6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the. chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the following Bills re ported : -
War Census Bill.
WarLoan Bill (No. 1).
Telegram to Mother of Soldier : Use of Automatic Pistols: Nurses’ Outfit Allowance
– Has the Minister representing the Postmaster-General obtained any further information concerning the complaint to which I drew his attention last evening, that the Post and Telegraph Department had charged the sum of 5s. for the delivery of a telegram to a mother announcing that her son had been wounded at the front?
– I have received information to the effect that this matter is under consideration between the Post and Telegraph and Defence Departments, with the object of reviewing the charge which was made - quite a legal charge, although, in view of the exceptional circumstances, not altogether warranted - and to prevent the occurrence of similar cases.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
In addition to the foregoing, a grey cloak,, costing about £1, would also be required.
– Can the Minister representing the Postmaster-General now answer the questions I put to him somedays ago regarding postal matters at Crookwell, in New South “Wales?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions, to which an interim reply was given on the 22nd July, are as follow: -
– Will the Minister of Defence take into consideration the advisability of instructing the officials who purchase horses for his Department to avoid, as far as possible, the purchase of mares suitable for breeding purposes ?
– Instructions to that effect were given some time ago, and, as far as possible, the Department has avoided buying mares, but owing to the large number of horses required at times it was impossible to avoid buying a certain number. No horses are being purchased now, owing to the fact that the Light Horse are not being used in the present operations.
– Has the Minister of Defence yet given any consideration to the idea of establishing horse-breeding stations, in the Northern Territory, and has he taken any action on the suggestion I made some months ago, that he might confer with the Postmaster-General, with the idea of utilizing the telegraph stations in the Territory as horse-breeding stations on a small scale?
– This matter has’ been looked into very closely by myself and officers of the Department, and it has been the subject of a number of reports.
I am strongly of the opinion that, as soon as possible, we should have horse-breeding stations established in the Commonwealth, but at the present juncture it is impossible to spare officers from the Defence Department to make the necessary investigations, nor would it be possible, if such horse-breeding establishments were formed now, for any benefit to be achieved in the present war. As we have to bend all our energies, both financial and otherwise, to the prosecution of the war it is not possible to take up the question now.
– In view of the fact that a large amount of loan money will be wanted in the near future for carrying out public works, and also, in view of the fact that the London money market is practically closed to this country, and that Canada and other nations engaged in the war have already been trying the money market of America, I ask the Minister representing the Treasury whether the latter will deem it advisable to inquire, through the High Commissioner or other source, what are the prospects for the Commonwealth as to raising a loan there ?
SenatorRUSSELL. - I do not know that there is any immediate intention on the part of the Treasury to float any loan outside the £20,000,000 loan which has already been announced, but I will bring the honorable senator’s question under his notice.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Immigrants from Patagonia.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Motion (by Senator Lt.-Colonel
O’Loghlin) agreed to -
That a fortnight’s leave be granted Senator Shannon, on account of urgent business.
– In moving
That this Bill be now read a second time,
I have nothing to add to the statement which I made on the motion for the first reading of the measure. I merely wish to remind honorable senators that our object in getting the Bill through quickly is to enable us to save the Commonwealth a. few pounds by permitting us to make use of the type which has been kept standing in connexion with this Bill.
– How much of the money is unexpended ?
– About £3,000. It consists of hundreds of small unexpended balances on the various votes.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clauses 2 and 3 postponed.
First schedule agreed to.
Salary of Clerk of Senate - Historic Memorials - Dominions Royal Commission - British Science Congress - Cotton Growing - High Court: Travelling Expenses - High Commissioner - Dr. Norris - Export Trade - Advertising Resources of Commonwealth: Immigration - Papua: Government Plantations : Oil Fields - Northern Territory : Administration and Development : Contract Work at Tanami - Panama Exposition Commission - Australia and the United States. ^Second Schedule.
Divisions 1 to 10 (The Parliament), £38,113.
– When the Estimates were ^printed the increase in the salary of the Clerk of the Senate caused some press criticism.
– Very ignorant press -criticism.
– The Age drew attention to an increase in’ the salary, and severely criticised tlie Government for granting increases to highly-paid officers during the present period. It threw the whole responsibility on to the Government. When I read the article . I was somewhat surprised, and looked up the Estimates. As these were printed with the previous gear’s and last year’s amounts in parallel -columns, the criticism appeared to be justified, because an increase of £100 per annum was shown, apparently as being given during the life of the present Parliament. On inquiry, I found that the increase had really been made in the -year before last, but was not shown on the Estimates for that year. It appeared that when those Estimates were originally made up, the then President of the Senate, Senator Turley, furnished the Government with the usual amounts, and suggested no increases. After the elections a new President and a new Speaker took office. The new Speaker increased the salary of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, and also, I understand, suggested to our President that a similar move be made in this branch of the Legislature. I believe Senator Givens declined to take that step, and the ‘Estimates were printed showing the Clerk of the House of 3 Representatives’ salary as £1,000, and that of the Clerk of the Senate as £900. Subsequently the President made application that the Clerk of the Senate should be placed on the same level as the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
– They were not isolated applications, but applied to pretty nearly the whole staff, down to the doorkeeper.
– I hardly think that that is correct. Although the increased amount came before the Senate very few of us knew much about it. Although I attend fairly regularly, I knew nothing about the increase having been passed, and on looking up the records I found that, when it came before the Senate, some honorable senators, including Senator Pearce, who was at that time sitting in opposition, protested against it. Although this was towards the end of the year, the salaries dated back to the beginning of the year, and were paid accordingly. I should not mention this somewhat outofdate matter except to clear away misapprehensions as to the right parties to bear the responsibility. It was not the Labour Government that was responsible. It was the Fusion Government that put the amount on the Estimates, and if there is any responsibility, they must take it.
– The Speaker and myself were responsible.
– The honorable senator must shoulder his share, but it is nearly time the whole matter was placed on a different footing. It should be decided by the House Committee.
– The House Committee have nothing to do with it.
– Obviously, they have not, but they should have. It should not be left in the hands of one member of the Committee. It is rather high-handed to say; that a Committee elected by this Chamber have nothing to do with the salaries of the Staff of the Chamber. What, in the name of common sense, is the use of electing the Committee? If the President has the whole matter in his hands, and can do whatever he chooses, and ignore the Committee, we might as well have no Committee at all. It is time the Committee had the responsibility of regulating these matters placed on it. If that were done, increases would not be effected in the way this particular increase has been. The matter should certainly be taken out of the hands of the President. When I was on the House Committee, little twopennyhalfpenny increases to lower-paid officers or charwomen came before us; but when it is proposed to make a very material increase of £100 to an already very handsome salary of £900 a year, the Senate House Committee is not consulted in any shape or form. That is put through, as Senator Givens has said, on the responsibility of the President of the Senate, and he is prepared to accept that responsibility. It is all very well for the honorable senator to say so, but it must not be forgotten that it is the taxpayers of
Australia who have to shoulder the increased burden.
– I have no option but to accept the responsibility, in view of the fact that it is imposed upon me by an Act of this Parliament.
– Then it is about time we altered that Act, and put the matter beyond the President’s control.
– That is another matter.
– When a House Committee is elected by the Senate, it should be vested with responsibility in . matters of importance to the Senate, and not only in trifling matters such as a twopenny-halfpenny increase of wages. Although it is somewhat late in the day to criticise this item, we cannot shut our eyes to the necessity for such criticism if we do not wish to be in the same predicament at some future time. In my criticism I have no wish to find fault with the manner in which the Clerk of the Senate performs the duties of his office. During the whole of the time he has occupied his position he has, so far as I know, performed his work in a very satisfactory manner indeed. I am not criticising the holder of the office, but I have a duty imposed upon me as a member of the Senate. If I allowed a matter of this kind to slip by without protest, my omission might be challenged outside, and I have no wish to take up a position outside which I am not prepared to assume in this Chamber. Every man entering into politics has to accept certain responsibilities. When an honorable senator day after day, in this Chamber, rubs shoulders, so to speak, with an officer, it is unpleasant for him to offer any criticism in connexion with the office which he holds, but that duty may be separated altogether from the individual, and it should be done, however unpleasant. I have no hostility to the gentleman occupying the position of Clerk of the Senate. I have spoken because I think that for altogether too long a time a wrong practice has been followed in this matter, and it should be altered, so that if in future any proposal of this kind is made, the members of the Senate may be called upon to accept their proper responsibility, and will know the reasons to be given for any proposed increase of salary to which they may be asked to agree. 1 am not at the present juncture going to pass an opinion as to whether the salary paid is too high or too low for the work performed. All that I find’, fault with is the manner in which this, increase was made. Having entered my protest on that ground, I rest satisfied…
– The matter raised by Senator de Largie: requires a little clearing up. It is, of course, an excellent thing for the taxpayers that they should have Senator de Largie ready to act as watchdog overtheir interests in this particular matter. But when the watchdog permits the houses to be raided and the taxpayers to be robbed for eighteen months before hebarks, I do not think he can be regarded as of much account. This matter hasbeen the subject of a good deal of criticism. Senator de Largie said that it was. first raised by the press. I interjected that the press raised the question ilk ignorance. Perhaps it is not to be wondered at that the press did not makemany inquiries. May be they did not feel called upon to do so. But if such a question had been raised by a member of the Senate, his ignorance’ would have been? inexcusable, because the matter was fullyventilated in this chamber not this year, but over eighteen months ago. If honorable senators will look at the Estimates, which are now under consideration inconnexion with the Bill before the Committee, they will find that in the Estimates for the House of Representatives no increase of salary is set down* for 1913-14. The reason for that wasfully explained by myself when the former Estimates were before the Senate. I explained why the increase did not appear on the Estimates for 1913-14. That explanation will be found at pages 4599 to> 4601 of Mansard for 1913. So that thematter which Senator de Largie has raised to-day was fully discussed and ventilated1 over eighteen months ago. The honorablesenator comes along now with a belated criticism as if this was the first opportunity given to honorable senators to discuss the matter.
– I mentioned that. There is nothing new in that.
– I want to say that the increases were made in both Houses at, exactly the same time.
– Nothing of the kind.
– The honorable senator contradicts my statement.
– I do.
– I have here the notices taken from the Commonwealth Gazette of exactly the same date. These are extracts from the Commonwealth Gazette, No. 8, 7th February, 1914. Yet the honorable senator contradicts me when the facts, as I have stated them, are staring him in the face.
– Does the honorable senator mean tosay that he put on the increase for the Clerk of the Senate at the same time as Mr. W. Elliot Johnson put on the increase for the officer of the House of Representatives?
– I did not say so.
I said that the increases were made and proclaimed on the same. day.
– Because they were dated back.
– They were passed by both Houses at that time. Not a word of criticism was ever raised in the Senate about the increase proposed for officers of another place. All the criticism on the former occasion, and at the present time, has been levelled against the increase to the officers of the Senate. I remind the Committee that it has been laid down as a principle by the Senate that this Chamber and its officers should not take second place to the other branch of the Legislature. I have nothing to add to the statement I made on this subject when it was considered in the Senate over eighteen months ago. I do not wish to waste the time of the Committee by repeating that statement to-day. The facts wereobvious to every one who knew of the increases given in both Houses. I refused at the time to take any action to disturb the recommendation of my predecessor, Senator Turley. The honorable senator is present now, and I am sure will bear me out by indorsing all that I have said.
– Senator Turley did not recommend the increase.
– No, and neither did I at that time. But when the recommendation was made, putting officers of another place over the officers of the Senate, I insisted that the rights of the Senate and its officers should be preserved by putting those officers in exactly the same position as the officers of the House of Representatives. I do not wish to attach any blame to the former Government, but accept full responsibility for what I did. I have told Senator de Largie that I had no option but to accept that responsibility, since it is imposed upon me by an Act of Parliament. So far as the officers of the Senate are concerned, the Public Service Act imposes upon me the same responsibility as is imposed upon the Public Service Commissioner in connexion with officers of the Public Departments. Now with regard to the House Committee having something to say in determining the salaries of officers of the Senate, let me again remind Senator de Largie that, an Act of this Parliament imposes that responsibility on the President of the Senate. The honorable senator would make the House Committee superior to the Parliament. He would have the House Committee placed in a position to override the Senate, and assume duties which the Parliament has said must be assumed by the President of the Senate. Let me remind the honorable senator further that the Joint House Committee has nothing at all to do with the Senate.
– I never said that it had.
– The House Committee is a Joint Committee appointed to deal with matters common to both branches of the Legislature.
– I say that the Senate House Committee should have the control.
– The Senate has no House Committee with separate functions. We elect a certain number of senators to act with a certain number of the House of Representatives on a Joint House Committee, and our representatives on that Committee have no separate identity. Will any honorable senator claim that members of another House should dictate to the Senate as to the payment of the servants of the Senate, or their hours and conditions of work, or that members of another place should submit to conditions being imposed on the officers of their House by the Senate? The claim would not stand for a single moment. I was accused of having smuggled these increases through the Senate, and that is why I feel warmly on. the matter.
– Who accused the honorable senator of having smuggled these increases through the Senate?
- Senator Stewart did so.
– If so, I got very close to the mark.
– It can only be said to have been smuggled through because Senator de Largie and Senator Stewart straggled away from their duties in the chamber, because when the Estimates for 1913-14 were before us, I explained every particular fully; and to-day I have given the Hansard reference in order that honorable members may look up the matter for themselves. Seeing that all this took place eighteen months ago, it would seem that there was some motive quite apart from a discussion of the merits of the case, behind the action of Senator de Largie in bringing the matter forward to-day. I simply endeavoured to uphold the dignity of the Senate by maintaining the status of its officers. Perhaps my hands were forced a little; but when honorable members of another place, without a single word of criticism or discussion, were willing to raise the salaries of their servants, and at the same time offered criticism in regard to any increase in the salaries of officers of the Senate, and honorable senators take up the cue, and are led by the nose by the other Chamber to criticise the officers of the .Senate, though at the same time they do not say a word in regard to the officers in another place, it is time that those in charge of the honour of the Senate should do their duty and defend its officers from attack. Honorable senators generally would be acting with dignity if they would have some observance for the honour of the Chamber, rather than lay themselves open to attack from another place. These increases were made as from 1st July, 1913, and they were published in the Gazette on 7th February, 1914. A full discussion took place in this Chamber at the end of 1913, and honorable senators can see the report of the debate on pages 4599 to 4601 of Hansard for 1913. They are not increases that have been made during war time, and if they are to be subject to criticism on any ground, the increases granted to the officers of another place should have been equally open to criticism.
– We have nothing to do with the other House. It is bad taste to offer that criticism.
– It is a new doctrine that the Senate should have nothing to do with public matters other than those particularly relating to the Senate.. If that is to be the doctrine, the sooner the Senate is closed the better. We have the right to offer criticism on all mattersof public concern.
– But the honorable senator finds fault with the House of Representatives for having criticised us.
– I object to criticism from members of the House of Representatives upon increases given to officers of the Senate unless they equally discuss increases to their own officers. I do not say that the Senate should be free from criticism, or that the House of Representatives should be free from criticism ; but when members of another place granted increases totheir officers without a word of criticism, and immediately began an attack upon the Senate, we were entitled to express our resentment. It was another place that first granted these increases. AsSenator Turley has already pointed out, there is such a thing as seniority among the officers of Parliament. Should we allow the seniority of the officers of theSenate to be sacrificed because membersof another House choose to be generous to their own officers? Honorable senators would not tolerate such a thing, and if we had done so, they would have had just as much ground for complaint against myself as they appear to have now because of the step that was taken.
– As my name hae been brought into this matter, I desire to say a few words upon it. Senator Givens has recalled to my .memory the fact that I used the word “smuggled.” By accident, I struck the right word at the opportune time. The history of these increases is rather curious, and shows the anomalous position in which officers of Parliament are placed through being subject to two authorities. The Speaker of the House of Representatives fixes the salaries of the officers in that chamber, and the President fixes the salaries of the officers in this chamber.
– My predecessor, Senator Turley, always submitted estimates in consultation with the Speaker, but when Mr. Elliot Johnson became Speaker he acted without consulting with me. The present Speaker acts in consultation with me, and thus we see that a proper balance is maintained.
– Did Mr. Elliot Johnson approach the honorable senator in regard to these increases?
– No. The general increases were all submitted before I heard anything about them.
– Apparently Mr. Elliot Johnson desired to distinguish himself by increasing the salary of the Clerk of the House of Representatives by £100, and the President of the Senate, in order not to be behindhand, increased the salary of the Clerk of the Senate by a similar amount. Mr. Johnson did not tell the President, but somebody told him, that this thing had begun, and immediately the President was placed on his honour as custodian of the privileges of the officials of the Senate, and he jumped up the salary of its Clerk by £100.
– I said, with regard to the increases of salary all round, that Mr. Johnson did not tell me at all. He informed me afterwards of what he did, and suggested that I should do likewise as regards the officers of the Senate. With regard to the increase of the salary of the Clerk, he did consult me at that time.
– In any case, the thing is past and done, and it was done in a most unsatisfactory manner. Let me go a little further, and say that the thing itself was unsatisfactory. Here were two officials, amply paid, I think, for the services they render to the Commonwealth. They are both efficient officers, and of the best class. Like Senator de Largie, I have nothing to say, except praise, with regard to their official capacity, but I think that when money is a bit tight, and times are hard– -
– These increases were not made at this time.
