9th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Rt. Hon. W. A. Watt) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether the Government have reconsidered the question of the representation of Australia at the International Labour Conference to be held at Geneva this year?
– The Government have reconsidered the matter on the ground that, while the business to be dealt with at tie Conference is not of a character that is likely to affect any Australian legislation,since our factory legislation is so much in advance of that of other countries, we perhaps owe a duty to other countries, and may be able to render them assistance. ‘ The Government have therefore decided upon representation at the Conference, and steps are being taken to that end.
– I ask the Treasurer whether honorable members may expect to be supplied with the Auditor-General’s report before they are asked to deal with the Estimates ?
– As the Government hope to deal with the Estimates almost immediately, I am afraid that what the honorable member desires will not be possible.
– I ask the Prime Minister if, in view of the very short period at our disposal before 24th August, he will as far as possible place first on the business paper the most important measures that must be considered before the prorogation, in the order of their importance?
– The Government will, of course, endeavour to bring forward at the earliest moment the measures which they consider of the greatest importance, and which they propose to have passed before the close of the session.
– I did not gather from the Prime Minister’s reply that what the honorable member for Wakefield desired is to be done. What I should like to know is not whether the Government will bring on measures of importance in the order of their importance, but, as a fact, when it is proposed to deal with the various matters that can be dealt with in the time at our disposal. For example, what does the Government propose to proceed with after the conclusion of the debate on the subjects to be considered at the Imperial Conferences? When is the debate on the Budget to be resumed, and what is to follow it?
– I will give the House information from time to time of the order in which the Government propose to proceed with the business. In reply to the honorable gentleman’s specific question, I may say that it is proposed, after the debate on the subjects to be discussed at the Imperial Conferences is concluded, to deal first with the Works Estimates of Expenditure out ofRevenue. The Budget will be taken subsequently to that, and after these measures have been dealt with I shall continue the course I have previously followed, in accordance with ordinary parliamentary procedure, of informing the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) of the measures the Government propose to deal with.
Motion (by Mr. Prowse), by leave, agreed to -
That Mr. Thomas Paterson be discharged from attending the Select Committee on the Navigation Act and its effect on trade, and that Mr. J. H. Lister be appointed to the Committee in his place.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. When dealing, in my speech yesterday evening, with the relation of the Communist party to the Labour parly, I made certain statements that were characterized by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) as “ a silly or a malicious lie.” I desire now, with the permission of the House, to give the authority on which my statements were made. The statements that were challenged were these: That the Communist party had affiliated with the Labour party; that that affiliation was strenuously opposed by a large section of the Labour party; that it was opposed by the honorable member for Darling himself, who said in the course of a speech on the occasion that the Communist party could not function alongside the Labour party, but that it must come inside. I also quoted from a speech made by Mr. Stein, a delegate from the Railways Union to the Conference, to the effect that the Communist party’s objects were diametrically opposed to those of the Labour party; and that in spite of that opposition, the affiliation of the Communist party with the Labour party was carried by the casting vote of the president. . At that stage, the honorable member for Darling said, “ That is a silly or a malicious lie.” The statement was withdrawn, of course, at the instance of Mr. Speaker, but the charge still remained. It is, I think, the first time in my life that such a charge has been made against me, and I naturally want to give the House the authority I had for the statements I made. Unfortunately, as you, Mr. Speaker, are aware, it is impossible for me to read the extracts myself, and I ask your kind permission to request a fellow member to read the extracts I desire to have read, on which the statements I made were founded.
– That is quite an agreeable course.
– I ask the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Manning) to read, first of all, an extract from the Age of 11th June, 1923.
– Does the honorable member desire to continue his remarks at the conclusion of the reading of the extracts ?
-I. may desire to say a word or two.
– The extracts which have been marked by the honorable member forFawkner are contained in an article headed, “Labour Conferences,” “ Brisbane Objective Adopted,” “Communist Party Affiliation.” They are contained in a message sent from Sydney. That message states -
The annual A.L.P.. Conference met again on Saturday afternoon at the Trades Hall. Mr. A. C. Willis presiding.
The first extract marked by the honorable member forFawkner is as follows : -
Mr. Garden moved the first of the affiliation proposals as agreed uponat the conference of the trade unions and the Federal executive held in Sydney on 28th April, 1923. Hesaid the success of the partyin the Queensland elections was due to the fact that the Communists had been admitted into it. There was not the slightest doubt that the success achieved was because all the parties were united.
The second extract reads -
Mr. Blakeleysaid he was against the motion. He did not see how the Communist party could function alongside the Labour party. In the interests of the Labour movement they should come in and not stand outside and criticise. The idea of the Communists was to become politicians. That was what they were at the conference for.
The third extract is -
Mr. E. J. Stein (Railway Workers) declared that no body of men could hold allegiance to one party and be loyal to another. There were present delegates from the Communist party. They were very welcome, but they should come right into the movement. If they could convince the A.L.P. in conference to amend its platform they were welcome to do so, but they should not try to impose then will on the conference. The objects of the two organizations were diametrically opposed.
The fourth extract is as follows: -
There was great excitement when the division was being taken. The voting was equal; 122 votes being cast each side. The Red Flag was sung by the audience and a number of the delegates. The chairman announced that he would give his casting vote in favour of the motion. Cheers rent the hall, lasting for several minutes, and The Red Flag was sung over again. It was a long timebefore order was restored.
– As I anticipated, when I announced that my first authority was theAge, that announcement was received with derision by honorable members opposite. Like them, I always prefer to make sure of my ground. Before I made my statement yesterday I looked up the Sydney Worker. I ask my friend, the honorable member for Macquarie, to read the account of the same meeting which appeared in the columns of that paper.
– The first paragraph marked by the honorable member for Fawkner reads -
Mr. Garden moved the recommendation of the Trade Union Conference, held at Sydney, on 28th April, regarding affiliations with the A.L.P., which read as follows: -
The second paragraph is as follows: -
Past Tactics of Communists
Mr. Blakeley opposed the motion. The Communists who formerly stood out and criticised Labour had come to Conference, and members hadbeen elected to responsible positions in the movement. It was now quite fair to ask them to come right into the movement, and stand loyally side by side with other Labourites. It was impossible for the Communists to do that as at present organized. They could not continue to function as a part of the Labour movement and at the same time as a Communist party. In recent issues of the Communist, the Labour party and members of the party had been bitterly criticised. The Communists could not continue that kind of business if they came into the Labour party.
The A.L.P. was ready for a fighting policy. But the Communists, if they came in, would have to help to make it a solid party, not white-ant it. The A.L.P. was wide enough for the most extreme Communist, but there was an obligation that they must be prepared to vote Labour, light for Labour, and stand loyally by Labours decisions.
The third paragraph is -
Straight Talk to Communists
Mr. E. J. Stein (Railway Workers) said the whole thing boiled down was that a party sought affiliation on terms that the A.L.P. could not grant them. If the Communists joined the A.L.P. they were traitors to their own organization. And if they joined the A.L.P. while still adhering to their own party’s constitution then they were traitors to the A.L.P. They could only come into the A.L.P. provided they were loyal to Labour. If they did not agree to that they could not be admitted. Communists who demanded to be allowed to come into the Labour party on their own terms had their tongues in their cheeks when they spoke of solidarity. How could they be loyal to Labour and still be loyal to the Communist party? They must be traitors one way or the other. He was amazed that such a “ stunt “ should be attempted by the Communists who claimed to stand for square-dealing.
The fourth paragraph states that -
After Mr. Garden had replied, a vote was taken. On division the voting was equal - 122 on each side.
The President (Mr. Willis) said itrested with him, as chairman, to give the casting vote. He did so in favour of the motion: A scene of tremendous excitementfollowed. There was loud cheering for several minutes, and delegates sang “The Red Flag.”
– I leave it to the House, on those extracts, to judge between me and the honorable member for Darling.
.- (By leave.) - When the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) made his statement and expressed the opinion that the Communists had affiliated with the Australian Labour party, I for the moment forgot the honorable member’s disability, and said things for which I apologize, and for which I am sorry. The honorable member, unfortunately, has not yet been able to obtain the information which would place him in possession of the proper values. That information I desire to place before the House. The rule of the Australian Labour party is that no business can be initiated by other than a recognised meeting or body within the constitution of the party. The . Trade Union Conference which drafted the resolutions has no power to initiate business for the Australian Labour Conference. On that ground alone, its resolution, even if carried by the requisite two-thirds majority, could not become operative. Secondly, there must be a two-thirds majority before an alteration can be made in the constitution of the Australian Labour party. Unless that requisite majority is secured, an alteration of that constitution cannot be made. The fact that the voting was equal, and that the chairman gave his casting vote in favour of affiliation did not matter, inasmuch as there was not the necessary twothirds majority. There were other disabilities precluding the proposal from coming into operation. The position now is exactly as it was prior to the carrying of that resolution on the casting vote of the chairman. The Communists are not affiliated with the Australian Labour party, and they are not within the Labour movement. The Communists and the Australian, Labour party are separate bodies. Having regard to the facts which I have related, the honorable member for Fawkner should now withdraw the statement that the Labour party is affiliated with the Communists.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The information is being prepared, and the honorable member will be informed as soon as possible.
Carriage of Meat - Suspension of Regulations
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice-
In view of the apparent great scarcity and dearness of meat in the southern States and the fact that fat cattle are being imported from New Zealand, will he take into consideration the advisability of suspending any regulations which prevent the carrying of meat by the overseas shipping companies from one State to another, so as to enable, when necessary, the supply to be made to any of the States of the Commonwealth’s own productions at moderate prices?
– Under section 286 of the Navigation Act, permits may be granted to unlicensed British ships to engage in the coasting trade in any case where it can be shown, in regard to the trade with any port or between any ports in the Commonwealth- (a) that no licensed ship is available for the service; or (b) that the service as carried out by a licensed ship or ships is inadequate to the needs of such port or ports. In pursuance of this section, twenty-four permits have been issued to date for the conveyance on unlicensed British ships of frozen meat from Queensland to southern ports, and in no case has an application for such a permit been refused. There is no power under the Navigation Act to suspend the operation of the section mentioned.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Will he give members of the House an opportunity to get copies of the report of the State Premiers’ Conference at an early date?
– It is anticipated that copies of the report will be available at an early date.
Interest on Current Accounts.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Subjects Listed for Discussion
Debate resumed from 31st July (vide page 1898), upon motion by Mr. Bruce -
That the papers be printed.
.- No honorable member will deny the very great importance of the Conference which the Prime Minister is to attend. Perhaps not every member will be agreed as to how that importance is derived, but I personally think it is of vital interest to the people of Australia, because it is to deal with the relations which will exist in future between the members of that great family of nations which we term the British Empire. The Conference will have an even wider importance, because it will consider also the relations of Australia with all civilized nations. The items on the agenda paper which the Prime Minister has represented as being of first importance are those relating to defence and foreign relations, or, rather, Australia’s relations with the British Empire, as they are affected by foreign policy. In regard to defence, the party to which I belong has made its policy clear and definite. There are honorable members on the opposite side who have sometimes challenged our feeling and sentiment towards that great family of British nations to which we belong, but such challenges are due largely to the fact that our opponents have never attempted to understand the Labour party’s attitude. It can be very easily expressed in the words ofan Australian poet whom I had the honour and privilege of quoting on the occasion when I first spoke in this House -
Britons of every creed,
Saxon and Celt agreed,
Let us be Thine.
Onein all noble fame,
Still be our path the same,
Onward in Freedom’s name,
Upwards in Thine.
Those lines express very well our sentiment towards the great family of British nations. We are prepared to stand side by side with them in every good movement and upon every occasion when the British Empire goes forward in defence of her good name. But we are not prepared to respond if called upon to engage in any mad war escapade that may be promoted by politicians 12,000 miles away. We shall on every occasion resist the propagation of the idea that the Australian people should do such a stupid thing. There is no ambiguity about the Labour party’s defence policy; it was expressed in these terms by the Leader of our party (Mr. Charlton) -
The Labour party’s policy is to promote world peace, and, consistently with Australia’s good-will to her kindred overseas, declares its readiness to take full responsibility for Australia’s defence; but is opposed to the raising of Forces for service outside the Commonwealth, or promise of participation in any future overseas war, except by a decision of the people.
Having made clear our position in the Empire, our attitude in regard to foreign relations is very easily explained, because declining to participate in those wars in which the Mother Country may be embroiled through the foolishness of some politician, there is no necessity for Australia to make those arrangements in regard to foreign relations which the Prime Minister seems to think are necessary. What are the definite opinions of honorable members opposite upon the subjects of Australian defence and foreign relations ? The Prime Minister has been chided for not having given us very much information, but we should not be too hard upon the right honorable gentleman. He has told us that an Imperial Conference is to be held. We are indebted to him for that much. He has told us, moreover, that he will attend the Conference. If he had not been so considerate, he might have departed without explanation, leaving his spouse (Dr. Earle Page) and honorable members on this side lamenting. He has not done that; he has told us something. Furthermore, the right honorable gentleman has . told us exactly what will appear on the agendapaper of the Conference, and I do not think that the House has been informed to the same extent regarding the programme of any preceding Conference.
After all, we ought to be grateful to the Prime Minister for the information he has given us. Certainly, as an honorable member reminds me, the Prime Minister has not given us his own opinion on the matter of foreign relations. It may be that the right honorable gentleman has no definite opinion regarding it; at , any rate, honorable members who support him have given us no opinion. It would seem that there is perfect harmony and unanimity among honorable members on the Government side, in so far as none there has any opinion to offer. Therefore, the Prime Minister, in his despair, turns to us and asks us to frame a policy for him. It is possible that the Prime Minister, having heard, the ‘ different honorable members on his side, will add them together, strike an average, and deliver that average ‘opinion to his co-delegates on the other . side ‘ of the world. If so, it will be a very interesting average. Very largely the opinion on this side is of purely negative value in regard to a matter in which >w.e are not deeply concerned, and if there is no positive opinion at all on the ‘other side, the Prime Minister, in striking an average,’ will be faced with very unique result quite beyond his previous experience. However, the Prime Minister, after all, may not take that course, because, as he enters the Conference chamber, a policy may be delivered to him at the door.
– Or may not.
– Of course, the whole thing is problematical, like the honorable member’s opinion on the foreign relations of the Empire - all is “ in the air.” However, I hope that the. Prime Minister at the Conference, without any definite opinion of his own, and lacking any definite opinion from his own party, will not there himself express an opinion which he has riot expressed in this House. I hope he will tell his codelegates that in Australia there is a Labour party, the counterpart of the Labour party in the Old Country. I hope he will tell the Conference that the Labour party in Australia is a growing one, and that it is very much disappointed with the Imperial Conference - is disappointed with the character of the subjects to be discussed. I hope the right’ honorable gentleman will tell the people on the other side of the world that in Australia there is a party which thinks that the Imperial Conference is missing the greatest opportunity it has ever had of doing something, not only for the good of Australia, but for the good of the world. I trust he will tell the Conference and the British people that Australia needs, not thoughts and talks of war and defence, but permanent peace. I hope he will tell the people over the seas that in the Australian view there is no more appropriate place. where a means of securing permanent peace could be discussed than in the Imperial Conference where the representatives of our great family of nations are gathered. The British Empire is the strongest and most powerful in the world, and, therefore, ought to take the lead in the attainment of permanent peace. But on the programme of the Imperial Conference, what do we find? There is not a word about the securing of peace, though we read much about war, and defence, and foreign relations. These we had before the last war, and they prepared a suitable atmosphere in which the war developed. Are we to expect that the procedure proposed now will avert war any more than a similar procedure did before?
Mr.Foster. - The honorable member has over and over again heard the Prime Minister’s statement on that matter.
Mr.F. McDONALD. - I give the Prime Minister credit for having referred to the League of Nations, but we are not by any means satisfied with that reference. We desire something more positive and real than the League has yet done. I am nob going to condemn any force or organization which acts in the interestsof peace; but if the League of Nations does not do a little more, it is in danger of becoming something like that other great organization of nations, ostensibly formed to promote peace - the Holy Alliance. We do not wish the League of Nations to so degenerate.
– It is essentially different in principle.
Mr.F. McDONALD. - It is; but there is a possibility that it may degenerate. I agree with the honorable member (Mr. Latham) that the League should have the moral support of the people of Australia and the world; and, as the Prime Minister has asked for suggestions,I proposeto givehimone which may help to bring that moral support.
Nothing is proposed for discussion in this direction at the Conference. It is true that nothing of the kind has ever been done at Conferences before, but there is no reason why nothing should be done now. On the other hand, there is every reason why something should be done. Conditions have materially changed in the world, not yesterday or the day before, but over a number of years. The change is so great that there is now an entirely new world, as different as possible from the old world of over a hundred years ago. So much have the relations of nations changed, and so much have their means of communication, their credit and trade, become interwoven, that instead of living separate existences they are now dependent one on the other. The prosperity of one becomes the prosperity of the other, and so, the poverty of one reacts to the detriment of the economic and industrial conditions of the other. The world is as much changed as is the butterfly when it emerges from the chrysalis. It has preserved continuity of life, but it is so changed from a caterpillar crawling near the earth as to be unrecognisable. Unless we realize that we have changed, and adapt ourselves to a new environment, we shall be as much out of place as a butterfly would if it continued to crawl near the earth, refusing to expand the gloriouscolours of its wings in the sunlight.This is what seems to be happening to the civilized races of the world. They have not yet realized or learned the lesson that, after all, they are now living in entirely changed circumstances. It is on the realization of that great truth that this party bases its hopes for the future prosperity of the world, or, indeed, the survival of the white nations. When I speak of the world, I mean very largely the civilized world, and when I speak of war, I do not mean small two-penny-half penny conflicts, but war between civilized races. Will any honorable member opposite contend that one nation in Europe, by going to war with another, can make that war profitable? The futility of any such idea was clearly demonstrated by the German experience. , After the Franco-German war, Bismarck, having looked over the frontier into France, said -
I saw the chimneys of France smoking and business going on every day. I saw want and starvation and unemployment in . Germany, even though the French were busily engaged in paying us the £300,000,000 due to usfor reparations.
– What does that lesson teach ?
– The utter futility of going to war.
– But the Germans got the money.
– Yes, they did, and the people suffered.
– But they stayed in France until they got it.
– I can quite understand that every time we advance strong arguments for the abolition of war, certain people will try to break down those arguments. We lay down the general principle that if one civilized nation goes to war with another civilized nation the mass of the people must endure misery and suffer economic hardships. Certain people - and I am not referring to honorable members opposite - will always take the opportunity to make fortunes out of the misfortunes of their country. These profiteers are like vultures who live upon the dead. I am not concerned about them at present. I am discussing the effects of war upon the great mass of the people. My honorable friend says: “You cannot prevent war by pointing out the economic fallacy behind it.” I ask him on what he bases his conclusion?
– I said you could not judge a war by its economic effects.
– My honorable friend will agree with me, I think, that the recent war was an economic war.
– I do not agree with that.
– The great probabilities are that all future wars will also be economic wars.
– They will be wars for “boodle.”
– So far as we can see, that is true.
– Does the honorable member think that?
– I do.
– Practically all the wars in the past have been largely economic wars.
– That is so. If we can get into the minds of the people the great truth that they cannot improve their economic conditions by going to war, and that it is to their own self-interest to prevent war, we shall accomplish a great thing. This is no new truth. It was stated by Mr. Norman Angel twenty years ago. The trouble is that the people have not grasped it.
– Supposing Mr. Norman Angel wrote again.
-I advise the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Foster) to read Mr. Norman Angel’s book, The Fruits of. Victory. Not every one of Mr. Norman Angel’s contentions was proved by the recent war to be correct, but I think no one has ever had so many predictions verified by subsequent events.
– But supposing he wrote again ?
– I must ask honorable members not to interrupt further.
– I shall not suppose anything. My friend’s contentions are all based on supposition. I shall leave the monopoly of supposition to him. The great truth that I have enunciated should be implanted in the’ minds of the people of the world, and Australia should do her best to implant it there. The Imperial Conference would do well if it devised ways and means of disseminating this truth. Of course if honorable members do not agree with this principle that is another matter. If they think they can refute it, I should like to hear them. Certain honorable members on the other side of the House have adopted a strange attitude. They throw the jibe at us that we are pacificists. To that terrible charge I, with my party, plead guilty, but I plead guilty with justification and under a great deal of provocation. We believe in the abolition of war if possible, and in the settlement of disputes by negotiation. We believe that that principle is far higher than the principle of force.
– You are not alone in that belief.
Mr.F. McDONALD.- Honorable members on the other side profess to be in favour of some of the principles that we enunciate, but they offer no positive help towards the realization of those principles. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) made certain professions yesterday, and I do not dis- trust him. He made a most eloquent speech, in the course of which he quoted from an American poet who wrote that war was murder. The honorable member took a great risk in saying that. He had more courage than many other honorable members on the other side of the House. But a member of this party is subjected to different treatment from that given to honorable members over there. I remember an instance in which the same lines were quoted by a speaker in the Sydney Domain during the war. They were taken up by the hearers and misquoted. From the misquotation that speaker was made to say that the Australian soldiers, who were getting six or eight shillings a day, were murderers. It is a very short step from the statement that war is murder to the statement that “ soldiers are murderers.”
