7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
Pensions to Incapacitated Soldiers and Dependants
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Was the statement published in the MelbourneHerald of 24th September, to the effect that increases are to be made in pensions to soldiers permanently and entirely incapacitated and to dependants of soldiers who are killed, correct; and, if so, are the figures relating to such increases correct?
– Thequestion addressed to the Treasurer should have been addressed tothe Minister for Repatriation. The schedule, as published, sets out the allowances made bythe Department of Repatriation, and which, including the pension, will bring the incomes of the recipients up to the amounts shown therein.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
There may be some honorable senators disposed to question the wisdom of frequently bringing up what, with few exceptions, are merely drafting amendments of our Defence Act. It may be asked : “ Why should we not leave these drafting amendments until we are in a position to bring forward a measure which would embody the whole of them?” But we are engaged in a war, and it provides, of course, the most effective test we could have of the weakness or strength of our Defence Act. As the war has proceeded, the conditions obtaining in Australia under that Act have revealed certain defects, and I have thought it advisable that, as they are revealed, that is the best time to bring forward amendments to remedy them. If they were allowed to pass until the war ends, interest in defence matters might wane, and de fective provisions might be permitted to remain on the statute-book until when we were faced with the prospect of another war - which, God forbid, we ever shall be - we should find them militating against the proper administration of the Act.
– Will there be a. consolidation of the law after the war is over ?
– After the war is over there should, I think, be a Consolidation Bill passed. Honorable senators will find that the Bill I am now submitting contains chiefly what are merely drafting amendments, to facilitate and make more effective the administration of the existing Act. For instance, in the Act passed before the war, we provided for an Army Reserve as well as for Active Forces. It was contemplated that our Reserve Forces -would always consist of men who had passed through the Citizen Forces and men from the rifle clubs. In those circumstances, it seemed natural that, in. the matter of seniority, officers of the Reserve Forces should be junior to those of the Active Forces. But the war has brought about this condition of affairs : We have already amended the Defence Act, and we have provided that soldiers who have served in the war shall, voluntarily, of course, go into the Reserve. It is clear that it would be highly objectionable that an officer who had served on active service in this greatest of wars, and probably won his rank in the field, should, on passing into the Reserves, find himself junior- to a Citizen Force officer who had never seen any active service at all. Therefore, the provision of the main Act, which was passed in time of peace, and when we did not contemplate such a condition of affairs, is proposed to be repealed by this Bill. We shall thus be able to give officers who have served in the war and become members of our Reserve Forces the recognition which is due to them, that having served in the Active Forces in the field, they should be senior in the Reserve Forces to officers who have not seen such service.
– Will they be senior in all cases, notwithstanding length of service?
– Under the existing Act, where there are two lieut. -colonels in the Reserve Forces, one who had seen active service in the present war might be junior to the other who had not seen such service. It is clearly objectionable that a lieut.-colonel, although he might be a senior in the” active service, should be senior in the Reserve Forces to a lieutcolonel who had won his rank in the field.
In the principal Act, ‘ provisions were inserted for the calling up of our Defence Forces for home defence. They were passed in time of peace, and we, of course, had no experience as to the way in which they would work. However, in this war, we have had practical experience of them, and have found that they worked very badly. The male population of the Commonwealth under the Defence Act is j practically divided into compartments according to age, and provision is made for calling men up in those compartments. Our experience of the operation of these provisions has proved that they are clumsy, ineffective, and hampering. Suppose, for instance, that it is decided to call up those in the first class, which, speaking from memory, I believe includes all from eighteen years of age to thirty years of age. It may be that we do not require to call up such a number as may be included in that class. The first class might provide us with 150,000 troops, and we might not require more than 50,000. Yet, under the existing Act, the class must be called up, and there is no provision by which we can call up only the number we require. I wish honorable senators particularly to understand that the amendment proposed by this Bill does not confer upon the Government any more power than is conferred upon them by the Act as it stands. They in no way affect principles of the existing Act, under which the Government have the power to call up troops for home defence, and in time of war. What the amendment to which I am now specially referring will do will be to alter the grouping of men provided for under the existing Act, make its provisions more elastic, so that we may not have to call up the whole of a class if we do not require the men, and may call up only sufficient to meet our requirements.
It will be remembered that when we called up the ‘ first class during the ‘ first referendum on conscription, we had to call up the whole of the class, and as it was determined that we should not call up youths under twenty-one years of age, we had to exempt them from the call. In that way, by a subterfuge, we got around the Act, though, of course, we had the legal power to do what was done. All those between eighteen and twenty-one years of age had at that time to go through the form of registration, and it was totally unnecessary and wasteful, in view of the fact that it was never intended that they should be called up. Under the amendment provided for in this Bill, it will be possible for us to call up men, should the necessity arise, in a more elastic way than is possible under the existing law.
Again, in passing the principal Act dealing with the training of Senior Cadets, we laid down certain stipulations as to the musketry instruction which the Senior Cadets would be required to undergo. These provisions were passed on the recommendation of Lord Kitchener. His recommendations in this regard were theoretical, and we had had no practical example of their working. We had some practical examples in the Volunteer Cadet Force that existed prior to his report, but no practical experience of the operation of his recommendations. We included in the Defence Act, unwisely, in my opinion, hard-and-fast conditions as to the musketry instruction which our Senior Cadets should undergo. It would have been far better if we had provided that that should be prescribed by regulation. It has been found impossible, as a matter of fact, to comply with those hard-and-fast provisions. There are many reasons for that, as, for instance, at one time there was a. shortage of rifles.
There has been a change in public opinion in regard to this matter. Lord Kitchener’s report was based upon the idea that the Senior Cadet training was to be the main part of military training. With experience, that view has been modified, and to-day’ the Senior Cadet period of training is looked upon rather as a period of physical training, and for the inculcation of discipline, and not so much to make the senior cadet a soldier as to prepare him for the time when he might be trained to become a soldier. The period of Senior Cadet training is now regarded rather as the school time of the soldier, the time during which he may make his body fit by physical exercises, and at the same time learn habits of discipline. When that view of the’ Senior Cadet training is taken, musketry instruction for Senior Cadets becomes of lesser importance. We do not to-day attempt to teach the Senior Cadets musketry in the same way as soldiers are taught it. They use miniature rifle ranges rather than the ranges used by soldiers; and they may not use the field service rifle. So, under this Bill it is proposed to repeal the hardandfast provision with regard to the musketry instruction of Senior Cadets, and to provide that that instruction shall be prescribed by regulation, so that we may meet conditions as they arise.
