6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister of Homo Affairs been called to an article in the West Australian, published at Perth, on the 16th April of this year, and headed “ Federal Line. A trip on the Kalgoorlie section. Some Aspects of Construction Works”; and also to another article published in the same newspaper on the 18th April, and headed “ The Federal Line, Industrialism and Politics; some Effects of Workers’ Control “1 Will the Minister get his officers to inquire about these articles, and find out if the allegations therein made against members of this Parliament, and also against workers engaged on the line, are true or otherwise ?
– My attention has not previously been drawn to the articles, but if the honorable senator will let me have a memorandum on the subject I shall have inquiries made through the officers of the Department.
Operations in the Dardanelles.
– Is the Minister of Defence in a position to give any information to the Senate as to the correctness or otherwise of a newspaper report, this morning, that colonial troops will form the backbone of certain operations in the Dardanelles, and, if so, does the report refer to any of the Australians?
– It is a report of a press statement which appeared in the Daily Telegraph, of London. I have no information which I could make available to the public at the present juncture.
Maximum Age of Employment
– Has the Minister representing the Minister of Home Af fairs been supplied yet with any information regarding the regulation of the Home Affairs Department which prevents the employment of men over a certain age?
– The information desired is not yet tojiancl^but if the honorable senator will repeat the question at a later stage to-day theinformation will be supplied.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Will the Minister inform the Senate if any mail contractors have received any consideration owing to the difference in the cost of horse feed from the time the contracts were entered into until now; if not, does he not consider that, where loss can ho proved, some relief should be given?
– The answer is -
Not up to the present. Each case will be dealt with on its merits.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are-
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Motion (by Senator Story) agreed to-
That one month’s leave of absence be granted to Senator Senior, on account of ill-health.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The measure does not contain any important principles. It is largely like the one we dealt with yesterday, its object being to fill up gaps which have been discovered. The most important thing it deals with is fixing the application of the Army Act. Under section 55 of the principal Act, when Defence Forces of the Commonwealth are called out for active service, the Army Act applies, but the Act is somewhat vague. It is desired to make the Act more definite, to show that it applies within or without the limits of the Commonweal tli, and an amendment is submitted for that purpose. At the beginning of this session we passed an amending Defence Bill, which was intended to legalize the raising of Expaditionary Forces. As honorable senators are aware, on the outbreak of war this Government took the necessary action to raise Expeditionary Forces. There was really no complete authority in the Defence Act for that purpose, and the Bill then brought in was to legalize the action, but, unfortunately, it was not dated back to thecommencement of the war, and, therefore, it only had effect from the date of its being assented to, which, of course, was subsequent to the raising of the Expeditionary Force sent to New Guinea. It is desirable that we should bring these actions of the previous Government within the scope of the law. I may say that certain action in connexion with the first Expeditionary Force, although it has bsen disbanded, has become necessary; and in order to make quite sure that we can take that action under the Defence Act, it is essential that we should date the amending Bill back to the 1st August. Therefore an amendment is brought forward in this measure.
– But war was not declared until the 4th August.
– Certain action was taken as soon as it became known that the position was strained, Snd that war was likely to be declared; it was thought best to make sure. Again, in raising permanent forces, there are restrictions as to the kind of forces which can be raised. It has become necessary that we should have a survey branch associated with the Defence Department. There are certain portions of the Commonwealth, notably near defended ports, where it becomes essential for defence purposes that there should be a vary minute survey of the land, and that survey has been going on for some time. But there had to be an authority in the Defence Act to authorize the appointment of a survey corps, and therefore we now ask for an amendment to be made. In connexion with these surveys, the surveyors have to enter upon private lands and put marks there in order to determine the contour of the country. At present there is nothing to” safeguard the Department if any of the marks are removed or tampered with, and therefore it is necessary that we should have power to protect them. Of course, if any damage is done to land, the owner is entitled to compsnsation, and provision is made by which compensation can be recovered. That provision is made in the principal Act, but it is necessary that the survey parties should have the power to put up marks on private land in order to carry out their work. The Bill contains a clause of a rather important character, dealing with the allocation of money to the dependents of soldiers in the Expeditionary Forces. On this matter the Department has come in for a considerable amount of criticism. But in very many cases the delay in the payment has on investigation been discovered toibe due to the fact that some married men gave to their wives an undertaking - in some cases a letter - that they would allocate a certain amount of their money to them, but they signed the attestation form as single men, and did not fill out an allocation order after the troops had left Australia.
Honorable senators will see that allocation orders would not come into effect until after the troops had left Australia. A soldier is paid directly until he leaves the Commonwealth. The position in regard to these men would not be discovered until some little time after the troops had left. Very frequently the first information the Department received was by means of a letter from a member of Parliament complaining that some woman had not received any payment, or of a letter in the press, complaining that a woman had not received the amount allotted to her. On investigation it was found in very many cases that no allocation order had been left by the soldier, and in some cases that the soldier had signed as a single man. Where the woman was able to establish that she was married to the soldier or to produce a letter - and this applied in some cases to other than married women - and we could compare the signature of the man with the signature on the attestation form, and satisfy ourselves that it was a genuine case - this occurred in the case of illegitimate children where the man had promised the woman that certain payments would be made, and given an undertaking that he would issue an allocation order - the Department, acting upon that information, and without any authority from the man, has allocated money, and I think honorable senators will agree that it is the right thing to do. We want legal authority for that action. There are many cases where, unless that authority is given, it is quite on the cards that if these soldiers come back the Defence Department may be held liable to pay them the full amount of the money so allocated, because we have acted without authority from the soldier concerned in what we have done. It is only right that the persons whom these soldiers have left behind, and who were dependent upon them, should receive a certain amount of their pay. We are, under this Bill, asking that where no allocation order has been made, and the Minister is satisfied upon proof submitted that an allocation order should have been made, we may allocate a certain sum. In order to legalize what has already been done in this way, it is provided that this clause shall operate as from- the 1st August.
– Has it been discovered that a large number of married men’ have signed on as single men ?
– When we are dealing with a force of 70,000 men, the honorable senator will understand that, though there may be a considerable number who have done so, they do not represent any large proportion of the Forces. Another matter with which the Bill deals, and which I admit requires some con-* sideratiou, is the provision sought to bemade where a citizen soldier is discharged by an employer because he has absented himself in order to attend to his military duties. Under the principal Act, an employer is liable to a fine if he discharges an employe because he has absented himself from his service for the purpose of carrying out military duties, such as attendance at camp, or at a drill or parade properly called. It is provided further that the onus of proof that the citizen, soldier has. not been discharged for this reason lies upon the employer. The opinion was expressed at the time this section was passed that it would be found to be inoperative, but I can assure honorable senators that I do not know of a single case of a prosecution under the section in which we have not succeeded in having the employer fined. Of course, every case reported is sent on to the Crown Law authorities to say whether a prosecution would be likely to be successful. An important point has arisen for consideration. The citizen soldier discharged for having attended his military duties suffers the loss of his employment, and it is no recompense to him that his employer should be fined. He loses hia employment and his wages, and may for some time be out of work. We consider that in such a case the Minister should have power to direct that the whole or any portion of the fine imposed upon an employer under the section should be paid to the soldier to recompense him for the loss of his employment. These cases are Vied before stipendiary magistrates, and when such Courts find that a soldier has been discharged from his employment by reason of the fact that he has absented himself for the purpose of carrying out duties which he is compelled by law to perform, we think it is not unreasonable that the Minister should have power to say, if- a fine is recorded against the employer, “ This man lost three weeks’ wages, and I award him so much of the fine imposed upon his employer as amounts to three weeks’ wages.”
