4th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– ‘Will the Prime Minister inform the House as to the progress of the negotiations with Canada for reciprocal trade relations, and whether there is a possibility of the early resumption of direct steam-strip communication between the Commonwealth and the Dominion ? .
– Communications with Canada have taken place through the Minister of Trade and Customs, who will be able to give the honorable member, later, more detailed information than I have at present, but I am able to say that Canada has expressed herself in favour of improved trade relations. The most recent cable from that country is to the effect that further time is desired to consider the matter, and a personal interview between parties representing both countries concerned has been asked for.
– I desire to repeat to the Minister of Trade and Customs the question I have already asked the Prime Minister. Can the Minister of Trade and Customs inform the House as tothe progress of the negotiations with Canada for reciprocal trade relations?
– The Minister of Customs for Canada wrote to me early this year on the question, and expressed a desire that we should exchange lists of the articles on which we were prepared to give each other the best Tariff arrangement. I forwarded to him a list embracing such commodities as meat, butter, fruit, wool, hides, and skins, and so forth, and told him that I was anxious to hear from him. No list, however, has been forwarded from Canada. My letter was acknowledged by cable, and about a fortnight ago I cabled asking for the list. The reply was that the Canadian Minister of Customs was engaged on the Imperial Trade Commission, and that my cable would be repeated to him. That is how the matter stands at present - we have forwarded a list, but no list has been sent to us.
– Will the’ Prime Minister see that an effort is made to secure for Australia part of the stream of boy immigrants now being directed from the Old Country to Canada by the Salvation Army ?
– This Government is favorable to immigration, and has done a great deal to help it forward.
– It has done too much.
– Can the Minister of Home Affairs say when the report of the Commissioners on the electoral redistribution of New South Wales will be published ?
– I hope very shortly, though I cannot give any date.
– In reference to paragraph 31 of the Speech delivered yesterday by His Excellency the Governor- General, I wish to know if the Government intends to afford Parliament an opportunity to consider the recommendation of the Railway Conference for a 4-ft. 8½-in. gauge as the standard for the Commonwealth railwavs?
– Parliament always has the fullest opportunity to discuss questions dealt with in the Governor-General’s Speech.
As to the Government’s intentions, their’ policy in respect to Commonwealth railways has been settled.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been directed to the statement in this morning’s press that the Government of New South Wales is not favorable to the construction of lines in the Riverina on the Victorian gauge. Will he communicate with the Governments of all the States, in order that an arrangement may be arrived at for the adoption of a uniform gauge for Australia?
– We desire a uniform gauge, and shall be glad to enter into communication with the Premiers of the States, and do all we can to bring about its adoption.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether, in communicating with the States on the question of the uniform gauge of Australia, he will suggest that inquiry be made as to what the standard gauge ought to be.
– Through the Minister ofDefence and the Minister of Home Affairs communications were made to all the States, and there was a Conference of experts, the report of which has been before the House. We have not again referred the question to those experts.
– Will the Government do so?
– We shall with pleasure; we shall communicate with them expressing the policy of the Government.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers: -
Railway Passes - Issue of, to ex-Ministers of the Commonwealth.
Industrial Trouble in Queensland - Application by the Executive Government of the State under Section 119 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution.
Lighting of the Coast Line of the Commonwealth - Preliminary Reports by Commander Brewis, R.N., on -
Bass Strait (south-east coast of Victoria). Tasmania and the Islands in Bass Strait. North Coast (Northern Territory, Cape Wessel to Cape Fourcroy).
North-East Coast (Torres Straits to Cape Moreton).
Defence Forces - Explanatory Memorandum regarding -
Universal Training Regulations for the Citizen Forces.
Proposed New Military Organization.
How the Scheme of Re-organization affects National Regiments.
Remarks on Retention of National
Memorandum by the Minister for Defence relative to the arrangements which have been made for providing and training the personnel required to man the vessels that will form the Fleet Unit.
Public Service Act - Department of Trade and Customs - Abolition of office of Assistant Comptroller-General ; creation of office of Chief Surveyor, ist Class, and appointment of W. I-X. Barkley to that office; promotion of R. M. Oakley to ist Class; J. Banks as Inspector, 2nd Class; A. Stewart, as Examining Officer, 3rd Class; ]. A. Lees as Examining Officer, 4th Classy and R. W.Bell as Clerk, 4th Class.
