7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Minister for Defence, in the absence of the Leader of the Senate, has the Conference called by His Excellency ‘the GovernorGeneral been called because of the failure of the present Government to respond to the message of Mr. Lloyd George?
– I assume that the Conference has been called by His Excellency because of the serious condition in which we stand in regard to the present struggle, and the urgent need that all parties in Australia should combine in order that we may do the best we can to find reinforcements.
– Arising out of the answer to my question, I ask the Minister for Defence, in view of the serious position in which the Empire now stands, why it is that the Government have made no move in this Parliament to meet the emergency?
– The honorable senator is quite entitled to form his own opinion as to the inactivity of the Government, but I am sure that he will not expect me to share that opinion.
Necessary Commodities and Luxuries
– I ask the Minister representing the Department controlling shipping, imports and exports, whether it is correct that whilst galvanized iron, wire netting, and other commodities of that character are awaiting shipment to Australia from American ports, and bottoms cannot be found for them, large importations of pianos, bicycles, motor cars, and other luxuries have recently reached Australia from the United States?
– The statement is not generally correct, though it is true to some extent. To illustrate the difficulty with which we are faced, I may say that we ordered a quantity of galvanized iron for the protection of our wheat, but when a boat called at San Francisco to receive the iron it, unfortunately, had to take another cargo, because of the difficulty of transporting the iron over the United States railways to the port of shipment.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– This information will be obtained and furnished as soon as possible.
If the formation of the Ordnance Corps is being further delayed, will the Minister for Defence see that if any men have been carrying out duties of a higher grade without remuneration they shall receive consideration in the matter of back pay for the whole period for which they havebeen performing such duties?
– It is proposed to submit this matter for the consideration of the Business Board of Administration.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answer is- 1 and 2. Members of the Pay Corps have been required to work overtime in connexion with the preparation of cards for a check between the records of the Chief Pay Office, London, and the District Pay Offices in Australia. Under the conditions of their employment overtime or tea money is not payable to members of the Pay Corps, who are paid for seven days a week, but ordinarily are required to work the usual office hours on six days. A large section of the staff, which came from London for the check, has been diverted to the 2nd Military District, and a considerable number of additional temporary clerks have been employed by the District Paymaster. The overtime on this work will only continue for a short time, and the special effort sought from the staff is not considered unreasonable under the circumstances.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Senator PEARCE (for Senator Millen). ; The answers are ;
Notices at Post-offices.
asked the Minister repre senting the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made, and a reply will be furnished as early as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Senator PEARCE (for Senator Millen). The answer furnished is 1, 2 and 3. This information will be obtained and furnished as soon as possible.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What is the monthly upkeep for -
Senator PEARCE for (Senator Millen). The answers are
Forty-seven. 3. (a) ?945 2s. 2d.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
– Arising out of that answer, I did not altogether catch the reply to Questions 2 and 3. Are there no names or residences?
– The questions are, “ Will he give their names?” and, “ Will he give their residences?” ; and the answer is. “No.”
– They are afraid to be known as Commonwealth police.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister. upon notice -
– The answer is -
The Premier of Western Australia, in common with the Premiers of the other States, was communicated with in July last in regard to the Commonwealth Government’s scheme for the building of standardized cargo vessels, and was asked how many slips were, or could be made, available in his State for the construc tion of vessels of the character and dimensions set out in the letter. The Premier, in reply, gave an assurance of the desire of his Government to co-operate in every way in the scheme, and- stated that, while there were not at that time any slipways suitable for the building of such vessels as the Prime Minister suggested, the provision of these would not present any difficulties. He made mention of a suitable site at Rockingham. He specially emphasized the facilities offered in Western Australia for the construction of wooden ships, owing to the magnificent timber resources of the State. The Premier subsequently indicated that his State was not in a position to undertake the construction of vessels of the type decided upon by the Commonwealth Government, and strongly urged that the construction of wooden vessels should be included in the shipbuilding programme. Negotiations are now in progress foi- the construction of wooden vessels in Western Australia, but no definite proposition has yet been submitted to the Commonwealth.
Action of High Commissioner
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice-
Has he seen a statement to the effect that the Right Hon. Andrew Fisher, High Commissioner for Australia, together with the AgentsGeneral of the various Australian States, waited on the Secretary of State for the Colonies - the Right Hon. W. H. Long - to urge that permission should be granted for 500 tons of wine to be shipped to England from Australia. If so, did the High Commissioner for Australia attend at the request and with the consent of the Government?
– The answer is -
As a result of representations made to the Prime Minister by an influential deputation of exporters of wine from Australia, who pointed out that unless some relief was given by small shipments of wine being permitted, the trade with the United Kingdom, in the establishment and maintenance of which immense sums of money had been expended, in some cases extending over thirty or forty years, was threatened with extinction, the High Commissioner was requested in January last to secure the cooperation df the Agents-General of the States concerned, and make representations to the British Government, with a view to authority being granted for the shipment of, say, 500 tons.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice. -
– The answers are -
The following papers were presented: -
Cornsacks: Report of Chief Prices Commis sioner as to shortage.
The War - (Papers presented to British Parliament) -
The Netherlands -
Correspondence respecting damages sustained by steam-ships Elve and Bernisse through action of German submarines.
Transit Traffic across Holland of materials susceptible of employment as Military Supplies -
Debate resumed from 10th April (vide page 3713), on motion by Senator Gardiner -
That Statutory Rule No. 314, of 1917 (Regulation under the War Precautions Act 1914-16) be disallowed.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia[3.17] . - I was a supporter of the Government which passed this Act at a time when the necessity for such legislation, which undoubtedly is of a very extraordinary character, was much less apparent than is the case to-day, after four years’ experience of war. I supported the Government in putting this piece of legislation through. Certain prophecies were made thereafter as to what was to become of this law if and when put into effect. We were told that all the civil rights were to be taken from the people, that our freedom under such constitutional Acts and documents as, for example, Magna Charta, were to be put aside, and that citizens were to be haled before a court martial and their rights taken away from them at the drum head, so to speak. If we look upon the outcome of this legislation it must be admitted that there have been no harsh ness or unjust decisions, and that, in fact, nothing extraordinary has happened. We could not have legislation of this character in times such as these without running the risk of some little inconvenience, but our war-time experience has been remarkably good so far as the War Precautions Act administration is concerned. Seeing that I was behind the Government which passed the Act I cannot now be a party to repealing the legislation - for that is practically what we are asked to do by this motion. Senator Gardiner, a member of the Government which brought in this legislation, simply because he has changed from the Government to the Opposition side of the House, is prepared to undo the very thing which he did some four years ago. At any rate, I shall not be so inconsistent.
– I feel sure that I was behind the Government which passed it.
– When the division took place ?
– I think so. I shall be very much surprised if I was not.
– I shall be very much surprised if you were. The honorable member never voted with us when we were in office.
– I did not take the opportunity of “ jumping Jim Crow” in the manner that the honorable senator flow proposes to do. He supported the measure as a member of the Government which brought it in and now, because he is a member of the Opposition, he is opposing it. I shall not be a party to that kind of conduct in this Chamber. I think every honorable senator will agree with me that a much greater need exists to-day for the Act than existed at the time of its introduction, and that all the doleful predictions in which some persons then indulged have not been realized - in other words, that civil rights have not been impaired in the slightest degree by this form of legislation. Consequently, I intend to support the Government.
.- I desire to say a few words in support of Senator Gardiner’s proposal to repeal the statutory rule under consideration. One was rather touched by the speech of the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) yesterday, in which he acknowledged how repugnant it is, and must be, for a Government which is based upon democratic principles, to be obliged to carry put its administrative duties by means of regulations. He pointed out how objectionable it is to take from Par.liamant this supreme power, and to vest it in one or two individuals. I was glad to hear his expression of regret that the Government were compelled to adopt this method in carrying on the affairs of this country. I observed, too, with some interest, the look of disgust which was apparent on the faces of honorable senators opposite who formerly belonged to our party, and who evidently realized that some of the most cruel, vindictive, and discreditable prosecutions of their onetime colleagues have been instituted under these regulations.. Senator de Largie may smile, but I can imagine the criticism in which he would indulge if he were present iii another capacity. Had he not temporarily hired himself to another political party-
– Is it not a fact that the regulations were used to send to gaol a man who had burnt Senator Lynch’6 farm?
– Senator Long ought to know something about hiring oneself to political opponents.
– On a point of order, I desire to ask whether any honorable senator is entitled to assume tha another honorable senator has hired himself to a political party?
– Senator Long is a good judge of that sort of thing.
– Any imputation which is regarded as offensive by an honorable senator must be withdrawn. If Senator de Largie regards any statement by Senator Long as personally offensive to him, I must ask Senator Long to withdraw it. i
– Very well, I will withdraw my statement, and- will substitute the word “ associated “ for “ hired.” I would now like Senator de Largie to amplify his statement that I ought to know something about hiring myself to a political party. Does the honorable senator suggest that I have ever hired myself to any political party ?
– I have had my say.
– And it does not reflect much credit either upon the honorable senator’s judgment or upon his intelligence.
I wish now to deal more particularly with the regulation under which the most vindictive .prosecutions have been launched against political opponents. Any excuse was regarded by the Government as sufficient to warrant them in retaining, at the expense of the Commonwealth, leading counsel in order that convictions might be secured. In connexion with these prosecutions, the Ministry have been most unfortunate, because, if my memory serves me accurately, they have so far succeeded in obtaining only one conviction. Their action was rendered the more absurd because of the ridicule which more than one magistrate heaped upon the prosecutions that had been initiated under these regulations. In one particular instance, a member of another place rendered a great public service to Australia by calling attention, in the mildest manner possible, to the position of another nation in regard to the Allies and the Allied cause. Of course, I refer to Japan. Mr. Catts, the gentleman in question, made his statement clear and definite. That statement was immediately repudiated by the Leader of the Government in another, place (Mr. Hughes), thus showing clearly that it expressed the opinion of , Mr. Catts only, and did not reflect the views of the Ministry of the day. If the honorable member (Mr. Catts) could show that the Japanese nation, was not as whole-heartedly supporting the cause of the Allies as we could’ expect, or not giving the support that they ought to render, he was surely doing his duty in pointing that out to the Australian Parliament. The Japanese Government have played some little part in the happenings of the last three years.
– A pretty big part, too.
– That is a matter of opinion, but I am not going to dispute even that.
– It is a matter of facts.
– They have played a part, and whether they should have done more or not is a matter of opinion, a matter, too, entirely for the Japanese nation. “What I rose particularly for was not to find fault with the Japanese people for not having done more for the Allied cause, in which they should be interested, but to point out to honorable senators the view that the Japanese nation takes with regard to Germany. I raise this question of national importance for the simple purpose of letting this Parliament know what the attitude of a section of the Japanese is, as expressed by a professor of the Japanese University. I listened with a good deal of attention to the statement of the Minister for Defence about the skilful propaganda of the German agents in all the countries of the world where they thought they could turn public opinion to their advantage. They have, unfortunately, succeeded to a most extraordinary degree, because human nature in the countries in which they operated was such as to lend itself to treachery to its own country. I wish to say here and now that, notwithstanding the skill of the Germans, notwithstanding the generosity with which they have poured out their money in this connexion, they were operating in Japan upon a people that, I think, are the most incorruptible in the world where’ the interests of their own nation are concerned. To me it was a lesson, and a pleasure to observe it, and a matter for regret that I could not find the same loyalty to Australia among the people of Australia as there was to Japan among the Japanese. They have only one thought and one object, and that is, the interests of their country. I am, therefore, not looking to the opinion of that section of the Japanese people that might be get-at-able by the German secret service agents, but am placing before the Senate the carefully-considered and matured opinions of one of the leading professors of Japan, as to why they are in1 sympathy with Germany, and the reasons he gives for that sentiment.
I have in my hand The New East, a magazine printed in Japan, both in English and Japanese. The article I am about to quote, being printed also in Japanese, must necessarily have a very wide circulation among the people of Japan. It is headed “ Japanese sympathy with Germany;” “A Candid Statement, by Professor M. Anesaka, of the Imperial University;” “ German influence in the Imperial University, and why it grew;” “How the war has impressed some Japanese;” “ProGermanism, a disease in the political and social life of Japan.”- I am not glorying, by any means, in the fact that some of the Japanese are pro -German. My only object in quoting the article is to let the members of this branch of the National Parliament know the sentiments of the people of Japan, as expressed by one of their leading scholars. When I have done that I shall feel that I have discharged a duty, and leave the matter there.
– I should not like them to read your remarks as expressing the sentiments of Australia. ‘
– I have not attempted to express the sentiments of Australia. I am not criticising the article, or the attitude of Japan, which is a matter entirely for the Japanese, but I felt I waa called upon to perform the duty of placing the information at the disposal of honorable senators, so that they might utilize it in whatever direction they chose.
– You do not suggest that there is anything more than differences of opinion in Japan?
– I do not. I am not competent to give the honorable senator any idea of what the general opinion in Japan is, but I am taking this article as representing the views held by a section of the Japanese community.
– By a professor?
– Yes; but the honorable senator must know that the sentiments expressed by a Japanese professor, disseminated among a nation of 60,000,000 . people, must necessarily have an influence upon the minds of the people whom they reach.
– There were German processors in the American universities. You might as well quote one of them as expressing the sentiments of America.
– Nearly all the Japanese professors have had their training in German universities, and this gentleman is trying to show how sympathy with Germany is the natural outcome of the scientific and military relations which, have existed between Japan and Germany for the past thirty-five years.
– Practically all the medical professors have received their training from Germany.
– The Japanese medical system is on the German model, and other scientific progress is due to German influence. Her military and governmental systems are modelled absolutely on the German plan.
-Colonel Bolton. - What about the Japanese Navy?
– That is the one branch of the Japanese national service which is modelled upon that of the British Empire. To such an extent has the Japanese military system been shaped by German influence that cadets called up for military training wear the “ black and white, the colour of German cadets. I prefer, however, that honorable senators should listen to a few paragraphs which I shall quote from the article referred to, rather than . they should depend upon any pronouncement of mine, as to what Japan has done, or ought to do, in connexion with her alliance with the Allies. My object is to give the information for what it is worth. I might add that a member of our party was haled before the Police Courts of this country and submitted to all the indignities attaching to a prosecution for having called attention to the article I refer to. The Japanese professor says -
Unfortunately, there is in Japan a considerable number of pro-Germans. They may be pronounced or silent, conscious or unconscious,, at there they are. Technically, Japan is at war with Germany, and yet a feeling of ad. miration for ‘Germany is pretty general among the Japanese people. This is in significant contrast to the situation in the United States, where anti-German feeling is almost universal, in spite of American technical neutrality up till recently.
– That article was written some time ago, I think.
– It was written in July of last year.
– Amenca has since entered the war.
– America became an active participant in this war on 6th April, 1917, and American technical neutrality or otherwise has nothing whatever to do with this article. Nearly all the leading newspapers of Japan are anti-German, yet a large proportion of the people are pro-German, but mostly, no doubt, in a vague kind of way. The professor goes on to. show how German influence grew -
There have been two periods in the growth of German influence in Japan. The first was consequent upon the defeat of France by Germany in 1870. This induced Japanese military authorities to adopt the German model in place of the French, which had been followed previously. The second dated from the middle 80’s, when Prince Ito found the German Constitution and jurisprudence the most congenial to Japanese needs. After German jurisprudence came German philosophy and science. The introduction of German medical science had, been an earlier thing. These influences modified the Imperial University, then the only institution of the kind in the Empire, into a German institution; -
I ask honorable* senators to- note that sentence -
These influences modified the Imperial Uni versity, then the only institution of the kind in the Empire, into a German institution; and students going, abroad for study, many of whom were sent at Government expense^ aimed at going to German Universities. In. the 90*s “ goIng abroad “ amongst students was almost identical’ with “ going, to Germany.” 0
A little while ago an honorable senator on the- other side interjected that all students did not go to Germany. I admit that, but what I say is that a large proportion did, and certainly all the medical and all the military students went to Germany for their teaching. The professor states further -
An Army Incident. - In the end Japanese bureaucratic officialdom has become very German, and the school’s have abandoned their original American models and have adopted German, methods and atmosphere. The consequence is that to-day governmental and educational circles ore strongly German,, and. the military system is as German as it can be.
As to the Army, a curious incident may be cited. For several years after the inauguration of the volunteer system alongside universal conscription, the shoulders of the volunteers were’ marked by black and white, the Prussian colours, simply because the organizers of the system copied everything from Prussia
These are not wild statements by a member of the Opposition, as honorable senators opposite are prone so often to regard such utterances. They represent the calm reflection of men well able to judge of J apanese opinion in their own country, and if, after having heard them, honorable senators on the Ministerial side can still think that all the people* of Japan are whole-heartedly with the Allied cause, then, in my opinion, they are living in a fool’s paradise.
– i have not realized from any statement read by the honorable senator that Japan is pro-German, although she has copied German activities.
– If the honorable senator cannot realize that there is a strong undercurrent of sympathy in Japan for Germany, then I am afraid that I am powerless to make him understand what the extracts mean.
– I do not take that view. It seems to me that Japan copied the German system because it suited her to do so.
– That is so; but if any nation is dependent upon another for improvement in its scientific, social, philosophic, military, and governmental systems it is quite reasonable to assume that there will also be among its people a strong sympathy with that particular nation.
– History does not show that.
– Never mind. We do not want to- go into history for any illustration. The present is sufficiently tragic for us.
I hope honorable senators have not misunderstood my object in placing this information before the Senate. 1 want them to know where we stand, as outlined by a nian- competent to judge and prominent in- the- scientific life of Japan. Personally, I have no fear of Japan. I am of the opinion that. Japan has no more evil intentions upon Australia, or any other part of the British Empire, than the Empire has on the Possessions of France. Japan, in my opinion, wishes to work out its destiny in its own way, and that destiny is the ambition to become the Great Britain of the East.
– Then the honorable senator has wasted time in calling attention to the matter.
– I hope that I would not receive a similar declaration from any other honorable senator. The statement is made over and over again that the Japanese people are whole-heartedly the friends and comrades, so to speak, of the Allies in this war. I am pointing out that, although the Japanese may have rendered some assistance, and some valuable assistance, if honorable senators please, there is. still lurking behind it all, among a sec tion of the people*, a sympathy with- the German nation that- nothing can eradicate.
