7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T.. Givens) took the Chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Has the attention of the Leader of the. Senate been directed to a report in this morning’s newspaper of a question asked in another place with regard to Mr. Justice Higgins? Is he aware that Mr. Livingston . asked whether, in view of the fact that Mr. Justice Higgins-
– In asking a question the honorable senator will not be in order in quoting a newspaper extract except to direct attention to the subject-matter.
– Not to base a question upon it?
– The rule with regard to the asking of questions is that they must be put only for the purpose of eliciting information, and shall contain no statement, argument, or expression of opinion.
– I regret, sir, that the rule does not permit me to read the newspaper report of the question. Is the Leader of the Senate aware that a question has been asked in another place as to whether it was the intention of the Government to give honorable members an opportunity of considering the advisability of dealing with the term of Mr. Justice Higgins’ appointment, and that ah answer was given by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) reflecting upon a recent decision of the Judge and intimating that the House would be afforded an opportunity of discussing the curtailment of. the period of his appointment ? Has the Minister seen that statement in the press, and if so is it the intention of the Government to take any steps to- invite Parliament to deal with the matter foreshadowed ?
– I have seen the statement and it is a correct indication of the attitude of the Government on this matter.
– It indicates their attitude ?
– In view of the reply to my question, and in view of the serious position which is created by a Government with a majority in both Houses, and with the power by a vote of both Houses to remove a gentleman from the High Court–
– The Arbitration Court.
– Order !
– In view of the seriousness of the position created by the Leader of the Government with a majority in both Houses, and with the power to remove a member from the High Court bench, will the Government consider’ the advisability of not permitting this Judge to continue to occupy his position with a threat of removal hanging over him, but instead of adjourning Parliament ask it to decide the matter at once in the interests of justice ?
– I think that the honorable senator has read into the words of the Prime Minister something more than they are capable of fairly bearing. However, the suggestion he makes I shall have much pleasure in conveying to the Cabinet.
General report of the Committee on Public Accounts presented by Senator McDougall and ordered to be printed.
– Does the VicePresident of the Executive Council intend to ask the Senate to adjourn as soon as the Governmentmeasures now before the Senate have been dealt with by the House of Representatives?
– I hope to do so.
– Will an instruction be issued to. the Public Service Commissioner to the effect that, should a public servant who is a returned soldier be absent from duty on account of the wounds or illness he met with while serving with the A.I.P., he shall not lose pay for the time he is so absent from duty?
– I hesitate to say that an instruction exactly in those terms would be issued, but I shall have the matter considered immediately and see what action can be taken, with the view to seeing that the assurances given to these men are faithfully carried out.
Withdrawalfrom Fighting Line
– I have made a public statement that the Australian Imperial Force was not withdrawn from the Western front for a period of three months between the 1st June, 1916. and the 1st January, 1917. I ask the Minister forDefence whether that statement is untrue or incorrect?
– I believe that the statement is partly correct. I am not prepared to say that the troops were withdrawn for a complete period of three months, but they were withdrawn between these two dates for a period very nearly approaching to three months.
– A section; not all at one time.
– Referring to my question of yesterday as to the refusal to register a Labour newspaper at Toowoomba, Queensland, and the reply given by the Vice-President of the Execu- tive Council on behalf of the Treasurer, and in which it was stated that the only consent given to the formation of a company in Western Australia to publish a newspaper was given in August, 1916, is the honorable senator aware that two newspapers, namely, the Periscope and the Australian, have recently been registered in Perth,Western Australia ?
– I was under the impression that the answer I gave yesterday disclosed an absence of knowledge on that point. In view of this further inquiry, I will see that the question is again placed before the Treasurer.
– In view of the statement by the Vice-President of the Executive Council that it is intended to adjourn the Senate as soon as the Government business has been put through, will he be prepared to give me an early opportunity, after the Senate re-assembles, to move the motion which stands in my name, and which in the ordinary course of business would have been reached today?