– What is usually the amount of the fine in such cases?
– The employer in such a case may be fined up to £100 under the section. The highest fine I know to have been recorded was £50, and usually the fine imposed has been £25. The practical operation of the section at present is that both employer and employe are punished. The employer is fined for discharging his employe, and the employe is penalized by the loss of his employment for faithfully carrying out his military duties. We do not think that that should be so. Where it is proved that a man has been discharged from his employment because of his attendance in the performance of his military duties, he certainly should not suffer. It is generally regarded as a vicious’ principle that a private person should benefit pecuniarily as the result of the prosecution of another person by the Government. Lawmakers generally set their faces against provisions having that effect, because it is said that they have a tendency to encourage bogus prosecutions and tha getting up of faked cases. But in cases arising under this section, the military authorities first satisfy themselves that there is a prima facie case. The papers are then sent on to the Crown Law officers, who go into them, and recommend whether a prosecution should follow or not. I do not know whether honorable senators will consider an adjournment of the debate on the second reading of this Bill necessary. I spoke to the Leader of the Opposition on the subject; he had a copy of the Bill, and he told me he did not see that there was anything in the Bill that necessitated delay in passing it. If honorable senators are prepared too go on with the consideration of the Bill now, I shall be pleased ; but if they require an adjournment of the debate, I shall raise no objection.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania) £11.21]. - I have just heard the assurance of the Minister that he had a conversation with the Loader of the Opposition with regard to the passage of the Bill. I had not an opportunity of seeing, the Leader of the Opposition before he was recalled to Sydney, but I can- quite understand his saying that he saw no reason for an adjournment of the debate on the second reading. It rests with the Senate to say whether the measure shall be proceeded with now, or the debate adjourned.
– The third reading will have to stand over till Wednesday in any case.
– I was going to remark that the Bill would not be passed through all its stages to-day, and if there should appear to be any necessity for the reconsideration of any points in connexion with it, they can be dealt with at the third -reading stage next week. I saw the Bill for the first time this morning, when I received it with my papers. I have listened carefully to what the Minister said in moving the second reading, and so far as I have been able to look through the Bill in conjunction with the Defence Act 1903-14, there appears to be nothing in it demanding a lengthy consideration by the Senate. There is one clause, the purport of which I have not quite grasped. It refers to section 7 of a Defence Act we passed this session, and makes that section operative as from the first day of August last. As the session is still continuing, the Acts passed during the session have not yet been bound, but a loose copy of the Act refered to is obtainable. The Defence Act 1903-14 is the Defence Act as originally introduced, and amended up to date, and it requires some little search to ascertain how section 7 of the Act of this session affects that Act. It would seem that the clauses of this Bill are really machinery provisions found to be necessary to perfect, strengthen, and tighten the sections of the existing Defence Act. We are now actually engaged in war, and the provisions affected by these proposed amendments were drafted at a time when war was not immediately contemplated. I direct attention to the last matter to which the Minister referred, namely, the appropriation of penalties which may be imposed upon persons who prevent their employes from rendering military service. There is much to be said for the proposal to allow an employe discharged for attending his military duties to receive a portion of the penalty imposed in such a case upon his employer. I should like to suggest that when we come to deal with the clause referred to it would be well to consider whether the appropriation of the penalty or any portion of it, should rest with the Minister or with the Court which imposes the penalty. At first blush I am inclined to think that the Court is the better authority for determining the matter. If it rested with the Court to appropriate the penalty, or any portion of it, for the benefit of the employe prevented from rendering service, the Court would be able to take that fact and all facts into consideration when imposing the penalty. I make the suggestion in no spirit of hostility to the present or any other Minister of Defence, but I should like honorable senators to seriously consider whether the Court imposing the penalty would not be the better authority to determine the matter.
– What is the usual practice where penalties are appropriated in the way proposed?
– In some cases it is provided, for instance, that half the penalty imposed shall go to the informant. I think there are cases in which the Courts determine whether the penalty, or a portion of it, shall be allotted to the injured person or the informant, as the case may be. The matter is one of detail, but before the measure is finally dealt with I hope that the Minister and the Attorney-General’s Department will give it consideration. If the course I suggest were followed I point out that it would at least relieve the Minister of what, in some cases, might be considered an invidious duty.
– It seems to me to be a strange omission in the principal Act that it does not include powers to survey land which we may require to use for military purposes. I suppose that the fact that we are now engaged in war accounts for the discovery of this omission. No one will object to give the fullest powers necessary for the proper carrying out of all defence operations. I am pleased to hear that the Government has taken action to compel members of the Expeditionary Forces who have gone abroad to make some provision for those whom they have left behind and who were dependent upon them. I hope that the appropriation of the wages of members of the Expeditionary Forces will not be confined to the rank and file. I trust that men in higher positions in the service will be compelled to do their duty towards those they have left behind them, especially in the case of wives and children.
– Many married officers have taken the same course as the married rank and file, and allowed certain payments to be made to their wives.
– Perhaps the. honorable senator has information that X have not. The only complaint that I have had has been against the Department for the inconsistent treatment of rankers and officers, notably, in the case of a major who went away with one of the contingents. This case is a perfect scandal in Perth - one of the most scandalous possible. I have applied to the Defence Department to get bare justice for the wife and children, but have absolutely failed. This officer left a wife and three children, who are actually living on the charity of neighbours, and of the clergyman of the denomination to which the wife belongs. She has been sick, and I have had medical certificates to that effect, which I have sent to the Defence Department, with the testimony of men occupying high positions in Perth, and all the satisfaction that I could get from the Department was that, as the major had left no authority behind him-
– The trouble was that he did leave an authority. He left an allocation order to some one other than his wife.
– If Senator Pearce had waited until I finished my sentence, I should have explained that the officer left an allocation order to his sister, who, according to the evidence I have got, has been the busybody, and has caused a good deal of the trouble to this woman and her children. No matter what allocation order was left, the Department had no right to ignore the claims of the wife and children. It is scandalous that any woman in Mrs. Mills’ position should be actually living on the charity of neighbours and of her clergyman.
– The Minister is now asking for the power; he had not the power before.
– I have read the clause and would prefer that the honorable senator should tell me something I do not know. I hope that the major and others of his type will be compelled to do the right thing by their families. The Minister has admitted taking the law into his own hands in other cases, whether he had legal authority to act or not, and I was therefore the more surprised to get a communication from him to the effect that as this officer had not given any legal authority for payment to be made to his wife, the solicitor of the Department had advised that nothing should be done, for otherwise the Government would be held responsible for any money they might give away. Why should an officer’s money be held sacred in that way, when the money of other men in the contingents has been distributed according to the Minister’s will?
– Are the cases on all fours?
– I do not know what the other cases are. I know that this case is a scandalous one.
