27 October 1915

6th Parliament · 1st Session

The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Assent to the following Bills reported -

Income Tax Assessment Bill.

Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill (No. 3).

Compulsory Voting Bill.

Commonwealth Public Service Bill.

Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Bill.

War Precautions Bill (No. 3).

Freight Arrangements Bill.

Income Tax Bill.

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High Commissioner

Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

– May I be permitted to make a statement to the Senate in connexion with the resignation of Mr. Fisher and the formation of a new Ministry ?

Leave granted.

SenatorPEARCE. - I have to announce to the Senate that the Right Honorable Andrew Fisher yesterday tendered his resignation to the GovernorGeneral, and that His Excellency, has been pleased to accept it. His Excellency thereupon requested the Honorable William Morris Hughes to form an Administration, and he has done so, and has allotted the offices as follow: -

Attorney-General. - The Honorable William Morris Hughes

Minister of State for Defence. - The Honorable George Foster Pearce

Minister of State for Trade and Customs. - The- Honorable Frank Gwynne Tudor

Minister of State for External Affairs. - The Honorable Hugh Mahon

Minister of State for the Navy. - The Honorable Jens August Jensen.

Treasurer. - The Honorable William Guy Higgs

Minister of State for Home Affairs. - The Honorable King O’Malley.

Postmaster-General. - The Honorable William Webster. “Vice-President of the Executive Council. - The Honorable Albert Gardiner.

Assistant Minister. - The Honorable Edward John Russell

The late Prime Minister has been appointed High Commissioner for the Commonwealth in the United Kingdom.

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Message from the King.

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia- -

Minister of Defence) [3.7].- May I have the permission of the Senate to read a message from His Majesty the King, and the reply of the Government thereto ?

Leave granted.

Senator PEARCE:

– The following is a copy of a cablegram, dated London, 22nd October, 1915, received by the GovernorGeneral from the Secretary of State -

Tomy People -

At tbis grave moment in the struggle between my people and a highly-organized enemy, who has transgressed the law of nations and changed the Ordinance that binds civilized Europe together, I appeal to you.

I rejoice in my Empire’s effort, and I feel pride in the voluntary response from’ my subjects all over the world, who have sacrificed home, fortune, and life itself, in order that another may not inherit the free Empire which their ancestors and mine have built.

I ask you to make good these sacrifices.

The end is not in sight. More men, and yet more, are wanted to keep my armies in the field, and through them to secure victory and enduring peace.

In ancient days the darkest moment has ever produced in men of our race the sternest resolve.

I ask you, men of all classes, to come forward voluntarily and take your share in the fight.

In freely responding to my appeal, you will be giving your support to our brothers, who for long months have nobly upheld Britain’s past traditions and the glory of her arms.


To this message His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, on the 25th October, despatched the following reply by cable to the Secretary of State : -

I feel confident that Your Majesty’s message will evoke patriotic response from the people of the Commonwealth, and. will tend greatly to augment the ranks of the 160,000 Australians who have already provided an assurance of the whole-hearted co-operation and determination of Australia to carry the war to a successful issue.

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The following papers were presented : -

Report by Mr. R. McC. Anderson upon the Department of Home Affairs; together with preliminary notes thereon by the Acting Secretary of the Department.

Ordered to be printed.

Census and Statistics Act. - Regulation - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 176.

Customs Act 1901-14. - Regulations amended, &c- Statutory Rules 1915, No. 156.

Defence Act 1903-15. - Regulations amended, fee-

Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 160, 161, 162. 163, 165, 172, 173, 192.

Dominions Royal Commission - Minutes of Evidence taken in the Maritime Provinces of Canada in 1914.

European War - Statement issued by the Foreign Office respecting the AngloGerman negotiations of 1912.

Fisheries - Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour, 1909-14 -

Vol. III., Part 5.

Vol. III., Part 6.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired under, at -

Abermain, New South Wales - For- Postal purposes.

Adelaide, South Australia - For Postal purposes.

Amungula, Majura, and Molonglo, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Avoca, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Bright, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Chiltern, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Dutton Park, Queensland - For Defence purposes.

Ginmuderra and Goorooyarroo, partly in Federal Territory and partly in New South Wales (2)- For Federal Capital purposes.

