7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon.T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
-I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate, in view of the result of the Echuca election, at which the Government candidate was defeated by a three to one majority, do the Government consider that they still retain the confidence of the electors? If the Government consider, notwithstanding the result of the Echuca election, that they still retain the confidence of the country, will they bring forward some of the more important measures outlined in the policy speech of the 25th June last, so that Parliament may be usefully occupied during the remainder of its term; or, otherwise, will they appeal immediately to the electors?
– As a result of the Echuca election, the Government are justified in assuming that they do retain the confidence of the electors very much more than does a party which had not the courage to put up its. own candidate. As to the second part of the honorable senator’s question, the Government, as time . permits, are introducing the measures referred to.
– I ask the Acting Minister for Defence whether he has any statement to make in connexion with the Bahia Castillo, which arrived at Fremantle the other day? Will an inquiry be held into the complaints of the munition workers who were being returned to Australia by’ that vessel? If an inquiry is to be held, will it be a civil and public inquiry, and will the evidence taken at it be taken on oath? Further, what steps, if any, are the Government taking with a view to returning to their respective homes the 600 munition workers who are stranded- in Fremantle at the present time?
– The honorable senator intimated previously that he intended to submit a question on this subject. On the 25th August, I received a wire intimating a refusal on the part of the ship’s company of the Bahia Castillo to proceed any further with the vessel unless under the protection of an armed guard. As a consequence, the boat was compelled to put back to port. Beyond a brief cable, I had no detailed information of the cause of the trouble. The latest report, as honorable senators are aware, is that trouble seems to have arisen between the munition workers, the soldiers, and civilians at Fremantle. Conflicting opinions have been expressed by various individuals, but nearly, all the reports of an official character which I have received, and which have been directed, not to ‘the’ Defence, but to the
Navy Department, indicate that the boat is under’ fair average conditions, and suggest that the grievance of the munition workers is that they should have been allowed to travel first class on the boat. The trouble, apparently, came to a head at Fremantle, where, I understand, 600 men, women, and children left the vessel, or that she sailed without them. Whether this was a pro-‘ test by those people, or the boat left a little too smartly, I am unable to determine at this moment. I am having full inquiries made into the matter. Honorable senators will understand that the boat is under the control of the Navy. I have wired to Western Australia to secure that adequate provisions shall be made for the men, women, and children who landed there from the Bahia Castillo until the first favorable opportunity is afforded to bring them on to their homes. With regard to the inquiry, and the nature of it, I shall ask the honorable senator to defer that portion of his question for the present. I wish to have an opportunity to look into the nature of the difficulty. I should like to know where the responsibility for it apparently rests’, and what is the nature of the complaints made. So far as is humanly possible, I shall have the fullest and most public inquiry made into- the matter. I think that it should be inquired into fully, as there seems to be something radically wrong somewhere.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he has noticed a statement or report in to-day’s press to the effect that Mr. Justice Powers in the Arbitration Court yesterday, in dealing with the wages of miners, stated that the basic wage would not allow a miner to rear more than three children in reasonable comfort, and that he suggested to the Federal Government, and I think, also, to the State Governments, * the desirability of supplementing the income of fathers of more than three children to the extent of at least £6 per annum per child ? I ask the Minister if the Government will at an early date take into consideration the desirability of embodying the suggestion of Mr. Justice Powers as an integral feature of a very vital national policy?
– Owing to pressure of other matters, I have not yet seen the report referred to, but I shall submit the suggestion contained in the honorable senator’s question for the consideration of the Government.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether, in view of the officially recorded fact that the increase in the cost of living has been greatest in Queensland, the Government will take into- consideration the advisability of giving some special relief to its servants in that State to meet the onerous conditions they are subjected to there? I ask, also, whether, as the State Parliaments have the undoubted power to revise or fix the cost of commodities, the Government will take steps to take away that power from States by which it is not availed of, as was the case with Queensland ?
– All the same, I challenge the honorable senator, or any of his colleagues, to refute the statements on this subject I made the other night.
– I understand that Senator Lynch’s question was addressed to me. With regard to the first portion of the question, I remind the honorable senator, and the Senate generally, that it is a matter which primarily comes under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commissioner, and I shall bring it under his notice. With regard to the second portion of the question, as it involves an alteration of the Constitution, and also a matter of policy, I can only say that I will place the suggestion before the Government.
Grants to Incapacitated Soldiers
– I ask the Minister for Repatriation whether he will be good enough to explain the exact conditions under which a partially incapacitated soldier is entitled to £2 2s.- per week?
– I could not give the information in the nature of a reply appropriate to this part of our proceedings; there are so many provisions made which are designed to meet cases of various degrees of incapacity. If the honorable senator will “supply the particulars of any special case which he has in mind, I shall see that he is given the information he seeks.
– On the 20th August, Senator Gardiner asked the following questions: -
To those questions, the following replies were given : -
I find that it is necessary to make a correction in. these answers. In the reply to the first question, the word “ including” was inadvertently given instead of the word “ excluding.” The error, which is regretted, is a clerical one.
– Has the Leader of the Senate noticed a statement in the press to the effect that the management of the Barrier Daily Truth, the official organ of the Official Labour party at Broken Hill, have offered their staff of journalists salaries ranging from nothing per day to nothing per week; that, as a Tesult, the men have left their occupation for no visible reason, in the opinion of the management; and that a new and loyal staff have been engaged?. If so, will the Government hold themselves in readiness to co-operate with the management in maintaining law and order in and around the premises of the Barrier Daily Truth, so that no agitators or law breakers may be allowed to interfere with the loyal staff now engaged in the production of that paper?
– I think that the honorable gentleman will recognise that, for a man buoyed up, as I am, with the hope of getting a short holiday within the next few days, he has placed before me too heavy a task to undertake in the time at my disposaL
– Have the Government appointed a representative to attend the Labour Conference at Washington, and, if so, is Senator Millen one of the delegates ?
– The Government have made no appointment yet.
– I ask the Leader of the Senate, in view of the Teports appearing lately in the Australian press of the success attending the efforts of the Governments in England, United States of America, and France against ‘profiteering, will the Commonwealth Government, without any further delay, use the power they possess in the same direction, or, if they have not the power, will they, without any further delay, bring forward proposals to alter the Constitution, in order. that they may secure the necessary authority?
– The Government’s proposals in the matter referred to will be announced in due course.
– Has the Minister seen the paragraph in the press last week to the effect that a Japanese Prices Commissioner was successful in dealing with profiteering, inasmuch as he “brained” a profiteer with a bludgeon? If so, will the Minister see that similar power is given to persons intrusted with the task of dealing with profiteers in Australia ?
– The Government will consider all suggestions made with a view to bringing about a reduction in thecost of living.
– Has the Minister for Repatriation seen the paragraph in last night’s Herald, under the heading, “Wharf men see Minister”; and, if so, can he say if the statements therein are authentic ?
– I cannot speak definitely. Isaw the paragraph last night, and glanced at it casually. So far as I recollect, it is substantially correct.
The following papers were presented : -
Defence Act 1903-1918. - Regulations amended. - Statutory Rules 1919, Nos. 212, 213, 217, 219.
Electoral Act 1918 and Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act 1906-1915. - Regulations amended.- Statutory Rules 1919, No. 229.
Public Service Act 1902-1918.-
Promotion of C. J. Townsend, Department of the Treasury.
Regulations amended. - Statutory Rules 1919, No. 225.
Papers presented to British Parliament -
Agreement with Germany regarding the Military Occupation of the Territories of the Rhine, signed at Versailles, June 28, 1919.
Declaration by the Governments of the United States of America, Great Britain, and France in regard to the occupation of the Rhine provinces.
Peace Treaty with Poland, signed- at Versailles, June 28, 1919.
– Has the Minister for Repatriation seen the paragraph intoday’s Age, to the effect that out of 5,484 returned soldiers seeking land in Victoria, 3,386 have been unable to secure a block; and, if so, will he, without delay, recommend to the Cabinet the advisableness of bringing in a measure to tax all land values, in order that land may be made available for the men who fought for Australia?
– The honorable gentleman, in asking the question, is seeking to advocate a theory. I do not know if the figures are correct, nor do I think the panacea recommended by the honorable gentleman would get over tho difficulty, even if they are so.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers are-
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice-
Will the Government ascertain and inform the Senate as soon as possible when the £500,000 promised by the Imperial Government to the Commonwealth Government for encouraging the production of electrolytic zinc in Australia will be available for distribution?
– During the war the British Treasury placed an embargo on the flotation of new companies in order to direct the investment of capital as far its possible in war loans. At the’ conferences convened in London to consider the establishment of the spelter industry within the Empire, the* Imperial authorities promised the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth to advance £500,000 towards the installation of plant and appliances for the production of electrolytic zinc and spelter in Australia. The amount quoted was to be an advance only, pending the return to normal financial conditions. No money has been received from the Imperial Government by the Commonwealth Government; therefore, there is none available for distribution.
– On the 6th August Senator O’Keefe asked the following question: -
Will the Minister lay on the table a return showing the number of rifle barrels issued in Tasmania from 1st December, 1918, to 30th June, 1919, together with the names of persons to whom they were issued?
I am now able to furnish the honorable senator with the following information, which has been supplied by the Military Commandant at Hobart: -
Thirty-six rifle barrels were issued to Tasmania during the period 1st December, 1918, to 30th June, 1919. Of this number twenty-five were fitted to rifles on loan to rifle clubs, and the remainder issued to individuals. The issues were as follows: -
Rifles on issue, on loan, to rifle clubs are in the general custody of the club, and not individual members.
Leave for Pay Corps
asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– Owing to the heavy work of demobilization, it has been found necessary in some cases to defer recreation leave due to members of the Australian Army Pay Corps, as well as other sections of the Department. It is the practice to grant leave as early as practicable after it becomes due. Where this cannot be done, payment in lieu, of the leave due at date of discharge will be granted.
Debate resumed from 17th September (vide ,page 12341), on motion by Senator Millen - i
That this Senate approves of the Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany, signed at Versailles, on the 28th June, 1919.
– I regret that the Leader of the Government in the Senate, . and that Ministers in another place, did not go more fully into the details of the Peace Treaty. The opportunity would have been an excellent one for the Government to put on record its appreciation of the services, naval and military, which have been rendered by Australia. In comparison with the records of other Dominions, it has always appeared to me that the great naval effort of Australia has been absolutely overlooked. The Government might well have availed itself of the opportunity to briefly review the Commonwealth’s war services, commencing from the moment of the entry of Great Britain into the world conflict. The Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen), who was Minister for- Defence in the Cook Government at the outbreak of hostilities, has recently stated that, actually before the declaration of war, the Government of the day offered Australian troops to the Imperial authorities. The date of that offer was 3rd August, 1914.
I desire to give credit first to Mr. Asquith and Sir Edward Grey upon the way in which they guided Great Britain into the war. It is due to their labours that we have nothing to regret or to be ashamed of to-day, in having entered the conflict and pushed on to the very end. Until every possible prospect of preserving the peace of the world had passed, Great Britain held aloof, and, thanks to the skill and guidance of her statesmen, she has emerged without a stain upon her record.
Australia came into the war with an offer of troops from the Cook Government, of which Senator Millen was a member. That offer, as I have just indi cated, was actually made upon the day before war was declared. I have no complaint to make about that. No matter how peace-loving one may be, when his blood is stirred even a pacifist can work up a capacity for - fighting which may astonish him. Australia - possibly the most peace-loving nation in all the world - went into the war whole-heartedly. I shall divide my comments upon the conduct of the war by the various Australian parties and Governments into a review of two periods. The first is the term during which the Cook Government held office. I desire to accord to that Government all the credit to which it is entitled for the vigour and ability with which it entered upon hostilities and conducted our warlike operations during the five or six weeks in which it continued to hold office after the outbreak of hostilities. The second period to which I shall devote attention covers the following two years and two months, during which Australia’s war efforts were conducted by the Labour Government and party. I do not intend to make lengthy remarks upon any phase of my subject, since ‘ the Standing Orders prevent extensive discussion of any matter. The Labour Government despatched overseas, during its term of office of a little more than two years, a total of 266,000 troops. Those men were called to the colours, organized, clothed, and equipped and despatched during Labour’s period of power. During the two-years period of the subsequent anti-Labour Governments fewer than 70,000 men were sent overseas. That represents, in men, the efforts of the different Australian parties which conducted the war. I do not say. that for party purposes, but, when these matters are discussed, there is bound to arise the division between parties; I mean by that, the division among the people of Australia themselves. Since September or October, 1916, when Mr. Hughes returned from Britain and insisted upon dividing the country by taking a referendum upon the subject of conscription, owing to the censorship the whole of the truth concerning our military position at that time has never been placed before the people of Australia and of the world. For those who said that reinforcements had to be obtained by con’scription, I desire to furnish the following military record of enlistments for the twelve months preceding the taking of the first referendum: -
Having been engaged in the work at the Defence Department at that time, I am in a position to say that our energies in organizing the Military Forces in Australia throughout the period in which those tremendous totals of enlistments were being secured, were handicapped’ by the fact that - particularly during May, June, and July - the ships which were to take our men overseas were actually weeks late. When Mr. Hughes returned in August, there was no occasion for a division of the people. At that time there had been no voice raised in Australia in opposition to the war. We had been a united people, fighting for our very existence, and with no divisions among all classes.
We have undertaken an enormous burden of debt, but, with my natural optimism, I am bound to express the belief that we shall live to laugh at our fear of not being able to meet our obligations. In this regard I have been turning attention to the history of England, following upon previous great wars. At the termination of those twenty-three years of struggle with France, a little more than 100 years ago, her prolonged operations had quadrupled the cost of government in Great Britain, and had so burdened the people with debt that even such great men as Napoleon and Frederick William III. of Prussia, as well as eminent men within Great Britain,really believed that England’s debt would eventually cripple and ruin her. If England could show such a century of remarkable progress as these past hundred years have proved, then, surely Australia, with all her resources untouched, should be able to recover in similar fashion from the world war. I shall pass very lightly over our great task of meeting our obligations; but I hope that attention will be chiefly directed to producing from Australia’s primary resources the great bulk of means for wiping out our national obligations. I trust that the great burden thrust upon us will have renewed our energies, and that it will leave us eventually in a better position than if we had dragged along an ordinarily slow course of progress without having been called upon to fight for our existence.
Honorable senators will have noted that I am passing very hurriedly from point to point. I realize, of course, that it would be simply impossible to deal fully with each phase, under the limitations of the new standing order. I now come to another aspect of the war. One thing that can never be replaced is the manhood which has been sacrificed. That sacrifice, however, has been made, and it has established a tradition of which Australians yet unborn will be proud. In my opinion, immeasurable good will result to future generations, when they read how hundreds of . thousands of men voluntarily left our shores to sacrifice their lives, if need be, in the world-wide struggle for human freedom, ‘ and for the right of small nations to govern themselves. I come now to the number of troops which Australia actually sent overseas. My authority for the statistics which I am about to give is the Bound Table Magazine for June of this year. It is fitting that I should place upon record not only the casualties we sustained, but the number of men we actually transferred overseas as compared with the casualties sustained by other nations, and the number of troops which they despatched to the various battle fronts. The position in regard to the British Empire is clearly set out in the following table: -
I am putting these figures upon record in order that a comparison may be instituted between the efforts made by other countries and the huge task accomplished by Australia. The percentage of casualties based upon the total number of troops sent overseas, or in training, at November, 1918, are . as follow : -
Honorable senators will note that out of every 100 Australians despatched overseas 63 were either killed or wounded.
– Or sick.
– Exactly. But as our troops were so strong and healthy, obviously the heavy percentage of our casualties was not due to illness. The proportion of casualties amongst Australian troops is, therefore, worthy of more than passing notice.
– Our casualties were very heavy.
– I have another table dealing with the percentage of casualties to our male population, and although it may seem somewhat to overlap the statistics which I have already quoted under another heading, I propose to read it. The table is as follows : -
These figures are decidedly interesting. It will be noted that our Australian casualties were just about 8½ per cent, of our total male population. That is extraordinary, in view of the fact that, prior to’ the war, military authorities considered that 7 per cent, of the total population of any country was all that it could put into the field to defend itself. When we recollect how evenly balanced are the male and female populations of Australia, it is indeed remarkable that more than 4¼ per cent, of our total population should have been wounded in fighting so many . thousands of miles from our own shores. There are a. couple of other lists that I desire to place upon record. One of these relates to the casualties sustained by other belligerents. These are shown in the following table: -
– Up to what date are these figures made up?
– They are made up to March of the present year.
– If the number of French wounded is less than the number of French killed, the honorable senator’s figures must be wrong.
– The French may have a different method of dealing with their wounded from that which we adopt. Our wounded are so much in excess of the number of our killed that it has occurred to me that under our system one man may be wounded many times . and each time be counted as a casualty. France may not deal with her wounded in that way.
That return is remarkable for the smallness of Belgium’s death-roll. We know how much has been made of the losses sustained by Belgium, and we allrecognise how generously Australia came to the aid of Belgian sufferers from the war. It is astonishing, therefore, to find that for every Belgian who was killed during this groat struggle, more than four Australians sacrificed their lives.
– It is hardly fair to cite the case of Belgium, seeing that that country was overrun during the first advance of the Germans.
– Let Senator Lynch, who would like to make excuses for the Belgians, talk to Australian soldiers on the matter, and he will find that there are other reasons for the small number of Belgians killed, but I do not intend to go into them at this juncture, as my time is limited. The figures showing the population, the killed and wounded, and the percentage of killed and wounded to the population of the principal belligerents are as follows : -
That is a very -interesting return to those who have followed the war to its conclusion, and to those who will continually be making comparisons between Australia’s effort, as a volunteer nation, and those of other nations, which adopted other means of participating in the fighting; by that, I mean compelling their men to fight.
– Without which we would not have won the war.
– I have not the time to follow up the interjection to any extent. Senator Lynch has said that without conscription the war would not have been won. No one questions the quality of our men. The article from which I obtained these figures mentions that in any circumstances the Australian casualties would have been heavy, because they always displayed great dash and spirit. But they need no praise, because their qualities have been recognised by all authorities. I am not here to praise them.
– Our men were better fed than many others - that goes a long way.
– Before Great Britain adopted conscription, according to the report of the British War Cabinet, over 5,000,000 had enlisted in that country, and Great Britain, together with her Dominions, put a little more than 7,000,000 into the field by voluntary effort. Without conscription Britain’s army’ would have been almost the same as it was under compulsory service, because the difference between the number that enlisted before- conscription was imposed and the number eventually obtained would in any case have been made up as the war progressed.
– Those figures cannot be relied upon.
– They are taken from the report of the British War Cabinet.
– Conscription was introduced in- the interests of equity and Democracy.
– We know that forces had been at work in France to make it appear that the French soldiers were doing the whole of the fighting, and that Great Britain was not doing her share, and that Britain adopted conscription largely to satisfy the French people and to discount the efforts of German agents.
– Why did America introduce conscription ?
– Because its representatives are of the Tory mind of Senator Bakhap. America is the country of the enormously wealthy, who think more of money and commercialism than of human life. I am perfectly satisfied that nobody in Australia will complain ‘ about Australia’s effort, but will recognise that poor and rich alike offered their services in the great war. I say, with pride and satisfaction, that there is not a man who participated in the great conflict who will ever regret having left this country of his own free will. The story of what we did by voluntary effort is one of the bright pages in our Australian history, particularly in view of th© spirit of our- troops and of their wonderful achievements.
The Prime Minister in another place has said that our troops, at one stage of the war, actually saved “the situation. I give way to no maru in my pride of race and pride of country, but the war was too big a thing for anyone to imagine that any one event was responsible for its successful conclusion. The American armies in Europe and the American’ casualties were as follows: -
The percentages of the American military effort work out as follows: -
The foregoing figures are very interesting, and whether we view them in the light of those who imagine that if other ‘ means had been adopted it would have been better for Australia, we are proud of our share in the war, and of the efforts of Australia’s manhood.- We have particular reason to be proud of Australia’s efforts, because we have to remember that the number of our dead and wounded is greater than that of Canada. Our experiences in the great conflict must prove very valuable to the people of Australia, and we should keep them well in mind.
