12th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. W. Kingsmill) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Has be noticed that in an election leaflet issued by the Hon. K. G. Theodore, M.P., as campaign director of the Labour party at the 1928 election, the statement is made that Mr. Bruce brought 8,000 Italians, Greeks and Jugoslavs into Australia?
Are we to understandthat the 2,120 Europeans other than British who came into Australia for the quarter ending 30th December, 1929, were broughtin by Mr. Scullin?
– I have not seen the pamphlet referred to, and I do not know what the right honorable senator is entitled to understand from the figures quoted by him in the second portion of his question, but if he desires further information, I ask him to place his questions on the notice-paper.
– I shall do so.
Is he aware that the election leaflet, No. 11, issued by the Hon. E. G. Theodore, M.P., as campaign director of the Labour party at the 1928 electionappealed to the electors “For Free Radio, vote Labour,” and definitely set out in paragraph (2) under the heading of “ Broadcasting” the promise of the abolition of listeners-in licence fees? When is it proposed by the Government to carry out this promise?
– The Government made no such promise to the electors; it proposes to honour any promise it made tothem.
– Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate yet in a position to supply an answer to a question I have asked relative to a promise stated to have been made by the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Forde) that a bounty would be paid on beef?
– I am not yet in a position to give the information.
Is it a fact that in the Melbourne Argus newspaper of 22nd March, 1930, under the heading of “ Company News,” there is a report of the operations of Amalgamated Pictures Limited for the year ended 28th February, showing that the net profit for the year is £21,480, compared with £10,531 for 1 928-29?
In view of the general depression in industry and of the increased profits from amusements which these figures disclose, will the Government re-consider their decision not to tax picture companies before imposing any further taxation on industry?
– The report referred to by the right honorable senator may have been published, but no one knows better than he does that the Government made no such promise.
– As the Leader of the Senate has evidently not heard my question properly, I give notice that I shall ask it again to-morrow.
asked the Leader ofthe Government in the Senate, upon notice -
In reference to the announcement by Ministers that it is intended to place orders for a new lighthouse steamer at a cost of over £100,000, and having regard to the urgent necessity for economy, will the Government, before proceeding with this proposal, invite the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the question of the necessity for such expenditure?
– It is proposed to refer the question of building a new lighthouse steamer to the Public Works Committee.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Is the Government considering the advisableness of imposing a duty on Java kapok, in the interests of the Queensland cotton industry?
If so, will the Government give careful consideration to the probability of the Dutch Government retaliating by imposing a duty on Australian flour, with disastrous consequences to the flour milling industry of Australia and particularly of ‘Western Australia ? ‘
– The answers to the honorable senator’s question are as follow: -
Visit to Tasmania
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s question are as follow : -
Motion (by Senator Sir Hal Colebatch for Sena tor R. D. Elliott) agreed to: -
That the time for bringing up the report from the Select Committee appointed to consider, report and make recommendations upon the advisability or otherwise of establishing standing committees of the Senate upon Statutory Rules and Ordinances, International Relations. Finance, and Private Members’ Bills, be extended to Wednesday, 2nd April. 1930.’
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Barnes) read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Barnes) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators who have had an opportunity to peruse the bill will have noticed that, apart from the actual principle involved, it is one which can be more effectively considered in committee. Prior to 1926 the subjects of development and migration were under direct and complete ministerial control. The establishment of a Development and Migration Commission represented a complete change in such control. The control of the Minister became indirect and partial. The Development and Migration Commission, being a creature of Parliament, built up its own organization, engaged and employed its own staff, and, within its ambit, defined its internal policy free from the control of the Minister. The present Government seeks to amend the law to provide that the complete control of development and migration shall once again be vested in the executive. The case for the Government in support of its contention may be conveniently stated in the following propositions: - (1) That our system of constitutional government implies, as a general rule, that executive administration shall be supervised and controlled by individual Ministers; and (2) That necessity only, as opposed to convenience, should be the exception to such general rule, and such exception, once it is created, should continue only so long as the necessity exists.
As honorable senators will admit, the first proposition needs very little argument to support it. It is true that the Parliament is the titular council of the Crown in legislative matters, and that all laws are still enacted in the name of the Sovereign by and with the advice and consent of Parliament. It is also true that, as a titular council, it can prescribe the mode by which it suggests that the Sovereign shall exercise his executive powers. But the exercise of executive powers vested in the Sovereign is delegated in practice to the various political officers who compose the Ministry or the Government, or to government offices whose staffs are comprised of members of the Public Service. The reason for the existence of this practice is obvious when one considers that - (1) The responsibility to Parliament of a Ministry, individually and collectively, is secured by the fact that Ministers are, in effect, dismissible at the pleasure of Parliament through their inability to carry on the government without its support and (2) A member of the Public Service may be dismissed by the the Crown.
It is obvious also, when one considers the dangers of vesting, as a general rule, control in boards similar to the Development and Migration Commission, where commissioners are not dismissible by Parliament, and when neither they nor the members of their staff are members of the Public Service. A Ministry might be dismissed for the act of a Minister appointed under the Development and Migration Act, but that dismissal would not, consequently, result in the removal from office of those whose actions might have brought about such a dismissal. Here I come to the second proposition that any departure from the general rule is fraught with so many dangers that the convenience of. the Minister or Ministry should not be studied. If, for example, at any given time it was felt that so much work was being thrown upon the shoulders of the Minister or Ministry that some other person should be allotted the task of performing this particular work, that would be a matter of convenience, and should not be made the subject of an exception to the general rule. Parliament has the right to decide how many Ministers there shall be, and in the case of a Minister or a Ministry being overworked, the remedy is to increase the number of Ministers and not to create commissions. Necessity alone, therefore, should furnish the exception, and the exception should continue only so long as the necessity exists.
– Why have railways commissioners ?
– The work of a development and migration commission and that of railway commissioners may be a? far apart as the poles.
– The principle is the same.
– The name is- the same, but the principle may be entirely different. There is no magic in the term “ commissioner.” There is a distinction between a commission such as the Development and Migration Commission and some of the State Railways Commissioners. I am not quarrelling with terms or discussing whether a man should or should not be called a commissioner. Nor am I attempting to defend the action of some of the States in giving their railways commissioners power similar to those given to the Development and Migration commissioners and divorcing control almost entirely from Parliament. I have no hesitation in saying that in South Australia the wide powers vested in the Railways Commisisoner have been, to a very large extent, responsible for the very heavy losses on the railways of that State and the unfortunate tangle which they are in to-day.
– The. system has been successful elsewhere.
– The point is not whether a man is called a commissioner, but whether work is entrusted to a commission. I do not submit that a commissioner cannot do the work as effectively as a Minister can do it; but that the task is one for a Minister and not for some one outside Parliament. On the two propositions I have already stated, and on this additional proposition I shall rest my case, that even if the necessity to appoint the Development and Migration Commission did exist when the previous Government appointed that body, that necessity no longer exists. The control should be in the hands of a Minister.
That leads me to relate the historical facts which led up to the appointment of the Development and Migration Commission; to discuss the present organization - its functions and cost - and to conclude with the Government’s proposals for the future. An Empire conference, attended by representatives of all parts of the Empire, met in London in January and February, 1921, to discuss various systems of Empire settlement. Various decisions were arrived at with a view of securing co-operation between the British Government and the governments of the several dominions in relation to the carrying-out of a comprehensive policy of a permanent nature embracing Empire land settlement, and the promotion of migration within the Empire. Co-operation having been secured, the next step was the passage in May, 1922, of the Empire Settlement Act. That act empowered the British Government to co-operate with the dominions in the promulgation of schemes to assist the migration of suitable persons who desired to settle in any part of the oversea dominions. The co-operation and assistance could be either in developmental or land settlement schemes, or schemes for facilitating settlement by helping with passages, initial allowances, training or otherwise. The act provided that the contribution of the Imperial Government should not in any case exceed half the cost of any adopted scheme. Such contribution was limited to fifteen years after the passing of the act. Following the passage of the Empire Settlement Act, agreements were entered into with the States of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. These agreements were concluded on the 14th November, 1922; 21st September, 1922; and 9th February 1923, respectively. In New South Wales the capital cost of the schemes was fixed at £6,000,000; in Victoria, £2,000,000, and in Western Australia, £6,000,000. New South Wales did not proceed very far with its scheme; after providing certain facilities for the training of migrants and settling approximately 28 migrants, nothing further was done. The Government is now in communication with the Government of New South Wales regarding the liability for this scheme which has conferred absolutely no benefit on either Britain or Australia. About £100,000 is involved.
– Why were the operations suspended in New South Wales?
– I cannot say; but I understand that they were suspended because of a change of government; but that does not alter the fact that under the scheme certain liabilities were incurred. At that time the Development and Migration Commission had not been established; the scheme to which I refer was undertaken in connexion with the £14,000,000 agreement. In Victoria 700 migrants were accepted under the agreement, and passages and assistance were provided for them. Approximately only 400 of them reported on arrival in Australia, and of that number only 335 were provided with farms. Judging by- the disturbing complaints that have been received from those settlers, and the pressing and insistent requests from the British Government for an inquiry, as well as from the knowledge I have gained since I have been in charge of this department, the scheme has not been successful.
– Were requests submitted for migrants who did not exist?
– No; under the Empire Settlement Act and the scheme accepted by the British Government the
Commonwealth paid the passages of 700 migrants ; but the organization was so lax that nothing is known of 300 of them.
– Did they leave England ?
– They received their passage money, and apparently they embarked to take up land settlement in Victoria, but only 400 of them can be traced, and of that number only 335 settled on the land. Probably not more than five of the total number are satisfied with their conditions.
– Was not that done under an agreement between the British Government and the Government of Victoria ?
– I have already mentioned that. At that time the Development and Migration Commission had not been appointed. I am tracing the history of land settlement in Australia under what is known as the force-pump system, and of which the Development and Migration Commission subsequently formed part. I assure the right honorable gentleman that I propose to connect my remarks with the £34,000,000 agreement. These agreements were made with the States under the Empire Settlement Act.
– Before the Development and Migration Commission was in existence?
– Yes. The Commission had nothing to do with those schemes.
– Then what have they, to do with this bill?
– Evidently the honorable senator knows what is coming, and is getting somewhat anxious.
– Did the 300 migrants who cannot be traced land in Australia?
– I assume so.
– -What has this matter to do with the Commonwealth ?
– I shall show that presently. I want to show what happened under the Western Australian scheme.
– Which was also a State scheme.
– I am glad that the right honorable senator does not dispute it. It was a scheme with a similar history. I am asked what that has to do with the £34,000,000 agreement and the bill at present before the Senate. In 1925, probably as a result of the unsatisfactory nature of the arrangement then in operation, a conference was held between representatives of Great Britain and Australia. The outcome was what is commonly called the £34,000,000 agreement. That agreement provided for the merging of the schemes which were provided for under the old agreement, and the extension of Great Britain’s assistance towards the capital expenditure by a further £20,000,000, in addition to the £14,000,000 included by reason of the merger. That is where those schemes have something to do with the £34,000,000 agreement and its subsequent administration. They were merged into the. £34,000,000 agreement and the Commonwealth Government accepted the responsibility of seeing that they were carried out. The mess that had been created was thus to be cleared up. I propose to demonstrate to honorable senators that the most effective plan would have been, not to have removed the matter from ministerial control and to have transferred it to a commission, but for the Ministry to have realized that, having accepted the responsibility, its duty was to have shouldered the job, and not to have shelved it.
Migration under the new scheme became the subject of unified control by the Commonwealth, and with that end in view the system thenceforth to operate was that - (1) The Commonwealth on approved schemes should make available to the States loan moneys at low rates of interest and the British and Commonwealth Governments should for a period of ten years share between them the balance of the interest cost; (2) Certain other expenses attendant upon the administration of the now arrangement should be borne and shared by the British and Commonwealth Governments between them; and (3) The Commonwealth should see that immigrants accepted under a scheme were satisfactorily settled in terms of the agreement.
Collateral to the main agreement, agreements were entered into between the Commonwealth and the States. At this time, the subject of State expenditure of loan moneys was causing grave concern. Quite apart from the arrangements with Great Britain schemes for development which had cost millions of pounds were top heavy and without considerable relief in the way of writing down huge capital losses they were certain to collapse.
The Government was faced with these facts -
The only quarrel that I have with the late Government is that, instead of directly controlling the position, it adopted the expedient - it cannot be justified on any other ground - of appointing what is known as the Development and Migration Commission. The act appointing that commission resulted in the appointment of four commissioners at salaries in the aggregate of £13,250 per annum, or the equivalent of the salaries of seven Cabinet Ministers; in the setting up of a staff of experts which might just as conveniently have reported to a Minister, who. in turn would have had £13,250 per annum with which to pay the salary of a Director of Development, and to pay any fees necessary for consultant experts. It further enabled the setting up of administrative staffs in London and in Australia, with attendant administrative heads to perform work which could conveniently have been carried out by the staffs at Australia House and in the office of the Prime Miinister
To give the Parliament some idea of the cost involved in maintaining such an organization, even in a year when those controlling it knew that migration had fallen from 31,260 in the year of its creation to 12,943 in 1.929; that definite bases had been reached in the way of soil investigations to guide States in developmental projects, and that a Loan Council had such limited resources at its disposal that it was forced to ration its funds, I shall quote from a schedule furnished to me by the Development and Migration Commission -
The Government has no desire to detract from the value of the work done by the Commissioners and the staff. Admittedly, the results of their investigations contributed towards the prevention of wasteful expenditure on public works and other schemes. But I ask what work has the Commission performed which could not have been done as efficiently and as economically by a Minister?
– State Ministers did not seem to be very effective in controlling the matter.
– And Commonwealth Ministers appear to have been less effective. But that does not alter the principle.
– If the Commissioners were such a terrible lot, why did not the Government get rid of them?
– I am not suggesting that the policy of the late Government could have been carried out for less expenditure than was incurred by the commission. All that I am contending is that, when a commission is appointed, there is a tendency for its staff to be added to, until eventually it becomes a new department.
I do not imply that the Development and
Migration Commission deliberately wasted money. I believe that that body kept its expenditure within reasonable limits, and that it could not have gone further in that direction without sacrificing efficiency for economy. Nevertheless, we have to face the fact that the commission was costing Australia over £100,000 a year.
– Is it not the fact that a considerable proportion of that expenditure was incurred in preliminary survey work which was not likely to recur?
– Possibly a certain amount of the expenditure incurred by the commission in the earlier stages of its activities will not recur. It insisted upon certain inquiries, which had to be carried out. Any Minister with the knowledge which the commission possessed in 1926 would have insisted upon the same inquiries. It was the alteration in the policy of expenditure first, and inquiry afterwards, that resulted in the savings, and the commission was the instrument through which the change was made. Nevertheless, the commisison has cost Australia £450,000 since its appointment, and its continuance meant an annual expenditure of approximately £100,000 per annum despite all the economies which, in times of financial stress, the Commissioners were compelled to make. This is an expenditure which, if we subscribed to the policy of government by commission, we could not have further reduced. The Government takes the view that, although investigations must be proceeded with, an expenditure of £13,250 in salaries for members of the commission is too great, and that it would be better to entrust this matter to the Minister responsible to Parliament.
– Would not considerable expenditure have been saved in connexion with soldier settlement if investigations, such as those conducted by the commisison, had first been made into those schemes?