– I know; but, in any case, the increases were improper. Officials getting £900 a year could not be said to be underpaid. There was no sweating in connexion with their salaries. There were numbers of other officials, poorly-paid men, in whose case there would have been some justification for granting an increase. I think it was very ill-advised for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in the first place, to increase the salary of hia Clerk, and also ill-advised on the part of the President to increase the salary of the Clerk of the Senate. There may be some reason why the salaries of the officials of both Houses should be the same - why the Clerk in one House should not be allowed to get a point on the Clerk in the other. But really I do not see where it comes in. The country has to bear expenditure which I think it ought not to be called upon to suffer. In any case, it is too late now to interfere with the salaries.
– It is of no use to talk of hundreds when we have wasted hundreds of thousands.
– That is quite true. This increase was improper in itself. I think that the principle which ought to run right through the Public Service is that the men in the lower grades, who are paid a mere living wage, ought, if increases are to be given, to get them. I would point out that, the lowest man in the Service cannot be dispensed with any more than the highest man therein. No doubt some honorable senators will tell me that for an ordinary position you can get dozens of men. True it is that you can get dozens of men for any position that is vacant to-day, and it does not matter whether it is the highest or lowest position. If you need one man to fill a high position, you can probably have your choice of half-a-dozen or a dozen; so that it does not give the capacity of the highest officials any added value. As I have said, the principle which ought to run through the Service is that the men who are on the margin of a living wage ought to be seen to first, and that those who are well up in the scale - that is, above the living standard - should have to wait until the others have been dealt with according to the principle I have laid down.
– The Committee is always entitled to the fullest information with regard to every vote, and so that there shall be no misconception in the future in regard to the salaries paid in the Senate Department, I want to take honorable senators into my fullest confidence in regard to the new arrangement which hasbeen made consequent upon the retirement of Mr. Upward. He has retired on three months’ leave of absence on full pay, at the end of which time he will be entitled to a pension under the terms of his State service. That is a constitutional obligation with which the Senate has nothing to do, and over which it has no power. Since his retirement, I have re-arranged the offices, and, to some extent, the duties. I have appointed Mr. Monahan to be Clerk Assistant at a salary of £700 as compared with the salary of £775 paid to Mr. Upward, and giving him, subject to review by Parliament, the right to an increase of £25 per annum for three years until he reaches the salary which was drawn by his predecessor. The Secretary of the Select Committees, who is also Usher of the Black Rod and Accountant, is Mr. U’Ren, who has been appointed to the office in the room of Mr. Monahan, at a salary of £500, with the right to an- increase to bring him up to the maximum salary. The Clerk of the Papers is Mr. Broinowski, who now occupies, at a salary of £310, the position which was formerly occupied by Mr. U’Ren and a new assistant clerk has been appointed at a salary of £210. The net result of the whole re-arrangement is that, notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Upward was drawing three months’ full pay on leave of absence, there will be a saving of £141 this year, and next year, and the year after, the saving will be greater, so that for the period of three years there will be a saving of something like £150 a year. There is one other matter which I wish to point out, and that is that there has been some re-arrangement of the duties of the officers. Mr. Monahan, who was Clerk of Select Committees and Usher of the Black Rod, has been, for a number of years, Secretary to, and practically manager of the work of, the Joint House Committee, which includes the refreshment rooms, and he has a very great deal of important work to do in connexion with the Senate. In arranging the duties T thought that the Assistant Clerk might very well retain the secretaryship of the Joint House Committee.
– Are there any emoluments attached to that position?
– No. Formerly there used to be a separate allowance for the position, but it was thought that it would be more conducive to economy ‘and efficiency if every officer was put down for a definite salary, and one had noi to look through the Estimates to see if he was drawing anything else or not. That is, I think, a very good principle. I consider that the re-arrangement will apportion the work better among the officers, and. make for efficiency. If there is any otheritem on which I can give information, I shall be only too pleased to do so. -I thought it was right for the Senate to know what new arrangements have been, made consequent upon the retirement of Mr. Upward.
– I could not follow the President very well when he was detailing to the Committee the changes which have been made, but I find several differences between the Estimates as scheduled to the Appropriation Bill and the Estimates of revenueand expenditure, which were circulated some time ago. I have always thought that, when an opportunity offered itself the position of Usher of the Black Rod. might very well be abolished. I see thatthat distinctive appellation has been completely cut out. I do not know whetherthat will be an advantage or not. Anyhow, it has disappeared from the face of the Estimates 1
– He is called Clerk of” Select Committees now, but it is necessary that somebody should be also Usher of the Black Rod to comply with the Standing Orders, unless the Senatechooses to change them.
– If Senator Stewart looks up the Estimates ho will find that the Usher of the Black Rod still appears there.
– Yes, but in the schedule to the Appropriation Bill he appears as Clerk of Select Committees. I do not know whether we had any Select Committees during last session or not. The Usher of the Black Rod and Secretary of the Joint House Committee-
– We could not do without an Usher of the Black Rod.
– Why not?
– Suppose that you were to get unruly, who would take you into custody?
– Good gracious! Could not the presiding officer call in a policeman from the street ? It would be very much cheaper, and, I believe, a great deal more effective than to pay a man £600 a year, practically to do nothing. I have been here for fourteen years, and I have never seen an honorable senator yet distinguishing himself in the way suggested by Senator O’Keefe. No man has had to be removed from the chamber during my experience, and I do not think it is likely, except, perhaps, that Senator Bakhap, in one of his exalted moods, might require the attention of an officer of this character. But, :seriously, I think that the Clerk Assistant, in addition to his other duties, might be appointed Usher of the Black Rod, because the Ushership is clearly a sinecure in so far as dealing with honorable senators ie concerned. I often see the Usher of the Black Rod sitting here.
– Not for a long time.
– Yes, it is quite a customary thing. I have often asked myself what he did, what was the use of him coming here and practically wasting his time-doing nothing.
– Do you think that his only duty is to come into the chamber?
– No, but I think that he might be doing something more useful, at any rate, than coming in and sitting there. I was of the opinion that those in charge of this matter might very well have effected a reformation and a little saving by making the Clerk Assistant Usher of the Black Rod as well; but, apparently, they have thought otherwise. When I compare the schedule to the Appropriation Bill with the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, I find that in the former the Clerk of the Papers and Accountant is down for a salary of £500 a year. In the Estimates he is down for £420. That sum was an increase of £15 on the salary paid during the previous year. I would be glad if Senator Givens will tell us exactly what is the salary of the Clerk and Accountant. Then there is the Clerk of Records. I do not find his office set out in the Estimates at all. He gets £440. All these officers have received increases, and instead of a less sum being paid to them this year than last year, the reverse will be the case. Last year their salaries totalled £6,373, whereas this year they will amount to £6,424. I protest against the continuance of the office of Usher of the Black Rod. I think that it is entirely unnecessary, and that even if it were necessary it might advantageously be conjoined with the office of Clerk Assistant.
– When I was speaking upon the question of the salary of the
Clerk of the Senate, Senator Givens was good enough to say that my criticism was somewhat belated. I would remind him that that is no fault of mine. This is the first occasion upon which I have had an opportunity to discuss the increases which appear on these Estimates. It is the first occasion upon which those increases have appeared on the Estimates. Senator Givens took particular care not to mention that fact. Upon last year’s Estimates no increases were shown. It was not till towards the close of the year - about November or December - that a vote in favour of granting them was carried in this Chamber, on an occasion when I was absent. Had I been present, I would have joined with those who objected to the increases. Several honorable senators took advantage of that opportunity to point out that a salary of £900 a year was quite ample for the work performed by the Clerk of this Chamber. They affirmed that officers doing equally responsible work outside do not receive as large a salary, notwithstanding that they are continuously employed throughout the year. It is an old maxim that it is better late than never, and as I have not had an earlier opportunity of objecting to these increases–
– Nonsense !
– It is not nonsense. I do not think that Senator Givens should be the first to cast stones in this matter, because I do not think that he has shown sufficient justification for his action. If it was right and proper that this increase should be granted to the Clerk, why did not the honorable senator grant it upon his own initiative, instead of letting his action wait upon the action, taken by somebody else in another place ?
– The reason was fully explained in this Chamber.
– There has been no explanation beyond a mere statement that the honorable- senator tailed in behind Mr. W. Elliot Johnson, when the latter occupied the position of Speaker in another place. Senator Givens simply did something because somebody else did something.
– To maintain the equality of the Clerks in the respective Houses.
– To maintain the dignity of the Senate, we are told.
That sort of dignity is a very cheap thing so far as Senator Givens is concerned. “We can all be very dignified when we can make the other fellow pay for it. In entering my protest on this occasion, I feel that I am merely discharging my duty, and whether or not the watch-dog is somewhat late in barking does not matter, seeing that this is the first opportunity I have had to bark. I hope that I have barked to some good purpose. I have shown that I could not have barked sooner. If I had been in the position that is occupied by Senator Givens, I would have been very careful to bark to some more purpose than he has done. I would not have barked that because somebody else barked I chimed in behind him.
– Neither of the honorable senators is bitten.
– We do not want to bite. I am quite satisfied with, my bark. I do not apologize for my action. I am entering my protest upon the first opportunity available to me against an increase which I say is unwarranted. Those who like to go outside “and justify this sort of thing are quite at liberty to do so. I am not prepared to do it. A salary of £900 a year for the Clerk of this Senate is ample, and the granting of an additional £100 is a downright waste of public money. I am not going to say one thing in this chamber, and pose outside in another guise altogether. In my opinion, it was the duty of the House Committee to deal with these matters. Senator Givens says that there is no House Committee-
– I did not say anything of the sort.
– The honorable senator said that there is no House Committee so far as the Senate is concerned.
– That is quite true.
– Does Senator Givens mean to tell me that the House Committee, whose names appear on the business-paper, do not deal with matters relating purely to the Senate?
– They do not. They have nothing to do with them.
– Then the sooner we abolish that Committee the better.
– Its members have very important work to do. They have to look after matters which are common to both Houses.
– Then the: sooner we reorganize these Committees,, and allocate to them their proper work,, the better. I have made my protest, and I am quite satisfied to let the matter rest at that. When I think that an increase in the salary of any officer is justifiable I shall be prepared to move it, or to support it if a motion is submitted by anyother honorable senator. I will not wait until I am forced to take action becausesomebody else takes action. There is no justification for this throwing away of £100 of the taxpayers’ money.. If £90O was not a sufficient salary for the Clerk, Senator Givens should have- been, countageous enough to have proposed an Increase, and not have been forced’ to takeaction by reason of the action of somebody else. I am quite satisfied’ with my attitude on this matter, and’ I am perfectly prepared to maintain it.
i. - I have no quarrel with the satisfaction, that has been expressed by Senator de Largie. No doubt what he has donehas been done from a high sense- of duty,, and he would be a mean man who would’ wish to deprive him of the satisfactionthat he experiences. But I” wish to point, out one or two statements by him whichare not quite accurate. In the first place, he said that this is the first occasion upon which any honorable senatorhas had an opportunity of dealing with this increase.
– I said nothing of the kind.
– The honorablesenator led the Committee to believe that this was the first occasion upon which honorable senators had had an opportunity of discussing the increase. T wish to point out that the whole of the Parliamentary Estimates must be taken together, that the increase in the salary of the Clerk of the House of Representatives did appearon the previous Estimates, and that thewhole position was explained ‘ when they were under review.
– I will provewhether this increase appeared on the Estimates or not. I have a copy of the Estimates here, which shows that the honorable senator’s statement is not true.
– I say that the increase in the salary of the Clerk of theHouse of Representatives did appear on the previous Estimates. The whole matter was fully discussed at’ that- time, and- an explanation was given. Also all the increases appeared in the Supplementary Estimates passed some time ago, and then there was a full opportunity for discussion if honorable senators desired it. There was not a single word of discussion upon the matter in this Chamber. But when the increases were proposed for corresponding officers in the Senate, a storm of criticism broke out elsewhere. Some honorable members appeared to think that the seniority of officers of this chamber should be abrogated. Senator de Largie complained that I did not make the increases on my own account, but that I waited until my hand was forced.
– I repeat the statement, too.
– In reply, I would point out that the responsibility at that time was not mine. The Estimates had been sent in by my predecessor, in conjunction with the then Speaker of another place.
– Why did not the honorable senator maintain that attitude ?
– I did, until the Estimates appeared in print. When they appeared in print, I plainly told the Government of the day that I did not think the Senate would allow its officers to be passed over, and that unless they received corresponding increases, the Estimates would be held up. I refused to take action until the Estimates appeared. Then, when the matter was brought forward in this Chamber, I gave honorable senators every information in connexion with it. Now, after the lapse of eighteen or twenty months, it is again brought forward as if it were something entirely new. It was not my fault that Senator de Largie was absent on the occasion in question.
– I did not find fault with the honorable senator because I was absent.
– Those who were here will recollect that I treated the matter -with the utmost candour, and that I fully explained the position. I have nothing to add to that statement. There ought to be some finality to our proceedings, and a matter once fully discussed and threshed out should not be brought up year after year, putting the officers of the Senate in an invidious position as compared with the officers of another place. Comparisons, it is said, are always odious, and comparisons of this kind lead to constant bickering and strife, which is not desirable in the interests of the service itself.
– Senator Givens tried to lead the Committee to believe that I was wrong in saying that these were the firstEstimates on which the increase of salary for the Clerk of the Senate appeared. The printed copy of the Estimates thatI hold in my hand proves my contention beyond doubt. The increase of salary for the Clerk of the House of Representatives appeared in the Estimates for theyear before, but the increase for the Clerk of the Senate did not appear there; consequently this is the first opportunity, so far as the Estimates are concerned, that I or any other member of the Senate havehad to raise the question.
– What about the Estimates of the other House 1
– That is an entirely different matter. If I had taken up the attitude that Senator Givens apparently took up when the matter was first mooted, and refused to recommend the increase, I should have stood by that attitude. It appears that Senator Turley was first approached to put an increase of £100 or some other amount on theEstimates, but refused to be a party to it, believing that the sum already voted was ample for the office. Had Senator Givens been anxious to back up the action of his predecessor, as he tries to make out, he would have stood by the attitude he originally took up, even though the Speaker of another place put an increase on the Estimates for the Clerk of his House ; but he backed down. He says he did so because of the dignity of the Senate, but I do not know that there is very much dignity in the whole position. Senator Givens. - I am not concerned with the dignity of the Senate, but I am concerned to see that justice is done to our officers.
– No injustice was being done to the officer when he was receiving £900 a year for the position.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Divisions II to 14 (Prime Minister’)! Department), £64,351.
– In these times, when every farthing is needed for the preservation of the country, money should not be spent on such items as “ Historic memorials of representative men, £1,225.” That kind of expenditure might well be left until better times come round again. Our first duty is to perfect our defence and keep our people from want, which, I believe, will be the fate of many of them unless the different Governments come to their assistance. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the item “ Historic memorials of representative men, £1,225.”
– The money has already been expended. If the Committee thinks the painting of the memorials should not continue, it can demonstrate the fact to the Government in an effective way on the next Supply Bill.
– And then you will tell us that the paintings have been ordered, and that we shall have to pay for them.
– I shall certainly oppose any such request, but if carried on the next Supply Bill, it will be effective. The way now chosen by the honorable senator is not effective. All the money appropriated under this Bill has been spent with the exception of £3,000 spread in small sums over 100 items or more. The probability is that every penny of this item has already been spent. As the cheque has really been cashed, and we cannot repudiate it, I appeal to Senator Stewart not topress the request.
Senator STEWART (Queensland) £4.30]. - This shows with what wonderful wisdom the country is governed. We are asked to pass Estimates amounting to several millions to-night, while the House of Representatives has been chewing over them for months. This kind of thing is a deliberate insult to the Senate.
– And we take it lying down !
– We do. The Committee ought to register some protest regarding these historic records. At a time like the present, when all the money we have is required for powder and shot, and we are running the country into debt tothe tune of over £100,000,000, every farthing we can muster ought to be saved for that and other necessary purposes. I beg leave to amend the request to read -
That the House of Representative’s be requested to reduce the item ‘* Historic memorials of representative men, £1.225,” by £1.
If the Committee feel as strongly on the subject as I do, they will carry the motion unanimously. In any case I register my protest against this kind of extravagance. If we were living in times of peace, and money was plentiful, and we had no fears for the future, I would say, “ All right, let us put the portraits of these distinguished men upon our walls,” but in present circumstances it is the most outrageous foolishness. In spite of what the Minister has said, my proposal, if carried, will have, or, at least, ought to have, some effect. The Government will have been warned by one branch of the Legislature to stop the expenditure.
Request amended accordingly.
– I appeal to Senator Stewart not to press the request, because if we have committed a wrong he has been a party to the crime. There have been no less than eight Supply Bills dealing with this expenditure, all of which Senator Stewart has helped to pass, and this item has been voted pound by pound in them. If Senator Stewart wants to challenge the item,he should do so in the new financial year.
– By that time, as Senator Guthrie interjected, the Government will have incurred new obligations.
– If the request were carried, the battle would have to be fought on this Appropriation Bill, which is dead and gone. If it has to be fought, let us fight it on something alive. Probably in a couple of weeks or less a Bill for three months’ Supply will come before us. That Bill will deal with expenditure for the current year. This Bill deals with times past.
– We hear the same old song every time these questions crop up. The Estimates are kept back in another place month after month until when they come before us we are told that the money has been spent, and to move a request for a reduction is only so much waste of time. I ask the Committee whether we are to go on for ever in this slipshod way, and make no protest which has anything behind it.
