7th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
The’ PRESIDENT. - Pursuant *o standing order 38 I lay on the table my warrant appointing the following honorable senators to be the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications : - Senators Barnes, Keating,. Long, Lynch. Maughan, Pratten, and Senior.
– I wish to ask the Honorary Minister, who I presume is in charge of the price fixing and shipping arrangements, what are the particulars and circumstances of the . incident reported in to-day’s press? It is stated that .some butter, consigned to Tasmania and in process of shipment through the medium of the steam-ship Oonah, was ordered to be taken out of her and placed on the wharf.
– I have - not all the details of ibis matter,’ but briefly the facte are that at the request of those engaged in the butter industry the Commonwealth found £100,000, and practically acted as trustee to store the butter. It was anticipated tha* at this time of the year with normal conditions there would be no butter other than that which had been stored. But thanks to nature we are producing more’ butter to-day than has ever -been produced at this period. After storing the butter for the combined dairying industry we found an attempt to compete on the part of individuals against the butter which we had virtually held in trust. Therefore we decided to make no space available for butter owing to the shortage of shipping, until the parties had accepted the responsibility of getting rid of “the butter which we stored i>n behalf of the dairying industry.
The following paper was presented: -
Public Service Act 1902-1916.- Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1917, No. 147.
Withdrawal FROM Front: Soldiers in Gaols : Separation Allowance. Senator GARDINER asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Is it true (as ‘stated by the Prime Minister) that the Australian Forces were’ withdrawn from the Front because of insufficient reinforcements 1
– The matter has been referred to the Prime Minister to obtain from him a copy of the actual remarks made by him on the subject. A reply will be furnished to the honorable senator as soon as this has been received.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made, and a reply will be. furnished as soon as possible.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are-
– Arising out of the answer, I wish to know whether, in cases where £30 or £40 has been overpaid, it is the intention of the Department to keep on collecting the money from, the widows? In other words, where separation allowances have been paid while the persons have been in receipt of other income, is it now the intention of the Department to proceed with the collection ,of that money from the widows 1
– The cases are being dealt with on their merits. “Where an overpayment has been due, as it has been in some cases, to a false declaration made by the person, it is the intention of the Department to secure the repayment of the amount obtained through the false declaration. Where it has been due to collusion or any attempt to defraud the Department, it is . intended that the amount so obtained shall be repaid; but where this overpayment has been the result of fault or negligence on the part of officers of the Department, and where hardship would be inflicted by requiring repayment, it ia not the intention- of the Department to call upon such persons to make a refund.
asked the Minis ter representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Will ha lay upon the table of the Senate all correspondence passing between the Prime Minister and the Premier of Queensland hiring relation to the sugar industry? .
– The paperswill be laid on the table of the Senate.
asked the Minister ‘ for Defence, upon notice -
– I regret that these questions . are too indefinite to enable me to’ answer them. But if the honorable senator will indicate- any particular matter he has in mind a reply -will be furnished.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice-
In view of the observations of Griffiths, C.J., upon the effect of the decision in Bridgec..
Bowen, reported in Commonwealth Law Reports vol. 21, page 582, etseq., will the Go-‘ vernment consider the advisability of introducing an Amending Electoral Bill to render clear and unambiguous the Commonwealth electoral law as to the effect of personations in elections?
– The matter is re- ceiving consideration.
asked. the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Will the Government take into consideration the need and advantage of facilitating the issue of war savings certificates as near as may be (consistently with security) on the lines of the issuing of postal notes by -
Senates MILLEN.- The matters referred to are already under consideration.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works and. Railways, upon notice -
– The . answers are -
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to-
That the days of meeting of the Senate during the present session, unless otherwise’ ordered, be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week; and that the hour of meeting, unless otherwise ordered, be 3 o’clock; inthe afternoon of Wednesday and Thursday, and 11 o’clock in the forenoon of . Friday.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to -
That during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, the sittings of the Senate, or of a Committee of the whole Senate, onsitting days other . than Fridays, be suspended from 8.30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Fridays from I p.m. to 2.30 p.m.
Motion (by Senator Millen). agreed to-
That during the present session; unless other-,, wise ordered, at 4 o’clock p.m. on Fridays tie President shall put the question “ That the Senate do now adjourn,” which question shall not be open to debate ; if the Senate be in Committee at that hour, the Chairman shall in . like manner put the question That he do leave (he chair and report to the Senate “ : andupon such report being made, the President shall forthwith put the question “ That the Senate do now adjourn,- which question shall not be open to debate. - Provided that if the Senate, or the Committee, be in division at the time named, the President or the Chairman shall not put the question referred to until the result of such division has been declared; and if the business under discussion shall not have been disposed of at such adjournment, it shall appear on the business-paper for the. next sitting day.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to-
That on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, Government business take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper, except questions and formal motions, and except that private business take precedence of Government business on Thursday after 8 p.m.; and that, unless otherwise ordered, private Orders of the Day take precedence of private notices of motion on alternate Thursdays.
The following Sessional Committees were appointed (on motion by Senator Millen) : -
Standing ORDERS Committee.
The President, the Chairman of Committees, Senators Barnes, dc Largie, Foll, Guthrie, McDougall, O’Keefe, and Thomas, with power to act during the recess, and to confer with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
The President, Senators Lt. -Colonel Bolton, Gardiner, Keating, Lynch, Maughan, and Prat- “ten, with power to act during the recess, and to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee .of the House of Representatives.
House Committee. .
The President, Senators Bakhap, Buzacott, Long, Lt.-Colonel O’loghlin, Needham, and Colonel Rowell, with power to act during the recess, and to confer or sit. as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of. the House of Representatives.
PRINTING Committee. Senators Barker, Guy, Newland, Plain, Reid, and Senior, with power to confer or sit as a -Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
.- I moveThat Senator Shannon be ‘ appointed Chairman of Committees of the Senate.
– I have very much pleasure indeed in ‘seconding the -motion moved by Senator Henderson, and particularly in view of the very handsome and chivalrous manner in which the honorable member submitted it. As one -of their number, I feel sure that Senator Shannon will, as Chairman of Committees, display the utmost leniency towards new senators,, and I have no doubt that he- will uphold the high traditions of this Chamber.
– I submit myself to the pleasure of the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Pursuant to standing order 31 I lay on the table my warrant nominating Senators T. J. K. Bakhap, A. McDougall, J. J”. Long, and J. Newland a panel to act as Temporary Chairmen of Committees when requested to do so by the Chairman of Committees, or when the Chairman of Committees is absent.
Australian Imperial Force: Reinforcements : Statement by Prime Minister : Separation Allowances and. Allotments of Pay: Sentences on Soldiers: Provision of Artificial ‘Limbs - Labour Movement and Industrial Workers Union - Conduct of Elections: Charges against the Labour Party: Sectarian Literature and Censorship. Bill received from House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a first time.
.- At this stage of Bills which cannot be amended by the Senate, it is competent for honorable senators to debate general questions. I feel I should be lacking in my duty to honorable senators on this side if I permitted any honorable senator by waiting for the second reading of the Bill to be misled into the belief that, as in the Assemblies to which they have been accustomed, general principles may be discussed only on the second reading.
At the close of last session I asked a question of the Minister for Defence with respect to a particular statement made by Mr. Hughes at Bendigo. I pub the question again yesterday, and was asked to give notice of it. I gave notice of the question, and to-day the Minister for Defence informs me that he has sent the question on to Mr. Hughes in order to obtain from him a statement as to what he said at Bendigo. Referring to the Australian contingents I find that, in the Bendigo Advertiser of the 24th April, 1917, Mr. Hughes is reported to have said -
The enlistments were, not enough, because for nearly three months after the fighting at Pozieres the only’ Australian army waa withdrawn from the front and British troops took their place. (Cries of “ Shame !’*) Our reinforcements not being sufficient, Australian boys at the front had to be withdrawn and other troops were sent in to do the Australians’ fighting. _ <
That is the statement to which I make reference. Honorable senators may think that this is a personal matter between myself and the Prime Minister, but I assure them that it is as an Australian that I object to that statement being made if it is not ‘true; The information at my disposal week after week, the unfortunate continuous: record of casualties, the letters which I and others have received from the Front, and the statement of the Minister for Defence himself that -our men in the trenches were1 without relief, and without a holiday, all go to show that the statement made by the Prime Minister at Bendigo was not correct. Iri the circumstances I ‘do not think it is fair that the Prime Minister of Australia should circulate throughout the Commonwealth and the world the statement that our men had to be withdrawn from the Front because of insufficient reinforcements. I have so ‘ far vainly endeavoured to get at the .truth .of this matter from the Minister for Defence. Surely he can say whether our troops were withdrawn or not ! If he gives me his word now that they were withdrawn, I shall be perfectly satisfied. If they were not withdrawn, then, in my view, it is the duty of every member of the Senate, as well as my own duty, to see that the truth shall prevail, no matter whose statement may be impugned.
I have one or two words to say in reply to the speech made by Senator Millen last night. He replied to my speech in the way in which he has replied to nearly everything I have had to say since he ‘has been leading the Government in the Senate. He referred to the difficulty he had in answering the same speech time after time. My speeches are on record in Hansard, and the readers of Hansard can ‘ prove by reference to them that it is absolutely false to say that they are the same. By the perusal of my speeches the misrepresentation of the honorable senator leading the Government in the Senate will be made plain.
I have to refer to another clever ruse on the part of Senator Millen in quoting last night a letter, published in The Worker, and written by my old colleague and life-long friend Mr. Arthur Rae,, in such, a way as to try to lead the Senate and the country to believe that Mr. Rae was referring to the method in which the Labour Conference conducted its business. What Mr. Rae wrote about was not the manner in which the Labour Conference conducted its business, but the manner in which a certain section organized to secure their own advantage.
– That is exactly what I said; it is the- section that .has control.
– It is not at all the dominant section.
– The honorable senator means to say that it is the junta?
– -It may be fairly entitled to the name of junta, but it is not the Labour movement, nor is it the executive to which I am responsible, as Senator Millen very well knows.
– Iti is controlling the Labour ‘ movement.
– It is not only not controlling the Labour movement, but two of its chief members, Messrs. Rosa and Powers, who claimed that they had won their selections, did not get an opportunity to run as candidates.’ Senator Millen deliberately used Mr. Rae’s statement, as it was used by Ministerial candidates at the election, to suggest that the section referred to was the Labour movement. It is no more the Labour movement ‘ than the scab union, the Machine Shearers Union, could be sa d to have represented the Australian Workers Union. The Machine Shearers Union was organized by the Pastoralists Union, of which I believe Senator Millen was at the time a member.
– I never was a mem- ber of the Pastoralists Union ; not that I should be ashamed of iti if I had been.
– I know the honorable senator was a pastoralist, and I thought that he was a member of the Pastoralists Union. The Machine Shearers Union . was a scab union that tried to injure the Australian Workers Union, and occupied identically the same position in the Labour movement as does the so-called industrial section with which Senator Millen last night tried to connect members of the party on this side. The industrial section has no control over the Labour movement. It is one of the excrescences upon the movement such as frequently appear in connexion with any movement. It may have members in the Labour movement,, and they may be strong in it, but it does not. represent the movement, nor is it provided for in the constitution of the movement. It represents nothing more than a number of persons getting together for their own personal advantage.
– Is ex-Senator Rae correct when he says that they have captured all the seats on the executive with the exception of his own? s
– That may he so. But no matter what may be their influence, they are not part and parcel of the Labour movement. They are no more part and parcel of the Labour movement than the present clique in the National party, which is endeavouring to engineer the Minister for Defence out of his position, is the National party itself. ‘ I could not stand up here and quote what members of that clique say as fairly representing the views of the National party.
– Has the National party to vote in threes?
– I feel sure it will not be very long before they are votting in twos if the negotiations which are now in progress prove successful.
– - Members of this party have not been asked to send in their signed resignations.
– I have never been aasked to do that.
– Yet The Worker says that the industrial section of tie Labour party has come to stay.
– It has said nothing of the kind.
– Did not the honorable senator claim yesterday that lie represents the extreme members of that party?
– I claim to be one of the most extreme members of the party. I have never shirked that position. On the contrary, I have always endeavoured to live up to it. The Labour party came into existence as an extreme party, and I represent that portion of it which is not represented by the so-called “ right-thinking “ section of the community.
I have no desire to delay the passing of the Supply Fill. I am anxious that the Government shall be afforded every opportunity to push along business for the purpose of winning the war. I recognise that there are many other honorable senators who will desire an opportunity to speak on this occasion, and therefore I shall be content with these few remarks, in regard to the libel uttered by the Prime Minister and to the misrepresentations indulged in by a section of the Senate. Any further observations I may wish to make will be reserved till a later period.
– I embrace this opportunity to refer to an echo of the late election campaign, and I promise that my remarks will be as brief as possible, consistent with an intelligent exposition of the subject. During the course of the recent campaign, Senator Pearce was reported in the West Australian, of 27th April last, to have said, at Subiaco -
The charges that he had to bring against the Tudor party were these: that they were not in earnest when they said they were out to win the war. He could prove it by their deeds and by their words. When there was a falling off in recruiting and a vigorous campaign was urgent, the Hughes Government asked for three months’ Supply so that members might be released from their parliamentary duties to help in the recruiting effort. But the Tudor party, which claimed to be on the win-the-war side, objected, and would not agree to Supply being granted for more than one month.
I noticed these statements in the newspaper in question, and in an interview with a -representative of that journal I contradicted them. Inter alia, I affirmed that if Senator Pearce had been correctly reported his statements were inaccurate and misleading. The truth is that the Hughes Government, on the occasion referred to by the Minister for Dofence at Subiaco, asked for three months’ j Supply, and that the Tudor party in this Senate refused to grant it, but did grant Supply for two months. Yet here we had a responsible Minister making a statement which was inaccurate in every detail, and which he knew, or ought to have known, was inaccurate when he made it. When* I pointed out in the columns of the West Australian that the honorable gentleman had made a mistake, considerations of common justice should have impelled him to correct his statements, and thus ‘remove the effect of the lies that had been published. I will notstress this matter further. I shall leave it to the honorable gentleman to say whether he was correctly reported, and, if so, whether his statements were true. The records of this Chamber will prove conclusively that they were not true. Coming, as they did, from a responsible Minister, I have no hesitation in saying that their effect was to mislead the electors.
In the interview that I had with a representative of the ‘journal in question, I alluded to another issue which was introduced into the recent very bitter fight, namely, the sectarian issue. Portion of my remarks were published, but .not the whole of them. But here again the Minister quite ignored that portion of them which was published. Amongst other things I said -
I notice that the Minister also regrets the introduction of the sectarian issue into this campaign. I believe he is sincere in that expression of regret, but he can give a further proof of his sincerity by exercising the powers which are vested in him under the War Precautions Act, in commandeering all the scurrilous pamphlets and leaflets that are’ being circulated, and meting out salutary justice and punishment to the. authors.. He did not hesitate to use those powers when the Trades Hall in Melbourne was raided by his military officers not very long ago, and when he censored the photo play of “ Ireland a Nation,” giving as his reason, in the latter case, that it was not wise to resurrect the times of Robert Emmet in these days of stress, as it might cause disaffection among His Majesty’s subjects. The publication and distribution of these scurrilous sectarian pamphlets, which he professes to most emphatically condemn, is not only causing disaffection among scores of thousands of His Majesty’s subjects in Australia, but is also prejudicing recruiting, because they are hurling outrageous insults at the- mothers, fathers, N and relatives of Australian Catholic soldiers who to-day are offering their lives in defence of their country on the battle-fields of France.
The Minister for Defence was anxious to get recruits, and so am I, but I have here publications by a gentleman named Critchley Parker, who should have been lined up against a wall and shot by a platoon of soldiers. The last Hughes Government and the present Government exercised their powers under the War Precautions Act in other directions, but in this case the Minister for Defence at Subiaco merely expressed a pious regret about the introduction .of the sectarian issue. Here is a picture in which a Catholic voter is described as a pig. This is signed by Critchley Parker.
– The Labour party bought those and circulated them in thousands.
– All I am concerned about is the man who got them printed, and why they were distributed through the post in every State. Why« was not the man stopped from printing such scurrilous, outrageous stuff? I am not concerned whether any party, Labour or National, bad them reprinted in millions. My complaint is against the Government of the day. Under the War Precautions Act they could raid, the Trades Hall in Melbourne, because of a harmless article appearing in the Labour Call. yet they not only allowed this stuff . to be spread broadcast throughout Australia, but (permitted a public utility, the Post Office, to distribute it.
– Do not forget that one of those cartoons, is out of the Worker.
– They might have been reproduced from the Bulletin for all I know, but this one did not come from the Worker. It is about twenty-five years old. If it is necessary I shall place them, on the table of the Senate for honorable senators to see. Here is another depicting the Catholic Church as a serpent spitting out slackers, Irish SinnFeiners, Industrial Workers of the World, pro-Germans, Pacifists, Caucus parties, and all the rest of it. If any honorable senators approach this matter with levity I do not. I .appeal to their honesty to say whether a Government that desires to secure recruits for the colours in this time of stress should allow any citizen to. hurl gratuitous insults at the fathers and mothers of Australian Catholic soldiers fighting to-day in France.
– And fighting in a “ sordid trade war “ !
– Are the Catholic members of the Australian Imperial Force fighting in a sordid trade war ?
– So they were told.
– If the gentleman whom the honorable senator has in his mind did the wrong thing, let the Go.vernment have the courage to deal with him as they should have dealt with Critchley Parker. It is of no use for Senator Millen to try to drag me from the track by introducing that phrase when I am (appealing” for protection for the fathers and mothers of those Catholic soldiers whose blood is mingling to-day on the battle-fields of France with the blood of Protestant soldiers, and whose blood mingled on the battle-fields of Gallipoli with the blood of Protestant soldiers. Will the Government allow a man like Critchley Parker to hurl such insult’s alt those men, and at their mothers and fathers with impunity? At the same time we are asked to go on the platform and appeal for recruits. The Government have either been indolent, or have been a party to this series of insults. Look at them ! My God, a thing like this would “rile” any man, no matter what his religion or nationality might -be. If he had any manliness or sentiment in his heart, he would say, “ So far and no further shall you go. These shall be confiscated, and under the powers given us in the War Precautions Act you shall be punished.” This is not the time of day to circulate matter of this kind, and to have men fighting each other about religion. Religion is a sacred thing to every man’s soul. It is the business of that man and of nobody else. Then, why in this time of Empire crisis should citizen be set against citizen by insulting the altar at which a man kneels to worship his Creator? We have in the Old World the question of Ireland. We have at the present time an attempt to settle that long-standing grievance of Ireland’s claim to selfgovernment. Where has there been a nobler sacrifice during this titanic struggle than the sacrifice voluntarily made by William Redmond ? His endeavour to prove that he and his party, that he and the Church he belonged ito and the members of that Church were as eager for victory for the
Allies of the , Empire as any sect or religion in the Empire to-day-
– Ireland is not at war.
