7th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
asked the Minister representing the Minister forWorks’ and Railways, upon notice -
– The answer suppliedby the Minister for Works and Railways is as follows: - 1, 2, and 3. The matter is receiving the earnest attention of the Government. Preliminary lay-out plans for the arsenal factories have been prepared and have been referred to the Ministry of Munitions, in London,’ which is considering them in connexion with the whole question of plant for the various manufactures. The necessary engineering surveys for railway connexion and lay out of works have been made. The question of the village is also receiving attention.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
How many members of the Australian Imperial Force have enlisted and are serving overseasin -
the Tunnelling Companies;
the Aeroplane Squadron;
the Heavy Artillery; (d.) the Corps Cavalry Regiments;
the Army Medical Corps;
the Army Service Corps;
on the lines of communication?
– The numbers en listed have never been given out in detail for the various arms and services, but only as a whole. I think this practice should be adhered to. The numbers serving in the seven services mentioned are not known, as no return containing them is in possession of the Department.
asked the Min ister representing the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
– The Minister for Works and Railways has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
– The Minister for Works and Railways has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Honorary Minister, upon notice -
– The Honorary Minister has supplied the following reply : -
According to the report of the Commonwealth Meat Inspector, the firm of Messrs. Wm. Angliss and Co. has slaughtered for export during the month ended 30th June, 1917: - Sheep and lambs, 23,680; cattle, 1,808; pigs, 170. Of these, the following have been exported: - Sheep and lambs, 4,598; cattle and carcasses, 388; cattle as boneless beef, 108,222 lbs. The capacity of the works is 11,000 sheep and lambs, and 250 cattle per day. The storage capacity of Angliss’ works is 250,000 sheep and lambs, or equivalent in beef. A quantity of thebeef at present in store is for the Navy Department, and a portion of the stock slaughtered is ‘required for purposes of the Defence Department. So far as the Inspector is aware, Angliss’ stores are not filled with meat or rabbits for export. Sofar as other goods, including supplies for local consumption, are concerned, the Commonwealth Inspector has no jurisdiction over cold storage premises; but as far ashe is aware, the stores are not filled to their capacity.
– Arising out of the answer, may I suggest that the second part of the question has not been answered by the Minister ? Will the Government make further inquiry, and, if there is a certain quantity of meat and apples in the cool stores, will they take steps to release meat and apples for the consumers at reasonable prices? That is the point which I wanted to get at, and it has not been answered.
– I will bring the honorable senator’s further question underthe notice of the Honorary Minister.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Federal Government to offer areward which will lead to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the explosion upon the s.s. Cumberland?
– The answer is -
The State Government of New South Wales has offered a large reward, and it is understood that the owners of the vessel have alsodone so. The Commonwealth is taking action with a view of discovering and bringing to. justice the persons implicated in the outrage,
Bill read a first time.
Bill (on motion by Senator Millen) read a second time, and reported from Committee without amendment; report adopted.
Debate resumed from 18th July (vide page ‘196), on motion by Senator
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– In addressing myself to this Bill the machinery part of which was introduced by the Leader of the Government in the Senate yesterday in a speech which lacked nothing in clearness with respect to the many details involved, and which was an interesting, comprehensive, and distinct contribution to the consideration of the question of repatriation^ I have to say that with the definite recognition and acceptance by the Government of responsibility for the repatriation of our soldiers, not only I, but I think the whole of the community, will agree. I equally applaud the clearness of the honorable senator’s statement that what is proposed is not a scheme for the scattering of money amongst returned soldiers.
I regret that the Vice-President of the Executive Council did not give the Senate some outline of how the Government intend to finance .their scheme. I recognise that this is a machinery Bill, but if we agree to it and the Government subsequently base a Bill upon iti, they might come forward with proposals which perhaps no members of the Senate could approve, and they might claim that, because we passed this Bill, we led them to believe that? the Senate would support any measure they might bring in dealing with the subject. Without attempting to trespass on the preserves of the House of Representatives, which chas a special concern in connexion with questions of finance, I think the honorable senator might, with great advantage to the producing business and commercial interests of the country, have informed the Senate how the money required to give effect to this scheme is to be raised. But evidently he thought that that was unnecessary.
– Only of course at this juncture.
– To my mind, the commencement of a repatriation scheme is like serving a meal, not without salt, but with salt and nothing else. It is the juncture at which the public should be made acquainted, not with any exact, estimate of the cost of the scheme, but with what .the Government propose, so that business men may be relieved of harassing conditions.
– Is the honorable senator anxious to get an estimate of the cost of the scheme or an indication of the sources from which the money will be procured ?
– I am chiefly anxious to ascertain the sources from which the money will be found. I was pointing out that at the present time the commercial and producing interests of
Australia are in such’ a state of uncertainty in regard to their future commitments, as to taxation and the borrowing of money, that it is imperative they should be relieved from that position at the earliest possible moment. Then there is another class which should be relieved from .the possibility of imagining vain things in regard to the repatriation scheme - I refer to the returned soldiers themselves. During ‘the course of his speech the Vice-President of the Executive Council mentioned that the settlement of these men upon the land would probably cost £60,000,000, and in another portion of his remarks he said that money to meet) the needs of repatriation would be placed on the Estimates from time to time. Now, if we allow vague statements to be made without any clear indication of what are to be the limits of the scheme, and what means are to be adopted to raise the necessary money, it is quite possible these men may be led to believe .that, no matter how wild may be their demands, the Government are pledged to finance them.
I approach the question of repatriation entirely free from party influence and from organized party attacks. Holding the position that I do in this chamber, I wish to entirely dissociate myself from my colleagues on this question. They are at liberty to deal with it exactly aa they choose. I desire to make that perfectly clear, because the party system is so frequently in evidence that it is easy for men to mistake individual criticisms for party attacks. I associate myself with much that was said by the Vice-President of the Executive Council in regard to making provision for the partly incapacitated - for the men who cannot come up to the standard of competency. Regarding how that should be accomplished, I am content to withhold my opinion at present. As the honorable gentleman has already pointed out, we are blazing the track so far as the question of repatriation is concerned. Although war is as old as humanity, the question of dealing generously or even justly with those who have fought its battles has never before seriously engaged the . attention of mankind. I remember attending, a little while ago, a banquet given in honour of the veterans of this country. The saddest speech to which I ever listened was made on that, occasion by a veteran who, in his simple way, related how, whilst searching for the records of his birth, he had discovered that whilst his father had been engaged in fighting the battles of the British Empire, his mother had been obliged to take refuge in a workhouse, where he was born. I never heard a sadder story. Australia herself is not free from .the charge of ingratitude towards those who have freely offered their lives at duty’s call. The men who volunteered for service in the Soudan, and those who were incapacitated in the Boer War, have not been fairly treated. Whether they can be included in this repatriation scheme I -do not know. But they certainly ought to be.
– Has the whole of the South African Patriotic Fund been exhausted ?
– I do not know, but I think that the honorable senator will agree with me that many cases involving peculiar hardship to wounded and incapacitated South African soldiers have come under our notice.
The portion of the Government scheme which I disapprove is that which would make it a combination of Ministerial authority and of outside committees. I venture to say that for the next ten years the Repatriation Department will be the biggest spending department of the Commonwealth. Notwithstanding all the criticism of the red-tape system of the Government Service, I do not- hesitate to say that this scheme should be made a distinct branch of our Public Service. Under it, there should be definite responsibility to the Government, the Government should be directly responsible to. Parliament, and Parliament, in its turn, should be responsible to the people. I am not going to criticise the efforts of those voluntary workers, who, up to the present, have rendered such splendid service. But I submit .that under the Government proposal? men may be placed on committees who may lack the very essence of success, namely, enthusiasm in their work. On the other hand, if we put our repatriation scheme under a separate department of our Public Service, and thus keep it free from the influence of anybody who is not responsible to Parliament, we shall make a distinct’ advance towards dealing effectively with our returned soldiers.
In dealing with this measure, I intend to take full advantage of the invitation of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and to place my views before the Senate, not as the last word upon this subject, but as those of one who is dealing with a question that is comparatively new to us all. I approach the matter with one end in view, namely the good of the country and the interests of the men who are fighting for us at the present time. I say that the Government, when they pub their financial proposals before Parliament, should definitely state how the money required to finance this scheme is to be raised, whether it is to be borrowed money, and whether a fund is to be established from loan moneys, or whether it is to be put on a cash basis. Personally, I favour it being placed on a cash basis. I recognise that the sums required will be huge - I know that they will be enormous, and severely tax the resources of the people of this country. But when a man has given up a good position and accepted a bare subsistence for his wife and family, taken his life in his hands and gone to fight for us1 on the other side of the world, who shall say that any of us is to shirk the financial responsibility of a huge scheme to repatriate that class of man ? Therefore, although direct taxation to form the nucleus of a° scheme of repatriation would be irksome to the community, it is a load that the community pledges itself to bear when it accepts a repatriation scheme.
Everything I am putting forward must be taken as merely the crudest of suggestions; but I would suggest that for the four years 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1919. we should levy the sum of £16,000,000 . by direct taxation. I prefer the taxation of war-time profits, or other systems approved by the Government and Parliament. By that means we could raise £4,000,000 a year for four years, beginning with the war-time profits for 1916, a move of which the community has already been forewarned. As the amounts for 1916 and 1917 are now due, they could be called up at once, giving us £8,000,000 to begin with. Iti is perhaps well to treat the repatriation as a matter of urgency. Should the waa- collapse next month - I do not say that there is any probability of that happening, but we all know that with the force that is being used its collapse will come as suddenly as its beginning, and it is as well to be ready even for an early collapse of the war - and should our soldiers return- in their thousands, it would be wise for the Government) to have in hand a means of dealing promptly and effectively with them, lest dissatisfaction spread through their ranks in such a way that it will never be removed from their minds. I refer to the dissatisfaction of disappointment, a feeling that having done not only all that was asked from them, but more, they returned to find a Government, Parliament and country unprepared to do their duty by them. I want, therefore, to treat the question as one of urgency, and propose that there shall be raised by direct taxation, the form of which it will be for the Government to think out and take the responsibility of, a sum of £4,000,000 a year for the first four years. Then in 1920, I would take a sum of, say, 10s. per head from the amount1 of 25s. per capita now paid to the States by the Commonwealth.
– Does the present agreement expire in 1920 ?
– I was not quite clear on that point, and had no means of informing myself, but1 1 believe the financial agreement was arrived at in 1910, and was to continue for ten years. Even if it extends longer than 1920, the right of Parliament to alter it always exists, and I doubt whether the States themselves would complain of the alteration for such a patriotic purpose. Even if I am a year out, it does not affect the argument. That amount of 10s. per capita would give roughly £2,500,000 per annum. If that were continued for ten years it would yield £25,000,000 from that source. Adding £16,000,000 from the other source this would give us over £40,000,000 cash in hand.
– Not in hand.
– It would be cash at any rate which the Government could use. for repatriation purposes in any yay that seemed just to them to benefit, not only the soldiers, but the nation.
I was pleased to hear the Minister refer to the Murray waters scheme as one which might be of sufficient national importance for the employment of returned men. My mind, on the question of repatriation goes entirely in the direction of using these huge sums in a purely national way. I should look around and see what were the most urgent and beneficial national works that could be carried out if we had the money, and one of the things that has. always appealed to maas of great urgency is a uniform railway system. One of the consolations which I derive from the enormous expenditure incurred in sending our men to the Front lies in the hope that when they return we shall have here a fighting force of from 200,000 to 300,000 men ready to respond, at a moment’s notice, to the call to arms. I do not shut my eyes to the fact that Australia, if not a threatened country, may yet have to fight for its’ existence, and, therefore, the sooner we put our country in a position to defend itself the better for Australia and the less likelihood of its being attacked. We have had before us the difficulties of moving men from Brisbane to Adelaide, owing to the present variation of the railway systems. We know the advantages of a uniform railway gauge, and I look upon its establishment as a. huge national work, which, I understand, will cost some £20,000,000. That is one of the works which the Government might immediately . undertake with the money already called up by taxation, for the purpose of employing the soldiers if they came back immediately. I do not want to make navvies of all the soldiers, but a great work of that kind will find employment for many and various classes of labour. Carried on chiefly in South Australia and Victoria, it will employ many men in those States, and, at the same time, it will be promptly and effectively carrying out a great national undertaking. I almost feel that unless advantage is taken of some extraordinary occasion such as this, that is a work which will be delayed indefinitely.