– How can thatbe said on a Supply Bill ?
– When a Supply Bill is brought before the Senate we may be told that there is no item in the Bill which has any bearing upon these memorial pictures.
– Or that a picture has been ordered, and a contract entered into.
– Just so. I think it is high time we made a protest which will have some business in it. I do not wish to divide the Committee uselessly;, but we must’ do something if we intend that the Estimates shall be presented to us in time to deal with them . It does not matter what item a request is made upon, so long as it enables us to put our case in such a way that the House of Representatives will understand that in future the Estimates must come before the Senate in reasonable time for their discussion. If every time we deal with the Estimates, we allow the same excuses to be made in order to have them passed, we shall continue to have nothing but apologies. I seriously ask the Committee to say now whether they are prepared to insist upon the Estimates being presented to them in time, or whether they are satisfied to allow themselves to be treated in the future as they have been in the past.
.- I fail to understand the reason for this opposition. I think that nearly everybody, including Senator Stewart, is aware of the fact that a movement was set on foot, .not yesterday, but some time ago, to commemorate the work done by prominent Australians.
– It was set on foot in 1908.
– A committee was appointed in 1908, composed of the leading artists of the different States. The committee is still in existence. The best Australian artists were commissioned to paint in oils the portraits of certain men who have played a prominent part in connexion with the Federal movement.
– In kerosene oil ?
– I do deprecate these attempts to belittle the efforts of Australian artists. We may have differences of opinion as to whether the portraits in the Queen’s Hall are good or bad; but the names of the artists attached to them are those of men who have won fame for themselves, not only in Australia, but in other parts of the world.
– The attempt is also intended to belittle Australian subjects.
– I agree that, in a measure, it is. Too little consideration was given to art in Australia, and it was not until the advent of the Labour Government that art was recognised in anything like a substantial way.
– Does the honorablesenator call those portraits art?
– I should not goto Senator Stewart for an opinion as towhat is art. The men who have painted those portraits have undergone training in National Galleries. Does Senator Stewart understand anything at all about art ? I know something of the work thesemen have to go through before they are> recognised in the artistic world. They had to spend years at the National Gallery before they could earn a shilling for themselves as artists.
– Does the honorable senator consider the painter of theportrait of Sir George Reid an artist of any value?
– I know that he has established himself in the Old Country. We may differ in opinion, as to the value of the portrait referred to, but it might be that the artist was particularly anxious to please Sir George Reid himself.
– The portrait is enough to kill him.
– I have my own? opinion of that portrait; but the artist who painted it has established a reputation in the Old Country, and he was. I believe, born in Australia. I should be very sorry if the request were agreed fo.
– Does the honorable senator think that we can afford that kind of thing now?
– I hope we shall never be so poor that we should proclaim from the house-tops that we are unable to give any encouragement to men and women in Australia who have artistic talent and ability. Labour has given too little consideration to the importance of the artistic point of “view. We should appeal to the best instincts of Australians, and try to elevate their minds and tastes. Criticisms have been levelled at the paintings in the Queen’s Hall often by people who do not know the difference between a pastel, an oil colour, or a water colour.
– The reason for the criticism often is that a couple of Labour subjects are amongst them.
– They have been criticised by people who do not know the A B C of art.
– People who know little about art may be able to tell a good likeness when they see it.
– There are, no doubt, thousands of people in Australia who could reproduce a likeness, but that is not the beginning and end of art. Whilst I remain a member of the Senate I shall never be a party, to the reduction of a vote for a movement such as this. I shall always be prepared to assist Australian artists, who never received the consideration to which they were entitled until the advent of a Labour Government in the Commonwealth.
– I wish to say a few words now that this subject has been brought up for discussion. I interjected just now that it was in 190S that this movement to have portraits painted of distinguished Australians connected with the Federal movement and the early days of this Parliament was established. I may inform honorable senators that when Lord Dudley came to Australia, and took over Government House, I, as Minister of Home Affairs at the time, happened to be there on the first Saturday afternoon after his arrival. I could not but be struck at the absence from that building of anything in the nature of furniture, pictures, or interior properties owned by the Commonwealth. I realized that the time would come when we would have a Federal Government House at the Seat of Government, and a Parliament House erected there. At the time of which I speak the Commonwealth held nothing in the nature of pictures, with the exception of some of those which are hung in our Library to-day. The movement started with the idea which then occurred to me of obtaining pictures which would be the property of the Commonwealth for all time. I gave expression to my views through the medium of a certain organ which deals particularly with subjects of that character in Australia. I made the suggestion in November of that year that the Federal authorities should proceed to have commemorated historic personages associated with the Federal movement, and with the earliest days of the Federal Parliament. Every one of the pictures to which Sena tor Stewart has made reference will ultimately find its permanent place, either in the Commonwealth Government House at Canberra, in the Parliament House there, or in some other of the public buildings. It should be remembered that if we were not preparing, as we arc now, for the purpose, we should have to buy paintings of some kind for those buildings, and what more fitting works of art could we have than those which deal with distinctly Australian subjects ?
– And painted by Australians, many of whom had to leave Australia to get work before this movement was started.
– Not long after the time I have mentioned, the Government of which I was a member had unfortunately to leave office, but later a Committee was appointed, and I was very pleased to see that they followed the suggestions I had formulated in print, that the subjects of the first portraits painted for the Commonwealth by Australian artists should be the first Prime Ministers, the first Chief Justices, and Presiding Officers of the Senate and House of Representatives. The portrait gallery, which is gradually being built up, is not intended for the Queen’s Hall in Parliament House, Melbourne, but for the future public establishments of the Commonwealth.
– When this movement was initiated it was hailed with delight bv the newspapers and the public generally. Everything connected with it went on well until the time arrived when a couple of gentlemen belonging to the Labour party attained eminent positions entitling them to have their portraits hung in the Queen’s Hall. Almost immediately after that and ever since that time the news papers have endeavoured to kill the movement with ridicule. If no Labour men had attained positions entitling them to have their portraits included amongst those hung in the Queen’s Hall I have no doubt that the press would have continued to regard the proposal as a splendid national idea. I do not profess to De a judge of art, but I like anything Aus tralian, and, in my opinion, all those who have had their portraits hung in the Queen’s Hall have attained positions in the Commonwealth entitling them to remembrance. They have, in my view, done far more for the moulding of the destinies of the Commonwealth than any imported officials could possibly do. If the portraits hung in the Queen’s Hall were confined to imported holders of titles, I have little doubt that in certainquarters they would be viewed with veneration and admiration.
– Does the honorable senator think that Senator Stewart would then withdraw his objection ?
– I am not in the confidence of the honorable senator. If Senator Stewart attained a sufficiently eminent position in the Commonwealth he would be as much entitled to have his portrait hung in the Queen’s Hall as any imported official. I protest against the manufactured ridicule which has been directed to these national portraits.
– If Senator Ferricks thinks that I am objecting to the continuation of the painting of these portraits because two Labour men have had their portraits painted, I can tell him that there is nothing further from my mind.
– I said that the painting of their portraits is what gave rise to the ridicule of the movement.
– I think that this is one of the luxuries that we” could very well do without at the present time. I did not for a moment suggest that the movement should be altogether discontinued, but I do think that it should be suspended until better times come round. We shall have to pay for these pictures if we keep on painting them, with bor rowed money, and I do not think that is a very nice thing to have to do. If I get any support I shall divide the Committee on my request, because, under present conditions, I regard the painting of these portraits as pure extravagance.
– Can the Minister give us any information in regard to the item of £1,150 for the Dominions Royal Commission ?
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister of Defence (“4.51]. - This Commission was established as the result of the Imperial Conference of 1911, and comprised representatives of the United Kingdom and the various self-governing Dominions. .Australia was represented by Mr. Donald Campbell, but, as he was withdrawn from the Commission about three months ago, no more money will be spent in this direction.
– Although the war overshadowed the Congress of the British Association for the Advancement of Science which was held in Sydney last year, that meeting of scientists must have been of considerable interest, and the result of their deliberations may be of benefit to humanity after the present war is among the terrible things of the past. As I take a great deal of interest in reading the papers presented, and reports of discussions at such conferences, and as this was the first occasion on which such a conspicuously scientific and learned gathering has taken place in Australia, I am anxious to know from the Minister whether the report of the proceedings of the Congress will be published in a handy form.
– The fact that this Congress was the most important of its kind that has been held in any part of Australia is recognised by the sum provided in these Estimates to cover the expenses of these gentlemen of high scientific attainments, who came to Australia to attend it. Had it not been for the titanic struggle in Europe, the leading newspapers of Australia would have devoted considerable space to the proceedings of the Congress. I followed with more than a passing interest a number of the papers read there and the discussions thereon, but since then events have so overshadowed the Congress that its proceedings are not as well retained in memory as they would be if a handy report of them were published. Such a report would be very helpful as well as historical ; but, instead of having a voluminous report containing the whole of the proceedings of that Congress, the Government should consider the advisability of issuing pamphlets dealing with the separate subjects discussed.
– A voluminous report of the proceedings is now being printed, but I believe that it is also the practice to print some of the papers as separate subjects. These reports are available to the various societies represented at the Congress. There need be no fear that the valuable knowledge displayed at that Congress will be lost.
. - Some honorable senators would be glad to receive copies of the very valuable Handbook of Australia published under the authority of Mr. Knibbs for the benefit of the visiting scientists.
– Copies of that handbook are available. Honorable senators should apply to the’ Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department for them.
– In regard to the next item, providing £500 for an expert to report on the possibilities of cotton growing in Australia, can the Minister say whether that expert’s report has been published, and, generally, how the matter stands; is the expert still in the employ of the Commonwealth ?
– I shall have inquiries made into that matter, and acquaint the honorable senator with the result.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Divisions 15 to 27 (Department of the Treasury), £1,670.662, agreed to.
Divisions 28 to 33 (Attorney-General’s Department), £58,684.
– Can the Minister give the Committee any information in regard to the item of £5,000 for travelling expenses for the Justices and officials of the High Court?
– Justices of the High Court are provided for in exactly the same way as are members of Parliament in regard to travelling. The Commonwealth pays the States a certain amount to cover their travelling by trains, and it pays the steam -ship companies just as is done in the case of members of Parliament who travel by boat. Justices of the High Court are also entitled to a travelling allowance, which is provided for in regulations laid’ on the table and distributed to honorable senators long ago.
Senator STEWART (Queensland’^ [5.3]. - Members of Parliament are not allowed steamer fares between ports connected by rail. Are the Judges on a different footing in that regard?
– I shall have inquiries made.
.- Though £5,000 is provided for travelling expenses for the High Court Justices, there is only £10,000 pro vided for the travelling expenses of members of Parliament, which sum, presumably, also covers the travelling expenses of officers of both Houses. A sum of £5,000 for seven Judges and their officials, seems to me to be altogether out of proportion to what should be provided on. the Estimates. I think that it is only right that the Committee should havesome information on the subject.
– The item ou the Estimates is for railway expenses.
– It does not say “ railway expenses,” but simply “ travelling.”
– Still, that is what it is. The honorable senator will see that it comes under the Home Affairs Department, and not under the Parliament. Itmust be remembered that, owing to the number of members who travel, a. special rate per member - £42 - I understand, is charged. The number of theJudges, of course, is very much less, and their travelling has to he paid for in theordinary way. In regard to the other travelling expenses, that is the only expenditure for travelling which comes.’ under the vote for Parliament, and it is. to cover the cost of the cabs which take the luggage of members of Parliament from the railway station to Parliament House.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Divisions 34 to 41 (Department of External Affairs), £611,145.
– With regard to the Estimates for the. Department of External Affairs, can theMinister in charge of them give the Committee any information as to who the nextHigh Commissioner is likely to be ? I alsowish to know whether it is proposed tocontinue the advertising of Australia in Great Britain and Ireland ? I notice that during the last financial year £10,000 was. expended on advertising Australia in those countries. I do not know whether it is necessary to continue the advertising or not. I am very doubtful about that. Then I find an item for the development of the Australian export trade to Europe. The complaint of a number of persons recently has been that our export trade hasdeveloped far too rapidly,” and left the people of Australia bare as regards a number of the necessaries of life. I desireto know whether, in the opinion of the Minister, the payment of this sum of £2000 ought to be continued? I think that he might give the Committee some information, too, as to what the duties of the High Commissioner are, and what useful service he performs on behalf of the Commonwealth ?
– I do not for a moment anticipate that the whole of the £10,000 will be spent in advertising the resources of Australia in any short period of time. But I would like to get from the Government a definite statement as to what is being done in Great Britain and Ireland at present from the advertisingpoint of view. We read in the press the other day that the steamer Benalla, on which, unfortunately for the passengers an accident happened, which turned out not to be so bad as was expected, is bringing 700 or 800 new arrivals for different parts of Australia. I have always said that there is ample room, not merely for our present population, but for ten times that number, if the right policy is followed, and Australia is managed as it is being managed just now, with a Labour Government in power, on a business basis.
– Who brought the people here first - a Labour Government?
– I think that a number of them swam here.
– I was like Topsy - I “ growed.”
– Some persons came here because, as SenatorPearce interjected, they were driven out of the land of their birth, because of the tyranny exercised over them. They came to Australia, made homes for themselves, and brought up families, and are estimable citizens.
– I think that, in 100 years, they have done wonders.
– The Estimates show that there was no expenditure under this heading for the previous year.
– That is true. At a time when Australia is doing all she possibly can to play her part in the war for the protection of her territory, and for the defence of the Empire - when Australians are leaving, many of them, good and permanent positions, they ought to be assured that, in the event of their return - and I sincerely hope and trust that the great majority of them will come back - no policy will be followed in regard to bringing immigrants here which will be to their detriment. There is very great distress in every direction. Men in dif ferent trades and occupations are out of work, and have been idle for a considerable period. In those circumstances the Government ought to halt before they expend any more money in advertising Australia, especially during the currency of the war. It is not fair to those Australians who are fighting for the Empire, and it is not right to bring people to Australia at the present juncture because of the distress that exists.
– They will flock here as fast as we want them after the war is over.
– The passing of this Bill will not bring in a single person additional to those who are already here.
– If the Minister assures me that the passing of the Bill will not bring an additional person here I shall be satisfied, and resume my seat
– That is the fact.
– But I want to get a definite assurance, as I feel sure I will, from the Leader of the Government here, that, for some time at least, they will hesitate and halt about expending moneys in Great Britain to advertise the resources of Australia in order to induce people to come here. I hold that money and effort expended at the present juncture in the Old Country would be money and effort wasted. For those reasons I would like to get, if I can, any information at the Minister’s disposal as to what is being done in the Old Country now, especially through the office of the High Commissioner,in respect to advertising our resources.
– Before the Minister replies, I desire to ask whether he can give the Committee some information as to the item of £800 for a medical officer in the High Commissioner’s office. It will be noticed that the staff of that office comprises thirty-five officials, and I hardly think it is likely that the full time of a medical officer would be required to attend professionally that number of persons.
– I am sure that Senator Stewart never dreamed for one moment when he asked the question that I was going this afternoon to disclose the name of the future High Commissioner.
– I did, indeed; I thought that you might tell us.
– One very good and substantial reason why I cannot do that is that I do not know the name. With regard to the item for the development of Australian export trade to Europe, I keep on referring to the fact that this is a Bill to appropriate money already spent. At the time the money was being spent it was done with the view to opening up channels for trade on the Continent - for instance, in trying to develop a market for apples, butter, and various other products - and there was a number of trade commissioners. The position was fully explained when that policy was initiated. The names of the officers were stated, and also the remuneration they were to receive. Some of them were to act in an honorary capacity, and others were to get a certain amount. All that business has come to an end. The passing of this Bill will not affect it one iota, because the business is all interrupted by the war. The same remark applies in regard to immigration. At the present »moment the energies of the High Commissioner’s staff are devoted to the war. Dr. Norris, who, I may inform Senator O’Keefe, is the medical officer he referred to, was sent to England to examine immigrants for Australia before they left that country. An arrangement was made to utilize doctors all over the United Kingdom, so that we should have a medical examination of an immigrant before he came here, and not, as under the old system, after he arrived here.
– Are they all examined by Dr. Norris?
– No; he is in charge of that arrangement. Intending immigrants are examined by a practitioner in their respective district’s, but Dr. Norris is the officer responsible for the examination. He organized the system and carried it out till the war occurred.
– Does that item cover the cost of the examination of all immigrants ?
– No; it represents the salary of the medical officer. I may say, however, that he is not doing that work to-day, but is assisting the Commonwealth by attending to wounded Australians in England.
– He is getting a lower salary now than he received when he was here.
– That is so. As regards the future policy of the Government on immigration, development of export trade, and advertising our resources, I put it to honorable senators that it is not the practice for a Government, in dealing with a measure to wind up a financial year, to forecast what they are going to do in the next financial year. An opportunity is taken by the Treasurer when he introduces his Budget to intimate the policy of the Government in connexion with the financial proposals for the year. I have already intimated that the Treasurer does not expect to be able to bring forward his Budget before the proposed adjournment of both Houses, but he does expect to be able to make a financial statement next week, I believe, in which he will deal with the various items of policy, and forecast them, so far as he can, as a sort of preliminary to his Budget speech. Therefore I do not think that I should . be asked to-day to state what is the policy of the Government for the future concerning immigration, advertising, or the development of export trade.
– We are in a new year now.
– We are not dealing with a new year, but with a year that is past.
