7th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
The following papers were presented : -
Lands Acquisition Act 1906. - Land acquired at Byron Bay, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Public Service Act 1902-1916.- Promotion of T. S. Hulme, Department of the Treasury.
– I beg to lay on the table of the Senate Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year ending 30th June, 1918, together with the Budget papers, and to move -
That the papers be printed.
Debate (on motion by Senator Needham) . ad journed.
– I ask the Minister for Defence whether some papers in connexion with the case of Sergeant Ozanne have been laid on the table of the other House, and, if so, will he have them laid on the table of the Senate and printed?
– My impression is that these papers were laid on the table of the Library.
– I shall have inquiries made ; and if the papers were laid on the table of the other House I shall see that they are also laid on the table of the Senate, and then it will be for the Printing Committee to decide whether they Shall be printed.
– Has the Leader of the Senate any information regarding the discharge of the man Yates, about whom I asked a question a couple of weeks ago?
– The information supplied to me is that substantially the facts set out by the honorable senator in his question are correct. But my colleague says -
It is the rule of thu Service that a man may not be employed as a temporary hand for more than six months, with an additional period of three months in special cases; but in this case the Commissioner, under a more liberal practice since the war, allowed a total temporary employment of twenty and a half months. My colleague further says -
If a place can be found for Mr. Yates I shall only be too glad to give it to him. I shall make inquiries about the matter again.
In which case Mr. Yates’ application will be favorably considered.
– I asked the Minister for Defence a question a few days ago respecting some soldiers who were turned off the Botomahana. Has he a reply to the question yet?
– The honorable senator’s question was -
Is the Minister for Defence aware that a number of soldiers who were on board the steamerRotomahana yesterday, evidently on leave to proceed to see their friends in Tasmania, were ordered ashore just before the boat was to leave; and, if not, will ho make inquiries and prevent this irritating sort of thing from happening in the future?
I have made inquiries, and the following is the report by theAdjutant-General on the circumstances referred, to -
General Birdwood, desired no further trench mortar battery reinforcements, as he intends to select same from infantry, consequently men concentrated at Seymour Camp, Victoria, from the various States for trench mortar battery training had to be posted to infantry units’.
Arrangements had been made for them to return to their respective States, but on the day that the Tasmanians were to embark on the Rotomohana, the Minister decided that the expense of sending men back to their various States for inclusion in infantry units from these States was not justified. The Minister’s decision on this matter was only made at 1 o’clock on the day they were to embark. This decision was immediately notified to the Commandant by the C.G.S. Branch, and the men were stopped from returning to Tasmania, and returned to camp. There was no question of their being about to proceed on leave. The men concerned were given their final leave to say good-bye to their friends before they left . Tasmania for concentration and training at Seymour Camp. The men were concentrated entirely for the purpose of saving expense to the Department. On arrival in England, the men will be sorted out and allotted to infantry units from their respective States.
Senator NEEDHAM (for Senator
Grant) asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Stages ‘of the war. The whole of these cases have been brought to light as the result of the action taken to improve the staff by the formation of a Pay Corps in the several States. The officer who was in charge of the pay staff in New South Wales at the time when the bulk of the overpayments occurred in that State has been replaced by a qualified accountant from outside the Government service, and the office re-organized.
asked the Honorary Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice - -
– The answers are -
Senator FOLL (for Senator Pratten) asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answer is - 1 and 2. Females for temporary employment in the Note Issue Branch of the Treasury are selected as required from the Temporary Employment Register, and, if suitable, in the order of their registration. The only exception to this course during the last twelve months was the re-appointment of seven applicants who had in a previous period of employment proved themselves unusually efficient, but who had not been temporarily employed by the Commonwealth during the preceding six months. This exception, which was approved by the Public Service Inspector, was necessary, as a large number of officers were being appointed to overtake arrears of work, and many of them were quite without experience.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Whether the Government will consider the advisability of appointing a Commission to inquire into -
– The question is of some importance, and I have not yet had an opportunity of submitting it to the Cabinet.
– Arising out of the answer given to me, I wish to ask for some information.
– The honorable senator is not in order.
– Cannot I ask a question at this stage ?
– The honorable senator will not be in order in submitting a question when no reply has been made.
Senator MLLLEN (New South Wales-
Vice-President of the Executive Council) [3.14]. - I move-
That this Bill be now read a second time.
A very few sentences will be all that the circumstances and the nature of the Bill demand from me at this juncture. I cannot recall any Act which was received with such general approval, and earned in so short a space of time such general condemnation.
– Even where there is a general condemnation, there may be exceptions, and the honorable senator may represent the exception, but it is safe to say that the Act stands generally condemned. We introduced it, having nothing behind it but theory. We found that that theory, when tested by the practical realities of every-day life, does not meet Australian circumstances. This
Bill, consisting of a single clause, will commend itself on the score of brevity, if for nothing else. It simply repeals the Daylight Saving Act passed last year.
– In what way has it been prejudicial to any one, or shown itself a conspicuous failure ? We have had no reasons for its repeal.
– I abstained from trespassing on the time of honorable senators, because I believed that they, like myself, had received such frequent and emphatic . condemnation of the Act from such a large number of people that it was hardly necessary to put forward any reasons for repealing it.
– It remains for each State to do what it pleases.
– In my own State the condemnation has been general and very loudly expressed.
– Not in Sydney.
