7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Increase in Price of Gas.
– I ask the Leader of the Senate if he is in a position to supply any information as to action contemplated by the Victorian Government in connexion with the proposal of the Metropolitan Gas Company to increase the price of gas to consumers by ls. 6d. per one thousand feet?
– I am now in a position to inform the honorable senator that a copy of the question asked by him on the 30th July on this subject was duly brought under the notice of the Government of Victoria, but no intimation has been received from the State Government as to any action which it contemplates taking in the matter.
Barnet Inquiry- Report of Economies Commission
– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister if he will lay on the table of the Senate the papers connected with the cases of the ten men who were dismissed from the Public Service as a result of the report of Mr. Barnet, the Royal Commissioner appointed to inquire as to aliens in the’ Service ?
– I must confer with my colleague who deals with this matter before I can give the honorable senator a definite answer. I suggest that there may be some difficulty in tabling the papers referred to until outstanding cases have been finalized. I shall make inquiries on the subject.
– I ask the Minister representing the Treasurer when the report of the Economies Commission, now in the hands of the Government, will be available to honorable senators?
– I cannot answer the question definitely. The report was received only a few days ago. It has since been printed for confidential circulation to Ministers, who obtained their copies only within the last twenty-four hours. It is the intention of the Government to expedite its presentation.
– In view of the Ministerial statement which was read here some time ago, announcing a long list of important measures to be brought before Parliament, and, in view of the fact that notwithstanding that the Senate has almost equal powers with another place in the initiation of legislation, there is only one important Bill on our businesspaper, will the Leader of the Government in this Chamber say whether the Government are waiting for the return of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) before bringing important legislation forward?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is, I am sure, in the minds of honorable senators. Senator Needham has stated that the Senate has “ almost “ equal powers with another place in the initiation of legislation, and honorable senators, generally, are aware that there are some limitations upon the power of the Government to introduce measures in this Chamber.
– Only money Bills.
– Making all allowance for that, the Government have introduced, and have already passed in this Chamber, the measures which they were free to introduce here. Others, naturally, depend on the action taken in another place.
Proposal of Commonwealth Bake
– In connexion with the erection of homes for returned men, under the War Service Homes Act, by the Commonwealth Bank, will the Minister for Repatriation make a statement to the Senate disclosing the terms of the agreement, or lay a copy of the agreement on the table ?
– The agreement was tabled here a few days ago.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether the appointment of the Director of Navigation has been made. If so, has the gentleman who has been appointed had sea-faring experience?
– The appointment has not yet been made. The matter is under consideration.
Adjournment of Senate
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether the Government intend to adjourn Parliament for a fortnight to enable their supporters to visit Western Australia to meet, the Right Honorable W. M. Hughes on his return?
– I hardly think the honorable senator is serious in putting that question. If he is, I can inform him that both the period and the purpose to which he has referred are incorrect.
– I ask the Leader of the Government whether there is likely to be an early adjournment of the Senate for more than a week?
– The adjournment of this Chamber will depend, as honorable senators are aware, upon the readiness with which they address themselves to the transaction of public business.
– I ask the Minister for Repatriation whether there is any truth in the statement which has been circulated, and which has been referred to by Ministers, that his early resignation from the Government has been decided upon by him?
– I do not feel that I am called upon to answer that question in this Senate.
– I ask the Minister for Repatriation whether an announcement on a matter of so much importance as the resignation of the Chief Minister in the Senate, should be made in any other place?
Question not answered.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) presented the second report of the Standing Orders Committee, dealing with a proposed new standing order relating to the imposition of a time limiton speeches.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the report be printed.
– I understand that we are now asked to authorize the printing of a report recommending the adoption of a new standing order which will materially interfere with what has been the procedure of this Senate since its very inception. I like getting to work early-
– And late.
– And late. During last month the Senate sat on an average only eight hours per week. Why, then, should a proposal of this character come before us? Honorable senators may think that by limiting our speeches they will conserve the time of Parlia ment. But if the printing of this report from the Standing Orders Committee is to mark the commencement of a system
– I rise to a point of order. I desire to know whether it is competent for any honorable senator to discuss a report which we have not heard read, and of which we do not yet know the purport ? It is impossible foranybody to say to what this motion relates, other than the printing of a report. Senator Gardiner, I submit, is entirely out of order, because he says that the report relates to the proposed curtailment of honorable senators’ speeches. Is it in order for him to refer in such terms to a report which has not been read to the Senate?
– The only question before the Chair is “ That the report be printed.”
– Why not have it read ?
– The honorable senator may move that as an amendment, if he so desires. But there is nothing proper to the discussion of this motion, except the advancement of reasons why the report should or should not be printed.
– Will you, sir, kindly have the report read?
– It is not in my power to say whether it shall be read or not. My duty as the Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee was to present the report of the Committee to this Senate. It then became the right of the Senate to do with the report just what it pleased.
– Ought not you, sir. to have read the report?
– No. My duty was merely to present it.
– To what does the report relate?
– I stated at the very beginning that I had the honour to present to the Senate the second report of the Standing Orders Committee on the proposed new standing order relating to the time limit of speeches. The only motion now before the Chamber is, “That the report be printed.” If that be carried, every honorable senator will have an opportunity of making himself fully acquainted with what is contained in the report. Before anything can he done upon it, it must come up for full discussion.
– I think that the last words which I used when Senator de Largie interrupted me with his point of order were, “ if this paper be printed.” Had the honorable senator permitted me to continue, I would have assigned reasons why it should not be printed. The printing of the paper will mean its circulation
– Not necessarily.
– It will mean giving publicity to what was the intention
– Of the Standing Orders Committee.
– No; but of half the number of members of the Standing Orders Committee; because this matter was decided only upon the President’s casting vote.
– Somebody has been telling tales out of school.
– If Senator Foil’s interjection may be accepted as proof that my interpretation of what happened is correct, my psychical powers are improving. If the Senate is disposed to print a report in which one-half of the Standing Orders Committee recommend that the procedure of this Chamber, which has worked efficiently for eighteen years, shall cease, I would like to advance reasons why the report should not be printed. These reasons include the effect which such a departure will have upon the conduct of business in this chamber.
– That line of reasoning will not bo in order. The printing of the report can have no effect upon the conduct of business in this chamber, and therefore I rule that the honorable senator will be out of order in attempting to discuss the question upon those lines.
– The honorable senator will have his opportunity when the motion is submitted for the adoption of the report.
– Senator” Gardiner is certainly demonstrating the necessity for the adoption of the Standing Orders Committee’s report.
– I can quite understand the desire of my honorable friends opposite to get over one stage of this unpleasant business.
– I can understand the honorable senator’s perturbation.
– I can assure the Minister for Repatriation that if. he has no intention of retiring from Ministerial office, and leaving his job to somebody else, the proposed departure from our present’ procedure will work more to his discomfort than to mine. The procedure of this Parliament will be entirely altered by the adoption of the proposals contained in the report.
-Colonel O’loghlin. - How do you know what it contains ?
– Because the President stated, for the information of the Senate, that the report dealt with the time-limit of speeches, and it is my purpose to prevent, if possible, the printing of the report, so that the records of the Senate will not contain any such recommendation. It is proposed, I suppose, to limit the number of occasions on which an ‘honorable senator may speak in a session.
– That might be an excellent suggestion.
– And it may be an additional reason why the report should not be printed. The proposal might also be to limit the number of times an honorable senator may speak or the number of minutes he may occupy, as a representative of the people, in this Chamber.
– If a proposal of that kind were adopted you might be silent for the rest of this Parliament.
– I would not mind if the proposed new standing order limited the number of interjections.
– The Standing Orders ky it down that all interjections are disorderly, and I must ask Senator de Largie to refrain from further interjections.
– I can promise, Mr. President, that if, on all occasions, you rule interjections to be disorderly my speeches will be very much shorter than they have been in the past, because I have a record of 113 inter jections in one speech, and thirty-eight of them were from Senator Millen.
– What was the length of the speech?
– Seventy-three minutes, with all those interjections thrown in. I realize that interjections lead to disorderly conduct, and therefore I shall not pursue this line of argument further. I question whether a time-limit on speeches will assist us in the despatch of business. Already this session the Senate has passed three Bills, in their entirety, and we have scarcely met. I suggest to the Minister that he should get the Government to bring down their financial proposals at an early date.
– That subject has nothing to do with the motion before the Senate.
– Every member of the Senate should have an opportunity of fully discussing the financial proposals of the Government, and if I can say so without using words that will be regarded in the nature of a threat, I desire to intimate that when the next financial statement comes before us I shall discuss every item contained in it, no matter how urgent other Government business may be. I consider that the printing of this paper will not do anything to shorten the proceedings of this Parliament.
Senator PRATTEN (New South Wales) [3.241- - Our Standing Orders provide that if an honorable senator desires it, the Clerk may be required to read a report of this nature for the information of honorable senators at any time during the debate.
– The question was read.
– True. The question before the Senate is, “ That the report be printed.” It is only fair that honorable senators should have an opportunity of knowing what the report contains before they record their votes.
– I have stated what the report contains, and I may point out that ou some occasions reports from
Committees, if read, would occupy practically the whole of the sitting time.
– But they do not restrict the rights of individuals. This report comes home to every one of us; it is different from all other reports.
– It does not trouble the majority of us.
– May I ask, then, as a matter of privilege, that the subjectmatter of the report be read before the question is voted upon ?
– Without going into the merits or demerits of this- question, I should like to know if it is usual, when a Senate Committee decides to do certain things and certain votes are recorded, for an honorable senator to explain publicly what was done in that Committee.
– But you are giving the whole business away yourself.
– I am not stating how members of the Standing Orders Committee voted. I am pointing out that Senator Gardiner stated that three members of it voted for the proposal and three against it, arid that you, sir, by your casting vote, insured a majority for fixing a time limit on speeches. I regard this course as dishonorable, and as something which should not be encouraged. It does not stand to Senator Gardiner’s credit that he should ‘have made such a statement in this chamber.
– As .a personal explanation, I may be allowed to apologize, and perhaps satisfy Senator Foll, who appears to be under a misapprehension, by stating that I knew the composition of the Committee, and conjectured what was done. One member of the Committee was not present, for reasons known to me, and I took it that the resolution fixing a time limit on speeches would be carried on a party vote,’ and that you, sir, as Chairman, had voted in a certain direction. So far as I am concerned, it was merely a matter of reasoning, and I hope the honorable senator will not accuse me of obtaining information to which I was not entitled. I may say, however, that I was delighted beyond all imagination at Senator Foil’s interjection, which disclosed to me the true position in the Committee.
– As a member of the Standing Orders Committee, I protest against Senator Foll giving away information concerning the proceedings of that body.
– Senator Gardiner gave the numbers.
– I object to Senator Foll, in the course of a lecture to another honorable senator, giving to the Senate information which he charges another honorable senator with having divulged.
– Senator Gardiner deliberately stated that the President gave his casting vote in favour of the proposal.
.- I feel I may crave the indulgence of the Senate, in view of the extraordinary turn which affairs appear to have taken this afternoon, to say a few words. The course followed in submitting the motion is the usual course on the presentation of reports of this nature. . It is the invariable practice to print the reports from Committees, and to set aside a day for their consideration, the object being to enable every member of the Senate to be furnished with full information concerning the nature of a report when the motion for its adoption is under consideration. If I had come here to-day, and asked the Senate to consider this report without first having moved that it be printed, my honorable friends opposite would immediately have had a grievance. They would have said, “How can we be asked to proceed with the consideration of this matter without knowing what the document contains?” I can quite understand, of course, the natural perturbation in the mind of Senator Gardiner, alias Sherlock Holmes, concerning the nature of the report.
– When you submitted the motion I knew at once it concerned the time limit on speeches.
– I stated that the report of the Standing Orders Committee referred to the time limit on speeches. I did not say what it actually contained.
– My remark still stands good. That report may be against the limitation of speeches; and only Senator Gardiner, by that acute detec tive knowledge and skill which he is developing, or else as the result of a communication from that Committee, can be in a position to know what the nature of the report is. The matter is very simple. If the Senate does not desire that the document be printed, honorable senators will still be faced with the responsibility of considering it; and the question is whether they would be better armed to proceed with that consideration with, or without, a printed copy in their hands. If the Senate does not want the report printed, it will not matter; but the usual procedure is for every honorable senator to be possessed of a copy of a document of this kind. I deprecate that there should be any divulgence of the voting in a Committee. The Senate appoints members as a Committee to do certain branches of work which the Senate itself recognises that it is somewhat incompetent to perform. If we were to invite Committees to undertake certain duties on behalf of this Chamber, and were then to challenge their methods of voting, it would be unfair to ask honorable senators to accept positions upon them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Glace kid, from1s. 6d. to 3s.
Box calf, from1s.8d. to 2s. 4d.
Tan willow, from1s. 5d. to 2s. 2d.
Box hide, from1s. 3¼d. to1s.11d.
Sole leather, from1s.9d. to 2s. 5d.
Sole leather, from 2s. 5d. to 3s.6d.?
-The information desired is being obtained, and will be supplied as early as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
– The answers are - 1 and 2. Not aware.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
How much sugar has been imported into the Commonwealth from 1st July, 1918, to 30th June, 1919, and how much has been paid for it -
How much more has ‘been ordered for the season, at what price, and from where?
– The information desired is being obtained, and will be supplied as early as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
– Arising from that question, and from the evident undesirability, from the stand-point of the Government, of discussing the names of the purchasers, may I ask Senator Millen whether it is not a fact that Scarlett and Co. and Crespin and Son got the bulk of those sacks?
– I submit that the time for asking questions without notice has passed.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
It may be added that, whilst this officer is on loan from the Defence Department, there are three officers of the Prime Minister’s Department at present on loan to the Defence Department for special duty.
asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
Will the Minister, or the members of the Coal Board, explain the following: -
How the Coal Board will arrive at the 50 per cent. less consumption of gas in households as between the months of June and July, 1918, and the months of June and July, 1919, in the cases of -
– The . answers are -
Third report (on motion by Senator Barker) adopted.
Debate resumed from 6th August (vide page 11250), on motion by Senator Newland -
That Northern Territory of Australia Ordinance No. 8of 1919, entitled : “ An Ordinance to provide for a Council of Advice for the Northern Territory,” be disallowed.
– At the adjournment yesterday, I was making a comparison between the Government institutions of Papua and those proposed in the Northern Territory. I do not propose to go into the matter further, nor do I intend to detain the Senate at any length, because I think I have made it perfectly clear that the Ordinance now being reviewed by the Senate is entirely unsuitable and opposed to our notions of democratic government. I have endeavoured to show - and I think I have succeeded - that this Ordinance, framed to control affairs in the Northern Territory, is really placing all power, not in the hands of six or seven gentlemen, but in the hands of one man, which makes the administration more autocratic than ever. Whilst we could, in a sense, appreciate a straight-out resolution in favour of autocratic government in the Territory, I do not think the Chamber will agree to a proposal, which appears to be democratic, but, in reality, is an autocratic step, such as we have never previously witnessed in Australia.
