8th Parliament · 1st Session
The Clerk reported the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deputy Speaker took the chair at 3.1 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to make an announcement in regard to the changes made in the Ministry in consequence of the resignation of the Bight Hon. W. A. Watt, who held the portfolio of Treasurer. His Excellency the Governor-General has been pleased to appoint the Bight Hon. Sir Joseph Cook as Treasurer, and the Hon. W. H. Laird Smith as Minister for the Navy, and has appointed Mr. A. S. Rodgers as Honorary Minister.
– I ask you a question, Mr. Deputy Speaker, concerning procedure. You will remember that, during the discussion of a certain motion last week, there were some heated interchanges between the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) and myself, and I, coming into conflict with the Chair, was named, and my suspension’ was moved by ‘the Minister. I wish to know whether it is within your power, in such cases, if the Prime Minister is within the precincts, to call on him to take action ?
– It is within the right of the Chair at any time to call on the Minister leading the House to give effect to its rules and orders.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Will the Government instruct,so that a fair comparison may be made between Federal and private business concerns, that in the preparation and production of the balance-sheets of all Commonwealth trading concerns such enterprises shall be separately debited with - (a) State and Federal income taxes; (b) war-time profits tax; (c) rates; (d) insurance, depreciation, interest on capital and advances; (e) full proportion of departmental costs reasonably chargeable to such enterprises?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
It is not considered that debits for (a) State and. Federal income taxes, and (b) war-time profits tax, are legitimate charges against cost of production in a private trading concern, and it isnot proposed to inflate Government factory costs by the inclusion of any such charges. Under ordinary circumstances, charges on account of rates would be incorporated in the factories’ accounts, but, as the Commonwealth is exempt from such charges, no amount can he included under this heading in the accounts of any factory. The amount, if included, would not materially affect the cost of production. Payment for water and sanitary services are, however, paid in Government factories. As a matter of policy, the Commonwealth carries its own risk of loss through contingencies which, in private enterprises, are ordinarily covered by insurance. Should any such loss occur in the case of factories, the amount of the loss is borne by the factory concerned. As regards depreciation, interest on capital, and advances, all charges on these accounts are duly brought into factories’ accounts. All charges which arc definitely incurred on behalf of any factory, including cost of audit, are debited to the factory, but it is impracticable to assess, with any degree of accuracy, a charge on account of departmental costs. In any case, the amount would be so small that the effect on factories’ costs would be negligible. It may be added that the form of balance-sheet in use in the Defence Department was designed by the Advisory Accountant to the Royal Commission on Naval and Defence Administration in consultation with the Treasury, and is considered to fully reveal the actual position’ of the respective factories.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What is the total coat, including salaries, allowances, rents, passages, and all other expenses pertaining to and for the High Commissioner’s office from the inauguration of the office up to the 30th June, 1920?
– I lay on the table a statement giving the information asked for by the honorable member, which is as follows : -
Salaries of Commissioner and Staff, £110,730; incidental expenditure (including cables, rent, upkeep, taxes, advertising, &c. ), £279,318; total, £390,048. Cost of erection of Australia House (including purchase of site), £913,003; grand total, £1,303,051.
In connexion with the cost of the erection of AustraliaHouse, it may be mentioned that the claims of certain contractors to be indemnified for losses owing to war conditions are at pre sent under investigation. The claims in question are being made the subject of exhaustive inquiry by His Majesty’s Commissioner of Works, London, and it has been decided to pay on the basis of actual proved cost.
It is estimated that the additional amount involved is about £60,000.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Mr.WISE. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
What amount of money have the Messrs. Kirkpatrick, architects of the Commonwealth Bank, received for work done in connexion with War Service Homes?
– The Commissioner advises as follows: -
No amounts have been paid by the War Service Homes Commission. All claims are being submitted for the arbitrament of the AuditorGeneral.
Mr.CAMERON asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
Whether the special forms of application mentioned by the Acting-Treasurer as in course of preparation for paying gratuity bonds are yet available for returned soldier employees of the Commonwealth?
– The forms for all Departments except Defence and PostmasterGeneral’s are available. Forms for the two Departments mentioned are with the Printer, and will be available in a day or two.
asked the Acting Treasurer, upon notice -
Whether any arrangement has been made with the State Governments whereby soldiers’ gratuity bonds may be accepted by the State Lands Departments in payment for deposit or rent in connexion with land settlement?
– Arrangements have been made with all the State Governments under which discharged soldiers may use their war gratuity bonds in repayment of any moneys due for soldier land settlement.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
With reference to a question asked by the honorable member for Kooyong on the 31st March last, Hansard, page 1011, with reference to the Pacific mail contract, and the reply of the Postmaster-General that the matter comes within the province of the Prime Minister and was under his consideration, will the Prime Minister be good enough to state what has bear the result of his consideration of the matter?
– It has been, decided to enter into a new mail contract with Burns, Philp and Company for twelve months from the 1st August, 1920, for the carrying out of a three-weekly service to Papua, Rabaul, and the Solomon Islands, and a two-monthly service to Lord Howe Island1, Norfolk Island, and the New Hebrides, for a total subsidy of £40,000 per annum. The company is to be allowed freedom to increase freight.3 and fares subject to the Controller of Shipping being satisfied as to the reasonableness of any such increases, the present rates to be increased in the first instance by 20 per cent. The contract will provide for uniform rates of freights and fares to be charged in respect of each service, and provision will also be made with the view of preventing any discrimination or preference as to cargo space or otherwise.
Control or the Distribution of Soldiers’ Tweed.
– On Thursday, 8th July, a promise was given by the Assistant Minister for Defence to the honorable member for Hunter (‘Mr. Charlton)’ that inquiries would be made into certain allegations which had been made against the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League in New South Wales of discriminating against returned soldiers who are not members of the league in the distribution of civilian suiting made at the Government Woollen Mills, Geelong. I am now in a position to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -
The Inspector-General of Administration reports that an examination of the books and minutes of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League in New South Wales has be.r made, with the result that there is no foundation’ for the allegations. The same prices for the tweed have been charged to members and non-members. An audit of the books of the tweed department shows that in no case has there been an overcharge. The league receives ls. 6d. per yard on its contract - of this, ls. is retained by the head office to finance the tweed department, and the balance by the sub-branch, less freight on the cloth.
In connexion with the remarks of the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) that “ the Sydney section of the league carried a resolution some six weeks ago that it would not supply tweed to non-members of the organization,” I might say that no foundation could be found to justify the statement. The minute-book of the league was examined from the 1st April to the 16th July last, and no record could be found of a resolution, such as alleged, having been passed.
The following papers were presented : -
Public Service Administration - -Report of Royal Commission.
Commonwealth Factories - Reports on - Clothing, Cordite (including Acetate of Lime), Harness, Saddlery, and Leather Accoutrements, Small Arms, Woollen Cloth - Report for year ended 30th June, 1010.
Ordered to be printed.
Customs Act - Revocation of Proclamation relating to the Prohibition of the Exportation of Mares (dated 14th July, 1920).
Defence Act - Regulation Amended - Statutory Rules 1020, No. 124.
Excise Act - Regulations Amended - -Statu-tory Rules 1920, No. 121.
Iron and Steel Bounty Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1920, No. 122.
War Service Homes Act - Land acquired under, at -
Bexley, New South Wales.
Newcastle, New South Wales (two).
– The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) has asked whether every honorable member of this House or the Senate can obtain copies of the volume containing the Treaty of Peace with facsimiles of the signatures of those who signed the document, and maps of the areas affected. I am informed by the Prime Minister that any member who has not obtained a copy of the volume referred to may procure one on application to the Prime Minister’s Department.
DISSENT FROM Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER’S RULING.
– The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) has given notice of his intention to move -
That Mr. Deputy Speaker’s ruling - that a motion “That the question be now put,” can be received before the question itself has been proposed or stated to the House by Mr. Deputy Speaker -be disagreed to.
But before the honorable member proceeds, I would like to make a few remarks so that my attitude may not be misunderstood. I need not repeat the ruling which I gave, and to which the honorable member takes objection. It is still my opinion that the framers of the standing order providing for the closure motion contemplated that the motion should be submitted to the House for decision immediately on being moved. Otherwise, at least two hours and ten minutes might be occupied by the mover and seconder of a motion before the closure motion could be submitted. However, it is only right to say that I find from the past records that the present Speaker (Sir Elliot Johnson), for whom I am acting in consequence of the very serious illness of his wife, hasruled that a closure motion cannot be put until the original question has first been stated from the Chair. My ruling, therefore, is in conflict with that of Mr. Speaker. The standing order reads as follows: -
After any question has been proposed, either in the House or in any Committee of the whole, a motion may he made by any member rising in his place, and without notice, and whether any other member is addressing the Chair or not, “ That the question be now put,” and the motion shall be put forthwith and decided without amendment or debate.
I have no wish to differ from a ruling given by Mr. Speaker, but with all due respect, I contend that the Chair never makes a proposition. It is the honorable member who makes the proposition. On the occasion; on which the closure was moved, the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) moved a motion, and then proceeded to speak to it. The usual statement from the Chair is, “ That the question” - whatever it may be - “be considered bythe House.” Those who are of opinion that it should be passed are asked to vote “Yes,” and those who are of the contrary opinion are asked to vote “No.” I regret that I cannot withdraw the interpretation which I have given. With great respect, I have to differ from Mr. Speaker, and submit the matter to the decision of the House.
.- I move -
That Mr. Deputy Speaker’s ruling - that a motion “That the questionbe now put” can be received before the question itself has been proposed or stated to the House by Mr. Deputy Speaker - he disagreed to.
I regret the circumstances which have led to the absence of Mr. Speaker (Sir Elliot Johnson) from his place this afternoon. It is somewhat of an anomaly that if my motion is agreed to it will uphold the ruling of Mr. Speaker, and if it is defeated, Mr. Speaker’s ruling will be overruled by the House, and that of Mr. Deputy Speaker (Hon. J. M. Chanter) upheld. I hope that honorable members will approach the matter entirely free from any preconceived ideas upon it, because it is of great importance that the rights of honorable members to discuss questions within the Standing Orders should be preserved. The ruling given by Mr. Speaker is undoubtedly right, and I invite Mr. Deputy Speaker to compare the various standing orders bearing on the matter. Before the discussion is ended - it need not be long - I hope that Mr. Deputy Speaker will alter his opinion as to the time when a closure motion may be put. The standing order under which the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) moved “ That the question be now put,” is on page 71 of the Standing Orders, and reads as follows: -
After any question has been proposed, either in the House or in any Committee of the whole, a motion may be made by any member rising in his place, and without notice, and whether any other member is addressing the Chair or not, “ That the question be now put,” and the motion shall be put forthwith and decided without amendment or debate.
I invite attention to the first few words, “After any question has been proposed.” Those words define the time when an honorable member may move “ That the question be now put”; that is to say, when any question has been proposed. Mr. Deputy Speaker’s ruling leads us to this peculiar position, that a motion, “ That the question be now put,” may be taken when there is actually no question before the House to be put. The language of the standing order is quite clear. It says, “After any question has been proposed.” The matter to be decided by us now is, “When, is a question proposed?” and “Who proposes a question?” The Chair is the only person who. can propose a question. No honorable member can do so. I invite the attention of Mr. Deputy Speaker to the difference between a “motion “ and a “ question,” and refer him to standing order 120, which provides -
When a motion has been made and seconded, a question thereupon shall be proposed to the House by Mr. Speaker.
