7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Preference to Returned Soldiers
– I ask the Acting Leader of the. Senate, is it the policy of the present Government to discharge public servants, or men in the Defence Department, who have rendered good service, to make way for returned soldiers ?
– I know of no such case. I ask the honorable senator to give notice of the question.
– I ask the Minister in charge of the Wheat Pool whether information is yet available in reply to my questions with regard to uncashed certificates for the 1918-19 crop in the Wheat Pool?
– On the 17th of September the honorable senator asked the following question : -
What is the total number of bushels of wheat represented by the uncashed certificates still remaining in the 1918-19 Wheat Pool?
I am now able to furnish the honorable senator with the following information :-
senatorPratten. -That means a £1,000,000.
Output of Marranboy. Tin-fields
– (By leave.)Speaking the other night when the Supply Bill was being considered in Committee, I quoted some figures, from a cursory glance at the. report of the Administrator of the Northern Territory, with regard to the output of tin from the Marranboy Tin- fields. I represented that the figures indicated the output from the Marranboy Tin-fields alone, but on further perusal of the report I find that they referred to the total output of the Northern Territory. I now desire to say that the Marranboy Tin-fields have, so far, produced tin to the value of about £50,000, and the output of concentrates from that field last year amounted in value to £17,000 at Darwin, and to about £19,000 in London. These figures should be substituted for those I previously quoted.
– I ask the Acting Leader of the Senate whether it is possible to so enlarge the definition of “deportee” as to include profiteers, and whether in that event the first shipload may be made from Queensland, in order to relieve the congestion there?
– I ask the honorable senator to give notice of thequestion.
-Arising out of the question just put, may I ask the Minister if, in view of the record of Western Australia, as reported in Mr. Knibbs’ last monthly bulletin, showing an increase of 30.5 per cent. in the cost of living in that State, or just about double the increase in Queensland, he will suggest to Senator Lynch that, instead of prescribing for the ills of other States of the Commonwealth he should first of all supply some of his medicine to his own State of Western Australia ?
Question not answered.
– I ask the Acting Minister for Defence whether he has recently received a communication from Captain Hayne, who retired, through illhealth, from the Defence Department, in which he complains that therecord of his military services was actually cancelled by regulation?
– I have received no such communication ; but I shall make personal inquiries into the case.
– I ask the Acting Minister for Defence whether he has observed that it has been stated in the press that a considerable number of officers of the Australian Military Forces have been, and are, marking time awaiting the formulation of the future defence policy of the Government? Is it the intention of the Government to introduce any measure during the present session to deal generally with the future policy of the defence of the Commonwealth and to afford Parliament an opportunity to discuss the same?
– The whole matter has been under consideration from time to time, hut no scheme of reorganization is likely to be announced until the whole of the demobilization of the Australian Imperial Force is completed.
The following papers were presented: -
Peace Treaty. - (Reply of the Allied and Associated Powers to the Observations of the German Delegation on the Conditions of Peace. (Paper presented to British Parliament.)
Seat of Government. - Ordinance No. 5 of 1919. - Interpretation.
– I ask the Acting Leader of the Senate whether it is true that Senator Millen is on his way to take up a position in America at the forthcoming Labour Conference ?
– So far as I am concerned, I want to say “No.”
Supply to Public : Material and Price
-I ask the Acting Minister for Defence if the material manufactured by the Commonwealth Woollen Mills at Geelong is supplied to the wholesale or retail trade for distribution to the public?
– No, not at present. The Mills have about completed the manufacture of material for civilian clothes for returned soldiers. It is the intention of the Government, as soon as the manufacture of that material is completed, to produce material for civilian use. I am not in a position to say what system of distribution will be adopted. That is now under consideration by the Department.
– Arising out of the answer to my question, I ask whether it is true that serge manufactured in the Commonwealth Woollen Mills has been retailed over counters in Melbourne at 27s. per yard?
asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Senator Pearce and Demobilization
asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are : -
Senator McDOUGALL (for Senator
Grant) asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Service to Tasmania
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Will the Government take the first opportunity of using the Commonwealth-owned steamers to establish a service between Tasmania and the mainland, and also between Papua and the mainland States?
– There is no present intention on the part of the Commonwealth Government to establish a service of the character mentioned. The primary object of the Commonwealth Government line of steamers is to assist the producers of Australia in placing their products in the markets of the United Kingdom and other ports of the world.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Is it correct that the Treasury Department is still exercising a power of revision in regard to the details of proposed flotations or prospectuses of companies to be formed, as well as a power of general sanction or refusal in respect of such proposed enterprise?
– Treasury consent is still required under the War Precautions (Companies, Firms, and Businesses) Regulations to the registration of new companies, and the issue of capital by existing companies. Permission is readily granted to the registration of all companies whose immediate object is trade, production, or manufacture, where the details submitted in the application and prospectus (especially regarding the considerations to promoters and vendors) are found to be satisfactory.
Debate resumed from 26th September (vide page 12746), on motion by Senator Millen -
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.
– Not much time now remains for me to say all that I think with regard to this matter, but no apology is necessary for occupying time to discuss the Treaty, which I regard as the most important subject that has ever come up for considera- tion in this Parliament. Some people have said that it does not matter whether the Commonwealth Parliament ratifies the Peace Treaty or not. With that view I am absolutely at variance, because I feel sure that those who express that opinion do so either in a forgetful mood, or perhaps are prompted by other motives which cannot be explained as openly as they ought to be. For my part, I repeat that I do not know of any proposition of equal importance to the Peace Treaty which is now before us. What does it mean ? It means a guarantee for the future liberty of the people in this country. But, unfortunately, things obtained cheaply are not valued highly. I suppose it is one of the inexplicable traits in human character that the things which come to us like mushrooms in the morning dew, or the manna of old, are not appreciated as they should be, but that, as Edwin Arnold said, only the gifts that come to us from loving sacrifice are appraised at their true worth. This charter of our liberty - because that is what the Peace Treaty means - has not come to us without fearful sacrifice on the part of all the free nations of the earth, which fought side by side in the great war which was brought to a close last year.
When my remarks were interrupted by the adjournment hour of Friday last, I was considering the monetary cost of the Peace Treaty to Australia, and I was directing attention to the fact that we cannot measure it in terms of gold or its trashy equivalents, which Shakspeare tells us are not the things that really matter in human existence. What would the Peace Treaty have meant to Australia if, instead of coming from Versailles, it had been dictated from Berlin? - and how near we were to that awful probability ! What would it have meant to Australia if at a critical period in the titanic struggle the tide of war had turned against us?
– God help Australia ! >
– I re-echo that sentiment. I remind some honorable senators, also, that the present generation / Australians suffered nothing to win th, freedom that we have always enjoyed in this country. The sufferings of the past were borne by our grandfathers, both within and without the Empire. I have heard some midget-minded men suggest that the present generation of Australians are men of superior clay; as people who live on the mountain tops, while we who coane from other parts of the world are living on the plains beneath. I say to men who endeavour to differentiate between those who, by accident of birth, have been launched upon the sea of events in Australia, and other members of this community, that they are all the time reflecting on the parents who begat them. When they tell us that the present generation of Australians are men of superior stamp, and that nothing else matters except what, they think and what they say or do, I reply that there are. other people who did infinitely more for the prosperity of this country than they have done individually.
So much by the way. Let me return to the consideration- of the Peace Treaty on a cash basis. I repeat that because it has been obtained cheaply by too large a section of this country, it is not valued at its true worth. I notice, according to a statement by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) that the cost of the war to Australia is something like £400,000,000, including the cost of repatriation capitalized. Roughly speaking, that means a debt of £80 per head of our population. That appears to be a huge burden for a handful of people to bear; but it is only a flea-bite in comparison with what this country would have had to shoulder had the tide of battle turned against us, and had this Treaty been dictated from Berlin instead of from Versailles, and a Hindenburg in the chair instead of a Clemenceau. If this document had reached us from Berlin, where would some of these men who have opposed Australia’s sturdy war policy have been? They would then have had substantial reasons to complain if, instead of continuing to live under the free institutions which have been preserved to us by the men who shed their blood, and let it flow in the common stream, they had been brought under the heel of a German conqueror. Complaint ill-becomes those who, in this country, have resorted to glorification of their own past methods, which, if they had been followed by those in control of Australia’s policy, would have paralyzed the war efforts of this country, and, to that extent, of the Allies. I have often wished that, as a measure of retributive and poetic justice, those who sought to paralyze the nation’s arm in this great struggle - some of them outside, and some of them inside this Parliament- - could have been placed upon a desert island. And I have wished that a Ludendorff, or a von Bissing. or a Liman von Sanders, could have been placed in charge of them, with a forest of rusty bayonets behind them. They would have felt then what it meant to exist under conditions where they could no longer do as they pleased, but would be made to do this and that, with a rusty bayonet behind them.
– The bayonet would ha ve. been driven in if you had had your way with regard to conscription.
– -If I had had a bayonet I would have tickled some of your back quarters, awd that for your own good.
– Naturally, you would tackle us from . the back. You would -not be game to come round to the front.
– I would not have the slightest hesitation in doing so. But these interjections bring me back to a consideration of the deeds and words of the party with which Senator Ferricks is associated. He and his fellows went to the Perth Conference, and met at the Savoy Hotel behind closed doors, 12,000 miles behind the fighting line - a nice safe distance from which to dictate the peace of the world.
– And the resolutions passed there are contained in the Treaty which you are now discussing.
– What lovely conduct it was, for those who have dishonoured and disgraced a noble cause, to get behind closed doors at a distance of 12,000 miles behind the fighting line, and thence to dictate to the world what our peace terms should be ! What did they do there? Rather, the question should be, what is it that they did not try to do, in a collective sense, to reduce Australia’s efforts to zero, to make Australia cut an insignificant, despicable figure before the eyes of the whole world ? They did their little worst in order to drag Australia from the high pedestal on which her fighting sons had placed her. The honorable senator lias spoken of the Perth Conference. If he possessed any of the instincts of an intelligent being, he would for ever hold his peace about the ignoble, contemptible, despicable, and unpatriotic policy which emanated from the Savoy Conference, held in perth, behind closed doors, as far away from the battle front as they could get.
– And under which policy Australia’s soldiers did so much - the voluntary system.
– If the honorable senator has any pride in that policy, let him speak out. The only claim that he can make for it is that it was borrowed from the Bolsheviks of Russia. The policy which emanated from Perth, and which is known in public life to-day as the policy of the Official Labour party, was borrowed from the Bolshevik policy of Russia - a body which, on the ‘authority of the Bureau of Information of the United States of America, had its origin and continued to live on the expenditure of German gold. Some honorable senators may laugh. If they question my source of authority, if they question the Bureau of Information as being inferior to their own source of knowledge, they are at liberty to do so. But that official Bureau issued to the world the statement that the Bolsheviks were neither more nor less than the paid, emissaries of the German power: I refer to those men who were concerned in the second insurrection, which did so much mischief in defeating the good work of Kerensky and his constituent assembly ; men like Lenin and Trotsky. Germain gold, financed the Bolshevik revolution. The United States of America puts its name to that statement of fact.
– Did you read the American Red Cross report from Russia? Apparently not! You read only one side.
– We will hear the honorable senator on that.
– I have had my say.
– And you were silent on that point..
– We hear something now, by way of interjection, about the activities of the Red Cross in Russia. I am citing, in opposition to whatever may be the argument in that respect, official reports emanating from the American
Government, which has as great a reputation to preserve and defend as has the Red Cross organization. The Government of the United .States of America has intimated that Lenin and Trotsky were financed by German gold; that the agitation, in its origin, was financed by the German Imperial Bank; and that a Ger. man picked commander was appointed by the Germans to defend Petrograd. The policy of the Official Labour party in this particular has been not merely inspired, hut borrowed, actually word for word, in a prime essential from the policy of the Russian Bolsheviks.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
Extension of leave granted, on motion of Senator Senior.
– Plain speaking is the best tonic in the world. Nothing paves the way to understanding more satisfactorily than a good heart to heart talk.
– Hear, hear; get it off your chest.
– I will get it off my chest and into your chest. Although formulating their peace policy in Australia, these Labourites did not originate it. It has ‘nothing about it that is distinctly Australian. Honorable senators opposite, and others whom they are representing, talk of an Australian Labour party policy, but their policy has been borrowed from the Bolsheviks. Can Senator O’Loghlin deny that? Can Senator Ferricks deny that the so-called Official Labour party’s policy emanated from such a source? Can honorable senators deny that?
– Yes; of course we can.
– Will some one take this kookaburra outside and give him a possum?
– That is right ; throw the dirt off your chest now.
– Order! I ask honorable senators not to use language of that sort.
– They borrowed their policy word for word in its essentials from the Bolsheviks of Russia. I have here the constitution of the Soviets of all Russia, which proves convincingly that the Peace policy of the Official Labour party in Australia was not only inspired, but literally borrowed from the
Russian Bolsheviks. Senator Barker denies this. Do any other honorable senators deny it?
– We all deny it.
-^-Senator McDougall does not.
– He knows better. In chapter 3 of Article 1 of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic I read the following: -
Expressing its determination to free humanity from the grip of financial capitalism and Imperialism, which have plunged nearly the whole world into the most criminal of wars, the third Congress of Soviets whole-heartedly indorses the Soviet’s Powers policy of the repudiation of secret treaties, the organization on the widest scale of fraternization with the workers and peasants of the armies which at present are fighting each other, the realization of revolutionary means of a democratic peace of the workers without annexations and penal indemnities.
Have we heard that phrase before? I think so. That proposal is embedded in the report of a third Soviet Congress which was held before the 10th July, 1918. The fifth Congress, which was held on the 10th July, 1918, whole-heartedly indorsed it. A few days later the Perth Labour Conference opened, and declared itself in favour of the policy which had been enunciated by the third Soviet Congress some months previously. Not only, therefore, was the Official Labour party’s Peace policy taken from the Bolsheviks of Russia, but in respect of “no annexations and no penal indemnities “ it was borrowed word for word from the policy of the Bolsheviks.
– They were the armistice terms.
– When will all this chattering cease, and when will honorable senators opposite have the manliness to confess a fault which they have committed ?
– Those conditions
Were embodied in the armistice terms.
– Will the honorable senator go out and help himself to that possum? These men who are interjecting
– I rise to a point of order. I desire to know whether Senator Lynch is in order in referring to ‘Senator Ferricks and myself a3 “ these men “ ?
– Order! The proper way for Senator Lynch to refer to Senator
Ferricks and Senator Barker is as “honorable senators.” I ask Senator Lynch to observe this rule.
– Certainly, I shall conform to the established rules of debate in this chamber. But if Senator Barker objects to me calling him a man, and thinks that he is something less than a man, I have nothing to say in opposition to his view. I am content to leave the matter to himself. When the Allied Forces were at death grips with the Germans the Bolsheviks betrayed the cause of humanity and prolonged the war. I have shown that ‘the policy of the Bolsheviks wa3 one of fraternization between the opposing troops. Was that not an effort to secure peace by negotiation without penal indemnities? I ask Senator Barker and Senator Ferricks whether they desire to see the German flag re-hoisted in Papua?
– The term “ penal indemnities “ does not appear in the Peace Treaty. The honorable senator does not know the subject on which he is speaking.
– Does Senator Ferricks or .Senator Barker desire the German flag to be flown once more in New Guinea ? They have not the courage to answer my question. They will not face the music.
– I will face it just as much as will the honorable senator.
– I have faced crowds such as the honorable senator would never have the courage to face. He has had the shouting crowd with him - the rabble. The other day he spoke of the “ mob “ in the Northern Territory, birt immediately he had uttered the word he shivered and withdrew it. He spoke of the “ mob “ in the Territory which made an attack on Dr. Gilruth. I ask him again, does he desire to see the German flag restored in New Guinea ? There is silence. He has not the manliness to answer ‘the question. These are the gentlemen who were in favour of peace “ without annexations and without penal indemnities,” the very words having been put into their mouths by the Bolsheviks of Russia, who are to-day disregarding every law, human and divine, in order to achieve their own insane ends. For the benefit of honorable senators, I may say that the publication from which I have quoted was issued under the imprimatur of the Socialist party in Melbourne during the present year. The policy of the Perth Labour Conference originated with the Bolsheviks, who were paid for their services with German gold, and who were anxious to destroy the welfare of the workers the world over. Did not General Ludendorff say the other day that Lenin should have been sent back to Germany? Then, what took Lenin to Germany? The latter has been content to plunge Russia into seas of blood, in order to attain his own ends. He secured the downfall of the Kerensky Government, and it is from this Bolshevik party that the Official Labour party in this country purloined its Peace policy. We are told that our war debt represents about £ SO per head of the population. But what have Ave won ? It is a big bill, but I believe we can meet it by keeping in subjection some of the mischievous and evil influences abroad in this country. While we have a debt on- one side we have a valuable asset on the other. Our asset is liberty, which is assured, not only to us, but to generations yet to come. Notwithstanding that we are a mere handful of people, liberty is cheap at the price when we realize what our position would have been had the terms of the Treaty came from Berlin and not from Versailles. It may be said that a debt of £S0 per head on a mere handful of people is stupendous, but it is not so large as the bill incurred as a result of the American Civil War. That war was simply to preserve the Constitution, as we hope to see our Constitution preserved, inviolate. The American War was fought to preserve the Constitution, to secure the liberty of the slaves, and to bring together the brothers of the North and the South. The American Civil War in 1861 cost the population £3,100,000,000 sterlingor 15,500,000,000 dollars- or £94 per head of the then population of the Republic, to make the brothers of the North shake hands with the brothers of the South. Here we are living through a period of ‘ ‘ doldrums ‘ ‘ in the voyage of our ship of State. Liberty has been won for us, but by whom ? By men whose blood flowed in the same stream as did the spirited sons of the allied nations. Our liberty has been won by 60,000 dead men, who lie in nameless graves. They are the men mainly who secured our liberty; but there are others in this country who are unworthy of the freedom, they are enjoying. The men who fell are the men who won the war. The men who fell measured the resistance that our Allied troops could offer. I believe we could find 60,000 men of equal physical calibre, infinitely better off, who could have fought for their country, but who did not. What did they do when the call of Empire came? They shirked, and hid behind every conceivable excuse; they declined to respond to the call of duty? We have heard many speeches in and outside this chamber by the “ peace negotiators,” but has one ever been made out of compassion for the men who fell 1 Was a speech ever delivered by them in an official way, in support of the men who went to fight in the sacred cause of liberty? But I have heard from them many speeches commiserating with the 60,000 men who were not prepared to fight in their country’s interests. Our gratitude will always go out to our soldiers for the gallant part they played in assisting to secure the freedom we now enjoy.