Public Service Act - Appointments and Promolions, Department of Postmaster-General - Percy Howe, as Chief Clerk, ist Class,
Class, Accounts Branch (Money Order), Sydney.
W, F. Ferguson, as Accountant,. 2nd Class, Adelaide.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations Amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 191 1, Nos. 192, 194. 197, 203, 214, 215; 1912, Nos. 4, 26, 27,35, 45, 46, 64, 65, 66, 69, 70, 71, 78, 79, 85, 94, 95, 96, 97.
Wireless Telegraphy Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 191 1, No. 216.
– Yesterday the Prime Minister promised, in reply to a question by me, to lay on the table a copy of an alleged report by the Commissioner of Land Tax regarding the effect of the tax, and containing, among other things, the statement that the tax has caused 22,000,000 acres to be thrown open for settlement.
– I do not think that I made that promise, but I shall get the report, if it is obtainable.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question relating to the report that was quoted last night by a Ministerial supporter, purporting to come from Mr. McKay. Will the Prime Minister accord the courtesy of a perusal of that report to the members of the Opposition, as he has already accorded it to his own supporters?
– Certainly. I am sorry that I omitted to mention the matter this morning. If the report is in existence if shall be brought over immediately.
– I am now in a position to answer the question asked by the honorable member for Parramatta regarding the Land Tax Commissioner’s report. I have received a memorandum stating that the report has not yet been published, but I understand that a summary appeared in one of the monthly issues of the Statistician, and that it gave the concrete information used by the honorable member for Indi. The report itself will be issued shortly.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Home Affairs if he will lay on the table of the House the papers relating to the calling for, and acceptance of, tenders for sleepers for the transcontinental railway?
– With the exception of a small tender for the supply of sleepers for sidings we have not yet accepted any tenders, and since the matter is not settled we cannot lay the papers on the table of the House.
– I wishto ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether the Commonwealth Statistician’s Department is now making inquiries into the cost of living, and, if so, when that information will be available?
– I cannot say when the information will be available. The Government Statist is making every inquiry with the object of embodying the information in the next issue of the YearBook.
Cadets : Travelling and Punishment - Small Arms Factory - Dietary on War Vessels and Lytton Encampment.
– Has the attention of the Minister of Defence been drawn to a statement in this morning’s Age to the effect that the Premier of New South
Wales has expressed his willingness to have cadets in training carried free on the railways of the State? Will he communicate with him on the subject, and also with the Premiers of the other States, asking them to do the same?
– The Minister of Defence will be delighted to have the assistance of the Premiers in this matter. I shall have the paragraph brought under his notice.
– Has the attention of the Minister of Defence been drawn to a statement in the newspapers concerning the prosecution in Sydney of two cadets? They were proceeded against for insubordination. It appears that they were three minutes late, and one of them refused to clean one rifle, and the other six rifles. They were accordingly fined 8s. 6d. by the Court.
– The honorable member must not make a statement.
– Does the Minister think that these lads have been properly dealt with?
– 1 know nothing of the matter beyond what appears in the press. The Minister of Defence will cause inquiries to be made regarding it.
– I desire to ask the Honorary Minister representing the Minister of Defence a question arising out of a recent meeting of the Lithgow Political “Labour League. At that meeting a discussion took place on a report that two working men at the Commonwealth Small Arms Factory did not belong to any trades organization. In view of the declaration of Federal Ministers that preference must be given to unionists, the secretary was instructed to write to the manager of the factory calling attention to the case. Will the Minister state if these two men have been dismissed from the service, or forced into the ranks of the union?
– I presume that the honorable gentleman is quoting from some newspaper. I have not heard anything of the matter.
– Will the Minister cause the House to be informed as to whether certain men have been dismissed from the Lithgow factory because they were not unionists, or forced into the ranks of the union?
– I am not aware that siny men have been dismissed from the factory, but if the honorable gentleman will give notice of his question, I shall obtain for him the names of those who have been dismissed, if any dismissals have been made.
