8th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– With a view to giving honorable senators an opportunity to make necessary arrangements, I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate if he will oblige us by stating the date of the general election?
– If I could answerthe honorable senator’s question according to my own wishes, the date would be something like the Ides of March.
– Arising out of the question, I ask whether in the event of the elections being held before Christmas or thereabouts, the Government willsee to it in fixing the date of the polling that it will be at a time which will cause the least inconvenience to the harvesting operations in the wheat-producing States?
– I did not quite catch the purpose of the question.
– The essence of it is that the elections should not be held in themiddle of harvest.
– I am afraid that the elections must be held in some season.
– The date might be fixed for some time in November.
– It is not the wish of a Government that determines the date of a general election.
Co-operationof Queensland Government.
– I ask the Leader of the Senate if he has seen a statement which appeared in the press recently made by Mr. Theodore, Premier of Queensland, to the effect that large obligations are being entered into by the Commonwealth Government in connexion with immigration, and that the Queensland Government has not been consulted in the matteror asked to take any part in the arrangements being made? Are these state ments correct, and if so, will the Minister explain them?
– I have not seen the statements referred to, but I was privileged to be present at a Conference between Federal Ministers and State Premiers and other Ministers, at which the Commonwealth immigration proposals were submitted to the State Ministers, Mr. Theodore being present. If he has stated that he has not been approached in the matter, I furnish this recital of facts as an answer to his statement.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate if he will outline the sittings of the Senate from now to the end of the session, which I understand will close next week. I wish to know whether reasonable precautions will be taken to give honorable senators an opportunity to fully discuss business without being called upon to sit all night? If necessary, we should sit on Saturday and Monday rather than have all-night sittings.
– I may, perhaps, best answer the honorable senator’s question by giving notice that to-morrow I will move that for the remainder of the present session, until otherwise ordered, Tuesday shall be made a sitting day for the Senate, and the hour of meeting on that day shall be 3 p.m.
The following papers were presented: -
Report of Actuarial Committee on Commonwealth Superannuation.
Ordered to be printed.
Customs Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1922, No. 126.
Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1922, No. 119.
Northern Territory - Ordinances of 1922 -
No. 12- Examination of Engine-drivers.
No. 13- Trade Union.
Officers in Receipt of War Pensions.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The Minister for Defence informs me that the Defence Department does not keep any records of officers who are in receipt of war pensions or of persons to whom war pensions are paid, and the matter was, therefore, referred to the Repatriation Department.
– If the Minister will not answer my questions, I shall endeavour to move the adjournment of the Senate in connexion with them.
– The Chairman of the Repatriation Commission, on being referred to, furnished the following reply:-
With reference to your 28,908, of 22nd inst., regarding certain questions by Senator Gardiner appearing in the notice-paper of the Senate, I have to advise that it is not the practice of this Department to supply such information, as it is not considered desirable to make public personal information regarding war pensioners. Moreover, no special record is kept of the place of employment of war pensioners, and the question of earnings of war pensioners is not inquired into. War pensions are assessed on disabilities resulting from war service.
– I happen to represent a number of people who have to pay these war pensions. I think I am entitled to the information for which I have asked. It is like the impertinence of the departmental officials to send a reply like that.
– Let Parliament say that it wants these particulars published.
– Order! The question cannot be debated.
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The answers are -
The Ordinance and regulations willbe brought into force on the same date.
Enforcement of Award
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice-
Whether a final settlement has yettaken place between the Commonwealth Government and Messrs. Kidman and Mayoh in regard to the finding of Sir Mark Sheldon in connexion with the construction of the Burnside and the Braeside?
– No; buta demand has been made for payment forthwith.
Assent to the following Bills re ported : -
Meat Export Bounties Bill.
Tasmania Grant Bill.
War Pensions Appropriation Bill.
. -I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Honorable members will remember that during the wara surcharge of 20 per cent. was imposed in connexion with the land tax by the Acts of 1918 and 1919. This Bill, in conformity with the announcement made by the Treasurer (Mr. Bruce), in delivering his Budget speech, proposes to remove that 20 per cent. surcharge. It is anticipated that the amount of revenue which will be surrendered if the Bill becomes law will be £400,000. It is one of the. efforts which the Government feels justified in making to lighten the load of taxation which the country is at present called upon to bear.
– I have had no opportunity of considering the Bill. I know that the Minister would gladly give me the adjournment, but in view of the state of public business I will not ask for it. If the Government, and particularly the Treasurer (Mr. Bruce), are of opinion that the finances of the country are so satisfactory as to permit of a remission of taxation, all I can say is that I would like to be able to share their views. In my opinion, the outlook does not warrant the Government in remitting taxation in respect of a class that can well afford to pay it, and particularly the large land-holders. It has been said that the Treasurer’s Budget was an electioneering Budget. I have read it, and I am sorry to say that it has balanced accounts by the questionable method of taking money from Trust Funds, and by borrowing to meet expenditure that heretofore has been met out of revenue If the Government, in the face of that, removes taxation, then it must take the responsibility. I would have askedfor the adjournment if I had thought that anything could have been gained by it. As it is, I merely enter my protest against the remission of taxation in the case of any class that can well afford to pay it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported without amendment; report adopted.
Debate resumed from 22nd September (vide page 2608), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– I desire to congratulate the Government on having brought in this Bill to give representation to one of the most deserving sections of the people in this community. About twelve months ago to-day I was travelling in the Northern
Territory, and was on my way from Wave Hill, at the extreme western end of the Territory, to the Katherine River. I there had an opportunity of meeting many of the sturdy settlers and pioneers who have gone out to blaze the track for civilization. In that country we met more white women and white children than in any similar stretch of country in the Territory. There are several young married men there with their wives and children. If there is one section in the community which is more deserving of representation in this Parliament than any other section, I think honorable senators will agree that it is those men and women who have gone out into that part of Australia, where they are far from civilization and from medical aid of any description, where they have put up with the hardships and take the risks incidental to life under such conditions. The Bill might very well be called a Bill to give parliamentary representation to the settlers and pioneers of the out-back portions of Australia.
– Will they get representation?
– The honorable senator no doubt means, Will they get the kind of representation they desire? That matter is entirely in their own hands. People in other parts of Australia do not always get the kind of representation they desire, and we are not asking for any special conditions of representation in the Northern Territory. The electors there will have to bestir themselves and see that they use every effort to get the kind of representation they want. I am confident that the people who live out-back in the Northern Territory will leave no stone unturned to secure the kind of representation which will be in their own interests. All the people we met out there were asking for representation, though they did not expect their representative to come into this Parliament with all the privileges of a member from another State. All they wanted was some one who could take his place in this Parliament and voice the opinions and needs of the Territory. For this reason they did not find very much fault with the action of Parliament in rejecting the Bill introduced some time ago for the purpose of giving them representation in the Senate. They felt that the proper place for their representative was in the House of Representatives as provided in this measure. Prior to the Territory being taken over by the Commonwealth, the people there had representation in both Houses of the State Parliament in South Australia - two in the House of Assembly and one in the Legislative Council - and it was largely due to this fact that the affairs of the Territory proceeded so smoothly and satisfactorily. The people knew that their representatives were in Parliament, and would see that nothing was done to their detriment.
– Do you think you could induce the Federal Government to give the Northern Territory back to South Australia ?
– I do not know, but I do not think the honorable senator has a mandate from the people of New South Wales to ask that. The Federal Government took the Territory over with their eyes open. They knew what they were doing. The Territory then was in a much better state than it is in to-day, Whatever backward movement has been recorded has been entirely due to the lack of sympathetic administration by the Federal Government.
– That is a very good reason for doing what I suggest.
– During the past twelve months I have had many discussions with influential citizens of South Australia, and whilst I have no right to speak for the people or the Parliament on this matter, I know that many of those citizens of South Australia, who formerly interested themselves in the affairs of the Northern Territory, would, be very glad indeed if it were again under the control of South Australia.
We have had some speeches on the Bill in this Chamber and in another place. One of the arguments used in its favour is that there should be no taxation without representation - a somewhat hackneyed term, perhaps, but, nevertheless, expressive of that inherent desire in all Britishers to take a hand in the government of their country. All Britishers are also keen in seeing that, at the earliest possible moment, proper representation shall be given in the Legislatures of the country to every section in a community. This right is long overdue to the people who are living in the Northern Territory. They should certainly have some representation in this Parliament. Men and women who for many years have been accustomed to taking some responsible part in the government of the country cannot reasonably be expected to sit down very quietly and forgo all their rights. We should not ask people out there to pay taxation unless we are prepared to give them some representation in this Parliament. In order to show that they pay a fairly substantial share of taxation, I may relate oneor two incidents that came under our observation whilst we were travelling through that part of Australia about twelve months ago. At Alice Springs, near the centre of, Australia, we met a number of residents of the surrounding districts who had come in to give evidence before the Public Works Committee with regard to the proposed construction of a north-south railway. Amongst them was one settler who, at that time, was engaged in a fierce controversy with the Taxation Commissioner over a demand for the payment of £800 war-time profits tax.
– And I suppose the Department got the money.
– I do not think they did. I believe the matter was ultimately adjusted by this man’s agents. I cannot understand why the Department imposed this tax on a man who was growing cattle out in that country, and certainly the demand was not a small one for a man in his way of business.
– But the profits justifying such a demand would not come from a very small herd.
– At that time bullocks were realizing £22 or £23 per head. That was the case of a man in the centre of Australia. Another case to which I wish to draw attention came under my notice at Darwin. It had become quite popular there for the residents to go to gaol rather than pay taxes, and they were going to Fanny Bay quite cheerfully, because they objected to taxation without representation. I met a solicitor in the streets of Darwin, and our conversation turned to the popular pastime of going to prison. This highly-cultured gentleman, who, so far as I know, was doing well at his profession, said that, if the Government took action against him; he would certainly go to gaol with the rest. The feeling is so strong’ in the Territory against having to pay taxes, when no representation in Parliament is granted, that the residents, rich and poor, gentle and simple, prefer imprisonment.
– What is the total revenue of the Territory?
– It does not matter a snap of the finger what the revenue may be. The point is that these men and women, British subjects, have not’ the rights of free citizens.
Senator Thomas, when addressing the Senate on this question, quoted some figures showing the debt on the Territory. That was a very poor argument to substantiate the case he was trying to make. We. should not overlook the fact that the Territory is not credited with the Customs revenue derived from the goods used there. In this annual report Dr. Gilruth always took care to point out the approximate quantity of goods intended for Darwin, which had been landed at Brisbane or Sydney, and on which the Customs duties had not been credited to the Territory. The people there drink and smoke, but last year, for instance, only £100 was shown as the revenue derived from spirits and narcotics entering Port Darwin. The revenue of the Territory would be considerably augmented were it not for the fact that many of the large stationowners there pay their income tax through their offices in the capital cities. That revenue, I take it, is not credited to the Territory. Senator Thomas also pointed out the loss on the postal and the railway services, and in other directions. Although it is quite true that on those services money is being lost, it is not ihe fault of the residents,’ but the position is entirely due to the mismanagement of the various Governments of Australia since ‘ the control of the Territory was transferred from South Australia to the Commonwealth. The residents are taxed on the same basis as people in the southern parts of Australia, and, therefore, they contribute their fair share towards the general revenue, according to their incomes and the property they hold.
I., have looked up a number of the speeches delivered bv Senator Thomas, when ihe was Minister for the Territory, fie was then full of youthful vigour, and he was determined .to .make the place a veritable Garden of Eden. He was going to have’ palms planted on every mile of the country. He was more eulogistic then than he is now concerning our northern Possession, and he described its prospects - in glowing terms. I would remind honor, able senators that there has been no change in the Territory since that. time. The prospects are precisely the same as when Senator Thomas made his wonderful speeches in another place. Had the affairs of the Territory been administered as well under Commonwealth control as they were when South Australia was administering them, the position to-day would have been very different.
– Would it not have been very different if Senator Thomas had been in control all along?
– That may be so. I do not wish to say anything in disparagement of the administration of Senator Thomas when a member of another Chamber; I am merely comparing the speeches he delivered in those days with the remarks he uttered last Friday when endeavouring to prevent the residents of the Northern Territory having a representative in another place.
– The honorable senator’s arguments favour the destruction of Hansard.
– Some of us might like to see portions of Hansard destroyed.
During the debate reference has been made to Papua; and to me there is no earthly reason why the people in that Territory should not have a representative in this Parliament. I believe that the time’ is rapidly approaching when Papua and other similar Territories under our control will have representation in the National Parliament. Although Papua is without representation the people there are in a better position than those in the Northern Territory, because they have a Local Council and a generous measure of selfgovernment. If the Northern Territory had a similar Council, elected in a proper way - not as the last Council was elected, which represented a section and not the whole of the people - that Council would be the means of doing a tremendous amount of good for the Territory and for the people who live there. When the members of the Public Works Committee returned from the Northern Terri- tory they presented two reports to the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), one of which related to the trade with Javaand the East and the other to different phases of life and conditions in the Territory. The members of the Committee who made the trip regard those reports as very important, and consider that they should both belaid on the table of Parliament, although we have made no such request.
– When are we likely to get the report on the North-South railway?
– The honorable senator knows that that is not a question which I, as a member of the Committee, should be asked to answer, because I am not permitted to discuss a proposal on which a report has not been submitted.
– I do not wish you to discuss the proposed report, but merely to state when it is likely to be received.
– That is a matter that is at present in “the lap of the gods.” The reports to which I have referred have nothing whatever to do with the proposed railway, but relate to matters incidental to that inquiry. In one of. the reports we recommended as follows : -
Local Government. - That a local Advisory Council should be elected on the Federal franchise. The Territory to be divided into electoral districts for the purpose. The time of meeting of such Council to be set out by regulation.
Representation in Federal Parliament. - One representative of the Northern Territory should be given a seat in the House of Representatives.
It will be seen, therefore, that the members of the Committee recommended the appointment of an Advisory Council for the Northern Territory, and also that representation begiven in Parliament as is outlined in the Bill now under discussion. The members of the Committee are naturally pleased that the latter recommendation has been adopted.
– Did that come within your functions?
– The report has nothing whatever to do with the railway inquiry, but is one of the two reports presented to the Prime Minister in connexion with certain matters which came under our notice. There is not a word concerning the railway in the report; but it embodies the recommenda tions of members of this Parliament who went through the country with their eyes open.
