8th Parliament · 2nd Session
ThePresident (Senator theHon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
Imputation of Motives.
– I ask the Vice-
President of the Executive Council whether, during the course of the debate last night, in alluding to me as having acted selfishly during the consideration of the Tariff in this Chamber, he meant that I acted out of consideration for my own interests rather than those of the people of Western Australia, who sent mehere?
– The honorable senator intimated to me that he intended to ask this question. I have looked up the Hansard proof of my speech to see what I really did say which had caused the honorable senator some uneasiness. I do not see anything in the report of my speech which would indicate that I had charged the honorable member with selfishness in the true sense of that word, as against the interests of his electors. I notice that, in speaking on the criticism offered by Senator Lynch, I said -
If honorable senators could only forget their personal interests for a few minutes, and look at this question from the point of view of the nation,their criticism would be much more beneficial.
Senator Lynch took exception to that statement, and said -
I hope the Minister is not imputing personal motives to me.
I replied -
The honorable senator was once a pronounced Protectionist, but he went on the land. Since then he has become a Free Trader, and wants agricultural machinery and all farm implements to be admitted free.
I do not desire to impute any selfish or unworthy personal motives to the honorable senator, but I do want to say that during the discussion of the Tariff he did not, in my opinion, take up an attitude that was consistent with his previous attitude on the question of Protection. That is just the point. I do not for a moment desire to say that Senator Lynch or any other honorable senator took any unworthy course in the debate last night.
– That is all right.
– But I do say that Senator Lynch’s action was not consistent with the action which he took a few years ago.
– The honorable senator admits that I did not act out of consideration for my own interests.
– In view of the statement just made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, that practical experience on the land made a Free Trader of Senator Lynch, I ask the Minister whether he will take steps to put the Tariff Board on the land ?
– I did not quite catch the point of the honorable senator’s question.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Will the Minister have regulations drafted to provide -
That all sittings of the Tariff Board shall be held in public?
That all evidence tendered before the Board shall be given in public?
That no decision of the Tariff Board shall take effect until ratified by Parliament?
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers: - 1 and 2. No. Asmuch of the evidence given discloses the private business of the firms or persons affected, it must be regarded asconden tial.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Motion (by Senator Bakhap) agreed to -
That one month’s leave of absence, dating from 23rd September, 1022, be granted to Senator Foster on account of ill- health?
Bill read a third time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator E. D. Millen) read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Earle) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a third time.
– Last night Senator Lynch introduced a note into the debate on the Customs Tariff Bill which, to me personally, was exceedingly offensive. He made statements which I cannot allow to go unchallenged. The honorable senator suggested that in supporting the Bounties Bill I did something which was inconsistent with the attitude which I took up on the Customs Tariff Bill and throughout the debate on the Tariff.
– The honorable senator is evidently a student in the university which makes Free Traders of men who go on the land.
– I admit that Ihave gained some experience. The man who goes through life without gaining something from his experience makes but very little use of his brains. I do not deny the fact that since I have been connected with the land I have to some extent modified my views with regard to protective duties. But I never was an extreme Protectionist. I never supported excessive protective duties to my knowledge, but have always taken a careful and moderate view of each duty proposed. I might be called a moderate Protectionist. I would point out that the charge of fiscal inconsistency is such a common charge that there has never been a member of the Senate against whom it might not be made. Ihave never known either a Free Trader or a Protectionist who has not slipped on some little item or another, and against whom the charge of fiscal inconsistency might not havebeen made, and Senator Lynch is included, as the quotation read by Senator Pearce from Hansard last night proves.
– Is this argument for the passing of the third reading of this Bill, or for its rejection?
– It is an argument that is quite in accord with the Standing Orders, and I propose to continue to address myself to the measure if the Leader of the Senate will permit me. The Bill which was submitted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Earle) was quite consistent with the principle of assisting native industries. Whether they are assisted by duties or by bounties, the underlying principle is the same. In each case the desire is to assist and foster native industries. In the circumstances, there was nothing inconsistent in my action in supporting the measure. I believe that I took up a reasonable attitude on the second reading of the Customs Tariff Bill, and I then enunciated the principle that was going to guide me throughout the debates on the Tariff schedule.
Sitting suspended from 11.15 a.m. to 12.15 p.m.
-(Senator the Hon. T. Givens). - Idesire to inform the Senate that, accompanied by honorable senators, I this day waited upon His Excellency the Governor-General and tendered to. him the reply to His Excellency’s Speech at the opening of Parliament, when His Excellency was pleased to make the following reply: -
It gives me much pleasure to receive the Address which has been adopted by the Senate in reply to the Speech which I delivered on the occasion of the Opening of the Second Session of the Eighth Parliament of the Commonwealth. . I desire to thank you for your expression of loyalty to His Majesty the King.
– I regret that, at this stage of the Bill, it is necessary for me to speak in this way. The Tariff was quite an open question so far as the Government were concerned. There was no attempt to tie down supporters to vote one way or the other in respect of any item, and, accordingly, I resent the statement, made by Senator Lynch last night that in supporting this Bill we are making a sort of death-bed repentance, and that we have changed our opinions because we heard the rattle of the ballot-box. I have, on all occasions, done my “bit” for the farming industry. I can. prove that my attitude has been consistent throughout on the question of Customs duties and bounties. In my second-reading speech on the Tariff, I said-
It is only in a general way at this the second-reading stage of the Tariff that we can define our attitude. I propose to approach the framing of the Tariff so that our industries may be developed to the highest capacity. I think it will be accepted as a general principle by Free Traders and Protectionists alike, that big and important industries employing large numbers of persons and which receive no aid from the Tariff ought not to be hampered by any attempt to foster very much smaller industries.
Then I went on to refer to the passing on of duties levied on our primary industries, and I said -
Neither the wheat industry nor the gold in dustry can pass on any burdens we levy on them, for the simple reason that they have to sell their products in the open markets of the world. They come into competition with the cheap labour of the world.
I argued that tools of trade were generally recognised by both Free Traders and Protectionists as articles that should not be taxed. I took up that attitude all through the Tariff debate. I have had a considerable experience in the business of framing Tariffs in this Chamber. Eight through my attitude has been quite consistent and reasonable, and I have always been able to satisfy my constituents on this point. I just hate to introduce the personal note into our proceedings. My presence in this Chamber is a standing proof of that. Therefore, I resent Senator Lynch’s remarks. I could understand a political opponent hurling taunts at another opponent, but I cannot understand one’s own political friend, and particularly one coming from the same State, taunting supporters of this Bill - which shifts a burden of taxation from the shoulders of the farming section to the broader shoulders of the whole community - with death-bed repentance or with inconsistency because they hear the rattle of the ballot-box. I take this opportunity to make my position clear.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ amendments) :
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - In sert the following new clause: - “ 1a. The several sections of this Act shall commence on such dates as are respectively fixed by proclamation.”
.- I move-
That the amendment be agreed to.
The effect of the amendment is to add a new clause to enable the different parts of the Act to be brought into operation by separate proclamation. It is not certain that this will be necessary, but there is a contingency, such as a by-election in the event of the general election not being held within the next few months, and it is advisable to have this authority to issue separate proclamations, in respect of certain portions of the Act. There is no other particular reason, and the contingency I have mentioned is, of course, very remote.
Motion agreed to.
