6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– Will the VicePresident of the Executive Council bring under the notice of the Attorney-General the advisableness of so amending the Conciliation and Arbitration Act as to preclude a Judge sitting in the Arbitration Court from providing for the making up of an award part in payment of wages and part in tips from the travelling public, as was done in the last award made to cover the ship stewards?
– I will bring the matter under the notice of the AttorneyGeneral. I do not know what I should say, but I do think it is a most objectionable system that wages should be paid in tips.
– Order ! The honorable senator must not debate the matter.
Charter of Steamers for Transport Work : Separation Allowance : Recruits: Dental Efficiency: Hospitals for the Wounded.
– Will the Minister of Defence lay on the table of the Library a copy of the charter-party entered into with various companies whoso ships have been chartered for Commonwealth purposes?
– There are legal questions involved. The honorable senator spoke to me about his desire last week, and I am now making inquiries to ascertain if there is any legal objection to that course being followed. When I get a reply on that point I will inform him whether ‘the papers can be laid on the table of the Library.
– Does the Minister understand clearly that what I want is not the cost of the charter, but merely the conditions of the charter?
– Even in regard to that matter I feel that I ought to have legal advice before I commit myself to laying the charter-parties on the table of the Library, which is equivalent to making them public.
– Can the Minister of Defence say whether a decision has yet been arrived at regarding the payment of separation allowance to naval men, as well as to military men, while the war lasts?
– It has been decided to give a married allowance ofis. per diem to all men with less than five years’ service, and to petty officers as well. Of course there is already a marriage allowance to those with more than five years’ service, and the condition attached to it is that a petty officer or a man must make an allocation of the amount to his wife and family.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
If, in view of the fact of the necessity for obtaining- every available recruit for active service, be will endeavour to get the medical examiners to relax the strictness of the present teat as regards dental efficiency?
– At the present time there is a Conference sitting at which the British Medical Association is represented with regard to the treatment of wounded on their return to Australia, and by direction, the Director-General of Medical Services is bringing that matter forward for discussion. Afterwards he will submit a report to me.
– May I ask the Minister of Defence if. a promise has been made to any member of the medical profession that he shall be placed in charge of these hospitals? It has been reported that such is the case.
– In- Australia?
– In Sydney.
– I am not aware of any promise having been made. Recommendations have been submitted from time to time by the Director-General of Medical Services concerning the officers to be put in charge of the various hospitals, but, speaking from memory, I do not know that any recommendation has yet been made as regards Sydney.
– The question was whether there was one special man already commissioned to take charge of the whole of them in any one particular State.
– Nothing has been gazetted yet.
– I can hardly think that is correct, because the ordinary procedure is that the various medical arrangements in connexion with defence should be under the principal medical officer, who would have charge of all the medical arrangements in his district. Then some particular officer is recommended.
– And approved by the Minister?
– Yes ; so far I have not any knowledge of a medical officer having been recommended to any district to take charge of all the hospitals in that particular district.
– I ask the Minister of Defence whether it is proposed to re-establish an examination service at the various ports of the Commonwealth?
– Any action taken in regard to examination service is taken after a full exchange of ideas with the Admiralty. In some places the examination service has not been discontinued ; in other places it has been discontinued, but where it has been discontinued arrange- “ ments have been made by which it can be re-instituted at a few hours’ notice. It is not proposed to take further action until a situation arises which will justify the re-institution of the service.
– Again I ask the Minister of Defence if the Naval Department has made a purchase of the steam yacht Adele or chartered her?
– The Defence Department has purchased the steam yacht Adele through Elder, Smith, and Company, Adelaide.
– For what purposes?
– As a tender to the Naval College at Jervis Bay.
– By leave, I desire to make a statement as to the proposals of the Government in regard to the business before the Senate. On the notice-paper there are two Supply Bills and a Lighthouses Bill. The measures are required to be passed. The reasons for the passage of the Supply Bills are obvious, and the Lighthouses Bill is needed because of an agreement into which we entered with the States. If those two measures are passed to-day there will be no need for the Senate to re-assemble next week. If it meets the convenience of honorable senators that we should not meet next week I ask them to pass the Bills to-day, and, if necessary to sit late and then to adjourn over next week.
– To sit after the trains have left?
– I hope not. The Government have no desire to sit after the departure of the trains, but that, of course, rests with honorable senators themselves. I do not wish to stifle discussion. If there is a general desire to come back next week we can do so, but it would only be to discuss the Lighthouses Bill.
– It is an important measure.
– The Government do not minimize its importance, but it deals with only one phase of the question. If the three Bills can be dealt with to-day we can adjourn over next week, and when we re-assemble, the business to be dealt with will probably be the Bills relating to the amendment of the Constitution.
– Can the Minister say when the Appropriation Bill will be here ?
– I cannot.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to. the questions are -
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made, and a reply will be furnished as early as possible.
Defence Department : Conduct of War: Initiation of Defence System: Recruiting and Compulsory Service : Attitude of Employers - Referenda Bills - Telephone Facilities in Country Districts - Sea Transport’ of Produce - Labour Party.
Debate resumed from 24th June (vide page 4317), on motion by Senator Russell -
That this Bill be now read a first time.
– When last I had the opportunity of speaking to the Senate, I was referring to the work done at the Small Arms Factory, and particularly to criticism of those who had levelled their witty shafts at that institution. Now, I do not think that we are living in a time when criticism of that kind should be indulged in, and I urge that those who are engaged in this criticism should have chapter and verse for everything they say. All who are unprejudiced must admit that the Minister of Defence has acquitted himself most creditably, and I venture to say that not one of his critics would as adequately fill the position as the Minister has since he took charge of the Department. Therefore, we have to look for the motives underlying all this criticism, and we must come to the conclusion that an attempt is being made to fasten some blame on the Minister and the party which he represents. We ought to get away from that altogether, and, for a time, devote our joint energies to the task of seeing what can be done, by friendly %o-operation and suggestion, to pull this country through. Whatever may be the shortcomings in connexion with the Defence Department, when we consider what has been done, and done so well, in the short space of time, ‘ we must admit it is inevitable that mistakes should occur; these are inseparable from a great feat of organization such as was undertaken by the Commonwealth during the last eight months. When we recall the state this country found itself in eight months ago, unused to war, and faced with the problem of mobilizing something like 80,000 soldiers, and when we consider how well it has been done up to date, we have every reason to congratulate ourselves upon the success which we have achieved, and the help we have given to the Mother Country in this time of struggle. Who are those critics? To begin with, we have in Victoria twonewspapers which take a leading part in moulding, or attempting to mould, publicopinion. But, after all, we are only in, one small corner of the continent, and while I am on this point, might I be permitted to express the earnest wish that the time is close at hand when we shall shift the Seat of Government to our own Territory, so that we may be removed from the pernicious influence of these people who are taking it upon themselves, to guide, direct, and control public opinion ?
– The honorable senator must remember that there is a very large concentration of population in the cities of Australia, and that public opinion will evidence itself in any case.
– Quite so; but the point I wish to emphasize is that it is not wholesome for the Federal Parliament to be under the influence of a local press. We do not represent one corner of this country; we are here as representatives of the respective States.
– Quite so.
– It is not satisfactory, therefore, that we should beunder the influence of the local press.
– But we will haveto read some newspapers wherever we are.
– I understand that.. The press is a necessary evil, and we cannot escape it.
– Why not read the Bible?
– That would be au improvement on the Melbourne press aswe have it to-day. A section of the Melbourne press, notably the Age, is now vigorously opposed to every action of the present Government. We have only torecall what has been the attitude of that organ in regard to defence. Not longago it urged the curtailment of the vote for defence at a time when this Parlia ment was considering the question of putting this country in a condition of security. It now comes forward, ratherlate in the day, when public opinion israther excited and inflamed, and it wants the people to believe that it is the guide, philosopher, and friend of public opinion in Australia, when, as a matter of soberfact, its influence was against defence expenditure at a critical period of ourhistory. That is the guide whose- directions we are now asked to take, the unstable finger-post whose pointing we -are asked to follow. That is the press which is endeavouring to influence public opinion, entirely heedless of the attitude it took up some time ago. When I see the press of this city lashing itself into a frenzy of excitement over the imaginary shortcomings of the Government, I ask myself what has been done by the remnants of the Opposition in this Chamber and the other.
It is true that the Opposition is represented here by a very small number, and when called upon to refute the attacks of -a party which has for its mouth-pieces in this Chamber such an insignificant few, I often feel myself almost unmanned. “To be in the position of a giant pitted against a pigmy must make one inclined, if he has any generous sentiments at all, to extend as much leniency to his opponent as possible. When I. apprehend -the insignificance of the numbers of the Opposition in this chamber, I am often .impelled to tone down the severity of what I might “Otherwise be tempted to say. But while the Opposition in this chamber is indeed a remnant, it still represents a very large body of public feeling in the country, and an arrogant <ind overbearing section outside this Parliament - a section that has almost the -whole of the powerful press of Australia at its back, and in the most unscrupulous fashion puts forward, at all times, its side of the case, and belittles ours, magnifying its own imaginary virtues, and magnifying at the same time our short.comings, real or fancied. In spite, therefore, of the fewness of their num bers, we must not forget that more important and salient aspect of the existence of the Opposition. What is really the genesis of the party now criticising the Government in this and another place? It includes all the reactionary elements in our political life. “The discredited opinions held by the men of twenty-five years ago are to-day represented by that section in this chamber. While the fight was going on for the establishment of an Australian Navy, and a compulsory system of training for Australian land defence, we found the same party up in fury against it. Every successive step taken by the rising, healthy, and wholesome opinion of the day, to put this young country of ours in a state of defence, was resisted by the elements that now find a home and covert in the party represented by the fragment opposite. It is true that the Labour party was not in power when the Australian Navy was first initiated, but what was of equal consequence, by reason of our numbers and influence in this Parliament we, although not personally holding office, forced the party in power, smaller in numbers, to do the things in that regard that we thought necessary to be done. Although the first step to institute an Australian Navy was taken at our instigation, it was resisted by those very gentlemen who to-day come forward to criticise it. The next step taken to strengthen and perfect the land defences of the continent was also resisted. The Fusion party, while holding temporary power in this Parliament, brought in a Defence Bill whose maximum effort was to limit compulsory training to schoolboys of eighteen. I do not want to attribute unkind motives, but the object of the Fusion seemed to be to avoid tabling any measure that might lose them votes. Thev, therefore, confined their efforts to compelling schoolboys alone to train. When public opinion at length righted the political balance, and sent the Fusion party about its business, the Labour Ministry that succeeded, true to its traditions, brought in a Bill to train the manhood, and not the boyhood, of Australia. Again we were most systematically opposed. Our object was that every ablebodied citizen should be made able to use a rifle effectively, but in that effort we were opposed by the very party that now stands up to criticise our Government. Later, when it became the fixed policy of the Labour party to equip our young Navy and Army by establishing local clothing, saddlery, and other factories for the manufacture of all the appurtenances necessary for our Forces by land and sea, we again met the systematic opposition of the party on our left. That is the party which now asks : ‘ ‘ What are you doing ? Why do you not do so-and-so ? You are failing in your duty to the country.” Throughout their career, right down to the present day, they have resisted, consistently and insistently, every forward step intended to put this country in a state of safety.
We are living in an age that is almost too great for the imagination to compass.
We do not know where this great trouble will end, and we are far from being assured that the struggle will end soon, and end victoriously.
– It cannot end victoriously for us if it ends soon. .Senator LYNCH. - We certainly have the hope that it will end- eventually in our favour; but while we are putting forward efforts which, to some may seem to represent our maximum, I still believe that this country, although it has done remarkably well, could, and should, do a little more, not only to sustain its own credit, but to bring the combat to a victorious conclusion. The Mother Country has under arms one man in every fifteen .of her population. Australia has called to arms, up to the present, and in a voluntary way only, about one man in fifty. Australia and the Mother Country have every interest in common in this struggle, and it is our plain and straightforward duty to put up an effort proportionate to that of the Mother Country. I am here to say, in the most public manner possible, that this country is not doing its duty, and has not done it up to date. It should occur to the average citizen that we have an equal interest with those now holding the trenches against the mighty legions of the enemy. Has the Mother Country a greater interest in securing a pronounced victory than we have? I say that it has not. We have an equal right to put forward our fair share of effort in order to insure the ultimate beating down of the terrible forces arrayed against us. If any honorable senator says that Australia is doing her share by putting in the field one man in fifty of our population, as against one man in fifteen of Great Britain’s population, I totally disagree with him.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that Australia is not doing her pro rata share ?
– I do.
– The Minister of Defence says the opposite.
