6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Will the Government, in furtherance of an agitation commenced by certain daily newspapers for economy in different directions, take into consideration the advisability of withholding all Government advertisements from publication in the newspapers of Australia, and of seeing that in future such advertisements be inserted in the Commonwealth Gazette only, and that the Gazette be exhibited in conspicuous places, so that all persons may have an opportunity of perusing the notifications?
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - And distributed freely amongst the public ?
– Yes, so that economy can be exercised in that way, and thousands of pounds saved to the people of the Commonwealth.,
– I think that the suggestion made by the honorable senator is well worthy of consideration, and I will bring it under the notice of the Government.
– In view of the intimation which the Minister of Defence made that the Senate is likely to adjourn at an early date, can he give us any idea as to whether a Supply Bill will be presented before the adjournment takes place, and if so, when it may be expected here?
– A Supply Bill will necessarily have to be presented before Parliament adjourns. I anticipate that the Bill will come up here early next week.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affa’irs in a position to-day to tell me when the report of the Land Tax Commissioner for the current year will be made available ?
– The report is in course of printing, and is expected to be ready for distribution by the end of next week.
– Can the VicePresident of the Executive Council say whether the Government have received a report from the Commissioner sent to the Panama Exposition to represent the Commonwealth 1
– At a later date I will supply the information to the honorable senator.
The following papers were presented: -
Public Service Act 1902-1913- Promotion of V. E. Butler as Manager.
First Class Electrical Engineer’s Branch ( Telephones ) , PostmasterGeneral’s Department, New South Wales: Regulation amended &c. - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 140.
War Census Act 1915 - Regulation - Statutory Rules1915, No. 138.
Non-deliveryofLetters:Mental Cases: Encampments.
– Has the Minister of Defence received any information regarding the non-delivery of correspondence from relatives in Tasmania to soldiers at Enoggera, in Queensland?
– I have received the following report on the subject: -
The complaints relative to the alleged nondelivery of letters to soldiers within the Commonwealth were referred to the Commandants of the 1st and 3rd Military Districts.
The Camp Commandant at Enoggera, 1st Military District, reports : -
A post office under control of Postal Department is established in this camp with all postal and savings bank facilities. Correspondence is sorted by postal officials into different regiments or companies, as the case may be, and delivered to orderlies detailed for that purpose. Correspondence not addressed as above is retained at post office until called for.
Correspondence addressed as stated would be delivered to mail orderly from the 26th Battaliou.
As the 26th Battalion has embarked, it is impossible to state the probable cause of non-delivery. There are no letters now at the post office for Arthur and George Johnston, and James Loveday.
The Camp Commandant at Seymour forwards a report from the officer of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department in charge of the Camp Post Office, which reads as follows : - “ No trace of any letters here. The address given does not refer to this camp, and letters so addressed would not be sent here, but transferred abroad.”
The Postmaster-General’s Department has been requested to make inquiries into the matter, but up to the present no report has been received from that Department.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
If, where practicable, he will endeavour to have soldiers encamped as near as possible to their homes?
– The answer is -
Any general action in the direction indicated in the honorable senator’s question is impracticable, in view of the fact that the satisfactory carrying on of the course of training and the efficiency of the Australian Imperial Force must have first consideration.
asked the Vice- President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Is it a fact, as announced in the public press on the 18th instant, that the printing of the schedules in connexion with the War Census had been approved, and that the census would be taken at an early date ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is “Yes.”
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answer is-
The High Commissioner has advised that inquiries on the lines desired by the Federal Fruit Commission are being made, but his report is not yet to hand.
Fares and Freights
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers are -
– It only means a sum of deduction.
– What right had the War Committee to override a decision of the Senate, anyhow?
– What I am concerned about is the alteration of the form in which this question was decided upon by the Senate. Why does the War Committee desire to smother up a question which deals with, possibly, £700,000,000 worth of property in this Commonwealth ? So far as I can see, no objection could be taken to the sub-paragraph in the form in which it left the Senate. But the War Committee, for some reason of which we are not aware, because it holds its meetings in secret, has made an alteration which ought not to be tolerated. I, therefore, submit this motion, the effect of which will be to disallow the regulation, with a view, of course, to the substitution of the paragraph as it left the Senate.
– I second the motion, because I do not see why any Committee, without statutory authority - be it War Committee or any other kind of Committees - should override a decision of the Senate.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - But you gave the Committee power to do that in the Bill.
– We did nothing of the sort, and the honorable senator cannot produce any Act of this Parliament clothing the War Committee with any power to override the decision of this Senate.
– Then your quarrel is with the Government, and not with the War Committee.
– So far as I am concerned, there is no quarrel, but I am jealous of the authority of this Senate. After we have deliberated upon a Bill to which is attached a schedule, I do not think that another body of men, who have no statutory authority, should have power to upset the decision that we arrived at. Senator Grant has indicated where serious alterations have been made, though the Vice-President of the Executive Council has intimated that they were of such a light character that it was not considered necessary to submit them for the opinion of senators.
– They are submitted now.
– The honorable gentleman, when asked a question by me at the time, promised that if any alterations were made by the War Committee to the schedule of the War Census Act, those alterations would be submitted to senators for their consideration. Are they submitted now?
– If Senator Grant’s motion had not been submitted, members of this Senate would not have had a chance to consider them.
– That is hardly fair.
– Yes, it is. The Minister to-day ‘ did not give a reply to my question at all, but endeavoured to shelter himself under the wing of the Attorney-General. I pin him down to his own reply on a former occasion, that if any alterations were made they would be submitted to this Senate. His reply to-day is that the AttorneyGeneral said that the alterations were so slight that it was not necessary to submit them to the Senate. I was not bothering about the Attorney-General. I do not know him in the Senate, but I know the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and I want him to take the responsibility he promised to assume of submitting to the Senate any alterations made in the schedule. If Senator Grant had not submitted his motion, the alteration of the second schedule would have been allowed to go by default, and no one would have been any the wiser. Will the Vice-President of the Executive Council, when replying to this debate, explain why that schedule has been altered, and why, before the alterations have been submitted to Parliament, the press has been given information concerning them? There is too much of this kind of thing going on. The press receive reports of a private character before Parliament knows anything at all about them. I shall vote for the disallowance of this statutory rule, because I desire to’ see the second schedule to the War Census Act left as the Senate and Parliament passed it. If in that form it will not secure all the information the Government desire, they can bring down an amending schedule and let Parliament revise it. So long as I am a member of the Senate I shall be no party to any Committee of Parliament overriding its authority.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to extend the provisions of the Seamen’s Compensation Act to interned and requisitioned ships controlled by the Commonwealth, no matter where trading?
SenatorPEARCE. - This question should have been addressed to the Minister for the Navy. The reply is -
The provisions of the Commonwealth Seamen’s Compensation Act have been extended to interned ships controlled by the Commonwealth. The question of extension to requisitioned ships is under consideration.
.- I move-
That provisional regulation, statutory rule No. 138, War Census Act, be disallowed.
I make no apology for bringing this matter before the Senate. Some time ago I endeavoured to secure certain information which, I hope, will be disclosed under this schedule, but was unable to do so owing to the Land Tax Commissioner not being in possession of the required data. When the War Census Bill reached this Chamber from another place, sub-paragraphi of paragraph 1 in the second schedule read -
Capital value of land, together with the value of all improvements, including houses and buildings thereon.
Almost every member of this Chamber objected to that provision. Honorable senators were practically unanimous in their desire that a clear line of demarcation should be drawn between land values and the improvements upon land. After considerable discussion, sub-paragraph i of paragraph 6was amended to read as follows: -
As honorable senators are aware, the question of taxing land values is one which has engaged general attention for a considerable number of years.
– The agitation in that direction isdying out.
– It would die out if the War Committee and some other persons like the honorable senator,who is a typical opponent of all reform, had their way. The expression “unimproved capital value of land” is one which is thoroughly understood by any one who has taken an interest in this matter. It was with the unanimous approval of the Senate that subparagraph i of paragraph 6 was amended in order to set out clearly and distinctly the unimproved capital value of the lands of the Commonwealth. I have an idea that some other Bill is coming behind this, for which this information will be valuable. Then sub-paragraph viii of that question dealt with the improvements on the land in order to give the community a clear knowledgeof the capital value of all the land in the Commonwealth with the improvements thereon. Framed in that way the question could have been clearly understood by nineteentwentieths of those who give any attention to this matter, and, therefore, it did not require any alteration by the War Committee. We find, however, that under StatutoryRules No. 138, not only has the War Committee altered that subparagraph in the schedule, but it has completely re-arranged all the sub-paragraphs. It has put the least important first, and has endeavoured, apparently, to smother up this important question somewhere about the middle of the schedule. For instance, the first question now to be asked under the heading of property is, how much cash a person has in hand on the 30th June, 1915.
– You do not call that unimportant, do you ?
– It is, so far as the amount of cash in one’s pocket at that time is concerned. If it referred to the cash in hand at the moment, a person might, perhaps, be able to answer it; but, as the question is now framed, it will be utterly impossible for a man to say how much money he had in hand or in his pocket on the 30th June, 1915. The subparagraph dealing with the value of land and improvements now appears as No. xi., and as it is framed a person is asked to give the value of his land, inclusive of improvements, while sub-paragraph b asks for the value of the land, exclusive of improvements. It is not now proposed to show in detail, as was decided by the Senate, the value of the land apart from the value of the improvements.
– It is not a Committee of this Parliament.
– The honorable senator is right. It is not even a Committee of Parliament.
– It is a Committee the honorable senator helped to elect.
– I take my full responsibility for the assistance I gave in the selection of the members of the “War Committee. I acted in that matter just as Senator Millen did, as a member of the party to which I belong; but in doing so I did not have it in mind to clothe the Committee with authority to override a decision of the Senate.
– They did not do so. They made a recommendation to the Government.
– They made a recommendation to the Governor-General in Council, and it has been accepted.
– And is before us as a statutory rule.
– That is so. Schedules have appeared in many Bills which have been discussed since I have been a member of this Parliament, but the power to alter them has been contained in the measures to which they have been attached. Before the War Census Bill was passed we were informed that the Attorney-General proposed to submit the schedules to the War Committee, even after Parliament had decided what they should contain.. When the Bill was under discussion in this Chamber several honorable senators resented that suggestion, and urged that the decision of Parliament as to what the schedules should contain should be final.
– Is not the whole of page 3 of the statutory rule which has been referred to new matter?
– It is practically new matter. If the GovernorGeneral in Council wished to revise the schedules of the War Census Act the revision should have been referred to this Parliament, and not to the War Committee. I admit that the War Committee is a very necessary body to-day, but even if it made recommendations before this Government accepted them, and published them in the columns of the press, thus ignoring Parliament in two ways, it was their duty to submit the proposed altera- tions to Parliament. The War Committee, which is the creation of < a merely party arrangement, and was not appointed by Parliament-
– And is not responsible to Parliament.
– It is not responsible to Parliament or to any one else.
– Why say that, when * the honorable senator knows that it is responsible to the Government? It is its duty to make recommendations to the Government.
– I shall give the honorable senator that grain of consolation. The Committee is not responsible to this Parliament. It has made a recommendation which the Government have immediately accepted without consulting Parliament; and, even after accepting it. the Government have not informed Parliament that they have done so, though they have published the information in the columns of the press. All this has been done despite the promise of the Vice-President of the Executive Council that any alterations made in the schedules to the War Census Act would be submitted for the approval of Parliament before they became operative. If honorable senators generally are prepared to stand this kind of treatment, I am not.
– Are they not submitted to Parliament? The honorable senator has the statutory rule in his hand now.
– I am aware of that. I have just quoted from it. But if it had not been for the motion submitted by Senator Grant, we should not have been able to discuss it.
– We have the right to disallow it.
– That is what we are trying to do now. But the point I wish to make is that it was the duty of the Government to bring the proposed alterations of the schedule before Parliament.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Are not the alterations submitted to the Senate now? What is the honorable senator “hammering his Joss” for?
– We have the alterations before us now.
– I do not thank the War Committee or the Government for that. I want the honorable senator to see that it was the duty of the Government to bring the proposed alterations before Parliament in accordance with the promise of the Vice-President of the Executive Council.
– The honorable senator is discussing them now. What is he growling about?
– I have reason to growl. If Senator Findley were not a member of the War Committee he would be growling more loudly than I am. The Vice-President of the Executive Council might, in accordance with his promise, have submitted the alterations as the recommendations of the War Committee, for approval or rejection by the Senate. We have the alterations before us now, but they have been brought before us by a private member of the Senate, and not by a representative of the Government. I blame the Government in this matter for going behind the back of Parliament. I shall vote for the disallowance of the statutory rule if Senator Grant will push his motion to a division. I do not see why the War Committee should become a super-Parliament.
– It ought to be disbanded.
– No; there are other functions which the War Committee can carry out very well, but the time has not yet arrived when a non-legislative Committee with no parliamentary authority should attemDt to override a decision of this Parliament.
. -I take no exception to the keenness with which honorable senators are prepared to defend the rights of the Senate, but I do take strong exception to a deliberate misrepresentation - to an attempt to make out that I gave a promise which I have not kept.
– Here it is in Hansard.
– Apparently the honorable senator is lost to that sense of decency which should guide his utterances when he deliberately states that I gave a promise which I have not carried out to the strictest letter. Further, if he and Senator Grant were conspiring to put me in a false position before my constituents, they could not carry out the object in a better way.
– I rise to order.I submit that there was nothing in my re marks to justify the Minister in making a misleading statement of that kind, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– If the Minister has misrepresented Senator Grant, or made any statement which the latter regards as offensive, I am sure that he will have no objection to withdraw it.
– I have no objection to withdraw the words I used. I had not the slightest intention of saying that the two senators were conspiring to misrepresent me, but I was pointing out that their action was capable of that construction.
– Here it is in Hansard, in black and white.
– Exactly. Let, us deal with this matter quietly and calmly. Honorable senators on this side were sent here to support the’ Labour Government and the Labour party, but I venture to say that we have received a. more generous, more loyal, and more consistent support from honorable senators on the other side.
– Not in everything.
– If I speak in anger it is a just anger, because the time is coming when all these charges, which read in Hansard very differently from the intention of the speakers, will have to be judged by the people outside. I am not prepared to sit quietly by while honorable senators deliberately misrepresent the position.
– I rise to order. The Minister has accused me of deliberately misrepresenting the position. I am not allowed to read Hansard, but if he will look at the report of the 5th August he will see exactly the statement which he made then. I ask, sir, that the Minister be requested to withdraw the statement he made reflecting on me.
– I ask the Minister to withdraw the charge that Senator Needham was deliberately misrepresenting the position, because that is not in accordance with parliamentary usage.
– I withdraw the statement.
– That is the second withdrawal.
– I do not care how many withdrawals are made. When an honorable senator stands up here, and says that this question would not have come before the Senate but for the action of Senator Grant, the rules do not allow me to say that he deliberately misrepresents me. I leave honorable senators to form their own judgment of the matter. It will be remembered that, in distinct and clear language, I promised how the regulations would come before the Senate. My answer to-day is the same as the answer I gave on the 5th August, and the same as the statement I made on a previous occasion.
– Your answer today was that the Attorney-General did not think it worth while to do anything.
– My answer today was in reply to a question as to whether important alterations had been made. Honorable senators will see that no important alterations have been made.
– My question was as to whether “any” alterations had been made, and you replied on 5th August that they would be submitted here; but now you are talking of “ important “ alterations.
– On 5th August the honorable senator said -
I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council if the War Committee has considered the War Census Bill, and, if so, whether it has made any alterations in the schedule of the Bill? If it has made alterations, what are they ? Will alterations be submitted to Parliament before effect is given to the altered provisions ?
The answer I gave reads -
I understand that slight alterations will be made in the list of questions, and that the Government will gazette the altered provisions as regulations, which will be laid before Parliament, and honorable senators will be able, if they think fit, to take exception to them.
Senator Needham may have made a mistake, but I knew well how any alterations would come before Parliament. I knew the only means by which they could be submitted. I took an opportunity to see that the regulations would be tabled before the Senate rose, in order that honorable senators might get the opportunity which they now have. I do not mind them taking advantage of the opportunity, but I do object to statements being made here, and spread broadcast throughout the country, that, but for the action of Senator Grant, they would not have had an opportunity to discuss the matter.
– You should have brought the alterations down with the recommendation of the War Committee.
– I am not going to put the War Committee in a position above Parliament.
– You are doing it all right.
– While the Bill was under consideration here, Senator Gould referred to the provision, and I made a promise in reply to a question. I said to him -
Let it go. I can assure the honorable senator that the regulations will be issued before Parliament adjourns.
The idea in my mind was that when the schedule was through, then, in accordance with a promise made by the AttorneyGeneral in another place, it would be submitted to the War Committee. That promise had been given before the Bill came to the Senate. I made the statement several times during the debate that, after the War Committee had dealt with the schedules, the Senate would have an opportunity to consider any alterations made. What is the usual method of procedure? The regulations under the Act are gazetted, and laid on the table of each House, without the hand of a Minister being forced by any honorable senator. Every honorable member of the Senate is afforded an opportunity to deal with the regulations. I appeal to Senator Needham’s sense of fairness as to whether I have not kept my promise to the very hilt.
– To my mind, you have not.
– I am very sorry to hear that, but let us see if there is any cause for complaint as to the regulations. I ask honorable senators to pay close attention to the wording. The old paragraph read -
Were the houses and buildings thereon the improvements?
– Certainly not.
– What was in our minds when we put in our amendment? It was that the return should include the value of lands with the improvements, and the value of lands without improvements. In other words, our object was to get from land-owners an exact statement of their lands with improvements, and of their unimproved lands. Let us see what the War Committee has done.
– Why do you smother up the value of the land?
– That is a. very fair question. I know that the honorable senator is under a misapprehension, and when it is explained he will recognise the mistake he. has made. The alterations of the War Committee have made clearer what was in the mind of the Senate. In the altered schedule, which has been laid on the table for the Senate to approve or disapprove, the paragraph reads now -
The amount of that value will go into column A -
– Where does that go?
– That does not go into column A.
– Of course not.
– The honorable senator is indignant because it. does not go there. Let me state the reason why it does not. Suppose that the value of a man’s land, inclusive of improvements, is£10,000,andthatthevalueofhis land, exclusive of improvements, is £5,000.. If he were to put both amounts in that column, we would get a false valuation, because we would have the land value and the property value.
– Why not separate them and show them each in. “A” column ?
– The unimproved value of land, or the value of land exclusive of improvements, has been put- in a separate column, as the. honorable senator will see if he examines the schedule. He will observe brackets there for placing the amount in; but because the information is. not to appear in two places, and he is such a greedy landtaxer, the whole schedule is to be upset.
– Nothing of the kind. It should be set out separately ; it is the only item in the schedule which you have smothered up.
– I have little time to appeal to the reason of honorable senators. I am very little inclined to resent, even with indignation, this continual taunting about smothering up.
– It is a fact.
– Not only have we not smothered up the matter, but, as regards land values, he who runs may read in the second column the value of land inclusive of improvements, and immediately below it the value of the land without’ improvements.