– I rise to a point of order. I do not- think it is in order that’ such a reference to an Ally of the Empire should be made- in this chamber.
– So far as I have been able to follow Senator Long, he is trying to- show that the regulation which it is” proposed should be disallowed’ has been used to procure the prosecution of members of the Commonwealth Parliament for making statements almost exactly similar to those which he has quoted from a magazine. He is trying’ to show that the regulation has been used to prosecute- a man for having made statements which he contends are well founded, in view of the article he has quoted’. I think that the honorable senator’s speech has so far been strictly relevant to the question. He has not argued as to the general disposition of Japan, and in quoting the article which he read, and making a few comments upon it, he was, I think, in order and within the ambit of the discussion allowable on the motion.
– I point out to Senator Bolton that the opinion I offered was not my opinion. I distinctly stated that, according to a man high in the scientific life of Japan, and best able to judge, there was in Japan a sympathy with” Germany that could not be eradicated.
– That is not the statement the honorable senator made.
– Senator Senior will excuse me. Just a moment before Senator Bolton interrupted, I had made that very clear.
Whether honorable senators on the other side agree with me or not, I felt that I was called upon, in the performance of my public duty, to place these facts and this statement before the Senate-, just as the honorable member of another place, who was prosecuted, felt called upon to take a similar course. Where are the privileges of the members of the National Parliament if they are to be prevented from taking the course which they believe they ought to take in the interests of national safety ? The prosecution to which I have referred failed, of course, and failed’ miserably, as it should have done. But, npt content with that, under this regulation, and under the authority of the Solicitor-General, acting under instructions, no doubt, from the Prime Minister, a further charge was levelled against Mr. Catts for having procured the Government Printer to reprint his speech in pamphlet form. This action was taken, notwithstanding the fact that the Government must have known that Hansard, in the ordinary course, was circulated by tens of thousands of copies throughout Australia. The SolicitorGeneral, who is to visit, the Old Country in the capacity of adviser to the delegation that is going there, must have known that. In spite of that, a further prosecution was launched against Mr. Catts, obviously on the ground that any old thing will do for the purpose of causing expense and inconvenience to a political opponent. No one. who is. aware of the facts can take any other view than that in a number of instances these prosecutions were levelled at men who havebeen, and are to-day, active opponents of the present Government and their policy in connexion with government by regulation.
– Admitting that, it is not the fault of the regulation, but of its administration.
– We cannot separate the responsibility, which, after all, belongs to the Government. They enacted and administered the regulation. I say that they have administered the regulations under the War Precautions Act in an unfair and most partial manner, and with the object of causing inconvenience and expense to public men who differ from them politically.
– Then it is wrong to tackle the regulation. The honorable senator should tackle the Government for their administration of it.
– I thought that that was what I have been engaged upon for the last half hour.
– No; the honorable senator is proposing to take away a power, not . only from the present Government, but from any new Goverment that might come into office.
– I would take from any Government a powerwhich it has usurped from Parliament. That is what the present Government have done. They have abrogated to themselves a power belonging to Parliament only.
– No; the Parliament gave it to them.
– That is true. Unfortunately, I must accept some responsibility for it myself, because I voted for the War Precautions Act. But no one in this or in another place everdreamt that, in carrying that measure, he was conferring upon the Government the extended powers which the present Government eventually assumed. It was never expected that the Government would use their powers under the Act so harshly or so unfairly as the present Government have done. I sincerely hope that honorable senators will see that these regulations, and the one now under consideration in particular, confer upon the Government a power which they ought not to possess. I hope, with Senator Gardiner and other honorable senators who have spoken from this side, that they will agree that the time has arrived when the Government of the day should be deprived of such powers. The most effective way in which to bring that about is to vote for Senator Gardiner’s motion, that this regulation be disallowed.
Debate expunged by direction of the President on authority of resolution of Senate.]
– There is not a great deal in connexion with the debate for me to reply to. I do complain, however, of the manner in which the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) treated my motion. He stated that I deliberately tried to mislead the Senate. When I commenced my speech yesterday I read the whole of that section of the regulation because I wished the Senate to repeal it, or to disagree with it. The Minister spoke at length about the matter of German influence; and the insinuation behind the whole of that was, to my mind, that we who criticised the actions of the Government were, either the dupes or the tools of an enemy Power.
– That was not the. intention.
– I accept that statement, and I am glad to hear it. The Minister also questioned my sincerity in the whole matter. I will give the Senate an indication of my sincerity. There is quite a number of these regulations which I consider to interfere unduly with the liberty of the public. If the Minister is prepared to place before Cabinet the question of the cancellation of all these matters which interfere with the liberties of the individual, I shall withdraw from the business-paper every motion that I have connected with the subject. That is a. guarantee of my bona fides. But if the Minister is not prepared to do so, I would be in this position: If I did not register my protest against the regulations - and I am given the right within a certain time to do so - then I should be equally responsible with the Government for every one of these regulations under the War Precautions Act. Here is a simple proposition. There is not one honorable senator .who would stand by every one of these regulations.
– Is the honorable senator the custodian of our beliefs?
– I venture to say that not one honorable senator will vote for this regulation because he be.Iieves in it. I do not think there is one man in this country who approves of the methods that were adopted by the Government during the recent referendum campaign to prevent the voices of their opponents .being heard upon a question of vital importance to the community. These regulations have been issued day by day in piecemeal fashion. The one with which we are now dealingvests in the Executive the power to say to its own followers, upon a question of vital interest to the nation, “ You may be heard, and you may speak as you wish, but we will prevent our political opponents from exercising a similar privilege.” Yesterday I instanced in this connexion the prosecations which were instituted against Senator McDougall, ex-Senator Rae, Mr. Ryan (the Premier of Queensland), Mr. James Mathews—
– Yes. I note the insinuation that is contained in the interjection of the Minister for Defence in regard to Brookfield. But that name is one with which I am not ashamed to be associated. I shall never be ashamed to associate myself with men who have the courage to express opinions which they honestly hold. All these individual? were dragged before a magistrate, and in no case was a conviction recorded against them.
– Oh, yes. There was a conviction in the case of Brookfield, and also in the case of Mr. Catts.
– When the Minister reads the statement which was made by the magistrate who adjudicated in Mr. Catts’ case I believe he will have the manliness to apologize to Mr. Catts for the statement which he made concerning him yesterday. I can quite understand why Mr. Brookfield was not acquitted. But the position which I am putting is: . Are honorable senators opposite going to accept responsibility for a regulation which seeks to rob any individual of the right to express his honest opinion-
– Upon one occasion the honorable senator thought that he had a right to bang a fellow on the nose.
– I do not know why all the indiscretions of my youth should be recalled. Probably I was perfectly justified in doing what I did, aud perhaps it was a more manly act to bang a man upon the nose than it is to use the assassin’s method of banging out insinuations.
– What does the honorable senator suggest when he says that he can quite understand why Mr. Brookfield was convicted?
– I mean that, because of the plain, unmistakable manner in which Mr. Brookfield expresses the opinions which he holds, and because those opinions are antagonistic to the views held by the ruling classes of this country, he was pursued with the utmost malignity-
– .Does not the honorable senator think that he ‘is now casting a serious slur on- our Judiciary?
– The utterances from the bench in respect of Labour members during the past six months are the most scathing indictment which can be framed against the. Judiciary. I venture to say that any Labour man will go into Court with his case prejudged.
– That statement does not harmonize with the decisions that have been given under the regulations which we are discussing here to-day.
– No. I am very glad that there cannot be found on any British bench a man who will record a conviction under these regulations. They are too absurd for words, and that is one of the strongest arguments in favour of their cancellation.
Coming to the prosecution of Mr. Catts, I wish te say that it is only necessary to single out any particular man for persecution and to levy charges against him day after day to create in the public mind the impression that he is a menace to society. Mr. Catts has exhibited a greater degree of industry in making himself acquainted with certain facts relating to the present war than has any member of this Chamber, with the result that the Government thought there was a danger of his utterances affecting our relations with Japan. Yesterday the Minister for Defence stated that the magistrate who decided this particular case had affirmed that he could see no such danger because of the character of their author. He said nothing of the kind. The Minister has repeated words that were uttered by the opposing counsel.
– That is the impression that I formed, anyhow.
-If the Minister will take the trouble to look up the report of the case he will find that my statement is absolutely correct. I acquit him of having wilfully made the statement which he did concerning Mr. Catts. But I do not acquit him of responsibility for having framed these regulations for the express purpose of victimizing Mr. Catts and other persons who had crossed the path of the Prime Minister (Mr.Hughes).
– The Prime Minister, speaking of Mr. Catts at a big public meeting at Tamworth, said, “I will get him.”
– -He said that he would have Mr. Ryan within twenty-four hours.
- Senator McDougall’s statement is quite correct. “While the Prime Minister was speaking at Tamworth a gentleman in the audience read out what Mr. Catts was reported to have said, whereupon Mr. Hughes declared that be would “ get “ him.
– If Mr. Catts’ statement was wrong .the Prime Minister was quite justified in saying what he did.
– I can quite understand men like the Minister for Defence and the Prime Minister becoming overwrought by anxiety, owing to. what is transpiring in Europe to-day, and thus getting into a frame of mind in which they believe that everything can be fixed up satisf actorily in Australia if they constitute themselves the censors of everything that may be said here.
– The honorable senator helped to give them that power.
– I did; and. the whole Senate shares with me in that responsibility. But I believed that the War Precautions Act was an emergency measure which was intended to be applied only to our enemies. Surely I am not to blame because the Government have misused that legislation in order to prosecute friends of the Empire who are doing their share of the Empire’s work! I say unhesitatingly that the War Precautions Act has been used to divide “the people of Australia into sectional ‘camps.- If there is any section which can be put into a fighting attitude by reason of an attack upon it, the Government is always ready to use this particular Statute as a means whereby to attack that section. In eight out of every ten cases in which the Act has been used it has been abused.
– Does the honorable senator say that the whole of the Senate approves of the War Precautions Act?
– I do.
– Then, what becomes of the honorable senator’s sugges tion that I opposed it ?
– That was a shot in the. dark, but I think it was justified .by the careful way in which the honorable senator side-stepped the question. I know that he opposed the Government of which I was a member more frequently than he supported it. When the War Precautions Act was introduced there were men who predicted the loss of British rights -as they are laid down in the Bill of Rights. Whoever was wise enough to adopt that attitude can point to the record of the past few months for the purpose -of showing that his predictions, ha ve been fulfilled to the very letter. All the liberties that we formerly enjoyed have -been taken from us under the War Precautions Act, which was never intended’ to apply to public meetings, at which not a word has been uttered which, by any stretch of the imagination, could be held to be of advantage to the enemy/ I ask honorable senators to recognise that if they vote against my motion they will be accepting their share of responsibilty for the passing of this regulation. I have submitted the motion because Parliament has endowed me with the right to disapprove of it. I intend to follow the same course in respect of every regulation which I regard as unnecessary and absurd. These regulations were, of course, framed for the purpose of terrorizing honorable senators upon this side of the Chamber and others who share their views. As a matter of fact, they had precisely the opposite effect, in that they enabled us to pose as heroes on the public platforms of this country. Speaking of Mr. Ryan, the Queensland Premier, the Prime Minister said, “ Let him make those statements outside of Parliament, and I will get him.” Was it ever intended that under the War Precautions Act Ministers should be enabled to roam the country inviting people to break the law in order that they might be put in gaol? .
– The Prime Minister had some sympathy for Queensland when he wanted to put Mr. Ryan in gaol.
– I prefer to accept the judgment of the great majority of the electors of that State rather than that of the honorable senator.
– Twenty thousand German votes.
– That is not so. In the electorates in which there are most German voters, Nationalist candidates triumphed. For example, in the electorate of which Boonah is the centre a Nationalist candidate was returned. More than that, the Nationalist candidate went to the length of issuing circulars that were intended to injure the Labour party, in which they pointed out that Mr. Fisher, on the outbreak of war, had declared that Australia was prepared to stand behind the Old Country to “ the last man and the last shilling.”
– The Labour party told them not to send their boys to the Front to fight their own countrymen.
– Do not let me drift off . into Queensland affairs. The recent elections in Queensland justify all the Labour party have done. They have given the wives, children, and dependants of returned soldiers cheap meat. The Federal Government have not done that. I ask the Senate to disallow a regulation that has allowed the Government to interfere with the liberties of individuals. Those individuals to-day happen to be the opponents of the Government. It may happen later on that the present opponents of the Government will have the governing power, and what would be the position of honorable senators opposite, if this power were used against them in such a tyrannical and despotic manner as has been the case in the last few months?
– They would attack the Government, not the regulation.
– They might. All they could say would be “We suppose we must accept this; we are responsible for it, we approved of it when, months after the measure had passed, on the first opportunity the Senate had to disagree with it, we upheld the hands of the Government who introduced this pernicious system of government by regulation to interfere with the liberties of public speakers.” If Senator Pearce is prepared to put before the Government a proposition to cancel this pernicious regulation dealing with public speakers, I am prepared to withdraw my opposition to all the other regulations that have yet to be opposed. I am putting that forward as a step towards meeting my opponents.
The honorable senator deplored the existence of party spirit at the present time, but a pious expression of sorrow and regret at the existence of party strife is quite unbecoming to a man who is unwilling to take one step towards meeting those whom’ he accuses of bearing malice and using party spirit in a way in which it should not be used, although, they are prepared to go more than half-way to meet him. The matter is very simple. The poll is over and the regulation cannot be used again unless the Government intend to have another election next week, but that may be possible, seeing that the Minister for Defence, I understand, has called the representatives of the press- of Australia to Melbourne, where they will fare sumptuously, their expenses being paid by the people of this country.
-Including the Labour press.
– I am glad to hear it, because for months past our men have been suffering under the disability that the one claim for preference appeared to be that the person who got preference had the record of having scabbed on the Labour movement. . If there is to be another appeal to the country, of course the press have first to be gathered in, at the meeting next week, and these regulations may be of a great deal of use in suppressing opposition. The Government will be able to say to the press gathering, “ Being sure, gentlemen, of your support, the Government will be able to go to the extent of dragging public men before magistrates.” I appeal to honorable senators again to try to picture a high-minded public man, the leader of a great State, as Queensland is, being dragged before a magistrate and crossexamined day after day with all the vindictiveness and venom of a counsel opposed not to the man but to the principles he stands for. .-If honorable senators can imagine anything more degrading to the public life of this country, I cannot. That particular degradation of the public life of Australia was the most pitiful example we have had in this country of what petty tyrants will do if you give them unlimited power.
– Are not all men equal before the law 1
– Order ! I ask Senator Lynch not to interject.
– Yes, and I am not claiming any special privileges for Premier Ryan that should not he given to the humblest member of the community, but the most degrading phase of public life that I have ever witnessed was when one regulation was used to prevent Mr. Ryan getting justice when he demanded it. This regulation provides for shortening the time m which witnesses may be called, and the chief witness. Senator Pearce, was avoiding his duty. He was getting away. I do not know whether this regulation was not provided so that if he went far enough away the case would have to be decided before he came back. The regulation came into force on 28th November, and I think that proceedings had then been started against Mr. Ryan. 1 Senator Pearce and the Prime Minister were the chief witnesses required in defence of an innocent man, but they refused to attend the Court. Senator Lynch talks about all men being equal in the eye of the law, yet Prime Ministers and Ministers of Defence can refuse to appear before the Court.
-Colonel O ‘Loghlin. - It was a strategic withdrawal.
– I thank the honorable senator. It was hot a rout or a runaway, but a strategic withdrawal to a place and position already carefully prepared.
– It was an advance that ended in a glorious victory so far as we were concerned.
– It was an advance to the rear, skilfully executed, lt is bad enough to pass a regulation without the consent of Parliament to drag public men before a magistrate, but it is worse not to have to prove them guilty of the charge brought against them, but to call on them to prove themselves innocent. All that was part and parcel of these regulations.
– That was in the original Act which you helped to pass.
– If the honorable senator can find anything of that in the original Act which I helped to pass I will resume my seat. I am speaking of the regulation by which public men were brought before a magistrate, and had to prove themselves innocent if any one averred that they were guilty, while another part of it so curtails the time during which witnesses may De called that if the most important witness, who can prove a man’s innocence, can get out of the way for twenty-four hours, he can avoid being called on to give evidence. Are honorable senators going to support that kind of thing ? If they are, I am not. I have tried to make the seriousness of the position clear to them.
– Do not the Act and regulations automatically ‘disappear when we get a victorious peace and the end of the war comes ?
– As the press has been invited to dme with our friends opposite next week, representatives being brought from all over Australia as one of the Government’s acts of economy in their attempt to save the people’s money, I am inclined to think that there may be another attempt to use these regulations to close our mouths a week or two hence. Do honorable senators approve of regulations of this kind ? 1 do not, and therefore I ask the majority to register their sober opinion, altogether apart from party considerations, that regulations of this kind are unnecessary in Australia.
There is not a large element qf disloyalty in this country. There is a loyal people from one end of the Commonwealth to the other if the Government and their supporters are prepared to trust them and deal honestly with them. If honorable senators opposite say that they are not to be trusted, and that this pernicious system is to be perpetuated in an endeavour to compel them to do what they do not want to do, I tell my honorable friends that they cannot do it. If they had taken me before a magistrate, I would have gloried, when out of gaol, and perhaps out of Parliament-
– They are doing much more drastic things in America.
– Does the honorable senator approve of them?
– Most decidedly, in a time of war.
– That betrays the German mind of my honorable friend - the very influence that our nation is being called on to fight against. When the mask is off we see that honorable senators opposite are the representatives of force. I prefer the good old British toleration which will allow a man to contest an election, and even take his seat in the House of Commons as a Sinn Feiner, because he believes in “ Ireland first.”
– Let us have the kind of liberty they have in Russia, for instance !
– The honorable senator was always an advocate of that kind of liberty. What’ I am opposing is the taking away of liberties from the people of Australia in exactly the same way that we complain of the Germans taking away the liberties of other nations.
SenatorFoll. - We are the freest people on earth.
– We were until we gave the Government power to deal with the people of Australia by regulation.
– You are not satisfied with liberty; you want licence.
