6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3. p.m., and read prayers.
– Are the Government aware that a constituted State authority, namely, the Grain and Fodder Board of South Australia, has intervened to prevent the carrying out of an agreement on the part of the Farmers Union of South. Australia to sell and ship 200 tons of wheat to a Tasmanian flour-milling firm - David Ritchie and Sons, of Launceston? Will the Administration make inquiries, with the view to possible Federal action?
– I will bring the matter under the notice of the Prime Minister.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Prime Minister been drawn to a cablegram published in Monday’s newspaper in my own State, and, I presume, on about the same date in other States, to this effect -
London, Friday night.
A Treasury minute shows that Canada requires £12,000,000 of the British war loan, Australia £18,000,000, New Zealand £5,260,000, and South Africa £7,000,000. The object of the advances is to provide funds to meet Naval and Military expenditure, and other charges directly due to the crisis. The money is not for financing development services. I would like to know if that statement correctly represents the position, and also if the £18,000,000 referred to in the message is the £18,000,000 which was the subject of negotiation and arrangement between the Prime Minister and the Premiers of the States a little while ago ?.
– In regard to the first part of the question, the answer is that the statement is substantially correct. The answer to the second part is that the £18,000,000 referred to is not the £18,000,000 under negotiation with the State Governments recently.
.- I desire leave to make a statement.
– In reference to the statements that have been made in connexion with the naval and military assistance rendered by Australia in the present war in comparison with that given by other Dominions, it has first to be remembered that Australia has provided a Fleet Unit, which has already played an effective part in the protection of British commerce and shipping in these seas, thereby relieving the Admiralty of the necessity of detaching ships from the North Sea for this purpose, and of assisting in the combined naval and military operations at Samoa and New Guinea. On the military side 39,416 troops have been raised for service in Europe; while 1,764 Naval Reserves and Infantry have taken part in operations in the Pacific; totalling 41,180. In addition to this, 56,298 of the Citizen Forces are armed and equipped, and the bulk of these have in turn been mobilized under active service conditions for the defence of various parts of the Commonwealth. There are, in addition, 51,153 members of Rifle Clubs, and 16,000 recruits who have passed from the Senior Cadets; making a total of ‘67,153 Reservists available for war. The grand total under arms is 164,631. Of the above, the present Government has offered to the British Empire and has raised the following units: - 3rd Light Horse Brigade, 1,966; one Field Bakery, 93; one Field Butchery, 21 ; four Veterinary units, 258 ; total 2,338. It has raised the first, second, and third reinforcements of the Australian Infantry Forces, totalling 9,000, and has completed the units previously offered to and accepted by the British Government, totalling 28,258, and is further enrolling all men who are coming forward for service. Arrangements have also been made for special schools of instruction, at which large numbers of military officers will be given an opportunity over an extended course of training to fit themselves either for service with the Militia Forces of the Commonwealth or for attachment to any further Expeditionary Forces, thus overcoming the difficulty which has been created of a shortage of officers. This will be in addition to the ordinary schools of instruction, which will still be carried on.
– Is the Minister of Defence now in a position to answer the questions which were asked last week with reference to the appointment of officials in captured German possessions?
– The questions had reference to temporary appointments made by the Administration in German New Guinea. As the result of the inquiry which was made, the following answer has been furnished: -
It appears that approval was given by the Administrator for the services of certain German officials of the late German Administration to be retained in an advisory capacity for a period not exceeding three months. The Administrator has been informed that the services of such officials should not be extended unless it is impossible to replace them, and then that the extension should only be for such a period as will enable their replacement. The Administrator has been requested to telegraph a report in the matter, and such report is now awaited.
The following papers were presented : -
Belgian Grant : Cablegram from the King of
Belgium acknowledging the grant and the resolution passed by the Commonwealth Parliament.
Defence Act 1903-1912. - Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1914, Nos. 158, 159,160, 161.
Postal Services. - Return to Order of the Senate of 16th October, 1914.- Royal Commission on Postal Services : Recommendations and action taken.
– Has the PostmasterGeneral received any further communication with reference to my complaint that certain towns in Tasmania - Strahan, Queenstown, and Gormanston - did not have the High Commissioner’s war reports posted up promptly?
– The Deputy Postmaster-General at Hobart reports: “ The offices named have been instructed to post up all bulletins immediately upon receipt.”
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Is it a fact that unnaturalized Germans are employed in the General Post Office in Adelaide; if so, how many?
– The answer is -
The Deputy Postmaster-General, Adelaide, has furnished the following information:-
Exhaustive inquiries have been made, which indicate that there are no unnaturalized Germans employed in the General Post Office, Adelaide.
askedthe Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers are -
– Arising out of the answer, may I ask the Minister to ascertain whether any regulation or regulations altering the load-line have recently been passed by the British authorities?
– Will the honorable senator give notice for to-morrow ?
– The time for giving notice of questions has gone by. The honorable senator will require to give notice of the question to-morrow for the following day.
– I shall have inquiries made, and supply the information to the honorable senator at a later stage.
Motion (by Senator Gardiner) agreed to -
That the Bill for an Act to amend the Patents, Trade Marks and Designs Act 1914 sent up by the House of Representatives on 19th November, 1914, be now read a first time.
Bill read a first time.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a secondtime.
It merely restores to the Bill already passed this session two lines which were omitted by accident when the Consolidated English Act was being copied. The alteration will bring the Act into exact accordance with a similar section in the English Act.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 20th November, vide page 904) :
Amendment (by Senator Turley) again proposed -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 10a. Section 123a of the principal Act is amended -
by inserting between the letters ‘ (a) ‘ and ‘ (b) ‘ the word ‘ and ; and
by omitting the word and letter and (c).’ “
– The proposal submitted by Senator Turley appears to have aroused an immense amount of interest, not only in this Chamber, but throughout the country. As a matter offact it is, in the eyes of a section of the electors, a very much more important question than was that upon which this Parliament was subjected to a double dissolution quite recently. I suppose that honorable senators, like myself, have been practically inundated with copies of resolutions which have been adopted by various temperance organizations, ministers of religion, and, indeed, organizations of all descriptions, urging them not to support this proposal. While I am satisfied that the ladies and gentlemen who at this particular juncture are corresponding with honorable senators, are actuated only by the purest motives, I feel that they are not fully seized of the conditions which surround our military camps, and are, therefore, not in a position to form as fair an opinion as to what is desirable as are members of this Chamber. We have had a very interesting debate upon this matter. A number of honorable senators nave supported the amendment and have advanced good reasons why the supply of intoxicants in military camps should be under strict supervision.
– Did the honorable senator say that good reasons had been advanced ?
– Yes. Notwithstanding the abolition of the wet canteen, I, in common with other honorable senators, have repeatedly seen members of our Second Expeditionary Force, who are encamped at Broadmeadows, taking spirits into that camp simply because they could not procure them there. The Minister himself has told us that intoxicants are prohibited in the camp. That being so, a member of the Force who desires to obtain liquor there has no option but to smuggle in spirits, inasmuch as any attempt to smuggle beer into the camp would be sure to result in detection. There has been more drunkenness amongst the troops at Broadmeadows since the dry canteen was established than there was when the wet canteen obtained. In his reply I would like the Minister to say whether there has not been more arrests for drunkenness in connexion with our Second Expeditionary Force there than there were in connexion with our First Expeditionary Force. I feel a considerable amount of sympathy with the mothers of boys who are obliged to enter military encampments at a time when they are very susceptible” to temptation. But I would point out that there are many lads of eighteen years of age who are accustomed to drinking beer. In the circumstances I desire to amend the amendment of Senator Turley, and I therefore move -
That the amendment be amended by the addition of the following words : - “ and («) by adding the following proviso at the end thereof : - ‘ Provided further that no member of the Citizen Forces under the age of twenty-one years shall, except as prescribed for purely medical purposes, be supplied with any intoxicating or spirituous liquor from any canteen.’ “
I understand that Senator Turley is perfectly willing to accept my amendment, and I think that the Minister might very well adopt a similar attitude.
– Such an amendment would be absolutely impracticable.
– I do not think so; it would simply throw the onus on the Defence Department. If the Minister admits that his officers are incapable of giving effect to regulations, then my proposal might be an impracticable one. But in a military encampment where all soldiers are bound to obey orders, surely it is possible to instruct the officer in charge of the canteen that he must not supply any lad under the age of twentyone years with intoxicants, unless they are ordered by a medical officer. Perhaps later on the Minister will point out how it would be impossible. Men accustomed to drink beer cannot be prevented from doing so by merely framing a regulation that they shall not be permitted to obtain it in a military camp. If they cannot get it there they will go outside to get it, and going outside they will be much more likely to indulge to excess than they would be if they were able to obtain what they want in a camp canteen where the supply would, be regulated. If our soldiers canobtain a glass of beer in a canteen they will remain in camp, and if they are compelled to go outside into the cities to obtain what they require, they will be exposed to other forms of temptation to* which many men from the country are more susceptible than they are to the temptation to ‘drink. The amendment I move should meet the objections to the new clause proposed by Senator Turley, as it would remove the temptation from mere boys. We know very well what occurs in connexion with our general experience. Honorable senators must be aware that at Wonthaggi and at Mildura, where hotel licences are refused, there has been a great deal of sly-grog selling, and the evils of the drink traffic are felt at such places more acutely than anywhere else. In my opinion it would be in the interests of the Government, and of the men they employ, if they decided to establish wet canteens on all great railway works. Any one who knows anything about railway works must know that people with vans and carts follow up the men as the work is proceeded with, and supply them with spirits of a very inferior quality. On every railway works grog selling is rampant, and no one has yet attempted to prevent it. The same thing applies to military camps, and if liquor is supplied to the soldiers under regulation, the quantity can be limited according to the capacity of the soldier to carry drink, and drunkenness in the camps may be almost entirely done away with. I know of no organization that should be better fitted to regulate such a traffic in a proper manner than the military organization. I believe that, if the Committee accept the new clause, as I propose to amend it, the results will be found to be really and truly in the interests of temperance. Many of the leaders of temperance organizations have never tasted drink, and know nothing of the conditions prevailing in large encampments of men, but, reading reports of a few cases of drunkenness, they come at once to the conclusion that the men get drunk because beer is supplied to them in a camp canteen. Men will have beer, and I think they should be allowed beer.
– Would the honorable senator give them free licence to drink ?
– Senator Shannon is talking about free licence, and I am talking about supplying men with a perfectly wholesome beverage under regulation. The men who have most to say about the injurious effects of beer are men who have never tasted it.
– I have tasted it, and I can speak from both sides of the question’.
– I will amend my statement, and say that the men who have most to say about the injurious effects of beer are nien who have never tasted it, or reformed drunkards, who, when they took liquor, could not help taking it to excess. We know that the reformed drunkard is always the most bigoted prohibitionist. I have been drinking beer for fifty years, and I am sure that I am not one bit the worse for it. Throughout my life I have been working with other men at laborious work, and I know, in spite of all that may have been said by Lords Kitchener and Roberts, that a pint of beer given to a man who is nearly exhausted will put new life into him. Only yesterday in the newspapers we read a cablegram from the front stating that an officer had demolished a whole German regiment with the assistance of a little drop of brandy. A friend gave him a little brandy, and it stimulated him to keep his gun going. Fortunately there was enough brandy at hand to enable this officer to stand up long enough to wipe out the enemy. If he had not been able to get that little drop of brandy he would have fallen exhausted, and the Germans would have taken credit for another victory. Many of us may perhaps be prone, when we get an idea into our heads, to fight for it irrespective of everything else, but I think that the amendment I have moved should overcome the difficulty, which, in the minds of some honorable senators, is raised by the proposed new clause. If the temptation to drink is withheld, as I propose, from boys under twenty-one years of age, it can hardly be said to be a source of danger to those who are over that age. I submit the amendment in the hope that it will be accepted by the Committee as a means of settling this vexed question.
– I hope the Committee wil not accept the amendment. Its effect would be to throw an apple of discord into our camps if anything could do so. Senator Turley’ s proposed amendment of the Bill is a straightforward one - wet canteens or no wet canteens. Now Senator Story proposes that we shall say that there shall be a wet canteen in camp, but that only a portion of the men in the camp shall have access to it.
– No; all the men.
– Senator de Largie forgets that from the military point of view, all over eighteen years of age are recognised as men since they are liable for military service. Every lad over the age of eighteen years is eligible to enter an Expeditionary Force, and is compulsorily required to serve, if medically fit, in our Citizen Forces. Under the system of military organization the men are formed into companies, and in the Expeditionary Forces men of eighteen, nineteen, twenty, and up to thirty years of age, are to be found in the same company. Senator Story proposes to establish a rule that some of the men of a company shall be allowed to enter a wet canteen freely, whilst other members of the same company shall not be allowed to enter it at all. That is an invidious distinction to make amongst men who are to render equal service in the same company, and .undoubtedly it would create ill-feeling and dissatisfaction, and would be resented.
– The boys would be anxious to become twenty-one, that is all.
– The temptation would be the same. It may be that persons under twenty-one years of age are more susceptible to temptation than are others, but there are plenty of persons over that age who have not drunk strong liquor at all, and to whom all the objections I raised last week would apply, even under the proposal of the honorable senator. It has to be remembered that the wet canteen is sought to be introduced! into a military encampment, and that the man in charge of it would have to discriminate. Now, how could he tell whether a man was twenty-one years of age or twenty-five? Would he be required to keep a list, and, when he was asked for a drink, to refer to the list to find out whether Private Jones was twenty-one, or to call upon the man to produce a birth certificate? The proposal has only to be examined to realize that it could not be carried out.
– How do the police discriminate in the matter of age ?
– Lads under twenty-one years of age are allowed to drink.
– But a boy under sixteen years of age is not allowed in a hotel.
– No; but one can tell whether a person is under sixteen years of age or not. I venture to say that, in the camp, there are plenty of persons nineteen years of age who look as old as men who are twenty-four or more.
– Under the Queensland Licensing Act a person under twenty-one years of age is not eligible to be served in a hotel.
– It is impossible to judge from his appearance whether a lad is twenty-one years of age or not. In the case of a State, there is the police force to administer the Licensing Act; but in the case of a wet canteen it is proposed to say to ,the man in charge, who will not be a policeman, but a soldier, it may be with the same company, “ You have to judge whether men wanting a drink are twenty-one years of age or not.” This proposal, if enacted, would become a dead letter. I trust that no one will vote for the proposal with the thought that he is safeguarding the soldiers under twenty- one years of age, because it can do nothing of the kind. The amendment of Senator Turley, however, is a straightforward way of dealing with the question, but the proposal of Senator Story is a miserable subterfuge, simply because it could not possibly be enforced. Let us decide straight out whether there are to be wet canteens or not, and if there are to be wet canteens, let us make no distinction between those over the age of eighteen years. If we were putting Senior Cadets into camp, and said, “ We will not allow wet canteens for the Cadets, and will allow them for the Citizen Forces,” that would be quite a simple thing to do, because the Department would be dealing with two separate organizations, and these would not go into camp together. At Broadmeadows, at one time, we had 11,000 men in camp. Would it be possible for any one man to know the ages of all the men, or to have a list of 13,000 names to consult in order to find out whether a particular man was twenty-one years of age or not?
– As they all cleanshave, you cannot tell the age now.
– It is an unwritten’ law that practically all the men cleanshave. I appeal to Senator Story not to press the amendment, but to let us take a straight-out vote on the question of whether there shall be wet canteens or not.
– I rise to speak to this question with a certain amount of diffidence, because, as Senator Story has said, the amendment of Senator Turley has aroused a good deal of feeling on both sides of the question, and, in my opinion, rightly so. Probably no greater question will come before the Senate1 during this Parliament than the proposal of Senator Turley to introduce the wet canteen.
– I do not think that.
– No doubt we all look at the matter differently. The amendment raises a very big question. The Senate realizes to the full that, unfortunately, a large majority of our people do not realize that Australia is at .war, and the sooner they do realize that fact the better will it be for them and this country. I have no objection, nor can anybody offer the slightest objection, to the amount of money being raised for this purpose throughout Australia. I re- cognise, too, that a large amount is being contributed voluntarily to different funds. Australia has more to fear than any other part of the Empire, except, perhaps, Canada, from a reverse to the British Arms - more even than England herself. If by any chance British Arms were to suffer a reverse, Australia would be one of the first objectives of the enemy. Therefore the people of Australia should learn to realize that they are just as much at war with Germany and her Allies as is the Old Country. It behoves this Parliament to see that our soldiers go to the front - because that is the proper place for us now to defend the shores of Australia against the enemy - in the fittest possible condition. We have, to a certain extent, been living in a fool’s paradise. Australia has always been led to believe that it has a great deal more to fear from the menace of the people in the East than from the enemy at our door. I know it has been hard for people in Australia to realize that’ the menace with which we are confronted was ever likely to arise. We are all fully informed as to the close relationship that has existed between the Mother Country and Germany. May I be pardoned for saying that it is only by an accident of birth that the Kaiser is not King of England. If his mother had been, so to speak, his father, he would have become the King of England, and probably he believes that he had a right to ascend the British throne. We cannot forget that the King and the Kaiser are first cousins. The commerce and trade between the two nations, and between ourselves and Germany, have been so closely interwoven that we have never dreamt that we could possibly enter into war with Germany. Although the Kaiser has been preaching peace for the last twenty years, he has been preparing for this war.
– May I ask if the honorable senator intends to connect these remarks with the question before the Committee ?
– The point I wish to make, sir, is that Australia is as much at war as the Old Country. This is the greatest war of all times. I hope that Australia will assist the British Government to carry the war to such a successful issue that it will never be possible for such a conflict to take place again. I am strengthened in that hope by the fol lowing remarks, which I read in the South Australian Register yesterday -
The Prime Minister (Mr. Asquith), Mr. Balfour, and Lord Rosebery, have signed an appeal in support of the Central Committee for National Patriotic Organizations. This body is intended to educate public opinion regarding the causes and issue of the war, and to place before neutral countries a clear statement of Great Britain’s case. The appeal declares : - “ Come what may, there must be no weakening, no wavering, and no patched truce which shall expose our children to a revival of the German menace.”
– What has that to do with the wet canteen, though?
– The point I wish to make is that we want to send our soldiers to the front in the fittest possible condition.
– Will the honorable senator direct his remarks to the question of a wet canteen ?
– I will get down to that question as soon as I can, sir. Our duty is to send our men to the front as efficient as possible. The amendment of Senator Turley is in favour of wet canteens. In support of his proposal he quoted a lot of statistics as to the greatest beer-drinking nations throughout the world. He said that little Belgium was the greatest beer-drinking nation, and yet it had put up a defence of which every British-speaking people was proud.
– I said, “ all the people in the world.”
– Will the honorable senator or any one else say for a moment that it was because the Belgians drank more beer than the people in any other part of the world that they put Up that defence? Certainly not. No one has the courage to make that statement, “because he knows that it would not be correct. The only inference to be drawn from the figures of Senator Turley was that the Belgians put up that magnificent fight because they were great beer drinkers. We might as well say that if they had been teetotallers they would not have allowed Germany to invade Belgium at all.
– Evidently it did not militate against their military efficiency, and that is your strong argument against wet canteens.
– There is no logical argument in that. I am not prepared to say whether the Belgians would have put up a better or worse fight if they had not drunk so much beer. For whom is a wet canteen sought to be established? Not for staid men such as are in the Senate. I fail to see any analogy between a military camp and the Senate. As Senator Lynch said very forcibly, these soldiers are altogether different from any other class in the community. They are the very cream of the community. We are sending away the pick of the nation. They are in camp to-day for the purpose of discipline.
– And those who favour the dry canteen are treating them as if they were children.
– Those who advocate the wet canteen charge us with repression; but they themselves advocate restriction, and the line of demarcation between restriction and repression is very difficult to find. They say there is not as much drunkenness under the wet canteen as under the dry canteen. If that is so, Senator Pearce has misled us, and I am sure he would not wilfully do so, in telling us that he has had fewer complaints under the dry than under the wet canteen. The Committee ought to accept his assurance., unless it has very strong evidence in rebuttal of it.
– He did not refer to the frequent Police Court proceedings.
– Were there none under the wet canteen ?
– They were very rare. The men did not come into the city and get a “ skinful “ and go mad.
– That serious assertion should be dealt with by the Minister.