– Oh,no. It is away to one side, if you will look at the schedule; it is not in the column at all.
– If my honorable friend thinks that the rest of the electors of Australia have not as much intelligence as he has to read the return clearly, he is very much mistaken. When the schedule was before the Senate there was a good deal of discussion on it. It arose out of a. promise made in the other place by the Attorney-General, that the War Committee - would have power to alter the schedule, and I gave a promise here, that if any alterations were made the. Senate would have an opportunity to dealt with them. I do not make any promise lightly. If any honorable senator thoughtthat I intended to convey the idea that when the War Committee had dealt with the schedule I would bring the amendments forward here for approval, I tell him, without wishing to give offence to the War Committee, that I am not prepared to exalt iti to such a position that it will have a voice in legislation.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - You practically said, in reply to- me, that you would not be bound by what the War Committee recommended.
– Exactly. I said -
Let it go. I can assure the honorable senator that the regulations will be issued before Parliament adjourns.
T assure honorable senators now that no one in authority wishes to rob the Senate of any of its powers. I appeal to honorable senators to read the regulation closely, and if they do they will find that it gives effect to the intention of the Senate: in shorter and clearer language than it employed, and will elicit two statements, namely, the value of land with improvements and the value of land exclusive of improvements. If there is anything further wanted- -
– What more is wanted ?
– Exactly. Under the form which has been adopted we shall ascertain the value of the land held by every man in Australia, with the improvements upon it, and the value of that land exclusive of those improvements..
– Why not put the value of the land and the improvements in one line?
– If we were to put that information in column “ A “ we would have two sets of values for one piece of land in the general total.
– Certainly not.
– By putting the value of the land, exclusive of improvements, alongside column “A” in a bracketed position-
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council does not know what he is talking about.
– It is a waste of time attempting to reason with the honorable senator. Because the required information is not being supplied in such a way as to give his pet hobby the prominence which he thinks it should receive, the whole thing is wrong.
– Why is not the value of the land shown in one line and the value of the improvements in another line?
– The reason is that we have to put a number of questions to a great many persons in order to elicit certain information. To every question that is to be put, another question might easily be drafted, which would result in providing us with more information, but which would not put the inquiry more clearly to the individual. We have provided for a statement of the value of land exclusive of improvements, and for its value inclusive of improvements. If any honorable senator thinks that we had any intention of flouting the Senate, I can assure him that he is mistaken. This regulation would have been tabled to-day if Senator Grant had not spoken. The law provides that it must be laid on the table within a certain period. I regret that there has been any misunderstanding, and 1 still more regret these continual insinuations of underground practices-
– I rise to a point of order. I must ask for a withdrawal of that remark. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has already withdrawn a somewhat similar statement, and now he is harking back to it.
– In itself, the remark made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council is not unparliamentary, but if Senator Needham complains that the honorable gentleman is misrepresenting him, I will ask him to withdraw it.
– I hardly like withdrawing, for the simple reason that, save in Senator Needham’s own conscience, there was nothing in my remark to connect him with it. But if he realizes that my observation applied to Lim, and he takes exception to it, I most certainly withdraw it. At the same time, 1 do ask honorable senators to refrain from imputing unfair motives to the Government.
– I rise to a point of order. I desire that insinuation to be withdrawn. I imputed nothing of thekind to the Vice-President of the Executive Council. My contention was that the War Committee had failed-
– Order I The honorable senator is not entitled to argue the question. I listened carefully to the remarks of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and I do not think that he made any statement upon which a point of order can be founded.
– I will let it go this time.
– I wish the honorable senator to understand that I ->do not desire to squabble over the matter. The Act provides that statutory rules shall be laid on the table of the Senate within a certain period, and honorable senators then have the right to refer them back to the Government if they wish to do so. If the War Committee or the Government have in any way altered the sense of the second schedule, the Senate will be perfectly justified in adopting that course. Not only has the decision of this Chamber been adhered to, but, in my judgment, that decision has been made much clearer,. I exceedingly regret the complaint which has been made by Senator Needham and Senator Grant regarding this matter.
– I have just been thinking that there must be something peculiarly fatal about the preparation of a census so far as the Senate is concerned. I recollect proposals for the taking of a census having been brought forward here on two occasions, and on both they formed the subject of a spirited -debate. On the presentoccasion it seems to me that those whohave criticised the Government have doneso without giving close attention to the words of the Ministerial reply regarding this matter. I am under no incentive to. put the Minister’s case for him. He has- already put it for himself. But I would direct attention to two words in his reply which I think effectually disposes of any suggestion that he has done other than he promised. He said - 1 understand that slight alterations were made in the list of questions and that the Government will gazette the altered provisions as regulations.
That was a clear intimation that he intended to gazette, not the original schedule, but the altered provisions. In view of the use of these particular words, Senator Needham must admit that the Vice-President of the Executive Council had in his mind the course of conduct that he has followed.
– They should have been brought forward before they were gazetted.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council has carried out his promise. It seems to me that to the letter he has redeemed the assurance which he gave to the Senate. Turning to the other portions of the debate, I cannot get away from the idea that there is a feeling of resentment in this Chamber against the War Committee. Now what lias that innocent Committee done? In the first place I desire to point out that it is not a self-created body. It was constituted as the result of action on the part of honorable senators opposite who have to share in the responsibility connected with that act.
– I do not think that it has either a father or a mother.
– I wish to remind honorable senators that the Committee had its origin in a Government proposal. The members of the Opposition cordially co-operated with the Government in creating ~it.
– After many suggestions from our side.
– It was the result of a party arrangement.
– My point is that that Committee did not create itself. Nor was it created by the Government. The Government, it is true, took the initiative in calling it into existence, but it was the members of this Parliament who, through their respective party rooms, were responsible for its creation. Not only did they indorse its creation, but they were told that it would be called upon to consider such matters- as the Government referred to it. In the course of events (he Government referred this matter to it, and told the Senate that they intended to do so.
– The Senate expressed its opinion then.
– Individual members may have done so. There is no reason for the use of harsh words against the War Committee, though whether it will justify its existence remains to be seen. But this matter, having been referred to it by the Government, the Committee has considered it, and made a certain recommendation. That recommendation has been put forward in the belief that it constitutes an improvement on the schedule to the Bill. The matter having again come into the hands of the Government, the latter are bound to accept or reject it. The responsibility belongs to the Government, and, consequently, there is no foundation for the suggestion that the Committee is overriding the decision of Parliament.
– If the same recommendation had been made here, the Government would have opposed it.
– Honorable senators will recollect how difficult it was for the Senate to make up its mind as to the terms which it was thought best to employ in the framing of those questions.
– It made up its mind very clearly on two questions, and the Government are now smothering them up.
– The Government are not smothering up anything - not even Senator Grant. His first complaint is that the Committee has altered the order in which the questions were stated. That is perfectly true. Of course, I am not free to disclose what takes place in that Committee. But honorable senators do not suppose that, out of a mere idle freak, the Committee effected that alteration. As a matter of fact, it was made after consultation with the Statistician, and other officers who are familiar with the form in which schedules are prepared. There was a reason behind the action of the War Committee. We must recollect that, in preparing a schedule, there are other things to consider besides the question of unimproved land values, important though it may be. What the Senate desired when the Bill was under consideration here was a clear statement as to the unimproved capital value of the lands of Australia, and an equally clear statement as to the value of the improvements upon those lands. This information will be obtained as the result of the questions which will be put to the people. The owner of any land is asked to state the value of his land, and also the value of his improvements. Under the proposal approved by the War Committee, he will be asked to state the total value of his estates - including land and improvements - and also the value of his land only. By deducting one from the other, we shall get the third. I need hardly point out that the space provided on the war census papers is necessarily limited. That is a factor -which we have to consider. There are three things that we require to learn in connexion with this census, namely, the value of the lands in Australia, the value of the improvements upon those lands, and the value of the total wealth.
– There are two asterisks in the line.
– Is my honorable friend concerned about an asterisk? There are three things it is necessary to obtain - the value of the land, the value of the improvements, and the total of those two put together. As the schedule left the Senate there was provision for only two of those, and to get the third it was necessary to add the two together. As the schedule has been approved by the Committee you will get the first two, and to get the third you will have to make a deduction. That is the only difference between the two questions. As a matter of fact, we shall get exactly the particulars that Senator Grant wants. And further, after having set out the total value of a man’s property, you will be able immediately to proceed to find the total value of the lauded estates, and should the Government require later on to take action upon this information, it will be available, and there will be no delay.
– You have to make a subtraction now.
– No ; the total wealth will he furnished in the schedule, and from the question as it is now framed you will be able to determine how much of that wealth is held in one form and how much in another. Let me indicate an improvement that has been made by tho War Committee.
– But the one already referred to is not an improvement.
– Well, I will say, let me refer to another alteration which I regard as an improvement. I am just as keen as Senator Grant is to know the value of the unimproved land in Australia; but, in spite of all we did in the Senate on the night that this Bill was under discussion, we sent out schedules asking for the values of leaseholds without making any discrimination between leaseholds from private persons and leaseholds from the Crown.
– That was omitted in order to save space. The honorable senator knows that.
– I think it will be admitted that it is desirable and important to know, when we are dealing with leaseholds, whether they are held from private estates or whether they are leases from the Crown. This is the second alteration which the War Committee made. This alteration does not mean that the value of leased lands will not be declared, because the owner will have to supply that information in the schedule in the form provided. A3 we sent the schedule out from this Chamber it would have been impossible to get a return giving information of that kind. It is necessary to have it, and certainly very desirable, if, on the information obtained by means of this Act, there is to be any subsequent legislation. I am not going to say that the War Committee prepared a perfect schedule, because members of that body are only human, but I think that it will take more than the unsupported assertion by Senator Grant before the Senate will reverse the work done by the Committee.
– It is to he deplored that practically every time honorable senators on this side of the Senate differ from the Government, Ministers should subject them to a lecturette on loyalty to the party. Surely we are not shackled to the extent that if a Government does wrong we cannot object. Certainly I am not in that position.
– Your votes during the whole of this session will show that you are not shackled very much.
– If the honorable gentleman will look up his own figures from 1910 to 1913, when he was behind the Government, he will see how many times he opposed them, and how many times he supported the adjournment of the Senate. He will find that my record is much better than his. However, that is not the question at issue, so why should we worry about it? The VicePresident of the Executive Council said that Senator Needham had misrepresented him on this matter; but I carefully listened to the remarks made by Senator Needham, and also to those made by the Minister, both to-day and on the occasion when the War Census Bill was before the Senate, and I thoroughly concur in the statement made to-day by Senator Needham, that Ave had what I regard as an assurance that nothing would be done to alter the schedules until Parliament was consulted, if Parliament could be consulted. In support of that statement, I want to read the following extract from a speech delivered by Senator Gardiner in the Senate when we were dealing with this matter itself in Committee -
There is no power given in this Bill, nor lias the promise been made, that the Committee will insert .any amendment or alter one letter of the schedule. There was a promise that if the Government proposed any further question, lt would be submitted to the Committee in the event of Parliament not sitting.
Parliament is sitting -
We thought that was a fair compromise.
In the face of that statement, I say now that Senator Gardiner or the Government is shirking a duty and evading a responsibility by not giving the Senate an opportunity to revise the schedule before it was made a statutory regulation.
– I said to Senator 1 de Largie that it would be in the form of a regulation, and then it would be easy to discuss when it came before the Senate.
– That only weakens the Minister’s case. The regulation was not laid on the table; and I doubt if it would have been to-day, but for the motion submitted by Senator Grant. It is all very well for the Minister to say that, even if the motion had not been brought forward, this statutory regulation would have been laid on the table, but the chances are that that would not have been done for a week. 1 submit this point to the fairness of the Senate. What is the good of submitting the regulation - I ask the attention of Senator
Gardiner to this, because it is a fair ques-tion-
– As soon as the honorable senator starts imputing motives to me, I have neither time nor inclination to listen to him.
– I ask what is the good of submitting the regulation to this Chamber now, in view of the fact that the schedule has gone out to the remotest parts of the Commonwealth? Most of the schedules have been printed; so how can the Minister say that we have a chance to deal with them when they are laid on the table? To me this seems something like double-dealing with the Senate.
– Have you any amendment to suggest to the schedule?
– I am asking that the rights of this Senate shall be observed,, and that no irresponsible Committee shall have the power to undo work which thisParliament has decided upon.
– They have not. done it in this instance.
– They have undoubtedly, as I propose to show later on, altered the schedule in .a way in which it should mot have been altered.
– Very materially, too.
– Yes, a very material alteration is made, and it is uselessnow for the Minister to say that he isgiving Parliament an opportunity to discuss the matter, because the scheduleshave been sent out. I challenge the Minister to deny the statement. That being the case, how can the Minister tell us that we have the remedy in our ownhands? We have a remedy, it is true;, but if we exercise our right we shall de* lay the taking of this census by at least a month or six weeks. If the Ministercommences to play trickery like this - because, in my opinion, it is nothingshort of trickery - I shall certainly resent it.
– What is wrongwith the amended schedule after all ?
– Even if Senator Findley is a member of the Committee, it should still be his duty to conserve theinterests of Parliament rather than the interests of an irresponsible body.
– The Committee is thecreation of Parliament.
– It is not the -creation, of Parliament, but it provides a convenient method by which some people in Parliament seek to protect their political skins.
– Tell us what is wrong with the schedules..
– I will do so in my own way. Those who were here on the night we discussed this matter will remember that we did not leave till the early hours of the morning, and one question upon which we insisted, and which the Minister accepted, has been deleted altogether from the second schedule.
– You know that that statement is not true, because I acccepted the suggestion bv Senator Grant as. soon as it was made.
– The1 Minister is probably unaware that I am not referring to Senator Grant’s amendment at all, but to an amendment which I :moved.
– And which I did not accept.
– I will leave that for honorable senators to decide. I moved that provision should be made in the schedule for an exemption of contributions to friendly societies’ funds. After the midnight adjournment, and after hours of debate in which most members of the Senate took part, the VicePresident of the Executive Council accepted my amendment.
– I did, but I tried *o save the secretaries of friendly societies from having to make out returns.
– It does not matter what the honorable senator tried to do; the fact remains that he accepted my amendment, and the Senate decided to include in the deductions which might be made contributions to friendly societies. Having accepted that amendment, the Minister, by means of the War Committee, has flouted the deliberate decision of the Senate. That is not fair. I have the War Census Act as passed by the Senate before me, and I find that in the second schedule/ amongst the list of deductions which may be made, there is the line “ Contributions to friendly societies.” In the provisional regulations, on which the amended schedule, which has already been sent out to the people, is founded, there is no reference whatever to contributions to friendly societies. If I had not regarded that as an important matter, and if honorable senators generally had not so regarded it, we should not have kept the Senate sitting until 3 o’clock in the morning discussing it. After the Minister accepted the amendment, through the back door of the War Committee he evades the decision of the Senate.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The Senate had, by the provisions of the Bill, previously given the Government the right to make alterations.
– With all deference to Senator Gould, he will not find in the War Census Act any mention of a War Committee or any delegation of the- powers of Parliament to any body above Parliament.
– But the Government accept responsibility for the alterations.
– The honorable senator is now shifting his ground. The Senate fully discussed this matter, and received the promise of the Vice-President of the Executive Council that any recommendations for alterations made by the War Committee would be revised by this Chamber. But the Government have gone about this matter in such a way as to prevent Parliament revising1 the alterations that have been made. I say that we have no power to revise the altered schedule now. We can disallow this statutory rule, but that would only involve the useless expenditure of thousands of pounds. The papers have already been sent out to remote parts of the Commonwealth, and one of the schedules has been wholly printed.
– Have the papers been sent out?
– Yes, they have. I am in a position to challenge contradiction by the Vice-President of the Executive Council on that point.
– The Minister said they were printed, in reply to a question to-day.
– Of what usa is it in the circumstances for the Minister to say that he has fulfilled his promise to Parliament? That is not a straight way in which to deal with honorable senators. I shall not tolerate it without protest, from the Vice-President of the Executive Council or- from any one else.
– The honorable senator has overlooked the urgency of this matter.
– Another excuse from a war lord. When Senator Long speaks of the urgency of the matter, I say that it is because of its urgency that we should have had an opportunity to discuss the proposed alterations, lest without such an opportunity we might veto the regulations, and so delay the carrying out of the census. Suppose Parliament, in the exercise of its right, disallowed this statutory rule?
– As it ought to do.
– I think it ought to do so, but the result would be that through the bungling of the Government the census would be postponed for six weeks. There is another matter to which I wish to take exception in the revised schedule. There is a provision in the schedule to the War Census Act that premiums paid on insurance may be included amongst the deductions. That is as necessary as the inclusion amongst the deductions of contributions to friendly societies, but that has also been omitted.
– No, that is included. Let the honorable senator read the amended schedule.
– So far as I am aware it is not included. I find that the schedule, as amended, reads -
All property not enumerated above, exclusive of life insurance and friendly society insurance.
– On page 2 of the amended schedule he will find the line amongst the deductions -
Life, fire, or other insurance premiums paid. The honorable senator is blown to the clouds over that.
– I was referring to page 3 of the amended schedule, and the words I have quoted. I will concede that point to the honorable senator, naturally.
– It is rotten luck that the words should be there, is it not?
– No, it is not. It was not on that point that we had the debate in the Senate, but as to the wisdom or otherwise of including in the list of deductions contributions to friendly societies. The Senate decided that they should be included; the War Committee has excluded them, and the Vice-President of the .Executive Council has not fulfilled his promise. The Government have in this matter ignored the Senate. They have recognised as a super-Parliament a War Committee that is not responsible to Parliament. I am certainly not going to agree to anything of this sort. Whether the representatives of the Government in this chamber like it or not, and whether Senator Gardiner desires to deliver lecturettes on loyalty to party or not, so far as I am concerned, if a Government does anything that I think is underhand, is not clean and above board, in order to circumvent a decision of the Senate, that Government will never have ray support.
– I hope it will never have to live by the honorable senator’s support either.
– I think that a very good case has been made out for entering a protest against the attitude which the Government have taken up with respect to the schedule to the War Census Act. Honorable senators who were present at the all-night sitting when the Bill wasunder discussion will recollect the unbending attitude which representatives of the Government in this Chamber took up towards any amendments proposed in Committee. They must recognise also the great difference there is between tho> stiffness the Government exhibited on that occasion and the agreeable and easy manner in which apparently they have accepted suggestions from this superParliament, this War Committee, whose duties are so undefined that no one can say what they are. When the War Census Bill was before the Senate the Government demanded the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill. The slightest alteration suggested was violently resisted and refused, and it required an all-night sitting to induce the Vice-President of the Executive Council to accept any amendment of the measure. If the Government wish to be fair to their own supporters they should not take up such an unbending attitude when suggestions are made from their own side. No one really knows what the War Committee was called into existence for, or what it may do or leave undone. Apparently, it may usurp the functions of the Senate, and also of the other branch of the Federal Legislature, and the Government, in the most agreeable way possible, accept its recommendations without protest. After an all-night sitting of the Senate, an alteration was effected in the second schedule as submitted, but it has since been submitted to the super-Parliament, and it comes back here now with other alterations.