– If we are not putting forward our best efforts we are sacrificing the lives of those whom we send to the front now. I have given the figures, and it is open to any honorable senator to check them for himself. We must recognise that we are participants in this struggle. It has been said that Great Britain’s battle is our battle, and that Australia’s fate is being decided on the battlefields of Europe just as substantially as if the struggle were being waged on our own shores. If that be so, it is the most reasonable thing in the world that we should share equally in the effort which is now being put forward by the Mother Country. Should not there be equality of sacrifice in the field of warfare, just as there is in the field of economics? Have we only a one-third interest with the Mother Country in seeing that the present titanic struggle is brought to a successful issue? tip to the present we have only put forward one-third of the effort which she has put forward.
– And it is costing ustwice as much per head.
– I am not sorry in the least for that, because we have a> higher standard of living in Australia than obtains in the Mother Country, and it is a standard which we hope to maintain. Consequently we must submit toa greater expenditure in placing our forces in the field. But it is rather a waste of effort and of life to send forward troops in the way in which we are now sendingthem forward. We must bestir ourselves to the. point of doing as much as is beingdone by other portions of the Empire, and particularly by the Mother Country herself.
– The honorable senator is losing sight of the fact that our expenditure is equal to our present income for one year, whereas Great Britain’s expenditure is not.
– But we are borrowing the money from Great Britain.
– I do not think it is a question of money, after all. I donot think we have got down to the pounds, shillings, and pence aspect of our participation in the war. But I am of opinion that the majority of the people of this country are not seized of the momentous consequences of the present struggle. If they were - if they oncerealized that even, the safety of Australia is bound up in it - they would awake from their lethargy and put forward a better effort.
– We can hardly blame the people for failing to rise to the situation, seeing that Parliament has not done so.
– That is about the cheapest argument I have heard.
– I am not blaming the Parliament or any political party. But this is an occasion on which we should endeavour to centre public attention upon the war.
– What more can we do than we are doing ?
– Senator Bakhap has kept the Minister of Defence in this chamber for hours. If he would shut up and let the Minister do his work it would be better.
– I rise to a point of order. In what respect have I occupied the attention of the Minister of Defence? I object to the statement of the Assistant Minister that I have occupied the attention of the Minister of Defence to the exclusion of other honorable senators.
– There is no point of order involved. The interjection of the Assistant Minister may, or may not, be accurate. But I can take notice only of offensive interjections.
– I will let the remark pass, and will deal with it presently.
– I merely wish to record the opinions which I hold on this allimportant matter, and I shall not fail to give expression to those opinions on every public occasion. I believe that volunteering in Australia should proceed at a much more rapid rate. But while we have not yet turned to the right course by compelling every fit person of military age–
– Is the honorable senator advocating press-gang methods ?
– I am advocating a system under which there will be an equality of sacrifice in connexion with this struggle. I have come across numerous cases in which married men have left their wives and families behind them, and have gone to the front to lay down their lives for the Empire, and for the cause for which she stands, whilst thousands of young fellows assemble every Saturday at football matches and other sports, and exhibit not the slightest thought of playing a manly part in this stupendous war. Whilst we have men of that class in our midst, we are lacking in our duty if we fail to compel them to recognise their national obligations. We do not know where the present struggle will end. We are hoping for the best, but, at the same time, Australia occupies a different position from that occupied by any other portion of the Empire. Australia is a country with no racial problems to solve, a country which is easily accessible, and it naturally constitutes a very tempting prize in the eyes of Germany. As a matter of fact, I have come across opinions expressed by Germans to the effect that this country will be Germanized in the very near future. I have it on the very best authority that the captain of one of the German liners lying at Sydney not long ago remarked that that city is not Hamburg yet, hut it soon will be.
– We could settle the Germans as fast as they landed.
– Perhaps we could, and I heartily sympathize with the patriotic impulse which prompted that remark. But even though we were victorious in the end, the struggle would be a long and bitter one. We must recollect that victory does not always rest with the big battalions, notwithstanding the historical reference to that effect. Small numbers have frequently scored wonderful successes. If victory always rested with the big battalions we should have been celebrating the triumph of our arms months ago. The Allied countries have a population of 270,000,000, whereas the enemy countries, Germany, Austria, and Turkey, have only 125,000,00. Why has not victory been achieved by the Allied nations? The reason we have not been victorious, and have been losing rather than winning, on the eastern front in Europe is because we have been unprepared and unorganized. That is why we have not been in a position to hold our own against the huge machine Germany has taken so long to perfect.
– I fancy that the honorable senator’s statements are a little wild.
– Senator Henderson may take up the Statesman’s Year-Book for himself, and he will find that what I have said is correct. He will see that the Allied nations have a population of 270,000,000, and that the enemy countries have a population of 125,000,000.
– No one questions that.
– Then why have we not won, and why are we not winning?
– Because of our unpreparedness.
– That is just what I have said.
– I object only to the pessimistic nature of the honorable senator’s utterances.
– I like to take stock of my position. I do not throw dust in my eyes, or, like the ostrich, hide my head in the sand, regardless of events that are taking place. I see that the war has been in progress now for a considerable time, and that the enemy countries, in spite of their smaller population, are holding their own, aye, and are doing more than that on the eastern front. The bravest of our men are pouring out their life’s blood to maintain our position, and in the circumstances it is foolish on our part not to make supreme efforts to prevent further sacrifice of the lives of those who, braver than their fellows, have volunteered for the defence of their country. On a population basis, instead of sending 90,000 men to the front, we should send nearly 300,000. Only the other evening I met married men from Western Australia, one of whom is leaving behind a family of five, and another a family of four. They are relinquishing good positions, and are going to the front in response to what they consider their country’s call. At the same time we know that there are vast numbers of young men who put the suggestion that they should go to the front aside, and say, “ Me to go ! Why me ? “ There are numbers of young single men in the country who have not allowed the thought of enlisting to enter their minds. I ask, again, why only one patriotic section of the community should go to the front when it is the duty of all able-bodied men to do so, and the duty of all who can be mustered for the purpose ? It is not fair to those who have volunteered, to their dependants, or to those who are already mourning their loss, that large numbers of single young men should remain behind, without any sense of their duty to the country. It is my view that some form of compulsion should be adopted to enlist every man who is able to bear arms, the same as is done in other countries. Conscription is adopted in
Italy and in France, countries that to-day are our Allies in the struggle that is taking place.
– Not in Great Britain.
– Not in Great Britain yet, but we do not know when it will’ be adopted there. We are probably verynear the time when it will be adopted in. Great Britain.
– Weare very close to it now.
– I agree with thehonorable senator. I remind honorable senators that it was very close also at the time of the battle of Waterloo, when peopledid not know when the press-gang would; come round and press them into the service of the country. I emphasize my contention that in this struggle we are called! upon to put forth our most supreme effort, in order not to further sacrifice the livesof the men who are holding positions at the front which they can barely hold today for lack of numbers.
– The honorable senator’s utterance does him credit.
– Does the honorable senator advocate conscription?
– We have conscription at present for the defence of thiscountry.
– We have not.
– What system havewe got, then ? Does the honorable senator mean to tell me that if Australia were invaded to-morrow we should not enforceconscription for its defence?
– Every man whohas gone to the front is a volunteer.
– I say that to persist in the policy of enlisting only volunteers is to continue a policy that is lacking in courage, whether it be adopted byGreat Britain or by any other country. I repeat that conscription has no terrors for me, and never will have any. If the country is worth defending, all who areable to defend it should be called upon to do so, and we should not depend upon the braver and more patriotic section of our fellows to fight our battles for us. I think that it is my duty to express theview that the present position is entirely unsatisfactory. The position in GreatBritain to-day is unsatisfactory, and they are getting very close to conscription there. We in this country should takestock of the position, and as one who does- not wish to see greater sacrifices of the lives of the bravest of our people, I am prepared to give my voice and vote for compulsion, to insure that greater num, bArS shall enter the lists in defence of this country, and bring the struggle to a crowning victory.
I was about to refer to the question of the extension of telephone facilities to country districts. Honorable “ senators are aware that the remote districts of this continent have but infrequent mails, and very meagre means of communication. Representatives of country constituencies know that the people in remote centres of population are greatly handicapped on this account. I hope that, in order to develop the country more vigorously, an increased vote will be provided on the Estimates for the current year for the purpose of connecting the isolated districts of Australia with the business centres. Facilities of communication count for everything in these days, and I trust that the Government, in preparing the Estimates, will take this into account. I thought it my duty to take advantage of the opportunity afforded to express the opinions I held, for what they are worth.
-(South Australia) [11.48].- The discussion upon the Bill so far has dealt chiefly with the referenda proposals and the necessity for further exertions in the prosecution of the war. Honorable senators on the other side seem to wish to claim credit for all the patriotism and for the greatest zeal and earnestness in the prosecution of the war. If I thought that the carrying out of a campaign for the alteration of the Constitution would prevent a single man from going to the front or retard in any way the necessary preparations to enable us to take our share in the great struggle in which the Empire is engaged, I should say at once that the referenda proposals should be set aside, and we should confine ourselves entirely to carrying on the war. But I have not heard a single argument to show that the referenda campaign would retard preparations for the war in any way, or prevent a single extra man being sent to the front. “What it has been found imperative to do to carry on the war has shown more emphatically than ever the absolute necessity for the Commonwealth Parliament having greater powers than it now pos sesses, not merely to deal with matters of ordinary concern, but with crises such as that through which we are now passing. The position in which the Labour party stand in this regard must be clear to every one. The proposals to amend the Constitution are not new. They were amongst the most important matters of debate during the election campaign which closed so recently as the 5th September last. We may be told that the conditions wore different then. They are to some extent different. When the proposals were put before the country, and indorsed by a big majority of the people, the Germans were at the gates of Paris. There was a German squadron in the Pacific, and we did not know the moment when Australia might be attacked. We do know that New Zealand was in imminent danger of attack. The Emden, the Karlsruhe, and the other German raiders were in possession of the high seas, and doing immense damage. But to-day we find that the Germans have been driven back, and that no longer is there a hostile squadron in any part of the seas of the world. The Emden, the Karlsruhe, and the other German raiders have been destroyed. So I contend that, although we have not achieved any marked advance in the way of bringing this great war to a termination, we are in a stronger and better position than we were in on the 5th September last. Taking our own German population - they are excellent colonists - I think that the sympathies of those who have been here for any time are not with the German barbarities. I know that in South Australia the German press with all their influence are on the Liberal side. I have just come back from Queensland, and I know that during the recent electoral campaign a German newspaper in Brisbane did all that it could to boost up Herr Denman, Herr Blair, and all the other Liberal Ministers and their party. If their sympathies lay in that direction, and they thought that the advent of Labour would be likely to prevent the prosecution of the war to the utmost extremity, I think it is probable that they would have been found supporting, the Labour party instead of the opposition side. I desire to utter a few words in regard to a statement by Senator Lvnch. Last night I interjected during: his speech that a proper comparison to make in regard to what Australia is doing is not with the Old Country, but with the other Dominions. Compared with Canada, with her much larger population, T think that we have about held our own.
– Is even that comparison fair ?
– I think so. Another consideration, and a very strong one, too, is the cost of transportation. Australia is situated some 12,000 miles from the field of operations. If honorable senators will take into account the statement made by the Minister of Defence as to the amount of transport and the expense of conveying the Expeditionary Forces we have already dispatched, even to Egypt, which is not all the way, it will be seen at once what a much greater handicap the cost of transport is to us . than it is to England, whence the troops have to be sent only a few miles across the channel; or to Canada, which is situated only about 3,000 miles from the front, that is, about one-fourth of our distance. In the matter of warlike operations time is the essence of the contract, and that factor ought to be considered in estimating the proportion of our share in the conduct of this great war. I am rather inclined to agree with Senator Lynch that the time is fast approaching when further steps will have to be taken both in the Old Country and in the new. I do not say that the position is any worse now than it was during the first few months after August, but the disappointment is due to the fatuous optimism of the press and our own people in leading the public to believe that after the first set-back was obtained, after the Germans were driven from the Marne to the Aisne, they would be across the Rhine in a few weeks, and the Russians would be in Berlin in a month or two. Those expectations have not been realized, but there was no ground for them in the first place. It was mere fatuous optimism to expect that anything of the sort would happen.
– Now the press is rushing to the other extreme.
.- Of course, there has been a set-back on the eastern frontier, which I think is due mainly to the fact that Russia is isolated. With the Black Sea closed, with the Germans and the Austrians on one frontier, and with the Baltic Sea not available to commerce, Russia has not had the supply of arms and munitions which would enable her to fully arm the immense resources in men she has at her disposal. I suppose it is a small estimate to make to say that 80’ per cent, of the men we have sent to the front were drawn from the labouring class. We, as particularly representing that class, though we claim to represent all classes, are more interested in giving them the necessary support to maintain the positions they have gained, than are honorable senators on the opposite side. Therefore, it is not likely that we would entertain for a moment any action which would retard in any way the furnishing of necessary support. We have enemies within our gates as well as without them. I do not wish to make any general accusation against commercial firms of commercial people, but it has been shown absolutely that there are those who are taking advantage of the war for their own purposes, and endeavouring out of the necessities of the people to acquire extra and exorbitant profits for the goods they have to dispose of. If that were not the case where would be the necessity for our War Precautions Act, and all the extra powers, we have taken to deal with such men ? I noticed in the press to-day that Lloyd George, in the Old Country, has been dealing with the matter of munitions, and securing the co-operation of both labour and capital in pressing forward in every possible way the necessary preparations for supporting the men at the front. I observed, too, that he has publicly thanked the Labour party for the assistance they have given him. Further than that, he used these words which, no doubt, honorable senators have read in their newspaper -
The difficulty is not with labour, but with employers, some of whom have actually demanded compensation for allowing their employees to go to the front.