– But William Redmond is dead.
– I know that.
– Did he not prove his manhood ?
– Hear, hear !
– And did not Irish Catholic soldiers prove . their manhood in France? Have not Australian Catholic soldiers proved their valour on the battlefields of France? It is very seldom .that I get heated, but I speak very feelingly on this question. Why a Government could stand idly by .without bringing to book a gentleman such as Critchley Parker - and I use the word “gentleman” with every qualification
– Were not a number of these pamphlets sent through the post in envelopes 1
– The very thing I am complaining of is that the post was used for that! purpose. In answer toSenator Lynch, let me say that whilst there were numbers of the pamphlets sent through the post in envelopes, there were numbers of them sent through the post in bundles, with this thing uppermost - the picture which I have just exhibited to the> honorable senator, where a Catholic voter is described as a pig. The, pamphlets weresent through the post in bundles.
– Who sent them?
– I do not know. I cannot say who sent them. All that I am asking is why were the publications allowed to be sent through the post, and why was Critchley Parker, the author, nob brought to the bar of justice tinder the powers conferred on the Minister ?
– Because he was useful to the “ Win-the-war “ party.
– Just the opposite.
– I am not saying who paid Mr. Critchley Parker. I am not saying who used him. I care not whether it is a National or a Labour Government. Any Government - call it by what name you like - in a time such as now should not allow such scurrilous pamphlets as these to be scattered broadcast through the community. We may differ on politics. Our fight may have been very keen and very bitter, but at a time like the present the dragging in of religion makes things very much worse. When I speak of sectarianism, I speak of it in general. I am not singling out any particular section. I contend that in this time of stress no man and no woman should introduce anything which will set citizens against each other so far as their religion is concerned.
Through the columns of the press I asked the Minister for Defence why he or the Prime Minister had not exercised the powers conferred on them under the War Precautions Act, why they had exercised those powers in connexion with the Trades Hall, and why Senator Pearce himself had, exercised the censorial powers vested in him when the play “ Ireland a Nation “ was placed on the nlms in Australia. To show the inconsistency of the action of the responsible Ministers, here was a picture play called “ Ireland a Nation.” Every child who reads a book at all knows what that history is. This picture play had gone through four States in Australia; it had come back to Victoria, and suddenly the Defence Department discovered it. was about time that its presentation was stopped. It was supposed that it was going to prejudice recruiting, to cause disaffection amongst His Majesty’s subjects, and so the majesty of the law was invoked, and the war lord “himself, Senator Pearce, went . down in state .with some of his advisers, his censors, or military officers, and personally saw the pictures thrown on the screen. All right. In connexion with the play a certain number of hand”bills were distributed, and the censor got to work. To show how sensible the censor is, let me mention that the advertisement giving a brief history of the rebellion in Ireland in 1798 contained the words “The Martyred Emmet.” The censor thought that was a grave thing to publish, and the red ink was put through the- words, “The Martyred Emmet,” but down towards the bottom of the handbill, which was about the size of the page of a. book, in big, bold type were the words “Ireland’s Martyr.” No red ink was put through those words. “ The Martyred Emmet “ was struck out, and the words “ Ireland’s Martyr “ were allowed to remain.
Now, while the majesty of the law descends to such a trivial thing as that, fearful that recruiting might be prejudiced, fearful that it might cause disaffection amongst His Majesty’s subjects in this portion of His Dominions, it still allows such slanderous, villainous, scurrilous stuff as this to be spread broadcast throughout this continent. It is time that some honorable senator should call attention to this thing in a public place. I have no more to say just now on this matter. I appealed to the Minister for Defence through the press of the State we represent, but so far he has ignored my appeal. So far he has considered it beneath him, I presume, to deign to reply to my contention, but’ here and now in my public position I ask him, or I ask any member of the Government, to explain wEy these things were allowed to be done, and why the perpetrator of this atrocity has not been brought to the bar of justice?
– I wish to take exception to the manner, in which the Defence Department has been dealing with the widows of soldiers, and the wives of men who have gone abroad, and I take this course with the view to, if possible, bring the Department to realize that their maladministration, or want of sympathetic administration, in this regard has been to a very large extent responsible for many men not being prepared ‘to enlist. I do not say for a moment that this is the only grievance which could be brought forward, but it is one which, I think, ought to receive the immediate attention of the Department, not only with the view to securing additional enlistments, but with the view of meting out simple justice to many of these women’ who are unable to bring their complaints under the notice of the Department. I propose to quote some cases, most of which I have taken the trouble to personally investigate. ‘I believe that all the details I am about to quote can be substantiated in every particular.
For instance, on the 28th May, I brought the case of Mrs. Bosden, of 261 Riley-street, Sydney, under the notice of the Minister for Defence in the following letter : -
In regard to the treatment of the abovenamed lady by your Department, I wish to place before you the following facts, which seem to me to be of such a character as to demand your immediate attention.
Mrs Bosden is a widow woman, whose husband died some eleven years ago, leaving her with eight children to support. Her husband was only a worker, and left her penniless. During these years she has had a hard struggle to support her ‘family, and is a hard-working, sober, and industrious woman of good character.
Within the past twelve months three of her boys, whose ages range from sixteen and a half to nineteen years, have gone to the front -
Private No. 3553 Richard Bosden, 11th of the 1st Battalion (reported killed), 19 years of age.
Private No. 6218, Otto William Bosden, 20th of the 30th Battalion (reported wounded), 20 years of age.
Private No. 7014, J. T. Bosden, 23rd of the 3rd Battalion (in the firing line), 16i years of age.
There are two children at home, Henry, 14, and Vera, 12. ‘
Two daughters are married, with families of their own, and give no support to their widowed mother.
Prior to enlisting, the boys were labourers, and, on an average, gave their mother the sum of£1 per week.
Each of the boys, on enlisting, made an allotment to their mother of 4s. per day, and for a time she received a separation allowance on account of Richard.
For the past twelve months she has been at her present address, paying 16s. per week.
After the decease of Richard, she received on account of Otto, £2 16s.; two children, 10s. 6d.; separation, 19s. 10d.; total, £4 6s. 4d. But three weeks ago this was reduced to 14s., on the ground that she had been overpaid to the extent of £46.
This and similar cases is having a damaging effect on recruiting, and I shall be glad if you will give directions that her pay be restored to the amount to which she is entitled.
It may be mentioned that she lets a room, for which she receives l0s. per week. This lodger has been with the family since, and prior to, the death of her husband.
Please treat this matter as urgent.
That communication was written on the 28th May of this year. On the 31st May a formal reply was received to the effect that the matter would receive early attention, but since then no further reply from the Department has been received. I, of course, . recognise ‘that it - has more than one letter to reply to. I realize that it has an enormous file of correspondence to deal with. But I submit that matters of this kind ought to receive more prompt attention than the Department is evidently prepared to give to them. On the 24th June, Mrs. Bosden wrote me as follows: -
Just a few lines to let you know that I have received no answer yet to your communication with Senator Pearce concerning my money. I think- it is very hard indeed, as there has been one young man whom I got to enlist, and who went into camp last week. I can assure you that it gives me no encouragement to get recruits if something is not done for me. It is very trying to be placed like this. Trusting that you will do your best for me,
Later I received another letter from the same lady in the following terms : -
In reference to my case, which you wrote and told me that you placed in front of Senator Pearce, Melbourne, I wish to say it has now been standing for a period of two months or more. I am no further ahead, and I think the case has had time to be Been into. Let me know, as I think it very hard to serve a mother who sacrificed her only’ three loved boys, who were good and kind to her. I called at the barracks to-day (9th July), and asked for my son’s deferred pay, which was due to me on account of his death since the 22nd of July, 1916, and I was informed it was also closed on for separation allowance overpaid to me. I have been very ill worrying over the way the Military are treating me. It is a scandalous disgrace that I should have to pay that money. I am writing asking you to look into my case before I venture to place it in the hands of a solicitor. Some business people are going to give me references to prove I am fully entitled to the money which is due to me by the Military,’ and I can also prove I am their widowed mother. Trusting you will do your best for me, and let me have an answer at your earliest convenience.
Now I notice in to-day’s newspapers that Dr. Gilruth has been reappointed Administrator of the Northern Territory at’ a salary of between £1,000 and £2,000 per year, and that he will also be allowed substantial travelling expenses. I do not object to that, but I think that if the Government are in a position to pay salaries of this kind, and to incur heavy expenses in other directions, they ought, with all the resources at their disposal, to be able to give assistance to this widow who sent three boys to the front, one of whom has fallen in defence of this country. Cases like this, in my opinion, militate as much as anything else against recruiting.
Let me quote another typical case on the same subject. This refers to a Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Stewart, 45 Rochfordstreet, Erskineville, New South Wales. On the 5th January, 1917, I’ -wrote to Mr. Norris, Paymaster, Victoria Barracks, Paddington, as follows: -
Dear Sir, - I wish to bring under your notice the following facts:- Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Stewart, 45 Rochford-street, Erskineville, has a son, Bombardier George Henry Stewart, No. 515, 23rd Battery, Australian Field Artillery, who has now been two years and four months at the war. When he had been gone five months she got a form to fill in for separation allowance, and this was granted to her at the rate of 5s. 3d. per week. In addition to this amount, her son had allotted to her from his pay the sum of 4s. 6d. per day. The separation allowance of 5s. 3d. was paid to her up to last Friday, which brought the total amount received by her in this connexion up to £26 13s. Two weeks ago she received a letter from the Military telling her to fill in application form for the separation allowance. She went and saw the head magistrate, who told her she should never have received the separation allowance, and that, as a matter of fact, she had been overpaid to the extent of £27, which amount would have to be refunded. This she has refused to do. Now the separation allowance has ceased. To that she does not seriously object; but the authorities are reimbursing themselves for the £27 by making a deduction from the allotment of 4s. 6d. per day, and last pay, instead of receiving £3 3s., she was only paid £1 8s.
I shall be glad if you will make immediate inquiries into this matter, and trust that you will take whatever steps may be necessary to see that no further deductions from the allotment are made. Please treat this as urgent, and let me have your reply as soon as possible.
For a long time no reply came to that letter, and on the 12th February I sent Mr. Norris a reminder as follows: -
Dear Sir, - Referring to my letter; No. 5117, re Mrs. 15. J. Stewart, I beg to remind you that no reply thereto has yet come to hand. As this is a matter of rauch concern to Mrs. Stewart, I shall be glad if you will give same your early attention.
– Who sent the previous letter?
– I did.
– It sounds like a Minister’s instructions.
– It is desirable that something like that should be done, as otherwise it is almost impossible to get these gentlemen to act promptly. On the 14th February I received the following letter from Captain Norris -
Sir, - I have the honour to refer to your letter of the 12th instant relative to the case of Mrs. E. J. Stewart, and to inform you that, as I am not now connected with the A.I.F. Pay Office, the papers in this case were handed to the present officer in charge. That official will doubtless communicate with you in the course of the next day or two.
I waited for some time, and not getting any reply from the paymaster, Lieutenant A. C. Ford, I wrote to that gentleman on the 23rd May recapitulating the statements made in my letter to Mr. Norris of the 5th January, and on the 24th May I received this letter from Mr. Ford -
Sir, - I am in receipt of your letter of the 23rd instant relative to an overpayment of separation allowance made to Mrs. E. G. Stewart, 45 Rochford-street Erskineville, on behalf of No. 515, George Henry Stewart, 23rd A.F.A.
I am afraid this case has been misrepresented to you. Mrs. Stewart was in receipt of an allotment of 4s. 3d. per diem, to which was added separation allowance of ls. per diem as from 1st May, 1915, to 14th December, 1916 - 594 days, equalling £29 14s. This amount was an overpayment, owing to Mrs. Stewart being in receipt of the old-age pension. The allotment was reduced to 2s. per diem as from the 15th December, 1916, to recover the above amount; but upon personal application being ma’de by Mrs. Stewart this was altered, and arrangements were made for the amount to be recovered at the rate of 10s. per week as from the date of first reduction, viz., 15th December, 1916. The amount of £4 12s. was made available for collection by Mrs. Stewart on 19th April, 1917, this being the difference between the original deduction of 2s. 3d. per diem and 10s. per week.
The amount recovered to last military Thursday, viz., 17th May, 1917, is £11, leaving a balance of £18 4s., which is being recovered at the rate of 10s. per week until such amount is liquidated.
I might ‘state, for your information, this is the first time this matter, has been brought under my personal direction.
For District Paymaster, 2nd Military District.
This is another of those cases which in my opinion must necessarily have a very damaging effect upon recruiting. I have read this letter to the Senate and the Minister in the hope that it will have his immediate attention. I come now to the case of Mrs. Coleman, which is somewhat similar to others with which I have already dealt. The following letter was addressed by me to Senator Pearce on 10th May last: -
Dear Sir, - In regard to the claim of Mrs. S. A. Coleman, of 14 Bellevue-street, Sydney, for separation allowance, and on which you should receive a report from the paymaster, 2nd Military District, about the 13th inst., I wish to say that the case appears to me to be one that should receive your favorable attention, Her only offence appears to-be that, in order to assist in paying the rent of the house occupied by her, she lets a portion, getting 10s., or sometimes 15s., per week, and this assists her in paying the rent, which is £1 per week, out of the allotment made to her by her son, No. 270, Private W. J. Coleman, 2nd Reinforcements, Machine Gun Section.
Apparently, if she agreed to pay all the rent herself, all would be well. I shall be glad if you will give the matter early and favorable consideration, and let me know the result.
On 14th May the following official reply came to hand from the Acting Secretary:
I am directed to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 10th inst. regarding the claim of Mrs. S. A. Coleman, of 14 Bellevue-street, Sydney, and to inform you this matter will receive early attention.
The facts were clearly set forth in the letter forwarded to the Department, and there is no justification for the Department continuing to withhold from this woman the money to which she appears to be entitled. So far as’ I can learn, she has not yet received it, and I have no doubt that her experience, like that of others to which I have referred, will have a detrimental effect upon recruiting. Is it any wonder that the number of recruits offering has fallen off when experiences of this kind seem to be common, not only in New South Wales, but in other States? I have heard honorable senators say that many letters giving information of cases of this kind have reached them.
In the following letter, addressed to Mr. Trumble, Acting Secretary of the Department, we have the facts regarding the case of Mrs. R. Lassen, of Brown-street, Newtown, New South Wales: -
Re Mrs. Lassen, Brown-street, Newtown,
New South Wales.
Dear Sir, - It has been represented to me that the above-named has not received any separation allowance, and I shall he glad if you will look into the matter without delay, and let Mrs. Lassen know the reason why, and, if possible, send to her all money accumulated on account of separation or other purposes that may be due to her from the Defence Department. Some of the facts in connexion with this case are -
Kindly treat this as urgent.
While it is- true that this letter was sent only recently to the Department, the fact remains that this lady for a long time has been kept out of money which the Defence Department should have paid her out of the enormous sums placed at its disposal.
– Has the honorable senator ever represented any of these cases to me personally as Minister?
– I do not know that I have personally represented them to the honorable senator-
– No ; not in any one case.
– I have written officially to the honorable gentleman as Minister for Defence.
– Not in respect of the cases he has mentioned.
– I am sure that I have done so. I wrote personally to the Minister for Defence regarding the case of Mrs. Bosden on 10th May last, and as I have already stated, received a reply four days later saying that the matter would receive attention. My complaint is that, so far, it does not appear to have received the attention of the Department.
The only other case of this kind to which I now propose to refer is that of Mrs. McFarlane, which formed the subject of the following letter addressed by me to “ Senator Pearce, Minister for Defence, Melbourne,” on 16,th May last. It refers to a previous letter, No. 20368, Victoria Barracks, New South Wales, and 17/10075-
May 16th, 1917. Senator Pearce, Minister of Defence, Melbourne.
Re claim made by Mrs. M. M.. McFarlane on account of her son, No. 3962, Private E. L.
McFarlane, 12th/lst A.I.F.
Dear Sir, - In regard to the above claim, I have to state that the separation allowance has been cut out on account of the lady in question’ admitting that she kept boarders, and that the sum of £34 2s. lOd. overpaid is now being collected by the allotment being reduced at the rate of £1 per fortnight.
The facts of the position are as under: -
One of the boys is at home. The abovenamed soldier is ait the Front, and the other son is away from home. The only money the mother gets is that from the boarders and the allotment from her soldier son.
The Defence Department replied to that letter in the following terms on the 22nd May, 1917:-
Dear Sir, - I am directed to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 18th inst., regarding the reduction of the allotment payable to Mrs. M. M. McFarlane, 21 Harrington-street, Mar-, rockville, and to inform you this’ matter will receive early attention. ‘
So far it appears to have received very little attention, until the following reply came to hand from the Department dated 7th July, 1917; -
Dear Sir, - With reference to your recent representations on behalf of Mrs. McFarlane, 21 Harrington-street, Sydney, relative to separation allowance on account of her son, No. 3962, Private ft. L. McFarlane, 12th Reinforcements, 1st Battalion, A.I.F., I am directed to inform you that the matter was referred to the District Paymaster, 2nd Military District, Victoria Barracks, Paddington, Kew South Wales, who reports that when Mrs. McFarlane waa interviewed, she admitted having kept boarders, and, therefore, separation allowance was cancelled, and the allotment of 4s. per diem reduced by £1 per fortnight to liquidate the overpayment of separation allowance, which amounted to £34 2s. 10d., being 282 days, at 1b. 6d> per diem, for the period 11th December, 1915, to 6th April, 1917.
It is pointed’ out tor your information that, prior to lat July, 1917, one of the conditions governing the payment of separation allowance to a soldier’s mother was that the claimant must be wholly and solely dependent on the soldier’s earnings for support; but the question has been reconsidered, and the Minister baa approved of the allowance being paid as from the date mentioned, to a mother who is partly dependent on the soldier’s earnings. I should be glad, therefore, if you’ would request Mrs. McFarlane to again submit her application to the District Paymaster abovenamed, who will review same in conjunction with the Minister’s recent approval.
I may say that the application has been again submitted, but the time has been too short to expect a further reply from the Department.