– Quite necessary alterations.
– -I question that statement. I believe that the schedule, as amended in accordance with the motion submitted by Senator Grant, was much clearer than we have it now. Why should there be so much opposition shown to a question intended to elicit clearly and definitely the unimproved value of land in the Commonwealth? Why should any attempt be made by one party or the other to confuse that issue? The unimproved value of land is a question which has agitated politics for many years, and yet I will defy any one to point to statistics of the States or of the Commonwealth which will give clear information as to what that value is. We should be extremely careful in framing a clear question to discover the unimproved value of land in the Commonwealth through this war census.
– We shall get it under the amended schedule.
– I question whether we shall. It is not as clear as was the schedule as it left the Senate. We do not want alterations made for the mere sake of making them. It may be due merely to the vanity of the War Committee that the schedule has been altered from the form agreed to in the Senate and in another place. This Committee, apparently, is to be in a position to put all our other institutions in the background.
– Parliament has never in any way objected to the constitution of the Committee. I think that we all applauded the intention to . appoint such a Committee.
– Can the honorable senator tell me what is the constitution of the War Committee?
– It is an advisory Committee.
– I do not ask whether it is composed of equal numbers from each party, but I want to know what are its functions and duties.
– To make bombs, and the amended schedule is one of them.
– There is no denying the fact that in the eyes of the
Government the War Committee is more powerful than the Senate. It will be remembered that we had to sit up all night and debate the second schedule in order to effect the slightest alteration. We were obliged to resort to a practice with which, I believe, most of us are loath to have anything “to do, because it means the loss of a night’s sleep. When the Bill was returned to the other House the Government caved in, and agreed to our amendments, and afterwards the schedule was referred to an undefinable Committee. What business the Committee has in hand the Lord only knows, because nobody else does. It would need a clairvoyant to throw the slightest light on the nature of its functions. As regards its work, its duties, and its powers, nobody seems to have any knowledge. It is at the beginning of its career. Before we establish a precedent we ought to exercise great care as to what we are prepared to permit the War Committee to do. I, for one, am not prepared to concede to the War Committee the privilege of reviewing the legislation of this ^Parliament. Any honorable senator who permits himself to be juggled into that position will be taking up. not only a very foolish attitude, but a very dangerous one. He will be conceding to the War Committee powers which we have not the right to give away. We were sent here with full authority as legislators. We have not been given the right to delegate our powers to any Committee which may be created. I protest as vigorously and as definitely as I can against any revising work of this kind being undertaken by the War Committee. We are on the eve of a long adjournment. If the Committee has power to do such things while Parliament is in session, what may it not do during a long adjournment? It will run, not only the Government, but the whole affairs of the country. In any case, what have the alterations in the second schedule to the War Census Act to do with war? It will be remembered that while the measure was under consideration I was obliged to make wild guesses in order to extract the slightest knowledge as to what use was to be made of the statistics. In the first instance, I made what the Vice-President of the Executive Council described as a rash statement. I said that probably a certain thing would be done with the statistics, and he remarked that I was entirely wrong. Then, in order to extract some information, I made another wild guess, if anything wilder than the former guess. So we endeavoured to find out the use to which the statisticswere likely to be put, but we could not get any information, and we are still in that position.
– You do not know what the wealth census is intended for?
– I do not. Does my honorable friend?
– Yes, and you do, too.
– I hope that my honorable friend will be in a better position to cast some light on the matter than I am capable of doing. Certainly the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who occupies a very high position in the counsels of the Commonwealth, was unable to give any informationto me.
– I gave the information, but I was unable to supply the intelligence to enable you to understand it.
– That is a natural difficulty which I do not see how the honorable senator or myself can get over. If deficiency of brain power to understand is not with me, I do not blame the honorable senator in the slightest degree.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - It might be a deficiency of ability to make a thingknown to a man’s intelligence.
– No ; I would rather take to myself the discredit of not having the mental capacity to understand. Seeing that we are still in so much doubt as to the use to be made of the census, it behoves us to review with exceeding care the work of the War Committee. What it may do in the future if its first actis permitted to pass here without a protest, it is difficult to imagine. When it has blundered into a serious position, and the country is, perhaps, hostile to its acts, and I am asked by my constituents to say why I allowed the Committee to be created, or to do this, that, and the other thing, what explanation canI make? A position may be brought about which no one anticipated when the appointment of the Committee was first suggested. Regarding the alterations which have been made, I do not see any important improvement in the schedule. In Committee, Senator Grant brought forward avery definite question, and, at his suggestion, it. was placed in the schedule. Why should the honorable senator, who devotes the most of his time to the question of land taxation, be robbed of the glory of having effected an alteration in the schedule ? I recognise that the census should be compiled on clear and definite lines. Seeing that a very large sum of public money is to be spent on this effort to get information which has never been secured before, we should take care that the questions put to the public shall elicit definite replies. In my opinion, it was foolish and wrong on the part of the Government to agree to the alterations made in the circumstances, especially having regard to their unbending attitude when the Bill was under discussion here.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [4.52].- I ask honorable senators to bear in mind that the War Committee was the deliberate creation of Parliament.
– Nothing of the sort.
– Parliament elected the Committee.
– The Government suggested the appointment of the Committee.
– They did nothing of the sort.
– How did the Committee come into existence - did it grow, likeTopsy? It is impossible for any one to say that the Committee came into existence without the consent of both Houses. Whether it was brought into existence by a formal resolution or by the selection of individual members, it was agreed that a certain number of members should be taken from each House and from each party. The War Committee came into existence with the full cognisance of Parliament, although it may not have approved of the Committee assuming certain powers. Honorable senators have asked what is its constitution, and what are its powers. It is a very good thing that its powers were not defined, otherwise we mighthave found ourselves with a body which would be able to dictate to Parliament its own opinion regarding certain matters placed under its jurisdiction. In this case, understand the Government consulted the War Committee. It was stated in the debate on the War Census Bill that they would take that course. Whether it was due to the influence of the Committee or not, the Government, who are the responsible body, consulted the Committee, and accepted certain recommendations, perhaps with modifications. The Government, as representative of the dominant party in politics, have approved of the regulations. It was pointed out clearly to honorable senators that clause 8 of the War Census Bill gave great powers to the Government of the day to make modificaitions and alterations, and that the only opportunity which eitherHouse would have to hold up any regulations would be by a member taking the course which Senator Grant has taken. It ought to be clear to honorable senators, as the result of this debate, that it is a fatal mistake to empower the Governmentto legislate by meansofregulations in a direction directly opposite to, or considerably different from, the determination of Parliament. We assumed at the time that the schedules were the best which Parliamentcould adopt. At the same time we agreed to section 8, which provides that the forms required to be filled in shall be in accordance with the forms of the first and second schedules to the Act, with such modifications or additions as are prescribed. I submit that amy determination by Parliament ought not to be altered by the Government except through Parliament. If this debate hasno other result than to cause honorable senators to recognise the dangerous ground upon which we are treading when we allow ourdeliberate judgment to be thus overridden, it will have accomplished same- good. Until Senator Mullan spoke, I was not aware that the schedules to the Act have already been distributed broadcast throughout the country. As that has been done, we are necessarily impaled on the horns of a dilemma. Either we must get fresh schedules printed and distributed - in which ease confusion may possibly arise in the minds of electors as to the particular schedules: they are expected to fillin.
– And the adoption of that course would result in delaying the whole matter for a month.
SenatorLt.-Colonel Sir. ALBERT GOULD. - Exactly. Then the decision of Parliament in respectof the, exemption from taxation of contributions to pension or superannuation funds has been disregarded. That provision was inserted as the result of a long and strenuous debate in this chamber. We exempted from taxation contributions to. pension or superannuation funds, and also to friendly societies. On turning to the regulations, however, I find that our decision in respect of contributions to friendly societies has been eliminated.
SenatorGrant. - Why ?
– I think that the Senate is entitled to an explanation- as to why that provision has been excised. There must be some reason for it. Although under the form; adopted by the. Government we shall not obtain the information desired by Senator Grant in the precise shape in. which he would like it, it will nevertheless be included in the census returns. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, I think that the honorable senator would be well advised in not insisting upon his point.
– Can the honorable senator explain why the. Government do not provide that the valueof the land shall be stated in one line, and the value of the improvements in another line?
– I am not in the confidence of the Government, and therefore cannot say. My point is. that the desired information will be supplied in the census returns, though not in the particular form which the honorable senator desires. I think that the abrogation of the decision of the Senate in regard to contributions to friendly societies is an important question. Ought we to accept the regulation in the form in which it now stands, or ought we to reject it, and thus cause delay and loss to the Commonwealth ? If the matter be one of urgency the Government should obtain the authority of Parliament to deduct the contributions paid to friendly societies from the amount shown as the wealth of any particular member of the community. We all assume that the expenditure of £150,000 which will be incurred in the taking of this census-
– That expenditure has not yet been incurred.
.- No. But if Parliament is to rise in the course of a week or so, it is obvious that we cannot deal with the matter in the way that we might otherwise deal with it. If, for example, a wealth tax is at the bottom of it, we cannot deal with that question. If we throw out this regulation, will not the Government procure the requisite information in connexion with the imposition of a wealth tax quite as early as will be necessary ? Ministers talk of going into recess within a week or ten days. If we do so we shall have no opportunity of dealing with this return, and Parliament will not be likely to meet again for some months - possibly not until after the New Year. Personally, I hope that there will be no need for it to re-assemble before the New Year. The Government have told us how they intend to finance matters during the current financial year. They have submitted their income-tax proposals, which embody the additional taxation that they regard as necessary at the present time. Surely five or six months hence will be soon enough for them to take in hand the imposition of a wealth tax if the circumstances of the occasion then demand it. I fail to see any great urgency in connexion with this matter, and I think thathonorable senators might fairly throw this regulation on one side, seeing that it is imperfect and that it ignores the decision of this Chamber in regard to contributions to friendly societies. If the framing of these regulations had been delayed till Parliament was in recess, we should have been absolutely powerless. In other words, the Government would have been in a position to do exactly what they liked. If Parliament is going to preserve its own rights, it ought not to acquiesce in a provision similar to that which is contained in section 8 of the Act.
– I have listened to a good many discussions in this Chamber, but I have never heard any debate which is less justifiable than that which has been initiated by Senator Grant because he is dissatisfied with some alteration of minor importance that has been made in the schedules to the War Census Act.
– The honorable senator is one of the little war lords, I suppose.
– The Government have been attacked because it is alleged they have done things which they ought not to have done” and because, it is said, they failed to carry out their promises. Some honorable senators appear to be under the impression that Ministers alone are responsible for what has been done.
Others, again, have risen to attack the War Committee. I am a member of that Committee, and when an attack is made upon me I would be less than human if I did not rise in my place, to defend my actions. Senator de Largie was very anxious to know what are the functions of that Committee. He stated that the Senate is absolutely in the dark in respect to its workings. I am sorry that the honorable senator is not in his place, because he knows perfectly well - I do not suppose anybody in this Chamber knowsbetter - what are the functions of that body. Yet he professed not to know them. That is what annoys me. Who appointed this Committee? Who appointed Senator Long and myself members of it? The answer is: Senator de Largie and other members of this Chamber - other members of the Labour party.
– What are its functions? Merely to make suggestions to the Government.
– Before we were appointed to it, were we not all told what its functions were to be? Was not Senator de Largie informed of the scope of its duties? Yet he now avows himself totally ignorant of them.
– Be calm.
– One can scarcely remain calm in such circumstances. I feel annoyed when men endeavour to score off their political pals. That is not playing the game; and when a man does not play the game I will give him one to go on with. Every member of the Labour party knows that the War Committee is powerless to do anything until it is asked to undertake certain work by the Government of the day. Who elected the Government of the day? Who but Senator de Largie, Senator Mullan, Senator Needham, and other members of the Labour party? And members of the Labour party knew that when the War Committee assembled, the chairman for the time being would be the responsible Minister, who would submit business for the Committee’s consideration. Members of the Labour party were told that, and if they do not remember it, it is not my fault.
– Where does all this information come from ?
– No one knows better than does the honorable member.
– The statement was made in the House.
– Exactly, and it was also made elsewhere.
– But I cannot follow you there.
– The honorable senator knows that the statement was made here, that the chairman of the Committee for the time being would be the responsible Minister. Now, two responsible Ministers, the Minister of Defence and the Attorney-General, did submit matters to the War Committee for consideration. The Attorney-General told members in another place that before definite action was taken with respect to the war census, the schedules would be submitted to the War Committee.
– Both, or only one?
– Or any question that the Government chose to submit.
– Dealing now with the war census, some honorable senators have said that there is no improvement in the schedules as they left the hands of the War Committee, compared with the schedules as they left the Senate. I venture to say, however, that the two honorable senators who take this stand have not taken the trouble to compare the schedules. I ask any fair-minded member of this Senate to get the Bill containing the two schedules as agreed to by the Senate, and compare them with the schedules in their completed form as agreed to by the Government. If they do that, they can come to no other conclusion than that they are a distinct improvement. We have beer told also that the War Committee is a sort of super-Parliament. It is an honorary Committee, the members of which give their time without fee or reward, and with the one desire to do their bestin the interests of Australia and in defence of the Empire at this critical period of our existence; but to judge by the utterances of some members of this Chamber, one would think they were actuated by some ulterior motive, and desired to amend the schedules in such a way that it would be impossible for the people to give accurate information.
– What alteration has been made in schedule No. 1 ?
– Schedule No. 1 was not referred to the Committee.
– The schedule that was referred to the Committee was considered in a business-like way. Will any honorable senator say that an assemblage as large as this Senate could deal with the details of such a schedule as quickly and in such a business-like way, as a small Committee, which set out for that specific purpose? I want to point out also that after the Committee had dealt with the matter it was powerless to do anything other than to get an assurance from the Government that the proposed alterations would be considered. It was for the Government to accept or reject the alterations, and the Government, in their wisdom accepted them. The Government could have said, “We refuse to indorse or accept these recommendations.”
– The Government accepted them, then?
– Yes ; and, in accordance with the Act, they now appear as a statutory rule, and it is within the province of any member of this Chamber to move that they be disallowed.
– After the schedules have gone out?
– It does not matter if 50,000 have gone out. Parliament can disallow them, if the majority of members are of the opinion that they should be1 disallowed. Now Senator Gould says we must be careful with respect to this War Committee, and with respect to statutory rules, because, supposing they were framed during the recess, we would be powerless to do anything. Of course, we would; but does the honorable senator desire that Parliament should he specially convened to consider statutory rules framed during recess? At ail events, I do not, and I venture to say that not every member of the Senate reads all the statutory rules that are printed and circulated from time to time. After all, the real reason for the discussion this afternoon was simply that Senator Grant took exception to the way in which two questions were placed on schedule No. 2. They were put differently from the way in which he desired to ask certain information; but I cannot understand why any solid objection should be taken to those questions as they appear now. I am as keen as any other member of this Chamber to get at the information regarding the value of the unimproved land in Australia.
– Why is not that line included in the tabulated form-?
– We have had that question asked a dozen and one times to-day.
– That is my whole trouble with the schedule.
– No man who owns land and buildings will find any very great difficulty in giving the approximate value of his land and the improve- ments. In theschedule, as it appears now,an owner is asked to supply the following information.: -
– But it does not provide for value “ of your land,” exclusive of improvements.
– This kind of objection to the schedule passes my comprehension. No curious, inquisitivelydisposed person will,. I hope, have an opportunity of perusing the personal schedules of individuals in the Commonwealth. I will not be a party to doing anything to satisfy an idle curiosity. In the question, as it appears now, it is quite clear that the value, exclusive of improvements, means the value of the land. To whom will these schedules be sent?
– The Government Statistician, of course.
– And if the information is supplied in the form now decided on, the Government Statistician will be able immediately to furnishSenator Grant with information as to the unimproved value of all the land in the Commonwealth. I guarantee that he would be able to do it within forty-eight hours of these returns being sent in.
– He has all the information now; but when I asked him a question the other day, he could not answer it in six months.
– I venture to say that no Statistician would be so well posted to supply this information as the Government Statistician will be after these schedules have been filled in.
– Why not have this information set out in acolumn by itself ? Why smother it up in this fashion?
– I have heard that complaint until I am tired of it. What am. I to understand by ‘ ‘ smothering it up “ ? We cannot smother up information given in a document that lias to be carefully filled in.
– We could get the value of improvements on one line, and’ the value of land on the next line.
– What does the form matter if we get the information that the honorable senator desires? Neither Senator Grant nor any other person will be able to go to the Statistician’s office to peruse every schedule sent in.
– I have no intention of doing so.
– Then what is his objection to the form in which the question is put if he gets the information he wants? To put the question in the form that Senator Grant desires would only give more work to every person called upon to fill up a schedule.
– Why not give the value of improvements on one line in one column, and the unimproved value of land on the next line in the same column ?
– Really the whole afternoon has been spent in discussing the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
– When the schedule came to us from the House of Representatives the question was in exactly the form in which it now appears, but honorable senators, and Senator Findley amongst them, were unanimous in determining that the answer as to the value of improvements should be on a separate line from that as to the unimproved value of land. But since the War Committee got on the job, and the Government accepted their recommendation, without giving the matter a moment’s consideration
– Order !
– I do not know who is making this speech. There is in the Commonwealth an organization known as the Single Tax League. It is composed of gentlemen who give very serious consideration to the land question. In travelling round Australia, and particularly in Victoria, I have met a number of these gentlemen, especially in the border towns. They are without doubt men anxious to bring about reform, but of all the bigoted men in Christendom, commend me to the single taxers. They are bigoted in the sense that they believe that no question is worthy of consideration but the single-tax question, and that no man knows anything of economics unless he is a single taxer.
– Some of them have doubts about the others.
– Is Senator Findley a single taxer?
– Never mind what I am. I am satisfied that this afternoon has been the best that Senator Grant has passed for a long time. No one is more pleased than is the honorable senator that he has caused a serious discussion upon such an unimportant and trivial alteration in the schedule to the War Census Act.
SenatorGrant. - It is the most important item in the schedule.
– I am not saying that the question itself is not important, but the alteration of the schedule which has been made is so unimportant and so trivial that I ask myself why I stood up to have a go at it.
– Why has the honorable senator changed his opinion ?
– What change of opinion does the honorable senator refer to?
SenatorGrant. - Whenthe Bill was before the Senate the honorable senator agreed with other honorable senators that the value of improvements should be separated from the value of land.
– It will be separated under the amended schedule, which is framed in such a way that any man can understand what the questions mean. I feel that in this matter the Government have one desire only, and that is to secure the fullest information through the war census. It would appear that some honorable senators consider it their special duty and privilege to have a “ go “ at the Government whenever an opportunity presents itself. I do not mind having a “go” at the Government when I think they deserve to be criticised. But there is no warrant. for the attack made upon the Government to-day. As a member of the War Committee, I resent the references which have been made to that body. I am certain that every member of the Committee, whether he belongs to the Labour party or to the Liberal party, will be loyal to every other member of it.