– Does not the allocation order to the sister rob the Minister of his power to make payment to the wife?
– I do not think it does; and even if it does, what about the authority the Minister has taken in other cases?
– That is where there is no allocation order left.
– What right had the Minister to ignore this man’s wife and children?
– I did not ignore them. It was the man himself who did so.
– He had no right to ignore them. Senator Shannon is evidently quite satisfied that they should be ignored, to judge by the frequency and tenor of his interjections.
– I am not. I want to put the man’s “ pot “ on if he has done wrong.
– If this man had not been drawing such good pay, I could have understood the excuse being made that he had not enough to distribute amongst so many, hut it is utterly wrong for a man drawing such a good “ screw “ to refuse to make any provision for his wife simply because he may have had a difference of opinion or quarrel with her. Even if he had, he could have no quarrel with his children, who certainly should not be dependent upon the charity of the public while their father is drawing a good salary from the taxpayers, and he and his sister are allowed to do what they like with it. The case was of sufficient gravity for the Department to take the law into its own hands and distribute the man’s pay in a different way. I am glad the Government now see the necessity for legal authority to deal with such a case.
– This Bill will not give the Minister authority to do what you suggest.
– Yes, it will. Clause 6(da) gives the power.
– That provision is sufficiently comprehensive to extend to very distant relatives, to say nothing of the wife and children of any member of the Expeditionary Forces. I certainly hope we shall see justice done. I am surprised indeed that when the Minister has dealt in a different way with other cases, a glaring case of this kind should have been so persistently ignored by him when the matter was brought before him.
– It is not right to say that it was ignored.
– It was ignored so far as concerns giving relief to the wife and children.
– I did not have the power.
– The Minister had not the power in other cases, but he acted. Why did he not do the same in this case?
– In those cases no allocation order was left; in this ease there was.
– What difference does that make? What sort of a miserable excuse is it to say that, because an allocation order is left in favour of a person who has little or no claim on the money, you will recognise that allocation and ignore the fact that the man’s wifeand children are left without anything tolive on, and have actually to subsist on the charity of the public?
– Do you contend that the Minister has the power to tell a man how he shall leave his money, simply because he is a soldier?
– The Minister has told us that he took that power into his own hands.
– The Act gives that power where no order has been made. But if, as in this case, an order was left by the man in favour of his sister, do you contend that the Minister should have the same power?
– The Act did not give him power; but he took the power, and in doing so did right. My contention is that he should have ignored the allocation to the sister and done justice to the wife and children. They had the first claim on the money.
– That is another matter. We should require fresh legislation to do that.
– I do not think you require any legislation to relieve such a glaring case.
– The man might contend that it was not an injustice, and how could the Minister be the judge?
– I would not hesitate to act in a case like this, where an officer goes off without making provision for his wife and children. Is there any question of what should be done in a case of that sort?
– It is generally accepted that a man ought to be able to give instructions for his money to be paid to any person he likes.
– Then your argument is simply that any officer or member of the Forces may say, “ You can give my money to anybody you like; here is an order for it, but I can clear out and leave to the charity of the public those who have natural claims upon me.”
– Order ! Will the honorable senator address the Chair?
– I was not aware that I was not doing so. I have repeated your name, Mr. President, often enough in my few remarks. I do not wish to ignore you, nor did I intend in anything I have said to give the impression that I was doing so. If interjections are made I must reply to them.
– I am not alluding to that in any way. The honorable senator was addressing another honorable senator directly,’ a practice which is contrary to the Standing Orders. If that were allowed, the debate might tend to become a squabble between honorable senators. The Standing Orders clearly provide that an honorable senator must address his remarks to the Chair, and through the Chair to other honorable senators.
– If the Rannard record is appealed to, I think it will be found that I did not mention Senator O’Keefe’s name at all.
-The honorable senator, in replying to Senator O’Keefe, used the word “ you,” as he did previously in replying to other honorable senators. That practice is not in accordance with the Standing Orders.
– If I have transgressed the rules or ruffled your feelings by the manner in which I have spoken, I am very sorry. A gross injustice has been done in the case I have put before the Chamber, and I have a perfect right to let the public know it. I have failed to get the matter righted by correspondence. Responsible people in Western Australia have handed me full particulars and proofs of the statements I have made. . I have statements from the doctor attending the wife, from the clergyman who is looking after the wants of the family, and from the lawyer who is interested in the case; yet I have failed to get justice done. The method I have now adopted is the only one available to me to ventilate a case of this kind, and I am simply doing my duty in bringing it forward publicly. If there is no power in the hands of the Minister to do the barest justice, to insist on members of the Forces who go abroad making provision for their helpless dependants - and in this case all that was asked for was enough to provide the bare necessaries of life for a delicate wife and young family - the sooner we give that power the better.
– I am quite certain thai every honorable senator will sympathize with the case which has been brought under our notice by Senator de Largie. It is a gross scandal that a member of our Expeditionary Forces should be able to do what is alleged to have been done by Major Mills. But I think we should only be raising false hopes if we imagined for a moment that that case would be covered by clause 6 of this Bill. The Minister, by way of interjection, while Senator de Largie was speaking, made his position in this matter abundantly clear. He has exercised his undoubted powers in cases in which men who have gone to the front have left no allocation orders at all. But in cases in which men who have enlisted have expressly directed that their wages shall be paid to certain individuals, I do not think there is any law which can empower the Minister to ignore such direction. It may be true that Major Mills has practically deserted his wife and three children. It may be - as has been affirmed by Senator de Largie - that he lias ordered his wages to be paid to some relative other than his wife. But the Minister has no authority to nullify that order and direct that the money due to Major Mills shall be paid to the woman who is declared to be his wife for her maintenance and that of her children. To assume that this Bill contains provision under which such an injustice can be remedied would be only to raise false hopes.
– We have the assurance of the Minister that the Bill will cover such cases.
– How can it do so 1 It is plainly intended to cover only cases in which no order has been left as to the allocation of wages due to any member of our Expeditionary Forces. In the case of men who have left specific orders the Minister has no authority to disregard them.
Senator O’KEEFE (Tasmania) I’ll. 51]. - I do not want Senator de Largie to misunderstand my interjection. Like Senator Henderson, I am very sorry that the Minister has no power to meet such cases as that which has been brought forward. I have no personal knowledge of the facts, but from the statements which have been made I am bound to believe that the case is an extremely hard one. I am willing to do anything in my power to tighten up the provisions which govern the action of the Minister in such circumstances. But my interjections were intended to convey that I do not think the Minister, under existing regulations, can allocate to himself the duties of a judge as between a member of our Expeditionary Forces and his wife.
– But he took unto himself that power in other cases.
– When the honorable senator was’ speaking, the Minister interjected that in cases in which no allocation orders have been left he had power to allocate the money.
– He did not. He admitted that he had no power to take the matter into his own hands.
– But in the case to which the honorable senator has directed our attention the Minister was prevented from doing that by reason of the fact that Major Mills had specifically allocated his wages. Any man acting in that way may be a very bad citizen, but that does not justify us in imposing on the Minister the duty of acting as an arbiter in such cases. If we accept for service abroad a married man who has a family dependent upon him, and who leaves definite instructions that all moneys payable to him shall be allocated in a certain way, are we going to authorize the Minister to override his directions? I say no. If an injustice will be inflicted on a wife or family by accepting a mau for service in our Expeditionary Forces, we ought not to enlist him.
