9th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
The following papers were presented: -
Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1925, No. 98.
Quarantine Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1925, No. 89.
Effect oncommonwealth Legislation.
SenatorNEEDHAM asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to a recent decision of the High Court in the case of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand under the ColonialLaws Validity Act 1865, declaring that such company is not amenable to the laws of the Commonwealth of Australia, so faras the Navigation Act is concerned, in relation to the engagement and discharge of crews?
If so, what action does the Government contemplate taking to test this judgment?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The information is not available in Melbourne. Inquiries are being made, and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The desired information is being obtained, and will be supplied as soon as available.
Motion (by Senator Grant) agreed to-
That leave of absence for one month be granted to. Senator Gardiner on account of ill-health.
Motion (by Senator Grant) agreed to-
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an Act to amend the Estate Only Assessment Act 1911 -1922.
Bill presented and read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
In introducing this Supply Bill, I remind honorable senators that the unexpended votes included in the annual appropriations out of revenue lapse on the 30th June. The Government will, therefore, be unable to payfor the ordinary expenses of administration until Parliament grants fresh supply. It is particularlynecessary this year that supply shall be granted before the commencement of the new financial year, for the reason that the first salary pay-day falls on 3rd July ; and some time is necessary, after tho Supply Bill is passed by the Senate, to obtain the Governor-General’s warrant, and make the necessary credit available to the more distant States. This bill is to cover approximately two months’ expenditure. A total of £4,459,235 is being asked for to ment the following expenditure: -
No provision is being made for expenditure that has not been approved by Parliament, and the amounts included in the bill are based on the Estimates for 1924- 1925. The amount of £3,109,235, which is asked for to meet ordinary departmental expenditure and repatriation expenses, is an increase of £93,311, over one-sixth of the estimated expenditure on these services for the current financial year, but the increase is more than accounted for by the additional provision necessary to meet the cost of arbitration awards, granted since the Estimates for 1924-1925 were framed. It must be remembered, also, that five pay-days full within the period to be covered by this supply. The amount of £350,000, provided for refunds of revenue, is also in excess of one-sixth of the total expenditure for the year. The additional amount is required, because the assessment of refunds of direct taxation, following upon the Dalrymple judgment, and on the amendment of the law in respect to the optional method of valuation of live-stock, has not yet been completed. It will be remembered that the Lessee Tax Bill was rejected by the Senate last year, and, consequently, refunds to. a much greater extent than was anticipated when the budget proposals were made have been rendered necessary. The amount of £1,000,000 for Advance to the Treasurer is provided mainly to continue public works in progress at 30th June, pending the passing of the Loan Bill and the Appropriation (Additions, New Works, and Buildings) Bill for 1925-1926. The finances for the year just closing are in a highly satisfactory condition. The Customs revenue for the first ten months of the year was buoyant, and even if the shrinkage in the May figures is continued in June, the total for the year will still how a substantial increase on the estimate. There appears to be no doubt that the year will close with a surplus considerably in excess of the budget estimate of £626,035 ; but as the closing weeks of the year have a marked bearing on its net financial operations it is not possible to forecast the result with any certainty. Early in July an approximate statement for the full year will be made available, and it is anticipated that the figures then disclosed will not be materially altered when the final returns are obtainable. The Treasurer proposes to introduce the budget as early as possible in the new financial year, and before the supply now asked for is exhausted, honorable senators will be informed of the Government’s financial proposals for 1925-1926.
.- On the first reading of this Bill I asked the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) to supply me with information as to the width of the tunnels proposed to be constructed on the Grafton to South Brisbane railway.
– There is no provision in this bill for the construction of tunnels on the railway to which the honorable senator refers.
– I was under the impression that I could discuss the matter under the item “Railway surveys, generally, £1,700.”
– I understand that the work to which the honorable senator refers is being carried on by the States of Queensland and New South “Wales, and that it is being constructed out of loan funds. The honorable senator would be quite in order in discussing it on a Loan Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
– In connexion with Division No. 11, “Public Service Board, salaries and contingencies, £6,753,” I wish to bring under the notice of the Government the method adopted by the Public Service Board in respect to persons desiring to enter the Public Service. A case was brought under my notice, which appears to be exceptionally hard, as in consequence of the operation of the regulations framed under the Public Service Act a fine type of lad named Nunn has been definitely prevented from becoming a permanent public servant. In January last a vacancy occurred at the Sheffield post office in Tasmania owing to the holder of the position at that time having attained the age at which he was qualified to enter a higher grade. This lad who had just completed his schooling -was accepted as a temporary officer in place of the officer to be transferred, and when he temporarily entered the Public Service he was within nine months of reaching his sixteenth year. On the 16th May of last year he wrote to the Deputy PostmasterGeneral at Hobart as follow : -
At present I am employed at the Sheffield! post office as temporary messenger, and havebeen doing this work for three months, and would like to make a permanent position of” same if possible. Would you kindly inform me when the next examination is likely to - take place, as I am now fifteen years and six months of age, born on the 3rd November . 1908, and do not wish to lose the opportunity of qualifying before I am over the age limit.
He received a reply to that letter stating.’ that his request had been submitted to tb.es Public Service Inspector, and that an examination was to be held for the appointment of a telegraph messenger at Sheffield, but no date had been fixed. Nunn, is a bright youth, and was highlyesteemed by the officer in charge of the post office at Sheffield. He was most attentive to his duties, and though he had made special application in ample timehe was not given the opportunity to offerhimself for examination. The reason assigned was that there was no vacancy in the office because the officer who was to> be transferred was being retained, as noposition was then available for him. 1 wrote to the Public Service Commissioner in Melbourne and asked if an examination had been held. I also asked!! whether, if this lad had passed the examination and a vacancy had occurred afterhe had reached the age of sixteen years,., his position would have been prejudiced., and the reply was in the negative. Nunn* is the eldest son of a war widow, has received a good education, and his chances have been entirely spoilt by what appears to be neglect on the part of the officers of the department in not providing facilities for an examination before he reached the age- of sixteen years. If incidents of” this kind occur many of our best and brightest young men will be prevented! from entering the Public Service. This; lad is now over sixteen years of age, and1 having been prevented from sitting for an examination is debarred from enteringthe Public Service. I trust the Minister will thoroughly investigate the whole matter to see if something can be done to obviate a recurrence of such an unfortunate incident. It appears that. under the regulations the Public ServiceCommissioner has no. option but to refuse to admit such lads, and if such is the case, the regulations should be amended.
– I shall bring the remarks of the honorable senator under the notice of the Public Service Commissioner. A somewhat similar case came under my notice, but when I investigated it I found that what appeared in the first place to be unreasonable was, in effect, nothing of the kind. In endeavouring to prevent one individual being unfairly treated, injustice may be done to many others: Of course, there is a very large number of suitable persons who wish to enter the Public Service, but it does not necessarily follow that those who pass the examination are more brilliant than those who may subsequently become available. All of these brilliant young men do not reach the age of sixteen years at the same time, and if examinations had to be held immediately prior to prospective applicants reaching their sixteenth year, we can easily see that such examinations would haveto be conducted continually. If an examination had to be held to suit one particular individual, the same course would have to be adopted in other similar circumstances. It is very fortunate that so many intelligent youths are anxious to join the Public Service; but if examinations were held too frequently, positions could not possibly be found f or successful applicants..
Senator.Ogden. - If a candidate passes, an examination before he reaches his sixteenth year, can he. not. be appointed to- a permanent position later ?
– Yes. It was represented to me when I was considering the case brought. under my notice that if the suggested remedy were applied, it would’ not be long before there would be thousands of persons clamouring for admission to the Service. I understand examinations are held only at stated periods because it has been found that even then the board can get a larger number of applicants than there are positions to fill. The. position, as put to me, seems quite logical but I shall bring the case mentioned under the notice of the Public Service Commissioner.
– I do not think the Minister (Senator Pearce) has entirely grasped the position of this particular individual.For the information of the Minister I shall read the first portion of a communication I received from the chairman of the Public Service Board, dated 8th January, 1925 -
With reference to your letter ofthe 31st December, 1924, relative to the case of Walter Nunn, of the Post Office, Sheffield, I desire to inform you that, in May, 1924, Master Nunn asked for ad-vice as to when the next examination would be held at Sheffield for appointment as telegraph messenger. At the time, no vacancy existed at Sheffield.
If there had: been a vacancy in any other part of the state to which the officer to be transferred could have been appointed, Nunn could have joined the Service; but as no vacancy occurred, Nunn wasemployed as a temporary officer. He applied to be examined in May, but no examnation was held between that month and December of that year, when he reached his sixteenth birthday. The letter continues -
The vacancy caused by the promotion of Master Wright did not actually occur until the 5th December; 1924, owing to the fact that, although ittook effect retrospectively from the 13th October;1924, such promotion was not effected until confirmedby the Public Service Board.
A vacancy occurred before Nunn reached the age of sixteen years, but as it had not been confirmed by the Public Service Board, he was prevented from joining the Service. In a letter from the Public Service Board, dated 5th December, 1924, it is stated -
Had the examination been held, and Master Nunn been, a candidate, the fact that he was over age at the date of. the occurrence of the vacancy would not ordinarily have prejudiced him as regards his permanent appointment:
The letter from the Commissioners showsthat provision could have been made for Nunn to pass his examination, but in view of the extraordinary circumstances, that was not done, and, he was debarred from becoming a permanent public officer. I shall be glad if the. Minister will make, further investigations into this case, and I will, if. he desires,, supplyhim with the correspondence in my possession.