– Has the honorable senator got the Liberal members into the Caucus ?
– It is not a question of a Caucus, but a question of members of a Committee being loyal to the decision of the majority of that Committee.
SenatorGrant. - Was the decision of the Committee in this matter unanimous?
– I do not desire to occupy any more of the time of the Senate. I feel sure that the motion submitted by Senator Grant will not be carried.
– Senator Findley, while “ on his hind legs,” as he described it, took occasion to lash himself into a fine frenzy of indignation with Senator Grant for daring to submit his motion to the Senate. During his outburst he expressed his astonishment that he should himself have risen to speak on the motion. I think that we are all somewhat astonished, from the remarks he has made, that he did think it necessary to rise, I have come to the conclusion that he was only manifesting the perf ervid enthusiasm of the recent convert. I have a very vivid recollection of Senator Findley, on more than one occasion in this Chamber, being most jealous of the rights of the Senate and of Parliament. I have heard him criticise more than once the extensive powers given to Governments by regulations. I heard the honorable senator, inconnexion with this Bill, and right beside my ear, speak of the enormous advantage which would accrue from the passing of the War Census Bill, if certain questions were in- cluded in the schedules, because the result would be that each member of this Parliament would be supplied with vast information upon details about which we now have little or none. He said that it was his desire that the Bill should be made the means of supplying a great amount of information which would be of value to honorable senators in connexion with municipal activities, amongst other things. Now he tells Senator Grant that he will not be one who, by means of the schedules to the Act, will obtain information for honorable senators.
– I did not say anything of the kind. Am I in order in desiring the withdrawal of a statement attributed to me by Senator Keating which I never made? I would not take notice of the matter but for the fact that the honorable senator’s statement will appear in an official publication like Hansard, and will do me an injustice.
– If the honorable senator believes that he has been misrepresented, I am sure Senator Keating will take his word that he did not say anything of the kind.
– I accept the honorable senator’s assurance that he did not say what I have attributed to him, and can only regard my hearing as being faulty. Perhaps some other honorable senators are in the same position. I have said that the honorable senator has given us an example of the perfervid enthusiasm of the recent convert. It seems to me that since he became a member of the War Committee he has viewed the matter with which we have dealt this afternoon in a different light. I wish to say here and now that if Senator Grant persists with his motion I propose to support if. I shall not support it for the reasons given by Senator Grant, though!! recognise that in regard to the matter he has dealt with there has been a deviation, from the original schedule. I do not think that it is as material or substantial as the honorable senator would have us believe. But there have been other material and substantial deviations from the schedule of the War Census Bill as it wa3 passed by Parliament. These have been sufficient in number and importance to warrant us in supporting Senator Grant’s motion, and having the second schedule, if the Government think that desirable, again remitted to the War Committee. There could be no mistake on the part of the Government as to the tone and temper of Parliament with respect to the form which the schedules to the War Census Bill should take. The matter was fully discussed in another place, and it was discussed here throughout the night. The Government must have marked the persistence with which some honorable senators endeavoured to have certain provisions incorporated in the second schedule. They must have realized that the Senate felt strongly about the form of the schedule. We all knew that it was to go before the War Committee, because the Vice-President of the Executive Council frankly informed us to that effect, but he mentioned that the Senate would have an opportunity to revise the work of the War Com mittee should it alter the schedule. We have that opportunity now. It has been suggested that the Vice-President of the Executive Council did not take the proper course, because he did not in some direct way bring under the notice of the Senate the alterations made by the War Committee. I do not go so far as that, but I say that if these schedules have been printed in hundreds of thousands-
– And sent out.
– And have been sent out, the Government should have been mindful of the fact that at any time within fourteen days from the day on which statutory rules are tabled they may be annulled. The Government must be responsible for not having regard to that fact. If they have sent out the schedules without adverting to that fact, it is inattention on their part. If they have sent them out after adverting to that fact, it is on their part daring, since they have taken the risk of the annulment of the statutory rules by the House of Representatives or by the Senate. Honorable senators should bear in mind that these statutory rules may be annulled, not by an Act of Parliament, not by a joint resolution of both Houses, but by a resolution of either House within fourteen days from the time they are tabled. These statutory rules have been tabled, and are in provisional operation until fourteen days have elapsed, but within that time it is competent for either the Senate or the House of Representatives to annul them. Until that time has elapsed the Government take that risk, and that is their affair. I do not know why we should be bound by that. If the second schedule is again modified, it may be that the modification will be of such a character, from a printing point of view, that it may be telegraphed throughout the Commonwealth, and the schedules altered accordingly. Senator Grant has referred to the first item on page 3, “ Cash in hand on 30th June, 1915.” I doubt if very many persons will be able to honestly declare what cash they had in hand on that date. How many members of the Senate, for instance, will be able to say what cash they had in hand then?
– I think that we will, seeing that it will be the end of the month.
– It is not a credit balance, because the next item is “ Money at current account in banks, &c.” Reference has been made to a very important alteration in regard to the contribution to friendly societies. In the Senate a certain course was taken, and, owing to its being persisted in for several hours and beyond midnight, the War Census Bill left this Chamber with a certain provision in regard to the contribution to friendly societies. The other House accepted that amendment, but the War Committee has gone back on the determination of the Senate.
– It cannot go back on anything.
– In order to be technically correct, let me say that the War Committee recommended going back, and the Government accepted the recommendation, and thereby went in direct contradiction to what the Senate sat up all night to assert. That is the position, and, to use the eloquent phraseology of Senator Findley, “Are we going to take it lying down?” Again, as the War Census Bill left the Senate we had this item in the second schedule - “Property. - What was the approximate value of real and personal property owned or held by you in Australia at 31st December, 1914?”
The item comprised eleven divisions of property. But now in what I, for convenience’ sake, although it may not be exactly correct, call the War Committee’s schedule, the date has been altered to the 30th June, 1915. What is the significance of that alteration? When the Bill was introduced to Parliament the date was 30th June, 1915. The date was criticised in the other House, but it was agreed that all the returns should be made up to the 30th June of this year. In my second reading speech I suggested that the date should be altered to the 31st December, 1914. The Minister said - that he himself was going to make that alteration, and it was made here with the full concurrence of the Senate, and adopted by the other House. As the law stood, the 31st December, 1914, was to be the date in respect to which the returns were to be made. But the new schedule makes the date again 30th June, 1915. One of the reasons why the earlier date appealed to so many persons as being the more suitable date was that in several of the States the income tax returns had been made up as to that date, and that it would obviate the necessity of making up separate returns to the 30th June, 1915. The return to the 30th June, 1915, I consider a very serious deviation from the schedule as it passed both Houses.
When the Bill was under consideration Senator Gould, whom I. must say the two Ministers met, very considerately pointed out that there are a number of cases in which the trustees of estates are obliged by the law of the State to make returns to the Court, and that those returns have to be made, say, twelve months after probate was granted or letters of administration issued. It. may so happen that a return was made in May or April last, and Senator Gould suggested that the last return of that kind should be accepted irrespective of whether the 31st December,. 1914, or the 30th June, 1915, was to be taken as the ordinary date, and Ministers, without expressly saying so in words, promised to give favorable consideration to the suggestion. That promise was made before our dinner adjournment that evening, and later it was pointed out to Senator Gould that probably the War Committee would have regard to it. What has been done? On page 3 of the provisional rule there appears at the end of the first schedule these words: -
Note. - With respect to trade assets and liabilities only, the particulars as per the latest balancing date since the 30th June, 1914, and prior to 23rd July, 1915, may be used for the purposes of this schedule. ,
That is very much more restricted than what Senator Gould indicated, and it is very much more restricted than the occasion demands. It is not only in relation to trade assets and liabilities that those accounts are filed. One of the bonds entered into by an executor or administrator is that, within six or twelve months from the grant of probate or the issue of letters of administration, and thereafter regularly, he will file an account of the estate in the Court. Senator Gould asked that in all those instances the last account should be taken. That does not apply merely to the estate of a trader. The paragraph is now restricted to trade assets and liabilities. Besides the cases of the estates of deceased persons there are institutions and companies which have their accounts made up to a certain date periodically. I think that consideration might have been had to their position, and they might have been given the opportunity of filing their last statement within a certain limit nearest to the date which is ultimately adopted in the schedule. It is for these reasons that I think that, though there may be improvements in some particulars in the schedule, the improvements are counterbalanced by the defects. They are counterbalanced by the disadvantages which had been produced and are likely to arise from the alterations. I intend to support the motion.
– After the explanation made by Senator Mullan, I would not have risen but for the remarks of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who seemed to take the criticism of honorable senators “very hard, though I do not know why.
– I took the imputations of unfairness hard.
– The Minister said that the members of the Labour party were sent here to support the Government. They are here to support the Government when they believe that the Government are right. They are not here to support the Government when they believe that the Government are wrong. They believe that in this case the Government are wrong; at least, I do. I do not usually take exception to such remarks, but the Minister went on to state that he was getting far more support from the members of the Opposition than from members of our party. It is a bad look-out for a Government who are in that position, especially when they have a large “ number of supporters on their own side. When they are able to say that they are getting more support from members of the Opposition, what does it mean ? It only means that, in the opinion of members of the Opposition, £he Government are playing the game of the Opposition - and he knows that as well as I do.
– Do you think the Government are playing the game of the Opposition ?
– I do not think so ; but, judging from the statement which the Minister made, it looks very peculiar.
– What is the game of the Opposition, may I ask ?
– It is not exactly the same policy as that of our party, or it has not been up to this time.
– On the war question?
– It was not on the war question, but on the general question that the Minister was speaking. It wason the question of the general support which the Government were getting from members of the Liberal party. I object to that sort of slur being thrown at the members of the Labour party. I believe that the members of the Labour party are here to carry out its policy, not only in connexion with their general platform, but in connexion with the war, and they are prepared to support the Government in carrying out that policy.
– You said that the Government were carrying out the policy of the Opposition. You cannot get away from that statement.
– A Government is in a bad way when a Minister is able to get up and say to the members of his party that the Government are getting better support from the members of the Opposition than from their own side. I do not go back on that statement for a moment. The honorable senator wants, to tie down the remark of the Minister to the question of the war, but it was nothing of the sort. It’ was a general statement, and one quite independent of the question that is now under consideration. Senator Findley appeared to be very touchy upon the question of the functions of the War Committee, and incidentally he went for single.taxers as a lot of bigoted creatures. Now, I have always understood that the honorable senator himself was a single-taxer, and that he was claimed by Senator Grant as a brother of the faith. I can quite understand the advocates of the single-tax being shaken up by Senator Findley, but I think that such a shaking up would have come a long way better from somebody who was not a member of the single-tax organization.” I am not a member of any such organization, and I have never professed to believe in the single tax.
– Do the fair thing. I am not a single-taxer, and I have never professed to be one.
– Senator Findley a single-taxer ! Why, the more taxes he can get the better he likes it.
- Senator Gould seemed to be under a misapprehension in respect to the constitution of the War Committee. He said that Parliament had appointed that Committee, and had marked out its functions. Parliament did nothing of the sort. As the result of an agitation throughout the length and breadth of Australia some time ago, a feeling appeared to be growing that a coalition Government should be formed in the Commonwealth for the duration of the war, just as similar Governments have been formed in Great Britain and New Zealand. I am not one of those who believe in such a coalition. But as there was a considerable amount of work to be done - more than the Minister of Defence could cope with - the idea was formed outside the walls of Parliament that a Committee should be constituted, consisting of an equal number of members from both political parties, to deal with matters which might be referred to. it by the Government. The question was not mentioned to Parliament at all.
– It was mentioned by the Minister of Defence.
– Not before the whole thing had been arranged. As a matter of fact, a question was asked by the Leader of the Opposition in another place as to the election of this Committee by Parliament.Anybody who chooses to look upHansard can verify that fact for himself. Originally the idea was that the Committee should be elected by the Parliament. Later on, however, it was thought that it would be better to have a Committee composed of an equal number of members from both political parties, with the Minister to preside over its deliberations.
– Does the honorable senator say that the matter was not mentioned in Parliament before the Committee was appointed ?
– It was mentioned in another place, where the Leader of the Opposition asked if the Committee was not going to be appointed by the Parliament.
– It was decided that it should not be elected by Parliament, but from both political parties.
– After the constitution of the Committee was complete, the Minister made an announcement on the question.
– The announcement was. made before the Committee was elected.
– In the other Chamber.
– And here, too.
– I do not remember it. The Minister announced the names of those who had been selected by either party to constitute the Committee.
– He mentioned that the Committee was to be constituted long before that.
– Honorable senators know perfectly well why the Committee was not appointed by Parliament. It was generally understood that that body would have certain matters of administration submitted to it in respect to which it would make recommendations to the Government. The latter were to be free to accept or reject recommendations. But nobody ever dreamed that the Committee would make recommendations in regard to the alteration of Acts of Parliament. In one respect, I admit that it has done good work, namely, in separating leaseholds from private individuals from leaseholds from the Crown.
– I raised no objection to that.
– But Senator Findley complained that some honorable senators had declared that they were in the dark as to the functions of the Committee. So they were, to an extent. Nobody ever dreamed that the Committee would make recommendations in regard to the alteration of an Act of Parliament.
– Have not all Governments power to make statutory rules ?
– But not to alter Acts of Parliament.
– They have power to make statutory rules.
– Have they power to make a statutory rule to alter an Act of Parliament?
– This rule does not alter an Act of Parliament.
– We shall see whether it does so or not. When I was reading the second schedule to the Bill I saw that contributions to friendly societies had not been exempted from taxation in common with contributions to pension and superannuation funds. It never for a moment struck me that they had been expressly omittedfromthe schedule, and, accordingly, I consulted the VicePresident of the Executive Council on the subject. I said to him, “I think that the Government should include in the exemptions all contributions to friendly societies.” Thereupon he promised to look into the matter. I left the chamber some time after 11 o’clock that evening. Before my departure, I said to Senator Mullan, “ You are interested in this matter just as much as I am. I think that we ought to endeavour to secure the inclusion amongst the exemptions of contributions to friendly societies. Will you see it through?” Next morning I was surprised to read in the newspapers that the Senate had sat pretty well all night. I thought that the Government would have accepted the proposal-
– I would have accepted it if the honorable senator had moved it. I was under the impression that Senator Mullan intended to “ stonewall “ on something, so I allowed him to “ stone-wall “ on that.
– The amendment was agreed to, and the Bill, in its amended form, was returned to the other Chamber. It received the Royal assent on the 23rd July last. Every honorable senator recognised that under it the Government, acting on the recommendation of the War Committee, would be able to make some slight alterations in the Act, but the Attorney-General expressly stated in another place that under no circumstances would he submit the first schedule of the measure to the War Committee.
– There is nothing in it.
– If the honorable senator will only turn up Hansard, page 5333, he will see that the following answer was given by the Attorney-General to Mr. Parker Moloney-
– Order ! The honorable senator is not entitled to quote from the debates for the current session in another place.
– There the honorable senator will find a definite statement by the Attorney-General to the effect I have indicated.
– There is nothing in the first schedule.
– Then there is no virtue in sending it broadcast throughout the Commonwealth.
– There is nothing in it in respect of which there is anything but unanimity.
– The War Committee might have found reasons for altering it, or even for altering the Act itself, if the Act had been submitted to it for its consideration. The Committee is evidently under the impression that members of friendly societies do not count as compared with those persons who contribute to pension and superannuation funds. The Minister of Defence has just pointed out to me that before the War Committee was created he made an announcement concerning it in this Chamber which will be found reported in nansard of the present session, page 4671. When we realize the enormous benefits which are conferred by friendly societies, we can readily appreciate why honorable senators take exception to the War Committee, or the Government, amending an Act of Parliament without first causing the regulations affecting them to be submitted to the Legislature. We find according to the last Tear-Book, that in the various States of the Commonwealth there were 476,993 members of friendly societies in actual benefit.
– Do those figures include female societies?
– I presume they do. We find also that the expenditure for sick pay, medical attendance, and other services, involved an expenditure in 1915 of £1,456,000. 1 contend that the people who belong to such societies are deserving of consideration at the hands of the Government, and, moreover, the Government accepted the particular question relating to them. On that ground, therefore, I intend to vote for Senator Grant’s motion. There is no reason at all why such exemption should not be allowed just as it is allowed with regard to payment® into a superannuation fund, because a member of a friendly society pays all the time, from year’s end to year’s end, to protect himself and his family against the time when illness may overtake him .
– But we have that information already.
– We are askingfor other information in the schedule, and no one objected to the item to which L refer being put in this form - Less -
No one would think of issuing an income tax schedule without making these deductions. It seems that we were right in making that amendment, and the Government were wrong in allowing the War Committee to alter it. There is another matter upon which I should like some information, and here let me say that when the Vice-President of the Executive Council rose to address the Senate, he must have known the whole of the alterations that had been recommended by the War Committee, and he should have explained why they had been made. We would then have understood the position exactly. The Minister, however, referred to two small Hues in the schedule, and did not give the Senate any information concerning the other alterations, or the reason why. the Government accepted them.
– It is not necessary to do that with regard to regulations.
– I must apologize to the Senate for that omission.
– According to Senator Findley nothing is unusual in connexion with this matter, and I am reminded that when he got up on his hind legs, as he eloquently put it, the first thing he said was that this was an altogether unjustifiable discussion. But we are not in the habit of asking the honorable senator if any discussion we originate is justifiable or not, and we do not say that any discussion he originates is unjustifiable, because he must be the best judge of that. So it is with us. Now he says that it is not usual to give reasons for an alteration of a measure agreed to by the Senate.
– I said that with regard to statutory rules, it is not.
– Whether he calls it statutory rules or not, he cannot get away from the fact that this is an alteration of an Act of Parliament. As we passed this Act, it was provided that the income was to mean the amount received during the twelve months ending the 31st December, 1914, including stipend, salary, or wages. If honorable senators will look at the schedule as now presented they will see that something has been left out, and that an Act of Parliament has been amended again, because in the second schedule we provided for information regarding income from fees, commissions, or bonuses. That was a very fair question to put, but yet we find that the War Committee did not see any necessity to get information with regard to bonuses.
– Do you know why that was knocked out?
– No, I do not.
– Because the Committee was afraid women would consider the maternity allowance a bonus, and would not fill the schedule in.
– Now let us see what the Committee has done by omitting “ bonus.” We are now demanding to know from a man what his income has been -from fees or commissions only. Now I often pick up a newspaper, and I see a report that a large company has declared a dividend of 8 per cent., and a bonus of 5s., or something like that, and according to the schedule, as amended by the War Committee, it will not be necessary for a man receiving a bonus to make any return with respect to it, because it is not described as a dividend .
– Is there not a line in the schedule providing for “ all other sources ‘ ‘ of income ?