– In view of the importance of the matter covered by the motion, I shall have every pleasure in making an opportunity for the honorable senator to submit it to the Senate shortly after it re-assembles.
– In view of the extracts I read to the Senate from a book called The Fiddlers, will the Minister for Defence be prepared to withdraw the censorship from the book if the part to which he takes particular exception, that is the part referring to Australia, is cut out?
– As I pointed out in my speech yesterday, I take exception to more than the part relating to Australia. I take exception also to the parts reflecting on Canadian and British soldiers.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy received the information I asked for recently as to the expenditure and receipts in connexion with the radio stations, so far as private business is concerned?
– The honorable senator was temporarily absent from the chamber yesterday, when, in dealing with the Supply Bill, I intimated that the desired information was now being gathered, that it was anticipated that its collection would take a few days, and that when available I would see that it was conveyed to him.
– In view of it being the announced policy of the Government that enemy aliens are required to report to the police weekly, or at such shorter intervals as may be fixed, will the Minister for Defence say whether that is being done, and, if it is not being done, will he issue imperative instructions to the responsible officers that all enemy aliens shall report to the police weekly, or oftener if required, when they are physically able to do so?
– Instructions to that effect have already been issued, and I ‘assume that my officers are carrying them out. It should not be necessary, nor do I think it is necessary, to issue a direction that the instructions already issued shall be carried out. If any person can bring to my notice ‘evidence that the officers are not carrying out the instructions, then it will be my duty, not to issue another instruction, but to deal with the officers who are not obeying existing instructions.
– Has the Minister controlling shipping any information available in connexion with the question I put yesterday respecting the maintenance of steam communication between the mainland and Launceston, Tasmania?
– The reply to the question reads as follows: -
Unfortunately there is a great strike, but every effort is being made to restore steamer communication with Tasmania.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Railways, inform the Senate as to the likely date for the ceremony in connexion with the completion of the eastwest railway?
– I have to ask the honorable senator to give notice of the question. If I can get the information later in the day I will.
– Will the honorable senator give us the information before we adjourn?
– I will, if I can get it this afternoon.
Sons of Enemy Subjects
– Is the Minister for Defence aware that a number of sons of enemy subjects are employed on the wharfs in Sydney with volunteers, and will he see that they are carefully watched so that they can do no damage?
– I am under the impression that this allegation, in the form of a question, has already been made in another place, and denied by the Minister for the Navy. I will bring it under his attention, but I feel confident that no such happenings are allowed.
– They are there all the same.
– I ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council if it is possible to lay upon the table of the Senate a copy of the report of the statutory inquiry into the loss of the steamer Cumberland? Have the Federal Government made any inquiry into this matter, and, if so, can they supply honorable senators with a copy of the report?
– I cannot speak definitely, but I should assume that it would not be desirable at the present juncture to make public the result of the inquiries so far held.
SenatorNEEDHAM. - In connexion with the restriction on theconsumption of gas for household purposes, will the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy assure the people that the gasbills at the end of the month will be reduced in proportion to the reduction in gas consumption during the operation of the restriction ?
– I remind the honorable senator that while the Minister for the Navy controls warships and such matters, he does not control gas meters.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with a message intimating that the House had made the amendments requested by the Senate.
Bill read a third time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended, and Bill read a first time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
As honorable senators are aware, the purpose of the Bill is to provide for the appointment of a” Minister controlling repatriation. There can be no doubt, in the minds of those acquainted with the repatriation scheme, that it can only be made effective by appointing a Minister and making him responsible for its administration, in the same way as other Ministers are responsible for the administration of their respective Departments. There may be some criticism concerning the increase in thenumber of salaried Ministers during a time of war andfinancial stress, but I would like to bring before the Senate certain facts relating to the increased functions of the Government, largely attributable to war conditions.