Side by side with this big scheme I place the Murray waters scheme. The National Government at the present time are/ I believe, viewing the great possibilities of nationally-owned concerns, because we are all Socialists now, and, in view of the great efficiency that can bo obtained by the organization of labour on a large scale, and the concentration of capital in huge sums, I would not only do as the Minister hinted yesterday, but would continue the system of the conservation of water on a scale hitherto undreamt of in Australia. I do not want my remarks to be taken to apply only to the eastern part of Australia, although that is the country I know best, and when I point to works in the Eastern
States, I do not want it to be thought that I desire to shut the West out from similar advantages. I would lock the waters in the mountains of Queensland, and in the mountains close to our great cities.
– Where are the mountains in Queensland ?
– I am surprised to hear the honorable senator ask such a question; for I assumed that he had a full knowledge of this subject. If the volume of water that comes down from Queensland, and swells our rivers in certain seasons of the year has been allowed to escape his observation for so long, then the next time it comes down he should have his attention drawn to it.
– But it was the mountains that I wanted to hear about.
– I- am quite astonished at the honorable senator, who suggests that Queensland is without its mountain ranges. I have travelled through that State ontwooccasions,and I noticed the sources of these great waterways up in the mountains. My attention was called to this matter by the wonderful achievement in Western Australia, where, by the construction of the Mundaring Dam, the water is thrown back for a considerable distance, and is delivered on the goldfields, over 350 miles away, as well as to thirty towns on the way. Already that scheme is paying interest on capital cost, though it is not paying interest on working expenses. If such success can be achieved by a small community like Western Australia, how much more could be done by the conservation of water, not only in Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales, but in all the States ? At Seymour, in this State, a huge body of water has been conserved by the construction of a dam, and I understand that some years ago a company was anxious to take over and finance that scheme, not only for the purpose of water supply, but for the generation of electricity for our city railway system. The same system could be applied to the mountain ranges of New South Wales 30 miles back from Sydney. The adoption of this proposal would provide employment for our returned soldiers, and this problem, in my judgment, will be one of the most pressing in Australia for the next ten years.
– Do not forget Tasmania.
– I have not forgotten Tasmania, though I have been speaking of those Eastern States of which I have a personal knowledge. My remarks will apply equally to all the States. It is essential that they shouldbe all included, because men have volunteered freely from all parts of the Commonwealth, and, naturally, we shall want to employ them as near to their homes as possible. If the waters in Queensland are conserved in the manner I have suggested, I believe it will be possible to include 20,000,000 acres of land, in the western part of New South Wales alone, in a profitable closer settlement scheme - not closer settlement as we know it in the area served by the Burrinjuck Reservoir, but closer settlement on areas of, say, from 1,000 to 2,000 acres, all producing profitably under the influence of a neverending water supply. We must not forget that our primary products will be very much needed by the Old World when this war is over.
– Now you are talking.
– This is part of the scheme which I have in my mind, though I may not be able to elaborate it to my own satisfaction, but I take it that, at a time like the present, the smallest contribution to a debate on this subject will be thankfully received. I feel sure that the States will be willing to find the land and construct the irrigation canals, and if all this work could be done by the returned soldiers themselves, we would’ thus have a scheme of settlement satisfactory, not only to the soldiers, but to the States and the Commonwealth. I believe that, where one man will fail on well-grassed and well-watered country raising cattle and sheep, fully a thousand will fail under the bestconditions in their attempts to raise poultry, which is one of the industries suggested for our returned soldiers. The latter business will mean slavery to the soldier, whereas the other will give him an opportunity of independence. I do not know that we can expect to make all our soldiers successful land settlers, and probably they will not all want to make the attempt; but if, in various parts of the Commonwealth, we can give those who axe suitable and willing large areas of land - I will not say well stocked, but stocked sufficiently well to insure their maintenance in the early stages of their career and the possibility of a large margin of profit in the later stages - we shall be doing the proper thing by them. I understand that the Government of Western Australia have a large area of land suitable for this purpose.
Then there is the question of the development of our shipping. Portion of this work, too, could be set aside for our returned soldiers.In the control of this great scheme I would vote every timeapart from the Minister responsible to this Parliament - for the appointment of men who are themselves returned soldiers, for I believe that amongst our soldiers we shall be able to find experts in every industry if we take the trouble to look for them, and, in my judgment, it is only fair that the administration of the scheme should, if possible, be placed in their hands. I believe in the professional every time as against the amateur, and I feel sure that if we had a. department composed of men whose interests were the interests of those they represented, the success of the project would be assured. I have said that I do not believe in little land settlements. Neither do I agree with the Minister - although I do not wish to criticise him in a narrow spirit - when he says that more land may be given to a man possessing more capital. There must be nothing like that in the scheme; and nothing savouring of the suggestion that the one with much will get more.
– I did not say that.
– Perhaps the Minister did not put it that way, but that was the impression I obtained.
– What I said was that where a man had capital of his own, or could get some advance on his own capital, that man could safely launch upon larger enterprisesr
– I am glad to be corrected, as I did not wish to misrepresent the Minister.
In dealing with the States which may undertake the construction of works for developmental purposes, we should make it a condition of the financial aid to be given to them that, as far as possible, only returned soldiers should be employedupon such works. Here is what I have in my mind. Spread over this continent we shall have returned men, and they will not all be fairly treated by even wellmeaning committees. We shall have a continual demand for employment. Already this demand is felt. Honorable senators have experienced the demand with the few men who have come back. When the many come back, the selfgoverning bodies of Australia should be brought under one system whereby any man who requires employment can be engaged. Take the question of good roads. Here there is scope for the employment of thousands of men to the advantage of the whole community. The more we look at this project the greater the expenditure grows. It is a very fine thing to dream about how we are going to carry out the project. But it is a different thing altogether to devise a practicable working scheme. Everything we do must be done in such a way that the individual freedom of the returned soldiers will be allowed to them. I have no fear of these men becoming a burden on any fund. They will come back bigger and broader men than they were prior to their departure, and they will be more capable men than those who remained at home. With the experience and the confidence they have gained by what they have gone through we shall soon find that they will take a leading place in the business of this community. The Government will do well, providing that their schemes are linked up with the national advantage, not to hesitate about what the cost will be.
Let me mention again the schemes I have been foreshadowing - a uniform railway gauge, irrigation on a huge scale for generating electric power, and land settlement. The Governments, the States or the people carrying out these works will pay interest on the capital to the Returned Soldiers’ Fund. Suppose that the fund amounts to £40,000,000 and produces £2,000,000 a year by way of interest. That will be the sum in hand each year to meet the saddest of the sad cases. I refer, of course, to the men who will come back wrecks, mentally and otherwise. I refer to men whose injuries have developed habits which have grown to such an extent that in a little while, unfortunately for themselves, they may have lost their mental balance and the moral control which they should have retained. The result may be that they will become, in a measure, a pest to society. We must, however, never regard them in that light. These are the saddest of all the sad cases which’ must he met in a manly and straightforward way. And the man who has been given an opportunity is not, if he fails, to be thrown aside as an outcast. One of the most difficult questions which will face those who have to administer a scheme of this kind will be the treatment of returned incompetents because their nerves have been partially wrecked, or through bad habits, they have become degenerate. With a body of 300,000 or 400,000 men a very small percentage will soon increase to a very large number. These are sad cases for which we can raise a fund while the war is raging. Ib must be remembered that ten years after the conclusion of the war it will not be possible to arouse much enthusiasm in any effort to help these men. It is necessary, therefore, to face the situation now. It is necessary to * say to .the community now, ‘“We have taken up our burden of responsibility. We recognise now what the soldiers are doing for this country, and therefore we intend to make one bite of the cherry. We shall prepare a scheme which will meet all the exigencies of the occasion.”
Let us see how this project will work out. The men will not come back asking for charity. Some of them will always be deserving objects of charity, but I do hope that the scheme will be so complete that we shall never need to appeal to the charitable feelings of the community. Having put £40,000,000 into the scheme as an investment, what will happen? If the money is invested in the States they will pay the interest, and if the Commonwealth Government use the money for Federal purposes it will pay the interest. From twenty-five to thirty years hence, when the soldiers and their dependants will have passed away, the Commonwealth and the States will benefit by the works which have been carried out under the scheme. Not only has the money invested to be repaid, but the revenue required each year will decrease. The soldiers and their dependants will be treated and cared for in such a way that Australia will have given a creditable lead to the world. The Commonwealth and the States will be deriving great benefits! from the expendi-
Senator Gardiner. ture. The soldiers will be treated well in their day and generation. Their dependants will not be allowed to want, nor will the public be asked for assistance. The Commonwealth will care for -them all.
I offer these few remarks to the Senate in the spirit of one who is anxious to do well for the men who are fighting for this country. A combination between existing committees or any private’ committees which may be called into existence would be a mistake. Let us recognise that there is going to be added to the responsibility of the Commonwealth a new Department which for ten years will be a huge spending Department, where it will be essential for the Commonwealth Government and Parliament to exercise control, and for the keenest supervision to be practised. For the least maladministration, or even inefficient administration, the Minister will be responsible, and can be called to account by a question in the Senate or otherwise. I know that there are quite a number of persons who would free all these funds from any interference by the politician. Now the politician is the representative of the people. The Senate lends itself so effectively to voicing the grievances of the electors that that fact of itself is a safeguard that grievances will not occur. Were we to put the returned soldiers- in the hands of local committees who could buffet them from one committee to another, some accepting the responsibility and others shirking it, we would sow such a crop of grievances that 300,000 or 400,000 men, having deserved well of their country, and feeling on their return that it was not treating them as they deserve, might be quite a menace to the good government of the Commonwealth. I am not saying that the returned soldiers would do an ungenerous or unwise thing; but, having learned the effect of acting together in a body, and having been taught, as they are now being taught, that might is right, they might take a hasty method of attempting to right their grievances. Therefore, statesmen ought to take every precaution to see that no grievances shall be allowed to exist or to continue for any time.
It will be wise for the Government to press on rapidly with their scheme, whatever it be. Whether it is to be financed with borrowed money, which would be a load upon the nation for all time, or from the coffers of the Commonwealth, or by means of new taxation, that is their responsibility. Personally I welcome a scheme based on the wisest, the broadest, and the most far-reaching lines which the Minster can introduce. It would be false economy to attempt to carry out the project cheaply, because the undertaking is so immense that it could not be done satisfactorily without incurring a huge expenditure. It will be wise statesmanship to remove from the minds of returned soldiers the impression that there is going to be any personal gifts or rewards. We who have remained at home should, and I am sure will, vote willingly in support of any just and comprehensive scheme for the repatriation of the soldiers who went away to fight and keep us in security here, and I trust that every effort will be made to perfect the measure the Government have introduced.
Senator Lt.Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [4.0]. - I am sure that honorable senators of both sides are equally concerned and anxious to deal with the repatriation of our sailors, our soldiers, and their dependants, and to provide in an adequate manner for the needs of those who, by reason of the sacrifices they have made and the services they have rendered to the country, need some assistance. The Minister in charge of this Bill has very kindly invited friendly criticism and suggestions, and I accept that general invitation in the spirit in which it was given.
I must say there is much in the Bill which is desirable. In my opinion, there is much more in the Bill which is most undesirable. I confess to a strong feeling of disappointment when I realized that the Government, notwithstanding their assertion that they accept full responsibility, proposed to place the administration of a most important Act in the hands of honorary commissions, boards, and committees - organizations which, like corporations, have neither souls to be saved nor bodies to be kicked. In my opinion, this proposal to appoint honorary bodies to carry out a gigantic national undertaking is a clear indication that the Government has failed to grasp the seriousness and the magnitude of the difficulties to be dealt with. It seems to me that, by reason of that very proposal, the scheme is a direct invitation to a great deal of confusion and, I think, ultimate disaster. I should have imagined that the Government’s experience of the unfairness and inequality of sacrifice which have been proved to exist in military service, would have prevented them from making so great a blunder in such an important measure as this is. I had hoped that they would have seen the desirability of holding a round-table conference of returned soldiers and other people who are intimately and directly interested in this matter, and familiar with the requirements of such a scheme - a conference such as was initiated by the British Government in 1915, when they appointed a Committee under Sir George Murray to take evidence and obtain data on which to base their operations with regard to this very subject.
– What has happened as the result of that Committee? It has reported, and nothing else has happened.
– The Bill is the machinery. The scheme must be carried out by regulations.
.- What will the regulations consist of ? What guarantee has a returned soldier that the regulations will be such as will meet the case and provide for his requirements ?
– No regulation will become operative until the honorable senator has an opportunity of reviewing it.