The word “proposed” applies to the statement of the question to the House by the Chair, and not to the intention formed in the mind of an honorable member to move a particular motion. Comparison of the two standing orders shows that the question is proposed by the Chair, and in that regard the word “ stated “ is synonymous with “ proposed.” But the actual proposal comes when the motion has been moved and seconded according to standing order No. 120. A glance at these two standing orders furnishes ample evidence and, I am sure, also proof to any unbiased person that the ruling given on this matter on a former occasion by Mr. Speaker is right. I hope, therefore, that honorable members will hesitate, particularly in his .absence, to overrule a ruling which is obviously right. There are many ways of meeting the suggestion which you make that, if the motion may not be moved “ That the question be now put,” then there is no means - if the House be so minded - of preventing an honorable member from proceeding with bis remarks. There is ample machinery provided in the Standing Orders. The Prime Minister may move, “ That the honorable member be no longer heard,” and, if a majority is of opinion that it has listened sufficiently long to the honorable member who . is speaking it can vote him down. But your ruling leads to the extraordinary position that an honorable member speaking, and intimating that he intends to move something, may have that matter put to the House, although there is not another honorable member who is prepared to second it. A motion can not be put to the House unless some honorable member has seconded it. I hold that there is a difference between a proposed motion and a proposed question. You, sir, would elevate the position of a proposed motion to the same position as if it were a question to be decided by .the House. If you confine yourself to the interpretation of the Standing Orders to which I have referred - and they are as plain as the English language can be - I submit that you will come to the conclusion that you committed an error in your ruling. But I refer you also to May (10th edition, pp. 265, 266) in order to point out what is meant by the word “ proposed.” May lays down that questions are proposed “by Mr. Speaker -
In the Commons, when the motion has been - seconded, it merges in the question, which is proposed by the Speaker to the House, and read by him; after which the House is in possession of the question.
And until the House is in possession of the question it is absurd to suggest that any honorable member may move “ That the question be now put.” Let me carry my argument a little further. May (page 276) also lays down when an amendment may be moved. This has a bearing and throws light upon the question - that is, if it is necessary to shed light upon the obvious. May says -
The time for moving an amendment is after a question has been proposed by the Speaker, and before it has been put.
So there is a difference between proposing a question and the putting of the question. But, before any honorable member can invoke the closure, there must be the question proposed by the Chair ; and the motion is then to bring it to a decision - which is the putting of the question. I would again refer you, sir, to May (page 213), where there is reference to the time of the closure -
A closure motion may therefore be sanctioned by .the Chair, either immediately upon, or within a few minutes after, the proposal to the House of the question to be closed.
I ask honorable members to closely examine those words. Of course, I know, and no doubt you, sir, also know, as do honorable members generally, that the closure is moved very often in the middle of an honorable member’s speech, and, perhaps, after he has indicated that he intends to move something. The closure in such cases is moved in order to prevent tha’t honorable member from developing his intention into a question by having it put through the Chair. Some honorable member - generally a Minister - rises and moves “ That the question be now put.” Of. course, the honorable member who was originally speaking is then prevented from having his intended motion developed into a question. But before that procedure can be adopted there must be some question before the Chair.
– There was a question before the Chair on this occasion, because the honorable member said “I move.”
– The fact that an honorable member gets up in this House and says “ I move,” does not make it a question, unless some other honorable member also gets up and says “ I second it.”
After all, sir, your ruling arises from “a confusion and from a misunderstanding of the technical meaning of the word “ proposed,” as used in the Standing Orders. If you will read them carefully you will find that the word “ proposed,” used with regard to a question, is employed with regard to the stating of the question by Mr. Speaker.
We all know the special circumstances which gave rise to the ruling in question. The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) was moving to postpone the Orders of the Day until after the consideration of notice of motion No. 1, Government business.
– Did the honorable member actually move it?
– No ; he indicated that he was going to move it. But, whether he did actually move it or not does not affect my argument, because it only becomes a question when it has been seconded and isproposed from the Chair. The matter is one of- great importance, and I hope honorable members will see the necessity for settling it irrespective of which side of the House they may be found, because we may sit on one side of this Chamber to-day and on the other side to-morrow. It is necessary that we should be able to uphold the rights of honorable members.. The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), when he moved his motion, was out of order. Evidently he had become very anxious, for some reason or other, to prevent the honorable member for Dalley from proceeding with his very eloquent and forcefully impressive speech with respect to the War Precautions Act and industrial unrest. The Prime Minister used the first instrument at his hand when he rose and moved “That the question be now put.”’ I submit that the House should not hesitate to disagree with your ruling; but I hope, rather, sir, that you will reconsider your decision and render one which will be in conformity with the decision of Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Elliot Johnson) on this matter, which is obviously right.
.- In seconding the motion, I desire to draw the attention of honorable members to the seriousness of the matter with which we are now dealing. The ruling given, by Mr. Deputy Speaker restricts the rights of honorable members to address the House. The merits or demerits of the motion that was closured need not concern us; but it is necessary that honorable members should support this dissent lest the ruling to which exception is taken be made the means of preventing honorable members from bringing business before the House. I hold strongly the opinion that no question can be before the House until it has been stated from the Chair. Often members have risen with the intention of making a motion, but, during the course of their preliminary remarks, ,some development takes place which obviates the need for proceeding further, and the motion is not made. It is only when a question has’ been stated from the Chair, and has thus become the property of the House, that it may be closured. Honorable members who voted for the closure on Friday did so in ignorance of the motion that they were closuring. May makes it very clear that a question must be stated from the Chair before it is before the House; and if the House of Commons, or the House of Lords, insists upon that procedure, we cannot go far wrong in following their example. Mr. Speaker is not infallible ; like all human beings he is liable to error. The Prime Minister is often in such a state of mind that he is not in a position to appreciate the seriousness of the things he does. That was the case on Friday, when he moved the closure, whilst Mr. Deputy Speaker, no doubt elated because of the responsible position he was filling, lost for the time being his customary levelheadedness. Any encroachment on the rights and privileges of honorable members should be resisted. I do not . say that some curtailment of debate is not wise, but when the closure is applied, its application should be in accordance with the Standing Orders. I hope honorable members will rise above party prejudices, and by their vote upon this interpretation of the Standing Orders preserve the rights and privileges of the House. Mr. Deputy Speaker delivered a hasty judgment which was fraught with great danger to this House. Therefore I hope honorable members will indorse the views enunciated by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan).
– I rise to a point of order. I was under the impression that when Mr. Speaker had definitely ruled upon any point, such as that now under consideration, his ruling became the settled procedure of the House until it was altered by a vote of the House, or until the Standing Orders had been amended. Do I gather that, although Mr. Speaker has given a definite ruling, it remains for any Deputy-Speaker to give any fantastic ruling he may please in absolute contradiction of the procedure laid down by Mr. Speaker? I am reminded by interjection that the late Sir Thomas Bent once gave a ruling to which he was careful to add, “ That is my ruling for to-night, anyhow.” I thought, perhaps, you, sir, meant that those words should be added to your ruling on Friday.
– The ruling of Mr. Speaker Johnson was given on another question, and in accordance with his interpreta tion of the Standing Orders at that time. The House is now dealing with a motion to dissent from a ruling given by me, and I hold that it is . within the power of the House to review at any time any interpretation of its rules. That being the case, this discussion is in order.
– The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) has based his argument on the first ^paragraph of the standing order dealing with the closure, and he has urged particularly that the word “ proposed “ in relation to any question means proposed from the Chair. He has quoted other Standing Orders in support of his contention, and has said very properly that we must discuss this question without reference to the side of the House upon which we sit. I agree with that entirely. I have sat on other sides of the House, and I am trying to deal with this question on its merits. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) has referred us to the Standing Orders themselves. I brush aside the question of whether Mr. Speaker’s ruling is in accordance with the ruling of yourself, sir - I put that on one side, and for the very reason that the honorable member for West Sydney advanced, namely, that all men are liable to error. You, sir, on the face of things, are no more likely to be free from a liability to error than any other man; and, therefore, we come back to the question itself. We have to ask ourselves, as every Court does in construing an Act: What is the object of these Standing Orders - what did the Legislature intend in adopting them ? Clearly, the object of this and the following Standing Orders is to prevent honorable members speaking -at undue length, and to give the House control over its own business. It is provided that when any motion is moved any member may get up, although another honorable member is speaking, and move “ That the question be now put,” “ That the honorable member be no further heard,” and so on. There are two possible meanings to the word “ proposed,” and the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) has said that it means a proposal from the Chair only. Very well, let us see whether that meaning is compatible with the object of the Standing Orders, which, as I say, is to give the House control over individual members and prevent them arresting the progress of business. If the honorable member’s contention were correct, it would follow that an honorable member might speak for an hour and five minutes, and not until he had finished, and his seconder, with a like right, had spoken for another hour and five minutes, and the motion had been put from the Chair, would it be possible for any honorable member to move “That the question be now put.” Further, when the question was put from the Chair, any honorable member might immediately move an amendment, on which he might speak for a like time, and when that amendment had been defeated, another member might move a similar one; and so the proceedings might go on ad infinitum. It is quite clear that the whole object of these Standing Orders is to prevent waste of the time of the House. In- the present case it is said that there was no motion before the Chair, but the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony)7 it will be remembered, moved that the Orders of the Day should- be postponed until after the consideration of notice of motion No. 1, in the name of Mr. Groom. On this, the then Acting Treasurer (Sir Joseph’ Cook) said that he understood that the business of the day had been called on, and, therefore, the honorable member’s motion was too late. But you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, then said that the particular Order of the Day appearing first on the paper had not been called on, and, therefore, the motion of the honorable member for Dalley was in order. Will the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan), in the face of these clear facts, say there was no motion before the Chair ? It will be seen that the order that appeared first on the business-paper had not been called on, and that, therefore, the motion of the honorable member for Dalley was in order; and that honorable member proceeded to discuss it at length. It was not until it was very obvious that the intention of the honorable member was to waste time that I got up and moved “ That the question be now put.”
– I object to the remark that my object was clearly to waste time. It was nothing of the sort, and I ask that the reflection on myself be withdrawn.
– Will the right honorable the Minister withdraw the remark ?
– What have I said ?
– The honorable member for Dalley says that the Minister charges him with wasting time, and he objects. I ask the Minister to withdraw the remark.
– Of courser if the honorable member says that his object was not to waste time, I withdraw the remark ; but honorable members generally know perfectly well that that was the intention of the honorable member and of every honorable member on that side, and I do not see why any one should take umbrage at a plain statement of fact. Let me .remind honorable members what has been done in this House, not once, but hundreds of times. I refer to the Hansard report of the 18th November, 1913, page 3265, when the Government Preference Prohibition Bill was before the House.
– You were on this side then.
– I know I was; and I only desire to show what has been done here many times. .There was a motion by Mr., now Sir William Irvine, that the Bill be read’ a third time. The question was not put from the Chair at all, but the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. McDonald) rose to speak. He had not got further than “ Mr. Speaker “ when he was arrested by the then member for Wentworth (Mr. Kelly), who proposed “ That the question be now put.” Here we have three things one after the other - a motion by Sir William Irvine for the third reading of the Bill, an attempt by the honorable member for Kennedy to say something to the Chair, and a motion by the then honorable member for Wentworth “ That the question be now put “’; and the latter motion was forthwith put” and carried. There were dozens and dozens of such cases at that time, as, apparently the usual way of carrying on the business. I take it as one of the most glowing tributes to my tolerance that I said very little at that particular time; indeed, I do not know what was the matter with me. I venture to say that there is nothing in the Standing Orders at all to Support the contention of the honorable member for West Sydney. There is, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in the very nature and object of the Standing Orders the support to which you must look for your ruling. The object of these Standing Orders is to prevent waste of time. If the ruling the honorable member for West Sydney would have you give is upheld, all I can say is that these Standing Orders are absolutely useless, for two hours and ten minutes could be taken up on any motion before it could be moved “ That the question be now put.” But as we have now each occupied about twenty minutes in discussing the matter, I move -
That the question be now put.