That is a public statement by the man who is mostly responsible for keeping up the supplies in connexion with the war. In Australia the press has reported a number of cases - I do not say that they have been very general - where employers had been summoned for penalizing men who had to attend .drill from time to time to render themselves effective for defending the country if called up. The policy of our opponents, it seems to me, is to say, “ Labour is in power ; we cannot help that, although we did all we could to- prevent it. An overwhelming verdict of the country has placed Labour in power, and the next best thing to do is to prevent the party from doing anything. If we can, by agreeing that all attention is to be devoted to the war and nothing else done, prevent Labour from achieving anything or from carrying out the programme it is pledged -to the country to carry out, it will not matter about the party in office.” After two or three years we shall have to go to the country, and, naturally, our supporters will ask, “What have you done? Have you carried out the programme which you pledged yourselves to carry out when we put you in power?” Suppose that we go to the country as a discredited party who have not carried out their pledges. That is just what our opponents would like to see. It may appear trumpery to pass to minor matters after dealing with the great issues which have been discussed in this debate, but I desire to call the attention -of the Minister to one question which arises out of the war, and on which I have had a brief conversation with the Assistant Minister of Defence, who is particularly interested in the subject, not from the fact that he is a fruit-grower, but from the fact that he has mainly to deal with the matter of transport. The Commonwealth has commandeered all the available means of transport, and the States, of course, cannot take any action. The fruit-growers have had one or two bad seasons. The last season was particularly disastrous, at any rate in South Australia. There is every prospect of the fruit-growers in that State having a good season this year, and there probably will be, and I suppose in other States, especially in Tasmania, where fruit-growing is a prominent industry, a considerable surplus for export; but that will be of very little use to the growers if there is no means of getting it carried across the seas to the countries which may have a market for it. The question is not urgent now, but in February or March next extra means of transport will be required for marketing the surplus abroad. I desire to impress upon honorable senators generally - and I think that the Assistant Minister of Defence recognises the necessity - that an effort should be made to see that, at that time, means of transport is made available to the fruit-growers. I hope that Ministers will make a note of my suggestion.
– Will the honorable senator permit me to interject that the Government have under consideration the question of the export of the products of Australia next year, because there is bound to be a difficulty?
– 1 am very pleased to receive that assurance, and, having got it, I have no more to say on the matter.
– I have been accused in effect by the Assistant Minister of having delayed the progress of business in this Chamber, and of having occupied the time of the Minister of Defence. I venture to say that a perusal of Hansard will disprove that statement.
– I never accused the honorable senator of delaying the business of this Chamber. I said that some of his ‘ speeches were the cause of the Minister of Defence having to remain here for hours. It is not an offensive remark, but a statement of fact.
– I spoke during the absence of Senator Pearce on the last Supply Bill, and my speeches were only in accordance with addresses delivered by some members of the Labour party. I am not accusing the Assistant Minister of being ungenerous in this matter, because, as a rule, he is fair.
– I am only keen to allow the Minister of Defence to get to his Department.
– I challenge the Assistant Minister to produce from the pages of Hansard one item of personal criticism directed by me at the Minister of Defence.
– I did not say so.
– I understood that that was the implication.
– No. It was that you made long speeches on Defence which the Minister of Defence wanted to hear out of courtesy.
– With all due deference to the Assistant Minister, I did not make long speeches. I venture to say that my speeches are not more lengthy than those of honorable senators on his own side.
– I think the trouble is that you repeat one long speech too frequently.
– I intend to emulate the example of a very worthy ancient, once a senator, who frequently addressed a greater Senate than this on a very important war question, and whose utterances and whose habits of mind have come down to us from antiquity. I allude to one who always, relevantly or irrelevantly, in addressing the Roman Senate, concluded with the words, “ Conscript fathers! Let Carthage be destroyed.”
– There was another man who said, “Action, action, action; not words.”
– It is of the lack of action on the part of the people and the Parliament of Australia that I complain ; and nothing will deflect me from the objective which I have in view, and which I will see realized before I cease to be a member of this Chamber.
– Hear, hear !, You are quite within your rights.
– Presently I am going to take the question outside the Parliament altogether. I intend to appeal to the people in this temporary metropolis of the nation because I am inundated with correspondence applauding me for the action I have taken, and indorsing everything I have said in regard to the necessity of making a national effort on the lines I have from time to time indicated. I do not think that honorable senators, whatever notion they have of me, will accuse me at any time of manufacturing evidence. I have in my hand a letter which I received yesterday morning from a very remote part of Australia. This man speaks in this wise -
As one of your electors, I beg to compliment you on your excellent speech on conscription. It is real good and to the point.You must not think that you stand alone; as it is my opinion, and also the majority of the folks around here, that conscription would be better for everybody. Now, I am a married man, and would willingly offer myself for service, as I feel ashamed not to be helping protect my home and family, but when I see so many men without ties of any kind, I know it is their place to go first. When a married man goes these men console themselves by saying, “He is glad to get away from his wife”; or else they say, “ He has no right to go.” Under conscription, each man would take his place in his turn willingly. I am sure of that. I know several young fellows have told me that.
That is not the only one I have received. I have had dozens of them, and the other day telegrams on this subject were repeated to me in Sydney. I want to make allusion to this policy of giving an impetus to recruiting. A few days ago I went past the Melbourne Town Hall, and I formed the impression that it resembled Wirth’s circus, because it was plastered with posters appealing to the emotions of the people. I am sorry to say, however, that when I examined those posters I found they were being looked at largely by women, while the men in passing glanced at them, as it were, over their shoulders. And what has been the result of that appeal, as well as the appeal made by the Minister in the Town Hall the other night? Absolutely nil. Recruiting, according to the press, during the last two or three days has declined. It did not receive an impetus from the speech made by the Minister, although I understood the speech was as forceful and eloquent as the Minister intended it to be. I think the Minister of Defence and the members of the Administration are aboutthe only people who are entitled to say to a man, “ You ought to go to the war,” for I take the view adopted by Senator Grant that no man has a right to advise another man to go and to exempt himself. Under conscription, nobody will be exempted. I know there are men who are saying, “ Oh, Bakhap has no sons. He is not making any sacrifice. He is not of a military age.” Some have even gone so far as to say - because there is no limit to the impudence of some people - that I should dress my two daughters up as boys, and send them to the war as a sort of duplicate of the Maid of Saragossa.
– Are you too old to go yourself ?
– I am not. I am in my forty-ninth year, and I know that in the German Army, and in the Armies of the Allies, there are men who are older than I am. I know, also, that in the Australian Expeditionary Forces there are men who are older than I am, but who gave their age as ten or twelve years younger in order that they might pass. I am ready to go with men of my class.I served four years in the Defence Forces in Tasmania prior to Federation, and, as far as military training goes, I suppose I can claim to have some proficiency. But, in my opinion, my duty at present is to impress on the people of Australia, and on the Parliament of Australia, the advisability of adopting an equitable system. It will not exempt me. I do not ask to be exempted. The Germans, I know, have called up men of over fifty years of age, and, indeed, it is stated that some are sixty years of age, so there is an easy possibility of my being called upon. I claim no exemption as a member of Parliament, but I believe it to be my duty at present to urge on the nation some equitable system of levying on the manhood of the nation for military purposes. The present system is terribly wasteful and indiscriminate, for in the casualty lists the other day we saw the names of a father and a son - both privates. The father was missing, and the son wounded. Now, how old would that father be? It was stated that the man now missing had a family of twelve children. Reasonably, we can presume that some of those children are of adult age, seeing that one son accompanied the father to the war, but it is almost as certain, I think, that in a family of twelve some members of it will be under sixteen years of age, and if the father is missing, those children will have to be maintained by an allowance until they reach the age of sixteen years. The system, therefore, is wasteful from an economic stand-point. I know I am making an impression on honorable senators as well as on the people outside. I am absolutely sure of it, and I direct the attention of honorable senators to the cables this morning stating that a captain, a member of the Imperial Parliament, a man who had just returned from the front, made a great impression in the House of Commons, which, I fear, sadly needs impressing. The man I refer to advocated conscription, and with some mysterious motive, Mr. Asquith said it was a very serious ‘question, and that it had better not be discussed. It is, however, well known that Russia has asked Great Britain to put forward a greater effort. Russia, which has made the major sacrifices in this struggle, and has sustained the greatest losses, is urging upon our nation - I am not divulging any secrets, for it has been several times stated in the press during the past week - to make a greater effort in this war. Even such a sober journal as the Saturday Review one of the most reputable papers in the Old Country, has stated that Mr. Asquith is gradually relinquishing his antagonism to conscription because of the pressure that is being brought to bear upon him by the Russian Government, as representing the Russian Empire. We have to remember that conscription is a more difficult matter in the Old Country than it is here. Senator Lynch has properly pointed out that already we have the principle of conscription for the defence of our own territory. We have a system by which we levy on the boyhood of the nation, whether the boyhood of the nation likes it or not, and it has been asserted - I do not want to make any vitriolic allusion to the fact - that we stepped aside from the conscription of men, and conscripted children, because the children had no votes by which they could resent such legislative action.
– We have the power of conscription in section 60 of the Defence Act.
– As Senator Lynch has argued, if we have indorsed the policy of conscription in regard to the defence of our territories, can it be illogical to extend the principle so as to levy on the men of the nation to secure victory which is just as vital to the interests of the Commonwealth as if the war were being waged on Commonwealth soil ? The argument cannot be avoided. It is absolutely logical, and the people of the Commonwealth will have to recognise that it is incumbent upon them to make the supremest effort of which they are capable at this juncture. For, indeed, these are most perilous and tremendous moments. Most perilous. Most stupendous. So perilous indeed are the times that it is incumbent upon us to forsake every other consideration but that of winning. For, after all, life - individual life, national life - is always in a condition of turmoil and struggle, and those men most resolute and best fitted will, in the end, wear the crown of victory, and assure for themselves their ultimate and collective survival. As I have said, it is more difficult for the Imperial statesmen to impose conscription on their people than it is for us, for a very large percentage of £he industrial population of the Old Country is employed in manufacturing munitions of war. It is imperative that they should be so employed, because it is more than probable that Great Britain has to provide, not only for her own needs, but also has to furnish munitions to her Allies. In Australia we have not such a large percentage of our population in those industries which are essential to the successful prosecution of the war, and, therefore. it is easier for us to organize and conscript on such a basis as will provide the men required ; men quite as fitted as those who have gone before, but men who, perhaps, were concerned more with personal interests than were those who have enlisted. The difficulty of equipment has disappeared, too, for now we have a Ministerial acknowledgment that the Imperial Government are willing and eager, to take men whether equipped or not. Therefore it is available to us to provide the one factor which exists :n abundance in our territory. We can provide the men. It may be that we cannot provide munitions, and it may be that, for the time being, the organization of the necessary machinery to prepare the men will not produce the greatest results until some months have passed; for, if the principle be indorsed now, it is logical to say that recruiting should have been commenced months ago in order to have the men available at this moment for the Imperial call.
– You mean that the men will have to be trained before they can go to the war ?
– Yes; and the men to be available now should have been trained months ago.
– I am with you there.
– If conscription is regarded as inevitable eventually, the situation is so curious as to prove to demonstration that it should have been dealt with months ago. I admire the British race for their great achievement, but I say that, because of their insularity, any hesitation or delay in the past in regard to definite action has not largely affected their destiny ; but this is a crisis altogether different to any that has faced the Empire hitherto. We are now opposed to a nation of scientifically trained fanatics, who are out to accomplish, not only the humiliation but the absolute destruction of the British Empire. Therefore this is a time for a supreme effort. If conscription is adopted six or eight months hence, that will prove to demon. stration that the legislators of this country were unwise in not having indorsed it months before. Prevision is necessary, and with prevision comes preparation. If there is a possibility, even a remote possibility, of this being necessary six months hence, and if we acknowledge that possibility, surely it is incumbent upon us to prepare now? Will anybody gainsay that argument? I pause for a reply. I do not intend to make a lengthy speech I am simply insisting upon the necessity for a supreme effort at this juncture in our history, and I am going to insist upon this every time a Supply Bill comes before the Senate. Are honorable senators on this side to make no contribution to the .discussion ? Are they to be seised with a sense of their responsibilities at this juncture, and to be afraid to give expression to them 1 I am not going to be afraid to give expression to my views, and, even at the risk of being called too prolix, too insistent, I shall make my voice ‘heard, because I believe it will reach to the remotest confines of the Commonwealth, ineffective though it may be at this moment within this chamber. I was told the other day that foolish young ladies in this town, belonging to what they call the white-feather brigade, go up to knots of men at the street corners and present them with white feathers. That is one of the incidences of the operation of the socalled voluntary system. My informant, a life-long friend, told me that he ‘heard one of the young women who unwisely did this thing grossly and indecently abused by some of the men whom she approached.