Consequential amendments in clause 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
After section 72 of the principal Act the following section is inserted: - “ 2. A group shall include the names of those candidates only who notify the Commonwealth Electoral Officer for the State in the prescribed manner after they have been nominated, and not later than twelve o’clock noon onthe day of nomination, that they desire to have their names included in that group with the names of the other candidates in that proposed group, and with those names only.”
House of Representatives’ Amendments. -
Line 2, omit “ who notify “ and insert “ each of whom notifies”; line 4, omit “they have”, and insert “he has”; line 6, omit “they desire”, and insert “he desires”; line 7, omit “ their names “, and insert “ his name “.
SenatorPEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for Home and Territories) [12.27]. - I move-
That the amendments be agreed to.
When the Bill was under consideration, Senator Garling submitted a suggested amendment, which he thought ought to be made to this clause. We did not accept it at the time, but I promised to give it consideration. It has been considered by the Chief Electoral Officer and the Soli- citor-General, who, whilstbelieving that the original clause was workable, nevertheless think that Senator Garling’s suggestion is an improvement, and so it has been accepted in the form in which it was inserted in another place.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 8 (Person claiming to vote whose name is noted under section 91).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit “section” and insert “sections 39 and”;.
.- I move-
That the amendment be agreed to.
This is purely a drafting amendment, and is consequential on certain other amendments that have been made to the Bill.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 12 (Numbering of ballotpapers).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit this clause.
.- I move-
That the amendment be agreed to.
As honorable senators will note, this clause provides for the numbering of the ballot-papers, and it has been struck out in the House of Representatives. The reasons actuating the Government in dropping the proposed numbering of the ballot-papers were these: We still think it would be an improvement to have the ballot-papers numbered to obviate any difficulty that may crop up in a closely contested election; but, as honorable senators are well aware, there is the contingency of a general election in consequence of the situation in another place, and the Commonwealth Electoral Officer has notified the Government that, unless considerable time were allowed, serious difficulties would arise in connexion with the printing of the ballotpapers. He made careful inquiries as to the labour that would be involved in numbering the ballot-papers, and ascertained that this work would take a considerable time. The ballot-papers, assuming clause 12 were retained, would have to be numbered serially, and very carefully checked. Altogether, it is a much more cumbersome process than merely printing the ballot-papers, and the Chief Electoral Officer would be unable to get them printed in time in the form proposed if an election were held at comparatively short notice. In the circumstances the Government thought it would be too big a risk to take. It was decided to withdraw the proposal from the Bill, with the full intention, later of bringing it forward again when the circumstances will be such that we shall have time to make sure of having the ballot-papers printed. We did not feel justified in taking a risk of not having the : ballot-papers ready for an election.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 13 -
Section one hundred and thirteen of the principal Act is amended by omitting the word “shall” (second occurring) and inserting in its stead the word “ may “.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit this clause.
.- I move-
That theamendment be agreed to.
This was a proposition put forward by the Electoral Department to overcome a difficulty that had arisen, and was disclosed in one of the cases of disputed elections that came before the Court. The proposal was to omit the word “ shall “ and insert the word “ may “ in regard to certain classes of votes. Objection was taken in the House of Representatives thatthat would give too much discretion to the Returning Officers, and the House felt that it would take the risk of possible difficulties that might arise, if there was a disputed election. It omitted the word “ may,” and went back to the word “ shall.” The electoral officers think that it. would be better to have the word “ may,” but Parliament takes a different view.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 24 (Officers to maintain secrecy of voting).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit this clause.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed’ to.
This amendment is consequential on the omission of the clause providing for the numbering of the ballot-papers.
Motion agreed to.
Consequential amendments in clauses 25, 26, and 29 agreed to.
Clause31 (Form ofballot-paper for Senate election).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. -
Omit footnote, insert ‘the following footnote: - “ Note.- The letter ‘ A’ or ‘ B’ or ‘ C ‘ etc., appearing : before the square opposite a candidate’s surname indicates that that candidate and each other candidate who has the same letter appearing before the square opposite his surname have been groupedby mutual consent.
The fact -that no -letter appears before the square opposite a candidate’s surname indicates that the name of that candidate has not been included in any group.”.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
This is purely an amendment to improve the draftsmanship.
Motion agreed to.
Resolutions reported; report adopted.
– I move -
That this Bill ‘be now read a second time.
The object of the measure is to bring the Senate Elections Act of 1903 into line with the amending electoral legislation of 1918-19. Honorable senators will remember that since the Senate Elections Act of 1903 came into force, we have passedlegislation that alters the system by which the counting of the ballotpapers was conducted, because we have introduced preferential voting, and we have three counts or four counts, according to the number of vacancies. Therefore the 1903 Act for the filling of casual vacancies is not now consistent with the present system of counting ballot-papers and deciding an election. The language of the present Senate Elections Act is not consistent with that employed in later electoral legislation, and is liable to lead to considerable confusion, and, indeed, did occasion the lodging -of a petition by exSenator Mulcahy, after the Senate elections held in 1919. The Court, whilst upholding the position taken up by the Electoral administration in the Mulcahy petition, indicated that it would be advisable to ask that the Act be amended.
The Bill deals with the filling of casual vacancies, as to which there is no satisfactory law forthe guidance of the Electoral administration, where in an election there are such vacancieswith differing unexpired periods of service. In a Senate election, to fill periodical and casual vacancies, there would invariably be three periodical vacancies, and there might be one or more casual vacancies. A casual vacancy might be for the period ending on the 30th June next following the date of the election, which might, for the sake of brevity, be described as a short casual vacancy, or it might be for three years after the 30th June next following the date of the election, herein referred to as a long casual vacancy. For example, e.g., the term of a senator who was elected at the election held on the 5th May, 1917, will expire on the 30th June, 1923, and that of a senator elected on the 13th December, 1919, will expire on the 30th June, 1926. If the seat of one of the senators elected for a State on the 5th May, 1917, or the seat of a senator elected for a State on the 19th December, 1919, becomes vacant, or if in any one State both of these contingencies arise, it will be necessary at the next . general election for the House of “Representatives or the next election of senators, whichever first happens, to fill these casual vacancies, as well as the periodical vacancies which will occur by effluxion of time, on 1st July, 1923.
It is obvious that in filling three periodical vacancies and one short casual vacancy, if a candidate who at the time of election is a senator, is fourth on the list in order of success, he cannot be declared elected to fill the casual vacancy terminating on the 30th June next following, inasmuch as (although defeated at the elections) he is a senator until that date. Therefore the Bill provides, in proposed new section 9 (1), that a short casual vacancy shall . befilled by one of the candidates elected to fill a periodical vacancy, namely, the -first ‘candidate not being at the ‘time of the election a senator, who is elected in accordance with the provisions of section 135 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act. If there are more short casual vacancies than one, they will be filled successively in the same way by one of the candidates (not being a senator) elected to fill one of the periodical vacancies.
Where a long casual vacancy is to be filled, it is proposed that the candidate, whether a senator at the time of election or not, who next after the periodical vacancies have been filled first receives an absolute majority of the votes at the scrutiny, shall be elected to fill that casual vacancy, but -subject to the condition that if he be a senator at the time of the election he must have lodged with the Commonwealth Electoral Officer at the date of nomination a form of resignation to take effect only if he is elected to fill the casual vacancy. This provision is necessary in orderthat an elected candidate who is a senator at the date of election may fill the vacancy as from that, date, it being properly considered that a senator cannot at one and thesame time fill two vacancies. In the filling of a long casual vacancy a senator candidate is thus given the same opportunity as a candidate who is not a senator, provided that he shall have lodged -a conditional resignation on or before nomination day.