Question - That the question be now put - put. The House divided.
Majority . . . . 11
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That Mr. Deputy Speaker’s ruling be disagreed to - put. The House divided.
Majority . . . . 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 23rd July, vide page 2993) :
Clause 2 (Parts).
– This is a Bill which is likely to lead to considerable expenditure at a time when every Treasurer in Australia is crying out about the shortage of money necessary for carrying on the ordinary works of development; and if we agree to this clause, which contains the various parts into which the measure is divided, we practically assent to the whole of the principles of the Bill. Under Part III., which sets out the powers and functions of the Director, quite a number of subDepartments may be established which will naturally lead to increased expenditure from which, in my opinion, very little benefit will accrue to the people of Australia, and which will simply mean the duplication of expenditure already undertaken by the States. Nothing can be done by the Commonwealth that is not already being carried out by the various States. If it be necessary to engage the services of an eminent scientific expert to carry on research work on lines not at present attempted by the States, surely the States and the Commonwealth can combine to secure his services without the creation of a new and totally unnecessary Department for the purpose. It may be claimed that the will of the Minister will find expression in any action taken by the Director of the Institute. While there may be an odd Minister here and there who is prepared to withstand his officers, and determine how the Department of which he is the nominal head shall be conducted, for the most part the heads of the Departments practically control their Ministers. In any case there are so many other tasks which the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) will have to undertake besides the administration of this measure that he will be able to pay very little attention to what the Director of the Institute will be doing, and, therefore, will simply initial the recommendations brought to him by the Director. In this way expenditure will heap up. No doubt, at first, on the Director’s appointment, the Minister will lay down very emphatically the necessity for having the Institute run on economical lines. He will say, “We want efficiency and economy combined,” and naturall’ the Director will assent to that proposition, but there will be a very different tale when he commences his operations, and very soon he will be saying to the Minister, “ My recommendations must be carried into effect if I am to be held responsible for the proper administration of the Institute.” If honorable members peruse the powers and functions of the Director as set out in detail in Part III., they will readily come to the conclusion that this
Institute will not only be a big Department in itself, but may comprise quite a number of sub-Departments which can only be carried on by considerable expenditure. We are asked to incur this expenditure at a time when we have many heavy financial responsibilities facing us. ‘Honorable members ought to hesitate before they give the Government the power to establish new Departments. There is a sort of an apologyin the Bill to the effect that in order to avoid overlapping with the States, everything to be done by this Institute must be carried out in cooperation with the State Institutes ; but I have yet to learn of any man appointed to a new position who has not immediately set out to magnify it, and make it more and more expensive. I shall not have it said of me that I sought to prevent any manfrom coming to the Commonwealth who might, through being possessedof ability not possessed by any person here, be able to enlighten us on various matters and carry out work that would eventually prove beneficial to the people of Australia; but I hold that the Commonwealth’s part in bringing out such an expert ought to be confined to providing his salary. He could easily carry on his work in connexion with universities, technical schools, and schools of mines in the various States. All the machinery and appliances necessary are available to enable him to commence his work. There is no need for the Commonwealth to establish a new Department for the purpose. I am not preaching economy for economy’s sake. The cry of economy is a horse one can ride to death. To economy on some lines I am totally opposed. Here, however, we have the opportunity of preventing the establishment of an expensive Department ; but, unfortunately, a majority of honorable members seem prepared to indorse this expenditure without regard to the limit to which it may go. I am not opposing the Bill for opposition’s sake. In various forms this measure has been before us on several occasions, and I have always opposed it on the ground that it would lead to the duplication, and even triplication, of expenditure already undertaken by the States. Can we justify establishing a seventh Department to supplement six State. Departments already doing the work it would undertake? To attempt to do so in the face of the liabilities confronting us is next door to criminal. It will be useless when the Estimates come down from year to year for any honorable member then to say, “ I did not think this Institute was going to cost this sum of money,” and move for the reduction of the item as a protest against such expenditure. At the initial stage we ought to be able to nip it in the bud. Those honorable members who vote for theBill must accept the responsibility of setting up a new Department, which, according to Part III., may possibly embrace at least seven sub-departments. I hope we shall be able to take a broad national view of the matter ; and, in dealing with each clause, I trust honorable members willsee just how far the States have gone in doing the work which the Commonwealth is now seeking to embark upon. We should allow the States to proceed on the lines they have already followed, while promising them every assistance; and, if that is done, I am sure it will lead to the gratification of the people as a whole.
.- I regret the remarks of the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton), though of course, in the initiation of a large and important institution there may be many matters worthy of criticism. It istrue that the various States are conducting experiments on lines similar to those which will be undertaken by a Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry,’ but we ought to remember the many schools of surgery and medicine which are operating in England. It is the rival investigations of the universities of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales which serve to stimulate those bodies to higher and greater efforts. Science must rule in this present day. The old time of bows, arrows, and spears has gone by the board, if I may use a war-time allusion. The machine gun would mow them down in thousands. In the old days grappling irons were used in the course of naval encounters. Only in comparatively recent years have boarding pikes been abolished in the British Navy. To-day it is not so much the rank and file of the men on our ships as the one controlling brain which counts. And so it is in the matter of scientific application to agriculture. Only the other day the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) informed me that he would cable to England to ascertain particulars following on an intimation in the press that a new variety of wheat had been discovered which would give more than ninety bushels to the acre. We know how lucky a. farmer feels to-day if he can average twenty-five bushels for three years. Would we not be a wealthy community if our farmers could secure a return of ninety bushels to the acre ? The honorable member for New England (Mr. Hay), and the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) delivered speeches on this subject which are well worthy of perusal if honorable members failed to hear them. Those honorable members spoke of the benefits accruing from experiments in the growth of wheat. Scientists to-day are hopeful of producing a variety which will contain elements such as to eliminate the need for eating meat. The time may come when we shall all be grain eaters, and will have forsaken the eating of flesh foods. How much would thickly populated Europe give to-day if it could only obtain additional territory equal to that in Australia which has been rendered useless by the prickly pear ? Do what we will, that pest is extending, and only science can arrest its progress.
In inaugurating this important new organization we must closely watch expenditure. It is my intention to move, in respect of the salary to be paid the Director of the Institute, that it shall be not more than £1,000 per annum. I want to see established in Australia the principle that the salary paid to a member’ of Parliament shall be the highest paid to any head of a Department.
I intend to vote for this Bill. I hope and expect great results from it. The central body should be the Commonwealth Institute, linking up with State activities and utilizing them for particular experimental and investigation purposes within their own States. A central body established in Melbourne cannot as satisfactorily carry out investigations, for example, in the north of Queensland as could a body established in that State. But the Commonwealth Bureau should be the dominant authority, linking up each and all of the States. Moreover, the Government should have the power to put before the central body specific questions of policy. A sum of £5,000 has been spent upon rain stimulating experiments, which most people laugh at. Before such an outlay was agreed upon the actual question itself should have been placed before some such scientific and expert authority as the Institute will become. This should have been done before Mr. Balsillie was permitted to fool away £5,000. Our manufacturers are suffering to-day from certain striking disabilities. They may not own the machines with which they are working, but are only permitted to rent them. The central authority should be asked some such questions as these : - “Are these patented machines necessary ‘ to carry on Australian industrial life? If so, what do you suggest to protect the manufacturer and the public from these trusts and combines which hold the patentrights and are thus prolific of trouble and expense to Australian industry ?”
– If any honorable member doubted which way he should vote upon this measure he should have been persuaded to vote in its favour as the outcome of the speech of the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton). The honorable member furnished some of the most cogent reasons why the Bill, as introduced, should be passed. His great point was that the measure would bring about still further overlapping; he enumerated several instances where that occurs throughout the States to-day. He pointed to the fact that experts in several of the States are engaged in branches of research and are actually performing a similar class of work. That indicates a waste of energy and a serious amount of overlapping. The very object of the Bill is to prevent that. The Director is told by the Bill that he must co-operate with existing organizations throughout Australia, with a view to preventing unnecessary overlapping. There must be complete control in. the matter of co-operation and co-ordination.
– The Commonwealth has complete control over quarantine, but after the States had agreed that the Commonwealth should be supreme they all broke away last year.
– That may have been so, but the point is not really cogent to my argument. The very essence of this measure is co-operation with respect to scientific research. The best results can be achieved only by co-operation. The Federal Institute, so far as possible, should undertake general supervision and be in a .position to direct and assist the several States along the lines in which their energies should be bent. If there is a supervising and co-ordinating authority, such as this measure proposes, there will be effective results.
The honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) referred to one point on which we disagree. It would be ringing the death knell of a scientific institution, such as is here proposed, if salaries were to be limited in the manner suggested by the honorable member. Such limitation would at once preclude all hope of our securing the best men.
– I call attention to the state of the House. [Quorum formed.]
– I realize my responsibility in regard to this Bill, and’ I take this opportunity of saying that I shall oppose this and- every other clause in it, not because I do not appreciate the value of scientific research, or that I do not know that if we have not an Institute of this kind we shall be out of step with other countries, but for two definite reasons. The first is that the House has been given mo estimate of the cost of the proposed Department. According to the Age, the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) is supposed to have promised an amount of £500,000 for the fitting out of the Institute. The Minister in charge of the measure (Mr. Greene) stated last week that certain requests for money had been, made, but had been refused by the Government because the creation of the Institute had not been sanctioned by Parlia ment. I am glad that the Minister took that stand, but it is clear that once Parliament has given its sanction to this scheme, many and large requests for money will be made. My second ground for objection is the danger of overlapping. If any assurance had been given to us that there would be no overlapping, the fears of many of us would he removed. But we find to-day that there is overlapping of State and Federal activities in regard to the collection of taxation, and I am certain that if a Federal Institute of Science and Industry is established, not one of the States will surrender its Scientific Department- willingly -and with the consent of those who are employed in it. The honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) said that the statement made by the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton), that the different States were already doing this work, was a good argument for the establishment of a Federal Institute. I would agree with the honorable member for Kooyong if there were any guarantee that tha whole of the work would be concentrated in the Commonwealth establishment. But the very wording of clause 10, which provides that the Director shall co-operate with tho existing State organizations “ as far as possible,” is an admission of doubt that co-ordination will take place. I am well aware that the Commonwealth cannot make a mandatory provision that the States shall co-operate, tut my little experience of Federal Department convinces me that the establishment of this Institute will lead to a tremendous increase in expenditure, and I desire to save myself from the risk of future reproach by opposing the measure on the grounds that we have no estimate of the cost and no assurance, other than a pious resolution, that there will be no overlapping.
.- I stated on the motion for the second reading that the success of this Institute would depend largely, if nob entirely, upon the type of man appointed as Director - whether he was a practical or theoretical man - and I advocated the extension of the existing laboratory rather than the setting up of an entirely new Institute. In the Government Service are two sorts of Departments - the collecting Departments, such as taxation and Customs, which are always very careful as to how money is spent, and other Departments, like Defence, Home and Territories, and the Navy, which justify their existence by tho amount of money they expend.’ This Institute will come within the latter category. I quoted last week the letter of resignation of the chairman of the existing Bureau, Professor Orme Masson; I have not yet heard whether his resignation has been accepted or withdrawn. There is a very great obstacle to separating the Institute from .political control, as Professor Masson advocates. There must be parliamentary control of this or any other Institute, so that there may be a check on its expenditure. Furthermore, there must be co-ordination with the activities of the States. It is within the recollection of honorable members that a conference of
State Ministers of Health and their officers with the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) was held in Melbourne in order to evolve a definite plan of action in connexion with the influenza epidemic; but as soon as the State Ministers returned to their own States they repudiated the agreement with the Commonwealth. We may pass pious resolutions and express in the Bill fervent hopes for co-ordination, but we shall never achieve it unless we are in the controlling position. Even then there must be a doubt as to whether the States would hand over to the Commonwealth the work they are now doing. The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley), in, the course of an excellent speech on the second reading, pointed out the desirability of the proposed Institute dealing with the problem of venereal disease.