– It would have been better if all land settlement schemes had been subjected to a thorough investigation; but everybody knows that hitherto the policy had been to spend first and inquire afterwards. Even admitting; that, I still assert that under all the circumstances the appointment of the Development and Migration Commission was not a wise one. The matters entrusted to that body should have been under the control of a responsible Minister, who could have appointed his own experts to advise him. The London-Australian organization, including development and migration, but not passage money or ‘loans, has cost Australia £450,000.
– Not in one year.
– No; since its inception. Honorable senators are now asked to decide whether this organization which is costing Australia approximately £100,000 a year, should be continued.
– How much will the Government save on account of salaries? Will it be £5,000?
– The Senate has to decide whether this system should continue, or whether .control should be transferred back to Parliament and the Government allowed to consolidate the departments, appoint a director of development and, under ministerial control, keep a proper check over expenditure. This is the only alternative, because I can assure the Senate that if the Commission is to be continued and if efficiency is not to be sacrificed, it will not be possible to keep the expenditure below the amount stated. We believe, however, that the measures which we propose taking will mean a saving to Australia of between £40,000 and £50,000 a year.
– What items of expenditure will be eliminated ?
– I shall give the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition the details later. After a thorough overhaul involving weeks of investigation, I am satisfied that as an activity of government, the work of the Commission can at the present time be efficiently performed at an annual cost of £50,000. This we propose to do in the first place by paying Mr. Gepp a retaining fee of £1,250 a year for the balance of his term in lieu of continuing his appointment at £5,000 per annum. During the last few months the Government has been able to release Mr. Gepp from work in connexion with the Development and Migration Commission to enable him to assist in an inquiry into the coal-mining industry. It is idle to pretend that we have huge sums of money available for expenditure on developmental schemes that call for investigation by the Development and Migration Commission when, as a fact, we have not the money. Accordingly, we have made an arrangement with Mr. Gepp to pay him a retainer for the balance of his term. We have been able also to loan Mr. Devereux to the Australian Wool Council at a cost of £2,500 per annum in lieu of his present salary of £4,000 per annum.
– Who will pay Mr. Devereux’s salary?
– I propose to lay all these contracts on the table of the Senate. An arrangement has been made with the Australian Wool Council to utilize the services of Mr. Devereux for two years, with the right of renewal for a further two years, and the Government has agreed to pay £2,500 a year towards his salary. If at the end of two years, the Australian Wool Council does not desire to continue the arrangement, it has been arranged that
Mr. Devereux will accept a part time position in London at ?2,500 a year for the balance of his term. We are transferring Mr. Mulvany to the Markets and Transport Department, and propose to pay him ?300 a year for the balance of his term as a consultant, in lieu of ?1,750 per annum, his present salary as a member of the Commission. He will, of course, receive his salary of ?1,200 a year from the Department of Markets and Transport.
– The Government is saving ?250 a year in that way.
– Yes, and by returning Mr. Mulvany to his former position we are saving the salary of a secretary to the department.
– Did the Government abolish the position of secretary?
– No; we found other work for Mr. Brown to do.
– He went to another job?
– Exactly. That has to be done. Instead of sending wool experts to study wheat problems, we propose to send men who understand wheat to deal with wheat matters, and men who understand wool to deal with wool matters.For that reason, Mr. Devereux has gone to London. We have engaged Mr. Gunn at a salary of ?1,800 a year, which is a reduction of ?700 a year on his present salary.
– What will be his job?
– He will be Director of Development, acting immediately under the Minister. Generally, we propose to effect other economies by amalgamating activities in Australia with the Prime Minister’s Department, and, in London, with the High Commissioner’s organization with a consequent reduction in staff, and by placing the whole organization under a Minister who will be in close touch with finance and policy, and thereby able to deal more expeditiously with the expenditure of parliamentary appropriations.
– Is this the first step the Government is taking towards carrying out its policy of a general reduction in wages?
– The honorable senator is mistaken if he thinks that his interjection will effectively draw a red herring across the trail. I am at present discussing the proposed change over from control by the Development and Migration Commission to that of the Government; but the honorable senator need have no fear that it is at the present time the intention of the Government to reduce his salary. Under the new arrangement, we feel certain that greater efficiency is possible.
– Greater efficiency ?
– Yes. We must have greater efficiency if we are not to be mulct in heavy losses. However onerous the provisions of the ?34,000,000 agreement may be, the obligations imposed must be honoured until they are modified. Already there is a matter in dispute in Victoria involving hundreds of thousands of pounds. No one knows it better than does Senator Sir George Pearce.
– It is not a liability of the Commonwealth.
– The matter is in dispute between the British Government, the Commonwealth Government, and the Victorian Government, and the obligations of the three are now engaging the serious consideration of Ministers representing the three parties.
– If there is any financial liability involved, the honorable senator knows very well that it will be that of the State of Victoria and not that of the Commonwealth.
– Of course I know it, but I also know that if. the States get into a financialtangle they come to the Commonwealth for assistance; and whether the liability is met by the Victorian Government or the Commonwealth Government, it falls, eventually, on the taxpayer of the Commonwealth whether he lives in Victoria, New South Wales, or any other State. We have advanced to the States ?6,445,379, and it is estimated that under various schemes we have to advance further amounts totalling ?2,037,597. If Great Britain is to share the interest bill, it is the responsibility of the Commonwealth to see that our absorptive capacity is increased. It is no answer to quote migration statistics or point to some State with an apparent credit. Every day the department is being inundated with letters of complaint from dissatisfied migrants. These people have been brought here to buildup credits. England trusted Australia, and from cablegrams we have received, it is obvious that that trust has been shaken. Hundreds of complaints have been received by the British Government relating to the question of satisfactory settlement. The Commonwealth Government is determined to restore that confidence which has been shaken, and in its endeavour to do so seeks the assistance of Parliament.
– Does the honorable senator say that these complaints are matters for which the Development and Migration Commission is responsible ?
– No, but they are matters for which the Minister should have been responsible, but Parliament has made the Minister a mere figurehead. Obligations between governments which involve the credit of the nation are too sacred to be handed over to an outside body. I invite honorable senators’ attention to the British Auditor-General’s reference to the position as a result of his examination of the accounts for the year1928. His last certificate has been sent on to me by the British Government’s migration representative in Australia for the serious consideration of the Commonwealth Government. It is useless for us to say that it is the duty of the States to absorb the migrants. As a Commonwealth we pledged our word to the British Government, when we signed the £34,000,000 agreement, that we would supervise the schemes put forward and would supervise settlement; we pledged our word that if Great Britain gave the assistance we sought, and the migrants came to Australia, we should see that they were satisfactorily settled. The British AuditorGeneral points out -
The British Government has made the payments to the Commonwealth Government, and in turn the latter has transferred those benefits to the States. But complaints have been received in Great Britain, and the British Auditor-General has now drawn our attention to the fact that these reviews must be properly made, and in the event of unsatisfactory progress suggests repayments with interest. The Commonwealth has already advanced £6,000,000, and if we have to make a refund to Great Britain on a portion of the amount it will be little satisfaction to us to know that we have a State as our debtor. The British Auditor-General’s report sets out further
These points were not raised previously.
– That is most unfair of the honorable senator, because he is quoting the Victorian case when people were put on the land before the Development and Migration Commission was established, and he knows that if the scheme had been investigated by that commission it would probably have been condemned, and those complaints would not have existed.
– I candidly admit that if the Development and Migration Commission had been in. existence prior to the entry of the British Government into the £14,000,000 agreement, not only would the Victorian land settlement nor have been proceeded with, but the group settlement scheme of Western Australia would also not have been taken in hand.
– Not on the lines on which the States proceeded.
– I candidly admit that if the Development and Migration Commission, or if the Minister at that time had been in control, these things would not have been done.
– The State Minister went into the Victorian scheme, and went on with it.
– My point is that the Commonwealth was aware of the tangle into which Victoria had got when the £34,000,000 agreement was being executed and said to the British Government, “We shall take over the responsibility for that”, and in consideration of the Commonwealth taking over that responsibility, Great Britain extended its financial assistance from £14,000,000 to £34,000,000. Prom that point onwards a certain portion of the responsibility rested on the Commonwealth Government and it was for the late Commonwealth Government to see that something was done to place on a sounder basis the matters which it agreed to take over. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Pearce) is correct in saying that the particular schemes to which reference has been made were inaugurated prior to the appointment of the Development and Migration Commission, but there has been a first-class fight in progress for the last few months in connexion with the Victorian scheme. Why was it allowed to remain for years in the position in which it is to-day? I do not blame the Commission for it. I blame the minister.
– What minister?
– The member of the Commonwealth cabinet who was in charge of development and migration. I do not know who he was.
– What could he do with regard to a dispute between settlers and the Victorian Government under the Victorian scheme?
– The £34,000,000 agreement was an agreement between the Commonwealth Government, the British Government and the State Governments. Under it Victoria’s agreement with the British ‘ Government was cancelled and the Commonwealth took over the State’s responsibility for the unexpended and expended portions of the money advanced under the £14,000,000 agreement.
– The liability of the Victorian Government to migrants still remained with the State; the Commonwealth did not take that over.
– That liability remained with the State, but certain obligations were created between the British Government and the Commonwealth Government. If the honorable senator is anxious to shake the confidence of the British Government let him get another £20,000,000 from such government for the development of Australia on this assurance : “ We admit tha* you are in a tangle with ti States, but we shall take the problem over and administer it, doing the best wi possibly can with the Victorian Government.”
– What could a Commonwealth minister do in that particular case?
THE PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. W. Kingsmill). - I think very little is to be achieved by asking questions in this manner while an honorable senator is speaking.
– If Senator Pearce desires to know what a Commonwealth minister could do I will tell him. I conceive it to be the duty of the responsible Commonwealth minister to take up the matter with the Victorian Government and carry the inquiry to the point at which he could do everything possible to protect the interests of Great Britain.
– ‘That was done.
– The records do not show it.
– They do.
– They do not.
– Ask Mr. Mulvany if it was not done.
– Certain investigations were made into the complaints of various settlers, but a general survey of the whole position was not made and has not yet been made although it is being carried out at the present time.
– In that particular case a general investigation was made by Mr. Mulvany.
– Mr. Mulvany made an investigation into complaints of certain settlers, but there was never an investigation by the Commonwealth Government with a view to ascertaining what obligations, if any, it was under to the British Government.
– They were known to the late Government.
– If so, why did not the late Government clean up the mess instead of leaving the task to a new government? I am asking the Senate to assist the present Government by giving the Minister complete control.
– The Minister will have no more control under this bill than I had under the old bill.
THE PRESIDENT. - Order ! I presume that the right honorable senator intends to speak later on.
– I ask Senator Pearce and also Senator McLachlan, who is evidently enjoying the joke, to consider whether I would not have more control over my staff if it were located in Canberra than I would if I were sitting in my office in Canberra with my staff in Melbourne.
– The Government will not have any control over Mr. Hogan or his Ministers.
– Of course it will not, but the Government can, through its officers, conduct investigations and report to the British Government. No report has yet been submitted by the Commonwealth in connexion with the Victorian Land Settlement scheme. This Government has taken up the matter because it is determined to do everything it can to restore the confidence of the British authorities which unquestionably has been shaken in relation to the carrying out of this agreement. It is useless to say that all these things happened under the old £14,000,000 agreement. In consideration of another £20,000,000, the Commonwealth promised Great Britain to do certain things which have not been done. Even under the £34,000,000 agreement the Commonwealth has not exercised that supervision which it agreed to exercise when the agreement was signed. Under this new system it will be possible for the Minister to be in close touch with the actual working of the agreement and he will, therefore, be in a better position to advise as to any amendment of it. Why is it that the advances under the agreement since the appointment of the commission have been used almost exclusively in the construction of public works instead of, as was intended, mainly on land settlement? The £34,000,000 agreement was entered into by the British Government for the express purpose of assisting to develop Australia, in order to increase its absorptive capacity and to carry into effect an Empire land settlement scheme. Why has practically the whole of the amount advancedunder this agreement been spent on public works instead of in connexion with land settlement?
– What kind of public works ?
– Railway and road construction and water conservation.
– That is developmental work and assists land settlement.
– Of course it does ; but it cannot be said that the construction of a reservoir is land development within the meaning of the agreement. The Commonwealth Government pledged its word to the British Government that for every £75 advanced it would create an absorptive capacity of one migrant. It told the British Government that if it provided money at a cheap rate of interest, we would use it on developmental works which would increase our absorptive capacity to the extent of one migrant for every £75 advanced.
– May not railway construction assist in that direction?
– Perhaps, but the whole of our absorptive responsibilities had to be discharged by 1935. A new railway certainly increases the absorptive capacity of the country; but does any honorable senator suggest that for every £75 spent in constructing a railway through any particular tract of country, the absorptive capacity of the land will be increased by one migrant within ten years ?
– But railways are built only after proper investigation has been made.
– The honorable senator asked whether the carrying out of public works did not open up the land.
I am putting it that the British Government never intended that this money should be used on public works to the extent that it has been. I admit that the schemes were submitted to the British Government, but it had to rely on the Commonwealth as to the extent to which our absorptivecapacity would thus be increased. We submitted the schemes to it. The procedure was that when a State Government submitted a scheme to us, the Development and Migration Commission inquired into its possibilities and reported to the Commonwealth Government. The Commonwealth Government then placed its seal upon the document and despatched it to Great Britain, alleging that the scheme would increase the absorptive capacity of the State in which the work was to be undertaken to the extent of one migrant for every £75 advanced.
– We might have settled a migrant on the land for every £1,000 or £1,500 spent.
– Yes. Why was not the money used for that purpose? That is my point. Practically no money has been used on land settlement since the Development and Migration Commission was created. Why ? Because the commission fouud that it was impracticable under the scheme to settle people on the land. It realized that it was useless to bring migrants from Great Britain, place them on the land and expect them at once to become successful farmers, because experience has taught us that the only successful farmers are those who have worked as farm laborers and are familiar with Australian conditions. Although the scheme was found to be impracticable, no attempt was made by the late Government to so inform the British authorities. Take the primary producing States, such as Western Australia and South Australia.
-The Leader of the Government should read the report of the conference held in this building which Mr. Amery, who was then a member of the British Government, attended. He was told all this.
– What does the right honorable gentleman suggest?
– The Minister suggests that the British Govern ment shouldhave been informed, and I contend that it was so informed through Mr. Amery.
– There is no record of their having been told.
– There is. Senator DALY. - I have been unable to discover from a perusal of the records that the British Government was informed of the position, but if I find that it was I shall, of course, acknowledge it. I would not have been satisfied to submit schemes to the British Government until provision had been made to give effect to the terms of the agreement.
– The agreement has been going on ever since.
– The British Government, through its representative, has expressed its dissatisfaction with this failure to honour these obligations in the matter of satisfactory land settlement. I think the Leader of the Opposition will realize that, laudable as the scheme was, States such as Western Australia and South Australia were placed in an unsatisfactory position. Why should Western Australia spend, say, £8,000,000 on land settlement, and receive £3,500,000 from the British Government, when the money so expended would increase the absorptive capacity of the eastern States by providing employment for persons in producing the requirements of. the migrants thus settled in the Western State ? In such circumstances, the eastern States would get the credit. If honorable senators will look up the statistics, they will find that States such as South Australia are behind in their quota, because, under the agreement, the States are specifically kept in watertight compartments. There is an obligation upon South Australia to-day to absorb 2,000 more migrants.
– And eight years in which to do it.