– She was looking for it.
– It was a foolish thing to do, but it is excessively foolish on the part of the National Parliament to refrain from adopting such measures as will enable us to take those men and send them to the front. A very silly idea now prevalent, and illustrative of the slowthinking methods of the race from which we have descended, is that conscription means arming every available man. and at once transporting him to, the front. It means nothing of the sort. It means the co-ordination and systematization of the national effort - the sending away of men who ought to be sent, and retaining here to work in the Commonwealth all the men who ought to be retained. That is what Captain Guest, a member of the Imperial Legislature, means when he refers to the present voluntary system as not being discriminating. The engineers have volunteered too patriotically, and gone to the front in too great numbers, with the result that many of them are needed at Home, and cannot be obtained. Similarly, too many miners have gone, and their services are required at Home. The Mount Lyell mine, in Tasmania, employs a couple of thousand men of military age, of supreme courage, as is proved in their industrial life, and of splendid physique. Conscription does not mean that all these men should be taken because they are fit, and sent to the front, thus bringing to a close the operations of the Mount Lyell Company.
– It means that the glory of our volunteer system will disappear.
– There is no glory in it; only the best and worst volunteer, and the fact that it is not uniformly the best that volunteer is evidenced by the very large percentage of rejects.
– They are physical rejects; they are not rejected for want of spirit.
Sanator BAKHAP.- I admit that those who volunteer have in many cases fewer ties than those who do not, and have a little more of the spirit of adventure. But if we conscript to-morrow a battalion of men in Australia, you cannot tell me that because those men did not go of their own volition to the front they will turn tail when placed before the enemy. I venture to assert that they will show courage, willingness, and physical endurance at least equal to the qualities displayed by the men who have already gone.
– If men are wanted you will take men; if coal is wanted will you take coal mines?
– Most decidedly. The ordinary principles which govern a community in time of peace disappear in time of war. That is one reason why the commandeering of food stocks by the commander of a besieged city, and the parcelling of them out to the population within the walls, is quite correct. We want so to act in time of war as to insure to us the full enjoyment of that individual freedom which operates in time of peace. I want to point out to the people that conscrip’tion means simply an organized and systematized national effort. It means the classification of men as a fruitgrower classifies his apples for export. It does not mean that everybody shall be bundled away to the front, but that those least required to carry on the civil life of the nation, and possessing that physical fitness which makes them most suitable, shall be scientifically exercised to enable them to be sent to the front. The Germans are now sending- 400,000 railway men to the front, but that does not mean that the German railways are going to stop running on that account. All that has been provided for. To enlighten honorable senators on “ German methods, let me read a very illuminating and informative article which must cause them to reflect on the necessity of doing some such thing as I have indicated. The article, which is by an American journalist, and appears in a reputable American publication, relates what he saw in Germany in February -
Germany is a vast training camp. Every possible detail of every possible experience at the front is gone over and over time and time and time again. You may see every phase of. a real battle, except, of course, the actual wounding and killing. The thoroughness of this training of the common soldier cannot be put too strongly and too often. When finally the recruit is allowed to go to the scene of action he is already a seasoned soldier, except for the experience of hearing and feeling hostile lead and steel. … In these camps the theory of warfare is reduced to practice, the theory itself being carefully modified by actual experience in the present war. It is reasonably safe to say that the German soldier of 1015 will be a more efficient man than was his comrade who rallied to the colours last August. … If such a thing were possible, the instruction and drill of those preparing to be officers is far more careful and complete than the exacting and exhaustive military schooling given the common soldier. These officers are spared no hardship. None of the recruits looked younger than twenty or more than thirty. Even those who looked at them through the glasses of hatred must admit that they were prime soldier stock.
That is what Germany is doing, and we must counter these strokes. Behind this exhibition of the power of man, behind these tremendous legions, is marshalled all the scientific thought of Germany and all its skill and knowledge, and it is up to us to do what we can to combat this combination. Whatever else we may lack, we do not lack men.
– Nor the willingness to go.
– They have not the willingness to go in the necessary numbers. They do not lack the courage. It is because of the circumstances in which they find themselves, and the domestic interests that some of them have, that they do not at once volunteer. An old friend of mine whom I met on the boat the other day has been six years settled in this State in an important farming district, has already given one son to the war, and is preparing to send a second. He told me that there were a number of substantial farmers settled around him - men with 1,000 and 2,000 acres, and with families of five and six sons, the descendants of enterprising navvies-, who selected land and prospered in the district. He told me that he asked them, “ Why do not some of you fellows go to the war?” Their answer, characteristic of the national obtuseness to the real issue, was, “ They do not want us; when the Germans come out here we will fight them. ‘ ‘ It is the duty of legislators with any prevision to take measures to overcome that national obtuseness. We may talk ourselves blue in the face, and still recruiting will not come up to the required standard. It is of no use to tell politicians to go out on the “ stump “ to stimulate recruiting. The Minister of Defence himself, and from no one could a call of this nature better come, went quite recently to the Town Hall of this metropolis, and made a fervent appeal for recruits. Yet it is acknowledged that in the few days that have succeeded, recruiting in Victoria has not improved. What is going to be the value of the drum-beating and martial music and appeals to the emotional side of the community?
– If you went out you might drive them to the front.
– If I go out, I shall advocate conscription. If any one says to me, “Why do you not go?” I shall reply, “When the officer of the law touches me on the shoulder, and says, ‘ Your name has been drawn in the ballot with men of your class,’ I shall go without a whimper, and, if necessary, to my death.” That does not trouble me in the least.
– But only with men of your class.
– Most decidedly. I do not suppose the requirements of military discipline would put me with men not of my own class. I would, perhaps, be cumbersome to men of twenty-one or twenty-two, if placed in the ranks with them. Presumably I could go only as a private, and surely ordinary military knowledge shows that a man of forty- nine would be out of place if brigaded with men of twenty-two or twentythreeBut if men of my class are found in thelast military resort to be necessary, I am there, and cannot be exempted under a proper system of conscription. It is theman who goes out and talks to the people of conscription that is in a logical position. The legislator who says to thepeople, “ You ought to go,” lays himself open to the perfectly legitimate retort,. “ Why do you not go ?” and cannot defend, his position unless he happens to be a Minister of the Crown, or naturallyexempted by old age or other infirmity.
– You are in just asconsistent a position as is the man whoobjects to your policy, and will not go asa volunteer.
– I venture to think, more consistent. Forgetting for the moment Senator Lynch’s allusions to thoseissues of domestic policy which lie between us and constitute the differencesbetween the Liberal and Labour parties, I heartily welcome him as a comrade inthis movement towards a wholesoulednational effort. I ally myself with him,, and indorse all his manly utterances.
– A new party!
– We want a new party, a whole-souled national party,, which will address itself altogether to theprosecution of the war. I read in a military publication recently what a grandthing it would be if we could get anItalian Army to land on the Gallipoli Peninsula to assist our Australian troops.. That sort of thing does not appeal to me. With all due deference to the courage of the Italian nation,
In native swords and native ranks The finer hope of courage dwells.
I want Australians to go to the relief of the Australians at Gallipoli, to supplement their efforts, not in driblets, not in suchnumbers as care to volunteer, but in masses sent forward by the stern authority of the nation. Such masses are now acceptable to the Imperial authorities. Alt talk about equipment is subordinate tothe great issue. Evidently certainopinions are now entertained by the military authorities in the Old Country, whichdo not make the equipment of the individual soldier a matter of supreme concern. Lloyd George has said that rifles are almost superfluous ; that the issue is in alt probability now being determined by machine guns and heavy artillery, and the .great masses of infantry are required to rush in only when the position has been thoroughly shelled by big guns and raked by quick-firers. In short, it would appear from what has lately been said that it would be a matter almost of no concern whether the men, when they rushed in, were armed with billets of wood, bayonets, scythes, or spears.
– Would you put a man in the field without a gun ?
– I by no means say so; but this morning’s press news shows that the developments of the war have rendered the effect of rifle fire quite secondary in determining the issues of a battle. I have no desire to detain honorable senators at any great length. It cannot truthfully be said that on any occasion I have delayed Government business. Supply Bills and measures of military importance have been passed through this Chamber without any obstruction on my part. I promise Mil listers that on the present occasion I shall not inflict upon -them anything 11 1 the nature of a long speech. But there will not be any occasion presented to me on which I shall fail to adduce arguments in favour of the policy which I believe to be one of the supreme necessities of the nation at this juncture. I admit that I interject rather freely, and that my interjections may be irritating to some honorable senators; but it must be recollected that there are only five Liberal senators in the Cham”ber, and when interspersed with utterances of a patriotic character, attempts are made to resurrect ancient history, to allude to what has been done instead of what ought to be done, and to indulge in recriminations against us in regard to dead and gone politics, it is not human nature to abstain, from interjecting with a view to revealing the true inwardness of things. So long as I am a member of the Senate I shall decline to allow any attempt to besmirch the reputation of the Liberal party to pass without protest.
– Senator Lynch was very unkind to some honorable senators opposite this morning.
– I do not propose to allude to the various matters which were touched upon by Senator Lynch apart from the question of supreme importance, with which he dealt so ably and so logically. There is nobody in this Chamber more sympathetic with the Minister of Defence- than I am. This remark is prompted to an extent by his resentment of the criticism of newspapers in this city. But I wish to point out to him that, though the press cannot always have inside information as to what is transpiring in the Defence Department, it may have fairly accurate information as to the effort which Australia is putting forward in this time of national crisis. We know that when 20,000 troops were despatched from this country, the newspapers suggested that 100,000 should be sent; and some Ministerial supporters thereupon designated the movement as a “hot air” movement.
– Who did that ? Who said that it was a “hot air” movement?
– The Government’s own Estimates provided for the despatch of only 42,000 troops.
– Some members of the Ministerial party described the movement as a “ hot air “ one. I venture to say that the newspapers, by their friendly criticism on the necessity for Australia making a national effort, have succeeded in making that effort much more ample than it otherwise would have been. The Minister of Defence, while resenting that criticism, forgets that far more criticism has been directed to his personal efforts and to the” policy of the Labour party by a body of men who met in Sydney only a few days ago, and whose proceedings were reported at length in the press of that city.
– Does the honorable senator call misrepresentation “ friendly criticism “ ?
– The criticism to which I refer came from the Labour ranks. But the Minister denounced the press of this city-
– How can untruths be “friendly”?
– What are the statements made by members of the Labour movement in Sydney the other day? Are they untruths?
– They may be.
– Then why do not honorable senators opposite criticise . them? They are afraid to do so. A new authority has come into this National Parliament, and thus the situation which preceded the French Revolution has been reproduced here in every particular. We are now governed not by Parliament, but by revolutionary clubs. Quite recently an executive has been constituted which forces what it deems fit on this Parliament. A certain gentleman who was refused even pre-election at the hands of the Labour party-
– I wonder if the honorable senator’s remarks are relevant to the Bill?
– They relate to the referenda proposals. I say that a certain gentleman who sought preelection at the hands of a purely Labour constituency - I allude to Port Melbourne - was almost ignominiously rejected. He did not occupy even a decent position on the poll. Had his selection been secured at that pre-election of Labourites, he would have obtained a seat in the Victorian Parliament, because the constituency in question is a free gift to Labour. This gentleman afterwards proceeded to the Adelaide Labour Conference, and he now enters this Parliament by a back door, and is- if I may speak in a parable - lodged in the Upper Chamber.
– To whom does the honorable senator refer?
– The Assistant Minister knows to whom I refer. It is to Mr. Cohen. He now belongs to a super-executive which dictates to the Executive Government of the Commonwealth what it shall do. Yet this man was refused even pre-election by the Labourites of a Labour constituency.
– That is not correct.
– It is absolutely incorrect, and the honorable senator knows it.
– I ask for no explanation from honorable senators opposite, because the fact obtrudes itself.
– Mr. Cohen is only one man, and has only one vote in the Labour party, and the honorable senator knows ifc.
– He is a member of the Labour Executive which dictates to the Government–
– There is no such executive.
– This gentleman, with thrust-out chest and the strut of authority, now says of honorable senators opposite, “These are the puppets which I adjust.”
– Absolute nonsense.