The Law officers have considered it advisable to include in the Bill (clause 7) provisions to meet the possible, though extremely improbable, contingency of a Senate election in which the number of candidates does not exceed the number of the vacancies, and the whole matter to be determined is the question as to which candidates are to fill -
The second principle of the Bill is that long casual vacancies are filled in turn by the fourth, fifth, &c, candidates; with the proviso that a senator candidate will not be in the running for a long casual vacancy unless he has lodged with the returning officer a conditional resignation of the balance of his current term. Of course, when a senator candidate is thus elected for a long casual vacancy, his resignation of the tail-end of his current term will leave a short casual vacancy which cannot be filled at that election. That vacancy - if the period is long enough to make it worth while - can be filled under section 15 of the Constitution.
One other adjustment has , to be made. Section 82 of the Electoral Act provides that, where no more candidates are nominated than there are vacancies, there need be no poll, but the candidates nominated shall be declared elected. This provision requires- some modification, to- provide for a- poll being taken ire every case when that is necessary to determine the allotment of the. casual vacancies - long or short.
Now I come to an illustration-. Let us assume that there are retiring senators, and that there are one “ short casual “ and one “long casual” vacancy; that Allen and Brown, the two retiring senators, are both candidates; that Campbell, Dolton, Edwards, Frost, and Green, all non-senators, are also candidates; and that the result of’ the poll is -
The. six-year terms., from the 1st July. 1923. to the 30th June, 1929, would so to Allen, Campbell, and Brown, the three first elected. The “ short casual “ vacancy - from the date of the election to the 30th June, 1923 - would go to Campbell, the first . non-senator to be elected. It would make no difference if Campbell already held a “ casual “’ place by appointment. Thus Campbell would be able to take his seat at once, and would hold it until 30th June, 1929. Allen and Brown would take their seats on the 1st July, 1923. The “ long casual “ vacancy would go to Frost, who would take his seat at once and hold’ it until the 30th June. 1926. On the other, hand, if the result of the poll were -
Campbell would still get the “ short casual “ vacancy as well as the six-year term : Allen and Frost would get six-year terms; and Brown would get the “ long casual “ vacancy (from- the date of the election to the 30th June, 1926), provided he had lodged his conditional resignation.
The system is applicable to all possible combinations of “ long casual “ or “ short casual” vacancies; and’ to every possible order of election of senator and nonsenator candidates. It gives the fullest effect to the votes, of the majority, both as to “ short casuals “ and “ long casuals.” Where there are only “ short casual “ vacancies to be filled, a party need not run any other candidates than the normal three. Where there are “ long casual “ vacancies to be filled, a party can run extra candidates to make up the number. If the party has a majority and votes the full ticket, its three highest will get the three six-year seats and any “ short casual “ vacancies there may be; the next in order will get any “ long casual “ vacancies there may be.
I recognise that it is very difficult for honorable senators to follow an explanation of a Bill so involved as this, and therefore I have no objection, if honorable senators wish it, to adjourning the debate so that they may obtain copies of my speech from Hansard and examine it. The Government has no desire to get other than a just and workable system. I would ask the Senate, however, to put the Bill through quickly so that it can go to another place early next week. I would impress upon honorable senators that there is considerable risk in what may happen in regard to casual vacancies if an election should occur before we pass this Bill.
– What would be the position if the Bill were not passed ?
– We would be thrown back upon the Senate Elections Act of 1903, which did not contemplate the system of counting which we now have, and did not contemplate preferential voting, which led to the difficulty in Tasmania. I therefore wish to impress upon honorable senators, and especially upon those who will retire at the coming election, that the law as it stands should be amended so as to make sure that the difficulty to which. I have referred will not recur.
Debate (on motion by Senator
Debate resumed from 20th; September (vide page 2441), on motion by Senator
That this Bill be now read a second time.
.- I understand that the object of the Bill is to give the House of Repre sentatives, a representative from the Northern Territory who shall have a voice but not a vote. I want to say immediately, so that there may be no time lost in stating my opinion, that I am unhesitatingly against the proposal. I cannot see any rhyme or reason in it. I know that there are people who say that taxation without representation is a principle that is opposed to all ideas of British justice, but there is such a thing as riding even a principle to death. Seeing that this is the main reason which has been given in support of the Bill, I think it would not be amiss for the Senate to know exactly how much taxation the people of the Northern Territory pay. In the Budget-papers I find that £91,000 was paid in general administration. In addition to that, Australia has to meet an interest bill on loans of another £90,000. Then there is a loss on the working expenses of the railway to Katherine River amounting to £30,000. In round figures, there is a total loss of £210,000 a year. I am not quite sure that it would be fair to debit the Northern Territory with the whole of the loss on the Port Augusta to Oodnadatta railway. My case is so strong that it is not necessary to be unfair, although the railway is obviously some advantage to the people of the Northern Territory. There is a’ loss on this railway of £141,000 a year, and the working expenses alone are £53,000. In another part of the Budget the loss on the Northern Territory is set down at £218,000. What are the receipts as against that ? There are general taxation, £43,951; and railway receipts, £14,370. Included in the receipts from general taxation is an item of £7,600 earned by the Post Office. I think it is hardly fair to designate the Post Office receipts as taxation, for they represent payment for services rendered. I am sorry to say that we are making the Australian Post Office a tax-collector. We are charging more than we ought for postage. In the Northern Territory, however, the Post Office is not a tax-collector, because, while it costs £25,000 to run, the people there pay only £7,600 towards it, the balance of £18,000 being contributed by the people of the Commonwealth generally. I think it would be legitimate to deduct the £7,000 from the £43,000. If the Post Office in Australia incurs a loss the people of the Commonwealth have to make it good, but if there is a loss on the Post Office in the Northern Territory, it is not the people of the Territory, but the people of the Commonwealth, who have to meet it. The working expenses of the railway are £30,000 a year, apart from interest, and the revenue is £14,000. It is not fair to reckon that £14,000 as taxation, because it is payment for services rendered. Those services might have been rendered by a private company. It cannot be said that the railway in the Northern Territory is a tax-collector when the working expenses alone, apart from interest, are £30,000, as against a revenue of £14,000. Other items of revenue are Customs and Excise, £4,500; Territory taxation - 1 do not know exactly what that means - £20,000; land and income tax, £9,000; and miscellaneous, £9,000. Ignoring the Oodnadatta Railway, the Budget shows a deficiency of £218,000. If the people of the Territory are paying about £40,000 for services rendered, and the people of Australia outside the Territory are paying £218,000, plus the £40,000, in order to make up the deficiency, the people of the Territory ought to be satisfied, and if they are not, I know of nothing in the heavens above, in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth that would satisfy them.
– That is not the point. They have never had any voice in that expenditure. They are not responsible.
– If they would be prepared to administer the Northern Territory on an expenditure of £43,000, they could have representation; in fact, I would give them a Parliament of their own, and they could have Home Rule.