– We have the assurance of the Minister that no moneys will be spent for some time in inducing immigrants to come to the Commonwealth ?
– I give the honorable senator my assurance that, as regards those three matters, everything is practically at a stand-still, because the officers who were dealing with them are now dealing with questions arising out of thewar in the way I have indicated.
– Under the heading of “ Papua.” I wish to direct attention to the item “Loan for Government plantations, £5.000.” Will the Minister be good enough to give us some idea of the extent of our plantations there, of how they are progressing, and how much money has been expended upon them.
– A copy of a very interesting report upon Papua, by Judge Murray, has already been supplied to Senator Findley and to every other honorable senator. That report gives the fullest particulars of the number of cocoanut trees, and the number of rubber trees that have been planted, together with their technical names and a whole wealth of detail. He puts the position much more accurately than I could do. The honorable senator will find a copy of that report amongst his parliamentary papers.
– In connexion with the item “ Administrator, £1/750 “ iu the .Northern Territory, I wish to express my regret that we have not yet received the report of the Administrator for last year.
– But we have had numberless reports upon various phases of development, in the Territory.
– Personally, I think that the annual report of the Administrator might have been expedited.
– Is the honorable senator sure that it did not arrive to-day?
– I am not. It is quite possible that it may have arrived to-day. .Personally, I am entirely iri accord with the policy of the Department of External Affairs in regard to rnining and pastoral matters in the Territory, save that T think some of the pastoral areas have. been tied up for too long a period. I do not expect much development in agriculture there in the immediate future. Before agriculture can he successful in the Territory, markets must be created and means of communication and transport provided. In my judgment, the best method of attracting population to the Territory is b.y stimulating mining development. It has been the experience of every State of the Commonwealth that population invariably follows mining development. I feel sure that if a profitable mineral field were opened up in the Territory there would be a great rush of settlers there in just, the same way as there was a rush to Kimberley and other parts of the world.
– Even to Klondyke
– Even to Klondyke, as the honorable senator remarks. In the preface to the Administrator’s report for 1913, the position of the Territory is not put in a very attractive light. Certainly it is not put in a manner that is likely to appeal to the people. Indeed, the whole of that preface rather throws a damper upon the prospect of attracting population there, and we all recognise that population is what is wanted. For instance, the Administrator says -
Southern residents rarely appreciate the fact that the journey to Darwin occupies at least twelve days from Sydney: that mails ure infrequent and practically only twice monthly - in some cases four weeks elapsing between mails. Even applicants for land and other would-be settlers seem to fail to grasp these facts.
On arrival in the hot, small township nf Darwin, where the amenities of civilization as known to most Australians are absent, the natural feeling nf home sickness is aggravated, and they are prepared almost at once to accept the most pessimistic of local advice (which i> unfortunately plentiful), and to return sooner or later disappointed, without having made any real effort to combat the natural difficulties. The south, with its climate, friends and pleasures, keeps calling, and most naturally sooner (often soon) or later they succumb.
I do not think that that is the most attractive picture which the Administrator might have painted in regard to this most tropical country.
– He practically tells people that it is a good country to keep away from.
– He puts a clamper upon the whole place.
Sen ato r Blakey. - His statements are fairly accurate.
– Other people assure me that the climate of the Northern Territory is very similar to that of Northern Queensland, where a few yearsago it was stated that a white man could not live. It appears to me that the South is calling the Administrator himself. He answers the call pretty frequently, too, for he appears to visit Melbourne every year, and to spend two or three months here. If the South is calling him so strongly and emphatically, it is a wonder to me that he does not respond to it by staying here permanently.
– He is called to Melbourne by the Minister.
– His sojourns here are pretty lengthy, and while he is, here he spends a good deal of his time at the Government Houses of the States. I am also informed that officialdom in the Northern Territory has not much sympathy” with the aims of the present Government. In other words, it is not sympathetic with the policy of the Go- vernment.
– That does not apply to the Administrator, who is, I believe,, in accord with that policy.
– The Government are endeavouring to develop the Northern Territory on lines which are in harmony with their belief. They cannot succeed in doing this if they send to the Northern Territory officials who are opposed to their policy. . Those who differ from me may call it “ spoils to the victors “ if they choose, but my opinion is that no official should be sent to the Northern Territory whose belief will not permit him to endeavour to stimulate development in accordance with the policy of the Government.
– If he will not do so he is useless.
– Exactly. He cannot do his best work in opposition to his belief. We have had a good illustration of that in Queensland, where the Central Sugar Mills have been administered by an unsympathetic Government, and by a sugar bureau, which has no sympathy with the idea of Governmentowned mills. As a result, an endeavour was made to cause a failure of those mills by writing off huge sums, and by smothering up profits in reserve. In similar circumstances, the same sort of disabilities will be experienced in the Northern Territory. I hope that the Administrator will exhibit a greater concern for the people of the Territory. I am informed that he has Government House there filled with Chinese servants. That is not a very good example for him to set if he believes in the policy of a White Australia. Women have gone into various parts of Queensland to undertake pioneering work - to places where the climate is just as tropical as it is in the Territory. If the Administrator really holds the beliefs which are credited to him, and if he desires to make the Northern Territory a success, in future reports- he will not give such a damping description of the place.
– It is a pretty “ hot “ description.
– It is a pretty “hot” description in one sense. In my opinion, it is a description which is calculated to keep people away from the Territory rather than to attract them to it. I have no desire to detain the Committee, otherwise I could quote more extracts to the same purport. The Administrator seems to exhibit a preference for people from the southern States of Europe. He appears to deprecate the idea of Australians selecting land there.
He says that there is any quantity of land available for occupation in the more settled portions of Australia. If he knows as much about the Northern Territory as he knows about Australia - if we may judge him by that statement - I do not think much of his knowledge.
– Why should men go to the Northern Territory when there is plenty of land available in Australia?
– I differ from the honorable senator when he says that there is plenty of land available in Australia. In Queensland, it is true, there are hundreds of thousands of acres unutilized, and yet there are men looking for a single block of land who cannot obtain it. *
– A very small percentage of the land in Queensland has been alienated.
– If one chooses to go as far away from a market as are certain portions of the Northern Territory he can get land.
– But when an accessible block is thrown open for selection, how many persons apply for it?
– Sometimes three or four hundred. The Administrator, I hold, should endeavour to attract population to the Northern Territory, and the Department of External Affairs will be well advised if it endeavours to stimulate the mining industry there, as the forerunner to the general development of the country. The residents of the Territory generally, and these of Darwin in particular, have many grievances. At Darwin they chiefly complain of want of accommodation. There they have been preparing a petition for presentation to the Minister praying that some sort of a State Building Society should be initiated on lines similar to those of the Workers Dwellings Department in Queensland, under which hundreds of homes have been built with the aid of advances from the State, the principal and interest being paid back in rental payments extending over twenty-five years. Some such scheme could, and should, be initiated in Darwin by the External Affairs Department under Government auspices, because the accommodation there is very limited, and the population is increasing, although slowly. I look forward to an improvement in that regard now the Government have taken over the hotels, in which they will surely increase the accommodation, so that visitors will no longer have to sleep five and six in a single room. I trust that earnest and decisive consideration will be given ‘to the necessity of providing dwellings by means of advances from Savings Banks, State Banks, State Building Societies, or a Workers Dwellings Act under the External Affairs Department. The residents of the Territory also desire the creation of an Advisory Board, elected by adult suffrage, to work in conjunction with and advise the Administrator on questions with which they may be more conversant than he is. Even if the Administrator were the most capable man in the world, and well informed on all phases of industry in the Territory, it would be expecting too much of him to ask him to do justice to every one of them. An Advisory Board on the lines indicated would give the people in the Territory some form of representation to which they are fully entitled, and at the same time would be an advantage to the Administrator, the Department^ and the Government. I advocate some sort of public representation for the residents of this remote but very important part of the Commonwealth, because they have none in the National Parliament. Like the people in the Federal Capital Territory, they are aliens so far as this body is concerned. An alteration will have to be made in that regard before very long, for it is most anomalous and unfair that two portions of the Commonwealth should have no say in the election of members of the National Parliament. The first thing to do is to give them a voice in the conduct of their own affairs. The Minister of External Affairs has wisely abolished the old conservative town council or Board, and created a body to be elected on adult suffrage to deal with municipal or shire matters, but the fly in the ointment is the fact that Chinese are allowed to vote. No Asiatics have been naturalized since the Commonwealth took control of the naturalization question, but many Chinese in Darwin hold land, and the Minister told me in a conversation that their rights could not well be abrogated, seeing that they were propertyholders. I would advise the Minister and the Administrator to be very careful on that phase of the question. I had some experience in that regard in Bowen, Queensland, where Chinese, naturalized under the State laws, were ratepayers, and had their names on the municipal and shire council rolls. On comparing the ratepayers’ roll with a list of Chinesefarmers compiled for me, I found that many Chinese, who had been naturalized prior to 1902, and whose names were on the ratepayers’ roll iu Bowen, had departed years before for China, but their names were retained on the rolls, and new chum Chinese, not land-owners, exercised the votes of the absent and naturalized Chinese at every council election. That- scandal went on for years, and I fear its repetition in the Northern Territory, if the External Affairs Department allows unnaturalized Chinese to exercise the same voting rights as Europeans at town council or other elections there. From reports and information received, I believe the- Chinese of the Northern Territory are not of the subservient, docile class that we know in the southern States, or even in Northern Queensland, where they are obedient and humble. In the Northern Territory they are described to me as being quite the opposite, and even defiant. I understand that the Chinese children, when playing at soldiers in the streets of Darwin, knock down their soldiers and say, “ Another blanky white man killed,” although “ blanky “ is not the word they use. The Chinese are becoming a menace there. When the volunteers were leaving Darwin, they were taunted by prominent Chinese with going to fight for a country that could pay them only 5s. a. day. One of the taunts thrown at them was, “ You heroes guarding the cable station are paid 5s. a day. Is that all the ‘great British Government can pay you?” The Chinese of Darwin are therefore not the apparently simple fellows wet meet in the south.
– They must be rather a tame breed of white man to take that taunt from Chinese.
– Perhaps if the honorable senator were in Chinatown, in Darwin, he might not care to resent the taunt. If it is anything like the Chinatowns that we used to know in Cairns, Charters Towers, and Townsville a few years ago, the Minister, if he were in one of those narrow lanes, would put up with the taunts or find himself in a very serious position. It is my belief that the Chinese of Darwin are so defiant that they would not stop at a small matter, and I sincerely trust the Department will’ review the decision to allow them to vote. Every white man ought surely to assert himself in a case of this kind. If the Government place Chinese on the same level as Australian citizens, the pioneer who goes to the Northern Territory to brave the difficulties and disadvantages described by Dr. Gilruth in his damping report, will find himself in a very invidious position.
.- I should not have risen to hold a postmortem on this dead Bill but for Senator Ferricks’ remarks regarding the Norther.i Territory. As one who takes a particular interest in the development of the Territory, and of Papua, Norfolk Island, and other newly-acquired territories, I should not like it to be generally believed that the Senate acquiesces in the honorable senator’s remarks.
– You have only ;o read the Administrator’s report.
– I have read )t, and a great many other reports on cha Territory. I have been there, and travelled inland as far as the Katherine River, and am in personal communication with several residents. I do not think Dr. Gilruth’s report can justly be condemned as a damping report. He has done what every official should do - given a fair, just, and impartial report to Parliament. It is not his duty, or within his province, to paint in glowing terms > state of affairs which does not actually exist. Many honorable senators who have visited Darwin must admit that the Administrator’s description of it as a “ hot small town “ is accurate. The Administrator is not speaking disparagingly of the whole Territory, because no man is a stronger advocate than he is of its development on White Australian lines. I have lectured a number of times on the Territory, and whenever the picture of the Administrator has appeared on the screen, although not a hero worshipper, I have said he was the best man for the position, and metaphorically taken my hat off to him. Senator Ferricks said that Dr. Gilruth employed a Chinese cook at Government House. As a matter of fact, although I am opposed to the introduction to Australia of the Asiatic Tace, like every other man who is in favour of a White Australia, when T went to Darwin I had no alternative but to go to a Chinese tailor to get a suit of clothes fit to wear in that climate, and
Dr. Gilruth had no alternative, under existing conditions, but to employ a Chinese cook. I wish, in justice to him, to put these facts in Hansard, so that he may not think when he reads the report of the debates that he has been condemned by the whole Senate. Senator Ferricks painted an awful picture of what is occurring at Port Darwin at the present time. The Chinese to whom he referred are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, living in the main street of Port Darwin, and many of them are naturalized British subjects. I am not “prepared to say that they should be called upon to leave the place because they were introduced by a Liberal Government to assist in building the railway from Port Darwin to Pine Greek.
– A large number of half-caste Chinese are fighting to-day in the ranks of our Expeditionary Forces. Some of them have already been wounded or killed. Ten came down from Ballarat in one batch the other day.
– Senator Ferricks said that the Chinese of whom he was speaking were vaunting their disloyalty.
– I was in pretty close touch with the inhabitants of Fort Darwin while I was there, and I do not believe that the Chinese population would rise in a body against the militant whites that I know to be living there at the present time. I wish to refer to another question raised by Senator Ferricks. He blames the Administrator for not doing more than’ he has done in the way of building homes for Government employees and ordinary workmen at Port Darwin. One of the principal reasons why Dr. Gilruth is criticised by the press of Port Darwin, and by many of the townspeople, is that he has done the very thing which Senator Ferricks has blamed him for not doing. An outcry was raised by the Port Darwin press, and its echo found voice in the Melbourne Age, because it was stated that Dr. Gilruth was taking the park lands and the public lands of the people of the Territory. That outcry arose in this way: When the Commonwealth took over this Territory, which is six and a quarter times as large as Victoria, the Government spent a considerable sum of money there. The people of Port Darwin naturally thought that they would obtain the unearned increment arising from Commonwealth expenditure. They said that, as the Commonwealth were sending an army of officials to Port Darwin, they would make the Government pay through the nose for the land which they had held for a number of years, and on which they had spent little or nothing in the shape of improvements. Dr. Gilruth, recognising that the officials should be properly housed in that tropical climate, asked these patriotic citizens of Port Darwin what they would sell their land for, in order that he might build homes on it for the Government employees. They at once put the price of the land up by 50, 60, and 100 per cent., and left him no alternative but to take certain lands that were not required by the people of Port Darwin as a park, because there are many square miles of land available for such a purpose in the vicinity of the town. He built homes for the Government employees on these lands, and he was then charged with taking the park lands from the people.
– That would make enemies.
– Dr. Gilruth has made enemies because he has trodden on the corns of vested interests up there. He has fallen foul of Messrs. Allen and Company, and others who have been holding land there for a long time. He has trodden, also, on the corns of the man who is the Port Darwin correspondent of the Melbourne Age, and who sends down reports to that newspaper intended to inflame the minds of members of this Parliament and of people outside against the Administrator of the Northern Territory. I am not saying that Dr. Gilruth is infallible. Like any other man who has undertaken a big task, he has made mistakes; but I do not know any one to whom honorable members of this Parliament could point as a better Administrator of the Territory. He is a big man, and a big Australian. He has a large faith in the capabilities of the country, and is prepared to take his coat off and work. He lias taken his wife and children up to Port Darwin that he might be able to show that white women can live in the tropics without deterioration, which some critics of the White Australia policy hold to be impossible. We have been told by Senator Ferricks that, according to the Administrator, people who go up to the ^Northern Territory are lured back again by the call of the South. I believe that that is a fact. Men go up there expecting that the conditions under which they will have to live and labour will be much the same as those they have experienced in the southern States, and it is no wonder that they are lured by the call of the South. I can give a concrete example in the case of a man who was very anxious to go to the Territory, and who went up to Port Darwin with me three or four years ago. He is a nian who stood for election to the Federal Parliament. After making repeated representations, and having the necessary qualifications, he was appointed to a certain position in the Territory. He had not been five minutes in the place before he said, “ This is no good to me ; I want to get back again to the South.” In making the statement referred to by Senator Ferricks, Dr. Gilruth only spoke the truth. Unless intending settlers are of the pioneering type, possessed of stout hearts and strong right arms, it is of no use for them to go to the Northern Territory. I Should not like any man in the position of Dr. Gilruth to report otherwise than he has clone on these matters. I wish to say a word on the subject of the development of the oil-fields of Papua. A certain amount of money has been spent upon investigation, and I have read with interest the report presented by Dr. Wade upon the development of the oilfields on the Valala River. Only this week the price of kerosene has risen by 6d. per tin in Melbourne, and, although the Government cannot have very much money at their disposal, in view of the very heavy drain upon their funds to prosecute the war, I hope they will try to do something to develop the Papuan oil-fields, and to place on the market in :i commercial way the petroleum that we know exists in the region of the Valala River. I think that Dr. Wade has proved that oil can he obtained there, and I should like to know whether, without an alteration of the Constitution, we would have the power to place it on the market in Australia, and sell it generally to the people at a cheaper rate than is being charged at the present time for kerosene oil. When people are crying out about the high price of kerosene, I hope the Government will do something to carry out the recommendations of Dr. Wade, and., if petroleum is found to exist in large quantities in Papua, as we have reason tobelieve it does, they will take the necessary steps for the erection of refineries in order that, after the referenda proposals have been carried, we may be in a position to compete with the oil trusts and other people who are at present charging an exorbitant price for this illuminant, which is so necessary, particularly in the homes of the poorer people of the community.
