9th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Address from Bar of Senate - Proposed Board.
– I should like to know if the Leader of the Senate will invite Mr. Nelson, the representative of the Northern Territory in another place, to address honorable senators from the bar of the Senate upon the Northern Territory Crown Lands Bill which is now before this Chamber.
– The honorable senator mentioned this matter to me a day or two ago, and I have had time to think it over. What he suggests could only be done by resolution of the Senate, and before it could be adopted it would be necessaryto revise our Standing Orders. The arrangement should also be reciprocal. Personally, I should like very much to have a similar opportunity in another place, but under the Standing Orders of that House it would be denied to me. Until we can he assured that there will be a reciprocal arrangement, I do not feel inclined to move a motion applying the principle to this Chamber.
– Has the Minister seen a statement in the press to the effect that the personnel of the Board provided for in the Bill relating to Grown lands in the Northern Territory has already been decided upon,and,if so, can he say if it is correct. If it is not, will he give honorable senators an assurance that applications will be called for the position, and appointments made, if at all, from the applicants?
-The statement referred to by the honorable senator has come under my notice. It is absolutely incorrect. The conditions under which the Board is tobe appointed have not yetbeen considered by Cabinet.
– Is it true, as stated in the press, that the personnel of the Commission to be appointed to inquire into the Sumatra disaster has been recommended by the New SouthWales Government, and, if so, have the Government adopted the recommendation?
– I shall endeavour to get an answer to the question before theSenate rises.
The following papers were presented : -
Defence -Report of the Inspector-General of the Australian Military Forces (Part 1., 31st May, 1923).
Lands Acquisition Act -Land acquired -
For Defence purposes - Geraldton, Western Australia.
For Postal purposes -Balaclava, Victoria; South Fremantle, Western Australia.
Nauru - Particulars with regard to the working of the phosphate deposits.
New Hebrides - Protocol, signed at London on 6th August, 1914, by representatives of British and French Governments, and papersrelating to it.
Northern Territory -
Mineral Oil and Coal Ordinance - Regulations.
Ordinance No. 11 of 1923 - Crown Lands (No. 2).
Northern Territory -Report by Engineer Vice- Admiral Sir William Clarkson, accompanied by map and photographs, on the possibility of developing a harbor at the mouth of the McArthur River.
Public Service Act -
Appointments - Department of Health - G. B. V. Keogh; F. V. Stonham;R. J. Cowan.
Regulations Amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1923, No. 78- No. 93.
Statement of Workingcosts - Output of Phosphatic Rock
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are as follow: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister forWorks and Railways, upon notice -
– It is contemplatedvery shortly introducing the Bill mentioned in the Governor-General’s Speech, providing for the appointment of a Commission to control the Federal Capital Territory, and, until the views of the Commission are known, it is obviously not practicable to reply to these questions. The Federal Capital Advisory Committee, in its first general printed report, stated the works and their sequence requiring to be done before Parliament and the Central Administrations of Departments can be moved to Canberra. The Works and Railways Department is meanwhile carrying on the construction work, and a list of the works in hand or about to be commenced is included in the publication, “ Schedule of Works,” recently circulated to senators.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– No Commission has yet been appointed, but the matter is receiving the attention of the Government.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Wilson) read a first time.
Debate resumed from 13th July (vide page 1098), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Bill now under consideration is as important as any that have been presented to this Senate, and the speech delivered by the Minister (Senator Pearce) in introducing it on Friday was one to which I listened with the greatest interest. It contained, if I may say so, the maximum of information upon the Northern Territory, but very little with regard to the Bill itself. It was a speech that would have interested other people as it interested me and would have opened their eyes to the possibilities of the Territory; but to my mind it did. not convey much information concerning the proposals of the Government as outlined in the Bill. When the Minister replies he will have the opportunity of explaining the benefits that will accrue to the people of Australia and the Northern Territory, particularly if this measure becomes law. He will also be able to saywhat losses, if any, will occur if the Bill is not passed. I was very interested in the Minister’s remarks concerning the Northern Territory and its possibilities; but I have had to get from another source the information I required to enable me to determine how far this measure is likely to aid the development of the Territory. The Minister referred at the outset to early legislation relating to the Territory, and said that it had been found preferable to govern it by means of Ordinances. I decline to believe that it is preferable. If we desire proof to the contrary we have it in this Bill. Ordinance after Ordinance has been passed without any information being given to the Parliament. There may be some who have time to examine carefully the Ordinances passed from time to time, or who may be sufficiently favoured to have their attention called to some particular provisions in them before they come into operation; but so far as the Parliament as a whole is concerned, that is not the position. The Northern Territory is a separate province of Australia, but that is no reason why it should be administered under Ordinances instead of under Acts passed by this Parliament. It is quite possible that when Parliament is in recess matters may arise that must be promptly dealt with by means of Ordinances, and these Ordinances may be issued under the legislation we have passed. I realize that Parliament is a particularly busy institution. I recall an incident which occurred thirty years ago, before the States had advanced as far as they have in framing legislation to deal with orchard pests, and other difficulties which beset the man on the land. An old German settler, when told that Parliament should legislate to protect orchardists from pests, said, “Parliament is such a busy institution that it has no time for passing useful legislation !” If Bills had been introduced for dealing with the Northern Territory problems, honorable senators and members of another place would have had an opportunity of debating their provisions, but under the system of issuing Ordinances, that right is denied us. It is our duty to find time to legislate for all these matters, because, after all, the Northern Territory is a very important part of the Commonwealth. The Minister referred with much enthusiasm to the great potentialities of the country, and said that, owing to the ease with which rice could be grown, and the plentiful supply of beef on the hoof, there was nothing to prevent an invading army marching from Darwin, through the Northern Territory, and into the eastern parts of Australia.
– Cotton can also be grown up there.
– Cotton can also be produced, from which clothing for the use of an invading army could be manufactured. I imagine I can see a twinkle in the eyes of Senator DrakeBrockman, and in fancy I can hear Senator Elliott saying, “Yes, and DrakeBrockman and I would put up a Leo and Stonewall Jackson stand against such an army.” If the position is closely considered, it must be realized that an invading army would have small chance of coming from the north to the Eastern States. No matter how rich, or how fertile the country, the prospect would be very remote. The Minister expressed his views very modestly as a non- military expert. I assisted in trie control of the Defence Department some years ago, and if I had occupied the position of Minister for Defence as long and as successfully as the honorable senator has done, I should have left the’ Department with the honorary title of fieldmarshal. I think the honorable senator is also entitled to some such distinction. The Minister referred to the danger of an invasion from the north-west. I am not a military authority. The last war made nearly all of us military authorities of a kind, and if our armies had been commanded by the geniuses who discussed the situation at street corners we should have won more easily than we did. The speech of the Minister is worthy of deep consideration. I desire to refer quite frankly to the possibility of an invasion from the northwest. Some years ago I thought that possibly Japan might attack Australia, but at present I have, no such fears.
– I think the honorable senator is wrong in coming to that conclusion.
– I do not care if the honorable senator thinks I am wrong. Years ago there might have been a real danger, but having regard to tho fact that during the recent great world conflict Australia was stripped of its means of defence in order that we might participate in the war overseas, and that Japan most honorably observed her treaty obligations and failed to seize the military opportunity to attack this country, I do not think that there is even a remote chance of the Japanese attacking us. Australia during the war was absolutely depleted of men, munitions and ships, and the implicit confidence that we placed in Japan was more than justified. There are, of course, some people in Japan who, with the most patriotic motives, believe in the expansion of the Japanese Empire and consider that nothing should stand in the way of that expansion. These, however, are but a very small section of the population, and according to what we read, may be treated with indifference. A section of the Japanese press may think that there is a possibility of a breach between Australia and Japan or between Great Britain and Japan, but while recognising that our empty spaces are a menace to Australia I do not fear any attack from that quarter.
The Minister returned from the Northern Territory and told us, candidly and fairly, that the attraction that his present office held out to him was the possibility that it offered! him to do something for the development of the Northern Territory. His ambition in that respect is a worthy and laudable one. If by his efforts another self-supporting province is added to Australia, he will well deserve the gratitude of the people of Australia. Let us ask ourselves ‘whether the Ordinance in the schedule to the Bill now before honorable senators is likely to aid in that development. I shall be able to show that not only is it not likely to help, but that it will actually hamper development. If that is so, I ask honorable senators of this non-party Chamber, as it has been termed, to insert in the Ordinance conditions that will prevent the Minister tying up large areas of the Northern Territory for another forty years, as is now proposed’. Senator Pearce stated that the development of the Northern Territory was of pressing importance to Australia; and I heartily agree with him. But I do not agree that this Bill is so pressing as to warrant an attempt to rush it through this session. . When the second-reading debate is ended, and the Committeestage is reached, the Minister may well be asked to hold over the further consideration of the measure until we resume after the recess. The honorable senator stated that there was a general impression in the southern part of Australia that the Northern Territory had not progressed because of its natural disadvantages, and that it was assumed that there was something in the soil, climate, or other features of the country which prevented its development. Later he said that, speaking in all seriousness and in the light of his wide and varied experience of practically the whole of Australia, he was convinced, as the result of his recent tour through the Territory, that there was no inherent difficulty in the way of the development of that part of the Commonwealth equally with other parts of Australia. I agree with that statement, and for that reason I do not think we should pass this Ordinance at break-neck speed in order to give the Minister the power - I do not say that, he intends to avail himself of it - to lock up huge areas of land.
Senatorfindley.-Which would retard development.
– I know nothing that would so much retard the development of the Northern Territory as Would the locking up of large areas of land in the way for which this Bill provides.
Senatorkingsmill. - How much land is now locked up?
– I am coming to the question of how much land is locked up and how it can be unlocked.
-brockman. - The Ordinance is designed to unlock large areas of land.
– That we are told is the intention. If the proposed Ordinance will release the land, as stated by the Minister, then honorable senators will have no option but to support it; but if, as I contend, it will have no such effect, then I shall expect them to support me in making some amendments to bring about the desired effect. Senator Pearce expressed the view that the development of the Northern Territory was a matter of pressing importance to Australia, but that its development wasnot possible under the existing leasehold conditions. He showed us a number of graphs, indicating the leasehold areas that will be thrown open in 1935 and 1945 if this Bill be passed. I am not blaming the Minister for conducting his business in his own way and taking the view that the Bill is urgent. He was reluctant to give me even Until to-morrow to resume the debate on the motion for the second reading of the Bill; but if under it no leased land is to be released until 1935 it surely cannot be said to be an urgent measure. The need for the development of the Northern Territory cannot be thought by the Government to be very great, since the Bill Koikes no provision for the throwing open of the leaseholds before 1935. The total area of the Northern Territory is 523,620 square miles, or 335,116,800 acres, and the area of existing pastoral leases is 186,965 square miles or 119,657,600 acres, which leaves 336,655 square miles or 215,459,000 acres still in the hands of the Crown. At present, in the Northern Territory, there are32,647 square miles of land held on annual tenure that maybe resumed by giving six months’notice. That is one form of leasehold which can be used immediately for developmental purposes.
Senatoro’loghlin. - What classof land is held under those leases?
– These are leases issued under the old South Australian Acts and the 1912 Ordinance made by the Fisher Government, of which Senator Pearce was a member. Since then they have been held on annual tenure. I do not think we can distinguish between the land held under these annual leases and that held under other leases. Part of the country is good and some portions of it are bad, but generally speaking the country throughout is similar. Under the Bill there will be a resumption 1935, when one-fourth of the huge areas held under leases, to which I shall refer directly, maybe resumed.
– Only if this Ordinance is passed.
– Otherwise, the land held under those leases cannot be resumed until 1943.
-I shall give the figures. The leases with which we are now dealing were granted for fortytwo years under the old South Australian Act, and, if this Ordinance becomes law, one-fourth of the area so leased can be resumed in 1935. Ten years afterwards, a further one-fourth can be resumed. If the development of the Northern Territory is of pressing importance to Australia, then the resumption for which this proposed Ordinance provides will prove a very casual and slow way of bringing it about. I cannot see any real urgency for this Bill. I am quite sure that the Minister is well posted on his subject, and when he replies, I ask him to show good grounds for his contention that the Bill should be passed at once, because I can see nothing in it that is likely to prove of advantage to either the Northern Territory or Australia as a whole.
– Is the honorable senator pointing out that, under the new Ordinance, only half the area held under the leases issued under the old South Australian Act will come under the control of the Crown in 1945, whereas, if the Ordinance is not passed, the whole of the area will come under the Crown in that year ?
– The honorable senator must be a mind-reader. Before I conclude my remarks, I hope to show that what he states is actually a fact. If we pass the Ordinance we shall release one-fourth of the area held under these leases in 1935, and another fourth in 1945 ; and, if we fail to pass it, all these big- leases will fall in before 1945. To make my meaning, quite clear, I shall furnish details as to the leases that will fall due in the different years, and so enable honorable senators to appreciate my point that, if the Minister had wished to put before us a sound proposal for a change from the existing conditions, he would have »taken care to provide in the Bill that that change shall take effect immediately the Ordinance becomes law. As the measure stands, however,, there must be twelve years’ delay before any portion of the first fourth of this area comes under the control of the Crown,, and, in consideration for waiting twelve years, Parliament is asked to agree to tie up, the remaining portion for another forty-two years.
– Forty-two years from the present time.
– Even that is not good enough. We ‘are asked to give power to further tie up the land held under any of the leases that fall due.
– The honorable senator is not right there.
– No doubt the statement of the Minister will be accepted, but the Bill definitely repeals other legislation dealing; with .these leases.
– In connexion with any other leases, we shall have power of resumption for pastoral purposes. We have that power now in respect to every lease, except the leases granted under the South Australian legislation.
– That is so. In order that the people generally may realize how huge the leases are, I desire to give a few figures. There are 971 leases in the Northern Territory, where the total population is a little over 3,000, of whom 2,000 live within 100 miles of Port Darwin. Most of the remainder are engaged in such occupations as fishing and mining. Although some of the leases cover as much as 11,000 square miles each, it is doubtful whether there is an average of one- white man- to each lease. The Territory came under the administration of South Australia in 1863, and the Com monwealth took control in 1911. Sixty years of big leases’ has resulted in a population of less than one white man per lease. That is practically the position as it. exists to-day. - Although my experience of Australia is not, perhaps, as varied and extensive as that of the Minister (Senator Pearce), I have had occasion to deal with big leases in connexion with land legislation in New South Wales. In my State we were fortunate, because the authorities in Great Britain in the early days had no conception of what large leases really meant in Australia. According to the Minister, the total number of existing leases under the South Australian Acts and the 1912 Ordinance is 470, comprising 181,599 square miles, or 116,223,360 acres, the annual rent being £18,425 3s. 8d., or approximately one-thirty-third of one penny per acre. That is interesting, because it shows that Australia is in the happy position of being able to ideal with these leases quite apart from the revenue aspect. The total area of the 12.1 leases granted under the South Australian Act of 1890 is 36,216 square miles, or 23,187,148 acres, and the annual rental is £2,014, or one-fiftieth of a penny per acre. There” have been ninety leases granted under the Act of 1899, comprising 58,129 square miles, or 37,202,560 acres, from which the annual rentamounts to £5,987, or one-twenty-fifth of a penny per acre. During the pioneering stages of development, lessees in the Territory should not be handicapped by heavy rentals.
– It would pay to let them have the land rent free, in order to have the country settled.
– Yes. In the great majority of cases it would pay the Commonwealth to charge no rent for a great number of years, provided that the country would be populated at once. The development of the Territory can only be brought about by immediate subdivision of the land.
– Other inducements would be necessary, quite apart from rent free terms.
– A number of questions naturally crop up: but, in dealing with this God-given heritage, we must consider whether Parliament should permit the occupancy by individuals of such huge areas to the detriment of the whole community. The present position weakens Australia from a defence viewpoint, and makes our vast, empty spaces a temptation to possible invaders. The existing state of affairs in the Territory certainly constitutes a real danger to Australia. The facts have to be considered, not in the light of the legislation passed in South Australia over twenty-three years ago, but in conjunction with the information at our disposal to-day. Some people may say that we should not dream of repudiating leases; but I maintain that the land never passed from the possession of the people. So far as I am aware, no country has yet permitted the complete alienation of its lands. What is the position in New South Wales at the present time? Sir Joseph Carruthers has been touring the country explaining his policy of immigration and for the settlement of people on the land. I believe that if privately owned lands in that State which are situated within S miles of a railway are not subdivided by the owners, even though they are being well worked for pastoral purposes, the Government will subdivide them. I can imagine the howl of “ repudiation “ that would be made if that notion were taken by a Labour Government.
– Did the New South Wales Government solemnly set its seal to an undertaking not to subdivide during the term of the leases? That is what happened in our case.
– The Nationalist party in New South Wales are putting before the people a proposal for the. subdivision of private lands. If a person holds land at a distance of 20 miles from an existing railway, and a new railway is built at a distance not greater than 5 miles from the property, it will be liable to resumption and subdivision.
– Subject to compensation ?
– Of course.
– The Commonwealth Government have the same power in regard to their own leases in the Northern Territory.
– If it is a matter of pressing importance, let us exercise that power.
– The Government have not that power in respect to leases held under the South Australian Act.
– I Shall endeavour to show the Minister that the Government have that power. It is well to get firmly fixed in our minds an idea of the magnitude of these leases. Bovril (Australian Estates) holds eleven leases comprising 1 1 ,808 square miles or 7,557,120 acres. The boundary . of the whole of those leases put together would extend a distance of about 436 miles. Forrest and Collins (Alexandria) hold six leases comprising 10,622 square miles or 6,798,080 acres.
– I do not think that the honorable senator should deal in acres in speaking of a place like the Northern Territory.
– I should not but for the fact that my policy is to deal with that with which my opponent does not want me to deal. If only square miles are mentioned they do not sound much; but when one tells the average man that a Melbourne block comprises about 10 acres, while a square mile consists of 640 acres, he is able to get an idea of the kind of lease that is being held by men who are in possession of 10,000 or 11,000 square miles. N. A. and A. V. Miller (Bradshaw’s Run) hold three leases comprising 7,192 square miles or 4,602,880 acres. One lease of 6,800 square miles, with a lease that has twentyone years to run, pays a rental of 8d. per square mile, or approximately oneeightieth of a penny per acre.
– It might be quite dear at that figure if it had to be developed .i
– It might be’. Senator Pearce, however, painted a glowing picture which showed that the land is well served with natural water or subartesian water at a very little depth, that the grass is as good as any to be found in Western Queensland, and that the stock is fan. ‘ What the honorable senator saw opened his eyes and impressed upon him the advisability of playing a prominent part in the ‘development of this valuable asset. Can honorable senators conceive of anything which has kept the Northern Territory back to a greater extent than has the existence of these leases?
– It is the same all over Australia.
