11th Parliament · 1st Session
The Senate met at 10.30 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
The President (Senator the Hon. Sir John Newlands) took the chair.
The Clerk read the Proclamation.
The Deputies appointed by His Excellency the Governor-General for the opening of the Parliament, the Right Honorable Sir Adrian Knox, P.C., K.C.M.G., Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, and the Right Honorable Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs, P.C., K.C.M.G., a Justice of the High Court of Australia, having been announced by the Usher of the Black Rod, entered the chamber and took their seats on the dais.
The Senior Deputy (the Right Honorable Sir Adrian Knox), through the Clerk, directed the Usher to desire the attendance of the members of the House of Representatives, who being come,
The SENIOR DEPUTY said-
Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
His Excellency the Governor-General, not thinking fit to be present in person at this time, has been pleased to cause letters patent to issue under the Great Seal of the Commonwealth constituting us his Deputies to do in his name all that is necessary to be performed in declaring this Parliament open, as will more fully appear from the letters patent which will now be read -
The letters patent having been read by the Clerk,
The SENIOR DEPUTY said-
Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
We have it in command from the Governor-General to let you know that as soon as the members of the House of Representatives shall have been sworn, the causes of His Excellency calling this Parliament will be declared by him in person at this place; and it being necessary that a Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be first chosen, you, Gentlemen of the House of Representatives, will retire to the place where you are to sit, and there proceed to the choice of some proper person to be your Speaker ; and thereafter you will present the person whom you shall so choose to His Excellency, at such time and place as he shall appoint.
Sir Isaac Isaacs will attend in the House of Representatives for the purpose of administering the oath, or affirmation of allegiance to honorable members of that House.
The Deputies and the members of the House of Representatives having retired,
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir John Newlands). - I have to inform the Senate that the casual vacancies in the representation of the States of New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia have been filled by the election of Mr. John Braidwood Dooley, Mr. Walter Jackson Cooper, Mr. John Joseph Daly and Mr. Michael Raphael O’Halloran. The Clerk will lay on the table the Certificates of Election.
Certificates laid on the table and read by the Clerk.
– I regret to have to inform the Senate of the death on 18th November last of Senator David Andrew. On behalf of the Senate I took steps to convey to Miss Andrew an expression of sympathy pending the more formal resolution of the Senate.
I have further to inform the Senate that pursuant to the provisions of the
Constitution I notified the Governor of the State of Victoria of the vacancy caused in the
representation of that State in the Senate by the death of Senator Andrew and that I have received through His Excellency the
Governor-General a certificate of the choice of
Certificate laid on the table and read by the Clerk.
Senators R. H. S. Abbott, Cooper, Daly, Dooley and O’Halloran made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
Sitting suspended from 10.54.a.m. to 3 p.m.
VERNOR-GENERAL entered the chamber and, being seated, with the President on his right hand, a message was sent to the House of Representatives intimating that His Excellency desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate Chamber who, being come with their Speaker,
HIS EXCELLENCY was pleased to deliver the following speech: -
Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentlemen ofthe House of Representatives -
You are called together to deliberate upon matters of importance to the welfare of the Commonwealth.
The illness of His Majesty the Bang aroused the deepest anxiety throughout Australia, and evoked a universal expres sion of those sentiments of enduring loyalty and affection which unite our people to the Crown. The intelligence concerning His Majesty’s prospective restoration to health has been received with feelings of profound relief and thankfulness.
My Advisers welcomed the opportunity afforded to Australia to become one of the original signatories to the Treaty for the Renunciation of War. They earnestly hope that this agreement will diminish the obstacles which have hitherto prevented further limitation of armaments.
Owing to unfavorable seasonal conditions, and other temporary factors, there has been a period of diminished activity in the commercial and industrial life of certain parts of the Commonwealth. Notwithstanding these adverse circumstances, which have necessarily affected public revenues, the financial position of the Commonwealth is sound. Conditions have already improved, and there are encouraging indications that the coming year will witness a return to normal prosperity.