– Why did you stop there ? Could you not have inquired into every phase of industrial life?
– Itcovers certain phases of industriallife in the Territory, and I am sorry the report has not been made available. As private members we made other recommendations, as we had a perfect right to do, and surely it is not to be supposed that when, for the first time in the history of the Territory, members of the Federal Parliament traversed the country fromnorth to south and from east to west, they should return without advising the Government as to what, in their opinion, was best in the interests of the Territory.
– You would have been neglecting your duty if you had not done so.
– Of course. I am not sure if we have not neglected our duty in not having asked that the reports be tabled. We also submitted the following recommendation concerning the development of the Territory: -
That a definite progressive developmental policy, extending over a period of at least twenty years, should be at once entered upon. A thoroughly competent water conservation engineer, a practical irrigationist, and a qualified land chemist shouldbe sent to make a thorough inspection of the land adjacent to the principal rivers. Sites for dams should be selected contiguous to suitable irrigation areas, of which there are many.
An area of from 50,000 to100,000 acres should be offered for lengthy lease at a peppercorn rental to any individual or company who would undertake to comply with the provisions of a carefully thought-out scheme for constructing dams, clearing land, building homes, providing canning factories, butter and bacon-curing factories, &c. These to be conducted co-operatively for dealing with such produce as dairying, fruit, cotton, hemp, tobacco growing, pig and goat raising, and such other purposes as may be advised. Fruit and vegetables are already being successfully grown on the Adelaide River by a private individual. Better and regular shipping facilities should be provided with the East, where a ready and unlimited market can be found for the products of Northern Australia. When one settlement is successfully started, -others will quickly follow.
That recommendation was made after going into the matter thoroughly with many residents engaged in production. We do not profess to be authorities; but during the brief period we were there we acquired as much information as was possible.
The duty of a representative of the Northern Territory, when elected, would be to call attention to its requirements, and I am sure his voice would be heard very effectively when he spoke on behalf of the people. There are many matters of administration in the Northern Territory that call for drastic remedies. The members of every Commission visiting the Territory, and even the Administrators, from time to time in their reports call attention to the duplication of services and other defects of administration, and I have, no doubt that if a representative Of the Territory were in this Parliament many of the abuses that existed when we were there would shortly be remedied.
We found on travelling through, the Territory that the conditions under which the police are asked to live are an absolute disgrace.- They have the worst homes, the worst horses, and the worst accommodation.’ of any section of the people in the Territory. We were at one police station, and the policeman had been out with a gang of blacks for same days carrying out some little repairs to the road in order that our motor cars might be got over some of the “ jump-ups.” The rocks stand on end with edges as sharp as razors that would cut the tyres of cars to ribbons. A number of blacks under a policeman were sent along to chip the tops off the rocks to make the road passably. The police with the assistance of aborigines made a splendid job of such work as they undertook to do. At one place in the Frew River District, Hatchers Creek, we found that the few people living in the district had nothing to eat for many weeks hut goat and pumpkins. They had neither tea, sugar nor flour. The policeman in charge of the Frew River District rode 200 miles from the station down to the Roper Bar to get half a bag of flour and some tea and sugar, in order that when we came along ‘they might be able to give us some decent tucker. These are conditions under which the Government should not ask the people to live for another day. The Northern Territory police are splendid men; they have very large districts under their control, and with the limited means at their disposal they do splendid work. It is said that there are one or two cattle-duffers in the Territory, and when a charge is made against one of them of branding a few clean skins, and the police start after ‘.the offender with their decrepit “ crocks,” they might just as well ride cows. It might be interesting to honorable senators to know what we had to say in this regard to show that we were anxious that the Government should take steps to better the conditions under which the people are asked to live in the Territory. With respect to the Northern Territory Police Force, we recommended -
That the whole of the Police Force be reorganized under a competent young inspector.
That proper accommodation should be provided, especially on out-stations.
That police officers should be encouraged to marry.
That the number of natives, male and female, to be employed at each station should be specified.
That persons other than police officers should be appointed protectors and inspectors of aborigines.
We had good reasons for making these recommendations. So far as the aborigines are concerned, under existing conditions, the police are at the same time protectors, prosecutors, defending -lawyers, gaolers, and everything else. Every one in the Territory will say that that is not a good thing. Squatters and cattlemen in the country have some right to expect) to be able to secure any assistance they require from the natives of the country, because it is very much better that they should be employed than that they should be allowed to remain idle. A representative of the Territory in this Parliament could call public attention to these matters, and I have no doubt that in the course of a few years his representations would result in ‘a marked improvement in conditions.
Senator Drake-Brockman made a very interesting and informative speech, ‘as he always does, but I ask what consolation will any resident of the Northern Territory derive from reading the honorable senator’s speech? He went to great trouble to tell us what is in the Constitution ‘and what can be done. He also told us - and it is quite true–that at present it is not proposed that the representative of the Northern Territory shall have a vote, but that later on a vote would be asked for him. I am not fooling myself for one moment. I have not the slightest doubt that in the course of time the representative of the Northern Territory will want a vote; and more than that, I am satisfied that he will get it. Senator Drake -Brockman will see that with the. increase of population the representative of the Territory cannot be denied a vote.
-brockman. - No one could object to that if he represented the necessary quota of electors.
– It is possible that he will not represent the necessary quota of electors for a good many years, but I direct the attention of honorable senators to the fact that the men who are settling the Northern Territory are worthy of some special consideration. It is all very well for us who walk the pavements of Melbourne and sit on red plush seats in the Senate chamber to say what should be done with the Northern Territory. I want honorable senators to put themselves in the position of the men away up there. What do those men go there for? Is it because they are fools? Why should they not stay here and walk the streets of Melbourne like the rest of us? Why should they go to the Northern Territory as pioneers at the risk of their lives? Only a few weeks ago, near Hall’s Creek, in Western Australia, about 100 miles from the border of the Northern Territory, two splendid men were done to death by the natives. They trusted the natives and would not take ordinary precautions to save themselves. While we were in the Northern Territory one man, George Laurie, who prospected the Tanami gold-field from the earliest days, and knew the natives of Central Australia as very few men do - a man who had the reputation of being kind and considerate to the natives - had to ask for police protection for the Tanami goldfield, and because it was not forthcoming as speedily as it should have been, he had to leave the gold-field to prevent the blacks getting him.
-brockman. - Would the honorable senator give a special representative in the Federal Parliament to the northern territory of Western Australia, where there is a bigger population than there is in the Northern Territory?
– No, I would not. The people of the northern territory of Western Australia have their own State Parliament.
– They also have special representation, because a smaller number of electors there is sufficient to return a member than in any other part of the State.
– That is so. My appeal for the Northern Territory is because the people there have no governmental agencies outside those of the Federal Parliament. If they had representatives in a State Parliament their voice could be made audible here, though perhaps in a roundabout way. Since we have returned’ from the Northern Territory the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce), will tell honorable senators that we have been bombarding him with letters and complaints of grievances in the Northern Territory every week. But we have not been in a position to fight ‘and stand up. for the people of the Territory as a man coming fresh from the Territory with up-to-date knowledge of its requirements might do if he were in this Parliament. Since we came away from the Northern > Territory we have had many communications from the people there, and I had many even before I went there. Similar communications are now arriving by every mail, and they consist mainly of requests to the Minister. We find that it is hardly worth while going to the Minister with them, because they relate to details which’ no Minister could get to the bottom of, and about which we ourselves know very little. It is the men in the outback, and not a few hot-heads in Darwin, who want re> presentation. I am not concerned about the Darwin people. Some of them are very decent fellows. To read the newspapers in Melbourne one would think that Darwin was an awful place. They have done foolish and wicked things there that ‘tell to the detriment of the Territory. I am appealing for representation not for the men who are living in Darwin under fairly comfortable conditions, who can get food, if they like to take it out of the ship’s hold, but for the men whose only food is flour carted by a camel pack at a tremendous price, sugar and tea obtained by the same means, and bullocks off their own runs. Their meals* consist of damper and beef, and beef and damper, year in and year out.
– That state of affairs will not alter until they have a railway;.
– That is a. very strong argument in favour of a railway*’
– The conditions will not be altered by giving the Northern Territory representation in the House of Representatives without a vote.
– I cannot agree with that statement. The voice of the representative in the House of Representatives will make a big difference.
– He could not make out a better case for the Northern Territory than the honorable senator is making out to-day.
– But his voice would carry more weight than mine. I am here in the South; he would be direct from the Northern Territory. I can only speak on special occasions, on subjects with which I am familiar, but it would be his function from day to day to call attention to the affairs of the Territory. I am confident that bis voice would, be heard, and that it would have a very great effect upon the opinions of members of another place, just as his voice would have an effect upon honorable members here if we could do anything in the direction of making or unmaking Ministries. The Government, if it chooses, can take practically no notice of anything that we say. I have had unlimited faith in the possibilities of the Northern Territory. There is land there that is second to none in any part of Australia.___
The .Public Works Committee, _ fresh from its travels and experiences in the Territory, expressed an opinion in “its report which I hope the Government has taken due notice of. The report says - “Wells, Bores, Dams, dc- Wells, bores dams, or tanks should be provided by the Government on small holdings, the cost of same to be added to rental, covering period of lease. Without this assistance it will be impossible for “ small “ men ito take up land. More wells should be sunk on stock routes, and more stock routes opened up. All wells and bores now leased to settlers should be placed in good repair, and proper agreements drawn up between the Government and the lessee. Competent inspectors should be appointed to see that conditions are adhered to, and wells and bores properly maintained.
In that country there are long dry stages, and there are tremendous areas taken up by certain individuals. These areas amount to 5,000, ‘6,000, 7,000 and 8,000 square miles. A big man comes along and takes up an area of country with natural waterholes, and he puts his stock on it. There may be equally good country outback, but there is not the water, and the small man cannot afford to spend, up to £3,000 to sink a well. Therefore, the country is not taken up, and the large holder, instead of having 4,000 or 5,000 square miles, has 10,000 to 20,000, because there is nobody on the land surrounding him. In the wet season he allows his cattle to run long distances from the water, and when the outback waters dry up he brings them in and the feed carries them over that year. The Territory will never be settled under present conditions, unless the small man gets ,more help than he is receiving at the present time. I do not know whether honorable senators have seen the last report of the Administrator of the Northern Territory. The Administrator says that in his opinion the want of representation is the cause of quite a lot of discontent in the Territory, and he advises that a representative should be appointed in order to remove, at any rate, one cause of complaint.
– He expressed the opinion that it “ may “ allay some discontent.
– He expressed the opinion that it “ will “ relieve one cause of discontent.
– It may increase it.
– The Administrator does not say that. I say that it will not, and the people who appear to know the Territory best agree with me. We ought to consider the voice of the people who live there. I should say that the people from Charlotte Waters to Darwin know their requirements better than the people living in Melbourne. I want to call attention to two or three pictures in the last report of the Administrator. One of these pictures shows a pineapple farm. If that farm were in Queensland, my Queensland friends would be very proud of it. It is on the Adelaide Rivers and the pineapples have been grown by one man. The picture on the next page shows the weir that he, with the assistance of two black boys, put across the Adelaide River. He dammed the river and put in a pelton wheel to pump the water to his irrigation settlement. He is now irrigating 1,000 acres, and is doing it all by himself.
– What does he do wilh his produce ?
– When there was a decent market, he sold it in Darwin. When there was one train a week he did very well. In ten or twelve years he has taken £10,000 off his holding, and lias put it all back again. The Government cut down the train service to one train a fortnight - which is an illustration of the way the Commonwealth helps these people. Instead of running a light motor vehicle more frequently, it still runs the old steam train, and when the train does not pay it is cut off. I suppose that in the near future it will be a case of one train a month. One fault is that the railway service in the Territory is not under the control of the Minister for Home and Territories, but is under the Works and Railways Department, and the Works and Railways Department, and the Home and Territories Department do not care a snap of the finger for each other. When the trains were cut down to one a fortnight, (he had to stop growing some of the things that he grew previously. Shortly after we were there canker broke out in the citrus trees, and, I think, about 5,000 of them had to be destroyed. He told us that he was going to California to bring some of’ his friends over to the Northern Territory to help him to irrigate the whole of his 1,000 acres. He intends to can pineapples on his farm. He had the plant there to make the tins, and his object was to send the fruit to Darwin and market it in the East. If one private individual with two native boys can do that, what is the use of anyone saying that it is impossible for people to make a living in the Northern Territory? His farm is a picture that would gladden the heart of any man who has any love for his country and any notion of the future possibilities of it. The farm is about 60 miles distant from Darwin. It is impossible to transport produce by road because of the heavy rains, which amount to 60, 70, and 80 inches per annum. Roads may be provided when settlement becomes more intense, but at present it is impossible to keep roads in repair for one settler to take fruit and vegetables to Darwin. I had the pleasure, when we were going through that district, of turning the valve wheel to start the irrigation scheme. When we came back we saw the result of that splendid work.
There is not the slightest doubt that mining in the northern portion of the
Northern Territory is still in its infancy. That is not merely my opinion, but it is the opinion of men who know - men like Dr. Jensen, who, whether we agree or disagree with him, must be accepted as an authority. There is not a geologist in Australia with his credentials or with a better knowledge, of the geology of this country, and he has shown the value of those mineral deposits in the northern part of the Northern Territory. I am referring to the country north of the Katherine River, and some of it is north of the Adelaide River. None of that country has been worked to a greater depth than 200 feet. The money that “‘was available was mainly spent in electriclight plant, billiard tables, and elaborate homes for the managers who came out forty or fifty years ago. Very little money was put into the shafts and the ground. To-day the shafts are filled with water, and as the nature of the mineral changed when it reached the water level, the methods adopted before reaching the water level are of no use to-day. The Administrator said that the mines were not “ poor men’s projects,” and the Public Works Committee, has used the same words in the report, from which I have quoted. The mines must be worked by companies with large capital, and they must use the modern methods of mining that are now in vogue in Australia. In mining methods Australia is second to no other country in the world. With modern methods, and the possibility of going down to deeper levels and developing the mines as we develop them in other parts of Australia, the Northern Territory should become a splendid mining proposition for the people of Australia.
– How will the Bill help the mining industry in the Northern Territory?
– By allowing the voice of the Northern Territory to be heard in Parliament every day. The man who comes here to represent the Northern Territory will be heard very frequently if he is the energetic man that I think he will be. His voice may for a time be like “ a voice crying in the wilderness,” but if he persists in representing the Territory as it ought to be represented,
I have no doubt that attention will be called to the needs of the Territory, and that before many years are over a different policy will be adopted from that which is in force at the present time.