– Does the honorable senator think it licence for a man to complain of a regulation that will drag him before a magistrate because he dares to stand on a public platform and speak as he has always spoken ? . As far as licence is concerned, I have this peculiar testimonial from the Government, that during the whole of the campaign I was so truthful that they never brought me before a magistrate. But they sent their people to take notes of what I was saying, and I did not curb my tongue, either, be cause if the people of this country were to be robbed of their liberties I would rather be in gaol for raising my voice against that robbery than sitting on the Senate benches with honorable senators who approved of the application of German methods in a British Dominion. Honorable senators opposite are the representatives of force. They are the representatives of a military power . that is showing its head as a tyrannical influence with no regard for, or sympathy with, the rest of the population.
– -You have to meet force with force. What are you going to meet German force and German guile with?
– I would rather meet German force with the bayonets of the unionists who have gone toFrance and Flanders than with all the claptrap which the members of the Win-the-War party havebeen using for the last six months.
– Then why not send more bayonets ?
– For every man not a unionist who has gone to the Front, two unionists have gone.
– That casts a serious reflection on the unionists at home who are not backing them up.
– Order! Too many interjections are being made.
– I perhaps would not have gone as far as I have gone tout for the interjections.
If Senator Pearce thinks I am not sincere in the action I have taken, I am prepared to withdraw all similar motions if he will promise to put before the Cabinet the question of the cancellation, of these regulations. I am not trying to dictate terms to him, but am making a sincere offer, to him. We shall have a busy session and these attacks on our liberties will lead to a certain amount of recrimination, as this debate has done. I do not want that, but the Minister is much mistaken if he thinks I am going to allow things of this kind to pass without asserting my right to protest against them. If the Minister is not prepared to accept my offer I shall not only press this motion to a division,’ but shall call for a vote on each similar motion as it is reached, in order that we may see which honorable senators support the Government in this method of tyrannizing over the people of Australia. The Minister cannot expect those of us who disagree withthe regulation to subscribe to it, and as time will be valuable in the next week or two he will be well advised to accept myoffer in thespirit in which it is made. If not, it willbe my duty to give notice . of at least ten similar motions, and as each one is reached it will be necessary to ‘debate it. I appeal to the Minister not to regard my offer as being made sarcastically, but as one made ‘Sincerely in the interests of the business of theSenate.
Question - That the motion be agreed to - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
Debate resumed from 10th April (vide page 3713), on motion by Senator Ferricks-
That Statutory Rule No. 325 of 1917 (Regulation under War Precautions Act 191.4-1916) be disallowed.
– This Statutory Rule refers to the appointment of certain police under the War Precautions Act. It has been argued that this action on the part of the Government had not been contemplated until the force known . as the Commonwealth police was . appointed as the outcome of a certain incident in Queensland. That, however, is quite a mistake.
– It was kept a good secret, then.
– There has been no secret about it. As a matter of fact the employment of Commonwealth police has been., and is still, the subject of a huge fileof correspondence in the Department of the Attorney-General. It was first raised as a practical proposition in 1915.
– By whom?
– By successive Ministries.
– Federal Ministries?
– Yes. Successive Federal Ministries had this matter under notice for discussion for several years, and different Ministers have minuted decisions upon the proposal. Failing to get former Governments to take any action in the matter, a number of Commonwealth Departments long ago took action themselves, and since the early days of Federation, in at least three Commonwealth Departments, there have been, and are today, officials called by various names, but whose duties are essentially police duties. These officials may be found in the Post Office, Navy Department, and Customs Department, and they have rendered very good service to the Commonwealth. They have, in fact,’ become essential in many branches of the Commonwealth Service. In . the Navy Department, the men were appointed before the outbreak of war, and they are being employed at Cockatoo and Garden Islands.
– They . are in every State.
– Yes. I understand that officials carrying out police duties are in several other States also.
– Did the reply given by the Minister this afternoon refer to these officials ?
– The replies to questions which I furnished to the Senate to-day were sent to me by the Prime Minister’s Department, and Iam not conversant with the details. I do not think, however, that they referred to what may be termed the departmental police, but dealt with the men appointed in Queensland. In the latter case, then, the duties are general, whereas those appointed by the different Departments were called upon for special, but essentially police duties, and in the Navy Department they are called Navy police.
– Will the Minister say if those departmental police were appointed as the outcome of any political trouble ?
-If the honorable Senator will be patient he will receive all the information he desires. With regard to the appointment of the police in Queensland, I desire to point out that Under the Constitution the State Judiciaries and police are required to administer the laws of the Commonwealth, and ever since Federation ‘ the Commonwealth Government have endeavoured so to utilize the services of (State police. Generally speaking, the State Governments have willingly allowed their police to administer the Commonwealth laws, and they have rendered valuable service, but it remained for the Government of Queensland to refuse to carry out a Commonwealth law known as the “Unlawful Associations Act of 1916-17. On 6th August, 1917, the Prime Minister asked the various State Premiers to authorize their officers of police to give effect to the provisions of the Act, and all the Premiers, with the exception of the Premier of Queensland, consented. Notwithstanding that numerous f further requests were made to his Government, the Premier of that State withheld his consent to the State Police Force administering this law. This Act, I remind the Senate, was enacted by the Commonwealth Parliament after the outbreak of the war. Speaking from memory, I think it passed the .Senate with very little opposition. There was, I believe, a division in the House of Representatives, but in the Senate there was no division on the second reading, so we may assume that this law is on our statute-book with the authority of the people of the Commonwealth. It is a serious matter, therefore, for the Government of any State to ignore a request to assist the Commonwealth in the enforcement of its legislation.
– I think that is something very much to their credit.
– Is it? I am surprised that any senator should “make a statement like’ that.
– I will give my reasons when I speak.
– This law has the imprimatur of this Parliament, appointed by the people of the Commonwealth, ana with full authority to legislate on their behalf. Whatever Senator’ Gardiner’s views may be with regard to this Act, whilst it is on our statute-book, it should’ be administered unless, indeed, Senator’ Gardiner is going to advocate lawlessness,and say, in effect, that there shall be no” law, and that this Parliament has no right to pass such a law. In this matter it is not a case of Senator Gardiner saying that he would not trust either the Prime Minister or the Minister for Defence, because the administration of the law is in the hands of the State Police Department, and it is their responsibility to take action whenever any breach of the law is reported to them. Is Senator Gardiner going to argue that a State Government is to have the right to say that if the Commonwealth Government wish to take certain action, for which they are responsible to the Commonwealth Parliament, a State Government will have the right to determine whether any particular law shall he administered or not? Is he going to take up the attitude that a State Government is to have the power to revise and pass judgment upon laws of the Commonwealth, or upon any . acts of administration by a Commonwealth Government responsible to the National Parliament? Unless he does, I venture to say that he can find no shadow of excuse or apology for the action of the Queensland Government in not agreeing to administer the Commonwealth law referred to.
– I could quote you a concrete case where the New South Wales Government are actually breaking the Commonwealth law, at the request of the Commonwealth, by detaining in gaol a man who has served his time, and against whom there is no criminal charge.
-That has nothing to do with this case. If the New South Wales Government are acting illegally they are responsible to the State Parliament, and if anything that the Commonwealth Government have donee is illegal, then we are responsible to this Parliament. But the incident referred to is no excuse for any State Government or anybody else saying that they will prevent a Commonwealth law from being administered.
– Will the Minister say what law ha’s been broken by the. Queensland Government?
– The Constitution, was broken, because there was a duty cast on the State police to cany out a Commonwealth law.
– Where did they refuse to interfere when the law was broken ?
– The Unlawful Associations Act was passed by this Parliament.
– Was that law broken in Queensland?
– I have no doubt it has been broken.
– You do not know ?
– No; but the point is that the Commonwealth Government asked the Queensland State Government that their police should administer the law. That same request was made to all the State Governments, and the Commonwealth authorities received the acquiescence of every other State but Queensland.
– There was no law broken in Queensland.
– There are more members of the Industrial Workers of the World in Queensland than in all the other States combined.
– Senator’ Ferricks asks if that law has been broken. It is not a question whether a ‘law has been broken or not. The question is, If the law is broken, will the Queensland Government allow its police to arrest those who have broken it? And by their refusal to reply to our request we take it that they say “ No.”
– You are judging them in anticipation.
– -No State Government can authorize anybody to arrest any one under this law, because it is not a State law.
– Did you authorize them £o arrest anybody under it?
– I did not. That is not within my province.
– Then you have no complaint against the Queensland Government.
– They were asked to allow the State police to administer the law, and the Queensland Government have so far refused to give their consent.
– Because the law has not been broken.
– Here is another case. A request was received from the Federal Commissioner of Taxation asking whether the Commonwealth police in Queensland would undertake investigations, and make certain other inquiries deemed by his Department to be necessary.
– You mean the State police ?
– No; the Commonwealth police. The Commissioner of Taxation applied to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department asking that the Commonwealth police should do this, because the Queensland Government had refused the assistance of the State police for the purpose.
– Quite right, since you sent the Commonwealth police there. As you have them there it is only right that they should do Commonwealth work.
– Then are we to take it that the collection of taxation is another invasion of the liberties of the subject ?
– Was that request made before or after the Commonwealth police were sent up there,?
– I have no doubt that it was made before the establishment of the Commonwealth police, because the Commonwealth Taxation Department was in existence before the police were appointed. ‘ Whether it was made before or after, the Queensland Government have,, apparently, refused to allow fEe State police to make inquiries.
– Quite right, seeing that the Federal police were there.
– Is it right to infer that the duties which the Queensland State police have refused are done by the State police in the other States?
– And were done by the Queensland police before the Commonwealth police went there.
– Before the issue of this regulation, was there a single case in which the Queensland police refused to carry out the law ?
– There is the one to which I am now referring. I take it that if the State -police had been doing this work, there would have been no occasion for the Commonwealth Commissioner of Taxes to have asked them to do it. The Commonwealth income tax has been in existence since the first year of the war. It was about this period, I should say, that these inquiries were sought to be made. ‘I assume that the request was made about that time, at any rate.
– Will, you get that point cleared up?
– I shall do so.
– Is it not a fact that the appointment of the Commonwealth police was due to a squabble at Warwick, when a stale egg hit the Prime Minister ?
– I am sorry that the honorable senator must have been absent when I began my remarks. I then outlined the particulars as to when the Commonwealth police were first established. I do not intend. to go over that again. I want to give some indication now of where and in what capacities the Commonwealth police are needed, and where the State police are used to some extent; and where, with the exception of Queensland, it is proposed to continue to use them. There is the Pensions Branch. A large number of inquiries have to be made by the police with respect to pensions. .
– Has there ever been a complaint against the Queensland Government in that respect?
– I know of none. There is also the question of the note issue which affords an example of where we should have the Commonwealth police. Specialists are needed in this kind of work, and ‘as the Commonwealth has the sole right to issue notes, the Commonwealth authorities should have their own expert police, to. follow up cases of forgery and the like. Then there is the Taxation Department and the Post Office with detectives or inquiry officers of their own ; and the Navy, and the Customs Department also. I was asked just now if this necessity had arisen only since that affair at Warwick. I am bound to say that that incident disclosed an attitude . on the part of the Queensland State police - no doubt, based upon the attitude which the State Government had taken up - which demonstrated that no representative of the Commonwealth Government could expect to receive the protection that he had a right to look for from the civil police of Queensland. That is, if they were all to adopt the same stand as the police at Warwick.
– You have no right to slander the Warwick police after the full inquiry that was held.
– I know all about that exoneration. As to the incident at Warwick, the facts as reported by persons present, who were quite impartial - not the Prime Minister’s statement, but those of pressmen from other States who saw all that took place - show that it constituted an insult to the Prime Minister, and reflected discredit on the police officials who were there, and should ha ‘/a been there to maintain law and order. It was a direct encouragement to lawlessness, and it would lead to the spread of that kind of thing to every other part of the Commonwealth if it were to be ignored.
– The Minister ought to be ashamed of himself for making a statement like that, in view of the public facts that have been brought forth.
– Honorable senators, in trying to minimize and pooh pooh the whole incident, are guilty of the suspicion that they are ‘endeavouring to shelter acts of lawlessness which were a disgrace, not only to those who committed them,- but to any person who might countenance or excuse them. If we are about to endeavour to make heroics out of the behaviour of the larrikins who got upon that platform with the deliberate purpose*” of insulting the chief citizen of the Commonwealth, then, if that is the attitude of honorable senators, matters may well reach such a pitch as to make public life impossible. When the Prime Minister - insulted and mobbed as he wa£ - saw those police and appealed to them, and they took no action to protect him, he was perfectly justified in assuming what he did. The State Government not only took no action, but condoned the acts of those persons and adopted a whitewashing report in condonation of them. Further, when we knew that the Industrial Workers of the World had been collecting their forces in Queensland - had actually been inviting their members to leave the other States and go to Queensland - and when we were made aware that the State Government would not allow the use of their police, then the Commonwealth Government were justified in appointing their police. They were justified in seeing that the laws of the Commonwealth were observed, and that public men whose duties took them to Queensland should be protected from larrikins, who are not typical of that State, but who are in every- State, and who, if they feel that they can safely indulge in actions of that kind, will do so anywhere. If that sort of thing was to be condoned and no official action taken, and the police were to be encouraged by the attitude of the State Government, the Commonwealth Government could have taken no other action than to appoint a police force to see that their lawswere observed.
– A few of us got rotten eggs in Tasmania, but you did not appoint Commonwealth police to protect us in that State.
– The police throughout the whole of the States were instructed to do their duty. If honorable senators are going to condone such deeds as when Senator Millen was subjected to insult and contumely while the police stood by smiling at the crowd, then they make themselves responsible for those things in our public life, and we shall not have government by reason or intelligence; we shall have . government merely by those who can- yell the loudest and make themselves the most objectionable. It is not the kind of thing we want in a Democracy. These were the circumstances leading to the employment of the Commonwealth, police. The question is now under the consideration of the Government from this point of view. The Government have no desire to appoint a single individual for whom there is not a duty awaiting. At present a Committee of Departmental Officers is -considering a scheme by which all the various departmental police are proposed >to be brought together as one body, so that they shall be able to carry out their duties as effectively as possible. This will give better opportunities for control and administration, and perhaps for transferring officers from one Department to another if that course should be necessary. That is what is proposed fo be done in regard to the Commonwealth police. But the Commonwealth have a perfect right to appoint police if it finds it necessary to do so, to effectively carry out the Commonwealth law. Of course, we shall endeavour to prevent duplication, but I repeat that the Commonwealth Government has a perfect right to see that its laws are obeyed, and wherever the State police are not available to enforce those laws, the Commonwealth will appoint police to do so. I therefore oppose the motion.
– I desire to say a few words in reply to the wicked attack on the Queensland authorities by the Minister for Defence. (Senator Pearce). Even if it be pardonable for vindictive press reporters to exaggerate an incident which occurred at Warwick in erder to mislead the entire community, and to gain aparty advantage on the oceasion of the recent referendum, it is certainly unpardonable for the Minister to give forth that exaggerated version of the incident as the truth.
SenatorFoll. - How does the honorable senator know that it was exaggerated ?
– Because I was in Queensland only a few day later, and read the report of an independent gentleman who saw it, and who took part in it.
– The majority of the people who were present say that it was not exaggerated.
– Then I shall read to the honorable senator the statement of the returned soldier who rescued Mr. Hughes.
– Was the independent gentleman who took part in the incident the gentleman who tnrew the egg ?
– No, it wasat Commissioner of Police - aman holding a very high position in Queensland, and one who is absolutely free from any party bias.
– Was he present at Warwick ?
– No, but he held an inquiry into the disturbance which took place there. The most prominent men of the town gave evidence before that inquiry, and the whole of their evidence was published. Theirtestimony all goes to show that the newspaper reports of the incident were grosslyexaggerated.
– Well, the honorable senator is quite wrong. The Commissioner of Police did not hold an inquiry, but an inquiry was held by a subinspector of police.
– I am going to prove to the Minister for Defence that I am quite rignt. It is true that the first inquiry was conducted by a subinspector of police, but that was followed up by an inquiry on the part of the Commissioner of Police, before which Mr. Carey, the chairman of the conscription meeting at Warwick, gave evidence. His evidence alone vindicated the action of the police of that town, as well as that of the Queensland Government. The police magistrate also gave evidence at that inquiry. In regard to the statement of the Minister for Defence that the law was broken with impunity, I would point out that the man who threw the egg was arrested, brought before the Police Court, and fined 10s.
– Were not the proceedings initiated on summons ?
– No ; I have a singularly retentive memory for things in which I am interested. What really happened at Warwick? Stripped of all the sensationalism of the press reporters, who merely put a huge joke upon the people, this is what occurred : The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) stepped out upon the platformat Warwick for the purpose of delivering an address. As he did so an egg was thrown. He immediately rushed into the crowd gesticulating wildly. Then his own friends grabbed him, and prevented him making a bigger fool of himself than he usually does when he becomes excited. A sergeant of police - Sergeant Kenny - was blamed for having laid hands on Mr. Hughes in order to prevent him running into the crowd. There was no interruption at the meeting which he addressed. As a matter of fact, the right honorable gentleman was only in Warwick for thirteen minutes, and he did not encounter as much interruption during the course of his address as I frequently experience in this Chamber.
SenatorFoll. - But speeches are often prepared beforehand.
– If SenatorFoll wishes to join with those who are traducing Queensland he is welcome to do so. As one who was through Queensland at the time this particular incident occurred, I can say that the newspaper reports were maliciously false.
– The honorable senator is very unfair. He knows that Senator Foll was referring to speeches generally.
– My statement was that Mr. Hughes only remained at Warwick forthe brief period of thirteen minutes. Immediately he stepped upon the platform an egg was thrown at him. The man who threw the egg was arrested, whilst another individual who did not throw it was knocked down and assaulted’, and according to the magistrate who inquired into the disturbance he was the only individual there who had any real grievance.
– The fact of a wrong report appearing in the newspapers does not indicate that the Prime Minister was heard without interruption. The chances are that his speech was prepared beforehand and copies of it given to the press reporters just as the honorable senator himself has often prepared speeches in advance of their delivery.