– In Sydney every housewife is up in arms against the Act.
– Because of the youngsters not going to bed ?
– Yes, they say the youngsters simply will not go to bed. The Act has, perhaps, proved a convenience to those lovers of golf and like” forms of vice, who are enabled to spend a little more time at their hobby ; but the general experience of those who have the conduct of households and of businesses has proved that the Act does not meet the circumstances of the Australian people. If honorable senators are not disposed to take the repeal Bill to their arms, as I thought they would, the forms of the Senate provide ample opportunity to discuss it or vote against it.
– This is a conspicuous example of legislation hastily introduced, and repeal just as hastily and unwisely sought.
– It was going to win the war when it was being passed - Now the Government are going to win the war by repealing it.
– I would not say that. But if the people are so unanimously against the Act as “the Minister says, it is a conspicuous illustration of the fact that what the philosophers propound, is not, after all, very acceptable to the people. The Act was merely a practical utilization by the Government of the principle that it is good to go to bed early and to rise early. Mr. Giblin, a very intellectual and practical man, set himself to secure this reform in Tasmania, and a measure similar to that on the national statute-book was enacted in that State, and, on the whole, has given satisfaction. To make it really effective in regard to Tasmania’s relations with the mainland, it was desirable that the whole Commonwealth should enact a Daylight Saving Act, and that was done. A similar measure has been in force in the United Kingdom, and there has certainly been no outcry there regarding the nefarious nature of its provisions. When mining, as a young man, I put into practical operation the very principle of the Act, as did dozens of other young miners in the northeast of Tasmania. We advanced our clocks so as to have a longer period of daylight at our disposal. The Minister, like a great many other people - I do not blame him particularly for doing so - simply declaims against the Act, says that we should remove it from the statutebook, and adduces no more argument than do the people outside -who cavil at its provisions.
– Hear, hear! No reasons were given at all.
– The only reason ‘ given for the repeal was that some women say the children will not go to bed a little earlier. Since when has domestic control been so relaxed? If it is a convenience to the nation at the present time to use all the hours of daylight possible, such a substantial advantage should not be lightly set aside. I have this practical argument in favour of the Act - that the young women who keep the boardinghouse in which I stay in Hobart have told me that there has been a substantial reduction in their gas and electric light bills since the introduction of the reform in Tasmania. I distinctly remember,
Borne months ago, seeing a computation, in the metropolitan ^papers of this State, that many householders had a similar experience in Victoria. They reported a substantial reduction in their gas and electric light bills. The idea that the Act should be repealed reminds me of a statement about a philosopher, who was driven mad because of an obsession that the rapid, advance of old age was caused by the watchmakers. What harm has this Act done to anybody. I believe the Act is a substantial national advantage. If it is true that it is good for us to get up early and address ourselves to our occupations at an hour which enables us to take, advantage of the lengthy term of daylight in the summer, there can be no harm in maintaining that principle on the statute-book. Seeing that it is the law in one State, and also the Mother Country, we ought to have something in the way of a practical illustration of its disadvantages before we remove it from our National statute-book. It is doing nobody any harm, and as it is not operative at the present time, there should ‘be no need for its immediate repeal.
– It will be operative within three weeks.
– Let it operate again then and let us see whether it is productive of any mischief. I, for one, am not in favour of repealing the Act which, as a principle, has much to commend it. We ought to give it a further trial before we assume that it is dis tasteful to the people of . Australia or detrimental to their interests.
– I support the remarks made by Senator Bakhap, for the very good reason that I was the sponsor of the Act in this Chamber, and when I expounded the reasons for its acceptance hardly one dissentient voice was heard. In view of the attempt now being made to repeal it, I am reminded of the experience of an old Roman philosopher, who, when he was addressing the multitude in the forum, and said something to gain applause, exclaimed, “ What mistake have I made now?” I remember quite well that I received applause when I was passing the measure through the Senate, and while I still believe I was on sound lines, and that it will take time ‘to demonstrate its usefulness, apparently the applause I then received had noi solid foundation. Who are opposing the Daylight Saving Act? Certainly a few dairy farmers in the country are against it, and their objections, I believe, are due to the fact that owing to a faulty time-table they are obliged to get about much earlier in the day than formerly. In their case, the remedy is to alter the time-table and make it subservient to the needs of the dairving industry.
Honorable senators will re(collect, perhaps, that a Victorian Royal Commission inquired into this subject, and after taking all available evidence from the urban and rural interests, arrived at the conclusion that it was about time something was done to take advantage of the increased term of daylight in the summer months. Those employed in city occupations also declared it would be a great boon to be released from work an hour earlier, and before the buildings became heated like so many ovens, as is frequently the case. Officials of the Victorian Railway Department pointed out that it would mean a distinct saving to the Department of at least £2,000 a month, and I want now to know from those who are clamouring for economy in public expenditure, including the daily papers of this State, if they are supporting the measure for repeal, why they are silent when there is a clear chance of saving £12,000 a year, so far as the Railway Department of Victoria alone is concerned. If this saving were multiplied by six we would get in the aggregate a saving of at least £50,000 a vear in railway expenditure. I shall not support the agitation for the repeal of the Act at the instance of those who are clamouring for it on behalf of some dairymen and other people who do not know really what they are finding fault with. I think the present strike in New South Wales is an indication that we have reached a stage of public uneasiness and restlessness that is inexplicable. The Government apparently have seized upon this Act as an outlet for their surplus energy. The Minister did not quote one industry or one set of individuals who objected to the operation of this measure.