– It is. The Crown Pastoral Company holds nineteen leases, comprising 5,780 square miles, or 3,699,200 acres. If those leases were in one block the distance round the block would be 304 miles. The rental ranges from1s.1d. to 6s. per square mile. How do some of these leases compare in size with other territories? The area held by Bovril (Australian Estates) comprises 11,808 square miles which is very nearly the size of the Netherlands - 12,582 square miles. It is larger in area than Belgium (11,744 square miles), Albania (11,500 square miles), Turkey (10,882 square miles), and Wales (7,466 square miles). It is nearly one-half the size of Tasmania, which has an area of 26,215 square miles. That impresses one with the magnitude of these estates. It is well that we should let sink well into our minds the huge size of these estates, and realize that the one thing which has kept back the development of the Northern Territory has been the fact that fertile grazing land has been held out of further occupation. Bovril (Australian Estates), Forrest and Collins, Miller (Bradshaw’s Run), and the Crown Pastoral Company between them hold 35,402 square miles, or 22,657,280 acres. Hungary comprises an area of 35,654 square miles, Portugal 35,490 square miles, Austria 30,766 square miles, Scotland 30,405 square miles, Ireland 32,580 square miles, and Tasmania 26,215 square miles. It will thus be seen that those four companies hold an area a? large as any of these kingdoms. Honorable senators are being asked to deal with this Bill hurriedly; the matter is said to be one of urgency. Yet five years will elapse before we will know whether the companies are going to accept the change for which the Bill provides.
– Up to 1928 the opportunity will be given to these people. Of course, with their consent they can come under the operation of the Bill immediately. But when they have consented tocome under it, and the Board has been brought into existence to deal with the matter, if the conditions and prices do not satisfy a lessee he can remain outside the operation of the Act.
– The Minister is going to invite a party of members to have a look round the Territory during the recess. It appears to be a case of locking the stable door after the horse has gone.
– That is so. Senator Pearce would blame me if I did not criticise the lack of foresight displayed by the South Australian Parliament in tying up these areas for such a long period, without the right of resumption. If this Bill goes through, those who follow us will blame us for our lack of foresight.
-i do not object to the period; I object to the fact that the South Australian Government took out of the leases the power of resumption.
– No one would have gone to the Territory but for the attraction of a long lease and some security of tenure.
– It strikes me that not many have gone there.
– You must give some people the credit of having blazed the trail there.
– Considering the length of time these leases have been held, what useful development of that rich territory has taken place ? Very little less would have been done if not an acre had been leased. Acountancy costs will eat up pretty nearly the whole of the amount received by way of rents. I am stressing this point because I realize that the development of an immense area of country like the Northern Territory depends not upon the rent received in any given year by the Government from the pioneer settlers, but upon the successful, and by that I mean the profitable, occupation of the country. Let us see what leases would fall due without this proposed Ordinance at all. The first one-fourth subdivision under the Bill will take place- in 1935,and will affect 2,500 square miles with a rental of1s. per square mile. These are some of the details of the leases that would fall due before 1945 without this proposed Ordinance. - Honorable John Lewis, 2,500 square miles, rent1s. per square mile, expiring 1936; Thonemanns, Hodson, and Eley, 5,329 square miles, rent1s. to 4s. per square mile, expiring 1936 and 1937; Breadons, Henbury Station, 4,090 square miles, rent1s. per square mile, expiring 1935, 1936, 1937; Bovril (Australian Estates), 11,808 square miles, rent1s. to 4s. per square mile, all due before the second re-appraisement; Connor,
Doherty and Durack, 5,307 square miles, all due before the second reappraisement; Miller Brothers - Bradshaw’s run, 6,800 square miles, rent 8d. per square mile, all due before the second reappraisement; Vestey Brothers’ leases (Wave and Waterloo), 9,924 square miles, expire from 1936, and all before the second reappraisement.
– Is that all that Vestey Brothers hold?
– No. I am quoting only a few of the leases that will expire before 1945. Let us see now how many leases would expire by effluxion of time in the natural course of events, and without this proposed Ordinance. I find that two leases would expire in 1934, eleven in 1935, and twelve in 1936.
– Can the honorable senator give the area?
– Unfortunately, I cannot, and for that I blame the Minister.
– The map prepared in connexion with the Bill shows that the leases mentioned by the honorable senator comprise all the smaller areas.
– The aggregate is pretty considerable. But let me continue. I find that forty-five leases would expire in 1937, eighteen in 1938, nineteen in 1939, eleven in1940, eight in 1941, thirty-six in 1942, forty-two in 1943, and nineteen in 1944. This gives a total of 223 leases. Under the proposed new Ordinance, there cannot be any resumptions until 1935, but under the old Acts and Ordinances, from 3934 to 1944 leases comprising 87,838 square miles (including 900 square miles representing leases expiring in 1929), and giving an annual rental of £7,639, or approximately1s. 9d. per square mile, will expire by effluxion of time.
– That is just before the second re-appraisement.
– I purposely stopped before thesecond reappraisement period in order to show that if we add to the leases I have quoted those that may be determined upon six months’ notice a considerable area may be dealt with without this legislation.
– We do not give up the power of resumption with respect to leases subject to six months’ notice.
– I realize that perhaps the Minister knows a good deal more about the proposed Ordinance than I do, but I think that, before I have finished, he will concede that something may be said for the point of view I am taking. Fortunately for me, the representative of the Northern Territory in another place (Mr. Nelson) has placed a good deal of information at my disposal, thus making it possible for me to present the case with respect to those leases which would fall due six years earlier than the period fixed in the Ordinance. In 1929 leases for 900 square miles will expire by effluxion of time, in 1934 leases representing 773 square miles will fall due, and in 1935 leases for 1,756 square miles.
– What is the total of the areas just mentioned by the honorable senator?
– Roughly, about 3,000 square miles.
– And under the Ordinance 30,000 square miles will be subject to resumption in 1935.
– But up to that year it will not be possible to resume any of these leases under the proposed Ordinance. But let me continue. In 1936 leases for 5,000 square miles will expire, in 1937 the area so affected will be 10,406 square miles; in 1938, 5,809 square miles; in 1939, 4,824 square miles; in 1940, 1,625 square miles; in 1941, 2,045 square miles; in 1942, 19,065 square miles; in 1943, 25,469 square miles; and in 1944,9,735 square miles. I admit that under the Bill larger areas will be subject to resumption after 1944. The Minister has said that the Ordinance repeals the old South Australian legislation. We ought to have that legislation before us, and have ample time for its consideration. But for an objection raised in another place by Mr. Nelson, this proposed Ordinance would have become law on the 1st July. It is well that we should consider carefully what the Bill proposes to do. It seems to me that the Minister, with the best intentions in the world of doing something to help the Northern Territory, is hurrying on with a measure to which he has not given sufficient consideration. The schedule states, in clause 2 -
The Acta of the State of South Australia and the Ordinances mentioned in the schedule to this Ordinance are hereby repealed.
Most of us would think that in passing that clause we had done something.. But clause 3 provides -
The repeal of the Acts and Ordinances referred to in the last preceding section shall’ not affect any agreement, lease, licence, or permit made or granted thereunder and Existing at the commencement of this Ordinance, or any estate, right, title, interest, power, duty, obligation, or liability created by, acquired under, or at any time existing under or by virtue or in respect of any such agreement, lease, licence, or permit, or any such Act or Ordinance, and all such agreements, leases, Licences, and permits shall continue to be of the same force and effect as if this Ordinance had not been passed. lt would appear that having, by clause 2, repealed certain Ordinances, we are re-enacting them in clause 3.
– Does not the honorable senator see that we do not want to break existing contracts, and that we are making a new law’ for future contracts?
– I realize that the success of this Ordinance depends upon whether or not the lessees elect to avail themselves of it.
– It will apply in all cases under the old law. This provision is for new leases not yet allocated.
– I repeat that the success of this proposed new Ordinance will depend upon the attitude of the lessees towards it. I do not mind if it passes, but there should be a clause giving the Government right of resumption for any public purposes, and in my judgment, one public purpose is the promotion of closer pastoral settlement.
– We have provided for that, with the exception of land held under the South Australian leases.
– There is provision for resumption for agricultural purposes, but not for the resumption of -leases with the object of re-allotment in smaller pastoral holdings. ‘ Clause 53, for instance, states -
The Minister may, without payment of compensation in respect df the resumption, but subject to payment, in accordance with this Ordinance, for improvements on the land in respect of which the resumption is made -
in the case of any lease granted under this Division in exchange for a lease existing at the commencement of this Ordinance -
resume on the thirtieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-five, an area not exceeding onequarter of the total area included in the lease; and
– The honorable senator is referring to leases under the South Australian law.
– I am thankful to the Minister for his interjection, because it helps my case. As far as the bulk of the Northern Territory leases are concerned, the Ordinance gives the lessees what they want, namely another forty years’ extension of their term. I know that in all Parliaments there is a rooted objection - and I am glad of it - to” any legislation that trespasses upon the rights of pioneers, but we have to draw a very clear and definite line between trespassing on existing rights, and the future benefit of this continent. I think Senator Duncan referred to the resumption of private lands and the question of compensation. Of course, there should be compensation. I would not assist in repudiating by legislation the rights which have accrued to those pastoralists who secured leases under the South Australian Act. But I would protect the rights accruing to the rest of the people, of the Commonwealth by passing legislation compensating them for trespass. That is a sound policy. We are dealing with men who first secured a hold on the Territory, and if we have to trespass on the rights enjoyed under leases, we are not, as it were, confiscating what is theirs, but acting in the interests of the whole community. We should compensate them fairly for any trespass; but now, when we are alert to the mistakes made under a South Australian Act passed twenty-three years ago, we are asked to perpetuate those mistakes by giving the lessees the right to .extend their leases until 1935, and thereafter a further extension to 1945, reserving to ourselves the power to resume only one-quarter of the area between 1945 and 1955. If we tie up one-quarter of the leases in the manner proposed, it is more than a criminal act on the part of any Parliament. With all the present danger of an invading army, as the Minister suggests, and the need for increased population, with our eyes open and with the experience of those who went before us, we shall be actually perpetuating the mistake of the past if we pass this Ordinance. We need time to consider this proposal, and the Bill should not be passed this session. We have a long recess before us, and honorable senators know how I dread a long recess.
– “ Nothing recedes like a recess.”
– That is a new axiom, and will in time become a parliamentary classic.
– The next session may be held in London.
– If the people consider that that is necessary, I suppose we shall have to go where we are summoned. I have endeavoured to touch upon some of the principles of the Bill which appeal to me, but there are other matters to which attention should be directed, and with which, perhaps, I shall be able to deal more effectively when the measure is in Committee. There is a resemblance between the wording of the leases, some of the clauses in the Bill and the provisions of the Queensland Act, which honorable senators know were very fully discussed a little time ago. When that measure was under consideration, British investors were frequently mentioned. I have a warm corner in my heart for British investors, as their capital has assisted Australia on many occasions, and enabled our progress to bemore rapid than it might otherwise have been. [Extension of time granted.] The Queensland Parliament gained a certain amount of notoriety for dealing with pastoral leases and increasing rentals, but some of the provisions of the Queensland Act are very similar to those of this Ordinance. For instance, in 1935 the Minister of the day may resume one-fourth of the huge area to which I have already referred. If the Bill is passed, he will be able to grant additional areas at slightly increased rentals, and consideration does not appeal to have been given to the possibility of an extensive development of the Territory during the next ten years. When a pastoralist paying a rental of 8d. per square mile - which at present is the minimum - surrenders his lease in 1935, he will be able to take up threefourths of the area covered by that lease at a 50 per cent. increase, or an annual rental of1s. per square mile. In 1945 he would pay another increase of 50 per cent., making the rental1s. 6d. per square mile; and in 1955 he would pay an additional 8d. or 9d. per square mile, making the total annual rental approximately 2s. 3d. Irrespective of any development in the Territory which might occur in the meantime, only these comparatively slight increases in rentals could* be made. This is a most stupid thing to do. Under this proposed Ordinance the lessees will be able to surrender a portion oftheir leases if they desire, but despite any development which may increase productivity a thousandfold the Government are bound not to increase the rentals more than 50 per cent. The Minister said that we were blaming him for negotiating with the present leaseholders. I do not blame the Minister for Home and Territoriesfor obtaining all the information prior to introducing a measure into this Parlia ment; but I do blame him for protecting the interests of the leaseholders to the detriment of others. The lessees are within a measurable distance of the time when they will have to release their grip on this territory.
– The honorable senator referred to leases at an annual rental of 8d., but he will see that under section 52 of the Ordinance which is a schedule to the Bill no lease can be issued at as low a rental as 8d. per square mile. The rent is fixed for the various districts, and the lowest rate is 2s., which is for an exchanged lease.
– I am obliged for the information. I had in mind the price paid at present, and read the figure as 8d., which is incorrect. That does not, however, after the principle involved. This year we are practically settling the rentals that will have to be paid on leases up to 1965, which is extremely unwise. I was referring to the Queensland leases and to the method adopted by the Queensland Land Board. The rentals of leases granted for agricultural purposes in the northern State could be increased periodically, but the rentals of the pastoral leases could only be increased in certain propor tions. Pastoral lessees were paying as low as 6s., and lessees of farming lands 83. When the Labour Government came into power, they said that this practice must cease, and that the Land Board would place the pastoral lessees on the same basis as those holding land for agricultural purposes. It was at that time that our British friends referred to the action of the Queensland Government asone involving repudiation, but the Country party in Queensland supported the Labour party’s action.
– That is not so.
– I had the pleasure of listening to a speech made by the then Leader of the Country party (Mr. Vowles), at Dalby, and I am prepared to place my opinion of what was then stated against that of the honorable senator.
– The Country party has undertaken to refund the money if returned to power. That does not support the honorable senator’s statement.
– I am speaking of what the Country party undertook to do two years ago, when an election was being held in the Maranoa district. The then Leader of the Country party said that they would support the Labour party’s proposals for dealing with this matter. Recently, however, the Country party has not only agreed to assist in amending the legislation, but also to recompense the lessees.
– There is no Country party now.
– Then I shall refer to the anti -Labour party.
– The Nationalist party in Queensland was not identified with that movement.
– The antiLabour party did agree to repeal the legislation.
– It meant breaking a distinct contract made in an Act of Parliament.
– There is no finality in Acts of Parliament. If there were, there would be little occasion for Parliament to meet.
– Parliament has very often to decide between two contending forces pulling in opposite directions. “We cannot go both ways, and it is the clear duty of Parliament to endeavour to be just to all. An interesting’ article appeared in the Age on 15th May, 1923, two or three days after the elections, which were held, I think, on the 12th May. It reads -
Reasons for Labour’s Triumph
Opinion in England-
Financial Paper’s Views
London, 14th May
The Financial News, in a leading article entitled “Pastoral Leases in Queensland.” says: –It is not often that a general election out side England holds such direct interests as that which took place in Queensland on Saturday. The composition of the new Ministry will affect not merely the holders of loans; but the shareholders in land, pastoral and mortgage undertakings.
The Liberal party pledged itself if returned to repeal the Labour Government’s repudiation act, which resulted in Queensland failing to raise a loan on the London market and being forced to go to the United States. ‘ Presumably, the repeal measure will involve some form of compensation.
That information is most interesting. Here we have an instance of the Financial News, of London, stating that the Liberal party, which is the antiLabour party, would repeal certain legislation. The repeal would be beneficial to individuals and companies alike, because it would involve compensation. If that were done in Queensland, what would be the position? Those advocating the repeal of the Labour party’s beneficial legislation of 1916 would very soon lose their seats in the Queensland Parliament.
– We do not think so.
– It has been very beneficial, from both the pastoral and the agricultural point of view. These pastoralists were dispossessed of their right to hold lands without increased rentals. They could still hold their lands, but the Land Board had the right to fix the rentals. They said that it was an injustice amounting to repudiation, and appealed to the Privy Council, which decided that since Queensland was a sovereign State, its legislation prevailed. We are in the same position in dealing with the Territory. I do not care whether the land is’ held under the South Australian or Commonwealth Acts; this Parliament, from one end of Australia to the other, is the sovereign authority. We have the right, in any legislation, to make the public welfare, interest, and benefit our sole object. We should not be held by the dead hand of South Australia, which twenty years ago locked up areas of land until 1965. I have no consideration for legislation of that kind. I ask the Government not to hurry this measure, but to give honorable members an opportunity to fully grasp the effects of the Ordinance before they are called upon to vote. If the Government persist in their attempt to force the Bill through the Senate, I ask honorable senators to amend it so as to protect the public interests. Closer pastoral settlement is just as important as is any other form of settlement. Honorable members opposite build a wall of imaginary sacredness around the conditions of these leases. In the city of Sydney, which is growing at tremendous speed, there is an increasing desire to improve its outlay. The first proposal was to open up a thoroughfare from Martinplace to Macquarie-street. A confused debate ensued, as a result of which the public welfare succumbed’ to private interests. In order to construct that thoroughfare, a church, which should be held sacred, would have to he demolished.
– The owners of the demolished property would be compensated.
– Does not the honorable senator think that we should insert a clause in this Bill to compensate leaseholders, so that the land could be developed at once, instead of our having to wait for another twelve years? No man will ever hear me talk of repudiation without compensation, but compensation should not take the form of handsome rewards and bonuses, rather than a just settlement. If a certain area of land held under lease were resumed within the next ten years I would compensate the leaseholders on the basis of their income tax returns for the previous ten years.
– The honorable senator would tax the man who has developed his land and allow the man who has not developed his land to escape.
– Thatis the Minister’s policy.
-For many years of my life I worked really hard, without much compensation, to fit myself for a position in this Chamber at a salary of £1,000 a year, and I am not free from taxation.
– Ifa lease-holder incurred considerable expense in developing his holding, without obtainingany income, would the honorable senator take his lease away and give him no compensation?
– Money spent on development would appear in the improvements, and they would be paid for at a fair valuation. But we are really considering the development of millions of acres and hundreds of thousands of square miles of country which is not now in use. There is ample- scope for development in this area. The Minister should get to work. I am not envious of honorable senators on the other side when they receive all the glory for improving the conditions of Australia, and neither shall I refuse to recognise their work: I see here an opportunity for Senator Pearce to increase his fame by redrafting this Ordinance for the Northern Territory and making provision for the settlement of that country, not ten or twelve years hence, but immediately. Immigrants are coming here, and the Commonwealth and British Governments should subscribe pound for pound towards the establishment and support of huge settlements in the Northern Territory. I admit that it would cost a considerable amount to bring about a proper state of development; but the Government say that more men are wanted in this country. Men are valuable, and, in my opinion, a man is the most wonderful machine ever created. The capitalists judge a man by his capacity to work, and their dilemma is how to obtain a little more out of him. I want the best out of a man, whether it be work or anything else. Millions of immigrants could be brought from England and settled in the rich Northern Territory. Something real and tangible should be accomplished. Necessary public works would give employment to these people during that part of the year when they were not stocking the land, growing cotton or rice, or following any other remunerative employment. The development of the Northern Territory should take place in our time.