– The honorable senator knows that the policy of the Government was dictated by the Adelaide Labour Conference which met quite recently. I ask permission to resume my remarks at a later hour of the day.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I asked the Minister of Defence, who is the Leader of the Senate, to interrupt the proceedings at this stage for the purpose of enabling me, and such other honorable senators as may desire to do so, to make one or two remarks regarding a matter which affects the business of the Senate, and, as honorable senators know, that business takes precedence of all other business. What I desire to call attention to is the fact that a gentleman who has been an honoured and trusted official of this Chamber for a very long time - in fact, ever since- its inception - is to-day completing his service here, and is about toenter upon what we hope will be a long, enjoyable, and honorable retirement. The gentleman to whom I allude is Mr. George Upward. He first occupied the position of Usher of the Black Rod, and Secretary of the Joint House Committee. Subsequently he became Assistant Clerk of the Senate, a position which he has continued to fill up to the present moment. He entered the Public Service of Australia as far back as 1881 ; so that he has completed thirty-four years in the service of his country. During the whole of that time, from the experience we have had of him in the Senate, he has devoted himself whole-heartedly to the institutions and to the country which have had the benefit of his services. I am sure that I am speaking for the whole Senate when I say that it is a matter of sincere regret that we. are now separating from Mr. Upward. That regret is entirely personal, and is not in any sense a regret that he is about to take a well-earned holiday, which we hope will be of the very pleasantest description. He has been of wonderful assistance to honorable senators and to myself in the conduct of the business of this Chamber. He has rendered me valuable aid in the discharge of my duties as President. I am sure that honorable senators will join with me in assuring him that he is leaving with the good-will and friendship of every member of the Senate, and in the expression of the hope that the well-earned retirement upon which he is about to enter after his years of arduous service will be one of marked good health, happiness and prosperity to him, and that he will live long to enjoy it.
– On behalf of the Government, and honorable senators upon this side of the Chamber, I desire to associate myself with the sentiments which you, sir, have expressed. Speaking personally, I can say that very soon after the commencement of my parliamentary career I came into personal contact with Mr. Upward in the discharge of my parliamentary duties. I was a member of the Select Committee which inquired into the question of the desirableness or otherwise of providing increased facilities in connexion with the mail and passenger service between Australia and Tasmania. Mr. Upward acted as secretary of that Committee, and I had many opportunities of judging of his worth as a public servant. His courtesy to honorable senators has been unvarying, and he has at all times endeavoured to do his duty as a public servant should do it. He is now retiring from the Service not because his energy is failing, for I think it will be recognised that there are many years of useful work before him as a citizen of the Commonwealth. I am sure that he will give to the Commonwealth in his capacity as a private citizen the same energy which he has exhibited in his capacity as a public servant. I am glad, sir, that you afforded us this opportunity before Mr. Upward’s departure from our midst to say a few words in recognition of his services, and to wish him publicly good health and success in his career as a private’ citizen. I am sure that we have appreciated our acquaintance with Mr. Upward, which, in my case, has. become a personal friendship that I trust will continue, notwith standing the break in our official relations. J. hope that Mr. Upward will have many years of health and strength with which to enjoy the well-deserved rest from his public duties.
– I should like, in a few words, and with all sincerity, to heartily indorse the remarks which you, sir, have addressed to the Senate, and those with which Senator Pearce has followed you. Honorable senators would have had a good deal to regret if the Senate had failed to record some expression of its opinion of the faithful services rendered by the retiring officer. Mr. Upward’s retirement will be the breaking of another of the links that join the present with the past. He is one of those who came here when the Federation was established; and when we look round thischamber we cannot help regretting that many of those who were present at the first meeting of the Senate are no longer with us. Happily, Mr. Upward is still living in circumstances which are full of promise, and we wish him in the yearsthat still remain to him all happiness and prosperity. In addition to the regret that I am sure I share with every other honorable senator upon the retirement of one of the very faithful and competent servants of the Senate, I have also a personal regret that I shall have less frequent intercourse in the future with a gentleman whose hand I have always been glad to grasp, and one who has at all times shown an earnest desire to assist honorable senators in the discharge of their duties here. I do not wish to say anything further than to express a hope that Mr. Upward’s non-appearance in this chamber will not in any way prevent him continuing the private intercourse which has been one of the most pleasant recollections of my service as a member of the Senate.
Senator Lt.-Colonel .Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [12.54].- Honorable senators will permit me to say a few words on the present occasion, because it was my privilege to occupy the Presidential chair, and during my term of office to have had the advantage of the assistance of Mr. Upward in the performance of my duties. I may further say that I had the satisfaction of recommending Mr. Upward for the position which he now occupies. When I came into the Senate in 1901, Mr. Upward occupied the position of Usher of the Black Rod, and discharged the duties of that position with such unfailing courtesy that honorable senators felt that they had a personal friend in a gentleman who, because of the nature of his duties, might be brought into conflict with them, in the event of disorder such as has occurred in other legislative chambers. When he was promoted, honorable senators recognised that his promotion was well earned, and “that he was the right man to occupy the position to which he was advanced. Honorable senators have had the opportunity to see how he has discharged the duties of his present position ; and I am able to confirm what the President has said concerning the great assistance which he, and the other officers of the Senate, have rendered the occupant of the- chair in the discharge of important and difficult duties. That Mr. Upward is retiring from the service of the Senate is, I am sure, a matter of great regret to honorable senators generally. We trust that it will be his good fortune to enjoy many pleasant hours in the time to come,- and that it will be very many years before the shadow of George Upward fails to fall upon this sublunary sphere.
– We hope to see him back here as a senator.
– Senator Lynch suggests that we may see him back in this chamber; and I am sure we should rejoice to welcome Mr. Upward as one of the members of the Senate. In such an event, wherever he might take his seat, and whatever the views he might hold, he would command the respect and esteem of every member of the Chamber.
– This is perhaps a convenient time to adjourn for lunch. It occurred to me that before I left the chamber on the suspension of the sitting, honorable senators might remain in order to give Mr. Upward an opportunity to make his acknowledgments. He has, however, assured me that his feelings on this occasion have overcome him, rendering him unable to speak and adequately express his sense of appreciation of the kindness of honorable senators. He has asked me to express to honorable senators his deep appreciation of the honour that has been done him. He has the deepest feeling of gratitude for the way in which he has been treated by every member of the Senate, and reciprocates fully the good wishes which have been expressed concerning him.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear!.
Sitting suspended from 12.57 to 2.80p.m.
Labour Party - Supply of Arms and Munitions - Deaths of Major Braund and Sergeant Larkin - Conscription - Land Values Taxation - War Expenditure - Free Trade and Protection - Expeditionary Forces: Selection of Officers - Sea Transport of Produce.
Debate resumed from this day (vide page 4392), on motion by Senator Russell -
That this Bill be now rend a first time.
– As Ministers have urged upon me that there are measures of importance which it is desired to pass forthwith, I do not intend to address myself to the Senate for more than four or five minutes. I will refer on a future occasion to the matter of outside bodies in the shape of almost revolutionary clubs exercising control over Parliament, and will now confine my remarks to one or two little matters in connexion with the war on which I am constrained to say a few words. Let it be understood that, as soon as the forms of the Senate will permit me, I will call upon honorable senators to declare themselves on a motion which I will submit in favour of a conscription policy, and, should I fail to got an affirmative vote, I will carry the agitation outside the Chamber. And I might tellhonorable senators thatfrom my boyhood upwards I have never associated myself with a public movement without carrying it to a successful conclusion. In my address to the Senate a week or so ago I spoke of the desirability of setting inquiries afoot in respect to the obtaining of arms and munitions from foreign countries, and, because I said something to the effect that China had probably supplies of arms which could be procured, as she was not in immediate need of them, I noticed, on perusing Hansard, that Senator Newland and Senator Guthrie thought that there was something remarkably ludicrous in such a proposal. We preen ourselves on the possession of a Small Arms Factory, which is said to be capable of turning out fifty rifles in an eighthours shift. The firm of machinery manufacturers that supplied the plant at Lithgow supplied to the Chinese Government a plant which is capable of turning out 150 rifles per day, and there is no suspicion that the bayonets are lead, or that the rifles are unsatisfactory military weapons. Surely, if we did set inquiries afoot regarding the obtaining of supplies from foreign countries, Australian officers would proceed to those countries and see that the supplies were, at least, in accordance with the best patterns in use there, so that there was nothing remarkable in my suggestion that rifles should be obtained from Japan, or even from China or America, if it is possible to get suplies from those sources. Finally, I wish to allude to the heroic deaths of Major Braund and Sergeant Larkin, two members of the Legislature of New South Wales. Although those gentlemen differed in politics, one being a Liberal politician and the other a Labourite, they are in the most glorious companionship in death. All that I can say is that if they were my sons I would be proud of them, and, as old Siward said of the loss of his son after he was slain by Macbeth - Had I as many sons as I have hairs, I would not wish them to a fairer death;
And so his knell is knolI’d,
But Sergeant Larkin left something in the nature of a military testament which is of value to the people of this Commonwealth. He regretted that a better preparation had not been made, and forecasted that in the immediate future we would have to provide for a standing or professional army. I delivered myself to that effect years ago, and certainly two years ago in this chamber; and I referred to the question after we met subsequent to the long adjournment which terminated in April.
– He meant a standing citizen army, not a standing army in the other sense.
– I fancy that the honorable senator is misinterpreting Sergeant Larkin’s writings. The latter knew very well that we were going to have a citizen army, but his knowledge of the art of war, and. of what he had seen since he left Australia, constrained him, in my opinion, to say that we would need to have a standing army of professional soldiers - men who would supply all that military knowledge which is not displayed to the fullest extent by the officers of an army who have insufficient training. This, of course, is a matter which may remain in abeyance for a little while, but I hope that it will be considered by this Parliament immediately after the war, or by some Parliament which has a fuller sense of the national responsibilities than even this one has. Not wishing to delay the Senate, not wishing to be obstructive, as one Minister suggested, in regard to Government business-
– Oh, no !
– I will conclude by formally’ announcing to honorable senators that they will be called upon, as soon as parliamentary practice will permit, to vote on the question of whether we shall have a co-ordinated plan of conscription for the nation in this great crisis or not. And if they fail, as, in my opinion, they may fail, in a proper appreciation of their responsibility, I will not further torment them with my remarks on the subject, but will appeal to a very much larger and, I hope, more appreciative audience outside.
– I listened with a good deal of interest and pleasure to a number of speeches which have been delivered on the present occasion. I desire to refer briefly to a few of the points which have been raised. With regard to Senator Grant, I am sorry that he is not in the chamber at present. I find in him a most efficient and effective ally in promoting the gospel of land-value taxation - a policy which I believe to lie at the foundation of all theprogress which Australia will ever be able to make. I do not believe that Australiawill progress to any extent until the large estates are broken up, and opportunities given to the people to settle on our vacant ‘ land. And, from a financial point of view, I do not believe that Australia will over be in her proper position until the immense community-created values which now pass continually into the pockets of private individuals find their way into thepublic Treasury. I do not intend to referto the matter at great length, or to argueit on the present occasion. I believe that it has passed the stage of argument, and that all that we want now are men willingto put the policy into force. At the present juncture, when the existence of Australia as a community is at stake, I think: that the land values ought to “be made immediately available for purposes of defence. Let us look fairly and squarely at the matter from the point of view of the man in the street, so to speak. Suppose that I am a man who holds 1,000,000 acres of land in Australia, and that my honorable friend Senator Senior owns nothing but the clothes he stands up in. He is a citizen of the country, no doubt; he has a vote, and all the privileges which the vote carries with it, but that is all. Which of us two individuals has the greater interest in maintaining Australia in her present position?
– I have, because I have a family and you have not.