– It was during the wet-canteen period at Broadmeadows that the collisions with the police occurred in Swanston-street
– One of them.
– Senator Long ought to be extremely careful in making an interjection of that kind.
– The newspapers refer every day to prosecutions of some kind or other.
– Did they have no references to prosecutions when there was a wet canteen f
– I failed to see a single one mentioned.
– There is none so blind as he who will not see, and none so deaf as he who will not hear.
– Go down town any night, and you will see a lot of drunken soldiers in uniform.
– Yon will see a lot of men parading in uniform who are not soldiers.
– The granting of a wet canteen will not in any way prevent the men at the camp from getting as much drink as they can to-day with a dry canteen when they get out. They will be able not only to get drink in the camp, but also to go outside and obtain as much as they can now. This means that they will get a double quantity. Some people say, “ I would not do what Soandso does”; but no man can say what he will do until he is tempted. A wet canteen puts temptation before these young men, large numbers of whom probably have never known what intoxicating liquor is, and the very first drink they get from the canteen may be the first step towards their downfall.
– Does the honorable senator really believe that because there is no canteen in the camp the men will not get drink?
– I believe these young men who have never known temptation will most probably never know it without a wet canteen.
– You are charmingly simple.
– The honorable senator is welcome to his opinion. With all deference to Senator Turley’s statement that he was a temperate drinker, and had been so all his life, the kind of speech he made the other day, with its egotistical references to more work being done for temperance by the organization to which he belongs than by all the temperance bodies throughout Australia, does more harm to, and puts more hindrance in the way of, the work of the temperance societies than probably any other cause.
– Is that because it is the truth?
– It is because when these impressionable young ‘ men read such speeches, recognising what Senator Turley is, and remembering that he has occupied in this Chamber one of the highest positions to which his fellowmen can call him, they say, “ Senator Turley says you can be a moderate drinker and get along all right.”
– Hear, hear! I saythat everywhere.
– The honorable senator may be like the Pharisee of old, who smote himself on the breast and said, “ God, I thank Thee I am not as other men are.” He has evidently not made much study of human nature. Has he ever seen a drunkard recruited from the temperance ranks ?
– I know a number - men who have been at the head of the temperance movement.
– Drunkards are recruited from the moderate drinkers. I challenge the honorable senator to show me any individual who has taken his first glass of intoxicating liquor with the intention of becoming a drunkard. These men all take the first drink with the intention of being moderate drinkers - somewhere between a glass and a barrel, according to one’s capacity for holding liquor. Those are the ranks from which the drunkards come.
– It is a good job you were never tempted.
– I told the Committee that I had been. I honestly ask Senator Turley and those who are supporting him to reconsider their position, and not to put this temptation in the way of young men. We open the meetings of this Chamber daily by reading the Lord’s Prayer, the greatest line in which is “ Lead us not into temptation.” If we carry the proposed new clause, we shall be putting temptation in the way of these young men; and I ask Senator Turley to reconsider the matter, because he and his supporters have not shown us one case to justify it, except Senator Story’s tale about a man who was sustained by a little brandy for a few minutes while he fired a gun.
– Hundreds more can be made out.
– Where drink has assisted men to win a battle? I should like to hear them. On the contrary, alcohol as a stimulant is so reactionary in its effects that its use leads to more disease than any other known cause, because it eats up the white corpuscles of the blood. Senator Turley said, “ I do not want to deprive the men of the good things of life.” Alcohol has caused more crime, misery, accidents, unhappiness and degradation than all other known causes put together. If the honorable senator calls that one of the good things of life, what does he call the bad things ?
– Deeming was a teetotaller.
– He may have been; he was a fiend incarnate.
– He could not have had the nerve had he been a drunkard.
– The honorable senator has furnished a very apt reply. He says that if Deeming had not been a teetotaller, he could never have been Deeming. He would never have had the courage to carry out his atrocities if he had been addicted to alcohol.
– In other words, if be had “not been a teetotaller, he would not have been a murderer.
– After all, these soldiers are going to the front to slay their fellow men, and in that capacity they do not want any stimulant to do their duty. The greatest difficulty is to restrain them from going too fast, and they do not require Dutch courage. We are charged with repressing our soldiers, and with doing for them what we should not do for ourselves. Are those in favour of the wet canteen prepared to give the men complete licence? They propose to give them the canteen under certain restrictions, so as to make temperate men of them, but that sort of restriction will never do it. Instead of adopting halfmeasures, we must go the “whole hog,” and keep the canteens in our camps dry. The Minister of Defence gave the Committee valuable information about hospitals. The reduction of the hospital bills for alcohol and the increase of their bills for milk show that the medical profession are realizing that alcohol does not possess the curative properties which have frequently been attributed to it. I am sorry that Senator Blakey is not present, because he contended that there had been more complaints of drunkenness amongst the troops of our Second Expeditionary Force at Broadmeadows under the dry canteen than there had been amongst the members of our First Expeditionary Force under the wet canteen. The Minister of Defence, however, gave this allegation a flat contradiction. Thus we have two conflicting statements - one by the Minister, who is in a position to know the facts; and the other by Senator Blakey, who has not the same opportunity for acquiring reliable information. In. these circumstances I am impelled to the conclusion that Senator Blakey has permitted somebody to “ pull his leg.”
– Senator Blakey said that he had visited the camp, and had made inquiries from the officers there.
– Of course nobody in camp would dream of pulling Senator Blakey’s leg upon the question of the desirableness or otherwise of the wet canteen. I extremely regret that Senator Blakey, who would prohibit the manufac- ture and sale of liquor within the Commonwealth, and Senator McDougall, who has been a teetotaller all his life, should so far forget their temperance principles as to support the establishment of a wet canteen. Senator Needham, during his speech on Friday last, had a good deal to say about “ wowserism.”
– What is a “wowser”?
– A “ wowser “ is a man who stands at an hotel bar eating free lunches and sponging free drinks until he develops warts on his chest. When Senator Needham inquired why the Minister did not call for recruits who were teetotallers, Senator Turley asked, by way of interjection, how many would be forthcoming. Do those honorable senators mean to insinuate that if the Minister called for applicants for service abroad from teetotallers alone, there would be no response? Do they suggest that, if we do not establish wet canteens in our camps, men will not enrol? If they do not, what do they mean? Such remarks, I contend, cast the greatest slur possible upon our Expeditionary Forces.
– Did anybody say that?
- Senator Turley inquired, “ How many would apply for enrolment if enlistment were limited to teetotallers? “ I say, unhesitatingly, that there is not a man in our Expeditionary Forces to-day who would not have enlisted had the dry canteen been in operation from the very beginning. If there be one such individual, it were better, fifty thousand times, that he should stay behind and drown himself in a barrel of beer, than that he should go to the front, because he would only be a hindrance when he got there. Is there any Britisher who has not felt the blood course more rapidly through his veins as he read of the arrival of the British “Tommies” in Paris, where the Frenchwomen acclaimed them as the “Brave, brave English”? Fancy Senator Needham as Brigadier-General in a Bantam battalion there, and a French lady putting her arms around his neck and exclaiming, “ You brave, brave Englishman.” We can imagine how his heart would thrill. Why, he would be in the seventh heaven of delight. But what would happen if he had a cargo of beer behind the fifth button of his waistcoat? In support of my contention that alcohol, at the best, is merely a false stimulant, I need point to no higher authority than Dr. Nansen, who, until recent years, had penetrated farther north than had any other explorer. During his second expedition to the Arctic regions he absolutely prohibited the use of alcohol amongst the members of his expedition. Why? Because he had proved upon a previous journey that men could withstand extreme cold better without alcohol than they could with it.
– I wonder how cases bearing the name of John Dewar and Sons found their way to the Arctic regions ?
– I do not know. But I am told that when the North Pole is reached a Scotchman will be found sitting upon it. I wish now to say a word or two on behalf of the fathers and mothers of our young men who are bound for the front. I have received more correspondence in one day upon this question of the abolition of the wet canteen in our camps than I have ever received in the same time in my parliamentary experience. With the indulgence of honorable senators I would like to read an extract or two from some of these communications.
– We have all had them. We will take them as read.
– One letter is from Mr. Fletcher, of Port Adelaide. He says -
In my church to-night, with more than 500 people present, I put the following resolution, at the same time frankly inviting any one who did not agree with it not to vote, but every man and woman in the church rose to their feet in protest - voting in favour of the resolution - with a spontaneity that was marvellous.
– I will call the attention of the honorable senator to standing order 414, which reads -
No senator shall read extracts from newspapers or other documents, except Hansard, referring to debates in the Senate during the same session.
– I shall refrain from making any further quotations. But I wish to say, on behalf of the parents of our young men who are now bound for the front, that we should sedulously avoid placing them in the way of temptation. I think I am safe in saying that the average age of the members of our Expeditionary Forces is about twenty-six years.
– I do not think it is so high.
– It is more likely to be twenty-three years.
– So much the better for my argument. It will thus be seen that those Forces are composed of young men of a very impressionable age. In these circumstances, is it to be wondered at that their parents are anxious that the wet canteen shall not be countenanced in camp? Certainly not. My sympathies are with these parents, who deserve some consideration at the hands of this Committee. I feel that they would fifty times rather their sons perished by the sword at the front than that even one of them should return a drunkard. In the 23rd chapter of Proverbs and the 32nd verse, we are told that at the last strong drink biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder. I repeat that there is not one of the parents of our men who are going to the front but would prefer that they should die there by the sword than return drunkards to their households. Why do I say this? It is because to be slain in battle is honorable, whilst a man who gives way to liquor to excess becomes a disgrace not only to himself but to his family. I implore the Committee to think twice before they accept Senator Turley’ s amendment. I realize that men may get drunk from other causes than by drinking liquor to excess. I have seen men who might be described as drunk with enthusiasm or excitement.
– I have seen men get blind drunk on water.
– The honorable senator has also seen men get drunk on land.
– I am not good at conundrums. I have never seen a man blind drunk. Senator Long probably intends to say that in crossing Bass Strait on the Loongana he has seen men drunk on board the ship.
– Not on the Loongana.
– Well, on some other boat. The honorable senator wishes only to mislead the Committee when he says that he has seen men get blind drunk on water.
– The point I wish to make is that it is just as easy to get drunk on water as it is on land.
– I agree with the honorable senator if he wishes to suggest that we should not permit wet canteens on board our transport ships any more than in our camps.
– Is the honorable senator aware that every British transport has its wet canteen?
– I know that Lord Kitchener’s last word of advice to the British soldiers as they left the shores of Great Britain was that they should refrain from liquor.
– That is our advice to them, too.
– Then what more do honorable senators want? What better evidence can they have of the view entertained by the Imperial military authorities? What arguments will sway honorable senators if they do not wish to be swayed?
– The honorable senator has not answered my question. Is he aware that every British transport has its wet canteen ?
– I am not aware of it.
– Is the honorable senator aware that every Australian transport when it comes under the Imperial authorities will be similarly equipped?
– I understand that when the men get to the front they will get no spirits or beer at all.
– The honorable senator will get a rude awakening.
– According to the press the most complete arrangements have been made to supply the men at the front with the best liquor.
– That is for medicinal purposes.
– That is a medicinal issue.
– I am glad that the Minister has indorsed the reply I made to Senator Bakhap, that the provision of liquor for men at the front is for medicinal purposes. I have said that I realize that men lose their presence of mind from other causes than a too great indulgence in liquor, and at the present juncture it behoves us to see that we are not intemperate from a source other than that of liquor. It behoves us to bring sane minds to the settlement of this question. We want our Forces to be efficient, and we want the fathers and mothers of Australia whose sons are going to the front to be under no misgiving from the causes involved in this question. I implore the Committee to reject Senator Turley’s amendment, and to decide that only dry canteens shall be permitted in our camps. I conclude with this quotation from Kipling -
If,drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe -
Such boastings as the Gentiles used, Or lesser breeds without the Law -
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget.
– I do not intend to quote Kipling in connexion with this matter.
– Quote Bobby Burns.
– I do not intend to quote ‘Bobby Burns either, though his poetry will live after that which Kipling has written is forgotten. Senator Shannon referred to a statement of mine to the effect that if no drinking were allowed, and we had confined our invitations to join the Expeditionary Forces to total abstainers, we would not have as many volunteers as we have had. I say now that, if we had made a regulation that before a man could join an Expeditionary Force he must sign a pledge as a total abstainer, a number of the men who have volunteered would never have come forward.
– That is a poor tribute to their loyalty.
– They are as loyal as is Senator Senior, but they do not believe in being treated as children or to be asked to comply with little regulations that are galling to them, and which, I think, are a reflection on their manhood. Amongst the illustrations which Senator Shannon has used, he told us that Deeming would never have been Deeming if he h ad not been a total abstainer. What does that mean? Does it not mean that, in the opinion of the honorable senator, if Deeming had been accustomed to take a glass of beer occasionally, he would not have been a murderer ? If that be so, it was a bad thing for Deeming that he did not take a glass of beer, and a bad thing, also, for those whom he murdered and buried under the hearth-stones in different houses. The honorable senator has suggested that, if a man does not take a glass of beer, he may be tempted to the committal of such atrocious crimes as Deeming was convicted of. If that is the sort of thing to which total abstinence would probably lead me, I shall not be a total abstainer. I never have been a total abstainer up to the present, and if I thought I should develop on those lines, it would be bad for me to become one. Senator Shannon has told us that if a young man is induced to take his first drink in a camp canteen it will prove to be his undoing.
– It may.
– The honorable senator assumes that the young man will be a sort of moral incompetent, who, when he is asked to take a drink in a canteen, will say, “ I shall do so just because it will please you.” Is it not much better that these young men should be asked to go openly to the canteen to take a drink than that we should, by refusing to establish a wet canteen, induce men to smuggle drink into their tents? The young men about whom Senator Shannon is so anxious would be much more likely to fall when they were asked to join their fellows in the tent in having a drink all round. Every person of intelligence is aware that efforts to repress drink by these methods invariably tend to drive the people who desire to drink to carry more spirits into camp than would otherwise be taken there. It is to avoid that danger that I think wet canteens should be established, so that the men may be able to obtain a glass of beer in camp if they have been used to it outside and consider it necessary. What has been the result of the abolition of the wet canteens at Broadmeadows? Where did the men come from who went to Brighton last Sunday? A great many of them came from Broadmeadows, and went to Brighton because it was outside the limit of Sunday trading in this district of Victoria. How “did those men return to the camp? Did Senator Senior go down to Brighton to see them there ? If the honorable senator had done so, he would have realized that it would have been much better if the men had been able to obtain a pint or two pints of beer within the day in the wet canteen at the camp than it was for them to get filled up with liquor at Brighton. It is because I believe that the wet canteen tends to sobriety that I advocate its establishment.
– Will the honorable senator guarantee that the establishment of the wet canteen will prevent the kind of thing he has been alluding to?
– I have the word of officers of the First Expeditionary Force that that is their experience. They told me that they were in favour of wet canteens because they believed that they led to temperance and sobriety.
– A most illogical argument.
– Everything is illogical from the view-point of the total abstainer, except the arguments of men like himself. They wish to force every one else to accept their view. I do not believe in that kind of thing. When they find that they have men under control, they say, “ Now that we have you here, you shall not be permitted to obtain drink, as you were accustomed to do as a private citizen.” I hold the opinion that there is more excessive drinking outside the camps with a dry canteen than there would be if a wet canteen were established. Some years ago, a camp was held at a place not far from Brisbane, and there was no wet canteen there. It was thought that that would be a good thing. It was a lovely thing for the publican. He never had such a time in his life, and there never was so much drunkenness in connexion with that camp as there was while they had a dry canteen there. I have moved my amendment because of the experience of men who have been in camps, and of men who have had charge of camps. I do not propose to traverse the whole of the statements made by Senator Shannon, but I desire to refer briefly to several statements made by the Minister of Defence. Judging from the sheaf of papers which the former shook at the Senate, I should think that I have earned the undying gratitude, of several honorable senators, because I feel perfectly satisfied that my amendment has been the means of increasing their mails considerably and bringing them in contact with a large number of persons who previously did not know them, and who probably will not want to know them after this question has been settled. My amendment has provided work for a number of honorable senators, for they have. had to sit down and reply to the circulars and letters they have received. I received one or two .myself.
– Did you get only one or two?
– Yes. I am regarded as one who is beyond the pale, and therefore I suppose they did not think it worth while to inundate me with correspondence. The Minister of Defence has said to the Committee, “ Whatever you do; do not agree to Senator Story’s amendment.” I am prepared to accept the amendment. In submitting my proposal on Friday I recognised that there was a difference ‘ of opinion amongst honorable senators on the question, and said that I preferred to have a wet canteen, even with the restriction proposed by Senator Story, than not to have a wet canteen at all. The Minister has said, “This proposal is going to introduce something terrible. How are we to administer it?” In connexion with the Expeditionary Forces all persons over eighteen years of age are regarded as men. As I said the other day, I consider that at eighteen years of age I was a long way better man than I am now.
– You are above the fifty years mark.
– Yes. But at that time I was not likely to allow any person to. induce me to go into a hotel and drink if I did not wish to drink. I believe that the Australian youths are just as good men as I was in my youth.
– But they have not the strong mind that you had at eighteen.
– Is that the sort of men upon whom we pride ourselves ? “ I like to see young men who know their own minds, and will not allow persons to persuade them one way or the other. One can lead a horse to water, but cannot make the horse drink If our young soldiers do not want to drink at a camp, or they were brought up in a home where drink was not used, they should have sufficient backbone to say “ No “ when they are asked by a man to take a drink.
Senior Senior. - You would speak of a man who turned it down as a hypocrite.
– I would do nothing of the sort. I always respect a man who says to another map, “No; I do not want a drink, thank yon.” But I do not respect the man. who will say to another man, “ Yes, I will go in just to oblige you, Tom,” because the latter is not worth considering. We want men who have a will of their own and who, when asked to take a drink, will turn the liquor down if they do not require it. We have been told, too, by the Minister of Defence, that the amendment of Senator Story would create a distinction amongst the soldiers at a camp. Why? Does a restriction create a distinction anywhere else?
– That is a most peculiar thing. In Queensland we have a law which says to the hotelkeeper, “You shall not supply intoxicating drink to any person who apparently is under twentyone years of age, and if you do, we will prosecute you and punish you.” In a community of 200,000 persons and with thousands of persons passing his door every day, a publican is expected by the law to be able to judge the age of a person who wants a drink. In a military camp a large number of men are gathered together. The proposal is to establish, under a regulation, a wet canteen, at which no person under twenty-one years of age shall be served with liquor. An officer is to be in charge of the canteen, and the age of every man in the camp will be known to that officer. Apparently a total abstainer is willing to throw all sorts of responsibility upon a licensed publican. I do not think it is fair to say that the officials at the military camp will not be able to administer the proposed regulation, seeing that a similar provision is administered in every large city in Australia.
– Will you guarantee that there are no violations ?
– Will the honorable senator guarantee that there are no violations of the seventh commandment? I, for one, would not undertake to give such a guarantee. That commandment has been the law for thousands of years, and to-day the honorable senator will not guarantee that there are no violations of it. I think that he is wise. No one will undertake to guarantee that there are no violations of any of the commandments. Yet they have been in existence for many years, and people have been brought up under them. Can the honorable senator say whether there are any violations of the eighth commandment to-day? In spite of all the legislation against stealing on the statute-book, he will not say that there are no violations, either of the law or of the commandment.
– That is sidetracking ; that is no argument.
– I do not allow the honorable senator to side-track me, because I reply to his interjections.
-i say still, “ Do you assert that there are no violations of it?”
– Certainly not; but I do assert that there are violations of all the laws on the statute-book regarding stealing, and I believe that there are violations of the eighth and the other commandments. Yet the honorable senator asks whether I will stand up and say that there are no violations of the law which has been passed. Will he stand up and tell us that there are no violations of the doctrines which he and others have been preaching for years? Not at all, because he knows that there are violations of such laws. The Minister has said, too, “ You will throw temptation, not in the way of young men of eighteen years of age - no, he is dropped out now - but in the way of young men of twenty-one years of age.” What a terrible thing it is to throw temptation in his way when it assails him in every street. No matter where he goes there are temptations to be resisted. How are we to prevent the young man of twenty-one from being tempted ? Are we to say to him, “ It will be a good thing to tie you up somewhere where you will not be tempted by any evil, where there will be nothing to take you off the straight path of rectitude “ ? The best men are those who have been sent out into the world and have learned to hold up their end of the log in spite of the temptations which confront them.