– But the man may be accepted and have gone to the front before the fact is known.
– There are dozens of cases in which injustice has been done to wives and families in other directions. If this woman knew that her husband intended leaving her without means of support, I imagine that she could have obtained redress by having him arrested as an intending deserter.
– He went away with the first Expeditionary Force.
– Did not his wife know that he intended going ?
– He was at Broadmeadows for weeks.
– I understand that a separation took place long before.
– That is another aspect of the case. If a separation took place some time previously, it was doubtless for some reason, and the Minister would have a big task thrust upon him if he were called upon to discharge the duties of a Judge in such matters.
– We would first require to know the terms of the separation.
– Wherever a maintenance order from a Court is produced, the Defence Department give it preference over any allocation order.
– And very properly so. Whilst we fully sympathize with this woman-
– A lot of good sympathy is to a starving family.
– My sympathy as a member of this Chamber will be more practical than that. I am perfectly willing to do anything we can to provide for such cases. So far, however, we have made no provision to meet them, because the Minister has not the requisite powers.
– Whilst Senator do Largie is entitled to credit for his action in bringing this case under our notice, I feel sure that this discussion will result in some good. In moving the second reading of this Bill, I understood the Minister to say that provision had already been made under which any person serving with the colours could allocate his wages to anybody whom he selected to receive thom. But, in reply to an interjection drawn from him by Senator de Largie, I gathered that it also authorized him to deal with cases such as that which is now under review.
– I think it will cover such cases.
– Then we may be opening a very wide door for abuse. In the case mentioned by Senator de Largie, the hands of the Minister have been effectually tied. Are we now going to enact legislation to untie his hands, »nd thus allow him to violate a direction which has already been given by Major Mills? I ask the Minister to look into this phase of the question, because I recognise that Senator de Largie would be a law unto himself, and would, if he had the power so to do, pay that officer’s wages to his wife.
– The Minister has admitted that he has taken the law into his own hands, and I commend him for so doing. I have merely criticised his action in cases in which he has not adopted that course.
– It appears to me that the Minister’s hands are tied by reason of the circumstance that Major Mills has made an allocation order. Now the question arises, “ Are we going to empower the Minister to override such an order?” I hope that, in his reply, the Minister will enlighten us on that point.
– This Bill is, I am sure, more or less a military necessity, and in that respect is unimpeachable. I intend to offer no opposition to it, but it affords me an opportunity of making a few remarks upon clause 6. I suppose that when a man gets a fixed idea in his mind he can scarcely resist ventilating it upon, every conceivable occasion. But, notwithstanding that I may be charged with entertaining a fixed idea in regard to military service, I feel that I would be lacking in my duty if I did not say something upon the question of enlisting married men. When our first Expeditionary Force was being recruited, I took exception to the manner in which married men were being taken from the ranks of our Australian population. Some time ago I asked the Minister of Defence if he could inform me what was the percentage of married men who had enlisted as part of the first Expeditionary Force.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that there is no provision in this Bill dealing with the enlistment of married men.
– I do not question your ruling, Mr. President, but I would draw your attention to the fact that clause 6 is designed to meet cases which may arise because of the presence of married men in the Forces. After a good deal of trouble, the Minister very kindly furnished me with a paper showing that 12 per cent, of the men in the ranks of the first Expeditionary Force were married.
-. - Officers and men.
– That is quite true. At that time I formed the opinion that many men had enlisted as single men when, as a matter of fact, they were married; and the sequel has demonstrated that this was so. The discussion has also proved how injudicious it was to enlist so many married men as members of our overseas Forces. We are bound to have some married men in our Forces, and I do not think that the principle of not using married men at all, especially wb«n they possess sound military knowledge, should be insisted upon. I know that many officers with family responsibilities were in a position to make satisfactory provision for those left behind, irrespective of the fact that they were in receipt of military pay. Notwithstanding that I have no English blood in my veins - I have some British blood - I am as strongly desirous of British supremacy as any other member of this National Legislature. I confess, however, that I have systematically dissuaded married men from enlisting; and, on the other hand, I have done all I possibly could to encourage single men to become members of the Expeditionary Forces in the service of their country. Apart from the fact that an unsatisfactory position is sometimes likely to arise in the allocation of pay for the dependants of married men remaining in Australia, it is impolitic that we should have such a large number of married men in the Forces, because of the probability that this course is likely, sometimes, to bring about an undesirable state of affairs in respect to the greatest of all social relationships. I simply wish to stress the arguments which I used at considerable length two or three days ago, in order that honorable senators will see the undesirability, from a social and economic stand-point, of enlisting married men for overseas service. Of course, if Australia is attacked at any time it will then be the obligation of every man, whether married or single, to do his best in that sphere which might be allocated to him under military law. I pointed out a few days ago that we have 500,000 single men of military age in the Commonwealth, and, in view of that fact, I hope that some step will be taken to check what I regard as a bad policy, the systematic enlistment of married men, more particularly as we are enlisting our Forces rather leisurely, and are preparing them still more leisurely, for the front.
– I have no objection to Senator Keating’s suggestion to invest the Court with power to allocate money, but 1 can certainly see very great possibilities of the Minister being put into a difficult position. The case brought forward by Senator de Largie is entirely different to the position I outlined when moving the second reading of the Bill. I was dealing there with the case of soldiers who had made no allocation of their money ; and in the case quoted by Senator de Largie it has been shown thatthe officer had made an allocation. It has to be remembered that the pay of the officer or of a soldier is his own property. It- belongs to him by right of his contract with the Defence authorities.
– Can the Minister say what is the pay of a major ? Senator PEARCE. - Somewhere about £450 a year, with field allowances.
– This man to whom I refer draws about £12 a week.
– Probably that is so; but, as I have said, under the contract between the Government and the soldier, the pay belongs to the soldier just, as our salary as members of Parlia ment is ours. When asked to make his allocation order for dependants in Australia, he has a right to allocate his money in any way he thinks fit. In this particular case, it is not desirable that we should go into that part of it which concerns only the man and his wife. I understand there has been a dispute of longstanding between the two, as the result of which they are not living togetherThe officer, in allocating his pay to his sister, made the further statement that it was to be paid to his sister on behalf of his wife and children, so that they should be provided for. Now, it appears that Senator de Largie says that we should set aside that order and that I, as Minister of Defence, should be the judge, and take upon myself the responsibility of allocating the money to his wife. If I did that in this case, I would have to do it in other similar cases, and therefore I would constitute myself a judge of matrimonial causes.
– Why should yOn not allow every case to be decided on its merits ? You have done so in other cases.
– No. Senator de Largie is entirely wrong when he says that. What I have done is this: Where a soldier has made no allocation order, and where, subsequently, in the case of a married man, the wife produces a letter in which the husband says - “I am allocating portion of my pay to you,” the Department takes the responsibility oi doing it on the authority of the letter, after the signature has been verified by the records of the Department.
– Did you have any legal authority to do that?
– No, we did not; and we are now asking Parliament to legalize what we have done. This is quite a different thing to the course which Senator de Largie suggests, because in the case he refers to, there is an allocation order made out properly according to the regulations.