I cannot help again referring to a statement made by Senator Thomas as -long ago as December, 1911. He had sent Captain Barclay to report on the Barkly Tablelands, and in the speech to which I have referred he quoted Captain Barclay’s report, a copy of which I have not been able to obtain. Captain Barclay said that there were 500,000 acres suitable for agriculture on the Barkly Tablelands south of the Katherine River, and that the Territory had good land, a good climate, and considerable mineral wealth. He further said that, as far as he knew, there were many .other areas of good agricultural land equal to what he had described as the good area on the Barkly Tablelands.
I hope that members of the Senate will accept the Bill. Some time ago we were asked to permit a representative of the Northern Territory to sit in the Senate, and the Senate, in its wisdom, rejected the Bill. We are now asked to permit a representative to sit in another place, which has already agreed to the proposal. The House of Representatives having agreed, we have no right to prevent the representative going there.
– The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
– I am sure that those honorable senators who have listened to Senator. Newland’s remarks feel indebted to him for the detailed information he has given us, and for his cheerful optimism regarding the future development of the Territory. My reference to handing the Territory back to South Australia was not sarcastic. I realize, as Senator Newland has said, that since we took it over it has not progressed very much, and I think that the lack of advancement is due to the fact that the people have no representative’ in Parliament, and are not governing themselves. I shall vote for the measure, but I am not fooling myself regarding it. I do not think it will give the kind of representation that the people are asking for. I would like the Government to bring in a Bill giving the people of the Northern Territory a Constitution under which they would be permitted to govern themselves, and under which all. the money they, would raise by taxation they would spend themselves. I am quite sure that it would give better results than the present policy.
– It would create a difficulty regarding Customs.
– I realize that there would be difficulties, but it is the genius of the British people to overcome difficulties, especially in self-government. A constitutional amendment which would give the people of the Northern Territory representation in both Houses of Parliament should come, to my mind, after they have shown their capacity to manage their own affairs by a system of local government created by this Parliament. What is the value of a representative in another House who has a voice without a vote behind it? If his experience happens to be mine, a few people may read a line or two of what he says. It is not very often that he will be heard. A Minister who is compelled to sit in the House may hear him, and a member interested in the Northern Territory may hear him. The press occasionally may report him, but he will be to all intents and purposes different from the other members. To my mind, such representation does not meet the claim for “ representation before taxation.” There is an old axiom and a platitude, which has received general acceptation, that there should be “no taxation without representation.” It is our duty to give the people in the Northern Territory the means to govern themselves. If they could raise £40,000 or £50,000 in taxation they might be given some form of local government and required to manage their own affairs. I am, satisfied that the money would be spent to better advantage than at present by the Federal Government. ‘
– Then vote against this Bill and support a measure to provide the machinery for local government.
– No doubt the honorable senator thinks that would be the correct way. If I thought that, by voting against this Bill, I would be expediting some form of real local government, I would do so, but I am not quite sure on that point. The Bill will not do what some people pretend to think it will. I am afraid that, instead of removing a grievance, it will create one, and that the representative to be appointed in another place will spend most of his time agitating for the right to vote.
– That is about all he will do, when he gets here.
– Very likely much valuable time that could be devoted to informing honorable members of Northern Territory affairs will be wasted in trying to convince the Parliament that he should have a vote. I am supporting the Bill, not because I believe in it myself - I am not fooling myself, though I think the Government are - but because it looks as if we are going to do something for the people of the Northern Territory.
– At a cost of £1,000 per annum.
– I admit the cost will be heavy in proportion to what is being done, but it is better than doing nothing. The Senate, in its wisdom, so Senator Newland said - I disagree with him - prevented the Territory from being represented in this Chamber. The position of the Territory is almost identical with the position of Australia itself 100 years ago.
– If another Ballarat or Bendigo were discovered in the Northern Territory, it would soon be developed.
– I have no doubt that, if only we could discover another Ballarat or Kalgoorlie, there would be very rapid development, but we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the conditions in Australia, when thefirst form of local government was secured, were almost identical with those in the Northern Territory to-day. I think it was in Macquarie’s time, about 1825, that the first local governing council was established. The self-governing activities of the few thousand free people who were then in Australia and of those who came to this country against their will but who, nevertheless, earned the right to be regarded as free men, were in full play, and were then being resisted by the governing classes, just as the demands of the people of the Territory are being resisted to-day. It would be a cheap experiment for this Government to draft a Bill for an Act giving the people of the Northern Territory the right to raise and disburse their own revenues and, if need be, to be subsidized by the Federal Government for other works that were clearly beyond the capacity of the people there to undertake.
– What about the debt and the deficit?
– We should not hold the citizens of the Northern Territory responsible for the debt, seeing that they were not responsible for its creation. A resident of Darwin, for instance, should be no more responsible than a resident of Sydney or Melbourne - rather less so, because the debt was forced upon the people of the Northern Territory.
– The people of the Territory were represented in the South Australian Parliament when the principal debts were contracted.
– But there are considerable assets in the Territory against the debt.
– We have not yet done anything practical for the development of the Territory. We may have talked a good deal about it, but we have never yet set out definitely, as a man would in respect of his own property, and said how much we were prepared to spend for developmental purposes, and what the ultimate result was likely to be. Each year we have met the bill, and voted whatever money has been asked for. We have also appointed Administrators, but I am not sure that we have always taken their advice.
I realize, of course, that the development of a new country, and particularly a country like the Northern Territory, is a huge undertaking, and I believe that the first experiment should be in the form of a sound system of local government. Knowing how sparse the population is, I think representation, somewhat on the Soviet system, according to classes, would be the most satisfactory, because all sections of the people would be represented - the grazing, mining, wage-earning, industrial, business and professional interests - and in this way we might expect to create a fairly representative council, from which no one would be shut out.
– I think some of them ought to be shut out.
– Well, I do not.
– The Northern Territory could be divided into districts in order to give effect to the honorable senator’s suggestion.
– There are many ways in which this idea could be carried out. Senator Wilson has interjected that some of the people in Darwin ought to be shut out from any form of selfgovernment. His attitude, to my mind, quite coincides with that of the governing classes in Australia in 1826-27. I suppose that of all men who have won a lasting place in the history of Australia, William Charles Wentworth takes first place. He gained for them their first constitutional government, and althoughhe may not be held in such high esteem in tine other States, in New South Wales we preserve the house in which he lived; we have named electorates after him, and in other ways have honoured him as the father of self -government in Australia. But what was the official view of Wentworth? He was held in such disrepute by Governor Darling that officers were discharged from the Public Service solely on the ground of their association with Wentworth. Senator Wilson would shut out men of this type, because they make themselves objectionable to the governing classes. Those of us who have read the splendid letters, collected by Doctor Watson, know that Governor Darling used to refer to Wentworth as “ an undesirable,” “ a demagogue,” a man “ cultivating the favours of the people,” and so on. One would have thoughthe was referring to Mr. Nelson of Darwin.
– Mr. Nelson does not believe in government at all. He believes in direct action.
– Well, I think Wentworth would have been placed in the same category by the official minds of the time, and it is possible that Senator Pearce has been for so long in official positions that he has cultivated the official mind himself, and objects to any agitation for reform.
– Do not forget that you were in an official position yourself once.
– Unfortunately, I was not allowed to remain there long enough to acquire the official outlook. Senator Wilson’s interjection just now was a reminder that the people of the Northern Territory have been protesting for a long time against taxation without representation, and that they have been prepared to sacrifice much to achieve their object. They have been really martyrs in the cause.
– They were very comfortable at Fanny Bay, you know.
– As every section of the community determined to put in twenty-one days there, they would have been very foolish if they had not made themselves comfortable, knowing that if it was one man’s turn to-day it would be another man’s turn to-morrow.
Although I do not welcome the Bill, I shall not oppose it. In my opinion, it is only fooling with the question. I do not think it will secure for the people of the Territory that representation which they desire, but, at all events, it is something, and I hope that when the representative is appointed he will also be entitled to a vote in another place. As there will be a general election within the next six months - possibly it will come much sooner than that - I suggest that it would be better if, instead of discussing this Bill, we dealt with a measure to give representation to all the Territories under control of the Commonwealth Government.
– What about the Federal Territory?
– The Federal Territory, also, if it is thought to be worth one. Norfolk Island might be linked with other islands around the coast of Australia in order to form another Territory that could have representation. It could not do any harm to have such representatives in this Parliament. I think it would do good. I ought to know more about Norfolk Island than I do; but to what extent are honorable senators generally familiar with that island? Representation from it should be welcome here. I would like the Government to give serious attention to the question of amending the Constitution to enable representation to be granted to these Territories, no matter where they are located. If such a proposal, approved of by all parties, were submitted to the people at the coming elections, I feel sure that it would become law. A referendum could easily be taken at the same time as the elections.
– We have that power already.
– Then why are we considering the present Bill ? I do not care to rely too closely upon my memory, but I have an idea that a statement was made by a Minister last week that it was not within our power to grant the Northern Territory a representative with a vote. If no constitutional amendment is required the Northern Territory and the other Territories should be given proper representation, after the coming election. As distinct from representation in the Federal Parliament, I would prefer the people living in the places to which I have referred being permitted to work out their own destinies, independent of this Parliament. I would have been very pleased if the present Bill had granted fuller representation to the Northern Territory; but it would be more satisfactory still if those people were permitted to govern themselves. I would support any Government who would go the whole distance. All that a representative in another place would be able to do, if deprived of a vote, could be accomplished by means of petitions. I am sure that Senator Newland, or any other honorable senator, would be prepared to present petitions on behalf of those people.
– It would need a fresh petition every day.
– Petitions would bo just as effective as speeches without the force of votes behindthem.
– I congratulate Senator Newland upon his educational speech. While he made out an excellent case for the development of the Territory, he did not convince me of the necessity for the Bill. I think the majority of the electors will agree with me in saying that we already have enough politicians in Australia, and we should be prepared to do all that is necessary with the present army of public men. I agree with Senator Gardiner that ifpetitions were presented on behalf of the Northern Territory they would have as much effect in Parliament as speeches by a member having no vote. It has occurred to me that a Parliamentary Committee might be appointed to take into consideration the needs of the various Territories that have been brought under our control in the last few years. People in the Northern Territory are under the disadvantage of not knowing with whom to communicate in connexion with their requirements. I cannot imagine any better representation than would be secured by means of such a Committee as I have suggested. I know of no honorable senators better suited for membership of such a Committee than Senator Newland. There is also Senator
Foll, who has recently been through the Territory, and surely we could find a third man to form a Committee of three with whom those people could get in touch; but that would not be sufficient. The only way to deal satisfactorily with the Territory is by the expenditure of public money for the purpose of civilizing it. The obligation rests on the Commonwealth to develop that great northern land. We have had it under our control for fourteen years, and what havewe done?
– We have spent a lotof money there.
– I prefer to say that we have wasted a lot of money, ifthe reports furnished to us, and the views expressed by honorable senators who have visited the Territory, are worth anything.
– You want to waste more money on a railway.
– I do not desire to see money wasted. If the Territory is worth holding, it is worth developing. Two yearsago Parliament established the principle that this country was entitled to representation. I think there was a large majority in favour of that view. I intend to move an amendment to the motion, “ That this Bill be now read a second time,” with the idea of having a Committee formed on the lines I have suggested. I submitted practically the same amendment two years ago. I move -
That all the words after the word “ That “ be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “the Senate is of opinion that residents of the Northern Territory who would, under ordinary circumstances, be entitled to a vote under the Commonwealth electoral laws, should for that purpose he attached to the State of South Australia, and accorded the right to vote at the election for senators for that State, thus being granted representation in the Commonwealth Parliament.”
– The Crown Law authorities say that that cannotbe done.
– Two years ago we laid down the principle that those people were entitled to representation. If my proposal cannot be adopted, I return to the idea of forming a Committee of members of this House. Such a Committee would be more advantageous to the Territory than one member drawing £1,000 a year, but having no vote with which to back up his views. How many representatives coming from the Territory would see anything of that country before their term was up? I believe that a representative without a vote would, after having made a few speeches, be regarded almost as a political “tug.”” The members of such a Committee as I have outlined could give close attention to the problems of the Territory, and its services would be of great advantage to the people there. If Senator Newland were a member of such a Committee he would keep in touch with the affairs of the Northern Territory, and would become a stronger, advocate of their interests than he is even at present. He would feel that it was his duty to go to the Territory occasionally and consult the residents concerning their requirements. A quota for electoral divisions in the different States is established, and it is unthinkable to suggest that the people in the Northern Territory, who number 2,000 or 3,000 - which is much below a quota, - should have’ a representative in this Parliament. I trust the matter will be fully debated, and that the amendment which I have moved will receive substantial support. The people in the Northern Territory, of course, have their rights, which this Parliament should recognise; but, as I have said, we should develop the Territory by providing additional facilities, and then perhaps there would be sufficient population to justify the representation which this measure seeks to provide.
– In formally seconding the amendment I may say that I would like the people of the Northern Territory to have some representation in this Parliament. I listened with considerable interest to the instructive speech delivered by Senator Newland, who dealt with the hardships which the people in that remote part of the Commonwealth have to endure. Personally, I cannot see the value of electing a representative to another, place if such a person will not have a’ vote, because I do not think it would, in, any way remove the difficulties which now exist. I feel, too, that, as Senator Wilson has said, unless we are prepared to spend money, in developing the Territory we have no right to hold it, ‘and unless we are prepared to construct the NorthSouth railway as speedily as possible, the outlay on development will be wasted. I must oppose the Bill in its present form, because I believe that to provide for the election of a representative without a vote would be merely a sham.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) [4.531. - There is very little option left for the Senate to do other than give the small modicum of representation sought in the Bill. If there is one boast of which this Parliament and this country is proud it is its democratic basis of representation in both Houses of the Federal Legislature. There is no country in the world which has an Upper Chamber elected upon the broad basis upon which, this Chamber is elected, and we have often boasted that this is the only Upper House in any land elected on adult suffrage. That being so, we would be paying a-very poor compliment to our Constitution if, when a proposal such as this is introduced- - which has been framed with the intention of giving representation to residents in the outlying portions of the Commonwealth - we refuse to’ give it our support. It would be a foolish thing to do, particularly when we remember the trouble there has been in that part of Australia during the last few years. We know that a state of anarchy prevailed, and that the people in, the Territory based their complaints on the one fact that they had no other means of making their complaints known unless they resorted to physical force. Are we to provoke that sort of thing, or are we going to give the people an opportunity of ventilating their complaints in a ‘ constitutional way? Surely we are not going to force them into a state of turmoil and rebellion against constituted authority. Senator Newland, ‘who has recently visited’ the Territory, and who is familiar with the conditions prevailing in that part of Australia, has given the Senate some very interesting facts, and I should be very sorry . indeed to see anything done that would have the effect of making the conditions there more unsatisfactory than they’ have been in the past. The Bill now before the Senate provides the opportunity of’ giving these people - particularly the reasonable section of the community - representation in another Chamber, and we would be acting in a foolish manner if we rejected it, seeing that the proposed representative will neither be able to support the Government nor assist in their defeat. The mea- sure seems so eminently reasonable that I trust the Senate will support its passage.