.- With respect to the suggested1 delay in the presentation of the report on the Northern Territory, the explanation is that a change has been made with respect to the Administrator’s reports .concerning the Northern Territory, so that in future they will refer to the financial year ending on 30th June, and not as hitherto to the calendar year. Consequently, the current Administrator’s report, which, in the ordinary course would refer to the year ending 31st December last, will on this occasion deal with the eighteen months expiring on the 30th -June. As soon as it is received, copies will be laid on the table of the Senate. I am sure that honorable senators do not expect me to traverse the various matters to which they have directed attention. The Minister of External Affairs proposes to visit the Northern Territory and make himself acquainted at first hand with many of the questions that have arisen in connexion with its administration. I have no doubt that after his visit he will be better armed to cope with the many problems arising in that Territory.
– I have here a letter from Mr. Laurie, a prospector at Tanami, which reveals a condition of things in that portion of the Northern Territory requiring a remedy. Mr. Laurie has been at Tanami for eight years, and has persistently stood to his ground there. The field suffered for a long time from the lack of a mail service, until the Federal Government saw the wisdom of connecting this place, where there are so many pioneers, with Hall’s Creek, and there has been a .mail service to the place for the last three months. To get to Tanami at present the traveller has to depend on the wells on the route, and the work of keeping those wells in repair has been thrust upon the prospectors at Tanami from time to time. Sometimes they did the work, without payment, on their own account, and in their own time, but the Government gave a contract to one of the prospectors to keep the wells in repair.
I find that this man had to wait about fifteen months before he was paid for his work, lt was expected that the Warden would visit Tanami in the ordinary course and make the payments necessary, but the wet season supervened, and it was impossible for him to do so. Mr. Laurie writes -
When the Warden arrived here one of the prospectors asked him to pay the balance due on the contract. He said that he knew nothing about it, and had received no instructions, but would pay if they had any papers to show that the money was due.. I happened to have a copy of their agreement which the Director of Mines gave me, and produced it, and he paid the amount due. So that that matter is fixed up after the men waiting fifteen months for their money.
I think that the Government should make better provision to meet the needs of people in such remote places as Tanami. It is not very encouraging for men so far removed from civilization as are the pioneers of Tanami to have to wait for fifteen months for payment for work performed for the Commonwealth. I have said that the wet season supervened and prevented the Warden reaching the place at the time first arranged, but the Warden or some other official of the Mines Department could have gone to Tanami by the mail route. He could have gone round to Western Australia, and on to Hall’s Creek, and from there to Tanami; and if that course had been followed, this man would have been paid for his work long before he was paid.
– It might have cost the official as much to go by the mail route as the account he had to pay.
– I realize that possible disadvantage, but on the face of it it is hardly fair to ask pioneers in such a remote district to wait fifteen months for payment for work they have done.
Some criticisms have been passed upon the Administrator of the Northern Territory in this Chamber. So far as I know or have read of this gentleman, he appears to me to be the right type of man to fill an awkward and difficult position. He is no armchair official, but has gone about the Territory more actively than perhaps any other man occupying a corresponding official position would have done. He does not depend on others under him to supply him with the information that he needs. He makes personal inquiries. He seems to be the most industrious man that I have read of for many a long day in the position which he holds. The papers laid on the table in connexion with the Daly River settlement indicate it. The type of settler selected for the Northern Territory has been anything but the right kind. Men totally unfit for pioneering work in a climate such as that of the Northern Territory were sent to the Daly River, and they endeavoured to take advantage of the Government to an unreasonable extent. They were receiving assistance on such a lavish scale that the Government, apparently regardless of the Treasury aspect, must have been prepared to spend their last pound in order to support these men on their holdings. However, -Dr. Gilruth found that one settler had had a case of grog delivered to him as one of the necessaries that a settler should receive from a paternal Government. This fact shows the manner in which the Administrator is carrying out his duties. He very quickly brought up with a round turn this man who had been endeavouring to get at the Government in such a glaring manner. The Government have tried all they possibly could to pull through the settlers on the Daly River, but, unfortunately, the settlement has not been successful. Mr. Laurie, who has had a lengthy experience of the Northern Territory, says that the Administrator is a man who can be trusted, and that he is holding the scales fairly ; he says that though the Administrator has not done everything that should have been done for the mining -industry, because of the scarcity of funds at his disposal, his administration, as it has filtered down through minor officials, shows that he is the best man who has yet been in control of the Territory. We should recognise the difficulty of the Administrator’s position, lt is not an attractive country, but he is taking the utmost pains to acquaint himself with it. At the same time he is trying to deal fairly and fearlessly with all sections of the community. The fact that he has certainly incurred the ill-will of many property-holders at Port Darwin - the men who have gained most through the action of the Commonwealth in taking over the Territory, and who have been interested in booming the place - has, in my opinion, done a great deal to set his reputation at a very high level. I have seen reports in the press painting him in many colours, but when possessed of the information disclosed to us this afternoon by Senator Blakey we can understand these reports, and look behind them and see the object that the writers have in view. These people would not provide the dwellings required, and yet they find fault with Dr. Gilruth for having done so. The Administrator has steadily endeavoured to preserve the interests of the Commonwealth, irrespective of what the local residents might think of his actions, and that he is fulfilling his duties well and faithfully we can gather, not only from Mr. Laurie’s opinion, but from the regard in which he is held by others who have come in contact with him. I hope the Minister will take a note of the circumstances that I have spoken of where men employed in such a distant place as Tanami had to wait fifteen months for payment for work performed by them for the Commonwealth. I arn aware that the floods cut off all communication from Darwin, thus preventing the officials from carrying out the arrangements entered into, but had there been more money at the disposal of the Administration, and more officials employed, the work would have been paid for considerably earlier.
– Some time ago there was quite a heated press controversy, that took a very personal form, with regard to the officials sent to the Panama Exposition; in fact, I do not think that I have seen newspaper correspondence equal to it for a long time. Charges were made by Mr. Deakin against Mr. Mahon, and by Mr. Mahon against Mr. Deakin, and there was doubt in the minds of the people as to where the real fault lay, but I have heard that neither of these gentlemen was to blame, and that both of them were misled by a third party. I do not know how much truth there is in the statement. I thought that the mystery would have been cleared up by the Prime Minister or by some member of the Government. It is time the public should know something about the real facts behind that controversy. The current rumour is that an official, in order to secure a trip to San Francisco, suppressed certain information in the correspondence in his Department, and that Mr. Deakin was not responsible for having misled the Minister. I am informed, on very good authority, that the person really responsible was an official in the Department of External Affairs. I know that this is a very grave statement to make, but I do not make it without having some reason for doing so. I cannot speak dogmatically upon the subject, but my authority for making this statement is in a position in which he can speak with some knowledge of the facts. Can the Minister of Defence give an explanation of the position, so that the people may know the real facts 1
– I have no further information than the statement made in the press and in Parliament by Mr. Mahon, the Minister of External Affairs. If Mr. Mahon has discovered anything to qualify the statement which he made clearly and unhesitatingly some mouths ago I am not aware of it. As I have not heard of anything having occurred to cause him to do so, there is nothing more to be said, so far as the Government are concerned. Their case has already been put before the public and Parliament, fully and clearly.
– If there was anything in the statement I made, the Minister should have been in a position to verify or contradict it. I arn loath to thrust myself into a matter that should be revealed by the Minister, but, it is well known that facts have been discovered since the controversy between Mr. Mahon and Mr. Deakin.
– That, controversy came to a very abrupt termination.
– And Mr. Deakin took his departure quite as abruptly. I was quite disappointed at his action, because I thought he possessed more spirit than to accept the appointment as Commissioner in the circumstances as the country understood them. However, what I have learned subsequently has given quite a different complexion to the whole matter. Instead of Mr. Deakin having been at fault, I understand that he was chivalrous enough and manly enough to accept blame which should have attached to an official in the Department of External Affairs. And Mr. Deakin, perhaps thinking that he should have acquainted himself with what was in the correspondence, and having taken the responsibility for the report which misled the Minister, felt that he was, to some extent, responsible, and, therefore, could not go back - could not, in fact, make a clear statement of the case. If there is anything in what I have said, surely the Government have some knowledge about it. All that I have said is known in the Department where this business was initiated. I do not think it is very creditable to the Government if they know these facts, and refrain from making them public, because I see nothing wrong in giving publicity to them. If they were misled in the matter, and the fault does -not lie with Mr. Deakin, I think that the public should know the truth, in fairness to both parties, because fo leave the controversy as it is would be to leave it at a very unsatisfactory stage.
– What does the honorable senator think should be done in connexion with the matter? What does he want investigated?
– I think that, in fairness to the public and to both parties to the controversy, a full statement of the case should be made.
Senator- Pearce. - The Minister of External Affairs has made a full statement.
– But he has said that he has made a full statement of the case.
– When ?
– In the statement he made in the press and in Parliament some weeks ago.
– Has Mr. Mahon or the Government made a statement of the case since Mr. Deakin went away ?
– I must admit that I have not seen that statement, but I did see an account of a very heated controversy before Mr. Deakin went away to Panama.
– Yes, you are right. The statement I refer to was made before Mr. Deakin went away.
– That was far from being a statement which cleared up the circumstances of the case.
– So far as I am aware, Mr. Mahon has not intimated to other members of the Government that he has anything to add. That was a full statement of the case.
– Mr. Deakin has made no public deliverance since he returned ?
– Has he made any report ?
– I am not aware of it.
– I think it can be inferred from what I have insinuated that there are, perhaps, reasons why Mr. Deakin may be reluctant to speak out.
– Can you give us the source of your information?
– I do not care about doing that. I have indicated quite enough to show that mine is information of an authoritative kind.
– Do you say that the Minister knows of it?
– I believe that the Minister knows more about this matter than has been made public, and I thought that an explanation would be forthcoming after I had brought up the matter. If, however, the Government do not feel inclined to speak, I am not going to press them to reveal any secrets, if there are secrets.
– There are no secrets to hide or anything of the kind. So far as I am concerned, I tell you that the statement of the case which was given to the public contains all that I know, and all that I think other members of the Government know.
– I can assure the Minister of Defence that there is quite a large amount of information other than was contained in the statement. I can assure him that things have been discovered since the Commissioner left these shores. I go further, and say that certain inquiries have been made in the Department, and officials were asked for explanations. The explanations made by the Minister of External Affairs, if they were made on behalf of the Government, presented quite a different aspect of affairs from that which I have indicated, and which I believe is quite correct. However, I do not propose to press the Minister to disclose any Cabinet secrets or do anything of that kind.
– I have” not any Cabinet secrets on this subject. You cannot get blood out of a stone !
– I can assure the Minister that there is information if he or the Prime Minister feels inclined to allow it to be forthcoming. I have very good authority for what I have said. I desire to know whether the Commissioner has presented a report to the Government since his return from Panama.
– Not to my knowledge.
– So that we cannot get any information in regard to this item.
– I will try to get the information.
– I did think that the progress of this Bill through Committee would have been very much faster than has turned out to be the case. Had there been any prospect of it being completely dealt with before the adjournment for dinner, I would not have had very much to say on a matter which I consider is worthy of comment. Seeing that we have got so near to half-past 6 o’clock, I.do not think that I can be charged with any desire to block the progress of the measure if I sneak on the question of the Panama Exposition and our relations with the great Republic of the West, as it is called. No doubt the regrettable quarrel, if T can so describe it, that took place between the gentleman who represented Australia and the Minister of External Affairs was a thing to be deplored by every wellwisher of the Commonwealth . But I am notgoing to presume to say who was right and who was wrong. Probably each was right, or one was quite as wrong as the other. Mr. Deakin has made no deliverance on the matter since he returned to the Commonwealth. and the Minister has spoken out very forcibly from time to time regarding certain features of Australian representation at the Panama Exposition. But whether there was any grave fault committed by our representative there, whether he overstepped the bounds that had been set by the representatives of the various States in Australia, who had been in consultation with the Minister, or whether the Minister was in error in acting somewhat arbitrarily, as Mr. Deakin evidently thought, I am not going to determine. In my opinion, the quarrel was regrettable. for it is a deplorable affair that’ anything should have occurred to ruffle, or to apparently ruffle, in any way our relations with the great American Republic.
On these Estimates there are happily two items, one following the other, which have a very intimate connexion with our relationship to the United States. I refer to the item for the Panama Exposition, and the item for advertising in that country. It is with the latter rather than with the former that I am concerned. I know that there is in this chamber one honorable senator at least - there are probably more - who believes that any expenditure on advertising Australia’s resources in America is wasted money. I am not one of that class. I trust that I am capable to a certain extent of looking beyond the present, and glancing at the future. It is most essential to the future of the Commonwealth it is most essential to the future of our Empire - and the Commonwealth is by no means an unimportant unit -that we should cultivate the closest and most amicable relations with the great Republic. Further evidenceis given, if it is required, of the desirability of that state of affairs when we reflect on the fact that even to-day Senator Lynch addressed to a Minister a certain question, and it is evidently his opinion that in the United States there is a fairly fruitful financial field to which Australia might have recourse if this unhappy war be prolonged to a greater extent than we expect.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
Motion (by Senator Barker) agreed to -
That the report from the Printing Committee. presented to theSenate on 22nd July, 1915, be adopted.
Australia and the United States : Advertising: Trade Relations - Immigration - Land Monopoly - Association for Labour Legislation - Commonwealth Military Journal - Purchase of Remounts in Tasmania - Censors - Clothing Factory: Dismissal of Girls - Post and Telegraph Department : Boards of Inquiry: Brisbane Sorters’ Assistants: Compensation for Lost Registered Letter: Temporary Employees’ Examinations : Refusal of Leave to Relative of Deceased Soldier.
In Committee. (Consideration resumed.) Second Schedule.
Divisions 34 to 41 (Department of External Affairs), £611,145.
.- When the sitting was suspended I was discussing the item for advertising the resources of Australia, particularly in regard to developing our relations with the great Republic of the United States. I had just commenced to refer to what amounted to an expression of opinion on the part of Senator Lynch that the United States will no doubt acquire a dominant financial position as the result of this great war, and that that country presents a possibly fruitful field in which the Commonwealth may seek a certain measure of that financial assistance which it will be necessary for us to obtain in order to successfully and continuously prosecute this great struggle. One might spend an hour or two in a discourse which would neither be vain nor profitless in connexion with our relations with the United States. But I do not intend to adopt that course. I shall content myself with a comparatively brief survey of the possibilities in that direction. I do hope that in the forthcoming Budget provision will be made for an increased expenditure for advertising our resources in the United States. We know that that country is an oceanic Power, just as is the Commonwealth. It owns Honolulu, the important possessions of the Philippines. and other islands in tropical waters which are quite contiguous to those recently acquired by us. The United States, I repeat, owns Honolulu, the Sandwich Islands, and the Philippine Islands, whereas we have recently acquired by conquest the Caroline and Marshall Islands.
– We have not conquered them, in the true sense of the term, yet.
– We have acquired them. We are in possession of them. I do not think that the Minister will deny that.
– We are not in possession of them.
– Are we not administering them ?
– I was under the impression that the Japanese took possession of those islands immediately after the outbreak of the war, and that they afterwards handed them over to the Commonwealth to administer.
– They are still being administered by Japan.
– Was it a misreport that the Japanese .Government had handed them over to the Commonwealth ?
– They are still being -administered by Japan.
– This is news to me, and I am very glad that I rose to speak upon this question, because 1 was perfectly certain that these islands had been handed over to the Commonwealth by the Japanese. At any rate, we have taken over the German Possessions in New Guinea, and have thus become possessed of a considerable tract of territory in tropical waters. Thus we are in very much the same position as is occupied by the United States in regard to our excontinental territories. If we were an independent country, and had the power to negotiate treaties, one of the first things that we ought to do in the field of diplomacy would be to enter into an alliance with the United States, whose interests are absolutely identical with our own. I hope that the might of these two great units of Democracy will be associated for decades to come in insuring that peace shall prevail both above the Equator and below it, in territories which are vital to the interests of America, and specially vital to the interests of Australia, and important in no mean measure to the whole British Empire. Last night Senator Keating quoted very interestingly from a work dealing with many matters which have occupied the attention of the French people in North Africa, and efforts in many tracts ot America which are not regarded as being very suitable for settlement. We can secure many object .lessons by a competent survey of what the Americans have done in those- tracts of country. I am sorry there is not more information in the hands of the members of this Parliament generally in regard to what the Republic of the West is doing in perfecting its naval armaments so as to secure for itself a supremacy which will enable it to insure that peace shall prevail in the Pacific Possessions. Quite recently I read an utterance from the lips of Secretary of the Navy Daniels, from which I learned, to my great astonishment, that the United States had recently launched at Newport News the greatest Dreadnought that has ever ploughed the ocean. We talk about the Queen Elizabeth and vessels of her class, but the Philadelphia is a super-super-Dreadnought. The United States, I found, has been constructing submarines which can accompany a battle fleet on a voyage . right round the world - submarines three of which cost over §5,000,000. These things are being done by a people who speak our own language, and who are descended from our own British ancestors. They speak the language of Shakspeare, of Milton* of Byron, and of Swinburne-
– And of Burns?
– They do not quite speak the language of Burns, but they express the sentiments which were dear to the heart of Burns, and are equally dear to the heart of every lover of Democracy.
– Does the honorable senator intend to connect his remarks with the question that is before the Chair ?
