4th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker tookthe chair at 2.30 p.m., andread prayers.
– Has. the Prime Minister noticed the statement in this morning’s newspapers that the Imperial Government have decided to remit income tax respecting ; £100 of the incomes of members of Parliament, and will the right honorable gentleman communicate with, the Governments of the States, asking them to make the same allowance to the members of this Parliament?
– I saw the cablegram referred to, but I do not think that I should be justified in approaching the Governments of the States to ask for a remission of income tax. Perhaps should this Parliament impose an income tax, a remission will be provided for honorable members.
– How many claims under the Seamen’s Compensation Act have been brought under the notice of the Minister of Trade and Customs, and how much money has been paid? Will the honorable gentleman lay on the table, annually, a report showing theclaims and the amounts paid?
– Since the Seamen’s Compensation Act became law, the shipowners are bound to furnish returns giving the number of accidents and the amountspaid, and some of these returns have come’ to hand, though I do not think that all, are yet available. If the honorable member will give notice of his question for Tuesday next, I shall try to get the information which he desires. His suggestion, that an annual return should be laid on the: table is a very good one.
Canadian Cadets - Cadet Prosecutions - Warrant Officers - Facilities forAttending Drill : Dismissalof Messenger, Postmaster-General’s Department.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to an interview published in the Sydney Daily Telegraph between Captain Davey, of theCanadian Cadets, and a representative of the newspaper?
– I read the statements towhich the honorable member refers.
– Then, how does the Prime Minister reconcile his reply to meyesterday with the statement of Captain’ Davey, that he was very much disappointed, by the reception given to the cadets, and that a cablegram has been received from theMinister of Defence saying that a militaryreception would be given to them?
– I have it, on the word of the Minister of Defence, that Captain: McTaggart and Lieutenant Gibson, in charge of the cadets, have stated that they have no complaint to make about their treatment, and regret that anything hasbeen said about it.
– Some days ago, the honorable -member for- Franklin asked a question about the number of cadets who have been fined, and have paid fines, in thedifferent States. At the time, the information for Western Australia was not available, but it has since come to hand. Twenty-one cadets there were fined, and five of. them have paid the fine.
– How does the Minister representing the Minister of Defence account for the fact that the warrant officers’of the Royal Australian Artillery are not down toreceive in these Estimates increases commensurate with those given to the warrant officers of the Royal Australian Engineers ?
– I shall obtain the information for the honorable member; . The
Artillery and the Engineers are quite different arms of the Force.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether he has any further information to give the House regarding the prosecution of cadets in the Paddington Court, to which I referred yesterday ?
– The State Commandant has wired to this effect -
Magney, a solicitor, prosecuted for Area 24A, at Paddington Court, but charged no fees. This contrary my orders, issued 21st June; and Caplain Hollander, Area Officer concerned, will be dealt with to-morrow. One hundred and thirty cadets were prosecuted, and each fined thirteen shillings costs and ordered to make up drills.
I should like to add that the’ Minister of Defence has asked for further information as to why the costs were so high in each case.
– Are we to understand, from the answers given by the Honorary Minister to various questions that have been put to him in reference to the prosecution of cadets, that the lads are henceforth to be allowed to evade their training, and that they are not to be prosecuted under any -conditions ?
– No such undertaking has been given. The statement made by me was very clear, namely, that those who had put in fifty-four hours or more out of the sixty-four hours per annum, which they were required to devote to drill, would not foe prosecuted provided that they gave their personal undertaking to drill the necessary number of hours, and that those who had drilled for less than fifty-four hours would be prosecuted. At the same time, the presiding magistrate in each case will be asked to take their personal assurance that they will do the balance of the drill necessary.
– Following up the question asked by the honorable member for East Sydney regarding the fining of cadets in New South Wales, I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether he does not think it desirable that officers who have disregarded the authority of their superiors should be removed from their command and superseded?
– Without knowing the -particulars of each case, it is impossible for me to say whether it is desirable that the officers should be removed. I would point out, however, that the telegram from the State Commandant, which I have already read, is very emphatic. Some officer appears to have acted contrary to express orders, and the State commandant says that he “ will be dealt with to-morrow.”
Mr. BRUCE SMITH. I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence what the Government propose to do, in the last resort, in the event of any cadet refusing to carry out his personal undertaking ?
– In the event of any refusal, the Act will be administered as it stands on the statute-book.
– I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether he is aware that the parades in the South Maitland district are so fixed that it is necessary for cadets to lose a day’s work in order to put in an hour’s drill, and that the failure to put in that one hour’s drill renders them liable to prosecution? If. so. will he see that proper provision is made for the boys to attend drill ?
– I am not aware that the position is as stated by the honorable member. I know that definite orders have been issued to the Area Officers so to arrange the parades as to cause a minimum of inconvenience to the lads and to all persons concerned. They have been instructed to meet, as far as they humanly can, the requirements of the different localities, and the industries carried on therein. The Minister will be glad to have brought before him any instances where this direction .is not carried out, and no doubt, when any such case is brought before him, he will take what steps are necessary to meet it.
– Is the Minister representing the Postmaster General aware that a messenger of the Department in Hobart was instantly dismissed for failing to attend drill, although no provision had been made for giving him time off to attend?
– I am not aware of the fact stated, but I shall have the-matter inquired into. 1 ‘ V :-
– Is it the practice- of the Postmaster-General’s Department to retain the 7 s. 6d. deposit paid by candidates for examination for admission to the Public Service ?
– I do not know what is done, but the practice of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department would be the same as that of the other Departments, because the matter comes under the control of the Public Service Commissioner.
– I should like to ask the Treasurer whether he can tell us why the deposit of 7s. 6d. is required?
– It is the usual fee in respect of all such examinations.
– Why is it demanded?
– As a guarantee of good faith.
Dr. Maxwell’s Report
– I wish to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs to whom was the confidential report by Dr. Maxwell, dated 9th January, 1910, supplied? Was it supplied to members of the Sugar Commission as a confidential document, as stated by Mr. Justice Gordon? If confidential, by whose authority was the President of the Cane-growers’ Union in Bundaberg supplied with a copy? If not confidential, why has such report not been made available to members of this House?
– Speaking from memory, the report was made by Dr. Maxwell to the honorable member for Kooyong, as Minister of Trade and Customs in the Deakin-Cook Administration. When the Sugar Commission was appointed, I desired to lay before its members all the information in the Department concerning the sugar industry, and, believing that Dr. Maxwell’s report was part of the information that should be supplied, I directed that sufficient copies should be made to enable each of the members of the Commission to be furnished with one. I am not sure whether the report was marked confidential; but I do not think there would be any harm- in laying it on the table of the House. If I remember rightly, Dr. Maxwell received ,£100 for it. It is a good report, dealing with various phases of the industry. Copies of it were supplied only to members of the Sugar Commission; but if any: member of the Commission elected to lend his copy to any other person or to have a copy made for any one else, that was entirely his own concern. We have not interfered with the Sugar Commission in any shape or form.
– Was the report marked confidential ?
– I do not know.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether he would object to lay on the table of the House the report by Dr. Maxwell, to which he has just referred?
– I have not the slightest objection to laying the report, or a copy of it, on the table of the House or the Library/ for the information of honorable members-
– Following up the question put by me to the Minister of Trade and Customs, I desire now to ask him whether Mr. Justice Gordon was in error in stating,, as he did in Sydney, that Dr. Maxwell’s report was issued as a confidential document, to the Sugar Commission?
– I cannot say now whether it was, or was not, issued as a confidential document.
– Mr. Justice Gordon said that it was.
– I am not responsible for the statements of others. If Mr. Justice Gordon says that the report was issued tothe Commission as a confidential document,, then in all probability it was so issued ; but. I cannot say now whether that is so or not.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he has any information concerning the complaint of country newspaper proprietors that they are not beingpaid fair rates for Commonwealth Bank advertisements ?
– This question was raised, last night by the honorable member for Laanecoorie, and I have since placed myself in communication with the advertising; agents, Messrs. Gordon and Gotch. Theyreport that the rates allowed for advertising; the Commonwealth Bank in all country newspapers are the usual commercial rates,., and that they are quite prepared to show their books to any honorable member who» cares to inspect them. They state that: they charge the usual commission, and that: in some cases, where they considered thatthe rate allowed might be unfair, they haveeven eaten into that commission to avoid? anything of the kind. The trouble arises, apparently, from the fact that the pricecharged for Government advertisements is= three times the ordinary commercial rate. Mr. Sampson. - That is decidedly wrongMr. FISHER. - I make the statement as I got it from the agents. The Governorof the Bank refuses to advertise under any such conditions. In this regard he considers that he stands in the position of an» ordinary commercial man, and not of ay Government official.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether tenders were invited for carrying out this advertising work ?
– I am unable to answer the question ; and, as the Governor of’ the Bank is not under my direction, I cannot compel him to do so. I shall inquire, however, and, in reply to the question, furnish a report later on.
– The Prime Minister has repeated a statement made to him that this Government or other Governments have been charged, in respect of Government advertisements in country papers, three times the ordinary commercial rate. If the accusation is true, it would indicate a very extraordinary condition of affairs. Whether true or not, it ought to.be inquired into, and perhaps the Prime Minister will see his way clear to make himself acquainted with the facts.
– The statement was as big a surprise to me as to the honorable member ; and I had the same idea as himself. There is not only going to be some inquiry, but some alteration. The positive statement is that the rates for Government advertisements are about three times higher than those for commercial advertisements. That is the statement of Messrs. Gordon and Gotch, who invite honorable members, if they so desire, to see the firm’s books.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that in different States, particularly in New South Wales, the country press do all their advertising business through a co-operative press agency, and that a proper scale of charges is arranged? I should like to know whether the Cooperative Press Association had an opportunity to tender for this work?
– I do not know whether that opportunity was given or not. Neither I, nor any other honorable member in the House, can direct the Governor of the Bank how he is to carry on his business.
– Would the Prime Min- ister favour a return being placed on the table showing the amount paid for advertising the Commonwealth Bank, the number of newspapers in which the advertisements appeared, and the price paid to each newspaper ?
– The honorable member for Echuca has tabled a motion for a return connected with this subject, and that return is being prepared.
– I meant a return particularly in connexion with the advertising of the Commonwealth Bank.
– I have nothing to do with that. I think the Governor would be willing to give the information desired by the honorable member for Maribyrnong; indeed, Messrs. Gordon and Gotch would give it to the honorable member.
– I would rather have it from the Governor of the Bank.
– Can the Prime Minister tell us whether Messrs. Gordon and Gotch, who were apparently given this contract without any competition or tendering, have in any instances increased the original price offered for the advertisements by 50 per cent. ; and, if so, can the Prime Minister explain how that is consistent with the statement that they are getting only commission on the sum they receive for advertising?
– I understand thai Messrs. Gordon and Gotch have increased the rates by a few pounds in the aggregate to some newspapers where they thought the advertisement was worth the money, and that this was done out of the commission. The honorable member would be able to get all the information from Messrs. Gordon and Gotch, who are very anxious in this regard, seeing that they have been accused of being sweaters.
– The Government seem to hold a brief for Messrs. Gordon and Gotch.
– I must be just; Messrs. Gordon and Gotch have been accused of being sweaters.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The Government are taking all necessary precautions to have all work in connexion with the Trans-Australian railway done in n thorough manner.
asked the Postmaster-General,up on notice -
In connexion with the undergrounding of the telephones -
– Inquiry is being made, and the desired information will be furnished as early as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Japan’s new Dreadnought battle-cruiser Kongo has been launched in BarrowinFurness, from the yards of Messrs. Vickers, Sons, and Maxim. She was laid down in January,1911, and will be completed in 1913 at a cost of£2,500,000. . . . When completed the Kongo will carry the largest guns of any warship in the world ?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
– I move -
That, in the opinion of this House, a Referendum should be taken to decide whether the Capital of the Commonwealth should be at Yass-Canberra or Sydney.
Some of our New South Wales friends seem to dread a deep-laid scheme, or; at any rate, a desire, on the part of Victorians and others, to prevent the Federal Capital being established in their State. The Constitution provides that the Federal Capital shall be in New South Wales ; and this motion is intended to dispel any fears there may be of a breach of the contract so made. If the question be submitted by referendum, the people will have to give a simple “ Yes” or “ No.” The great city of Sydney is the capital of the Mother State ; and if we are to have a Federal Capital, it should be the finest city we possess. My own belief is that if Sydney were chosen, the people throughout Australia would be just as proud of their capital as are the British people of London, or the German people of Berlin. To build an entirely new capital means a very heavy expenditure; and in this connexion I have prepared some figures showing the cost entailed in the building of Melbourne and Sydney. Within the city of Melbourne the cost of the buildings is from £40,000,000 to £60,000,000.
– The Government buildings?
– No, the whole city; and we cannot provide public buildings in a new capital for less than £5,000,000 or £7,000,000. We shall, doubtless, desire to have one of the finest Parliament Houses in the world, and this will mean £500,000 to £1,000,000. Then we shall require Law Courts, hospitals, town halls, asylums, public libraries, and a railway station. The new railway station in Sydney has cost £1, 000, 000, and there will probably be an ambition to have even a finer terminus at the Australian Capital. From a report and plan distributed this morning, I see that it is intended to have a palace for the Governor-General. I do not know what palaces cost, but I presume we could not get a good palace under £100,000.
– Oh, that is for the Minister of Home Affairs !
– We shall probably build a finer palace for the Minister of Home Affairs, at double the money. Buildings for the accommodation of members of Parliament will have to be provided ; and the cost of all these structures, I estimate, will exceed £5,000,000. I am now, of course, speaking only of public buildings; the general community, in their private capacity, will have to erect the others: The maintenance of the streets of Melbourne- and public parks costs over £60,000 a year. In addition to the primary cost of the buildings, we have to take into account the annual expenditure; and in regard to water supply and sewerage, that expenditure in the case of Melbourne is £378,000. If we spend enormous sums of this kind in erecting another city, when we already have magnificent cities, we shall only still further attract people from the country. Great stress has been laid on the fact that half the population of Australia is living in the big cities ; and we have no desire, I am sure, to aggravate that evil. Taking it that one-half of the population in the country is maintaining the other half in the cities, and leaving the women and children out of account, this means that one-eighth of the population is producing all that is necessary to maintain the rest of the community. Surely we ought to encourage people to settle on the land in preference to aggregating them in large cities? If we were to spend one-fourth ot this money in water conservation in the interior, we could settle a very large population there. There is a large area between the River Darling and the River Murrumbidgee comprising several million acres of land. If large reservoirs were built on those two rivers-
-Is that Federal property ?
– I do not care whether it is Federal property or not. We want to settle people on the land, and make this a great producing country. Some members talk in this House as if the Commonwealth Parliament were all independent institution, whereas we are, one and all, Australians’. If New South Wales prospers, every other State prospers. The money proposed to he expended on the Federal Capital could be spent by private enterprise, or even by the Commonwealth Parliament - I would advocate its expenditure by the Commonwealth Parliament - at any rate, in the Northern Territory, which is our property, if honorable members like to treat this Parliament as an entity separate from the rest of Australia. We could plant considerable forests there, and do a lot of irrigation. If this country is to prosper, we must conserve water. Our trouble has been droughts, year in and year out, and if we can project some scheme which will avert the disastrous results of the . years that we have from time to time, it will be the making of this country. The soil is good enough, and all that we require is water.
– Does the honorable member think it will cost nothing to establish the Federal Parliament in Sydnev ?
– If the Government of New South Wales will give the Federal Parliament 50 or 100 acres of the Centennial Park, close to Sydney, all we shall require to build there are a Parliament House, a Governor-General’s palace, if honorable members like to call it so, and a few public offices. There is no necessity to build a lot of new public offices, because we have our post-offices in every city and town, and our Customs offices in each of the ports. AVhat more is required except, perhaps, a Law Court? The Government would ‘not have the big central bank in the new Capital at Yass-Canberra. If they are going to establish and carry on a bank, it must be amongst financial people and financial institutions. They will probably have the central bank in Sydney or Melbourne. It would be a very nice thing if, every time a man wanted a sovereign for his Commonwealth note, he had to send it all the way to Yass-Canberra. A big institution like the Commonwealth Bank could not be properly managed from an inland town. Another cry raised against Sydney is that it is too near the coast, leaving us open to be attacked by enemies. If our enemies can blow up Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane, I do not think the Federal Capital, even if it were 500 miles from the seaboard, would be of very much value. We . have to fortify our ports, and try to keep our enemies outside Australia. If they once get in, the Federal Capital will be in equal danger with Sydney and every other big city.
– I thought all these questions were settled when we federated and accepted the Constitution, which lays it down definitely that the Capital is not to be within 100 miles of Sydney?
– The Constitution was a compromise. Since then, the people have thought over this matter, and are a little more sensible. Parochial jealousies have faded away. I do not think there is any feeling in any of the States against Sydney in particular.
– Ask the honorable member for Maribyrnong about that.
– I believe the honorable member for Maribyrnong would prefer to see the Federal parliamentary buildings erected in Sydney rather than have a large sum of money wasted in any outside place. It has always been asserted that this is a democratic country, and the people should be allowed to express their opinion on this matter ; but certain honorable members are not game to give the people a chance to express their opinion. I guarantee that if the question is submitted to the people by referendum there will be an overwhelming majority against the bush Capital and in favour of a Federal Parliament House and other necessary buildings being erected in Sydney.
– They had the referendum when the Constitution was submitted to them.
– They had then to say “yes” or “no” to Federation, with all the defects in the Constitution, and they took the Act with its defects in preference to throwing it aside. The majority of the people wanted to make Australia one united country, and to institute a national policy.
– The question of the Capital never struck them.
– They did not think of it, and even if they had they could not have amended the Constitution.
– The Victorians were keen enough about it.
– If there was any narrow-minded feeling in Victoria at that time the Victorians have put it into the background since. I have addressed many meetings during the last two years, and especially during the last twelve months, in and around Melbourne. I have expressed there the same opinion as I am expressing in this House, and it has always been received with cheers. If there were many at those meetings who dissented from my views they would have shown me that I was on wrong ground.
– They would cheer anything down here to block the Capital.
– If this question is submitted to the people within the next six months a Parliament House can be built at Sydney within twelve months, or in onefourth or one-fifth of the time which it would take to build a city at YassCanberra. It is, therefore, all nonsense to talk about my proposal delaying the establishment of the Capital. I think it comes with a good grace from me, as a Victorian representative, to propose this, when not a single New South Wales representative has put it forward.
– Sydney does not want to be the Capital. It is quite big and wealthy enough now.
– To put three or four buildings in Sydney in order to save the expenditure of a large amount of public and private money in the bush will not affect the growth of Sydney at all. If Sydney is to have a million people, I say “ good luck to it.”
– How does the honorable member propose to get over the difficulty of making Sydney Federal Territory ?
– All that is required as Federal Territory is the hundred acres of land, on which the Government buildings, Parliament House, . and the GovernorGeneral’s palace will be erected. Why do we want any Federal Territory? This cry about Federal Territory is a most extraordinary thing. It is as though we were a body of people separate from Australia, and must have something special for ourselves - as if we were representatives of a separate State, independent of all the others and of Australia. It seems to be thought that we need to treat the States as foreigners, and remain absolutely distinct from them. The cry that we should have a separate territory is, to me, an extraordinary one. It suggests that the Federal Parliament consists of members differing from the rest of the people, and antagonistic to them. In the State Capitals now the Federal Government has all the public buildings it needs. Is it proposed to move the Customs Houses, the barracks, and all other Federal buildings to Yass-Canberra ? To carry out the idea to the full” it would be necessary to have a lake at Yass-Canberra for the accommodation of our men-of-war, with a canal leading to it from Jervis Bay. Boiled down, the idea is a ridiculous one. As a matter of fact, very few of the Commonwealth buildings will be in the Federal Territory. The Federal Capital will not be an industrial centre. The Federal Woollen Mills will be at Geelong, the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow, the Cordite Factory at Maribyrnong, and other factories in other parts of the Commonwealth. In this matter we have slavishly copied the example of the United States of America. Because of the jealousy of the States, it was decided to have the Federal Capital of Washington in Federal Territory, and some people thought it necessary for us to imitate that example. I have not the slightest doubt that If the Australian people are allowed to decide the matter - as they have a right to do - they will vote’ for an amendment of the Constitution so that the Federal Parliament may meet at Sydney, and that thus an expenditure of millions on the building of a new city far removed from any other place may be saved. If but a small part of what the proposed Federal Capital would cost were spent on irrigation works, Australia could receive every month as many immigrants as now flow into Canada from Great Britain and the Continent without injuring a single worker, and the country would be the richer for this increase of population. Our expenditure is now very large, amounting to £22,000,000 a year, and I do not know where the Government will turn for money soon. It does not want to borrow, and I do not think that it should borrow: Australia owes as much as it can afford to owe, having regard to its population. We send to the Old Country annually £13,000,000 to pay interest on money borrowed; and a perusal of the commercial columns of the newspapers will show that we are exporting an immense quantity of gold. This year something like £8,000,000 have already been exported. When our imports exceed our exports, and we have to pay cash for what we buy, in addition to interest on our debts, we shall find ourselves in an awkward position. Every business man knows that at the present time it is difficult to get money. The banks have not too much, and if we had fifty Commonwealth Banks we should not be any better off. Unless economy is practised by the Governments of the Commonwealth and of the States and privately, the country will be in difficulties within a few years. We have had five or six prosperous years, and have got a little bit inflated. With all this expenditure ahead of us, the Government will do well not to waste money, and money will be wasted if we build a city that is not required, when we could meet our needs by the expenditure of £500,000 in Sydney. I trust that the members of this Democratic House, who were elected on the votes of the people, will give the people an opportunity to decide where the Federal Capital of Australia shall be.