I have gone through, somewhat hurriedly, our loss of man-power in killed and wounded, which is a serious matter to the people of Australia. So far as the wounded are concerned, we shall have to take care that whatever Government may be in office the country will do to those men as they deserve to be done by. They deserve the best, because they gave of their best.
I will now come, to the concluding acts that led up to the determination of this awful war and the conditions under which peace was signed. While the war was raging, some of us grew quite heated as to the terms on which peace should be made, and some wanted to fight to a finish. There are men within my hearing at the present moment who are sorry that the war was not fought to a finish.
– It was fought to a finish.
– It was. fought until Germany asked for an armistice, and virtually had acknowledged herself to be beaten. What I mean by saying that there are men within my hearing who would have liked to see the war fought to a finish is that there were men who would have liked to see German territory subjected to some of the rough treatment that Germans had given to the territories they invaded.
– - Our , people do not do. that sort of thing. .
– The honorable senator overlooks the conditions which are inevitably associated with war. The armed invasion of an enemy country is not conducted with beg-pardons and kid gloves. With regard to what might be the conduct of our Forces had they invaded Germany, it should be remembered that they would have had the experience before them of the German invasion of France and Belgium. I venture to say that our soldiers were very much of the same type of men -as our people generally, and if they had been given the chance, they would have beenisposed to pay Germany back in her own coin for what she did in Belgium and France. It is of no use to suggest that our men would have conducted themselves at all times in a polite and gentlemanly manner, and would not have hurt the feelings of their enemies. I venture to say that they did hurt the feelings of their enemies very frequently.- Senator Foll, as one who participated in the Gallipoli campaign, will know the passions that are aroused in war, and he will know what happens when men “see red.” It is of little use therefore, to speculate upon what might happen when an invading army is going through an invaded country. Perhaps there was no better opportunity of judging what Britain and her Allies might do in such circumstances than was afforded by what the British Forces did in the conquered countries of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Palestine. It is very interesting to follow the operations of the British and Australian troops and the Empire’s troops generally in those countries. There was quite a long-drawn-out struggle in Mesopotamia. At one period General Townshend was besieged at Kut.elAmara with 11,000 men, and we know the frantic endeavours which were made to relieve him. He held out as long as he had provisions to sustain his men. No fewer than 22,000 casualties were inflicted upon the British relief forces, and, after all, General Townshend was compelled to surrender with his force. The British Army proceeded beyond Bagdad, and no sooner had they obtained possession of the country than the irrigation schemes and plants that had been thrown out of use were again prepared and put into use, and growing corn followed the advance of the soldiers.
– That is exactly the opposite of what the Germans did.
– I am trying, if the honorable senator will permit me, to say something of what our Forces did, and holding that out as an object lesson. Our Forces had months and years of fighting in the desert, and we know that the individuals participating in that campaign were subjected to all the hardships of war, in a climate that was intolerable, in a country that was unproductive, and in the early stages of the campaign had frequently to go without supplies. This invading army was also subjected to the attacks of marauding Arabs, who hovered upon the flanks of both armies and plundered and stripped the wounded and dead. In the face of all these provocations, those who followed that campaign closely were afforded an object lesson of the courses adopted by Britain in a conquered country. Our Forces quickly got to work to develop the resources of the country so that the inhabitants might see that whilst Britain came with a conquering army, she set to work to improve the means of production and to make the country more productive and a better place in which to live than it was before the war.
With the slaughter of thousands, and, indeed, millions, of human, beings, the conscience of mankind was awakened, and people began to look forward for a means to bring the slaughter to a termination. Then the community divided itself again into two classes, and I venture to say that the conscience of the world - shall I say of the Christian world - was expressed by President Wilson in the famous speech in which he laid down the fourteen points upon which Peace might be obtained. I need not quote again, because I have previously quoted in the Senate, the proposals of the extreme section of the Australian Labour party in the June previous to the announcement of President Wilson’s proposals; but I will say that the wording and sentiment of the Australian Labour party’s proposals were almost identical with the Peace proposals of President Wilsonl It is strange that proposals bo similar should come from sources so much separated as a. Conference of Workers in Australia and the President of the great American Republic. It must be remembered that President Wilson, in formulating his proposals, was in the happy position of having communicated with all the countries that were at war, with a view to trying to find out the conditions under which proposals for the termination of the war might meet with acceptance. Senator de Largie. - We should declare President Wilson to be a plagiarist.
– No; I am simply saying that President Wilson spoke for the conscience of the Christian world, and so did the Conference of the Australian Labour party. The world, in my opinion, has been divided into people who have a conscience, and people who have n’ot a conscience. I am merely directing attention to a remarkable coincidence that occurred while the war was waging.
I wish to specially direct attention to President Wilson’s fourteen points, and to a speech made by Mr. Lloyd George about the same time, because upon these statements the Peace Treaty we have before us, and also the proposal for the League of Nations, seem to me to hinge. I do not think there can be any doubt that these leaders of the nations had’ been in communication one with the other before these speeches were delivered, and, in my opinion, they materially weakened the German resistance. I do not dispute the fact thatour fighting Forces broke down the resistance of the Germans, but I venture to say that it was broken down to a greater extent by the disruption of the country within than by the overwhelming Forces of the Allied Armies. Up to the stage at which Mr. Lloyd George made the famous speech in which he uttered the sentiments of the British people, andPresident Wilson made the speech in which he announced his fourteen points, the German people supported the German Forces in conducting the war.
– Does the . honorable senator believe that the German military autocracy allowed these speeches to be published to their troops ?
– I think it was quite impossible to prevent them from reaching the people of Germany.
– I said the troops.
– I am not pretending that the troops had knowledge of these speeches ; I am speaking of the German people. Up to this period the German people had been in the position which we occupied here, and the facts were not allowed to be published to them. Up to this time they had been led to believe that they had to win the war or be absolutely wiped out; that it was a war to the end so far as the Allies were concerned. The German people had been fed- up with that kind of thing. These two remarkable utterances of the spokesman of the British Nation and the President of the United States of America are very important to consider when we are discussing the terms of the Treaty to which we are asked to give our assent in this Parliament. I shall briefly quote the three conditions of Peace which Mr. Lloyd George set out in his speech on the 7th January, 1918. He said -
If, then, we are asked what we are fighting for, wo reply, as we have often replied, for a just and lasting peace, and we believe that before peace can be hoped, for, three conditions must be fulfilled. These conditions are -
The sanctity of treaties must be re established.
A territorial settlement must be secured, based on the right of selfdetermination or the consent of the governed.
We must seek, by the creation of some international organization, to limit the burden of armaments and to diminish the probability of war.
On these conditions the British Empire would welcome peace; to secure these conditions its peoples are prepared to make even greater sacrifice thanthey have yet endured.
Before I leave Mr. Lloyd George’s speech I may quote something which he said before he came to the conditions to which he referred at the close of his address. . He is reported as follows : -
Our view-point is that the adoption of a really democratic constitution would be the most convincing evidence that her old spirit of military domination had died, and it would make it much easier to conclude a broad and democratic peace with her; but that is a question for the German people to decide.
That is worth noting as bearing out the view I have put forward : that these speeches had a notable effect in breaking down the resistance of the German people. Mr. Lloyd George vaguely. expressed a desire for a democratic constitution in
Germany, and action in that direction in that country followed shortly after that speech. Coming to President Wilson’s speech, the fourteen points which he announced, with a little added which he had to concede to the Allies, led to the armistice with Germany, and must remain the chief basis upon which Peace was established. The fourteen points, which were announced by Mr. Wilson on the 10th January, 1918, three days after Mr. Lloyd George’s speech previously quoted, were as follow: -
I have read the fourteen points, because it is upon them that this Peace is based. But President Wilson, in the speech . in which he outlined his fourteen points, also made theseremarks, “which are “worth noting -
We have no jealousy of German greatness, and there is nothing in this programme that impairs it. We grudge her no achievement or distinction of learning or pacific enterprise. Such have made her record very, bright and very enviable. We do not wish to injure her or to block in any way her legitimate influence or power. We do not wish to fight her either with arms or with hostile arrangements of trade if she is willing to associate herself with us and the other peace-loving nations in covenants of justice and law and fair dealing. We wish her only to accept a place of equality among the people of the world - the new world on which wo now live - ‘instead of a place of mastery.
We must not forget that the Peace has been based on President Wilson’s fourteen points, because, in November, when Germany made representations for an armistice, the Allied representatives sitting at Versailles added to those points by making them more understandable to the German people. On 5th November, President Wilson communicated to Germany a note drafted by the Allied representatives assembled at Versailles, in which they declared “ their willingness to make peace with the Government of Germany on the terms of Peace laid down in the President’s address to Congress on Sth January, 1918,” subject to two qualifications. They made this statement
On 8th January, 1918, the President declared that the invaded territory must be restored as well as evacuated and made free.
The Allied Governments feel that no doubt ought to be allowed to exist as to what this provision implies. By it they understand that compensation ought to be made by Germany for all damage done to the civilian population of the Allies and to their property by the aggression of Germany by land, by sea, and from the air.
It is important to note that these words were drafted by the Allied Governments in Versailles, and nbt by President Wilson in Washington.
I have gone into the basis of the Peace Treaty for this reason : I claim that, so far as Germany was concerned, the war was commenced by the German military party persisting in their disregard of the. Treaty safeguarding Belgium from invasion by ‘German troops. We can never forget that famous interview which the British Ambassador in Berlin had with the German Foreign Minister, in which the latter asked of the Ambassador : “ Are you going’ to war for a scrap of paper?” I think, also, that we all evinced great national pride at the thought that rather than allow another nation to be overrun by the then most powerful military people in the world, Great Britain was prepared to enter the war to honour a scrap of paper to which she had attached her name. We are now dealing with another scrap of paper, to which, also, the name of Great Britain, as well as the name of Australia, has been attached, namely, the basis of the Peace Treaty, laid down in the fourteen points, with the additions made to those fourteen points by the Allied representatives sitting at Versailles on the 5th November, 1918. Beyond that scrap of paper, with honour, we dare not go. I know that some people will aTgue that Germany has got off very lightly. Some people will argue that Germany should be compelled to pay more than is provided for in the document which we are now discussing.
– We are not asking to go any further than the Peace Treaty.
– I am asking that the Peace Treaty should be in accordance with the scrap of paper to which I have referred.
– I will say that the Peace Treaty has an American complexion.
– Does it exceed the condition’s laid down for Germany at the time of the armistice? I am not speaking in German interests, but in British interests.
– Are not the fourteen points contained in this Treaty?
– Well, what more may be said?
– I realize, of course, that, so far as Senator Bakhap is concerned, if he is satisfied, nothing more need be said. The point I am trying to make is this: There is much opposition to the. Peace Treaty and the League of Nations, coming, in a great many cases, from that section of the community which thinks that the Allies have not gone far enough, and that Germany, the offender, should be adequately punished for her crime.
– Hear, hear!
- Senator Reid says “ Hear, hear “ to that statement. I eay that the punishment to be meted out to Germany was agreed upon by the Allied representatives sitting at Versailles on the 5th November, and beyond that . arrangement, with honour, Great Britain and the Allies dare not go.
– Provided Germany keeps it.
SenatorMulcahy. - The honorable gentleman is only saying what the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) has said. Nobody proposes to go beyond the Peace Treaty.
– I am not speaking about the Peace Treaty; I am talking about the armistice terms. So far as Mr. Hughes is concerned, he made the position quite clear on the 10th November last, in the course of a statement to. a representative of the Australian Press Association. He said -
We were distinctly told that an opportunity would be given us to discuss the actual terms of Peace. That has not been done.
A little later in the interview the Prime Minister said -
Although I have been asked by the Australian Government to remain in Great Britain in order to be here when the Peace terms were considered, I was not even informed that they were being discussed until I learned that they were finally settled.
That was the Prime Minister’s view about the armistice terms. I would not have referred to his views at all, but for Senator Reid’s interjection. The Prime Minister, speaking at the Guild Hall on this subject, said -
There was nothing in Mr. Lloyd George’s speech that affected the position he was contending for. He emphatically re-affirmed that the terms were’ settled without consultation with the Dominions.
These things are worth nothing. There is something else in the report concerning the opinion of the Manchester Guardian of our Prime Minister, but I do not propose to give further publicity to the castigation inflicted by the newspapers upon him. Does the Peace Treaty exceed the terms of the armistice? Honorable senators know what an enormous document the Peace Treaty is, and how little time we had to consider it in detail.
– Germany has got out of her mess very well.
– Germany has got out of it very well ; but the question I am emphasizing is, Does the document which this Parliament is called upon to consider square with the armistice terms as agreed upon by the Allies sitting at Versailles? Mr. Lloyd George, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the representatives of France and Italy, were in communication with President Wilson, who was then in Washington, and they had at their elbows the best military and naval advice obtainable.
– President Wilson says it does not go beyond the terms of the armistice.
– Does the honorable senator argue that w.e get too much in the Peace Treaty?
– So far as Australia is concerned, we get nothing.
– Therefore, you are quarrelling with the terms of the Peace Treaty because we are not getting enough ?
– Having got from it nothing that can be regarded as adequate compensation for the loss of life suffered by Australia, surely we can discuss the question whether we. are going to lose our reputation through it.
– There is no chance of that.
– If exceeding the terms of the armistice does not endanger the reputation of the Allies, then I may be taking quite an oblique view of the whole question; but that is the view I am endeavouring to put before the Senate. I repeat that when the representatives of the Allies were sitting at Versailles, they had for their advisers the best military and naval authority obtainable, and they agreed to the armistice on the conditions laid down in President Wilson’s points, with some additional statements to make the points clearer to the German people. They had nothing further to add, and, so far as Australia is concerned, that has been rather disastrous. The party for which I stand, the Labour party, asked for no penal indemnities and for no acquisition of- territory ; but apparently some honorable senators opposite imagine that in a victorious peace Australia should get more reimbursement.
– How does the honorable senator justify his statement-
– - Mr. President. I can address myself to the Peace Treaty, but not to half-a-dozen honorable senators’ interjections.
– The honorable senator should not be unduly interrupted by interjections. His time has expired.
Extension of time granted, on motion by Senator Needham.
– The import- .ance of this subject induces me to continue. I wap referring to the fact that the Labour party did not expect penal indemnities or acquisition of territories. In that regard we have, to bear the criticism of our opponents. What have we got out of this victorious Peace ? The answer will be that we have been granted a man date over certain Pacific islands. A number of honorable senators opposite will say that the effect of that mandate was agreed upon between Japan and Great Britain - Australia being a consenting party - some three years ago. The American Secretary for State, Mr. Lansing, has publicly stated that he was aware of the nature of this Anglo-Japanese Treaty at that time. I was a member of the Australian Labour Government then, and I was certainly not privy to any such agreement between Japan and Great Britain, with Australia a consenting party. But if Mr. Hughes claims that he was a consenting party to the partition of those islands three years ago, what have Mr. Hughes and’ Sir Joseph Cook brought back from the Peace Conference?1 In the next few weeks our eyes will be opened to the exact powers to be conferred on Australia under its Pacific islands mandate. My own strongly held view is that we already possess a continent sufficient for the employment of all our energies and enterprise for centuries to come. And, with respect to our management and control of the Pacific Islands, I am convinced that if the Great Powers give equal rights to Japan in that sphere - including the right to come into those islands - Australia will not make much out of its mandate.
– But Mr. Hughes objected to such a proposition.
– I can only ask the honorable senator to wait until the details of the mandate are announced, when .he will see what Mr. Hughes’ objections have been worth. What will be the terms of the mandate? We know nothing as yet. We know from Mr. Hughes, however, that he and his codelegate asked - out of the German indemnity - for reimbursement to the extent of some £354,000,000, and that of that sum £300,000,000 was lost to us at a stroke of the pen, because the repayment of our war expenditure’ would not be in consonance with the terms of President Wilson’s fourteen points. Out of the amount of indemnity which is to be left to the British Empire after it has been stripped of various claims, owing to the acceptance of those fourteen points, we may be sure that Australia will get practically nothing. The few million pounds which may come to us will be of such little consequence that we should be prepared now to face the facts; and we shall be all the bet- ter off for having done so. Of course, it was of no use for Germany to hope to be given back her island possessions. Had they been placed under international control, however, the future of those islands would have been as satisfactorily disposed of as could possibly be devised; but if Australia is to be given control, and must pay the cost of that management and control without being placed in the way of earning sufficient revenue to balance the cost, then the effect of our securing this mandate will be merely to add another big item to our burden of war debt. We realize that these islands are rich, but they are not so valuable as that portion of New Guinea which we already hold, and with regard to which we are not yet making much success. No doubt, the shipping companies which will trade around those islands will make some measure of profit, but the Australian taxpayer will be recouped only to a very small extent.
– The Germans administered those islands at a loss.
– That is so, I understand.
I shall now devote some attention to the- retention by Japan of the Chinese territory of Shantung. No basis for peace can hope to bring about permanent peace unless the settlement be entirely just and righteous. A wrong has been done to one of our Allies to benefit another of them. It appears at this moment as though Japan were going to hand back Shantung to China. I believe that Japan will make restitution of the peninsula; but there is nothing in the Peace Treaty having to do with that. I am the more’ convinced that Japan will make restitution after having read a simple statement in the Sydney press to the effect that a shipload of Japanese onions is to be sent to New Zealand, because Chinese merchants have refused to accept the consignment. I know that a Chinese boycott would so cut . into the Japanese commercial mind that a weapon of that character is almost bound “to be effective.
– Japan may cut deep, but the Chinese cut deeper.
– Exactly. The Chinese will take their own means of insisting upon their rights; and, no doubt, those means will be effective. Japan, I firmly believe, will keep her word in this matter.
It is rather extraordinary - reverting again to the position as we see it in Australia - that neither the Prime Minister nor any other member of the Government has referred to so important a factor as this Shantung incident when speaking upon the Peace Treaty, the League of Nations, and the hope for the peace of the world. I view with concern the unfairness of . that section of the Peace Treaty which has a bearing upon the retention by Japan of a slice of Chinese territory. I record that view realizing, of course, that the Treaty will certainly be ratified by the Commonwealth Parliament.
I desire to say a few words now regarding the campaign proceeding in the United States of America, and with respect to the feeling in Australia in connexion with the League of Nations. If, as the outcome of the war, a League of Nations has been formed which will preserve the peace of the world, then J am bound to say that even the enormous sacrifices of life will not have been in vain. I am hopeful, and, indeed, confident, that world-peace will be preserved by the establishment of a League of Nations. I have heard men say, however, that the United States of America will not ratify the Peace Treaty. I have been told, and have read, that the hyphenated American - not. the GermanAmerican, but the Irish-American - is, in his great numbers, solidly against ratification. If that be the case, I am more than sorry. Through good and ill report I have always stood, just as the rank and file of British Labour has always stood, for a mea.sure of self-government being conferred upon Ireland. I see, as an outcome of the establishment of the League of Nations, a possibility of Ireland eventually being allowed to govern herself. I look for the day when Ireland may possess the same status as other small nations; when she may be able to take advantage of those guarantees mentioned in the speeches of President Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George, in their representative capacities, whereby the right of selfgovernment will be accorded by consent of the League of Nations. Honorable senators may say that the League of Nations will never become a sufficiently active and powerful factor to bring that about. Let us suppose that the League develops so authoritatively that huge armaments are rapidly reduced. What could be more likely, then, than that all fear of aggression, invasion, warfare, will have passed from the minds of British statesmen and that they will be prepared to grant self-government to Ireland? For there would no longer be the fear in their hearts that Ireland might be used as a jumping-off place for an enemy invasion of the soil of England. If the League of Nations proves the success that I hope it will be, not only will Peace in the immediate future be certain, but it will be assured for the years to come. In those days the weight of the opinion held by the working classes of Britain will have become so forceful that Ireland is bound to be generously accorded the right of self-determination. Ireland not only desires, but deserves justice, and not mere generosity. She will get justice as a result of the birth of the League of Nations, as an outcome of the banishment of war and of the fear of war. If the United States of America ratify the Peace Treaty it will not be long before Germany and Austria and Russia will have settled their own forms of government, will have established a stable, democratic regime, and will have earned the right to enter the League of Nations. The day when those three great outstanding peoples shall have entered the League is a day to be devoutly prayed for. That there should continue to be a League of the Nations of the world with those three great nations standing out, and free, perhaps, to form a counter-league among themselves cannot be regarded as ‘a factor of world Peace. The shutting out of the three countries would inevitably tend to force them into an effective alliance. That would not make for world Peace. Germany must come into the League of Nations. The war is over. The Allies will not do well to seek to continue totake vengeance upon Germany and her Allies. If we are not prepared, eventually, to accept all the peoples of the world as members of the League, we shall not be laying the foundations of future Peace; we shall be sowing again the seeds . of universal war.