I have before me some figures showing that the trading functions of the Government directly connected with, and caused by, the war represent a gross total of sales of produce, &c, of £102,317,140, while the increased cost of war services is £47,168,000. ‘ Everybody knows that these increases must mean a considerable addition to. the work which falls upon responsible Ministers, and, therefore, necessitate an addition to the number of salaried portfolios. I should like to indicate briefly the increased activities of the Commonwealth since the outbreak of the war. In regard to shipping, there has been the provision of freight for wheat, chartering, &c. ; the control of freight rates in Australian waters; the purchase of the Commonwealth Government line of steamers and the management of same; the establishment of a Shipping Board to control all freight matters and the management of ex-enemy and interned ships used for commercial purposes. The wheat scheme has involved the creation and management of the Wheat Pool. On the military side there has been the necessity to provide troops for active service abroad, including their equipment, supply of stores, transport, &c. ; the administration of enemy territory in Commonwealth military occupation, and, in addition to this, there has been the censorship, apart .from th& control of news. In finance there has been need to negotiate war loans, provide for increased taxation, income tax, entertainments tax, and control of the raising of money for amusements, the notation of companies, &c, as well as to provide the machinery for war pensions. On the industrial side it has been necessary to take steps to prevent Australian coal’ from reaching the enemy or enemy sympathizers, while at the same time not interfering with the Australian trade in coal, as well as the need to control the distribution of coal owing to industrial unrest. It has further been necessary to take steps to prevent trading with the enemy, and to promote Australian trade. In metals we have had to provide for the elimination of enemy influence and the establishment of an Australian Metal Exchange to register contracts and to provide for the encouragement of orerefining in Australia, and generally to assist the base metal industry. In science, the war has rendered advisable ‘the establishment of the Commonwealth Advisory Council, and in regard to produce we have had to create machinery to fix the maximum prices of foodstuffs, create pools to handle certain lines, to establish a Leather Industries Board to insure adequate supplies for military purposes, and to meet the requirements of local manufactures and control the export trade. Then the Government have arranged for the sale of this season’s frozen rabbits to the Imperial Government, and have assumed control of sugar supplies. A public trustee has been appointed to hold and deal with enemy property, provision has been made for the suspension and avoidance of enemy patents and tirade marks, and a directorate has been appointed to insure an increase in supply of the material for munitions purposes. Passports have also been dealt with, the Government have assumed control of the wool production, have given assistance to the fruit industry, and arranged for the disposal of jam and canned fruits. In addition, we have rendered assistance in the sale of surplus butter and cheese to the Imperial Government.
All these functions have added to the responsibility of the Government, and yet there are people outside who will say that there is no need for an increase in the number of Ministers, or ‘that’ if an increase is made there should be no addition to the salaries paid. I want to point out, however, that the membership of the British Government has been increased considerably since the commencement of the war, the following appointments having been made - Minister of Munitions, appointed in 1915, at a salary of £5,000 per annum; the Minister of Pensions, appointed in 1916, at an annual salary of £2,000; Minister of Labour, Minister of Food, Minister of Shipping, appointed in 1916, at an annual salary of £2,000 each; Minister of National Service, appointed 1917, at an annual salary of £2,000. In the sister Dominion of New Zealand also, where the amount of work entailed by the war has been very much less than in Australia, it has been found necessary to appoint two additional Ministers since the war began. I think, therefore, there is ample justification for the course that is now being taken.
The scope of the duties of the new Minister will be considerable, because not only will he be required to administer repatriation, but he also will be the connecting link between the Commonwealth Government and the Governments of the States in so far as land settlement is concerned. The Prime Minister has already announced that Senator Millen, the Leader of the Government in this Chamber, will take the new portfolio, and I am sure he will fill the position with credit to himself and the Senate.
– I have no objection to the principles of the Bill. If the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) has proved anything at all, he has proved too much by the long list, of additional duties quoted as having fallen upon the ‘ Government owing to the war, and it looks as if not one, but two or three more Ministers are required.
– You are looking forward.
– Yes. In reply to Senator de Largie, I may say that I am looking forward with hope-
– Hear, hear!