– I wish to know if it is a fact that the diet for the men employed on the Yarra and Parramatta is as follows : -
Dinner : Roast of meat and potatoes and tea, no other vegetables; pudding twice a week.
Breakfast : Porridge, bread and butter, and tea.
Tea : Bread and butter.
If that be the diet, is it sanctioned by the Minister of Defence”?
– I have no knowledge of the diet referred to by the honorable member.
– Has the Minister of Defence any objection to obtaining a report on the food supplied to the Defence Forces encamped at Lytton last Easter?
– The food supplied at all encampments is provided in the terms of accepted tenders, and the honorable gentleman may see all the papers connected with the supply of food at any encampment. So far as the Department is concerned, no complaints have been received.
– I wish to know if a report will be obtained as to the quality of the food supplied at Lytton?
– The honorable membar can be made acquainted with the dietary scale at any encampment. It is not necessary for him to ask a question in this House. If he calls at the Department, or telephones to the Minister, he can obtain intwo minutes all the information he can desire.
– The honorable and learned member for Ballarat is reported in the Age of the 12th inst. to have said, speaking of the provision of sinking funds for loans -
He must content himself with a bare allusion to several financi.il matters. They must see to it that a sinking fund accompanied every loan.
A Voice. - The Labour Government never had any loan.
– The interjector was only three and a half millions wrong.
– . £2.500,000.
– The report continues -
The Labour Government passed a Loan Bill for defence.
I ask the Prime Minister if his Government has negotiated a loan for defence purposes.
– It passed a Loan Bill.
– 1 am helped towards an answer by the interjection of the honorable member for Ballarat. We have borrowed no money for defence purposes, and I presume the statement was an error.
– The Government passed a Loan Bill, not for defence, but for £2.500,000.
Mr. FISHER. The answer to the question is - No, we have passed no Loan Bill for defence.
– Hear, hear; I did not say so.
– I desire to call the attention of the Attorney-General to a statement which appeared in the daily press on nth June attributed to the honorable member for Ballarat. The statement is as follows : -
The Coal Monopoly had a judgment standing against it in the High Court. It was curious that the representative of the Labour Government assented to an application of the parties fined as monopolists when they made application for their case to be postponed for a considerably long time.
I desire to ask the Attorney- General whether there was anything “’ curious “ or improper in the postponement.
– This has reference to an application by the defendants in the Coal and Shipping Combine. The answer is that there is no truth in the statement of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral if it is not a fact that, on the day mentioned, application was made for an adjournment by the counsel on behalf of the Coal Vend, and that it was concurred in by the counsel representing the Commonwealth.
– The facts are as I have stated.
– I should like to ask the Attorney-General whether it is not a fact that, during an application heard before the High Court in Sydney by certain shipping companies concerned in the case, for the further postponement of the hearing of their appeal against the Coal Vend judgment, Mr. Bavin, representing the Government, did in that Court acquiesce in the application. Further, I desire to know whether the Chief Justice of Australia did not say, in the Court, that to grant the application would put off the hearing of the case for another year.
– That it might put it off.
– And, thirdly, whether it is not a fact that the Chief Justice recognised the case as being one of such urgency that he refused the application so supported by the Government representative, Mr. Bavin.
– I suggest that a question of this kind might very well be given notice of.
– In view of what the AttorneyGeneral has said?
– The AttorneyGeneral gave the lie direct !
– I can only appeal to the good sense of honorable members.
– I must ask honorable members to try to control themselves. When such interjections pass across the chamber it is not possible for me to control the House. .
– May I be permitted to say-
– I desire to rise to a point of order. I ask your ruling, Mr. Speaker, as to whether it is in order for the Attorney- General, in answering a. question, to answer in this particular way. The Attorney- General said, “there is no truth in the statement “ alleged to have been made by a member of the Opposition.
– The AttorneyGeneral was quite in order in using the words he did. A question was asked as to a certain statement alleged to have been made outside; and, now that the matter has been raised, I may say that I do not think there should be such frequent necessity for me to intervene in regard to the form in which questions are asked. Honorable members are stating what they say are facts, and, by putting the questions in the form, “ Is it not a fact,” they technically bring them within the category of questions that may be asked. When honorable members know that certain things have been reported, as set out in the newspapers, I do not think it is necessary for them to ask a question on the point. In this case, the Attorney- General was quite in order in answering in theway he did. I did not understand him to say directly that what an honorable member had said was untrue.