The debt of £94 per head on the American people was met by the issue of paper money, and although the dollar depreciated in value for a number of years, it rose during Cleveland’s presidency to par value. America has not only paid off her huge debt, but is in credit to-day. We need not be afraid of our debt or think it is an impossible task to overcome it. We have secured the first essential for any country’s progress; and having done that we can pay the bill if we put our shoulders to the wheel. How can we do that? By cutting out of public, industrial, and social life everything that seeks to paralyze the nation’s efforts. I appeal to senators on both sides of the Chamber - particularly those in opposition - to cease, airing senseless, evil-designed, and imaginary grievances, and to co-operate during times of peace as we did during the time of war. If that cannot be done in peace, then the alternative is that a state of war is preferable. If we continue to pull asunder, and to grapple at each other’s throats, how can we expect the nation to pull through? We should rid ourselves of all delusions, otherwise we shall never succeed. There must be cooperations and national esprit de corps during times of peace to enable the country to pay its debts, when, like the village blacksmith, we can “ look the whole world in the face,” because “we owe not any man.” I could also refer to the huge task that rests upon Great Britain. I have my own score against Great Britain, particularly in regard to her treatment of Ireland, but that can go-
– Would you advocate conscription for Ireland?
– I did, and I suffered the consequences. I challenged the honorable senator to resign his seat-
– You go to Queensland, and see what you will get. I challenge you now.
– We have seen a lot of these brave Irishmen who wave the flag on St. Patrick’s Day; but let me tell this arrogant youngster that no man in this Senate who has ever stood in shoe-leather has done more for Ireland than I have, and little thanks have I received from an ungrateful wretch like him. Before the honorable senator had left off knickerbockers I was fighting for Ireland’s interests. I have my score against Great Britain; but while the war was in progress, I gave the Allied efforts my full support. It was not an American’s, nor a Frenchman’s, nor an Englishman’s, nor an Irishman’s wax. It was a freeman’s war. If we had not won it, Senator Ferricks, who has derided and disgraced, but who has sheltered under the tree of liberty, would be cowering and hiding in the South Sea Islands where he should be to-day. Senator Ferricks speaks of his antagonism to conscription. But the Perth Conference passed a resolution extolling Russia, and Russia is the only country in Europe that has unlimited conscription rampant and . undiminished. He borrowed his policy from Russia, yet Russia is the only country which adopts an undiluted policy of conscription to-day, and that of a kind which the most ardent conscriptionist in any other country has never conceived.
– The honorable senator wanted that for Australia.
– I shall quote for the honorable senator something of the Russian policy. I have previously remarked that Aristotle said that the only menace to the Democracies of the world are the demagogues, and Senator Ferricks might almost be describedas a divinely anointed member of that class in this country. He would break down the liberty which he is not entitled to enjoy, and which he never tried to create. The demagogue, as Aristotle has said, has been the bane of Democracy always and everywhere, and Senator Ferricks is a choice example of that genus. Here is what is happening in Russia, the country which the glorious Savoy Conference extolled because its conditions were ideal I This is from the Constitution of the old Russian Soviet Council -
In order to abolish all parasitic sections of society, and to organize social life, universal conscription is introduced.
– The honorable senator has fallen in. That is what he wanted to introduce here.
– This white blackbird cannot have it both ways. He is all the time talking about boiling icebergs. The honorable senator would extol the policy of Russia as the only policy that is safe. But he would not recognise that policy in Australia. It is because we had conscript defenders that the honorable senator’s skin was made safe. He should get down on his knees and thank a Higher Power that conscript defenders were at hand to save his skin.
– The honorable senator believes in conscription, which is the policy of the Bolsheviks.
– I was going to quote some more, but I do not care to harry , the honorable senator’s feelings. He always takes what suits him, but he readily sets aside what does not suit him.
– The honorable senator made a blunder in his quotation, and then quickly drops his bundle.
– I have been drawn off the track by interjections during the course of my speech. Honorable senators have spoken of Germany’s share under the Peace Treaty, and we have listened to the tenderness manifested for that country. She will be called upon to pay £1,000,000,000 in the first eighteen months, but that, with her population, will mean only about £14 per head, as a first instalment of her war debt. Neither the Prime Minister nor any person in the inner circles of the Allies can yet say how much toll will be levied upon Germany, because the damage done by her cannot yet be computed. But we have this much to go upon, that the Prime Minister has said .that Count von Rantzau stated that Germany would be prepared, under certain conditions, to pay £5,250;000,000. That does not mean that Germany may not pay more or less than that sum, but if that amount of indemnity were paid, it would mean a debt of £70 per head of the population of that country. In Australia we will have a war debt of £80 per head, and when we consider that Germany tried to rob Australia of her freedom it will be admitted that that country is getting off very much more lightly under the Peace Treaty than she is entitled to do, and lightly as compared with Australia.
I believe that in Australia we shall pull through if only we preserve the pioneering spirit of the men who made this country, and not that of the camp followers who came later - within the last few years - and would rob the pioneers of the credit and the fruits of all that they did. If we preserve the pioneering spirit of Hie men who did things; who brought this country under subjection and left not twenty square miles of its vast area unknown to the white man, in the short space of 100 years; who climbed high mountains and delved into the depths of the earth and brought to light the hidden treasures of this glorious island continent for the benefit of future generations, we shall achieve a glorious success and will do nothing to our discredit. To follow the policy of repudiation, a note of which has been sounded by a section of the party that sends men like Senator Ferricks to this Parliament, would be to ruin this country. It is difficult to imagine that repudiation could be. advocated by any responsible body in this country; to imagine repudiation for an Australian whose word is his bond, or for a nation whose achievements are due to the exercise df the noblest qualities that could animate men. Repudiation for a nation like this, at the instance of a party within the party that sends Senator Ferricks here, is unthinkable.
– And you are a liar !
– I ask Senator Ferricks to withdraw that statement, and to apologize to the Senate for having deliberately made use of such a grossly unparliamentary expression .
– I repeat that the honorable senator, in associating me with repudiation, is a liar.
– I ask Senator Ferricks to unqualifiedly withdraw that grossly unparliamentary expression, and to apologize to the Senate for having used it.
– I think that you, sir, should control the remarks of Senator Lynch when he runs amok, as he does on these occasions. Once more I say that he is a liar when he associates me with the policy of repudiation for Australia, and I withdraw the statement.
– A mouse thinks only cheese. A party behind Senator Ferricks, responsible for sending him to this Parliament, ‘has registered a decision in favour of repudiation. %
– I take exception to that remark, and request you to ask Senator Lynch to withdraw that untrue statement.
– I have no control over any remarks which Senator Lynch or any other honorable senator may make about any person outside Parliament. In common with every other honorable senator, he has the right to make the strongest remarks he pleases concerning outside persons other than His Majesty the King or the Governor-General, and I cannot control those remarks or ask for their withdrawal. Unless the honorable senator breaks the rules of the Senate by applying such remarks to other honorable senators I cannot call upon him to withdraw.
– Is Senator Lynch entitled to associate me with! any section of the community outside, or to say that I am associated with any party outside, that advocates repudiation?
– I did not understand Senator Lynch to say that.
– Senator Lynch did
– Then I ask Senator Lynch to withdraw that imputation.
– I did not say that.
– You are a liar, you did.
– I call your attention, sir, to a repetition by Senator Ferricks of the phrase, “You are a liar.”
– This cadaver here is not worth striking
– All these recriminations are decidedly out of order, and
I ask honorable senators to refrain from them. If Senator Lynch said that Senator Ferricks is associated with a party that advocates repudiation I did not understand him to do so.
– I assure you, sir, that he did.
– Then I ask Senator Lynch to withdraw the statement.
– What statement?
– If Senator Lynch made the remark that Senator Ferricks is associated with a party advocating repudiation, since Senator Ferricks regards that statement as offensive, I ask Senator Lynch, in accordance with the practice and Standing Orders of the Senate, to withdraw it.
– Rising to a point of order-
– Order! . Chair, chair.
- Senator Mulcahy cannot rise to order at this stage unless he desires to question my ruling. I ask Senator Lynch to withdraw the statement to which exception is taken.
– If I said -
– I ask the honorable senator to make an unqualified withdrawal. These recriminations should cease.
– I did not say what has been attributed to me. I said that a party within the party responsible for the return of Senator Ferricks to the Senate had sounded a note of repudiation.
– No; the honorable senator mentioned my name.
– I ask Senator Lynch to withdraw, and I would remind him that his time has expired.
– All right. I withdraw. I am voting for the Treaty, that is all.
– Before we pass away from this incident, I may once more direct your attention, sir, to the fact that Senator Ferricks repeated the words, “ You are aliar,” and I submit that he should be asked again to withdraw them.
– I did not hear Senator Ferricks repeat the expression. I ask him to disclaim having done so, or, if he did repeat the expression, to withdraw it.
– I said it all right, and I withdraw it.
– I have been regretting for some time that I have been unable to take part in this debate at an earlier stage. In view of the fact that I have been somewhat disconcerted by’ the little breeze that has just blown over the deliberations of the Senate, my regret on this account is increased.
I heartily support the motion for the approval of the Peace Treaty, not because I. ‘think for one moment that the Treaty, as presented to Parliament, or as “Done at Versailles,” as the expression goes, in every particular respect meets the requirements of the occasion. I realize the difficulties which attended the operations of those who, representing the different powers and belligerents at Versailles, drew up this historic document.
The League of Nations, the Covenant of Labour, and the Treaty are grand in their conception, excellent in establishment and execution, if not entirely perfect. But they are not perfect. They bear upon their face obvious defects. These are defects necessarily associated with their human origin. Still further, they are defects associated with what may be called their international outcome, that is to say, the outcome of consideration by persons representing different nations.
As honorable senators are well aware, there is a system of what is known as international law, but it is not generally understood, that public international law was not in existence until a little more than three centuries ago. It found its origin in the time when Spain was asserting herself as a colonizing power, and when various European nations were discovering that there were new worlds to conquer and dominate. Until then . there had been no system of public international law. There had been various systems long before then. There had been, for instance, the Roman municipal law, English common law, Imperial law, and various other systems, but no system of international law until about the fifteenth or sixteenth century. Then it came into existence, but only in the nature of a series of conventions. That system of international law, which is so frequently appealed to and so constantly cited, is known to jurists the world over as a system of law of imperfect obligation. That is to SaY, there are not tribunals which can enforce that law, and the history of the world shows that the effective means of enforcing the principles of international law lie in the resort to armed intervention. The system of public international law which prevails in the world to-day may be described as something analogous to the system or code that operates amongst school boys. They have their own law with respect to what is fair or right or wrong among themselves in regard to their games, exercises, and their unorganized play and intercourse with each other. Those who offend against that law are dealt with in various ways. They are sen’t to Coventry, are not allowed to play with others, and sometimes force is actually used to discipline recalcitrants. The law that governs the relations of nation with nation in great international affairs is of comparatively imperfect obligation. And so I say that when the nations of the world come together with a view to entering into covenants, as in the Peace Treaty, all their work must suffer from defects associated, not only with human enterprise, but also with what may be called a co-operative international effort. I remember reading once, in connexion with the subject of international law, a statement by a jurist or commentator which appealed to me. It was to this effect: The honour of nations is still waiting to be raised to an equality with personal honour. Let that be true, and one can well understand the difficulties confronting those who represented the different nations at Versailles, the outcome of whose deliberations is now before us. Therefore, I say that whatever defects appear in the Treaty, they are defects naturally associated with all work of human origin, plus defects naturally associated with international cooperation.
It is not my purpose to follow the example set by ‘some , other honorable gentlemen who preceded me, by dealing in heroics in regard to the war. No words which I could utter in the time at my disposal upon this motion, and in the circumstances in which’ I find: myself, could do justice to the achievement of Australia, the Empire and her Allies in the war. Anything I could say, even had I the time or the ability, would do scant justice indeed to the results for this world, and for civilization, of those achievements. Therefore, I am going to content myself with just a few brief references to the Treaty, and the necessity for its ratification.
To me, one of the redeeming features of the war was that at the outset it brought Great Britain and the Empire, and, ultimately, the whole of the English-speaking ‘ nations of the world, into line with Prance. British sentiment, I think, committed an error of judgment in 1871. I have no doubt that British sympathy was, to a large extent, misplaced in the conflict between Prussia and Prance. “We have since redeemed that error. To me, it was a source of great pleasure, at the outset of the war, to realize that at last Great Britain and France had come together. Throughout the centuries they have been natural allies. They have been rivals always, but, I venture to assert, on the whole, friendly rivals, emulating one another in the arte of peace, and in the advancement of civilization. They have met often on the field of battle and upon the seas, but fought always according to the tradition of civilized nations, and even when in deadly conflict maintained each for the other the utmost respect. That was not the case with our enemies in the late war. Those chivalrous instincts that characterized the struggles down the centuries between England and France were in a marked sense absent from the operations of our recent enemies. Great Britain and France, though often in conflict, have come down the long corridors of time as friendly rivals; and I think this Treaty assures us that they will continue that relation. If we review the history of civilization in Europe, we find that nearly all the great Powers with which we were associated in the war have taken a prominent part in the fields of exploration and maritime discovery. And before these two nations became friendly rivals in opening up the unexplored portions of this globe, Holland, Spain, Italy, Portugal and those other countries which were neutral or our Allies in the late war shared in the great work of advancing civilization. The coasts of America are bestrewn with the names of Spanish or Portuguese navigators. Nearer home we find that in Australia, and particularly Tasmania, our headlands, islands, and other physical features bear the names of intrepid British and French explorers. We may look vainly on the map of the world for any evidence of similar activity on the part of the Germans. The German in those days was practically uncivilized. He is what may be called a nouveau riche. He has come into the pale of civilization in recent years. He is what Senator Lynch terms certain people in the political world of Australia, a “JohnnyComeLately.” He wanted to reap the reward of all that had been done by other nations of the world throughout the centuries. And he wanted to reap it in a day. He wanted his place in the sun. It was because of his overweening ambition and desire to take the good things of the earth from those who had borne the heat and burden of the day in exploration and in pioneering civilization, that he finds himself in his present position. And so I say that to me it is a source of great pleasure to see the British race associated with the great French nation in this Treaty. France, after her disastrous defeat in 1871, and when the world stood agape at the indemnity imposed on her, believing she would never recover, surprised the whole civilized world by her recuperative power. This quality, which she exhibited throughout the centuries and which called forth tha admiration of Julius Cæsar himself, has been illustrated again in these later days. She has re-asserted herself, and in all respects has proved” herself to be one of the eminent nations of the world. I go so far as to say that the eminence of France, which has done so much for civilization during the centuries,, is one of the cares of all the civilized nations in the world. One of the primary objects of the war was to assure that eminence to-day and for the future.
It has been said by some honorable senators that this Treaty is too hard upon Germany. I do not for one moment subscribe to that view. If I were disposed to criticise the Treaty at all, I should be inclined to take the opposite view. I think that, if anything, it is far too favorable to Germany. Take, for example, the important question of reparation. The Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen) in the Senate, the Prime Minister (Mr.
Hughes) in another place and throughout the country, have explained that the amount which Germany will have to pay by way of cash or its equivalent, is based not at all upon calculations such as were anticipated. Germany emerges from the conflict like a party from litigation, with costs imposed upon her ; but the costs are as between party and party, and not as between solicitor and client. Germany has to pay merely the cost of actual damage done. She has not to answer to the extent of one penny piece for the inordinate expenditure which her conduct imposed upon all the belligerent nations. We in Australia incurred financial obligations of an extraordinary character, undreamt of five or six years ago, not to suit any whim of our own, but to maintain our freedom against German aggression. Under the Treaty, Germany is not required to reimburse Australia, or any of the Allied nations, this expenditure. AH she is asked to do is to pay for actual damage done.
– Some damage cannot be made good.
– That is quite true. Some damage is irreparable. To be sure, so far as France and Belgium are concerned, Germany has an obligation. That is quite natural, because Germany was contiguous to those nations territorially, and inflicted extraordinary .damages upon..them. For these, she has to answer in costs. To me, it is gratifying to know that France’s peculiar position in regard to reparation was envisaged by the parties in conference at Versailles. Much as it may displease Germany, it is a great satisfaction to realize that “ Marianne,” as the Germans so frequently called the French Republic, will soon come into’ her OWN again. I believe that Germany is well prepared and well organized for industrial effort and commercial enterprises, and that it will not be very long before she will be able to meet the pecuniary obligations imposed upon her by the Treaty.
I do not wish to deal with the matter at any greater length. Much as I would like to speak further upon this subject, I do not feel able to do so owing to a temporaryindisposition ; but before I resume my seat I want to ask - What would happen if this Treaty were not ratified by Great
Britain and the Dominions? What would happen if the Treaty were sent back? Could all the parties be summoned again to a conference at Versailles ? And, assuming that they could be, what prospect would there be of any improvement to the Treaty? What prospect would there be of the inclusion in it of something which is now omitted?
What prospect is there of securing the omission from the Treaty of something which is included therein, or of securing a variation of any of the terms comprised within the Treaty? Those who watched the painstaking efforts of the delegates at Versailles cannot but have been impressed with the fact that the whole of their time, all of their energies and enthusiasms, were concentrated upon the solution of the problems which confronted them. No one expected that in such novel surroundings, upon a work of such unprecedented character, those delegates could have produced perfection. I think that what they have produced is excellent; it may not be perfect. I am not prepared to wait for the perfecting of their efforts. I approve of the work they have done, and, in all the circumstances, it is such as must demand our approval. It is full of promise. If it contained nothing else, the provisions with regard to labour are, in themselves, of a monumental character. Five or six years ago not the most enthusiastic humanitarian would have anticipated seeing, in concrete form, a Treaty of the nations of the world which contained such a charter. This document does not comprise all that I would like to see within it, or all that any one of the signatory nations could wish to have within its pages. But let us remember the circumstances of the coming together of the representatives of the various nations; aud let us realize that this Treaty is a fair compromise, is one which, if adopted, will lead, in the course of natural development, to conditions which must be regarded as satisfactory all round. The League of Nations, much as it has been discredited and maligned, was an ideal. To-day the League of Nations is an. ideal translated into actuality. As an actuality, I am confident that it will survive all the defects of its first embodiment; and that, surviving those defects, it will, with increased knowledge, and with intercourse between -the nations, develop into ‘some thing approximating to the fondest hopes of its founders.
– I join with other honorable senators in regarding the discussion of the Treaty as the most memorable in the history of the Senate. Peace has followed the most titanic struggle in the history of the world. That being so, we cannot regard the Treaty with feelings other than those of the greatest favour. We cannot forget that it might have been otherwise. Our minds revert to those days when the struggle was at its height; when, with an eagerness born of intense anxiety, we waited upon the very latest news. We think again of those days when one’s pulse almost seemed to stop beating because there was a grave fear that the struggle might terminate in our defeat. Many, of us felt during those darkest days that Australia, which had not actually seen the horrors of war, might become involved in the very struggle itself. Although our homes were not sacrificed to the campaigns of the nations at war, yet we realize that Australia was in truth involved in the world’s struggle. It was not a conflict for the conquest of earthly possessions, or for the deposition of kings and dynasties. It was a struggle different altogether from any that has preceded it. It was a conflict between the nations of the world to determine whether militarism or justice should rule. It was a fight for ideals. In this fierce and unprecedented struggle, civilization hung in the balance. But Peace has come, and we must realize that this very Peace is totally unlike any Peace which has followed upon the wars of the past. When England was at war with France a little more than a hundred years ago the conditions were totally different. The struggle involved practically only the two participating nations. The peace which followed certainly brought to many countries relief from the strain of war; but the Peace on which we are now entering ushers mankind into a new world. We are breathing a new atmosphere. The nations no longer look with suspicion upon each other. As Tennyson has described it: . . The war drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle flags were furl’d; In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.