– This proposal carries on ite face a somewhat patent grievance for which, of course, a remedy is sought. We have to examine, in the first place, what we intend doing, which is to endow certain people in the Northern Territory with representation of a limited character. That is doing something. Every cause has its effect, and when, therefore, we satisfy ourselves as to the nature of the cause, we must analyze the nature of the effect. What is it in this particular instance ? For the present I shall content myself by saying that, so far as neglect or want of neglect on the part of this Government in regard to that particular area is concerned, the residents of the Northern Territory, in my opinion, have not a vestige of just complaint. If honorable senators desire proof of that assertion I ask them to consider that vast tract of country north of a line running east and west of the southern boundary of the Northern Territory. That tract includes nearly half of the Western State and a portion of Queensland, as well as the Northern Territory. I ask honorable senators: Which of the three geographical divisions has been most favoured? I went through the figures lately, and found that the residents of the Northern Territory, who to-day number some 3,000 people, receive something well over £100 per head of population in the form of - expenditure on works, ordinary expenditure, and subsidy, as compared with a few pounds per head spent on those in the area running east and west. These are the facts, and when this small community of 3.000 persons, who have received Government patronage in such an extraordinary and generous manner, say they want representation, all I can say is that they ought to keep quiet, because many of their fellow-citizens in the other places I have mentioned are bearing their burdens in patience, and are doing far more than they are in the way of work of a developmental nature. We cannot take any positive action without something radiating from it. What is that something in this case? If we give these people representation we have to consider what we are doing for the others in the electoral divisions of duly constituted States.
– They can pay the taxes.
– To a certain extent, we disfranchise them.
– Senator Benny, coming from South Australia, knows that the State which he represents must, of necessity take a fatherly interest in that particular area. When the Northern Territory was a no-man’s-land or an area of country which no other State wanted, South Australia stepped in and shouldered the burden.
– And kept it white.
– Yes, so there is something due to South Australia, and to the whole of the citizens of the Commonwealth. The representatives of South Australia are still taking a paternal interest in the Territory’s welfare; but we have to consider the question of how representation for the Northern Territory is going to affect the other divisions throughout the Commonwealth with a population of 5,000,000 people. Senator Benny interjected that we would disfranchise them to an extent, and I will improve upon that by saying to a very marked extent. Will it disfranchise other people in this country? I am going to admit that these people have some claim to representation, but it is a mighty small one. Senator Gardiner was loud in his support of the Bill, but wanted equality of representation. He referred to the ancient principle of no taxation without representation, but the very country which talked so much about it is the one country which has not followed it out in practice - I -refer to the United States of America. It was good enough in its day, but it is no longer of any use, because even that country which first advocated it does not give effect to it to-day. If we permit a representative of the 3,000 people in the Northern Territory to enter this Parliament we shall, to the extent of the influence which he can exercise, reduce the effective representation of many thousands of people in the different States. I shall be told that it is proposed that the representative of the Northern Territory will have no vote; but if the people of the Territory can find a really effective mouthpiece, and send him down here, he will sway the votes of other members of another place, and although he may be called upon to walk out of the chamber when a division is taken, his power after, an impressive speech will be shown in the result of the division.
– Of course, it will.
– I am glad that the honorable senator has made that admission, and I say that to the extent of the effect produced by the voice of the Northern Territory representative, who, by an eloquent speech, may turn a weak case into a strong one, or, perhaps, a wrong case into a right one, he will, although he has no vote, exercise a power that will be equal to votes.
– He will not have a vote, though he may exercise some influence.
– The fact that under this Bill he will not be given the right to vote “ cuts no ice “ in view of the influence he will exercise if he is a powerful advocate. I say that if a powerful advocate is sent to another place as a representative of the Northern Territory the effect of his influence will be to disfranchise, not 3,000 people, but 40,000 odd people in different parts of Australia. Is that a fair thing? I say it is not. Thirty thousand people in the northern part of Western Australia or in North Queensland are just as much entitled to fair representation as are the people of the Northern Territory, and, indeed, are more entitled to it. It is admitted that the influence of a representative of the Territory may capsize the balance of the voting power’ in another place.
Senator Gardiner has, on more than one occasion, reminded us of the powerful, populous, and opulent State of New South Wales. Who made it what it is? we made it. New South Wales did not make itself.
– When did the honorable senator make it ?
– I had to make it with my vote when the people of the State were not wise enough to send representatives here who would speak in its best interests. Senator Gardiner has more than once objected that the people of the great State of New South Wales should be overborne in this Parliament by the representatives of small States like Tasmania and Western Australia, containing very much fewer people. Yet the honorable senator desires now that 3,000 people in the Northern Territory should be allowed to send a direct representative to this Parliament. He forgets his’ own objection to the constitutional provisions under which 2,000,000 of people ‘in New South Wales may be outvoted in this Parliament by the representatives of a comparatively few people in Tasmania and Western Australia. The honorable senator’s attitude in regard to this Bill is quite inconsistent with the objection he has previously urged on behalf of the people of New South Wales.
I do not care to turn this proposition down. I desire to repeat that the particular country that gave rise to the famous shibboleth- no taxation without representation - is the country that does not follow out the maxim in practice today. I have been looking up the position in the United States of America to see what is done there in regard to propositions identical with this. When the thirteen American Colonies formed themselves into a Union there was a vast territory lying to the west of them brought under the American Constitution from time to time. The American Congress laid down rules and regulations to deal with the people , of that territory politically. As, section by section, it was thought desirable to bring them more definitely within the Union, I find, according to Mr. Bryce, that these political divisions were required to go through a process of evolution from the time they were acquired by the Government of the United States of America until they merged into full-fledged States with constitutional representation in both Chambers of the American Legislature. There are in the United States of America what are called organized and unorganized territories. The Indian Territory and the district of Washington are unorganized Territories. Utah and Dakota are organized Territories, to which Mr. Bryce specially refers. The people of those Territories are as subject to the Constitution and laws of the United States of America as are the people of the State of New York, but none of these Territories has a representative in the Congress at Washington. They each have a delegate, it is true, without the right to a vote, so that there is no adhesion to the principle of no taxation without representation in the country in which it was promulgated 100 years ago.
– Does the honorable senator say that the delegates to whom he refers have not the right of speech or vote?
– I find that they have the right of speech, but not the right to vote, because the right to vote depends on the Federal Constitution.
In my view, the present development of the Northern Territory is not such as to warrant this proposal. The number of the people and the development of the country should be taken into consideration when we are asked to give representation even of this kind to the Northern Territory. I may remind honorable senators that Nevada had a population of 200,000 people before it had a right to a vote when it was admitted as a State under the Thirteenth Constitutional Amendment. The Northern Territory has a population of only 3,000.
– The population of Nevada should be compared with the total population of 100,000,000 in the United States of America, as against a population of 5,500,000 in the Commonwealth.
– Utah, with a population of nearly 153,000, and New Mexico, with a population of nearly 200,000, were not admitted. There were local reasons for this. In one case there was a rumpus in Utah over the polygamy question, and in the other consideration was given to the fact that there was a very considerable mixed population in New Mexico. The fact remains that these divisions, with overwhelming populations, as compared to the Northern Territory, were not admitted to representation. I say that until the population of the Territory is greatly increased and it is more developed, it is not entitled to be placed in a position which would enable it to capsize the balance of representation in the other Chamber in which a representative is asked for. It is quite natural that the people of the Northern Territory should ask for representation, but they should realize that there are other people composing the Commonwealth as well as themselves, and that if they send a representative to this Parliament, to the extent to which he can influence voting power in another place they will be given a quite unreasonable measure of representation as compared with the people in other parts of the Commonwealth.
I am glad that Senator Gardiner is present, because I wish to say that in his absence I recalled the fact that on several occasions he has complained of the people of Tasmania and of Western Australia having equal representation with the vastly greater number of people in New South Wales, and has contended that that is a condition of things which cannot commend itself to any Democrat.
– If Idid not say that, I should have said it to give the honorable senator an opportunity to reply.
– Exactly. The honorable senator always stands up to what he hassaid in the past. He does not dodge it. His contention that the people of New South Wales are disfranchised because of the equality of representation given to the people of Tasmania is absolutely the converse of this proposal, which he supports, to permit 3,000 people in the Northern Territory to be represented in this Parliament.
– If we took the Northern Territory in as a State, there would not be as much difference in the voting power of the Territory as compared with Western Australia, as there is at the present time in the voting power of Western Australia as compared with New South Wales.
– I have already referred to the influence which might be exercised by an eloquent mouthpiece of the Northern Territory in another place. Suppose Senator Gardiner were the representative of the people in the Territory, we can imagine the influence which he would exercise though he had no direct vote once his tongue got going. Although the representative of the Territory after making a speech might have to walk out of the chamber, his speech would have produced its influence, and men would cross the floor in a division. Although he would not be entitled to a vote, his right to speak would be representation of a very substantial character. I am not voting for this Bill yet a while. One reason is that in my opinion the cry for it has been raised by men who have not done very much in the past to develop the Northern Territory.
– That is not fair to the men in Central Australia.
– I believe that the real residents of the Territory who have borne the heat and burden of the day in its development have had less to say in this connexion than have the “ birds of passage” who went there, and by their presence did more than anything else to ruin the industries of the Territory.
– That is not correct. This proposal is being pressed for by people who have made their homes in the Northern Territory.
– And by residents in the central area..
– How many of them?
– Every one we met.
– They would be outvoted by the “ birds of passage,” anyhow.
– Of course they would. I know where the outcry has come from. I know that of the Administrators, Dr. Gilruth to some extent excepted, only one has told the true story of the condition of affairs there. If the true story had been told by Governments in the past, the people responsible for the outcry would have been put in their proper place. I still insist that it is the element to which I refer that is responsible for this cry for representation. Believing and knowing that, I am not going to allow these men to disfranchise an overwhelmingly greater number of people in other parts of Australia. The people to the east and west of the Northern Territory are carrying cut the work of development with far less Government patronage than has been given to the people of the Northern Territory, who have been spoon-fed beyond all measure ever since the Territory was taken over by the Commonwealth. That is an important factor in this question. When the men of whom I speak, whose actions have resulted in people being hunted out of the Territory and in bringing its industries to a standstill, are prepared to put their necks into the collar as has been done by the men east and west of the Territory I shall be prepared to listen to their appeal for representation, but not before. I am going to vote against this Bill. I am not prepared to give the Northern Territory parliamen tary representation yet. The development of the country is far from what it should be, and the people east, west, and south of the Northern Territory have to be considered as well as the people for whom this claim is made.
– After listening to the speech of Senator Lynch, one would think that silence is not golden, or that speech is something more than silver. I know that Senator Lynch, in his moments of eloquence, sees things in a roseate hue. I know that he recognises that there is a mighty power in speech, but I have yet to meet the man who can produce one single instance in which a speech has moved a vote.
– I did it once.
– The honorable senator is a rare exception. I had, with Senator Newland, the opportunity of sitting in the House of Assembly in South Australia when there were two representatives from the Northern Territory in that Parliament. Both were able men, and one of them had been a senator in this Chamber, and his name still lives. I refer to Mr. V. L. Solomon. The power of his vote did not seem to do much damage there. His speeches were very informative. He had been through the Territory, and he spoke of what he had seen. It was essential for the development of the Territory, and for the proper government of it, that there should be some one in Parliament who could inform Parliament of what the Territory was like. To-day we have’ a Bill which proposes to allow a representative to come into the Commonwealth Parliament to speak, but we are to deny him the right to vote. Senator Lynch’s speech means, if it means anything, that we would prefer to remain in ignorance of what the Territory is like, and would prefer to go on muddling rather than have knowledge. Senator Lynch would not give the Northern Territory representative the primary power of following uphis speech by his vote, and is afraid to give him the secondary power because he might influence others in the exercise of their votes. It is proposed that we allow a man to come to this Parliament, and voice his opinions and knowledge. There is a vast difference between opinions and knowledge. Are we children ? Are we fearful? Such opinions, coming from the Senate, astonish me. Senator Lynch’s speech is the most marvellous thing that has met me since I came here. He appears to be afraid of one man coming from the wilderness to speak of what he knows.
Senator Drake-Brockman says he is fearful that if we give this man the right to speak he will ask by-and-by for the right to vote. He is fearful that the child who asks for a crust to-day will by-and-by ask for a meal, and that this is the “thin end of the wedge.” That same argument would have denied to Australia the right of free government. All Australia asked for in the first instance was the same “ thin end of the wedge.” There can be no other answer to his line of argument than that the Northern Territory should be cut-off from the rest of Australia. It should live apart, and should have no voice in the Parliament of Australia, and no vote on any consideration. “We are to give it nothing lest it should ask for something more. That seems to me to be getting down to the very lowest and most infantile method of governing any country. Senator Drake-Brockman says that the Territory should go through the ordinary process of incubation. It should first of all have a district or a municipal council, or something of the kind. The suggestion is that we should revert back to the time when the State from which my friend comes was a Crown Colony. Even the people of that State, however, asked for more, and they were not denied the position of a Crown Colony for fear that they would ask for a higher position. They were the strongest advocates of connecting the eastern and western States by means of a railway.
– As soon as they deserved self-government, they got it.
– -Now the argument is shifted to one of desert.How shall we measure desert? Shall we measure it by the multitude of the people, or by their quality ?
– By both.
– And their proportion to the rest of the community.
– That argument would deny representation to Tasmania and Western Australia as against New South Wales.
