6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I give notice of my intention to move, on Wednesday next, that in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act Senator Needham be appointed a member of the Public Works Committee, in place of Senator Lynch, resigned.
– An appointment under the Act will be made in a similar way to the appointment of a Select Committee. When the Minister for Defence moves his motion on Wednesday next, it will be open to Senator Gardiner to move an amendment. However, notice can be handed in, and it will be equivalent to an amendment.
Scale of Rations : State of Hospitals
– I shall be glad if the Minister for Defence is now in a position to reply to the “‘following questions, which I asked the other day: -
SenatorPEARCE. - The answer is as follows: - 1 and 2. The following is the scale of rations issued to the Australian troops in . Egypt : -
Fresh meat, 1 lb., or preserved meat, one ration.
Bread, 11 lbs., nominal, or biscuit or flour, ¾ lb.
Bacon, 4 ozs.
Milk, 112th tin.
Jam, 3 ozs.
Fresh vegetables, 8 ozs.
Potatoes, 4 ozs.
Cheese, 3 ozs.
Sugar, 3 ozs.
Pepper, l-36th oz.
Mustard, l-50th oz.
Tobaoco or cigarettes, 2 ozs. weekly.
Matches, two boxes weekly.
Bum,¼ gill, or cocoa, 1½ ozs., at discretion of Divisional Commander.
When available Mondays, Fridays, 2 ozs. rice and dried fruit in lien of 4 ozs. fresh vegetables.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, 2 ozs. oatmeal in lien of 4 ozs. fresh vegetables.
Sundays, 4 oz. curry powder in lieu of l-50th oz. mustard.
Units receiving milk, one tin to eight men, as cheese not available. 14th Australian General Hospital, fed under contract.
For mobile columns when specially authorized, dried vegetables, 2 ozs. when potatoes or fresh vegetables not issned.
Wednesdays, Saturdays. 2 ozs. flour and 2 ozs. dried fruit in lieu of “3 ozs. fresh vegetables.
The following is the ration issued to the Australian Imperial Force troops in Australia : -
Bread, 1¼ lbs., or I lb. biscuit.
Fresh meat, 1¼ lbs., or 1 lb. preserved meat or salt fish.
Pepper, l-32nd oz.
Mixed vegetables. 8 ozs., or 2 ozs. cheese.
Potatoes, 1 lb.
Sugar, 3 ozs.
Flour,½ lb. weekly.
Rice,½ lb: weekly.
Curry, 1 oz. weekly.
– Is the Minister for Defence aware that the Convalescent Hospital at Perham Downs, on Salisbury Plain, in England, where Australian soldiers are sent from France, has been described by an Australian soldier as - one of the dirtiest and filthiest holes that convalescent men could be sent to . . . all grouped together in huts, or, to be more explicit, hovels; and there are some in tents which are not even rainproof. Eighty per cent. of the men were coughing and spitting all over the ground. Diseases will kill more men than the Germans.
Will the Minister cause full inquiries to be made by cablegram respecting this complaint?
– Yes, inquiries will be made. I may say that that communication is in direct conflict with the reports on all the hospitals, not only by military officers, but by visitors to Great Britain and France, which have been received in Australia up to date.
The following papers were presented : -
Internment Camps in United Kingdom : Reports of Visits of Inspection made by Officials of the United States Embassy. (Paper presented to British Parliament.)
Submarines : Treatment in Neutral Waters - Memorandum from Allied Governments to certain Neutral Governments. (Paper presented to British Parliament.)
War Precautions Act 1914-1916. - Regulations. &c- Statutory Rules 1916, No. 259.
Federal Capital : Return showing cost, &c, of Royal Commission of Inquiry.
– Is the Minister for Defence yet in a position to make a statement giving the details of the arrangement which, according to cablegrams, has been made by the Prime Minister with the Imperial authorities concerning the disposal of Australian metals ?
– No, I have not yet received a reply, but I shall make inquiries presently, and the information may be available in the course of the day.
– I desire to know whether the return which the Minister for Works tabled to-day is in reply to the questions I asked a few days ago?
– I said at the time that the honorable senator’s wishes could best be met by tabling a return, and that has been done.
– Can the Minister for Works answer the questions I put to him as to the cost of the Commission inquiring into the affairs at Canberra?
– I could read the information given in the return if the honorable senator desired that, but he can see the return for himself.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister for Works, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to proceed with the construction of the Katherine to Bitter Springs railway, as soon as the section to the Katherine is completed?
– The answer is-
It is anticipated that the railway from Pine Creek to’ Katherine River, upon which about seventy men are now employed, will be completed about April next. The extension to Bitter Springs, a further 64 miles, has been favorably reported on by the Public Works Committee, and a Bill to authorize the construction is now before Parliament. Should the Bill be passed, the prospects of obtaining the ‘necessary material to enable a start to be made immediately the line to Katherine is finished are not very hopeful, as the greatest difficulty is experienced in getting tonnage to take sleepers to Darwin, and it is considered unlikely that the necessary rails can be procured by that time.
asked the Minister for
Works, upon notice -
– The answers are-
asked the Minister re presenting the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
In view of the termination of the coal strike, have arrangements been made for the restoration of the Tasmanian-Mainland steam service as existing before the Btrike, and, if so, when will such restoratidn be put into effect?
– The Naval Department advises that it is hoped sufficient coal will be available to enable the full service to be resumed neit week. In the meantime the service is being run’ on the basis of two trips per week.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT
GOULD asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
Have all restrictions been removed forbidding the supply of power to industries by electric and/or gas companies?.
Are such companies now entitled to exercise their own discretion in this regard?
– The answers are -
Motion (by Senator Maughan) agreed to-
That there be laid upon the table of the Senate a return giving details of contracts en tered into, or purchases made, in England by the Commonwealth Government since the outbreak of the war of boots, hats, and clothing for the Australian troops.
– I move -
That Statutory Rule 204 of 1916, under the War Precautions Act 191 4-1916, be disallowed.
Before advancing reasons why this regulation, which is dated 30th August, and was laid on the table of the Senate on the 13th September, should be disallowed, I propose to read it in order that honorable senators may understand exactly its purport.It was made under the powers conferred by the War Precautions Act 1914- 1916, and the notification relating to it reads -
I, the Governor-General in and over the Commonwealth of Australia, acting with the advice of the. Federal Executive Council, hereby make the following regulation under the War Precautions Act 1914-1916, to come into operation forthwith.
Dated this thirtieth day of August, 1916.
ByHis Excellency’s Command,
Regulation 28aa (Statutory Rules1916, Nov 187), which reads as follows: - 28aa (1) No person shall, without lawful authority, print (otherwise than for submission to the censorship in compliancewith this regulation), publish, sell, or distribute any printed matter which refers in any way to the methods of recruiting or raising troops for service in any of His Majesty’s Forces, unless such matter has first been submitted to, and approved by, an officer of the censorship staff, and any person who acts in contravention of thisregulation shall be guilty of an offence against the Act.
Forces,” in sub-paragraph (1), and substituting the words “which relates or refers to the present war or to any subject connected therewith or arising therefrom.”
If this regulation be confirmed it will provide that -
No person shall, without lawful authority, publish, sell, or distribute any printed matter which relates or refers to the present war or to any subject connected therewith, or arising therefrom, unless such matter has first been submitted to, and approved by, an officer of the censorship staff, and any person who acts in contravention of this regulation shall be guilty of an offence against the Act.
Now, I maintain that this regulation is much too drastic, and confers upon one officer of the censorship staff undue powers in regard to freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. Under it the Chief Censor, or any member of his staff, is clothed with authority to prevent the publication, sale, or distribution of any printed matter which relates or refers to the present war or to any subject arising therefrom.
– That is not so, because I take it that, if this particular regulation were disallowed, regulation 187, which was previously amended, would still remain operative.
An Honorable Senator. - Let us wipe cut both.
– Let us kill this regulation first.
– Yes. Let us kill this regulation first, and we shall then be able to deal with the other. I believe that a censorship is essential for the proper conduct of affairs in any country which may be at war. Regulation 187 in its original form read -
No person shall, without lawful authority, print, otherwise than for submission to the censorship, in compliance with this regulation, publish, sell, or distribute any printed matter which refers in any way to the methods of recruiting or raising troops for service in any of His Majesty’s Forces.
The Government, by means of regulation 204, propose to delete the words relating to the methods of recruiting, and to insert a- provision which will have the effect of preventing anybody from publishing, selling, or- distributing any printed matter relating to the war or to any subject arising therefrom–
– Unless first submitted to the censor.
– Yes. But that provision applies to the original regulation, as well as to this one. When matters are submitted to the censor, he acts practically as a dictator and an autocrat. Without giving too many illustrations in support of ray contention, I wish to show that, during the recent referendum campaign, the censor did not hold the scales of justice evenly as between the two opposing political forces.
– Would the honorable senator rescind an Act because a judge had not acted justly?
– I am opposed to these plenary powers being vested in any ohe man, or in any body of men. In freedom-loving Australia are we going to prohibit the publication of any statement relating to the war, or to any subject connected therewith or arising therefrom? In my judgment, even under the original regulation, the censor used his powers to a greater extent than the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence led us to believe he would use them.
– Can the honorable senator give us some instances ?
– I can. I have a perfect embarrassment of riches in that connexion. In reply to a question put to him in the other; branch of the Legislature, on the 13tH September “last, the Prime Minister stated, as will be seen by reference to Hansard, page 8482 -
I take this opportunity of saying that both by word of mouth and through the columns of the press every person is at liberty to speak as he thinks fit, subject only to the law of the land, saying nothing to discourage voluntary recruiting, insulting to our Allies, or calculated to incite any persons to commit a breach of the law of any State or the Commonwealth. Subject to these restrictions, speech in the referendum campaign will be absolutely free to both sides, irrespective of opinions.
Now, I ask honorable senators, and particularly the Minister for Defence, whether speech was free to both sides during the recent referendum campaign ?
– I will give an illustration.
– I had a cabbage thrown at me.
– What about Senator Lynch- did he receive fair treatment?
– Senator Lynch brought the wrath of his hearers upon himself. Those who know him and his Celtic temperament will recognise that when he spoke, as he did here, in such a wonderfully impassioned way on the question of conscription he was bound to provoke some hostility. I deny Senator Pearce’s statement that freedom of speech was allowed to every person in the referendum campaign. I take it for granted that freedom of speech also includes freedom of the press, but I have here a striking illustration to show that under regulation 204 freedom of the press was not allowed to Nathaniel Jacka, the father of Lieutenant Jacka, one of our Victoria Cross heroes. He made the following statutory declaration : -
I, Nathaniel Jacka, of Wedderburn, in the State of Victoria, labourer, solemnly and sincerely declare as follows : -
That I am the father of Lieutenant Albert Jacka, V.C., of Lieutenant William Jacka, and of Private Sidney Jacka.
That I have received several letters from my sons, Lieutenant Albert Jacka, V.C., and Lieutenant William Jacka, who are in France. They have never complained of the want of reinforcements. On the other hand, they have stated that the conditions in France are much better than in Gallipoli, as they are more frequently relieved. Lieutenant Albert Jacka, V.C., in one letter said that while out of the trenches they almost “forget the rattle of the guns, and we have plenty of fun.” Never in any letter have any of my sons supported conscription, and in” my belief they are all still opposed to it. ‘ My wife and daughter are working against conscription, believing, as I do, that we should keep free the land for which our sons went out freely to fight.
That I have read what appears to be a letter to the Argus of to-day from Reg. W. Turnbull, of Linda Cottage, Wedderburn. I have lived in Wedderburn for about thirty years, and know all the people in and around the town. There is no such person as Reg. W. Turnbull living in Wedderburn. I know each and every Turnbull living in the whole district. The only Turnbull in Wedderburn is Walter Turnbull, a butcher, who is childless. I believe the letter said to have been received by Reg. W. Turnbull to be a fabrication made for the purpose of improperly influencing votes in favour of conscription.
And I make this solemn declaration, conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of “an Act of the
Parliament of Victoria rendering persons making a false declaration punishable for wilful and corrupt perjury.
Declared at Melbourne, in the State of Victoria, this 27th day of October, 1916- Before me. Chas. Gray, j.P.
Although he had three sons at the front ho was an anti-conscriptionist, one of the men classed by Mr. Hughes and his supporters as disloyalists, pro-Germans, and traitors.
– Nonsense! Mr. Hughes never said anything of the kind.
– It is absolutely true. Mr. Hughes, referring to the people who were against the referendum and against conscription, applied to them such terms as “ disloyalists,” “ ProGermans,” and traitors to the British Empire and their own country. He also said they were taking German gold. If he did not apply that language to Mr. Jacka, and honorable members of this Senate, to whom in the name of goodness did it apply? We were all classed in the same category, and that is one of the principal reasons why the people of Australia were so incensed against Mr. Hughes, and voted “No” on the 28th October.
– That is all makebelieve.
– It is not. The censor refused permission for that declaration to be published in the Melbourne Herald, of the evening of 27th October, the day before the poll. That is a sample of the fair treatment that we were to receive from Mr. Hughes and Senator Pearce, and of the fairness that the censor gave us under Statutory Rule No. 204. The declaration, however, appeared in the Ballarat Echo.
– In defiance of the censor.
– I am not advocating that any man should defy the law. The censor in Ballarat allowed it to go into the columns of the Echo, which did valuable service in the “ No “ campaign, but about an hour after he had given his sanction a telephone message was received from Lieutenant McColl, of the censor’s staff, in Melbourne, that the declaration must not be published. It was published in the Echo, as Senator McKissock says, in defiance of the instructions from Melbourne. Yet the Government say that the censor was prepared to give us a fair deal. Is there anything wrong in that declaration? Does it in any way assist the enemy or interfere with recruiting? It was purely a political, and not a military or national matter at all.
– Did the censor give any reason?
– I understand not.
– Did he receive instructions ?
– I do not know, but I am credibly informed that he prohibited its publication in the Melbourne Herald, of 27th October. We wanted no favoritism on either side in the campaign. All we demanded was what was right, fair, and just. I have here a proof of the Sydney Worker, the recognised organ of the Australian Workers Union, one of the greatest unions in Australia. It bears on it the censor’s stamp, dated 21st October, 1916, a week before the poll was taken. This fair-play-loving Government and this just censor censored the article in a way which I shall show. The proof I have is just as it came from the censor, with his blue pencil marks on it. I shall read to the Senate the passage which he censored, and which the anti-conscriptionists wanted to put before that section of the people who are wise enough to read the columns of the Sydney Worker. I appeal to Senator Pearce to say whether there is anything in the article damaging to recruiting, or in any way helpful to the enemy, or hurtful to our Allies. As a matter of fact, it was purely a question of figures, and the purpose of the. article was to show that Mr. Hughes was asking the people of Australia to do too much when he wanted 32,500 men in the first month, and 16,500 men in each succeeding month. It was as follows -
We are asked continually to put up a specific argument. Well, we propose to-day to ask the master mathematicians of the Conscription party how they square the following figures: - “Reinforcements” required for twelve months (including September quota of 32,000 ) 214,000. This works out at a monthly average (check the figures) of 17,833 men.
Actual losses from 25th April, 1015 (landing at Gallipoli) to end of September (including Somme offensive) - 737000 men(approx.). This works out at a monthly average of 4,294 men. (We are supposing that every man hors-de- comhat never returns to the firing line, which, is, of course, incorrect. But we are modest.)
Difference, 13,539 men.
Can the conscriptionists explain why 13,539 extra men are required every month above the required reinforcements?
Now, study the official reinforcement figures as given out by Mr. Hughes early in September last -
At estimated wastage of 4,294 men per month, as shown above, these 83,023 men will last till January, 1918. Check the figures for yourselves, master mathematicians of the Conscription party.
Now, we have Mr.Hughes’ word that the losses are as low now as at any period of the war, and “ would remain so during the winter.” But, even if they continue at the rate they have since the beginning of the Gallipoli campaign, Australia has reinforcements sufficient to last till January, 1918,, as shown above.
But why does Hughes, on his own showing, want to conscript 268,000 men by January, 1918, while, on his own figures, not a single man will be required before that date?
He says he will not form any new divisions - except, of course, the one he did form, after he had pledged himself not to form any. He says he only requires men to actually reinforce the losses in the field. Those losses are proven to be on an average of 4,294 a month. Then why does he want 32,000 the first month, and 16,500 for every month after that date?
That is the great secret. Billy Hughes knows why he wants them. And so do we.
– The honorable senator haslately returned from the East, and no doubt has acquired some of that occult science with which Eastern people are credited, but I have not, and I cannot tell him. I know no more than is contained in the article which I have placed before the Senate. I am trying to show to the Leader of the Government that the censor had no occasion to prohibit the publication in the Sydney
Worker of that mathematical statement, as it has been called, even if it were misleading, which I do not admit, especially when misleading statements on the other side were not prohibited by the censor and his staff.
– Does the honorable senator say that the article did not appear in the Sydney Worker?
-It would have appeared if the editor of the paper had not abided by the law. The article from which I arn. quoting is & proof, as submitted to the censor, and it was passed by that official after the portions marked with a blue pencil had been deleted, and in that altered and emasculated form it was allowed to appear in the Worker.
– The same or similar figures may have appeared in another article that was not censored.
– The article I refer to was censored, and I maintain that it ‘contained no statement to which exception could be taken, especially in view of the counterblasts from the conscriptionists’ side that were passed by the censor. Included in that ‘article was another censored statement. In the proof as submitted to the official’ referred to, the following appeared : -
Despite the assurance of the Prime Minister and his henchman, the Government intends to conscript every man “between the ages of 18 and 60 years, without any exemption whatever.
The words “ without any exemption whatever “ were struck out by the censor.
– Was that wrong?
– I am not prepared to say, ‘because I would not like to prophesy what members of the Government are prepared to do.
– It was a deliberate untruth, and you know it.
– If the ‘honorable senator did not know that statement was untrue, then it was all the more desirable that’ the censor should strike it out, because if he had allowed it to be published the honorable ‘senator would have believed it to be true.-
– Here is another statement taken from Mr. Watt’s speech in the Sydney Town Hall : -
He was “asked, “What about Canada?” and replied as under - ;In proportion to population, Canada has enlisted -more men than Australia, but has not sent them into the firing, line.
It would’be as- well’ to-tell Mr. Watt, in ‘case he m’ay’ not” -know, that the press that gives him liberal publicity in this campaign has deliberately held back cables dealing with* Canadian enlistments and conscription on more? than one occasion.
The latter part was censored. I do not know whether honorable senators saw a copy of the Melbourne Herald about three weeks before the referendum poll, but if they did not I can tell them that thereappeared in that paper a black cableheadline to the following effect - “ Canada. No Conscription.” It referred to a cablewhich purported to have come from Vancouver, stating that the Canadian Government had decided upon no conscription. But readers might search the Ageand the Argus from that day to this without finding any reference in a cable message to Canada’s action in that respect.
– Was that ‘ the work of the censor or of’ the press ?
– -I do not know.
– It might have been: due to the fact that the Age and theArgus have a different cable service.
– If the result in. Canada had been the other way, if” Cana’da had ‘declared in favor of conscription, both the Age and the Argus wou’ld have been quick enough’ to tell thepeople of Australia what Canada had done. As a matter of fact I think it ‘waaa’ convenient lapsus memoriae on the part, of the Age and the Argus. The Argus professes to have a hundred eyes, but if” it is unable to see what is being done in Canada, then it is not nearly up to thejournalistic capacity of the Melbourne Herald, which was able to furnish .newsto the people of Australia concerning the* attitude of Canada on this question. I have with me also a proof, supplied to the censor, of an article written ‘ for the Melbourne Labour Gall. I am going to read’ portion of the article to honorable senators’ for what it is worth, but it may be censored out of Hansard. It refers toMr. Hughes, dealing with his attitude on conscription, and much of it was allowed to pass. This is the part .which, was censored -
Like a ‘witch of old, the present usurper of rule oscillates ‘round the cauldron of trouble in sardonic enjoyment of evil >s>way. -No hag of Endor could -have had ‘greater -dominance - for the black- heart -of. Error, or have .it carried to so wide-spread malignity, than W. .Jil. Hughes, the man whose sinister influence has now brought Australia to the deepest travail, and who,yet calls “up “moTe and -more “dread By1 the dark ‘machinations of tyranny. Be,that’ was the chosen of -Labour,.-of- Democracy, has put scorpions into the breasts of the1 people. He, who was the trusted of the nation, was its fugleman when voice was sounded over the five seas as a voice of great deliverance - is now a hated object and implacable hunk, and enjoys the transformation as crows enjoy a carcass.