.- I second the motion, and desire to make a few remarks in support of what has been said by the honorable member for Balaclava.
– This is an : un-federal action.
– No; it is not. If the motion were acted on, it would strengthen the Federation in the estimation of the people, who should be given an opportunity to express their views on the Federal Capital question. They have not had an opportunity to do this since the Constitution was adopted.
– What reason is there for altering the Constitution? We have acquired the Federal Territory.
– The desire is to enable the people to express their opinion. I believe that it is generally thought that it would be most unwise to spend some millions of money on a scheme that can be well left in abeyance for a considerable time.
– This Parliament should have met at the Capital long ago.
– I differ from the honorable member. Our first thought should be for works of a utilitarian character, from which we can get a fair. return for the money invested. If, as has been stated by the Minister of Home Affairs, the rentals from the land resumed in the Federal Capital will be sufficient to pay interest on the amount which has been spent there up to the present time, the expenditure has hitherto been justified; but no interest would be earned by the money spent on large public buildings, and the people are beginning to regret that they entered into Federation because of the vast expenditure which confronts them. In any* case, a referendum would settle the matter. The proposal of the honorable member for Balaclava is to give to New South Wales what I think that State is justified in getting. Before the Constitution was adopted, it was stipulated by Victorian representatives that until the Federal Parliament met in the Federal Capital in New South Wales it should sit in Melbourne. Many Victorians are now prepared to say that they do not wish the Federal Parliament to remain in Melbourne for an inordinate length of time and would consent to an alteration of the Constitution which would enable it to meet in Sydney.
– It could not meet in Sydney without an expenditure of thousands of pounds. There is at present no building available.
– And we do not want it there.
– If there is no place in Sydney in which Parliament could sit, there is reason for thinking that the people of New South Wales are not desirous of having us there.
– They are prepared to abide by the Constitution.
– I think that even the people of New South Wales would vote against an expenditure of great magnitude upon the Federal Capital. Our population is not large enough to justify it, and the taxation which it would place on the people would be resented. If we persist in this policy, it will weaken the Federal compact, and alienate the sympathy of the people. The honorable member for Balaclava did the right thing in moving this motion. I do not wish to be guilty of tedious repetition, and, therefore, as I have often spoken on this question, shall content myself now with saying that I am convinced that the people of the Commonwealth would indorse his proposal if they had an opportunity to express their views. Holding that conviction, I should be wrong if I did not vote for the motion.
– With all respect to the honorable member for Balaclava, I have to say that I have never heard a man with the reputation for good sense and for being a good politician that he has make a morefoolish speech than that to which we listened this afternoon. He is generally sound as to his facts, but to-day he suggested the taking of 100 acres of the Centennial Park for the use of the Federal Government as a means for saving money. Does he know the value of that land? It is from £10 to £20 a foot, and therefore its resumption would cost more than the building of the proposed city. It is easy to see the policy behind this proposal, namely, to promise, pause, postpone. This is merely a Victorian move to block the construction of the Capital.
– I had nothing like that in my mind.
– Were I a Victorian, and actuated by parochial considerations, I should support this proposal, because it seems to. me the cleverest move that could be made. But we must look at the matter from the Australian standpoint. Big cities are the curse of this country. One would think that Sydney is New South Wales, and Melbourne is Victoria. Everything is brought to the big capitals. The honorable member for Balaclava wishes to intensify this evil. He spoke of the desirability of immigration, but are all the people who come here to live in Sydney and Melbourne? Who provides the revenue of this country? Is it the middlemen of the cities who tax the producers, or the producers themselves? I hope that this Victorian move will get no support. Wehave fought out the question of sites ‘here. The honorable member for Echuca is responsible for the defeat of the Dalgety site. It is no secret that the matter hung on his vote. He stated in the hearing of several that he would vote for Dalgety, and then voted against it. Now he is trying to cover uphis tracks. It was not the same with the honorable member for Balaclava. He and a number of other Victorians stood their ground.
Mr.Kelly. - I thought that the honorable member was not going to deal with? this question from a provincial stand-point.
– I certainly am not doing so. If I had any idea of speaking from a provincial point, of view I should advocate the transfer of the Capital to Dalgety. As a matter of fact, however, I accept the verdict of the Parliament. The question has been settled, and the proposal now before us is merely a clever move on the part of an able political engineer to block altogether the establishment of the Federal Capital, and to make Melbourne the Seat of Government for another ten years.’ It is all very well to talk of this provincial feeling dying down. Maybe it is, to some extent, but behind this proposal is a move to retain Melbourne as the Seat of Government. It is said that Melbourne is not benefited. I think it is. It would be just as reasonable to say that the running of the Melbourne Cup every year does not bring a lot of money into Melbourne and benefit the tradespeople as it is to assert that theestablishment of the Seat of Government here is of no advantage to the people of this city. We ought to have a statement from the Government that they do not intend to palter with this question any longer, and that they decline to be influenced by the cry being raised throughout Victoria with the object of retaining Melbourne as the Seat of Government for another ten or twenty years. The honorable member has ‘ made an appeal to the House to support this motion on the score of the taxation which the building of the Capital must involve. I should like to ask by whom the bulk of taxation is borne. Is it not borne by the primary producers of Yass-Canberra,. and other parts of Australia, rather than by the people of our large cities ? Do we not know that our primary industries keepour cities going? I believe in calling a spade -a spade, andhave no hesitation in describing the proposal now before us as a deep Victorian move which we ought to . resent. As a New South Welshman -and an Australian, I certainly resent it. We ought not to allow any set of men to draw a red herring across ‘the trail with the ; object of delaying the building of the F ede- ral Capital, and I am quite satisfied that even if a referendum were taken on this proposal the people would vote against it, because the majority of them take an Australian view of the matter.
– Give them the chance to vote on it.
– The honorable member desires the people to vote against the building of the Capital, and to delay the whole work for many years to come. I am opposed to anything of the kind. I hope that we shall proceed to a division on this motion in order that the country may see how emphatically the House is opposed to it. I congratulate the honorable member on the cleverness he has displayed in submitting his proposition to the House, but I think that he has proved in this instance to be a strong man with * very weak case.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has repeated a statement that has been made from time to time by other members that my individual vote was responsible for Yass-Canberra instead of Dalgety being selected as the Federal Capital. I wish to show that that statement is incorrect. At the first three ballots I voted for Tumut. At the fourth, Tumut having been rejected, I voted for Tooma, and continued to vote for it up to the eighth ballot, when it dropped out. On the ninth ballot I voted for Yass-Canberra.
– That was the critical point.
– These figures will prove that the honorable member’s statement is incorrect, and, having heard them, I am sure that he will apologize to me. At the first ballot as between Dalgety and Yass-Canberra twenty -seven votes were given for Dalgety and nineteen for YassCanberra. My individual vote, therefore, could not have affected the decision in that case. At the second ballot there . were twenty-six for Dalgety, and twenty-two fur Yass-Canberra. My vote, therefore, could not have affected that decision. At the third ballot there were twenty-eight votes for Dalgety, and twentythree for Yass-Canberra; at the fourth, twenty-eight for Dalgety, and twenty-one for Yass-Canberra ; and at the fifth, twentyseven for Dalgety, and twenty-two for Yass-Canberra. At the sixth ballot, the voting was the same; while at the seventh, twenty-four votes were cast for each site. -At the eighth ballot, thirty-one votes were cast for Dalgety, and twenty-seven for Yass-Canberra ; while at the ninth and final ballot thirty-three votes were cast for Dalgety, and thirty-nine for Yass-Canberra. These figures show that in no case could my vote have affected the decision.
– By way of personal explanation, I wish to -say that I did not assert that the honorable member’s individual vote had resulted in the selection of Yass-Canberra rather than Dalgety, as the site of the Federal Capital. My statement was that the honorable member, with others, was responsible for the rejection of Dalgety, and I look upon the honorable member as being jointly responsible with three others for the decision arrived at. The honorable member made a statement in this House that he was in favour of Dalgety, and, notwithstanding that statement, at a critical stage he voted for Yass-Canberra. There are honorable members in this House who heard him make the statement that he was in favour of Dalgety, and I would ask whether it is not remarkable that he carries about with him figures to show how he did vote on the occasion in question?
– The honorable member for Balaclava deserves to be congratulated on the motion that he has submitted to the House. It may appear to some honorable members that I am indulging in something in the nature of high treason when I assert that a great deal is to be said in favour of it. That view of my attitude will be taken more especially by those antiquated members who have sat in this House since the inception of Federation; but it may surprise some to know that there is throughout Australia a feeling that is not at all favorable to a large expenditure at the present time in connexion with the Federal Capital. I am not going to say that that feeling is strong either in Sydney or in Melbourne, but it is undoubtedly strong amongst the people of Australia generally. There is very good reason for such a view of the situation, and I am going to be so stupid, in the opinion of some honorable members, no doubt, as to offer a few reasons to justify this motion, and to show that, instead of being laughed at, it should receive fair consideration. The first indictment made against this proposition is that the Constitution itself provides that, the Federal Capital shall be in New South Wales, and not less than 100 miles distant from Sydney. I would remind the House, however, that the Constitution provides for a referendum to determine whether or not it shall be amended in any particular, and that if that provision had not been inserted we should not have been working under it to-day. After all, I do not consider that there is anything sacred in the Constitution. That, again, may appear to be high treason, but I take the view that if anything like a fair number of our fellow citizens desire that this question should be reopened, there is no reason why it should not be. There is nothing un-Democratic - that, I suppose, is the proper cant phrase of the day to use - and nothing unconstitutional about this proposal.
– I think we ought to have a referendum to determine whether we should not hand back the Northern Territory to South Australia.
– It is all very well for honorable members who do not appreciate my argument, to try to treat it as a joke.
– I am not doing so. There is a big difference of opinion concerning the transfer of the Territory to the Commonwealth.
– There is nothing to prevent a referendum on that question.
– A referendum could not be taken concerning the transfer. It was a surrender of territory.
– I am looking at the matter not from the legal point of view, but as a layman recognising one of the principles of Democracy. The present objection to dealing with the Federal Capital was due to the determined aversion of a New South Wales Government in one instance to deal justly with the Federal Government, or with Federal claims in any respect.
– Did they not give the Commonwealth ten times the territory that they were required to give under the Constitution?
– The honorable member will be able to vindicate his popularity as the windy man from Sydney bv making a five hours’ speech on the question.
– Let us have fairness and accuracy in regard to this matter.
– My statement is absolutely accurate. Every schoolboy knows that it is. If we deferred the Capital question for a couple of generations - if it were deferred for fifty years - our grandchildren would be better able to deal with it, and to deal justly with it, than we are to-day. We all know how Yass-Can berra came to be selected as the site of the Federal Capital. Its selection was engineered by the New South Wales Government so that the Federal Capital would be a second or third-rate place that would never be a rival to Sydney.
– The Victorians put the Capital where it is. We desired to have it within 100 mmiles of Sydney.
– I know all about, the matter. The spirit that has been’ displayed is not that which ought to be observed in regard to the building of the Capital, and if we cannot proceed on better lines than thosewhich we are now following we ought to leave the work alone. The motion proposes that Sydney shall be the Seat of Government. What objection could be raisedto the selection of Sydney?
– The objection that the people of Australia, at a referendum, have already decided that theCapital shall not be within 100 mmiles of Sydney.
– Another referendum can be taken on the question. The honorable member ought to know a little of the spirit of the Constitution. He certainly is not going to put me off the track by hi* interruptions. What advantages would Sydney offer as the Seat of Government? In the first place, it is one of the oldest cities of the Commonwealth. Much of theprestige of Australia is centred in the ancient city of Sydney ; and the objection that the city is too close to the seaboard is, in the main, one of theory - a view enunciated mainly by writers in the study, who never see what goes on in theworld; and I may quote from a page of modern history to- show what it is worthSome of us, unfortunately, are old enought to remember the Franco-Prussian War» when Paris was besieged, and the French Government broke down so far as thecapital was concerned. Gambetta leftParis in a balloon and came down at Tours ; and the Government which was formed there, under the name of The Committeeof Public Safety, was strong enough to mobilize the French forces and put two ofthe ablest armies in the field. If that effort had been better backed up, or if France had not become demoralized byyears of the Second Empire, that Government at Tours would have been able tosave France a good deal of humiliation: In the face of such facts as these, what is the value of the idea that Sydney is too near the sea-board, and that a siege would destroy the Government? There is nothing that was done by the Committee of Public Safety in France that could not be done by an Australian Government under similar circumstances. Then, again, the greatest Federation and Commonwealth in the world to-day is represented by the German Empire, the capital of which is situated at Berlin, in Prussia, and the only property there held by the Government are the public offices and the Parliament House. It is true that the central German Government possess Hanover, and the two ceded provinces of Alsace and Lorraine ; but the people of the empire have too much common sense to remove their capital away from a city with the ancient prestige of Berlin. It is with regret as a Britisher and as an Australian, that I have to speak of the German Commonwealth as the most successful and powerful in the world; but the fact remains that, at the Seat of Government of that Commonwealth, only the Parliament House and the public offices are the property of the Government. I do not believe in spending 6d. unnecessarily, nor would I begrudge a vote of ^10,000,000 if such were necessary for the welfare of Australia. No one beyond those who have been in the front of the political wrangle for years can see anything to be gained by this enormous expenditure on a Capital at Yass-Canberra. I am happy to say that not much has been spent up to the present; and I think that, for the next fifty years, we could spend our money in a much more profitable way than in erecting palatial buildings in a new city. We know very well that there is no idea of a bush Capital with .meagre buildings, but that we shall be told the new Parliament House must be commensurate with the dignity of the Commonwealth. In Budget after Budget we shall have proposals for heavy expenditure; and it is a complaint by independent members that such questions are never decided on their merits. One Government decides to erect a Federal Capital, and are succeeded by others who have opposed the proposal, but who, when in power, have to reverse their votes given as private members. There must, of course, be a uniform policy ; but I question very much if the individual members of the Government have in any way altered their opinion. If we desire -a clear and outspoken view on these matters, we have to go to independent members of the House who are not in the Government, and are not likely to be, and who were in no way concerned with the engineering which resulted in the selection of Yass-Canberra. I do not think that the people of the country are in favour of an expenditure in this direction; and, if any further action in the matter could be delayed, all the better. If, however, we have to have a Capital, I see no objection to Sydney being selected, though I must say that I am more in love with the climate and surroundings of that city than I am with its political conditions. I see no reason why we should not refer the question to the people. I am not strongly in favour of the referendum, except on a> question of very great importance, in regard to which the people can get a clear idea, and on which they can give a clear expression of opinion. There will always, in my opinion, be a strong feeling amongst the mass of the people against expenditure of this kind ; and, in my own State, I have been repeatedly asked by commercial and business men and others why it is proposed! to waste money in erecting a Capital. Altogether, there can be no doubt that, outside ordinary political circles, there is a great feeling against the movement. We have been told that the Sydney people do not desire the Seat of Government to be placed1 there ; but I am not deeply interested in what either the Sydney or the Melbourne people think in this regard. Their opinions should not concern honorable members who> are not from either of the rival cities. There is no doubt about the evils of the congestion of population in the big cities ; and it is difficult to understand how the people of New South Wales and Victoria have allowed all the interests of their respective States to be centred in Sydney and Melbourne, to the detriment of the country generally. However, that is a matter for the States themselves to settle; if they are satisfied with the arrangement, it is no concern of mine. We must be careful, however, that the opinions expressed by the people of these cities do not blind us when we are dealing with the question, as they have a tendency to do at the present time. The blame for this congestion lies with the Parliaments of the States of New South Wales and Victoria, who should insist on the opening of other ports and centres than those of Sydney and Melbourne. In South Australia, all the business interests are not centred in Adelaide.
– Surely the proportionate country and town population is about the same ?
– No States are more afflicted in this connexion than New South Wales and Victoria; and the centralization which there exists is dead against the welfare of the Commonwealth as a whole. As I say, there is nothing objectionable, so far as I can see, in a referendum, and there is a strong feeling on the part of Australians outside the antiquated, official, political crowd, who have wandered around proposed sites, quarrelled, squabbled, schemed, and manoeuvred- : -
– Surely there has been no manoeuvring?
– The honorable member could, I think, write a most interesting page of modern history, with the title, “ How Yass-Canberra Site was Manoeuvred, and Those who Schemed It.” However, that aspect of the question does not concern me now, and it will not concern the type of representatives who will come into this Parliament in the future, and who have had nothing to do with this matter. If the motion is not carried, I should like to see the settlement of the Capital site postponed for at least a couple of generations.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) (3.55]. - The honorable member for Hindmarsh has spent a lot of energy - indeed, one almost imagined he was becoming apoplectic - in denouncing the “ antiquated “ members who supported the selection of Yass-Canberra. Only yesterday, the same honorable member was in a fever lest some members from other States should be engaged in a gerrymandering enterprise to deviate the railway in the Northern Territory by a hair’s breadth. He said, “ You must keep the bargain that has been made with my State. You must carry out in their integrity the terms of the surrender of the Northern Territory. There is a deeplaid movement in the other States to depart from the terms of the agreement entered into with my State respecting the construction of that railway through the Northern Territory.” To-day the same honorable member is suggesting that an agreement, equally binding, and a great deal more so, since it is in the Constitution, while the other is only in an Act of Parliament, should be broken. He thinks that there would be nothing wrong in having a referendum with the idea of repudiating the bargain which was made with New South Wales, and on the faith of which New South Wales came into the Federal bond. Yesterday it was, “ Stick to the bargain.” To-day it is re pudiation flat and simple; and he sees no incongruity in his attitude. There is nothing to stop us from taking a referendum, altering the Constitution, and removing the Federal Capital wherever we like, except one thing. There is only the honour and good faith of the Commonwealth standing in the way. The State I represent contains over one-third of the people of Australia, and they made it a condition, before coming into the Union, that the Capital should be in their State.
– That was a very harrow-minded view.
– That may or may not be ; but all that sort of criticism would have been in place twelve -or thirteen years ago. It is not in place now that you have made the bargain and put it in the bond.
– Then the people of New South Wales would have come in even more strongly if Sydney had been made the Capital ?
– It was Victoria that insisted that the Capital should not be in Sydney.
– It was Sir George Reid’s doing.
- Sir George Turner and the others who were with him in the Conference insisted that the Capital should not be in Sydney..
– It was Sir George Reid who insisted that it should be in New South Wales.
– He did so because of the unsatisfactory vote recorded in connexion with Union after an appeal had been made to the people of New South Wales.
– A vote which gave a big majority in favour of Union.
– A vote which gave a very narrow majority in favour of it, and failed to commit the people to it.
– Yes; because the bond was broken, and the statutory majority was altered.
– No bond was broken. The New South Wales Parliament did what every Parliament had a perfect right to do at the time, and did. They made their own terms on which they were prepared to enter the Union. It was voluntary on the part of every State, and we said in our State that we would come into the Union and make the requisite s acrifices, in consideration of our being conceded the Federal Capital. It does not do to rake up these old contentions. We have been wrangling in this Parliament for twelve years now, and no new arguments have been put forward today.
– Expense, expense, expense; that is the argument.
– I believe the expenditure on the Federal Capital will be wisely entered into. There need not be all the expenditure of money that has been spoken of to-day. There need not be any £5,000,000 spent for many a generation. The Victorian people will find that those from New South Wales are just as keen on carrying the Capital through with due regard to economy as are those from any other State in the group. The whole thing is being argued upon a fallacious basis. The issues are not being put properly. Why is it going to cost £5,000,000 ? We are -told it is for this reason - that it is costing £60.000 to-day to clean the streets of Melbourne. How many generations will come and go before the Federal Capital will require to spend £60,000 on its streets? Why compare- things which are unlike? There will be no 500.000 or 600,000 inhabitants in the Federal Capita) for many years to come. 1 am afraid a population of that size will not be seen there for 100 years. Anything that will help us to decentralize the present congestion of the cities of Australia is worth paying a little for. The bulk of the Australian population is centered in a few cities, and that is all the more reason why we should try to set up other cities in the interior, round which will gather all the rural influences in a way they cannot gather themselves round the present cities on the sea-board. This proposal to build another city inland gradually and economically is a wise movement in the direction of decentralization alone, and in that respect it will be worth all the money we have spent upon it.