– My long parliamentary career inclines me to believe that when a number of newspapers report a public man as having made a certain statement it may safely be accepted as true that he did make it. However, I invite the honorable senator to interview Mr. Hughes himself and to ascertain from him directly whether he had not a fair opportunity of presenting his case at Warwick. I repeat that, upon the Prime Minister alighting there, an egg was thrown at him. . Thereupon a man was seized and arrested, whilst another man was knocked down by the conscriptionists. Mr. Hughes was then grabbed by his own friends and escorted to the place where he intended to deliver his speech, and where, in fact, he did deliver it. Here is the statement of a returned soldier who was present at the time.
– Does the honorable senator know his name?
– Yes. From the Daily Standard, Queensland, I extract the following -
Last night Mr. Robert Wells, a returned soldier, who spoke . in the Town Hall with Mr. Frank Tudor, said: - “I have a very interesting question to deal with, which, I think, has been much exaggerated. I am positively sure that it has been made a great deal of use of unreasonably, because of its untruthfulness.’ I refer to the so-called assault made upon the Prime Minister on the Warwick railway platform. I was on the platform at Toowoomba when Mr. Hughes arrived, and I travelled to Warwick on the same train. At Warwick three men shook hands with Mr. Hughes, and he then walked up the platform to where he was to address the people, who were on the roadway. There were 40 or 50 persons on the platform, the majority of whom wererailway travellers. Mr. Hughes was treated in due respect from the time he left the carriage until’ within 5 or 6 feet of the place where he was to give his address. As he approached it a tall man threw an egg, which hit the Prime Minister above the rim of the hat. The man who threw the egg was immediately assaulted and tackled by men on the platform and a fight occurred about 2 or 3 yards from the Prime Minister, alongside of whom were two men and behind were two policemen. As soon as the egg hit the Prime Minister’s hat he turned around and rushed back to the crowd excitedly and gesticulating wildly. Seeing the excited state of the Prime Minister I took hold of his arms, pinning them to his side, and said, “Biily, Billy, for God’s sake pull yourself together.Remember you are the Prime Minister.”
– That is a deliberate lie.
– The statement continues -
I am a member of the Returned Soldiers and Sailors’ Imperial League of Australia, and I was wearing my badge on the lapel of my coat. Being a little ‘ weak from illness, having not long left Dalby Sanatorium, I was thrown aside by the excited Prime Minister, who fought his way through the crowd, and, pointing to a man in a dramatic manner, he said: - “You are one of them.” The man, who was pale but calm, replied: “No, no, Mr. Hughes; I am one of yours.” The Prime Minister getting such a cool reply to his hysterical charge, was taken back and cooled down very much. He then proceeded to address “the people, and I can say from my own experience that the Prime Minister was not at any time in danger of personal violence. Whatever happened was due to hisexcited condition. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that the only violence used, if it could be called that, was the egg that struck Mr. Hughes’ hat and my friendly clasp of him.
– I heard Wells make that statement in Warwick on the evening following the disturbance there, and it is not likely that he would have made it had it been a deliberate lie.
– I know Wells better than does the honorable senator.
– Let us take the statement of this disinterested- witness and compare it with the press reports of the Warwick incident. The Minister for Defence has stated that the Queensland Government refused to permit the police to give effect to the Commonwealth law. It is strange that we had never heard- of it before the establishment of the Commonwealth police. But if the Minister will persist in uttering the maliciously exaggerated statements of newspaper reporters, he will lose his reputation for truthfulness. From the Daily Standard of 3rd December, 1917, I take the following : -
The Premier has received the following, additional wire from the Prime Minister: - “ Thanks for your wire. I am glad to learn that you propose to enforce Commonwealth and State laws. But I want to emphasize that Senior Sergeant Kenny, who I again repeat, connived at and permitted this outrage, emphatically refused to enforce them when requested by me as
Attorney-General of the Commonwealth. As to the occurrence being less serious than I have said, I cannot understand your remarks at all. When the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth is assaulted and howled down by an organized mob, who would have gone to any length, had they not been prevented by civilians, headed by a returned soldier, and the police of your State look on and do nothing, it appears to me nothing could be more serious. ‘I again request you to forthwith suspend Senior Sergeant Kenny for refusing to obey the Commonwealth laws.”
Mr. Ryan subsequently announced that Senior Sergeant Kenny had not been suspended, and the Standard is in a position to state authoritatively that his suspension is the most unlikely thing that can happen.
The Commissioner for Police (Mr. C. Urquhart), who was also threatened with arrest by Mr. Hughes, if he did not deal drastically with Kenny, has now submitted the following report to the Home Secretary, exonerating the officer in question.
Attached to the Chief Inspector’s report are signed statements obtained from C. E. McDougall, Esquire, Vice-President of the Reinforcements Campaign Committee, of Queensland; President of the Queensland National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland ( marked No. 1 ) : and a justice of the peace: from Senior Sergeant Kenny (marked No. 2); from Sergeant Huston (marked No. 3) ; from Acting-Sergeant O’Brien (marked No. 4); from Constable Tong (marked No. 5); from Constable Duffy (marked No. 6) ; and from Constable Coughlan (marked No. 7). “It willbe observed,” says the report, “that I make much use of the evidence of Mr. Mc- Dougall, and I do this, not because I have any reason to doubt the police evidence, but because they are all, to some extent, in the position of defendants, which, in a certain class of mind, might heavily discount the value of their statements, and also because the probity and honour of Mr. McDougall are known to all Queenslanders. and probably also to the Right Honorable W. M. Hughes. “ On charge No. 3 that Senior Serjeant Kenny had broken the Commonwealth laws: The only- Commonwealth enactment I am acquainted with which may have direct bearing upon the situation at Warwick is section 28 of the (Commonwealth) Crimes Act of 1914, which runs as follows: -
Any person, who, by violence or by threats, or intimidation of any kind, hinders or interferes with the free exercise or performance by any other person of any political right or duty, shall be guilty of an offence. Penalty: Imprisonment for three years.’ “I am unable to see how, on the evidence, Senior Sergeant Kenny, or any of the police, can be said to have broken this law. It is, on the contrary, clear that the Senior Sergeant endeavoured to insure the unhindered exercise of the Prime Minister’s political right, and, finally, amid considerable turmoil, succeeded in doing so. “ Charge No. i is that Senior Sergeant Kenny issued instructions to the police under him to break the Commonwealth laws: The only instructions issued by Senior Sergeant Kenny to the police arc detailed in the evidence.”
Senior Sergeant Kenny states: “I did not instruct the police not to arrest Brosnan, neither did I issue them any instructions beyond those I gave them before going to the railway station, and my instructions to them then were to preserve law and order.”
Sergeant Huston states: “The Senior Sergeant gave no instructions except that the meeting was to be carried out as orderly and quietly as possible. Certainly no instructions wore given by him during the Prime Minister’s Stay on the platform.” “ On charge No. 5, that Senior Sergeant Kenny had connived at the disgraceful proceedings on the Warwick platform, T. am bound to say that, in the statements before me, I can find no evidence of connivance. The evidence Shows what the proceedings amounted to, and what Senior Sergeant Kenny’s actions and attitude were throughout, and it seems to me impossible for an impartial mind to come to the conclusion that he did connive.”
Summarized, the rest of the report in effect expresses the Commissioner’s opinion that the publication in the press, that Kenny did connive, was libellous, actionable, and defamatory.
Here is a report bearing out my statement that the man was brought before the Court -
In the Warwick Police Court, on Friday, before Mr. F. C. M. Burns, P.M., Patrick Brosnan was charged with creating a disturbance, in Grafton-street, on Thursday, 29th November. Mr. .13. J. Brennan appeared for the defendant, who pleaded not guilty. Sergeant Donoghue prosecuted.
At the outset of the case, Mr. Brennan said he was going to ask for an adjournment for a week. He had only received instructions on the previous afternoon to appear for the defence, and Senior Sergeant Kenny had been called away to Stanthorpe on urgent business.
Constable Duffy gave formal evidence of arrest. He stated that, at about 3.5 p.m., on 29th November, he was on duty at the Warwick railway station. He saw the defendant amongst a crowd of people who were listening to an address being delivered by the Prime Minister, Mr. Hughes. Witness heard the defendant interject on two or three occasions. Later, the Prime Minister jumped down among the crowd and ordered that the defendant should be arrested. Witness then conveyed the defendant to the watchhouse and’ charged him with creating a disturbance in Graftonstreet.
With the knowledge of those facts, is it fair to single out Senior Sergeant Kenny as a man who refused to obey Commonwealth law ? The man who broke the law on that occasion paid the penalty for it, as I have shown, and in the circumstances is it fair or wise to make out that a great State like Queensland is lawless? I know no State in the Commonwealth where the law is more strongly upheld by the people than Queensland. The recent State election proved that they appreciate the administration of the law at the hands of the Ryan Government. There is a solid wealthy community in Queensland, owning what is undoubtedly the greatest State in the Commonwealth, and developing it in a way that is a credit to themselves.
– Did anybody here accuse the people of Queensland of lawlessness ?
– If the honorable senator reads the report of his speech, he will see that he was getting very close to it.
– I referred to a section of lawless larrikins.
– Any one reading the honorable senator’s speech can see in it nothing but a record of lawlessness in Queensland, upheld by the Queensland Government, and rendering it necessary for the Commonwealth Government to appoint Commonwealth police in order to maintain Commonwealth law.
– Lawless larrikins.
-. - As regards lawlessness at public meetings, we have very little to complain of in this country. I have been counted out, and howled down, and all the rest of it, but surely that is part and. parcel of the public life of this or any other country. It is the result of the heat engendered by ‘ the contest. I am told that Senator Poll knows of an instance where quite a number of eggs were not only thrown at. him, but struck him, but the country has never been roused to any extent over it. As Senator Lynch would say, “ Are not all men equal before the law?” and should not credit be given to Senator Foll that when he was the tar- get for many Queensland eggs he took his gruel like a good soldier, without com’ plaining unduly about it?
The Minister for Defence has tried to justify the regulation by saying that the Queensland Government refused to administer a law passed by the Commonwealth. He has given no evidence in . support of his statement, and I warn him that in view of the careless way in which he handles the truth, it will be necessary for him in future to produce evidence in support of every statement he makes if we are to judge by the version he put to the Senate of the Warwick incident. Holding a responsible position in this country, he says, without any proof beyond his mere words, that the Queensland Government would not carry out a certain Commonwealth law. Let us examine what kind of law it is. In New South Wales the State Government did carry it out. A man named Wilson was brought before a Court. The evidence of the prosecuting police against him was that he took .the chair at an Industrial Workers of the World meeting, and said he believed in one big union. He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for being a member of the Industrial Workers of the World - an unlawful association. His period of sentence expired, and the Commonwealth Government, who talk about upholding the law, have had him detained in prison since then, although he has served his term. His employers, a big building company in Sydney, for whom he had worked for two years, are willing to take him back, which is some proof of his bona fides as a workman. But notwithstanding that he bas children to maintain, who are suffering because of his detention, and has expiated his offence, ‘he is still detained in prison by this Government. I interested myself sufficiently in the case to send a number of wires to the Grown Solicitor asking why, seeing that his term of imprisonment was up, the mau was still detained. I received the illuminating information that no answer could he given to my inquiries. If the Commonwealth law will not respect itself, it will not be long before no State will respect it, and the ‘Government will want a big Commonwealth Police Force if they are going to do that kind of thing in Australia. I inquired specially if there was anything else against the man, and could get no information. He is detained by the order of the Commonwealth Government forwarded to the State Government, yet on the other side of the Senate we cannot find a man with sufficient . courage to resent that infringement of our liberties.
– It is the first time we have heard of it.
– I will bring the full facts before the Minister, and give him a month to see that justice is done. The sentence expired at least a month ago. If the Queensland Government refuse to carry out a law of that kind om behalf of the Commonwealth Government, they deserve well of the people of Australia.
– Why give the Government a month? I would make it more public still.
– I shall give the matter all publicity when the opportunity offers. The case was brought before me by those dependent on the mau, and I wired to Senator Grant to attend to the matter personally in .Melbourne, yet we have heard not one word of explanation of the most serious infringement of liberty that could occur. If the man is a dangerous criminal, I suppose they have a right to detain him, but the principal charge against him was that he favoured one big union. Both the Minister for Defence and myself could be put in gaol for worse statements than that.
– By what authority is he detained?
– By the authority of the Commonwealth Government.
– On what grounds ?
– I could not get that information.
– A Judge, if he was applied to, would soon have him out if they did not disclose some grounds.’
– I suppose the correct way to get the man from the clutches of the Government would be for some one to call on them to show cause.
– But it has been ruled by a Court that the Minister is not bound to show cause, for detaining anybody under the War Precautions Act.
– This is under the Unlawful Associations Act.
– I nave never set eyes on the man* myself. We are drifting a very long way from being the freest people in the world when a case like this can occur. I am not aware that the Queensland Government d’d refuse to allow their police to administer the Commonwealth law, nor do I believe it.
There is no doubt that the Commonwealth police were called into existence because of the ridiculously exaggerated report that the pressmen, meeting in the Commonwealth Offices, in Sydney, compiled and put up on the public as a huge electioneering bluff. It fell flat, very flat indeed, because if one thing is resented in Queensland more than another it is the fact that Queensland was included in the condemnation of the Prime Minister, who forced the Commonwealth police establishment on that State. I venture to say that this action by the Prime Minister had an important effect upon the recent elections in that State, because, in the main, Queensland is intensely fair.
As regards the police force itself, is there any need for it at a time like this, when every penny counts in a way it never did before? Can we afford to go on spending thousands of pounds to keep two staffs of police in a State to do the work which was done by one before!
– This is an economy Government !
– The people of the Commonwealth are being continually called upon to meet additional expenditure by new taxation, rendered necessary by the circumstances of this war, and, that being so, surely we cannot afford to continue with the Commonwealth Police Force in Queensland. Let us reason the matter out. If there was any complaint against the Queensland Government, surely the matter could have been arranged without inflicting a costly superintendent, or inspector-general, or whatever term he runs under, together with a new police force, on the people of that State. I have travelled very much about this Commonwealth,, but up to the present I have not seen a member of this Commonwealth Police Force, perhaps because they do not wear a uniform. It may be an advantage to have a police force in civilian clothing, but, with my knowledge of the mainland, I can honestly say that I know of no State in Australia where there was any necessity for an additional police force, and particularly such a costly and cumbersome system as has been put upon the people by this War Precautions regulation, framed probably at a meeting attended only by two or three Ministers. I believe the Minister for Defence was in Western Australia at the time, so I do not think that we can hold him personally responsible for this regulation. I am pleased that Senator Ferricks has given me an opportunity to record my vote against the regulation, which involved an extravagant duplication of our police forces at a time when every pound counts. Are honorable senators going to support the continuance of this new expensive and useless police system, which duplicates our already efficient State police forces? The
Minister for Defence, in his speech, showed he had entirely failed to make himself acquainted with what happened in Queensland. I presume that he now believes what” he sees in the daily press, and so he was not acquainted with the report of the Queensland Commissioner of Police, or he would have known that the Prime Minister had very little to complain about, certainly no more than possibly any other public man has had to put up with when people are led away by excitement. But because of what happened in that State a Commonwealth Police Force has been inflicted upon Australia for all time, and at a period, too, in our history when every shilling counts. The Government may be permitted to continue on their course, and, as these matters are decided on a (party basis, the division on this motion will no doubt be the same as on the previous question. I shall vote against the regulation which called into existence an absolutely unnecessary police force.
.- I do not desire to speak at length, because I -consider that the time of the Senate should not be wasted in discussing a matter which, as the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) pointed out yesterday, was being employed to raise once again the old party bitterness, and which will enable Senator Ferricks and - Senator Gardiner, and, I have no doubt, other senators who may speak on behalf of the motion, to continue to pour on the head of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) vile abuse and slanderous insinuations such as have been indulged in during the last twelve months.
– On a point of order, Mr. President, I take exception to the remark made by the honorable senator that I have been -making vile insinuations and slanderous statements. I ask that the statement be withdrawn.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. ‘ T. Givens). - Just at the moment I was employed noting the time at which the honorable senator had commenced his speech, and therefore I did not hear the words complained of. I take it for granted, however, that if the honorable senator has offended against the’ Standing Orders he will withdraw his statements.
– If anything I have said has hurt Senator Gardiner’s feelings, I am prepared to withdraw it, but
I would remind the Senate that Senator Ferricks yesterday referred to a certain incident during the recent referendum campaign, and remarked that the Prime Minister was going about the country like a madman.
– I did not say that he was a madman; I said he was acting like a madman in regard to this particular question.
– I think Senator Gardiner referred to him as a fool.
– The statement made by the honorable senators, I think, could be very well classified under the heading of abuse. Will Senator Ferricks deny that his statement was abusive?
– I would not call it abusive; it was descriptive.
– In my opinion, the honorable senator has raised this question, not so much for the purpose of cutting down expenditure as for the purpose of re-opening the old party feud, and raking up some of that political muck which was disturbed so much during the recent referendum campaign, as well as to take advantage of an opportunity to make statements against the Prime Minister.
– I want him to take the police force away from Queensland. Let nim take them to Bendigo. We do not want them in Queensland. They have not made an arrest in Queensland yet, according to the Prime Minister.
– If I thought Senator Ferricks had brought forward his motion with a desire to effect economy, I would approach the consideration of this matter with a certain amount of sympathy, but I think I shall be able to demonstrate that he desires to do something which is not very creditable, and which certainly is prejudicial to the interests of the Commonwealth Police Force. I agree with the suggestion of the Minister for Defence regarding the utilization of the Commonwealth police in the performance of other than ordinary police duties, work which at present is being” carried out bv State police at the cost of the Commonwealth Government. In this way a considerable saving could be effected, and the retention of the police in Queensland would not be an additional burden upon the people of that State. I understand that, at present, State police officers are largely employed in connexion with the Commonwealth electoral rolls, and as they have plenty of other work to do, all Commonwealth elec toral work could very well be intrusted to the Commonwealth force.
A few days ago, while in Brisbane, I had an opportunity of meeting some members of this force. They waited upon me in that city, and appeared to be in an anxious frame of mind, because they had just received three months’ notice to quit the service. It is all very well for Senator Gardiner and Senator Guy to laugh at this matter, but I remind them that it is not the easiest thing in the world at the present moment for any men thrown out of employment to secure other remunerative Billets. What is more important is that thesemen are being victimized by supporters of honorable senators on the other side to such an extent that when they leave the Commonwealth . Service the chances are that employment will be denied to them throughout the length and breadth of Queensland.
