceeding as early as possible with the scheme dealing with pensions. It is known that some provision will be made; but people are still a little apprehensive, and anxious to know what it will he. We have not only one force approaching the field of operations in Europe, but other forces being enrolled to follow it ; and it is most desirable at the earliest moment to proceed with the measure.
– Leave has already been given to introduce the Bill to which the honorable senator refers. It has been drafted; but certain defects were discovered, and it was referred back for minor alterations. I hope to have it ready by Wednesday next.
– Does the Minister* purpose pushing the . Arbitration Bill through to-morrow?
– It depends on when it reaches the Senate. I shall endeavour to give honorable senators as much opportunity for discussion as possible; but the Bill is somewhat urgent.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.55 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 November 1914, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1914/19141119_senate_6_75/>.