I come now to a- proposed amendment, which is not merely a . drafting amendment, but which raises a question of principle. I take it that honorable senators are all aware that, in the principal Act, we provided that there should be no death penalty for cases of desertion. There is a death penalty provided for desertion to the enemy, but not for the lesser offence of desertion. We provided for that by a prohibition, but in doing so we did something which I am sure we never intended to, and that is that we prohibited the imposition of the death penalty even in the case of a murder. The position to-day is that a member of our Active Forces abroad who commits the crime of murder cannot be punished by the death penalty. As this is largely a legal question I may, perhaps, be permitted to follow pretty closely some notes which I have here upon it. I ask honorable senators to recollect that the proposal contained in this Bill is not one which will enable the death penalty to be inflicted for any military offence. It does not provide the death penalty for the offence of desertion, but only for murder whilst on active service.
– Then the death penalty cannot be inflicted for desertion whilst on active service ?
-Colonel O’Loghlin. - Except desertion in the face of the enemy.
– Except desertion to the enemy. Desertion in the face of the enemy is not punishable by death. Section 98 of the Defence Act makes pro- vision for the ° punishment of certain specific offences by a court martial by the infliction of the death penalty. It has been held that the words “ court martial “ in section 98 of the Defence Act apply not only to a court martial constituted under the Defence Act, but also in the case of an Australian soldier serving with the regular Forces overseas; to a field general court martial convened’ under, section 49 of the Army Act; and to a general court martial convened under section 122 of the Army Act. Two specific cases have arisen in which a member of the Australian Imperial Force while on service abroad has killed another person. No provision is made in section 98 for the offence of murder being punished by death. Under section-41 (2) of the Army Act, the only legal punishment which a( court martial can ‘ award for murder is death ; but, in view -of section 98 of the Defence Act, an Australian soldier cannot be sentenced to death for murder by any court martial.
– He would be reached’ by the civil law, would he not’
– I will come to that matter presently. This question recently arose in two cases in which soldiers were placed on trial for murder in Egypt and Palestine. The members of the Court were in a difficult position, because, on the one hand, they could not legally pass the sentence of death in view of the provision in section 98 of the Defence Act; and, on the other hand, they could not legally, under the Army Act, award any sentence other than death. Of course, in ordinary circumstances, such a crime would not be tried by court martial at all, but by a civil Court. If these cases, for instance, had occurred in England, they would not have been tried by court martial. There has been one case in England in which a charge of murder was laid which was tried by the civil Courts there. But no provision of that kind obtains in France, Mesopotamia, or Palestine, because we have no British civil law there, and, consequently, military law must obtain. Wherever Australian soldiers are serving overseas with the regular Forces they may be, and, in fact, during the present war have often been, in places where there is no civil Court competent to try them. If the soldier is sent back to Australia for trial it would necessitate also sending all the witnesses, which may bo practically impossible, even if the Australian civil Courts have jurisdiction to try any person for murder committed outside Australia. In 1916 an agreement was arrived at between the English. French, and Belgian Governments, stating that each of the parties to the agreement recognises during the present war, the exclusive competence of the tribunals df their respective Armies with regard to persons belonging to these Armies, in whatever territory and of whatever nationality the accused may be. The effect of this agreement is that all cases of murder by a member of the Australian Imperial Force in France - would be tried by a court martial, and not by a local French tribunal. The same position arises where troops are operating in uncivilized countries, such as Palestine-
– “ Uncivilized !: ‘ Surely that is rather strong language.
– It is. Perhaps it would be better to say “ alien “ countries such as Palestine - not by reason of any agreement to that effect, but merely by reason of the fact that there is jio competent civil tribunal available to try the case. The penalty under the ordinary civil law in Australia for murder is death, and it is considered, therefore, that it is desirable to bring the provisions of the Defence Act into conformity with the civil law in this respect. The safeguard is still retained that proceedings in all such cases must be transmitted for the confirmation of the Governor-General in Australia before being put into execution. In other words, the sentence must first be considered and approved by the Government. The Ministry feel that this anomaly should be removed. We take it that public opinion upon this matter in Australia is shown by the fact that every State, I understand, retains the death penalty for the crime of murder.
– How many cases of murder have occurred amongst the Australian Imperial Force?
– I do not know the total number, but I know that there have been two such cases in Palestine and one in England. In the last-named case the charge preferred against the accused was that ‘of murder, but the finding was one of manslaughter. That case was tried by a civil Court.
– God knows what would have been the finding if it had been tried-by a court martial.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that a court martial is composed of Australian citizens who, during the last few years, have been acting as soldiers - men of high repute, and many of them possessed of a legal training. If an officer of legal training is available he is generally placed upon these courts martial. Now, a very large proportion of our officers possess a legal training, and they can be trusted to do justice quite as much as can the Judges in our civil Courts. If this amendment be carried it will provide the death penalty for the crime of murder. But wherever the civil tribunal can be appealed to - as it can be in England - all these cases will go to it. Only in Palestine, Mesopotamia, or France, will they be tried by court martial, and even then, before effect is given to the sentence, it will have to come under the consideration of the Government for approval. The effect of the amendment will be to place our Forces overseas in exactly the same position in regard to the civil law as already obtains in all the States.
The next provision of the Bill to which I desire to direct attention is one that is designed to confer a legal status upon rifle clubs. A number of cases have occurred in which these clubs require either to sue persons or to be sued. But at present they possess no legal status, and the Bill is intended to provide a remedy for this defect.