I realize that in this document, which represents the work and ideals of the Empire’s delegates to the Peace Confer- ence, there are some small considerations at which one could cavil. I am willing, however, to overlook what I consider to be minor mistakes and omissions. I realize that here is a document which represents the mightiest advance towards universal Peace which has ever yet been attempted. As I have already suggested, I am not very gravely concerned about Australia’s war indebtedness. In a country like this the money can be earned if we turn to our primary sources of wealth, ‘ and do not endeavour to compete with the older countries of the earth in making our people Work at the same trades and vocations. Let us turn our whole-hearted attention to Australia’s mighty primary products. Let us draw from those assets the wealth with which we shall be able to rid ourselves of our heavy obligations; and let us proceed to our destiny in anatmosphere of supreme peace and prosperity. To-day, Australia has opportunities which are unequalled by those of any other nations signatory to .the Peace Treaty. We are a young people with immense possibilities. Ours is a country which has proved itself under the stress of -war, and whose sons have fought in a manner not eclipsed by the fighting men of any other country or race. In considering that factor, by the way, I hold rather wide views in making comparisons between the valour of our men and the bravery of the soldiers of other countries. We say, and we are told, and we read, that our men are the equals of the fighting men of any other land; but that expression does not wholly or rightly sum up that supreme degree of valour which our Australians have displayed. Many of us have been disposed, possibly owing to our lack of knowledge, to despise the efficiency of the Turk as a fighting force. But the reports we have received from our own soldiers have dispelled that illusion, and, have given us quite a new view-point of the fighting qualities of the Turk. All men fight well, but the experience gained in the titanic struggle which has just closed has convincingly proved that in the final settlement of international disputes personal bravery counts for little when opposed to the modern machinery of war. For example, the Turks, when driven from their trenches by our artillery, would frequently taunt our forces with the fact that we had had to employ huge instruments of warfare to oust them from their positions. Looking to the future of the world, and. realizing that all men are brave, I hold that it is the first duty of each nation to bind up its own wounds, and then to see that the Peace between the Allies, and their erstwhile enemies shall become a real Peace. I am not so foolish as to believe that all the anger which has been engendered by this awful war can be dissipated in a moment. We know that the press of every country is accustomed to present the way in which war is conducted by an enemy in the most brutal colours. All countries paint their war pictures with a view to stirring up human passions against their enemies; but now that the war is over; I desire to see a real Peace, a Peace based upon equity and fair play, and upon a desire to link up in the League of Nations not only those nations with whom we have been allied, but those against whom we have been fighting. I believe that this will eventually be accomplished. I support the League of Nations, and I would rather see the experiment fail than that we should refrain from making it. The very fact that such a League has been put forward marks an advance in civilization. Even if it fails now, if will surely form the basis of that future unity of nations which will make for a Peace which will be enduring. I recognise that if the task were left to the soldiers who have been fighting, there would be little difficulty in achieving a universal Peace. But the conditions which make for war, and which have always made, for war, are those relating to trade - the conflicting interests of buyer and seller. No man can watch the way in which the different nations are manoeuvring to-day in order to gain an advantage for themselves without realizing what a disturbing influence- considerations of trade, and trade combines, exert. Either these trading combines must be dealt with effectively, in the interests of “the people of the different countries, or they will so squeeze the life-blood out of those peoples that fighting in the future will not be conducted with the vigour that our own troops exhibited during the recent war. In the earlier portion of my remarks, Senator Bakhap interjected that the feeding of men entered largely into the question of their stamina. I quite agree with him. It behoves us, therefore, to see that our children receive the same nourishing food as that upon which we have been reared. The limiting of food supplies here and there must adversely affect the efficiency of our own people within the course of a very few years. I support the Peace Treaty because of the good which it contains. To me, that good is represented by the prospect of realizing through the League of Nations a world-peace- which will be of an enduring character.
– The importance of this debate has been slightly stressed by the preceding speaker; but it is, in fact, the most historic and the most overwhelmingly important discussion in which this Parliament has ever engaged. After the suspense occasioned by five years of war, in which Australia has played a noble part, we have now come to what, after all, is only the beginning of the settlement of this greatest of world cataclysms. In Australia, the march of events, even during our own life-time, has been, indeed, surprising. . Only thirty years ago Australia consisted of colonies governed from the Colonial Office. .Some years later we evolved into the position of a self-governing Dominion. The ratification of the Treaty which is now before us will practically constitute Australia a nation - a member of the League of Nations, with all the obligations and duties attaching thereto. This Peace will not be technically complete until the Parliaments of which the signatories were the representatives, ratify it. We know that in any settlement of this sort, which is practically a world-wide settlement - a settlemen’t in which a babel of tongues was concerned, and in which clashing interests and selfishness were involved - the labours of the delegates who have subscribed to it, must have been of a monumental character. Whether we like it or not, Australia has been drawn into the vortex of the world’s politics, and never again can we go back to the position of isolation- that we occupied in this continent, ringed by the blue Pacific, when we were apparently not concerned with what was going on in the bigger world outside. We have now a destiny, and that destiny is not that of an empty lonely continent, but that of one of the signatories to the Peace Treaty, and of a member of the League of Nations. Thus, whether we like it or not, we shall in the future be concerned with all world-wide events, wherever they may originate. This, then, constitutes the importance of the new epoch. It constitutes our new outlook and our new responsibilities. This Treaty has been placed before us with all its voluminous details. A great deal of it does not immediately concern Australia, but a careful perusal of it impresses one with the complexity of the interests involved, and with the difficulties which had to be surmounted before unanimity could be reached. It impresses one also as a search for justice, and as an earnest of a desire to abolish the causes of war. I will not further stress the very able deliverances which have been made in this Parliament in connexion with the Treaty by the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Navy, and by the Minister for Repatriation, who submitted this motion to the Senate. We all know that Germany set out with the idea of achieving worldpower or of suffering a downfall, and the Treaty which we are now called upon to ratify is a clear indication that her downfall as a military autocracy is complete. She has lost her army; she has sacrificed her navy; her mercantile marine is to be handed over to the Allies to replace the shipping losses she has inflicted upon them: her dream of worldpower - particularly the dream of domination from Berlin to Bagdad, and the absorption of Turkey - has been shattered, and territory has been taken from her which she had niched from others. She has had to give up portion of her territory to an independent Poland; she has to carry out plebescites in connexion with Schleswig and Silesia, and to restore Alsace-Lorraine to France. The task of the peacemakers of Versailles, therefore! has been to obliterate national ranklings which have existed for some scores, if not hundreds, of years. I believe that the Peace which will be completed by the ratification of this Treaty may prove an illusion, because the League of Nations, after the Peace has been ratified by all the parties to it, will have no force behind it. It will merely have the influence of moral suasion. In Paris our representatives, ‘ with other representatives, determined the basis of Peace, and, even after it has been ratified, we shall only begin to give effect to those principles which were laid down by President Wilson in his famous fourteen points. Those principles include reparation, restitution, and restoration. So far as nationals and territory are concerned, I believe that the Peace is the best which could be obtained. But from the standpoint of finance it represents merely a compromise. Under it Germany is to be called upon to pay up to £5,000,000,000 at some time in the distant future. This amount is to be made up not merely of money, but of goods, of live stock, of coal, of labour, and also of food which the German people themselves need Our occupation of German territory compels compliance with the Peace Treaty; but, so far as I have been able to understand, Germany will avoid payment if she can.
I do not altogether agree with the observation made in this Chamber that the Peace is an American one.
– It is a Wilson Peace.
– Nor do I agree with the statement that it is a Wilson Peace. The armistice was accepted on the basis of the fourteen points, but what the fourteen points really meant was not clear at the time. I am glad the diplomats of the Allies have so interpreted those fourteen points that some of the fears we possessed when the armistice was signed have disappeared. I believe that this Peace is a just Peace. I do not by any means think it a severe one. This Parliament is asked to ratify the Treaty as an independent signatory. By our approval we must not forget the burdens and responsibilities we are accepting, and that our entry practically, brings us into’ every matter that will affect the future peace of the world. With Senator Gardiner, I hope, trust, and pray that there will be a two-thirds majority of the Senate of our great sister across the Pacific - the United States of America - that will ratify the Treaty in its present form, because without such ratification the League of Nations cannot come into existence. If the League of Nations does not come into being, I am afraid the world will drift back to the bad old doctrine of balance of power, and that there will practically be an armed truce. It is vital to the Peace of the world - the principles of this Peace.were laid down by the President of the United States of America as the representative of the American people - that the United States Senate should ratify the Treaty. Nothing we can say here will influence the controversy in America, but I trust that the document in its present form will be ratified by the United States Senate.
I was glad to hear the Leader of the Government in this Chamber (Senator Millen), in introducing the motion to the Senate, stress the effect of the Treaty upon Australia. I suppose one of - the matters that will be most important to us in connexion with the future government of Australia will be the mandates. Article 2 on page 9 of the Treaty deals with this aspect of the question, and we have’ been informed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) that the mandate over the German islands has been .given to Australia, although the exact terms have not yet been settled. I am glad we have dislodged the Germans from the islands that girt our shores, and that the safety of Australia has thereby been increased by the efforts of the Prime Minister in preventing German influence and power being encouraged in those islands in the South Seas. I do not regard the mandate, in view of our White Australia policy, with complete satisfaction. These mandatory powers will bring responsibilities to us. We have at present territory in New Guinea, consisting of about 90,000 square miles, containing anything from a quarter of a million to half a million of coloured people, and our mandate over the late German Possessions in the Pacific will double that area and also the population over which control will have to be exercised. Apart from their responsibility, for our own safety we have to see that German political influence is eliminated from the islands. It is an achievement to have obtained a mandate over the late German Possessions in the Pacific.
I understand that a Bill is to be introduced in another place in connexion with the administration of the island of Nauru, and that some reference has been made to this probable cost that will be imposed upon the Commonwealth in connexion with the extension of our administration of tropical islands. New Guinea now costs us about £50,000 per annum, and I believe it is probable that the mandate over the late German possessions in the Pacific will also involve some monetary responsibility. I believe we shall get a profit from Nauru, and therefore the net obligation to the Commonwealth in connexion with our additional responsibilities may not be very great.
The most important Article in the Treaty, so far as it affects our national life, is Article 10, and if the League of Nations be established, the integrity and safety of Australia is practically guaranteed. We cannot say that the terms imposed upon Germany in accordance with’ the fourteen points laid down at the time that the armistice was signed contain anything in the nature of monetary indemnity. I agree largely with the remarks of Senator Gardiner, on its financial aspects, that the Treaty, from a monetary point of view, is likely to be of very little benefit to Australia.
Our effort has been a glorious one, but has certainly been very costly when compared with the efforts of other countries. Consequently, the capital value of our pensions and repatriation payments will, relatively, be much’ heavier than that of any of the other nations concerned. It may be noted in the Treaty that the Germans, if they carry out its terms, will, sooner or later, have to pay for the damage done to civilian property during the war. Their obligations extend to the payment of pensions to the dependants of deceased and maimed soldiers, and also to the cost of repatriating soldiers on their return from the war. I understand that the Bill rendered to a temporary Commission in London, on behalf of Australia, is in the region of £100,000,000. The Prime Minister corrected his previous statement wherein he had said that the total cost of the war pensions and repatriation would be £354,000,000. His corrected statement was that the cost of the war was £350,000,000, and that we would require about £100,000,000 as a capitalized sum for repatriation and pensions. That is Germany’s obligation to Australia as embodied in the Treaty now before us; but those figures are somewhat misleading, because it must not be forgotten that the basis of pensions and repatriation is not on the cost to Australia for payments made to our soldiers, neither is it on the payments made to American or British soldiers, but on the basis of the amountexpended by the French nation. Consequently, although the capitalized sum that would represent our pensions and obligations in the matter of repatriation may be £100,000,000, the sum that Germany is compelled to pay under this Treaty will be based on the average cost to France for pensions and repatriation payments.
– About one-third of the Australian rate.
– If one makes a hurried estimate the sum we are likely to have, if Germany pays in full, will be, approximately,- one-third of £100,000,000.
An important omission from the Treaty is that of any restriction on our fiscal liberty. There is no restriction either of our right to deal with the racial question in any way we think “fit, including any danger that existed, or was threatened, in connexion with our White Australia policy. That has been successfully met by the Prime Minister. Britain still continues to be supreme upon the seas, and the sinister shadow of Germany has totally disappeared. I believe, with Senator Gardiner and others who have examined the Treaty, that if it is ratified by all parties Peace in our time - and even in that of our children and children’s children - is assured. I am also proud of the part Australia has played in providing men and money, and, in many other ways, in assisting to bring the war to a successful issue. We have very effectively helped to win the conflict. I mourn the precious lives lost, and that many brave and patriotic citizens can never return to this sunny land. I am afraid that that must be looked upon as one of the penalties of war, and the price of victory. I do not think the sacrifices of these men will be forgotten in our time, and those who have lost dear ones will see that their memory is kept green in what we hope will be the piping times of peace. We have been asked what Australia will get out of the war. I admit that we shall not get very much.
– I believe that we shall secure our safety by it.
– I agree with the honorable senator. But while we shall not get very much that can be reckoned in mere pounds, shillings, and pence, or territory, we have got what we never received before, and that is, practically a recognition of ‘ our independence as a small rising democratic ‘ nation, and we have practically a guarantee, if the League of Nations fructifies, that our territory shall be inviolate, and that we shall be safe to go on and develop our land in our own way.
– We are also guar-, anteed the possession of our own continent.
– That is so. We come out of the war with a load of debt. The figures which Senator Gardiner quoted show that incomparable sacrifices were made by Great Britain and France. If the honorable senator had considered the figures of money spent, in addition to those of lives lost, he would have seen further how great the sacrifices of those two nations were. But however large the number of lives lost by Great Britain and France, and the amount of money spent by them, the net result of this peace seems to me that Australia’s sacrifices will compare very closely with those of the two countries mentioned. The loss of manhood we can never replace, and we ‘ shall come out of this war with a financial, burden that I do not think is yet rightly appreciated. I am not in agreement with the remarks of the previous speaker when he touched so lightly on the consequences of the load of debt which will be imposed upon Australia as a result of the war.
All the overseas belligerents at the close of the war find themselves in a much better position than Australia is in. During the four years of war the excess of exports over imports in the United States of America amounted to considerably over £2,000,000,000. The excess of exports over imports in the case of Canada amounted to from £270,000,000 to £300,000,000. Even in New Zealand the excess of exports over imports amounted to £37,500,000. But in Australia during the four years of war the excess of exports over imports amounted to only about £30,000,000. If we then set off in aggregate the gain in the balance of trade against each country’s total war expenditure, we shall find that in the case of the United States of America, deducting the amount of money she has lent to the Allies, the balance of trade in her favour amounted to about 75 per cent, of her war expenditure. The balance of trade in favour of Canada amounted to more than the whole of her war expenditure. The balance of trade in favour of New Zealand during the four years of war amounted to onehalf of her war expenditure. But the balance of trade in favour of Australia during the war amounted to only about 10 per cent, of our war expenditure. These figures are startling and important enough, and I. cannot pass them lightly by. in the spirit in which the Leader of the Opposition viewed the huge war debt with which we are now faced.
Another view of the financial aspect of the matter is that it took about £5 per head per annum in the United. Kingdom before the war to carry out governmental activities and pay interest on the National Debt, as well as the cost of the upkeep of the Navy and Army. . Before the war the cost of government in Australia, State and Federal, was about £8 per head net, with practically no military or naval expenditure. .After the war, apparently, the United Kingdom, although she will be burdened with that huge war debt of £6,500,000,000, when she gets back to normal times, which the Imperial Government are determined shall be as early as possible, will be ‘able to carry that debt and continue governmental activities at a cost of not more than £12 per head of the people. Our war debt of £350,000,000, as well as our pensions and cost of repatriation, will I am afraid, impose upon the people of Australia a permanent liability of £16 per head per annum for carrying oh governmental activities - Federal and State. We shall possibly also have to incur further obligations in the development of our Naval defence and Military Forces.
– Ah increase of population will solve that difficulty.
– It will; but, while our population remains on its present basis, it must be remembered all the time by our leaders and the various Governments of the day that our war debt alone will impose a permanent obligation in war taxation of an average of 10s. per week on every family of five throughout the Commonwealth.
I am coming to the point now as to how we should face our financial position. I believe that rapid additions to our population .will very quickly ease the load of debt under which we must stagger for a time. It is clear that, if it costs 5,000,000 of people £16 per head per annum to govern the country, it will not cost 6,000,000, 7,000,000, or 10,000,000 of people , anything like that average amount. I believe that the Government may be trusted to seek as much reparation money out of any indemnity from Germany as oan possibly be diverted to these shores. I hope that the Government will try to get this money with the relentless pertinacity of the American dollar-hunter.
– Have we not more workers in Australia, and by that I mean producers, in proportion to our population, than there are in the United Kingdom?
– I cannot say; but our production per head of population is, I believe, greater than that of the Mother Country.
– Will the honorable senator tell us how his family of five are going to meet the increased taxation that will be necessary?
– I spoke of an average family. The Australian war bill for interest, pensions, and repatriation must for many years approximate to a sum of nearly £25,000,000 per annum. Clearly, then, if there are 1,000,000 families in Australia, the average payment for each of these families to meet this bill of £25,000,000 will approximate to 10s. per week.
I want to stress the financial position we are now in, in order that we may face it at the earliest possible moment. The more we examine the question of reparation, indemnities, and payment by Germany, the less we see that we are likely to get. Consequently, so far as financial assistance is concerned, we shall have to depend upon our own good right arm. I believe that it is obligatory on this Parliament to face the financial position, and see whether we cannot arrange in some way, not only to meet our interest obligations, but also to formulate some sinking fund as well.
There are many directions in which financial reform should come at no distant date. I shall not enumerate them now, but we see references to them in the newspapers almost every day. I believe that the Government are adopting a proper policy in extracting the world’s parity for the whole of our primary productions. It must be obvious that, if those productions are being sold at lower than the world’s parity, we are not paying, by their sale, so great a proportion of our debt as we otherwise would do. The policy of this country should be to discourage imports as much as possible, and to encourage exports. To make the balance of trade in our favour big enough is the only, way in which we can hope to ease our financial position’. Tn spite of the remarks of my honorable friend, I regard the position with some pessimism unless Australia will be able to increase the balance of trade in her favour. So far, we have not done very much, though we have seen what America and Canada have done; but the key to our financial problem is in the increase of the balance of trade in our favour.
The thanks of the people of Australia are due to the Peace delegates, who were so long away, and who bore so prominent a part in the discussions that took place at Versailles. They divested themselves of all party influence and prejudices, and did the very best they could in the interests of the people and the country of Australia. 1 believe that the problem? of peace will be almost . as onerous as were the problems of war.’ I do not see how this old world of ours can possibly get back again into its pre-war stride for at least some years to come; and I believe that by the ratification of the Peace Treaty we shall be only starting the period of reconstruction in this country.