– Is it any argument that you should multiply temptations?
– I cannot continue an argument on the commandments with the honorable senator. Now, what are the statements that we get from correspondents. I have received one or two circulars, and have read statements in them which, to my mind, are unthinkable. For instance, I saw a statement that it bad been proved that at the Liverpool camp in New South Wales the men who were supposed to be under strict regulations were able to obtain all the drink they could pay for, and as much as they could get credit for. I do not believe the statement. If, however, the statement is true, it is a disgrace to the Defence Department.
– Why should they not get two or three drinks if they want them; why limit the men?
– That is a question which the honorable senator must settle for himself. Is he prepared to substantiate the statement in the circular ?
– I am not prepared to make it.
– Can you disprove it?
– No, because I was not there. But I say that it would be a disgrace to the Defence Department if such a thing could be honestly said about the men of the Liverpool camp, where things were under control. Senator Senior wants everything disproved. His interjections remind me of the question put to a man in court, “ Have you ceased to beat your mother-in-law yet ? ‘ ‘ There is practically no reply. I believe that it will be possible to control a wet canteen properly. In a letter I was asked if I knew that all drink had been prohibited to the soldiers at the front, and also if I knew that no drink was allowed to leave England at the present time to be served out to the soldiers at the front, and Senator Shannon has practically indorsed that statement.
– I said that I did not know that.
– The honorable senator said that drink is not allowed to be sent to the front. I hold in my hand a press cutting to the effect that at the West India Docks at London the first consignment was being put up for the use of the troops at the front, namely, 150,000 gallons of overproof rum. -In Queensland a 1,000 gallons tank is in many cases all the storage which persons have for conserving water. Yet we were told in the press of last week that the authorities at Home were sending 150 of these tanks over to the front as a first consignment of overproof rum to be served out to the troops.
– Is that official information?
– Yes. The honorable senator will find the news in a letter in the Age of last Saturday, from their correspondent in London, who gives all the information regarding this matter. He states that a first consignment of 150,000 gallons of overproof rum is being sent to the front. That is a fair quantity - about a quarter of a gallon per man for those at present at the front - and apparently there are similar consignments to follow. Yet I am asked in a letter from South Australia whether I know that it is a fact that no drink is allowed to be sent from England to the front. I do not know it, but I know perfectly well that it has not been the usual thing to deny drink to the men at the front. All they are told is that they should keep temperate; not that they should not touch liquor at all, because liquor is served out to them if they require it. That seems to be a fair thing, because the men are working under conditions which necessitate the supply of a stimulant, and those who ask them to go there and stand the brunt of the fighting should supply them with whatever they require. Senator Story told the Committee of the incident of the young lieutenant in charge of four maxim guns being sent out with the men to work them, and fainting when there was an onslaught upon them. One of his mates poured brandy down his neck, presumably not medicinally, because we are not told that he ran back to a doctor to find out if brandy was required. The officer revived, and when the enemy put three of the guns out of action he took another drink of brandy and was able to work the remaining gun, discharging four belts of ammunition containing 300 charges apiece. He decimated the enemy and they fled. He was picked up and taken back, and was afterwards awarded the Victoria Cross - the highest military honour that can be conferred. On reading that story I came to the conclusion that had it not been for the little drop of brandy that he took when in a fainting condition he would not have come round in time to do anything.
– Ammonia might have produced the same results.
– Why does not the honorable senator say that if he had been given strychnine it might have produced the same result? A lot of things might have produced the same result, but the fact remains that brandy produced the result. If there is anything in the honorable senator’s argument, why are not the military authorities in the Old Country sending 150,000 gallons of ammonia to the front to keep the men in good form? I believe my proposed new clause, with Senator Story’s amendment, will lead to temperance and sobriety, and therefore I propose to press it to a division. I shall not withdraw it, although I have been asked to do so in a number of letters. I do not stand up for fun and move an amendment in this chamber, and I am not prepared to “ crawfish “ from it. If I did not believe it was right I should not have moved it, but I have not asked any member of the Senate to support it. I simply mentioned that I intended to move it, and I did not ask any one if he would support it or vote against it. I should decline to do anything of the sort. I shall record my vote for it, if any one will join me in calling for a division.
Senator WATSON (New South Wales) (4.U]. - I congratulate the Minister of Defence upon framing a regulation insuring that dry canteens shall be the order of the -day at our military encampments, because I am sure that nothing makes for the physical welfare and moral well-being of our soldiers more than the prohibition of the wet canteen within the camp. Those who oppose the dry canteen say that the drinking habits of those in the camps are greater now than when the wet canteen was in vogue. That seems to be quite a contradiction. It is practically saying that the absence of alcohol produces drunkenness, whereas it is alcohol alone that produces that effect. The argument used is that the men were denied the opportunity of getting liquor in the camp, and took the opportunity of going outside and imbibing more freely than they otherwise would. Whether that is so or not cannot be established here definitely. It is merely a matter of conjecture as to whether that is the cause of the men imbibing to excess, but it certainly proves that the wet canteen should not be allowed in the camp, because every man has some influence on his fellows. It is all very well to say that a man who does not drink, and is induced to drink by the influence of another, is weak, and not of a type best suited for the defence of the nation. We cannot ignore the fact that a man may be as strong as a lion in many respects, and as weak as water in other things. Alexander the Great, one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever seen, found a drunkard’s grave. Many other noble men who have graced the pages of history have fallen through addiction to alcohol. It is, therefore, no argument to say that a man who is induced to take drink is necessarily a weak man, lacking in force, of will and character. Quite the opposite is often the case. The taking of alcohol is a social habit, and the more sociable a man is the more liable he is to temptation, and the more likelihood is there of his becoming a victim to the vice. It is not the phlegmatic individual that becomes addicted to liquor. If he does drink occasionally, he does not drink in the social way that makes for drunkenness. It is the jovial man who loves a pal, and is prepared to share his glass with him, that is likely to go down under liquor. We are not discussing, on this motion, the questionof whether prohibition shall be applied to the nation as a whole, or whether the present system shall continue. We are simply asked to determine whether we, as a Commonwealth Parliament, shall subject to temptation the men who have been called to arms to defend our country. It is not a question of whether they can get alcohol. It is a question of whether weshall put the opportunity in their way. If liquor is a good thing, no limitation should be put upon its use; if it is a bad’ thing, no encouragement should be given to ite use. I do not believe that the most ardent advocate of liquor will seek tojustify its unlimited use. Liquor, therefore, stands self-condemned as an enemy of the race, and this Parliament should’ not make itself responsible in any way for putting within the reach of our young men anything that will lead them astray. Our Defence Forces are composed chiefly of young men from the ages of eighteen to twenty-six. They are compelled to undergo a system of training, and many of them are now in camp to fit themselves to defend their country, and, if need be, to fight across the seas in defence of the Empire. The duty, therefore, devolves upon us to see that they form no bad habits through the presence of alcohol inthe camp. It has been stated here that the testimony of officers in camp is that, since the dry canteen was established, drunkenness has been more prevalent than under the old system. That report came from the Melbourne camp. I have made inquiries regarding the New South Wales camp, and find that the opposite is the case. The officers themselves say it is a good tiling to have a dry canteen, and that there is no desire on the part of those in camp to revert to the old system. The correspondence which honorable senators have received during the last few days is conclusive proof that there is no desire on the p.art of those who believe in the use of liquor to have the wet canteen established at the camp. I have not received one letter from anybody in the Commonwealth asking for the establishment of the wet canteen. Every letter I have received - and I suppose my correspondence is just as bulky as that of any other honorable senator - has been in favour of prohibition. Our own judgment must tell us that there is no argument for the establishment of a wet canteen. None has been advanced by the honorable senators who have supported the proposed new clause. They have talked about repression and smuggling. But they have shown no legitimate reason why alcohol should be used as a beverage in camp. What is the action of alcohol upon the human system ? Does it make for greater physical force? Does it brace the individual ? Alcohol in itself is an irritant poison. Of course, I expect the cheap rejoinder that certain persons have been drinking it for fifty years and have not been poisoned yet. Senator Turley told us that he had been drinking beer for fifty years.
– No, I did not.
– When the honorable senator reads his speech in Hansard he will find that he did.
– I did not say how long I have been drinking beer. It was Senator Story who made that statement.
– I am content to allow Hansard to speak authoritatively as to what took place. I make the statement that Senator Turley did say that he had been drinking beer for fifty years.
– I rise to a point of order. I did not make the statement which the honorable senator is attributing to me. Senator Story made that statement, and I decline to have it credited to me.
– I am very pleased that Senator Turley wishes to repudiate the idea, because it is an admission that the consumption of alcohol does not enhance any man’s value. The world today is looking for sober men, and I regard Senator Turley as being one of them. I fear that any man who drank beer for fifty years would scarcely live to drink it for another fifty years.
– The chances are that he would not live another fifty years even if he never saw beer.
– I am sure that my joke will be appreciated by the honorable senator. Whilst I recognise Senator Turley’s physical proportions,I do not think that they would have been less if he had never touched alcohol. Some of the greatest feats of physical endurance have been performed without the aid of alcohol. Alcohol paralyzes one’s energies and. destroys his powers of perception. I haveno hesitation in saying that if our soldiers leave alcohol alone they are more likely to become expert marksmen than if they take even one glass of strong drink. Just in proportion to the quantity of alcohol consumed, so is the nervous system lowered. Consequently if a marksman takes no liquor at all he will secure to himself the utmost advantage. We know from medical testimony that the consumption of alcohol impairs a soldier’s sight, and thus diminishes his power to accurately see signals. It also confuses prompt judgment. A man cannot think clearly whilst alcohol is passing through his brain cells, and its force must pass away before ha is restored - so far as his perceptive faculties are concerned - to his normal condition. Thus I contend that the consumption of alcohol by a soldier is detrimental to accurate shooting. That has been demonstrated again and again in actual practice. If a man who can hit the bull’s-eye when he is perfectly sober be given a single glass of liquor he cannot hit it.
– What about a pipe of tobacco ?
– Tobacco also is an irritant, and acts upon the nervous system.
– Would the honorable senator prohibit its use?
– If it led to the same moral deterioration, I would. I have not acquired the habit of smoking, and I do not know the influence of tobacco upon the subject. But I am a tea-drinker, and I know that tea is also an irritant poison, and one which acts upon the nervous system. Consequently, if I wish to vivify the nerves, the less tea that I drink the better. So with regard to smoking. If a man has to perform some difficult feat, he had better leave the pipe alone. The fact is that, in our present-day civilization, we are living at a terrific pace, and, whilst alcohol undoubtedly stimulates for a time, it has a weakening effect upon the nervous system. It cannot be denied that the direct action of alcohol on the soldier is to injuriously affect the accuracy of his aim and the force of his mental power. It also hastens fatigue. We all know that in a soldier’s life feats of endurance are required much more than they are in the life of the ordinary individual. Whilst the use of alcohol may stimulate him for a time, it weakens him iii the end, as its action tends to drive the blood from the heart to the circumference of the body. “Unless, therefore, alcohol can impart sustaining food to the heart, it must necessarily leave the subject weaker than he was previously. The action of food itself has that effect. There is greater force in a man’s blood-vessels when he is fed than there is when he is impoverished.
– I would direct the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that the question before the Chair is the proposed amendment of that section of the Act which relates to the establishment of wet canteens in our military camps.
– Am I to understand that the action of alcohol upon a soldier’s life does not affect the question of whether dry canteens should be established ?
– Not materially. 0
– I bow to your ruling. The use of alcohol by the soldier increases the risk which he takes consequent upon exposure and disease. If a man is in the habit of taking alcohol, and disease overtakes him, lie has less chance of recovery than he would have if he were a total abstainer. I do not think that we should interfere with a system which makes for the sobriety of our young men, and which tends to ennoble their lives. After all, the consumption of liquor, is merely a social habit, and if our youths form that habit at our military camps, they may develop an appetite for alcohol which will induce them to curse their days in camp in years to come. I hope, for the sake of the Commonwealth itself, that the regulation framed by the Minister will not be interfered with. I need scarcely remind the Committee that other nations are taking precautionary measures to insure sobriety among their troops, who have to endure great hard ships, and to incur great risks and responsibilities. The action recently taken by the Russian Government is an object lesson to the world. That Government is prepared to sacrifice a revenue of £93,000,000 annually rather than risk the nation being submerged and utterly undone by the forces of alcohol. That action will redound to the credit of Russia for all time. Under the existing system, the little sacrifice which will have to be endured by those who have formed the drinking habit will be compensated for by the fact that our young men will be freed from temptation. I sincerely trust that the proposed new clause will not be carried, and that the regulation framed by the Minister will not be departed from.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [5.22]. - The discussion which has taken place upon this matter has, in many respects, been very wide of the mark. I do not think that anybody was more irrelevant in the arguments which he brought to bear upon it than was the mover of the proposed new clause.
– Is that a reflection on the Chair 1
.- I do not suggest that the honorable senator’s remarks were out of order; but I do not think that his arguments had any cogent bearing on the subject. We are not now discussing whether total abstinence is a good thing for the community generally, but whether it is desirable to allow the use of intoxicants in our training camps at the present time. Upon that subject I wish to speak from a considerable experience of camp life. I have had some twenty-five years’ experience in our Military Forces, and for twenty years I never missed a training camp in my own State. Whilst I am very far from saying that the presence of wet canteens in camps has led to any grave evils, I have been impelled to the conclusion that it is much better for the welfare of our soldiers that intoxicating liquor should be entirely precluded from such camps. In making that statement, I have in view military camps in which the age of the trainees was much higher than it is at the present time. I am speaking of the period prior to the introduction of the cadet system. If the evils which then obtained as the result of the wet canteen system were such as to render it desirable that intoxicants should be excluded from military camps, how much more desirable is it now, when we have such a large number of youths - practically boys - in camp ?
– Do not ignore Senator Story’s amendment.
.- I consider that a very insidious amendment. If an exception is to be made in the case of trainees under twenty-one years of age, we shall be imposing a very invidious task upon the persons in charge of the “wet canteens in asking them to discriminate between those who are eighteen years of age and under twenty-one years of age, and those, who are over that age. Senator Turley has stated that in Queensland publicans are prohibited from supplying liquor to any person under twentyone years of age.
– There is an age fixed in every State.
– That is so; but the age is usually much lower than twenty-one years.
– The age is fourteen in South Australia.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.In most States the age is about sixteen, and publicans can have no excuse for serving liquor to persons under that age. However, when we are dealing with men from eighteen years of age to twenty-one years, it is much more difficult to say whether they are under twenty-one years of age or not. I believe that it would be almost impossible for those in charge of wet canteens to discriminate between trainees under and over twenty-one years of age. I am not one of those who object to a man taking a glass of beer or a nobbier of whisky in moderation. I have myself enjoyed a long beer after a long and dusty march, .and have found that it did me no harm. I am bound, however, to say that many who did the same march and drank nothing stronger than tea or coffee were just as well able to bear its hardships as were those who indulged in something stronger. I remember that on the occasion of one camp in South Australia rain began to fall on Easter Sunday afternoon, and it rained very hard for several hours. The camp was situated in a field that had been cultivated the year before. About 11 or 12 o’clock at night a wind blew up, and before long there was not a tent left standing in the camp. The rain continued until we had about 6 inches of water all over the camp area, and everyone was thoroughly wet through. As one of the officers in charge of the camp, I permitted a ration of grog to be served out early in the morning to those who wished to take it.
– That would still be possible under the dry canteen system.
– That was appreciated by those who were accustomed to stimulants; but I have to say again that those who did not take anything stronger than tea or coffee were as well off in the subsequent march of 8 or 9 miles in our wet clothes into Adelaide as were those who took the grog.
– Would not that be permitted under the dry canteen system to-day ?
– I presume that it would be permitted under medical advice; but I speak of action taken by officers in charge of the camp. I presume that the Minister of Defence would permit the officers in charge of a camp to allow a ration of grog to be served in such circumstances.
– It has frequently been done, and I have approved of it.
– Then, in such a case, even under the dry canteen system, it would be possible to have liquor served out to those who cared for it in circumstances of special hardship during their time iri camp.
– Even to boys of eighteen? That is dreadful.
-Colonel O’LOGHLIN. - I am sure that Senator Turley will not suggest that even the staunchest teetotaller would object to a boy of eighteen being given a glass of port wine or a little brandy if it were prescribed by a doctor. I wish to say a word in reply to the argument that the supply of liquor in a wet canteen would be under strict control, and could, therefore, be regulated, whereas if a dry canteen only were established men would go outside and become intoxicated because there would be no supervision by their officers over their drinking. My experience is that, whether the canteen established is a dry canteen or a wet canteen, it will not prevent certain members of our Forces going outside to get liquor. They do not do so because they are thirsty, but from a spirit of conviviality, comradeship, and love of excitement, which seems to be aroused by the congregation of a large number of men in a camp, and especially at a time like the present, when there is war in the air. This spirit induces a certain class of men to take liquor who in such circumstances will take it whether they could get it inside or must go outside the camp to secure it. We have all received a sheaf of correspondence from temperance organizations and members of Churches on this question. I do not think that any one can take exception to those who feel strongly on the matter bringing their views before honorable senators. I am always prepared to welcome communications from any class in the community who desire to enlighten me upon any question before the Senate. I remind honorable senators that there is a very energetic section of the community who are opposed to our system of training, or “ conscription,” as they prefer to call it. They are using every possible endeavour to secure an alteration of the system, and it is a strong argument with them, in their appeal to the mothers and fathers of our young men who are called upon to go into camp for training, to point to the temptations to which they will be exposed because of the facilities given to obtain intoxicating liquor in camps in which a wet canteen is permitted. It might be a great consolation and comfort to many parents who are not absolute teetotallers, and have no prejudice against the use of liquor in moderation, to know that, under the amendment which Senator Turley has agreed to accept, their sons, if under a certain age, would be prevented from obtaining liquor at a canteen. But it must be a greater consolation if they are assured that, so far as regulations can prevent it, there shall be no intoxicating liquor supplied in these camps at all.
– Only in the tents, when it is smuggled in.
– Does the honorable senator really believe that, if we permit the establishment of wet canteens in camp, we shall prevent the illicit traffic to which he referred during the hours when the canteen is not open as well as we should be able to do if a dry canteen were established ?
– I believe there would not be so much drinking in the tents with the wet canteen.
.- I do not think it would make the slightest difference in that respect whether the canteen was wet or dry. In submitting his proposed new clause, Senator Turley was very strong in protesting against repression and restriction.
– I did not protest against restriction.
.- I do not suppose that the honorable senator believes that the liquor traffic should be freed from control altogether, but that was the effect of his remark. If the honorable senator is right in saying, “ Why should we have this restriction; why should we be slaves and’ under control in this way?” his argument must apply with equal force to any control of the liquor traffic. I believe that all parties in the community are agreed that there are dangers connected with the liquor traffic which justify the strictest supervision and control of that traffic. It does not require that a man shall be a total abstainer or a temperance man to concede so much. In the camps of which I have had experience, the only restriction was that the wet canteen was open only during certain hours. What Senator ‘Turley now proposes is that, if a trainee in a military camp wants a glass of beer, a “ long.sleever,” or a nobbier of whisky, he must drink it in the canteen under the supervision and in the presence of an officer. I think that would be a degrading restriction.
– I would sooner see the privilege withdrawn altogether than have it exercised under such a restriction.