– The Government are not losing sight of those matters.
– There are infinite possibilities for the development of the rich Northern Territory if it is opened up for immediate use. The cost of compensating lease-holders would be relatively insignificant compared with the opportunities which the opening up of these lands would give to thousands of Australians and fellow-Britishers to make a profitable living in the Northern Territory. I have briefly referred to the importance of this measure. It should be amended so as to throw open for closer settlement the vast areas of land at present held under lease, whether pastoral or otherwise. I shall have something more to say on the Bill in Committee.
– The Bill is a sound and practical effort on behalf of the Government to settle the Northern Territory in the only possible way. In past years I have read extraordinary and “hifalutin” schemes for the closer settlement of the Northern Territory - schemes which to any one who has had any experience in the development of that country were sad to contemplate. Senator Gardiner has pointed out the enormous areas covered by some of the leases, and I agree that some are unnecessarily large. Regarding the South Australian leases over which the Commonwealth Government have no immediate control, it must be remembered that the South Australian Government encouraged settlers by granting very large areas of leasehold, and long tenures at a very low rental.
– What South Australian Government was concerned ?
– I could not tell the honorable senator. Even as a boy I took a particularly keen interest in the Northern Territory, and made it a study. I have read explorers’ reports and private reports on various portions of the Northern Territory. Practical men have inspected a great deal of that country at my request, and furnished reports as to whether or not the land was worth taking up. Senator Gardiner rather touched me on the raw - I know he did not mean it - when he stated that none of the pioneershad done anything for the Territory. I admit that some of the leases are much too large, but I know of one man in particular who gave up his whole life to the development of the Northern Territory. He bought his leases on the Barkly, Tablelands from the South Australian Government at public auction in Adelaide in 1.882, and they were no gift. They were Herbert River blocks, and were considered to be the pick of the Northern Territory. They were sold in blocks of 300 square miles, and some brought as high as £600 each. To encourage settlement, the Government gave leases of that country undisturbed for forty-two years at a fixed rental, averaging1s. 9d. per square mile. It was a wise step, because that particular man did a great deal for the Northern Territory, and if it had not been for the security of tenure for forty-two years at a low rental, he certainly would not have accepted the proposition. That gentleman settled in the Northern Territory in 1882, and he was considered to be almost mad by his pastoral friends in the southern parts , of Australia, where he had had a very wide experience of Australian conditions. To the Northern Territory he took 14,000 sheep from the north-west of Victoria, and 1,000 head of cattle from the south-east of South Australia. With horses, and so forth, he set out to try to develop the country by sheepraising, which as the Minister (Senator Pearce) has pointed out, would be the quickest way to make the Territory reproductive, because the expenditure is not as great as with cattle. But when this pioneer reached his destination he had only 2,000 ewes left. To cut a long story short, he battled in the Territory for over thirty years, and he spent £100,000 odd in sinking bores, erecting windmills, dams, &c, and buying stock, because he had been given security of tenure. After thirty years of toil and the expenditure of brains and labour - it should be remembered that it is very difficult to finance a leasehold - he actually went out of the place £30,000 worse off than when he started there, although he had proved the country capable of carrying sheep, had topped the London market for scoured wool, and had topped the Adelaide market also for fat cattle and sheep. The lease was eventually sold by him to a company which put more money into it and spent it quickly on the sinking of further bores and on other improvements. Owing to the comparative prosperity of recent years, with good prices for wool and fat stock, the company did well. I should like briefly to describe to honorable senators the great difficulties that a pioneer in that country has to encounter, and show why it is essential that security of tenure should be given by granting a long lease at a low rental. There are no means of communication or transport in that country, and the ordinary comforts of life are unknown. I am not sure that it would not pay to give the land rent free, if the people who took it up were made to use it, as the stocking clause in the proposed Ordinance will compel them to do. If the lessees are required to carry a certain number of sheep, horses, or cattle per square mile, they will be compelled to spend money on improvements, or else it will be impossible for any stock to be kept on the land. When I pioneered a lease there in 1882, the country was absolutely valueless. Certainly there was a tribe of blacks ekeing out an existence, but there was nobody else in the neighbourhood. Queensland squatters would not take up the land. The nearest railway was 500 miles distant, and to reach the nearest port, Burketown, one had to cross a mountain range. Flour cost £100 a ton landed there, and fencing wire was equally expensive. Before anybody could exist there an enormous expenditure had to be incurred. There is no change in the position to-day, although the property to which I am referring is regarded as an inside station, and is practically closer to the present railway in the Territory than any other. Having an area of 2,100 square miles it is considered a comparatively small station. I should say that a man would be mad to take up land in the Territory with the intention of making improvements, unless he could obtain security of tenure for a. considerable number of years. The present Bill gives the Government much greater power of revision of the leases than was ever afforded under the South Australian Acts. There is power to resume 25 per cent. of a lease after a certain number of years, and another 25 per cent. at the expiration of a further period; but the power of resumption at any time exists if the lessee fails to comply with the stocking conditions.
– Those conditions will come into operation at once.
– Yes ; and that is the most important point. I am not now personally interested financially in the Territory, nor am I interested in any company there. I would urge upon the
Senate, however, the necessity to do something to improve that (Country. I believe that the pioneer to whom I have referred, is the only man who ever erected a fence there. That was on the Barkly Tablelands, which is suitable for sheep, cattle, and horses, although not so suitable for sheep as some people imagine. That pioneer certainly received a long lease, and was charged a very low rental, but” the Federal Government insisted on his paying income-tax when he made a profit, although he was shown no consideration for his years of heavy losses. I never complain of income-tax being charged where profit has been made; but it is very hard on a lessee who has to suffer probably three years of heavy loss.
– Why did the Government not take the average for three years ?
– That is what should have been done.
– Now, of course, incomes are averaged.
– It is high time, too, because very often in the past these men had to borrow money with which to pay their income tax. Although the Government leased the land at a low rental, they in 1912 put on a Federal Land Tax. Although the rent of the property of which I am speaking only amounted to £230 per annum, a Federal Land Tax of £900 a year has been charged of recent years.
– Many people say that it can be passed on.
– How can the Federal LandTax be passed on?
– I do not think it can.
– This tax has been paid under protest. When the pioneers took up the land it was worse than valueless; it was simply a breeding ground for noxious animals. The Government, through the medium, Cresumably, of some official in Melourne, placed a ridiculous unimproved land value on the property., I was interested, until recently, in the company that took over the land from the pioneer, and the unimproved value was assessed for taxation purposes at £88,640. It was only by the expenditure of the pioneer’s £100,000 that it had been made at all habitable. The Government evidently realizing the stupidity of the tax have not insisted upon its payment for the last three years. The property, as improved, was sold to the company in which I was interested for £17,000, and the stock went in at the current market value. “That was ten years ago, after a lifetime and a fortune had been spent in bores and dams, windmills, fences, buildings, &c. But two years ago, the property was sold for almost exactly the same sum, although something like another £25,000 in cash had since been spent on bores, &c. The improved leasehold was sold for between £17,000 and £18,000, although it has been assessed for land taxation purposes at £88,640.
– A ridiculous valuation.
– Yes. When I was interested in the property I urged the manager to apply for a refund of the tax that had been paid under protest.
– Itis not fair to tax a man who is industrious.
– That is quite correct. It would pay the Government to treat liberally those who are prepared to blaze the trail and spend money in developing what otherwise would be useless country. I have no consideration for those who take up big leases and simply sit on them. Some of the areas held in the Northern Territory are ridiculously large. The lease in which I was personally interested comprised 2,100 square miles, and was too large, because in the forty years in which . I was interested in it we never had time or money to develop more than one-half of it. I maintain that the maximum size of a leasehold in the Territory should be 1,000 square miles. Nobody favours the closer settlement of suitable areas to a greater extent than I do; but I realize the necessity for moving warily in dealing with the Northern Territory. A man requires to have a strong heart, a good constitution, and a very deep pocket to enable him to battle through. The pioneer to whom I have referred experienced a great deal of difficulty in financing his operations. Banks and financial institutions do not favour loans on leasehold propositions. On very many occasions he was very nearly “ down and out.” The main thing for the Government to aim at -and I think that they are doing it very well in this Bill - is to have the country settled and made reproductive. The stocking clause will have that effect if it is carried out. A man will immediately have to spend money on erecting fences, putting down bores, and doing all sorts of developmental work, as well as in stocking up with sheep, cattle, and horses.
– Inspection will be very costly, will it not?
– Everything is costly in the Northern Territory. Honorable senators have no idea of the amount which it costs to develop that country.
– I mean that it will cost the Government a lotto see that the stocking clause is observed.
– Returns will have to be sent in. I point out to honorable senators opposite, and to others who are apt to railat large companies or individuals who hold large tracts of country, that there is not one person in the Territory to-day who is not losing money. I do not want to decry the Territory. It is capable of development. It can, at any rate, be utilized in the growing of cattle and horses. It produces better horses than I have seen anywhere in the world, especially on the Barkly Tablelands, which consist of rolling downs with a limestone subsoil. There are wonderful horses on that Mitchell and Flinders grass country - hard, flinty-boned, big, upstanding horses. The cattle, too, are good. But with sheep it has been an unsuccessful struggle. I do not intend it to be inferred that the Barkly Tablelands might not one day be stocked with sheep ; I sincerelyhope that it will; but it is by no means an easy task. At the present time everybody is losing money there. Fat cattle, although frightfully dear here, are not worth more than 30s. a head in the Territory. It costs more than that to produce a fat bullock. The only means of getting stock through from the Northern Territory is to drive them right through the heart of Australia from the Gulf to Adelaide. That can be done only about twice in four or five years. In the 1902 drought the people of Australia very nearly starved because’ of the scarcity of meat, which fetched prices that were far beyond the means of the ordinary individual; yet there were hundreds of thousands of fat cattle in the Northern Territory. That year was a particularly good one on the Barkly Tablelands, and the pioneer to whom I have referred owned 20,000 head of fat cattle, but they were not worth 3d. a head, because there were no means of getting them away. In those days the Government did not do anything to assist the pioneers by putting down bores, and thus making it possible to get the fat stock to the railhead - which, I think at that time was Cloncurry. If those men had been able to get the cattle away they would have earned good incomes, while the people of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria would have had a plentiful supply of meat. Therefore, I am a strong advocate of railway development in these back parts, linking up eventually with the Western Queensland system. I am glad that the Government contemplate the building of the railway to Daly Waters. That is a step- in the right direction. All practical men have given it as their opinion that the Northern Territory is primarily a cattle proposition. The people must be given the encouragement which is essential to induce them to make the necessary improvements, and to comply with the conditions laid down by the Government. I think the Bill is reasonably good. I am afraid that the Minister is a little too enthusiastic regarding the possibilities of the Barkly Tablelands in respect to sheep. I believe that I was once guilty of saying that that great expanse of beautiful pastoral country was capable of carrying 10,000,000 head of sheep. I hope that it will carry that number at some time in the future. The- experience of the past, however, does not justify that belief. Although the wool from that part of the Territory topped the London market, and the fat wethers topped the Adelaide market, the great difficulty appeared to be the natural increase of the sheep. Every ten years, instead of showing an increase in number, they showed a decrease of about 10,000 head.
– Are they merino sheep ?
– Yes; they are the most suitable for that country. In my opinion, the hig, hardy, robust sheep that are found in the northern part of South Australia are the most suitable for sending to the Northern Territory, if any one contemplates developing .that country. Trouble was experienced in the past with the lambing. The lambing returns over a period of thirty years displayed an unsatisfactory percentage.
I think that that difficulty ‘could be met by the expenditure of still more money in making the paddocks small, and putting down plenty of bores. Good sub-artesian water is obtainable anywhere- at an average depth of 350 feet. Provision will have to be made for a greater amount of shade for ‘the lambs. Years of experience -proves that before decent lambing can be obtained, it is necessary that the climatic conditions when the sheep mate shall be very favorable - plenty of green grass, with cool -weather and an ample supply of water. Lambing must take place in the period corresponding to our autumn. That is the end of the wet season, and there is then generally an abundance of green grass. If lambing took place earlier in the summer the tremendous heat would scorch the lambs, and a lot of them would die. In bounteous years, during which plenty of rain falls, the fly pest is a terrible menace, as it is in nearly all parts of pastoral Australia during good years. I do not think that honorable senators realize the enormous loss that is caused by the blow-fly to the sheep industry of Australia. I think I should be within the mark in saying that the blow-fly pest costs Australia £2,000.000 to £3,000,000 per .annum.
– It is more destructive than the dingo.
– Ear more destructive; and it is almost impossible to combat it. I have never heard of a method which has proved efficacious on pastoral lands in Queensland, parts of New South Wales, and the Northern Territory. I should like honorable senators to realize what it costs to run a place in the Northern Territory. The particular property in which I was interested cost £18,000 per annum to run; so that if a person did not make more than £18,000 out of wool, cattle, sheep, or something else, he would he a loser. I think honorable senators will agree that if a man spends £18,000 a year on wages and provisions in a far hack country like that, he is doing a good deal for his country, and deserves the most liberal encouragement that any Government can give him.
– He does not want to be taxed by way of income tax.
– Nothing would assist more the development of the Northern Territory than ito make it tax free for five or ten years.
– I should back the honorable senator up in that.
– Then; I think, we would get somebody who would believe he had a good thing, and would raise a lot of money in England or elsewhere to develop a holding there. One gentleman is attempting to do that at the present time. I hope that he meets with success. He has gone home with a wonderful scheme, with which he hopes to raise £1,000,000 or £2,000,000, in England or America. He proposes to erect dog-proof fences, and to settle with sheep the Barkly Tablelands, and the country further west. Honorable senators may not be aware that an ordinary sheep fence in the Territory costs £100 per mile to erect. A dog-proof fence costs between £250 and £300 per mile. Yet it is hoped to attract a vast amount of capital to the Northern Territory to erect dog-proof fences which, I am afraid, are absolutely essential before any further attempt can be made to stock the country with sheep. The gentleman to whom I have referred earlier pioneered the Territory with sheep ; hu . had an average of 50,000 head of sheep for over thirty years. Eventually he was forced to sell them on account of high wages and transport difficulties, together with lack of facilities for communication. There was a mail only once a month, k cost of £20 a ton was incurred on everything that was sent OUt from Burketown, and the same amount on the Wool back. Wool was selling at lOd. a pound, but the natural increase of sheep was insufficient, and after thirty years of battling it waa decided to go out of sheep raising. I do not think that there are any sheep in the Territory to-day.
– Does the honorable senator think that it would pay now to raise sheep there?”
– I am hoping that it will. Improved means of transport, and the expenditure of vast sums of money might make it possible. The Territory is not the country for closer settlement. It would break the heart of any man who was not game to put £100,000 into it. One cannot think about starting a sheep station in the Northern Territory. under an expenditure of about £100,000. It is a land of vast areas, low rentals, and enormous capital. We want to attract to that portion of the Commonwealth enterprising men with a great amount of money at their command. An attempt is now being made to build dog-proof fences, to put down an enormous number of bores, and adopt all possible means of conserving water. The Government intend to do their part in railway and road construction. I believe this measure- will do a great deal to encourage the introduction of capital which is so essential’ for the settlement and development of the Northern Territory, but I think the conditions could be still further liberalized. I should like to see Northern Territory settlers free of income tax for a period of years in order that they might feel encouraged to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on improvements, which are so important to insure success.
– Does the honorable senator think that the proposed railway extension will traverse the most fertile country”?
– I do not think it will.
– It will go into the fringe of the fertile country.
– It is a step, in the right direction, and the Government are also pledged to a policy of road construction. I hope that in future there will be cheaper transport. The Territory wants a better port. A mistake was made in choosing Port Darwin. Borroloola, at the mouth of the McArthur River, should have been selected.
– Is the country which the honorable senator mentioned of a sandy nature?
– It is magnificent country. While I am on this subject, I should like ito emphasize the desirability of endeavouring to get settlers to go in for sheep-growing. The working of a sheep station costs a lot of money, and takes about ten times as much labour as a cattle station, but it makes for permanent settlement. The man who pioneered the Northern Territory with sheep in 1882, picked the eyes out of the country, but at that time there was only about one tuft of grass to every two or three yards. Sheep grazing increases enormously the productivity of the land, and changes the whole aspect of a country.
At cue time the country between Warrnambool and Melbourne was very poorly grassed. When the Northern Territory pioneer to whom I refer took sheep into that country, it would not carry more than about one sheep to every ten acres. The same land ta-day, in the -smaller fenced-in paddocks, where attention has been given to water conservation, is heavily grassed as the r(esult of thirty years’ sheep grazing, and its capacity is as high as one sheep to the acre.
– That is an argument for closer settlement.
– Yes, if only we can induce the right men, with sufficient capital, to take it up. But sheepgrowing is not a small man’s job. It calls for a man with a lion heart and a very big banking account. The Government, I repeat, are doing the right thing in encouraging the development of the Territory in the manner proposed in this Bill, but I emphasize the danger of administration by a Board of three. Everything will depend upon the personnel of the Board. The Northern Territory is essentially pastoral country, and members of the Board, who will have such a tremendous responsibility thrust on them, should have practical knowledge of its difficulties. Men living in Melbourne, Sydney or Darwin cannot be expected to discharge the duties satisfactorily. The people of Darwin are practically as far away from the real Northern Territory as we are in Melbourne. It takes longer to get from the station I was interested in to Darwin than from there to Melbourne. I am afraid of the constitution and the powers to be given to the proposed Board, which will have authority to decide with regard to resumption of leases, assessment of value, and compensation for improvements. We may not always have a Minister so sympathetic and fair in his attitude towards the Territory as the present Leader of the Senate. I warn the Ministry that, in the personnel of the proposed Board, they can wreck the Bill. Those who take up land must feel absolutely sure that the Ordinance is going to be administered by men who appreciate all the difficulties incidental to life in the Territory, and not by men. who are located in Melbourne, Sydney, or even, in Darwin.
– What is the alternative?
– I admit it is difficult to suggest an alternative, but I think it essential that the Board should comprise practical men who have had considerable experience in the development of outback country, either in Western Queensland, Western Australia, the. northern part of South Australia, or the Territory itself.
– The Ordinance provides that the pastoralists may nominate their own representative.