– In the case of starvation you have a right to do it.
– Senator de Largie says that I should ignore this order. I am not sure if I told him that we referred the whole case to the Crown Law authorities and were advised that we had no power to pay any of this money to Mrs. Mills.
– Did you take the advice of the Crown Law authorities in the other cases ?
– Yes; and that is the reason for this Bill. The difference between the case mentioned by Senator de Largie and the others to which I refer is very clear. In the latter cases we had authority in the letters written by the men to their wives, which would probably be acknowledged by the men themselves. They could not dispute them. There was another case in which we had an order of the Court. In the case mentioned by Senator de Largie, the woman had the power to sue her husband for maintenance before he joined the Military Forces, and if an order for maintenance were given, we should observe it.
– What authority have you for that statement?
– The authority of the correspondence in the Department.
– It is the first I have heard of it.
– The honorable senator does not deny, surely, that the wife would have the right to sue her husband for maintenance.
– Not if she had sufficient reason. She has the right now.
– I understand the position is the same as before he joined the Expeditionary Forces.
– That is news to me.
– Under the clause as it now stands, it will be possible for the Minister, if he is satisfied that there is an injustice, to allocate some of the officer’s pay for that purpose.
– Even where another allocation order has been made?
– Yes, if the allocation order is against the spirit of the regulation. That is to say, in the case of a dispute between the husband and wife, it is undoubtedly the husband’s duty to contribute to the support of the children though the wife may have done something to put herself outside all claims upon her husband. There may be cases in which the husband has not left money to his children, and, if so, the Minister would be justified in seeing that the children are provided for.
– Would there be any difficulty in this particular case in getting a maintenance order now?
– I am not prepared to answer that question off-hand, but I should say, as regards the children, there would be no difficulty. I am also informed that in this particular case the payment to the sister is made on behalf of his wife and children.
– Why did not the children get it then ?
– I am not in a position to say, but I know that there have been cases where a wife, having deserted her husband and family, leaving the children to her husband, has come along and claimed part of his pay. In such a case, of course nobody would say that we should pay any portion to such a wife as that. Therefore, you cannot deal with the cases except on their merits.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 -
Section one hundred and thirty-four of the Principal Act is amended by adding at the end thereof the following sub-section: - “(3) The Minister may direct that the whole or any part of any penalty recovered from an employer for penalizing or prejudicing in his employment or attempting to penalize or prejudice in his employment any employe for rendering or being liable to render the personal service required of him or for attending a camp of instruction as aforesaid may be paid to the employe.”
Section proposed to be amended - 1.34. - (1.) No employer shall prevent, or attempt to prevent, any employee who is serving orliable to serve in the Cadets or Citizen Forces . . . from rendering the personal service required of him, or from attending any camp of instruction appointed to be held by the Head-Quarters of the Commonwealth or any Military District, and no employer shall in any way penalize or prejudice in his employment or attempt to penalize or prejudice in his employment any employee for rendering or being liable to render such personal service, or for attending such camp, either by reducing his wages or dismissing him from his employment or in any other manner:
Provided that this section shall not be construed to require an employer to pay an employee for any time when he is absent from employment for the purpose of training.
Penalty: One hundred pounds.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That the word “Minister” be left out with the view to insert in lien thereof the word “ Court.”
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment.
Debate resumed from 22nd April (vide page 2526), on motion by Senator Pearce) -
That the Ministerial statement read to the Senate by the Minister of Defence on 14th April be printed.
– It seems to me that the debate on the Ministerial statement has been fairly well threshed out, but I desire to offer a few remarks to the Senate. First, let me congratulate the Prime Minister and his colleagues upon the very capable manner in which they have handled the affairs of Australia in the most unparalleled stress which, so far, we have had to face. According to their own statement, and I think according to the opinion of a majority of the people of Australia, if not of all, the Government have done extremely well in securing the financial stability of the Commonwealth in undoubtedly a most serious situation. Therefore, I think that we may fairly congratulate Ministers upon having spared no pains and performed every duty requisite to the well being of this growing country. The magnitude of the work which has been performed by the Government, and the efforts which have been put forward by Australians generally, have been fully recognised throughout the civilized world. Of course, we must make an exception of Senator Bakhap. I admit that he had a sort of complaint to level against Australia in regard to what might be called the general apathy she had shown towards the position as it now presents itself in the Empire. Were I to say that he actually complained, the probability is that he would deny my statement, and plead that he did not complain of Australia’s failure to do something, but of Australia not having done just enough. That is, I think, the position he would take up. But the distinction between the two positions is so fine that I am inclined to regard his statement as, in a morbid way, a complaint against all concerned. I propose to quote an opinion expressed some time ago by an authority that I am sure
Senator Bakhap will not repudiate. I refer to the London Times. It takes quite a different view of what Australia has done, and is doing, from that which was expressed by my honorable friend. According to the Sydney Daily Telegraph of 20th April, the London Times, in a leading article, on the 6th March, said -
We publish a remarkable list of the liberal gifts showered upon the joint committee of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John from all parts of the British Empire, and particularly from Australia. It is a record which must appeal vividly to all who have sufficient imagination to perceive what lies behind an imposing column of figures and a varied list of commodities. The three thousand odd bales and cases of hospital stores and clothing represent between 40 and 50 consignments sent at various times and from many parts of the Australian Commonwealth. Thousands of blankets and pillows, bandages, splints, crutches, and even safety pins show that not only a spirit of unstinting generosity, but an immense amount of careful thought, has gone to the choice of the gifts.
But Australia has not stopped there. Her richest industries have contributed each in its kind. A thousand carcases of frozen mutton, 1,079 crates of rabbits, 10 tons of butter, groceries, wines have been shipped to the stores department of the Red Cross, in order that, after the direct needs of the hospitals have been supplied, those goods not required for consumption in the hospitals might be sold to swell the funds of the joint committee. Other countries have contributed similarly according to their means. Egypt sends cigarettes; South Africa offers grapes as well as clothing. The isles also have brought gifts. Guava jelly from Montserrat, honey and walking-sticks from Jamaica, oranges from Dominica, Malta, and Trinidad - they pile up a wonderful miscellany of good and useful things. We may well take pride in the spirit of helpfulness which has produced so remarkable a result, and, while our gratitude goes out to all who have taken part in it, we would pay a special tribute of admiration to the signal effort of Australia.
– Was Tasmania in- cluded in Australia?
– Tasmania, I presume, comes in for her share of praise, even though Senator Bakhap discards the efforts she may have made.
– Oh, no. I do not discard her efforts, but I say that we could have done a great deal more in a military sense.