Another provision which we inserted in our principal’ Defence Act as one of the consequences of Lord Kitchener’s report, sets out that a record shall be kept of each trainee from the time he becomes a Cadet till he enters our Citizen Forces. The Act provides for the keeping of a book by the trainee himself. Now, experience has shown that in this matter we have tied ourselves up to a lot of useless bookkeeping, and it is considered advisable that we should provide for more elasticity.
These are the principal provisions of the Bill. With the one exception to which I have referred, it is largely a drafting measure, but it will have the effect of tightening up weaknesses which experience has disclosed in our Defence Act, both in respect of our compulsory training scheme and in its application to the war. I ask honorable senators to agree to its second reading.
Debate (on motion by Senator McDougall) adjourned.
– In moving -
That this Bill be now read a second time,
I desire to point out that it is a very simple machinery measure. But all who have given any attention to the subject will realize that behind this simple machinery the vital interests of Australia are at stake. The object of the measure is to stimulate the establishment of Australian industries and to preserve existing industries, with a view to so developing the Commonwealth as to enable it successfully to compete with other countries from a scientific stand-point. For several decades prior to the outbreak of the war, it had been generally recognised that Germany was probably the most highly-developed scientific country in the world. I do not speak of science in this connexion as a sort of intellectual curiosity in which individuals endeavour to discover the hidden truths of nature. I speak of it more in relation to the development of industry.. The people of Great Britain, unfortunately, had not devoted sufficient attention to this question, with the result that they had been subjected to very severe suffering. It came as a. great shock to the British people at the commencement of this struggle to discover that, although they had previously got along very well, and although their manufacturers had been accustomed to receive certain supplies of material, no reasonable inquiry had been made as to where those supplies were obtained. As a result it was found impossible to secure a constant dye with which to dye, for example, the khaki of the soldiers. It was only then that we woke up to the fact that many of the chemicals used by us in the manufacture of munitions of war were actually obtained from our enemy, Germany. A similar condition can be traced practically throughout the whole field of industry. There has now been a belated recognition of this sad mistake on the part of the British people, and a universal attempt is being made throughout the Empire to direct attention to the seriousness of the position and to stimulate a higher scientific education, with the object of the definite .development of our industries and of our resources generally.
Let me point out some of the shocks we received. At the outbreak of war, Great Britain was manufacturing only about twelve different classes of optical glasses. At Jena, the enemy was manufacturing over 100 different kinds, and I need’ not point out how necessary good glasses are to both armies and navies in warfare. It is probable that, as things stood in this industry at the beginning of the war, we were not able to make as good observations as the enemy were; but I am glad to state that to-day, owing to scientific investigations, Great Britain has not only ascertained the secret process by which the best optical glasses were made, but is turning them out better than the enemy is doing, and it is confidently hoped by the British authorities that at the conclusion of the war traders within the British Empire will command the whole optical glass market. The cause of such deficiencies in scientific production, as I have just illustrated, lies not so much in the lack of brains a*s in the misuse of brains, or their application to questions which are of minor importance to the community. At the beginning of. the war we were entirely dependent on Germany for magnetos, which are of first importance for the aeroplane or the submarine, and particularly for motor cars and ‘motor transport generally. We were dependent on Germany for countless drugs, and although we flattered ourselves that we were capable of turning out the best steel work in the world, our great steel manufacturers were absolutely dependent on Germany for the tungsten used in the manufacture of the highest class steels. We were dependent also on the enemy for the treatment of zinc ores, largely mined in this country and other parts of the Empire, and the production of the zinc in a form suitable for manufacture. Today there has been a great development in this direction within the Empire. Owing to’ the direct application of science to industry, I believe we are actually superior to the enemy to-day in the production of chemicals, gases, and munitions; but we have suffered bitterly .during the past four years, and there have been times when, owing to this neglect on the part of the British people in the past, some of the best men in the Allied Forces have marched up to fight the enemy with inferior munitions of war. I hope that condition of affairs will never recur.
It is said that for every chemist in the British Empire at the outbreak of war, there were nearly fifty in Germany. This was the result, not of the feverish effort of a day, but of the long, steady training given by the universities in Germany. That country, by establishing great technical and scientific classes, took science to the people. It did not wait for accidental development, or the brilliant thought of one individual; but it provided for long years of steady and persistent training, with the object of concentrating the minds of the people on the application of science to industry.
– There is no power in this Bill to train a chemist for research work.
– We do not purpose doing all the work under this Bill. Just as President Wilson established a National Science Council for the purpose of linking up the whole of the scientific organizations of America, when America entered the war, so we are hopeful that this machinery will enable us to link up the whole of our scientific forces and institutions for training scientists, and to co-operate with and help them.
– There is no power in this Bill, or in the Pharmacy Act, or in the Pharmaceutical Act, to train a single chemist for research work.
– I am afraid the honorable senator is getting into details. The Bill gives us full power to cooperate with the State Governments and universities.
– But they have not got it.
– That is not a very intelligent interjection. I hope we shall get that power. This Bill is an endeavour to get it by co-operating with those authorities, or by subsidizing them, or, if the necessary facilities are absent, by drawing the attention of the State Governments to the fact. If we had all these things established there would be no need for this Bill.
– The Bill does not make provision for it; that is my complaint.
– Surely the honorable senator does not want me to go into the details of the measure? I have a list here of all the sciences that will be dealt with. Surely I am not expected to deal in detail with all the sciences and the methods by which they may be applied to various industries. This Bill merely provides the machinery to make all these things possible, and I am contenting myself at present with giving illustrations of its possibilities. If the honorable senator asks me, “ Will this Bill make a chemist ?” I reply that no Bill ever introduced into any Parliament in the world can make a chemist. That requires skilled training on the one side, and brains and receptivity on the other.
– This Bill makes no provision whatever .for a diploma for chemical research.
– Certainly not. That is not the object of the Bill. The honorable senator’s conception of it is wrong. I shall be prepared to deal with every question of detail in Committee, which is the proper place for it.
– That is wrong, because in Committee we do not get time to understand them. The full explanation of every detail should be given on the second reading.