– I do. I am discussing the item for advertising the resources of Australia, with a view to establishing closer relations with the people of the United States of America, who are doing so much in the interests of peace. I. have from time to time expressed the opinion that, owing to this war, British interests in a certain quarter of the world are in serious jeopardy. That being so, it naturally follows that Australian interests are particularly in jeopardy. I hope that one of the things which Australian statesmen will keep in mind is the desirableness of cultivating the most friendly diplomatic relations with the United States of America. It is to our vital interests to do so. I hope that we shall keep on extending to the Old Country our left hand, which is nearest the heart, and which is the hand of affection, but that, at the same time, we shall offer the United States of America the right hand of friendship, and that, by our joint efforts in the cause of peace, we shall enable our interests in the Pacific Ocean to be so maintained as to secure the welfare of the two great Democracies of the world for centuries to come. The people of the United States of America are a peaceful people.
– That was the object of the visit of their Fleet to .Australia some years ago.
– I do not forget the wave of Democracy and friendship that ran right through our people on that occasion. My object in making these remarks is to impress upon honorable senators that we ought to take no heed of any paltry little talk about the unwisdom of spending a few thousands of pounds in advertising Australian resources in America, and in cultivating amicable relations with the American people. I hope to see this item increased in the Estimates for the current financial year tenfold. Let honorable senators consider that what is being done by the United States of America is aimed at maintaining American interests in seas in which those interests are identical with our own. “What is the expenditure of a few thousand pounds in cultivating interests which both great Democracies hold in common ? We spend dozens of millions sterling in war, which is necessary to conserve the liberties of the Empire and of the world. Let us not hesitate, then, to spend a few thousand pounds when that expenditure will conduce to those great, ideals which are entertained by the Australian Democracy in common with the people of the great American Republic. I will conclude my remarks by paraphrasing something from Bulwer Lytton’s Comma Race, in which he speaks of -
That glorious American Republic, in which the antiquated and decaying institutions of Europe may admiringly, or enviously, as they list, seek their model or tremblingly foresee their doom.
The hope of the world is in intelligent Democracies freed from the thraldom of old-world ideas. It is that Democracy which both political parties, despite their differences, hope to see established in the Commonwealth, which is an even more glorious exemplar of all we worship and believe in than the United States of America itself. Seeing that the two communities have so much in common, I adjure all the Legislatures of Australia to cultivate the most amicable relations possible with America, with whose interests ours are undoubtedly identical.
– I heartily associate myself with very much of what Senator Bakhap has said on the subject of cultivating a closer friendship with the great Republic of the West, as much for the purpose of responding to the self-evident desire of that country to form a closer friendship with us as for any selfish interests of our own. We cannot ignore the fact that in the
United States of America there are thousands, if not millions, of our own kinsmen. That country, in the first place, sought its independence and found ite nationhood in creating a greater measure of freedom than existed in any other country at that time, .and as we in Australia .are enjoying equal freedom there must necessarily be- a kinship of feeling between us. That was plainly shown when Mr. Roosevelt, the late President of the United States of America,, referred rather eulogistically to this country as the giant young Commonwealth of the South. If any evidence is needed of the growing friendship between this country and that it is shown in the development of trade. The statistics of imports and exports for the last five quinquennial periods prove clearly that the United States pf America has shown an increasing interest in this country so far as trade is concerned. During the last recorded year period we purchased from them goods to the value of about £9,000,000 per annum, or about five times as much as during the quinquennial period of twenty years ago. We buy more goods from them than, from any other country, save Great Britain.
– More than from Germany 1
– Yes, much more according to our Year-Booh, proving that the United States of America is of some consequence to us as a country supplying our daily wants. On the other hand, it is quite clear that, while we export freely to the United States of America, we do not sell to them nearly as much as we might.. It would be to the advantage of the. Commonwealth to appoint in that country some responsible mouthpiece to represent ug in all matters pertaining to trade. Australia, under present conditions, requires more than anything else to be widely known and advertised, and if there is one thing more than another that would bring this about, it is the appointment of some person in a. high responsible position in America as our representative. There is an appalling ignorance concerning Australia, not only in the Old Country, but in America. The reports that come from the gentleman in charge of the forty Western Australian boys now touring the United States of America demonstrate clearly that in that country there is an astonishing ignorance about Australian conditions of life and national and social development. It is our plain duty to foster and encourage a closer friendship with that country than we have done in the past, especially in view of its high position in the list of countries with which we trade. In order to pave the way to that end, we must go to some expense, and I advise the Government to take into serious consideration the appointment of some one there, either at the Seat of Government, or at one of the chief commercial centres to push our interests.
– We could do with a High Commissioner there very well.
– We cannot appoint a consular representative, but we have authority to appoint a Trade Commissioner, and this we should do. Some people may regard the idea as novel or impracticable, but the ties of blood and kinship are very strong, as was shown in the relations between Servia and Russia at the outbreak of the war. Many of our people have blood relations in the United States. These ties, while .counting for much now, must count for even more in the future. We are at present in a state of splendid isolation, to use the phrase of a British statesman, and this in itself is very much of a safeguard for us; but we cannot depend on that alone. Our future safety can be best assured by cultivating the friendship of that country which, next to the Mother Country, would lend us a helping hand, possessing, as we do, institutions so much akin to hers. We desire to establish and maintain standards entirely different from those which our isolated position alone would permit, and our one safe course, while relying on our own resources, is on all occasions to cultivate friendly relations with a country of our own kith and kill and our own blood, so that when the hour of trial conies, if it should come, we may be able to depend, on her strong protecting arm if the task of protecting ourselves is found to be beyond our strength!
– Is not that hour of trial here now 7
– Possibly it is; but we are trying to establish the same standards in Australia as have been established in the United States, and, though on many points of social and economic development we may be in a position to teach them lessons, we must not forget that the establishment and maintenance of those standards in this young Commonwealth will necessarily involve friction with countries of growing importance in the neighbourhood. I say, therefore, advisedly that it is our imperative duty to foster the strongest possible connexion and friendship with a country that will be a friendly help to us in any future hour of trouble. I mentioned this afternoon the wisdom of Australia in the near future looking to some new source for loan money to keep our public works going and our industrial machine in motion. We shall very soon be thrown entirely on our own financial resources, as the almost perennial spring upon which we have been relying so long for loan money - the money market of the Old Country - has been practically closed to us.
Tine CHAIRMAN . - The honorable senator must not pursue that line of argument.
– I shall not trespass further than to point out that Canada is endeavouring to raise a loan of £8,000,000 in the United States money market. If the Government appointed a representative in the United States it would be within his province to observe the American money market, and advise us as to the possibility of raising loans in that country.
– There is nothing in. the schedule before me relating to the appointment of a representative in America, or the raising of loan moneys there.
– There is an item for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth in the United States. No doubt some of that money will be expended to make Australia better known in America, and part of the functions of any official appointed ought to be to’ bring under the notice of the American community the importance, the resources, the population, the development of Australia, and the many problems that confront us similar to those which America had to face during its corresponding stage of growth. I do not say that that necessarily implies the raising of loan money in the United States to-day, but it is certainly our duty, representing a country fashioned very much on the model of the United States in regard to forms of government, internal development, and size, to see that more money is spent to make Australia better known in the United States than has been the case in the past.
– With very much of what has been said by Senators Bakhap and Lynch on the subject of the United States of America I am in cordial agreement. There is much in common between the United States of America and Australia. We speak the same language, our institutions are somewhat similar, and we are each engaged in the hunt after the almighty dollar, and are trying in the best possible way to develop our respective countries. . I should like to ask Senator Bakhap what Australian resources ‘he desires to advertise in America ?
– The mineral resources, because they can only be developed to the highest degree by the metallurgical skill and knowledge, which we can import from America. It is because of that metallurgical knowledge that many of the principal mining propositions of Australia are being exploited at the present time.
– I thought that what the honorable senator was after was the emigration to Australia of people from the United States of America, and”“I was curious to know what particular’ resources of this country he wished to have advertised in America for that purpose. It is certain that any Americans coming here would have some object in leaving the United States of America. Senator Bakhap wishes us to advertise our mineral resources. There is no doubt that they are very great; but I am not so sure that the people of the United States of America are particularly anxious to come here to develop them, in view of the fact that they are engaged in their own country in the same business, and are operating on a very much larger scale than they could hope to do here. Then, with regard to the lands of Australia, I again remind honorable senators that the people at present in Australia cannot secure those lands. For every piece of land that is thrown open to selection in any part of the Commonwealth there are many applicants. I have known hundreds, and even thousands, of applications to be made for even a few selections. In view of the difficulty which people who are Australian-born have to encounter in the effort to secure a piece of land on which to make a living, it is of very little use for us to invite Americans to come here.
– Why; is the honorable senator afraid that they will come here to engage in the meat industry ?
– I am not afraid of them at all. I should be glad to welcome them. I know that we have boundless resources in Australia, but our misfortune is that they are now largely in the hands of private individuals. I have been telling this Parliament, and the present and other Governments, for years that the principal object of their efforts should be to liberate the lands of this continent. They have not done so yet. Are we to point out to the people of the United States of America that there are hundreds of thousands of farms which they can have if they come here?
– There are thousands of square miles for them.
– Yes, thousands of square miles of country belonging to somebody else. A very large proportion of the accessible lands of Australia are in the hands of private individuals, and until, in some way or other - and I am not now going to suggest in what way - this monopoly is broken up, it is of no earthly use for us to try to attract immigrants from any country. There are thousands of people unemployed in Australia to-day, and it is a crying shames to every Government in this country, and in a greater measure to the Federal Government than to any other, that this should be so, because it is in the hands of the Federal Government that the weapon rests which could be used to break up the land monopoly. That is the position as I see it, and I look upon it as an absolute waste of money to advertise our resources in America _when we could not make them available to those who might come here. Senator Bakhap desires that Americans should come here with dollars so that our land monopolists may “ take them down.” That is not the way to promote settlement. I am more against this vote for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth in the United States of America than I ever was before, when I consider the position taken up by the honorable senator. He desires that our condition of land monopoly should be broken up by a set of American rich men, who are to come here to buy up the land at present held by monopolists in Australia. I want nothing of that kind. I want to see oar big areas broken up and settled by working agriculturists. I do not want men with money to come here from the United
States of America, but men with muscle and skill. Men of brain and brawn are the men who are wanted for a new country, and not rich men. If rich men come here, their object will be to exploit the country. We have enough exploiters here now. What we want are workers, who will settle on the soil, cultivate it, raise crops, and make some use of it. Will the American rich men whom Senator Bakhap is so anxious to bring here do that? Not they. The remedy, however, is in our own ‘hands. I have said a hundred times that what Australia wants- most is population; but we can never get the population we require until we are prepared to provide those who come here with the means of making a living when they get here. If we bring people here we must find land and employment for them. There is only one way in which that can be done. The Federal Parliament can do it effectually, but so far it has not done it. I hope that it will be done in the near future, because I am sure that Australia will never progress as she ought to do- until it is done. It is a pure waste of money to spend several thousands of pounds just now in , advertising our resources in America. The people of America know as well as we do what is our position here.
– We want American scientific capitalists to provide employment for thousands of Australians.
– If Senator Bakhap can show the people of America that there are huge areas of mineral country available for their operations, let him do so; but the honorable senator cannot show it. I do not wish to continue this debate; but I say that, although the people of the United’ States of America and of Australia may be regarded as brethren who should act together in everything, until- we are prepared to make the resources of the country available to the people of the United States of America, we should not invite them to come here.
– I think we should have some better information as to the manner in which this advertising is carried out. We should know to whom the money is intrusted for expenditure. Is there a representative of Australia in America at the present time, and, if so, where is he located ? I should like to know whether, just now, any money is being expended to advertise the resources of Australia in the United States of America, in order to “induce Americans to come here. Earlier in the day, I drew attention to the vote for advertising out resources in Great Britain, and incidentally referred to the fact that a vessel is shortly to arrive here with 800 immigrants. I say, in all seriousness, that I hope no money will be expended by the Government of the present time to induce people to come to Australia from the United States of America. Every observant man must be aware that there are thousands of men of varying occupations out of employment in Australia to-day. I have appeals made to me, personally or by letter, every day, to see whether something cannot be done to assist people who are at the present time placed in a position in which they have never been before. In these circumstances, it is wrong to induce other people to come here. We are passing through an exceptionally difficult period. We have just experienced the effects of a disastrous drought, aud are now engaged in a titanic struggle which we shall have te see to the end, no matter what it costs.
– Were it not for the scientific skill and knowledge of an American, there are 3,000 people in Tasmania who would not be employed at the present time.
– The honorable senator speaks of a class of men who know no country, and are of no nationality. They are prepared to go to any country from which they can get the best return foi- the money they invest. If some of them are already in Tasmania, that is sufficient to convince me that large fortunes are to be made by exploiting the resources of that State, and we may be sure that they will be fully advertised in the United States of America. Surely Senator Bakhap is not serious in suggesting that we should expend £5,000 in the United States of America in order to induce that class of people to come to Australia ?
– I say that we mightexpend £50,000 with advantage. 0
– We do not want exploiters - we have too many in our midst at the present time. I am not concerned with that class, but I am concerned about doing justice to the people who are already in Australia. When they are provided for, I shall have no objection to judicious advertising by the present, or any other, Government. No one can contend that to Spend £5,000 in advertising the resources of Australia in Great Britain or America at the present time is good business. It might be good business for those engaged in that particular line, it might provide them with employment j but it is not good for Australia or for those out of employment in Australia. There is nothing more discouraging to any person walking about day after day, unable to secure employment, than to know that tilings are likely to become worse; yet we are asked to encourage a form of advertising which is calculated to bring about acute distress. I am anxious to know how this money is expended, to whom its expenditure is intrusted, and the class of people it is desired to bring here by these methods.
– This is a post-mortem examination of a matter already discussed and concerning money already spent. The advertising was conducted in journals, and through the distribution of literature in America, and was undertaken in conjunction with the States, whose representatives were located in the United States of America. The object was to attract people, particularly those with a knowledge of irrigation, to settle on land in Australia. No money is being spent in this direction at the present time.
– Were the Patagonians who have come here to settle in the Northern Territory obtained as a result of this advertising ?
– No; they came from South America. This money was spent in North America.
– Have we had any results from the advertising?
– Irrigationists have settled in Victoria and New South Wales as the result of the efforts of the Commonwealth and the States in this regard. The same remarks apply generally to the advertising in Great Britain. Certain contracts are still running, but no special effort is being made beyond those contracts which have still to run for some time.
– Can the Minister explain the item, “National Association for Labour Legislation, £100 “ ?
– This is the Commonwealth’s share of the expenses of an Association comprising representatives of the most advanced nations of Europe, which meets from time to time in various capitals, in order to collaborate industrial legislation that has been, passed by the respective nations, and to co-ordinate scientific methods of dealing with hygienic and sanitary legislation for factories.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Divisions 42 to 83b (Department of Defence), £18,359,617.
– With regard to the item of £400 for the editor of the Commonwealth Military Journal, and the further item of £900 for the publication of the journal, will the Minister of Defence explain whether the journal circulates among military people only, if any revenue is received from advertising, and the cost in which the Commonwealth is involved; also, who is responsible for its contents?
– I congratulate the honorable senator upon his ingenuity in putting posers. Offhand, I cannot give him all the information he asks for. The Commonwealth Military Journal is intended to stimulate officers of the Citizen Forces who take an intelligent interest in the science of war. It is published by the Commonwealth at the Government Printing Office, and is circulated among the military officers who subscribe to it; but it is available to any honorable senator who may request that it be sent to him. It has been issued since 1912, and has been found to be a very good method of giving military officers in country districts the opportunity to acquire a knowledge that enables them to pass their examinations. Prizes are offered from time to time for the best articles on certain set military subjects, and the best articles are published in the j oura al. There is keen competition for these prizes. Further, the best articles likely to be of use to our Military Forces are culled from similar publications in other countries. The journal is very highly thought of and appreciated by our military officers. I have no idea of the amount of revenue received from the advertisements, but the rates are the same as those charged for advertising in maga- zines of a similar character, and the revenue goes into the Commonwealth Treasury.
– In December last, when speaking to a Supply Bill which may be considered a temporary and partial provision in connexion with the particular Bill now under discussion, Senator Beady took the opportunity of making certain reflections on a gentleman in Tasmania who had been employed by the Defence Department to do some work in connexion with obtaining horses for the Department. And, as a result of his invitation to the Minister to have the matter investigated, the latter announced that he would cause inquiries to be made into the allegations pf Senator Ready. When we assembled in April, after the adjournment over Christmas, at my request the Minister consented to lay on the table of the Library the result of the inquiries that had been made. The effect of these had been to completely exonerate the gentleman against whom the charges had been made. But since then no opportunity has been afforded to effectively discuss the matter, because until now there has been no measure before us of which that Supply Bill was an interim portion. I am sure that I have only to invite the attention of Senator Ready to this matter for him to acknowledge that the charges he levelled against a very reputable citizen of Tasmania were not properly founded. These were the remarks made in the Senate in December of last year -
– I take advantage of this opportunity to bring a matter which I regard as of some importance before the Minister of Defence. Quite recently a number of horses were purchased in Tasmania for our Expeditionary Forces. Amongst the officials appointed to carry out the work was a. Mr. George Piesse, of Bridgewater. This gentleman has had some rural experience, but “has evidently not had much experience of judging horses. A very credible informant tells mc that his qualifications are not such as to lit him for a position of the kind. He was asked to purchase horses throughout Tasmania, but was given to understand that he should not pay more than flc per head for them. I believe that subsequently the limit to which lie was allowed to go was increased, in order that he might be able to purchase some decent animals. I understand that this gentleman purchased for the Commonwealth some of the most worn-out and aged crocks in the island of Tasmania.