I have referred to only a verylimited number of cases of thu kind which must occur. Every member of Parliament to whom I speak and many others inform me that they are in receipt of similar communications from women who have been treated, as I be lieve they ought not to be treated by the Defence Department. I bring these cases before the Senate in order that the Minister and his Department may have an opportunity of realizing that their failure to sympathetically administer the law .is to a very large extent responsible for the’ failure of many men to enlist. It is utterly’ absurd that the Defence Department should be prepared to pay a woman a separation allowance if she lives in a. cottage by herself, and’ has no source of income but the soldier’s earnings; whilst if she hires a larger house than she requires for herself, and lets a room or two* in it, the separation allowance is discontinued.
– The honorable- senator knows that that is not so. He has just read a letter which tells him that that has been altered.
– Yes; but it is the very last letter received in connexion with! the case to which it refers. What the Defence Department may do in the future I do not know.
– The alteration waa made from the 1st July, as the letter which the honorable senator quoted informed him.
– It is somewhat doubtful even now what the Department is prepared to do. I hope it will be made quite clear that, in future, the separation! allowance will be paid whether the. widow or mother of a -soldier happens to be> earning some little money for herself or not. I feel that the action of the Defence Department in connexion with’ the!* matters has been annoying to the ,people> concerned, and very injurious to the cause* of recruiting.
Before I sit down I should like to say that I have noticed with some regret that the number of recruits does not appear to have greatly increased since tEe advent to office of the win-the-war Government. I find that from 1st June,. 1916, to the end of November of that year the average enlistments exceeded 10,000 per month. But since that time they have not averaged quite 5,000 per month. In -my opinion, the Government should discover the reasons which! are preventing men from enlisting. I feel quite sure that if they would deal sympathetically with, such cases as those I have mentioned the effect upon recruiting would’ be found to be very beneficial. This country is well able to pay substantial separation allowances. There is any amount of wealth in the Commonwealth.
– I wish there- were.
– I did purpose to make a few remarks upon another subject, but I shall reserve them till ‘ a future occasion. I propose later on to show Senator Reid and others that there is- a very fair amount of wealth in this country, and that we have no right whatever to act in a niggardly manner, especially towards the wives and mothers of those who have fought for us. The men can fight for themselves, but it is absolutely unfair for ‘ the Def fence Department, and quite unworthy of this Parliament, to deal with the mothers, wives, and widows of our soldiers in the nig- gardly manner in which I think they ave been dealt with in the limited number of cases to which’ I have referred.
– I do not propose to go over the various remarks that have been made during the debate, and Senator Needham will excuse me if I do not follow him over the history of the last elections. It might be interesting to do so, but I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by it.
– I think the people of Australia are entitled to know why the Government did not take action against Critchley Parker under the War Precautions Act?
– The people of Australia have already been told that, as Senator O’Keefe must know. He is aware that he and others in tho last Parliament denounced the then Government up hill and down dale for using the censorship for’ political purposes. They extracted from the Prime Minister a rigid promise that during the elections the censorship would be used wholly and solely for military purposes - that no political matter of any sorb would be interfered with. Honorable senators opposite, and honorable members ‘ oh the Labour side in another place, made Parliament ring . with the demand that nothing but purely and essentially military matter should be dealt with; and we observed the rule. The things now. complained of are highly objectionable, but they h ave no military significance whatever. First of all,, honorable senators opposite handcuff us, so far’ as political matters are concerned, and then they denounce us for doing the very thing they demanded we should do. What humbug and hypocrisy this is I Senator Needham and other honorable senators know well that in the State of Western Australia those very pamphlets and documents that have been exhibited to-day were industrially circulated by the thousand by the members of the party with which the honorable senator I have named is associated.
– That is an absolute lie !
– Order !
– An absolute lie!
– Order I The honorable member must not repeat his offence while I am on my feet!.
– I do not care whether you are on your feet or sitting down !
– I must Mk the honorable senator to withdraw that remark and apologize to the Chair.
– I shall apologize to the Chair.
– And I ask the honorable senator to withdraw the offensive and unparliamentary remark he applied to Senator Pearce’s statement.
– Senator Pearce stated I knew that these documents were being circulated in thousands by the party to’ which I belong, and I said that was an absolute lie, and I repeat it.
– The honorable ‘ senator must) not defy the Chair.
– I shall refuse to withdraw it.
– No one knows better than Senator Needham that there is a proper and parliamentary way to deny a statement tlo which he takes exception. That being so, I ask him to withdraw the remark he made, and apologize to the Senate for having repeated it.
– Having said what I believe to be the truth, I refuse to withdraw it.
– The business of the Senate cannot be conducted in an orderly fashion if honorable senators assume such a tone. The honorable senator knows that conduct of the kind is not conducive to good order or kindly feeling between senators.
– The Minister should set the example!
– I again ask Senator Needham to consult the dignity of the Chamber, and,, observing the rules which are framed in the interests of every honorable senator, to withdraw a remark which he knows to be unparliamentary.
– The Minister knows perfectly well what he said.
– I again ask the honorable senator to withdraw tine remark.
– To save any further trouble, Mr. President, I withdraw it.
– If Senator Needham says that he did not know these documents were being circulated, I beg to withdraw the statement that he did. I still assert, however, that these documents were so circulated by members of the party with which he is associated.
– Before the Senate is much older, I. shall prove that you are wrong.
– In my own electorate the Nationalist party endeavoured to get copies of the document!, but could not do so, though, in hundreds of cases, the canvassers of the Labour party produced and showed them, particularly tlo those Irishmen who were supporting the Nationalist party.
– The pamphlets I showed to-day I got from neither Irishmen, Catholics, nor Labour men in Western Australia.
– I did not say the honorable senator did so, but I say that thousands of those who were supporting his party in Western Australia showed them and distributed them. I made inquiries from scores of Nationalists in order to ascertain whether they had any copies, or could obtain copies, and I found that they did not even know where they were coming from.
– The name of Critchley Parker proved that they had a Nationalist source.
– It will be seen that honorable senators opposite and their supporters were really responsible for preventing the Government from using the powers of the censorship. In any case, these documents had no military significance, though they had a sectarian significance, and a deeply objectionable one.
– Does Senator Pearce think that this is the ordinary political matter that our party said should not be censured ?
– I say that it is sectarian matter and most objectionable. We were not given a free hand by hon orable senators opposite to use the censorship power in political matters, because they insisted that all but essentially military, matter should be allowed to go free.
– You were very humble and obedient for once.
– However, I do not propose to proceed’ any further with that matter, but turn to the questions raised by Senator Grant. On the honorable senator’s own admission, as contained in the letter he quoted, the only case in which he was able to show he had written to the Minister to try to get satisfaction’ had been settled in the direction he desired. In not one of the other cases he quoted has he done his duty as a representative, and, when he failed to get satisfaction departmentally, brought the matter under the notice of the Minister before ventilating it in public. He endeavours to make it appear that what he has stated is the general rule oftreatment; and certainly that is not the way to encourage recruiting.
But this is not the first time the honorable senator ‘has done this sort of thing. This is the same gentleman, who, in this chamber, told us of a number of cases of members of the Australian Forces being, imprisoned, he having apparently- obtained an ex parte statement from somebody; and yet, when the papers concerning the cases arrived in this country we were able to discover that ‘ in not a single instance had he correctly stated the offence for which the men had been punished. Nevertheless, the honorable senator’s incorrect statements made here were circulated throughout every electorate, in face of the fact that they had been demonstrated to be untrue.
– In how many cases were the sentences reduced on review?
– I cannot say offhand.
– In a great number of cases.
– Of course they were, and in a great many other cases also- That, however, is not what I am now alleging against the honorable senator. What I say is that he set out to the country that these men had been imprisoned for certain offences, and that when the papers came to hand his statements were found to be incomplete and inaccurate. The honorable senator made it appear that these men had been given long terms of imprisonment for paltry and trifling offences, and the impression created was that men who enlisted, and went overseas,, were liable to such treatment.
– Those cases were in your hands for months and months before I brought them up in the Senate.
– They were not in my hands, because they were in the hands of the Imperial authorities, who dealt with them overseas. We could not deal with the cases of those men until the papers arrived upon which they had been convicted. No sooner had those papers arrived than the cases were referred to the Committee which had been appointed to deal- with them. Honorable senators owe to themselves and to the public’ the duty of seeing that persons who have been unjustly treated secure justice. But’ obviously the better way to do that is first of all to approach the Minister with a view to ascertaining if justice cannot be obtained there. If it cannot, then the, proper place to ventilate their grievances is on the floor of this chamber. But if every case were ventilated here without making preliminary inquiry in official circles, obviously the result would be bad. Surely it is not wis© to ventilate cases in Parliament without first ascertaining whether the statements made in regard to. them are true or otherwise. I repeat’ -that it is better to approach the Minister in the first instance, and to give him an opportunity to do his duty. Then if he fails, both he and the Department can be castigated on the floor of Parliament. That is the proper course to adopt if honorable senators do not wish to throw a damper on recruiting.
I come now to the general question of separation allowances. We can all be wise after the event. Senator Grant was a member of this chamber and a supporter of the Government which first dealt with this subject. In this connexion it is well to remember that the whole treatment of our soldiers has been one of progression. We have had to discover as we went along. It was Senator Millen who first brought forward the question of separation allowances. At the outset separation allowances were paid only while the troops were in Australia. When they went overseas they ceased to be payable. Yet no honorable senator drew attention to the anomaly. But it was soon discovered that the very time when separation allow ances were most needed was after the troops had gone overseas. Consequently, an alteration to that effect was introduced. Now, under our Old-age Pensions Act, we are required to take into consideration the income of the person applying for the pension. When a Minister is charged with the framing of regulations, inasmuch as he is not an autocrat, he is bound to frame them in the spirit of what Parliament desired. Now Parliament had dealt with the question of old-age pensions, and it had said that in fixing the rate of pension the Minister- must take into consideration the income of the applicant. Consequently, when the Minister for Defence came to deal with the question of separation allowances he was bound to have regard to the laws that had been enacted by Parliament. He was bound to say, “I. must follow the lines of the Old-age Pensions Act in this matter, and therefore separation allowances will be paid, taking into consideration the income of the wife of the soldier.” Various discussions took place on the question of separation allowances from time to time, and gradually it came to be recognised that the conditions I have enumerated created many inequalities. In other words, we have arrived at the stage we have now. reached as the result of experience. In the early stages of the war no separation allowance was payable tlo the mothers of soldiers. Senator Grant never asked that these allowances should be paid. But experience has taught us that just as it was necessary to pay separation allowances to the wives of soldiers, so it was necessary to pay those allowances to the mothers of soldiers. The result is that from the 1st July of this year separation allowances will be payable to the wife or mother pf any soldier to whom an allotment, has been made, .irrespective of earnings altogether. Senator GRANT - And irrespective of the old-age pension? Senator PEARCE. - No. I am glad the honorable senator has mentioned that matter, because I may tell him thai the practice which is now being adopted is in conformity with the Commonwealth law. The claimant for an old-age pension who is in receipt of a war pension must have that war pension taken into consideration in fixing the old-age pension. That may or may not be right, but it is the law of the land. When I, as Minister for Defence, come to deal with, the question of separation allowances, I am bound to have regard to the expressed will of Parliament. Whilst the law remains as it is Ministers must frame their regulations in accordance with the wishes of Parliament.
– Circumstances indicate that that particular law ought to be altered.
– That may be so. But there is the law. I would be blind indeed if I did not recognise that there have been cases of injustice and hardship in the non-payment of separation allowances. We are endeavouring ‘to clear up those cases. But I am afraid that one .cause of complaint arises chiefly from the fact that the Defence Department is a military department, which for the first time in its existence has been called on to deal with women and children. There is no Department which is more unfitted to deal with them. We are now attempting to bring in the civilian element. A soldier’s training does not fit him to deal with these people in a satisfactory manner. We are now attempting to introduce the civilian element, so that women and other dependants of soldiers overseas who are obliged to visit the Department may get their cases dealt with speedily, sympathetically, and with humane treatment, patience, and tact. We are endeavouring to introduce into the branches throughout the various military districts men who possess , these qualities.
– Will the Minister be good enough to answer my inquiry as to whether the statements lie made at Subiaco were correctly reported ?
– -The honorable senator is very anxious that I should deal with election echoes. But I will tell lim what I said at Subiaco. I stated that the Government had asked for three months’ Supply, and’ that honorable senators opposite, who were in a majority at the time, refused to grant it. I told the electors that they granted us only two months’ Supply - one month of which had already expired, leaving lis practically with only one. month’s Supply.
– I have been exceedingly interested in the debate this afternoon, and as I merely filled the position of a bottle-holder during the recent - election campaign, I suppose that I ought to account myself extremely lucky. The state ment has been made by an honorable senator opposite that the Labour party printed and distributed thousands of leaflets containing sectarian cartoons, with a view to winning support for their own nominees. I wish to ask the author of that statement to prove it. If he can < do so, I will withdraw everything I have said against the Government. Indeed, I would have nothing to do with a party which had resorted to such discreditable tactics. The National party expended a lot of money in posting these publications. In the South Coast mining districts of New South Wales, where the Nationalists hoped to be successful, and were, and in the North Coast district, where they hoped to be successful and were not’, these pamphlets reached every miner by post, and they came from the National party. Let honorable members shoulder the responsibility for their own action. This is no new trick. I saw pamphlets of this kind 40 years ago, but I thought that electioneering: had become honest since the advent of the Labour party into politics. Honorable members opposite, paid high salaries to men to win the election for , them, and they succeeded with the old contemptible political tricks that were buried 25 years ago. These things were unearthed for the purpose of gaining the Treasury benches. So far as I am concerned, the contest is over, and I intend to do my utmost tlo assist the -Government to win the war. That has been my attitude hitherto. I claim to be as loyal as any man on the Government side. I have done my little bit, and would do more if I were permitted, and I repudiate any assertion that I belong to a party that would stoop so low in the gutter as to issue pamphlets such as have been referred to.
With reference to our returned soldiers, my voice will always be raised to secure for- them a better deal than they are getting to-day. ‘ I know of one young fellow from Queensland who was discharged in Australia as a cripple. He had money enough to take him to America, and there he received scientifictreatment of his limbs ; to-day he is anxious to play football. If he had been a ‘ poor man he would have been - a cripple for life. I urge the Government to establish a bureau of scientific research so that these poor fellows who axe returned from the war maimed may get the benefit of the’ best medical and surgical knowledge, in the world. In the- Old Country a gentleman established a factory for the manufacture of artificial limbs for Australian soldiers. I saw the workshop opened, and saw evidence of what was accomplished with its products. One young fellow was fitted with an artificial leg, and he rode a bicycle next day. Another man similarly equipped walked 10 miles. The proprietor of the establishment was prepared to manufacture those limbs for £12 10s., although the price inAmerica is 25 guineas. I have since received a letter from him stating that he is obliged to close his factory, and send back to Australia the workmen he had taken to England.
– Where was he?
– He was at Harefield Park, and his mechanics were formerly in business at South Melbourne, and, I believe, are there now. I desire to draw attention to facts like these, so that’ something more may be done for our returned heroes. I have seen the blackcoated messenger visit a friend of mine three times in a week. In the case of another lifelong friend, seven sons enlisted, of whom four have been buried, two are still at the front, and one has been returned a cripple. Yet we who are supported by men of that type are told that we are disloyal, and wish the Germans ito win. I urge the Government to shoulder their responsibility, and do all they can to win the war. I shall have nothing to do with any peace proposal which ‘will not ensure a lasting peace for the world. I denounce any proposals for a peace at any price. We are in the fight now, and we must continue. I shall be guided by the people of Britain, and’ it will be time enough for us to cease our efforts when they cry halt. I am here to do my best- to assist the Government, but I say to honorable members opposite, “ For God’s sake be men; accept your responsibility, and do not try to throw the blame for all those gutter tactics on to the party to which I belong.”
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
I do not think I need say more than that this is a Bill to appropriate three months’ Supply upon the basis of the previously existing services. I should like to explain that the absence of’ a Bill for additions, new works and buildings, does not mean a cessation of works now in hand, nor d.oes it mean that the Government will attempt to. proceed with any works which have not received parliamentary sanction. With the balance of appropriations in hand and the Treasurer’s advance, the Government will have enough money to finance the works already in hand until the Estimates are submitted. The rate of appropriation is the same as in previous Bills, and the measure provides merely for the continuation of public services already approved by Parliament.’
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– In taking the chair for the first time, I am not unmindful of the honour which the Senate has conferred upon me in electing me to this position. I thank honorable senators for the trust they have reposed in me, and I particularly thank Senator Henderson, who has offered me his valuable assistance in the discharge of my duties. I can only hope that during my occupancy of the chair no action on my part will detract from the honour which the Senate has done me.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 and 3 postponed.
Clause 4 agreed to.
Papuan Oilfields - Military Salute : Action of Patrols - Defence Department: Chemical Adviser: Training of Aviators and Construction of Aeroplanes: Rifle Glubb: Citizen Forces-Lighthouse Boat for Tasmania - Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway: Construction of Locomotives - Telephone Facilities: North-West Tasmania - Postage on Circular Letters.
– I understand that a considerable sum has already been voted and spent in the development of the oil fields of Papua, but that so far a very limited quantity of oil has been secured. Will the Minister state if there are any reports justify-, ing the expenditure of the £7,500 proposed to be voted for that purpose, are the fields likely to prove a good investment, how many men are employed there, what area has been proved to be oil bearing, and what are the prospects of a fairly good supply of oil from Papua ?
– All the reports obtained by the Government from its experts on this matter were tabled in the Senate a little while ago. I have no doubt that the honorable senator will be able to obtain copies on application, and I think that in them he’ will find the information he seeks. At any rate, in the opinion of the Minister in charge of the Department, those report® are sufficiently encouraging to justify the further prosecution of the work now in hand.
.- It has been stated to me from what I believe to be an authoritative source, that a special officer has been appointed, who has a number of assistants, and whose chief, if nob only, duty is to stand between the Barracks and Prince’ s-bridge, or knock about the Barrack yard, to catch soldiers who fail to salute, in order to try to stop the habit which, I understand, some of the soldiers have fallen into, of not always saluting officers when they meet them. I am told that if soldiers happen to be passing, and a number of .people are between them* and this,, officer, and they inadvertently pass him without) saluting, very often not seeing him because of .the people passing in between, he sends some of his assistants after them to bring them back and read them a lecture. One nian told me that he was brought back and rather severely lectured by .this officer in language which, if my informant is- correct, no officer ought to use towards a private, and this, too, in front of a number of people. This is, perhaps, a small matter, but if small things like this, are countenanced by the ‘Department, if this officer has been appointed for the sole duty of catching privates who do not salute their superior officers, such a policy must have an irritating effect, and certainly is not much of an inducement for young men to enlist). Does the Minister, as head of the Department, consider such an appointment necessary, or believe that that sort of business is conducive to the proper conduct of his Department?