I desire that the Northern Territory shall have representation in this Parliament. I am not concerned whether there shall be representation in both Houses, as that is a matter for the Government. Whatever proposals the Government may introduce in this direction will have my consideration, and,” if suitable, my support. I am anxious that my fellowcitizens in that part of Australia shall be represented in this Parliament, just as are the citizens in other parts of the Commonwealth. It is useless to make comparisons between the Federal Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, as those in the Federal Capital Territory az-e quite near to the Parliaments of the Commonwealth, and have opportunities of ventilating their grievances from day to day. Moreover, they are not living under the disabilities of those people in the Northern Territory, who are without representation. I ask the Senate to carry this motion, because the Council to be called into existence by this Ordinance will be an undemocratic form of government. It is undemocratic in its creation, because Parliament should have a voice in such a drastic change of policy. In the interests of the residents there, such a proposal should have been submitted to this Parliament to enable honorable senators to discuss it before it became law.
– This is the only way in which the Government could have acted under the Northern Territory Acceptance Act.
– This Parliament can deal with any legislation brought forward by the Government. There are no constitutional difficulties to prevent the Territory being represented in this Parliament; I was informed so by the Minister, in reply to a question. This Parliament can deal with any part of the Commonwealth, so’ far as its government is concerned. It is undemocratic for the chairman of the Advisory Council to have absolute power to say what shall be discussed. Power is given to the Minister to “ pack “ the Council any time he may think proper. For these reasons, I contend that the provisions of the Ordinance are unsuitable, undemocratic, and not likely to encourage good government. Its provisions are not likely to make the people of the Northern Territory more satisfied with the Federal Government than they have been during the past six or seven years. I submit tie motion for the consideration of the Senate, so that honorable senators who profess to be believers in democratic government may have the opportunity of supporting it.
– In seconding the motion, I wish to support Senator Newland’s opening remarks regarding, not only the advisability, but the absolute necessity, of members of. the Federal Parliament becoming more closely informed regarding Northern Territory affairs generally. I intend to confine my remarks to the Ordinance, and not to deal with the Northern Territory generally. During the recess, I had an opportunity of visiting the Northern Territory, and, contrary to belief, found that I knew comparatively little concerning; the true state of affairs there. I had hoped, on the reassembling of Parliament a month or so ago, to put my impressions and opinions of the Territory generally before honorable senators with a view to their guidance in the consideration of its affairs. Fate and the influenza decreed otherwise, but I shall take an early opportunity of conveying to the Senate the views concerning the Territory which I- formed as the result of my visit. I believe that I shall be able to put before honorable senators some aspects of the situation up there which previously have not been sufficiently ventilated.
Owing to its peculiar situation the Northern Territory has not, so far, been able to obtain representation in the Federal Parliament. Various means have been proposed to overcome that disadvantage, either by direct representation, as suggested by Senator Newland, or by the division of the Territory into districts to be attached to various Federal electorates, to which they would be contiguous. It does not appear that anything practical in that regard is likely to be achieved in the very near future. The idea of the residents of the Northern Territory in advocating the appointment of an Advisory Council was that it would be elected by the people on an adult suffrage similar to that exercised in the election of members of the Town Council at Darwin. The very name of the proposed Council indicates that it would have no authority to act in opposition to the Department or Minister controlling the affairs of the Northern Territory, but would merely advise him as to the views and desires of the residents. The fulfilment of the half promise given by the Minister for Home Affairs at the time things were unsettled, particularly in Port Darwin, was looked forward to with some hope by the residents of the Territory. They thought that an Advisory Council would be elected on the lines I have indicated, but we find that the Ordinance providing for the Council does not make provision for anything 60 democratic as was expected .
This Ordinance- No. 8 of 1919- in section 3 repeals Ordinance No. 2 of 1911. At the time of the issue of Ordinance No. 2 of 1911, the 3rd April of that year, the late Mr. Batchelor, as Minister for External Affairs, had charge of the Northern Territory. I had not the opportunity or the pleasure of being associated in this Parliament with that gentleman, but I have been informed that he was very enthusiastic about the future of the Territory. We can well understand that, in April, 1911, there may have been some justification for the issue of an Ordinance constituting an Advisory Council on the lines embodied in Ordinance No. 2 of that year. That Ordinance, which is now repealed, had at least the common honesty to set forth that the body it created was a nominee body, and could act only in a purely advisory capacity. That Ordinance of eight years ago is ‘repealed by the Ordinance now under discussion, and I am firmly convinced that the latter Ordinance, which Senator Newland desires should be disallowed, is less democratic than is the Ordinance which it repeals. I think I shall be able to show that the Ordinance now under discussion is retrogressive, and gives greater power to a single individual than was given to the Administrator of the Northern Territory by Ordinance No. 2 of 1911. Under the Ordinance of 1911 a purely nominee Council was appointed, and the Administrator alone was authorized to bring business before it for discussion. No member of the Council was empowered to suggest any business to it. Section 7 of Ordinance No. 2 of 1911 reads -
The Administrator only shall be entitled to submit questions to the Council of Advice for consideration, but any member may, in writing, request the Administrator to submit any question to the Council of Advice, and if the Administrator declines to do so, the member may require that his request and the Administrator’s answer thereto be recorded in the minutes.
Under the Ordinance of eight years ago a member of the Council of Advice then constituted had at least the satisfaction of knowing that his protest against the action of the Administrator would be recorded, and would eventually reach the Minister, because the minutes of the meetings of the Council were duly forwarded to the Department in Melbourne. Under this Ordinance of 1919, there is no such right of protest given to the members of the Council of Advice. The initiation of business is entirely in the hands of one man. Senator Newland stressed section 5 of the Ordinance of 1919 in connexion with the constitution of the Council, and I can add to what he said that, in sub-section 2 of section 5, it is provided that. -
The Council shall consist of a Chairman and seven members, of whom three shall be the Government Secretary, the Director of Lands, and the Director of Mines, or the officers for the ‘time being acting for those officers, and four shall be non-official members.
It will be clear to honorable senators that provision is there made for three Government nominees - the Government Secretary, the Director of Lands, and the Director of Mines - and four non-official members, out of a Council of seven. It has to he considered that, in addition to these seven members, there is provision made for a permanent Chairman. It has been stated publicly that the recently appointed Director of Affairs in the Northern Territory is to be the permanent Chairman, 6o that the Council of Advice will consist of three Government nominees, and the Director as permanent Chairman, and these members will be pitted against the four non-official members. The Director, as permanent Chairman will, of course, have a casting vote, and so will be able to carry things all his own way. The clause to which I have referred practically provides for a safe Government majority on the Council on every question, and so the introduction of the four non-official members has ‘the appearance, rather than the reality, of representation. There is little or no difference between such a body and a straightout nominee Council.
Sub-section 5 of the same section gives to the Minister the power to add additional members to the Council to put through any special business. On this point I can add to what has already been said : that if the Minister .desires any particular matter put through he will act only on the advice of the Director. It therefore appears to me that this provision is included to guard against the possibility of any one of the three Government nominees, the Government Secretary, the Director of Lands, or the Director of Mines, proving refractory and not consenting to fall in with every proposal submitted by the Director. ‘ The Government Secretary, Mr. Evans, I. know, is credited with not having been wholly swallowed by the previous Administrator. The Director of Lands has not been in the Northern Territory sufficiently long, perhaps, to enable them to form an opinion as to the extent to which the Director will be able to use him. I repeat that, in my opinion, the provision to which I have referred is included in the Ordinance to enable the permanent Chairman, who will have all power under this Ordinance, to do just what he desires. It may be that some honorable senators will consider that I am drawing the long bow when I say that the Minister will take action in making additions to the Council of Advice for the purpose of putting through any special proposal, only on the advice of the Director of the Territory; but I can only judge the Minister and the Department in Melbourne on their record during the last four or six years. During this period the Department has slavishly followed every recommendation from the Administrator of the Northern Territory as against representations made in this and in another place. I regret that the Minister has, to a far too great extent, taken the advice of the departmental head in slavishly following the recommendations received from Darwin. In the circumstances, I am justified, I think, in saying that the Minister will add members to the Council of Advice to put through any special business only on the advice of the Director.
– The provision to which the honorable senator refers was really included so that in the event of an industrial disturbance it would be possible to appoint a representative of each side to the Council of Advice. That was the object of the provision, but I do not know whether it will accomplish it.
– I can only judge the provision by the power which it confers and in the light of what has occurred in the past. I, for one, would never be a party to giving such power to any one person in the Northern Territory. Although this Ordinance provides for the constitution of a Council of Advice, it really gives the whole of the power to one person.
The nominee Council of Advice constituted under the Ordinance of 1911 was supposed to meet at least once in each month. As a matter of fact, the late Administrator, Dr. Gilruth, did not avail himself of the services of that body at all. It was a nominee body, and had no power to act against his will, and he did not bother to summon it. By section 6 of the Ordinance, now under discussion, it is provided that -
Meetings of the Council of Advice shall be held at least once in three months.
In view of the movement of affairs in the Northern Territory during the past few years, to. make provision for a meeting of this Council only once in three months does not seen to me to be in keeping with the development of affairs there. I ‘have forced upon me the grave suspicion that it is not intended to do very much in the way of putting business before this Council of Advice. Of the many objectionable features of this Ordinance, perhaps the worst is contained in section S. ‘ I have stated previously that under section 7 of the old Ordinance, the Administrator alone was empowered to bring forward business for discussion. A member of the old Council of Advice had power to put in writing any proposal that he desired to submit to that body, and if the Administrator refused his consent, the member could make known the desire to the Minister. Even this semblance of redress is denied to any member of the Council of Advice under this Ordinance. No member of that body will have the right to bring forward any matter for discussion unless the chairman consents to his doing so. Who in this Chamber can stand for that sort of thing? Honorable senators cannot retain their honesty of purpose whilst giving such undue powers to the Director of the Northern Territory.
– A senator is not allowed by the President to bring forward any business which is out of order.
– No ; but we can dissent from his ruling, and our rights are declared and protected by the Standing Orders. A member of this Advisory Council cannot bring forward any business in or out of order unless the chairman consents to his doing so. In the light of the experience of the Territory, I have no hesitation in saying that under such an Ordinance only that class of business which is favorable to certain interests will be discussed. Then a member of the Advisory Council is required to give to the Government Secretary seven days’ notice that he proposes to make a suggestion in regard to the business of any meeting. But he has no power to do even that unless the chairman consents. It is manifest, therefore, that no real power is to be vested in the members of the Council, although it is being created purely for advisory purposes - that is to say, for the guidance of the Minister. Seeing that the Director is to be clothed with such authority, will he not advise the Minister only upon such subjects as he chooses? How powers such as will be conferred by this Ordinance can be reconciled with democratic rule is beyond human understanding. Owing to the peculiar situation which existed in the Territory, a desire was created to provide the residents with some means by which they could ventilate their grievances. That desire aimed at the creation of an elected Advisory Council. That was the nearest approach which could be given them to the exercise of a voice in the management of their own affairs. But that consideration has been denied them under this Ordinance, which practically vests all power in the hands of the permanent chairman who has recently, been appointed Director of the Northern Territory. Senator Newland complained that under section 10 this body will have no power to authorize the appropriation of any public money. That condition, I take it, is regarded as an additional precaution. It was not embodied in Ordinance No. 2 of 1911, which is now being repealed. Section 10 has been inserted, I believe, for the purpose of preventing the Council of Advice from appropriating public money.
– I think that is quite right.
– The Administrator, perhaps, possessed too much power under the old Ordinance.
– I’ think that the honorable senator made a good point in connexion with section 8. But I would remind him that when I was in the Territory I received a deputation, which asked me to spend £11,000,000, and that deputation represented only twentytwo persons.
– In my opinion, an elective Council of Advice might be charged with the responsibility of appropriating money for public purposes up to, say, a few thousands of pounds. I’ agree with Senator Thomas that to endow it with unlimited power in that respect would be just as unwise as is this Ordinance. We see, therefore, that no satisfaction will be given to the residents of the Territory by me constitution of the proposed Council. I am sorry that the Minister for Home and Territories (Mr. Glynn) has not a better grasp of the situation which obtains there. He certainly should have, because the position has been repeatedly pointed out to him. But it seems to me that, like his predecessors, he is quite content to accept whatever advice the departmental head chooses to tender him. Evidently it is intended to confer upon the Director of the Northern Territory sufficient power to enable him to continue all the evils of the Gilruth regime. What has transpired in the Territory during the past four or five years would provide material for a speech of considerable length. When I investigated the position first-hand, I found that it was much worse than what was generally conceived. Only a few weeks ago I noticed that the Minister for Repatriation, in answer to a question by Senator Keating, stated that it was the desire of the Government during the next three years to carry out the policy which they h’ad been formulating in regard to the Territory. When I read that I at once scented the intention of the Government to permit of a continuation of the policy which has operated there during the past three or four years. When such unlimited powers as are conferred by this Ordinance are vested in a single individual, it is natural that we should focus particular attention upon him. When we do this, what do we find ? We find that the permanent Chairman of the Council of Advice, who has recently been appointed Director of the Northern Territory, went to Port Darwin in 1912 as Private Secretary to Dr. Gilruth, at a salary of £300 a year. He was not a man of wide reputation at that time, but lie seemed to suit those who were carrying out the Gilruth, policy, and since then his ascent in the. way of emoluments and responsibility has eclipsed anything of which’ I have ever heard in any public service in Australia. A few years after he went to the Territory as Private Secretary to Dr. Gilruth, when the latter set about ridding himself of all the old South Australian officers who refused to bow down before him, Mr. Carey succeeded Mr. Holtze as Government Secretary, at £500 per year. Mr. Holtze, of course, exhibited some backbone, and refused to fall in with every scheme that was initiated by Dr. Gilruth. About these schemes I shall have something to say when the discussion will not be limited to one matter, as it is on the present occasion.
– Mr. Holtze was in charge of the Botanic Gardens at Darwin, and has since died, I understand ?
– Yes. As illustrating the meteoric career which Mr. Carey has had in the Northern Territory, I may mention that soon after his arrival there he was made Government Curator, Government Auditor, and Chief Accountant. Some of these offices carried additional emoluments, and when Dr. Strang - man resigned his post in disgust at Dr. Gilruth’s high-handed interference, Mr. Carey was made superintendent of the hospital. He was also ex-officio head of the Police Department and the gaol. Then when Mr. Clarke, Director of. Agriculture, resigned, Mr. Carey was made head of - the Agricultural Department. When Mr. Rylands resigned the Directorship of Lands, Mr. Carey was made Chairman of the Land Board, and shortly after Mr. Stretton resigned the Protectorship -of Aborigines, Mr. Carey was made Chief ‘Protector. - Then when the Government started the Federal steamer service, Mr. Carey was, of course, put . in charge, and following the departure of the Sheriff for the war, Mr. Carey became Sheriff also. The onerous duties of Federal Censor were also thrust upon him, and when the German raider Emden threatened Darwin, Mr. Carey assumed control of the Defence Forces, summoned the principal officers of State to a hurried consultation, and as commanderinchief he directed the local Defence Forces. He also attended to the Administrator’s correspondence, and arranged who should, and who should not, have private audience with His Excellency. He directed what should, and what should not, be done for Vestey Brothers, and he was Acting Administrator when “ His Excellency “ spent six or twelve months in Melbourne, which was not a rare occurrence.