– The honorable member has not. quite a correct understanding of what I said. My remark was that there were some sensitive souls who held that in any circumstances killing was murder.
– I accept the correction. I am sorry I did not hear the whole of the honorable member’s speech. I took his quotation of the poet to mean that he was in agreement with the verse.
– You give him more credit than he deserves.
– I give him credit for having a great regard for peace.
– Hear, hear!
– The honorable member says “ hear, hear!” but he is in the same position as other honorable members on that side of the House. I put this fairly and squarely to the honorable member: if he has such a great regard for peace, why does he, in a debate like this, single out one political party in this community - the Communists - and attack it for its attitude upon this question?
– I did not do that. I attacked it on its attitude in regard to defence.
– Its attitude on defence arises out of its very great regard for peace. The honorable member did the Labour party a grave injustice when he said that it had allied itself in idea, thought, and action with the Com munist party. The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) pointed out how unfairthose remarks were. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) should have known , the facts before he spoke. If he were ignorant of the facts he should not have uttered the statements that he made. No political party can affiliate with the Labour party of Australia. The rules of the Labour party forbid such a thing. I tell the honorable member, and also the honorable member for Wakefield, that the only way in which our party will receive the Communists is for the Communists to subscribe to all the principles and rules of the Labour party.
– The Communists got in just the same.
– They did not.
– They have not come in as a party, though I admit that individuals who for many years have professed to hold Communistic ideas have come into the Labour party. I have seen individuals who held certain views while on this side of the House go across the chamber and join the party opposite. No one would’ be justified, on that account, in saying that the Labour party has joined the Nationalist-cum-Country party. The Communist party, as a party, could not join the Labour party under its existing constitution, and the constitution of the Labour party of Australia can be altered only by a process which, while not so devious as that provided for an alteration of the Commonwealth Constitution, is not nearly so simple as our friends opposite would suggest. To return to the honorable member for Fawkner, I would have thought that, being so great an advocate of peace, he would at least have given the Communists credit, no matter what charges of foolishness in regard to other things may be directed against them, for having always stood as the peace party, not only of Australia, but of the world.
– One of their doctrines is revolution, if necessary, to bring about a change of the existing system.
– We are not now concerned with economic doctrines, but with the question of peace. I am, however, with the honorable member in my opposition to the idea of a forceful revolution. I would condemn it more strongly, perhaps, than the honor able member for Fawkner, and at greater risk, because it pays him to condemn it, whereas it might not pay me in the same way to do so. Though the honorable member is a great advocate for peace, he went on to say that he does not think that we can do away with war, as men are constituted at present, and he is sorry for it. I quite believe that the honorable member is sorry for it, but I consider that he is only lukewarm and faint-hearted in his advocacy of peace.. He tells us that we cannot change human nature, and whilst hatred and other vices are common to human nature he is afraid that we cannot do without war.
– I did not say that we could not change human nature, but that while hatred is in the world we will have war.
– I think that it is possible to change phases of human nature, and it has already undergone many changes.
– Can the honorable member change it now?
– I am not going to say by what means human nature can be changed, but I would ask the honorable member what he means by the very vague term “ human nature.” It seems to me that it is as vague, and is compounded of as many complexes, as the party sitting opposite to me. Whilst the basic instincts of human nature will probably very largely remain, human habits in certain circumstances and environment have been and will be changed. I would ask the honorable member for Fawkner, who, I presume, comes from the land of the heather, what he thinks would have happened if a few hundred years ago one of his ancestors had been told that some day, instead of fighting in clans, his people would be found combined and fighting side by side. The probability would have been that the person who said such a thing would have had a dirk put through his throat. What would have been said if years later, the more recent forbears of the honorable member had been told that some day, notwithstanding all the wars that they had waged with England, the Scottish people would be ruled by England, and that when English drums beat to war they would rush to take their place in the vanguard of the English armies. Any man who had tried to tell them that would probably never have finished his statement. So my honorable friend will see that human habits change in many ways, and more than the people of earlier years would have thought possible. I ask the honorable member what the old Crusaders would have thought if they had been told that some day Christian people would be in possession of Jerusalem, and, having secured possession of it, would quietly hand it back to the Turk to work his own sweet will? A Crusader would probably have asked the person who said that to couch a lance with him in mortal combat. If he had been told that, in 1919, Christian countries would get possession of the Holy Land largely for the purpose of exploiting it, I wonder what his answer would have been.
– What does all this prove ?
– It proves that human habits and outlook have changed very materially, and we may surely hope that, in regard to the settlement of disputes, the attitude of mankind will change as materially as it has changed in regard to other matters. Men’s habits must be influenced by their environment, and the civilized nations of the world must adapt themselves to the environment of civilized Europe. Any one with any foresight at all will agree that, if they do not, they must become degraded, and may ultimately be dominated by the coloured races of the world. My honorable friends opposite will have no counter to that. They cannot deny that that is in accord with the evolution of man in his organized state - the nation. That is one great truth which it seems to me the last terrible war has made plain to us. It is a great truth which the world should learn, and I ask the Prime Minister to see to it that at the Imperial Conference that truth is asserted. I believe that something should be done by Australia, and by every other country, to make it known that the civilized people of the world have grasped that truth. I suggest that this country, and every other civilized country in the world, should send, through a number of special ambassadors, a message of peace and goodwill throughout the world. We should say that we firmly believe that by making war upon another nation we can reap no good for ourselves. The honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Bayley) gave some striking examples in his speech last evening of how two great English-speaking peoples of the world have recognised that truth, and have settled for over 100 years every dispute and conflict of interests they have had without resort to arms. As they could do that, the rest of the world can do it. The great truth is not fully grasped by the world to-day. Kings and Princes go from one country to another, and are given royal receptions. On some occasions, battleships and fleets have gone from one country to another, and have been very well received, but they have not been so much messengers of peace and good-will as dread symbols of war.
– And they have all been given military receptions.
– That is so. It has appeared to the nation visited that it should inform its visitors that, whilst they have a mighty army and are prepared to fight, it also has a mighty army and is equally prepared to fight. We need to send ambassadors to the people of every country to make our good-will known to all the people of the world.
– And open our doors to the people of other countries?
– Open our doors to peace and good-will in every direction, certainly. I find that my honorable friend is back on the old Tariff again. It haunts him. I have suggested something which I think the Prime Minister might advocate. Honorable members opposite will agree that no harm could come from that. I ask whether they do. not think that a movement like that, coming right from the heart of the people, would not be very well received by the people of every country: I believe it would. It would cost us a little, but it would not cost so much as it would cost to build a battleship. As Sir Harry Lauder says, it does not cost nearly so much to build friendships as to build battleships. - If the people of any other nation were not prepared to respond to our messages of peace and good-will we should have a means of discovering their intentions. At the present, time the difference between honorable members opposite and honorable members on this side in regard to a near and great nation is very largely that they construe the intentions of that nation in one way, and we construe them in another. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) gave ‘us a wealth of information on this subject, and told us how much may be learned by visiting a nation, and how little was known by the Japanese of our ideas, intentions, motives, and national purposes. I think that shows that if the action I suggest were taken it would greatly assist the League of Nations, because it would be action coming direct from the heart of the people, something definite and positive towards that peace for which I believe every person in Australia, and in many other countries of the world, is longing. That peace would express the wish of almost every person in the world to-day if only it could be made articulate. If, ‘after all the terrible tragedies through which we have passed, the sacrifices of life, and the enormous debts that are hanging like millstones round the necks of the nations, we do something which will help to bring about a permanent peace, that will be a better monument to the gallant men of every country who laid down their lives for what they believed to be a good and noble cause than any we could erect in stone or in marble.
.- When the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) goes to England he will be required to deal with many problems of great international importance, a number of which directly concern Australia. I propose to refer to three or four, which, I believe, affect us vitally. The most important, to my mind, is the question of the League of Nations. I believe that it is the duty of, not only the Prime Minister, but of every, public man throughout the world, to do everything that lies in his power to make the League of Nations a real living thing, and to place it in the position which we all desire to see it occupy in order that it will be able to preserve the peace of the world. Some honorable members have expressed the opinion that until human nature is altered it will be impossible to prevent the occurrence of war. It might just as well be contended that it is impossible to prevent people from committing murder, theft, or any other crime. Generally speaking, our laws operate in the direction of preventing crime. I believe that if America particularly, and other nations, were members of the League, it could function properly, and would prevent war occurring. Had there been a League of Nations constituted in that way, would any honorable member say that Germany would have dared to provoke the war that broke out in 1914? Would not Germany have seen the hopelessness of precipitating such a struggle? The Prime Minister will have to use every means in his power to endeavour to get America to come into the League of Nations. If a little diplomacy were exercised, and, perhaps, a slight alteration were made in the terms relating to entry to the League, I believe that America would come in, because it is my opinion that she is anxious to join with the other nations who already are members.
– What about Russia and Germany?
– Russia, and Germany also, must be . brought in, if possible. The League would be able to function satisfactorily, however, immediately America became a member.
The matter next in importance is the defence of Australia. I belieVe, and hope, that before very long the League of Nations will be able to prevent war. That time has not yet arrived, however, and until it has, it is our duty to make preparation for the defence of Australia. We cannot expect Great Britain to do more than she is doing towards our defence. We do not know what is going to happen. I am sorry that I cannot agree with some honorable members opposite who think that there is no .danger of war occurring. I think that a very real danger exists in one of our ambitious neighbours, with its teeming millions, congregated in congested areas and with a natural desire for an outlet. I believe that that nation is looking with envious eyes towards our vast and comparatively empty spaces.
– An honorable member opposite said that the Japanese people were not troubling about the matter, with the exception of a few of his friends - the diplomats.
– I hope that I am wrong. I firmly believe, however, that Australia is in very real danger from Japan, and that that country will be the next to menace Australia. I hope that, before very long, there will be no need for us to make defensive arrangements, because the League of Nations will constitute our great defence. There is at present, however, and there will be for some years, the necessity for us to defend ourselves against any possible invasion from Japan, or from any other nation. I am not a military expert, but it appears to me that the scheme suggested by the honorable .member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) would meet our case. No doubt the Prime Minister will be able to discuss that matter from all points of view at the Imperial Conference.
The next important question is that of immigration. Honorable members opposite will agree, I think, that it is necessary to maintain a White Australia. Their views do not coincide with ours regarding the manner in which that is to be done. If we are to maintain a White Australia we must first have a proper defence system, and then we must secure a great number of people to fill our empty spaces. Those people can be secured only by an adequate immigration policy. I am not in favour of bringing people to Australia in an indiscriminate manner. We require to have the right Bort of people, and must prepare to Receive them. We do not want to flood our labour market and bring about unemployment. Artisans and farm labourers should be brought into the country in limited numbers. There is room, also, for a large number of farmers, but we must not bring them here until proper provision has been made and land ia available for them to take up. We must, first of all, provide land for those of our own people who require it.
The next important question is that of Imperial preference. I recognise that that question is surrounded with difficulties, but I do not think that those difficulties are insuperable. T know that a good deal of objection will be exhibited by the British people to anything being done which will have the effect of raising the prices of their foodstuffs. If they look at the matter from a narrow point of view, probably they will object to Britain giving Australia any preference. Considering that Australia gives Britain preference to an extent eight or nine times greater than she receives from ]3ri. tain, it would be but fair for Britain to give a greater measure of preference to Australia. » If the British people view the matter from a broad point of view they will realize that in the long run they will benefit by giving preference to Australia. Even though they may be able to obtain cheaper fruit from California and other countries, and cheaper wheat and beef from the Argentine, than we are able to give them on account of our distance from England and the extra freight which we have to pay, the granting of preference to Australia might still be of advantage to them; because, if they do not encourage our trade, that trade will stop. We cannot send our products to Britain unless it is profitable for us to do so. If our trade stopped, Britain would be at the mercy of the American combines, and probably would have to pay very much higher prices for their goods than they would under the conditions brought about by the granting of preference to Australia. We are Britain’s second best customer, and it should pay her to give us preference. I trust the Prime Minister will be able to bring Britain to our view of the matter.
The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) referred to the question of Imperial ties. I did not intend to class that -as an important matter, because I thought that the continuance of the Imperial tie was a foregone conclusion. There is, I think, only an unimportant minority in Australia which does ‘not desire to continue the Imperial tie, and, therefore, there is practically no difference of opinion on that matter. Some honorable members opposite, perhaps, do not agree with that statement. I do not quite know where they stand. They appear to object to Australia doing anything to assist in Empire defence. To be consistent, it seems to me they should advocate that Australia should cut the painter and go on its own.
I compliment the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) on the very instructive speech he made to the House last night. On one matter I think he ought to be specially complimented - his statement on the reparations question and the invasion of the Ruhr. I confess I had never before heard the view expressed by the honorable member. He proved up to the hilt that the agreement which was made had not been honoured. That appears to have been the reason for the trouble that now exists in the Ruhr. The Prime Minister will need to look very carefully into that question.
Honorable members opposite have said a good deal . about Australia being dragged into war. Australia has not been dragged into any war, and she could not be, as the decision to engage in war, or to abstain from doing so, rests entirely with her alone. Honorable members opposite have described those on this side as militarists, and as persons who wish to foment war. I am quite sure there is not on this side one honorable member who is not just as anxious to avoid war as any of our friends opposite. The war was not the profitable investment to many persons that honorable members opposite think it was. The- woolgrowers are supposed to have made a lot of money out of the war. For two’ or three years they did so. Honorable members must not forget, however, that threefourths of their extra income had to be paid to the Commonwealth in War Time profits taxation. They must not forget that the ordinary taxation today caused by the war is four or five times as heavy as it was before the war, and the expenses of management are something like two and a half times as great as they were before the war. Therefore I fail to see that the war has meant anything but a heavy loss to most sections of the community.
– Tell us about the merchants of Flinders-lane.
– The merchants of Flinders-lane may speak for themselves, but I .doubt whether they made much money out of the war. They may have made big profits for a time, but I doubt that they are making them now. There Have been profiteers, but very few. The great . majority . of people, so far from making money out- of the war, have actually sustained losses. In any case, not v one of us wishes to see Australia engaged in another war. I do not suppose there is one honorable member on this side who did not lose some dear relative or friend, or who has not to deplore the fact that some who are near and dear to them are maimed for life. Therefore, we have as much reason as the community at large to take measures to prevent war in future. I feel confident that the Prime Minister will worthily represent Australia at the Imperial Conference, and I wish him and his mission every success.
– I call attention to the state of the House. [Quorum formed, ,]
.- I am sorry that the honorable member for Riverina made such pointed references to a nation which is regarded by some as a potential enemy of Australia. I wish to pay a tribute to the attitude of Japan during the Great War. She honoured all her treaty obligations to Great Britain, and helped Australia to the fullest extent in the transport of troops, , and actually in the’ protection of our shores and commerce. The honorable member for Barton (Mr. F. McDonald) treated us to a long dissertation upon the changes which the human heart and mind have undergone during the centuries, but we know that even to-day a man who is struck on the cheek doe3 not turn the other cheek. If we do anything that is detrimental to other people they will resent it, and unless we are prepared for defence we shall find our cheeks smacked.
– Especially if the smack is provoked.
– Yes; and so it is with nations. It must be admitted that some features of Australian policy are provoking to other peoples. Some honorable members have a wonderful belief in the efficacy of the League of Nations. Undoubtedly, the League has great possibilities, and I believe that if America joined the League, and gave to France an assurance that she would be safeguarded against future aggression by Germany, a lot of the trouble in Europe to-day would disappear almost immediately. But it is premature to pin our faith wholly to the League of Nations. When the League is functioning, and has attained to absolute, authority in the world’s affairs, what will be its attitude towards many of the conditions which Australia imposes at the present time? Are the majority of the members of the League in favour of the White Australia policy? Has it not been already discussed by the League?
– The White Australia policy has been discussed, if not by the League, at any rate by individual members of it. And we know that Japan submitted certain proposals which, although not directly aimed at Australia, had application to Australian laws.
– That is a common belief in Australia, but it is inaccurate.
– Even if the League has not yet discussed the White Australia policy, its future attitude to that principle is very indefinite. I have the fullest confidence in the Prime Minister’s ability to represent the Australian point of view in regard to both defence; and economics. I approve of the action of the Government in asking the House/ to express an opinion as to what policy should be adopted by Australia’s delegates at the Conference. It has been suggested that the Government should have taken the House more fully into their confidence, but my experience of the Prime Minister, and my knowledge of the views of other members of the Cabinet, makes me content to leave these questions to be dealt with by our representatives ‘ at the Conference. However, the right honorable gentleman has asked us to express our opinion, and as a lot of maudlin sympathy for Germany has been voiced by honorable members opposite, I wish to express my view that the Prime Minister should support a policy which will insure that Germany shall pay fair reparations for the damage she caused during the Great War. Probably the total of the reparations was fixed at too high a figure. I did not approve of the attitude of the former Prime Minister (Mr. W. M. Hughes) when he advocated that, in future, the British people should refuse to trade with Germany. I realized fit the time how impossible it would be for a nation to pay heavy reparations if the creditor nations refused to trade with her. Nevertheless one who studies the history of the war, and the circumstances which were responsible for it, can come to no other conclusion than that Germany was wholly the aggressor: Honorable members opposite talk of the virtue of treaties as a means of preserving peace. Of what benefit was the treaty which Germany had entered into with France and Great Britain to preserve the neutrality of Belgium? Germany disregarded “the scrap of paper,” Belgium was made desolate, and its people were subjected to awful privations. With that experience to warn us, how can we depend entirely upon treaties in future?
I hope that the Prime Minister will do what is possible to secure justice for France and Belgium, and, to a smaller extent, for Australia, in connexion with the. payment of reparations by Germany.
I find it hard to discover the true attitude of honorable members opposite regarding Australia’s position within the Empire. At the present time the Commonwealth is one of the family of nations forming the British Empire. Are we to retain, that membership? If so, are we to be honest and capable partners? Apparently some people are quite prepared to accept every service that the British people will render us, but they are not ready to pledge themselves to do anything in return. Honorable members who hold that view should make their position clear and state definitely if they desire to “ cut the painter.”
– Do not talk such nonsense.
– When the House is dealing with defence measures, honorable members oppose any legislation which may compel Australian soldiers to fight outside Australia.
– Hear, hear ! If we defend Australia, we shall do very well.
– It would be very unfair to say that Australians will fight only for the defence of their own country. Arewe not to assist Great Britain in her hour of trouble? Taking even the most selfish view, I cannot understand how any sane man can suggest that Australia should not stand behind the. British Empire when danger threatens. Sentiment impels us to do so, but the same policy is dictated by the most selfish consideration - the fact that the future of Australia is bound up with the success of the British partnership, and that we could not, unaided, retain this continent for twenty-f our hours if a foreign nation which regarded our laws as obnoxious made demands upon us which we were not prepared to concede. Our cities would be destroyed in a very short time.
– Sydney is not Australia.
– No; but half the populations of New South Wales and Victoria respectively are in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne. We should make it clear that Australia desires to continue the partnership with Great Britain because we realize and appreciate what she has done for us. For over 100 years we have been free to develop this country as we pleased, and have built up one of the greatest Democracies in the world. Never for a moment did we fear that a hostile nation would set foot upon our soil; our security was guaranteed by the Union Jack. Apart from our obligation of gratitude, we should realize that for many generations to come it will be necessary for Australia to work in harmony with the British Empire, because only by that means can our safety be assured. I hope the Prime Minister will find himself in a position to show our gratitude to Great Britain by expressing our preparedness to assist in the matter of naval defence, to which end I should be quite prepared to impose a little extra taxation on the people of this country. It is reassuring to think that a naval base is being established at Singapore, for an establishment of the kind must be of great value in the defence of Australia. It would be absurd for us to attempt to build a battleship here; but the general question of defence I leave to those who have given it special attention, only reiterating that a rich and wealthy country like this, which owes so much to the Old Land, should be quite ready to bear a proper proportion of the cost. My own feeling is that our best defence is the increase of our population to anything from 15,000,000 to 20,000,000. For such an increase there is ample room, provided that they find a place on the land. In New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia there is ample room for an enormous number of new citizens. In Western Australia vast areas have been thrown open, and all that is needed is the assurance of markets for their products.The British Government has promised liberal assistance in our scheme of immigration, and advantage ought to be taken of such an opportunity, for it may not occur again for another century. Once Britain gets over her industrial troubles there may not be the same desire on her part for migration, and we may then be left wholly to our own resources. There are great areas inthe south-west of Western Australia, and also in the eastern States, for the cultivation of root crops, milk foods, and wheat, but it would be useless to invite immigrants unless prosperity is likely to follow their labours. The provision of markets depends to an extent on the States, but also on the efforts of the Commonwealth , to arrange for reciprocity, not only with Great Britain, but with other portions of the Empire ; indeed, it may be possible, in a smaller degree, to have similar arrangements with other countries. However, at the present time special steps should be taken to insure markets within the Empire. Some trouble might be expected in the case of South’ Africa, whose productions are similar to our own, but that should not prevent reciprocity. Al; ready there is some reciprocity with New Zealand, and we should certainly try to come to an understanding with Canada, the Government of which has made dis-tinct proposals to the Commonwealth. We buy large quantities of goods from the Dominion, although it does very little trade with us in return. Canada, however, has shown how large and important markets may be built up. We are spending millions of money in putting locks across the Murray, and opening up areas for the production of, currants, raisins, and other dried fruits, not only in Victoria, but in Western Australia and other parts of the Commonwealth. At the present time, in Victoria, more dried fruits are being produced than markets can be found for, and quantities of raisins are sold at scandalous prices to distillers. Britain has given us a small preference in the case of currants and raisins, and Canada, perhaps owing to her cold climate, uses large quantities of such fruits in her breadstuffs. We have reason to believe that Canada would prefer to deal with Au’stralia rather than with the United States of America in a trade of this kind. However, the whole question resolves itself into one of population, and of population on the land. Even the Labour party is agreed that a vast increase in our number of rural residents would be of great assistance in the development of the country. Many talk of protection as the proper policy for our secondary industries, but it is only by increasing the number of consumers that manufactures can flourish. Australia should be our best market, and what we require are immigrants who will remain on the land and not drift back to the cities. My own opinion is that the British Government, and the British workers, would object to a duty, on wheat’, but if the Home Government were to impose such a duty, in the interests of their own agriculturists, we might, I think, look for some preference in the case of our product. As to wool, we cannot ask for any preference; we can send it where we like, and have no doubts about markets. In the case of meat, and other products, our industrial conditions require alteration, in face of the fact that it costs more to send cargoes from South Australia to Fremantle than from Great Britain to the same port. This shows we are on the wrong tack; and we cannot hope for an indefinite continuation, of the glorious times we have enjoyed of late years. The milk industry is vital to Australia, and, if possible, some arrangements could be made to extend it. I have every confidence in the Prime Minister as our representative at the Imperial Conferences. I am satisfied that he will do honour to the people of Australia, and, while pressing the needs of Australia, will do much to strengthen the Imperial connexion.