– In connexion, with this proposed vote the amount set apart for contingen cies appeals to .be very large in relation to the total for salaries, and I should like to be enlightened as to the details.
– Perhaps Senator Thompson is not familiar with .the practice of dealing with Supply Bills. This measure is -based on the Estimates o!f receipts and expenditure for the previous year. If the honorable senator has his copy, and ‘will look at the corresponding division and items under receipts and -expenditure, he will find ‘all the particulars fully -set out. The items are compressed into -a single line in this bill to avoid unnecessary printing.
– I wish to direct attention to the items under Immigration, on page 5 - “Australian organization, £5,725; London organization, £4,900; making a .total of £10,625.” This, I take dfc, is portion of the amount which we pa,y annually towards expenditure under our present immigration .policy, and I wish to place upon record my protest against the continuance of this practice of voting money for the purpose mentioned. .Instead of expending money in this way, the Government should make the conditions in Australia so attractive that people would come ‘here of their own volition. Though we have no organizations in Malta, Slovakia, or Italy, for the purpose of inducing people to come to Australia, .and granting them financial assistance, emigrants from those countries are arriving here in increasing numbers for the obvious reason that ‘they are under the belief that conditions in Australia are much better than in their own country. If there is any desire, and we are assured by -the Government and its supporters that there is, to introduce British immigrants, it would be more satisfactory if, instead of expending public -money on immigration, the Government gave attention to the improvement of living conditions in the Commonwealth to such an extent that people would come here of their own free will and at their own .expense.
– What is the objection to letting people in England know ‘ about the improved conditions in Australia ?
– I am not aware that the money voted under this heading is being expended in advertising.
– Yes; to let people in Britain know about conditions in Australia.
– I very much doubt if it is. .1 .have made inquiries, and it’ appears to me that only a small ‘portion of the vote is expended by the Government .in the way indicated by the Minister. In the early days of settlement in Australia, when payable gold was discovered., there was a great rush of people to this country in the belief that they would be able to get :a better return for their labour here than anywhere else in the world. The Government should induce the State Governments to make more land available for settlement. There could not possibly :be a worse .advertisement for Australia than .reports which appear occasionally in such highly respectable papers as -the Sydney Morning Herald, the Daily Telegraph, or the Labour Daily, about the -extraordinary .rush of applicants for blocks of land that are thrown open for settlement. Hundreds 01- .experienced people, who want no assistance from the Commonwealth Bank or any other financial institution,’ enter the ballots for available blocks. Some time ago there were no- less -than 900 applicants for a homestead block in western ‘New .South Wales. This is a clear indication that the Government .in that state is .not making sufficient land available, to meet the requirements of men already in Austrafia - Australian citizens who wish to go on the land. My complaint is that the actual -state of affairs ‘as regards the rush for land is not disclosed by the publicity agencies of the Commonwealth. Nothing is said about the rush in connexion with, land ballots in New South Wales, so it is unfair -for the Government to continue the expenditure of public money in this way. It may be true - I do not subscribe to the statement - that the arrival of a great number of people does not affect unemployment in Australia. I think it does. It is easy to quote figures in support of the contrary view. Figures can be made to prove almost anything. We are .assured , on what appears to be fairly reliable authority, that there are between 12,000 and 13.000 unemployed persons in New South Wales at the present time. Surely this state of affairs should make the Government pause before expending further money, directly or .indirectly, to induce more people to come to Australia. The first care of the Government snell ;:d be to make the conditions in Australia more attractive. It would be the best advertisement for the Commonwealth if people m4ia> might wish to come here knew that -they would be able to find employment at i remunerative wages. Why the present policy should be continued I am at a loss to understand. ‘I do not know how .many unemployed people there are in Victoria, but I have been assured that the number is considerable, and I have no doubt that the same state of affairs prevails throughout the Commonwealth. Having regard to the fact that the great bulk of the people who would come here -under our immigration policy would expect to have an opportunity to do useful, productive work, the first duty of the Government is to find work for those who are already here.
– Senator Grant’s remarks confirm the belief that honorable senators opposite want neither alien nor British immigrants to come to Australia.
– That is not so. The Minister’s statement is not correct, and it is unworthy of him.
– I will prove what I am saying before I resume my seat. Since we have to defend this country, and it is clear that we cannot do so with only 5,750,000 people, we must induce more people to come to Australia, and in furtherance of this policy we may encourage cither aliens or Britishers.
– Hungry men will not be of much use.
– It is not the policy -of this Government to encourage the immigration of aliens. We have shown by administration and by legislation of recent years that we desire to encourage Britishers to come to Australia.
– What about the land ballots in New South Wales! Deal with that.
– The honorable senator knows that the Commonwealth Government has no control over the land laws of New South Wales. That matter is entirely under the control of the people of that state. The Parliament of New South Wales is elected on exactly the same franchise as the Parliament of the Commonwealth. So whatever the conditions in regard to land settlement there may be we must assume that they have the approval of the people in that state. I wish to emphasize that this vote is not to be used to bring out a single immigrant to New South Wales, unless the Government of that state asks for one, or unless an immigrant is nominated by some person in that state and guaranteed support or employment. If Senator Grant wants British immigrants,, what possible objection can he have to the vote? But he objects to Britishers coming here, even if they are nominated by their friends or relatives, and guaranteed employment.
– I did not say that.
– If the honorable senator does not object to British immigrants he cannot object to this vote, because that is how the money is to be expended.
– Are they the only people who may be brought here under the vote ?
– Where is the proof ?
– In the instructions issued for the expenditure of the money.
– Is it expended for advertising purposes ?
– It is for the Immigration Office. That is what Senator Grant objects to. It is for publicity purposes, to let Britishers know the conditions under which they may obtain assisted passages.
– They are not informed about the difficulty of securing land in Australia.
– If Senator Grant objects to this vote he must necessarily object to immigrants being brought to Australia either at the request of a State Government or under the nomination system by relatives or friends, who guarantee them employment.
– What I object to is the conditions that exist in Australia.
– The honorable senator is an elector of the State of New South Wales; let him place his objection before the Government of that state.
– I do object there, too.
– There is a Labour Government in New South Wales, and it has in its hands the solution of the difficulty that has been referred to by Senator Grant. It is not the duty of the Commonwealth Government to apply the remedy. It is not true that in the Commonwealth there is not plenty of land, and that it is not being made available. In Queensland and Western Australia there is land, and it is being made available. Senator Hoare last night quoted a statement that had been made by Mr. Gillies, or another of the Queensland Ministers, that if the Queensland Government were supplied with the necessary money it would undertake to settle on the land 2,000 people every year during the next twenty years. ^
– Mr. Theodore said that.
– In the face of that statement, what is the use of Senator Grant saying that there is no land available in Australia? The Western Australian Labour Government has indicated that it approves of this immigration agreement, although it is not absolutely satisfied with it, and it does not meet all its requirements. It is, nevertheless, prepared to operate under it. Naturally, it would accept greater advantages if they were offered. If I were asked whether I should like the interest on my overdraft to be reduced from 7 per cent to 3^ per cent., would I not say “ Yes “ ? Of course, if the Western Australian Government could obtain the money at a lower rate of interest it would derive greater satisfaction from the agreement.
– Has the Western Australian Government informed the Commonwealth Government that it will accept the agreement?
– I understand that the agreement is generally acceptable to that Government. In any case, the statement appeared in the columns of the West Australian that, whilst the Government was not satisfied with the agreement in every particular, it was prepared to accept it. It is obvious that that Government will accept the agreement, as under it money will be made available for developmental purposes at an interest rate of only 1 per cent. No doubt, if the agreement provided for interest at the rate of per cent, it would be accepted much more readily.
– The full rate of interest will have to be paid after a time.
– Western Australia has suitable land, but it cannot be made available immediately, because it has to be opened up by railways. This agreement will enable those railways to be constructed. Senator Needham knows quite well that in the area beyond Bruce Rock there are thousands of acres of good wheat-growing country that would be taken up if railway communication were provided. The Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) and I went out towards that country and met people who were living on the fringe of it. They informed us that if the railways were pushed further out the settlement would extend miles beyond its present limit into good wheat-growing country. What is the use of trying to humbug the people by making it appear that there is no land available?
– How is it that returned soldiers cannot get land in South Australia ?
– The honorable senator should put that question to tlie Labour Government in South Australia.
– In that state, there is a Legislative Council which blocks any move that is made by the Labour Government to release land that .is at present tied up.
– The Commonwealth Government does not administer the land laws of South Australia, and it does not bring immigrants to South Australia unless the South’ Australian Government asks that they be brought, or they are nominated and assisted or guaranteed employment by some person in South Australia. Does the honorable senator object to its doing that?
– I object to the honorable senator’s statement that land is available in South Australia, when it cannot be provided for returned soldiers. The honorable senator said that it could be made available for immigrants.
– I did not say that land was available in South Australia. I mentioned only Queensland and Western Australia. I quoted the exPremier of Queensland, Mr. Theodore, asmy authority for saying that there is land: available in Queensland. He was quoted* also by Senator Hoare, who is Senator McHugh’s colleague.
– I am not responsible for Senator Hoare’s statements.
– Neither am I. Either the statement is true, or it is untrue. If it is true, it confirms what I said, that there is land which can be made available in Queensland, as well as in Western Australia. This agreement, with which Senator Wilson has been very closely connected, will enable money to be provided to make that land available.