– Inwhat way did he determine what should or should not be done for Vestey Brothers?
– I shall come to that matter presently.
– Did he hold all these offices simultaneously?
– Some were held at different times, and some simultaneously. It is well known that if a man was at variancewith the Administrator he could not expect to succeed in the Northern Territory Civil Service. This man, who has now been appointed permanent Chairman of the Advisory Council, was so favorably worked by Dr. Gilruth that he was appointed practically to everythingthat was going, because he was “ Pooh Bah “ to Dr. Gilruth’s “ Mikado. ‘ ‘ He was, in fact, Dr. Gilruth’s factotum, and, if I may say so, he was there to do Dr. Gilruth’s dirty work, and he did it.
The Minister has asked me in what way Mr. Carey could determine what could or could not be done by the present
Director for Vestey Brothers. In reply, let me point out that when Mr. Carey was Government Secretary at £600 a year he suddenly resigned and took up a position under VesteyBrothers at.£800 a year. Just about that time communications received from the Northern Territory related certain rumours in regard to leniency in official matters, and an investigating officer was sent from Melbourne to make inquiries. While he was there, Mr. Carey was away down south on behalf of Vestey Brothers. When there was some talk of Mr. Justice Higgins being appointed a Commissioner to inquire into what had taken place in the Territory during the past few years, the feeling was strongly held there - and it was firmly grounded - that if it had been necessary Vestey Brothers would have made arrangements to see that Mr. Carey was all right. If the Minister wants my opinion in plain language I have no hesitation in saying that I believe that the present Director of the Northern Territoryis nothing more than an agent for Vestey Brothers Limited, and that they are the American Beef Trust. On the last day of the sitting, just before the Christmas adjournment, I made inquiries as to a number of holdings that had been acquired by Vestey Brothers in the Territory, and was informed that they held sixty-fourpastoral leases.
– They hold the country.
– And the fact that they are holding it is, in my opinion, one reason why the Northern Territory has not progressed. It was the aim of the late Administrator not to allow it to progress. Every effort made at development was retarded by the late Administrator in the interests, I believe, of Vestey Brothers. Obstacles were placed in the way of developing the mining, agricultural, stock-raising, dairying, pigraising, rice-growing industries, and land settlement generally, with the aim, so the people in the Northern Territory believe - and they are on the spot, and ought to know - of keeping the Territory back “ so that Vestey Brothers may have the clear run in the Northern Territory without interference from any other industry.
– They have got that already.
– They would not have been in such a strong and undisturbed position if the Territory had had a fair chance of development. Under Dr. Gilruth’sadministration they made great headway in the direction of getting a “ strangle hold “ on the Territory, and Mr. Carey’s directorship, I believe, will be nothing else than a continuation of the policy followed by Dr. Gilruth in the interests of Vestey Brothers Limited. I object to this Ordinance because it will confer undisputed and unlimited power upon one man, whose consideration is not primarily the welfare of the people, or the best interests of the Territory or Australia.
– I suppose he wasrecommendedby Dr. Gilruth, too.
-We may assume, in view of his many appointments, that when passing through Melbourne Dr. Gilruth did not say anything to damage his chances.
– He did his best to let his mantle fall on Mr. Carey?
– I have no doubt about that, and I think that if .Mr. Carey gets three- years’ clear run in the Northern Territory he will demonstrate that Dr. Gilruth’s mantle has fallen upon capable, if unworthy shoulders. This is toy fear. Everybody in the Northern Territory knows that Mr. Carey has been h-and-in-glove- with; De. Gilruth in every Scheme that he entered into for retarding development, and was connected with many dubious transactions, official or otherwise) which it’ is well- known, took place- up there. But with the cunning of the clever, with- the precaution- of the scheming, every one of these transactions has been so well covered up that probably if these statements were investigated, it would be very hard to sheet home responsibility. But everybody knows that these things have occurred, and that these men who set out designedly on such a policy, have left no traces behind them.
In my opinion, only the appointment of a Royal Commission will disclose what has been taking place in the Territory during the past few’ years. This must come in time. I believe that Mr. Carey’s appointment as Director was made, possibly unwittingly, by the. Minister or the’ Government, for the- purpose of covering up what had occurred under Dr. Gilruth’s administration in recent years. Seeing that the people ‘there are anxious to have some say in the management of their own affairs, surely the’ Minister could have met their wishes by the constitution of some public body’, which would have enabled them to ventilate their grievances. In the past the chief complaint has been the consistently unsympathetic administration, resulting iri numbers of people being driven out of the Territory. I remember having read a report, in which certain statements were made about the class of people one meets with there-. “Well, I have met these people, and I realize that it was a mistake to encourage settlement from cold climates like that of Victoria or
Tasmania, instead of pioneers being recruited from Western Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales; The late Administrator broke the hearts- of these people, and I fear that his. policy will be continued under Mr. Carey’s directorship. The debate on the subject now before the Senate does not permit me to, say all that I would like to in support of the very serious statements which I have made, but I feel sure that if I were unrestricted by the scope of the motion I could justify everything that I have said.
– But do yon not think that the other members of the Advisory Council’ will influence Mr. Carey in his administration ?
– If they object to anything which he may, do,, they can only protest by word of mouth. He can snap his fingers at them, because* under the terms of this Ordinance, he is given supreme power.
– I have been on similar Committees, and I know how an organized feeling can influence others:
– The late Administrator knew the views of the populace during his term- of office, but when they conflicted with his own desires they received no consideration at all.
– But the other members of the Advisory Council will have some power.
– If the honorable senator will look at the Ordinance, he will find that no subject may be discussed at the meeting of the Council except with the chairman’s consent.
– I admit that;, but do you not think that the other members of the Council will have some influence over him?
– I do not think they will, because he has the power to go his own way, and he will do so, if we may judge by his past record.
– The other members of the Council will ,be’ representative of the various sections.
– But they will have ‘no power. When we realize what has been going on in the past, we must regard the position as dangerous. I ask the Minister to withdraw the Ordinance; because it will not satisfy the people of the Northern . Territory, and it will not bo of the slightest use. In fact, it will lead to autocratic control, and be retrogressive in comparison with the Ordinance of 1911. Surely, after an interval of eight years the Government will not seek to put upon the people of the Territory an even more autocratic form of rule. The citizens of that part of the Commonwealth have been gravely misrepresented. After the terrible things I had heard about the Territory, I found things, upon my visit, very different from what I might well have expected. I met men in all the various callings represented there. And it was not only the meat worker - with an axe, as depicted in the Bulletin - who was after Gilruth. At least 95 per cent, of the community were against him. Surely that must indicate that there was something really wrong. The people could no longer tolerate a continuation of his rule. But I fear that this Ordinance will confer upon his successor the power to carry on and prolong the evils of the past three or four years. In fact, if the Ordinance is put into effect, we shall be handing over the Territory to Vestey Brothers. They will have the power, through Mr. Carey, to secure just what they may desire, an precisely the same way in which they gained their ends during the regime of Dr. Gilruth. I cannot conceive of any honorable senator failing to view with concern the proposition of the Government for vesting such power in one individual.
I intend on a future occasion to say something respecting the Department itself, in Melbourne. It has been swallowing holus bolus every recommendation received from the administrative authority on the spot. If the party who has been appointed Chairman of the Council were a civil servant - had he been the Government Secretary - it would have been a different matter. That official had to do what Dr. Gilruth directed, or get out; yet he left the impression upon the minds of the people that he was not altogether subdued. That gentleman struck me as having some force of character, and I do not think he would unthinkingly, and with blind obedience, do everything Dr. Gilruth ordered. I fear, however, that Mr. Carey will do now as he did while under Dr. Gilruth. I am afraid that the power which will direct him will be the power wielded by Vestey Brothers. Mr. Atlee Hunt will receive Mr. Carey’s recommendations, and will agree with them, and will approvingly forward them to the Minister for authorization.
– Do you suggest that Vestey Brothers are the controllers of the Northern Territory?
– I remarked a few moments ago that that firm has a great hold of the Territory, and another three years under the proposed regime will give Vestey Brothers such a grip that they will be able to snap their fingers at the Government so long as they hold their pastoral leases. A’ few days before Christmas last I asked a question in -the Senate regarding whether the Minister had any knowledge of discontent in the Northern Territory. Senator Russell replied, on behalf of Mr. Glynn, that the Department knew of no discontent; that all the trouble it knew about had to do with a dispute regarding the price of beer. That reply, no doubt, was intended to make honorable senators laugh. I myself laughed, but for hardly the same rea.son as did other honorable senators, perhaps. If the Department in Melbourne was not aware that there was anything more seriously wrong than a dispute concerning the ,price of beer, then there waa something wrong in the Department itself. I am prepared to borrow a phrase of Senator Millen, and to say that if the chief responsible official at administrative headquarters had no .more information than that concerning the Territory, he must have been either a fool or a rogue. If the official did not know what was going on, he should have known ; and if he did know what has been occurring during the past three or four years, then he has no right to continue in occupation of the position which he fills to-day. One Minister after another during the past few years has accepted the advice to hand from Dr. Gilruth, which advice was originally received by that gentleman either direct from Vestey Brothers or in the interests of Vestey Brothers. On the contrary, every representation made by the people to the Minister has met with an unsatisfactory response. Honorable senators have good grounds for refusing to ratify this Ordinance.
– Supposing it is not ratified, Mr. Carey will still be there.
– The Government could bring in an Ordinance to provide for the constitution of a Board of Advice, whose members would be elected by the people on the basis of adult suffrage. Such a body, I admit, would possess power of advice only; but its recommendations, at any rate, would be made to the Director for forwarding to Melbourne, or would be sent direct to the Minister, and perhaps to members of the Federal Parliament. And if the Government were sensible it would not dare to refuse to entertain such representations, df they were at the same time duly ventilated here. The point is, however, that representations from the Territory cannot receive ventilation if they are not made, in the first place; and they are not made to-day because there are no opportunities for making them.
I trust that the Ordinance will be disallowed, not only in the interests of the Territory itself, but for the good of Australia as a whole, and for the honour of good government. We desire, even at this late stage, that the Territory shall be given a chance. 7/t is all very well to speak cf it as a white elephant and as a sink for public money. It has been so under the conditions which have ruled there - designed to make a failure of that Territory, and to retard its settlement. That is why I advise the Government to present an Ordinance which will constitute an Advisory Council upon the basis of adult suffrage. A Council of that character, I know, would not afford a great measure of self-government, but it would at least provide scope for the residents to voice their grievances and ventilate their wrongs - of which, unfortunately, they have only too many.
– I desire briefly to review the position with respect to the Northern Territory. Concerning much which has been said to-day of the possibilities of the Territory, I am in agreement. But the Ordinance is only a stop-gap, an attempt to bridge an immediate difficulty arising from the war. It was agreed, if not by the vote of Parment, yet by common consent, to go slow in that part of the Commonwealth ; which action, while very unfair to the Territory itself, was enforced by war conditions.
– Vestey Brothers have not been going slow.
– It was, unfortunately, necessary for the Government - for financial “ and other reasons - to go slow there. The very fact that a new system of administration has been promulgated may be accepted, to a large extent, as an apology for things that have happened in the past. With a good deal of what Senators Newland and Ferricks have said, I am in agreement. If we were setting out to confer independent government upon the Territory, I would agree also with their remarks regarding adult suffrage and the like; but so long as the Territory is without a Parliament, and has no institutions by which its citizens can wield control over its financial affairs, I do not see what better proposition can be advanced. The limited population of the Territory must not be forgotten as a factor. Its inhabitants number only 1,800 European adults; and not all of them are British or Australian born. No honorable senator present would care to give such a small body of citizens full power and freedom in connexion with the financial affairs of the Territory.
– I have said that I would not.
– That is so. Some one must be responsible. It has been the policy of the Government that the Commonwealth Parliament, through the Minister concerned, shall accept responsibility. We have not, as a matter of fact, seriously tackled the problem of the Territory ; but I hope that the day is not far distant when a real attempt will be made to thoroughly develop that portion of Australia. The Government do not propose, under this Ordinance, to create anything like an independent Council. The Minister must retain the responsibility, and this body will have no other than advisory powers. Senator Ferricks spoke of limitations; he stated that the unofficial members of the Council would have no powers of initiation. They will have powers of initiation, but those will be limited by the judgment of the chairmam. Surely honorable senators wilt not ask the Government to establish a body which might be in -direct conflict with the Federal Parliament, responsible as it is for the administration of the Territory !
– The- Council will be of very little use there, sometimes, unless it is in conflict with this Parliament.
– Let us suggest, for example, that the “Council discussed compulsory military training in its application to the Territory. Such a subject as” that must remain within the full con.trol of this- Parliament. Suppose that the Council wanted to raise a loan of £5,000,00© for the Territory.
– What would be the position, if the people favoured the construction of a railway into Queensland!, and the Government preferred that it should be built vid Oodnadatta?
– If the Government desired advice with respect to the route of” a railway, it would seek the opinions of the Council… I hope and expect that some day,, with great expansion, there will be a Parliament in the Territory the members of. which will be elected upon the basis of adult suffrage,, and which will control local affairs- just as the various State Parliaments control State, affairs to-day. I do not want a body with unlimited power, and one that will assume the right to discuss national questions with a view to- giving advice to the Government. Senator Newland suggests that the returned, soldiers should have representation.
– Oh, no! I said that they should have the chance if they wanted it.
– If we gave the right of’ representation to returned1 soldiers in any Council for the Northern Territory, we equally should give that right to special representation to returned soldiers in this Parliament. I do not believe the returned! soldiers want special representation’ in any of our public institutions, but they want the full rights of every other citizen in connexion with powers of election. This is a big advance, because previously there was a nominee Council-.
– This is worse.
– Four members are now elected to represent special interests. The mining representative is to be selected by the leaseholders and those possessing miners’ rights in the Northern Territory. It was impossible to have a selection made by the pastoralists, owing to their interests being so scattered, but when they are ready they will be allowed to submit the name of a nominee to the Minister. The Labour interests in the Territory are to be represented by a- nominee chosen by a plebiscite.. The alternative’ is an election on adult suffrage, and the question is. open to. debate whether we should have the interests represented in a small community controlled by a body elected in. tha way I have described or oil adult- suffrage Senator Ferricks knows,, and we all know, what would happen if we elected, a .Council on the basis of adult suffrage.. It would mean that the Port Darwin- community would run- the whole show), and that, the outside interests would be totally unprotected. It is the desire of the Government to preserve some representation for the miners- oat-back, for the1 pastoralists, and for1 the various other sections’. The Ordinance is- different, also, in- this regard from that which is- being repealled, because the previous Council1 was comprised of civil servants.
-. - The representatives of the different industries will be in a minority.
– I do not think the members of the Council will want todiscuss political questions, and I take it that the matters to be - considered and decided will be largely questions relating to business, and entirely non-political.
– Would- not Port Darwin have an undue preponderance of votes?
– Yes ; but others would have a voice.
– Is not that a somewhat dangerous- argument to use, seeing that you are a Victorian ?
– I have received more votes in the country than from the city.
– It could be said that Melbourne is a dominating factor.