.- I support the policy outlined by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton). Government supporters, by their misrepresentations, have endeavoured to convey the impression that we, on this side, have no definite views on the question of Imperial relations. That being so. T shall, for the purpose of emphasis, once more draw attention to the pronouncement made by the Leader of the Opposition -
The Labour party’s policy is to promote world peace, and, consistently with Australia’s good-will to her kindred overseas, declares its readiness to take full responsibility for Australia’s defence; but is opposed to the raising of Forces for service outside the Commonwealth, or promise of participation in any future overseas war, except by a decision of the people.
There is a concrete policy in direct contrast to the confused utterances of Government supporters; indeed, one might have been given a headache had he tried to follow their contradictory speeches. The ex-Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), in a cynical outburst, has told us that the holding of Imperial Conferences is futile, mainly, no doubt, because he will not represent Australia, and partly, we are given to understand, because of his previous experience at such gatherings. He, with the instincts of a barbarian, would like to see Germany bled white, irrespective of the economic consequences to the world. The honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) had the courage of his’ convictions, and came here boldly as an advocate of the League of Nations. He told us that the attitude of France in the Ruhr Valley was one of absolutely unwarranted aggression, and a breach of the Treaty of Versailles. The right honorable the Prime Minister asked for opinions, and he has obtained them, but I ask how he can reconcile the conflicting contentions from his own supporters. The honorable member forWentworth (Mr. Marks), who professes to be a naval expert, told us that we have nothing to fear from Japan, but in his next breath he said that we must arm to the teeth. The honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Killen), in an alarmist utterance, said that there is every possibility of war with Japan in the immediate future. Such speeches are calculated to create international friction, and are, therefore, traitorous to Australia. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) came along with another story. He remarked that the cure of all human ills was international and Imperial Free Trade. The honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Foster) said that Protection was the economic philosopher’s stone. How can these conflicting statements be reconciled? I consider that they reveal the political futility and incapacity of the Government and their supporters. Ministers have shown themselves to be pitifully futile. They remind me of the old saying -
You can and you can’t.
You will and you won’t.
You’ll be damned if you do
You’ll be damned if you don’t.
I enter an emphatic protest against the astounding statement made by the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory), that Australia was “ loafing “ on the Old Country in the matter of defence. That statement is an absolute misrepresentation of facts. It is disloyal to Australia. It is, however, in keeping with many utterances that have emanated from the Government benches and from the National party ever since Federation in this House. At least, the Labour party has always been consistent and courageous in its policy. Our Leader made a definite statement of our attitude, and not an equivocal evasion, such as the statements made on behalf of the Government. We claim, with justification, to represent the great body of Australian opinion and sentiment. The whole history of the Labour movement shows that popular opinion is behind us, and behind the policies we have enunciated in this Chamber. In 1910, the Fisher Government won the elections with an all- Australian defence scheme, in opposition to the Imperial defence policy of the otherside. Subsequently an attempt was made to shackle conscription upon this country. The Australian Labour party resisted that attempt, and it had to face all the insults and abuse and calumniation that could possibly be heaped upon it by Government supporters. The country has indorsed our sentiments. One has only to examine the history of Australian politics to discover that the policy of the Labour party has always been one of vigorous and virile patriotism. I do not wish to discuss at length our local politics. I remind honorable members, however, that the present Government has no mandate from the people of Australia. Prior to the last Federal elections, the right honorable the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) was practically unknown outside of Victoria. A trick of fate placed him in the position which he occupies. The policy he has enunciated in this House has never been submitted to the electors. The Prime Minister’s speech was nothing but a mass of contradictions. There was nothing constructive in it. It revealed abject and futile incapacity. The Prime Minister asked for our views. When we dared to give them his supporters immediately endeavoured to introduce immaterial issues, and to drag red herrings across the trail by telling us that we were Communists. The abject stupidity of the attitude of the Government members on our Imperial relationship is enough to compel a man to look elsewhere for his mental and intellectual food. The Prime Minister’s speech was depressing. He breathed the breath of war. He said, in effect, that war must come. There was nothing about peace in his speech. The expression of such opinions must be depressing to the people of Australia. The utterance of such sentiments reminded me of a dog howling at the moon. It was dismal. The attitude of the Government on the question of defence is unfair to Australia. They adopt a “ Heaven help us “ attitude. This country would have had no effective defence scheme had it not been for the vigorous Australian policy adopted by the Labour party prior to and during the first stages of the war. That policy protected Australia from invasion and raiding by the German squadron in the Pacific. My inference from the Prime Minister’s speech is that he thinks that Australia is not doing her fair share towards safeguarding her position as part of the Empire. I give an absolute denial to such statements. I ask honorable members to consider these figures: The Prime Minister informed the House that Australia was spending 17s. 3d. per head in defence.- He said South Africa was spending Ils. 8d.; New Zealand, 10s. lOd; and Canada, 7s. 3d. It is thus evident that on a per capita basis, Australia, when compared with the other Dominions, is doing more than her fair share. . The Prime Minister told us, too, that Great Britain was paying 56s. lOd. per head of her population for defence. That comparison is absolutely unfair. The population of the British Empire is 449,000,000. Lf the population of the self-governing Dominions of Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand - say 19,000,000 - is deducted, It leaves Great Britain with the direct responsibility for defending the British Isles and the Crown colonies, which possess a population of 430,000,000. ‘ Of that number it is admitted that nearly 380,000,000 are Indians, Negroes, Chinese, and Polynesians. If we base the per capita contribution :of Great Britain on her 430,000,000 people, it amounts to 6s. 8d. per head. That is much less than the contributions made by the people of -other parts of the Empire, and it is considerably less than Australia’s contribution. I claim this to be a fair comparison, because Great Britain is responsible for the British Isles and the Imperial dependencies, exclusive of the selfgoverning Dominions. It is logical to assume that Britain would not attempt to hold her vast Empire unless it was profitable to do so. The exclusion of Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand from the Empire would not appre ciably’ reduce Britain’s expenditure on defence. Britain is paying a considerable sum to defend her trade, which, of course, ‘ is her life blood. It is rather a heavy insurance policy for any nation to maintain, but Britain pays it in order to enjoy the prestige and pride of position in the world’s trade that she enjoyed in the pre-war years and to-day. These figures prove that Australia carries a much heavier per capita burden for defence than any of the other British Dominions. In addition, we have responsibility for the Mandated Territories., They require heavy expenditure, and when we are considering our contribution towards Imperial defence, it is only right, fair, and proper for us to take our expenditure on their account into our calculation. I quote these figures purely as a protest ‘ against the futile attitude of helplessness adopted by supporters of the Government. I also use them to refute the statement that Australia is not carrying her fair share of responsibility for Imperial defence. I am in accord with my pre-election pledge when I say that the Labour party desires Australia to remain part of the British Empire. But the Labour party is not agreeable to making Australia the victim of unnecessarily heavy military expenditure which will cripple her resources and productive development. To agree to such a proposal would be the worst form of disloyalty. People talk a lot about sentiment, but sentiment does not enter into this question of our Imperial relationship to the extent that some people would have us believe it does. As a matter of convenience, racial connexion, and, to a smaller degree, tradition, it suits us to remain in the Empire just as it suits Great Britain that we should remain part of the Empire. To my mind when you apply the acid test you discover that the flag is not so much a spiritual symbol as it is a trading sign’. I remind honorable members again of the divided opinion on the .Government side of the House. Some honorable members on that side say we have to fear a war with Japan. Other honorable members say we have no need to -fear such a war. I feel it incumbent upon me to express my humble opinion. I say we have no reason to fear aggression from any, country. I protest against extravagant expenditure on armaments when conditions do not justify it. I deprecate the alarmist utterances delivered by supporters of the Government. I also emphatically protest against statements which’ have appeared in certain sections of the Melbourne and Sydney press. Those statements have tended to create a war scare, and have led some people to believe that Japan is a source of real and immediate peril. The last Great “War was brought about largely because of the fomenting of international suspicion and distrust by sections of the press. The sections of the press which are responsible for bringing about such a state of public opinion should be placed on trial for high treason to this country. v I hope the gentlemen of the press who have been responsible for creating public uneasiness on this subject will take heed of> my, perhaps, humble words. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes) admitted that in the event of war we should have to look .to a friendly American fleet for assistance if our enemy were Japan. At the same time he said that without the Singapore Base we could not be protected against attack from a hostile fleet because of the distance that separates the American Naval Bases from Australia. I claim that that statement is inaccurate and illogical, unless it can be assumed that the whole power of the British Navy is going to be assembled at Singapore. It is clear that we are much further off from the North Sea than we are from America. The Singapore Base will be situated on the east of Asia adjacent to India, and it becomes apparent that the establishment, of that Base is intended for the protection of Britain’s Indian and Eastern trade routes, and that she may be in a position to subdue any rebellion against British authority in India. All indications point to the fact that the claim for self-government in India is growing so strong that Great Britain will have her work cut out to retain that country as a part of her possessions. T mention this to show that the Singapore Base is largely intended for the protection of British interests in India, and of Great Britain’s Eastern trade. Honolulu and other American strategic points in the Pacific are as close as Singapore to Australia. Therefore, I submit that the statement of the right honorable member for North Sydney that we could be attacked before an American fleet could come to our assistance -is absolutely incorrect, and is not based upon a close .study of the geographical position. I am opposed, with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton), to any expenditure by Australia upon bases outside this country. There is a growing body of competent public opinion, and. a body of opinion of naval experts, absolutely opposed to the theory that the Singapore Base will be of real value as a part of Australia’s defence scheme. I notice that Admiral Henderson, who visited Australia some years ago in connexion with our naval policy, when asked, on the 22nd July last, to say whether he thought the Singapore Naval Base would perform a useful function in the protection of Australia,, said -
The Government having finally decided to establish a Naval Base at Singapore, which, undoubtedly, is a. sound stragetical position, it would ill-become me, as an old and retired officer out at touch with the modern Navy, to attempt to criticise its action. At the same time, I think that the main base for a Fleet for the defence of Australia and the Pacific must be in Australia itself.
Admiral Henderson is supported in this view by Admiral Scott and a number of other naval authorities. I enter an emphatic protest against the Prime Minister committing Australia to any expense for the, establishment of a British Naval Base at Singapore. I ‘ have already pointed out that we are paying a much larger share of the cost of the Imperial defence scheme than the right honorable gentleman’s statement to this House would indicate. He has said that Britain’s naval expenditure amounts to 56s. 10d> per head of the population of the British Isles. The population of the British Isles is about 48,000,000, but I claim that it is unfair to calculate the rate per head of Britain’s naval expenditure on the basis of that population. Britain’s naval expenditure should be distributed over the population of the Empire, excluding the self-governing Dominions, and the population of the
Empire directly governed from Whitehall* or Downing-street is 430,000,000. If based on that population, the per capita cost of Britain’s naval expenditure amounts to only 6s. 8d. I should like to direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that, by the force of public opinion in Great Britain, and the agitation of the Labour party there, the Conservative party ‘now ruling England - the prowar party in England’s history for centuries - has been compelled to reduce the Estimates for naval, military, and air defence for the coming year by £16,000,000. In the light of that knowledge, I ask whether it is right and fair that this country should be asked to add to its burden for defence, particularly when, if the Prime Minister’s suggestions are adopted, it may become involved in Great Britain’s Imperialist adventures. I have gone to some trouble to dissect the figures given by the Prime Minister, and to look up official records on the subject of naval and military expenditure. The right honorable gentleman stated that Great Britain was ‘ spending on defence a total of £138,079,000. I have secured the figures, not only of the estimates quoted by the Prime Minister for 1922-23, but also of the estimates for 1923-24. In 1922- 23 Great Britain spent a total of £62,300,000 upon her Army. That included terminal war charges, such as pensions and other military expenditure. On her Navy she spent £64,883,700, and on her Air Forces £10,895,000, or a total of £138,078,700. The Prime Minister did not give us details of the expenditure on the Air Forces, which I now supply. The- figures I have mentioned show that £10,895,000 were spent on the Air Force. In the Estimates for 1923- 24, Great Britain has reduced her total defence expenditure by £16,067,000, the grand total being £123,000,000. She has reduced her expenditure on the Army from £62,000,000 to £52,000,000, upon the Navy from £64,000,000 to £59,000.000, and has increased the expenditure on the Air Forces from £10,595,000 to £12,000,000. That is the only increase in , Britain’s defence expenditure shown for the current financial year. I quote these figures as an argument in favour of economy in our defence expenditure. In considering the expenditure of Great Britain for defence, the fact should not be lost sight of that the great proportion of that expenditureis not directed to the defence of the Dominions, but is to support her Imperialistadventures in the East and the maintenance of an Army of Occupation in Egypt, I suppose, to teach the Egyptians the art of self-government. On these Imperialist adventures Great Britain spends £5,117,000. The Egyptian Army of Occupation costs £2,590,000, which is included in the previous total. In the Middle East, Great Britain is spending £368,000, and in Irak, where women and children were recently bombed to support England’s trade interest in the oil-fields, nearly half Great Britain’s Air Force expenditure, or £5.041,000, is being spent for the maintenance of an Air Force. For what is this expenditure, intended ? Is it to provide against possible aggression from Europe? Who are the enemies of Great Britain in Europe to-day ? Is France a potential enemy ? Is America a potential enemy? Judging by the expressions of opinion one reads in the press and elsewhere, one would be led to believe that there is a section of British people who would wage war upon the United States of America because, in view of the expenditure of the Powers on navies, with the exception of Japan, America is the only serious rival of Great Britain. I- ask whether it is considered that Great Britain and France are likely to go to war. We should have some information on these points. I have given figures of Great Britain’s expenditure for war to show that it is unfair to ask us to carry on our young shoulders Great Britain’s Imperial burdens in view of the fact that we have a great country here needing development, and the best help we can render the Empire is to spend millions on populating it, first throwing land open for settlement. That is a practical form of patriotism which would relieve the Empire of many of its economic burdens atthe present time. A great deal of Great Britain’s troubles and expense are due to her Imperialist ambitions and her desire to hold India, Egypt, and the Mesopotamian oil-fields. I may mention in passing that Great Britain is expending £588,000,000 per annum on war expenses, she is expending only £169,000,000 on the maintenance of the public service, the carrying out of public ‘works and other peaceful undertakings, and generally the peaceful development of the country. Out of every ls. which the taxpayer pays to the revenue of the United Kingdom, 9.82d. goes for war, and only 2.08d. for peace. No wonder there is a growing body of public opinion in Great Britain opposed to this waste on armaments. To show the attitude of the British Labour party I quote the following extract: -
The British Labour party sums up ite attitude in the following terms : - The problem of war expenditure is one of Foreign policy and Imperial policy. So long as we are committed to Imperialist adventures and isolation from peoples we shall continue to arm ourselves for the inevitable next war. That war can only be avoided by a drastic change in British policy.
Let us now consider the relative naval position of the various powers in the matter of battleships, which, according to the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) are essential for the salvation of the world. Provided that the Washington Treaty is carried into effect Great Britain will possess eighteen battleships, the United States eighteen battleships, and Japan six battleships. . It is clear, therefore, that the relative strength of the rival naval powers is not such as to warrant a fear of war in the immediate future. I quote these figures from the Statesmen’s T ‘ear-Book for 1923. It seems to me that as the honorable member for Oxley has said, the welfare of Australia is bound up with the cultivation of friendship with the United States of America. When I was in New York three years ago, I was conscious of a strong body of public opinion bitterly opposed to Great Britain, largely owing, to the Anglo-Japanese Treaty, the treatment of Ireland, and British Imperialism, as shown particularly in connexion with the Amritsar massacre and our Egyptian policy. In view of the fact that the major causes for that national distrust of Great Britain have been removed, an opportunity is now presented to Australia and the Empire to cultivate a close and friendly relationship between the Empire and the United States of America. The peace of the world depends upon an alliance between those two countries. The very existence of the League of Nations depends upon the co-operation of the United States of America. I hope that the Prime Minister “will urge at the Conference that, in the interests of world peace, overtures be made to America, if not in the direction of an alliance with her, at any rate with a view to inducing her to participate in the attempts to solve the problems of the world.
I oppose the proposal to establish a resident Minister in London. I can see no warranty for that course. Our present indefinite Imperial relationships stood the strain of the greatest war in history, and enabled us to survive the many problems which beset us during that troublous period. The Prime Minister is playing with fire when he suggests that we should send to England some one who inevitably will become entangled in the meshes of Imperial policy and secret diplomacy, and he is misinterpreting Australian sentiment when he supports that doctrine. I hope that he will abandon it. He will, no doubt, be met by a solid body of opposition from Canada , and South Africa, and will probably be compelled to “leave well alone.” 1 point out to him, too, that Canada is rapidly becoming Americanized. . The figures show that a tremendous volume of American wealth is being invested in Canada. Britain’s investments in Canada, which before the war were the largest of any nation, are to-day practically negligible. Canada is practically under the domination of American influence, and is almost a province of America at the present time. The Government in Canada is absolutely opposed to any Imperial entanglements or alliances, and does not desire to have any definition of Imperial relationships. The Conservative party in Canada went to the people with an Imperial policy, and was swept out of office. To-day, the Liberal’ party rules the destinies of Canada, and is totally opposed to the doctrines of Imperialism. I stand for the retention of Australia as part of the Empire; but I contend that the best way in which to serve the Empire is to leave things as they are, and not to define our relative positions. I remind the Prime Minister that Imperial policy depends entirely upon the Governments that may be in power. To-day we have in Australia a Government which believe in defining Imperial relationships. In Canada there is a Government which is opposed to Imperialism. In South Africa there is a growing body of sentiment which is opposed to Imperial policy ; and in England the Labour party, which is the principal party in Opposition, is opposed to any tightening of the bonds of Empire. In view ‘ of those facts, if the Prime Minister sets out to have our
Imperial relationships denned, he will sow the seeds of Empire disintegration. I urge upon him the unwisdom of adopting that course. Why should the Dominions allow themselves to be bound to the chariot wheels of Imperialism by political puppets who have been placed by chance at the head of the Governments of this great Empire? I agree with the Prime Minister regarding the necessity for entering into reciprocal arrangements with Great Britain. Like my Leader (Mr. Charlton), however, I am afraid that the right honorable gentleman will find that Britain will not welcome any interference with her Free. Trade doctrines. The Government in England may stand for a Protectionist policy, . as the Labour party in Australia does; but on the figures of the last elections in Great Britain it does not represent the majority of the English people. A Conservative Government was returned to power upon a minority of the votes cast. Therefore, according to statements which have appeared in the press, it recognises that it has no mandate to commit Great Britain to a Protectionist policy or to Imperial preference. Far better would it be for the Prime Minister to askBritain to .help us to establish the secondary industries, upon which the future of this country largely depends. Far better would it be for him to ask Great Britain to extend to . us subsidies and concessions, similar to those which she has extended to the sugar-growers in the West Indies, to the coffee-growers in Brazil, to the beet sugar industry in England, and to the producers of tin in British Nigeria and the Malay States. Under the Trade Facilities Act of 1921, power was given to the British Treasury to guarantee the principal and interest on loans’ up to £50,000,000, the proceeds of which were to be spent in such a manner as to promote trade and employment in the United Kingdom. Britain also gives a subsidy of £592,615 to’ her shipping lines. The Prime Minister knows that there is a big body of British opinion which is prejudiced- against our meat, butter, and other products, because the Imperial Government has not seen fit to do its duty by encouraging in the British people to grant them preference. If the Prime Minister succeeds in inducing the British Government to realize that Britain owes to us a duty equal to, if not greater than, that which we owe to her, . he will have justified to some extent his occupancy of his present high and responsible position. .’