– For the purpose of discussion, the scheme may be divided into three parts - the financial provisions, the work to be done under the scheme, and the machinery by which to give it effect.
In referring tothe financial position, I say, advisedly, that it is impossible to separate the matter of pensions and ameliorative work from the scheme of repatriation. For these and other reasons, those who have had a good deal of experience of the matter, and have been intimately associated with the carrying out of much of the ameliorativeand repatriation work, are strongly of opinion that there should be but one common Government fund. The whole financial responsibility to the soldier, no matter what his needs may be, should rest upon the Federal Government. The proposal of the Government to combine with honorary committees in certain localities to raise funds to be spent in those particular localities, in accordance with some organized method-
– I made no proposal of that kind.
.- What was suggested were such collections, for instance, as are made for the support of hospitals. I tell honorable senators that, they have no right to place the , soldiers in the undignified position of accepting doles from any patriotic committee.
– I made no proposition of that kind.
.- It is the undeniable right of the soldier to go direct to the Federal Government to see that his needs are satisfied.
– This Bill gives him that right.
.- Why should the returned soldier, because his circumstances need amelioration, have to resort to those in charge of some patriotic movement in order to secure assistance? Why should he be asked to accept assistance which has been begged for in the streets and from public platforms, and which would be given to him as charity? The responsibility of the country to the soldier is not to be regarded in that light. The country owes an honorable debt to the soldier, and he should go to the Government for the payment of that debt, and to no one else. These are reasons why we say that the Government should take the whole control of the Repatriation Fund.
How does the present method operate for the raising of money for patriotic movements? Honorable senators who have been through the country must have noticed, with great regret in many instances, the manner in which some of the money is raised. Under the existing system, if there is one man in the community who is carrying more than his fair share of the burden of amelioration and repatriation, it is the workingman with a wife and family of small children. Like a good citizen, he sends his children regularly to school, and it will be found that nearly every week, in nearly every school, some patriotic movement is being promoted. Little children go homefrom school and say to the struggling housewife, “ We want a1d., or 3d.” She would hate like poison that her children should not be in as favorable a position as the children of any other persons, and though she may not honestly be able to afford the money, she gives her children their pennies, their threepences, or their sixpences, so that they may be able to stand on equal terms with the other children in the school. That is a. most unfair tax, and a most unfair system of collecting for patriotic funds. In my view, the Government should scorn to look to such sources for the amelioration of the conditions of our soldiers.
– The honorable senator’ is right, and he is on the right side.
– Senator Needham should follow his leader, and not make this a party question. We showed our appreciation of what Senator Gardiner said.
– I rise to a point of order. Senator Newland has just made a remark which I consider offensive. He has said that I am making this a party question. ‘ I ask that he should withdraw that statement.
– As Senator Needham considers a remark, made by way of interjection by Senator Newland, objectionable and offensive, I ask the honorable senator to withdraw it.
– I withdraw it with the greatest pleasure.
– . I am strongly of opinion that the system of legalized begging in the streets, in public halls, and from public platforms, should be suppressed, and that the money required for the purpose of the repatriation of our soldiers who have done their duty so nobly for the country should be raised in a business-like fashion by direct taxation. If I know my countrymen and women, there is not one who would not be glad to see such a business-like method adopted for the raising of the funds required. Every man inthe street, I am sure, would welcome the adoption of such a system. In my own town I know that a man can scarcely gotobusiness any morning without being asked to purchase a button for this or ‘that fund. This is a method of taxation which is most unfair, and is best supported by generous- hearted persons who very often are least able to bear the expense.
The voluntary assistance proposed under the Government scheme to be provided by working-bees and the raising of local funds would inmy opinion, prove to be most pernicious. In a wealthy district, such as Corangamite, for instance, where there are many well-to-do and large-hearted gentlemen, who might be prepared to give thousands of pounds to such a fund, the soldiers might be treated, not merely in a generous, but in a luxurious, manner. In a poorer district, the residents of which are not so fortunately situated, and could not contribute such large sums of money, the soldiers might, on the other hand, be treated somewhat indifferently, and by comparison, very unfairly. The one aim in connexion with this repatriation scheme should be that all men benefiting underit should be treated in the same way.
– So they will be. by the Government
– I repeat that all the experience of those who have been intimately associated with ameliorative work and the repatriation of our soldiers goes to show that the whole of the funds should be consolidated into one Government fund under Government control, and that the practice now followed for obtaining funds for these purposes should immediately cease, and that direct, taxation should be substituted for it.
With regard to the scheme of work proposed to be done for thesoldiers,the Committee I referred to under Sir George Murray, as the Minister stated in his opening address, arrived at certain conclusions. It was decided that no amount, no matter how generous, given to a soldier by way of pension or remuneration relieved the State from its responsibility to the soldier. It was agreed that the responsibility of the State was to restore the soldier as nearly as possible to the normal conditions under which he lived before he went to the war. This implies the doing of a great deal of work, besides the finding of the necessary financial assistance for the soldiers. Although the Minister did not go fully into the details, he made the suggestion that not much good had resulted from the deliberations of the Committee referred to.
I am in possession of information which shows that a large amount of valuable work has been done. Technical schools have been created for soldiers incapacitated by the loss of a limb. Secondary hospitals also have been established. This is a very important feature of the work done as the result of the report of the Committee. There are hundreds of men, and many of them in Australia to-day, who have been discharged from military hospitals suffering from fractured muscles or ruptured nerves, and who, in consequence, have lost the use of some of their limbs. In the secondary hospitals cases of this kind, discharged as incurable from military hospitals, because nothing further could there be done for them, are treated by electric massage, the hot-air treatment, and other scientific means. Scientific operations are conducted for connecting broken nerves, and these operations take a long time to be effective. We have authority for saying that, since the secondary hospitals were established only about eighteen months ago, thousands of men who would otherwise have been cripples all the days of their lives have had restored to them the functional use of arms and legs. I look upon that as a very important advance in the treatment of the repatriated soldier.
There is another point to which I might refer, in connexion with pensions. Mr. Henderson, who was the Commissioner of Pensions at Home, laid it down that once the pension was - allotted to a man, it should stand good as long as he lived. That decision was given with respect to pensions that were not, of course, on such generous lines as are the pensions provided here. It was further decided that, so long as it wasnecessary for the proper support of the soldier and his family, the pension was to be supplemented by funds operated by a Statutory Committee. Where men are being treated in secondary hospitals, or are under tuition in technical schools, they are to be maintained by the Government in comfortable circumstances if their pensions are insufficient to meet requirements. The Statutory Committee is to supplement the pensions where that is necessary, by an amount sufficient, in the case of the married man, to support himself and his family during the period of his treatment in a secondary hospital, or while he is being taught some business in a technical school. The evidence gathered by the Committee to which I have referred went to prove that a very great number of incapacitated men formerly earned their living by manual labour. That created the situation that a great number of these men had to be educated in some business to which they had not previously been accustomed. Work of that kind cannot be done in a few weeks or a few months. The Government were prepared to support these men, even where it took two or three years to teach them a particular trade which would enable them to supplement their pensions in such a way as to provide a reasonable income for themselves and their families.
The’ Minister referred to the land question, to the provision of small business undertakings for soldiers, and to the measures to be adopted to provide them with employment. With regard to the settlement of returned soldiers on the land, it is my opinion that a very small percentage of the men will desire or will be in a physical or mental condition to go upon the land. Is it reasonable to expect men who have endured the conditions which obtain at the Front - conditions which are inseparable from active service in the field - to go out into virgin country and perform the work of pioneers, when we know that strong men in full possession of all their physical and mental faculties frequently succumb to the task ? I say that it is unfair to ask a returned soldier to take up land under such conditions. In my opinion the settlement df our returned soldiers should be restricted to land which has been proved to be reproductive. Let the areas be limited, if necessary, but by all means let us place our returned heroes upon land from which they can expect an immediate return. They ought not to be called upon to undertake pioneering work such as the grubbing of trees and the clearing of land, practically subsisting on charity in the meantime.
There is another class of returned soldier in regard to whom I should like an expression of opinion from the Vice-President of the Executive Council. I refer to those who have come back to us with shattered constitutions, who have lost alike their selfcontrol and their self-respect, men who are in receipt of a pension of a few shillings weekly, and who float about from public house to public house spending it. Frequently I have seen citizens pass an intoxicated man of this class with an unmistakable expression of disgust. They did not realize that only a few months before that man was a hero looking death in the face whilst fighting their battles and that’ iti was because of his terrible experiences that he had been reduced to his present condition. If there is one class of our returned soldiers who ought to be the special charge of this country, it is the class which I have described. No effort should be spared to restore these , men to their former positions in life and to make them once more respected and useful members of society.
I come now to the machinery of the Bill by which effect is to be given to this repatriation scheme. I am strongly of opinion that the Commission and the Boards to be appointed under this measure should be properly constituted officials, clothed with a direct and personal responsibility for the efficient administration of the scheme. Evidence is daily forthcoming that business men, acting in an honorary capacity, necessarily perform their duties in a more or less perfunctory fashion, and there are no duties which will demand more intelligence in their faithful discharge than those associated’ with the scheme which has been outlined by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. If, for example, we look at our Defence Department to-day we shall find (that there is very little fault to be urged against the provision that has been made for the dependants of soldiers abroad. The trouble is that those who most need the assistance do not get it. Why t Because of maladministration. I know of hundreds of cases in which almost brutal indifference has been exhibited to the welfare of soldiers’ dependants. No matter what provision may be made by Parliament, unless there be efficient administration, those whose interests are most vitally affected will not be benefited. I hold in my hand particulars of a sample case, to which I invite the attention of honorable senators. It is that of a woman who received information that her son was a prisoner of war. Her first intimation took the form1 of a stoppage of her allowance. She is a widow with no other means of support. She wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions asking if something could not be done, and he replied as follows: -
With reference to the war pensions claim lodged by you in respect of your son, Private
John Edward- , I have to inform you that your son is a prisoner of war, and, therefore, you are not eligible for a pension. If any information is required regarding your military allotment, you should communicate with the District Paymaster, Victoria Barracks, who deals with these matters.
Here was a lone widow living 150 miles from Melbourne, who was suddenly left without means of support. She wrote to. this official, and all the interest that he exhibited in her welfare was to forward her tie communication which I have read, although he had a telephone at his hand, and could easily have rung up the District Paymaster and have ascertained what could be done in the matter.
– Was he a paid officer?
– Surely a voluntary committee would do as well as that.
– What Department was it?
– The Pensions Department. The success of this scheme, I repeat, depends entirely upon the machinery that is created for its administration. My experience during the past few months induces me to believe that the most vital part of the organization is its decentralization. It is imperative that persons living in distant parts of the States should be able to consult at some convenient centre’ an intelligent officer who is in a position to get their business done for them. That is the great desideratum to be attained. The Government propose, I understand, to establish local committees in various districts. But where is their responsibility to come in? Tt shows how little consideration has been given to this matter when the Vice-President of the Executive Council stated that it would be left to the committees to decide what should be the areas allotted to them.
– I said nothing of the kind. I wish that the honorable senator would study what I did say before he speaks.
– I wish to point out that no difficulty should be experienced in allotting the areas. I hold in my hand a military map of Victoria in which battalion areas are set out quite clearly and distinctly. If it be possible to determine areas within which several thousand boys have to fulfil their military obligations, and if this oan be done with the aid of only one or two paid officers, surely something on similar lines can be adopted in regard to repatriation. I know that a good deal of splendid work has been done by different organizations both in respect of repatriation matters and matters for which the Defence Department is responsible. Experience has conclusively proved that if at any convenient centre an individual can devote his time from 9 a.m. daily until a late hour in the evening, exclusively to answering questions relating to repatriation, he will be fully occupied from week-end to week-end. That has been abundantly demonstrated in six or seven centres in Victoria alone. I mention this fact merely to show that if we adopt a scheme of this character without some clear idea- of the responsibility to be attached to those who are clothed with the authority to give effect to it, the trouble which exists to-day will be multiplied a thousandfold.
I would like honorable senators to understand something about the organization with which I have been associated for some time, and about its genesis. The men who largely form and administer it are not men who are looking for repatriation assistance. Fortunately there are some hundreds, and even thousands of our returned soldiers who, after a few weeks’ rest, are able to resume their former avocations. These men saw that there was now so much neglect and indifference to the cases of many of their returned comrades that they determined to create an organization which would enable them to help those who were unable to help themselves. That is the sole idea underlying this organization. When I say that each State deals with hundreds of cases of returned soldiers weekly, iti will be seen how necessary was its establishment. In Victoria alone there are eight or nine branches of it. But for this organization there would be a great boil-over somewhere. Not only is this body performing very useful work for the Government, but it is capable of considerable expansion, and the Ministry will be well-advised if it invites its co-operation in giving effect to this important national scheme of repatriation.