I want to make my position clear. I am not arguing the merits or demerits of any article. If this is a silly article, if it is not literary or grammatical, people would accept it at its face value if it were allowed to appear in a newspaper, and the more silly and asinine an article is the more will people ridicule it. _ The PRESIDENT. - Order ! I remind the honorable senator that our Standing Orders are emphatic that no senator shall make a statement which reflects upon any member of another place or any honorable senator. The honorable senator, while not at liberty to do that himself, certainly cannot be allowed liberty to quote the statements of others doing it, because that would be an evasion of the Standing Orders which could not be permitted.
– I regret, sir, that unconsciously I overstepped the Standing Orders. I did not want to allude to a member of another place by name or by inference. I only desired to read these articles. There are one or two other illustrations which I propose to make use of. If Senator Pearce can tell me that this is contrary to the spirit of the War Precautions Act, or that it is going to damage recruiting, or that it is erroneous in any shape or form, or hurtful to any person, apart from the fact that some newspaper references are hurtful to all politicians, I will admit that I am wrong. I propose to read an extract from a proof of this week’s Labour Gall, as submitted to the censor. Referring to a gentleman - I cannot mention his name - who presided over the deliberations of a conference at the Treasury-buildings here which tried to settle the coal strike, it says -
Consider his persistent malevolence in regard to the coal strike.
The words “ persistent -malevolence “ have been censored, and the censor, Mr. Newell, or Mr. McColl, has written in the word “attitude” in place of them. Whether it was malevolent or not I am not here to argue. That is for the people themselves to decide. What I contend is that the censor has no right to alter words in an article dealing with any person which has nothing to do with the war and to put words into a written statement. That is the attitude which I am trying to follow in my speech.- Getting away from military and political matters, I have here a copy of a dodger issued by a gentleman who has been running throughout Australia, a picture show called “ Ireland a Nation.” He expended about £80 in getting the dodger printed and distributed throughout the Commonwealth. He started in Melbourne with his cinematograph show, visited about eighty towns in New South Wales, travelled through Queensland, and when he got to the great town of Cairns the censor pounced upon him and said he would not permit the dodger to be distributed broadcast to advertise the fact that the man was running the show. I ask honorable senators to observe the silliness of the censor. The dodger deals with “ Ireland a Nation.” What this has to do with the war I think, that nobody but the censor knows. It says -
It depicts 114 years of Erin’s struggle for Home Rule, for freedom and for long-deferred and grudgingly granted justice. A magnificent back-cloth is provided for the setting of this historical series by scenes embracing beautiful panoramic views of the romantic Lakes of Killarney, the Wicklow Hills, Kilmainham (the patriots’ gaol), Luggielaw, Glendalough, Glen.malure, Glen Cree, and a dozen other spots famous in song and story for sheer loveliness or some deed of vivid flame, including many ancient cathedrals and monastries, and other places of historical, archaeological and picturesque interest. Amid these scenes and in this setting is unfolded the pathetic and heroic story of Ireland’s fight for freedom and free institutions. Erin’s friends and foes are shown as in a crystal.
The words “ and foes “ have been censored -
The film shows a number of persons who are famous in various ways, from the perfidious Castlereagh to the martyred Emmet. The word “ perfidious “ has been censored. The censor would not allow the word to be published or distributed, lecause it alluded to Castlereagh, who li as been known in history as the “ perfidin is Castlereagh.”
– Who are the enemies of Ireland?
– I do not know who are the enemies of Ireland.
– Do you not? The enemies of Ireland referred to there are Englishmen, and not Germans.
– They are not.
– Read the dodger right through.
– I do not wish to inflict all this on the Senate.
– Will it help Germany if you create that feeling?
– What ridiculous nonsense for the Minister to suggest that the word “perfidious” in relation to Castlereagh should be censored and the words “martyred Emmet” allowed to remain. Here is further proof of the silliness of the censorship. Just to show how inconsistent the censor is, he allowed the words “ martyred Emmet” to pass, but at the bottom of the dodger the words “ Ireland’s martyr “ in relation to Robert Emmet were censored.
– Do you think that England ought to be allowed to be “stigmatized as the enemy of Ireland while the war is on ?
– No; and I do not think that the people of England are the enemies of Ireland. I believe that Ireland has done good work in this war. The Minister is trying to imply that this leaflet was censored because it held up England as the enemy of Ireland.
– So it did.
– I will read the whole of the dodger and then honorable senators can judge for themselves, though I am sorry that I shall have to waste so much time. I wish honorable senators to be a jury in this case, and consider whether this dodger holds up England to opprobrium and says that England has been Ireland’s enemy.
– Did you see the picture?
– I did.
– I am not talking about the picture, but about the censor who censored the printed matter, not the film. With your permission, sir, I will now read the preface to the description of the film -
Let no man write my epitaph, for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice nor ignorance asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace; and my tomb remain uninscribed, and my memory in oblivion, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let ray epitaph be written.
As honorable senators know, that is portion of Emmet’s immortal and brilliant speech from the dock -
Words that fire every true Irish heart with patriotism ! Words that volleyed through the Court room in Dublin 113 years ago t Words and deeds that form a crushing climax to- “Ireland a Nation,” a magnificent six-reel dramatic production by
Mr. Walter McNamara, and an all.Irish cast, headed by Mr. Owen O’Brien as Robert Emmettt.
Passing over the passage which I have already quoted, the description of the film continues -
Irishmen will note with pride a long procession of her patriots, men of . action and men who inspired to action - John Philpott Curran, Henry Grattan, the self-sacrificing McAllister, the brave Wicklow leader, Michael Dwyer, and the men of ninety-eight; Fathers John and Michael Murphy, Roach and Clinch, O’Connell, the “Liberator,” and the stalwart chiefs of the Young Ireland Party. With justice the direction announces that this series constitutes the greatest all-Irish programme ever presented in the annals of kinema art, a limning of deeds enacted in the exact localities of their historic doing.
Thrilling and Beautiful Best Describe it.
In all history there is no name which touches the Irish heart like that of Robert Emmet. We read, in that eventful record, of men who laid down their lives for Ireland amid the roar and crash of battle ; of others who perished by the headsman’s axe or the halter of the hangman; of others whose eyes were closed for ever in the gloom of British dungeons -
The words ‘ ‘ in the gloom of British dungeons “ were censored. I defy the Minister for Defence, or any other honorable senator, to say that this is not a historical fact and that it has nothing whatever to do with the war. and of many whose hearts broke amid the sorrows of involuntary exile; of men who, in the great warfare of mind rendered the Irish cause services no less memorable and glorious. They were neither forgotten nor unhonoured. The warrior figure or Hugh O’Neill is a familiar vision to Irishmen; Sarsfield expiring on the foreign battlefield with that infinitely pathetic and noble utterance on his lips : “ Would that this were for Ireland “ - is a cherished remembrance, and that last cry of a patriotic spirit dwells for ever about our hearts; Grattan battling against a corrupt and venal faction, first to win and then to defend the independence of his country, astonishing friends and foes alike by the dazzling splendour of his eloquence; and O’Connell on the . hillsides pleading for the restoration of Ireland’s rights, and rousing his countrymen to a struggle for them, are pictures of which we are proudmemories that will ever live in song and story. But the stories, deeds, and memories of Robert Emmet are greatest of all.
From the moment he took an active interest in Ireland’s welfare, and fough’t for it, and died for it, this film traces the career of Robert Emmet, Ireland’s martyr, dramatically, thrillingly, accurately, , entertainingly.
– And this is a right time to be reviving it?
– It is not reviving it at all. The very fact that the dodger hae been censored has drawn particular attention to the film, otherwise people would have taken no notice of the dodger except to read it in the same way as they would read an advertisement for Mother Seigel’s syrup or Beecham’s pills.
– That is the sort of language that incites people to rebellion.
– It would not. I venture to say that no matter what differences may exist in Erin’s Isle or Great Britain, in Australia, thank goodness, there is no feeling which is likely to incite people to rebelling. The sons and daughters of Australia have not the Old World’s feuds implanted in their bosoms.
– Imperialism is necessary for the safety of Ireland.
– These pamphlets cost the man who issued them about £80.
– That is a lot more than they are worth.
– That may be so, but the fact that the words to which I have referred were censored made it necessary to have these dodgers destroyed and new ones printed and issued.
– If this statutory rule were in force, and the man acted under it, the dodger would have been submitted to the censor before it was issued, and the loss the .honorable senator refers to would not have been suffered.
– It was, all the same, hard upon the man that after going through Victoria and New South Wales with, his show, he should have been stuck up at Cairns, and have had his printed matter confiscated.
– He probably had had his £80 worth of advertising by that time.
– Possibly he had.
– There was no rebellion in Australia in the meantime?
– No; and I believe that the people were only too pleased to see the film. I come now to refer to a case that recently took place under this particular Statutory Rule 204. Relying on the promise of the Prime Minister, that speech during the referendum would be absolutely free to both sides, a reputable firm of printers in this city, Messrs. Frazer and jenkinson, published certain dodgers advocating noconscription. They had no feeling in the matter, but when a document was brought to them by the person signing it, and submitted for printing, as a matter of business they printed it in good faith, as an ordinary business deal. What happened? On the 28th November, under Statutory Rule 204, these people were brought before the Court on four separate charges. The first was in respect to a humorous leaflet entitled, “ The Charge of the Would-to-Goders,’ ‘ and the parties concerned were fined £15, with £7 7s. costs, and bound over in a recognisance of £50 to observe the regulation.
– For not submitting the matter to the censor. They knew they had to submit it, and they evaded the law.
– I am not aware that they did know that. They were convicted in the second instance in respect of a leaflet entitled, “The Tribunal,” which was a reprint of an English newspaper of the same name, and on this charge they were fined £2. Thirdly, in respect of a pamphlet entitled, “Conscription - What For?” which was a reprint of excerpts from newspapers, mostly the Age and Argus, and without comment. They were fined £3. The fourth case was in respect of a leaflet entitled, ‘ ‘ Which way would the Kaiser like you to vote,” and on this charge they were fined £3. They were fined a total of £23, with £7 7s. costs, and, as I said, were bound over as well.
– What were they fined for?
– They were fined under the War Precautions Act. I do not know what they were fined for.
– The honorable senator knows very well. If they interviewed the honorable senator, he must know that they were fined for not submitting the matter to the censor. Why does he not admit it ?
– I can assure Senator Pearce that I do not know the grounds upon which these charges were levelled against Frazer and Jenkinson. Mr. Frazer came to see me here.
– And he did not tell the honorable senator that?
– No, he did not. Senator Mullan” may have some information on the subject. I knew that they were cited to appear before the Court of Petty Sessions, but that it was for not having submitted to the censor the matter they printed, contrary to the “War Precautious Act, I did not know then, and I do not know now.
– Does the honorable senator know whether placards posted during the referendum, containing the words, “ The Kaiser desires me to vote * No,’ “ were submitted to the censor?
– I doubt very much that they were.
– They were published broadcast in Western Australia.
– The principal hoardings in Melbourne and its suburbs were also placarded with similar posters. I have here some proofs for this week’s Socialist, edited by Mr. B. S. Ross, which are initialed by the censor. He has permitted a statement as to the result of the charges against Messrs. Frazer and Jenkinson, heard on the 28th November, but he has censored the following passage referring to the matter : -
Frazer and Jenkinson, like Anderson, relied upon the promises given, and they, too, discovered, at the cost of £30 7s., that the promises were pie crust, made to be broken. It is possible that these are but the beginning of many more to follow.
That paragraph was censored.
– Because it is an absolute lie.
– It does not matter whether Frazer and Jenkinson broke the law or not, I still do not see why that statement should be censored from the columns of the Socialist, the Labour Call, or any other newspaper. It cannot be said that the statement that it is possible ‘ ‘ that these are but the beginning of many more to follow,” is against recruiting, aiding the enemy, or is calculated to destroy, the spirit of camaraderie which should be fostered between the Allies. I do not know why the censor should be given power to censor such a statement as that. .
– Would the honorable senator allow any one to write or publish distinctly, injurious matter?
– No, I would not.
– Then we must have a censorship._
– Yes, but it is not necessary that the censor should be given such great powers as these. If it were carried out tactfully, and administered in accordance with the intentions of this Parliament, I would be prepared to revert to Statutory Rule 187, which would prevent any person from making a statement against recruiting.
– Let the Government issue a modified regulation.
– Yes, I do not want anything drastic to be done. I should not care to see the disallowance of any regulation which was fair and just. The patience of the people may, however, be taxed to the breaking point, and I advise that the Government should reconsider this statutory rule, and issue it, in a modified form. This course would meet with the approval of most of those who are opposed to the rule as it stands. I have here a reprint of an illustration, entitled “The Sorrowful Christ.” There appears to me to be nothing very wrong about it. Its publication was permitted in the Labour Call of Christmas, 1914, but on to-day, 7th December, it is censored when presented as an illustration for the Christmas number of The Timber Worker, the official print of the Timber Workers Union. As honorable senators will see, it represents “ The Sorrowful Christ” looking upon a multitude of dead surrounding him. Its publication was permitted in the Christmas number of the Labour Call for 19i4, while the war was still raging. Unfortunately, the war has been continued since August, 1914. Now, when the conditions are practically unchanged, although two years have elapsed, the publication of this illustration in the Christmas number of The Timber Worker is prohibited by the censor. I do not know how this prohibition can be explained. What is wrong with its publication now, if it was not wrong to publish it in 1914?
– It all depends on the state of the censor’s liver.
– Doubtless that has something to do with it. I do not propose to deal with all the matter I have before me, but I can say, generally, that articles that have appeared in the Age and the Argus have been prohibited from publication later in the Labour Call. I have here a letter, dealing with voluntary recruiting, which was submitted this week to the editor of the Labour Call. I do not propose to read any more than the portions of it which were censored. The statement is made that -
The difficulty has been increased, too, by a general knowledge of the circumstances and unsatisfactory treatment of many returned soldiers.
In this sentence, the words, “ and unsatisfactory treatment of many returned soldiers “ have been censored. I quote from a manuscript letter, to which I find attached the following letter to the editor of the Labour Call, from Lieutenant Westwood, on behalf of the censor -
Returned herewith, please find a letter headed “Voluntary Recruiting Campaign,” signed “ Leviticus.” I am directed to advise you that this matter cannot be published.
Where in the letter signed “Leviticus,” the statement is made, “They realized fully the horrors and absurdity of war,” the words, “ and absurdity “ are censored. Another statement made is -
Now, as the prosperous section of the community declare they are willing to sacrifice a portion of their wealth in the prosecution of the war, and ask others to be prepared to sacrifice their lives, the needed reinforcements should be easily obtained.
In this sentence, the words, “ and ask others to be prepared to sacrifice their lives” are censored. They are not to be published in the Labour Call of this week. I have said that I am not entering into the merits or demerits of conscription or the voluntary system.
– You think that people should have the right to publish articles against recruiting.
– No, I do not.
– The letter the honorable senator has quoted from is written against recruiting.
– It is a statement of the truth.
– It is against recruiting.
– If the Government do not intend that what is true shall be published, we should know that.
– The writer makes general statements, many of which are not true. It is not true to say that the soldiers who have returned are being badly treated, and it is not true to say that wealthy men are not going to the front.
– Considering the time the honorable senator has been in office, does he mean to tell the Senate that soldiers who have returned from Gallipoli, Egypt, and France have not complained of unsatisfactory treatment?
– One swallow does not make a summer. It is not true to say, generally, that the returned soldiers have been badly treated.
– lt is perfectly true to say that probably every member of the Senate has been inundated with complaints, either personally or by letter, from returned soldiers as to the treatment meted out to them.
– And the honorable senator is using that to prevent recruiting.
– I am not using it to prevent recruiting. It is a mere statement of fact, and I do not see. why it should not be published in the columns of the Labour Call, of the Age, the Argus, or any other newspaper.
– Why not let the Germans send their own agents here to write straight-out articles against recruiting?
– Senator Pearce knows as well as I do that if he takes up the Age, the Argus, the Herald, or any other newspaper, he will find in every issue letters from returned soldiers complaining that they are not getting a fair deal, and urging grievances against the Defence Department. Though these letters are published in the Age or the Argus, a statement of the fact which they support is not allowed to appear in the Labour Call. I say that the censor has discriminated between different newspapers in this matter. I have here many other examples of the work of the censor with which I will not trouble the Senate.
– If correct, that might be an argument in favour of removing the censor, but it would not be an argument for destroying the censorship.
– I wish to explain to Senator Millen that I am not opposed to a censorship in relation to matters such as recruiting or the raising of troops for service abroad. But I do object to a censorship which prevents any person from uttering a word. I protest against granting to any one man, or to any body of men, the power cf affirming that no- person shall publish, sell, or distribute any printed matter relating to the war or arising therefrom. Now, the cost of living, the death rate, our taxation proposals, and many other things are connected with the war. Consequently the censor, if he chooses, can prohibit any statement being made in respect of them. I do not forget the allegation of Senator Gardiner that he was even prevented by the censor from sending a wire to his wife upon a purely political matter. He wished to apprise her by telegraph of the fact that he had resigned from the Cabinet owing to the issue of certain obnoxious regulations.-
– As I said before, if that statement be correct it might be a reason for condemning the Ministry, but not for abolishing the censorship.
– If we allow regulation 204 to stand, the censor can practically do what he chooses. I hope that the Government will find some way out of the difficulty, because I feel sure that the good sense of honorable senators will cause them to support my motion.
– I think it is fairly obvious that what Senator Blakey has in view is not the abolition of a particular regulation, but of the censorship altogether. I take this motion as indicative of that. I do not think it is capable of any other interpretation after having heard what he had to say. One of the reasons why I say this is that the amended regulation really does not grant a very great extension of power to the censor. It certainly makes his power clearer in regard to particular subjects. The old regulation is rather narrowed down to the methods of recruiting or of raising troops for service in any of His Majesty’s Forces. Honorable senators who admit that a censorship is necessary, and that we cannot carry on a war effectively against an enemy like Germany without it, will see that after all that is a very great, limitation of the power of censorship in relation to matters dealing with the war. After all, the power to censor matters relating to recruiting and to the raising of troops is one which merely interferes to a certain extent with the enemy’s power to create a public opinion which will prevent us from recruiting the members of our community. I desire honorable senators to strip their minds of all humbug in connexion with this matter, and to remem ber that Germany has spent millions of pounds on a press propaganda in the United States of America and right through Europe, and not to be such fools as to blind themselves to the fact that Germany has spent money in Australia for the same purpose. The censorship is the only way we have of fighting that, We cannot fight it with bullets and bayonets. The division upon the motion will show whether honorable senators are prepared to rob us of the only arm by which we can fight Germany here. The mere fact that the Prime Minister and myself have misused or wrongly used the power of censorship is quite beside the question. That may be a perfectly legitimate complaint upon which to base a motion of censure either on Mr. Hughes or myself.
– You are worthy of it, too.
– That may be so. But I wish the country to know that this motion is not intended to achieve that purpose, but to destroy the power that we have to protect ourselves against the enemies of our country.
– Very tragic, but it is not correct.
– It is absolutely true. There are men in this country who are prepared to write in favour of Germany.
– Why do you not put them behind the barbed wire ?
– We will, when we find them.
– You must have some proof. Why do you not take action?
– Action has been taken, and when action has been taken they have not been without friends in Parliament who objected to that action.
– Who are the friends? Name them.
– Let those whom the cap fits wear it.
– You ought to name them.
– It is a cowardly statement to make without proof - a very cowardly statement.
– I am not saying anything extreme when I say that this motion is an attempt to wrest from the Government of this country the only power it has of protecting Australia against German agents, and the friends of Germany who will use the power of the press to injure the Allied cause in the Commonwealth. When it was pointed out to Senator Blakey that if this statutory rule were destroyed, the original regulation would remain, he replied, “ We will kill the other thing after we have killed this.” He would not only prevent us having the power of censorship - the power to prevent the enemies of Britain writing in the interests of Germany on matters respecting this war - but he would even prevent us having the power to protect ourselves in the matter of recruiting and the raising of troops.