Just a word ot two in connexion with trade and commerce. This Treaty, if observed in its entirety, would practically wipe the slate of Germany so far as trade and commerce are ‘concerned, but I notice in the latest English papers that trade between Great Britain and Germany is being resumed to a limited extent. The United States of America has also abolished most of its trade restrictions with its erstwhile enemy, and the other day, in the . Senate, I heard the Acting Minister for Defence (Senator Russell) mention that the importation of goods from Germany is prohibited if they contain more than 5 per cent, of German material or labour. I ask the Government to consider .this position very carefully, because it seems to me that in the few months that must elapse before we get into our commercial stride again, there must of necssity be some trade with Germany and Austria. “We cannot permanently cut them off. Keen as I am to bring home to our erstwhile enemies a realization of the destruction they wrought, and the brutality they exhibited during the war, I do not think this question of German trade should be camouflaged. If Britain and America resume trade relations with Germany, then it appears to me that, whether we like it or not, Australian products will get to Germany through the specially licensed agents in the Mother Country or America, and products from our erst- while enemy will reach- Australia through the same channels. Therefore, the Government should watch the developments very carefully. I hope they will not take up an impossible position - a position that will cost Australia in some cases the loss of the world’s parity and impose unnecessary obligations upon us by obliging us to pay through the nose to middlemen in the Mother Country or America. I want it to be quite clear that I am not by any means advocating unrestricted trade with Germany. I am only suggesting that the Government should carefully watch the international situation, and not allow American, or even British, middlemen or brokers to camouflage the position so far as some of our very valuable metals and primary products are concerned.
In conclusion, and in supporting this most momentous Treaty, I want to express the modest satisfaction I feel, as a member of this Legislature, in taking some slight part in trying to bring about what I believe will be the most glorious epoch in the history of the world’s civilization. I heard with the utmost satisfaction the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) say that he’ approved of the Treaty, practically from cover to cover, and that nothing which he or his colleagues would do would delay the ratification of the document one moment. I believe we are all in accord with those sentiments. We all are proud of the part we played in the war, and are playing now, and I believe Australia will not shirk the obligations imposed upon her by virtue of this Treaty.
I want to allude to those spots marked with little wooden crosses on the plains of Mesopotamia, on the sands of Egypt, or in the mud of Flanders. Over 50,000 crosses mark the resting-places of those glorious men of ours who gave their lives that this Treaty might be evolved and ratified. But for their sacrifices this occasion would not have arisen. But, by virtue of their courage and their selfabnegation, and because of what they have done for us, we are now, as a young and lusty nation, called upon to take our part in the affairs of the world. This is a responsibility we did not have before. This is an obligation that did not before rest upon. us. Australia will not shirk this responsibility and this obligation. I stress again that this is the close of the old, and the opening of the new, era for the people of this land. Because of the war, and all that has followed, we can never be as we were before. I believe that the ratification of this Treaty will at once enlarge our vision. ‘We take it with its responsibilities and its duties, and I believe the people of Australia will honour all its obligations in the same manner that they ‘honoured their obligations during the war period.
– I do . not intend to occupy the attention of the Senate for long in the discussion of this Treaty, but I want to place on record my appreciation of the work done on behalf of the masses by the delegation that represented Australia. The Treaty is the most stupendous document that has ever come before this Parliament, concerning as it does the peace of the world and the conditions of the working classes. I understand the Government desire that the Senate shall ratify it as early as possible, and for that reason I shall confine myself chiefly to the Labour conditions contained in tlie document. I may say, in passing, that while I regard the terms imposed upon Germany as very drastic, I cannot help thinking of the conditions that would have been imposed upon us in Australia had the boot been on the other foot, and Germany been victorious in the war. People may say what they like. I have my own opinion about German brutality, based on experiences of friends who have returned after two and a’ half and three years’ imprisonment in Germany. In view of what they have told me, I cannot help thinking that no conditions can be too severe for the cruelties practised upon our defenceless men. Undoubtedly the war was caused by Germany’s ambition to rule the world; to destroy Prance, if possible, and to humiliate Great Britain. Warnings were given on many occasions of Germany’s preparedness for the final day, when she would conquer the world. We were foolish then, and took no notice; but I am glad to know that we have come out on the right side in the conflict, and can enforce upon the enemy terms which, unfortunately, she can easily comply with.’ In this respect, Germany is in a favorable position. Most of her factories and mines are intact, and therefore she will be able to pay the indemnity with much greater ease than that with which France or Belgium’ will recover from the terrible condition into which they have been. thrown by the destruction of their factories and other means df production.
In connexion with the disposition of the Pacific Islands, I was pleased to note the great fight put up by our representatives to obtain control. Unfortunately, we had to compromise. We are now going to have control of former German Islands south of the Equator, while Japan will control the islands north of the Equator. .This may be a satisfactory arrangement, but I hoped for a better one. In the dim and distant future, we may regret it as sorely as Great Britain regretted the day when she allowed Heligoland to pass under German control. I hope the mandate prohibition against the fortification of the Pacific Islands will be strictly enforced in the interests of Australia. I have always advocated that Australia should be kept for a decent white race, and I have always been averse to the introduction of alien or coloured labour. Although we may desire a great addition to our population in order to share the burden we are called upon to carry, I maintain it would be better to go slowly in order to insure a good white population. As a unionist, I refused very many years ago to work with foreigners who were being introduced to Australia. At that time, we were hounded down by the press because of our “ un brotherly feeling “ towards these men from Germany; but we foresaw then that if they were allowed to creep into our industrial life, it would not be long before others would follow them. Several years, later, a younger generation came into power, and’ these foreigners were again introduced. Then when the war broke out, our own docks, while they were not full of foreigners, were employing a good number of German mechanics, who, undoubtedly, had been induced to come here to prepare Germany for the occupation of Australia in the very near future. I do not care what happens to me through making these statements. Only the other day the news was brought to me from a foreigner that his class would never vote for me, because of statements I had made against them from my place in the Senate. I make these statements again, and do not care what happens to me. lt would be a retrograde step, however, if Australia were to be filled with a race of that description.
As regards our financial burden, I do not consider that very gravely, for we know that our financial experts who are crying ‘out against Australia’s huge war expenditure are those, same men who, only a few years ago, stated that the war could not possibly last twelve months, because of the tremendous financial strain which it would impose upon the nations. That indicates that finance had really little to do with the duration of the war. The longer the war lasted the better the nations concerned appeared to be able to keep their armies going in the field. It was not lack, of finance that ended the war. The war was ended by force of arms.’ It came to an end by the practical capitulation of our foes. I am not a financial expert, but I know that, even with a small population such as we have in Australia, we can bear our burdens if they are judiciously faced. We must reduce useless expenditure. We must cut down all waste. By that, I mean that we must do away with the extravagance of a certain’ class - the expending class. Some people give 80 guineas and 100 guineas for a coat which they will wear on only two or three occasions. That is the kind of waste that must be banished if we are to face and overcome our obligations. I do not advocate that we should take the wealth from’ those who possess it; but those who have the money should be compelled to give a fair share of it towards lightening the burden of the great producing element in Australia. The financial burden will be heavy and will become heavier as the years progress; but I have every faith in this young country, and I believe that we shall be the first to recover from the financial strain imposed by the war.’
I wish to refer chiefly to the recognition of the claims of the classes to consideration, in this great document which we are about to ratify. The terms set out in the Treaty have brought back to my mind the ardent arguments of the Socialist agitator. His pleadings at last have borne fruit, and have taught those in high places that no longer can they expect the multitude to be ruled by advocates of low wages and cruel conditions of living. This great document clearly sets forth that the League of Nations realizes the claims of the classes. Had the Labour Charter, in its reference to labour considerations, been drawn up by those who for the past twenty or thirty years have been speaking upon these very subjects, its terms could not have been more emphatically and drastically set out. I am delighted that such is the case. The advocates of low wages and cruel conditions of life- generally are to be overborne by those who uphold the principles of brotherly love and fair play. As Lord Emmott said, after his visit to Australia, If you want a man to fight for his country you must make him love his country. The only way to bring that about is toprovide him with favorable conditions of life, and with opportunities for marrying and becoming productive. Such conditions do not wholly rule in Australia to-day, and certainly not in many other countries. True, we may be better off than some other peoples. With respect to the organization of labour, this document sets forth that -
Whereas the League of Nations has for its object the establishment of universal peace, and such a peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice; - And whereas conditions of labour exist involving such injustice, hardship and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are imperilled;
That is the wording of this document, and it is pleasing to know that, at any rate, an attempt has been made in this Covenant to bring about conditions of living which have not existed hitherto for unfortunate working people:
When the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) arrived in Australia, he said -
I come back as one to whom the name of Australia is as a gleaming sun filling the whole heavens with its radiance, and persuaded that there is no country like this, no people like ourselves.
On the very same day on which those words appeared in the public press, the’ following particulars were published in the Sydney Evening News. They are details of evidence taken before a Board of Trade inquiry into the conditions of the working classes, in Sydney in particular. I quote the following: -
The first witness said her husband had been discharged to make room for a returned soldier, and no consideration was given to him. “ Other men,” she said, “ were kept on who had only one child. I have had five children. One is dead.”
The witness said her husband had not had a new suit for two years. She had lost her eldest son in the war.
In order to keep her children going, she had been obliged to have recourse to the time-pay ment system. She worked hard herself, doing the best she could for her family to help them to make a good appearance, so she was kept going from 6 o’clock in the morning till 11 o’clock at night. “It is not living,” said the witness, with tears in her eyes.
Dr. Arthur. ; Have you been to any place of amusement lately? ; No; not for six years. We can’t afford that.
Have you been to Manly? - No.
To the pictures? - No; not at all.
Do you save anything? - No; we have enough to do. to live.
The witness said her children went to school with bare feet.
In answer to Mr. Kavanagh she said her husband had had five months’ constant work during the last twelve months. “ It was very hard,” she said, “ that my husband should have been dismissed after my son had given his life. I don’t think there was any British justice in that. I think they might take into consideration the mothers of the boys who died for their country.” .
Witness said she had seen a member of Parliament, and written to another, but nothing came of it.
The next witness said she had been married seventeen years, and had eight children. Like the previous witness, she complained of the sugar shortage. She got half a pint of milk daily.
Dr. Arthur. ; (What do the children drink? ; Water.
How much butter do you buy? - Half a pound a day.
Any cheese? - iYes, a little for lunch.
Witness said they had meat once a day, including Sunday; that was all she could afford. She bought l? lb. meat for the family (ten persons). She had not bought a joint for twelve months. Fruit was outof the question; but she sometimes gave the children a halfpenny to buy an apple instead of lollies. It was hard to get vegetables.’
In regard to clothes, it was seldom that her husband had a second suit. He had not bought a new suit for twelve years. He sometimes bought second-hand clothing. He wore a good many boots out.
She generally had to buy cheap shoes for herself, 12s. 6d. a pair, and they were “brown aper,” hardly worth mending. She made all er own clothes; but she had no time to knit socks. She was sorry to say that the children had not a second change.
Dr. Arthur. ; The children have to go halfnaked, do they? ; Yes; I am ashamed of them sometimes.
Witness said she suffered from neuritis. Her arms went dead sometimes.
Witness mentioned that she made a stew two nights ago, which cost 2s. 6d., and that made a meal for nine persons.
I could give further instances. The Prime Minister said that to him the name of Australia is as a gleaming sun. I hope that it is, and that it will continue so. But I hope that the great Congress of Labour to be held at Washing ton will bring about conditions of life which will cause such things as I have just pictured to become impossible in this fair land. I have known unfortunate people, living at Woolloomooloo, who have not seen ‘Sydney Harbor for twenty years. Those are the people for whom better conditions must be provided. It is from that class that our- magnificent fighting men were drawn. One has only to look around the streets to-day, to gaze into the faces of those who proudly wear the badge of the returned soldier, to learn whence the fighting men of Australia have emanated. My own union has lost thirty-eight of its members; they paid the last penalty. Another one hundred of them have been crippled. It is from the people of that class that our fighting men were reared - the men that made the name of Anzac great, that gave to Australia her grandest advertisement, at the cost of their lives.
The terms of the Labour Charter are such as, even here, with our advanced social legislation, we have merely dreamed about, and have never realized. Conditions have been laid down having to do with many matters governing our social , organization and existence, and which are intended for . the betterment of that class which has never been considered by the politicians of Australia, or of any other country. I do not know how the status of our unfortunate working classes is to be levelled up to the ideals set out within the Treaty of Peace; but Iam delighted that uplifting efforts are to be made. We in Australia cannot hope to compete with other countries unless we are successful, in some measure, in levelling up the conditions of our people. In certain countries two shifts of women work twelve hours a day. When one woman employee gets out of bed to go back to’ work, another gets into that same bed to sleep. The machinery is always going. Life cannot be worth anything to those people; and, indeed, they’ cannot hope to live long under such pressure. There must be a levelling up of our general circumstances, so that the products from those countries of sweated women labour shall not be imported to Australia. By bringing about the improvement of Labour’s environments, the Washington Conference will create lasting benefit.
The agenda for that Congress’ is as follows : -
The latter is a consideration which Australians had never dealt with prior to the war. The movement to which I have always belonged has consistently put forward ardent claims on behalf of those, who cannot find work. The League of Nations recognises the position of the unemployed, and will seek to solve their difficulties. The agenda proceeds -
Women’s employment -
The other day, when the Leader of the New South Wales Labour party announced as a plank in his platform that he favoured the establishment of a Ministry of Maternity, he was ridiculed by the hireling press of Sydney because of his silly statement. Here is the League of Nations behind that same ideal. These wise men of the nations are proceeding along the same paths. The agenda continues -
in unhealthy processes.
in unhealthy processes.
Honorable senators will note the details to which the framers of this document have got down. The agenda proceeds -
First. - The guiding principle above enunciated that labour should not be regarded merely as a commodity or article of commerce.
What glorious words . they are to those who have been fighting in the Labour movement for a life-time! When the nations of the world come to view labour in that light, we shall, indeed, be making for better industrial conditions -
Second. - The right of association for all lawful purposes by the employed as well as by the employers.
In the Commonwealth we pass’ Acts of Parliament for the purpose of dealing with small bodies of men who may desire a change of government - who may wish to have this nation governed in a different way from that which now obtains. We make laws for their deportation and their arrest. Yet the right of association for all lawful purposes by the employees as well as by the employers is recognised by the League of Nations. That right has been denied to many men in this country during the period of the war. Such action may have been due to excessive caution, but now that the war is over, we have no right to compel a man to remain silent on questions which vitally concern his country. The document proceeds -
Third. - The payment to the employed of a wage adequate to maintain a reasonable standard of life as this is understood in their time and country.
But what do we find in Australia to-day? We find wise men who sit in judgment in our Arbitration Courts telling a man that he must live upon a certain sum each week. The Judge is informed by our compilers of figures that only . a worker with a wife and two children can live upon that amount. Simultaneously we are told that the workers must be fruitful and multiply. But what encouragement is given to a man to be fruitful and multiply if he is obliged to starve his family in the way that the mothers of whom I read a few moments ago starve theirs ? Are we going to ask him to have a family of. eight, ten, or, perhaps, thirteen, children, and hot give him the right to live? Yet the Judges in our Arbitration Court tell him that they cannot allow him more than a living wage for a wife and two children. I am glad to observe that Mr. Justice Powers is advocating that a certain course shall be adopted which will insure consideration being given to the heads of large families. The League of Nations, I am pleased to know, intends to give consideration to such people. In Australia to-day it has been proved that it takes £171 for a man to maintain himself and his family, yet, under the law, the Judge is not empowered to grant him a wage of more than £150. We must see that such men get decent living conditions,’ and that nobody is compelled to rear a family upon such a miserable pittance. The agendapaper continues -
Fourth. - The adoption of an eight-hours day or a forty-eight hours week as the standard to be aimed at where it has not already been obtained.
That means that in other countries men shall be required to work only eight hours per day if the League of Nations can bring about that result. If it can, that will be a glorious achievement; but, so far, it has not been attained in Australia. I never worked eight hours a day in the industry in which I was employed, and no member of my union is doing it. There should be an eight-hour standard, and men should not be obliged to work longer than that-
– It is too long.
– I will not listen to that cry. I have never advocated it, and I never will. If a man is able to produce in eight hours sufficient to enable him to keep a wife and ten children, he has a right to work only eight hours ; but if in so doing . he jeopardizes his health, and that of his children, his hours should be reduced to six, or even to four. The next item on the Agenda reads -
Fifth. - The adoption of a weekly rest of at least twenty-four hours, which should include Sunday’ wherever practicable.
That is another glorious ideal which the League of Nations seeks to realize. The next item reads -
Sixth. - The abolition of child labour, and the imposition of such limitations on the labour of young persons as shall permit the continuation of their education, and assure their proper physical development.
If we wish to fill the vacant’ spaces of Australia with a sturdy race, a recognition of the principle laid down in the paragraph I have just quoted will prove one of the inducements towards that end. We require to educate every boy and girl in this country so as to enable them to become good citizens. We do not want to have fathers and mothers waiting for the day when they will be able to send their boys out to work, no matter how bright those boys may be. Parents should not be obliged to look expectantly to the time when their sons will be able to bring in a paltry pittance to help to maintain the home. Instead of boys who show intellectual promise being compelled to go to work early in order that they may help to keep a roof over their heads, I hope that the time is not far distant when the Government will step in and pay ‘to the parents of such lads the paltry wage which those lads would otherwise be obliged to earn. That is only a commonsense proposal. In the great and glorious document from which I have quoted it is proposed to legislate for the abolition of child labour. If the power of the League is successfully exerted in that direction, a great service will be rendered to humanity. The next paragraph reads -
Seventh. - The principle that men and women should receive equal remuneration for work of equal value.’
That has been advocated by the unions of this country for many years, because it has been the practice of some employers to employ women to do certain work, not because they could do it better’ than could men, but because they could do it more cheaply. If we are going to raise a good race in Australia, we must see that women get equal wages with men- for work of equal value. A recognition of that principle would mean that the men would get all the jobs which they are naturally fitted to perform. I do not like to see a woman doing a man’s work. She is a refined creature, who should devote herself to more delicate tasks. I do not suppose that any of us would like to see our daughters wielding a pick; but it has been the practice of unscrupulous individuals in this country to employ a female to do work which might better be performed by a man. If the League of Nations can insure that women shall get the same wage as men for work of equal value, it will perform a most useful service. The Agenda continues -
Eighth. - The standard set by law in each country with respect to the conditions of labour should have due regard to the equitable economic treatment of all workers lawfully resident therein.
Ninth. - Each State should make provision for a system of inspection, in which women should take part, in order to insure the enforcement of the laws and regulations for the protection of the employed.
These are the conditions which are laid down, and I hope that they will be adopted in their entirety. I believe that they mark a step in the right direction. In this country we have never attempted to legislate on behalf of child-bearing women, either before or after child-birth. Yet the savages of Papua and the islands of the Pacific never allow their women to work when they are pregnant, or for a period of twelve months afterwards! Though their women folk are compelled to do the whole of the planting work> they are never permitted to engage in’ any employment whilst they are in that condition, or for the period I have indicated subsequently. But if we attempted to legislate upon those lines, our action would be resented. We should be told that it constituted an interference with the liberty of the subject. Yet this glorious document makes it perfectly clear that the League of Nations intends to take action in that direction-. As a trade unionist of forty-five years standing, if it be only on account of the Agenda Paper which I have read, I give this motion’ my hearty support. I trust that the Peace Treaty will be ratified, not only by the British Dominions, but also by the great American nation. If America does not ratify it,, we shall be as badly off as we were a few years ago. But I hope that the great American people will view the Treaty in its true light, and that the time is not far distant when bloody warfare will be a thing of the past. I have always advocated that any dispute between capital and labour should be settled by means of arbitration, and preferably by methods of conciliation. Conciliation is the bedrock of the principle which tends to bring man and man together, just as it tends to bring nation and nation together. The more the opposing forces can be brought to see the reasoning of their opponents, the better will it be for all, and the easier will it be for them to come into line. I hope that, during my life, I shall never witness a repetition of what has occurred during the past few years. I believethat the League of Nations is the one force which is needed to bring about better conditions in the world, to insure peace and happiness to its people, to let daylight and sunlight into their homes, and to improve their conditions generally. In the words of Lord Emmott, “ If we do not make a man love his country, we can never expect him to fight for it,” and we can make him love it only by insuring good conditions of life, not merely for himself, but for those whom he has brought into the world.