In this Treaty, something which has been an ideal through the ages past has been handed to us. We see it, not as a vision in the clouds, but as something concrete, something’ we can grasp, and which will link nation with nation, until the peoples of the earth shall no longer lift up the sword, neither shall the nations learn war any more. If there is anything which can stir the hearts of men to-day, it is this vision which has been opened to us by the League of Nations. But it might have been otherwise. Those of us who have taken the trouble to become acquainted with the aims of Germany are only too well aware of that fact. We remember that Germany had peacefully penetrated the vast territories of Russia. She was linked with Turkey. Practically she had Italy in her grasp, on account of the financial assistance which she had given to that country. Greece; too, was subservient to Germany for the same considerations. Through her conquests in Poland, Germany had largely subdued that nation. We know that it was her next intention to crush France, so that she would be able to make of the Mediterranean Sea a German lake, surrounded by German influence and bordered by German colonizations. We remember, too, the intentions of Germany with respect to the Bagdad railway scheme. She had pushed through various Turkish territories and was making for Persia. We know that the purpose behind the construction of that vast project was that Germany should reach and grasp India. We know, too, what were Germany’s colonial intentions. The African colonies of Spain and Portugal were to fall into her hands. She was to push downward’ through Rhodesia, and to link up with the South African Dutch settlements. Thus we recognise that Africa was to come within the control of Germany. Some people in Australia fondly imagined, no doubt, that we were beyond the scope of injury from Germany’s ambitions. Then came the war; and now has followed peace; a peace which has not been dictated by Germany, but by the vanquishers of Germany. The conflict has been totally unlike any war which preceded it. It was different in its bitterness and in the terrible ingenuity with which it was waged. Every rule and custom of warfare was flouted by the enemy. And when we look upon the conditions ruling to-day, we may well thank God that we have lived to see the dawn of such a peace. There may be some who do not regard this peace as being all that it might have been. I look upon it, however, as truly nationbuilding in its purpose. The Treaty recognises, the principles underlying all true ideals of peace. It contains the recognition of, and respect for, the language and customs of nations. It sets out upon an attempt to link together those who are kin by their habits and speech. It insists upon the restoration of lands which have been torn from their original owners in the course of the struggles of the past. Honorable senators, no doubt, have made themselves acquainted with the particulars contained in a little book dealing with Poland, which has been disseminated among them. Those who have studied the history of that unhappy country now realize that, after many years of suffering and banishment, the Poles are entering into their own . That portion of Poland which is adjacent to Germany has now been made a buffer State between Germany and Russia. Justice has been done to Denmark in the restoration .of Schleswig. Alsace-Lorraine has been returned to France. There is something in the nature of reparation in granting to France the use of the Saar valley for a certain period. Servia, too, has been restored to the position which she occupied prior to the Balkan War. In this Treaty, therefore, an attempt has been made to solve the international difficulties which had arisen prior to the war in such a way as to insure, not merely the cessation of hostilities, but the removal of the possibility of war in time to come. We have been told that in this Treaty the treatment of Germany by the Allies is harsh. But Senator Keating has very properly pointed out how different is that treatment from the treatment which Germany meted out to France in 1871. The indemnity which she exacted on that occasion constituted really a heavier hurden on France than that which is laid upon Germany now. In considering this phase- of the ‘Treaty, we must not forget that Germany has sinned as a nation” amongst nations, and it is necessary that the sinner should make some atonement for the wrongs which she has committed. In this connexion, I should like to quote the statement, culled from an Adelaide newspaper, of a lady who recently passed through, the principal devastated districts of France. She says–
The best answer to the propaganda which, under various disguises, is trying to save whining . Germany from her well-deserved punishment, is given by the figures just published, which show the number of the inhabitants in the Meuse district before the war and at the present time. “ We will make a desert of France,” wrote the Huns in the first month’s invasion. They have so well succeeded that in many places where the armies of the Crown Prince camped, plundered and pillaged, no human being is to be found, nor will be found for years to come. Montmedy district, which, in 1914, had a population of 48,123, has ‘been reduced to 13,390. Cantons have fallen as follows: - One in 1914 had 12,506, the present year it has 2,111 j another had 5,674, now it has 357; a third had 5,817, and to-day not one.
These figures clearly show the terrible way in which Germany gave effect to her threat that she would . make France a desert. But there is something still worse to come. The same writer says -
But what is that compared with the Verdun district? Of a population of 67,171, only 6,165 remain. The cantons of Charny, of Etain, of Fresnes-en Woevre, and Varennes - glorious names in the glorious epic - which numbered altogether 24,000 inhabitants, have not even one left. Can you possibly imagine the unspeakable amount of mourning, of grief and suffering, both of body and heart, hidden by that ghastly little figure 0?
I remember that, during the heroic defence of Verdun, finding myself in the nearest town - Bar-le-Duc - I saw in the cemetery a great extent of freshly stirred up earth marked into lines of little graves, surmounted by little crosses of white wood. I asked the gravedigger what it meant. He replied simply, “ They are the children of refugees from the Verdun region.”
I had come to weep over the tombs of fallen soldiers, but this time I had no tears. It was cruel, too unjust. And my heart filled with rage and indignation before this new massacre of the innocents.
We know that during the terrible struggle round Verdun France lost something like 90,000 of her soldiers within a fortnight. That meant not merely the loss of the soldiers themselves, hut also of those who were dependent -upon them, because when these people became refugees, that caused, in many cases, the loss of whole families. In the light of. these facts, who can urge that the terms imposed upon Germany are unduly harsh? I hold that under this Treaty we shall enter upon a new phase in our relations with other nations. From it will be evolved a more complete and perfect international law. It is singular, as has been pointed out by Senator-
Keating, that hitherto the only public international law recognised has been the customs in war as between one nation and another. Under this Treaty we shall have an entirely new international law-
– And something behind it to enforce it.
– Yes. We shall have something which will be of more service to the nations than anything has previously been. In connexion with international law, it is remarkable to note that its recognition became necessary only because of intercourse between the different nations. Increased intercourse must result in the different nations learning more of each other, and the more they know of each other the more they will hold each other in mutual esteem. Thus, whilst the war has accomplished much in the way of destruction, it will also achieve much in the way of up-building. It will give us a true internationalism. In other words, we shall recognise more of our interdependence, and less of our independence. We shall feel that we are a portion of a great whole, and we shall learn to recognise that other nations have their part to play in the world’s history. I scarcely like to look back upon the struggle from which we have just emerged, because of the brutal, I might almost say hellish, way in which it was conducted by Germany. To me, it seems like a dark page in history that I do not wish to recall. I never see a disabled soldier in our streets without feeling that he has made a sacrifice for me. I was unable to go te the Front, but he has been into the fierce flames of war. He has been the sacrificial victim for me, and for others like me. As citizens of the Commonwealth, therefore, it behoves us to remember that we are under obligations to these men which we should not be slack in paying. Whatever may be the price demanded of us for the repatriation of our soldiers, it should be paid most willingly by those who, as the result of their efforts, to-day are living in a new world, and enjoy a larger measure of freedom than they have ever enjoyed before. Then this Treaty embodies what is just to the world. Other treaties may have insured justice as between one nation and another; but it seems to have been the aim of the plenipotentiaries at Versailles to do what was just to all the nations which took part in the terrible struggle which has just terminated: To my mind, their efforts have in a large measure been successful. The Treaty, further, secures to us peace for all time. I was quite surprised to hear Senator Ferricks lay down the proposition that under this Treaty there were no penal indemnities. Germany would not have been treated as she has been, if there were no indemnities which it was just that she should pay. Is there no penal indemnity in the loss of her colonies? Was there no penal indemnity in her fleet being obliged to pass between the drawn lines of British and Allied warships on its way to internment at Scapa Flow ? Is there no penal indemnity when she is required to make good the shipping losses which she inflicted upon the Allies by her submarine warfare? Germany deserves all the penalties to which she has been subjected. The injury which she has done to the world is beyond her capacity to repair. There have been penalties, and- there will be penalties for Germany so long as one farthing of her liability is unpaid. Sh has her obligations, and it is idle talk to say that no penalties have been imposed. The penalties inflicted upon her are far less than she would have inflicted upon the Allied nations. Looking at the Treaty, we oan see that it does not embody any feeling of hatred, and there is an entire absence of that spirit that indited the German Hymn of Hate. The Treaty will bring, not only peace in our time - that surely is worth something - but peace in the time of our children and our children’s children. If the Treaty be ratified, not only will it be practically impossible for Germany, but also for those nations which have signed it, to enter into a conflict with other nations. ‘They will be prevented by the fact that, if they desire to withdraw from the compact, two years must elapse before action can be taken. The Treaty has been so drawn up that delays are bound to occur, and there will be no possibility of an armed force taking any country by surprise, as was done in the case of Belgium. It not only means peace for France, Belgium, and Denmark, and those countries immediately contiguous, but peace for the whole ‘world. Can we calculate the benefits ? We speak of the cost of the ravages of waT. But when we consider the cost to the nations, we must also consider the advantages to be derived from a world-wide, peace. Oan we estimate the value of this? There has been anguish of heart suffered by those who have lost loved ones, and the sacrifices made seem great indeed; but the advantages that will accrue from an undisturbed world peace will far outweigh the anguish experienced.
I wish to deal with the gains that will be enjoyed over a long period of peace. We must not fail to remember, when appraising the work of those who were active participants, that in the framing of the Peace Treaty we had two able representatives to watch our interests. From the particulars received, and from the details given by our representatives, we have learned of the part they played in connexion with the formation of the League of Nations, and the considerations that led up to the finalizing of the Treaty. I join my meed of praise with that of others for what the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) did on our behalf. We recognise that their work was ably done, and that Australia was fittingly repre,sented. They wont to *he Peace table as the representatives of one of Great Britain’s Dominions. They went, not in our own right, but in the right of the Mother Land, and they brought back an entirely hew Charter for Australia. Henceforth we are to be recognised as a nation, and the voice of Australia is to be heard in the consideration of all matters that are likely to affect us in time to come. We have scarcely looked upon the advantages that must follow the ratification of the Peace Treaty, which also embodies the Covenant of the League of Nations. Australia is to be taken into the Council of Nations, amongst which she now holds increased prestige.
The valour of our soldiers has done much to secure this for us. The progressive nature of our legislation has been recognised. We have only to peruse the Covenant of Labour to see that many of the suggestions embodied in it are in actual practice here. In two senses we have been first over the top. Our soldiers have been recognised as amongst the bravest, and were always first over the top; wo, iri the legislative halls of Australia, have also been in front, as we have enacted legislation of a progressive character, which is undoubtedly suited to the whole world, and Australia’s position is recognised by the nations of the world. The old order seems to have changed, and we realize that we are entering upon a new era. Astronomers tell us that our universe is sweeping on through the stellar world with a speed to which that of the fastest express train bears no comparison. Ye’t we are unable to appreciate the movement. It seem’s that in the rapid movement of the last few months - since the Armistice was signed - we are unable to appreciate the advantages we are likely to enjoy or the position we occupy as a young na’tion.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of visiting Babinda, in Queensland, which is situated immediately under the shadow of two high mountains - Bartle Frere and Bellenden Kerr. When there, I was totally unable to appreciate their height, but when sixty miles inland I was able to realize the great elevation to which they reach. So it is in connexion with the Treaty of Peace and the League of Nations. We are too close to it at present to appreciate its real advantages. I suppose there are few of us who do not feel that our political beliefs and shibboleths have been entirely changed. We are practically entering an entirely different world with new. conditions, new problems, new difficulties;, and for us, I hope, there will be new achievements to accomplish.
I wish to refer briefly to the covenant of Labour which is embodied in the Treaty.. Perhaps it will be well to place it on record in Hansard as there may be some who will not have another opportunity of reading- it.
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 justice1;
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 would are imperilled; and’ an improvement of those conditions is. urgently required: as-, for example, by the regulation- of the hours of work, including the establishment oS a maximum working day and week, the regulation of the labour supply, the prevention of unemployment, the provision of ani adequate living wage, the protection of the worker against sickness; disease, and injury arising out of his employment, the protection of children, young persons and women, provision for old age and injury, protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own, recognition of the principle of freedom of association, the organization of vocational and technical education and other measures;
Whereas also the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labour is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire to improve the conditions in their own countries;
The High Contracting Parties, moved by sentiments of justice and humanity, as well as by the desire to secure the permanent peace of the world, agree to the following.
Those who read the covenant will be able to see that the contracting parties who drew up the Peace Treaty recognised the position that labour occupies in the world. It is the first time that there has been an international recognition of its true position, and this is the first occasion on which the principle has been embodied in a constitution of nations. It is strange that our friends in opposition, who say that they are the apostles of labour, have had scarcely a word to say on this question. For decades past there has been an attempt in the Old Land to bring about meetings between Socialists and members of Labour societies with those holding similar views on the Continent, but outside this intercourse, limited to representatives of contiguous nations, there was never such an opportunity as is afforded by this Treaty to-day for Labour to make itself felt and known, and to take its true position in the world. Here is a recognition by the high contracting parties to this Treaty that the durability of Peace depends upon the cessation of industrial unrest.
– It is the first moral charter for the world.
Senator- SENIOR.– It is the first moral- charter that Labour has ever received. It gives to Labour, the world over,, what the great charter of our liberties gave to the British people in ancient times.
– The honorable senator need not worry about charters for Labour. Labour will write its own charter very quickly in all nations-.
Senator- SENIOR. - The vision of my honorable friends opposite has become soclouded through having dwelt so long in valleys of mist, and they- have been so affected by some fatal’ gas that has partially suspended animation,, that they appear to fail to recognise work which is responsible for bringing to them the greatest blessing that Labour ever had.
– The various nations will reach down their own blessings. The honorable senator need make no mistake about that.
– They dare not say one word in recognition of the services of the man who for years worked for them, and who, when they had spurned him from their midst, spoke for them in the councils of the world. Their failure to recognise the work of that man is, in my view, one of the saddest things in Australia’s history.
In this charter, it is recognised that Labour is not a commodity.
– That is quite a find, is it not?
– It is a find. The honorable senator should bear in mind that this is not what Labour says; it is what, perhaps, the opponents of Labour in times past now assert. In years gone by it has been said again and again that a man’s labour is a commodity. Honorable senators may take up hundreds of what are considered standard text-books, and they will find that they speak of labour as a commodity. In this Treaty of Peace it is asserted that labour is not a commodity. That is what labour has said in the past, but in this charter it is for the first time universally acknowledged. Yet there is no recognition of this by Labour in Australia.
– Is it being recognised to-day ?
– Has this charter been recognised by the Opposition ? I say absolutely that it has not been recognised.
– We can recognise facts, but we need not go down on our knees to pray to certain people. With many of them, this is a sort of death-bed repentance.
– It is a birthday announcement, and Labour absolutely does not know it. I do not care to suggest the analogy, but my honorable friends opposite know that there are certain animals that are born blind, and this charter is viewed by Labour in Australia as though its representatives were absolutely devoid of sight. Labour does not appear to be able to see that for the first time in the world’s history the ideals for which it has been fighting are recognised by the nations of the world, and are in wrought into the greatest charter that the the world has even seen. Labour is silent upon this, but if it understood its position to-day, and how much the peace of the world means, it would not longer be in conflict, but would come into alignment and perfect accord with what is here set down.
Another thing that is recognised in this charter is the need for limitation of the hours of labour. We, in Australia, have, for some time, had the advantage of an eight-hours’ day, and some are asking for a six-hours’ day.
– And that is quite long enough for miners and men engaged in similar strenuous occupations.
– Well, if it is enough, let the honorable senator rejoice that it is at last internationally recognised that there should be a limitation of the hours of labour the world over. Let him rejoice in that, for the sake of others. I do not wish to accuse any one wrongfully, but it does seem to me that we have so long enjoyed privileges in Australia that we have become, to some extent, careless regarding the position of people elsewhere who’ have not enjoyed such privileges.
– The reason is that our privileges, have, practically cost us nothing.
– Though it may be said that this charter gives us nothing in Australia, because we have enjoyed these privileges already, surely it must strike our friends opposite that, at the bottom of all the trouble we have to-day, is the fact that other nations are living on a lower social level, and are not, so to speak, living in the same sized room as we workers in Australia live in. I say, ‘ we workers .in Australia,” because I have been, and am still, one of them. We do not recollect that those living in hovels bring down the conditions of labour. Their conditions would bring us to their level, but here, for the first time in the history of* the world, a charter is announced to bring them up to our level ; and yet there is no recognition of this from the other side. I say that the silence of honorable senators opposite condemns them more than any words of mine could condemn them, as being untrue to the spirit of Labour which has wrought so much for them in times past.
I wish to place on record here what the man whom honorable senators opposite consider to be unworthy to be associated with them, has done in connexion with the announcement of this charter of labour. In this document also there is an international recognition of the need for the protection of women and children. Is that not humane? Does it not sound a responsive note in the hearts of my honorable friends opposite ? Surely this should make some appeal to their common humanity. The children of othernations have been down-trodden and forgotten. Little children had to work for twelve hours a day, and women had to work many hours, day and night. There is under this charter of labour to be a recognition of women and children as human beings, and yet Labour here is silent on this question. That is to me a very sad reflection.
– They will know all about it at election time.
– Senator Senior does not mean to sav that he is looking to the election?
– No. I am not looking to the election. But I should like to do to-day that which, if I were to face the electors to-morrow, would not be to my discredit.
– Hear, hear ! That is candid.
– I say that this charter is full of promise for humanity. We know that the mountain heights are not raised haphazard, but that a great law controls them. We know that the highest alps were at one time beneath the ocean, and this charter of labour represents a similar upheaval for the benefit of the down-trodden and struggling. They may, through it, be brought out of the mists into the clear sunshine. There is by it a door opened to freedom for them, because it is here recognised that the peace of the world rests on the well-being of those who are called the working classes, not from a monetary point of view, but in the sense of the improvement of their conditions, and their deliverance from unjust conditions of life.
Here Democracy is invited to join in realizing this great ideal. Failure to achieve it can arise only from two causes - contracted vision or too low an aim. If we are unable to see all that this charter unfolds, or if our aims are too low, and there is some possibility of that, we shall fail to realize all that is presented to us in this document. Never before was such an opportunity for the uplift of the race offered to the world, and I await with some anxiety to see the position which Labour will take up.