– Yes, but he will be one of three, and therein lies the danger. One practical man may he nominated by the pastoralists, who are doing something for the development of the Northern Territory, but he would be outvoted, probably, by the two other mcn from the places I have mentioned, and with, perhaps, no practical experience whatever. I know of no man in Melbourne who is thoroughly conversant with Northern Territory conditions, and I know of no one in Darwin either. I am afraid,, therefore, that the Board may not be constituted of the right men. The only appeal above the Minister is to the so-called Supreme Court at Port Darwin, which consists of one Judge. It may be more difficult for witnesses to attend at Darwin than it would be to bring the evidence to Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane. The final Court of Appeal should be the High Court of Australia. This would be cheaper and quicker. Generally speaking, I compliment the Government on the introduction of the measure, and the manner in which they arc attempting to deal satisfactorily “with the huge and difficult problem of developing the Northern Territory, which is a land of promise, but which can only he successfully occupied in large areas, and as the result of an expenditure of a very large amount of capital.
– Generally speaking, I am opposed to the measure, but it has one good feature which I think will commend itself to the Senate. It proposes to repeal all existing State legislation and land Ordinances and “ regulations made thereunder in connexion with the Northern Territory, but, of course, the rights created under the legislation proposed to be repealed are duly conserved.
Iam not in favour of repudiating any interests secured to lessees under that legislation, but if they, are not making the full use of their holdings they may be effectively dealt with, and if the remedy were applied to the whole of the Commonwealth the Northern Territory lessees would not be singled out for invidious treatment. I understand it is now generally accepted by members on this side of the Chamber that a straight-out land valuestax cannot be passed on, at least in the Northern Territory. That subject is not before the Senate at the present time, but I thought it wise to mention it incidentally. Personally I think it is an outragethat income taxation should he imposed upon those heroes who have gone into our back country and have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in pioneering the way. It is iniquitous that, because they add to the wealth of Australia, this infamous form of taxation should be levied upon them. The more they work and the more they develop the Northern Territory,the heavier is their taxation.
– That surely iscommon to the whole of Australia.
– No doubt, but their case brings before the Senate in a more emphatic manner how exceedingly stupid and injurious is this kind of legislation. Why in the name of commonsense should we tax a man who uses all his money, and borrows as much as any other man will lend him, for the purpose of developing the country? Yet this is the law. This taxation system has been responsible for driving at least one energetic pioneer from the Northern Territory.
I want, if possible, to emphasize the enormous extent of this Territory. We might fairly call it the lost province of the Commonwealth, because our information concerning it is of the most scrap py and limited character. It is, in fact, almost unknown to the people of the Commonwealth. In 1827 the Northern Territory was attached to New South Wales, when the boundary of that State extended as far west as the 129th meridian. In 1863 it was annexed to South Australia, and on the 1st January, 1911, it was transferred to the Commonwealth. For about thirty-nine years New
South Wales was not self-supporting. The Northern Territory has taken even longer. The area of this enormous tract of country is 523,620 square miles, and under leases granted under the South Australian and the Federal Ordinances 181,599 square miles are at present beyond the control of the Commonwealth. But we have still under our direct control 342,021 square miles, which is a very substantial area. I disagree entirely with the opinion frequently expressed that the Northern Territory is not a white man’s country. It lies in the same latitude as a very large portion of Northern Queensland, and no one would suggest that Queensland is unsuitable for white settlement. Portions of South Africa and America, especially the former, are inhabited by coloured people, but that does not suggest that the Northern Territory cannot be developed by the white races. The climatic conditions in the Territory are even better than they are in some other parts of Australia. The rainy season continues from November to April, and the dry season from May to October. That should be a distinct advantage. We arte informed that large areas of the Northern Territory are unsuitable for settlement owing to the extremely dry conditions prevailing, but in the North-Western portion there are very large rivers which empty into the ocean, and those streams could not maintain a regular flow if the rainfall was light. According to the official statistics the average rainfall over a number of years is as follow: -
The area over which there is a rainfall of over 20 and under 30 inches is larger than Victoria, and that in which there is a rainfall of over 40 inches is nearly twice the area of Tasmania.
– But it is a tropical rainfall.
– Yes, but it extends from November to April. In the whole of the Territory, with the exception of the area where the rainfall is under ten inches, the fall is sufficient to enable the country to be extensively developed. I disagree entirely with those who suggest that it is not a white man’s country, and that it, cannot be developed without the aid of coloured labour.
-At the station in which we were interested the men and the stock had good health.
– I have not seen a report suggesting that the climate is unhealthy, and 1 believe it is as good as that of any other part of the Commonwealth. In further emphasizing the enormous area of the Northern Territory and the great task imposed upon this Parliament, I shall quote the areas of the different States and Territories, which are -
The Northern Territory is larger by nearly 30,000 square miles than Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania combined. It is absurd to imagine that a man travelling 200 miles by rail from Darwin, and then talcing a motor ride for a week or two overland, sees anything of the Northern Territory. If a person had landed in Melbourne when the roads were not as good as they are to-day, and had endeavoured to seeVictoria in the same time, he would have been unable to thoroughly inspect even the Gippsland district. Compared with the Northern Territory, Victoria is very small in area, and I do not believe there is one man in the Federal Parliament who has anything approaching an intimate knowledge of its possibilities. Reference has been made to Avon Downs station, but that is in the south-east corner and a long way from the Victoria River or the country to the north-west. The Territory has a coastline of over 1,000 miles which has not been completely surveyed and charted. The total area of the Territory is equal to about one-sixth of the whole of Australia, is more than two and one-third times the size of France, four times the size of the United Kingdom, and five times as large as New Zealand-
-What are the honorable senator’s views in regard to the development of the Territory ?
-In perusing the official records, I find that the population in 1901 was 4,673, and on April 4th, 1921, it was 3,867, showing that the efforts of the South Australian and the Commonwealth Governments in endeavouring to attract population have been fruitless. With the exception of horses and cattle, the number of live stock on the 30th June, 1921, was 7,384. We have, therefore, to consider what should be done to develop the Territory. Personally, I do not think it can be developed under the provisions of this Ordinance, which seems to be framed for the benefit of those lessees who hold 181,000 square miles under the legislation passed by the South Australian Government.
– Subject to certain conditions.
– At the first glance the conditions may appear attractive, but it would be better if the Commonwealth allowed the leases to expire before attempting to deal with them.
– Wait for twenty years ?
– A number of leases terminate before the expiration of that period. I think it would be better to wait even twenty years.
– The bulk of the big leases will expire in that time.
– I do not think that the lessees would voluntarily come under this Ordinance unless it were to their advantage. The Western Division of New South Wales may be termed a lost province, as the bulk of the population lives in the Eastern or Central Divisions. Settlement in the Western Division, excluding Broken Hill, is sparse. The Division comprises 80,000,000 acres which, for many years, were regarded as practically valueless. Both branches of the New South Wales Legislature are now in favour of leasing it for long periods: - for, I think, fortyeight years. I have come to the conclusion that these leases were of advantage to the lessees. Many of them, I understand, are held by the large banking and financial corporations of that State. These lands, alleged to be of little value, have been locked up for many years, very much to the annoyance of tens of thousands of people in New South Wales, who,, it is believed, could very easily make a good living on small areas of 2,000 or 3,000 acres. That is the idea underlying this Bill ; but the Minister has not shown that there is any justification for the way in which it is proposed to deal with the leases granted under the South Australian legislation.
– Would it not be of immediate advantage to get a better stocking provision than there is under the South Australian law?
– I do not, for one moment, imagine that this Ordinance contains a better stocking provision. It would be a very excellent idea, and of great advantage to the Northern Territory, if the number of cattle there were increased ten-fold, but that object will not be attained under this Ordinance.
– If the honorable senator believes that the next elections will return a Labour Government to this Parliament, then he should support this Ordinance, since it would give that Government power to enforce improved stocking conditions.
– I have never heard of any land-owners allowing the State or Commonwealth Governments to deprive them of any privileges, unless it suited their own purpose. If they are able to obtain better terms under the Ordinance, they will consent to the Government’s proposal, but not otherwise.
-Senator Guthrie stated that if the lease-holders had better means of transport, they would be prepared to-morrow to give way to the Government.
– Even if they had better means of transport, they would not give way on any matter.
– We should not give them better transport facilities unless they did avail themselves of this offer.
– One of the best means of popularizing the Northern Territory would be to expend substantial sums of money on the construction of railways. I should vote to-morrow for the construction of a railway along the north-western coast fromKatherine Springs to Geraldton.
– Without anypower of resumption over the leases ?
– I should take good care that the lease-holders who were benefited paid their proportion of the cost.
– As long as the South Australian Act is in operation we cannot compel the lessees to make any such contribution.
– I should vote for a railway connecting with the Queensland railway system, and also one connecting the Darwin South line with Oodnadatta. This would probably cost from £5,000,000 to £7,000,000.
– Without such an Ordinance as this, these leases could not be touched unless they were voluntarily surrendered, or the South Australian Act repudiated.
– I am not prepared to repudiate any conditions which have been created under any Act.
– Then the honorable senator would leave these lease-holders in their present position for twenty years ?
– In order to develop the Northern Territory, I should be prepared to vote for the expenditure of considerable sums of money for the construction of railways, and I would go further and remove, if possible, from the operation of the income tax the man who is prepared to settle in the Northern Territory.
– Why single out the men in the Northern Territory?
– Because the Northern Territory is the least accessible of all parts of the Commonwealth.
– There are thousands of people in the different States who are in no better position financially. Why relieve one section?
– We were assured this afternoon that every settler in the Territory was losing money. The construction of a railway through the Northern Territory would be the very best means of popularizing that part of the country. I am not concerned with the cost, because this country is capable of meeting it. Great Britain, in dealing with similar territory, does not hesitate to expend money on developmental works, and, for some time afterwards, to lend its assistance. Since 1911, we have attempted to control the affairs of the Northern Territory from Melbourne; but it is a mistake. Great Britain does not attempt to control Canada, Australia, or New Zealand from London, and although for a time it had a strong voice in the affairs of South Africa, to-day that country has absolute home rule. The sooner this Parliament grants to the settlers of the Northern Territory a measure of self-government, the better for the Commonwealth. It is utterly impossible for men sitting in Parliament in Melbourne to possess the local and intimate knowledge of the Northern Territory which is necessary in order to insure good legislation. A step in the right direction was taken recently when this Parliament passed a measure giving the people of the Territory the right to elect a representative to the House of Representatives. This right, and also the right of the representative to vote, should be extended to both Houses of Parliament, as the men who settle in the Territory are worthy of such representation. In addition to the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth now controls other countries. We have a Mandate to control New Guinea, which covers about 90,000 square miles.
– Order! There is no reference to New Guinea in this Bill.
– The Northern Territory represents only one part of our administrative work, and to lay down a policy of representation not only for the Northern Territory, but also for the Mandated Territories, which are, moire or less, under our control-
– There is no reference to that matter in the Bill. I have allowed the honorable senator considerable latitude, and I must ask him to confine his remarks to the subject matter of the Bill.
– Papua is under the control of the Commonwealth in much the same way as is the Northern Territory, and inasmuch as Papua has had conferred upon it, at least, some form of local government’ or home rule, we ought to consider whether it would not be very much better to give representation to the people of the Northern Territory in both Houses of Parliament. The’ present method of controlling its affairs from Melbourne is entirely wrong. The Bill has, no doubt, been carefully considered, and we are assured by the Minister that the assistance of, at least, some of those directly concerned was obtained in framing the proposed Ordinance. I fail to understand exactly the meaning of the clause providing for the appointment of a Board of three members. It is quite clear that the pastoralists are to have the right to nominate one member, who will be appointed if acceptable to the Minister ; but the manner of the appointment of the other members is not so clearly defined. I am opposed to the appointment of a Board for a term of fiveyears, as it is quite possible that its members might hold views not conducive to the proper settlement of the Northern Territory. As the Minister recently pointed out, it is quite possible that a change of Government may occur before the major portion of the term of appointment has expired, and the Board might not be acting in accordance with the views of the new Government. It would be far better to postpone the consideration of the Bill. There is no urgency for it, as other Ordinances arestillinoperation. What is conspicuous is the desire to give to the lessees of areas secured under the South Australian legislationthe right, under certain conditions, tofurther extend the period of their leases. Senator Gardiner made use of a remark, obtained from a certain source, that Parliament has no time for useful legislation. That is a direct reflection upon Parliament.
– Senator Gardiner did nob make that remark himself.
– He quoted it. A remark of that kind, which is likely to be published and widely repeated, is a direct reflection upon Parliament. It is likely to help the daily press of this country in its efforts to persuade the people that they alone voice the public needs. As a matter of fact, men who have beenelected to Parliament, and not the newspapers, are the proper authorities to give expression to public opinion. Parliament is continually engaged in discussing and passing useful legislation, but we differ sometimes as to what really comes under that heading. The Bill now before the Senate does not come within the category of useful and necessary legislation, and I therefore oppose its second reading.
– We are now indulging in a still further effort, by way of legislation, to try to do something with that very important charge of the Commonwealth, the Northern Territory. If we wish to do justice to the Commonwealth, we shall leave behind us for all time our preconceived notions as to how that territoryshould be controlled. It is rather lamentable that such a huge area of comparatively rich country is at present in the stagnant condition that is eloquently indicated by the following excerpt from the annual report of the Administrator of the Northern Territory: -
Population has decreased, and’ .there has been throughout the year much unemployment and consequent poverty, and a considerable number of .people have been in receipt of Government rations, a most lamentable situation for a young undeveloped country, (where on sound principles there should be no people who arc not employed in the active business of exploring and developing the latent .resources of tha land.
Such a deplorable state of affairs gives one a feeling of deep depression regarding the future of the Territory. The position is not due to want of sympathetic administration by the Government, because I do not suppose there is any area under the control of the Commonwealth that has been so tenderly, and even lavishly, treated. Money has been shovelled into the country, and yet the chronic trouble has .not been cured. Looking at the geographical situation of the Territory, apart from the minor considerations induced by my previous remarks, one realizes that the problem confronting us constitutes the most difficult job that, so far as I know, ever a white race has undertaken. Glancing at the map of the world the magnitude of the task is patent. The Territory lies, roughly, within the 12th and 26th parallels of south latitude, and when one remembers the nature of the population in the corresponding areas in the northern hemisphere, the task of developing it with white people seems to be almost appalling. Confining attention for the moment to the Old World, the 26th parallel of latitude embraces the heart of Africa, portions of Egypt, Arabia, India, Cochin-China, and Central America. The 12th parallel of south latitude, “ which constitutes the northern boundary of the Territory, approaches very close to the equator. The corresponding line in the northern hemisphere passes the hoad waters of the Nile, in Abyssinia-
– A good climate, too.
– I have visited that region, and I regard the Gulf of Aden as having the most depressing climate to be experienced anywhere. The corresponding line of latitude in the northern hemisphere passes through countries where no nation would ever dream of trying to found a white man’s settlement. Let us look, at history, and ask what good has ever come out of those particular regions. Has anything been done there by individual or collective effort, whether in connexion with the arts and1 sciences, or by force of arms, that’ has been worth recording, except with respect to the solitary science of astrology in India. I am referring to world progress as assessed by present day methods. The situation of Cairo and of Carthage, whence Hannibal set forth with his motley army, including Nubians, with the object of bringing Imperial Rome to the dust - and he nearly succeeded, too - corresponds very much with the position of, say, Oodnadatta, in South Australia. Whenever that army turned southward.’ it conquered, because there was practically , no resistance. All the acquired virtues of civilization and advancement summed up in the story of human progress to-day are to be found in the cooler regions beyond the 26th parallel of latitude, which corresponds with the southern boundary of the Northern Territory. I mention this fact simply to bring home to the minds of honorable senators the enormity of the task presented by our northern possession.
– Evidently the honorable senator thinks it is not worth bothering about.
– At the moment I am merely inviting honorable senators to realize the magnitude of the task awaiting accomplishment. I do not propose to go back further than about 500 n.c, when Darius set out from Persia, and was checked on the Plains of Marathon, and later, when Xerxes was held up at the pass of Thermopylae by Leonidas. Their progress was arrested when they came into contact with the more virile northern races. Like every other great military leader who found the south standing for surrender and the north for resistance, when Napoleon started forth to conquer Egypt he found no opposition on his march southward; but when he turned, north hie armies were repulsed. The Spaniards, under Pizarro, in colonizing Peru, found theIncas weak opponents ; but when they marched north of Spain they were stopped.. History, therefore, goes to show that the tough fibre, virility, and all that stands for progress in the story of human advancement, is to be found below the line that forms the southern boundary of the Northern Territory, and north of the corresponding line in the northern hemisphere.
– The Queensland soldiers compared favorably with any other Australians in the late war.
– I suppose they did. But the stamina of the manhood of the northern portion of Australia has not yet been thoroughly tested.’ Although medical opinion is that a strong race can be developed there, history teaches usthe reverse.
– There are some very fine types of manhood there at present.
– Yes ; but having regard to natural laws we should realize that the task before us is no small one.
– There will not be a wild scramble on the part of people anxious to settle there.
– No. Experience also in the Western world proves that the white races have been unable to progressively develop country corresponding in climate to the Northern Territory. The people of the United States of America found difficulty in developing sub-tropical areas, and had to import many thousands of slaves from Africa. In directing their attention to the monumental task ahead of Australia in developing the Northern Territory, it will be necessary for honorable senators to drop a thousand fathoms deep all their attachment to and admiration for those “isms,” policies, and nostrums which pay no heed to the laws of nature. The story of the Territory is enclosed’ in the small paragraph I have already quoted. It shows that we are doing nothing with that vast area, and that, during the period of Commonwealth control, no improvement has taken place. There was a time when the belief was held that coloured labour would help to promote settlement there; but that did not make the Territory prosper. That regime was superseded by a further period when re spect for cheap labour ceased, and development was tried on a purely white-labour basis.Still there was no progress. Then there came a ‘time, under a Labour Administration, when individual initiative was largely cast aside and collective effort of a kind was put forward. Directors were appointed here and there, and they spent some of their time in directing strikes against the Government that employed them.
– Did you ever direct a strike?
– I did direct one when it was warranted; and I am proud to have done so. It was in the days when there was.no Arbitration Court; but the strikers in the Northern Territory had no compunction about wrecking industry.
– Was that strike responsible for the slow progress of the Territory ?
– Largely, it was.
– One strike in eleven years!