– Yes; but she has to continue to carry the obligation of settling one migrant for every £75 spent during the remaining eight years. The opening up of land on the west coast of South Australia increased the absorptive capacity ofVictoria and New South Wales; but for that South Australia will not receive any credit. Instead of allowing such conditions to continue, and creating distrust and dissatisfaction, some effort should have been made to put this scheme on a sounder basis. Action in that direction was not taken by the late Government, because it had lost control of the work.
– What Government was in office in South Australia when this agreement was signed?
– I cannot see at the moment, that it rnakes any difference. It is admitted that the Development and Migration Commission performed a tremendous amount of valuable work in conducting investigations and in publishing reports; but under this system of having a commission in the form of a semi-private body, reports were submitted on which no action was taken. For instance, the commission’s report on unemployment was probably one of the most valuable contributions on the subject which has ever been published in Australia. What steps did the Government take to carry out the recommendations made by the commission? If I, as the Minister in charge of the department, asked Parliament to appropriate, say, £2,000 to conduct an investigation into unemployment, and, after a valuable report had been submitted, did not take any action, I should probably be open to severe criticism.
– Nearly all of the recommendations related to matters to bc dealt with by the State Governments.
– The subject was discussed at a Premiers’ Conference.
– And we asked the State representatives to give effect to the recomemendations.
– Parliament has never been advised as to what was done. It is necessary that the activities of the commission should be transferred to ministerial control, because its recommendations cannot constitutionally be carried into effect. Co-operation between the governments alone can remedy this defect. I ask the Leader of the Opposition if he thinks that it is fair to continue the payment of £100,000 a year for the carrying out of investigations and the making of reports to which no effect is given.
– What about the £50,000 which the Government now proposes to expend?
– We propose that the development department shall use the money in studying the problems submitted to it by the States. We expect to secure greater co-operation, bot’h in connexion with developmental work and also in relation to the work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research than has been the case in the past. Investigations undertaken will be with the consent and co-operation of the States. The Leader of the Opposition asked what savings were likely to be effected as a result .of the new arrangement. Under the present scheme the Commissioners’ salaries amount, to £13,250, but under the proposed arrangement the estimated expenditure in this respect will be much less. I will furnish the Leader of the Opposition with figures showing how the saving of £50,000 is made up before he speaks to the motion. It is not proposed to create a new department.
– But there will be an increase of staff just the same.
– I shall deal with that matter presently. The Minister in charge of these activities will work under the Prime Minister and with the Minister for Markets, and will bc assisted by a consultative committee consisting of Mr. Gepp, Mr. Gunn and Dr. Rivett. The committee will advise the Minister on any scheme submitted in connexion with the £34,000,000 agreement. It will be seen, therefore, that the Minister will be able to f follow tire progress of any scheme from its commencement and see that the obligations of the Commonwealth to the British Government are fulfilled.
– Will Mr. Gepp be a full-time officer?
– No. He will act in a consultative capacity only, and will be paid £1,250 per annum. Under the new arrangement the only full-time Commissioner will bc Mr. Gunn.
– Could not a greater saving be made if he were appointed as a part-time officer?
– It is necessary to have a full-time officer to direct operations and to control the £2,000,000 we have pledged to pay the States under the existing scheme. There is plenty of work for a full-time director. The necessary staff will bo transferred to the Prime Minister’s Department, so that there will be no additional overhead charges.
– Is it proposed to dispense with the services of the secretary of the commission ?
– He will go back to the Prime Minister’s Department, where he will take the place of an officer who has recently retired.
– Then his salary will not be saved?
– Had the Development and Migration Commission been retained, it would have been necessary ‘to fill the vacancy in the Prime Minister’s Department to which Mr. Farrands will be appointed. If that is not a saving, I do not know what a saving is. The migration activities of the London office ure to be transferred to Australia House.
– Those activities are already controlled by Australia House.
– It is not considered to be a portion of the Australia House staff.
– Will the services of Colonel Manning be dispensed with?
– No; he is there under contract. In addition to making considerable savings under the new arrangement, we shall obtain closer cooperation between development and science.
– What is the estimated saving, and how will it be effected?
– The Government expects to save £50,000 per annum; I have undertaken to supply the details to the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition.
– Does the Government consider that, prior to the recent retrenchment, the London staff was too big?
– The exigencies of the position necessitated a drastic alteration in the migration policy of the Commonwealth; and in other respects also the London staff was too big. The cables already laid on the table of the Senate show the necessity for a reduction of the London staff.
– Seeing that the Government ‘ proposes to close down on migration, why does it retain the department ?
– The Government is retaining the department because it does not intend to close down on migration.
– Two and a half servant girls are to be allowed to enter South Australia each year!
– A South Australian newspaper recently described Senator Lynch as an interesting and amusing speaker. Evidently he is endeavouring to prove that he is at least amusing. The Government has not closed down on migration.
– That is evident from the number of domestic servants who will be allowed into South Australia each year.
– The requisition of the Premier of South Australia was for only two domestic servants each year. Senator Lynch seems to think that only domestic servants will be allowed to enter this country. The Government has announced no such policy. It is prepared to allow people to come into Australia to work; but it is not prepared to assist migrants to come here on the pretence that they can secure employment when it.’ knows that, on arrival, they will be forced into the ranks of the unemployed.
– It is interesting to know that the Government will allow people to come here.
– That has always been the policy of the Labour party. Instead of criticizing the Government for its action, honorable senators should thank it for having called’ a halt.
– The Government has allowed 2,000 Southern. Europeans to come to Australian in three months.
– The Government has not assisted one Southern European to come here.
– The honorable senator and those behind him had another story to tell when the previous Government was in office.
– The honorable senator suggests that the present Government would prevent British migrants from entering Australia, but would not place any obstacle in the way of Southern Europeans coming here.
– That is what honorable senators now occupying the Government bench used to tell the previous Government.
– The Government has refused to induce British migrants to come to Australia by holding out a promise of work and paying their passage money at a time when work is not available for them. Under the existing system, schemes have first to be submitted to the Development and Migration Commission, and, later, by it to the Government. In the future, schemes will be submitted directly to the Minister. The bill contains no express provision for parliamentary control, for the work being under the Minister will obviously be subject to control by Parliament.
As, under the Constitution, money bills cannot be initiated in the Senate, it will be necessary, when this bill reaches another place, to insert a clause providing for an appropriation to cover the remuneration of the members of the commission. I have given this bill very careful consideration, and have no hesitation in advising the Senate that its passing will effect considerable savings without lessening efficiency. Should it be found desirable later to increase our migration activities, that can be done as well under a Minister as under a commission. In commending the bill to the Senate, I desire to inform honorable senators that I am prepared to supply any information concerning it which they may desire.
Debate (on motion by Senator Sir George Pearce) adjourned.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This measure seeks to bring about more direct ministerial and departmental control of the Federal Capital Territory. The Labour party pledged itself at the last election to alter the method of Government then in vogue in the Territory, and to substitute one which would bring the people of the Capital more closely into touch with its administration. The original Federal Capital Commission was inaugurated in 1924, and began its operations early in 1925. It was charged with the construction of buildings and essential services necessary for the transfer of Parliament and certain portions of the Public Service to Canberra. This work was practically completed in 1927, when activities of a constructural nature diminished , and problems relative to civic administration came into prominence. It quickly became apparent that the opposition to the Commission form of control, voiced by the Labour party in 1924, was justified. Complaints began to come in from all quarters. Residents of the territory had practically no say in its administration. The Government of the day endeavoured to mend matters, and to placate the residents by appointing a locally elected representative to the Commission. This representative and his successor found that they had no real power, and they were continually at variance with their fellow Commissioners.
It is beyond dispute that the Commission has failed as an administrative body, and that it has proved to be an exceedingly costly experiment. Further, the system is objectionable as it is an abrogation of Ministerial and Parliamentary responsibility. Its era of usefulness definitely ended when the majority of the public servants were provided with living quarters and moved to Canberra. Much of the Commission machinery is a duplication of that already existing departmentally, and considerable administrative savings should result from the proposed change. The intention of the Government is to abolish the Federal Capital Commission and place the affairs of the Territory under departmental control, with provision for Ministerial responsibility. It is proposed to divide the present functions of the Federal Capital Commission as follows: -
Health Department -
Protection of public health. Sanitation - omitting night soil and garbage removal. Medical inspection of school children. Control of preparation and sale of drugs and food - including abattoirs, dairy supervision, milk supply, sale of meat. Hospitals. Control of stock diseases. Orchards, fruit and plant pests.
Works Department -
Construction and maintenance of all engineering works including roads, footpaths, bridges, culverts, levees, sewers and treatment works, water courses, drains, water supply, darns, reservoirs, electric power stations, mains and services, mechanical works, &c. Construction and maintenance of all buildings and residences other than those constructed privately. Provision of electricity and water. Acquisition and disposal of all public buildings excluding hotels, private buildings and residences. Control and management of factories and workshops, brick works, quarries, cement products, &c. Plant required for construction of all works. Purchase and supply of materials and stores. Supply of furniture and fittings for all Commonwealth requirements. Surveys, maps and plans.
Attorney-General’s Department -
Registration of titles.
Preparation of ordinances, by-laws, regulations, &c, for the government of the Territory.
Home Affairs Department (Civic) -
Development of city according to Griffin plan.
Special local government activities.
Preparation of balance sheets.
Collection and accounting for all amounts due for rents, rates, electricity, water garbage, &c, &c.
Approval of designs, &c., of all buildings erected in the Territory.
Fire brigades, &c.
Control and management of Crown lands.
Levying and collecting rates.
Destruction of vermin and noxious weeds.
Disposal of residences,including sale, letting and inspection.
Advances for buildings to lessees.
General municipal government.
Hotels and boarding houses.
Bus and transport (other than for works, tractors, cars for works inspectors).
Collection of charges for electricity, water and sewerage.
Markets, weighbridges, pounds.
Sanitation, garbage removal.
Industrial matters, including tribunals.
Cemeteries and burials.
Parks and gardens, recreation grounds.
Administration and accounting for above.
The Government intends to create by ordinance an advisory council, the chairman of which will be the civic administrator, an officer who will be attached to the Department of Home Affairs, and in charge of the branch of that department dealing with the affairs of the Territory.
The remaining members of the council will be the secretaries of the Home Affairs and Works Department, the Director-General of Health, and three residents of the Territory elected by adult franchise for a period of twelve months. As some of those elective members may be artisans, part of whose working time may have to be sacrificed in attending to the affairs of the community, it is proposed to pay each of them an honorarium of £100 per annum. The council will deliberate on all matters affecting the Territory, and its recommendations will be of service to the responsible Minister when making his decision on problems that arise from time to time.
I think that it will be conceded by honorable senators that the measure of representation granted to the residents of the Territory by such a council is fair and just as, while bearing their share of the cost of municipal services, they are. not called upon to bear the whole burden. It may be urged that the people of Canberra should be responsible for the election of all of the members of the proposed council, as they are the ones to be governed. It must be remembered that, while they are more closely in touch with Canberra than are the rest of the people of Australia, the whole of the expenditure incurred in establishing the Federal Capital has to be borne by the taxpayers of Australia. The revenue collected from the people of Canberra amounts to only a little over 6 per cent. of the total interest on the capital expended. It is felt that the people of Australia will have their interests cared for by the Ministers and responsible heads of departments on the council, and that the people of the Territory will also be provided with adequate representation, and have an active interest in the affairs of the Territory.
I hope that the progress of the measure will be facilitated, and that it will render better service to the people of Canberra and of Australia generally than have the efforts of the past. One hears a good deal about the huge and unwarranted expenditure on the Federal Capital. It must be remembered that a huge expenditure must necessarily be involved to establish such a city as this in virgin country. The efforts of its pioneer administrators should be viewed with a certain measure of generosity. Many prominent and able gentlemen have been connected with the conduct of the affairs of the Federal Capital Territory, and they should be accorded credit for the admirable way in which they handled their colossal task. If they made mistakes, it must be remembered that “ to err is human “ and that the job might easily have been less ably performed by others. With the experience which we have gained during the last few years, we believe that the change we propose now to make in the control of Canberra will lead to better results and give more satisfaction to the people. I hope that honorable senators opposite will deal as generously with this bill as they have with other measures which this Government has brought forward.
Senator Sir GEOEGE PEARCE (Western . Australia) [4.52]. - When members of the Ministry and their supporters were in opposition they never tired of decrying the action of the Bruce-Page administration in appointing boards and commissions, and declared that when they had the opportunity, they would abolish a number of those bodies. We are entitled to assume, therefore, that this bill is in part fulfilment of that undertaking. But I would remind honorable senators that although the Government proposes to abolish the Federal Capital Commission, it seeks to establish in its stead an advisory council, so the difference is largely in name only, though the functions of the advisory council may differ somewhat from those of the Commission. Whilst the Ministry evidently has a high opinion of its administrative ability, it still feels the need of an advisory council to assist it even in the government of Canberra. Apparently, Ministers do see some virtue in boards and commissions, and are prepared to carry on. with the aid of such bodies. The original Commission, I remind the Senate, is not now in existence. Although the act constituting it was not amended by Parliament, the change was made by executive action, so while there are still two Commissioners and an elected Commissioner, they are not receiving anything like the salary that was paid to the original Commissioners when the important developmental works were in progress. The change was not made by this Government; but by the Bruce-Page administration, and the Commission now functioning is comparatively inexpensive. I suggest that Ministers have an itch to be continually changing existing conditions. No one can deny that the present Commission is working satisfactorily. I have heard of no complaints from the people concerned since the change was made, and up to the time of the resignation of the Bruce-Page Government, considerable savings in expenditure had been effected by the Commission on the recommendation of Mr. Christie, who is now the Chief Commissioner. In view of this fact where is the need for any change at this juncture? The people of Canberra have their elected representative on the Commission and, apparently, are fairly well satisfied. At all events, we are entitled to assume they are, because some time ago practically one-half of the time of the House of Representatives and probably one-fifth of the time of the Senate was occupied in discussions on questions affecting the Federal Capital, whereas now’ no complaints are heard. In the circumstances, why not leave well alone?
– I think the people have become broken-hearted, and have ceased to complain.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.At all events very few complaints are now made; probably this is because the people have come to the conclusion that after all they are not so badly treated. If any change is necessary, I should prefer to see provision made for the election of a municipal council to work in conjunction with the present Commission, for I am firmly convinced that much of the trouble in the past has been due to the fact that the people have not been entrusted with the control of purely municipal affairs. As a member of the Bruce-Page administration, I strongly urged that the citizens should have control of all purely municipal functions, and I believe that if the course which I then advocated had been adopted, we should not have had one half of the grumbling from the people of Canberra. They might very well be allowed to control local health matters, recreation grounds, fire brigade and educational activities, to mention only a few of the functions discharged by a local governing authority. As all honorable senators are aware the local school board is a popular institution with the parents of scholars attending nearly all the State schools throughout the Commonwealth. The municipal council, if appointed, could make representations to the Minister or to the Commission, on matters affecting the progress of the city generally. It could administer all purely municipal affairs without in any way interfering with the functions of the Commission, which should be concerned only with matters of national importance. To illustrate how closely these subjects affect the lives of the people, I may mention that yesterday I received a copy of- the annual report of the Canberra Australian National Football League. That document makes reference to a number of pin pricks which, if not attended to, help to make things uncomfortable for the people. Obviously, sporting bodies should have some voice in the control of recreation grounds which their members use. It may not be out of place if I read the following extract from the report: -
During the past two seasons, the League, recognizing that the development of Australian football was seriously retarded by the lack of suitable playing conditions, repeatedly made representations to the. Federal Capital Commission for a measure of thu consideration which had been given to the requirements of other sporting organizations. Our delegates and the members of Parliament, whose assistance we sought in putting our case, wore received with courtesy, and almost the assurance that our modest requirements would be granted. And they were, to the extent that n loud of clods was dumped over a concrete cricket pitch in the middle of Kingston Oval, where also a rail fence was placed around the playing urea; cubicles, devoid of electric light or a water supply for training purposes, were provided, and £!> was required of us for the “ lease “ of the area ; some cubicles were placed on the unenclosed paddock at Acton and another £5 was debited to our account: the playing space at Northbourne Oval waa enlarged, additional cubicles were placed in position and £15 was charged. But in spite of the fact that we are asked to pay for the privilege of occupying these areas, and with no opportunity of securing a “ gate “ except at Northbourne, and then only because of the honesty of the spectators, and when the ground was required by no other code. One of our clubs (Manuka) was without a home ground during the whole of the season. A similar state of affairs is threatened for the forthcoming season. Manuka Oval, which lias been subjected to intermittent reconditionings since 1025, and has not yet recovered from the last attack, may be made available for the coming season to all winter sporting organizations in turn, provided that between them they can amass in rental what the authorities consider a “ reasonable “ proportion of the amount of £000, which is estimated as a “ reasonable “ return for the outlay in the various reconditionings.