I desire to say something on the League of Nations. The Treaty deals more particularly with the boundaries of countries, their relations to each other, the reduction of armaments, and things of that kind. The League of Nations is a very important departure. The idea of preventing war by conjoint action of peace-loving nations is not new. It dates back, as Senator Keating has told us of international law, to the fourteenth or fifteenth century. The principle underlying a contract between nations to secure peace is perfectly sound, as well as safe. Prophecy, which is looking forward, tells us that “ Nation shall not lift up the sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more “ ; and here we find that prophecy is to a large extent being fulfilled. We know the aphorism that “ coming events cast their shadows before,” and if honorable senators will turn to the history of the centuries to which I have referred, they will find that it is to France we owe the first outline of a League of Nations. It was a French lawyer who, in 1305, proposed an alliance between all Christian Powers to establish a Court of Arbitration for the settlement of differences between members of the alliance. In 1416, the Chancellor of the King of Bohemia adopted that scheme, and included the idea of a federation or super-State, whose congress was to assemble in Switzerland. From France, then, we get the idea of a League of Nations, and Switzerland, the independent Democracy, was chosen as the first place of meeting for such a League. It is most singular that in the League of Nations now proposed there is a return to the same ideas. Then there was a proposal by Henry IV. of France in 1603. Europe was to be divided into fifteen States, forming a Federation, with a General Council having a certain amount of executive power. A greater scheme embracing all the States in the world, with a General Council to meet at Venice, was proposed twenty years afterwards. It is just as well to ascertain, if possible, whence have sprung these ideas for bringing about a better under- standing among the nations of the world, and how they have developed with the passing of years. We are all familiar with the Hague Conference and the proposal for limiting armaments.
It is interesting to note, in passing, that until comparatively recent years wars were of a different character from that in which the great nations were lately engaged. Other conflicts have been either religious or dynastic wars, waged for the purpose of impressing certain people with the religious beliefs of the aggressors or for the purpose of acquiring territory. The war which’ has just ended was a conflict of might against right - of force against justice. Justice won. Had Germany succeeded there would have been no League of Nations. This could not have been possible with the military spirit preponderating. One has only to read such books as The Soul of Germany to obtain a clear insight into the moving spirit of the German nation. The Treaty, I am glad to know, represents entirely the opposite view. It could only have been possible with a defeated Germany. The Treaty and the League of Nations are the outcome of both peace and war. It may appear difficult to reconcile the two ideas contained in this statement; but I point out that but for the intercourse between the peoples of the world prior to the war it would have been impossible to form a League of Nations now.
Extension of time granted, on motion by Senator Gardiner.
– The progress made by the people of the world in the arts of peace undoubtedly brought them nearer together. The rapidity and frequency of communication now possible by means of railways, telegraphs, and telephones, and the remarkable developments in aviation, undoubtedly laid the foundation upon which the Peace Treaty rests. It is surprising to me that German thinkers did not realize that British commercial stability was in the interests of Germany. Germany’s peaceful penetration had been so effective that from a commercial stand-point the conquest of the world was possible without the firing of a shot. But, because of the spirit of hate which had been engendered in her people, she set out to destroy the world. Happily, that conflict was Germany’s undoing. We may, I think, regard this Peace Treaty as a weapon forged in war from the raw material made available to the nations of the world during the era of peace. I do not regard the Peace Treaty as being dictated by Great Britain or France, but I think it bears the impress of the United States of America. It is singular that the nations longest in the struggle were not prominent at the Peace table. England gains far less than America from the struggle. If the Peace terms are hard upon Germany, they are equally hard upon the people of Great Britain. This, of course, might be the fortune of war. The Treaty may be regarded as a substitute for the moore or less loose agreements between individual nations and the customs of former times. Hitherto, in regard to international conventions during war, there has been an appeal to moral force and the good sense of the nation. We may hope that the Treaty will mean more than that. It materializes the ideal of internationalism, recognises the principle of compulsory arbitration instead of diplomacy, and insures publicity instead of secrecy in regard to international covenants. Previously diplomatic relations have been maintained between nations on tb« verge of war. This was so during the Moroccan crisis between France and Germany. In future, with the establishment of the League of Nations, everything ‘ will be done in the open. It must, however, be clearly understood that the League of Nations is not going to be a federation in the sense that we understand the word. If it does develop. into an assembly of that nature, the object of the Treaty will be defeated. Nor is it going to be the mouthpiece of a super state. Its one object is to preserve the peace of the world, . amd to prevent war, at least until the nations which are parties to the League have been consulted, and hare had an opportunity of intervening to prevent strife. The League of Nations is to be built upon the solid rock of interdependence, each nation recognising that it is a part of the whole. Just as the most solid rock known to science is built up of particles infinitesimal in size, and gains its strength from their cohesion, so will the Treaty be effective if the same principles of interdependence are respected. We have, however, to recognise a difficulty that may arise through the multiplication of delegates representing the different nations. When the Peace
Treaty waa under consideration at Versailles there were seventy-four delegates present, and this number was found to he unwieldy. Subsequently, ten representatives of the principal nations sat in conference to deal with the problems before them, and, eventually, this number dwindled until what was known as the “ Big Four “ - after Japan had retired - determined the issues before them. If all countries are fully represented on the League of Nations, there will probably be three times as many delegates as there were at the Peace Conference, and I am afraid the assembly will prove unwieldy, and that this will lead to .its undoing. I shall not be surprised if, eventually, the League is constituted of five or six of the larger nations of the world. Is it to be a consulting or a deliberative assembly ? Certainly it cannot be a legislative body. I cannot see whence its powers will come. At present there is mo provision for anything except what may be regarded as the functions of a court of arbitration. There is provision for the establishment of a court of justice to deal with infringements of international law, but, so far as I have read* the Treaty, it contains no clauses giving to the League of Nations effective legislative power. Thus it becomes largely a consultative or debating assembly. Another point which has been raised in my mind has to do with the status of the delegates. What power will they have? Will they be simply an assemblage of diplomats? Will they be able to bind the nations which they will represent to any of the conclusions which they may reach? If so, it will be necessary for every nation represented to have a member, or members, of its Government present. If such be not the case, what will be the value of the delegates’ decisions? Can they bind, the various Governments which have sent them there? Let us suppose that it becomes necessary for the League of Nations to intervene beween Japan and ourselves - though may God forfend that such action may ever become necessary. Australia will have its representatives; and so will Japan. But will the decisions of the whole of the delegates, who cannot be expected to know the conditions existing in Australia, and in Japan, be binding upon us? The Peace Treaty contains nothing that is definite in that regard.
– There is no doubt but that the decisions would be binding.
– As I have already indicated, such decisions, in effect, will have been arrived at between the representatives of four or five of the great nations. Will their decisions bind those nations and all the nations signatory to the Treaty?
– How could any nation stand up against the whole of the rest of the world?
– When Australia sends a delegate to England, his powers are specifically limited. He must consult the Australian Government before he binds Australia. It would not be practicable or possible for the delegates of all the nations in similar fashion to consult with the Governments of all the nations before arriving at a decision.
Another point which I would stress has to do with Germany’s inclusion in the League of Nations. I feel, personally, that Germany’s actions have been such that she deserves to be shut out from fraternal intercourse with the other nations of the world. But Germany is not the only nation excluded. There are also Austria, Russia, Bulgaria and Turkey. These nations might possibly form an alliance which would become dangerous even to the League of Nations. It will take some time before Germany can lift her head again; but it will not be long before Germany shall have entered upon a “ white-ant “ campaign in Russia and Turkey. So closely are Germany and Austria linked by language and tradition that before long those neighbouring countries will have reached a close understanding.- The continued exclusion of our late enemies and of Russia will be a source of danger to the League of Nations. It is provided in the Treaty that until Germany has joined the League of Nations, she shall do soandso. That suggests that in the minds of those who drafted the Treaty there was a thought that Germany should be made to serve a period of probation - that she should not for all time be excluded.
Still one other point which has been raised in my mind has to do with the position of neutrals. We say that neutrals may come in. That is very kind of us; but neutrals have not been consulted with regard to the terms of this Treaty. Would the Treaty have been the same if the delegates of neutral nations had attended the Conference? Could not these delegates have presented ideas and propositions which might have modified and enlarged the provisions of the Treaty?
– It would have been very dangerous to permit neutral nations to take part in the Peace Conference.
– If we desire to bring about world peace, there can be nothing dangerous in securing the consent of the whole of the world to the project. If I proposed to enter into relationship with another citizen, .1 would not expect to dictate the whole of the terms upon which the understanding was to be based. If we expect neutrals to enter the League, there should be some revision of the Treaty. If we desire neutral nations to join us, they should have a right to consultation in* the formation of the agreement between us.
– That is provided for in the future.
– When the Commonwealth Constitution was drafted, there were no such Federal Territories as the Northern Territory and New Guinea. Representatives of those Territories were not consulted. It will not be until those Territories have sent representatives to the Federal Parliament that New Guinea and the Northern Territory can expect to secure any desired modification of our Constitution. It appears to me that the terms of the Treaty of Peace will remain as they are until those nations which are now outside of its scope, and which may wish to make their impress upon the Treaty, have secured a majority of the votes of delegates.
I desire to make a few concluding observations with respect to the island territories contiguous to Australia. It should not be considered that by accepting the mandate we shall be taking anything from anybody. There will be no territorial grab. If the mandate inferred that, we would be better off without it. Our acceptance of the mandate will greatly enlarge our responsibilities. Obligations will be imposed upon us with respect to the original inhabitants of the islands. We are to act merely in the capacity of stewards. We may impress our legislation upon the peoples of the territories ; but, at all times, we must be prepared to give an account of our stewardship to those who have granted us the mandate. Our acceptance of the mandate will bring us neater to a nation which some day may be less i friendly than it is to-day.
– The people who said that during the course of the war were called disloyalists.
– No one during the war expressed that thought in the way that I am now voicing my opinions.
– You are’ taking your expressions from our Peace proposals.
– No ! Your Peace proposals assumed that we were going to possess these territories in fee simple. We are to be given a mandate. We may be permitted to do certain things. If we fail, the mandate may be withdrawn and granted to another nation. The United States of America, which will be a rather close neighbour in the Philippines, might be given the mandate over these islands if we should fail in our stewardship. Our acceptance of the mandate will not be equivalent to acquisition qf the territory by conquest.
– The territory has been taken from those who secured it by conquest.
– Had the islands been gained by conquest, we could have impressed our desires upon their inhabitants in any manner that we deemed fit. We could have made slaves of the natives. We could have given them dangerous drugs. We could have imported whisky into the islands. But we are forbidden to do such things under the strict terms of the mandate. We have not sovereign rights.
– Our Australian troops captured the islands, but we are not to be allowed to have them.
– Our soldiers did not capture the islands in the sense that the honorable senator has in mind; but our troops dispossessed the Germans of them, and the honorable senator knows why. He would be the last to wish to return those islands to Germany, for the very reason that he has the safety of Australia at heart.
– But I resent that those “ friendly “ nations, our Allies, will not cede to Australia what we ourselves have taken.
– The honorable senator’s deduction is that, because Australians conquered the Germans who had conquered the islands, we have conquered their native inhabitants.
– It was a conquest of the conquerors.
– But we did not take possession of the islands as though we had conquered them.
– For the reason that our Allies, these “ friendly nations,” would not permit us to do so.
– I am anxious that, if we are to have a dangerous neighbour, or if we are to be faced by the risk of a neighbour becoming dangerous, we shall take preventive measures. If a friendly nation desired to become our neighbour, however, I do not know that we should object.
– We may still complain of the unjust treatment whicH the Allies have meted out to Australia.
– I have no complaints to make against the Allies; and I do not fear that Australia will fail to do her duty under the mandate.
I hope that we shall see, as an outcome of the labour charter contained within this Treaty, as good a Peace, as true and as lasting a Peace, between the workers of the world, as is hoped for among the nations of the world. There are ahead of us immense difficulties; and only by all parties uniting, as we did in time of war, can we hope to enter into the inheritance which awaits us.
– The great advantage gained from the very ample discussion of this Treaty by both branches of the Legislature has been the education of the people of Australia in regard to its provisions and their bearing upon the settlement of the war and the future. Much has been said, upon the nicer points of the Treaty, and said in u better way than I can hope to express it. But at this juncture in the history of the Commonwealth I desire to make some reference to the outlook for the future. Throughout the war one thing has been very apparent to me. I had some experience as an administrator during the period of the Boer war, and I well remember the almost hysterical feeling which was created amongst the people on that occasion. I recollect how careful one had to be in all his expressions regarding that campaign. Unless one went round waving a flag people were almost disposed to doubt his loyalty. But during the terrible war which has just termi nated, the very opposite feeling seems to have animated this young nation. Just as undue importance was attached to the Boer war, so there was a striking lack of a proper sense of proportion exhibited by our own people in connexion with the recent war. Unfortunately there were a great many of our citizens who had reason to recognise the seriousness of that struggle. I refer to those who sent their loved ones to the Front, and to others who, from time to time, even after they had parted for ever with some of their children, courageously sent others to take their places. But in the people at large, there appeared to be a great want of appreciation of the real seriousness of the war to Australia. If any country in the world was justified in entering upon that struggle, certainly it was this Commonwealth. In the first place, we were bound to enter it because of the ties which bind us to the Mother Country, and, in the second, because of the freedom of the institutions which we have derived from the protection of the Old Flag, institutions for the preservation of which we would have been justified in sacrificing even more than the 60,000 splendid men whom we have sacrificed. During the period covered by this momentous struggle, many things occurred which one cannot refrain from condemning. I am sorry indeed that memories of some of them have been revived during the course of this debate. It would have been better had the discussion upon the Treaty proceeded without any reference to the Perth Labour Conference, because Australia has not very much to be proud of in connexion with the decisions of that body. Only to-day the conference was spoken of by Senator Lynch in such terms that I do not need to add to them.
– If the honorable senator votes for the ratification of this Treaty he will be indorsing the resolutions of the Perth Labour Conference.
– I am sorry that I cannot agree with the honorable senator. I know that some of the men who attended that conference are not unfavorably disposed to the flag under which they live. But I do not think that they appreciated either what they were doing or what they were saying on that occasion. Up to the time when the conference assembled the war, as conducted by the Germans, had been the most cruel and brutal that had ever been waged. Every trace of chivalry had disappeared from the German nation. The use of poison gases was typical of their methods of conducting it. Yet the Perth Labour Conference practically recommended the people of Australia, which was the country most worth defending under the British flag, to invite the enemy - at this time he was fighting us most bitterly and making our homes desolate - “ to sit down and talk the matter over quietly,” for that was what “ peace by negotiation “ amounted to.
– At that very time negotiations for an armistice were in progress.
– My honorable friend could not say whether they were or were not. He did not know.
– We have learned it since. The truth is now coming out.
SenatorMULCAHY. - The truth is coming out - too much of it for my honorable friend. I would not have made any reference to this matter but for the fact that the proceedings of the Perth Labour Conference have been dragged into this debate, and an attempt has been made to justify the extraordinary attitude towards the war taken up by those who claim to represent Labour in Australia. I ask Senator Ferricks whether Australia was worth defending.
– Was it not being defended ?
– Was Australia worth defending? Let the honorable senator answer my question, “ Yes “ or “ No.”
– Yes, it is worth defending, and it was being defended.
SenatorMULCAHY. - Whose duty was it to defend it? Obviously it was the duty of every man fit to carry a gun. It was the duty particularly of those who were born here, and who had grown up under our free institutions. It was the duty of every man who had an inheritance in our enormous and resourceful territory; it did not matter whether he was an Irishman, a Scotchman, a Welshman, or an Englishman. In this country we have a magnificent equality of opportunity. We have a free education system, under which a child has his foot placed on the lowest rung of the ladder, and is able, if he is built of the right material, to attain to the summit of that ladder. Who should have defended this country ? However much we may argue about conscription in the abstract, was it not right, when the Allies managed to keep the war away from our territory, that we should go to their aid, and that those of us who were not game to go should be compelled to do so? That any unwillingness to go arose in Australia is to me unaccountable.
– In view of the number who went, why does the honorable senator say their unwillingness was to him unaccountable?
SenatorMULCAHY. - I am not speaking of the men who went. What concern has the honorable senator in the number who went. What concern has Senator Ferricks, who says that he never urged anybody to go? He was not prepared even to counsel those who were unwilling to go to stand by their country. This war was not fought on Australian soil. Its nearest approach to our shores was marked by the Emden when she was destroyed off Cbeoe Island. I am proud to reflect upon the response by Tasmania to the appeal which was made to her citizens to compel eligible men to do their duty. But what sort of attitude was taken up by the pacifists ?
– Most ofthe soldiers were pacifists. Most of them were opposed to conscription.
SenatorReid. - The honorable senator has no proof of that assertion.
– The voting constitutes the proof of it.
SenatorMULCAHY. - Suppose that the war had been brought close home to us. Suppose that Port Philip or Port Jackson had been invaded by a hostile fleet. As a matter of fact, there would have been no need for such a fleet to steam into Port Jackson. It could have shelled the splendid city of Sydney from the offing. I wonder whether some of my honorable friends opposite would then have said to the eligibles, “ Unless you are willing to fight for your country you will be compelled to do so “ ?
– There would have been no need for conscription then.
– Then we must thank God that we did not have the experience I have outlined. If the firing of German guns was needed to awaken our people to a realization of their responsibilities
– We did not want conscription in Australia.
– Conscription was needed at the time.
– The authorities were recruiting more men than they could send away.
– To-day we are celebrating a peace with joy and gratitude to the Almighty, but how many of us dreamed, during the last eighteen months of the struggle, that we should be able to get such a peace ? There were ten or twelve occasions during the war when itS whole issue trembled in the balance. Now we have come to the end. All Australians - and I hope I may use the term without modifying it in any way - have every reason to be proud of Australia’s manhood and the chivalry and courage they displayed. Victory has been achieved with Australia’s assistance.
My principal reason for speaking in support of the ratification of the Peace Treaty was to draw attention to the fact that the time has now come when the Australian people have to face the consequences of war. We have to face the result of that which we cheerfully undertook, and consider our enormous monetary obligations. Our country must be effectively developed, and 60,000 of our best men - our breadwinners - have been killed, and a similar number incapacitated. We ‘have to realize that we are confronted with a tremendous debt not on reproductive work, but a solid unreproductive debt which has to be liquidated. The position will have to be met in th, same manner as the British race has in the past faced its obligations - with determination. We must meet the debt, a;nd as it -is an honorable one, we must discharge it. The word “ repudiation “ caused some disturbance this afternoon, and I do not wish to revive the discussion. It must be remembered, however, that repudiation was mentioned in Melbourne.
– It is foolish for any responsible person to enter into a discussion on such a subject.
– It was mentioned in Melbourne.
– Australia is the first British’ Dominion in which it has ever been suggested.
– Do you not think it possible that Great Britain may even consider repudiation ?
