5th Parliament · 1st Session
The House met at 10.30 a.m., pursuant ‘ to theproclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message, that the Deputies of the GovernorGeneral for the opening of Parliament requested the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Honorable members attended accordingly, and having returned,
The Commissioner to administer the oath entered the chamber.
The Clerk read the commission, under the Great Seal’ of the Commonwealth, authorizing the Honorable Isaac Alfred Isaacs, Justice of the High Court of Australia, to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the King required by. law to be taken or made by members of the House of Representatives.
The Clerk announced that he had received returns to the writs issued for the election of members of the House of Representatives.
The following honorable members made and subscribed the oath of allegiance: -
Hon. Patrick McMahon Glynn, Angas, South Australia.
Hon. Charles McDonald, Kennedy, Queensland.
David Charles McGrath, Ballarat, Victoria.
Hon. King O’Malley, Darwin, Tasmania.
Granville de Laune Ryrie, North Sydney, New South Wales.
Colonel RYRIE (North Sydney) [11.7J. - I move -
That the honorable member for Lang, Mr. William Elliot Johnson, do take the chair of the House as Speaker.
Were it not for the presence of new members, I would think it scarcely necessary to say anything in support of the motion. Those of us who have been associated with Mr. Elliot Johnson in the past, realize how well fitted he is to occupy the honorable position of Speaker. I have known him for some two years as a member of this House, during which time he has on many occasions acted as Temporary Chairman of Committees, and I think I voice the opinion of every former member in saying that in the performance of his duties he has invariably been absolutely fair and impartial. Fairness and impartiality being qualifications essential in one aspiring to the Speakership, Mr. Elliot Johnson should, in view of his past services, prove absolutely qualified for the post which I propose he shall occupy. As he has moreover been for many years a close student of politics, I feel that he is in every way qualified to uphold the highest traditions of the honorable position to which I ask honorable members to call him.
– I have much pleasure in seconding the motion. Mr. Elliot Johnson in every respect is a worthy man, and one fully qualified for the proper performance of the duties of Speaker.
– I desire to express my sense of the honour proposed to be conferred upon me, and submit myself to the pleasure of the House.
Members of the House calling Mr. Elliot Johnson, he was taken out of his place by Colonel Ryrie and Mr. Hans Irvine, and conducted to the chair.
Then Mr. SPEAKER-ELECT, standing on the upper step, said: - I desire to express to honorable members my appreciation of the very high honour which they have conferred upon me, and hope to uphold the traditions of my distinguished predecessors in this office by displaying absolute impartiality in the conduct of the business of the House. I thank the honorable members for North Sydney and Grampians for their eulogium. In the unusual circumstances under which we meet, with parties so evenly balanced, I realize the possibility of difficulties ahead for all of us, but I trust and believe that I shall receive the hearty cooperation of members of both parties in conducting the business of the House in accordance with its best traditions.
– I desire, sir, to offer you the warmest congratulations upon your elevation to the high and distinguished position in which you have just been placed by the unanimous vote of the House. You are to be congratulated on having won through to high position as the result of a very strenuous political career, and after having done your duty nobly in whatever sphere may have been allotted to you. I am sure that you will conduct yourself in the chair as befits its occupant, and in accordance with the high status and dignity of the position. I wish you good health and strength in the discharge of your onerous duties, and confidently believe that your conduct in the chair will be such as to maintain the best traditions of the office.
.- I rise, sir, to offer you my congratulations upon your elevation to the very high position to which you have just been elected, and to assure you that the Opposition will afford you every assistance in carrying out your onerous and responsible duties, as they have previously been carried out, in accordance with the best traditions of the House. The Federal Parliament has been fortunate in its choice of officers for high and responsible positions. You, sir, have had some distinguished predecessors in the chair, every one of whom has impressed his individuality upon the House, and in a less degree upon the country. Whatever may be the political views held by honorable members on each side of the House, I am sure that they will not be allowed to obtrude in such a way as to embarrass you in discharging the duties of your office. If I may be allowed to say so, I think that the state of parties should not have any effect whatever upon the way in which the business of the House should be carried on; and that, I am convinced, is the spirit that will be manifested. On behalf of the party that I have the honour to lead in this House, I can promise you sir, that we shall always be ready and willing to help you in maintaining the dignity of your office, and in carrying out the responsible duties attaching to it.
.- I desire, Mr. Speaker, to offer you my hearty congratulations, and, at the same time, to say that, however sincere may be the desire of the Speaker of such an assembly as this to faithfully discharge the duties of his office, he cannot possibly succeed without the assistance of honorable members. I sincerely trust that honorable members on all occasions will render you the assistance necessary to make your position as easy as was the discharge of my duties during the time that I occupied the chair. I desire also to take this opportunity to thank honorable members for the courtesy extended to me in carrying out my duties during the three years that I had the honour to hold the office of Speaker of this House.
I regret that my illness at the end of last session then prevented me from personally thanking honorable members, but I express my thanks now, and desire only to say that you, Mr. Speaker, will have every assistance from me and, as the Leader of the Opposition has already said, from honorable members generally on this side of the House, in the discharge of your onerous duties.
– I have ascertained that it will be His Excellency’s pleasure to receive Mr. Speaker and honorable members in theLibrary at 2.20 p.m.
– I shall be glad if as many honorable members as can attend will accompany me this afternoon.
Sitting suspended from 11.17 a.m. to 2.20 p.m.
The House proceeded to the Library, there to present Mr. Speaker to His Excellency the Governor-General.
The House having reassembled,
– I have to report that, accompanied by honorable members, I this day proceeded to the Library of Parliament, and presented myself to His Excellency the Governor- General as the choice of the House, and that His Excellency was kind enough to congratulate me on my election as Speaker. May I take the opportunity, while on my feet, to thank the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and the honorable member for Kennedy, my immediate predecessor in this office, for their congratulations on my elevation to the Chair this afternoon, and to express my appreciation of their promises of assistance in carrying out the duties appertaining to the position ?
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the Message that His Excellency the GovernorGeneral desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Mr. Speaker and honorable members attended accordingly, and having returned.
Bill, presented by Mr. Joseph Cook, and read a first time.
– In view of the quarantining of Sydney, and a radius of 15 miles around that city, I desire to know from the Prime Minister whether lie will afford honorable members who have to travel to Queensland and other parts of Australia every necessary facility - whether on sea or land - to enable them to get to their homes or constituencies by proper Government means ?
– And back again.
– To and fro. I presume that we are on the eve of an adjournment, and it may be necessary in order to meet the convenience of some honorable members who do not desire to be vaccinated to convey them around the quarantine area, and I ask the Prime Minister to take immediate action to see that facilities are afforded to that end.
– Yes ; I shall be glad to make such arrangements as will permit honorable members to go to their homes by any reasonable means they choose - to make available all the facilities that may be desirable for that purpose.
– And communicate with the Railways Commissioners, to enable that to be done ?
– Yes. And also with the steam-ship companies, if honorable members prefer to travel by sea; in short, to do whatever is practicable in that direction.
– I should like to ask the Prime Minister, or the Minister of Trade and Customs, a question in relation to the quarantine regulations that have been put in force in regard to Sydney. I desire to know if a Minister will make a statement to the House and to the country, showing exactly what is considered to be necessary, what precautions are being taken, and what means are resorted to in order to give effect to the measures regarded as desirable for the safety of the public travelling and otherwise. At present, apparently, there is much confusion, and we do not know where we are.
– I shall be prepared, at a later stage, if the House so desires, to make a statement.
– I desire to know whether the Minister of Trade and Customs will consider the advisability of reducing the 15-mile area which is now quarantined, with a view to confining the cases of skin eruption that have occurred in Syduey within the smallest possible compass’!
– It is utterly imp’osiible - to reduce the area. One case developed 13 miles away from the Post Office.
– This is a proclamation the equal of which has never been issued anywhere else.
– I can assure the honorable member that the step was taken on advice, and I cannot promise to reduce the area.
Major Anderson - Compensation to Injured Cadets - Supply of Overcoats, Southern Tasmania
– Will the Prime Minister place on the table of the House the papers in connexion with the retirement of Major Anderson, of the Light Horse, Ballarat, and the appointment of his successor ?
– I shall be glad to consult with my colleagues, and see whether tha,t can be done. At present I see no objection, and shall be glad to do it.
– I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether he will promise to secure compensation to the parents of the boys who were run down by motor cars whilst they were engaged in military drill on the Rand wick-road, Sydney? The case has already been before the Court, where it was dismissed. The late Minister of Defence promised to do what he could in the matter, and I ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether he will take steps to secure the granting of compensation in the direction I have indicated ?
– I will bring the matter before the Minister of Defence, and furnish the honorable member with a reply on a subsequent date.
– I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether he is aware that the boys undergoing military training in southern . Tasmania have not yet been supplied with overcoats, and whether he will take steps to have those articles provided for them at as early a date as possible ?
– I will bring the facts contained in the honorable member’s ques- tion under the immediate notice of the Minister of Defence, and will furnish him with a reply at an early date.
– I wish to know from the Minister of Trade and Customs if he will take into consideration the desirability of establishing a testing station for explosives within the Commonwealth?
– I desire to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether he will consider, during the next week or two, the advisableness of introducing a Bill to revise the Tariff in a scientific Protectionist direction ?
– The honorable member will recognise that his question involves a matter of policy. The Prime Minister will unfold the policy of the Government.
– I mention the matter in order that the honorable gentleman may not forget it.
– I shall not be taken by surprise.
– In view of the fact that about a thousand citizens who reside on Flinders Island have no means of cable communication, I wish to ask the PostmasterGeneral whether he will permit them to send wireless messages from the wireless station which has been erected there at the same rates as other citizens are required to pay for cable messages.
– I shall be very pleased to look into the matter, and to furnish a reply to the honorable member at a later date.
– I desire to direct the attention of the Postmaster-General to a report which appeared in one of the newspapers a few days ago stating that he intended to seek the assistance of an artist with a view to the preparation of a new design for a postage stamp. I would ask him whether the appointment in question has yet been made, and, if so, what is the name of the successful artist?
– Noappointment is to be made ; but the gentleman who submitted the design for which the late Government awarded first prize has kindly consented to see whether he can make any alterations in the design of the existing stamp which would constitute an improvement upon it. He called upon me in reference to the matter, and I asked him to undertake the work. No artist has been engaged.
– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General whether it is true that about the year 1907 a conference of departmental experts considered the question of steel engravings, and the printing of stamps generally; and, if so, whether the recommendation of that conference has been taken into consideration by him in connexion with the issue of the new Commonwealth stamp?
– I have not seen the report to which the honorable member refers, but 1 shall look it up as soon as possible.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether any communication has been received from the Imperial Government in regard to the Navigation Bill.
– I am not aware that any such communication has been received, but I will make inquiries into the matter.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether it is true, as stated during the late electoral campaign, that he said that if the Liberals were returned to power he would at once issue a proclamation repealing the sugar bounty and excise legislation unconditionally? If it is true, has the honorable gentleman issued that proclamation, and if the proclamation has not been issued, when does he propose to issue it?
– I did not make that statement during the late electoral campaign.
– It was used to the honorable member’s advantage in Queensland.
– I am much obliged to those who tried to assist us. The whole matter is under consideration, and I hope will be ready for decision within a few days.
– I wish to know from the Minister of Trade and Customs whether it is the policy of the
Government to renew at an early date the negotiations with the Government of Canada for the establishment of reciprocal trade relations? Those negotiations were recently interrupted.
– No decision has yet been come to respecting that matter.
Supply of Bricks
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs if it is a fact that a contract has been entered into for the supply of 1,000,000 bricks for the Federal Capital from India, or some other country oversea 1
– No such contract has been entered into by my honorable colleague.
– Seeing that the AttorneyGeneral is so strong an advocate of an amendment of the Constitution, will he kindly inform the House whether he intends to propose such an amendment during this session, so that the people may once more be’ asked to express an opinion as to the advisability of amending the Constitution?
– The honorable member has been l”ng enough a member of the House to know that the policy of the Government will in the ordinary course be stated by the head of the Government.
– I wish to ask a question respecting another speech of the Prime Minister. I hope that he will not say this time that he was inadequately reported. The passage to which I direct attention is this -
I should like to say one or two words about the question of Federation under the Crown.’ I do not know that I am a red-hot Republican - at any rate not one of those Republicans who say they will do nothing until they get a Republic. I believe the destiny of these Colonies will be that of a Republic, and whenever it comes I shall certainly hail it, if it does come in .a way which will meet the aspirations of the great bulk of the people.
Was the honorable gentleman correctly reported in the New South Wales Hansard in that instance, and, if so, and the sentences that I have read express his views, will he introduce at an early date a proposal for the amendment of the Constitution, so that it may be settled by referendum whether the Australian States shall become a republic forthwith?
– Before asking the question I wish, by way of personal explanation, to say that I have no desire whatever to embarrass the Prime Minister by referring to his Republican utterances. I wish to know whether, in view of the statement by the Prime Minister that he believes it would improve the harmony of Imperial and Colonial relations if the peop?e in the Colonies were allowed to select their own Governors-General, he proposes to represent to the Imperial authorities that the people would prefer as GovernorGeneral one of their own citizens, nativeborn preferred, but, at any rate, of long residence here. If not, will the Prime Minister support me in a motion I propose to move to that end ? Am I to understand that the silence of the Prime Minister gives consent?