– I should prefer that drink should be permitted during stated hours in a wet canteen than that there should be such degrading conditions imposed upon its consumption - that, if a man wants a pint of beer, he must drink it while his officer is standing over him. That would be a far more galling restriction than any of the ordinary restrictions imposed upon the drink traffic. We are reminded that we have a canteen ru this building, and we indulge in hard or soft tack as we please, and should not, therefore, deny the privilege to others. I do not wish to exaggerate in any way or to induce honorable senators to believe that even with the establishment of a wet canteen there may be extravagant indulgence in drink, or any serious degree of drunkenness in the camps; but I do say that, if my experience, of the refreshment room in Parliament Hou3e were the same as my experience of a wet canteen in camp, I should be prepared to vote to-morrow for the abolition of our refreshment bar. My experience of dry canteens is that they have worked well, and have given rise to very little complaints. The example of Russia has been mentioned in this connexion. We know that Russia has sacrificed no less than £93,000,000 of revenue derived from the drink traffic. I remind honorable senators that Russia prohibited the use of vodka during the excitement of mobilization, and found that this prohibition .was so beneficial in its effects all over the country that it was decided to make it general during the war. Last week we heard from the Minister that in the United Kingdom the supply of drink by a publican to a soldier in uniform had been prohibited. We have heard a lot about 150,000 gallons of overproof rum being sent to the front for the soldiers, but I would like to hear a little more about the matter before I accept the statement. I know that in Australia some thousand gallons of port wine have been tendered, and, I think, accepted, by the Imperial authorities for the troops at the front; but the wine is for use in the hospitals and under medical control, and I have no doubt that it will be very useful in such cases. We have the example of the United States of America, where the supply of liquor throughout the whole of the Navy has been abolished, and I was under the impression that in the British Navy the allowance of grog which used to obtain in former years had been abolished, too. I believe it has not been abolished wholly, but the supply is under very strict control, and those who do not wish to indulge in grog can have a supply of another commodity of equal value. The privilege is very largely used.
– They always could.
– Not always.
– They could when I was a boy, anyhow, and that was a day or two ago.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.Not so long as that. I cannot say how many years the privilege has been in vogue; but I remember the time when, after a considerable agitation amongst temperance organizations throughout the
United Kingdom, the men in the. Navy were allowed to substitute another article for the grog ration. I oppose the amendment as proposed to be amended, and I trust that the dry canteens, which we have Ifad established for some years with the best results, will be continued.
– I intend to support the regulation which is now in force. I am in favour of a dry canteen, because”, so far as I can make out, no one has made an application for a change. None of those who are directly concerned has expressed a desire for a reversion to a wet canteen. I disagree altogether with the view put forward that men will not offer their services as members of an Expeditionary Force if they are to understand that only dry canteens are to exist.
– That statement was never made.
– The men who are prepared to serve the country do not stop for a moment to inquire whether they can get grog in a canteen or not. If no request for a wet canteen comes from the men themselves, why should we seek to force a new hotel upon them, for, practically speaking, it is a proposal to open a new hotel ? There is no demand for the establishment of a wet canteen, and I submit that, in the circumstances, we have no right to force it upon this section of the community. I disagree altogether, too, with the idea that because it is a dry canteen the men will go out when they obtain leave and drink to excess. That has nothing to do with the issue. I think that the argument is more strongly on the other side. I believe that if the men have drink during the day, when they go out at night they will be more likely to get an additional supply than if they are not supplied with grog inside the camp. I disagree, also, with the suggestion that the supply will be regulated in the canteen. I have been inside one or two, and, judging from what I saw, no restriction was placed on the number of drinks which a man could have. I did not see any person there under the influence of drink, but that may have been due to the fact that there were only one or two kinds of drink served. It is, after all, only a shandygaff canteen. So far as I could make out it does not supply brandy, absinthe, or whisky. It supplies only beer, lemonade, wine, and a few odds and ends.
– It is a squash shop.
– Just so. It is not a place where a man can get all kinds of grog. When a canteen is restricted to the supply of two or three drinks of that character it is hardly worth while to make much fuss about it. We ought, however, to consider the position of the young men who do not desire to be brought into close contact with the drink traffic. It must be remembered that the men are, first of all, obliged to be trained, and then of their own free will they become members of an Expeditionary Force. I do not think that we have any right to foist a hotel upon them the whole day long. I do not believe that the restriction on the number of drinks is at all what some honorable senators suppose it to be. I think that the supply is not limited. The idea that a few drinks will put new life into a man may be quite right. It may put new life into a man, but only for a limited period, and the period is so limited that if he is going to depend on his energy to fight our battles when he is full of drink he will not, to my mind, make the best kind of soldier. We ought to remember that the men who are prepared to enlist, and those who have enlisted, are the real heroes of the community. We should recognise that these men are going to do the grimmest work which a man can be called upon to perform, and, in my opinion, they will not do that work nearly so effectively if they are supplied with drink as they will do it if they fight without it. I do not desire to see our men at the front or elsewhere under the influence of drink. The more sober they are the more reliance I would place upon them to fight our battles. It may be quite true Chat some men will smuggle liquor into a camp. That may be unavoidable, but it cannot last ‘very long : it will soon be consumed. We would do a very grave injustice to many young men if we forced a new hotel upon them, and for that reason, if for no other, I shall vote in favour of a dry canteen.
– During the debate on this proposal we have had very admirable expositions of the virtues of temperance, and also of the virtues of moderate indulgence in strong drink. I do not propose to discuss the merits or demerits of drinking to excess, because I do not think that they enter into the consideration of this proposal at all. We had better confine ourselves to the realities, to what Senator Turley’s amendment will mean in every-day practice, and to what the position will be if the Act is left as it is. I do not intend to traverse very much of the ground which has been gone over by honorable senators. I consider that nearly all that can be said from that stand-point has been said, but I want to emphasize a statement made by my friend, Senator O’Loghlin. For a great many years he was an officer in the Military Forces of South Australia; that is, before compulsory training was brought into vogue. For the benefit of honorable senators generally he has related his experiences in camp under dry and wet conditions. I think that one ounce of practical experience of that kind should influence honorable senators very considerably. On one day last week, in South Australia, a send-off was given to some of our soldiers, and a soldier who was going to the front with the men - a splendid man and an excellent soldier - gave his experience. I refer to the officer who is leading the South Australian portion of the Second Expeditionary Force - LieutenantColonel Meil. His experience related at the gathering was precisely the same as that of Senator O’Loghlin, and they both served a very extensive period in the Forces of the State. Lieutenant-Colonel Meil expressed the hope that the Senate would not agree to an alteration of the present conditions, and establish wet canteens. I am not speaking from the stand-point of a teetotaller. I am not a teetotaller by any means. I hope that I can claim to be what my teetotal friends say is impossible, and that is a moderate drinker - a man who takes as much liquor as he thinks will do him no harm.
– We say that the moderate drinker proves the rule very often.
– My honorable friends say that there is no such thing as a moderate drinker. At any rate, I can claim that I am not speaking on this question from the stand-point of a teetotal bigot. I am not speaking from the standpoint of many of those excellent citizens who have bombarded us with correspondence during the last few days. Most of these correspondents are teetotallers, or represent organizations who would eradi- cat© the liquor traffic, root and branch, and, therefore, they are bigots.
– Rather say zealots.
– If that word will please my honorable friend better, I will substitute it for bigots. Still, I do not know that the first word does not suit these persons better than the second. In addition to speaking from the standpoint of a man who is not a teetotaller, I am also speaking from the stand-point of a parent. I am speaking from the standpoint of one who has a son on his way to the front. I am speaking from the stand-point of a parent who has another son in the Cadets, that within the next year or two will be in the Citizen Forces. I am speaking on behalf of men such as myself and of women such as my wife is, and thousands of other parents in this country who have sent their sons to the front. Is there one parent in this chamber that would take his son by the hand and lead him into a hotel or canteen and offer him drink ? There is not one worthy of the name of a man but would give his son the best possible advice, even if himself not a teetotaller, saying, ‘ ‘ You do not require this, young fellow ; it will not do you any good; leave it alone.” Every parent here who thinks in that way will vote against the amendment, which is intended to put in the way of these young men a quite unnecessary temptation. Something has been said of the fact that we think a great deal more of a young man if he has sufficient backbone and courage to refuse a drink when it is offered. It is not a question of backbone or courage, it is merely the necessary consequence of the youth, inexperience, and want of knowledge of the lad. There will be found in the camps, as well as outside of them, men who may be addicted to drink, and somewhat thoughtless. They may ask a young man to have a drink, and he may refuse, and be twitted with his refusal, so that the next time he is asked he will take one. I am anxious that no such temptation shall be placed in the way of our young men. The lads who have enlisted to go to the front have enlisted under the Defence Act as it stands, and that Act provides for a dry canteen. We are told that there is a wet canteen on the troopships, but under the regulations each man is allowed only one pint of beer a day, and has to drink it in the presence of an officer. I am very feud of a pint of beer on a hot day, but would go without it every time before I would drink it in the presence of an officer on board a ship or anywhere else. If wet canteens are to be carried out on the principle that a man has to go to an officer and say, “ I am thirsty and want my pint of beer now,” or has to line up at a given hour every day for it, it is far better to leave the canteens dry. Let the men have what teetotal drinks they fancy, or water, which is recommended by so many of my friends, and of which- I can speak very highly myself. No reasons have been advanced for altering the existing conditions. No applications have been made by the men inside the camp or by persons outside for a wet canteen. The letters that have reached us - and I do not want to place any undue weight on them - embody resolutions carried throughout the Commonwealth against the wet canteen by thousands of persons. People have a right to write to us on the question, and it is our duty to take notice of them when they do write. If I had received a request from one elector to support Senator Turley I should not be able to speak as I am doing, but in the whole sheaf received there is not one request, or even a suggestion, to support the amendment. It is not asked for; but, of course, Senator Turley has as much right to move it as I have to oppose it. I am not finding fault with him for attempting to do what I am satisfied he thinks is the right thing, but I should have liked to hear reasons from some person somewhere why we should assist him in his action. Comparisons have been drawn between tho military canteens and the canteen in our own Parliament, but the conditions are totally different. In every branch of the Public Services of the Commonwealth the men are prevented from obtaining intoxicating liquor during working hours. The railway men on every line in the Commonwealth are prohibited by regulation from drinking while in uniform. The keepers of railway refreshment rooms and canteens are specially instructed by the Railway Commissioners not to supply railway men on duty. The police are debarred from drinking liquor when iu uniform.
– Do they ever do it?
– That is another question, but the restriction is there. I am not going to say that they do not do it ; in fact, I have been told that they do, but I cannot vouch for the correctness of the- story. I was on the Port Augusta railway the other day, and the weather was hot enough to make any reasonableminded teetotaller long for a pint, of beer, but there was no beer on the job. There were 1,500 or 1,600 men working there, and no canteen, while the water supplied was anything but appetizing. No plea is put in for those men, although if any section of the community deserves consideration in the way of liquor the men on that railway do, yet we are not making any provision for them to get it. We are asked to do it for another section of the community, who are not so much in need of it, in a way which will be of very little benefit to them. If they are to be allowed only a pint each per day it will make very little difference to them whether they get it or not. There is no comparison between the canteen here and the canteen at the camp. Every honorable senator is fairly well seasoned, and not likely to be led astray. We all have a pretty good idea whether liquor is good or bad for us and how much we ought to take. There is no question of putting temptation in our way, so that those who would draw comparisons in that direction have not found a very good illustration.
– One applies to us, and the other to the other fellow.
– I have noticed during the debate that the honorable senator is: most apt in twisting interjections in directions in which they were never intended. I do not think that kind of thing will help to secure the passage of the proposed new clause. There is no kudos to be obtained by twisting an honorable senator’s statement or interjection in a direction in which it was never intended to be used. I say there is no analogy between this Parliament and the camp, not because I am here and the soldiers are there, but because there are two entirely different classes of people in the two places. Our system of military defence is compulsory. If we were training the men on the volunteer system., and there was no wet canteen in the camp, it would be quite competent for the man who wants a drink to refuse on that ground to volunteer; but we do not give our young Australians that opportunity, and we rejoice in the fact.
– Those who are going into the camps now are volunteers.
– But if we alter the Act it will apply not only to them but to the whole Defence Force. We are not legislating to-day for the benefit only of a few men who are going with the Expeditionary Forces. We are passing a permanent measure. Under our compulsory system a man who wants a wet canteen cannot remain out, and the man who wants a dry canteen must come in. The very fact that we have adopted compulsory training, necessitates special regulations and special control. If there is evil in the use of liquor we must endeavour to minimize it, and be would be a bold man indeed who would argue that there is no evil associated with the drink traffic. Reference was made to-day to Deeming, and Senator Turley attempted to draw the inference from what was said that if Deeming had been a drunkard he would not’ have been a murderer.
– Senator Shannon said that if he had been a total abstainer he would not have been Deeming.
– And Senator Turley, with his usual smartness, twisted that remark into an argument in favour of drink. For one murder committed by a Deeming, there have been a thousand committed wittingly or unwittingly by people suffering from the effects of liquor. We therefore cannot use an argument of that kind in reference to this question. We are dealing with special circumstances, and whatever our previous experience or knowledge may have taught us we must settle this matter from the stand-point of common sense and present-day conditions. We have been told that if the canteen was wet we should not have so much drunkenness on the streets. I do not want to libel our soldiers, but every one will agree that it is a most sorry spectacle to see men wearing the King’s uniform, preparing to go to the front, and perhaps to lay down their lives there, staggering through the city streets under the influence of liquor. I regret it exceedingly, and wish that we could take some steps to prevent it, not from the stand-point of penalizing the men any more than from that of avoiding the shock which we experience when we witness them in that condition. It has been said that if the wet canteen is restored to our military camps this sort of conduct will cease. How do we know that? If what our opponents say is true, will not these men, when they have had sufficient drink In the city, say to their companions, “ Come along, boys. Do not let us have any more drink here. Let us go to the camp and top up there.”
– Under the eyes of their officers?
– If the arguments used by our opponents be worth anything, that is the way in which the position would work out. As a lad in the’ Old Country, I have a vivid recollection of a military camp which was held annually at a spot adjacent to my own home. Men were drawn there from all parts of England and Scotland. It was a wet camp, and a very wet one, too. It was so wet that, during the time it was in existence, the whole neighbourhood was terrified by reason of the drunkenness that obtained amongst the soldiers. These men did not belong to the regular Army. They were there to be drilled for a certain number of weeks each year; and I have a very lively recollection of our experiences whilst they were in camp. The Minister, I think, will admit that I have taken a very considerable interest in the welfare of our soldiers. The difference between the military camps which are held in Australia and those associated with my earliest recollections in the Old Land is an extraordinary one, and is certainly to the credit of the former. All our military authorities, from Lord Kitchener downwards, are opposed to the establishment of wet canteens. Lord Kitchener himself, who, so far as our Empire is concerned, has control of the great war in which we are now engaged, is a strong opponent of the wet-canteen system. So, too, was the late Lord Roberts, whose military experience extended to every corner of the Empire. Almost every officer in charge of men today will admit that it would be better if the latter were not indiscriminately supplied with liquor. I agree with my teetotal friends who declare that alcohol is a stimulant. But we have to remember that there is a limit beyond which it is inoperative, and beyond which it becomes reactionary. Whilst for a certain time a man is buoyed up by alcohol, when its effect has worn off his condition becomes worse than it was previously. Consequently, we will be wise if we adhere to the system of dry canteens - a system which we know has worked no harm to our troops, and which will work no harm to them in the future. One word in regard to Senator Story’s amendment. His proposal is a clear admission that we are on the wrong track when we allow intoxicants in our military camps. Senator Turley’s amendment is a dangerous, almost a wicked, one. He intends to submit something which will rob it of its sting. If intoxicants in our military camps are a good thing for our older men, why should our young soldiers be debarred from using them ? If liquor be a good thing for the fathers, it should be a better thing for their boys; and, instead of withholding supplies, we should say to the latter, “ Oh, no, for every pint the old man has the young fellow must have two.” Yet Senator Story’s amendment would stop young men from drinking.
– A vote is a good thing, but we do not allow an individual , to exercise it until he reaches the age of twenty-one years.
- Senator Storytold me a little while ago that, under his proposal, we would not be providing for the establishment of a canteen on the east-west railway line. Neither should we by reducing the age at which a young man can obtain a vote.
– That is not an answer to my question.
– I think it is.
– The honorable senator’s argument is that, if drink is a good thing, we ought to give it to our young men. My reply is that a vote is a good thing, but we do not give it to boys.
– When I reply to the honorable senator’s question in a way that he does not like, he loses his hair. There is not a mother in Australia to-day whose son is going to the front who would vote in favour of the amendments which have been submitted. These mothers are not in. this Parliament. We are here to represent them, and, in speaking as I do, I am representing them more truly than is Senator Turley.
– Does the honorable senator think there is a father who would support the amendments?
– I do not. I believe that there are fathers in our military camps who are not teetotallers, but who would, nevertheless, vote against the establishment of wet canteens there. I hope that honorable senators will not do something which they have not been asked to do. I trust that they will leave things as they are. When the matter is pressed to a division I hope it will be found that the Senate is iii favour of having only dry canteens in our camps.
– The debate which has taken place upon this question, including the few sermons and lecturettes that have been delivered, has not been altogether a dry one. But I am somewhat at a loss to understand the grounds upon which those who oppose the establishment of wet canteens base their objections. Do those objections spring from a desire to preserve unsullied the innocence and sobriety of the youthful members of our Expeditionary Forces or from a wish to advance the temperance movement as a whole ? If the former, all the speakers who have entertained that view have been anything but flattering to members of our Expeditionary Forces. Are we to understand from :the sentiments which have been uttered that practically all of the members of those Forces are young fellows who have just left the apron strings of their mothers? . Is it to go forth to the world that they are the class who constitute the greater portion of our Expeditionary Forces. I beg to take an opposite view. I have met many of these men from Queensland, and I have found that they are seasoned’ bushmen. Many of them are as old as I am, and some of them are older. They_ are men who have seen all phases of life in the north and west of Queensland. Is it to go forth uncontradicted that in the ranks of our Expeditionary Forces there are none but juveniles? On the other hand, if the opposition to the wet canteen springs from a desire to advance the temperance movement as a whole, then I differ from the view which has been expressed by certain honorable senators. I have always held that, in the interests of temperance reform, the desired change should not be brought about by any repressive legislation or restrictive administration. Australians, as a whole, cannot be charged with insobriety. That has been conclusively proved by Senator Turley. As a nation we are one of the most sober people in the world. But if it were a fact that we are not given to sobriety, my opinion of Australian feeling is that Australians are never going to be “ sand bagged “ into sobriety. We can never make them sober by legislative enactment or by repression in any form.
– We can remove the temptation to insobriety out of their way.
– I contend that 95 per cent, or 99 per cent, of the men of our Expeditionary Forces have seen various phases of Australian life as we know it. They have had these temptations before them for years past. I do not wish to say that 99 per cent, of them are men of from twenty-five to twenty-six years of age, but I do say that the young Australian of eighteen or nineteen years of age is no simpleton. His fond or indulgent parent may imagine that he does not know the ways of the world, but, in my opinion, young men of eighteen or nineteen years of age to-day are well advanced in wisdom, and in experience of the pitfalls and ills of life. I have no fear that young Australians of that age can be trapped and enticed into the ills foreshadowed by the opponents of the wet canteen.
– The proposed new clause, as amended, will apply only to those over twenty-one years of age.
– I cannot say that I am very enthusiastic about Senator Story’s amendment. I know that, when in the Queensland Parliament a restrictive measure was introduced in an endeavour to make people sober by legislation, I opposed the provision forbidding publicans to supply liquor to persons under twenty-one years of age. Events have proved that the position taken up by those who opposed that provision was justified, because, in various parts of the State, persons under twenty-one years of age are being served with liquor, the reason being that it is almost impossible for a policeman to discriminate between persons just under that age and over it.
– The hotelkeeper is penalized in every case.
-The onus of proof that the person served is not under twentyone years of age is upon the hotelkeeper all the time. We contend that, with the closer regulation and more intimate control of the wet canteens in military camps, such a provision should be far more effective than if applied generally. If it be held that opposition to wet canteens is in the interests of the temperance movement, I suggest to our friends inside and outside this Chamber who feel keenly on this question that they very often start at the wrong end. The way to bring about temperance reform is to better the condition of the workers. That is the Labour party’s idea. They believe that, by bettering the condition of the workers, people will be given a worthy ambition, and will find something better to do than waste their substance in drinking.
– The platform of the Labour party is control of the liquor traffic throughout.
– Quite so. It is our policy to have State control of the traffic. We have here an opportunity to approach that policy by providing for control of the traffic by the Defence Department. If that Department cannot control a wet canteen, what becomes of the boasted discipline in connexion with military operations, of which we hear so much 1
Sitting suspended from 6.80 to S p.m.
