12th Parliament · 1st Session
The House met at 10.30 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that the Deputies of the Governor-General for the opening of the Parliament requested the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Honorable members attended accordingly, and, having returned,
The Deputy authorized by the GovernorGeneral to administer the oath entered the chamber.
The Clbbk read the commission, under the Great Seal of the Commonwealth, authorizing the Eight Honorable Sir Isaac Isaacs, P.O., K.O.M.G., a Justice of the High Court of Australia, to administer the oath, or affirmation, pf allegiance to the King required by the Constitution to be taken or made by members of the House of Representatives
The Clbbk announced that he had received from the Military Secretary to the Governor-General returns to the 76 writs for the election of members of the House of Representatives, held on the 12th October, 1929.
The following members made and subscribed the oath of allegiance: -
Anstey, Hon. Frank, Bourke, Victoria.
Bayley, James Garfield, Esquire, Oxley, Queensland.
Beasley, Hon. John Albert, West Sydney, New South Wales.
Bell, George John, Esquire, O.M.G., D.S.O., V.D., Darwin, Tasmania.
Blakeley, Hon. Arthur, Darling, New South Wales.
Brennan, Hon. Frank, Batman, Victoria.
Cameron, Donald Charles, Esquire, C.M.G., D.S.O.,.V.D., Brisbane, Queensland.
Cameron, Malcolm Duncan, Esquire, Barker, South Australia.
Chifley, Joseph Benedict, Esquire, Macquarie, New South Wales.
Coleman, Percy Edmund, Esquire, Reid, New South Wales.
Corser, Bernard Henry, Esquire, Wide Bay, Queensland.
Crouch, Hon. Richard Armstrong, Corangamite, Victoria.
Culley, Charles Ernest, Esquire, Denison, Tasmania.
Cunningham, Lucien Lawrence, Esquire, Gwydir, New South Wales.
Curtin, John, Esquire, Fremantle, Western Australia.
Cusack, John Joseph, Esquire, EdenMonaro, New South Wales.
Eldridge, John Chambers, Esquire, Martin, New South Wales.
Fenton, Hon. James Edward, Maribyrnong, Victoria.
Forde, Hon. Francis Michael, Capricornia, Queensland.
Francis, Josiah, Esquire, Moreton, Queensland.
Gabb, Joel Moses, Esquire, Angas. South Australia.
Gardner, Sydney Lane, Esquire, Robertson, New South Wales.
Gibbons, George Albert, Esquire, Calare, New South Wales.
Green, Hon. Albert Ernest, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
Green, Roland- Frederick Herbert, Esquire, Richmond, New South Wales.
Gregory, Hon. Henry, Swan, Western Australia.
Gullett, Hon. Henry Somer, Henty, Victoria.
Guy, Hon. James Allan, Bass, Tasmania.
Hawker, Charles Allan Seymour. Esquire, Wakefield, South Australia.
Hill, Hon. William Caldwell, Echuca, Victoria.
Holloway, Edward James, Esquire, Flinders, Victoria.
Hunter, James Aitchison Johnston, Esquire, Maranoa, Queensland.
James, Rowland, Esquire, Hunter, New South Wales.
Jones, Paul, Esquire, Indi, Victoria.
Keane, Richard Valentine, Esquire, Bendigo, Victoria.
Lacey, Andrew William, Esquire, Grey, South Australia.
Latham, Hon. John Greig, C.M.G.,. K.C., Kooyong, Victoria.
Lazzarini, Hubert Peter, Esquire, Werriwa, New South Wales.
Lewis, Arthur, Esquire, Corio, Victoria.
Long, William John, Esquire, Lang, New South Wales.
Lyons, Hon. Joseph Aloysius, Wilmot. Tasmania.
Mackay, George Hugh, Esquire, Lilley, Queensland.
Makin, Norman John Oswald, Esquire. Hindmarsh, South Australia.
Maloney, William Robert Nuttall. Esquire, Melbourne, Victoria.
Marks, Walter Moffitt, Esquire, Wen 1worth. New South Wales.
Martens, George William, Esquire, Herbert, Queensland.
Mathews, James, Esquire, Melbourne Ports, Victoria.
Maxwell, George Arnot, Esquire, K.C., Fawkner, Victoria.