It is unfair to say that this money could be spent on water conservation in the country. Suppose instead of taking over so many millions of debt from South Australia, and spending £300,000 or £400,000 a year out of the Consolidated Revenue to discharge our obligations with respect to the Northern Territory, we had spent that money in water conservation near these great cities, look at the advantages that would have been given ! Every argument that you apply to the Federal Capital may be applied to every other obligation taken over by the Federal Parliament. The same thing could be said of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway. Suppose that we had not entered into that obligation, but devoted the money instead to water conservation in the interior, see what advantages we should have gained by it ! All this ad captandum argument ought to cease. It is a matter of carrying through our national obligations, one of the most onerous of which is to fulfil our contract to build the Federal Capital reasonably and economically at the earliest possible moment. If ever there was a reason for getting on with the expenditure, it is the eternal resurrecting of this question in the House, the consuming of valuable time,, and, I am afraid, on some occasions, the engendering of bitter relationships between members.. It is a strange thing that nearly every new member seems to want to have a go at the Federal Capital. Look at the gerrymandering that is going ondown here now over it ! I do not wonder at all this fearfulness on the part of honorable members, particularly Victorian members. They are led to believe that the Capital is going to cost countless millions. My own idea is that, if wisely hunt. and rightly set going and governed, the Federal Capital will not ultimately cost this country one penny. All this talk about spending millions of money as though we were throwing it into a sink, is so muchmoonshine. The federal Capital can be made to pay for itself in the very near future, and so all these arguments on the score of expense absolutely fall to the ground.
We are asked, “ Why do we not agree to let it go to Sydney?” First of all, Sydney does not want it. Sydney would rather have another centre built: somewhere else than have further congestion, and concentration within its boundaries. Totake it to Sydney would be an infinitely costlier proceeding than to establish it at. Yass-Canberra. It would cost ultimately ten times as much. At Yass-Canberra weare taking over land which has not verymuch value. In Sydney they value land today by inches. The Federal Parliament could have no local habitation and name of its own if it went to any of the cities except by paying through the nose for it- paying more than we have a right to take from the taxpayers of this country.
– Do you think we could, get any suitable land in Sydney ?
– We could get land, of course, but at a tremendous cost. We could get land reasonably only by going out into the suburbs. Frankly, I do not want to see the present disproportion between city and country made greater by any means whatever. Rather do I want to see some rational decentralization. That is our master problem which we must face, sooner or later. It is becoming more acute year by year, and we ought to do nothing to increase the baneful effects which we see at present following the growth of our huge cities. I believe the good- sense of this House will prevail, as it has prevailed during the last twelve years and more.’ The Capital will not cost the taxpayers of Australia one penny in the end. They will gain, and not lose, by its establishment, if it is wisely built and wisely governed.
.- This matter is so important that I shall take this opportunity to give my views regarding the continual cry that the building of a Federal Capital will be a source of endless expense. At the outset let me say that, in my opinion, the constitutional provision that the Capital must be in New South Wales was the result of huckstering between the Premiers then in power. However, the engagement was solemnly entered into among the States that the Capital should be in New South Wales, though not within a hundred miles of Sydney. As the representative of the city within which this Parliament now meets, I shall have much pleasure in voting for its removal to Yass-Canberra, though 1 should have pre:ferred Dalgety. If the motion had suggested a change of site, I should have voted for Dalgety as 1 did before, it being for many reasons the better site ; but a majority in its wisdom decided for Yass-Canberra, notwithstanding the fact that- water to supply the town will have to be raised 800 feet. No other capital city in the world was ever built under such circumstances. It is possible, however, that in the future a good supply may be obtained by gravitation from a source 30 or 40 miles away. During my twenty years of political life I never saw more leg-pulling, ear-biting, and other unfair tactics, than were indulged in to carry the Yass-Canberra site, and in saying that I am accusing certain persons who belong to my own party. A page of English history that has not yet been fully written is that relating to land tenure. The only place of importance in the Empire where there is a system of land tenure similar to that of the Federal Capital Territory, is Hong Kong, where, with the exception of a few portions sold many years ago, all the land is under lease. In a fewcases the leases are for 999 years, in others for 99 years ; but generally, they are for 75 years. ‘ Our experiment was well worth; trying. If any man will walk down Collinsstreet, where the land is worth on an average’ j£8oo to £1,000 a foot, and count the partition walls, he will see how much is wasted. Between William-street and Russell -street the loss amounts to nearly £250,000 worth of land. The building of the Federal Capital will largely increase the value of the land on which it is built. Land which now may be worth only 5s., may become worth .£5,000.. The referendum proposed is not worthy of the name. I say that, though I claim and value the friendship of the honorable member for Balaclava: By the referendum of the future, every citizen of Australia will have the right to change the situation of the Capital, if he can secure a majority to vote with him. The people will then be dominant, and may order what legislation they please. We shall then have a Government elected by the whole House. The absurd practice of the past, and the less absurd practice of the Labour party, wall be succeeded by that mode of election which is the best of all. Then, by means of the referendum and initiative, the people will tell Parliament what legislation must be passed. Regarding the cost of the Capital, I am glad to be in accord with the honorable member for Parramatta. Although politically we quarrel very often, we occasionally agree. I was glad to hear him say that ultimately the Capital will not have cost the Australian public one penny. That is my opinion. But it need not cost a penny even at the commencement. In America, more money is spent on statistics than in any other country in the world, and the best statisticians there and elsewhere are now giving attention to an experiment that was tried in the island of Guernsey by a municipality. The adoption of the means taken by that municipality to have a market erected will enable any State to construct its public works, whether revenue-producing or not, without cost. All that is necessary is the issue of certain paper currency. As one concrete instance is worth an ocean of talk, let me set out what took place in Guernsey, a State allied to Great Britain. The islands of Guernsey, Jersey, and Sark were never conquered by Great Britain, but came to her through the marriage of one of her kings. In the early part of last century, the capital town of the island of Guernsey possessed no market place; but having the land, desired to erect a building on it. In those days, it was not easy to borrow in the money market of London or of the European capitals. But the town had a splendid governor, a man whose reputation as a statesman will in the future be one of the brightest in the world - De Lisle Brock. He said to the municipal councillors, “ Have you no brickmakers, no stonemasons, no carpenters? If you have, why cannot you build a market yourselves?” The seed sown germinated, and the plant grew and nourished. The municipal council called together its citizens, and it was agreed to issue currency notes in the name of Market House Scrip. Each note had the value of £1. The contractors accepted them, and the shopkeepers accepted them, the municipal council providing the financial circuit, which currency, like electricity, must have. It agreed to take the notes in lieu of rents and taxes. As a consequence, the market house was built, and the fish stalls, instead of remaining in the streets, were placed in a splendid building which to-day is a monument to this mode of financing. Every year a holiday was proclaimed, and the money received in rents and taxes was burnt, so that within ten years the whole of the market house scrip had been redeemed and destroyed, and Guernsey thus obtained without spending a penny a property which returned £500, or more. Had the railways of Victoria, which cost close upon £53,000,000, been paid for by the issue of currency notes, backed up by the value of the land on which the lines run, the rolling-stock, and the State’s security, we should not now be owing £53,000,000, aand should not have paid over £55,000,000 to the money lenders of Europe, borrowing in some instances at 6 per cent. Our railways would to-day be paying nearly 4 per cent., and there would be no interest charge. In regard to the building of the Federal City, we can issue currency notes which will not be redeemable in ‘ gold, and will be specially ear-marked. They will be supported by the value of the lands in the Federal Territory, by the value of the buildings erected there, and by the value of every improvement carried out by the Commonwealth. In the city, there will have to be residences, hotels, coffee palaces, shops, and factories. Rent should be on a 4 or 5 per cent, basis, and every year when it was paid in this special currency, the notes received should be destroyedThen within twenty years every note would have been redeemed, and we should have a capital which would not have cost a penny, and there would be no huge interest bill to pay. Honorable members can see in how short a time these notes would be redeemed. What makes it hard to repay debts is the constant mounting up of the interest. I make this suggestion like the sowing of seed, and have no hesitation in saying that I shall vote against the motion. I regret that I appear to be opposing a referendum, but what is proposed is not a real referendum that would do honour to the country or to the people.
.- The debate to which we have listened would be very valuable if the passing of the motion would put this problem in front of the people, but were the motion passed, the next step would be the introduction of a Bill for the amendment of the Constitution, and the form in which that Bill would leave this House would depend largely on the Victorian representatives. The Bill would, as introduced, propose to give the people , the alternative of Sydney or YassCanberra as the Federal Capital, but, with every newspaper in Victoria clamouring for consideration for the interests of Melbourne, the omission of “ Sydney “ would be moved in Committee with a view to the substitution of “Melbourne.” I wonder how long these broad Nationalists - I see two or three in the Ministerial corner and others in the Opposition corner - would then support the claims of Sydney as the Capital of the Commonwealth.
This proposition may at first sight appear fascinating to one who, not only as a resident of Sydney, but as an Australian citizen, recognises that Sydney is pre-eminently fitted to De the Capital of the Commonwealth, but when one looks at the element of human nature which is present, even in the innocent member who has submitted it, and at the smiles with which it is greeted by other representatives of Victoria, one must come to the conclusion that there is in it a great deal more than meets the eye. However, I do not wish to treat my honorable friends from Victoria in the way that some of them would like to see our claims to the Capital treated, and consequently I shall not endeavour to talk out this motion. I shall not even, in the absence of the honorable member for Balaclava, play any trick and take a vote upon it. I shall ask leave to continue my remarks on a future occasion, and 011 behalf of the honorable member, who informed me, before he left the chamber, that he did not care to what date the debate was adjourned, I suggest that it be adjourned until Thursday, 29th August, when we are certain to get a vote.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
Debate resumed from 25th July (vide page 1298, on motion by Mr. Greene) -
That a Royal Commission be appointed forthwith to inquire into the operations of the Tobacco Trust in the Commonwealth.
.- In submitting this motion a week or two ago, I endeavoured to give very briefly the origin of the Trust, as well as some particulars sis to the actual capital originally put into it, and the particular way in which the shares are held, showing that it is really a foreign corporation trading in Australia, and that it has practically a complete monopoly of the whole business of the manufacture and distribution of tobacco throughout the Commonwealth. It may be urged that a Commission which sat some years ago dealt with this subject fairly extensively, and that, consequently, there is no necessity now to go into it, or to have any inquiry whatever into the operations of the Trust. I think it will be admitted, however, that a good deal of water has run under the bridge since that Commission -sat. It has also to be remembered that the Commission went into the subject merely with the object of making out a case for the nationalization of the industry, rather than a case for an inquiry into the whole of the circumstances connected with the industry itself, the process of manufacture, and the growth of tobacco, with the object of showing how far the combination was operating detrimentally to the interests of the people, and to what extent it was advisable to interfere with its operations by setting up a keen and healthy system of competition under which it would be possible to get the very best article at the very lowest price, while at the same time conserving to the workers in the industry a reasonable return for their labour. Let me preface my remarks this afternoon by saying that I recognise that those who are engaged in the manufacture of tobacco in Australia to-day treat their employe’s in a most exemplary manner. The way in which they treat them is an object lesson to all employers of labour in Australia. 1 believe that they are giving their employes the best possible conditions and the highest possible rates of wages. At the same time, I feel confident that the operations of this Trust in Australia are detrimental to the best interests of the people. I do not think we are getting the very best article for our money, and the product of the industry is also very dear,
– What would the honorable member suggest?
– I think it is possible to have a certain measure of competition. It is not in the interests of our people that one body of men should control the manufacture of a commodity used by practically the whole male section of the community.
– Does not the honorable member think that the Government should start to compete with them?
– I do not.
– Is there any country where the manufacture of tobacco is not a monopoly ?
– I do not think that the tobacco industry in Great Britain is controlled to anything like the extent that it is controlled in Australia. Whilst I admit that British firms are deeply interested in the tobacco trade in the Commonwealth, I think it will be found that in England the manufacture of tobacco is not anything like as complete a monopoly as it is here. The Commission that investigated this subject six years ago went into it really with the object of making out a case for the nationalization of the industry. It was appointed, among other things, to inquire into and report upon -
The advisability or otherwise of the Government taking over the industry of such manufacture, importation, and sale, or any part thereof ; and to continue the inquiry commenced by a Select Committee of the Senate in relation to the said matters.
In answer to that question, the Commissioners reported -
Your Commissioners find that it is urgently advisable that immediate steps should be taken to enable the Commonwealth Government _ to acquire the sole right of the manufacture, importation, and wholesale sale of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes.
I believe that all the members of the Commission who signed that portion of the report are still members of the Senate, and it is noteworthy that they are not pressing to-day to have that finding carried out. We hear of no action on the part of these gentlemen to press their case for the nationalization of the industry.
– Are they not pressing for a referendum to provide for an amendment of the Constitution?
– They may be.
– And without that amendment the industry could not be nationalized.
– We hear nothing from them to-day about the Tobacco Trust. In paragraph 30 of their report, the Commission state -
We are of opinion that the advantages to he gained -
That is by the nationalization of the tobacco industry, would be -
I maintain, and will endeavour to substantiate, that not only has the Trust been misusing its power ever since that report was submitted, but that it is continuing to do so, so far as the public are concerned. I have already said that, in regard to the employ6s in the industry itself, I have nothing to say against the Trust ; but it is still misusing its power in a way detrimental to the interests of the Australian people. The report of the Commission goes on to say -
Neither, in our opinion, would it be of advantage to the Commonwealth for Parliament, by legislation, to break up the existing organization -
That is a most extraordinary stand to take, in view of the admission that the Trust is misusing its powers to the detriment of the people of Australia. The report proceeds -
Neither, in our opinion, would it be of advantage to the Commonwealth for Parliament, by legislation, to break up the existing organization, to revert to the wasteful and unorganized methods that existed prior to the formation of the combine. There is no evidence to show that in Australia the combine has up to the present time endeavoured to force a policy of exclusive dealing in their goods on the retailers.
I venture to say that if a Royal Commission were to inquire to-day, they would find ample evidence, because, as . I am credibly informed, retailers are practically compelled, not only to sell the goods of the Trust, but the particular goods which it happens to suit the Trust at the time to sell.
– Why should not the Trust do so, if they are “allowed to retain full power - if power is not given to this Parliament to deal with the Trust?
– There is ample power in this Parliament to prevent these things being done.
– Every Attorney-General has said the contrary.
– I know. there is no power in this Parliament to deal with questions of manufacture; but, in regard to Inter-State and foreign trade, there is ample power to prevent the Combine operating in a way detrimental to the people - there is every power that this Parliament can ever have. I remind the Minister that “ Where there’s a will, there’s a way “ ; and the Government, if they chose, could deal with the Tobacco Trust in the same way as they have dealt with the Coal Vend.
– If the Trust manufactures in Sydney and sells in New South Wales only, we cannot touch it.
– But the New South Wales Parliament can. It seems to me a most extraordinary argument that, because this Parliament has not all the power, the Australian people are helpless.
– They are helpless in Victoria.
– They are helpless in neither Victoria nor New South Wales.
– They are helpless in Victoria.
– There is a Labour Government in New South Wales, and I presume it is just as good a Labour Government as that which occupies the Treasury bench in this House.
– Unless they can “ stuff “ the Upper House, they have no power.
– They are “stuffing” it as fast as they know how, the only objection, so far as I understand, of a num- ‘ ber of the followers of my honorable friends opposite being that they are not satisfied with the nature of the appointments.
– If this Parliament has all the necessary power, why does the honorable member desire a Royal Commission? Why not at once move in this House?
– Because the Government are sitting on the benches there, and not taking any steps whatever to deal with the Trust. We have ample power to deal with the Trust up to a certain point, and then the State Parliament has power to do the rest. It might be, from some points of view, more advantageous for one Parliament to deal with the Trust - that is a question for argument - but it will not add to the total sum of our powers as a sovereign people to vest the whole of the power in this Parliament. .
– We could then deal with the whole of Australia at one stroke.
– And by so doing destroy the power of local government to that extent. However, that is not the particular point I am now arguing. While the Royal Commission found that there was no evidence to show that in Australia the Combine had, up to the present, endeavoured to force exclusive dealing on the retailers, they reported that evidence was given that the British- American Trust had endeavoured to do so in their respective countries. I venture to say . that if an inquiry were made to-day it would be found that the British and American sections of the Trust have now obtained an absolutely predominating influence, and are applying in Australia to-day the methods which the Commission state they were endeavouring to apply in their respective countries. If any honorable member were to ask a tobacconist who happened to be his friend, whether he dare sell certain brands of cigars and tobacco at less than a certain price he would be very quickly told that it could not be done - that the goods were supplied by the Trust on the strict understanding that they were sold at a certain price. The Trust can now supply practically any quality it likes, and some of the tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes, even those sold in Parliament House here, are not what they might be. The report of the Commission goes on to say -
Attempts have been made hy the Tobacconists’ Associations of New South Wales and Victoria to form limited liability companies of their members, the object apparently being to cooperate with Kronheimer Ltd. in fixing a scale of retail prices.
A scale of retail prices has been fixed, though by the Trust, and not by the retailers. At the risk of losing supplies, retailers dare not sell at a lower price than that laid down by the Trust; they quickly find, if they do so, that they get no more tobacco, cigars, or cigarettes.
– That applies to soap, candles, and other articles.
– That may be, but retailers are at liberty to get other brands of soap and candles. The Tobacco Trust has now got practically the whole control of the manufacturing processes. There is only one factory of any size - and that is in Melbourne - which to-day is standing up against the Trust. The other day I mentioned the very small amount of capital which this Trust put into the business originally. I find, on reference to Knibbs, that the total value of their land and buildings, in which the greater part of their capital is invested apart from their stock, is set down at £379,866. That does not represent the original value of the land in 1902, when the Trust was formed. Land was then of very much smaller value, and, as nearly all the Trust’s land consists of business sites, in regard to which there has been an enormous increment of value during the last decade, we may safely say that the original investment in land and buildings was not more than £225,000 - that the difference between the value^then and the value now must be 40 per cent. The capital invested in plant and machinery is only £250,311.
– In the whole industry?
– I do not, suppose they have all that.
– Very nearly.”
– Is it not about ninetenths ?
– I think it is 95 per cent. In order to give honorable members some idea of how this Trust is progressing, I refer once more to the Royal Commission’s report, which states : -
Returns supplied by Mr. Fergusson, Chief Inspector of Excise, Melbourne, show in 1903 12 tobacco, 75 cigar, and 16 cigarette factories; in 1904 return shows that these had decreased to 11 tobacco, 68 cigar, and 14 cigarette factories, a decrease of 10 factories in one year.
That is to say, when the Royal Commission reported, there were eighty-three factories of one sort and another engaged in the manufacture of tobacco in Australia. On reference to Knibbs I find that these eighty-three factories have decreased to thirty-five; and this shows that the Trust has “been gradually, but surely, tightening its Hold upon the whole of the Australian trade.
– It is only fair to say that, prior to Federation, there was a number of £5 licences for cigar-making, and they would have been wiped out, whether the Trust had come into operation or not.
– That is very likely; but my figures convey some idea of what has been happening. Notwithstanding the great decrease in the number of factories, there has been a proportionate increase in the actual amount of tobacco manufactured in Australia. In finding No. 16 the Commission give some rather interesting figures -
That this decrease was not due to any falling off in demand or production is shown by the fact that the local manufacture of all forms of tobaccoes increased from 6,601,015 lbs. in 1901 to 7,556,416 lbs. in 1903, and to 7,790,157 lbs. in 1904; and the number of employes increased from 2,662 in 1903 to 2,816 in 1904. Fifty per cent, of the leaf used in New South Wales in 1904 was worked in one factory ; in Victoria nearly 80 per cent, of total leaf was worked in one factory : in Queensland 60 per cent., and in South Australia 80 per cent, was so worked, showing that the figures in the return as to the number of factories in existence are largely illusory, the great majority of them being small einar manufacturers, and the output of their factories being insignificant when compared with the factories controlled by the combine.
That is exactly what the Minister said, and what I willingly admit to be the truth ; but the figures I have quoted only go to show how the Combine has practically totally eliminated the small manufacturer.
– Unfortunately, that is the spirit of modern production.
– That is so, whether there is a combine or not. It is the same with your co-operative dairying companies.
– Under existing conditions, with huge combinations of labour on - the one side, and capital on the other, you must, to a certain extent, eliminate the small man. The more labourers’ wages are increased, and the more labour-saving devices are introduced, the more will this go on. It is only the man with money who is, in the first instance, able to establish manufactories. To show the enormous increase in the consumption of tobacco in Australia, the factories which in 1904 dealt with 7,790,157 lbs., dealt in 19 n with no less a quantity than 12,115,000 lbs. That shows that the actual amount of material handled by the factories is very much larger to-day than it ever was before; and that the decrease in the number of factories is not in any way attributable to a decrease in the consumption of tobacco. I believe the consumption is increasing rapidly all the time, and that the proportion of smokers in the population is greater than it ever was before. I wish to draw attention to one or two findings of the Commission bearing out what I have already said with regard to the manner in which the shares of these companies are held. In finding No. 6, the Commission say -
The prospect of this competition had the effect of driving the principal Australian firms into closer combination, eventually culminating in an arrangement which embraces not only the chief Australian tobacco, cigar, and cigarette manufacturers, but is also connected with the British- American Tobacco Co. of the United Kingdom and America. Each of such manufacturing businesses holds a proprietary interest in every other such business, and also in the distributing firm of Kronheimer Ltd. The Australian firms completed their combination in 1903, and the final arrangement was completed in February, 1904.