I have answered the first charge made by Senator Grant. The reply to his other charge is that the Commonwealth Government is not bringing out immigrants to Australia except under the conditions set out in the agreement. If honorable senators really desire to defend. Australia, and to populate it with British stock, they should not only support this vote heartily, but also urge that it be increased.
– I doubt whether the Western Australian Government is about to agree to the immigration agreement. The West Australian may have contained a statement that led the Minister (Senator Pearce) to say that it was, but I am in a position to tell honorable senators that the agreement will not be ratified by the Western Australian Government until the return of the Premier of Western Australia to Perth.
– I understand that that is so.
– Senator Pearce has just stated that the Western Australian Government is about to- accept the agreement.
– I did not say that it would accept it. What I said was that the Acting Premier of Western Australia, Mr. Angwin, had expressed approval of it, although it did not give Western Australia, all that it wanted.
– That is the impression which has been conveyed by the Premier of Western Australia in London.
– There is a long way yet to go before the Western Australian Government will ratify the agreement. I admit the truth of the statement that there is plenty of land in Western Australia upon, which people could be settled. It is true that the district mentioned by Senator Pearce contains excellent wheat-growing country, but it is also true - and this fact was not mentioned by the honorable senator - that alongside existing railway lines in Western Australia there is a vast area of land that is tied up. That is not the fault of the Labour Government there. As Senator McHugh stated in regard to South Australia, when the Government of Western Australia brings down a measure to release that land it will be opposed by th, Legislative Council.
– The Nationalist Government in Western Australia made that attempt..
– Yea. and it was blocked by the Legislative Council. It. might be worth the cost to build additional lines of railway to open up new country, but it cannot be denied that there is a lot of land that is tied up along side existing main trunk lines.
– It was bought by the people who hold it - they acquired it honestly, did they not?
– They are pocketing the unearned increment on that land. Their attitude is that of the dog in the manger; they will not till the land themselves, and they will not allow others to do so unless they are paid a fancy price for it. Senator Pearce stated that Senator Grant’s;, objection to this vote indicated, that honorable senators ion this side are opposed to immigration. There is no use in his trying to colour the matter in that way. He knows perfectly well that we recognize the necessity for peopling this continent. Where we differ from the Government is in regard to the selection of types of immigrants’ and the manner in which they are absorbed on arrival in Australia whilst our own people are v n employed.
– If the Western Australian Government said to the Commonwealth Government, “ Bring us 500 immigrants,” would the- honorable senator have any objection to its doing so?
– I should not, under this vote. The Minister is trying ro make out that the objections lodged by Senator Grant indicate that we on this side are opposed to immigration.
– Honorable senators opposite are opposed to immigration; there can be no doubt about that.
– The honorable senator has just wakened from a sleep, and he does not know what I am talking about. It might be wise, when advertising in Great Britain, to give the people there some indication of the conditions that have to be faced after arrival in Australia. A film could be taken showing the rush of applicants when a block of land in. an area served by a good rainfall is submitted to the ballot. Time after time it has been stated m thi3 chamber that 400, 500, 600, and 700 people have applied for one block of land in Ne<v S>outh Wales.
. -The Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) endeavoured to prove that the Labour party is now, and always has been, opposed to immigration. That is partly correct, and it .as partly incorrect. We have always stated boldly that we are opposed to that system .of immigration which entails a heavy .charge upon the taxpayers of Australia at a time when many thousands of Australians are unemployed. The Government is ap.parently prepared to continue the policy of spending thousands of pounds in publicity work with the object of bringing to Australia a great number of men a.nd women who will be added to the ranks of the unemployed. Senator Pearce stated that behind the immigration proposals of the Government was the desire to make provision for the defence of Australia. We must, therefore, conclude that, no matter how bad the conditions are bo-day or may be to-morrow, the sole concern of the Government is to bring thousands of people to Australia. It evidently believes that if there is a large number of men and women competing for the work that is offering, a benefit will be conferred upon that section of the community which financially supports it. I say that fearlessly. This Government would not be in office to-day if it were not for the financial backing of people whose interests are diametrically opposed to those of the workers of Australia.
-(Senator Newland). - I call the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that this item refers only to the immigration organizations in London and Australia. I have allowed honorable senators a great deal of latitude, but I must now ask them to confine their remarks to the item before the Chair, and not to enter upon a discussion of immigration generally.
– Thanks, Mr. Chairman, for your lecturette
– Order ! The honorable senator is not in order in referring in that way to my remarks.
– With all due deference to the Chair, I thought that I was in order in referring, under this item, to the immigration policy of the Government. The item deals solely with that matter..
– The item before the Chair is the organizations in London and Australia.
– With a view to bringing people to Australia. Considering the huge army of unemployed in Australia to-day, the more people who are brought here, the worse it will be for those .here :now. Should I be in order in saying that those who .support this policy of wholesale immigration are the best supporters of the Government?
– That is ‘getting :a”way from the question of organization..
– The two are inseparable. Now that it is understood that every speaker must confine himself strictly t& the item before us, I shall endeavour to elicit from the Leader of the Government in the Senate some information which should be at the disposal of all honorable .senators. We have here “ Australian organization, ?o.,725.” What is this organization, and where are its headquarters? What are the names and qualifications of those engaged in it, and what constitutes their particular business ?. How long have they been employed in the organization ; what are their ages ; are they Australian or British-born j are they continuously employed ? Is all the work required by this organization - printing, publishing, and other incidental work - done in Australia ? If so, is all the literature which this organization probably turns out week by week, month by month, and year by year, sent overseas in Australianowned vessels ?
– We should use more Australian ships if some people would allow them to be used.
– I thought that the Government of the country was supreme.
– It will be very soon.
– After the next elections there will be another Government in power. Honorable senator,? opposite should be here, as are those on this side of the chamber, to consider seriously and honestly matters affecting the welfare of Australia. There is ample room in Australia for a population greatly in excess of 6,000,000 or 7,000,000 people.
-Brockman. - Yet the Labour party objects to bringing any one here.
– If I had my way, not a man or woman financially assisted by the Government would be allowed to land in Australia until provision was made for those already here, who are out of work and anxious to obtain land, but cannot do so.
– The same old parrot cry.
– Those honorable senators who, figuratively speaking, were born with silver spoons in their mouths - who have never been unemployed, but throughout their lives have had almost all that the heart of man or woman could desire, and have revelled in luxury and ease - can have no real or practical sympathy for those who have wallowed in misery, woe, and wretchedness for the greater portion of their lives. I am a cosmopolitan, with a broad outlook on matters affecting the human family, but my thoughts arc, first, for Australia, the land of my birth, and those who are Australians by birth or adoption. This is an Australian Parliament, and it should not offer to people from overseas inducements that are denied to our own people. We are told that land for newcomers is available. Honorable senators know what Mr. Mian, the Premier of Victoria, who is a practical farmer, said in reply to that statement. It has been said that to obtain good laud in Australia is as easy a’s falling off a log, but that is not the case. We all know that whenever good land is offered there are thousands of applications for it, and that many are disappointed after the ballot has been taken. We know also that too high a price has been paid for the re-purchase of land in Victoria, and, further, that many of the soldier settlers, who had the experience and qualifications necessary for successful land settlement, have had to give up their holdings in despair because they could not make them pay. Tell any Victorian where good land is available in his state; let the Government advertise its situation; and I prophesy that the Pre,mier of Victoria will get plenty of Victorians to avail themselves of the opportunity to obtain it. Now, let us consider also the London organization. Were the two organizations - Loudon and Australian - established wholly and solely by the present Government, or did this Government act in co-operation with the State Governments ? If the latter, what arrangement, if any, has been entered into by the two bodies concerned ? What purpose do the Australian and the London organizations serve, and what are the duties performed by those associated with each? Is there cooperation between the two organizations, or do they act independently ?
– The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
. As Senator Findley and myself are colleagues, inasmuch as in this Senate we both represent Victoria, I desire to refer to his remarks regarding the land available for settlement here.
– I ask the honorable senator not to discuss that matter under this item. I did not allow Senator Findley to do so. The item before the Chair deals with the immigration organizations in London and Australia, to which I ask honorable senators to confine their remarks.
– In view of the fact that much of this vote has been expended in advertising, and that the advertisements issued by the Melbourne office and in New South Wales do not truthfully represent the position in Australia, I move -
That any publications forwarded to Great Britain for circulation shall contain the following two extracts from two well-known Sydney newspapers, and that no literature be issued by this department unless such literature contains these two extracts -
– The honorable senator cannot move such a resolution in connexion with this item.
– I understand that the item covers the cost of advertising the resources of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator would be in order in referring, in connexion with this item, to any question regarding the functions of the organization here, or in London, and could move for a reduction of the item. Unless he does that, he will have to avail himself of another opportunity to discuss the subject with which he desires to deal.
– As I do not desire to delay the passage of the Supply Bill, I shall take another opportunity of placing before honorable senators the extracts from the Sydney newspapers to which I have referred, and of seeking to incorporate them with any literature issued for circulation in Great Britain, so that the people there may be acquainted with the true state of affairs in the Commonwealth, so far as land settlement is concerned.