– I was referring, before we adjourned for .dinner, to what I regard as a genuine system of temperance reform, which takes the shape of a movement to better the conditions generally of the people. I believe that the Minister of Defence, in proposing the abolition of the wet canteen, is under the impression that his action is consistent with that genuine system of social reform. Australians as a people are becoming every day more sober as time goes on. The first generation of Australians drank less than did their forefathers, and the people of the second generation less than those of the first. This is particularly noticeable in Queensland, and especially in the northern districts of that State. There could be no better illustration of the effect in the direction of temperance reform of the improved general conditions and standard of living of the community than is to be found in the sugar districts of Queensland. I am sure that my colleagues from Queensland will be prepared to bear me out in this, irrespective of the views they may take on the question now before the Committee. In the past, when the workers in the sugar mills and cane-fields of Queensland were called upon to work for eleven or twelve hours a day, and for a wage as low as 4½d. an hour, or 25s. a week, they could not be excused if they were without ambition. A change in their conditions was brought about by a Federal Labour
Government, when Mr. Tudor, as Minister of Trade and Customs, issued a regulation providing for the payment of a wage of ls. an hour. I contend, and I think with every justification, that that action brought about a more genuine temperance reform in the sugar districts of Queensland than had previously been achieved there by the work of the combined temperance organizations. If a man is asked to work seventy hours a week for 25s., how can he be blamed for seeking relaxation on the Sunday at a hotel bar ? I say that he is more to be pitied than blamed. I wish to remind those who are associated with the temperance cause that on election day some are to be found, in effect, going arminarm to the ballot-box with the brewers, the wine and spirit merchants, and the publicans to vote against -the Labour party - the party of true social reform. In common with other members- of the Senate, I have been the recipient of a number of circulars and letters from many of these temperance organizations.
– Thanks to me.
– Yes, thanks to Senator Turley. From one temperance body in Queensland I received two wires in the same terms, so that they made sure they would reach me. I admit that they are at liberty to circularize honorable senators in this way; but we have equal liberty to refuse to act in accordance with their directions. It will be a sorry day for the Labour party when it is dictated to by any outside section or faction in the community. If ever that time arrives, we can say farewell to the Labour party as the party of social reform in this country. I have treated the communications just received in connexion with this question as I treat similar communications from every section of the community. I do not answer them, and do not give any pledge to any section on any matter of public importance outside the Labour platform, but invite them all to come along and put their views forward in a public manner. I say to the members of the Queensland societies such as the Women’s Christian Temperance “Union, the Independent Order of Good Templars, and the Temperance Alliance, that, as organizations, they are to be found at election time voting, not for the party of social reform, the Labour party, but for the party of vested interests in the brewing and spirit line. I do not doubt that there are many sincere and earnest temperance advocates in all these associations, and I say to them that, if they will direct their energies to bringing about social reform in the general uplifting of the community, they will achieve very much more in the direction of temperance reform. There are also amongst these temperance organizations a number pf double-dyed hypocrites. That is a strong term to use, but it is the only one that fits the situation, speaking of some of them as we know them in Queensland. The Queensland Government tried repressive legislation of the kind sought to be introduced by the abolition of the wet canteen. The name of the anti-Labour Government in Queensland at the present time is synonymous with low wages. The head and sub-head of that Government are two of ‘the loudest and most blatant, self-styled social reformers and temperance advocates in that State. Mr. Barnes, the Treasurer of Queensland, who is supposed to be the power behind the throne in the Government of that State, never loses an opportunity to advocate in public the cause of temperance and social reform ; but, when the sugarworkers were working for twelve hours a day at 4id. an hour, we found Mr. Barnes ranged alongside the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, and placing the whole of the machinery of the State Government at the disposal of that corporation in the endeavour to defeat the efforts of the men to obtain an eight-hours day and a wage of 5s. a day. If men of that calibre were offered the choice of total prohibition of the liquor traffic in Queensland as against a system under which men would be called upon to compete one against the other for their labour, or to work at sweating wages for vested interests, they would go for the low-wage system every rime. Therefore, there is no sincerity in the social reform advocated by men of that character. It is all very well for these people to blatantly assert the virtues of temperance and social reform, but the past history of Queensland shows that they have been prepared to enslave men, to work them eleven and twelve hours a day, and on the Sunday to give them a sheaf of biblical quotations and temperance tracts for recreation. That is only so much arrant hypocrisy. Such people are the enemies of real social reform and the uplifting of the people generally. I feel keenly on this question, having been in a position to contrast existing conditions in the sugar districts of Queensland with those which prevailed prior to the improvement of those conditions. As soon as wages in the sugar mills and cane-fields were raised to 9s., 9s. 4d., and even 10s. per day, we found that the young men engaged in the work came into the towns on Saturday nights with their lady friends and took them to dances, theatres, and other social entertainments. They were no longer found hanging over the hotel bars, as they did when they were only paid 4£d. an hour for their work.
– Order ! I remind the honorable senator that, while the matter to which he is referring is of very great interest, it is scarcely relevant to the question before the Committee.
– I bow to your ruling, sir, but it is rather amusing to hear Senator Shannon say, “ Hear, hear,” seeing that, in his speech, he traversed the ‘ history of the war from A to Z.My idea of temperance and social reform, which I have no doubt prompted the Minister to abolish the wet canteen, is to endeavour, to the best of our ability and power, to uplift the people industrially, and to give them something better to do than to hang over hotel bars, and not to drive them to such places by virtue of wage slavery operating under sweating conditions which would continue if our opponents had their way. Referring to the action taken by the Minister, there is one feature which has not been mentioned yet, and it is that the abolition of the wet canteen, to a degree at any rate, will irritate some persons. N/ow, some persons take and enjoy a glass of spirits, while other persons, including myself, take and enjoy a glass of beer. Such persons will be subjected to some irritation in not having the means at their disposal when they enter upon arduous work’ to satisfy their desire.
– But no spirits are sold in the canteen.
– I think there should be.
– But there is not.
– It is a matter of administration, and does not affect the principle of my argument. So far as I am concerned, if any persons prefer tea they are welcome to it. My honorable friend, Senator Watson, sang the virtues of ammonia; as a stimulant he can use it. Those who prefer smelling salts can use them; but, by all means, a man who has been in the habit of taking a glass of beer should have the facility of getting what he desires. In all seriousness, I advise the Minister not to introduce too many irritating phases into the defence scheme. Before the war occurred, we were in a position to gauge public opinion regarding the defence system. Judging from my experience in Queensland, which, no doubt, is typical of Australia, the Australian people as a whole, were only tolerating the defence system. I believe that after the conclusion of the war that feeling of toleration will return. The outbreak of the war, and of course the present serious situation, have impressed upon the people the stern necessity of having a system of defence, but the Australian people as a whole are not going to submit to too much flummery and frippery in connexion with professional militarism. They will not stand, for instance, too many Admiral Pateys receiving a table allowance of £4 10s. a day. If irritations of that kind are imposed upon the people, and little comforts such as a wet canteen for some persons are withheld, it will only make the position irksome, and our defence scheme will not be so popular as it has been. I am a firm believer in a compulsory system, not so much from the martial aspect as from the physical aspect. It is good, undoubtedly, for young men to go through a course of physical training. It is the finest thing to which growing youths can be subjected. But I do not think that the Australian people, as a whole, will ever come to embrace a cast-iron system of militarism. We, as Labour advocates, hope to see the day when, in advancing temperance and social reform, we shall also advance the idea of international peace. We hope to see the day when the workers of the world will have sufficient sense that, when a war is declared, they will throw down their tools and take a holiday, and tell those who bring about the war to go and do the fighting. I submit that then there will be little warfare. But until that time comes a system of naval and military defence is necessary, and in order to retain the popularity of the system about which the people were not over enthusiastic prior to the war, I think that the Minister and the Department as a whole would be well advised not to introduce too many irritating conditions. Let me consider the other aspect of the question. It might be said that persons are buoyed up to a state of greater efficiency by total abstention from liquor. That argument has been urged here time and again during this debate. I do not admit for a moment that the argument is correct, because I think that indulgence in a stimulant, whether it be beer or spirits, is no bar to efficiency. But assuming the contention to be true, how will it appeal to a lot of persons outside? They will ask, “ Is it the intention of the National Parliament to make perfect an instrument of butchery, to build up a man as a gamecock might be fed up prior to battle, so that he can slay as many people as possible ?” It will be seen that there are two sides from which to view the arguments which have been advanced. Only this afternoon it was pointed out here that, owing to the abstemious life of the late, but unlamented, Mr. Deeming, he had sufficient nerve to commit a large number of atrocities, and that, if he had not been a total abstainer, he would not have had the nerve to do what he did. Would it be fair for me to ask, Is it the desire of the people of Australia that we should build up Deemings? That is the logical sequence of the argument which was advanced by my honorable friend in all seriousness.
– Where does your logical conclusion come to?
– The honorable senator advanced that argument.
– No, not in that way at all. You are turning it round to suit your own ends, and you know it.
– The honorable senator deliberately said that had not tha late, but unlamented, Mr. Deeming been a teetotaller he would not have had the nerve to do what he did.
– He might not have had it.
– I hope that in Australia we shall never see the day when our objective will be to rear up a nation of Deemings. In support of the amendment of Senator Turley, I submit that it is quite unreasonable that men in au Expeditionary Force, or men in the Militia Forces, or men between eighteen and twenty-one years of age in the Citizen Forces should he deprived of the opportunity to get anything which they think they need, or from which they think that they might derive a slight comfort or pleasure. The comforts and the pleasures of the working people of Australia, in common with the workers all over the world, are not many. If it be a pleasure to some persons to have at their hands the facility for obtaining liquor, it is not the duty of the Defence Department to prohibit them from having it.
– Would you give them free license?
– No ; I would not be so narrow-minded as to say that an able-bodied soldier, who is considered sufficiently strong physically to go to the front to fight the battles of the British nation, should bo restricted to one glass or one pint of beer a day. .1 would say, give him more if he wants it, but I would throw upon the Department the onus of not giving a man too much.
– You would have some restriction ?
– Only the restriction of common sense under the control of the Department in carrying on the canteen. We have been referred again to the youth of Australia. I ask the parents who have been appealed to by honorable senators this afternoon to remember that their boys of eighteen and nineteen years of age may not be quite so innocent as they think.
– Is that a reason why we should put further temptation in their way ?
– I do not admit that it is a temptation. It is the duty of fathers and mothers to enlighten their sons as to the conditions prevailing in the world.
– How are they going to do it?
– This afternoon I said that, in my opinion, 95 per cent, of our Australian youths over the age of nineteen years are quite conversant with the conditions of Australian life. If ever I am blessed by God with a son I will take him into my full confidence long before he reaches that age. I think it would be a good thing for the Australian nation if every father had a heart to heart talk with his son long before he became eighteen years old - not only from the temperance stand-point, but from other points of view - in the interests of the young men themselves.
– Surely you would not initiate him into the use of drink?
– That raises another question. Let us recall the days when we were between twelve and fourteen years of age. I remember very well that when I was twelve years old my elder brother did not swear in my presence; but let me assure Senator Shannon that whenever I was dealing with a refractory cow or a jibbing horse, I could let go a flow of good Australian just as well as my elder brother.
– That did not help the cow or the horse.
– I did not say that it did. I am only exposing the fallacy of the honorable senator’s argument about the evil example.
– Did your elder brother ever express admiration at your flow of language ?
– No; I took fine care that he did not hear me, just as the youth of Australia to-day take good care that their fathers do not hear their language. Returning to the interjection of Senator Watson, let me relate an experience which I have had repeatedly. In our knocking about days I have gone into a hotel with a young man and heard him call for a’ glass of beer, sometimes for a pint of beer; I have gone into a hotel with the young man and his father, but in the presence of his father he would have a glass of lemonade. That is hypocrisy, and I do not think it should be encouraged. It would have been far better for the father of that young man to have allowed him to have beer in his presence.
– I agree with the honorable senator for once.
– I do not believe in hypocrisy, let me tell you.
– There is a lot of hypocrisy in a great majority of those who are attached to the associations which have been circularizing honorable senators ‘ on this question.
– In Queensland, anyhow. I sincerely trust that the Senate will view seriously this question of abolishing the wet canteen. I am quite prepared to take any responsibility attaching to my vote “for Senator Turley’s amendment. I think that Senator Lynch was rather unfair in expressing the opinion that Senator Turley by his action was liable to get a certain vote. I know Queensland, perhaps, as well as Senator Lynch does, and know that Senator Turley by the action he has taken stands to lose more votes than he will gain. He has moved the amendment because he thought it was right to do so. I am supporting him for the same reason. Senator Lynch was entirely wide of the mark, and of the aspirations of the people of this country, when he said the first duty of a soldier was to obey. It may seem a strange doctrine to disagree with that dictum.; but I trust that the day will never come when the first duty of an Australian soldier will be to obey. Let him obey what is just and right, but not submit to everything that comes from some military-adorned person who may want to show his authority, however briefly it may be vested in him. I assure Senator Lynch that that doctrine will not go down with the people of the Commonwealth, and the sooner the Defence Department realize it, and shape their administration in accordance with the feelings of the people on that question, the better. I shall support the proposed new clause because I am against restrictive legislation and repressive administration. It is not in the interests of the Department, the people, or the soldiers themselves. We may be asked where we find the publicans at election time. We find them against the Labour party, but we may expect that.
– The honorable senator is inferring too much. There are some against the Labour party, and others who are whole-souled supporters of it.
– They put their money into your funds to defeat the referenda.
– I know nothing of that. I do not know of a sixpence that any hotelkeeper handed in to defeat the referenda.
– In Queensland, I fought, from conviction, tooth and nail against a drastic piece of liquor legislation. When I went back to my electorate, fully twenty-one out of twenty-three publicans there gave not only their votes but their time and money to defeat me, and they did, and good luck to them. I take no exception to that, but I was not considering the publicans when opposing that law; I was considering the public, and am considering the public, and not the publican, now. If the publicans had a vote in connexion with the proposed abolition of the wet canteen, it is certain that those who run one hotel in Russell-street would vote for the retention of the dry system. On any night you will find military men, young and old, issuing from that hotel. I have been informed that they take with them what is called a “ pocket pistol “ - a small flask of spirits. In some of the hotels in the larger cities, this cheap brand of spirits is often nothing but pure white spirit. That is the sort of stuff that the men take into the camp.
—Would a wet canteen prevent them getting it?
– I do not say so; but if the wet canteen were established at the camp, many men would not bother to go into town at night. They would have a drink or two and be quite ready to turn in . If they cannot get a drink in the camp, two or three get together and make up their minds to go to town to get it. When time hangs heavily on the hands of two or three men it is an inducement to them to have an excursion somewhere, very often, as in this case, into town or to a hotel.
– More especially if the appetite has been already whetted.
– When mining, I used t.o go down town at night, after tea, for a glass of beer. If I had it on my way home, I should not have bothered to go out afterwards.
– It is human nature to want two or three if you have had one.
– My experience of human nature is that it is entirely opposed to restrictive and repressive legislation, and I trust the Senate will record its objection to anything of the kind.
.- During the past few days I have been inundated with communications from different temperance bodies, and, like other senators, shall experience considerable difficulty in answering them individually. I propose, therefore, to give them a collective answer through the pages of our official record. I am sure that those who favour the amendment and those who oppose it are both anxious to achieve the same object - to do away with the immoderate use of alcohol in military camps. Those who support Senator Turley have adopted the most common-sense attitude. To permit the soldiers to have liquor under proper supervision which will insure that it is of the best quality is the proper system for us to adopt.
– How are you going to confine the soldiers to the liquor they get at the canteens?
– Like Senator Ferricks, I say without hesitation that I should throw on the officials at the camp the entire responsibility of seeing that those who are served with liquor conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the traditions, nob only of the Australian, but of the British, Army. We are all animated with a desire to bring about a set of conditions that will make the immoderate use of liquor in the military camps impossible. No one has given more attention to the subject than the Minister, but, in my opinion, he is not going the right way about it. If he and those who support him want to drive these young men into the hotels in the outer suburbs, or the big hotels in the cities, and in a sense compel them to take more than they want, and certainly much more than is good for them, all they have to do is to deprive them of the opportunity of getting beer at the camp under proper regulation and supervision. The sinner - if I may regard the man who takes a glass of beer as a sinner - has a mighty hard row to hoe. Quite recently there was an agitation all over Australia against the execessive use of cigarettes.
– A good thing, too.
– I quite agree. The smoking of cigarettes is much more calculated to destroy the mental and physical efficiency of our troops than the drinking of beer. Yet in to-day’s paper a mighty appeal is made to the people to contribute generously cigarettes for our soldiers who are going to the front. That appeal is signed by the secretary and treasurer of an organization, the latter being an M.B. If I had to choose between prohibiting the use of cigarettes and the use of beer, I should not hesitate which course to follow. Honorable senators who argue that beer destroys the efficiency of men have given no attention to the history of the subject.
– I can give you the opinion of a dozen of the finest surgeons in the world.
– I have had opinions on the question from leading medical men in Australia who drink more beer or whisky than I do. A number of honorable senators have referred to-day to the gallant stand the Belgians have made, and the splendid fight the French are putting up, and others have in no measured terms paid a tribute to the part the British troops have played. I assert that the great majority of these men - 90 per cent, of them - enjoy their beer to-day, and have done so for years past.
– That is doubtful.
– It is not. We know as an absolute fact that the men on the Continent consume twice as much beer-
– Some of them.
– We must take the aggregate. The history of warlike, expeditions shows that the physical efficiency of men does not deteriorate in consequence of their taking a glass of beer.
– If your argument is worth anything it means that the more a man drinks the better he fights.
– Not necessarily, but a number of honorable senators during this debate have confused spirits and beer. I am not arguing in favour of spirits, which, I believe, have a very bad effect. I am speaking simply of beer and its effects upon different people. We know that beer is the national beverage of people on the Continent, and those honorable senators who, like myself, have been privileged to visit Europe will bear out my statement that a drunken man there is a sight which rarely meets the eye.
– I saw plenty of drunks in Berlin in 1911.
– I did not, and I am quite as observant as are most honorable senators. Let me come now to the question of the desirableness or otherwise of establishing a wet canteen at Broadmeadows. It is all very well for my honorable friends who differ from me to argue that the members of our Expeditionary Forces, who are daily required to undergo a forced march of about 10 miles as part of their military training, should be obliged to return to the camp and satisfy their thirst with the water which is provided there.
– Is the water deficient in quality?
– It is as good as the water that is obtainable in any other part of Melbourne.
– The water in Melbourne is good. The honorable senator is not now in Tasmania.
– I am quite aware of that. I have visited the encampment at Broadmeadows, and have personally .conducted inquiries there, and I am satisfied that if honorable senators could be supplied with the figures showing the number of men who have been rendered temporarily inefficient by the use of the water supplied there, they would be staggered. Now we are face to face with the question of whether a dry canteen shall be established in that camp and on board our transports. In connexion with the latter, I would remind honorable senators that the moment these ships ‘leave our shores they come under Imperial control, and are subject to Imperial regulations. As a result, every one of these troopships is provided with a wet canteen.
– The moment they are 3 miles from the Commonwealth.
– The moment they get outside the territorial limit the men on the troopships have their alcoholic requirements catered for.
– Most unfortunate.
– At the present moment, although liquor is forbidden in camp at Broadmeadows, one would not experience much difficulty in finding it in most of the tents there.
– Is not that a reflection on somebody?
– It is not. If I were in the camp, and if I had been deprived of my social rights by the Defence Department after I had accepted service, I should take care to please myself.
– Did not the men accept service under the Defence Act as it stands?
– No. The wet canteen was in existence when they enlisted. It is only since their enlistment that it has been abolished. We ought not to make fish of one and flesh of another. If we are going to insist upon the prohibition of liquor in military camps it should apply to every individual, from the highest official downwards.
– It does so apply.
– I know it is intended that the regulation shall apply equally all round; but does it?
– Of course it does.
– I have no desire to say anything which would place me under the imputation of being an informer; but I do say that there is little difficulty in obtaining what one may require in the shape of spirituous liquors, either in the camp at Broadmeadows or in any other concentration camp in Australia. I do not wish to delay the taking of a vote upon this important question, and I should not have addressed myself to it had I not been desirous of giving a definite answer to those persons who have communicated with me in regard to it. I want them to know exactly what is my attitude towards it. I do not wish to dodge the issue. It is the duty of every honorable senator to declare himself either one way or the other, and I have no hesitation in declaring myself in favour of the wet canteen, for the reason that, under proper military supervision, it minimizes an undoubted evil.
– What about the dry canteen under proper military supervision to-day?