They also state -
We find that the combine is a partial but not a complete monopoly.
If they were sitting to-day, I think they would find that it was, to all intents and purposes, a complete monopoly in Australia
In plug tobaccoes (local and imported) expert witnesses gave the proportion of the combine’s business compared to the total business from 75 per cent, to 99 per cent.
I think it is pretty well 100 per cent, today in those particular lines. I do not think there is any plug tobacco sold in Australia to-day that does not pass through the hands of the Combine.
– Yes, there is.
– Then the quantity is very limited.
– I should like to know how you would break down the Trust.
– Just as the Government have already, at the instance of their predecessors, taken action against the Coal Vend, action could be taken against the Tobacco Combine, and we could then have a certain amount of healthy competition in the trade. I do not object to combination up to a certain point. It is necessary to have a certain amount of it ; but we can avoid having one Combine operating aP over Australia in an article that is used by a very large proportion of our population. If a Commission sat to inquire into this question, its proceedings could be concluded in a very short time. All I am desirous for the Commission to show is that, since the last Commission reported, the state of things spoken of has been getting worse. As a consequence, the Australian people are suffering. They are getting less weight of tobacco for their shilling.
– I suppose people can live without tobacco?
– They certainly can.
– Then let us tackle some of those combines which are robbing people in relation to some of the necessaries of life.
– I do not know whether the honorable member is a smoker, but a great many men would sooner go without their food than without their smoke. Many think that the best half-hour of the day is the time they spend after dinner with their pipe. This need not be a costly inquiry, to prove the facts right down to the hilt. It can prove that the Tobacco Trust is a monopoly, injurious to the Australian people, and that it is necessary for the Government to put into operation against it the law as we have it to-day. I believe that law will prove to be sufficient to break it up, and to re-establish a healthy state of trade in regard to tobacco in Australia.
– I object to wasting money upon an inquiry that can only prove resultless with our present powers. It is absolutely absurd to make this inquiry, in view of the opinion that has been given by practically every Attorney-General since the establishment of the Commonwealth, that we have absolutely no power, no matter what the finding of the Commission may be.
– It is a wonder you have any Commissions at all.
– There are some Commissions that are not for the purpose of dealing with a question such as that put forward by the honorable member for Richmond. When a Select Committee was appointed in the Senate to deal with this question, it forwarded to the AttorneyGeneral, as shown on page 380 of its report, the following questions: -
The Attorney-General, Mr., now Mr. Justice, Isaacs, gave the following reply: -
I find that, on18th July, 1903, Mr. AttorneyGeneral Deakin advised the Royal Commission on the Bonuses for Manufactures Bill, in connexion with the establishment of ironworks by the Commonwealth), that the Commonwealth has no power to establish and conduct manufactures, except as incidental to the execution of some power vested in the Commonwealth - e.g., defence or the construction of railways. The text of the opinion is printed on p. 184 of the Report of the Commission.
I also find that on 17th. March, 1904, Mr. Attorney-General Drake, having been asked by Senator Plavford to advise as to the power of the Commonwealth to establish the manufacture of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes, adopted Mr. Deakin’s opinion - adding that the only difference between the iron industry and the tobacco industry, so far as regards the principles there laid down, seemed to be that it was not easy to conceive how the manufacture of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes could be incidental to the execution of any of the express legislative powers of the Commonwealth.
With those opinions I entirely agree.
Your questions cover a wider ground, as they include the business of importation as well as of manufacture. I am of opinion that the power to make laws with respect to trade and commerce with other countries does not extend to enabling the Commonwealth to monopolize, or even to carry on, the “ business of importers “ - and that there is no other provision of the Constitution which confers such a power.
My categorical answer to your questions is as follows : -
The same opinion is held by the present Attorney-General. With what object, then, could the inquiry proposed by the honorable member for Richmond be made? He suggests that we shall do what was done in the case of the Coal Vend. Does he say that there is any more competition today in regard to the sale of coal than there was before the Vend decision of the High Court? Does he think that the members of the Vend have lost any sleep because of that decision?
– They have lost money.
– Any money they might have lost they made the consumers pay.
Their mistake of allowing minute-books to appear in Court will not be repeated by any other vend or combination. In future, all incriminating documents will be kept out of the way. The only effective means for putting an end to a monopoly is to take it over and run it for the people.
– Because Labour members desire the nationalization of industries, they will not recognise as having any weight proposals for the restraint of monopolies.
– I do not admit that; but would the honorable member vote for the appointment of a Royal Commission merely to inquire into the operations of the Tobacco Trust? It would be interesting to know how this motion is supported, and whether a real genuine inquiry is intended.
– Does the Minister think that the Trust has nothing to hide?
– Perhaps, like many other commercial institutions, it has a great deal to hide from the people. We have Seen recently that one monopoly was not desirous of putting its representatives into the witness box, and legislation has had to be passed to give Commissions greater powers for the obtaining of information regarding the operations of combines. The honorable member for Richmond says that there is much to be learnt since the operations of the Tobacco Trust were inquired into six years ago. That inquiry was made by a Select Committee which was converted into a Commission, and consisted of seven senators, four of them - Senators Pearce, Story, Findley, and Stewart - members of the Labour party, and the remaining three-ex-Senators Gray and Styles and Senator Keating - members of the Liberal party. The report was signed by the four Labour members, ex-Senator Styles having resigned from the Commission about the time the report was drawn up. A telegram was sent to Senator Keating on the 20th February, 1906, intimating that the report would be finally disposed of on the 23rd February, and on the 22nd his reply came that he could not be in Melbourne by the 23rd. Senator Gray furnished a minority report. When the inquiry was proposed in the Senate, every one of those who voted against it belonged to the party of which the honorable member for Richmond is a member, their names being ex-Senators Dobson, Mulcahy, and Playford, and Senator Millen, while exSenator Pulsford and Senators Gould and
Walker paired with them. Speaking against the proposal Senator Millen said -
I cannot conceive of anything more like shirking our responsibility, more degrading to the Senate, or more childish in itself,, than to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into some-‘ thing we have not the right to deal with by legislative enactment. . . . Does Senator Pearce expect the Senate to appoint a Select Committee to consider the advisability of doing something the unconstitutionality of which he is beginning to recognise? No matter how desirable it may be - if it were fifty thousand times more desirable than he contends it is - surely that is no justification for us to attempt to do that which the Constitution expressly forbids……….
I ask honorable senators to refrain from appointing a Select Committee to inquire into a matter concerning which we have . no earthly business. To do so would be to proclaim to the Commonwealth that we know absolutely nothing of the provisions of the Constitution - would invite ridicule, and justly so, from any student of constitutional history, and bring down on us the just condemnation of the press.
– Was not the object of the inquiry the bringing about of the nationalization of the industry?
– I shall read the morion proposed to the Senate. If the honorable member for Richmond suggested nationalization, he might get the support of some members on this side, though, unless the Constitution was amended, nothing would be gained. Royal Commissions cost more than Ministers to travel about the country. Senator Millen further said -
I can only vote against him, holding, as 1 do, that apart from its utterly unconstitutional character, it is a very pernicious proposal indeed. It is - and that is probably one of the reasons why it is made - the first direct Socialistic proposal that we have had here. . . . I shall vote against the motion, not only for the particular objections I have to this specific proposal, but because, in my opinion, it is the first attempt to, by the introduction of State enterprise, utterly abolish that which has so far built up this community to what it is, and that is private enterprise.
Ex-Senator Dobson said -
I believe the first two paragraphs of the motion are not in order, because they are unconstitutional, and with respect to the last, I am astonished that any honorable senator who desires to uphold the dignity of this Chamber should for a moment propose to submit it to a division. . . . The motion now before the Senate can only end in a fiasco. It can only end in the spending of the people’s money on an abortive inquiry.
That is equally true to-day.
– The honorable gentleman will not hear of any other cure than nationalization.
– It is the business of the Customs Department to prevent the importation of quack remedies, but we cannot interfere if the manufacture and sale of such remedies is in the Commonwealth. This is such a remedy.
– The Labour party’s quack remedy for everything is nationalization.
– These are the terms of the motion moved in the Senate -
That a Select Committee of the Senate be appointed to inquire into and report upon -
The existence or otherwise of a combine, trust, or monopoly in the industry of the manufacture.^ importation, and sale of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes within the Commonwealth,
If such combine, trust, or monopoly be found to exist, as to its effect on the industry, and on the Commonwealth.
As to the advisability or otherwise of the Government taking over the industry of such manufacture, importation, and sale, or any part thereof.
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.
That the Committee report to the Senate on 9th August, 1905.
According to those who opposed it, an inquiry as to whether nationalization was advisable or not was unconstitutional. The only senators who voted against that motion were members of the honorable member for Richmond’s own party.
– I was not then a member of- this House.
– Had he been here at that time the position might have been different..
– The only objection I have to the honorable member is that the name of his electorate happens to be the name of a city in the division which I represent, with the result that I am often credited with views to which he has given expression. I should be inclined to vote for the re-naming of the honorable member’s electorate. If it- is published in the press to-morrow that “ the honorable member for Richmond “ submitted this motion, it will be thought that it was moved by me, but I shall do my best to clear myself of such an imputation.
– Why? Would this proposal be unpopular in the honorable member’s electorate?
– A proposal such as this - to waste money on what would undoubtedly be an abortive inquiry - would be unpopular. My constituents would certainly object to a waste of public money.
– Is that what happened in connexion with the last Commission?
– Up to the time to which I have referred, only one AttorneyGeneral - the present leader of the Opposition - had declared that it would be unconstitutional for the Commonwealth to take over the manufacture of iron. Since then, however, every Attorney-General has expressed the opinion that we have no power to nationalize an industry.
– And the senator to whom the honorable member has referred knew that.
– If his attitude was correct at that time, surely the attitude we take up to-day is equally correct, in view of the fact that every Attorney-General: since then has declared that we have no power to nationalize an industry.
– We do not ask for nationalization.
– The honorable member asks for an inquiry which must prove abortive. Even if a Commission were appointed, and found that the Combine was making 1,000 per cent, profit, and treating its employes badly, we could not nationalize the tobacco industry. As a matter of fact, I believe that the tobacco companies are treating their employes better than any other firm or combination of which I know.
– They can afford to treat them well.
– But some who can afford to treat their employes well do not do so. There are people who are making even larger profits than the tobacco companies have been doing, but who do not treat their employes as well as they do. It would be interesting to see the balance-sheets of some firms who complain of the rates of wages that have been fixed in their industries. In to-day’s newspapers, for instance, we read that some of the firms engaged in the iron trade object to pay a minimum wage of 9s. per day to men who are practically skilled labourers.
-Order! Does the honorable member intend to connect these remarks with the motion before the Chair?
– I am expressing the wish that certain other people would treat their employes as well as the Tobacco Combine treats its employes. It has been said that we have power to deal with an Inter-State monopoly. As a matter of fact, the Tobacco Combine has large factories both in New South Wales and Victoria; and it could, if it desired, set up smaller factories in the other States. It might not be able in such circumstances to manufacture as economically as it can do to-day, but it could take that action if it considered it advisable to do so in order to keep outside the Federal power in regard to Inter-State matters. The honorable member for Rich-, mond said that if the Combine carried on its operations separately in each State, the State Parliaments could nationalize the industry. I do not know whether he is at all familiar with the personnel of the Legislative Council of Victoria, but he certainly cannot be if he thinks that that Chamber would agree to any nationalization proposal. I would ask him also, whether he thinks there would be any likelihood of the Legislative Council of Tasmania supporting a proposal to nationalize an industry, even if the general public were being sweated by having to pay high prices for its product.
– Would the honorable member nationalize this industry if he had the power?
– Give us the power and see.
– And every other industry.
– I do not say that I would vote for the nationalization of every industry.
– Every paying industry.
– When we get the power - and I hope the Opposition will help us - to deal with monopolies in the only effective manner possible, honorable members opposite will see what we are prepared to do.
– Will the honorable member pledge himself to vote for the nationalization of this industry- if the desired power is obtained ? We want to know what the Government are prepared to do.
– If the honorable member will vote for the referendum we-
– I shall vote for this motion.
– The honorable member would vote for a motion which proposes a waste of money on an abortive inquiry. The honorable member’s own leader declared when Attorney-General that the Commonwealth had no power to deal with the industry.
– When the honorable member’s party has power to deal with it, will they nationalize it?
– When we get that power I shall be prepared to observe every promise I have made.
– The honorable member would not vote for its nationalization until an inquiry had shown that the combine was an injurious one.
– There has been an in-, quiry in this case. The majority of the Commission reported that the combine was a partial, but not a complete, monopoly ; that in plug tobacco it had a monopoly of from 75 per cent, to 95 per cent, of the total business ; that in cigars the proportion of business controlled appeared to be from 45 per cent, to 50 per cent, or 60 per cent., and that it had a practical monopoly so far as machine-made cigarettes are concerned. But what did Senator Gray, the only member of the Liberal party on that Commission, who was prepared to make a report, have to say with regard to this particular point? He reported -
The combine has not by any means a monopoly of the tobacco, cigar, and cigarette trade. There was no evidence that could by any interpretation be held to show that any monopoly exists, and still less a monopoly “ menacing to peace, order, and good government.”
He also reported -
Some vague statements were made in support of a charge of deterioration in quality of . the tobacco put upon the market by the combine.
One large wholesale and retail tobacconist, hostile to the existence of the combination, stated (Qs. 4271, 4272) : -“ The public now get better values in the shops than ever they did before. The quality is more regular, and, if anvthing, improved than it was when there was an excessive competition among firms who were trying to get the better of each other. Under other conditions, I do not think it could be turned out better than it is now.”
There were three members of the Liberal party on that Commission, but Senator Gray was the only one who prepared a report. One member of his party resigned, and the other was absent. Senator Gray reported -
I find, as facts -
That there has been no reduction in wages by the combined manufacturers, but, on the contrary, an increase has taken place.
I believe that an even greater increase has since taken place.
– That is what is said in regard to the Coal Vend.
– I dealt with the Coal Vend while the honorable member was absent from the chamber. The honorable member for Richmond asked me to take such action in this case as had been taken in the case of the Coal Vend. But does any honorable member think that the Coal Vend is really non-existent? Every one knows that the Coal Vend is proceeding merrily on its way, and charging the people more than it did before.
– Why does not the honorable member prosecute them?
– The Coal Vend, as such, has already been dissolved by order of the Court.
– The Government could prosecute the Coal Vend from day to day.
– And get as little satisfaction as before.
– Is the Coal Vend acting in contempt of the Judge’s order?
– Oh, no; but like the Standard Oil Trust it goes merrily on its way, and manages to achieve its object by other means. “A sort of honorable understanding “ seems to be the popular term nowadays.
– The Coal Vend could be fined£500 a day if they were acting in contravention of the law.
– Does the honorable member think that that would cause the Coal Vend any anxiety? It could pay such a fine, and take it out of the pockets of the people.
– There are more serious penalties.
– If it was fined . £500 per day it would probably take£1,000 per day out of the pockets of the people. Let me return, however, to the findings reported by Senator Gray.
– An independent-minded man.
– The only member of the Liberal party on the Commission who was prepared to make a report -
That the estimate of profit to be derived from the nationalization of the industry has been made by witnesses without the requisite knowledge or information, and in addition has ignored obvious heavy deductions. I am also of opinion -
– Does the honorable member agree with that?
– I do not; nor do I agree with the opinion expressed by Senator Gray, that there was no monopoly or combine. We now have another member of the Liberal party coming forward, and1 saying, “ Let us splash up some money on another- inquiry.” Talk about the “Man on the Job ! “ The Tariff Commission cost £5,000 or more, and here we are invited to spend thousands of pounds on a further inquiry.
– All that is wanted could1 be done for about . £100.
– I think it is safe to say that nine out of every ten Select Committees that have been appointed have been converted into Royal Commissions.
– And some of them have done good work.
– Quite so. I believe that ‘the Royal Commission on the Tobacco Industry did good work. I have here figures which illustrate how the industry has progressed since that Royal Commission sat; and the following table showing the area under cultivation in Aus tralia, the leaf produced, and the imports cleared for home consumption from 1904 to 191 1, will be interesting -
The figures show that last year was the most productive in Australia so far as tobacco leaf is concerned ,
– Is the expansion chiefly in one State?
– Yes, in Queensland, I understand.
– It is really on the borders of Queensland and New South Wales.
– The following statement shows the quantity of manufactured tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes entered for home consumption, together , with the duty collected thereon, both import and Excise, from 1904 to 191 1 -
1 am rather sorry to see the great increase in the production of cigarettes, because I do not think they are very desirable. There is no doubt, however, that the tobacco industry is increasing in volume ; and, further, there is no doubt that there is a tobacco monopoly, so far as plug tobacco and machine-made cigarettes are concerned. There are some firms outside the Combine, but, at the same time, there is very nearly a monopoly.
– Not quite, but nearly ?
– There is practically a monopoly. I do not consider that any good purpose would be served by wasting the people’s money over an inquiry when it is recognised that there is a monopoly, and that the only effective way is for the people as a whole to carry on the indus try in their own interests. So far as I understand, the monopoly treats its employes perhaps better than do private employers, and I have nothing to say against it in that regard. Those, interested in the monopoly, like most other people, are in the business for their own advantage. If the honorable member had attached to his motion some words to the effect that the inquiry should be with a view to the Commonwealth dealing effectively with the industry, it might have been considered ; but, in its present form, I trust it will be defeated.
– Will the Government grant the Select Committee if the honorable member for Richmond accepts the suggested addition?
– No, I do not say that.
.- The Minister of Trade and Customs has raised two objections to the granting of the proposed inquiry. First, that the Commonwealth has not the power to deal with the alleged Tobacco Trust and nationalize the industry ; and, secondly, that the inquiry would be too expensive, and would prove abortive. I cannot help remarking that the Minister has shown extraordinary solicitude on behalf of this alleged Tobacco Trust. This we can hardly understand, considering that he is the representative of a party which has been indulging in denunciations and fulminations against trusts and combines in every shape and form through-
Out the length and breadth of Australia, ind also considering that the same Minister and party gave assistance in placing on the statute-book anti-trust and antimonopoly legislation. I have no hesitation in saying that that legislation is stronger and more effective than any legislation of the kind in any part of the world, and that, therefore, the Minister is not justified in the attitude he has taken up on either economic or alleged unconstitutional grounds. There are many honorable members who will not agree that nationalization is the only remedy, and I challenge the accuracy of the statement. The legislation we have passed has already been tested as to its constitutionality in the High Court, and it empowers us to deal with trusts, combines, and Other forms of commercial iniquity by prosecution and penalization. That is the common form of attack known to British law and civilization up to the present time.
– It has not been very effective in America.
– We have only begun in Australia, and our law is more effective than that in America. If it is desired to exterminate trusts, including the alleged Tobacco Trust, why not initiate a prosecution in the same way as in the case of the Coal Vend and the Shipping Ring, which resulted in the conviction of the defendants, and the vindication of the law ?
– There is an appeal in one case.
– Pending the appeal, we have to assume the constitutionality of the law. If there has been any defiance of the judgment of the High Court, there is a remedy in the shape of an application to the Court for an injunction to restrain the continuance of these, alleged combines and monopolies, or, if it is not desired to appeal again, another prosecution may be instituted. To show the effectiveness of the law and the necessity for enforcing it, I remind the Minister that offenders do not go scot free by merely paying a fine. The offence is a continuing one, and offenders may be prosecuted from day to day; they cannot plead that they have been convicted, and are not liable to another prosecution and conviction. We ought to be able, under our present law, to stamp out the evils of combination in restraint of trade by fines, confiscation, and sequestration, just as we stamp out by law the crime of thieving. The Minister might as well’ argue that we cannot stamp out thieving because people continue to thieve after a conviction. We can punish and restrain thieving, even if we cannot completely exterminate it.
– We cannot stamp out commercial thieving.
– We can, under the law ; and it has been proved that there are means of obtaining evidence and a conviction. Under our anti-trust legislation there is a right to go into the camp of the offenders and to examine accounts; they can be compelled to answer interrogatories, and so practically convict themselves out of their own mouths ; . and in the recent High Court case the Government succeeded in having imposed a heavy fine with costs. amounting altogether to £20,000. It seems absurd for the Minister to say that these people can snap their fingers at the Commonwealth and go on victimizing the public without any fear of the law. That kind of argument will not go down, either in this House or in the country.
– Let the honorable member try to persuade the people outside that there is not a combine to raise the price of meat !