– But is it not just as well to have information furnished in a manner provided by Parliament % What I object to is that the Government should try to alter Acts of Parliament by regulation. It is true this was considered by the War Committee, and I believe the Committee gave its best consideration to the matters placed before it. But when we pass a special law providing the machinery to “obtain information in a certain way, it is not right that alterations should be made by any irresponsible body. This omission of the word “ bonus “ is important because, as Senator Mullan knows, in mining ventures in the north of Queensland, many years ago, oftentimes after declaring a dividend, an annual bonus was declared, and yet Senator Findley, one of the “ war lords,” now says this money received as a bonus would be included .in “other sources” of income. Senator Findley, it appears, considers himself called upon to defend the Government t]’om attacks by members who sit on this side of the chamber. But I would point out that there have been no attacks on the Government at all, but upon these “ war lords,” of whom the honorable senator is one. I am not quarrelling with the honorable senator on that account, but I am objecting that any Committee or Government should, by regulation, alter any Act of Parliament approved by this Senate.
– And. thus subvert the functions of Parliament.
– If we admit that the War Committee had a right to omit the word “bonus” from sub-paragraph til. of the question relating to income, it had a right to knock out “friendly societies,” and if that was so, is there anything in the schedule which it did not have a right to knock out? It is still open for the Senate to deal with this schedule, but it is probable that anything we might do would be of no effect. As it is, the Senate is pretty well helpless because of the
Action of the Government in printing and sending out the forms. Yesterday, I asked if the information in the press to the effect that the schedules had been printed, and that the census would be taken shortly, was correct, and the Minister replied, “ Yes.” Senator Mullan made inquiries, and found out that not ‘only were the schedules printed, but that they had been sent to the outlying portions of Australia. Therefore, we really have not had an opportunity to deal with this matter at all, and I want to know whether this is the kind of action that should be taken by a Government that is going to trust Parliament? I am satisfied that had these matters come before Parliament, the alterations would not have been agreed to. Parliament now has practically no redress. It seems that Parliament is expected to swallow this schedule, as altered by the War Committee, unless it is prepared to order the return of the schedules that have been sent out, and if that is done, there will be an enormous bill to meet on account of the printing. I am prepared to take the responsibility of that. I intend to vote for the disallowance of this regulation. We were told that the schedules were to be considered by the War Committee, and that we should subsequently have an opportunity to consider any alterations made in them before they were sent out to the people. As a matter of fact, we know that through the action_ of’ the Government in permitting the schedules, as amended, to be sent out. we are deprived of that opportunity. I am sorry that they should have taken such action. It should make honorable senators only the more jealous of the powers of the Senate and more careful about delegating them to any irresponsible Committee such as the War Committee.
– I am not going to vote for Senator Grant’s motion, and, having stated that, perhaps the few words I intend to say will be received by the Administration and by honorable members of the Senate as not being offered in a caustic or vitriolic spirit. In my opinion, the War Committee is capable of doing very good work. In some respects it has done goodwork in connexion with the schedule to the War Census Act. The personnel of the Committee is quite satisfactory. I think that it i3 rather an unwieldy Committee, but that is no reflection upon the personnel. I think, that too much of the war business is being- conducted along debating society lines. It is laid down as ah axiom by historians- of great wars that if the conduct of a war is lef t to one or two “men, the result may be disastrous, but it is possible that the makings of a Napoleon Bonaparte or a great commander may be discovered who will be able to bring the war to a successful conclusion. These historians also lay it down that wars are never successfully waged by debating societies-. It is- because I wish to. see everything connected with the war in which we are at present engaged done speedily that I shall not vote for the motion, which would result in the recall of the schedules which have already been posted. The Administration have acted in connexion with this matter, I will not say unwisely, but a little injudiciously. Although they were technically within their rights in securing certain modifications of the schedule, I think it was clearly the intention of the Legislature not to permit the elimination of anything which had been so newly enacted. It was understood that the schedules as passed by Parliament might be amplified, but that nothing should’ be eliminated from them. Ministers did not, I think, act with discretion in asking the War Committee to review practically new legislation. That is something which should not have been relegated to the War Committee. I have said that I believe that it is capable of doing excellent work.
– How does the honorable senator- know what the War* Committee- has to d’o ?”
– I know that it has to deal with any question referred to it by the Administration. It has to supplement the efforts of the Administration to bring the war to a successful conclusion. It is an advisory and consultative Committee.
– On what authority does the honorable senator make that statement ?
– Senator de Largie is professing an ignorance which I am certain is only assumed. What the War Committee was established for has been an open secret.
– I do not know anything about it. I want to find out what it was established for.
– It was established with the full consent of Parliament. No member of Parliament protested against its establishment, and nearly every one applauded it. I was one who applauded it. It was established to focus the legislative efforts of this Parliament, and to assist the Government in the conduct of the war. The Committee will do good work, although I am positive that the Administration requires to exercise a little discretion in regard to the matters which it asks the Committee to inquire into.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
SenatorBAKHAP. - It is remarkable that a measure like the War Census Act, hot from the legislative oven, so to speak, should have been sent to the War Committee for the purpose of revision. It contained a principle in the schedule for which honorable senators fought hard and suffered an all-night sitting, namely, the principle of permitting the members of friendly societies to deduct from their incomes contributions paid to their organization. For the Administration within a few days after that decision by the Senate to take it upon themselves to excise the provision is remarkable, and is a clear flouting of the intention of the Legislature. With the best wishes in the world for a successful outcome of the labours of the War Committee, and for the success of the efforts of the Government in their conduct of the war, I hope they will not adopt such a course again. They had the power to modify the schedule undoubtedly, but it was not the desire of Parliament that the War Committee should be permitted to completely eliminate from the schedule a principle adopted by the Senate as a body only a few days before.
– Without consideration.
– I cannot conceive that that principle did not receive consideration. There was more consideration given to the schedule of the War Census Bill than has been given to many measures which have come before the Senate of probably equal importance.
– We do not want returns from old-age pensioners or as to maternity allowances!
– I am not saying that the second schedule has not been improved in some respects. The honorable senator was probably not. present when I admitted that it has been improved. But I believe that it was not the intention of Parliament that any important principle should be eliminated, though it was understood that certain modifications might legitimately be made which would clarify the intention of the Legislature. It is going far beyond the limit to say that after the Senate had fought hard to secure the inclusion of a certain principle the Government should, within a few days, totally eliminate that important provision.
SenatorMullan. - There was no doubt as to the mind of the Senate about it.
– That is so. The question was hotly debated, and the Senatorial opinion collectively was most emphatic upon it. I hope that the Administration will not do this sort of thing again, as it is calculated to submit the work of the War Committee to quite unnecessary challenge. I do not careto see its work hindered by the carrying of such a motion as that submitted by Senator Grant. Personally, I prefer the term “ land value “ to the term “unimproved value,” and I believe that in this respect the Committee have improved the schedule. The Government will enable the Committee to do the best work by not asking it to immediately revise legislation, not a year or two years old, but not even a fortnight old. I am sorry that the provision including contributions to friendly societies in the deductions which might be made has been omitted from the schedule, but I am not going to boggle aboutthematter. If the war continues for a year or two the States or the Commonwealth will have to come to the assistance of friendly societies.That. being so, the matter is comparatively trivial. As I believe in promptitude in the conduct of the war, I am prepared to shut my eyes to minor defects of the schedule 1” shall vote against the motion in the hope that it will not be found necessary to recall the schedules which have already been posted. I hope that we shall secure information that will enable us to hurl at the enemy all our resources of men and material, in order to bring the war to a successful conclusion. Despatch is the motto ‘for to-day.
– I have listened carefully to the prolonged discussion which has taken place on my motion. If I had heard any arguments that would justify ‘me in withdrawing it I should do so; but neither the Vice-President of the Executive Council nor those who supported his view have given any reasons whatever for the action which the Government have taken on the recommendation of the War Committee. In submitting the motion, I reminded honorable senators of the form in which the second schedule appeared when it first came before us for consideration. The taxpayer was asked to furnish in one answer the total value of his land and property. On an amendment submitted by myself the Senate and the Government agreed that the taxpayer should be asked to disclose, first, the unimproved value of his land, and secondly, the value of the improvements thereon .
– Now he is to be asked to disclose, first, the value of his land and improvements thereon, ind secondly, the unimproved value. What is the difference?
– That is just the trouble. He is asked to ~ disclose the value of his land and the improvements thereon , and the answer will’ appear in one sum. It is true that following upon that he is asked to disclose the value of his land, but that is not to be set out in a column.
– What does it matter? The collectors will be sworn to secrecy, and the schedules will not be public documents.
– I quite understand that; but I have no doubt that the Commonwealth Statistician will be able later on to furnish us with valuable information from this census. My point is that he could obtain it much more easily, and the taxpayer could fill in the second schedule more easily, if ithad been permitted to remain in the form in which the Senate and Parliament agreed to it. I pointed out that the sub-paragraph following will lead to some confusion, and that in the sub-paragraph dealing with leases the value of the improvements thereon is not separated, even in the present schedule, from the value of the leases. Those were my reasons for asking that the schedule be disallowed, with the intention that the Government should, as soon as possible, review the matter, and act in conformity with the wishes of the Senate. I was doubtful as to what the real work of the War Committee would be. I understood that it was to be a consultative body that, after the consideration of any matters referred to it, would make suggestions to the Government. It would be interesting to know why the AttorneyGeneral refused to permit the first schedule to go before the War Committee. We have not been given any information on that point.
– There was nothing very important in that schedule. Nobody took exception” to it, and we were unanimous, ana to get the other business through we agreed to a division.
– I am prepared to accept the Minister’s explanation, but I understand that the Attorney-General was quite emphatic in his statement that the first schedule was not to be touched by the War Committee. I do not blame the Government, in a way, for accepting the recommendations from that body, but they must take the consequences of such acceptance. The War Committee have flouted the almost unanimous decision of the Senate regarding the returns of land and property, and also the sub-paragraph relating to friendly societies. It may be urged that, because some printing has been done, therefore, on the score of economy, I should not press the motion to a division, but the mere fact that a few pounds have been expended - nothing like £150,000 have been expended - and a few thousand forms have been distributed, ought not to prevent the Senate from expressing its opinion. I would like to know where the urgency lies in regard to this census. If the Vice-President of the Executive Council, or any other honorable senator, had shown that there was any extreme urgency in getting the returns, I would have hesitated before in- terfering in the slightest possible way with any action to organize our material resources in opposition to the enemy. No honorable senator has shown that there is any urgency in the matter. Therefore, both on the score of expense, and on the score of urgency, there is no reason why the Senate should not disallow the regulation. The remarks made by Senator Findley were very interesting, but somewhat wide of the mark. During the present session, we have not had an opportunity here to discuss the relative merits of land value taxation and other forms of taxation; but no doubt byandby, when we get that opportunity, we shall hear the views of Senator Findley. In the meantime, that question is not before the Senate, and the fact that there are some honorable senators in favour of land value taxation, whilst others are opposed to its imposition, is no justification for this attempt to so amend the second schedule of the War Census Act as to make the returns more obscure than otherwise they would be. I am not prepared to say that the schedule as it left the Senate was as good as it could have been made.
– It is much better now.
– I do not think that it is as good now as it was then.
– It is clearer now.
– No; as a matter of fact, it is muddier now than it was then.
– Senator Findley said that it is clearer now.
– I am prepared to admit that it was not perfect at that time; but we were limited for space then, as we are now. The only item that is not set out in the column is that of land values. The rent, the furniture, the income, the cash in hand, in fact, every other item, is shown separately, and I want to know why the Government are determined to obscure the item of land values of the Commonwealth, which, I understand, amount to the (fairly substantial sum of about £700,000,000? I am glad that this discussion has taken place. I hope that honorable senators will support my motion, and refuse to approve the action of the Government in issuing the schedules to the taxpayers before the Senate had an opportunity to express its opinion. I disagree altogether with. the action of the Government in that respect. In my opinion, they had no right to have the printing completed, and the matter partially distributed, before the regulation was approved by Parliament.
– You base your statement on Senator Mullan’s statement.
– If I am wrong, I shall be pleased to be corrected.
– My statement is right.
– Still, it is your statement.
– According to the Minister’s answer to me, the printing was done.
– If the ; printing has not been done, I am glad to get the information. I am prepared to accept the disclaimer now made by the Minister.
– But he has not made a disclaimer.
– I think that we ought to know.
– I take it from the Vice-President of the Executive Council that the printing has not been done. In that case, the papers have not been distributed, and that is a further reason why the Senate should disallow the regulation.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Long) proposed -
.- This matter was brought under my notice in certain official papers, and the PostmasterGeneral himself offers no objection to the appointment of a Committee, as it is evident that there is something into which an inquiry should be made.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 15th July(vide page 4926), on motion by Senator Bakhap -
) That in order to afford the greatest, most sustained, and systematic measure of assistance to thu Empire in the prosecution of the war, and to distribute the burden of sacrifice over all the suitable male population of the Com mon wealth in equitable measure, the Senate is of opinion that compulsory service to augment and reinforce the ranks of the Expeditionary Forces should be at once instituted, as it believes that the inflexible determination of the Australian people to aid in securing victory for the Empire and its Allies in the present possibly long-continued struggle will be thus fully declared, confirmed, and practically effected.
; - It is now some time since I addressed myself to this motion, and it will be remembered that on that occasion the Senate kindly granted me permission to resume my remarks on some future date, because at a late hour I had only opened the subject. To-night, I find myself in somewhat of a difficulty in that I suffer from an embarrassment of riches in respect of’ the arguments which I am able to adduce in support of my proposal. I do not anticipate that within a speech of even two hours’ duration I could exhaust onetenth of the sound and solid arguments which might be advanced in support of the motion. Since I first addressed myself to it, I have been deluged with congratulatory correspondence in regard to it. Singular to say all persons writing in terms of congratulation have expressed themselves in most patriotic language, have shown that they are deadly in earnest, and, in addition, have granted me permission to use their names in connexion with any remarks that I may make on this subject at any time.
– Have you had a letter from the League of Freedom on the subject?
– Do they support the motion ?
– I do not think they do, but to tell the honorable senator the candid truth, I did not read their communication. It would be impossible for me to read all the letters that I have received in favour of the course which I am advocating. I open them, see that they are couched in terms of congratulation, look at the signatures to them and lay them aside. I have also received a percentage of letters couched in “antagonistic terms-
– Threatening letters.
– I did receive one threatening communication - a letter threatening me with personal violence because of certain terms that I used in addressing myself to this subject. It was an anonymous, communication, and singular to say, nine-tenths of the correspondence which has reached me dealing, with my action in deprecatory terms, has been of an anonymous” character. These letters have not only been anonymous, but abusive. I will admit that there are many persons opposed to conscription who are not afraid to declare their antagonism to it in courteous terms.. But strauge to relate, the correspondence which has been addressed to me in an antagonistic vein has been scurrilous, to say the least of it, and in every case it has been anonymous. I do not propose to make an emotional appealon behalf of conscription. I promised the Senate, when I opened this subject, that my address would be of a very matter-of-fact character, and that I would appeal to the reason of the nation rather than to its emotions. ‘Senator Ferricks, who, unfortunately, is absent this evening, and who is opposed to this proposal, handed me what he regards as a most conclusive- account of what transfered at an anti-conscription meeting in the township of Ayre, in Queensland. I refer to this gathering because of the arguments used at it by anti-conscriptionist speakers. A clerical gentleman - I believe a canon - stated that there should be no such thing as conscription, because one volunteer is worth ten pressed men. Loose, flamboyant assertions of that character were used to counteract the solid arguments which might be used every legislative day of the week in support of conscription as a national policy at this juncture, and one of the most necessary factors for determining the war in our favour. Now, our national conduct at the present time may bc characteristic of great national strength - may bc indicative of the fact that when we do more we shall move with the force and violence of giants - or it may point to the circumstance that we are an obtuse people, and do not see what it is necessary for us to do in order to secure unqualified victory. Does any man really believe that one volunteer is worth ten pressed men? Does anybody really believe that at this crisis in the Empire’s fortunes one volunteer is worth two conscripted men? If he does, I go beyond the bounds of. courteous language which I usually observe, and say that he is a fool.
– The honorable senator would not place one Australian fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula on the same level as one Turk who is forced to advance at the point of German bayonets?
– Nobody admires the courage of our Australian soldiers more than I do, but if we read their letters we shall not fail to realize that those men are fully impressed with the dogged courage exhibited by the Turks who are opposed to them. If ‘the Turks were weak men the courage of our troops would not he the subject of such proper laudation as it is.
– But the Turks are pressed mcn, whilst our soldiers are volunteers.
– Are not the Turks fighting well? Are not the French conscripts fighting well?
– Are not our volunteers fighting well?
– Most decidedly; but some persons like Senator Guy fall into the mistake of assuming that our system is purely a voluntary, one. It is nothing of the sort, as I shall proceed toshow. Instead of being a purely voluntary system, the fact is that in some respects we are justifying the Continental criticism that we are in some small degree hypocritical. Ours is not a voluntary system by any means, for pressure has been applied in dozens of directions with a view to making our men enlist. Outside bodies and State authorities are using pressure to do what? To compel men to enter the ranks of our Expeditionary Forces. I do not propose toweary honorable senators by dangling before them newspaper clippings, but they can rest assured that I am not making idle statements. I can give chapter and verse for every one of my statements. Our Harbor Trusts are saying that they will not engage .single men whose services, are required at the front. Is that a phase of a purely voluntary system, or isit the application of pressure? Managers of large business emporiums, large: stores, and large industrial enterprises ar& in forming their men that if they do notvolunteer it will be undesirable for them to present themselves for employment after the next pay-day. What sort of voluntarism is that? It is the exercise of pressure in a special manner by business men and State authorities who aredoing what the nation should do. Trafalgar was a great naval victory, and so alsowas Copenhagen. Our British maritimesupremacy was not achieved by fleets manned entirely by volunteers. Can it be claimed that the credit of the achievements of the British Navy is due to thevoluntary system? What about the merchantmen who were raided by men-of-war right through the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, who had their crews taken away and hardly sufficient men left on board them to hoist the sail necessary to enable them to make port? Did not those men fight well? Did they not write their name in letters of gold on the pages of our maritime history? What about the press gang? What about the men who were fairly bludgeoned into service - who were picked up in all sorts of places and impressed? Did they fight well? History gives my answer. They did fight well, and in quite a number of cases the British Navy, for more than 100 years, was largely manned by pressed men.