– By way of explanation, I desire to point out that I did not ask whether the Government had consented to a postponement.
– That was my question.
– The question I put to the Attorney-General was whether, as stated by the honorable member for Ballarat, there was anything “ curious or improper ‘ ‘ in the application.
– My desire was to give the Attorney-General an opportunity to correct himself before it was too late. My statement, as all the House heard, was distinctly that an application was made on behalf of the defendants in the Coal Vend for a postponement of the hearing of their case, and that the counsel for the Commonwealth concurred in and agreed to the application. I was told that my statement was absolutely untrue.
– The honorable member for Bourke asked me, so I understood, whether the Crown had been responsible for instigating the delay?
– The honorable member for Ballarat now states the matter quite differently.
– I appeal to Hansard.
– The honorable member for Ballarat has stated the matter quite differently from what the honorable member for Bourke did.
– I made my own plain statement.
– I understood that what took place was as follows : Application was made by the defendants for a date to be fixed for the hearing, and it was stated that they could not be ready before a certain date. The Court then said that the appeal would either have to be heard on the date mentioned by the Chief Justice, or stand over until the new year. The Crown re.fused to assent to that, but was willing, I think, to agree to the appeal being heard some time in August. The Chief Justice wished to put it down for hearing, I think, late in July. It is, therefore, quite untrue to say that the Crown is, in any sense Of the word, responsible for the delay, or that it has concurred in any delay, beyond that which the circumstances of the case required.
– The statement now made by the Attorney-General is really an affirmative answer to the question that I put, which he, in the first place, answered in the negative. What I stated, as Hansardwill prove, was that counsel for the Commonwealth concurred-
– Order ! The honorable member must not debate an answer to a question.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether he does not now absolutely retract all that he first said ?
– I retract nothing.
– Order ! The honor.orable member for Ballarat is now going beyond the mere asking of a question.
– I rise to a point of order.
Several members interjecting,
– There appears to be some excitement in the House, and I appeal to honorable members to refrain from interjecting.
– On a point of order, sir, do I understand you to rule that it is quite in order for an honorable member to say in this chamber that the statement of another honorable member is not true? If that is your ruling it is a serious departure from precedent.
– I gave no such ruling. The honorable member must distinctly recollect that the question asked related to something alleged to have been said outside this House. Any honorable member who declares that a statement made in this House is not true will be promptly called to order.
– I desire to ask the AttorneyGeneral whether his attention has been directed to a report, which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of 17th May last, of an application made to the High Court on behalf of the shipping companies interested for a further postponement of the hearing of the appeal? In this report Mr. Ham, who appeared for the appellant shipping companies, said that it was an application for a postponement, and it was alleged that the necessary printing would not be done in time for the hearing of the appeal on a particular date. Further, has the Attorney-General read in that report the intimation made by the Chief Justice that -
When the matter was brought under his notice in Melbourne he had advised the parlies that if they really wanted to have the matter heard it should be set down early in the list for the next sittings. It had been accordingly set down, and there was only a short case before it. That would give the Court weeks to dispose of it. If it were not dealt with then there would be very little chance of it being finished during the year.
Has the Attorney-General read the further statement made on that occasion by the Chief Justice -
I must say that it is absurd to say that a period of six months is required for that purpose -
That is the purpose of printing - and the statement made by Mr. Justice Barton -
An application was made to me and I understood Mr. Bavin, who appears for the Crown, to say that the Crown could not be ready by July 29th - the date fixed for the next sittings.
Has the honorable gentleman also read the further statement reported to have been made by the Chief Justice -
I think that the real reason for many of these applications which come before the Court is that somebody or other has found it inconvenient to deal with the matters earlier. The alternative is to take the case early next sittings, or to have it stand over to the following sittings.
To which, according to this report, Mr. Bavin, counsel for the Crown, replied that-
The appellants could not get the necessary printing done by 29th July, lie suggested that a date should be fixed late in August or early in September. .