– The Minister is, no doubt, interested in advocating nationalization as a remedy, but we on this side say that such a step is not necessary in order to stamp out combines. The Minister has told us to-day that he believes that there is such a thing as a Tobacco Trust.
– Hear, hear ; I do !
– If the Minister believes that that Trust is in restraint of trade, and is to the detriment of the public interest, it is his duty to enforce the law. If he says he is short of evidence to sustain a conviction, why does he not avail himself of the opportunities to obtain evidence by the appointment of either a Select Committee or a Royal Commission under the amending legislation now before this Parliament? Surely there is abundance of means and opportunity at the disposal of the Government to prove the existence of a trust, and to undertake a prosecution? It is merely a political excuse for the purpose of Bolstering up a claim for the amendment of the Constitution to suggest that nationalization is the only remedy. The fact’ that the Minister has this evening quoted the excuses and defences put forward on behalf of the Tobacco Trust in the Senate by Senator Gray indicated that he is endeavouring to apologize on behalf of the Trust, or to shield it, and show that no strong case has been made out against it, in order to shunt the proposed inquiry. His attitude to-day shows that he and the Government, and the party he represents, are not sincere in their loud-mouthed, violent denunciations of this and other trusts. Is it true that recently a member of the Labour party submitted to this- House a motion in favour of an inquiry into the operations of the Tobacco Trust, and then abandoned it?
– Did you hear his explanation of it?
– He gave some explanation.
– Is it not fair to accept his explanation?
– Then let us deal with the matter from the point of view of the present position. When the Government have the opportunity, with the Opposition quite prepared to support an inquiry, if. Ministers think there .is a case for inquiry, why not snap at the opportunity, and go in for a thorough exposure of the tactics and tricks of this or any other trust or combine that may be operating in Australia in restraint of trade, and detrimentally to the interests of the public? Now is the opportunity, and the fact that the Ministerial party are not ready, and willing, and anxious to go on with an inquiry such as the one indicated in the motion, shows that they are not sincere, and that this cry about trusts, combines, and monopolies is a mere piece of political clap-trap, indulged in. to mislead the people outside, and to sustain, if possible, a cry for an amendment of the Constitution for other and ulterior purposes. The Minister, having admitted that he believes there is a monopoly in plug tobacco and in machinemade cigarettes, ought to welcome an inquiry. If it is not to be an in quiry by a Select Committee, it ought to be by a Royal Commission, with all the increased powers given by the Bill now before another place! What is the justification for those enormously drastic and Draconian provisions of the Royal Commissions Bill that recently passed through this House? Is it not that we should be able to ferret out information and challenge and fight these trusts and combines ? Surely the operation of the Bill is not to be limited to any existing quarrel with a sugar company. Is it not to be utilized for investigating and attacking all the evils that come under the heading of trusts and combines? The attitude of the Ministry on this question shows that they are not sincere. They say that the Federal law on the statute-book is not effectual, although they have secured a conviction against the Coal Vend and Shipping Combine. So far as the Shipping Combine, for instance, is concerned, why do they not set the law in motion again? Why not begin another prosecution, and go on prosecuting those concerned until they are rooted out of their stronghold ? The law which imposes a fine of £500 for every offence in the nature of a combine or monopoly, in the case of a private individual, and a fine of £1,000 a day in the case of a corporation, ought to be drastic enough for the most strenuous anti-trust advocate in this country. Why not go on with those prosecutions until you come to a dead-end ? No dead-end has been reached in this matter. The law has been completely sustained in a practical case before the High Court. The Government ought, therefore, to go on, and not to make use of this cry about trusts, combines, and monopolies as a mere stalking-horse to hide their ulterior objects.
.- The Minister, in resisting the desire of the honorable member for Richmond for an inquiry, said, mainly, two things. In the first’ place, he said we already have the evidence, and, in the second, that it would be a waste of money, because we can do nothing when we have obtained the evidence proposed to be obtained by the inquiry. We have evidence which is a number of years old. I hold in my hand the report of the Royal Commission issued in 1906, with the evidence taken. That Commission was a “ packed “ Commission. The report was signed by four Labour members, strongly in favour’ of the nationalization of the tobacco industry. This evidence, according to the Minister, is all that- he wants, but let us examine it. The report says -
As to the effect of the combination on the operatives^ four representatives of those engaged in the making of plug and twist tobaccoes who gave evidence were in agreement that conditions generally were worse now than before the combination. These complaints refer to inadequate and reduced wages, the substitution of female labour for male labour at lower rates of pay than male labour, humidity of atmosphere of factories, and power of combine to dictate terms and conditions owing to the absence of competitors.
That is the evidence on which the Minister is relying to resist the demand for a further inquiry, and yet, in his own speech, he said the Tobacco Combine treats its employes remarkably well ! How does he know that if this report is what he is relying upon? The report says, further -
We find generally that wages have been in some instances reduced; that the number of females employed has increased ; that in some cases they receive less than men on similar work j that the atmosphere in two of the principal tobacco factories is kept at a high state of humidity (see Qs. . . . and a return handed in in reply to Q. 5034, showing an unusually high percentage of sickness among the employes of one of the factories) ; and that the lessening of the number of competing employers has placed the employes more completely under the control of the dominant employer.
That is the trust that we are” now told is treating its employes remarkably well ! That is the evidence on which the Minister is relying to resist further inquiry ! Surely there is an extraordinary want of consistency between the two positions in which the Minister finds himself at one and the same time.
I do not suggest that the Tobacco Trust is not treating its employes well. From what I hear from honorable members who understand about these things, its employe’s are remarkably well treated. But all trusts can afford to treat their employes remarkably well. What I am chiefly concerned with in this connexion is how the general interests of the consumer and the public ‘are affected by trusts. This report states as a fact something which the Minister has told us to-day is untrue.
– What is that ?
– That the trust treats its employes abominably.
– I do not think the honorable member is correct in saying that.
– I shall have to quote it again to the honorable member. There was this report from this “ packed “ Labour inquiry that wanted nationalization-
– Order ! This is the second time that the honorable member has used the term “ packed “ with reference to the Royal Commission in question. No Commission created at the instance of Par:liament must be referred to in language of that description.
– If I do not wish to transgress your ruling, sir, I shall have to select my language with considerable care. What I intended to convey by the use of the word “packed,” was that the Commission was composed of Labour members. The report is signed by G. F. Pearce, E. Findley, J. C. Stewart, and W. H. Story. There was, it is true, one Liberal upon the Commission.
– I think two of them resigned.
– One resigned, and one did not attend.
– He resigned for the very reason which I am not permitted under your ruling, sir, to mention.
– Order ! The honorable member knows that he is now taking a wrong course.
– The Commission wanted nationalization, and had the temerity to make a statement which we learn to-day from the Minister, is false. I believe the Trust would have the good sense, and possibly good conscience, to treat its employes remarkably well. It can afford to do so, and it’ is obviously in its interests to do so. I regard that statement in the report, coupled with the Minister’s contradiction of it, as the strongest possible reason for disbelieving the accuracy of the report, which is the only report we have at present in connexion with the industry. The Royal Commission does not seem to have considered the question from any other point of view than that of nationalization, the humbug of which has been very effectively dealt with by the honorable member for Bendigo. For instance, it says -
Your Commissioners are of opinion that it would be utterly useless to attempt to regulate this combine by any alteration of the Tariff.
In the same report the Commission says that the Trust gave as an excuse for raising its prices the new Tariff which had come into operation. If raising the duties raises the prices of tobacco, surely by lowering the duties, and throwing the market more open to competition, you should lower the prices.
-Not with a monopoly.
– The Commission admitted that there is only ia partial monopoly in the tobacco business.
– Read what ex-Senator Gray said.
– I am quoting the opinion of Senator Pearce, the honorable member’s own colleague. Paragraph 7 of the report says that there is not a complete monopoly, and we are told later in the report that the reason given ‘for raising the price of tobacco was the increase in the duties. Yet we are told by those who favour nationalization that the reduction of the duties would not affect prices ! We could, at least, try to reduce the cost of tobacco by reducing the duties, because certainly the tobacco manufacturing industry is not a struggling or languishing one ; it is not necessary to tax the smokers to keep it on its tottering feet.
– What guarantee is there that the prices of tobacco would be reduced if duties were reduced?
– 1 am not in the confidence of the tobacco trade ; perhaps my honorable friend may know. Members opposite appear averse to attempting to mitigate an evil.
It is idle to say that the proposed inquiry would result in a waste of money. If to inquire into the tobacco industry is to waste money, why is it such a noble project to inquire into the sugar industry, and the pearl-shelling industry ? It is only when an investigation is proposed by a member of the Opposition into tobacco that it becomes unconstitutional and useless. I have shown from a cursory examination of the Commission’s report that the evidence we now have is valueless; the Minister himself has said as much.
We hear a great deal from honorable members opposite about the public taking control of manufacture and production; but, as a matter of strict fact, when there is nationalization, not the public, but the politicians, take control, and what the politician always wants, no matter what his party, is money for projects that will secure or increase his personal popularity. The more money a politician has at his disposal, the more projects he can finance, and the more popularity he and his party can obtain. The nationalization of industries is availed of to increase taxation without the consent of the people. That has happened wherever there is a national tobacco monopoly. In France the manufacture and distribution of tobacco were monopolized by the Government to obtain revenue, and, at first, the tobacco sold was of good quality; but as it was impossible for the Frenchman to compare the tobacco manufactured by the Government with any other, the politicians were able, by reducing its quality, to increase the revenue obtained from the monopoly. At the same time, such prohibitive rates were imposed against importation that the French people were unable to compare their tobacco with tobacco manufactured elsewhere.
– They have the worst tobacco in the world.
– The honorable member has no proof of that.
– I am a smoker, and have lived in France; and I say frankly that I would rather give up smoking than use French tobacco.
– It is merely a question of taste.
– In every other country where there is not a Government monopoly, I can obtain the tobacco I desire, but I cannot get it in France, or in other countries where there is a regie. If an opportunity were given to contrast a Government tobacco with other tobaccoes, the regie would go by the board, and an insidious means of taxation would come to an end.
– Has it failed in Japan?
– My honorable friends are ready to follow Japan, now ! They are ready to imitate the example of any country that uses these Tory means of extracting revenue from the people without the people knowing that they are being taxed. France commenced with tobacco equal to the world’s standard quality, but succeeding Ministries, desiring more revenue, and finding it impossible to raise prices without the public knowing what they were doing, maintained prices and depreciated the quality; so that now, in that Republic, and wherever there is a Government monopoly, you get the worst tobacco in the world.
– This reduction of quality is like the debasing of coin.
– The quality of a commodity used generally by the public is de based for the benefit of the politician. What a farce it is to pretend that the public of Australia could control the manufacture of tobacco. My honorable friends opposite would appoint their own friends.
– As we appointed them to the Commonwealth Bank.
- Mr. Chinn was not appointed to a position in the Commonwealth Bank.
– Mr. Chinn was appointed on the recommendation of persons belonging to the honorable member’s party.
– That is grossly incorrect, as I could show were I permitted. The first danger in connexion with nationalization is that it removes all standards of comparison. Every one would admit that it would be cheaper to have the meat supply of a town distributed by one butcher than by sixty or one hundred; but would the public have the satisfaction of knowing that the quality of the meat was as good as they got by means of the competition among butchers? If there were only one baker, even a Government baker, would the public know that its bread was as good as it gets now through competition? When finally the community reaches the ultimate miserable stage of serfdom and slavery, in which everything will be nationalized, the consumer will not be able even to express his dissatisfaction with any commodity ; he will not be able to write to the newspapers, because, they being nationalized, will publish only such views as suit the Government of the day. Even the itinerant stranger will not be able to make his opinion of the country known.
One of the subjects into which inquiry should be made is whether the quality of the tobacco sold on this market is deteriorating. I am not a cigarette smoker; but I ‘have been informed that the cigarettes manufactured by the Messrs. Wills, a partner in the Tobacco Trust, and marked “ Sydney,” are not equal to those marked “Bristol,” although put up in a similar tin. We might well ascertain whether, under the partial monopoly which exists, quality is suffering. The fact that the employes in the industry are being treated well is not a complete answer to the request for an investigation. There is a wider question.
– Whether the public is being treated well?
– Exactly. I do not think that jt would be unconstitutional, or a waste of public money, to inquire whether the public is being properly treated by one of the strongest industries that is supported by our Tariff. The members of the Labour party try to humbug the public by savage attacks on one or two successful industries, but make no attempt to deal comprehen sively with trusts and combines. A trust may be beneficent. The bond fide consolidation of management leads to economy of production and distribution which may enable articles to be reduced in price.
– The Attorney-General has pointed that out.
– Yes. On the other hand, there may be combinations of independent companies to keep up prices, and these are contrary to the public interest. It seems to me that the question of combines is one that ought to be watched far more closely in reality than the question of trusts. In the case of trusts there is no pretence that any competition exists; in the matter of combines there is such a pretence. Walk down town to-day, and you will see a hundred different signs on a hundred different fire insurance offices, each claiming that that particular lire insurance company gives the lowest rates, although, as a matter of fact, all charge the same rates.
– They are combines.
– They have an arrangement; but each pretends to be in competition with the other. There are many such combines ; and these . are tilings that might very well be the subject of inquiry, since there is a pretence of competition when competition does not exist. That, tomy mind, approaches commercial dishonesty.
– Competition exists amongst the fire insurance companies in everything save the rates. All have a fixed rate.
– Competition exists to the extent that every company employs as many agents as it can afford to employ, but the cost of those agents is added to the cost of the policies.
– But they have agreed as to the tariff.
– Yes ; and I think the tariff of fire insurance companies in Australia is from 80 to 100 per cent, higher than is the rate for similar risks in England. I ask leave at this stage to continue my remarks at a future date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 6.28 to 7.45p.m.
Mr. KING O’MALLEY laid upon the table the following paper : -
Public Service Act - Department ofHome Affairs - Promotion of F. A. Piggin as Clerk, third class, Central Staff.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read -a second time.
It falls again to the lot of the present Ministry to ask the approval of this House to a further amendment of the Defence Act 1903-11, and on this occasion we are asking once more that one or two of its more rigid features may be amended with a view to greater elasticity, and, we hope, greater effectiveness. Necessarily in the administration of an Act of such magnitude, the operations of which extend over the whole Commonwealth, and closely touch practically every human being in it, there would be found some features of a more or less harsh character, as well as some omissions, and it would be discovered that some amendments are necessary to provide for its smooth working. In all probability it will be found every year that some slight amendment is necessary. In this instance we are asking that the principal Act should be amended so that we may embrace within it what is known as the veterinary corps - a corps practically unknown when the original Act was passed. Then, again, the question of aviation has to be considered, and provision made for its inclusion in the Forces. We find also that the Act, so far as its jurisdiction is concerned, does not cover in some minor respects the territories owned by the Commonwealth - such, for instance, as Papua. A slight amendment is therefore proposed, so that it may be applied if necessary to that Territory.
– Are the Government going to bring the people of Papua under the compulsory training provisions of the Act?
– Those provisions will not operate at present in such territories. There are one or two minor features of this Bill which, I believe, will meet with the approval of honorable members. Leaving them for the moment I may mention that it is proposed to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquors to cadets in uniform. That, I believe, will meet with the approval of honorable members, no matter what may be their views respecting the liquor traffic. I think all will agree that it is essential that our youths should be protected, at any rate, while they are wearing the uniform of the Commonwealth, and that any indiscretions on their part shall not be painfully apparent whilethey are in that uniform. The Act requires registration of our boys for Senior Cadet purposes in January of’ each year in which they reach the age of fourteen. That is found to be almost impracticable, inasmuch as during that month a very heavy percentage of our boys are enjoying their holidays, or, at all events, are away from school, and we have to rely on the information circulated in the schools to aid us in securing the full registration of all the lads in the Commonwealth. It is, therefore, proposed, under this Bill, that the month of February shall be added, so that, during those two months, boys may register to fulfil the obligations they are called upon to carry out under the Act. Some of our lads are somewhat recalcitrant, and that, perhaps, is only to be expected, having regard to the high spirits of the boys of Australia. I, for one, would not seek to break down their high spirits by harshness of an unnecessary character; but some of them will need at’ times, perhaps, to be reprimanded. It is felt that when this high spiritedness too commonly displays itself in the case of lads under the age of sixteen years they should not be taken unnecessarily to the ordinary Police Courts. We, therefore, provide under this Bill that any youth under sixteen years of age, whose conduct is such as to necessitate action being taken against him shall be brought before what is known as a Children’s Court in every State in which such institutions have been set up and there dealt with, 1 hope, to his benefit, and to the general welfare of the community. We propose, in addition, to ask that the hours during which our Junior Cadets are required to engage in physical exercises, and . to learn the elementary rudiments of drill, shall be reduced from 120 hours to 90 hours per annum. At the present time Junior Cadets of from twelve to fourteen years of age have to engage in light exercises at their different schools, or elsewhere, to the extent of 120 hours per annum, but after consultation with a conference of educational expertsit is confidently believed that 90 hours per annum will be sufficient. Honorable members will, therefore, be asked to agree to an amendment of the principal Act in that respect. There is another feature of this Bill to which I desire to call attention. It is found that since, on reaching the age of eighteen years, all our Senior Cadets pass, from the cadet corps to the Citizen Forces, the cadet corps are automatically depleted of their officers. Many youths, laudably, I hope, aspire to become officers, and are promoted as officers to the cadet corps, and take a deep interest in their work. They become efficient and useful officers, and help materially in imparting to the cadets the education so essential to them. Yet on reaching the age of eighteen years they are required, as the Act now stands, to pass into the Citizen Forces so that their value as officers is consequently lost to the cadet corps. We ask the House to agree to a provision that will permit those who become officers of cadet corps to remain in those corps, notwithstanding that they had reached the age of eighteen years, and which declares that the time they spend as officers in the cadet corps, after they have reached the age of eighteen years, shall count, if they so desire, in lieu of the time they would have to spend in the Citizen Forces.
– Is there any danger of that provision leading, so to speak, to overcrowding ?
– Promotion .to the position of officer is by competitive examination.
– But will this stimulate a greater number than is absolutely necessary?
– It is possible that there may be more aspirants for positions as officers than are required ; but promotion is the result of competitive examination, and if the applicants are too numerous it seems to be fair in such circumstances to take those most proficient, so that the standard will necessarily be higher. The Minister informs me that he does not anticipate any trouble in regard to there being too many officers retained in the cadet corps, or as to their being retained beyond the period at which their usefulness would be acceptable to the Forces. As the Act now stands we find it practically impossible to properly officer the cadet corps, because, just as cadets become reasonably useful, they reach the age of eighteen years and pass on to the Citizen Forces. There are two other features of an important ‘character to which I ask special attention. The first concerns boys who have not completed the necessary number of drills, and the punishment to be inflicted when the cases are called before the Courts. As the Act now stands, j£$ is the minimum penalty on all offending cadets; and I am sorry, indeed, that this provision was not more carefully looked over when the Bill was before us, because, as it stands, the magistrates have no option.
– What prevented it being carefully looked over?
– Practically both branches of the Legislature are to blame for not having foreseen what practice has proved to be too severe a provision.
– Is this not the Bill that . was “gagged” through all its stages?
– I am not prepared just now to touch that feature of the case. I am sorry that it has become necessary to. seek the assistance of the Courts to deal with some of the lads who have taken strong objection to the duty they are called upon to perform, and I regret much more that fines have to be imposed. But the Government, with, I think, the approval of every honorable member, have done their best to mitigate the punishment, in that they have requested that the whole of these fines shall be remitted where the boys promise to make up the necessary arrears in the drills. In addition, the Minister of Defence issued, some time ago, express instructions to Area Officers, and all responsible officers, that wherever a lad has performed fifty-four hours of the sixtyfour required, no prosecution shall take place, provided the lad gives a personal undertaking to make up the arrears. Further, if the lad be more than ten hours short a prosecution may take place, but the magistrates are to be specifically requested to obtain from the lad a personal undertaking to comply with his obligations, in .which case, notwithstanding that he may be twenty hours short, no fine is imposed. If honorable members agree to these and one or two other amendments, it is proposed that the minimum fine shall be 2s., with a suggestion to the magistrates that it shall be inflicted on a pro rata scale, according to the number of hours that are short.’
– Will a fine excuse a lad from any further drills?
– No; he is not excused on paying the fine. It will be realized that there are persons in the community who would be- willing to pay a certain amount to escape this duty, and that would be introducing a somewhat invidious distinction scarcely likely to meet with the approval of the public.
– Why fine a lad if he has to make up the number of drills?
– The fine is inflicted for non-compliance with an obligation, but it does not follow that, because a lad has deliberately failed in that obligation, he may be permitted, on payment of 2 shillings, 2 sovereigns, or even 200 sovereigns, to escape what the country and Parliament believe to be a national duty.
– Why impose a fine in addition to making him make up arrears?
– I am sure we are all anxious that the lads shall fulfil their obligation; but if, in some cases, we find recalcitrant lads defying the law, some little attention is necessary in their own welfare.