– The Treaty we are called upon to ratify, in pursuance of the action of those representatives of the Commonwealth who became signatories to it, ‘completes a trinity of great documents, two of which have been as this, I think, will be, memorable in the history of mankind. I connect this document with Magna
Charta and the American Declaration of Independence, in regard to its importance to mankind and its future wellbeing. Peace has come to us with victory. To us-
With honour lost and dear ones wasted:
But proud to meet a people proud,
With eyes that tell of triumph tasted.
When I consider this Peace and this document, I cannot help thinking that the spirits of Franklin and Washington must have foregathered with and shaken the hands of the shades ofRochambeau and Lafayette. The Treaty secures the triumph of worldwide Democracy, and restores the prestige of the great Democracy of France. It has given back to France the territories that were rent from her by the militant operations of invading and despotic kings. As the American Declaration of Independence enunciated two great principles, namely, that governments should only exist with the consent of the people, and that everything done by a nation should be done with just respect to the opinions of mankind, so does this document proclaim and become a charter of world-wide liberty. It contains the essence of a peace which is necessary to and will be welcomed by Democracy, and which is essentially necessary to the welfare of the Commonwealth of Australia. The first of these three documents had its’ distinctive features. Magna Charta proclaimed not only that there should be protection of the interests of the mail-clad peers of the realm against the encroaching powers of the monarch and his assertion of absolutism, but that the- working man, the burgher, and the serf should be endowed with liberty and treated with justice. The American Declaration of Independence, the second of these great documents, acknowledges a corporate opinion of mankind in regard to matters of reason and justice. This Treaty of Peace appeals to the same corporate opinion: it denounces might as against right, and endeavours to do something to secure the peace of the world. At the same time, it lays down certain principles which, if accepted, will make life fairer and brighter for those who may have been down-trodden, not by Governments, but by the force of economic circumstances’.
While I approve of the Peace Treaty, I cannot understand the statement that it will not be binding upon us if we do not ratify it. Of course, the British Empire is a most singular institution. It is really a congeries of practically independent nations, linked together by sentiment almost as much as by law; and the fact that the generous Democracies of the world and the generous Mother Country have accorded to the representatives of the Dominions within the Empire a status at the Peace Conference, does not remove the anomaly and incongruity of our being a signatory to the Peace Treaty, and claiming the right to ratify or reject it. Our position opens up a very peculiar series of questions for consideration. If we refused to ratify the Treaty, could we maintain a state of belligerency against Germany? It would be absurd to say that we could. Consequently, I submit that our ratifying of the Treaty is a mere formality. If the Imperial authorities are prepared to ratify it, although, perhaps, as a matter of courtesy, they may await the ratification of the Dominions whose representatives were signatories, then their ratification embodies and comprises our ratification. We could only withhold our ratification in regard to the obligations imposed upon us in connexion wilh the mandate. It cannot be maintained that we could entirely reject the Treaty and continue in a state of war with Germany, because we cannot be in the Empire and out of it at the same time. It is certain that we could not, as a component part of the British Empire, proclaim neutrality in regard to a war in which the Empire was engaged, because foreign nations would regard us, if we claimed to be a component part of the Empire, as sharing its belligerent status; and would be entitled under international law to attack us, as enemies or as a part of an enemy power. How, then, can it be said that we can refuse to ratify the Treaty, and not be bound by it? . The United States of America, as an independent Power, if she refuses to ratify the Treaty, remains in a state of belligerency ‘against Germany. Technically, that is so; but I suppose that America would rectify that condition by effecting a separate Peace Treaty. In common with previous speakers, I hope that the majority in the American Senate necessary for ratifying the Treaty will be secured.
– Why is America objecting to ratify the Treaty?
– I cannot say, unless it is that it imposes responsibilities on that country which certain representatives of the American people do not care to assume. It certainly imposes far-reaching and world-wide responsibilities. ‘If America wishes to remain in the position of isolation which at one time she thought to be the correct one for her, she cannot ratify the treaty; but she cannot be a great Power without being concerned in the affairs of the whole world; and I hope that her representatives in Congress assembled will come to the conclusion that it is essential, in the. interests of Liberty and Democracy, which are typical of that great republic as well as of our monarchy, for them to ratify the Treaty. I have alluded to the fact that we have been given diplomatic status, and that Great Britain is waiting upon us to ratify the Treaty. If that is so, one other great question demands attention. I have said that this is an American Peace, and I adhere to my statement. It may not be a bad peace on that account. It is a peace which, in many respects, is generous to the fallen and broken power of Germany.
– It is absolutely generous to Germany.
– It is very generous to that Power, and it may not have secured to Australia that just recompense for her efforts that she might legitimately have looked for. But America clearly determined the moral aspect of the war in our favour. It must be remembered that the American Republic for a time looked on at the great struggle very much as a spectator looks on at a football or cricket match. America had certain preconceived ideas of the rights and wrongs of the situation; and President Wilson at one time interposed with a series of questions, suggested that the Allies and their opponents did not clearly understand what they were fighting for, and wished that the issues and objectives might be clearly defined. America was for some time a self -constituted umpire in regard to this great world-wide struggle. The position developed, and she at last determined the corporate opinion of mankind in our favour by coming in as a belligerent on our side. If America, as a belligerent,’ did not materially determine the war - although she did a good deal in that way, and would have done more, had hostilities not terminated when they did - she clearly determined the fact that in the eyes of mankind we were in the right. When the German power had collapsed, or was about to collapse, America, by virtue of her almost . unimpaired strength, and by virtue of the fact that she had determined the moral issue in our favour, arrogated to herself - I use the word advisedly - the right to be once more the umpire.
The Australian press, on the whole, kept Australia very well informed upon, not only the open, but also the internal, diplomacy of the four years of the war. In justification of the statement that this is an American peace, let me quote from a very informative article in last night’s Herald, under the heading of “ Ludendorff’s Last Throw.” *« The Great Collapse.” -
Would Lloyd George and Clemenceau have accepted the “Fourteen Points had they known all that this White Book discloses? It is admitted that the Allies’ information at that time was not good.
That is the German White Booh which discloses the German collapse, or the collapse which would have taken place if the armistice had not been agreed to. The report continues -
They did not know of the Kiel mutinies when they pledged themselves to Wilsonism they had a report from Marshal Foch in which he was evasive on the question of a break through, and discussed the probability of the Germans being able to resist through the winter on the Meuse line.
They had pledged themselves to “ Wil.sonism,” or, in other words, to the situation which Wilson, as President of the United States .of America, determined and controlled. The article goes on -
But they had secured from Colonel House an interpretation of the Fourteen Points which fitted their idea of a just peace. And they were too deeply mortgaged to the United States to flout the President. They were perforce impressed by Colonel House’s famous remarks, “ Your abstention from this programme would compel America to decide reluctantly that her war objectives and those of the Allies differ materially.”
Colonel House was one of the diplamatic representatives of President Wilson. Our abstention from this programme would compel America to decide reluctantly that her war objectives and those of the Allies differed materially.
In the face of this - and there is not the slightest doubt that it is authentic, for we knew these things to be facts before this article was published - how can it be denied that the Peace has certainly an American complexion, and was largely determined by American Presidential, and, I might say, public, opinion. I will not say that it was wrongly so determined, but I will say that we have got from it financially not all that we expected to get, and that Germany has received treatment which, as the enemy of mankind, she had ceased to deserve. She had reverted to means of warfare that were old in the time of Nebuchadnezzar - in the emasculation of men, and in the endeavour to de-racialize whole nations by impregnating their women. That course was studiously followed. In one of the society journals published in this State not two years ago I noticed an appeal to Australian women to provide funds necessary for the accouchement of 60,000 French women who had been impregnated by German soldiers on the soil of Prance. Are these the methods of civilized nations? Are these the lines on which war has been studiously waged? We know that in war certain outrages are perpetrated by the soldiers of almost all countries; but never since the time of the Assyrians, when Zedekiah had his eyes put out and his sons were made eunuchs at the court of the King of Babylon, was an attempt like this made to de-racialize and dishonour whole populations. I say that in view of all. this, Germany has secured most generous treatment ; treatment that she was not entitled to, and treatment that she should go on her knees for in thanks to the gods that rule these things.
But for all that, Australia has, I believe, secured out of the war # situation something which will give to her that breathing time, that time for enlarging her .population and. developing her national resources, which will insure this continent being made the peaceful, or comparatively peaceful, heritage of our posterity.
The League of Nations, if the programme is carried out, will help to assure us in regard to the situation of which I have spoken. There is not the slightest doubt - but that the League of Nations, if carried into effect, will have a great influence on that corporate opinion of mankind mentioned in the American Declaration of Independence to which I have alluded. Therefore, I trust that the League of Nations will, in all respects, be consummated, because in that League I see a guarantee of that period of peace which is essential to the welfare of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Now I am going to say just a few words in commendation of those who have laid down their lives for their country. They laid down their, lives for their country, for Democracy, and liberty, so far as Australia is concerned, at our injunction, and let us not forget it. They constituted the fine-edged instrument that was forged at our demand and dictation. “We called up these men from the mart, the factory, the lone outposts of Australian civilization and development, and we asked them to go and lay down their lives for mankind.
– And they went voluntarily.
– And they went. We sent them, and we said to them, at least by implication, “ Come back victorious; or come back not at all.” I venture to say that there are few men in Australia who would have cared to see our soldiers, or a shattered . remnant of them return, not disgraced perhaps, but defeated. Do we realize what defeat means to a nation in the sapping of its morale, or the . dishonour which defeat brings in its train ? The very name of our country might have been rooted out. The speaking of our language might have been barred. We might have been in a position that would have prevented us from lifting, our heads and claiming to be Australian subjects of the British Empire. Very possibly there would have been no British Empire had we been defeated. It would have beeu disintegrated at the demand of victorious Germany. We know not how, but it would certainly have been disintegrated, and we would have been subjected to a more or less complete measure of German militarism and placed under the German heel.
– We should not have had fourteen points from Germany.
– We should have had one point only - Vae Victis, woe to the vanquished. That point would have been carried out to our cost, and we should have been the slaves of Germany. It is to our valiant soldiers, their valiant kin of other countries, and valiant comrades in arms that we owe the victory, on which we - congratulate them and ourselves. I am never too laudatory of the man who does his duty. . Every one knows that I have “not been full of slobber about the deeds of our’ soldiers. I have never kotowed to then;, because I am stern enough to consider that young men should always be prepared to die in defence of their country and their race. I do not praise men very greatly for doing their duty, but of those men who died for their country and whose shades rise in imagination before me, I say that I hope, as previous speakers . have hoped, that their spirit will animate our men in the days of trial - if, unhappily, such days of trial for our nation have to be faced in the future. I hope that the minds and eyes of our Australian soldiers of the future will see, just as the perf ervid patriotism and enthusiasm of the Greek soldiers at Marathon saw the . ancient heroes of Greece flaming and fighting in the ranks before them, the shades of our glorious Australian dead ‘fighting for victory in the day of Australia’s peril.
– The ghosts of Australians will rise before the honorable senator for trying to make Australia a conscript country. .
– I am not ashamed of what I did in that regard. I stood behind the men who had gone to the Front because I wished to see them properly reinforced. I am not ashamed, but proud of what I did. I say that had the war unhappily been protracted for a year or two we should have had to acknowledge defeat or would have been obliged to embrace the policy I advocated.
This Senate has sometimes been decried as an excrescence. We are told that politicians are a poor tyoe of men. Some silly electors in the street nullify the very wisdom which they are supposed to have exhibited at the ballot-box by saying that the politician is some mean kind of creature. We are invited to believe that directly a man . following the occupations of civilized life - using the pick and . shovel, or working in the factory - enters Parliament he becomes a different kind of individual, and a somewhat mean creature. I repudiate that suggestion. I do not care for the opinion of the elector who speaks in that way. If the electors want me and give me their votes it is because they think me a fit person to represent them ; but if they talk in a silly fashion I am not afraid to tell them that I think they are fools. I say that the man who continually derides the Parliament which governs the country at his election, and because of his expressed and continued act, criticises himself, and not the institution which exists by virtue of his vote as a citizen. The Parliament of this country can hold up its head because it forged the. gallant instrument which went out and made the name of Australia great on foreign fields.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– I was stressing the fact that the Australian Parliament, and the Senate especially, need not be ashamed of what it had done in welding the instrument of this fierce Australian Democracy, and tempering it in such a way as assisted in securing victory. This Parliament, in common with the democratic Parliaments of the world, has, to use a colloquialism,- “ delivered the goods.” Let the electors of the Commonwealth remember that, although our soldiers fought and helped to achieve victory, we, the parliamentarians, stood behind them and unfalteringly supported them to the last. On 10,000 platforms throughout the Commonwealth we adjured the people to remain steadfast, and to persevere to the end in support of our troops, whose exploits have brought to us all that we enjoy to-day in the victory over our enemies.
Senator Millen, when reviewing the other night those phases of the Peace Treaty which are of such moment to the people of Australia, was kind enough to state that on my initiative the Senate - by some called an excrescence on our Constitution - was wise enough to pass a motion stating that in its opinion it would be prejudicial to the peace of the world if the former possessions of Germany in the Pacific were returned to that power. That motion, which, I am glad to know, was passed unanimously by the Senate, anticipated what later became one of the_ burning questions at the Peace Conference; a question whose settlement, in regard to our national future, is reflected in one of the prominent features of the Treaty, owing to the efforts, of our Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and his colleague (Sir Joseph Cook). Whatever may be my difference of opinion with the Prime Minister regarding matters of domestic legislation, in connexion with the Peace Conference, I feel it incumbent upon me to say that as representatives of the Commonwealth he and his colleague loyally did their duty to Australia, to the Empire, and, indeed, to this world’s Democracies. If in monetary compensation they did not obtain all that we hoped for, nevertheless they accomplished a great work in making Australia safe for many decades to come. Let me repeat that the supposed popular Chamber of this Legislature did not take the initiative in that matter. I remember that when the motion was passed by the Senate - and. to its honour, passed unanimously - the good offices of a private member in another place had to be secured in order to find for it a place on the notice-paper there. This germ of a great question was’ allowed to remain unheeded for months before it was again given emphasis by adoption in the other branch of this Parliament.
– Is not all that is’ good originated in this Chamber?
– That motion respecting the Pacific Islands, and giving expression to Australian ideals in regard to the conquered German possessions, originated here, and, happily, is given effect in the Peace Treaty. We have every reason to congratulate ourselves and our representatives at the Peace Conference on the performance of a great work.
This matter has, however, a corollary. The Senate passed, and, I believe, unanimously, another motion to the effect that Australia should be represented at Washington. I am sorry to say that the representatives of the Government in. this Chamber somewhat watered down my motion, with the result that Australia is now represented at Washington by a Trade Commissioner. I emphasize that the Commonwealth of Australia had its representatives at the Peace Conference, and that they became signatories to the Treaty. This “ stout little Commonwealth,” to which President Wilsonreferred the other day - little, of course, in respect of population, but stout in regard to the calibre of its people, and big in the extent of its territory- is’ surely entitled to as great representation. at “Washington as that of the Jugo-Slavs’ dominions, of Portugal and of other European countries, some of which have a superficies not one-hundredth part of that of the Commonwealth and its territories, and in many cases have not so great a population as ours, numerically small though it be. I invite the Administration at the earliest possible moment to take into consideration the fact that this instrument which concerns the future peace of the world, has had a complexion imparted to it by the Presfdential representative of the American Republic, that, in fact, it embodies the ideals of an American peace, and represents the great public opinion of the United States of America, which country is such a dominating influence in world politics at the present moment. It is wise that this Commonwealth should be diplomatically represented at Washington. Trade representation is not sufficient. We should be represented in the same way as the republic of Portugal, in the same way as Holland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and other European countries. Are we not of greater importance in the world affairs at the present moment than those countries ? Have we not. done more to secure the future of democracy and liberty than the Danes, the Swedes, the Norwegians, or the Spaniards ? Though I make no reflection on the people of those countries. The time is here, and now, for Australia to. be diplomatically represented, as well as the nature of our position within the Empire will permit, at the capital of the great republican nation.
There is one other feature, of a financial character, to which I must refer in connexion with this war. We have been told of our indebtedness to the Mother Country. Our moral indebtedness -is sometimes alluded to, and it is very ‘great. Our institutions, and our people have their derivation from the United Kingdom, for 97 per cent, of our population is of pure British extraction. This is the most truly British community - using the word in the sense of an amalgamation of the races that inhabit the United Kingdom - in the world, and, therefore, our moral’ indebtedness to the ideals and civilization of the people of the United Kingdom is undoubtedly very great. But our financial indebtedness has been referred to frequently, and the British capitalist at times has been foolishly in- vited to assume that he is conferring an immense benefit upon us by lending us his money. Never did he make a better investment, as a capitalist or as a representative of the British order of things. His capital, invested in Australia, has been safe. Is it safe in Russia ? Where has it gone to in that country ? Is the interest on his capital safe in Australia? Of course, he has always been paid. More than this. When the fate of the Empire was in the balance, and there was some fear that the Dominions might be found wanting, hosts sprang from Australia’s soil, from this country to which the British capitalist had lent his> money, for the preservation of his Empire, the ideals of his race, and, indeed, his existence. Therefore, I say to the British capitalist :” We have helped to save you. Nowhere else on the earth’s surface can you find a more inviting country in respect of its resources, and the stability of ite institutions, or a people with a more favorable attitude towards all that is implied in the word ‘ British ‘ than within the confines of Australia, which has a great record of achievements, so if you have moneyto spare now invest it in Australia rather than in Montenegro, Bulgaria, the Argentine, or any of those other countries which, when the Empire was in jeopardy, folded their hands and looked on.”
– What about the Australian capitalist? Did not our Australian soldiers fight to help him, too?
– They certainly did.
– And how. has he treated them?
– The returned soldiers are better treated in this country than anywhere else in the world. There are men in this Senate who will see justice done to the Australian soldier, but, as I have said before, they will not ‘ ‘ kotow ‘ ‘ to him at election time.I tell the Australian soldier that we are not going to put the Commonwealth up for sale or into liquidation, as the Roman Empire was, in order to hand out a praetorian dole to the guards. The Australian soldier, be it said to his honour, is divesting- himself of his military character, and being absorbed into the civilian population as quickly as he can. He recognises, as it must be recognised in a British community, if its institutions are to endure, that the military must always be subordinate to the civil power. The civil power in Australia can hold up its head. I, as a member of this Parliament, will walk out of it whenever I am called upon to do so, with the consciousness that I was one representative of the civil power who saw this country, and the Empire, through their time of national trial; one who did his duty. When the time comes for us to leave political life, we shall leave it conscious that we have been faithful to the trust that was imposed On us in the Empire’s hour of trial. ‘ I have said that the requests for gratuities, or bonuses, for soldiers, should not be pandered to. We are the representatives of the people, and the financial resources of the Commonwealth will have to be stretched to their utmost to do justice to our soldiers by repatriating them into civil life in such a way that a man will be enabled to earn his own living. It will be no kindness to them to ask for their support under the promise of distributing largess. I have told the soldiers that. Those who speak otherwise to them are not their friends, but their enemies, and the enemies also of the institutions to sustain which our soldiers fought so bravely.