To this the Chief Justice ‘replied -
The appellants have still two clear months and two weeks, during which time enough printing could surely be done to cover all the cases heard in this Court for years.
Finally, has the Attorney-General seen the further statement made by Mr. Bavin, who represented the Crown -
Should it suit the convenience of the Court, the .Crown is willing that the case should stand over until the end of August.
I ask the Attorney-General, who a moment or two ago made an exactly contrary statement in the House, whether he will direct his attention to the report, and explain why counsel for the Crown in that case supported the application of the representative of the shipping companies ?
– This Government is simply dying to get at the trusts.
– And the honorable member is dying to get at the Government.
– I should think so - a Government of that sort.
– Order ! I appealed to honorable members a minute or two ago to cease interjecting, and I must insist on their refraining from making further interjections across the table.
– There are two wholly different points to be decided. The first of these is as to what took place in the Court, while the second is what took place outside the Court. I was asked by the honorable member for Bourke what took place outside the Court. What took place outside the Court, according to the honorable member for Bourke, was this: On nth June the honorable member for Ballarat, at Ballarat, in the course of a speech, made the following remarks, according to a report in the Age -
The Coal Monopoly had a judgment standing against it in the High Court. It was curious that the representative of the Labour Government assented to an application of the parties, fined as monopolists when they made application for their case to be postponed for a considerably long time.
The honorable member for Ballarat said it was curious that this happened, and the inference drawn from that has been used many times since the application was heard.
– Order ! I must ask the honorable member not to debate the question.
– I do not want to make a speech, but there has been made upon the honour of the Crown, and upon my Department, a reflection under which I decline to sit, and it has been made in the form of a question which, with your permission, I propose to answer. I shall confine myself strictly to the question put, and the remarks made, and the subsequent extracts read by the honorable member for Wentworth. The inference drawn by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat is that what happened was a ‘ ‘ curious ‘ ‘ thing. Now, what precisely dees that mean ? There is nothing legally curious about it. Nothing on earth is more common. Therefore, it must be meant that it was curious from a political stand-point, and from an honorable stand-point, and, therefore, that there was something rotten in it.
-Order ! The honorable member is now going beyond answering the question. He must not take that course.
– I presume there will be a further opportunity of dealing with this very “curious” matter. I shall content myself by saying now that the instruction! given to the counsel for the Crown by me, and to Mr. Powers, before his leaving this State, was that under no circumstances wasany proceeding to be delayed, or he to be absent from this country upon the first occasion on which the case could come on.
I shall lay on the table of the House the correspondence which passed between me and the Crown Solicitor, by which his absence from this country will be shown to be clearly contingent upon his return upon the first day upon which this case could be heard. Those are the clear and unmistakable facts. I see nothing “ curious “ about them.
– I should like to ask the Attorney-General upon what date Mr. Powers returned to Australia.
– I have already said what the date was to be. Mr. Powers in his letter to me, written prior to his departure, stated at that time that there was a probability of some of the defendants not appealing. In fact, there was a probability at that time that none would appeal. Since then all the defendants have given notice of appeal, and some propose to go on with it, but I believe not all. I told Mr. Powers that he must be back here in time for the appeals whenever they would be heard, and counsel for the Crown had no instructions at all to do anything other than what I have said.
– May I invite the Attorney-General to reconsider the very serious statement he has made about the counsel representing the Crown - a statement which is not called for or warranted by any question that we have put? The issue as to where counsel obtained his authority for concurring in the proposal for an adjournment, or why, is an entirely different thing. We have not raised it. My statement; which the Attorney-General contradicted, was that counsel for the Crown had publicly concurred in an application for an adjournment. The honorable and learned gentleman has now admitted it.
– Hear, hear ! Better not put the honorable member for Bourke up again.
– The honorable and learned member for Ballarat says that some of my remarks were not warranted by the question, but this question cannot stand by itself. It was a question asked really for political purposes. During the election at Werriwa, statements on the same lines were repeatedly made which could bear only one inference, and that was that the Crown was corrupt in this matter.
– I have to repeat the question which I put to. the AttorneyGeneral, and which he did not answer. Has
Mr. Powers yet returned to Australia ; and, if not, on what date is he expected to land in Melbourne?
– I have already answered that question.