– Did any of the censored articles which I read ‘ imply that they were written with the object of assisting Germany?
– -No: but the honorable” senator’s motion does.
– I am telling Senator Blakey the object of his motion. The Government are under no misapprehension as to what he means.
– I rise to a point of order. The Minister has stated that there are friends of Germany in this Parliament. You, sir, are the President of the Senate, and the Minister has made that statement. I ask him to name the members of this Parliament who are friends of Germany.
– Order; that is not a point of order.
– It is a point of order.
– The honorable senator must not contradict me.
– I was replying to a statement by Senator Millen.
– I .have no power to compel the Minister for Defence to withdraw a general statement. If he mentioned any honorable senator in a way that reflected on him personally, I would call upon him to withdraw. If any honorable senator will say that the statement of the Minister was a reflection on himself, I will request the Minister to withdraw it.
– I certainly take the words used by the Minister as a reflection on myself, i interjected, and he replied, “Let those whom the cap fits wear it.” Consequently I ask that he should withdraw his statement.
– Senator O’Keefe has stated that he regards the remarks of the Minister as a reflection on himself. I therefore ask the Minister to withdraw the statement, so far as it has any reference to Senator O’Keefe.
– I withdraw it.
– I take it that the statement of the Minister that Germany has friends in this Parliament-
– I did not say that.
– Is the honorable senator rising to a point of order?
– I am rising to ask that the Minister be called upon to withdraw the reflection on myself and every other member of this Parliament.
– The honorable senator is not entitled to do that. He is only entitled to ask for the withdrawal of any statement which he regards as being offensive to himself.
– I ask you, sir, to call upon the Minister for Defence to withdraw the reflection on myself and every other member of this Parliament.
– J desire to point out what are the actual facts. The facts are that the Minister for Defence said that certain agents of Germany were disseminating statements-
– Hansard will prove what he said.
– Order. The Honorable senator has no right to interrupt whilst I am on my feet. The facts are that Senator Pearce said that certain agents of Germany were disseminating throughout Australia statements which, were detrimental to the cause of the Allies, to Great Britain, and to ourselves. He said that that fact was well known to the Government, and that these men were not without friends in Parliament. That is the statement which he made, and it cannot be taken to apply to every member of Parliament. It might be taken to apply to one or more members whom he considers to be friends of those agents. That is the exact position, and if any honorable senator considers that the statement is a reflection on himself, I shall ask Senator Pearce to withdraw it.
– Will you call upon the Hansard reporter to read his notes?
– I dare the honorable senator to doubt my word.
– Why should I not?
– Because I am here in a judicial capacity, and I challenge any honorable senator to say that I have ever misused my position while I have been in .the chair. So long as I remain in this position I shall continue to act as I have always done, in an absolutely fair ‘and impartial way,and to treat every question from a purely judicial stand-point, without fear or favour from any individual or eitheT side of the Senate. I took particular note of what Senator Pearce said, because I could see it was calculated to raise dissension or disorder. I have given a careful and exact statement of what took place, and I have ruled that Senator Pearce has not made a general reflection uponhonorable senators.
– I take the statement you have made as being correct, and claim that it was a reflection upon myself and every other member of the Australian Parliament. I therefore ask you to call upon Senator Pearce to withdraw it.
– It is no reflection upon me.
-So far as Senator Gardiner is concerned. I have no objection to withdrawing . the remark.
– I desire tomake a personal explanation. The remark I made a moment ago was no reflection upon you, sir, in your position as President. I simply asked that you should call upon the Hansard reporter to read his note of what occurred. You are not infallible in memory, and I simply meant that you might have made a mistake. I wanted the Hansard note to be read to prove what Senator Pearce did say.
– I shall not allow this interlude to draw me off the track.
– You ought to be honest enough to say what members you referred to.
– I think it necessary that the country should know exactly what the motion is about. It is not a motion, as I understand it, as to whether the censorship has been wisely or honestly used. It is not a motion of censure on the censor, on the Government, or on the Minister administering the Department. It is a motion primarily to disallow the censorship in regard to matters pertaining to the war, and the announced intention is that, after that is done, the censorship, as regards matters referring to recruiting and the raising of His Majesty’s Forces anywhere, is to be removed, and this on the eve of a recruiting campaign. I ask the Senate, before it does anything to produce that effect, to remember that what I have stated is a fact known to all - that Germany has her press propaganda in every country for the purposes of this war. She has it herewithout the slightest doubt. Why should she leave Australia out? There is every reason why she should have it here, and there may be unconscious channels through which her influence flows.
SenatorBlakey . - What paper do the Germans use ?
– I leave the honorable senator to judge for himself. That being so, honorable senators have to take upon themselves the responsibility of helpingSenator Blakey to destroy the power of censorship in Australia. Germany has her censorship; no one isallowed to use the press of Germany to create dissension there, or to write down Germany,or speak against recruiting. The same (thing is true of AustriaHungary, and of Turkey. Britain and her Allies have their censorships also.
– Did I not say that I believed in a fair censorship, and that I was talking only about unfair censorship?
– It Hoes not matter what the honorable senator said ; hereis his motion. If he is merely dissatisfied with the censorship, he can vent his; dissatisfaction by moving the adjournment of the Senate, or a reduction in a Supply Bill, or in adozenother ways, but the motion is not for thatpurpose, nor will that be its effect. Its effect will’ be to destroy the power of censorship, and honorable senators therefore cannot shelter themselves behind the motion and say, “ I only voted that way because I was dissatisfied with the censor, or the Minister for Defence, or the Government.” The effectof voting for themotion is to destroy in Australia thepower of checking German propaganda. If that were done Australia would be theonly one of the countries at war where it was done.
– It is strange that you never thought of that before the 30th of August.
– I am thinking of it now. Here and now is the time when the honorable senator is called on to record his vote on that issue. All Senator Blakey’s quotations would be quite apt on a motion of censure on the Government, or on the administration of the censorship, or on a motion to reduce the Defence Estimates, because of the action of the censor. That would be a proper way to raise the question whether the censorship had been properly exercised or not. But this motion is not that, and the vote on this motion will not be on that question. All the instances the honorable senator quoted are therefore beside the point. I would remind him of an interesting feature in regard to Mr. Jacka’s statutory declaration. It will be interesting to see how my late colleague, Senator Gardiner, votes on the motion, because at the time when the alleged censoring of the declaration took place I was in Western Australia, according to the date given, and Senator Gardiner was administering the Department. I am not prepared to admit that it was censored, as stated by Senator Blakey, and will tell the Senate why later. I am not prepared to admit anything the honorable senator says as regards the censorship, or the accuracy of any of the information supplied to him. or that any one of those cases is genuine. I have not seen them. They have not been brought before me. I have seen so many statements published in journals about the censorship, which on inquiry I found to be faked and false, that I accept none of them without first inquiring into them and finding them to be correct.- I can give one instance brought forward by Senator Blakey which is quite capable of an explanation apart altogether from the question of censorship. He quoted a cable which appeared in the Herald favoring the anticonscriptionist side, and said it did not appear in the morning papers-, the inference being either that it was stopped by the censor or that the morning papers did not publish it. That is not a rare occurrence, for the simple reason that the Herald gets a different service, and if the other papers published that cable they would be liable for a suit for damages under the copyright law. Only a few. weeks ago, the Herald published a cable most flattering to the Defence Department. -It stated that Canada had adopted our system of Defence administration, in regard to the Military Board and our system of promotion from the ranks - a compliment to our Defence Act, and two or three other features of Defence administration that originated in Australia. That cable did not appear in either of the morning papers. I should assume, I suppose, that the censor cut it out.
– Did you hear that Germany was copying some of your War Precautions regulations ?
– I should not wonder if they copied some of the honorable senator’s sentiments. A number of the matters quoted by Senator Blakey, assuming that they were censored, actually refer to recruiting.
– I do not object to the original regulation No. 187.
– Then why did the honorable senator quote these instances?
– They did not deal with recruiting.
– The honorable senator quoted instances in which he alleged that the censor had exercised his powers unwisely, and nearly every one of them referred to recruiting. If this motion were carried, and the honorable senator succeeded later on in killing the original regulation, those statements could be published without being censored. What was his object in quoting them? Was it not a further illustration of the fact that the honorable senator is against the censorship altogether?
– The statement about Mr. Hughes and the coal strike had nothing to do with recruiting.
– I will show the honorable senator what it had to do with. He has acted unwisely in choosing his ground for this attack, if he is genuinely in favour of retaining the power of censorship.
– I am- fair censorship.
– Then the honorable senator should admit that he has chosen his ground wrongly. Instead of attacking the power of censorship he ought to attack the censor, or the administration of the censorship through me, the Minister. If he wants to do that, is he acting logically in seeking to destroy the power by which the censor acts? That is what he is doing, and all the illustrations he used really do not cover the extension of the censor’s powers which the amended regulation gives, but they do affect the original power to deal with recruiting matters. To show that the honorable senator is really against our having the power of censorship - I hope Lam not doing him an injustice-
– You are.
– I shall quote one case which he brought forward - that of an article in the Labour Gall. It was submitted to the censor when the coal strike was not only paralyzing our industries, but had hung up the transports which were to convey our troops to the front, the Small Arms Factory, making rifles to be used against the Germans, and the Colonial Ammunition Company, which was making ammunition for the rifles. At that juncture the Prime Minister had called together in Melbourne, under the War Precautions Act, theparties to the dispute, and they were about to meet in conference when the article was submitted to the censor. That article, as Senator Blakey quotes it, refers to the man who was to bring them together to effect a settlement as “ a malevolent enemy of the coal miners.”
– That would be all right if your dates were correct.
– Let us put ourselves in the position of a German agent in this country. The best thing we could do, as we could not lead an armed insurrection for fear of getting shot, would be to prevent troops, arms, and munitions of war leaving this country. Therefore, if an industrial dispute occurred in the mining industry, which supplied coal for the transports and for the small arms and other defence factories, obviously the best thing for a German agent to do would be to keep that dispute going. The article as submitted to the censor was apparently designed for that purpose, because it referred to the arbitrator as a malevolent foe of the coal miners.
– The Minister is a bit wrong there.
– Surely that is an attempt to interfere with the exercise by the censor of his power.
– The article was not to have been published until the Thursday of this week if the censor had allowed it to pass.
– The article was written for the purpose of creating bad blood in the coal-mining industry, and of revivingall the bitterness in the minds of the coal miners concerning their trouble, and at a time when Mr. Hughes, as Prime Minister, was endeavouring to get miners at work again. Luckily he succeeded. .
– Oh !
– That is a joke.
-It is too funny for words.
– The article, I say, referred to the arbitrator as a malevolent foe of the coal miners, and because it was scotched by the censor, because the censor would not allow the columns of the Labour Call to be used for the purpose of creating further dissension in the coal trade, which would have had the effect of holding up the transports, and of stopping work at the Small Arms Factory, Senator Blakey uses it as an argument why the censor should be stripped of his power. That is what we have to deal with. Now I come to the censorship of the leaflet issued by Mr. Dan Green, the agent of the Australian Workers Union in Melbourne, and who is also the agent of a picture show. That particular picture show came under the notice of the military authorities in Queensland. I am confident that if any honorable senator peruses the leaflet referred to he will be satisfied that it was designed to stir up bitter memories connected with the long-‘ distant past; that its tendency was to create diversion among the people of the British nation, and to confirm in the minds of Irishmen the idea that England was Ireland’s traditional enemy. Is this a time when all the old hatreds should be revived ? Is this a time when trouble like that should be accentuated? Is this a time when feuds of a hundred years ago should be dug up and paraded round this country of ours?
– Is the Minister in favour, then, of wiping out all the history of Ireland?
– No, but this is not a time to accentuate difficulties of the kind I have referred to. We have seen the result of this course of action in the recent riots and bloodshed in Dublin. I repeat that in a war like this, when we are at death grips with the enemy, we should not permit the circulation of statements referring to England as the traditional enemy of Ireland.
– How many sons of Ireland have gone to the war from Australia ?
– I do not know, but I should say that among our recruits there are as many sons of Irishmen as there are of Scotchmen and Englishmen, and that is all the more reason why we should set our face against any attempt to stir up the hatreds of a hundred years ago. We want, if possible, to forget those troubles. Now I wish to refer more particularly to these picture shows. At least two have come under the notice of, and have been prohibited by, the censors. I saw one of them myself, and have had a close description of the other. They were sent from America for the deliberate purpose of creating ill-feeling in this country with regard to one of our Allies. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that the picture was filmed with that end in view, because it presented in a most revolting form a certain phase in the history of that’ allied country, but which, happily for the people of that country, has passed. So far as scenery was concerned the pictures were beautiful, and perhaps it might be asked why we should not have allowed them to be shown throughout the length and breadth of this land; why we should not allow Germany, through her agencies in New York, and by means of the printing press and the photo play, to distribute her propaganda literature .in this country of ours. We are preventing it because that literature has been specially designed to stir up illfeeling against Great Britain ; for the purpose of dividing the Allies; of creating a feeling of distrust in France and Russia of Great Britain, and ill-feeling in Great Britain against the other two of the allied countries.
– Tell us why ?
– We are preventing it because we are not in favour of that policy, and we realize that we have not only to fight Germany in the trenches, but to fight her in this country.
– What did the Government do to the coal barons who coaled the German transports in the Pacific?
– The honorable senator has told us what his opinion is; of course, he is against this war.
– Against all wars.
– The honorable senator said he was against this war any-‘ way, and that he would neither enlist himself nor ask anybody else to enlist.
– Hear, hear !
– That being the case, we are not looking for the honorable senator’s vote for the Government in regard to this motion.
– But you have not told us yet what you did to the coal barons who coaled the German transports in the Pacific.
– Another of Senator Blakey’s arguments against the censorship referred to the prosecution of Frazer and Jenkinson in connexion with the Socialist. He declared that the prosecution of those men constituted a breach of a promise made by the Prime Minister, who, according to Senator Blakey, said that they would not be prosecuted for not having submitted their articles to the censor. Senator Blakey knows quite well that the Prime Minister made no promise that firms which did not submit articles to the censor would not be prosecuted.
– But would that affect recruiting in any way ?
– I think it would, because the implication was that the Prime Minister was a man who made promises and broke them.
– I made that statement every day.
– A statement like that would damage the appeal then being made by the Prime Minister for recruits. Frazer and Jenkinson were prosecuted and fined because they defied the censor and went on publishing statements without submission to the constituted authority.
– They were not informed of the amended regulation.
– Would the amended regulation have affected them ?
– No. Senator Blakey^s argument has nothing to do with the main question. We have to remember that war is conducted, not merely with rifles and bullets, with guns and shells, but by the influence of public opinion in a country. Germany has spent millions of pounds to create public opinion in allied and neutral countries against Great Britain, arid she is prepared to spend millions more. Is it not reasonable, therefore, to assume that Germanyis ready to spend large sums of money in Australia ? And that we may protect ourselves against that danger, is it not right that we should have power to prevent the creation here of an enemy public opinion ? The motion, so we have been told, is really directed at the original regulation.
– I did not say that. I said if it were not administered fairly it ought to be disallowed.
– If it is not administered fairly, then the proper course to take is to get at the man who is administering it, and not the regulation itself.
SenatorFindley. - Who is the man? Give us his name and address.
– I think the honorable senator knows. That, however, is not Senator Blakey s intention to-day; but I want him to realize what he is really attempting to do in the motion. The actual question is, Shall this country have the power to be protected by means of the censor?
– Should we not have this power under Regulation 187 ?
– No. I have told the honorable senator that it was found necessary to insert these additional words because, as originally framed, the regulation was so restricted as to refer merely to the raising of troops, whereas arising out of the war there are other and equally important questions affecting this country. There is, for instance, the question of getting the troops away. Are we to allow the newspapers of this country to publicly advocate that transports shall be held up ? That is the question.
– You are running amok.
– Senator Ferricks may do this and-
– You are a liar. I do not.
– Order ! The honorable senator has made use of an expression which he must know is unparliamentary, and he must withdraw it.
– I understand, Mr. President, that the Minister says that I advocate the holding up of transports.
– I did not say that. What I was going to say was that you had declared you were against the war.
– If the Minister made use of any statement which was incorrect, the honorable senator had his remedy at the time, and could have asked for its withdrawal. He has made use of an expression which is unparliamentary, and he must withdraw it.
– I withdraw it.
– I assure Senator Ferricks that I did not wish to suggest that he was in favour of holding up transports, but I understood him to say that he was not prepared to assist recruiting.
– Hear, hear!
– That being the case, I want to point out that there is another phase to that question. This amended regulation, to which objection has been taken by Senator Blakey, gives us power to prevent the publication of statements that might have the effect of interfering with the movements of our transports. Senator Blakey, by his motion, is seeking to take that power away from the Government. The old regulation only gives us power to prevent the publication of statements which refer in any way to the methods of recruiting or raising troops. If newspapers can publish throughout the country articles inciting men in the Small Arms Factory to go on strike, to sabotage the machinery of that factory and of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard, they will help the Germans by the propagation of such doctrines, and the amendment of Senator Blakey will take from us the power to stop the publication of such incitements.
– Should any circumstances arise which would necessitate the issue of a fresh proclamation, would you not have the power to issue a regulation ?
– We issued this regulation because we know that Germany is prepared to do this work. Germany has done it in America. A section of American newspapers have publicly advocated the stopping of the transmission of munitions to England.
– That is very old.
– It is very old, but none the less it is true. Is the honorable senator prepared to give newspapers the power to do the same thing here ? Is Senator Watson prepared to do that?
– No. Your argument is that, if we destroy this regulation, we shall leave you absolutely powerless. But my contention is that you have absolute power, under the War Precautions Act, to issue a regulation which will give that protection.
– If the honorable senator votes for the destruction of this regulation, he is voting against our having that power. Apparently he has not read the War Precautions Act. It confers certain specific powers on the Government - this is not one of them - and then it gives us general power to make regulations in regard to the safety of the country and the conduct of the war. This is a regulation made under the Act for the purpose of preventing the publication in this country, without reference to the censor, of any statement “ which relates or refers to the present war,- or to any subject connected therewith or arising therefrom.” The reason for the addition of these words is Hi at the regulation only gives us power in respect to any printed matter “ which refers in any way to the methods of recruiting or raising troops for service in any of His Majesty’s Forces.”
– Is it not a fact that the regulation has had the effect of suppressing speeches delivered in the noconscription campaign.
– Possibly a censor, acting under his powers, has prevented the publication of some speeches. My honorable friends must recognise that a censor may have used his powers wisely or unwisely. Suppose that a firm were to disobey an order of the censor, and a Court were to ask on what regulation the censor forbade the publication of the statement. If the amendment were disallowed here, we should have no regulation to point to as the authority under which we forbade somebody from publishing exhortations to stop transports from leaving the country, to stop the production of small arms and munitions for the war. He would be a foolish man who would say that the censors never did anything wrong, that they always acted wisely and in accordance with the law. I do not-make such a claim.. I have seen things published in this ‘country which I think ought to have been censored. I do not doubt that the censors have been guilty of sins of commission and sins of omission; but this is not the way to deal with them. Honorable senators know that if they want to deal with the censors there is a proper method ‘to pursue. ‘ The Minister is responsible to the Senate for the acts of his servants - for the acts of the censor staff. Honorable senators have many opportunities of dealing with the Minister in any cases where the employees of his Department have not carried out their duties faithfully and well. That >is >the proper way for ‘Senator Blakey to deal .with cases of omission or cases of commission.
– What do you think of the attitude of the censor in prohibiting the publication of Mr. Jacka’s sworn declaration ?
– I said just now that I am not prepared to admit that thecensor did that. I was not here at thetime. Whether it came under Senator Gardiner’s notice or not I do not know:, probably it did not. I am not prepared to pass judgment on a matter which hascome under my notice to-day for the first time. I am quite prepared to believethat a censor has often acted unwisely; probably sometimes in one way, and! sometimes in another. Will honorablesenators say that things have been kept out which ought to have been allowed to* go in? I have seen things in the press,, which, in my opinion, ought to have been kept out.
– That “ gag” about the assassination of Mr. Hughes; for instance ?