– I do not see the application of the honorable senator’s interjection.
– The honorable senator said a little while ago that under military supervision there is no dry canteen in operation to-day.
– Does not Senator Shannon see that if a wet canteen were established there would be no need for members of our Military Forces to surreptitiously introduce liquor into camp?
– Is the honorable senator going farther than Senator Turley? Is he going to give the men an unlimited supply?
– I am not.
– The honorable senator will do neither one thing nor the other.
– I thought I had made my position clear. Senator Turley wishes to see the wet canteen established under proper supervision, with a view to minimizing, as far as possible, the immoderate use of liquor.
– Yet the honorable senator says that the authorities cannot control the dry canteen.
– It is impossible to do so.
– Then how can they control the wet canteen ?
– I have told the honorable senator thirteen times already, but for his own special edification I will tell him once more.
– How can the authorities control the wet canteen if they cannot control the dry ?
– On the same principle that it is much easier to control and regulate the properlylicensed trade than it is to suppress sly-grog selling. When men know that their requirements in this connexion can be supplied by a permissible application to the canteen in camp, there will be no occasion for them to visit the little “ pub.” at the end of the road, and to take with them into camp a bottle the contents of which would kill the Kaiser if he could only be prevailed upon to swallow a dose or two. In such circumstances the soldiers would not drink themselves into unconsciousness, because by so doing they would incur the disapproval of their officers-
– A restricted supply would not gratify men of that type.
– If the authorities cannot control the dry canteen, how can they control the wet ?
– Every man who likes a glass of beer must not be regarded as a beast.
– I have not made the slightest insinuation of that kind.
– The honorable senator has done nothing else all the afternoon.
– The honorable senator himself has spoken of men who can take a bucketful. How will a glass satisfy them ?
– I do not know anything about men who can take a bucketful. I have made no reference to them. I merely wish that men in camp who like a glass of beer shall be able to exercise their absolute freedom in that connexion.
– The honorable senator is not prepared to do that.
– I recognise that it is useless to talk to the honorable senator, because either he cannot, or will not, understand reasonable argument. I intend to support Senator Turley’s amendment.
.- I regard the question involved in the new clause proposed by Senator Turley as of such importance that I wish to make my position upon it clear, and shall not give a silent vote. Most honorable senators are aware of the attitude I adopt in connexion with the liquor question generally, but this is not a question of whether we should be total abstainers or not. The question we have now to consider is whether our young men going into training camps shall have temptation placed in their way which may be injurious to them. Senator Pearce put the matter very nicely last week when he told us that if athletes desire to be efficient they are obliged to abstain from alcohol.
– The Minister was not quite correct, because many trainers give athletes alcohol.
– Those who do are the exceptions which prove the rule. The Minister of Defence reminded us that war is the grimmest game in human experience, and for that reason wo should put beyond the reach of these young men anything which would impair their efficiency to meet the trained troops of our enemy. I could quote from a hundred authorities in support of the view I take of this question, but I shall not unduly occupy the time of the Committee. I may be permitted to remind honorable senators of the views which have been expressed by five of the foremost surgeons of the British Empire. I refer to Sir Thomas Barlow, the King’s physician; Sir Frederick Treves, surgeon to King Edward and also to the present King; Sir Victor Horsley, Surgeon-General G. H. J. Evatt, and Lt.-Colonel Dr. G. Sims-Woodhead. These authorities say -
It has been proved by the most careful scientific experiments, and completely confirmed by actual experience in athletics and war, as attested by Field Marshal Lord Roberts, Field Marshal Lord Wolseley, and many other army leaders, that alcohol or drink -
Slows the power to see signals.
Confuses prompt judgment.
Spoils accurate shooting.
Lessens resistance to diseases and exposure.
Increases shock from wounds.
Wo therefore most strongly urge you for your own health and efficiency that at least as long as the war lasts you should become total abstainers.
Sir Frederick Treves made, also, the following statement: -
I was, as you know, with the relief column that moved on Ladysmith, and of course it was an extremely trying time, by reason of the hot weather. In that enormous column of 30,000 mcn the first who dropped out were not the tall mcn or the short men, or the big men or the little men - they were the drinkers, and they dropped out as clearly as if they had been labelled with a big letter on their backs.
Numerous similar quotations might be made.
– The Turks should be victorious in every instance, because they are total abstainers.
– The honorable senator may join himself with the Turks, but we are not proposing to do so.
– They are abstainers as a matter of religion.
– I am giving honorable senators the opinions of those who have had experience, and know what they are talking about. Senator Turley has been content to give us his own experience. I could quote from fifty more authorities, including Lord Wolseley, Lord Kitchener, General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, and most of the generals of the British Army, to show that it is considered unwise to have men in the field who are addicted to drink. The German Kaiser some time ago, when speaking to the students of the Naval College in Germany, stated that his Army and Navy would possess a great advantage over the British, because a greater number of them were abstainers. He said, in effect, that the next great naval battle would be determined in favour of the Navy whose members took least alcohol. Senator Newland put his finger on the difficulty this afternoon when he said that the mothers and fathers of the young men who have joined our Expeditionary Forces are afraid to have them subjected to the temptations of drink. If that be so, it is not right that we should put this temptation in their way. All the greatest soldiers and the greatest athletes are against indulgence in alcohol. Our men will bo engaged in a life and death struggle, and they should be prepared in the most efficient way to resist our enemies. Only last week one member of the Senate after another supported an amendment of the Defence Act calculated to allay the fears of the parents of our citizen soldiers lest they should be called upon to take up arms in settlement of an industrial dispute. Such a contingency might not arise once in twenty-five years, but under the wet-canteen system the young men of our Forces would be subjected every day to the temptation to use intoxicating liquors. To-day some honorable senators who supported Senator Stewart’s proposal to allay the fears of parents lest their sons should be called upon to take up arms in connexion with industrial disputes are not so anxious to allay fears that are fifty times more intense in connexion with the temptation to drink. I notice that a former InspectorGeneral of the Commonwealth ForcesMajorGeneral Kirkpatrick - made the statement -
My observation this year loads me to believe that, on the whole, the absence of liquor was an advantage, and that, as the men accustomed to alcoholic beverages at the canteens complete their service, its absence will not lie noticed during the short training period of the militia.
Admiral King-Hall gives the result of experiments in which naval men were called upon to engage in gun practice after participating in what is termed the “ grog ration,” in contrast with men who engaged in the same practice without the grog ration. The experiments showed that 30 per cent, fewer hits were made in the case of gun practice following the grog ration. A number of continental authorities to the same effect could be quoted. Admiral Jellicoe has recently made some statements concerning what is commonly called the “ grog curve,” which go to show that less efficiency must be expected from those who indulge in the ordinary grog ration. In view of all these statements, it would be more than unwise for us to place within the reach of the young men to whom Ave are intrusting the destinies of the Empire the temptation to become habitual drunkards, or to lessen their efficiency by indulgence in drink. It has been said during the debate that we cannot make men sober by Act of Parliament. The inference from that is that men should be allowed absolute freedom in this matter. We cannot make men honest by Act of Parliament, but we do not for that reason throw all our repressive laws into the waste-paper basket. We continue to enforce them, and, to a great extent, minimize dishonesty by the operation of laws which penalize dishonesty. In the same way, we can hope, by such a regulation as the Minister of Defence has adopted, to minimize the evil effects of intoxicating drink in our military camps. Senator Turley has expressed his aversion to anything in the form of repression; but repressive laws are found to be necessary in every community. Why did we prevent the importation of opium into Australia? Its prohibition was a form of repression ; but we have not found that it has done us any injury. No one will contend that it has.
– It took away the freedom of some people.
– Of course it did. It was an act of repression much more extreme than the abolition of the wet canteen, because the importation of opium was absolutely prohibited. We are justified in the repression of any practice injurious to the interests of the community. The sale of liquor in military canteens is, in my opinion, likely to be injurious. I do not indulge in intoxicants, and nothing would induce me to do so except the strict order of a medical man. But I am not urging the temperance cause to-day ; I am urging merely that we should not destroy the efficiency of our present Defence Act by adopting such an amendment of it as Senator Turley has proposed. I hope sincerely that the amendment will be rejected.
– I wish to say a few words on this question. I do not propose to give a silent vote upon it. I think that every honorable senator is justified in indicating clearly where he stands in this matter. I have no wish to hide my views, or to fight from behind a masked battery. The issue is clear-cut. The proposal brought forward by Senator Turley has been supported by about the weakest arguments t have ever heard presented. The statement is made that those who are in favour of abolishing the wet canteen are treating the men as though they were children. That statement cannot be substantiated. If it could, it would be equally applicable to every form of discipline insisted upon in our Defence Force. The Minister of
Defence says that, in his opinion, it is better that we should have a dry canteen than a wet one, and he is acting upon the experience of the officials guiding him, who, in their turn, are acting upon the experience of better and more experienced army men than themselves. Then the argument was used that the members of our Expeditionary Forces are not “ potential drunkards.” Nobody suggested that they were. I suppose that what is meant by the term is that they are not probable drunkards. I do not think it comes within the purview of the Defence Department to regard them as probable drunkards, or as possible converts to total abstinence. The Defence Department does not exist either to make drunkards or to produce teetotallers, so that the argument along that line is altogether a wide shot, and does not get a bull’s-eye. Next, the argument was put up that a man is considered by some persons as an outcast if he goes into a public house. .Personally, I do not think a man is an outcast because he goes into a public house. I would be sorry to entertain such an opinion of any man. My experience has shown me that some persons - not a majority of them, by any means - who go into hotels as temperance men end their days as absolute drunkards. Therefore, to say that a general statement has been made by anybody that a man is considered an outcast because he goes into a public house is to state that which no member of the Senate has asserted or dare to assert. Again, it ‘has been said that those who dare to entertain an opposite opinion to that of the friends of this amendment are pandering to a sentiment. I am not pandering to a sentiment. I claim that I have a right to an opinion, which is as strong as any conviction that I hold, and which has not been the result of any coercion. A good deal has been said with regard to personal experience. I do not desire to import personal experience into the discussion; but I am free to say, and to say it without disrespect to those who have passed away, that neither my father nor my mother was a total abstainer. There was no view of that nature entertained in the family, yet at nine years of age I became a member of a Band of Hope, and have been a total abstainer ever since. So that, with me, it has not been a question of coercion at all. My opinion was formed from observation and reflection. I am a total abstainer to-day, not because it pays me, not because I think it is popular to be one, but absolutely because I am convinced that it is best for me. I am not sorry that I have, been a total abstainer. Senator Ferricks, in his speech, led us to believe that example was not worth anything. I venture to differ from that view. I believe that example is a very great factor for good, and I believe, too, that environment is a very great help, and, therefore, I would keep out of the way of any young man, whether he is my son, or the son of Senator Turley, anything which I thought would injure him.
– Would it not be better to teach our sons to resist temptation ?
– Does the honorable senator suggest that, before you can make a man strong, you must subject him to temptation ?
– It is a good disciplining.
– Does the honorable -senator reason that my will on the question of abstinence would have been stronger than it is to-day if I had been (first a moderate drinker?
– Certainly not.
– Now the honorable -senator admits that, in my case, the argument does not apply; that my will is just as strong because it was formed in childhood as it would have been had I been a moderate drinker. I do not claim any credit for my belief, because liquor has no influence over me. I do not want to come within its influence in order to know what it is. In other words, I do not want to try the strength of nux vomica or strychnine simply to know whether it will poison a man.
– Do you not know that strychnine given in very small quantity is one of the most valuable tonics administered by the medical profession?
– I know that strychnine is very useful in a case of heart failure. I know that it -is possible for a person in the habit of taking a small dose of arsenic to become so -accustomed to the drug that he can take as much at one time as would poison, not only the honorable senator, but one half the members of the Senate; so that habit will very often innure the system to that which is absolutely injurious. Here, by the way, I apply that remark to Senator Turley. He has said that what is the rule for him should be the rule for every person. Apparently he weighs more than I do. Suppose that I were to advance the argument that because I crossed a bridge which will carry my weight therefore it ought to carry the honorable senator. If I know that the bridge will only carry me I would be doing him a positive injury by endeavouring to get him to go on a bridge that will be a danger to him, because he is heavier than I am.
– He would not let you lead him across.
– My honorable friend admits the principle directly that Senator Turley would not let me lead him into the danger which he sees. It is because I see the danger to the young men, and because I would feel in regard to my sons were they going to the front what I feel towards the sons of other parents going to the front, that I oppose the amendment. Now let me deal with one or two more of the arguments which have been advanced. It has been put by Senator Turley that we do not confine our invitation to enlist to total abstainers, and that therefore we should have a wet canteen. It is not a question of enlisting total abstainers or of enlisting moderate drinkers. That is not the ground on which we should found the argument for a wet or dry canteen, because when the men enlisted they knew what the conditions at the camp were. An attempt is now made to alter the conditions on the plea that the men are deprived of some privileges which they ought to enjoy. I think that that argument cannot be brought forward with any degree of strength, because we are not confining the enlistment to total abstainers. I would point out to my honorable friends that a dry canteen was in existence when the men enlisted. We know that in the camps the men do not occupy single tents, and that they are possessed of very dangerous weapons. If, as is admitted here, you cannot control the quantity of liquor which goes into a dry canteen, how much less can you control the traffic when it is a wet canteen ?
– Surely all the more easily.
– Does the honorable senator set up this position, that by the abolition of the wet canteen the Minister has prohibited any piracy of drink into the camp ?
– Hear, hear !
– Does the honorable senator assert that a wet canteen will prohibit the introduction of any drink into the camp?
– It will remove the necessity for any such action.
– According to the statements made here the necessity will be removed to the extent of one pint a day. Will not the necessity remain for the other pints which the soldier needed ? There is no answer to my question. Evidently my honorable friend sees that he is on the horns of a dilemma.
– No, you are not right. I am regarding you as being almost as hopeless as Senator Shannon.
– The honorable senator can see, if he will see at all, that all that he will remove is the need for the first pint. Because all the arguments which could be advanced against the other pints remain still. One man would say, “ I can only get a pint at the wet canteen, but that is not enough for me; I want a quart.” Another man, whose clay was somewhat drier, might say, “ I want a gallon.” There are others whose need perhaps would go to two gallons in a day. There would be only the allowance of one pint, and all the rest would have to be introduced surreptitiously, as is done now. There is not one honorable senator who has argued, or who dares give an assurance, that if a wet canteen is allowed no liquor will be used there but that which is supplied at the canteen.
– Those in charge of the camp ought to give that assurance.
– If they undertook to see that if a wet canteen was granted under proper control, very severe penalties would be imposed on the men who took liquor into the camp-
– We undertake to say that there ought to be a severe penalty.
– Ought to he! What a puerile argument! If those in. charge of the amendment had any honesty of principle they would immediately have appended to it a provision for a very severe penalty for taking liquor into the camp; but they have made no move in that direction. They have simply proposed to open the flood-gate a little, in a way that would eventually mean inundating the- country. They propose to whet the appetite, and then it will seek its satisfaction outside, as it has done before.
– The authorities there are responsible for the maintenance of order.
– If they are responsible for the maintenance of order there today, and the honorable senator admits that it is not good, what argument can he advance to convince me that better orderwill be kept with a wet canteen than there is now ? No answer is forthcoming tothat question, and there can be none. Senator Turley said it was wrong topenalize and punish 6he men at the campby depriving them of the canteen; but it is no penalty and no punishment. The young man who enlists knows the conditions. There is another question on which I differ from Senator Ferricks. The first essential in military matters is that every trainee must obey orders, otherwise therewould be chaos. I do not accept Senator Turley’s dictum that I and others are endeavouring to force our opinions downother people’s throats. I do not wish to do so, and have never tried to ; but I have as much right to my opinion as he has to his. I do not condemn any man who differs from me, but I have my own ideas, like the Scotchman who said that only himself and the minister in the village were sound and orthodox, and that he had his “doots” about the minister. Senator Turley spoke of the hypocrisy of thosewho advocated a dry canteen for thesoldier and a wet canteen for members of Parliament. He would consider me unreasonable if I argued that he should dowithout a wet canteen upstairs. He is welcome to all that he needs as far as I am concerned, but there is no hypocrisy on my part in permitting him that privilege, because he- is a free man, in no senseunder duress or in training, and is required to observe no law or custom other than, that of fair sobriety here, which he has always done. The positions, however, are not parallel, and when thingsdiffer they are not the same. To charge me with hypocrisy in arguing against a wet canteen at the camp while allowing one to remain here, is to compare things that differ. Senator Turley is sitting on plush cushions. Does it, therefore,, follow that the men at the camp are to sit on plush cushions also ? Senator Turley will probably recline to-night on a very soft mattress, surrounded by every comfort. Am I a hypocrite- if I do not ask him toshare his lot with the soldiers at the camp ?’
The honorable senator also had a tilt at what he called intemperate statements coming from temperance men. If I were looking for intemperate statements, I need not go back very far in Hansard for them, for we have recently heard statements that would certainly bear away the palm from anything that I have ever heard from temperance men. It is also said that we are not following the policy of the Labour party on this question. I am an outandout Labour man, and proud of it, and I contend that I am absolutely following the principle of the Labour party in this matter. In my own State, the Labour party has made no official pronouncement on the drink question, nor has the Federal Labour party. The honorable senator said that the Labour party believes in the nationalization of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating drink, and that, as his proposal is one form of nationalization, it must be right. I am reminded of a lady organizer belonging to the Liberal union, who advocated antiSocialism on the ground that Socialism meant that if anybody had a lolly shop, the Socialists would take out the chocolates and leave the other people the common toffee. That is exactly on a par with Senator Turley’s statement. The honorable senator, who went all round and all over the question, but never really touched it, seemed to regard those who differed from him as faddists, and said that England had never been built up by faddists. I may remind him that all majorities spring from minorities, and the opinion of the minority to-day will be the opinion of the majority to-morrow. If England fought to-day with the same weapons as she did in Nelson’s time, she would have a very poor chance against the Kaiser’s navy. If she had the same weapons as were used at Waterloo, she would not succeed in her battles against the German land forces. Some people think that what was good enough for our fathers is good enough for us; but I say that what is good enough for us today is not always good enough for us. We want something better. We are not here to discuss the question of total abstinence against moderate drinking, and I shall not do so; nor do I regard this as the place to throw ugly names at those who differ from me. I am ready to respect the convictions of others, while still backing up my own.
I claim that no man has a right to impose his rule on my home any more than I have a right to impose my rule on his home. That is the position which I take up in regard to the total- abstinence question. But I would remind Senator Turley that we are not now dealing with indivi-duals, but with armies. We are not dealing with men as individuals, but as compact bodies, and therefore our first consideration should be, What is best for the whole? Senator Turley’s argument has resolved itself into, What is best for the individual ? and he has answered that question according to his own predilections. The key-note of this question is efficiency. If we have gathered together our young men, we have gathered them together for a purpose. If they are undergoing military training, the object in view is efficiency. That efficiency can be acquired only by building up their health and by stern discipline. Their ability to meet the foe will mean that they must discard many things to which they have been accustomed, and that they must undertake many new duties with vigour. Therefore, the officer commanding the army, and not this Parliament, should be the arbiter in this matter. It would be wrong for us to interfere, and to say that this or that should be done, in opposition to the judgment of those in authority, who possess expert knowledge as the result of vast experience. Seeing that such men as the late Field Marshal Lord Roberts, Earl Kitchener, and General Joffre have declared themselves in opposition to the wet canteen, it would be ridiculous for me to assert an opposite view. I would remind honorable senators that it is not the ease and comfort of the troops which have to be considered. Nor is this a question of conscience. There are many men who conscientiously object to compulsory military training, but who, for the nation’s safety, are nevertheless obliged to take their share in the defence of this country. We are not drifting aimlessly ; we have a definite purpose in view, namely, the attainment of the utmost efficiency on the part of our trainees. What is the object of all our military training? Is it not to fit our troops to endure hardships, to make them mobile in the field - in short, to achieve efficiency ? What depends upon that efficiency ? The very safety of the nation itself. Well do I remember the words of the Minister when he declared that war was the grimmest of all games in which we had engaged. Undoubtedly we are now face to face with the greatest crisis in the history of our Empire. Every man in the field ought, therefore, to discard everything that would tend to hamper his efficiency. Not only the safety, but the honour of the nation, rests in the hands of our troops. It is idle to set up one’s personal opinion on this question in opposition to the experience of men charged with the greatest responsibilities in our Empire. Would it be right for me to pit my knowledge against that of men who have spent a lifetime in army work ? Upon this matter I am content to accept, not merely their judgment, but that of the leading physiologists of our time, who condemn the use of alcohol in the strongest possible language. I would also point out that chemical analysis reveals that alcohol is in no sense a food, but merely a stimulant. The experience and knowledge of the most prominent physicians and surgeons of our time are opposed to the use of alcohol. Their testimony has been cited by Senator Guy-
– I quoted only a tithe of their testimony.