Certain features of the Treaty _ were commented on by the Prime Minister. I will not follow those statements in all their particularities-. It is well to remember that the white race right throughout the Empire proved its capacity to govern, proved that .it was an Imperial race, and justified its position in the Empire which it had created. The effort of the Imperial race cannot be too greatly stressed. But it was the duty of the governing race to show the qualities that were in it. How could we claim to be an Imperial race if we had displayed any weakness, any laxity; if we had faltered by the way, and had not shown that tenacity which endures unto the end ? Admittedly, white peoples are a small minority of the population of the Empire. It was all the more incumbent upon them, therefore, to show Imperial qualities, to demonstrate and to justify the position of prominence in which they had placed themselves in the Empire of their own creation.
But something should be said regarding those who are directly affected by that policy which the Prime Minister so par- ticularly emphasized in his references to the Peace Treaty - the White Australia policy. Honorable senators- know who I am; but 1 am not at all equivocal in regard to the White Australia policy. I believe it embodies a perfectly legitimate aspiration for ‘ the 5,000,000 of white people within this Commonwealth. This is an island continent. When the British came to it, it was peopled not by any vigorous or civilized race, but by a race of savages - savages in the accepted meaning of the term, savages who knew nothing of writing, or of building, of weaving, or of agriculture. They .were a feeble people who, without any aggressive action on our part, proceeded to vanish from the continent which they had, perhaps, inhabited from time immemorial, but populated only thinly. If the white people upon this continent wish to preserve it as a kind of human eugenic park, in which the white race may develop, practically uncontaminated - if I may be permitted to use that phrase, although I am aware that it is not quite rightly employed - by admixture with any other race, their aspiration may not be unscientific, and is, perhaps, laudable, or at least pardonable. But there are limitations in regard to any. argument that one may employ. One must not stretch even a truth too greatly. An argument is like a- piece of elastic, which we, as children, were wont to stretch to its utmost limit, whereupon it presented certain holes in its texture through which we could see. So, if one unduly strains an argument, a somewhat similar fate befalls it. Holes are produced, through which one may see the fallacies which lie behind it. There are races within our Empire which belong to nationalities that exist outside of the Empire, and some of those nationalities performed ‘ great work for the support of the Empire in the struggle through which it has successfully passed. Some persons who think they know a great deal, and are apt to generalize, state that half -caste peoples are always inferior - that they are of a. particularly low type. Nothing could be further removed from the truth. There are nations at the present day which are strong in every characteristic that makes for national wellbeing; and they are certainly half-caste races. I particularly instance the population of the South American Republic of Chile. They are the greatest people in the whole of South America, militarily, commercially, and in every respect. They inhabit a somewhat inhospitable country along the western shore of SouthAmerica; but, by their great racial qualities, they are the dominant people in western South America, if not of the whole of the South American continent. “What are the Chileans? They are halfcastes. They are half-breeds resulting from Indian and Spanish admixture. Chile is the only country where the descendants of the Spanish Conquistador e$ amalgamated with the original Indians. . One does not find ‘that to have occurred in Bolivia and Peru. And when those two Republics in combination attacked Chile - or, rather, when Chile attacked them - the result was not for one moment in doubt, for the amalgamated and unified people of the Chilean Republic defeated the armies both of Peru and of Bolivia. Military prowess is not, perhaps, a sufficient indication of national greatness, although it must have somewhat of a bearing in that direction; but the Chileans show very great advancement also in the arts of peace. Their civil life is well developed. Respect for property and regard for law and order are more pronounced in Chile than in other parts of South America. The Chileans are a homogeneous and a proud people. It would not be’ difficult for me to instance dozens of cases of men who have figured prominently in European life, who are half-castes. Lord Fisher is frequently quoted in this Chamber. I myself have quoted his sayings. The individual whose investigations have proved of value to me in this regard .is my authority for uttering what I am about to say; and, if I am wrong, I apologize beforehand to Lord Fisher for my assertions. Lord Fisher has been one of our Admirals; has been our High Admiral, so to speak. At the present moment, his deliverances in relation to that great defence arm of the Empire, the British Navy, command the highest respect. Lord Fisher is a half-caste. He is half a Cingalese. Colonel Warburton, one of the greatest of our officers in the Indian Army, before the war, who was continually detailed for special services, was the son of an Afghan woman. I often hear gentlemen with justified pretentions to a knowledge of European literature, speak of Dumas, father and son. They might also speak of Dumas, the grandfather, a Napoleonic general. Those three men had a considerable smack of the tar-brush; that is to say, a very strong admixture of African blood ran through the veins of all three. General Dodds, Commander of the French Army which conquered the Kingdom of Dahomey, in West Africa comes within the same category ; and dozens of men prominent in the French’ Republic are crosses between African races and the not altogether pure blood of the Frenchmen of European Trance.
I desire to say something now about what my countrymen have done in Australia. When I refer to my countrymen, I mean Australian-born who have the same racial derivation as myself. I do not suppose that anyone has leaped into the arena with a complete pronouncement of what the half-Australian Chinese have done in the war. Numerically, of course, they are only a small community; but hundreds of them went to the war - thirty from Ballarat, my own native city - and they gained military honours. Of the small contingent which went to the Front, one mau secured the V.C. And one who went away with the first 20,000 and landed on Gallipoli as a private, will be among the last to return. He will come back to Australia a major. Let not anyone run away with the idea that a slight admixture, of foreign blood in a community is an evil. Sometimes it acts as a ferment and brings out the genius, cultivation, energy, and initiative of a people to a much . greater extent than may be’ commonly understood. What are the Americans of the future going to be? Although the Anglo-Saxon race in the United States of America is still the race from which Presidents are drawn, members of Congress are’ not uniformly drawn therefrom. Probably the proportion of Anglo-Saxon blood in the .people of the United States of America amounts to only some 10 per cent, or 15 per cent, at present. In the Spanish- American war, over 40 per cent, of the names of the comparative few who were killed and wounded were of non-Anglo-Saxon origin.
– You would not call Roosevelt and McKinley Anglo-Saxons ?
– I certainly do not call the name Roosevelt an AngloSaxon name, but if the name McKinley is not Anglo-Saxon, I do not know what is.
– It is a purely Celtic name.
– If everybody by the name of “ Mac something “ were classed as a Celt at the present day, we would have a very rare standard of definition.
– A proper standard!
– The people of the United Kingdom are now so mixed that Inames with the “ Mac “ or “ Mc “ prefix are no longer indicative of any specific native character. Among the first men killed on Gallipoli was Yin Goon, a purebred Australian Chinese. Such names as Yin Goon, Hoy Ling, and Sing - all names of young men personally known to me - are sufficiently Chinese to be conclusive with respect to the racial deriva- tion of the individuals who bore them.
Senator Gardiner furnished some figures regarding the Indian effort. Considering the agitation against British rule, fomented by malcontents in India, the people of the British Empire within the Indian division of it did exceedingly well. They remained loyal, and I could illustrate by figures and amounts the tre- ‘ mendous financial assistance which was afforded by wealthy Indians to the Empire in its time of stress. In the Malay Peninsula the loans launched were almost wholly subscribed to by wealthy Chinese. Right through the Malay Peninsula societies were formed, not. always of Chinese men, but -of Chinese women also, to ‘subscribe funds to provide aeroplanes. Did these women furnish money for the purchase of one battleplane ? No ! By the Chinese women of Malacca, whole fleets of battleplanes were secured for the Western Front. These are facts, and I adduce them to let the people who live in this Dominion, which is situated on the rim of things, so to speak, understand that other sections of the Empire put forward noble efforts in’ the interests of the Imperial ideal, and of Democracy, which are so dear to us all. When I was in Singapore, in 1916, I saw in the road- stead a French vessel which had on board 500 Chinese blacksmiths. They’ were being taken to Western Europe to liberate French artisans to enable them to go into the firing line; to fight for themselves, it is true; but for us also, and for America; for Democracy and Liberty, as represented anywhere in the world.
When I was addressing meetings in the interests of recruiting I stood on one occasion before a large gathering in Elizabeth-street, Hobart, and I had as an assistant a returned soldier. He happened to be a Scotsman, and in good, broad Scots he delivered an address to the people which illustrated what was, in my opinion, a profound appreciation of the efforts of the Chinese in France. We all know that there were hundreds of thousands of Chinese who were taken there to make roads, and to convey munitions up to the battle front under fire. Were there no casualties amongst them? Why, thousands of them lost their lives, being blown to pieces; and during one of the emergencies which arose when the line was pierced by the Germans in the vicinity of the American Forces, we read, on credible authority, that the Chinese were armed with rifles, and that they fought also with shovels, mattocks, and, indeed, with anything they could seize, against the German Force, and succeeded in driving it back. They were armed during that emergency by the American Commander of the day. They were fighting not altogether, though in some measure, for themselves, because the Chinese are now citizens of a republic which has great ideals in regard to Democracy. The Chinese are a democratic people. They have never had an hereditary Aristocracy. In their country, the only claim recognised is that of merit, of literary knowledge and culture. According to learned professors, the Chinese are one of the most democratic people in the world. In France, they may have been fighting for themselves to a certain extent, but so far they have not got very much reward for their efforts. But they were fighting also for us, for America, for the people of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Therefore, be the result what it may, we must not enforce a White Australia policy crudely, severely, narrowly, acidly, wrongly, and contrary to the purport of Democracy and in accord with an allroundtheworld citizenship. It is quite true that . we must not allow any great influx of these people into the Commonwealth - an influx in large numbers such as we could not readily assimilate. But, despite protestations, I maintain that any reasonable number of these men who have undoubted pretensions to Democracy, to Republicanism, and to general civilization, should be allowed to come here if they so desire, under proper regulations and restrictions.
Before I leave this subject, I am going to say something which may startle a few good people. Everybody knows that I am a supporter of the monarchical institution in regard to this Empire of ours. I believe that it is the king-pin which keeps this far-flung and segregated Empire together as a composite whole in an Imperial sense. I believe, as is frequently stated, that our King and Emperor is in reality not more than a crowned President - a crowned President worthy of all respect and honour, but still only a crowned President - for, after all, our institutions are decidedly republican in their tone and tenor. There has been an age-long conflict between east and west, or, perhaps, I should say between Asia and Europe. Some philosophers have said that it is always the European who conquers, though it is always the Asiatic who survives. That may be so, for at one time very few people knew of such a personage having existed as a Greek King reigning in Kabul, where we now have an Asiatic Amir, who is the personification of all that is ‘ conveyed by the term “ Asiatic.” To-day, coins minted by the Greek Kings in Kabul are the only discoverable relics of the Greek occupation of the Afghan country. . I repeat that there has been an agelong conflict between Asia and Europe. But, in the interests of the peace which we’ are endeavouring to bring about, this must be mitigated in some way. I have alluded to our great Indian Empire, and some day, over this world-wide Dominion of ours, a young man, now called the Prince of Wales, will reign. He will be crowned, as the successor of his father, as the King and Emperor of a great world-wide British Dominion, which will be even more powerful and civilized in every way than it is at present, although its status is now deservedly high. To-day, the high statesmen who have control of these things are looking for a wife for this young man. I hope that he is not going to marry a German princess. These high statesmen are evidently in a quandary-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Shannon). - Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Extension of time granted on motion by Senator de Largie.
– I thank honorable senators for the consideration which they never fail to extend to me. Evidently they . know me pretty well, and are sympathetic in regard to my peculiarities and verbosity. I was remarking, when I was interrupted, that the authorities which have control of these matters are now searching for a wife for the Prince of Wales. They are evidently in a quandary because of the disappearance of so many monarchies. In the British Dominion to which I have alluded - a Dominion, which is called the Indian Empire, because a British Queen was first made an Empress by reason of being proclaimed Empress of India, and our King is King and Emperor, because he is Emperor of India - there exist dynasties whose members are as proud as Lucifer, and whose lineage can be traced back to long before the days of Abraham. Although they are classed as Asiatics, they are really Aryans. Many Indian, races are, in derivation, our own, people. It is true they wear “the burnished livery of the sun,” but many of them, particularly of the governing class, Only to a slight extent. Indeed, some of. these Indian princes and princesses are. whiter than many of the men who are to be met in Bourke-street. I have here the portrait of an Indian lady, an Indian royalty. Honorable senators will see: that she is pretty good-looking. A gentleman to whom I showed the portrait, remarked, “ I would rather see her walking through my garden gate than a lioness.” She is an Indian Maharanee. In the interests of the British Empire, and to assure for ever the loyalty ‘ of the great Asiatic peoples who form a portion of it, the best thing that could happen would be for the. Prince of Wales’ to marry an Indian princess.
Our soldiers, guided and supported by us, have assisted in restoring the shaken’ equilibrium of the world. We are about to reap in Australia the benefits which, I trust, will be secured by the ratification of this Treaty, from perhaps a halfcentury of peace. It is a half-century of peace, at least, that Australia wants. We members of Parliament in Australia are called upon for the first time to ratify a Treaty resulting from a victorious war, into which, we were forced - which we entered, not for the purposes of aggression, hut for the purposes of national defence and for the preservation of the ideals of liberty. We have won, and we are about to ratify the terms which we imposed upon our broken, but justly treated, enemies. I hope that it is the last Treaty resulting from war that an Australian Parliament will ever be called upon to ratify. I know that it is the first Treaty of the kind - I hope that it will be the last. But I must once more allude to the sacrifices that have been made in the interests of liberty by the men who have gone before. I have not heard in Australia any special reference to the name of a great Frenchman who ended his life somewhat unhappily, and who carried out the struggle of France against Prussian domination, in 1870, with very much less fortunate results than have come to us through the goodness of Providence and the might of the strong right arms of our soldiers: I allude to Gambetta. He represented all that was best in the French character, which, at a later day, disciplined, concentrated, and solidified, has enabled France to live through the carnage of Verdun to successfully repulse the German enemy as be was not repulsed in 1870. When Gambetta died, London Punch, of all journals in the world, paid him the most eloquent tribute. It said that -
He had the power to stir a nation’s heart;
In hopeless strife to play “a Titan’s part.
And he died young, leaving noclear-lined chart
To guide his country on her doubtful way,
Whence one keen lurid ray dies out with him,
What further may one say?
But we will say something further. I believe that when the Peace Treaty was signed, when the French troops entered Alsace and Lorraine, that the heart of Gambetta - if the ears of the dead can hear - which lies embalmed in Cahors must have been quickened into life with the inspiration of victory, that the glory of the re-established prestige of his country must have come home to him. When I read of Alsace-Lorraine being restored to France, and of how the long-draped statue of Strasburg in Paris had been uncovered once more to the- gaze of French citizens, I rejoiced to think that the soul of Gambetta, the man who did not despair of his country, must have received grateful incense from the plaudits of his . countrymen, from their enthusiasm, and from the tears which they shed, not because of defeat, but ‘because of victory gained by the elaboration, the rectification, and the purification of such a spirit as animated him in the days of disaster, when many Frenchmen lost hope, but he . never did. May Australia, if she,’ unfortunately, has to suffer a time of trial, rejoice again in the possession of men- such as our soldiers, who went forward to the European battlefields to achieve the result which has liberated the provinces beloved of Gambetta. May we, too, have our Gambettas, if necessary, and may we never fail to have our Hugheses, our Cooks, and our Forrests - men who, forgetting all their domestic and political differences, stood together like Themistocles and Aristide3 before Salamis, long-separated political opponents, who, when the day of danger for their country had dawned, consolidated their forces and united their wits, in order to. secure the preservation of the ideals of their race and of civilization. I hope that what is done by this Senate will be done in the same spirit as animated the House of Representatives; in other words, I hope that the Treaty will be unanimously ratified, that an announcement of our action will be transmitted to the Senate of our . great sister Republic, and that it may influence it, to some modest extent, in . determining also upon the ratification of the Treaty, which must mean a great deal to us and a great deal to the representatives of the world’s greatest Democracy.
– The Senate has been charmed with the oratory of Senator Bakhap. It has been truly said, during the course of the debate, that the question we are now discussing is one of the greatest importance, and one which we should approach with a serious mind. We are called upon to ratify the Peace Treaty, and I believe it will be ratified by this Chamber as it has already been ratified in the other branch of this Legislature. One of the feelings which should animate each- member of the Senate in approaching this question is that of thankfulness that the world, for the time being, at least, has escaped from the great carnage of four and a half years of war. We are relieved from the suspense and anxiety that was necessarily caused by that vast upheaval. The first thought that occurs to our minds is one of congratulation to those families in Australia, and in other Allied countries whose sons and husbands have returned in safety to their homes after participating in the great conflict. We also extend our deep sympathy to . those families where mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters are mourning their gallant dead.
We have before us a document embodying the terms of peace, in which is incorporated the Covenant of the League of Nations, It is’ a wonderful document iu every respect, but I do not think the most optimistic of us will say that it is just what we expected. I heard Senator Bakhap to-day, and on previous occasions, say that we were celebrating an
American peace. I do not think that the Peace Treaty we are asked to ratify embodies an American peace, because if
President- Wilson’s fourteen points had been strictly adhered to, we would have had a different’ document to ratify at this juncture. Article 8 deals with the subject of disarmament, and, if I remember correctly, the original proposals of President Wilson stipulated complete and simultaneous disarmament. There is an article dealing with disarmament, and the League of Nations will be asked to consider this question. I believe the original intention was to compel complete disarmament of all nations, and in my opinion, until complete and simultaneous disarmament is effected, we cannot have that peace we so much desire.
– We will never have it.
– Senator Keating says we will never have the peace that we so desire; but I believe it possible, and I think the lessons we have learned during recent years have shown it to be quite possible.
– Which nation will bo the first to throw down its arms ?
– Which is going to be the first nation? The Peace Con.ference held at Versailles should have determined that matter, and provided that there should be no further armaments.
If that had been done, we would have had an entirely different document from that now before us. When the armistice was arranged, there was a cessation of hostilities, and from that date - 11th. November, 1918 - until the meeting of the peace representatives at Versailles, we had an armed peace. I do not refer, just for the moment, to Australia or to this National Parliament, but to all the great Allied nations which took part in the war to repress the onrush of the Germans iti their attempt to override the world. Even when the Treaty has been ratified by all of the belligerents, we shall still be living under an armed peace. When the so-called Big Four - President Wilson, Mr. Lloyd George, the President of the French Republic, and the Italian Premier - met at Versailles, it was within the power of these representatives of great nations to lay down a hard-and-fast rule concerning the armament of nations. That was not done.
Provision should also, have been made at the same time for universal adult suffrage. Every citizen in every country of the world should have the right to vote on questions affecting his or her country. We have heard of German dominance, and the attempt of her military caste to dominate the whole world, and that certainly was the intention of Germany’s military leaders. It was because of. the determination of the rest of the world that that should not happen that millions of men sacrificed their lives. I am under the impression, although I may be wrong, that if the people of Germany had had a similar franchise to that of the Australian people, this great world-wide conflict, from which we’ have just emerged, would never have occurred.
– They have a very liberal franchise.
– I do not know what Senator Pratten means by a liberal franchise. In my opinion-, it is not liberal; quite apart from being very liberal. I am thinking of our Australian franchise, by which every man and woman over twenty-one years of. age has a voice in selecting a representative in the National Parliament. They possess similar rights in connexion with our State Houses of Assembly, and, with certain reservations and property qualifications, with our Legislative Councils. Senator
Pratten knows that in connexion with this Parliament every person- over twentyone years of age, of a sound mind and of good character, who has resided in the Commonwealth for six months, has the right to vote.I reiterate that if the German people possessed a similar franchise forty-five or fifty years ago, we would not have been involved in such a war, and the world would not have been dyed and drenched in blood as it has been.
– The people of Australia did not possess that franchise forty years ago.
– I admit that. Having in view the lesson we have learned in recent years, we should have protected the future of our people by granting universal suffrage throughout the world. Those representatives who were responsible for the drafting of the Peace Treaty should have provided, in order to preserve the- peace of the world; that all members of the League of Nations should grant adult suffrage to their people. “We cannot blame the people of Germany for what we have gone through.
– In Germany every man over twenty-five years of age had a vote.
– It may be true that every man twenty-five years of age had a vote in Germany; but the honorable senator will not tell me that such a man had any voice at all in declaring war.
– When have the people ever had a voice in declaring war?
– They had a voice in Great Britain.
– I think not.