– The honorablesenator knows that it was no “gag.” I am surprised that honorable senatorsshould express any doubt about the fact,, because it is a fact that a cowardly attempt was made to scare a woman whosehusband was away.
– Why was itnursed for six weeks, to be published onthe morning of referendum day?
– I dare say thatthe Prime Minister asked” that nothingshould be published about the matter. Now honorable senators in the corner can, see a sinister motive in whatever he does. If, for instance, he blows his nose, they have an idea that he has a bomb concealed in his handkerchiefs He can do nothing without their seeing somethingsinister or evil behind it. It ‘is only a little while ago since the same- gentlemen used to say that they were going intoParliament to support the Prime Minister. I am not going to follow them intoall this mud-slinging and dirt. It suits them; let them revel in it. .In conclusion,. I appeal to honorable senators to be honest, and not to allow themselves tobe misled. I want the country -to know that the question on which we are to voteis, whether the Government are to have the power to censor any .statements madeagainst the “interests. of this country, .and. in the interests of our enemies - a power which, I repeat, Germany possesses. Whether honorable senators are prepared to strip the Government of that power, knowing that an enemy will be ready to take advantage of it, the vote will show.
– I regret the attitude adopted by the Leader of the Government here. He has drawn, in his superior manner, a line in which he says, “You may vote, but those who vote on the opposite side will be disloyal.” I tell the honorable senator that the members of the party on this side are not children. We can compare our record with that of the Prime Minister, and it is as loyal as his. If the Minister for Defence thinks that he can scare honorable senators into getting behind him by merely saying that we are trying to strip the Government of power-
– We are.
– We are trying to strip the Government of a power which they have used in a way not only discreditable to themselves, but to Australia. I am not going to seek shelter by saying that the censor officers may not have made mistakes. I venture to say, however, that they have administered the regulation with much more justness than has the Right Honorable W. M. Hughes. The Prime Minister has interfered with their administration. He has compelled the officers to use the power in a way in which Parliament never believed it would be used. They have misused their authority under the instructions received from Mr. Hughes and his secretary, Mr. Garran.
– But that is not the subject of this motion.
– It is the reason of the motion. When it comes down to a question of whether we should leave extreme power in the hands of a Government that are not fit to be trusted, I say that the weaker we can make that Government the better.
– The motion attacks the regulation, not the administration of Mr. Hughes or anybody else.
– Under the regulation the Prime Minister can penalize country newspapers if they publish anything about the war without having first submitted the matter to the censor. That is a power which should not be given to that gentleman. The regulation, as amended, would work out in such a way that any one would be guilty of an offence who published such information. The Minister for Defence was rather curious to know how I intended to vote, because I was a member of the Government which passed the regulation, for which, of course, I take full responsibility. I am speaking because I shall not have an opportunity of voting, since I have paired with Senator Millen.
– Will the honorable senator vote for the cancellation ?
– I will vote for the cancellation of this and every other regulation which Mr. Hughes interferes with or administers, because during the last two months it has been shown that he is a man who should not be intrusted with any powers in the exercise of which the liberties of the people may be at stake. I have here a simple statement in proof - of that. He left Melbourne a few days before the referendum, and his secretary, Mr. Garran, gap.e instructions from him to the censor that he was not to allow the publication of anything that certain Ministers might say. I am not surprised that Senator Lynch should not be listening while I make this statement. The gentleman who is responsible for the maladministration of these regulations left an instruction with Mr. Garran, which was conveyed to the censor, that he was not to publish anything that his Ministers might say, and the Ministers referred to were Senator Russell, Mr. Higgs, and myself.
– I thought the honorable senator agreed not to say anything.
– I agreed not to participate in the debate, and I kept my word to the end. Those who know me know that when I give a promise I keep it.
– It was no great hardship, seeing that the honorable senator had agreed to say nothing.
– It is not a question of hardship. Senator de Largie does not appear to be able to see what we are driving at. It is a question of some one who is absolutely unfitted for responsibility being in a position to override every Department in the Commonwealth. If the censorship were in the hands of Senator Pearce, I would have no hesitation in giving him the most extreme powers, but when Senator Pearce says that certain matters should not appear, and Mr. Hughes gives orders that they must appear, it is time that the Parliament and the people became aware of the dangerous powers that are at present in the hands of a dangerous man.
– Does the honorable senator not think that all’ this trouble is only so much trifling when compared with the issues at stake?
– I can quite understand that to Senator Lynch it may appear to be merely trifling to have a regulation in force under which a man is given power to prosecute any newspaper proprietor.
– Debating societies waging war.
– I can quite understand that interjection from Senator Bakhap when questions are raised as to the loyalty of members of the Senate. I venture to say that those who raise them are the friends of Germany. If there is German money in circulation in this country, I say that honorable senators who try to make out that Australian people and members of the Australian Parliament are getting some of it,- ought to be getting it themselves if they are not, because they are earning it. The man who tries to make out that there is any disloyal section in this community is a friend of Germany, and so is the man who tries to turn every question that is raised upon that issue.
– History will justify it.
– For two years in this country during the continuance of the war we had absolute unanimity amongst our people. There was absolute loyalty to the Empire. Nothing asked for by Parliament was refused or conceded with a grudging voice. Millions of money were passed here in a few minutes, and what was asked for by the Government was not questioned throughout the country. At the end of this period we are told that we are disloyal if -we dare to vote against a regula tion requiring newspaper proprietors and others to first submit to the censor any statement that they wish to make concerning the war, and under which, if certain statements are made in innocence by a Labour newspaper, the proprietors may have their newspaper confiscated, or be brought before magistrates and fined.
– What about the Labour- editors who have censored my statements, or emasculated them for their own use, and to put me in a false light before the people?
– I am not dealing with editors who, in the honorable senator’s opinion, may not have given him fair play.
– The honorable senator is not immaculate, nor is his party.
– I do not pretend to be immaculate. So far as the party is concerned, it is the same party that brought Senator Lynch into the public life of this country.
– i was pushed here, if the honorable senator wants to know.
– It was the same party, and it remains the same. Its principles are unchanged.
– The honorable senator should not speak about principles. I shall give him a bit of his history by-and-by.
– No doubt, it will be quite delightful to get a big piece of history from the honorable senator byandby. The fact remains that there has been no change in the principles, platform, or pledge of the party which sent the honorable senator and myself to the Senate.
– The party found a good man in me, as is proved by the vote recorded in Western Australia.
– I can agree, while exchanging heated arguments with the honorable senator.
– Can. the honorable senator explain this : I have never broken any plank or principle of the party, and yet I have been expelled ?
– Order !
– I find that I would not be in order in answering questions of that kind, and I do not wish to put myself out of order. So far as Senator Russell and other honorable senators are concerned, I am aware of no one connected with the Labour movement who was expelled from the Labour party unless he had first deserted it.
– Does that apply to me? Now, let the honorable senator be fair. .Senator GARDINER. - I should prefer to discuss the business before the Senate.
– The honorable senator went out of the room and out of the party.
– I do not think that it is right that a statement which is unfair to me should be made. I was expelled from the party because I refused to place myself in the hands of certain people and resign from the Ministry.
– If the Government will agree that this regulation is, in the opinion of a majority of the Senate, altogether too drastic, and will submit one more worthy of consideration, I venture to say that there are members of the Senate who are prepared to listen to reason, and consent to a regulation giving all the power that is really required. But the Government simply say, ‘ ‘ If you vote against the allowance of this regulation, and if you take this power from us, you are disloyal, and we shall let the people see where you stand . “ In the circumstances, I am prepared to vote against the allowance of the regulation. I may be said to have already voted, because I have paired upon the motion with Senator Millen. I am against the regulation, because it has been used by the Prime Minister in a way in which it should never have been used. Further, I am going to vote on every occasion that presents itself to strip this Government of every power, because it is exercising powers which, constitutionally, it should not exercise. It is continuing in office without a majority in Parliament.
– Why not have a vote on that question?
– I can promise my honorable friend that we shall have several votes upon it.
– Has the honorable senator’s party a majority in Parliament ?
– If our party were asked to conduct the business of the country to-morrow, we should at once undertake the duty, and appeal to the people. I am not offering advice to the Government that I am not. prepared to follow myself. The constitutional rule is that no party can govern without a majority in Parliament.
– It will be a case of God help a lot of my honorable friends opposite when the time for the appeal comes.
– I recognise that no man can foresee the result of an appeal to the electors, but I know that, after the election, it will be the people’s party, with a majority of the people behind them, that will conduct the government of the country. At the present time that cannot be said of the Government. Regulation 187 covers all the powers of censorship that are necessary, and more powers than any Government under the leadership of Mr. Hughes should be intrusted with. It is his leadership and his administration that has caused the difficulty. Of course, censorship will cause some friction in any case. A conference of Labour people that expelled some of my honorable friends has admitted, by resolution, that censorship is necessary, and has complained only of its abuse.
– They expelled more than honorable members of the Senate. They expelled the whole State of Western Australia.
– They recognised that a power of censorship is necessary in the hands of the Government. We recognise that, and are supporting it, and I assert that the man who votes for censorship within reason is calculated to do the country more good than one who insists upon an extreme, form of censorship, such as that in existence at the present time.
– The Political Labour Council of this State exercised a censorship over me. I asked them to tell the people of the State, through the press, why I was dismissed, and they have positively refused to publish any reasons for my dismissal. That is a censorship.
– There is no question that it is, and, so far as the honorable senator is concerned, unfair to him. lt is my purpose to remove from the Prime Minister, who, not satisfied with mismanaging his own Department, wants to interfere in every other Department, a power of censorship that is unnecessary. The censorship of our political discussions, and of the ordinary news concerning the war, to which the people are entitled, is quite unnecessary. We are a British community, and we do not need our war news served up to us with a scrupulous regard for our feelings. We want the truth, and the bare truth. If the news is such as to show that greater efforts on our part are needed, those who are conducting the business of the country will be in a better position than they are in to-day to ask for the recruits who are so much needed. I am not quite sure of the number supporting the Government in the Senate. I think there are ten or eleven definite followers of theirs. If the eleven who want to control the business of the Senate wish, in a great emergency like this, to live altogether free from racial hatred and disturbances, why do they not go a’ little farther, and endeavour to create harmony between the sections of the people who are represented in this Parliament? Are they doing it ? I venture to say that they are attempting to discuss every question with a view to making it appear that all who disagree with them are enemies of the Empire. Now, I am the sort of man who, when anybody unfairly attempts to injure a friend, will stand by that friend in order to show my resentment against what I conceive to be an unjust method of attack. I hope that the Senate will insist that that portion of the regulation should be abolished which makes it an offence for any matter to be published relating to or arising out of the war without first being submitted to the censor. Take the case of the Ballarat Echo. Let us assume that a piece of news is obtained just in time for publication. Are the proprietors of that journal to wait for two clays before publishing it in order that it may first be submitted to the censor? Some time ago we had a censor in the newspaper offices of Melbourne, but even then our action was misunderstood by the proprietors of those journals. They thought that he was placed there for the purpose of hindering them, when, as a matter of fact, he was put there for the purpose of helping them. However, it is impossible to have censors in every newspaper office throughout Australia. Notwithstanding all the statements that have been made in regard to anticonscriptionists in this country, I venture to say that there is very little difference, from the stand-point of loyalty to the Empire, between man and man. We want to win this war, but those who take the view that all who differ from them are less loyal to the Empire are underestimating the manly intelligence of Australia.
– The honorable senator wants to win the war, but he wishes to destroy the instrument the use of which will help us to win it.
– That statement is not in accord with Senator Story’s usual good judgment. We wish to win the war. We are as much interested in winning it as anybody else.
– How are you going to do it?
– By wisely controlling the government of this country.
– By words - talk.
– We have quite a genius here. He first asks me how we are going to win the war, and then says we are going to win it by talk. Senator Blakey has put forward a proposal which, on any other occasion, would have been accepted without the lengthy statement which he made -in submitting it. His statement was not one bit too long, because it was crammed with good illustrations showing that this regulation had been used in a way to which British people must object.
– Does the honorable senator say that there should be no control over newspapers?
– There should be the firmest control over them.
– The honorable senator would take from the Commonwealth Government a power which has been granted to the Imperial Government.
– I would take from them a misconceived regulation - a regulation which was given a trial for three months, and which during that time proved that in the hands of Mr. Hughes it was an absolute impossibility. For two years the war went on without this regulation. For two years Germany’s agents were free to spend money as they pleased. I agree with the Minister for Defence that the man who does not think that German money will be used in this country is adopting an ostrich-like attitude by shutting his eyes to the facts.
– Does the honorable senator think that it is being used here ?
– I say that amongst my party there is no German money, and no suspicion of German influence.
– It has never been said that there was.
– But I know from the newspapers of the United States of America that millions of pounds were spent by Germany in propaganda work there. Consequently, I think that similar efforts will be made here. The man who wishes the Empire to stand foursquare to every wind that blows is the man who will act as a Britisher in panic time. I do not hesitate to say “that the worst acts committed under the regulation which we are discussing were the deliberate acts of Mr. Hughes, who compelled the censor to do things which the Minister for Defence had already done in a proper way. If I could be assured that the administration of this regulation would be left in the hands of Senator Pearce, I would vote for” its retention.
– Then we have a super-Minister for Defence.
- Mr. Hughes is bad enough without a regulation: but, armed with a regulation .under which he can harass every newspaper proprietor in Australia, he is a positive danger, and I am surprised- that Senator Keating should defend him.
– The honorable senator would not object to the regulation if it were in the hands of Senator Pearce?
– No ; because from my knowledge of him I know that it would not be used in the way that it has been used.
– Then the honorable senator does not object to the regulation?
– We can intrust the most dangerous powers to the hands of a most capable man; but we cannot trust them to be exercised by a man like Mr. Hughes.
– Why not carry a motion that Mr. Hughes shall not have the power of using this regulation?
– I would not mind that. If Senator Story will support it, I will go further, and submit a resolution affirming that the administration of this regulation does not meet with the approval of the Senate. But if I did so, both he and Senator Keating would find some good reason for opposing it.
– The honorable senator knows that I supported him when he was in office.
– And I remember that support with very kindly feelings. I hope that this will be the last occasion on which senators on one side of the chamber will be found endeavouring to make it appear that those upon the opposite side are disloyal. Let us not here give any hope to Germany that Australia is divided. It is the duty of every honorable senator to speak the truth, which is that, in regard to this war, Australia is united. And if a voice be found here and there crying out against it, that is only what might be expected in a population as free as is our own. An honorable senator asks me whether the absence of this regulation would not be of some assistance to Germany if she attempted to use the press of Australia. It would be of no service whatever. The portion of it to which we object is that which compels all articles, before publication, to be submitted to the censor. As one who occupied the position of Minister for two years, I say that I never heard a complaint in regard to this want of power.
-Then why did the honorable senator pass the regulation?
– Because, perhaps, I thought that Senator Pearce would administer it. But I have since learned the mistake that I made. Could anybody listen to what Senator Blakey said to-day without realizing that the administration of this regulation was one of the most objectionable blots on the life of the Government of which I was a member. If something was done under that regulation of which I never dreamed, surely I am not blameworthy? Take the case of section 9 of the Act, which conferred certain powers on the Government. I say, unhesitatingly, that if that section were . under consideration tomorrow, I would not vote for it, because of the way in which its provisions have been abused.
– Yet the honorable senator pleaded for it for the reason that it> enabled certain questions to be asked.
– When section 9 was under consideration, I did not doubt that it would be used for the purposes for which all thought it would be used; but in view of the way in which it has been used, I would not vote for it again. This regulation occupies exactly a similar posi tion ; we have witnessed three months of its administration. The whole of the evils which accrued in that period have not been put before the Senate. But because of our experience of its operation, we are satisfied that it is an objectionable regulation which ought to be repealed. If the Government say that the abolition of that regulation strips them of power, I invite them to-morrow to introduce a short Bill into this Chamber conferring upon them not exceptional powers in this direction, and to see ‘how it will be treated. We all know that government by regulation is merely intended to fill in the gaps between the periods when Parliament is sitting.
– How often did I remind the honorable senator of that?
– And never did I think that a man who could see so clearly as the honorable senator, could make such blunders. The honorable senator did remind us all of the dangers attendant upon government by regulation, and now, when the most glaring misuse of a regulation is put before him, it will be interesting to watch how he will vote. I shall await the division with interest, in order that I may see whether he gives effect to his preaching. The honorable senator has always been one of the champions of government by legislation, and not by regulation. I think that he is the only unofficial member of his party. If Senator Senior is the whole of the Government support apart from those holding official posts, he occupies a remarkable position.
– He is not, and you know it.
– Are there others ?
– There are four there waiting for a job.
– I did not notice Senator Buzacott on the other side, and I apologize to him for not including him with Senator Senior.
– Apologize to all those who have not got a job.
– I do not know any others, or I would. I notice that the press wants now to take from us our name of the Australian Labour party, and tack on to us that of the Official Labour party. It seems to me that one of the conditions for following the Government section of the Labour party is that you must have an office. I am against the regulation, and support its repeal. Senator Blakey made out a good case against it. If the Government claim that the motion will strip them of power, I invite them immediately to introduce a Bill to give, them all the power necessary. If they do, I promise them that any reasonable measure providing satisfactory security for the liberty of the people will have the support of the Opposition. By the carrying of the motion the Government will lose no power. They will lose no power by the regulation being taken out of the hands of the Prime Minister. I mention him because he goes right over the top of other Ministers to enforce his views. He steps above even such a Minister as the Minister for Defence, and releases for publication on the eve of an election matter censored weeks before by Senator Pearce. If the regulation is repealed, the Prime Minister will no longer have power to bring the country press, the Labour press, and other papers to book for publishing articles without first submitting them to the censor.
– Germany will have greater power, and the Prime Minister less. Is not that the position t
– Germany has very much power now, which will never be made greater by any one sitting on this side of the Senate. If the honorable senator likes to live on the anti-German cry, he may repeat it parrot-like as often as he cares, but he know3 that it does not carry conviction when applied to men who are known in the communities they represent. It does not carry conviction when applied to men who, before they ever reached the Senate, have undergone the test that all members have to undergo before they get here. No man in thi3 Senate is disloyal, and nobody knows it better than the honorable senator. No man in this Senate can have even the suspicion of disloyalty cast upon him. I am speaking for all parties when I say that. Of course, if you throw mud enough, some of it will stick, and I dare say, if the honorable senator picks upon an expression that some one has used and twists it, he may lead some people who do not know the facts to believe what he says, and so gain a vote or two, but is it worth while ? The position is too serious for these . childish accusations. We should try to overcome the inclination to put the other fellow in a bad position.
– This sounds like a lecture to your own supporters.
– You are making Senator Findley frown.
– I value Senator Findley’s frowns the same as I value Senator Lynch’s smiles. The Senate for two years have given the Government everything they have asked for that should be given. That, in itself, ought to have induced the Leader of the Government here to admit at once that the indictment against the regulation was proved, and to own frankly and with dignity that the use to which the regulation had been put was not such as to warrant its continuance. If the Government consider that to lose it would strip them of certain power, they can remedy this to-morrow by introducing a Bill to give them the power they want. Senator Senior has warned me of the dangers of government by regulation. Will he assist me now to get back to government by legislation ?
– I must have the house “built before I strike down the tent-pole.
– No doubt. Senator Pearce’s claim that the motion will assist German agents or their friends is so ridiculous that I cannot help repeating it. The more I look at it, the more I realize that not only this regulation, but this Government, must be removed.
– That is the trouble.
– That is the real trouble. The regulation is one of the little troubles that we are able to remove. The fact that there is a Government in power ‘ without a majority in Parliament is the real danger to this country, and the real help, if help there be, to the German side. A Government without the confidence of the people administering a regulation of that kind, and afraid to appeal to the people for their confidence, surely ought to be deprived of power.
– Did you ever hear of the boy who whistled going through the wood ?
– I have heard of boys whistling to keep their courage up, but whistling is an accomplishment which I could ne%7er learn.
– I think you are more courageous than many of your followers.
– The regulation is irritating and annoying to the ‘conductors of the country press. It inter feres with their business, and prevents them from commenting upon and imparting news of the war. They are among the most loyal men in this< country.
– It interferes with the operations of would-be German agents.