– In the same way men are being victimized by the New South Wales Government.
– These men, having accepted a position under the CommonwealthCommissioner of Police, are now in the unfortunate position that, if thrown out of employment, they will have very little opportunity of securing work in any other capacity.
– That is what the New South Wales Government are doing. They have victimizedmen right round Australia.
– I will let the honorable senator speak for New South Wales. I want to speak about Queensland. These members of the Commonwealth Police Force told me that news had already spread that they had received notice, and that certain individuals and bodies in Queensland were going to do their utmost to see that, when the time was up, and it was necessary for those men to find employment elsewhere, they would do what they could to see that they did not get further employment.
– Who is going to prevent them from getting the work?
– Certain individuals and organizations in Queensland.
– Who are they?
– There is no need for the honorable senator to ask, because the probabilities ‘are that nobody knows better than himself. 1 know, and the honorable member knows.
– Give us the names. The Senate does not know. And neither do you know. I challenge the honorable senator to mention them now.
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well. I know who is behind all this movement. It is the people who are supporting the honorable senator, and some of whom sent him back to this Chamber.
– Tell us who they are.
– 1 do not intend to give the names of individuals or any organizations.
– Because you do not know.
– If the honorable senator will take the trouble to interview any of those Commonwealth police who are under notice to quit they will ted him that .they have been blackballed, and they will confirm the statements that I have made.
– Who ‘ has given them notice to quit?
– I take it that the Commonwealth Police Commissioner has given them three months’ notice, e
– By whose orders?-
– I cannot say; but these men have been given three months, to quit.
– And I hope all the rest follow.
– When I see the sorry plight that those men are in it is for that reason-
– How can they be prevented from getting employment, or how do you know they, are being prevented from getting employment, when they have just received three months’ notice, and have not yet left’! Is i looking three months ahead ?
– Exactly, and because they know the feeling exhibited towards them. That is why they have asked me to approach the Minister to request that, instead of their being given three months’ leave, they may receive three months’ salary, so that they can get out of Queensland, knowing, as they do, that they will not have .a fair deal in thai State.
– That is,all assump tion.
– These men say they are prepared to show proof that they have been victimized, to this extent, ‘and that they will.be, when the time comes, blackballed from Government employment.
– What work are the Commonwealth police doing in Queensland now ?
– So far as I know, they are doing very little work, but there is plenty they can do, instead of the force being abolished.
– The State police are loyally doing all that work.
– There was another statement that Senator Ferricks made to the effect that on .account of the actions of the Prime Minister and of various supporters the state of mind of people in Queensland had become very unsettled. He said, further, that if the unsettlement of their minds was allowed to continue anything might happen. When a political contest is being fought the state of the people’s minds is always to a certain extent unsettled. Senator Ferricks endeavoured to point out that it was on account of the attitude adopted by those who favoured conscription that the minds of the public had become unsettled. I cannot see how that could have come about owing to the conscriptionists any more man that it might well have been due to the actions of the anticonscriptionists.
– I said that the fact of the Prime Minister running amok unsettled the people’s minds.
– Probably the honorable senator would like to see a regulation under the War Precautions’ Act that no one must put any side of a case but the honorable senator’s side. His statement that the condition of the public mind was such that anything might have happened was highly exaggerated- I was iri some of the wildest parts of North Queensland.
– North Queensland is not wild.
– Then if the people in those parts of -North Queensland which I visited were tame, I trust I shall not be on the scene when they are wild. Senator Ferricks knows perfectly well that, with the exception of a very few cases, the public mind in that State was not disturbed to any greater extent than Th the course of an ordinary political campaign.
– Yes, it was. Owing to the prosecution of Mr. Ryan the public mind was much disturbed.
– I do not think it was, any more than at an ordinary election. There have been a few cases in Queensland, from my own personal observation, where the State police have not carried out their duties to the extent that they might have done. But the reason that they failed to keep law and order was not that they were not desirous of protecting me, but owing to the example shown them by the Administration in Queensland.
– That is not fair.
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well that there have been things done in Queensland by the present Administration which might well cause wonder whether there is such a condition as law and order in that State.
– Give us instances where the State police refused to carry out their duties.
– What about the run on the Savings Bank the other day, engineered by our opponents?
– The remark is incorrect. It is a wicked statement. Senator Maughan knows that a number of the men who went to the help of the Savings Bank during the run upon the institution were strong members of our side. I can cite one in particular who strongly advised the public not to take their money out of the bank, and who said he would lead the way in depositing more of his own - asking others about him to follow his lead, with a view to stemming the rush. I refer to the Hon. Tom Hall, a member of the Legislative Council of Queensland. He and other business men did their utmost to stop the run, and Senator Maughan, when he makes such a statement, knows that it is incorrect as well as unfair, and that that run was not instigated by any persons.
– Absolutely. It was a political move from beginning to end.
– It was because certain people who did not understand the constitution of the bank, and that it should be free from all political control, considered that the Ryan Government having been returned to power-
– Order! The Honorable senator is not in order in discussing that matter.
– I was referring, prior to the interjection which has drawn me aside, to the reason why the Queensland State police had not in a number of instances carried out their duties.
– Will you give us that number of instances?
– The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) has given us a few particulars wherein the Queensland Government refused to permit their police to carry out a Commonwealth Act. I could quote half-a-dozen meetings where disturbances took place, to my knowledge; and my colleague, Senator Crawford, could mention others. I can mention a meeting in Gordonvale. I was addressing a conscription gathering at that place. The hall is one which cannot contain more than 200 or 300 people, and there were eleven or twelve police there.
-. - At Gordonvale eleven or twelve policemen !
– The honorable senator must have taken an escort down with him.
– If I had been taking an escort with me, I certainly would not have ^chosen an escort of the kind that was at Gordonvale. At that place Senator Crawford and myself addressed a meeting comprising perhaps 200 persons. There were eleven or twelve State police present, but -we were nevertheless bombarded with eggs, and were not permitted for more than two or three minutes at a time throughout the evening to express our opinions. I cannot say what was the age of the eggs, but I can say that they were not laid in the twentieth century. When the ‘supply of eggs became exhausted we were pelted with over-ripe fruit, and at the end of the evening “ohe or two stones began to fly, consequently Senator Crawford, the chairman, and myself decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and retreated. At no time during the progress of that meeting did any of these constables attempt to protect us. That circumstance shows that there are in Queensland a number of police who are not giving effect to the Commonwealth law.
– That is a serious charge to make.
– I have not made the charge against the police force generally in Queensland. I have already stated that I do not think the entire police force of that State would refuse to give effect to the Commouwealth law if they were instructed to do so. But many of them did not do so during the recent referendum campaign because of the example set by the Government of Queensland and because of the political control which appears to , be exercised over the Police Department. When I was in Rockhampton recently, I was assured by a gentleman who occupies a very high position in the Police Department of Queensland that he knew of anumber of undesirable men against whom . action should be taken under the War Precautions Act, but on account of the political influence which is exercised over the Police Departmenthe was unable to take it.
– How does the honorable senator account for the fact that the Federal police have taken no action since they have been in Queensland?
– I account for it by the simple fact that if a member of the Commonwealth police did make an arrest there he would be unable to lay a charge in the State Courts.
– Does the honorable senator realize that . the whole of these charges are levied at the Commissioner of Police in Queensland, and not at the politicians there?
– The honorable senator does not know much about Queensland when he says that.
– lt is true that we have a Commissioner of Police in Queensland, but to a large extenthis hands are tied by the political control that is exercised over his Department. Although, he has control of the actual working of the Department, I venture to . say that he has very much less power than had the late Commissioner Cahill. In view of the fact that there is work for the Commonwealth police to do there- is no reason why that body should be abolished.
– Does the honorable senator think it is . good policy to establish a huge police force and then . go round looking for work for it?
– I do not know that the Commonwealth Police Force in Queensland is of huge dimensions. There are only about thirty or forty members of it all ‘told, including sergeants, first class constables, and ordinary constables. The Minister for Defence has clearly shown that there is work for these men to do- work the performance of which entitles them to the money that is being paid to them. In the light of his explanation, and because I believe that this motion was brought forward by Senator Ferricks merely for the purpose of reviving . the political feud which characterized the recent referendum campaign, I hope that it will be defeated.
Sitting suspended from 6.29 to8 p.m.
– I have listened carefully to the speeches of honorable senators opposite who have indicated their intention to vote against the motion, and paid particular attention tothat of Senator Pearce. I have a long acquaintance with him, and have always admired his ability to handle a question., but have never heard him at a greater disadvantage than he was at this evening, either inside or outside this building. I expected him to put forward some -argument why the Commonwealth Police Force should have been created, but throughout his address he adduced not a single argument of the necessity for such a ferce. It istrue that at the conclusion . of his speech he indicated that some alterationwas going to . take place, and that there was to be an amalgamation of . certain officials who have been acting : as policemen in other directions with a view to making their services effective, . but that was a most remarkable admission . on his part, ‘ that the force was created when there was . nothing for it to do. I will not reiterate the statements about the famous egg which, at Warwick, was the source from which this great Commonwealth Police Force sprang.
SenatorFoll.. - Warwick has had a pretty good advertisement.
– I admit it, but the Commonwealth Government have had a very badadvertisement. What happened showed ineptitude on their part. It showed practically a wilful intention to spend the money of the taxpayers of the Commonwealth on an unnecessary body of men, called the Commonwealth Police Force.
– Whose money should they spend?
– It is their duty to spend the money of the Commonwealth in legitimate directions. I do not want them to spend their money individually in that direction, nor do I cavil at the expenditure of public money in proper directions, but it is ridiculous to tell me that there was justification for spending the public money on a Commonwealth Police Force. I am not one who believes in lawlessness. I have never supported it, and never will. I am not in sympathy with any citizen of the Commonwealth who tries to assault another, be he the Prime Minister or a private person. Every man or woman who commits a breach of the law, if found guilty, should be punished, so that I am not holding a brief for any set of larrikins such as the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) referred to, nor am I holding a brief for any section of the community in any State that would lend itself to lawlessness of any kind. I believe it is true that a demonstration took place on the Warwick station. I believe it is true that a certain egg was thrown at the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), but is that a justification for mulcting the taxpayers of the Commonwealth in the sum of £3,713 ? I do not think so. I have had some experience of public meetings, and during the military service referendum campaign of 1916 there was good and substantial cause for the creation of some force to protect my humble self. When in Albany on the 24th October of that year I essayed to address my constituents, “I was prevented from doing so, not by the people of Albany, but’ by a number of New Zealand soldiers. It was not an egg, but it was eggs, and oranges, and similar missiles that were hurled at me. It may have been because of my diminutive stature, but none of them hit the mark; still the desire to hit me was there. The throwers were not good shots, although they were soldiers, but if the present Prime Minister had been the subject of the same attack, there is every possibility that a Commonwealth Police Force would have been established in Western Australia.
Senator Pearce said the Queensland police had refused to do certain things iu connexion with’ the Commonwealth Taxation Department. He was asked time and again from this side to say whether that took place before or after the establishment of the Common wealth Police Force, and he said he was not in a position to say- when it took place. Although Senator Ferricks asked him to get definite information, so that some of his supporters, when they spoke, could say that such a thing happened before the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force, that information has not yet come to hand, although Senator Foll has spoken since.
– It is to hand.
– Then why did not Senator Foll use it? Will the VicePresident of the Executive. Council (Senator Russell) ascertain whether or not the Queensland Government refused to assist the Commonwealth Taxation, Department prior to the establishment of the Commonwealth Police . Force, because upon that question of date a good deal depends?
– Do you want a concrete case of their refusal?
– I want to know whether Senator Pearce was correct when he “ assumed “ that the Queensland Police Force refused to assist the Common” wealth Taxation Department prior to the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force.
– Senator Pearce is capable of defending himself, but if you want a concrete case I will give you one now.
– The honorable senator can do so if he (chooses when he speaks, but what I want to ascertain is whether Senator Pearce’s assumption was correct, because all the time he said “ I assume that this refusal of the Government of Queensland took place prior to the Commonwealth Police Force being established.”
– They refused to police the awards of the Prices Fixing Department. I am sure the honorable senator is interested in that question.
– I am interested in every important question, and I hope when the Minister speaks he will give the da)’ and date of that refusal.
– I have said enough from your point of view to justify the creation of a Commonwealth Police Force.
– I am not questioning the Minister’s word, but I hope he will give the date of the incident. The Minister for Defence, a responsible Minister of the Crown, brought forward as practically his only argument to buttress this wild action of his Government, the assumption that the Queensland Government refused to do something with their State police to assist a Commonwealth Department. He could not give the date, and has not done so yet.
Brushing to one side the fact that the offender at the Warwick station was arrested, as Senator Gardiner showed by his quotation from the Queensland newspaper to-day, Senator Pearce said he had evidence of independent witnesses of what happened to the Prime Minister at Warwick, in the shape of representatives of the press. Those were his independent witnesses. He tells those of us who have been associated with him for years that he regards the representatives of the press as independent witnesses of a scene that took place during the heat, controversy, and excitement of a .contest such as the last referendum campaign. I, for one, will not accept representatives of the press, or the press itself, as impartial witnesses under such conditions. I am not impugn, ing the honesty and integrity of individual reporters, but we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that they have to work und,er instructions. Their reports when sent in are sub-edited. Very often the report they send in from their own pens is not the report that emanates from the editor’s office, and appears in the columns of the public press. It is the policy of the owners, and not the reports supplied by the reporters, that appears in the newspapers of this country. Senator Pearce might have gone further, and, on the strength of his impartial witnesses - these members of the press - have told the dramatic story that appeared in the columns of the public press throughout Australia, to the effect that the Prime Minister, while on the platform at Warwick Station, saw a man there with a hammer and a spanner in his hand, and felt that the man was going to assault him. These “ impartial witnesses “ to whom Senator Pearce refers, drew a very lurid picture of what might have happened to this great Prime Minister of ours, confronted by this able-bodied man dressed in dungarees, and with a hammer and a spanner in his hand. Every paper in the land had about half a column of the incident, but after all, the man was merely an examiner of the train in which the Prime Minister travelled, and, having finished his task, was quite inno cently standing on’ the platform. This story, as I have said, was scattered broadcast throughout the Commonwealth, and probably, per medium of the cable, it was circulated also throughout the United Kingdom.
If there was any justification whatever for the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force, I am surprised that Victoria has escaped a section of’ that particular brigade, because shortly before the taking of the last referendum, the Prime Minister addressed a vast concourse of people on the Melbourne Cricket-ground, and I believe that there was some sort of disturbance, and, according to the press reports, officials the following morning discovered a sheath knife only 2 or 3 feet away from the platform on which the Prime Minister had been standing. Again the press got to work. Here was another attempt to assassinate the Prime Minister. Here, evidently, was a man with a sheath knife ready to drop it on the Prime Minister’s head. What was the explanation of that?
– The villain still pursued him. That was the explanation.
– Subsequently, it was discovered that there was a telephone pole near the platform from which the Prime Minister spoke, and that a” telephone linesman who had been engaged upon work in that locality, had dropped his knife, which was found the following morning, though the deduction was that the knife was intended to fall upon the head of the Prime Minister. In view of this incident, why has not Victoria been favored with a branch of the Commonwealth Police Force ? We hear a lot about Inter-State jealousy, and I think Victoria might well be jealous of Queensland. And Western Australia, because of eggs thrown at me in Albany, might also be jealous. The” motion provides a splendid opportunity for honorable gentlemen on the other side to show whether or not, in their opinion, there is any necessity for the continuance of this force. I understand some honorable senators opposite are not in favour of it, especially as it was established in a time of panic; and I have seen statements in the press, also, that there was no necessity whatever for the appointments. I hope, therefore, that those honorable senators who have incidentally mentioned, their opposition to the action of the Government, will give practical: evidence of their views by voting in favour of the motion.
This evening Senator Foll toot up the same role as the Minister for Defence. The Minister, in his remarks; assumed that certain action had been taken in connexion with the Commonwealth Taxation Department fey the Queensland Government; and Senator Foll presumed that members of the Commonwealth Police Force are going to be victimized.
– It is not presumption it is the truth.
– -But the honorable senator did not give any facts. He said that they were going to be victimized, but did not indicate how, or when, or why. He also made a definite statement that the Queensland State Police Force was under political control. I presume that he will not deny that.
– He said, that the Queensland Commissioner was corrupt.
– No, he did not say that, but he said definitely that the Queensland Police Force was under political control, and’ in that way made an indirect charge against the Commissioner of Police in the northern State.
– No. I made a charge’ against the Queensland Government.
– I understand that the Police Commissioner in Queensland is working, under an Act of Parliament just as are the Commissioners of Police in other States, and it is a serious thing for any honorable gentleman occupying a responsible position like Senator Foll to make an indirect charge that the Queensland Commissioner is under political control.
– I make no charge against the Commissioner of Police, but against the Home Secretary, who controls the Commissioner.
– I am not saying that the honorable senator made a direct charge against the Commissioner of Police but indirectly he did, when he said that official was under political control. Does the honorable senator mean to say that any official, occupying a position like that of the Commissioner of Police in Queensland, would be controlled by any Government when he had an Act of Parliament to protect him ? The Commissioner is not here to reply for himself, so I hope that Senator Foll’s statements will be published in the Queensland papers, and that the Commissioner pf Police in that State will furnish a reply.
There is another phase of this subject to which I might direct attention. This afternoon I asked a series of questions, which were answered by the Minister for Defence.
– There is one that the honorable senator forgot.
– What was that?
– Do they wear pyjamas and- clean their teeth ?
– I will leave that to the honorable senator and his political friends. No doubt he knows more about that than I do. My question, to-day was comprehensive; but in questions 2 and 3, asking for the names and residences of the members of the Commonwealth Police Force the Minister for Def ence furnished “ No “ as his reply. This means that although the Commonwealth is paying, according to. the answer given to-day, £3,713 for the maintenance of the Police Force, those who foot the Bill - the people of Australia - are not to know the names of members of that force.
– How much would it have been if the man had thrown a dozen eggs at the Prime. Minister?