I ask, Did the men in South Africa uphold the glory of the voluntary system? Rome little time ago I mentioned that probably one of the greatest men in history had appeared in South Africa. I referred to General Botha before he had achieved that marked success lately reported in the conquering of the German South-West African Colony. I would ask those honorable senators who are sticklers for the voluntary system what kind of force was it that General Botha led ? Were they not conscript men? To use a familiar African phrase, they were “ on commando “ : that is to say, the nation had called them out for service, and they did magnificent service for their country, for did they not march through the thornbush and the sand 30 and 40 miles a day; did they not overcome the difficulties and dangers of poisoned wells, and beat the enemy that had recourse to every unchivalrous device; and did they not add as a fresh Dominion to the British Empire a tract of country which they have expressed themselves as determined to retain ? More power to them. The South African Army were, in fact, a conscripted force, and they achieved one of the most considerable land successes that the troops of the Empire have gained up to the present. After all, what is conscription but organization ? Do honorable senators subscribe to the opinion that a nation that is not, so to speak, armed and organized in every respect, is the equal of nations that have organized standing armies to uphold their respective cause ? Do they not believe that a standing army is superior to a loose, unorganized, although perhaps an armed and courageous mob ? That nation which is unorganized, be its people never so brave, will go down before the disciplined forces- of a fully organized enemy. Organization of the very best kind will be found to be necessary to enable our Empire to win through in this terrible world struggle, to reach a conclusion which is absolutely essential to our national existence and our Imperial continuance. Let us be defeated in this struggle, let it even end in an unsatisfactory manner, and of a surety to a considerable extent our prestige will suffer, and in the course of a few years there will be none so poor as to do us reverence. We have committed ourselves to see this struggle through, and we must employ every means at our disposal to achieve that object. I intend now to refer to coal, which is one of the essentials for the successful continuance of a war, and I trust honorable senators wilt bear with me a moment. One of the most reputable publications in the Old Country, the Fortnightly Review, the editor of which is a man of sound judgment, and the contributors to which are intelligent men with a thorough knowledge of the world’s affairs, has something to say on this subject. .One of its contributors, a member of the Imperial Legislature, referring to the enlistment of skilled labour, says: -
The Prime Minister added that these cases were illustrations which could easily be multiplied. In the same speech he pointed out that the shortage of labour in coal mining was a factor in the rise of the price of coal. He quoted the Board of Trade as saying, “ The quantity of coal at present being raised is not known; but ft considerable reduction can be inferred from the figures relating to employment. By December of last year, 13.9 per cent, of those employed in July in coal-mining were known to have joined the Forces, and their places have been filled to the extent of 3.4 per cent, only, leaving a net reduction of 10.5 per cent. As it is likely that, on the whole, the stronger and better class of men have enlisted, there is no doubt that the loss in working efficiency is greater than the actual figures themselves.” He added for himself that the enlistment of coal-miners was “ a very creditable record.”
Yes, it was creditable to the miners, but not creditable to the statesmen of the Old Country -
These things were said by Mr. Asquith in a particular connexion, and from one point of view. I desire to direct attention to their general meaning in connexion with the problem of organizing the nation as a whole for war.
Owing to the fact that an unduly large enlistment of coal-miners had taken place, the price of coal rose several shillings per ton, and thus materially affected the position of tile Old Country as an organized nation in this struggle. Now I want to allude to the fact - it is now regrettably admitted - that a very large number of men who have enlisted in Kitchener’s armies are married, men who flocked to the standard nine or twelve months ago. Statistics at present available show that the British losses in killed do not exceed 75,000 men, and, owing to the very large enlistment of married men, the birth rate in the Old Country at the present time is the lowest on record. I have a definite statement to the effect that the births in the United Kingdom are 1,500 per week less than they were during the corresponding period of last year. Now, 1,500 per week spread over a year gives a total greater than the total of killed at the front in the war up to the present. That is to say, the population of the Empire is less -6-v that total of unborn lives consequent on the lack of proper organization, as the result of which lack a considerable proportion of the enlistment in Kitchener’s army comprised married men. Historians tell us that the Spartans, who made a trade and a national profession of war, recognised that in a nation of trained soldiers certain important effects would be noted ,in the social conditions of the community, and they adopted means which are not permissible in modern communities to remedy the evil thus created, for they regularly sent from the front delegations of men whose business it was to see that the national birth rate did not fall. The statesmen of a country, particularly of an unfilled country like Australia, ought to have some consideration of the social effects due to the indiscriminate enlistment of men in our Expeditionary Forces. In Australia, we have half a million men of an ideal military age - men who are not married - yet in the face of the situation as I have described it we continue the enlistment of married men. I hope that we will discuss this question’ irrespective of the political views of any honorable members of the Senate, and with the one object of bringing success to our. arms. I notice that the matter came under the notice of Mr. Hannan, a member of the other branch of the Legislature, some time ago, and he spoke in great alarm of a case that had occurred in his own electorate of a man who had lost his life at the front and had left a wife with a number of children behind him. Mr. Hannan appeared to be astonished to find that this involved the community in the payment of a very large sum of money as compensation to the widow up to’ the time that the youngestchild would reach the age of sixteen years; and it dawned upon Mr. Hannan that this system of enlistment of married men when there is a multitude of single men available is not calculated to advance the best interests of the nation, or to enable us to wage this war on such an economic basis as to make victory a matter of addi tional certitude, if I may be permitted to use that phrase. Mr. Fleming, who holds the same political opinions as I do, also came forward with a similar case in his electorate, and mentioned the fact that a man who had lost his life in the service of his country had left behind him a wife and twelve children. Mr. Fleming, with the sun of common sense breaking through the clouds, made a calculation, and found that this case would cost the Commonwealth about £4,000 in compensation before the youngest child would reach the age of sixteen years. I am not responsible for the calculations. I saw them in Hansard. They were so attractive in regard to the point they gave to certain phases of the existing situation that they were reported in the daily press when Messrs. Hannan and Fleming spoke in another place. There is one argument, which I will admit is fairly effective, that will be used against this motion. I shall be told that it is the Old Country that is carrying on the war. There must be a head-quarters staff in the prosecution of any war, and, apart from any political aspects of the question, the Imperial Administration may be regarded as our head-quarters staff. If they do not consider conscription necessary at this juncture it may be contended that it would be futile and unnecessary for us to adopt the system. I admit that that is a fairly strong argument, but I do not admit that it is as strong as it appears to be on the surface. We are not altogether governed by the Old Country. We owe it affectionate and proper allegiance, and I am glad to say that we are quite prepared to render that affectionate and proper allegiance to the full. But we are not prepared to be legislated for at Westminster. We believe in having our own Parliament, in order that we may be able to give legislative expression to our national ideals, and provide along the best lines for our present needs, our Australian requirements. I believe that if Australia tomorrow adopted the principle of compulsory service in regard to operations overseas, organized itself systematically, prepared to wage war until the inevitable successful issue is arrived at, in the Old Country, where public opinion is rapidly hardening in the direction of giving legislative authority to compulsory service, that opinion would harden at an accelerated rate. I believe, in fact, that we should give the Old Country a lead. We have given the people of the Old Country a lead before. It should be remembered that Great Britain is hardly a Democracy in the Australian sense. We say that we are more democratic here; we have greater democratic privileges, and undoubtedly that is so. Although, like most Englishmen, we may love a lord, there is no Australian aristocracy. The Old Country is in some respects, if I may use terms that appear contradictory, an oligarchical Democracy. Many things difficult >of achievement in England might be given legislative effect in Australia very speedily. Here we have compulsory education, compulsory enrolment, and we are going to have compulsory voting. Are we to apply the principle of compulsion in this democratic country in every direction, tout to hold off when it comes to a question of the .defence and salvation of the Empire, and the buttressing of our cause? On that question compulsory service is, we are invited to believe, an infringement of an alleged democratic principle.
– Is it because the honorable senator thinks that there are not enough men going, or that those who are going are not of the right sort, that he is advocating the .adoption of conscription ?
– I say that there are not enough men going, and who will dare to say me nay ? We may eventually have to put 500,000 Australians into the field, or to send that many to the front, before the war is at an end. No one can tell when the Allies put forth all their strength what the waste of the human factor in war will be. We must be prepared to throw the whole of our resources into the scale. We may have to send men in far greater numbers than we at present dream of. It is not a counsel of perfection to say that we should get ready now, that we should be training these men, and preparing for the drain upon our resources. That is a matter of common sense. If we organize the forces of the nation, and call out 50,-000 or 100,000 men at the present juncture, who will say that that would be an error if it were subsequently found that it would be unnecessary to send them to the front? No one can deny that it would be a most desirable form of insurance, and a most sensible thing to do. I have supported the present Administration in regard to their war measures as earnestly and steadfastly as any of their political supporters have done, and I adjure them now to take time by the forelock, to take occasion in hand, and marry it, and prepare for calls greater in extent than even Imperial statesmen dream of at the present time. If we could say that the war would come to an end inside of six months, could any honorable senator say that that would be satisfactory, when not only is Poland occupied by the enemy, but other provinces of Russia; when practically the whole of the Kingdom of Belgium is still under the heel of the invader-; and when the Germans have sown 250,000 acres of French soil with crops that Frenchmen will not reap? Is the end of the war in sight? I tell honorable senators that, in my opinion, if we are to have the unqualified victory with which alone we should be satisfied, the war is only just beginning. If it is only just beginning now, do honorable senators not think that we should prepare, not to make war in driblets, but to throw the whole of our Forces into the scale ? Will honorable senators deny that if, when the war first started we took the step of calling out 100,000 -men, and gave them training, if only of the gymnasium and the barrack-yard kind, that the men who have gone to Gallipoli, brave as they have shown themselves to be, and marvellous as their achievements have been, would not be in the &ame class, so far as physical fitness is concerned, as would men conscripted “twelve months ago?
– I always thought that the honorable senator was an optimist.
– I am sensible of all these perils, and am resolved to meet them steadily.
– Optimism does not require one to shut his eyes to facts.
– I am not, in this matter, talking for talking’ s sake. I earnestly and sincerely believe in conscription, and not as a faddist, because I do not say that it alone will win the war for us. It is because I believe that it is one of the dominant factors, and a course which we must adopt before we can have an assurance that our victory will be full and complete.
– It is of no use to send men if we cannot equip, clothe. and arm them.
– The honorable senator will do me the credit of conceding that I have admitted that conscription is only one of the factors necessary to a successful issue of the war. In the last resort, men will be required. The war is being waged, for supremacy over mankind, and men in the last resort will dominate men. President Garfield said that no nation is worthy to be saved unless it will go down into the battle arena and throw the whole of its manhood, force, and resources, into the scale, prepared to compass for itself either measureless ruin or unqualified victory. If the “British Empire is not markedly successful in this war, it means measureless ruin for it as an Empire. Other portions of the King’s dominions, such as our own continent, may reach a great stage of national efflorescence, and we may become a great southern Empire or Democracy; “but the British Empire, as we know it now as an entity which we hope to see exercise a marked influence on mankind in the future as it has done in the past will cease to be. An Empire greater than ancient Rome will cease to be. There can be no half victory, and no patched-up peace which will enable the British Empire to retain its present status. It must “be the unqualified victor in this, struggle before we can shake hands, with ourselves and say that we are. what we thought we were, and lack neither resolution nor courage, nor the necessary intelligence, without which resolution and courage are of no avail. I have spoken of. the moral effect of conscription. It is deprecated very much at Home when any one hints that there might be a possibility of some of our Allies not being satisfied with the Imperial efforts. I am going to put forward the statement that the moral effect of conscription would be incalculable, and in this connexion I propose to quote from a military man, a Captain Battine, another contributor to the Fortnightly Review He speaks of the moral effect of conscription, not only upon our present Allies, but on neutral nations, who, to use an Australian phrase, are sitting on the fence at the present juncture. He refers, also, to the moral effect upon our foes. He says -
Hardly less important than the moral effect in Germany which would be the result of England’s adopting conscription would be the influence it would have upon the neutral Powers now hesitating as to their policy. It is well known that we enjoy the sympathy of more than, one State whose alliance is important to us, but, owing to the doubtful aspect of the campaign, does not venture to take the plunge. When all the world knows for certain that the British people are resolved to conquer in this war (and the only proof they will accept of that resolve is the obvious precaution adopted by all other civilized States of conceding to its able-bodied manhood the privilege of bearing arms in its defence) ; when this precaution is definitely taken, then, indeed, friends and neutrals will quickly respond, and foes will be shaken in resolution.
– Is he dealing with conscription in Australia?
– No, in tlie Home Country, and the honorable senator must know that if conscription were adopted in the Home Country to-morrow it would be adopted in Australia within twentyfour hours of’ the Imperial decision.
– Does the honorable senator think that the Old Country would follow our lead if we adopted conscription first?
– I am inclined to think it would. That is one of the reasons, why I advocate conscription in Australia. By the adoption of this principle we shall glue to our sides our present Allies, and will attract, as1 a magnet attracts steel filings, the small nations whose fortunes are now so varied, and whose present situation is so. precarious that they hesitate for the moment which side to take. They are concerned only about preserving their national existence. If they learned that Great Britain was imperially, nationally, racially, and socially resolved to throw her whole force into the scale without limitation, I have no hesitation, in saying that the cables about the attitude which Bulgaria and Greece are assuming need not concern us any more,, for they would be very soon upon our side. This is a democratic country. Anything that is equitable and just should appeal with particular force to a generous and genuine Democracy. What is more equitable or democratic than conscription?’ With conscription would we have any of these recriminations as to which class in the community is furnishing the greater number of men to our Expeditionary Forces? Would we have any discrimination between rich and poor? Would we have honorable senators saying that New South Wales, Victoria, or Tasmania, as the ease may be, has furnished the greatest percentage of recruits? No; we should be no longer names, but one in desire, associated and co-ordinated in one great effort. We should not have one woman saying, “ Lo, I have three or four sons, and have given them to the Empire. Why does not the woman across the. street, whose social circumstances are better or worse than mine, give one at least of her family of five or six sons?” Do not let honorable senators fall into the error of thinking that an individual who has already enlisted is a regular paragon of courage as compared with an individual who up to the present has not done so. I have spoken of the British Fleet, and have quoted in illustration the fact ‘that many of its members right through the Napoleonic wars were pressed men. But what did they do just before the battle of the Nile ? The British Fleet had swept the Mediterranean, under the command of Nelson, week after week, searching for the French Fleet, which had transported the forces of Napoleon from the south of France to Egypt. The French Fleet had escaped, because of the vicissitudes of the sea, the notice of the British Fleet, although on one occasion I believe the two fleets were very close together indeed. But when the French Fleet was sighted in the Bay of Aboukir, what did the pressed men do ? They cheered with exultation at the prospects of the coming fight.
– They were not all pressed men.
– Not all; but a very large percentage of them were. Did they not fight valiantly? After the space of a few hours there was hardly a French ship left. They fought not the less valiantly because they were pressed men. I am going to give what will probably be the most unpalatable, and certainly the most unpopular, feature of the arguments which I am presenting to the attention of honorable senators. We are told that this is a war of resources, and Ministers have very properly spoken about the necessity of economy. They have spoken about certain difficulties in regard to finance which present themselves to the richest nations in time of war. We know that we. are appealing for money to the capitalists of Australia, who, I hope, are responding most patriotically - and, indeed, they will disappoint me if they are not. We are appealing to them to provide us with the sinews of war, and wo are talking of a contest of endurance. We were told very early in the war that a great Japanese statesman, with experience of the difficulties that are attendant on the financing of a great war, said that the victory would be to the people who had the last battalion of men and tho last £100. Of course, he illustrated the fact that this was going to be a war not only of armies, but of national resources. Now, conscription is economical, and I have no hesitation in saying that I expect one of the corollaries of a system of conscription to be the giving of a very much smaller pay to the conscripted men than that which we are giving to our volunteers at present. If we must credit the trained German mind with, seeing many things up to the present which did not before show themselves to us; if we recognise to the full the triumph of organization which has exhibited itself in connexion with the German efforts, we will have a keener appreciation of the statement that the war is likely to be one of material resources and of finance, as well as a war to be fought out ou the battlefield. There is another war going on all the time. The men at Sheffield are fighting the men at Essen, although tl-ey are not on a battle-field; the coal-miners in Westphalia are fighting the coal miners in the black country of England, although they are only handling picks and shovels. The scientists at the British universities, and the men who are making a study of physics, are fighting the spectacled German scientist and the spectacled German professor. Here is another feature of organization. The Rotterdam correspondent of an English newspaper the other day said that he met, of course in the neutral city of Rotterdam, a young German chemist of his acquaintance. “ Halloo,” he said, “ how is it that you are not at the war?” The young man replied, “ There is no German chemist at the front. A chemist is too valuable to be sent there; he is worth a whole battalion of men, and we do not risk a chemist in the firing line.” That is another instance of organization. But, going back to finance, we pay our men a large wage - and the same remark can be applied to the officers^ - not that I grudge them the money, because national service is really a jewel beyond all price. Could we afford it, I would give the men £1 or £2 a day, hut I am prepared to exhibit generosity to them according to the strength of the national finance when they return. I am prepared to have a most liberal pension scheme. I have supported the Government scheme, and would support any enlargement of it which they felt themselves justified in arranging for. But I submit that we must be prepared to fight for our country for nothing. The German is fighting for bis country for nothing. A German soldier gets nothing per day. An Italian soldier, who is fighting on our side - on the side of liberty - gets about 2 1/2d. a day, and I think that he is about the best paid of the Allied Forces, with the exception of those of Great Britain. A French soldier gets a trifle of a few pence a day. A Russian soldier gets the equivalent of an English half-penny. But my latest information is that a German soldier gets nothing.
– He gets his food.
– That is a matter of military organization, and I have no doubt that the German soldiers do not lack in that regard. In fact, all the evidence I can glean from neutral sources and from articles written by such a man as Senator Beveridge, a member of the United States Congress, is to the effect that the Germans make the_ most ample arrangements in regard to the commissariat. German soldiers are well fed and very comfortably cared for. All the English prints indicate that the German soldiers are a very well-found lot indeed : so that tho German organization certainly does not lack in that regard. But in Australia we are paying the men - and the officers on a commensurate scale - more than the State Governments are paying the police. Do honorable senators think that in any parsimonious spirit I regret the fact that the men are getting this money? I would willingly, if we felt sure that we could afford it, give them £1 a day, for even that would not be sufficient remuneration for their services. But we have to win the war, and if it is going to be a contest of endurance, let us economize on every line that presents itself to us. Let us have conscription. Let us pay our men - and make the officers fight on the same basis - sufficient, perhaps, to allow them the small comfort of tobacco and so on. But let us economize and make sure that we are going to carry the war along the pre- sent lines to a successful conclusion. Are we sure that we can do that? We are not sure, and, even if we were very nearly sure, it would be well for us to adopt the most economical system. What is the effect, again, in Great Britain of the indiscriminate ‘ recruiting of married men ?
– If you paid the men nothing, how would you provide for the dependent women and children?
– Take a lesson from the Germans. How do they do it? How are they keeping the Allies at ‘bay in the west with one arm while they are punching the Russian almost to his doom with the other?
– What do you purpose doing?
– According to a proper system of organization I purpose taking first those men who have comparatively no dependants. That is a logical and scientific way to arrange the matter. Then, when you take the men who have dependants, arrange for the support of the dependants along such lines and in such measure as the national resources will permit. Honorable senators must address themselves to a right consideration of the arguments I am putting before them, for this is really a most serious business. What do I care! I have spoken in this strain before. I know that I was met by soldiers after I had spoken before who said, “ You are the man who would make us go and fight for 2s. a day.” I said, “If I had my way an Australian soldier going to the Dardanelles would be a conscripted man, and would not be getting 2s. a day.” I know that there was a very large body of public opinion highly antagonistic to me over this matter, incensed because - the eyes of the public take some opening - they thought that I was opposed to the welfare of the poor soldier, that I wished to cut off his privileges, that I wanted to deprive him of something that he was justly entitled to. I do not desire to do anything of the sort, but the supreme consideration with me is to see the Forces of the British Empire come out of this struggle successfully. Even if we paid the men nothing and won the war, and found that we were able to do it, we could give the survivors £100 each, for the men who had died on the field of battle -would require nothing. All that we would have to do would be to keep their dependants, if any. We could give the survivors £100 or £50 each, and then I venture to say the returned veterans would have more money in their possession than they would be likely to have if we paid them 10s.a day. I went to condole with a young woman who, unfortunately, had lost her brother, an officer, at the front a few weeks ago, and, to my surprise, she expressed herself as holding the belief that my idea was the correct one, and that if we. gave the soldiers on their return a lump sum they would be in much better financial trim than if we kept on paying them the comparatively large sum which we are giving them at present. What about the soldiers who, though getting 6s. a day, came back here, and, so the Senate has been informed, did not have a shilling with which to buy a meal between Melbourne and Sydney! What had become of their money?