– The honorablesenator is, of course, an authority on them. I do not happen to know any, or any friends of Germany. If I did, I would see if I could not hand them over to the proper authorities, to be dealt with properly. This regulation, whose repeal certain people say will give Germany extraordinary power, has -been in existenceonly three months, and I challenge’ those who defend it to produce anything that would have helped Germany that it has been used to suppress. Senator Blakey produced a number of instances which proved that the regulation has been used to suppress information that would havehelped the people of Australia to a wider knowledge of what is happening, and that would not have helped Germany at all. I challenge the supporters of the regulation to produce any censored articles or statements in regard to which the regulation has helped to preserve us from German influence.
– Did you hear the Minister this afternoon ?
– I did not hear him cite one case where the regulation was used to counteract German influence.
– Do you think we> should publish articles that we have already suppressed because of their danger T
– I do not think the honorable senator should publish anything that would give an advantage to the enemy. I have paired with Senator Millen against the regulation, because it is harassing and annoying to the community, and a dangerous power in the hands of a dangerous man. If the Go’vernment want legislation, let them introduce it.
– Would the honorable senator administer it satisfactorily?
– If the honorable senator had heard my speech, he would have heard me say that there was some one who could administer it satisfactorily. I do not make any particular claim to be able to administer regulations. It is a most difficult business, and it will be much more satisfactory when we can get the community to first hear the laws debated in Parliament. They will then be ready for what they have to live under, and can obey or disobey at their pleasure, paying, of course, the penalties if they do -disobey. This regulation has been shown to have been a great danger to the liberties of the people, many of whom have been prevented:, in their ordinary civil life, from expressing their opinions in an ordinary and intelligent manner. Words have been struck out of articles, making them meaningless. Writers have been compelled by the electoral law to sign articles when the words that gave sense and smoothness to them have been deleted by the action of the censor. That should not happen. The Government should have all the power it asks for to cope with German interests and German influence. I venture to say that I have the whole of my party with me when I make that statement; but those powers must not be used to deal with British interests and British people, or with what I hold even -dearer - Australian interests and Australian people. A distinction must be made between the two things. I put the whole blame on the shoulders of one man -the Prime Minister. If it is true, as we say it is, that the Government have misused it to injure the Australian community, I ask not only the party sitting behind me, but all those others who believe in preserving our liberties, to take care that this pernicious regulation shall not exist after this evening.
– It is regrettable that the opening and the closing words in Senator Pearce’s speech, in reply to Senator Blakey, were so remarkable. His opening .words were that those members who supported the motion for the disallowance of this amended regulation would prove that they were friends of Germany, because they would take away from the Government all the power required so far as the censorship was concerned. His closing words were addressed to Senator Ferricks - “ I leave you and your friends to revel in the muck heap.” If any man has been raking in the muck heap it is Senator Pearce.
– The Minister cannot stand your artillery, so he is off.
– Well the Minister may elect to leave the chamber. His -attitude during this debate reminds me of a parent trying to correct a child who may have been playing truant, because the Minister threatens that if members of this Chamber vote* for the disallowance of the regulation he will prove them to be friends of Germany, and enemies of the Empire. It is just about time that members of the Senate proved themselves men, and not children. Too long has it been the practice of Ministers to threaten a member that if he takes a certain line of action he will be labelled in a certain manner, but I am prepared to be put in the pillory, if necessary, as Senator Pearce evidently desires. I am prepared, by the vote I am about to give, to put myself in the prisoner’s dock, so to speak, and leave my future to the verdict of a jury which has much more power than Senator Pearce. That jury will be the people of Western Australia, who sent me here.
– Do not talk about a prisoner’s dock at the next election.
– The honorable gentleman knows what I mean. I refer to a statement by Senator Pearce which means that he would place all of us in the prisoner’s dock if we dared to vote in a certain direction. According to the Minister, we will then be enemies of the Empire and friends of Germany. I want to draw attention to the fact that while Senator Pearce was addressing the Senate he said that Germany had friends in this Parliament.
– Not in this Parliament.
– What .were his words, then ?
– That is what he meant.
– No. The Minister did not mean that.
– Senator Pearce said that Germany had friends in this Parliament.
– I take it that was what Be meant, anyhow.
– It remains for Senator Pearce to prove whether or not he used those words. I ask him to name any member of this Parliament who is a friend of Germany. It is regrettable that any member of Parliament should say that there are friends of Germany in this Parliament, or, indeed, in any other Parliament of Australia. He should be prepared to give the names. Senator Lynch interjected just now that Senator Pearce did not say ‘’ this Parliament.”-
In reply to that, I suggest that Senator Pearce should produce his Hansard proof to-morrow, and if he can prove then, that he did not say that Germany had friends in Parliament, 1 will apologize to him.
– Will you not take his word?
– Will Senator Pearce take my word ? He did not this afternoon, at all events.
– I am certain he would. You are accusing him of saying something he did not say, and which he denied.
– He distinctly said Germany had friends in Parliament.
– The Minister can prove his statement if he likes. My point is that Senator Pearce made an accusation against members either of this Parliament, or of some other Parliament. Where are those friends of Germany? Which Parliament did Senator Pearce mean? Was it the National Parliament of Australia, a State Parliament, or was it the Imperial House of Commons? If Germany has friends in any Parliament in the British Empire will Senator Pearce give us the names of those members? Surely that is a broad enough margin for the Minister to work upon.
– Germany undoubtedly had friends in the Imperial Parliament. I can give you the names if you like.
– I want Senator Pearce to state which Parliament h«* meant - whether any Parliament in Australia or the Parliament in some other portion of the British Empire, because I want to find out where are those friends of Germany. Senator Pearce knows quite well why Senator Blakey submitted his motion. He desires to restrict the powers of censorship, and I want to know what crime we shall be committing if we disallow the regulation. The only crime that I can see is that we shall get back to the position as it existed on the 30th August, 1916, and before the amended regulation was issued.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould - But are we not wiser now ?
– Yes, we are wiser but sadder men . because of thu manner in which the various regulations, under cover of the War Precautions Act, have been administered. That administration has been a lesson to us. We will not hand ourselves over body and soul to the Executive of any Government, be they Labour, Fusion, or Confusion. Wl: at we desire particularly is to strike out these words in the amended regulation - which relates or refers to the present war, or to any subject connected therewith or arising therefrom.
That is ‘all we are attempting to do. We are simply asking the present Government to carry on under the regulation which existed up to the 30th August, 1916. Senator Pearce also accused those who intend to vote for this motion of preventing the enlistment of men who are willing to serve in His Majesty’s Forces abroad. I intend to vote for the motion. I am prepared at any time to take the platform in advocacy of voluntary recruiting. Still, Senator Pearce tells me from his place as Leader of the Senate that if I vote for the disallowance of the regulation, I shall retard voluntary enlistment. Now I come to the matter of the censorship. Senator Pearce claims that the Government should have absolute power to censor everything “ which relates or refers to the present war” - those are the words - “or to any subject connected therewith or arising therefrom.”
– It is pretty comprehensive.
– It is absolute, for there is no escape. It is a drag-net, which brings in every conceivable reference to anything in connexion with the war. It is to be, “ Please Mr. Censor can I say this? “ or “ Please Mr. Censor can I say that? “ I wonder that Senator Pearce did not censor the placards used in the referendum campaign.
– Especially the placard printed in German colours.
- Senator Pearce knew perfectly well that on various hoardings in Western Australia there were exhibited placards such as the one “ The Kaiser desires you to vote No.”
– That one was printed in German colours.
– I did not pay much attention to the colours.
– Did you not think that the Kaiser would like you to vote “No”?
– Can the honorable senator say that the Kaiser did desire us to vote “ No “ ?
– Did you not think that the Kaiser would like you to vote “ No “ ?
– I ask Senator Newland if I am a friend of the Kaiser because I voted “ No “ and asked people to vote “No”?
– I do not say that for a moment.
– Then what is the inference to be drawn ?
– The inference to be drawn is that the Kaiser would like you to vote “ No.”
– That is bandying with words. The honorable senator would not for a moment make such a statement to me now, and I do not think that he ever made it outside, for he is too much of a man to say such a thing as that. These placards were exhibited on the hoardings, and the Defence Department knew that they were there. Why were not the words of the placard submitted to the censor?
– They may have been.
– They were not, but if they had been submitted to the censor was it right that imputations should have been levelled at the citizens of Australia who acted from the dictates of their conscience in exercising the franchise and were determined to vote “No”? Senator Guy has just asked me timely, “Did the Kaiser desire the soldiers at the front to vote ‘ No ‘ ?”
– Of course he did.
– Would those soldiers be called cowards, traitors, mongrels, curs, Huns, and pro-Germans?
– Will the honorable senator attach that stigma to them ?
– No. I am attaching no stigma to anybody, but simply saying that the Kaiser wanted a “No” vote and got it.
– The honorable senator’s own son is at the front offering his life in the service of his country.
– Yes, and I will swear that he voted “ Yes.”
– I am not asking the honorable senator how his son voted.
– I can swear to that, anyhow.
– Let me not be misunderstood. If the honorable senator’s son desired to exercise his right as an Australian citizen at the front to vote “No,” he would not debar him of it?
– Oh no.
– Would the honorable senator class his son if he had voted “ No “ as a traitor, as disloyal?
– No. I have classed nobody as such.
– No, and I am proud of the honorable senator; but there are men he is supporting to-day who have classed such men as traitors, disloyalists, curs, and mongrels.
– There may be such men in the country you know, although one cannot classify them.
– You do not approve of them?
– I do not. I think that such language is wicked and foolish in the extreme.
– Whatever may be the result of the vote I am about to give, it will not be given with the inten-* tion of depriving the Government of powers of censorship. I want that to be borne in mind. I know it is imperative that the Government of any country should have powers of censorship during a time of war., and particularly during a war of the nature of the present one. But I think it is time that Parliament stepped in and said to the Government, “ These powers of censorship shall go so far, and no farther.” I will make another statement. If it had not been for the too strict censorship exercised in Great Britain there would have been no need to introduce conscription there. It was because the censorship was so strict that her people did not know where they were. They could not learn from the columns of the newspapers tho true position on the Eastern or Western front,’ or the situation in the Balkans. They were fed up with certain kinds of cables and news. The real news which they should have received they were deprived of by too strict a censorship. I venture to say that if the manhood of the British Isles had known the true position, conscription never would have been a law on the British statute-book.
– The censorship was not strict enough, judging by the news that Germany had.
– The censorship was too strict to let the manhood of Great Britain know exactly how they were situated.
– They never got a chance of voting on conscription.
– No. There would have been no necessity to have a vote on conscription in Great Britain if the truth had really been known to the manhood. Whilst I agree entirely with the necessity of a censorship, I think it would be foolish on the part of this Parliament to hand over to the Government absolute powers such as this amended regulation suggests. Why? Talk about government by regulation or government by legislation. During the past two years we have practically been governed by regulation. This session commenced on the 8th October, 1914, and may go on for some time yet. Practically during the greater part of that period Parliament has not governed. The Executive has governed. I admit that I was a party to the War Precautions Act under which regulations have been made time and again.
Sitting suspended from 6.31 to8 p.m.
– I have said that government by regulation has been in force for some time. Now that Senator Pearce is present, I desire to repeat my challenge to him in connexion with what he had to say in replying to Senator Blakey. The honorable senator did say that there were friends of Germany in this Parliament. When I accused himof this, the Minister for Works, who was temporarily in charge of the Chamber in the absence of the Minister for Defence, interjected that Senator Pearce did not use the word “ this.” I then said that 1 would challenge Senator Pearce to name the members of Parliament he referred to, and to say in which Parliament there are friends of Germany. I want the honorable senator now to tell the Senate and the nation, to use his own phrase, which Parliament he refers to.
– In the first place, 1 did not use the words the honorable senator says I used.
– Did the honorable senator use the words ‘ ‘ There are friends of Germany in this Parliament “ ?
– I did not.
– I Say that the honorable senator did use them.
– I said, ‘ ‘ There are friends of Germany in this country.”
– The honorable senator certainly used the word “ Parliament “.
– I may have used the word “ Parliament,” but in another connexion.
SenatorNEEDHAM. - I adhere to my statement, and I believe that Hansard will prove that the honorable senator said, “ There are friends of Germany in this Parliament.”
– That is, if Hansard is not censored.
– The Minister for Works says that the honorable senator did not use the word “ this,” and I wish the Minister for Defence to tell the nation now which Parliament he referred to. I wish him to say whether he referred to the Federal Parliament, to any State Parliament in Australia, or any Parliament in the British Dominions. If there are friends of Germany in any of these Parliaments, the sooner the people concerned know their names the sooner will they be able to get rid of them. In justice to Senator Pearce, I have repeated my challenge, and I leave it to him to decide whether he will respond to it. I might summarize my statement by saying that I accept his challenge that if I vote for the disallowance of this regulation I shall be assisting to strip tne Government of all powers of censorship. I shall not be doing anything of the sort. I shall be voting merely against giving the Government the absolute power which they have time and again exercised since the War Precautions Act has been in force. I admit that . I assisted Senator Pearce and the last Hughes Government to put the War Precautions Act on the statute-book. I accept my share of responsibility for doing that, but I little dreamt at that time that I was creating a Frankenstein. I say now that had I thought that the administration of the Act would have resulted as it has resulted, my vote would never have been ‘recorded for it. I am a sadder and a wiser man to-day than I was when I voted for that Act.
– Experience is a good teacher.
– Yes, it teaches a lot of things, and we have had sad experience of the administration of the War Precautions Act. Honorable senators recognise that, while probably the intention of Parliament in passing every Act is to benefit and protect the people, the administration of any Act may defeat the intention of Parliament in passing it. It is in the administration of an Act that the danger lies. We have many times had proof that the War Precautions Act has not been administered in the way that this Parliament thought it would be. I repeat that in voting for the disallowance of this regulation I am not taking from the Government all powers of censorship.
– No, only just as much as the honorable senator can take.
– No, that is” not so. I am humbly endeavouring to retain parliamentary control of the Executive. It is possible that we may shortly adjourn, for what period I do not know, and I say that Parliament should always keep its hand on the Government. It has been proved time and again in the last few months that it would have been better for the country had Parliament continued to sit. The Government would not then have been given the latitude which they have taken advantage of. So far as the censorship of published matter is concerned, the words which it is proposed should be deleted from this objectionable regulation are - which relates or refers, to the present war, or to any subject connected therewith, or arising therefrom.
If those words are permitted to remain part of the regulation it will give the Government absolute power to prevent any person in Australia referring in any way to anything connected with the war, unless ne first says, “ Please, Mr. Censor, may I write or say so-and-so? “
– Have not the boys at the front to do that now ? Every letter they send is censored. They are not allowed to say even where they are.
– I admit that, and the votes of the boys at the front have also been censored, because the Government supported by Senator Guthrie are afraid to let the public know how our boys at the front cast their votes.
– They cannot even tell us where they are.
– The honorable senator knows where they are. He is a supporter of a Government that has issued a regulation preventing the people of Australia knowing how our boys at the front voted at the referendum on the 28th
October. Was the honorable senator a party to the issue of that regulation ?
– Only in the same way that Senator Needham was a party to the issue of the regulation which he is now trying to repeal.
– Surely my honorable friend has not given up all the liberty he used to possess ?
– We possess more liberty now than we used to possess.
– There is no Trades Hall bludgeon now.
– I should like Senator Newland to tell the Senate what liberty he has been deprived of which he possessed prior to the 14th November, 1916?
– I shall tell the honorable senator.
– I hope that Senator Newland will be able to justify his interjection. He should tell us -in what way he has been deprived of the liberty which as a senator he possessed prior to the 14th November, and by whom, and under what conditions he was deprived’ of it.
– That will be easy.
– The honorable senator was a member of the Labour party up till the 14th November, and during the past ten years I have been present at the same party meetings as the honorable senator, and during that time I can say that nothing occurred to deprive me of my liberty as a senator, nor has anything occurred since the 14th November to deprive me of my liberty as a member of the National Parliament of Australia.
– What about the honorable senator’s colleagues?
– They are in the same category as myself. Does the honorable senator contend that the Labour party has robbed them of any privilege? My colleagues in the Senate are the Minister for Works, Senator Henderson, and others, and I ask them to stand up and say that they have been deprived at any time by the Australian Parliamentary Labour party of any liberty.
– That is not what I said.
– That is an important qualification.
– I am dealing with Senator Newland’s interjection. I want to hold him down to his own words. He said that he has greater liberty now than he possessed before. I want him to tell the Senate by whom he was deprived of his liberty?
– What is it all about ?
– Senator Henderson was not present when Senator Newland made his interjection. I want Senator Newland to tell the country by whom he was deprived of his liberty. I want to know under which flag he serves, under which king. Is it the Australian Labour party or the National Labour party ?
– Does the honorable senator mean the King or the Kaiser 1
– No; I mean Napoleon Hughes.
– I do not know him -
– I mean the Right Honorable William Morris Hughes. Is the honorable senator his servitor now ?
– I was never any man’s servitor.
– Then why does the honorable senator speak about having more liberty to-day ?
– I have not complained.
– I am as free a man to-day as a senator and citizen as I was when I came here. Nobody has ever attempted to deprive me of my liberty.
– First let us define terms. What does the honorable senator mean by “ liberty “ ?
– I will allow the honorable senator to do that. If I did not vote for the disallowance of this regulation I would be placing the destinies of Australia practically in the hands of one man. The Minister for Home Affairs in another place has admitted that the presiding officers acted on instructions from the Attorney-General’s Department, yet the Prime Minister has the temerity to affirm that- the regulations which were responsible for the resignation of three of tv-« colleagues were not issued. It is a .”‘ore lawyer’s quibble. The instructions were issued and were acted upon. Because the Prime Minister attempted to interfere with the secrecy of the ballot I object to placing in his hands the power that is conferred by this regulation.
.- During the six and a half years that I have been a member of the Senate I have not heard the Minister for Defence make such a good attempt - with his usual ability and eloquence - to bolster up a bad cause as he made here to-day. Those of us who followed Senator Blakey this afternoon are aware that the people of Australia are vitally interested in the subject-matter of
Hie censorship, and especially since the question of conscription became a burning one in our midst. Nothing has been productive of more trouble than this question of the censorship, and Senator Blakey should be commended for having afforded us an opportunity of calmly and dispassionately debating it with a view of showing the people what are the true facts of the case.
The Minister for Defence appealed to honorable senators to be honest with themselves and not to be misled. I think that we ought rather to be honest with the people of Australia and not permit them to be misled. I was surprised indeed when Senator Pearce deliberately attempted to mislead the public by the way in which he stated the case. In submitting this motion Senator Blakey read the objectionable regulation which was an amendment of a previous regulation. For the first two years of the war there was in existence a regulation which provided that any printed matter issued in relation to recruiting should be subject to the censorship. No objection was urged to that. It was held to be sufficient to enable the Government to effectively control the issue of pamphlets relating to matters connected with the war. Three months ago-and .this date, singularly, coincides with the period when the question of conscription first arose - that regulation, which was never before challenged, was suddenly amended, so that instead of applying merely to recruiting matters, or to the raising of troops for service abroad, it empowered the censor to control the publication of every pamphlet.
– And of every speech which was uttered.
– Exactly. It was a dragnet regulation. When we as a party object, not to the regulation which was acted upon for the greater part of two years, but to this extension of it, we are told by the Minister for Defence that we are attempting to wrest from the Government the power to control traitors. That is a deliberate effort onhis part to mislead the people.
– Does the honorable senator acknowledge that the disallowance of the regulation will take some power from the Government?
SenatorREADY.- It will take from them the power which was given them to deal principally with pamphlets relating to conscription. When the Minister for Defence says that our intention in disallowing this additional power is to entirely destroy the censorship, I say that he is making a deliberate misstatement of facts which cannot be too strongly repudiated by any decent thinking man.
– That is rather strong, because I am a decent thinking man.
– The honorable senator’s leader has stated that the object of this motion is to absolutely destroy the censorship, and to wrest from the Government the power to control traitors. Is that true ?
– Some of it is.
– I say that these powers have been used for political party purposes.
– If this particular regulation be disallowed, the original regulation which it amended will still remain.