– I have no knowledge of any special officer being appointed for the particular duty mentioned by Senator O ‘Keefe; but it is a fact that military police are appointed to patrol all the big cities in the vicinity of camps. One of their duties is to see that soldiers in uniform wear their uniform in a proper manner, having regard to what it stands for, and behave themselves in accordance with the regulations dealing with discipline. They have also to see that soldiers salute officers, just as officers themselves have to salute others superior in rank to themselves. I do not know whether the honorable senator objects to the practice of saluting, but some people seem to think that it is a practice of servility. It is nothing of the kind, because -whilst the private has to salute an officer, that officer in turn has to salute the officer who is superior in rank to him. It is a mark of recognition, not of the individual, but of the rank, and well recognised as one of those observances of discipline which differentiate an army from a mob.- It may have a sentimental aspect, but, after all, sentiment has a lot to do with the morale of an army, as well as of a nation. Armies have to be organized from men most of whom have had no military training whatever. Many things may appear to them to be immaterial and unnecessary, but if each soldier who joined were allowed to decide what he should do, and whether he should obey this regulation or the other, we should very soon have a mob and not an army. The habit of discipline has been shown to be the only cement) that will hold an army together, and saluting is one of the practices enjoined by the regulations upon every soldier and officer. It is the duty of the military police to see that the regulation regarding saluting, as well as other regulations, are obeyed.
. -Under the caption “ Chemical adviser “ an amount is set down which seems to me singularly small. Is there only one chemical adviser in the service of the Defence Department?
– The head of the branch is termed the chemical adviser, but we have quite a number of chemists in our employment.
– I wish to know what is the strength of the staff of chemists connected with the Defence Department?
). - The chemical adviser is in charge of a staff of chemists whose duty it is to inspect and test the cordite made at the Government factory and the stock of explosives in our various magazines and forts. At present, the head-quarters staff numbers about six chemists.
– Is the Minister prepared to tell as what is being done at the Aviation School at Point Cook? Are machines being constructed there; and, if so, how many?
– The Aviation School referred to has been used to train the squadrons of aviators that have been sent abroad on active service, and is now training mechanics and aviators to reinforce those squadrons. In addition, men are employed there to keep in repair and to replace parts that may be. strained and injured. Preparations are being made to extend the instructional work so that a larger number of aviators may be trained, and we are arranging with the British Government for the utilization of these men at the Front. The. demand for aviators is constantly increasing, and we feel that we can assist the British Government by training aviators for service. Their training can only be carried to a certain stage in Australia, and must be completed in Great Britain.
– Is . it intended to construct aeroplanes on a large . scale at Point Cook ? I gathered during a visit to the’ school that the whole of the material used in making aeroplanes, with the exception of the canvas covering for the wings’, is made in Australia, and that the engines are also made here. In view of the very large part that aeroplanes are likely to play in the war before it is over, will not the Government take into consideration the advisability of constructing aeroplanes for use abroad?
– It should be obvious that we cannot materially help Great Britain at the present time by sending aeroplanes abroad. For one thing, there is not the shipping space available. An aeroplane that was sent abroad would have to be taken to pieces first, find we have been advised that we can best help by training aviators. A second reason for not undertaking the construction of aeroplanes on , a large scale at Point Cook is that such work would be best done at an arsenal. A very extensive machine shop would be needed for the production of the engines, and. if such a shop were located at Point Cook it could be used only for the making of aeroplane engines, whereas in an arsenal it could be used for the making of other machinery as well.
– Are aeroplane engines manufactured in Australia?
– We have had six manufactured here, which have been fairly satisfactory, and arrangements are being made to obtain more.
.- The sum of £8,090, which includes £6,230 for contingencies, is appropriated for rifle clubs. It seems to me that that is an item to which we could apply the pruning knife.
– The pruning knife has already been applied to the vote for rifle clubs and associations. At one time about £10,000 per annumused to be paid away in grants in aid and for prizes for rifle associations, but that has now ceased. The rifle clubs form a valuable link in our defence system, and ‘their existence necessitates the employment of officers in each State to transact the business connected with the Department. The item in the Estimates provides for paying and maintaining these officers. The Government have ceased to provide for the travelling’ of members of rifle clubs, and it does not at present make grants in aid to, or provide prize money for, the associations.
– I wish to know whether, under the Defence Act, only commissioned officers may become aviators? After nearly three years of warfare we should recognise in democratic Australia that the man who has the ability and capacity for handling an aeroplane should be given the opportunity to exercise it, even though he may not possess a commission. Has the Defence Act been amended, or is it intended to amend it, so that non-commissioned officers and privates may become aviators?
– No alteration of the Defence Act is needed, but the regulations governing the Aviation School provide that to obtain a commission in the Aviation Corps a man must hold a commission in the Commonwealth Forces or in the’ Expeditionary Forces. The commissioned officer who ascends in an aeroplane is valuable, except as a fighter, only for the information that he can bring back to the General Officer Commanding. To be able to bring back that information, he must have a trained military mind. He must know what things to look for, what things are useful and valuable from the military point of view. He has to fly over the enemy’s lines. I, .as a civilian, might! see a thing which I might regard as of value to the Officer Commanding, and on my return find that’ the information was of no use whatever. A military officer passing over the same country would, by virtue of his training, be able to pick out those things which were of military value, and thus render an important, service. That is the reason why the limitation referred to has been imposed. “At the same time i’t is recognised now that there are other functions ‘ to be performed than merely those of observation. For instance, there is the man who has to fight in the aif ; next there is the man who has to fly the machine, and who has to be a mechanic. Then there is the fighter, who may be a pilot in a single-seated machine ; he has to be able to drive the machine and, if necessary, to fight. The regulations have been altered accordingly, and an opportunity is now afforded to men who begin as mechanics To obtain commissions.
– In thanking the Minister for his explanation, I want to ask him if the Government will consider the advisability of making this training open to all who are willing to volunteer their services. Judging from the number of letters I have had from men who have every appearance of being made competent for any business, I believe that hundreds of men could be obtained for the aviation ( service if the Government would cater for that class. From almost all the States applications are received. If these persons happen to know that a man is a < member of Parliament, they want him to press their claim. 1 believe that if encouraged by the Government, a splendid military service could be given by the young men of Australia. I think that there would be no difficulty in getting hundreds of men at the present moment to volunteer for the aviation branch who would not volunteer for other branches of the military service. In. view of the raids which are continually being made in Great Britain, 1 consider that a very good, useful fighting force could be organized in Australia. The Minister has pointed out that) there are two classes now - the mechanic and the commissioned officer - who can be trained. There is a third class who should be given an opportunity to train, and that is the man who cannot qualify as a mechanic because he is not a mechanic, but who could be trained into a first-class man with a flying machine. I suggest that, in view of the more recent development of the fighting forces, the fighting aviator should be cultivated, and cultivated as rapidly as possible. I believe that in Australia there, are hundreds of men who would be admirably suited for training in this branch of the military service.
– I will go into the question, and with a sympathetic mind.
Senator Colonel ROWELL (South Australia) [5.30]. - Although the winning, of the war is, and must continue to be, our first consideration, I think it is important that our Citizen Forces should not be altogether neglected. I shall be pleased to hear from the Minister what the policy of the Government is in this regard. The Supply Bill gives no information as to how lie money to be voted is to be expended. The amount set. down for “contingencies” for the Cadet Forces seems very. large, and the Minister might give the Committee some explanation as to the item. y
– May I, in welcoming the first speech of Senator Rowell,, make a slight explanation, which will explain not only this item, but many other items, to new members of the Senate. If they will obtain a copy of the Estimates for last year, they will find that the items in this Supply Bill are based on the votes for last year. .In order tlo avoid printing the whole of the items each month in a Supply Bill, they are practically lumped together under the term “Contingencies.” The number of the .division in the Estimates is given, ‘so that honorable senators who wish to find out what any items contain can do so by turning to the division in the Estimates, where they will see all the separate ‘items which go to make up the amount. On reference to page 119 of. the Estimates it will be found that the contingencies for the Citizen Forces and the Senior Cadets contain such items as clothing, corps contingent, allowance, horse hire, band allowances, allowance for musketry and skill at arms, incidental and petty cash expenditure, refunds to regiments and corps of amount paid into revenue, universal cadet training and instruction of buglers. In the following subdivision on the same page the various contingencies for the Junior Cadets are set out. We effected a considerable saving both last year and this year by not supplying uniforms to the Citizen Forces. It is proposed to have the training carried out in the Camps, and to supply the men with only drill uniforms, which are quite suitable for the purpose.
– With’ regard to the item for lighthouses under the head of the Trade and Customs Department I wish to make a comment. It is well known that, until recently, the different States had their own lighthouse services, but that now the lighthouses are under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. A little time ago it appears that something like a glorified whale boat was required for lighthouse services in Tasmania, and notwithstanding the fact that boats and steamers are being built in Tasmania, and that it is admitted that we have the best of woods there for shipbuilding, a boat waa built in Victoria and sent to Tasmania. If a thing cannot be built in Tasmania I have no objection to it being built in another State, but if we have a boat-building trade in Tasmania, and it was always able to build the boats required for its own lighthouse services, I want to know why the Federal Administration had built in Victoria and sent to Tasmania a boat required in connexion with the Tasmanian lighthouse services? The thing requires explanation, and was made the subject of very caustic press comment a very few weeks ago. I would like to know whether it was done in the interests of economy and whether it can be demonstrated that the boat sent over to Tasmania could not have been built locally?
– The matter- referred to does not come immediately under my province, but I understand) speaking with some reservation, that tenders were invited for the building of this particular boat, and no tender was received from Tasmania. I am not certain whether a tender was ‘received, from any part of Australia, but I am given to understand that ultimately the Department placed the order with a Victorian shipbuilding yard. Opportunity was afforded to Tasmania to tender.
– It was stated in the Tasmanian press that no such opportunity was given.
– My information is that every opportunity was given. I do not suppose that the honorable member proposes to destroy this Supply over this little matter, and, if he gives me the opportunity, in the course of a few days I shall supply him with a statement on the matter, which I hope will put his mind at rest.
– I would like to know whether, in the amount of £75,000 for “ Contingencies “ for the Kalgoorlie-Port Augusta railway, provision is made for the .construction of locomotives, and whether steps have been taken to increase the workshop accommodation at Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta; also whether anything has been done in the direction of building additional workshops midway between Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta. I would like to know also whether special rolling-stock has been built for the railway.
– This Bill provides for salaries and working expenses only. The honorable senator refers to matters of construction, which will be covered by items in a Works Bill. Under the Bill before us the Government are merely carrying out) works for which authority has already been given in previous Appropriation Bills.
– Do I understand that no steps are being taken to build locomotives for this railway?
– Authority was given for ,that long ago, and has been
– We have heard a great deal of talk from time to time as to the desirability of making country life attractive, and we have had a great outcry on the part of many well-meaning people who deplore the concentration of Australian population in great cities, and so on. To my mind something in the direction of false economy is being attempted by the Postal Department, and I will illustrate it by speaking of the telephone service along the populous and prosperous, and, may I say, increasingly prosperous, north-west coast of Tasmania. There are quite a number of rising towns there, and the telephone service is of inestimable service to those people who are engaged, mostly in the outlying districts surrounding those towns, in agricultural pursuits. After the day’s work is done, the farmers like to know the quotations for their various agricultural products, but they find that in the alleged direction of economy -an attempt has almost been consummated’ to close the telephone service at 6 o’clock. It is highly desirable that the people in the country districts, who are doing the pioneering work of Australia, should be given an efficient telephone service. By the way, I understand that no economy has been effected by this proposal to close the telephone exchanges at 6 o’clock. The only reduction effected along the north-west coast of Tasmania has been brought about by the discharge of one messenger boy who probably received a remuneration of about 10s. a week. I have it on the authority of a gentleman who Has been Postmaster-General that no curtailment of the telephone service would be .permitted in Victorian towns not one-fourth a» important as these rising towns on the north-west coast of Tasmania.. . 1 venture to say that the successful candidate ..in the recent electoral contest for Darwin will bear me out when I say that one of the most live questions during the whole of the campaign was this matter of the curtailment, unnecessary and uneconomical, of telephone facilities. During the- recent general elections, and during the Darwin contest to which I have alluded, and in which I took part, I re’ceived representations from at least fifty individual electors who were farmers, and collective representations from at least five or six gatherings of electors upon this matter. ‘It is one that must be taken into consideration. If we are to stop the Australian drift! of population to the cities we must follow the American. plan of making country life more attractive, and we must not curtail our telephone facilities, but must extend. them.
– The Senate has listened with some sympathy to the remarks, made by Senator Bakhap, and I feel that iti is my duty to obtain a copy of ‘his -remarks as recorded by Hansard, with a view to inviting the special attention of my colleague, the Postmaster-General, to them.
– From Mr. Hine, editor of the Standard newspaper in Sydney, I have received a protest against a recent regulation issued by the Postmaster-General discontinuing the privilege of issuing printed circular letters.
– Who is this gentleman 1 ‘ m
– I refer to the gentleman who edits the paper which advocates a policy which generally seems to disconcert the honorable senator very much.
– This is the first reference that Senator Grant has made to the subject during- this session.
– I am making no reference whatever to the matter of land values taxation. I simply submit a protest on behalf of Mr. Hine and business people in the community who are affected by the issue of this regulation. Very great dissatisfaction exists throughout, the Commonwealth at the decision of the Postmaster-General to discontinue this very great convenience which has been enjoyed for so many years. I should like to know from the Minister representing the Postmaster-General if it is really the intention of the Government to persevere with this erroneous idea of economy, or whether he will represent to his colleague that it would be wise, in the interests of the whole community, to withdraw this regulation.
– It appears to me that- there is another side to this question. A serious loss is being incurred in the running, of, the Postal Department, and if certain innovations are being introduced by the Minister with the object of decreasing that loss, I shall want to know more about the matter before I can support the stand taken by Senator Grant. I have always held the opinion, based on my sixteen or seventeen years’ experience in this Parliament, that the Post Office is being used very largely by business firms to assist them in their advertising. No one blames them for that, but I have also held the opinion that in many instances the general body of taxpayers have had to make up deficits because of the large quantity of matter in the shape, of circulars - which purport not to be advertising circulars, but which frequently are nothing else - being despatched through the Post Office at a rate that is unremunerative. If we want to make the Postal Department a paying concern, the Minister is quite right in endeavouring’ to decrease expenditure if that can be done without curtailing conveniences to the general public.
– Senator Grant is urging that one course of action should be taken, and Senator O’Keefe takes serious objection to it. I shall submit the remarks of the two honorable gentlemen to my colleague the Postmaster-General, in the firm conviction that he will find it possible to satisfy both.
Schedule agreed to. i
Postponed clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.
Preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported without request; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from 11th July (vide page 38), on motion by Senator Plain -
That the following Address-in-Reply be agreed to: - »
To His Excellency the Governor-General. May it please Your Excellency -
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
– I listened with interest to the speeches of the mover and seconder of the Address-in-Reply, and I desire to congratulate both gentlemen on their maiden efforts in this Chamber. The GovernorGeneral’s Speech purports to set out the policy of the Government, but it reminds me of a time, not far distant in Federal politics, when Mr. Deakin, as Leader of the Opposition in another place, described the policy, or so-called policy, of the Reid Ministry of that day as a “necklace of negatives.” If I were gifted with the powers of phraseology enjoyed by that right honorable gentleman, I might be able to excel even that phrase in my references to this policy speech, which is an indication of what has eventuated from the magnificent victory secured by our friends opposite on the 5th May, when they swept the polls. I venture to say that when our friends opposite secured their great victory on the 5th May it was thought that the Government would immediately set to work to do something practical. So far nothing has been done.
–A good beginning has been. made.
– On paper only. Ten weeks have passed, and the Opening Speech of the Governor-General is all that we get. It is’ true that, like many similar documents, it teems with beautiful phrases and lovely sentiments. For instance, a reference is made to -
The determination of the whole people of Australia to maintain this splendid record until the war ends in victory for the Allied Armies.
But there was a time prior to the 5th May when these sentiments were not believed in by the gentlemen who were responsible ‘ for framing this document. Between the dissolution of the last Parliament and the election of the present Parliament, there was a time when it was said that the whole of the people of Australia were not whole-hearted iri their desire, to win the war. Having secured their positions, the members of the party opposite have become generous, and now they tell us that the whole of the people are determined upon winning the war, including even the members of the party on this side, whom they so often dubbed pro-Germans, Huns, disloyalists, and Caucus-bound traitors.
In replying to Senator Gardiner, the Leader of the Senate told- ns that the question of the conscription of Australian manhood for service overseas was not an issue, before the electors during the recent campaign. I venture to say that it was an issue of the elections. I know. that the Minister for Trade and Customs, Mr. Tensen, said that it was imperative that, conscription of Australian manhood should be brought about.
– Does the honorable senator say that it was an issue at the general elections ?
– Senator Millen said that it was’ not; and I reply by saying that one of his own colleagues, Mr. Jensen, said that it was imperative that it should be brought about. The first Minister for Works and Railways, Senator Lynch’, made use of similar words, and the honorable member for Flinders, Sir William Irvine, asserted from every platform from which he spoke in Victoria that it was imperative that there should be conscription. “There is no use in beating about the bush. Throughout the length and breadth of Australia, from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Fremantle, there resounded the cry of conscription of Australia’s manhood for service overseas to win the war. Its necessity was asserted, and it was said that, unless the. WintheWar party were returned, the war could not be won, and conscription would not be brought about. We, on this side, said that conscription was not necessary. Our Leader last night explained that he had pointed out at the end of last year the number of men required as reinforcements. During the last elections the Government contended from every platform that it was imperative that we should recruit 16,500 men per month.
– That is not correct.
– I will say that that statement wa; made in Western Australia.
– I was not there.
– I am aware of that, but the honorable senator is a very keen student of political affairs, and if he read the press of Australia that supported the party to which he now belongs, he would have known that the statement to which’ I have referred was reiterated from every platform in the country.
– That is not a correct statement.
– Does the honorable senator contend that the Government should bring in conscription now?
– I am addressing myself to Senator Senior at the present moment. I have personally always contended against the conscription of Australian manhood for service overseas. Honorable senators opposite have secured their positions because they advocated conscription.
– Is that so ?
– The party to which Senator Earle once belonged, and to which I belong to-day, I refer to the Labour party-
– It is not the same party.
