House of Representatives
10 January 1918

7th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon.W. Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 2894


New Administration

Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General · Bendigo · NAT

[2.81). - His Excellency the GovernorGeneral has been good enough to ask’ me to accept a commission to form a new Government, and. I have done so, but as neither my colleagues nor I have yet been sworn in, I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that you now leave the chair until about half -past 4 o’clock.


– If it be the pleasure of the honorable members, I shall leave thechair until I receive an intimation from the Prime Minister that he is ready to meet the House. The bells will be rung five minutes before the re-assembling.

Sitting suspended from2.32 p.m: to 4.35 p.m.

page 2894


Prime Minister and Attorney-General · Bendigo · NAT

– As I informed honorable members yester- ttav, the late Government placed its resignation in the hands -of the GovernorGeneral. It is only necessary at this moment to say that, consequent upon- the result of the referendum, the Government considered it Its duty to resign unconditionally, and to offer no advice to His .Excellency. The circumstances under which the ‘ resignations were made and subsequent steps taken by His Excellency to form a Government -have already been made public, and ‘it is not . my present intention to refer to them any further than to lay upon the .table a memorandum by His Excellency setting out the views of the Governor-General. <,

His Excellency has been pleased to intrust me with a commission to form a new Government, and I have now to announce its personnel: -

Prime Minister and Attorney-General - The Right Honorable William Morris Hughes, P.C

Minister of State for the Navy - The Hight Honorable Joseph Cook, P.C.

Treasurer - The Right Honorable Sir John Forrest, P.C, G.C.M.G

Minister of State for Defence - Senator the Honorable George Foster Pearce.

Minister ;of State for Repatriation - Senator the Honorable Edward .Davis Millen.

Minister of. State for Works and Railways - The Honorable William .Alexander Watt

Minister’ of State for Home and Territories - The Honorable Patrick McMahon Glynn,- K.C.

Minister of State for Trade and Customs - -The Honorable Jens August Jensen

Postmaster-General - The Honorable William Webster

Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council - The Honorable Littleton Ernest Groom .

Honorary Minister - Senator the Honorable Edward John Russell.

Supply for public and war services is urgent, and you will be asked to authorize the necessary provision.

My experience in the government of this country leads me to the conclusion that certain changes in the Government must be made in the near future with a view to strengthening it and making it more efficient to meet the increasing pressure of war duties and those economic and-ether conditions arising out -of the.war.

The Government’s one desire is tobend all its energies to enabling Australia to do its duty in this great war,, and to grapple with those infinitely complex and difficult ‘domestic problems that now confront us, and it earnestly invitesthe co-operation and assistance of theParliament -and the people.

The Government intends to meet Parr liament. before the expiration of the proposed Supply, when the Government proposals, together with its immediatepolicy, will be submitted.

His Excellency the Governor-General has placed in my hands, and requested me ‘to present to the House, a memorandum, to .which I have already referred, and which I now desire to place before, the House. It reads -

Commonwealth of Australia

Governor-General, 9th January, 1918

On the Sth of January the PrimeMinister waited on the GovernorGeneral and tendered to him his resignation.. In doing so Mr. Hughes offered no ad.vice as to who should be asked to form an Administration.

The Governor-General considered that . it was his paramount duty (a) to make provision for carrying >oh the business* of the country in accordance with> the principles of parliamentary government, (&) -to avoid a ‘situation arising which must lead to a further appeal tothe country within twelve months of an. election resulting in the return of tv.0Houses of .similar political complexion, ‘ which are still working in unison. The Governor-General was also of the opinion that ki .granting a ‘Commission for the formation of a new Administration; his .choice must be determined solely by the parliamentary situation. Any other course would be a departure from constitutional practice, and an infringement of the rights of Parliament. In the absence of such parliamentary indicationsas are given by a defeat of the Govern.ment in Parliament,’ the GovernorGeneral endeavoured to ascertain what the situation was by seeking information from representatives of all sections of the House with a view to determining where the majority lay, and what prospects there were of forming an alternative Government.

As a result of these interviews, in which the knowledge and views of all those he consulted were most freely and generously placed at his service, the GovernorGeneral was of opinion that the majority of the National party was likely to retain its cohesion, and that therefore a Government having the promise of stability could onlybe formed from that section of the House. Investigations “failed to elicit proof of sufficient strength in any other quarter. It also became clear to him that the leader in the National party, who had the best prospect of securing unity among his followers and of therefore being able to form a Government having, those elements of permanence so essential to the conduct of affairs during war, was the Right Honorable W. M. Hughes, whom the Governor-General therefore commissioned to form an Administration.

page 2896



– I desire to give notice that I shall, at the earliest opportunity, submit the following motion : -

That the House protests against -

the repudiation of the pledges of the Prime Minister and other Ministers;

the political persecution of public men and other citizens, and the press, under the War Precautions Regulations during the recent referendum campaign;

the deprivation of statutory electoral rights of Australian-born citizens by regulation behind the back of Parliament;

the general administration of public affairs; and wishes toinform His Excellency the GovernorGeneral that the Government does not possess the confidence of the people of Australia.

page 2896



Payments : Supply of Sacks: Loss through Pests.


– Has the Prime Minister had any consultation with the Governments of the wheat-growing States recently in regard to the question of the first payments for the crop of 1917-18 ?


– I understand that the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank is now in Melbourne with a view to making such arrangements as will enable an early payment to be made to the holders of the 1917-18 crop.


– Is the Prime Minister aware that there has been a lamentable failure on the partof many vendors of substantial parcels of cornsacks to supply orders and complete arrangementsmade as far back as June last? This failure has necessitated, in many cases, the complete cessation of harvesting operations; in other cases, the duplication of orders necessitating the purchase of second-hand sacks, and the dumping of wheat on the earth. If the Prime Minister is aware of the fact, will he take steps to investigate the matter by an inquiry, and arrange for farmers’ representatives to be on the committee of investigation?


– The honorable member will, perhaps, realize that I am hardly in a position now to speak with any degree of certitude as to details, but if the honorable member will give notice ‘of his question for to-morrow, I shall, in the meantime, make inquiries, to enable me to supply an answer. I shall certainly cause investigation into the matter, with a view to the rectification of any wrongs of the kind mentioned.


– Is it the intention of the Government to refund to the wheat producers of Australia the amount of money deducted for loss of wheat through mice, rats, and other plagues?


– I do not exactly grasp the question. The honorable member will understand that the principle of the Wheat Pool is that all the farmers pool their wheat, and share the profits and losses. For instance, if a farmer has 10,000 bags, and 1,000 of these are eaten by mice, it is the Pool, and not the farmer, that bears the loss. There is no other way of meeting the circumstances that I know of, because the Pool has the whole of the responsibility.


– Will the Prime Minister say whether he has received from the Imperial Government the final papers in connexion with the 1916-17 wheat purchase, and whether there will be an early additional payment made to growers in connexion with that crop?


– At the present moment, I am not familiar with the latest position of the Wheat Board in relation to that matter, but I promise to make inquiries, and furnish the honorable member and the country with the particulars at the earlist possible moment.

page 2897




– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Defence lay on the table of the library all documents connected with the attempt of the Government to secure the formula for the manufacture of steel for shrapnel shells?

Vice-President of the Executive Council · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · NAT

– I shall refer the honorable member’s request to the Minister for Defence.

page 2897




– Will the Minister for Home and Territories bring under the notice of the Cabinet the necessity for fetching to Australia the ballot-papers used by the Australian soldiers at the Front, so that they may be counted here?

Minister for Home and Territories · ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · NAT

– It would not be in accordance with the Act and regulations to bring those voting papers back from the Old Country to Australia. Speaking - from memory, I think the rule is to keep the ballot-papers for twelve months, and then destroy them. Every possible check under the Act and regulations was applied at all the polling places abroad. If the honorable member for Melbourne, or any other honorable member, has any reason for doubt-

Dr Maloney:

– I have very strong reason; I think there is an absolute “ fake.”


– I should very much, like to know .on what that opinion is based. I guarantee to have a thorough inquiry into the matter

page 2897




– I should like to know from the Postmaster-General who is called upon to bear the loss in the case of post-office orders which are remitted by people in Australia to friends and relatives in England, being lost at sea through, the mail vessels being torpedoed? Do the senders or the .Government bear the” loss?


– In the case of postoffice orders despatched to the Old Country, the numbers are placed on record, and in case of loss at sea the money is subsequently refunded.

page 2897




– Has the Prime Minister’s attention been drawn to the wholesale evictions of over -200 citizens in Sydney owing to their inability to obtain work, and consequently to pay their rent?

Mr Charlton:

– Owing tq victimization by Government officials.


– And to the action of the Coal Board recently.