– Yes, and how a man of Senator Pearce’s mental calibre could make such a statement I am at a loss to understand. I wish to quote two instances, which occurred during the recent referendum campaign, of th’e way in which this additional power has been misused, and of how the censorship has been unfairly used for political purposes. Both cases occurred in Tasmania. One of them is connected with the press, and the other with the issue of pamphlets. Every honorable senator is familiar with the cartoon which was published in the Worker of Thursday, 5th October. It depicts a blackboard on which are set out the figures relating to the number of men that were said to be required as reinforcements under the scheme of the late Hughes Government. It shows a man pointing to a blackboard on which is written -
To be called up Hughes’ scheme in one year, beginning from the first of last month, 214,000. Single men available, after allowing for those exempted by law, physically unfitted, and industrially indispensable, 70,000. Shortage to be made up by married men, 144,000. As the drafts for September, October, and November will absorb 65,500 men, they will be tearing the married men from their homes about Xmas. Vote “No” and put a stop to this iniquity.
That was headed “ A Simple Sum.” It was published in the Worker. The Daily Post, Hobart, obtained the block and reproduced it. What happened? The censor refused to allow it to be published either in the Daily Post or in the form of a pamphlet. In proof of this I propose to read the actual letters that are in my possession from the censor himself. The first is from the assistant censor and is dated Hobart, 20th October. It is addressed to the editor of the Daily Post, Hobart. It roads -
Publication of the submitted placard you send for censoring is prohibited, as I have no means of ascertaining the correctness of the figures given. -
A rather flimsy excuse -
You had better submit them to headquarters, Anglesea Barracks, Hobart, for verification, and send in the reply you receive. The figures are given on a separate sheet of paper enclosed herewith. I retain the placard, as no duplicate has been furnished to me. (Sgd.) T. M. Evans, Col.
Then a representative of the newspaper was sent to Anglesea Barracks, and I have here a copy of the second letter which was received on the subject from Oswald Hoad, representative of the general staff -
A representative of your paper has been referred to me, by the censor, regarding a cartoon it is proposed to insert in your Monday’s issue.
As there is no means by which the figures given in this cartoon could have been authenticated, the provisions of the War Precautions Regulations relative to censorship will not permit of its publication.
Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) Oswald Hoad, Captain,
– They were official figures. The paper was simply making its own deductions, but the cartoon was not allowed to be published in Tasmania, although it was published all over . Australia, and passed by the New South Wales censor. Honorable senators can imagine how irritating that kind of thing would be to the proprietors of a newspaper, with no time to get the decision altered before the poll was taken. That case alone is sufficient to justify any one in voting for the repeal of the regulation, to say nothing of the instances quoted by Senator Blakey.
I have an even worse case. The original message was published two days before the poll in the Brisbane Daily Standard, the proprietors of which. I understand, are to be prosecuted for it, if they have not already been prosecuted. I have here the original censor’s message in relation to the matter, showing that the censorship was used for political and partisan purposes to prevent facts reaching the people which they had every right to get before they voted “Yes” or “No” at the referendum . This is what appeared in the Standard, -
Don’t Send Men. “we have countless millions.”
Munitions only Wanted.
The following extract from an article in
John Bull, by the Duke de Morny, at the beginning of last month, has a significant bearing upon the present conscription crisis. It furnishes abundant proof of the assertions of anti-conscriptionists that Australia can do far better than drain herself of the whole of her able-bodied men. The article is entitled, “ A Message from Russia,” and in it the writer says - “ I landed in England two clays ago, direct from Russia, where I have spent over a year. During that time I have been at the Court, I have met the Czar, the Grand Dukes, and the heads of the Government Departments. I have been far afield with the Russian armies; I have watched the transformation that has come over them, and how they have gradually been reorganized and re-equipped after the great retreat of 1015; I have been amongst the peasants in the villages, and I have talked with the sturdy Cossacks from the Don and the Amur. I bring this message to England, as I shall take it to France. It is an appeal that comes from the united heart of a mighty people - in which the Czar himself and the humblest private join. It is addressed to the munition makers of England and France. “ Send us more heavy guns, more rifles, more machine guns, and yet more ammunition. Do not stop for an hour. If necessary, keep more of your men out of the trenches, and send them to the factories. We have men, countless millions, who are waiting and longing to march against the Huns. They cannot move until they are armed and equipped. You have the brains, the skill, and the resources to make what we require. We will promise you to crush the common enemy and invade his soil, if only you will send us what we want.”
I presume the Standard published this first, and asked for permission afterwards. Is there anything in that item which should have been prevented from publication in any paper in Australia ?
– It passed the censor in England. After it appeared in the Brisbane Standard, the censors took no risks. They wired every paper in Australia,so I understand, telling them that the message was not to be republished. This is the wire sent to the editor of the Daily Post, Hobart -
Any reference to the statement published today in Brisbane, “ Russia’s appeal : Do not send men; We have countless millions; Munitions only wanted,” is forbidden.
Censor, 11.56 p.m.
I take it from the stamp that that was sent by the Hobart censor. This abuse of power could have been exercised with only one object - to prevent the people knowing all the facts on the question of conscription. Now that all this worry and irritation, and in some cases expense, has been caused to the people and to various newspapers, we are told by the Minister for Defence that we should allow it to go on ; but we should not be worthy of a seat in the Senate if we did not vote to curtail the power which has been so grossly and flagrantly misused.
– I presume for publishing it. When one sees other messages starred and headlined, including a message from Jacka, the story of Mrs. Hughes’ unfortunate experience with the burglar a message from General Haig, and soldiers’ letters from the front, and this message refused publication, every man whose brain is not perverted must admit that the censorship has been conducted in a biased and partisan way. The Senate ought to raise a warning finger to the censor, telling him that it intends to see that his abuse of his powers is watched and curtailed. He should be told that anything he does in the future will receive our closest scrutiny. He can take this motion as a decisive and necessary lesson, showing that we do not intend to permit unbridled and unlicensed censorship in the future. I shall do nothing which would hinder the Government in the successful prosecution of the war. I shall help them with any recruiting scheme, or in any other way in my power ; but while I can prevent it I shall not allow something to continue which inflicts irritation and trouble on the people at a time when we need a*ll our unanimity and every ounce of our solidarity. I shall vote for the motion in the hope .that the censor will take it as a warning to endeavour in the future, in dealing with pamphlets and newspapers, to hold the scales fairly and evenly, giving exactly the same treatment to every section and every political party.
– The unusual vim and activity infused by the Minister for Defence into his remarks this afternoon would lead one to believe that he has become affected by that recently discovered disease known as lynchitis. Although he could not equal the physical gyrations of his colleague, the Minister for Works, he rivalled him in the .exaggeration and. extravagance of his language.
– If you do not keep quiet I will blow you out. I will tell the Senate about John Norton’s editors.
– I presume the Minister refers to a Western Australian friend of mine, Mr. E. J. Dunne, who was the anti-conscription candidate opposing Mr. Scaddan.
– The anti-Labour candidate.
– If Mr. Scaddan is the Labour candidate, give me the antiLabour. However, I shall have an opportunity of returning to that theme when we come to Supply. What struck me most this afternoon was the highlycoloured picture painted by the Minister for Defence as to the illeffects which would follow - there was no “ might “ about what he said - the carrying of the motion moved and explained so ably and fully by Senator Blakey. The Minister implied that if the regulation was repealed the newspapers would be able to chronicle the departure of the transports, and that the holding up of transports would result.
– I said they could advocate that.
– The Minister said that everything to the detriment of Australia, as one of the most important self-governing Dominions, and to Great Britain herself, could be published through the repeal of Regulation 204. But, although he professed to believe that all these ill-effects would follow, he actually, earlier in the afternoon, acquiesced in that action being taken by the Senate without attempting to offer a note of warning. When the motion standing in Senator Blakey’s name was called by the Clerk this afternoon, the three Ministers and the whole of their eight supporters were in the chamber. I had just arrived within the bar about halfaminute before, and was waiting for Senator Gardiner, or the Whip, or Senator Mullan, with whom Senator Blakey had been in communication regarding the matter, to call “ Not formal.” None of them did, nor did any of the three Ministers or their eight supporters. Thinking the matter was worth discussion, and not knowing if any arrangement had been come to by my colleagues, I, on the impulse of the moment, called, “ Not formal,” otherwise there would have been no discussion. Was Senator Pearce agreeable that a regulation of the gravity which he says this one possesses should have been brushed aside, as he knows it is going to be now, without his uttering one word of protest? Either he is insincere or he is not fit to hold his present position, in view of the case he tried to buttress up to-day as to the dangers that would confront Australia in the event of the regulation being repealed. Was it the intention of Senator Pearce and his colleagues and supporters to thrust Australia in the vortex of this calamity for the sake of obtaining what he might believe to be a party advantage, in order that he and his party might be able to go to the country and say, “ Look what the Labour majority in the Senate did “ ? I think, when Senator Pearce sees his speech of this afternoon in cold type in Hansard he will be sorry for his utterance, because it was most rash, most ill-advised, and most inaccurate. Is it to go out to the world that the Leader of the Government in the highest Chamber of the National Parliament of Australia made such grave and serious statements as to the effect of German influence, not only in Australia, but in the Parliament itself ? What will the Kaiser think of that? We have been asked to consider what the Kaiser would think of the action of Australia on the referendum on 28th October, and I am entitled to ask what the Kaiser will think of this statement that Germany has friends in the Parliament of Australia?
– He did not say that.
– No. I stand corrected. The Minister did not say that Germany had friends in the Parliament of Australia, but he did say that Germany had friends in Parliament.
SenatorSenior. - No, he did not say that.
– I do not intend to accept the honorable senator’s correction there, because I heard what the Minister said. Senator Pearce went further. His remarks followed directly upon the old and unfounded charge concerning the spending of German gold in this country, and, in answer to an interjection by Senator Keating - “ If you know that German gold is coming in to German agents, why don’t you deal with them?” Senator Pearce replied - “ We have, and when we dealt withthem we found that those German agents were not without friends in Parliament.” I venture to say that is almost an exact reproduction of the actual passage of words that occurred. If Senator Pearce did not mean this Parliament, why did he not say so when he was challenged by his colleague Senator Needham, and others, who asked him to give the names of the members who he alleged were friends of German agents who received German gold for distribution in Australia for anti-British purposes? What would we think if we could read of a statement in the German Reichstag by Bethman-Hollweg - I mention him because I do not know who else would be the counterpart of Senator Pearce in the German Parliament - to the effect that the British Government had friends in the Parliament of Germany? Would we not regard that as a hopeful sign that Great Britain was getting a good foothold in Germany? And, therefore, is it not reasonable to assume, on the authority of the statement made by the Minister for Defence to-day, that the German people will think that they are doing all right, because, according to the Minister for Defence, they have friends in the Parlia ment of Australia? The German people would, of course, be entitled to think that the position is improving because of a statement made, not only on the authority of our Minister for War, but on the authority also of our Prime Minister. I spoke in no insincere vein this afternoon when I ventured the opinion that Mr. Hughes and Senator Pearce, at the rate they are going, are about the best friends that Germany has in Australia at the present time. Their attitude threatens to disrupt Australia. I should think that their reason would come to their aid and save them. I know that Senator Pearce is only emulating Mr. Hughes, and is running amok after him. Mr. Hughes has become desperate, because he has been seriously disappointed since he came back to Australia. I am entitled also to ask what does the Kaiser think of the British crisis ?
– Have you read what the Cologne Gazette had to say with regard to the referendum vote ?
– Yes ; but I would like to know also what the British papers had to say on that subject, and we would have known but for the censorship. We would like to know also what the British papers really have to say about the British crisis, for which Mr. Hughes was in part responsible, because during his visit to the Old Country he was the tool of the Northcliffe press, which for the past twelve months has been endeavouring to break up the British Cabinet at any price in the interests of the Conservative party. As far back as May last I stated in this chamber that Mr. Hughes was being used as a tool by the Conservatives of England, and that he was the stick which the Northcliffe press was using to beat the Liberal dog with. Mr. Hughes was one of the tools which the Northcliffe press used, and I believe he was to have been rewarded by a seat on the inner War Council.
– Will the honorable senator state what his remarks have to do with the disallowance of this regulation ?
– Only that I heard other honorable senators this afternoon, when talking about the placard, ask what would the Kaiser think of it, and I was assuming that, as a discussion had taken rather a wide range, I might follow their example. However, I shall have an opportunity to-morrow of pursuing this theme, and for the moment I shall leave it. It appears to me that the Government and the Opposition which is keeping them in power should, in the interests of Australia and of Great Britain, bring a little pressure to bear upon Mr. Hughes - if they do so, I am sure Senator Pearce will drop in behind them - with regard to the administration of the censorship regulations. It is well known that Mr. Hughes was responsible for the censorship prior to the referendum. We had indisputable evidence of that fact in the instructions against the printing of caricatures and all that sort of thing concerning him. Altogether the instructions are most ridiculous. Senator Gardiner was good enough to tell us this afternoon that regulations agreed to by Senator Pearce were overruled by Mr. Hughes. Everybody knows that Mr. Hughes, particularly in the application of the censorship, which this motion seeks to wipe out, was a self-appointed dictator, but I do not think that the Democracy of Australia, just at present, is prepared to stand a dictator either in censorship or in any other matter.
– But the Trades Hall dictatorship appears to be quite agreeable to the Democracy of Australia.
– I have been connected with the Trades Hall as an active member of Parliament for seven or eight years, and I have never experienced any dictatorship from that institution. My only complaint against the Trades Hall is that it does not go fast enough for my liking. I would like to” see it move up the Labour platform, and go ahead with the times. I believe that if this regulation be excised, it will mean greater freedom in Australia.
– Freedom in Australia I At the instigation of the honorable senator and his coadjutors.
– We. would have no freedom in Australia if the honorable senator’s leader had had his way on the 28th October. The honorable senator is now sitting behind Mr. Hughes, and, of course, is a most servile supporter, ready to agree to anything that Mr. Hughes does. If the regulation is to be excised, and if the Government accept the suggestion by Senator Gardiner, and bring forward the legislation needed to prevent any grave results following upon the dan.gers pointed out by Senator Pearce this afternoon, I feel sure there will be no opposition in this Chamber. When this regulation is wiped out, the present censorship will be done away with, and when the question of appointing fresh censors comes before the Government, Senator Pearce will be well advised if he would exercise a little more discretion in the selection of such officials. Apart from Mr. Hughes’ dictatorship, fully half of the anomalies which have been quoted in the Senate were due to want of knowledge on the part of the censors as to their duties. In Queensland, a gentleman named Captain Coxon was appointed Chief Censor, and during the referendum campaign he was so biased in favour of conscription that when the correspondents of the country papers - those papers that were advocating “No” during the campaign - went to him with their articles dealing with the issue, he not only used to refuse to pass them, but he told them straight - “ I will not take any more of those damned lies. You are sending this stuff to violent publications like the Innisfail Democrat, and it is taken from that vile publication the Baily Standard.” This man used to work himself into a passion when, he was refusing good argumentative stuff in the interests of the anti-conscription cause. We know that many of the censors, prior to their appointment, occupied positions in drapers’ shops and other callings. The office of censor, in my judgment, requires a certain amount of journalistic training. Captain Coxon, before his appointment, followed the occupation of a clerk in the Works Department of Queensland. He might have been a very excellent clerk, but it does not follow that he was a good judge of journalistic material. In my opinion, men of journalistic experience should have received these appointments. Fewer of these gentlemen will bo needed, I hope, when the overplus is done away with, and care should be taken in the selection of those who are appointed. I sincerely trust that Senator Pearce will not repeat the rash statements he made here this afternoon, and that Mr. Hughes will steady up on his wild rampage. I do not think that these empty assertions about German gold are cutting any ice. If Senator Pearce and Mr. Hughes honestly think that they do, they are welcome to the slight consolation; but I think that they are doing great harm to
Australia. They are making the line of cleavage between the two factions into which Australia was divided on the 28th October more defined and more irreparable. I trust, therefore, that better judgment, or may I call it sanity, will prevail in regard to these rash statements by responsible men in the present Government.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [9.1].- This debate is another evidence of the undesirability of having too much legislation by means of regulations. I have frequently protested here against the exercise of the powers given in various Acts to deal with very many matters by way of regulation. We know that a regulation, if it goes beyond the powers given by the authorizing Act, has in a court of law no effect. Whether the regulation under consideration goes beyond that point may be a matter of conflict of opinion amongst honorable senators; but I would remind them that Ave are not dealing now with a question which Would arise in the ordinary course of our legislation. The Government have had a very important duty thrust upon them. They have been called upon to exercise very wide and drastic powers, and these powers were deliberately placed in their hands by honorable senators. It must be recognised that it is quite impossible to provide by Act of Parliament for a multiplicity, of matters which have to be dealt with by the Government at a time like the present crisis. It has been stated that for a period of two years the Government were able to get along without this regulation. But when honorable senators made that remark they were entirely oblivious of the fact that the Government had not the power to make such regulations until the last amendment of the War Precautions Act came into force - that is the 30th May, 1916 - and that the regulation which it is proposed to annul or repeal was passed on the 30th August last. It is a very singular thing that the honorable senators who are protesting against the administration of that regulation assisted to bring it into force, because they were supporting the Government of the day. The regulation was introduced, but not one word of protest was heard from any of these honorable senators. When I find that certain honorable senators who were members of the late Government are objecting to the regulation to-day,
I ask where they were during the period from the 30th August, when the regulation was assented to by the GovernorGeneral, to the 25th October, when they saw fit to leave the Government? Not because of this regulation, or any alleged abuse of it, but because of a new regulation which had been passed, I believe by the Executive Council, though it was not allowed to take effect, probably in consequence of Ministers finding that a mistake had been made, in attempting to thrust upon the people of the country a regulation which evidently was not acceptable to a large majority of their followers in Parliament. That was the ostensible reason given for not allowing the regulation to take effect. The honorable gentlemen to whom I have referred were willing to remain in the Cabinet while the referendum campaign was proceeding, and it was not until almost the last moment that they took the dramatic action of retiring from the Cabinet. The Military Service Referendum Bill was discussed in the Senate a month before the vote was taken, but not one word was said in regard to the regulation which we are debating to-day. In this debate, honorable senators have attempted to say that they see no objection to a regulation of this character, but they object to the way in which, it has been administered. If the regulation has been administered wrongly, that is no reason why it should be destroyed, but it is a reason why those who have so acted, if they have, should be destroyed, whether it be the censors or the Government. After having allowed matters to go as they did, honorable senators are now condemning themselves by the protest they are making. As regards many of the. matters which have been referred to to-night, I consider that the censor acted very wisely and prudently in striking out the passages, and so preventing their publication in the press.
– Do you know that your leader, Senator Millen, said the other day. that the Government should make the censorship more in accordance with democratic ideas ?
– Yes; but I arn not aware that anybody has said that this particular regulation has not been administered according to democratic ideas. In this debate we cannot, unfortunately, get away from the cleavage which recently happened on the question of conscription. Honorable senators do not seem to be able to bring themselves to the consideration of this matter in a dry, practical way, and see what the regulation really means. Is it a wise, sensible regulation in itself? If it be so, as I think has been generally admitted, we should have very drastic powers in the hands of the Government. The censors act as officers under the Government, who are responsible politically for any mistakes or errors which are made in the exercise of the powers. I do not think that the Government are attempting to evade that responsibility. If this regulation is wise, would not the Senate act sensibly in retaining it? Honorable senators may point out what they consider to be errors of administration. It is for the Government to see if they cannot rectify any errors which have crept in. I do not believe that they are entirely convinced as to the occurrence of errors. It should be borne in mind that it is much better to have a strict censorship than a lax one. It is better that the publication of many matters should be suppressed rather than that the regulation should be administered with so much laxity that an opportunity would be given to some persons, not only to assist the enemy directly, but also, in au indirect way, to create ill-feeling amongst the community, in consequence of things which are dead and gone. We know that the picture show which was being boomed by the poster referred to by Senator Blakey was calculated to cause a recurrence of a bitter feeling which, unfortunately, existed many years ago in Ireland in connexion with the administration of. that country.
– I did not say a word about the show, which I have never seen. I was talking about the dodger.
– The honorable senator said nothing about the show, but he objected to an advertisement of the show being suppressed. He objected to a certain portion of the poster being excised which was calculated to create an unpleasant feeling, and cause persons who felt an old enmity arising in their minds to go and’ see the show, and get that enmity strengthened. Do not honorable senators realize to the full extent that no nation, when it is in a death grip as our nation is, can hope or deserve to Be successful if it is going to allow itself to be split ‘ up into different sections - fighting one against the other, when there are matters of much greater importance to be considered. In this chamber we have strong differences of opinion on political matters, but are we not all bound together in a bond of common unity to protect ourselves as a body ? As it is with a community, so it is with a nation, and so it is with a family.