– I admit that. I prefer to accept the experience and knowledge of the Commander of the British Army to-day rather than to rely upon my own judgment in this matter. But it is significant that the Commander of that Army, as well as the leading doctors, chemists, and physiologists of the day, all join in buttressing the position which I take up. If my honorable friends who entertain a different view could show me that alcohol was a necessity, there might be something sound in their arguments. It has not been urged by any speakers during this debate that our young men would be improved by the use of alcohol. The American war was responsible for the creation of a body of individuals, of whom Senator Turley spoke somewhat contemptuously - I refer to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. That organization sprang into existence owing to the fearful results which flowed from the mingling together of men in huge masses. This was directly responsible for many of them developing an appetite for alcohol. After all, we must recollect that it is not the wounds made by the bayonet or the bullet which are the deepest, but those which are made in human character. No”body has contended that total abstinence will impair the health of our trainees, or that it will impose any harmful restriction upon them; nor has it been shown that it will in any way weaken their moral fibre. On the other hand, it has been urged that it will remove temptation from their path, although that contention has been sneered at as one which is beneath consideration. The establishment of wet canteens will certainly not conduce to good discipline amongst the troops. Indeed, the only argument advanced in favour of the restoration of wet canteens has been that the men are used to intoxicants, and consequently ought not to be deprived of them. Only a short time ago, whilst travelling from Adelaide by train, two men’ wearing the King’s uniform entered the same carriage. They had been to the city, and were returning. I presume that they had been for their extra pint. At the time of which I am speaking the wet canteen was in operation. One of those young men, who was close upon 6 feet in height, sat upon the knee of the other, who was not much taller than Senator Needham. Why did he do that? Because he had had more than a pint. The position would have been bad enough in ordinary circumstances, but it was rendered worse by the fact that the men wore the King’s uniform, which should have made them feel and act like men. That is not the only case of the kind which I could cite. I do not mean to suggest that the men who have left our shores for the front are addicted to intemperance. The fact is that, immediately they are selected for service abroad, they are assailed .with temptations which they cannot resist. But a recognition of the seriousness of the cause for which they have been called out, and of the vital issues for which they are going to fight - a recognition of Nelson’s famous watchword at Trafalgar - should prompt us to put every temptation out of their way. We want our men to carry the ideals of their nation with them into the battlefield. We want them to maintain the highest traditions of the people for whom they fight, and to endeavour to keep unsullied the character of the nation of which they are proud to be sons. I am reminded by the arguments which have been used in support of Senator Turley ‘s amendment of the reply made by the German Chancellor to the British Ambassador, “ Only a scrap of paper..” We are defending a system which wilT make men of the members of our Expeditionary Forces, whilst the amendment proposes a system which would put temptation in their way at a crucial moment, when they are preparing to go forward to fight for those who stay behind. In all the circumstances it would ill befit us as senators of this great Commonwealth to agree to anything which might in any shape or form tend to weaken in our men a sense of the duty that is imposed upon them, or might cause them in any way to falter from the lofty position they occupy as soldiers of the King.
– It is not my intention at this hour to protract my utterances upon this question, which has already been so long debated. Previous speakers have alluded to the necessity of honorable senators declaring themselves on Senator Turley’s proposal, and I have no hesitation in doing so. I have listened to several of the speeches made for and against the amendment, and I may be excused for saying that much of the argument advanced has been to a certain extent irrelevant to the subject under discussion. Senator Senior said that he did not regard this discussion as one upon the abstract merits of total abstinence or of moderate drinking. The honorable senator seemed to imply that we are here to discuss a definite concrete proposal in relation to a definite set of facts, and we should as far as practicable abstain from generalities with regard to the merits or demerits of total abstinence as a profession and practice. Notwithstanding that, the honorable senator, during a good deal of the time he was addressing the Committee, devoted himself to arguments which would have been more appropriate to a discussion of the merits of total abstinence as a practice or profession. I hope that when I sit down I shall be free from any imputation or suspicion of that kind. Senator Senior asked those’ who support the amendment to give something in the nature of a guarantee or undertaking that if wet canteens were established, the regulation of the conduct of the troops in camp in the matter of indulgence in intoxicating liquors would be more rigid than it has been in the past. He seemed quite satisfied that there was no answer to that argument. The answer to it is what is generally called the tu quoque - if dry canteens are to be established, will those who support them give any undertaking or guarantee that the object which they wish to achieve will be achieved ?
– The honorable senator should bear in mind that we are starting with a dry canteen, and we have a right to ask that those who think . there should be a wet canteen should show that the change will lead to improvement.
– But the honorable senator forgets that the change has been made from a wet canteen to a dry canteen.
– No; the dry canteen is provided for by the Defence Act, and the wet canteen was established by administration.
– In the camp of the First Expeditionary Force there was a wet canteen. In the camp of the Second Expeditionary Force a dry canteen has been established, and those who support it should show that it is an improvement.
– It is up to the honorable senator to show that it is worse than the wet canteen.
– No, it is not.
– Certainly, the honorable senator has to prove an affirmative,
– It is not up to me to prove that the conditions with the dry canteen are worse than those with the wet canteen. But it is up to those who made the change from the wet canteen to the dry canteen to prove that the change was called for, and has effected an improvement.
– The Minister of Defence has said that he has less complaints now than he had when there was a wet canteen in the camp.
– The Minister has certainly said so. But other members of the Senate have given us the results of their own observation and inquiry. I went out to the Broadmeadows camp of the First Expeditionary Force. I had no idea at the time that a debate of this kind was likely to take place. Quite casually I asked an officer, high in the authority at the camp, what they sold at the canteen. He told me what they did sell. He said that there was one thing excepted, and that was cigarettes. He explained to me that in no circumstances were cigarettes sold in the canteen but he added, “ We cannot prevent the men from getting them in town.” The canteen of the First Expeditionary Force was then a dry canteen in the matter of cigarettes, and yet all who went about the city with their eyes open could see the men smoking cigarettes. There was no means of restraining them from’ indulging in the vice of cigarette smoking when they left the camp. And if men desire to have liquor, there is no means of restraining them from indulging that desire when they leave the camp. I agree with those who say that if the men are to indulge in liquor it is better that they should do so in a wet canteen, under supervision, than that they should indulge in it in the ill-regulated way to which they may be forced by the abolition of the wet canteen.
– They will do both.
– They will do both in either case, whether the canteen is dry or wet. If there is a dry canteen, there can be no guarantee that the men will abstain from consuming liquor even in the camp itself, though they will do so in defiance of the regulations. I do not intend to support Senator Turley’s amendment, because I think it goes too far. Had it been designed to make it abundantly clear that the law regarding dry canteens should not apply to Expeditionary Forces, I should have been prepared to support it. So far as regards our Citizen Forces, and those who go to the annual camps of training under the Defence Act, I have seen no justification for any amendment of the law. When the section which Senator Turley proposes to amend was put into the Act, I voted against it. At the time, there were men going into camp to whom it would apply, who were less than twentyfive years of age. Those who were twenty or twenty-one years of age when the Act of 1909 was passed have now reached the age of twenty-five years, and so far as they are concerned, these provisions do not apply. I have seen no justification for an amendment of the law, as agreed to in 1909, so far as it applies to those referred to in section 125, to which section 123 relates - Cadets from twelve years to fourteen years; Senior Cadets from fourteen to eighteen years of age, and members of the Citizen Forces from eighteen to twenty-five years of age. It must be remembered that our camps of Citizen Forces are annual camps of iu- struction, and Senator Guy, quoting Inspector-General Kirkpatrick, has shown that the prohibition upon the use of intoxicating liquors in these camps applies only to a limited period during each year. I do not think that in the circumstances it is any very great hardship upon the men in those camps who, going in since 1909, know the conditions. I put the Expeditionary Forces in a totally different class. They are drawn from all over the Commonwealth; the men volunteer for service abroad, and they are not in camp under compulsion but as a matter of choice. Many of them are men, comparatively speaking, of mature age who have been accustomed to take liquor in moderation. I see no reason why the provisions in this connexion which apply to camps of our Citizen Forces, under the Defence Act of 1909, should govern the camps of Expeditionary Forces. If Senator Turley had seen his way to make his proposal for the establishment of wet canteens apply only to camps of Expeditionary Forces, I should have been prepared to support him heartily. The honorable senator has, however, gone further. He seeks to amend the general Defence law of the Commonwealth in connexion with a provision which operates every year, whether in time of peace or in time of war., and applies to the annual training camps of our Citizen Forces. I see no justification for such a sweeping amendment of the law.
– At this late hour I shall not indulge in anything very discursive in regard to Senator Turley’s amendment. I have to say that I present, on this occasion, one of the rare instances of an individual member of Parliament whose vote has been altered by a speech. Prior to hearing the Minister of Defence, it was my intention to vote for the amendment. I was moved rather by the manner in which Senator Pearce delivered his speech, than by the matter of it, to a train of thought which determined me to vote against the amendment, although personally I have been all my life a believer in a moderate consumption of alcoholic liquors. I wish to say that, although, in common with other honorable senators, I have been inundated with literature, authorized by temperance or total abstinence associations, my vote will not be cast out of deference to their opinions. I am one of those who believe that the soldier is best served by the condition of affairs which evidently obtained in Shakspeare’s time. We find in his pages, I suppose, the most characteristic soldiers’ drinking song we are ever likely to read in the literature of any country -
And let me the canakin clink, clink,
And let me the canakin clink :
A soldier’s a man; man’s life’s but a span;
Why, then, let a soldier drink.
The speeches we have heard in the Senate are, I must admit, indicative of the fact that a very considerable change has come over public opinion since the days of Shakspeare.
– In those days one was not a man unless he went under the’ table.
– One was not a man unless he could stand his liquor, as Shakspeare says in connexion with the famous song he put into the mouth of Iago. Men were “most potent in potting” in those days. The English were people who might compare with what Shakspeare characterized as “ the swagbellied Hollanders “ ; the Germans and the rest of the Continental tribe. He said that in England lie had learned to respect the drinking capacity of the Englishman. I do not mean to say that the drinking of. alcohol brings about national stability or national prosperity, but it is singular that the dominant races of the world are consumers of alcohol and that the only Asiatic people who are in the future likely to come into conflict with the European world are two hard-drinking Asiatic nations, namely, the Japanese and the Chinese; for, notwithstanding all that is said about the abstemiousness and the temperance of these two races, I, with a considerable experience of their habits, assure honorable senators that they are very hard drinkers. The only thing is that they, although like the Englishmen of Shakspeare, are “ most potent in potting,” are able to carry their liquor sensibly and well. I have very little regard in one way for the opinions of the total abstinence tribe. They are worthy people, no doubt. Many of them have the courage of their convictions, and sincerely believe that liquor is something damnable, and that it operates most prejudicially to the interests of humanity. Total abstinence doctors tell us, with a great appearance of medical lore, that alcohol is a poison, as if we did not know that. Why do they not tell us at the same time that it is a preservative? Are we going to condemn for one instant a commodity because of the excess indulged in by certain people? To show the logic of total abstinence people, if I cared to descend to such a level I could prove, or attempt to prove, that marriage is a most abominable institution, because it is productive of a very great amount of human infelicity. But who would denounce marriage on that account ?
– The evil is not very general.
– To judge by the list of cases to be heard in the Divorce Court, marriage is productive of a great amount of human infelicity, but, singular to say, these people forget to tell us in connexion with such an institution that it is productive of a great amount of human happiness as well. It is the same thing with alcohol. . I admit that you may poison a man with alcohol. I admit that it may consume all his substance. I admit that he may act very unwisely, but for that reason is there to be no ale for the future ? Is the moderate man not to have a chance?
– Are we to say that “ There shall be no more cakes and ale ?”
– I say that there shall be. As a matter of fact, the people who call themselves total abstainers are poor, pale shadows of total abstinence. How would they like to be put alongside that very numerous Russian sect that holds opinions which I will relate briefly for the benefit of smokers of tobacco, consumers of tea, and drinkers of coffee?
Thunder slays the coffee-drinker.
The smoker is brother to the dog.
Tea - The Chinese arrow has pierced the Russian heart.
What a nice cheerful lot of folks to live amongst !
– Is that from Brother Dowie?
– No. This is a Russian sect of total abstainers. What about those persons who do not consume alcohol, and have the conviction that tobacco soothes their rest? Although, in the language of Shakspeare, I am “ most potent in potting,” I do not smoke; but shall I start a crusade and ask that tobacco shops shall be closed, and that nobody else shall have a pipe of tobacco ? A great deal has been said of the wonderful deeds of prowess that we may expect from the soldiers when they all become total abstainers. Senator Guy, whose convictions I respect - for I know that he has held them all his life - rather resented my interjection when I told him that, if abstinence was going to win victories, we could hardly hope to withstand the power of the Turks. I venture to say that victory will not rest with the Turks, but with the rumconsuming Tommies pitted against them. One of the reasons why I am going to vote against the amendment is that all soldiers on active service are not to be deprived of alcohol. In the Age, singular to say, in the same issue in which there appeared a leading article condemnatory of the wet canteen - illustrative of the fact that a regular maelstrom of argument of a most confusing kind is indulged in in regard to this question - there was a paragraph which stated that as a first instalment 150,000 gallons of rum had been ordered by the Imperial Government. For what purpose? To be given to the Tommies who are fighting the battles for civilization on the fields of Flanders. That quantity, at the rate of eight rations to the pint, works out at 9,600,000 drinks, as a first instalment for an army of about 200,000 persons. And let it be remembered that this rum is for the consumption of British soldiers. I ask honorable senators, who talk about alcohol being a poison, who speak about the medical profession, and who talk about all the great commanders who anticipate wonderful deeds before which the past history of the British Army will fade, if the Tommy eschews all liquor, what have they to say about the giving of rum and water to the men who were in the trenches and who fought through all the slush, and drove back the German forces to their lines on the Aisne? Why did the authorities give the soldiers the liquor if the reaction was going to be so dreadful that the benefit conferred by the stimulant should not be taken into consideration at all? They are going to give this liquor in pursuance, I suppose, of that wisdom which is embodied in the biblical instruction, “ Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.”
– The same Scriptures say, “ Look not thou on the wine when it is red.”
– I do not want to discuss this question atany great length. The Turks are total abstainers. The Mahomedans say that wine is a very bad thing, but Mahomet took very good care to promise them plenty of wine in Paradise -
The just shall drink of a cup of wine mixed with the water of Zingebil.
Which I take to be a kind of celestial ginger beer; therefore we shall have shandygaff in Paradise -
And beautiful youths who shall continue for ever in their bloom shall go round about to attendthem with goblets and beakers and a cup of flowing wine, and upon them shall be garments of fine green silk and of brocades, and their Lord shall give them to drink of a most precious liquor, and shall say, “ Verily, this is your reward, and your endeavour is gratefully accepted.”
That is from a teetotal prophet. I respect the Minister’s conviction just as I respect those people who believe that alcohol is a bad thing; and the question at issue is the efficiency of our soldiers . I believe that a soldier is none the worse if he drinks in moderation. Nobody believes that a drunken army is efficient, but I think that the victories that are likely to be won by a purely teetotal army would be rather watery, indecisive ones. But, nevertheless, this is a time of war. The Minister, in whose administration we all have a certain amount of confidence, irrespective of party, spoke with great vehemence and with a force of conviction which I respect. Seeing that the law providing for the existence of dry canteens only in connexion with the Citizen Forces was in existence before I came into this Parliament, and seeing that the Minister believes that the efficiency of our Expeditionary Forces will be increased by the prohibition of drink in camp, I am going to throw upon him the responsibility of seeing that his policy is justified by results. As I say, the members of the Expeditionary Forces will get plenty of alcohol ; they as soldiers are to have their share of the 150,000 gallons of rum, which is only a first instalment, and may it do them much good. That is all that I have to say on that score. There is such a lot of washy talk about this temperance business that I almost, as a matter of chagrin, felt inclined to vote for the amendment. We have heard that a man should not take his son into a hotel, and that they should not have a friendly glass together. I was in the habit of having a drink with my father, who lived till he was seventy-five. I have a clear recollection of an occasion when my father and myself put a good many other men under the table when we ate turkey and drank a bottle of square gin together. My father had a drink every day to the close of his life, and in pursuance of certain ceremonies which I respect, I have since his death once or twice poured out a libation on his grave, and I am not ashamed of having done so.
– You were brought up in a wet canteen all right.
– I was brought up in the school which teaches a man to be strong by indulging his appetite only in moderation. As the Minister believes in the dry canteen; as the law provides for a dry canteen, and as the dry canteen imposes very little hardship on our citizen soldiers - who, I am sorry to say, are only in camp for a few weeks at a time - and as the members of the Expeditionary Forces will get lashings of drink if they require it, I have no hesitation in voting against the amendment, although I do not for a moment ask anybody to believe that I have been instigated thereto by any members of the total abstinence associations) whose exaggerated use of statistics I deprecate and despise.
– I have no intention to speak for very many minutes, but I am disinclined to give a silent vote on this matter, which has been considered by some honorable senators of such great importance as almost to assume the proportions of a question politically supreme. I do not hold that view myself, and probably I should not have been found supporting Senator Turley’s amendment, as I am going to do, if there had been any evidence to support the position taken up in the present Defence Act. Several appeals have been made to us on behalf of the mothers and fathers of the young men going to the front. I have as great sympathy and respect for them as any other honorable senator, but I have taken the trouble to visit the main streets of Melbourne on several occasions lately, particularly since this matter came before the Senate, to see if I could gather evidence that would justify me in opposing the amendment, and I came to the conclusion that my best plan would be to vote for a wet canteen, on the ground that it would be very beneficial to the fathers and mothers whose sons, although they are not going to the front, are old enough to be trained. In Bourke-street, on any night of the week, one can see men in the King’s uniform under the influence of drink. I have never in one night seen so many men under the influence of drink as I can now meet here every night in this city wearing uniforms.
– Is that due to the Expeditionary Force?
– I am not saying anything to the contrary, but we are legislating now with respect also to the annual camps, although they are held only for a few days or weeks. I would not advocate establishing a wet canteen at them, but that position is met under Senator Story’s amendment.
– It is not.
– It is, if the authorities take the responsibility of carrying it into proper effect.
– After this year, there will be men in the annual camp over twenty-one years of age.
– Men of that age are quite capable of looking after themselves. If they cannot, no Defence Act will save them.
– There is no need to tempt them.
– We may speak of temptation in regard to children, but surely we are not going to treat fullgrown men as children. We have been given the opinions of Lord Roberts, Lord Kitchener, Lord Wolseley, and others; but during the regime of all those men the British Army and Navy have always been served with their grog without impairing their efficiency.
– Is it not a fact that the supply creates the demand?
– The honorable senator is wrong in his logic; the demand creates the supply. Nobody manufactures this kind of thing for the mere fun of doing so. They supply it in whatever quantities are required, as shown by the figures quoted to-day - 150,000 gallons of rum as a first instalment. Probably, the next instalment will be 300,000 gallons; and if it were 600,000 gallons, there would always be plenty to supply the demand. If we could have carried thi9 matter out honestly and effectively, I should not have minded what way the thing went; but we are preventing the men in the camp from getting their glass of ale if they require it, and the probabilities are that scores of them come into the city for that very reason.
– Another assertion.
– We have just as much right to assert it as the honorable senator has to say that the establishment of a dry canteen will make the men teetotallers. If that is so, why do not its advocates carry their argument to its logical conclusion, and propose to remove the temptation entirely by shutting every hotel in the city and suburbs while the soldiers are here ? Then, as soon as they are 3 miles from the seaboard, they will come under British control, and receive the British allowance of liquor.
– There will be none sent on the troopships, which are under our control until they get to Great Britain.