– A Minister is not compelled to answer a question.
Examination of Rolls - Royal Commission - Honorable Members’ Allowances1 - Returning Officers’ Remuneration
– In In view of the fact that many complaints were made during the recent elections about the appointment of presidents, secretaries, touts, organizers, and general utility men of the Liberal League as presiding officers and poll clerks - men who were notorious partisans - I desire to know whether the Minister of Home Affairs will lay on the table of the House the correspondence between myself and the Chief Electoral Officer on the subject?
– I shall be glad to lay on the table of the Library any such correspondence.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether it would not be better if he permitted the motion, of which notice has been given, for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into matters electoral to be taken as an unopposed motion, and thus allow of the creation of that body almost immediately instead of deferring its appointment until next August?
– I seeno reason why the motion in question should not be dealt with in the usual way.
– I wish to direct the attention of the Attorney-General to a statement which appeared in the Argus a few days ago to the effect that an inquiry was being conducted either by his own Department or the Department of Home Affairs into certain allegations as to double voting at the recent general elections. The statement was made that the Attorney-General and the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs were making an inquiry into those allegations, and were causing packets, which had been already sealed by the returning officers and scrutineers, to be opened with a view to examining certain rolls.
– So that the rolls might be examined.
– Does the AttorneyGeneral believe that that step can be legally taken, or is the allegation to which I have referred merely another of the infamous and lying statements which have been made by the Argus from time to time?
– The statement contained in the journal in question is practically correct. Authority has been issued by regulation made by the GovernorGeneral in Council to every returning officer and to certain permanent officials in the service to open the sealed parcels of certified rolls - not the ballot-papers - with a view to conducting in each electorate an inquiry for the purpose of ascertaining whether,’ and, if so, to what exent, there have been duplicate votes recorded in respect of any of the names on those rolls. That is the area which the inquiry is intended to cover
– I wish to ask the Attorney-General what is his definition of “certified rolls”? Does he mean rolls which are certified to by the returning officers, by the poll clerks, or by the scrutineers ?
– The Electoral Act requires that before any election is held each returning officer shall make up a certified roll for each subdivision of his electoral division. That roll has to be compiled by him from the existing printed roll, and with it is coupled any amendments of that roll which he receives on notice from the Chief Electoral Officer for each State. These are the “ certified rolls “ on which the election is conducted in each subdivision.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral yet laid on the table the regulation under which certain departmental officers are now interfering with the rolls used at the last election? If not, when will he place it on the table?
– The honorable member refers, I presume, to the regulation of which mention was made a few minutes ago?
– That regulation was issued by the Department of Home Affairs, and, I presume, will be laid on the table in the ordinary course.
– Is it merely a comparison of rolls that has been ordered ?
– Yes; a purely m echanical com parison .
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral if the Department of” Home Affairs has the right to issue a regulation providing for the examination of the rolls ? If it can do that, cannot it also open and examine the ballot-papers? In my electorate some of the parcels were sealed with the seal of my scrutineer. Are such parcels to be broken open without the consent of those who sealed them?
– As there seems to be some misapprehension as to what is proposed, it may be well for me to say a word or two more on the subject. The intention is to conduct a purely mechanical comparison of the certified rolls. The examination will have nothing to do with the ballot-papers, which will remain sealed. The certified rolls, as I pointed out before, are merely the rolls which were prepared by the returning officer of each division, and used on polling day, the names on them being ticked or marked off as votes were recorded. It is impossible to say whether there is any truth in certain allegations that have been made, but I think that honorable members on both sides must feel it to their interest to have it ascertained whether there was any attempt to duplicate voting. The regulation merely authorizes the returning officers of the various divisions, subject to definite instructions issued by the Chief Electoral Officer, to compare the certified rolls.
– You are at the same time tampering with the ballot-papers.
– When honorable members are in full possession of the facts, they will not oppose what is proposed, but will desire that it be done. I assure the honorable member that there is nothing in the regulation authorizing the opening of a single ballot-paper.
– But it is proposed to open the parcels in which the ballotpapers are.
– I have seen the ballot-papers sealed up.
– If the rolls have been sealed up with the ballotpapers, those who so sealed them up did not know their duty.
– The parcels were made up and sealed. My scrutineers and other scrutineers have put their seals on them.
– It is contrary to the Act, the regulations, and the instructions to seal up the rolls with the ballot-papers. The Act and regulations require that after the voting the ballotboxes shall be sealed up, and that the various certified rolls, of which there is one for each subdivision of a division, shall be returned to the returning officers of the divisions, and sealed up by them in separate parcels. It is also required that the absent voters’ declarations, or the envelopes which have been opened to get the absent voters’ ballotpapers, shall also be sealed up in parcels and retained by the returning officers. The only thing that the returning officers are now authorized to do is to open the parcels containing the certified rolls. Under the instruction of the Chief Electoral Officer, they will also open the absent voters’ envelopes, that is, the declarations, but in no case will the inquiries reveal, directly or indirectly, how any vote was cast.
– What will be the value of the inquiry if it does not discover wrong-doers ?
– It is not attempted by this inquiry to ascertain who has voted wrongly, and it will be impossible to do so. This is by no means the only inquiry of the kind in which the Government are concerned, but the only object now in view is to enable Parliament and the country to know whether there has been in fact any considerable amount of duplicate voting, as to which I, for one, express no opinion whatever.
– If I may be allowed to say so, it is well that the Attorney-Gene ral has had an opportunity to express more distinctly and particularly what is intended by the proposed inquiry.
– The honorable member is commencing a speech. Is it the pleasure of the House that he have leave to do so ?
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear !
– As I understand the speech of the Attorney-General, it is intended that the rolls used in the various divisions at the last election - a division being an area returning a representative to this House-
– An electoral division.
– An electoral division of the Commonwealth. Is it intended that the rolls used at the last election shall be compared with the general roll or with each other to ascertain how many socalled duplicate votes may have taken place at that election ?
– That is right.
– I cannot speak of the legal power of the Government in this regard, but the procedure which I have in mind is a perfectly proper one, and has been followed in -many instances in connexion with State elections in order to ascertain whether there has been duplicate voting.
– Carried out by a proper tribunal.
– And often prior to the return of the writs. In connexion with elections at Gympie, for instance, we always followed this procedure, the Returning Officer there using a clean roll. My object in rising, however, was chiefly to point out that the explanation now made by the Attorney-General will allay a great deal of misunderstanding, and will be an answer to many of the outrageous statements which the press have made in regard to alleged corruption in Australia. The Attorney-General, speaking outside, has said - and he says now in this House - that he does not admit that any of the statements as to alleged corruption are facts.
– I say that I know nothing of them.
– I venture to say that Australia in this respect is as clean as any other country. I can speak for the Opposition in suggesting that the Government, by appointing a Select Committee, would be able to ascertain the facts more speedily than would be possible by other means, and that by clearing up the misapprehension, as well as the apprehension that exists, it would do a great service to Australia. I deny that Australia is guilty of any such corruption as has been suggested. The good name of the Commonwealth has been dragged in the gutter both here aud oversea by reason of misleading and outrageous statements.
– I desire to ask the Attorney-General a question in regard to the proposed examination of the rolls. I am very anxious that the rolls should be examined, and that there should be an inquiry, but 1 desire to know whether the Attorney-General will allow candidates in each case to have a scrutineer present ? It will be possible otherwise for the rolls to be interfered with.
– The suggestion made by the honorable member has been considered fully from all points of view, and it has been thought that, for the purposes of the preliminary investigation, it is undesirable to have present any one save responsible officers.
– At the investigations to which I referred scrutineers were allowed to be present.
– I have expressed the view held up to the present time. The investigation that we are discussing will be merely a preliminary one.
– Yes, but it is surrounded with suspicion.
– There is nothing to prevent the matter being reconsidered. The Government, however, are particularly anxious that no departmental inquiry of the kind shall be construed into an attempt, so far as the Department itself is concerned, to assist candidates in contesting elections. The inquiry ought to be conducted entirely apart from any question relating to election petitions. As to any further modification of our policy in this regard, I must ask honorable members to refer to the Leader of the Government.
– If the examination had taken place before the writs were returned scrutineers would have been present. The investigation would have been made by Returning Officers in the presence of scrutineers of all the parties concerned.
– Personally , if both sides of the House desire it, I cannot conceive that there can be any rational objection to the appointment of scrutineers representing all parties. That would involve a considerably greater delay . in dealing with purely mechanical work; but if this preliminary inquiry indicates that there has been, to any considerable extent, double voting, that is one of the matters which will have to form the subject of a fuller inquiry at which every one interested must have an opportunity to be represented.
– It will then be too late.
– As to that, whatever differences of opinion there may be on both sides of the House, I feel perfectly certain that honorable members generally desire to have the fullest and fairest investigation. Having consulted the Prime Minister, I can say now that we shall be very glad to reconsider the question whether scrutineers from both sides should be allowed to be present at the investigation, and that we shall be pleased to receive from the Leader of the Opposition, acting on behalf of his party, suggestions in regard to this matter.
– Have any of the rolls been opened and dealt with ?
– I do not think that they have.
– What is to stop any one crossing out additional names?
– I do not think it at all likely that anything of that kind would be done. If we assume that all the officers of the Department are rogues, that might have happened, but I think it extremely unlikely.
– The honorable member has no more right to assume that the people of Australia are rogues than he has to assume that the officers of the Department are.
– I have not assumed anything of the kind. But I do assume that the officers who were appointed to conduct the general” election under the auspices of the late Government mav be intrusted with the mere mechanical process of comparing the rolls. If honorable members opposite think that they cannot, then we shall endeavour to meet their views by insuring further security in that regard.
– I desire to ask the Attorney-General whether the examination of the rolls is being undertaken as the result of Ministerial order, or by virtue of a regulation? If it is by virtue of a regulation, then I would point out that a regulation made under the Electoral Act must be laid on the table of the House.
– I have already said that it will be laid on the table of the House.
– Then is the examination being made by virtue of a regulation?
– Yes. The regulation will be laid on the table of the House immediately.
– The AttorneyGeneral has just stated that he intends to lay on the table of the House the regulation under which action is being taken.
– It is not here at present.
– I do not care whether it is or is not to be laid on the table of the House during the next ten minutes. What I desire to ask is whether the Attorney-General is not aware that such a regulation should lie on the table of the House a certain number of days before action is taken under it. Are we to understand from the AttorneyGeneral that action is to be taken under a regulation which has not yet been laid on the table of the House?
– Yes; we have acted under the regulation in question. The Act does not require that a regulation made under it shall be laid on the table of the House before it is acted on; it simply requires that it shall be laid on the table within a certain period after the meeting of the Parliament. Whilst we might, if we choose, wait a fortnight after the House meets again before laying the regulation on the table, we desire to comply with the wishes of honorable members by laying it at once on the table. That will be done immediately.
– Does the honorable member think that a concession?
– I have been asked for it.
– I wish to ask the Attorney-General to answer a question in order to satisfy my peace of mind. Is the investigation to be conducted by departmental officials - permanent officers of the Federal Service - or by election officials who are also presidents of Conservative political bodies?
– H - Hear, hear; that is the danger !
– That is the danger which I fear.
– I am afraid that it would be difficult to satisfy my honorable friend’s peace of mind. The officers to whom the instructions will issue are the returning officers in the various electoral divisions.
– They are not all permanent officials.
– I am quite aware of that. Whilst the majority are permanent officers, some, I believe, are not. I am totally unable to inform the honorable member for Melbourne Ports to what extent any of those who are not permanent officials are connected with political associations of any kind.
– My desire is that, there should be a permanent official at every investigation.
– I am afraid that the honorable member cannot get all that he wants at present.
– Then the investigation will be corrupt.
– Am I right in understanding the Attorney-General to say that he will allow any candidate to be represented by a scrutineer at this examination? If not, I venture to suggest that scrutineers should be allowed to be present. Such a course would remove a great deal of misconception. Much future conflict will be avoided if, before any rolls are opened, each candidate affected is empowered to be represented by an independent scrutineer in connexion with the whole transaction.
– What I have stated is that the Government will be ready to meet any reasonable proposal made from either side of the House to afford the fullest opportunities to those interested to be represented at the scrutiny. It must be remembered, however, that there are some electorates in which there were more than two candidates, and that with regard to these there might be difficulty. Any suggestions with regard to this matter made by the Leader of the Opposition to the Prime Minister will receive the very fullest consideration. We desire to meet the views of honorable members opposite, and if the Leader of the Opposition is prepared to make a suggestion whereby representatives of both sides, or all candidates, may have a workable opportunity of inspecting this operation, I feel sure the Prime Minister will assent.
-1 think it should be done in the office in the same way as outside, before the papers come down.
– I desire to know from the Attorney-General whether it is not a fact that all regulations have to be laid on the table of the House one month before they may be brought into operation, and that, during that time, the House can take exception to them?”
– My answer to that question is no.
– I desire to ask the Attorney-General the straight question whether any of these rolls have been opened, and any comparison made up to the present time ?