Senator McHUGH (South Australia)
Australian organization to seek information in Australia as to where land will be available for immigrants after they have been brought here as the result of the propaganda work in the Old Country? The statement that we on this side are opposed to immigration is made by honorable senators opposite for political purposes. They know that before long there will be a Federal election,’ and are anxious to obtain the votes of those people who have come here from overseas. Possibly supporters of the Government imagine that they will secure votes by declaring that honorable senators of the Opposition do not want people to come here from the other side of the world. As a matter of fact, what we are anxious to do is to protect people, many of ‘whom have been brought to Australia under false pretences, from meeting with something which they did not expect. I have no doubt the South Australian Government will co-operate in any scheme of migration. It has already very wisely appointed a commission to ascertain where land which could be made use of, and which is being held out of use, can be acquired by the state for the purpose of settling not only people from overseas, but also those returned soldiers who, so far, have been unable to get any land in Australia. It is easy to say that in a country containing ‘3,000,000 square miles there should be any quantity of land. No doubt any quantity of land is available, but it is useless if it will not provide a man with a living. What we require for this purpose is land which can be made reproductive. Notwithstanding the Commonwealth land tax, people are gradually building up large estates in some of the richest parts of South Australia. Many of the northern towns of that state are decaying because one or two families have bought up the whole of the rich land surrounding them. Storekeepers and others will not participate in the community life of any town when there are only two or three families to cater for.
– The honorable senator is now transgressing my ruling.
– I am sorry. I wanted to get some information from the Minister as to whether he thinks -.he South Australian Government is following the right course. It is unnatural for any. honorable senator to oppose people coming to Australia. Our fathers and mothers came here, many of them because they were dissatisfied with the conditions on the other side of the world. Their efforts have resulted in the establishment of better conditions in Australia, and in the interests of those who are already in Australia, and of those who may be brought here, it is our duty now to see that those improved conditions are maintained.
– The objections which are raised now were urged years ago when our fathers and mothers came here and made good.
– We raise no objections. All we want is that these people shall be given a fair chance when they come, to Australia. Nevertheless we object to people being brought here while we have from 15,000 to 20,000 people unemployed in Victoria alone. I contend that this is a fact which should be made known on the other side of the world. I expect the unemployed here to remain out of work, because there will be no chance of having a Labour Government in Victoria for another twelve months. There were nearly 20,000 people out of work in New South Wales recently, but now that the Labour Government has come into power in that state the position should be very much altered within the next few months. . In South Australia, where we have a Labour Government, there is very little unemployment. Our only difficulty in that state is to cope with the influx of unemployed from Victoria. The unemployed have ceased to come to South Australia from New South Wales.
– What about the unemployed in Queensland?
– There is no unemployment in Queensland. No state has grown like Queensland’ has within the last few years under Labour administration. People have flocked to the state from the . southern states.
– The honorable, senator must confine his remarks to the item under discussion.
– .1 do not get many opportunities to give honorable senators some information. As a rule I like to hear others talk, so that I may learn something from them. I have learned a little about Russia. Of course, Senator Guthrie thanks his Maker sinserely for the fact that we are not getting immigrants from Russia. He does not seem to like the Russian people. Are there any unemployed in Russia?
– Yes, millions of them.
– Then, we do not want them here to swell the ranks of our unemployed; nor do we want any of our people to go to Russia toswell the ranks of the unemployed there. Like Senator Guthrie, I prefer Australia to Russia, and my sole concern is the welfare of Australia, and not that of any other country. All the froth and bubble we heard from Senator Guthrie about the danger of bolshevism and communism was quite unnecessary in a chamber which is supposed to be legislating in the interests of the people of Australia. The electors of Victoria have a right to object to one of their representatives wasting the time of the chamber with so much froth and bubble about Russia and not offering any constructive suggestions for the benefit of Australia.
– I shall not call upon thehonorable senator again to discuss the item.
– I am not opposed to having a decent organization to control immigration, so long as it seeks to dosomething in the interests of Australia or of thosewe are inviting to come to Australia. I have no objection to spending money on such an organization.
SenatorFindley.- It all depends on howthe money is spent.
– I am sure the Ministerwill explain that point, and I should like him also to say if any of this money is to be spent in spying out suitable land on which immigrants may be settled.
SenatorWILSON (South Australia - Minister for Markets and Migration) [12.2’5]. - If there is one matter that should be dealt with in this Parliament free from party considerations, it is that of immigration. On several occasions on which it has been my duty to address public audiences on this subject, I have tried to keep it above party issues. Therefore, I wasa little hurt when Senator Findley said that everything had been done to make political capital out of it. As the Minister controlling migration, I say that the honorablesenator’s statement is unquestionably incorrect. The honorable senator’s declaration thatthe Government is prepared to rush people into Australia so as to increase the number of unemployed is contrary to facts, and to the wishes of the Government. The Commonwealth does not bring out one immigrant unless he has been nominated by someperson in Australia who guarantees to find work for him, or unless it is requested so to do by a state. The states control the number of people who are brought out to Australia, and Iam looking to them to co-operate with the Commonwealth in accepting the new immigration agreement with the Imperial Government, which I believe will prove a great factor in the development and prosperity of our country. The organization for which provision is made in the schedule to thebill was responsible for bringing out over 35,000 immigrants last year. Each immigrant to whom money has been advanced for the payment of his passage is expected to repay the amount. It is the duty of the organization in Australia to followthe immigrantall over the country, and see thathe makes a refund of the money advanced to him; and it is astonishinghow readily the immigrants are making these refunds. It is also the duty ofthe organization here to follow up any cases of complaint, and to see thatthe immigrants are properly treated in accordance with our obligations to them. In the various states the committees which receive nominations are under the control of the Australian, organization,and themoney they spend is provided for in the item now under discussion. There is an organization in London which acts on behalf of all the states, several of the states being directly represented on its staff. The Commonwealth employs inspection officers to inquire exhaustively into the character of all would-be immigrants, and medical officersto make careful examinations into the health of applicants for passages to Australia. The general impression is that immigrants are not offering overseas in sufficient numbers. Almost every day I receive applications from people anxiousto go to England to take part in someeffort to obtain immigrants for Australia. The impression is quite wrong. The difficulty is at thisend. We cannot bring out more persons thanthe states can make provision for or than are nominated by people who undertake to find them employment. We cannot depart from the quotas given by the various states, but I have no hesitation in saying that if-, by a policy of increased developement, Australia could absorb- more immigrants, we would have no difficulty in increasing the number ten times over. Difficulties are not experienced in Great Britain ; the main obstacle is that we cannot immediately absorb all’ the people who desire to come here. I am sure honorable senators will not object to money; being made available to the States for ten years at the remarkably low interest of 1 pel- cent.
Senator- Grant. - It is merely a gift to the land-owners.
– Apparently the honorable senator has not read the agreement, because the money is not to be advanced solely for- the purpose of land settlement, but can also be used for the establishment of industries-, and for other similar purposes.
– Why are so many Southern Europeans coming to Australia?
– The operations of this organization are confined to migrants from Great Britain, and those persons to whom the honorable senator has’ referred are paying their own expenses. There is nothing whatever in the agreement relating to the migration of Southern Europeans, and the only way in which their influx can be met is by making the conditions here so attractive that larger numbers will come from Great Britain. Western Australia and Queensland afford greater opportunities for further development than perhaps any other state in the Commonwealth .
– Has the Queensland Government adopted the agreement?
– I have had a conference with the. Premier of Queensland, but nothing definite has yet been decided by the Government of that state. It may be interesting to know that Victoria, which is one of the smallest and also one of the most prosperous states in the federation, is successfully absorbing more migrants than any other state.
– Did not the Victorian Government send a number of unemployed from this state to New South Wales?
– No. Operations in Victoria had not sufficiently developed to enable a number of migrants coming to
Victoria to be immediately placed, and they were, therefore, sent on to New South Wales,, where organization was more advanced. If honorable senators would closely peruse the agreement, and make themselves- more conversant, with the whole question, I do not- think they would find much room for criticism.
– There has been’ a great deal of misrepresentation’ in Parliament, an the public platform, and through the public press in regard to the Labour party’s attitude towards immigration. The AustralianLabour party is not opposed to reasonable immigration undertaken by the Commonwealth in conjunction with the states. I wish to give a most emphatic denial to the statements continually made that the Labour party as a -party is hostile to members of the British race migrating to our country. I can endorse what Senator McHugh has said ; that it would be almost unnatural for us to adopt a hostile attitude towards British people who may desire to settle here. The majority of us are descendants of British immigrants, and if it had notbeen for the courage and determination of the- men and women in years gone by, who settled in a comparatively unexplored land, we would not be living ‘in the comfort we now enjoy. The migrant of to-day travels in what may be termed floating palaces, but those hardy pioneers who preceded us had to cross the ocean, in many cases in “ wind-jammers’ “’ which took eight or nine months to make’ -the voyage. To say that the Labour1 party as a party, or that those who- represent’ it-in Parliament are opposed to; immigration is a misstatement of the f acts,’ and unjust to the great movement to which I belong.
-(Senator Newland). - The remarks of the honorable”- Senator, are irrelevant; I ask him to’ discuss the item before the committee.- ‘ v* -
– I- was” merelyplacing on record, the official attitude of the Australian Labour -party.
– I cannot, allow the honorable senator to do that. He must discuss the item before the committee.
– If there is employment in our country for British men and women they will always be welcome. The Minister for Markets- and Migration (Senator Wilson) stated that more migrants are coming to Victoria than to any other state, but he knows that most of the young experienced farmers on the land in Queensland and in portions of the Riverina are the sons of Victorian farmers who were compelled to leave their own state to conduct farming operations, and their places have been filled by migrants from overseas.