– Representation of Tasmania and Western Australia was fixed by mutual agreement when those States came into the Commonwealth.
– The way my friends are shifting their ground is a confession that their arguments are not sound. What constitutes desert? Absolute need. The Northern Territory is an integral part of the Commonwealth. The people there pay taxes to the Commonwealth, and they are under its supervision and control. The laws that are made here are made for them, and yet it is said that they should have no voice, no vote, and no consideration.
– What about the Chinese in the Northern Territory?
– The Chinese do not go into the Northern Territory to remain as Chinese. They preserve their nationality, but they are subject to the laws of the Commonwealth in which they reside. The law affects a Chinese in the Territory just as it affects a European.
– The bulk of the Chinese in the Northern Territory were born in the Northern Territory, and, being Australians by birth, have votes.
– I see no ground on which those who are objecting to this Bill can raise a solid or a sound argument. They have shifted from every point on which they based their arguments when they stood up to oppose the Bill. If we are going to get a man from the Northern Territory who will be so powerful that he will influence the seventy-two gentlemen in the other House, and change their votes, by all means let us have him. He is the very man we want. His arguments must be sound, and his reasoning cogent, and he must be backed by solid facts. If we are afraid to have those facts expounded we show that we have no faith at all in representation. My opinion is that this concession to the Northern Territory is too small. We have tried for a series of years to develop that part of Australia. We have tried to govern it . from South Australia and from Victoria. In the South Australian Parliament the Northern Territory had representatives; in the Commonwealth Parliament it has none. We must confess that up to the present time , not much progress has been made since the Commonwealth took over the Territory, excepting in the direction of the spending of money. That being so, it is about time we made a change. It is not too much to say that the people of the Northern Territory ought to have a voice in the Parliament, which .makes laws to govern them. The principle, which denies them that voice, could not be used as an argument in favour of sending Commissions to the Northern Territory to get information. The argument which shuts out the voice of the representative of the Northern Territory would shut out any report from the Northern Territory.
– Is representation of the Northern Territory all that is wanted to make things “hum” there?
– I do not say that, but we want knowledge of the conditions of the Northern Territory, and its possibilities to enable Parliament to’ do its duty.
– Why not have halfadozen representatives of the Northern Territory ?
– I am_ not asking for half-a-dozen representatives of the Northern Territory; I am pointing out the fallacy of the honorable senator reasoning against one. I am supplying him with certain facts from which his own brain should draw the inference. If this Bill contained still more than it does contain, I should be found supporting it. I support it, not because it is very small, but because I believe that it may lead to something more.
– And that is why I oppose it.
– Now we have it confessed that the reason why Senator Drake-Brockman opposes the Bill, is because it is a forward movement. The whole trend of his argument was that he thought it was the “ thin end of the wedge,- that he thought the wedge would be driven home, that behind the voice would come the vote, and that by and by the Northern Territory would overshadow Western Australia. He was fearful of the progress, that was coming. The Northern Territory is part of the Commonwealth, and, therefore, the people there should not be deprived of representation.
– They did not appear to think so when they turned Government representatives out’ of the Territory.
– I am not dealing with that matter at all. Things of which I do not approve may have happened in the Territory, but that is no reason why the people there should be deprived of their rights.
– Worse events happened in Melbourne, Newcastle, and elsewhere, but nothing was said about them.
– No other section of the community defied the constitutional authority of the Government to the same extent as the people in the Northern Territory.
– I remind the honorable senator that at one time in the history of Ballarat a section of the people defied . constitutional government, and erected a barricade to oppose authority with force. Those people acted from very much the same motives that prompted the people in the Northern Territory recently to do certain things, but subsequently they were represented in the Parliament of this State. ^During, the time that Senator Newland was speaking there was not a single honorable senator who was not listening most attentively, and there was not one who could say that his speech was not worth listening to. And that is all we are asking for the people of the Northern Territory. We want them to have a representative in this Parliament to voice their opinions and inform our minds as to their conditions.
– I intend to vote for Senator Wilson’s amendment. Senator Senior was not quite fair in his reference to Senator Lynch’s speech. As a matter of fact, Senator Lynch’s argument was an elaboration of an interjection made by me. While the honorable senator was speaking, I interjected that the proposal to appoint a representative in another place would alter the incidence of representation unduly, and out of all proportion to the rest of the political units in the community, who would to that extent, be disfranchised. Senator Lynch elaborated that argument much more ably than I could possibly hope to do”. The.
Bill proposes to grant representation to a small and insignificant minority in the Northern Territory, because it is very insignificant compared with the 500,000 people an South Australia.
– Or compared with the quota necessary in any State.
– That is so. I would like the people of the Northern Territory to have representation, but as has been pointed out already, the power of speech is at times very effective. A good speech, on occasion, may sway an assembly. Even if the proposed representative for the Northern Territory walked out of the House of Representatives after having delivered a speech, which, perhaps, had influenced certain votes, his presence there would, to that extent, diminish the power, of representation in the remaining units of the community. This is the ground, chiefly, upon which I support Senator Wilson’s amendment. It seems to me that Senator Wilson has taken a step in the right direction, although I wish Senator Drake-Brockman’s suggestion had been adopted, and that the Government had taken steps to pass legislation authorizing the government of Northern Territory by a local Parliament or Government Resident. I support the amendment both on political and economic grounds. On political grounds because it will alter seriously the incidence of representation and give undue weight to minorities, and on economic grounds because it is utterly absurd and out of all reason that we should pay £1,000 a year to a man to come down to the Seat of Government and use Parliament House as a platform from which he may ventilate all kinds of Bolshevik grievances. The proposal is too utterly futile for the Senate to consider.
– I do not wish to speak at great length, but I want to anticipate, if I may, the argument that may be used against Senator Wilson’s amendment. It was mentioned by the Minister (Senator Pearce) when introducing the Bill, that the Constitution did not provide for the Northern Territory having representation in this Parliament in conjunction with the States. I understand that the Minister interjected to the same effect while I was out of the chamber this afternoon. I am also given to understand that the opinion of the Solicitor-General on this issue has been sought, and that it is as the Minister states.
– I did not give it as my own opinion.
– I have just said that it was the opinion of the legal gentleman to whom I have referred. Despite the eminence of the particular legal authority, I dare to place my own opinion against his, supported as I am, after consultation, by the views of certain eminent legal gentlemen in this city obtained since the Senate adjourned last week.
– We always get into that unfortunate position when we seek legal advice.
– It is worth testing at all events. As the Senate knows, I am opposed to representation in another Chamber as proposed in this Bill, but I am in favour of giving some measure of representation to the Northern Territory in this Parliament if such representation can be given by including the Territory in a South Australian, Western Australian, or Queensland division. I am quite in accord with that principle. I think the people of the Northern Territory should be given an opportunity to assist in the election of senators for South Australia or for any of the States that are in juxtaposition, and I would also wish them to have an opportunity to assist in the election of a member for the House of Representatives, say, for the northern portion of Western Australia. This would give them an effective voice in this Parliament. As citizens of this Commonwealth, it may be claimed for them that they are entitled to as much, but certainly it cannot be claimed for them that they are entitled to more. That is the position as I view it. If, as in my opinion, we can incorporate the Northern Territory electors with South Australia, I think it should be done.
– We can give them representation on such terms as Parliament thinks fit.
– BROCKMAN. - That is my reason for supporting the amendment. In my opinion it is feasible, but it is purely a question for this Parliament. The Constitution is quite wide enough to allow them to be represented in that way, if this Parliament so desires. I remind honorable senators that on a previous occasion when a Bill was before this Chamber to give representation to the Northern Territory in the Senate, on the same terms as is now proposed for the House of Representatives, the Senate affirmed the principle which is now embodied in Senator Wilson’s amendment. I voted for it then, and I shall vote for it on the present occasion. It was not then asserted by the Government that there was no power under the Constitution to give effect to the principle, but it is asserted now.
– It was because of that vote that the question was submitted to the law authorities, and this is their opinion.
– We are always hearing about the law authorities as if their opinion was final.
– I am only stating the reason why the opinion was not given before.
– I am not blaming the Minister at all. We admit that what he states is a fact. We know now that the Solicitor-General holds the opinion that the Constitution is not wide enough to allow of the Northern Territory electors being incorporated in a South Australian electorate. But that is the opinion of only one member of the legal profession. I have given the opinion of others who are acknowledged to be leaders of the Bar in Victoria, and who are recognised authorities on constitutional questions. They support my contention. The opinion of these legal gentlemen differs from that of the Solicitor-General. If, however, their view is wrong, then .1 am still against representation of the Northern Territory in this way, but I say that, if some measure of representation can be given to the Territory, under the Constitution in the way suggested by the amendment, it is quite right and proper that the people there should have it. They are entitled to no more than, for example, the people of the north-western portion of Western Australia who, in many respects, have had a great deal less consideration from the Commonwealth.
– But they have their own State Parliament to help them.
– I am prohibited from dealing with that aspect of the question. I referred to it in my original speech on the second reading of the Bill. It has been suggested that it would be unfair to the men in the interior of the Northern Territory, if they were not given some voice and vote in this Parliament.
– The men in the interior would never see their representative.
– Of course, they would probably never see him, and the people who would send him here, almost without doubt, would be the residents of Darwin.
– I have met many people from the interior, and they want this representative, no matter who he might be.
– I ; snail accept the assurance of the honorable senator that a representative is wanted. I am reminded of the child in the bath who wanted Pears’ soap, and could not be happy until he got it. Simply because the people of the Territory want a representative, it does notmean that they should have one.
– That was the argument used against woman’s suffrage.
– This Chamber has already affirmed a good principle, and it is now merely asked to re-affirm it.
– The object of the amendment is that the people of the Northern Territory should be grouped with the residents of South Australia for the purpose of parliamentary representation. The advice of the Solicitor-General was obtained as a result of a similar amendment being carried on a previous occasion in the Senate, and was not, as Senator Drake-‘ Brockman seems to suggest,’ suddenly brought forward to serve political purposes.
– The Minister misunderstood me. I suggested nothing of the sort. I merely stated the facts.
– Then I accept the honorable senator’s assurance. The Government sought legal advice with the bond fide view of ascertaining whether it was possible to give effect to what the Senate resolved on the former occasion, and we were told that effect could not be given to the resolution. When doctors differ one must fall back on his own common sense, and in the present case, as lawyers disagree, I dare say my view may be stated. It appears to me that there is a very good reason why the proposal is unconstitutional. We have to remember that the quotas of the electorates in a State are determined by the population of ‘ the State. If we could, under the Constitution, attach a Territory to a State, it “is easy to see that, if the Territory became populous, it would alter the quota for that State. If a Government happened to hold a majority in a State, and drew their chief support from that State, and if the Territory were of a like political complexion, and were attached to that State, it might seriously affect the representation in the House of Representatives. That appears to me, as a politician, to be a reason why such a course should not be adopted. I know that Senator Wilson will receive the votes of those honorable senators who are entirely against representation of the Northern Territory. That is the virtue of such an amendment. It draws the support, not only of those who believe in the amendment, but also of those who wish to kill the Bill. I cannot reply at this stage to the arguments used against the Bill. It has been said that the people in the Territory do not deserve representation at all.
– Who said that?
– I think Senator Benny referred to them as Bolshevists.
– I said that we do not want this Parliament used as a platform for Bolshevists.
– There were two vital tests that Australia underwent in the late war. They were tests of the people’s loyalty. In the first military service referendum the Northern Territory, which we are told is run by Bolshevists, recorded a poll of 75 per cent, of the electors. The voting was 838 for compulsory military service and 604 against it. That is a better record than was established by the -State of- South Australia. In the 1917 compulsory mili tary service test, when the so-called Bolshevik element had its tail right in the air, and when it threatened to deport the Administrator, there was a 95 per cent. poll. That was bigger than the vote recorded in any of the States. That result was obtained in that widelyscattered area with the assistance of the postal vote. Again, compulsory military service was carried there, although on the second occasion by a majority of one vote. That is a better record than South Australia can show on that great test.
– What has conscription to do with this Bill?
– It was a test of citizenship, and of the people’s realization of their duty to their country.
– You are hard up for argument.
– It may be unpleasant for the honorable senator, and other South Australian representatives, who have labelled the people of the Territory as unfit to have a vote.
– I ask that that remark be withdrawn. I have already denied that there is any truth in it.
The. PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. T. Givens). - I ask the Minister to withdraw that remark, as it is objectionable to the honorable senator.
– I certainly shall withdraw it, but I think the honorable senator’s remarks will need to be carefully read by him in the Hansard proof, because he will find that they will need correction, if I am to accept his assurance now. In this crucial test of citizenship, to which I have referred, the residents of the Northern Territory came through better than three-fourths of the people of the Commonwealth. Now we are asked that they should be attached to South Australia for electoral purposes, although the Crown law authorities state that that cannot be done constitutionally. Honorable senators’ own common sense should make it clear to them what could be done, if these Territories became populous and they were so attached.
– We could then undo what, it is now proposed to do.
– Yes, but is it not clear that honorable senators should not have power to do it? Imagine what might happen when Canberra becomes a city, by simply tacking it on to one of the other States ! If there is power to attach the Northern Territory to South Australia, it should be just as competent for Parliament to tack Canberra on to Tasmania. That would open up a great prospect of gerrymandering, when the Territories became populous. I hope -tine Senate will vote against the amendment. I shall have an opportunity, at a later stage, to reply to the arguments advanced against the Bill itself. One may vote for the amendment and claim the virtue of not having rejected the Bill, whereas honorable senators know that to vote in that way means to defeat the Bill.
.- I do not think the Minister (Senator Pearce) expected me to calmly accept his opinion as to what the vote on the conscription issue indicated, as far as the standard of citizenship was concerned. Before I come to that point, I am more interested to know whether the amendment submitted by Senator Wilson is constitutional, although I know that you,- Mr. President, will not consider it your function to interpret the Constitution. Section 123 reads -
The Parliament of the Commonwealth may, with the consent of the Parliament of a State, and the approval of the majority of the electors of the State, voting upon the question, increase, diminish, or otherwise alter the limits of the State, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed on, and mav with the like consent, make provision respecting the effect and operation of any increase or diminution or alterations of territory in relation to any State affected.
That section, to my mind, removes from this Parliament the power to alter the boundaries of South Australia by adding the Northern Territory to it.
– If you can add, you can take away.