– I do not think that Australians, who are in possession of such a valuable territory, would ever consider the repudiation of an honorable debt. But I realize that there is the possibility of a good deal of suffering being experienced in our endeavour to pay it, especially while industrial unrest is so (prevalent throughout the land. The. present industrial unrest is unjustifiable, but I do not want to go into that aspect of the question just now. We have lost 60,000 of our best men, and quite as large a number have been so incapacitated that they are not likely to.be able to assist in the development of our territory.
– And yet you wanted the number to be larger by supporting conscription
– There would have been greater benefits under conscription.
– Senator Ferricks seizes hold of a straw in order to save himself from drowning.
– I will look after myself.
– I would not exchange places with Senator Ferricks for all the money in Australia, although I believe ‘he is conscientious in his motives.
– I would not change places with the honorable senator. I would not advocate conscription for money.
– I must, of course, allow Senator Ferricks the same liberty as I enjoy. He is entitled to his opinions; but we view this matter differently.
– I rise to order. I heard from the immediate left of the Chair a statement to the effect that Senator Mulcahy had advocated conscription for money, and I ask whether that interjection should be allowed to pass.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Shannon) . - I did not hear the words used.
– We have to consider our future position. The Prime Minister struck the keynote of the situation when he said that the only way in which we could meet our obligations in our present impoverished condition was by increasing production. We have enormous territories to develop, but the number of our efficient workers has been reduced by about 150,000.
– You would make everybody work.
– I think most people in Australia do work.
– One in every three is living on the labour of others.
– Probably the honorable senator will realize that if he lived for a thousand years he would still find something of the kind going on.
– You cannot expect one class to do all the work.
– That is nonsense. I do not. But a discussion on economic or social questions at this juncture is useless. We have to realize that one of the consequences of war is that we have been given increased territorial responsibilities; a matter I view very seriously. We have a population of only 5,000,000 people, and, although we are in possession of a great country, our policy has not been, to populate it, but to keep people out. I first became a member of this Senate about the time the “Six Hatters” incident was before the public, when, six hatters from abroad were kept out of the city of Sydney. I am strongly opposed to the principles embodied in our Contract Immigrants* Act, which is the only immigration Act that has been placed on the statute-book during the past twenty years.
– It has been amended.
– Yes, but we - have never had an Act to encourage immigration. The policy has been to prevent our own kith and kin from coming to Australia, because such immigration might be the means of reducing wages.
– There is no objection to immigrants unless they are under contract.
– I also object to that. If my father, who came to Tasmania in 1854 with his wife and family, had an opportunity of making a contract in Ireland which would have secured him work that would have returned a good living for his wife and family, he would have come far more readily, and others would have come, too.
– That system was wonderfully successful in Canada.
– Yes. We should not place any embargo upon our own kith and kin, and people in Great
Britain who wish to exploit this great territory should be allowed- to do so.
– They can come: out under contract if they comply with the provisions of the Act.
– I do not agree with that. There should be no embargo whatever, and British immigrants should be allowed to enter Australia under any conditions, provided they are honest, deserving citizens, and have not contracted disease. We are in need of increased population, and we cannot hope to liquidate our debt unless we produce more. We cannot increase production w’hilst the number of workers is limited. It should be our endeavour to utilize every possible scientific device, and I favour State encouragement of our industries. One can sea that if many of the industries that have grown up within the Commonwealth had some assistance from the State they would be in a better position than they are to-day, and many millions might have been saved if we had had the services of an adviser with knowledge of the enterprises undertaken. I have known thousands of pounds to be lost in the smelting of iron owing to a lack of knowledge in tapping the furnace. I have seen copper furnaces erected in two places in Tasmania where there was no copper to smelt.
But whatever further remarks one may wish to make on this important question can be made with more effect before his constituents. I hope that one of the means to be employed to save ourselves from financial chaos will be the increasing of production. I cannot see any prospect of Australia paying much higher taxation than that at present imposed. There is every possibility of great hardship being experienced if we do not encourage immigration and production. Without wishing to appear pessimistic, I can see years of hard work before us if we wish to occupy the financial position we were in prior to the war. With other honorable senators I join in saying, “Thank God we still retain Australia and its free institutions under the British flag.”
.- I thought that almost every conceivable- subject had been threshed out in this debate before Senator Mulcahy gave his very interesting address, and I certainly never dreamt that the incident of the “ six hatters “ would be referred to, or that it was possible to refer to it in a discussion on this motion. Immigration is undoubtedly a tempting subject for debate,but it can be viewed now from a standpoint from which it was not possible to regard it some years ago. The conditions and circumstances which led to the legislation which has been complained of by Senator Mulcahy were quite different from those which prevail to-day. That legislation was introduced at a time when there were periods of unemployment in the various big cities of Australia, and these who were responsible for the legislation to which Senator Mulcahy has referred knew that under the pretence of immigration workmen were being brought here, not for the good of Australia, but for the advantage of some selfish employers who desired to cut down the wages fixed by the trade unions.
– At that time the country was crying out for more men.
– I cannot agree with the honorable senator. As one who can go very much further back in this matter than can Senator Foll, let me say that the fact was quite otherwise, and there were unemployed agitations in every State. Not only was the unemployment question of importance at that time, but we had not in those days the industrial legislation which has since been passed. We now have Arbitration Courts to fix wages, and men now introduced cannot be employed at less than the wages fixed by the Arbitration Courts and Wages Boards. To encourage immigration now is a very different thing from what it was when the “ six hatters “ incident occurred. I may say that the law on our statute-book, which, by the way, is a very good law, would not prevent an employer even to-day from introducing such labour as he required, whether skilled or unskilled, if only he could give reasonable proof that that labour was not to be obtained in Australia.
– I think that the matter to which the honorable senator is referring has not very much to do with the Peace Treaty.
– That is what I thought when Senator Mulcahy was discussing it. Seeing that the honorable senator was permitted to give one side of the question, and in doing so reflected upon legislation which I and others pre sent were instrumental in passing, I thought that I had an equally good right to put the other side.
– I think that the honorable senator’s remarks should be relevant to the question under discussion. I am concerned to maintain the rules of debate, and I ask the honorable senator not to further refer to’ an irrelevant matter.
– I have no wish to contravene the Standing Orders, and perhaps I have said all that is necessary upon that matter.
Almost every member of the Senate has addressed himself to the motion in the belief, no doubt, that it deals with a matter of so much importance as to justify some reference to it by each of us. The Treaty of Peace may be described as the ringing-down of the curtain upon the most tragic historical event since the French Revolution, and, perhaps, the greatest tragedy in the world’s history. The debate upon so important a matter cannot be regarded as unnecessary, and I have been pleased to listen to the many good addresses delivered on the motion. I deplore only some heat introduced into the debate, because of the introduction, for party purposes, of matters upon which there is serious difference of opinion. We have had anti-conscription dragged into the debate time and again, though how in the name of reason that could be considered relevant to a discussion of the Peace Treaty I do not know.
– Surely it is competent for honorable senators to review the history of the war.
– No doubt the honorable senator, and others on the same side, considered that they were entitled to introduce that question, but its introduction has led to friction which might much better have been avoided. We sh’all hear enough of conscription and anticonscription in the course of a few weeks, and it would have been time enough when we appeared before the electors to state our views on those questions. I should like to point out that there is little or no difference between conscription and compulsory militarism, which is the law of the land in Australia, and was passed by the honorable senators who have objected to conscription in this debate. It ill-became members of a party who put compulsory militarism upon their platforms in time of peace, as far back as the annual Conference of the Labour party in Brisbane in 1908, to repudiate that principle when this country was at war, the very time when one would imagine it should be put into practice. I can only assume that the references of honorable senators opposite to conscription in this debate were made with onepurpose only, and with an eye to the elections that are shortly about to be held. Had they been anti-conscriptionists before the war, had they repudiated conscription, and made an attempt to remove it from the Labour platform, instead of allowing it to remain on that platform for some ten years or more, I should have had more regard for their honesty. We know that the Labour party of Australia was, perhaps, the only Labour party in the world to favour conscription or compulsory militarism. The Labour parties in Great Britain, France, Germany, and elsewhere, from time to time, declared against conscription, and the Labour partyof Australia was practically the only Labour party in the world to advocate and support it. “
SenatorPratten. - The compulsory military training of youngsters was not conscription.
– The compulsory training is for more than youngsters ; we insist, by law, on compulsory military service up to twenty-four years of age. To establish aCitizen army was compulsory militarism, and Senator Pratten must be squint-eyed if he discovers any difference between that and conscription.
– The honorable senator’s logic is wrong.
– No. Thefact is, that Senator Pratten refuses to look at this question with both eyes. He squints at it with his worst eye. I repeat that the Australian Labour party was the only Labour party advocating compulsory militarism. I can prove that statement In 1916, I travelled to the United Kingdom vid South Africa. I was In France, and I returned to Australia vid America, and I can say that while I was abroad the Labour party of Australia was looked upon by all andsundry with whom I came in contact as a party that believed in compulsory militarism, because of our compulsory military service sections put into the Defence Act by the Labour party.
– The great conscription party.
– If that be so, and I can easily prove it, how can Senator Pratten, who, as compared with myself, knows practically nothing about the Labour platform at that time, contradict my statement?
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– When honorable senators . opposite have been complimenting themselves on their attitude towards the question of conscription, I have often felt tempted to ask if they have ever endeavoured to ascertain what other people think of them, and especially what their international colleagues think on this subject, or if they have judged themselves according to the standards of the British or French Labourites and Socialists? I may say, also, that I had a stronger right to stand for the principle of conscription than Senator Gardiner had to hold the opposite view, because at the first InterState Labour Conference in Sydney, in 1902, I was responsible for the motion to include in the Labour platform the wellknown fifth plank - a citizen army based upon compulsory service.
– Do you see any analogy between the two things ?
– Yes, and so can everybody else except the honorable senator. Labour members and leading Socialists in Britain and America all interpreted the fifth plank of the Labour platform as I do.
– You are a most astonishing man.
– I will prove to the honorable gentleman how the public generally regard conscription, belief in which was so strongly held by those who were driven out of the Caucus of the Labour party.
– Do not say “ driven out.” You know you went out.
– We were told to get out.
– Did you not walk out of your own free will?
– We did not wait. We got out before we were kicked out.
– What did Finlayson move?
– He moved that the chair be declared vacant.
– Undoubtedly it was a move for the expulsion of the Prime Minister.
– It was not. It was a motion declaring that he had lost the confidence of the Labour party, and that the position of chairman no longer remained to him.
– He had lost the confidence of a section of the Labour party, but not of the whole party. The Prime Minister had a perfect right to uphold his attitude on the question of conscription which was to be placed before the people in the form of a referendum.. But because he exercised that right he was expelled from the Labour movement in New South Wales, and the attitude of the party in that State was followed in the Caucus, where it was proposed to depose him as leader of the party.
– If the party elected him, did they not have a right to depose him?
– He was deposed after he had left the party room.
– That is right.
– The other members of the party who followed the Prime Minister on the question of conscription knew that if the party went to the length of expelling the Prime Minister it would expel all the others. As a matter of fact, we were told as plainly as possible that this was intended, because at the meeting of the Caucus some one interjected, “ Why not deal with the lot?” .Honorable senators will see that I am giving away Caucus secrets.
– Let us have it, then. An election must be coming, judging by the way you are talking.
– I have no anxiety about the forthcoming election, but I have no doubt the honorable senator is feeling somewhat troubled. At the Caucus meeting some one interjected, “Why not expel all who have done likewise? “ and somebody else - I am not quite sure who it was - replied, “One at a time.” But we told them they were not going to deal with us one at a time, and that if the Prime Minister was to be expelled we would go out too.
– But you admit that there was no proposition before the Caucus to expel the Prime Minister?
– Yes. But he had already been expelled by the Labour organization of his own State, and then to attempt to force him out of the position he occupied as leader of the party was the object of the motion.
– ‘But do you not think that the party which elected him as leader had a right .to depose him?
– Then, what is wrong with an. honest discussion on that aspect of the’ situation?
– They had no right to exercise their power in .an unjust way. No one has a right to commit an outrage upon decency and fair play. The Germans, no doubt, thought they were quite right in marching on to Paris, but fortunately they failed. And so it was with the big legions in the Labour party at that time. They tried to force out of the party those of us who had done something we were perfectly justified in doing. They endeavoured .to punish us for doing that which we had a perfect right to do.
– You know they did nothing of the kind.
– But we refused to allow them to do what was proposed -to be done, and, consequently, we walked out of the Caucus.
– Probably your guilty consciences led you to anticipate that you would .be dealt with, but nobody threatened you.
– I can assure the honorable senator that if there are guilty consciences on that subject, they are not on this side of the chamber. We did not attempt to do anything unjust. We took up a position we were perfectly entitled to adopt. We were much more justified in our attitude as conscriptionists than the honorable senator and his friends were as anti-conscriptionists, because, as I have already shown, the platform of the Labour party was our authority. I was in Great Britain at a time when a great deal of praise was being bestowed upon Australia for all that we had done in the waT, the general belief being that it was the result of our compulsory training system. People there thought that Australia must be full of statesmen, because of our foresight in having established our defence system on so efficient a basis as to be able to send such large numbers of men overseas at such short notice.
SenatorGardiner. - Hear, hear!
– Everywhere I went, while in England, the people appeared to be under the impression that we had conscription in Australia, and they were at a loss to understand what was meant by the Conscription referendum. I explained as best. I could that, while we had a compulsory military service for Australia, we had no authority to send any man outside of the Commonwealth, and that the referendum was being taken to give the Government this necessary authority. That was, I think, a reasonable explanation to make to the people of the Old Country, and it was accepted, though it was the general belief that Australia was a conscript country. One can easily imagine how this impression should get abroad, in view of the fact that the whole world was under conscript law; but the people found it difficult to understand why the Labour party should have put such a law upon our statute-books, seeing that Socialists all over the world were anticonscriptionists. But, as I have said, I explained that the compulsory military service was intended for defence purposes in Australia. The opinion in England then was that the referendum would undoubtedly end in a victory for conscription, but no one thought it would meanasplit in the Labour party. On the contrary, every one I met held the view that it was the best way to get over any disruption of the party. When I landed in Sydney on my return I was surprised, coming from an atmosphere of conscription in England, France, and America, to hear what an awful calamity was predicted for Australia by orators at street meetings if conscription were carried. I am referring to this matter, which was mentioned by honorable senators opposite, with the object of conveying some idea of the opinions held by Labourites in other parts of the world on this particular issue.
This afternoon we heard a good deal about repudiation, and I may say that I admired Senator Ferricks’ rather warm denial of the charge. I do not care very much for a man who does not emphatically repudiate any statements which he feels misrepresent him. I am glad, therefore, that Senator Ferricks did so this afternoon, but I cannot understand how honorable senators opposite could have allowed themselves to repudiate their own principles, that is, the fifth plank of the Labour platform. However, I am glad to hear that the Labour party does not stand for the repudiation of our debts. I compliment the members of the party, and am glad that their representatives in this Chamber have the courage to assert that attitude.
– What would they do if repudiation were adopted as a plank at their next Conference?
– The honorable senator had better give me notice of that question.
– Our party has been a good while in existence without having adopted any planks which we could not honestly live up to.
– In conclusion, I desire to express the view that Australia has played a very heroic part in the war. Our soldiers have achieved more than even the most optimistic could have expected,
– Do not forget our naval men.
– So long as Senator Guthrie is in. this Chamber that arm of our defence will not be overlooked. Unfortunately, it is too. often forgotten. Not only our fighting men on land and at sea, but our delegates to the Peace Conference also, made a name for themselves. I regret that Mr. Hughes’ work has not been more generously recognised by his late colleagues. I must admit, however, that some honorable members opposite have spoken in a complimentary manner of what he and Sir Joseph Cook were able to do. Here were two Labour men who went, raw, into the arena of diplomacy. They were surrounded by the ablest statesmen of the world, but our Australian delegates did splendidly. The Peace Conference was one of the greatest of its kind recorded in history. At Versailles there were gathered together the ablest, the shrewdest, the suavest, and the most cunning diplomats representing the various nations. Yet our two comparative novices more than held their own. We have every right and reason to. compliment them upon their statesmanlike achievements.
It will take us some time to fully realize the. many and enormous changes which the war has brought about. Such established dynasties as the Hapsburgs, the Romanoffs, and .the Hohenzollerns have gone. In the places of the kingdoms and empires which those dynasties formerly ruled there are republics to-day. Tremendous changes, which few people could have imagined a few years ago, are to be seen on the map of Europe. For the first time for many hundred years the Hapsburgs have not been represented at a Conference of the countries of Europe. It is significant that this is also, the first time in which a young community such as Australia has played its part in war. We have now entered into international affairs. Once we considered that we were so far removed that we would never be drawn into the zone of international politics; but there we are to-day, and. there we must stay. International affairs are so interwoven, and the world is relatively so small in these days of modern advancement, that it has become impossible to remain neutral. America has been drawn into the vortex of world affairs. Australia’s White Australia policy has been propounded to the world. America’s Monroe doctrine has disappeared.
– The Monroe Doctrine is very much alive.
– The moment that the United States entered into the world war the death-knell of the Monroe Doctrine was sounded.
– The Americans do not say so.
– The views of the American people have been ail-sufficiently expressed by their actions. The League of Nations has a tremendous future. One tiling which it should bring about is a common language, a second language to be universally spoken in diplomatic circles, so that the men of all the different races when they came together might understand each other, and communicate without hindrance. During my visit to Paris, with other Australian legislators, there were delegates from Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa, besides members of the House of Lords and of the Commons. When we gathered with our French hosts, there were not two men in every dozen who could converse together. At the various official gatherings, at the banquets and the like, the most we could do was to smile at each other, jingle our glasses, ‘and indicate good-will upon our countenances.
– Do you not think that there would be some advantage even here if we could not understand each other ?
– Sometimes that happens to-day; but it would only make confusion worse confounded if that were to be the regular condition. No’ doubt, Senator Gardiner would like some of us not to understand him quite as well as we do. The great need of mankind to-day is a common langauge.
– Do you favour Volapuk or Esperanto?
– I do not mind whether it be Volapuk or Esperanto, or any other, so long as all the representatives of all the nations can speak it- and understand each other. Personally, if I were given the choice, I would favour the language of Bobbie Burns.
I hope the League of Nations will prove the great success which the Peace Conference has been. I look for a settlement ere long of Russia’s troubles ; I look for the rule of better sense in Germany; I look to see Poland a nation again ; and I trust that, with the return of AlsaceLorraine to- France, and Italia Irredenta, and a common -sense settlement of the Irish question, the nations will be able to compliment themselves upon the outcome of the war.
, - I do not intend to traverse the whole gamut of the Peace Treaty, because it has already been very ably dealt with by Mr. Hughes and Sir Joseph Cook in another place, and by Senator Millen and other speakers in this chamber. I desire, however, to express the hope that the great Republic of the United States of America may fall into line, and not defeat the hope of the people of the world that the League of Nations may do away with war. If the United States of America will enter into the world’s politics, and do away with its Monroe Doctrine, which has served the people of America very well, but is no longer necessary; if the great North American Republic can see its way clear to take part in the deliberations of the League of Nations, I, for one, believe that a great step will have been taken in the advancement of mankind.