– ‘Would the ‘honorable senator be willing to hand the Territory back to the British Government and let them make it a Crown colony ?
– I would be willing to give it back to South Australia if they wanted it. From the stand-point of taxation without representation, it seems to me that there is little to be said, when we hear in mind that about £250,000 a year is spent there and the people of the Territory contribute only a little over £40,000.
– Before the adjournment I was dealing with the question of taxation without representation, and had shown that the people of the Northern Territory have little to complain of, seeing that the bulk of the expenditure on the Territory was paid by people in other parts of the Commonwealth. If there is anything in the argu-ment that there should not be taxation without representation it applies with greater force to Papua, and I should like to know why the Government do not bring in a Bill to give the people in that Territory representation in this Parliament. In the Budget-papers the cost of government in Papua is £115,000, of which the people in that Territory contribute £85,000; the only amount which they receive from the Federal Government is a donation of £30,000 a year. I have not made any allowance for the amounts which are being spent in an endeavour to discover mineral oil in Papua, the expenditure on which is quite apart from ordinary administrative costs. If taxation and representation should go together the people of Papua have a greater claim to representation in this Parliament than those in the Northern Territory.
– Have not the people in Papua some form of government of their own?
– I believe they have, but on that point, perhaps, the Minister (Senator Pearce) will give s some information. It is some years since I have been directly associated with Papua; but if I remember aright they have a Council, a majority of the members of which are Government officials. The other members, I believe, are selected by the Government.
– Some of the members are elected, and others are nominated by the Government.
– The majority,. I believe, are ex officio members, and as the Minister does not seem quite clear on the point, I am inclined to believe that those who are not Government officials are nominated, and not elected. I have no recollection of a Bill or an Ordinance being passed by this Parliament to give the people a vote. If the Council is constituted as I have suggested, and the Government wish to give effect to their policy the members of the Council are naturally supposed to support the Government.
– They are not singular in that respect.
– Perhaps not. A measure passed by -the Council cannot become effective unless it has been sanctioned by the Minister.
– That is so.
– When I was a Minister, an Ordinance of which I did not approve was submitted, and, consequently, it was not adopted. If that practice still prevails the Minister has full control. I would not hesitate for a moment in assisting to give to the people of the Northern Territory a Council similar to that in Papua, and that should be the first step in ‘the direction of granting the people of the Northern Territory representation in this Parliament. Arguments have been adduced from time to time concerning the representation of American States in Congress, and it has been said that some representatives cannot vote. If taxpayers of the Northern Territory are to have representation in this Parliament, the people of Papua, even though they have a local Council, should also be given a similar privilege. Papua is much further away, and honorable senators have not the time, or the opportunity, to visit even the Northern Territory, quite apart from journeying to Papua. We are continually receiving information concerning the Northern Territory through the press, and from various other sources, but we obtain very little detailed information concerning Papua. I do not think we should be asked to discuss Bills in this Chamber which have passed another branch of the Legislature until we have had an opportunity of perusing the speeches which nave been delivered on them in that Chamber. This is a Chamber of review, and it appears to me that we should have that privilege.
– How many would do it if they had the chance?
– We ought . to have the opportunity. In this instatnce, however, the Hansard report is available. I believe I am justified in saying that the most ardent supporters of the measure in another place - the Government supporters were not particularly keen, and there certainly was not a very enthusiastic speech delivered by the Minister who introduced the Bill - were the members of the Labour party. Those who gave the measure their support, however, condemned it because the proposed representative would not have a vote, and they very pointedly asked what was the use of a representative attending Parliament if he could not vote. If we. wish to relieve the discontent which prevails, we shall have to adopt other measures, because I do not think representation without a vote will be regarded as satisfactory. If the people of the Northern Territory will be contented with this they must have very little of which to complain. The Leader of the Opposition in another place (Mr. Charlton)-
-(Senator the Hon. T. Givens). - It is contrary to the rules of the Senate for an honorable senator to refer to the . deliberations in . another place.
– I shall abide by your ruling, sir; but it seems rather unfortunate that we should be prevented from referring to the utterances in another Chamber when we can quote statements made by persons outside.
– The honorable senator has had sufficient parliamentary experience to know that there is a way in which it can be done.
– There are persons who speak with some authority who are anxious that the Territory should have representation and who have expressed the opinion that there will be considerable indignation as soon as the residents of the Northern Territory realize that their representative will not have a vote.
– The people of the Northern Territory have known of this for months, and the proposal meets with their approval.
– By whom has it been approved? Some have supported the Bill on the understanding that it is only a preliminary measure, and after it has been passed they will urge for an amending Bill to give the representative a vote. If a party were likely to receive the vote of such a representative, and it had a majority in both Houses, it would soon see that the position was altered.
– If it had a majority in both Houses they could introduce a Bill to that effect.
– What is the use of a representative attending if he has not a vote?
– ‘What is the use of any one making speeches?
– When a member of another Chamber I noticed, when divisions were likely to be close, that the Prime Minister was always anxious to know what a particular member was going tosay because he would generally vote according to the opinions he expressed.Some timeago I read the following concerning a scene in the House of Lords: -
I recall a scene in the session of 1900 that fluttered the dovecotes of the House of Lords. It arose upon a Bill dealing with the Licensing question. The Bishops, headed by the Primate, raised the standard of . revolt, Dr. Temple himself moving an amendment hostile to the intentions and policy of the Government. Matters looked so serious that . the Premier took the extreme course of making the pending division one of confidence in the Government. The Bishops were alarmed. Dr. Temple hurriedly arose to assure the Premier that, although as a matter of duty he had proposed on amendment, he had not in the slightest degree lost his confidence in the Government. “ The Most Reverend Prelate,” growled Lord Salisbury, turning his back to the Episcopal bench, “may say what he likes; what I care for is what he does.”
– They will not send a bishop from the Northern Territory.
– My point is that what the Leader in any Parliament wants to know is how a member is going to vote. An honorable senator may say what he pleases, but it is only when a division is likely to be very close that he is carefully listened to. Very little attention will be paid in another place to a representative of the Northern Territory there who has a voice but no vote. He will be listened to only as were the words of the dukes of Edom. Senator Pearce, as a Cabinet Minister of long standing, will admit the truth of what I say.
Before the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth the residents had the right to vote for two members of the South Australian Parliament, and the fact that on the transfer of the Territory to the Commonwealth they lost that privilege of parliamentary representation was the cause of some discontent. About 250 people in the Northern Territory had the right to return two members to the South Australian Parlia ment, whilst at the same time South Australian constituencies containing 20,000 or 30,000 people could return no more than three representatives. I certainly should have opposed that, but if the people of South Australia did not consider it unfair it was a matter for themselves to decide. I think the time has come when mere area should not be considered a basis of representation. We know that there was a time in English history when persons represented what were called “ pocket boroughs,” in which there were only a very few votes. That time is past and gone. We have moved with the times, and people should now be the only basis of representation. We are invited to believe that if the Northern Territory is represented in another place by a voice and not by a vote, conditions in the Territory will be improved, and great things will be accomplished. There are problems to be solved in the Territory. Senator Pearce admits that, and has said that he does not know what he might not be able to do if he had at his disposal the money which has been wasted there. It is suggested that the proposed representative of the Northern Territory will only have to make a speech in another place, and its problems will be solved with the aid of a dictionary. I am against the Bill. I believe that the people of the Northern Territory have no claim to what it proposes.