– Such a limit as £16 was not placed on the purchase of horses on the mainland.
– Is that so? Some of the animals this gentleman purchased were so old and worn out that for very shame’s sake the military authorities would not send them to the front. I believe that there are now four or five horses in the Mowbray Remount DepOt at Launceston which are absolutely useless. One is over twenty years of age, and another is probably over twenty-five years of age. 1 think that when we appoint a man to purchase horses for the Commonwealth we should hold him responsible in some way for the horses he buys. I ask that the Minister shall make a full inquiry into this matter. If, as my informant suggests, there has been corruption, and if this man has been giving high prices for inferior horses with a view of getting something out of the business for himself, a strict inquiry into his conduct should be made. I hope that the Minister of Defence will assure me that such an inquiry will take place.
– One could not expect to get much of a horse for £16.
– That may be so; but the honorable senator will scarcely contend that an bid crock over twenty-five years of age is worth £16. I think that the gentleman responsible for the purchase of these horses should be called to book for a waste of Commonwealth money.
– Who appointed him?
– He was, I understand, appointed by the Defence authorities of Tasmania to carry out the work.
– I have no particular knowledge of the matter to which Senator Ready has referred; but, of course, I do know that officers are buying horses, and I am informed that a remarkably small number have come from Tasmania, lt appears that horses are hard to get there.
– They are, because of the limit of £16 per head, which the honorable senator will remember I brought under his notice when he took charge of the Defence Department.
– I can only say that the serious charges which have been made by Senator Ready will be investigated.
– Senator Ready said, “if it is true.”
– Exactly. As the result of that statement an inquiry was made, and, as I said, I asked the Minister of Defence if he would lay on the table of the Library, and so make available to the Senate, the result of the inquiry, and he did so as far back as April last. The report has been lying on the table of the Library since that date ; at any rate, it was there up till a week or so ago, if it is not still there. Seeing that these reflections have been made in the Senate on Mr. Piesse, who is a reputable citizen of Tasmania, I think it is due to him that, at any rate, his character which has been, if not directly, inferentially aspersed here should be cleared here. That, I think, is the least which any one of us would expect if he was in a similar position. I have here a copy of the report, which is addressed to the secretary of the Minister of Defence, Melbourne, and. signed by the Commandant of the 6th Military District, Colonel W. J. Clark. It reads as follows: -
Secretary, Department of Defence, Melbourne.
Referring to Defence memo. No. 22847, of the 24th inst., forwarding extract from Hansard re purchase of horses in this district, I have to report as follows: -
When instructions were received to proceed with the purchase of horses for the 1st Expeditionary Force, the S.O.V.S. was called on to submit names of suitable gentlemen to assist him in purchasing remounts. These names were carefully considered, and all interested in the horse trade were struck out. The following Boards to purchase horses were appointed : -
The prices paid for the horses were limited by the instructions contained in Head-quarters wire No. W357, of 15th August. 1!114. The increase of prices was approved after the whole of the horses for the 1st Expeditionary Forces had been purchased.
There were only five rejects out of the whole of the horses purchased for the 1st Expeditionary Force, vide this office memo., No. W8/32/38, of 23rd December, 1!)14.
The average price of all horses purchased was a little over ?14 10s., vide the return sent from this office on 16th December, 1914, in reply to the Quartermaster-General’s memo. No. 2167 of 2nd December, 1014.
The result of the purchases, considering the prices paid, was highly satisfactory, and in many cases, horses ‘were sold to the Department at considerably under their true value by patriotic citizens.
Mr. Piesse is well known to horseowners throughout the country, and it was only due to his efforts and knowledge of local condi- tions that it was possible to get horses of the standard at the price in this district. Mr. Piesse exerted himself very considerably on behalf of the Department, and allowed himself to be put to great personal inconvenience and’ trouble in securing the best available horses for the Department in a very limited time.
I was not personally acquainted with Mr. Piesse prior to his appointment, but, from inquiry, ascertained that he was qualified and reliable.
I am satisfied that he carried out his duties, conscientiously and solely in the interests of the Department. He was very particular as to soundness of the animals purchased, and the few rejects (five), all of which were not purchased by the Southern Board, is, I think, satisfactory proof.
It is admitted that some of the animals were aged, but, with two exceptions, these were fit for service. Owing to the difficulty of securing remounts at prices so much below local quotations, and to the pressure of time, the Board were placed in a difficult position.
When the horses were mustered, many were in low condition owing to the drought; but I considered them a very satisfactory lot, and1 I speak from long experience.
The same horses were at the time subject to adverse public criticism, but after a few weeks on the lines they improved wonderfully, and when the troops marched through the cityprior to embarkation, the horses were universally commended.
It is admittedly very difficult to ascertain the age of a horse above eight years, and while admitting that two animals proved to be too old, I do not admit the extreme ages quoted.
Mr. Piesse’s position in this country is sohigh that it can scarcely be affected by an ex parte slanderous statement.
Commandant, 6th Military District.
When the statements were made as a result of which the inquiry was authorized by the Minister, an impression was undoubtedly created here that Mr. Piesse had been so acting in the employ of the Commonwealth as to benefit himself.
– Who said that?
– I say that the impression was created. I have read what the honorable senator said then, in the course of bis statement, ‘”’ If, as my informant suggests, there has been corruption “-I need not read the passage again.
– Was he acting in an honorary capacity ?
– I am not aware, but 1 know Mr. Piesse more by repute than anything else. I can honestly and fairly say that were I to meet him in the streets of Melbourne to-morrow, I doubt if I would at once recognise him.
– The only time when the honorable senator will recognise him, or hear of him, will be election time. He is very active just then.
– I can say that -active, or not active, I doubt whether I would recognise Mr. Piesse if I were to meet him in the street. I know, however, his reputation and standing. I know that it is quite as good, if not better, than mine, and nearly equal to Senator Ready’s, in Tasmania. When a man is criticised on the floor of the Senate publicly, and his motives in acting on behalf of the Commonwealth are impugned, it is desirable that there should be inquiry. An inquiry was authorized by the Minister of Defence. All that I have commented upon is what Senator Ready said, the fact that there was an inquiry, the fact that this report has been available since April last, and the fact that nothing has been said” with regard to the statements made previously. As I said before, I feel sure that Senator Ready, recognising those circumstances, will admit here that there were no grounds for the allegations which were made by him either directly or impliedly when he called in question here the conduct of Mr. Piesse on the 11th December last. I wish to say no more. I have only furnished the Senate with what was said then. Various members of the Committee heard what was said on that occa- sion. They may not have known what the report was, but I have taken this opportunity of reading it. I am sure, and I am not saying it with any improper feeling, that Senator Ready will realize that, after having ventilated the matter, there is something due to Mr. Piesse, who, like he and I, is a Tasmanian, who enjoys some repute, and some respect in our common State.
.- I am not going to admit any of the statements which Senator Keating wants to put into my mouth. He talks of a wrong impression which may have been formed from statements I made. The statements are clear enough, and I stand by them. If a wrong impression has been created, I am not going to take any responsibility for the impression which is in people’s minds on the matter.
– There i3 no other impression, you know. The statements are not ambiguous.
– The facts are simple, and I intend to give them now.
Let me tell Senator Keating that had it not been for the fact that my informant went to the front, and is now serving his King and country in Egypt, I would have had a further inquiry. There is no doubt that the Minister would have granted ai inquiry to me, because I regarded that report when I received it as a most inadequate and, I might say, a white-washing report. It entirely dodged the question, and it did not admit the true f act3 of the case.
– You attack the State Commandant now, then; what implication do you wish to convey?
– I attack the authorities for the report, because it is an incorrect one. I propose to give some facts, and let them stand against what Senator Keating has said. I stated that Mr. Piesse had purchased horses, and that they were not so good as they should have been. I repeat that statement. I say that Mr. Piesse, and probably some other gentlemen, purchased horses; that the horses were not worth the money paid for them, and that they were in the Mowbray Remount Depot. I have that information on the # authority of a gentleman with the highest qualifications of any veterinary surgeon who has ever come to Tasmania - Captain Bruce, now esteemed so highly by the military authorities tha.t he is in charge of the big Remount Depot at Cairo. Surely he is a man whose statement can be taken even against that of the Commandant of Tasmania. Captain Bruce informed me that the horses at the Mowbray Remount Depot, and purchased by the Tasmania authorities, were a disgrace.
– According to the report, they had to be sent out to be fattened up.
– That is so, and Captain Bruce stated this.
– Were they not as good as could be obtained at the price in Tasmania?
– No. Captain Bruce, who was at one time Government Veterinary Officer for Tasmania, said to me that there was something suspiciously and singularly wrong with the quality of the horses, that they were not up to par, that many of them were old crocks, that others were not suitable for the purposes for which they were purchased. He said, “ The whole business, to me, looks at least as if there is, if not corruption, well, gross incapacity.” I challenge my honorable friend opposite, who seems to have a brief for Mr. Piesse, to contradict that statement. I said nothing about that gentleman personally. I criticised his conduct in purchasing horses, and I stand to that criticism. He is a warm partisan and supporter of my honorable friend, and has gone out of his way more than once to break a lance in his defence, and attack the party to which I belong.
– In my defence?
– But that had nothing to do with this question.
– I do not know anything about Mr. Piesse, but I know that I saw a lot of the horses he, or somebody, purchased.
– Would they win a Melbourne Cup?
– I say that I did not criticise his reputation as a private citizen. I criticised his purchase of certain horses, and if Senator Keating wants proof, let him ask for the correspondence in reference to the Mowbray RemountDepot to be tabled, and he will find “that some of the horses were so bad that one of them fetched 20s. in the mart at Launceston, another 30s., and another about £3. Let the honorable senator and the Senate remember that these horses were purchased at a fairly high price, and with Commonwealth money. I say - and my authority for the statement is Captain Bruce - that there was a gross waste of public money, and that the men who went out buying horses - some of them at least - were not competent. I have been informed by Captain Bruce that some of these horses were purchased by Mr. Piesse. That is my reply to Senator Keating. If these are the facts, I do not see that I should recall them despite the report which has been issued by the Commandant of Tasmania. I hope that my statements will have the ( effect of causing the gentlemen who have been paying big prices for horses which are fit only for the bone-mills to discontinue that practice. I believe that the publicity which has been given to my allegations has already resulted in making the military authorities of Tasmania more care ful. I know that the Minister cannot check these things. He is too busy to be expected to do so. But the exposure which has taken place will doubtless cause the authorities to tighten up their methods.
– Was there a drought in Tasmania about the time of which the honorable senator speaks?
– No. The condition of the horses generally was very far from what it should have been. Anybody who went out to Mowbray and saw them will admit that. Complaints are now reaching the Minister from the front that the horses purchased by the authorities are not what they should have been. Knowing the facts, I should have been lacking in my duty if I had not drawn attention to them.
– Senator Ready has stated that I seem to hold a brief for Mr. Piesse. I say again that I am not sure that I would recognise the gentleman if I met him. I have only met him on one occasion. I have had no correspondence with him, with the exception of this one letter which he wrote to me a little time ago. I feel that it is my privilege, my honour, and my duty to pay some regard to what he wrote me then. His reputation was assailed in this Chamber, and his reputation is as dear to him as is our reputation to each one of us. His conduct was called into question, and was made the subject of an inquiry. It is only right that those who heard his conduct questioned should have the result of that inquiry placed before them. I regret that Senator Ready has now seen fit practically to challenge the report furnished by the Commandant of the State.
– It is a misleading report.
– I. regret the action that has been taken. If Senator Ready is so sure of his facts he is at liberty to state them without fear, because in that case they will be true and for the 2’uhlic benefit. But Mr. Piesse has intimated to me that he invites the honorable senator to state them publicly outside this chamber, in which case Senator Ready will be able to rely upon their truth and the fact that they are for the public benefit to completely exonerate him from any consequences that might otherwise attach to his utterances.
.- Under the heading of “ Pay, Censors and -their Staffs, £28,500,” I desire to know the approximate number of censors that are employed in the different States, the highest salary that is paid to any one of them, whether these censors are in the Commonwealth service or any State service, and whether the chief censors are outside those services.
– It is impossible for me to give Senator Findley that information just now. -If he will supply me with a copy of his remarks on this subject, I will endeavour to secure it for him. I know that the Censor Staff is now only about one-half of what it was during the time that this money was being expended.
– I desire to know whether any of these censors are receiving pay from any Government other than the Federal Government. Most of them, I presume, before their appointment were engaged in Government offices or in the Universities. Are they receiving their ordinary pay in addition to pay from the Commonwealth?
– I cannot answer that question off-hand. I know that some of them are in the employ of the University. Others are engaged for only a portion of their time in discharging censorship duties. I will endeavour o get the information for the honorable senator.
.- Those honorable senators who opposed the establishment of the Commonwealth “Clothing Factory, have, I assume, by this time, realized that. that Factory is conferring a distinct benefit upon the Commonwealth. I know that most of the officers in the Defence Department are solicitousfor the welfare of the employees in that Factory. To-day it has been brought under my notice that there are indications of industrial unrest there. A fairly large number of girls who are employed in doing certain work in connexion with soldiers’ uniforms have been given notice of dismissal. As a result, thereis a certain amount of dissatisfaction among the whole of the Factory employees. I do not say that those employees are on the verge of a strike. I hope that they will not strike at a time like the present. But
I ask the Assistant Minister to endeavour to pour oil on the troubled waters. The matter is really a very small one. Aboutthirty girls are engaged in an operation connected with the manufacture of soldiers’ uniforms, and they have been given notice of dismissal. The reason advanced by the Department for its action is that it cannot continue to employ these girls on this work because private firms are not performing similar work ?
– What is that statement ?
– I am informed that these girls are about to be dismissed because the work on which they have been engaged is not being done by private contractors, who are turning out almost similar articles.
– The work is cut out.
– That is so. The private contractor is not putting into the soldiers’ garments the work that the Department is putting into them. Consequently the Department takes the view that it need not do this work, and, as a consequence, these girls are about to be dismissed. I have been asked to bring the matter forward by the secretary of the union which is particularly interested in it.
– I am very sorry that the honorable senator should have used the word “ strike” in connexion with this matter, because to a certain extent it implies a threat. The facts, as they have been represented to me, are that a certain operation in connexion with soldiers’ breeches was done some time ago by hand. Subsequently it was found that that operation could be performed equally well by machines, and that as a result a greater number of garments could be turned out by a smaller number of employees. The Examiner of Stores recommended that the operation should be done by machines, because the adoption of that course would have the effect of cheapening the garments, as well as of increasing the output. Moreover, the operation as performed by machines was superior to that which could be performed by hand. The conditions of contract were altered in regard to these particular garments so as to allow contractors to undertake the work with machines. The Manager of the Clothing Factory was questioned on the matter, and was given authority to machine this operation. As a consequence, some twenty-five girls will be displaced from that particular work. But the immediate result will be that we shall be able to increase the output by about 900 garments per week, and the Factory Manager will be enabled so to extend his operations as ‘not only to find employment for these girls, but for .m additional number, in other directions. Of course, I am merely giving honorable senators the statement of the Manager, because I have not yet had an opportunity of hearing the position from the union’s point of view. It will be understood, therefore, that I am not committing myself to the Manager’s version at all. But that is the view which has been put to me. I understand that when my parliamentary duties will permit of it, tho secretary of the union intends to interview me on the subject. In the meantime I suspend my own judgment in the matter. I do not think that the word “strike” should have been used, because I am sure that no union in Australia would dream of striking over a matter of this sort. The. time when strikes would occur over that kind of thing has gone by 100 years. I shall give the union as representing the employees every opportunity to state their side of the case, and endeavour to do justice to the employees as well as to the Commonwealth and the taxpayers, because it must be remembered that this Factory has to compete with private factories outside.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Divisions 84 to 97 (Department of Trade and Customs), £483,956; and Divisions 98 to 106 (Home Affairs Department), £845,014, agreed to.
Divisions 107 to 116 (PostmasterGeneral’s Department), £4,982,993.
– The Deputy Postmaster-General in Queensland has on occasions decided particular cases affecting employees, and when the employee appealed to a Board of Inquiry the Deputy appointed himself a member of the Board, and actually took the position of chairman. A Board so constituted is a farce, and if the Deputy had any sense of decency he would not attempt to sit on the Board after deciding a case. The Deputy in Queensland is noted for his autocratic conduct. He is, I believe, the most autocratic in Aus tralia, and the one who causes the most dissatisfaction amongst postal employees. A notification should be sent from headquarters to Deputies and others that if” they decide an officer’s case they must not sit on any subsequent Board of Inquiry. Complaint also reaches me from Brisbane regarding the number of sorters employed there as compared with the number employed in other capitals. In Sydney the proportion is four assistants to twentytwo sorters, in Melbourne three to eighteen, in Adelaide two to five, and in Brisbane nine to one. Assistants are men. learning the work, and when their number is so great in comparison with thenumber of sorters a great deal of additional work is- thrown on the qualified men. I trust the Postmaster-General will see that the proportion in the capitals is made more equal.
.- I shall bring the honorable senator’s representations under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral. I take it that his complaint has reference to the disparity in the proportion of assistants to sorters.