My Advisers are watching with sympathetic interest the conference which is taking place between the representatives of those engaged in industry, and sincerely hope that as aresult of the conference an agreement for co-operation may be reached which will help to solve the industrial and economic problems which confront the community.
My Ministers have received the report of the Economic Mission which, at their request, was nominated by His Majesty’s Government in Britain. This report has been discussed with representatives of the States, together with the members of the Mission. The people of Australia fully recognize that the members of the Mission undertook their task at the cost of considerable personal sacrifice, and with the desire to assist in the development of Australia, and to promote inter-Empire trade. It is confidently anticipated that great benefits will accrue from the conferences that took place between the Mission and representatives of industry, commerce and finance.
The Economic Mission, in their report, have dealt exhaustively with the £34,000,000 Migration Agreement, and they have made suggestions for modifications in the Agreement which are now receiving the careful consideration of my Advisers.
The special circumstances of the war and of post-war reconstruction resulted in meetings of the Commonwealth Parliament being held at irregular intervals. The removal of the Seat of Government, and the establishment of the Parliament at Canberra, necessitated a continuance of this practice. It is proposed by my Advisers that Parliament should now resume a system of regular sessions. This, it is considered, will facilitate the conduct of public business.
The proposals submitted by way of Referendum for the alteration of the Constitution, giving the Commonwealth power to make agreements with the States in respect of their public debts, were approved by large majorities of the electors in every State. The amendment of the Constitution will enable the Commonwealth Parliament to validate any agreement already made. The Financial Agreement, which was made between the Commonwealth and the States on the 12th December, 1927, has been ratified by the Parliaments of the Commonwealth and the States. It cannot, however, become fully operative until validated” under the Constitution as amended. Legislation Will be introduced in this session to give the Agreement permanent effect, and thus retain to the Commonwealth and States the advantages which result from a co-ordinated system of consolidation, management and redemption of the public debt.
The question of special financial assistance to certain of the States is receiving consideration.
My Advisers will continue their policy of making provision for the defence of Australia. The cruisers and submarines constituting the new naval unit have arrived in the Commonwealth, and the seaplane carrier Albatross has been commissioned - thus completing the five years’ naval programme approved by Parliament. In framing the financial proposals for the coming year, consideration will be given to the recommendations contained in the report of Air Chief Marshal Sir John Salmond on air defence.
There are many departments of Commonwealth activity the work of which would be greatly facilitated if an Economic Research Service were available. For this purpose, and to provide fuller information for the public upon many subjects of importance, it is proposed to establish a Commonwealth Bureau of Economic Research, and to extend the scope of the Bureau of Census and Statistics.
A careful investigation of the work and functions of the Tariff Board has been made. Proposals will be submitted to you to bring about a more expeditious and effective working of the Board, .so that Parliament may be fully and accurately informed as to the operation of existing customs duties and bounties, and may also be in a position to consider the probable effect of new proposals for the encouragement of primary and secondary industries.
My Ministers propose that the coastal clauses of the Navigation Act should be repealed, and that in lieu thereof protection should be given through Tariff provisions to vessels complying with Australian standards of wages and living conditions. The question of the method and measure of protection to be afforded has been referred to the Tariff Board- for report.
In view of the importance to Australia of sea transport, my Advisers have convened a conference representing oversea shipping companies and Australian interests directly concerned in oversea trade, for the purpose of considering matters which affect oversea transport to and from Australia, with the object of ensuring the provision of the most economic and efficient service.
My Advisers, in accordance with a promise made to the electors, will submit a measure embodying the substance of the regulations already made under the Transport “Workers Act.
You will also be asked to approve of proposals for the establishment of a War Pensions Appeal Board.
My Advisers propose to introduce a Bill establishing a Wine Export Board for the purpose of assisting the marketing organization of the industry.
The progressive policy of the Post Office will be continued, and its facilities will be extended to enable telephonic communication to be established with Tasmania and Western Australia. The Wireless Broadcasting Advisory Board has been established, and arrangements are well in hand to give effect to the policy of my Ministers for improving broadcasting facilities.