– The only difference between us, and the matter which caused the real split in the Labour party, was the question of the conscription of Australia’s manhood for service overseas. The question before the electors at the last election was conscription or no conscription.
– Will the honorable senator say that honorable senators elected for Western Australia were returned at. the last elections because they advocated conscription ?
– I will say that < every man on the opposite side is there because he is an advocate of the conscription of Australia’s manhood for. service overseas.
– That may be true, but we were not ‘elected to introduce conscription.
– We, on this side, were the party supporting no conscription of Australia’s manhood, whilst those opposite composed, the party in favour of it. What has happened since ? In the very document that I hold in my hand we are informed that there is no intention to conscript Australian manhood for service overseas. I admit that that is a straight-out declaration.
– That was the statement which waa made before the elections.
– I leave the honorable senator to revel in the happiness of that thought. But there is another system -of conscription for which the GovernorGeneral’s Speech provides, namely, economic conscription. The Government had not the courage to face the country on the question of conscription, as suggested by Sir William Irvine, and to stake . their existence upon it. But iri an insidious manner they are attempting to bring about economic conscription. They practically say to any eligible man, “ You must enlist or you shall starve.” Why do they not have the courage to test the opinion of the people upon this question, instead of attempting, by a back door, to force men either tlo don the King’s tmiform or to starve?
– Will the honorable senator support the proper system, and thus bring about an equality of sacrifice?
– If the Government will introduce another Compulsory Military Service Referendum Bill, and stake their existence upon the result of that referendum, I will support that measure.
– ‘Honorable senators opposite would get the German vote.
– At any rate, we have never gone as far as Mr. Glynn, who issued circulars in South Australia in the German language, appealing for German votes.
– Be fair to the gentleman named. I- understand that he repudiates that action.
– Then who issued the circulars?
-i- Mr. Glynn says that he does not know, and that it was done entirely without his . consent.
– Did he publicly repudiate the circulars?
– Obviously they could not do him any good, so that an enemy must have done it.
– Honorable senators who are now apologizing for Mr. Glynn know perfectly well that this thing was done.
– And the honorable senator knows quite well that Mr. Glynn was nearly defeated by the German vote.
– Nearly ?
Another paragraph in the GovernorGeneral’s speech reads: -
The question of separation allowances has been reviewed, and they have been extended to certain dependants of soldiers not hitherto provided for by the Commonwealth Government.
I remember when the Senate was discussing the War Pensions Bill in 1915. On that occasion I suggested that the question of invalid and old-age pensions,, and that of war pensions’, should be absolutely independent of each other. I argued that because a mother whose son had made the supreme sacrifice at the Front., was in receipt of an old-age pension, she should not be deprived of the full amount of the war pension, and vice versa. I appeal especially to Senators Rowell and Bolton, who know more about a soldier’s work than I do, to say whether it is not right that these two pensions should stand apart. Why should a war pension be considered when an applica tion is made for an old-age pension by the dependant of one who has sacrificed his life at the Front? The consideration of this question brings me back to the subject of recruiting. I say that anomalies of this character do not assist recruiting, and I therefore suggest once more that if the Government wish to stimulate recruiting, they should entirely separate oldage pensions from war pensions. Senator Pearce has stated that he must) obey the law, and that he is bound to frame his regulations in accordance with the intention and spirit of the law.
-Col. Bolton. - Was he not quite right in saying that?
– I admit that he was, but I have reminded him time and again, as Ilansard will prove, that Parliament has power to alter -that law. He, himself, has admitted that it has, and that, what I have suggested should be done. Why has it not been done during the past two years ? Should it not be done now? Here we have a Parliament direct from the country, a Parliament composed of men, the majority of whom have said upon the public platform that the dependants of soldiers, and the soldiers themselves, should be justly treated.
-Col. Bolton. - So they will be.
– Should the mother of a soldier who has made the supreme sacrifice on the battlefield be deprived of her old-age pension merely because she is in receipt of the war pension ? The two Acts should be read together in conjunction with the reply of the Minister for Defence tb-night to Senator Grant’s query. Any fair-minded man, independent of which side of the Chamber he sits on, will at once see the justice of the claim I have been advocating, and will continue to advocate until I get sufficient numbers .to support me.
Paragraph 9 of the Opening Speech states : -
My Advisers have given much consideration to the matter of the repatriation of returned soldiers. A scheme has been prepared, and it is proposed to appoint a Minister and create a Department of State for its administration. Measures to give effect to this scheme, and make the financial provisions required to carry it out, will be submitted to you at an early date.
That is a very fine and well-worded paragraph; but in another portion of the Speech I notice that it is the intention of the Government to practise economy.
Yet they are going to create a new portfolio. If that spells economy-
– Do you think the work is being done for nothing now?
– The honorable senator, who is the very able Leader of the Senate, is to-day the Minister in charge of repatriation. I presume that when the new portfolio is created the man who will get the position will be a fullblown, and not a fly-blown, Minister. Another Bill will have to be brought in to meet the expense of the new Minister and staff. I cannot see why Senator Millen himself, as Vice-President of the Executive Council, and Assistant Minister, cannot continue at this work, and complete it as he has begun it. If he has not the time to do it there are two other Assistant Ministers. Cannot either of them do it?
– Perhaps you anticipate.
– If the GovernorGeneral tells us that his Advisers have told him that they are about to appoint a Minister and create a new Department of State, it will mean a Minister with a portfolio, iti will mean a staff, and attendants, and increased expenditure, all of which does not spell economy.
– Give us the alternative.
– The alternative was very well suggested by Senator Bolton in the press the other day, and I approve of iti - that the scheme should be worked in with the different State organizations and the Returned Soldiers’ Associations in a sort of semi-honorary way.
– You don’t expect them to do it for nothing, do you ?
– I don’t ask that, nor did Senator Bolton; butt it would be a much cheaper proposal than the one outlined in the Speech.
We are told that “it is intended to propose certain amendments in the PubHe Service Act. that will facilitate the appointment and employment of returned soldiers.”- I am glad to know that returned soldiers will be given preference. They should have preference in every walk in life, and I hope that particular scheme will be successful. lt is suggested in paragraph 13 that War Loans will be raised in Australia. That is a very good idea, but not a new one. I remember two or threes War Loan Bills being put through this Chamber. I supported them, knowing that those investing in the loan would get 4$ per cent., but towards the end of last year I said I would no longer support a loan on those conditions. I know money can be raised in Australia, and if I had money to invest in a loan I should be very glad to put it there; but iti is about time we asked those patriotic gentlemen who are getting 4 J per cent, for their money, to lend it to us without interest.
– The British Government are giving or 6£ per cent.
– I cannot help what the British Government are giving, but if a man can leave Australia for France to offer his life, surely the man of wealth in Australia can lend his money without receiving 4£ per cent, for it whilst enjoying the comforts of home here.
– Some of that is being invested for the benefit of the wives and families of soldiers while they are away.
– It is to this extent that when the soldier has left Australia, leaving his wife and family behind him, the man who has invested his money in the War Loan at 4J per cent, gives the soldier’s wife notice to quit because she is a week behind with her rent’.
– Only in one or two instances has that been done.
– That excuse reminds me of what the girl said about her baby - that it was only a little1 one. Senator Reid, who is an old and tried campaigner, knows that it is being done in this and other States, but in Queensland anil Western Australia. If I have a thousand pounds to spare I put it in the War Loan, and get 4£ per cent. I can afford to be patriotic, for that money is free from taxation. The worker goes away to fight. He leaves, perhaps, a little bit. of a house here; and there may be a small income, but that is not free from taxation. His wife has to pay State and Federal taxation. A man who invests his money in the War Loan is free from taxation, Federal and State.
– Not State.
– The words “Federal or State” are in the measure. If Senator Senior will read the provision again he will see that I am right in saying that money invested in a’ war loan is free from income ta-r, Federal or State. I said a while ago that I supported the provision, but I have seen the folly of my way.
– Since the 5th May.
– It was our first war loan. How could we judge how we would get on? We had to offer every inducement to investors.
– I am gaining by experience. I am agreeable to raise a war loan in Australia, but I will not vote again for such a provision. .
– You acted sensibly in the first place.
– In the light of recent events I regret now that I did give that vote. I will not do it again. If these men are so . desirous that we should win ‘this, great struggle, let each of them say to the Government, “ I have here £4,000 or £5,000. Take the money.”
– They can get 6 per cent, for money from the British Government.
– I am talking about patriotic men who are waving the flag of patriotism with ‘ one hand, and using their voice to say, “Young “man, go to the war, while I will stay at home. I have £5,000 which I will invest in a war loan at 4½ per cent. You will be fighting in the ‘trenches, and I shall be at my fireside. Come back if you are spared, and help to pay for the cost of the war.”
– The chap who goes to the trenches gets paid for his endeavours.
– Six shillings a day.
– That is the value which Senator Reid places on the “ chap “ who is paid for his labour - the “ chap “ who holds a rifle in the trenches in- France. This is a new Matthew Reid. I would have liked to hear Senator Reid express in the Inter-State Congress, which met at Brisbane in 1908, the sentiment which he is voicing here to-day, that the value of human life is only 6s. a day.
– I did not say that at all. You ought not to say that I did. You know that I did not mean that, or even imply it.
– The honorable senator said that the “ chap “ in the trenches was being paid for his labour. Senator Reid. - I said that the men who went into the trenches were getting paid in . proportion to their rank, and that the investor also gets paid for lending his money, and that he perhaps cannot do any more.
– What is the difference ?
– A man who goes to the trenches is doing his best.
– If the honorable senator was a youn? man to-day, would he rather go to the trenches for 6s.. a day than invest £5,000 in a war loan, free from income tax?
– If I were a young man I would be in the trenches, for nothing if necessary. My troubles about money if I went to fight! The Labour movement knows that. too.
– I know that. I am trying to point out the difference between a man who stays at home with £5,000 to invest in a war loan at 4½ per cent., and a young man who goes to the trenches for six “ bob “ a day, and who, if he is spared to come back, will have to help to pay for the cost of the war.
– All that I meant was. that an old man . who stays at home and invests his money , in a war loan gets 4½ per cent., and he deserves his 4½ per cent.. on business, lines.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– At the adjournment for dinner I was about to discuss paragraph 15 of the GovernorGeneral’s Speech -
It is proposed by my Advisers to take steps for the purpose of insuring the continuity of industrial operations, and the prevention of strikes and lock-outs which would affect theefficient prosecution of the War. Amongst these will be a measure proposing certainamendments in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
This paragraph teems with very manypossibilities. I do not know, nor does- Parliament know, what will be the natureof the proposed amendments. It appears, that the Government have a desire toprevent strikes and lock-outs. In that regard, I am entirely with them. I ama believer in arbitration. I do. not believe in the drastic weapon of the strike. Let me say that the Commonwealth Arbitration Act and its machinery have done good service to Australia in connexion with the prevention and settlement, of disputes. If at some time or anothersome organizations have ceased work, I believe it was not because of their desire to cease work, but because the path to theCourt was, and still is, strewn with many difficulties. It is a very costly path to tread, and a very long time is taken to get to the end of the path. It must be remembered that when the first Concilia-
ion and Arbitration Bill was being framed in this Parliament there were no Federal organizations of labour or of capital. During the past few years the organizations both of capital and of labour, in a Federal sense, have increased rapidly. The desire of the workmen’s organizations all along the line has been to avail themselves of the benefits which might accrue to them through an appeal to the Commonwealth Ar- bitration Court. But one of the main . causes of any unrest which might have resulted in men ceasing work was the delay in approaching the Court. To my knowledge it has been very difficult to restrain men. They have asked the Officers of their organizations when they would get to the Court, and they have been told that their claim was sixth, or tenth, or twentieth on the list. To my own knowledge, organizations have had to wait eighteen months, and sometimes two years, to get their case heard before the Court, *if it is in the mind of the Government to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, I hope that they will remember what I am telling them now. The grievance is the delay in approaching the Court and the cost in -getting there, and when the men do get there’ through their organizations they are faced, not with matters of fact in connexion .with their industry, but with matters of law, and have to fight them in the higher Court. On one occasion it cost an organization, of which I am a member and an executive officer, £4,500, and then the High Court wiped out their case, and the award which the Commonwealth Arbitration Court gave to them never came into force. They had to startle novo. These matters are irritating to members of organizations, and the limits of their patience have been reached. It might be wise, I think, for the Government to institute a system whereby extra Judges could be appointed to the Arbitration Court. Since the inception of this system we have had as President of the Arbitration Court for the major portion of the time, one Judge of the High Court - Mr. Justice Higgins - and recently ‘we have had assisting him as Deputy-President, Mr. Justice Powers. The claims by different organizations, which are accumulating, are so many that it is utterly impossible for those two gentlemen’ to deal with them, and at the same time to apply their intelligence and industry to ques tions which come before the High Court itself. Time and again it has occurred that even the work of the High Court has hadj Ito be postponed because two Judges were engaged - in arbitration work. I have had conversations with gentlemen who are in high authority ‘ in connexion with the work of the Arbitration Court, and it is agreed that it might be wise to appoint’ a number of arbitration Judges under the presidency of one of the Justices of the High Court. Let these two or three, or if you like, four J Judges take on the different cases, and let the President of the Court be the man to whom an appeal could be made. In that way we would facilitate the hearing of the cases before the Court, relieve the irritation felt by members of organizations, and assist the officers of the organizations in endeavouring to keep the wheels of industry going. I suggest this system to the Government,, and I think it would be wise in that regard to assist in. the prevention and settlement of disputes, t
From paragraph 19 of the Opening Speech I notice that the Government intend to set out on a large shipbuilding scheme. I am very glad to see the statement. We have in Australia the men, the material, and the skill. In the Old World I put in a few years in the shipbuilding industry. I know that in Australia we have every artisan capable of carrying out the work of shipbuilding, whether iron, or steel, or composite ships, right from keel to truck. I welcome this proposal, and sincerely hope that- it will succeed.
I wish to sum up briefly the record of the Government which placed in the mouth of the representative of His Majesty the words in the document from which I have been quoting -
The Record of the Win-the-War Government. The Appeal to the People on the Fifth of May, 1917. The Cry : Win the War.
The Result : Orders from the People to Win. the War.
The War Still Raging.
The Cost of Living Still Rising
The Hand of Piute very Evident in the WintheWar Government.
The Profiteers and Exploiters Prosper
The Money Brokers, Stockbrokers, Flourish
The Workers, Producers, Consumers Suffer
The Win-the-War .Government have helped, to Win the War by . Restoring the Mace.
The Wig and Gown
The Joint Meeting of Members of Federal Parliament
The Appointment of a Federal Recruiting Committee composed, of Six Members of a Party the Government had described as the Disloyalist Party.
Warlike Movements of the Win-the-War Min- isters.
The Prime Minister Cogitating
The Minister for the Navy Dictating.
The Commonwealth Treasurer Explorating
The Minister for Defence Expostulating
The Minister for Home and Territories Contemplating
The Vice-President of the Executive Council Expatriating.
The Postmaster-General Renovating
The Minister for Works and Railways Investigating
The Minister for Customs Ruminating
The Assistant. Minister Senator Russell Discriminating
The Assistant Minister Mr. Groom Enervating
There in tabloid form is the record of. this “ Win-the-War “ Government, and I commend it to the people who have placed those honorable members on the Treasury benches. If they can improve upon this record I will do what I can to assist them.
– I would crave the’ indulgence of my fellow-senators in this my first attempt to speak in the Senate. To-night we are dealing with the Address-in-Reply to the policy Speech. I have seen a number of these, documents in another place, and, generally speaking, they are couched in vague language, but I have no doubt that when we come to the details, the various matters referred to in this Speech will be presented to us in a comprehensive ‘ and concrete form. Our honorable friends of the Opposition seem to be a little annoyed that honorable senators on this side did not immediately break the promise they made on the platform to the electors, and go “bald-headed” for conscription.. I would point out, however, that had we done so, it would have been a return , practically to the old press-gang system, for we would have sent out our officials into the streets, I suppose, and laid hands on anybody we could find. That would have been an absolutely illegal act, and, of course, we would not for a moment contemplate it. There is not the slightest doubt that we promised the electors to do the best thing possible to win the war, and I take it the present session will be devoted to that ob ject, for we’ have the pledge of the Prime Minister that the five splendid divisions, which have fought so nobly for us, shall be kept up to their full strength. I assume that if this cannot be done under the voluntary system, we must again ask the people for an expression of opinion on the great question of whether Australia is to go out of the war, and make a separate and disgraceful peace, or whether they will sanction conscription in order to keep our divisions up to their full fighting strength. Australia has done splendidly. Our troops have proved themselves to be the bravest of the brave, and we have nothing whatever to . be ashamed of. We must keep those divisions up to full strength, and if our fighting forces become attenuated, I feel sure our honorable friends on the Opposition benches will eventually come forward and assist us to carry this great conscription move^ ment to a successful issue. I hope so, at any rate. However, we have not come to that stage yet, but this, I assume, is the view of the National party at the present time.
The people in selecting the National party to control the destinies of this country did so, I think, because they recognised that members of this party were absolutely loyal. We all know, of course,that honorable senators opposite are just as loyal as we are, but, unfortunately for them, they had on their side during the election campaign those elements in the community about which the people of Australia are not so certain. They repudiated those elements, but their association with them affords one explanation of the vote at the recent election. Thereare many other things that will contribute towards winning the war, and in this respect I am glad to notice that further concessions are to be granted to our soldiers in the treatmerit of their dependants. I understand also, that the question of repatriation will be under consideration in the Senate before long. I do not. altogether like the idea of a separate Department of State, and I am inclined to agree with Senator Needham on that point.’ This will be a big undertaking, involving a considerable amount of work, and I hope to be able to assist in bringing it to fruition when we have the Bill before us. A certain amount’ of expenditure will, of course, be required, but I hope that there will be sufficient men available from other Departments to carry out all the necessary work.
– I hope to be able to give the honorable senator an assurance on that point when I am dealing with the Bill next week.
– This scheme will afford a splendid opportunity for administrative ability. None of us like to see men thrown out of employment, and if officers from other Departments can be made use of, the position will be satisfactory for all concerned.
We are all agreed, I think, on the subject of preference to returned soldiers who have fought so magnificently for this country. This question is one with which I am familiar, especially in its financial aspect. I am pleased to know that the Government: intend to adopt a policy of economy. We have not the full details yet, but when we have the Estimates before us - and I hope they will soon be available - I expect to see in them evidence that economy is to be enforced in many directions. It occurs to me that much could be done by the amalgamation of the Taxation and Electoral Departments. The maintenance of Federal and State Departments doing practically the same work involves not only considerable expenditure, but results in a great deal of inconvenience to the general public. In the Electoral Departments, for instance, amalgamation should easily be possible, and if we had one Electoral Office, Federal and State electors would be saved much of the inconvenience at present experienced -in regard to enrolment.