I desire to address myself to one point in particular, and that is with regard to the conditions which apply to the workers. Therein we have a great field for advancement. I know that the concessions suggested within the Peace Treaty are, from an Australian view-point, very humble indeed. Take, for instance, the eight-hours day proposition. Our workers, of course, are far beyond that ideal. They are going for a six-hours day ; and, if they can do their day’s work in six hours, why should they not have it? The toilers of many other nations, however, work for twelve and fourteen hours, and even longer, each day. Cannot our Labour party, with its very high ideals, hold out a helping hand to labour in other nations not so advantageously placed? The cost of living in Australia has risen during the war years 47 per cent. In the United Kingdom, however, where the people have been much less better off throughout these past few years, the cost of liyinghas risen by 120 per cent.; and in France the rise has been 137 per cent. A slightly less increase has been noted in New Zealand, where the cost of living has advanced 42 per cent. In South Africa it has gone up 34 per cent.; and in India, 35 per cent. If we contrast our conditions with those ruling in the congested countries of the Old World, it will be seen that the European workers are not nearly so well off. Here, also, there have been numerous rises in wages which, to some extent at any rate, have counterbalanced the increased cost of living. I desire to quote the words of M. Hodee, one of the Labour delegates who visited Australia with the French Mission last year. In a French Labour journal, published in June last, he referred to the “ordinary conception of Australia as the land of practical Socialism and the paradise of the working man.” That is something; may we always keep it a. paradise for the working man, and for the employer also. Why should not the employer have a paradise as well as the employee? M. Hodee continued -
Those concerned convinced as theyare that their material and social condition is superior to that of the European proletariat, are, however, by no means asleep in their happiness.
We have reason to know they are very much awake. M. Hodee proceeded -
Their social ends far surpass the realization. So they do not show themselves as abso lutely satisfied, and in no wise conceal their progressive sentiments. Their well-being is, however, to be perceived everywhere. The misery of our European towns is unknown in Australian cities.
Improvidence is marked,but it is characterized by a constant search for a better condition of affairs -for amelioration, for liberty. In short, it is a factor of progress.
After referring generally to some of the attainments in this direction of the. Australian people. M. Hodee mentions the cost of living.
Is the cost of living, as is generally believed, very high in this country?he asks. No; it is the other way about. We have noticed in. America, in Australia, and in England the war has had its effect, but this has been counterbalanced by the level of wages. In the land of the kangaroo, clothing alone is dear, coming, as it does, from England and America; but industries established during the war were producing woollen goods of excellent quality, and at a very reduced price, compared with that which we are paying.
– They have not been asked to do so. Do them justice. They are all right.
– Does Senator Gardiner mean to tell me that the invitation extended to them by the Prime Minister is not sufficient?
– It is not, because he was going to make a selection from the names which the unions sent in.
– The reasons which I saw assigned for the action taken by the unions was that they did not consider they had sufficient representation. But what representation had Mr. Hughes and Sir Joseph Cook when they visited England to attend the Peace Conference? They had none. The way to secure representation is to win it. I understood that at the forthcoming Labour Conference in Washington there were to be one representative of the employers, one representative of labour, and two representatives of the Government. Seeing that the Labour party claims to represent the workers of Australia, it seems to me that by refusing to appoint a delegate to that gathering it is exhibiting selfishness. It was a great step in the right direction when President Wilson brought this question to the front. In the Peace Conference provision is made for the international recognition of an eight-hour day, for ameliorating the conditions in regard to the employment of women, and for a prohibition on the employment of child labour. I know that other countries have not progressed along the industrial path nearly as far as we have. Here in Australia we have compulsory arbitration. That fact is not fully understood even by the people of this country. Compulsory arbitration has always been rejected by the United Kingdom, and by the Labour movement in the United States. It has been rejected on the ground that it necessarily means that whatever may be the decision of the Arbitration Court the employer must employ and the worker must work. But Mr. Justice Higgins recently affirmed that after an award has been given, the workers are at liberty to make a further attempt to secure a better award.
– A most unfortunate remark.
– I do not think such a condition would mean compulsory arbitration. It would mean voluntary arbitration. My own idea of compulsory arbitration is that primarily the employer holds his business, not for himself, but for the community, and that the worker holds his labour not for himself, but for the community. I admit that I am somewhat doubtful of the success of compulsory arbitration, but when the Court has given an award, both parties to an industrial dispute should abide by it. Otherwise we can have no hope of industrial peace. I believe that before long we may have an amendment of our Arbitration Act. But if compulsory arbitration is to be successful, both sides must trust the Court to do justice between them.
– Both parties to an industrial dispute must be bound by the decision of the Court?
-Yes. Otherwise the community will be faced with the possibility of continuous turmoil.
SenatorMcDougall. - Governments themselves - State and Commonwealth - are the worst offenders. They will not pay the award rates.
– Then I would treat them as I would ordinary offender*, who should be imprisoned or fined.
– When an award is made, should it not be based on the fact that just as the cost of living increases, so must wages be increased?
-I am absolutely in agreement with the honorable senator on that point. As the cost of living in Australia has increased by 47 per cent. during the war, I think that wages should be increased by 47 per cent.
– Which should start first - the high wages or the increased cost of living?
– Order! The honorable senator is getting beyond the terms of the
-I merely desired to show how splendidly situated is the worker in Australia. Consequently, he should extend a helping hand to his less fortunate brother in other countries. I hope that my friends in the Labour ranks will recognise that ‘fact. Take the case of our fellow subjects in India. I visited that country a few years ago during a time of great distress, and I found that men were working there in starvation camps for 2d. per day. The Indians fought shoulder to shoulder with Great Britain during the recent war. They rendered our Empire magnificent service. Many of them have bled for it and have died for it. Labour in Australia ought certainly to be represented at the Washington Conference in order that it may extend a helping hand to them.
– Senator McDougall will go to America. Send him.
– I think he would make an excellent representative.
– The Official Labour party are ashamed to send representatives there, because they would meet all the Labour conscriptionists of the world.
– Then they might come back converted to conscription, and that would not be a bad thing. It certainly will not redound to the credit of tlie Labour organizations of this country if they fail to send a representative to that gathering. They will have the finger of scorn pointed at them if they do not seek to help their brethren who are suffering in other lands. I recognise that we have not solved the question of industrial unrest in Australia by a long way. But a great step might be made in that direction if our Arbitration Act were thoroughly revised. The great objection to arbitration appears to be the time that is occupied in obtaining a decision from the Arbitration Court. But that difficulty might be overcome in several ways. One way to overcome it would be to create sub-Courts to deal with minor disputes.
– The trouble is that there are too many Courts now
– Certainly the whole of the legislative powers in regard to industrial matters .should be vested in the Commonwealth Parliament. However, as you, sir, have hinted that a further discussion on this matter will scarcely be in order, I shall reserve my remarks upon it till another occasion.
– It has as much concern1 with the Peace Treaty as have matters relating to the Caucus meetings of the Labour party.
– I plead with my honorable friends opposite to get the Labour organizations of Australia to move in the matter-, and not to allow any slur to be cast’ on them, or the’ finger of scorn to be pointed at them. There are people iri other parts of the world -who are not so favorably situated as we are. It may be said that Australia would only have one representative, but I ask the Labour organizations of Australia to see that they are ‘represented at the Conference, and, if necessary, to secure stronger representation. Mr. Hughes went to the Peace Conference as the representative of a Dominion, and worked his passage to such an extent that he returned as the representative of a nation. I do not mind who goes from Australia as a representative of Labour, but there are several honorable senators opposite who could voice the views of the Australian Labour party, as’ they are thoroughly up in the work. I trust for the honour of Australia that Australia will be represented The employers have had a. very difficult problem in selecting a representative at a. moment’s notice, but it is. their intention to select some one in due course. The employers also are under a great disadvantage in having only one representative, but we intend sending our delegate, and helping in every possible way to do away with industrial unrest by making the conditions better for the workers. .
The Premier of Victoria (Mr. Lawson) called a conference of employees and employers, and although we selected our delegate, and hoped that as the result of friendly intercourse we would do away with the industrial unrest prevailing, the representatives of the Labour party would have nothing to do with it. It was not a very wise attitude to adopt, and the representatives of Labour might well have met the employers to discuss industrial questions generally. If was the practice in the olden days for the employers to decline to meet the employees, and when that happened we were called arrogant, but the arrogance now appears to be on the other side. The representatives of the Labour party ai s so entrenched . in their wonderful organization - which is conducted under tyrannical and arbitrary methods - that they do not now feel disposed to meet the employers in conference. If the Labour party are not. represented at the Washington Conference on industrial questions affecting the whole world, they will be committing a great mistake, and will not be assistng towards a laudable end. They will be bringing not only their own name, but the name of Australia!, into contempt. I hope that even, at the eleventh hour the party will adopt a more reasonable attitude, and will select some one to attend to assist in- ameliorating the hard conditions under which a good deal of labour throughout the world is carried on. If that is done, the Peace Treaty will have added to its laurels the. fact that it has made less difficult the work of the toilers of the” world. .
– I do not intend to delay the debate on this important question, but I do not wish an occasion such as this to pass without having something to say. I have listened to every word of the discussion, and wish to congratulate the Senate on the high tone of the debate, and on the fact that it has once more reached its old form. The debate has been of a higher character than we have had in the Senate for some time. There have been one or two side issues . introduced, and a little sidestepping. We are taking- a practical step in the direction of- securing- Peace, and I think that we can congratulate ourselves and the whole world on the fact that the terrible holocaust has ceased. Whatever one’s views may be, wecannotlook back upon the horrible scenesof war without regretting that the world had not reached a more civilized stage. We had hoped that such a war was impossible, but we were apparently labouring under a delusion. I trust that the world after the late great conflict has learned that wars are of no benefit to the common people. I do not wish to deal with the Treaty in detail, because- my geographical . knowledgeof Europe wouldnot enable me to do so, even were I so disposed. The Treaty does hot embody all I expected, but I believe that there has been an honest (attempt on the part of all nations to abolish war. I am disappointed with the results of the Conference; but in so far as the nations of the world have madea genuine effort to prevent further wars, I believe the foundations have been laid for making the world- a better place in which to live.
Speaking of the. Labour Conference, and as an Australian who claims to have more interest in Labour than ever before, I believe the Treaty does not hold out much forus when I consider the questions set down for discussion. We have reached the standard laid down in the Treaty, and hope to improve in the future. Industrially, we have been experimenting in many directions, but I do not think we have been altogether successful up to date. Judging by experience, there seems a reasonable hope of solving many of the difficulties with which we are faced to-day. I believe it would be- advantageous if we could help by our experience in improving the labour conditions in other countries of the world. By levelling up the conditions in other countries, we would be providing a great national asset for Australia. I sincerely regret that Labour is not to be represented, and I still hope that some arrangement may be made to overcome that difficulty. It was not the desire- of the Government to say how many representatives of Labour there should be - that was determined at the Peace Conference. There was no desire, on the part of the Government to inter fere with the nominations of the. Labour party, and it was ina position to nominate whatever delegate it desired.. The date fixed for the Conference was soon after the return ofour representatives from the Peace Conference; and. that made it rather . difficult’ for a Labour representative to be elected in Australia. However,’ the Conference will meet from time to time, and Labour organizations will have the opportunity of sending their representatives. I could drawattention’ to a good deal that has been accomplished by the Treaty. I believe it gives to the world a great hope, and the document proves that all the belligerent, nations have come together in a spirit of confidence,; in the interests of the general welfare of the people of the world.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 17th September (vide page 12341), on motion by Senator Millen -
That this Senate approves the Treaty made at Versailles on the28th June, 1919, between His Majesty the King’ and . the President of the French Republic, whereby, in case the stipulations relating to the left bank of the Rhine, contained in the Treaty of Peace with Germany signed at Versailles the 2Sth day of June, 1919; by the British Empire, the French Republic and the United States of America, among other -Powers, may not at first provide adequate security and protection to France, Great -Britain -agrees to come immediately to her’ assistance in the event of any unprovokedmovement of aggression against her being made, by Germany.
Senator GARDINER (New South Wales. [8.55]. - In speaking to this motion, I hope I will not have to ask the Senate for an extension of time. It appears to me that there is no’ occasion for such a motion ‘ to be submitted to the Commonwealth Parliament. I direct attention to the fact that in the earlier portion of the motion “ British Empire “ is used; but when it comes to the question of an agreement as to who is to resent interference by Germany, the words “Great Britain” are used. I think that is wise. We are passing a motion that does not bind Australia to interfere in any unprovoked assault made by Germany against France. Any one who is acquainted with the circumstances surrounding the breaking of treaties, or how wars have been caused, can easily understand that Germany might enter into a war with France which was provoked by France. 1 believe the war of 1871 arose as a result of certain communications between the King of Prussia, afterwards the Emperor of Germany, and the French Ambassador. I remember an incident in which three German statesmen, Bismarck, Von Moltke, and Blumenthel manipulated a telegram in such a way that France took offence and clamoured for war, and there was immediately a breach of friendly relations between Germany and France. Who knows whether the responsibility for the next war will rest properly upon France or upon Germany ? I am of the opinion that Australia is wise in not being bound by any promise in the matter. I realize that France must have a promise, as she is a neighbour of Germany, and would have to continually keep up an army to prevent invasion. She is, promised the support of Great Britain and America, and I hope they will keep their promise.
– So far as the ratification of the Treaty is concerned, I do not think it makes any difference whether we ratify it or not. We have to rea.ize that as yet we are only a portion of the Empire. I hone that in the near’ future we shall be an absolutely independent nation.
– Do you suggest “ cutting the painter?”
– The honorable senator may call it by whatever catchword he likes ; but 1 am not going through the world with my eyes -shut.
-We shall need a population of 50,0./. 000 before we can think of that.
– We have as many people as America had when she secured her independence.
The point I wish to make is this : Here we have a people who are absolutely carving out their own destiny. Our population is- composed of 86 per cent, of Australian-born people, and does any honorable senator opposite contend that for all time we are going to take our government from people on the other side of the world ? If they do, I do not. The independence with which we are now satisfied rests wholly and solely upon the good-will of both parties, and I can quite understand that changes may arise which would very soon put an end ‘ to that good-will. It may be that those changes will come from the other side of the world, and that very quickly, lt is of no use for honorable senators to shut the; r eyes to the facts. We must realize what is happening from day to day. There is a struggle going on in Great Britain to-day which I say threatens the existence of the British Empire more than the recent war did It will stir the passions of the people more than the war did. It is a question whether the people working the railways in the Old Country are to go back to the wages of the prewar time.
Honorable Senators. - No, no !
– I can quite understand that honorable senators opposite do not read these things as I do, but I should like to put the matter as I see it. ‘ It is unfortunate that we view these things differently, and that few of us are sufficiently tolerant to listen to views with which we are not in accord.
-The honorable senator saw what was happening in 1911, when he was in England.
– I saw what was happening when Senator Guthrie and I were iri .England. 1 saw the signal boxes filled with soldiers with bayonets. I saw the railway platforms kept clear by soldiers with bayonets, and I saw the railway n-en marching in peaceful processions. .1 travelled in first class carriages with people who said, “ The idea of these men striking ! “ .1 asked them wha’t wages the men were getting, and when they said 18s. per week, I said, “I am not surprised at them striking. I am surprised that any of them are working.” The point is that it is of little use to consider the disturbed position of Great Britain to-day without anticipating the worst dangers that may possibly arise from it. I am not influenced by the use of canting phrases such as “ favouring republicanism “ and “ cutting the painter.” T say that the 86 per cent, of Australian-born in the population of Australia are steadily marching towards that absolute independence which will permit the Australian people to carve out their own destinies without the slightest interference by any other people in the world.
– Have we not new virtually the right to carve out our own destiny?
– 1 agree that as the honorable senator says, we havr that right virtually, but I believe that we shall have it absolutely in the course of a very few years.
– What is the matter with the present connexion ?
– The honorable senator says that we have the right virtually now, and I agree with him. The States of Australia have had the right to legislate without limitation for years.
– What about the. Navigation Act?
– This maritime senator wants the people whom he represents introduced into every discussion.
– What stopped the proclamation of the Navigation Act?-
– If we virtually have our’ independence now, I see no reason why we should not have it actually. There is a difference between Senator Mulcahy and myself. I try to voice the Australian sentiment.
– The honorable senator does not monopolize it.
– “Undoubtedly, but I may be allowed to express my own view on the matter. I am not complaining that men who are not Australians cannot see things as people born in Australia can see them. I realize that I could not discuss the Irish question with the same enthusiastic feeling as that with which Senator Mulcahy could discuss it. He would rise superior to me in dealing with that question because of his nationality; but I feel that, in dealing with an Australian question, I am justified in staring the facts as I see them in the face and considering their bearing upon possibly the not far-distant future.
– Where should we be but for the British Navy?
– In discussing the possibilities, a few years’ ahead, of an absolutely independent Australia, and what we should do without the British Navy, I want to say that the British Navy has been recognised as a very great security for both Australia and Great Britain. But when war was declared I am very glad to say that it was the power of the Australian Navy that made it im practicable for the German Fleet to bombard Australian cities.
– Because the Australia carried bigger guns than did the Scharnhorst or the Gneisenau we were saved the bombarding of the cities of Sydney and Melbourne. We have to face the facts as we find them. We are being asked to participate in Old World wars, because that is what this motion really means. I take as much pride as does Senator de Largie in the fact that the Australian Labour party introduced compulsory military training for the defence of Australia, and that the Australian Labour party built the Australian Navy in the teeth of the vicious opposition - and I use that expression advisedly - of the gentlemen with whom Senator Guthrie and Senator de Largie are now associated. We know how the present Speaker in another place referred to the proposal of the Australian Labour party for the establishment of an Australian Navy. He said that we only wanted a Navy in order that in time of war we might turn its guns against the Mother Land. That statement was made by Mr. Speaker Johnson. We all remember Sir Joseph Cook’s statement about the “ mosquito fleet.”
– So it was.
– I am probably treading on Senator Mulcahy’s corns, because no doubt in those days he would have repeated what Sir Joseph Cook said, but mosquito fleet or not, in proportion to Australia’s population, ‘ that fleet played a mighty big part in winning the war. The Australian Labour party, when they put forward their proposals to bring that fleet into existence before the war, were exposed to all the calumny to which members of the same party are now exposed in connexion with every proposal they put forward, and by the associates of former Labour member’s on the other side.
-Can the honorable senator point to anything now put forward by the Official Labour party to equal the proposals of the party at the time to which he refers?
– I know that some people when something is accomplished in their day and generation close their minds and imagine that no moregood can comefrom the Labour movement, probably because they are no longer associated with it. I have no wish to compare my viewsof Labour with those of Senator de Largie and Senator Senior, for the simple reason that between us there has beena gulf fixed oftheir making.