– They pay taxes.
– So do the people of Papua and of Canberra, and it is not proposed that they shall be represented in this Parliament. Will the honorable senator contend that the people of Washington are discontented without parliamentary representation? The people of Canberra pay taxes, and I should say that they pay into the revenue a sum equivalent to the expenditure from revenue in the Federal Territory. Why should they not be given representation as well as the people in the Northern Territory? I have already said that, in my opinion, the people of Papua have a better claim to. representation than have the people of the Northern Territory. I opposed a measure similar to this when it was introduced in the Senate. That measure proposed the representation of the Territory in the Senate by a senator without’ a vote, and honorable senators by -an overwhelming majority threwout- the proposal and decided that such representation should not be granted to the Territory in this Chamber.
– No. “What honorable senators did was to carry an amendment that the Northern Territory should be tacked on to South Australia, and so be included in the representation of that State in the Senate.
– Technically, no doubt the Minister is right; but I believe that not a single member of the Senate was of opinion that the Northern Territory should be given the representation then proposed. If residents of the Northern Territory are entitled to be represented in this way in the House of Representatives, the contention can be urged with equal force in favour of their representation in a similar way in the Senate. Every one knows that the amendment submitted on the previous Bill dealing with this subject was intended to shelve the measure and prevent any one coming into this Chamber from the Northern Territory.
– Was not the proposed representative to be given a vote in the Senate?
– No; it was proposed that he should have only a voice in the Senate. I opposed that proposal, and I am just as strongly opposed to the measure now before us, and for that reason will vote against the second reading.
– I do not view this proposal to give the Northern Territory a voice in the House of Representatives with any great enthusiasm. At first I was rather inclined to agree that if the House of Representatives desired a representative, with a voice and without a vote, for the Northern Territory in that Chamber, that was its business and not ours. Upon consideration, however, I am not so sure that that is the correct view to take. I think it is a matter which materially concerns us as well as the other branch of . the Legislature.
We may with advantage consider the history of British colonization and the course which has been followed in the gradual development of various British territories throughout the world, and their evolution until they have secured the fullrights of self-government, as a guide to what we ought to do in dealing with the Northern Territory. Broadly speaking, it may be said concerning the evolution of a British Colony that in the first instance it has represented a small settlement of British people, who were without any representation in the British Parliament, which was at the same time the source of all government in the Colony. As time went on, Councils were established in the various British Colonies. They were nominated by the Crown. They passed various Ordinances which, when they received the approval of the Crown, became law in their respective communities. As time went on again, and the population increased, whether by fresh arrivals or because of the number of the nativeborn, a greater measure of independence was granted to the Colonies. They were given mixed Councils, partly nominated by the Crown and partly elected by the people. The next stage of the evolution was the establishment of local Parliaments, generally consisting of two Houses and a representative of the Crown. In some Colonies the Upper House continued to be a nominee Chamber appointed by the Crown or its representatives, and later by the Crown on the recommendation of the local Executive. So the process of evolution went on until the Colonies reached the full status of selfgoverning communities. That process of evolution has been found to work very satisfactorily in the various British Possessions throughout the world.
I view the position of the Northern Territory in its connexion with the Commonwealth as being very much the same as the position which Western Australia occupied in its relation to Great Britain at the time of its establishment as a separate Colony. The process of evolution to which I have referred has worked out very satisfactorily in Western Australia, and I ask honorable senators why should not a similar process of evolution in our Colony of the Northern Territory - for that is virtually what it is - be followed by equally satisfactory results? What I suggest, therefore, is that instead of providing this ‘ voice for the people of the Northern Territory in the Federal Parliament, if the time has arrived for the first step in responsible government in the Territory namely the establishment of a Council, that step should be taken if we are satisfied that the people are ready for it. Person ally, I believe they are. In due course of time, by this process of evolution, the Northern
Territory will become a full State of the Commonwealth of Australia, which, as I understand it, is contemplated by the Constitution in its present form.
It is well, before honorable senators make up their minds on this matter, that they should understand just what is the constitutional position with regard to the representation of Territories of the Commonwealth. The Constitution was framed to permit in due course of time the establishment of new States in Australia and the admission of Territories into the Commonwealth, and that these Territories, as they became States, should have the same representation in the Federal Parliament as the original States, representation for the Lower House, being, of course, on a population basis. If we consider the position of the Northern Territory at the present time we shall find that it has no claim at all to representation on a population basis. Section 122 of the Constitution provides that -
The Parliament may make laws for the government of any Territory surrendered by any State to, and accepted by, the Commonwealth, or of any Territory placed by the Queen under the authority of and accepted by the Commonwealth or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth, and -
This is the pertinent portion of the section - may allow the representation of such Territory in either Houses of the Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it thinks fit.
It is proposed in this measure to give to the Northern Territory a representative in the House of Representatives, without a vote. That is contemplated and allowable under the Constitution, but it does not state how many representatives may be given to that community’ in either House. To put an extreme case, if Parliament so desired it would be possible to introduce from the Northern Territory, from Canberra, New Guinea Territory, or any other Territory belonging to the Commonwealth, one, two, three, twenty, or thirty new representatives.
– Some future Government might bring the whole of the people down here.
– BROCKMAN. - There is no limitation upon what. Parliament may do in this respect, but the Constitution does limit the number of members to be appointed from each State.
This matter is left entirely to the discretion of Parliament. It is necessary, I think, that honorable senators should realize this when dealing with the Bill, and deciding if a representative is to be allowed from the Northern Territory at all. I ask honorable senators to look at it from this point of view : Suppose Parliament were fairly evenly divided, with a slight majority in each House, on the side of the Government. So long as the predominant party took an honorable view of the situation, there would be no danger, but if party interests were placed before honour, as has been illustrated in Australia already, unfortunately, and a Government determined to place the policy for which it stood on the statute-book without due regard to the general welfare of the community, they would move for the introduction to this Parliament in either House of a sufficient number of members from the Territory to secure their tenure of office for an indefinite period. That possibility must be contemplated, because it is allowable under the Constitution. Of course, the Minister may tell us, and he would be perfectly correct from a legal point of view, that a Parliament with such a majority could, at any time, whether we allowed this Bill to pass or not, introduce a measure to bring about this contingency.
– The power is there whether we pass this Bill or not.
– BROCKMAN. - That is the point. I am not endeavouring to conceal anything at all. I want honorable senators to face the position.
– But your argument is that this Bill will in some way affect that position.
– BROCKMAN. - The Minister has yet to learn whether I intend to oppose the Bill or not. If he will only listen a little longer he will see where I stand. I am endeavouring, to the best of my ability, to place such knowledge as I have of the Constitution at the disposal of other honorable senators.
– If I did not know that the honorable senator was an able lawyer, I would certainly conclude from his remarks that he was in opposition to the Bill.
– If the Vice-President of the Executive
Council will listen but a little longer, he will discover where I stand. In the meantime,. I am trying to place the constitutional position before the Senate with regard to this Bill, or any other proposal for the representation in this Parliament of the various Territories under the control of the Commonwealth. It is the thin edge of the wedge.
– Will this Bill add to, or take away, one tittle of the constitutional power of Parliament?