– A registered letter containing a £10-note was sent recently from Cue, Western Australia, to Tannymorell, near Warwick, Queensland. Its receipt was noted at Warwick, and its transmission to Tannymorell accounted for, but the postal official there left the service, compulsorily or otherwise, and the letter never reached the addressee. The sender was a nurse,, and the addressee was her widowed mother. Senator Buzacott and I asked that compensation should be paid, but the reply of the Deputy PostmasterGeneral in each State was that under the regulations the amount of compensation payable was limited to £2. It would not be good policy to pay all such claims in full because of the possibilities of fraud, but this case was exceptional. It was brought before me by Mr. Brennan, a most reputable solicitor at Warwick, whom I have known from boyhood, and who was acting in an honorary capacity in the matter. Senator Buzacott had similar assurances from Western Australia, and we knew that the representations would not have been made to us if the case had not been genuine. I have criticised Mr. Templeton before, and would have no hesitation in criticising him again if the necessity arose, but I do not blame him in this case for following the regulations. The point which I placed before the Postmaster-General, and which I thought he might have entertained, was that he should have the power as an act of grace to pay compensation in full in special cases. The regulations should be elastic enough to allow this to be done in hard cases, and this case is particularly hard. The nurse has gone to the front, the money is lost, and in the unusual circumstances, seeing that both Senator Buzacott and I are prepared to vouch for the honesty of the parties, the Postmaster-General might well, as an act of grace, pay full compensation.
– There is a matter connected with the Post and Telegraph Department which has come under my notice, and about which I should like to say a word. I have noticed that in Tasmania, for many years past, it has been the practice of the Department to employ casual labour. Men are put on for six months as letter carriers, and I think also as sorters. Then they are put off for six months, and then put on again. That practice has obtained in Launceston for the last four or five years. It is impossible to secure the best results from such a system. It is not adopted to meet any particular rush of work, and these casual employees are engaged to fill what are really permanent positions. It can be easily understood that it will take two men to do the work which might be done by one man who had been constantly employed at it. The citizens are very much inconvenienced by the practice. I know of one round where, upon the appointment of a new man, the letters are not delivered until after 11 o’clock, when they should be delivered before 9 o’clock. I wish now to refer to the practice of dispensing with the services of men employed for some time by the Department because they have not been able to pass a certain educational examination. I brought this matter before the notice of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General some time ago. I referred to the dismissal of three men because they had not passed some educational test. The reply given to me was very ingenious. It was to the -effect that, with the exception of two, the men had nob been in the employ of the Department for more than nine months. Of the two to whom I referred, one had been in the service of the Department for six years, and the other for three years. They evidently believed that they were in the permanent employ of the Department. I can appreciate the difficulty which the Public Service Commissioner may have in determining who should be considered a permanent employee and who should not. But I submit that any examination to test the qualifications of a man who is employed digging post-holes, splicing .wire, and using an axe or an adze should be a practical rather than a theoretical one. I have here a copy of the examination paper given to one of these men in the practical duties of ‘his position, and 1 find that, for sinking 5-feet holes for poles, the maximum marks obtainable were 150, and this man obtained 150 marks. The next matter upon which he was examined was climbing wooden poles with stirrups, or climbing irons, regulating wires, .and making joints in iron wires while on the pole, and for this he obtained 120 out of a possible 150 marks. For fixing brackets, spindles, and cross-arms to wooden poles, he obtained 135 out of a possible 150 marks. For knowledge of timbers used in the construction of telegraph lines he obtained 30 out of a possible 100 marks. For the use of adze and axe he obtained 100 out of a possible 100 marks. For jointing and soldering copper wire he obtained 42 out of a possible 50 marks. Fo’r tying wires to insulators he obtained 42 out of a possible 50 marks, and for knowledge of knots and use of tackle he obtained 45 out of a possible 50 marks. To pass in this practical test an examinee required to obtain 400 marks, and this man obtained 664 marks; but, because he did not pass some little educational test, or perhaps failed to spell some word correctly, he was put down after being employed in the service for six years. This man ‘has a wife and children to support, and it seems to me rather cruel, at a time like the present, to dispense with the services of such a man, when it would be scarcely possible to get any other two men in the State to do the work he was accustomed to do. Other men have been put in the places which were previously filled by the men to whom I have referred. I have here a list of fifty odd men who passed the practical and educational examination, and there is not one of them who secured the same number of marks in the practical test as did the man to whose case I have specially referred. If we went outside the Department we should not be able to find a single private employer who would be guilty of such a stupid thing as to turn such a man down, in the circumstances. When I was at work I never had to undergo any educational test. If I could do the practical task set me, I satisfied my employer. These men could do, and have done, the work they were employed to do. I do not care to mention the names of officers of the Department, but I have it on the best authority that the officers of the Department in Tasmania, up to the head, are extremely sorry that these men have had to go out, because they cannot replace them for the practical work they had to do. I think it is time that the Post and Telegraph Department did something more in accordance with the fitness of things than to dispense with the services of men who Have proved themselves thoroughly efficient in the practical work they are called upon to do, merely because they may be somewhat lacking in education. I hope that in future something will be done to obviate a repetition of this kind of thing. If, when men are put on, they are given to understand that in twelve months’ time they will be called upon to pass a practical and educational test, they will then know what they have undertaken to do. To keep a man in the Service for six years, leaving him to believe that he will be continued in his employment, and then, because he fails in what appears to nae to be, in the circumstances, a quite unnecessary educational test, to throw him out on the world, is very unfair indeed. I hope that some good result will follow from the few remarks I have made on this subject.
– Senators Ferricks and Guy will not expect me, since I am not the Minister representing the Postmaster-General in the Senate, to give any definite reply to what they have said. I can only say that I will bring the representations they have made under the personal notice of the PostmasterGeneral.
– It was my intention to deal with several matters connected with the Post and Telegraph Department, and particularly affecting Queensland, at considerable length; but as the Minister is anxious to get on with the Bill, and the hour is late, I shall defer what I have te* say until we are considering the Supply Bill, which will be brought before the Senate next week, or the week after. There is, however, one matter suggesting inhuman treatment of one of the employees of the Post and Telegraph Department, which I regard as of so much importance that I think it proper to deal with it for a few minutes on the present occasion. The complaint is based upon the following letter, which appeared in the Baily Standard of Brisbane of the 26th May, 1915, under the heading “ Sympathetic “ -
Sir, - On Saturday, 22nd inst., word was received from the Defence Department of the death of one of our soldiers at the battle of the Dardanelles. Three of our leading city firms, on being apprised of the sad news, immediately told three of their respective employees (relatives of deceased lad) to cease work out of sympathy; but our Post and Telegraph Department not only refused to allow a brother of the fallen soldier off duty at 1 p.m., but kept him at work two hours extra. Is this theway to show sympathy and respect to our departed soldiers, who arc fighting to help keepthese heads in their high positions? ThisPost and Telegraph Department is surelyworked on a queer system.
I anl, &c.
Joseph F. Gregg..
I read that letter at the time it was published, but it seemed to me incrediblethat a Government Department could act thus to one of its employees in such circumstances. I, therefore, suspended)judgment until, during the last couple of days, I received a copy of the Transmitter, in which is published the proceedings of the Queensland Post and Telegraph Association, and in which, I regret to say, this charge against the Department is confirmed in the following; reference : -
Attention of Council was drawn to a regrettable incident which recently occurred in the Telegraph Branch. A certain” officer, it was stated, received word that his brother, who left with the Expeditionary Force for the Dardanelles, had died of wounds. Intimation waa received at 11 a.m., and at 1 p.m. the officer in question asked, in writing, for relief. Apart from personal feelings, he. was actuated by the highest motives, inasmuch as he desired to he with his parents in their hour of trial. He- was verbally informed later that he could not be spared. He would ordinarily have ceased duty at1 p.m., but, as the Saturday schedule had been suspended for elections, he was detained until 2.40 p.m., and then only released on representation being made by the VicePresident.
The following resolution was eventually carried: -“ That the A.C.A. be asked to invite the attention of the Postmaster-General and Minister of Defence to the matter.”
This, I hold, was an outrage on the feelings of the people of Queensland and the Commonwealth which should not be tolerated in any Department. I hope that the Minister of Defence will suggest to the Postmaster- General, in whose Department this occurred, the necessity of instituting an inquiry. I consider that the officer responsible for this outrageous conduct should be dismissed from the Service. Nothing short of dismissal would be adequate punishment for the inhuman creature who could subject an employee to such treatment in such trying circumstances. I shall not labour the matter further; but I hope the Minister will make inquiries, and possibly, after the inquiries are made and the truth or otherwise of the statement proved, we may have more to say on the matter.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Postponed clauses 2 and 3 and abstract, preamble, and title agreed to.
Bill reported without request; report adopted.
Standing and sessional orders suspended, and Bill read a third time.
MINISTERS laid on the table the following papers: -
Dominions Royal Commission: Minutes of Evidence taken in Newfoundland in 1014.
Lands Acquisition Act 1906 - Land acquired under, at -
Burwood, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Chippendale, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.
En more, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.
Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Route (3) - For Railway purposes.
Launceston, Tasmania - For Defence pur- poses.
Townsville, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Waverley,New South Wales - For Postal purposes.
Wynyard, Tasmania - For Defence purposes.
Military Camp, Liverpool, New South Wales : Further Interim Report by His Honour Mr. Justice Rich, upon administration.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to - That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday, 4th August.
– I move - That the Senate do now adjourn.
asked me whether the information given in regard to the enlistments in the various States was based upon State boundaries or military dis tricts. The answer is: -
The figures showing the population are obtained from the Commonwealth Statistician. The figures showing enlistments are as close to the mark as the Department can arrive with the records available.
Northern rivers of New South Wales, Broken Hill, and a small portion of country near Deniliquin, which form portion of New South Wales, actually belong to other military districts.
Men from northern rivers of New South Wales have been permitted to enlist either in the first or second military district. Some have gone to Sydney, and some to Brisbane.
In view of this, the percentage of enlistments in New South Wales would actually be greater than that obtained by comparing the population of the State with the enlistments recorded in the second military district.
That is the statement made by the AdjutantGeneral, whose branch submitted the return upon which Senator Millen’s question was based.
Senator FERRICKS (Queensland. [10.5]. - I am again obliged to referto the inequality and unfairness of the wort of the medical profession in Brisbane in connexion with military examinations and camp necessities. From further inquiries I have made from the Minister and other sources I have come to the conclusior that the Defence Department is notso culpable in this matter as a small coterh of medical men - what I may call the military medical section - in Brisbane. Newspapers have informed us at various times that there has been a scarcity of medical men. That fact has been deplored in connexion with the agitation for increased activity in recruiting, and I have had it brought under my notice repeatedly by newspapers sent to me from Brisbane. A paragraph in the Brisbane Mail of the 23rd July is very pertinent. It states -
The Defence Department has intimated that anything which will assist in recruiting will be heartily welcomed by the authorities. The Department will render all assistance possible, !but it must not be forgotten that its resources -are not unlimited. The shortage of qualified medical men has already been a problem to -the authorities. This is a matter for patriotic -action on the part of our many medical men who, busy as they may be, are easily in a position to alford to give some of their time to assist a national cause.
This has particular application to Brisbane, as shown by representations »that have been made to me and, I believe, to the President of the Senate. In Brisbane, medical men can be found to carry through the necessary examinations and so forth. I trust that the Minister will renew his instructions that this matter must be expedited. I am satisfied, from the representations that have been made, and the inquiries that have followed upon these representations, that there is inequality in the distribution of the medical work, and if the medical men in Brisbane who are not permanent military officers, but who may be designated as attached to the Military Forces, are overbearing and confine the work to a few special favorites, I believe that the Minister will take drastic action, such as he has been forced to take in connexion with other prominent directors of medical and other phases of recruiting, enlistment, and general Defence operations. Another matter upon which I desire to touch is one upon which, on account of the despatch with which the Temporary Chairman, Senator Needham, was putting through the Estimates, I was not able to speak this evening. I refer to the Patagonian immigrants who are on their way to the Northern Territory. I understand that the ultimate idea is to have these people settle on the land .as landholders. This evening I quoted from the report of the Administrator of the Northern Territory to show that he was of the opinion that men from other parts of the Commonwealth would not make the most desirable settlers in the Northern Territory, and that he did not think that even people from the north of Europe would be the best class of settlers. Dr. Gilruth thinks that the inhabitants of Southern Europe would be the best class of people to stand the climate of the Northern Territory. I understand that the great majority of the Patagonians are of Spanish descent, and that the authorities believe that they will be particularly adapted constitutionally to stand the conditions in the Northern Territory. The Administrator has also pointed out in his report that it will be well to employ these immigrants at first on railway construction work, so 0that eventually they may become landholders, and I understand that this procedure will be followed in regard to the Patagonians; but from inquiries I made at the Department of External Affairs a few days ago, on behalf of a man who was anxious to get information regarding the prospects of work and the rates of wages in the Northern Territory, I received a letter from the Department, from which I quote the following paragraph -
At present, the construction of the Pine Creek-Katherine railway is the chief work in progress in the Territory. The rates of wages paid vary from ordinary labourers, who receive ls. 9d. per hour, to foremen carpenters, fitters, te., who receive 2s. 4d. per hour for a week of forty-four hours.
If the Department were to announce that they required men to go to the Northern Territory to take work temporarily, while looking about them and choosing blocks of land, and that these men would be paid 14s. a day on railway construction, within forty-eight hours 500 men, bond fide workers, would be found in Queensland prepared to go. I speak of men who have not the capital to go to the Territory on their own account, but are anxious to select blocks of land, and eventually become permanent settlers, and I say this from the knowledge that I have gained from letters that I have received from all over the State of Queensland, written by men who have become tired of a roving life in the northern fields of the State, and are anxious to go to the Territory, but prefer to go where the prospects of obtaining temporary work are favorable. I think that these men would be infinitely preferable to Patagonians as settlers. However, we shall see how the experiment is carried. out_ I attribute it to the representations made in the report of the Administrator - time will show whether these people make better settlers than ordinary Australians. When speaking on the War Loan Bill yesterday, I endeavoured to have recorded in Hansard a letter which I had received from a prominent business man in Melbourne, dealing with the financial difficulties coming upon the nation as a consequence of the war; but, as the Chairman ruled that I could not quote this letter, with’ permission, I shall do so now, because it appears to be rather pertinent to the present financial situation. I shall not give the name of the writer, but the letter proceeds -
The new war taxes are interesting us. I think that cither an income tax or a wealth tax is good, with a preference for the latter. If a tax on income is decided on, it overtaxes tb( worker and undertakes the drone. When I say “ worker,” you will understand that I refer to the capitalist who works. This man pays wages and produces wealth.
– Any letter which an honorable senator reads in the Chamber is liable to be ordered to be laid on the table of the Senate. Further, it is contrary to the Standing Orders for the honorable senator to read a letter referring to a debate in the Senate. I am not sure that the tenor of the letter, so far, does refer to the business of the Senate ; but it certainly refers to the subjectmatter of a debate.
– I have not the permission of the writer, and I would not ask permission, to give his name, and, therefore, I will not read the letter.
– I desire to occupy a few minutes to direct attention to a matter which is of vital importance to a large number of persons at present, and that is the action which is about to be taken by the Federal Government for the purpose of providing freight for the wheat surplus. According to a report in the press, the Government have arranged with two firms to provide bottoms for the transport of the wheat surplus, and those two firms are Elder, Smith, and Company and Gibbs, Bright, and Company. So far as my knowledge goes, those firms have no interest in Western Australia, and if it be true that the Government have appointed them alone for the purpose, I think that the decision can well stand be ing reviewed. In Western Australia there are any number of firms which could be chosen with advantage to the State. If it iB a case of appointing two firms only, it will naturally confer on those firms an advantage over others. In taking action of this kind the Federal Government have need to engage firms whose operations cover the whole area of the Commonwealth, and not two firms whose operations are confined to only one particular part of it. I, therefore, hope that the Minister representing the Department concerned will take a note of my remarks, and alter the decision. I agree entirely with the Government taking action of this kind. I do not agree with the statements made in the Parliaments of the neighbouring States that the action which the Federal Government are taking could better be taken by other means or by other Governments. I believe that, in the present circumstances, they are the only Government who could take action with advantage to all concerned, because they will be actuated by a desire, not to centre their attention on one State, but to regard the matter from a comprehensive point of view and to keep in mind the needs of the entire producers of the Commonwealth. If the report in the press is correct, the State of Western Australia will be dependent upon the operations of two firms which have no interest in the State. That is not desirable; and if the decision is not revised, I shall take an opportunity later of pointing out the unfairness of it.
.- With reference to the point raised by Senator Ferricks about the medical men, he has already represented the case to me. I am having inquiries made, and it is my intention to see that no favoritism is shown or injustice done. As regards the point raised by Senator Lynch, he will recognise, I am sure, that it is too important a one for me to go into fully at this stage of the day’s proceedings. Next week there is almost certain to arise an opportunity when the matter can be fully ventilated, and when the Government’s plans will be more fully formulated.
– I only saw the report in the press to-day.
– So far as I am aware, I do not think that a final decision on the matter has been reached yet.
– I hope not, anyway.
– Mr. President–
– The honorable senator cannot speak at this stage, as the Minister of Defence lias, replied.
– I am not addressing myself to him.
– Tho honorable senator cannot speak to this motion.
– I want to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs.
– The honorable senator is not entitled to ass a question at this stage. The discussion is closed, and the motion must be put
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.20 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 29 July 1915, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1915/19150729_senate_6_78/>.