– The honorable senator’s conception of parliamentary procedure is entirely wrong. I am following the correct method of dealing with general principles, and outlining the general policy of the measure on the second reading.
Take the question of the effect of improved methods of transport on human progress. Transport has not been merely the accidental discovery of the principle of the steam engine by Stephenson. It has not been due to the labours of the chemists, scientists, physicists, and engineers. They have all played their part. The popular conception to-day may be that the great organizations of capital which have established railways and lines of steamers are largely responsible; but the fact remains that probably thousands of great minds have been concentrated for many years partly or wholly upon the problem, and it is the combined efforts of all these men that have led to the present complete development -of the means of transport. The great ocean-going steamer to-day, from the wireless to the propeller, is practically a microcosm of scientific invention, the result of hundreds of years of application and experiment. Take, again, the experiments of Faraday, in electricity and the electric magneto, or Hertz, or Clarke Maxwell, in regard to electric waves. The work of these men, although they are not given the final credit, led up to the ultimate discovery of wireless telegraphy by Marconi. The point I want to make is that these great inventions, these new conceptions of life, do not come to us as the result of the sudden inspiration of one individual, but are the product of the accumulation of scientific knowledge, the combined output, as it were, of thousands of brains which have been devoted to different sections of the subject.
Following the perfection of the steamengine came the discovery of the principle of the internal combustion engine, which marked an important epoch in the history of transport, and made possible the motor car, the submarine, the aeroplane, and the airship. Ail these things are the culmination of long years of study and experiment. Take, again, the telephone. Although the most highly-trained minds in the middle of the last century devoted themselves to its study, it was first handed out to the people largely as a scientific curiosity. To-day, owing to the application of scientific principles to it, one may speak on business matters from Melbourne to Sydney practically with the same ease as I am speaking to the Senate now. I remember reading that the first discovery of the principle of the wheel was made by a party of prehistoric folk, who rolled a log along for the purpose of crossing a stream. Imagine all the wonderful results that have followed from that simple discovery! Hundreds of thousands of machines and implements used in the world to-day depend entirely for their efficiency on the perfection of the principle of the wheel.
Take, again, the. question of science in its relation to health, and the developments that have followed Pasteur’s discovery of the principle of inoculation to combat infection by germs. Note the marvellous results of the scientific perfection of serums and anti-toxins, which have probably saved more lives than have been lost during the terrible carnage of the last four years. It has been estimated by scientists that in the preservation of the health of the community that discovery has more than compensated the French nation for the indemnity which she paid to Germany after the war of 1871. In Australia, in 1916, a temporary institute was established as the result of a Conference called by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) of most of the scientific men in this country. The object of this body was to organize those detailed and necessary preliminaries which make it possible for this new Institute to be created. The work of that temporary body has been very useful. It has compiled a complete census of the staffs and personnel of all the laboratories of Australia, and also a complete census of Australian industries, showing their distribution and respective importance for the functions they have to perform. It has research work in practical operation. It has established relations with universities and other scientific organizations throughout Australia. It has formed committees, special and general. There are thirty-four scientific committees investigating various problems in Australia to-day, and the whole of the members of those committees are acting in an honorary capacity.
– Are they doing anything?
– Yes. Take the expansion of one industry alone. Flax development was the result of a conference of agriculturists, called by the Science Bureau. We have succeeded in practically forming a seed pool. We have put 2,000 acres in this State under fi ax and have sold the whole output to Great Britain at £160 per ton. Thus in Victoria alone we shall have accounted for more than ten times what the cost of this temporary organization has been. If that is possible from one “individual line, why should it not be . possible also from others? What we require is au organization that will take the responsibility of investigating and initiating such matters. It may be said that other people were about to take up many / of the subjects indicated; but, if other people were going to do so, why have they not done so before?
– Because the Government was never behind them.
– And now the Government is trying to get behind them.
– Is not the Government trying to get ahead of them?
– It is easy to do something that somebody else has done before. The originator of wireless tele-_ graphy was a genius, but many people to-day know probably as much as he did about the subject, the difference being that they have learned from the discoveries of the original genius.
The question is asked, Does science pay? I do not claim that those who will be connected with this institution will possess a monopoly of all scientific knowledge, but the institution will be the organizer of scientific association. Its object will be to stimulate scientific thought among the whole community, and particularly among the industrial and artisan classes.
– Is it proposed to reduce patent fees?
– I do not know, but it is certainly proposed to help the poor inventor, if his invention is deemed worth while.
I call attention to one more discovery. Liebig was the discoverer of the fact that insoluble phosphatic rock could be converted into a water-soluble phosphate by treatment with sulphuric acid. It was first manufactured by William Laws in 1842, and the invention has been worth untold millions.
– Was that discoverer a Government man?
– I do not know, but he would not be disqualified for that reason. It may be possible that he was’ a poor man. It is the duty of the Government, financially and in all other practicable ways, to help such an investigator. Senator Fairbairn is one of the leading business men of Australia, and I do not know that he is any the worse off for being at the same time a public man.
– Liebig would never have been the successful inventor that he was but for the training which he received in institutions supported by Government.
– That is so. I call attention now to beet sugar. That industry has been developed enormously. It was first . established in Europe as the result of a. prohibition established by Napoleon. To-day the development of that industry has been such that twothirds of the world’s sugar supply is produced from beet.
– I dispute that.
– Official figures will show that that is so.
In France there was a great scourge in the vineyards, known as phylloxera. It spread throughout the world, and the damage done in France alone amounted to some £400,000,000. Experiments were made in America, and a resistant stock was successfully developed. Any one such development in Australia would infinitely more than balance the money expended upon scientific investigation. The Government do not intend to ask a scientist to do anything according to Government routine; but we propose to ask him if he desires our help and co-operation. We are prepared to assist in maintaining him during the years of his experiments.
Take one other invention - that of Dr. Babcock, who invented the testing of milk. It is now possible to determine, immediately, upon the farm or at the factory, the amount of cream contained in milk, and the quality of that milk. It is a great benefit, and enables the ordinary farmer, without scientific knowledge, to improve the quality of his herd’s milk production.