– BROCKMAN. - Not one tittle. I think I stated that, position without having been asked. But I want to remind honorable senators that when this proposal was under discussion in another place a very strong effort was made to get a vote for the representative proposed to be introduced’ into that House, Where is the justification for giving a vote to these 1,600’ people in the Northern Territory, seeing that in any of the States it takes 40,000 voters to obtain a representative in that Chamber.
– There are 4,700 people in the Northern Territory.
– There are 1,600 voters.
– I understand there are only 1,600 voters in the Northern Territory, and yet it was proposed elsewhere that they should have a representative, with the power of a vote, -as against 40,000 voters in any other portion of the Commonwealth.
– That will come, too, in time.
– It is one of. the possibilities to be contemplated if we have an evenly-divided Parliament, such, as has occurred before in our history, with a slight predominance in. power on one side. There would be a great, temptation for the predominant party to. insist on the Government passing a short enabling Bill giving the power of the vote to the representative of the Northern Territory.. It would take a very strong man, and a man of very high ideals, leading his party to resist that temptation. Let us remember what has happened in Queensland recently. The upper Legislative Chamber in that Parliament, which had been a check on legislation passed by the lower House, has been swept , away. .
– Notwithstanding that it had been voted for by the people.
– As the honorable gentleman has reminded me, the Legislative Council of Queensland had the indorsement of the people, and still it was abolished. Then, recently the opposing parties in the Lower House, have been so evenly dividedthat the Ministry found it extremely difficult to carry on; so they looked round for means to retain their power, and resorted to the expedient of passing a Bill authorizing the use of proxy votes for those supporters who were unable, through sickness, to attend the sittings of the House. If the Queensland Government had been in possession of the Territories that are being administered by the Commonwealth Parliament they could have introduced into that Parliament any number of voters by the simple expedient outlined in this Bill. In view of what has happened there lately, do honorable senators think they would have hesitated in such circumstances? I donot think they, would. I believe that if the sameparty were in power, under similar conditions in. the Federal’ arena they would not hesitate either. Therefore, I say that honorable senators should consider carefully before they put into the hands of any unscrupulous Government an opportunity to do this. We should hesitate to make the temptation too great; for it would be a temptation to any unscrupulous Government, with a representative in another Chamber without a vote, to pass a simple measure giving him a vote without all the delay of having to go through the form of an election.
– We have no guarantee yet that the representation of the Northern Territory will be retained at one.
– There is no limitation placed by the Constitution on the number of members that may be introduced in either of the legislative Chambers from any of the Territories administered by the Commonwealth.
– Would it be possible to arrange for a nominated representative ?
– That would be possible. Once a Government had the necessary legislation through Parliament they could introduce nominated representatives from Canberra, the Northern Territory, Papua, New Guinea Territory, Nauru, or any of the Territories under the authority of this Parliament. In that way an unscrupulous Ministry might almost secure perpetual tenure of office. That is the danger as I see it.
– It is not a danger that arises from this Bill.
– It is true that does not arise out of the Bill. That is the position under the Constitution, and we should hesitate about making a start. “We should pause before we place this temptation before any Government that may happen to get into difficulties. ‘
-Youhave not told us yet how you are going to vote.
– I have deemed it my duty to place honorable senators in possession of such information as I have on this point,, to enable them to come to a- decision with the full knowledge- of all- the facts. I am so afraid of this Bill representing the thin edge of a wedge that I am going to vote against it.
In introducing the measure, the Minister (Senator Pearce) made a great point of the fact that there should be no taxation without representation. That is an excellent cry, and often a very popular one, but it is not always observed. Is it to be suggested, for instance, that we should give representation in the Australian Parliament to the natives of New Guinea ?
– They are not taxed for Commonwealth purposes.
– Yes, they are. It is no use trying to dodge the issue. The Commonwealth is under an obligation to provide the necessary money for the administration of New Guinea.
– No money raised there is spent in the Commonwealth.
– But a certain amount of the money necessary for the carrying on of the administration of New Guinea is raised from the natives themselves. Can it then be said that the natives are not taxed for Commonwealth purposes? Of course they are. Surely it is not suggested that for that reason those natives should have representation in the Commonwealth Parliament. To. carry the cry “No taxation without representation “ to its logical conclusion,, we should have- to give- the natives in the Pacific representation, in this Parliament.
– It is- not proposed, to give the aborigines in the Northern. Territory representation.
– No ; but to carry that principle to its logical conclusion, the Chinamen there would have to be given votes.
– They would, if they were naturalized.
– The proper method of dealing with the Territory is to adopt the system that has been found most successful in British colonization.
– It was tried in the. Territory, and proved , a failure.
– It has been found a success in Britishspeaking communities throughout the world, and we should adopt the method that has been, tested and found satisfactory in the development of the British Empire. Let the Northern Territory follow the same process of development until it attains the full status of a State. I hope honorable senators will hesitate before agreeing to the Bill.
– I. intend to support the Bill. I was rather surprised at the remark of Senator Thomas that one reason why residents of the Northern Territory should not have . a vote was that they only paid £43,900 odd in taxation, and that the Federal Government were making a loss on the Territory. The honorable senator’ should know that the men pioneering any country . always make a loss, just as the Government must expect to make a loss at the outset in the development of that vast stretch of country. Although there are only 4,706 people in the Territory at present, exclusive of the aborigines, we must bear in mind that those people are suffering great hardships. Most of them are producers, and their case is not comparable with that of residents of a place like Canberra. They are occupying an area of 523,620 square miles. There may be some difficulties in the way of granting them a- representative with the power to. vote; but it is most unfair that, while the pioneers in that country should be developing it under great disadvantages in the shape of lack of transport facilities and the high cost of all the materials necessary to their livelihood, we should both tax them and disfranchise them. Prior to 1911, they had a vote; but since the Commonwealth took control of the Territory they have been disfranchised.
The cost of developing such a huge area is enormous. Those best qualified to judge have stated over and over again, at deputations to honorable senators and others, that one of the burning questions in the Territory, and the cause of much of the industrial unrest there, is the fact that the people are taxed but are given no voice in the country’s affairs. Messrs. Vestey Brothers are by far the largest employers of labour in the Territory. Next to them, I was the largest employer. My people, in developing a property there, spent £100,000 odd, and employed fifty white people for thirty-five years, all of whom, subsequent to 1911, were disfranchised. The Territory is so far away from the Seat of Government that honorable senators cannot keep in touch with it. I maintain that a representative of that country should at least be allowed to sit in this Parliament to voice the requirements of those people. We in the capital cities in the southern parts of Australia are not in a position to know the urgent needs of those who are pioneering the Territory. I see, of course, the difficulty in collecting the votes, and I hope that the Minister (Senator Pearce) will make very careful provision in that connexion.
– We shall provide full facilities.
– That is essential. If the men who are doing the actual developmental work in the Territory were unable to record their vote, the elections would be controlled by a coterie of unionists in Darwin. I am told that there is no certainty at all that the gentleman who would be chosen in the Territory would be a desirable member in the eyes of honorable senators.
SenatorFoll. - Conscription was carried there.
– Yes, that is a good argument. Surely Messrs. Vestey Brothers know the feeling in the Northern
Territory. They have spent a million of money on works there, and yet they urge that this modified form of representation should be granted.