– Bright hope, notwithstanding the, efforts of the onetime Labour Senator de Largie and the one-time Labour man, Senator Reid, in organizing “scab” unions.
– Mr. President, I take exception to the statement made by Senator Gardiner, who has used a term which I regard as extremely offensive as well as untrue, and I ask that he be called upon to withdraw it.
– I remind Senator de Largie that it is equally out of order to characterize any statement made by another honorable senator as untrue.
– But I raised a point of order.
– And I shall deal with the point of order. Senator Gardiner has used a term which Senator de Largie regards as offensive. Such a remark must not be made, and if made must be withdrawn, so I ask Senator Gardiner to withdraw it.
– I shall obey your ruling, Mr. President. It is, however, quite true, and was published only yesterday in the press, so the facts are there. I withdraw the remark because it is unparliamentary, and not because Senator de Largie says it is untrue.
– Order ! I now ask Senator de Largie to withdraw his statement that what Senator Gardiner had said was untrue, because that remark was equally out of order.
– I withdraw it, Mr. President.
– When interrupted by Senator de Largie I was proceeding to show that the Minister for Defence had proved too much by quoting a long list of additional duties, and I. said that there appeared to be need, not for one additional Minister, but for several. I point out that the framers of the Constitution limited the amount of money to be appropriated for the salaries of Ministers, and although there has been a considerable increase in the functions of the Government since then, I think the Go vernment, elected as a Win-the-war Ministry - which implied the necessity for rigid economy - should not, in a time of war, seek to increase the amount of money to be appropriated for Ministerial salaries. That, to my mind, is an objectionable feature of the present Bill.
– Should they do additional work for nothing.
– Yes; at a time like this, when the whole world is making sacrifices, additional work should not be made a plea for additional pay.
SenatorFoll. - Do you not think that the Ministers will be “ scabbing “ if they work fornothing.
– I do not like the way in which the honorable senator has put it. No Minister, in my opinion, is ever called upon to work for nothing, and as to whether at a time like this the suggestion I am making can be regarded as asking Ministers to work for nothing, it seems to me that it is simply a question of how you look at it.
This is a time which calls for the closest consideration of every proposal for increased pay. If, in introducing the Bill, the Minister for Defence had stated that during the war no additional amount would be appropriated for Ministerial salaries, but that the Minister for Repatriation would have the full status of a Minister with portfolio, and on the conclusion of the struggle in Europe would be paid his full salary,I would have taken no exception, to it.
– That would have been a very good practice for’ the honorable senator himself to follow.
– My colleagues in the late Ministry know perfectly well that the question of pay never troubled me.’ But I would remind honorable senators that Australia occupies to-day avery different position from that which it occupied two years ago. Our expenditure is continually climbing. Only a few days ago this branch of the Legislature affirmed that a man who is not earning £50 per year will have to contribute £5 annually towards the repatriation scheme. Yet it is now proposed that the Minister who will control that scheme -shall be provided with a salary of £1,650 per year. There is a logical mind in the community, and we cannot enforce taxation upon people who have not, while increasing the emoluments of those who have, without drawing from the public a judgment which will be unfavorable to us.- I do hope that the Government will postpone the proposed appropriation on behalf of the Minister for Repatriation until after the war.
The other day, when we were dealing with a proposal to tax the single men of this community, I expressed the view that the position was not so grave that we could not afford to exempt men who were in receipt of only £156 per year. But the Committee decided that there should be no exemptions. Senator Needham subsequently moved that single men who are in receipt of incomes of only £100 per year should be exempted from, the operation of the tax. His proposal was rejected. Senator’ Barnes then moved to exempt single men who are in receipt of only £50 per year, and once more the Committee affirmed that the money was needed, and must be paid. Yet, we have now submitted for our consideration a measure connected with repatriation, under which it is proposed to provide a salary of £1,650 per year for an additional Minister. I do not object to Ministers being well paid. They have to shoulder enormous responsibilities. They are frequently criticised unfairly, and held responsible not merely for their own misdoings, but also for the mistakes of their officers. They are in no way overpaid. But I object to the hypocrisy that is involved in compelling a man with no income to contribute £5 a year towards the repatriation scheme, while providing the Minister who controls that scheme with a salary of £1,650 a year. There is nothing personal in my criticism. I simply say that the time is inopportune to increase the pay either of Ministers or of members of Parliament.