– I cannot, as a matter of fact, say. . I think the Acting Minister of Home Affairs, who is in direct touch with the conduct of this matter, may be able to answer the question. I know that instructions were sent out, I think, the day before yesterday, to the returning officers, but whether they have been actually acted upon in regard to the opening of the rolls I am unable to say.
– I do not wish to interrogate the Attorney-General more than can be avoided, but I should like to ask him whether he or the Government issued the regulation spoken of, and which we have not yet seen ? Was it issued on his own initiation as Attorney-General, or was it issued on the initiation of the Minister of Home Affairs or any other authority ?
– The regulation was issued on the authority of the Cabinet after full consideration of the whole matter.
– In view of the heavy work of the returning officers at the recent election, I desire to ask the Acting Minister of Home Affairs whether some increase in their remuneration can be arranged for. I also desire to know whether, in connexion with the added work of the investigation about to be made, these returning officers will be suitably reimbursed?
– I shall be ready to make a statement on the subject tomorrow.
– A reference to finance by an honorable member reminds me that my parliamentary allowance was stopped for several weeks, and I desire to know from the Treasurer whether that was done legally. If the allowance has been legally stopped for several weeks prior to the poll, will the Treasurer take into consideration the necessity or advisability of bringing the law into line with that relating to the Queensland Parliament?
– The regulation applied to the whole House.
– The honorable member, I notice, has forgotten his question about the Ministerial expenses. Will the Treasurer take into consideration the desirability of altering the law in the way I have suggested, so that a member may be paid so long as he is a member, and shall not have his allowance stopped until he is defeated? I am sure the public or Australia would agree to that step.
– I think the law was carried out in regard to the allowance of honorable members. When they ceased to be members the allowance ceased, and when they were re-elected it began again. That, I think, has been the procedure followed always.
– Is the Treasurer aware that most of us were carrying on our parliamentary .duties during the weeks in which the allowance was stopped ?
– I think that most of us were then doing our best to get re-elected.
– Seeing that there is a a good deal of apprehension, and probably misapprehension, I ask. the Prime Minister whether it would not be better to allow this regulation to be unacted on until Parliament has a further opportunity to discuss the whole matter? Obviously to-day, owing to the understanding between the two parties, we cannot open a question of this kind, but I promise, on behalf of the Opposition, that the Government can have any inquiry they please; we on this side are anxious for an expeditious inquiry by a competent authority. The greatest suspicion, however, undoubtedly arises not only from what has been said outside, but from what has been done by the Minister, and we ought to have an opportunity in Parliament to discuss the matter.
– I cannot undertake to delay the inquiry, but I will undertake- to consider what has been said this afternoon in regard to the appointment of scrutineers. At the present moment I can see no very great objection; indeed, it seems to me that we might very well have a scrutineer present.
– I am afraid we shall have to fight it.
– Fight what?
– Fight this regulation.
– I am afraid my friends are “out to fight,” and I cannot stop them.
– I desire to give notice that on Thursday next I shall move that, this regulation be disagreed with. I take it that the Prime Minister will pursue the ordinary honorable course, and refrain now from acting under the regulation.
– I hope that my friends opposite will understand that this Government is here to do anything that the Opposition cares to ask it to do. So long as we understand that, we shall, no doubt, get on very well together.
– The question has been started from a political point of view, and it is going on in that way.
– I do not quite understand why the honorable gentleman will not allow this regulation to stand over until we have had an opportunity to discuss it. Where parties are so evenly balanced, it is a matter, clearly-
– Is the honorable member asking a question?
– I asked a question, and desire to say that I think we ought to have a very good reason, indeed, given why this regulation cannot stand over. The Government are asking for an adjournment, and, therefore, a good reason ought to be given why the regulation cannot be postponed.
– I should like to clear up this matter. I desire to say that the Government will do anything to make the inquiry a fair one - anything in reason that may be suggested. All that we desire is a fair inquiry. This is not a party matter, as has been suggested, and ought not to be a party matter.
– Let the electoral officers do their work.
– I tell the honorable member that this regulation was suggested by the Chief Electoral Officer. It follows, I hope, that it is a nonpolitical suggestion. That is the point which I wish to make clear. All we desire is to make the inquiry as fair, and at the same time, as complete and as speedy as possible.
– Then do not permit the rolls to be tampered with until that inquiry is made.
– We will make the inquiry d3 complete as possible, and as fair as possible.
– In view of the statement which has just been made by the Prime Minister - and I think it is the desire of honorable members opposite, as well as that of our own party that the proposed inquiry should be a fair one-
– I rise to a point of order. Are we all at liberty to make speeches upon this subject? Already there have been three speeches made upon it by some honorable members on the other side.
– Is the honorable member afraid of an inquiry? Honorable members opposite have been making all sorts of wild statements, and now they fear to make the inquiry a complete one.. They desire it to be of a partisan character.
– I regret that the precise member for Parkes-
– We are not going to have any hole-and-corner interference with the ballot-papers.
– I must again ask honorable members to preserve order whilst questions are being asked, and I would also appeal to honorable members in putting questions to Ministers, not to make speeches. If an explanation is required to make the meaning of any question clear 1 ask them to confine themselves to as brief an explanation as possible.
– I quite agree with your remarks, sir, and I hope that the honorable member for Parkes will take a similar view. Seeing that the Prime Minister has just stated that he desires an impartial inquiry to be made into the allegations respecting abuses of our electoral system, will he stay all proceedings until a Select Committee, or a Royal Commission has been appointed to inquire into those allegations, and thus avoid the possibility of any tampering with the rolls?
– I really must remind the honorable member that the Government must accept their own responsibility in this matter.
– I have to inform the House that I have attended in the Senate chamber, where His Excellency the Governor-General was pleased to deliver his opening Speech, of which, for greater accuracy, I have obtained a copy, but, unless honorable members desire it, I do not propose to read it. (For text of Speech, vide page 7.)
Motion (by Mr. Joseph Cook) agreed to-
That a Committee, consisting of Mr. Ahern, Mr. Patten, and Mr. W. H. Irvine be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the Speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General to both Houses of the Parliament.
That the Committee do report this day.
The members of the Committee retired, and having re-entered the Chamber, Mr. Ahern presented the proposed AddressinReply, which was read by the Clerk, as follows : -
May it please Your Excellency,
We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, beg to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
Motion (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
That the consideration of the AddressinReply to the Governor-General’s Speech, as read by the Clerk, be made an Order of the Day for the next day of sitting.
.- I quite appreciate the motion which has been submitted by the Prime Minister. It affords a most convenient way of getting over this preliminary Supply sitting. It means postponing the debate upon the Address-in-Reply until the House reassembles for the transaction of business after the proposed adjournment. Evidently the Government are not in a position to go on with business.
– The object of the motion is to place the House, when it meets again, in precisely the position that it would occupy now if we proceeded with our full programme.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Mr. SPEAKER reported the receipt of a message from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, recommending an appropriationfor the purposes of this Bill.
Ordered to be referred to Committee of Supply when appointed.
.- I move -
That the honorable member for Perth, the Hon. James Mackinnon Fowler, be appointed Chairman of Committees of this House.
In view of the obvious desire of honorable members to shorten our proceedings to-day, I shall not enter into a review of the qualifications of the honorable member for Perth, except to. say that we have, known him here for the past twelve or thirteen years. We have had many illustrations of his ability as a politician, and he has occupied the chair a great many times, where he has given us ample opportunity to judge of his knowledge of parliamentary procedure and of his absolute impartiality in that quasi judicial position.
– I have very great pleasure in seconding’ the motion submitted by the honorable member for Parkes. The honorable member for Perth is known to all’ old members of this. Chamber as a man who impartially and capably discharges his duties. He is well qualified to fill the office of Chairman of Committees.
Question put. The House divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I thank honorable members for having appointed me to this responsible position, and I shall endeavour to discharge its duties satisfactorily.
Motion (by Mr. Joseph Cook) agreed to -
That the Standing Orders be suspended in order to enable the Committees of Supply and Ways and Means to be appointed before the Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral’s Opening Speech has been agreed to by the House, and to enable all other steps to be at once take to obtain Supply, and to pass a Supply Bill through all its stages without delay.
Motion (by Sir John Forrest) agreed to-
That the House do now resolve itself into a Committee to consider the Supply to be granted to His Majesty.
In Committee of Supply :
– I move -
That a sum not exceeding£1, 687,967, be granted to His Majesty for or towards defraying the services of the year ending 30th June, 1914.
The Supply Bill, when passed, will provide funds for the ordinary services of the year from the 1st July last to about the 15th August, or a few days later - that is, Supply for a period of about six weeks. Under our financial system, it is necessary to obtain Supply at the beginning of each financial year, unless it has already been obtained, because when a financial year ends all power to expend money ceases. As Supply has not yet been obtained, we are urgently in need of it. About £3,000 is needed to pay wages and other small accounts, and a considerable sum will be required shortly for the usual mid-monthly payments. There is nothing extraordinary in this Supply Bill, the items being based on the votes of last year, and there are only two matters in it to which I need refer. In the first place, £45,000 is asked for to enable the Government to repay money received by them on account of the Pacificand Eastern Extension Cable Companies, and to repay money paid in error. This; is a usual vote. The sum of £400,000 for the Treasurer’s Advance is large, but. the money is needed, because until the Works Estimates can be laid on the table all payments for works and buildings have to be made from the Treasurer’s Advance, which is afterwards reimbursed. As these payments are getting bigger every year, I think that we shall have to review our system, and provide shortly for the introduction of a Supply Bill to cover expenditure on works and! buildings in addition to a Supply Bill to cover salaries and other expenditure. The sum of £400.000 is asked for now to enable us to expend money on works and buildings until Parliament has passed an appropriation for that purpose, but our expenditure will be restricted to works already approved by Parliament, or to regularly recurring expenditure on public: works. Before sitting down, I wish to say a word or two regarding the general financial position. The revenue for the? year 1912-13 was £21,878,000, which was more than the revenue of the previous year by £1,330,000, and of the excess, £842,000 came from Customs and Excise duties. The expenditure of the year was; £21,666,000, so that there was a surplus of about £213,000. The credit balance at the beginning of the year was £2,261,000, and to that must be added the surplus referred to, making the credit balance at the endof the year £2,474,000, which has been carried to the credit of the Trust Funds, the Old-age Pensions Account, and the Fleet Construction Account. The principal increases of expenditure during the year were £473,000 on defence, £448,000 on post and telegraphs, £413,000 on maternity allowances, £241,000 on new works, £200,000 in additional payments to the States, £143,000 on invalid and old-age pensions, and £95,000 on a special payment to Tasmania. There were some decreases in the expenditure, the principal being £499,000 on fleet construction, and £171,000 in connexion with the sugar bounty. At this stage, honorable members, no doubt, do not expect more than this general account of the finances.
.- The statement of the Treasurer shows that the statement of the Prime Minister, that the last Government spent all it got, and all it could lay its hands on, was absolutely misleading. At the present time a debate on the financial position would not be of advantage to the House or to the country, but the statement of the Treasurer must be a revelation to those who heard tho remarks of certain politicians in the country. There has not been a word said this afternoon suggesting misappropriation or wrong expenditure, but the Treasurer has put the financial position in the light which best suits his own point of view. Instead of saying straightout that when the present Government took office there was a surplus of practically £2,500,000, he stated that the credit balance at the beginning of the year was so much, and to it must be added the .savings during the year. His statement was quite correct, but he put the worst side out, so far as the Opposition is concerned. Had it not been for that, I should not have referred to the position which I occupied when he last left office. At that time there was a deficit of £451,000, although previously I had left a surplus of £600,000. These remarks are made merely incidentally, because the subject will come up later. It was not like the right honorable member to omit stating that the accumulated surplus in the Note Trust Fund amounts to :over £291,000. That is the money earned and in credit over and above the gold and securities held against the note issue. During the term of office of the last Government there was an accumulated surplus of over £2,750,000, or, to state the position exactly, after the Treasurer had paid everything he could pay up to the 30th June last - and I do not blame him for doing it - there was a credit cash balance of £2,474,353 in the Consolidated Revenue. In respect of the Australian Notes Trust Fund, the net earnings, after deducting all expenses, amounted to £291,025, making a grand total of actual surplus and earnings during our term of office of £2,765,348. That is how we left the Treasury. When we retired we left the Treasury replete in the matter of finance, just as we left the Commonwealth statute-book replete with measures making for the advancement and prosperity of the country. The Treasurer has said that he is asking for a large Treasurer’s Advance to enable public works to be carried on, and he has referred also to the difficulties arising from the fact that, until Supply is granted, the Treasurer has no power to make payments after the 1st July. I shall deal separately with those two questions. The decision that the financial year of the Commonwealth should close on the 30th June in each year was right and proper when it was arrived at, but when the Constitution was amended subsequently to enable senators to retain their seats until 30th June, ib was rendered constitutionally impossible for a new Parliament to meet before that date, in view of the fact that defeated senators would be able, in such circumstances, to take their seats. After a general election, therefore, Parliament cannot properly meet until early in July, and the position, so far as I understand it, is that no Government has any right to expend a penny from 1st July until Supply has been granted. It matters little whether the date of meeting is the 1st, the 3rd, or the 9th of July. Expenditure between the 30th June and the date of meeting may be necessary, but it is not legally correct. I hold now, as I have always done, that we ought to have amended the Audit Act to enable the functions of government to be carried on for the first month of the financial year. The reason why we did not attempt to amend the Act in that direction was that, oil each occasion that we put forward certain financial proposals, protests were made’ respecting our action, so that, had we taken this step in the’ interests of the country, it would have been spoken of as another attempt on the part of the Labour Government to interfere with the financial affairs of the Commonwealth. As to the amount that we are asked to grant in respect of Treasurer’s Advance, in order to provide the funds necessary to enable certain public works to be carried on, I think that, large as it is, it is necessary that it should be agreed to. I must remind the Treasurer and honorable members opposite, however, that on no occasion did I, as Treasurer, bring down such a proposal - even where the amount involved was not half as large - without- being challenged. In many cases I think the proposal was voted against by honorable members opposite, who were then in Opposition. I shall ask my colleagues, however, to take no such action on this occasion. The works to which the Treasurer’s Advance relates are necessary, and any Government elected by the people, and allowed by Parliament to remain in office, can be intrusted to properly expend it. 1 do not propose to discuss the question raised by the Treasurer as to a Works Supply Bill. I think that the existing arrangement is very convenient as long as the Treasurer and the Government take the House into their confidence, and tell honorable mem- iber3 freely and fully what they propose to do. I understand that of the £400,000 asked for about £100,000 is in respect of new works and buildings relating to the Department of Home Affairs; £108,000 for new works and buildings connected with the Post and Telegraph Department; £33,000 for new works and buildings relating to defence; £6,000 for new works and buildings in the Northern Territory; and £8,000 in respect of the Government Printer’s Trust Account. That gives a total of £255,000 for the month, or of practically £400,000 for six weeks. I think it advisable that there should be a small surplus in the hands of the Treasurer to provide for public works generally, and I therefore take no exception to the item in question. I regret that the Prime Minister is absent, because I wish to refer to words frequently use’d by him during the last general election - words which, corning from any ordinary person, would have been regarded as scandalous. As reported in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, of 29th April, 1913, the Prime Minister, speaking of the Federal Labour Government, said -
They have spent every penny of revenue as it came in, and every penny that they could lay hands on.