I shall deal now with a question upon which no other honorable member has touched during this debate. What is the Prime Minister’s attitude regarding the Indian claim for the full rights of citizenship to be granted ‘to Indian subjects in Australia? Although that subject is not mentioned on the agenda-paper, it undoubtedly will be discussed at the Imperial Conference. This agenda-paper is a most vague and nebulous thing. It is not that which appears on it, but that which is not mentioned which requires explanation. The question of the rights of Indians to citizenship is a matter fraught with grave consequence, not only to Australia, but to the whole of the self-governing Dominions of the Empire. I should like to hear what the right honorable gentleman has to say regarding the attitude he intends to take up on that most important ques-‘ tion, which immediately affects Australia. England, with her 380.000,000 coloured subjects, is naturally in an invidious position. That has been proved in the case of the Kenya Colony, in British East Africa. There are 10,000 Europeans, 22,000 Indians, and 3,000,000 blacks in Kenya Colony. India recently demanded that her subjects there should have the right to vote. The British inhabitants of Kenya threatened armed force if Britain dared to give those Indians political rights which would, enable them to predominate over British citizens. I noticed in the press a couple of weeks ago the statement that Britain had come to an indefinite solution, which will be satisfactory to no one. Kenya Colony cannot be given self-government for the present, but the Indians are entitled to share in the government. That has not satisfied the Indians, because it provides for the segregation of the Indians on the lowlands and of the white people on the highlands. Judged by the history of this incident, the white people of Kenya will not be satisfied with that position, any more than the Indians are. I noticed in yesterday’s newspaper a paragraph to the effect that the Indians are threatening to take retaliatory measures against the Dominions; and Lord Reading, Viceroy of India, practically sympathizes with their sentiments. The question of the right of Indians to British citizenship came before the last Imperial Conference in 1921, and it is likely to come . before the forthcoming Imperial Conference. In view of its far-reaching imporance, touching, as it does, the future welfare- of Australia, the Prime Minister ought to make a pronouncement regarding his attitude towards, it. I am opposed to any interference with other portions of the Empire, because these very issues are likely to commit us to a course of Imperial policy, that will bring about the destruction of our racial purity. I prefer to be removed from that iron circle, which will, perhaps, prejudice our interests, and L would rather see the Imperial Conference restricted to the white Dominions, which can consider matters from a common stand-point, and with a common sentiment - I refer to South Africa, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Unless there is a clear and unequivocal statement of our policy in relation to these questions, this country is likely to be seriously embarrassed in the early future.
I should like to have more information with regard to the Prime Minister’s attitude towards the Labour party’s pronouncement of policy. We have definitely declared ourselves in favour of peace. We pin our faith to peace in much the same way as Edmund Burke did in a famous oration which he made to the British House of Commons. Our attitude is well expressed in the language which he used. He said -
The proposition is peace. Not peace through the medium of war; not peace, to be hunted through the labyrinth of intricate and endless negotiations ; not peace, to arise out of- universal discord, fomented from principle, in all parts of the Empire ; not peace to depend on the juridical determination of perplexing questions, or the precise marking of the shadowy boundaries of a complex Government; it is simple peace; sought iu its natural course and in its ordinary haunts.
Unless we come boldly forth as advocates of peace and of a reduction of armaments - in the construction of which our Empire is setting the pace at the present time - unless we go to the Imperial Conference and give voice to those opinions, the Empire will be on the verge of destruction ; because the British people cannot for very long carry upon their shoul- den - broad as they may be - this tremendous burden of debt and expenditure upon armaments. ‘ To-day millions of workers are crying for bread owing to the fact that Britain’s efforts arc being diverted from the pursuits and arts of peace to preparations that must lead inevitably to further wars. I- hope that the Prime Minister will frankly declare for peace, and insistently demand a further world-wide Conference in the interests of disarmament. If America will not accept the League of Nations, let some other, tribunal be created that will be acceptable to her, so that something may be done to promote the peace of the world. The League of Nations cannot function effectively when the greatest of all nations from an economic stand-point remains outside of it. At present the League of Nations is practically a league of victors:’ Russia and Germany are excluded from it, and America voluntarily remains outside. A league of victors cannot be an effective instrument for peace. I hope that the Prime Minister will insist as far as possible upon the admission of Germany and Russia into the League, and that inducements will be offered to the United States of America to become a member. The British Empire renders itself liable to suspicion’ when it sets the pace in the building of armaments, and we cannot expe’ct the public to have faith in the League of Nations when our own politicians are the first to express doubts as to its efficacy. If popular belief in the League of Nations is not as strong as it might be, that state of affairs is a reflection upon the political outlook of the statesmen of the British Empire. It was refreshing, to hear the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Killen) indorse Labour’s policy in regard to immigration. He is opposed , to immigration unless the land is first thrown open for settlement, and our own unemployed have been absorbed. When we, on this side, enunciated that policy, the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) emptied the vials of his wrath upon us for daring to interfere with hia splendid Imperial policy. I hope that at the Conference he will point out to Great Britain that it would be profitable for her to spend her wealth upon the development of Australia, not as a gift to us, but to afford relief to her millions of unemployed, and provide for her products those markets which she so sorely needs at the present time. The
Prime Minister should- consider the speech delivered by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton), who so effectively expressed Australian sentiment. His pronouncement was in direct contrast to the utterances- that emanated from honorable members >on the Government benches. Amongst them there is confusion of thought and purpose. They are like so many morons. God help Australia if the present Government remains in power very long, for if anything is .calculated to undermine Imperial solidarity it is the divided attitude adopted by honorable’ members on the Government benches.
.- My Leader (Mr. Charlton) has stated the policy of the party to which I belong, and I shall detain the House, for a very short time in adding a few of my own reflections. Honorable members have covered a lot of ground in the endeavour to find a policy for the Prime Minister to take to England with him, but how much of the contributions that have been made by the House, he will use, is another question. Honorable members on the Government side have treated the House to speeches upon Free Trade, trade within the Empire, and reciprocity. But it was left to the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), to state clearly and definitely the idea of Ministerial supporters in regard to Imperial defence. The honorable member said that the sentiment of this country was in favour of Australia subscribing to an Imperial defence scheme, and accepting its full share of responsibility in connexion therewith. Then, resorting to the method of warfare usually adopted by our political opponents, he railed against members of the Labour party. In conclusion, he told us that if we intended to engage in a crusade of peace we must “ begin at Jerusalem.” I wonder if the decisions of the Imperial Conference will be ba-sed upon the doctrines that were born in Jerusalem. The history of the Christian era does not provide proof that those doctrines have been very closely followed, but I hope that in the deliberations at the Conference the sentiment of Christianity will be more in evidence than it has been hitherto. If that should happen, the world may get the peace for which it is longing. The Prime Minister must know that the world has had a surfeit of war, and those who would en- deavour to give to all nations that which they most desire, must seek means of insuring the world’s peace. The question to be determined is whether peace can be secured by the building up of great armaments. I do not believe it can, and I am afraid that this Conference, like all others that have preceded it, will forget ideals in grasping at the substantial gain of the moment, and will pay most attention to the trade of the world, which has been the cause of all wars. I shall make a quotation which supports that view. Senator Pearce, when speaking in the Senate upon the proposed Conferences, referred to the Imperial Conference of 1911, at which Australia was represented by Mr. Fisher, and said that Earl Grey had foreshadowed the pos- .sibility of war in 1914. These were Senator Pearce’ s words -
Basing his opinion on the preparations that Germany was then apparently making, and on other information received, he hazarded the view that Germany would be ready to strike in 1914. I may add that that information had considerable influence upon the Fisher Government, and affected materially the defence policy of the Commonwealth during the three years following 1911.
I do not believe that. I -think that Senator Pearce was “ drawing the long bow.” I cannot credit that Sir Edward Grey, in 1911, told the Imperial Conference that Germany would be ready to strike in 1914, because I have always understood that when war broke out Britain was off her guard and quite unprepared. If Germany’s intentions were known by Imperial statesmen three years before the war broke out, and they took no steps to prepare Britain to meet the onslaught, what is the use of such Conferences? Let us consider what might have happened to Australia last year if she had consented to be dragged at the chariot wheels of Great Britain in connexion with misguided efforts to dominate other parts of Europe. In view of the fact that in the Near East trouble of last year Great Britain was supporting the Greeks, and France was supporting the Turks, and that when the quarrel was likely to become general, the Commonwealth Government were asked “ If Australia would be there,” a statement that was published in the Age yesterday is very illuminating. It refers to plots in Greece, and attempts to establish a republic. A republic will evolve naturally when the people are ready for it, because it will then be the best form of government for the people. Then men will be ready to do their best for their fellow men, and we shall have approached nearer to the realization of those ideals that were bornin Jerusalem.
– That will be the millennium.
– I am waiting for the millennium. I have said before that the hypocrisy of the world is appalling. The sittings of this Parliament are opened daily with the prayer which commences -
Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name,
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…..
If we subscribe to that prayer what do we mean by it? The honorable member for Riverina says that that ideal represents the millennium. I say it represents the Kingdom of God on earth, and anything I can do to promote it I shall do. One step towards the realization of that Kingdom can be taken at the Imperial Conference by endeavouring to secure the world’s peace so that we shall not have a repetition of the horrors through which the world recently passed. If that be the millennium, I pray for it, and I look forward to the day when sincere Christianity shall animate the whole human race. However, reverting to the published cables and the way in which they reflect on utterances made in this House from time to time, let me read the following:
London, 30th July
In reply to a question in the House of Commons to-day Mr. McNeill, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, said reports had reached the Government of an attempt to establish a republic in Greece. He was not in a position to give any authoritative opinion as to the part M. Venezelos was playing in the matter. The British Government was exerting no pressure one way or the other.
I quote that to give honorable members an idea of the power Britain has, if she cares to exert it, to bring about world peace or assist in a revolution. It is no flattery to Britain to say that she plays a greater part in the world’s diplomacy than that of any other nation. The newspaper goes on to say -
Mr. Lloyd George Attacked
Blamed for Greece’s Failure
The correspondent of the Daily Express, at
Athens, states that the anti-Venezelist news papers violently attack Mr. Lloyd George for his recent article on the Lausanne Treaty; in which he stated that disaster always came to the Greeks when they refused to be guided by M. Venezelos. The newspapers say that Mr. Lloyd George should blush at the thought of Greece. He drove Greece into the Turkish war by abuse, lies, and promising mountains one day, while he refused crumbs the next. He advised Greece to launch a costly offensive, and instructed Lord Curzon to write to M. Gounaris, the Greek Premier, insisting on the maintenance of the Greek Army in Asia Minor. Greece had to pay dearly for this, so dearly that Greece might well curse Britain instead of its former Prime Minister.
That is the trouble we were nearly forced into a short year ago. I have already told honorable members how our national anthem, “Australia Will Be There,” was sung and played in Rouen on Armistice Day. I am prepared to admit that that song truly reflects Australian courage and determination when Australians think that their efforts are in the proper direction. But Australians do not desire “to be there” when wars are created in the manner attempted by Mr. Lloyd George. There is this other newspaper extract -
Italy also Blames Lloyd George.
The Rome newspaper Giornale d’Italia, com menting on Mr. Lloyd George’s article on the Lausanne Treaty, says: - “The ex-Prime Minister seems to forget he was responsible for the Greek reverse. Itwas Mr. Lloyd George who sent the Greeks to Smyrna, thus violating the Treaty of San Giovanni, which assigned Smyrna to Italy. It is impudent on his part to speak of the Italian renouncement of her position. Unfortunately, Baron Sonnino had not only to contend with Mr. Lloyd George, M. Clemenceau and President Wilson, who preferred Greece to Italy, but he was not properly supported by public opinion in Italy, which was poisoned by propaganda. Mr. Lloyd George had better keep silent. He was thereal author of the Treaty of Lausanne, which is bringing the Turks back to Europe.”
We do not desire to be mixed up in such broils, which do not mean the defence of the Empire or of our shores, but are simply quarrels of which we know nothing, and the results of which we cannot foresee. If Britain and the European powers, to use the elegant language of one of the members of the Ministry “get into the bog,” let them get out of it. I do not think that Australia desires to be a partisan in every faction fight that may take place in Europe. Judging from the Prime Minister’s speech, he is not prepared to go “ off his own bat,” and express his own political views at the Conference. He must fear that he has not the full strength of Australian public opinion behind him, or otherwise he would not ask for suggestions from honorable members on this side. “ I suggest to the Prime Minister that in his reply he should give us some concrete reason for departing from the position we occupied prior to the Great War. Our representatives then attended Imperial Conferences, held, I suppose, for the general good of the Empire and of Australia. I cannot be accused of wishing to “ cut the painter.” The “ silken cord of kinship” will hold .together for all time; bub once the Australian people are driven into a position obnoxious to them, that silken cord is in danger of severance’. Why should we at this juncture, be asked what part we are going to take in Empire defence ? It is only since the war that any idea of -the kind has prevailed. It is only since Australia has proved her capability and value in war that we have been asked any question of the kind. We are somewhat in the position of a likely player in a junior football team who is invited into the senior team, and asked to take all the responsibility of the position. But this is not in consonance with the. sentiment of the Australian people. Prior to the war, the idea was that if Great Britain ever got into a war of which Australia approved, Australia would not be long in going to her assistance. Never yet has any one been able to suggest that Australia has been lacking in her duty to the Old Land, despite the fact that, according to the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), our propaganda would destroy all that is best in manhood and patriotism. Ever since I have known the Labour party it has been against armaments and warfare as barbarous and opposed to the principles of humanity and civilization, and because of our bold stand we have been, and are, held up as unpatriotic and disloyal to the Empire. We object to our children in the schools being imbued with that Imperialism that breeds war. If, personally, I could control matters, that kind of teaching would cease. I may say, without going into detail, that I did control one member of my family, and brought her up on unorthodox lines, and there is not a better girl in the world. If we cut out of the school curriculum all that makes for national hate, we should be nearer the millennium than we are when we are asked what we are going to do in the way of Empire defence. . Of course, I would buy a dog to defend my woodyard, and in that sense the Labour party is prepared to take all the precautions it thinks necessary for the safety of Australia. We refuse, however, to be dragooned into some wild Imperial . scheme of defence which is really in itself an offence to other nations. Any scheme of defence must be commensurate with the dangers as we see them, and not according to the views of calamity-howlers, who speak of Japan in terms that are really an offence to that country. I suggest to the Prime Minister that it was the Fisher Labour Government which took a practical view of the question of the defence of Australia. At that time the Labour party did what the nation required, and the policy it followed proved itself. The Labour party did not buy a Dreadnought on a borrowed £3,000,000 to patrol the North Sea, but declared that ‘if Australia had to be protected, the people of Australia would protect it - that if it was necessary to have a Navy, Australia would provide one. Well, we did provide a Navy, small as it was, and though it was gibed at, is there an honorable member opposite who will say that the Labour party then made a mistake? According to the ideas of the time the Labour party instituted a defence scheme, on a compulsory basis, for home’ defence., which scheme survived until we realized what compulsion meant and did. That scheme has gone by the board, and we have no desire to see it revived ; but, however that may be, the Labour party saw, in a way that did not offer offence to other nations, that Australia was adequately protected from aggression.
It cannot be said, I think, that the Prime Minister is in any doubt as to where we stand, nor do I think that the honorable member for Fawkner misunderstands the position of the great Labour party. Of course, recalcitrant wings of the party, or one or two individuals, may give expression to their own personal opinions, but the great heart of the Labour party has done nothing it need be ashamed of.
– I am glad .to hear that admission. Of all the remedial legislation that adorns our statute-book, of all the legislation that makes for the protection of this great country of Australia, the best emanated from the. Labour party.
– Hear, hear! There is no doubt about it.
– Again, I am glad to hear the honorable member.
– I pointed that out last night.
– I can assure the honorable member that, notwithstanding the extracts quoted last night, the policy of the Labour party had its origin in Palestine. Even the Communist creed had its origin there.
– I understand the honorable member to refer to my expression about beginning at Jerusalem.
– I think the word used was “ Palestine.”
– I was referring to the instructions given to the apostles that they were to preach the Gospel abroad, and were to begin at Jerusalem - that is “ here and now.”
– We suggest that you begin here and now. We will accept the status of a nation, and say to Great Britain, “We have hung on to your apron strings up to now, but from to-day we are born into nationhood. We will protect Australia. You need have no fear. We will read the signs of the times, and see what other nations are doing. Then we will take measures to protect Australia. You will not regret that you have given us control.” That is what the Labour party suggest. But that is not what the Prime Minister asked for direction upon. He wants to know how far he can pledge Australia to enter into all the obligations of the Empire. He knows that we will only have one voice and a single vote, and he knows that our influence will be nil. He also knows that our support will mean much to the Mother Country. The value that Great Britain places upon our support was shown by the telegram despatched to our ex-Prime Minister by Lloyd George to know whether Australia would be prepared to send troops to the Near East if Great Britain took similar action. Our reply to the Prime Minister’s request for information is that we should start at Jerusalem. We will protect Australia, but we are not prepared to become involved in wars outside of Australia. We will not shrink from our responsibility here. I believe a new spirit is abroad to-day. If the Prime Minister expresses the opinion of Australia correctly at the Imperial Conference, he will say that Australia cannot commend the older nations of the world for creating the position in which we found ourselves between 1914 and 1918. If he truly voices the view of our people, he will say, “ Our desire is to meet all the nations of the world, including Germany, Russia, and America. We have no wish whatever to destroy humanity. We shall be glad to do all we can to protect it.” We have two propositions before us. One is that we shall allow things to drift. That course may result, once more, in millions of people being slaughtered. There should be no reason for such slaughter. The other proposition is that we shall be prepared to meet other countries in conference to judge what are our various rights, and adjust them so that we can stand on common ground. That should not be an impossibility. Reasonable, sane, and logically-minded men should be able to reach that position.
– We have found it impossible to do that in our own political affairs.
– I agree with the honorable member. I do not say that it will be easy to reach the position we desire, but the Prime Minister will be listened to if he talks along these lines. He would be listened to more earnestly if he were as thoroughly imbued with these’ principles as are the members on this side of the House. If the Prime Minister goes to Mr. Baldwin, or to the Imperial Conference, and says, “ Australia will not see you in a hole, because she has proved the value of the Empire, and realizes her obligations; but neither will she stand for the principles which brought about the holocaust of 1914-19,” if the Prime Minister will promulgate such a policy, he may not receive great attention from the so-called diplomats of the Old World, but he will be listened to with rapt attention by those who really represent the people of the world.
– Is the honorable member aware that Great Britain has already materially reduced her expenditure on armaments ?
– I know that; but is that only one of the many moves on the worldwide chess board? We do not know whether it, is a case of giving a pawn for a bishop, or whether it is giving a bishop to take a queen. Our purpose is to teach all the countries of the world to play chess, but to play it openly. We favour open diplomacy. It is a good thing to hold Conferences such as these. The Labour party has its Conferences. When we become a little stronger financially I hope we shall meet the Labour parties of South Africa, Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand in conference. Great good may come out of such meetings. I have not the slightest objection to the Prime Minister attendingthe Imperial Conference, but I have great objection to him going to the Conference to say what the share of Australia shall be in the general plans for Imperial defence. I do not desire to say much about our share, except to observe that our share in the last war was a big one. It was said that we were protecting Australia in that war. I did not see a great deal of what went on, because I was shouldering my knapsack all the while, but from the little I did see I was glad that the Allies won. I have never been fearful of making that declaration. Bad as the peace was, we should have had a far worse one had we not been on the winning side. A Herculean task faced us. It was a barbarous job. I cannot explain to honorable members how awful it was to stand alongside a man one day, the next day to say of him, “ Poor old soandso,” and the next day to forget all about him. That sort of thing crushes the humanity out of an individual. That is not the reason why we are in the world. This Conference is, I understand, to prevent that sort of thing. But I am not so carried away by my ideals that I cannot see a mantrap before I step on it. I can see the pitfalls that are around us. I want to avoid those pitfalls, but I also want to cover them up so that nobody else shall fall into them. I believe the great majority of the Australian people desires to do that, and I trust that the arguments of the Prime Minister, as the representative of Australia in England, will be advanced with that object. Some people say that Australia is under a great obligation to Great Britain, and that therefore she should take her share in the defence of Great Britain. I say that Great Britain should be in a position to defend herself. We have to remember that Australia was colonized by the wealthy classes of Great Britain for trade and commercial advantage, and not for the advantage of the Old Country. The methods adopted were not tender. When Captain Cook saw what a fine country Australia was, the British people took steps to colonize it. They did not hesitate to transport to Australia for life men who had stolen a sheep or a rabbit. The money spent in colonizing Australia came from the capitalists, and the money that goes from Australia to-day does not go directly into the Exchequer of Great Britain, it goes through the pockets of the British capitalists. The value of Australia as an asset to Great Britain is £428,824,750. Great Britain could put the bailiffs into Australia to-morrow. If she did that we would have to walk out. If we estimate interest at 4 per cent, on the money invested in Australia - and that is below the average rate of interest charged for oversea loans - it comes to £16,000,000 per annum. That is what Great Britain is drawing out of Australia to-day.
– It is what we call a substantial first mortgage.