– Does not the honorable senator think that a (rood Repatriation Minister will be worth many thousands of pounds to the Commonwealth ?
– Any man who wins his way to Ministerial rank proves, before he attains it, that he is worth all the money he will receive. I am not discussing the principle of payment for services. I am merely debating this proposal to increase the burden of taxation on the people of this country when we are up against the question of increasing the taxation of those who will have to pay these salaries.
– Does the honorable senator think that the Minister should do the work for nothing ?
– If the work were being done for nothing there might be something in the interjection of the national organizer, Senator Reid, as to doing the work for nothing.. The work” is not being done for nothing.
– The “Vice-President of the Executive Council is not getting paid as a Minister.
– This is merely a proposal to increase the pool out of which Ministers are paid to £15,300 annually. At a time when this Chamber has determined to tax everybody in order to make our repatriation scheme a success, we ought not to’ increase the salaries that are payable to Ministers.
If this is a sample of the economy which the Government can exercise, we cannot expect any more from their efforts in that direction than we can from their efforts to win the war.
– The honorable senator’s party fought against the appointment of honorary commissioners under the Repatriation Bill.
– I do not mind admitting that it will be cheap for Parliament to pay any person who is required to render services under that measure, and to pay him well. Quite recently we have passed a Bill under which excess profits made by any person during the war will be taxed to the extent of 50 per cent, during the first year, and of 75 per cent, during the second year. When a new Minister is appointed, and Ministerial salaries are increased, surely it must be admitted that these increases represent war-time profits. I agree that there is not only a necessity for the appointment of an additional Minister, ‘but that there is need for the appointment of several additional Ministers. I am in accord with the principle of the Bill, but upon the clause which provides for the appropriation of more money for the Ministerial pool I shall press for a division in Committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 (Salaries of Ministers).
Question - That the clause stand as printed - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Bill returned from the House of Repre sentatives with a message intimating that it had agreed to the same with amendments, with which it desired the concurrence of the Senate.
Message ordered to be considered forthwith.
House of Representatives’ Amendments, - Insert following new definition: - “‘Child’ means a son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, adopted son, or adopted daughter, and includes an ex-nuptial child.”
Omit sub-clause 2, and insert the following sub-clause: - “ (2.)For the purposes of this Act any person who -
– I move -
That the amendments be agreed to.
The first of these amendments will, I think, commend itself to the Committee. It defines what is meant by the term “ child,” which, under the Acts Interpretation Act also means “ children.” , The second amendment may seem long, but it is, so far as the two first paragraphs are concerned, a mere restatement, in more ample terms, of the definition contained in the Bill as it left this Chamber. The later paragraphs introduce fresh matter, and that is the provision for the inclusion of Australians who have served with the Imperial or Dominion Forces, and also of nurses who have served similarly with the nursing staffs associated with, or attached to, military units of the Imperial authorities, or any of the sister Dominions.
– Will this apply to nursing sisters who have served without going out of Australia?
– If attached to the Australian Imperial Force, yes.
Motion agreed to.
House of Reperesentatives’ Amendment. - Insert, after “ Commissioners,” the words, “ two of whom shall be returned soldiers or sailors.”
That the amendment be agreed to.
I do not think it needs any words of mine to commend the principle of this amendment to the Committee. When the Bill was originally before us, I intimated that it was the intention to appoint two returned soldiers on all the Boards, and the other House has deemed it desirable to make such a provision a portion of the clause itself.