I suppose there are at least a dozen senior and junior football and cricket clubs in Canberra as well as several tennis and bowling clubs, the membership of which constitutes a not inconsiderable proportion of the population of the city. Because they have , no voice in the control over the playing areas which they use, they are continually being subjected to pin pricks which give rise to a feeling of restiveness and dissatisfaction. If the administration of purely local affairs were vested in a municipal council, all complaints would go before that body instead of the-Minister. I suggest, therefore, that before the Government makes this change, it should give careful consideration to the proposal which I have outlined. But I am not going to fight the Ministry on that point. If Ministers wish to have their lives made miserable, by all means let them go ahead with the scheme outlined in this bill. I certainly do not envy them, because if the bill is passed in its present form every person with a grievance will take it to the Minister of the department concerned. Ministers will then be sorry that they made the change. If they are looking for more work, certainly this is the way to find it. It would be better to provide at once for the appointment of a municipal council, to deal with purely municipal as distinct from national matters. Let the people elect their own mayor. Doubtless there will be keen competition for the honour of being the first occupant of that position in the capital city of the Commonwealth. I feel sure that the appointment of a local municipal council, would do away with a lot of the bickering and dissatisfaction which has been evidenced during the last few years. The people of Canberra will not be satisfied until they have a substantial measure of local government. I do not suggest that they should have complete control of all activities in the Capital, because the great bulk of money expended on works in this city comes from the national exchequer. It would be ridiculous to expect the city to be maintained out of the local rates. It appears to me, therefore, that for many years to come, we must have two forms of government for Canberra - one dealing with the matters of national importance, and the other administering municipal affairs. I strongly urge the Government to take a bold plunge and try out this experiment.
The proposals outlined in the bill are. badly conceived. Authority is to be divided between four Ministers. In other words, there will be four kings in Canberra. As a result, whenever the people are dissatisfied, we shall have complaints ventilated in Parliament, and much of the time of the Senate, as well as of the House of Representatives, will probably be occupied in discussing kerbing and guttering problems, as well as other subjects which properly fall within’ the jurisdiction of a municipal authority. The Ministry is deliberately inviting the people to ventilate their grievances in Parliament, because, under the bill, four Ministers will be responsible for certain acts of administration, and, naturally, if the people are dissatisfied, we shall have their dissatisfaction voiced in Parliament.
The Advisory Council will be a farce. This scheme was tried in Darwin some years ago and it proved a failure. At that time there was trouble with the local administration, which was chiefly centered in Darwin, and to obviate it in future, the Government of the day made arrangements for the election of an advisory council. That body held three meetings, each of which was very much in the’ nature of a dog fight between the members of the council and the administration. Eventually the ordinance constituting the advisory council became a dead letter, and was not operated. I am afraid we shall have very much the same experience with the Advisory Council in Canberra.
I invite honorable senators to visualize a meeting of this body. On one side of the table there will be three departmental heads, with, behind them, the Ministers to whom they are responsible. I wonder why the Attorney-General is not to be represented on the council, because, in the bill, there is reference to four Ministers, but provision is made for representation of only three on the Advisory Council.
It cannot be pretended that any one of the departmental heads will have a mind of his own, or that he is likely to vote against his official colleagues. Actually, he will not dare to do that. He will first make it his business to find out what are the views of his Minister in regard to any particular question that comes up for discussion at meetings of the Advisory Council. And so these three gentlemen will have to sit there as dumb dogs unless they have been previously instructed by their Ministers. There will be no exercise by them of their own individual opinions. They will not give expression to a single thought that may occur to them until they have first ascertained that their Ministers approve of what they are about to say. The ludicrous nature of this council becomes more apparent when we remember that each permanent head of a department is also a resident of Canberra. If the question of kerbing and guttering, which so much disturbed the peace of the last Parliament, and almost wrecked the Government, Senator H. E. Elliott getting to the stage of incipient rebellion over it, comes up before the Advisory Council, Mr. Deane - I mention his name because it comes most readily to me and not with any desire of giving offence - will be sitting there solemnly representing the Minister for Home Affairs. He will be saying to himself all the time, “By George I should like to let myself go on this matter. As a resident of Canberra, I consider.it infamous that I should be rated for this charge. I regard it as barefaced robbery on the part of the Government, but I dare not say a word about it; I have to remember that the Minister for Home Affairs ‘ has told me that the Government insists on rating the residents for kerbing and guttering.” He would like to let himself go on the matter, but as the representative of the Minister, he will have to vote solidly for whatever the Minister desires. The representative of the Minister for “Works and Railways, who is also a resident of Canberra, may like to see cottages built with verandahs, but if it is the policy of his department that it is rank heresy to have verandahs in Canberra, he will be obliged to oppose any proposal submitted by a lay member of Advisory Council that verandahs should be provided. Mr. Deane and the other gentlemen, having been obliged at the meeting of the Advisory Council to voice the views of their Ministers, may probably be called upon as citizens of Canberra, and possibly as members of the Citizens League, to attend an indignation meeting at the Albert Hall, and submit a motion condemning some action taken by the Government.
– They are not likely to do so.
– I do not know. ‘The Government has already announced that it stands for full liberty of action on the part of all public servants.
– I doubt it.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.But the Government says that it will give this full liberty to the public Service, and surely the permanent head, who is also a member of the Advisory Council, would only be acting in accord with the desire of the Government in moving a motion at an indignation meeting, and eventually Cabinet would have to be called in to referee the dog fight. The fact of the matter is that the three heads of the departments can have no minds of their own; they can only be dumb dogs representing a Minister who does not find it convenient to be present. Having listened to what the Minister has told him, the departmental head will attend the Advisory Council meeting and vote as directed. In the circumstances what a farce it is to have three elected representatives of the residents. The representatives of the citizens may talk until they are black in the face, but they will never alter the official views of those who are sitting with them. The gentlemen whose minds might be altered by the arguments advanced will not be sitting there. They will probably be away attending to the coal trouble in Newcastle or taking part in a State election or something of the kind. If an ordinance is laid on the table of the Senate containing such a farcical proposal, I shall do all I can to prevent it from having any effect. Let the Government do one thing or the other. If it wants to run Canberra by deparmental control, let it do so ; but do not let it tack on a proposal of this kind, under the pretence that it is giving the people of Canberra control. If the people in the Capital are to be given some control, let it take the form of a municipal council, but do not let them be humbugged in the way now proposed.
It is now very popular to join in the cry that the criticism that has been levelled against those who have had control of the development of Canberra has been unfair. One criticism has been that there has been lavish and extravagant expenditure here. I am not now defending anything done by the late Government, of which I was a member. The charge lies at the door of quite a number of governments. But I propose to give one example to show that the criticism has not always been correct. I was a member of the Federal Parliament when it was sitting in Melbourne, and while I was there I had the curiosity to ascertain what the House of ‘ Parliament there cost, and what were the conditions under which it was built. That building was erected in the seventies or eighties when the highest wages paid to tradesmen were 10s. a day and the hours of work were not 44 a week. The labourers on that building did not receive more than 7s. a day; many of them were paid only 6s. Material was correspondingly cheap. That House had cost £750,000 before the Commonwealth Parliament entered into temporary occupation of it. Honorable senators remember its lack’ of accommodation. Two committees could not sit at the same time, because there were no rooms available. On the Senate side one Minister had a room to himself and the other Ministers had to share a second room with their secretaries. On the House of Representatives side there was accommodation for only three Ministers, and their secretaries had to get in whereever they could in the alleyways. There was very little accommodation for members. The building was badly ventilated and the acoustic properties were bad. Externally it was a magnificent structure; but it cost £750,000, whereas the building we are occupying to-day and its furnishings cost less than £700,000. The accommodation provided here for members is infinitely better than we had in Melbourne, the furnishings and internal fittings are infinitely superior. There is accommodation for all the committees and their staffs, every Minister and bis secretary, and for the Leaders of the Opposition in both Houses and their secretaries. The lowest wage paid to any labourer employed on this building was 25s. a day and some of the tradesmen received as much as £2 2s. a day. Those who loosely use the argument about the waste and extravagance displayed in Canberra, should be asked to remember this contrast between the two buildings. I do not credit the building to the Federal Capital Commission altogether. I think it was planned and commenced by the Works and Railways Department, but it was completed by the Commission.
– It is not quite fair to compare a brick building with a stone building.
-I am speaking particularly of the accommodation provided. The building we are occupying to-day certainly does not demonstrate that there has been waste and extravagance in its erection. I am not going to say that there has not been waste or extravagance in Canberra, but a good deal of the talk about it is wild. It is based on lack of knowledge. People see things in newspapers and repeat them without investigating their truth. Many of the buildings in Canberra were erected during the peak years of labour scarcity after the war, when, in order to induce tradesmen to come here, they had to be paid1s. or 2s. a day more than was paid in the capital cities where there was a tremendous demand for labour. As there was insufficient accommodation available in Canberra many workmen had to maintain two homes, and consequently had to be recompensed by being paid higher wages. If that had not been done it would have been impossible to obtain the services of competent artisans. There is a disposition on the part of some persons to place all the blame for the high cost of construction in Canberra upon the Federal Capital Commission; but it has to be remembered that the Commission was acting under the instruc tions of the Government of the day, and that the Government was acting on resolutions passed by Parliament directing it to take immediate action to transfer the seat of government to Canberra. I remind honorable senators that very strong pressure was brought to bear upon the Government of the day, especially by members representing New South Wales constituencies, and certain honorable senators. It was undoubtedly that pressure which led to the seat of government being transferred to Canberra when it was, and which was largely responsible for the extra cost involved. I appeal to the Government to reconsider the position as I feel sure that it is making a mistake in placing the Federal Capital Territory under departmental control. My contention is that the Commission should be allowed to continue to function at least for a time.
– Does the right honorable senator suggest that the construction work should be undertaken by the Department of Works and Railways?
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.Yes. I do not see any objection to that being done, but the administrative work should still be undertaken by the Commission. The proposed advisory council will not satisfy the residents of Canberra, and will lead to more trouble, necessitating the ventilation in this Parliament of the grievances of the people who reside here.
– The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Sir George Pearce) has, I think, rightly stressed the circumstances under which the Federal Capital was established, but if he went back further he would find that this enterprise was commenced nearly 50 years before its time. When Parliament decided to transfer the seat of government to Canberra it was known that, as the prices of labour and material were unduly inflated, the cost of construction would necessarily be high. However, the right honorable gentleman has pointed out that that is a matter for which Parliament took the entire responsibility. So far as I can see the driving force in the matter was not the Government of the day, but the then members of the Opposition, who were threatening to make the transfer a political matter. A majority of the members of the Federal Parliament at that time carried a motion in favour of the transfer being made as early as practicable, with the result that the Commonwealth has been involved in a very heavy expenditure, which it will take a long time to justify. The Federal Capital Territory has not progressed to the extent anticipated because of the extensive powers granted to the controlling body which, among other things, deliberately restricted the number of blocks of land to be made available, with the sole object of squeezing the last farthing out of the unfortunate people who have to live here, or who have selected Canberra as a centre m which to carry on business. Every resident of Canberra, and practically every visitor, has seen the small motor garage - it is really a petrol station - opposite Canberra railway station, the proprietor of which has to pay no less than £550 a year in the form of ground rent for the land on which a building costing only about £1,500 has been erected.
– “Were not the land values established by competition at auction ?
– Of course they were, but unfortunately only one site in that locality was made available for carrying on a business of that nature.
– Cannot another such business be established in the same neighbourhood?
– No. Under the zoning system as established here - really a zoning system gone mad - specified businesses can be carried on only in the areas allocated to them. For instance, boarding houses cai! be erected only on the allotments set, aside for such establishments. Another instance in which purchasers of leases have been penalized is in connexion with the type of tiles to be used on buildings erected. Only tiles of a certain type are to be used as those which can be purchased in the ordinary market are, it is alleged, not supposed to be in keeping with the architectural beauty of the city. How can a city progress when tiles manufactured only by one firm in Ballarat may be used, and increase the cost of the roof of an average building by £200 ? The shop window frames, which have to be of sheathed copper, are designed in such a way that only one firm in Australia, which manufactures them, can tender for their supply. I understand that the window frames of an ordinary shop cost £1,000. Lessees, who are anxious to build, are hampered by regulations at every turn, and the conditions prevailing are so unreasonable that it is impossible for the city to progress.
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Sir George Pearce) seemed rather facetious concerning the final decision reached in connexion with ‘the guttering and kerbing charges, but what was a joke to him, was a very serious matter to the tenant, for he overlooked the fact that the auctioneer announced the conditions of the leases which did not include that the cost of guttering and kerbing had to be met by the purchaser. Subsequent to the sale an ordinance was passed purporting te compel the lessees to meet the cost of the work. It was held by counsel that inasmuch as the buyers did not obtain a document under the seal of the Commission embodying the verbal representation made by the auctioneer or representative of the Commission, their representations would not have the slightest effect. If that sale had been made by a private individual, the buyers could have approached the court and sought a rescission of the contract, but under the conditions which prevailed in Canberra, purchasers were helpless. “When purchasers bought leases at Manuka, there was no suggestion of establishing a shopping centre at Kingston. That policy was decided upon, apparently, in consequence of a collapse of the proposed railway system, as, according to the original plans submitted at the sale, the Canberra railway station was to be .immediately behind Civic Centre, and practically in the back yards of those who bought leases in that locality. Had purchasers, in connexion with a private subdivision, been so misled, they would have claimed damages and a rescission of their contracts. The unfortunate purchasers, in this instance, were shamefully treated, and it ia time tho authorities knew that they cannot play fast and loose with the people in this way. The action of the Commission has been such that development has come to a standstill and hundreds of leases, which in ordinary circumstances would have been developed, have been surrendered. That has reacted in another way, as services, which are at present unprofitable, would, with a larger population, have been returning a substantial amount of revenue. By thus restricting the number of blocks sold the rates have been increased out of all reason. For instance, the ground rent for a block purchased at the first sale was £20, and the rates £5 or £6 ; but, although the ground rent is the same today, the rates are now £22 15s. The result of the Commission’s policy is that before a single brick is placed on some leases the weekly ground rent is about 17s. 6d. Some years ago, there were many young married couples renting houses in Melbourne, Ballarat, and other such cities at an amount equivalent to what is charged here as ground rent. If Canberra had been established under the freehold instead of the leasehold system the land would have sold readily, and the cost of services would have been distributed over a much larger population. Hundreds of blocks of freehold land in Queanbeyan sold very readily although there was little likelihood of Canberra extending in that direction. I know that the supporters of the Government are chasing this will-o’-the-wisp in the form of a leasehold system, or an appropriation of the so-called unearned increment, in order to prevent speculation, but I remind them that those who make money out of undeveloped land do not hold it. Mr. T. M. Burke, of Melbourne, and others have made fortunes by purchasing land, subdividing it, and selling it as promptly as possible on long terms. Had the Government adopted that policy it would have large sums of money available to’ pay off the war debt or to reduce our national indebtedness in other directions. As it is, the land is lying idle. Every year more leases are being surrendered ; the lessees who are left have to meet all the charges. The new proposal is extraordinary; I do not think that it will be the success that the Government predicts.