– A very substantial first mortgage; and Great Britain’s second mortgage on us, is in our trade. We are the second best customer that Great Britain has. If we were a coloured race Britain would not expect us to pay anything towards the defence of this country, but because we are worth £16,000,000 in interest, and £60,000,000 a year in trade, to Great Britain we are expected to pay for the defence of the country. I do not want to take that mercenary view of the situation, however. I adopt the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton), who said that Labour was not prepared to do anything of a warlike character outside of Australia, but was prepared to adopt sane and adequate means to protect this country. Honorable members probably saw an article by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes), published in yesterday’s Sun. In that article. the right honorable member quoted Lord Salisbury as follows: -
It is part of the fundamental obligation of Great Britain to provide adequate defence for all the .Dominions. If Britain is unable to provide the necessary defence for the great Dominions, she is not fit to have the Dominions at all.
Lord Salisbury evidently Considered that a duty rested upon the heart of the Empire to defend the Dominions because the Dominions were a commercial asset. I remind honorable members, also, of the quotation from a speech of Mr. John Bright, read to the House on Monday by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin). Mr. Bright evidently regarded the Dominions as appendages to Great Britain which ultimately were sure to break away. I believe, however, that the regard of the Australian people for the people of Britain is greater than the regard of the people of Britain for Australia. The sentiment here is stronger than the sentiment there. I do not believe the Prime Minister is in any doubt about the views of the Australian Labour party on Imperial relationships. I believe he realizes the wisdom and logic of the arguments which have been expressed here. I know that he represents the commercial interests. Those commercial interests will see that they have a bowie knife down each leg of their trousers, and three or four revolvers stuck in their waists; and pocketsful of poison gas if they think that a more up-to-date means for killing those who are against their plans.
– It is that kind of sentiment that provokes war.
– I am rather surprised to hear the honorable member for Fawkner take me to task because of my, perhaps, spectacular portrayal of the characteristic traits of the commercial element in this country. He should be the last to object to a statement of this description, for he tried to portray the Labour party as a party which, because of the writings in some Socialistic catechism, would not salute the flag. It is that kind of thing that provokes war.
– It is.
– It is that kind of thing that provoked the honorable member for Darling to say that the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) was a liar. I think that honorable members on both’ sides desire to reach the same goal. We should take a common-sense view of world affairs, and, if possible, try to arrive at an amicable settlement of our differences, and not talk about punching one another on the nose. I believe that I am expressing the sentiment of a great body of the Australian people. Last week, in Adelaide, there was a great meeting held in connexion with the No More War Movement. It was held on Violet Day, established in South Australia in memory of the dead soldiers, to whom we bow the head in reverence. It is only a short time since the war closed, but people have become so impressed with the necessity of preventing war again that, as I say, an immense gathering was held in Adelaide at which the following resolution, which I believe reflects the feeling of the majority of the people of Australia, was. carried : -
In common with the citizens of a score of other countries, including Great Britain, Ger- . many, the United States of America, and other great Powers, we, a mass meeting of the citizens, of Adelaide, on the ninth anniversary of Hie outbreak of the most terrible war in history, declare our abhorrence of war, and our conviction of the futility of war as a means of settling internal disputes. We believe that the great armaments of the world, for from preventing war, are one of the causes of war, and we therefore call upon the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia to use its position in the Assembly of the League of Nations to secure an immediate and drastic reduction of armaments.
The Premier of the State was listed tomove that resolution, and it was to have been seconded by Mr. Gunn, the Leader of the Opposition in the South Australian” House of Assembly. It was supported by the Hon. W. Morrow, M.L.C., representing the Liberal Union; the Rev. I. J. Mortimer, ex-President of the Methodist Conference; the Rev. G. E. Hale, representing the Unitarian Christian Church; Mr. F. McCabe, President of the Trades Hall; Mrs. Carlyle McDonnell, President of the Women’s Non-party Association; Mr. E. J. Paternoster, representing the Churches of Christ ; the Rev. I. A. Bernstein, Chaplain of the Jewish Church; Mr. Esmond George, representing the Adelaide Theosophical Society; Mr. P. H. Nicholls, Chairman of the Committee of the New Thought Centre; Mr. J. T. Massey, General Secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association; and Mr. H. S. Taylor, editor of the Murray Pioneer. On another platform, the resolution was moved by the Hon. J. Verran, a former
Premier of the State, and President of the Nationalist party, and was seconded by the Rev. L. C. Parkin, representing the Congregational Union. It was supported by Mr. J. Howard Vaughan, chairman of the executive of the League of Nations Union; the Rev. A. C. Hill, president of the Baptist Union; Mr. H. Kneebone, president of the Labour party; the Hon. P. McMahon Glynn, representing the Roman Catholic Church; Mr. L. H. Perkins, chief president of the Australian Natives Association; Mrs. E. V. Nicholls, president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union; Adjutant Adams, representing the Salvation Army; Mr. Elliot Short, representing the Religious Society of Friends; and Mr. Edwin Ashby, representing the Peace Society. It will be seen that there were at the meeting representatives of almost the whole range of Australian societies and organizations with the exception of the chambers of commerce and the chambers of manufactures. Their representatives were not there, because, I suppose, they feared on a Sunday to talk of peace when they remembered the profits made during the war time. I need not refer to the gun pointed at Flinders-lane by the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page). The” Adelaide meeting was representative of public opinion in South Australia; and the trade unions represented, the Salvation Army, the Young Men’s Christion Association, and the political organizations represented may be said to be Australia-wide in their influence. I believe that the meeting reflected the opinion of the people of Australia in its resolution against the fostering of warlike doctrines such as led to the last great war.
I wish to make a reference to the Economic Conference, upon which something has been said by honorable members holding pronounced Free Trade views. Personally, I consider it a commonsense thing to foster trade relations with those with whom we are best acquainted. Common sense must dictate the lines which should be followed in accordance with our commercial relationships throughout the world. I will say no more on that subject.
The question of immigration, and the need for populating this big country of ours, has been dragged into the discus sion. We of the Labour party have agitated for a longer period than honorable members opposite for the proper peopling of Australia, and have suggested the manner in which it should be brought about. Before I entered the Labour party its policy was the bursting up of large estates for the purpose of closer settlement. We have advocated compulsory purchase of lands for this purpose. Even Sir George Fuller, before he left for England in connexion with his big scheme for populating Australia, had to threaten to adopt the Labour party’s proposal to compulsorily acquire the necessary land on which to settle immigrants. What do we propose to do ? Nothing concrete is suggested. It is said that we must have population because we are threatened with invasion. When I was a boy, a lamp was fixed on the top of the post-office in Adelaide, and .we were informed that when we saw it alight we should know that war had been declared with Russia. That was away back in 1882 or 1883, but there was no war with Russia. I quite recollect the Russian scare, and there is a similar scare being created to-day. It is suggested that we should introduce population to prevent invasion by nations that are looking with hungry eyes on Australia and its open spaces. The Labour party desire to increase the population of Aus-, tralia, not for that purpose, but because they think it right that this land, which is God’s good country, should be enjoyed by His children. We took up that attitude many years ago without any thought of a possible invasion. How are we going to get additional population? I refer the Prime Minister to what was said by his own bell-wether in the Senate.- In moving the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply in the early part of the session, Senator Guthrie, referring to the question of immigration, and how we should populate Australia, said -
There are some, of course, who wish to retain their estates for family reasons, and they should not be forced to sell, but if the large land-holders were to make available 10 per cent, of their properties for share-farming purposes, 16,250,000 acres could at once be provided. .
The dead hand of the past is responsible for the shutting up of 162,500,000 acres of the best lands of this country. These estates are not in outback areas, but in areas served by railways and on which the immigrants of whom we are speaking might be settled. Some people are honest enough to admit that we desire to bring people to Australia in order that there may be more shoulders to bear the burden of our taxes. We want immigrants to help us carry our war burdens so that in reckoning up the per capita cost it may not be said that we are not the most heavily -taxed people in the world. We should do justice to the people whom we bring here to develop this country. Senator Guthrie suggests that the big land-holders should permit them to engage in share-farming, but that the landlords should not be called upon to sell their home estates. We are making the same provision in our land Ordinance for the Northern Territory. The country for 5 miles around a waterhole or the homestead is still to belong to the man who “ soonerized it,” that is to say, who secured it sooner than any one else. Mr. Crawford Vaughan, of South Australia, used to be a great single-taxer, but I am sorry to say that when he got into power, and became a Labour Premier of the State, he was responsible for the biggest blunder in land legislation ever known there.
– Hear, hear!
– The honorable member for Barker knows to what I refer. Mr. Vaughan used to say that GeorgeFife Angas, whose estate is one of the most beautiful in Australia, when he came to the biggest hill he could find, said, “All the land I can see from this hill, I claim for. myself, and all I cannot see I claim for my son John.” When we talk of bringing immigrants to Australia we should be prepared to do the fair thing by them. The Labour party does not desire that one man should.be brought from the Old Country to be in a worse position here than he was in there. When we have released the strangle-hold that there is upon the most fertile lands of Australia we can talk about immigration and populating this country in a fair and effective manner.
I wish to say a word on the Ruhr situation. I am not going to claim that I know too much about it. I have not allowed it to trouble me beyond reading press reports as they have come under my notice ; but if any one desires to know the attitude I take up on the subject it is that the destruction caused inFrance should be repaired by Germany. It is one of the most awful sights a man ever saw. Passing through Pozieres, and other places in Prance, one finds brick by brick lying together as flat as the floor of this Chamber in places which, before the war, were thriving villages. The nation responsible for that destruction should repair the damage if has done. Whether the Reparations Agreement under the Versailles Treaty is just or otherwise is a matter for the consideration of those who drew it up, or those who will be appointed to revise it at some future date, but one condition that should be laid down is that Germany must make good the damage done to the French villagers who have been robbed of their homes.
– That is what was suggested by the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham).
– I am quite in accord with that. That is what was demanded from many platforms while the war was in progress. In Australia we claimed that we did not stand for national aggrandizement, or the snatching of land which previously belonged to other countries. However, we are responsible for that, as we have a mandate of such a character over certain lands that we might as well have the fee-simple of those lands. Reparation should certainly be made for the damage done in France by Germany. I hope that, in this matter, the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) will express the views of the people whom he represents at the Imperial Conference. I should like the right honorable gentleman to take as his bible the Digger, a South Australian fortnightly review published by the Returned Soldiers’ Association of South Australia. A case is made out which warrants the Prime Minister taking up the attitude I suggest is his duty, representing as he will the 400,000 men who enlisted in Australia. This is what it says -
Some Horrors on theruhr.
The invasion of the Ruhr, its justification or otherwise, is a debatable question concerning which public opinion is at variance. Some are opposed to the policy France has adopted; many others uphold it. For our part we hold no brief in the controversy, but prefer to await the final results of French action. Then, and then only, will there be an appropriate time for judgment.
In the meantime, however, it is fair and reasonable to ascertain in what particular manner the economic investment of the Ruhr is being carried out. Without pleading for any undue consideration on behalf of Germany, only an inveterate hate-monger would deny the right of a beaten country to obtain what we call in Australia a fair deal. And when a nation like the French, to whom the world has hitherto accorded a tribute for its chivalry, is throwing decency to the winds, it is time for decent men and women to make their protests heard. Australia more than any other nation in the world stands for racial purity; the predominance of white civilization and the exclusion of black races from the Commonwealth. What, then, would Australia have to say if it were reduced to the conditions of Germany, and as a subject nation became compelled to allow the white women of its race to enter brothels for the service of black troops? And if white civilization is to be preserved, if white races are to rule the world instead of being submerged, is it not as necessary to save the white women of Germany from violation and outrage at the hands of negroes as it is to save the white woman of any race? We believe it is- The columns of the Australian daily press have carefully refrained from publishing unimpeachable facts concerning what is taking place on the Ruhr, because the facts are horrible, and also because they are easy to suppress. But this kind of journalism is neither fair nor reliable, and if the truth is unpleasant it is better to publish it than to permit people to mistake fiction for fact. The particular facts we reproduce are not merely taken from official German sources, if so they might justifiably be regarded as ex parte statements; they have been fully indorsed byrepresentatives of the League of Nations, by independent American observers, and also by three distinguished and impartial correspondents for prominent London newspapers. In these circumstances we invite Australian daily papers to disprove thom, or in default to publish them. Here are the records of what is happening in the Ruhr, a region comprising an area of about 1,200 square miles, in which are herded 4,000,000 people in the most densely populated area of Europe. Official records disclose the following facts: -Up to 16th December, 1922, 300 cases have been investigated, including sixty-five of deliberate murder, sixty-five cases of grave assault, and 170 cases of rape and indecent assault committed by black troops. In the majority of cases the French Government refused to compensate the victims or to give any information concerning the result of its investigation. Whenever compensation was paid, the amount was ridiculously. small. In one instance, where a murdered German left a widow and two small children, the family was paid 10,000 marks. In another case, four young children had to be provided for, and 6,000 marks were paid - equivalent, at the time, to 50 French francs. On 21st April, 1920, at Bretzenheim, a woman was waylaid by five black soldiers, who carried her to a shed, where she was violated by the five in turn, and, subsequently, by five other blacks of the same regiment, who arrived on the scene a little later. The woman informed the French commander, whereupon a few days later a French major called at her house and offered her 300 marks compensation. Detailed accounts of dozens of similar outrages committed against boys and girls, young and old women, ranging from seven years of age to seventy-three, by the black troops of France have been received: They are too revolting for publication.
There are a number of brothels distributed over the occupied area, mostly filled with German women. The French Army authorities compel each of the women to receive ten men within three hours, but the black soldier, who is so billeted that he cannot easily reach one of these brothels, simply takes what he encounters, and if his victim is unwilling the black is not slow in using his weapons.
Reports proceed to state that in the occupied districts not less than30 per cent, of German women and children have contracted venereal diseases from the black troops. Three instances specify the case of children under twelve years of age who were violated and are now infected. Now, these matters may seem of no personal concern to the inhabitants of a country situated some 12,000 miles fromthe place where such horrors are tolerated, but let us take a wider view of the question. Is it not certain that when negro races, have been encouraged to violate the women of a white race, and such women are compelled to become prostitutes for the convenience of the French Black Army, oneresult will be a serious menace to the future of white civilization throughout the world? There is not a native race in India, in Africa, or elsewhere that does not know and is not gloating over the knowledge that negroes have been allowed to outrage white women in the Ruhr. Consider the inevitable evolution of these outrages in the effect on our white civilization. In such circumstances,” how is the world, including Australia, going to maintain its racial purity? This is merely, the international aspect of the question. What of the moral one? Surely these incidents should show us beyond all doubt that militarism knows no morality, and what we once denounced as the horrors of Prussianism may easily become horrors translated to any nation when war knows no gospel, no limitation, and no meaning except the assertion of brutality.
As we remarked once, we observe again, the French policy in investing the Ruhr is a matter for legitimate difference of opinion, but in an issue where civilization is menaced by compelling white women to enter brothels for the service of filthy negroes we hold that Australian sentiment, when it knows the full facts, will be unanimous in lending no sanction to such an intolerable outrage on racial purity. As for the soldier, the man who was asked to fight for “a righteous cause,” he may admit that the cause was righteous, but will agree that some of the results have been infamous.
– Does the paper indicate the source of those statistics? Can we rely upon the statements contained in the article?
– The source of the statements can be ascertained by reference to the editor of this journal. He would hardly have made the statements he has made if he were not prepared to supply the data from which he drew his conclusions.
– That data ought to be supplied.
– I have quoted from “ The Digger “ in order that it might not be urged that I was endeavouring to throw mud or to draw pictures the accuracy of which could not be verified, for the purpose of inflaming the public mind. I have no desire to do that. We shall never have peace if we inflame one another’s minds. We have to face the facts and overcome them by using the best methods that lie at our hands. If the Prime Minister does what I suggest can be done, a step will have been taken in the direction of peace, and he will be acclaimed on his return to Australia. If, however, he advocates the views that he is supposed to hold, and on his return to Australia attempts to foist upon the people a policy of Imperialism at any price, he will find the Australian people in revolt. We on this side, at any rate, will disclaim any responsibility “for any action he might take in that direction.
.- I cannot resist the temptation to quote a few of the remarks made by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes) the other evening. The right honorable gentleman stated that Britain had long ago recognised our right to have an equal voice in matters of foreign policy. In view of that fact, how does the right honorable gentleman explain his contention that last year we were so nearly engulfed in war that only a miracle saved us ? He was Prime Minister when trouble arose in Asia Minor, yet up to the time that the British Government had almost declared war he knew nothing regarding Britain’s foreign policy in relation to Asia Minor. I submit that Australia can never expect to define British policy, and to a certain extent, therefore, we are relieved from any obligation to take part in a quarrel which, according to our view, may not be just, and to which we “have not been a party. The right honorable gentleman was rather amusing when he attempted to lay down a policy for the present Prime Minister. His were fair words, but they do not accord with the procedure he adopted when he was Prime Minister. He told the House that the Prime Minister intended to go to England to tell the British Government how to govern the Empire; and he added that when the Prime Minister got there he would be the one to be told. I make bold to say that the Prime Minister will not attempt to dictate to Great Britain the manner in which the Dominions other than Australia should be governed. I do not hold the same view regarding the Prime Minister as is held by the right honorable member for North Sydney. When that right honorable member was in England he, without any mandate from Australia, attempted to interfere with the Government of Great Britain. He was what might be termed “ a -boom “ in Great Britain at that time, but I remember the- London Star referring to him as a nuisance. Yet he has the audacity now to tell the Prime Minister that he must take fine care not to dictate to the British Government! He said the Ruhr was in- a state of war, and he desired to know the attitude of the Prime Minister towards the French. He would, no doubt, have been very pleased had the Prime Minister made a pronouncement upon that question - a question which even the statesmen of Great Britain are not prepared to make a straight-out declaration upon, and which is now being dealt with by international diplomacy. The right honorable gentleman also wanted to know where the Prime. Minister stands in regard to the question of reparations. * Honorable members hold individual opinions regarding what the French ought to do, and the course which ought to be adopted with regard to reparations; but no honorable member, no matter how highly placed he may be”, or what his previous experience may have been, has the right to demand that the Prime Minister shall make a declaration on that question. I may be suspicious, but I seem to see in this an attempt to trap the Prime Minister into committing himself regarding questions which do not concern Australia. The right honorable gentleman said, further, that the Prime
Minister proposes to tell Britain that she must give preference to Australian goods, and added that Britain should be given credit for knowing her own business. It is regrettable that the ex-Prime Minister did not accept that view when he had the power to give effect to it. The. question of preference is one which the Prime Minister can, with credit to his country, take in hand. I regard that as an important question. Only two matters can be profitably discussed by Australia and Great Britain, and those are trade and defence. I entirely agree with the contention of the Leader of the Opposition, that if Australian people pledge themselves to be prepared to defend their own country they will be doing well ; in fact, having regard to the size of Australia and her small population, they will be undertaking the greatest task to which any nation ever committed itself. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) considers the task too great for us. I do not. It is the duty of Australians to defend their country. Experts of greater repute than the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) declare that in future defence can be effectively secured by meant of aeroplanes’. Great authorities in Great Britain, America, and Germany, have laid it .down that for the cost of one battleship - £7,000,000- about 2,800 aeroplanes can be provided. If defence ‘in the air is as. effective as these authorities tell us it is, the cost of defending the Australian continent will be small, so long as we confine ourselves to operations within our own boundaries. There is no bond so strong as economic interest. Every business man will admit that. Financial partnership promotes a friendship and attachment between the partners that far transcends the ordinary sentimental bonds which link greater souls together. After all, sentiment is a wavering and impermanent influence; the trade bond is steady. And by promoting the trade relations between Great Britain and Australia, the Prime Minister can do immense service to his country. In the year 1920-21, 51.10 per cent, of Australian exports,’ valued at £67,519,000, were sent to the United Kingdom, and Australia imported from the United Kingdom goods to the value of £76,849,000, equivalent to 46 per cent. of her total imports. Our exports to other British possessions were worth £25,916,000, equivalent to 19 per cent, of the total, and our imports from those countries amounted to £18,436,000. The balance of that trade was in favour of Australia by approximately £7,500,000, but as between Great Britain and Australia the balance was in favour of the former to the extent of £9,000,000. These figures can be made the basis of a purely business negotiation. We can represent to the people of the United Kingdom that as Australian imports from them “exceed our exports to them by .£9,000,000, it is fair and reasonable, in order to promote trade and tighten the bonds of friendship,” that Great Britain should grant us such preferential treatment .as will balance the trade between the two countries. . “Australia’s exports to foreign countries totalled £38,000,000, or 29 per cent, of the total, and we- imported from .those countries £68,000,000 worth, of . goods/ In other words, our imports from foreign countries were nearly twice as great as our exports to them. Here, we have a., tremensdous and effective weapon ready to. handAmerica has demonstrated that, it is possible by means of Tariffs and trade arrangements to balance her trade with other countries. We can say to the Americans that as we are purchasing from them annually £36,000,000 -worth of goods, and as they are purchasing from us only £9,965,000 worth, preference* should be granted by America to certain Australian goods. We could undertake to give preference to those countries which would trade with us as nearly as possible on even terms. That weapon might be used against all countries, but particularly the United States of America,” and our sister Dominion, Canada. In 1921-22 Australian exports to Canada were worth only £154,000, whereas the imports from Canada approximated £4,500,000. That is to say, we paid to Canada twenty-nine times more than Canada repaid to us. Recently a Canadian representative visited Australia for the purpose of trying to arrange a reciprocal trade treaty between the Dominion and the Commonwealth. Australia should say that its policy is to give preference to those countries that give preference to it. I believe that the Prime Minister can do good work in this connexion in the United Kingdom, and even greater work could be done in other. countries. In the year 1921-22 Australian exports to the United States of America totalled £9,965,000, and we imported from America £36,000,000 worth of goods. America has been very prompt in discriminating against countries that discriminated against her, and we might, by applying the same pressure, come to a better business arrangement by which the United States of America will purchase a greater quantity of our products. A business man will always . listen to a proposal that means the transaction of increased business, and nations are amenable to. the same influence. The total imports of Great Britain during 1922 amounted to £1,004,000,000, of which Australia contributed less than £68,000,000, representing only 61/2 per cent, of the total.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– May I suggest to the Prime Minister that his visit to England gives him a magnificent chance to strengthen or replace the “silken ties” of which we hear so much, by the more material ties of trade relationship? The greatest force in the promotion of war is the antagonism of rival traders, and, by parity of reasoning, the greatest force in keeping countries together is mutual trade. Surely Australia is entitled to as much consideration from Great Britain as is Argentina. In 1922 the Argentine contributed £56,500,000 to Britain’s trade, while she took only £22,400,000 in goods from Britain, leaving a balance in her favour of about £34,000,000, whereas, in the case of Australia, there is £9,000,000 in Britain’s favour. A trade partnership is stronger than a military partnership, which, at all times, has uncertain stability. The records of history throughout the ages show that treaties, even of the most solemn character, do not keep countries together when their trade interests clash. Let me here say that, while I have the warmest admiration for the Prime Minister’s sincerity, so far as his general outlook on Australian matters is concerned, I really fear that he may display a strong Imperialist spirit when he gets to the Old Country. The speeches made during this debate, on this side of the House, are not so many idle words. They show that there is a very real fear with us that the Prime Minister may sacrifice the good of Australia to what he believes to be in the best interests of the Empire. The honorable member for North Sydney ( Mr. W. M. Hughes), the other evening, said one. thing with which I entirely agree. He told us. that there is no environment in the world more fatal to Democracy than that by which the Prime Minister will be surrounded when he goes to the Conference.Who in this Chamber can speak with greater authority on such a matter than he who, as the result of this environment, was prepared to crush this country to the dust, to exalt his name amongst the Jingoists of the Motherland? I do not think I am unfair in calling attention to the fact that the Prime Minister was educated in the Old Country, and that during the war he enlisted in the British Army. I say this without any intention to detract from his character, but merely to show what we have in our minds when we express belief in the possibility that he may pursue a policy with regard to Australia’s connexion with Britain in defence matters which may leave us a disunited people. What we on this side intend, even if we never get into office on the people’s indorsement, is to undertake the defence of Australia, but never to be embroiled in a war overseas. I should like to quote from a speech by one of the finest patriots the world has ever seen. It was made 127 years ago by no less a man than George Washington, in a farewell address to Congress on 17th September, 1796. I hope the House will excuse me for commending this very valuable message to the Prime Minister. We know how Washington is revered, not only in his own country, but also by the descendants of the Britishers against whom he fought.