– The Northern Territory was a place where industrial peace broke out occasionally. I was directing the attention of honorable senators to what was done by another branch of the white race which came from the same stock as ours. Their job could not be compared with that which by virtue of the geographical position of the Northern Territory we have to face. Something will have to be done. The population of the Territory is declining. The exports and imports have disappeared practically in proportion to the efforts made to make the place progress. We have tried every policy, and yet the country is not making progress. We cannot stand still and do nothing for that country, which is our responsibility.We cannot admit shamefully to the nations which are looking on that it is nothing but a stagnant land. We must drop those idiotic notions that we have held in the past respecting the Territory. When a man goes there and provides a home for himself under a white man’s conditions we need to endow him liberally. I refer to the industrious man, not to the men who go there to kick up a row and strike when they have the Arbitration Court to appeal to. That type of man will never make a country prosperous. It is the” pioneering type of man who has helped to make Australia what it is to-day - the man who will turn his back to the cities and take to the unbeaten track. The man who will go there and take upon himself a white man’s burden I would endow so liberally that even though he made a fortune ten times oyer I would not discourage him. It is proposed by this Bill to give such men a helping hand. If Ordinances, Acts, speeches, policies, and the shovelling in of money will not make the Territory prosperous what will ? It has had a taste of all those things in succession, yet it is losing population. The nations of the world are looking on, particularly those that possess a limited area of territory. They are asking themselves - and rightly so; we would ask ourselves the question if we were in their place - “ What right have the Australians to hold that territory and not make it progress? They are doing nothing; they are sitting down on their heritage.” What right have we to hold this Territory unused other than the one fortuitous stroke of fortune which puts about us a protecting arm that wards off all dangers? If we were to depend upon our own strength to maintain this country, with its 12,000 miles of coast-line, we should have no more hope of doing so than have tho cannibals in the South Sea Islands with their skin canoes. We are depending upon that strong arm, and I am afraid there are too many people in this country who are not grateful enough for that protection. It is necessary that we should do something on ‘ our own account. Let us not mind what the electors say about it. We have a duty to perform to this country. When our career is brought to an end and we are asked, “ What did you do ? “ let it not be written on our political tombstones that we have always played up to the electors and chased them for votes. There is something different for us to do. This Bill is an instalment. We are endeavouring to put the Territory on a different footing from that which it has previously occupied, in order to give a chance to these men to make good. We are seeking to make the Territory so attractive that people will go there as they have gone in the past to the neighbouring areas in North .Queensland and in the north-west of Western Australia. It is quite plain that all the land in the Northern Territory is not1 good land, although it is not to be despised. Look at the discoveries which have been made by the Laurie Brothers? I know those men as intimately, perhaps, as any honorable senator. I am glad to be able to say that I have obtained for them concessions from both this and previous Governments. They are the type of men who do not look for assistance as do some other people who waylay Ministers and get more than their fair share. The Laurie Brothers went out on the track and discovered Tanami, and they are in the most lonely outpost in the Commonwealth to-day. Tom Laurie has gone up with a Ford motor truck to help work his little property. There are only two or three people in that district. What story has he to tell about the neighbouring country? He says that it is not to be despised at all as a pastoral area. Camels can travel to Hall’s Creek, a distance of 250 miles, on natural grasses and keep in splendid condition. He knows the country north and south for a distance of seventy or eighty miles. Water in that area is easily obtainable. He told me that on one occasion he threw out a handful of wheat, and it grew most luxuriantly to a height of about three feet in the month of May. I went along to the Director of Agriculture and procured for him a packet of wheat suitable to that location. I am waiting with great interest to hear the result, because Laurie has promised to let me know what can be done. He believes that wheat will do well there.
– What is the rainfall?
– Twenty-four inches. Laurie is a native of Gippsland. He has farmed, mined, and worked all over the Commonwealth, and his opinion is worth having. He says that that particular territory is not to be written down as waste land; rather is it a place where men’ with capital, grit, and perseverance can make a good living. It is not the equal of land in Western Queensland, but it is very good land, and any man who puts his capital into it, and is given a chance to succeed, will be amply repaid. There are some provisions in this Bill against which I am going to vote, particularly the proposal not to give the men engaged in agriculture the option of converting their leases into freeholds.
– That is to be provided for in a later Ordinance.
– I am very glad of that. Men will- not succeed there unless that right is given to them. The argument about unearned increment is nonsense, and the fallacy of not being able to get a share of it except by tenure conditions has been exposed long ago. My object in speaking on this measure has been to try to remove any lingering prejudice in honorable senators’ minds in favour of one policy or another, and to urge upon them to keep constantly before them the career of the Territory under the varied and chequered policies that have been adopted in regard to iti - under what might be called a conservative policy, under a policy that was calculated to be grandmotherly in every sense of the word, and under a policy of unlimited belief in cheap labour. Under all those alternating and widely different policies the Territory has not made progress. We need to ask ourselves what are we going to do with it? I am quite pleased that the Government are prepared to pledge their faith in the Territory by the progressive instalment of public works which has been foreshadowed. In the first place, we want to give assurance to the men who are in the Territory; and above all, we have to put a kind of magnet in the Territory to draw willing men and women there for the purpose of developing the great material resources that it contains. Lack- of communication is a standing drawback to the settler who goes there. The development of Western Queensland is an illustration of that. I well remember Western Queensland, in the middle eighties when I travelled from Charleville to the Gulf, a distance of 900 miles, and found it impossible to get a day’s work. The people had large holdings, but they were at the end of their resources. Their capital was spent. They were at the end of a dry spell and there was no employment to be obtained in that; 900 miles stretch of country. When I landed in Croydon, however, there was plenty of work ‘on the gold diggings. When the railway lines were pushed out from the central line, . the southern line, and the line from Hughenden, the holdings were immediately subdivided. Many men with whom I had been working side by side took up areas later and made a competence. The opportunity must first of all be given to those men who are on large areas. I am sure the opinion will be expressed by many honorable senators that we can be too liberal in the area we grant. Western Australia has fixed a limit of 1,000,000 acres. That is a greater area than has been suggested by Senator Guthrie. Still, it is a beginning. It shows that the Western Australian Government recognised that generosity could easily be overdone. If the Minister has not already foreshadowed a curtailment of the area, I hope that honorable senators will be seized with the necessity of fixing upon an area that will enable men with small capital to work it profitably. Give them the chance to make a fortune. By so doing we shall attract men who will get used to the conditions and later will branch out on their own, as was the case in Western Queensland. I am sure this is an earnest effort on the part of the Government to do’ something for the Territory that will justify our control of it. I have always freely admitted that South Australia rendered a great service to the Commonwealth. Ittook over the Territory at a time when there was a risk of its falling into Imperial hands, and being given to a syndicate. Had that occurred, it would have been worked with cheap coolie labour, and that would have brought on us the trouble which was experienced by the United States of America. I hope that this is but a beginning; that it will mark the commencement of the time when men. in the Territory will bc encouraged by the knowledge that the Government have sympathy with them in their great undertakings, and a desire to see them through. I support the Bill.
.-It is not my- intention to detain honorable senators very long, but I should like to make a few remarks bearing upon the speech just delivered by Senator Lynch. The honorable senator has been a member of this Chamber for very many years, and, therefore, must accept his share of the responsibility for any failure on the part of , the Commonwealth Government, up to the present, to successfully handle the problem of settlement in the Northern Territory. It grieves me that, after an experience extending over ten or twelve years, better results have not been achieved. The Government would do well to be cautious before launching out with a policy that is likely to involve the Commonwealth in heavy expenditure. Sena- tor Pearce, who introduced the Bill, has been a member of this Chamber from the inauguration of Federation, and I have no doubt that, since the Northern Territory was handed over to the Commonwealth by South Australia, ho has assisted in the formulation of projects for its development. I appreciate to the full the excellence of his speech on Friday last. It was interesting and instructive, but the impression it left on my mind, and I have no doubt that other honorable senators felt likewise, was that we were just about to take up the consideration of some new proposal for the development of a Territory hitherto unknown to the Commonwealth Government, when, as a matter of fact, we have already had considerable experience in Northern Territory administration. The fact thatwe have failed hitherto does not encourage the belief that future efforts will be crowned with success. I am as anxious asany other honorable senator to do what is right for the development of the Territory. I have come here without experience and without knowledge of Northern Territory problems, apart from what I have been able to gather in the course of my reading, and, therefore, I ask honorable senators who are in a position to draw on their experience whether they are satisfied that this Bill and this Ordinance differ essentially from previous legislation which, as I have shown, has been anything but successful.
– This Ordinance does not represent the Government policy as a whole ; it is only one step.
– I think the general impression conveyed by the Minister’s speech was that this proposal is entirely new, and that the Minister was outlining a policy that would insure a large measure of prosperity for the Northern Territory.
– The honorable senator must not think that the whole of the policy is contained in the Ordinance now before the Senate.
– No; but the Minister, on Friday last, undoubtedly outlined the Government policy, which, I presume, is embodied in the Bill, and accordingly, the Ordinance for which it provides must, in the main, represent Government policy.
– The chief difficulty in developing the Northern Territory is transport. This Bill does not touch that at all.
– But as the Minister has just said, this Bill is the first step, and I approach its consideration with a great deal of diffidence and caution, because it involves the expenditure of a large sum of money.
– It contemplates no expenditure.
– The Bill, if agreed to, will commit the Government to heavy expenditure. The Territory can only be opened up by the construction of railways.
– And railway construction will come before the Senate in a separate Bill.
– Of course it will, because that is part of the Government policy. I may be quite alone in my views on this subject, but I am open to conviction, and I should like to see the Territory effectively occupied. I believe, however, that the best way to insure its development would be to divide it, and hand it over to the Governments of Western Australia, Queensland, and South Australia. If we compare the Commonwealth administration with that of the States mentioned, we shall, I think, agree that it would be better to allow the State Governments to handle this problem.
– Queensland cannot open up its own country.
– The Territory could be divided in the way I suggest and later another State could be created.
– That is quite another matter. The policy of the Government with regard to the Territory will lead to that ultimately.
– The Minister in charge did not say that.
– He said it over and over again in this Chamber.
– I have not heard it mentioned, and therefore I hope senators will bear with me. I am not opposed to the Bill, but we should not allow our enthusiasm to outrun our judgment. We must be guided by experience, and I must say that the Government policy for the development of the Territory does not differ so materially from previous attempts in this direction that we can look forward confidently to an era of unbroken successes. I am not a pessimist. Bather am I an optimist. But anxious as I am to help in the solution of the Northern Territory problem, I am doubtful if the proposals outlined in the Bill will insure the same rate of progress as is experienced elsewhere in Australia under State administration .
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– I believe that the time will come when the Commonwealth Parliament will realize that it is the function of State Governments to develop the lands of Australia. Those who have already spoken during this debate have not indicated that they are satisfied with the policy adopted in the past for the development of the Northern Territory. According to Senator Lynch, the Territory has been nothing but a sink for public money, and Commonwealth funds have been literally shovelled into it.. Such being the case, I trust that the Commonwealth will forfeit its claim to administer this portion of Australia, and will hand it over to the three States I have mentioned. The progress made by the States in land development compares more than favorably with what has been done in the Northern Territory.
– South Australia had the Northern Territory for a long time.
– But when the Territory was handed over to the Commonwealth, the circumstances were quite different from those which obtain to-day. I feel sure that the people of South Australia would devolop that portion of the Territory which is adjacent to their State, and that the people of Queensland and Western Australia would develop the portions of it which adjoin their States. As the lands of each State are developed, we shall find people working back into the Territory, so’ that eventually this portion of Australia will be developed and provided with a population. Although no honorable senator can look back with satisfaction upon the policy that has been adopted in the past, no one can anticipate success for the course which it is now proposed to pursue. The better policy would be to hand over the Territory, as I have suggested, to the three adjoining States, and, when development reaches a certain stage, to form a new State in this part of Australia.
– Does the honorable senator imagine that any State would take on such a proposition?
– I do.
– I can answer for Western Australia that it would not.
– And I can give the same answer for Queensland.
– The people who are developing the States are also paying taxes for the development of the Northern Territory. Two sections of taxpayers are not finding the money.
– Not for the development of the Northern Territory, but the honorable senator propose* to hand over the responsibility to 300,000 people in Western Australia who already have the task of developing one-third of the continent.
– It would be better for the Commonwealth to give financial assistance to the three States to enable them to develop the Northern Territory than for the Commonwealth to attempt to carry on a policy that has already proved to be a failure.
– The other States would turn down that proposition.
– We must be guided by experience. More progress has been made by the States in developing their lands than has been made in the Northern Territory. I shall listen with a great deal of- interest to honorable senatorswhodisagree with my proposal as I desire to hear what they propose for the development of the Northern Territory.
– As one who in this Senate supported the Government which took over the Northern Territory from South Australia, I deplore the attitude taken up by those honorable senators who blame that Government for all the ills that have befallen the Territory. South Australia hid nothing when the transfer took place. The Commonwealth Government wereperfectly aware that the leases would not expire for another forty-two years, and that the . South Australian Government did not know, in some instances, who held many of the leases which they had granted in the Territory. Parliament realized that to develop the northern part of Australia was a matter of national importance. It was felt that this must be done in order to prevent invasion from the East, which was then a greater menace than it is to-day. I am quite aware that Senator Lynch has told us that the eyes of the world are still upon us, because we have vast unoccupied territories, while other nations are squeezed for room for the natural expansion of their populations. The Labour party made a legitimate attempt to do something with the Northern Territory, and therefore I regretted to hear Senator Guthrie talking of the “ wild cat “ schemes of that party. Senator Pearce, upon whom the present Government have had to rely to get them out of their difficulties in regard to the Northern Territory, was a member of the Labour Government that tried- to show that people could live in the Northern Territory on small agricultural grazing areas. Senator Guthrie has told us that it cost £25 per acre to clear the Batchelor Farm, and that the land is not worth more than 25d. an acre. Nevertheless the Batchelor experiment proved that almost anything can be grown in that portion of the Territory. One settler found that he could grow everything necessary for the consumption of tho people in the Territory, but that they would rather buy tinned produce from overseas than patronize him. I saw his garden ; it was one of the best fruit and vegetable gardens I have ever seen. I accompanied ex-Senator Thomas when he, as Minister for Home Affairs, paid a visit of inspection to the Territory. We inspected the country between Pine Creek and the Katherine River, but found that portion of the Territory practically valueless for closer settlement. Two members of the party also visited the Daly River, which is another proposition altogether. There we found that almost anything can be grown. On one farm maize, sugar-cane, tobacco, and every vegetable necessary for con- ‘ sumption were growing in profusion, but the trouble was to get the produce .to market. A farm we inspected was owned by a man named Hardy, who had been a jeweller in Hunter-street, Sydney, and had’ been given this block on the Daly River by the South Australian Government. This man had “ humped “ 270 bags of maize from his farm to the landing on the River, where a vessel was supposed to pick it up, but when we paid our visit it had already been lying there for nine months, and was rotting. If transport can be provided plenty of people will settle on the good lands of the Territory. If transport is not provided there will be no settlement of agriculturists, aud the only alternative will be to place men on small grazing blocks to rear cattle and horses. One man named Byrne, who went into the Territory with a pound note in his pocket, and a butcher’s knife in his belt, has sold out for £10,000 and has started another station further south.
– That is the sort of man we want.
– This man made practically everything that’ was necessary on his run. Another lessee names Giles bred horses. He used to drive 300 head to Adelaide occasionally, and one lot he sold at £10 a head in the mob. He has done well. He is still ‘on the same lease, although it is a small one. He sent his family to the southern parts of Australia to be educated and trained for commercial life, but they have all gone back to the Territory, preferring the life of attending to cattle in the bush to that of pursuing some commercial occupation in a southern State. These are the’ type of people we have in the Territory. When the Ministerial party returned to Pine Creek from the Katherine River. *t was fatigued’. Travelling was hard work, and so the majority decided to return to Darwin by train, and proceed to the Daly River by water. Two of the party, including myself, declined to adopt the suggestion, as they were anxious to keep to their itinerary. The others proceeded from Darwin to the Daly River, but the harbor-master and the pilot who accompanied them were unable to find the entrance to the Daly River. For a distance of eighty miles along the river there were rich flats, where grass was growing as high as the buggy, and if the river were navigable those settled in the locality would be able to transport their produce at reasonable rates.
– The grass is too high.
– It is said that the grass is unsuitable for fodder, but when I was there the horses were eating it as they went along. It was as high as their heads, and they had no difficulty in nipping it off. Senator Hays suggested that the control of. the
Territory should be handed over to the adjoining States; but I would not for a moment support such a proposal. I would rather abolish the States - altogether, and give the Commonwealth the sovereign right to govern, as the States have been retarding Australia’s progress. Federation has proved what its most bitter opponents said it would be - a farce. I do not altogether agree with the policy of the Government for developing the Northern Territory; but they are making an honest attempt to do something. Ever since the Labour party committed the so-called grave blunder of taking control of the Territory, an effort has been made to improve the conditions there. We should remember, however, that the war has intervened, during which time it was impossible to do anything to assist its development. If the Labour Government were in power to-day they would use every effort to people the Territory by making suitable land available for closer settlement, and improving the transport facilities, which is of paramount importance.
– The Commonwealth Government assumed control only three years before the war.
– That is so. Although the Government believe they are doing what is right, they are merely following the steps of the South Australian Government, which made an absolute failure of the whole business. It must be said, however, in favour of South Australia, that lamentable as was their attempt to develop the Territory, they succeeded in keeping it white, because they refused to surrender portions to be worked with indentured labour. Years ago the Queensland members of the old Liberal party in the Senate strongly condemned the Labour party for taking over the Territory from South Australia, and placing, as they said, a burden upon the national Parliament, but they demanded that any railways constructed there should be taken into Queensland. On the other hand, South Australian representatives are strongly advocating the construction of the line from the north to connect with Oodnadatta. I do not care in which direction the proposed line is constructed so long as a legitimate attempt is made to provide adequate transport facilities. It is a national work, and one of which I approve. Doubtless the Bill will pass the second reading stage; but when it is in Committee I trust that it will be drastically amended to meet with the progressive ideals of the majority of the people of the Commonwealth. It is ridiculous for Senator Hays to suggest that certain States should control the Territory. Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia have already sufficient undeveloped territory to occupy their attention. The settlement and population of. the Territory is a question which must be dealt with by the national Parliament. If we are to be content with encouraging the pastoral industry as a beginning, it will be 100 years before there is any notable increase in population, as the cattle industry does not give employment to a large number of people. If closer settlement, where suitable, is encouraged, and transport facilities provided, towns will soon be established, and eventually this great tract of country will become one of the most productive in the whole Commonwealth.