No such statement ever uttered by a responsible person - certainly not by the leader of a party - remains unwithdrawn after it has been shown to be incorrect, and if this is not withdrawn then no man of honour can accept, without verification, the honorable gentleman’s word, save in this Chamber, where under the Standing Orders we are bound to accept the word of an honorable member. Now that the actual position has been revealed by the honorable gentleman’s own
Treasurer, I think that he ought to withdraw his remark and to apologize. Unless we have some reasonable degree of honour, especially in matters of finance, we cannot hope to make any progress.
– Most uncalled for language.
– Any person occupying a representative position who makes such a statement, repeats it, and declines to withdraw it, can be readily classed by honorable members as well as by the people outside. The statement of which I have complained was made for political purposes. It could have been made only to mislead. When the present Prime Minister uttered it he either knew or did not that it was incorrect, uncalled for, and misleading. Immediately upon the discovery that it is not correct, the Prime Minister should withdraw it, and express regret for having uttered it. There is nothing more undesirable than that honest citizens should be misled, and thereby induced to exercise the franchise in a way other than they would have done. The Treasurer, if he chose to do so, could say, as the result of his experience in the Treasury, that he finds in connexion with it nothing that he would like to call into question. He’ could make that statement quite frankly if he chose to do so, and so relieve the public mind of the scandalous misrepresentation which has been indulged in to the detriment of the best interests of the country. I am confident that the Treasurer will make this statement when he is afforded an opportunity to do so. Whatever his political views may be I. am sure that he will be prepared to give the people this assurance. I am not one of those who believe that Australia has degenerated in respect of either the ballot-box or anything else. Whatever may be our political views, if we have in us a spark of patriotism we must admit that the people of Australia are as honest and straightforward, or more so; than are any other people.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported and adopted.
That the House will to-morrow again resolve itself into the said Committee.
Motion (by Sir John Forrest) agreed to-
That the House do now resolve itself into a Committee to consider the ways and means for raising the Supply to be granted to His Majesty.
Resolution of. Ways and Means, covering resolution of Supply, adopted.
That the House will to-morrow again resolve itself into the said Committee.
That Sir John Forrest and Mr. W. H. Irvine do prepare and’ bring in a Bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Sir John Forrest, and passed through all its stages.
– I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General a commission authorizing me to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to members hereafter elected.
Motion (by Mr. Joseph Cook) agreed to-
That, until otherwise ordered, this House shall meet for the despatch of business at 3 o’clock on each Tuesday afternoon, and at half-past 2 o’clock on each Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, andat half-past 10 o’clock on each Friday morning,
Motion (by Mr. Joseph Cook) pro posed - .
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday, 12th August next.
– I do not propose to debate the question further than to point out that the Government are evidently not prepared to go on with’ the business of the country. Some reasonable adjournment may be necessary in order to enable the Government to mature the immature proposals which they put before the electors. It seems to me right, however, that attention should be called to the fact that the Government have been cheerfully granted Supply, that the Opposition have agreed to the Ministerial proposals in regard to the Address-in-Reply - that, as a matter of fact, every facility has been given to the Government to do all things possible for going on with the work of the country - and that we are now offering, in the shape of a lengthy adjournment, facilities over and above those granted to any previous Government in similar circumstances . I trust that, when we meet again in some five weeks’ time,’ the Government will be ready to go on with the business of the country.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Mr. SPEAKER laid upon the table the following paper: -
Auditor-General - Special Report by - PostmasterGeneral’s Department - Recovery of £5,983 12s. 6d. under the provisions of section 152 of the Customs Act 1901.
MINISTERS laid upon the table-
Audit Act -
Transfers of amounts approved by the GovernorGeneral in Council - Financial year 1912-13, dated nth and 20th January, 5 th and 21st February, 19th and 28th March, nth and 23rd April, and 15th and 30th May, 1913.
London Account - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 59.
Treasury, amended ( Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 119.
Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act -
Regulations amended (Provisional) -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 233.
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 15 and 145.
Commonwealth Bank Act -
B a lance-sheet of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia up to 31st December, 1912.
Regulations (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 13.
Commonwealth Workmen’s Compensation Act - Regulations (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 39.
Contract Immigrants Act - Return for 1912, respecting contract immigrants admitted or refused admission ink) the Commonwealth, &c.
Copyright Act -
Regulations (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 96.
Regulation amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 172.
Customs Act -
Proclamations re exportation of certain goods-
Butter, with certain additional m atter.
Fruit, with San Jose scale.
Leather, with certain excess of glucose, &c.
Regulations amended, &c. (Provisional) -
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 14, 16,55, 102.
Defence Act -
Regulations amended, &c. (Provisional) -
Factories, Government - Conduct and management of, and employment of’ persons. - Statutory Rules 1913,No. 50.
Military College -
Reporton Third Entrance Examination, held November, 1912.
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 106,146. 147.
MilitaryForces - (Regulations) -
Statutory Rules 1912, Nos. 234, 235.
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 9.20. 25, 29, 48,49,52, 54,66, 74, 81, 83,85, 98,105, 107, 132, 138, 159, 160, 166, 168. (Financial and Allowance Regulations) -
Statutory Rules 1912, Nos. 236, 250, 251.
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 4, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 40, 41, 42, 46, 47, 51,53. 67, 82, 84, 87, 88, no, 111,133, 142, 144, 158, 165, 167,
Universal Training -
Statutory Rules 1912, Nos. 244, 246, 252, 253. 254.
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 6, 10, 19, 22, 23, 64, 65, 71, 75, 76, 77, 86, 99, 101, 104, 112, 113, 114, 115, 129,130,131,134. 161, 162, 163, 164.
Designs Act - Regulations amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 43.
Electoral Act - Provisional Regulation - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 45.
Electoral Act and Referendum (Constitution Alteration Act) - Provisional Regulation - Powers of Divisional Returning Officers in cases of official inquiry - Statutory Rules 1913.
Electoral - Darwin Division - Copies of correspondcnce re certain officers employed in connexion therewith.
Electoral - Divisional Returning Officers and Electoral Registrars - Rates of payment by late Government and rates previously paid.
Excise Act - Regulation amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 89.
Immigration Restriction Act - Return showing for 1912 - (a) Persons refused admission to the Commonwealth ; (6) Persons who passed the dictation test ; (c) Persons admitted without being asked to pass the dictation test; (d) Departures of coloured persons from the Commonwealth.
Lands Acquisition Act -
Land acquired under, at -
Abbotsford, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Adamstown, New South Wales - for Defence purposes, dated 1st February, 1913; 17th June, 1913.
Amungula, Federal Territory - for Federal Capital purposes.
Ariah Park, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Ashfield, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Balmain, NewSouth Wales - for Defence purposes.
Bellata, . New South Wales- for Postal purposes.
Bherwerre and Currambene, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Brisbane, Queensland - for Postal purposes, dated 23rd January, 1913; 28th March, 1913.
Broome, Western Australia - for Postal purposes.
Burwood, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Camperdown, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Campsie, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Chatswood, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Chiltern, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Colac, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Drummoyne, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Dumbleyung, Western Australia - for Defence purposes.
Dwellingupp, Western Australia - for Postal purposes.
East Melbourne, Victoria - for Commonwealth purposes.
East Perth, Western Australia - for Postal purposes.
Elsternwick, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Forbes, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Gawler, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Geraldton, Western Australia - for Postal purposes.
Ginninderra, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.
Gordon, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Guyra, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Hamilton, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Hobart, Tasmania - for Postal purposes.
Hobart, Tasmania - for Defence purposes.
Jeparit, Victoria - for Postal purposes
J ervis Bay, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Kadina, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia - for Railway purposes.
Kilcoy, Queensland - for Postal purposes.
Kogarah, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Kurri Kurri, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Leederville, Western Australia - for Defence purposes.
Liverpool, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Manly, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Many Peaks, Queensland - for Postal purposes.
Marrickville, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Maryborough, Queensland - for Postal purposes.
Mathoura, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Melbourne, Victoria - for Postal purposes.
Mount Gambier, South Australia - for Postal purposes.
Mirboo North, Victoria - for Postal purposes.
Noarlunga, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Northcote, Victoria - for Postal purposes,
North Kensington, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Perth, Western Australia - for Postal purposes.
Port Adelaide, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Port Augusta, South Australia - for Railway purposes - dated 21st February, 1913; 28th March, 1913 (three).
Port Lincoln, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Port Melbourne, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Port Stephens, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Queanbeyan, Federal Capital Territoryfor Federal Capital purposes - dated 1 2 th December, 1912; 23rd January,
Rockhampton, Queensland - for Postal purposes.
Roebourne, Western Australia - for Customs purposes; for Postal purposes.
Rookwood, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Ryde, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Smithton, Tasmania - for Postal purposes.
Southwark, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Tidbinbilla, Urayarra, Congwarra, Federal Capital Territory - for Federal Capital purposes.
Toowoomba, Queensland - for Defence purposes.
Waratah, Tasmania - for Defence purposes.
Waverley, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Winchelsea, Victoria - for Postal purposes.
Yerong Creek, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Young, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Land Tax Assessment Act - Regulations amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 69, 120.
Maternity Allowance Act - Regulation (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 58.
Meteorology Act - Regulations amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1912, No. 245.
Naturalization Act - Return of number of persons to whom certificates of naturalization were granted during 1912.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended, &c-
Naval Forces - (Regulations) -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 241.
Statutory Rules 1913, No. 72, 73, 97.
Regulations and Instructions for the Royal Australian Naval Reserve (M)-Statutory Rules 1913, No. 143. (Financial and Allowance Regulations) - Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 44, 169.
Northern Territory -
Ordinances of 913 -
No. 1 - Mineral Oil.
No. 2 - Birds’ Protection.
No. 3 - Registration of Births.
No. 4 - Encouragement of Mining.
No. 5 - Advances to Settlers.
No. 6 - Public Service.
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Stock Diseases Act (of South Australia) -
Regulations re dogs.
Ordinances of 1912 -
No. 13- Post and Telegraph.
No. 17- -Small Debts.
No. 18- Sale of Stolen Cattle Prevention.
No. 19 - Writs of Dedimus.
No. 20 - Distillation.
No. 21 - Fire Prevention.
No. 22 - Deserted Wives and Children.
No. 23 - Animal Protection.
No. 24 - Apprentices.
No. 25 - Pawnbrokers.
No. 26 - Gaming.
No. 27 - Inclosed Lands Protection.
No. 28 - Justices.
No. 29 - Companies.
No. 30 - Butchers.
No. 31 - Fencing.
No. 32 - Married Women’s Property.
No. 33 - Employers’ Liability.
No. 34 - Seamen (Foreign).
No. 35 - Justices (Fees).
No. 36- Oaths.
No. 37 - Liens on Crops and Wool, and Stock Mortgages.
No. 38 - Mercantile.
No. 39 - Partnership.
No. 40 - Life Policies Protection.