– The honorable senator does not know anything about that; in any case, we are not going on the present occasion to discuss that aspect of the question. I say unhesitatingly that the man who has huge landed or other interests in Australia is very much more deeply concerned in maintaining her present condition of independence than a man who has little or nothing at stake. The average working man is earning a decent living now when he can get it, but, taking the cost of living and all the surrounding circumstances, ‘ perhaps he is not very much better off than a European mechanic or labourer. How much worse off would that man be if our system of government were changed ? He would still have to work for a living; he would still be able to get enough to eat, drink, wear, and use, just as he does now. Probably his political position might be affected, but, apart from that, his condition would not be very much worse off than it is at present. My object in bringing these matters before the Senate is to point out to honorable senators the difference between those who have great interests in Australia and those whose interests are merely personal, and very limited at that. Which of the two classes would be most affected if some other Power were to capture Australia, and take the reins of government in its hands? Certainly the position of the man with large landed possessions, the man with a big business, the man with money at the bank, the man with stocks and shares and possessions of that kind, would be very much more vitally affected than that of the other. From being a man of wealth and independence he might suddenly find himself reduced to poverty, and, in addition to that, having lived in the way he did for a lengthy period, he might be unable to earn a living for himself if brought to that condition. It will be seen that the interest of the rich in preserving our present position in Australia is very much greater than the interest of the average working man. If that is correct, then those persons who own large interests ought to contribute very much more largely to the cost of defence than the great mass of the people. I regret very much that the Government have not hitherto seen fit to adopt some system of war taxation. It will have to be done sooner or later, whether we win or lose. If we lose, heaven knows what will happen. But suppose that we win, we shall find ourselves burdened with a debt of anything from £50,000,000 to £100,000,000, and the interest on that money at 4 per cent. - probably 4£ per cent, on part of it - will have to be paid. We shall be paying in interest after the war is ended - probably before it is ended - -a sum larger than we have hitherto been paying on old-age pensions. If that is likely to be the case - and I do not think that any honorable senator would care to dispute it - it must be apparent to every one of us that our system of taxation must be completely revised and extended. We are” getting between £14,000,000 and £15,000,000 sterling, probably £16,000,000-1 am not sure of the exact amount - from the Customs, but we are getting a comparatively small sum from direct taxation. The great mass of the people are giving us approximately £16,000,000 per annum. The poorer the people are the more they pay under this system of taxation. Is the Labour party going to allow this system to continue ? One of the cardinal principles of the Labour movement when I knew it first, and I trust it is one of the cardinal principles to-day, was the re-adjustment of the incidence of taxation, and if the present Labour party does not tackle this question of taxation, some other party will arise to tackle it, because the whole trend of modern political thought is against the taxation of the poor, while the rich are allowed to escape comparatively untaxed. The great mass of the people in Australia find the burden of taxation heavy; and they realize that the wealthy people of this country contribute a comparatively small amount. I suppose from 90 per cent, to 95 per cent, of our taxation comes from Customs, or, in other words, from the poor, while from 5 per cent, to 10 per cent, comes from the wealthy classes of this continent. The system will have to be re-adjusted. Taxation from Customs must be diminished and direct taxation be increased. If our burdens are to increase, as they promise to, undoubtedly more money will have to come from some source or other. The Labour party maintains that the rich should pay a greater proportion of taxation then they do, and I want to know when is the Government going to give us its ideas on the subject of taxation ? I have been hammering at this question of land taxation for years.
– The voice of one crying in the wilderness.
– Not at all; but the voice of one striving to persuade his comrades to go with him into the promised land. I am glad to think that we are getting there, even if slowly, though I hope very surely. The circumstances under which we at present find ourselves must, I think, compel the Government to act very much more speedily than it otherwise might be inclined to do. We will have an interest bill of between £2,000,000 and £3,000,000 sterling, and perhaps more, to pay per annum. Where does the Government intend to find that money? We cannot abolish old-age pensions or the maternity bonus. Indeed, we cannot take a single step backwards in any of the reforms which we have initiated. We must go on. I am assuming always that Australia is coming out of the present struggle with her independence untouched, and I urge we cannot go backward, but must go forward. If we are going forward we must have more money, and we must get that money from the rich people of the continent. I have said before, and I repeat, that there is a sum of about £30,000,000 of communitycreated values going into the pockets of the private people of Australia every year, and I maintain that it is the duty of the Government to commandeer as large a proportion of that sum as it possibly can. In no other way will the Government be justified in trying to get money from the people, either to defray the cost of the war or to carry on the ordinary business of government after the war is over. The
Government, so far, has not taken Parliament into its confidence. We do not know how it proposes to meet the increased expenditure which no doubt will accrue. In fact, I do not know whether the Government has considered the matter at all, but it is certainly time. What I want to say in advance to the Government is that if any attempt is made in this Parliament to get more money by way of taxation from the poorer people of Australia, I, for one, will resist it. It must be either taxation of the rich or nothing. I am sorry Senator Grant is not here, because I wanted to address a few remarks to him individually. I am glad to find he is on the side of the land reformers, but I am sorry also to discover he is what may be termed a “ revenue tariffist.” Of course the honorable senator, I suppose, would cavil at the term “ revenue tariffist,” and claim to be a Free Trader, but every one will admit that, so far as Australia is concerned, Free Trade is an impossible policy. If a man had been an ardent .Free Trader all the days of his life, the present circumstances in which we find ourselves ought to convince him that while nation is fighting nation, Free Trade is ‘the most foolish policy possible, and that the safety of a nation, its development, its progress, are all bound up with the policy of Protection. I think that must be abundantly evident to everybody who has considered the present situation, for we have had it pointed out times out of number that Australia would have been in a much better position if she had been able to produce certain things for her own needs. I refer to those things which, before the war, Germany was producing for Australia. Even the most rabid Free Trader in Australia ought to be convinced now that Free Trade is not the policy of this country, and I want to point out to Senator Grant, who is now in the chamber, that we cannot have Free Trade in Australia because the public sentiment is absolutely hostile to a policy of that kind. Just consider for a moment what the result would be if Free Trade became our fiscal policy.
– Do you propose to get all your revenue from Customs ?
– Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of men and women would be immediately thrown out of employment.
– Why do you not answer the question?
– A number of our industries would collapse undoubtedly, and instead of producing a great many things which we require for our own use in Australia, we would be compelled to import them from abroad. That is the position to which we would be reduced if the policy of Free Trade were adopted. Fortunately, I do not think there is any danger of such a condition coming to pass. Just now Senator Grant asked me a question which I think was entirely unnecessary, knowing, as the honorable gentleman does, what my views on this matter are. I do not want revenue from the Customs. I want revenue from land values taxation.
– You are the right sort.
– I realize, as the honorable senator must, if he gives the matter just a little consideration, that as the people of Australia will not indorse Free Trade - which to my mind means the absolute sweeping away of every Customs duty - the alternative policy must be Protection. The honorable senator must see that if the duties are only made high enough, the revenue from the Tariff will inevitably become less. Let me point out what is happening in other countries. What I wish to impress upon the honorable senator’s mind is that there are revenue duties and Protectionist duties. A low duty is almost invariably a revenue duty while a high duty, which encourages the production of a particular commodity, is a Protectionist duty, and if we find that in spite of our duties goods are coming in from abroad, we may safely conclude that the protection is not sufficiently high. The very fact that we get somewhere about £16,000,000 per annum from our Customs and Excise is proof positive, to me at any rate, that our Tariff duties are not sufficiently high to protect our native industries. Let us consider the Tariff of some other countries. Take the Tariff of Germany, for instance. We know that Germany during the last fifty vears has made unexampled progress in all her various industries, and we know also that she has done so by’ means of a high Protective Tariff. The policy of Germany has been to produce as nearly as possible everything she requires within her own boundaries. That has been her policy for the last fifty years, and we see the result of it to-day in a social and military organization probably without parallel in the world. All good Britons to-day could wish for no more than that British organization had been anything like it. A few years ago the Tariff of Australia yielded between £3 and £4 per head of the population, while the Tariff of Germany yielded 15s. 2d. per head of population. That proves to my satisfaction, at any rate, that Germany in proportion to her population was importing very much less than Australia. Take that other great industrial community, the United States of America. It does not matter what the social organization of the United States may be. We know that owing to her policy of Protection the United States has become one of the best organized communities industrially under the sun. The Republic has an effective Protectionist Tariff, and its imports per head of population are very much smaller than are the imports of Australia.
– What is the main source of revenue in the United States i
– The main source of revenue is Customs duties, but the return from those duties is very much smaller per head of population than in Australia.
– How many million dollars a year does the Republic get from Customs duties?
– It does not matter how much.
– Yes, it matters a very great deal.
– I will tell the honorable senator if he has patience I presume I am addressing, through the Chair, an honorable senator who is open to be converted if he can be shown to be in the wrong. In countries where Protection is really effective the revenue from Customs duties is much smaller per head of population than in Australia. The revenue in Germany from that source was about 15s. per head, and in the United States of America at present it is 25s. per head. If Germany, like Australia, had a revenue Tariff, her revenue from Customs would probably be two or three times as high, and the same remark applies to the United States of America.
– Germany receives her revenue from her mines, forests, and railways, and does not need it from Customs.
– That is all very fine; but Germany deliberately set out to adopt a Protective policy, so successfully that she became a dangerous competitor of Great Britain and the United States of America in every market of the world. If you have a revenue Tariff you do not protect. But if you do protect, and the imports do not come in, you must get a low revenue from your Tariff. We want, if we can, to encourage local industry, to enable us to utilize and develop our resources, and this can be done only by means of a high Protective Tariff, yielding a comparatively small amount of revenue. The result will be to bring us round to Senator Grant’s idea that we must get the bulk of our taxation from other sources.
– Front land values. The owners of the Commonwealth ought to pay.
– I agree with Senator Grant.
– But you advocate a high Tariff, so as to save them from taxation.
– Does not the honorable senator see that if we make the duty on boots prohibitive no boots will come in?
– Do you think that this Government will ever make duties prohibitive ?
– Let me give the honorable senator one example of absolute prohibition. Unfortunately, it does not apply at the present moment, because we are at war. I refer to sugar. In ordinary times no foreign sugar can be imported at a profit until the Australian supply is exhausted.
– A large amount oi raw sugar is imported.
– Of course, because we do not produce enough in any year to meet the Australian demand. If we did, not a single pound of foreign sugar could be sold here at a profit.
– Why does not Queensland produce enough?
– I do not desire to go back over old ground. I have been advocating land-values taxation ever since 3 came into this Parliament. I could tell the honorable senator where to get large areas of good sugar growing country in Queensland, which is now held up by monopolists, but which would be free for cultivation on decent terms if an effective land-values tax were imposed. Unfortunately, this year our local stocks areshort, and the price of sugar grown outside Australia has gone up very much owing to the war, but I have at least pointed to one commodity in which there is, or has been, absolute prohibition.
– That does not apply to bread.
– We do not require Protection in the case of wheat. We not only grow enough wheat in good yearsto provide for our own necessities, but export large quantities. If the land tax were effective and properly applied, I do’ not believe that in any season, howeverbad, we should require to import breadstuffs from overseas. Huge areas of good* country would be placed under wheat but for the existence of land monopoly. Senator McDougall yesterday afternoon brought forward a matter of considerableimportance at this juncture. He complained that the colonel of a regiment had insisted on the promotion of a private to the position of lieutenant in direct violation of the regulations. If that canbe done where the Selection Committee has previously recommended some other person for the position, the sooner we have an understanding on the subject the’ better. We were under the impression when we established the Australian Forces, that promotion would be according to merit, and follow well-defined rales, but if a colonel can “yank” a man out of the ranks into an officer’s position, why not let him choose all his own officers? If that happens, what becomes of our Defence Forces? Our ideas on the subject of promotion are scattered to the four winds. I remember the time when, in the Old Country, promotion was obtained by purchase. This was abolished owing to the popular outcry, and I suppose the neop.le.then fondly imagined that there would be opportunities for the ranker. But, unfortunately, he had no more chance afterwards than before. Promotion was still for the man who could command influence.
– Do you mean that inthis case there has been political influence.
– Political influence is something that we may be able to grasp if we find it is doing injury, but social influence is quite another matter. If any influence brought about this particular promotion, it was social influence. Unless the Minister of Defence has a much stronger reason to advance for agreeing to what this colonel did than he gave here yesterday, he has been guilty of an unpardonable offence towards our Army. It Las been blazoned all over the Commonwealth that promotion in the Australian Army was to be by merit alone.
– And examination.
– Certainly ; yet this young fellow, barely twenty-one, has been pitch-forked from the position of private into that of lieutenant, without examination, so far as I have been able to discover, and in direct violation of the l emulations issued by the Department.
Senator -Russell. - Did he go to the front?
– I cannot say. The colonel, apparently, took a fancy to the young fellow, who happens to be the son of very rich people in New South Wales. Probably the social net was spread, and the colonel fell into it, and the Minister of Defence, for some reason or other, agreed with what the colonel did. Unless the Minister can give Parliament some good and sufficient reason for his action, he is deserving of the most severe censure, because, if the young men entering our Army begin to discover that promotion is to be gained by either political or social influence, the whole institution is damned. The Minister ought to tell the Senate fully and clearly all the facts in the matter. He seemed to be very displeased yesterday when Senator McDougall referred to it, but I think that Senator McDougall deserves the thanks, not only of the Senate, but of the people, for bringing what 1 believe to be a gross scandal into the light of day. On the face of it, it is a piece of favoritism without the slightest excuse. I understand that this young man’s name had been suggested to the Selection Committee by the colonel. The latter brought all the influence be could to bear on that Committee. He endeavoured to cajole its members into making a certain recommendation. They refused to do so. They ha i been put into a position of trust by the Defence Department. The Department had said to them in effect, “ You get us the best man you possibly can for every position that becomes vacant.” In discharging that duty to the best of their ability, the Selection Committee refused to recommend this young fellow, and recommended the appointment of another man. Yet in the face of their recommendation, the Minister agreed to the appointment of the young fellow whom the Committee had turned down.
– Does the honorable senator think that the Minister agreed to the young man’s appointment, knowing that he was under twenty-three years of age?