– Will a fine of 2s. have the desired result?
– Not necessarily, but it is proposed that the fine shall be on a pro rata scale rather than that the lad, who is merely deficient one or two hours, shall be fined in the same amount as the lad who deliberately absents himself for twenty or thirty hours.
– Is the lad to be fined for each hour short?
– Yes, and then only if he is more than ten hours short in the whole year. Then, the Act as it stands prevents the Minister from taking any action until the end of each financial year; and it is possible, in the circumstances, for lads to absent themselves for a whole year before any steps can be taken. If. the amendments are accepted, it will be possible for the Minister to take action at an early stage to - shall I say? - nip the wrong in its bud, as a reminder that the law cannot be defied in a wholesale manner.
– The amendment is to reduce the maximum fine from. £5 to 2s. an hour?
– The amendment provides that the fine shall not exceed £5 in any circumstances. May I here point out that the Minister has prevented the employment of legal men in these practically minor matters. The Area Officer, or some other prescribed officer, will do all that is necessary ; and they will be instructed to ask for a fine on the scale I have men:tioned, in the confident belief that the magistrates will cheerfully comply.
– Will this not limit the discretion of the magistrates?
– Of course, the magistrate need not necessarily take any notice of the request of the prosecuting officer; but perhaps it will have a desirable effect on the Bench. While there may be exceptions, I feel that practically the whole of the magistrates will do their best to assist us in putting the Act into effective operation with a minimum of inconvenience to all persons concerned.
– Where is the provision that the fine shall be 2s. ?
– That is not a provision in the Act, but an instruction to officers to ask for such a penalty.
– Will there be only an instruction sent out, or will there, be a regulation made?
– An instruction from the Minister is, for all practical purposes, a regulation. The instruction has been issued in the Military Orders throughout the Commonwealth, and must be obeyed, or an erring officer will be brought to book. Then there is the question of imprisonment ; and it is proposed that this punishment shall be eliminated from the Act so far as our cadets are concerned in connexion with absence from drill. The punishment will be to commit them to the care of what is termed a “ prescribed officer,” which is, in fact, to commit them to the care of the Area Officer, or the non-commissioned officer of the area, who will do his best, in the circumstances, to put the lad through the necessary number of drills. We do not desire that our lads, because they happen to be deficient in drills, shall be made criminals in any sense of the word, or that they should see the inside of the gaol. But Parliament and the country have asked them to perform a certain obligation, which, in the large majority of cases, is cheerfully met. I am aware that, in certain directions, the Act has not met with general favour; and I regret the fact very much.
– In’ certain directions only.
– There are a few people who seem to be under the impression that we are endeavouring to manufacture soldiers, and that bloodthirsty opinions are held by members of Parliament. So far as I know, those opinions do not exist, except, perhaps, in the imagination of a very few of our citizens. Our country is worth defending. We hear that some persons have said that we have nothing to defend ; and I regret very much if there are persons who hold that view. I can understand that some may feel that, in the ordinary sense of the word, they have no property to defend ; but we have institutions that many other countries of the world would gladly emulate. Australia and its possibilities are worth defending, even for the casual labourer.
– And our liberties.
– Yes, there are our liberties.
– Why are we here?
– Because, I suppose, we prefer this country to any other; and I am sure the honorable member agrees with me that Australia is the ‘best of countries. It is not perfect, but we hope to continue endeavouring to reach the happy goal of perfection. Our hearths and homes, our free institutions, our race, and, above and beyond all, the glorious womanhood of Australia, are worth defending. And so I say to those lads that there is a slight obligation they are called upon to perform; and I sincerely hope they will perform it cheerfully. It may be said that if necessity arose to-morrow, or in twelve months, or in twelve years’ time, practically 99 per cent, of the manhood of Australia would cheerfully offer . themselves in the defence of the country, irrespective of political or social opinions. To those who are taking slight objection to the Act, I say that it were better, should necessity arise, to have an organized defence rather than an enthusiastic rabble, even for the protection of their own lives. But there is another excellent feature of our defence system. I am confident that the physique of our youths will be materially improved, to the national welfare, by the slight drills that are imposed. I submit the Bill for the consideration of honorable members; and, in view of its urgency, I ask them to permit it to pass through all its stages this evening.
.- I think I voice the unanimous views of the Opposition when I say that we welcome this; or any other, Bill calculated to improve and smooth the operation of the principal Act. -All parties in this House, I believe, regard the Act from a sympathetic stand-point, and desire to assist in making it as workable and as acceptable to the people of the country as possible. There can be no doubt that it introduced a very novel and radical change in the principle of defence, as compared with previous State and Federal laws; and, under the circumstances, it is not a matter of surprise that some slight discontent and restiveness has been manifested among certain people, to whom the change may have come with something like a shock. But I think that, as public men, we are bound to recognise the impossibility of introducing such a revolutionary reform without encountering some kind of difficulty and preliminary objection. It introduces what is, to some extent, ai burden which many of those affected regard as serious; but I believe that time and experience will reconcile the public conscience to the change, and that, ultimately, this fundamental military law of the countrywill be regarded as one of the bulwarks of our civilization, which has been built upwith such labour and self sacrifice in the past. When this Act came into operation, no doubt some people were surprised andi dismayed at the manner in which it was administered in some of the Courts of Australia. I myself was somewhat astounded at the decision of one Court, I think, at Broken Hill, where a man wasfined £100 for refusing to allow his son to participate in the military drill. However serious the conditions may have been, as this was the first prosecution at the time,, one would have thought that the magistrate, if he had any discretion, would have taken the fact into consideration, and not imposed the full penalty of the law. It turned out subsequently, I believe, that the magistrate thought he had no discretion ii* the determination of the fine, and on an appeal to the Full Court of New South. Wales, it was found that he had a discretion which the Court exercised on his behalf. I am sure the strongest advocate of compulsory naval and military training would not desire to see this most important reform introduced with anything like drastic punishment, that might cause a revulsion of feeling against a system which we desire to see perfected and made acceptable to the whole people. Consequently, I, and, 1 believe, most honorable members, will be disposed to welcome any Act of interpretation or mitigating Act, or any Act which, tends to give greater elasticity in the penal clauses, and also in the clauses relating to compulsory service. At the same time, I should like to utter a note of warning. Whilst we desire to reduce and remove complaints, and not to make the service soburdensome or onerous as to incite feelings, of resistance, it would be a very grave blunder to go on reducing the term of service by one amendment after another until we have frittered away the compulsoryprinciple of the Act, and the efficiency of the service itself. One of the first amendments grafted on to the principal Act was Act No. 37 of 1910, section 15, which first made provision for a substituted service as an alternative to the service denned in paragraphs a, b, and c, of section 127 of the principal Act. By paragraph a, it was provided that for Junior Cadets the service should total 120 hours; and by paragraph b, that Senior Cadets should put in 4 whole-day drills, 12 half-day drills, and 24 night drills. The first cut into that definition of service was made by the Act of 1 910, introduced, I believe, by this Government, which substituted a limited term of not less than seventy-two hours for the half-day and night drills. One of its provisions was -
Provided also that in the Senior Cadets the number and duration of half-day and night drills may be varied by the substitution of other drills as prescribed of a total duration of not less than 72 hours.
That was, so to speak, the first mitigation. Then we find, by the Act of last year, that the seventy-two hours substituted service was reduced to sixty-four hours ; and now, in the amending Bill before the House, the sixty-four hours term is reduced to forty-eight hours.
– No. That refers only to particular drills; it does not include the day drills.
– There are only four whole-day drills; so that the main drilling takes place in the half-day and night drills. The Bill cuts the sixty-four hours down to forty-eight hours.
– That is not the intention. The words “ sixty-four “ were put in last vear through an error in arithmetic.
– There is no evidence, on the face of the Bill, that it was an error in arithmetic.
– There was one reduction last year from seventy-two hours to sixtyfour hours. If this Bill is passed, it will still be sixty-four hours ; but forty-eight of those have to be put in in half-day or evening drills.
– I am not going to oppose any provision in the Bill. I merely wish to call attention to what appears to be a. downward grade of service, and utter a word of warning .in which, I am sure, all true friends of the important principle of the Act will join. Whilst we desire to meet public clamour, and prevent it acquiring unnecessary force or volume, and check the growth of public alarm, we must be loyal to the fundamental principle of the Act. That principle is a certain amount of compulsory service, which, although limited, must be effective and effi cient. It would be a fatal blunder if we frittered away the period to a mere form or shadow. I understand that the Bill is intended to allay any discontent for the time being, and also to reduce the penalty, which in the original Act was undoubtedly too severe. It seems a pity that it was allowed to pass in that rigid form, and certainly it was a great pity that the magistrates had not greater latitude and more discretion in administering an Act of this kind, which brought before them a large number of the youth of Australia with whose liberty to enjoy themselves as they thought fit in their years of youth, the compulsory training principle no doubt interfered. Nevertheless, I hope the Ministry will maintain a fairly firm and reasonable attitude on this subject, and here I should like a pay a tribute to the manly courage of the present Minister of Defence in the reply which he gave yesterday to a deputation that waited upon him in Melbourne to make serious complaints about the burdens imposed upon the youth of Australia by the compulsory provisions. One of the speakers said that he “ did not see what the lads had to defend beyond the property and machinery of the employers, who used it for their own advantage.”” I should like to quote with approbation a passage from the reply of the Minister of Defence. He is reported to have said that-
He would like in all friendliness to say that the statement that the boys had nothing to defend was made without due consideration. They all agreed with the white Australia policy, and it was necessary to have a strong defence system to uphold it. So far the British Navy had supplied this necessity. He would characterize the statement as rather rash, for the social and political position of Australia, imperfect as it was, was yet far in advance of other countries.
The Minister deserves credit for the firm attitude he took up. I am sure he knows that he has the support and sympathy of all sides of the House in endeavouring to maintain the integrity of the Act, while reducing its rigidity, making it a little more elastic, and providing for special cases of hardship. I should like the magistrates to be intrusted with even a little more discretion than may be found within the four corners of the Act. The magistrates say that they have to deal with an Act as they find it, and not read into it Ministerial instructions or Ministerial views. They might regard it as an intrusion upon the exercise of their judicial functions for any prosecuting officer to indicate a sort of scale of punishment which, in the opinion of the Minister, ought to be inflicted. The more discretion is allowed to magistrates in dealing with boys for these offences, the better it will be in their interests, in the interests of the service, and for the efficiency of the Act. I am sure that the magistrates of Australia who are intrusted with this Federal jurisdiction are of such great experience and sound judgment, and so kindly disposed and sympathetic to the rising youth, that they would not inflict any severe fine except in special cases. I think they ought to be encouraged to inquire into the merits of every case brought before them, to see whether there are any special excuses for boys not putting in their term of service. For instance, I was interviewed by a constituent a day or two ago with reference to his son, who, he said, was engaged in the daytime carting quartz, and complained that at the end of his day’s work he felt too tired and worn out to put in his period of compulsory training. Of course, if an excuse of that kind were allowed in every case, it would soon undermine, and even demolish the Act, but special cases might arise where through ill-health, combined with work, young men might be unable to comply with the rigid requirements of the law. In such cases, I think the magistrates would be justified not only in exercising their common sense, but in giving play to their feelings of humanity. Such offenders might be given an opportunity to comply with the law before being punished in any way. By the exercise of judgment and kindliness the magistrates may largely assist the administration of the Act, and prevent its becoming unpopular. Boys who do not attend drill should be regarded as guilty, not of a semicriminal offence, but of military insubordination. These amending provisions, and the protection of the cadets from being offered intoxicating liquors when in uniform, will be very salutary.
– Does the honorable member believe in Saturday afternoon drills?
– That is a detail on which I shall not enter. We are concerned now only with the number of hours for which the boys shall be drilled ; the times at which drill shall take place is not under consideration.
.- I view the measure with feelings of mingled regret and pleasure ; regret that there is need for a defence law, and pleasure that an attempt is being made to rise to the situation. I view with a cautious eye the steps taken to establish a defence system, and look askance and with fear and trembling at the enormous expense which is imposed on the country. Indeed, I sometimes fear that we may have run mad on the subject. I hope that we shall not be led too far by our fear of invasion, or of attacks on the Empire. Of course, we must stand shoulder to shoulder for the Empire’s defence. We cannot concede a jot or tittle of what we have won, but I sincerely deplore the imposition of so large an expenditure for defence upon this young Australian people. Having gone carefully through the. Bill, I agree with its provisions in the main, though I am in distinct opposition to the proposals of the Administration in regard to the imposition of pains and penalties on trainees. Something like 40,000 boys have failed to perform their military duties. The Bill is an acknowledgment that our methods have been faulty, and penalties which should have fallen on the boys havefallen on the parents. Often when a boy is sent to drill he fails to go, and later his father is served . with a summons. When the boy is fined by the magistrate, he has not the money to pay, and the father pays. When I mentioned these facts as having occurred in my own constituency, I was greeted with jeers from the other side.
– I do not think so; there is as much humanity on this side as on that.’
– I know that I was greeted with jeers, and I am glad that honorable members opposite now recognise the need for an alteration of the law. From my stand-point the amendment is not what is needed. It is proposed to bring boys who fail to attend the necessary drills before the Courts, to fine them, and, in addition, to make them do the drills which they have missed. If you can compel the boys to make up the drills that they have missed, you should not also fine them. You should not impose a fine, and, at the same time, require the boy to make up the necessary number of drills.
– Whenever a boy will give his personal undertaking to complete his drills, no fine will be imposed.
– But suppose the boy fails to do so?
– Then he must be dealt with.
– Why fine a boy if you can compel him to make up his drills? The fine generally has to be paid by the father. It is a quid pro quo for the failure to attend drill, and if the boy is required to make up the number of drills, there is no occasion for it. I hope that honorable members will support this view. Our object is not to impose pains and penalties, but to make our lads do their service to their country. When the boys see that Parliament is determined that the laws shall be administered strictly, they will rise to the situation, and the experience of the last few months will not be repeated.
– I repudiate the statement of the honorable member for Dalley, that the announcement which he made was received with jeers by this side of the House.
– How does the honorable member know how the statement was received ?
– I know the feelings of the members of the Opposition. The honorable member for Bendigo said just now most truly that he voiced the opinions of the Opposition without exception. Those opinions do not tally with the remarks of the honorable member for Dalley. To taunt honorable members on this side with lack of humanity, fair play, and decency is too frequent an offence of honorable members opposite, and it is time that we protested against its constant repetition. The Opposition have no desire to inflict harsh penalties on cadets. We know that the fines are paid, not by the boys, but by their parents.
– Only eight persons in the Commonwealth have paid fines.
– That is beside the question. The boys are not able to pay their own fines, which are paid by their fathers or mothers. I myself have pointed out that often parents are not aware that their boys are missing dr. Ils. Boys may play the truant in connexion with drills without the knowledge of their parents, whose first information of the offence is the receipt of a summons.
– In future each boy will have a card, on which his attendances will be noted, and which the parent can see each week.
– That arrangement should commend itself to the good sense of honorable members generally. The honorable member is one of the most kindly-disposed persons in the House, but statements such as his, when circulated in cold print, create a false impression among our constituents. Those who do not intend their remarks to be taken seriously should not, even jocularly, reflect on their fellow members. We, on this side, have as much humanity as honorable members opposite. The desire to make the defence system as perfect as possible is general, and is not affected by the- differences of opinion on political questions which divide political parties. Knowing the feelings of most members ot the Opposition, I say that they will hail with satisfaction any measure which, while securing the training necessary to make our boys conversant with military duties, will prevent harshness in the administration of the defence system. The object of this Bill is really to meet a difficulty that has arisen, and, so far as it meets that difficulty, I think that the Minister may count upon the support of all sides of the House. I agree, however, with the honorable member for Dalley that we might very well dispense with the imposition of monetary penalties. I think they are quite unnecessary, for the reason that they fall, not upon the boys, but upon the parents, who, in many cases, find it difficult to make ends meet.
– I congratulate the Government on the introduction of this measure. I certainly think that it has not been introduced a moment too soon; but I do not blame them for having failed to bring it in before, since, in this Parliament, as in all others, there are some measures of special urgency to which preference must be given. The duty of the Minister administering the principal Act has been a most difficult one, inasmuch as it has brought about almost a revolution in the feelings of the people, so far as compulsory military service is concerned. I believe that the majority of the people are in favour of the system, since the training for which it provides has a tendency to improve the physique of our lads, and also because they recognise that it is absolutely necessary to provide for the defence of Australia. The Government are somewhat to blame, however, for their failure to realize the serious inroads that were made upon the habits and customs of the people by the introduction of this system, and I am afraid that the officers charged with the administration of the Act have not displayed, in connexion with it, the necessary tact. Their failure in that regard has led to a certain degree of blame falling on the shoulders of the Government, and particularly upon that heavily-worked Minister, Senator Pearce.
– Only in the case of some of the States.
– In what respect?
– -Complaint, for instance, comes chiefly from New South Wales.
– I know that, in my own State, there has been much open grumbling on the part of the people, and every honorable member is aware that a feeling of irritation in connexion with the operation of the system has been aroused throughout Australia. That such a feeling should exist is not at all surprising. Public men of experience know that, on the passing of an Act that interferes with the customs of the people, an outcry is usually raised. Complaint is invariably made of the passing of such a measure until the people become accustomed to its operation, and then they wonder why they ever cried out against it. That has been the case in connexion with the passing of our early closing Acts and other measures interfering with the customs of the people, and this is a fact which all Governments should bear in mind. There is something in the contention of the honorable member for Bendigo that there has been a tendency to whittle away, by means of amending Bills, the number of hours during which the members of the Forces are to engage in drill. I should not like to see any unreasonable reduction made, but I do not think that the reduction now proposed will prove to be an unmixed evil. I repeat that we have to remember that we are making an inroad on the habits and customs of the people, and are calling upon lads to drill at a time when they would prefer to engage in sport. In the circumstances, therefore, I do not think any harm is likely to arise from a reduction of the hours, provided that the number of hours is not so reduced as to endanger the proper training of the lads. Ten years hence there will be no difficulty in increasing the hours of training, whereas to-day a reduction will have the effect of making the system more popular than it is with the lads. As to the proposal to give magistrates a discretionary power to deal with cases arising under the Act, I think that there is a great deal of force in the argument advanced by the honorable member for Dalley. I see no occasion for having any appeal to magistrates. I appeal to the Minister in charge of the Bill, and the Attorney-General, to frame an amendment providing that every lad shall serve so many hours’ drill per quarter. If during the first quarter a lad failed to put in the requisite number of hours I should not be hard on him; but if during the second quarter he sought to escape his duty in this regard the authorities should have power to arrest him, and make him do the requisite number of hours’ drill right away. An amendment of the principal Act to that effect would render it quite unnecessary to bring the boys before a magistrate. I agree that most magistrates exercise wisely the discretionary powers vested in them, but here and there we may meet with an eccentric magistrate who makes remarks that provide “ good copy “ for our friends of the press, and whose statements, circulated all over Australia, have a tendency, perhaps, to bring the system into disrepute. There would be no harm in dealing leniently with lads who, because of overtime or sickness, were unable to put in the required time at drill during any one quarter; but, speaking generally, a lad should not be allowed to escape his drill. I think it wrong, however, to make the parents pay the penalty for the neglect of the lads. Another point which I should like to make is that if during the next five or six years we were to spend considerably more than we are doing upon our area officers and less upon other military requirements, it would be better for the country. What is the use of spending a tremendous lot of money on armaments, and so forth, unless at the same time we make this system popular with the people, and get hold of the lads whom we desire to drill ? I should not object to a heavier expenditure than is at present incurred in connexion with the training of our lads. Care should be taken by commanding officers to select as area officers men who are not only well qualified to impart drill instruction, but who have plenty of tact. We do not want men of the “ drumheadcourtmartial order “ moving amongst our boys. We hear a great deal about the maintenance of discipline, and discipline certainly must be maintained amongst the lads, but, at the same time, there must also be discipline amongst the officers. It must be distinctly understood that the Government and the Parliament hold the Minister of Defence responsible for the administration of the
Act, and we should see to it that the military men of the Commonwealth are prepared to submit to the discipline of the Minister himself. We were told only this afternoon of an order that had been issued by the State Commandant in New South Wales being utterly disregarded by an officer who should have carried it out. Such a man ought to be cashiered. We have no use for men of his kind in the Defence Forces of Australia. It cannot be denied that military officers generally work together, but they must understand that the Minister, although he is not a military man, is the responsible head of the Military Forces. In order that the friction that has occurred may be brought down to the irreducible minimum, we must have more tact on the part of officers than has hitherto been displayed. 1 do not blame the Minister. I recognise that he has had a very difficult task to perform. We all know that military men generallywork together in cliques, and that if you scratch one you scratch the lot of them. This fact makes it all the more essential that Parliament, while recognising that it ought not to interfere with military details, should insist upon the Act being administered with more tact than has hitherto been shown in connexion with it. I congratulate the Government upon introducing this Bill, and on the fact that they have done nearly all that is possible to remove the causes of the existing friction but I cannot see why parents should be penalized as they have been, and why we should direct that lads who fail to put in the requisite number of hours at drill shall be brought before a magistrate. A lad who can give a reasonable excuse for failure to attend drill should receive fair consideration ; but we should never forget that an Act of Parliament must not be deliberately defied by any one in the community. There must be no misunderstanding in that respect ; but errors committed because of ignorance should be dealt with judiciously. We are bringing into operation a military system that will be of tremendous advantage to Australia and of great benefit to the people of the community, and it ought to be brought in with the least possible degree of friction and harshness. It seems to me’ that if instead of bringing a lad before a magistrate because he had failed to attend drill we were to provide that he should be practically arrested and required to do his drill straight away, no further trouble would arise. Four or five hours’ continuous drill might tfe more beneficial to a lad, and would certainly make a greater impression on his mind, than would one or two hours’ drill a night. The penalty would then fall on the right shoulders, and the practice would not prove a bad one. Australian lads will compare, for high spirits and other qualities, with any lads in the world; but it is just as well to let them know that they must undergo a certain amount of restraint and discipline, not only for the benefit of the country, but in order to build up their own character. With all our talk of education, I regard character-building as most important ; and the discipline that these lads are called upon to bear will leave beneficial effects throughout their manhood, and eventually result in a better type of Australian.