It has been estimated that the production of Federation wheat - the discovery of William Farrar, who was, I believe, a Government servant in New South Wales - has been worth at least £2,000,000 per annum to New South Wales alone. It has been said that practically he turned the golden grain-fields of Australia to dull bronze.
– It was only done by hybridizing.
– It was “only done”. But this man did it first, and gave his discovery to us we do not know how much sooner than would otherwise have been the case.
The British Government have voted £1,000,000 for the establishment of scientific research. They are also giving an annual subsidy of £160,000. They are subsidizing trade organizations, or special investigations within certain lines of industry, upon a £1 for £1 basis. The manufacturers have taken it up so enthusiastically that it is anticipated that before long the Government will not need to subsidize those institutions at all. The discoveries have been so valuable to manufacturers in improving their industries, that they are anxious to carry on the work themselves. It has meant commercial success.
One of the great causes of success with the big trust industries has been the fact that, attached to all such works, there is a laboratory. Many a small man, who thinks he isbeing squeezed out by the big trusts for economic reasons, is really being forced out for the reason that the trusts have called scientific investigation to their commercial aid. In Australia, where the private individual and the small manufacturer cannot afford laboratories of science attached to their own workshops, it is the duty of the Government to provide that requisite.
– Even then the small men cannot compete with the big firms.
– That is so, although I probably do not agree with the honorable senator as to the exact reasons. Of the associations in the Old Country, I mention the cotton, woollen, and worsted manufacturers, the flax spinners and. weavers, the shale oil industry, photographic manufacturers, electrical engineers, air craft construction, ship builders, iron masters, pianoforte manufacturers, master printers, and papermakers. All these associations have been either organized or extended and developed since the period of the war; and the British Government arebacking them by largely contributing necessary funds.
In Canada, in 1917, a similar institution was established, and the sum of £18,000 was voted. In addition, Canada has created a forest products organization costing £38,000. This body investigates all matters ranging from the railway sleeper to wood for aeroplanes. In Vancouver a big extension is contemplated for the scientific examination and analysis of Vancouver woods for aeroplane building.
– What would this Bureau cost?
– While the estimate is £20,000 per annum, we are reckoning that it will cost, for working expenses, from £10,000 to £15,000; but I hope it will not be limited to that total, because I believe in a. wide extension, and we should be prepared to grant it.
South Africa has established an institution, and New Zealand is considering the same thing. France to-day knows what her problems are. That country has established laboratories, at a cost of something like £530,000. There is practically unlimited money at the disposal of the scientists of France to enable them to do all they can for the recuperation of their country after the war. French scientists, at the same time, are keeping in touch withthe whole of the world’s scientific development.
Those who have watched the industrial development of Japan in the past few years have been struck with the rapid strides of that country. Japan has spent £500,000 upon an institution. Most honorable senators are familiar with the story of dyes and dye-making. Japan has voted £800,000 for the establishment of the. dye industry, and has guaranteed the return of 8 per cent. on the capital invested for a period of two years. We must recognise that our industries must be assisted somewhat in this way, because it is quite clear that the Japanese Government, in the interests of their people - and quite properly so, too - are prepared to develop their manufacturing enterprises by seeking the closest cooperation of industrialists, organizers, financiers, and last, but not least, of the scientists in that country. When we realize the conditions under which labour is employed in Japan, and remember, also, the high wages and the high cost of living in Australia, it is obvious that without similar action in this country we cannot hope to compete with Japanese industries.
– Japan was the first country in the world to establish a chair for aeronautics at its University.
– The United States of America is also spending immense sums of money on scientific research. There is not a trust organization in that country which has not an almost perfect laboratory and a large number of chemists, with the result that, from an economic point of view, United States manufacturers are able to turn out a better article in every respect, and the larger manufacturers are able to crush the smaller men. It should, therefore, he our duty to help the smaller men of this country.
– It will he labour in vain.
– Why ?
– Because the big man will still be able to crush the small man.
– I do not know that that will be the experience. As I indicated earlier in my remarks, President Wilson has brought about the establishment of a national research council in the United States, consisting of ten different Departments, and in the Department of Agriculture numbers of bureaux are in operation dealing with the various problems of production. In addition there are no less than sixty-four experimental stations, one in each State, and these in turn are linked up with the’ Federal organization, which is doing so much for the development of the United States. Let me give one or two quotations in connexion with the neglect in the British Empire of this matter. Professor Frankland, speaking in England, said -
Profound neglect of science in general, and of chemical science in particular, is something specifically British, and it would bo difficult to find any other civilized country in which a comparable state of affairs exists. Since the beginning of the war, when the supply of many indispensable commodities was cut off, the general public has begun faintly to realize how dependent modern civilization is on the creative forces of chemical science. Nothing could be more humiliating than that the greatest Empire of the world should have found that some of the most common and important drug’s could no longer be dispensed, that the uniforms of our gallant soldiers could not be dyed to a constant colour, that our laboratories were crippled and paralyzed by the want of some of the most important reagents and pieces of apparatus, and that wo were surrounded by the gravest difficulties in the way of obtaining the necessary materials for the manufacture of high explosives.
These matters were left to private enterprise in England, and it appears they made a nice mess of the business at the outbreak of the war, with the result that thousands of valuable lives must have been lost.
– That was because the enterprises did not return immense profits to the private manufacturers.
– Unfortunately that is largely so. Dr. M. O. Foster said -
The Germans are so imbued with the need of pursuing modern and efficient methods of education and of applying science to industry that they hold in contempt a country which notoriously neglects such processes. It is partly in consequence of this contempt and of their belief that we are a decadent nation, that they took the course they adopted last August.
Evidently Germany believed that Great Britain was decadent, and so she dastardly plunged the world into the present terrible conflict.
– In 1912 no less than 38,000 German students passed their final examinations in elementary and practical chemistry and mechanical and electrical engineering.
– Tes. And before the war British manufacturers were always glad to employ German clerks, because they could speak both the German and English languages, and, moreover, they were cheaper than British employees, because, as we now know, they were subsidized by the German Government. When these German clerks returned to their native land, they had complete information regarding details of a great number of British industries, and this information enabled German industrial enterprises to compete most advantageously with British industry.