– That has been done in Tasmania.
– I am glad to know that.
– The State and Federal boundaries in Tasmania are fixed.
– That is the only State where it could be done at present, because there are five Federal districts and five State districts.
– I realize there will be difficulty with regard to other States, but after all, where there is a will there is a way. It is about two years since the Premiers of the different States and the Prime Minister agreed that instruc-toons should be given for the amalgamation of these Departments, and surely by this time some arrangement with that end in view should have been agreed upon. Then there is the added expenditure in regard to Federal and State Land Taxation Departments. There is no reason why these should nob be amalgamated. At present farmers, householders, and everybody concerned are seriously inconvenienced. They do not understand the varying Acts. In fact even the lawyers themselves can hardly understand .them. As a community we are urged to increase production, but if so much of a man’s time is taken up preparing taxation returns, his efficiency as a producer is to that extent interfered with. As a rule the taxpayer has to “employ a professional man to make out his return, and I confess I would not like to make uo one myself without skilled assistance. I hope the responsible Minister will give this matter -careful attention, because I intend to see if I can effect some improvement, and confer some benefit upon my country in my old age.
– Do you nob want to do it this session ?
– Yes, naturally I do.
– Then why speak about your old age?
– If something is not done this session the Government must hear more about it. Speaking to some of my New South Wales friends, I find that they are not ,as anxious as they were that work should be carried oh at the Federal Capital. They admit that the times in which we live are exceptional. It. is true we made a bargain with New South Wales that some of these days the Federal Capital should be established at Canberra, and that bargain must be considered sacred, but the question before us now is, whether this is the proper time to carry on the work of establishing the Capital. We all know that the disclosures which have been made of wasteful expenditure at Canberra have shocked and surprised the community, and we are, I think, unanimous that as little work as possible should be done there at the present time. Australia must conserve her resources. We are getting on very well just, now, but the prosperity which we are enjoying is very largely due to the war expenditure which is going on.
Some £56,000,000 a year is being spent here amongst a population of less than 5.000,000. This is producing great prosperity amongst our people, but at the back of the minds of many there is a be- lief that when the expenditure of £56,000,000 a year ceases the money will be made up from income taxation.
– Hear, hear!
– The honorable senator cheers that statement, but I wish to point out how absurd that idea is. At the present time on the higher incomes of £7,000 a year or over, the income tax amounts to 6s. 4d.’in the pound, or about one-third of the total income. This taxation is ‘ producing a revenue of £4,400,000, and if the Treasurer took the whole of the incomes he would receive only about £8,000,000 more than he now receives.
– How much is given by the soldier who sacrifices his life for the country?
– If I am asked, what is a fair thing to pay the soldier; my reply is that you cannot compare life and money. If the soldier is not fighting for the glory of the country and his hearth and home you cannot pay him for his services with money. Our soldiers must live in Australia’s heart.
– The soldier is fighting for Australia’s welfare.
– He is fighting for Australia’s welfare and our defence, and he cannot, in my opinion, be treated too well. I am pointing out that the £56,000,000 a year war expenditure cannot be replaced by any sum that ib ‘ is possible to derive from income taxation. After all, Australia is, comparatively speaking, a poor country, and its people a poor people. Mr. Ford* who builds the little runabout motor. cars that we see, possesses almost as much wealth as is possessed by the whole of the so-called rich people of Australia put together. Their aggregate incomes amount to £12,000,000, and we are told that-Mr. Ford’s income is over £11,000,000 a year. We must bear in mind, when considering our financial position, that our source of revenue from incomes in Australia, is a very limited one indeed.
There is another source of income to which some reference might be made. It is not mentioned in the Opening Speech, though I expected to see some mention of it there. I refer to the maternity allowance. I am entirely in favour of any woman who requires it receiving the £5 maternity bonus, but the* idea of taxing; a man receiving £500 a year in order to> pay a maternity allowance to the wife of a man earning £5,000 a year seems tome unsound, ridiculous, and cruel.
– Would the honorable senator make the maternity allowance a pauper’s dole ?
– No; I would never offer a pauper’s dole to anybody. I do not look on poverty as in any way a disgrace. Does Senator Needham so. regard it?
– No; but the honorable senator’s suggestion is to make the maternity allowance a charitable dole.
– I do nob think so. When persons are in noor circumstances through no fault whatever of their own I can see no reason why the Government should, not come to their assistance.
– The discrimination the honorable senator suggests would make the maternity allowance a charitable dole.
– I am unable to see that it would. To tax men who are comparatively poor in order .to pay - a £5 maternity bonus to the wives of men who are exceedingly well off, and do not need the money, is not right, and should be put a stop to. I understand the difficulty of the position in which honorable senator’s opposite were placed in dealing with the matter, but I think too much was made of iti. We might save £500,000 a year in connexion with the maternity allowances, and vet pay the bonus to every mother likely to require it. I object entirely to the idea. that1 it should be regarded as a charitable dole,
– Do very rich people lay a claim to the bonus ?
– I understand that almost everybody entitled to it has claimed it.
– And quite right, too !
– I think there are many ways in which this money paid to people who do not need it might be very much better used.
In my opinion, the war-savings certificate presents a magnificent form of investment. Senator Needham has suggested that it is ivery unpatriotic to ask poor people to put money into war loans at 4£ per cent., and- so escape the income tax. I agree with the honorable senator to a certain extent, because I believe no country should exempt any part of its property from taxation. Recently the authorities -in the Old Country have been, forced into the adoption of what I regard as a wrong course, but, in my view, it would have been better if we had done what was. done in England at first, and had decided to pay the market value for money, and tax every one. However, the other course was followed, and as the base of the proposal has been broadened, we hope that a great many people of small means will make use of the war-savings^, certificates for their investments. I have adopted the practice in many instances, and have induced people to go in for them, and I hope, they will return a good «um of money to the country.
A question - which very largely affects the prosperity of the country and of its vast business undertakings, is that of industrial unrest. I am one of those who have been intimately concerned with this question for many years past. I have been president of the Em;ployers Federation, and I am now president of the Central Council of Australian Employers. This used to be cast up to me at . elections until I reminded the electors that I was a good unionist. We have, been trying for very many years to discover a system whereby we may do away with industrial unrest. ‘ There have been a great many laws passed in Australia to deal with the question. In New South Wales there are the Factories and Shops Act of 1912 and the Industrial Arbitration Act of 1912. The first deals with Wages Boards, and the second the settlement of industrial disputes. In Victoria there is the Factories arid Shops Act of 1915. In Queensland there is the Industrial Arbitration Act of 1916. They had Wages Boards there, but they were done away with, and they have gone in for arbitration entirely. In South Australia there are the Factories Act of 1917, with amendments up to 1915, arid the Industrial Arbitration Act of 1912. In Western Australia there are the Factories Act of 1911-12 and the, Industrial Arbitration Act of 1912. The Factories Act in “Western Australia does not comprise Wages Boards, but the Wilson Cabinet that was put out of office the other day intended to bring in a Bill to provide for them. In Tasmania there are the Fac tories Act of 1910-11 and the Wages Boards Act of 1910-11. In addition to all these, we have, of course, the Federal Arbitration Act. The result of this enormous, machinery, I am sorry to. say, has not been to create industrial peace. We are still apparently as far from that as we ever were. ± am very glad that the Government contemplate taking this matter firmly in hand to see what can possibly be done to improve the position of affairs. I should like to point out that in Canada the whole industrial machinery costs only £5,000 ‘ a year. Ours costs, I dare say, at least ten times that amount. In Canada they have only compulsory conciliation. The Canadians and Americans have never gone in for industrial arbitration. They have preferred industrial conciliation, hich must operate before a strike takes place. The two sides, employers and employees, appoint delegates-, who meet together to consider the dispute before the public, with a proper chairman appointed by the Government. That has proved to be a most satisfactory scheme in Canada- and the United States, and it is now being adopted in the Old Country as well. However, I suppose we have got beyond that in Australia, and if we are to have industrial arbitration,under which the Arbitration Court has the power to fix ari agreement, employers and employees must be bound to obey the terms of the agreement. In America and in Canada it was seen that that proposition meant that men would be compelled to work for employers, and ‘ that employers would be practically compelled” to employ men. In America the workers declined to face that position, and in 1900 the president of the American Federation of Labour said -
We cannot afford to indorse a proposition which carries with it the possibility of a man being compelled to work for an employer, or under conditions obnoxious to him, with the alternative of a fine or imprisonment. This seems to be the consensus of opinion amongst trade unionists. *
– Men are not compelled to work in Australia.
– The honorable senator will find that that must be the logical outcome of our system of compulsory arbitration. That is why the United States people have always fought shy of compulsory arbitration. We know that, as Senator Needham has pointed out, the delays of our Arbitration Court have? caused considerable trouble. No doubt a , great deal of irritation has been caused through friction with’ overseers who have not been too discreet, and who have sometimes treated men in anything but a gentle manner. . I should like to read to honorable senators what was said by Mr. Gosling, the president of the Trades Union Congress lately held in Birmingham, which represented some 3,000,000 workers. It will be seen that Mr. Gosling takes a very, big view in dealing with this question. The meeting .had been addressed by Mr. Neville ‘Chamberlain, who was followed by Mr. Gosling, “*ho said -
Would it not be possible for the employers of this country, on the conclusion of peace, to put their businesses on a new footing by admitting the workmen to some participation, not in profits, but in control. We workmen do not ask that we should be admitted to a control in those matters which do not concern us directly. We do not seek to sit on the board or interfere with the buying of material or selling of the product. But in the daily management of the employment in which we spend our working lives, in the hours of beginning and ending work, the condition of remuneration, and even in the manners and practices of the foremen with whom we have to be in contact; in all these matters we feel, as workmen, that we have a right to a voice, even an equal voice with the management itself.
I think that that is a- very reasonable proposal. I believe that employers would be quite willing to fall in with any suggestion of that kind. It involves the appointment . of shop committees. Such committees have been largely constituted in the Old Country, and I think that their establishment here would lead to harmonious relations between employers and employed, and thus insure to us some measure of industrial peace. That is one suggestion which I believe might lead to a peaceful solution of many of our labour troubles. Later on we shall learn how the Government view this matter, but unquestionably if we can bring about harmonious relations between employers and workmen we shall have made a great advance indeed. Since the big strike of 1890-91, we have had twenty-seven years of industrial turmoil. In 1914, there were no less than 334 strikes in Australia, and the days lost to the workers totalled 942,000. In Canada, during the same year there were only forty-four strikes, and the days lost to the workers numbered only 430,000. Surely if the
Canadians can reconcile their industrial disputes we ought to be able to do the same thing!
Quite recently Mr. Justice Higgins gave an award under which shed and station hands in the - pastoral industrywere granted a large increase in wages. Yet what happened almost immediately afterwards? A strike took place amongst the shearers of Queensland. Surely that is unreasonable !, These men went out on strike despite the advice of the union officials. Legislation to curb such tactics “would make it possible for employers to exhibit the old enterprise which characterized them, but which has largely disappeared. In the present state of labour unrest . nobody but a lunatic would embark upon any fresh industry.
– The honorable senator,/ I presume, knows that the same thing is done by employers.
– I do not know of a single case in which there has been a lock-out.
– I know of a recent award as the result of which an employer dismissed every employee he had.
– Then his business was shut down.
– No; he employed boys instead.
– I am sorry to hear it. Such an employer ought to be dealt with in . the same way as employees who will not respect an industrial award. What applies to the goose should also apply to’ the gander, though I will not say which is the goose and which is the gander in this instance. I believe that the suggestion made by Mr. Gosling is in every way a good one. I hope that the measure foreshadowed by the Government dealing with industrial disputes will be brought forward this session. I was greatly impressed when the American Republic decided to enter the war on the side of the Allies by the action of Mr. Gompers, the head of the industrial unions there, who immediately interviewed the President, and told him that during the war those unions had resolved that there should be no strikes. Are ‘we less patriotic than are the Americans? We do not desire to see the workers exploited, but we have a right to expect that both workers and employers will obey the laws of this country. Those laws have been enacted, and should therefore be respected. I hope that the Prime Minister will bring forward a measure compelling obedience to them alike on the part of employers and employees.
Hitherto I have only viewed the Senate from the outside, but that superficial view has impelled me to conclude that the other branch of -the Legislature is accustomed to debate measures for days, and then at the fag end of the session to expect the Senate to pass them in a few hours.
– We sit all night then.
– That is not a good way of doing business. There is ample time between now and Christmas to permit of the Government preparing its measures and affording the Senate the fullest opportunity to thoroughly scrutinize them. The way in which Bills have been rushed through Parliament in the past has given rise to an enormous amount of litigation which might otherwise have been avoided. I am afraid that I am merely expressing a pious hope when I say that the Bills prepared by the Government should be submitted for our consideration in time to allow of a most searching scrutiny of them.
– I have very little to say upon this occasion. I am interested in what is not in the Governor-General’s Speech rather than in what is in it. What should be there interests me more than what is there. A great deal has been said to the effect that the Vice-Regal utterance is an empty one. The Leader of the Opposition was well within the mark when he characterized it as “ a- string of empty platitudes.” Senator Needham also referred to it as “ a necklace of negatives,” using a memorable phrase which was coined by Mr. Deakin some years ago. I have nothing to say about the Speech except in regard to a serious omission from it. v
But before referring to that omission, I wish to wake just one echo in connexion with the recent elections. The VicePresident of the Executive Council asked yesterday, “ What is the use of diving into the history of the recent elections?” I quite recognise that no good purpose can be served by so doing, and I hope that I rise on the present occasion with a due sense of humility, and with a feeling that I have been chastened. At the same time I cannot help thinking of the words of the old song, “ Nothing in this world can last.” Less than three years ago I recollect that thirty-one members of the Labour party took their seats upon the benches opposite, and only five valiant members of the Liberal party faced them.I must admit that those five senators upheld very well for a considerable period the interests of their party, although they had to submit to much good-natured chaff on the part of those who were opposed to them. I. remember, too, that quite a number of honorable senators who are on the other side to-day were also on that side three years ago - another instance of how things change.
Senator :- Millen. - They have not changed.
– The honorable senators to whom I refer have not changed their seats, but they have changed their views. It suits them to stay upon those seats-
– If you had the courage to do so-
– The honorable senator must -not talk to me about courage or want of courage. Perhaps a few others had certain inducements held out to them by good-natured invitations to remain on that side. I give Senator Earle credit for having had the courage of his convictions during the recent turmoil which split the Labour party into two sections .that have become bitterly opposed to each other. But as a life-long political and personal friend I cannot forgive him very quickly for the insults which he put upon myself and others in a letter which he sent to a conference in Launceston*. He would have better upheld his previous reputation for fairness towards his political opponents had he refrained in that letter from making unwarrantable insinuations against his erst. while colleagues.
– It was my honest opinion, and I expressed it.
– Then I take it that our opinions were not worth considering.
– I did not say so.
– During the whole of the conscription campaign I was always careful to say from every public platform on which I stood that I gave Senator Earle credit for the courage of his convictions, and I never said one word that was personally offensive to him. But the campaign was scarcely over before the honorable senator’ bracketed myself and others and applied to us very offensive terms indeed.
– I am sorry that the honorable senator takes that view.
– But there is one echo of the recent fight which deserves to be mentioned in this Senate. Our friends opposite went to the country with the “Win-the-War” cry, which was a very effective cry indeed. But how can they call’ themselves the “"”Win-the-War” party in view of the attitude which they adopted in Tasmania? In that State there was a returned soldier who had done something towards winning the war in the person of Staff-Sergeant Foster. He announced himself as a candidate for the Senate, butwas prevented from standing by the “ Win-the-war “ party.’ The party calling themselves the “ Win-the-War “ party coerced Mr. Foster until they prevailed upon him to pull out of the contest.
– Surely not.
– Sergeant Foster himself spoke rather bitterly in Hobart about it. ‘
– Why did you not withdraw one of your candidates to run him ?
– We were running a returned soldier. We could claim to bo the Win-the-war party, whereas our friends could not. Then there was the case of Colonel Cameron, who had done service for the Empire and Australia. I do not blame the other party for trying to pull him out when he refused to succumb to the blandishments of Mr. Jensen, who had some conversation with him going over on the boat from here, in order to leave the coast clear for the three, chosen candidates of the Fusion party. I do not blame the Fusion party in that case, because, after all, Colonel Cameron did not belong to any party. He had run- as an Independent at a previous election; but Sergeant Foster’s case was altogether different. If our friends’ cry that they were the Win-the-war party was genuine, he had a greater claim to run as one of the three Fusion candidates for the Senate- than had Senator Earle; and I say that without meaning any personal reflection on the honorable senator’s , ability.
– Do you think the sole qualification of a senator is that he should be a soldier ?
– I do not; but tremendous weight was attached to the Win-the-war cry, and we were called everything but the Win-the-war party. Even Senator Earle charged us with the utmost , indifference to the necessity for winning the war. We were called pro-Germans, and all the rest of it, simply because we dared to tell the people in October last the truth now admitted from the Ministerial bench. The Prime Minister and Minister for Defence have admitted that we were right, or very nearly so, regarding ‘the number of men required to maintain Australia’s strength at the Front, and that they were wrong. I do not believe that they were wilfully wrong. I have always said that it was a huge mis-‘ take on the part of the Minister’ for Defence and the Prime Minister to ask Australia to send 16,500 men per month, in addition to 32,500 men for one particular month. . Because we claimed to be still in favour of the voluntary system, and dared to say what we believed to be the truth, we were branded all over Australia as pro-Germans. The conscription campaign left a number of us branded in the eyes of Australia’s electors as proGermans.
– It has left you stranded, all right.
– I did not think Senator Bakhap had anything to do with branding us with those offensive names, because he was away at the time of the conscription campaign. The same thing occurred at the elections.