– I know nothing of this matter ; but if the honorable member will supply particulars, I shall, of course, have inquiries made.

page 2897




– I desire to know whether the Prime Minister will, as soon as possible, cause to be prepared balancesheets of the various Government commercial undertakings, such as the Small Aims Factory, Cockatoo Island Dockyard, and so forth? . ‘


– Although I should have liked notice of this question, I shall do as the honorable member suggests, and have balance-sheets prepared of all the commercial and other ventures in which the” Government are engaged.

page 2897




– I desire to know whether the Postmaster-General will, comply with the request I made some time back, and lay on the table of the

House all the papers in connexion with the departmental inquiry in connexion with the theft of parcels addressed to membersof the Australian Imperial Force at the Broken Hill Post-office?

Mr.WEBSTER. - I shall look into the matter, and let the honorable member know in a day or two.

page 2898




– The Leader of the Opposition has given notice of a motion of want of confidence. I desire to know whether the Prime Minister proposes to treat that motion in the usual way, or ignore it, as he apparently seems to be doing?


– I have already stated to the House that the intention of the Government is to ask for Supply. It is the chief prerogative of the Commons and the basic principle of government by the people that the popular Chamber has control over public expenditure. When Supply is asked forthere is no limitation to the scope of debate; honorable members have ample opportunity to say all that they have to say. If they wish to challenge the position of the Government it is a very simple thing for them to challenge if on Supply. In a few moments honorable members will have ample opportunity to challenge the position of Ministers in a constitutional way by refusing Supply.

page 2898




– Can the Minister for Home and Territories inform the House asto the reason why the Electoral Department, since the Reinforcements Referendum, have been issuing notices to people of German parentage asking them to furnish the Department with information relating to the localities in which their parents were born, at the same time giving them seven days in which to supply the information, or be struck off the rolls ?


– I have not heard of any such notice having been issued, norhave I authorized it. I shall make inquiries and let the honorable member know the result as soon as possible.

page 2898


Mr.MATHEWS.- Is the Prime Minister aware that during the last few months of political unrest a conviction was recorded against Mrs. Walsh, formerly Miss Adela Pankhurst, and that she is still in gaol ? If so, will he be gracious enough to permit of ‘her release as soon as possible?


– During my absence from Melbourne a petition was presented to my Department asking for the release of Mrs. Walsh, and, subsequently, a deputation of ladies waited on me and we discussed the matter at some length. I have not yet had an opportunity of bringing this case before my colleagues,but I promise the honrable member that I shall do so at the next Cabinet meeting.

page 2898




– Some time ago the Prices Commission authorized the use of second-hand bags by farmers consigning wheat to millers. Can the Prime Minister say whether that regulation is still in force ?


– I must plead guilty to ignorance concerning the ‘ latest developments of the Wheat Board, but I will endeavour to familiarize myself with the whole position to-morrow, sothat hoonorable members may have the fullest information.

page 2898




– Is it a fact that the Prime Minister has offered to the Imperial Government a steam-ship belonging; to the Government of Western Australia?


– I have not the papers before me, and I can only speak from memory. There was suchan urgent demand for shipping by the Imperial authorities, that the late Government’s matured opinion was that allother things must stand aside in order that that need might be satisfied as far as was humanly possible.. Accordingly, instructions were given to the Shipping Board to endeavour to comply with the request ofthe Imperial Government ; but I was not aware - as I thinkItold Mr. Lefroy, the Premier of Western Australia - that steps had been taken to attach or commandeer thes.s. Kangaroo; nor was I aware, until Mr. Lefroy complained, that the Government of Western Australia had control or. ownership of that vessel. I informed Mr. Lefroy of my regret that anything had been done in respect of a Stateowned vessel without consulting the State Government, or without its approval; and to that position I still adhere. However, I shall make further inquiries, and if my statement to-day requires supplementing in any way, I shall supplement it. In the meantime I will see how far it is possible to meet the requirement of the State Government.

page 2899




– The exigencies of war have necessarily involved the calling out of Naval Cadets for guard duties, in addition to their ordinary training, and I raise no question as to the propriety of the action of the Navy Department in that respect ; butI wish to ask the Minister for the Navy whether he will endeavour to see that all cases in which economic and domestic hardships are involved are specially looked into, with a view to giving relief from picket duty.

Minister for the Navy · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT

– It is true that we have had to call up for public service all these young men, who are liable to be called up under the terms of the Defence Act passed years ago by my honorable friends opposite.

Mr Page:

– What is wrong with the Act? Do you condemn it?


– We have had to mobilize nearly all these young men, much against our will,and to our great regret, because we realize-what it means in the way of family dislocation and hardship in the economic scale ; but there has been no alternative left to us. The work of guarding the wharfs and ships has to be attended to..

Mr Mathews:

– What about employing returned soldiers?


– If my bubbling friend will be quiet for a moment, he will permit me to say what I was just about to say, namely, that I have had under consideration for some time the question of whether we could not organize a naval police.

Mr Brennan:

– What, another police force!


– We hope sincerely to enlist, mobilize or engage a number of men to take the place of, and so release, these young fellows.

page 2899




– I ask the Prime Minister whether it is true that he, speaking at Bendigo in connexion with the ReinforcementsReferendum, said,” I tell you plainly that the Government must have this power, and cannot govern the country without it, and will not attempt to do so”.

page 2899




– As members of the

Government have not had an. opportunity of considering the questions on notice, I ask that they be postponed until tomorrow, when Ministers will endeavour to answer them.

page 2899


The following papers were pre sented : -

Norfolk Island - Report of the Administrator for the year ended 30th June, 1917.

Northern Territory - Report of the Administrator for 1915-16 and 1910-17.

Papua - Annual Report - For year 1916-17.

Postmaster-General’s Department - Seventh

Annual Report - 1916-17.

Ordered to be printed..

page 2899

SUPPLY BILL (No. 4) 1917-18

Financial Statement - Motion of No-Confidence .

In Committee of Supply:

Treasurer · Swan · NAT

– I move -

That there be granted to His Majesty for or towards the defraying the services of. the year 1917-18 a sum not exceeding £3,449,972.

  1. am very sorry that, owing to a political situation having intervened, there is so little time to devote to this measure without inconveniencing the Public Service. Unfortunately, to-morrow is pay-day for both the wages men and the salaried staff, and unless we pass this Bill expeditiously we shall not be able to pay them, at any rate, till Monday.

In submitting a Supply Bill for the services of the Government for three months, I would like to give honorable members some idea of our financial position. The - whole transactions for December are not yet available, so that the figures for that month are approximate only, but they may be taken as almost final : -

The resources at the disposal of the Commonwealth to meet the expenditure for the half-year, ended 31st December may be set out as follow : - compare with those of the previous year as follow: -

The decrease on the total receipts for the six months is £427,479. ‘ This is made up of a decrease in Customs revenue of £1,468,631, and increases in Post .Office revenue of £109,152, and in other receipts of £932,000.

A very doubtful element in the finance of the Commonwealth at present is the Customs and Excise revenue, it being subject to so many influences of an abnormal kind. The receipts from that source in the first half of the current financial year

It will be noticed that whereas there was an increase of £262,783 in the month of July - due, no doubt, to the loading up in anticipation of Tariff changes - the decreases in August and September were £688,008 and £710,811, respectively. In the month of October the decrease was £225,893, while in November the falling off was only £2,082; in December the decrease was £104,620. Though the position of the Customs and Excise revenue thus appears to be unsatisfactory, an improvement is indicated in that the falling off latterly has been much less than before.

In the Budget submitted on the 8th August, 1917, it was estimated that the Customs receipts for the current financial year would be £1,976,441 less than those of the preceding financial year. Already the decrease amounts to £1,468,631’. The total estimated Customs and Excise revenue is £13,630,000, so that the amount received for the half year is a little less than half of the estimate. In view of the unsettled state of shipping, it is difficult to foresee exactly what our Customs and Excise revenue in the future will be. but it seems possible that the estimate for the year will notbe quite realized.

The total revenue estimated to be received in 1917-18 was £35,181,655; the revenue received for the half year ended 31st December is £5,344,000 less than one half of the estimate. This disparity is explained by the fact that almost the whole of the revenue from direct taxation is received in the latter half of the year.

The expenditure payable but of revenue for the current financial year was estimated on the 8th August last as £37,283,832. One half of this estimate is £18,641,916. The expenditure for the first six months of the year was £15,788,600, which is £2,853,316 less than one half of the estimate. It must be remembered, however, that the expenditure in the latter half of the year is much ‘ heavier than that in the earlier months, and the interest and sinking fund on war loans yet to be paid during the year will be much heavier than that paid in the previous half year. From present indications, it would appear that the expenditure for the full year will be within the estimate.