No. 41 - Bread.
No. 42 - Food and Drugs.
No. 43 - Vagrancy.
No. 44 - Police Offences.
No. 45- Bills of Sale.
No. 47 - Marriage.
No. 49 - Arbitration.
No. 50 - Stallions Licensing.
No. 51 - Supply (No. 1), 1912-13.
Ordinances of 1913 -
No. 1 - Supplementary Appropriation (No. 2), 1912-13.
No. 2 - Land.
Patents Act- Regulations amended (Pro- visional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 171.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations amended, &c. - (Provisional) - Statutory Rule 1912, No. 247 (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 17,56,57,68,91-94,118,127,136,155.
Statutory Rules 1912, Nos. 242, 243.
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 90, 103, 117, 128. 135.
Public Service Act - Appointment, Promotions, &c. -
Defence Department -
External Affairs Department -
Home Affairs Department-
J.G. Brown - Appointment as Draftsman, Class E, Lands and Survey Branch.
Bostm aster-General ‘s Department -
R.G. Ramsay - Promotion as Clerk, 4th Class, Central Staff.
Prime Minister’s Department -
A. P. Jeffery - Promotion to 4th Class, Auditor-General’s Office.
Treasury Department -
Regulations amended, &c. -
Provisional - Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 7,11, 34 to 38, 60 to 63, 78 to 80, 109, 124, 125..
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 12, 70, 95, 108, 121 to 123, 126, 137, 148, 149, 150 to 153.170.
Report (No. 8) on the Public Service by the Commissioner.
Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act - Regulations (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 31.
Seat of Government Administration Act - Ordinance No. 1 of 1913 - Animals and Birds Protection.
Surveys, &c. - Report of Conference (May, 1912) of the Director of Commonwealth Lands and Surveys, the SurveyorGeneral, and the Government Astronomer of New Zealand,and the SurveyorsGeneral of the States.
Wireless Telegraphy Act - Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 211 (provisional).
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 18, 116 (provisional).
Wood Pulp and Rock Phosphate Bounties Act - Provisional Regulations - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 100.
Sitting suspended from4.50 to 5.55 p.m.
Bill returned from the Senate without request.
Small-pox in Sydney: Quarantine Regulations - Inter-State Commission - Contract for Bricks.
Motion (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I regret that, owing to the state of quarantine which has been proclaimed in New South Wales, it is my duty to draw attention tothe position of affairs which now obtains there. It is very unfortunate that one cannot discuss this subject without, to an extent, challenging the advice which has been tendered by a medical officer, and he. the Chief Medical Officer of Quarantine for the Commonwealth. It will, I think, be recognised that a question of this character should be treated absolutely as a non-party question, and,. consequently, when I say that the appointment of this officer was due to a recommendation of the late Government-
– We accept responsibility for his appointment.
– He was appointed on the recommendation of the Public Service Commissioner.
– I must ask honorable members to cease these conversations across the chamber.
– I presume that this matter will be discussed in a non-party spirit, seeing that it is one which affects the welfare of many thousands of citizens of the Commonwealth. In any statement which I may make as to the means which have been adopted to combat the outbreak of small-pox in Sydney I do not intend to cast any reflection on either political party. But in case it should be pointed out by any honorable member upon this side of the Chamber during the course of the debate that the officer to whom I have referredwas appointed upon the recommendation of the late Ministry, I wish to say that that fact has no bearing on the question at issue.
– Why venture to make the statement, seeing that the medical officer in question was not appointed on the recommendation of the late Government?
– The honorable member is wrong, or is wrongly informed. The fact remains that, acting on the advice of this medical officer, a great city like Sydney has been proclaimed a quarantined area. I do not propose to deal with the disturbance of trade which is bound to occur as the result of the action which has been taken on his advice, and with the throwing out of employment of a large number of the poorer classes of the community. If it were necessary in the interests of the public health to take the steps which have been taken consequent upon an outbreak of small-pox, I presume that those steps would be taken, no matter what other means might have to be adopted to meet the want of employment thus created . But I take very great exception to the recommendation of the quarantine officer that practically compulsory vaccination should be adopted in the case of all citizens wishing to depart from Sydney for the other States’. If it be’ conceded that contagion is the only means’ by which this disease is communicable, I should like to know - seeing that contagion maybe carried in one’s clothes - how vaccination is going to afford the safeguard which is claimed for it. I have no hesitation in saying that the cost of giving effect to the recommendation of the Chief Quarantine Officer of the Commonwealth will bev very great, and that it will not afford that measure of safety which we have a. right to expect. Further, I have no hesitation in declaring that his action in recommending the adoption of such wholesale restrictions is quite unwarranted. In the first place, it will practically force vaccination upon a great many persons, and there is no doubt that many honorablemembers of this House may find themselves in the unpleasant position of havingto submit to vaccination whether they approve of it or not. I do not intend to discuss the question of whether vaccination is an entire preventive of small-pox or not. To my mind it is perfectly clear that one vaccination is not’ a preventive, nor, indeed, are two vaccinations. The position which was taken up by medical men in 1863 thatcompulsory vaccination was quite sufficient to insure the populatiom against attacks of small-pox has not been borne out by facts. Indeed, of recentyears that attitude has been entirely abandoned - so much so that in. 1896, when thereport of the Royal Commission which inquired into this matter was presented,’ it was made abundantly clear that no lessthan 122 unions or shires or towns under various health officers’ had absolutelydeclined to recommend compulsory vaccination, and had entirely suspended the operation of the Compulsory Vaccination. Act. It was shown that the biological changes which take place under vaccination are of such a nature that the specific contagion thus introduced into the blood if sufficient to insure immunity-
– Those changes are nothing like the changes which take place in the politicalbody.
– If the honorable member for Capricornia could be vaccinated with a little common sense, it might beconsiderably to his benefit.
– And he might obtain the calf-lymph from the honorable member.
– I donot propose tomake a jest of this subject. I maysay, however, that compulsory vaccinationisopposed to the best medical advice of the present day. So much is it so that the greatest biologists of the day-
– Could we not have this speechafter the adjournment for a month?
– In the meantime there is no saying what damage might be done under the direction of a health officer who is anxious - to meddle and to expend his powers in every direction. It is unfortunate that a young man, who is without previous experience, should have been placed in the position of Chief Quarantine Officer for the Commonwealth. I do not understand the action of the Public Service Commissioner in passing over our great cities, where experienced and capable medical officers might have been obtained. I contend that the recommendations of the officer to whom I have referred should not be allowed to influence the citizens of the Commonwealth to the extent of inducing them to go in for a system of compulsory vaccination. The more medical men understand this subject, the more they learn about bacteriology and about the laws of action and reaction, the more reluctant are they to introduce foreign matter into the body of any man in cases in which that course of treatment can be avoided. I am aware that it is done in the case ‘©f typhoid fever, but I submit that when there is no danger of contagion, if small-pox patients do not come into contact with others, the system, of isolation which has been proved efficacious . should be adopted. We cannot get away from the fact that when a person is vaccinated certain biological changes take place in his body. I am not going to argue whether those changes are good or bad, but, inasmuch as they are changes, one can well understand the argument of those men who urge that just to the extent to which they render him immune from small-pox they rob him of the power to resist other diseases.
– There are so many audible conversations taking place in the Chamber that it is impossible for me to hear the honorable member who is addressing the Chair. I must ask honorable members to converse in a lower tone.
– I quite understand that it is extremely difficult for persons of limited intelligence to follow my remarks. They will probably break in with observations which are not germane to the subject. I merely .wish .to point out that in order to . bring about certain biological changes, we are now’ asking people to submit to a surgical operation whether they like it or not-an operation the effects of which are as yet unknown. In the present state -of bacteriological science, it is not befitting the position they occupy for honorable members to support compulsory vaccination, and those of them who have not the time to study this subject for themselves should be the more willing to listen to those who can speak with knowledge. I do not pretend to possess the information regarding the matter that I should like to have, nor to be able to speak upon it as fully as I could have spoken twenty years ago, when I had more opportunity for reading upon the subject than I. have had of late. I say that men should not be required to submit to a course of treatment which may bring upon them very serious results. Dr. Russell Wallace, probably the greatest biologist in the -world, has pointed out that by methods such as vaccination changes are brought about in the human system whose effects cannot Be foreseen, and that what is gained in one direction may be more than counterbalanced by the loss in another. -The idea has been promulgated that the increase in cancer may be due to the weakening of the human system by the changes caused by the introduction of foreign organisms, though that view has not yet been supported by scientific evidence. But as, unquestionably, changes do occur as the result of methods like vaccination, we should not make those methods compulsory until they are supported by the consensus of medical opinion. So long as there is a difference between medical authorities, those who urge compulsory vaccination cannot be sure that they are in the right. If any man thinks that vaccination will give him immunity from small-pox, he is free to subject himself to it, but having made’ himself thus immune; he has no right to insist on other persons taking the precaution which he has adopted, because, whatever risks, they may run, they are risks from which he has safeguarded himself. Inoculation should no more be compulsory as a preventive against small-pox than it is as a preventive against typhoid, pneumonia, or diphtheria. No doubt, it is highly desirable that those who come into contact with small-pox patients should be vaccinated, but it would be unworthy of honorable members to force vaccination upon the whole community. I should, be the last to wish to do so. . The report of the Clinical Society’s Committee, which was composed of the highest medical authorities, was that “ isolation, even in the first appearance of the rash, may be practised with considerable expectancy that the spread of the disease will thereby be prevented and diminished.” In view of that opinion, it is surely incumbent on us to take that means to prevent and hold in check any outbreak of small-pox, but in doing so, we should take care not to put an end to the trade and commerce by which our people live, for of what use would it be to save life by stamping out small-pox only to starve those who were saved. In a report published in the Parliamentary Payers of the House of Commons for the year 1896, a Commission composed of some of the most eminent medical men of the day in Great Britain, men like Hunter, Dugdale, Hutchinson, and Collins, stated that “the dangers incidental to the practice of vaccination are undoubtedly real, and not inconsiderable in gross amount.” They recommended the abolition of prosecutions for non-vaccination, and supported’ a proposal for relief on the ground of conscientious nonconformity. They also showed that so long ago as the year 1700 Boerhaave, of Leyden, proclaimed the view now generally accepted that small-pox arises only from contagion . If the opinion of the Commission is a right one, isolation is an absolute defence, without the risks that have to be incurred, to however slight an extent, if resort be had to vaccination. Sir James Simpson has told us that isolation is the chief and leading measure for the stamping out of smallpox. In section 263 of the report of the minority it is set forth that the simplest and most successful method of stamping out small-pox outbreaks is to separate the diseased from the healthy, and to disinfect the clothes, the bedding, the house, and everything connected with the patient. ‘ According to Dr. Collins and Mr. Picton too little attention has been paid to sanitary organizations, prompt isolation, ‘ and methods of cleanliness and healthy conditions of living, which they thought of the first importance in preventing and controlling outbreaks of small-pox. Compulsory vaccination’ is so opposed to the best medical knowledge of the- present day that it seems almost an anachronism. Undoubtedly the introduction of foreign bodies helps to destroy the integrity of a healthy system. I have been vaccinated myself, and am therefore’ voicing no personal objection, and had I to run the risk of coming into contact with smallpox patients, I should probably undergo vaccination again. But we have not the right to compel others to submit to treatment which may in the end prove highly injurious to them. There is a member of this Parliament who carries on his arm the most marked and distinct effects of vaccination which he underwent more than twelve months ago. .Dr. Russell Wallace has pointed out that the introduction of new serum into the blood has brought about conditions which, being transmissible, may affect those who come after us. Herbert Spencer, after consultation with Huxley, and other great biologists of the day, expressed the opinion that changes produced by inoculation must interfere considerably with the resisting powers of the persons inoculated. This fact is surely worthy of the consideration of honorable members. In the report of the sanitary measures adopted in India in 1879-80, page 142, it is pointed out that small-pox is not a disease that can be controlled by vaccination in the sense that vaccination is a specific, although everything possible had been done to vaccinate every soul in the country. In the report of the Army Commission for the Punjab, page 186, I find these serious words -
Vaccination in the Punjab, as elsewhere in India, has no power over the course of an epidemic. The severity of an epidemic is more closely connected with sanitary defects than is usually imagined.
That is the opinion of doctors who have made a full inquiry into the subject. In a report of 1884-5, page 203, regarding Oude and the North-West Provinces, it is stated that, “ notwithstanding the existence of an active vaccination service, small-pox swept over the district just as if there had been no vaccination.” I wish to bring under the notice of the House the fact that among the measures to be taken now is, not the compulsory enforcement of vaccination, but isolation, and vaccination for all who care to submit.
– The honorable member is making a good speech. I am sorry the House is not in a serious mood.
– The House should remember that many honorable members may have to submit to vaccination if this quarantine is long continued. I am dealing with this as a matter .of health. A new science has grown up of late in connexion with which people are trying to confer immunity from various diseases, and it is a science that is absolutely opposed to vaccination. It is. known as anaphylaxis. Recently the science of anti-anaphylaxis has grown up, the object of which is, once the serum has been used, to try to bring back the body to its former condition. When we see bacteriologists busily engaged in an effort to restore the body, after vaccination, to its former tone, we ought not to lightly insist upon people being vaccinated contrary to their own wishes.