– I venture to say that war could not have been declared in Great Britain without the decision of the Imperial Parliament. In Germany, however, the Kaiser could, and did, himself declare war” without consulting the Parliament of that country.
– So could the King of England. Constitutionally, he could declare war or peace without reference to his Ministers.
– He would not dare tp do so. He would be no longer Kingif he did.
– He is in precisely the same position in that regard as the Kaiser was.
– That does not get away from my suggestion.
– It gets away from the idea that the British Parliament had anything to do with the declaration of war. It was never consulted in the matter.
– Nor were the people of Great Britain, either.
– If the nations of the world had universal suffrage, I contend that that would be one of the greatest factors in the preservation of peace.
– It was the Constitution, rather than the franchise, of Germany that was at fault.
– Who made the Constitution of Germany? Was it the people of that country? We know that the Constitution of the Commonwealth was the work of the people of Australia. They certainly had the right to ratify it or not, as they pleased. They were called upon to elect delegates to a series of Conventions to draft a Constitution. We could not have had our Constitution if our people had not voted for it. Every man and ‘ woman in Australia over twenty-one years of age had a right to vote for the Commonwealth Bill which embodied our Constitution.
– Every person who had a vote for a member of the. popular House in each State Parliament.
– That isso. With that limitation of the franchise, it was the people of the Commonwealth who ratified our Constitution.
– And it subse- . quently had to be ratified by each State Parliament.
– Yes, before it became law. When Senator Pratten quotes the Constitution of Germany, he only strengthens the argument in favour of my suggestion that the grant of universal suffrage to the peoples of the world would be the best guarantee of peace.
– If we could alter their Constitutions, that might be so.
– The franchise we have in Australia would be good enough for me.
It is quite competent for me to refer to the White Australia policy, so far as it is affected by the Peace Treaty. In the references I am about to make, I have no desire to- reflect upon our delegates at the Peace Conference. I am not satisfied that our White Australia policy is secure under this Treaty. I venture to say that because the Marshall . and Caroline Islands are to be the property of Japan, our White Australia policy is not safe. J have not yet heard any explanation of that provision from the Prime Minister or from Sir Joseph Cook.
– How many thousands of miles should we cover before it is safe?
– I am not so much concerned about the distance of territories from Australia as I am about the people who have control of them. In Japan I see a menace to Australia. We have just emerged victorious from, a war with Germany.
– In which Japan was an Ally of ours.
– That is true, and it was stated, and never officially contradicted, that during the course of the war Japan was arranging another Treaty, with Germany. We must take things as they are and try to look a little ahead, and I am very much afraid that before many years have gone over our heads Ave may have to contend with Japan as we had to contend with Germany. Japan has her ambitions just as Germany had.
– Does the honorable senator not think that the Peace Treaty disposes of that bogy ?
– I do not think so. As a matter of fact, I do not think that the League of Nations gives us very much assurance on this point:
– It guarantees bur present position.
– If to-morrow Japan could do what Germany did, I think she would make the effort. That is the reason why I am under the impression that before long we shall have to reckon with Japan as we had to reckon with Germany.
– Japan is one of the signatories to this Treaty.
– She is one of the members of . the . League of Nations.
– That is so ; but she could get out if it suited her to do so for the time being.
– The honorable senator might say that of any other of the signatories.
– I would notsay that of any of the other signatories, because I have greater confidence in them than I have in Japan. I have some knowledge of Japan and of the Japanese, people, and that is the reason I speak as I do.
There is another matter connected with the Peace Treaty, and also with Japan, and that is the question of the control of Shantung. In my opinion, those responsible for this Treaty did not do the’ right thing in their settlement of this matter. I do not see why Shantung, should have been given over to Japan. That has caused, and will cause, a great deal of trouble. I think that Shantung, may prove to be another Alsace-Lorraine., That province should have been left ton the Chinese people, to whom it belonged.
I -wish now to refer to another question connected with the Treaty, of Peace,, and that, is the question of the selfdetermination of small nations. We wereassured when we entered the war that itwas being fought to secure the rights of small nations, and to secure selfdetermination, to their peoples. I have not yet seen anything in the Peace Treaty or in the Covenant of the League of Nations to indicate that the nation of Ireland is to get anything out of it. Attempts were made to bring before the Versailles Conference the representatives of’ the Irish nation, that they might plead’ for self-determination for Ireland at that Conference. Just -as the men of Australia fought and bled and died on the battlefields of France, and on Gallipoli’s heights, so did the men of Ireland fight and die in Gallipoli and in France. As, in the words of Lloyd George, Sir Edward Grey, and others, Great Britain entered the war, to protect the rights of small nations, and to give their peoples the right of self-determination, I wonder why the Irish nation has not been given that right. I am not losing hope as there may be a chance for Ireland even now to send her representatives to the League of Nations, and, before that body, ask for the right which is undoubtedly hers.
One more reference ‘ and I shall have’ finished. We were assured, shortly after the commencement of hostilities, that there was to he no more secret diplomacy. We were told, as indeed we all knew, that amongst the many causes of the war was the fact that because of secret diplomacy the people of the world did not know what was really going on. We were assured that the fullest publicity would be given to the transactions of the Peace Conference. But if there is one thing which more than another stands out prominently in connexion with that Conference, it is -the fact that secret diplomacy was observed throughout the whole of the negotiations and discussions that took place. Scarcely “ any of the Allied peoples were informed as to what was going on. We have the proof of (his so far as Australia is concerned, in the document submitted for our ratification. In common with other nations, we are asked to take it or leave it. We have Co shut our eyes and open our mouths and see what the Big Four have sent us. It is true that there was one little glimmer of light thrown upon the proceedings of the Versailles Conference, and that was when President Wilson informed the world of what Italy proposed in connexion with Fiume. It would have been better if the Parliaments of the Allied nations had been kept fully informed of the doings of the Peace Conference, so that they might have kept in touch with their delegates, and have instructed them what to do. If secret diplomacy is to continue in the way in which it was operated at the Peace Conference, then the peace which has cost the world so much will not be the peace’ for which the Allied nations fought.
It would be wise for the people and Parliaments of the Allied nations to watch very carefully what is taking place from now on. I venture to say that if the League of Nations will, as soon as possible, order complete disarmament and insist upon universal franchise amongst all the nations, we shall have a fulfilment of that great message delivered to the world more than 1900 years ago: “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [9.15]. - I join with all the honorable senators who have spoken in expressing my fervent gratitude that peace has been brought about, and in rejoicing that it is a victorious peace. I hope that it may be found based on such sure foundations as will pre vent for all time a recurrence of such ‘a disastrous war as that from which we have just emerged. I am concerned to know, now that the war is over, how my own country - Australia - will come out- of it, and what are the foundations on which the peace is based.- What did we fight for? I think President Wilson’s words with regard to the aims and ideals of the Allies should carry weight. President Wilson has made many statements, but’ in one of his speeches he epitomized the aims and ideals of the Allies. After enumerating the objects for which the Allies were fighting, he said -
These great objects can be put in a single sentence. What we seek is the reign of law based upon the consent of the governed and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind.
That, in a nutshell, puts the aims and objects for which we fought. Then, with regard to the peace proposals, President. Wilson also made use of these words -
A victor’s terms imposed upon the vanquished would be accepted in humiliation, and leave a sting of resentment on which the terms of the peace would r.est as upon a quicksand.
What I am not quite sure of is whether the peace, that is now being established is not, to some .extent, a vindictive peace, imposing impossible conditions on a people, and, in that respect, whether it is not built upon a quicksand.
I join with other honorable senators in paying a tribute to our delegates at the Peace Conference, the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook). I believe they did all that could be reasonably expected of them to safeguard the interests of Australia, and to play a patriotic part also in a wider sphere in the interests of the Empire. But Mr. Hughes himself has confessed that they were not consulted on the terms of peace. So far as I can make out, while the “ Big Four “ were discussing the terms of peace, the representatives of the Dominions and the other smaller nations were sent into the nursery with some toy Commission, and when the “Big Four “ had settled matters, these representatives were called in and informed what had been done. I am not complaining of that. I realize it would have been impossible for all the . Dominions concerned to have a seat at the Council table to arrange the details. I am also quite satisfied that the Prime Minister of
Great Britain and the British delegation at the Versailles Council table did all that was possible to safeguard the interests of Australia and the other parts of the Empire, if for no other reason than from gratitude for the part which they, and particularly Australia, had played in bringing about victory.
How Australia has come out, I do not know. We know what her sacrifices have been. We know that we are burdened with a . debt of £364,000,000, and that at least 60,000 of the best and bravest of our manhood have been killed, while probably twice as many have been maimed for life. That is a very great sacrifice ; but I do not think we would regret it if by that sacrifice we had succeeded in breaking the power of militarism, not only in Germany, but in Europe and the rest of the world. I may have been optimistic, and, perhaps, living in a fool’s Paradise, but I never felt any alarm as to the possibility of aggression by Germany in Australia. I believe Germany’s interests were much nearer home; that Germany was more concerned in the establishment of a dominion over middle Europe extending through Syria, eastward through the Balkans to Constantinople, and on to Bagdad. That was a sufficiently ambitious programme, which, even if Germany had been victorious - which thank God she was not - would have kept her rulers fully employed for many years to come without troubling about our Possessions in the Southern Ocean. It seems to me that our danger is more to be’ apprehended- from an Asiatic eruption, and, so far as the terms of Peace are concerned, this danger has been brought nearer than ever it was before, because our first line of defence now appears to be the equator. That is a line of defence which we cannot fortify. We are now confronted with potential difficulties much nearer to our shores, and, in that respect, are no better off than before the war. It is true that we have a mandate over the Pacific Islands south of the equator ; the word “mandate” by the way being the latest term to camouflage the operation of annexation. I am not satisfied that this mandate will be of any advantage to Australia. I think that, on the contrary, it will involve us in great additional expenditure. In looking over the various islands formerly under German control, I find that in every case, with the exception of Samoa, they have been administered at a considerable loss. Our own administration of Papua has, so far, involved us in a loss, and if we accept this mandate over the Pacific Islands south of the equator, we will have further financial burdens,’ and also be under the necessity of keeping up a much larger naval force than would -otherwise be necessary. I do not think that is a good thing.
As to the question of racial equality, I ‘ am. quite sure that the Prime Minister made a strong fight for this principle at the Peace Conference ; yet I do not believe his efforts would have been of much -avail but for the fact that his view, was in- dorsed by the great Republic of the United . States of America, with its 100,000,000 of people to support it.
After the many expressions of high ideals with which we professed to enter’ the war, I must . confess that I felt somewhat disgusted at the game of grab played by all the nations at the Peace Conference.
– Not all.
– All except America. The United States of America was the only nation which did not claim any additional territory, or any benefits from the waT. Take our own country to begin with. Great - Britain secured recognition of her protectorate over Egypt, which was never acknowledged before by outside nations. She has secured, by mandate, spheres of influence, or under some other euphemism, an added’ territory of 1,417,929 square miles, an area nearly half as big as Europe. In Africa she now has control of Egypt, German South-West and East Africa, Togoland, and the Cameroons, totalling 1,172,629 square miles, and in the Pacific Islands she has Samoa and New Guinea - 91,050 square miles, while in Asia she has secured some form of control of Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, not to speak of an extension of her sphere of influence in Persia and Afghanistan. That is a pretty big grab on the part of Great Britain. We know, also, that Italy was practically bribed to come into’ the war by a promise, under the Pact of London, of Trieste, the greater part of the Austrian Tyrol, and the coast of the Adriatic. We know, further, that Russia, under the Pact of London, was promised Constantinople and a considerable portion of the Turkish Empire; that France was to have Syria; Great Britain Mesopotamia; and Japan was to be guaranteed rights which had accrued to Germany in the Shantung Peninsula. They all had something to gain from the war.
It has been pointed out that the terms of Peace come within President Wilson’s fourteen points; but, in many respects, that does not appear to be the case. It is clear that when President Wilson formulated his fourteen points he had no knowledge of any of these secret treaties, so that when he entered the Versailles Conference he found himself hampered at every tura by arrangements which it was difficult; if not impossible, to ignore.
– Would you have liked the Peace to be more Wilsonian than.it is?
– I would have liked the ideals, which I have just quoted from President Wilson’s speech, to be given effect to as far as possible in the terms .of peace, because then it would have been ‘more likely to be a permanent peace. That is what I am concerned about. With regard to the penalties imposed upon Germany, I say that if they could ‘ be exacted from the Germans who were responsible for the war, that is to say,’ from the Kaiser, the junkers, and the PanGermans, who aimed at world’ domination, and. had’ been preparing for it so long, those persons would get no compassion from me. But we know that these indemnities will have to be paid by the working people of Germany. We sometimes speak of the crushing load of debt
I which must be borne by the people of Australia, and ‘ of ‘Great Britain and France, and of all the Powers engaged in the war. Yet we expect Germany, already weighed down by her waT burdens, and bled literally white, not only to meet her crushing war cost, but to pay a considerable portion of the war costs in which all the Allies are involved. Can Germany do it? It is of no use to impose terms if there is not a reasonable possibility of their being carried out. No one can forecast the position in which Europe may find itself during the next thirty years. It would be a difficult matter to prognosticate the conditions which: may rule during the next five years. Any one who has read history must knowthat nations which have flown at each’ other’s throats at one period have, a few years afterwards, allied themselves to fight a common foe. Germany and England, before the war, had always been friends. England and France were historic enemies. It is impossible, therefore, to say what may be .the conditions existing throughout the world a few years hence. I have little faith in a League of Nations which does not include the two largest and most powerful States in, Europe - Germany and Russia.. When one glances at the map of Europe, and appreciates the predominance of those two nations, it makes one pause and con- sider the status of a League which is to settle the affairs of Europe while leaving those countries, and Austria as well, out of consideration. Of course, it is proposed that when Germany and Russia, shall have settled down and learned to behave themselves, they may come within the fold. . But we cannot regard the League of Nations as based on a stable foundation, or as being likely to accomplish all that could be wished and hoped for from, it, in present circumstances.
I read the Peace Treaty speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) with a great deal of admiration. It was a most eloquent and altogether able effort. But I was sorry that the Prime Minister, having struck such a high note at one. period, should have gone right back to the old William Morris Hughes of con,scription days, when he tried to slur Australia by asserting that, owing to lack of reinforcements, some 10,000 or 12,000 of our troops were sacrificed who might have been saved. That statement is utterly incompatible with the panegyric which the Prime Minister uttered in summing up the efforts of Australia, when he said that she had done -all that could possibly have been expected of her; and, indeed, more than any other of the Dominions. The two statements are widely at variance. In one case they are the words of the Prime Minister, rising to al great occasion, speaking on behalf of Australia, and paying a noble tribute to this country and its representatives on the field of battle. “He spoke of Australia, and of the 5,000,000 of her people, and of what they have done. He said -
There was never in the history of the world, before this war, a record like that of this young community of 5,000,000 people. We sent out a greater army than Great Britain herself had ever sent out before, and we transported it over 12,000 miles of ocean. We maintained five divisions of fighting men at the front line, men who will stand comparison with the finest and bravest soldiers of any of the Allied or Associated Powers. We need not claim more distinction than that. It is sufficient if we ‘are able to say that on land and on sea, and in the air, in every theatre of war, Australia played her part, and that, in the great victory that has been achieved, Australia has done well.
Has Australia done well, if she left 10,000 or 12,000 of her men in the trenches to perish for lack of reinforcements? If she did that, she disgraced herself, and she deserves to be reprobated by every right-thinking person. The utterance which I have quoted was the deliverance of the Prime Minister ; but this other statement regarding the sacrifice of 10,000 or 12,000 brave Australians issued from a partisan, who belittled and cast a slur on Australia. If it be a fact that, owing to lack of reinforcements, 10,000 or 12,000 Australians were sacrificed’ in the trenches, it is a grave reflection on the military authorities at the Front. It means that they set Australian troops to hold a sector which was greater than those comparatively few men could defend with reasonable regard for their lives. Mr. Hughes tells us that we had five divisions in France and another division iri Egypt or Palestine. Canada, with her 8,000,000 of people- a 70 per cent, greater population than that of Australia - and situated as she is within 3,000 miles of the firing line, had only four divisions; and, of their numbers at the Front, not so many Canadian troops lost their lives as did Australians. It is true that * Canada sent a greater total of troops across the sea ; but, apparently, they were not in the firing line in such numbers as were the Australians. If 10,000 Australians were sacrificed it was a grave military blunder, for which somebody should be court martialed, to have sent men to hold sectors of the Front when there were not sufficient troops to reinforce them.
I want to know whether we are going to live in that new world which has been promised us. I want to know whether it is to be a new world for the mass of the people in those countries which have passed through the war, and are now looking forward to the results of victory which were promised them. Mr. Lloyd George has said -
Millions of gallant young men fought for the new world, and hundreds of thousands died to establish it. If we fail to honour the promises given to them we will dishonour ourselves. What does a new world mean? What was the old world like S’ It was a world where toil for myriads of honest workers, men and women alike, purchased nothing better than squalor, penury, anxiety, and wretchedness - a world scarred with slums and disgraced by sweating, where unemployment through the vicissitudes of industry brought despair to multitudes of humble homes. It was a world where, side by side with want, was a waste of the inexhaustible riches of the earth - partly through ignorance and lack of forethought, and partly through entrenched selfishness. If we renew the lease of that world we will betray the heroic dead, and be guilty of the basest perfidy, and we may store up retribution for ourselves and our children. The old world must, and will, come to an end. No effort can store it up longer. If any feel inclined to maintain it, let them beware lest it fall upon and overwhelm them and their households in ruin. It should be the sublime duty of all, without thought of partisanship, to help in building up the new world, where labour can have its just reward, and indolence alone suffer want.
That .sounds like Bolshevik propaganda, wherein any man who wants anything must work for it, and. wherein he who does nothing is entitled to nothing. Those words of the British Prime Minister represent an ideal worth looking forward to ; they do not conjure an ideal, of the acquisition of vast, territories by this or any other Empire. At the beginning of the war Mr. Asquith, then Prime Minister, said, “We have no desire to add to our Imperial burdens either in area or responsibility.” Mr. Bonar Law - and I quote that gentleman as representative of another great party in the Imperial Parliamentsaid, in December, 1916, “ We are not. fighting for territory.” Lastly, Mr. Lloyd George stated, in February, 1917, “ We are not fighting a war of conquest.” Yet an enormous extent of new territory is being added to the British Empire. I see no glory in large Empires. I am more concerned with the welfare of the people living within those Empires. I shall quote a statement of that grand Democrat, John Bright, whose words, uttered long ago, hold good today -
I believe there is no permanent greatness to a nation except it bo based upon morality.I do not care for military greatness or military renown. I care for the condition of the people among whom I live. There is no man in England who is less likely to speak irreverently of the Crown and Monarchy of England than I am : but crowns, coronets, mitres, military display, the pomp of war, wide colonies, and a huge Empire are, in my view, all trifles light as air, and not worth considering, unless with them you can have a fair share of comfort, contentment, and happiness among the great . body of the people. Palaces, baronial castles, great halls, stately mansions, do not make a nation. The nation in every country dwells in the cottage; and, unless the light of your constitution can shine there; unless the beauty of your legislation and the excellence of your statesmanship are impressed there - on the feelings and conditions of the people - rely upon it, you have yet to learn the duties of government.
That is noble sentiment; and, after all our trials and sacrifices, I want to know whether the result is to bring some light and comfort into the cottage home-^-is to bring about better conditions for the masses of the people. I want to see an end of that appalling state of affairs referred to by Mr. Lloyd George and revealed by the recruiting records of Great Britain, when two out of every three men called up for service were deemed to be unfit, due to- the conditions of over-work, underfeeding, and ill-housing. I hope the League pf Nations will have the effect of abolishing all such shocking conditions of life; and, if it does so, I shall be little concerned with expansion of Empires and the acquisition of new territories . to our country. -With respect to that Empire of which we are all proud to be citizens, I desire to quote that fine poet and patriot, William Watson, wherein he said -
A vision passionately just;
And power that putteth not its trust
In endless leagues of subject dust.