In pursuance of the policy of the development of North Australia by improved transport, my Advisers have accepted a contract for an aerial service between North Australia and other parts of the Commonwealth, and have proceeded with the construction of the Oodnadatta to Alice Springs Railway, which will give communication between Central and South Australia in June, 1929.
My Ministers, in pursuance of the policy of extending air communications, have made arrangements for new services between Adelaide and Perth; Brisbane and Charleville ; and Camooweal and Daly Waters. At an early date the services from Perth to Derby will be extended to Wyndham.
My Advisers propose, on the adjournment of Parliament, to invite representatives of the Governments of the States to confer with them upon questions closely affecting the development and progress of Australia which can best be dealt with by co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States.
Included in the subjects which the Commonwealth proposes to submit for consideration are transport, social legislation, unemployment, national health, and development of our power resources. At this conference my Ministers will again submit for consideration the question of the unification of the gauge of our railway systems.
A Bill was submitted to the last Parliament providing a comprehensive scheme of National Insurance against sickness, invalidity and death. Parliament was not asked to proceed with the
Measure at that time. This course was adopted so that the fullest details of the scheme might be available to the general public, the employers, the employees, the Friendly and Insurance Societies and the medical profession, from whom suggestions and criticisms were invited. This course was also desirable in order to secure the co-operation of the States with the object of removing duplication and unnecessary costs, where the social legislation of the States overlapped the benefits provided by the National Insurance Scheme. This question will also be submitted to the proposed Conference between the Commonwealth and the States.
Any necessary legislation arising out of the deliberations of the Conference will be submitted to you for your consideration in a later session.
In the earnest hope that Divine Providence may guide your deliberations, and further the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth, I now leave you to the discharge of your high and important duties.
His Excellency the GovernorGeneral and the members of the House of Representatives having retired,
– I have to inform the Senate that on the 7th December last, on behalf of the
Parliament, the following cablegram was despatched by
On behalf of the Commonwealth Parliament we desire to express deep sympathy with Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal Family in their anxiety, and to convey earnest wishes for the recovery of His Majesty the King.
The following reply has been received : - 13th December. Your telegram of 7th December containing terms of a message from the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives has been laid before His Majesty the King. I am requested to convey to the President and members of the Senate and to the Speaker and members of the the House of Representatives an expression of grateful appreciation from Their Majesties the King and Queen for their kind message of sympathy.
[3.25]. - (By leave.) - I desire to
announce to the Senate that the following changes have taken place in the Ministry: -
The resignations of the Right Honorable S. M. Bruce, C.H., P.C., M.C., as Minister for
Trade and Customs, the Hon. Sir Neville R. Howse,
V.C., K.C.B., K.C.M.G., as Minister for Home and Territories, the Hon. W. C. Hill as
Minister for Works and Railways, and
The portfolios of Home and Territories and Markets have been abolished, and the new portfolios of Home Affairs, Industry, and Markets and Transport . have been created.
The following appointments have been made : - The Hon. J. G. Latham, C.M.G., K.C.,
Attorney-General, to also hold office as Minister for Industry; the Hon. W. G. Gibson,
Postmaster-General, to also hold office as Minister for Works and Railways; the Hon. T.
Paterson to be Minister for Markets and Transport; the Hon. H. S. Gullett to be Minister for Trade and Customs; the Hon. C. L. A.
Abbott to be Minister for Home Affairs; and
– I have to report that I have received a copy of the speech just delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General at the opening of the Parliament.
That the consideration of the Speech be an order of the day for the next day of sitting.
[3.32]. - (By leave.) - Since the representatives of the people in this chamber last met, an event has occurred that has occasioned profound concern not only throughout Australia but also throughout all other portions of the British Empire, and, I think I may add, throughout the civilized world. I refer to the serious illness of His Majesty, King George V., which, as honorable senators are aware, has now extended over several weeks. For many days His Majesty was dangerously ill and his life was almost despaired of, but we have noted with the greatest satisfaction from the more recent reports received that there has been a considerable improvement in his condition.