The most notable increases in the expenditure are in connexion with pensions and interest and sinking fund on war loans. The increases in invalid and oldage pensions total £317,118. Apart from the additions to the number of pensioners, the increased expenditure is caused by the increase of the pension by 2s. 6d. per week, and the payment of 2s. to inmates of asylums, which operated only for three months in the half year ended 31st December, 1916. In addition, the provisions of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act in regard to the calculation of income were liberalized by providing that allotments of naval and military pay, war pensions, and separation allowances were not to be calculated as part of the income of the applicant.

The increase in war pensions is £662,023. The reasons for this increase are, unfortunately, obvious.

The interest falling due on war loans in Australia on 15th December, 1916, was not brought into the accounts in the Treasury until January of the following year. This amount was, approximately, £1,200,000, so that the expenditure for . interest and sinking fundon war loans for the half year ended 31st December, 1916, was £2,368,937, and the expenditure for the half year ended 31st December, 1917, was £3,482,200, or an increase of £1,113,263.

The expenditure for additions, new works and buildings for the half year ended 31st December, 1917, was £299,900; but, in addition, expenditure out of Loan Fund was made, totalling £948,000, thus giving a total expenditure for the half year on these new works of £1,247,900. These figures show a decrease of £1,040,850 on the expenditure for the corresponding period of the previous year.

The war loan expenditure for the half year ended 31st December, 1917, is £27,326,000, as compared , with £20,939,331 for the corresponding period of the previous year. The increase of £6,387,669 in the current year is partly accounted for by a payment of £3,500,000 to the Imperial Government for the upkeep of troops. No corresponding payment was made during the first half of the last financial year. In addition, £1,940,686 has been advanced for the purchase of foodstuffs for the Imperial Government and the Government of India. The amount of these advances will, of course, be recovered.

Cash balance. The cash balance at 31st December, 1917, was as follows: -

Loans to the States. Under an agreement made on the 5th November, 1915, and modified at the Premiers’ Conference in January, 1917, the Commonwealth undertook to raise overseas for the States (except New South Wales) the following amounts: -

In pursuance of this agreement the Commonwealth has raised the following loans : -

The Commonwealth has still to raise £2,340,000 to meet the requirements for 1917, and has agreed to advance this amount to the States in anticipation of the issue of a further loan. Some of the States have already been paid their proportions of this £2,340,000, and the money is available for the other States on application.

A portion of the amount of £18,000,000 loaned to the States (except Queensland) out of the Notes Fund in 1914-15 has already matured, and the balance will mature during 1918. The States desire that the loans, totalling £18,000,000, be renewed. The Commonwealth has proposed that the agreement of the 5th November, 1915, be further amended by reducing the £2,700,000, the amount to be raised by the Commonwealth for the States in 1918. In the event of this proposal being agreed to, the Commonwealth will be in a position to give renewals to the States of their several portions of the £18,000,000 until one year after the termination of the war.

War Loans. On the 15th September last, subscriptions were invited to the fifth Commonwealth war loan - styled the “Liberty Loan.” The conditions of the issue were similar to those of the earlier war loans, except that the date of maturity was fixed as the 15th December, 1927, in lieuof the 15th December, 1925. The amount subscribed up to the closing date- 2nd November- was £20,432,590. In addition, £609,129 was invested in war savings certificates during the period for which the loan was open for subscription. The total amount subscribed for war purposes while the loan was open was thus £21,041,719.

To meet the wishes of many people who will be receiving payment for their wool and desire to invest in the war loan, it has been decided to accept further sub- . scriptions to the Liberty Loan during the continuance of the wool appraisements.

The subscriptions to war loans raised within the Commonwealth amount to £100,486,200, made up as follows : -

In addition, up to 5th January, £3,373,637 has been raised by means of war savings certificates, making a grand total of £103,859,837.

As I stated previously, the Supply now asked for is for three- months, and covers the ordinary servicesofthe Government and war services payable out of revenue. The total amount . of the schedule is £3,449,972. Omitting refunds of revenue -£100,000- the total is £3,349,972. The amount thus asked for is considerably less than one-fourth of the total estimated expenditure under annual votes, viz., £3,926,880.

Supply has already been granted up to. 31st December, 1917. The amount provided, omitting Treasurer’s advance and refunds of revenue, is £6,913,386.

Excluding Treasurer’s advance and refunds of revenue, the total provision which will be available to meet expenditure to 31st March, 1918, is £10,263,358.

The total provision in the Estimates of 1917-18 for the ordinary services of the Government and war services payable out of revenue is

Three-fourths 1 of this amount is £10,597,389, and as the total provision in Supply to 31st March, 1918, is £10,263,358, it will he seen that the proposed expenditure for the nine months is less than three-fourths of the estimated expenditure.

No provision has been made in the Bill for any service which has not previously been approved by Parliament. In connexion with increases to salaries, provision has only been made for such increases as fall due under Arbitration Court awards or are. automatic under the Public Service Act. Provision has not been made for increases to salaries in the higher divisions of the Service. These increases will not be paid until the Estimates are passed by Parliament.


.- The Government are taking up a most extraordinary attitude. Three months ago they brought forward a Bill providing for three months’ Supply, and three months prior to that they introduced a Bill covering a like period. I then said that some of their supporters would vote, without comment, any amount for which they asked,- being prepared to swallow anything that the Government chose to throw to them.

Sir John Forrest:

– Do not say that.


– I absolutely believe it to be true. The honorable member for Flinders, who, until a month ago, carried some weight in this ‘country, but who, unfortunately, does not carry so much weight to-day-

Mr Sampson:

– - Why these personal attacks so early in the honorable member’s address ?


– We are not to be permitted to openly discuss the conduct of the Government. Some of the Government claqueurs are prepared to howl a man down in this House, just as their pets outside tried to howl us down during the recent referendum campaign. I warn honorable members, opposite, however, that they are not going to howl me down, either in the House or outside of it. I am going to say what I think of the present Government.

Mr Watt:

– Hear, hear ! Who is trying to howl down the honorable member?


– An honorable member who was after the Minister’s job. When last the Government asked for. three months’ Supply, the honorable member for Flinders said that no doubt before another Supply Bill was submitted the Government would come down with a definite statement as to their financial policy. What is the statement we have had to-day ? The Prime Minister has told us that the Government intend to obtain three months’ Supply, and that we shall then adjourn over’ practically the whole of that period. That means that we shall re-assemble about the 1st April - a fitting date for the present Government’ to meet Parliament.

The Government are fooling the people, and, what is worse, they are fooling themselves. They seem to think that by. shelving the notice of motion of want of confidence which I gave this afternoon they will be able to stifle criticism. I deliberately said that I was prepared to move that motion ‘ at the earliest opportunity; and while I do not desire to delay the granting of Supply, I am prepared to proceed at -once with the notice of motion I have given. The Prime Minister, in his wisdom, however, has decided that that shall be placed at the bottom, I presume, of the notice-paper, so that we shall have no opportunity to discuss it. The right honorable member will recollect a similar action taken in this House. I refer to the occasion when the Cook Government were hanging on to office by one vote. They were clinging to office just as the present limpet-like Adminis>tration are holding on. They would rather anything happen than that they should be compelled to leave the Treasury bench. The Cook Government, on the occasion to which I refer, ignored, just as the present Government are doing, a noticeof motion of want of confidence . They also set at the bottom of the business paper a notice of motion disagreeing with a ruling of the then Speaker. In the same way, the Prime Minister will not give this House an opportunity to discuss the policy of the Government, nor the country a chance to learn the views of honorable members concerning his Cabinet. Might I ‘remind him of the fate of the Cook Government? Need I remind him that when they went to the polls ‘ they were swept out of office? Although the Government are fooling themselves by thinking they are cunning and clever in thwarting discussion in this way, they will probably meet with a similar fate.

I would describe the present Government as “ the P.B. Administration.” 1 do not suggest by the use of those initials that they are a pawn-broking Government, although it is quite possible that they have put their political consciences in pawn; indeed, their political consciences should be in excellent repair since they make no use of them.

Mr Boyd:

– You have no conscience.


– I have stood true to every pledge I have given to the people. My record in this country will bear inspection. I am not at all afraid of it. But what of this pledge-breaking Government, supported as it is by a lot of honorable members who have once again sent out the S.O.S. - “save our seats” - signal? They will accept anything rather than a general election. They are prepared to hang on to their seats as the Government cling to office, and to do anything to prevent criticism of the action of their party.

This Bill provides for three months’ Supply, so that with its passing the expenditure for nine months of the financial year will ‘have been provided for, although not one line of the Estimates or one line of the Budget, has been discussed.