– It was unnecessary, ‘because objection is so general.
– The honorable senator can speak for his own State, but all I can say is that it was only in Victoria that an attempt was made to ascertain whether a measure to save the daylight should be passed or not, and the finding of the Commission was in favour of the enactment of this law. Subsequently, however, spasmodic objections were raised and candidates were asked during the election campaign if they were in favour of repealing the Act.
– You must remember that the Opposition went to the country with this cry.
– And your party went to the country ona” Win-the-war “ cry, and this is what you are doing.
– We intend to win the war without the assistance of the honorable senator.
– Well, you have’ had four months’ jawing about it.
– We are going id win the war by a solid adhesion to our determination.
– Order !
– The serious* subject before the Senate is whether they are going to support this Bill for the repeal of the Act. If we had evidence, secured by a Royal Commission, that the Act gave rise to serious disadvantages, there might be some justification for the demand made for its repeal. The measure was introduced last session, and put upon the statute-book, and we are asked to take it off again this session. Those who favour the repeal of the Act should be able to give chapter and verse for their opposition to it. I do not think that we should pass this Bill until just grounds have been shown for doing so. I intend to vote. against the repeal of the Daylight Saving Act.
– I have been rather surprised that honorable senators opposite who made the repeal of the Daylight Saving Act a special feature of their election campaign have not risen to give some reasons in support of the Bill now before the Senate. I remember that a certain political party at the last general elections set forth to the electors of Australia that! absolutely the first thing they would do if returned to power would be to repeal the vexatious’ and unnecessary Daylight Saving Act. That was the first plank of their election platform. In the circumstances we might have expected that several honorable senators belonging to that party would this afternoon have stated with energy and force the reasons why they think the Daylight Saving Act should be ‘repealed.
– We brought the Government to heel, and made them do it.
– The honorable senator probably understands coming to heel.
– No; we sent the Ministerial party to heel.
– The State which I represent was the first in Australia to enact’ daylight saving legislation. After mature consideration, and scientific research, the authorities of that State came to the conclusion that it would be an advantage to a large number of people, if, during the summer time, they might have a longer evening. It was felt that it would give youth an opportunity to indulge in outdoor games, and would enable the gardener to spend an extra hour in his garden. Although in Tasmania we have an electric scheme which provides illumination better and cheaper than daylight, we were willing to sacrifice State interests in that enterprise in order that householders, by being given the advantage of a longer period of daylight, might economize in the consumption of gas and electric light. I cannot see why the Daylight Saving Act should not be given a thorough and ‘ exhaustive trial. I know that some people say that it disturbs the regularity with which children go to rest, but I do not think that it makes any difference.
– Iti makes a lot- of difference to the children;.
– I cannot see how it does. It is customary probably for a child to go to bed at 8 p.m. What does it matter t’o the child if under the operation of the Daylight Saving Act the mother knows that when it is 8 o’clock by the clock it is really 9 o’clock. It seems to me that as soon as the Act was passed a section of the people aM once set them- 1 selves to find fault with it without giving it a trial. We on this side are advancing arguments why the Bill now before the Senate should not! be passed, and apparently there are no arguments which can be advanced by those who profess to believe that the Daylight Saving Act should be repealed.
– The only reason apparently for its repeal is that certain cows were against it.
– As Senator Keating reminds me, it was pointed out that the earlier milking of dairy cows gave rise to some inconvenience in connexion with the transport of milk, but I think that might easily have been got over. The Act makes no difference to agriculturists, because they work by the sun. The farmer is always ready to come into the city at 9 o’clock “of an ordinary morning, but heknows lt is of no use for him to do so, because he could not at that hour do business with, the different business firms. But with the Daylight) Saving Act in force, when 9 a.m. means 10 a.ra., he could come in at the earlier hour, and having transacted his business, get back home an hour earlier than he could other wise do. “ The Daylight Saving Act is a distinct advantage ito the agricultural community.
– The honorable senator would not say so if he were an agriculturist.
– I have been an agriculturist, and I fail to see how the official putting on of the clock for an hour during the summer time would make any difference to me. I did not intend to speak on this Bill, unless some arguments were brought forward in favour of it, bub as those who favour .the Bill apparently intend to use brute force to carry iti,- it is perhaps just as well that a protest should be made against iti. I appeal to the common sense of honorable senators to resist the panicky effort that is being made to repeal the Daylight Saving Act before it has been given a reasonable trial. I remind them that at the beginning, and until people become accustomed to its operation, every reform has to meet with violent opposition. Even if honorable senators cannot see the advantage of the Daylight Saving Act, I appeal to them not to vote for its repeal until it has had a fair trial, unless they are satisfied that its operation is disadvantageous.