An England confidently whole
Moving to her appropriate goal
In pure serenity of soul.
The lovelier England, dear and true;
The knightlier England, armed anew
Rather to aid than to subdue.
– Possibly in discussing this motion the Senate is dealing with a question bigger and more far-reaching than any which has yet occupied the attention of the Commonwealth Parliament. Its possibilities are so tremendous that we cannot dimly realize what they may mean in the future. It is fitting, therefore, that a debate of such transcendent importance should occupy a position which debates in this Parliament seldom attain. In this chamber the fields of eloquence have been ploughed, the heights of rhetoric have been climbed, and the depths of national sentiment have been plumbed to the bottom. Consequently it is appropriate that honorable senators should give to the discussion of their very best. This Peace Treaty in all its bearings constitutes a very great document. It has been compiled by the greatest brains in the Empire, and if it does not contain all that we would like it to contain, we must recollect that it has been turned out of a furnace in which all manner of metals have been smelted. It has been framed by persons holding widely divergent opinions. When we consider these differences and the difficulties under which the delegates to the Peace Conference laboured, we are bound to admit that we are more amazed at the results which they have achieved than we would have been had the work been attempted wholly by men of our own race and country. The Treaty is a document of tremendous importance, and represents the crowning effort of a titanic struggle. It is the coping stone to a “building which has been erected in sorrow and sadness, in distress and misery. I believe that the result achieved by the framers of the Treaty represents the crowning triumph of the great war which has now happily ended. As was pointed out to-day, had it not been for the splendid achievements of the Allied Armies, the results might have been very different. In dealing with a question of this kind it is not quite just to belittle the efforts, of any nation which was associated with Great Britain during the war. I may be pardoned for proclaiming the splendid bravery of our own soldiers, but in doing that I do not intend to institute comparisons with the “ soldiers of other nations. Had our soldiers failed, us, or had our people failed us - had the mothers, the wives, and sisters of the men who went forth to fight in this war failed us - what would have been the result? . Although our women did not take part in the actual fighting, they exhibited bravery, determination, love of their country, and hatred for the oppressor, equalling that of our soldiers in the firing line. But for their sacrifice-, the Peace Treaty might have taken a very different form indeed. While some of us may feel disposed to cavil at the terms of this document, we cannot fail to recognise1 that if the Hun had triumphed a very different peace would have been given to the world, and we should have been afforded no opportunity of discussing it. In reading the Treaty, we must be impressed with the great care and thoroughness which are evidenced in its preparation. We can understand now, better than we did, why it was that the framers of this document took so long to complete their ‘ task. I dare say that I was amongst those who were disposed to find fault with the Peace Conference delegates because of the slow progress which they apparently made. But we can now form some faint idea of the tremendous nature of the task which confronted them. It is only just, therefore, that we should pay a tribute to our own representatives at that Conference. Every man and woman in Australia should be proud of the splendid work which they accomplished there under the most adverse conditions. I wish also to pay a tribute to the manner - in which thi3 Treaty has been presented to Parliament. The speeches made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) in another place are convincing proof of the thoroughness with which they performed their duties as delegates to the Peace Conference, and of their intimate knowledge of the provisions of the Treaty. Nor can I forget the able deliverance made by the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen) in submitting this motion to the consideration of honorable senators. All these Ministers have set a very high standard in connexion with this debate. The people of Australia have cheerfully acknowledged the splendid work done by our representatives at the Paris Conference, and .the Peace Treaty is now before us for ratification. Having followed their work overseas, it is now our duty to confirm it, and to pass it on to posterity as work which was agreed to without any fault-finding by the repretentatives of the Australian peopled I stated at ‘the outset of my remarks that the Treaty is capable of great possibilities for future good. To-day, it means little to us, because the nations of the world have not yet recovered from the fearful struggle through which they have recently passed. They have not yet turned their attention to their own affairs. They have not yet seriously attempted to make their . plans for the future. But, unless the nations whose representatives have signed this Treaty decide to attempt to give effect to the great ideals which it embodies, the document, instead of being one full of possibilities for future good, may easily become a useless scrap of paper. In that case the world will not be a whit safer than it was formerly, and may at any time be again plunged into a war as bad as, if not worse than, that from which we have just emerged. Consequently, I hope that every country will do as Australia is doing, namely, take steps to put its own house in order, so that this Treaty may be ratified, not merely in the letter, but also in the spirit. The Peace Treaty is a charter of liberty, and second only to Magna Charta. I believe this document to be of greater consequence in securing the future peace of the world than any that has ever been considered since Magna. Charta. It has been said by some speakers that all nations should immediately start disarming, but with that I do not agree. It would be an act of extreme folly if that were to be undertaken, particularly when we “have many years of strenuous reconstruction ahead. We have important diplomatic work to be done before the nations of the world will be prepared to adopt general disarmament. I hope that no portion of the British Empire will be lured into a position of false security because of the conditions set out in the Treaty.
– Immediate disarmament would be a proof of sincerity.
– Senator Needham knows very well that once a nation starts to disarm, it immediately becomes afraid of other nations which have no intention of so doing. Every nation will have to be on its guard for many years; but I hope that there will be no need to use the power of arms to secure the world’s peace.
– I suggested simultaneous disarmament.
– That is impossible. The Treaty is the work of men representing divergent interests, and ‘t concerns nations which hated each other intensely, not only before the war, but when the Treaty was in course of preparation. It is impossible for nations with such divergent views to think of disarmament; but I am living in the hope that general disarmament will ultimately follow. If such a policy is not adopted, the Treaty we are ratifying today will become a worthless scrap of paper. The time for disarmament is not now, but it is a policy that must be considered if the future peace of the world is to be assured. Fault has been found with our treatment of Germany.
– Not here.
– It has been said that we have treated Germany too severely, but I do not want any one to be under the misapprehension that I think that Germany has been severely treated. In many respects, she has been treated ten thousand times better than she deserves. I cannot forget the brutality of this nation. I cannot forget the way she conducted the war, nor can I overlook the treatment meted out to those unfortunate men who fell into her hands as % honorable prisoners of war. They would not have been treated worse if they had fallen into the hands of savages in Central Africa. I have no sympathy with Germany, and do not think she should be pitied.
– How did she treat our sailors?
– Yes; ‘ our sailors as well as our soldiers have been brutally treated. In speaking of the sacrifices made by our men in the great conflict, we are apt to overlook the gallant services rendered by our sailors. I cannot imagine anything more brutal than to leave drowning men at the mercy of storm-tossed waters. Our sailors fought bravely for their country, and the Germans left them to drown without making any attempt to assist them.
– The sinking of the Lusitania will not be forgotten.
– Yes; the Germans are responsible for the deaths of thousands of defenceless men and women on the world’s great waterways. I have no word of sympathy for these brutal people. I want to see Germany purged of her crimes; I want her to prove by her future conduct that she is fit to be classed with the civilized nations of the world. In the Peace Treaty is very clearly set out the position in which Ger many is placed as a result of the loss of territory. Senator O’Loghlin referred to the vast area over which Great Britain has now some measure of control. These additional territories have been secured, not with the idea of acquiring additional possessions, but so that our people shall be safe from further aggression. In the document the boundaries of Germany have been carefully marked. Germany has very properly lost territory which she wrenched from another Power years ago. The framers of the Treaty, in dealing with Germany and her European territory, and her possessions overseas, have shown great care, ability, and foresight in delineating the boundaries of the country which she shall govern. Steps have been taken to insure, so far as. it is humanly possible, that Germany shall be rendered harmless to the rest of the world. The civilized .nations of the earth cannot afford to have a wild animal roaming at. large and disturbing the safety of its people. Germany has made a study of war and endeavoured to rule the whole world with iron hand and cloven hoof. The danger to the world would be great if Germany were not rendered impotent. Her naval and- military powers have been carefully defined, and the . restrictions placed upon her by the Treaty are no doubt strongly resented. It is a great indignity to Germany to have her army and navy regulated in’ the way they have been in this document. I rejoice in the fact that her fleet and her instruments of war have been destroyed. It is gratifying also to know that in future she will be powerless to work her destruction on peace-loving people. Her engines of war have been destroyed, her munition works have been demolished, and even the right to manufacture munitions has been denied her. No victory could be more complete. This nation, which was responsible for the great conflict which bathed the world in blood, has been completely put out of action, and rendered impotent, at the hands of her victorious enemies. Under the Treaty she is prevented from using that devilish concoction - poisonous gas - which she directed against her enemies. She adopted methods which no other civilized nation has ever resorted to. Germany has been compelled, by the term3 of the Treaty - showing the thoroughness of the men who1 drew up the document - to protect, and, as far as possible, to preserve the graves of the men who fell in her territory. The graves of .prisoners of war who died in her concentration camps, owing largely to the brutality shown them, will have to be cared for by the German people. It has been frequently said that the penalties imposed upon Germany under this Treaty are too great, and that so far as reparation is concerned she cannot pay what is demanded. No man here has the faintest conception of the power of Germany to pay her debts, or the slightest knowledge of the resources of Germany which may be drawn upon for that purpose. I agree with those who say that Australia had a right to receive more, not by way of compensation for .the gallant dead - they can never be compensated for - but by way’ of restitution for the money she has spent in. the prosecution of’ the war. I have no hesitation iu saying that Germany should have been compelled to pay the cost of the war to Australia to the last, farthing. I know that our representatives at the Peace Conference used their best endeavours in that direction. I know that the penalties inflicted upon Germany, so far as reparation is concerned, were not approved of by them. They had- to bow to the will of the majority, and so ‘ Australia will not, under this Treaty, receive any thing like the amount iri money by way of restitution to which she is entitled.
– That point should be stressed again and again.
– I agree with the honorable senator that too much importance cannot be attached to it, and, without in any way detracting from the value of this great document, I say that Australia should enter an emphatic protest against those who were responsible for letting Germany off in this matter in the way they did. In her hour of victory over France Germany did not consider whether or not France was in a position to pay the indemnity demanded of her. She imposed it to the last penny, irrespective of the capacity of France to meet the bill she presented. If Germany had won this war she would not have asked Great Britain, Australia, or any of the Allied Powers what they could pay, or how they could pay it, but would have imposed penalties according to her own view, and would have seen that they were duly paid.
– Our representatives wanted to do that with Germany.
– They did, and the fact will stand to their eternal credit. When the history of this great Peace Conference comes to be written, as it will be, what the men from Australia did will be made known, and those who are to-day inclined to belittle the great efforts of our representatives at the Conference will hang their heads in shame, because they will then realize the nature of the fight which our representatives put up in the interests of civilized communities.
There are some gratifying features in the conditions imposed upon the people of Germany for their wickedness. I am glad to say that under Part VII. of the Treaty, dealing with penalties, we may hope for some measure of justice and retribution against Germany, and I am after retribution. I want to see the men responsible for the brutalities to which I have referred adequately punished, if it be possible to adequately punish any man responsible for some of those crimes. I am glad to see that the head of the house of Hohenzollern is under this document to be brought to justice. I hope that no misplaced sympathy with Germany, or with this man, will be responsible for his escape from the just punishment which should fall upon him. The head of the Hohenzollerns should be punished, and this Treaty says that he shall stand his trial. It is provided, under this part of the Treaty, that those who have been accused of committing acts of violence against the laws and customs of war shall be tried and, if found guilty, shall be punished. Moreover, no matter what punishment Germany herself may inflict upon these wrongdoers, the Allied nations shall have the right to try them in their own way. Under this Treaty the German nation will be compelled to hand over all such persons, no matter what their rank may be. God knows that the criminal acts committed during this war and those responsible for them were so numerous that it is possible that even under the most stringent conditions many will ultimately be permitted to escape who ought to suffer punishment. I am not a particularly blood-thirsty man, but to me Part VII. of the Treaty is the most satisfactory portion of it, because it provides that justice shall be- dealt out to the individuals who have been responsible for unspeakable crimes. When we read of their deeds during the war there is not a man amongst uS who would not gladly have shot any one of these murderers if he had the op- portunity. For this reason I am glad to now that the Treaty is clear, definite, and specific so far as the punishment of these brutal murderers is concerned.
I have already referred to the question of reparation, and have said that in my view the provision made in that regard is altogether . unsatisfactory. But I am agreeing to the ratification of the Treaty without question, because I feel that the best that could be done for civilization has been done under it.
I want to refer to another matter, which was mentioned, I think, by Senator McDougall more pointedly than by any other speaker, and’ that is the great charter of Labour which is embodied in this document. It shows that the men responsible for this Treaty recognised the great change that has come over the face of the world. It was recognised for the first time in a great Council of this kind that Labour has a right to be represented in the highest Councils of the nations of the world. So a charter of Labour has been prepared and set out. I do sincerely hope, in view of the great work which Australia has done in this war, the tremendous sacrifices she has made, and the great name she has gained as a result of her efforts, that nothing will be done to belittle this great charter, so far as that portion referring to Labour is concerned. I do earnestly hope that the great labouring classes of Australia will be adequately represented at the Labour Conference to take place in America. Nothing would grieve me more than to think that the great .bulk of the people of this country
M-ould not take advantage of the opportunity to be represented at that great Conference. I know that just as Australia has done splendidly in the war and in the diplomacy associated with it, and just as the representatives of Australia did herculean work in the preparation of this Treaty, so the representatives of Australian Labour would hold their own. at the Conference at Washington; and I sincerely hope they will be sent there. I have already referred to the fact that whether the Peace Treaty is to be a success or. a failure lies in the way in which it will be regarded in the future. If the world looks at it aright, and if men of every nation call common s.ase and reason to their counsels, I have great faith in its future. It can be made a charter of safety and security for the world, or it can be made a worthless scrap of paper, and all the bloodshed, misery, and wretchedness of the last five years will have gone for nought. Surely sensible men, having regard to the future welfare of their country and to the interests of those who will follow them, will look aright at this great document, and will give effect to its provisions. Surely they will decide that the fearful struggle that has just been terminated shall be the last of its kind, not only in our day and generation, but for many generations to come. If men view this. Treaty as it is worthy of being regarded, it will be found to be a . really great document, and they will give the credit that will be their due to those who were associated with its preparation and to those associated with giving parliamentary’ sanction to it in this Parliament and in this Senate. Generations to come will, when they read the history of this period, agree that, notwithstanding all that we had come through and all the bitterness that had grown up in the minds of men, after all, in due season, we put our own house in order, and because of our love for our race, our civilization, and for Christianity, we decided that this should be the Treaty of our future liberty, and we adopted it, knowing that because of, it this world for the future would be made safe
Debate Ton motion by Senator de Largie) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Russell) read a first time.
a gui cultural show- meeting of
– I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Friday, 26th September.
I understand it will meet with the general concurrence of honorable senators if we adjourn over. to-morrow, which is National Show Day, not for Australia, but for Victoria.
– I am rather surprised at this motion for an adjournment until friday, but I do not take exception to it if it is the desire of honorable senators to visit the Royal Show. I think, however, that I am not far from the truth when I say that if I can read the press reports correctly, the National party have a most important meeting fixed for to-morrow. If that is so, and if this Parliament is to take second place to the National party meeting, we ought to have an announcement ‘to that effect. I am just putting this view forward. I may be misinformed about the meeting of the National party to-morrow. It may be quite a legitimate thing for this Parliament to adjournfor a National Show, but not for a meeting of the National party. In view of the fact that members of this Parliament come from all parts of the Commonwealth to transact the business of this country, I take this, the first opportunity I have - if I am right in my surmise -of protesting against Parliament adjourning in order that a meeting of the National party may be held.
– I do not agree to the National Parliament adjourning for the sake of enabling members to visit the Royal Agricultural Society’s Show. This is. one of the inconveniences to which the National Parliament is subjected through meeting in a provincial centre like Melbourne. Members of this Parliament do not come here for the purpose of visiting agricultural shows, but for the consideration of important documents like the Peace Treaty, which has been characterized as one of the most important matters that has ever come before this Parliament, yet we are asked to adjourn Parliament in order that certain honorable members’ may have an opportunity of visiting the Show. If they want to visit the Show, I understand it is open from 10 o’clock in the morning; and, while they may not be able to inspect the whole of the live-stock, and the farming implements on view in the short space of five hours-before the usual hour for the meeting of the Senate to-morrow after noon - I think they could get a very fair idea of the Show itself in that time. Members of this Chamber, if they really desire to go to the Show, could spend a few hours there to-morrow morning without interfering with the business of this Parliament; and they could also go on Saturday. It is not usual for Parliament to meet on a Saturday, so what is wrong with honorable senators giving up that day for the Show? We might just as well ask Parliament to adjourn in order that its members could visit the Show at Hobart, Perth, Adelaide, or any other capital city of the Commonwealth. I, for one, enter my strong protest against this adjournment. We came here to-day for the purpose of discussing the Peace Treaty. We want to get it out of the way so that the Government can bring down some of those other Bills which they assure us are ready, including some measure to deal with profiteering. We would be far better employed in discussing the effects of a straight-out land tax than in going out to an inhospitable, dusty place like Flemington.
– Why not go out and tell the farmers at the Show about the’ land tax?
– I have never yet heard a genuine farmer complain of haying to pay his fair share of taxation. It is only men ‘ who live on the farmers, and who exhibit bogus sympathy for them, who are always complaining ontheir behalf. We should meet to-morrow at the usual time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
boilermakers’ wages : was service Homes : Australian Imperial Force: Medals ‘ fob Medically Unfit Men.
Motion (by Senator Russell) proposed -
That too Senate do now adjourn.
.- I should like the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy to inform me if he is yet able to furnish an answer to’ a question I have asked -on several occasions about boilermakers’ wages in the Naval Dockyards? These men made a request for 2s. per hour. Twenty -two private employers, and representatives’ of the Navy’
Department and Cockatoo and. Garden Island dockyards, agreed, at a conference, to pay ls.11½d. per hour, but the Navy Department has refused to recognise the claim. I have questioned the Government about the matter on three occasions, but, so far, have not received any satisfactory answer. I want to know if they intend to fall into line with private employers and pay the wages agreed upon at that conference?
– I should like to know if the Minister for Repatriation has yet secured’ answers to the questions I asked him some days ago concerning war service homes for returned soldiers, as well as with regard to the issue of silver medals to soldiers who were discharged as medically unfit; and whether, in the event of any of these men dying, the next of kin would he entitled -to the medal?
– The answers to questions which . Senator Grant put to me some days ago were in my hands when the Senate met this afternoon. ‘ I thought he would put. the ‘questions to me then ;but as he did not do’ so, I sent the papers away. With regard to one of the questions, I cannot pretend to remember the figures, but if the honorable gentleman will ask for them when the Senate re-assembles on Friday they will be available. Concerning the other two questions, I can, I think, remember the answers with sufficient accuracy. One question had relation to the Lithgow land, and the other to the Mount Bardwell Estate. The War Service Homes Commissioner’ has informed me, with regard to the latter question, that he has repudiated the contract made by the then Deputy Commissioner. As to the Lithgow land, the Commissioner has twice written to the Lithgow council to ascertain, if they will take the land over and include it in their municipal area if he takes it over and the lay-out is approved by the council. He is awaiting an answer to that question.
– In reply to Senator McDougall, I may state that it is not a fact that a tribunal appointed by the Government has awarded boilermakers a wage of ls.11½d. per hour. The award rate for these employees is ls. 93/8d. per hour, and the rate, paid by the Navy Department is ls. 9½d. The employees have demanded an extra- 2d. per hour, and as a means of enforcing their demands are refusing to work overtime on repair work. It is understood that certain private employers have agreed to ls.11½d. per hour, but the increase is not general throughout the trade. The policy of the Government isto adhere to awards, except where the ruling rate is higher than the award rate. As the rate of ls.11½d. is not general, it cannot he accepted as the ruling rate, and the award therefore is being adhered to.
Question resolved in affirmative.
Senate adjourned at. 10.41 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 September 1919, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1919/19190924_senate_7_89/>.