As another instance of the hollowness of the claim of the Ministerial, or Fusion, party to be the Win-the-War party, take the case of the three selected candidates for the Senate. Lieutenant James Hurst, a returned soldier, who will carry to his grave a shattered hand, and will never be able to maintain his family by his own physical efforts in the way that a man naturally likes to do, a man. who gave practically half of himself in the service of his country in that great fight at Pozieres, was selected as a Labour candidate to run for the -Senate. He had been for some time in the State Parliament before he went away. Could he not claim to be a Win-the-war candidate? But my friends opposite did not want him as a Win-the-war candidate. -They stuck to the three they had chosen, and everywhere used their utmost efforts to prevent*
Lieutenant Hurst’s return.. That gentleman left a wife and three or four young children, because he was anxious to go as a volunteer to fight; bub in spite of his record, every man in Tasmania belonging to the party on the Government side did his utmost to prevent him gaining a seat in the Senate, just as they did their utmost to make Sergeant Foster pull out. They did offer Sergeant Foster a slight sop. They said to him, ‘’ You can run for the Consolation Stakes. A 1 Senate seat is worth something in the public life of Australia; a seat iri the Tasmanian Parliament is not worth so much, or looked upon as quite so honorable; but you pull out for the Senate and we will get you into the State Parliament.” They kept that part of the bargain, for they allowed him to run as a Liberal at the recent byelection for the Tasmanian lower House, and he won a seat there. It is of no use to say that they did not stop him from running for .the Senate, for they did ; and he bitterly resented being pulled out. In the case of Lieutenant Hurst, they were not satisfied with bringing the full strength of the Fusion party to bear to defeat him in his candidature for the Senate. When, later on, he stood for the Darwin seat ab the by-election, the Minister for Defence left his office here, where grievances are always waiting to be dealt with, and went to Tasmania with another Minister, and quite a number of members of the Fusion party, to keep Lieutenant Hurst out of the Federal Parliament for the second time.
– What is wrong- about that?
– I do not say there was anything wrong, except that Senator Lynch and those with him call themselves the Win-the-war party. Do the honorable senator and his companions think that once a man has given half of himself towards winning the war he should be cast on the dust-heap?
– If you feel that way about it, why don’t you resign and make room for him ?
– I” never felt that way about the Win-the-war cry. It is my friends who raised that cry.
– Why nob speak to the people of Tasmania, who did not return him ?
– My friends opposite are on top, and I cheerfully admit that in Tasmania and every other State they got .the people on their side for the time being by some magic or other.
Senator- Needham. - Senator Earle might resign, to let ex-Senator Ready in again.
– I am not complaining. I am simply showing the utter inconsistency of the Win-the-war party. The Minister for Defence, the man at the head of the War Department itself, was willing to leave his very serious and important work here for about a week, when I suppose he could be very ill-spared, to go to Tasmania and do his utmost to keep out of Parliament a man who had done something towards winning the war. The attitude of the Fusion party towards Lieutenant Hurst before the general election might have been understandable. Having fused for the purpose of winning the election, they were naturally anxious to get a good, strong, working majority in both Houses ; but, having got it, it was no longer necessary for the Minister for Defence and others to go to Tasmania and counsel the people there, as Minister of. Defence in the Win-the-war Government, not to return Lieutenant Hurst, who had been to the war and had done something practical towards winning it.
– Your party opposed returned soldier candidates running under the Nationalist banner.
– Never with my consent; and the overwhelming consensus of opinion in my party was that no man who had fought for Australia should be opposed. Other men fighting for Australia were opposed, one m .the person of Mr. Ozanne. As he was a Victorian, I will leave it to Victorians to ventilate that matter if they wish. It was quite unnecessary, after the Fusion party had won the elections by such’ big majorities, for the Minister for Defence to follow up Lieutenant Hurst with the relentlessness of a sleuth-hound, to Keep him out of Parliament. That seemed to me to be vindictiveness run mad. There was no necessity for them to take nearly half the Federal Parliament over to Tasmania, and to turn all their big guns on to poor unoffending Lieutenant Hurst, whose only offence was that he came back from the Pozieres fight with one hand instead of two.
– Do you not believe the people have a right to be represented according to their political views?
– Senator Millen cannot escape the force of my argument in that way. Quite a number of- people in the Darwin electorate showed their resentment at’ the conduct of the Government towards Lieutenant Hurst. People who never in all their life voted for a Labour candidate before voted for Lieutenant Hurst, or if they did not vote for him they did not vote for his opponent. ,. felt that as he had been defeated once by the Government in their desire to get a strong majority in both Houses, it was not necessary to pursue him so relentlessly a second ‘time. If so much importance was attached to the Win-the-war cry, and if our friends wanted to be considered consistent, they should have supported for the Darwin, seat a man who had done something practical towards winning the war.
Why have the Government made no mention of the Tariff in the Speech? I looked in vain in it for any reference to the intention of the Government to introduce a thoroughly scientific revision of the Tariff, to give Australia what it should have had before, and what it would have had if I had had my way when my own party- was in power. It should have -:t just as soon as this Parliament can give it, unless there is some serious and secret object standing in the way. I think we may take it that this document embodies the opinions of the Government as’ to the legislation which will be necessary for Australia during their term. I am not assuming that it only covers the work of the first session, but I am certainly taking it that if the Government had any intention either in this or the next session to give Australia the Tariff which its industries require, there would be some reference to the subject in this document. It contains no such reference, and, therefore, I can only infer that the Free Traders in the Fusion Government are in a majority. I am looking at a few Victorian senators,, every one of whom at the recent campaign, if he was asked a question on the subject, held up both hands, and said, “ Certainly I am in favour of the early introduction of a proper Tariff for Australia.” I need not refer to those honorable senators by name. I do not believe that there was a single candidate of the Fusion party in Victoria who did not declare himself in favour of an early revision of the Tariff.
If he did not, do so in his speech, he did so in answer to questions. Why this silence on the part of our Victorian’ friends, who have always been foremost in the fight for Protection ? Their silence is very ominous. It seems to me that the word has been passed round, “ Do not say anything about the Tariff, because we are not going to introduce a Tariff, or to do anything to alter the present Tariff during this session at least.”
– How does .the Tariff compare with the question of the hour ?
– It would not prevent that question from being dealt with. That is where I disagree with Senator Lynch, Senator Reid, and others. Is it not feasible to suppose that side by side with the working of a proper Tariff - a Tariff which would protect the industries we have now, and encourage new industries to start’ - the proper conduct df the war could proceed ? I am quite satisfied that there are very few persons in Australia who think that this Parliament would be prevented from doing its utmost to make the Commonwealth take its fair share in the war because it also proceeded wilh domestic legislation. As a matter, of fact, in this Opening Speech we do find quite a number of references to proposed domestic legislation, but we do not find a word in reference to a matter which was held to be one of the most vital of the issues placed before the electors in the recent campaign.
– Do you not reflect on this point : that the tremendous rise in’ freights, and the lack of shipping, constitute a pretty effective protection at the present time?
– I have considered those points; but the honorable senator knows, as I know, that since very soon after the war started, one nation has been flooding Australia, to a” pretty large extent with its goods and products, with which Australian workmen cannot be expected to compete.
– The Luxuries Board will deal with them.
– If there is any reason which should not be made public, the least which the Government could do would be to make> this statement to the people of Australia : “ We cannot proceed with any Tariff legislation, because if we did it might involve us in an imbroglio with some nation.” ‘ There may be difficulties in the way, but in this
Speech there is no reference to anything of the kind.
– Will there not be a recasting of the Tariff by-and-by ?
– Suppose that the war is prolonged for three or six years, does the honorable senator wish to see Australia flooded with cheap labour products ? Suppose that the shipping difficulties are gob over, as .they may be, does he want to see that position brought about? I do nob know his fiscal views- i-he may be one of the rabid Free Traders - but I do know that a majority of the men who stood at the last election as Fusion candidates declared themselves in favour of an early revision of the Tariff. I think that I am pretty right in making that remark. In this document we see no reference to the matter.
– The submarine menace is, unfortunately, a high Tariff for Australia. “
– I admit that. I recognise that to a large extent the submarine menace is prohibiting the importation of goods.
But there is another aspect of the question to be considered. Suppose that the war should end in a year, or a couple of years, although we all hope it will end in a few months, are we going to wait till that time arrives before we start to get ready? We ought to be taking the preliminary steps now, so that the natural resources of Australia can be utilized as nature intended, by a progressive people. We should proceed to establish new industries and give better encouragement to industries which are at work. I notice that in the Opening Speech there is a reference to industrial organization. The reference is very vague; but, so far as it goes, I welcome it, because I believe that one of the great problems before the people of this country is industrial organization.’ I hold that all our natural resources should be organized so far as human effort can do so, modern methods of organization being an essential factor. The reference to industrial organization in this speech is very vague, and I would like to know from Ministers whether it is intended to utilize our vast resources of iron ore. We have, I understand, magnificent deposits of iron ores spread over a considerable portion of Aus- tralia. I believe that there are consider able quantities of iron ores in other States besides Tasmania. It has been stated by one of the leading geologists that within 3 or 4 miles of a splendid deep-water port on the north coast of Tasmania, there is one of the finest deposits of iron ore to be found in this world. I am not refer- . ring now to the iron deposits on the Tamar, but to the Blythe iron mine, which has been held by a few speculators for years and years. The State Government has allowed these speculators to dodge the labour clauses which other holders of mineral leases from the State have had to comply with. For some reason or other the holders of these valuable iron leases have been able to obtain from successive Governments, including a Labour Government which was in power for two. years, some peculiar exemption, without complying with the labour covenants in their lease. These immense bodies of iron ore are known to exist in that part of Tasmania, and I believe that in other States there are also large bodies of iron ore which could be translated into the iron and steel of which we have been importing millions of pounds’ worth every year, and which we know are the basis of pretty well all our manufactures.’ Of course, I would not expect any -questions to be answered now. We have a very vague assertion made in a brief paragraph, and I hope that it is the intention of the Government to pay some attention to the utilization of our vast natural resources of iron ore.
– Shipbuilding will do that.
– Yes ; but it will be necessary to provide the iron and steel before we can start to build ships. The scheme involves’ a good deal of organization. It means that a commencement, has to be made here and now, if it is intended to have these iron ores translated into steel within the next two or three years. It. means that the Government will have to take action now. There does not seem to be much hope of private enterprise tackling the business. Senator Fairbairn has expressed . the opinion that any man would be a lunatic to launch out into industrial enterprises with the industrial conditions as unsettled as they have been during the last few years. I do not agree with the honorable senator there. That is his opinion, and he is entitled to it.
It is up to the Federal Government to take some steps, if private enterprise is going to fail, after having had splendid resources leased to them by State Governments.
A few moments ago Senator Reid made an interjection about shipbuilding. I do not profess to know anything about shipbuilding, but perhaps I have a little knowledge of timbers. It seems to me that before Australian timbers could be used in shipbuilding they would have to be seasoned. I do not know whether the Government intend to take any steps immediately to acquire the necessary classes of timber, or to commandeer certain classes of timber, and prevent them from being exploited as they have been in the past by private enterprise. I have been told on very good authority that in Tasmania there is one class of timber which is essentially suitable for shipbuilding, and perhaps as suitable, if not more so, as any other timber known in Australia. Under the laws of the State, however, it is open to private enterprise on payment of a royalty to go and cut as much of that timber as may be required. It might be necessary for the Commonwealth Government to look ahead in regard to its shipbuilding scheme, to see that the right classes of .timber will be available, and to get hold of supplies in time, so that they could be properly seasoned.
There is one other question which particularly affects the State I represent1. In Tasmania there are thousands of producers who for years past have been following the occupation of fruit-growing. They are threatened with absolute ruin within i the next year or two unless something more than the State Parliament is able to do is Hone to conserve their interests. I am aware that these men do not stand alone. I” know that the fruitgrowing industry has assumed considerable proportions in parts of Victoria. I know that it has been established in Western Australia, South Australia, and to some extent in New South Wales- .
– And in Queensland.
– The citrus fruits and bananas which are grown so freely in Queensland are made available to consumers at a different time of the year from the apples which are grown, in the other
States and Tasmania. There is no doubt, that within the next two or three years thousands of very worthy citizens who represent the best form of closer settlement will be faced with partial ruin unless some portion of their fruit crops can be transhipped to the other side of the world. They put in their orchards. years ago, and planted out more acres every year in the belief, of course, that the foreign markets would never be closed to them. The greater portion of the fruit crop of Tasmania has been going overseas. The overseas markets are now closed to fruitgrowers. They were closed this year with the exception of a very few thousand cases, which the growers were able to send away. We are told that very likely next year the overseas markets will be wholly closed to our fruits. If the Federal Government can devise any scheme which would relieve this0 class of settlers it would confer a great benefit upon a large number of people in Australia, and, perhaps, a greater benefit upon a large number of growers in my own State.
– Yon will lose your jam export trade if you do not help us to deal with the sugar difficulty.
– Yes ; but a number of our jam makers say that we will lose our jam industry if we continue to pay what we are paying to the Queensland sugar-growers. As a Protectionist, but not a geographical Protectionist, I have supported- legislation to assist the sugar industry ever since I became a member of this Senate, aboutseventeen years ago; and, so long as any proposal means Protection for Australian industries, I will continue to give it my support, though I have been frequently hauled over the coals for doing so, and! have lost a considerable amount of electoral support in my own State. I cannot help that, however, because I happento be a Protectionist. I am not a Protectionist for Tasmanian fruit, and a FreeTrader as regards Queensland sugar. I hope I never will be. I trust that something will be done by the Government toface this problem. A number of deputations have already waited on the PrimeMinister, but his answers have been evasive, vague, and unsatisfactory. TheWintheWar Government ought to beable, out of the great numerical strength cf its members, to devise some scheme to» assist the people who certainly deserve assistance.
I am not in agreement with the senti- ments expressed by Senator Needham this afternoon with regard to thic appointmentof a Minister in charge of repatriation. I believe that the greatest problem we shall have to face during the next two or three years in Australia will be that of settling our returned soldiers in suitable occupations in this country. This will involve a tremendous amount of work for the Department, and it is about time we created a new Department, having at its head a Minister to control it. The extra expense, after all, will only be a mere drop in the bucket, and not worth talking about, in view of the vast amount of work and the enormous issues involved. If we, could get a Minister to do this work satisfactorily, the extra couple of thousand pounds a year, and whatever might be- the additional cost for the staff, would be money well spent.
I have no desire to continue my remarks unduly, because I want to see the measures mentioned in the policy speech brought before honorable senators. When they are introduced, I, in common with - other honorable senators, will exercise my privilege to criticise them if I think they deserve criticism, and to support them if I think they deserve support. I shall reserve any further remarks concerning the large number of paragraphs in the Governor-General’s Speech until the promises therein contained are crystallized into legislative proposals for the consideration of this Senate.
– I would not have spoken in the debate on the Governor-General’s Speech were it not that, perhaps, those who are opposed to us would deem us so confident in the possession of our large majority in both Houses, as to accuse us of simply opposing the forces of inertia to them if we declined to answer some of the strictures which they have cast upon us during the course of this not very lengthy debate. Senator Gardiner made a most singular confession as a leader of a political party. He made no mistake about his statement of opinions, for it was no chance expression that escaped his lips. He said he -was an extremist, and, moreover, gloried in being an extremist. All I can say is that it is pretty axiomatic that, if a political party indorses leaders who are extremists, and thereby sanctions the expression of extremists’ opinions in the desire to get them translated into action, that political party will surely find itself in an extremity.
– He is an extremist only in the sense that you are. He wants to see the policy given effect to.
– Because of the fact that the Australian people recognise that many members’ of the Official Labour party were extremists in a most undesirable sense, they .relegated them to the cold shades of opposition, where it is likely they will remain for some time to come. But I am not going to laud it over our opponents simply because we secured a victory. We know that political victories are gained aid political defeats have to be endured, and I believe that, in the mutations of our political life, there will come a time when the people, as is always’ the case, will be dissatisfied with the party occupying the Treasury benches to-day, and; therefore, it is undesirable for any political party, no matter how great its majority, to unduly plume itself upon having achieved a victory. Senator Gardiner said something about conscription, and in his remarks he adopted a most illogical attitude, because he accused this party of having done something despicable for not being prepared to introduce conscription at once; not, mind you, that he desired it or that his party desired it. He thought, apparently, that the Government was guilty of some dereliction of duty for not having included the policy of conscription in its published programme, . through the medium of the speech by His Excellency the Governor-General. Senator Gardiner seems unable to appreciate the- fact that, while the’ Government may not be immediately a conscriptionist Government, simply because it recognises the fact that the Australian people constituting a Democracy have spoken quite recently on this question, it does not at all follow that members of the Government party individually abate one jot in their belief as to the equitable and democratic nature of conscription.
It will be remembered that very early in the war I took steps to try and form a parliamentary opinion in favour of the policy of conscription. Recruits were coming in then in very large numbers indeed. The bulk of the Australian Forces now in the field were, I daresay, secured in the first fourteen or fifteen months of the war. I did not advocate the policy of conscription, because of the fact that men were not coming forward in sufficient numbers at that time. I advocated it because of its equitable and democratic character, and because it would enable the heads of our Military Departments and the leaders of our Empire to make those exact calculations so necessary in the successful prosecution of military enterprises. I am very much in the position of Galileo. He is more or less truthfully said to have recanted in connexion with his opinions respecting the* revolution of the earth around the sun, and we are told that after his recantation he muttered the words - “ It moves, nevertheless.” Now ib is true that conscription was turned -down by the people of Australia, bub I do not for one moment abate my opinion in regard to its equitable, democratic, scientific, and necessary character’. Military operations nowadays have to be exact. Dispositions must be made beforehand with that mathematical nicety so absolutely necessary to secure victory. That being the case, I regret very much indeed that this Commonwealth of ours did not adopt early in the war the policy which 1 advocated, and which the Mother Country found it incumbent to adopt before the war was two years old.
– Do you think this speech is likely to assist voluntary enlistment?
– Cannot the honorable senator get himself into a frame of mind capable of understanding that while we do nob recant in regard to the opinions we hold, we recognise, that the people as a whole did not accept our views, and therefore this, being a Democracy, we cannot force our opinions down their throats ? Moreover, does he not recognise that Australia is one of the world’s continents, and that the principle of the referendum cannot be applied every day in the week ? It took us three months to get the final returns of the last referendum laid on the table of the Senate, and are honorable senators going to advocate the prostitution of the principle of the referendum ? Do they believe that a referendum taken one day should be lightly set aside, and that three months after an appeal to the people, they should be again approached? Why, that would be the very negation of democratic government. The referendum is a principle that can only be sparingly applied to a population inhabiting one of the world’s continents. I very much regret indeed that this Parliament was so feeble in its intention and action as to take the referendum at all, but I am not one of those who are prone to cry over spilt milk. The referendum was taken, and the unfortunate fact is this, that! having taken one referendum we cannot lightly set aside the decision of the people. This must be done by the electors themselves at another referendum, which cannot be taken immediately, because the decision of the people must be respected for a reasonable period. Moreover, it is desirable that the voluntary system should have a fair, proper, and final trial. The Leader of the Opposition in this chamber said that the issue of conscription having been abandoned, there was no doubt whatever that we could get the men necessary to reinforce our troops ab the Front. Well, let .us make a trial. That is the attitude of the Government. If we can get enough men to enable our divisions to take their part in bringing this war to a successful conclusion, nothing more need be said. But it ought to be said - and I will say it - that even if we do get the men necessary to satisfactorily reinforce our divisions, the voluntary system is, nevertheless, unscientific, not satisfactory militarily - because it is not calculated to insure certain success - and it is inequitable and undemocratic. We have to remember, however, that the people of Australia have spoken, and that Ministers, being the representatives of a democratic people, they cannot lightly disregard the voice of the electors.