– And he never told a lie!
– There was something greater than that about George Washington, though the interjection conveys the popular idea. It has been said, of George Washington that “ he was first in peace, first in war,” and, above all, *’ first in the hearts of his own countrymen.” The following is an extract from his speech to Congress, and I ask honorable members to say whether some of his remarks may not be considered applicable to Australia -
So, likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.
I think we have a parallel case to-day -
It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions, by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation) -
Mark these words - facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity -
I think we have had cases of that kind in Australia - gilding, with the appearance of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
The speech proceeds -
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellowcitizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, nrust be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Seal patriots, who may resist the intrigues ef the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious -
We have had cases of that kind - while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests. The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote, relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies -
Does not the history of Europe during the past few years, even since the Armistice, prove that that is doubly true today the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes ot her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
I earnestly commend those remarks of Washington to the serious attention of the Prime Minister.
– Do you suggest that that speech refers to commercial relationships ?
-No, it refers to the policy of America towards Europe. The honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes), after delivering a caustic criticism the other evening, immediately left the House. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) acted in the same way; and I think that such incidents ought to be recorded in Hansard. These honorable members remind me of a tramp - say, a vagrant tramp - who sets fire to the grass and then runs. As a matter of fact, considerable annoyance was caused by the remarks of the honorable member for Fawkner, and interjections came from this side which we very much regret. But when a man charges us with insincerity, and with not being prepared to defend our country - when a man tries to prove by quoting from some “ Catechism,” dug up from I do. not know where, that we are not good Australians - we feel a very natural resentment. We say that men who indulge in this morology-
– I think the honorable member ought to tell us what “ morology” means ?
– If the honorable member consults Webster’s Dictionary he will find that it means the art of foolish speaking. With regard to the general question of war I think many honorable members sympathize with the spirit that emanated from a few German and French Socialists prior to the FrancoPrussian war. Those people had great ideals. When war was threatened they sent a message to each, other couched in these terms -
We are the enemies of all war. Solemnly we promise that neither sound of the trumpet, nor roar of cannon; neither victory nor defeat, will swerve us from our common purpose of the union of the children of toil of all countries.
We regret that, on occasions, there is still danger of war. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), last night, drew a bad picture of the Socialists of Germany. We know that many of those people were shot because they tried to preserve the peace. Liebknecht, possibly the greatest man in Germany, was shot because he tried to secure peace. Jaures was assassinated by the jingoists of France for the same reason. Rosa Luxemburg was murdered in the cause of peace. War can be eliminated in only one way. That way is for each country to determine to attend to its own affairs, and say “ We are prepared to attend to cur own business, and we shall refuse to concern ourselves in other people’s foreign affairs in the future.” Why should not Australia set this noble example to the world ? We should not lose anything. This would be a non-aggressive attitude. If all countries would adopt it, the peace of the world would be established for all time. So long as we are prepared to go abroad to engage in war because we are told that the cause is a just one; or to go to war in Mesopotamia, or in any other country, where there are big commercial interests, wars must continue to occur. Under the present system of capitalism it is apparently impossible to abolish war.I believe the spirit of the people of this country is not inferior to the spirit of the people of the United States of America. I have referred honorable members to the views of Washington. I shall now refer them to the deeds of Abraham Lincoln, possibly the greatest democratic statesman of all time. He plunged his country into the worst of all wars, a civil war. In the sacred cause of liberty the Americans at that time came, at his call, from the farm and from the workshop. He called for three different drafts. He called first for 300,000 men from the North to suppress the curse of slavery in the South. They came at his call. He then called for another 300,000, and they came. In -order to abolish slavery, and finish the war, it was necessary to call for another 300,000. He called and they came. One of their poets has written, as follows, of this historic occasion : -
We are coming, Father Abraham,
Three hundred thousand more,
From Mississippi’s winding stream
And from New England’s shore.
You have called us and we’re coming
From Richmond’s’ bloody tide.
For Freedom’s cause to lay us down,
Our brothers’ bones beside.
Six hundred thousand loyal men
And true, have gone before;
Still, we’re coming, Father Abraham,
Three hundred thousand more.
I submit that if ever this country should be invaded - a happening of which, I think, there is no danger - the Australian people will supply all that is necessary in men and material to defend it. So long as there is no immediate danger I believe we ought to put the whole of our resources into promoting the arts of peace. If need arises to defend Australia our people will not be behind the Americans, but will stand to a common cause as the Americans did.
.- The Prime Minister’ (Mr. Bruce) has invited honorable members to express their views on the agenda-paper of the Imperial Conference. He said he would be interested in, and have pleasure in listening to, the discussion. Apparently, his interest has ceased, and his pleasure has gone, for he now wishes to close the debate. Still, I propose to take advantage of his invitation to express my views. If there should be any sentence or any word in my address that you would like explained, Mr. Speaker, I shall be very pleased to give an explana tion of it. A few weeks ago, during the Address-in-Reply debate, the Prime Minister was asked to give an explanation, of the necessity for his visit to England. He rightly said at that time that he would not make any preliminary explanation, but would give a full explanation when the Conference agenda-paper was presented to the House. The agenda-paper has been presented. It contains sixteen items. The Prime Minister told us that those items covered three main subjects, namely, Empire trade, Empire foreign relations, and Imperial defence. The right honorable gentleman spoke for something like an hour and a half. He brought each of these three topics forward. On the ques- tion ‘ of Imperial foreign policy he said, “Here are the pros on the one hand; here are the cons, on the other. I would like to have the views of honorable members upon both. For myself, I have no views.” I have no comment to make upon the manner in which the Prime Minister presented his statement. I shall be satisfied to give the comments which appeared in the daily press. One of our daily newspapers, in speaking of the Prime Minister’s address, said that he appealed to honorable members of this Chamber to reveal their minds, but he carefully concealed his own. Another newspaper said that if the Prime Minister emerged front the discussion with any definite opinion on any subject which was to come before the Conference, he had certainly given no evidence in his speech of the possession of any such opinion. On one question the Prime Minister apparently had some hazy kind of an opinion, but the newspaper said that it was such a stupid idea that it could not possibly have emanated from him, that it must have emanated from the Treasurer, and the Prime Minister must have presented it in order to placate the. Treasurer. Such are the opinions of the press. No wonder the Prime Minister appealed to both sides of this Chamber for their views. This side of the House has clear and definite opinions upon the subjects mentioned by him. Those opinions may be stupid, and they may be wrong, but they are definite. Our position with respect to foreign policy has been explained in a straightforward way. Our principles have been clearly laid down. We say that there shall be no further participation by Australia in foreign affairs. That is clear and understandable. It may be wrong ; it may even be absurd ; at least it is understandable and definite. That is far more than can be said for the views expressed by the Prime Minister and those behind him. If our views are wrong and absurd we share them in good company. They are indorsed by public men and a public press which cannot be said to belong to our party, or to have any sympathy with our ideals. One newspaper in this city said that the Prime Minister’s statement on foreign policy was a palpable sham. If it is a sham we need not trouble about it. The newspaper pointed out why it was a sham. It said that the British Government had laid it down clearly and definitely that it would not admit the Dominions to any participation in the formulation of foreign policy. The newspaper gave the reason why. It said that the British Government would not permit such participation because the responsibility for foreign policy depended upon the Mother Parliament, and that Parliament was responsible to the people of England. That being so, Great Britain would adhere to its present position, and Australia could have no voice in the determination of foreign policy. The ex-Prime Minister has stated not only in this Chamber, but also in black and white in the public press, that that has been his experience. He said, that though Great Britain might grant something in theory she would grant nothing in practice. This House therefore is faced with the position that either the present Government has presented a proposal which is a palpable sham, or it is merely covering its real objective. It proposes to attempt to secure participation in the Imperial deliberations when there appears to be no prospect of obtaining any such participation. That is clearly the situation respecting foreign policy. We say to the Prime Minister, “ Sir, you are the head of this Government and you are responsible for the destinies of this country. What will be your attitude at the Imperial Conference if the British Government declines to permit Australia to have any participation, or any voice, or any vote in fixing foreign policy ? What will be your attitude if the British Government refuse you any opportunity to assist in guiding the destinies of this great Empire ? “ The Prime Minister is absolutely silent upon these issues. . He furnishes us with no enlightenment whatever. On the other hand the attitude of the Labour party is clear, definite, and understandable. We contend that our attitude is based upon soundness and equity. What is our attitude in regard to Imperial relationships? We have gone so ‘far as to say who shall be admitted into this country, and who shall be excluded. We alone among the Imperial Dominions have formulated a foreign policy. That foreign policy is vital to our existence, and we refuse to permit any other part of the Imperial Dominions to have a vote or voice in the reversal of that policy. That being so, I submit that it is impossible for us to expect any other part of the Dominions or even the Mother Country, to give us any voice in the determination of their policies. We cannot claim a voice and a vote in the guidance of other parts of the Dominions when we are unwilling .to give other Dominions a voice and a vote in the determination of our policy. We have said, “ We will not bind, nor will we be bound.” That is a clear statement of the attitude of the Labour party. Upon that statement this party is willing to stand or fall. That view may not represent public opinion. If it does not, the party that maintains it will disappear from the public life of this country. If it does represent public opinion then the party opposite which holds other views will disappear. Let us now turn to the question of defence. On this matter also the Labour party makes a clear and definite pronouncement. We say that we will not contribute to Imperial defence, and that we will not send men overseas. That opinion also may be wrong and absurd, but it is clear, and definite, and understandable. The attitude of the Government on this matter is unknown. We ask the Prime Minister, “What is the stand of your Government on the question of a subsidy to the British Navy? Is your Government willing to contribute more men for overseas warfare ? “ The Government refuses to give us an answer. If Australia wants a say in determining these matters then of course she must be willing to reciprocate. The Labour party is not willing that she should reciprocate. We say that we will defend Australia, and in defending it we shall be defending one-fourth of the surface of the Imperial Dominions. We shall be defending the hundreds of millions of British capital invested in this country. We say that we shall make our contribution to the defence of the Empire when we defend the interests of the bondholders and investors of Great Britain in these territories, and in so doing we shall be making no small contribution to the defence of the Empire of which we are a part. We are told that this country is not strong enough to defend itself. Our answer to that is that we shall not strengthen it if we send hundreds of thousands of men overseas to defend the interests of the oil barons of Mesopotamia. We shall not strengthen our capacity to defend ourselves if we send armies overseas to defend the interests of the bondholders of Egypt and the tin barons of the Malay States. If we are not at this hour sufficiently strong to defend this territory, we should not dissipate our energies in foreign wars oversea. That also is clear and definite. We are told that we have changed our attitude on Imperial questions since 1914. We have. The world has changed since then. A new set of financial, economic, national, and international conditions has arisen. We adapt our policy to the changing circumstances of life. That also is intelligible and understandable. In this matter we do not stand alone. There are other men in other parts of the Empire who have adapted their attitude to changing circumstances. Two years ago Mr. Mackenzie King, in Canada, moved a resolution on the lines of the declaration made by the Leader of the Opposition here that no more troops should be sent overseas! - that the exclusive defence of these territories is our business, and our contribution to defence in the interests of the Empire. Mr. Mackenzie King, when he moved that resolution, was beaten by thirty votes. To-day that man and his party control the destinies of Canada, and they stand for no further participation in overseas wars. So do the people of South Africa, and into the same line we go. In this direction we shall make our contribution to the peace of the world, recognising at the same time our responsibilities. On ‘this matter General Smuts, of South Africa, said -
In shaping a course for the future we must bear in mind that the whole world position has radically altered. Europe is no longer what she wa3. The power and position which she once occupied in the world has been largely lost. The great Empires have disappeared.
Upon these two principles - one of defence and the other of foreign policy - this party, whether right or wrong, is a-J least clear and definite. Upon these two important matters the House is given no information by the Government. Since our attitude is clear and understandable, the Prime Minister must look for additional advice elsewhere. Ho must look to honorable members on the other side. Will the right, honorable gentleman get the advice for which he asks from the members of the Country party? There are some thirteen or fourteen of them, and ten of them are in possession of jobs either upon the Treasury bench or on Committees of this House. The only contribution which these gentlemen have made to the discussion in response to the invitation of the Prime Minister is to look at him with mute admiration. They remain absolutely silent. He asked for suggestions, and he got something from the right honorable gentleman who was at one time Prime Minister of this country. This is the gentleman who elevated the present Prime Minister to the position be now occupies. He took him to his bosom, made him a Minister, and lifted him from obscurity into the limelight of public life. He thought he made an ally and a friend only to find that he had taken an assassin to his bosom. The Prime Minister sought advice, and the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes) rose to give it. I wonder whether the Prime Minister listened to that contribution with interest and pleasure. Every one knows how the ex-Prime Minister feels. One could not expect anything else, after the way he has been treated. But the only advice he would give to the Prime Minister was to offer him a cup of poison. Every one knows that he keeps a photograph of the Prime Minister in his home, looks at it fondly each night, mutters “ Thou false, faithless, and perjured man,” and then stabs it to keep his hatred alive. Next to the right honorable member for North Sydney sits another gentleman, and if honorable members will turn to “ Who’s Who,” they will find that he is the pioneer prince and potentate of the jam industry. He feels annoyance with the present Government. He has written a marvellous book, entitled “ Jam in the Orient and Jam in the Occident,” in his description of himself in “ Who’s Who “ he states that he holds a letter from the King congratulating him upon the quality of his jam. He was seized during the war with a great ambition to serve the country, and he went to England and sold more jam. This gentleman has been left out of- the Ministry, and has made no contribution to this debate. When he does it will not be a pleasant one. He is biding his time, because he is annoyed that, with his great abilities, he should have been cast out into the cold. Then there is the General whose gallantry, whether in Gallipoli or Palestine, we know of. The Light Horse rider. He makes no contribution to the debate. He also is waiting and biding his time. He was thrown out of the Defence Department where his genius might have been of some use, and finds himself replaced by a family lawyer. So he is biding his time. Then there is the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks), who also is absent. Why is he absent? Why does he not respond to the invitation of the Prime Minister to give him some advice ?
– He did do so.
– He told us many things, but there was not one word of encouragement for the Government, apart from his friendship for them. Who could be of more assistance than the honorable member for Wentworth? When I was in England my respected friend, Sir Rosslyn Wemys, since dead, said one night, between the nuts and the wine, “ We have a most notable Australian here who, by his dash and daring, has won the admiration of the British Navy.” I asked the gentleman’s name, and I was told by my friend that he could not think of it. He said that he was a handsome man, with the flashing eyes of the Italian, and the proboscis of a Roman Emperor. I said, “ You mean So-and-so,” and he said, “ That is the very man.” Look what this gentleman has done to serve the Empire. He captivated Piccadilly, and from there he went to Japan. He introduced himself, or was introduced, to the Mikado and the geishas, and, as he told us in this Chamber, “ was shown everything.” This gentleman came back from Japan with a 300 yards’ long report, which ought to be of great value to the Government. It cost him £300 out of his own pocket. What becomes of him or his report? He finds that the only reward for his national services is that his report is being used by menials of the Defence Department most disrespectfully. The Prime Minister is going to England, at a time when we specially need naval experts. The question of our relations with the Imperial Navy is coming up for discussion at the Conference, and yet poor Marks is left out in the cold. He can have no friendship for the Government. He may tell us many things, but he made no contribution of assistance to the Prime Minister. The contribution made by another gentleman was an assault upon the party on this side of the House. Some may feel hurt at it, but I do not. I have known this gentleman for thirty years. He fights and runs away. He quoted Biglow to us, and we also remember something of Biglow concerning men who sit on fences until they spot what is best, and then go for it bald-headed. He does not stand behind the Government. He does not belong to the Country party. He is waiting events, and he will embrace or stab the Government as opportunity offers. He makes an attack upon us, but we do not mind. “We know that, if he does so, it is because it suits him. We also know that if we rubbed his palm with sixpence he would defend this party with the same fervour and passion, as he has denounced it, and if we rubbed his palm with two sixpences he would deny the divinity of Christ himself. So much for him, and so much for the whole class, so far as the contribution to this discussion is concerned.
– The honorable member should withdraw the statement he has made.
– You, Mr. Speaker, do not think it necessary that I should withdraw it?
– I do not know to what the honorable member refers.
– It is the only legitimate answer to that type of man. He comes here with anonymous statements, that are mere “frame-ups,” and are no contribution to the matter under discussion. His offence has not the slightest excuse. He had not the excuse which members of the Country party or members who sit behind the Government might plead, because we assail them, and they are justified in assailing us in return. He belongs neither to the one party opposite nor to the other, and, as his insults and untruths were unprovoked and uncalled for, anything we may say in reply in the circumstances is justified. As for the rest of the honorable members opposite, they will probably support the Government. Where is our danger? It is not in Europe, where Empires have disappeared and the position is one of dissolution. We are told that it comes from the Pacific. Let us consider and examine that, briefly. A little while ago, at the Washington Conference, there was an alliance and compact arranged between various nations. The Commonwealth Government at the time sent a representative to that Conference at a cost to this country of something like £12,000 or £14,000. He came back with a report to this Parliament that the Conference had defined our position in the Pacific. The then Prime Minister said that it simply meant that it gave us, at any rate, ten years’ assurance of peace. He said that the Washington Treaty provided for the maintenance of the status quo in connexion with the fortification of naval bases in the Pacific. Mr. Massey, of New Zealand, had a similar idea of the results of the Conference, and he told the people of New Zealand that Great Britain, the United States of America, and Japan had agreed that there can be no new fortifications in the Pacific. Yet we see that, they are being constructed. Senator Pearce said in the Senate that the Washington Treaty “ would enable them to devote their energies to the arts of peace.” What are we asked to believe? That these treaties have become mere scraps of paper? Who have made them mere scraps of paper? Have the Japanese, the British, the Americans? Certainly not the Americans. In the Pacific we see vast expansions in fortification. We are told that we are liable to be invaded by Japan. ‘One of the newspapers in this city said the other day-
The .people .born in any country, and whose lives are incorporated with that country’s traditions and institutions, may not be violently despoiled without disastrous consequences to the despoilers. Merciless extermination is indispensable if military occupation is to be permanently successful.