– I doubt if they had it.
– The fact remains that those men had no money with which to purchase a meal. I am not using this argument in any criticism of the Defence administration, because there will be little miscarriages in connexion with all matters of that description.
– Your argument is that the less the men are paid the better off they are.
– What I say is that the less the men are paid the more we shall be able to give them in a lump sum at the end of the war, and they will be assured of having something when they land on Australian soil, but under the present system they are not sure of having a penny. It is a well-known fact that many of the men who come back have no money and none coming to them.
– Yes, every one has something coming to him.
– The men do not have it very long, anyhow, because some of them are practically mendicants. Honorable senators are well aware that what I am telling them has a most substantial element of truth, and, therefore, they cannot shut their eyes to this phase of the question, although support of my arguments might, perhaps, for a moment bring them a little unpopularity. Are they sure that the war will end this year? Are they sure that it will end i lext year ? Are they sure that it will end in 1917 ? They cannot be sure as to when it will end, and, therefore, they should make the most ample provision. They should proceed upon the most scientific organization in every direction, and, therefore, they must consider the economics of the war. They must ask themselves the question : If it is going to be a contest of endurance, if the statesmen in the Old Country are even now urging economy, are we likely to survive to the end of the struggle when we pay our men on the most extensive scale ever adopted by a nation waging Avar as compared with the German nation, whose men ure sent to thu front in pursuance of a citizen duty? I can assure honorable senators that this is a phase of the question which is well worthy of consideration. I recommend the adoption of conscription because of its economic character, and I have no hesitation in saying to the young men of Australia, “ If you want to enlist, come along now and be with the paid division, for if Bakhap has anything to say in the matter you will presently be brought in, and you will be in the unpaid division. He knows you so well as to believe that you will fight just as effectively in an unpaid division as you would in a paid division.” I have no fear whatever as to the class of men we would secure under conscription. I have no hesitation in saying that, under conscription, I could get 70,000 single men in Australia to-day who would not be less than 5 ft. 8 in. in height, and who would have a chest measurement infinitely superior to the very low physical standard that has been adopted .
– But the honorable eenator would not get them for 6d. per day ?
– They would have to come. Does the honorable senator believe that the Australian people who subscribe to the profession of their political leaders, that we will wage this war to the last man and the last shilling, would refuse to come forward if service to their country meant that they would not be paid ? I have a higher conception of their patriotism than that. As the member of the Imperial Legislature whom I have already quoted, has observed, paradoxical though it may appear, there are hundreds of thousands of men who will go willingly when they are compelled to do so. Many nien fail to recognise the need of the nation at the present time. They think that when the nation does not resort to compulsion the need for national service cannot be as pressing as we are told it is - that the situation cannot have in it any element of peril. Men are variously constituted. They are not all lacking in patriotism merely because they do not enlist, or those who enlisted only last week must be sadly deficient in this quality, seeing that they did not enlist twelve months ago. The men who will enlist three months hence will not be less patriotic than those who are enlisting now. Men’s actions are, to a large extent, governed by environment. It is not every man who can cut himself loose, and say, “ Lo, I will go to the war.” At a celebration in Tasmania only on Saturday evening last, Senator Keating informs me that a Colonel in the Military Forces said that he would welcome a law which would compel him to go to the front, because there are certain circumstances which constrain him to remain at his present post. That is the position in which dozens of men “find themselves to-day. They are not one whit less brave or patriotic than those who have been practically compelled to enlist because avenues of employment were designedly closed to them in order to force them to go to the front under an alleged voluntary system. Arguments such as these have been used by men who think as I do, right throughout the Empire. Only the other day a recruiting association at Cooma adopted a resolution in favour of compulsory service. There are organizations throughout the country which are at present passing resolutions in support of co-ordinated national effort. We talk about the beauty of voluntary service, and of the glorious valour of the voluntary Tommy. Who has sung the praises of the British Tommy; who has been his poet laureate to a greater extent than has Rudyard Kipling ? It was only the other day that I ascertained that Kipling is a conscriptionist. Who knows the emotions of the British soldier as well as he does 1 He has embalmed them in verse which - without regarding him as a Shakspeare - will endure for centuries to come, and will be quoted so long as the English language retains its present form. At a recruiting meeting recently he expressed himself as being altogether opposed to the present voluntary system. He recognises that itis along conscriptionist lines that victory must be achieved. It will be seen,therefore, that if I err on this matter, I err in the company of Rudyard Kipling, a man who understands what British arms have achieved very much better than I do. I err in the company of British statesmen, in the company of the most able writers, the most distinguished patriots; of those cool, calculating men who recognise all the essential elements of victory, who believe that the moral and materia] effect of the adoption of conscription by the British Empire would be to very greatly damp the courage and resolution of our enemy, and who realize that the welfare of our Empire is the welfare of all lovers of liberty throughout the world. I have sheaves of arguments here which I might use but for the fact that I have no desire to weary honorable senators. The present is about the fifth or sixth occasion upon which I have addressed myself to this question. It is no newly-found fad with me. Although I am not a soldier, I served for some years in the Defence Forces of Australia, and I have been a close student of the military art and of the history of the great wars of the past. I have no hesitation in saying that I believe the adoption of compulsory service is one of the factors essential to the achievement of that victory which is still a long way off, unless human judgment is somewhat at fault. The war has already lasted a year. Most people thought it was impossible for it to last more than a few months; that when such great masses of men. were thrown into the field against each other decisive victory would be inevitable. But it is possible that it may be a longer war than any which has been waged for a century. It is possible that the struggle with a disciplined Empire like that of Germany will have to proceed until the foe has reached the last stage of exhaustion. We must not forget that an organized people is in a somewhat different position from an unorganized people. German organization has been perfecting itself, not for forty years, but for the past century - from the time of Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, historic German names. The very fact that those names were selected for German war vessels is indicative of what the German people believe they owe to the men whose organization rescued Germany from the grip of Napoleon, who removed the stain of humiliation that had been placed on the German escutcheon because of the triumphs of Napoleon over the German arms. These people have been organized for a century, and they will have to be worn to the very bone before complete victory can be achieved. They may possibly suggest a sort of interim peace if they think that the chances of the war are going against them. Should our statesmen prove weak enough, such a peace may be arranged, with disastrous consequences to posterity. I hope that the British nation will prove as inflexible as were the Romans in the time of the Punic wars. I hope they will wage this struggle until Germany as a military power will be under our feet, and consequently I appeal to honorable senators, who must confess that the war is likely to .be a long one, to support my motion. I ask them to do so in the full confidence that it is a patriotic, equitable, and democratic proposal, and one which above all will prove thoroughly effective. I thank honorable senators for having granted me permission some weeks ago to continue my remarks upon this question, but, recognising that if I spoke for ten hours I could not exhaust all the arguments in favour of the motion, I will content myself with recommending it to the Senate in the belief that in a full spirit of patriotism and of calculated intelligence it will meet with hearty support, and thus indicate to the Empire the inflexible determination of the Australian people to proceed along practical lines till victory is achieved in this great world struggle.
Debate (on motion by Senator Pearce) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 18th August (vide page 5834), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That, in view of the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, it is desirable that a Small Arms Factory, with necessary provision for housing workmen, be erected forthwith at Canberra.
– When dealing with this motion yesterday, I pointed out, first of all, what I considered was the impropriety, in a political sense, of submitting; the motion to the Senate at this juncture. I also dealt with some of the arguments that had been brought forward by Senator Lynch, including the references to the manager nf the Small Arms Factory, the assistant manager, and the original manager, Captain Clarkson. I also quoted from the utterances of these gentlemen given before the Public Works Committee, and I pointed out that in my opinion it was highly undesirable as a “general principle that we should over-centralize our industries in Australia. I particularly emphasized my own objections to the overcentralization of anything in the nature of the manufacture of war materiel, and cue of the reasons I gave was that in the future the enemy would attack from the air rather than from the sea or land.
– You talk about overcentralization when there is hardly a brick upon a brick at Canberra yet.
– Yes; but this motion by the Government is part of a concerted policy for the centralization of factories there.
– Which the Minister announced.
– Do you not agree with it?
– T pointed out yesterday that above all things we should not centralize our factories for the manufacture of small arms, cordite, and other warlike materiel, because, by doing so, we would provide only one object for the enemy to attack. For we may be sure that in the future an enemy, although he may come in ships in the first instance, will not be content to stand off the coast and bombard our principal cities, but will despatch a fleet of aeroplanes or seaplanes to attack our vital points.
– Suppose we had these factories scattered all over Australia, we would want all our aeroplanes also at the different places.
– And so would the enemy, and our insurance would then be very much stronger than if we centralized all our important industries. I quoted from-the evidence of the three officials to whom I referred, and now I want to refer the Senate to evidence given by Mr. Ryan, a journalist in Lithgow, and a resident of that town for something like thirty years. His evidence will be found on page 26, and from it I take the following statement in reply to Mr. Fenton: -
I am surprised to hear that experts have informed the Committee that, if the selection of a site for the Small Arms Factory had been left to them, they would not have chosen Lithgow. I know of no higher expert than Lord Kitchener, who visited the site just after the first sod had been turned, and who declared at that time that it was a very nice one. I understand, also, that Colonel Legge, Chief of Staff, was one of the selectors of the site.
Now, one of the arguments used by the Minister in advocating the transfer of the Factory to Canberra was the difficulty of obtaining land except at a high price. I pointed out yesterday that although a sum was given as the possible price for land that might be required for workmen’s homes, at Lithgow, yet the Committee had had no definite area of land indicated to it as likely to cost that amount. Since I spoke yesterday I have been still more confirmed in the view that the evidence before the Committee disclosed no particular area that was likely to be required at Lithgow. The authority for the statement as to the price of land admits that he had no definite area in hia mind, and I, accordingly, say it is fallacious now to reason that the land will cost so much on the basis of values received for land in any definite position. The land to which I referred yesterday, an area of acres, may be described as town land.
– Forty pounds per acre was paid for land in 1908, and we would have to pay much more than that now.
– There is land in another direction which would be suitable for this purpose, and that land, I understand, would not cost anything like the price fixed for the land between the Factory and the city itself.
– Have you seen that land ?
– Have you seen it in winter time?
– No,. but I am accepting the evidence given to the Committee, especially by those who reside in the town, and I attach much more credence to their statements than to officials who are not so intimate with the locality.
– The land you refer to dips away considerably.
– That is not according to the evidence. I have seen the land, and, in my opinion, it is suitable.
On this point, Mr. Wright, in answer to Mr. Laird Smith, said -
The scheme of extensions now before the Committee makes no provision for workmen’s cottages. In my recommendation of three years ago, in regard to the acquisition of the land up to Main-street, I strongly recommended that the Government should take” into consideration thu purchasing of that area, and the selling of it in building blocks at a nominal cost to employees, who are willing to erect their own cottages with financial assistance from the Government. I have urged that scheme two or three times. A number of the Factory employees have built their own cottages on the flat below the Factory, and there is also a long row of cottages which were built by a private citizen, and are rented by the employees, who pay lis. a week, and 6d. for sanitary fees.
If the Factory is transferred to Canberra there will be an obligation on the part of the Commonwealth to make provision for workmen’s homes, but that obligation will not exist to the same extent at Lithgow, because, as the evidence shows, some employees of the Factory have already built their homes, and others are building, while others, again, are renting houses from private persons. On this subject, Mr. Ryan, to whom I have already referred, states -
As to the evidence given before the Committee that twenty acres of land in Lithgow were obtained at a cost of f 10,000, or £500 per acre, I can only say that when the Government go into the land market they will find - I think it is the general rule - that the owner of land is not very modest in his demands. I was speaking of the purchase of a large area of land when I mentioned £50 or £60 per acre as the price at which the Government would probably bc able to secure it.
On this question we have also a statement made by the then mayor of Lithgow, Mr. Robert Pillans, who, for all I know to the contrary, may be the mayor at the present time. It might be said that his evidence on this point is of a very general character, but I would have honorable senators remember that the evidence which is supposed to be in conflict with it is of a more vague character still. I refer to the evidence indicated by the Minister that the land required for extension would cost some extraordinary sum, because the authority for that statement. Colonel Owen, admits that he had no precise area in his mind at the time. As a matter of fact, it is a. random guess. Now, Mr. Pillans, in his evidence on the 11th May, in answer to the chairman, said -
The Small Arms Factory is situated within the municipality of Lithgow, and there is a large area of land close to the works suitable for any extension of the Factory. On the opposite side of tlie road from the present Factory, between tlie rille range and the academy, there is a considerable stretch of country of a suitable character: that is the land adjoining the western boundary of the Factory ground. That land runs right up to the main road, and on the opposite side of the road there is a good portion of fairly level land suitable for factories or workmen’s dwellings. That land belongs to Mr. J. L. Brown, from whom the land on’ which the Factory is now situated was bought. I should say £50 to f CO per acre is a reasonable valuation for good building land in that vicinity. The land which is now being built on has been sold at prices ranging from £1 to £3 per foot for picked blocks. The land to which I refer as being suitable for Factory extenson and workmen’s dwellings is higher than the land which has been built on, although it is somewhat farther away from the mines and the ironworks.
The price mentioned by the Minister was evidently an exaggeration of the price at which suitable land could be obtained. Are we to take up land on the. city side of the Factory, at an enormous cost, in order to overcome a difficulty of that kind ?
– Does the honorable senator think that Mr. Brown would sell the land at the price named by Mr. Pillans ?
– I do not know Mr. Brown, and am not in a position to say whether he would or not. The gentleman who gave this evidence is the Mayor of Lithgow, and he gave it, I assume, with a due sense of the responsibility of his utterance.
– He does not say that Mr. Brown would sell the land at that price, but that that is what he thinks would be a reasonable price.
– We had to get the best evidence we could.
– It is all a guess.
– “Undoubtedly ; but this was not such a wild and random guess as that on which the Minister’s statement was based.
– It is just about as wild .
– It is not nearly so wild, because the gentleman who made the guess on which the Minister has based his statement made it with regard to land which he could not indicate. He could not indicate any land about Lithgow that would cost the price he mentioned.
– He indicated land in front of the Factory.
– He indicated land used as business premises in Lithgow. The land in front of the Factory is 11 J acres in extent, but Colonel Owen did not take the value of that land ; but reasoned from it the value of land the existence and precise situation of which he could not indicate. He frankly admitted that himself. Later on in his evidence, Mr. Pillans said -
We have not had time to make the roads on the newly-built portions of the town.
– That is rather thin. We asked him to make a road to the Factory months ago.
– I and other honorable senators have asked members of the present and other Governments to do certain things; and, though we may have been surprised that they were not done the next day, the Governments have had other work to do. So has the Lithgow municipal council. The mayor gave a reason for his statement. He said -
We have not had time to make the roads on the newly-built portions of the town, because, as I have explained, the sub-division was taken over too hastily. There are no vacant houses in the town. Every fortnight the council deals with from six to ten applications for building permits. The present building operations are mainly on the subdivision between the Small Arms Factory and Main-street, but new buildings are being erected all over the place. T do not think that there would be any trouble about the housing of additional men if the Factory were increased. The extra 700 men whom the Factory may require will not arrive here immediately in one body.
Later on it will bo found, at page 14, that he said, in answer to myself -
There is plenty of land available for the extension of the Factory. None of it has been reclaimed, nor do I think it requires reclamation. Some of the land on the north side of the Factory has been levelled up, in order to improve the entrance to the factory. Prior to that the land was sloping towards Main-street for some distance. The land I am recommending is in its natural state, and is on about the same level as the land now occupied by the Factory. It would allow of the existing buildings being continued, and would not require tlie extension to be a separate structure.
In answer to Mr. Sampson, it will be found, at page 15, that he said -
If several hundred additional men were brought into the Factory within a short period, 1 think they could be accommodated in Lithgow. In the case of a sudden influx of workmen, I would suggest that the Federal Government should acquire, a subdivision for their employees. The only evidence I can give to the Committee as to the willingness of private capitalists to build extensively in order to meet any increased demand for houses is that there are several men in Lithgow who are building continually.
– Does the honorable senator propose to read the whole of the report ?
– No; I am reading portions of the evidence of competent witnesses as to the amount of land available.
– Carefully selected portions.
– I am not going to read matter that is irrelevant, or which lias no bearing upon the issues raised by the motion. I am selecting the portions of the evidence that are relevant to that issue.
– In order to relieve himself of the imputation that he is reading only carefully selected portions of the evidence, the honorable senator should read the lot.
– The Minister seems to desire that I should do so.
– The honorable senator does not quote the evidence of Mr. Wright where lie states that the value of land alongside the Factory is £830 an acre.
– Does Senator Lynch desire that I shall read the whole of the evidence? If I did so, the motion would never be carried. If honorable senators would themselves carefully read the whole of the evidence, without any preconceived opinion, they would not entertain the motion for a moment. I am convinced of that. There are conflicting statements in the evidence; but, allowing for all that, I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that if it were submitted to an impartial man, without any preconceived opinions on the subject, he could come to only one conclusion, and that is that the Factory should be continued at Lithgow, and that the original proposition for its extension should be carried out.
There is one other matter to which the Minister made reference in the course of his remarks, and that is that there is already in existence at Canberra a power-house from which the necessary power could be obtained for operating the Factory. There is a power-house, but it is not yet completely installed. That is to say, there is not at the present time in that power-house the whole of the machinery with which it is intended it should be equipped.
– I understand that there is now.
– That may be the case; but even when the full machinery required is installed, the power which the existing power-house will be able to supply will not be sufficient to meet the whole of the requirements of the Federal Territory within the next few years. In view of that, the departmental officers who appeared before the Public Works Committee have intimated that in the course of a few years it will be necessary for the arsenal to have its own power plant. There will be other demands upon the power-house at present in existence at Canberra. There is the current required for the Cotter pumping scheme. There is the Duntroon Military College, the general lighting of the city, and, incidentally, demands for power in different parts of the Federal Territory. If there is to be anything in the nature of a tramway scheme, power will be required for that. Sooner or later, and possibly sooner rather than later, there must be a tramway scheme, because the area of the Federal Capital is somewhat extensive. It will not be a congested city, in which people will be crowded together. It will be a city of comparatively magnificent distances, which cannot be always conveniently travelled on foot. So that a tramway system must be established earlier in the history of Canberra than has been found necessary in most modern cities. That system will have to make a call upon the power supplied by the existing power-house. Recent evidence given before the Committee by the official representative of the Department of Home Affairs indicated particular demauds, and estimated what they would be, upon the power generated at tlie existing power-house.