– Every honorable senator who has spoken so far has directed attention to the fact that I did not advance ‘any reasons for the repeal of the Daylight Saving Act. Perhaps I owe an apology to the Senate for some remissness in that regard, but T thought that argument was unnecessary. As reasons for the introduction of the Bill now before the Senate has been asked for, I should like to combat one or two of the statements which have been made by those who’ are opposed to it. I direct attention to the fact that twothirds of the opposition comes from representatives of Tasmania. It is not the less entitled to respect on that account. But I am justified in directing attention to the fact .that geographical considerations put Tasmania in a position somewhat different to that of the mainland. I do not know the exact distance between the southern extremity of Tasmania and the northern extremity of Queensland, but I do know that they are separated by very many degrees of latitude. Whilst it may have suited Tasmanian conditions it does not suit the conditions which obtain in other States. The sole argument for the Act was a desire to secure more daylight. Now, there are places in Australia where the people do not want more daylight unless we are prepared to assume that men are willing to extend their labours beyond the working hours of the clock. Otherwise the Act, instead of conferring an advantage upon people, imposes a disadvantage upon them. Senator Lynch has stated that the agricultural interests approved of theDaylight Saving Act. They may have done so when they were in the realm of theory. But I would remind the honorable senator that those same interests through the Chamber of Agriculture, within the past forty-eight hours, waited upon the Prime Minister and asked for the repeal of the Statute .
– Give us back our ten days, they cry.
– Senator Bakhap asked me to advance reasons in support of this measure, and when I put them forward he impugns my witnesses. Let me point to the experience in my own State which led to a great deal of dissatisfaction on the part of wheat growers there. When the sun affirmed that it was 5 o’clock, the clock, by legislative enactment, decreed that it was 6 o’clock. These men thus had one hour’s good work ahead of them, but they were debarred from carting their wheat during that time, because the railway gates were closed against them. They had the extra hour of daylight, but they could not do anything in it. Then I would remind honorable senators that there is a very useful animal called the cow. We may prescribe what we choose by regulation, but we cannot alter the internal economy of the cow. ,
– Alter your railway time-table !
– But that will not make the cow milk differently. Those honorable senators who were here during the previous Parliament occupy a similar position to -that occupied by the farmers of this country. They believed that the Daylight Saving Act would confer an advantage upon the community. But they have learned from experience that their anticipation does not square with the facta of every-day life. There is just one other matter upon which I wish to touch. If the existing Act is of advantage to Tasmania, this Bill will not do any injury to that State.
– The train and steamer times do not fit in.
– Then all my honorable friend has to do is to alter the figures in the printed time-table. If there be one State of the Commonwealth , which desires to retain the present Act it is possibly Tasmania, because it is the only State whose Legislature has passed into law a somewhat similar proposition. But the repeal of the Daylight Saving Act will still leave Tasmania free to retain upon its statute-book its ‘ muchcherished measure for early closing.
– During the summer there are only . seven hours of darkness there out of twenty-four.
– Then what Tasmania really needs is a Bill for the extension of darkness, and I am afraid that it is not within the competence even of this Government to supply that. We are now dealing with an Act which exercises an influence over the whole Commonwealth, and in my judgment, and that of the Government, the vast majority of the people of this country desire that the Bill which I am now submitting should become law.:
Question - That the Bill be now read a second time - put.. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 18
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from Committee without amendment; report adopted.
Bill presented by Senator Pearce;
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended ; and Bill read a first time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time. For the information of honorable senators, I may say that the first Defence Act was passed in 1903, and that since then amending Acts were passed in the following years:- 1904, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, and’ 1915. The Act of 1903, of course, is the principal Act, and the Acts of 1909 and 1910 are the main amending Acts. The others are comparatively unimportant; the Acts of 1904, 1911, 1912, and 1915 dealt with minor amendments. If honorable senators will turn to volume 1 of the Consolidated Acts 1903-11, they will find the Consolidated Defence Act, which embodies the Acts as a whole, with the exception of the slight amendments made in 1915. I have arranged for the Bill, to be inserted in black type in the original Act for convenient reference by honorable senators, so that they may be able to see the exact effect of the amendments being made. Copies will be circulated to honorable senators to-morrow morning, so that they will have an opportunity to examine the provisions before the debate on the second reading is resumed.
The provisions of the Bill are largely technical and deal with certain weaknesses in the principal Act, which have been disclosed as the result of our experience of war. The original Act, luckily for Australia, was framed in time of peace, and up to. the outbreak of the war we only had experience of the* Act in time of peace. A large number of the sections were practically not called into operation until the war occurred, notably the sections dealing with courts martial. When many of the sections of which previously
We had no experience came to be put into actual operation various defects in themwere discovered, and it is thought desirable that, whilst we are faced with the facts in connexion therewith, we should amend the principal Act so as to make it more workable and perfect than it is.
Owing to the existence of the defects to which I have referred, certain action had to be taken by the Governor-General and . by the Government which it is necessary should be validated, and provisions for that purpose are contained in this Bill. The provision for the delegation of the gower conferred on the Governor-General, or on the District Commandants, was entirely drawn up in the principal Act with the view to peace administration. But when we come . to administer the Act in foreign and enemy countries, thousands of miles away from Australia, -it is obvious -that provisions which would operate quite well within Australia are found to be defective. Action had to be taken under the stress of war conditions, and it is necessary that those acts should be validated.
Then there are other details dealing with such questions as the personation of soldiers. That is an offence which has “been practically created by .the war conditions. There are to-day inducements to people to personate men who have been taking their part as soldiers in. this great war. That is an offence which, I .think, we should deal with. Men who have volunteered to serve their country and have so served it deserve all the credit and all the consideration which we can give to them. The man who has not served his country, but tries to get some of the advantages of service by personating a soldier who has done his duty, deserves punishment, and in this measure we take the power to inflict such punishment.