The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes), in one of his newspaper articles, said, “ The effective striking range of a navy is limited.” I do not know whether it is or is not. He was Prime Minister at one time, and he claims to have some knowledge on the subject. He said, further, “ Unless it has bases where ib can refit, obtain fuel and stores, it cannot go very far or do very much.” On account of our distance from Japan we are, therefore, safe. It is said, however, that we are not safe. It is said that we can be defended only by having a base at Singapore. Yet Singapore is as far from Sydney as is Yokohama. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) the other night told us a very interesting story bearing upon this matter. He told us that when he went to Japan he was shown the naval service and the air service by the Japanese Government. -There was nothing which the Japanese could possibly have shown him in connexion with their naval, military, or air service which they did not show him, and upon which they did not give him all the information they had. Would we have treated a Japanese in the same manner had he come ‘to our country? Would we have shown him our fortifications, our military system, our naval system, or our air system? We would have shown him nothing. The honorable member went on to say that the Japanese have transformed their old battle-ships, which have been dismantled under the terms of the Washington Treaty, into airplane carriers. We have been told by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) that battle-ships are a necessity. Yet our one battle-ship is being dismantled; but it is not being used for the purpose to which the Japanese .are putting theirs. We are told by the honorable member for Wentworth that there are five of these airplane carriers, each of which will carry fifty air-planes. We were not told that William Francis Forbes, master of Semple, was sent to Japan in 1921, that he instructed the Japanese, that he helped them to construct air-planes, that he had laid down the basis for study and research in aeronautics and aeroplane making, that he instructed them in the building of , stations and in the construction of aeroplane factories. This gentleman went from England under the instructions of the British Government. He was the director of the All Steel Aeroplane Company. He was one of the chief advisers of the British Government on aerial navigation. He went to Japan with a troop of aviators _ and British mechanics. So far as the Japanese have developed in regard to aeronautics, it has been under his direction. It has also been said - by either the Prime Minister or the honorable member for Wentworth - that we run a great danger from these ships; that the aeroplanes may fly over Sydney, and drop their bombs on that city ; that they can attack from a distance of probably 100 miles. If that time should arrive, the people of Sydney will remember the speech made by the honorable member for Wentworth. They will remember that these aeroplanes were constructed by mechanics, and that the Japanese aviators were instructed by aviators, sent to Japan by the British Government. When Japanese aeroplanes are dropping bombs on their homes, and killing their wives and families, they will remember that that was made possible by the British Government. If that is the position, it is our duty to conserve our forces in our own country, and to see that none go outside, but that all the art, the capacity, and the ingenuity of the Australians are drawn on for the defence of their own territory.
I come now to the question of trade generally. One of the objects of the Prime Minister’s visit to England is to deal -with the Imperial trade relations. He said that, if we desire an outlet for our products, it is imperative for us to have some kind of preference within the Empire, and, if possible, to find new markets. He has made a statement regarding the development, and the changes that have taken place, in trade in the last few years. His figures deal with the. position up to 1921. I shall give figures showing the changes that have taken place to the end of 1922. In 1921, our purchases from Great Britain amounted to about £76,000,000. Last year they dropped to £60,000,000. The development of markets by Great Britain has been on the American continent, and not in Australia. In 1922, the total purchases by Great Britain amounted to £1,000,000,000. From the Dominions she purchased goods valued at £180,000,000- roughly, 18 per cent, of the total. That was an increase of practically £80,000,000 compared with 1913. Her sales of British commodities to the Dominions amounted to £116,000,000 in 1913, and to £135,000,000 in 1922. Looked at from the Imperial point of view, while the purchases of Great Britain from the Dominions increased by £80,000,000, the sales of British products to the Dominions increased by only £19,000,000. The reason is obvious. It is largely because of the development of a protective policy. The fact that the Dominions are beginning to develop extensively their own products, and are manufacturing within their own boundaries furnishes a reason for their diminishing market for Imperial products. It is a question, not only of diminishing values, but also of diminishing tonnago from all parts of the world. If it is possible within the British Empire to build up more trade, to open up more markets, it should be done. If the Prime Minister procures larger markets for us in Great Britain, he will have performed a service to Australia. To be quite fair, I think he should take us into his confidence, and; if he has any opinion, tell us in what direction the development is likely to take place. He has mentioned dried fruits. A. little while ago, it was said that the development would be in regard to tinned meats. They have gone off the market now, and we have come back to dried fruits. Before the war we exported something like 6,000,000 tons of cargo. Last year, we exported 5,800,000 tons. Although it is not increasing as rapidly as it ought, the production of Australia is not diminishing. The increased production within Australia is being consumed largely by the increased population. The exports of commodities are less than they were nine years ago. In the year 1913, in return for the 6,000,000 tons we exported overseas, we received 4,400,000 tons of cargo. The cargo coming into this country is now about 2,400,000 tons per year.- For that 6,000,000 tons of cargo, in 1913 we received £79,000,000. Prices increased by 70 per cent., but the value of our importations increased by 140 per cent. Boiled down, the result is that, while in 1913 we got 73 tons of imports for every 100 tons we exported, to-day we are getting only about 50 tons of imports for every 100 tons that we export. In 1913, the 4,400,000 tons which we imported cost us £79,000,000. The cost, at present-day prices, would have been £190,000,000. That is to say, the products of England, or of any country, come to us to-day loaded with the cost of the last war, and with the cost of the preparations for the next war. The consuming power’ of the people has been diminishing as a result of the war. The Age the other day said -
The acute misery of the Old World sends an ominous message to Australia, and Australia must understand that its .trade will be with impoverished customers.
I think the Prime Minister said, in Sydney last April, that European markets have disappeared, and the purchasing power of all countries has been reduced. That reduction constitutes one of the problems -of modern times which cannot be altered by any preferential Tariff. The situation which is developing in Europe is affecting us. I- think it was Maxim Gorky who said of the Russian situation in 1917 - , .
Russia has a choice of two ways: Either it must give up its revolutionary propaganda and capitulate to the capitalists, or, on the other hand, it must submit to a policy of isolation among the nations of the world, go down into the abyss holding fast to its new principles and its ideals, and build on that foundation.
Whatever there may be of famine, hunger, destitution, or violence in Russia to-day, it is reflected in every country in Europe. Whatever may be the particular character of its Government, the situation in Russia at this particular hour demonstrates that, alone amongst the nations of Europe, that country is beginning to develop, and is reconstructing herself on new principles. She can do it because she is rid of the burden of the enormous weight of debt which all other nations are casting upon the producers of their countries. We are told that she is advancing throughout Asia. The other day the papers told us the menacing influence she was exerting in Japan. The honorable member for Wentworth has told us of the influence of Russian policy upon the Japanese population. The newspapers have told us in leading articles that unless the Japanese move quickly, while the embers of the old patriotism remain, the recent revolutionary spirit amongst the proletariat of the Japanese nation is going to make impossible an offensive policy by the Japanese. So that, whatever may be our notions regarding the fundamental doctrines, in so far as they permeate the Japanese race and destroy the patriotio policy and the policy of foreign aggression of the Government of Japan, they render to Australia a good and a valuable service. We need not discuss the question of the Ruhr. We can see what will be the outcome of that policy. Ger- many is the greatest consuming power in “Europe. She has been Britain’s greatest market in Europe. That market, for a variety of reasons, is disappearing. We are told that Germany is advancing towards chaos, not under a doctrine of Sovietism, but under the rule of Capitalistic Administrations, which are the dominant power to-day. But the Germans, too, are going down into the pit. Their industries are languishing, their markets are diminishing, and hunger stalks through their streets. The purchasing power of their people is reduced, so there is less demand for the coal and manufactures of Great Britain. As the mines and factories slow down, the great mass of the people of the United Kingdom are affected. Unemployment is expanding throughout England, and that in turn reacts upon Australia’s markets, and whatever virtue there may be in preferential trade, it cannot counterbalance the rapidly-declining purchasing power of the people df England. In order to be able to hold her place upon the markets of the world Britain has reduced the wages of her working classes during the last two years by £700,000,000. That means so much less consuming power in her own market, intense poverty, less production, and diminished markets for the products of the Dominions. Therefore, Australia will be driven, whether or not the Prime Minister likes - it, to find markets for her products in any part of the world where there is a demand for them. That is the situation created by the war. The Age of 10th February, 1923, said -
The men who framed the ‘alleged Peace Treaties have been equally astute in finding causes for violating them. The world’s only hope now is in the ordinary work-a-day men and women of Democracy. They should repudiate the colossal stupidity and ghastly tragedy of war.
We accept that advice and act upon it. Whilst we are ready to take all measures to insure the preparedness of this country against aggression we will not dissipate our energies or waste our substance by sending our men to all corners of the earth to fight. We shall seek to increase our primary production, and stimulate our secondary industries, so that amidst the world’s clash, we at least shall be able to live, if not as well as we should, at any rate, as well as we can in the circum- stances. It was Anatole France who said -
The capitalist peace was a mere organization of disorder, discord, and disunion. It gives a revival of ignorance, intolerance, and brutality.
Some honorable members have discussed the League of Nations, and we have been told that it embraces sixty-two nationalities. If those nations will put their theories into action they are capable of dominating the politics of the world. But we find the partners in the League engaged in pursuing their own discords, so that the clash of war is possible even amongst those who are combined to insure peace. The Age has said -
Only one thing can save Europe - that one thing is peace. Europe cannot get back her mental poise, her moral basis, her financial credit, until she has peace.
And how is Europe to get it ?
She cannot have peace until she destroys the vast mechanism of violence which has been created by ill-feeling, nurtured by greed, and expanded by violence.
The fact that the energies of men are devoted to the processes of war prevents nations from devoting themselves to the purposes of peace. To sum up, the attitude of the Labour party is that Australia shall not participate in foreign policy. That is sane and equitable on the basis that, as we do not seek to bind any other section of the Empire, we will not consent to be bound. We do not seek to impose on other nations our own policy when we claim immunity from their interference. It is a fundamental principle of the policy of Australia that we should have the right to say who shall enter this country, and upon what conditions they shall come. It is essential to our national existence that we shall be able to exclude such people as we consider undesirables; and if we deny the right of others to interfere with our policies, we have no right to interfere with theirs. So, too, with the policy of defence and trade. Develop trade if you can, but at least have some reason for what you do. It is our business to lay down a clear and definite line. Recognising the economic collapse of Europe, and the fact that the basis of Empires has been changed, our part is to live through the crisis as best we can. If the Prime Minister can contribute one iota towards the solution of that problem, he will serve his country well. But I agree with his statement in Adelaide that we are merely driftwood on the stream of the world’s events. We cannot help the people of other nations, but we can help ourselves by striving in the world’s crisis to build up our means of sustenance and selfmaintenance within our own boundaries, so that we may continue to live for that fundamental purpose of all government, which even the present Ministry of the Commonwealth must realize, namely, to rid the people of the enormous load of debt that oppresses them.
– The debate upon the agenda papers of the two Conferences has been of considerable length, and very many honorable members have expressed their views upon the subjects that are there listed for discussion. But I do not think I have ever before listened to a debate in which there was so much misconception of the real issues and of the circumstances that confront us. That misconception was indicated by the remark of the honorable member for Barton (Mr. F. McDonald) that the question for honorable members to decide was should we have peace or war. It was certainly on that question the debate developed. Honor able .members opposite have assumed the role of advocates of peace, and have tried to suggest that we on this side stand for war. That is a gross misrepresentation. We differ on many subjects, but every one of us desires peace; every one of us knows that the people of Australia share unanimously that desire, and we all hold that the greatest duty devolving upon any Government is the promotion of peace in every possible way. I assure honorable members of the Opposition that that is certainly this Government’s conception of its duty to the country; we are determined to try to promote peace, that being, in our opinion, the principal responsibility that has been placed upon us. It is, indeed, a duty we owe to humanity at large and to civilization; and self-preservation requires that we shall ourselves follow the path of peace. As the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) suggested, if peace is not to prevail in the world, and we cannot find some means of restoring - economic stability, European civilization must inevitably fall into chaos. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) expressed the belief’ that to seek for peace should be the paramount duty of the Imperial Conference. I agree without any hesitation that that will be the paramount duty, and most important task of the Conference. It is impossible to survey the field of foreign affairs and the relations between nations without realizing that the immediate restoration of the world’s peace is the greatest task that lies to the hands of the statesmen of all countries. The Imperial Conference, representing the whole of the British Empire, meet at a critical hour of the world’s history, and will have an opportunity to consider how the nations comprising the Empire can best promote universal peace. If I go to represent Australia at that Conference I shall endeavour to contribute something towards the cause of universal peace. I assure the Leader of the Opposition and those who sit with him that at the Conference I shall certainly champion the cause of the League of Nations, and urge that the fullest assistance be given to it by the whole British Empire. If there should be discovered any method by which peace can be promoted by action on the part of the Empire as a whole, I, on behalf of Australia, will urge that such action be taken. In the many references to the League of Nations during this debate the suggestion has been made that the members of the Government are lukewarm towards it. I wish to dissipate that idea. The Government believes in the League of Nations and is determined to do everything in its power to aid it. There is only one effective way in which Governments or individuals can assure the development of the League, and that is by making its aims and objects known to the people of all countries, and enlisting the support of the great Democracies of the world. In fairness to myself, I am entitled to remind some honorable members opposite who rather suggested that they had a monopoly of interest in the League of Nations, that since I attended the meeting of the Assembly of the League as Australia’s delegate two years ago, I have done everything in my power to promote its interests and make its objects known to the people of Australia. To that end I have addressed meetings in all parts of the Commonwealth. I should like at this stage to stress the fact that the British
Empire is to-day the bulwark of the League of Nations. The British Empire is giving the League whatever power it possesses to-day, and that power is very considerable indeed. Already the League has” done many good things; it has saved the world much suffering ; it prevented war in at least one instance, and probably in three. The League has done much, but its future depends absolutely on the co-operation of all the great nations of the earth. The three great nations which at present stand out of the League are America, Germany, and Russia. When Germany and Russia are in the League, and, above all, when America is in the League, this League, or another and a greater that rises from its ashes, will have power to assure the future safety and peace of the world. Until that time comes, the League cannot do all we hope and desire.
Let me now deal with the question of foreign affairs. We have listened to speech after speech suggesting that British foreign policy is designed solely for the promotion of war. The fact is, -of course, that Britain’s foreign policy has ever been designed to promote peace. Honorable gentlemen ‘ opposite have indignantly repudiated the idea that Australia should have any share in moulding the foreign policy of the Empire. They say that that is Britain’s affair, and that it is for Britain to see to it. The honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey), in almost his last words, declared against Australia’s participation “in foreign affairs. I think, however, that if he reflects upon the matter, he will regret he ever uttered that declaration. It was the most selfish political utterance that I have listened to. He said, in effect, “Let us sit down and prosper while the world falls into ruins; let us preserve ourselves and care naught for what happens to others.” That is not the spirit which ought to animate the National Parliament of what we claim to be the greatest ‘Democracy on the face of the globe.
I may be pardoned for expressing a little astonishment at the attitude of some honorable members, who, while claiming to have the greatest regard for their fellowmen wherever found, repudiate all interest in Empire foreign policy. They prattle about universal peace, but will take no hand in assisting to frame a policy to promote it. That is a thoroughly unworthy attitude for a great party to take up. There is no Power in the world today that has a greater force in international affairs than the British Empire. Honorable members opposite decline to have anything to do with the framing of the foreign policy of this great Power so that it may promote the well-being of the greatest number. Even if it were true that Britain’s policy is imperialistic and framed to lead to war, surely the weight of the opinion of this young Commonwealth would be a great restraining force? But Britain’s policy is not warlike. We have an opportunity now to share in the framing of a policy which is probably going to affect the happiness of generations still unborn in every nation on the face of the globe; and honorable members opposite decline to lend any aid whatever. That is not the part that I think Australia should play.
Honorable members opposite talk of defence as if they had no conception of the meaning of the word - as if it meant something in the nature of aggression. The scheme of defence which I have in mind is not a scheme of aggression. At the Conference which I hope to have the honour to attend as the representative of Australia, a survey of the whole of the. world’s circumstances will be made, and consideration given to the amount of defence necessary to protect us from the possible aggression of our neighbours. I give honorable members opposite my assurance that I am just as anxious as they are that this defence scheme shall be merely a defence scheme, embracing only the minimum requirements for the preservation of our own safety and our territorial integrity. When I opened the debate I invited honorable members to define what their view was of Australia’s position within the Empire. I have listened with the greatest attention to what has been said, and I have not yet heard one definition from members Opposite of what that position should be. They say that Australia has nothing to do with the affairs of the rest of the world; they have refrained from saying whether we can remain part of the Empire, and escape the obligations of the position. None of them addressed himself to that point. They simply stated that they will have nothing to do with foreign affairs or with Empire defence, and then heroically declared that they will “ defend Australia.” One honorable gentleman thrust out his chest, and said, “ You can go to Britain, and give Britain the assurance that we take responsibility for the defence of Australia.” No one has suggested how that defence is to be provided. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) told us Australia would defend herself. He dwelt on the tragedies of the war that occurred 12,000 miles away, and submitted that Australia had made a mistake in taking any part in it. He saw to it, however, that he himself took no part. On every possible occasion he has voted against adequate defence provision being made, yet he says that Australia will provide for her own defence. I know exactly what that means. It means that we need not train anybody, nor provide arms or ammunition - that the unfortunate survivors of the Australian Expeditionary Force, who saved us once, can be left to do it again. That is the sum total of what honorable members opposite have to say on the question. How can we defend Australia if we are unsupported and alone except in the way I suggested the other day, namely, by placing an intolerable burden on the people of Australia in order to pay for the necessary weapons and munitions of war. If we did that, it would inevitably strangle our future development for years to come. The only alternative to placing this burden on the shoulders of our own people is to insure our national safety in conjunction with others. I repeat what I said previously, that the best way to defend Australia is by retaining our partnership in the Empire and receiving assistance from Britain, as we have ever been able to do in the past. “We have to face the’ position, and recognise that that is the only way in which we can insure our own defence. It is utter nonsense for honorable members to make speeches which they know appeal to certain unfortunate persons who have not the opportunity to ascertain the facts. They declare that Australia can defend herself, that she is a great country; that the deeds of the Australian soldiers in the war are an in- dication of our capacity for our own defence. But those who talk in that way, almost without exception, played no part with the Australian Expeditionary Force. An honorable member has suggested that I am trying to throw too much of the burden of defence on Australia. I shall refer to my own words in a moment, but certainly I have never suggested throwing such a burden on Australia as is involved in the proposals of honorable members opposite. I say without hesitation that, if they came into power, they would not carry out the proposals they have made; but if they did the burden on Australia would be much heavier than any that this Government have suggested.
The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) said that the Government was proposing to contribute towards the defence of the Empire, and implied that I had in my mind some idea ‘of merely contributing to an Empire defence scheme. In fairness to myself I must read what I did say, and thus show that it was not as suggested by the honorable member. I said -
It is for the Imperial Conference to try’ and evolve an Empire defence scheme that will give reasonable protection to the whole of the Empire without casting an intolerable financial burden upon the different parts. In attempting to frame such a scheme the Conference will, of course, be faced with a very difficult task. We have to try to maintain unity of the whole and complete autonomy of the different parts. That is an extremely difficult task, but it is one which cannot be evaded, because Australia’s sentiment is certainly such that she demands that she shall have her own defence policy and her own naval unit. Australia to-day is determined that her defence shall be a purely Australian function, and she certainly would not accept the idea which some people put forward that the time has come when we should have a great central force for the defence of the whole of the British Empire, and that Australia’s contribution should be a monetary ohe.
It has also been suggested that I am proposing that Australia shall bear more than her fair share of the cost of defending the Empire in relation to the cost borne by other Dominions. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes) suggested that. He told us what he said to the other Dominions when he met them in Conference. “We know what ho said, because he had told us previously. X venture to say that on one occasion at least he expressed himself in a way that was not calculated to induce those Dominions to take the action that he desired. I stated my position in a perfectly clear way. I said that we paid more than the other Dominions towards the defence of the Empire, and I suggested that the whole problem of Empire defence would be very greatly simplified if the other Dominions would contribute on the same basis as Australia. I certainly hoped that the House would understand that I did not propose that Australia should do anything more than her fair share. Many things could be said about the attitude taken by honorable members opposite; I do not propose to discuss their comments at great length. It is regrettable that they should appear to take such different views on the subject of Imperial defence from those they took before the unfortunate split in their party occurred. I shall not elaborate that point. It was fully dealt with by another speaker. It would be well, however, if I made clear the position with regard to the defence of Australia. Honorable members opposite had a great deal to say about what they were prepared to do to defend Australia, so long as it was local defence. There appeared to be no limit to what they would do then. The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) went to the length of chiding the present Government and the late Government for neglecting their duty in regard to the defence of Australia. He said that we had no guns in Australia that would be able to prevent a modern battle-ship from attacking our capital cities.
– I merely exposed your hypocrisy.