– I approach this subject with very considerable hesitancy, realizing that we are launching upon a scheme of the greatest importance to Australia, and setting an example to the whole civilized world. We are embarking upon a scheme in which we have no precedent to guide us. We have no example from the experience of the past, and consequently we have to lay the foundation of this principle of repatriation, accepting an enormous responsibility, without any guidance whatever. I was very pleased indeed with the speech delivered by Senator Gardiner, in which he distinctly showed his desire to assist in carrying out the scheme to its most useful termination. I realize that the Bill contains merely the machinery to provide for the enacting of regulations which will empower the Government to carry out the scheme.
Considerable objection has been raised to the suggestion that honorary committees should be appointed to administer it. My experience in Tasmania has been that honorary service can be obtained of a character and qualification which would entail an enormous expense if paid for in the ordinary way, and I believe the same will be found true of the other States. There are a number of men anxious to play their part in this’ great struggle, but unable to take their place in the firing line, who can, by a sacrifice, give the time to this work, and are willing and anxious to do something in order that they may participate in tie great fight for the defence of Australia. I have in mind a retired business man, who, at the beginning of the war, offered himself for enlistment, but failed to pass the medical examination. He immediately offered his services to the War Council of the State, was accepted, and has continued in that position ever since, rendering services which, I am quite confident, could not be hired under at least £500 per year. When we see this in my own little State, T am led to. believe that, in the larger States, there will be no difficulty in getting men who cannot render services at the Front, but who have all the ability and enthusiasm necessary to make the administration of this scheme a success. Senator Bolton strongly protested against the establishment of these honorary Boards, claiming that with them we should not get that attention and thorough administration which would be obtained from a paid Board, but in the same breath he gave an instance of a paid officer of the Treasury Department who was most lax in carrying out his duties.
– There will still be paid officers under the honorary Board.
– But they will be the advisory Board, controlled by the Government, with the right of the GovernorGeneral in Council, which is the Government, of withdrawal from time to time. The Board will have the control of the officers under them, and will be the administrative body under the Commonwealth Government. Hence I believe the suggestion for the provision of honorary Boards is a good one, and has every possibility of success.
The repatriation of soldiers is a very complex question, difficult to approach in the ordinary way. No payment and no reward that can be made to a soldier adequately compensates him for the services he renders to his country. A man must be imbued with patriotism and love, of bis country, and his real reward must come from the fact that he, as a man and an Australian, went away and offered his life for the defence of Australia and the Empire, and not for any remuneration which he might receive, or any money compensation which might be tendered to him afterwards. So, in the repatriation of soldiers,, there is an obligation placed on the nation to do everything and anything necessary to prevent these men suffering privation in .their future life. If the nation were to undertake the absolute sustenance of the men in luxury for the rest of their lives, the nation would not be overpaying them for the services they have rendered; but that would be a bad policy. Such a system of pensioning or maintaining the soldiers of the nation would bring about their degeneration. Hence it must be the object of the Government, while repatriating them, to create in them a self-reliant spirit, giving them the opportunity of being self-reliant, apart altogether from what they receive from the State.
Several things more particularly suggested in Senator Millen’s speech have a particular interest in the consideration of the measure. One of the most important is the training of returned men for avocations other than those to which they have been accustomed. I quite agree with Senator Millen that every effort should be made to re-establish the men in those industries with which they were associated before going to the war. It is difficult to get men of mature years to take up a new line of industry, and it is, therefore, very much better to make every effort to reestablish them in the industries ‘ they followed before enlisting ; but there are other cases in which I believe men can be with advantage trained to a stage of selfreliance by taking up some other avocation for which the injuries received at the Front would not incapacitate them. I was very much struck with the scheme outlined by Colonel Fitzpatrick, in which he advocates the co-operation of all the industrial corporations and private employers to train these men in trades which can be learnt with, say, a twelve months’ apprenticeship, the employers being subsidized to the extent of at least one-third of the minimum wage in that particular industry.
– Do you think the men could learn a trade in twelve months ?
– I do not say that a man could become a blacksmith, carpenter, or engineer in that length of time, but there are certain avocations which can be learned and taken up with interest by returned soldiers. Colonel Fitzpatrick found, in his investigations, that the unions, although indicating the utmost willingness to assist the men in learning the different avocations, very properly insisted upon the minimum wage being paid. They would not .agree upon any consideration to the employment of a returned soldier at a wage less than the minimum wage provided by either a Wages Board or the Arbitration Court, and the suggestion of the gentleman expounding this policy was that the Government should subsidize the employer to the extent of one-third of the minimum wage.
– That was not my suggestion.
– No; it was a suggestion made by Colonel Fitzpatrick, the proposal being to pay a higher amount at the beginning of the apprenticeship, when the services of the employee were of less value to the employer, and to gradually decrease the amount until it disappeared as the employee becomes proficient in his work,- I understand Colonel Fitzpatrick found that a number of employers were prepared to give the system a trial, and he has assured us that he has obtained the cooperation of the industrial unions. There is nothing to prevent the adoption of such a system under this Bill. All that is re- quired is that regulations should be prescribed enabling the Boards in the different States to introduce it, and I believe it would operate satisfactorily.
In introducing the Bill, the Minister referred to cases of which I have had experience in my own State, namely, that of apprentices who had enlisted before the expiration of their term of apprenticeship. In all Government institutions in Tasmania, every civil servant, it did not matter what his employment might have been - whether he was an apprentice learning a trade or on the clerical staff of some Department - had an absolute guarantee from the Government that upon his return he would be reinstated in the position which he would have occupied had he remained in Australia.
– Including increments in salary.
– Yes. Although this ‘ may seem a rather extravagant expenditure, the equity of the proposal will be apparent to every one, for if a man went to fight to defend his country he was surely entitled to occupy, on his return, the same position as a man working side by side with him, but who refused to go. One such instance came under my notice the other day. This was the case of an apprentice, who, if he went back to the stage at which he left his work, would receive something like 18s. a week. That young man enlisted about three years ago, and when he went back to the workshop, he took up his position where he left off, but instead of receiving 18s. a week he was paid lis.- 6d. per day, the Government merely providing that he should serve another two and a half years before he received his indentures, this being the term necessary to complete his apprenticeship. I want to see a similar scheme carried out under the repatriation proposals, but the speech delivered by the Minister did not indicate that, apprentices would be so treated.
– Pardon me, I think it did.
– I do not want to misrepresent the Minister, but I think he said that the wages of an apprentice at eighteen years might not suit an apprentice of twenty-one.
– But I went on to say that we must accept the duty of carrying apprentices on to the completion of their indentures, and putting them in a position to do it.
– Yes, those were the words used by the Minister, but they do not indicate to me that it is the intention of the Government, under this repatriation scheme, to pay these men the wage which they would have received had they remained in their employment and not enlisted. Of course, it is impossible for us to do the fair thing in every case. A scheme was propounded in South Africa by a Mr. McLeod, who holds the opinion that in war-time all service should be absolutely compulsory, and that no man should suffer for having served his country. His idea, and L believe it is a sound one, was that every eligible citizen should be compelled to go to Hie Front, and that no person? whether he received £3 :,per week or £3,000 a year, should suffer any loss by the fact that he had to fight for his country. I have no doubt that in theory the system is quite sound. There appears to be no reason why any man should be called upon to .make any greater sacrifice for the defence of his country than another, but in practice I am afraid we cannot absolutely guarantee this equality of sacrifice.
– I see. the honorable senator’s point, and I have no hesitation in saying it is one that ought to be acted upon.
– I think a slight amendment might with advantage be made in clauses 8 and 20 of the Bill, by inserting the words “ or dependants.” The measure would then provide against greater .hardships being imposed upon the mothers of sons, or brothers and sisters of a soldier. I have in mind the case of a widowed mother who sent four sons to the Front. One has been killed, two are wounded, and the other is about to arrive in England. This woman is undoubtedly a dependant upon those soldiers. She worked hard all her life to rear her boys, and had just reached the stage at which she could expect, some comfort, and even luxury, for herself when the war broke out, and the whole of her anticipations vanished. Under this Bill, in clauses 8 and 20, provision is made for the children of soldiers, but there appears to be no authority for a Board to take into consideration the question of rendering assistance to other dependants of a soldier. I think, there fore, that the amendment I have indicated would be acceptable.
The Leader of the Opposition? in his speech, referred to the establishment of certain industries for the employment of returned men. I .agree with, all that Senator Gardiner said on that point, and ^ I hope the Government will launch such industries, but not as Government undertakings Ti ave usually been projected in the past. Let these ventures be of a sound and national character, and reproductive. I agree with Senator Gardiner as to the settlement of soldiers upon irrigation areas. This is an enterprise in which many mistakes will be made if the greatest care is not exercised, because a large number of men will be anxious to establish homes in the belief that an easy livelihood may be gained, and many will probably have the bitter experience which has befallen other people, with the result that valuable years of their lives will be wasted in useless toil, and they will have to make another start. I think the co-operation of private employers ought to be invoked as far as is humanly possible, and the powers of the Government, which are farreaching, exercised in this direction. A case came under my notice the other day of a reduction of the hands in the munition works at Footscray. I do not know the exact number, as I merely got a statement from a returned man. But, according to the press, 1,500 hands have been discharged by the Colonial Ammunition Company, and that number includes at least eight returned soldiers. Several of the soldiers are married, and one of them has a wife and three children. It seems to me that there is a considerable lack of reasonable consideration for the returned soldier when we find that, from works which were created in consequence of the -war, a returned soldier has been discharged while eligible’ young men are continued in employment. I hope that the Government will bring under the notice of the manager of these munition works the fact that a number of returned soldiers have been discharged from the works while a number of eligible young men are continued in employment.
I do not think that I can contribute very much more to the debate. We are asked to launch upon a very big undertaking. I feel satisfied that the Government will welcome any suggestions which may result in perfecting the scheme at its initial stage. The more perfect the scheme is made the less difficulty will be experienced in administration. I believe that with the co-operation of the returned soldiers, the co-operation of the private citizens, and a whole-hearted and enthusiastic administration by the Boards to be appointed by the Government, if all that ought to be done in the interests of the returned men is not done, a great deal will have been done to make their lives better and happier than the soldier of the past has ever been. I do not look forward to any scheme which will fully compensate the men for what they are doing for us. We cannot, whatever we do, compensate or reward soldiers for the sacrifice of a limb, or the loss of health ; but there should be no murmuring, and the Government should listen to no protests regarding taxation. I am behind the Government, no matter what taxation may be necessary to find the money for this purpose. I am behind the Government in levying the heaviest taxation upon those who are best able to bear it, and these are the men who have benefited to the greatest extent from the defence of Australia by our countrymen ; these are the men who must willingly contribute, and in that way assist to do all that is humanly possible to make the remaining years of our soldiers’ lives happy and contented. Hence there must be no timidity on the part of the Government. The incidence of the taxation, of course, will be submitted to honorable senators, and they will have an opportunity to express their views regarding it.
– I have only a few words to say on this measure. I compliment the Vice-President of the Executive Council upon making a very plain statement; butI think that, though it was plain, it was very vague. He did not furnish the particulars we desired, as to how it is intended to finance the scheme.
– We shall get that information later.
– The soldiers cannot wait. I also commend Senator Bolton for his condemnation of voluntary work in matters of this description. I am, and always have been, a unificationist,’ pure and simple. I believe in the unification of all these things for the purpose of assisting returned soldiers. There should be a central body established for (hat purpose, and it alone should administer the scheme.
In the various States to-day soldiers and soldiers’ dependants are treated quite differently. In some sections even of a State they are treated differently. For instance, in parts of NewSouth Wales widows have been provided with homes absolutely free ; but in other parts of the State voluntary workers have built dwellings for the widows, and a certain debt is round their necks for many years to come. Again, in Victoria, there is a case where a widow applied for assistance to build a house. She had the land, and the authorities offered her £75 to build a house. That sum is totally inadequate. It will be seen that in one State houses are being built free for widows, while in another State the authorities will not give widows adequate assistance, even if they are willing to pay the money back in time.