I may be asked what will this institution do? Its special function will be to handle the many problems with which we are faced, and to give immediate attention to those most essential to the welfare of Australia. . Though many of our industries are on a prosperous basis, generally speaking most of them are somewhat crude. Let me quote leather as an illustration. There is an embargo on the exportation of leather from this country. It is. said by British authorities that our leather is not quite np to the mark, though, personally, I think there is a good deal of trade prejudice in this opinion. But there should not be any doubt about the quality of our leather, because we have all the raw materials for the production of a first class article, and we ought to be able to produce the best leather in the world. Pottery maybe quoted as another illustration. Australia has immense deposits of excellent raw material, and we ought to be manufacturing all that we require in this country. Yet we import thousands of pounds worth, of pottery every year. Great Britain has been very successful of late in the production of glazed pottery, which will enable her manufacturers to play an important part in this industry in the future. I think it is quite possible also that, owing to the marked prosperity of our pastoral industry, we have notgiven sufficient attention to many of the problems associated with it. The numerous pests and parasites, principally imported, call for serious attention at the hands of our .scientists. There is also the cattle tick. I need not indicate what that has cost Australia. I am not prepared to say that ‘we have the remedy, but.it is time that we made a serious attempt to cope with it. Among others may be mentioned the nodule worm, the blow-fly, and the tubercle baccillus. It has been estimated that these pests cost the Commonwealth something like £10,000,000 a year. That may be an extravagant estimate, but if they cost only £1,000,000 a year it is obvious that the discovery of a satisfactory method of dealing with them would more than pay for the cost of any scientific experiments in that direction. Something important also may be done in the improvement of our natural grasses. In Australia we have something like 320,000,000 acres of land, with a rainfall of from 10 to 20 inches a year, grazing only one sheep to the acre. Most of this rain falls in the winter, so, if successful experiments could be made in the production of drought-resisting grasses, superior to, say, the saltbush, and giving . an increased carrying capacity to our grazing lands, the results Would, be highly important to Australia.
In regard to agriculture, it may be said that up to the present we have only scratched the surface of the soil. This, probably, has been due to the fact that our areas are so extensive that it has not been possible always to give close attention to intense cultivation; but this problem will have to be faced in the near future in connexion with the settlement of our returned soldiers. Although Australian climatic conditions, and in some respects our soils, too, are different from those of other countries, hitherto we have been largely dependent upon agricultural experiments carried out elsewhere. It would be much better if we did more work on our own account in this direction. There are many other problems that call for solution, including the prickly pear, which, it is said, covers a greater area than is under cultivation in Australia, and is increasing at the rate of 1,000,000 acres a year, and the wheat weevil. It is estimated that at the end of next January we shall have something like 6,000,000 tons of wheat in Australia. A lot of it has already been paid for. On account of it there is an overdraft of about £14,000,000 with the various banks of the Commonwealth, and for the next season’s production a certain price has been guaranteed to the farmers. It is clear that if an effective cure for the weevil pest could be discovered, it would more than pay for the cost of the proposed scientific institution for- the next twenty years in Australia. We are right up against all these problems. We have to take into consideration the introduction and acclimatization of new plants. We know that the cultivation of such plants as tobacco, cotton, coffee, and rice is not being developed as it might be in Australia. In some cases, production is actually falling off in this country. That is to say, that the soils in parts of Australia are not giving as good a return in production as they have done in past years. This is more than likely due to our farmers not treating the soils properly, owing to a lack of scientific knowledge. It is considered that the falling off in production is largely due to the abuses of the soil. These are all questions which must be faced.
I do not desire in any way to reflect upon the practical man, but I do not think that it will be contended that he will not become a better practical man if he is able to take advantage of the guiding hand of science. There is nothing to prevent a scientist from being a practical man also.
– But it is not often that we get the combination.
– I know of several such men, just as I know several business men who are very poor scientists.
– But there are thousands of scientists.
– It cannot be contended that because a man possesses scientific information he ceases to be a practical man. No one, for ‘ instance, would describe Marconi, who is a scientist, as a dreamer. We would not say that ‘Farrar or George Stephenson were dreamers. They certainly dreamed before they brought their dreams into -practical operation, but they did practically apply them, and civilization is under a debt of gratitude to the men who have dreamed, and have taken practical steps to give effect to their dreams for the benefit of mankind.
– Bell and Edison, of the United States of America, are not dreamers.
– That is so. I hope that honorable senators will consider this question from a national point of view. If the institution proposed to be created under this Bill does no more than link up existing organizations, whether State organizations, voluntary, or supported by private subscriptions, it will he agreed that an important advance will be made’ if we have some centre in which we may concentrate upon the solution of the vastly important problems to which I have referred.
There is no doubt that a very great deal of valuable work is being carried on to-day, but modern experiments require modern laboratories and instruments. We must find these things out for ourselves, and must not be content to follow other countries. We should desire rather to lead other countries in industrial development, and gain thereby. In moving the second reading of this measure, therefore, I appeal to honorable senators to look to the future when considering it. I ask them not to regard it as a fanciful experiment intended to give a few professors a job, because I assure them that practical men, graziers, farmers, manufacturers, craftsmen, and artisans, in the proportion of, probably, fifty to one of the professors, will be engaged in some of these experiments.
I may be told that we require tariffs, bonuses, and banking systems to develop our industries in the near future; but I remind honorable senators that all these things will be of no avail unless the commodities and articles we produce are equal, if not superior, to the products of other parts of the world. I ask honorable senators, when they consider our enormous debts, not to allow that consideration to raise doubts in their minds and’ induce them to vote against this measure. I ask them not to permit any prejudice to influence them to vote against it. If they know of any way to enable us to pay our national debts other than the development of our industries, let them submit their propositions, and, if they can prove their case, the Government will gladly adopt them.