– I invite the honorable gentleman- to help the Government to remedy this position which is causing him so muc”H alarm. He can do it when the defence estimates are before the House. I have made clear the stand I. intend to take. I shall advocate at the Conference that Australia shall participate in such a scheme of defence- as the present world’s circumstances make necessary to maintain her independence and territorial integrity. I believe that in taking such an attitude I shall be correctly interpreting the general opinion of the people of Australia. On the question of foreign policy, I emphasize what I have already said. It would be cowardly for us to refuse to help in formulating the foreign policy of the greatest Empire in the world’s history - the Empire which has the greatest influence in world affairs. . I believe it to be our duty to do all we can to insure that the policy of that Empire shall be such as will permit a continuance of the world’s peace and promote its welfare. The most important matters of foreign policy that will come before the Conference relate to the occupation of the Ruhr and to the reparations to be paid by Germany. The view I take, personally, is that until the question of reparations is solved it will be impossible to restore the world’s economic system. I am certain that if the French occupation of the Ruhr continues, another Alsace-Lorraine will be established in Europe. That would be one of the greatest tragedies we could contemplate. Great Britain has already taken a stand on these matters. Its policy was announced by Mr. Baldwin, the Prime Minister of Britain, in theHouse of Commons about a fortnight ago. A report of his speech appeared in the daily press. I do not propose to read it all, but I advise honorable members to look it up for themselves. I shall draw attention to two paragraphs. Mr. Baldwin said -
We are as determined as any of our Allies that Germany should make reparations to her full capacity. We have never wavered on that point. As the Government of a business nation, we are conscious that if we asked Germany to pay in excess of her capacity suchmethods would result in the ruin of Germany, and be fatal to this country and to the wholeof Europe. The Allies are obtaining less reparations now than they did before the occupation of the Buhr, and these have to be exacted at the price of the growing dislocation of the German economic system, and, as seems probable, the future collapse of that system itself.
Later on he referred to the conversations which the Allies have’ had with Germany, and he said -
Peace could not be secured until three questions had been settled - firstly, the payment of reparations; secondly, the settlement of interAllied debts; and, thirdly, the security of a pacified Europe.
Britain, and the Empire as a whole, are anxious for a solution of these three questions. If the reparations problem can be settled on a satisfactory basis, it will result in the withdrawal of France from the Ruhr, because she occupies the
Ruhr Valley only with the object of securing the reparations due to her under the Versailles Treaty. I believe I shall be correctly interpreting the opinion of Australia if I say at the Conference that we are determined that Germany shall pay whatever may be the just reparations which she is able to pay, without doing greater damage to the nations that are trying to secure them than she does to herself. Exaggerated views of this question have been expressed. It has been said that very much greater disaster is being caused to other nations than is being caused to Germany. But we are determined that she must pay just reparations. The view of Australia, generally, I believe, is that Germany should pay such an amount as she can pay without adversely affecting the general economic position of the other nations of the world. The honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) announced a certain view on this matter last night. I remind him that one of the factors which he took for granted is still the subject of great controversy. It should be remembered that the basis of reparations was included in the Peace Treaty, and that Treaty was signed by all the Allied nations, including the great Republic of America. A good deal can be said on both sides of this question, but I certainly think we cannot, at this stage, take up the attitude that was supported by the honorable member for Kooyong, I believe the whole problem of reparations is gradually and steadily coming to the point where an arrangement will have to be made on a definite basis. Probably in the course of the settlement something like the position suggested by the honorable member may be reached, but it will not be reached by the route which ,the honorable member contemplated last night.
I do not propose to say exactly what attitude the Australian Government will take on other questions of foreign policy. There are many reasons why such a course would be extremely undesirable and ill-advised. There are many countries within the Empire. If the Prime Minister of each Dominion announced in advance his views on matters that have to come before the Conference, notwithstanding the fact that the machinery by which we obtain our information is inadequate, we should reach an extraordinary position. It would be a miracle if in the circumstances we reached unanimity; and a calamity if we did not. The Prime Ministers of the various Dominions have to meet in London. Full information will then be placed before them, and the policy to be followed will be determined upon it. I point out to honorable members opposite that this procedure is not that mysterious and delightful thing which they are so fond of describing as secret diplomacy. We are partners in the Empire, and, as partners, we should come together to hear and discuss each other’s views before binding ourselves definitely to certain courses of action. For that reason I do not propose, at this stage, to deal in detail with, or attempt to define, Australia’s attitude on various matters that will come before us. It has been said that this Government desires to break what have been called the silken ties of Empire and to substitute for them the iron band of imperialism. The Government do not propose to interfere with our present imperial, ties. We wish to go on exactly as we have been going. While we do not propose to do the revolutionary things that have been suggested, we do believe that a better system of obtaining information on foreign affairs is desirable. It would be better for all concerned if we could establish an improved method of acquiring information, and carrying on consultations on matters of foreign policy. That actually is the opinion of honorable members opposite. They have laid more stress on what occurred last year with respect to the Near East situation than on anything else they have mentioned. Yet’ I have been attacked for proposing to do something to “avoid in the future anything of a like nature. The attitude adopted by honorable members opposite is hopelessly illogical, and quite impossible. They suggest we are going to do something revolutionary. The right honorable .member for North Sydney, on the other hand, told us that everything we are proposing to do has already been done. I shall not traverse at great length the remarks of the right honorable gentleman, but I must admit that I was a little surprised that he said what he did, and then announced that he was in entire agreement with the Government on the three main questions at issue. He agreed -with the Government on the necessity for consultation on foreign affairs; he agreed on the necessity for participation in an imperial defence scheme; and he also agreed that it was desirable to endeavour to arrive at a reciprocal trade agreement with Great Britain. After agreeing that all are desirable the right honorable gentleman said that the first two matters have been settled and the third could not be arrived at. That is not exactly an encouraging way of presenting the position. I cannot quite agree with the right honorable gentleman that everything has been settled with regard to the first two matters, and it seems to me that the evidence is all on my side. The first thing, we are attempting to do is to improve the basis of communication between the Dominions and Great Britain in re,gard to foreign affairs. I do not think that that problem can have been quite successfully solved in view of the episode in connexion with Turkey last year. The right honorable gentleman said that there is nothing to do in the matter of Empire defence, because an Empire defence policy was framed in 1921. If it was framed, then I regret, as the present Prime Minister, that I have not yet seen it. The last Imperial Conference was held on the eve of the Washington Conference, and any policy then laid down would depend on the results of that Conference. Therefore, I do not think that the problem can have been settled quite so. completely as the right honorable gentleman suggested.
With regard to Empire trade relations he said that nothing could be done. It is quite possible that he is right, but the matter is so vital to Australia that I think the right honorable gentleman might have given us a little more encouragement, and might have suggested something which could be done. There is one matter in connexion with which I think he was wrong. He said that I have threatened Great Britain. I have never done anything of the sort. I have done what I believe it is the imperative duty of every one interested in the Empire and its future welfare to do, and that is to put all the cards on the table and say to Great Britain, “ That is what we are faced with, and we must do something. Can you give us a hand in solving the problem ? “ That is all I have done or propose to do. I shall . not attempt to dictate how the problem is to be solved. We should be delighted if Great Britain gave us preference, but that is for Great Britain to determine. We should also be very pleased to discuss with Great Britain the question of shipping subsidies in order that our produce may be landed in British markets on fair terms with the produce from other countries nearer to those markets. There are many ways in which the question of interEmpire trade might be dealt with, but I have never, at any time, threatened Great Britain, and do not propose to do so. I propose to do no more than put the facts before Great Britain and ask whether she is prepared to discuss them with us, to see if we can find some way to solve a problem in which the interests of both Great Britain and Australia are vitally concerned. I do not at this stage propose to traverse the very admirable speech, from his point of view, pf the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann), as I shall probably, during the whole of the next six months, be dealing with the points he has raised. The right honorable member for “North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes) went so far as to say that Australia would never tolerate preference being given to other countries. I cannot quite accept that view. Australia is, I believe, determined to do everything she can to bring about a trade alliance with Great Britain, but I believe that no one governing this country, who, in the future, might be faced with an ever-increasing production for which a market must be found, would hesitate to take advantage of a favorable opportunity to trade with other countries if Great Britain were not taking enough of our products. To say that any Prime Minister, who suggested such a thing, would not remain long in his position, seems’ to me very much like Imperialism run mad. It was also stated that there is no other country with which we could enter into trade relations with advantage to ourselves. In answer to that I may say that the Government, during the last few years, has been very active in endeavouring to secure certain concessions from both France and Italy. Evidence can be brought to show that great benefits might be secured to Australia under reciprocal trade agreements with other countries. There is in my view, therefore, no justification for the statement to which I have referred. There has been some reference to a great migration scheme under which £100,000,000 should be spent in Australia. That is a proposal which it is suggested we should put to the British Government. I am certain that the British Government is prepared to assist Australia financially in a great migrationand development scheme of mutual benefit. But before the Government can launch out into a scheme of that character it must be satisfied that it will really be of advantage to Australia and will promote the development of the country. That question is entirely open, and the Government is at this moment examining various propositions put forward to see if they can be submitted for discussion with the Imperial Government, which is only too ready and willing to enter into a mutually satisfactory arrangement of this character.
These are the only points with which I think it necessary to deal at this stage, but I appeal to the House to recognise the importance and significance of these Conferences. The commercial, financial, and general position of the world at the present time is extremely difficult, and the future is clouded with doubt. It is imperative for Australia’s development that we should have more people in this country, and should take advantage of the great opportunity now afforded us to increase the number of our population. The Government suggests that one way in which we can take action is on the lines of reciprocal trade relations with Great Britain, and the adoption of migration and developmental schemes. All these questions will be discussed at the Conferences.
I wish, in conclusion, ‘to remind the House of the great issues involved in the Imperial Conference. We have to consider the great question of Empire foreign policy, and in regard to that I propose on behalf of Australia to say that we believe it to be our duty and our right to take our fair share in framing and developing an Empire policy which we hope will be of material advantage to Australia in the future. On the question of defence, I propose to point out that we believe in and will ever strive for peace. But, in so far as the condition of the world makes it necessary, we are agreed that the Empire should have a certain measure of defence, and in that defence we are prepared to take our share on a fair and reasonable basis. All these questions must be discussed at the Conference. . I will attend it only to represent Australia and to put forward Australia’s views on these matters. It will be my duty after the Conference to return here and report to this House what has taken place, and it will be for the House then to consider what action it is prepared to take in regard to the matters discussed at the Conference. I want honorable members to understand that I realize very clearly that I am going to the Conference as Australia’s representative, and I have to express there what I believe are the views of the majority of the people of this country. As soon as I return to Australia, or very soon after, it is proposed by the Government that Parliament shall be called together, and the decisions arrived at by the Conferences will then be submitted to it for its consideration and approval.
Question resolved in. the affirmative.
Message, recommending appropriation, reported.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
Additions, NewWorks, Buildings, &c.
In Committee of Supply:
.- It is true that there is no vote proposed in these Estimates in the Prime Minister’s Department for the Williamstown Shipbuilding Yard - Pumping Plant. I take this opportunity, however, to thank the Prime Minister for placing a ship on the Williamstown Dock for the purpose of finding employment for artisans unemployed in Melbourne. Although this shipbuilding yard has been sold - much against our wish - I hope that when this work is completed other work will follow on behalf of the Commonwealth. “We have very many ships that require attention. A number of them, I understand, are to be sold; but you cannot sell an article, unless it is in a fair state of repair. I trust that a proportion of this work will be given to the workmen of Melbourne at the Williamstown Shipbuilding Yards.
Home and Territories.
Proposed Vote, £39,270. ‘
.- Is it a fair thing to enter on a consideration of these matters to-night? . We have had a discussion on the Imperial and Economic Conferences, and I do not think that honorable members are prepared now to discuss these details. I want to scan these items very carefully. I did not anticipate that they would be brought forward to-night. A very big expenditure is involved. I protest against the action of the Government, and I shall not take any part in the debate.
– The intention of the Government is to deal to-night simply with “Additions, “New Works, Buildings, &c.” It is necessary that these Estimates should be dealt with to enable us to proceed with those works which are necessary in order that employment may be provided at the earliest possible moment. There . is nothing new in what is proposed, and I trust the Committee will agree to pass these Estimates to-night.
.- If these Estimates cover only absolute commitments in the ordinary way, I have no objection; but if they cover expenditure that we have not had an opportunity to debate, I protest very’ strongly.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Proposed vote, £371,108.
.- The Minister might give us some information regarding his intentions in relation to the rifle clubs of Australia. A sum of £1,500 is being provided for the construction of miniature rifle ranges. Is the policy, of the Department going to be what it was under the late Minister (Mr. Massy Greene), who gave the House an assurance that the rifle clubs of Australia were to be well looked after? We can have no better form of training than is provided by the rifle clubs. I hope the Minister will assure us that, under his administration, the policy of the Department is to be one of friendship towards the rifle clubs. It provides a splendid training for defence, and deserves the greatest encouragement. What appeals to me more than anything else is the fact that the people in the country take very kindly to the formation of rifle clubs, which are a source of great pleasure to them. We are building up a large contingent of first-class sharpshooters, who may later be invaluable to Australia.
.- The honorable member can rest assured that I shall give every encouragement to the rifle clubs. As an old rifle club man, I wish to do all I. can to assist them. In the main Estimates the same amount is provided as was provided last year. The expenditure on the formation and maintenance of rifle ranges comes out of the rifle club main vote; it is taken out of revenue and not out of the vote provided for new works. This vote is an additional, assistance to the rifle clubs.
.- Prior to the introduction of these Estimates the Prime Minister chided honorable members of this House with not being in favour of any provision for the defence of Australia. I and other honorable members on this side pointed out that we were prepared to make provision for the defence of Australia in certain directions. We thought that it was necessary to provide, first of all, an aerial service and submarines. The Government evidently take a different view because, in connexion with the aerial service - which is the most important wing of defence - a smaller amount is being provided this year than was expended last year. Authorities who were quoted in the debate which has just concluded showed conclusively that it will be necessary to look to this particular branch for the defence of Australia and certain other countries. Whilst last year an expenditure of £30,268 was incurred in connexion with the Royal Australian Air Force, it is proposed to spend this year only £7,100. The civil aviation branch serves a double purpose. It gives assistance to people who have settled in remote country districts by supplying them within a reasonable time with their mails and parcels. In time of war it could be utilized as part of the defence wing. Yet on that branch it is proposed to spend only £9,700 in connexion with new works and buildings. Greater preparations are being made in connexion with the military branch than in either of the other branches. I submit that we are putting the cart before the horse. The Prime Minister said about ten minutes ago that he desired to prepare for the defence of Australia. He should, therefore, realize that the military branch is no longer the first arm of defence. Any Parliament or any Government which believes that the first arm of the future defence of Australia is the military, is making a grievous mistake. If the money of this country is to be expended on preparations for defence, the time has arrived for us to take into consideration the particular arm of defence that is to be developed. As usual we are following the beaten track by providing chiefly for the military side of defence. We do that because it is recommended by those people who are in control of the different Departments. The Minister accepts their advice in regard to everything. We had an instance of that in connexion with the Air Defence Bill. Because certain advice was tendered, a Bill was brought down embodying the provisions of the Imperial Act. The time has arrived for us to make proper inquiry into the changed conditions that have arisen since the war, and to decide whether we shall continue to spend huge sums of money in making the military the chief branch. We shall probably be asked to consent to the expenditure of large sums of money on the military branch. If we were alive to the situation that confronts us we would see that that money was spent on other branches. It is evident that the Prime Minister, and others who think with him, have not given the matter very much consideration. In the preparation of these Estimates, Ministers have been guided entirely by the officers. The military affairs of this country are controlled, not by the Government, but by officials holding high and responsible positions in the Defence Department. It is to their advantage to en- large their functions, and they do it. In the Defence Estimates, there is evidence of unnecessary expenditure. The last Parliament decided that some reductions in expenditure should be made; but a change has taken place, and we now hear the Minister for Defence and others advocating that certain institutions, notably the Colleges at Duntroon and Jervis Bay, should be continued.
– They are ‘more scandalous to-day than ever they were.
– The expenditure upon them .cannot be justified; yet the Minister urges that it should continue. Why? Because the men who control the Defence Department are controlling the Government, as they did prior to and during the war. Ministers cannot be made to realize it; they seem to be like putty in the hands of the officers. Everybody knows that the military officials controlled the Commonwealth during the war, and they will continue to do so if Parliament will permit. I make this brief protest now, so that the Government may know what to expect during the passage of the ordinary Estimates.
– The Government are quite alive to the necessity for expenditure upon the Air Services. Last year the Commonwealth expended £75,989; and this year we are proposing to expend £123,500. In regard to civil aviation, the expenditure’ last year was £21,089; and this year the estimate is £36,700. Included in that total are the following amounts : - Charleville - Cloncurry route, £3,000; Adelaide-Sydney route, £2,000; and Sydney-Brisbane route, £1,500.
.- I am not satisfied with the amounts placed on these Estimates for aviation purposes. At the close of the war, Great Britain presented to Australia 100 aeroplanes, in addition to twenty-eight machines to replace those which had been donated by patriotic individuals and bodies in Australia during the war. .Those machines were accompanied by the necessary replacements and equipment, but no provision was made for their storage. For a time they were scattered in and around Melbourne. At last they had to be removed, and the only storage accommoda- tion that’ could be found for themwas the old wheat-sheds at Spotswood. That was certainly not fit storage for such valuable material ; yet the machines have remained there for at least two years. The presentGovernment spent £150 in repairing the roof ofthe sheds. When I visited Spotswood a few weeks ago,it was possible for one standing in the sheds to see the blue sky through the roof, and when itrains, men are constantly employed in moving the machines from one place to another in order to protect them from the water that leaks through. The preceding Government were well aware of this condition of things, and money to provide storage was placed upon the Estimates, but it was not expended. If the equipment has not deteriorated as a result of this neglect, it is due wholly to the care shown by members of the Air Force. Upon them has been thrown the responsibility which properly belongs to the Government. One reason for the nonexpenditure of the money voted on previous occasions was that the Estimates came so late before the House. This year the Estimates are before us at an unusually early period of the year, and I hope that when the money is voted for the Air Force the works will be pat in hand without delay.
– Contracts are already in hand, and the proposed votes are for the purpose of continuing them.
– I am not blaming the present Government. At Point Cook the majority of the machines used for training purposes are housed in canvas hangars, sent out as part of tha gift equipment and intended only for war purposes. These hangars have been so painted and patched that they will not stand removal,’ and if war broke out today not ‘ one hangar could be used on active service. That is not the way in which to treat valuable equipment. I hope thai the Government . will realize this, and when money is voted by Parliament, will see that it is expended. During the financial year 1920-21 the appropriation for theRoyal Air Force was £500,000 and the expenditure £135,195. For the Civil Aviation Branch £100,000 was appropriated and only £4,733 was expended. There was some explanation for tha failure to expend the money in the fact that the Air Force came into being very late in the financial year. But in the. financial year 1921-22, of £382,551 appropriated for the Royal Air Force, only £246,479 waa expended; and of £71,988 appropriated for the Civil Aviation Branch only £36,905 was expended. In other words, of a total appropriation of £400,000, only £282,384 was expended. In the year 1922-23, the appropriation forthe Royal Air Force was £250,000, and the expenditure £188,955. For the Civil Aviation Branch, £159,427 was appropriated and £78,590 spent. Of a total appropriation of £409,427, only £267,545 was expended. The men stationed at Point Cook have not been given decent housing accommodation. The majority of the single men are accomod ated in what are termed war huts, which are mainly constructed of corrugated iron; and when & door is opened in winter the air is blue with the language used by the inmates in protesting against the cold. Many men are unable to obtain accommodation in the vicinity of Point Cook, and are compelled to return to Melbourne at night, and. leave early on the following morning to attend to their duties. Conditions such as these are not calculated to build up the morale of the Air Force. In that force, and in the Civil Aviation. Branch, are young men of whom the country should be proud. They are giving of their best to build up this service, and the Commonwealth is doing little or nothing for them.
– How long has this state of affairs lasted?
– Ever since the Air Force was organized. Neither the men nor the machines are being properly looked after. It is not the wish of this Parliament that such conditions should continue, and, if insufficient money has been placed on the Estimates to carry out necessary works; let the Government bring’ down Supplementary Estimates, and. I am satisfied that Parliament will agree to them.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Proposed vote, £21,022, agreed to.
Proposed vote, £220,000.
– I notice that £2 was expended last year on the Prospect Telephone Exchange. I should like to know from the Minister for Works and Railways, or the PostmasterGeneral, what work was done for that expenditure ?
.- -The defects of the telephone system in the Prospect district are recognised, and £72,000 is to be expended on a new telephone exchange, of which £20,000 will be spent during the current financial year.
Proposed “vote agreed to.
Proposed vote, £30,121, agreed to.
That there be granted to Hie Majesty to the service of the year 1923-24, for the pur- poses of Additions, New Works, Buildings, &c., a sum not exceeding £681,521.
Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.
Resolution of Ways and Means, covering resolution of Supply, reported and adopted.
That Dr. Earle Page and Mr. Groom do prepare and bring in a Bill tocarry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Dr. Earle Page, and passed through all its stages without amendment or debate.
House adjourned at 10.33 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 August 1923, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1923/19230801_reps_9_104/>.