Mr. RYRIE (North Sydney) [8.56J.- The Government are, I believe, making an honest endeavour to render this Act more workable, and thus remove some of the pinpricks which are causing dissatisfaction. So far as I can see there is nothing to object to in the proposed amendments. One of these . amendments, however, although merely the substitution of one word for another, may be more significant than at first -appears. It is the amendment in clause 2 to omit from sub-section 2 of section 31, after the word “ordnance” the word “ staffs,” and insert in its stead the word “corps.” I take it that this will mean that, not only the officers, but all the non-commissioned officers ‘and men of the Army Service, Medical, Veterinary, and Ordnance Corps will become permanent, whereas, at present, only the staff is permanent.
– It does not follow; they may be classed as corps without being made permanent.
– But they may be made permanent ?
– Of course; they all may be made permanent.
– However, if that be so 1 quite approve, because I think they will be of better service as permanent men. 1 do not cavil at the reduction of the hours for drill, so long as the Government are sure that the lads can, in some way, be forced to fulfil their obligations. I agree with the honorable member for Dalley, and the honorable member for Hindmarsh, that it would be much better if we had not to appeal to the magistrates. My own opinion is that the enforcement b’f this discipline should be a matter for military, and not civil law. If the commanding, or any senior, officer had power to send a sergeant to a boy’s home and have him arrested and taken to a place of detention, where he could be made to undergo his drill-
– That would never do !
– I do not like military law ; this ought to be left to a civil authority.
– Then the lads must be taken to Court. We have military law in all our camps, and an offender may be arrested at the direction of the commanding officer, or officer in charge, and detained in the guard tent. He is subsequently brought before the commanding officer, who, if he chooses, may confine him to barracks for so many days, while for more serious offences various penalties are provided. I think it would simplify the procedure very much if this matter were left to military law.
– If the honorable member could guarantee that all officers are of a judicial turn of mind it would be all right.
– That is a very difficult guarantee to give; but I do not think that officers are of inferior intelligence, or more lacking in finer feelings, than other people.
– Their training is not that of a magistrate.
– There is not much knowledge of law required. Although simply a layman, I have on many occasions had to order men to the” guard tent for offences. We have always succeeded, not only in maintaining order in camp, but in retaining the good-will of the men ; I have never known a man show the slightest resentment at any punishment I have been compelled to inflict.
– -Would not sub-section 4 of section 135 meet the objections of the honorable member?
– That section means that the offender must be taken before a Court, and that is what it is desired to avoid.
– It is a bit dangerous to leave these matters to military men.
– That is a matter of opinion. I am very glad to see the wise precaution taken to make it an offence to supply intoxicants to cadets; but I must say that I consider it an insult to the men to declare that there shall be no canteen in camp. When I asked a question on this subject a little while ago I was told that the provision had been agreed to by this House without a division, and that’ the
Government did not feel called upon to say anything more about it. All I can see of any provision being passed is an amendment agreed to on the motion of Mr. Coon, then member for Batman, to the effect that no intoxicating or spirituous liquors should be permitted in camp. That, truly, was carried without a division; but I see no mention of it in the Senate reports; and I should like to know how it is that ever since then there have been canteens in camp?
– The Act had to come into force by proclamation, and it is possible the camps were held between the passing of the measure and the issue of the proclamation.
– I have been in camps up to this year, and I Have never been in one in my life without a canteen. My opinion is that this provision or regulation is responsible for some of the dissatisfaction in the ranks of the Australian Garrison Artillery, who have been given to understand that they can have no canteen in camp. My experience is that men take no undue advantage of the camp canteen, and, in several large gatherings of the kind, I have never seen a solitary instance of drunkenness, particularly in the case of the Light Horse which came more particularly under my notice. When a man has been out before daylight, working hard in the heat and the dust all day, and he comes back at night, tired out and dry, it is a great hardship if he cannot have a glass of beer. Why should not the military be allowed to obtain a glass of beer if the general public are allowed to do so? I do not see why military men should be compelled to be teetotallers when in camps of continuous training. I cannot find out whether it is actually provided in the Act or not that there shall be no canteen.
– It is provided in section 123a of the principal Act.
– I could not find it. If it is in the Act why has it never been put into force before?
– There was no necessity to enforce it until the Citizen Forces started on 30th July. It refers only to paragraphs a, b, and c, of section 125, which deal with Cadets and Citizen Forces.
– I am extremely gratified to think that a penalty attaches to the supply of liquor to cadets. I was pleased to hear the honorable member for Hindmarsh and the honorable member for Dalley say that Australia was Worth* defending. Not only is Australia worth defending, but our liberties and our free institutions are worth defending, and surely our wives and families are. It is disgraceful that any one should voice such sentiments as we have seen attributed recently to certain individuals. A man should be ashamed to say that there was nothing here to defend but the property of rich men. I hope and trust that the compulsory scheme will be a success. I have done my best to make it so, regardless of the fact that it is being administered by my political opponents. The matter is of too much importance to allow any petty party feelings to intervene. I have done, and will do, everything in my power to make the scheme a success for the sake of Australia. I have from many platforms throughout this country exhorted the lads cheerfully to undertake the duties which will devolve upon them under the compulsory scheme, and parents to put up with any little inconvenience to which they might be subjected. It is absolutely essential for the welfare of Australia that the scheme should succeed. Like honorable members opposite who have spoken, I regret that it is necessary to spend an enormous amount upon defence; but it is essential that we should do so. We must make preparations - I do not say against the inevitable - but to meet what may happen in the future. It is an old saying that the greatest factor in maintaining peace is preparedness for war. The nation that is prepared to defend itself is not likely to be- attacked. It is necessary that we should spend the money, and do all we possibly can to get the boys to do their training, not simply because they have to do it, but, if possible, in a spirit of patriotism. If we can get our’ lads imbued with that feeling, it will augur well for the success of this great scheme. It is a pity we Have to use harsh measures to force some of them to do their duty to their country ; but that cannot be helped. They will have to be forced in some way. Although there are amendments in this Bill limiting the hours and lessening some of the harsher penalties contained in the original Act, I trust that it is not the beginning of a system of giving way to these lads, who will, perhaps, use every endeavour to escape doing their training. I hope the Government and the Department will not be weak-kneed in the business, and give way again and again, until they find it almost impossible to get the training done at all- They will have to be firm. I do not cavil at what is being given away by these amendments, but I hope it will not be followed up by more concessions. A great deal of the success of the scheme depends on the Area Officers themselves. I have watched closely the different methods employed by different Area Officers, and noted the different results obtained. One Area Officer that I know well takes a great interest in his work, and succeeds in interesting the lads in theirs. He can get a full parade at almost any time. In fact, the boys would do more drills than they are really called upon to do for him. He provides recreation and amusement for them. He has boxing and fencing contests for them and clubs and dumb-bells, and entertains them, and is most popular in his area. It is no trouble for him to go round and get a £5-note from the people in the area at any time to provide entertainment for the lads. Every boy in that area does his training, and I do not think there will be any need to. prosecute any of them. Other Area Officers may not employ the same methods, and the consequence is that they do not get the work ‘done. The drills are set down, the boys are notified to attend, and if they are not there, their absence is noted, but no effort is made to interest them or provide recreation for them. The difference between the one system and the other is very marked, indeed. A remedy for this state of affairs would be found if the Area Officers were given sufficient remuneration to enable us to select the very best men. We cannot expect for £3 a week men of the type I have just instanced. A man, smart and intelligent, who knows his job, and will devote the whole of his time to the training of the boys in the area, cannot be got for that sum.
– Are we going to increase that £5,000,000 defence vote?
– I never said anything against it.
– Is it not proposed to dispense with a number of these Area Officers soon, and replace them with partly-trained officers ?
– It will be a great mistake to replace them with partly-trained officers. It requires a highly-trained officer to be a successful Area Officer. The training of the boys depends absolutely on the class of men we have in those positions. Some redistribution of the areas themselves is necessary, because the duties devolving upon the officers differ materially in the different areas. There are some officers in metropolitan districts who have only about three companies in their area, and have, perhaps, only one place to drill in. It is no hardship for an officer, in those circumstances, to do his work and attend to his own business, but there are other areas where the officer is supposed to visit every centre twice a month, and to do that he has to be travelling the whole of his time, and has not a minute to devote to his private business. Some distinction should be made in the pay or the boundaries of the areas should be altered to equalize the work. I know several Area Officers living in the country who have great difficulty in getting through the whole of their work. The Area Officer at Goulburn, for instance, a very keen military man, who was my adjutant ‘ in the 3rd Australian Light Horse for some years, and is still nominally adjutant of the regiment, does absolutely nothing but his area work, and works very hard at it. He is continually travelling, and is distinctly worth more than £150 a year. The sergeantmajors engaged in these areas are not paid sufficient. I am not afraid of increasing the military vote. It is essential that we should have the best material. If we are going to do the thing at all, we must do it properly, and, in the circumstances, these men do not receive sufficient remuneration. The staffsergeantmajor has a lot of responsibility, and in many of the areas it is he who does the great bulk of the work, although it should not be so. This is partly because some of the Area Officers are inexperienced men, who do not know their work, the whole of which devolves upon the instructional ‘ sergeantmajor. If he has to do the whole of the work, he should get more pay. If we get the best men as Area Officers, and give them sufficient remuneration, we can insist on their doing the work. The regulations for universal training set out the duties of an Area Officer as follows: -
That is a pretty big thing -
That is lost sight of by many,, who forget that the area officers have to visit all the schools, and oversee the training of the Junior Cadets.
Any one who has had anything to do with military matters knows how much clerical work is attached to these duties. This clerical work alone would occupy the greater part of a man’s time, because there are so many books to keep, and returns to make. There is a good deal of red tape in the Defence Department -
Any one knowing anything about military matters is aware that an adjutant would have enough to do without the work of an area officer. The adjutant of a regiment is a very hard worked man.
– We have separated the positions.
– I am glad that that is so.
In spite of the magnitude of the sum which is being expended on defence, it would be advisable to give the Area Officers and the staff sergeant-majors an increase of pay. I understand that it has been determined that the adjutants of Light Horse regiments are to be lieutenants and militiamen. If that is so, the efficiency of those regiments will be lost.
– The honorable member is, I think, confusing a proposal to give certain warrant officers commissioned rank, and to allow them subsequently to become adjutants.
– I am speaking on what I have been told by a brigadier. I understand, too, that the pay of the Light Horsemen is to be reduced from 8s. to 4s. a day,and that they are to have no allowance for their horses. That is a vital mistake. Undoubtedly the Light Horse is an aim of the service that we shall greatly need, and we are making a mistake in forgetting it,°and doing everything for the Infantry. If there were trouble, the war would be conducted in a manner similar to the South African war, in which a mobile force was needed, and there cannot be such a force without a large proportion of Light Horsemen or Mounted Infantry. At present, no encouragement is being given to the mounted men. At a recent camp at the Victoria Barracks for area officers and staff, a certain amount of light horse training was supposed to be given, but everything had to be done on foot. Although wehave spent large sums in purchasing country for horses, and there were 300 or 400 horses within a few miles of the camp, all the work was done on foot. I think that the Government has made a great mistake in abolishing the distinctive uniforms of the various regiments, and I shall hold that view even though the change may have been made on the recommendation of Lord Kitchener.
– Is not the honorable member anticipating a motion on the noticepaper ?
– I am not. referring to the abolition of the kilts. I was very proud of the uniform of the 3rd Light Horse, to whichI belonged - a green uniform, with a black plume, and gold facings.
– The honorable member is now going beyond the scope of this Bill.
– Then I have only to say that I have no serious objection to make to the proposed amendments. I hope that the concessions which are being made in the shortening of hours and the lessening of penalties will not be regarded as evidence of weakness. If it were so regarded, it would make the training of cadets all the more difficult in the future.
.- Compulsory military training is in its infancy, and must be popularized if it is to continue, because its existence depends entirely on the good-will of the parents and youths of Australia. Unless our legislation meets with their approval, it will soon be repealed. The Government, realizing this, has determined to amend many of the penal provisions of the Act. The prosecutions which have taken and are taking place have not made the Act more popular, and should have been prevented directly Ministers realized that there was cause for making amendments. The amendment? will, to a large extent, meet the case, but I am altogether opposed to the double penalties which are provided for. I have never before heard of double penalties for any offence. The Minister made it very clear that where young boys refuse- to drill, not only may they be compelled to make up lost time, but they may be fined as well.
– Only where there is wilful disobedience.
– If a boy is compelled to make up lost time,’ that is sufficient.
– Whenever a lad will make up his drills, a fine will not be inflicted.
– Do I understand that if a lad is ordered to make up his drills, he cannot be fined ?
– A magistrate need not impose a fine. He may say to a lad, “ You must make up your drills,” and not impose a fine. Where a lad agrees to make up his drills, no fine will be inflicted.
– That will have to be made clear in Committee. The Court will have the power to order boys to make up their drills, and they should not, in addition, be fined. There should not be two penalties for one offence. Under the prin-‘ cipal Act, if a lad is not efficient . when he reaches the age of twenty-three years, he may be compelled to undergo. another year’s training. Many of the speeches that have been made assumed that the fault is always the lad’s when drills are not attended, but that is not my view. You can secure “the good-will of the lads and their parents only by strict justice. For the first time in the history of Australia, our boys are being compelled to give up part of their free time to military training. They are being deprived of a certain amount of liberty ; and we are all chary about parting with our liberty. It is necessary to have a defence system, because the country is worth defending, and each citizen should be prepared to do his duty in that matter. But in depriving our youths of their liberty, we should take care to make the compulsory training popular. In my district, no attempt has been made to meet the convenience of the lads. I do not wish to occupy the time of the House by giving a number of illustrations, but I shall put before honorable members a case that was brought under my notice today. I received to-day from one of my constituents a letter in which he states that he is in favour of compulsory training, and that he desires that his two lads shall attend drill. The drills, however, are so arranged that his boys, who work two shifts, and are employed at the hour at which the drill takes place, have to lose a shift in order to attend. In that way each loses 9s. per week, so that this compulsory training system means to the household in question a loss of 18s. per week. The lads have either to attend at drill and lose money or to suffer prosecution for their failure to do so. Is that fair? Can we expect that the system will receive the approval of the people if we do not attempt to meet the special circumstances of various localities? Lads are being prosecuted to-day for not attending drill, and the position, so far as many of them are concerned, is that they have either to remain away from their work to .attend drill, and so lose money, or be prosecuted for their failure to comply with the law. The managers of different mines in my electorate complain of this system. One manager says that lads have to remain away to attend drill, and that their absence interferes with the working of the mine. When we have this information before us, there is certainly no justification for going on with these prosecutions. If possible, the prosecutions should be. deferred - especially in view of the fact that it is found necessary to amend the Act as we are doing tonight, so that these lads will not be placed in such a position. I, like the honorable member for Dalley, take exception to what has been done, and trust that the Minister will be guided by the discussion that has taken place to-night. I hope that he will endeavour to frame an amendment that will do away with the right of a magistrate to impose double punishment.
– What does the honorable member mean by double punishment ?
– At present, if a lad when before a Court says : “I refuse to make up my drill,” the magistrate can order him to make it up, and may also inflict a fine.
– The order as to drilling is not punishment, since all boys have to drill.
– It is a great punishment. Take the case of lads who have to go into camp with an officer for sixty-four hours to make up lost time, and must leave their work to do so. Is that not a punishment both for the lads and for their parents, who are deprived of their wages? In addition, a lad ordered to make up time in this way may lose his employment, and his parents his earnings. The honorable member for North Sydney spoke of the necessity for paying Area Officers a better salary. I am not prepared to agree to the payment of increased salary to them, for the reason that they are not compelled to devote the whole of their time to military duties. Almost every Area Officer follows some other occupation in respect of which he is in receipt of a fair salary. We must not lose sight of the fact that Area Officers are only temporarily employed. Under Lord Kitchener’s scheme the cadets at the Military College are to be equipped for this work, and on leaving the College are to take it up. It is for that reason that all Area Officers have been gazetted as being temporarily employed. We have to look to the Military College for our future officers, and it seems to me that Area Officers who are receiving ^150 per year for acting in that capacity, and are also earning a salary at their ordinary occupations, are not badly paid.
– Most of the Area Officers, in country districts, at all events, have not much time to devote to outside employment.
– If the honorable member admits, as I think he must, that they can follow other avocations, and also act as Area Officers, they must have sufficient spare time to devote-
– But they have to go from place to place in the country districts.
– Every Area Officer serves within a prescribed area, and he fixes his drill for certain hours in different districts. I wish that we had men leaving the Military College to-morrow to take up this work, and to devote their whole time to it, for those at present acting as Area Officers are compelled to fix upon days for drill in different districts which best suit their own convenience. The times fixed are not always convenient to the lads or their parents, but they suit the officer, and the result is very often that lads are prosecuted for failing to attend drill, although their failure to attend has been due to the fact that the hour fixed is most inconvenient for them. I do not agree that the salary of Area Officers should be increased. Our defence expenditure is growing far too rapidly, and growing chiefly in the direction of the Navy. While honorable members display great anxiety to secure additional remuneration for officers, it must not be forgotten that we are asking all who have reached the age of eighteen years to go into camp next year, and to give their services for 3s. per day. In the case of married men, an extra payment of 10s. for their wives and of 2s. 6d. for each child is also to be made. When we are talking about increasing remuneration we ought not to forget the men who have to give up their time to go into camp, and who do not receive fair remuneration in respect of the time during which they have to remain away from their ordinary occupations. Many men at their ordinary employment can earn 10s. per day, or £4. in respect pf eight days’ . service, yhereas when they go into camp for eight days they receive only 24s. If any increases are to be made we should see that the men who have to drill, and who will have to fight, receive a fair return for the time they devote to the work of fitting themselves for the defence of their country. I deplore this expenditure, and believe that in many cases it is going in the direction of the man with the big salary, while the poor man is not receiving fair payment for his services. If we are going to make this system popular we must have the people with us. It is a question not of what we think, but of whether the people approve of what we are enacting. We desire that the Act providing for compulsory training shall remain on the statutebook. We believe that compulsory training is necessary in the interests of the country, but we do not believe that men should be obliged to comply v.,;*h a demand such as was made recently, at the very initiation of this system, to go out and take up arms, whenever there is any little trouble, under the guise of dealing with “ domestic violence.” I am sorry that we have not in this Bill a definition of “ domestic violence,” because it is unreasonable to expect men to go out and to take up arms against their fellows every time that a poli<tician makes a speech about a little trouble in one or other of the States. The Act is intended for the purpose of defence, and to that purpose it should be confined. It ought to be made clear that it is not going to be used in such a case as that in which an application for military assistance was recently made, but is going to be utilized for one purpose, and that is to defend our shores against an invading foe - not for the purpose of aggression, but for the purpose of defence. I believe it is necessary, in the interests of Australia, that we should have a Citizen Force, and that every one who is capable should be able to defend the country in the hour of need. At the same time, I think it is necessary to be as careful as possible to make the Act popular and acceptable to the people, both old and young, so that we can rest assured that every one will come forward and be prepared to do the drill, not only from a feeling of loyalty, but also from a feeling that he is doing what is necessary and in the interests of the. country to which he belongs.
-54- I entirely disagree with the latter remarks of the honorable member for Hunter in regard to the’’ obligations Of the military. These are undoubtedly to stand as a bulwark, not only for the defence of the people against invasion, but also for the defence of the Constitution under which we are governed. If, in the wisdom of the Government, it appears to be necessary that they should be employed for the purpose of suppressing acts of violence against the constituted authority of a State, then the military organization must be called into requisition.
– The trouble is that the assistance of the military is asked for when there is no domestic violence, and that is going to make the system unpopular.