– Perhaps it is more by good luck than anything else that we generally get varied interests represented in a Parliament of this sort; but such would not be the case in a small community like Papua or the Northern Territory. This is an Advisory Council and not a legislative body, and it is not expected to carry the responsibility which rightly belongs to the Minister for Home and Territories. Certainly some trappings will disappear, and I do not think that any of us regard that with displeasure. I would like tosee a wider extension in this direction,as it would be the means of saving a good deal of money.Whilst the Minister is responsible I do not see how we can have any other system. We cannot delegate the whole of the power to the Administrator of the Territory. Possibly we might get a man who was bornforthe job, and one to whom we couldgive unlimited powers ; but, judging by the few men we havebeen able to get for these positions in the past, that is not likely. I do not speak in a derogatory sense. The wide powers previously given to the Administrator of the Northern Territory were mot acceptable to the local people. I do not think Mr. Carey is to blame, as he has simply done what any honorable senator in this chamber would have done. Vesteys recognised a capable man, and as such individuals do not grow on mulberry trees, they offered him a higher salary than the Government were prepared to offer, and he transferred his services.
– And now the Government offer a higher salary, and he has transferred again.
– The Government realizethat until we stabilize our financial position it is not possible to go in for any extensive developmental policy in the Northern Territory. We have first to ascertain our financial position after the war, and later we will endeavour to be big for once. We cannot besure of the future of Australia until we clear up after the war.
– You will have to reckon with Vestey Brothers.
– Do not make any mistake about that. No one is prepared at the present time to vote money for the development of the Northernor any other Territory.
– You are giving Vesteys a good go.
– I do not know much, about Vesteys; but from reports it appears that they are the only people who are doing anything to develop the Northern Territory. If they are endeavouring to secure a monopoly, I am going to oppose them.
– If you vote for this Ordinance you are giving it to them.
– Not at all. Parliament may provide for direct representation in our Commonwealth Parliament; but I do notthink any one will say that the people of the Territoryare entitled to a direct representative.
– The representation of the various parts of the Commonwealth hasalready been provided for in the Constitution ; but perhaps a system could be arranged whereby a northern Queensland member could have the Northern Territory tacked on to his constituency. It might mean that such amembermight takemore than a passinginterest in its affairs ;but I do not think it can be done underour Constitution. If we were to do that in connexion with the Territory, we would be compelled to do it for other parts of the Commonwealth with a similar population. Strong objection was taken to section 5 by two honorable senators, and, personally, I do not think that section expresses what was really intended. The object of the section was to srive the Minister power to appoint additional representatives for any special interests for a short period. Under present conditions the position is very unsatisfactory, particularly in the case of an industrial dispute. I had theexperience of handling one, and I found it very difficult to secure a neutral mind anywhere. If the parties concerned did not object to the Judge, there was always some one else to whom they objected. It is difficult, sitting at the end of a wire in Melbourne, to administer the affairs of the Northern Territory. In connexion with one dispute, there were fifteen suggestions, and as rapidly as new ones were brought. forward they were altered; it was difficult to get an independent mind. Before a decision could be arrived at, we were always sure to meet with opposition from the- other side. The object of the section is to give power, in connexion with industrial disputes, to appoint a local representative on the Council. It may be desirable to ask the manager of Vestey Brothers, as well as the secretary of the Australian Workers Union, to confer at the council table when industrial disputes arise. I believe in round table conferences, and the principle of bringing the contesting parties closely together. If parties conferred more, there would be fewer disputes, as very often the difficulties are not so great, and can usually be overcome when discussed in a business-like way. I do not know Mr. Carey very well, because I met him only on one occasion for a short time, but he went from here, not with the power to originate a policy, but to carry out his duties as working administrator under Dr. Gilruth. As an officer, Mr. Carey had no responsibility other than the carrying on of his work under instructions from his superior officer. Where questions of policy were involved, he may have had his own opinions, and there was nothing immoral in carrying out a policy - although it may have been contrary to his own - of his superior officer.
– Under Dr. Gilruth’s administration, any man who did not knuckle down to him had to leave the Territory.
– I do not think that. If Dr. Gilruth had asked Mr. Carey to do anything that was corrupt, and he had done what was asked, I would be one of the first to repudiate has actions, but there is no evidence of anything of the kind having occurred. He had to carry out the instructions of Dr. Gilruth. I do not know what he has done; but it is unfair to say that he has done anything wrong unless it can be proved.
– Absolutely. He was a tool of Dr. Gilruth’s.
– For corrupt purposes ?
– All sorts of purposes.
– I would like something more definite than that.
The Ordinance may not be perfect, but it goes as far as I think we ought to go until such time as a clear-cut national policy for the development of the Northern Territory is submitted, and that, I hope, will be in the not far distant future. With regard to the various functions carried out by Mr. Carey, I believe that Ministers of the Commonwealth hold as many titles and carry out as many functions, though the business connected with them may not occupy more than an hour or two in a day. In the case of a great m,any of the positions held by Mr. Carey, the work involved was merely clerical administration under Dr. Gilruth. The work, for instance, to be done by. this officer as Director of the Botanical Gardens and under other titles might not occupy more than a few hours in a year. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) has to perform certain functions under sixty or seventy different titles. I have had to do the same myself. I was Minister in charge of flax. I had never grown flax, but I had the advantage of the advice of a good scientific committee, who did all the work. It may be that once in three months I signed certain documents or an Order in Council, but I did not on that account profess to be running the flax industry of Australia, although I was nominally responsible ‘for the way in which the industry was conducted. In a place like the Northern Territory one officer will necessarily have charge of a great many different matters. He may be Director of Lighthouses, and, as possibly there is only one lighthouse at Port Darwin, he would not have very much work to do in that position. In the circumstances, it is to the credit, rather than the discredit, of Mr. Carey that he was appointed to all these positions, as that indicates his administrative ability.
I do not put the Ordinance forward as a perfect instrument of government, and I do not desire to force it upon honorable senators. The government of a country is a very serious matter, and this Ordinance is not submitted in a party spirit. It ds our desire to secure the best form of government possible for the Northern Territory. If honorable senators wish to go into the matter thoroughly, I am prepared to listen to any suggestions they may make, and if they desire further time for the consideration of the matter, I am willing that a little more time should be given for that purpose. As an Australian, I have felt that we have not been doing sufficient to develop the Northern Territory as it ought to be developed. When the financial strain, due to the war, is at an end, I shall be prepared to assist in the fullest development of the Territory, and in securing for it the most democratic form of government that can be proposed. It appears to me that we should hesitate to confer very wide powers of government upon any body in the Northern Territory, where there is such a small white population, the members of which, unfortunately, are not all British. If they were all British, we might take a more liberal view of the powers with which they might be intrusted.
I hope that honorable senators, in discussing the Ordinance, will not . go at length into what individuals may have done in the past. None of us have done well by the Northern Territory, and it is not to the credit even of this Parliament that it should remain in its present undeveloped condition. We all recognise that Australia cannot expect to continue to hold an unoccupied Territory without developing it. There is room for great development in the Northern Territory, and I hope that we shall be in a position to insure its development by white men.
– Honorable senators are under obligations to Senator Newland for bringing this matter up for discussion. I listened with great interest to the speech delivered by Senator Ferricks. I agree with Senator Newland that it would have been better if this Ordinance had been brought before us in the form of a Bill. I take it that we have to accept it or reject it as it stands. We cannot amend it. On this account Senator Newland has complained that it has been brought before us in a rather undemocratic way. Perhaps the Minister has submitted it in this way in order to save time. It may be that there is not a great deal in the appointment of a Council of Advice, and, personally, I think there is not, but the difficulty is to suggest anything to take its place. I assume that in discussing the Ordinance, even though1 we should reject it, our idea is to let the Government know what we think should take its place. Senators Newland and Ferricks have, at considerable length and with a good deal of ability, discussed the Ordinance, and we are indebted to them for doing so. I point out that each has made one suggestion to take the place of the Ordinance under discussion, and these suggestions differ from each other. Senator Newland suggests that there should be direct representation of the Northern Territory in this Parliament by two members in the House of Representatives and one senator in this chamber. Not bad representation for about 4,000 European residents. I do not know whether the Constitution would permit of the representation of the Territory by one senator in this chamber. Senator Ferricks suggests that there should be an elected Council of Advice. Those are the only two alternative suggestions which have been made, if we reject the Ordinance. I confess that at the ,present time I cannot see my way to support Senator Newland’s proposal that the Territory should have two representatives in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate.
– The honorable senator would not agree that it should have one representative?
– At the present time I do not think that I would agree that it should have even one representative.
– The honorable senator says that it should have no direct representation here?
– Not in the circumstances. Senator Ferricks proposes that there should be an elected Council, of Advice.
– That is. the proposal of the people of the Territory themselves.
– I understand that it is. The. honorable senator does not suggest that the elected Council should be any more than a Board of Advice.
– That is so.
– The honorable senator has put the suggestion before the Senate in a reasonable way. He knows that we cannot have the people of the Northern Territory spending money in accordance with their desires unless they are prepared to raise that money. If they wish to spend money which they raise themselves-, I shall offer no objection.
– They want the power of recommendation.
– They are all paying taxes.
– That is so; butwhat is raised in revenue in the Northern Territory will not compare with the Government expenditure’ there. If the people of the Northern Territory were satisfied that no more should be spent there than they raised themselves, the position would be different. I should like to know whether Senator Ferricks, or anybody else, would take the trouble of going through an election in the Northern. Territory to secure a position upon a Council which would have only the power to advise.
– I think that the people of the. Northern Territory -would jump at it.
– Perhaps they would, but we know what elections are, and that a candidate probably knows more about himself after an election is finished than he did when he started. Senator Ferricks proposes that people should go to the trouble of an election to secure a position upon a Council with the power only to advise, and whose advice may be turned down.
– The honorable senator will admit that in any recommendation of such a Council the Minister would have a very strong indication of’ public- opinion in. the Northern Territory..
– I admit that he would.
– If he turned aside too many of the recommendations of the Council there might be trouble.
– Even though I might admit that the Minister would have pressure brought to bear, upon him through recommendations of an elected Council of Advice, I remind Senator Ferricks that, he would not be dependent upon the votes of people in the Northern Territory for his position in Cabinet or as a. member of this Parliament.
– They have no votes, and therefore! it does not matter; they can go hang !
– It is obvious that the Minister has: to depend upon support in the Senate and in another place. He may say that he is- rather favorable to what is proposed by the Council of Advice, but could not carry their proposal through this Parliament.,
– That has nothing to do with the matter.
– It seems to me that, it has a. very important bearing- upon it. Even Senator Ferricks is not prepared to ask for- anything more than a Council of Advice. The difficulty I am. in is- that the Ordinance is placed before us and we must accept or- reject it, whilst none of the proposals so far made seem to me to be satisfactory alternatives for what the Government have proposed. In thecircumstances, I feel that I must supportthe Ordinance as it stands.
– Bad though, it is.
– Yes, simply because I know of nothing better suggested to replace it. One point raised by Senator. Ferricks rather strengthens one objection I have to what the Government are doing. Honorable senators have complained that the Government havehanded over the Northern Territory to the Administrator or to Mr. Carey, as Director, under existing conditions.
– That is what the Ordinance amounts to.
– No. Whether the Ordinance be agreed to or not, the position will not be greatly altered. I am. not here to say a word .against Mr. Carey. I do not know -enough of him to say a word against him. I have to take the responsibility of appointing Dr. Gilruth as Administrator of the Northern Territory, and I believe that he was a very able and energetic Administrator.
– Did the honorable senator believe that?
– I did, or I would not have appointed him.
– Does the honor able senator believe that now ?
– I do believe that he was able and energetic, and I -also believe that he was an honest man. I still believe that, but I am prepared to admit that I think he was not well qualified ‘to handle men, as he lacked a certain amount of tact.
– He was just a little too blunt.
– That may be; but no one can question his ability, his energy, or his zeal for the progress of the Northern ‘Territory.
– I do.. I say that he was out for Number One and Vesteys all the time he was there.
– I still hold to my opinion of him. I do mot know sufficient about Mr. Carey to say whether he is likely to make a good, bad, or indifferent Administrator. But it is extremely unfortunate that the Government should have lowered the prestige attaching to his office. His predecessor, Dr. Gilruth, was paid a salary of £1,750 a year, together with an allowance of £500. Now the Government 9ay that £1,000 a year is a sufficient salary, and I understand that, in addition, they intend allocating to the newly appointed director of the Territory a sum of £70 annually, either for entertainment purposes or to cover the rental of his residence. These facts suggest that Ministers are losing faith in the Northern, Territory. I .was very glad indeed to hear Senator Newland say that the last report of Dr. Gilruth waa of a most optimistic character. I am pleased to note the way in which the Territory has developed during the past year or two. If Mr. Carey is the proper man for the position to which he has been ap pointed, he certainly ought not to receive a less salary than his predecessor. If the mere reduction in the salary attaching bo any. office is the .only way in which the Government oan economize, the position is, indeed, a peculiar one. Let me point to the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank by way of analogy. A Labour Government appointed Mr. Miller, Governor of that institution at a salary of £4,000 per year. Now, I believe that a manager could be obtained to run it for £1,500 a year, and doubtless the services of other _ managers could be secured for a salary of £600 a year.
– Where would they run it?
– Exactly ; that is my point. I do mot think that £4,000 a year is too much to pay ito the .Governor of the Commonwealth Bank. In my opinion, Mr. Dennison Miller is worth every penny of it. So if the Government appointed a man in his place at .a salary of £2,000 annually, would that be true economy? No one would think so for a minute. 1
Then, I take it that .to .attempt ‘to manage the affairs of the Northern Territory from Melbourne is one of the biggest farces imaginable. Senator Ferricks spoke of the Government being controlled by a single person in the Territory. Whilst I occupied the .position of Minister for External Affairs, to a very great extent that was the position. I may have .been wrong in my selection of a gentleman to fill the post of Administrator, but I had implicit trust in him, and consequently I said to him, “ Go to the Northern Territory and see what you can do with it, and, as far as possible, I will support you.” That is the position which I took up. Now the present Minister for Home and Territories (Mr. Glynn), amongst other things, writes quite a lot of pamphlets. The writing of these pamphlets occupies a great deal of his time.
– Unlike the PostmasterGeneral, he does not write poetry.
– Some of his pamphlets are very poetic. If the Government did not think that Dr. Gilruth -was the proper man to fill the post of Administrator, they should have dismissed him.
– Does not the honorable ‘Senator think that, after Mr. Atlee Hunt had gone to the Territory and had a general look round, he should have been in a position to form an opinion as -to the wisdom or otherwise of the recommendations sent down to Melbourne by Dr. Gilruth?
– The man who is on the spot all the time ought certainly to be a better judge of things than the individual who is there for only a fortnight. If I were a director of a mining company, I would look around for a mining manager whom I could trust. When, I lost confidence in him, I would dismiss him.
– The honorable senator did not proceed on those lines, or lie would never have sent Dr. Gilruth to the Northern Territory from New Zealand.
– He did not go to the Territory from New Zealand, but from Melbourne.
– He practically went from New Zealand. He had not been long in Melbourne when he was appointed Administrator.
– I took up precisely the stand which I have indicated.