– Has the honorable senator any evidence to the effect that the present power plant will be sufficient for a factory having double the capacity of the Lithgow Factory?
– Undoubtedly there is evidence that the present power plant could for a time supply sufficient power for a factory that would duplicate the Lithgow Factory ; but we have been warned that the existing power-house cannot be expected to meet the demand for power when the arsenal of the Commonwealth and all our Government factories are established at Canberra. We have been told that the increased demand for power which would be made by the arsenal will have to be provided for by a separate plant.
Reference has been made in the course of the debate to the facilities and conveniences afforded by the two localities. A reference has been made to the cost of coal at Lithgow and at Canberra. It has to be remembered that the electric power generated at Canberra is not generated by hydraulic power, but by the consumption of coal, which must be carried to Canberra.
– What distance?
– I cannot say what is the distance at present. I believe the coal used there now comes from Sydney, but later on it may come from the south coast collieries when we have railway communication established with Jervis Bay. At Lithgow the coal is, to all intents and purposes, on the ground. It costs about 7s. or 8s. per ton. I believe that 8s. 6d. per ton will at all times cover the cost of coal delivered at the Lithgow Factory. The Small Arms Factory is a large consumer of gas, and it is supplied at Lithgow at 3s. 4d. per 1,000 cubic feet. How would theMelbourne people like that ?
– The people of Adelaide would like it very well.
– So would the people of every capital city of the Commonwealth. The low price charged at Lithgow is due to the fact that Lithgow is a coal district. Water in unlimited quantity is provided at Lithgow at 3d. per 1,000 gallons. In the city from which I come, and where we feel very proud of our water supply, we have to pay 9d. per 1,000 gallons, and the Commonwealth Government have had the offer made to them to provide a water supply for the Flinders Naval Base at something like1s. 6d. per 1,000 gallons by the Melbourne andMetropolitan Board of Works. Lithgow provides the Small Arms Factory with water at 3d. per 1,000 gallons, and the municipal council regret that they cannot provide it at a cheaper rate. They would do so but for the fact that the law compels them to sell at not less than 3d. per 1,000 gallons. These factors cannot be eliminated from consideration when we are asked to determine this matter.
There is this outstanding fact, that the Lithgow Factory is in existence and in active operation. Both Mr. Wright and Mr. Ratcliffe said they would not select the Lithgow site as an ideal site for the Small Arms Factory if we were beginning its establishment again. But each of them said that the Factory is there, and is a going concern, and each expressed doubt as to the wisdom of removing it. It is a goingconcern, and what are we asked to do ? At this critical juncture in the history of the Commonwealth we are asked to remove it to Canberra. On general principles I do not think that it should be removed, but every reason there is against its removal to Canberra is multiplied ten-fold when we come to considerwhat we are requiring of the Factory now. We are requiring an increased output, not in the dim and distant future, but immediately or sooner if possible. I think we should be making a fatal mistake if we proceeded with the removal of the Factor from Lithgow to Canberra atthis juncture. It will be some time before a factory is erected at Canberra, and it will take some little time to transfer the machinery now at Lithgow to the Federal Capital. At page 8 of the report it will be found that Mr. Wright gave the following evidence in answer to Senator Story: -
I do not favour the proposal to erect an additional unit of the Factory at Canberra, with a view to the ultimate removal there of the Lithgow plant. The supervision of two establishments so widely apart would present serious difficulties. You suggest that I and the assistant manager might be able to run the two establishments without serious inconvenience or loss during the time they would necessarily have to be conducted as separate concerns; but that would be a very difficult job. I have moved a factory a distanceof 60 miles, and attended to the work at the old and the new sites; but there we had good facilities for travelling backwards and forwards between the two places. We had the best of railway facilities. We could load up a train at 5 o’clock in the evening, and unload the cars at 7 o’clock next morning. There would be no advantage in being able to run the railway trucks with our material right up to the Factory, instead of carrying it by motor-lorry as at present.
That is Mr. Wright’s view as to the difficulties which would attend the transfer.
What is it proposed to do ? We are asked to indicate to those who are interested in the turn-out of rifles at Lithgow that it is proposed at the earliest possible date to transfer their activities to Canberra. We know that there is room at Lithgow to extend the Factory and to establish workmen’s homes in the vicinity. We know that there is any number of homes there which may be rented. We know that about ninety-five of the men have built, or are building, their own homes. We know that they view with dismay this prospect of transfer ; we know that practically the whole of their savings have been set aside for the purpose of building permanent homes at Lithgow, and now they are to be told that they are to be shifted. What sort of efficiency do honorable senators think that they are likely to get from the men with the ever-present threat of the roof that is over their head no longer sheltering them ?
The whole of the evidence discloses that the best course for us to follow would be to extend the present Factory. That being, in my opinion, the best course to follow, even in normal conditions, I think that we should do notiling at this juncture which would im- pair the morale or efficiency of the staff. I can conceive of nothing which is more calculated to impair that efficiency than to upset their balance, so to speak, by the prospect of shifting the Factory and removing the men from the homes which they have been sedulously building up. I sincerely hope that honorable senators will give this matter their consideration, and go through the evidence, and, apart from the sentimental considerations, which are very strong, I trust that they will consider the inadvisableness at this juncture, if they do not consider it generally, of adopting the motion.
– As one of the members of the Public Works Committee who recommended the removal of the Small Arms Factory to Canberra, I desire to say a few words. I wish to enter a protest against the action of honorable members of both Houses who, with the object of bolstering up the cause they believe in, have misrepresented the principal officer in the Home Affairs Department. Colonel Owen was attacked in another place, and I think that Senator Keating was most unfair in dealing with the evidence given by that officer. Take the one point with regard to the value of land. Colonel Owen was asked by a member of the Committee to give an estimate of the cost of land at Lithgow. He explained that he had no data on which to give a correct estimate, but he estimated that the value of land would be about £200 per acre. He was taken to task on that by members of the Committee. Senator Keating has criticised him to-night, because he said that Colonel Owen was not able to point to any particular block of land on which he could put a special value. The honorable senator knows as well as I know that Colonel Owen explained to him how it was that he arrived at that value.
– No; not until after the impression had been established that he was referring to the particular land required.
– Colonel Owen gave that explanation before Senator Keating made the remarks he delivered here tonight.
– He said nothing further than what I have said.
– The honorable senator knows that Colonel Owen explained that he had nothing tangible to go upon. He did not know the value of land in different localities, but he took prices which he knew had been paid for land in various places, and arrived at what he considered a very conservative estimate of what the land would cost if the Government had to purchase it for extending the Factory or building workmen’s houses. We know, and Senator Keating is aware, that very recently the valuator employed by the Government valued some of the land near the Factory at nearly £650 per acre. Senator Keating read some of the evidence of Mr. Wright, buthe did not tell the Senate that, in his evidence, that witness pointed out that, adjacent to the Factory, there were 13 acres of land which could not be purchased for less than about £850 per acre. One of the workmen who said that he had purchased land told the Committee that he had to pay at the rate of £250 per acre for his piece. The whole of the evidence went to show that if the Government wished to purchase any land for extending the Factory; or erecting workmen’s houses, they would have to pay a very high price indeed.
– How far is the Factory from tlie centre of Lithgow ?
– About a mile. As soon as it was proposed to extend the Lithgow Factory the price of land went up. Senator Keating quoted the evidence of the Mayor, who did not give a direct valuation, but merely expressed the opinion that land could be purchased at about £50 or £60 per acre. I may say that he was a special pleader, for he wanted extra work to be done there. Land might possibly be purchased within a few miles of Lithgow at that price, but I remind the Senate that the object ot providing residences for the workmen employed in the Factory in tlie first place
WAS to induce them to go and live at Lithgow. Mr. Wright, in his evidence, pointed out that they had very great difficulty in inducing men to remain there. Some men went there, and started to work in the Factory, but found that the surroundings were depressing, that the climate did not suit them, and that the educational facilities for children were insufficient. It is very easy for Senator Keating, or any other honorable senator, to take the report, and pick out pieces of evidence here and there to bolster up the case he is advocating. But I think that if honorable senators will carefully read the whole of the evidence they can come to only one conclusion, and that is that land at Lithgow is scarce and dear. It has been pointed out by Senator Lynch that the principal witnesses, Mr. Wright, Mr. Ratcliffe, and Captain Clarkson, agreed that Lithgow was an unsuitable place. They agreed certainly that it was undesirable at, the present moment to remove the Factory, but when Colonel Owen was called before the Committee, he, as Director-General of Works, thought it was his duty to advise that in all probability the Small Arms Factory was merely the nucleus of a Commonwealth arsenal which would embrace not only the manufacture of small arms, but the manufacture of machine guns, pistols, field guns, heavy gun cordite, ammunition, and other things. It must be patent to any one who gives proper consideration to the matter that an arsenal should be on Federal Territory, and absolutely under Federal control. There is a number of reasons in favour of the view, but I will give only one. It is within the bounds oi possibility that one, or some, of the States may declare war against the Commonwealth.
– Is this a threat from South Australia?
– The State which the honorable senator represents has, on two occasions, if not more, defied the Commonwealth. If there is a State about which any uneasiness might be felt in that regard it is the State so ably represented by him. On page 3 of the report honorable senators will find a statement in which Colonel Owen gave a number of reasons why the Small Arms Factory should be established at Canberra. Another argument of Senator Keating, which he rather laboured, and in which I think there is nothing, was that if the Commonwealth arsenal is established in one place we shall leave ourselves open to the possibility of having the whole of it destroyed by a hostile seaplane with bombs. It must be obvious to any honorable senator that if we had half-a-dozen or a dozen munition factories the enemy would have a plan of every one, and would know exactly where to go, and drop bombs. But the counter argument is that in the Federal Capital we shall have some magnificent buildings, and that all the valuable documents of the Commonwealth will be stored there. As a matter of fact, everything that is most worth defending will be centred there. Of course, it will be necessary to provide defences for the city against possible aerial raids. Anybody who has visited Canberra, and has observed the site for the proposed arsenal, will recognise that it will be extremely easy to defend that establishment. The one scheme of defence will suffice alike for the arsenal and for the public buildings of the city. In addition, it will involve very much less expense to concentrate all the factories associated with our defence in the Federal Territory than it would to have them scattered over the continent. However, I do not desire to labour this point. Anybody who considers the question in all its bearings must admit that the arsenal would be very much more secure in the neighbour hood of the Federal Capital than it would be elsewhere. Senator Keating and some other honorable senators have complained of the action of the Government in submitting this motion to the Senate. Hitherto, these gentlemen have protested that this Chamber has not been consulted in regard to certain matters equally with the House of Representatives, and that, consequently, an attempt has been made to lower its status. Now, however, merely because a proposal has been submitted of which they do not approve, they roundly declare that the Government are humbugging the Senate.
– Senator Turley said that.
– Exactly. Senator Keating said that the Government had initiated an academic discussion, merely for tlie purpose of amusing the Chamber. Yet he occupied an hour and a-half in putting his view of the case.
– That was because the other side had been put. I had to answer it.
– To my mind, a very good precedent has been established in connexion with this motion. The Government have recognised that the Senate should be consulted on questions of this character. Both Senator Keating ‘and Senator Turley stressed the fact that the Public Works Committee Act lays it down that that Committee must report to the House of Representatives, and not to this Chamber. That is perfectly true; and if the question involved on this occasion had been that of the desirableness or otherwise of extending the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow, only another place would have been consulted. But for various reasons the Public Works Committee decided to recommend the removal of the Factory from Lithgow to Canberra.
– If the Senate adopts this motion, and the ether branch of the Legislature rejects it, what will happen ?
– I can tell Senator Millen what might happen. If a Bill authorizing the removal of the Factory from Lithgow to Canberra were passed by the Senate in two consecutive sessions, it might be referred to the people of Australia for their decision. Certainly, the question is of quite as much importance as are some of the matters upon which the electors have been consulted. If the Senate twice passed such a measure, I believe that the present advisers of the Governor-General would recommend its submission to the people. When the Federal Capital Site was under consideration here, those who favoured the early establishment of the Seat of Government there, urged that all
Commonwealth utilities should be centred there. Senator McDougall, who is opposing this motion, admitted yesterday that he had advocated the establishment of all Commonwealth factories at Canberra. My own view is that if there is one industry more than another which’ should be located there it is that of the manufacture of munitions of war.
– Does the honorable senator really think that rifles can be manufactured more cheaply at Canberra than they can be at Lithgow ?
– I do.
– For what reason?
– Because the supply of power is cheaper at Canberra, and the Factory and workmen’s homes can be constructed there at very much less cost than they can be at Lithgow. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that cottages at Canberra, for which the workmen will have to pay only 10s. ner week, will be very much superior to the dwellings for which they are now paying 13s. 6d. per week at Lithgow.
– How does that affect Mie question of the cost of the rifles?
– When these advantages can be obtained, expert workmen will be satisfied to accept a less wage than they would demand in places where the conditions were not so genial. Mr. Wright has already pointed out the difficulty which he experiences in retaining men at Lithgow. At Canberra, it will he possible to establish what is known as a garden suburb, and to allocate a quarter of an acre of land to every house.
– What would be the annual rent for a quarter of an acre?
– It would cost less than 30s.
– -W.hat would be annual rental? “
– I will leave that to the honorable senator to determine. The annual rent would not be worth considering. I do not agree that all factories should be located at Canberra. I believe that for a long time to come it will be much more economical for the Department to have a clothing factory established in each of our capital cities.
– Would the honorable senator have the woollen mills located at Canberra!
– The Minister of Defence has already pointed out that the best woollen expert available reported on the most eligible site for a woollen mill, and that he ultimately selected Geelong. He gave his reasons for so doing.
– What were they?
– He stated that in the manufacture of wool a certain quality of water is absolutely essential. He examined Canberra, and pointed out that whilst the climate might be suitable, the water there was altogether unsuitable. There are other reasons why, for a time at least, the woollen mills should not be established at Canberra. But had Canberra been established before the Small Arms Factory was called into existence, I venture to say that that establishment would have been located there. All the witnesses agree that it is the more suitable site. The only objection which has been urged against it relates either to the cost of its removal or to the delay which will be incurred in connexion with that removal. Hence it has been stated that the war may be over before the Factory can be built at Canberra, and consequently we are assured that it would be idle to establish it there. A good deal of special pleading on behalf of the workers in the Factory has been indulged in by honorable senators, who, as a rule, do not exhibit_much interest in that direction. They have argued that the workmen should not be obliged to sell their homes at Lithgow for less than they paid for them. But does it not occur fo them that even if the workman lost £50 upon the price which he paid for his land, so long as he could go to Canberra and secure twice as much land-
– Would the honorable senator sell the land at Canberra ?
– The men can have the full use of it, and that will be just as good as if they held it in freehold. I do not suppose that Senator Millen is suggesting that the workmen at the Small Arms Factory are likely to go in for land speculation.
– They are not averse to a little speculation of that kind.
– In the course of this debate, much stress has been laid upon the loss and inconvenience that the men would suffer, and tlie expense and loss of time that would be incurred in moving machinery from Lithgow to Canberra; but all these arguments are answered by the evidence comprised in the report by the Public Works Committee. We know that we cannot get the machinery until the buildings are erected ; and we know, also, that there is an abundant supply of the raw material for buildings at Canberra, and that the houses could be erected at an enormously lower cost than if built in any other part of Australia. This fact will more than compensate for the cost of moving the machinery to the Federal Territory; and with regard to the loss of time in the manufacture of rifles, I am sure that the advantage of having the Factory on our own Territory will more than compensate for that also. If the majority of the present Parliament decided that it was desirable to duplicate the Factory at Lithgow now, hundreds more workmen would build their homes there; and if in fifteen or twenty years’ time a more intelligent Parliament than this decided that it was essential to have the arsenal, including the Small Arms Factory, at Canberra, there would be a much greater loss than if the change were made now. May I point out that, according to Colonel Owen, now is the time to make the change, for at present the loss would be comparatively insignificant, and the advantages would be very great indeed. I feel sure that, looking ahead twenty or fifty years, it is right that we should place our national arsenal on national territory. Then, again, the establishment of this Factory at Canberra will materially assist in settling a population on Federal Territory which otherwise must remain sparsely populated for a very long time. The only justification for spending any more money at Canberra within the next few years will be the establishment of this Factory there, because it will lead to the immediate settlement of 4,000 or 5,000 people, who might be regarded as the nucleus of the city which we all hope will ultimately be one of the big centres of population in Australia. On the other hand, should the Factory at Lithgow be duplicated, there will be nothing at the present time to take one to Canberra except a few hundred workmen engaged in the erection of public buildings. Does any one imagine that the fact that the Parliament House and administrative offices will be at Canberra, will make a
Capital city of the place? It will be necessary, of course, to have industries of some sort. We cannot assume that private manufacturers will go to the Federal Territory and establish factories, when they can get nearer to their markets at Melbourne and Sydney, and the other large towns of the Commonwealth.
SenatorBakhap. - Does not that prove that manufacturing will be very expensive at Canberra, as compared with manufacturing in other towns ?
– It does not prove anything of the sort. I am willing to concede, however, that possibly private manufacturers would find it more difficult to carry on undertakings at Canberra than at Melbourne or Sydney ; but in this particular matter we are dealing with an industry which it is very desirable should not be established in either Melbourne or Sydney, or in any large town near the sea coast. The establishment of the Small Arms Factory on our Federal Territory will accelerate the progress of the place, and give it an impetus which will help to make it a city a generation sooner than if the Small Arms Factory were not removed to that site. I hope the motion will be carried, although, as Senator Millen interjected, in itself it may not have very much effect. It will, however, show the other branch of the Legislature that the Senate is of opinion that, this course ought to be adopted, in the interests of the Commonwealth. I think, also, that the adoption of the motion will fortify the Government in giving effect to the policy of establishing the arsenal in the Federal Territory. I hope the motion will be carried, and that the Government will have the courage to start the work immediately.
Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.
– I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
I desire to say that to-morrow I propose to bring forward a motion “ That the
Senate at its rising adjourn till Tuesday next,” and I make the announcement now in order that honorable senators may direct their arrangements accordingly.
– I desire to bring under the notice of the Minister of Defence a matter relating to a number of recruits from Tasmania. I am informed, on indisputable authority, that 109 men who came over from Tasmania some weeks ago received theirlast pay in the Tasmanian camp on the 26th of last month, and have not received any money since then. The Broadmeadows pay-sheet went in on Saturday last, but these men have not received any payment, and they cannot get any information as to when they are likely to get it, or why it has been withheld.
– Can the honorable senator tell me the battalion they are in ?
– No, I cannot tell the Minister that; but they are wondering why they have not been paid, and they cannot get any information from their officers.
– I will have inquiries made into the matter, and in order that I may do so, I will ask the honorable senator to let me have the proof of his remark to-morrow.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.57 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 August 1915, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1915/19150819_SENATE_6_78/>.