– The amendment may mean that two soldiers will be appointed to the Commission.
– Or sailors.
– I should like it made clear that the representatives of the men shall be one soldier and one sailor, so as to secure representation of both branches of the service.
– Move that there be one sailor in addition to the two soldiers.
-That, I think, would be a fair proportion, and I move -
That after the word “soldiers” the word “ or “ be left out.
If this amendment be agreed to, I shall move for the insertion of the words “ and one sailor.”
.- I should think that it only needs the suggestion of Senator Guthrie to have this amendment accepted by the Minister. Personally, I think that every member of the Commission should be a returned man. We have sent, or may send, some 400,000 of the physically fittest and best men in Australia to participate in the war; and who shall say that out of that number we cannot find men able to conduct the whole of this repatriation business! Failing that, the representation of the men ought certainly .to consist of two soldiers and one sailor.
– I am sorry that I am not able to accept the amendment proposed by Senator Guthrie. Both Chambers debated whether the representation should consist of three, and both have decided in favour of two as a -fair allotment, in view of the fact* that the general public interest has to be considered and conserved on the Commission. Senator Thomas reminds me that the House of Representatives’ amendment will not prevent the Minister, if it be deemed desirable, appointing more than two representatives, which is the minimum number. No one wishes to decry ‘the magnificent work done by the naval branch of the Defence Force; but of the 5,000 men on the water, 3,000 are permanent, and hardly eligible for positions on the Commission. It does not seem reasonable to ask that 3,000 men shall have 50 per cent, of the representation when 370,000 men are concerned.
– That is presuming that all the sailors go to “ Davy Jones’ locker.”
– Supposing all the sailors come back, they will still, if the amendment be carried, have 50 per cent, of the representation so far as the Military and Naval Forces are concerned. Senator Guthrie can rest assured that the soldiers’ representatives and the other members of the Commission will give every consideration to both sailors and soldiers.
– The men who joined the Navy are now serving on the ships, and running as many, if not more, risks than the soldiers at the Front, and for smaller pay. Why? Because the sailors have not had representation in Parliament to advance their claims. The soldiers are paid 6s. per day while the sailors receive only 5s.
-. - Senator Guthrie was not here yesterday when I said that the Minister for the Navy had an amount on the Estimates to level up that difference.
– The amount on the Estimates will noi! level up the difference by a long way. It is not only the sailors, but the admirals, lieutenants, and engineers who are to have their salaries levelled up, and these latter will absorb nearly the whole of the £60,000 allotted for the purpose. I should be prepared to accept the representation of one soldier and one sailor, but the Navy ought to be represented, and I shall do my level best to see that it is. We know that, as a rule, there is a good deal of jealousy between the two arms of the service arising from a fear that one may be getting more advantages than the other, and I desire to do away with that jealousy by making their pay equal. v
– Senator Millen has said that Senator Guthrie’s proposal would give the sailors 50 per cent, of the representation of the fighting Forces ; but what will happen if we do not adopt the amendment ? The sailors must halve the representation, or they will have no representation at all; and the amendment presents the lesser of two evils-
– You might as well appoint a nurse and a doctor !
– I see no objection to that. I venture to say that if some of the old derelicts, who are generally hovering round for positions on Commissions of the kind, are appointed, nurses and doctors would be found very useful adjuncts. My desire is that the Commission shall be composed of active, live persons.
– The honorable senator is leaving out the airmen.
– Yes; and I recognise that owing to the illogical attitude of the Government many interested in the scheme will be left out. This Commission should consist wholly’ of persons who have served in the Forces.
– To spend the taxpayers’ money I
– They are a big percentage of the taxpayers. I support the amendment moved by Senator Guthrie, because it is evident from the Minister’s remark that, unless it is accepted, the naval branch will have no chance of being represented.
– I was under the impression when it was decided ito constitute this Commission that there would be no sectional representation - that if soldiers were appointed, they, along with other- members, would represent, not only the soldiers and sailors, but the wives, widows, and children, and all concerned.