– Does not the honorable senator think that a man who had’ had experience in the tropical portions of New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia would have been more likely to prove a successful Administrator than Dr. Gilruth?
– I may have chosen the wrong man for the position, but, having selected him, I sent him to the Territory with full confidence in him.
– The appointment contradicts the honorable senator’s statement that if he had shares in a mining company he would look around for a mining man. He would look round for a dairy farmer.
– I regret that the Government should have lowered the prestige attaching to the position of Ad ministrator by appointing a man to succeed Dr. Gilruth at a decreased salary, and evidently with the idea of managing the affairs of the Territory from Melbourne. I have listened attentively to the objections which have been urged to this particular Ordinance. I think that Senator Ferricks made a very fair point in his condemnation of the provisions of section S of it. Under that section nothing can come before the Council of Advice unless with the chairman’s consent. That is rather a pity. Whilst T do not think that the Council need waste time in discussing political questions, there may be some matters which the people of the Territory earnestly desire should be brought before it. After all, the Council is created purely for advisory purposes, and the Government are tinder no obligation to accept its advice.
– Why did not the honorable senator give them a better Council? There was a worse Council of Advice than that which is proposed during the time, that he occupied the position of Minister for Home Affairs.
– 1 was in office for only eighteen months. There, was then in existence a Council which had been elected some time previously.
– ‘Composed of six public servants.
– Surely the VicePresident cf the Executive Council did not expect me to alter matters the day after I became Minister.
– Not in eighteen months ?
– That Council, I believe, met only once. We have either to accept this Ordinance as a whole, or reject it. I am prepared to vote for it, with a view to seeing whether it is likely to accomplish any good.
– To my mind, there is no reason why the Government should not consent to withdraw this Ordinance, in order that it may be made to conform somewhat to modern ideas. Under it, Ministers propose to entirely ignore the views of a majority of the residents of the Northern Territory, and to place in the hands of a single official the power to make recommendations to the authorities in Melbourne. The proposal is that the Council of Advice shall consist of a chairman and seven members - three official and three non-official members. The appointments, I take it, are to be made by the Minister. Would it not be far better if the people of Port Darwin were allowed to elect their own Council, as suggested by Senator Ferricks, on the basis of its adult population? Such a Council would be able to make recommendations which could either be accepted or rejected by the Minister. But as matters stand, the Minister will elect whom he thinks fit to the Council of Advice, and later on a number of other gentlemen will be nominated to it. In other words, the will of the people will have no play whatever. Seeing that the Council has no legislative authority whatever, but will be possessed merely of the power of recommendation, of what is the Minister afraid? Why does he not agree to the withdrawal of the Ordinance, in order that it may be recast upon lines which will permit of the election of a Council of Advice upon an adult population basis? If effect were given to my suggestion, it does not necessarily follow that the residents of Port Darwin would dominate the Council. As a matter of fact, it might result in the election to that body of persons representing all the interests of the Territory. This Parliament, for example, is elected on an adult suffrage basis, and yet all the interests of the Commonwealth are represented in it. Why, then, does the Minister fear that a Council of Advice, elected upon similar lines, would not faithfully represent all the interests of the Territory? This Ordinance clearly indicates that it is the intention of the Government to ignore the will of a majority of the people of the Territory, and to insure that certain interests shall have undue representation upon the proposed Advisory Council. When these gentlemen meet, they will make recommendations to the Minister in their own interests) and, armed with this authority, the Minister will formulate’ new Ordinances, and still further strengthen the autocratic hand of the Director. I have not yet had an opportunity of visiting Darwin. It is a great pity that all members of this Parliament do not take advantage of the facilities offering to make themselves personally acquainted with that portion of Australia. If they visited the Territory they would be in a better .position to give an expression of opinion regarding the situation than can possibly be given from the perusal of annual reports drafted by the Administrator. These reports are long enough, but not very many of them are interesting, and certainly they do not contain that information which one could gain at firs) hand by visiting the Territory.. The time has long since gone by when any Parliament should agree to the creation of a body of this kind. No one will suggest that this Advisory Council will faithfully represent the people of Darwin, and I, for one, am not prepared to vote for the Ordinance. I hope it will be withdrawn, and that the Minister will present one which will more faithfully coincide with the views of honorable senators as disclosed in the course of this debate. If this is done there will be nothing to retard the progress of the Northern Territory, because the people then will have some degree of responsibility, whereas at present they have no voice in the election of members to this Council. It may be inopportune at the present time, though I doubt it, to extend to the people of Darwin absolute home rule. I think they are prepared for it, and I believe it will have to be granted them in the future. The sooner the position is faced the better.
I do not know what is best to be done for the Territory, because I am unable from a perusal of the annual reports to get all the information I desire. I should like to know how the country is held, who holds it, under what terms it is leased, and for how long the leases will be operative. I am informed that the stations there are so large that their boundaries are “defined, not in the ordinary way, but by the parallels of latitude. If it is profitable to occupy the Territory in this way, and I have no doubt it is, we may be quite sure that this new Advisory Council will not remedy the position, because the public interests will be, to a large extent, ignored. I appeal to the Minister to review the position, and by a new Ordinance allow the people of Darwin the right to elect members to the Advisory Council. It has been suggested by Senator Thomas that they would not take the trouble to conduct an election. That is one of the greatest mistakes that honorable senator has made for a considerable time. We know that elections for the British Parliament are invariably keenly contested, and that tens of thousands of pounds are spent for the honour of’ assisting in making the laws of the Mother Country. The same may be said of elections to the municipal councils in Australia. In very many cases large sums of money are expended by candidates for the honour, not of legislating, but of administering, the laws given to them by the State Parliaments. There need be no fear about an election for members of the Advisory Council in Darwin not being keenly contested. On the contrary, I think- that practically every man there would be anxious to exercise the franchise, and if this right were given to them we would have the satisfaction of knowing that their representatives would not be the creatures of two or three men away in the back-blocks, or of certain vested interests, but that they would be men, and possibly women, elected by the votes of the adult population. I understand the Territory comprises about 500,000 square miles of country, which is bound to be developed in the future, but we may be sure that no progress will be made if it is tied up with regulations suggested by an Advisory Council nominated by the Minister, .or by some other person. For these reasons, I ask the Minister to with- - draw the Ordinance, review the situation, realize that public opinion is progressing, and that everywhere there is a demand for’ home rule. Although there is but a small community in the Northern . Territory, the sooner we extend to them some real measure of home rule the better it’ will be foi- this -Parliament, for the Territory, !and the Common wealth.
Senator PRATTEN (New South Wales’ [5.44]. - I did not intend to join in this debate, but it seems to me- that, although the immediate matter brought up by Senator Newland does not appear to- be of supreme importance, we are really engaged in discussing the future of the northern part of Australia. I listened with interest to the speeches -made by other honorable senators, and I take it that the two principal points involved are, firstly, that the new Director of the Northern Territory, Mr. Carey, will practically continue the Gilruth regime; and, secondly, that the Advisory Council, as. proposed in this Ordinance, will -be dominated by the new Director. There has been a great paucity of imagination in connexion with the administration of the Northern Territory, and this so-called reform. I have had the privilege of visiting Darwin on more than one occasion,’ and on my last visit was struck with the wa>nt of .progress in the years that had intervened. Certainly there was a big meat .works establishment, erected at a cost of possibly . £750,000, and many hundreds of aliens - ‘Greeks and Russians - had been added to the population; but I saw no signs of real progress. If this Chamber disallows the Ordinance, and it goes back to the Home and Territories Department, it will indicate that, in the opinion of the Senate, it is high time some imagination was shown in connexion with the development of the Territory. I have held the view for a long time that those who keep must develop. The time is rapidly approaching when we shalT have to view this matter from an international stand-point; when we will have to get to work on the development of the science of aviation as related to the Northern Territory.
Those who know the Territory best must be driven to the conclusion that practical development may be looked for from two industries, viz., mining and cattle raising. It is highly probable that in that vast area there are a good many potential centres of mining activity, which could be developed with a progressive policy. We know that men ‘ will brave the cold of Klondyke, the heat of Central Africa, or the rigours of Siberia,or any other part of .the world in their search for gold or precious minerals, and I believe that if a progressive policy were adopted by the Minister and the organizations in control in the Northern Territory, we would record some extremely payable mining developments there. We Know, however, that the Bolshevik tendencies of some of the people there constitute one of the chief difficulties.
– Cut that out.
– Well’, shall T say the revolutionary tendencies of some of the people as demonstrated in recent years? I, for one, will not stand for giving any of those unnaturalized aliens the franchise, or any control in the government of the Territory; but I think that some measure of home rule might be extended to that part of Australia.
– You would ask them quickly enough to fight for the Territory.
– I am satisfied that none of those aliens will lift a finger to fight for the Territory, or anything else; but. I think some measure of home rule, some compromise developed on the principles of this Ordinance, .would be beneficial. I appreciate . to the full the very many difficulties that have been encountered by the Government in the development’ of that part of Australia, which has been a 6ink, . speaking from memory, for the expenditure of about £250,000 per annum. If we had an imaginative policy - a progressive and liberal policy - in connexion with the Territory, now would be the time to show activity, seeing that we have some chance of development when the population of Australia is being so largely augmented. I shall support the motion for the purpose of remitting the Ordinance to the Department concerned. I will not stand for the continuation of the dictatorship experienced under the regime of Dr. Gilruth. I will not stand for giving the Director further dictatorship, such as this Ordinance would confer. It is time the Department of Home and Territories presented some schemes-it need be merely a skeletonic proposal - for discussion by this Parliament in the interests of the true development of the Territory. I can quite understand Senator Thomas being some what on the horns of a dilemma at this moment, seeing that at one time he had Ministerial control of the Territory, and was concerned in the appointment of Dr. Gilruth. Probably he is unable to entirely rid himself of the shackles which, were then upon him. I hope the motion, will be agreed to, if only for the reason that Parliament should not be content to continue the tactics of the past, and will not be satisfied to shut its eyes to what is going on in the Territory. The people of that part of the Commonwealth are entitled to a measure of home rule, but such home rule cannot be expected to include the voting and expenditure of money or any dabbling with the politics of this Parliament. I do not believe that 4,000 people resident in the Territory have the right to claim Federal representation. We know full well that at election, time it would be almost impossible for more than half of the votes of citizens to be polled, seeing that about half of the total population is scattered over hundreds of thousands of square miles, and that the polling would be almost entirely confined to residents in and about Port Darwin.
.- I do not know that we have gained a great deal from the present discussion, seeing that the . suggestions offered have not sought to provide a real remedy for the ills which afflict the Territory. I listened ‘ to the remarks of Senators Newland and Ferricks, and, while I believe that their statements are correct, I am not convinced that the way in which we may solve the difficulties existing there would be by allowing the few citizens of those parts to send one or two representatives into this Legislature. They would bring all the parochial matters of the Territory into the Federal Parliament, and we have quite enough of that sort of thing as it is.
The real grievance is not so much in regard to representation as in respect to the need for good local administration. Even if representation in Shis Parliament were conferred, there would still be an Administrator necessary, who would possess more or less autocratic powers.
– The stumbling block does not lie in the Territory itself; it is to be met with in this Parliament.
– I cannot admit that this Parliament is a stumbling block to the welfare of the Territory. All the statements which have been so far made have had to do with the usurpation of powers by the Administrator or of the exercise of his powers in a wrong direction. The Federal Parliament would not solve such difficulties even if it permitted twenty representatives of the Territory to enter this Legislature. There is something practical in the suggestion for the establishment of an elective local Council. I have some friends in the Territory, who have been following various mining interests. They have informed me that there is an element in that, part of the Commonwealth which constitutes a source of danger, not only to itself, but to everybody resident there. I refer to the alien element, which is not in harmony with the Democracy of Australia. If we were to confer adult suffrage, with direct representation upon an elective Council at Port Darwin, the interests of the Territory itself would be swamped, generally speaking, and Darwin would rule. I am anxious to witness genuine development, and, while I do not see that the Ordinance will bring about ideal conditions, I believe that- it will be a step towards improvement. No better proposition has” been offered for the solution of the Territory’s difficulties. I know that an elected body, possessing limited powers, would probably represent a progressive step; but I am of opinion that the Ordinance itself provides a better scheme than that suggested by Senator Ferricks. The various interests of the Territory will be represented upon the Council.
– Representation of the various interests would exist in an elected body.
– The position would not be the same. In fact, it would be difficult to give such representation then. You cannot have adult suffrage and at the same time grant representation of interests. There must be majority rule where adult suffrage is the law. The proposition for the representation of various interests is really the best suggestion so far offered.
– It would be all right if the representatives of the various interests had any power.
– The Administrator, whoever he may be, will have the Council around him. Its members will be able to discuss such questions as the Administrator may permit. It will be very largely a matter of the individual himself, and not of the-powers which the Council may or may not possess. If the Director is sane and sensible, and truly desires to develop the Territory, he will allow the Council to ventilate matters aimed at the development of the Territory, and intended for the solution of the grievances of the people; but if he is an autocrat, such as Dr. Gilruth, there will be trouble. I trust that the Government will pay close attention to the subjects coming before the Council for discussion, and that if it should -appear that the Chairman is using his powers to block the legitimate ventilation of grievances, and to thwart- the genuine desires of the people, his powers will be limited or taken, away from -him. At present, I am walling to give my support to the Ordinance by way of experiment.
I rose chiefly to emphasize a point raised by Senator Ferricks; that is with regard ‘to the number of leases which have been given away. The Territory to-day is practically in the hands of a few land-holders. A friend of mine departed from a certain Queensland centre som’e time ago as the representative of a community of settlers in one of the best of our agricultural districts. Beginning his activities from Cloncurry, my friend, together with another gentleman, fitted out a team at a cost of £250. Then he set out to investigate the Territory lands on behalf of the community whom he was leaving behind, and who were almost all determined to follow ‘him. Ere he set out, he and his associates secured all the data available. They perused all the maps which they could lay their hands upon, but found that the whole of these were of very little use. My friend entered the Territory armed with such information. ‘as he could gather; he journeyed from one waterhole to another, and examined the land around every water frontage that he had heard about. Everywhere, however, right from the Queensland border to Darwin itself, he discovered that the pick of the Territory, containing all the water, had been taken up by some one else - by Vestey Brothers.
– By Vestey Brothel’s u’nder different names.
– The whole of the money subscribed by that little community of pioneers was wasted, and all the people behind ray friend in his investigations had to be disappointed. Not one settler went to the Territory, for the reason that all Ohe water frontages had been, taken up. My friend did not let the matter drop at that stage, however. He travelled to Melbourne and fought the question out with the Department. He was able to point out that the maps in the possession of the Home and Territories office were of little more value than so many blank sheets of papere. The officials obviously had no conception even of the number of leases granted, much less with respect to the nature and the number and the situation of the various sources of water supply. They did not realize that all the water frontages had been leased away. The administration of the Territory, so far, in relation to the issue of pastoral leases, has been most unfortunate. I have’ taken a keen interest in the Territory for years, and have discussed its welfare and development with people who possess first-hand knowledge aud experience, either as cattle men or miners, or the like. I am convinced that the manner in which leases have been given away has proved anything but good for the Territory. If we are going to push on with settlement, something urgent and drastic must be done in respect to those leases. In the instance which I have- munitioned, some twenty or thirty families would have taken up holdings, but that they found that vested interests had already secured the sources of water supply. It would not have paid those settlers to take up dry country and spend their money in putting down bores merely on “spec.”