The Territory contains 31,436 horses, 570,039 cattle, and 58,620 sheep. It is necessary to encourage an increase in the population, but people will not settle there unless they are allowed to have a, voice in the administration of the affairs of the Commonwealth. Some honorable senators have referred to the amount of money already spent in the development of the Territory. I maintain that there has never been sufficient money expended there. It has been a case of “out of sight, out. of mind.” More has been spent annually at Canberra. The people most concerned have expressed themselves as dissatisfied because no representation is at present afforded them. I have had a long experience of the Territory, and I have been intimately in touch with those who have their money invested there. They are doing the pioneering work, and are employing labour. As I know their wishes in this regard, I intend to support the Bill.
.- I shall oppose the Bill. I believe that there should be no taxation without representation, but in the application of the principle all the circumstances should be taken into consideration. The number of people in the community that seeks representation must bear a due proportion to the population in the community that has representation. Is it fair that a small community of 4,700 people should have one member in the Commonwealth Parliament, whereas South Australia, with half-a-million people, has only seven? It would be altogether out of proportion to give the Northern Territory such representation. It is all very well to speak of the hardships of the people. I admit that they are ‘ labouring under great difficulties. Surely 4,000 people are not entitled to arrogate to themselves a proportion of representation such as that !
– What about Tasmania? It has a much bigger representation than Port Darwin.
– It seems to me that the Northern Territory has no more right to separate representation in this Parlia- ment than the Mandated Territory of New Guinea or the Federal Capital Territory of Canberra. Senator DrakeBrockman’s suggestion seems to be the common-sense way of dealing with this difficulty. Let us adopt a variation of parliamentary government, as it is carried out all over the British Empire. A Resident Governor ought to be appointed, with a Legislative Council and a House of Assembly. These should be small bodies. If that course were adopted the people of the Northern Territory, having an opportunity to control their own affairs in peace and security, would be much more satisfied. When the population had increased sufficiently they could ask us to give them representation in the Federal Parliament, and we would then be dealing with the matter properly.
– If we do not treat them fairly, how can we expect people to go there?
– We do treat them fairly. I favour giving them every just means of working out their own destiny. I intend to oppose the Bill.
– I have had very considerable difficulty in making up my mind on this very important matter. /Senator DrakeBrockman has raised some most important points, which are really quite alarming; but if we get any such calamity as he has forecast we may regard the Caucasian as indeed played out. If this community could suffer that sort of thing it would be impossible to save us. I have been guided in framing my opinion by reading carefully Mr. Urquhart’s report on the Northern Territory. . I know him to be a splendid administrator in other occupations, and I have the greatest possible faith in him. I would like to read, for the information of honorable senators, what he writes about this vexed Question. He says -
I wmc to the conclusion that, by means of grossly exaggerated rhetoric and unscrupulous propaganda, the extremist leaders had succeeded in creating a degree of popular discontent, and then proceeded to cite this artificiallycreated discontent as unimpeachable evidence that genuine grievances must exist.
If it is asked, “ What is the underlying motive of all this?”, I can only say that the information so far at my disposal is not sufficient to enable me to make a definite reply; but T have seen and heard enough to lead me to the opinion that it is ‘subversive of in.ll that is best in Australian life and policy, and that it only requires the realization of this by the general public to bring the schemes of the extremists to complete failure.
At any rate, he has some confidence in the personnel of his Northern Territory subjects.
– A very great change has come over the scene since then.
– That is so. Mr. Urquhart then goes on to say -
There was, and is’, one form of grievance which may be considered as genuine, and for which sincerity may be claimed by its exponents, and that is Taxation without Parliamentary Representation, which latter is held here to he the inherent right of every British subject who is subjected to taxation. There is, of course, another view to be considered, but the matter is political, and as such, discussion of it in this report is not appropriate, though I may go so far as to say that once the Territory has parliamentary representation, the indications are that the bitter feelings prevalent in the community will ‘have lost their chief ostensible raison d’etre, and will probably be considerably modified, even if’ it is too much to hope that they will disappear altogether.
Mr. Urquhart’s opinion carries very great weight with me. . I feel sure that if a suitable representative were returned - and I hear that there is a good chance of the stable elements in the community returning a man of moderate views - he would be a very great help to the Minister. We have been trying to govern this great Territory from Melbourne, and that has been the root of the evil. T. have known that sort of management of station properties to fail. The owners have lived away from their properties, and have visited them very seldom. We are thousands of miles distant from the Northern Territory, and we do not really know what is the right thing to do, or who is the right man to do it. I take Mr. Urquhart’s opinion as being the right one. I have paid great attention to Senator Drake-Brockman’s views as to the calamity that might come upon us if we granted representation to the Northern Territory, but I cannot believe that such a thing is possible, although, after what we have seen happen in Queensland, we can imagine that anything would be possible.
– Does the honorable senator blame the Queensland Government for the eclipse of the sun?
– I do not blame them for the eclipse of the sun, but I do blame them for the eclipse of their great State. They abolished the Upper House in that State almost before the ink was dry on the referendum to the people. The people voted by a majority of 50 per cent. for the retention of the Upper House, and, despite the verdict of the people, which members of the Queensland Government are always glorifying as the proper thing to. obey, the Upper House was abolished. The Senate would be well advised to assist the Minister (Senator Pearce)’, who is anxious to have this representation of the Northern Territory. The representative would not always be at work in Parliament. He would often be ventilating Northern Territory questions in other quarters, but would be in constant touch with the Minister, and would be able to bring before the Government the views of the people of the Territory. The people would not feel so isolated then as they do now. We would be perfectly safe in acting on the judgment of Mr. Urquhart.
Debate (on motion by Senator Newland) adjourned.
.- I move-
That the report of the Select Committee on the claim of Captain J. Strasburg for a War Gratuity, presented to the Senate, on the 18th August, 1922, be adopted.
In submitting this motion I desire to thank the Government for having, in the first place, given me the opportunity to have an inquiry made by a Committee of the Senate. The Government felt that a case had been made out for an inquiry, and they had no objection to a Committee being appointed by the Senate to investigate the claims of Captain Strasburg. I have to thank the Government again for now giving me the opportunity of moving the adoption of the report, and for going out of their way to do it. I shall be very brief, but I think it is due to the Senate that I should put a few facts before it. The Committee was appointed by the Senate on the 3rd August. It met, examined witnesses, and reported back to the Senate on the 18th August. If that does not establish a record, at any rate it shows a considerable degree of expedition and a care for economy in expenditure by the Committee. The Committee did not call witnesses unnecessarily after it thought that it had sufficient evidence before it. The claims of Captain Strasburg for a gratuity arose from the fact that for six months in Rabaul he gave valuable service to the Commonwealth as a member of the Expeditionary Force. In clause 3 of the report the Committee states -
After hearing the evidence, and having perused the documents which were exhibited to the Committee, we find -
That Captain Strasburg was notified by H. P. Cayley, Lieutenant-Commander. R.N., that the Naval Board had approved of his services being utilized aboard the H.M.A.S. Berrima; vide the following copy of letter: -
The Naval Boardhas approved of Captain J. Strasburg’s . services being utilized on board the H.M.A.S. Berrima. He will receive a commission as Acting Lieutenant, R.N.R. (Signed) H. P. Cayley,
Captain Strasburg, unfortunately, could not receive that commission. Although for nearly thirty years - for twenty-five years at least - he had been a naturalized British subject, he was not a natural-born British subject, and only natural-born British subjects can get commissions in the Royal Naval Reserve. That he was a member of the Expeditionary Force was borne out by the documentary evidence of every officer under whom he served, and by the documents submitted to the Committee. One document signed by the late General Holmes - who was Colonel Holmes in charge of the expedition at one time - gave a certificate that the claim put forward by Captain Strasburg was for services which had actually been performed. There was no evidence except that document, but the Committee was placed in a fortunate position, immediately that document was tabled, in that Senator Cox recognised the -writing in the signature as that of the late General Holmes. In other correspondence, and in every reference to Captain Strasburg by every officer, he is designated “ ActingLieutenant Strasburg.” Colonel Watson, who was at one time in command, in statements to the Defence and Navy Departments, referred to Mr. Strasburg as “Acting-Lieutenant Strasburg.” Mr. Livesay, of the Naval Department, in giving his report, stated that Captain Strasburg was still on the books of the Berrima, and was retained in the service atRabual after the Berrima had left. Major Heritage, who was the military commander of the expedition that captured several vessels - the capture of those vessels was due to the navigating skill and knowledge of the waters possessed by Captain Strasburg - said : -
In the event of these ships (the Star, Matupi, and Senta) being condemnedas prizes, I beg to make application for prize money on behalf of the persons named on the attached list.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant, (Sgd.) Francis Heritage, Major.