The people of Australia, in common with the rest of the Empire, have watched, with feelings of grave anxiety, the progress of His Majesty’s illness, and their deepest sympathy has gone out to Her Majesty the Queen and the members of the Royal family in their hour of trial. I feel sure that every honorable senator will agree with me that it is the first duty of the Senate, on assembling for the opening of the eleventh Parliament, to express its sympathy with His Majesty in his illness, and its gratification at the more reassuring news as to his progress that is now coming to hand. I accord ingly move that the following message be conveyed to His Majesty the King: -
We, the President and members of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, avail ourselves of this earliest opportunity to express our deep sympathy with His Majesty the King, Her Majesty the Queen, and the members of the Royal family in the illness of His Majesty.
We are much gratified by the improvement which has already taken place in His Majesty’s state of health, and fervently hope that a complete recovery may speedily be effected.
, - On behalf of honorable senators on this side of the chamber, I second the motion. Without doubt the illness of His Majesty for many weeks has caused his subjects a vast amount of anxiety. Just as they were deeply concerned with the gravity of His Majesty’s illness, so are their minds relieved to-day by the news that he is on the road to recovery, and it is hoped that, with the blessing of Divine Providence, the improvement will continue and that His Majesty will long be spared to reignover the Empire. Her Majesty the Queen and every member of the Royal family, have had a most trying and anxious time, and I am sure that their anxiety has been shared in every home throughout the British Empire. His Majesty, throughout his reign, has endeared himself to his people, and it is only in accord with the fitness of things that we as duly elected representatives of the people in this far-flung outpost of His Majesty’s dominions, should avail ourselves of the first opportunity to express our deep regret at his illness and our thanks that he is now on the road to recovery. On behalf of the Opposition in this chamber, I voice the hope that the improvement in his condition of health may continue.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
[3.37].- (By leave.) - I move -
That the Senate expresses its profound regret at the death of the Right Honorable Andrew Fisher, P.O., and places on record its appreciation of the distinguished service rendered to Australia by him as Prime Minister of the
Commonwealth and subsequently as High Commissioner for the Commonwealth in Great Britain. and tenders its deep sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.
I submit this motion with strong personal feelings because I had the honour to be associated with the late Right Honorable Andrew Fisher in the first government that he formed. To work with him and to know him personally was to entertain for him the most profound respect, for he was a man of the highest integrity; a man of sterling character and one of nature’s gentlemen. A true patriot, he was proud both of the land of his birth, and of Australia, the country of his adoption. Mr. fisher was born in Scotland but no native Australian could have had for Australia a more intense love than he had. Arriving in this country in 1886 he settled on the Gympie goldfields, Queensland, in 1888. In 1893 he became a member of the Queensland Parliament and remained a member of it until 1896. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1901, and in the first Labour Government of the Commonwealth, that formed by the Honorable J. C. Watson, held the portfolio of Minister for Trade and Customs.
Mr. Fisher was Prime Minister of the Commonwealth
during 1908-9 and again from 1910 to 1913, as well as during 1914 and 1915. I venture to
say that during those years he made an indelible mark on the history of Australia.
During his last term of office as Prime Minister he suffered the greatest trial that
could come to any man in charge of the affairs of a nation, since the empire of which
Australia forms a part was involved in war. That world catastrophe occurred when the
Commonwealth was in the throes of a general election campaign. The Labour party, of
which Mr. Fisher was the then leader, at that time
formed the Opposition in this Parliament. Mr. Fisher
had no difficulty in deciding where he stood in connexion with the war and what should
be the attitude of Australia. He realized what it meant to this great continent of ours,
and that it was the duty of this country to do all it could to ensure that the empire
should emerge successfully from the conflict. In the course of the campaign he coined a
phrase that will never be forgotten. He said in a sentence what others had taken hours
to express, when he declared that Australia was .”in the war to the last man and the
last shilling “. He was equally definite in dealing with every subject with which he
was confronted. He was sincere, he was thorough, and having made up his mind that a
certain course of action was the only right one to follow he went straight ahead
regardless of whether the goal at which he was aiming was popular or not. It was his
integrity, his sincerity, his obvious honesty of purpose rather than any great
intellectual attainments that gained for him the respect of his colleagues, and the
confidence of his party and the people of Australia. When
It is fitting that we should place on record this expression of our appreciation of
the great services which the Right Honorable Andrew Fisher rendered to Australia, and,
indeed, to the whole empire. It is fitting also that we should tender our deepest
sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.