– Does the honorable member wish us to vote with him on this question ?
– No; I know that the House is very anxious to get away, but this is a matter of great importance, and I speak on behalf of a large number of people who believe that the Government’s advice is the best, but who, unfortunately, are being misled. It is manifest that the Government’s advice is not the best, but is absolutely opposed to what is being done in England. I have here a book on Infectious Diseases and their Preventive Treatment, by E. C. Seaton, M.D., in which it is pointed out that in certain parts of England and elsewhere compulsory vaccination is being altogether abandoned. The writer states that in Leicester Dr. Millard challenged the affirmation that an unvaccinated person is a danger to the community. This great authority admits, I think, that vaccination’ in his opinion is a good thing, and that all people coming into contact with small-pox ought to be vaccinated. He is the author of the article on “Vaccination” in Quain’s Dictionary of Medicine, but he admits that there is much in Dr. Millard’s argument that calls for the gravest consideration. Not that he desires to fight small-pox without vaccination, No one does. We have to be guided by the best scientific opinion, but until that opinion is all on the one side - until it all goes to show that without vaccination the risk of small-pox is greater than it is ‘where vaccination is followed, then clearly the public ought to be entitled to choose for itself. This writer states that Dr. Millard argues that-
The modification of small-pox by vaccination raises difficulties. In so doing he touches on some interesting points in epidemiology.
Recent outbreaks of small-pox are said to have been of a mild type. It has long been recognised, that the cases become milder to wards the termination of a widespread epidemic….. There is so much in Dr., Millard’s thoughtful and valuable contributions to the literature of preventive medical treatment that the writer of this volume is in accord with, that these remarks of his must betaken as suggestive rather than critical.
It is highly undesirable to enforce a system of compulsory vaccination such as is now being attempted when we find the greatest biologists in the world raising doubts as to the efficacy of vaccination. They point out that there are not nearly as many deaths from small-pox as. there used to be, although there’ are many thousands of people still unvaccinated. The number of unvaccinated persons has been growing since the seventies, and when we find that cases of small-pox are not as virulent as they were before, what are we to think ? Vaccination does not, as is generally supposed, confer immunity from small-pox.
– I K I Knew people, after being vaccinated, to die like rats in Western America.
– I cannot speak as to that, but I shall show what has happened in and about London, Leicester, and Sheffield.
– Give us some Scotch authorities.
– I can do so, but not now. Dr. Gayton in a metropolitan asylum in London, during the thirteen years 1870 to 1883, treated 8,234 cases of small-pox’ in vaccinated persons. ‘ Again, at Sheffield, in 1887-88, 5,035 vaccinated persons were attacked by small-pox. . It is because of these very facts that so many medical men are now arguing that there is no more necessity to vaccinate people against small-pox, except when they come in direct contact with disease, than there is to vaccinate against typhoid fever and pneumonia.
– Does the honorable member know how vaccination was carried put in the days to which he refers?
– We are told that, as far as human judgment goes, people were vaccinated properly.
– No ; they, did not know how to vaccinate properly in those days.
– If that be so, then the whole case for vaccination goes bythe board j since the drop in the severity of small-pox cannot be said tobe due to vaccination, inasmuch as the people in the old days” were not” properly vaccinated. We have ‘no evidence to support compulsory vaccination. As far as we know the system of vaccination in the days covered by my authorities was as successful as it could be to-day. If the honorable member means that it was attended with more risk than it is to-day, I agree with him. That vaccination is regarded as a great preventive, and that it does assist in warding off disease, is not the point disputed by me, nor am I arguing against it. .1 am not arguing against a man being vaccinated if he pleases to submit himself to the operation. If men wished to be vaccinated every day in the year, I would cheerfully vote the money necessary to enable them to do so, and, indeed, to pay the doctor to vaccinate them. But when we practically compel a large body of men to be vaccinated, as we are doing at present, we ought not to forget that Vaccination must necessarily be attended by some biological change, which is not yet understood or fully grasped: An examination of the lymph has not disclosed how the change takes place. Copeman says there is no doubt that there is some specific contagium in connexion with vaccination. That being so, we ought not to have compulsory vaccination forced upon us. Many have conscientious objections to vaccination, and seeing that it is a matter of contagion, and that it is doubtful whether the protection conferred by it extends more than three or four feet beyond the individual treated, is it not clear that the proper methods to adopt are those of isolation and disinfection? It is not right at the present stage of -science, to insist upon compulsory ‘vaccination. There are more deaths from diphtheria, typhoid, measles, and scarlet fever than there are from small-pox, and we ;are making a very serious mistake in proposing this wholesale inoculation of the community. This is a proposal to apply to the public a lever, the consequences of -which we cannot possibly foresee.
– What does the honorable member suggest?
– I suggest, as eminent medical men have proposed, isolation and, :if. you like, compulsory vaccination of contacts; or, if the contacts do not care to undergo vaccination, their segregation in quarantine for the period of fourteen days. during which the disease would be likely to develop. If that be done, there need be no isolation of Sydney. The ordinary trade of thousands of people will “be allowed to go on’ without hindrance. But whilst we are carrying on a system of wholesale quarantine we are destroying the trade of a great city, and depriving of employment thousands of men on the wharfs. Are the Government going to make any provision for these men while they are out of work? I think it highly advisable, in the circumstances, that some provision should be made for them. The officer selected does not seem to me to have acted with the judgment that is desirable. To show that fresh ‘ cases are being reported every day is to me nothing. There are fresh, cases of diphtheria and typhoid every day, and there are deaths from those diseases taking place daily. Yet we hear nothing of them. During the last six months more men have committed suicide than have died from small-pox during the last ten years; but I do not suppose the Minister would propose to inoculate against suicide, and force every member of the community to undergo some course of treatment against selfdestruction.
– There has not been one death from small-pox in connexion with the outbreak in Sydney.
– That is so. An honorable member last January showed me a case which I diagnosed as cow-pox, and the very outbreak which we are discussing may be one of varicella instead of variola.
– Order ! It has been the’ custom to suspend the sitting for dinner at 6.30, but if the honorable member will be able to conclude his remarks in a few minutes I propose, with the” concurrence of the House, to continue the sitting a little longer.
– I think that I have done well in drawing attention to this matter. We must not allow any young man, unless he is supported by the best medical authority outside, and leading bacteriologists, to enforce a system of compulsory vaccination. I should allow advice to be given, and, under certain circumstances, permit vaccination, but I would not enforce ‘the’ operation. I am prepared to admit that much, and to go as far in that direction as any health officer. There is no doubt that if I myself happened to come into contact with a small-pox patient, and I realized that it was to the advantage of the community to submit to vaccination, I should do so; but I would not undergo such a change in my body unless it was made clear that the risks incurred were greater than those
I face at present. It is, in my opinion, highly unadvisable to interfere with the trade of a great city; and we must realize that if such a regulation as the present one were universal there is not a place in the world that would not be in quarantine. The Labour party, no doubt, remember that when- they first took office in 1910 there were more deaths from small-pox than there had been for some time previously.
Sitting suspended from 6.33 to 7. £5 p.m.
– I had just about concluded when the sitting was suspended for dinner, and I now wish merely to quote further remarks from M. Depaul, who was superintendent of the vaccination service in France, where vaccination was compulsory. These remarks were highly approved by the late M. Lefort who was himself a strong advocate of vaccination, though not of compulsory vaccination. They are as follows -
A law to make vaccination compulsory seem? to me vexatious, ineffective, and impracticable. I cannot put out of my mind the offensiveness of such a law to free men; nor can I any more put out of my mind that the father of a family also has rights of which he can hardly be disposed to deprive himself, in order to intrust them to the Government. Still, if we could - not, indeed, entirely suppress smallpox - but at least diminish it substantially by violating this liberty, I could even aBsent to this, notwithstanding my repugnance ; but, as it is not so, I cannot assent to this compulsion.
I trust the Government will take those words to heart, so that a method approved by men all over the world may be adopted, and the trade of Sydney permitted to be carried on. Where such a method can be adopted without interference . with commerce, and in such a way as not to be offensive to a large number of citizens, we are entitled to ask the Government to take some other advice than that of a young gentleman who has had no expert experience in dealing with such matters. The mere fact that this young gentleman is the Director of Quarantine is no reason for imposing his wishes on so many members of the community Tt has been said that some of the authorities I quoted were rather old. That suggestion was made when T was quoting from the work of Dr. E. C. Seaton, but. T point out that that gentleman . is described on the title page of his book as an “ M.D. (Lond.), FRCP.. F I.C “, and also as Consultin!; Medical Office of the Surrey County Council, formerly Medical Officer of
Health for Nottingham, Medical Officer of Health and Public Analyst for Chelsea, and Medical Officer of Health for the County of Surrey, and the date of the book is 1911. The opinions of that gentleman, together with the opinions of others I have quoted, ought to carry some weight. When we recollect that it is shown that over 122 Boards, controlled by different medical men, were all against compulsory vaccination it is surely time we cried a halt, and did not insist on a surgical operation on people who, in manycases, have conscientious objections, and who, so far as we can judge, are supported by a very large number of medical men. The support of the view I havebeen expressing has steadily increased during the last ten or twelve years, whenthe condition of the blood, and so forth,, has begun to be more thoroughly understood and grasped than at any previous- time.
– This is a question which, I am sure, mud appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, as it does: to myself and other honorable members. Before offering a few brief remarks T think I may compliment the honorablemember for Werriwa on his action to-day. I must certainly say that when the flag: of Labour goes down I am glad to welcome an old friendly face, though I wish that, it were to be seen on this side of the House. It is clearly evident to thinking members that when the trained brain of a splendid advocate like the honorablemember, turns his mind to any subject,, he takes points which suit the case tobe supported. If I, by interjection,, sought information as to the date of theauthorities quoted it was not because I, for the moment, desired to impugn thegreat names he mentioned, for these stand like stars in the firmament of science. Thehonorable member was quoting from words, written in 1896, and I am sure he will’ agree with me that much water has run., under London Bridge since then, and thatscience has developed more in that period than in any fifty years previously. Forinstance, the X ray was hardly then known, and in America the fact that an organ can be taken out of the body of ‘ an animal and kept alive for over three - months, is a step unequalled in the history of medicine and surgery. I can remember - that in the days of my boyhood there were. many people in my circle of acquaintance -.- who were pitted with small-pox ; and yet, , during the recent election contest, at the thirty or forty meetings I addressed, I came across only one person so afflicted. It is said that in the French province of Canada there are more pock-marked people than in the whole Empire of Germany; and to-day, when the Government takes strong, firm action they follow the advice of expert evidence, and I compliment them on doing so. That such a step interferes with the trade and commerce of Sydney one must recognise and regret ; but I think I shall be supported by honorable members if I say that to-day the world is ruled by expert evidence based on fact. Even in the science of sociology the expert is used. If I desired to point to two nations that follow expert evidence based on fact, I should mention Germany and Japan. In Germany a case of small-pox is almost absolutely unknown, and for many yearns there has not been a single case in the German army.
– There was no case in the whole of England for some time.
– I am speaking under correction, but I think that in London small- pox is endemic.
– I think that for about six years there were only about thirty odd cases, and in one year none at all.
– The honorable member, I fancy, is speaking of the number of deaths from small-pox.
– Yes, that is so. Dr. MALONEY.- The honorable member will recognise that, with the advancement of science, the treatment of smallpox is safer and much more efficient, and that, therefore, the death-rate is now much lower. In France, on the other hand, a great difference is shown in this respect. In Germany the lamp of science burns brightly, and small-pox is unknown ; but we cannot say that of the French nation and army. A year ago I had a bitter experience; and in a statement 1 made to this House regarding it, I was supported by the honorable member for Franklin, and also by you, Mr. Speaker, who did not then occupy your present position. On that occasion we were supplied with lymph that was not pure, and, with true patriotism, we asked for Australian lymph. However, we were not so supplied, but were given a lymph of anything but a scientific nature. One does not give up the use of sugar because a grocer occasionally mixes sand with it. It would not be right to refuse to use lymph that had been properly provided. Under the system adopted in Victoria and by the Commonwealth Government, a calf adjudged by the highest veterinary experts to be a perfectly healthy animal has the lymph impregnated. It is then collected in glass tubes, hermetically sealed at both ends, because ivory and bone tablets have been discarded for this purpose. When the calf is killed, every organ, and even the hair and hoofs, are carefully examined, and if all are proved to be healthy the vaccine collected from that animal is permitted to go into use. If the animal is found not to have been healthy in any respect the lymph taken from it is destroyed. I may say that in New Zealand these precautions are not taken. The clever Japanese doctor in charge of the ship by which our party travelled from North Queensland informed us, and I was able subsequently to verify his statement from official reports, that those engaged in maritime pursuits in Japan, and who are thus most likely to become affected by the germs of this dread disease, are often vaccinated twice a year. I shall never forget the sight presented when the officers and men employed on the ship by which we travelled lined up to be vaccinated. It was shown as a result that there was not one, from the captain down to the humblest cabin boy, who was not immune. That was a great lesson to the members of our party. Across the narrow seas which divide Japan from China, and in the most completely free-trade port of which I know, such precautions to preserve the public health are not taken, and in 1895 there were 1,100 bodies in the British city of Hong Kong of persons who had died from small-pox, cholera, and plague. Is it any wonder, in the circumstances, that these diseases should reach this country. The Stars and Stripes that fly over the islands belonging to-day to the United States of America stand sentinel for us against the introduction of disease, as they may in future in time of national danger of another kind. In order to encourage commerce £100 is paid for every ship entering the port of Zamboanga; but if a vessel has called at Hong Kong every one on board must be vaccinated before being allowed to land, unless he has been vaccinated within a limited period of time. Every white person landing at Manila to-day must be vaccinated if he stays longer than twenty-four hours.