The information was submitted to the Administrator at Rabaul, and was minuted by S. A.Petheridge, Administrator, 9th February, 1915, “For consideration when this question comes up for decision.” The second name in the list is “ Lieutenant Strasburg, navigating officer.” I do not wish to give more details than arc necessary, ‘because honorable senators have the report before them; but I think it my duty to state as briefly as possible the Comimittee’s reasons for coming to its decision. I pass now to the question of the conditions under which a gratuity is granted. Section 8 of the War Gratuity Act of 1920 reads -
The war gratuity payable under this Act shall not be claimable or recoverable by any person as a matter of right,, tout shall be deemed to be a free gift by the Commonwealth in recognition of honorable services during the war with Germany and her Allies, and may in any case be withheld or deferred or subjected to terms and conditions as the prescribed authority, having regard to -the interests or deserts of the claimant, thinks just and proper.
What persons are entitled to receive a war gratuity? Paragraphs c and d of section 3 read -
Subject to this Act the Minister may . pay a war gratuity to -
a person who is or was a member of the Naval and Military Expeditionary Force to New Guinea;
any other member of the Naval Forces who served in a sea-going ship during the war with Germany, and who, during that service, was borne for pay on the books of one of His Majesty’s Australian ships.
Captain Strasburg fulfilled the conditions set out in those two paragraphs. He was a member of the Expeditionary Force which went to New Guinea, and that has been acknowledged by every officer who served there. That he was borne on the books of the Berrima is . proved by records of the Naval Department, and further by the statement on the cover of the report he is referred to as “ J.Strasburg, Acting Lieutenant,R.A.N.R.,” under date of 18th August. I do not wish to weary honorable senators by unduly debating this matter, but I think the report and the information I have given during the brief time at my disposal proves that he has loyally and faithfully . performed the duties allotted to him. The Navy Department took the view that, as it did not gazette Captain’. Strasburg as a lieutenant, he was not a member of the Forces; but that is not sufficient. If it had been endeavouring to prove that he was not a lieutenant it would have succeeded, but it could not prove that he was not a member of the Forces. He did all he was capable of doing, and performed his work in an exceptional manner owing to his knowledge of the waters and his ability as a navigator. He gave valuable information to the authorities, and that was admitted by every officer under whom he served. The documents which have been quoted in the report bear out all I have said, . and the recommendation of the Committee is to be found in paragraphs 9 and 10, which read -
The Committee is of opinion thatCaptain J. Strasburg is eligible for a war gratuity under paragraph (c) of section 3 of the War Gratuity Act 1920.
Taking into consideration the valuable services rendered to the New Guinea Expeditionary Force by Captain Strasburg, the Committee -consider that the gratuity should be paid to him.
Senator Sir Thomas Glasgow, however, submitted the following dissent : -
I agree with the findings contained in paragraphs 1 to 8, inclusive, and 10. I am unable to concur in the opinion expressed by the majority . in paragraph 9. In my view, as Captain Strasburg was not a member of the Naval Forces, he is not eligible for a war gratuity under paragraph (c) ofsection 3 of the War Gratuity Act 1920, but I consider him morally entitled to receive an amount equal to the war gratuity.
That shows how unanimous the members of the Committee were, because although Senator Sir Thomas Glasgow does not claim that Captain Strasburg is eligible for a war gratuity, he admits that h« has a moral claim. A majority of the Committee hold that he is eligible, and every member of the Committee admits that he is morally entitled to a gratuity. In view of the consideration shown me by the Government in supporting the appointment of a Committee. and also in giving me the opportunity of moving the adoption of the report, I have no desire to delay the Senate longer; but I feel sure that honorable senators, having regard to the information submitted, will not place any serious obstacle in the way, if the report is adopted, even at this late hour, of justice being done to Captain Strasburg.
– I merely desire to say that the Government have not the slightest objection to this motion being carried, and, further, that they are prepared to pay the amount which would be due to Captain Strasburg as a war gratuity if he were legally entitled to a gratuity, but not as a gratuity. The Committee has found, on excellent evidence, that he was either legally or morally entitled to it, and the Government therefore are prepared to pay him an amount equivalent to what he would have received as a war gratuity. In reading the report, however, I had to consider to what extent the Government might he involved if the amount were paid as a gratuity, and to ascertain what effect it might have apart from this case. Up to the present it has not been possible to complete our inquiries, but the Government will make the money available as an allowance. I must leave it at that for the present, as we shall have to determine the result of the inquiries now being made. Captain Strasburg will, however, get the money. We have to consider how many others may claim to have been members of the Forces. Personally T do not say he was not a member of the Forces, but that is a legal point which could not be settled *by the Committee. Although the Department may have used the term “Acting Lieutenant,” it is quite obvious that its use was ultra-legal, because, as Senator Gardiner pointed out, Captain Strasburg could not hold a commission, and therefore no undue weight should be attached to the use by the officers of the term “ Acting Lieutenant.” The main point, I imagine, is as to whether Captain Strasburg will get the money to which he would have been entitled as a member of the Forces, and, as I have already said, the amount will be paid. The manner in which it will be paid, however, must remain in abeyance for a few days.
– In view of the statement of the Minister (Senator E. I). Millen) that there is some doubt as to whether Captain Strasburg is legally entitled to the money, I shall direct his attention to a paragraph in the evidence of the SolicitorGeneral (Sir Robert Garran).
– I have read that.
– In giving evidence concerning the two paragraphs in the Act which I have read, and which define a member of the Forces, the SolicitorGeneral said -
In the absence of any definition of the “Naval and Military Expeditionary Force” in the _ Act, I should certainly be disposed to advise that he waa a member of the Forces, even though he was not a member of the Military or Naval Forces. There seems to be a distinction drawn in the Act between the members of the Naval and Military Forces.
I direct attention to that to show that the Committee had strong legal advice in coming to the conclusion it did.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Senate adjourned at 3.56 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 22 September 1922, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1922/19220922_senate_8_100/>.