– I wish to compliment the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) upon the manner in which he presented the Bill to the Senate; Honorable senators “listened with a great deal of interest to his speech, and I am sure the information he gave has done more to enlighten honorable senators on this important subject than anything we have previously heard. . I have felt, from time to time, that my efforts in urging, in the Senate, the claims of the Territory, were as a voice crying in the wilderness; but I am now satisfied that my humble efforts in the past have not been without result. I also congratulate the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner), who indicated very clearly that it is the desire of his partyto improve the Bill so that it may benefit the Commonwealth. I cannot, however, agree with the suggestion by Senator Hays thatthe Territory should be handed over to the control of the adjoining States, as Western Australia, South Australia, and Queensland have more territory than they can possibly develop for many years to come. The north-west portion of Queensland would be in precisely the same position that the Northern Territory is in to-day, but for the fact that Queensland Governments have from time to time pushed their railways out .westward. The Queensland pastoralist ‘ to-day is in a very happy position in consequence of the transport facilities available. In the Kimberley and Fitzroy Baver districts, and right up to the north-west portion of Western Australia, there is a large tract of country which travellers say is quite as good as, and, in some instances, superior to that of the Northern Territory, and it has splendid harbor facilities. It is almost needless to say that it is impossible for the States to undertake further responsibilities by assuming control of the Northern Territory. The whole question has been discussed for many years, and at times it has been suggested that the Territory should be divided between the three adjoining States. Quite recently the Governor of South Australia (Sir Tom Bridges), the Premier of South Australia (Sir Henry Barwell), the .Commonwealth Railways Commissioner, and the South Australian Railways Commissioner, and several officials visited Mount Stewart, which is supposed to be the centre of the continent. These gentlemen have returned to Adelaide, and have submitted a report on that portion of the Territory which, unfortunately, the Minister was unable to inspect. I regret that the Minister, instead of crossing the Barkly Tablelands, did not visit the southern portion, but perhaps he will have an opportunity of doing so at a later date. We are discussing this measure to-day very largely on the evidence he has given concerning the northern and north-eastern portion, but little has been said concerning the vast area of valuable country between Newcastle Waters and Alice Springs. The Premier of South Australia has seriously suggested that the southern portion, right up to the Macdonnell Ranges, should be re-acquired by South Australia, but I think it is too late to consider such a proposal. The Territory has been accepted by the Commonwealth, and it is now our duty, and not that of any State, to see that it is efficiently controlled. It has been said that, since the Territory has been under the control of the Federal authorities, it has been a sink into which the taxpayers’ money has been poured. I deplore the use of such extravagant language. Such statements are untrue. During recent years the Commonwealth Government have made it possible for pastoralists to take’ their stock !by direct routes from the various stations to the railway or to the seaboard. Wells have been sunk across the continent, and, as the Minister pointed out, bores are also being put down on the Murranji track from Newcastle Waters to Wave Hill. ‘ When this line of bores has been completed a reliable stock route will be available from the Western Australian border to the railway at Camooweal. The Government has spent thousands of pounds on this important work, and one has only to visit that .portion of Australia to hear hearty expressions of appreciation for the efforts that have been made to assist the pastoralists. When coining through the Territory, we met a mob of cattle travelling south, which had come .from Kimberley around the coast, and had been for two years on the road. They had been delayed by two wet seasons, and then by encountering a dry patch, and had come from the Kimberley district around the coast, via Borroloola aud the McArthur River, in order to take advantage of wells and other sources of water supply. Honorable senators will agree that two years is too long a period for a mob of cattle to be on the road.
– Everything would depend on the fodder. If it were plentiful, two-year-old cattle would be fat stock at the end of two years.
– Although there is plenty of feed, the water is scarce. Once the cattle wave the .tropical rivers at the top end of the Territory, they have to depend on waterholes, permanent and otherwise. The present stages are too long for the travelling of cattle. Even if the .Government do nothing else, they have spent money wisely by sinking wells, and opening up stock routes. In many other ways they have, benefited the settler in the interior. I admit that more developmental work has taken place in the northern portion of the Territory than in the south, but I hope that . discrepancy will soon be remedied. In dealing with the Ordinance, I ask honorable senators to take their minds back fifty years, and Consider what the States of New South Wales and Queensland then accomplished for their pioneers. We are starting with the Northern Territory to-day where those States started on the development of their outback country fifty years ago.
– We have the benefit of their experience.
– There is no question of experience at all. The Northern Territory has no railway communication to the seaboard with the exception of the line to Darwin. The settlers are far distant from markets. We have to provide the best possible conditions to induce men to go there. We can frame what regulations we like, and issue what Ordinances we please, but unless they attract the settlers, they are so much waste paper. As Senator Guthrie stated, we want men with stout hearts and fairly long pockets. I do not agree with his statement that a man needs to be wealthy to make a success in the Territory. In my travels there, I met many men who were very poor indeed when they first settled, and even now they are a long way from being wealthy.
– The more money a settler has the better.
– Yes, and the better it is for the Northern Territory. The men who put the whole of their interests into that country will stick until they obtain a competency. We should look at this subject from the stand-point of a pioneer, and consider the methods adopted by other States fifty years ago. Queensland would not be in the prosperous position that it occupies today but for the efforts of the pioneers, in the early days, in the northern portion of that State. Those who follow us will, doubtless, deal with conditions as they find them. Just as the Parliaments of Queensland, New South Wales, and other States resumed certain areas, so in thirty or forty years’ time the Commonwealth Government, if they still have control of the Northern Territory, will be able to resume areas of country as development takes place. I doubt whether very many honorable senators have read the report furnished by the Sectional Committee of the Public Works Committee, which travelled through the Territory a little while ago. The ‘best evidence that can be obtained of the value of that country is that taken on oath from the settlers at the homesteads and on the stations, and sometimes on the roadside. The opinions expressed, and the suggestions proffered by those men are the very best indication of what action this Parliament should take. The evidence is on record, and could be read with profit by honorable senators. It might assist them in coming to a decision, perhaps more favorable to this Ordinance than would otherwise be the case. No Ordinance ever framed would satisfy every person; some would be sure to find fault. This Ordinance, however, is an honest attempt to place the Northern Territory under profitable, occupation. Most of the country is held in larger areas than should be the case. Senator Guthrie referred to the Bovril Australian Estates Company, which has one station on the Victoria River of 12,000 square miles, and several other blocks, under annual tenure, making some 14,000 or 15,000 square miles. The Committee, for days, went through that country by motor car, and never saw a beast. Of course, we were some distance from permanent water. Water . is essential to the development of the Territory. People holding areas of 6,000, 8,000, and 12,000 square miles will not he able to properly develop them during the next fifty years. The areas should be very much smaller.
– How do the leaseholders overcome the stocking clauses ?
– They were never enforced, nor were other clauses. Senator Guthrie, who understands that class of country, knows quite well that the improvement conditions of the leases are superfluous. The trouble in the past has been that the regulations have never been enforced. When this Ordinance becomes law it will be the duty of the Commonwealth to see that the conditions are enforced, and everything else will follow. The holder of the land will have to provide the necessary improvements to enable him to carry stock in fulfilment of, the conditions of the Ordinance. I have no doubt that the Ordinance will be carried by the Senate. It must be followed by many others, as there are many other details to be determined. I have taken a good deal of interest in the Northern Territory, and have discussed its possibilities with many of the settlers. I can quite under- stand that the men who hold large areas are reluctant to relinquish any portion of them. That is a natural desire, and the Ordinance will go a long way towards overcomingit. I would favour the surrender forthwith of the first quarter of the leasehold areas. It would entail no hardship on men holding 6,000, 8,000 and 10,000 square miles of country to be called on now to give up one-fourth of their areas.
– It would be of no advantage, unless other men were ready to take up the land.
– It would be necessary to obtain men to settle on that land. Even if the leases are not surrendered as I suggest, there is plenty of land in the Northern Territory that can be taken up straight away. I support the Ordinance. It is a step in the right direction, and will induce people to settle in that country. Senator REID (Queensland) [8.40].- I am very pleased indeed that the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) has submitted the question of the development of the Northern Territory to the Senate. Like other honorable senators, I enjoyed his descriptive address. I have seen a great deal of the country in the west of Queensland, and I know that the matter of the leases is very vital to the Northern Territory. I shall give an illustration of what I mean by describing the efforts of some friends of mine to obtain suitable holdings in the Northern Territory. They represented some dozen settlers of Queensland, all cattle-growers on a small scale, some of them interested in dairying. They wished to obtain some of the outside country to operate on a larger seale. Two men were fitted out, one being a good bushman with whom I am well acquainted. He knewQueensland, and most of the otherStates, well. They arrived atCloncurry and purchased a team of horses and rations prior to setting out for the Northern Territory. They had maps, which they had studied closely, showing the rivers and water frontages. They marked out on the maps country with water frontages, as they had not sufficient capital to take up dry areas. They first explored the Gulf end of the Territory and worked across to Darwin. They inspected the country marked by them on the maps, and to their sorrow and misfortune they discovered there was not one water frontage open for settlement; they had all been taken up. My friend wrote to the Home and Territories Department advising them of these facts, and they denied them. My friend was told that the maps showed no such thing, and that he could take up the departmental country. My friend had made very careful inquiries from the settlers and from the Lands Office at Darwin, and finally he returned and called at the office of the Home and Territories Department in Melbourne. The Department then discovered that his information was quite correct. The reason for the unsuccessful attempts to settle the Northern Territory is that every available piece of land with water frontage has been taken up. As stated by Senator Newland, it is impossible for people to settle in dry country. Ihave seen the development of Queensland, and I knew it when there were no bores or artesian wells in the back country. I remember the joy caused at Barcaldine by the sinking of the first well, and the subsequent spread of bores and artesian wells throughout Queensland. No other State has such water facilities. The Queensland country is very similar to that of the Northern Territory, with the exception of the Barkly Tablelands, which are subject to monsoonal rains. The settlement of the Northern Territory is bound up with the release of water frontages. The Government should enforce the stocking clauses, and if they are not carried out in a certain number of years, the areas concerned should be resumed. If there are any improvements, they could be taken over, and this would give the enterprising man a chance. I have been informed that the soil in the Northern Territory is very similar to that of Western Queensland, and some people are confident that, given railway communication, the country will become a paradise. There was a great cry in Queensland twenty or twenty-five years ago in favour of cutting up the large stations. I was in the State Parliament at the time, and I favoured the proposal. It was thought that 20,000 or ‘30,000 acres would be sufficient for a good selection. A man on a small area has a tendency to overstock it, and as soon as a drought is experienced his stock die, and he is probably ruined. From my experience of Queensland, I should say that it would not be wise to make the area of the leases in the Territory too small, especially in the drier parts. Within a certain distance from the coast, Australia has a fringe of good agricultural country, and I have no doubt that the coastal country in the Territory is similarly fertile. First of all, the land should be divided into fair-sized areas, and these should be stocked with cattle. Sheep-raising has not proved a success, one of the drawbacks being that the great timberless plains provide practically no shelter for sheep. Then, again, fencing is very expansive. I have known settlers to cart, wooden posts 20, 30, and up to 100 miles, but very often the posts are quickly eaten by white ants. The employment of angle iron, which is more serviceable, makes fencing most expensive. Little success has been attained with sheep-raising in that part of Queensland beyond the Flinders watershed. The cost of transport is about double ‘ what it was ten years ago, and the price of wool has not increased sufficiently to make people anxious to, take up land in the Territory for sheepraising. It will be necessary to offer special inducements, or pastoralists will not feel inclined to leave Queensland and the southern States, where the conditions of life are more attractive. Senator Gardiner said he did not mind whether the lessees paid rent or not, so. long as the country was developed. His position is on all-fours with that of the Labour party in Queensland, when it agreed to the leases of the Queensland pastoralists being extended. After a severe drought of six years’ duration, the leaseholders were ruined. They could not obtain any advance to enable them to carry on unless some provision was made to secure the institutions that advanced them money. The attitude then taken up by the Parliament and press of Queensland was that it did not matter whether rent was paid or not, so long as the land was occupied. Parliament almost went down on its knees and asked the pastoralists to remain on their holdings. The leases were extended with the consent of every section of the community, and there were no stronger advocates of the action then taken than the Labour party itself. Sixteen or eighteen years later, a Labour Government brought in an Act repudiating the agreement, and that action left an unpleasant taste in the mouths of British investors. If at some future date a Labour Government in the Federal, arena happens to be short of money, and a clamour goes up for higher rents, there may be a similar occurrence. Having made an agreement with the pastoralists, we should adhere to it. I know a number of people in Queensland who, some time ago, were quite prepared to go to the Territory if they could obtain land. If it is discovered that the conditions of the existing leases are not being, observed, they should be forfeited. Much has been said about the great heat experienced in the Territory. Although the climate near the’ coast is more or less muggy, the dry atmosphere inland is as healthy as could be desired. I prefer the clear heat, with the thermometer registering 120 degrees in the shade, to the enervating atmosphere experienced sometimes in Melbourne, when the mercury does not rise above 80 degrees. Personally, I have never enjoyed better health than I did when I was living in the back country in Queensland.
– All honorable senators appear to be .in agreement as to the need for population in the Territory, although they may differ as to the conditions under which the country should be settled. I cannot support Senator Hays in his contention that Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia should control the Territory. The losses, which amounted to about £280,000 in 1922, should be borne by the whole of the Commonwealth, and not by any particular States. Senator Newland remarked that he believed the holdings were too large; but, on the other hand, he supported the Government in bringing down an Ordinance that will perpetuate the present system. Senator Guthrie congratulated the Ministry on bringing the measure forward, but he immediately followed with the statement that the holdings were much too large. It is difficult to understand why those two honorable senators support the Government in their policy of big hold- ‘ings, while at the same time they contend that the size of the leaseholds should be reduced.
– Does not the Ordinance provide for a reduction?
– It may do so. The following figures will give an idea of the area held under some of the leases - 5,431 square miles, 3,475,840 acres. 10,406 square miles, 6,059,840 acres. 19,065 square miles, 12,201,600 acres. 8,177 square miles, 5,233,280 acres. 6,206 square miles, 3,971,840 acres.
We on this side say that the holdings are too large. I shall quote from evidence on this matter given before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works. Robert Stott, Sergeant of Police and Warden of Gold-fields, Alice Springs district, stated -
Encouragement ought to be given to small holders, and I, would suggest that the country be thrown open in blocks not exceeding 300 to 400 square miles.
He went on to say -
I think about 300 square miles is a fair area on which a man could make a decent living, especially if a railway be available.
Then there is the evidence of Leonard Percival Brown, hotelkeeper, who said -
I think an area of 300 to 400 square miles of country is enough for a man to make a living on if there is water, but you never know if there is water until you have tried.
I suppose that numerous statements of a similar nature have been made. Those men have lived in the Territory for a number of years, and they should have some idea of the area which would enable a man to make a living.
Senator Newland. They were speaking of the Alice Springs country. It is possible to have smaller blocks there than further north.
SenatorHOARE. - Probably there is a similarity in the character of the country throughout that particular district. I have travelled over a great deal of the northern parte of Australia, and I have a good idea of the quality of the land. Senator Guthrie, in dealing with the big holdings, was speaking in the light of his father’s experience when pioneering that particular part of the Northern Territory. Conditions have changed since then, and they will change further in the future. It would be unfair and unwise to give these men huge holdings when the Government anticipate the construction of a railway and roads. When means of transit are provided a settler will be able to make a living on a much less area than was possible under the conditions referred to bySenator
Guthrie. Several references have been made to this particular railway. I suppose the north-south railway was meant. I hope that that railway will be constructed, not according to State bias or selfishness, but in such a manner that it will give the greatest advantage to the. people irrespective of its cost.
– Order! That matter is not referred to in the Bill. The honorable senator will be justified in touching on it incidentally, but will not be in order in debating it.
-Senator Pearce referred to the rents which are being received by the Government, and claimed that they should be lowered. One surprising fact is that, immediately adjoining that land, the settlers are paying from £2 a square mile.
– I saw a wire which came from a gentleman whose statement, I think, I am justified in accepting. He is Tight on the spot, and should know what he is talking about.
– He does not. I have the rentals of the areas on the Queensland and Western Australian borders, and not one of them goes anywhere near £2 per square mile.
– Do they go as high as 25s. ?
– One or two, on the Queensland side do.
– That is considerably in excess of what the Government expect from the people who are holding the leases in the Northern Territory.
– The general average is 12s. 6d. on the Queensland side, and 7s. 6d. on the Western Australian side.
– Reference has been made to the stocking clause of this Bill. The efficiency or otherwise of that clause will depend upon thepersonnel of the Board which is to be appointed by the Government. If the Board is properly constituted, it will compel the men to act up to the Ordinance. There may be many ways of dodging their obligations, and if the Board is a bit loose in its administration the clause may not do what the Minister says it will do. Senator Guthrie said that he would not advise any one to go into some parts of the Northern Territory unless he had £100,000. That may hold good under present conditions. Admiral Clarkson was commissionedby the Government some time ago to report regarding the building of a railway in a district which the Ordinancecovers. Perhaps that railway will be constructed from Borroloola for a distance of 200 or 300 miles into the tablelands, giving the people the means of transit which they require, and enabling them to obtain a living from a much less area than would be profitable to-day. Perhaps the area could be cut down to as low as 100 square miles. Senator Guthrie, no doubt, has a good idea of what is required in the Territory, but he has not made allowance for the building of roads and railways. In view of the fact that railway communication is likely to be provided, the Government should not allow these holding tobe taken up in very large areas. I do notthink that any person should look for anything beyond that which will provide a living for himself and his family. I do not mean that he should be confined to an area which will provide him merely with a basic wage, because I consider that the basic wage is not a living wage. He should be able to provide for his wife and family and put something by for a rainy day. According to the evidence that has been given, that should be possible on a small area when the railway is constructed. Clause 58 of the schedule to the Bill makes the following provision : -
That section will defeat the whole object of the Ordinance, and in the interests of the development of the Territory it should not be permitted to remain. We know what a curse the dummying system has been throughout Australia. Ifthis section is allowed to remain, it will make dummying possible in the Northern Territory. We must guard against that. Let the Minister show his honesty by wiping out that provision, thereby doing justice to the people. If dummying can be practised when the resumption is about to take place, what would prevent people from so dividing their land that they would rob a particular section or sections of access to a watercourse? The land should be subdivided equally and fairly so that no injustice will be done to any one. Looking at this matter from a defence point of view, we must admit that the Northern Territory should be peopled. It isrecognised that defence is possible where a country is carrying a sufficient population, and for that reason we should see that this particular part of Australia becomes more thickly populatedthan it is to-day. We claim that in the main the Northern Territory is a fine place to live in, and that from a physical point of view residents there compare favorably with people in any other part of Australia, if not the civilized world. It is idle, therefore, for people to argue that it can only be peopled and developed by coloured labour. The white races will more than hold their own in any part of the world. I cannot understand the reason for haste in connexion with this Bill. The Government propose to give members of this Parliament an opportunity to visit the Northern Territory in the near future. If we pass this measure now, it will be too late for members who may visit the Territory to readjust their ideas, because the Ordinance will then have the force of law. I trust that in the circumstances the Government will withdraw the Bill until after the projected visit by members of both Houses.
– I am very glad that for the first time in the history of the Federal Parliament we have a direct representative of the Northern Territory in another place. I am also pleased to know that he is a member of the party to which I belong, namely, the Labour party.
– But is he a member of the honorable senator’s party ?
– He is a member of the Australian Labour party, and but for his presence in another place, where he directed attention to the Ordinance which had been laid on the table there, we would not have had this opportunity for a full discussion upon the Bill and the Ordinance itself.