I am totally against the borrowing of money for the execution of this schemer The Government have admitted. I think, that the best means to that end would be to retrieve our loss in trade during the last year.We have an adverse trade balance of £53,000,000. That is one of the difficulties which have to be overcome, and which should be overcome by this National Government. We ought to produce here what we can. We can only do that in one way, and that is by expending in this country the money which is now paid for imported luxuries. I want the Government to levy upon the luxuries which are used in Australia, and which certainly are the outcome of the efforts of the community in creating value. That value is only created by the work of men with two good hands. It was said the other day that a man who would invest capital in the Commonwealth would be a lunatic. We do not want any lunatics in this country to do anything like that. What we need here is a Government who will see that the men with two good hands - and there are plenty of them here, and plenty of room for more - are given a chance to carry on the industries of the country. The wealth is here. No man or body of men can take away our agricultural or mineral wealth. It is an extraordinary fact that in 1916 £6,458,000 was sent, out of Australia for luxuries, according to Mr. Knibbs, and I suppose that his statement is correct. It is upon the users of these luxuries that I would levy to finance this great repatriation scheme. That sum comprisedthe following imports: - Furs, £100,000; precious stones’, £200,000; velvets, £800,000; pianos, £255,000; perfumery, £160,000; jewellery, £158,000; confectionery, £185,000; wines, &c, £1,400,000; silks, &c, £1,600,000, and motor cars £1,600,000.
– Surely you would not say that every imported motor car was a luxury? A large number of farmers import motor cars, for very good reasons.
– I will explain that matter in a minute ortwo. It is stated that 90 per cent. of the motor cars imported into Australia are introduced for the purpose of pleasure.
– Ninety per cent?
– That statement is given in the Trades Journal. I do not say that all motor cars are used for pleasure. Still, they are luxuries. There are not very many men who do not get some pleasure out of a motor car which they use for business purposes. I am not grumbling at that. My point is that these motor cars could be manufactured here by capable workmen, if the Government would only impose a stiff protective duty. Silks and satins could be done without, and the £1,600,000 spent on the importation of those Articles would clothe a good many widows and orphans. Here is a sum of £6,458,000 upon which we could levy. It would be a fair start to finance the scheme.
When we find an adverse trade balance of £53,000,000 in one year it makes one think that something ought to be done to divert that balance.It can only be done by means of a Protective Tariff. That is one of the methods which the Government ought to try to adopt.It is really wonderful what large war profits are being made in Australia by the manufacturers. Some of them will stand in Martin-place, Sydney, and elsewhere, and ask workers to economize, and then jump into a motor car and run down to the Town Hall, where they will have a luncheon of thirty courses, with wine at 15s. a bottle. That has actually happened. It proves that there is a certain amount of waste. In 1912, employees engaged in Australian industries received in wages £31,287,942, and in 1915 they received £33,210,654, or an increase of £1,923,162.
– Was there not a smaller number employed in the latter year than in the earlier year?
– That is so. The decrease in the number employed was 6,384, and the increase in the wages received was £1,923,162, but during the same period the value of the production of the industries increased by £20,311,293. The figures go to show that, whilst 444 factories were put out of action, and 6,384 fewer hands were employed, the employers received £20,311,293 extra, in addition to paying £1,923,162 in increased wages. If our industries can show such returns in three years, by establishing more industries and taxing the extra profits earned by those controlling them, we should find” the means to finance this important scheme.
– The honorable senator left out an important factor in his calculations. He left out the cost of material.
– I did leave that out. I could find no figures to show the cost of material.
– Mr. Knibbs gives figures to show the cost of material taken into the factories.
– I did not get my figures from Knibbs. It is my purpose only to show the very great increase of profits derived from our protected industries. If these could be doubled and trebled, as they might be, by a review of the Tariff, they would afford the means of financing this scheme.
It may be said that we should not throw the whole burden of financing the scheme upon the people of to-day. But I believe that a great deal of the burden could without injury be borne by the employers controlling the industries of Australia to-day. I should be prepared to give them 10 per cent. in excess of profits made prior to the war, but I would take all the rest of their profits for the repatriation of our soldiers. One gentleman whom I know well said to me, “ I do not mind you fellows, but you would take every feather from me, and would not leave me one to fly with.” I replied that I would not take every feather, that I would leave him with a good covering, but that if every feather he ‘had to fly with were taken from him he would not then be giving as much for the country and the flag as the man walking about on crutches after hia return from the war, or the widow who had lost her breadwinner at the war, or the father and mother who had given the best of their family to the service of the country. I have no wish to interfere with the rights of any one, but I would curtail luxuries and the spending power of certain people, which has been drawn from the producers of the country. I would tax such people to the fullest extent, and would not borrow money for the financing of this scheme.
I have one or two proposals to make for the improvement of the Government scheme. The first is that the pay of missing soldiers should be continued until their fate has been definitely reported. At present the relatives of missing men are suffering from the fact that their pay is not continued until their fate is definitely known.
Something of this kind! is provided for in the Bill, but I do not think it is set out very definitely. I know, of course, that it would require a very large” amount of money to establish many re-‘ turned soldiers in businesses which would place them in the position in life which they would probably occupy if they had not gone to the war. I agree that it would not be a fair thing to give a returned soldier the right to demand that such assistance should be given him on the terms I suggest, namely, that it should not be subject to payment of interest or repayment of principal. What 1 suggest, is that a certain amount should be allotted by the Government, or by those who are managing the repatriation scheme, to enable a mau, for instance, to buy a barber’s business, or a milk round, or some other business which would provide him with sufficient to enable him to support himself and his family, and this assistance should not be subject to payment of interest or principal. I know of men who went to the war leaving businesses bringing them in as much as £1,000 “a year. Such a man could not expect that he would be provided with a business on his return from which he might earn £1,000 a year, but he has, in my opinion, a right to be established in a business in civil life which would return him sufficient to keep himself and his family. To-day the Judges of our Courts have decided that a certain amount of income is required to keep a man and his family, but, unfortunately, they have based their decision upon a family of three. I do not think that, for the purpose of this repatriation scheme, the family should be restricted to three. I know of soldiers who have as many as ten children, and my contention in this matter is that, without respect to the number of his family, a returned soldier should be established in a business which will enable him to earn a living wage for himself and his family.
I have some proposals to make in connexion with returned disabled soldiers or sailors. The first is : No disabled soldier or sailor should be discharged except at his own request, or until equipped for and provided with work. This means that. unless he desires to be discharged, no disabled or crippled soldier or sailor should be discharged unless he has learnt a trade, and is fully equipped for it, and work is found for him.
There, are many things which a man can do if he has but one arm or one leg; but he must be equipped in a particular way to- enable him to do them. The Minister proposes to go to America for a man to supervise factories for the manufacture of artificial limbs. I point out that wo have men in Australia who are quite as competent for the position as any one we could import from America. When I was in England, the owner of Harefield Park gave up his place for a hospital, and he imported a workman from South Melbourne to establish a factory there for the manufacture of artificial limbs. This factory was able to turn out artificial limbs at half the cost of those . that were being imported from America. I do not say that they were just . as good as those imported; but I have already told honorable senators that I saw a man there ride a bicycle on the day after his artificial leg had been fitted on. I saw another man, whom I had known for years as a member of a fire brigade in Sydney, walk 10 miles the day after he was fitted with an artificial leg. I have letters which inform me that the factory to which I refer has been closed ,up, and Mr. Mathews, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, tells me that the man who went from South Melbourne to England to establish the factory, and whose name is Duncan, is back in South Melbourne again and looking for work. When men are brought from Australia to England to carry on such a business, it is clear that it is unnecessary for us to go to America for a supervisor of such factories. I hope that no disabled men will be discharged unless they are equipped for. work with artificial limbs.
I propose, further, in the case of disabled men : The nation should educate and equip such soldier or sailor to earn his own living - and further-: The nation should provide ali means, by scientific” research, of overcoming disablement. What I mean by this is that I should like to see a bureau of scientific research’ established in which disabled men might obtain the benefit of the best medical science and skill. I know of the case of a man who was discharged because nothing more could be done for him here. He went to America for treatment, and when he came back here he could run about without a stick, and talked of playing football. If he had not been in a position to find the money to enable him to go to America, he could not have secured the necessary treatment, and he would have been stranded.
I hope that the Government will consider my suggestions, with a view to adding them to the scheme which has been outlined by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. I believe that we can finance the undertaking by taxation, by building up a Tariff wall, and by establishing in this country industries which will be the means of creating an enormous amount of wealth.
– I think we may reasonably congratulate ourselves upon -the general unanimity that prevails in this Parliament in regard to the necessity for doing something for the soldiers who will return to this country after the war. When we recall how little was done in the past for the heroes who suffered for the Empire in many of its historic battles, we can, with pardonable pride, say that we have advanced considerably. We have often heard the story of the Waterloo and Crimean heroes who found themselves suffering the most acute poverty in England only a few years later. It is well to remember that, in this country, such a blot will never rest either upon our name or history.
From the general consensus of opinion, it appears that the only difference likely to arise in regard to the scheme before us is as to the methods to be employed for putting into operation the plan which we all have in mind. I feel that if any country in the world can afford to deal with a proposition of this character with a liberal, and even with a generous hand, it is Australia. - this glorious Commonwealth, this island continent, which, thus far, bears not a single evidence of having been engaged in the war. When we recall the stories that are told about the devastation of the fair lands of France, Belgium, and Servia, where millions of pounds’ worth of damage has been done, we must realize that we are in a position to deal with this question, not in a parsimonious, but in a most generous fashion. If we turn to the story of the American war, in which one brother fought against another - that war which was the most costly one in history - we shall find reason to support us io our resolve to deal justly andpatriotically with this problem.
The question naturally arises as to how the scheme is to be dealt with from a financial stand-point. However, this is not the time to discuss that phase of the matter, and I do not propose to touch upon it, farther than to say that, if we can receive back about 200,000 of the soldiers who are now at the Front, on the basis of £500 per head, the expenditure involved will represent a very formidable sum. The proposal put forward by the Vice-President of the Executive Council in a tentative way, and agreed to by the State Governments, is that those soldiers who are to be settled on the land should be granted assistance to the extent of £500 per head. Now, I am sure that that section of our returned soldiers whose members decide to settle on the land is not going to be more favorably dealt with than is any other section of them. So that, if we intend to spend that amount on soldiers who wish to go upon the land, we shall certainly have to grant an equal measure of consideration to men who, instead of going there, prefer to embark upon some other form of enterprise. For instance, if a man were engaged in mining before he joined the Expeditionary Force, he may naturally wish to resume that avocation on his return here. Similarly, if before enlisting he was engaged in a small business, he may again desire to become the possessor of a little business. So that when we stipulate an amount of £500 per head for settling soldiers on the land, we must necessarily keep in mind the fact that the same justifiable demand may be made upon us for the remainder of our 200,000 men. We’ cannot, make fish of one and flesh of another. That is quite plain. Take, for example, the Kalgoorlie goldfield, which has sent to the Front between 4,000 and 5,000 men. These men enlisted from an area in which there is only one industry, and upon their return their thoughts will naturally revert to the theatre of their former endeavours. Many of them will, perhaps, have in mind places where they may reasonably hope to acquire an independence. A returned soldier who has been engaged in mining ought to be entitled to come to the Government and say, “ I know of a place where I am likely to discover a profitable mine, and I am entitled to the same measure of assistance as is being granted to soldiers to settle in the Murray waters- area or elsewhere.” We need to keep this fact steadily in view, and consequently we have to face a huge financial responsibility amounting to about £100,000,000. From that calculation I am omitting provision for the partially incapacitated. I am assuming that twothirds of the army at present fighting Australia’s battle at. the Front will return to their homes. To raise the amount I have mentioned by taxation would be practically impossible. It would exhaust our resources, and impose upon the present, generation aburden which theyought not to be called upon to bear. The battle which our men are fighting to-day is one in which the fruits of victory will be reaped, not so much by the present generation as by the generations that will follow. Therefore it is almost unthinkable that the present generation should be asked to toe the scratch and pay the Bill.
– They could not do so, even if theywere willing.
– Apart from the economic disturbance which would be entailed, it would be grossly unfair to ask the present generation to do so.