, - I should like to reply to some of the statements made by honorable senators opposite, one of which was that suitable land was not available for exsoldier settlers. Since the termination of the war the Victorian Government, in conjunction with the migration authorities, has settled over 10,000 ex-soldiers in Victoria, and the proportion of failures has been very small. There is always a percentage of failures under any scheme. I do not suggest that the Victorian Government or those who were responsible for purchasing the land on which ex-soldiers are settled did not make mistakes, because in some instances the blocks are too small and the prices paid too high.
– All the land purchased for this purpose was too costly.
-No. I am personally acquainted with some returned soldiers who settled in the Wimmera and in the Mallee, and did so well that within two years, from the proceeds of their wheat crops, they returned to the Government in full the money they had borrowed. I know soldiers in the Wimmera, whose property adjoined my farm, who are satisfied with the price paid for the land, and are doing well. The Victorian Government has appointed a commission which is at present making a thorough investigation into the whole question of soldier settlement in order to rectify anomalies, and I believe an honest effort is being made to treat the men fairly. The commission is to reappraise the land, and will also endeavour to provide settlers with additional areas of relatively cheaper land on which they can depasture their dry cows and young cattle. I believe Senator Findley stated that there was no land in Victoria suitable for settlement, and in this connexion I should like to quote a portion of an able article which appeared in the Melbourne Herald of the 18th April.
– I did not say that there was no land available for settlement, but that the Premier of this state (Mr. Allan) would be glad to know where it was.
-(Senator Newland), - Unless the honorable senator can connect his remarks with the proposed vote before the committee he will not be in order.
– I shall do so. The item relates to the expenditure of ?5,725 for the Australian organization in control of immigration. I desire to quote the article to which I have referred, because it is taken from a newspaper which expresses a broadminded view, and which cannot be accused of being biased in favour of the present administration. The article reads -
It is suggested that all settlement under the migration scheme be confined to Crown lands. By these means new assets to the state will be created. . . .
– I rise to order. If it was not in order for me to quote and place on record the immigration and land settlement policy of the party which I represent, I submit that Senator Guthrie is not in order in placing on record the policy of the Melbourne Herald.
– I asked the honorable senator if he intended to connect his remarks with the items ‘before the committee, and he assured me that he would do so.
– I remind you, sir, that when Senator Guthrie was about to read from the same newspaper you ruled that he could not discuss land settlement, though you had aliowed a certain amount of latitude.
- Senator Guthrie has assured me that he intends to connect the extract with the items under discussion.
– As the items provide for the immigration office, it is necessary to be certain that land is available to absorb people who may be brought to Australia under the scheme. It has been stated in this chamber that land is not available in Victoria. Whilst Victoria is more closely settled than the other states, the statement that land is not available here is incorrect. The article goes on to say -
By these means new assets to the state will be created. Crown lands are to be found in many parts of Victoria, in some cases already served by railways which are unpayable because the land is unsettled. Though Victoria is considered to be fairly well settled, 22,700,000 acres of the total area of 56,200,000 acres are Crown lands.
Therefore, it is wrong to argue that expenditure, on this organization to bring people to” Australia is money wasted, because, as a fact, there is land available. The newspaper article states further -
Victorian land figures are -
The greater part of the Crown lands i3 reserved for water catchments, forests, roads, and agricultural colleges. At least 5,000,000 acres is capable of agricultural settlement, and a further 5,000,000 is suitable for subdivision in large areas for more scientific grazing.
– Is that land out of use at present?
– Much of it is Crown lands in the Mallee, and a great deal of it is not even leased, but railways have been built, and a considerable area is suitable for settlement in blocks of from 500 to 1,000 acres. Men on similar land in the Mallee are doing better than settlers on other land in the more closelysettled districts of Victoria. Water is available from the Rivers and Water Supply Commission, and the Government is providing railways to open up the land.
– I am unable to” connect the honorable senator’s remarks with the items before the Chair, so I must ask him to desist.
– I desire to express my appreciation of the courtesy .shown by the Minister for Migration and Markets (Senator Wilson), who seems disposed to give honorable senators information concerning the items under discussion. His attitude is in distinct contrast with that of the Leader of the Government in this chamber (Senator Pearce),- who, when he is not in the mood, is not inclined to furnish honorable senators on this side with any information . Senator Wilson expressed the hope that finality would be reached in respect of the immigration policy of the Commonwealth. These items suggest that finality will be reached, but it would be just as well to postpone consideration until something definite -has been done in the direction indicated by Senator Wilson.
– My remarks applied to the agreement with respect to immigration. The items before the committee deal with the present organization.
– If the scheme outlined by the Minister were not agreed to, there might not be need for the present big staff, and the expenditure contemplated under these items.
– We are now bringing in 26,000 immigrants a year. ,
– But, apparently, they are leaving as quickly. as they come, according to the figures quoted by the Leader of the Senate.
– He was dealing with foreign migration.
– I quoted figures to show that the excess of arrivals over departures last year was over 40,000 a year.
– I have seen statements in the press of people going down to outward-bound steamers and pleading, with tears in their eyes, to be allowed to get back to the land of their birth. During the last few months several thousands of people from various countries have arrived in Australia, and the statement has been made that ships are not available for all who want to come to this country, ls this the outcome of the publicity scheme, and is the immigration organization partly responsible for it?
– Then how is it that so many aliens who probably never heard of Australia up to a few years ago are now flocking to the Commonwealth in large numbers? What agencies are at work? I am disposed to think that the people concerned have some ulterior motive in bringing these immigrants to Australia. I am a cosmopolitan, but so far as Australia is concerned, I am an Australian first, and I cannot help thinking it is very strange that these people from other countries, many of whom cannot speak a word of English, are now coming here. They cannot be coming of their own volition. Some agency must be at work. They are hardly off the steamer that brings them here before their services are availed of.
– Therepresentative in charge of one lot came to the Trades Hall and requested that the men should be allowed to work in Victorian factories at lower rates of wages than are provided for in the awards.
– Then there is something in what I said. I was on the right track.
-Would the honorable senator wish these people to remain in poverty in their own country?
– No one has more sympathy with those in poverty than I and the members of the party to which I belong. It is all very well for the honorable senator who, in his earlier years, was acquainted with hardships, to suggest that we on this side of the chamber care little for people in other lands. We are not indifferent, nor are we responsible for poverty or misery in other lands, but we would be responsible for any poverty or misery in Australia if we did not take advantage of every opportunity to protest vigorously against the activities of agencies or persons interested in bringing about conditions that are not beneficial to Australia or acceptable to the people.
Sitting suspended from1 to 2 p.m.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to reduce the proposed vote “ The Department of Defence, £746,830,” by £1, as a protest against the action of the Government in letting in Great Britain a contract for the construction of two cruisers, and against the non-fulfilment of the promise made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) that before a decision was arrived at regarding the construction of the second cruiser Parliament would be given an opportunity to discuss the matter. I desire to give honorable senators a chance to show whether they approve or disapprove of the action of the Government. Particularly’ do I wish to give Senator Duncan an opportunity to display that sturdy independence which last evening he announced that he possessed. If he still holds the opinion that he expressed when he spoke upon the Defence Equipment Bill of last session, he will certainly vote for the request.
-And by so doing vote for the No-Defence party ? Not on your life !
– Speaking on the Defence Equipment Bill last year. Senator Duncan is reported to have spoken as follows in answer to an interjection by Senator Hannan: -
– If Parliament decides that the cruisers shall be constructed, and the Government proposes to have them built in England, what then will the honorable senator have to say in defence of the workless men of Cockatoo Island Dockyard?
– I shall have the courage to protest most strongly, in this Senate and outside it.
– And at the same time the honorable senator will vote for the Government’s proposals.
– I shall not vote for such a proposal as that.’
– I have not, either.
– The honorable senator proceeded -
My votes in this Senate have shown that 1. am prepared to act in accordance with my convictions.
He also said -
I sincerely trust that, if time does not permit of the construction of both vessels in Australia, at least one will be built here, thus giving employment to Australian workmen, and ensuring that our naval dockyards shall be kept going, so that when trouble arises they will be ready to undertake repair work and other work.
The honorable senator, by interjection, has stated that he has not voted for such a proposal. He has not had the opportunity to do so. I think that last session he was under the impression that this Parliament would have an opportunity of deciding the matter.
– I said so last night. Senator NEEDHAM. - The honorable senator apologized for the action of the Government. He said that there was some misunderstanding, and that he wanted to give the Government’ the benefit of the doubt.
A very important announcement was made last night by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), who said that very shortly the mantle of Government Whip will fall upon the worthy shoulders of Senator Duncan, who will act in the absenceof my honorable and gallant friend. Senator Drake-Brockman at the Assembly of the League of Nations. I wonder what independence Senator Duncan will then show ! Whatever little independence he now has he has been very loth to reveal in this chamber; but when he assumes the mantle of Senator Drake-Brockman, I assume that even that slight independence will be dropped by him.
– Is the honorable senator speaking from experience ?
– I have never been Government Whip. Perhaps sometime next year, if I am alive, I may have that honour conferred upon me. I have seen honorable senators opposite assume the duties of Government Whip, and I know that they generally have to obey the instructions of the Leader of the Senate. I have no desire to debate the matter further.
Question put. The committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed request negatived.
.- In Part VII.,. the Department of Trade and Customs, Division 89, is an item relating to the Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry. When that institute was established Ibelieved that it would do some really useful work; that, amongst other things, it would take steps to cope with the prickly pear, the tick pest, the blowfly pest, and the dingo pest. Although Parliament provides substantial sums every year for the upkeep of this very important institute, and its efforts are supplemented by those of many other well-meaning persons, the prickly pear is to-day almost a greater menace to Australia than is any other trouble that confronts us. I understand that in Queensland over 30,000,000 acres are either thickly or partially infested with prickly pear, and that the infestation is proceedingat the rate of more than 1,000,000 acres a year.