We believe that the only way in which to meet the future is by sheer hard work in the development of the producing industries of this country. We must increase our exports, and we must standardize our exports. The man who sends abroad a tin of bad jam, a side of bad bacon, or a bushel of weevily wheat does a serious injury to the country. I know that attempts have been made to export inferior produce of different kinds, but I want to say that if Australia is going to capture the markets of other parts of the world for her produce, her best travellers must be the goods sent to those countries to advertise the quality of the articles we can produce. This is only one link in the chain. We must have tariffs, bonuses, and banking systems; but science must combine all the advantages of these things to bring about the happy result we desire to see achieved.
– What about the adoption of the metric system of weights and measures?
– I should like to see that system adopted to-morrow, but I believe that it would be useless for us to adopt the metric system until the Empire, as a whole, is prepared to adopt it. I have never been able to understand why it was not adopted long ago, and I may be relied upon to do anything I can to assist Senator Grant to secure its introduction.
This is not a party measure. It has nothing to do with party politics. It is simply a means to get our scientists to co-operate with the producers and manufacturers of the country to insure for Australia a volume of production and export which will enable us to meet our obligations. It is the best proposal that the Government can submit in the circumstances, and if in the meantime honorable senators have a better suggestion to submit we shall be glad to consider it.
Debate (on motion by Senator McDougall) adjourned.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The establishment of an Australian Navy, and of Naval Bases, in Australia, and the experience of the war, have shown that it is necessary that the Commonwealth should assume the power to control all waters in the vicinity of naval establishments, and such places as are used generally as anchorages for warships. This control has been exercised for a very long time in the Mother Country. The control of our waters’ has, of course, always hitherto been the subject of State legislation, and has been directed naturally to the protection of the interests of commerce and navigation. We have legislated under our .Commonwealth powers ‘ over navigation, but we have never done anything in the direction of enacting special provisions in regard to the control of what may technically be called naval waters.
The experience of the war has shown that such legislation is essential. There have been many instances during the progress of the war of the destruction of ships whilst in harbor. One or two notable instances have occurred of the destruction of ships of the British Navy. We have heard of the destruction of certain Austrian ships,’ and we know that one Japanese ship was destroyed in circumstances that were somewhat suspicious. It is obvious that if the Commonwealth Government have no control over the waters in which ships are anchored, or are being repaired, the possibility of their due protection is very much diminished. This Bill will provide for such control, and will give the power to prevent interference with naval exercises and operations, which is also a very important matter, whether they are being carried out for the purpose of training or for purposes of actual war preparation. At the present time, there is nothing to prevent, not necessarily an enemy, but even a neutral, interfering with such exercises and operations. There is no law by which we could restrain them from so doing. It is clear that we should make legislative provision to deal with this matter.
We have already in Sydney various and extensive naval establishments, and we have Naval Bases in course of construction at Cockburn Sound in Western Australia, and at Flinders, in Victoria. We have no power at present, except the power to purchase, which would involve the expenditure of large sums of money, to prevent works being established under the guise of commercial purposes in the vicinity of, or overlooking in some way, our Naval Bases. The establishment of such works would be exceedingly dangerous in time of war, and might possibly hamper or prevent the successful naval protection of the Commonwealth.
We all know the use which Germany made of the excuse of commerce to secure positions in certain localities in France, and to prepare by peaceful penetration for the advance of her armies. Those places, prepared long years before the war, were subsequently actually occupied, and put to the use for which they were designed by the German general staff as the German armies advanced through France. That development of war was somewhat new; and it should teach us the lesson that in time of peace the Government should possess the power to prevent any one, under the guise of commercial expansion, doing anything which in time of war might render our naval establishments useless. This Bill will give, the Commonwealth Government power to prevent that kind of thing being done without interfering with the proper functions of commerce.
– Is it proposed to take the power from the States?
– We could not, by an Act of this Parliament, take from the States any powers that belong to them.
– That is so. I do not think the States have legislated in this matter; and, as honorable senators are aware, the Commonwealth Parliament is clothed under its Defence powers with the necessary authority to enact such legislation.
– The .State Harbor Boards have certain powers in connexion with the waters they control.
– Their powers are clearly for the purposes of commerce and trade. We are proposing by this Bill to assume powers which will give us so much of the regulation and control of naval waters as is necessary in the interests of our naval defence. All the clauses of the Bill are directed to that end. It follows on the lines of English legislation dealing with the same subject, but with such amendments’ of that legislation as the experience of the war has shown to be necessary.
Debate (on motion by Senator McDougall) adjourned.’
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This is a little measure for which I feel assured of the ready support of the Senate. Its main purpose is to enable the processes of our Courts to follow offenders more freely than they now do. Under the principal Act, a summons issued by a Court, Judge or magistrate, may be served upon a person, in any State or part of the Commonwealth, against whom a complaint has been made of his having deserted or left without support his wife and child. It is in this Bill proposed to extend this provision to include any person who is the putative father of a child for which he has failed to make provision either for its maintenance or for maternity expenses in connexion with its birth. It is also proposed to make another extension of the provisions of the principal Act. At present, whilst warrants can be issued for the apprehension of persons charged with offences committed in one State if they .happen to be in another State, by a singular omission no provision is made for issuing a warrant for the apprehension of a person who has been convicted of an offence. Such a person may be convicted, but upon merely lodging notice of an appeal, he is temporarily given his liberty. Cases have arisen in which convicted persons have taken advantage of the liberty thus accorded them to abscond to another State. This Bil! will remedy that defect in the existing law. It also contains another little provision of a technical character - I refer to making quite clear the meaning of the words “ A Court of like jurisdiction.” Under the amendment proposed, it is intended that the Supreme Courts of the several States, in relation to similar tribunals in other States, shall be regarded as “ Courts of like jurisdiction,” whether they are acting either as State, Federal, or Admiralty tribunals. That is the simple purpose of this little Bill.
Debate “ (on motion by Senator McDougall) adjourned.
Irish Internees: Report ox Mr. Justice HARVEY
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I desire to call the attention of the Minister for Defence to a telegram which I have just received from Hobart, and which reads -
Justice Harvey’s report on Irish internees was released to the Mercury, the Examiner, and the Telegraph last night, but was refused to the World. Confer with your brother senators, question Minister, and wire result.