– Now that is a sum in proportion which might well be worth working out. If one. egg thrown at the Prime Minister in December cost the country, four months later, £3,713, how much would twelve eggs so thrown cost? It is not so much the value of the egg, the odour, the age, or the breed of the hen that laid it that is . important. It is not even a question of who threw the egg. The important questionis : “ At whom was it thrown?” It might have been thrown at Senator Foll, Senator Pearce,. Senator Long, or even at- myself, without any risk of expenditure’, but- having been thrown at the Prime- Minister, and whether it hit him or not, it cost us £3,713.
Senator Bolton, who. interjects, apparently believes that’ for every egg thrown there should be a Commonwealth Police Force established. The whole thing from beginning to end has been a farce, and continues to be so. The only serious factor is that the Commonwealth is spending this money upon a force which is doing nothing. In the various States there are police; any citizen may ascertain the name of any policeman, and can see his number.
– Not if he belongs to the secret police.
– Is this Commonwealth Force a secret service force?
– Do you not think that the Commonwealth has a secret service force?
– The honorable senator knows that I am referring exclusively to the- Commonwealth police constables. The number of any policeman in a State service may be immediately ascertained. Imagine a Commonwealth policeman arresting a citizen. Surely in the circumstances his name should be known.
– But your grievance is that they have arrested nobody.
– I used the word “imagine.” Now, what is the reason why the names of these men should’ not be given ?
– So that they shall not be victimized any more than at present.
– I do not know that the honorable senator is an authority to whom I should look for an answer. He is not a member of the Government. He was not included in the last additions -to the ‘Ministry, although probably he expected that he might have been,, and, possibly, had he been, the Government would have been considerably strengthened. But until he has attained Ministerial rank I do not accept his reply to such a question as I have asked. I would like the Minister for Defence to inform the public of the names, and why they are kept secret.
– Will you inform the Senate why you want the names?
– There is nothing secret about me. I want to know the names for public information.
– You will get them, in the Blue-book.
– Here is another aspiring Minister furnish ing me with information.
– The honorable senator knows very well that the names of all Commonwealth servants are there.
– Will the honorable senator produce the Blue-book containing the names of this Commonwealth force? The responsible Minister has refused to give the names to the Senate, and, through the Senate, to the public. Yet Senator Guthrie tells us we can get them in the Blue-book. I have been asked why I desire the information which has been withheld from me. My reason is that the taxpayers should know the names of the officials whose salaries they are paying. I am not asking the names for victimization. I do not know the names, nor do I desire to know them for any ulterior motive. Every ‘member of the Commonwealth Police Force is, I dare say, an honest and reputable citizen ; I am imputing nothing against their individual character. I desire the information for no reason other than public purposes. In the answers - such as were given to my question - I received information concerning the money spent; and yet we are not allowed to know the names.
– I know their names. They call them “ Hughes’ chookies,” because they originated from an. egg.
– That is not of much service, after all, to the people who are footing the bill.
In reply to another portion of my question, wherein I asked how many arrests had been made, the answer was, “ I am unaware of any.” For four months we have had this force of forty-seven men in one State. No arrest has been made. There is nothing for them to do.
– They are keeping the people in good order.
– That is a tribute to the law-abiding citizens of Queensland. There is not even a suggestion that there is a larrikin element, as Senator Pearce indicated to-day.
– Those are not Queenslanders. They come from other States.
– If there are larrikins in Queensland - people who will not obey the law - there is another way of dealing with them rather than to saddle this country with an expenditure like this. The Commonwealth police were established at a time of panic, and for the reason that the Prime Minister happened to meet with the same 3ort of treatment that both members of this Parliament and private citizens have experienced in the course of hotly-conducted campaigns. I hold no brief for any lawless person, but there are times when public opinion is excited, and things are often done which would not occur under ordinary conditions To say that as the outcome of the few minutes in which a train was standing at the Warwick station, and the Hughes incident occurred, we should be saddled with the upkeep and general cost of a Commonwealth Police Force is beyond all reason. No honorable senator opposite has uttered a word in justification of the force. The statement of the Minister for Defence to-day was an apology rather than a justification. By supporting the motion to repeal this regulation honorable senators will be instructing the Government to wipe out the Commonwealth police.
– When the National party was elected, with a triumphant majority, many diversified political opinions in Australia came together on one common platform, namely, that we all pledged ourselves to do what we could to_ help win the war. As a unit among the Nationalists, so far as I remember, that is what we pledged ourselves to do; and generally that pledge has been honoured. The Government have passed through most difficult times - times of stress and times of improvisation. They have in some instances done things that they ought not to have done, and in others have left undone things that they ought to have done. During the nine months in which the present National Government have had the guidance of the destinies of Australia they have endeavoured to do what they considered in the best interests of the public. They have fallen short in some cases, and the Opposition in this and in- another Chamber must share part of the responsibility for those shortcomings.
– We ought ‘not to. Goodness knows, we have called attention to many things often enough.
– I do not think the electors who voted for me expected that I should cross every “t” and dot every ” i” df what the Nationalist Min istry might do. On this present occasion we are faced with a matter of administration and not of policy. The question before the Senate is that of not allowing a certain regulation which, if disallowed, will make the creation of the Commonwealth Police Force ultra vires. I do not intend to give a silent vote on this matter. . I shall support the motion. A good deal has been said about party. We on this side have a right from time to time to express our free and individual opinions; and, for certain . reasons which I shall give, I must say that I am not taken with this administrative act of the Government. I wish to approach the subject on the evidence before us. ‘The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce), in reply to the mover of the motion, gave the reasons why this regulation^ should be allowed.I was pleased to listen to the same honorable gentleman yesterday, when, in such forceful language, he stated that many of the regulations that he had to put into operation , were repugnant to him and to the Democracy of Australia or of any country. The War Precautions Act is vitally necessary because of the position in which Australia finds itself to-day; but I think that the Government should generally administer that Statute on the lines of the minimum interference with the public liberty. The reasons advanced by the Minister for Defence why this regulation should stand were three in number. In the first place he urged that the Queensland Government had not replied to a communication from the Commonwealth Government in regard to the administration by the Queensland authorities of the Unlawful Associations Act. Now if honorable senators will cast their minds back a little while, they will recall that that Act was finally passed by this Chamber about the middle of September last. Probably the regulations in connexion with it were not framed until a few weeks later, so that no communication was perhaps made to the Queensland Government on the matter until the middle of October. Now we all know that the wheels of government grind exceeding slowly at times, even if they grind exceeding small eventually, and it is hot an unusual thing for a communication from one Government to another to be delayed, say, for a month or two. We have had an illustration of that, in connexion with communications that have passed between the Government of New South Wales and the Commonwealth Government. But very little more than two months could have elapsed between the communication of the Federal Government with the Queensland authorities and the actual establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force.
– Every other State found time to reply to our communication, including Western Australia, a letter to which occupies much longer in. transit.
– But some little tension existed on the part of the Queensland Government on other matters, and two months was not an unreasonably long period to allow before expecting a reply to be forthcoming.
– On the 6th August, 1917, the Queensland Government were first consulted on the matter, and they have since been asked repeatedly in regard to it.
– I was speaking of the time when the Unlawful. Associations Act finally passed this Chamber.
– It must have been passed earlier than the honorable senator suggests, because the Queensland Government would not be consulted upon it prior to its being passed.
– Then . my memory must be at fault. Of course, if the Act were passed six or eight weeks prior to the time I have suggested, my argument is correspondingly weakened. Then the Minister stated that some communication had been made by the Commissioner of Taxation to the Queensland Government in connexion with the administration of the income tax collection, and that, whereas the Premiers of every other State had agreed to the Commonwealth’s proposal, the Queensland Premier had refused to agree to it. We have yet to learn whether this action was taken before or after the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force.
– Ihave since cleared up that matter. I find that the refusal was before the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force.
– Then perhaps the Minister will be good enough to indicate what was the exact nature of the proposal which was put before the Queensland Government.
– It was that, the services of the police should be made available in connexion with the administration of the Income Tax Act. (Senator PRATTEN. - And did the Premiers of the other States agree to it ?
– Four States agreed to it, and two other States, including Queensland, disagreed with it.
– So that in this particular ‘instance Queensland did not stand alone. The third argument used by the Minister in favour of the retention of this regulation was that an attempt would shortly be made to co-ordinate and collaborate other sections of watchmen in various Departments with the Commonwealth Police Force. Now I hold that the establishment of this force was, at all events, a hasty action. I do not wish to discuss the historic Warwick incident, or to base any arguments upon it. I prefer to take the broader view concerning the privileges of this Parliament. The Minister has told us that there are forty-seven members of the Commonwealth Police Force, and that up to the present time this body has cost about £3,500. Now, any tyro in arithmetical calculations must see that such a force will cost the Commonwealth at least £12,000 a year. But that is not the only circumstance we have to consider. The Government have created a new Department by an act of administration - a Department which has nothing whatever to do with the war, which has nothing whatever to do with the safety of Australia outside Australia, and which has nothing whatever to do with international questions. It is a Department which relates entirely to a matter of internal administration, and the Government would have been well advised if before creating this force they had submitted to Parliament a Bill to authorize their action, so that the measure might have been discussed and settled in the ordinary constitutional way. In my opinion, the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force was a hasty act of administration, which was both unwarranted and unnecessary, and on these grounds I shall feel it my duty to vote against the continuance of this regulation, so that if the motion be carried it will render ultra vires the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force.
.- In considering the motion submitted by
Senator Ferricks for the disallowance of this regulation, I wish to express my pleasure at finding at least one honorable senator opposite possessed of sufficient temerity to stand up in this branch of the National Parliament and defend the action of the Government in connexion with the creation of this - I was almost going to say - bogus police force. Senator Foil’s defence of the Government was, from his point of view, no doubt a strong one. His attempt to justify” the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force for the purpose of enforcing the law was one to which nobody could take exception, and I think it is a pity that he did not stop there. It is to be regretted that he allowed himself to hurl an absolutely nu justifiable charge at an officer in Queensland whose responsibility it is to administer the law that is directly under his control - I refer to the Commissioner of “Police. The honorable senator must know that that officer is just as free from political control as is the Public Service Commissioner of the Commonwealth. But in his anxiety to have a dig at his political opponents Senator Foll hurled indirectly a most cruel slander at a man who is not. in a position to defend himself. The honorable senator must know that the Commissioner of Police in Queensland, protected as he is by an Act of Parliament specially designed to free him from political control, would resent any interference on the part of the Government of that State with the duties which he is called upon to discharge. That was the one blemish upon the defence put up by Senator Foll in connexion with the action of the Government in establishing a Commonwealth Police Force.
Let us look at this regulation, 64d. for a moment. I find that paragraph 1 reads - _ Hie Attorney-General may, by order published in the Gazette, direct all such measures to be taken as are, in his opinion, necessary for the enforcement throughout the Commonwealth of the laws of the Commonwealth.
Now, what laws of the Commonwealth call for special enforcement in Queensland but not in any other State ? Is there any civil code or any criminal code for which the Parliament of the ‘Commonwealth is responsible. Is there any law in Queensland which the State police were unable and unwilling to faithfully administer ? We know perfectly well that the establishment of the Commonwealth
Police Force was the result of political pique. No other reason can be advanced foi1 its existence to-day. We had the spectacle of one honorable senator standing up in defence of the Government’s action. I do not blame him for that, but I take strong exception to his references to the Commissioner of Police.
I wish to express my admiration of the spirited action of Senator Pratten in freeing himself from the. shackles of the machine that has controlled honorable senators on the ‘other side since they have been elected. I am sure the honorable senator realized, as we do, and as I know other honorable senators opposite do in their hearts, that the sum of £12,000 odd to be expended for this purpose is badly needed for distribution amongst the women and children whom the soldiers at the- Front have left behind. These have to go to the various pay branches and approach the officers, cap in hand, with the object of getting a little more to enable them to pay the ever-increasing domestic bills. The appeals, even to members of Parliament, in that connexion must -often go unheard. Although these women and children have to be denied those tilings that are necessary for their existence, we actually find senators on the other side applauding the Government for that unjustifiable and absurd expenditure on the Commonwealth Police Force. I make this prophecy to-night - that the members on the other side who vote for the retention of the regulation will lave to answer for it the next time they face the political footlights. The names of the members of the Commonwealth Police Force are to be kept secret from the people who have to pay them.
– If we gave the names you would hunt them out of the country.
– Why ? Bo we hold them responsible for the position they are in”? Is there any degradation to them in it?
– Why do you Want the names?
– Why do you want to know “where they live ?
– 1 will, tell the Senate where they live.
– There is a reasonable suspicion as to whether they exist at all.
– There can be no doubt about their existence; the expenditure shows that. If there is necessary work for these policemen to do, and they are doing it, if they occupy a proper official position under the Government of Australia, why keep their names a close secret in a democratic country ?
-i will tell the honorable senator one thing they have done. They have already been successful in seizing £2,000 worth of contraband goods in Brisbane.
– That is something that we are glad to hear, but one man connected with the seizure of that stuff has been in the detective force of New South Wales for the past thirteen years.
– I am speaking of Queensland.
– I presume the honorable senator is referring to opium.
– I do not know the class of goods, but they were responsible for tracing and seizing £2,000 worth.
– I accept the honorable senator’s statement, but he will find if he examines the matter, that the Criminal Investigation Department was entirely responsible for the tracing of those particular smugglers. Is it a fact that the head-quarters of the police force have been removed since the election from Queensland to New South Wales?
– I do not know.
– Perhaps some of the gentlemen who were giving us free advice and information to-night in the absence of the Minister can tell us. Since the election in Queensland, which did not turn out at all in accordance with the . expectations of honorable senators on the opposite side, and, perhaps, of the Government, the Government have found it necessary to remove the head-quarters to New South Wales. I suppose the political situation being definitely settled in Queensland, they thought it advisable on account of the political unrest amongst the National party in Sydney to send some of the Commonwealth police there to keep their eyes on Holman and Hall. I am not prepared to say whether there is any connexion direct or indirect between the slow, but sure, disintegration that has set in in the National or Win-the-War party in New South Wales, and the removal of the head-quarters of the police to Sydney, but if it is so honorable senators will see the advantage of keeping the names of the Commonwealth police secret. They can act as political spies on behalf of the Government. Goodness knows how long they will stay in Sydney. Perhaps there will be some of them over here. No doubt there were a few in South Australia during the recent election. If we could ascertain the real sentiments in the hearts of honorable senators opposite,I am certain that we should find that they regard the new police force as just as big a farce as we do. I wish we could induce them to show the public spirit exhibited to-night by Senator Pratten, to criticisefairly and openly the action of the Government, and announce their intention to end the farce and relieve the taxpayer of the altogether useless and unnecessary burden of £12,000 a year for the maintenance of the. new force.
– I have been looking at the regulation which we are asked to disallow, and so, far as I know its exact terms have not been quoted during, the debate. It reads -
Regulation 64d of the War Precautions Relations 1915 is repealed, and the following regulation is inserted in its stead: - 64d. (1) The Attorney-General may by order published in the Gazette direct all such measures to be taken as are in his opinion necessary for the enforcement throughout the Commonwealth of the laws of the Commonwealth.
I am sure nobody could take exception to that.
I do not think anybody could take exception to that unless as to the need for it, or as to its form. I do not know that exception can be taken to its purpose and objective as a power.
– What laws of the Commonwealth have needed enforcement by special Commonwealth police?
– I shall come to that directly.
– Do you believe in a -new force being brought into existence by Executive act?
– I shall come to that directly also. It is not my intention to avoid those considerations. There may be objections to the draftsmanship of paragraph 2, and exception may even be taken to the necessity of it being there at all for the purpose of achieving the object aimed at.
As that is consequential on the two preceding paragraphs I take it that what applies to them applies to it. The regulation purports to make provision in general principles. It purports, to give the Attorney-General, and the Government, certain powers. It has no particular reference to Queensland, or any other State. It makes no reference to any particular or precise functions that the newlycreated force will discharge. It is altogether general and comprehensive, and it is applicable at all times during the currency of the Act to any part of the Commonwealth, v
– Is it necessary
– I have ‘ just hinted that I doubted whether it was necessary. I am not at all sure that without this regulation the Commonwealth Government could not have established a police force. As an Executive in a responsible Government they have all the powers possessed by any Executive in any of the States. It has the powers, .within the limits of Commonwealth jurisdiction, that the Executive of the United Kingdom has within the United Kingdom. I am not sure that the police power of any State does not extend to the responsibility of the Administration in time of trouble, by Executive action, to meet an emergency.
We have all heard of the Secret Service and Intelligence Departments. What brought those services into being? We’ also have police officers in connexion with the Postal Department of the Commonwealth. Is any provision contained on our statute-book for their appointment, or is there any regulation in the several volumes of regulations under the Post and Telegraph Acts, with which we have been recently supplied, making provision for the constitution of a Post Office detective force or police? There is, too, I believe, something in the nature of a police force in connexion with the Customs Department - intelligence officers and revenue detectives to protect the revenue.
– They were employed under the old State laws.
– Exactly, and I am not sure, therefore, that it was necessary to have any express legislation or regulation to authorize a Commonwealth Police Force. In fact, I believe that without this regulation, and that if we annul it now, the Commonwealth Government would still be able to establish a police force.
– As a matter of fact, they have policemen in every post office in the capital cities of the Commonwealth.
– My question was not concerned so much with the necessity of the regulations as with the necessity of the Commonwealth Police Force.
– I am coming to that. When I was speaking of paragraph 2 of the regulation, I hinted that I did not think it was necessary. We may cavil at paragraph 2 as to its form or need for. the purpose to be achieved. I do not think it was needed at all, and I do not see that we shall be achieving any purpose whatever by annulling it, because the Government, I contend, have an inherent power to establish a police force.
– Does the honorable senator not think the Government must have been certain they did not have the power when they passed the regulation?
– No. We often see regulations which, in my opinion, are absolutely unnecessary in connexion with various Acts passed.” They are only so much extra printing, and are mere assertion, in regulation form, of the inherent power of the Government. This is not the first regulation by any means which in my judgment is absolutely unnecessary. I am not speaking, of course, of regulations as a whole, but of a good substantial percentage of them. Unlike Senator Pratten, I do not think that annulling the regulation will make the establishment of the police force ultra vires, because I still think that the Government have an inherent power to establish such a body. If the constitutionality of the police force depends on the regulation, it will be constitutional until we annul the regulation, and responsibility incurred by the Government financially in respect of members of the police force will still be a constitutional obligation, valid and enforceable against the Government.