Senator Sir JOHN NEWLANDS (South Australia) [5.36]. - I feel bound to say a word or two in defence of Canberra and its buildings. When the work of building this city commenced, I frequently visited Canberra as a member of the Public Works Committee. The people of Australia will yet be glad that Canberra has been built along the lines then laid down. The land monopolist has no footing here. The first land sale held in Canberra was well attended, and the competition was so keen that, in some instances, extraordinary prices were offered for blocks. Those who expected to make large profits out of the land have only themselves to blame if retribution comes upon them. Early in the history of Canberra it was decided to adopt a system of zoning in connexion with the erection of its buildings ; that the mere purchase of a block should not entitle the purchaser to erect on it a hotel, a boarding-house, or a petrol station according to his own desires. In the interests of the city the erection of buildings was strictly regulated. Moreover, it was decided that only small portions of the city should be made available for building from time to time. Those who decry Canberra and complain of the little to be seen for the expenditure involved forget that during the war period all constructional work ceased and the city was deserted. Honorable senators know how buildings deteriorate when neglected, and the heavy expenditure involved in renovating them. Later, an unprecedented flood washed away works and did other damage involving a loss of many thousands of pounds. Indeed, almost half of the money then expended in the development of the city was represented by construction works which were washed away. Heavy expenditure has been necessary to make good the depreciation caused by neglect ‘when the city was deserted and damaged by flood waters. Some of the things which have interfered with the proper development of the national capital have been unavoidable. During the war, and for some time after its conclusion, work was at a standstill; money could not be made available for a building programme. The bill proposes to hand over constructional work in Canberra to the Works Department. I remember that in the early stages of the development of Canberra, when that department had control of the erection of buildings, the time of Parliament was largely occupied in dealing with complaints against the department and its officers. I fear that under the new system we shall have a repetition of those complaints. It is to be regretted that, instead of showing a pride in their national capital, the people take pleasure in decrying it. That may be due in part to the heavy charges levied on residents by the Federal Capital Commission ; but that position could have been rectified without the necessity for such drastic action as the Government is now taking. Canberra has now reached a stage in its development from which Washington, the federal capital of the United States of America, has emerged. There was a time when no American would say a good word for Washington; but throughout America to-day there is a feeling of pride in the national city. If Canberra had developed along the lines established by those who laid its foundation many mistakes would have been avoided. The sole aim of those who were responsible for the early development of this city was to make Canberra a place worthy of Australia.
– Regardless of cost.
– Those who speak of costs overlook the facts I have mentioned. The Federal Capital Commission has been liberally blamed both for what it has done and for what it has left undone. The Commissioners, after all, were only human. I desire to pay a tribute to the first Chief Commissioner, Sir John Butters. He did a great amount of good work in the development of this city; yet he received more blame than praise. I do not think that a popular elective advisory council Will have the outlook necessary for the proper development of this city. There is a danger that the high ideals of the founders of Canberra will be lost sight of. We should plan for the future and work along lines that will ensure that those who live here in the years to come will be surrounded by comfort and have every convenience. One hunderd years hence living conditions in Canberra should be far better than in any other city in Australia.
I am afraid that there will be such dissatisfaction with the new administration that before long the people will be clamoring for a change. I rose chiefly to pay my tribute to those who did such good work in laying the foundations of this city.
– I should like to bring home to honorable senators the fact that the construction of a federal capital was definitely demanded by certain States before they agreed to federation. Quite a number of well-informed people complain about the expenditure of huge sums of money on Canberra. I believe that in time to come that expenditure will be justified. I do not object to the existence of Canberra, or even to the way in which it has been governed. I believe that one of the troubles of Australia is that its cities have grown out of all proportion to the development of the country that surrounds them. The establishment of a city such as Canberra tends to relieve the congestion in our coastal capitals.
I have no fault to find with the Government making a general onslaught on commissions and boards. If this little Commission falls by the way I shall not shed any tears about it. But it is necessary to determine where the proposed change will lead us. We are told that Canberra is to be administered by Government departments. The weakness of such a system is the frequent change in ministerial personnel. That will necessarily involve changes .of policy, due to the political demands of the party in power for the moment, and will have a very detrimental effect on the continuity of policy in building Canberra. One has only to look around any State or Commonwealth office, and see its walls literally plastered with the photos of men who have held office - in some cases only for a few hours - to realize the danger involved in the proposal. New kings make new laws. Immediately a new Minister assumes office he sets out to undo the work of his predecessor. That procedure might have a very injurious effect on the orderly growth of our capital city, and I believe, viewed from that angle, that the Commission’s system has its advantages. But then the cost has to be taken into consideration. One cannot look on placidly while an enormously costly Commission carries on a task that could be done as efficiently, possibly, by a department. I understand that the yearly municipal expenditure in Sydney amounts to £4,000,000, und that the cost of administration in 1927 was something less than 3 per cent. The municipal expenditure in Melbourne is somewhat less, a little over £2,000,000, and there the cost of administration amounts to 5 per cent. We are in the dark as to what has been the administrative cost of the Federal Capital ‘city. I realize that the position of Canberra is unique. Other cities and towns are the product of natural growth. They usually begin with a store on one corner, and perhaps a blacksmith’s shop on another. Then comes the inevitable hotel, and eventually there takes form a provincial town, or a city. In the case of Canberra we have a combination of natural growth plus a big leaven1 of national patronage. We must remember that Canberra is the property of the people of the Commonwealth, and not merely of its residents. We should endeavour to evolve some plan whereby the civic functions of the city will be placed under a competent administrative body. I rather favour the gradual evolution of a form of municipal control. The Government could attend to building, beautifying the city, and other matters. All State Governments possess the power of eminent domain. They can allocate to themselves power to remodel any section of a city if necessary: Take, for instance, the Government of Victoria. At any time that it desires to make provision for its railways or tramways it has but to will the act, and it will he done. The Federal Government could have a, similar status in Canberra. Its civic administration could well be in the hands of a municipal body. I instance the municipal control of Melbourne and Adelaide, two cities comparable with any others in the world, which have received the unstinted praise of visitors. Their example could well be emulated in Canberra.
– It is difficult to find a basis for municipal control in Canberra.
– I quite realize that, because the community is so small.
– There is also no freehold here.
– That is a thorny question. It is necessary to build up a city worthy of Australia, one of which all will be proud. To do this the Government contemplates vesting very considerable authority in different Ministers. Surely it would be preferable to have- a municipal body controlling minor matters, such as rating, &c, leaving the function of government to the Federal Government. Something should be done by way of such a dual control. I do not think that the proposed Advisory Council will administer the Federal Capital very satisfactorily, because its policy will be influenced by the frequent ministerial changes that will occur. The Minister will certainly be advised, but whether the advice will be helpful in shaping the true lines of civic policy is a totally different matter. There is no more effective means to ensure sobriety in expenditure of public money than to vest, the person or persons concerned with responsibility. One can find no better illustration of the truth of this than is to be found in the city of Brisbane. For a number of years the men and women of that city, in elections for the State Parliament, have voted solidly for candidates of a certain political complexion, but in municipal elections they have voted for candidates of a totally different political party.
I have no serious objection to the bill and I shall vote for it in the expectation that it. .will work for the public good. Nevertheless, I believe that we should be moving in the direction of providing for some form of municipal control, as has been suggested by other honorable senators. But the local governing body should be entrusted only with the administration of purely municipal affairs, and I am not so sure that such a body would be competent to carry out important public undertakings that would dovetail in with proposals of the central government for the development of this important, city. For the moment we are living in difficult times. It is important that all those bodies entrusted with the expenditure of public money should see that for every 20s. expended they get £1 worth of value. I have no fault to find with the Government’s proposal to abolish the Federal Capital Commission, but I am not certain that the advisory council which, in a sense, is to take its place, will be as effective as the Government expects it to be. Nor can I speak with complete confidence of the alternative which has been suggested, but I believe that we should work in the direction of providing for municipal control.
– I cannot help thinking that poor unhappy Canberra, this city of surpassing beauty, with its glorious setting and unrivalled atmosphere, has not had an absolutely fair deal from the several governments. It appears to me that one of the fundamental errors in the development of this capital city is to be found in the fact that those who, by force of circumstances, have been compelled to live here have been obliged to accept a Government form of tenure in respect of the ownership of land. I can find no historical similarity in the development of any other city or town. The blight that appears to be on Canberra is due largely to the original land policy which has been endorsed by successive Parliaments. Those who are compelled to make their homes here should not be debarred from the enjoyment of any unearned increment in land values, if there is to be any for many years, which I doubt very much. They should not be compelled to accept the leasehold tenure. It would have been infinitely better for the Commonwealth Treasury if this policy had been reversed prior to the first auction sales of leases, when the city area was made available for settlement. The freehold system of tenure would haye checked the mad orgy of speculation which then took place. The man who, according to Senator H. E. Elliott, paid £10,000 or £11,000 for the site of certain business premises, would never have offered that sum if he had been obliged to pay cash for it. Under the leasehold system he would estimate, of course, that he would only have to pay interest on that amount at the rate of 5 per cent. and he did not fully realize the extent to which he was committing him self in the excitement of the moment. He and others who bid keenly for business sites were like the man who, on a racecourse, bets “ on the nod “ and becomes involved in obligations which he would never dare to risk if he hadto find the cash. I understand that, even at this stage in the development of the city, less than 20 people have accepted the leasehold form of tenure and have made their own homes here. For the remainder, the people of Australia stand in the position of landlord.
– And the people are obtaining good rents for the houses.
– Perhaps that is so, but the Government is not getting the equivalent of the amount which it would have received had the people been given an opportunity to convert leasehold tenure into freehold. Nor should we then have been confronted with so many difficulties in the development of Canberra. With other honorable senators I deplore that the many purely local problems so closely associated with the progress of this city should be the subject of debate in this Parliament. When Parliament passed the act under which the Commission was appointed, I thought that we should no longer be concerned with the consideration of problems affecting the development of this city. I believed that we should see the orderly development of the plan on the lines laid down.
Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.
– Although I did not have the advantage of hearing the whole of the Honorary Minister’s speech, it appears to me that the Advisory Council which is proposed to be set up will partake somewhat of the nature of a picture film. It will be a visionary body; it will have no municipal control, for the reasons Senator Pearce has pointed out, and the effort to give representation to the citizens of Canberra, so far as this bill is concerned, will be entirely abortive. I agree with Senator Lynch that the inability of any government to give municipal control in the true sense of the term to the people of Canberra is due to the absence in Canberra of the basic principle upon which such control is usually supposed to rest. There is no great body of persons here who hold even leases. There is certainly a body of tenants of the Government, but, as the Minister has indicated in his speech, itwould be impossible togive them full control. I am, therefore, at a loss to understand what good purpose will be served by changing the present form of control. It seems to me that the alteration will only serve to introduce into this Parliament further discussions relating to the administration of the Territory for the Seat of Government and to the troubles we have heard all about since our advent here in 1927. Owing to the fact that the financial responsibility for the development of the capital does not, to any large extent, rest on the citizens of Canberra, it is my opinion that if the Government could, even at this late hour, spray this blight of tenancy which is resting on the city, it might be able to discover a more fitting solution than the proposed purely visionary body under the control of a Minister, and in which the citizens will have no definite voice. We ought not to take too much to heart the existing conditions. We know that people who are torn from the surroundings of a lifetime and sent away to help to form a new city in the interior are bound to have nostalgia. There are bound to be heartburnings and dissatisfaction among them which it will take a long time to cure, and if they are demanding a measure of municipal government, all I can say is that they are not getting it from the present Government. What they are getting will prove to be nothing but a sham and a delusion. With municipal government outside the possibility of accomplishment, it is very difficult indeed for one to see what other form of control can be devised other than government by commission.
The Honorary Minister has pointed out that the bill provides for Parliamentary control of any variation of the plan of the city, and this is, I think, highly desirable. It would be a great pity to depart in the main from the plan which has been outlined for the Federal Capital. But while that is safeguarded by the bill, it would have been preferable, I think, to provide that alterations to the plan should be made subject to the direct assent of Parliament instead of leaving it to Parliament to disallow any ordinance by which alterations are effected. In the light of the decision in the Bunerong case, it seems to be very doubtful whether the proposed section 12b, relating to the supply of electricity and water to persons outside the Territory comes within the limitations imposed by the Constitution. The power of delegation seems to be very wide, wide enough almost to enable the Minister to re-constitute a commission. Perhaps the Honorary Minister may afford us some explanation in committee. The other provisions of the bill are machinery, and I shall have no more to say about the measure beyond impressing upon the Government the need for securing the withdrawal from this Parliament of constant discussions on the grievances of the people of Canberra. Even at this late hour something might be done.
– The only way to do that would be to transfer them back to Melbourne.
– I am afraid it is too late to do so. I remember the picture of Canberra drawn by Senator Cox on one occasion. He spoke of the beauties of the place and of the effect its cold climate would have on mankind generally, and I am afraid he would not second the Minister’s suggestion. But even at this late hour, if the Government would grant a real extended tenure without these unfortunate re-appraisements, persons who have been torn from their homes in Melbourne held on a freehold tenure and brought to leased areas in Canberra, subject to re-valuation every now and again, would have a greater feeling of stability and certainty. Under present conditions, when the time comes for a Canberra man to leave this sphere for an even more pleasant abode above or below, as the case may be, he has always the feeling of uncertainty as to whether he is leaving his dependants an asset or a liability. It is inherent in the Britisher with regard to his own home-
– Ninety per cent. of the Britishers have no homes.
– The honorable senator is not in the 90 per cent., I should guess, judging by his astuteness. The feeling inherent in the average
Britisher is that he likes to believe that those he is leaving behind will have a home, subject, of course, to rates and taxes, which may not have its value minimized or absolutely destroyed by periodical increases of rent.
If Ministers see fit to alter the control of Canberra, I am sure they are taking to bed with them a real porcupine, and their sleep will be troubled from time to time by the pin-pricks administered to them in that regard. I put it to them frankly that the further they can get away from matters of local administration the happier they will find themselves. The so-called form of government by the people of Canberra is all moonshine. It will not endure, and before very long Parliament will be called upon to deal with the matter in some other way.