– I rise to second the motion moved by the right honorable the Leader of the Senate, and on behalf of honorable senators on this side of the chamber to endorse his remarks. The name of Andrew Fisher is a household word, not only in Australia, but also in every pari of the British Commonwealth of Nations. For three successive periods he held the very high and responsible office of Prime Minister of Australia, and carried out his many onerous duties with fidelity and sincerity. Andrew Fisher was the soul of honour and, as Senator Pearce has said, was a fearless champion of every principle that to him was right. He was slow at times in coming to a decision, but once that decision was reached nothing could stop him from carrying it to its conclusion. Despite that characteristic determination, his demeanour was always courteous and dignified, and won him many friends throughout the Commonwealth and, indeed, the British Empire.
In all his work Mr. Fisher was imbued with and actuated by noble and high ideals. He was, undoubtedly, loyal to the country of his adoption, his party and bis colleagues. The greater part of his life was devoted to public service, and he was always eager to advance and protect the interests of his fellowmen During the period that he had the honour to be Prime Minister of Australia, he established a unique record, inasmuch as he was instrumental in the years 1910 to 1913 in having placed on the statute-book of the Commonwealth every plank of the platform on which the Labour party went to the electors in 1910. In the intervening years that legislation has withstood the test of time and, with the exception of that which related to the Commonwealth Bank, not one section of it has been altered. Could there be a more striking tribute to. his capacity?
By the death of Andrew Fisher the British Commonwealth of Nations has lost a great man; but an even greater loss has been sustained by his widow and family, and I and my colleagues join with honorable senators opposite in extending to them our very sincere sympathy in their bereavement. It may be fittingly claimed that the name of Andrew Fisher will be honoured and his memory revered while love lingers to kiss the lips of death.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
[3.53]. - (By leave.) - I move -
That the Senate places on record its profound regret at the death of the Honorable Henry Bournes Higgins, late Justice of the High Court of Australia, and its appreciation of the notable services rendered by him, and tenders its deep sympathy to his widow in her bereavement.
The late Mr. Justice Higgins had a distinguished career as a legislator and as a Justice of the High Court of Australia. He was a former member of this Parliament, and in the first Commonwealth Labour Government held the portfolio of Attorney-General. On the 13th October, 1906, he was appointed a Justice of the High Court, and held that office until his death. For some years, whilst a Justice of the High Court, he was also President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, and brought to bear upon his work a zeal, sincerity and enthusiasm which it would be difficult to rival. While holding that office he laid down the principles on which the basic wage judgments of the industrial tribunals of Australia have been framed up to the present time. It is not too much to say that, in doing so, he enunciated maxims which then, to a great many people, appeared to be revolutionary. They were, however, based on humanitarianism and have come to be accepted as just and equitable principles to be observed in the assessment of what should be the basic or living wage of a community. In Australia and elsewhere, wherever industrial matters are discussed, the principles enunciated by the late Mr. Justice Higgins, as President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court, have received considerable attention from every student of economics. The late Justice was a man of strong character and opinions, with a high sense of public duty. During his life-time he filled many important positions and he has left behind him a record of honorable and faithful service.