– Evidently the other House did not understand that.
– We have operating throughout Australia to-day a Returned Soldiers and Sailors League. There are nol separate associations of returned ‘soldiers and returned sailors; the two branches of the service have combined forces. Although I know that in the Old Country there is a certain amount of feeling between the two arms of the service, I think Senator Guthrie is quite wrong in suggesting that there is any such feeling in Australia. There is just as strong a comradeship between our returned soldiers and sailors as there is amongst the soldiers themselves.
It is unnecessary, in my opinion, to deal with this question as some honorable senators have done. Every soldier on the Commission will represent every person to whom this repatriation scheme applies, and the same may be said of any sailor or civilian who may be appointed to it. Senator Gardiner, like every other honorable senator, desires that every possible assistance should be given to our returned soldiers - and sailors, but >we must not forget that there are two classes to be represented on this Commission - the class that is to pay, and the class that is to receive. The representation proposed by the Government is very fair, and I believe that the majority of -the members of the Commission will be chosen from the ranks of the returned soldiers. I have no fear that this Bill, framed as it is, will fail to provide ample representation for returned soldiers and sailors, as well as for their dependants.
– I think that the representation of the taxpayers by the Minister, as Chairman of the Commission, should he amply sufficient for their protection, and I favour the selection of every other representative from the ranks of those who have gone to the Front. With the exception of the Minister, members of the Commission should be drawn from those who have been in the fighting line, whether they be nurses, doctors, soldiers, or sailors. I have the suspicion that a number of the seats of this Commission are being reserved for those who have ‘ reneged ‘ ‘ on the Labour movement. I should like such gentlemen to be effectually cut out. Senator- Foll appears 1 o . think that if the Commission consisted solely of returned soldiers and sailors, it might play ducks and drakes with the public finances.
– I am not afraid of that.
– The Minister, as Chairman of the Commission, will take care that nothing of the sort occurs. The amendment hardly goes far enough, but if I cannot get anything better, I shall support it.
– I do not desire, at this juncture, to delay the consideration of this matter. I am very anxious that the proposal embodied in my amendment should be carried out. It is immaterial to. me, how- ever; whether it is or is not inserted in the Bill, provided I can obtain from Senator Millen the assurance that, if a suitable naval officer can be found for the purpose, a naval representative will be appointed to the Commission. I would remind the Committee that naval men may be left in any part of the world, and that soldiers do not recognise the work that will be involved in returning them. The whole consular system of the British Empire is familiar to the average naval man, whereas soldiers know nothing about it. I shall not press my amendment if Senator Millen will give me the assurance for which I have asked.
.- I think I shall be able to make a statement that will satisfy Senator Guthrie. I cannot give him an assurance that a naval man will be appointed to the Commission, , but I will faithfully promise to scrutinize the list of names, with a view of obtaining the best men for these positions. If one of the number is a naval man, so much the better. I cannot go further than that. If any one knowing these men cares to submit the name of a competent person, I will give it the same consideration that I shall give to the names of members of any other branch of the service.
Question - That, the word proposedto be left out be loft out (Senator Guthrie’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion agreed to.
House of Representatives’ amendments in clauses 8, 10, 19, and 22 agreed to.
Resolutions reported; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Millen, by leave), agreed to -
That leave of absence be granted to every member of the Senate from the determination of the sitting this day to the day on which the Senate next meets.
Quotations in “Hansard” Report.
– I ask leave to move, without notice, the f ollowing motion : -
That the quotations given in the debate in the Senate on Tuesday, 25th September, 1917, from a publication called The Fiddlers, be expunged from Hansard.
– Not all the quotations?
– Is it the pleasure of the Senate that the Minister have leave to move the motion indicated ?
– If theMinister will limit the motion to the expunging of quotations of an objectionable kind-
– One objection will be fatal to the motion being moved without notice.
– I object-
– I propose to submit the motion anyhow. I understand that I have now to move the suspension of the Standing Orders.