– I am quite aware that there may be difficulties and, possibly, injustice in the terms upon which leases are granted. There may be all the evils pointed out by some in regard to the way in which leases have been offered for sale, but in the few remarks I propose to make I do not intend to dwell upon those details. The demand by Senator H. E. Elliott and Senator McLachlan that freehold titles should be reverted to, appears to me to have no validity. I suppose that the conditions existing in any city in Australia are common in all countries, but confining ourselves to Australia we shall find there are very few persons in any Australian city who own the freehold of the property they occupy. It is true that the land itself may be held on freehold tenure, but not by those who are occupying it.
– That does not apply in Melbourne.
– Does the honorable senator say that any considerable proportion of the inhabitants of Melbourne itself are ‘ the owners of the property they occupy ?
– Not in the city itself, but the people do not live in the city; they live iti the suburbs.
– Many people actually live in the city. A large proportion of the buildings occupied by business people are owned by others, very often by speculators in real estate. -I know a large firm in Sydney which had a fifteen years lease, during the course of which it added two additional storeys to the original four-storeyed building, and at the end of the lease the whole structure had to pass into the hands of the original owner. It shows that sometimes business people have to make very large additions to property which falls into the hands of the actual freeholder. My argument is that even if the freehold had been made available in Canberra at the outset, the vast majority of the people now living here would still be leaseholders, because the original purchasers would have bought for speculative reasons, either to resell at an enhanced price to the second corners, or to lease property to occupiers.
– Leasing a building is different from leasing land.
– A majority of tenants are leaseholders.
– Lessees of. buildings and not of land.
– One must lease the ground on which the building is constructed, and for so doing pay a ground rent as well as a rent for the building.
– Practically every public servant who was transferred from Melbourne to Canberra held the freehold of the property he occupied.
– I doubt the accuracy of that statement, It may be true that in other cities a certain section of ;the people can acquire the freehold of the land on which their residences are built, but even then there is no warrant that they can, as Senator McLachlan suggested, hand them down to their descendants. All sorts of accidents happen in life and there are tens of thousands of nominally freehold properties that are heavily mortgaged and which are not actually owned by those supposed to own them. Consequently, the assertion of some honorable senators ha3 no validity. There are many tenants of freeholds which is a very different thing.
– Many of the residents of Canberra would like to possess the freehold.
– That may be so, but that does not mean that the freehold system is in the country’s interest.
– As they have been compelled to come here why should not they be given the right to obtain the freehold of the land they occupy?
– The fact that they would like to obtain the freehold does not prove that the system is good for the community as a whole. Without fear of refutation I contend that under the freehold system 90 per cent. of the people of this country are paying rent to the fortunate few who hold the freeholds of the property they occupy. A tenant of a private leaseholder is in an infinitely worse position than one who is the tenant of the Government which is always amenable to reason, and which, if an injustice has been done, can be compelled to respond to pressure. A tenant of a private land-holder is denied that right. The question of legality is the only one that can be raised to protect the tenant of a private leaseholder, and for that reason the tenants of the Government, as in this case, are in a much better position. I think I am correct in saying that at least 90 per cent. of the people do not hold the freehold of the land they are occupying, but are paying’ rent in most cases to the fortunate speculators who are the freeholders. Freehold ownership means freedom to sell, and in many cases freeholders are freeholders in name only.
– A leaseholder can mortgage his interest.
– That depends upon the conditions of the lease. If a lease were granted at a fixed rental with no power to re-appraise, it might have the value of freehold.
– In some cases more.
– Another great advantage of the leasehold system is that persons with limited capital can use their money in the erection of buildings instead of in purchasing the land, but that cannot be done when the money is used in purchasing the land. At some more opportune time I could elaborate this subject and furnish consecutive statements. There is, however, irrefutable proof that the leasehold system, if fairly administered, is best for the majority of the inhabitants of this or any other country.
– I remind honorable senators that the subject-matter of this bill is the method of administration in the Federal Capital Territory and not the system of land tenure.
– When I read this measure I received the greatest shock I have ever suffered on perusing a measure submitted for our consideration. From time to time I have heard honorable senators at present supporting the Government saying that it should be the desire of Parliament to make the residents of Canberra happy and contented; but I submit that this measure, instead of assisting in that direction, will have the opposite effect. The people of Australia, including those resident in the Territory who previously resided elsewhere, have been accustomed to exercising some control in the government of the city, town, or district in which they live. But the Government proposes in this instance to deprive them of that right which will be the means of encouraging dissatisfaction and discontent.
– What rights have they in that direction under the present system ?
– Many of those who have been compelled to reside in Canberra have lived in municipalities in which they had the right, through their representatives, to control the affairs of the municipality in which they lived. That right is now to be denied them, as it is proposed to dispense with the Federal Capital Commission, on which they had an elected representative. Under this bill the Minister is to exercise the exclusive right of control. The powers contained in this bill are extraordinary. It provides, among other things, that the Minister may, in writing, under his hand, delegate to any person all or any of his powers or functions under any ordinance made under this act. That places the entire control in the hands of the Minister, and any one who has invested money in the Territory, or who is resident here, will have no voice whatever in the control of its affairs. Under this system a part of the time of this Parliament which should be devoted to consideration of important measures, will be occupied in dealing with disputes that arise as the result of the passage of this measure.
– How does the honorable senator know that?
– Every Britisher feels that he has an inherent right to a voice in the government of the country in which he lives.
– Did the Government which the honorable senator supported give that right to residents of this Territory ?
– For some time the control of the Federal Capital Territory was undertaken by a commission appointed by Parliament, but now the Government of which Senator Hoare is an ardent supporter is placing the power in the hands of the Minister instead of a commission. I do not suggest a change should not be made, but the proposals of the Government will not, I fear, be as beneficial as some expect. Senator Hoare would find if he inquired that at least eight out of every ten residents of Canberra are anxious to have a voice in the control of the Territory.
– I agree with the honorable senator.
– The Government should introduce some form of local government.
– “Why was that not done by the previous Government which the honorable senator supported?
– I am criticizing the policy of this Government. I do not think there has been much dissatisfaction during the last year or two, although many complaints were made when the commission form of government was first introduced.
– Is there any dissatisfaction now?
– Yes; but it is not as pronounced as it was some time ago. The principal objection of the people is based on the fact that they have no voice in the control of affairs, and, personally I think it would be wise to . make some provision in that direction. I suppose honorable senators are aware that the whole of the legislation relating to the administration of Canberra is to be repealed by this measure and that, in addition to this measure, we shall have only the act of 1910 under which the affairs of the Territory will be controlled. Everything is to be vested in the ‘Government - which is undesirable, particularly as it will mean that a good deal of the time of Parliament will be occupied in discussing municipal matters when it should be concentrating on subjects of national importance. No one would seriously suggest that the work which is now under the control of municipal authorities in the States should be handed over to the State Parliaments. That would be a retrograde step.
– The party which the honorable senator supports abolished municipal control in Sydney some time ago.
– That was not done by the Federal National party. The question of whether the tenure should be freehold or leasehold does not arise in connexion with this measure.
.- I am in accord with Senator Bae regarding the question of land tenure in the Federal Capital Territory. In my opinion it would be wrong to change the system from leasehold to freehold. “When the late Government instituted a system of commission control for the Federal Capital Territory, honorable senators then in Opposition claimed that the people of the Territory should be given representation in Parliament. They did so on the ground that there should be no taxation without representation. “Why is it that we now hear from them nothing of that claim? Why is the Labour party not practising what it formerly reached? The residents of the Territory expected that when the Labour party gained the Treasury bench it would offer them representation in Parliament, but they have been disappointed.
– That could not be provided for in this bill.
– This bill provides for the administration of the Federal Capital Territory. I feel sure that an overwhelming majority of the people of this Territory, irrespective of their political opinions, expected that this bill would provide for their direct representation in Parliament. The residents of Canberra have come from other parts of Australia where they had the privilege of voting in connexion with Federal, State and municipal elections. Now they have no voice at all in the administration of the country; they are not even given any control of their own local affairs.
– The Government has not a majority in the Senate.
– Is the Leader of the Senate prepared to bring down a measure to grant the residents of the Territory representation in Parliament ?
– If the honorable senator brings in a bill to that effect, I am prepared to give it consideration.
– That the Government has not a majority in the Senate does not prevent it from bringing forward other legislation. It could as easily introduce legislation to give representation to the people of the Territory. The residents of this city have felt their disfranchisement so keenly that about eighteen months or two years ago they took definite steps to secure representation. They had never been satisfied with the legislation providing for an elected third Commissioner. The Northern Territory, with a population probably only about one-third of that of the Federal Capital Territory, has its direct representative in this Parliament. The Government claims to be democratic, yet it still deprives the citizens of Canberra of the franchise. There may be differences of opinion regarding the voting power of their representative; but it is unfair not to give them representation in Parliament.
– It is astonishing to hear Senator Foll speak in this strain. The party which he supports was in office for six and a half years, yet so far as I am aware he took no steps to induce it to act in a democratic way and give the residents of the Federal Capital Territory representation in Parliament. I remind him that the party to which he belongs, not the Labour party, appointed the Federal Capital Commission.
– That does not excuse the present Government.
– The claim of the people of Canberra for representation in this Parliament was just as strong when the previous Government was in office as it is to-day. Why did not Senator Foll do something then? Senator Payne stated that the Labour party stands for a happy and contented community.
– I said that it professes to do so.
– The Labour party endeavours to put its precepts into practice. The honorable senator complains that this bill will not tend to create a happy and contented community in Canberra. What did the honorable senator do to improve the conditions of the people of the Territory when they were controlled by the Federal Capital Commission ?
– The honorable sena- “ tor should read Hansard.
– I do not think that he made one complaint against the Commission.
– That cannot be said about me.
– The honorable senator’s complaints have been confined to the question of land tenure. Although the late Government knew that there was a no more discontented ‘community in Australia than the people of Canberra, it did nothing to remove that discontent.
– Does the honorable senator think that the residents of the Federal Capital Territory should be directly represented in Parliament?
– I said then, as I say now, that they should have a voice in the municipal control of the city and should also be given representation in Parliament.
– The honorable senator should place his views before the Ministry.
– I am prepared to give this legislation a trial. If it does not prove satisfactory, it can be amended later to provide for the creation of a. municipal council elected on adult suffrage. When Sir John Butters was virtually governing Canberra, complaints were heard on every side. As a member of the Public Accounts Committee which inquired into various matters affecting the Capital, I found that the place was seething with discontent. The late Government was aware of that discontent; yet it did nothing to improve the situation.
– The Government should fulfill some of the promises it made to the people of Canberra.
– This bill is a step in that direction. Even if it does not do all that the Government expects of it this legislation certainly cannot make matters any worse. Senator McLachlan appeared to be concerned about the trouble that the Government would bring upon itself by this legislation. The bill may not be perfect; but at least it should be given a fair trial. If the people of Canberra are not satisfied with the new regime they will soon voice their complaints. No section of the people of the Commonwealth is more deserving of consideration than the people who are forced to live in Canberra. I do not agree with Senator Newlands when he praises this so-called “ glorious “ place. Its only redeeming feature is the excellent weather that we have recently been enjoying. The residents of Canberra are confronted with a very serious problem. When their children pass the stage of adolescence and are forced to seek some avenue of employment they certainly will not be able to find it in the Federal Capital. At a time when they should be at home, benefiting by the guidance of their parents, they will be compelled to go to other’ cities to earn a crust.
– That is in no way different from the conditions obtaining in thousands of country towns.
– The conditions are different from those of any other country town in Australia. Canberra can never become great because no industries can be successfully established here.
– The Canberra laundry does well.
– How many people can that laundry employ to assist to develop the community? Canberra has inherent disadvantages that will prevent its becoming an industrial city. Nobody would establish an industry here because it would be impossible to pay freights on the raw material and, later on, the manufactured articles and to make the business pay.
– A brewery would sell its product on the spot.
– I believe that the people of Canberra are a sober com munity, and that a brewery would not thrive here. I do not think that anybody would be stupid enough to support one if established.
– I remind the honorable senator that the bill has nothing to do with the establishment of breweries.
– I hope that the bill will confer some benefit on the people of Canberra. If it does not I shall certainly seek to have it altered. It is the desire of the Government to bring about a better condition of affairs in the Federal Capital and, in its wisdom, it is introducing this measure for the purpose. I believe that there will be fewer complaints under the new control than there were in the past, and I sincerely hope that it will bestow considerable benefits on the inhabitants of Canberra.
.- I should probably not have spoken had it not been for the remarks made by Senator Hoare. We have to remember that the Department of Public Works was the governing authority in this city before the inception of the Federal Capital Commission. Under this bill the control of Canberra will again be mostly under the direction of that department. The past administration does not reflect very great credit upon the original authority. One has only to look at the unsuitable and extremely costly hotels to appreciate that. Who in his sane moments would have erected the Hotel Canberra?
– Who did?
– The Public Works Department. It is inconvenient, uncomfortable in its surroundings, and costly to administer. Similar remarks apply to the Hotel Kurrajong. In. the winter its boarders almost perish. There is only one hotel in Canberra that can be economically managed, and that is the Hotel Wellington.
– The Hotel Kurrajong was built by the Federal Capital Commission.
– It was designed before the Federal Capital Commission was appointed. The Hotel Kurrajong was certainly completed before the original Commission was abolished.
Parliament demanded that we should go to Canberra and make it the centre or administration. I was not one who voiced such a demand. Although I realized the necessity for a federal capital I did not want to come to thiswilderness. One has only to look at the sad faces of the inhabitants of Canberra to appreciate their unhappiness. The big influences of Sydney forced the Government to come to this lonely and uninviting spot. All the designs were got ready, and it became necessary to get an administrative body to go ahead with establishing the capital here. The PublicWorks Department had neither the staff nor the organization to give effect to the desire of Parliament, so the Federal Capital Commission was appointed. I do not claim that money was not wasted. It is inevitable that money should be wasted in connexion with any big scheme. After the completion of the urgent works necessary to carry out immediately the wishes of Parliament, I used my efforts to abolish the Federal Capital Commission, but I now realize that the work it performed could not have been done as well or as expeditiously by any other form of administration. Sir John Butters gave effect to the desire of Parliament and rapidly developed the city. Had the task been left to the Department of Public Works it would probably have cost £15,000,000 instead of £8,000,000 or £10,000,000.
Many complaints were made with regard to the old Commission. I believe that they arose, not from any extravagance, but from the irritating annoyances inseparable from any socialistic community. Sir John Butters became autocratic, and the Federal Capital Commission too socialistic. Residents were told that they must not build a house to this or that design, that they could not have verandahs, fences, or even privacy. I pity the poor people who live here when I see the miserable homes in which they are compelled to dwell. People could not even obtain board at a private place, as the Commission, in order to compel residents to go to hotels, forbade householders to take in boarders. It was not possible to sell refreshments at the Cotter River Dam, or to keep a few fowls in one’s backyard. Those were the kind of things that got on the nerves of the people, and it is not to be wondered at that they became discontented.