– Apart from that, let us look at one other thing. I have here a schedule of the gifts in money, as well as the gifts in kind, from Australia, up to the publication of that leading article in the
Times. Up to that time £119,136 had been contributed from Australia and .the oversea Dominions, and out of that sum the total received from the Commonwealth was £72,609. The schedule includes, in addition to Australia, no less than thirteen other oversea Dominions in the British Empire. Senator Bakhap believes that we should have done a great deal more than we have done, but it is evident that other people consider that we have done excellently. .We have, in fact, accomplished a great deal. I have now to refer to the matter which was really underlying Senator Bakhap’s complaint. He has told us that he believes in the principle of conscription. The honorable senator would conscribe every single man in Australia physically fit to perform military duty. I hope that there is no other man in Australia who favours the adoption of such a course. I believe that there is sufficient manhood and patriotism in the British race to make it unnecessary ever to adopt so barbarous a principle. We are in Australia providing by law for the compulsory military training of our youth. We are teaching them how to handle a gun and something of the art of warfare. When we have done that I have no fear that the British race in Australia has so deteriorated that our people will be found unwilling to face any foe in the defence of a righteous and legitimate cause. It is so that the whole of the people of the British Empire regard the cause for which they are fighting to-day, and in the defence of which they are prepared to expend not merely their last shilling, but their last man. We have been informed by the statement read by the Minister of Defence that over 70,000 of the manhood of Australia have been sent to the front, or are being prepared to go to the front. That is no inconsiderable proportion of our small population, and I have no doubt that the number can be brought up to 100,000 if necessary in the near future. I hope that the war will not continue much longer, but if it does, I. am satisfied that our trainees will show that they have the pluck and the patriotism to volunteer their services iD the defence of the Empire. Australia has done well up to the present, and has in fact done all that she could do. I have no doubt that she will continue to do equally well until the war is at an end. I should like to refer to what Senator Bakhap had to say as to the wages paid to our soldiers. He has told us that we might do better than we have done if we paid our ment ls. 2d. per day, which is the price put upon the services of the British soldier. The British soldier is a very cheap man.
– He is very cheap at that price.
– If Senator Bakhap had listened to Senator McDougall last night, he would know that there are several cheap things in that land of wealth and poverty that ara much to be deplored. We were told by Senator McDougall that there are men in the Old Country who receive for their work 15s. a week, and on this wage they are expected to keep their wives and families. This is in the country that is practically financing the civilized world to-day. It only goes to show that the ill-distribution of the wealth earned in the Old Country is its greatest curse.
– Should the war last for two or three years, does the honorable senator believe that the Imperial Government could keep 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 men in the field, and pay them 6s. per day per man?
– I do not know of anything to prevent that being done in view of the immense sources of wealth in the Old Country that are untapped. Those sources of wealth have been accumulating by the adoption of the very course which Senator Bakhap recommends, the payment of ls. 2d. per day to men who should have received six. or seven times that amount.
– The raising of revenue in Great Britain is already a serious matter.
– The wealth of England is a long way from being exhausted vet. Great Britain has for so long been paying her men 15s. per week for their toil, and her soldiers ls. 2d. per day for spending their blood and their lives on the field of battle, that she has been enabled to accumulatewealth to an enormous amount.
– And is able to fight . to a finish and win the war.
– Yes, I have not the slightest doubt that she will win the war, and she would not be any less likely to win if she paid her people and her soldiers a living wage.
– There is no objection to paying officers three or four guineas a day.
– No; of course, they are worthy of such payment; but when it is a question of the remuneration of “ the man behind the gun,” ls. 2d. a day is considered enough.
– Does Senator Henderson really believe that I consider that officers should be paid upon a lavish scale ?
– We have no evidence to show what the honorable senator believes should be done with the officers, but we have in print the statement of what he thinks should be done with the men. I repeat that the Empire will not be less likely to win in this conflict if our people are paid as they ought to be, the living wage which their labour is worth.
– I do not think that Mr. Lloyd George, democratic and radical financier as he is, would care to undertake the responsibility of finding the money.
– It is not a question of Mr. Lloyd George finding the money at all; the money is there. The industries are there, and they are finding the money out of the toil of the working people. I am glad that the Government, at no very distant date, propose to submit for our consideration a revision of the Tariff. The war should provide Australians with a very salutary lesson. It should show us the absolute necessity of utilizing every resource we have to make Australia a self-dependent country. When the Tariff comes before us for consideration, I shall on every occasion endeavour to have everything which is not produced in Australia placed upon the absolutely free list; but on the other hand I shall do all that lays in my power to impose as nearly as possible prohibitive duties upon everything that can be made in Australia. The war has shown us that we are in about the most dependent position that a country could be in. Where should we have been a few days after the war broke out if we were still paying a subsidy to the Old Country for the naval and military protection of the Commonwealth ? We should have had German rule in Australia, the German flag would probably have been hoisted over Sydney, and Senator Grant would have been made a prisoner, because it is a certainty that that flag would have been hoisted there.
– Where would the British Fleet have been?
– Looking after the North Sea, where it would have had quite enough to do.
– They looked round about Cape Horn and the Falkland Islands.
– They watched the Falkland Islands, and did it very well; but I maintain that Australia would have been in a helpless position if she had not made provision for the day that actually came. It certainly would have been better, as we all know now, if we had begun ten or twelve years ago ; but we made a commencement sufficiently early to enable us to prove ourselves of very salutary service to the Empire. Having accomplished that, our next need is to be able to make from our own raw material in our own factories every warlike requirement. We have the raw material and the men, and all that is necessary is to establish the industries, so that if any other disturbance of the kind takes place overseas we shall not have to look round to ascertain what material we are likely . to. be short of, but will be in a position of security.
– The need is not for conscription, but more munitions.
– Yes, we do not require conscription. We have the men, and our men have always shown themselves to have the pluck. I am quite satisfied that all that we need is an industrial development that will make Australia what it ought to be - selfcontained and independent. Nature has munificently provided us with resources, and all that we have to do now is to take advantage of them and make Australia what it should and will be - a country fitted for Australians.
Debate (on motion by Senator Guthrie) adjourned.
– I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Thursday next.
My reason for submitting this motion is that another place has not made the pro- gress we hoped it would make, and the measures with which we wish, to deal before the Senate adjourns have not reached us. I hope they will come up next week. There are two or three Bills dealing with war matters that the Government desire to get through as soon as possible, and I trust, therefore, that honorable senators will pardon us for calling them together for only two days next week. It must be done in case those Bills are ready.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– In speaking to the question that the Ministerial statement be printed, I made certain references to the manner in which the members of the Permanent Forces were denied that promotion in rank and payment in the shape of salary to which their qualifications and long service entitled them. I made special reference to one particular case, and the facts I adduced in support of it were contested by the Minister. I said that an appointment of, not only an absurd and stupid, but of an unjust, character had been made of a certain individual to take charge of the concentration camp at Claremont, in Tasmania. The Minister denied that any such mistake had been made. I further said that the appointment had been made in opposition to the recommendation of the Commandant. The Minister of Defence denied that the appointment had been so made.
– When did I deny that?
– The Minister denied it from his place in the Senate, when I was addressing myself to the question of the Ministerial statement.
– Do you mind quoting my denial, because I have Hansard here, and there is no such denial in it?
– It is a most extraordinary thing that if the Minister did not deny it he should have immediately communicated with the Commandant for Tasmania, asking for the confirmation or otherwise of the statement I made in that, respect.
– Do not dodge, now. You have made a statement, prove it.
– I am not going to dodge it; I am not going to follow the disreputable example of the Minister in that respect.
– Prove your statement.
– I shall prove it to the satisfaction of the Senate, if not of the Minister and some of his twopennyhalfpenny subordinates. I will produce the statement from these files.