Then there is the question of the misuse of soldiers’ decorations. The decorations which have been won by our soldiers will be prized by them and their descendants in years to come, and we feel that they should not be allowed to be used for the purpose of gain by other persons who have no right to them. We consider that there should not be traffic in the decorations which have been conferred on certain individuals because of merit or bravery on the field of battle.
– Was not a Bill passed making that .illegal ?
– A Bill was introduced here, but it did not pass. It is proposed to incorporate its valuable portions in the Defence” Act.
This Bill also deals with a class of cases which have come under notice since the war in regard to soldiers who -have been called up under the compulsory sections of the Defence Act for home defence.- Some of these men were called up from their employment, at times for a short period, and at other times for a considerable period. Upon being demobilized it was found that some employers had replaced men, and refused to reinstate them. Under a provision in the principal Act, where a soldier of the Citi- zen Forces is called up for his annual training, and after that training is complete he is discharged because he was absent for that period, the employer can be penalized very heavily for so doing. It was thought that that provision would govern all cases, but when cases of the kind I indicated just now arose after the war’ began,, they were referred to the Crown Law officers. The opinion they gave was that the section referred only to Soldiers called up for training, and did not cover the case of soldiers who were called up for home defence. It! the present measure,, we are extending that p protection to soldiers who are called up for home defence, so that they shall be safeguarded, and shall not be penalized 1*7 employers because of their doing their duty to their country.
There is one provision not in the same category as those which I have been referring to, and that is a provision dealing With the parades or drills of Senior Cadets. I am of the opinion, and I think it is an opinion which most honor ible senators share, that the bringing about of military training to our Senior Cadets was one of the best things which have ever happened to the youth of this country, especially that portion of the training which takes the form of physical drill. It has undoubtedly done a very great deal to increase the stamina and physical development of our youths. It has operated, I believe, to eradicate larrikinism in some of our bigger cities, and is doing a great .deal in that connexion. That, at any rate, is the unanimous testimony of the police authorities, and of many ‘ parents in every State of the Commonwealth. When a man is called up for his training, whether it is a day parade or a half-day parade, or camp training, he is paid for the time which he loses from his employment. There is a schedule of payments, but in the case of Senior Cadets there is no schedule of payments, and, as a result of that, we have had till now the practice of holding these parades at night time or on Saturday afternoons or on holidays, or at times when the lads would not be working. It has to be remembered that cadets enter the Cadet Force at the age of fourteen years and continue there till they become eighteen years of age, when they pass into the Citizen Forces. A considerable number of these parades are held at nighttime. It is a debatable point whether it is wise to have so many of the parades at night-time. There are serious objections raised by parents, principally in regard to the boys who are of the age of fourteen years. They have urged that it is not a good thing to encourage the lads to go out at night, and get into all sorts of company. The parents generally have always been agitating for fewer night parades and more day parades. The Department has endeavoured to meet that request as far as possible, but we are faced with this difficulty, that if we abolish all night parades, seeing that we now take up the greater part of the Saturday afternoon, we can only do it by encroaching still further on the Saturday afternoons which are left to Senior Cadets during the year. We have all been boys, and, of course, we look back to the time when we liked to go and enjoy a game of football or cricket. I think we ought to consider that view, and give to the lads some opportunity for recreation. Then there is holiday time, when the rest of the family probably go to visit some place out of town, and we do not wish to encroach more than is necessary on the holiday period. Therefore, it is provided in the Bill that we may take more time for day parades,, with the idea, not of encroaching more on the Saturday afternoon, but of holding a certain proportion of these parades on the Saturday morning. A considerable number of these lads are engaged as apprentices or in various employments. They are only receiving small wages, and it would be a hardship to them or their parents to take -them away on Saturday morning and allow their pay to be docked for the period of absence. I am glad to be able to say that, although we have been doing the Saturday morning parades in the past to a limited extent, a very large number of employers have not deducted pay from the lads who have had to attend.
– The Brisbane Post Office is not in that category.
– I cannot say who is : or who is not; but a .considerable number of employers have not done so. The Bill contains a provision which makes it illegal for any employer to deduct pay when a lad is called away for a statutory parade. The alternative is for the Government to pay, but if that were enacted, we should be faced with certain difficulties. We do not want to add -to. the expense of our defence system, and, there is a general 818 Defence [SENATE. J Bill.’ desire to keep our ordinary expenditure at the normal amount. The other difficulty is that the lads get varying rates of pay, and what might be a fair rate for one lad might not be fair for another. Another consideration has determined the Government to adopt the plan in the Bill. We believe it is in the interests of the employers themselves that the lads should get the discipline that they do. They are not only fitting themselves for -the defence of the country, but becoming more proficient as workmen by the mere fact of getting the drill, especially the physical drill, and the small sacrifice an employer might be called on to make in not being allowed to deduct pay from an apprentice for a few hours on a Saturday is not too much to ask of those who have the boys in their employ. The Bill, therefore, makes it illegal for any deduction to be made from any lad who is called away for a statutory parade during his working hours. There are also some portions of the Commonwealth where part of the community is available on Saturday afternoon and part is not. There are cases where we are not able to meet the whole of the requirements of a district, and some lads, when called to drill on Saturday afternoons now, have to lose time, and, if the employer likes, lose pay also. This provision will meet those cases, because the employer will not be able to deduct pay when a lad is called up for a Saturday afternoon parade.