Eventually the different public buildings were erected and provision of a kind was made for the public servants. There was no longer any need for hastening the completion of the city. I am confident that its population will not exceed 10,000 or 12,000 people within the next quarter of a century.It became necessary to call a halt. There was no need to perpetuate the costly upkeep of the Commission, and the late Government, of which I was a member, decided to make an alteration. As a temporary expedient it inaugurated the existing Commission with Mr. Christie as chairman, and a Public Works officer and an elected representative as members. The present Government proposes to alter that arrangement by retaining Mr. Christie and appointing two departmental heads and three elected representatives to assist him. Actually, there is very little alteration. Had the late Government remained in power it would have evolved a more democratic scheme. It had already considered the matter, and it was only because of the pressure of public business that the new plan was not proceeded with. The present one is merely a hotch-potch. Actually the controlling body will be four ministers of the Crown, a commissioner, who is under a minister, and two departmental heads. What a remarkable proposal to emanate from a so-called democratic Government! Why has it treated the residents of Canberra with such scant courtesy? I am confident that if those people had the advantage of a universal franchise and could vote for Mr. Cusack or some similar person the present Government would not have dared to ignore the just claims of Canberra residents! This is the creation of a despotic government, callous to the interests of the people. I hope that the Government has not entirely committed itself to the bill, and that it will grant a greater measure of self-government to the people of Canberra. Let it give effect to some if its platform pledges. Why has the Ministry omitted to provide for some form of municipal control? This is a civic city as well as a civic centre, and yet there is not one person living in this community who is not compelled to live here. It is remarkable that all those members of Parliament who are continually speaking of the beauties of Canberra and the advantages of the leasehold system of land tenure - which, by the way, I unhesitatingly condemn - decline, themselves, to live under it. They do not own a land lease here. As soon as Parliament adjourns at the end of each week they hasten away, and during the recess they stay away. Meantime they make speeches and endeavour to persuade the people of Australia that those unfortunate citizens who are compelled to live here are contented. I sympathize with the citizens of Canberra, who have been torn from their friends and families in Melbourne and compelled to make their homes here. But we should do more than that. We should endeavour to make their lot easier than it is. However, the Commonwealth is committed to Canberra, and I suppose we must go on with the scheme; but the proposal contained in this bill cannot and will not satisfy. the people of Canberra. One of the great weaknesses of this city - I do not like to call it a city, for, after all, it is but a scattered collection of villages, and it will be a long time before I can forgive Mr. Griffin for his plan - is that the various settlements are miles apart. This arrangement is responsible for an unutterable feeling of loneliness on the part of the people who live here.
– It is a collection of suburbs without a city.
– The honorable senator is right. I am afraid that, with Canberra as the seat of government, our system of parliamentary representation is weakening. This makes it all the more necessary that we should give to the people living here a greater measure of self government than is promised to them under this bill. Men of business ability and commercial knowledge decline to come to Canberra and take part in the discussion of laws for the government of the Commonwealth. Consequently the tendency will be to allow the affairs of the nation to be left in the hands of the executive. The whole scheme was a great mistake. The stipulation that the Capital should be established in New South Wales is a blemish in the Constitution. I therefore strongly urge the Ministry to give the citizens of Canberra a full measure of local responsibility and control. I am not unreasonable, so I suggest that the Minister should have the right of veto. The municipal council should have authority over purely municipal affairs, and the construction of public works should be in the hands of the Public Works Department. Surely this is not too much to ask, and I believe I am safe in saying that, if the BrucePage Government had remained in office, this would have been its policy.
– The honorablesenator who has just resumed his seat (Senator Ogden) reminded me of the story of Moses, who, after having led the children of Israel through the wilderness, was shown from Mount Pisgah the Promised Land, but was not allowed to enter it. Senator Ogden was an Honorary Minister in the Bruce-Page Government, and I am inclined to believe that, being no longer able to taste the sweets of office,anything to do with Canberra is now a case of sour grapes with him. I suggest that the honorable senator should take a walk to the top of Mount Ainslie, and from that eminence view the Promised Land, because the fate of Moses will be his. He will be wandering in the wilderness for 40 yearsbefore again he can hope to taste the fruits of office. I was impressed with the figures quoted by the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Sir George Pearce), with reference to the cost of Parliament House, Melbourne, which was for so long the seat of government of the Commonwealth. I understand that that building was erected about 50 years ago. Therefore, its cost cannot be compared with the cost of this building. Personally, I should not have objected if Albury had been selected as the site of the Federal Capital. That city, I presume, would have met the convenience of honorable senators and members of another place, as well as the business people of the Commonwealth. But I object to the tactics of certain honorable senators opposite. Senator Ogden would have us believe that the present Government is responsible for the difficulties that have arisen in connexion with the development of the Capital. The honorable senator and other speakers on his side made no mention of the administrative faults of the Bruce-Page Government in regard to Canberra. I am wondering if he anticipates another by-election in Tasmania, but I should think the last experience was sufficient. I agree with many of the previous speakers who have advocated the adoption of some form of municipal control for purely local affairs. I believe this scheme will come later, after the more essential important works have been carried out. It is advisable that the Government should continue to control the expenditure of vast sums of public money for developmental purposes. If undue prominence has been given in Parliament to purely local grievances, such as kerbing and guttering, something must have been wrong with the administration of the previous Government, of which the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Sir William Glasgow and Senator Ogden were members. I believe that the bill will meet with the approval of the citizens, and that they- will be satisfied with the representation which they will have under it. Canberra could be made more popular. Various sites have ‘ been set aside on the Yass-road for industrial establishments, and I see nothing wrong in bringing to Canberra the small arms factories, the Commonwealth clothing factory, and establishments for the manufacture of postal requirements, all of which industries would tend to build up a big city. I feel sure that as time goes on they will be set up here. Of course Canberra would be all right from the point of view of some honorable senators if it were in Tasmania or South Australia, but because it happens to be situated in territory which was formerly part of New South Wales it seems to be all wrong. My friendly advice to Senator Ogden is that Canberra is a very nice place; and that he should try to enjoy it for the short time he is likely to be here.
.- Every time Canberra is discussed we have people against it and people for it, but I think the time has arrived when we should recognize that it is a factor in our national life and that instead of decrying it to the outside public, we should do the very opposite. It is quite unnecessary to exaggerate its disabilities. We have to remember that when the Government sent its officers here to make a start with the building of a seat of government for the Commonwealth, a plan was adopted to lay out a garden city. The majority of people are only beginning to realize the cost of building a garden city. As the city grew, and a Parliament House was required, as well as accommodation for public servants, a commission was appointed to make the necessary provision, and as the Assistant Minister has explained, it did splendid work, perhaps better than any body could have done. It accomplished its task and people came to Canberra. But a great deal of discontent existed among them because many of their grievances were ignored. The late Government as an experiment gave them an opportunity to appoint a representative on the Commission. I think it is very well known that unfortunately the commissioner so elected, did not and. did not even attempt to work well with the other members of the old Commission. He was always at loggerheads with them. At any rate the Government gave the people an opportunity to elect a representative even if he failed in his duty. Later, owing to the decrease in the amount of developmental work to be done, the late Government abolished the old Commission, and made another experiment, and the result was evidently fairly successful, because since the present Government has come into power I do not think one question has appeared on the notice-paper about Canberra grievances. We have reached that stage in the history of Canberra when I think it should have a council representative of its citizens. I have not heard one reason brought forward to disabuse my mind of the belief that such a body should be a factor in the life of this city as it is in other cities. The great majority of the citizens of Canberra are public servants, who have passed the necessary examination to enter the Service, and in the matter of intelligence they are more or less above the level of citizens of other cities. It is, therefore, natural for them to be dissatisfied at being disfranchised, and ignored, and without any voice in the control of their own affairs. I am astonished that the present Government has not seized the opportunity to allow the citizens to work out their own salvation.
It is useless for other people to attempt to remove their grievances. They should be allowed to do it themselves, and I think they could do a good deal in that direction by having their own council.
One of the great grievances of the people of Canberra is the rates they have to pay. As a member of the Public Works Committee for a number of years, I have heard many aspects of the grievances of the people in this city. There is not the slightest doubt that they have veal grievances. They have been compelled to come here and live in houses for which a high rent, is demanded - a rental which in many cases their incomes are not sufficient to meet. A city council representative of the people and understanding their grievances could look into this question of high rents and rates. Another grievance is the ground rent charged, which, in my opinion, is too high. The citizens have no voice in the matter, nor will “this hybrid thing that the present Government is appointing. The people have to pay these high rates and rents, but they have no control over the expenditure of the revenue thus derived. A council could look into the question of housing, one of the most pressing in Canberra to-day. There is need for a type of house that will suit the incomes of the industrial classes and lower paid public servants. It is useless to shut our eyes to the fact that when public servants are discontented because of the inconveniences to which they are’ put and the high rents and rates they have to pay, the Commonwealth does not get from them the same service that it is likely to get from a contented population. Of course the city council would have nothing to do with the erection of houses. I would not allow the citizens of Canberra to have any control over the spending of public money provided by the people of Australia. This Parliament is the body which has been appointed by the people of Australia to look after the money collected from them as taxpayers, and whatever the public departments can do in Canberra they should do quite independently of the citizens. The council that I suggest would not have the right to rate government buildings. But the Government could subsidize it.
Such a council would have sufficient revenue to provide the necessary services for the city, and, being representative of the views of the people, could submit them to the Government as a body. All the petty grievances that worry the Minister would thus disappear. The Minister will be very full up of the job he is setting himself before he is very much older. In any case he ought to be spending his time on national affairs, and it is preposterous to think that he should be expected to spend it in dealing with local affairs, which should be attended to by representatives of the citizens.
In any case Canberra is on the map, and I strongly object to the depreciatory remarks that some people are always making about it. No one can deny that the people here are healthier than those in any other city of Australia. Those who came from Melbourne growling and discontented at being taken away from their friends, have now to admit that the health of themselves and their children has greatly improved and if that fact were known generally, I am sure it would induce more people to settle in Canberra. I do not think there is any ground for Senator Ogden’s statement that this Parliament will lose good men because it is. sitting in Canberra. So far it has not lost any good men on that account, and I do not think it is to the credit of this Parliament or to the people of Australia that it should go forth that some would not be willing to serve the Commonwealth because Canberra is so far away from the big centres of population. I think that in the future we shall have as many good men anxious to serve the nation at Canberra as Ave had when the seat of government was in Melbourne.
Another Canberra grievance to which some government will have to give attention, is the fact that at the first land sales there were very large ideas abroad as to the future of the city, and values were rushed up to a point far above what they should be. Somebody, perhaps a city council, will have to take into serious consideration the way in which values have been forced up to a fictitious point.
I trust the Government will accept the suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition and amend the measure in such a way that the residents of Canberra will he able to appoint their own representatives to control local affairs allowing the Government to undertake the necessary constructional work.
– I feel that I cannot allow the statements of those two Cassandra-like senators - Senators Hoare and Ogden - to pass without a few remarks from me. I arn more unsatisfactorily placed than either of them, since 1 come from Central Queensland, whir-li is a long way from Canberra ; but although it takes me much . longer to reach the Federal Capital than it does either Senator Hoare or Senator Ogden, I have no complaint to make. It is impracticable for me to return home during the week-ends; hut I find the surroundings here very congenial.
– No Queensland representative can reach his home and return during a week-end.
– That is so; but I am in a worse position than some Queensland representatives as I live in Central Queensland. I do not, however, find it a hardship to remain here because, as Senator Reid has .said, the climate is everything that could be desired and the natural surroundings, during other than dry seasons such as the present, aided as they are by artificial means can be favorably compared with those of many other great cities. I say that advisedly because I have had opportunities to travel which have not fallen to the lot of most men. As to the people living here - or as some say, who are compelled to live here - I may mention that it was only the other day that I met a prominent public servant who, in the words of M. Coue, said - “Day by day in every way I like it better.” I have heard similar sentiments expressed by public servants on many occasions. Although some public servants complain that they were compelled to come to Canberra, they knew when they first joined the Service that they would ultimately be transferred to the Federal Capital. I have not much sympathy with such persons, as they knew a change would have to be made at one time or another. I sympathize, however, with the public servants who came here at great disadvantage, and some time ago I assisted them in obtaining a special allowance, but whether that allowance was sufficient I cannot say.
In the matter of control, I favour the scheme suggested by the Leader of the Opposition. The Government buildings should be under the control of the Works and Railways Department, and new construction should not be undertaken until an investigation has first been made by the Public Works Committee. The other important matters which have been controlled by the Federal Capital Commission, including rural leases, should remain under its jurisdiction. Reference has been made to’ the control of local affairs by a municipal council elected by the ratepayers, as is the case in the principal cities and towns of the Commonwealth. The difficulties which some suggest do not seem to me to be insuperable, and although it may be said that there are not sufficient ratepayers at present to justify the election of a municipal council it must be remembered that there are places with a smaller population than Canberra that are under municipal control. It has also been urged that, in the absence of freehold tenure, it would be difficult to collect rates; but that is a matter which could be overcome. Although I may be treading upon delicate ground I should like to say, in passing, that it would be better for the Federal Capital Territory if the freehold system were introduced, especially in the city area. We have proof of that in Queensland, where the people now have the option of adopting the leasehold or freehold system. The freehold system is being adopted in the city but not in the country districts. I do not know whether the position of rural leases comes within the scope of this bill.
– The honorable senator will not be in order in discussing rural leases unless ho can connect his remarks with the subject-matter of the bill.
– We have heard a good deal from some honorable senators opposite concerning the hercu- lean attributes of the present Government ; here is an opportunity to exemplify thorn. 1 propose to make a suggestion which, if adopted, would bring kudos to the Government, although as a member of the Opposition I suppose I should not make the position of the Ministry more secure than it now is. I submit the suggestion, which has been mentioned to me- - not in the interests of the present administration, but so that the country may benefit - that the Government should adopt a vigorous and bold policy of concentrating nil public servants in Canberra at the earliest possible moment. If that were done the population would be increased to such an extent that municipal control would be easy. If such a scheme were adopted there would be greater efficiency in the Public Service than at present, and the necessity of paying big rents for offices in Melbourne and elsewhere, would be dispensed with.
– Where does the honorable senator suggest that the public servants should be housed?
– I shall come to that. The transfer of public servants now working in Melbourne would, as I have said, dispense with the necessity of paying heavy rents in the capital cities.
– Rut there is no housing accommodation.
– The difficulty, of course, is in connexion with housing and in providing suitable office accommodation. The premises in which certain banks in Canberra are doing their business are inconveniently situated ; they are too far away from Parliament House. For instance, the other clay it cost me ls. for transport and I occupied an hour and a half of valuable time in visiting a bank to cash a cheque. The premises at present occupied by the banks, as well as a number of vacant offices in the vicinity, could bc utilized as government offices. I know that housing is a great difficulty, and that finance is a most important factor. I suggest that this vigorous and bold policy should be adopted when more money is available; we must remember that, the present financial stringency will not continue indefinitely. I believe the position is already becoming easier. There would also be a much better opportunity of obtaining money for repro.-. ductive purposes such as that I have mentioned than for some of the schemes for which we go on the money market. I know it is a big proposition and one that cannot be handled at once, but T commend it to the earnest consideration of the Government. Senator H. E. Elliott claimed that leases were sold at inflated prices, but if the freehold of the land had been offered the prices might have been equally inflated, because peoplewere anxious to buy at that time. Everything was booming.
– The boom was brought about by the limited number of blocks made available.
– I am speaking generally, and am suggesting that if the freeholds could have been purchased the buyers would have had to pay a large capital sum for them and would have been hampered by heavy payments of interest.
– The honorable senator is supporting my argument.
– I am not advocating the leasehold system, but am merely suggesting that, in the special circumstances which obtained at the time, high prices might have been paid for the freeholds. I trust the Government will adopt the suggestion I have brought forward, as it would be a means of improving the conditions in Canberra generally.