– The- honorable member has not answered it.
– I may not have given the answer which the honorable member wants.
– Perhaps I have not made myself clear to the Attorney-General. The answer I want is not whether any arrangement was made as to the return of Mr. Powers. What I wish to know is whether he has returned to Australia; and, if not, when we may expect him to return.
– I have already answered the honorable member, but he has omitted to take notice of my remarks. I said that Mr. Powers, in his letter to me, mentioned the date - which I cannot recall - on which it was probable that the case would be heard, and said he would make his arrangements to be back on that date. “ I said that, whether the case came on upon that date or any other date, he would have to be back in Australia when it did come on. He has been cabled that the case, is set down for July, and he is returning accordingly.
– I desire to draw your attention to the remark of the honorable member for Parramatta, to the effect that the Attorney-General ought not to put me up again; and to ask whether it is parliamentary to make such imputations. I am not the jumping-jack of any party on this or the other side.
– I did not hear the honorable member for Parramatta make the remark ; but, if he did,, he must withdraw it.
– I think the remark I made was that they should not put the honorable member for Bourke up to ask such questions as those. I withdraw it. I am sure this Government would not think of putting any of their supporters up to ask a question.
– I must ask the honorable member to withdraw the remark unreservedly.
– Most certainly, unconditionally and absolutely.
– Is the Attorney-General in a position to inform the House as to the date on which Mr. Powers is expected to arrive back in the Commonwealth ?
– At present, I do not know when Mr. Powers started, or what ship he is on ; but I shall supply the information asked for to-morrow.
– I wish to ask the AttorneyGeneral if Mr. Powers is in the Commonwealth; and if not, on what date will he arrive?
- Mr. Powers is not in the Commonwealth. He has gone to London. He is engaged on business of the Crown in London. Does the honorable member want to know what that business is?
– The honorable member has, during the recess, assumed the shape of a note of interrogation.
– The honorable member for Ballarat is reported in the Sydney Daily Telegraph of the 30th May to have said at Murrumbeena that the Labour party left the sugar industry in the hands of a monopoly without lifting a finger. Is that statement correct?
– It is not.
– I wish to know from the Postmaster-General if the wireless operator of the steamer Wakool was forbidden by the Government station at Melbourne to speak with another vessel of the same line that was at sea, and whether the Government station refused to send to the vessel at sea the message which it was desired to send from the Wakool.
– It is true that the operator on the Wakool was ordered to cease communicating with the Commonwealth, another vessel belonging to the same line; but it is not correct that he desired the Melbourne Government station to communicate with the Commonwealth, and was refused.
– Is it the policy of the Government to prevent vessels at sea from communicating with other vessels in harbors where wireless communication is not provided by the Government ?
– When the Government has a wireless station open for public business, vessels in Australian ports will not be allowed to send communications on a commercial basis which could be sent by the Government station. If a vessel moored to a wharf in one of our ports were allowed to communicate with another of the same line, or of any other line, it would interfere with the revenue of the Government wireless station. The Commonwealth could easily have been communicated with from Melbourne had the Government station there been asked to send a message to her.
– Is it not a fact that a steamer which was lying at Adelaide wished to communicate with another vessel of the same line which was at sea, in order to ascertain when she would arrive, and that she was prevented from doing this, although there was no Government wireless station nearer than Melbourne.
– Yes; but the Melbourne station could have got into communication with the vessel at sea and conveyed the message, in which case the Government would have obtained payment for the service.
– Would it not be a fair parallel if the Government refused to allow a man to send a letter by an office boy or messenger from his office to his private house, and required him to buy a stamp, and send the communicationthrough the post, so that there might be no loss of revenue?
– I do not think so.
– Have the wireless stations at Sydney and Fremantle been taken over by the Government on a working basis ?
– No ; but the Department has been informed that the Pennant Hills station is ready to be handed over.
– Has the Prime Minister any objection to laying on the table all the papers connected with the appointment of the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank ? I desire to know the terms and conditions of the offer and acceptance of the appointment.
– I have no objection. I think that one sheet will convey the information.
– Have the plans for the Commonwealth offices in London been received ?
– Will the Minister, before accepting them, have them carefully examined by competent -persons, so that the buildings may be up-to-date, constructed in accordance with modern requirements, and suited to the London climate?