In my view, the greater portion of the money required to finance this scheme must necessarily be raised by way of loan. I can see that one central authority must inevitably be established to handle the scheme, and to exercise an oversight of all its varied ramifications. It has well been remarked by previous speakers that the carrying out of the undertaking will involve a huge expenditure. So it will. The scheme itself is a huge one. I ask honorable senators to imagine the return of 200,000 men to Australia, and the strain it would throw upon our ordinary institutions, apart from the systematic effort that will be made under this Bill. The accession of 200,000 men to ourpopulation in one or two years would constitute such an enormous addition to it as to be practically without a precedent. The Government) propose to handle this huge addition to our population in a systematic way. Hitherto any large influx of population has been absorbed in a way that produced no particular jolt in the running of our industrial and economic machinery. But here it is proposed to handle the addition of 200,000 men by one means alone. Each case is to be considered on its merits by the governing bodies which will be established under the Commission. I merely mention this to show how thoroughly I agree with what has been said previously to the effect that in our endeavour to repatriate our soldiers we are in for the biggest thing that has ever been handled by any Government since responsible go’vernment was established in this country. When we realize the gigantic nature of the scheme it will make us very tolerant of each other’s opinions, and pay great attention to the Minister’s invitation not to dogmatize on the subject, and not to expect to hit on the right scheme or the right way of carrying out its details at the first shot.
A very good start is made by the measure. A Commission is to be appointed.. It may be all right for that Commission to deal with the districts contiguous to its sphere of operations at the Seat of Government, but it will be a very different thing when it comes to dealing with the outlying portions of the continent. Imagine a man in North Queensland, or the northern part of Western Australia, having a dispute with his local State Board, and desiring to have his appeal placed fairly and squarely before the Central ‘ Commission in Melbourne. Let honorable senators picture what that would mean to a person situated in such an outlandish location. The difficulty could be remedied by the Commission delegating soma of its powers or authorizing some of its mem- bers to travel from State to State as the members of the High Court travel now round the Commonwealth. The Commissioners could with advantage to the people living in distant localities make periodical visits and adjust the differences between the returned soldiers and the local Boards. The question arises as to the choice between voluntary Boards and local authorities and specially appointed representatives of the Commission. I think we shall have a lot of bother in getting these voluntary Boards to perform their work satisfactorily, and I make the following suggestion to the Minister for what it is worth : -
We are engaged in an entirely novel enterprise, and I see no reason why we should not throw the positions open to competitive selection and get men properly elected both to the local Boards and the State Boards. There is no reason why an election should not be held for members of the State Parliaments and for commissioners for specified districts for repatriation at the same time. The same thing would apply to the municipal and local authorities. The Act could.be altered in such a way as to get these people elected by the franchise at. present in operation for tha election of members either df State Parliaments or of our local governing bodies. With periodical elections, the conduct of a person who was guilty of any dereliction of duty would come up for review, and the people in the areas concerned would see to it that they selected a man who would do credit and justice to the position. The Minister might inquire whether the Local Government Act could be amended ‘ to provide for the election of representatives to take seats on the local Boards and deal with cases of -repatriated soldiers within the area of their jurisdiction.
As regards the central authority the Government would have to depend on its own appointments, but I am . very much afraid that if we have to depend on men coming .forward in a voluntary haphazard way when the war is over, when there is no excitement, and nothing but a pure patriotic impulse and a high sense of citizenship to stir them to do their duty efficiently, the interests and welfare of the returned soldiers will not be properly looked after. That is why I suggest some kind of selective basis for the constitution of local and State Boards. This would concentrate public attention on their members, and the best men would naturally be brought to the surface in the process i When a municipal election is being held the voters in a certain area could be .called upon to elect, in addition to their municipal representatives-, two commissioners for repatriation, under the franchise in operation in that area, and would pick the best men amongst themselves for the purpose. These in turn would go up for election at stated periods, and if they did not carry out their work faithfully and well better men would be put in their places. I have not much faith in any proposal to depend absolutely on voluntary assistance in this matter. What better proof could we have than the way in which some of the Recruiting Committees are acting ? It is of no use to blink the fact that a number of persons who have .taken positions on Recruiting Committees have absolutely failed to discharge the duties as they should, and have played fast and loose with the confidence reposed in them. We’ ought to get down to a selective basis in instituting these Boards, which will have charge of important work in connexion with, repatriation - work not for to-day or tomorrow, but for some years.
I am afraid I cannot agree with the suggestion put forward in the Ministerial statement for the treatment of employees according to the different degrees of incapacity. I understand that if a youth who joined the Australian Imperial Force at eighteen returns at twenty-one in perfect health and not incapacitated in any way, and therefore in a position to earn a man’s wages, the Minister proposes to call upon the Federal Treasury to pay the difference between the value of the services of that youth at eighteen and ‘his services when he reaches twenty-one. So far good. That is an excellent proposal, because the intention is to make up to that young fellow not only the loss he has incurred by his services at the war, but also whatever loss may have been caused to him through being absent from his country, and perhaps unable to meet his obligations.- That particular type of returned soldier is not going to lose anything, but take the case of the partially incapacitated -man. I understood the Minister to say that he is to be allowed to work at any trade that he is able to take on, and if able to give half or threequarters service, wages are to be paid to him in proportion. In that case, however, the Government does not propose to make up the amount to the full rate, but I see no reason why a man partially incapacitated should be called upon to subsist on half or three-quarters wage for the balance of his life because his physical powers were injured during the war.
– Will not the pension make up the difference ?
– I am not sure.
– I thought that was the Minister’s statement - that it would be made up by the pension.
– If that is so, there is no ground for further complaint. The Minister well said that the class of totally incapacitated men would always command our deepest sympathy and compassion, and stated that the Government propose to give the man of that class who is unable to do anything to earn his livelihood an extra 10s. to supplement his pension. That is the impression I gather from the report of the Minister’s speech in the press. In some parts of Australia the pension, plus the 10s. allowance, will fall far below what the man was normally earning before he joined the’ Australian Imperial Force.
– That is so.
– In other parts of Australia the Ministerial proposal might fill the bill, and there would be no ground for complaint. Owing, however, to the wide difference between the rates of pay obtaining in other parts of Australia, the result would be as I have stated, in which case the man would certainly have a grievance. Cases of that kind should be takes into special consideration. I want to ses all these men get the same economica value for their wage all over the Commonwealth, without differentiation. I realize that there will be difficulties, as many men joined the Australian Imperial Force from parts of Australia where the wage rate is very much higher, and if they are called upon to accept the conditions laid down in this cast-iron fashion, the amount they will receive will not purchase the same quantity of the necessaries of life as the amount received by others in larger centres of population. These men will naturally go back to their old associations, because they will feel more at home there. Some may wander to the larger cities, but to ask others who go back to their old habitation and their own people in the smaller States, or in the back country, to be content with the pension, plus 10s., will be a manifest injustice from their point of view. I trust, therefore, that the Minister will take into consideration some form of adjustment, to place all these men on the flame economical and equitable basis.
I should like to conclude my remarks on this very laudable legislation by emphasizing the necessity for the Government to take into account the encouragement of group or corporate assistance. There should be no need for that so far as the taking up of land is concerned, because a man can take up a piece of orchard or wheat land, or any other kind of land, but there are certain occupations in which it is of no use for the individual to give free fling to his ambitions.- I have known cases in Western Australia where men engaged in mining have sold up their small plant and sought an exemption on the ground that they, were going to the war, and found when they came back that”’ the prospects of the venture were not so bright as they expected. It is quite possible that some of these men who had been accustomed to working in timber districts might have in mind a proposal to purchase a saw-milling plant and again engage in the industry. There is no reason why, under .this scheme, they should not” be allowed some form of corporate or group assistance, because five or six men so engaged in the working of a proposition would be more likely to succeed than if they worked in an individual capacity. Or, again, two men whose temperaments might be agreeable to each other, might make up their minds to enter into a small business venture, and by grouping their allowances under the operation of this Bill, it is possible they would be able to do very much better than if working alone. I would impress upon the Minister that, in view of the varied nature of industries throughout the Commonwealth, and in view, also, of the fact that men have been drawn from these industries, it would be advisable to take into consideration the question of granting corporate assistance to men if they desire it. I would also urge that the scheme be put into operation as speedily as possible, because for a time we will have a small body of men to. handle, and will be able to find out all the weak spots of the organization, and apply the proper remedy before we are called upon to deal with the larger body of men who: we hope, will soon be returning to these shores. Already we have a number of returned soldiers looking for assistance from this measure, and by creating the organization without delay, we shall have it in smooth working order before the greater strain is thrown upon the new organization by the increased numbers of returning soldiers.
In his speech yesterday, the Minister made reference to the large number of men who would be settled on the Murray River lands. I quite agree with what he said on that point, because quite lately I had an opportunity of travelling over a stretch of that great’ waterway, and I was greatly impressed with the boundless possibilities in front of the repatriation scheme so far as it will affect the irrigated lands adjacent to the Murray River. It is a magnificent stream. An impression gained of it from a casual observation at Albury or Murray Bridge would be about worth as much as the opinion of a well-known globe-trotter who visited Australia some time ago, and after a swift passage through the States, wrote upon its possibilities and its great potential wealth. In that case a story badly told shattered the reputation of the author concerned. No one would ever dream now of accepting him as an authority upon anything concerning this country. As I have said, I travelled recently over a stretch of 150 miles of the Murray River from Mildura to Renmark, then on to Beri, Cobdogla, Waikerie, and the other settlements along its banks. It is really the Nile of Australia, and with possibilities it is hard to set a limit to. The river rolls slowly along at a pace of some 15 miles a day, so that, when floods occur in New South Wales, the waters take about six weeks to reach Murray Bridge. Settlers all along the waterway,- therefore, may get ample warning of any impending inundations. Apart from the scenery, which is most charming, the traveller down the Murray must be impressed with its boundless possibilities for settlement. The Burrinjuck irrigation scheme in New South Wales, is one of the largest yet projected in this country. It is estimated to support 300,000 people when ‘in full operation, and a modest estimate places the settlement at 7,000 cultivators, or 100,000 people. If we bear in mind that the maximum area is 200,000 acres, and that the irrigable land along the river Murray is about 1,400,000 acres, we will realize that the latter proposal is seven times larger, and likewise its possibilities may be multiplied seven -fold. At the settlements I visited recently, I found there were three grades of land - the fully irrigated, the partly irrigated, and the high land, upon which the settler may run his stock, and the information I obtained was one unvarying story of success. I am sure, therefore, that we may look forward with every confidence to a heavy settlement of returned, soldiers on the vast areas of our principal waterway, and that the men will only have themselves to blame if they do not succeed upon it.
I welcome the Bill, and urge the Minister to bring in the scheme as early as possible, so that we may have it on trial with a limited number of soldiers, and be able to remedy any faults before the great body of our soldiers return to this country.
– The Minister, in his second-reading speech, said he would welcome suggestions to improve the Bill now under discussion, and I am pleased to know, from statements on both sides of the Senate that it is not to be regarded as a party measure, either in this or the other branch of the Legislature. If ever there was a question that should be kept absolutely free of party criticism, it is that of repatriation.
While I was much interested in the speech made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and also in the speech delivered by Senator Gardiner in his criticism upon Senator Milieu’s remarks, I realize that both speeches give honorable senators good grounds for serious thought. I must compliment the Minister on the comprehensive manner in which he dealt with the Bill, and it seems to me that every honorable senator ought to accept his invitation to offer suggestions for its improvement. I have very little to say in the way of criticism, and very few suggestions to make; but, so far as I have been able to gather from a study of the Minister’s remarks, I do not think that the best method of control is outlined in the Bill. To me it seems rather a serious objection that there will be divided control, but I know that a number of people will say that, as the scheme is going to be so extensive, we should adopt every possible means to reduce the expenditure. Perhaps the method of control outlined by the Minister may have that effect to some extent if we obtain a certain proportion of professional effort and a certain proportion of voluntary effort in the administration. If an entirely professional administration be objected to on the score of expense, I do not think it is a very reasonable ground of objection, because in view of the enormous amount of money to be handled, the cost of administration will bear a very small ratio to the total sum which the taxpayers will have to find every year in some way or other. Whilst I yield to no’ one in my admiration of the splendid work which has been done under the voluntary system for easing the lot of the soldiers and assisting their dependants; whilst I admire as much as any one does the very fine work which has been done in collecting various funds and administering them, I think that, before making such a tremendous departure as is proposed we ought to go to the root of the matter and ask ourselves: Will it not be better to have no person associated with the administration of this scheme who is not entirely responsible to the Ministry, who, of course, would be responsible to Parliament, which, in its turn, would be responsible to the people? It is, I admit, a very debatable question, but to me it seems that it would be much better, at all events at the beginning, to appoint only paid officials. I have always preferred professional to voluntary service in matters where a large amount of money has been involved. That is why I think it would be a mistake to rely in any degree on the good offices of citizens who might under this measure be appointed to the State Boards, and who, or course, would have to follow their daily employment or business. The members of the State Boards are likely to be business men. Naturally they would give the best portion of their time to the conduct of their own affairs. They would be sufficiently philanthropic to devote considerable time and energy to the interests of their country. Still there is the objection that their time, energy, and intelligence would be divided. That is why I, while admitting that the question is open to doubt, incline to the opinion that it would be better not. to have on the Repatriation Commission, or on the State Boards, any person but an official whose whole services must be placed at the disposal of the country.