– But the Commonwealth Police Force could not continue.
– That is so, assuming that the regulation was necessary to validate its existence.
As far as the practical and actual need of this police force is concerned, I very much doubt the wisdom of the Government in establishing it.
I am not going to deal with the complaint that the force was appointed in a moment of panic. That is, I think, generally recognised; but I do not know that we would contribute much of value to the debate by entering into details concerning the circumstances of the panic, as it may be called, leading to the appointment of police. I think the Government were ill-advised in establishing the police force, and they will be badly advised if they make the existing force the nucleus of a Commonwealth police establishment. There are many Commonwealth matters in connexion with which it is necessary that there should be police activity. The framers of the Constitution contemplated this, for it is provided in section 5 - a covering provision -
This Act and all laws made by the Parliament of the Commonwealth under the Constitution, shall be binding on the Courts, Judges, and people of every State, and of every part of the Commonwealth, notwithstanding anything in the laws of any State; and the laws of the Commonwealth shall be in force on all British ships, …. I desire to draw particular attention to the first portion of this section, providing as it does that all the laws of the Commonwealth shall be binding on all the Courts, Judges, and all the people of the several States. If we pass laws imposing certain duties upon the police, and those laws operate, and we make provision in certain sections of some of our Statutes, directly with regard topolice officers, justices, magistrates, and Judges, although they may be State officials, all such officials are bound by this covering provision of the Constitution to administer that Commonwealth law. On occasions, it has been customary to allow State police officers to be used to assist in Federal administration in various ways. I know that, in former years, they were employed to help in keeping the Federal rolls, and while I was a Minister, we passed a law enabling the Commonwealth and State Governments to co-operate in electoral matters. I succeeded, in conjunction with the State authorities in Tasmania, in securing co-operation, and as a result it is not now necessary to use the police in connexion with general electoral work in Tasmania, because the Commonwealth law obliges the elector himself to enroll, as well as to register his removal from one district to another, and all those operations in connexion with which the police were previously engaged to secure the purification of the rolls, are now being performed automatically, so to speak, by the elector. Seeing that, in Tasmania, we have one roll for Commonwealth and State purposes, and only one set of officials, the compulsory provisions of the Commonwealth roll obviate the necessity of State police being engaged on State electoral work.
– But in the Unlawful Associations Act no obligation is laid upon the police.
– I do not know that that makes any difference. In many Acts that we have passed, we have not specifically referred to the police, but we have assumed right through that the authorities in the several States will aid in the execution of the law.
– But the honorable senator pointed out that in some Acts we have specifically named police officers.
– We may have designated police as officials towhom certain references were to be made, but we have not invariably said that the police shall take action in these matters. When I used the word “police” in that connexion, I referred also to the fact that certain magistrates, justices of the peace, and Judges have been specifically mentioned in our Act, so that they cannot turn round and say, ‘* We are officials of the State.” The covering provision of the Constitution to which I have already referred lays it down that laws passed by the Commonwealth shall be binding on the Courts and Judges of the State. We can make provision imposing upon State police an obligation to carry out Commonwealth laws. That is what we have been doing so far, but by taking this recent action the Government have intimated practically that they could not rely upon the State police forces in all circumstances, and so had resolved to appoint their own officers’. These officials have been appointed at a higher rate of pay than for the corresponding positions under the State Governments, and naturally the States do not like that, believing that they would have the leavings among the eligibles, and the Commonwealth would have the pick. As soon as the appointments were announced, policemen in my own State came to me, and asked how best they could get into the Commonwealth Service, but I advised them to leave the matter alone as the permanence of the new force was uncertain.
There is a great borderland of jurisdiction between Commonwealth and State, and the State authorities in the future, keeping in view the creation of the Commonwealth Police Force, might well say to the Commonwealth, “ This is your responsibility,” while the Commonwealth authorities might in their turn say, “No; this is a State responsibility.” In such circumstances the people as a whole would suffer. That is why I think the Government should walk warily in “the matter of appointing a Commonwealth Police Force, and that is why I think the nucleus of a permanent force should not be built up on skeleton provisions contained in this regulation, even if such a force were necessary. Apart from any consideration of what happened at Warwick, the States might very well turn round, if they feel aggrieved at the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force, and say, “ Very well, why don’t you appoint your own justices of the peace?” Why do you not appoint your own special and stipendiary magistrates, and pay them ? Our stipendiary magistrates, whom we pay, and for whose services you do not pay one penny, have been hearing all your cases. Appoint your own stipen. diary magistrates. Appoint your own justices of the peace. Get your own Court-houses. Build your own prisons. Appoint your own coroners. Have your own ‘inquests.” If somebody is drowned on a sea voyage between one State and another, or is killed in an accident, in similar circumstances,, it may be said, “ This is an Inter-State matter. Have your own inquest. It is a Commonwealth affair,” Again, we have a great volume of work awaiting some police - and I do not care whether it is State or Common- wealth. I refer to- the constant,, chronic, petty and- grand pilfering- and pillaging going on between State and State on all ocean-borne and Inter-State traffic and commerce. Day and night* every day in the week, it. is going- on. We in Tasmania have, been’ suffering tremendously from it. Who is going to attend to it - the- State police in Tasmania, ‘ Victoria, New South Wales, or any of the other States? Will they not say, “Here is your Commonwealth police;, get them on to the Inter-State traffic crimes and offences.” Apparently, nobody is attending to it now. I agree that there is work for the Commonwealth police, if it is properly and systematically established. Then there is other work which is being done very efficiently in all- the States by the State police. That is with respect to inquiries concerning missing persons. I noticed in a. police report from New South Wales that among 1,400 inquiries by the police in that State for persons missing either from abroad dr from another of the States, something like 1,000 were traced. All these inquiries related to people not permanently in New South Wales. The authorities of that State might well say, therefore, “Go to the Commonwealth police. We have nothing to do with persons from outside our State. We will only look after our own citizens missing within our own borders, or inquiries from New South Wales residents. ‘ ‘ Then- there is the question of the supervision of weights and measures. The State police might say, “ We will take no notice of weights and measures being used for InterState commerce or business abroad.” There are still other matters that might crop up. Supposing the slightest element of friction were to occur between State and Commonwealth - as there might well be. We have the case of the Minister for Defence exercising his power under the War Precautions ^regulations and declaring that in a certain port on a certain day all licensed places shall be closed so far as the sale of intoxicants is concerned. Might not the State authorities be justified in saying, “ We are not going to turn our police on to this duty. They have enough to do in-, looking after licensed ‘ houses in ordinarily closed hours. Put your Commonwealth police on the job- of seeing that your Commonwealth proclamation is enforced “ ?- I note in a newspaper this evening that the Federal
Treasurer has brought in a regulation wherein it is provided that, notwitn- standing any law in any State, lotteries having for their object subscriptions to the war loan shall be legal. In some of the States, exception might even be taken to that, and it may be that a certain amount of police supervision ‘ would be required in regard to the administration of conflicting laws. It might be said, “ What is the Commonwealth force doing?” If, therefore, we are going to establish such a body, it should- be done carefully, systematically, and with due regard to the past activities of the States, and to their present and prospective activities in respect to tne inforcement of the laws of the Commonwealth.
– This is very interesting; but do you think the Commonwealth Police Force is necessary?
– I have not gone into that aspect yet. Do these police come under the Public Service Act ? Possibly they do. I ‘ do not know. Senator Guthrie has mentioned that their names are to be found in a Blue-Booh. That may be. If we are going to establish a Commonwealth Police Force we shall want to discuss whether they would come under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commissioner, or whether they should have secured to them rights which would be analogous to those possessed by Federal servants placed under the Commissioner. We should want regulations as to their promotions and their dismissal ; we should require some system as to their instruction.
– Now give us your policy on the matter.
– Then with regard to the question whether there are to be women police or not - a matter in which I am sure Senator Long would be interested - that might or might not be a matter for the Executive, but one that should be determined by both Houses of the Federal Parliament.
Altogether, there are too many details for us in considering whether the existing Commonwealth force is justified. I do not intend to vote for the motion to annul a regulation which, in my opinion, was absolutely unnecessary so far as the existing force is concerned. I do not think the annulment of this regulation will knock the Commonwealth police out of existence. There is another means of expressing an opinion upon the con tinuance or otherwise of the Commonwealth, police. But unless the Government were prepared to enter upon a policy of establishing the nucleus of a permanent force, and of justifying that action by giving Parliament an opportunity of considering the whole subject, then I would not be prepared to continually give my support when it came to the granting of Supply. The Government might well have some scheme to submit if it is proposed to establish the Common wealth police as a permanency; and they might give the Parliament an opportunity of dealing with the broad general outlines for regulating the existence of such a force. I am not going to call in question this regulation,, or even the exercise of the power in establishing this new force. I do not know what the nature of the force is, except from what I have heard to-day, and I do not like provision being made in this way for such an elusive body. Therefore I cannot support the motion, but that does not mean that when the Estimates are before us I shall, without further justification from the Government, indefinitely support the existence Of a body in respect of which Parliament knows so little.
– It seems to me that the power to create and maintain a police force is inherent in the Commonwealth Constitution. Section 51 says -
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth. . .
So that in regard to any of the powers conferred on the Commonwealth Parliament by the Constitution, I offer a layman’s opinion that this Parliament has power to institute a Commonwealth Police Force. But if the present force has been instituted under a regulation promulgated by virtue of the War Precautions Act, then it is essentially a war force. If the regulations under that Act are necessary to the creation of the Commonwealth police, then the force would necessarily cease to have existence when the instruments by which it was created automatically ceased to have legislative force; andthat is what the regulation must do when the War Precautions Act itself ‘ ceases to be. Senator Keating has been pretty clear upon this matter, but while he has expressed an opinion to the effect that the Commonwealth police can be created without recourse to a regulation under the War Precautions Act, it seems that there may be some conflict of legal opinion, seeing that the legal advisers of the Government considered that a regulation under the War Precautions Act was necessary. If the police force depends on this regulation, clearly it must cease to be when the Act itself and the regulations under which it is promulgated cease to have effect. That will be six months after the war. In certain circumstances it may be very necessary for the Commonwealth to create a police force, and exercise police powers. I will not say that it ought to be a mere duplication of the State Police Forces. But it may be necessary, by reason of the circumstance that certain functions of government have been absolutely transferred to theCommonwealth, for the Federal authority to create a police force to see that the laws enacted by this Parliament are carried out. Now, I differentiate between the Executive act which created the Commonwealth Police Force and the machinery by which it was created. Honorable senators who resent some act of administration because of the existence of a particular regulation promulgated under the War Precautions Act, invariably take the course of attempting to destroy the machinery by which that administrative act was performed. I venture to say that that is a childish action. If the Commandant at the Heads at Queenscliff fired, by mistake, upon some vessel,and his action had to be repudiated, it would not follow that the forts there should be dismantled. Consequently, I claim that if the Commonwealth law authorities deem it necessary to frame a regulation under which a Commonwealth Police Force can be created, that machinery should be allowed to stand. There are means by which I can enter my legitimate objection to the continued existence of such a force, and, at the same time. I may be perfectly consistent in permitting the machinery, by virtue of which that force was created, to endure. To a certain extent, I believe that we have been beating the wind during the course of this debate, because, according to the statement of Senator Foll, the Commonwealth Police Force is to havea speedy termination put to its existence. If that assertion be true, and if the members of the force have been noti fied that at the end of three months their services will not be required–
– All have not received notice, but a number of them have.
– Then it is evident that either the permissible activities of this force are going to be materially curtailed or its personnel is going to be reduced. In any case, a certain expenditure has been incurred. Irrespective of whether the administrative act was a wise or an unwise one, we cannot ignore that fact. Now, if the force is about to be substantially reduced in numbers, with a view to its total abolition at any early date, the object of honorable senators opposite is being achieved, and the sum of £.12,000 mentioned by Senator Long will certainly not be expended.
– The Minister for Defence has not said so.
– But common sense tells us that if the force is to be extinguished in three months, the expenditure that has already been incurred is not likely to be greatly increased. I pass no judgment whatever upon the particular administrative act which created the Commonwealth Police Force. My knowledge of the circumstances in which it had its genesis is general rather than particular, and, consequently, I am not competent to say off-hand whether or not the action of the Government was justified. The creation of this force may have been justified, but, on the other hand, the force may be a superfluous one. I suspend my judgment upon that matter, but when we are discussing the Estimates I reserve to myself the right to say that the force ought to be extinguished.
– And to vote against it?
– Yes. Seeing the perils which surround us, and believing that the intention of the framers of our Constitution was that in certain circumstances the Commonwealth might be justified in establishing its own police force, I do not deem myself warranted in voting to destroy the machinery by which it was created merely because I may not perhaps approve of a legislative act performed through its instrumentality.
– I am not . too satisfied as to how I shall vote on this proposal until debate upon it has been exhausted. I have been endeavouring to weigh the arguments both for and against the motion, and whilst I am not prepared, in the absence of fuller information, to say whether it is necessary to continue the existence of the Commonwealth Police Force, taking everything into account, I do not feel justified in voting for the annulment of the regulation. I view the position from a different stand-point from that adopted by previous speakers. It has been said that this regulation is the result of a panic, which was created during the recent referendum campaign. It is alleged that the throwing of an egg was responsible for the creation of the Commonwealth. Police Force. But while visible signs are often the direct means of creating a great furore, it should be remembered that other attendant conditions are necessary before those signs can produce such extraordinary results. We have all heard the story of the cow which gave a kick that resulted in the destruction by fire of Chicago. Many a cow has kicked from the time that cow kicked, though not with such an awful result. Similarly, other eggs have been thrown in the past, but a Commonwealth Police Force has not been evolved from them. What I wish to impress upon honorable senators is that before the throwing of the egg at Warwick there was apparent amongst certain sections of the community a disposition to ignore, and sometimes to deliberately bring into contempt, the laws enacted by this Parliament. The sum of £12,000 has been mentioned by Senator Pratten as the net loss to the Commonwealth in twelve months, as the result of the establishment of this Commonwealth Police Force. But I would remind him that that is a mighty small atom compared with the mischievous effect which might be produced by tolerating in our midst a growing sentiment against the observance of the law of the land constitutionally framed.
– Does not the honorable senator admit that the State police have been enforcing obedience to the law , throughout the Commonwealth?
– In connexion with the services which they have been rendering to- the Commonwealth, there has been a growing feeling of discontent on the part of every State, Treasurer for some time past. I know of one very respectable account which was presented by the Trea surer of Western Australia to the Commonwealth for work performed by the police of that State. The same remark is applicable to other State Treasurers, who think that their police organizations re doing much, more work for the Commonwealth than they are being p~id for doing. If the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force achieves nothing else, it ought to relieve the State Treasurers of these complaints. I have heard some honorable senators who have supported this motion .criticise the Government for not observing the law. I have heard them complain of the edicts of the fruit commissioner, and of the action of the censors Ll enforcing the law. Yet when the very first step is taken to insure its observance they condemn the Government for having established a Commonwealth Police Force. Such critics get themselves into a nasty tangle when, on the one hand, they criticise the Government for not doing things, and, on the other, condemn it because they have done certain things. Coming to the Unlawful Associations Act, it is a rather serious position to find that at least two States have refused to co-operate with the Common weath in saying that nothing should be left undone to put down the particular association at which the Statute was aimed.
– There was only one State which refused to co-operate with the Government on the matter; but there were two States which would not agree to allow the police under their control to conduct inquiries in connexion with the income tax.
– It has been said that the Income Tax Department complained of the refusal of the Queensland police to do their duty in the way it was being done by the police in four of the other States. I would remind Senator Pratten that we cannot reduce to £ s. d. the loss that the Federal Treasury has sustained through the non-performance of their duties by the police in two of the States. But that amount should be set against the £12,000 mentioned by him as the cost of the Commonwealth Police Force over a period of twelve months. Evidently the Federal Treasury has suffered a loss of revenue.
– We have no information on that point.
– Except that the Federal authority was asked to appoint police, because the State Governments would not do their duty. What would be the use of Senator Pratten voting in this Chamber for the enactment of a law, and afterwards finding that those charged with putting it into operation declined to discharge their duty?
– We have no’ particulars of what the Commissioner for Taxation asked the States to do.
– Except the statement by the Minister that the Federal authorities were asked to create a Federal force, since the force already in existence failed to do the duties they were constitutionally called on to do.
– I said the whole six State Governments were asked to allow the State police to conduct inquiries on behalf of the Federal Income Tax Commissioner. Four States agreed, and two States refused. One of those two was Queensland. I have been trying to get the name of the other, but have not succeeded.
– Then it appears that the Federal Commissioner for Taxation could not get done work that was necessary, if he was to carry out hia duties.
I am not too comfortable about voting against the motion, but if I vote for it it will mean censuring the Government for what they have done, and destroying at one stroke the nucleus of a Commonwealth Police Force. I realize that a justification exists for the creation of a force of some kind, and, therefore, cannot vote for the annulment of the regulation. To do so would not only abolish the existing organization, but annul the whole power of the Government to create one. As the Minister said, a Departmental Committee is now sitting, and about to report as to the aims, scope, and functions of a Commonwealth Police Force, which, although not perhaps recognised as an ordinary police force, will do departmental duty on a more enlarged scale than those already employed. As to the affair that happened at Warwick, if the report I read in Western Australia is correct, it is high time that something was done to see that the law is enforced.
I read distinctly that Sergeant Kenny, when the Prime Minister asked him to arrest a man, replied, “ I do not recognise the law of the Commonwealth.”
– There was no law of the Commonwealth involved.
– The peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth were involved.
– With respect to what?
– At the meeting, where the Attorney-General asked the sergeant to arrest a man.
– That did not involve a law of the Commonwealth.
– The sergeant’s reply meant that he was directly responsible to the State only, and willing .to obey the State law, but no other. If that report is correct, it is time the members of this Parliament asked themselves seriously/ what is the use of passing a law and relying upon the constitutional power for its enforcement when we are told plainly that State officers do not recognise any law of the Commonwealth.
– He is not reported to have said that.