These precautions are due to the efforts of the keenest and finest brains in America to stamp out this vile and virulent disease. The honorable member for Werriwa has said that a greater number of deaths occur from typhoid fever than from small-pox. I grant it; but we have not the power at present to control typhoid that we have to control smallpox.
– Is it not a fact that one of the members of the honorable member’s party who was vaccinated with Japanese lymph was, four days later, able to speak the Japanese language, so successful was the operation ?
– In order to answer that question the honorable member should supply me with a glass of hot grog. The American and Japanese lymph is absolutely perfect. This was proved by the fact that an officer of .this House who slept in the bed which had previously been occupied by the unfortunate lady who brought the contagion to Australia was vaccinated on one arm with Japanese lymph and on the other with American lymph, and entirely escaped the contagion. I claim the attention of every honorable member who has an interest in Sydney while I refer to another matter. I am not speaking as the member for Melbourne, because I give way to no one in my admiration for the beauty city of the Australian coast. I never go to Sydney without anticipations of pleasure, and never leave it without regret. I think that if I were younger I would settle there. I wish to say that opposite the largest centre of population in Australia there is a quarantine station established, and if I could do so by my vote I should remove it to-morrow. Experts say that on a genial day, and there are many such days in each year in Sydney, germs of small-pox may be carried as far as three miles. Honorable members know that, upon conviction, criminals are treated alike, whether they belong to the rich, the middle, or the poorer classes of the community. A person sent to a quarantine ground is a prisoner against his will for the benefit of the community at large. But how are quarantined persons treated ? They are separated into three different classes.. A first saloon passenger can go anywhere, but if a second saloon passenger steps upon a lawn, or goes through a bit of garden, he is told to go away,. because he is only a second class pas?, senger. Mr. Mahon, a gentleman who. was an honoured and honorable member of this House, was ordered away from a. portion of the quarantine ground in Western Australia because he happened to be travelling at the time second class. I maintain that this treatment is not in accordance with the desire of the people of Australia. It is their desire that where men are confined in this way against their will they shall be treated on an equality, for during the time of their detention quarantined persons are the guests of the State for the benefit of the whole community. I lodged my protest in connexion with this matter with the ex-Minister of Customs, but I am sorry to say I got scant courtesy. This was not the fault of Mr. Tudor, but was due to the foolish instructions given by his advisers. These instructions were of such a nature that in a telegram I sent in reply, I said, “ I regret that your information is not only inaccurate, but is idiotic.” We asked that third-class passengers should be permitted to wash themselves in hot baths, and were informed that there were no baths there for ‘their accommodation. At a meeting of the saloon passengers, to their credit be it said, it was agreed that six baths would be sufficient for them, and there were six other baths which could be used, but the third-class passengers were not allowed to make use of them. I only speak of this in passing, though I hope that this Government, which has shown itself firm in this connexion, will take measures that will insure that the guests of the whole of the Commonwealth shall be treated on an equality.
– Has it not already been shown that the lymph, however pellucid, shows blood corpuscles ? Do you think that all the streptococci and staphylococci can be eliminated ?
– The question of the honorable member is very pertinent, and I shall endeavour to answer it as well as I can. Scientists do differ on that matter, but the majority of the wise men of to-day agree with my honorable friend, only they go further than he does. If he were a contact or in danger of contagion he would, as he has told us, be vaccinated. But although some scientists entertain a certain view, a small minority containing many of the brightest lights and a minority far enough advanced to have their opinions treated with great consideration, hold that it is not so; and at that meeting of the two nations I have mentioned, Germany in particular, and Japan nearly equal, they found great difficulty in dealing with the question. I hope the Government will go on and try to preserve the whole of this State from contagion. I hope the action of this Government, or of any Government that will fill those benches, will not cease in preventing the spread of disease. We are at the present time attacking diseases that too frequently were cloaked and hidden from the public gaze, but which I hope with wiser times the public are going to seize upon; diseases that are far more deadly in the victims they claim that even the dread small-pox. I do not wish what I have said to-night to be taken as a personal attack on my friend, Mr. Tudor. After all, a Minister has too frequently to utter words that are put into his lips.
– N - No fear.
– My friend is, perhaps, the living example of the one who in my twenty-three years’ experience of political life has ruled his Department the best.
– He thinks he has.
– I speak with a longer experience than that of the honorable member, whose wine is very good, but whose politics are the other way. I am sure he will agree with me that I am not speaking from the book, but with the keen observation of one who has watched the Departments for over twentythree years of political life. I said I would not take long. I hope the House will indorse the action of the Ministry so that the progress of a great city will not be impeded. What man says that the progress of Sydney can possibly be stopped ? I look upon Sydney as the New York of Australia, and I cannot see that any passing event such as this can mitigate or materially delay the development of this mighty city’s potentialities. The Minister who is ruling us in regard to this dread disease has followed expert opinion based on facts, and if he has to go further still, provided he is still following expert opinion, he can count on my loyalty and assistance in this House.
.- I can quite understand that the first duty of a Government is that of the health of the people, and I am not here to give my views on the question of vaccination, because I know a vast number of people differ upon it, but I must say that if it would save me from that dreadful disease of small-pox I would readily submit myself to vaccination. What I complain mostly of in regard to the action of the Minister of Customs is. the large area of 15 miles from the Post Office of Sydney being placed under quarantine. I have had some knowledge of dealing with the prevention of diseases, but I am not a medical man having to deal with cures. I say there is no necessity for the action of the Government in placing such a large area under quarantine. During the period of the plague that overtook Sydney some time ago only the small area in which the plague itself occurred was placed under quarantine, and when it was cleansed the people went on with their trades and callings the same as before, but now an area of 15 miles from the Post Office is under quarantine. If placing Sydney under quarantine means anything at all, it means placing three-quarters of a million of the inhabitants of Sydney and all their trade and commerce under the control of the Quarantine Department. I say, without fear of contradiction, that small-pox is not one of those dangerous diseases rendering it necessary to put such a large area under quarantine. In London, in the hospital where I worked during my apprenticeship in plumbing and sanitary engineering, there were 600 patients, and there were twenty-five being treated in that building who were under quarantine, the others going about their business freely all the time. I appeal to members of the House to think what will be the consequence to Sydney through being placed in the position she occupies to-day, with regard to those just outside that area and those inside, to her visitors, her trade, and interchange of commerce. Consider her food supply, people having to take the food supply into the area and to go back again. What nonsense it is to place such a large area under such a law. Dr. Cumpston has acted against the advice of Dr. Paton in Sydney. Dr. Paton is a man with large experience, and I am quite justified in taking some extracts from what he says about it. Dr. Cumpston goes to Sydney on the 3rd July, and interviews Dr. Paton and other medical men, and never intimates to them in any shape or form the consequences of small-pox. In fact, the medical men of Sydney have looked upon it not as small-pox; they have not been treating it as such, but as chicken-pox; and I think that the doctors who looked upon it as chicken-pox were quite right, because every disease of this kind has a cause. I have. in my mind the reason for it. At present, owing to there being no accommodation, and owing to the action of the landlords in raising rents to such enormous heights beyond the possibility of the ordinary tradesman obtaining a house, every room in Sydney is now a bedroom. Some rooms are fetching 10s. a week. Members can quite understand a mechanic not being willing to pay more than a day’s pay for the means of getting something to cover his head. But to-day some of the houses, owing to the very heavy weather we have had causing the people to close up the houses, have their outside walls so saturated with damp that they are not fit for people to live in. They have no other means of getting a cover for their heads. I saw Dr. Cumpston the other day, but, to my mind, he does not appear to have had any experience. He may have passed the necessary technical examinations, but he does not seem to possess any practical knowledge. One would think that when Dr. Cumpston saw Dr. Paton the other day he would have asked some advice, but he did not. “ This proclamation comes to me as a great surprise,” said Dr. Paton, the President of the Board of Health, last night, when informed of the action that had been taken by the Federal authorities. “ Dr. Cumpston, the newly-appointed Director of Quarantine, was here yesterday, and also Dr. Robertson, chief medical officer of Victoria. Dr. Cumpston gave no hint whatever that the drastic action which has now been taken was contemplated.”
To the surprise of everybody not one person connected with the Government of New South Wales knew that a proclamation was going to be issued. When anything occurs, or any business is done in connexion with the Federal Government in any port of Australia, an intimation should be made to those honorable members who represent the areas concerned, whether the business relates to a postoffice or to quarantine. I may mention that such advice from me was adopted by the last Government. I would have been ready to assist Dr. Cumpston by giving him the benefit of my early experience of small-pox in England. I would certainly have told him that he’ ought to have sought the advice of Dr. Paton before he took such drastic steps as he did take in relation to Sydney. Let me now read another portion of Dr. Paton ‘s statement -
If the proclamation is to be strictly enforced, it will cause a great deal of inconvenience to the public of New South Wales, which I am forced to say is, in my opinion, unnecessary.
No doubt honorable members will agree with me that it is a very serious thing indeed to quarantine the country within a radius of 15 miles from Sydney. I feel sure that it will take more than a year to allay the fears of the travelling public in other parts of the world. Every one will admit, I think, that it must take a very long time to remove the stigma which has been cast upon Australia by the action of the Commonwealth Government in regard to Sydney. I have tried to look up the authorities upon the subject. I find’ that in India such a large area of country as has been quarantined in New South Wales, has never been placed under quarantine at one time. In an interview I had with a press reporter the other day I remarked that if the country around Sydney for 15 miles is under quarantine the mails which go out of that city should be fumigated. The newspapers, too, should be fumigated before they leave the quarantined area. Let the Government cancel the proclamation and quarantine the various areas in which cases of small-pox are located. In some cases 100 square feet would not require to be put under quarantine, and then the properties would only need to be cleansed. After the cleansing operations were completed the places could be used for their ordinary purposes. In Stockwell, the most populous portion of Southern London, men used to work in the neighbourhood of a hospital which had 600 cases of smallpox in slack time, and 800 cases in a busy time. Nobody took any notice of the presence of small-pox in their midst, because they knew that the patients were being well cared for, and that there was no possibility of contamination unless a person sought to get contaminated with small-pox. At the spring of the year my children, when they were young, had chicken-rash. To my mind, no more danger is to be feared in Australia at present than is to be feared in the case of an ordinary child when it is teething or in the spring of the year. I believe that there has been too much hastiness shown at Sydney. I wish to inform the Minister of Trade and Customs that the medical officer for Queensland sent a telegram to the medical officer in Sydney and told him what he intended to do at the border before the latter had received any information. That seems a strange thing to me. Apparently this officer was very anxious to warn people outside, and to keep medical officers in New South Wales ignorant of the drastic action intended to be taken by the Department in regard to that State. I have tried to be as lenient as possible in my condemnation of the actions of the Government. I had no desire to start out so early in the session to condemn them, but I believe that, in consequence of this proclamation, they can be christened, and will be known in the future as the Government of blunderers. I think that they deserve that title for so unnecessarily bringing a large area round Sydney under the operation of the Quarantine Act. This scaring of the people of that city is worse than the disease itself. This afternoon I asked the Minister if he was prepared to cancel the proclamation, and to do the same as was done when the plague occurred in Sydney some years ago, and that is to quarantine only the infected areas. If the Minister will take that course, I think that he will assist to allay some of the fears of the people. According to the telegrams which have appeared in the press for the last four or five days steamers bound north and south are passing Sydney ; in fact, steamers are keeping away from Sydney, as though it was visited with some pestilence, as though they feared the inhabitants of the place, when there is really no necessity to keep away. Passenger boats are going down the coast as far as Newcastle, where the pasengers land and take the train to Sydney. Our Queensland friends will not be able to go in to Sydney. But there is no more danger to be run by a person in going to Sydney at the present time than in going to Melbourneor London. There is no danger at all ; and yet if a person who is travelling calls at the house of a friend in Sydney, he has to be vaccinated, and cannot leave for seven or eight days.
– I left on Monday.
– The term may be only four days, but the point is that there is no necessity for it at all. The present condition of things in Sydney is simply owing to the high rents prevailing there. I am quite sure that if the honorable member for North Sydney were sitting on this side of the House, we should hear his voice for an nour in protest against the present state of things; and when he raises his voice it is loud enough to be heard at the post-office in Bourke-street. The honorable member, however, seems to be prepared to swallow the mistakes made by this Government, of which he is - I cannot say a prominent supporter, because he appears to be one of their tail.
Colonel Ryrie. - I rise to order. I could not hear distinctly what the honorable member for East Sydney said, but 1 understand he was abusing me, and I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to make him withdraw the remark he made.