– We are providing in this amount a sum for the eradication of the prickly pear.
– The continuous spread of this pest has not been checked. I shall be glad to hear from the Minister that the efforts of the Institute of Science and Industry have had some effect in preventing its spread, and that in time it will be possible to eradicate it. From the reports that have reached me, I have come to the conclusion that very little of a practical nature has been done towards the eradication of this pest. In New SouthWales and Queensland combined, 1,000,000 acres of land are being invested each year. Land covered with prickly pear is practically useless.
– That is why we want the money voted.
– We have voted money for years, yet the prickly pear is still with us, and, in fact, seems to be gaining ground. It is time that the Institute of Science and Industry realized the true position. It is a matter for serious reflection that 1,000,000 acres of land goes out of use every year in the Commonwealth because of the failure of the states and the Institute of Science and Industry to grapple with the prickly pear problem. I shall be glad to hear from the Minister that the Institute has donesomething to justify our continuing the support which in the past we have afforded it. Something has been done in connexion with the tick pest, and I learined from a speech in this chamber the otherday that progress had also been made in dealing with the blowfly pest. The prickly pear and the blowfly pests are a serious menace to the Commonwealth. The dingo pest also is still with us. I have been informed that dingoes have taken possession of the area west of the Darling to such an extent that country which formerly carried up to 15,000,000 sheep is now carrying not more than 5,000,000. I realize that other causes may also have contributed to that result. An institute properly equipped with funds, and able to increase its staff as required, should be able to place before pastoralists some scheme whereby the dingo pest could be successfully combated. The blowfly pest is much more troublesome to deal with successfully, but it should not be beyond the resources of the Institute of Science and Industry.
– “Wire netting is the most useful check to the inroads of dingoes.
– I am aware that something has been done to assist landholders to obtain wire netting. . I have read a report by Mr. Le Souef that, notwithstandingall the precautions that have been taken, the dingo pest is as bad as ever. A few years ago, thousands of sheep were depastured in the country between Port Augusta and Tarcoola, but to-day, largely on account of the prevalence of dingoes, those flocks have been reduced very considerably. These are matters of considerable importance to the whole of Australia. If an en:my were to take possession of our territory at the rate of 1,000,000 acres a year, every eligible man would be called to arms in an endeavour to drive him out. But when this quiet, insidious pest ‘is doing an exactly similar work, very little protest is made. I hope that the Minister will be able to show that the results from the Institute of Science and Industry have justified the expenditure already incurred.
.- Senator Grant, like Rip Van Winkle, appears to have awakened rather late. He should know that for years the Commonwealth has been expending sums of money to combat the pests of which he has spoken. Last year the sum of £4,000 was placed on the Estimates for the purpose of investigating the prickly pear pest, and this year a similar provision will be made. It is not easy to find a remedy; the man who found it would very quickly make his fortune. For years scientists the world over have been endeavouring to find remedies, and the Government is doing what it can in that direction. The only thing for us now is to continue those investigations. Senator Grant spoke as if it were only a matter of money, but I point out that, even if we spent £100,000 a year, we should not necessarily find the remedy. The honorable senator spoke of the absence of information regarding the activities of the institute. I can inform him that a report covering its operations during the last four years is about to be issued. Already a report on the blowfly pest has been issued, and reports showing the progress which has been- made in connexion with both investigations have been circulated from time to time among honorable senators. I presume that Senator Grant has received them. The Government is aware of the serious nature of these pests, and Parliament, realizing the position, has willingly voted money in the past to enable the investigations to be continued. It is to be -hoped that some day success may be achieved in dealing with these pests.
– I hope that Senator Grant will not further .pursue his devastating course. The Minister has shown that as much as can be done is being done ! I entreat Senator Grant not to disturb the Government in the course it is following. The Government is at present engaged in a little research, which is even more important than that of trying to find a remedy for the prickly pear pest. A remedy is now being sought for the Institute of Science and Industry itself, and I understand that that remedy will, before long, be placed before us in the form of a bill.
– Did the honorable senator say that the institute was a pest?
– I did not sayso, but the honorable senator is free to draw his own conclusions from my remarks. I have spoken in no cryptic manner. I do not suggest for one moment that by further- discussing this subject Senator Grant would be wasting the time of the committee, because our time is never wasted when the honorable senator speaks; but I entreat him to allow this item to pass, giving him, at the, same time, the assurance that the best that can be. done is being done. I hope that he will not offer any further objection.
– I understand that the survey in connexion with the proposed railway from Kyogle to Brisbane, including a spiral rendered necessary because of the high levels which are encountered in .the area to be traversed by this line, and the determination to have a minimum grade, has been completed, hut that provision lias been made for tunnels for a single line of railway only.
– No amount is provided in this bill for the Kyogle-Brisbane railway.
– (Senator Newland). - Order! The honorable senator may not discuss a matter that is not covered bv the bill. “Senator GRANT. - It ought to be in the bill.
– I accept no responsibility for that.
– Should T be in order if I moved that the amount be increased ?
– This bill provides for a sum of ?5.797 for the Port Augusta to Oodnadatta railway. Yesterday. I asked some questions regarding this railway, and cannot understand why the information that I sought was not provided. My first question was -
What is the estimated cost of equipping the narrow-gauge Commonwealth line. Port Augusta to Oodnadatta, with rolling-stock”
Surely the Government has an estimate. The’ second question was -
What amount has been expended up to the present time?
Ir should not have taken long to ascertain that information. My third question was -
In designing carriages, brake van’s, freight wagons, and sheep and cattle vans, has a standard for wearing parts, such as boxes, draw-bars, brakes, &c, been established? Surely the department should know that.
– What reply did the honorable senator receive?
– The reply was that at some future date a return would be laid on the table of the Senate. That is unsatisfactory, as some of these matters should be discussed now.
– The information would have to be obtained.
– Surely ihe department knows whether provision for standardization has been made.
– Some of the information may have to come from Port Augusta.
– It should be obtainable from the head office of the department. I have been informed that no provision is being made for standardizing the rolling-stock. The Senate should have been provided with the information. I sought before this bill came before us.
.- I move-
That the House of Representatives be requested to reduce the proposed vote “ Department of Works and Railways, ?130,047 “ by ?1.
I do this for the purpose of inviting the attention of the Government to a serious matter affecting the railway extending from Grafton to South Brisbane.We have embarked on a scheme for the unification of the railway gauges of the Commonwealth at an enormous expenditure of public money, and now is the proper time to point out what I regard as a serious mistake on the part of those who designed this railway.
– Which railway?
– The railway from Grafton to South Brisbane.
– That railway is being constructed by two states, and not by the Commonwealth. There is no reference to it in this bill.
– There is an item of ?4,000 for salaries for the administrative staff. The services of some portion of that staff must be used in connexion with the construction of this railway.
– The honorable senator will be quite in order in moving for the reduction of the item, but not on the score of any reference to the Grafton to South Brisbane railway.
– But that is the matter I wish to have discussed.
– No discussion can take place on that question.
.- I wish to bring under the attention of the Minister representing the Minister in control of repatriation a case which has recently come under my notice in South Australia. A young man who left Australia in perfect health for the front, and had a clean discharge on his return, subsequently died from heart disease, leaving a widow and two children unprovided for, except from a fund subscribed to by the people of South Australia to meet such cases. The medical officers of the Defence Department say that this young man’s death was not due to war service, but I have made inquiries into the matter and secured the ‘Opinion of three independent .medical men. One says that his death was due to war service-; another says that the chances are that his death was due ito war service.; the third says that he is not sure, but that his death might have been due to war service. Despite the regulations, I think this is a case which the Government ought to take into consideration. If this young man had hot gone to the war, I feel. sure he would have been alive to-day. He must have been. in good health when he enlisted, otherwise he would not have been accepted for service.
– Provision is made in the schedule for the .most extraordinary allowance of £10 for pensions to persons injured and the dependants of persons who were killed by Turks at Broken Hill.
– The amount provided is for two months only.
– Tha case referred to by Senator McHugh will be sympathetically investigated if the honorable senator will supply me with the particulars.
.. - I have heard of a similar case in South Australia, the only difference being that the man concerned has not yet passed away, but is suffering badly from tuberculosis, which the authorities say was pre-existent. In other words, they declare that he was consumptive before he went to the war. On the other hand, evidence shows that, although this man was in a lodge for a number of years before going to the war, he was never on its sick fund, and that he had not lost a day’s work for four years before going to the war. That .proves, I think, that he was, prior to the war, in the enjoyment of good health. Although the departmental medical -officers say that this man’s disease is not due to war service, other medical men say that it was not preexistent, and- one declares that it was caused by war service. The man cannot do much work, yet, I understand, his pension has been cut . down almost to nothing. So far those who are interesting themselves, on his behalf have been unable .to get a satisfactory reply from those who are administering war .pensions. The man’s name is Rowland, and he lives at Albert Park in South Australia.