Senator- Mullan. - You would not be speaking so strongly now for the Government if their financial proposals did not suit you.
– I am not considering that matter, but merely the question whether the Government have adopted a wise course in regard to this regulation. It has been pointed out clearly to the country that the Liberal Opposition have not lost the-ir identity, or their principles, but that they consider that their duty is to stand behind a Ministry who are attempting to grapple with a great difficulty.
– The late Government did not refuse the assistance of the Liberals.
– No; the late Government, who were supported by these very honorable senators, were quite willing to take the assistance of the Liberals in order to carry on the business of the country; but now, because honorable senators have had a disagreement with the Government, because there has been a family quarrel in the Caucus, and a large number of men have put themselves in direct opposition to their previous leaders, it is a crime for the Liberals to continue in the line of policy which they adopted at the very commencement of the war. I think that the financial proposals put forward yesterday are calculated to bring in more revenue than the previous proposals.
– Order ! The honorable senator must not discuss that question.
– I was drawn away by an interjection, sir. When honorable senators oppose this motion and take the attitude which they do, I ask myself, Are these gentlemen whom I ought to follow in a matter of this kind? Am I going to follow a gentleman like Senator Ferricks in connexion with the conduct of this great war? God forbid that I should follow a man who could deliver the speeches which he has uttered in this chamber, and before the people of this country, and then expect any honorable man who believes that it is the duty of every citizen of this great Empire to do his best to win the war-
– You believe that it is the duty of the other fellow ?
Senator- Lt. -Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD.- No; I think it is the duty of every man to render all the assistance he possibly can.
– Is the honorable senator doing it?
– I have done my share, and I tell the honorable senator that I am prepared to go to the front to-morrow if he will come with me.
– The honorable senator is one of the “ Would-to-God Brigade.”
– Unfortunately I am one of the brigade who have had to retire. I had, under the regulation, to retire long since, after more than thirty years’ service.
– Was the honorable senator in ‘the South African War?
– No, but I had representatives there.
– What has that to do with it. Was the honorable senator there?
– All this is outside the question.
– I agree, sir, that it is. Honorable senators may realize from what I have said that in this matter I support the Government, not only because I believe it is their intention to do all they can in connexion with the trouble with which we are at present confronted, but also because I believe that the regulation taken exception to is a wise one, and “should be adhered to. It is an amendment of a previous regulation, and was issued because the Government from their experience of the previous regulation during the short time it was in force came to the conclusion that wider powers were required to protect the interests of the community under existing circumstances. I hope that honorable senators will deal with the matter from the point of view of what is right and proper at the present time, and will not allow themselves to be carried away because of any alleged or actual abuse of the regulation. If there has been actual abuse of the power it confers steps should, of course, be taken to put a stop to it. But honorable senators should not forget that these regulations have to be administered by fallible instruments, that different men have different minds, and will differ in their conclusions with respect to the same case. When they find that there is a determination on the part of the Government to do what is best in the public interests, the only duty that devolves upon them as honest and patriotic men is to support the Government in the circumstances.
.- When speaking in connexion with the no-conscription campaign throughout the country, I believed that the prejudices of the capitalistic press were to be blamed for the fact that they ignored the arguments used by the advocates of no-conscription during the campaign. From the disclosures which have been made in the Senate to-day, I have been led to believe that the omission of our utterances on the public platforms from the columns of the press was not due in any sense to the press but to the censor. I have been led to believe that this modest regulation, which we were unsuspicious of, was the cause of the apparently partial attitude taken up by certain newspapers during the referendum campaign. I feel somewhat disappointed at the attitude. of the Minister for Defence in dealing with this motion. His speech was tantamount to a charge that every member of the Senate and of this Parliament who is opposed to the views of the Government is simply a pro-German. I thought that now that a decision hai, been arrived at by the referendum the animus shown during the campaign would have ceased, but without the slightest provocation the Minister for Defence has to-day ‘ repeated in the same venomous manner charges which have caused so much feeling and resentment between those who should be united at this particular time. If such charges are to be repeated continually they will hinder not only the work of Parliament but the carrying on of the’ War.
– This is not bad from a man who spoke as the honorable _ senator did last night.
– I do not know that Senator de Largie has shown very much discretion in his talk, but, at any rate, I do not accept him as a censor of my remarks, whether made here or elsewhere.
– And I do not accept the honorable senator as a critic of other people.
– I have not asked for the sympathy, appreciation, or support of the honorable senator for anything I have to say.
– The honorable senator is a nice man to lecture others.
– Order !
– I am here to give utterance to my opinions, and I exercise my own judgment as to the attitude taken up by the Government in connexion with this motion. I say that the attitude assumed by theMinister for Defence will not assist to reconcile the differences created in connexion with the conscription referendum. I rose to protest particularly against the honorable senator’s utterances concerning the attitude of the coal miners in creating a position of affairs which has induced him to suggest that they were practically the agents of Germany. I wish to utter my protest against the miners of the Commonwealth being regarded in any sense whatever as the agents of Germany. I claim that there are no more loyal subjects of the Commonwealth than are the members of this working class community. It is a libel upon honest workers of - this country to make such a suggestion as that which has been made by the Minister for Defence. I direct the attention of the Senate to the fact that some twelve months ago when shipping was required for the carriage of wheat across the seas, the coal miners were willing to produce coal, but could not find bottoms in which to ship it, and thousands of them were rendered unemployed.
– The honorable senator’s remarks are interesting, but they have little to do with the motion. He will have a full opportunity, after this matter is dealt with and his interrupted speech on the motion for the printing of a certain paper is resumed-, to deal with the matter to which he now refers.
– I had that intention in mind, but I was told that if on the resumption of my speech on the motion for the printing of the paper I made any reference to anything that was said during this debate, I would be immediately forbidden to proceed.
– I think that the honorable senator cannot complain that the Chair has not preserved to him his rights.
– I should be the last man to suggest such a thing, but I thought it right to give the reason which prompted me to make these references at this juncture. I do not wish to allow an opportunity such as this to pass without lodging my protest on behalf of a body of men who are as loyal and true to the Empire as are any other citizens of the Commonwealth, against the statements made by Senator Pearce. I need not try to justify my claim in support of the loyalty of these men, which I am sure is accepted by the community. I regret very much that the Minister for Defence should have made such a statement as that to which I have taken exception. It is not true, and the utterance of such statements tends to irritate honorable senators who are here to defend the interests of the persons charged, and who are not prepared to have loyal citizens of the Commonwealth treated unjustly. The insinuation that in opposing this regulationwe are trying to interfere with the right of the Government to control utterances of the press or of individuals which might in any way play into the hands of our enemy, and the attitude adopted by Senator Pearce only discloses that bias which gives rise to feeling which, if continued, must prevent the unanimity of action which we require for the proper conduct of the affairs of Parliament and the prosecution of the war. I yield to no man in my desire to protect the Government of this country from utterances or statements which might be used to play into the hands of the enemy, or to militate against the successful prosecution of thewar.
– This afternoon the Leader of the Government in the Senate, in the course of his very heated speech, made a number of remarks which even he will regret upon calmer consideration. As a member of the Senate who for sixteen years has been closely associated politically and personally with the honorable senator, it is with very deep regret and great reluctance that I have to take the most emphatic exception to the tone of his speech this afternoon. I know that interjections are disorderly, but many of us fall into the habit at times, and while Senator Pearce was speaking I happened to make an interjection and the honorable senator, in the heat of his speech, which could not be said to have been engendered by any misrepresentation from this side, said something about German money and German friends being not only in Australia, but in the Federal Parliament.
– What is the honorable senator talking like that for?
– What did Senator Pearce mean? I hope that Senator Lynch will remain calm, because we know what will happen if he lets himself - go. By the mass of evidence which Senator Blakey brought forward in support of his motion this afternoon, all but those who are determined not to be convinced must have been satisfied that this regulation is inimical to the freedom of this country. The evidence he brought forward was supplemented later by other speakers, including Senator Ready, who gave concrete instances of the operation of the censorship under this regulation in Hobart during the referendum campaign. The evidence submitted must convince every fair-minded man that it would be better to revert to the Original regulation of which this is an amendment. Senator Pearce in his defence of the regulation said he wished it to go forth through the columns of the newspapers that those who will vote for the motion to disallow the regulation are friends of Germany. No other construction could be put upon the honorable senator’s speech. Knowing, as the honorable senator does, the men who have worked by his side for sixteen years in this Parliament, and have given him such loyal support as any public man could expect to receive, I say that the honorable senator should have been ashamed to make the remarks he made this afternoon. The Minister for Defence is not the only member who is eutitled to get warm on this subject. When a few interjections were made during the course of his speech - reasonable interjections - he answered them with a tirade of abuse of those honorable senators who intend to vote for this motion. He said that there were many friends of Germany in Australia, and that she had friends in Parliament. If he did not say that, I did not catch his words. The inference was that Germany has friends in this Parliament.
– He did not say “this” Parliament: He said “in Parliament.”
– The Minister for Defence is sufficiently intimate with me to know that I would not deliberately misrepresent him.
– Senator Blakey put the honorable senator right, and yet he will not accept his word.
– I am addressing my remarks to the Minister for Defence, and not to the Minister for Works. The former spoke of German gold being spent in this country, and stated that Germany had friends in this Parliament.
– I did not say that, nor did I say anything that bore that construction.
– The Minister certainly left that impression on the minds of all honorable senators on this side of the chamber,- If he did not mean to do so why did he say in answer to an interjection, “Let those whom the cap fits wear it.”
– Somebody said, “ Why do you not deal with them? “ I replied that when we did deal with them we found that they - that is, the persons with whom we dealt - had friends in Parliament.
– The Minister now admits the correctness of my statement.
– Not at all. Who had friends in Parliament? The persons with whom we had dealt.
– Hear, hear; that is what I say.
– When the Minister affirmed that the agents of Germany had friends in Parliament, I asked him, by way of interjection, to name them, i,nd he replied, “ Let those whom the cap “lswear it.” There can be no question that the whole tenor of his speech this afternoon was calculated to create in the minds of the readers of the newspapers from one end of Australia to the other the impression that those who vote to disallow this regulation are the friends of Germany.
– He said that he wanted that to be understood. Every honorable senator on this side of the chamber, from Senator Gardiner downward, has repudiated that assertion, and I join in repudiating it. It is idle for the Prime Minister and Senator Pearce to go round this country claiming that because certain politicians take a different view from themselves on a great national question like conscription, those politicians are playing into the hands of Germany.
– Does the honorable senator admit that it is a great national question ?
– Certainly. It ;s such a great national question that it divided the people of Australia into two camps, more bitterly hostile to each other, than any other question has yet divided them.
– Then why did you treat it as a party question ?
– The Prime Minister, whom Senator de Largie is following, made it a party question to the extent of denying fair play to any man on the other side. Those who opposed conscription were described as the friends of Germany, as associates of the Industrial Workers of the World, and believers in their methods, and, indeed, were called everything that was bad. How is it that the powers of the censor, which were so ruthlessly enforced in the case of anticonscriptionist newspapers, were not applied to the powerful journals of this country? On the very day before the vote was taken, the big Melbourne newspapers published in large headlines, “ Those who vote ‘ No ‘ will give a vote for Germany, and to desert the boys in the trenches.”
– The Germans think so, anyhow.
– And they were led to believe so by the newspapers here.
– But the German newspapers and the German people believe that the vote was something distinctly in their favour.
– If that be so, the Prime Minister alone is to blame. He it was who, from one end of the country to the other, proclaimed that those who voted “ No “ would be voting for Germany.
– In effect, they were.
– Here is another friend of Germany. When the people of Australia decided that they would not fasten this compulsory military curse upon the country, it was natural that the German newspapers should crow, seeing that the Prime Minister and the journals which supported him had repeatedly urged that if a “ No “ vote was recorded it would be a vote in favour of Germany.
– Did not the Germans rejoice because Mr. Hughes was defeated ?
– Yes, and the Prime Minister was to blame for that. Quite enough instances have been brought forward to-day to prove that the powers of the censorship were most unfairly used during the recent referendum campaign. Whilst I do not wish to occupy time by adding to those instances, there is one case which I must mention. It will serve to show the length to which the censors were allowed to go. A few days before the vote was taken, I was speaking from anti-conscription platforms in Hobart and its suburbs. There was a secretary of the anti-conscriptionist movement there, and, naturally, he was doing all that he could to fight conscription. At the meetings that were held he made it a practice to take up a collection in order to defray the cost of the literature that was distributed amongst the people in condemnation of conscription. A few days before the poll he received a notice from the military censor in Hobart intimating that if he attempted to take up any further collections for the purpose indicated he would be prosecuted. I do not blame the Minister for Defence or the Prime Minister for that. It merely goes to show the sort of persons who had power placed in their hands under this regulation. Of course, the officer was exceeding his powers. But he took the step which he did under a regulation-
– There was no regulation dealing with it.
– He may have been acting under instructions issued by the Department to the effect that before any person could collect funds for Bed Cross purposes it was necessary that he should get the consent either of the secretary or chairman of the State War Council.
– That would not apply to a political meeting.
– It merely goes to show the limited amount of common sense that was possessed by some’ of the officers who controlled* the censorship.
– Can the honorable senator get me a copy of that notice?
– I think I can obtain the original.
– Did it come from the State “War Council?
– Either from the military censor or the State War Council.
– The honorable senator would not hold the censor responsible for the action of the secretary of the State War Council. The secretary of the State War Council is not under my control. I have no control over him whatever.
– At all events, the instruction was issued that no further funds should “be collected. This afternoon, in replying to that portion of Senator Blakey’s speech which dealt with the censoring of a proposed exhibition of films dealing with Irish history, Senator Pearce declared, in very warm language, that if that question had been raised it would have thrown the country into a turmoil. That was a childish remark to make, because there is not an Irishman in Australia, or a descendant of an’ Irish- man, who does not know something about Irish history.
– Is this a time to stir up these old feuds?
– My quarrel with the Minister is that it is childish for him to say that the exhibition referred to would have stirred them up. There is a good deal of trouble in Ireland to-day, as Senator Pearce well knows. The Minister implied that we should not refer to past Irish history, because’ it would stir up ol’d feuds, and prevent not only Irishmen in Ireland, but Irishmen and their descendants in Australia from enlisting. Let us be honest with ourselves. Senator Pearce knows, as we all know, that Ireland to-day is under martial rule, if not entirely, to a very large extent. If the British authorities gave Ireland what she ought to have had long ago, and what they promised to her - self-government - so that they could withdraw their Forces from Ireland, the 100,000 extra troops which we were supposed to get under conscription in Australia would not have mattered, because they would have got that number from Ireland. In the circumstances, Senator Pearce’s remark that the article quoted by Senator Blakey this afternoon would have stirred up strife if it had not been censored was a foolish one.
– My attitude on the question is on record in Hansard.
– I believe that the honorable senator is to-day, as he always was, an ardent Home Ruler; that is why I. cannot understand his remark this afternoon. Another instance quoted by Senator Blakey was an article written for the Labour Gall on the coal strike, and censored. It was stated by interjection from this side, when Senator Blakey was speaking, that if that article had been published it would have been only -telling the truth. I tell Senator Pearce now that if the Prime Minister had shown the strength that Australia fondly hoped for many years that, he , possessed, if he had been the strong man that we painted him, and believed him to be, there would have been no coal strike, and the tens of thousands of men and women who to-day are idle would still be following their usual occupations. The trouble was caused by the weakness of the man who, as Prime Minister, rules the destinies of this country - the man who, for some months past, according to his actions, has been not only Prime Minis- .ter, but the whole of the Government rolled into one, for we know that many of his actions have not been approved of by his own Ministers, over whom he has ridden roughshod. If he had shown the same amount of strength a day or two before the strike commenced, or within a day or two afterwards, that we all supposed he possessed, there would almost certainly have been no coal strike.
– He is a dictator one minute with you, and a weak man the next.
– It is quite possible for a dictator to be a weak man. He was a dictator when it came to dictating terms to the representatives of the workers, but he was weak when it came to facing the coal mine-owners. Any one who reads closely the speeches at the two conferences, will see that the whole burden of his complaint was addressed to one side only.
– That is a very prejudiced, one-sided statement.
– It is absolutely correct. I would ask the honorable senator to read the columns of the newspapers containing the report of the two conferences.
– I read them.
– Read them again carefully, and see how the lectures were given by the Prime Minister, practically throughout the two conferences, to the men only. According to him, the fault was on the one side only.
– The miners’ representatives thanked him, which you do not do.
– The miners representatives do not thank him for having settled the coal strike. They thank the Judge for having done, in forty-eight hours, what he failed to do in two weeks.
– Who appointed the Judge 1
– The Prime Minister did, but he did not tell the Judge what to do. The Judge was able, on the evidence, to decide in twenty-four or forty-eight hours this great dispute, which was stopping the wheels of industry from one end of Australia to the other.
– The honorable senator is not addressing himself to the question before the Senate.
– I was trying to connect my remarks with the article written for the Labour Gall on the coal strike, and never published. I shall vote for the motion, because, like Senator Gardiner and others, I feel that it is absolutely dangerous to the freedom of the people ot this country that such drastic powers should remain in the hands of the Prime Minister. He has shown, if ever a man did, the most absolute partisanship in connexion with the censorship. Every one of us knows that statements which would have educated the people on the question to be decided at the referendum were not allowed to be published. We also know that practically everything the conscriptionist speakers liked to say, ur the conscriptionist press liked to write, was allowed to be printed. Because of the bitter, unscrupulous partisanship shown by the Prime Minister from one end of the campaign to the other, it will be a very good thing for ,the people of this country if the regulation is wiped out of existence and something more in conformity with the wishes and freedom of. the community substituted.
Senator GRANT (New South Wales; [9.52]. - Before the recent adjournment, i asked tUe Minister for Defence if we could expect a fair deal under the regulations. At that time, and for some little time before, it had seemed to me that the War Precautions Act was not being administered by the Government as it ought to have been. In reply, Senator Pearce assured me that, subject to the regulations, we should get practically a fair deal. I shall vote for this motion, because in New South Wales we did not have a fair deal in the campaign. Not only was our literature censored almost out of recognition, but the local press, which sometimes does give the Labour side a small share of publicity, almost entirely shut down on the whole of our speakers. I am inclined to think now that they did this, not altogether out of opposition to anti-conscription and to Labour, but at the instigation of those administering the regulations under the War Precautions Act. But, on the whole, I do not think we lost very much through their action. It is very annoying, of course, to see one’s opponents day after day securing column after column, and page after page, of the morning and evening papers, while the side one is supporting is absolutely ignored. But ever since we became a party we have had almost all the newspapers opposed to us, and therefore it is no new thing to us to be opposed by the local press of New South Wales. The situation had this big advantage, that the public came out as they never did before, for I never saw them so interested in any question as they were in the one that has just been decided. Personally, it does not very much concern me that the regulation was administered so drastically as it was, but I do not want to take any further risks with this Ministry. I took quite enough with the last, and shall vote for the repeal of the regulation, because I believe the Government have ample powers under the previous one. If I thought the carrying of the motion would even in the remotest degree assist the Central Powers I should not give it my support, but I believe the regulation has been, and is being, used, not against the Central Powers, or their agents, but against all those Australians who oppose the present Government. For that reason, I shall vote for its repeal.
– I have listened in vain for some reasonable- argument that would justify the annulling of the regulation. I expected something tangible to be brought forward, but, so far as I can see, it is being used simply as a cloak for an attack, not on the censor, but on the Prime Minister through the censor. This has simply been a continuation of the debate we had yesterday. Not one of those who have spoken this afternoon has shown that the regulation ought to be annulled, because the censors have not done their duty. The reason they have given is that Mr. Hughes has too much power.
– From whom do the censors get their instructions?
– I am not concerned with that. The regulation was laid on the table of the House on the 13th September. Not a single senator in the chamber at the time took exception to it, but on the 21st September, a week after, Senator Ferricks moved the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of discussing the conduct of the censors. All this business is a show, and nothing* else. If honorable senators believed that they were giving too much power to the Government, why did they not, at that time, seize the opportunity to prevent any further power being given?