– The motion can only be moved without notice by the suspension of the Standing Orders.
– I can only regret that a misunderstanding has happened which compels me to take this step. I certainly understood Senator Gardiner to agree to the course I proposed to take. I move -
That so much of the Standing Orders he suspended as would preventa motion being moved without notice for the deletion of quotations in Hansard from a publication entitled The Fiddlers.
– I made certain quotations from a publication which I thought should not have been censored. Some of the quotations were reports of police court proceedings and other unsavoury details reflecting on Australian soldiers, which I did not wish to give additional publicity to. I was quite willing that those quotations should be struck out of the report of my remarks, and should not appear in Hansard. But when a motion was brought forward to strike out the whole of the quotations, many of them bearing valuable testimony to the effect which the drink traffic is having on our resources, I certainly objected.
– I pointed out to the honorable senator that a wrong impression would be conveyed if only certain passages were deleted from Hansard. I thought that he understood the force of my remark, and quite agreed with the course I proposed to take.
– I thought that the only parts which Senator Millen wished to remove from Hansard were the parts - although vouched for by Mr. Marion, of the temperance party, and mostly taken from police court reports - reflecting on our soldiers and the people connected with them. I have no desire to use Parliament as a vehicle for spreading matter which, even though true, reflects on our soldiers. But I am not going to be put in the position of saying that all the other matter to which no sane man can take exception should not appear in Hansard. If I left the Minister open to a misapprehension, I am sorry, but the thought never entered my mind that Ministers desired to strike out other than the objectionable passages from the report of my speech.
– May I point out to Senator Gardiner that, unless the whole of the quotations are struck out, a very wrong impression will be created ? He practically set up this position, that these quotations should not have been censored, and all his remarks centred on that point. If only portions of the quotations are expunged from Hansard, and the rest stand as they are, members of the public who read the report will say, “ This is what was censored. What is there in it to justify such a proceeding?” The other portions will appear linked: up with Senator Gardiner’s statement as the parts which were censored. Therefore, he will see, on reflection, that all the quotations should be deleted.
– Order! The discussion must be confined to the giving of reasons why the Standing . Orders should, or should not, be. suspended.
– I ask Senator Gardiner to reconsider his attitude, because the Standing Orders will need to be suspended for the purpose of submitting a motion to expunge the quotations. This is the last opportunity that we shall have to deal with the matter, and I. think that it justifies’ a suspension of the Standing Orders’. I appeal to the honorable senator not to oppose; this motion. He has given as a reason for his opposition the fact that it is proposed to expunge the whole of the quotations, but I point out to him that if anything less is done a fake impression will be created. I do not think that he wants to create a false impression.
– I do not.
– Surely the honor able senator does not want temperance people who read the report to say, “ What on earth is there in the book to cause it to be censored ? Yet they have expunged other parts !” That will be the impression created. I appeal to the honorable senator’s sense of fair play not to oppose our proposal.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 11
– I move, by leave -
That the Senate, at its rising,adjourn until 3 p.m. on a day to be fixed by, Mr. President, which day ofmeeting shall be notified by Mr. President to each senatorby telegram or letter.
Honorable senators whosat in the last Parliament will understand the . reason whythis motion is submitted. I have no doubt that new members of the Senate understand the reason also, but in order to make the matter quite clear, let me say that the ‘ object is to leave Parliament in such a position that, should any event occur to necessitate its being summoned at short notice, it will be competent to re-assemble here.
– Can you give us an idea of the date of meeting in the event of nothing -unforeseen happening?
– Between the middle and the end of November, probably in the third week of that month.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
.- I move-
That the Senate do now adjourn.
In view of the intimation I have just made, honorable senators will understand, that we shall not be meeting here for a short time., at any rate. I take the opportunity of expressing the hopethat they will get the utmost benefit they can out of the short holiday.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 4.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 September 1917, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1917/19170927_senate_7_83/>.