– There would have been an opportunity on Senator Gardiner’s motion to disallow it.
– That would have been different, as the Minister knows. We would not have had full opportunity to deal with the various clauses of the Ordinance. I compliment the Minister upon his excellent speech in moving the second reading of the Bill on Friday last. His remarks were interesting and highly informative. Whatever differences exist between the respective parties in this Parliament - and these opposing view-points are clearly indicated on occasions in respect of public policy - there should be no difference of opinion in respect of one important matter, namely, that the Northern Territory cannot, and must not, remain unpeopled and undeveloped.
– It should not be made the sport of party politics, either.
– I agree with the Minister. But as to the manner in which the Territory should be developed there might very well be an honest difference of opinion. Hence our opposition to some of the provisions of the Bill. A few years ago I had the opportunity and the pleasure of visiting portions of the Northern Territory. Its vastness and its emptiness can hardly be realized by the average Australian. It is nearly six times ‘‘the size of Victoria, and it has a population of just about 3,000 people, most of whom are coloured. Attempts have been made from time to time to people and develop it,, but no real progress will be made in that lonesome land until we handle this big problem in a big way. The development of the Northern Territory can be assured only by the expenditure of large sums of Government money. Many years ago, in my more immature days - although I think I was right then - I suggested an expenditure of anything from £10,000,000 to £20,000,000 in connexion with the Northern Territory. In support of my proposals, I urged that we had not taken over the Territory from South Australia as a toy to play with, but because we considered it was part and parcel of the Commonwealth, and it should be the duty of the Commonwealth to deal with the problem of its development from a purely Australian view-point. But when I talked about the expenditure of millions of pounds in those days, critics of my suggestion regarded the project as a wildcat scheme, and people asked where were we likely to obtain millions of pounds for development of the Northern Territory. Since then many changes have taken place. We have spent many ‘ millions of pounds on defence and in connexion with our participation in the Great War. The Minister, in the course of his speech last Friday, said that he had travelled through and seen a good deal of the Northern Territory. He told us that he had seen some fat bullocks and sheep j and roads that for eight months of tha year were as good as those in any other part of Australia, and also that he saw a “ Never-never “ farmer engaged in , rice culture. And then the Minister put on his defence spectacles, and imagined an invading army, and what might happen to Australia if we did not do something to defend that part of Australia.
-In the way of developing it.
– Yes, on its development, and incidentally for its defence. Can any one imagine’ an invading army occupying the Northern Territory? I do not view the prospect with alarm, notwithstanding that some members of’ this Chamber and in another place seem to be afflicted with Jingoitis. I admit that the defence point of view is important, but the subject of major importance is its development, and this development can only be secured by the adoption of a sound, sane, business-like policy. One honorable member of another place . (Mr. Marks) regards the. Northern Territory from exactly the same view-point as does the Leader of the Senate. Speaking in the House last night, he is reported to have said -
If Japan was to be Australia’s enemy there would be nothing to prevent her. from sending this ship-
He was referring to a 40,000 ton Japanese cruiser - and two aeroplane carriers to enter Sydney Harbor and take Australia.
If Japan can take Australia with a 40,000 ton warship and two aeroplane carriers, what is the good of talking about peopling and developing the Northern Territory and putting in hand proposals for its defence. That by the way. The Minister, in his introductory speech, made it appear that the progress of the Territory was dependent on the passing of this Ordinance. The commencing point of its progress, according to his reasoning, would be the granting of leases covering a long period of time, and after pastoral development there would follow, as night follows the day, agricultural development, and with agricultural development such prosperity that the Territory had never previously enjoyed. I do not share that opinion. I say that the
Northern Territory can be developed only by the expenditure of big sums of Goverment money on the construction of railways and other means of transport. All these must precede settlement.
– This is not opposed to my view.
– No, but with the expenditure of Government money increased values will be given to the lands of the Territory, and whilst it is true that we shall have the . power to reappraise rentals at certain periods, in respect of leases under the South Australian legislation, the power of the Board to increase rentals will be limited to 50 per cent.
– If we do not pass this Ordinance, the Board will have no power at all to increase rentals.
– We shall see.
Leases for 25,468 square miles of country, held at an average rental of1s. l0d. per square mile, will expire in 1943.
– Under the South Australian Act there is no further reappraisement.
– Under this Ordinance the Government will have power to reappraise up to 50 per cent., but the leases will be extended another 22 years. In other words, they will then expire in 1965. The Board, it is true, will have the powerto increase the rentals by not more than 50 per cent. during that long period.
– No. The Board will have power to increase the rentals on three occasions during that period, and as each increase will be 50 per cent. above the rental previously paid, in the end the amount to be paid will be at least 150 per cent. higher than the original rent. The re-appraisement will take place every fourteen years.
– Even then the lessees will have the land at a peppercorn rental. We do not oppose this Ordinance so that we may retard development in the Territory. We oppose it because we want it to make progress, and do not wish it to remain more or less stationary and stagnant as it has been for some years past. We believe that by tieing up the pastoral leases for such long terms progress and development will be retarded. Why this seeming haste to get the Ordinance passed ? It has been suggested that members of the Federal Parliament should be given an opportunity to visit some por tions of the Northern Territory. If that opportunity be afforded this Parliament will be in a better position to deal with this matter upon the return of those who avail themselves of it. In any case, there is no immediate hurry for this Ordinance. Of the 523,622 square miles which comprise the Northern Territory, the existing pastoral leases cover 18.6,965 square miles, leaving 336,655 square miles still available for occupation.
– But it may all be dry country.
– It may be that in the unoccupied area there is some countrynot as good as that which has been taken up under lease, but I cannot be led to believe that the whole of it is useless and waste land.
– A glance at the map will indicate how difficult it is to reach it.
– I know that it is a country of considerable distances, and that no substantial progress will be made until it is opened up by railways and other means of communication, but when an honorable senator says that the land not in occupation may not be as good as that which has already been leased, my reply is that we do not know what value the future may place on any part of Australia.
– The land may be good but it may be dry.
– Areas which in the past were considered to be waste and valueless are to-day fetching in open market over £300 an acre. A Royal Commission of experts which years ago was appointed by the Victorian Parliament to inquire into the possibility of settling the land in close proximity to the River Murray, reported that the river flats could be utilized for settlement, but that other land some distance away from the river was of little or no value. They said that the only life they saw in this vast valueless area was a few dingoes and birds. Time has passed, and now we find that at Mildura land adjacent to the River Murray is being sold in the open market for over £300 an acre, and that at this centre there is a community which is probably more prosperous than is any other community of the same size in Australia. Before the opening up of its goldfields, Western Australia was considered to be of little or no value. Mr. Hargreaves, the discoverer of gold in New South Wales, was commissioned to visit Western Australia and report upon its mineral-bearing possibilities. He reported that it was not mineralbearing country, but was agricultural country. It has since proved to be both mineral and agricultural country. Who knows what latent riches there are in the Northern Territory? Every known mineral has been found there.
– If it turns out to be agricultural country, we can resume the leases.
– Australia could and should be made self-contained by the proper development of this Territory.
– Then let us make a start.
– We cannot make a start by tying up millions of acres of land for an indefinite period. Cotton can be grown in the Territory; hemp has been grown there profitably; rice and coffee can be grown there.
– There is nothing to prevent the leases being resumed for the purpose of growing any of those things.
– But we want to prevent big estates being monopolized for an indefinite period of time to the detriment of the people of Australia.
– They cannot be monopolized as against the agriculturist.
– At any rate, for the reasons. I have already stated, we are opposed to the long leases provided in this measure.
– The Fisher Government, which was supported by the honorable senator, provided for giving leases in perpetuity. .
– It is true that a Labour Government provided that the land in the Northern Territory should not be parted with at any time, but now it is proposed to give settlers in the Northern Territory the right to secure a freehold title.
– The Ordinance of 1912 is being repealed for that purpose.
– The leases proposed to be given by the new Ordinance will not bring to the Territory that prosperity which the Minister and others believe will be brought about by the adoption of this policy.
– How does the honorable senator reconcile hisopposition to a lease of forty-two years with his support of the policy of giving leases in perpetuity ?
– My view is that the whole of the land of the Northern Territory should be held by the people of Australia for all time, and that it should be developed, not by one individual, or by a set of individuals, but rather by the Commonwealth Government; that is to say, the Government should develop the Territory and run its own cattle and sheep stations.
– That policy would speedily ruin the Commonwealth, just as Queensland will be ruined by the State cattle stations.
– The Queensland Government have shown how they can profitably run cattle stations.
– They have lost thousands of pounds on running their cattle stations.
– And the “ beef barons “ have lost thousands of pounds also. In any case, if there has been any loss on the Queensland State cattle stations, it has been more than compensated by the fact that the people of Queensland have had cheaper meat than has been available in other States.
– The cheap beef supplied to the people in Queensland came from the stations owned by the so-called “ beef barons.” The Government sold their cattle to the people in the south.
– There are already two Government cattle stations in the Northern Territory, and they have both proved unprofitable.
– Successes are built up on failures, in private enterprise as well as in Government enterprise. I do not look at State enterprises from a sordid £ s. d. point of view. If we looked at them from that point of view alone, little or no progress would be made in any part of Australia.
– Who is to pay for the losses they sustain ?
– That question is not asked when schools, post-offices, and other facilities are sought in the way-back parts of Australia. It is not asked when railways are required to open up and develop our land. We simply ask ourselves whether these facilities will make for the development, progress, and advancement of Australia. The proposition. in the Northern Territory is too big for private enterprise. Senator Guthrie, who knows the Territory, has told us that a sheep station would require capital, of at least £100,000, and we have heard how a number of men- who have blazed the track have lost fortunes. They have lost their money because of lack of means of communication. Freights are so high in the Territory that it is_ very difficult for any one engaged in any line of business outside Darwin to show a profit, year in and year out; but there are men in the cattle industry who, if they had had means of communication and a ready market, would have become fabulously rich.
– Not with cattle at the present price.
– Cattle are realizing 35s. a head in Queensland.
– Queensland is not Australia. Cattle are now being imported into Victoria from New Zealand.
– While the people of Victoria shut out the Queensland cattle.
– If the Queensland people get rid of the tick, their cattle can come into Victoria. I commenced by saying that honorable senators of the Labour party are with the Government in their desire to develop the Northern Territory, but we are not with them when we know that it is their desire to tie up an immense area for an indefinite period of time or, at any rate, for a period ranging up to forty-two years.
– It is a life-time.
– It is.
– The Fisher Government were prepared to give leases in perpetuity. <
– That does not justify this Government in submitting the proposals embodied in the Bill. They are departing from a principle in an endeavour to introduce a policy which will ultimately lead to the disposal of the land, as some honorable senators have said that .the Northern Territory cannot really progress until the pastoralists obtain freeholds. The Minister, in introducing the Bill, said we should look upon the Northern Territory as “ the various State Governments view every portion of their States. No State Government would ignore the fact that there was a large area in any portion of its State which, for a considerable time, had remained un peopled and undeveloped. When the South Australian Government had control of the Territory they were faced with such a formidable proposition that, they handed it over to the Commonwealth in the hope that the National Parliament would be able to do what they had failed to achieve. I have travelled over the narrow-gauge line between Darwin and Pine Creek and the other portions of the Northern Territory, and, with other honorable senators who accompanied me, I saw some of the finest navigable waterways in Australia. I am not a land expert, but I saw land which, in my humble judgment, if properly developed, would carry a substantial population. We also visited tin, copper, and gold mines, and a wolfram deposit, and. became thoroughly acquainted with the hardships experienced by the men working there. The type of men that we saw enabled us to give the lie direct to those who said that it was not a white man’s country. We met men who came from Sydney - one had been a working jeweller, and the other n school teacher - who were tin mining at what is “ known as the West Arm. These men were enjoying the best of health, and had no desire whatever to return to the south. We also met, and for the greater part of our journey were accompanied by, Mr. Giles, who had lived in the Territory for many years, and who was as fine a specimen of healthy manhood as one could possibly meet. It is true that the Territory -is not as attractive as other portions of Australia, because there is an absence of those comforts which make, for civilization and progress. It has beau said that the Territory cannot be developed with white labour, but cotton and sugar-cane growing and rice culture have been successfully undertaken in a. small way. A member of the Nationalist party, has said that this work can be done only with the help of coloured people. Similar statements were made in regard to Queensland industries a few years ago.
– No one has said that here.
– Indirect suggestions have been made here several times, and directly by persons associated with the Nationalist party.
– The best answer to that is that the men up there deny it.
– The men in the Territory are not intrusted with the government of the country for the time being.
– No member of this Government has said what the honorable senator has mentioned.
– I am not making that change against the members of the present Government. The development of the Territory is of the greatest importance to all of us. Does any one really believe that the granting of leases for the period stipulated in the Bill will help in that direction? I do not; and I am sure that the members of my party are of the same opinion. I ask the Government in all seriousness - because we are anxious to help them - whether they believe that their proposals will achieve what they desire. I give place to no man in my intense patriotism for the land of my birth. I am essentially an Australian from head to heel. We have in the Commonwealth those possibilities which make for greatness, and, notwithstanding the croakers, there are in the Northern Territory unbounded potentialities and unlimited resources. I honestly believe that the Territory, to use an Australianism, has not had a “dinkum go,” and will not have an opportunity until the Government realize to the full the big problem confronting them. In my humble judgment there is no bigger problem than that of peopling and developing the Territory. Reference has been made to the expenditure of thousands, but that would be a mere drop in the ocean. Millions of pounds expenditure is involved. The Government are extremely anxious to push this Bill through, but if they displayed the same amount of. enthusiasm in honouring the compact for the construction of a line from Oodnadatta to the Katherine River, they could not be charged with inconsistency.
-We are bringing the proposal forward in instalments.
– We do not want it in instalments. The Minister has directed attention to the possibilities of development in that area, extending from Oodnadatta to the Katherine River. In imagination he took us through the whole of the Territory, and in a moment of extreme optimism endeavoured to make us believe that substantial progress could be made, merely by the adoption of this Ordinance.
– Not merely by means of this Ordinance. This is only a portion of the general programme.
– Why cannot we go through the whole menu, instead of being served with only the first course? By the time we ask for the second or third course it will be “ off,” or the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) will be off to London.
– We will submit the other proposals within a fortnight if the honorable senator and his supporters will give us the opportunity.
– Now is an opportune time. I again ask the Minister to postpone the further consideration of this Bill until next session to enable those honorable senators who desire to visit the Territory to see the conditions for themselves.
– The honorable senator is urging haste on the one hand, and on the other is advocating a “ go-slow “ policy.
– We should hurry on with our developmental policy. The Government should let us know what their policy is. If we were given the opportunity of visiting the Territory, we would return considerably enlightened, and the Government would find that even someof their own followers would give them more loyal support than they are in a position to offer at present.
– It is my intention to occupy the attention of the Senate for only a few minutes in an endeavour to impress upon honorable senators one or two points which I regard as of extreme importance in connexion with this Bill. I wish, in the first place, to congratulate the Minister (Senator Pearce) upon his extremely lucid, clear, and interesting exposition of the possibilities of the Northern Territory. Let me say also that from a constitutional point of view the measure interests me extremely, as I find the Commonwealth maintaining the same position towards her dependencies as the Imperial Government does towards her Crown Colonies.It is a very interesting departure, fraught, of course, with certain risks which were mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner). The proposals, however, have attractive possibilities, and may produce the same good results as have been obtained in the Crown Colonies of Great Britain. Let me wish this grand-daughter of the Empire, so to speak, every success in her new life. The Leader of the Opposition spoke at considerable length concerning the iniquity surrounding the pastoral leases. I heard similar utterances many years ago concerning pastoral leases in other portions of Australia; but I do not think that the honorable senator, or those who are supporting him, can, for a moment stop the normal march of progress in Australia. The Minister pointed out that the country is first taken up under pastoral leases, and subsequently - this is the important stage so far as our interests are concerned - the pastoral leases are converted into agricultural holdings, and so progress continues. I do not view with the apprehension evinced by honorable senators opposite the position as disclosed by this Ordinance. When the Northern Territory is ripe for agricultural development, every facility will be given by the Ordinance for such development. It is possible for the Government, on giving two years’ notice, to resume any land for the purposes of cultivation. What more do honorable senators want? Furthermore, I do not think for a moment that we should stop the use of this Territory by acting as some honorable senators apparently wish us to act, and destroy the pastoral holdings, in order that a mythical and problematical population, awaiting their resumption, may rush in to occupy the land. Would the Leader of the Opposition or any of his colleagues give the guarantee that if the pastoral leases in the Territory were resumed or repudiated by the existing Government, they would at once find people to use the land. I doubt it very much.
– Who made that suggestion ?
-The suggestion was made indirectly, like the motives which the honorable senator attributed to some members on this side of the House, or to their friends outside, concerning the White Australia policy. It seems to me that the Government have left out of the Ordinance a provision which I should like to see included in it, and future ordinances concerning the Territories of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth has now under its exclusive control a very great area, comprising the Northern Territory, the Mandated Territories, Papua, and the Federal Capital Territory. The Government should make provision in all ordinances for the future use of these Territories for forestry purposes. ‘ Until a few years ago forestry was regarded in Australia as more or less an abstract idea, and Australians have refused to be guided by the experience of other parts of the world. It is high time that we abandoned this attitude, which has never been a good one. When the Bill is in Committee, it shouldbe amended so as to provide that when resumptions are made of pastoral leases or other Crown leases, a portion should be reserved for the creation and maintaining of forests, which I feel sure would be of use to Australia as a whole in the future. I shall quote an example to show honorable senators, if they pause to think for a moment, what a very important subject this is. About the middle of the last century, in the south of France, there existed thousands of acres of shifting sand, which was useless for any purpose at all. The French people have always been in the van in forwarding the ‘interests of forestry. In the Landes of Bordeaux, now a well-known district, the people initiated a forestry scheme by planting about 2,000,000 acres of that useless sand with pines. In a short space of time - that is, in the life of the nation, and we have to look forward as a nation and not as individuals - after the lapse of sixty or seventy years the forest had grown to such an extent that during the recent war, England, America, and France derived a large proportion of their softwood supplies from it. I feel sure that in the spaces to which the Minister has alluded as being more or less treeless, there are opportunities for afforestation and sylviculture which will be of immense benefit to this country. In the present relations between nations, matters which used to be of economic importance only have become of strategic importance. Every one knows that the possession of coal is not only of economic, but also of strategic value. I do not like the view of some ‘honorable senators in regard to Nauru. The phosphatic rock of Nauru gives Australia the opportunity of obtaining within the Empire, a position of strategic as well as of economic importance. The same remark applies to forestry. The country which conserves and improves its forests, is likely to be of greater strategic importance to the Empire than one which neglects to do so. I wish to see embodied in this and subsequent Ordinances dealing with other Territories, some provision for a forestry policy.