– Will it be compul- sory for an employer, including the Public Departments, to enable the cadets to get away during the day-time?
– The original Act already makes it an offence to prevent any person from complying with the provisions of the Act.
– Did you say that the daylight parades, would be exclusively on
– Not necessarily, because in some districts the half -holiday : is on Wednesday. Discretion is left to the Department to fix any day that it thinks fit, according to the local circumstances.
The late Lord Kitchener, in his report, emphasized the necessity of making the Military College the channel through which appointments to the permanent staff should be made, and, in accordance with that recommendation, .an amending Defence Bill was put through to provide that all appointments to the .permanent staff must, after a certain number of years, be made from graduates of that College. That period has now passed, and all appointments to the permanent staff have, under the existing Act, to be made from that source. There are however, some branches, such as the Veterinary Corps, where we have to keep a small permanent personnel, and graduates of the Military College are not necessarily trained as veterinary officers. There are one or two other non-combatant) corps, where we require to appoint to the permanent staff persons who have not gone through the Military College, and power is being taken in this Bill for that purpose.
This position also arises: Over 300,000 of our citizens have gone away to the war. Some 27,000 of them have come back some wounded, and some invalided for other causes. Many who went away as privates have obtained promotion. Some have become non-commissioned officers and some commissioned officers, in one or two cases even reaching the rank of lieut.colonel from the ranks. Under the existing Act, when these men come back, we should not be able to appoint any of . them, commissioned or non-commissioned, to our Citizen Forces. We want power to do so. They will be valuable because of their war experience. Many of them are not in our Citizen Forces at all, and would nob be qualified to enter them. We are, therefore, asking in this Bill for power to appoint suitable commissioned and noncommissioned officers, who have qualified in the Australian Imperial Forcer either to their existing or to some other suitable rank in the Permanent Force.
– Without further examination?
– Yes. It does not necessarily mean that we will take the whole of them. The power will be a discretionary one, because in some localities there might be more of these men than there are units of the Citizen Forces to absorb them, but they can be taken into the reserve of officers or put’ on the .retired list.
Another point that has arisen is this: We have in the Defence Act a definition of ‘’ active service,” but it is altogether incomplete, and in its present form unworkable. When the Act was drawn up, it was assumed that Australia would be involved in a war, and that that war would be going on in an enemy country, or possibly in our own. Butt the present condition of affairs is that Australia is at war; some of our soldiers are fighting in an enemy country, such as Palestine, others in a foreign, but friendly, country such as France, and yet others are here in Australia being prepared for fighting. Some of them are employed in the Australian Imperial Force here in Australia in training, and others in the Home Service garrisoning the forts or guarding certain points, but not actually in the firing line. Each of these cases presents different conditions, in relation to matters of administration and discipline, and particularly in connexion with courts martial. We are therefore altering the definition of active service, so that we shall have two definitions - “ active service “ and “ war service.” It is believed that when these amendments are made our Act will, as the result of the experience of the war, be elastic enough to meet all the differing sets of conditions.
– Where are you to draw i:.he line between war service and active service?
– There is a difference between men called up for active service in Australia and men who have voluntarily enlisted, and been sent overseas, and who are fighting in an enemy or foreign country.
– Will any of these amendments enable the Government to send men out of this country irrespective of whether they desire to go or not?
– That question is not involved by this Bill.
Another feature dealt with generally in a number of the provisions is this: Our soldiers while in. Australia are entirely under Australian administration and command, but when they go overseas, especially in such a war as ‘the present, th-e conditions differ in different parts of the world. We have men in Mesopotamia, who are as a drop in the ocean compared with the numbers there, and simply a small unit in a large Force. In Egypt, a considerable portion of the Forces is Australian, and some portion is partly Australian and partly Imperial units. In France, there is a recognised corps of Australians and another corps partly Australian and partly New Zealand. All these conditions indicate how flexible our Defence Act needs to be if it is to meet all the varying sets of circumstances.
– They all come under the Army Act.
– That is the point I was coming to. The permanent control oversea must necessarily be central. If six different units were sent to the war by six different agencies, they could . not have six permanent heads, and so we have to recognise in the oversea service the application of the Army Act. That principle is already embodied in our Defence Act, with ‘the limitation that the Army Act applies only in so far as it is not inconsistent with the Defence Act. That principle is still maintained in. the Bill.
– Why was that put in?
– Because there is a difference between the Army Act and our Defence Act in regard to punishment for certain things. There is also a provision in regard to the confirmation of the finding of a court martial, which in our Act differs somewhat from the Army Act. The punishment for desertion in the Army Act is death, but there is no death penalty in the Defence Act as it stands today. It is therefore necessary to retain the provision that the Army Act does not apply where it is inconsistent with the Defence Act.
The Government, in the drafting of the Bill, have had the assistance of officers who have had the carrying out of the provisions of the Act on the field of battle, and in camps of training, preparing men for battle, and who have had the administration of it in peace time. We have been for some time past collating the result of these experiences, and also the experience of officers who have had the duty of preparing and conducting courts martial. The result is shown in this Bill, and I trust the Senate will see the necessity of passing the measure into law. It can be dealt with much more effectually in Committee than on the second reading, and I have therefore simply explained broadly its general principles.