I have not had an opportunity of consulting the Minister for Defence upon this matter, but Senator Long informs me that he has done so, and that he has obtained from him an explanation which is entirely satisfactory so far as the Minister himself is concerned. At the same time, I think it is necessary to bring it forward now because, to me, it does seem remarkable that a mistake of this character should have been made by some official. There are two daily newspapers in Launceston and two in Hobart. When Mr. Justice Harvey’s report was released by the censor - a re- ‘ port to which a large number of persons were looking forward with great interest - it does appear extraordinary that it should have been released to the three newspapers which support the present Ministry, and absolutely refused to the journal which opposes that Ministry.
– Does the honorable member say that the censor refused it?
– I have read the telegram which has reached me, and I can only put upon it the construction that the censor refused to release the report in question to that newspaper.
– Probably the State Commandant refused it.
– If Senator O’Keefe had read what has appeared in the press in regard to this matter he would know that the censor had nothing whatever to do with it. I sent copies of the reports to the State Commandants.
– The fact that it was not the censor at Hobart who refused to release the report to the World, does not detract from the gravity of the position at all. I have no desire to do any injustice to the censor, but 1 wish to place upon the right shoulders the responsibility for the charge which I am making. It does seem to me that the State Commandant, or some other official, has deliberately withheld Mr. Justice Harvey’s report upon a matter of great public interest, from a certain Labour newspaper in Tasmania, whilst releasing it to those newspapers which support the Government.
– It was withheld from that newspaper in direct opposition to the Minister’s instructions.
– I am very glad to hear that statement. But when an honorable senator receives a telegram such as that which has just reached .mc, he is bound to take the earliest opportunity open to him of ventilating the injustice to which it refers.
– Senator Long had already brought the subjectmatter of the telegram read by Senator O’Keefe under my notice. I told him then that I had given instructions that copies of Mr. Justice Harvey’s report were to be sent out confidentially to the State Commandants, with an intimation that later on a wire would be forwarded to them, stating when they would be at liberty to release those copies. I instructed the Secretary of the Department to send a letter to each State Commandant explaining the position. Later on, that officer brought to me the draft of his letter, together with a list of the newspapers to which he proposed tq send copies of the report. Upon looking through that list - I did not then know that the Hobart Baily- Post had changed its name - I saw that that journal and the Brisbane Standard had been omitted from it. I drew his attention to this ‘omission, and directed that copies of the report were to be sent to those journals also. The Secretary informed me that he had obtained his list of the daily newspapers published in each State from the censor. Immediately Senator Long drew my attention to the matter this morning, I rang up the Department, because I thought possibly that my instructions had not been acted upon. I asked why they had not been acted upon, and who was responsible.- I have since received this reply-
Mr. Hancock has rune* up to explain how it is that the World did not receive a copy. When the list of the daily papers waa supplied to the Secretary by the D.C.C., the Daily Post was not included. You personally queried this, and after inquiries it was found that the Post had been taken over by the World. a copy of the report was then sent to it on the 24th inst., but there was no mail till the 25th inst. The report should reach Hobart last night, and would be delivered the first thing this morning.
– The Daily Post did not suspend publication, but merely changed its name.
– I have already explained that I noticed the omission of that paper, -and of the Brisbane Standard, from the list submitted to me, and gave instructions that those journals were to be supplied with copies of Mr. Justice Harvey’s report. I am not able to say upon what day those instructions were issued. It may have been on . the 24th instant, but it seems to me that it was before that date. I shall look up that point, and ascertain whether my instructions were at once acted upon. ‘ It was some days ago when I issued them.
– The telegram says, that a copy of, the report was refused to. the World.
– It was “ refused “ in the sense that only a certain number of copies of the report were forwarded to each State in accordance with the number of journals on the list. If the World was not on the list, there would be no copy of the report for it.
– I know that it is the practice of reporters, whenever they cannot obtain a copy of any document which they require, to ask that the same information shall be supplied to them that is being supplied to’ other journals.
– But no information was being supplied to any other newspaper. Only a limited number of copies of Mr. Justice Harvey’s report was sent to-, each State Commandant. With them was transmitted a letter of instruc-tions as to what each Commandant was to do. They were told that upon receipt of a telegram they wore to liberate the copies of the report to such-and-such newspapers. The Secretary of the Department informs me that he has carried out my instructions. Therefore, the State Commandants have done exactly what they were instructed to do, and no blame attaches to the State Commandant of Tasmania in this connexion. The only question which has to be determined is whether action was taken by the Department immediately I drew attention to the.omission from the list submitted to mo of the two newspapers I have mentioned. That is a point which must be cleared up.
– Why was the Brisbane Standard omitted)
– I do not know. There was no reason, so far as I am aware, why either of those journals should have been omitted from the list. The Secretary of the Department has assured me that the list which he submitted to me was supplied to him by the Deputy Chief Censor.
.- I desireto explain that immediately on receipt of the telegram which has been read by Senator O’Keefe from the manager of the World, I waited on the Minister for Defence. I showed him the wire, and he then gave me the version which he has given to the Senate. To me his explanation was perfectly satisfactory. I have no hesitation in saying that the fact that the World has been prevented from obtaining a copy of Mr. Justice Harvey’s report is not the fault of the Honorable gentleman. His instructions to his officers were clear and definite. If those instructions have not been carried out, I hope that the Minister will take the necessary steps to ascertain the reason why. This is not the first occasion upon which the Labour newspaper in Tasmania has been prevented from participating in the distribution of important news. Upon a former occasion, too, I have reason to believe that the Minister was entirely blameless. ‘ But it is essential that the honorable gentleman should take action, not merely for the sake of his own reputation, but for the sake of that of the Government, and inorder that possible misunderstanding may be obviated. We hope that when the Senate meets next Wednesday the Minister will be able to explain why the officials did not give effect to his instructions, assuming that there was ample time to carry them out.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 12.46 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 September 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1918/19180927_senate_7_86/>.