– The honorable senator means reafforestation.
– More than reafforestation. That simply means the reproduction of forests, but it is quite possible, as in tho instance I have quoted, to create forests in places where trees have never previously grown, aud where, apparently, it was not the intention of nature that forests should’ exist. In these modern times, we have in some instances, improved on the apparent intentions of nature. It is high time that this Commonwealth evolved some sort of forestry policy for the Territories under its control. The Ministers have now in their service an officer than whom there is no one better fitted in Australia, if, indeed, in the Southern Hemisphere, to control such a scheme. I allude to Mr. Lane-Poole, the late Conservator of Forests in Western Australia. He is on the eve of completing a report on the forests of Papua, which, I feel sure, will be of immense interest to Australia. If the report discloses the existence of valuable forests in Papua, it will show to this Commonwealth that the value of that Territory, at all events, has been enhanced one hundred-fold. When the Bill is in Committee, I hope the Leader of the Senate will consent to a slight amendment to .the Ordinance, such as I have indicated. I hope the suggested improvement will be made to the Bill, and in that anticipation I support the second reading. .
– I wish to thank the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) and other honorable senators for their kindly reception of the
Ordinance, and for their appreciative remarks in respect to my effort to explain its provisions’ as well as the general attitude of the Government concerning the development of the Northern Territory although the Leader of the ‘ Opposition did pay me ‘ a somewhat doubtful compliment by saying that I made a good speech without much reference to the Ordinance. The honorable senator put to the Senate several questions which he did not proceed to answer. I propose to answer them for him. He said, “What good will eventuate if the Ordinance is passed? The Ordinance will give power to lock- up land for forty-two years ; what is the need for urgency when no land can be resumed until 1935?” Those questions entirely overlook the salient fact, that the South Australian leases come under all the other provisions of this Ordinance, and that there are in it some -very important provisions which entirely change the outlook in respect of those leases. There are two provisions to which I shall draw attention. One is the stocking provision, which enforces proper stocking requirements. I have already given the quantity of stock which has to be carried under the South Australian Act, and so long as that Act remains in force, there will never be any proper development of the leases. Immediately the leaseholders surrender their leases, .they will come under this Ordinance, and will lose the protection which they now have under the South Australian Act, which enables them to hold the land practically unstocked. Secondly, there is the reappraisement of rentals. It is limited, I grant, by the provisions set out in this measure, because it must be admitted that we have not a free hand in this respect. If we make the provisions too drastic, there will be nothing to induce the leaseholders to surrender their land and come under the provisions of the Ordinance. Nevertheless, the re-appraisement provision,’ although limited, is infinitely better and more just to the taxpayers of Australia than are the provisions of the South Australian A.ct, because these leases - the longest of which now has twenty-one years to run - are not subject to re-appraisement of rentals for the remainder of the term, if they remain under the South Australian Act.
Senator Gardiner was somewhat unfortunate in the figures he quoted. He gave the number of leases, and the areas that willcome into the hands of the Commonwealth from time to time even if this Ordinance is not agreed to. I totalled his figures, and up to the year 1935 the area would be something like 3,497 square miles. Under this Ordinance, in the year 1935, we shall have the power of resumption over 23,000 square miles.
– Up to 1935 the Government will not be able to resume any land.
– Up to 1935, 3,497 square miles will have fallen due, but under the Ordinance, in that year we can resume 23,000 square miles; eight times as much as would fall due by the expiration of the leases.. That is one of the strongest possible arguments for the passing of the Ordinance. Senator Gardiner seemed to think there was no general power of resumption provided in the Ordinance, apart from that relating to the South Australian leases; but if we will look at clause 53 he will find otherwise. It reads -
The Ministermay, without payment of compensation in respect of the resumption, but subject to payment, in accordance with this Ordinance, for improvements on the land in respect of which the resumption is made -
In the ease of any lease granted under this division in exchange for a lease existing at the commencement of this, Ordinance . . resume .
in the case of any other lease granted under this division make such resumptions as are provided by the lease or prescribed.
– That does not apply to the South Australian leases.
– No, but it applies to all other leases. So that we have full power of resumption of all other leases as set out in the Ordinance. We are all indebted to Senator Guthrie, who spoke with great knowledge on this subject. He raised only one point of criticism of the Bill, and that concerned the constitution of the Board. As he developed his argument I came to the conclusion that I was much in accord with his remarks. I must confess that when I first commenced to study this question I was somewhat influenced by the desire to economize. In regard to the personnel of the Board Ioriginallyprovided for the appointment of ‘ only one person from outside, and two officers of the Department, who would temporarily carry on. I must confess that my visit to the Northern Territory, and the difficulties I there witnessed, forced me to the conclusion that nobody . who was not conversant with the country could successfully administer an Act relating to the Northern Territory. I am convinced that at least two of the members of the Board should have special knowledge of the Territory, and practical experience of the pastoral industry. One will be selected from the panel submitted by the pastor alists, and, so- far as I am concerned, I shall be perfectly willing for the other member to be a man of the same type. The third should have a knowledge of administration as well as an acquaintance with the subjects with which the Board will have to deal. In the administration of many of the Departments created in consequence of the war, it was found that people with the best of motives failed sadly through a lack of administrative experience. Senator Guthrie asked for the right of appeal to the High Court. I am satisfied that that would not be of advantage even to the pastoralists themselves. I see no reason to go beyond the. Judge of the Supreme Court of the Territory. He would have better local knowledge than any High Court Justices.
– There should be very few appeals.
– Quite so, and I certainly think that the Judge of the Supreme Court of the Territory would be the more suitable judicial authority to hear them. As I sum up Senator Grant’s criticism, he would spend millions on railways and other public works, but would leavethe lessees in the full possession of the existing leases. What a handsome gift he would be making them! Under this Ordinance, however, we have the guarantee that the Government will, after a period of years, be able to resume at least one-half of the land now held under the South Australian Acts. In reply to the comments by Senator Hays, it is only fair to point out that, as the Territory was not taken over by theCommonwealth until 1911, the Federal Administration barely had a chance to deal with the problem of the Territory before the war broke out. Those honorable senators who were members of the Parliament daring the war, and during the reconstruction periodfollowingit, are well aware that the hands of the Government and the Parliament were full. This is really the first year in which any Government could have found time to devote to the solution of the problem. I shall inquire into the matter of the fulfilment of the conditions of lease referred to by Senator Reid. Senator Newland, I frankly confess, has been as a voice in the wilderness for many years, but he has kept to his task manfully, and he must feel a degree of satisfaction to know that the cause he has consistently advocated is now more popular than ever before. Senator Hoare seemed to think that honorable senators on this side of the Chamber are in favour of large holdings. I cannot understand how he formed that opinion, because, if we were, the proposed Ordinance giving the Government power of resumption would not have been introduced.
– But there is no power given to resume leases compulsorily.
– Clause 58 allows the lessee to subdivide his holding, in lieu of resumption, and Senator Hoare seems to imagine that it would defeat the whole intention of the Bill. The honorable senator spoke of “ dummying,” but I would point out that sub-clause 2 provides -
The lessee may transfer the subdivisions to persons approved by the Minister for the remainder of the term. …
The clause does not give the lessee power to cut up a’ lease as he thinks fit. All that it does is to give the lessee the right to do himself what the Minister would have the right to do under previous clauses. The Minister has to be satisfied that the transfer is a genuine one. It will be news to theelectors of the Northern Territory tobe informed that Mr. Nelson, their representative in the other Chamber, is a member of the Official Labour party. I understand that he announced in the Territory that he was not connected with either party.
– I believe he is. I read in one of the newspapers that he stood as a Labour man.
– I understand that Mr. Nelson, prior to the election, was associated with the Official Labour party, but that during the election he announced himself as an Independent candidate, stating that he did not intend to bind himself to either of the two political parties. In one breath Senator Findley asked the Government to bring in a proposal to spend millions in the Territory, and in the next he complained that the Government were going too fast with this little Ordinance, and that they should postpone its further consideration until some time next year. Such an attitudeis most inconsistent. An important point was raised by Senator Kingsmill. I noticed that on the tablelands’ there was a Remarkable absence of timber. I am not sure that the Ordinance does not give power to resume land for afforestation purposes. It provides for resumption for forest reserves and for any other public purpose that the Minister thinks fit. If there is any doubt on the matter I am prepared to insert a provision giving power to resume for afforestation purposes. I thank honorable senators for the manner in which the Bill has been received.
-Thequestionis “That this Bill be now read a second time.”.
– On a point of order, I ask you, Mr. President, if you, will have the whole of the Bill read, after the formal reading of the title, and if you will also have the South Australian Acts read ?
– That is not necessary. The Standing Orders and the practice of the Senate lay down the manner in which a Bill shall be read.
Question - That the Bill, be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
This Act may be cited as the Northern Territory Crown Land Act 1923.
– Clause 1 provides -
This Act may be cited as the Northern Territory Crown Land Acts 1923.
That title brings within the scope of the discussion of this Committee the whole of the provisions of the Bill. I should like this Bill to be dealt with by the Senate in anational manner. The Minister has succeeded in having the second reading carried, after about five hours’ discussion yet he seeks to hurry the Bill through the Committee stage.
– I rise to a pointof order. Has the procedure adopted by the Government anything to do with the title of the Bill?
-(Senator Newland). - The honorable senator is referring to the provisions of the Bill, which are covered by its title. So far as the honorable senator has gone, I cannot take any exception to what he has said.
– I was merely leading up to the position in which the Committee finds itself. I am endeavouring to explain to the Minister my idea of the manner in which such important legislation should be passed through Parliament. It would be reasonable to defer the further consideration of this Bill in order that honorable senators might weigh the arguments advanced on the second reading. The title of a Bill is a most important matter. In my opinion, the real purpose of this Bill is to extend the present extraordinarily large leases. With a view to ascertaining the opinions of honorable senators, I move -
That the words “ Crown lands “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words, “ Extension of Leases.”
If honorable senators are disposed to extend the leases, let them say so. I believe that the majority of honorable senators desire that there shall be some curtailment of the period during which those enormous areas shall be held under lease. TheMinister, in replying to my remarks on the motion for the second reading, endeavoured to show that in 1935 there will be thrown open an area greater than that which I have shown would be thrown open even if the Ordinance were not passed. I reply that in the year 1935 we shall be within seven years of the time when the whole of these enormous leases will be thrown open.
– The honorable senator is not dealing with the provisions of this clause. I ask him to confine his remarks to the title of the Bill. I cannot accept the amendment which the honorable senator has moved, because the intention of the Bill is not to provide for an extension of leases in the Northern Territory.
– I have no desire to dissent from your ruling, Mr. Chairman, but I shall do so if you rule my amendment out of order. The Senate having done a fair thing, the Minister should take a reasonable view, and not proceed immediately with the Committee stages of the Bill.
– Let us get on to something worth arguing about, and then report progress.
– If the Minister and I understood each other sufficiently well, perhaps we should get on more harmoniously. I assure the Minister that I do not desire to inflict punishment upon myself by attempting to delay the passage of this measure. The Minister intends to go right through with this Bill to-night, and I shall see that every line of it is discussed. If the Minister persists in attempting to push through, in one sitting, measures of such importance and magnitude, I shall see that every line of every other Bill is discussed. Will the Minister indicate how far he desires to go to-night? Will he proceed only as far as the clause in the Ordinance which deals with the repeal of the South Australian leases?
– That is only a formal clause.
– The whole essence of the Bill is in the repeal of the South Australian leases. The amendment which I have moved more correctly denotes the nature of the Bill than the present title.
– I rule the amendment out of order, because it is irrelevant to the Bill, which does not provide for an extension of leases.
– I appeal against that ruling, and in accordance with the Standing Orders, I lodge my dissent in writing.
In the Senate:
Mr. Chairman. I have to report that in Committee on clause 1 of the Bill the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) moved an amendment to strike out the words “Crown lands” and insert in lieu thereof the words “ Extension of. Leases.” The clause would then read as follows : -
This Act may be cited as the Northern Territory Extension of Leases Act 1923.
I ruled the amendment out of order on the ground that it was not relevant to the subject matter of the clause, that it was contrary to the general purpose of the Bill, and because the title covered clauses referring to many other matters. The honorable senator thereupon challenged my ruling, and submitted his dissent in writing.
– I desire to point out that the Ordinance which is attached as a schedule to the Bill proposes to extend leases granted under South Australian legislation until 1965 and in some cases beyond that year. There can be no doubt that one of the principal objects of the Bill is to grant an extension of leases. I contend, therefore, that I am perfectly within my rights in moving to amend the short title in the way proposed. ‘
– It appears to me that the title fairly expresses the intention of the measure. I uphold the ruling of the Chairman that the amendment is not relevant. The adoption of the amendment would make it appear that the extension of leases was the main purpose of the Bill. Obviously, according to my reading of the measure, that is not its purpose. Its intention is, as I have already said, fairly described by the title, namely, to deal with certain Crown lands of the Northern Territory.
-Very well, Mr. President. I shall take the responsibility of asking the Senate to express an opinion upon your ruling. In order not to occupy the time of the Senate unnecessarily, may I give my notice of my intention to do so.
– No. Any dissent from my ruling must be made immediately and in writing.
– Perhaps, after all, the time of the Senate is of more importance just now than are my views on procedure, but . I shall take the very earliest opportunity afforded me of testing whether I have a right to amend, if necessary, every clause.
– Mr. President has ruled that I may not submit an amendment that would interfere with the title of the Bill. In deference to his ruling I do not propose to persist in my original purpose, but I now move -
That after the word “ Land “ the words “ and Leases Extension “ be inserted.
I have left the actual wording of the clause untouched, but I seek to add to it. I hope you will not rule my amendment out of order. If honorable senators do not agree with my viewpoint as to this clause, I think they will, at all events, realize that it is of the utmostimportance that our rights in the Committee, should not be allowedto slipthrough our fingers merely because some one is in a hurry. The Minister has suggested to me that we may safely pass the Bill up to clause 34. I am prepared to accept his proposal, but I am not giving away the right of any honorable senator to discuss intervening clauses if, in his opinion, they are sufficiently important to invite debate.
-(Senator Newland). - I rule the honorable senator’s amendment out of order on the ground that it is irrelevant.
– Very well, Mr.Chairman, I shall allow the matter to go for the present.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 agreed to.
– What about a division, Mr. Chairman, on clause 1?
– I heard no division called for.
-Senator Grant declared “ The ‘ Noes ‘ have it.”
– No division was called for on that clause. Clause 3 - (Crown Lands Ordinance 1923, of Northern Territory.)
– You are not going to put it over us in this way, Mr. Chairman. There was a distinct call for a division on clause 1, and it is the rule that if an honorable senator calls for a division, the Committee shall divide. Senator Grant called for a division, and I think you must have heard it.
– I did not hear any call for a division on clause 1.
– I should, have thought, Mr. Chairman, that you would hear it. We cannot afford to allow Committee procedure to be conducted contrary to the usual practice. There was a call for a division, and I ask that the question be put again.
– I distinctly put the question that clause 1 be agreed to. I was not quite certain, from the volume of voices on the first occasion, how the question went, so I put it a second time, and declared “ the ‘ Ayes ‘ have it.” I heard no honorable senator call for a division. If Senator Grant called for a division, I did not hear him; neither did the Clerks.
– I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, I said distinctly, “ the Noes ‘ have it.”
– The call was made, Mr. Chairman, and the usual practice hasalways been, wherethere was a doubt, for the presiding officer to. put the question again.
-Not after a clause has been passed.
– The question that the clausebe agreed to having been declared carried, I proceeded to put the next clause, which also was agreed to. I cannot now go back to clause 1, and delay the Committee. The question now is “ that clause 3 be agreed to.”
.-Clause 3 reads -
An Ordinance in the terms set forth in the schedule to this Act ishereby made to have effect as an Ordinance made under the Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1910:
Provided that sub-sections (2) and (3) of section 13 of that Act shall not apply to the Ordinance.
May I askthe Ministerthe reason for the proposed exemption.
– The section referred to is that dealing with Ordinances, and is to the following effect -
Every such Ordinance Shall -
Obviously that section would not apply if this Bill became an Act.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 -
The number of the Ordinance shall be No. . of 1923.
.- Will the Minister (Senator Pearce) explain why a blank appears in this clause ?
– Ordinances are being passed from day to day, and it would be impossible at this stage to fill in the correct number. That can be done when the Bill is before another place.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 (Amendment of Ordinance) - -
Senator NEEDHAM (Western Aus portant, and I should like to know whether the amendments or additions for which it provides will come before Parliament.
– Yes, in the same way as do other Ordinances.
-Will Parliament have an opportunity of dealing with other Ordinances? Ordinances are laid on the table in both Houses, or they may be discovered amongst the numerous papers supplied to honorable senators. We should have the opportunity of discussing them in detail.
– I dealt with this question very fully in my second-reading speech, and said that it was undesirable to confuse Ordinances with Commonwealth Statutes. This procedure has been adopted to give Parliament an opportunity of discussing this particular Ordinance, whichwill eventually take the place of an Act.
– It would be infinitely better for the people of the Commonwealth if the Northern Territory were controlled by legislation passed by this Parliament instead of by Ordinance. The Minister’s statement conveys the impression that we are to pass this Bill, but instead of it becoming an Act, the Government will issue an Ordinance embodying what we have adopted here. In order to test the feeling of the Committee on this practice, I intend to call for a division on the clause.
Question - That clause 6 be agreed to - put. TheCommittee divided.
Ayes . . . . 14
Noes . . . .1
Majority . .1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Schedule (An Ordinance relating to Crown Lands) -
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Repeal).
– This clause deals with the repeal of Acts passed by the South Australian Parliament and Ordinances mentioned in the schedule. It is a tremendous order to ask the Senate to repeal Acts and Ordinances, the provisions of which may not be familiar to honorable senators, particularly those who have recently been elected to the Chamber.
– I gave, in my second-reading speech, a full history of the South Australian Acts and the Ordinances.
– I listened most attentively tothe Minister, but did not hear him give the history of these Acts.
– I am prepared toreport progress to enable honorable senators to read my speech.
Loss of the” Sumatra “ - Royal Commission.
.- I move-
That the Senate do now adjourn.
This afternoon Senator McDougall asked me if it were true, as stated in the press, that thepersonnel of the Royal Commission to be appointed to inquire into the Sumatra disaster had been recommended by the New South. Wales Government; and, if so, had the Government adopted the recommendation. I am now in a position to say that thepersonnel of the Royal Commission is - Judge Cohen, Sydney District Court Judge; Captain John Vine Hall, and Captain Herbert Chudleigh. These names were submitted by the Government of New South Wales.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.13.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 18 July 1923, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1923/19230718_senate_9_103/>.