– No, the honorable senator departed fromthe principles of the party, and we held to them.
SenatorGARDINER.- We may have departed from the principles, but honorable senatorsopposite departed from the party; If Senator de Largie puts forward a proposition that is not quite correct, it is, perhaps; just as well that I should put forward my view of thematter. In another debatethe honorable senator said that Mr. Hughes and others were expelled from theLabour party, but I say that, onthe contrary, not only Mr. Hughes, but Labour; menwho followed him left withhim. They were not expelled, but walked out of the party of their own free will.
– I ask the honorable senator to confinehis remarks to the motion beforethe Senate.
– I realize that, Senator de Largie was in order in refering to these things, but I will not be. in order in doing so.
– That remark is a reflection upon the Chair, and I ask the honorablesenator to withdraw it.
– It is a greater reflection on the Chair that , one honorable senator may put one side of a question, and that another honorable senator on this side of the chamber is not allowed to reply to him.
– The honorable senator takes a very jaundiced view of the ‘matter. It is my duty to maintain order in debate, and to see that the speechesmade arerelevant to the subjectmatter of themotion under discussion. I allowed a very wide latitude in the discussion of the previous motion.
– To the other side.
– To both sides Honorable senators on both sides failed to keep strictly to the subject of the motion. It covered an exceedingly wide field, and I therefore allowed considerable latitude in the debate. The motion now under discussion is of an entirely different character. It has. no relation to thelate war, but only proposes that provision shall be made in regard to a future possible condition of war. If everyhonorable senator were permitted in discussing a motion to reply to whatwas said in a previous debate upon another motion, therecould be mo finality to debates in this Chamber .I permitted Senator Gardiner to proceed . a considerable way in replying to Senator de Largie and others, but if I were ito permit him to continue on that line the debate on this motion . would become interminable, and perhaps the attention of honorable senators would be distracted, from the subjectmatter of the motion itself. I am., therefore, doing only my duty in directing the attention of the honorable senator, to the fact that he was not discussing the motion before the Senate. He made a reflection upon the Chair, and. I now ask him to withdraw it.
– With the utmost pleasure I withdraw, and I say that I believe, sir, you are doing your duty, as you always do it. I intend to move an amendment upon the motion. I propose that the following words be added to it -
Provided that no Australian shall be forced to go outside Australia to fight.
I shall not go intoall the details of what might happen, but I give notice of my intention to move that amendment. I pointed out . at an earlier stage that there was no occasionfor this motionto be submitted to this Parliament because Australia is not mentioned as aparty in the matter. The reference is not to the British Empire, but to Great Britain.
– The honorable senator knows that, diplomatically, Great Britain is held by foreign powers to represent theBritish Empire.
– I say that only Great Britain will be bound by this motion, in the e.v.ent of aggression by Germany, and the motion need not have come before the Australian Parliament at all. There are many things about which one might speak, but honorable senators opposite first of all framed the Standing Orders in such a way that only a few words canbe said on any subject, and then Senator Guthrie talks about the mandate. I wantto ‘come to the question of the position which this Parliament would occupy in. agreeing to this motion, and so violating a principle that has been, twice ratified fey the Australian, people in their decision that no Australian shall be forced to serve outside the Commonwealth. If we are to discuss this motion at all the conditions under which we may be called upon to assist must be discussed. We have to remember that Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Russia have been left outside the League of Nations. If these Central Powers, for various reasons, could be induced to act in unity they might become a menace to the world’s peace in a very few years time. In ratifying this agreement some concrete proposals should he put forward showing the extent to which we are prepared to go. Unless this be done people hereafter may ask why we did not indicate what we were willing to do. On two ocasions the people of Australia have shown that they are not prepared to force Australians out of the Commonwealth to fight.
– This does not force them, either.
– No ; but I
Want Parliament to say that it will not force them. Let us see what might happen. Senator de Largie, in the course of a debate upon another motion, likened our compulsory training system to the principle of conscription. He appeared to see some analogy between the two principles. I believe in the compulsory training of our boys just as I believe in the compulsory education of our children.
– What about the girls ?
– I had the boys in. my mind, because I was endeavouring to show that a system of compulsory education would fit them for the battle of life, and, likewise, their compulsory military training would fit them to fight.
– For what purpose?
– For the defence of their country.
– Are you not a Britisher ?
– Yes, while we are under the British flag, but the sooner we. are under the Australian flag the better I shall be pleased. Apart from a love of literature and respect for traditions, there can be a real love for Great Britain in Australian-born children of the second and third generation. Australia is my country, and while- we are under the British flag. I am as loyal to Great Britain as is Senator Guthrie.
But I was referring to an argument used by Senator de Largie in another debate, in which he likened our compulsory military training system to that of conscription. If that is so,, then- ail I can say is that we are within quite- a measurable distance of having the compulsory training system removed from the- plank of the. Labour party, .because, the- feeling against conscription, is so intense. I have been putting up the other argument all through. I have been arguing that the two things are not alike, and that just as our boys are taught in school to fit them for the battle of life, so they ought to be taught to fight for the defence of their country, but not sent at some one else’s dictation, to another country to fight, though I quite .understand Senator Guthrie thinking that every Australian has. a right to fight for Scotland. ^Senator. Ba>khap. - You believe in compulsory training, but you think that it should be optional whether the Australian fights or riot?
– Yes. But the Australian needs no. compulsion to .fight.
– Some of them do.
– The exhibition of intense patriotism on the part of the Australian people and the willingness of the young Australian manhood to fight, . not in his own country, but to go abroad and join in a fight that was not his - though it would have been his fight if he had not met the enemy in other coun-‘ tries - is a sufficient answer to the interjection. Senator Mulcahy talks as if a large number of Australians had refrained from going, notwithstanding that the other evening I submitted figures showing that 44 per cent of the Australian population was actually wounded or killed in the late war.
– That proves how truly British we are.
– Exactly. There is no question about that. I am not questioning the loyalty of Australians to Great Britain. I am only putting facts before the Senate showing that no- compulsion is necessary to induce our soldiers to fight. Moreover, I point out that when our men were fighting- in the trenches, and. when1 any day there was a prospect of being overwhelmed by the
Germans, even then they did not vote to conscript other Australians who had not voluntarily offered themselves. When we look at the facts and realize that we are entering into an agreement - because by ratifying this Treaty it will be held that we entered into the agreement it contains - we should set out in black and white just how far we are prepared to go. Concerning the agreement itself, I think it is wise that Great Britain and America should make a treaty to go to the assistance of France, because the existence of the treaty will prevent any attempt being made in Germany to stir up strife against France. Senator de Largie was endeavouring to show that the compulsory training system adopted in Australia and conscription were one and the same thing. T do’ not see them in that light at all. Undoubtedly our system of compulsory training contributed largely to the effectiveness of the Australian troops. The compulsorilytrained men were the leaven .that leavened the entire Force. Their knowledge of the ABC of military training was an important factor in the rapid preparation of our troops for service overseas. If we had been in possession of the real facts, showing how rapidly the Australians were enlisting - the Censor prevented this information, from being given to the general public - we would have known that in the twelve months previous to the conscription referendum 134,000 men had actually enlisted, and that the Defence Department was at its wits’ end to provide for the inrush of recruits and ships to take them away. In spite of all this, we had a wild rush to attempt .to conscript our men. We may be in a similar position in the future unless, in respect of this agreement, we have it- in black and white that no Australian shall be sent abroad against his will to fight.
I do not know whether I shall be permitted to say anything on another matter, so perhaps I had better not attempt to do so, as my manner of speaking always makes those who listen to me a little more alert than usual. But I would like to refer to the peculiar position with regard to the Labour party’s delegates to the proposed International Labour Conference. The Labour party or trade unions of Australia have not been asked to elect men to go. They have been. asked to submit names to the Government. It is not wise that the statement should go abroad that our representatives have declined to do something that they were asked to do.
– What objection can there be to the Government selecting the men if they are your representatives?
– Just about the same objection that there would be if we asked for the right to select the Government nominees.
– But they are all your own nominees.
– Then what objection could there be to our selecting them?
– Why not?
– That is what T want to know.
– I explained at the time the difficulty there was in regard to the time available.
– That is what you said.
– I point out that the honorable senator is going beyond the scope of the motion.
– I feel sure T am, and I will not say any more on the’ subject. I come back now to a consideration of the- Treaty which will bind Great Britain, but not Australia, to protect France if France is attacked by Germany. To my mind it is a wise provision for the preservation of peace until the world gets back, if it ever does, to normal conditions. Perhaps my mind ‘ has been in a morbid state for some time, but I view with the gravest apprehension the general situation, not only in the world, but in Australia. If ever there was a time when calm counsels should prevail, that time is now. This is not a time for any sleight-of-hand tricks or smart practices, but a time for calm deliberation on the part of the people’s representatives in an attempt to unravel the most difficult problems that confront this country. Wherever I look I fail to see that the seriousness of the situation is being realized. We hear friendly remarks - and in this respect I am always pleased to hear remarks of such men as Senator Fairbairn, who, I can almost believe, is a Socialist himself - about the splendid position in which the Australian workers stand. - And I point out that
Labour has .never been behindhand in seeking to preserve peace between the nations. The Labour party, by the breadth of its outlook, has endeavoured to encourage the growth of brotherly feelings between ‘ the workers of. all nations, and I can see prospect of greater help being given to France, and a greater assurance of the world’s peace, by a consummation of the brotherhood of Labour organizations. If Australia, industrially and socially, occupies an enviable position as the outcome of the development of its Labour organizations, the employ ing classes of this country have not been injured in any way. The most prosperous years of the capitalistic classes have been when Labour governed Australia.
– I have never said that that was not so.
– The honorable senator remarked that labour had reached a very high level here. I can confirm that, and can add that that level has been reached without injuring the employing classes. I am aware of all the misunderstandings that have occurred; I admit them, as one of the narrow section in the Labour .party. I have no illusions about myself. Whether as a shearer’s organizer, or as a Labour senator, I have . always realized my own limitations. In years gone we have had to face much opposition when advocating our ideals. I do not forget the struggle for an eighthours day. I do not forget the antagonism of lie class which Senator Fairbairn so ably represents. I have not forgotten the warfare waged over the ideal of arbitration. Take the shearing industry, in which Senator Fairbairn represents the wealth df the country.
– On a point of order, ‘ may I ask, Mr. President, whether the honorable senator is speaking to the motion before the Senate?
– While matters such as this could be discussed upon the previous motion, seeing that the terms of the Labour covenant came within the purview of that debate, it is scarcely in order that similar arguments should be advanced at the present stage. Following, as this debate has done, immediately upon that just concluded, I have allowed Senator Gardiner very considerable latitude. I hope he will now connect his remarks with the motion, or that he will not pursue the subject much further.
– I shall endeavour to connect my remarks, but I have an idea that the motion vaguely purports to deal with our support of France in the event of aggression .by Germany. Senator Bakhap. - There is nothing vague or indirect about it.
– Then I will say, directly, if the honorable senator likes. I take the view that the protection to be afforded by linking up the organization of labour will prove to be much more tangible and valuable than any promise of military aid. I am endeavouring to point out what the organization of labour has done for the betterment of our own country. If I am not allowed to pursue that line of thought, however, I shall accept your ruling, Mr. Speaker. But I am bound to say that it was bad enough when you limited the time at my disposal to sixty minutes. Now, if my opportunities are to be governed by the degree of understanding on the part of honorable senators opposite, I shall be very considerably cramped.
– What about fouling your own nest, when you say that?
– I ask the honorable senator not to interject.
– I often wonder whether the interjections which punctuate my many attempts to address the Senate have not created this position, that, unless I am answering interjections, I am out of order.
– If you keep on a high level we shall all be delighted.
– It is given to very few honorable senators to reach the high level to which Senator Lynch lifts these debates.
– That is, when I am not provoked.
– I have refrained from provoking Senator Lynch, because I feel-that this is his and my last appearance in the Senate, and that it would be a pity if. we did not part on reasonable terms of friendship. We are both going to meet our deserts.
– Cheer up! Yon have survived worse ordeals.
– I do not know what aspects of this question I may discuss if I am not permitted to deal with the measure of security which we could afford- to France by linking up our labour organizations; I will say, by the hoisting of the red flag over all the countries of the world. By referring to the red flag, I do not infer that we should displace existing national emblems. I arn too thorough an Australian to suggest that; but I can see an immensely greater assurance of safety from aggression by Germany if France were united with us through our labour organizations. Wars cannot be fought without arousing the worst passions of mankind. When this, the greatest of wars, ended, the nations which suffered most sat down to frame the terms of peace. The principal parties concerned then drew up the agreement which the Senate is now debating. Torn and bleeding France faced a future with the realization that there -were 70,0.00,000 Germans on the other side of her borders-
– France should long ago have outnumbered those 70,000,000 Germans.
– Had her people been as vigorous as Senator Bakhap, she would have done so. I can appreciate the feelings of France as she recovered from the fearful blows rained upon her during the last five years. I can appreciate how she searched forthe greatest degree of protection which her Allies in the struggle could afford her. Naturally, she desired to face thefuture unhindered and unhampered by the fear that a German army, combined with Austrian and Russian forces, might march, without warning, across her frontiers. I regret to say, however, that I see no protection for France in the proposal contained in this motion. It will be at best but a temporary protection, for we know how quickly the passions of mankind are aroused. When we read of the sentiments expressed by. Britons concerning France only a hundred yearsago, weare prone to conjure up grave thoughts. Our British statesmen, sailors, and soldiers spoke in those days with the strongest feelings of passion and hatred against France.
– Many people held that England’s antagonism to France at that time was a mistake.
– I hold that viewquite firmly to-day. If we measure the possibilities of the future by the public feeling of a little more than a century ago, we are bound to admit that the passions within the breasts of the British people may conceivably arise again. What if, within the next twenty years, there came some fresh disturbing factor in which French and British interests were provoked ? What if the now hated Germans were found to be on the side of Britain.? This scrap of paper would be torn to shreds. No man can look uponworld-wide affairs without feelings of perturbation; that is, unless the League of Nations becomes an assured and commanding success. It is only a few years since the Fashoda incident occurred, when Kitchener raised the bluff too high for Marchand, and war between Britain and France was averted; for we were then as near to war with our ancient enemy and our great friend of to-day as any nations have been to war without actually breaking into hostilities. Are all such possibilities now done away with ? Are our friends of today never to be our enemies to-morro.w ? I hope that thesedays mark the dawn of a world-wide peace that will.be lasting; but I cannot help calculating the possibilities of the near and distant future. If Australiaexpands into thef ree : andindependent land that I hope to dive to seeher become, she will willingly and voluntarily go to thehelp of France in the event of.unprovoked aggression from beyond her frontiers. But we have no right to ibind the sentiments of our ipeople for twenty years to come.
– Every treaty that is made binds posterity to a certain extent.
– To a. certain, extent ifr does. All laws bind posterity. We British, of course, have never broken treaties. It has always been the other fellow.
– Notalways !
-The treaty broken ere the ink with which ‘twas writ was dry” I could stir the blood of Senator Lynch with my recollections of broken treaties.
– But the real Irishmen onyour side will never utter a word like that. It takes a renegade Like myself to do the talking.
– I think I had better get away from this subject.
– St. Patrick’s Day flag-flappers !
– Order. !
SenatorGARDINER. - If this be a sample of Irish greatness, all I can say is that it provides poor recompense for my having sided with the cause of Ireland in her darkest days. We are debarred from participating in those sentiments by reason of our nationality. But I cannot close my eyes to the fact that international troubles will possibly make our friends of. to-dayour enemies of tomorrow. It is useless to regard these agreements as binding upon us for all time. I can imagine a period, say, twenty years hence, whenSenator Lynoh will be sitting upon this side of the Chamber representing the true Labour movement, and Senator McDougall, Senator Ferricks, and myself will be seated upon the Treasury benches representing the Tories of this country. I can imagine the real Labour section of that day taunting the Tory Government with the fact that we once considered ourselves so radical that in 1919-20 we declined to recognise them as Labour representatives. But suppose that the Tory. Government of which I speak were to send troops across the water because of a breach of the agreement into which Senator Lynch and his friends are so anxious to enter.
– We do not get Tory Governments under adult suffrage.
– We are getting something much worse now. Adult suffrage appears to have resulted in the creation of a Parliament and of a Government which exhibit as much disregard for real liberty as do the worst tyrannies in the world. Lest I should be stopped by the President for having exhausted my sixty minutes I ‘intend to close myremarks by intimating that I shall refrain from moving the amendment which I have foreshadowed.
– The honorable senator will be well advised if he adopts that course.
– I will accept Senator Earle’s. advice. From his experience, as a one-time Labour Premier, he is fitted to offer it.
– Order! I would point out that it is entirely contrary to our Standing Orders, and to parliamentary practice, that an honorable senator should indicate his intention to move a certain amendment, and after practicallv having spoken to it. should intimate that he does not propose to proceed with it. The practice of the House of Commons is very clear on this point. A member is in honour bound to move an amendment of which he has given notice.
– With all due respect to you, sir, I am not going to accept you as a guidein matters of taste.
– As a matter of practice I have pointed out to the honorable senator what I conceive to be the. correct procedure.
– I will bow to your, decision in regard to the construction of our Standing Orders, but on. matters of taste you are no judge. I had foreshadowed a proposal which I intended to submit as an amendment to this motion. But. if I have argued myself out of it in the course of three-quarters of an hour, I see no reason why I should move it. I have not yet handed it up to the Chair, and no amendment is moved until it has been so handed up. Of course I would not be surprised if, under some old standing order, you can compel me to move it, and, as a matter of fact, very little compulsion will be necessary. I had practically finished my remarks when you. sir, intervened. I see in this resolution only the expression of pious hopes.
– A point of order has been raised-
– Who raised it?
– I raised it, as I have a perfect right to do. I would point out to Senator Gardiner that May,. 12th Edition, page 247, lays it: down -
When a member is at liberty to make a motion, he may speak in its favour, before he actually proposes it; but a speech is only allowed upon the. understanding, first, that he speaks to the question; and, secondly, that he concludes by proposing his motion formally.
He will see, therefore, that the practice to which I previously alluded is the recognised parliamentary one, and wasnot merely my dictum.
– I do not see anything in the quotation which you have read which bears out what you said. I indicated that I intended to move a certain amendment to this motion. But having reasoned myself out of it, I intimated that it was not my intention to proceed with that amendment. However, if you insist upon it I shall most certainly comply with the wishes of the Chair. These pious resolutions, which promise support to France, will be respected onlyso long as good feeling continues between the nations concerned. World complications may soon bring about a condition of things which will separate the Allies of to-day widely. For Britain and
America to promise support to France in the event of unprovoked aggression by
Germany is very well in its way-
– Why does not the honorable senator stand up to his amendment?