– The trouble is, too, that Vestey Brothers, having got hold of the water frontages, are unhindered in their usage of all the country behind, for the reason that there is no one else prepared to take up that country. No one would think of taking leases behind the water frontages, owing to the absence of that vital necessity, water.
– Yes. The Ordinance is a step in the right direction. I know nothing about Mr. Carey, but I am convinced that, unless the Director is in sympathy with the people, and at heart desires to assist in .the development of the Territory, all the Ordinances which can be framed, and everything that we may say here, wall make not one iota of difference.
.- I intend to support . the motion. One might well believe, when reading this Ordinance, that one was (perusing the Constitution of the legislative Council of Victoria. The Department which promulgated the Ordinance must have been delving into the musty old tomes of fifty years ago. Whilst I am a representative of the people, I intend speaking on their behalf. The Government should be concerned in the working of the Territory, and we should have the means in this Parliament .of ascertaining what is really in the minds of the people living there. The Ordinance under review does not make any provision at all in that direction. We have appointments all made hy the Government, and everybody knows that the Government are likely to have a Council of people of their own political opinions. This Council will be ruled by the Government, notwithstanding the opinions expressed by their advisers. Members of this Parliament are so far removed from the Northern Territory, and the means of communication are so inadequate, that members have not the opportunity of becoming conversant with the actual conditions. We have to rely on the information we receive from the residents there. The Council of Advice should have on it representatives of the people who are earning their living there and expecting to permanently settle in that part of the country. I have no objection to the first three nominees mentioned in the Ordinance being appointed by the Government, but the other four should be elected by the residents of the Territory. The Administrator may be a smart and able man, but he is not to be there for the term of his natural life; he is merely a Government servant, who will . later on be looking for a lucrative appointment in some more salubrious part of the Commonwealth. The Administrator may be an honest man ; but he is not as well qualified to conduct affairs in that part of the country as those who are familiar with its conditions. Under this Ordinance all of the members of the Council are to be nominated by the Government.
– The Ordinance says the Governor-General in Council, and surely that means the same thing. It should provide that four of the nominees should be elected by the people on the same lines as we are elected to this Parliament. We cannot accept this Ordinance and at the same time satisfy those people who are directly concerned. There is a most outrageous provision in the Ordinance, which reads -
Any member may at any meeting submit in writing a question which he desires to be discussed at that meeting, but the question shall not be so discussed unless the chairman consents thereto.
Could we have anything stronger than that? One man can stop any matter being discussed’ in any shape or form, and the chairman is to be the “ King G “ of the whole position. If the chairman of the Advisory Council happens to disagree with the views of the whole of the people, his word is to be law. Such a provision would not be allowed elsewhere, and yet this comes along as a proposal from a democratic Government.
– Has not the President sometimes prevented you from discussing matters?
– Yes, but we can move to dissent from his rulings. The Government cannot expect a Parliament elected as we are to pass such an Ordinance. We are elected by the people of Australia, whose every votehas the same value. It is our duty to see that the people in this fardistant part of Australia have a fair deal. The settlers in the Northern Territory are real pioneers, and are endeavouring to develop what we hope will some day be a tremendous asset to Australia. I believe that, up to now, the. possibilities of development in that country have not been the concern of the Government or of the people of the Territory so much as they have been of private individuals. The people must have an opportunity of expressing their desires and aspirations to the Government of the Commonwealth, and the best means of doing this would be by, direct representation in this Parliament.
– Would you favour them having six senators?
– No, but they should have representation.
– They should be represented as a Territory and not as a State.
– The people in the Territory are depending upon the individual efforts of members in this or the other House, who may or may not have some interest in their requirements. Their only opportunity of ventilating their grievances is through representatives of other parts of the Commonwealth, an’dthat is. not a fair position. As the Constitution will not allow the Territory to be directly represented in this Parliament the next best thing is for them to have representation through the people elected in their own part of the country, but this Ordinance does not provide even that. It is my intention to vote against the measure and every other provision that the Government bring along until satisfactory arrangements are made for the wants of these people being brought before Parliament in the proper manner. Most of us were particularly dissatisfied with the Parliaments of Australia until the interests of the people were properly represented.
– Some people are very dissatisfied now.
– Yes, and they have reason to be when the Government bring forward such a proposition as this, which I sincerely hope will not be passed.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [6.15]. - As a South Australian member I naturally take particular interest in the Northern Territory, more especially because it was attached to South Australia, and was a part of a district I represented for a number of years. Looking at the Ordinance, it is puzzling to me to know why it was promulgated or where it leads. Provision is made to allow the Minister to consult with the officials in the Northern Territory, hut he can do that without any special Ordinance of this kind. I would welcome any provision that would place the affairs of the Northern Territory in a better position than they are to-day. A good many years ago I was a member of a Royal Commission, consisting of members of the South Australian Parliament, that went into the affairs of the Northern Territory, and I do not think conditions have improved .since then. I have to be guided largely by the .opinions expressed by Senator Newland, Senator Ferricks, and Senator Pratten, who have recently visited the Territory, and have up-to-date knowledge of the conditions prevailing there. Senator Newland and Senator Ferricks are strongly opposed to the Ordinance, and Senator Pratten condemns it with faint praise. Until recently the Government Resident has had autocratic powers. “When the Territory was under the control of South Australia it was represented by two live members in the House of Assembly, but since it has been taken over by the Commonwealth there have been no direct representatives, and it has been under autocratic control. This provision means that the control will be similar to what it has been in the past, because, although a Council is to be appointed, the Chairman can do practically what he likes, and is subject only to the will of the Minister. I join with others who advocate democratic principles, and favour a Council elected by the people who have to live under the “ regulations provided under the Ordinance.
– They ought to be paid for their services.
– Yes. Any one who does work of a legislative nature should be paid. On reading the various provisions of the Ordinance I think they could be summed up by saying that the Chairman of the Council established under this Ordinance is to be allowed to do just as he thinks fit, subject only to the supervision of the Minister. There have been many changes in the Ministers controlling the Northern Territory, but they have all found it a difficult proposition. The Territory is so far away, and the means of communication, especially of late years, have been so frequently interrupted, ‘that the Minister has had to depend on the advice of the Administrator and others in his confidence. This Ordinance seems to me to be intended to. establish a Council of Advice, merely as a sort of buffer between the Minister and the Director of the Territory. It may relieve the Minister of some responsibility and enable him to say, in respect of matters upon which there is a difference of opinion, that the view he takes is supported by’ the Council of Advice, whilst, at the same time, the Council of Advice may not be in touch with the people who will be affected by the administration which may be proposed. That is the great weakness of the Ordinance. I support the motion to disallow it. I’ do not think that the Northern Territory will suffer in any way if this Ordinance is consigned to the waste-paper basket. The debate which has taken place on. Senator Newland’s motion may render it possible for some more democratic and common-sense proposal to be devised for the government of the Northern Territory.
– I listened with a good deal of attention to the debate. There is one aspect of the matter which appears to have escaped attention, and to that I shall address myself very briefly. The Government are proposing to do by regulation something which might have been better done by the passing of a short Act by this Parliament. If the Government had introduced a short Bill, under which they might call to their assistance the advice of honorable senators who have been to the Territory, that would have been better than the calling together of a Council of Advice in the Northern Territory, as proposed by this Ordinance. I may say that I have been disappointed beyond measure with the conduct of affairs in the Northern Territory by the Government. I was looking forward to you, Mr. President, being transferred from your position, governing here, to the position of Governor in the Northern Territory. I think that the time has arrived when the real development of the Territory is necessary, and that a man accustomed to governing unruly spirits, accustomed to the exercise of authority, acquainted with the forms of government, a man who has pioneered in Queensland and has been accustomed to a tropical climate, might well, if transferred to the Northern Territory, have helped to add another province to Australia. The anticipation that you, sir, ‘would be the gentleman who would secure the appointment as Director of Affairs in the Northern Territory was one of the things to which I was looking forward with pleasure should it be my fortune to be a member of the next Federal Parliament. There was another hopeful prospect in my mind, and that was that, failing your appointment, the Government might appoint Senator Newland to the position.
– They might have done a lot worse.
– I am not attempting to belittle Senator Newland’s qualifications for the position. I hold that a man who has had experience in the public life of the country is, to a certain extent, equipped to deal with any question of government. Senator Newland’s appointment would have given me extreme pleasure. He has taken an active interest in the Northern Territory ; he has visited it, and has followed the reports and records of the Territory, and the attention he has given to that part of the Commonwealth would have warranted consideration of his claims to the appointment. The honorable senator mav, for all I know, have been offered the position and refused it. Such appointments would have been better than to go out of our way to appoint a representative of vested interests as Director of the Northern Territory.
– Vesteys’ interests.
– I believe, notwithstanding all the gloomy predictions that have been made, that the Northern Territory will yet be one of the richest provinces of Australia.
– It only needs developing.
– What is required for its development is not that there should be a man at the head of affairs there who may be merely the representative of a company, whose interests would diminish if the Territory were developed in the way in which other parts of Australia have been developed. If that company can maintain its control, the more the Director can prevent the real development of the Northern Territory, the better will be served the interests of the concern for which he acts as representative.
– That is hardly fair, seeing that he was only an employee of Vestey Brothers, and is not a shareholder.
– He was only an employee of Vestey Brothers; and I venture to say, with a knowledge of what has been happening in the Northern Territory, that no more unwise course could have been adopted than to go to such a company for a man to £11 the position.
– It was a very unwise appointment.
– The company had nothing to do with it.
- Senator Foll says that the company had nothing to do with it; but I say that all our appointments should be absolutely above suspicion. I do not think that I am an unduly suspicious man; but I believe that if a question arose in connexion with which the interests of Vestey Brothers were opposed to Australia’s interests, this gentleman, coming direct from Vestey Brothers, would naturally be influenced by his previous association with that company.
– That is a different attitude from that which the honorable senator took up last night in connexion with the employees of Charles Myers and Company Limited.
– There is not an atom of difference. The attitude I took up in reference to Myers and Company was to correct the statement that a man who was an employee of Myers and Company was a shareholder of the company.
– The honorable senator is insinuating now that the Director of the Northern Territory is a representative of Vestey Brothers.
– The honorable senator would be safe in saying that he is a tool of Vestey Brothers.
– He is not.
– I say this, after due consideration : I assume that Senator Foll has not realized that in the Northern Territory there has been a contest against constituted authority in the person of Dr. Gilruth, due to the idea that Dr. Gilruth was against the interests of the working classes in the Northern Territory. What could be more calculated to stimulate that feeling of antagonism to authority and the representative of the Government in the Northern Territory, and to confirm the opinion of, to use Senator Pratten ‘s phrase, the Bolshevists in the community-
– The honorable senator is aware that they are Russians.
– I do not care what their nationality is, so long as they become naturalized Australians.
– They are Russians, but are not naturalized Australians.
– People who are not naturalized are not entitled to a vote in this country. Mav I not include myself amongst the people who would have been pleased to assist in adding the Northern Territory as a new province to Australia? If it had been my good fortune to be sent to the Northern Territory as Administrator, I should have called to my counsel the extremists of both sides - the Bolshevik land-owners and the slowgoing land-owners; the men who will not work, and are satisfied to let the Territory earn their living for them. I would have called to my counsel the greatest Tories I could find in the Terri.tory. and also the most extreme Radicals.
– The honorable senator would have made a success of the government by doing so.
Senate* GARDINER.- If we brought together in one Council the extremists on both sides, and the records of their advice were kept as are the records of the Senate, the governing body here, and the Minister in charge of the Northern Territory, would be in a much more happy position in dealing with its affairs than they are at the present time.
Sitting suspended, from 6.S0 to 8 p.m.
– When the sitting was suspended I was referring to the men who might have been appointed to fill the position of Director of the Northern Territory, commencing with yourself, sir.
– Why should I be left out?
– It is strange how great minds run in the same groove. I was just about to mention others who could fill the position with equal capacity, and I specially had in mind one class of men from whom a successor to Dr. Gilruth might have been selected - I refer to our returned soldiers. Seeing thai the Government have laid themselves out to induce the public to believe that they are anxious to find positions for our returned soldiers, would it not have been an excellent thing for them to have selected from the ranks of these men one who was capable of filling the office to which I have alluded ? But even in this chamber there is one man, in the person of Senator de Largie, who has been prominent in pioneering work, and who might have filled the position with great distinction. I would have been very pleased, indeed, had he been selected for the post. It would have saved the necessity for the adoption of a new standing order in this chamber, having for its object the curtailment of our speeches. Yet, despite this wide field of choice, the Ministry has selected for the important office of Director of the Northern Territory a man whose capacity to fill it is totally unknown to them. To me it is quite evident that Mr. Carey had a very good friend in Mr. Glynn. There is no mistake about that aspect of the matter. No man could be a member of this Parliament very long without becoming acquainted with what has trans- pired in the Northern Territory during the past four years. During that period a condition of things has obtained there which one would have thought the Government would have laboured strenuously to alter. There may have been some reason for the statement of the Minister that while the war was in progress he could not deal with this matter in the way that it ought to be dealt with. But the war is now over, and, consequently, there ought to be in this Ordinance some evidence that the ‘Government intend to vigorously grapple with the problems of the Northern Territory. Yet this Ordinance shows that they have no intention whatever of endeavouring to make that part of Australia profitable to the people of the Commonwealth, and to adequately guard that portion of our continent against invasion. This aspect of the matter brings me to the real question at issue in the Northern Territory. When Dr. Jensen, one of the ablest geologists in the world, was appointed to the Territory, I received quite a number of letters from him. I had had the privilege of his friendship before his appointment, and 1” do not hesitate to say that he was absolutely ‘driven out of the country by men who were opposed to his political views. With all these facts before the Government, if there were a shadow of excuse for delaying action regarding the Territory while the war was in progress, that exCUSE has now vanished. Yet this Ordinance shows either that the Government are afraid to proceed with the development of the Territory or that they have no time to attend to this back door of Australia. I have had some experience of tropical climates. At one period of my life I spent more than twelve months in Fiji. That experience convinced me that white people can stand tropical conditions better than can coloured people. But in Fiji the white employer did not care how many coloured labourers died. The latter were being brought into the country in thousands, and - if hundreds of them perished that was no concern of his. As a matter of fact, the white employer there was not satisfied with cheap coloured labour - he wanted to secure the cheaper coolie labour. Similarly, the property- owning class of the Northern Territory do not desire that country to be developed by white labour, because its employment would mean the .payment of good wages and the observance of proper industrial conditions. It is quite a remarkable circumstance that those who believe that the Northern Territory is not a fit place for white men to live in habitually come down to the southern portion of Australia, .and freely air their views of that country in the columns of the daily press. They tell us that they have lived in .the Northern Territory for many years, that they have enjoyed good health there, and that they have prospered there. Yet they add, “It is not a fit place for white men to live in.” They want cheap Japanese and Chinese labour and the cheaper coloured labour of India, if possible.