Debate (on motion by Senator Needham) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended, and Bill .read a first time.
– In moving -
That this Bill be now read a second time,
I desire to point out that it is designed to provide the necessary machinery for administration. From time to time we have either acquired or constructed railways which have thus come directly under our control, and with the near approach of the completion of the line from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta it is advisable to have all administrative machinery ready. It is hoped that in about eight weeks’ time the dream of the Western Australian people to be linked up with the east will be realized. The length of this railway is about 1,052 miles, whilst the other section of the Commonwealth line in South Australia, that from Port Augusta to Oodnadatta, is 478 miles, and the Darwin-Pine Creek railway in the Northern Territory about 200 miles, so that we have a total of nearly 1,800 miles of line directly under the control of the Commonwealth authorities.
As I have said, the Bill is, in the main, a machinery measure. Two important points for discussion included in it are the powers of the Commissioner to be appointed to control the administration; ‘and the power, or limitation of power, to be conferred on the Minister from- the political side. It is proposed, with very few exceptions, relating to construction, contracts, and power to call for reports, to place the entire management in the hands of the Commissioner, who will be appointed for a period of five years, and I think, after our. long experience, this principle will be generally acceptable to the people of the Commonwealth. It is proposed to fix a maximum of £2,000 as salary for the Commissioner, and it is thought that the Commonwealth will be able to secure a very capable man for this amount. The Government are determined, however, to secure the best man available for the position, and if there is any difficulty, owing to the limitation (fixed upon the salary, it is possible that subsequently the Government will ask for parliamentary authority to increase the amount.
– What is the salary of Mr. Bell?
– I think £1,800 a year. The Bill provides for the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner - though there is no intention of making this appointment, immediately - who will exercise all the powers conferred upon the Commissioner in the case of the latter’s illness. The Commissioner may be removed from office by an address from both Houses of Parliament, and in the event of Parliament not being in session, he may be suspended by the Minister, but in the latter case, a full statement in regard to such action must be laid before Parliament within fourteen days of the commencement of the next session. The Acting Commissioner, to be appointed if the office of Commissioner becomes vacant, may be suspended” in a similar manner.
Part II. of the Act declares that the Commissioner shall be a body corporate, that he shall have perpetual succession and a common seal and for the purposes of the Bill all Commonwealth properties shall be vested in him. The Commissioner will be empowered to make contracts for the execution of work or the furnishing of material, but’ must obtain the consent of the Minister in the following cases: - (1) contracts for material from outside the Commonwealth exceeding £1,000; (2) contracts for supply of rolling-stock or motive or tractive power; (3) other contracts exceeding £5,000. That is to say» the Commissioner will have power to let contracts within the Commonwealth up to the amount of £5,000, but will not be able to exceed £1,000 for contracts outside the Commonwealth. Power is also given to the Commissioner to deal with breaches of contract and the carriage of dangerous goods, and with the approval of the Minister, to fix tolls, fares an3 charges. The Commissioner may further make arrangements with States for the connexion, of State and Commonwealth railways and the running of Commonwealth rolling-stock on State railways and vice versa. In addition to the obligations of a common carrier there will be imposed upon the Commissioner duties in regard to construction, maintenance, repair, and inspection of the railway. He will prepare estimates of receipts and expenditure in connexion with proposed works and services, and furnish quarterly reports as to expenditure and receipts, the condition of the lines, the making ofspecial rates, and the appointing of employees, as well as an annual report for presentation to Parliament. In other words, the Commissioner will have all the obligations as well as the privileges of a common carrier.
Part III. of the Bill deals with railway employees and provides for the method of appointment, which, in a general sense, will be on the lines of appointments under the Public Service Act. There is provision for the establishment of a suspense account to be operated upon in connexion with the purchase of plant and stores. Money voted by Parliament will be paid into this suspense account, and all rolling.stock and other items required will be purchased from that particular fund. Likewise all realizations, such as the sale of old material, will also be paid into the fund.
A fund is to be created by the appropriation of 5s. .for every £100 of revenue to be drawn on to meet claims for compensation for injury to persons other than employees. When the amount at credit of the fund reaches £20,000, payments will be suspended, and the fund kept at that amount by reimbursement of any sums drawn from it for the purposes mentioned above. In connexion with the construction of new railways the Commissioner may be called upon to make investigations and furnish reports for the consideration of the Public Works Committee. No new railway is to be authorized except by an Act of Parliament. So much of the Pine Creek to Katherine River Railway Act and the KalgoorliePort Augusta Railways Act as are inconsistent with the Bill are proposed to be repealed.
Up to the present the sum of £5,756,914 has been spent on the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta line, the cost to the Commonwealth of the Port Augusta to Oodnadatta section is £2,281,382, and as they are likely to’ involve the Commonwealth in a loss for a considerable number of years, it is essential we should have careful management and control.- It is estimated that the loss, including interest and other charges, on the east-west railway will be £210,000, the loss on the Oodnadatta section £116,000, and the loss on the Darwin-Pine Creek line £24,000, making the total loss for the Commonwealth railways of £351,000.
– That is a nice start.
– The matter can hardly be put that way, because our railway policy was deliberately adopted to insure the successful development of those portions of the Commonwealth affected by the different lines.
– Do the figures with regard to the Darwin-Pine Creek line include the extension?