It is provided in the measure that there shall be a Repatriation Commission consisting of seven members. Why was the arbitrary number of seven adopted ?
– What number would you have?
– I am coming to that point. If the question of expense stands in the way of appointing entirely paid officials, is it necessary to have seven members? Would not three do?
– Why three? That is an arbitrary number.
– The Central Commission, I take it, would be composed mostly of highly-paid officials. If we want the best brains to administer this enormous scheme we ought to be prepared to pay.
– We are proposing to create an unpaid Commission.
– The honorable senator has not been listening’ to my remarks. I am suggesting the appointment of a paid Commission, consisting of three members instead of seven members, if the matter of expense stands in the way. We have such a public body as. the InterState Commission consisting of three members, all of whom are highly paid. It seems to me that, perhaps, three men would do the work of a Central Commission as well as seven men could, and, possibly, a State Board consisting of three members only would do the work as well as seven men could. It would cutaway a con-, siderable portion of the expense which would have to be incurred with a central body consisting of seven members, and. also State bodies consisting of that number.
I have no intention of delaying the passage of the measure by making a long speech. I have indicated a direction in which it has occurred to me the Bill may be improved. In his speech this afternoon, Senator Gardiner suggested the initiation of a number of large works, so that returned soldiers may be suitably settled in occupations for which they are fitted. His suggestions open up other big questions, which, in their turn, will have to be considered, probably during the life of this Parliament. They open up the question of providing new channels of employment, and that, to me, suggests the point that a large number of these men could be settled in various industries, and some of them, perhaps, in industries in which they were not employed before they left Australia. That line of thought opens up another big question, and. that is the necessity of having a scientific Tariff.
Owing to our constitutional limitations with respect to money Bills, this is not the House in which the question of the cost of the scheme . can be initiated. It might have been more acceptable to some honorable senators, and certainly it would have been more acceptable to Senators Gardiner and McDougall, if the Minister had outlined the mode in which it is intended to raise the money. As financial measures must, necessarily be originated in another place, obviously it was not possible for the Minister to say very much on the question of finance when he wa,s submitting this measure. I have nothing further to say at this stage. It ia with great pleasure, indeed, that I offer these suggestion for what they are worth; but it is with greater pleasure that I welcome this measure as an earnest and comprehensive attempt by the Commonwealth, to do for the soldiers what it promised, and that is to place every one of them in a position in which he will be able to say that he is not in a worse state because he was brave and game enough to go and fight for his country.
Debate interrupted under sessional order.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
.- I move -
It is singularly fortunate that I am able to discuss this motion on the very day succeeding that on which I gave notice of my intention to move it. I have another notice of motion on the businesspaper which has been before this and the last Parliament. I think I gave notice of it two years ago, but iti has not’ yet been discussed. ‘ So that I must take the opportunity given me to deal with the motion which I am now submitting as something coming from the gods, and as evidence of a tutelary providence watching over the Australian people.
This is a most important subject. So important is it that I hope to see a ready adoption of my motion by the Senate. I must confess that, although not one of those who pre- judge cases and regard the merits of resolutions and measures as selfevident, it is my opinion that the value of the motion I am now submitting must
be apparent to every honorable senator. My feelings towards the motion very much resemble those of Napoleon when he was negotiating the treaty of Campo Formio. It was sought by the Austrian negotiator to put forward a statement of the fact that Austria freely recognised the French Republic. “ Strike that out,” said Napoleon, “ The French Republic is like the sun; none but the blind can fail to see it,” and struck out that proposal was. This motion is one which the Senate should have no hesitation in adopting, for its virtue and its necessityare amply obvious.
What is the statement of the Secretary of State for the Colonies which I have made the basis of my motion. Mr. Long’s words, spoken with authority, cannot be reproduced too often -
Now I speak with knowledge and with responsibility, and I speak as the representative, for the. moment, of those oversea Dominions which are the pride and glory of our Empire to-day, when I say: Let no man think that these struggles have been fought in vain. Let no man think that these territories shall ever return to German rule.
I have not heard that Mr. Walter Long has wavered in his opinion since the 31st January last, when he spoke these words. If he has I hope that this motion will in some modest way put a little starch into his mental collar. We must understand that even Imperial statesmen have been at times very vacillating intheir policy, so much so that when our Empire was confronted, over a century ago, with the gigantic power of the French Republic, an historian like Macaulay has said that the hearts of some of our leaders quailed when they contemplated the power with which they had to do battle. Fortunately for Britain and our Empire, there arose a statesman at the time who took up the gage of battle, and after a long struggle, extending over nearly a quarter of a century, we successfully combated the power of revolutionary France, wielded by Napoleon.
– Surely the honorable senator does not think that the fact that Britain went to war with the France of that time is something to be proud of.
– Most decidedly I do. The men controlling the Republic of France at that time had much the same ideals that the members of the Industrial Workers of the World have to-day.
– Nonsense. If the honorable senator read French history he would not talk like that.
- Senator de Largie has endeavoured to side-track me. If he is an admirer of all that constituted revolutionary France his power of mental commendation is very great indeed.
I have quoted the statement of Mr. Walter Long, and its emphatic nature is so evident that very little comment from me is necessary. It has secured the enthusiastic approval of a man whose name is likely to go down to posterity as one of the great men whom our Empire has produced. He is a man not of our race or of the races ordinarily known as British. A few years ago he was an enemy of our Empire and fought against Imperial troops. But the wise dispositions of Imperial statesmen have converted him into a loyal, and, indeed, an enthusiastic, subject of the British Empire. I speak of General Smuts. He went to London as late as 12th March of the present year and delivered the following comment upon the statement made by the Secretary of State for the Colonies: -
Nothing has given greater pleasure than Mr. Long’s statement that “No German colony can go back to Germany.” The mere suggestion that any part should be returned is, of course, preposterous. I shudder to think what would happen to the native population if any part were returned. These people have stood by us magnificently, and our prestige in East Africa would severely suffer. The whole of South Africa, East Africa, South-west Africa, and Rhodesia would stand aghast at such an idea.
Coming nearer home, I can quote the opinion of one who lives in that important part of the Empire which lies to the east of the Australian continent. The man of whom I now speak is one who has been a statesman in high authority in New Zealand for more than a decade. I refer to Sir Joseph Ward. In dealing with this subject, the. following may be quoted -
It would bo a curious crime against the British in the Pacific, if Samoa and other islands were allowed to revert to Germany or any other foreign Power. Such a change would mean a perpetual menace, and there was no mistaken idea in the minds of the people of Britain as to what our views were on that subject. The Empire had to preserve the freedom of the Pacific.
Singular to say, so recent is this statement, that it is reported in the Herald of this day. It will be seen that I am quoting evidence in support of my motion, which does not go back very many months in any case, for Mr. Walter Long’s deliverance was given to the people of the Empire, as I have said, in January last. Sir Joseph Ward only recently returned from the Imperial Conference, and has made a statement on this matter of the possible return of the German Colonies to Germany since his arrival in New Zealand.
In regard to the matter itself, our concern, apart from our regard for the welfare of the Empire as a whole, is the propinquity of certain Possessions that were captured from Germany by the valour of Australian troops, and the activity of Commonwealth administrators directly after war broke out. It is well within the memory of the Australian people, and should mark a red-letter day in our history, that as soon as war was declared an Australian vessel was speeding north with troops on board destined to conquer the New Guinea Possessions of the German Empire. We know that the capture of those Possessions was successuflly accomplished by our Naval and Military Forces, with some loss it is true, but happily not with. any very great loss. It is evident that so vicious, internationally, are the German people that the population of the Commonwealth will not for decades to come desire to have them as neighbours. We do not want the Possessions captured by our troops returned to Germany “ in any circumstances “ - to quote the words of Mr. Walter Long. I think it is not by any means undesirable that the Senate of the Legislature of one of the most important units of the King’s overseas Dominions, namely, the Australian Commonwealth, should buttress and encourage in every way the recent pronouncement of the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
– Especially in view of the fact that Australia’s voice was not heard at the last, Imperial Conference.
– I quite willingly concede the merit of the honorable senator’s interjection. As Australia was not represented at the last Imperial Conference, and did not, through her representatives, make her voice, heard on this matter. it is peculiarly fitting that the Australian Parliament should make an emphatic declaration supporting the deliverance of the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Australia is not indulging in any vulgar conquest over a civilized people in making a perpetual claim to the territories she has captured from the enemy. Were the former German Possessions to the north-east of Australia inhabited by a large and hitherto docile German population,- we might, perhaps; adopt the recently suggested international formula of asking the people of those Possessions whether they desired to come under Australian rule or not. But the only population of the German Possessions belonging to the European races comprises no more than a few planters. The populations of these Possessions are native populations, and in view of what was done to exterminate the Hereros, the native population of the German South-West African Possessions, we shall not be claiming too much for Australia if we say that under the democratic rule of the Commonwealth the native populations of these Possessions previously held by Germany will be more uprightly, more sensibly, and more humanely governed than they were by their German rulers.
We must regard our continent as our fortress. These Possessions to the northeast are, so to speak, the outworks of our citadel. The Australian continent is the largest unit under the control of the Commonwealth, but I think that German New Guinea should not on any account be allowed to revert to the German Empire. We know that the recent German peace formula of no annexations and no indemnities, if accepted by the belligerent Powers, would insure the return to Germany of her Colonial Possessions. I do not think I shall be contradicted by any honorable senator- when I venture to say that if the German Pacific Possessions are returned to Germany the British population of the Commonwealth will not be slow to recognise in that a sign that) our Empire has been defeated along with its Allies in this war. I, at any rate, will regard any proposal to return the. captured German Possessions in the Pacific as indicating that our efforts in this war have fallen very short of securing our objectives.
German New Guinea would not have ‘ belonged to the Germans at all but for the blunders of British diplomacy. I can remember that, when I was a youth, that great man, Sir Thomas Mcllwraith - for he was one of the great. figures in our
Australian public life- with the prevision of a statesman, hoisted the British flag on the territory known as unoccupied Papua. We know that for “many centuries the Dutch people have laid claim to, and have effectively occupied, in accordance with the provision of international custom, the western half of New Guinea. But the eastern half was solely in the occupation of its indigenous populations until a decade or two .ago. Sir Thomas Mcllwraith hoisted- the British flag there, but his action was discountenanced by the British Administration, of the day. Had it not been for that circumstance, the Germans would never have been in occupation of any portion of New Guinea, So that in retaining possession of that portion of New Guinea, which we have captured through the valour of our troops, we shall merely be re-constituting the position which was established twenty or thirty years ago.
I have already said that I consider the merits of this motion as being so selfevident that I do not intend tq debate its terms at any great length. I have endeavoured to couch it in judicious language, and I cannot conceive of any opposition on the part either of the Government or of honorable senators to what, I venture to say, is a timely motion. This is a place in which every honorable senator,, who has the responsibility on his shoulders of acting as one of the custodians of the interests of the Australian people, should speak out very plainly. Distance lends enchantment’ to the view, and distance sometimes renders it easy to entertain too exalted an opinion of the men who occupy the Imperial Treasury benches. In making that statement, I am not saying anything derogatory to these gentlemen. Talent very frequently appears, genius is very rare. Very great statesmen cannot be expected to be as plentiful’ as blackberries, and men who can see clearly through all the clouds of doubt and disturbance which envelop the Empire at the present time are very few indeed. The prevision of a great statesman is not an element in the character of very many parliamentarians. Honorable senators will recollect that when a picked delegation of ‘ members of the Imperial Parliament visited Australia the year before the war, although many of them gave evidence of considerable ability, there was certainly not amongst them any man of such out standing parts as to cause one to say, “ There is a man who -is very much superior to our own parliamentarians.” When we consider the advantages which the leisured and wealthy classes of the Old Country have had in connexion with education and long training in diplomacy, I venture to say that the abilities of some Imperial Ministers are not calculated to_ elicit our unqualified admiration. I ‘ am not so confident that > Imperial statesmen will stand up ‘’’ four square to all the winds that blow,” and see our Empire right through this struggle to the stage of unqualified victory. I am afraid that some of them may falter by the way, and, therefore, it will do no harm if the people of England, Ireland, and Scotland are made aware of the fact that the people of Australia are very resolute in their desire that no captured German Possession shall be returned to the Empire of Germany.