– I am astonished to hear it. Even then, when they leave the Minister’s control, they come under British regulations. If any one takes a trip on Sunday to Brighton Beach, Hampton, or places further along the railway line, he will find that the great percentage of the men entering the hotels there wear the King’s uniform. For these reasons, I support the amendment.
– I should not have spoken again but for the severe way in which Senator Pearce dealt with my amendment, characterizing it as a subterfuge. I as: sure him that I moved it with the best intention, being just as sincere in my desire for the welfare and well-being of the Expeditionary Forces as he or the temperance organizations which have circularized us. We cannot prevent the men from drinking merely by making it difficult for them to get drink. As Senator Keating said, we have heard to-night a number of total abstinence lectures that would have answered admirably if addressed from a public platform to a number of people who are in the habit of indulging to excess; but the question we have to decide is whether it is better for the soldiers to have beer supplied in the camps under regulation, or compel them to go outside and get it without regulation. Senator Pearce referred to the difficulties that would arise, particularly in. telling the age of the men in camp; but the Defence authorities have this information. There might be a little inconvenience in discriminating between citizen soldiers of twenty years of age and those of twenty-one. My object in moving the amendment to the proposed new clause is to protect these young men during their first year’s experience of camp life. If the Minister is consistent in his desire to safeguard their interests he should endeavour to amend the Defence Act by making it illegal for any hotelkeeper to supply a soldier in uniform with liquor.. That would be far more effective in preventing intemperance than would the establishment of dry canteens.
– It would not be a. bad idea to add that to the amendment.
– I am so anxious to» protect our young soldiers that if the Minister will move in the direction I have suggested I will support him. But it is utterly useless for him to say that only a dry canteen shall be established in camp, whilst men are permitted to obtain, outside very much inferior liquor to that with which they would be supplied by the authorities. I have submitted my amendment absolutely in the interests of temperance. I believe that temperance in all things is good, and that the best way to insure it in our military camps is for “the authorities themselves to supply the men with good liquor under proper regulations. It is idle to prohibit the use of intoxicants in camp whilst allowing men to obtain it outside, and thus to become exposed to other temptations which assail young men when they enter hotels and are served with drink by very charming young ladies.
– During the course of this debate a number of statements have been made to which I should like to reply. Senator Senior inquired why we should talk from our own experience and straightway began to relate his own experience upon the drink question. What is that experience ? It seems that at the age of nine years he joined a Band of Hope, and that he has never known the taste of liquor. What a wonderful experience ! It enables us to realize exactly where the honorable senator stands. The only stimulant of which he has any knowledge is a cup of tea or coffee. I am of opinion that there are other men in this Chamber who have had a far wider experience. I do not put forward my own experience in this connexion at all. I have always been able to take a glass of liquor when I required it, and to abstain from doing so when I did not require it. Like Senator Ferricks, I fail to see why we should brand all the men who are leaving our shores to defend the Empire as moral weaklings, who cannot say “yes” or “no” when they are asked to have a drink.
– Then why not give them an unlimited supply ?
– I know that the honorable senator does not support the establishment of the wet canteen because it does not supply men with rum arid whisky. If it stocked all sorts of liquor he would not complain. He declared that he has visited different camps, and though he did not see anybody intoxicated there he saw sufficient to show that the regulations were being broken. He affirmed that at these camps a soldier can get as much beer as he chooses to pay for. I understood him to say that he would be prepared to vote for the wet canteen so long as it stocked brandy and whisky.
– He did not say that.
– The honorable senator is the only person who understood me to say it.
– Then the honorable senator should have put his remarks in such a way that they could not be misunderstood.
– The honorable senator is the only person who misunderstood them.
– It has been urged that the establishment of wet canteens in camps would not accord with the Labour platform. I believe that it would. I understand that in five out of the six States there is a plank in the Labour platform which provides for the nationalization of the liquor traffic. That plank, I know, obtains in the platforms of the party in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. I arn not going back upon that plank be cause I happen to be in the National Parliament. If it has not been adopted in South Australia, I am not responsible. I intend to adhere to the policy of the Labour party, which is State control of the liquor traffic, and to vote for that policy whenever opportunity presents itself.
– All the honorable senator’s colleagues do not take that view.
– I do not know that all my colleagues from Queensland do not take a similar view. I have observed that a resolution was adopted at Wonthaggi in opposition to my amendment, and that it has been sent forward by a parson. I do not wonder at this gentleman endeavouring to extract a crumb of comfort from the statement of the Minister of Defence, especially when I recall the history of Wonthaggi. That place was started with the idea that it was to be a dry country. Yet there is no place in Victoria where there has been so much sly -grog selling . Only a little while ago a local option poll there resulted in a four to one vote in favour of establishing the sale of liquor under Government control. Wonthaggi to-day is entitled to seventeen hotels under the licensing laws of this State. In these circumstances I do not wonder that the gentleman to whom I have referred has attempted to gain a crumb of comfort from the statement of the Minister of Defence, that it is desirable that only dry canteens should exist in our military camps. During the course of his remarks Senator Long mentioned that the citizens of Australia are being called upon ,to provide a fund for the purchase of cigarettes for our troops at the front. I have never experienced very much trouble with my boy so far as drinking is concerned. But I admit that I have had some little trouble with him in regard to the cigarette habit. As a matter of fact, when he grew up and I chanced to hear that he had been seen smoking a cigarette, I had an earnest talk with him. I said, “ Don’t you bother about cigarettes; here is money with which to purchase a pipe and tobacco. You are at liberty to smoke as much as you choose, but do not develop the cigarette habit, which I believe is detrimental to your health.” In the present instance, however, everybody is being asked to subscribe to a fund for the purchase of cigarettes for our troops.
– By whom?
– Senator Long read out the names of those concerned, and of the committee who will receive subscriptions.
– A private individual.
– I believe in our troops attaining efficiency as much as does any honorable senator. But apparently the liquor which they get outside of a camp does not render them inefficient. According to my honorable friends it is only the liquor which they secure at a military canteen.
– Will the wet canteen prevent them getting liquor outside?
– No; but I believe that they will have less reason for obtaining it outside. Because I keep a bottle of whisky in my room, does Senator Shannon believe that after I have had a drink there I immediately visit a hotel in order to obtain two or three more drinks ?
– If the bottle contained only one nobbier, probably the honorable senator would do that.
– The fact is that I wish to be able to get a drink when I require it, and so long as I am a free agent I intend to get it.
– The honorable senator always gets away from the point.
– The honorable senator so seldom makes a point that we are unable to see it. Not very long ago I read an account of an institution which has been established in the Old Country. At its head are some very prominent members of the Church, and some very distinguished members of society. They do not believe in prohibition. They pin their faith to people being allowed liberty to get the refreshments they require, irrespective of whether those refreshments take the form of beer or whisky, so long as lighter refreshments are obtainable alongside. That is the system in which I believe. I cannot support any attempt to surround men over twenty-one years of age with arbitrary restrictions which would have the effect practically of tying them to their mother’s apron strings. Many of them have had to go out and face the world, and they have come through apparently very safely. I do not see many of them who have given way to all of those temptations that have been spoken of, and are now wrecks, because of the fact that they have had to look after themselves.
– Do not forget that the thirty-six senators here are the pick of four and a half million people.
– I decline to agree with the suggestion that there are no other thirty-six people in Australia as. good as we are. There are thousands of people as good as I am, and I would not think of putting myself on such a pedestal as to say that I am the thirty-sixth part of the best thirty-six people in Australia. In my opinion a big majority of young people in Australia are able to go out and battle with the difficulties of life and the conditions with which they have to meet, and come through them just as successfully as Senator Shannon and I have. I believe that the time will come later on when these young men will realize what we are doing here to-day, and exercise their influence at the ballot-box: in the direction of saying that they shall get that fair deal from the Defence Department to which they are entitled.
Question - That the words proposed tobe added be added (Senator Story’samendment) put. The Committeedivided.
Ayes . . . .8
Noes . . . . 9
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question - That the proposed new clause be inserted (Senator Turley’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed new clause negatived.
Military Censorship of News - State Interference with Wheat Contracts.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [11.8].- When in Sydney on Sunday afternoon last, I obtained possession of a copy of the Evening News, which had the following heading - “ British Disaster in Belgium, 15,000 Men Drowned.” The edition was a special one, and a copy is not to be found on our file, so that I cannot produce it. In smaller print was the statement that the news came from a German source. I do not know what the censor was about to permit such an announcement. At any rate, the scare heading should not have been allowed. A few weeks ago, the London Times was called to account in the House of Commons for having published similarly startling statements. We are naturally shocked by news of disasters to the British Forces or to the Allies, and one can imagine what would be the feeling in Australia were our contingents at the front, and those near and dear to them were to read a statement such as that which I have mentioned. I hope that the censors will be stricter in future, and will not allow alarming statements to be published concerning events at the front.
Senator BAKHAP (Tasmania) [11.10]. - I draw attention very briefly to a matter which should receive the fullest and widest publicity, as it affects the interests of the people of Australia, as citizens of the Commonwealth, and as citizens of the individual States which were contracting parties to that instrument of government known as the Commonwealth Constitution. As it is more than likely that this matter will be the subject of a judicial announcement, I shall abstain as carefully as possible from comment, and merely put the Senate and the Minister in possession of facts bearing upon a question which I addressed to the Minister to-day without notice, and to which he kindly gave an important reply. Within the last eight or nine days, a firm of flour millers in Tasmania - Messrs. David Ritchie and Sons - purchased, in the ordinary course of their business, through a broker, some 200 tons of wheat from the Farmers Union of South Australia. If any hitch had occurred in connexion with that transaction, owing to a misunderstanding between the parties to it, it would be no concern of this Parliament; but, owing to the unfortunate position of Australia in regard to the wheat harvest, a duly constituted authority of the State of South Australia intervened to prevent the completion of the sale. With all due respect to those more qualified to interpret the Commonwealth Constitution, I say that, in my opinion, the action of the South Australian authority contravened the Constitution, and is calculated to result pre- judically to the interests of the people of Tasmania. The transaction arose in this way: Messrs. David Ritchie and Sons communicated with a duly established broker in Adelaide, and desired him to purchase some wheat for them, as numberless parcels of wheat had been purchased by them in the past. They received this reply by telegram -
Excelsior cargo sold elsewhere next trip. Offer two hundred by her about 9th December, 5s. 4½d. Freight impossible under 9s. Others pay this. Recommend acceptance. Reply early.
To that message the following reply was sent -
Accept two hundred to us old wheat. Shipment 9th December.
This contract was entered into on the 17th November. This telegram reached Launceston on the 18th November.
Farmers Union confirm wheat. Same conditions last sale, one hundred tons. Posting contract Thursday.
The following telegram was received on the 19th November -
State Government will not permit shipment wheat. Consequently union now unable confirm. They arc doing utmost secure permission and hope for answer to-morrow, when shall wire result.
Then follows a letter of the same date, 19 th November, in these terms -
Wheat. The position here is beginning to take concrete shape as to what the Government intend to do with reference to shipment of further wheat from this State. For some time rumours have been in the air that some steps would be taken to restrict shipments, but up to yesterday nothing had been done in this direction. Nothing was known when I despatched my telegram offering you the 200 tons, and when your reply came to hand it was 5.30 p.m. I at once got into touch with the Farmers Union, but the general manager had left for his home, and I advised the second in command that you had accepted the wheat, at the same time despatching you a telegram. Late last evening, after the writer had reached his home, the general manager rung him up over the ‘phone and advised that during the afternoon the Government had notified them that they were not going to allow further shipments, and instructed him not to make any further sales. This the general manager failed to convey to his assistant, so that this gentleman was unaware of what had passed. I refrained from wiring you until this morning, as I thought I would take the matter up again, and the Farmers- Union advised me they were very sorry this had come just now, as they were anxious to ship. They are doing their utmost to secure permission for the 200 tons to be shipped., and hope for a reply to-morrow. As soon as I learn the latest position I shall wire you. I am concerned that the business cannot be confirmed after we have followed it up so closely, and you may rest assured that I shall make every effort to get the sale through. The Government do not prohibit shipments, as I understand this is contrary to the Commonwealth Constitution; but they can, under certain ordinances recently passed, take possession of any stacks of wheat, and they threaten to take advantage of their powers if their request to sellers to refrain from making contracts is not acceded to.
This, then, is the position, and I really cannot forecast what the action of the Government will be. I am rather inclined to the belief that they will permit the execution of existing contracts, but for the present will not allow further sales to be made. Then it is a question whether they would consider a contract made yesterday an existing contract.
On the 17th November there is another letter which, perhaps, deals with the situation only in general terms. It deals more particularly with the prospect of there being a surplus in the State of New South Wales, and is rather a comment upon the possible result of the wheat harvest in that State than one upon the business transaction to which I am referring. On the 25th November there is a letter which contains something pretty definite in these terms -
Wheat. I have just heard from the secretary to the Grain and Fodder Board, which is dealing with the matter of shipment of wheat from the State, that they will not grant permission for the 200 tons to be shipped, and I am wiring you accordingly this morning, in order that you may be aware of how things stand here.
The sellers made application for shipment, and I also, as your agent in this matter, made a personal application, only to be refused.
I shall take up the matter next week again, and see if the Farmers Union will1 make another attempt to secure permission; but I am afraid that there is very little hope of being able to do anything.
I am very sorry this has happened; but i.t was really something quite beyond our control. The Union have been willing at aU times to ship, but, like the other merchants, they have their hands tied. Some wheat will go forward still, but it is under contracts made much earlier.
I admit that it is open to the Government of South Australia, acting through their Grain and Fodder Board appointed under a local Act, to justify their action. At the same time, it is also open to any representative of the people of a State in this Chamber to contend that it is an infringement of the provisions of .the Commonwealth Constitution Act, and particularly of the trade and commerce power, which is given the premier position in that Act in the statement of the functions of government delegated to the Commonwealth by the States.
– I am not on my own account stating that it is a contravention of the Constitution. I say that it seems to me to be so; and it certainly seems to me to be action taken in a spirit that is most un-Federal. I am not to be the deciding authority in this matter. The Commonwealth Parliament has, by legislation, set up tribunals which, I believe, have the power to adjudicate upon this particular matter or matters of this kind. My object in bringing the question before the Senate is to give the fullest publicity to the transaction, .and to indicate to honorable senators and to the Administration what I consider is the proper course of action to take. I ask Senator O’Loghlin not to provoke me to any comment upon the matter, which would be improper, seeing that the whole business will probably he relegated to some tribunal for judgment. In the Adelaide Advertiser of Saturday, 21st November, there appears an article dealing with the export of wheat, and making direct reference to the peculiar position set up by the abrogation of this particular contract, and particular reference to what evidently is the intention of the Grain and Fodder Board in South Australia. I quote the following: -
Board can Seize Wheat.
The question was raised in several quarters whether the Grain and Fodder Board had power to prevent the shipment of wheat to other States. Men who say they have looked into the matter declare that the Board could not issue a mandate against export, but that it could reach the same end by another course is not denied.
That is to say that the State cannot take action which would be in contravention of the Commonwealth Constitution, but may endeavour to secure the same unFederal objective by a different means -
The Grain and Fodder Act provides that the Board may take possession of wheat and other things, and pay the owners a price agreed between the parties, or, failing a price being fixed within fourteen days, the Board may apply to the Foodstuffs Commission to state a reasonable market figure. It can be seen that if export may not be directly prohibited, it may he checked effectively by indirect means.
I maintain very respectfully that indirect means cannot be properly and constitutionally employed by any State to effect an objective which would be prohibited by the express terms of the Commonwealth Constitution. The article continues
The merchants and millers, as a rule, declared themselves to be so much in the dark as to what the Board proposed to do that they were unwilling to make statements. The manager of a big shipping and milling firm remarked that if the export of surplus wheat was stopped, it would reduce the price received by the producer for the commodity, for better prices could be got for grain outside than inside the State. For instance, although Victoria had fixed the price of wheat at 5s. 6d. a bushel, Victorians would pay5s. 6d. in South Australia, which meant5s.10d. a bushel landed in Melbourne. The growers of wheat were entitled to get the full market value for their product, he said. He was not concerned whether the export were confined to floor or not, so far as it permitted the mar keting of the surplus. Not only should it be. permissible to fulfil Victorian and Tasmanian contracts for wheat, but future shipments to Tasmania should be allowed.
The position of the State which I have the honour to assist in representing is well known to be that of a wheatproducing State that does not produce sufficient for the needs of its own people. It is in years of plenty, as well as in years of leanness, obliged to depend on the crops of the mainland States. I very respectfully ask the Senate and the Administration to consider the position if it is contended, notwithstanding the power in regard to trade and commerce conferred upon the Commonwealth Legislature in connexion with trade between State and State, that it is within the power of the Government of any one Stateto take action to deprive a Commonwealth citizen of his right to enter into a business contract and to see that it is fulfilled. In this case a State authority has intervened, and a position has arisen which was con-, templated by the founders of the Constitution when they provided for the establishment of an Inter-State Commission. The Inter-State Commission has been duly established, and a case has arisen which, I consider, requires the determination of that Commission. I believe that the action of the South Australian Government is unconstitutional, and, seeing that the Inter-State Commission has been established, I think the Administration should determine that this question of’ so much importance to the people of my State in particular, and of the Commonwealth in general, should be brought to issue at the earliest possible date before a tribunal of competent jurisdiction, and preferably the Inter-State Commission. The merits and demerits of the whole business may be fought out there, when experts in the interpretation of the Constitution will, no doubt, handle the whole affair. I confine myself now to a demand which I make in no arrogant spirit- - a demand which has made history before to-day - that there shall be a free circulation of grain within this Commonwealth, of which Tasmania is an integral portion, and to the Constitution: of which it was a contracting party at the time Federation was established-..
I ask the Administration to take the facts, upon which I make no further comment, into consideration at the earliest moment and to have this issue, so important in its all-round effects, decided by a competent tribunal.
– The matter raised by Senator Bakhap is, as he says, of much importance to Tasmania. The honorable senator has drawn attention to certain facts having relation to a particular contract made between a Tasmanian firm and a Farmers Cooperative Union in South Australia. I would invite the attention of Ministers to the further fact that action is also being taken by the Government of New South Wales to conserve to that State a proportion of its wheat crop, which, in the minds of persons outside, is inordinately disproportionate to the requirements of the State. The effect of any such action will be to minimize the opportunities for trading in wheat between other States and New South Wales. As Senator Bakhap has said, this will tend to take away from an individual citizen of the Commonwealth the right to trade freely, which is guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Section 92 of the Constitution especially provides that on the imposition of uniform duties of Customs, trade, commerce, and intercourse among the States shall be absolutely free. There is no similar provision in the United States of America Constitution. Trade between the States there depends upon the interpretation that the Courts have given to the Acts passed by Congress, which has power to regulate trade and commerce among the States. We in Australia, guided by the experience of the United States of America, decided to put the matter, once and for all, beyond the judicial interpretation of an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament by making it part of the Constitution itself. The action taken by the New South Wales Government, as well as that taken in South Australia, has given rise to apprehension, and it must be obvious to Ministers that the matter is of more than ordinary importance at the present juncture. It is quite open for any aggrieved individual to take action to assert his right, under the Constitution, to freedom of trade as between the States. But the circumstances that have been cited will affect, not merely individuals, but the whole of a State, and possibly States other than Tasmania. While an individual citizen could take action before a competent tribunal, the proceedings might occupy a considerable time, and the very mischief which he set out to remedy might occur long before there was a determination by the tribunal whose assistance he had invoked. I urge the Government to consider the seriousness and extent of the danger threatening Tasmania, and possibly other States. This is a matter for Government action. Private individuals, not merely on account of the expense involved, should not be asked to take the responsibility of invoking the appropriate tribunal. Time in this matter is a very valuable consideration. The Government can act in the most expeditious and satisfactory way, and in relation, not to any isolated case, but to the general principle as applicable throughout the Commonwealth.
.- I shall have the matter raised by Senator O’Loghlin looked into. The instructions to censors are that they are not to allow misleading or false statements to be circulated. As to the question raised by Senators Bakhap and Keating, I am sure that they will not expect me to express any opinion to-night. I can only promise them that I shall see that the matter they have ventilated to-night is considered. I shall, with their permission, obtain proof copies of theHansard report of their speeches, and bring them under the notice of the Prime Minister, so that he may consider what action, if any, shall be taken in the matter.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.32 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 25 November 1914, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1914/19141125_senate_6_75/>.