Mr Atkinson:

– That is what the honorable member’s party did in ordinary pre-war times.


– That is not correct, but, even if it is, that is. no reason why a bad example should be followed. I repeat, however, that, the honorable member’s statement is not correct. In ten or eleven of the fourteen pre-war years of this Parliament we prorogued always in or before December. That being so, the Budget proposals and the Estimates must have been dealt with in the first half of each financial year. The only exceptions tothat practice occurred during the first session of the first Parliament, when owing to the Tariff debates we sat for twenty months, and, again, in one of the sessions of the second Commonwealth Parliament.

Sir John Forrest:

– I do not think we ever passed an Appropriation Bill before Christmas.


– We must have done, since in pre-war sessionswe nearly always prorogued before Christmas.

The extraordinary attitude assumed by the Government in regard to the wantofconfidence motion is really in accordance with a line of conduct suggested by the Minister for Trade and Customs. The honorable gentleman, speaking at Burnie during the recent referendum campaign, is reported to have said, when referring to the numerous “ comparatively unknown persons “ who addressed meetings, that “If he had his way he would prevent them from speaking against the referendum proposals.” “He would not allow ‘adverse criticism of the Government.” Apparently he has succeeded in bringing round to his way of thinking the whole of his colleagues, for the Government seem to be prepared to use the Standing Orders to prevent criticism of their actions in Parliament, and to avail themselves of the War Precautions Act to prevent criticism of them outside. The Postmaster-General, who says he has been sitting up writing letters morning after morning until 3 o’clock, is reported to have said of the conscription proposals, “ If these proposals are turned down this Government will not remain in office twenty-four hours.” I would remind him that three weeks ago or more the people of Australia turned down the proposals, and that they were turned down also by his own constituents.

Mr Webster:

– The poll has not yet been declared.

Mr Mahony:

– Will the PostmasterGeneral resign on the official declaration of the result of the Referendum?

Mr. TUDOR.Not . he! What a miserable subterfuge the PostmasterGeneral is resorting to when he makes that interjection! Do the Government intend to engage in the farce of resigning once more when the result of the Referendum is officially declared? The supporters of the Government have stood a good deal from them, but if they would stand that they would stand anything.

In order to render it unnecessary for some of their supporters to vote on the motion of want of confidence, of which I gave notice this afternoon, the Government are prepared to do anything. They want to save their own political faces as well as those of their supporters. As the Minister for Trade and Customs i