– You said I denied it from my place in the House. Hansard shows no such statement on my part.
– I made the statement in the Senate the other night. This is the official file, and, consequently, I am justified in quoting from it. The Minister immediately sent a memorandum to his secretary, saying, “ Senator Long says that Captain Payne was put in charge of the concentration camp in Tasmania again =t the recommendation of the Commandant. Is this so? Please ascertain.”
– Was that your statement?
– That was my statement.
– And that has been shown to be incorrect?
– And that has been shown to be incorrect, but the Minister a. moment ago denied that he contested the view I had just presented to the Senate. He has just now affirmed it.
– I do now, but I still deny that I contested it from my placein the Senate. I did not deny your statement before, but I deny it now.
– Whether- the Minister denied it before or behind is quite, apart from the question at issue.
– Here in Hansard is your statement that Captain Payne was placed in command of the camp in opposition to the recommendation of the Commandant of Tasmania. There is no statement of mine following that.
– Without making any reflecton upon those who are charged with, the official recording- of honorable sena-. tors’ speeches, I may say that on reading one honorable senator’s speech recently I- found myself credited with making an interjection, although I was not in the chamber at the time. My mind is quite clear that at the time I made this statement the Minister contested the view I >ut forward.
– I did not, and that minute shows that I did not. I wrote it to find out the facts.
– If the Minister assures me that he did not, I have nothing further to say so far as that question is concerned, but there is no doubt that the Minister contests it now. To show how the appointment of Captain Payne was made, let me read the Commandant’s letter in respect of Captain Payne’s application.
– His application for what ?
– Will the Minister let me proceed in my own way t
– There are two applications from Captain Payne. That is where you want to confuse the issue.
– So that is where the Minister wants to make the quibble?
– No. One of his applications was for promotion to the rank of captain, and the other was for appointment to the command of the camp.
– The Minister knows that if Lieutenant Payne had not got promotion to the rank of captain he. could not have secured the position of officer in charge of the camp.
– Your statement was very definite.
– If that is the attitude the Minister is going to take up in respect of a gross injustice of this kind, the sooner he gets out of the Labour party the better, so far as I am concerned. We want justice, and I am going to insist on getting it. The Minister has contested my statement that this man was placed in charge of the camp in opposition to the wishes of the Commandant.
– Hear, hear!
– Then let us see what the letter of the Commandant was in respect of his promotion to the rank of captain.
– That is a different thing.
– Surely the one is governed by the other!
– You are going fro bring in a letter dealing with one thing to prove your statement dealing with another.
– I am going to do nothing of the kind. I am going to prove that this is a job that wants looking into, and that there is an absolute necessity for some investigation by this Parliament into the method by which appointments are made and promotions regulated by the military authorities of the Com m on wealth .
– It is to be hoped that you will have better grounds than this.
– And it is to be hoped that I shall have the sympathy of men other than the Minister, who talk3 a lot about labour and justice on the platform, but acts up to it in a very poor spirit in his place in Parliament. Notwithstanding the Minister’s attempt to haul me off the track, I want to read this letter to the Senate to show what justification there was for giving this gentleman the position of captain over members of the Administrative and Instructional Staff, and what further justification there could have been for placing him in absolute charge of the camp. That is the position which the Minister of Defence wants to justify. Colonel W. J. Clark, Commandant of Tasmania, wrote on 8th January, 1915, as follows: -
With reference to correspondence, Defence No. 23104, dated 31st tilt., Lieutenant L. H. Payne has been recommended by me for the rank of captain in the 93rd Infantry.
I do not, however, recommend him for temporary duty with rank of captain on the A. and I. Staff unless Lieutenants Davis and Tackaberry are first given the rank of captain at least temporarily.
I invite honorable senators’ attention to that. Does the Minister hear the Commandant’s statement, which shows that, despite his recommendation, Lieutenant Payne had been promoted to the position of captain ?
– Do not squirm. Do not evade the question. All that I am seeking to do is to remove what I believe to be a< gross injustice to men connected with the camp in Tasmania, and to men who have suffered a similar injustice in other parts of the Commonwealth. That is my sole object.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.
– When the sitting was suspended I was reading a letter from the Military Commandant of Tasmania, dated 8th January of the present year, in which he declined to recommend Lieutenant Payne for a captaincy until both Lieutenants Davis and Tackaberry had been given the rank of captain - at least temporarily. I desire to conclude my quotation of that letter, and I am afraid that I shall then have to leave the subject until another day, as I am anxious to catch a steamer to Tasmania at 3 o’clock. But there are several other phases of this question which I desire to put before the Minister, who, I feel certain, has not had a number of the letters which are included in the official file of papers brought under his notice. The Commandant of Tasmania went on to say -
I consider that to bring a senior officer on to the staff to perform duties under the officers named would create a highly undesirable situation, andbe prejudicial to the status of the permanent officers, and that it would be even better to put extra strain on those officers by going short-handed.
The concluding paragraph of his letter is most significant. It reads -
At the same time, I consider Mr. Payne suitable to perform junior staff work.
In the light of that communication, am I not justified in saying that Lieutenant Payne was promoted and placed in charge of the Instructional Staff at the camp in opposition to the recommendation of the Commandant of Tasmania?
– No. He was placed in charge of the camp on the recommendation of the Commandant.
– If the Minister is determined to split straws, and to shield his subordinate officers, who are responsible for this gross act of injustice, he is entitled to all the consolation he can get from his attitude. I know that when I resume my seat this discussion will cease, but I am particularly anxious to resume it at the earliest possible moment. In these circumstances, may I ask that the papers from which I wish to quote may be retained in the custody of the Senate until such time as the matter has been disposed of?
– They will go back to the table in the Library.
– I would remind the honorable senator that they are not in the custody of the Senate. They have been laid on the table of the Library.
– All I want is the assurance of the Minister that they will notbe returned to the Department until the matter has been disposed of.
– I am sorry that Senator Long has brought a matter of this kind before the Senate at all.
– May I ask the Minister to reserve his reply till a later date, as I must catch my steamer ?
– No. The statements of the honorable senator have been made to-day, and I intend to reply to them forthwith.
– Much as I desire to remain, I am sorry that I cannot.
– I cannot help that. Senator Long has brought this matter before the Senate, and I say that it is not of sufficient importance to justify the time of this Chamber being occupied with it. But the honorable senator threatened some time ago that he intended to make my position uncomfortable during this session, and I suppose that these are part of the tactics which he chooses to employ. They represent a commencement, I presume, of what I. may expect during the session. But this matter having been brought forward, I must, in justice to myself, reply to the statements that have been made. On page 2379 of Hansard for the current session Senator Long’s original statement appears. It reads -
Furthermore, be it remembered that that man - Captain Payne, as he is now - was placed in command of the camp in opposition to the recommendation of the Commandant of Tasmania.