– I am pleased that honorable senators have brought up this question, because several cases similar to those they have mentioned have come under my notice within the last year or two. In one of them I have taken a very keen interest, because I knew the man concerned from boyhood. His name was Rockcliffe and he lived at Myalla, on the north-west coast of Tasmania. He was a very fine chap who ‘ went through the war very creditably, with honour to himself and advantage to the country. He returned almost as good a man as he was when he went away, and, being of an independent character, made no application to the Repatriation Department for assistance. He carried out the work in -which he was . engaged very satisfactorily for a while, but any one could see that his health was gradually breaking down, and eventually he died, leaving ‘a widow and several children practically penniless, and subsisting on the charity of neighbours. The department always considered my representations on behalf of this widow very sympathetically; but at the same time pointed out that it had no power to grant any relief unless it could be shown that the man’s death was directly due to war service. In this chamber eighteen months ago I urged that something should be done to ascertain whether ot not in many cases of this character the death or invalidity could not be attributed indirectly to war service. A man may come back, and subsequently have his health shattered, but while there may be no evidence that this is directly attributable to war service, common sense .suggests that if he had not gone to the war, but had followed his ordinary occupation during the war period, he would probably be just as robust to-day as he was prior to the war. I hope this question will be reopened, so that opportunity may be given to investigate cases of this kind.
– It is difficult to deal with the case of a man who has made no application for a pension!
– There were manyreturned soldiers of an independent spirit who made no application . for assistance, but were subsequently taken off. Their dependants can get no assistance, because the department was not approached at the proper time. I do not think that the neglect of the men in that respect should be visited on their widows and children. If anything in connexion with a man’s war service has resulted in his death or invalidity, Australia, I am sure, will be willing to afford help in the direction I have indicated.
– The report of the royal commission appointed by the Government to inquire into the matter referred to by honorable senators who have preceded me indicates that the commissioners are quite satisfied that all these cases are being treated with the greatest possible sympathy. But a layman very often confuses sympathy with a valid claim. We should not go beyond the decision of the responsible officers in these matters unless we are prepared to say, which I am not, that everyman who went to the war is entitled to a pension at any time when his health fails him. Even those of us who were in the higher ranks, and did not have to undergo the appalling hardships of the rank and file in the trenches, have undoubtedly suffered, and had our lives shortened by our war service. But to say that we are entitled to ask the Government for a pension is going too far.
– No one has suggested that.
– But any regulation must have a general application. Unless the department can satisfy itself from its records that the ex-soldier’s disability is due to some actual injury or sickness contracted on war service, no pension should be payable. There can be no discrimination.
– Every soldier does not need assistance.
– No; but there must be a pension, or some injury may be suffered. A pension is not a pauper’s dole. It is very difficult to say that, because a man was healthy before he went to the war, any illness which subsequently develops is due to war service. We know the unfortunate position in which one of our own colleagues - Senator Russell - is placed, who, although he did not go to the war, is quite incapable of carrying on his parliamentary duties. Had he rendered ser vice abroad, it would probably be said that his present condition was due to war service, and that he should receive a pension.
– Certain facts which are patent to the lay mind will not beaccepted by the medical authorities.
– They have before them the medical records of the returned soldiers, and I am sure that the act and the regulations are administered in a most sympathetic manner. Many cases have been brought under my notice, but when one gets down to tin tacks a very different complexion is often placed upon what appears at first sight to be a deserving cause. One person made out a very plausible case to me, but on investigation I found that notwithstanding that he had not been beyond the base in Egypt, he had put in a claim for a pension on the ground that he had always enjoyed good health prior to leaving Australia.
– The man I mentioned is dead, and I am endeavouring to assist his widow and children.
– Unless the honorable senator can prove that the death of that person was due to war service, he must admit that the widows and children of every other deceased soldier are entitled to a pension.
– The Government promised to look after the dependants of those who served.
– Every one must die at sometime,and it is most difficult to prove in some cases whether death was due to. war services.
– Did not the commission make some recommendation in regard to relief being given to those indirectly affected ?
– The commission concluded that the medical sheets of the men who served in the Australian Imperial Force were in some cases defective, and no doubt that fact will be borne in mind in the future. Some who returned in comparatively good health were urged by the medical authorities to submit claims to safeguard their future, but failed to do so. It is cases of that nature to which the commission is directing attention.
.- I do not wish to suggest that every man who went to the war should . be in receipt of a pension, or that the widows and the children of deceased men should receive assistance when they do not need it. The Departmentis sympathetically administering the act, and affords every assistance to any honorable senator who wishes to put a case before it, but it is entirely controlled by the reports of tho Medical Board. Very often the opinion of the lay mind is contrary to the findings of the board. I desire to mention one case, which I hope the Minister will follow up. It is that of Private Cox, of Latrobe-, who was wounded by shrapnel during the war, and who was in receipt of a pension. Last year his pension was reduced by one half, although at the time of the reduction it was apparent to all his friends that his condition was becoming worse. He informed the Medical Board that a bullet was still embedded in a thigh bone, but he assured me that members of the board said that such was not the case. His condition became very much worse, and within a few months of having his pension reduced he was taken to the Latrobe Hospital, where he was operated upon by Dr. Walpole, and the bullet and 9 inches of bone were removed. When I brought the matter before the department I received sympathetic treatment, and after further investigations had been made his pension was restored, but not for the whole period during which he received a lower rate.
– I know of several cases similar to those which have already been mentioned, and which I brought under the notice of the Government nearly eighteen months ago-
– The papers are not here, but if honorable senators will call at the department full consideration will be given to their requests.
– I shall do as the Minister suggests.
– There is no necessity for honorable senators to bring individual cases before the Senate. If full particulars are submitted to the department investigations will be made. I have had quite a lot to do with repatriation matters during the last two years, and am satisfied that every possible care is taken to see that returned soldiers or their dependants get that to which they are entitled under the provisions of the Repatriation Act. The medical officers of the department, the commission, the state boards, and the medical advisory board give every case most sympathetic attention. In proof of this I may explain that the amount we are paying out from week to week is steadily increasing, and the number of new cases which come under the notice of the commission is also growing.
– In regard to the item “ Refund of Revenue, £350,000,” I should like to know the extent to which the rejection of the Lessee Tax Bill is responsible?
– It will take some considerable time before we know exactly what amount will have to be refunded because of the rejection of the Lessee Tax Bill.
– Is there no record of the amount already refunded?
– Yes, the particulars are not here, but in the Treasury. If the honorable senator moves for a return the information can be supplied.
Schedule agreed to.
Preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported without request; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I move-
That the bill be now read a second time.
This measure really provides for the raising of a loan of £2,000,000 to enable the Post and Telegraph Department to proceed with the construction and extension of our telegraph and telephone services. There is also an item of £86,000 in connexion with the establishment of the Federal Capital, and £64,000 for the expenses of borrowing, making a total of £2,150,000. Provision has already been made under loan acts for the current financial year for £210,000 for construction work at the Federal Capital Territory. It was anticipated that this sum would cover operations in the Territory until the commissioners were appointed under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act, and that the commissioners would thereafter make their own financial arrangements. The commissioners, however, were not able to undertake their duties until the 1st January, 1925, and it became necessary to provide a further £86,000 to cover the expenditure until that date. This sum has been provided temporarily out of revenue from the Treasurer’s Advance vote, and the present appropriation is necessary to recoup the amount. At the beginning of the financial year an amount of £3,830,000 was provided for the Postal Department to meet expansion in the telephone and telegraph services, chiefly in connexion with the provision of switchboards and underground cables to give services to new subscribers. Owing to the abnormally high rate of development, however, this amount was found to be inadequate, and, in order that it might not be necessary to withhold services from prospective subscribers, an additional sum of £150,000 was authorized for the current financial year. The somewhat higher rate of expenditure than was contemplated has proved of considerable value in finding employment for numbers of men who otherwise would have been added to the ranks of the unemployed in the winter months. During the current financial year it is anticipated that from the loan moneys which have been made available, the extension of the telephone service will result in a gross increase of 57,400 services. Telephone trunk line works will also have been executed to the extent of 516 miles of new pole route, and 35,700 miles of wire; country public lines totalling 3,300 miles of new pole route, and 6,800 miles of wire ; and additional telegraph services represented by the provision of 175 miles of new pole route and 4,600 miles of wire; the total of these three items representing 3.991 miles of new pole route and 47,100 miles of wire. The total amount for telegraphs and telephones now asked for is £2,000,000. As previously stated, £150,000 of this amount will be used during the current financial year, leaving £1,850,000 for the year 1925-26. Parliament is asked to vote this amount at present, so that, pending the passing of the main Loan Act for next financial year, there may be uo break in the continuity of the work in respect of-telegraph and telephone services.
– I realize the urgency of the bill, and I have no desire to delay its passage. I understand that the estimates in connexion with certain postal works have been, exceeded, so this is, in a sense, a validating measure. We all recognize the necessity for the very best postal, telegraphic and telephonic communication in a country of vast distances like Australia, and how desirable it is to ensure employment on new works, especially at a time like the present, when there is so much unemployment in the Commonwealth. We want to be quite sure, however, that loan moneys are wisely expended on reproductive works. I believe it will be so expended in this case. I remind honorable senators that the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page), when Leader of the Country party in 1922, condemned the budget introduced by the then Treasurer (Mr. Bruce). He declared that Mr. Bruce, instead of trying to stem the stream of extravagance, had gone on with it. The Commonwealth debt in 1913-14 was £19.182,000, and in 1923-24 it had risen to £415,600,000.
– There has been a bit of a “ scrap “ since 1914.
– I am well aware of that, but T emphasize that these figures disclose that Dr. Earle Page, who preached economy when a member of the Country party, is not practising economy as Treasurer. In connexion with the proposed expenditure for the PostmasterGeneral’s Department in 1921-22. Dr. Earle Page said -
Why is the revenue of the Post Office taken from that department and allotted to other governmental activities? ….