– I assume, therefore, that the section I have quoted, standing by itself, would mean that, if we agreed to the amendment of Senator Wilson, the Bill would have to be hung up until we knew whether South Australia would accept the suggestion, or whether South Australia had any voice as to whether it would accept it. I do1 not think that this Bill is worth that.
– The people of South Australia need not be consulted.
– Adding territory to a State means altering the basis of representation in that State. It may be that the Bolshevists, to which Senators
Lynch and Wilson take such strong objection, will alter the whole of the representation of South Australia at the next elections.
– I shall have you on a point of order directly.
– The honorable senator may take points of order to prove that he did not say something that he has said. On one occasion he remarked that there were some people in the Territory who should be prevented from having a vote.
– That is different from calling them Bolshevists.
– The impression he conveyed was that the Bolshevik sec* tion should not have a vote.
– That is so.
– -If the honorable senator continues to interject in that strain it will appear that the Minister (Senator Pearce) has not misinterpreted his remarks. After all, the so-called Bolsheviks at Port Darwin represent a majority of the people, and the report of the inquiry which this Government instituted concerning the conduct of Government officials there, from the Judge downward, satisfied me that the actions of the Bolsheviks which caused certain people to quit the Territory were very moderate.
– J! cannot allow the honorable senator to pursue that line of argument, as his remarks have nothing to do’ with the Bill before the Senate.
– I thought, in discussing the question of whether the people of the Northern Territory should be allowed to vote as electors of South Australia, I would have an opportunity of dealing with their characteristics; but if you rule otherwise I shall not dispute your ruling, and shall endeavour to confine my remarks to the question before the Chair.
– The honorable senator has placed on record his opinion of the people of Port Darwin.
– Yes, but as I am not allowed to continue I hope Senator Lynch will not place a wrong construction on my half-uttered opinion. As I am not permitted to discuss the Bolshevik tendencies of the Port Darwin people, I am just beginning to wonder if I shall ‘be in order in referring to the conscription campaign. The Minister referred to it, so I presume I shall be allowed a similar opportunity. He seemed to think that the votes recorded by these people on that issue proved that they were men of excellent character. On one occasion a substantial vote was recorded in support of conscription, and on the next occasion it was carried by only one vote. That is, I suppose, proof of their public spiritedness; but, in my opinion, it is a test of their willingness to send other men to do the fighting.
– The percentage of enlistments was very high.
– However we may argue I hope that I shall never be found belittling in any way the public spiritedness displayed by the people in the different States in the matter of enlistments, because we know, without reference to States, sections, creeds, or anything else, that there was a response which was, to my mind, absolutely astonishing when one looks at the facts. The Minister used the vote on the conscription issue as an illustration of the character and public spiritedness of the residents of the Northern Territory, but to me it is as absurd an illustration as he could have thought of. I am surprised at him even thinking of it. Perhaps he was afraid that his Bill might be endangered by that combination which desires to destroy it, and so he fell back on what is the last line of retreat of the Nationalist party, namely, the conscription issue. When everything else fails they run up that flag in the belief that the weakkneed section of the community must come behind them then. But I shall let that pass. I do not intend to vote for the amendment, because I believe it to be constitutionally unsound. Before we could allow the residents of the Northern Territory to vote for South Australian representatives the boundaries would have to be altered, and as an amendment of the Constitution would be necessary, I do not think it is worth while considering that at this juncture.
– Has the honorable senator considered a double dissolution in connexion with this Bill?
– Senator Newland and I held opposing views when one dissolution occurred, and he did not feel as kindly disposed towards me as I believe he does now.
– The honorable senator must connecthis remarks with the question before the Chair.
– I realize, Mr. President, that I have been led away by an interjection. I have no desire to disobey your ruling; and, as I am anxious to assist the Government in passing this Bill, I shall resume my seat.
.- Mr. President-
– The honorable senator has already spoken.
– Have I not the right to reply?
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . , . 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia -
Minister for Home and Territories) [6.15]. - I desire to direct attention to the contradictory nature of the arguments used against this measure, and I am astonished at some of the South Australian senators opposing the Bill. The Northern Territory is a legacy from South Australia, the responsibilities in connexion with which the Commonwealth has had to carry. The Government are battling along under great difficulties, and we have received from the residents - not from one, but from all sections - a request for some form of representation.
Governor of Queensland, but I am not. I am able, however, to say that the Governor of Queensland gave his assent to the other measures passed by the Queensland Parliament, to which the honorable senator has referred. It may be possible to juggle with these things to a certain extent, but if a certain limit be passed the consequences have to be considered.
Senator Drake-Brockman advocates the appointment of an Advisory Council for the Northern Territory. Let me remind honorable senators that that has been tried. The proposed representative for the Northern Territory will, under this Bill, be in a position to look for the votes of every one in the country. The system proposed for his election is that under which the votes of 95 per cent, of the people of the Northern Territory were recorded in the military service referendum. If we can get 95 per cent, of the votes of the people of the Northern Territory recorded in the election of the proposed representative, he will not come from Darwin at all.
Senator Newland has referred to the condition of the Northern Territory police, the limited train services, and other matters of administration. Do honorable senators not think that it would be a good thing to have a man here whose duty it would be to hammer these grievances not only into the Minister, but into this Parliament? I find that there are many things that I should like to do for the Northern Territory, but I very much doubt whether, if I brought them before this Parliament, I could get honorable senators to agree to them.
I have been astonished at the contradictions of the opponents of the Bill.
There are those who say that they are against the Bill because it is of no value and will have no effect. On the contrary, Senator Lynch says that the representative of the Northern Territory would have so much power that he would be able, by his voice and influence, to sway votes in another place and so would disfranchise the north-west of Western Australia. That is a most extraordinary argument, and, carried to its logical conclusion, it means that Western Australia, having a smaller population than Victoria, New South Wales, or South Australia, and a small number of electors per member, must disfranchise the other States. That is a very dangerous argument for a representative of Western Australia to use. It may prove to be a boomerang which will return upon himself.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to S p.m.
Question - That the Bill be now read, a second timo - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
This Act shall commence on a date to be fixed by proclamation.
. -I move-
That the following wordsbe added to the clause: - “and shall be limited to a period of three years from the date of such proclamation.”
The object of that proposed amendment is to limit the operation of the Bill automatically, so that, in order to keep it in existence beyond the period of three years, Parliament will have to review the situation in the Northern Territory. It seems to me that that is a fair proposal to make. It is not right to place upon Parliament the onus of repealing the measure in three years’ time if it is not satisfactory.
– I ask the Committee not to make this alteration. It seems to me that we are not entitled to put such a limitation upon the Bill. Surely we can trust the elected representatives of the people in the next Parliament to do what is right. Why should we limit them in any way?
.- I hope the Minister will accept the proposed amendment. I think it is a very opportune and wise proposal. The Bill, which has passed its second reading by a very small majority, is experimental. Personally, I do not think that it will be of as much advantage to the Northern Territory as the Government anticipates. I think Senator Benny is justified, in view of the experimental nature of this proposed legislation, in suggesting that its operation should be restricted to a period of three years, so that Parliament, at the end of that period, may have an opportunity to review the whole position. If the Act turns out eminently satisfactory, it will then be re-enacted for another three years, or for an indefinite period. As a result of experience during the next three years we may become wiser and evolve a better method by which the people of the Northern Territory will be able to voice their views, so that every matter affecting the Territory can be dealt with by Parliament.
– Cannot we bring in an amending Bill in that case?
– I have recollections of Governments forgetting to bring in amending Bills, even when the need for those Bills has been imperative. If this Bill ceases to be an Act by effluxion of time in three years, the whole position must of necessity be reviewed.
– I oppose the amendment. We are inviting the people of the Northern Territory to send a representative to Parliament. They are far removed from us. We are inviting some one to give up the occupation he is following in order to represent the Territory in Parliament; and, if we carry the amendment, we shall be telling him that there is no guarantee that his position will last for more than three years. There arc very few honorable senators here, with their knowledge of Parliament, who would undertake to contest a seat under those conditions. I am endeavouring to treat this matter from a Northern Territory, and not a political, point of view. If we invite the Northern Territory to send a representative to this Parliament, the terms should be such as to insure the selection of the best man available. If we limit the period to three years, there will be difficulty about getting the best man. Having passed the second reading, we can very well afford to allow the Bill to go to the next stage. We ought not to pass a measure pretending to give representation to the Territory and then in Committee seek so to amend it as to practically destroy the principle. I take it that Mr. Nelson, or some other well-known representative of the unions in Darwin, will be selected as the representative of the people of the Territory. If the term of office is limited -to three years, is it likely that he will throw up a good position to come here ?
– I did all I could to prevent the second reading being carried, and I intend now to support the amendment-. My only regret is that there was an adjournment of the debate over the dinner hour. But for that adjournment, I do not think we ‘would now be discussing any amendment of the measure in Committee, but possibly we will have the whole business over again on the third reading. It is ridiculous, in my judgment, to bring a man down here from the Northern Territory, and pay him £1,000 a year to make two or three speeches in a session. The public will never tolerate that state of affairs.
– He will be subject to re-election like every other member of this Parliament.
– Yes, but he will only have the Northern Territory to talk about; and after he has been here for a few weeks and made two or three speeches he will tire of the job. What the people of the Northern Territory want is for the Commonwealth to do something to develop that great area - not to talk about it. We have any number of men in South Australia who have been talking about the Territory in the most complete manner for the last twenty-five years.
– But we have not got them in this Parliament,
– I think we have. Senator Newland, for the past few years, has been doing very well in this direction. If we appointed a Committee of three members we would be doing something much more effective to advance the interests of the Northern Territory than by passing this Bill, because that Committee could become conversant with the requirements of the Territory and be able to advise Parliament as to the best line of policy to pursue. Altogether this scheme -would be much more effective than the bringing of a man down here.
– That would cost more than the present scheme:
– Since I have been a member of this Senate I have endeavoured, and at my cwn expense, to make myself thoroughly conversant with the whole of Australia. If I were asked to become one of a Committee of three, to give special attention to the Northern Territory, I would see to it that I was kept in closest touch with all the local organizations, and in that way the electors there would have much better representation than they can hope to have under the present scheme. Moreover, it would be the duty of the Government to stand behind any recommendations of that special Committee. This proposal ‘ is nothing more nor less than political bluff. We want something more permanent and more practical. Because of the experimental nature of this Bill, it is better to limit its operation to three years, and thus limit expenditure. We should know where we are getting to in this matter.
– Senator Wilson’s closing remarks as to the experimental nature of this legislation hit a nail exactly on the head. It has taken this Parliament at least eleven years to see the necessity for this enactment. When the State of South Australia ceded the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth it took very good care to safeguard the interests of the Territory in every respect, even to the extent of stipulating that a line of railway should be laid down along a certain route. I am not afraid to trust a future Parliament in ‘ this matter. Apparently the Minister (Senator Pearce) is afraid. I think a new Parliament should have an opportunity to deal with this issue de novo as we are doing now. We have had no experimental legislation of this nature in the history of the Commonwealth.
– .Previously tho people of the Northern Territory had their special representatives in the South Australian Parliament.
– That is quite true, and apparently the South Australian Government were so forgetful of their interests, or perhaps the scheme worked so badly, that they did not include this provision in the Agreement when the Northern Territory was taken over by the Commonwealth. I object to this Bill becoming part and parcel of our permanent Statutes. The people of the
Northern Territory, in my opinion, are mighty lucky. I know of no luckier section of citizens in this continent. The Bill has been can-ied in this Chamber on a very fine majority. That, in itself, is ample warrant for a demand to review this legislation in the near future. It is manifestly unjust to other portions of the Commonwealth to give the people of the Territory the representation they are to get in the terms of this Bill. If the period is limited, as suggested by the amendment, to three years, the representative who may be sent here will realize that his tenure of office may to some extent depend upon his behaviour in this Parliament.
– I take it,, from the concluding remarks of the last speaker (Senator Lynch), that the tenure of office for the suggested representative of the Northern Territory will depend upon whether he is a subservient follower of the Government for the full period of three years. One would have thought that opponents of the Bill, having fought it to a division on the second reading, would have been satisfied to let it go through Committee in order that some real benefit may be conferred upon the people of the Northern Territory. But apparently they are not satisfied with that vote. Personally, I resent the imputation made by Senator Wilson, that the Government secured their majority by some unfair means. If the honorable senator will only reflect for a moment he will realize that members on this side are just as honorable as he is, and just as likely to resent interference by any member of the Government as he himself would be. The honorable senator also suggested that a Committee of three members should be appointed, and he did me the honour of saying that I should be one of them. I would point out, however, that I have quite enough to do in properly looking after my own constituents in’ South Australia. I would like to see a representative of the Northern Territory in this Parliament. Such a member would be in touch with the people, and, understanding their problems, he would be able to place their claims fully before the House. The idea of appointing a Parliamentary Committee to look after the interests of the Territory is impracticable, and is not worth considering. In the next five or ten years it may be found necessary to spend many millions of money in developing the Territory, and no’ doubt certain honorable senators will be found opposing such expenditure. Support will be given to that opposition by those honorable senators who now oppose the granting to the Northern Territory’ of one representative. Had the opponents of the Bill attempted to give a vote to the representative of the Territory, I could have understood their attitude. If a proposal is brought forward to grant the representative a vote, I shall, cordially support it.
It has been stated by Senator Lynch that South Australia did not stipulate that the Territory should have representation in the Federal Parliament when it was transferred to the Commonwealth. Of course, the State did not stipulate anything of the kind, because it was believed, when the Territory was handed over that the men representing the various States in the Commonwealth Parliament would be broadminded enough to see that fair representation was granted to it. It was the generally accepted opinion in South Australia that, within a few years, the Territory would, at least, have as good representation under Commonwealth control as it enjoyed when administered by the State. I believe that, had it been thought that such representation would not be given, very different action would have been taken. I do not wish to say anything that would appear to be setting one State up against another but I cannot help expressing my astonishment that a representative of Tasmania should oppose the granting of representation to the Territory. The time may come when the representatives of the large States-
– The honorable senator is getting away from the amendment.
– I am afraid that other honorable senators have also departed from it, but I bow to your ruling. It is extraordinary to find opposition to the Bill from the quarters from which it has come. I hope that the honorable senators who supported the second reading will oppose this amendment, and that the Bill will not be passed in the emasculated form now suggested. The amendment would prevent many men in the
Northern Territory and elsewhere, who might be inclined to stand for the Territory, from becoming candidates.