– The plans were drawn by a competent English architect. What moredoes the honorable member desire?
– T am informed that the ideas of English architects are not always abreast of modern requirements.
– London architects out of date!
– Evidently the Minister of Home Affairs thought so in connexion with the Capital site designs. Before the Minister of External Affairs accepts the plans for this important and expensive building in London, will he see that all modern requirements are met? It is well known that a large number of the buildings recently erected in London have been designed, by architects living in other places, who have been able to provide for the requirements of the city better than London architects.
– We left it absolutely to the High Commissioner to choose the ablest and most gifted architect in the United Kingdom. We have confidence in his choice, and do not think it necessary to go beyond him.
– Will the Minister of External Affairs, before finally accepting the plans, give the House an opportunity to review and consider them ?
– I cannot promise the honorable member that.
– That is being done in the case of the. Capital site designs.
– I cannot give that promise to the honorable member. ‘ Ministers are prepared to take full responsibility for anything they may do in connexion with the matter.
– In view of the large number of accidents arising out of the use of so-called pea-rifles, I wish to know if the Minister of Trade and Customs will consult his experts as to the advisability of prohibiting the importation of cheap rifles which are not provided with effective checks upon accidental discharge?
– This matter has been under consideration for some time. It was mentioned, I think, before the Tariff Commission, of which the honorable member for Perth was a member. The desirableness of having some test of these pea-rifles was suggested, but I am afraid that if we start to prohibit everything that may give rise to accident, we shall have to go much further than pea-rifles.
Messages were received from the Senate asking the House to resume the consideration of the following Bills at the stages reached last session -
Commonwealth Banking Companies Reserve Liabilities Bill.
Parliamentary Witnesses Bill.
Naval and Military Decorations Bill.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
Whether any decision has been arrived at with regard to the use of steel or of wooden sleepers in the construction of the Transcontinental railway?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is: -
The matter is still under consideiation, but it is almost certain that the bulk of the sleepers will be wooden ones.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
Will he lay upon the table of the House his telegram from Crookwell to the Chief Electoral Officer for New South Wales with iefe>ence to the use of theold roll in the Werriwa by-election, together with any subsequent correspondence bearing upon the said telegram?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is : -
I did not telegraph to the Commonwealth Electoral Officer for New South Wales. It was represented to me that the old roll contained names which were not embodied in the new roll, and I gave instructions with a view to the old roll as well as the new one being utilized, but, upon further inquiries into the matter, I found that such a course could not legally be adopted, and accordingly withdrew my instructions.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Why the Western Australian cadets are not represented in the Inter-State cadet competitions now proceeding?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is : -
The Department is not yet in possession of this information, but inquiry is being made.
Debate resumed from 19th June (vide page 37), on motion by Mr. Bennett -
That the Address-in-Reply to His Excellency’s Speech, as read by the Clerk, be agreed to by the House.
.- I did not propose to do so but it has been suggested that the proper course, as I intend to conclude with an amendment, is to put the Prime Minister at once in possession of its terms. I propose to move -
That His Excellency the Governor-General be informed that the Government merits the censure of this House and the country for its failure to realize its national and constitutional obligations, for the flagrant neglect of its duties to secure industrial peace and good order, and to uphold the law within the Commonwealth ; for its maladministration of public affairs and public Departments ; for its grossly partisan actions and appointments, and its reckless irresponsibility in the financial affairs of the Commonwealth.
– Following well-founded custom and usage in regard to a -notice of this kind by the Leader of the Opposition, I think we ought to take time to deliberate ‘over it. I have only to say that, in accordance with the statement made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the honorable member for Parramatta, at the end of last session, the Government refrained from taking Supply beyond the end of the financial year, lt may, therefore, be necessary, before the close of the debate upon the AddressinReply, to obtain one month’s Supply. Subject to an agreement to give Supply, if desired, on the basis of the old Estimates, I shall be prepared to at once agree to the resumption of the debate to-morrow, and will afterwards move the adjournment of the House.
– Very well, I ask leave to continue my speech to-morrow.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
House adjourned at 3.36 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 June 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1912/19120620_reps_4_64/>.