– I think that matter comes under the control of the Health Departments.
– Yes, and each State Health Department will say that it has complete authority to deal with the problem.
– I think there is some coordination in regard to that matter.
– Yes. A Cabinet of which I was a member placed on the Estimates a sum of £15,000 or £20,000 to be allocated amongst the States for expenditure on the eradication or limitation of venereal disease. To what extent such activities would come under the control of the Institute I do not know. There is room for an establishment such as is proposed, but unless we place in control of it a practical man, not a theorist-
– He should be both.
– He must have the theoretical knowledge and the practical experience.
– Is it not possible to get such a man without establishing an institute of this kind t
– The honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) mentioned the name of Mr. Percy Wilkinson, a man who has done excellent work for the Commonwealth during the last ten or twelve years, and who, if given the opportunity, could make a success of the Institute. At . the back of the Customs House in Melbourne the Commonwealth has the most up-to-date laboratory in Australia, and it is available at the present time for doing Commonwealth work. Honorable members who have not visited the establishment should do so. If any manufacturers’ desire that technical work should be carried out for them at the laboratory, they should pay for it. If the technical knowledge of our skilled officers, trained in our own. Service, is placed at the disposal of manufacturers and others for their private profit, it should be paid for ; and the fact that such knowledge is available should be made known throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth. When I was Minister for Trade and Customs, a gentleman came into my office one day with what appeared to be a 2-lb. jam tin, and asked that its contents might be analyzed. I pointed out to him that there were numbers of private analysts, but he said that there was only one man able to analyze this particular product, and that that man was in the service of the Commonwealth. He informed me that the tin contained ambergris, which had been collected on one of the Tasmanian islands, and that if it were as valuable as he thought it to be, it was worth about £11,000. I push the claims of no one person, but I do desire the claims of all to be considered, particularly those of our own servants. There are Commonwealth laboratories in every State, and these could be enlarged and their usefulness extended. I am very much afraid that if we create a completely new organization we shall have a Department that can only justify its existence by the amount of money it expends ; and this would be a most undesirable result.
.- I offer no opposition to this measure; but, perhaps, I take a view of it different from that of the majority of honorable members. This Bill is introduced under peculiar circumstances, as an effort to honour a sort of promissory note which was given by the Prime Minister, amongst a lot of other similar documents, at the general election. I take it that the Bill will result in the establishment of a National Institute of Science and Industry, which may lead to a co-operation of the States and the abolition of the State institutions as we know them at present. There is no doubt that a central laboratory is required to investigate and value our copper, iron, and other natural products with which Australia is bountifully supplied, but which are as yet little developed. I feel sure that the States, in view of their financial position, will have to curtail seme of their activities, thus making way for central Commonwealth action. I regard an Institute of this kind as a national affair, and the creation of it ought to have the support of every honorable member. , There have been objections raised on both sides on the score of the cost; but I submit that money spent in this way is very wisely spent, whether in the interests of the man on the land, on the mine-field, or in the manufactory; any efforts that result in ascertaining the true value of our natural wealth must prove of benefit to the country. The States hitherto have not assisted the Commonwealth in centralizing many activities; but the blame for’ this lies less with the State Governments than with the Commonwealth Government. For some years we have not had a Commonwealth Government with the’ courage to stand up against the States for the benefit of the people; indeed, the Commonwealth Governments have been like puppets in the hands of the States. From 1910 to 1913 the Labour Government of the Commonwealth had to face the opposition of the States to the ‘founding of the Commonwealth Bank, the creation of the note issue, and other proposals. There has been no Commonwealth Government for some years capable of bringing pressure to bear on the States so as to lead to the creation of a National Institute of Science and Industry, and it is very much to be regretted that we should have proved so weak in this connexion. Day after day we have Bills of a similar character to this, all showing the lack of co-ordination and co-operation as between the States and the Commonwealth, and that lack must continue until the Government asserts itself; when it does do this I feel sure the people will approve. I offer no opposition to this Bill, which, in my opinion, will render it impossible for the States to decline to part with any of their existing powers on the ground, that the Commonwealth has made .no provision for exercising them in a national way. I am not. troubling myself about the merits or demerits of this .particular measure, because I am only too pleased to see one of such a character before us, with an object so necessary and desirable.
Question - That the clause be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 17
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 (Definitions).
Question - That the clause be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 17
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 -
There shall be a Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry, consisting of the Director, which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and capable of suing and being sued.
.- I move -
That after the word “Director,” in subclause (1), the words “and also of six local councils, each council to be representative of each State,” be inserted.
The object of the amendment is to insure that the Institute, when founded, shall obtain the hearty sympathy and cooperation of the best scientific minds and of the leaders of industry in its various forms throughout Australia, and to insure also that the State Governments shall co-operate with the Commonwealth Government to insure its success. Without this co-operation and enchaining of sympathy, the Institute, if it does not become an absolute failure, will, 1 fear, fall very short of the desires of Parliament and of the requirements of the people. The issue raised by the amendment is fundamental. Should the clause be carried as it stands, and the amendment circulated by the Minister for the insertion of clause 4a be inserted, the Director, subject, of course, to the Minister, would be the sole repository of power and authority, and he would-be chosen, not by representatives of the best scientific and industrial minds of Australia, but by the Commonwealth Government. I cast no reflection on the judgment of this Government or of the Minister, or on their capacity for choosing a Director, nor have I anything to say in disparagement of the qualifications of any. gentleman who may be in the minds of Ministers or of honorable members as suitable for the position.
– Would the councillors be paid ?
– That is a comparatively minor matter, which need not be discussed at the present moment.
– Would they be Government servants ?
– Not unless they happened to be Government officials when chosen to act as councillors. In many cases, no doubt, they would be State officials; but they would be persons chosen or nominated for the position, and would be thoroughly representative of the best scientific and industrial thought of the States.
– Do you propose to make the councils part of the body corporate that it is proposed to establish ?
– Yes; they would be an essential part of the Institute.
– The honorable member’s proposal would really take the place of clause 4b, which the Minister intends to move, but would be compulsory, while the Minister’s is optional.
– These local councils would be in addition to the Institute, and could not perform the work that it is desired to have done.
– If the Minister will permit me to unfold my views on the subject, he will, I think, recognise that that is not so. I have used the words “ local councils “ instead of “ State councils “ to indicate that the councils will not be representative merely of the State Governments. What the Committee has to consider is whether it will adopt a course which will enlist the sympathy and support of the best scientific and industrial minds of each State, and so of the whole of Australia, or one which will, to some extent, discourage that sympathy and support. If a dictator be appointed under the name of director, who at his own sweet will and caprice may make appointments to the Advisory Council, or refrain from doing so, that is likely to discourage sympathy and support. During the war I had considerable experience of the workings of bodies constituted in various fashions, and I say unhesitatingly that a government-ap- “ pointed dictator who could ignore or recognise the scientific opinion of Australia just as he thought fit would, to some extent, diminish the usefulness of the Institute. My proposal is to establish local councils representative of the best scientific opinion. The election or nomination of the Director should be made by delegates from the six local councils.
– Would not the tendency of the councils be to oppose the work of the Institute?
– No ; quite the opposite. My scheme makes full provision for the various State Departments to be represented on the local councils, and each local council will choose its best men to be its delegates to the Central Council. If the Minister wishes to obtain the warm-hearted and cordial support of the best minds in Australia from the very beginning, he will not do it by depriving them of all sense of responsibility.
– Would the members of the councils be paid ?
– That is a matter of detail.
– No, it is important.
– If the honorable member thinks it important, I shall answer his question. In all probability, the members of the local councils will be connected with some university, or a Government Department, or with some Chamber of Mines, Chamber of Pastoralists, or Chamber of Manufactures, and will probably be already in receipt of a considerable income. It will not be necessary, therefore, to pay them high salaries in connexion with their duties on these local councils. Possibly they could be remunerated as the members of the Advisory Council have been, with a fee for each sitting, and something to recoup them for out-of-pocket expenses. However, if men of such distinguished ability are given some measure of power and responsibility, I am sure they will be quite agreeable to do the work without pay. In any case, they will be quite satisfied with a guinea or two guineas for each sitting.
– Does the honorable member suggest that the appointments shall be made by the States?
– That is a matter to which I have given the fullest consideration, and which I shall deal with later on. My amendment to this clause’ merely deals with the suggestion. I have other consequential amendments. We have not to interest these gentlemen in science; they will do all they possibly can to increase the cause of science and industry in Australia, but if we are desirous of getting the best out of them, we must handle them diplomatically. A man will not get the best out of his agent or representative by ignoring him every day.
– How many members will comprise the- proposed Council?
– There would be a local council for each State, that is, six in all, and there may be any number on each local council.
– The proposal is utterly impracticable. The Institute is to be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.
– That is to say, mutatis mutandis.
– Given ample notice, and my own time, I dare say I could carry on a conversation with the honorable member for West Sydney in the language he has used, but on the floor of this House, and within the limits of debate, it is impossible for me to do so.
– I was merely agreeing with the point raised by the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best).
– If my amendment be inconsistent with the language of the Bill, the measure can be altered to make it consistent. The honorable member for Kooyong proclaims himself as the most impracticable man in the world if he makes the suggestion that there ia any- thing impracticable in the proposition to have six local councils.
– It is fair to say that previous Government Bills contained provision for the appointment of State Advisory Councils.
– Yes; but they did not propose to make the- State Advisory Councils part of the Institute. In that respect, the honorable member’s proposal is entirely novel.
– It may be novel. I am not prepared to follow slavishly word for word any proposal previously made: There are people in Australia who are quite as capable of constructing schemes that will work as there are in any other part of the world. I claim that my proposal is a better conception than that which was set forth in previous Bills; at any rate, it would be more workable, and more likely to achieve the result desired by the Minister and honorable members generally. The experience of the working of the Institute during the last few years has proved conclusively that the best scientific and industrial men of Australia have not been satisfied to remain mere dummies under a political Department. In fact, they have made their protests in the most effective way, almost all of them, by resigning.
– Not most of them.
– A considerable number of them have resigned.
– Out of the lot, there were only three effective resignations.
– I know that some resignations were reconsidered.
– Less than half of them resigned in the first place.
– Perhaps not as a body, but from time to time a considerable number of very important members have resigned as a protest against being practically dummies under a political head.
– The brains of the Council have thrown the scheme overboard.
– I am not prepared to cast reflections on those who have not resigned, but very important and highly distinguished members of the Council did resign, because they were not prepared to be dummies under a political head. If this Committee decides to obliterate all representation of the best scientific thought on the Institute, it will be establishing a bureaucracy and a dictatorship which, by some happy chance, may prove effective, but which, in all probability, is not so likely to be so.
– How can the Institute operate if there are to be six councils with all of their members scattered over the length and breadth of Australia?
– If there be one thing above all others required in connexion with the Institute it is that it shall not be centralized either in Melbourne or Canberra or anywhere else. Its members should be drawn from all over Australia. Their field of operations, in fact, should cover the whole of the States.
– But what would happen when it became necessary to call the members of the Institute together in order to sign a contract, for example? Would all these various people require to travel from all over Australia to the central office?