– I second the motion moved by the right honorable the Leader of the Senate. The news of the death of
Mr. Justice Higgins came as a very great shock to the people of Australia. For a very long time, in the legal and political arenas, he had played an important part in the public life of Australia and had rendered yeoman service to its people. He was a man of a very lovable disposition, of high scholastic attainments, and an eminent jurist and publicist. The outstanding feature of his long and useful career was his presidency of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court. Entering that office without the advantage of having precedents to guide him, he had to travel a difficult and uncharted sea; but no one can question the good work that he did in that industrial tribunal. He laid the foundations upon which it has been built up, and all his decisions were characterized by the utmost impartiality. By his death Australia has lost a great man, and his place will be difficult to £11. We, on this side, join with our friends opposite in tendering to Mrs. Higgins our sincere sympathy in the loss that she has sustained.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
[3.57]. - (By leave.) - I move -
That the Senate express its sincere regret
Bt the death of the late
Senator Andrew, whose death occurred on the 18th November last, subsequent to the adjournment of the Senate, was elected to this chamber as a representative of Victoria in 1925. During the time that he spent with us he exhibited a high sense of public duty, and by his genial disposition and kindly manner endeared himself to all his fellow senators. The circumstances surrounding his illness, and the death of his wife a few months prior to his own demise, were most tragic, and evoked universal sorrow. He was a popular citizen of the city of Bendigo. Those who had occasion to visit that city while he was an honorable senator know how highly he was respected by his fellow citizens, and what valuable services he rendered to them. He threw himself whole-heartedly into the many activities connected with the civic life of Bendigo. His work in connexion with the Country Fire Brigades Board was exceptionally fine. He was always an energetic worker in the cause of charity, and during the war period assisted materially the appeals for funds that were launched by the Red Cross. In every respect Senator Andrew lived up to the highest ideals of citizenship. We desire to place on record our regret at his death and our appreciation of his many valuable public services.
– I second the motion moved by the Right Honorable the Leader of the Senate,
expressing regret at the death of the late
The late honorable senator did not have a very long stay among us, but he certainly won a host of friends, since he possessed a lovable, kindly, and charitable disposition. The remarks of the Leader of the Senate with respect to his activities in his home town of Bendigo can be supported by many of us. During my short acquaintance with him I learned not only to respect but also to love and revere him. He performed many acts for the good of his fellows, but in such a manner as to avoid publicity. Had he been spared, he would have been of very great assistance to the members of this chamber in dealing with the legislation of the Commonwealth. We are sorry that he has been called so early to his reward and his usefulness thus brought to a close. Doubtless, the loss of his partner in life accentuated his trouble and hastened his end. My colleagues and I join with honorable senators opposite in expressing regret at his death, and sympathy for those who have been left behind.
[4.1]. - Filling, as I do, the vacancy which was caused in the representation of the State of Victoria in the Senate by the lamented death of Senator Andrew, and having been associated with him in the city of Bendigo during practically the whole of my life, I desire to say how greatly the people of Bendigo and, indeed, of the whole of Victoria feel his loss. Although his death was not altogether unexpected, it nevertheless had all the poignancy of a sudden blow. For very many years the late honorable senator occupied the highest positions in the gift of the citizens of Bendigo. He was a member of the City Council, and upon several occasions held office as Mayor. During the war period he rendered signal service to the different associations for the raising of money for the alleviation of distress, and particularly to the- Red Cross movement. His efforts to promote the collection of. funds for charitable purposes, particularly for the Bendigo Hospital, made his name a household word in that city. One of his most notable achievements was the establishment of the Country Fire Brigades Board, which throughout the length and breadth of Victoria has rendered yeoman service. During his captaincy of the Bendigo Fire Brigade, which extended over a period of from twenty to 25 years, he exhibited a knowledge and an ability in the fighting of fires that made him an outstanding figure.
Senator Andrew felt keenly his inability to contest the last election, and his disappointment was shared by everyone with whom he was acquainted. There is not the slightest doubt that had he been well enough to take part in that campaign he would have been returned with a substantial majority. Fate, however, ordained otherwise.
I feel that it may appropriately be said of him -
He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
Motion (by Senator Sir George Pearce) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till to-morrow at 3 p.m.
[4.4]. - As a mark of respect to the memory of the late honorable gentlemen, I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 4.6 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 6 February 1929, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1929/19290206_senate_11_120/>.