– Why did not the honorable senator stay in .Fiji?
– Without any hesitation, my reply is that the call of A-ustralia brought me back.
– It ‘was not -the climate ?
– Certainly not. One day when I was walking along a road in Fiji, I came across an Australian gum tree.. I went back and brought my wife to see this gum tree .growing there, and it was the smell of that tree which induced me to return to my own native land. The employing class in Fiji, like the employing class in the Northern Territory, are not satisfied with cheap coloured labour, but desire to obtain the cheaper coolie labour of India. Within two years of the period when the employing class in Fiji began to import coolie labour there, the white population of the place had dwindled by 25 per cent. All the positions were filled by coolies, including those of shop assistants and typesetters. What is the secret of the success of Britain as a colonizing Power ? It is the fact that wherever the Britisher goes he carries with him his ideas of government, and he generally finds a means of establishing a form of government based upon the British system. Look at the development of our own country. From the moment that the people here insisted upon their right to govern themselves, our progress was marked. The more self-govern- ment we have had, the greater has- been the measure of our progress. Yet all the time property-owners have been exclaiming that , as soon as a certain, class were placed in charge of the machinery of government, ruin would overtake them. If we agree to this Ordinance, under which all the power will be vested in the Director of the Northern Territory, we shall be continuing an utterly vicious, system. I do not wish to join in any clamour against Dr. Gilruth, but from the stand-point of progress I see very little in the Northern Territory to mark his term of office. Had he put forward any proposal, small or great, which promised the development of that Territory, there has been no Government in office which would not have supported him. But the very reverse- has been the case. He has failed in initiative.
– He says that he has’ often asked for money for developmental purposes - money which has hot been supplied to him.
– He is a better judge of what he has asked for, and of what has been refused, than I am, but I have never yet heard of any proposal emanating from him-, and involving theexpenditure of public, money, which has been turned down by the Government. On the other hand, one could show even, from ‘ the authoritative statements of Senator Newland that he absolutely failed to preserve ordinary Government property in a proper state of repair.
– What property was that?
– Senator Newland described how Government furniture had been taken out of the Batchelor farm, and had disappeared altogether. The point I wish to make is that in the development of the Territory a big man must figure, or no good will he done.
– It will take time.
– Of course it will take time. That was our experience in the early development of Australia. Any honorable senator who reads those excellent historical records containing the official correspondence must come to the conclusion that those chiefly concerned in the development of this country had a wide outlook. From .the point of view of those in London, in the early days of Australian, colonization, Sydney (or Botany Bay, as it was then called) had not nearly so promising a future as Port Darwin has at the present moment. But, happily, those intrusted with -the development of the country weregifted with a wide vision. Governor Phillip, in the lay-out of Sydney, reserved all that area which now forms the centre of the city as the property of the Crown for ever, and if his scheme had been carried out the city of Sydney would to-day be a city beautiful. (Senator Needham. - Is it not that now ?
– It is, because of its natural advantages, but a change came when property owners became sufficiently influential to take for themselves the values which increasing population gave to the city of Sydney. Then came the time of the rum ‘contractors, of men who could see only their own profits and bad no vision of the future. After Governor Phillip came Macquarie, who was responsible for those exploration parties which penetrated into the heart of the unknown interior, and the construction of roads- across the Blue Mountains, thus opening up Australia as a stock-raising country.
If we read the history of Australia aright, we must realize that the success, which has attended our developmental enterprises up to the present has depended largely on the capacity of men at the head of affairs. Now, unfortunately, we have the spectacle of a Government, with a -province as rich as New South Wales was regarded in the early days - and which with rapidly improving means of communication must have infinitely better prospects - coming down and saying that this Ordinance is the best they can do for the development ‘of that magnificent inheritance. I wish the Minister would withdraw .the Ordinance, but I know that if the question comes to a vote the Government will win, not upon the judgment, but through the loyalty, of their followers. I am satisfied that thosewho vote for the Ordinance will do so, not- because they indorse the Ordinance, but because they feel it to be their duty to support the Government.- I would like the Minister to realize the importance of the Northern Territory, and what its future may be, if only the Government have the courage to attempt its development under white conditions. This principle must be asserted. All this talk about white people not being able to live in tropical countries is moonshine. The wealthy whites can live there very well, and prosper.
– Is not one reason why they live there the fact -that they can take leave now and again?
– All I can, say is, that when a man gets accustomed to a congenial climate like that of the Territory he does not experience much discomfort. For my part, I would rather live in the hottest tropical, part of Australia than come to this . miserable ice chest of Victoria. I can easily understand why people from New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, and Western Australia wonder how we can exist through the winter in Melbourne. I feel as strong physically as most men, but the inroads which this wretched climate has made upon my health make me long for the time when the Seat of Government will be moved to Canberra.
I understand that the new standing order will limit speeches to one hour and a half. I intend to practise now by trying to keep to the time-table on this motion, and I intimate that on all future occasions I shall take my full time allowance on every subject that comes up for discussion in this chamber. I shall conclude my remarks now by saying that the development of the Northern Territory is a big proposition worthy of the best attention the Government oan give to it. I ask them to withdraw this Ordinance, to submit a short Bill embodying their ideas as to the best means of governing the Territory, and invite members of this Parliament as a whole, and not as members of a party, to co-operate in devising the best legislative machinery for the government of that part of Australia, and not to seek to govern it as, under this Ordinance, by placing all power in the hands of one man. The Ordinance, in my opinion, is unworthy of consideration. The Minister would be well advised to try and get Parliament to deal with this matter in an earnest manner, because I believe that, -under wise administration, the northern part of Australia will become the populous home of white Australians, and one of the most prosperous portions of this continent.
– I fear that the appeal made by Senator Gardiner will fall upon deaf ears, and that the Minister will, not withdraw the Ordinance; but I hope that the Senate will support Senator Newland’s motion. I listened with great interest to the speech made by Senator Thomas, who, unlike most of us, has been a Minister of the Crown, and was administering the Northern Territory when Dr. Gilruth was appointed. In the course of his speech, he appeared to be in two minds as regards the Ordinance. He did not want to support Senator Newland’s motion to disallow it altogether; he admired Senator Ferricks’ proposal for an elective system in regard to the Advisory Council, and then concluded by. saying that he would support the Government. I can scarcely understand how a man of his wide experience and administrative capacity could find himself in the position of not knowing where he stood. Surely Senator Thomas cannot support an Ordinance which will have the effect of placing power entirely in the hands of one. man; and while that honorable senator may be right in saying that we must either disallow the whole Ordinance or accept it, would it not be better to disallow it than adopt it with its many objectionable features, some of which were mentioned by Senator Thomas himself? Senator Pratten referred to Bolshevists in the Northern Territory. I wonder if he knows what “ Bolshevist “ means.
– They are unnaturalized Russians.
– If that is the honorable senator’s definition of Bolshevism, all I can say is that hundreds of residents in the Northern Territory are Australian citizens, born and bred there, and if this jibe is to be hurled at them because they desire to get some system of self-government, then we are all Bolshevists. I want to know whether, according to Senator Pratten, Bolshevism means mob rule or autocracy. So far as the Ordinance is concerned, I think it means autocracy in its purest and simplest form, because it seeks to place the whole of the destinies of the people of the Northern Territory in the hands of one man, who,according to section 8, will have the right to determine whether the Council shall discuss any particular question. I am sure no honorable senators can agree to a proposition of that nature. I take it that Senator Fairbairn is not a Bolshevist, and I am sure that, as chairman of directors of the many concerns with which he is connected,he would not take unto himself all the authority which this Ordinance vests in one man, as the chairman of the Advisory Council. I feel sure also that when Senator Fairbairn realizes what this Ordinance means, he will not vote for it in its present form. Mention has been made of the possibilities of the Territory. I visited it as a member of a Federal parliamentary party in 1907. During the two months which I spent in those northern parts, I was struckby thepossibilities of that tropical climate. I saw whitepeople just as healthy and vigorous as are those with Whom I have come into contact in this rigorous southern climate of Melbourne. Let me take as an example a gentleman named Giles, who drove portion of our party from Pine Creek to the Katherine River. Mr. Giles was then about sixty-five years old. He was born a few miles down from Pine Creek. He had travelled the overland route to Oodnadatta on three or four occasions. He was a grandfather, and I had the pleasure of meeting his progeny - all vigorous people. Again, at Wolfram Creek I saw a family of white folk, and there was a baby boy of nine months in the arms of his mother, who impressed me as being as fine a specimen of Australian childhood as I have ever seen; which proves to me that white people may be reared as well an our northern coastal country as in any other part of Australia. The possibilities of our Northern Territory - pastoral, agricultural, mineral, and otherwise - are illimitable, and we can develop them under a proper system of government. But I regret that, since the Commonwealth Government took over control and responsibility from South Australia, the Territory has been practically a no man’s land. I blame all recent Governments for a lack of concentration and determination upon the’ development of that rich area. I condemn all Governments concerned ako in regard tn the indisputable fact that, whereas they have looked upon Port Darwin as the back door of Australia, it is really the front door, in more than one vital respect. It is the front door to that menace which is staring Australia in the face - the Japanese menace. It is within a few days’ sail of that country, which, although it has been our Ally in the troublous five years just past, may be our enemy within five years from now.
– Are you a prophet?
– No; but I read an article in the Age a fewweeks ago. That journal published a copy of an agreement entered into between Japan and. Germany during the period of the war.
– That was bluff. Japan has since denied it officially.
– Then if it has been denied, all right; but we shall have to watch Japan, and that is one of the reasons why we should be careful in our administration of the Territory.
The only way to get over our difficulties, if we disallow this Ordinance, is to adopt the elective principle. Let all those residents of the Territory who are duly qualified to vote determine who shall be the members of the Council of Advice. Senator Ferricks has informed me that there is in existence at Darwin a municipal council elected upon adult suffrage.
– And it works very well.
– I am glad to hear that confirmed. If the municipal council performs good work in regard to local affairs, why should we not enlarge the sphere of the Council of Advice byextending the same elective principle to that body ? I hope the Senate will disallow the Ordinance^ and I trust that the Government will devise a better method of administration for the Territory.
– I have very little indeed to reply to as the outcome of the debate. Those honorable senators who opposed my motion did so with bated breath.
– They were apologizing all the time.
– They expressed their sorrow that they were constrained to assist the Government in giving effect to an Ordinance which, at the same time, they condemned. I desire those honorable senators who are not quite clear in regard to their duty to reflect that if this Ordinance takes effect the fate of the Territory for the next three years will be sealed, unless the hand of the Government is forced by unfortunate happenings similar, to those which have recently occurred.
– There will be more of them; and there ought to be, too, if this Ordinance is allowed.-
-I do not desire to pose as a prophet, but I am -certain that the administration of the Territory will be in as bad a position as it has been in during the past five years, if -not more seriously placed; and that will mean that the development of the Territory will be utterly retarded. Senator Russell rather apologized for the terms -of the Ordinance set out in sub-section 5 of section 5; and he -suggested that that provision was intended to provide for a roundtable Conference, at which gentlemen would be -called together to take part in the administration of affairs, in an amicable way and- for the settlement of any dispute that might arise. It would be all very well if the section in question were to be operated in that direction only; but those of us who have been in the Territory recently, and those honorable senators who are familiar with what has been going on there for the past four or five years, are convinced that there will be no hesitation in employing that section for any purposes which may be desired for the time being. I have no faith in the provision for a round-table Conference.
– It’ is a provision for “packing” the Board.
– Yes. Senator Thomas said we had failed to offer any better suggestion than was contained in the Ordinance. He stressed the statement that I favoured one system of government, and that Senator Ferricks preferred another. As a matter of fact, we did not make any suggestions at all. I remarked that I would not be satisfied until the Territory was represented in the Commonwealth Parliament; but my motion was not of a character which committed me to offer, any suggestions. ‘
– The idea of a discussion such as this is that suggestions may be offered. If the Ordinance is disallowed, the Government can then frame fresh regulations based upon those suggestions.
– TI the Minister intends to follow that course he has heard sufficient suggestions on which to base regulations for the government of the whole universe. What is the use of Senator Thomas finding .fault on the one hand for our having failed to make suggestions, while on the other hand he complains that we have made so many that the Government have become confused’?
– All .suggestions, of course, are welcome.
– I .know that. It is unfair to blame me, or any honorable senator supporting my motion, for not having suggested something in . place of this Ordinance. If the Senate .agrees to my motion an opportunity will be provided for the Government to choose the best among the suggestions offered, and to frame such an Ordinance as will be acceptable to the Parliament and the people of the Territory.
As a South Australian, I feel very keenly on the question of the Territory being directly represented in the Commonwealth Legislature. I was a member of the South Australian Parliament for nearly a dozen years, and I occupied a seat by the side of elected representatives of the Territory. ‘There were not so many white people resident there then as today, yet those’ adult voters sent their two representatives into the State Parliament. And those gentlemen were elected upon the same franchise as their fellow members. At the same time that those representatives sat in the South Australian ^Legislature, an Administrator, appointed by the State Government, carried out his duties at P’ort Darwin and exercised considerable powers^ “Whenever anything was wrong, or anything was wanted in the Northern Territory, the people had1 to get into communication with their representatives in Adelaide, who, in turn, got into touch with the Government, when, their requests were immediately righted. I have had telegrams and lettergrams from residents in the Territory, but I have no more right to speak for the residents there than any other senator. I am not directly concerned’ in the Northern Territory.
– We are all representatives of the Northern Territory.
– Yes,, and because we are all representatives there are no representatives at all. It is a> case of everybody’s- business being nobody’s business.
– Nobody here secures their votes
Senator- NEWLAND. - No, and that is why they ‘ should have direct representatives in this Parliament. If honorablesenators object to the residents of theTerritory having representation in this Parliament, there should be an elective Council, with a head who would -have some- power, and1 who would be permitted to> act without referring everything to the earner of Spring and Collins streets; Melbourne. It’ is an- absolute impossibility to administer’ the- affairs of the Territory in anything like a just manner; or to give fair play to this particular part of theCommonwealth under existing conditions. I hope the motion will be- agreed to, and that the Government will immediately take steps to frame new regulations which will be, as Senator Gardiner said, a means of giving1 the people, some hope, encouragement, and determination. Every one admits that the Northern Ter ritory is a splendid portion of Australia, and in every way worthy of the rest of this great continent. In spite of what has been said to the contrary, I believe that country has a great future; all it wants is a fair deal. The people are deserving of sympathetic consideration at the hands of the Government, and those who are pessimistic to-day will, in the course of a few years, regret the disparaging terms they have used regarding the Territory. I have every confidence in submitting- the motion to the vote of the Senate.
Question put. The Senate divided.
– The votes being equal, the question is resolved in the negative.
Northern Territory Advisory Council and Representation - Enoggera Camp Trainees. - Military Instructors: Measurements - Australian. Imperial. Force. Clothing - Armed Sentries - Imprisoned .Sailors from H.M.A.S. “ Australia “ - Repatriation Advances - Retirement of Captain Hayne.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That tho Senate do now adjourn.