– Certainly not. If the Director is to be given power to do and authorize certain things, as set forth in the Bill, may he not sign contracts? And if, under the Bill, he is to have such power, then, with my amendment embodied, he would still retain that power. If you desire that the Institute shall be a success, there must be some form of representation of the State Departments which to-day are carrying on somewhat similar investigations and experiments as the Institute will undertake; and, as far as possible, there should be on the Institute effective representation of each State. There is no effective representation proposed in the Bill. If a Director is to be appointed without the Government asking the advice or counsel of any one else, either individually or as a body, then .po’wer will be given to that Director to create his own advisory council. The members of these various State councils, when appointed, will be asked to render enthusiastic service and assistance; but they are to be given no share in the responsibility for the Institute, or in the initial important task of appointing its Director. They will find themselves at the sweet will of a dictator appointed by the Government. That is not the way to insure the interest and co-operation of Australian scientists. Local councils should be appointed, fmd these should have some say in the selection of. a Director, seeing that that person will be their guide and chief. There is in every State of Australia to-day a university, each, I understand, well equipped and possessing men of scientific knowledge and attainments.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I interjected, when the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) was speaking, that his amendment was utterly impracticable. I propose to indicate why it is so. The honorable member has stated that the intention behind his amendment !is that the Institute should consist, not only of a Director, but of certain local advisory councils from each State. The number of members to be appointed to each of these councils was not mentioned. They are, apparently, to be an indefinite number totalling, perhaps, from five to twenty persons in each locality. The Director, together with this indefinite number of members of State councils, is to form the Institute. This body, having been constituted, will find itself in such a position that the simplest contract cannot be entered into, nor the smallest job undertaken, unless and until the whole of the members of the Institute have been called together. It would prove too unwieldy for proper executive work. The fact is that the Institute will be unable to act until its members have been called together to consider the points, great or small, which are at issue. Let us suppose that there are ten members of each council. The’ Institute, then, will comprise between sixty and seventy persons. All of these will have to be notified and their expenses paid to Melbourne, or to wherever they are to meet. In addition to the item of travelling expenses, the members of the Institute, I presume, will be entitled to fees amounting to £2 2s. or £3 3s. a day.
– That is not my intention.
– I want to tell the honorable member what his amendment means.
– Is it not possible .to pass an Act which would enable the Institute to delegate necessary authority in small matters to the Director?
– The honorable member, then, wants to substitute one individual for a selected body of men. The Bill does that more effectively than his amendment. I call his attention to the phrase in the Bill, “ which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, and capable of suing and being sued.”
– That phrase could be left out.
– It cannot, or certainly should not be left out. The scheme propounded by the amendment will not only prove utterly impracticable, but, at the same time, most expensive. If the duties and responsibilities of tho Institute are to be delegated to ‘the Director
– No; only in respect of such matters as the signing of contracts and of other small considerations, which would not necessitate the calling together of the full membership of the Institute.
– It is not the signing of contracts that is so important as the matter of the Institute first deliberating on the question which involves the signing of a contract. I only mentioned contracts as a simple instance.
– The honorable member’s objections are frivolous and technical, and could be overcome in ‘ redrafting the Bill.
– If the honorable member had any knowledge of kindred institutions he would not speak as he is doing. My objections are not frivolous, but arc of absolute substance, and particularly so from a legal standpoint. All that the honorable member seeks to obtain could be secured by the proposal of the Minister (Mr. Greene). It is very desirable that there should be local councils, so that the Institute shall work in conjunction with them. The original Bill contained a proposal for the establishment of councils to consist of three members each; but these members were not to form the membership of the Bureau or Institute.
– They had no power, and, therefore, they resigned.
– I may be making a mistake, but” I believe that suggestions of the kind now being propounded by the honorable member are identical with those which have been so favorably entertained by the professors themselves.
These latter gentlemen are naturally exasperated because the Government are determined upon the appointment of practical industrial scientists to the various positions. I have the highest personal regard for our University professors, for whose studies in the realms of pure science we should all be prepared to extend our appreciation.
– What does the honorable member suggest that these professors want?
– They want, of course, to dominate the Institute.
– They want all their own way.
– Does the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) say that that is what is underlying the amendment ?
– I do not know at whose instance the honorable member proposed the amendment.
– At my own instance. I am not a tool to be .put forward by other people.
– The honorable member’s amendment is singularly in harmony with the aspirations of the University professors.
– I have some respect for them, anyhow.
– So have I,. in their own sphere. At the same time, if we are to get solid, practical work from the Institute, it must be constituted of practical industrial scientists, men with u knowledge of industry. The University professors have taken offence at the terms of this Bill, because it is not the class of measure that they contemplated. But I congratulate the Government on their determination that the Institute shall be constituted of practical men.
– If there is any evidence that the professors wanted to get control of the Institute we should hear it.
– The local councils proposed by the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) would give control to the University professors. They dominate the existing Advisory Council, and the work performed by that body has not been completely satisfactory so far as practical results are concerned. No industries seem to have benefited largely by any advice offered by tho council; work has been of a theoretical rather than of a practical character. I have not a word to say against the professors in their own line of .pure scientific research, but I say that their University qualifications do not necessarily make them capable of undertaking the work we hope to achieve under this Bill. Nothing I say must be regarded as any reflection upon them and their distinguished services at their several Universities. But an Institute such as is proposed must have help from every source, and its best energies must be applied in an industrial direction. Therefore the amendment, which aims at making the Institute more representative, is not only impracticable, but would be very expensive. The same results can be more effectively achieved by the constitution of local councils of an advisory character as have been suggested by the Minister.
– I do not propose to touch upon the points so ably dealt with by the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) in regard to the impracticability of the scheme suggested by the honorable member ‘“or Grampians (Mr. Jowett). The honorable member has not sufficiently appreciated what would be the effect of incorporating in the body corporate with perpetual succession various bodies scattered all over Australia and comprising an indefinite number of men.
– The Bill which the Government introduced into the Senate made that proposal.
– That Bill proposed to constitute an Institute from three directions, and then there were to be certain Advisory Councils in addition, but they were not to be part of the body corporate, which constituted the legal entity of the Institute.
– That is what the honorable member for Grampians says was the defect of that Bill.
– Exactly. The honorable member for Grampians admitted that this proposal to include the six Advisory Councils in the body corporate of the Institute itself was entirely novel.
– I was told so, and believed so until a few moments ago when I read the earlier Bill which the Government introduced into the Senate.
– We might as well have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– What I and the honorable member desire is to secure the cooperation of scientific men, both theoretical and practical, in carrying out the work which the Institute will have to perform. The whole question is how best to secure that co-operation without overloading the Institute with expenditure, and how to direct its energies into the channels in which they are most required’. The experience of the Advisory Council to date has been this : Perhaps an engineering question was before the Council; it was a small body, and there was no engineering scientist on it. Or, the question may have been one of agricultural science, and there wa3 no member of the Council particularly qualified to deal with it. The Council found that in1 dealing with specific problems it was necessary to call in: those special scientists whose particular province it was to study that matter. The men who have been doing the real investigatory work of the Institute in many instances have not been the members of the Council. I do not care how representative the Council is made, -science is so highly specialized that it is impossible to place on the Council all the men who may be required to deal with the scientific problems that will arise. I have given notice of an addition to clause 4 which will be moved as a new clause, and which will incorporate in the measure what was the definite intention of the Government as to the way in which the Institute should operate. The Institute will comprise a Bureau of Agriculture, a Bureau of Industry, and such other bureaux as the Governor-General determines from time to time. One of those other bureaux might be one to deal with forestry. Of course, it will be necessary to appoint a definite head to the Bureau of Agriculture and, similarly, to the Bureau of Industry. Then we shall provide that tha Governor-General may appoint Advisory Boards to advise the Director in regard to the general business of the Institute. That, I take it, will mean a gathering of scientists drawn from many branches of science, and convened’ from time to time to consult with the Director as to the general scope of the work to be undertaken. Also, power is to be taken for the appointment of a Council in) regard to any Bureau thereof.
In connexion with- the Bureau of Agriculture, for instance, the Director carrying out the functions of the Institute, in cooperation with the States, would naturally call together om the Board, first and foremost, the scientists associated with the State Agricultural Departments. It does not necessarily mean that the Advisory Board will be confined to such heads of State Departments. There might be other eligible men occupying chairs of agriculture at the universities, or experts in veterinary science, who might be called im to form the nucleus of an Advisory Council. In that way we shall secure all the men required to constitute a scientific body capable of dealing with particular questions. What is the use of having an advisory council composed of engineers to deal with the question of agriculture? The scheme of the Government is to secure, by the appointment of advisory councils, the assistance and co operation of the scientific men of Australia for dealing with the specific problems that the Institute will have to consider from time to time. I believe that that will not only secure the effective working of the Institute itself, but will prevent the tendency, which has been noticed up to the present, of distributing the energies of the Institute over a great number of subjects, some of which are, perhaps, more urgent than others.
– I again have to draw attention to the state of the House. - [Quorum formed.’]
– What we are proposing will do exactly what the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) desires. It will be the means of securing the co-operation of our scientific men, and it will do so in a way which will enable them to concentrate on the particular scientific problems with which they are intimate. It will not call together a body of scientists who may not be conversant with the branches with which their fellow-members are familiar; but it will bring together, in cooperation with the Government on each specific problem as it arises, the best men it is possible to obtain. I have discussed the Government’s proposals with those interested, and I do not think we will have the slightest difficulty in securing, with the exception possibly of two or three men, the whole-hearted co-operation of the scientists of the Commonwealth. I hope the honorable member for Grampians will not press his amendment.
– I intend to support the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) in the amendment he has moved, because it is an effort to secure co operation with the States. I admit that the amendment may be open to the charge that it gives the advisory councils a power which the Government may be justified in objecting to, on the ground that it might mean creating perpetual bodies. If that is. the objection, it is one that can easily be overcome
– That is not the proposal.
– I agree with the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) that the amendment will be the means of creating in each State a body with administrative powers.
– If the honorable member does not propose to make them a part of the corporate body, the amendment of which I have given notice will do all that is needed.
– I do not think so. The amendment is doing the very thing that I object to, as it provides that the Institute shall comprise, for instance, a Bureau of Agriculture. Where is that to’ come from ? Is it to be in Victoria, where there is already a Bureau of Agriculture? If we say we shall establish forthwith a Bureau of Agriculture, it means that we shall have in Victoria a second bureau, and that is a serious objection. We have to realize that, not only in this State, but in other States of the Commonwealth, bureaux of agriculture are already established, and are doing splendid work. Instead of having others we should use these institutions in conjunction with the activities of the Federal Government, which would be able to deal with more important questions that are not of State interest, but rather of Federal concern.
– That is what is proposed.
– The Bill provides that bureaux of agriculture “shall” be established, but in another portion of the measure relating to co-operation, the word “ may “ is used where “ shall “ should be employed. We should not agree to the establishment of new Departments when effective work is already being accomplished in every State, but should use those agencies which are available.
– It reads “shall when necessary.”
– If the Bureau of Agriculture is to be successful it is necessary that it shall co-operate with the State bureaux already established. It is for us to find some means of co-operation to prevent additional and unnecessary expense. When I was a Minister in South Australia it was the practice to co-operate with the Commonwealth Government under an arrangement whereby the State bureau was utilized. A member of the advisory council visited Melbourne from time to time to consult with the representatives of the Commonwealth.
– That was not statutory.
– No ; but the Commonwealth should link up to the States without giving them statutory powers or creating new Departments. We should no-operate in such a manner that they will feel that they are part and parcel of the proposal. We all recognise the necessity for such an Institute: but we must also realize that it is undesirable,, in view of our financial obligations, to establish costly Departments that will be antagonistic to those already in existence. This Government may be quite prepared to co-operate with the States ; but we have to remember that we are not legislating for this year or next year, and that it is quite possible that a few years hence a Government may be in power that will be in favour of establishing their own Departments in all the States. At the present time, I believe, there are some honorable members who think that the Commonwealth should ignore the States altogether, and in dealing with legislation of this character we have to remember that its administration may be in the hands of men whose opinions may be totally opposed to ours. The new clause of which the Minister has given notice sets out the functions of the new Department, and the moment a Director realizes that he has the power to appoint he will do so.