-I find on considering the matter, that this amendment would hardly be in order in its present place. Clause 2 deals with the commencement of the Act, and the amendment would limit the duration of the Act. If the amendment were carried, and honorable senators wished to defeat the clause afterwards, they would be dealing with the duration as well, as the commencement of the Act. Standing order No. 207 says -
The precise duration of every temporary Bill shall be expressed in a distinct clause at the end of the Bill.
I ask Senator Benny if he will temporarily withdraw his amendment, and submit it later on.
– I suppose I could bring it forward as clause 2 (a), under the heading of “ Duration “.
– According to the standing order, it should be introduced at the end of the Bill, and we had better adhere to that rule.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 (Representation of Northern Territory).
– I ask that consideration of clauses 3 to 9 be deferred until consideration has been given to my amendment. If these clauses are dealt with, it may be said subsequently that I am too late with the amendment.
– I cannot consent to deferring the remaining clauses, but I shall give an assurance that I shall not use the argument mentioned by the honorable senator.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 -
– I move-
That the word “not “ be leftout.
The amendment would mean that the member would have the right to vote. It is a simple amendment, and I hope the Government will accept it.
– I cannot accept the amendment, because, obviously, the Government do not think that the Territory has yet arrived at the stage when it should have a representative with the right to vote.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 6 to 9 agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Benny) proposed -
That the following new clause be added: - “10. This Act shall continue in operation for the period of three years from the date of the commencement thereof and no longer.”
– I would not have spoken again in Committee had it notbeen for the statement of an honorable senator who expressed amazement that certain honorable senators had opposed the second reading. It will be agreed that so far I have restrained myself, because I took no part in the discussion on the second reading. I spoke pretty fully two years ago on this question, and. knowing that there was a good deal of business to be dealt with, I decided to content myself by recording my vote in the same way as I did on the previous occasion. I intend to give my reasons for voting in the way I did. It has been suggested that honorable senators from the small State of Tasmania should be careful how they vote. I do not propose to accept the dictum of any honorable senator as to how I should vote. Tasmanian representatives can take care of themselves, and will represent that State to the best of their ability. I desire to point out, however, that the Bill proposes to give equal representation in one House of the Parliament to approximately 1,200 electors in the Northern Territory, while other members in that House have to represent a very much larger number of constituents.
– Equal representation?
– An equal voice on matters not only concerning the Northern Territory, but other parts of the Commonwealth. There is nothing in the measure to prevent the proposed representative speaking on every subject which may be before the House.
– But he cannot vote.
– No; but he will be able to use his voice and influence equally with other honorable members in that Chamber, and I believe the whole question will need to be reviewed before the expiration of three years. We are bringing in an unwieldy piece of machinery at considerable expense to the Commonwealth merely with the object of allowing a representative to place the views of the people in the Northern Territory before Parliament. It is possible that when a representative of the Northern Territory is appointed he will come to Melbourne, and will in all probability take up his residence here for the term of the Parliament. Consequently, he will have to rely entirely upon the information he receives from the Territory by means of correspondence in order to fortify his position.
– Can he not return home during the recess as other honorable members do?
– He may do that; but considering the time of the year when Parliament is usually in recess, it is more than probable that he will prefer to remain in the more desirable climate of the southern States. I am supporting the amendment mainly because I believe a method can be evolved for ascertaining the requirements of the Territory other than by providing for the election of a member to another place. If Parliament provided annually on the Appropriation Bill a sum sufficient to cover the expenses of a delegate from the Northern Territory, the case would be met. A delegate could then come to Melbourne fresh from the Northern Territory every year, with all the latest information at his disposal.
– I rise to order. I am loath to interrupt the honorable senator; but I submit that he is not arguing why the Bill should operate for only three years. He is discussing the general question of the representation of the Northern Territory, and I direct your attention, Mr. Temporary Chairman, to the fact that he is submitting an alternative proposal.
– I ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the amendment before the Chair.
– I believe that I have been confining my remarks to the amendment, and if I am to support it I must give reasons. If the period is limited to three years we shall have an opportunity during that time of evolving a better scheme of representation for the Northern Territory. I do not wish to infringe the Standing Orders, but it was essential that I should explain why I am supporting the amendment, which, I trust, will be carried, because, as I have said, this Bill is experimental, and we would be wise in restricting its operation to three years.
– I trust the amendment moved by Senator Benny will not receive the support of a majority of the senators, and I am influenced by the same considerations which appeal to Senator Gardiner. In fact, had he not elaborated the points he did, I would have submitted them for the consideration of the Committee before the question went to a vote. I believe the insecurity of tenure which would apply to the first elected representative of the Northern Territory would probably debar the people of the Northern Territory from sending a representative, such as they would otherwise select, unless there were some reasonable assurance that after one term, with the consequent experience in Parliament, that delegate would have very fair prospects of continuing in office. A great deal has been said concerning the experimental character of this legislation; but I do not consider it experimental. I did not address myself to the debate on the second reading of the measure for the like reasons to those mentioned by Senator Payne. Two years ago, when a somewhat similar Bill was before the Senate, but when the proposal submitted was for a representative of the Northern Territory to be returned to this Chamber and not to another place, I spoke at some length on the second reading. I do not propose, therefore, going over that ground again.
– The honorable senator made an excellent speech, and assisted in throwing out the Bill.
– My main reason for assisting in defeating the measure was because I thought the Northern Territory should be represented in another place, and not in this Chamber.
– And the honorable senator supported the suggestion that the people of the Northern Territory should vote for South Australian candidates.
– Yes ; for the purpose of throwing out that Bill. I did not think then, and I do not think now, that a representative of the Territory should have a seat in this Chamber, which, after all, embodies the union of the States, rather than the union of the people of the Commonwealth. I was determined by every ‘legitimate means at my disposal to block the passage of that Bill, and, in doing so, I referred to the position in the United States of America. I pointed out that the means now proposed aTe similar to those adopted by the United States of America generally in regard to their continental “Territories. The question is all summed up in one sentence in Guitteau’s Government and Politics in the United States of America, in a section dealing with Territorial functions, which reads: “Each Territory sends to the House of Representatives a delegate, who has the salary and other privileges of a member, except the right to vote.”
– Are the Philippines and Porto Rico represented in Congress to-day?
– I am ‘dealing with the continental Territories.
– You are giving what the American Government do not give.
– We are adopting in this Bill similar procedure in regard to the representation of the Northern Territory to that adopted by the United States of America in regard to their continental Territories, such as Alaska, which is not contiguous to the United States of America. Insular Territories are not treated exactly the same, as they operate under a scheme of local self-government. I am dealing merely with this in passing, because I believe the use of the word “ experimental “ to-night has been overdone. Senator Wilson has said, in effect, that a representative would “merely draw £1,000 a year and come down here and deliver a few speeches.
– He would have only 1,200 constituents, whereas other members would have considerably more.
– It has been said that such a representative would have only to deliver a few speeches, but I believe the electors in the Territory will be at least quite as importunate as electors in other parts of the Commonwealth.
– My constituents do not trouble me to any extent.
– I both congratulate and envy the honorable senator. I should be very glad if I were relieved of a considerable amount of work which I have to do, the least of which is making speeches in the Senate, because, as far as my experience goes, the delivering of speeches is only a very small fraction of our work. The question arises as to whether this Bill will have to be reviewed at the end of three years, and, with Senator Payne and others, I believe that it will; but if it is reviewed for the purpose of renewing or repealing it, the Parliament of the day would be in a very invidious position if called upon to review it with a possibility of repealing it. It has been said that if a representative of the Territory in another place behaves himself, and is “ a good boy “ in the estimation of the Prime Minister of the day, the probabilities are that the Government will introduce a measure to extend the Act.
– If the representative had a vote, it might concern the Government.
– It might. The renewal or extension of the Act would, in the minds of some people, and the critics of the Government, always be suspect. If, on the other hand, some other scheme suggests itself to Parliament - such as that mentioned by Senator Payne - the Government can introduce a measure, and it will be open to discussion by members of all parties. Some justification would be needed before a review would take place, and it would be much better in the interests of Parliament and the public if consideration had to be given, not in the direction of renewing or extending the Act, but to its repeal. Before Federation, the Northern Territory was directly represented in the South Australian Parliament, and since it has been under the control of the Commonwealth residents of the Territory have not been represented in this Par- liament. It has been urged that South Australia could not have thought much of the question of representation in Parliament, or the State authorities who took part in handing over the Territory to the Commonwealth would have required some measure of representation. I happened to be in office just before the transfer, and, in conjunction with the Prime Minister of the day, I had several interviews with the then Premier of South Australia (the Honorable T. Price), and, as far as I remember, the point was never raised. I think it was realized that this Parliament would decide the form of representation, if any, to be given.
– It was not mentioned at all?
– I am almost sure that it was not. I believe it was thought that some form of representation would be given to the residents of the Northern Territory in this Parliament, who up till then had had representation in the Parliament of the Colony, and later of the State of South Australia. “We have the power under the Constitution to make provision for the representation of a Territory, and no doubt the South Australian authorities did not wish to interfere with the exercise of the judgment and discretion of this Parliament. We have to remember that the residents of the. Territory are subject to the taxation of the Commonwealth. It is not long since notifications appeared in the public press of something in the nature of a strike against the payment of Federal taxation on the ground that the residents of the Territory had no representation in Parliament. I think that the qualified form of representation proposed .by the Bill can fairly be extended to them in the light of tho experience, of other countries. If some better system of representation of their interests can be devised, it will be open to Parliament to substitute it for the .provision made by this Bill.
The whole system of the government of the Northern Territory, Papua, and the Mandated Territories calls for comprehensive consideration.
– .Why not deal with them all together, instead of dealing with the Northern Territory in this piecemeal fashion ?
– The Northern Territory is geographically connected with the Commonwealth, and sooner or later will be connected by the. ordinary means of communication of a railway. It occupies a very different position from that of Papua and the Mandated Territories, and has the first claim on the con?sideration of this Parliament to representation. It might be more effectively and appropriately represented here than the other Territories referred to. In view of what I said on the previous measure in 1920, I think that the people of the Northern Territory are entitled to the representation proposed, and modelled on a scheme furnished by the practice of the United States of America. The people of the Territory ask for representation, and the House of Representatives has passed the Bill submitted by the Government. I do not imply “that ‘ the merits of the measure are to be determined solely by the House of Representatives, but in view of the fact that the people have asked for representation, and that the branch of this Legislature in which it is proposed that the representation shall be given has passed this measure, I am influenced to a certain extent by the action of that Chamber. I support the Bill, and will oppose the amendment.
– I am opposed to limiting the operation of the Bill to three years. I am pleased that Senator Keating has made his very excellent address, and indeed no more need be said. I wish, however, to refer to the fact that Senator Payne’s opposition to the measure is largely based on consideration of the small number of people in the Northern Territory. Turning up the Commonwealth Parliament Handbook, 1901-20, I find that, in the first Commonwealth Parliament, Tasmania was represented in this Chamber fey Senator Henry Dobson, who polled 1,566 votes; Senator Cyril St. Clair Cameron, who polled 1,452 votes; and James Macfarlane, who polled 1,199 votes.
– Those were primary votes.
– I have not referred to the other three senators who represented a reasonable number of electors.
– Those were’ the primary votes polled _by three candidates in a field of eighteen.
– There were six of the candidates’ elected to the Senate, and the figures’ I have quoted show how many persons voted for the last three of the six elected.
– On a. point of order, I respectfully submit that the honorable senator’s remarks have nothing to do with the question of the duration of the operation of this measure.
– I understood Senator Gardiner to be referring to the smallness of the population of the Northern Territory and the small number of votes which were, recorded for senators who represented Tasmania. I think he was quite right in using his reference as an illustration of his argument.
– I take it that the objection to permitting the representation proposed under this Bill to be continued after th& next three years1 is based on the smallness’ of the- population of’ the Northern Territory, and I thought it; relevant tO’ point out to Senator’ Payne the. number- of votes which gave representation to Tasmania in the Senate in the first Parliament of the Commonwealth equal to the representation given to’ New South “Wales or Victoria. The smallness of the population ought not to be> used as an argument against the proposed representation. I have been surprised by the desertion of Senator Newland. I was under’ the impression from what he said that if an amendment were submitted to give the proposed representative a vote, he would support it. I immediately moved such an amendment, but when it came to calling for a division the. support of the honorable senator was not forthcoming.
– Did the honorable senator call for a division?
– I did.
– The honorable senator did not. If he had called for a division I would have supported him. The amendment moved was his and not mine.
– I certainly called “ No “ when the question was put,, and as I heard no other honorable senator call “No,” I did not press for a division. ‘ The fact that* my amendment has not been included’ in the Bill will give me an excellent excuse if, later on, the Government appear to be in danger, for voting against the third reading of the Bill. I want the, people, of the Northern Territory to be given a representative not only with a. voice, but with a vote. I hone that the Committee will not. make the Bill, worse’ than it is by limiting its, operation to three years, but will leave it to the discretion of Parliament to alter or repeal it as. it thinks fit.
!.- Senator Gardiner, in order to justify his attitude, has referred to some prehistoric records. He told us that in 1901 a certain senator was returned to represent Tasmania with a primary vote of about 1,500.. My answer to the honorable senator is that we are now dealing with a Territory that has, all told, about 1,500 electors, and the latest records concern-ing Tasmania show that that State had on the roll for Senate elections 112,000 electors. That refutes Senator Gardiner’s argument. In 1901 there were only 38,000 electors for the- Senate on the roll in Tasmania, and at present there are- over 100,000. If we divide the 100;000 electors by six, the number of senators who represent the State, we shall find that each represents to-day over 16,000 electors, and when that 13 compared to 1,500 for the. proposed representative of the Northern Territory, what becomes of Senator Gardiner’s argument? When the honorable senator can’ give us up-to-date information we shall welcome it, but when he quotes figures for 1901 to bolster up a case arising in 1922 his argument must, be taken only for what it is worth.
– Only one thing needs, to be added to what Senator Payne has said. He has told us that there are over 100,000 electors in Tasmania, and I remind him. that there are over 1,000,000 electors in New South Wales. There is a greater difference in the matter of the number of electors between Tasmania and New South Wales than there is between tha Northern Territory and Tasmania. However, the question of numbers should not enter into the matter. It is a question of the right to representation before taxation, and I support the Bill.
– We appear to have been wrangling for some time about something that is not at all pertinent to the issue.