– I read it in the printed report, hut I shall not argue Hie matter. I shall vote for the retention of the regulation in the belief that the Government will be well-advised as to what action they take in the future, and walk warily in the creation of a police force. Honorable senators know that Treasurers in the past have complained about the non-performance of work for Federal purposes. That grievance still exists, and if the -creation of this force helps to relieve the friction between the Treasurers of the States and the Federal Treasurer, by having duties of that kind done in a straightforward way under Federal authority, a good purpose will be served. I shall vote against the motion, but I shall not do so enthusiastically.
Senator GRANT (New South Wales)
S.0.7]. - If the Government would direct their attention more to expediting the manufacture of small arms at Lithgow
– Order ! The honorable senator will please address himself to the motion. B
– I was about to remark that I disagree entirely with the action of the Government m creating a new police force, and to add incidentally that they would be far better employed in. doing work of a national character in other directions, suCh as expediting the manufacture of small arms at Lithgow
– Order ! The honorable senator is directly trying to evade my ruling.
– I have no intention to do so. The creation of the Commonwealth Police Force, notwithstanding the statements to the contrary by the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce), is solely due to the fact that some stale heu fruit was thrown at and struck the prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) at Warwick. I fail to see why honorable senators should not recognise that that is the main, and, in fact, the only, reason why the force has been created. The Government are afraid, for reasons best known to themselves, to disclose the names of the new police. Why? What are they used for? Are they doing anything, or have they done anything whatever ? So far as we know they have not, except that we are informed by the Minister for Defence that they have assisted in discovering some contraband goods at Brisbane, and it does not even follow that they were solely responsible for that work. There is something about this business that ought not to be tolerated. There is no justification for the Government keeping the names from the public. We know the names of every member of the State Police Force, and all’ about them. Their names are tabulated., and they can be looked up, but the Minister will not disclose the names or any other particulars of the men the Government have recently appointed. i’he panic into which the Prime Minister allowed himself to be thrown on account of the trivial incident at Warwick has surely passed away, and having expended some thousands of pounds in consequence of that temporary condition, the Government should now see their way clear to discontinue any further expenditure in that direction. If the force is to be continued it will cost tile country approximately £12,000 a year. If it is discontinued even in three months it will have cost about £6r000.
– You cannot discharge these men at a moment’s notice. I suppose they have been engaged under some sort of contract.
– We do not know under what conditions they have been engaged, or anything about them, except that they are costing the country about £945 per month. The Queensland Government are expending over £302,000 per year on their police, who, according to the last return, number 1737. On top of that, and. in opposition to the wishes of the Queensland Government, the Commonwealth Government purpose to foist another forty-seven on them, apparently for, an indefinite period. There are throughout the Commonwealth approxi,mately 7,000’ police, costing annually, in round figures, £1,600,000, so that we have quite enough of them. They are well able to do their work, and- do it with a very fair degree of effectiveness. I shall vote to disallow the regulation.
, - I have listened with a considerable amount of care to the debate in the hope of hearing some justification for the establishment of the Commonwealth police, and I must say, in all sincerity, that I never saw in all my life a poorer case put- up than has been advanced on this occasion. I believe that from one end of Australia to the other the new force is a huge laughing-stock. If there was any good reason given for the establishment of such a force other than what it. is believed to be, the outcome of that little fracas at Warwick”, it might be justified, but nobody has come within coo-ee of justifying the amount of expenditure involved for such a purpose.
– The existence of the machinery creating a force can be easily justified.
– I admire the clever manner in which Senators Bakhap and Keating dealt with that phase of the question. They differentiated between the machinery and the establishment of the force. But the public are not much concerned about the machinery. What they are concerned about is the huge farce of establishing a force to do nothing. I have not the faintest, doubt that honorable senators opposite, almost to a man, disapprove of its establishment just as much as I do. Senator Foll mentioned that he was waited upon by some members of the force in Queensland, who intimated that they had been given three months’ notice of the termination of their engagement.-I have no doubt that is true, and that it applies practically to the whole of the force. I believe, also, that the notice will be made effective, and that this discussion will, if anything, hasten it.
I wish to remove a slight misapprehension that, might be created by an incident that happened this afternoon. When Senator Foll mentioned that these policemen had interviewed him, I could not help smiling, and he remarked that I might smile, but these men were in dread of being in want.- I was not smiling at the suggestion that men would lose their employment, because nobody is more sympathetic than I am when men are placed in that position; but it waa somewhat amusing that men, upon receiving notice of the termination of their appointment, should wait upon a member of Parliament to see if something could be done for them. When they took on the job they evidently knew that it would not last, but still they tried to fmd a member of Parliament, in order to secure a continuance of employment. In any case, they are not the only men who are called upon to face hardships. ‘There are thousands of men in the community’ in that position.
– But not by victimization.
– I think the honorable senator anticipates victimization, and in reply I might point out that thousands of men are being victimized in other employment.
– By whom!
– By the gentlemen who support honorable senators opposite - by the shipping companies, who are victimizing thousands of men all over Australia. I can quote a case of a Mr. Burroughs, of Burnie, one of the straightest and cleanest men that ever lived.
– Order ! The honorable senator is not entitled to do more than make a passing reference to a matter outside the scope of the debate.
– I realize, Mr. President, that it is against the Standing Orders to do more than make a .passing reference, and I have no desire to transgress the procedure of this Chamber. I say that Senator Foll anticipated victimization, and if that is the best case he can put up in justification for a continuance of the Commonwealth Police Force, then it is an exceedingly poor one.
– I did not anticipate victimization, but the men did.
– I do not wish to delay the Senate any longer, as I have no doubt members wish the matter to go to a vote, and I want to cast my vote against this huge farce. We should do our best to remove this incubus from the people of Australia. Senator Keating pointed out that if Commonwealth police are appointed in Queensland, why not in all the States. If that is done, there will be an increased burden on the people of Australia, and at a time, too, when we should have economy for our watchword. There are thousands of avenues for the better expenditure of this money, and I hope that, notwithstanding how the vote may go this evening, the Government will realize that the people of Australia are determined that the force shall not be continued.
– I shall have very little to say on this subject. I intend, of course, to vote for the motion for the very obvious reason that the establishment of the police force is absolutely unnecessary and a wilful waste of money. The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce), in the course of his remarks, endeavourd to show that the appointment of the police was not a panic act on the part of the . Government : that it was not established simply because somebody threw a rather stale egg at the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), but because of other disturbances which the Prime Minister said had occurred during his career along the Queensland railways. Senator Pearce scouted the idea that the Warwick incident was responsible for the appointment of the police. I do not wish to detain the Senate by quoting from files of newspapers, but if any senator cares to look up the press reports of that time he will find that according to the Prime Minister’s own statement those disturbances, or alleged disturbances, at Warwick were responsible for. the creation of this police force. There is urgent need for economy, end every’ senator, -therefore, should vote to repeal this regulation. Senator Keating endeavoured to show that it would not matter whether the regulation were repealed or not, as, in his opinion, the police force could still be retained, and though his constitutional knowledge would not allow him to be positive on the point, apparently he believes that the Constitution vests the Government with inherent power to continue the police force, as well as to establish a similar force in the other States. It is rather difficult to follow Senator Keating’s line of reasoning, because, although fie was at some pains to show the absolute absurdity of the action of the Government, he closed by saying that he would not vote for the repeal of fee regulation. . Fully ninetenths of the people are convinced that this force is unnecessary, but because, of the exigencies of party politics I have no doubt the majority in the Senate will be against the motion. We ought, however, to get away from party politics in a matter like this, involving the unnecessary expenditure of several thousands of pounds.
– The honorable senator is talking about party politics. Will he deny that party politics was responsible for State authorities declining to administer the price fixing regulations ?
– When was that done ?
– In 1916. The States generally refused to assist the Government, so we had to appoint our own inspectors.
– But a year passed before the Commonwealth police were appointed.
– We had to appoint inspectors, and to get them the best way we could.
– Was Queensland the only State in that case?
– No; nearly all the States refused.
– It is obvious that the force was created solely because of trouble that occurred at Warwick, and the fact that the appointments were not made before the end of 1917 is the best answer to Senator Russell’s interjection
-Colonel O’loghlin. - And all the State Premiers have protested against the appointments.
– I say candidly I do not want -Commonwealth police if the States will do the work. But when the State authorities would not accept responsibility in connexion with the price-fixing regulations to protect Australia during war, we have to appoint our own officials.
– The Prime Minister’s statement is on record that the State police would not do certain work which he said was necessary, and so he established the Commonwealth force.
– And I say that they did nob do the work in my Department either.
– We are not talking about the work in the Minister’s Department. I want to keep Senator Russell to the point.
– Senator Keating said to-night that, under our Constitution, the State Courts were required automatically to do Commonwealth work, and. I say that they did not do Commonwealth work in connexion with price fixing.
– That is an entirely different matter. This action by the Government in appointing the Commonwealth police stands by itself, and Senator Russell’s interjection has proved’ my argument. He said that, in 1916, the State police, for some reason or other, were not carrying out certain important Federal work ; but it was not until the end of 1917 that the Federal Police Force was created, and, as was said by a speaker in another place, these appointments were the result of a rotten egg. It is difficult to understand how members can justify the appointments, but I presume that they will vote on party lines, and that, although they believe it is unnecessary to continue the police force, they will be found voting against the motion.
– Senator Pearce has made it very dear that the so-called Warwick incident was not the only reason for the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force, although it may have been the deciding factor. An attempt has been made to belittle the seriousness of what occurred at Warwick. Honorable senators who have spoken from the other side would lead one to believe that all that happened was the throwing of a solitary egg at the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes). Any one who read the newspaper accounts must have come to the conclusion that there was not only an organized attempt to prevent the Prime Minister from speaking, but a deliberate effort to assault him.
– The reports in your own papers do not bear out that statement.
– The reports which I read certainly did. The man whom the Prime Minister requested the police to arrest was an individual very well known to the police. In giving evidence against him one of the police witnesses said that if that person ever went to Toowoomba the police in that town gave him twenty-four hours to leave the place. Only a fortnight afterwards this same man was brought before a Court for assault and was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment without the option of a fine.
– I thought the State police in Queensland took no action.
– They took very little action to protect the Prime Minister and no action to .protect others who spoke in favour of conscription. I heartily indorse all that Senator Foll said in regard to his and my own experiences in the northern part of our State. There is a serious principle involved in what both Senator Pearce and Senator Russell have told us concerning the attitude of the Queensland Government upon the enforcement of the Commonwealth laws, and in regard to laws which were enforced in other States having no effect in Queensland. Honorable senators passed the Unlawful Associations Act; yet nothing has been done to enforce that j law in Queensland, and, as a consequence, the members of the Industrial Workers of the World have been deliberately concentrating in the northern part of our State within the past six or eight months. Last season 300 members of the Industrial Workers of the World were employed in the Alligator Creek Meat Works. They had their own press, and published several issues of their own paper, Direct Action. No action was taken to prevent that by the State police.
– Nor by the Commonwealth police.
– Your men were the first to bring the Industrial Workers of the World into Queensland when you brought your own labour up from Sydney and refused to pay the local men a living wage.
– When was that?
– In 1911, when you would not give the local men 5s. per day.
– I am not aware of men having been brought from Sydney to Mossman in 1911.
– They were all over Queensland in 1911.
– In that year the Industrial Workers of the World were scarcely known in Australia.
– They came the first year that southern labour was brought into the Queensland sugar fields.
– That is nonsense.
– You were the first people to introduce the southern element into the sugar districts of Queensland.
– That is not true. No effort has ever been made by residents of my district to cut down wages.
– You would not meet the men. You would not give them 5s. per day.
– Order ! This discussion is all beside the question before the Senate.
– It is very true though, Mr. President.
– In regard to the employment of the police for the collection of income tax particulars in Northern Queensland, their engagement upon that duty would lead to the recovery of more money by way of taxation than would be required to pay the cost of the police several times over. The wages paid in North Queensland are higher than in any other part of the Commonwealth.
– No thanks to you.
– It is quite a common thing for the men on the wharfs, in the fields, at the meat works, and on the sugar fields to be earning £10 and £12 per week through the season.
– And six years ago you refused to pay them 5s. per day in the sugar mills.
– The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) has told us that application was made to the States for the assistance of the police in the collection of income tax returns, and that that assistance was refused by the Queensland authorities. There are thousands of persons liable to income tax who do not pay it.
– It is a rotten tax, anyhow.
– Senator Pearce made the definite statement that applications had been made for the services of the Queensland police, and had been refused.
– The Minister did not tell us whether that was before or after the establishment of the Commonwealth police.
– I have since informed Senator Pratten that I have ascertained that it was before and after.
– The Minister also said that Queensland was not the only State which had refused.
– In . the circumstances, the only alternative for the Commonwealth was to appoint a police force of its own.
– Why do they not appoint it in the other States, which refused at the same time as Queensland?
– I am not aware that any other “State has refused. At any rate, the most serious point in this discussion has been the refusal of the Queensland Government .to assist in carrying out the provisions of the Unlawful Associations Act.
– There was no breach df it in Queensland.
– lt is absurd to insist on that, for there are hundreds of members of that organization in North Queensland at present, and the honorable senator surely knows that it is an offence to be a member of that organization.
– I wish to refer to a point of Senator Keating’s when he endeavoured to show that the initiation of this system had general application to the whole of the Commonwealth. That has been refuted by the fact ‘that a regulation was first issued having application to Queensland only - showing that it was aimed at the establishment of a Commonwealth force in Queensland, and in no other
– Queensland was its aim and objective. Nobody will dispute Senator Keating’s contention that the Commonwealth Government had the power to do this under the War. Precautions Act, or constitutionally. But the point is: did the necessity arise at the time of the establishment of the force?
I say that there was no need for its establishment. Senator Lynch has remarked1 that it will bring about smoother working; between the States and the Common’ wealth, and that there will be a better exchange of services. I hold that the establishment of this force will set every State upon its mettle, and that each will say it must be paid by the Commonwealth for performing Commonwealth services, or else that the Commonwealth will have to do the work for itself. It is a direct invitation. The two strongest arguments in the denunciation of this system have been furnished by Senator Pearce and Senator Russell. I regret that the Minister for Defence should have descended to the depths he did in his speech. Honorable members generally adopted a much higher tone in debate than did the Minister. He cast on the police force of Queensland, and on the people of that State generally, aspersions which were totally unwarranted. He referred to Industrial Workers of the World, to larrikinism, to hostile demonstrations, and to all that sort of thing; but for once he got away from his pet delusion about German gold. He did not accuse anybody in Queensland in that respect. On behalf of the Queensland police, and of the people generally, 1 hurl back at Senator Pearce the slanders which he applied to them so unwarrantably. It has rarely come under our notice that there have been deliberate attempts at misrepresentation or suppression in this chamber. I do not say that the Minister has deliberately done so now, but he has been guilty of the suppression of information amounting to that worst kind of a lie of all, namely, a half truth. He said that Queensland had refused to lend its police force in connexion with taxation purposes; and it was only when Senator Pratten dragged it out of him that the Minister stated that there was another State also which had refused similarly. The Minister for Defence has not told us which State it was, but would only give the information that Queensland had refused. And that was the reason he advanced for the establishmen of the Commonwealth police there. If there be any foundation for his statement, the Commonwealth should have established a police force in the other
State which, refused to comply with the Government’s request.
I come now to Senator Russell’s assertion that the States generally have refused to indorse the fixing of prices in respect of various commodities. Is that an argument for the establishment of a Commonwealth Police Force in Queensland ? The Vice-President of the Executive Council said that it was.
– I said nothing of the kind.
– How did the honorable gentleman get over the difficulty in the other five States?
– By appointing eight or nine inspectors, although that force is quite insufficient to effect the object which both the honorable senator and myself
– If there be any virtue in the argument that a Commonwealth Police Force is necessary in Queensland, it is manifest that a similar body is equally necessary in each of the other States. In regard to the Warwick incident, I merely wish to say that I have photographs in my possession which show Mr. Hughes in the act of delivering his address, protected by Sergeant Kenny. In the local conscriptionist newspaper the statement appears that the sergeant got up and appealed to the people to give the right honorable gentleman a hearing. All this took place within the brief space of thirteen minutes. But for the lateness of the hour I should put into Hansard column after column for the purpose of showing there is absolutely no foundation for the aspersions which have been cast upon the police of Queensland. The people of that State have no desire to read such matter, because they are familiar with all the facts of the case. Those of us who know Mr. Hughes, and who read the reports which appeared in the big daily newspapers, can trace the Hughes journalese throughout it. For instance, there was a description’ of how Ihe blood was pouring from his fingers, and how he had dealt it out to his ‘ opponent. All this descriptive matter was typed between Warwick and Wallangara, by two hired newspaper reporters. Knowing the temperament of the Prime Minister, I can understand this, but I cannot understand Senator Pearce attempting to justify the continuance of the Commonwealth Police Force. I trust that honorable senator will give a direction to the Government to discontinue its maintenance. Only this afternoon a Government supporter in another place referred to the continuance of that force as an absolute scandal and a waste of public money. These are the words of Mr. Boyd. To those who support the Government in the continuance of this extravagance we shall look in wonder when in this chamber they rise and preach economy.
– The honorable senator knows that the thing is to be put an end to.
– I know nothing of the kind. If that be so the Minister should tell us that it is.
– The honorable senator’s colleague, Senator Foll, evidently knows a good deal about the details.
– He evidently knows more than does the Minister. Then it has been alleged that I have taken this action from personal and vindictive motives. As a matter of fact, I have only seen and conversed with one member of the Commonwealth Police Force. He appears to be a very decent man, but he is the only member of the Force whom I know. How, therefore, anybody can say that my action is prompted by vindictiveness passes my comprehension. It has further been said that the disbandment of the Commonwealth Police Force would amount to the victimization of its members.
– Let us be equally careful that officers are not duplicated throughout the Commonwealth, and we shall save money.
– If we can avoid duplication in State and Federal Departments I shall be very pleased. We hear people talking about the victimization of the members of the Commonwealth Police Force. Only yesterday I was told that if on the stations in Queensland a man is known as a Labour representative he is sent on the track. Yet honorable senators have the temerity to complain of the victimization of men whose services will not be dispensed with for three months. I say that such men are very lucky. I trust that the motion will commend itself to the good sense of honorable senators.
Question - ‘That the motion be agreed to - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . … 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senate adjourned at 10.59 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 April 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1918/19180411_senate_7_84/>.