– I suppose that I could stand up to half-a-dozen amendments without appearing any worse in the eyes of Senator Lynch. If the motion be carried without a division it will be so much the better, but if honorable senators opposite desire a division, and dare me to take one, my reply is that I dare do all that becomes a man. Having addressed myself to this question I leave the matter as it stands.
– I accept .the intimation of Senator Gardiner in the’ spirit in which it was made, and I would like the motion to be carried unanimously. I would point out that Australia will -be a party to the agreement only in so far as she feels morally bound by the decisions of the Imperial Parliament, or of the Government of the Mother Country. In this motion we approve of the fact that Great Britain, America, and France have, entered into a certain agreement. That circumstance, however, does not put upon us the moral responsibility of actively participating in war. We may help France in many other ways; for example, by contributions either in money or in kind. But the great value of the agreement will arise from the fact that it will be a warning to Germany that, having signed a Peace Treaty at Versailles, she is in honour bound to give effect to its terms. I trust that the conditions of that Treaty will be observed.
– Can the Minister say whether any copies of the Treaty for the protection of France are available in Australia ?
– I . understand that there is no Treaty in existence, and that there is merely an affirmation that Great Britain and America will support France in case of aggression by Germany.
– Then this motion really indicates what Great Britain has signed.
– Yes. It is a clear indication to Germany that she will not be allowed to break the Peace Treaty to which she has subscribed. Since we cannot alter the agreement for the protection of France, I trust . that the Senate will unanimously agree to it.
– On one point only do I agree with the remarks of Senator Gardiner. He has said that it is almost unnecessary for us to’ discuss or ratify this agreement inasmuch as being’ a portion of the British Empire we are concerned with the obligations into which the Empire enters. Now “ Great Britain “ means in diplomatic language the British Empire. Foreign Ministers are accredited to His Britannic Majesty’s Court of St. James. The King of England, the head of our great Empire, is alluded to as “His Britannic Majesty,” and “ Great Britain “ does diplomatically and internationally embrace the British Empire. We are British subjects, and we cannot be in the Empire and out of it. Nor do I altogether agree with the remarks of the VicePresident of the Executive Council.
– They were remarks which were based on information received from the Solicitor-General.
– The SolicitorGeneral cannot be regarded as an authority upon international agreements. We have to deal with the spirit, as well as the letter, of this agreement. The spirit of the agreement is that this Senate in open session pledges its approval to an arrangement binding the British Empire to come to the assistance of France in’ the event of unprovoked aggression by Germany. This is an instance of that open diplomacy which we are all. inclined to applaud. It is not an agreement entered into by Ministers who will be responsible to Parliament. But Parliament itself, in open session,’ is called upon to approve an agreement which is supplementary to the Peace Treaty, and which is, indeed, part and parcel of it. The Treaty which we have just ratified is mentioned in this resolution. It is an agreement for the protection of France. In other words, it is a joint protectorate established by America and the British Empire to which, by passing this resolution, we should become signatories, even if we were not already part and parcel of the Empire. In other words, we are assisting to establish a protectorate over the French Republic against Germany. That consideration cannot be gainsaid. Do we not mean what we are saying? Surely we are not going to alfarm that we approve of this arrangement, and subsequently to say that itis not binding upon us, as Senator Gardiner seemed to infer? If so, we could then, in very truth, be charged with regarding the agreement merely as “a scrap of paper.” Let no honorable senator be under a misapprehension in regard to this matter. If he approves of this resolution he, in all honour, will commit Parliament to it. He will commit Australia to the full support of France in the event of that country being unprovokedly attacked by Germany.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council and myself do not think that it does that.
– With all due respect to my honorable friends I make the statement. This Parliament is too highminded to go behind the spirit and meaning of a resolution which it affirms. There is much in French civilization, and in the French character which claims the admiration of mankind.
It must surely be humiliating to a Frenchman to reflect that hi6 country cannot now be regarded as safe unless guaranteed by the other great Powers. I say to the French, notwithstanding my admiration for them, that it is their own fault that that is so. I am friendly to France and to the French people, and it is lamentable that I should have to say from my place here that, had French men and French women been true to themselves in, every respect; had. they acknowledged what was due to their race, they would not now have to get the guarantees of other nations to protect them against Germany. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) referred to the fact that Germany has. a population of 80,000,000 or 90,000,000, while France, we understand, has had her population reduced by the war from 38,000,000 to 34,000,000. In Napoleon’s day the French numbered over 30,000,000, and he, speaking of his struggle with the British Empire, said, “ Thirty millions of Frenchmen against 15,000,000 of British ! The result cannot be doubtful. History will repeat itself. Rome will destroy Carthage.” But Rome, by which he meant France, did not destroy Carthage the second time. Fortunatelv both Rome and Carthage, using his terms for France and England, survive to-day, and are now joining hand in hand to secure the liberties of mankind and their perpetuation. The point I wish to make now, however, is that, while at the time of the Napoleonic wars the population of Britain numbered only 15,000,000, it now numbers nearly 50,000,000; and France, whose population then was 30,000,000, has now only 34,000,000. In Napoleon’s day, there were 22,000,000 Germans, and now there are 80,000,000 or 90,000,000 Germans. It is because of the French disregard of the principles that make nations great that France hae been humiliated by having to seek the protection of other countries against Germany. Millions of unborn Frenchmen should now be inhabiting the tabernacles of the flesh. They should be helping us to fill the waste spaces of Australia, where they would be welcome. The French are too few in number. Their language is losing ground before that of the British. I say to them in the verse of one of their own poets -
Tis awful odds against the gods
When they will match with myrmidons,
These spawning, spawning myrmidons.
Their turn to-day; they take command-
Jove gives the globe into the hand
Of myrmidons, of myrmidons.
Jove will, indeed, give the globe into the hands of the fecund nations. Since the dawn of time the classic land of Gaul has been inhabited, and the French was the first of the Western nations to become civilized, and yet, afterall the centuries that have passed, she has a population now of only a little over 30,000,000, and has had to seek protection from, amongst others, theCommonwealth of Australia with a population of only 5,000,000, . in occupation of a territory that we have held only a little over a century. In another century, unless the French amend their ways, the population of Australia will outnumber that of France.Let the French take to heart the lesson that they are now being taught. That the French armies are insufficient for the protection of France, and that the French language is being less and less spoken throughout the world are facts due to the French disregard of the divine injunction to increase and multiply.
I have great pleasure in supporting the motion. I do so with the full consciousness that it commits the Australian Parliament and people to the protecting and supporting of the French nation should it be attacked by Germany without provocation.
– I do not agree with the remarks of the previous speaker when he says- that this motion is inseparably interwoven ‘with the Peace Treaty. While it may be supplementary to the Treaty of Peace so far as Great Britain and her Dominions are concerned, I do not think that such a proposition has been put before other countries which are signatories to the Treaty. It .cannot, therefore, have a general application, which shows that it is separate from the Treaty as a whole. I shall probably be told that, as the Senate has ratified the Treaty, we have agreed to the principle embodied in the motion. There is a very wide distinction, and it is one -to which I shall endeavour to draw attention. It will be found in Article 16 of the Treaty that all the League of Nations does in handling any member of the League which is inclined to get oat of bounds is to recommend to all signatory countries what’ their naval, military, and monetary contributions shall be, but it recommends ‘only. The Treaty does not lay it down that any country which is a signatory to it shall do certain things; all that is claimed by Article 16 is the power of recommendation. It is not compulsory to- accept any other interpretation of Article 16.
– Article 16 restrains a member of the League in any attempt to break away.
– Quite so. It can make a recommendation to a member of the League of Nations. The mere fact that this motion is. being submitted leads me to the conclusion that it has a binding effect upon any country or Parrliament which passes it,, and inevitably means the imposition of conscription. I was rather sorry that Senator Gardiner did not proceed with his- amendment, as I intended opposing the motion and supporting tlie amendment. I believe that in years to. come, if it became necessary to meet the position sought to be guarded against, no honorable senator or no party could disregard the ratification of this Treaty, or could fail to see what I. believe to be its corollary. I am, and always shall be, opposed to compulsory military service. I may be told that this proposal will be put in force only in a war of aggression against France by Germany. But well might we ask, What constitutes a war of aggression ? We were told, and believe, that the !recent ‘world war w,as one of aggression by Germany,, and any honorable senator who has perused the first . White Book issued will see that Russia - she was then one of our Allies - was convinced, as were the other Allied countries, by the news which was given to her,, and had no doubt in her mind, that Germany was the aggressor. While that was going on, the people of Germany were ‘fed up with the opposite view, which was made possible by the military or governmental control of telegraph and postal facilities and by the censorship. The German people were told that the Russians were the aggressors, and were about to attack Germany. In the future, as in the past/ it will be hard for people to assert which is the aggressor in an impending war. Each side will be given the news which suits the policy of a particular country or nation. May not the misrepresentations of the past be easily repeated in the future ?
– It is only the aggressor who is likely to mislead the people.
-. - One . must be right, but the difficulty would be to- decide which. I am concerned with the seriousness of the step which this Parliament, is asked to take, because 1 realize that. if ever the necessity should- arise to give effect to the motion, it would involve the compulsory service of Australians outside the Commonwealth. Article 16 of the Treaty is not so binding on a member of the League of Nations as this motion would be binding upon Great Britain: and her Dominions if they should ratify it. When we ratified the Treaty of Peace the document was. before us, but here we are asked to pass a motion giving our agreement to a document or agreement we have, never seen. We: may be- assured by the Leader of the- Senate that all’ is well, but we should not forget that, for quite seven years before it was generally known, as a matter of indisputable fact Great Britain was secretly committed to France from a naval stand-point prior to the recent war. Some guar.an.tee may be given by Great Britain which will have the effect of involving a,11 the Dominions of the British Empire in war under the arrangement we are now discussing. The people of Australia have by emphatic voice twice refused to consent to the prin- ciple of conscription of Australians for military serviceoverseas.
– Order ! That question does not arise upon, this motion, nor did it arise under the Treaty of Peace dealt with in a previous motion. This motion deals with the agreement that, should the stipulations in regard to the right hank of the Rhine under the” Treaty of Peace not be observed, and should Germany be the aggressor in an attack upon France, Great Britain shall come to the assistance of the latter country. Senator Gardiner was permitted to discuss the question of conscription only because he indicated it was his intention to submit an amendment which would have made that discussion in order. As the amendment was not moved, I cannot allow a discussion upon conscription, because the question does not arise under the motion.
– I see the point of yourruling, but I feel that a natural corollary of the acceptance of this motion is conscription of Australians for overseas military service. That is why I am opposed to the motion. If I shall be in theflesh when the “occasion for bringing this motion into effect arises-
– The honorable senator will have wings bythat time.
– I sincerely hope that I shall before another war occurs. If I am in the flesh when the occasion to put this motion into effect arises, I shall take the same exception then to conscription for overseas service as I have done in the past. Many changes occur in the passage of time, and it is not unreasonable to assume that great changes may occur in the countries referred to in this motion. I mentioned the other night that less than a brief score of years ago the South African Boers were held in great contempt by a large section of people in Austrafia. They were just as vilely regardedas were Germans during the recent war, and at the present time. We have seen a great change come about within a score of years, and in the opinion of people who twenty years ago were libelling them, the Boers have exalted themselves; Similar changes maybe brought about in the future, and realizing how uncertain is human nature, and how fickle is public andnational opinion, it is top great a responsibility for us to bind the people of Australia to go to the assistance of France in case of a war forced upon her, as we maybe told. It does not appeal to me that Australians should he compulsorily bound to military service overseas.
– They can judge that for themselves when the occasion arises.
– If the honorable senator or people of his class have the interpretation of this motion they will not leave the decision of the matter to the men who will be asked to fight. We have heard the statement made in this Chamber this afternoon that it is a pity that shells were not fired during the war into Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart, in order, as I think Senator Reid put it, “ to shoot down some of the ‘ slackers.’ “
– I said, “ to shake them up.”
– How can the honorable senator arrogate to himself the right to be a judge of any man who did not go to the war ? I feel that we are not justified in, passing a motionof this kind when the result which. I fear, might follow from its. acceptance by the Senate.
Heroic and gallant France suffered more during the war than probably any other country, with the exception, perhaps, of Belgium ; but we should remember that Australia has made some sacrifices, and we should not . bindAustralians in the future to go to the other side of the world whenever war is declared between France and Germany. That occasion may not arise un til long after the passing of this motion by the Senate has been forgotten, and, in the circumstances, the obligation which honorable senators would now. impose upon future Australians is, in my opinion, far too great. Seeing that Australia has twice recorded its emphatic vote against the policy which, I fear, may follow from the adoption of this motion, I feel that I am fully justified in opposing it.
Debate (on motion by Senator Pratten ) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Russell) proposed
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Senator McDOUGALL (New South for only a few minutes; but I wish’ to bring under tie notice of the Leader of the Senate a matter which I consider involves a grave injustice to a certain class of workers in this community; I refer’ to the position of the workers employed in the manufacture of candles in Australia. Wo are threatened with the closing up of the factories, because a monopoly is forcing upon the market candles made in India at a price lower than is charged in Australia foc the wax with which candles are made. This is done for the purpose of compelling Australian candle manufacturers to buy their paraffin wax from a certain Indian firm. We generally agree that the raw material necessary for manufacturers shall be admitted free of duty; but we have a right to see that our local manufacturers are properly protected, so that every factory in Australia may be kept going, and additional factories started. If we are going to allow one company to take charge of the Australian market by underselling the locally-manufactured article at the price charged for the raw material of its manufacture, we shall only succeed in throwing a number of our people out of employment. I quote the following from a letter which has been sent to me : -
You will sec by this letter that’ the peculiar part of it is that the Rangoon Company are selling at the present time both candles and wax in Australia, and really are selling the candles to force the Australian manufacturers to buy their wax. As a matter of fact, they practically say, “ Buy your wax from us, and us only, and we will not offer candles.” As we decline to tie ourselves to one particular firm for the purchase of our raw material, they are selling sufficient candles in Australia today to make us feel that we must either accept their terms, and buy their wax, or we must run the risk of being flooded with Indianmade candles.
That is from the president of the Candle Manufacturers Association. I quote also from another letter the following statement : -
The Burmah Oil Company, of Rangoon India, for which firm Messrs. Gollin and Co. are direct agents, offer, and are selling, their candles and their paraffin wax to-day in Australia, and, we believe, in New Zealand; the candles at such a price as would entail the colonial maker in an absolute loss on the material itself, allowing nothing at all for labour or manufacturing expenses.
They are to-day selling candles at 7d. per lb., and exactly the same price is charged for the paraffin wax from which candles are manufactured in Australia. That does not allow local manufacturers one cent for labour and all other expenses of manufacture.” I bring this matter under the notice of the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) in order that some action may be taken to protect local manufacturers. I do not offer advice as to the action which should be taken, but I say that the Government should in some way assist those engaged in this industry to keep their factories open. They should not allow a monopoly to drive the local manufacturers out of the market. I will hand my correspondence to the Minister in the hope that he will put it before the proper authorities and see whether something cannot be done to protect the interests of manufacturers, who are working under an award of the Arbitration Court and paying good wages to their em,ployees, against the competition of candles made by Indian cheap labour and sold for less than Australian manufacturers have to pay for their raw material.
– I should like to say a word or two in support of the complaint put before the Senate by Senator McDougall. As far as I can see, this is a most glaring case of dumping, and a very serious interference with an Australian industry. I am sure that, the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) will see that the matter is thoroughly investigated. I suppose that the Department that will deal with it is the Department of Trade and Customs, but I trust that Senator Russell will see that it is not allowed to escape attention .if the facts are as stated by Senator McDougall.
– I hope that the Minister will fully investigate the complaint made by Senator McDougall and supported by Senator Pratten. It carries my mind back with a very vivid recollection to an occasion on which the Senate first considered the imposition of duties upon candles in connexion with our first attempt to. formulate an Australian Tariff. Were it not for the actual names used by Senator McDougall, I would almost have supposed that some Tasmanian friends of mine and manufacturers in that State were making a complaint against certain Sydney firms who were dumping their candles into Tasmania at the time to which I refer, and were insisting upon the candle manufacturers of Tasmania purchasing their paraffin wax from them, and from them alone, under the threat of the absolute extinction of the industry in the island State if those engaged in it did not accede to their terms. There was a monopoly then in Sydney that was determined to become an Australian monopoly. They ‘wished to fix the price of paraffin wax and the price at which candles should be sold in Tasmania. That was not considered a fair thing by those who had established Bound businesses in the island State at that time. I hope that the Minister will investigate the circumstances referred to by Senator McDougall, and in doing so he might look up therecords of similar complaints lodged against Sydney firms in the early days when the first Federal Tariff was under consideration. If necessary, he might get one of his officers to turn up the debates in this Senate. If he does so, he will find perhaps that what is being done to-day in connexion with these concerns in Sydney is just what the Sydney people taught the foreign exploiter to do by their practices against Tasmanian competitors.
– It was not done by cheap labour employers, though.
– I am not concerned with that point. I know it was complained they were dumping candles in Tasmania and selling them at a price at which the people of New South Wales could not obtain them. They were underselling and blotting the Tasmanian firms out of existence. Unfortunately they succeeded; for we found, as we proceeded’ up the Tamar River, that the candle factories of the island State were untenanted because of this dumping process on the part of fellow-citizens in other parts of Australia. I admit, that in the present instance the dumpers are beyond the confines of the Commonwealth, but they are within the Empire. I mention these circumstances because I think they will enable the Minister and the Department of Trade and Customs to more thoroughly and exhaustively investigate the matter and ascertain what grievances are actually being sustained by these firms in Sydney.
SenatorGARDINER (New South Wales) [10.32]. - I am not surprised at Senator Keating’s remarks about Free Trade New South Wales being able at one time to manufacture candles more cheaply, with dearer labour, than Tasmania, with cheaper labour.
– Wages were not higher in New South Wales then.
– I invite the honorable senator, if he is going to look up the facts, to ascertain the relative wages paid in New South Wales and Tasmania in pre-Federal days. I can speak with an accurate memory on these matters, and know that wages in New South Wales were higher than those prevailing in Tasmania, proving that with shorter hours and good wages in New South Wales employers got better results.
– Then why did they not supply the New South Wales people with candles at the price at which they were dumping themin Tasmania.
– There, again, it was the question of good wages. The rest of the people in New South Wales enjoyed such high wages, and good living conditions, that they could afford to pay more for their candles.
– Then why cannot they compete with the cheap labour in Rangoon now?
– Because we have had about seventeen years of Protection. The honorable senator asked for my reason, and I have given it, though I may be wrong. I realize, of course, that Australia will have to take very fine caro that her industries do not go out of existence. We ought to devise some system of subsidies by which they may be enabled to carry on without making commodities dearer to the Australian people.
– I have no doubt that what Senator McDougall has mentioned merits careful inquiry. I agree with the sentiment that Australian industries should be protected against dumping. The question raised by the honorable senator will receive consideration .
Questionresolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.36 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 October 1919, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1919/19191001_senate_7_89/>.