Goorooyarroo, partly in Federal Territory and partly in New South Wales - For Federal Capital purposes.

Goorooyarroo, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Liverpool, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Majura, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Mullumbimby, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Pialligo and Goorooyarroo, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Tarcoola. South Australia - For Railway purposes.

Thirroul, New South Wales- For Postal purposes

Thursday Island, Queensland - For Postal purposes.

Twin Hills, Queensland - For Postal purposes.

Land Tax Assessment Act 1910-14 - Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1915. No. 150.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended, &c-

Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 157, 158, 185, 186, 193.

Norfolk Island - Report of the Administrator for the year ended 30th June, 1915.

Northern Territory -

Ordinances of 1915 -

No. 6.- District Council (No. 2).

No. 7 - Darwin Town Council

No. 8 - Liquor.

Papua -

Ordinances of 1915 -

No. 2. - Supplementary Appropriation (No. 2).

No. 3- Supply 1915-16 (No. 1).

Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations amended, &c. -

Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 118, 122, 142, 146, 147, 148, 153, 164, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 177, 178, 180, 181, 188, 189

Public Service Act -

Promotions -

Prime Minister’s Department -

Department of the Treasury -

Pensions and Maternity Allowances Branch, Central Staff; T. H. Pitt, as Clerk, 4th Class, Pensions and Maternity Allowances Branch (Pensions), Victoria; E. W. J. Moore, as Clerk, 4th Class, Pensions and Maternity Allowances Branch (Pensions), Victoria.

Department of Home Affairs -

Department of Defence -

Postmaster-General’s Department -

Regulations amended, &c. -

Statutory Rules, 1915, Nos. 159, 166, 182.

War Precautions Act - Regulations -

Statutory Rules 1915,Nos. 183, 184, 191.

Wireless Telegraphy Act - Regulations amended, &c. -

Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 139, 179.

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Cases of Dr. Ramsay Smith and Dr. Barrett

Senator STORY:

– Has LieutenantColonel Ramsay Smith asked for an inquiry into the reasons for His recall, and, if so, is it intended to grant the request?

Senator PEARCE:

– I believe LieutenantColonel Ramsay Smith has made a request for an inquiry, but I have suspended action until the reports upon which the recommendation of the Army Council was based, and which have been asked for, are received.

Senator de Largie:

– Does that answer apply also to Dr. Barrett?

Senator PEARCE:

– Yes.

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Senator BARNES:

– Will the Minister place on the table of the Library all the correspondence and papers regarding recommendations for promotion, &c, in connexion with Lieutenant H. C. Henerie ?

Senator PEARCE:

– The papers will be laid on the table of the Library this afternoon.

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Senator TURLEY:

– When are we likely to get the return, ordered by the Senate on the 25th August, relating to the expenditure in connexion with works, buildings, and additions in the various States?


– I shall see that the Department responsible for furnishing the return is reminded of the order made by the Senate, and endeavour to have the matter expedited.

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Melbourne Cup - Treatment of Wounded Australian Soldiers in London - Christmas Gifts.

Senator BARNES:

– Will the Minister of Defence make provision to enable all members of the Expeditionary Force now in camp at Broadmeadows, who desire to do so, to attend the Melbourne Cup.

Senator PEARCE:

– I will give the suggestion consideration.

Senator LYNCH:

– I wish to ask the Minister of Defence whether his attention has been drawn to a statement appearing in the Sydney Bulletin of 23rd September, on the authority of a wounded Australian soldier in London, to the effect that himself and his fellow wounded soldiers received the least attention from the High Commissioner and his staff in London, and whether it has come to the Minister’s knowledge that the High Commissioner and his staff have done all that could be desired for wounded Australian soldiers in London?