This Senate is fresh from the people. There has been - an electoral expression of opinion quite recently. That being so, we can forget the turmoil which preceded the election, and address ourselves to a calm, considered calculation as to what is proper to do during the present crisis in our Empire’s fortunes. I sincerely believe that an expression of opinion by the Senate, in the terms of this motion, will merit nothing but the unqualified approval of the electors of Australia. It is unnecessary for me to pursue this theme at very great length. I believe that the passing of a motion such as this will do a great deal to confirm in the minds of the people of the United Kingdom the determination of Australians to secure their objectives - those objectives for the attainment of which the valour of our troops has been exhibited on the European fields of battle. Beyond doing what is necessary and politic in regard to a motion such as this, namely, securing a seconder to it, I have not- canvassed honorable senators in regard to their opinions. I have long entertained the view that when once we can consider any matter in a non-party spirit, this Chamber is well qualified to give a statesman-like consideration to all the problems which beset out future. I believe that, viewing this motion in a non-party spirit, honorable senators will sanction its adoption, and will, in a dignified manner,. express the opinion of the Australian people that it is a judicious step to take at this juncture.
– I rise to second the motion. In doing so, I wish to say that the question which has been brought forward by Senator Bakhap is one which has engaged the attention of leading politicians of the Imperial Parliament for no inconsiderable time. Honorable senators are asked to give “ approval to the statement which was made on 31st January last by the Honorable the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Walter Long, which emphatically sets forth that none of the captured Colonial Possessions of the German Empire, will, in any circumstances, be returned to that Power.” We are further invited to say that “ any proposal to restore the captured German territories in the vicinity of the Australian continent will be particularly distasteful to the people of the Commonwealth, and prejudicial to their interests, as well as to the future peace of the world.” I do not think that any honorable senator can cavil at the terms of the motion.
It may be thought that a proposal of this character is somewhat premature. But that is not my opinion. If it was competent for leading politicians in the Old Country, including Mr. Walter Long, to discuss the subject several months ago, surely we have every title to debate it now. Senator Bakhap very properly referred to what is now regarded as one of the most interesting events in the history of Australia. He reminded us of the time when Sir Thomas Mcllwraith gave instructions that the British flag should be planted on New Guinea. I well remember that incident, and I oan recall how the Downing-street coterie on that occasion rapped Sir Thomas Mcllwraith over his political knuckles for his action. I also ° remember that at the time there was a general outcry on the part of the Liberal press of Australia against the action of Downing-street.
Without attempting to traverse the ground that has been so well covered by Senator Bakhap, I wish to say that I regard this matter from many aspects, though I shall refer to only one or two of them. I think that the latter part of the motion practically covers the whole position. It declares ‘,’ that any proposal to restore the captured German territories in the vicinity of the Australian continent will be particularly distasteful to the people of the Commonwealth.” I cannot imagine any Government, whether Liberal, National, or Labour, taking part in any action to restore the captured German Colonies.
– Has the honorable senator read the resolutions which were adopted at the Labour Conference in Sydney ?
– I have, and they are not quite relevant to a discussion of this character.. We know quite well that Germany had not possession of a portion of New Guinea many years before she established a strong naval- base there. It might have been very much stronger but. for the action of our contingents during the early stages of the war. It is very certain that if something is not done in the direction indicated by this motion, should Germany again obtain possession of a portion of New Guinea it will not be long before she will reinstate her powerful wireless telegraph stations, establish strong submarine bases, as well as bases for flying machines and for important coal depots, without which her navy would be useless.’
We are all pretty well pledged to the policy of a White Australia. Though it may not come in our time, I can plainly foresee that in the very near future Australia will be called upon to play a very much more important part in the history and expansion of the British Empire than she has ever done before. We do not want any frowning enemy fortresses, such as we have had previously, in the vicinity of Australia. We hold that islands such as the one I have referred to should as far as possible be kept for the British Empire. This matter has frequently attracted the attention of eminent men in the British Parliament, where some very able speeches have been delivered upon it and kindred subjects. I have no desire to take up the time of the Senate unduly. I cordially second the motion, and trust that it will be carried in its entirety.
.- The Senate is indebted to the mover for his timely action in inviting it to express its opinion on this important matter. If nothing were said on the subject here it might falsely be assumed that we were quite content to let things drift in regard to ‘ the disposal of the islands in our immediate neighbourhood. Australia is vitally concerned in seeing that none of the adjacent islands are at any time in the immediate or distant future occupied again by the Germanic Power. In view of Bernhardi’s declaration that Germany lived for “world power or downfall,” it is plain that we in this country would be in a very dangerous position if the first alternative was realized. In fact, we shall be the British Possession that stands in the most perilous position, and that stands to lose the most. The first step for any attack upon our territory would naturally come from some outpost in our neighbourhood. Germany could never look to her own ports and bases as a jumping-off point for an attack on this continent. The first necessity for a nation like Germany, with worldpower pretensions, would be to continue her policy of peacocking the earth’s surface, and getting coaling stations here and there which would more readily lend themselves to her designs. Germany’s pretensions to world power are of comparatively recent date. It was only in 1866 that the German Confederation was founded, so that it may safely be said that the starting point of the Germanic Empire itself was within the latter half of the last century. That Empire was quite content at that time to work out its own destiny within its own boundaries, without dabbling in world politics or striving for world power.
I remember when the Fiji Islands were annexed to the British Crown. The ( matter was mentioned by some of the Ambassadors of the day at the German Court, and Bismarck asked, “ Where the devil is Fiji?” showing clearly that Germany of that day had not even developed the germ of her world-power pretensions which later became so manifest to other nations. Not very long afterwards the question of the future of New Guinea was raised by the Premier of Queensland, Sir Thomas Mcllwraith, but, owing to a short-sighted and unstatesmanlike decision on the part of the British Government, the island was subdivided. Sir Thomas Mcllwraith could see further and clearer than the British authorities of his day. He pointed out to them that it was inimical to Australian interests to have the Germanic Power established so. close to our coast.
– It meant that Britishers had to leave their home, 13,000 miles away, to protect New Guinea, and the majority of the Australian people say that they do not believe in an Australian leaving Australia for even one mile to fight in its defence.
– I am glad the honorable senator has reminded me of a point to which I intended to refer later. Sir Thomas Mcllwraith sent Mr. H. M. Chester, who was warden on the Croydon goldfields when I was there in the late eighties, to New Guinea, and he planted the British flag there, taking possession of the whole island, except the north-west corner, then owned by Holland. The British Government of the day unfortunately listened more closely to the case as put by the German nation than to the representations of Australia, and in a weak moment yielded to the appeals of the German Power. The result was that Mr. Chester was sent back, and the flag was hauled down. It- was not planted there again until the boundary lines were delineated, and Germany was given a portion of the island.
I mention these matters simply to show how fast the sentiment for world power had grown in Germany from 1874, when Bismarck asked the whereabouts of Fiji, .until, in the middle eighties, the same Power asked, not “Where the devil is New Guinea ?” but “ Give us a share of New Guinea.” These events show clearly that the German Power, following the example of the British, the Dutch, and the Spanish, was beginning to reach out for countries to place its flag on and to call its own. But, while our minds are so much incensed with the Germanic Power, and its system and ideals remain as they are to-day, we must certainly regard it as a standing menace to any country enjoying the freedom that Australia possesses to allow Germany to regain possession of the islands in our neighbourhood. There was a. marvellous growth in the pretensions of Germany to world power from the time that Bismarck wanted to look for Fiji oh the map until it succeeded in getting a share of New Guinea. During that period Germany was looking all round the world, spying out the unallotted portions of the earth’s surface, and planting its flag there. This was done in East Africa in the early eighties, where what is known as the Zanzibar coast was taken over. That was the territory which was afterwards exchanged for Heligoland - another shortsighted piece of British statesmanship. The Germans then went to West Africa, and planted their flag there. So that right round the tropical or pestilential portions of the earth’s surface the German Power was looking for vacant spaces to plant its flag upon. It was content to get even one-third of the direction and control of Samoa, and it took over the Marshall and Caroline Islands.
Just prior to the war, the Germanic sphere of influence in the Pacific Ocean, north of New Guinea, was of enormous extent, showing that Germany had developed her world-power pretensions on a marvellous scale during the last twenty years. The only way to counteract that power is to win the war. Senator Thomas has reminded us of the inconsistency of expecting Britishers to travel 13,000 miles to protect New Guinea, while we in Australia have, to a certain extent, shown our unwillingness to travel the same distance to protect the British Isles.
– Have we not sent 300,000 men ?
– We did not send them. They went on their own account.
– That is the glory of it.
– We sent nothing.
– Order! The honorable senator is discussing a matter, which is entirely beside the question.
– Whether we make this motion mean anything to Australia, rests entirely on whether our purpose can he effected. It is of no use to pass it unless we can put some power behind it. We cannot secure our object unless we put sufficient Forces in the field to break the power of Germany. Although the motion is very meet and appropriate, and gives expression to a policy of vital importance to Australia, it is of no use to put it on paper, or for the Senate to pass it, unless we in Australia see that sufficient power is put into the field to reduce Germany to the dust, so that she will never be able to re-establish herself in New Guinea, or anywhere else. Our best chance of giving effect to the motion is to send sufficient men to aid the Allied nations in bringing down the Germanic Power. We must aid them to strip Germany of all her potentialities for worldwide influence. At the present day the Allies can propose a certain course of action, but, unfortunately, the enemy countries have the power to dispose of it. It is for us, therefore, to come to a common understanding that what the Allies propose shall be carried out.
I have much pleasure in supporting the motion, in the belief that its carriage through this Chamber will strengthen the hands of Mr. Long and his colleagues in the British Cabinet, who recognise the wisdom of the course which Mr. Long has outlined. What would be the position of Australia if the influence of Germanic power continued in New Guinea after this war? I would particularly ask those gentlemen who talk so glibly about sending 300,000 men to the other side of the world what they would think if New Guinea were as close to the cities of these southern States as it is to North Queensland; if Rabaul were the same distance from Melbourne as it is from Thursday Island? In such circumstances would not the main centres of our population be threatened, and would not the minds of honorable senators be stimulated to realize that a more determined effort should be made to bringthe Germanic power to the ground ?
– Order! I cannot allow the honorable senator to enter upon a discussion of that phase of the question.
– I am keenly alive to the necessity of preserving for Australia in its entirety her possession of the Island of New Guinea, for I remember that one of my own pals went there from North Queensland to try and earn his livelihood as a miner, but when he had worked his way up to the German boundary line, he found imposed upon him conditions that made it impossible to proceed further, so far as mining operations were concerned.
– Nobody is against you on that.
– No; but I know what some honorable senators are thinking about, and I want to point out that it is all very well to try and pass this motion, and express in a pious sort of way oar desire that after the war the German flag shall not be allowed to fly again in New Guinea, Samoa, the Caroline Islands, and the other late Possessions of the Germanic power.
I also want) again to impress upon honorable senators that ito is no use indulging in a pious resolution of this kind unless we back it by a determination to see that the object desired is attained. As I said just now, the mining industry is a vital one to this country, and New Guinea is rich in minerals; richer, perhaps than many people dream in many kinds of native resources about which at present we know nothing. New Guinea as a German possession in proximity to Australia is a peril to this country. The fact that £80,000 was spent on a wharf there, and that a wireless station had been erected capable of speaking half way round the world, indicates what was in the minds of the German authorities when they established themselves in New Guinea. They did not undertake that enormous expenditure, for the purpose of handling a few bags of cocoanuts. When, as I have said, a British miner worked his way up to the German New Guinea boundary, and asked for permission to continue his occupation, they imposed upon him terms that were absolutely prohibitive. Every miner in North Queensland knows about this, and it is because it is vital to Australia that wc should retain intact the whole of the Commonwealth Possessions in New Guinea, Samoa, and those islands north and south of the line in the Pacific that I took part in this debate at all.
I realize, with other honorable senators, that Australia has done very well in this war, but we want to see that ‘the British flag is kept flying over New Guinea after this war is over. In order to insure this something else must be done. “We want to keep our powder dry, and see that there is plenty of power behind this resolution to bring down the Germanic power. I support the motion very heartily, as I believe it is a timely and opportune action on the part of the Senate, as indicating the tone and temper of Australia, that, so faT as lies in our power, those Germanic Possessions, which are within a dangerous radius of Australia, shall never again have floating over them the German flag, but that the British flag shall fly there as long as British power lives.
Debate (on motion by Senator Russell) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 8.53 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 July 1917, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1917/19170719_SENATE_7_82/>.