– I do not care what the Minister knew about his age. I say that the Minister violated the regulation which had been framed by the Defence Department itself. What does it matter whether the young man was over or under twenty-three years of age? If he had been forty-one years of age, the thing would have been quite on the same plane.
– I do not say that an officer may not have done what the honorable senator says. But the honorable senator alleges that the Minister did it.
– The matter was brought under the notice of the Minister.
– So much so that he took action against the Committee.
– Yes, he dismissed them.
– Because they asserted a position which they were not entitled to assert.
– I- suppose that, during the time Senator Millen acted as Minister of Defence, he inspected every lieutenant personally.
– If we find many cases of gross favoritism such as this undoubtedly appears to be, the sooner the Government are put out of office the better.
– I am only taking exception to the words of. the honorable senator, who says that the Minister “ violated “ a regulation.
– The Minister is in charge of the Department. The young man could not have been appointed without the warrant of the Minister. Indeed, Senator Pearce defended his action in this Chamber yesterday, and was very discourteous to Senator McDougall in connexion with it. If what is stated here be true, a gross act of favoritism has been committed; and if that sort of thing is allowed to continue, the very foundation upon which our Defence Forces rest will be sapped. If our young men once get into their heads the idea that promotion goes by favour instead of by merit, our Defence Forces will not be worth a snap of the fingers, and we shall get into a position similar to that which obtains in Great Britain. It has hitherto been our boast that every young man joining our Forces has, as Napoleon used to put it, “a marshal’s baton in his knapsack.” But if this sort of thing is to be countenanced, where will it end ? If favoritism is to be exhibited in one case, it will be exhibited in another and yet another until it becomes the custom, and it will then be extremely difficult to uproot. I trust that full and complete information will be supplied in reference to this matter. I hope that some mistake has been made; but I fear that it is not so. So far as I can gather, this is a case in which social influence has governed the appointment. I trust that this sort of thing will not be permitted to continue. It will not continue with my consent, no matter what Government may be in power. I say, without hesitation, that the Government which is guilty of such ^conduct is unworthy of the confidence of the people, and ought not to be allowed to govern for a moment longer than is unavoidable.
– I desire to embrace this opportunity to direct attention to a matter of very urgent importance. We know that, since the beginning of the war, very many enemy vessels have been interned, and that many British as well as enemy ships have been destroyed. This is a serious matter for the Commonwealth, situated as it is, far from the markets of the world. It means that we are face to face with a difficulty of which we should take early cognisance. In other words, we should at once begin to make the necessary preparation for the transport of the surplus products of Australia to the markets of the world. Unfortunately, the last harvest was a comparative failure; but we are hopeful that, as the result of the recent bounteous rainfall, the forthcoming harvest will be a record one. I observe from the Tear-Book for 1912-13 that the area then under cultivation aggregated nearly 10,000,000 acres, and that the re turn from it totalled 103,000,000 bushels. Deducting the amount that we require for seed and food purposes, it is likely, therefore, that there will be a large quantity of cereals available for export this year. That is the fact to which I desire to call attention. The probability is that one State alone will have a surplus of something like 20,000,000 bushels for export. Prior to the outbreak of war, the oversea freightage represented a. charge of about 7d. per bushel, or £583,000. The f freight to-day is just double that amount, so that, on the smallest estimate, the amount which will be paid by the producers on an export of 20,000,000 bushels will be over £1,000,000. It may be argued that this question is not so important as that which has been so exhaustively discussed during this debate; but I would point out that it is just as necessary that Australia should do her share in feeding those who are engaged in fighting our battles as it is that she should supply them with the necessary munitions of war. I think it was Napoleon who observed that an army progresses on its stomach, and the food supplies of our Forces in the field are just as important as are adequate supplies of shells. The increased taxation on a 20,000,000- bushel export of wheat will approximate £2 per acre. That is the amount which the farmer will have to pay for the carriage of his products overseas. It is & very heavy tax, and consequently it behoves us to make the necessary provision for carrying our surplus cereals to the Old World. It may be urged that there is ample time to do that yet. But I believe that the chartering of vessels in connexion with the harvest usually begins in September. It is now nearly the end of J une, so that not very much time is available within which to make the necessary provision. I wish now to quote a few figures, with a view to showing the quantity of cereals which England has to import. During 1912-13 Great Britain imported from Canada 51,750,000 bushels of wheat; from the United States of America, more than 80,000,000 bushels; and from Russia, 12,750,000 bushels. From Roumania, Russia, Turkey, and Germany, England imported over 24,000,000 bushels of barley; and from Canada close on 6,000,000 bushels. She also imported 22,500,000 bushels of oats, principally from Germany, Russia, and Roumania. These figures evidence/ the necessity -which exists - especially if the Russian crops are to be barred from ‘admission to the markets of the world for any length of time - for making provision for the transport of our surplus cereals to the Mother Country. I notice that between 1st August, 1912, and 31st July, 1913, Great Britain imported 185,000,000 bushels of wheat and 54,250^000 bushels of oats. In this connexion I would point out that we are faced with another difficulty in regard to our fruit yields. As Senator O’Loghlin has already pointed out, our last fruit crop was a very poor one indeed. But, scant as it was, we were unable - owing to war conditions - to export much of it to the Old Land. The markets for the fruits of Australia are principally France, Germany, and Great Britain. Germany will, of course, be closed entirely to us. A crop producing a surplus which cannot be disposed of is no more satisfactory to the producer than is a poor crop. Those who have been engaged in the fruit business know how difficult it is to obtain the necessary refrigerated space for the export of their products. Almost before the tree blossoms it is necessary to secure space for the carriage of the crop to oversea countries.
– I have already given an assurance, in the name of the Government, that the matter to which the honorable senator is referring is being attended to now.
– I was not aware of that, but I am glad to emphasize the importance of its consideration and the necessity for immediate action.
– We cannot take action until we have some guarantee as to what the season will be.
– The honorable senator will agree that, in view of the bountiful rains with which we have been blessed, a good harvest is in all probability assured. In many parts of South Australia, to which State I refer because I know it best, the rain we have already had has been sufficient to warrant us in expecting a reasonable crop; and should rain fall later, in September or early in October, we shall be justified in expecting a very heavy crop indeed. I am glad to learn from the Assistant Minister that the matter of providing freight for our export of grain is receiving the attention of the Government, and I shall be pleased! to learn that they will look into the matter of freight for our export of fruit as well.
– At this stage I am sure that honorable senators will forgive me if I do not attempt to traverse the remarks which have been made in. the course of the debate. It will be sufficient if I indicate that what has been said has been noted and attention wilt be given to it. On the question of providing transport for our exports, I maysay that, with the prospect of a good season in Australia, the difficulty of providing sufficient transport may be serious. The matter is under consideration r and the Government are gathering information. So much depends upon thecharacter of the season that I am unable to publicly announce at present what we intend doing, but honorable senatorsmay be assured that the best that can be done for Australia to overcome the difficulty which has been suggested will be done by the Government.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 postponed.
Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
Quarantine Station, Sydney - Launceston Boat Sheds.
– Senator Keatingintimated to me his intention to malt© some inquiries about the proposed establishment of a quarantine station at LaneCove, Sydney Harbor. I regret that 1 am not in a position to give the honorable senator the assurance he asks for - that the site has been abandoned - but T can say that no further action has been taken in regard to it, and inquiries arebeing made with respect to other sites. On a previous occasion I joined with Senator Keating in expressing regret that it should be necessary to establish a quarantine station at such a beautiful’ site in Sydney Harbor. I shall give my personal attention to the matter, and at a later stage will report to Senator Keating what can be done. In answer to another inquiry by the honorable senator, IT may say that, in the matter of the Launceston boat sheds, instructions have been ..given that the work is to be carried out at once.
Schedule agreed to.
Postponed clause 2, abstract, preamble, -and title agreed to.
Bill reported without request; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of the measure is to secure the necessary funds to enable works already partly constructed to be completed. We must keep public works in hand going in anticipation of the annual appropriation. There are no new or important public works covered by the Bill upon which honorable senators might desire to .have information.
– The work of the construction of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway is being carried out under the day-labour system. That is the case also with most of the works at present being carried out :by the Federal Government. In the cir”cumstances I should like to know why it is now intended to depart from that system so far as the joinery work of the postal stores, and new works at the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, are concerned. If the Government intend to depart from the day-labour system, I wish to know it, because personally I believe it is the hest system to adopt. I see no reason why it should be departed from in the case of the two jobs I have mentioned.
– Senator Grant is probably referring to the joinery works required in connexion with the new building that is being erected for the Post and Telegraph Department at the corner of “Bourke and Spencer streets, Melbourne. He takes exception to the letting of a contract for that work, in the belief that it is a contradiction of the policy of the Government that, wherever practicable, all public works shall be carried out by day labour. The honorable senator will recognise that we could not manufacture the lead pencils, pens, or bottles of ink that we require by the day-labour system ; and he will, I think, understand that the perfection of joinery machinery has so far advanced that it is not possible for hand labour to compete for joinery work with the big establishments engaged in such work. The policy of the Government is, wherever possible, to adopt the day-labour system, but they are also bound to get the best value they can for the people’s money.
– Mr. President- -
– Order! The honorable senator has missed his opportunity to speak, because we are at the secondreading stage of the Bill, and the Minister has spoken in reply to the debate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 postponed.
Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
– I did intimate to the Assistant Minister that I intended to ask him for some information regarding two items dealt with in a Works and Buildings Bill some months ago, and to ascertain how those matters stood at the present time. The Minister, however, gave me the information in Committee on the previous Bill. It was in connexion with the vote for the Department of Home Affairs in this Bill that I intended to ask him a question, because the matters come under this Bill ; but I accept the information he gave me in a previous Committee as if I had asked him on this occasion.
– I was anxious to avoid discussion.
– In connexion with the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, an item of £270,900 is set down for telegraphs and telephones.- Although we have had the assurance of the Assistant Minister that the amount which we are called upon to vote only applies to works in course of construction, I would like to know whether that item indicates the attitude of the Government on the question of telephonic construction throughout the Commonwealth, because if it does, it is a very poor indication of what may be expected of them in that important regard.
We are not without rather unsatisfactory experience of the need of extending our telephones far and wide, particularly to those centres of population which, up to the present, have had no adequate means of communication. Of course, this schedule is a very bald production. An amount is set down for telephones and telegraphs, but no indication is given as to where the money is to be spent, and in what fashion. If the item indicates the policy of the Government in regard to telephonic and telegraphic extension, it is far from fitting in with, in my opinion, what they ought to do. In the press lately we had the cheering news conveyed to us that our credit in the Old Country, notwithstanding the terrible times that are now upon us, is very good. If, as has been stated in the press, our credit is unlimited, I think that the Government should take heed particularly of the need of having a very liberal provision made for extending its telephones to the back parts of Australia.
– This vote is based on the estimate for last year. So far as the extension of telephones is concerned, the Government are giving consideration to the question of extensions to country districts. Personally, I promise the honorable senator every assistance in having telephones extended.
– I might remind the Minister that the extension of telephone lines to farming districts in the back country is included in the Government policy.
– The matter is being considered, and will be dealt with as urgent.
Schedule agreed to.
Postponed clause 2, abstract, preamble, and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Second Reading. a Senator RUSSELL (Victoria - Assistant Minister) [3.55]. - I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators are well aware of the desire, and of the desirability too, of taking over the lighthouses from the States, which previously managed and controlled them. After the necessary preliminary arrangement had been made as far back as last July, the Prime Minister wrote to various Premiers in an endeavour to come to a mutual agreement as to the terms and conditions on which the Commonwealth would take over the lighthouses; but, unfortunately, up to the present time, only New South Wales and Victoria have signed the agreement, consenting to the transfer on conditions similar to those under which the general properties of the States were transferred to the Commonwealth, either at its establishment, or at the transfer of the Departments - namely, that it should be treated as part of the transferred debts, with the Commonwealth liable to pay 3-J per cent, interest in perpetuity on the total amount. A Board, representative of each individual State and the Commonwealth, was to fix up the details as to the values of the different lighthouses, lights, beacons, and buoys to be transferred. Unfortunately one or two of the States have not come into line in that regard.
– How many are standing out?
– Queensland is willing to sign, but has not done so yet. Consequently there are three States which have not come to definite terms with the Commonwealth.
– Has it not entered into communication with the Commonwealth ?