Senator PEARCE:

– On this question, I should like to say that our channel of communication for information is, of course, the High Commissioner’s office. The reports we have received through that channel are from the officers deputed by the High Commissioner to visit the various hospitals. In all these reports it is certainly claimed that every attention has been given to Australian wounded soldiers. The chief cause of complaint amongst them at first was that, being under British Army regulations, no money was payable to them whilst they were in hospital. There is a reason for that. The High Commissioner, however, inaugurated a system of chits, by which men were able to get whatever comforts they desired without actually obtaining money, the goods being purchased and debited to them. . The reason for refusing to allow them to draw money whilst they are in hospital is that it is feared that men who are invalids might purchase something which would be injurious. This particular complaint is overcome by the inauguration of the system of chits, by which the men can obtain what they require if the medical officer in charge sees no objection to them doing so. We are informed that, since this system was inaugurated, the complaints have practically died away. I may add that information received from other sources, that of visitors to hospitals in England, who have thought it well to correspond with the Department, indicates that the conditions were very favorable. We have not lately seen any complaints from wounded soldiers. The only recent complaint made was that by Mr. B. R. Wise, the Agent-General for New South Wales, and’ inquiries are now being made as to the justification for the statements made by him.

Senator LONG:

– I ask the Minister of Defence whether, in view of the fact that Christmas is approaching, special arrangements have been made to enable the relatives and friends of Australian soldiers at the front to have parcels containing Christmas cheer promptly and safely delivered to them?

Senator PEARCE:

– Arrangements of the kind referred to have been made ; but, in order that I may supply honorable senators with, a statement in detail, I shall be glad if Senator Long will put his question on the notice-paper.

Senator KEATING:

– I ask the Minister of Defence if he will take into consideration, in connexion with any such provision, the desirability of making it extend, not only to our troops in Egypt and at Gallipoli, but also to Australian soldiers at Basra, and other places near the Persian Gulf. The Minister might consider whether arrangements could not be made with the Government of India to have parcels transmitted by them at rates equivalent to those to be paid on parcels transmitted to Egypt and Gallipoli ?

Senator PEARCE:

– I shall also take that suggestion into consideration in supplying the information that has been asked for.

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Senator DE LARGIE:

– Some time ago, I asked a question of the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs concerning the staffs engaged in connexion with the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway, at the head office, and at the Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta offices. I asked for a return showing the number of officers employed at each of these offices. I should like to know whether the Minister is prepared now to furnish the return ?

Senator RUSSELL:
Assistant Minister · VICTORIA · ALP

– I am not in a position to give the honorable senator a reply at once, but further inquiries will be made to see how the matter stands.

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Senator O’KEEFE:

– Will the Minister of Defence say whether any complaints have reached him from “ contractors who have deposited certain sums of money with the Department for materials, to the effect that when the materials have not been supplied to them their deposits have not been returned within a reasonable time?

Senator PEARCE:

– I have not had complaints of that character, and if Senator O’Keefe knows of such cases, I should like him to supply me with specific information, so that I may endeavour to have the grievances remedied. Complaints have been made by contractors that, whilst paying money into the Department for material, the Department has owed them money for manufactured goods sup plied. That has been rectified where money is owing to contractors by the Department, by permitting them to draw material against it.

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Business of the Session.

Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

– I move -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

I direct the attention of honorable senators to the fact that, as a new Government has just been formed, we are not in a position to indicate what legislation will be introduced. Certain legislation of an urgent character had been prepared which it was considered necessary to pass before Parliament adjourned. That legislation must now come before the new Cabinet, which was formed only this morning, and has therefore had no opportunity for itsconsideration. There is one Bill which will be introduced to-morrow, and we hope gone on with.

Senator Millen:

– Here?

Senator PEARCE:

– Yes. I refer to a Bill to amend the Quarantine Act. Probably another Bill will also be introduced to-morrow.

Senator Millen:

– Can the Minister mention the name of that Bill now?

Senator PEARCE:

– I am not in a position to mention it now. Honorable senators will realize that, in the circumstances1, I cannot be expected to make a more definite statement this afternoon. It is the intention of the Government that Bills which are not money Bills shall be introduced and’ discussed here this week. Money Bills have to be introduced in another place, and they will be introduced this week, that they may be sent on for discussion in the Senate next week. We hope that it will be possible to adjourn on the 5th November.

Senator Guthrie:

– Upon what days do the Government propose to sit next week ?

Senator PEARCE:

– I cannot say, because we do not yet know what business there will be; but it may be necessary to sit an extra day during next week. I do not suppose, however, that that day will be Tuesday.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 3.31 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 October 1915, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.