– The assistance of the military was asked for in the case of the Brisbane strike.
– Order ! The honorable member will not be in order in dealing with that matter.
– It is certainly pleasing to me to be able to compliment the Government in regard to this amending Bill. In the first place, I wish to refer to the provision which enables officers of the Senior Cadets to continue as officers there, even when, by age, they have qualified to become members of the Citizen Force, because it appears to me to offer a very substantial inducement to the lads to acquire special qualifications. I think it is a very wise provision indeed, and I congratulate the Minister of Defence upon what he has done in this direction. While I am in the mood for congratulating, I would also like to congratulate him, in common with the honorable member for Bendigo, upon his attitude and his reply to a deputation which addressed him yesterday. If there is one thing we should do to popularize our defence system and the compulsory training of lads, it is to gain the good-will of their mothers. The clause which provides that there shall be no intoxicating or spirituous liquors sold to a cadet while he is in uniform will, I feel sure, commend itself most heartily to every woman in the community. I indorse the provision most heartily, and commend the Government for putting it in the Bill. I am a’ little doubtful about the following provision -
In places where Children’s Courts exist offences against this section committed by cadets under the age of sixteen years shall be prosecuted in such Courts as far as is reasonably practicable.
I hope that it will not have the effect of creating two sets of penalties. I understand that, in the Children’s Courts, very much lighter penalties can be imposed than atn be imposed1 in the Police Courts. -I think it will be unfair if any provision is introduced which will make it possible for lads in country districts where Children’s Courts do not exist to be treated more harshly than lads in towns where Children’s Courts are in existence. I notice that the Minister representing the Minister of Defence nodded his head in regard to this matter, seeming to indicate that there shall be no difference made. I hope that, by some regulation, it will be made more than certain that every lad who is tried in a Police Court shall not be treated more harshly than those who will be tried in Children’s Courts. I wish to refer to a matter which has been brought under my notice by my constituents, and that is the time when the drills are discontinued at night in country places. I could cite one instance where the lads live at a distance of 6 miles from the place of training, and the complaint is that they are drilled so long that they return home at inordinately late hours. Whether they are kept at drill or not, of course, the parents do not know ; but I think that the lads should have a card indicating that they have been at drill, and stating explicitly at what time they have been discharged, so that parents may know exactly when to expect their lads to return. If lads “ do not return at a reasonable time, their parents will know that it is the fault of the lads themselves, and not of the person who is training them. If we really want to popularize this movement, we shall have to avoid the mistake made in the past of fixing drills for recognised public holidays. There are some holidays which are so generally recognised as to be an unfitting time for the purpose of drilling. I hope that the Defence Department will avoid the mistake of permitting any officer to prescribe such days for drilling. I have no desire to prolong the discussion. I wanted to put these two or three thoughts before the House, because I wish to popularize the movement, and to make it as great a success as possible. Anything which can be done in reason to make it easier and pleasanter to those who have to submit to compulsory service, will be a step in the right direction, and tend to make the movement what I am sure we all desire it should be - a very great success, indeed.
.- This is a measure on which a very great deal might be said, and a good, deal ought to be said ; but, so far as that is absolutely pertinent to the measure, it can be said in Committee; if thennecessary.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Amendment of section 31).
.-I should like to know, from the Honorary Minister, if the substitution of “ Corps “ for “ Staffs “ in sub-section 2 will widen the effect of section 31 very much?
– No. It is simply that the word “ Corps “ is more applicable, more general, and more useful.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 3 to 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 -
Section one hundred and twenty-seven of the Principal Act is amended.
– I move -
That the following new paragraph be inserted : - (aa) by omitting from paragraph a the words “one hundred and twenty,” and inserting in their stead the word “ninety.”
The amendment has reference to Junior Cadets only - that is to lads between the ages of twelve and fourteen years. This reduction of the hours is proposed after consultation with a Board of educational experts and military men.
Amendment agreed to.
.- Section 127 of the original Act provides that the duration of a whole day’s drill shall be not less than six hours, of a half day drill not less than three hours, and of a night drill not less than one hour and a-half for the” Citizen Forces. I am not sufficient of a military authority to speak definitely on a matter of this kind, but it appears to me that six hours is rather a long drill. Eight of the days have to be in camp, and there six hours might not prove too long ; but if the drills have to be taken at night, and the men are able to attend, as they possibly would, from 7 o’clock until 9 o’clock, and give four nights a week to the purpose, they will have to attend thirtytwo times in order to make up eight days’ drill In my opinion, four hours seems quite enough, though, of course, there may be some strong military reason for the period fixed.
.- I presume that musketry practice is reckoned within the drill time;. and in this connexion there seems to be a general want of tact on the part pf some of the officers. For instance/ it may be necessary to attend at the Williamstown range in the morning with the anticipation of occupying an hour or two, hut troops have been kept there all day long without obtaining anything to eat. This is a matter that ought to be looked into.
– It was at first intended that a whole day’s drill should be six hours for the cadets, but the period has been reduced in their case. It is not considered, however, that six hours is too long for the Citizen Forces, consisting of young men from the ages of eighteen to twenty-five. Up to the present, this provision has not been put into practical operation, as I think it ought to be before any attempt is made to reduce the time. Six hours is less than what was recommended by some of the leading officers, and was arrived at as a compromise. The difficulty which the honorable member for Hunter has pointed out, of devoting six whole hours in any particular day to drill, may arise, but I think we ought to see how the section operates. In regard to what the honorable member for Maribyrnong has said, there is no doubt that tact is essential in all the officers, and to the best of our ability the officers are being educated in its exercises. At the same time, arrangements of any kind whatever sometimes fail, and, doubtless, some little inconvenience arises, and men may be kept without food for ‘ a longer time than is reasonable. Generally speaking, however, every effort is made to remove any possible cause of inconvenience ; and the particular case .to which the honorable member has referred I shall bring under the notice of the Minister of Defence.
.- On reading sub-clause c of clause 7, it would appear that there is a reduction of the hours, but a glance at the principal Act does not bear out that view. It is provided merely that the duration of the halfday and night drills shall not be less than forty-eight hours, and so many whole days’ drill will be required to make up the sixtyfour hours.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 8 (Amendment of section 135).
Amendment (by Mr. Howe) proposed -
That the following new paragraph be inserted : - ” aa. By omitting from sub-section (1) the words ‘ be liable to a penalty not exceeding One hundred pounds and not less than Five pounds.’ “
– I am unable to accept the amendment suggested by the honorable member. His proposal relates, I understand, to what he believes to be a double penalty; but there is no double penalty provided a lad will agree to conform to the Act. The desire of some honorable members appears to be that if a lad pays the fine he shall not be made to do the drills.
– I am glad to hear that. I have already told honorable members that if a lad does his drill there will be no fine.
– That is not mandatory; it is within the discretion of the magistrate.
– It is within the discretion of the magistrate to inflict a fine up to the maximum of ^5, according to the number of drills missed.
– And to order the boys to do the drill as well.
– At the same time, if there is a particularly recalcitrant youth who defies the Area Officer, and practically the Commonwealth, is it suggested that he ought not to be subjected to more harsh treatment than is meted out to the youth who meets his obligation in the ordinary way? A lad may be brought before the Court and ordered to make up the hours that he is deficient in his drill. He may be committed to the custody of the Area Officer who may say to him, “ Johnnie, will you do the drill that is required of you?” His reply may be “ No.” As the officer cannot administer corporal punishment, or any other form of punishment, he would simply have to look at the lad. His next course would be to again take him to the Court, where the magistrate would probably ask him if he was prepared to do the drills. Again the youth might reply “ Yes,” but upon the Area Officer taking charge of him he might again refuse. Ought he not to be subjected to harsher treatment than is meted out to another lad who is ready to make up his deficiency in drill ?
– Who would have to pay the fine?
– The parents. But a good deal of talk has been indulged in respecting fines which is scarcely justified for the reason that throughout the entire Commonwealth only eight persons have paid fines up to the present time.
– That is because the Government have issued instructions that the fines can remain in abeyance.
– I admit that the fines have been imposed, but they have not been paid, and the hardships to which reference has been made, have not yet been inflicted on the parents. It is the intention of the Ministry to remit the lines which have been inflicted up to the present moment, and to administer the Act with the utmost leniency. But in the interests of discipline harsher treatment must be meted out in some cases than in others. Surely my honorable friends will not urge that a few lads should be able to defy the law and the Parliament of this country? If even one youth is permitted to do that we must allow all to do it.
– But these Court proceedings often lead to a poor father losing time at his work.
– I have endeavoured to point out that all that a lad has to do, even if he be ten hours behind out of the sixty-four hours’ drill that is required of him during the year - that is less than one and a quarter hours per week - is to tell the Area Officer that he will make up his deficiency. That will end the whole matter. In such circumstances there will be no prosecution. Even if he be more than ten hours deficient in his drill, and he is taken before the Court, there is no possibility of a fine being inflicted upon him if he intimates his readiness to make up the sixty-four hours that are required et him. But where there is a distinct defiance of the magistrate and of the Act. some different treatment is essential as an example to other lads who are loyally discharging their duties.
.- 1 quite agree with the Honorary Minister as to the necessity of exhibiting leniency in the administration of the Act. But while affirming that if a lad agrees to make up his deficiency in drill he will not be prosecuted, the Honorary Minister does not say that the language of this clause prevents a boy who declares that he has not time to make it up, being ordered to do so, in addition to being subjected to a monetary penalty. I can quite understand the Minister’s argument in respect to recalcitrant youths.. If the language of the clause can be interpreted in the way that he suggests there will be no cause of complaint. But I hold that under it a magistrate has the power, both to order a lad to make up his deficiency in drill and to fine him as well. I do not suggest that many magistrates would do that. But, nevertheless, the power is there. If the clause merely means that a recalcitrant youth who refuses to do his drills, shall be subjected to extra punishment, 1 shall be perfectly satisfied. But we are dealing now with difficulties of the principal Act, and we ought to take every reasonable care to exclude harsh treatment as far as possible. 1 repeat that if the provision will bear the interpretation which has been placed upon it by the Honorary Minister it is all right. But if a magistrate may order a boy to make up his deficiency in drill, and fine him as well, I submit that he is in a position to mete out double punishment.
– I would point out to the honorable member for Hunter that power must be given in the Bill to deal with a lad who openly defies the law. If we remove the possibility of dealing with those who are specially defiant, they will escape their obligations.
– In the event of a youth being ordered by a magistrate to make up his deficiency in drill, and refusing to do so, the magistrate should have power to inflict punishment.
– My honorable friend is allowing himself to be led away by an enthusiasm that is laudable. The following are the instructions which have been issued by the Government in connexion with this matter -
– But no notice is taken of that instruction.
– The whole of the Area Officers are thoroughly acquainted with the position. The second instruction issued by the Government reads -
These instructions will apply in the future. If a lad makes up his deficiency in drill the case against him will be dismissed, so that the position put by my honorable friend has really been met. But the power to do certain things, if the necessity for doing them arises, must be retained in the Bill, otherwise the standard set up by the particularly recalcitrant will be the standard guiding conduct on the part of all the boys. Under the circumstances I ask the honorable member for Dalley not to press his amendment.
.- I notice that this clause contains the words “ fails without lawful excuse to attend a compulsory drill.” That seems to imply that a penalty may be imposed for failure to attend any particular drill.
– No; the object is to enable the Minister to deal with offenders before the completion of the financial year. At present no youth could be proceeded against until the current year had expired, namely, on the 30th June next; but this provision will allow the Minister to deal with cases as they arise, and prevent an accumulation of them.
Amendment (by Mr. Roberts) agreed to -
That paragraphs d and e be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following paragraphs : - ” (d) by adding thereto the following subsections : - (8.) A person liable to be trained under the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of section one hundred and twenty-five of this Act shall not be committed to gaol in default of payment of a pecuniary penalty imposed for an offence against the provisions of this section, but the Court may order that, in default of payment of the pecuniary penalty imposed, the person shall be committed to the custody of any prescribed authority for such time, not exceeding the time for which the Court could, but for this sub-section, have committed the person to gaol in default of payment of the pecuniary penalty imposed, as the Court thinks fit. (9.) WheTe a person liable to be trained under the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of section one hundred and twenty-five of this Act, has been convicted, before the commencement of this sub-section, of an offence against this section, and but for sub-section (8.) of this section would be liable to be committed to gaol in default of payment of the pecuniary penalty imposed for the offence, and makes default in payment of the penalty, he may, on the application of a prescribed officer, be committed to the custody of any prescribed authority for such time, not exceeding the time for which, but for sub-section (8.) of this section, he might have been committed to gaol in default of payment of the pecuniary penalty imposed, as the Court thinks fit. (10.) Any pecuniary penalty imposed on a person liable to be trained under the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of section one hundred and twenty-five of this Act for an offence against the provisions of this section shall be deemed to be a debt due to the Commonwealth, and may, in addition to any other means of recovery, be recovered in any civil court of competent jurisdiction. (11.) In places where Children’s Courts exist, offences against this section committed by cadets under the age of sixteen years shall be prosecuted in such Courts as far as is reasonably practicable.’ “
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 9 and 10 agreed to.
Amendments (by Mr. Roberts) agreed to-
That after clause 1 the following new clauses be inserted : - “1a. Section two of the Principal Act is amended by omitting therefrom all references to sections. 1b. Section twenty-one a of the Principal
Act is amended by inserting in sub-section (3.) thereof after the word ‘ officers ‘ the words who, prior to the first day of January, One thousand nine hundred and eleven, completed the examination for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel or Major respectively, or to officers.’ “
That after clause 2 the following new clause be inserted : - “ 2A. Section thirty-five of the Principal Act is amended by omitting the words ‘ Part IV.’ and inserting in their stead the words ‘ Parts IV. and XII.”’
. -I move -
That after clause 3 the following new clause be inserted : - “3A. Section one hundred and ten of the
Principal Act is repealed and the following section inserted in its stead : - 110. - (1.) A prosecution for an offence against this Act or the Regulations may be brought in any court of summary jurisdiction. (2.) A prosecution against an officer’ of the
Military Forces shall be brought by or by the authority of the District Commandant. (3.) A prosecution against an officer of the
Naval Forces shall be brought by or by the authority of the Naval Commandant. (4.) The averment of the prosecutor that he was authorized by the District Commandant or the Naval Commandant to bring the prosecution shall be sufficient, and shall not be controverted or questioned by the Court or by the defendant. (5.) A prosecution against a soldier, seaman, ot person liable to render personal service under the provisions of Part XII. of this Act may be brought by the commanding officer or adjutant of the corps to which the soldier belongs, or by the commanding officer of the vessel to which the seaman belongs, or by an area officer, or by any prescribed officer.’ “
The amendment effects an improvement in the phraseology of the clause, and also makes a slight addition in sub-clause 5, which deals with the prosecution of a soldier, seaman, or person liable to render personal service. It is largely a matter of machinery.
– I direct attention to sub-section 4 of the proposed new section, which reads -
The averment of the prosecutor that he was authorized by the District Commandant or the Naval Commandant to bring the prosecution shall be sufficient, and shall not be controverted or questioned by the Court, or by the defendant.
Is not that an unusual provision?
– First of all, certain personswill be authorized to do particular things, and their averment that they have authority to do those things is to be accepted. I remind the honorable member for Darling Downs that words identical with those to which he refers appear in sub-section 3 of section no of the principal Act, which has been on the statute-book for some years.
.- I admit that some officer must be authorized to take the necessary action in these cases, but I take advantage of this opportunity to say that i hope the Minister will instruct the District Commandant in New South Wales to be more careful than he has been recently. Notwithstanding the fact’ that we were informed on two or three occasions within the last few weeks that this officer had received certain instructions with regard to prosecutions in New South Wales, those instructions were not carried out. Only recently over 100 lads were brought before one Court, and a solicitor was engaged for the prosecution, so that the parents of the lads, in addition to the fines imposed, had to pay costs. If District Commandants are to have these great powers vested in them - and I take no exception to that - they should be instructed to be very careful, and should realize how necessary it is that cases shall be thoroughly sifted before prosecutions are ordered, and that those instructed to conduct prosecutions shall act in accordance with their desires, and with the desires of the Minister.
– I admit the case to which the honorable member for Hunter has referred, but, as he is aware, the moment the matter was brought under the notice of the Minister of Defence he spoke to the District Commandant of New South Wales over the telephone, and instructed him to hold an immediate inquiry. The Commandant replied to the effect that a solicitor had been engaged, but had charged no fees ; that his engagement was distinctly contrary to the orders issued by the Commandant; and that he would deal with the officer who had over-ridden his express instructions.
– What I have referred to happened in more Courts than one.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
– Imove -
That after clause 3 the following new clause be inserted : - “ 3A. Section sixty-seven of the Principal Act is amended -
by inserting, after the word’ bullock,’ the words ‘ aerial machine ‘ ; and
by omitting the words’ such vehicles and animals ‘ and inserting in their stead the words ‘ any vehicles, horses, mules, bullocks, aerial machines, boats or vessels.’ “
The object of the proposed new clause is to enable the Department to secure the use of aerial machines upon payment in the same way that they are now able to secure the use of vehicles.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments, and passed through its remaining stages.
Bill returned from the Senate with amendments.
That the message be taken into consideration forthwith in Committee of the whole House.
Clause 6 -
Section six of the Principal Act is amended by omitting the words “ be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding Fifty pounds “ and inserting in their stead the words “ be guilty of an offence.
Penalty : Five hundred pounds.”
Senate’s Amendment. - After the word “ amended “ insert -
by inserting after the word “ question “ the words “relevant to the inquiry”;
by omitting the words “ touching the subject-matter of the inquiry “ and (c).
– This amendment was made at the instance of the Government, to fulfil a promise made by me to secure uniformity of phraseology in the various clauses of the Bill. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
.-I also point out that these are amendments which the Opposition insisted upon as necessary.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 7 -
After section six of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted : - “6a. Every witness who has been summoned to attend a Royal Commission shall appear and report himself from day to day -
Senate’s Amendment- After the word “day,” second occurring, line 5, insert “ unless excused by the President or Chairman of the Commission or”.
– These words have apparently been inserted for the purpose of enabling a Commission to discharge a witness, when there is no necessity for his further attendance. That seems a reasonable proposition, and I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
– The Senate has made a series of amendments in the proposed new sections 6j, 6k, 6l, 6m, 6n. In each of these proposed sections the word “ indictable “ has been inserted before the word “ offence,” the object being to provide that when a person is to be tried for an offence involving imprisonment upon conviction, he must be tried before a jury. I move -
That the remaining amendments be agreed to.
– Better late than never. Motion agreed to.
Resolution reported; report adopted.
Bill received from the Senate, and (on motion by Mr. Fisher) read a first time.
Bill received from’ the Senate, and (on motion by Mr. Fisher) read a first time.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
To-morrow we shall take the two small Bills just received before proceeding with the Navigation Bill.
– They will require to be looked at.
– Then we will take the Navigation Bill, and on Tuesday begin tbe debate on the Budget, ending it, I hope, the next day.
.- During question time to-day the Prime Minister, on the authority of one of the Melbourne agents, said the country newspapers charged the Government for advertisements three times their usual charge for commercial advertisements, and I interjected that I knew this was incorrect. Some confusion may easily have arisen, because there are two classes of advertisements inserted in newspapers - casual advertisements charged for per insertion and by the inch, and standing advertisements inserted for a stated time, and charged for at a fixed rate. The difference in the prices for standing and casual advertisements, the latter being the kind usually inserted by the Government^ has no doubt given rise to the impression that there is a discrepancy. Since the statement was made this afternoon I have placed myself in communication with the Country Newspaper Association, and with Messrs. Gordon and Gotch, the firm in question. From the latter I have received the following reply -
Referring to your inquiry of to-day, concerning the Commonwealth Savings Bank advertising, I wish to say that there is no great variation between tbe commercial casual rate and the Government rate for casual advertising. There is, however, a big distinction between commercial contract rates and casual rates ; these advertisements are looked upon as quite apart from one another.
We feel, upon fuller consideration, that some confusion may have arisen in dealing with this matter. We were requested to provide a price for a series of advertising for the Commonwealth Savings Bank, and quoted a price based upon commercial contract , rates, which, as I have explained to you, ‘are much below either Government casual rates or commercial casual rates.
No doubt you are aware that the Governments do not arrange standing advertisements by contract, and as this was the first case of the kind that we had to deal with, we discussed the matter with the Governor of the Bank, and he informed us that if more than the rates for commercial contract’ advertising were ‘demanded he would not go on with the advertising..
We accordingly quoted him the commercial contract rates, the total of which., as is customary with us, has been offered to the country newspaper proprietors.
In justice to the firm, to the Prime Minister, and to the country newspapers throughout “Victoria, I thought it was right to make this explanation to the House.
– Why did the country newspapers want to charge more?
– So far as I know the country newspapers made no attempt to charge anything more than their ordinary standard rates for standing advertisements;
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.46 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 August 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1912/19120815_reps_4_65/>.