To-day the honorable senator has been dealing with the promotion of Captain Payne from the rank of lieutenant, which he affirms was in opposition to the recommendation of the Commandant of Tasmania. It will thus be seen that his original statement deals with quite another matter. Senator Long did not inform me of his intention to raise this question to-day, and consequently in the statement which I am about to make I shall have to rely on the memory of those who have been dealing with it. When I sent my secretary to the Library for the papers relating to this matter, I found that they had been taken out of the Library. I was under the impression that nobody was allowed to take papers from the Library unless for the purpose of bringing them into either branch of this Parliament. But the papers to which I refer were not in the Library last night or this morning. I sent my secretary for them, not because Senator Long had told me that he intended to bring this matter before the Senate, but because of his threat to make my Ministerial position uncomfortable. Now the fact is that, owing to some instructional officers having been attached to the Australian Expeditionary Forces, the Department has had to adopt the system of getting quite a number of militia officers to temporarily fill their positions. Lieutenant Payne was in the militia, and consequently was not a permanent officer. The first question which arose was as to the appointment of a temporary officer on the Administrative and Instructional Staff. At that time the question of the command of the camp at Claremont, near Hobart, had not been raised. The authorities wished to strengthen the Administrative and Instructional Staff by filling up the gaps which had been created by the departure for the front of a number of permanent officers. The Commandant was asked whether he would recommend Captain Payne. He said that he would not recommend him as a captain temporarily on the Administrative and Instructional Staff unless Lieutenants Tackaberry and Davis - who. were not temporary, but permanent officers - were promoted to the position of captains. Honorable senators are well aware that the militia officers take rank in their regiments. The permanent officers are on a list by themselves, which is entirely distinct from the militia regiments. The promotion of permanent officers is governed by the vacancies which arise from time to time on the permanent officers’ list.
– They have an Australian Army list?
– Exactly, and they cannot be promoted unless there are vacancies. If a man is a lieutenant he cannot be promoted to a captaincy until a vacancy arises. When it does arise the senior lieutenant has a right to the promotion.
– Does the militia officer who is promoted retain his promoted rank permanently?
– Yes, unless hisappointment is a temporary one.
– Then he would get larger allowances than would the regular officer who filled the position before him ?
– Not if he were of the same rank.
– He would get a larger allowance if he were placed in the position of a regular officer.
– If he held a higher rank he would, but not otherwise. The conditions governing promotions are entirely different. In the militia regimentin which Payne happened to be, the conditionsgoverning his promotion were that a vacancy occurred in the regiment, and that he had passed an examination and was most qualified to fill that vacancy. When he had fulfilled these conditions he was entitled to promotion. His promotion did not hinge on that of anybody else. If he w«re promoted nobody on the permanent list would be injured thereby. His promotion did not give him any prior claim over them, or in any way interfere with their rights. The Commandant took up the position that Payne should not be placed on the Instructional Staff unless these other permanent officers were promoted to the rank of captain. In that the Commandant was absolutely wrong.
– Surely he knew that there was no vacancy.
– He knew it, because he proposed that they should be given only temporary rank. He had only to look at the list to see that there was no vacancy. He knew that the Government had promised the officers who had gone to the front that their positions would be kept open to them. The AdjutantGeneral, who deals with such questions, refused to do as the Commandant recommended. He refused to promote these two members of the Permanent Forces as a condition precedent to appointing Payne to the Administrative and Instructional Staff. But Payne had passed his examination for the rank of captain. He was eligible for appointment in that capacity, and when he was asked to accept the appointment with a lieutenant’s pay and rank, he refused to do so. He said in effect, “ I have passed my examination. I have been promoted to the rank of captain, and if you require my services I have a right to the pay which is due to ray rank.” Then he was appointed to the Administrative and Instructional Staff - to fill a position until the war has ended, or until the permanent officer returns.He was appointed with the pay of his rank. Lieutenants Tackaberry and Davis, two permanent officers, knowing what the Commandant had stipulated, protested against Payne’s appointment to the Administrative and Instructional Staff with the rank of captain. Their appeal came before the member of the Military Board whose province it is to deal with such appeals. The Adjutant-General promptly ruled out their appeal, as he was perfectly entitled to do. As he pointed out, Payne’s appointment is a temporary one, whereas the other two officers are permanent officers, whose positions are not affected by his appointment in the slightest degree.
– Could not other permanent officers have been appointed to fill it?
– If we adopted that plan wo should fill up the gaps which have been made by permanent officers going to Egpyt, and we should fill them with other permanent officers.
– So that the officer In Egypt could not recover his position when he came back ?
– Exactly. There would be no position for him to fill.
– Could not a permanent officer fill it temporarily?
– In that case every one of our permanent officers would have to be moved up temporarily. Then, when the officers whose positions they were filling returned from the war, they would have to be moved down again. Instead of doing that, we have adopted the principle of filling their places temporarily with militia officers. I would remind honorable senators that our Army is a citizen army, and that a militia officer has just as much right to he considered as has a permanent officer. These militia officers have qualified - they have passed their examinations for these positions - and why should such offices be filled temporarily with permanent officers, thus compelling militia officers, if they come in, to come in at the bottom ?
– The principle of the Commandant seems to be to give preference in these appointments to permanent men.
– That is so. It had to be done by moving up a permanent officer, and not by bringing up a captain from the Militia Forces. That is a position we refused to accept.
– Militia officers are used to fill these positions on the permanent staff. Is that so?
– Yes. No permanent appointment is being made at all. Captain Payne is now connected with the Instructional Staff, and when an officer was wanted to take charge of the Claremont Camp in Tasmania, the Commandant himself then recommended - Captain Payne for the position. The file will show this. Senator Long said that we put Captain Payne in charge of the camp against the recommendation of the Commandant, but he is confusing two things. The Commandant did recommend the appointment as I have said, but that had reference to his appointment on the Instructional Staff, and when he was there it was on the recommendation of the Commandant himself that Captain Payne was put in charge of the camp. Therefore, Senator Long’s statement is wrong. It is not splitting straws to separate these two questions, because they are entirely distinct one from the other. One was Captain Payne’s appointment to the Instructional Staff, in which the Adjutant-General did not accept the condition laid down by the Commandant. The Commandant said that Captain Payne ought to be appointed, subject to certain conditions concerning the two other officers. In Captain Payne’s appointment to the Claremont camp, there was no difference between the Commandant and members of the Military Board.
– He was appointed with the concurrence of all concerned. Is that so?
– Yes. Senator Long seems to be under the impression that something was done to hurry up Captain Payne’s promotion in order to get this position for him, but that was not so. He was due for promotion in the ordinarycourse of events; it was his right under the regulations, and we should have had to strain the regulations to prevent him getting his promotion. There was a vacancy, he had qualified, he was the senior officer in his regiment, and was due for promotion. Now I only want to say a few more words, in conclusion, concerning this matter. There is room for a genuine difference of opinion as to whether it is wise to do what we are doing, moving militia officers up to fill these vacancies, or whether it is best to move up the permanent officers. There are objections to both courses, but I do say that, because there is room for a difference of opinion, there should be no imputation about favoritism, or anything of that kind. I think the results are showing that the course we adopted is working very well. Because Senator Long cannot see eye to eye with me on this matter, the Government should not be charged with favoritism, or anything of that character. It is not worthy of the honorable senator to make such a charge. Looking at the facts as I have given them - and I have every reason to believe that they are correct - I think Senator Long would have been better advised not to have brought the matter before the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 2.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 23 April 1915, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1915/19150423_senate_6_76/>.