– No. In regard to the Kalgoorlie-Port Augusta line the gross cost of construction at 30th June, 1917, was £5,312,213, to which must be added estimated expenditure on rolling.stock and/ workshops, £757,285, making the total estimated cost £6,069,498, less estimated total credits at the same date £312,584, bringing the figure down to £5,756,914 already quoted. This estimate does not include the cost of the trial survey, £20,000, The estimated cost of the complete work is £7,136,236, less credits £468,876, making the total £6,667,360.
I propose to give honorable senators now an estimate of revenue and working expenses for the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta line for a period from 1st October, 1917, to 30th June, 1918.
These figures show a total yearly average loss, including interest, of £210,299.
From the inception of this work criticisms have been directed from time to time to the increased cost of the railway, as compared with the original estimate. I should like to supply, for the information of honorable senators, one or two explanations accounting^ f or the increased cost. Mr. Deane’s estimate of the 20th September,. 1911, of the total cost of the line was £4,045,646. The increases upon that original estimate are accounted for in four ways. First of all an increase in the cost has been involved in the excess due to using 80-lb. instead of 70-lb. rails; in the increase in the price of materials, and in the additional mileage of sidings found to be required. The total increase of cost accounted for in this way amounts to £1,177,383.
– Can the Minister give honorable senators any details of that amount ?
– I find that an increase of £187,576. is due to the adoption of the heavier rails, but it will be ‘admitted that they make a better road. An increase of £874,291 is due to the increase in the price of material, and an increased cost of £17,834 is due to the additional mileage of sidings found to be necessary. The second explanation for the increased cost, upon Mr. Deane’s original estimate is due to the decision to ballast the line fully with broken stone or. gravel. This has involved an increased cost of £500,226. The next explanation for the increased cost is the excess due to an increase of 31 per cent, in the average rate of wages, amounting to £400,000. The balance of the increased cost is accounted for by the excess due to inadequate- provision for rolling-stock, and to other underestimates and omissions in Mr. Deane’s estimate of 20th September, 1911, amounting to £544,106. These explanations account for a total difference of £2,621,715 in the cost of the line, as compared with Mr. Deane’s estimate, upon which Parliament undertook its construction.
I now give the following financial statement up to 30th June, 1917, for the Port Augusta to Oodnadatta railway : -
The financial statement for the year ended 30th June, 1917, for the Darwin to Pine Creek railway gives the following figures : -
An alternative proposal has been made about which negotiations have been proceeding for some considerable time, and in this ‘connexion I am able to give honorable senators the following information. The line from Adelaide to Terowie, on the 5-ft. 3-in. gauge, by the present route is 140 miles in length. Prom Terowie to Port Augusta, on the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge,, the mileage is 119 miles, or a total dis- tance from Adelaide to Port Augusta of 259 miles. . The _ alternative route which has been suggested will be by a proposed 5-ft.. 3-in. gauge line from Salisbury, Long Plains, to Port Augusta, a distance of 192 miles, making a saving of 67 miles. Prom Long Plains to Port Augusta, .by this alternative route, is 145 miles. The present train takes 12f hours on the journey of 260 miles, and the South Australian authorities contemplate that they -could accomplish the journey on -the 5-ft. 3-in. gauge, direct route of 192 miles, in 5 hours, thus making a saving of 7j hours on the journey.
As affording an interesting view of the possibilities of our lines, I submit the following comparison. The journey from New York to San Francisco, over 3,250 miles of railw’ay, takes 105 hours, or 4 days 9 hours. The journey from Brisbane to Perth, over a distance of 3,467 miles of railway, is expected to take ‘ 1-35 hours, or 5 days 15 hours, and this will include long stops at the capitals and at the breaks of gauge.
The question of fares has not yet been finally decided, and I want honorable senators to understand that the fares which I now suggest are only approximate and submitted for the information of the public. From Perth, Fremantle, and Northam to Adelaide it is suggested that the1 fares shall be - First class, £7 10s.; second class, £5. From Perth, Fremantle, and Northam to Melbourne - First class, £10 ; second class, £6 13s. 6d.
– Does that mean that there is to be no difference in the fares from Perth, Fremantle or Northam ?.
– That is the inten-‘ tion as at present suggested.
– The honorable senator is quoting single fares?
– Yes; no return fares are suggested.
– Is there to be any difference in the fares from Kalgoorlie?
– From Perth, Fremantle, and Northam to Sydney - First class, £12 4s. 6d. ; second class, £8 3s. ; and from Perth, Fremantle,’ and Northam to Brisbane - First class, £15 7s. 6d., and second class, £10 5s. Holiday excursion fares will be. on a lower scale, and the customary concession fares are also to be provided for. These fares do not include charges for sleeping ‘ berths. In answer to Senator
Needham, I may add that between Kalgoorlie and the Eastern States fares will also be fixed, but these are still a matter of negotiation.
It is unnecessary that I should! go into the history of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway. The evolutionary stages have been discussed from time to time in this Chamber, and honorable senators are quite, familiar with what has taken place. The Bill clearly defines the powers of the Minister and the Commissioner, and all the matters necessary for the effective control of the Commonwealth railways. As this is a machinery Bill very largely, the matters with which it deals can probably be more’ effectively debated in Committee.
Debate- (on motion by Senator LYNCH) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 4.48 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 8 August 1917, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1917/19170808_SENATE_7_82/>.