– If the honorable member for North Sydney will state in what way he was abused, and will mention the words of which he complains, 1 will ask the honorable member for East Sydney to withdraw them.
Colonel Ryrie. - I believe that the honorable member referred to me as being “ the tail of the Ministry.” I distinctly object to being called the tail of anything.
– If the remark of the honorable member for East Sydney is considered offensive, 1 ask him to withdraw it.
– I will withdraw the tail. I am delighted to think that I have drawn the honorable member. I do trust that the Government will give consideration to the remarks I have made about the condition of things ‘in Sydney, will take the earliest steps to afford relief, and will, in future, carry out a sane and proper system of administration.
.- So many questions were asked at the commencement of the proceedings to-day that I overlooked one very important matter. I wish to know from the Prime Minister whether he has considered the question of the appointment of the Inter-State Commission, and whether he will afford the House an opportunity of expressing approval, or disapproval, of theappointments before finally making them ? May I add that I am sorry that the Government which has lately vacated the Treasury bench did not make the appointments when they had an opportunity
– Was the honorable member in the running?
– No; but I believe that they would have been very good appointments. I trust that the Prime Minister will take into consideration the appointments which the late Government intended to make, if they left any record of them.
– Can the honorable member tell us what they were?
– If the late Government left any indication of their wishes, I hope that they will be considered. I do not think that it is possible nowadays to obtain the services of men who have no political opinions. Every one who has any intelligence must have political opinions one way or the other. 1 do not believe that it would be possible for the Government to select three men who were totally free from political bias. I trust that the Government will not make appointments from persons of only one political colour, but will endeavour to appoint the very best men they can obtain.
– How would the honorable member for Parkes suit?
– I have a great admiration for the honorable member for Parkes, but I should not like to express an opinion on that point just now. There is another question which I wish to ask. I should like to know from the present Minister of Home Affairs, or from the ex-Minister, whether there is any truth in the statement published in the press that a contract was let by the Home Affairs Department for the making of a million bricks, and that the tender of an Indian firm was accepted ? If the ex-Minister of Home Affairs is present, perhaps he can answer the question.
– It has already been stated that there is no truth in that report.
– I beg pardon; I did not know that the question had been answered.
.- I should like to state in the beginning that, in the matter affecting the spread of a dread disease, the State health authorities have been acting in harmonious cooperation with the Federal authorities. The practice has been for some time past for the heads of the Health Departments of the States and the Federal Quarantine Department to co-operate as far as possible in all matters affecting the public health. In the particular matter that has been raised to-day, what happened was this: On about the 24th June a conference was being held in Melbourne, at which Dr. Paton was present. At that time it was intimated that a disease had broken out in Sydney, and that it was considered advisable for Dr. Paton to return at once to that city. The Federal Quarantine Department, immediately cooperated with him, providing him with something like 600 tubes of calf lymph, and also informed him that the Commonwealth Quarantine Station in Sydney would be placed at his disposal. Dr. Paton went to Sydney, and after he arrived there, in reply to a request made, a telegram was sent to him advising him that our station in Sydney was at his disposal. On Tuesday, 1st July, a message came through from Dr. Reid informing us that it had been reported that the outbreak in Sydney was undoubtedly one of small-pox. The matter was reported to me immediately. I at once gave instructions for the Director of Quarantine to proceed to Sydney. He went that evening, arriving in Sydney on the Wednesday. He had a consultation with Dr. Paton, lasting some time, and on the 2nd July a telegram was despatched by him to all the heads of Health Departments, or similar authorities, in the other States of Australia, as follows: -
Have consulted Dr. Paton concerning present outbreak small-pox Sydney. Outbreak is definitely of low virulence and low infectivity, and appears to be well under control. As the Commonwealth has now under Quarantine Act the responsibility of controlling Inter-State traffic, and as desirability of working in complete co-operation is obvious, would be glad learn what you desire in order to protect your State before taking action. Have sent identical wire each State, and would be glad if no action taken in your State till all replies received. Am returning to Melbourne to-morrow evening.
That shows that the Commonwealth and State authorities were acting in harmonious co-operation. The telegram in question was sent after consultation with Dr. Paton.
– But it does not say what Dr. Paton suggested.
– Telegrams were despatched to the different States, and replies were received from all with the exception of one. In some instances the States made recommendations. Victoria did not reply on the Wednesday, but, instead of replying, its Government sent over to Sydney Dr. Robertson, the head of the Health Department here. Dr. Robertson, in consultation with Dr. Paton and the Director of Quarantine - I think that Dr. Taylor, of the Railway Department, was also present - discussed the steps that ought to be taken in order to regulate Inter-State traffic. Dr. Robertson arrived in Sydney to consult with Dr. Paton, and measures for the control of Inter-State traffic were discussed by them. It was agreed that practical measures, which at thesame time would afford a reasonable degree of safety, should be adopted - that all passengers coming on or through Sydney should be successfully vaccinated before leaving Sydney, and should report themselves on arrival at their destinations. Dr. Taylor, of the Railway Department, was present during part of the discussion, and was made cognisant of the proposals to which we intended to give effect. That was after the arrival of Dr. Robertson from Melbourne. In the meantime the officers had been working quite harmoniously, and Dr. Paton had had placed at his disposal the hospital and any assistance which could be given him. On Thursday we. received a message from the Director of Quarantine, informing us that it would be necessary to have a proclamation issued. It is quite possible that in the rush of business one of the officers may have misunderstood the exact legal procedure to be followed in the matter, but the report made to me was that the officers had discussed it and the regulations, and that the procedure to be adopted had been explained. Late on Thursday afternoon the message came to hand that, owing to the condition of affairs in Sydney, it would be necessary to prepare certain documents and to have everything in readiness. On Friday I gave instructions that everything should be got in readiness, and on that afternoon the Director of Quarantine arrived, and made his report to me. That report, while not of a nature to create a scare, was of such a character that I felt that a serious responsibility was placed on the Department. I felt that it was essentia] that we should take immediate steps on the lines which had been discussed in New South Wales, to assume control of Inter-State traffic.
– That was contrary to the opinion of the local medical officers.
– My honorable friend is quite wrong; there must have been some misunderstanding. Judging by the first statement made, it is probable the Sydney Health Officer had conceived the idea from some unofficial message that we were going to isolate Sydney from the rest of New South Wales by putting practically a ring fence round it.
– There is no half-way house.
– Will the honorable member allow me to explain ? It became necessary to prepare the proclamation and to draft the regulations. In order to make the regulations controlling InterState traffic effective, it was, first of all, necessary to proclaim a definite quarantine area. The authorities advised us that 15 miles from the General Post Office, Sydney, was a correct radius to fix, and the necessity for that radius was to be found in the fact that outbreaks of the disease had occurred at widely-scattered points in various parts of the city. The wisdom of our action has been proved by the circumstance that shortly afterwards one case was discovered 13 miles out of Sydney. That the doctor’s advice was sound is shown by the fact that to-night I have received a report that up till 5.20 p.m. yesterday the total number of cases discovered was 123, and that since then an additional thirty-four cases have occurred, making a total of 157. Seeing that the disease was scattered over such a wide area, I had to be guided by the advice of my expert officers. The whole of the action which has been taken was based upon the necessity for adopting precautionary measures for the protection of the rest of Australia. The proclamation had to be issued. The first proclamation did not quarantine Sydney in the sense of completely isolating it. All that it did was to declare that an area within a radius of 15 miles of the General Post Office should be a quarantine area, and that all persons and goods in that area should be under quarantine for the general purposes of the law. Upon that proclamation was based the regulation which applied to persons journeying from Sydney to the other States. Honorable members know that under the Quarantine Act the Commonwealth possesses very wide powers. The whole duty of quarantine throughout Australia has by law passed to the Commonwealth. But the Commonwealth authorities are only exercising so much of the powers conferred upon them as are necessary to safeguard the other States; and also so much, of course, as the State of New South Wales desires us to exercise in complete cooperation with them. The State authorities in New South Wales have undertaken the entire control of the disease in the city of Sydney itself. As regards goods, the regulation does not affect them. The new regulation which was made dealt only with -persons. In substance it required that all persons journeying from or through Sydney to the other States should obtain a certificate of successful vaccination and report themselves to the health authorities on their arrival, so that their cases might be properly followed.
– How long does it take to get a certificate of successful vaccination?
– About seven days. But that does not mean that everybody must be newly vaccinated. “ Successful vaccination,” as defined by the regulations, means vaccination within a period of five years.
– Apparently the authorities are allowing people to pass out of their purview immediately after they have been vaccinated.
– But those persons are under complete quarantine surveillance.
– Does the honorable member refer to contacts?
– No ; to ordinary travellers. When a man gets a certificate he signs a declaration which brings him under complete quarantine surveillance. The proclamation w-is issued at about half-past 6 on Friday night, and on Saturday morning the following telegram was despatched to the Prime Ministers of the States -
Concerning small-pox epidemic, Sydney, as regulate Inter-State traffic provided for Quarantine Art, certain Proclamations and Regulations have been issued. Your attention invited section 11 above Ar:t, where co-operation between States and Commonwealth in such emergency provided for. Desire this cooperation to fullest extent. Proclamation and’ Regulation provide for control of traffic and Application provisions Quarantine Act and Regulations regarding land and sea traffic. In order to give necessary le«al power under Quarantine .A’-t- nil Medical Officers appointed under State Health Acts have been proclaimed as Quarantine Officers.
Regulations provide for vaccination all passengers before leaving Sydney and necessity reporting themselves Health Departments on arrival in State of destination. Trust your Health Department will co-operate fully, otherwise ineffective. Suggest direct communication between Health Department and Quarantine Department be authorized to enable them to adjust details.
We received replies from other States, and this, reply has also been received from New South Wales -
Re Dr. Cumpston’s telegram to Health authorities regarding issue of vaccination certificates railway passengers, Chief Railway Commissioner reports absolutely impossible undertake responsibility, as circumstances connected booking passengers render request absolutely impracticable, even assuming Chief Commissioner had authority ask for certificates. Authentication holder certificate Railway Department already notified public that necessary Inter-State travellers furnish themselves vaccination certificate; difficulties appear to me very real; possibly some other method can be devised meet your wishes which subject Chief Commissioner’s objections will be very glad consider, and if possible carry out.
We were advised last night by the Victorian authorities that some difficulty had arisen, and steps were taken to assist the State authorities. I have just received a report from the Director saying that arrangements have been made under which the examination of certificates at Wodonga and Wallangarra will be carried out from to-morrow.
– How was the 15-mile radius arrived at ?
– The disease was manifesting itself in different parts of Sydney, and we could not say where it would not break out next; consequently the officers advised that a radius of 15 miles should be fixed for the delimitation of the infected area, and subsequent outbreaks have justified that step. We can only be guided by expert advice. Nothing has been done under the impulsion of a scare, but each step has been calmly and deliberately taken. Our officers have kept in close consultation with the State authorities throughout Australia, and have co-operated harmoniously with then? , the harmony still existing. We have taken such steps as were deemed necessary, on the advice tendered, to safeguard Australia from the spread of the disease.
– Has any effort been made to disseminate information to householders so that the disease may be recognised when it occurs in a family 1
– In New South Wales the State authorities are. dealing with the whole matter, and, bo far as we can see, coping with it effectively. When a case occurs steps are immediately taken to isolate it, and, if necessary, to fumigate all goods within a certain area.
– Will the Government assist those whom the scare has put out of employment?
– Our immediate object is to act harmoniously with the authorities of the States in trying to prevent the spread of the disease. The measures which we have taken on expert advice regarding both sea and land traffic are working smoothly, and we trust will prove effective. The indications are that the New South Wales authorities are keeping the disease under control. There is no need for a scare, and the only desire of the Government is to exercise the power of the Commonwealth in the interests of the health of Australia as a whole.
– Is it proposed to fumigate goods?
– That matter is at present being dealt with by the New South Wales authorities. Wherever goods are infected, or liable to infection, provision is being made for their fumigation, and I understand that the mails are being fumigated. The outbreak being so widespread, all necessary precautions are to be taken to check it. The matter to which the honorable member for Maribyrnong has referred will be brought under the notice of the Director, who, no doubt, will consult with the State authorities regarding the honorable member’s suggestion should he deem it necessary. Regarding the remarks of the honorable member for Werriwa concerning the qualifications of the Director of Quarantine,’ let me say that I take full responsibility for the appointment of the gentleman who fills the position, though he was recommended to the Department before I assumed office, and had the last Government continued in power, it is probable that he would have been appointed by my predecessor. On the qualifications submitted to me, I felt justified in recommending the appointment of Dr. Cumpston as thoroughly competent for the position. As to the supply of lymph, the Commonwealth authorities have, from the inception, realized that a heavy demand might be made, and have been working night and day to meet the requirements of Australia.
I wish, in conclusion, to emphasize the point that there is no cause to believe that there is any friction between the officers of the Commonwealth and the States. As a matter of fact they are working in complete harmony and sympathy and With the determination to do their very best, in the interests of the public, to prevent the spread of the disease.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 8.66 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 July 1913, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1913/19130709_reps_5_70/>.