– He has power in other cla US GS
– Yes ; he has.
– Does not the Bill say he “may “?
-“ Mav “ is a very convenient word to have in a Bill; but when we mean real business the word “ shall “ is used. I intend to support the amendment of the honorable member for Grampians, although I think it goes too far. I ask the Minister to postpone the consideration of this clause, as he will then have an opportunity of carefully considering the amendment. This is not a party question, but one on which every honorable member is anxious to do the right thing.
.- The proposal before the Committee seems to be the antithesis of the proposal actually in the Bill. The honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) suggests that it is not very difficult to amend the clause, and that possibly the Minister for Trade and Customs may be prepared to do so. To me it seems absolutely impossible when one considers the nature of the amendment and the principle underlying it. The Bill provides for the appointment of a central body, which happens to be one individual, to control, direct, and organize scientific effort. The proposal of the honorable member for Grampians is that we shall not have a central body, but that the members of the controlling body shall be scattered over the whole Commonwealth. That is absolutely out of the question-
– The honorable member has totally misunderstood my proposal.
– I am sorry if I have done so. I have perused the amendment, and I have also listened to the honorable member’s explanation, and I cannot see that it has any other meaning. I realize that the honorable member has been persistent throughout in suggesting that he is not creating an unwieldy body which would not easily be brought together and able to come to a dec: sion ; but I suggest he is totally wrong when he makes that statement.
– Possibly the honorable member did not hear all I said, and I was not able to say all I desired owing to interruptions.
– Evidently the honorable member “ desires to make his position clear ; but up to the present he most distinctly has not done so. He has told us frankly that there are to be six State advisory bodies.
– Do I understand the honorable member to suggest that the position is not clear ?
– I think it is absolutely clear ; but, apparently my reading of the position is not the reading of the proposer of the amendment. I understand there are to be six advisory committers or councils, which, together with the Director, are to constitute a body corporate. These States are scattered far apart, and, no doubt, the individual members of the proposed body will live at long distances from one another. How such a body will be able to act with any celerity, or any definite purpose, is quite beyond me to understand. It seems to me an entirely wrong principle that is embodied in the amendment; and for that reason I shall most certainly vote against it. I suggest that the matter cannot be dealt with in the manner suggested by the amendment, which involves a re-casting of the principle of the Bill.
– If the amendment is carried it will mean that the whole Bill will have to be re-cast.
– Absolutely - an entirely new principle is introduced.
– That would be in conformity with the suggestion of the honorable member for Calare (Mr. Lavelle), to withdraw and re-cast the Bill.
– That possibly is so; but I was not accusing the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) of such subtlety in: his tactics. He voted against the Bill ; but up to the time he made his suggestion I was under the impression that his idea was to honestly try to improve it.
– I wish to makeit a good Bill now.
– I think that out of his own mouth the honorable member has shown that his mind has not the subtle agility of the mind of another honorable member who has just interjected. The points that have been raised in the discussion certainly require a great deal of consideration; but, personally, I cannot see that we can possibly come into line under this amendment. It is essential and imperative, as pointed out, that we should have the co-operation of the best scientific minds in Australia, and also the co-operation of the States’ various Departments. It is also a question for the consideration of the House whether one man should, form this body corporate, or whether there should be more. In the original Bill the number was three; and the number is a matter for direct amendment. It seems to me, however, that whatever is done, we must have a central body of a limited number, and provide that the man or men selected shall command the respect of the community, par ticularly of the scientific section and the leaders of industry. If this body acts with reasonable tact we shall get far better results from an advisory council than: we could get by creating a great unwieldy body which certainly, in my opinion, would not give that scientific investigation which is hoped for under this amendment.
.- I consider the amendment a most important one, but I was not able to give fully the reasons in support of its adoption. There has been, in the course of the discussion, such gross misrepresentation of my intention that it is only right. I should make some reply. In deference to my honorable friend, the honorable member forFremantle (Mr. Burchell), I shall withdraw the word ‘ ‘ misrepresentation “ and substitute the word “misunderstanding.” There is one point I wish to clear up. I was subject to most violent interjections, and told that my proposal is utterly impracticable.
– Hear, hear !
– I give my friends credit for being consistent, even when they are wrong, as I shall very soon show them to be. I regard my scheme as exceedingly practicable, and one very easily worked - a very much better scheme than that proposed by the Minister in charge of the Bill.
– It is as clear as daylight that I cannot vote for it.
– That is the severest blow I have received in my life. When I resented the implication that my scheme is impracticable, I was told that it is not my scheme which is impracticable, but that the amendment as I proposed it would prove so. I then pointed out that I was not a drafter of Bills, and I bowed to the wisdom and experience of the honorable member for Kooyong . (Sir Robert Best), the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Bruce), and others, with whom in such a matter I would not dream of comparing myself. The honorable member for Kooyong, both by way of interjection and afterwards in his address, poured oceans of contempt on this idea of mine - this “ novel “ idea, as he described it - that an Institute could be formed and worked in such a fashion as I propose. That honorable member described the idea as absolutely impossible, and that opinion has been repeated over and over again by both himself and the Minister. I was not then aware whether or not my idea was “novel,” but I accepted the statement, and admitted that, under the circumstances, it might be exposed to such criticism.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
.- Unfortunately, I was absent from the chamber when the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) replied to the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett), who seeks by his amendment to restore the Bill practically to the form in which it passed the other branch of the Legislature.
– But not to exactly the same terms.
– That is so. But it must not be forgotten that when the measure was before the Senate it contained provision for the establishment of an advisory council in each State. Though the creation of the Institute of Science and Industry has never been definitely authorized, there has been established in each State at least one advisory council and the honorable member for Grampians, I understand, wishes to restore that provision in this Bill.
– To some extent.
– He desires to make the advisory councils a part of the Institute.
– I cannot agree with him. I should like to know why the Government have discarded the State advisory councils for which the Bill contained provision when it was before us upon two or three previons occasions.
– The position roughly, is that the work upon which these scientific men will be required to co-operate, boils down to specific subjects, and we believe that it is better to make provision in the Bill which will enable us to call upon them to co-operate in respect of particular problems than to establish a general council. But provision is made for the establishment of a general council in regard to the central area.
– I think that the view taken by the Government is the correct one, because only specialists and highlytrained men will undertake independent investigations, and these men may be hampered rather than helped by the creation of State advisory councils. In my judgment, the amendment of the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) is not calculated to assist the Institute, and I regret, therefore, that I shall be obliged to vote against it.
.- I move -
That progress be reported.
I do so as a protest against the highhanded and arbitrary action of the Government in prohibiting the public from coming to this assembly this evening. The usual course has been departed from without any explanation being vouchsafed to honorable members. Here on top of the action of members of this Parliament in increasing their salaries by £400 a year, the citizens of Melbourne are denied their right to come here and listen to our deliberations.
– Order! The honorable member cannot debate the question. He may submit the motion, but it must be put without discussion.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- I entered the chamber only a few moments ago, hoping to hear the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) continue the remarks which he was making when the sitting was suspended. I understand, however, that because he was two or three minutes late we are to be prevented from hearing what I anticipate would have been a very effective reply to some of the criticisms which have been levelled against his amendment. I think that the Committee is willing to hear the honorable member, and I suggest that he be given permission to continue his remarks.
– There is no precedent for allowing a member to continue a speech after another speaker has intervened.
– Is there any precedent for carrying on here under police protection ?
– The question is not in order. I cannot take it on myself to lay down a precedent contrary to the Standing Orders.
– Is it possible for me to move an amendment on the amendment of the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) which would be of assistance to him?
– The honorable member could move to add further words to the amendment.
– Then I take pleasure in proposing that those further words be added in order to enable the honorable member for Grampians to continue his speech.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member for Grampians has already spoken twice.
– If he desires to speak again, I am sure the Committee will hear him.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.If it is the unanimous wish of the Committee that the honorable member be allowed to continue his speech, he may do so.
– I think that the Deputy Leader of the Country party should have the right to speak again.
– I enter my protest against the honorable member or any other member continuing the business while the public are not allowed to come here.
– Are you going to allow this sort of thing to go on all night, Mr. Temporary Chairman?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member is out of order. The honorable member for Grampians has been called on to speak.
– I object, and rise to a point of order. You did not .put the question to the Committee. I object to the honorable member taking up the time of the Committee. There was no motion carried which would permit him to continue. I say again that it is a standing disgrace that men claiming to represent the people here should be carrying on business under police protection, while the public is prevented from coming here. It is a most outrageous thing; despicable and disgraceful!
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member is out of order in referring to that matter.
– I think he should withdraw those words.
– Yon are not the dictator of this establishment.
.- I am deeply grateful to tho honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) for his suggestion that I should be allowed to continue my remarks, and thank members for the permission that they have given to me to speak for a few minutes longer. I must apologize for having been a few seconds late.
– A motion was not put to the Committee, and I object therefore to the honorable member addressing it.
– There was no objection offered when I put it to the Committee that the honorable member should be allowed to speak again, and I therefore called upon him to do so.
– You did not put it to the Committee.
– I rise to a question of privilege. I direct attention to the fact that the meeting of the Committee is taking place under circumstances quite unprecedented in the history of responsible government in this country. Fol the first time within my experience-
– I rise to order. I submit that the honorable member may not rise to a question of privilege when another member is speaking.
– Is the Minister for the Navy in order. in submitting a point of order when I have risen on a question of privilege?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Matters of privilege are for the House to decide. It is the Speaker who controls admission to the galleries.
– Then, in order that this important matter may be brought under the notice of Mr. Speaker, I move -
That progress be reported.
– Under the standing order, a motion for the reporting of progress cannot be moved more than once within a quarter of an hour.
Motion (by Mr. Considine) negatived -
That the questionbe now put.
– I apologize to the Committee for being, perhaps, the innocent cause of all this trouble, and again express my deep gratitude to honorable members for the privilege of being allowed to make a few more remarks.
– You will get a lot of privilege to-night.
– On a point of order-
– I move -
That the question be now put.
– Can that be done when I am stating a point of order?
– Yes, the motion can be proposed at any time.
Question - That the question be now put - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That the amendment (Mr. Jowett’s) be agreed to-put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 28
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question - That the clause be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 19
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
An urgent motion, directly concerning the privileges of the House, shall take precedence of other motions, as well as of Orders of the Day.
Standing order 283 says -
Any member may rise to speak “ to order,” or upon a matter of privilege suddenly arising.
Standing order 284 provides -
All questions of order and matters of privilege at any time arising shall, until decided, suspend the consideration and decision of every other question.
There is no reference to the powers and duties of the Committee of the House, but I submit that the Committee is for the time being the guardian of the privileges of the House, and that a matter of privilege suddenly arising, as it has in this case, must be decided as the standing order provides in precedence of every other matter. A little while ago I rose to put this point, but before I was able to put it the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook), with characteristic discourtesy, plunged in and interrupted me. I ask the Temporary Chairman (Mr. Watkins) to take counsel with those who may be presumed to know something about the matter, and without any disrespect I suggest that the point I raise is unanswerably in favour of my being able to bring forward any question of privilege, and submit it for the immediate decision of the Committee; because the matter to which I refer is very urgent, and because I think the Committee would be careful to be the guardian of its own rightsand privileges. Withthe military and the secret service of the police surrounding us, I should say that the matter is an urgent one, if ever there was such a thing, requiring immediate decision.