*Supply Bill* [10 January, 1918.] *(No, I)* 1917-18. 2905 is reported to have suggested, they are prepared to do all they can to prevent any criticism of their actions. They endeavoured to do so during the Referendum campaign by the' exercise of their powers under the War Precautions Act. I understand, however, that the machine broke down. . The- Government needed another screw-wrench to help them tighten up the machine. They should have obtained the screw-wrench that the engine-driver at Warwick is reported to have carried. They were certainly anxious to tighten up the machinery of the War Precautions Act in order that they might launch a' few more prosecutions The War Precautions Act is being used to prevent discussion outside, and the Standing Orders are beingavailed of here by the- Government to prevent my notice of motion being called on and pressed to a division. The Government will save the political faces of their supporters " upstairs," and their supporters will save the political faces of the Ministry in the House. They are scratching each other's backs.. {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr Boyd: -- The honorable member is quite competent to speak of 'what is done " upstairs." He has had a long experi'ence of such practices. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- That is not so. I defy- any one to say that I have not been straight in all my actions. {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr Boyd: -- I do .not suggest that. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I care not what the people think of me. I would sooner be in the right with a minority' than in the wrong with the majority, as the honorable member is to-day. He is undoubtedly in the wrong, and that is why he and his party want to cover up their true position. I do not say that the Government should have resigned merely because the majority of the people voted against their conscription referendum proposals, but I do say that, in view of the pledge given by the Prime Minister, they should have done so. They thought that by giving such a pledge they could so load the political dice as to be sure of a majority. {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr Boyd: -- The honorable member also thought that they would get a majority. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I thought we were sure to win, notwithstanding that we had no opportunity to draft the question to be submitted, notwithstanding also that 99 per cent, of the press were against us, and * that we did not have the censors on our side. As a matter of fact, a report of one of my speeches, which appeared in the *Daily Telegraph,* was not permitted to appear. in *The Worker.* The editor of the Sydney *Worker* was fined because he did not submit to the censor matter which he published, and which had already appeared in other newspapers. The Prime Minister went to Adelaide, where he was photographed with some of his supporters. The nearest man to him in the group was the censor for South Australia - **Major Smeaton** - a political partisan, who should have had the common decency to stand out of that picture. By being photographed with the Prime Minister he showed himself to be an absolute partisan. I have 'proof galleys from an Adelaide daily newspaper office showing that the censor deleted certain statements attributed by me to **Senator Pearce** - statements which had actually been made by **Senator Pearce,** and had already appeared in the press. But because I said during the referendum campaign that these statements had been made by **Senator Pearce,** that portion of the report of my speech was censored. As a matter of fact, **Senator Pearce** made the statements in question before the- conscription referendum was thought of - before the honorable member for Flinders **(Sir William Irvine)** compelled the Government to take the referendum. 1 do not intend to' place myself in the position of thanking honorable members opposite for any courtesy. . Compelled as I am to have this discussion on Supply, I am confined to half an hour, but I shall avail myself of all the forms of the House in order to place my views before the country. Had it been possible, I should have notified the Prime Minister that it was my intention to submit a motion of want of confidence. As honorable members know, I have never contemplated .moving the adjournment of the House, or taking any similar step, without notifying the -Government of my intention, and certainly on an occasion such as this I should have let the Leader of the Government know what I intended, to do. Had I been permitted to discuss these matters on the motion of which I have given notice, I should have been allowed either one hour and five minutes or one hour and thirty -five minutes; but as things are I find it utterly impossible to deal with my material in the time at my disposal. We find supporters of the Government quite prepared to quietly see their leader ignore the notice of motion I have given. As I said before, I do not look for, nor intend to accept, any courtesy from the Government; I desire nothing but fair play, and I shall take all the advantage to which I am entitled under the Standing Orders. I am, as I say, allowed only one half-hour, and that is most unfair- {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- You have two halfhours. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I know exactly the time I am allowed. {: .speaker-KI9} ##### Mr Livingston: -- We know that you have no confidence in the Government, so why say so? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- Of course, L remember that the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Livingston)** appeared in a photograph along with the Prime Minister and the Censor. I must say that the honorable member for Barker has always been a fair opponent, and I take no exception to any action of his. I do say, however, that a man in the position of a censor, who is supposed to hold the scales of justice fairly, should not be a. political partisan. {: .speaker-KI9} ##### Mr Livingston: -- **Major Smeaton,** in Adelaide, is no follower of the Prime Minister. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I am told by the honorable member that the censor in Adelaide is no supporter of the Prime Minister; but I have here a copy of the AdelaideChronicle of the 24th November last, in which there is a photograph of the Prime Minister, with the honorable member for Barker on his right, while on his left there are **Senator Shannon** and **Major Smeaton.** {: .speaker-KI9} ##### Mr Livingston: -- You cannot say anything wrong about **Major Smeaton** ! {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I say that **Major Smeaton** has no right to be a political partisan of the Prime Minister, and to appear in a photograph in a Nationalist newspaper as one of the Prime Minister's supporters. Throughout the whole of the recent campaign the censorship was used in the same way in regard to every member of the Government exactly as on the previous occasion. The Government, after having used the censorship and the War Precautions Act regulations in this way outside the House, are now prepared, ' inside the House, to use the Standing Orders and their majority to prevent discussion on any motion that may be moved against them. When I gave notice of motion to-day, the Prime Minister said, in effect, No, I shall not accept it; you can debate the matter on Supply." Does the Prime Minister think that such a move as that will help him to get supply? The twenty-two honorable members on this side represent the people who sent them here, while opposite there are at least twenty-five honorable members who do not represent their constituents on the question submitted to the country on the 20th December. The Government and their supporters cannot complain that they did not have a " fair go " on the referendum. Practically the whole of the leading newspapers in Australia were howling at the opponents of conscription, and preventing their appeals from reaching the, country. The Government and the supporters of conscription had everything in their favour, and yet they were beaten. In the course of the campaign, there was issued in support of the affirmative vote some of the most scurrilous literature ever published.' This literature has never been disowned by honorable members opposite; and certainly that particular document issued by **Mr. Claude** Mackay was one of the worst ever published. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- Was it worse than the-" Blood Vote"? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- Yes; it stated that the anti-conscriptionists believed in the murder of Nurse Cavell, and a more brutally lying statement never appeared. Had any such publication been issued by the other side, there would, undoubtedly, have been a prosecution; indeed, on the anti-conscriptionist side no man dare open his mouth, whereas those in favour of the affirmative vote could say what they liked. There was no regard for the truth at all in what the newspapers published throughout the Commonwealth in favour of conscription; and still the other side won. It is a great tribute to the Democracy of Australia that it should win this fight in spite of press, purse, and pulpit, or, at any rate, a great part of the pulpit. Amongst the Congregationalists, the Baptists, the Church of Christ, and other denominations, were found men to stand out in opposition to the Government proposals; but,speaking generally, the affirmative side had the support, as I say, of press, purse, and pulpit. And still the people won. In spite of the defeat of the referendum, the Government hang on to office, and we find honorable members like the honorable member for Dampier **(Mr. Gregory)** supporting them like lambs. Amongst those honorable members we have the honorable member for Perth **(Mr Fowler),** who professed to be opposed to the Government, and used harsh and hard words concerning them. Yet that honorable member and others are prepared to keep the present Government in office, although the Prime Minister ignores my notice of motion and will not allow a discussion on that motion itself. Former members of the Labour party, who are now behind the Government, will remember the treatment meted out to the Opposition by the present. Minister for the Navy, when he was Prime Minister, and also by the present Treasurer **(Sir John Forrest),** and the Assistant Minister **(Mr Groom).** Amongst those who raised much howling about that treatment was the present PostmasterGeneral **(Mr Webster),** who protested against the iniquity of the present Speaker in placing a motion of want of confidence at the bottom of the business paper. Yet that gentleman is a member of the present Government, although he talked of resigning in twenty-fourhours if there should be a majority against conscription. Of course, the Prime Minister will tell him that the Government have resigned. Does the right honorable gentleman think that such a contention will fool anybody outside? The Government may fool themselves, but they will not fool the people. We can all remember how **Mr. Alfred** Deakin, when member for Ballarat, and one of the Opposition, described the present Prime Minister, in 1904, as being pulled howling out of the "tart shop"; and it would appear that the right honorable gentleman retains his fondness for the pastrycook establishment. I am anxious that there should be a full and free discussion of the motion of which I have given notice. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- You are having a pretty fair "go" {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- Of course; and I shall have as fair a " go " as the Standing Orders will permit. I know that it is quite within the power of the Government to move and carry the motion that I be no longer heard. Well, why does the Government not move such a motion? The Prime Minister desires to have Supply, ' and to shut up Parliament. Honorable members opposite are afraid of criticism; but I am anxious to hear, on a question like this, the opinions of honorable members who have been so loud on the platform outside. The honorable member for Flinders **(Sir William Irvine),** we know, made certain statements at Wagga; and we should have an opportunity of seeing how honorable members opposite, who profess to represent the people, stand in regard to the pledges they made in the country. They declared that if the referendum went against them, they would not hang on for twenty-four hours. Well, let them resign - but do not let us have a counterfeit resignation. They must not try to fool the people outside. Let them resign, and submit themselves to the people. Let the eight Ministers resign their seats, and we on this side will see whether we cannot find amongst us eight who are also willing to resign and submit themselves to the people on the question that was decided on the 20th December. {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr Boyd: -- That is a mean attempt to get rid of the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Webster)** ! {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- The honorable member should not ask us to get rid of the PostmasterGeneral, when it was found impossible to do so upstairs. I have had considerable experience of newspaper reports of private meetings, and I know that these reports are more or less accurate. From my knowledgeof the honorable member for Henty, I believe that he would be as free and outspoken at 'that meeting, indeed, more outspoken, in his criticism than in this chamber. His vote might be right at the party meeting, but I have my doubts about it down here. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- He will let go directly. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- He will not do so. We are blocked by the action of the Prime Minister in ignoring my notice of motion. It has been done before. It was done while **Mr. Fisher** was leading the party on this side of the House, when the present Prime Minister was his lieutenant; but the action of the Government on that occasion in blocking a motion of no confidence did them no good outside, as I am sure the present action of the Prime Minister will do him no good. He cannot raise the excuse that he is taking this step in order to get Supply. Had he said to honorable members on this side, "You know that we have to get Supply by tomorrow in order to pay the civil servants and soldiers' pensions, and the various public services " ; and if he had asked for Supply for a month, so that we could come down next week and be given a fair opportunity to debate the motion of no confidence, no one onthis side would have objected. The majority of honorable members on the Government side must realize that it would have been at least a fair attitude on the part of the Government. {: #debate-19-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: --The honorable member's time has expired. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- If the honorable member desires to continue his speech, I shall be very glad to suggest that leave be granted to him to do so. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- I have already stated the position. The Prime Minister knows that I am entitled to certain things under the Standing Orders. If he declines to accept the notice of a no-confidence motion, I decline to accept any favour from him. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- I am sorry that the honorable member takes things in such a light. If he will grant us Supply - and we are now a fortnight behind - I can give the assurance that the Government will meet the House within six weeks. In any case, if he will permit Supply to go through now, he can go on with his motion at once. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- Honorable members on this side are prepared to give one month's Supply, so that the House can meet next week and have a fair discussion on my motion. In consenting to that course, the Opposition are going further than any Opposition should be asked to do. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- To that course we cannot agree. We can agree to any reasonable compromise that will enable the honorable member and every one else to state his views at the fullest length per mitted by the Standing Orders on a discussion of a motion of censure. It can be done in ten minutes from now, and I will not stop it. All I ask is that honorable members should realize the position. Ministers, however, are prepared to consider any possible settlement of the position; and, in order that both parties may give the situation consideration, I suggest that the Chairman should leave the chair, and resume it at the usual time after the. tea adjournment. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- For what purpose? {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- The Leader of the Opposition has put forward a proposition. At present, I cannot agree to it, but I will give it consideration. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Is it the pleasure of the Committee that I should leave the chair, and resume it at 7.45 p.m.? Several Opposition Members. - No! **Mr. Joseph** Cook. - I should like to make a suggestion; but first of all I should like to make a statement. Speaking with a very long experience,I can say that when a notice of motion of want of confidence is intended to be lodged, the usual course is to intimate to the Leader of the Government the intention to do so. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- I made that matter perfectly clear. I pointed out that there was no Leader of the Government; {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- I was not motified. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- No; because the right honorable gentleman was not sworn in. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- We do not propose to allow honorable members to manufacture a grievance out of this business. The ' proper way out of the difficulty is for the Committee to adjourn, and for the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Government to confer, with a view to affording the fullest facilities to the Opposition to debate their motion'. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- Your Leader is wrong again. You have had to pull him down again. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- I have not had to pull my leader down again. Unfortunately, he suffers from a disability that we may be glad we do not suffer from. At any rate, is my proposal a fair one ? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- We are prepared to give you a month's Supply, so that we may come back next week and have the opportunity of debating the question. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- Very well, there is the proposition, and I suggest that we ought to consider the matter until after the tea adjournment, by which time, no doubt, we can fix it up, and honorable members will be able to get the fullest and fairest opportunity of discussing their motion. Ministers are anxious to meet honorable members. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- The Opposition are willing to give a month's Supply; and when they have submitted a motion of no confidence, they are doing the fairest of fair things in making that offer. I have no objection to an. adjournment. Ministers have the matter in their own hands; if they wish to adjourn, they can do so. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Is it the pleasure of the Committee that I should leave the chair, and resume it at 7.45 p.m. ? There being no objection, I shall do so. *Sitting suspended from 6.10 to* 745 *p.m.* {: #debate-19-s3 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
Prime Minister and Attorney-General · Bendigo · NAT -- I do not agree with the contention of the Leader of the Opposition that he and his party would not have ample opportunity of discussing on Supply the matters set forth in the motion of which he gave notice to-day.' The only limitation on such discussion would be that imposed by the Standing Orders upon the duration of speeches, and that limitation I am. willing to remove by a vote of the House, so that honorable members opposite may have ample time to state their case. I suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that he agree to one of two alternative courses: either that the Standing Orders be suspended so that the matters mentioned in his motion may be discussed at full length - subject only to the understanding that every honorable member will restrict his remarks to the time he would be entitled to occupy upon a motion of no confidence - or, alternatively, that we should immediately dispose of Supply, and then proceed with the direct motion of no confidence. The Government have carefully reconsidered the matter, and have again arrived at the opinion that we must have three months' Supply; but if the honorable member prefers another course to the first alternativeI have mentioned, we are willing, when Supply is granted, to give the Opposition every opportunity immediately for a fair debate on the motion of no confidence, and that debate can be carried on into next week. Either of those two courses is open to the honorable gentleman, and perhaps he will be good enough to indicate to the Committee which one he proposes to adopt. Either course will afford the honorable member and his supporters an opportunity to say whatever they please. I concede that thehonorable member has a perfect right to put his case freely and fully before the public, and I am bound to say that when I rose in Committee this afternoon I was not aware that in introducing a censure amendment on a motion for Supply the honorable member would be limited to a speech of half-an-hour. I have no desire to restrict him in any way, and I offer him the option of either of the alternative courses I have mentioned. {: #debate-19-s4 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR:
Yarra .I have had a consultation with the Prime Minister and other Ministers, and I have since consulted my own party, and it is our opinion that it would be farcical for an Opposition to grant three months'. Supply and at the same time be launching a motion of no confidence against the Government. Whilst I agree that the removalof the time limit on. speeches in Supply would afford us opportunity enough to discuss a censure motion, I would remind the Committee that if we are to pass Supply in order to pay the Public Service to-morrow the Supply Bill must necessarily be disposed of to-night, and honorable members will not have an opportunity in Supply of recording a direct vote upon the motion of no confidence. The Government are not acting fairly in asking us to grant three months' Supply before launching our motion of censure. Of course, it is entirely for the Government and the party supporting them to decide what treatment shall be meted out to the minority in the House; but it is well within the constitutional rights of Parliament for an Opposition to move a no-confidence motion, and that motion can be placed in whatever position on the notice-paper the Government choose. Usually it is taken as the first business. If the Opposition agree to grant Supply for one month in order that the services may be carried on they will be acting very fairly. If the Government will not accept that offer we as an Opposition cannot make any further concession. I offer the Government Supply for one month, and then the no-confidence motion can be dealt with. To ask for three months' Supply whilst the no-confidence motion is hanging over the Government's head is a proposition which is not fair to honorable members on this side. {: #debate-19-s5 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
Prime Minister and Attorney-General · Bendigo · NAT .- We desire to give members of the Opposition every opportunity of discussing the motion of censure; but as a Government and a party with a preponderance of members in this House, we cannot admit the right of the minority to dictate as to how much Supply we shall have.Such a decision is the right of the majority. Supply for two months would carry us only as far as Easter. Honorable members must' recollect that Supply is already a fortnight in arrears, therefore a grant of supply for one month would only make provision for a fortnight ahead. The honorable member for Yarra offers to grant a month's Supply, to then deal with the no-confidence motion, and when that is disposed of, to grant a further two months' Supply. I ask him what is the difference in essence between that offer and the proposition I have put forward? {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- If we grant three months' Supply the Government will tell us to go home and mind the babies. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- If honorable members opposite take that view, what is the use of discussing any arrangement at all ? I saydistinctly that honorable members shall have reasonable time for the discussion of their motion, but I do not think that the debate should last beyond next week. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- Is not an Opposition entitled, under circumstances such as those now existing, to challenge the Government on a direct motion ? {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- Of course it is, but at the same time are not the Government entitled to decide what Supply they shall have? Are the Opposition to be allowed to take the business out of our hands ? {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- No other Government would attempt to get Supply with a motion of no confidence tabled against them. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- That is a matter which can be discussed either on Supply or on the motion of no confidence. The Opposition say that we are asking for too much Supply, but their Leader offers no opposition to Supply for one month, and will grant a further two months' Supply if the no-confidence motion is defeated. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- I did not say that. I said that the Government may have Supply for one month, but I do not think they should ask for three months' Supply when a no-confidence motion has been moved. When that motion is disposed of, if the Government are successful, they can do whatthey like in regard to further Supply. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- I see no fundamental difference between that statement and the offer I make. The Opposition are trying to dictate to the Government as to what Supply is to be asked for. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- Apparently the Ministerial party have decided the matter outside the chamber, and we are to have no say. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- No Opposition ever offered even a month's Supply when a no-confidence motion was on the paper {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- Will not the honorable member admit that the reason he is offering Supply forone month is that he dare not refuse it ? I am willing to meet honorable members to any reasonable extent. If the Leader of the Opposition will agree to grant a month's Supply *pro forma-* {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- I agreed to that before dinner. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- If the honorable gentleman will say that after the noconfidence motion is disposed of he will grant a further two months' Supply- {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- No. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- Honorable members cannot have it both ways. If honorable members say that after the no-confidence motion has been settled we are to have another wrangle over Supply, I am opposed to that course. If they will agree to allow a month's Supply *pro forma,* and then deal with the no-confidence motion upon the condition that it be decided next week - {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- I do not specify any time within which the motion shall be decided. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- I do specify a time; otherwise we might be discussing it for a month. Will not the honorable member see that whilst on the one hand he says we are denying him an opportunity to state his case, on the other hand, when we offer him five days in which to challenge the Government, he says the time is not enough. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- There are only three sitting days in the week. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- There is to-morrow, and, if honorable members choose, we shall sit on Saturday. {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr Boyd: -- Under the Standing Orders, the whole of the members of the present Opposition could not occupy more than twenty-seven hours in debating the noconfidence motion. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- Let us strip the mask off this pretence of being denied an opportunity to ventilate grievances. I offer the Opposition all that it is entitled to. If members opposite cannot in five days say all that they have to say, they must have a great deal to talk about. Mr.Fenton. - Will Government members remain absolutely silent? {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- I, for one, shall not. Already I have had to listen to more than I have cared to hear, and I am certain that honorable members opposite will not remain silent when I have spoken; I shall make some of them sit up. My proposal is that a Bill granting a month's Supply be passed now as a formal measure, that there be a full debate on the no-confidence motion, and that the discussion on a Bill to grant Supply for two months more shall be confined to financial matters. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- We ought not to be fettered in the discussion of Supply beyond the limitation on speeches imposed by the Standing Orders. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- Let me remind the honorable member of the action taken by a Government, of which he and I were Ministers, whose leader moved, " That the question be now put." {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- After there had been a continuous discussion of forty-eight hours. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- I offer more than that; I am willing to allow the debate on the no-confidence motion to continue day and night. But members of the Opposition desire, not to state a case against the Government, but to pose as persons suffering a grievance. I offer a greater opportunity for debate than has ever before been offered to members in the position of the present Opposition. When I sat in opposition alongside the honorable member for Yarra, we never got the show that I am now offering, and when he and I sat together as Ministers, the Government of which we were members never gave its opponents such a show. I am willing to allow the whole of next week for the. debate on the no-confidence motion; from Monday morning until midnight on Saturday. Honorable members may sit all day and every day next week. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- Does the right honorable gentleman desire a three months' recess in order that he may take another trip to England? {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- Emphatically no. I am willing to fix a date on which Parliament shall re-assemble, and, if . I am then alive and fit to stand on my feet I shall meet the House on that date. I do not know when Easter falls this year.- {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- Good Friday is on the 29th March. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- My suggestion is that Parliament shall re-assemble immediately after Easter; or, if honorable members will give us Supply for two months *pro forma-* {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -No; only for one month. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- Well, I am willing to accept a month's Supply *pro forma,* and to allow ample time for the discussion of the no-confidence motion. {: #debate-19-s6 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR:
Yarra .- I am willing that the Government shall have Supply for one month without debate, provided that to-morrow the no-confidence motion be permitted to come on. How long the discussion of that motion shall last is a matter within the determination of the Government, which has a majority* and can closure the debate at any time. The no-confidence motion having been disposed of, Ministers can say what business shall be taken. Apart from the referendum and the things that were done in connexion with it, honorable members may desire to criticise the conduct of various Departments. I have heard dissatisfaction expressed regarding the administration of the Postmaster-General's Department, the Defence Department, and other Departments. We have a right to criticise the administration of Departments generally. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- Once the no-confidence motion has been disposed of, honorable members should confine their remarks purely to matters arising out of the Supply Bill. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- If on the no-confidence motion we have a fair discussion of the referendum and kindred subjects, if each honorable member on this side is permitted to speak for an hour and a half, should he so desire, on those subjects, I do not think any one of us will raise those questions again on the Supply Bill, and the Government can please itself as to what it asks the House to do. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- If a month's Supply be granted now without discussion, it shall be as the honorable member suggests. I am willing to allow the no-confidence debate to commence to-morrow morning at 11 o'clock Amendment (by **Sir John** Forrest) agreed to - >That the figures £3,449,972 be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures £1,211,615. Question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative. Resolution reported; Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted. Resolution ofWays and Means, covering resolution of Supply, reported and adopted. *Ordered -* >That **Sir John** Forrest and **Mr. Hughes** do prepare and bring in a Bill to carry out the foregoing resolution. Bill presented and passed' through all stages without amendment. {: .page-start } page 2912 {:#debate-20} ### ADJOURNMENT Conscription : Policy of the . Government - Sydney Harbor Trust Evictions - Payment of Rent by Soldiers' Wives - Reinforcements Referendum : Soldiers' Ballot-papers - Supply of Cornsacks. Motion (by **Mr. Hughes)** proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-20-s0 .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS:
Cook .- When the Prime Minister was addressing himself to the House a few minutes ago he was proceeding to tell us with great fixity of expression and determination, and a kind of vindictive' delight, what would happen when Parliament met again about Easter time. . He was interrupted, and evidently changed his mind as to the statement he was about to make. Is it the intention of the Government when we re-assemble at that time to submit a Bill providing for conscription? The Prime Minister may laugh, but a mere guffaw does not dispose of the question. I desire an answer. I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether it is the intention of the Government then to bring in such a Bill; and, if so, whether on its introduction they intend to dissolve Parliament and have a general election on it? Will the Prime Minister answer? {: #debate-20-s1 .speaker-KWX} ##### Mr WALLACE:
West Sydney .- I desire to revert to the question that I put to the Prime Minister this afternoon as to certain evictions which are taking place in Sydney. I have here a copy of the notice of eviction. It reads - {:#subdebate-20-0} #### Sydney Harbor Trust {:#subdebate-20-1} #### Sydney, 4th January, 1918 The Sydney Harbor Trust Commissioners do hereby give you notice that they require you to quit and peaceably deliver up possession of the premises with the appurtenances situate at No.-High-street, in the city of Sydney, in the State of New South Wales, which you hold of the Commissioners as tenant thereof, at the expiration of the week of your tenancy which shall expire next after the expiration of one week from the service of this notice. Over 200 copies of this notice to quit have been issued to citizens in one area of West Sydney. They are the outcome of the late strike. After that strike the Federal Government created a Coal Board, which allocated the work on the water frontage in this area. Old members of the Coal Lumpers Union, which is now nonexistent, have been debarred, under that arrangement, from obtaining employment. I understand that the Coal Board has issued instructions to the Contractors that they are not to employ any exmembers of the Coal Lumpers Union. In consequence of this instruction 800 men, women, and children at Miller's Point are practically starving. They have been obliged to seek for bread at the benevolent asylums. While that is so, the Government are employing over 400 volunteer workers - young men without families. {: #subdebate-20-1-s0 .speaker-KWX} ##### Mr WALLACE: -- You are employing them, under the Coal Board. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- I am not. I know nothing about the matter. {: .speaker-KWX} ##### Mr WALLACE: -- This sort of thing is a standing disgrace to the Commonwealth. Many of the men who have receivednotice to quit have been living in the same area for thirty and forty years. They have worked all their lives on the water front, and are not in a position to leave it to seek employment in the country. During the late strike, volunteers were brought down from country districts to work on the wharfs. They have no fixed place of abode ; they are young men, and many of them are without dependants; but they are being kept in employment. In this way an effort is being made to starve out old residents on the water front - the coal-lumpers and others who have been forced to. seek relief. Now we have the threat that they are to be turned into the streets in order that the houses occupied by" them may be handed over to the volunteer labourers. This action is being taken by the Government of New South Wales. Surely the Commonwealth Government should step in at this juncture and instruct the Coal Board to. give employment to those to whom the employment on the wharfs legitimately belongs, and to send the so-called volunteers either upcountry again, or where an attempt is being made to force the coal-lumpers to go? Over 300 sons of these very coal-lumpers have enlisted, and are at the Front. Over 600 sons of water-frontage workers living at Miller's Point alone are at the Front. Is not this action of which I complain likely to prove of service to the Germans ? Would not this notice to quit prove excellent propaganda for the Germans to use in the trenches? " Evictions in Australia! " Imagine such a notice as this being thrown by the Germans into our trenches'. If it were, it would soon end the war, so far as our boys were concerned. It is a disgrace to the administration of the Federal Government that such a thing should take place. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- And this is the Government that professes to desire unity and harmony! {: .speaker-KWX} ##### Mr WALLACE: -- They profess a desire for unity and harmony in the community, and this is how they are trying to secure it. When the censure motion is under discussion, I shall have more to say on this subject. It is a very urgent matter, however, and should at once be taken into consideration. These people are threatened with eviction by next Saturday. {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr Boyd: -- Do they all live together? {: .speaker-KWX} ##### Mr WALLACE: -- They all live in the one area. {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr Boyd: -May I ask whetherthe notice to quit issued by the Sydney Harbor Trust relates to part of the area which the Trust is going to resume ? {: .speaker-KWX} ##### Mr WALLACE: -- The Harbor Trust resumed this particular area some fifteen years ago, and has held it since then. Another area affected is under the control of the Rocks Resumption Board, which' is under the direction of the State Treasurer. At one time, it was supposed to be a slum area, but it has been rebuilt. It wasthe intention of the Harbor Trust that only those who worked on the water front should be allowed to occupy these houses, and that is the excuse offered for these threatened evictions. It is said that there is no work on the water front for the men now living in these houses. They cannot obtain work owing to the action of certain people, and they are to be turned out of their houses, so that the volunteer workers may occupy them. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- I dare say that many of these men have paid by way of rental more than the value of the houses they occupy. {: .speaker-KWX} ##### Mr WALLACE: -- Yes, they have lived there for many years I myself lived in the district for practically thirty-seven years, and there are some who have resided ' there for forty and fifty years. These are the people who are to be turned out. In one case, a woman with eight children, whose husband has gone upcountry to seek employment, has received notice to quit. A few days ago I saw a soldier assisting his married sister to shift her furniture from a house in the area. He told me he was going to the Front; that his sister's husband was up-country, and that he did not want to see her turned out of her home.He was, therefore, placing her in another house, and intended, while away at the Front, to pay for her keep. He will be going to the Front with a very sad heart, in view of the treatment meted out to his sister. This sort of thing should not be tolerated in Australia. Evictions on such a wholesale scale are a reflection on the Commonwealth. If they were attempted . by a private landlord, action would, no doubt, be taken ; and since a State Government is responsible for them, the Commonwealth should intervene. The War Precautions Act seems to be sufficiently elastic to enable the Commonwealth Government to do anything they please, and it is nearly time that they got into communication with the New South Wales Government and prevented these evictions. If work were found for these men, they would soon be able to pay off the arrears of rent which have been accumulating owing to their wantof employment. I hope that the "new" Commonwealth Government will at once take up this matter, and deal with it as it should be dealt with. {: #subdebate-20-1-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Minister for the Navy · Parramatta · NAT -- I should like to say a word or two on this matter, seeing that my name has been brought directly, and I have been pointed to by honorable members asin some way responsible. I have in my hand here the notice which the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Wallace)** has read, or, rather, indicated without reading. What the honorable member did not tell us was that the notice relates to some action of the State Government, and has nothing whatever to do with any action of the Federal Government. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- Your Government denies the men work, and the State Government evicts them. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Our Government denies the men work? This is the first I have heard of anything of the kind. I remind honorable members that the Federal Government do not control the Coal Board. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- It is under your administration. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I am only indirectly a partner in the Coal Board. There are two . State Ministers on the Board, and our own captain in charge in Sydney. {: .speaker-KLG} ##### Mr Mahony: -- It is Captain Glossop. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Does the honorable member say that Captain Glossop is responsible? {: .speaker-KLG} ##### Mr Mahony: -- I say that the Coal Board is responsible. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- In what way is it suggested that the Federal Government are responsible? {: #subdebate-20-1-s2 .speaker-KLG} ##### Mr MAHONY: -Captain Glossop is the Federal Government's man there, and the Federal Government is just as much in it as anybody, if they do not take action. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I do not know what I am to take action over. I do not know what the Coal Board has done. {: .speaker-KWX} ##### Mr Wallace: -- When an ex-member of the Coal Lumpers Union was employed, the Coal Board demanded his dismissal, or otherwise the contractors would not be supplied with coal. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- That is a definite statement. I can only promise that I shall havethe matter inquired into immediately, in order to ascertain the condition of affairs. At present I know nothing whatever about it. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr Higgs: -- What will you do if you find the facts are as stated? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I remind my honorable friend that it is not in my power to control the Coal Board absolutely, but that it is under the control of the State Government. {: .speaker-KWX} ##### Mr Wallace: -- The Minister for the Navy is trying to evade the point. If these men are found employment, the Harbor Trust will not evict them. The Trust is relying on the fact that the men cannot get employment on the water front. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I have no knowledge of anything to interferewith the employment of the men. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- The State Government, are victimizing the workers all through. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I am rather amazed thatI am held to be responsible for what the State Government' are doing in connexion with employment. *Several honorable members interjecting,* {: #subdebate-20-1-s3 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Mr W Elliot Johnson:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES -- I remind honorable members thatthe Minister for the Navy has tried in vain for some minutes to say a single sentence' without interruption. That is not fair to any speaker, and I ask honorable members to restrain their impatience and allow the right honorable gentleman to proceed without such frequent interruption. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- First of all, I shall haveinquiries made into the statements made in order to ascertain what is at the bottom of this affair. It is true that, owing to the late unfortunate strike, there are many hundreds of men out of employment - the employment is not there for them at the present time. I am -speaking now only of my own operations ; I have nothing to do with what the State Government is doing. I have done something already in the direction of f aci- 1J fating the employment of these men, who are so unfortunately placed owing to their recent unwise action. There is no intention or desire on the part of the Commonwealth Government to victimize anybody. I have but one feeling in the matter, and that is to heal up the Old breaches. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- That is something like the Government's assurance about the censorship. You give an assurance, but others take no notice! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- In view of such an interjection, I had perhaps better say nothing further. Whatever one may attempt to say, some unworthy imputation is made immediately. As to my opinion about the honorable member's conduct and his interjection, it appears to me that he is a great deal more anxious to make' political capital out of the misfortunes of these men than to help them. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr Higgs: -- That is an old gag! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- What can be thought of a mau who makes an unworthy imputation when I honestly promise to have the fullest inquiry made? Why should a man be subject to such imputations from honorable members opposite in relation to a matter which has no party or political bearing ? These unfortunate men are out of work, and I will do anything I can to help them. I again promise that I shall have the fullest possible inquiry made, in order to ascertain exactly what is the relation of the Commonwealth Government to the coal-lumping industry. My own impression is that we have nothing whatever to do with it. {: #subdebate-20-1-s4 .speaker-KLG} ##### Mr MAHONY:
Dalley .- I am pleased to hear that the Minister for the. Navy, proposes to have an inquiry, but I trust 'that in this inquiry he will not rely exclusively on his own departmental officers for information. I suggest that he should give the secretary and the president of the Lumpers Union an opportunity to produce first-hand evidence of what the Coal Board has actually done. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- I can tell the honorable member what I propose to do. I shall inquire as to the relation of the Navy Department to the Coal Board, and not as to the conduct of the Coal Board as a whole. That is a State matter, and I do not propose to interfere in State affairs. {: .speaker-KLG} ##### Mr MAHONY: -- If that be so, the inquiry will be a sham and a farce; it will not be an inquiry into the grievances of the men, but a side-stepping of the issue. The Coal Board controls the whole of the coal output, and nobody can get one ounce of coal without its permission. I have it on the authority of the union officials that when some of the men were successful in obtaining work from stevedores, the Coal Board .intimated that if their employment was persisted in the stevedores would get no more coal. The result was that the stevedores had to discharge the members of the union, though many of them expressed regret at having to take this step. However, they had no choice in the matter, inasmuch as otherwise they would not get any further coal. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- Is not the present position- also delaying shipping? {: .speaker-KLG} ##### Mr MAHONY: -- Yes, that is so. Nobody knows better than the honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Boyd),** for instance, the trouble there is to-day in the coal trade owing to the inexperience of the men employed in loading. As a matter of fact, the stevedores would not employ these men for five minutes if they had.any option in the matter. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Is Captain Glossop the gentleman who spoke the other day-? {: .speaker-KLG} ##### Mr MAHONY: -- I do not wish to enter into any criticism of Captain Glossop at this particular stage, but he is the same gentleman who made those impudent remarks at a public gathering in Sydney the other day. {: .speaker-KK9} ##### Mr Jensen: -- Do not forget that he had charge qf the *Sydney* when it sent the *Emden* to the bottom. {: .speaker-KLG} ##### Mr MAHONY: -- All I have to say to the Minister is that the least said about that episode the1 better it will be for the reputation of Captain Glossop; but I do not wish to be dragged away from the actual question about which I rose to say a word or two. I urge the .Minister to give the matter consideration, and when he is inquiring into it, to remember that' it is the Coal Board that controls the whole of the output of coal, and in the final analysis is responsible for this thing occurring.- I want Ministers, who pride themselves upon being a win-the'-war Government - it seems to me that they are better at winning Ministerial office - to remember that there are hundreds of the sons of these fathers and mothers who are fighting in the trenches to-day. As the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Wallace)** has said, it would be a very poor advertisement for Australia if the Germans could shove up a placard in their trench bearing the words, " Australians, while you are fighting here your fathers and mothers in Australia are being evicted." {: #subdebate-20-1-s5 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
Melbourne -- I would like to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence if his attention has been called to various reports in the press that agents representing landlords have given evidence in the Courts on oath that many women will not pay their rent because they are soldiers' wives. Iwish him to see whether steps cannot be taken by his Department, or, if necessary, whether they cannot be taken under the War Precautions Act, to compel every agent who makes such a statement to give the names and addresses of the. women who, he says, will not pay rent because they are soldiers' wives. I do not believe those statements. There are good and bad among all classes, but it is an infamy that our law Courts should be used for the purpose of slandering the wives and relatives of men who are fighting at the Front, not only for us, but for the very landlords whose houses are occupied. It is only justice to our soldiers that these agents should be compelled to give names and addresses so that inquiries may be made by the Department into the truth or falsity of their statements. In one Court I instructed a gentleman to ask the question, but the agent would not give any names. Many returned soldiers have spoken to me on this matter, saying that the statements of these agents are a slur on their brothers at the Front. I wish to, put a question to the Prime Minister in all good temper. With the exception of the Canadian election, Australian soldiers have been the only soldiers empowered to vote in any election for their country. The soldiers of no other participant in the war have had that honour or that power. Now, as an Australian, I ask the Prime Minister whether he will have the ballot-papers that are Australian property, having been voted on by Australian soldiers, returned to Australia ? If they are sent out here and recounted, and the numbers tally with what were given out last year and this year, I will be content to accept them; but if the papers are destroyed in England, or wherever they are placed, the Prime Minister will agree with me that the outside public will have very serious differences of opinion on the matter. I merely ask, as an Australian, that the resting place for Australian ballot-papers should be in Australia. {: #subdebate-20-1-s6 .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY:
Darling .- I desire to speak on a matter which was referred to 'this afternoon in a question submitted by the honorable member for Wannon **(Mr. Rodgers),** namely, the supply of cornsacks. If the Government have shown incapacity, it is in regard to the question of arranging for the supply of cornsacks to the farmers of Australia. Long months have passed, and the Win-the-war Government have endeavoured vainly to get sufficient bags in order to supply Australian farmers, but evidently through the manipulation of those who deal in these articles the Government, wittingly or unwittingly, has become merely the creature of circumstances. As a result, serious loss has been occasioned, not only to our farmers, but also to the people of Australia, because every bushel of wheat which is wasted through incompetency or incapacity to deal with the wheat is a national loss. In answer to a question submitted on the 26th July of last year by the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Livingston),** thePrime Minister said that he was making all arrangements for the supply of cornsacks for the Australian farmers. The matter was not allowed to drop, because questions were submitted subsequently by the honorable member for Wannon **(Mr. Rodgers),** by thehonorable member for Barker, by myself, and by other honorable members; but, notwithstanding that the matter was continually kept under the notice of. the Prime Minister and the Win-the-war Government, to-day wheat is spread out on dunnage all through the Darling electorate and the wheat-growing areas of Australia, and a great deal of it will be wasted. It is a costly process to tip wheat out on to dunnage and the different receptacles where it is stored and rebag it. I have always approved of a Government dealing with these matters, but had the Win-the-war Government not decided to take action to supply cornsacks to the farmers, ourwheat-growerswould have got sufficient cornsacks themselves. However, the Government decided that in the interests of the primary producers of Australia they would get the cornsacks, and not less than six months ago they started to get them. They have not procured them. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member's statement is not quite a correct one. The Government announced, in the first place, that the cornsacks would be purchased in the ordinary way, but that they would guarantee that a supply would be {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I have said that the Government said they would guarantee that the Australian farmer would have sufficientcornsacks. I refer the honorable member to pages 522 onwards in the last volume *of Hansard.* {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I have watched every detail. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- So have I. I have been interested in the matter. Notwithstanding the fact that many of us have been taking action in the matter of the supply of these sacks during the past six months, the Government have not kept their promise to the wheat-growers of this country. Even to-day there are no cornsacks for distribution in Australia. {: .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr Corser: -- Owing to the lack of ships. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- It is not owing to the lack of ships, but to the lack of foresightand organization and to the incapacity of the Win-the-war Government. I have nothing further to say, but I protest against the incapacity displayedby the Win-the-war Government in dealing with this very small matter. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 8.52 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 January 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.