– Order ! That is a reflection on the Chair.
– Then I withdraw it. I want to get down to “ tin tacks,” and remind honorable senators that the question now to be decided is whether or not the operation of this measure shall be limited to three years. My own view is that it would be very advisable to limit the operation of the Act as proposed by Senator Benny’s amendment. I beg to differ from Senator Keating’s statement that this legislation is not of an experimental nature. There has been no previous experiment of the kind in Australia, and so far as the Commonwealth is concerned it is an experiment. It cannot be suggested that the people of the Northern Territory are the same kind of people as those of Alaska, or are likely to be guided by the same sentiments, motives, and ambitions as the people of Alaska, the Philippines, or any other of the Territories of the United States of America. This measure must be regarded as purely an experiment in Australia, and on that account it is advisable that we should be in a position to review the effects of the experiment after three years’ trial of it. If it turns out- to be satisfactory, I shall be satisfied that I made a mistake in opposing the second reading of the Bill. If the amendment is accepted, I shall not pursue my opposition in the further stages of the measure. But if its operation is not limited in the way proposed, I shall continue my opposition to the Bill until it is finally out of the hands of the Senate. I hope the Committee will agree to the amendment.
Question - That the proposed new clause be added - put. The Committee divided.
Ay es . . . . . . 11
Majority . . 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed new clause negatived.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Earle) read a first time.
Debate resumed from 22nd September (vide page 2598), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
.- I am sure this Bill will be welcomed by every member of the Senate, in view of the fact that an extraordinary position was created at the last Senate elections because the Government of the day had not recognised that, with the passing of the Electoral Bill governing the Senate elections in 1919-20, no provision was made for the repeal or amendment of the Senate Elections Act of 1903. There were two Acts of Parliament on the statutebook. The Senate Elections Act of 1903 provided that Senate candidates who received the largest number of votes should be the elected candidates. In the 1919-20 Electoral Act a new system of election was provided by which Senate candidates were elected in orderas each obtained an actual majority of votes polled.
There were two Acts of Parliament, each providing for a different system of election and for a different method of counting the votes. It was realized by those who had taken any interest in the constitutional position that the later Act must prevail where the two were in contradiction; but that did not prevent an appeal being lodged against my return as a senator for one of the periodical vacancies.
The ground of the appeal was that the 1903 Act provided that the senators who should fill the periodical vacancies should be those who obtained the largest number of votes. The matter was dealt with by the Full Court, which affirmed that the position as laid down by the later Act was the true position. 3”he method of filling casual vacancies as provided for in the present Bill is very interesting. I quite agree that, as far as possible, an effort has been made to meet every contingency that may arise. I support the second reading of the Bill, and content myself by expressing my satisfaction that the Government has realized the wisdom of bringing in a Bill to remove the anomaly which exists at present of having two Acts of Parliament contradictory to each other on the statute-book.
.- It is quite clear that the Bill before us is necessary, although it would seem that the judgment referred to by the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) in introducing the Bill defined the position. In Senator Payne’s case the Courts correctly interpreted the position, and made it quite clear that a repeal of the 1903 Act is unnecessary. While they gave a hint as to the necessity for altering the law, that did not stop them from administering the 1918 Act. I assume that the decision of the Court is based upon that Act, and upon no other. There are two Acts of Parliament regulating casual vacancies. There is the Constitution as it stands - which is difficult to amend, except in special circumstances - and there is also the Electoral Act, which is a creation under the Constitution. Those two, taken together, regulate the periods both for long and short casual vacancies. I am not quite sure whether the Minister has consulted the Crown law officers as to the necessity for regarding the date in the Constitution at which senators take their places as the date up to which short vacancies should run.. Under the existing law one set of senators - those on the short casual vacancy or the long casual vacancy, as the case may be- - automatically go out when the election day comes round. If it were possible to ignore the date appearing in the Electoral Act, it would simplify matters very much. It would do away, at all events, with the difficulty of dealing with short casual vacancies. I support the Bill in the belief that it will at least clarify the position, and enable senator and nonsenator candidates to know exactly where they stand. It may occur under the provisions outlined by the Minister for filling short casual vacancies, that the nonsenator candidate who heads the poll, and by virtue of that fact takes up the casual vacancy, may belong to a party entirely opposed to the returning senator in politics. For example, Senator Vardon, I understand, is due to go out on election day. He will no longer <be a senator after election day. We all assume that he will be a candidate, and also a returning senator. In his case it is not only conceivable, but possible, that of those who will stand to fill the periodical vacancies, as well as the short casual vacancy, the candidate who may head the poll may be of the opposing shade of politics to Senator Vardon, and may take up Senator Vardon’s place from election day until the 1st July next. I do not suppose that it would matter very much, because the position is anomalous enough at present. It is anomalous to the extent that the men who are defeated at the poll continue to be senators until the 1st July next, notwithstanding that the electors have shown very clearly that they do not want them any longer. In that way a wrong effect is given to the intentions of the people. The machinery for filling the long casual vacancies will leave an interregnum which, in turn, will throw upon the State Governments or the State Parliaments the responsibility of filling the short vacancy of the man who will fill the long vacancy when elected. The State Parliament or State Government will have the right, if they choose to exercise it, of filling the short vacancy under such circumstances. Take the case of South Australia. It is conceivable that from election day until the 1st of next July a person may be elected to this Parliament who does not profess the same shade of political belief as Senator Vardon, but if the filling of the short vacancy were left to the people of South Australia, and the date was altered, Senator Vardon would be free to continue the occupancy of the seat until the 1st July next. Otherwise the electors of South Australia, and the Government in Parliament, would be at cross purposes, one sending Senator Vardon and the other a representative who would take Senator Vardon’s place until 1st July next, when the position would rightly revert to him.
– That is clearly contemplated by the Constitution, which says that a senator so appointed shall hold his seat only till the next election for the House of Representatives.
– The Minister, I think, can see what I am driving at. Let us get down to a concrete illustration and consider the position that might be occupied by Mr. Lundie or any other representative of the Labour party in South Australia. It is conceivable that Mr. Lundie, if he is one of the selected candidates, will head the poll at the next election, and that, therefore, he would take Senator Vardon’s place from the day of the election to the 1st July, and then take up his place as a successful occupant of a periodical vacancy.
– And who would have a better right?
– But the Parliament of South Australia sent Senator Vardon here to occupy the seat until the next parliamentary election. I am supporting the Bill, though I recognise its deficiencies.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
Section 3 of the principal Act is amended -
.- I move-
That after the word “ senator “, second occurring, the words “ elected at a previous election “ be inserted.
Since this Bill was last under discussion Senator Garling, in a private conversation with me, raised a point as to the definition of “ Senator candidate,” and pointed out that a person who was filling a casual vacancy could be held to be a senator. I submitted his view to the Crown authorities, and in order to make the position quite clear they drafted this amendment, which meets the situation.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 consequentially amended, and agreed to.
Clauses 6 to 10 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Order of the Day read for resumption of the debate (on motion by Senator E. D. Millen) -
That the Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure for the year ending 30th June, 1923, and the Budget Papers 1922-23, laid on the table of the Senate on the 18th August, 1922, be printed.
Debate (on motion by Senator Payne) further adjourned.
Tariff Debate - Civil Aviation - Repatriation : Land Settlement, Q ueensland - Postal Department : Temporary Employees.
– In moving -
That the Senate do now adjourn,
I desire to intimate that it is the wish of the Government to proceed with the debate on the Estimates and Budget-papers to-morrow.
– During the debate on the Tariff Bill last week, the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) took occasion to refer to some remarks which I had made, and also to criticise my attitude on Tariff matters fifteen years ago. While my references were in general terms, the Minister wanted to be more specific, and accordingly he searched the records to show what my behaviour was on that particular occasion. His remarks will be found on Hansard, page 2533 -
Even when it was proposed to make the poor washerwoman’s mangle free the honorable senator wanted to put a duty on it !
– Was he farming then?
– I do not know.
In this statement there are two implications : first, that I did not vote to make this particular article of the laundrywoman free; and second, that, according to Senator Newland, I had a particular interest, since then, in changing my attitude upon Customs duties. I have refreshed my memory, and I find that it is not quite correct to say that, when it was proposed to make the mangle of the washerwoman free, I voted against it. When we were discussing the Tariff in 1908, the late Lieut. -Colonel Neild moved, on the 4th March, to reduce the duty upon clothes-wringers, washingmachines, &c., from 20 per cent. to 15 per cent. A division took place, and I find that I voted with the “Noes” to keep the Tariff at 20 per cent. I also notice that the name of the Minister (Senator Pearce) is there, too, but there was no proposal to make the washerwoman’s mangle free, and, therefore, I had no opportunity of doing what Senaton Pearce alleges I did do.
As to the statement of Senator Newland about my being influenced by the fact that I had a farm of my own, all I can say is that during that Tariff debate I was very clear in pointing out that a moderate Tariff was necessary. To suggest, however, that because I have taken up farming since that time my behaviour in a fiscal sense has been influenced, is barking up the wrong tree. Of course, we do not know how Senator Newland is spending his money. The Minister (Senator Pearce) has known me for twenty years, and he may agree that I have never been influenced by any sordid motive.
– Hear, hear!
– I would like Senator Newland to know that, as far as harvesting machinery is concerned, I shall be a seller rather than a buyer of it for the next eightor ten years, because there are enough agricultural implements on my farm for cultivating the land and doing the harvesting for the next ten years. If honorable senators desire to quote political history, it is just as well for them to be accurate.
.- Some time ago I raised the question of the Government offering some further prizes for the encouragement of civil aviation. It is hardly necessary for me to dwell upon the advantages of the Government giving every inducement to this form of transport. I understand that very considerable developments have occurred in Great Britain, France, and other countries, since the war, in the matter of civil aviation. Having had the privilege last year of visiting some of the remotest places in Australia, it seems to me there is great scope for the encouragement of civil aviation for carrying mails and passengers, and a limited quantity of cargo. The prize offered for a flight from England to Australia, which was won by the late Sir Boss Smith’s party, gave great impetus to aerial navigation. I recently asked the Government if they would be prepared to consider offering another prize for a flight between Great Britain and Australia, and also one for a complete trip around Australia. Money devoted to that purpose would be well spent.
Another question I have raised is in regard to soldier land settlement in Queensland. I now ask the Minister for Repatriation (SenatorE. D. Millen) if he is satisfied with the progress being made with that settlement in the northern State? I could take him to fruit-growing and other districts in Queensland where soldier settlers are walking off their holdings, and I daresay the weeds are now higher than the fruit trees. The percentage of successes in soldier settlement is not as great as it should be, considering the large sums of Government money expended. One constantly reads in the newspapers of Queensland strong comments by men who for various reasons have left their blocks. In the Stanthorpe district I recently met a “digger” who is eager to work on the land, but who stated that under present conditions it was absolutely impossible for him to carry on. He has walked off his farm, and he told me that there are dozens of other soldiers who are doing the same. In the first place this man pointed out to me that the money advanced was not sufficient.
– Thousands of men who did not get that advance have succeeded.
– Then there must be something wrong, either with the individuals concerned or with the scheme. I understand that the Commonwealth Government advanced to the State £1,000 for every man settled, and that the soldier settler himself received the advance in instalments for the purpose of buying implements,, house, furniture, &c., up to the amount of £625. The balance of £375 is more than should be retained by the State for the purposes of road-making, railway construction, &c. I do not think the soldier settler should be loaded with the cost of railway construction, because the railways would remain a permanent asset, and, in any case, the State Government would have to construct them sooner or later.
– The soldiers are not loaded with that cost. The States have agreed to refund the £375.
– At any rate, I would like to hear a statement by the Minister as to whether he is satisfied with the progress being made.
It has been represented to me that there are men in the Post and Telegraph Department who have been employed in a temporary capacity for something like three or four years. This is not likely to result in an efficient staff. Many of the temporary men are discharging the duties of permanent officers. I think the Department would be well advised if careful consideration were given to the question of temporary employment, because a great deal of dissatisfaction now exists, especially among returned soldiers, who are anxious to become permanent employees in order to enjoy the rights and privileges which such employment confers. I hope that the Minister representing the Postmaster-General will have the question brought under the notice of the Department, and that an effort will be made, where temporary employees are given permanent positions, to date their period of service from the time when they first became temporary employees.
– I had no intention to misrepresent Senator Lynch on the question of his attitude regarding the duty on mangles. I find on further perusing Hansard, that there was no motion to make that item free, but the motion was for a reduction of the duty, and Senator Lynch did vote for that. My reference to his attitude on mangles was only an aside. My chief point was that when the late Lieutenant-Colonel Neild moved to make agricultural machinery free, Senator Lynch did vote against the proposition. I entirely disapprove of the suggestion that Senator Lynch, in his attitude on the Tariff, was in any way animated by personal motives.
– With reference to the observations made by SenatorFoll, I may say that he has previously referred to the question of civil aviation, and I have promised to bring the matter under the notice of the Minister controlling that branch of governmental activities. As the honorable senator is aware, we have already placed upon the Estimates a considerable sum for the promotion and furtherance of civil aviation, which is an indication of our attitude towards the matter.
The honorable senator has given me a very large order if he wishes me to say whether the land settlement scheme has been satisfactory or not. It is rather difficult to answer that question. Of course, I regret extremely any failures, but I am. not prepared to accept the view that soldier settlement has. been a complete failure merely because of a few cases which cannot be regarded as typical of the whole. The same scheme, as far as the Commonwealth is concerned, has been applied in all the States, and it is curious that in connexion with some States we hear repeated reports of failures, whereas some of the other States - Victoria has got along very well - appear to be working satisfactorily. The honorable senator must draw his own conclusions as to the exact position. I would like to correct the honorable senator, however, in one. respect. The £375 is advanced for the purpose of resumption of land or work incidental to land settlement, and therefore it is not a large amount to coma under those two headings. The money is advanced by the Commonwealth to the States; it is not charged to the returned, soldiers, and each State will have to repay the amount to the Commonwealth.
The honorable senator will recognise that in abig Department such as the Postmaster-General’s there must always be a number of temporary employees.
– Some have been temporarily employed for three or four years.
– That is perfectly true, and in thirty or forty years there will still be temporary employees. The Postmaster-General could dismiss them, butit would only mean engaging other temporary assistance. I shall, however, see that his remarks are brought under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Poynton).
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.3 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 September 1922, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1922/19220927_senate_8_101/>.