– No satisfactory arrangement has been made. Seeing that the proposal is now twelve months old, it is desirable that the Commonwealth should take some action. Consequently, the design of this Bill is simply to carry out the agreement which was submitted to the States, and assented to by two of them, and promised to be assented to by a third. Owing to the lack of action by some States, it is desired to acquire the lighthouses, if necessary, compulsorily, that is, under the Lands Acquisition Act. Of course, the terms and conditions of that Act will not apply in this case in regard to monetary compensation, because the amount will be treated as a transferred debt. The Commonwealth has long recognised its responsibility in regard to the transferred services, and has done a good deal of work in connexion with the construction of lighthouses. In anticipation of the transfer of the lighthouses, the Commonwealth has spent about £40,000 since 1912. In Victoria a powerful modern optical apparatus has been installed at Wilson’s Promontory, and new lights have been erected at Cape Liptrap and Citadel Island. In the Northern Territory two new lights have been constructed at Darwin, namely, at Fort Point and Emery Point, these lights having been lit only a few weeks ago. At Cape Don, where a light is very urgently required, construction is now actively proceeding on a powerful modern light, which will be manned by three keepers. In Queensland, seven lights of the automatic, unwatched type are under construction north of Cooktown, inside the Great Barrier Beef, and it is expected that three lights will be lit within the course of the next few months. Plans have been prepared for the erection of lights in Tasmania, namely, at West Point, on the west coast, and at Cape Forestier, on the east coast. The lighthouse estimates this year also provide for the establishment of lights in Western Australia, the purchase of lighthouses, steamers, and two unattended lightships. In addition to that, it may be mentioned that more than two years ago the Commonwealth advised all States that any newworks of an urgent character which might be undertaken by them, and which complied with the requirements of the Commonwealth Government, would be paid for by the Commonwealth on the same basis as that adopted in the payment for transferred properties. As honorable senators are aware, the Commonwealth Government have realized for a considerable time that the lighthouses ought to be transferred, and they would have been transferred except for those responsibilities. It would have been much preferable if we could have made a mutual arrangement and an agreement had been signed between the States and the Commonwealth.
– What replies have been received from the States?
– I understand that in some cases no reply has been received, and, in the case of Queensland, a promise has been given. I understand, too, that one
State wants cash paid over, but I cannot recollect the name of the State at the moment. It shows the necessity for our taking action to acquire the lighthouses. The people of Australia have determined that the lights should be brought under Commonwealth control, and as any debt which has been incurred by the States will be transferred, as a responsibility to the Commonwealth, no injustice will be done to anybody.
– Through the courtesy of the Minister, as soon as this Bill arrived here I had an opportunity of looking at the agreement which was proposed as between the Commonwealth and the States, and my attention was at first arrested by paragraph 2.
– Has it been published?
– Not so far as I know. It went as an enclosure with a letter from the Commonwealth Government to each of the State Governments. The letter informed the State Governments that the Commonwealth Government, under the Lighthouses Act of 1911, desired to take over the lighthouses from the several States, and it inclosed an agreement which it was proposed that the Governor-General, on behalf of the Commonwealth, and the Governor, on behalf of the State, should sign. It provided for the transfer of the lighthouses, and in paragraph 2provision was made in regard to compensation.
– As the hour of 4 o’clock has been reached I must, in accordance with the sessional order, put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question put, and resolved in the negative.
– It was provided in the agreement that compensation should be paid as for properties which had become vested in the Commonwealth under section 85 (i) of the Constitution - that is to say, compensation was to be paid in all respects as though the. property in relation to lighthouses had vested in the Commonwealth under that section of the Constitution.
– At the time of the transfer.-
– Those words are not expressed, but I have just now looked up section 85 (t) of the Constitution. At any rate, the provision in the agreement was to the effect I have stated. Now, in this Bill provision is made as to the mode of compensation in respect to each lighthouse taken. It is stated that compensation - shall be the payment in perpetuity of interest at the rate of three and one-half pounds per centum per annum on the amount of compensation so determined in respect of the lighthouse or marine marks so acquired.
Then in paragraph 5 it is stated -
The interest payable in pursuance of this section shall be payable as from the date of the acquisition of the lighthouse or marine mark, and shall be paid annually or at such shorter periods as the Treasurer thinks fit.
For a long time there was a difference between the Commonwealth and the State Governments as to how compensation should be made for the transferred properties, and at the time I was Minister for Home Affairs this question became very acute. I therefore authorized an officer to act on behalf of the Commonwealth Government and value the various properties transferred, in conjunction with a valuing officer from each State affected. The value of the transferred properties was determined, and it was proposed by the Commonwealth Government that interest should be paid to the States on those capital sums. Some of the States - I think most of them - received this intimation with a certain amount of surprise.
– The proposal was that the Commonwealth should take over, say, £10,000,000 of their debts, and pay interest on that amount.
– That would be the effect of our proposal, and, as I have said, it was received with some surprise. Some of the States demurred. What the position at present is I do not know, but, from what the Minister has said, it appears that at least one State holds the opinion that it ought to get cash payment for the lighthouses and marine marks taken over. The Government of that State evidently does not want to be paid by interest payments or the assumption by the Commonwealth of any portion of its debts. It seems, from what the Minister says, that there is an indisposition, ‘to say the least, on the part of three or four of the States to adopt the agreement.
– Three, I think.
– Yes : New South “Wales and Victoria have fallen in with the agreement, and Queensland has made a promise, although it has not yet redeemed the promise by signing the agreement. As far as the other three States are concerned, there has been indifference, apathy, or indisposition to accept it. I think, therefore, we should have a little more information on the subject. I do know that, so far as my own State is concerned, there has been a good deal of consternation owing to the charges proposed to be levied upon shipping going to Tasmanian ports. Hobart, it is claimed, will stand comparison with any port in the world.
– The question of light dues is quite apart from the principle of this Bill.
– I would point out that the honorable senator cannot discuss the question of light dues, as that principle does not arise under this Bill.
– I am aware of that, and I am not proposing to discuss the light dues, but all I want to say is that there was a great deal of consternation on the subject of light dues; and I would like to have some assurance as to whether that has affected the acceptance of this proposed agreement by the Tasmanian authorities.
– I understand that State has nominated an officer to attend a Conference to adjust that matter.
– That is all I am concerned about.
– I will put the agreement in Hansard if the honorable senator thinks it desirable.
– I am glad to have the assurance of the Minister that the State of Tasmania has taken steps to nominate its valuer under the proposed agreement, to act in conjunction with an officer appointed by the Government. Under these circumstances I can see that there is no other course for us to follow but to discharge the obligation thrust upon the Government and Parliament under the Constitution, and to pass a measure of this character.
– I think I misled the honorable senator when referring to the Conference in regard to the valuation of property. The question of the light dues has been adjusted, and the State of Tasmania is perfectly satisfied, I understand.
– As I have the assurance of the Minister that the State of Tasmania is satisfied, I see no objection to the Bill. It is one which we must pass in order to carry out the declared policy of this Parliament. I will regret, and I think we will all regret, if the powers of compulsory acquisition have to be exercised, but if the Bill is passed I am inclined to think that the States will fall into line and transfer the lighthouses to the Commonwealth in the same spirit that characterized them with regard to the other transferred Departments, the responsibility for which we had to accept under the Constitution.
– I think it would meet the requirements of the case if honorable senators who have not had a chance to discuss this Bill were given an opportunity at a later stage. As far as I am concerned, I was not aware of the arrangements made; otherwise my opinion would have been made known, andI would have objected to the Bill being passed in this way.
– I understand the Government want to exercise these powers from the beginning of the new financial year.
– But there are other members on this sidewhowant to say something on the Bill, and I think the Government might very well allow them an opportunity of speaking.
– If the honorable senator desires to speak on the Bill, he must speak now. He cannot speak again on. the second reading, having already addressed himself to the Bill.
– If the Ministry are agreeable, I might have an opportunity later of continuing my remarks. It is not fair to take the Bill right through at the present stage.
– While it is my own personal wish not to prevent any member saying what he desires to say on the Bill, I understood that, as the result of an inquiry by the Whips yesterday, it was mutually agreed that the Senate would adjourn over next “week, and put this Bill through to-day.
– The Minister made a statement on the matter.
– I assure the honorable senator that we have nodesire toforce the measure through, but it is practically impossible to accept any suggestion for an adjournment* of the debate, because the Government want to start the administration of the Act from the beginning of the new financial year. All the dues are collected quarterly, and there would be delay if we adjourned the discussion on the Bill.
– May I ask the Minister this: Cannot the Government see their way clear to pay cash to such States as desire cash for the transferred lighthouses, instead of practically making the capital cost of the lighthouses a forced! loan from the States to the Commonwealth ?
– We do not want differential treatment in this matter.
– I do not think we could ask that, seeing that three of the States have agreed upon the principle of the Bill.
– Which three?
– New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. I understand also that there are not very great difficulties now in relation to the honorable senator’s own State. The principle ought to be uniform in all theStates. I will ask honorable senators now not to hold the Bill up,and, as I promised Senator Keating, I will put the agreement in Hansard, for the information of honorable senators who may hot have read it before. The agreement is as follows : -
Indenture of agreement made the day of , 1013, in pursuance of theprovisions of section 5 of the Lighthouses Act 1911, of the Commonwealth of Australia, between His Excellency the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council (hereinafter referred to as the “GovernorGeneral”) on the one part, and His Excellency the Governor of the State of acting with the advice of the Executive Council of the said State (hereinafter referred to as “the Governor”) of the other part, whereby it is agreed as follows: -
That the Commonwealth of Australia shall acquire from the State of the lighthouses and marine marks the property of the said State, more particularly described in the Schedule hereinunder written, which lighthouses and marine marks shall on and from a date tobe proclaimed by the GovernorGeneral be deemed to have become transferred to and vested in the said Commonwealth.
That the Commonwealth of Australia shall compensate the said State, and the said State shall accept compensation, for the said lighthouses and marine marks at the times and in the manner in which and subject to the conditions under which compensation to be paid to the said State for properties which have become vested in the Commonwealth of Australia by virtue of section 85 (i) of the’ Constitution of Australia in all respects as though the said lighthouses and marine marks had become vested in the Commonwealth of Australia under the said section of the Constitution.
That the area of land, the buildings, the equipment, and the accessories which should be acquired by the Commonwealth of Australia as being incidental to each lighthouse or marine mark to be acquired by the Commonwealth of Australia as aforesaid, and the amount of compensation to be paid by the Commonwealth of Australia to the said State as hereinbefore provided be determined by a Board consisting of a representative appointed for that purpose by the Governor-General and a representative appointed for that purpose by the Governor. The Board in making its determination shall adopt and apply as far as the same shall be applicable the principles embodied in the resolutions adopted by the Conference of Commonwealth and State officers in respect of the valuation of transferred properties, which resolutions are appended to a report dated the 27th August, 1906, and addressed by the said Conference to the Honorable the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth and the Honorables the Premiers of the States of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania.
The determinations of the said Board shall be final and binding on the Commonwealth of Australia and on the said State.
That the Governor will from time to time whenever so required by the Governor-General execute any instruments or assurances that in the opinion of the Governor-General may be necessary for the more effective granting or transferring to the Commonwealth of Australia of the said lighthouses and marine marks described in the said Schedule, and that pending the execution of such instruments or assurances (if any) the Governor grants to the Commonwealth of Australia full licence and authority to enter upon and take possession of and remain in possession of the said lighthouses and marine marks, and to act in relation thereto in all respects as if they were the absolute property of the Commonwealth.
– Are the marine authorities and Governments of the States in possession of a full knowledge of the provisions of the Bill ?
– Yes; the Bill is a copy of an agreement submitted to them twelve months ago.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
After section C of the Lighthouses Act 1911,. the following section is inserted - “ 4. The mode of compensation to the State in respect of each lighthouse or marine mark acquired under this section shall be the payment in perpetuity of interest at the rate of three and one-half pounds per centum per annum on the amount of compensation so determined in respect of the lighthouse or marine mark so acquired.”
– Three and a half per cent, is hardly sufficient interest. Tasmania, being an insular State, with a comparatively large coast line, spent a considerable sum in building lighthouses and marine marks, and I am confident that a great deal of the money cost that State more than 4 per cent. Has the matter been threshed out? The Commonwealth does not intend to pay cash for any of the buildings and the whole transaction looks like obtaining a forced loan from the States to the extent of the amount expended by them in building lighthouses. With money at its present rate, is it fair to pay the States only 3£ per cent. ?
– When Senator Keating was Minister, considerable negotiations took place with regard not only to the rate of interest, but the value of the property being transferred. I do not suppose there has ever been a time when the States have unanimously agreed to accept 3^ per cent. ; but it was generally considered that what was being transferred was, if anything, in the nature of a State debt. It would be difficult to say now what rate of interest the States paid for the money when they built their lighthouses, but 3 per cent, was probably agreed on as a good average basis. I do not think the States agreed to it readily; but as this amount is only an addition to the debt already transferred, it will be far better to make the whole thing uniform. If the money market becomes so tight that the States feel handicapped, we can safely leave it to a Premiers’ Conference to take united action and make representations to the Commonwealth in the matter. If that is done, probably the Commonwealth will be prepared to consider such representations; but I am not prepared to promise that more than 3j per cent, will be paid.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Standing and sessional orders suspended.
Report adopted; and Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday, 7th July.
Senate adjourned at 4.25 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 25 June 1915, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1915/19150625_senate_6_77/>.