– When Senator Thomas was speaking this afternoon, he drew attention to proposals submitted by Senator Newland and myself regarding an Advisory Council for the Northern Territory. Whilst I advocate the establishment of an Advisory Council on an elective basis, I regard that only as a tentative proposal until such time as the Northern Territory has direct representation. The view I hold regarding representation for the- Territory is that there might be one member in either House to represent the Northern Terri-‘ tory and Papua, rather than that the Territory should he split up into sections and attached to electorates in different States. My idea of an elective body, as a tentative proposal, would ‘be to have more than a Board of Advice, as suggested, by Senator Thomas. The residents of the Territory also desire an elective body, with powers similar to those possessed by a Commission of inquiry, to investigate the Civil Service generally, the ‘cost of administration, and the -need for certain offices which are regarded by some as sinecures. Such an elective body should have power to make recommendations to the Government.
I would also like to bring under the notice of the Acting Minister for Defence (Senator Russell) the position of a number of trainees at the military camp at Enoggera who were called up for home service during the war, as compared with that of similar trainees of the Citizen Forces, who were doing duty on Thursday Island. On representations being made, to the Assistant Minister for Defence (Mr. Wise), he immediately had the men on Thursday Island released, whilst those at Enoggera are being retained during a period which, to many of them, is a vital part of their apprenticeship. I know one or two lads of eighteen or seventeen who have been taken away from their apprenticeship to electrical and other trades, although they could be replaced by some returned soldiers, who would be prepared to take up their work. There appears to be an objection on the part of the military, authorities to release these young men. One would naturally conclude that returned soldiers, who had seen active service, would be more suitable for the work than men who were too young to enlist. I do not want to give the names, but to mention, for the information of Senator Russell, that strong representations have been made to enable these young trainees to be released from home service at the Enoggera Camp. If they are kept there much longer they will be cast on the world without having completed their apprenticeships.
– They are not there compulsorily ?
– Tes, under the Defence Act; and they will be thrown on the labour market as labourers, because they will not have an opportunity of completing their apprenticeships in a reasonable time. I trust the Acting Minister will go into this matter, because representations have already been made to the military authorities by Mr. Finlayson and myself, without much satisfaction.
I also wish to bring under the notice of the Acting Minister for Defence the position of soldiers desiring to qualify for employment on the Instructional Staff. I pointed out to those concerned that the matter had already been ventilated in the press; but the men said that they wanted the mattei’ brought up in the Senate, and an effort made to get the Acting Minister to move in the matter. A number of returned soldiers are desirous. of qualifying for employment on the Instructional Staff. I am not enthusiastic over the continuance of militarism in Australia, but, whilst the .system prevails, it seems only reasonable that men who had the necessary physical qualifications to go away from Australia should have the necessary physical attainments for appointment as military instructors. My friend pointed out to me that he spoke on behalf of a number of returned men who were desirous of becoming members of the Instructional Staff. He said -
At the recent examination, “ medical,” held at Sturt-street, South Melbourne, there were about 300 applicants, out of whom about half were turned down, mostly for not attaining the “ height “ and “ chest “ measurements, viz., height, 5 ft. 7 in.; chest, normal, 35 inches.
I say that men who successfully passed the medical examination for physical fitness to warrant them being sent away from Australia to the other side of the world to fight for their country should surely bephysically qualified for appointment as instructors. I am informed that a number of the permanent instructional staff now employed do not reach the physical standard mow laid down.
– I have reduced the standard to that of the Australian Imperial Force. I have taken an inch off the height measurement required and 2 inches off the chest measurement.
– Will the reduction of the standard embrace all the men who succeeded in qualifying for enlistment for active service abroad?
– It will embrace quite a number, but Iam mot sure whether it will embrace all.
– If I give the honorable senator a list of the complaints, will he look intothem?
.- Some time ago I met two returned men who had a complaint against the Defence Department. They had to pay for uniforms which they were compelled to purchase in London because of the disreputable condition of the uniforms in which theyarrivedthere from France. I have lost theaddresses of these men, and I wish to take this opportunity to supply an explanation, which I hope they will see, and which was obtained for me by Che Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce). It seemed rather strange that men arriving in London from the battlefields of France with their uniforms naturally considerably damaged should have had to pay for uniforms with which to replace them. That they had to do so was proved by the fact that they produced their pay-books showing that the money expended in the purchase of the new uniforms (bad been deducted from their pay. I at once communicated with Senator Pearce concerning the complaint, and he was good enough to investigate the matter, and has forwarded to me a copy of the following communicatipn received from General Birdwood : - 130 Horseferry-road, London, S.W. 1, 16th June, 1919.
Reference to yours of the 10th instant received here yesterday. To explain the matter it willbe necessary to reply somewhat at length.
It is within your knowledge that we pay the Imperial authorities a per capita rate for the maintenance of our men in France, and that maintenance includes the supply of clothing. It was, therefore, necessary that all demands for supply of clothes to the men in France should be met by the Imperial authorities.
The Australian Imperial Force arrived in France in March and subsequent months of 1916. It was some time after this before leave to England was regularly granted, and to insure that men granted leave were properly clad wihen on leave, very specific instructions were issued to all commanding officers that each party of men,before departing on leave, was to be inspected by an officer, and that no man was to be allowed to go unless he was clean and well-dressed. Notwithstanding this, it was found that many men, on arrival in London, demanded supply of new clothing from the clothing store ‘here. We were then faced with the difficulty that - (I.)We were paying the Imperial authorities for the clothing of the men; but such clothing could only be issued in France. (II.) If we supplied clothing to the men when on leave in England, it would necessarily be at Australia’s expense, and we should, therefore, be paying twice over for the same service.
It was, moreover, thought that if the officers carried out their instructions that no man was to be allowed to go on leave unless he was properly dressed, there should foe no necessity for an issue of clothing in London; and that if any man did obtain an issue, it should be entered in his pay-book. Orders were issued accordingly, a proviso being added that any soldier, having issues so entered, could represent the matterto his commanding officer on his return to his unit; and if the commanding officer considered the issue was necessary, he should obtain the approval of the Brigade or Divisional Commander to cancel the entry.
Later on - about the middle of 1917 -as a result of negotiations with the War Office, we were able to install a store in London solely for the clothing of men from France; and the War Office accepted, on the certificate of the Commandant, a debit for all issues made therefrom to men on leave - the store and books being, of course, subject to inspection and audit by the War Office inspectors and auditors. 1 think I am right in saying that v<5 were the only Force, British or Dominion, to institute such a scheme, no issues being made to the soldiers of such Forces other than in Franco.
I hope that this explanation will reach the soldiers who- made a complaint against the Department on this ground. As one who is Very proud of the conduct of the Defence Department of Australia, I make this explanation with pleasure. I hope it will reach those who have been aggrieved, that they may be able to seek redress of their grievance.
Senator GRANT (New South Wales) f9 .9]. - I should like to direct attention to what appears to be an unnecessary exhibition of militarism. I found to-day an armed man marching up and down in front of the Navy Office saluting officers who approached that establishment. That seems to mc to be absolutely unnecessary. The man. would be far better employed in productive work.
– If a naval man in uniform is necessary in front of the Navy Office, the same type of guardian should be- posted at all our public buildings. In lav opinion, there is no necessity to have a man, armed with a rifle and a bayonet, marching up and down in front of the Navy Office. So far as I know, no one is going to raid that office. We have exhibitions of the same sort at the Victoria Barracks, Darlinghurst, Sydney. There a few men may be seen marching up and down1 with fixed bayonets, whilst an ordinary policeman would be more than sufficient to preserve order in that peaceful’ quarter. I suggest to the Acting Minister for Defence that this kind of useless military display should be at once abandoned.
I am told that the boys who offended on H.M.A.S. Australia have been transferred to Goulburn Gaol.
– The honorable senator had better make inquiries about that. I have heard differently.
– If this be so, the parents of these boys will be unable to visit them on the usual visiting day without travelling at least 100 miles. The Australian Navy has now passed under the control of the Australian Government, and’ the sentences- passed on these boys should be reviewed at once. If the Government are determined’ to hold them in gaol for the balance of their sentences of imprisonment, they should, detain them in some gaol where they might be visited by their parents without the expense of travelling more than- 100 miles.
There is one other matter to which I think reference should, be- made.. A few days ago I asked’ the Minister for Repatriation if the financial position of an applicant for assistance was taken into consideration.. I was assured by the Minister, speaking from his place in the Senate, that the financial position of an applicant to, the Department for assistance was not taken into consideration. I have since discovered that the Minister was mistaken. A case has come under my notice, which I have referred to the honorable senator, in which a gentleman made application to the Department of Repatriation for some financial assistance -
– I think the- honorable! senator- should’ relate the circumstances.
– Because he had a few hundred pound’s at his, disposal, his claim, for assistance was turned down’. I should like to- know whether it is to be the practice of the Repatriation Department to turn down the claim of a man who may have a few hundred pounds, more or less tied up, or whether an applicant is to be entitled to assistance irrespective of his financial position. If a man who has a few hundred pounds is not. on that account, to be entitled to assistance from the Department, our returned men should know it. If men are entitled to assistance they should get it, irrespective- of their financial position. This is a matter which warrants some explanation from the Minister for Repatriation.
Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) [9.131. - I perhaps owe the Senate an apology for taking up its time in the ventilation of a personal case. I can plead,, however, that it is- my first offence.
I do not think that, in all the years I have been a member of the Senate, I have ever, previously brought the case of an individual before honorable senators. The case which I venture to mention now is one of such peculiar hardship that I feel justified in doing so. I have exhausted my patience in trying to get it settled. I think the patience of the Minister must also have been exhausted in connexion with this case, because. I am inclined to believe that he holds the same view as I do as to its justice. In our military service there was an officer, Captain Hayne, who was retired in February last as permanently unfitted for further service. The regulations stipulate that upon such retirement an officer is entitled to the compensation of three years’ pay. I intend to read the regulation, and I shall then ask the Minister to decide to-morrow that he will pay this man or inform him that he will not be .paid. If he adopts the latter course, the man can easily get his money through the Courts. This man was retired for heart trouble. His case was one of actual breakdown as the .result of work conscientiously done. He asked to be given light work, but he was warned by the doctor that he .was not fit for any kind of work. He was retired six months. ago, and from that time until now he has been in a state of constant worry, because the Department will’ not pay him what he is entitled to. I now ask the Minister to make up his mind one way or the other upon this case. I quote from the Military Financial and Allowance Regulations, page 151. Under the heading “ Compensation for Injuries Received or Disease Contracted on Duty - Permanent Forces,” regulation 175 provides that -
Compensation- may be- recommended by a - Medical Board’ appointed to inquire into the case of any member of tha Permanent Forces who is retired or discharged on account of wounds or injuries’ received, or disease contracted while in the performance of military duty, provided the wound, injury, or disease is not due to the member’s default. The compensation should be according to the following Beale : -
The maximum amount; -jb) three-quarters of the maximum amount;
one-half of the maximum amount;
Id) one-quarter of the maximum amount.
The maximum amount shall be a sum equivalent to three years’ pay, including any allowance for quarters and rations, at the rate the member received or was allowed at the date of his retirement or discharge. The maximum amount shall only be awarded in case of total disability to earn a livelihood. In case of partial disability, the compensation shall be less than the maximum amount, and shall be fixed in accordance with the scale, so that the amount awarded shall be proportionate to the degree of disability of the member.
Not only does that regulation show what this man is entitled to, but it definitely lays down that the maximum amount shall be paid in case of total disability. Yet for six months this man, broken in health, has been worried because the Department refuses to pay his claim. I ask the Minister, without any further delay, to decide either that he is entitled to compensation or that he is, not.
– In regard to the statement of Senator .Ferricks concerning .Enoggera Camp, apparently home service men have been called up for duty, and I must .express my surprise that such men are -engaged there »t the present time, especially -as plenty.. of returned soldiers are available. But there iis now in existence a Home Personnel Commission, which is just returning from Queensland, where it ,has -been endeavouring to- clean up these camps with a view to enforcing .economy. ‘ .If we -really .require .men ,-at .-any camp, I will see that, as fiar as .possible, returned soldiers are employed. In regard to the question of height, which has .been raised., 1 would point out that’ we have reduced the standard which was originally advertised, so as. to render eligible practically -every man who was accepted for service in the Australian Imperial Force. The principle we have acted upon is that if a man was good enough to -fight in France, he is good enough to play at soldiering - speaking comparatively - in Australia. In regard to the case mentioned by Senator Gardiner, I must express my regret that it has not been settled. “Under our Defence Act men are entitled to certain compensation in ease of a breakdown on duty. Since that Act was passed we have established a system of war pensions. This man was transferred from the ordinary civil staff of the Defence Department, and enlisted for home service during the period of the war. He rendered splendid service there, but finally broke down badly. After a close investigation into his case, and a little delay which did not occur in the Defence Department, it was discovered that, whilst Parliament bad enacted that a man in receipt of a war pension could not receive compensation, a man could receive compensation, and afterwards claim a war pension. Under no circumstances would we have been justified in paying both. I tried to overcome the difficulty by asking the Treasury to send £50 to this man to keep him going until we could get the legal position cleared up. The Treasury sent that money to him, but, unfortunately, the authorities wanted him to contract himself out of all claim to a war pension. Naturally, until he understood his position, he declined to do so. I do not blame him for that. However, we have now succeeded in getting a decision that he as not eligible for a war pension, and consequently he is entitled to compensation. I am hopeful, with the cooperation of the Treasurer, . that I shall be able to finalize the matter before Senator Gardiner leaves for Sydney to-morrow. Of course, I cannotsay the amount of compensation to which the officer will be entitled, but I will do my best to have the matter settled without further delay.
SenatorMILLEN (New South WalesMinister for Repatriation)[ 9. 21]. Senator Grant has directed attention to a case to which I desire to make some referenoe. I regret that he did not give the Senate the particulars of that case. I only know such of the facts as he has seen fit to disclose to me. I do not even know the name of the applicant. But it appears that a discharged soldier, who was a solicitor before enlisting, applied to the Department for an advance of £200 or £250 whilst he was shown to be possessed of assets amounting to £1,700. He is a young man who is in a position to take up his occupation again, and, in view of these circumstances, the Department did not feel justified in making the advance sought for the purpose of starting him again in his profession. That is the case as far as I know it. When Senator Grant asked me yesterday if the financial posi tion of an applicant affected his application, I replied in the negative, and that reply is substantially correct. But when I made it I had more particularly in mind those applicants who require vocational training, artificial limbs, &c. In such cases the Department asks no questions. But if the contention which Senator Grant, by inference, has put forward be correct, we might have a wealthy stationowner, who went to the Front, asking us for an advance to start him again in business. In any advances which the Department makes there must be limits imposed by the practical character of the circumstances. The Department has not been established for the purpose of giving rewards to men for the services which they have rendered. If such rewards are required, Parliament can bestow them by granting special bonuses to these persons. The purpose of the Repatriation Department is to re-establish men. in civil life, and it will do that, irrespective of whether the applicant is penniless or otherwise. But there is no justification for the Department making a grant to a man who obviously does not need it. If we made an advance to this particular individual, it would be impossibleto refuse similar consideration to any other man who sought it. In the circumstances, I ask the Senate to uphold the Government in the action which they have taken.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.24 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 August 1919, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1919/19190807_senate_7_89/>.