– You say, “ Those are my views, if you don’t like them I will change them.”
– Not ab all. I have no hesitation in declaring that if the voluntary system does not produce results sufficient t’o satisfactorily reinforce our divisions in the field, I will at once - even if the Administration does not agree with me - do what I did in the early days of this war, namely, put a notice on the businesspaper of this Senate committing the Chamber to an advocacy of the policy of conscription. Honorable senators may then, if they like, reject such a motion at their peril, and to our eternal disgrace.
– That will be a. valiant thing to do : put a notice on the paper and let it remain there.
– The motion will be discussed. It will have the same chance of discussion as any other motion in the name of a private member.
Notwithstanding my individual opinion regarding the inequitable nature of the voluntary system, I hope that, rather than that -the people of Australia should be plunged once more into the turmoil of a referendum, with all its recriminations, sufficient reinforcements will be secured by voluntarism. We have taken a most dangerous part, in connexion with this war, seeing that the very existence of our Empire is involved, for, tlo repeat a phrase which I have often used before, we hay© adopted a policy of making war in driblets. I am not going to deny that a very considerable result has been achieved by the voluntary system, but no matter what we have done under that system, if we have not done enough, all our efforts must be regarded as mere -futilities. We have to win this war. If the British Empire does not come out of the war unqualifiedly successful it will not endure. It has not the cohesion of great land masses. It is a segregated Empire spread over the globe. Nothing but victory and a great prestige for a great naval and military people can keep the scattered Dominions of the Empire together. It is well that we should recognise that at once.
– What is suggested in the Governor-General’s Speech for the winning of the war?
– Before I deal with the Speech I wish to say a word ‘or two about a vain illusion which is entertained by the Prime Minister of the Empire itself, not to speak of many of the people of Australia. I am sorry to say that a great many people throughout the world seem to so misjudge the German people that they talk of Prussian militarism and the German people as though they were two totally different and opposing factors. I say that Prussian militarism is very dear to the hearts of the majority of the German people. If it were repugnant to them, as many leaders of public opinion in many parts of the world would -have us believe, it would be discarded almost instantly by such a great nation. Honorable senators and leaders of public opinion outside of Australia had better learn, if they have not already learned, that Prussian military organization and the general organization of the German Empire are elements which are very dear to the .hearts of the German people, Because they believe that it is by this organization and under the shield of German militarism that the German people have grown great, and have established themselves in the world. . I venture to say that Prussian militarism will certainly not be destroyed by any inconclusive peace. It can only be destroyed when the might of the German people is broken, and it is brought home to them as ultimately ineffective, by almost irretrievable defeat. If we cannot bring about that state of affairs, if we cannot absolutely break the military power in which the German people individually and collectively have believed for so long, our efforts will have achieved little more than failure. That is the conclusion to which I have reluctantly come, from a consideration of the teachings of history and a study of the progress of the German people. Persons speak of Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, Stein, and such men. Who were they? They were the people who initiated the movement that culminated in what is known to-day as Prussian militarism and German organization. They were the people who lifted up the banner of their country when it was being dragged in the dust, and when their country was at the feet of Napoleon. It is. this super-organization which has enabled them to become, not a people living in the cockpit of Europe, the playground of the French armies, but what they regard themselves as being, namely, the dominant people of Europe. It has enabled them to claim, as. they say, “ A ‘place in the sun,” in a manner unsatisfactory to us, but very dear, indeed, to them. I am saying these things solely because I wish the representatives of the Australian people to have a proper conception of the problem that is before us. It is not enough that the German people should declare some sort of peace, or agree to treat with us in some sort of fashion. The problem with which we are confronted is how, by our , military and naval might, to bring home to the German people a sense of absolute defeat, and of the frustration of all their intentions to make Germany the predominant Power in the world, and to substitute its might for the might of the world-wide Empire to which we belong. It is a very old struggle reproduced along modern lines, and in a modern theatre. It is really the struggle of Rome against Carthage. I trust that we have clements of strength which Carthage could not .command, but we are a maritime power, even as Carthage was, and Germany is a power established on great land masses, even as was the power of “Rome.
Do honorable senators really realize how serious the position still is? Are the Germans talking of defeat? They have had a political crisis recently. There are divisions of opinion amongst them as there are amongst ourselves. Some of our people would make peace at any price, no doubt. Some sections of the German people are willing to accept peace on a basis of no annexations and no indemnities. They are prepared to say, “ As you were,” - that the Germans should call their armies off, and that we should call ours off, that we should receive nothing from them, and they should receive nothing from us, that trade relations should be resumed as formerly, and so on. There are numbers of German people willing to make peace on these lines, but they are not the German Government. What is the compromise that has been effected, as announced in the press to-day and yesterday? It is that, while the Germans are not committed to any policy of extensive annexations or the exaction of enormous indemnities they, nevertheless, retain to themselves the right to ask for some additional territory, and to exact an indemnity of some sort from ourselves. Is that the kind of talk that would emanate from a defeated people ? Is that the policy of a vanquished nation, or of vanquished empires? Is it not rather the policy of a people .who believe that they still possess all the essential factors that make for victory in this world-wide struggle? Let us understand what the position really is. We talk of blockading Germany, and at the same time the Minister for Agriculture in the War Cabinet of the United Kingdom has said that the United Kingdom is in effect a beleaguered city. People talk about, the censorship, but I do not think that anything need be said about the censorship of news when we find such an article as appeared in last night’s Herald from its correspondent, Mr. Keith Murdoch, dealing with the submarine menace. Is there not sufficient in that article to show that something very serious must have been disclosed? Do we not know that within the last few months the French Government have retired commanders from the Front because a French offensive was regarded as having cost too much in the lives of men ? French generals have been retired by the French Government in consequence. There is no great material there for laudation. The power of Germany is such that even in tonight’s newspaper we read of a claim on their behalf to a most substantial success on the .Belgian coast. The situation is still a very serious one, and it is well for the people of Australia, and for those who have, the responsibility of governing the Commonwealth, as one of the most important units of the King’s Dominions, to realize what I think I am justified in describing as the desperate nature of the situation in which our Empire finds itself. It is not too much to say that to any reflecting person reading between the lines it is now a question of whether the Allies can maintain themselves in Europe until the American assistance materializes in a substantial way.
– What does all this mean?
– It means that Ibelieve that the people of Australia are to some extent living in a fool’s paradise with respect to the present position of the Empire.
– The honorable senator says that the Government are living in a fool’s paradise.
– No ; they have to deal with the situation as they -find it, and the people of Australia have to be educated up to a proper realization of the Empire’s position. It is not “by easy hopes or lies,” as Kipling characterizes them, that we shall be able to reach the goal of victory, but by telling the Australian people, as the poet lias told the English people, that the “iron sacrifice of body, will, and soul “ is necessary. I may quote in connexion with the war the words of President Garfield, who saidNo nation is. worthy of existence if” in the supreme crisis it does not gather up all its jewels of manhood and life and go down into the arena resolved on measureless ruin or complete success.
– The honorable senator should, tell the Government to do that.
– I shall deal with the policy of the Government, which is necessarily limited by the expression of opinion secured from the Democracy of Australia a few months back. As the first conscriptionist in regard to service overseas to raise his voice in this Chamber, I resent the imputations of cowardice against members of the new Administration. I am quite sure that each member of the present Government is a conscriptionist, just as I am, but they must recognise, as sensible men, that Australia being a Democracy the expression of its democratic opinion recently elicited, must be reasonably respected.
– Garfield is dead.
– Tes; but it is sometimes necessary to quote the words of the dead in order to animate the spirits of the living.
I should like to summarize^ as I did throughout the Federal campaign, the policy of the National Government. I thought the best place to look for it was in the Prime Minister’s speech a,t Bendigo. Although it was a lengthy speech, as the deliverances of Prime Ministers usually are, I found that it contained in two or three phrases, the pith and marrow of the whole position as far as Australia is concerned. The Prime Minister said that, summed up, the policy of the National Government was to supply men, meat, wheat, wool, and ores to the full extent of Australia’s capacity for natural production - an excellent policy pithily expressed, and, in fact, worth a great deal more than those redundancies which necessarily appear in a Governor-General’s ‘speech. The Prime Minister said on that occasion, that freight was a vital factor, but was unfortunately beyond our control. Now, in my first speech during the recent political campaign, I said I Aid not subscribe to that addendum to the exposition of the National policy. I stated that freight ought not to be a factor beyond the control of a people who had at their back the resources of a whole continent. In other words, I suggested very early in the campaign what may be called the. shipping * plank in the National policy. I communicated with the Prime Minister on the mat ter, and I am pleased to note that my suggestion has materialized into a most important plank in the Win-the-War programme. We speak of platitudes at times. But after all they are only platitudes because they are truths, and- 1 in- . tend to give utterance to one or two platitudes of considerable value. I am very fond of saying at all times that Australia is one of the worlds’ continents. I am also very fond of telling the people that it is an insular continent.
– That is a truism,, not a platitude.
– But a platitude is merely a truism frequently stated. I frequently tell the people that Australia is a continent, and an insular continent.
– Nobody denies that.
– Being a continent,, and an island, it necessarily has a very extensive coast-line, and has to depend on. a sea-borne transport for its exports.
– What is the length, of its coast-line?
– More than 8,000’ miles. A policy of shipbuilding is essential to this continent in either peace or war time. So vital is it that I, as a conscriptionist who is anxious to see Australia supply its full share of men to the armies= of the Empire, confess that the exigenciesof the situation compel me to recognisethat the shipbuilding plank is the most vital one in the Win-the-War programme.. Indeed, shipbuilding is the most vital matter to the triumph of the Empire in this struggle. What would be the use of half a million men in our camps if we could not transport them ?
– We had them in June, 1916, and could not send them away. We never had transports to convey 16,500 reinforcements overseas monthly. ; Senator BAKHAP. - For months after the declaration of war - f or a year after - the mercantile marine of the Empire was not at all substantially impaired.
– Did we not havethe men in May, 1916, when we did not. have the ships?
– Yes, and we werenot allowed to send them away because of the action of men like the honorable senator, who asked the people to veto our policy.
– Did I say that wrought not to send the men in May, 1916?
Had we not the men then? The honorable senator knows that we had the men, but that we had not the ships.
– I used this illustration to show the danger of a belated military policy. Had the people indorsed conscription in October last it may be that we would not have been able to send the men out of the camps up till now. Consequently, the delay that -has occurred has been most . dangerous. It was essential that the policy of conscription should- have been given effect to a year before. In May; 1916, the lack of shipping was not as acute as it is at present. How’ many men were in our camps in May, 1916 ?
– The honorable senator should turn up the records and see.
– Out of their own lips honorable senators are condemned as persons who had not a proper sense of the’ national exigencies when they should have had it, namely, at the beginning of the war. I merely wish to say that I regard the matter of shipbuilding as a vital one, and I hope the Government will not dawdle over it. I understand that the Prime Minister has been engaged with Labour organizations to-day, and that he has been endeavouring to settle several details relating to industrial matters connected with the shipbuilding policy.’ I hope that those details will be speedily settled, so that we may embark on an extensive policy of ship construction, regardless of whether peace is proclaimed. or not. If we are going to have a proper status amongst the peoples of. the world, we must possess a considerable mercantile marine. To-day Japan is indulging in a feverish policy of shipbuilding. In British Columbia, shipbuilding is proceeding at thirty-two ports along the coast. The Americans are going in for a policy of building wooden ships, and I have no doubt that their energies will speedily result in something substantial ‘ being achieved in conformity with that policy. We have to recollect, that our population is one-twentieth of that of America. Therefore, we should address ourselves to the task of turning, out one-twentieth of the tonnage output of American shipyards. Without ships, all our other efforts will be in vain. We may have thousands of tons of wheat, wool, and other commodities, but in the absence of ships they will be almost worthless. The shipbuilding plank is, therefore, the vital one in the Win-the-war programme; and if relegated to a secondary position the Win-the-war cry will become a phrase incapable of realization. According ito some honorable senators opposite, Australia should have been transformed into a flying island ere this, and Germany should have been completely squelched. - Now the two’ positive things which we have to do are to find the men and the ships. Wheat, meat, and other commodities are profusely produced in Australia. Therefore, at the risk of something like unnecessary emphasis, I urge the Administration to put all the energy of which it is capable into the shipbuilding plank of the Win-the-war programme.
I do not wish to say very much more, except that so dear to me is British civilization that I am going to make a humble protest against the statesmen of .the Empire dreaming of anything less than a victorious peace. It is of no use talking peace when there can be no peace. Are we going to allow the German ,people an opportunity to reconstitute themselves as the result of a premature peace? Are we going to permit our children, or our grandchildren, to face another war such as we are now witnessing? The only way to secure a satisfactory peace is to completely crush the might of Germany, and t» bring home to the hearts of the German people’ a sense of complete defeat. Let us not forget that Dr. Rathenau - one of the German heads - has stated that Germany started this war a year too soon, and immediately peace is declared must begin to prepare for the next war. Now there is some peculiarity about the German intellect which makes it brutally frank. When the Germans utter a declaration of their intentions, many persons find it difficult to realize that it is a sincere one; but the Germans are so confident of their own superiority that very often the declaration is a genuine one. Indeed, most frequently it is genuine. It is well for us, therefore, to recognise that one of the intelligences intrusted with the complete organization- of the resources of the German people during this great struggle already talks of “ the next war.” That ought to be a sufficient warning for us.
– “When they declare that, their Colonial possessions will be better prepared.
– Exactly. The policy of no annexation and no indemnities moans that the Possessions conquered bv tha valour of Australian soldiers, and as the result of the activity of Australian administration, would have to be returned to Germany. Under such a policy, German Africa and German New Guinea would have to be restored to Germany. Now a Zeppelin could fly from German New Guinea and bombard any one of our capital cities with ease, because it must be recollected that great improvements have been effected in aviation since the war began. We should live in perpetual danger of invasion by German forces and German aerial machines stationed at German bases, if the no-annexation and noindemnity basis of settlement were adopted. Therefore, we will have to fight these people. > It is a struggle which must end one way. It must end in complete victory for .us or for them. If the result is inconclusive the war will be renewed.
I am not one of those who believe that the millennium is about to arrive. Man is a combative animal. Philosophers have declaimed against war, and Voltaire said that it is one of the imbecilities of mankind. A Prussian officer on whose dead body a diary was found, had written in it, ‘ ‘ The whole thing is like a preposterous game played by lunatics.” Admitted, but because of an element of lunacy in humanity, we have’ to build asylums for those from, whose brains reason has fled. We must deal with facts. Man is combative, and if thi» whole of the people of the world were transformed into republicans to-morrow, they would still fight among themselves. Republics wage war on each other. There are no people more warlike than the inhabitants of the South American republics, and they have been republicans for nearly a century. Who more warlike than the inhabitants of the Republic of Mexico, or, until the last thirty or forty years, the inhabitants of revolutionary and republican France? The transformation of the monarchies of the world into republican governments will not cause war to cease.
Nations will still look for elbow room. As ex-Senator Cameron wisely said, wars are produced because of nations seeking for elbow room, and, as a German philosopher very, properly put it, when you have a people sparsely inhabiting certain territory, and adjacent to it the land of people thickly settled, there is naturally created the current commonly called invasion. That is quite true. We, a people of only 5,000,000, inhabiting one of the world’s continents, have laid down a certain policy of exclusion, and as military prowess is no longer the exclusive property of the white races, we have to remember that we cannot hold this continent except as citizens of a British Empire, not an Empire with its comb cut, and its prestige impaired, but of a British Empire triumphant, and able to look the whole world in the face, saying,. “We faced almost unprepared . the mighty legions and organizations of Germany, and we have put the German people,’ arrogant in their might and in their sense of power, under our feet, not to trample on them, but to lift them up and teach them a lesson which will make a lasting impression on their minds.” For Australia to be safe, for Australia to be made a place where our ideals can be developed and materialized, where our children and grandchildren, and our posterity to the latest ages can live in safety, we must be part and parcel of a triumphant British Empire. Therefore, in this hour of doubt, in this hour, perhaps in some hearts, of dismay, in this hour when many are exhibiting heroic courage, and others entertaining feelings of trepidation, I stand out in my humble capacity as a senator of one of the smallest States of the Commonwealth to protest against anything like an inconclusive peace. When Wellington was battling against the forces of Napoleon in Spain, there were people in England who talked of the necessity of peace, of the impossibility of triumphing over the genius of Napoleon and the energy of the French arms, in which the revolutionary .and fiery republican spirit still lingered. They even talked of withdrawing Wellington, and traduced ‘ him in every way. They denounced his incompetence. In Spain, when he retired on the lines of Torres Vedras, they said that he was a poor general. They abused and criticisedhim, but he, resolute and silent, -came out triumphant, notwithstanding that he was opposed to one of the greatest captains of all time. In this- hour of peril, for peril it is, we Australian people want to address ourselves to . a proper consideration of the question, to a realization of the seriousness of all the issues involved, and to do our best not to belittle’ the National Government of the Commonwealth, which has only a few avenues of energy open to it. It. is for us all to speak in the spirit of Senator McDougall, land say that we will give the greatest assistance’to this Administration, -so long as it does its part in earnest about translating the Win-the-war programme into something like substantial action, and carrying out the aims and intentions of the Australian people in connexion with the war.
Debate (on motion by Senator Grant) adjourned.
– I have to acquaint the Senate that I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General a commission empowering meto administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to honorable senators.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
. -During tie course of a debate this afternoon I made some reference to the subject of separation allowances, and in his speech’ the Minister for Defence stated that as regards the cases of a number of soldiers referred to by me some time ago, the offences for which they were sentenced were not correctly stated by me. If that isso, I was quite unaware of any inaccuracy, and in order to make sure whether the Minister is correct or otherwise, I should like to know whether he is prepared to place the papers onthe table -ofthe. Senate, so that I may have an opportunity to peruse them.
– I am quite prepared toplace these papers on the . table of the library.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.20 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 July 1917, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1917/19170712_SENATE_7_82/>.