– Simply because we did not know that there would be such a misuse of that power.
– Senator Ready says he did not think there would be such a misuse of the power of censorship, and yet we find that, a week afterwards, when Senator Ferricks raised the question, additional power was given to the Government. The whole argument, therefore, falls to the ground. When Senator Ferricks moved the adjournment of the debate on the occasion referred to, he incidentally mentioned something that had taken place in Adelaide, but was not quite accurate, and had to be corrected by Senator Newland, and the matter of these regulations has been dealt with in much the same way. When Senator Pearce rose to reply to Senator Ferricks on the occasion referred to, he proved the absolute need there was for the censorship and the. necessity for greater power. I am not permitted by the rules of debate to quote what was said then, but, if I were, I could show that the need exists to-day as then, for the increased censorship power. In their treatment of this motion to-day, honorable senators ought to have shown, not that the censors were exceeding their duty, but that the increased powers complained of were not necessary for the safety of the Commonwealth. They did not do that, and therefore they failed to prove their case.
– We have shown that regulations ostensibly issued for the safety of the Commonwealth have been used for partisan purposes.
– But I point out that when Senator Ferricks moved the adjournment of the debate, the honorable senator allowed the matter to pass without taking any exception to it. Amongst other things referred to on that occasion was the anxiety, on behalf of persons who had friends on board the transports, to know when the vessels were about to leave, but the Minister demonstrated how necessary it was to keep the movements of all transports secret. In spite of that, our friends would now open the floodgates. They have become uncommonly sensitive regarding statements concerning German gold, and I suggest that they should read a work called The World in the Crucible, as well as another work entitled The German Conspiracies in America. These will disclose the German conspiracies in America, and honorable senators will be able to understand the operation of the German press bureau in that country, the purpose of which is to print and circulate lies against the Allies in an endeavour to prejudice the great mass of the American people against Britain.
– And those American publications are coming into Australia. We are getting them every week.
– Undoubtedly they are. They are being published in America and distributed by German agencies.
– But the Customs authorities can prevent their circulation in Australia.
– Senator Ready, who now talks about the misuse of the powers of censorship, was in the Government when this question was raised on an earlier occasion. He knew then the need for these larger powers, and, though he was a party to the promulgation of the regulation, to-day he is as strongly opposed to them, and ready to whip the very Government he was behind only a few months ago.
– This is another Government - a Government without the majority of the people behind them.
– Once more the scheme is uncovered. It is not the action of the censor that honorable senators object to, so much as the Government and the Prime Minister. It really appears to be another case of -
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.
That is the point of the whole argument against this regulation. Remove Mr. Hughes and the whole of the objections will disappear. A great deal has been said about the abuse of the censorship, but as far as South Australia is concerned there was far greater publicity given to statements that could not be substantiated, and published over the name of the secretary of the Anti-Conscription League, than appeared in the name of the conscriptionists.
– Do not believe that the anti-conscriptionists did not have their say through the press, because they did get it.
– Those of us who have passed” q through many campaigns know how difficult it has been to get money to carry on, but in South Australia during the referendum campaign we saw advertisements, published on behalf of the anti-conscriptionist cause, that must have cost five, if not ten, times as much as the advertising in any previous campaign. If that money did not come from the Germans - I do not say that it did-
– Ah ! another insinuation.
– If it did not come from the Germans, all I can say is that the anti-conscriptionists must have touched wonderful springs of benevolence in the hearts of some of their people. I am not imputing that it did come from the Germans, though I have been told that those collecting money for Australia Day, at Murray Bridge, where several Germans live, had to be content with ls., but when it was a matter of contributing to the anti-conscriptionist cause they could rely upon getting £1 from the same gentlemen.
– Do you say that the anti-conscriptionists were responsible for that?
– No, but I do say the anti-conscriptionists received it joyfully. And I do not blame them. I am not imputing anything-
– Yes, you are.
– The point of the story lies in the fact that it shows very clearly where German sympathies lay.
– Was it a German who contributed that sum ?
– Yes, and I have no doubt he felt his sympathies were best expressed by anti-conscriptionist sentiments, and like a good man-
– Like a good German.
– Yes, like a good German, he contributed to those who were most like his own way of thinking.
– And yet the two Germans in this Parliament are on the side of the conscriptionists.
– But I am not saying that all Germans are alike.
– No. The Germans who support the honorable senator’s party are good Germans.
– What I want honorable senators to do is to face the position, and admit honestly that this motion is not aimed at the regulation so much as it is designed to cloak a vote of noconfidence in Mr. Hughes.
– Will the honorable senator tell us what the electors of Boothby contributed to the anticonscription campaign?
– The electors of Boothby are represented by a German, and a very estimable German, too.
– Hear, hear! We all say .that.
– The division of Boothby was the one division in South Australia that voted “Yes,” showing clearly that so far as Representative Dankel was concerned, he was regarded as an Australian, although he bears a German name.
– He was called upon to resign before the 28th October, but he has not been called upon to resign since then.
– The interjection shows how utterly ‘ ignorant the honorable senator is with regard to passing events in South Australia. If he will only take the opportunity of looking up the Mail newspaper, published in Adelaide, he will find that it devotes a considerable amount of space to Representative Dankel, and if Mr. Dankel had to face an election to-morrow, I venture to say that the Mail would have secured more votes for him than any other paper published in South Australia.
– My question is: Has there been a meeting of the Boothby electors since the referendum to call upon Mr. Dankel to resign ?
– If the honorable senator will look at the Mail, he will find that petitions are being signed calling upon Mr. Dankel to resign, and even as late as last Saturday night that paper was urging those who had petitions to send them in. As I have already said, supporters of the motion have failed to show that this increased power of censorship is not necessary. In order to demonstrate that such power is not required, they would have to prove that the conditions to-day were better than they were when the regulation was passed. But carried away as they have been by a false vision, a false conception, and a false estimate entirely of the ability of Mr. Hughes and of the sacrifices Mr. Hughes has made, under cover of a motion like this they now want to deprive the Government of the power conferred upon them by this regulation. Can it bc said that any man who would take, away the whole of the power contained in the original regulation is a friend” of Australia, or a friend of the Allies ? This comes with a very bad grace from my friend Senator Gardiner, who, when he was speaking on this question, declared that he would strip the Prime Minister, not only of the power contained in the amended regulation, but of the whole power of the original regulation.
– Of every power he had.
– Of power he was using evilly.
– The honorable senator did not qualify his statement in that way. He said. “ We will strip him of that power and go further still.” A misuse bf a power is no reason why the Government should be deprived of power- It is a reason, when a case is proved, that the Government should be condemned or ejected, but it is not a reason for emasculating the statute-book. Honorable senators know that repeatedly I have objected to government by regulation. It is astrange thing that those against whom I have had to battle in the past want toannul this particular regulation. If we had had more government by legislation, and less government by regulation, it is possible that this debate would not have taken place. I will not consent to strip the Government of this particular power until legislation is brought forward to take the place of the regulation.
– Regulation 187’ will remain.
– I’ know what willremain. The honorable senator wants totake away from the Government the power to control the publication of any printed matter which deals with the war.
– We do not want togive the Government absolute powers.
– The regulation, gives to the Government, not absolute powers, but prescribed powers. My honorable friends will take away the powers which relate to the war. They claim that they are valiant soldiers in this matrter, and that they are prepared to stand behind the Government in prosecuting the war. One means of prosecuting the) war is by withholding from the foe that, which would be useful to him. Another means is by withholding from the people themselves that which would be detrimental to them concerning the war. Yetour honorable friends wish to take the power away from the Government. They have failed absolutely to show that there is a justifiable reason for restricting the power. The whole of their argument has been in the direction of showing that censors have made a wrong use of the power. It is a condemnation of the censors, but the main aim is to hit the Prime Minister as far as possible. I sincerely hope that our honorable friends will be consistent and say, if they are going to stand behind the Government, “ Having ventilated our views on this matter, we. as men, will withdraw the motion and stand behind the Government.” This is no time to be divided, or to be quibbling- over things of this kind. The war is being dealt with as if it was a piece o: ancient history instead of a thing which is becoming more vivid and more gruesome every day.
– Who divided u*?
– Let those answer that question who tried to circumscribe the rights of men like Senator Newland and myself. For twenty-five years I have been as honest, consistent and faithful a Labour man as has ever stood anywhere. There have been Labour men equal to myself in that regard. I have stood side by side with men like the Hon. Thomas Price, the Hon. Alfred Roberts, and Senator McGregor. I fought to secure the return of Senator McGregor when he first came out as a parliamentary candidate; and to-day, because I will follow my conscience rather than the dictates of a council, I am condemned. Am I not right in following my conscience ? In the last speech I made here on this question, I said, “ I know what my action may mean. It may mean that I shall never enter this Parliament again.” My honorable friends have said to me, “ So far as we can, we shall see that you do not enter this Parliament again.” Is that the right way for men to act who are complaining of want of liberty ? These are the gentlemen who are calling upon the people to witness that they have been bound hand and foot, and have not liberty. What liberty do they need! They want not liberty, but licence, to do what they please. If our honorable friends will be honest and true to the conscience which they possess they will say, “ Instead of voting for this motion we will withdraw it. We have ventilated what we wanted to make public. We have expressed our opinion of both Mr. Hughes and the censors, but we refuse absolutely to divest the Government of a power which they should have to govern the Commonwealth.”
– Isolated and injudicious acts in connexion with the censorship may have been performed by the censors or their subordinates.
– They would be more than human if they did not err.
– Undoubtedly. We are living in abnormal times. War is an abnormal condition. I cannot understand why honorable senators should urge that the machinery of the censorship should be materially impaired, even if they can ,point to isolated acts of injudicious administration. The machinery must remain. When honorable senators say that the censorship is not properly exercised, let them reflect that there is a very much larger power in the hands of the Administration, in the hands of the Minister for Defence in particular. Will they urge that that much larger power has been injudiciously administered, and even if it has been, will they argue that the power should be withdrawn ? We know that, in effect, the Habeas Corpus Act is suspended. It has been ruled by the High Court that the Minister for Defence can intern any person who he believes is inimical to the public safety, and need not give reasons for so doing. Are honorable senators challenging that very much greater power than the one which can be exercised by the censor? Undoubtedly not. They hardly dare to do it.
– He has not used that power yet.
– Has he not? There have been many cases of its exercise, and one has been reviewed by the High Court. This fact indicates how necessary it is that we must have a censorship over all kinds of publications during this abnormal period. Have not honorable senators seen statements to the effect that Germans, high in the confidence of the German Government, have acknowledged that that Government have spent no less than £10,000,000 in endeavouring to influence the press in neutral countries? I venture to say that the unfortunate result of the referendum vote which was taken in Australia a month ago has done more than the Germans have been able to secure by their propaganda work at a selfconfessed expenditure of £10,000,000. I do not intend to mention the names of neutral countries, but within the last week or two statements have appeared in Australian newspapers, taken from American publications, to the effect that a hitherto pro-Ally neutral European nation had been practically converted into a pro- German nation through the expenditure of German gold on publications in that country. Two or three evenings ago there was in the Herald an article indicative of the fact that public opinion in Holland was being extensively influenced by the use of German gold and German propaganda. It is quite patent that German influence is being extensively exercised in Java, which is not very far from Australia. And quite recently I had occasion to take an interest in the French possessions in the Far East. I found that the French colonial press, which’ is admittedly as patriotic as any colonial press in the world, is being subjected to a very rigid censorship in the interests of France and her Allies. One journal in particular published in Saigon had column after column in issue after issue blank because the matter which the editor thought would be newsy and breezy for his subscribers was considered by the censor to be injudicious matter for publication. Probably the censor was correct. Of course, editors want to publish what will interest their subscribers, and censors very properly wish to prevent the publication of what they think would be inimical to the best interests of the nation. There seems to be an eternal conflict between editor and censor. I am not going to say that German gold is being expended in Australia, at the present time. Such a scientist as Huxley said that there was no certainty that the sun would rise to-morrow morning, that there was only a high degree of probability that it would. Although I am not quite certain that German gold is being profusely spent in Australia, or has been spent here since the war began, I say that there is a very high degree of probability that it has been spent, and is being spent. Because itwould be singular if this British possession, in which there is one-tenth ofthe white population of the Empire, should be exempt from the German propaganda. I, being a man of common sense, state that I do believe that there is a high degree of probability that German gold is being expended here.
– Who is getting it?
– Let the honorable senator ask me something easy. Has he not seen statements to the effect that certain Germans in the United States had confessed that they had been spending money most profusely on German propaganda in that country?
– Who is getting German money in Australia?
– Let the honor able senator ask me who is getting German money in America. Those persons have been getting German money who have been in a position to most carefully and satisfactorily wield their influence on behalf of German interest if it has been expended. I am not going to impair the censor’s machinery by my vote. I believe that the members of the Hughes Ministry, although I may differ from them in many matters of domestic politics, are patriots and honest men, and are endeavouring to do their best in the interest of the Empire at the present juncture, and I certainly, seeing the most extensive powers which are reposed, and properly reposed, in the Minister for Defence, am not going to curtail the administration of the censor’s department in any very important matter.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Senator de Largie and the National
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I should like to take advantage of this opportunity to contradict a statement made last evening by Senator Turley, to the effect that I addressed a meeting of the Women’s National League. I give that statement a flat denial.
– Well, the newspapers up our way were very unkind to the honorable senator.
– I do not know whether they were unkind or not, but I do know the insinuation behind Senator Turley ‘s remarks.
– It was the honorable senator’s own newspaper that published it.
– I do not happen to have any newspaper, but so far as the party to which I belong is concerned, I hope that in the future we shall have a newspaper, and when that time comes Senator Mullan and those with whom he is associated will perhaps be scarcely as well known as were Labour men thirty years ago, when I was in the State from which he comes. The honorable senator was unknown in those days, and I was known.
– That was when the honorable senator was working for the Liberal candidate.
– I was working for a man the laces of whose shoes Senator Turley is not fit to tie. I was working for the man who made the Labour movement of Queensland.
– And tried to unmake it later.
– As for that. I may say that the days of Tom Glassey are passed, and now the man that certain individuals are hurling bricks at is Mr. Hughes - the man who made the union that Senator Turley is a member of. At that time that union was “ blacklegging “ on the other unions of Australia, because its members were working for 25 per cent, less wages than were the members of any other union in Australia at the time. It was not until Mr. Hughes came along, lifted them up, and put them on a level with the members of other unions, that they got the same wages as men in similar employment elsewhere. Now, then, I challenge Senator Turley to show what he has done for his old work mates that will compare with the achievements of Mr. Hughes. Senator Turley knew perfectly well that he was wrong in his statement as to the society that I addressed, and tried to mislead the Senate on the matter. I have a few things to say before this fight is over. I know the character of some honorable senators, and their history in connexion with trade unionism.
– Let us have it.
– It would be a brief record as far as Senator Ready is concerned, However, honorable senators will have it, all in their turn. I am not afraid of my character being exposed and held up to public view, but some persons have a right to hang their heads when certain things are mentioned.
– Was it a Labour organization of women that the honorable 1 senator addressed?
– No; it was a strictly non-party organization, the name of which is “ The National Council of Women.” Though it is a non-party organization, it is one with which women’s trade unions are affiliated.
– And every time their delegates go to meetings of the National Council of Women they are snubbed.
– I do not think so. There were delegates from the Women’s Trade Union at the meeting which I addressed, and they were not snubbed. That sort of thing is left to Senator Ferricks, and to hurl every insult he can at Mr. Hughes, who is the greatest trade unionist in Australia. The societies affiliated with the National Council of Women are numerous. Many of them are charitable, and some of them nursing societies, but there are some women’s trade unions affiliated with the body I addressed, and for the better knowledge of Senator Turley, I am going to give their names. The first I mention is the Women’s Branch of the Federated Hotel, Club. Restaurant, and Caterers’ Employees Union. The next is the Victorian Lady Teachers Association; the next the Victorian Women’s Post and Telegraph Association, and the fourth the Women’s Shorthand and Typists Association. This shows that there are trade unions represented on the body I addressed, although it is a non-party organization. I take this opportunity to contradict the insinuation conveyed in Senator Turley’s statement that I addressed the Women’s National League. The honorable senator’s remarks were absolutely incorrect and misleading.
– There was no insinuation on my part in connexion with this matter. Unfortunately, the newspaper from which I quoted last night is now in the hands of the Hansard staff, and has not yet been returned to me. I quoted from a Government organ. I stated at the time that I quoted from the Brisbane Courier, in which the statement appeared that Senator de Largie had addressed a meeting of the Women’s National League, at which he had announced that the party to which he belonged was in future to be known as “the National Labour Party.” I stated that in my opinion it was most appropriate that the Whip of the National Labour Party should make the announcement to the Women’s National League, because it is known that ever since its inception in Australia the Women’s National League has been up against the Labour movement. The honorable senator, I suppose, would quote nothing like that from any other newspaper. When he stated that my remark was not correct, I asked him what was the name of the organization, and he said it was the Women’s National Council. I do not know anything of the Women’s National Council. Senator de Largie says that quite a number of trade unions are connected with it. I do not even know that. His explanation seems to me to be most peculiar. He says, in the first place, that the Women’s National Council is a nonparty organization. My connexion with trade unions has led me to think that, whether -they are unions of men or of women, they are not represented upon any non-party council. They are represented upon party councils that are representing organized labour, and nothing else. T know nothing of the composition of the Women’s National Council, or the organizations affiliated with that particular body. Another matter has been referred to. I stated that, at the time to which he has referred, Senator de Largie was supporting a Liberal candidate, whilst, on the other hand, I was supporting a Labour candidate. I am quite prepared to bring all the evidence that is necessary to prove my statement. Senator Gardiner was a member of the New South Wales Parliament at the time, and will be well acquainted with the man whom I was supporting.
– The honorable senator had not a union.
– As a matter of fact, I represented my union at the time in the Trades and Labour Council of Queensland. I was the delegate of that union to the Trades and Labour Council.
– They never had such a union in Queensland until Mr. Hughes made it.
– We had a union before Mr. Hughes saw Australia, and before he ever thought of coming to Australia. I am not here on any false pretences whatever, or as the result of any misrepresentations. The first union that I joined in Queensland was the Wharf Labourers Union in 1882. One of my colleagues, who is now sitting behind the Government, can bear out my statement that I joined the Seamen’s Union in 1884, and that I was for years a member of that organization and a delegate from it to various conferences. That was before Senator de Largie saw Australia. I take no credit for that - it merely goes to show that I am growing older. But I have grown up with the Labour movement, and I have never “ ratted “ on it. Senator de Largie has affirmed that the members of the organization to which I belonged at that time received less wages than did the members of similar organizations in any other part of Australia. I admit the truth of that assertion. I admit that until we got federation amongst the various waterside unions throughout Australia, the wharf labourers in Queensland received less wages than they did in New South Wales. But when I first came to this country the seamen on the coast of Queensland were receiving better wages than the seamen who were engaged on any other part of the coast of Australia. It was after the federation of the seamen was brought about that we were able to get better wages.
– Mr. Hughes is the man you have to thank for that.
– No one man was responsible for the increase of wages and the better conditions that obtain so far as any Labour organization in Australia is concerned. It is the men who are behind the organizations who have made it possible ‘to secure increased wages and improved industrial conditions. Senator de Largie has claimed credit for the Government having settled the coal strike. As a matter of fact, they had nothing to do with it. Take the Sydney Bulletin to- day, and what does it say? It affirms that one Judge in twenty-four hours did more good in connexion with that strike than Mr, Hughes was able to accomplish in a fortnight. Why? Because Mr. Hughes did not exercise bis powers. It was because the miners themselves declared that they were going to have improved conditions, that they were able to dictate their terms to the coal owners. That is the position in regard to organized labour throughout Australia. I am satisfied that the federation of the waterside workers did a great deal, not only for the workers on the waterside in Queensland, but for those all round Australia. It is not because Mr. Hughes has dropped out of the Waterside Union that that organization will go back. As a matter of fact, it will go forward, and will secure even better conditions than its members enjoyed when Mr. Hughes was president of it.
– The honorable senator is only ft camp follower of the Labour movement.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 December 1916, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1916/19161207_senate_6_80/>.