After any question has been proposed,either in the House or in any Committee of the whole, a motion may be made by any member, rising in his place, and without notice, and whether any other member is addressing the Chair or not, “ That the question be now put,” and the motion shall be put forthwith and decided without amendment or debate.
As to the question of privilege arising in Committee, May says on page 258 -
If complaint of a breach of privilege be made whilst the House is in Committee, the Committee reports progress thereon; or, upon an act of disorder committed in his presence, the Chairman has quitted the chair and sent for the Speaker.
That progressbe reported.
Question - That progress be reported - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . … 15
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Sir Joseph Cook) put -
That the honorable member for Batman be not further heard.
Ayes . . . . . . 28
Noes . . . . . . 16
Majority . … 12
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Every member may, each day, by written order, admit three strangers to the gallery.
I wish to know why honorable members have been denied this privilege to-night, and why citizens are being prevented, on application to their members, from hearing the debate of the Committee? I want to know by whose authority and by what right the citizens of this country are prevented from entering here?
– The honorable member must see, from what I have quoted before, that the question he raises is distinctly one that should be put when the Speaker is in the chair, and cannot be decided in Committee.
– I understood from your reply to the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) that a question of privilege when raised in Committee must be decided by the Chairman reporting progress and giving the Speaker an opportunity to deal with it.
– The Committee controls its own procedure within its own ambit, and deals with any questions arising in Committee. I can only report any matter to the Speaker by the resolution of the Committee as a whole.
– Then I move that you report progress in order that the question may be decided.
– A quarter of an hour has not elapsed since the last decision of the Committee on the question. In any case, the motion has now been moved twice, and the standing order gives me the privilege of saying whether I shall receive any further motion of that kind.
– Do I understand that you refuse to take the motion now ?
– The standing order does not allow me to accept the motion now. The honorable member is, therefore, out of order.
– I am going to insist on the right of a member to exercise his privileges, as enumerated in the standing order. If you will not allow me to move that progress be reported, I am going to insist on being heard. Since I have been a member of this House, the representatives of the people here have allowed their privileges to be taken away. The military have been allowed to come into the building and to do as they like, and to-night the place is being carried on under police protection.
Honorable Members. - Chair !
– Chair be damned! I am going to raise my voice in protest, and I am going to be heard. I am going to say-
Honorable Members. - Chair! Chair!
– Order! Clause 5-
– I intend that no business shall proceed, so far as I am concerned, until this matter has been dealt with.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I do not wish to take any extreme steps-
– When you allow yourself to be made use of by the party opposite, who have sent their own Temporary Chairman away and put you in the chair, you ought to get out of it.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.While I am here I shall occupy the position with fairness to all members, and shall carry out the rules guiding me, irrespective of the honorable member or any one else. I ask the honorable member to withdraw.
– I am not going to withdraw.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Then I must call on the Prime Minister to take the necessary action.
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) proposed -
That the honorable member for Barrier (Mr. Considine) be suspended from the service of the Committee.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 11
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
In the House:
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) proposed -
That the honorable member for Barrier be suspended from the service of the House.
The House divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
The honorable member for Barrier was, therefore, under standing order 59, suspended for the remainder of the sitting, and withdrew from the chamber.
Clause 5 (Appointment of Director).
Question - That the clause be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Clause agreed to. Clause 6 -
– I move -
That after the word “ shall,” line 1, the following words be inserted: - “subject to the approval of Parliament.”
The clause will then read - “ The Director shall, subject to the approval of Pavliament, receive such salary as the GovernorGeneral determines.” I do not want to waste time debating the amendment, which speaks for itself. My intention is to reserve to this House authority to determine what the Director’s salary shall be, and as I desire to expedite the business, I shall content myself with submitting the amendment.
:- The amendment is a wise provision to retain parliamentary control. Instead of a true Democracy we have been subjected, during recent years, to a system of bureaucratic control in regard to expenditure of public, money, and the provision now sought to be inserted in the clause will give the people an opportunity, through their representatives in this Parliament, of expressing an opinion concerning the directorship and staffing of this particular institution. I agree that scientific methods are essential for the proper development of this great country, but it is very desirable, in my opinion, to include the safeguard suggested by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan). The amendment will relieve the Government of a responsibility which should properly be shouldered by the representatives of the people.
– I draw attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– I hope the Minister will do us the courtesy of expressing an opinion on the amendment.
– I take it that the salary of the Director, like the salaries of all public servants, will come up for consideration when the Estimates are under review. In this way it will be subject, ultimately, to the approval of this House.
– If you appoint a Director at a fixed salary for a term, this House will not be able to alter it.
– The ordinary procedure of allowing the Executive to make the appointment and fix a salary should apply in this case. This is the invariable practice, with the exception of a few cases in which the salary is definitely laid down in a Bill, such as for the appointment of Judges. The Committee will be well advised not to accept the amendment.
.- I hope the Minister will reconsider his decision, because he knows that if the Director’s salary is fixed it will be a difficult matter for Parliament to deal with it in the Estimates. I can call to mind one instance bearing upon’ this particular matter. When the salary of the GovernorGeneral was under discussion inan Enabling Bill in the Victorian Parliament, the provision that the salary “ shall not be less than £10,000 “ was altered by striking out the word “less” and inserting “more” with the result that whenNew South Wales endeavoured to increase the amount to £20,000, it was unable to do so because the Victorian Act limited the sum to £10,000. As Parliament will be blamed for anything that may be done in connexion with this Bill, it would be wise to retain the right to determine the salary.
– As in the case of the Judges.
.- The Minister’s contention appears to me to be very weak, because I take it that the Director will be appointed at a fixed salary of,say, £1,000, for a term of five years. If Parliament stepped in and reduced the salary to £750 a year, the Director would have his remedy against the Government for breach of contract, because if he were a sensible man he would have his contract in black and white before he accepted the appointment. I am against the Bill absolutely, but I shall vote for the amendment in order to secure parliamentary control.
– I hope the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) will not press his amendment, because if the Institute is to be a success it is very advisable that the Government of the day should have the fullest scope in the selection of the bestman obtainable, subject to that control which Parliament exercises over the Estimates.
– Do you propose to obtain a Director by inviting applications?
– Yes, in the usual way.
– But you will not ask applicants to “ state salary required,” will you?
– It will be largely a matter of negotiation in order to get the very best man available, and, therefore, the greatest latitude should be given to the Government. I ask that the amendment be not pressed.
Mr.LAZZARINI (Werriwa) [9.45]. -I hope that the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) will persist with his amendment, and that it will be supported by those who think that Parliament should have control of the public purse. It is a strange proposal that the Government should be given an absolutely free hand, for whilst the Government are the executive authority, this Parliament has to bear the responsibility, and every individual member will have to take some of the blame for any mistake that is made. The Minister (Mr. Greene) said that the salary may be a matter of negotiation; he seems to contemplate a sort of Jewish bargaining. I am opposed to the Bill lock, stock, and barrel ; but as an Institute is to be created
I shall vote to provide that Parliament shall decide the salary of the Director. If we cannot get a qualified man for the amount fixed we can do without one.
.- At first sight there is a good deal to commend the amendment ; but when one considers the matter more closely he must conclude that the clause had better be agreed to as drafted. Australia is at a great disadvantage at the present time as a result of cheeseparing in regard to the services of its experts in all Departments. Other countries are prepared to pay the best for the best, and the sooner Australia adopts that policy the better.
– I am not suggesting any other policy.
– I fear that if we fix a salary of, say, £1,000 per annum, we shall possibly get a man worth that amount; and if, on the other hand, we fix a salary of £5,000, the appointee might be worth* less. The question of salary had better be left open so that the Government may arrange to pay for the value they are to receive. If the Government arrange to pay £10,000 for the right type of expert he might be a very cheap man for a young country like Australia in its developmental stage.
.- The amendment might possibly hamper the Government in their choice of a man. They will have to negotiate for somebody, and we hope they will engage the best man available. They might be able by negotiation to get a good man for £4,000 or £5,000 per annum, but that man might not accept the position if he knew that the arrangement made bv the Government was only tentative, and must run the gauntlet of parliamentary approval. If such a man were in the employ of a big company he might prefer to keep his present position rather than run the risk of the contract with the Government being rejected by Parliament. The desire for control by Parliament will be met by the item being placed on the Estimates each year as is the salary of the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank. If Parl’ament so. desires the salary can be struck out or reduced.
.- Honorable members who have opposed the amendment have put forward two mutually destructive argument.?. The
Minister (Mr. Greene) has explained that the amendment is unnecessary, because the salary must appear upon the Estimates, and be subject to parliamentary approval. On the other hand the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Prowse) and the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) say that the amendment would hamper .the Government in their choice of a suitable man, because a likely appointee might fear that Parliament would refuse to indorse any contract the Government made with him. I fail to see why it should be impossible for Ministers to successfully negotiate with a competent man provided that Parliament allowed sufficient latitude in regard to salary, as I have no doubt Parliament would. The salaries of the High Court Judges are fixed by Act of Parliament; they are not left to the judgment of the Executive. Whilst in ordinary circumstances I would be prepared to yield to the request of the Minister that the amendment be not pressed, yet in the light of recent experience and my general knowledge of the manner in which the Executive have absolutely ignored Parliament in regard to the expenditure of public moneys, I am not prepared to do that. I am not unmindful of the. fact that as late as the 7th July the Government, without reference to Parliament, issued a regulation under the War Precautions Act enabling them to pay out of the consolidated revenue losses incurred in the running of ships along the coast under requisition, some of those losses being probably due to the ships having been held up while the seamen’s strike was in progress. In view of the fact that the Government are prepared to legislate by Executive minute, and to directly charge upon the people the expenses attendant upon such legislation, while large profits are being made by the shipping companies trading along the coast, and in view of our general knowledge of the manner in which the Executive have abused their powers in connexion with the expenditure of public funds, it is high time that we applied a stricter rule and carried out the pledges we made to our constituents to restore to Parliament the control of the public expenditure.
.- The only effect of the amendment would be to disadvantage the Government in the selection of a suitable man. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) does not think for a moment that the House would turn out of office a Government who made a bad appointment; the House never has done that. I favour the Government having latitude in this matter because it is necessary that they should get the very best man available. When the Commonwealth Bank Act was passed it was provided that the Governor-General in Council should fix the salary to be paid to the Governor of the Bank.
– He is an absolute sweater, and the honorable member knows it.
– I do not agree with the honorable member. As soon as it became known that the Government wanted a manager for the Commonwealth Bank several of the banking companies called upon their chief officers to say whether or not they intended to apply for the position. Many of them thereupon said they would not be applicants. That action restricted the Government’s choice, and might possibly have prevented them from getting a good man. They did, however, get one of the best banking experts in the Commonwealth, who has since done wonderful work. By negotiation the Government might be able to get for Director of the Institute a man of £4,000 per annum calibre, but if that amount were fixed by Parliament the best man available might not be worth that salary; he might be worth only £2,000. The Minister when conducting negotiations with an expert employed by some big company would have to come to Parliament and say, “ We can get a good man for £4,000 per annum.” Immediately honorable members would demand to know the name of the applicant. The disclosure of the name before the appointment was confirmed would prejudice the man in his private employment, and the fear of that happening might prevent him from applying. The Broken Hill Company, for instance, employs some men who are very prominent in the scientific and industrial world, and I understand that one officer of the company is paid a salary of £10,000 per annum.
– If he gets that salary he is worth it, and the company knows his value.
– The company realizes the value of his work, and is prepared to pay. If it was whispered abroad that the Government proposed to secure the services of the chief officer of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company his directors would probably ask him if he intended leaving the service of the company, and in the event of an affirmative reply he would probably be asked to terminate his engagement. If such a position should arise in connexion with the appointment of a Director the Government would be hampered, and would not be able to get the best man for the position. I trust the honorable member will not press his amendment.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted (Mr. Ryan’s amendment) be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That after the word “ determines,” line 2, the following words be inserted: - “but such salary shall not be more than £1,000 per annum.”