I desire to enter an emphatic objection to taking from the Postal Department the profits it makes and crediting them to the general revenue.
That was Dr. Earle Page’s attitude in 1921. What is his attitude to-day! The budget presented by that honorable gentleman as Treasurer last year showed that the expenditure for the Postal Department for the financial year was £7,997,131, and the receipts £9,653,000, or a surplus of over £1,500,000, which was paid into revenue. It is evident that Dr. Page, as Treasurer, is not following the course recommended by Dr. Page as leader of the Country party. The following details of expenditure of the Postmaster-General’s Department from revenue and from loan are also interest ing : -
In supporting the bill, I merely wish to say that we .should be extremely careful to see that loan money is spent on reproductive works.
– That will be so in this case.
– I believe the works will be reproductive, but I should like to sound a note of warning.
– I do not wish to delay the Senate, . but I should like some information from the Minister (Senator Pearce) upon one or two matters. I quite approve of what the Government is doing to ensure continuity of policy in the construction and maintenance of telephone lines. The Minister will Recall that, when this policy was initiated in 1921-22, the Government laid down a programme for the expenditure of £9,000,000 spread over several years. I take it that the Government is continuing with that policy. The results so far prove that it was wise to depart from the old system of constructing reproductive works out of revenue. I should like, however, to direct the attention of the Minister to the difference of £64,000 between the amount which it is proposed to spend under the schedule and the amount to be raised. The Minister, in his brief explanation, said that this sum was set apart for the expenses -of the loan. It represents 3 per cent, on the total, and I question the wisdom of spending that amount on the ordinary advertising and underwriting charges. Is it proposed to use portion of this £64,000 so that the loan may be floated at a discount? I should, feel better satisfied if I knew just what the Government proposes to do. It seems to me that £64,000 for the underwriting and advertising of a loan of a little over £2,000,000 is too much.
Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) 13.13]. - I have no desire to delay the bill, but I wish to make a few remarks in connexion with matters which I regard as of more or less importance. The weather lately has been seasonably cool. According to some people it has been very cold, and when I read in this morning’s newspapers that there was practically no- hope of meeting in the Federal Capital next year, I thought it would bring comfort to thoSe who do not like seasonable weather, because, if they complain about the winter in Victoria, I do not know what they will fee] like in Canberra. According to some folks, the Canberra air in winter is so icy-cold that they will have to clothe themselves like Arctic explorers, while in summer it is said that it is so hot that it is difficult at times to keep cool, even when garbed in the dress that Adam wore. Why there should be this keen anxiety on the part of honorable senators to leave this city and get away to Canberra passes my comprehension. What is wrong with Victoria? We have a glorious climate in Melbourne. Within a few miles of Parliament House there is a magnificent sea frontage where honorable senators may inhale freely the lung-expanding ozone. Or, if the sea air does not agree with them, they may go to the mountain tops a few miles distant and enjoy the bracing atmosphere of the beautiful hills. We have rivers and lakes that can be reached by the most modern means of transport. We have places for the entertainment of the young and the old, the rich and the poor. We have institutions that are the admiration of the world. One of those institutions has helped very materially to place Australia on. the map. It attracts to this state tourists from all parts of the world. It is one of the best of its kind to be found anywhere. At it foregathers bipeds and quadrupeds. The latter come in their thousands by train, tram, boat, and on foot, from north, south, east, and west. I refer to Flemington, where, annually in November, a race called the Melbourne Cup is run. Honorable senators who are anxious to leave Melbourne permanently must now, according to rumour, for a year abandon all hope of doing so.
I wish to draw attention to the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, and incidentally to .refer to an expenditure that it incurs, of which I approve, but which proves the inconsistency of the Government’s actions. The Cabinet professes to be an all-Australian team. Ministers say that they are keenly anxious to give every encouragement to Australian industries and Australian workmen. For many years it has been contended by some honorable senators, and by persons who occupy high positions in the Commonwealth, that copper wire can not be manufactured in. Australia to the satisfaction of the Government of the day; and that, even if it could be manufactured, the cost would be so great compared with the price at which it could be purchased abroad that its purchase locally could not bc justified. For years the copper wire requirements’, particularly of the Postal Department, were imported. A departure has now been made from that policy, and, apparently, much that is required by the department is being- manufactured in Australia.. The cost during the last two years for this commodity has been more than £2.00,000 greater than would have been the ease had it been procured abroad. Yet the Government, in defence of its action in placing abroad an order for the construction of two cruisers- .
– Order! The question of the construction of cruisers is in no way connected with the bil] that is now before the Senate.
– Then I shall say that in another case in which there was a difference between the Australian tender and other tenders, the Government departed from the principle of encouraging local manufacture, on the score that the other .was cheaper. That is grossly inconsistent with its action in regard to copper wire. If it- is n good-thing to encourage Australian industries in one direction, it should be equally as good in another;
.- I should like to bc- furnished with information regarding Canberra. There is an item of £86,000 for works, services, and acquisition of land in the Federal Capital Territory. What is the use of expending additional sums of money in- the acquisition of land there when the Government will not make available for settlement the land that it now holds? A return that was furnished to the Senate- recently showed, that, as a result of all the efforts that had so far been put forth, the total area leased in the Federal Capital Territory was only 111 acres 1 pole. There have been .’eased 151 sites for homes, and 61 business si tes the annual rental being respectively £1,775 4s. and £2,232 2s. Calculated on the basis of n 20 years’ purchase, the value of the home sites would be £23,504, and of the business sites £44,642, an average of £613 an acre. I understand that tlie biggest part of the area that was purchased by the Government cost it about £4 an acre, so that it is not doing too badly. What is behind the determination of the Government not to make a greater area available on terms that will prove acceptable to prospective lessees? It is quite wrong of the Government to place an upset price on any blocks at Canberra. Within tlie city boundaries there is an area of about 64 square miles.- If, after making allowance for roadways and public buildings the remainder of the land were leased at a price approximating the value of the sites that have already been made available, instead of having to vote money for works at Canberra we should be receiving a rental of over £1,000,000 a year. I do not expect that we shall receive that amount for some time, but I urge upon the Government the advisability of making building sites available at a very much lower rectal than is at present charged. If it did that the land would be occupied instead of remaining in its present vacant condition. It must be remembered that every person who goes to Canberra adds to the value of the blocks that remain in the possession of the Government, and higher rentals must follow. I disagree entirely with the regulations under which , this land is being made available. I think that the period of re-appraisement is ‘ altogether too long. For the time being it has been fixed at twenty years. In the Melbourne press this morning there was a note of joy because it was alleged that it would be impossible for Parliament to meet at Canberra at the time appointed. According to a report made by Mr. Butters, Chairman of the Commission, his first impressions were apparently wrong, mid the swamping which was alleged to have taken, place was really a miniature affair. If the works proceed, a? he anticipates they will, Canberra will be prepared for the reception of Parliament after the 1st July of next year. There is no reason why a. meeting should noi he held there on the 27th January, 1926. I can understand the readiness to remain away from Canberra that is shown by those who are under the domination of the powerful Melbourne Age - which, runs Melbourne and Victoria, and futilely endeavours to run Australia as well - and tlie Argus. Many of. those persons have not been to Canberra, and they have no. intention of going there. The land that has already been released on a freehold basis has brought an average of £613 an acre. That is altogether too high a price, and the public will not give it. Thousands of sites would have been leased had the Government not followed the foolish policy of putting upon these blocks an upset price at which the public will not purchase.
– They should be given a freehold title.
– The honorable senator will shortly be given an opportunity to discuss that aspect of the matter, because we will have to consider a document containing 179 clauses, in which there is, I believe, a proposal to make freehold some of these blocks. I protest against this vote.
– As Senator Greene remarked, 3 per cent, seems a high cost for raising a loan, but I understand that it is practically in the nature of a guess. The loan will probably be floated in London, and discounts may be heavy. There will also be charges for brokerage. It is hoped that the rate mli not be as high as was stated. Regarding the point raised by Senator Findley, one reason animating many honorable senators in their desire to move to Canberra is probably that they would then be spared the necessity of having to listen to the interminable speeches of the honorable senator on Friday afternoons, and would have the pleasure of knowing that Senator Findley, because he had to catch a train to Melbourne, would probably be prevented from listening -with ‘ rapt attention every Friday afternoon, to the loquacity of his colleague, Senator Grant, of Canberra, that honorable’ senator, with his Henry Georgeian proclivities, having by that time probably bought a block in the Federal Capital and become a resident of that city. Senator Findley may yet be led to repent, with tears, of the speeches which he has inflicted on honorable senators on Friday afternoons, thus causing them to risk missing their trains. So far as the question raised by Senator Grant is concerned, the Commonwealth Government has no’ intention of depreciating the rightful values of land in Canberra by throwing the whole lot on the market at once. That ample land to meet the public demand was offered, is proved by the fact that all the blocks which were offered for sale have not yet been purchased. There are some still available for Senator Grant if he desires to purchase one.
– The price is too high. .
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
– The Standing and Sessional Orders having been suspended only to permit of the bill just dealt with being passed through all its stages without delay, and the hour fixed by the sessional orders for the adjournment of the Senate having expired, it is now my duty to put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the negative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Wilson) read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Pearce) read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Wilson) read a first time.
Senate adjourned at 3.38 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 June 1925, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1925/19250626_senate_9_110/>.