– Honorable senators have dealt with many phases of this measure, and with a good many subjects which it does not embrace. Fear has been expressed that dissatisfaction will exist because no provision has been made for a municipal council to be elected by the people. Others have contended that in a small community it would be difficult to obtain men of sufficient experience in public affairs to act in such a capacity. The bill makes provision for an Advisory Council, three members of which are to be elected by the people. I think there will be very little difficulty in securing the services of three men of sufficient experience and ability to undertake the duties required of them. As practically all of the residents of Canberra come from the cities where big things are done,.particularly.in the matter of municipal control, it should be an easy matter to select three men capable of serving on the Advisory Council which will report to the Minister.
– Does the Minister think that the people of the Territory should be given parliamentary representation ?
– Personally, I think they should ; but that is beyond the scope of this bill. Canberra is different from any other city in Australia. The revenue collected from the residents of Canberra is only about 6 per cent. of the total amount expended annually in the development of the city, and would not do more than pay interest on the cost of the buildings erected in the city. If Canberra’s development depended on the amount contributed by its residents, there would be no progress. In dealing with the administration of the Territory it must be remembered that the whole of the taxpayers of Australia contribute to provide the necessary funds. Whilethe Government’s proposals will lead to some economies, it is not in that direction alone that they will effect improvements. There is a fear in some quarters that the new control will mean the dismissal of a large number of men. Fortunately, that will not be so, for it is hoped to place many of them elsewhere. The advantage of the new system will be felt particularly in the better organization which it will make possible. The cost of control will not be so great as under the old system. The bill will give to the residents of the Federal Capital Territory some representation on the Advisory Council. In addition, there will be on the council experienced and well-trained officers of the Public Service, with experience in the government of the cities in which they have lived previously. The whole administration of the Territory will be under a Minister, who, in turn, will be responsible to Parliament.
Some honorable senators appear to fear the effect of the proposed new section 12c, which provides -
The Minister may, by writing under his hand, delegate to any person all or any of his powers or functions under any ordinance made under this act.
Sub-section 2 of that section provides for the revocation of that delegation by the Minister at any time. I think that honorable senators have nothing to fear from this provision. Nor do I think there is ground for the fears expressed by Senator McLachlan. I realize that the question of land tenure, if included in this bill, would provide scope for lengthy argument, but the bill does not deal with that matter. In the sincere belief that the bill will improve existing conditions, I commend it to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 -
– This clause arms the Minister with authority to alter the plan of the city if he thinks fit. The only check upon his action will be disapproval by Parliament of the alteration, within fifteen days of the making thereof if Parliament is then sitting or, if Parliament is not sitting, then within fifteen days of the next meeting of Parliament. The plan of the city should not lightly be altered. Canberra is being developed in accordance with the Griffin plan, which gained first place in a world-wide competition. I do not claim that the plan is perfect in every detail: but it has the approval of a body of experts, who selected it as the best of the schemes submitted. In my opinion fifteen days is rather too short a period in which to object to any alteration of the layout of the city.
– This provision is taken ‘from the old act.
– The difficulty appears to be that Parliament might not be in session and that, in terms of subsection 1, there is a 30 days limit. However, as no Minister would take the risk, there appears to be no real danger.
– Probably Senator Lynch is afraid that some of the roads will be straightened.
– A graceful curve has some attraction; but it might he necessary, in the interests of safety, to cut down some of the trees near road intersections. By agreeing to this clause we are really throwing ourselves on the mercy of the Minister. “We can only hope that he will act wisely and not take undue advantage of the powers conferred on him.
– I desire to draw attention, to the provision in new section 12d providing that the Governor-General may make regulations for carrying out or giving effect to this act. All such regulations should be laid on the table of the Senate.
– That is provided for in the Acts Interpretation Act.
– I direct attention to sub-section 2 of proposed new section 12a and suggest that instead of “ within fifteen days of the next meeting of the Parliament “ it should read “ within fifteen days after the next meeting of the Parliament.”
.- Whether the word is “of” or “ after “ the sense is not altered.
– Within fifteen days of the next meeting of the Parliament might mean fifteen days before Parliament meets.
– The sub-section provides that the alteration shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament. I think that Senator Thompson will agree, on reflection, that “ of “ is the proper word to use.
– I draw the attention of the Leader of the Government to the decision in the Bunnerong case. While I understand that these provisions have been incorporated in another act, I am somewhat doubtful whether this power is within our authority.
– I am indebted to Senator McLachlan for having drawn the attention of the Government to this matter. In the interim, I have consulted the Crown Solicitor about the matter. It is necessary for the actual purposes of the Seat of Government Act to grant power to the Government to sell its electricity outside of the actual limits of the Territory if necessary.
– The words that are troubling me are “ any person outside the Territory.”
– The Government has been selling power to Queanbeyan for years and nobody has challenged the practice.
– Whether that power would be ultra vires or not, I think Senator McLachlan will see that it is necessary to. make some provision in the act to cover trading for the express purposes of the Seat of Government Act. I see no harm in the proposed new section in its present form. A similar provision is in the principal act.
– I am aware that provision is made in the principal act. The difficulty that I see is in connexion with the words “ to any person outside the Territory.” It is quite competent for the Government to supply itself or any of its activities, but I have grave doubts about “ any person outside the Territory “. However, as the constitutional authority has not yet been challenged, I shall not press my objection. It occurred to me that difficulties might arise and I thought it my duty to draw the attention of the Government to the matter.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 (Validation of regulations made by authorityof ordinances) -
– I should like some explanation from the Minister as to the necessity for this clause. If these regulations are validly made under an ordinance there can be no question as to their being good in law, but if they have been passed by the Commissionultra vires, I do not think that we should he asked to validate them in this fashion.
– We could not validate them if they wereultra vires.
SenatorH. E. ELLIOTT. - This clause proposed to validate them no matter how they were made. It reads, “ all regulations made or purporting to have been made. . . . “ They may purport to have been made and yet be quite outside the scope of the powers vested in the authority concerned. As a matter of fact the Roads and Footpath Regulations purported to be made in pursuance of the powers vested in the Federal Capital Commission, but the High Court held them to be ultra vires. We should not be asked to give our support in this blindfold fashion to regulations that may beequally ultra vires, but which have not yet been tested in the Court.
– Is there any reason for exempting the Roads and Footpaths Regulations published in the Gazette of the 10th November, 1927?
– Yes, because they were declared invalid by the High Court.
– Has that worked any injustice on anybody?
– The case established the right of the people concerned by overriding the regulation.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 7 to 14 agreed to.
Schedule and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
The following papers were presented : -
North Australia -Report by the Government Resident on the Administration for the year ended 30th June, 1929.
Ordered to be printed.
Agreement dated 26th March. 1930, made between the Commonwealth and Herbert William Gepp, Esquire.
Agreement dated 12th March, 1930, made between the Commonwealth and Walter PageDevereux, Esquire.
Agreement dated 26th March, 1930, made between the Commonwealth and the honorable John Gunn.
Agreement dated 26th March, 1930, made between the Commonwealth and Edward Joseph Mulvany, Esquire.
Tariff Board - Reports and Recommendations -
Gum and Wading Boots.
Paper Cake Containers and Paper Chocolate Containers. - Request for increased duty.
Pasteurizers, Pasteurizing Vats and Jacketed Vats.
PeanutButter. - Request for increased duty.
Roller-type Hand Mowers, Electricallydriven Lawn Mowers.
Sheep. - Request for increased duties.
Thymol and Menthol. - Request for increased duty.
Women’s and Girls’ Headwear, &c.
Woven wire gauze of from 30 to 120- mesh per lineal inch.
Audit Act - Transfers of amounts approved bv the Governor-General in Council -
Financial Year 1928-29- Dated 13th March, 1930.
Bankruptcy Act -
Rules and Amendments to Rules. - Statutory Rules 1928, No.8- No.63- No. 82
Regulations- Statutory Rules 1928, No. 64.
Commonwealth Bank Act - Treasurer’s Statement of the Combined Accounts of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the Commonwealth Savings Bank at 31st December, 1929, certified to by the Auditor-General.
Public Works Committee Act - Fifteenth General Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works.
Maternal and Child Welfare in Australia - Report by Dame Janet M. Campbell, D.B.E., M.D., M.S., Senior Medical Officer for Maternity and Child Welfare, Ministry of Health, London.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired at Blyth, South Australia - For Postal purposes.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Scat of Government (Administration) Act - Ordinance No. 2 of 1930 - Church Lands Leases.
Motion (by Senator Daly) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
.- 1 Seek some information from the Honorary Minister with regard to regulations under ordinances that have recently been made by the Government Resident in North Australia. Ordinance No. 14 of 1927 provides that the Minister may make regulations,” &c, which are to be “ laid before both Houses of Parliament within 30 days after the making thereof, or, if the Parliament is not then sitting, within 30 days after the next meeting thereof.” In an ordinance relating to aboriginals and notified in the Gazette of the 13th June, 1918, it is provided that -
AH regulations made by the Administrator under this ordinance shall he notified in the Gazette, and copies thereof shall forthwith be forwarded to the Minister.
The Minister may by notice in the Gazette disallow any regulations and the regulations shall thereupon cease to have effect.
The regulations in force immediately prior to thu passing of this ordinance shall continue in force as if made under this ordinance until such time as they arc repealed by regulations made under this ordinance.
I was of the opinion that it was necessary, under the provisions of the Acts Interpretation Act, that any regulation under any act should be laid on the table of Parliament within a definite time, but I have here some regulations under the Aboriginals Ordinance 1918-28, wherein it is stated -
In pursuance of the powers conferred upon me by the Northern Australia Act 1020, and by virtue of the provisions of tho Aboriginals Ordinance 1918-28, I, Robert Hunter Weddell, the Government Resident of North Australia, do hereby make the following regulations under the said Aboriginals Ordinance 1918-28, to come into operation on the 28th day of February, 1930.
A considerable time has elapsed since that ordinance caine into operation, but so far as I can recollect it has never been laid on the table of the House. Is it necessary to table regulations made under an ordinance? I shall be glad if the Minister will let me know as soon as possible what is the practice with regard to tho ordinances and regulations made by the Administrator, and why this particular ordinance has not been tabled.
– I am not in a position to inform the honorable senator; but I shall have the necessary inquiries made and inform him later.
– I wish to direct attention to the following letter which I have received from the Automotive Manufacturers Association of New South Wales, under date Sydney, 25th March : -
Carburettors for replacement purposes enjoy a £3 specific duty. This was granted by the Forde tariff- schedule revision in December last. A month later a Melbourne motor trader’s official voiced the opinion to the writer that the granting of the carburettor duties “ to help one firm with three employees “ was “ over the odds.” He was wrong, and I gave him tho facts there and then. On his return to Melbourne, however, he repeated his three-man firm story publicly and official])’, and it was telegraphed to most of the daily press in Australia. Next day corrections of the mis-statement, given by Mr. Forde and by myself, were widely published.
In spite of our prompt correction, the Country party organization in New South Wales bus included the three-man story in one of its bulletins, and ignored the subsequent statement of the facts.
The position is that the three-man firm mentioned by the Country party bulletin is merely an assembling depot where carburettor parts, made in sundry other establishments, are assembled, tested, packed and despatched.
Carburettors wore made by the thousand during war years by Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company, Sydney, a firm which now employs 900 hands, admittedly not on carburettors, but it has grown to these dimensions from a one-man shop in the past 17 years. As evidence of its capacity to make carburettors, one has only to quote the fact that its competition in electricity meter manufacturing - a mechanism with 300 integral parts - has brought the prices down from 4;3s. to 28s. in a period of a few years. This firm makes and supplies at the same price to all Australia electricity meters for 28s. each, a price which is 2s. less than the home price of the English electricity meters made and sold in England. This firm has stated that the moment opportunity offers it intends to return again to the manufacture of carburettors.
Another firm making carburettor parts is the Alpha Engineering Company, of Camperdown, employing 40 hands. Its prices show no increase as a result of the 100 per cent, increase in tariff ; in fact, it is making a certain carburettor part for ls. 9d. each at the present time which is retailing in Sydney at 12s.
The Rosebery Engine Works Limited, previously importers of a type of carburettor which they prefer to call a vapouriser, now makes them at Rosebery, Sydney, for their own industrial engines.
And now a new Richmond is in the field. Messrs. Vincent Bros, are making and assembling carburettor parts on a mass-production basis.- We have their testimony that the Australian-made article runs with a perfect smoothness and a gratifying efficiency.
In addition to the firms named, several other would-be carburettor manufacturers have made inquiries of the Chamber of Manufactures of New South Wales. They will start in the business the moment an opportunity appears. Thus is the tariff justified of her children. The suggestion that Australian makers could not cope with the variety of sizes and styles is mere chatter. The carburettor lends itself admirably to standardization, and in good time we shall ask the Federal Parliament to help us in that particular.
I have directed attention to this matter because the publicity officer of the Country party in New South Wales has made a good deal of political capital out of it in its weekly bulletin. If Colonel Munro wishes to say anything on the matter he should tell the truth, and not circulate a pack of lies.
– It seems extraordinary that this statement which appeared in the press of Queensland five or six weeks ago, should have been mentioned on the floor of this chamber to-night and that this length of time should have elapsed before any attempt was made to deny the report. I have not had an opportunity to investigate the statements made; but I am surprised that Senator Dunn should have read the letter.
– I also have received a copy of the letter which Senator Dunn has just read. It would appear that the three-man firm which was alleged to be making carburettors is not actually manufacturing them in Australia at all, but is assembling carburettors. To that extent, therefore, it would appear that the statement was incorrect. The letter goes on to state that many other manufacturers were about to commence manufacturing carburettors. I contend, therefore, that, in the main, the statement made by Colonel Munro was accurate. It is unfair that motor car owners as well as the owners of motor trucks and tractors should be called upon to pay this duty of £3 especially as it now appears that carburettors are not, at present, being manufactured in Australia.
.- The letter which’ Senator Dunn was good enough to read just now does not state that any firm is actually making carburettors in Australia, but that several firms are making carburettor parts. The honorable senator showed bad taste in stating that the weekly bulletin of the Country party organization contained lying propaganda. The letter is a clever advertising dodge on the part of the people concerned.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) [10.23]. - I understand that before long we shall be dealing with the tariff schedule, and I put it to the Leader of the Senate (Senator Daly) that if Government supporters begin this practice of reading letters, which they receive in regard to the tariff, before the schedule is under consideration in this chamber, the Government is not likely to get its business through with that expedition which it desires. It is bad tactics for the Government Whip to set an example in this matter. If I were to read all the letters which I have received about the tariff, the Government business would be delayed considerably.
– I am anxious to facilitate the business of the Senate as much as possible, but honorable senators opposite will, I am sure, recognize that I cannot absolutely prevent any honorable senator from directing attention to matters which he considers should be mentioned. I did not know what was in the letter which Senator Dunn has just read. The honorable senator mentioned that he had received a letter and asked me if he would be in order in reading it on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate, and I said I thought he would be. I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that it is not my wish that honorable senators on this side should set a bad example. I assume that Senator Dunn naturally felt hurt at” the statement contained in the bulletin, and as the Standing Orders of the Senate allow honorable senators to ventilate grievances on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate, Senator Dunn took advantage of that opportunity. I give the Leader of the Opposition my assurance that I am anxious that Government business should be facilitated.
– We are prepared to accept Senator Dunn’s apology.
– Senator Dunn is capable ofspeaking for himself. He must have felt that he had a real grievance, otherwise he would not have directed attention to the letter.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.27.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 March 1930, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1930/19300326_senate_12_123/>.