The head of a Government Department should not receive a higher salary than a member of Parliament, as he has not to go before his constituents from time to time. If there is a genuine desire to benefit and protect the country, this or any other Government can bring in a special Bill to provide for the payment of any salary they please, just as they did in the case of the late Chief Justice of Australia, Sir Samuel Griffith, when the late Treasurer (Mr. Watt) submitted a measure for the payment of a pension of £5 a day to that gentleman. In the same way the sum of £4,500 was voted to Lady Bridges. Let us consider the salaries paid to some of the greatest persons mentioned in the world’s history. Pasteur was receiving £200 a year when he made his great discovery, and when he was offered £25,000 to go from Paris to Italy he refused because, he said, other men could do the work. Dr. Koch was receiving £150 a year when he made his great discovery, and Rontgen was inreceipt of £200 a year when he became famous. One of the few men England regretted losing was Dr. Gresswell, who, as Chairman of the Board of Health in this State, was receiving a salary of £1,000; but he would not part with the honour of being at the head of that great Department for five times the salary.
– What year was that?
– In 1889.
– £1,000 per annum then is equal to about £200 now.
– More than that. We could, as I have said, by special Acts decide what salary should be paid, and I hope the Government will be prepared to accept my amendment. Every one who has studied scientific research will admit that it is not the highly-paid men at the top of the tree who make discoveries, but the younger men-, directed by the elder brain, who achieve success. Mr. William Thomson, afterwards Lord Kelvin, after thirty years’ work, said he knew no more about electricity than when he first commenced its study. If we have a great man let us pay him what Parliament thinks is a proper salary. Good men should be rewarded according to their worth.
Question - That the clause be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . …… 24
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 7 -
The Minister may at any time suspend the Director from his office for incapacity, incompetence, or misbehaviour.
If the Director is so suspended the
Governor-General may appoint a Board of Inquiry (consisting of throe persons, one of whom shall be the chairman of the Board, and any two of whom may exercise all the powers of the Board) for investigation and report upon the charge of incapacity, incompetence, or misbehaviour preferred by the Minister.
If the Director does not admit the truth of the charge preferred against him, the Board of Inquiry shall inquire into the truth of the charge, and, after fully hearing the case, shall report to the Governor-General its opinion thereon.
If the charge is admitted or is found by the Board of Inquiry to be proved, the Governor-General may, if he thinks fit, call upon the Director to retire from his office, and he shall retire accordingly.
If the charge is found by the Board of Inquiry not to be proved, the suspension shall be immediately removed by the Minister.
Save as in this section provided, the Director shall not be removed from office during the term for which he was appointed.
.- I hope honorable members will agree with me that the Governor-General in Council, which is really the Commonwealth Government, should have power to suspend the Director for incompetence or misbehaviour. It will be noticed that the clause states that the “Minister may at any time suspend the Director for incapacity, incompetence, or misbehaviour,” and in this connexion I draw attention to the Inter-State Commission Act, section 9, which is as follows: -
I may also point out that the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank holds office during good behaviour for a period of seven years, and is eligible for reappointment. I am very glad to know that the Minister (Mr. Greene) is prepared to accept the amendment I am about to propose. The clause provides that the Director, if suspended, may be tried by a board of inquiry appointed by the Governor-General; but I ask honorable members if any business firm or company with a board of directors would suspend its chief officer and allow him to be tried by a board, bef ore whom there might be laid a pile of evidence as high as the table in this chamber, as has happened in the case of public servants. We ought to maintain the prestige and power of the Commonwealth of Australia wherever possible; and I propose to strike out the word “Minister” with a view to inserting “ Governor-General,” which, of course, means the Governor-General in Council, or, in other words, the Government, and to adopt the words of the Inter-State Commission. Act with regard to a Commissioner. Thus, if the Government wish to suspend the Director, -the Minister must report to the House, which must be satisfied to carry a resolution to the effect that the Director shall be removed from office. I therefore move -
That the word “ Minister,” line 1, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ Governor-General,” and that sub-clauses ( 2 ) to (6) be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following sub-clauses: -
The Minister shall within seven days after the suspension, if the- Parliament is then sitting, or if the Parliament is not then sitting, within seven days after the next meeting of the Parliament, cause to be laid before both Houses of the Parliament a full statement of the grounds of suspension.
A Director who has been suspended shall be restored to office unless each House of Parliament within forty days after the statement has been laid before it, and in the same session, passes an address paying for his removal on the grounds of proved incapacity, incompetence, or misbehaviour.
– I am prepared to accept the amendment, which I think will effect a distinct improvement in the Bill.
Amendment agreed to.
Claus>e, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 8 agreed to.
Clause 9 (Powers and functions of the Director).
.- This clause will confer very great powers upon the Director, and I have some hesitation in agreeing to it. Whilst there can be no objection to the Director initiating and carrying out scientific researches, there may be some objection .to allowing him to establish and award industrial research studentships and fellowships and to permitting him to make grants.
– He cannot do any of those things without the approval of the Minister, who will necessarily be guided by his ability to get the votes through Parliament.
– The Minister’s interjection reminds me that when I asked him if he had calculated the cost of this Institute, he replied that the matter would come up for discussion on the Estimates. Whilst I have been a member - of this House I have known Estimates involving an expenditure of £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 to be passed with, only four hours’ consideration.
-I do not think that that will happen again.
– .That may be so, because we are now living in a time of peace* Political parties are more evenly divided than they were during the war ; and, with great respect ‘ to Ministers, it is a good thing for the country when there is a strong Opposition. However wellmeaning the Minister may be, the Director of the Institute will be authorized by this Bill to make grants
– But he can only make them subject to Ministerial approval.
– It does not say so.
– Yes, it does.
– I beg the Minister’s pardon; I had quite overlooked that fact.
.- I confess that I entertain a similar feeling of apprehension on this matter to that which has been voiced by the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs). I fear that the Minister will be guided by the Director of the Institute, and that, unless there be some way of restraining the representations of the Director, we are likely to incur a large expenditure in the making of grants.
– If the Director wishes to establish any of these scholarships, he can only do so by obtaining Ministerial approval. The Minister will then make the necessary provision on the Estimates.
– I am satisfied with having entered my protest, and I shall leave the matter at that.
– Despite the assurances of the Minister (Mr. Greene). I cannot forget that we have heard similar assurances before. Ten years of parliamentary experience have convinced me that such assurances are not borne out in actual practice. We are opening the door to a very heavy expenditure. However, I entered my protest upon the motion for the second reading of the Bill, and I repeat that protest now.
– For the true welfare of the people of Australia.
– My honorable friend is very young. When he is three years older in political life he will probably have arrived at the same conclusion as I have. During my occupancy of a seat in this Chamber there have been several Ministries in power, and not one of them has kept its pledges to maintain a firm control over our expenditure. This Bill provides, not one door, but several, for very big outgoings of very little benefit to the Commonwealth.
Question - That the clause be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . .. . . 16
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 10 to 19 agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Greene) agreed to-
That the following new clause be inserted: - 4a. The Institute shall comprise -
Amendment (by Mr. Greene) proposed -
That the following new clause be inserted: - 4b. The Governor-General may appoint Advisory Boards to advise the Director with regard to -
the general business of the Insti tute or any bureau thereof; and
any particular matter of investi gation or research.
.- I desire to submit two amendments to this clause. I wish to have the word “may” omitted, with a view to insert the word “shall,” and to insert the words “in each State” after the word “Boards.”
– We cannot accept the first suggested amendment.
– What is the objection to it?
– It would take all control out of the Director’s hands. For all practical purposes “ may “ is the same as “ shall “ in these Acts, but there must be discretion somewhere, and it should rest with the Government of the country.
– Then, to save time, I shall not persist with the first amend- ment, andwill content myself with moving -
That, after the word “ Boards “ the words “ in each State “ be inserted.
Amendment agred to.
Proposed new clause, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments ; report adopted.
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) proposed -
That the intervening business be postponed until after the consideration of Notice of Motion No. 2.
.- The Prime Minister has proposed the postponement of the remaining Orders of the Day until after the consideration of notice of motion No. 2, for leave to introduce a Bill for an Act relating to industrial matters. I am most anxious to reach the consideration of that measure, but I direct attention to the fact that, according to the press, the Prime Minister on Saturday last threatened that he would pass the proposed amendment of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act in spite of the opposition of honorable members on this side. I have never known of any opposition to that Bill on the part of honorable members on this side. As a matter of fact, we have been asking for the introduction of the Bill. The adjournment of this House has been moved on more than one occasion to urge an amendment of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, to permit organizations to get to the Arbitration Court more speedily than they can do under the present law. They are prevented from getting to the Court at the present time. Now, in spite of what the Prime Minister said at Bendigo, he proposes to pass over the notice of motion for the introduction of the Bill to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I understand that he proposes to take only the first reading of the Bill dealing with industrial matters, in order that it may be circulated, and we may consider it tomorrow. Every member of this House is aware that private business is taken first to-morrow, and, if the history of this Parliament repeats itself, we shall be occupied up to 6.30 p.m. with the consideration of that business. As the Bill proposes the adoption of a new principle, I presume that the Prime Minister will not desire that we should go straight on with its consideration, but that we should have an opportunity of considering its provisions. What this Parliament should be most anxious to do is to minimize, as far as possible, the industrial unrest existing at the present time. I agree that the disturbed feeling in the minds of the general community is not confined to Australia, butis evident in every part of the world. It is nearly impossible to secure a measure that will secure complete industrial peace, but we should not shirk our duty to do what we can to prevent industrial unrest. I suggest that the Prime Minister should let us deal with notice of motion No. 1 to-night.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act relating to industrial matters and the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes.
Bill presented, and (on motion by Mr. Hughes) read a first time.
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- There is one word I wish to say on the motion for the adjournment of the House. The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) this afternoon moved the closure at the end of a long controversial speech. I desire to enter my protest against his action in moving the closure at the end of such a speech, because the adoption of that practice does not give other members of the House any opportunity to reply. Certainly, a very effective reply was given by the vote of the House. I should like to direct attention to the dictum of a Speaker of the House of Commons, on the 12th May, 1893, on a point raised by Lord George Hamilton. The matter is recorded as follows, at page 790, vol. 12, of the 4th series of Parliamentary Debates, 4th May, 1893, to 1st June, 1893: -
Lord G. Hamilton. - I wish, sir, to ask your opinion’ as to the manner in which the closure can be moved, not only in Committee, but when the Speaker is in the chair and I wish to ask whether it is in conformity with the spirit of the standing order for an; Minister to preface his motion for the closure by a speech of a highly controversial character and stating, with all the skill of an advocate, the reasons why the closure should be applied?
– I take it that the question of the noble lord is whether the closure can be moved after a speech has been made on a general subject or after reasons given for moving it. As far as I recollect, a similar question was raised in August, 1887, when a right honorable gentleman made a long and necessarily controversial speech, and at the end of it moved the closure. The honorable and learned member for Louth raised the point, and I then told the honorable and learned member that the question had been settled by former precedents, and that it was competent for an honorable member at the close of a speech to move the closure. But after an experience of many years, 1 am bound to say that for an honorable member to make a controversial speech and then to move the closure is scarcely in conformity with the spirit of the rule, because such a courseshuts out an answer to his speech being given.
I wish to have that extract placed on record in order that the precedent getby the Prima Minist er (Mr. Hughes) this afternoon may not he followed on any other occasion ; and I hope, if it he followed, that Parliament will give to it just as effective a reply as it gave to-day.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.1 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 July 1920, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1920/19200728_reps_8_92/>.