McGrath, David Charles, Esquire, Ballarat, Victoria.
McNeill, John, Esquire, Wannon, Victoria.
McTiernan, Hon. Edward Aloysius, Parkes, New South Wales.
Moloney, Hon. Parker John, Hume, New South Wales.
Morgan, Arthur Clinton, Esquire, Darling Downs, Queensland.
Nairn, Walter Maxwell, Esquire, Perth. Western Australia.
Nelson, Harold George, Esquire, Northern Territory.
Page, Et. Hon. Earle Christmas Grafton, P.O., Cowper, New South Wales.
Parkhill, Robert Archdale, Esquire, Warringah, New South Wales.
Paterson, Hon. Thomas, Gippsland, Victoria.
Price, John Lloyd, Esquire, Boothby, South Australia.
Prowse, John Henry, Esquire, Forrest, Western Australia.
Riley, Edward, Esquire, South Sydney, New South Wales.
Riley. Edward Charles, Esquire, Cook, New South Wales.
Riordan, David, Esquire, Kennedy, Queensland.
Rowe, Albert Edward, Esquire, Parramatta, New South Wales.
Scullin, Hon. James Henry, Yarra, Victoria.
Stewart, Hon. Percy Gerald, Wimmera, Victoria.
Theodore, Hon. Edward Granville, Dalley, New South Wales.
Thompson, Victor Charles, Esquire, New England, New South Wales.
Tully, James Thomas, Esquire, Barton, New South Wales.
Watkins, Hon. David, Newcastle, New South Wales.
West, John . Edward, Esquire, East Sydney, New South Wales.
Yates, George Edwin, Esquire, Adelaide, South Australia. .
The Deputy retired.
– I have much pleasure in moving
That the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) do take the Chair of the House as Speaker.
I have known the honorable member during the ten years for which he has been a member of this Parliament. The more he is known the better he is liked. I have had the honour to sit under four Speakers, the late Honorable Charles McDonald, the Honorable Sir Elliot Johnson, the Et. Honorable W. A. Watt and the Honorable Sir Littleton Groom. Each of these gentlemen occupied the Chair with dignity and success, and it will be a difficult task to follow in their footsteps. But I have no hesitation in declaring that Mr. Makin will uphold the best traditions of the office. He is n straightforward, honorable and upright man, and he has already filled many positions in the Commonwealth Parliament.. He has sat as a member of various committees of this House, and one can not but admire his steady adherence to duty and his constant devotion to the business which engaged his attention. He has acted as Secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party with great credit to himself, and most acceptably to his colleagues. During the last seven years he has been a temporary Chairman of Committees, and on the many occasions on which he has presided in that capacity he has displayed full qualification for the duties of the office to which it is now proposed to elect him. He has represented the division of Hindmarsh in South Australia for the last ten years. At the recent election he was returned unopposed, and to be unopposed is a very great compliment to any man. When the seat has been contested he has been returned by a large majority, which shows that his constituents have the fullest confidence in him. He having so worthily represented his constituents in the Hindmarsh division, and having so satisfactorily discharged the other duties that have fallen to him as a member of the Parliament, I have no doubt that he will make a worthy successor to the gentlemen who have preceded him in the chair of this House.
.- I second the motion. Every member who has any knowledge of Mr. Makin and of his Parliamentary services will, I am sure, agree with me that he is well fitted to occupy the office towhich it is proposed to elect him. He has a strong judicial sense and a wide knowledge of parliamentary procedure. We have all admired the diligence with which he has devoted himself to his work, and I am confident that if elected to this office he will fill it with credit to himself and in accord with the highest traditions of the Parliament, irrespective of party considerations.
.- I support the motion. It is a compliment to South Australia that yet another representative for that State should be proposed to fill the high office of Mr. Speaker. The first Speaker of this Chamber was a South Australian and two representatives from that State have had the honour of filling the presidential chair in the Senate. If the motion is agreed to I have no doubt that Mr. Makin will justify the confidence reposed in him, and that he will uphold the best traditions of the Parliament.
My principal reason for rising to speak at this juncture, however, is to say that, in my opinion, the time has gone by when the Speaker of this chamber should be chosen in this fashion. The remarks that I shall make on this subject are not spontaneous. They are the result of careful consideration over a long period of years. I believe that the presiding officers of the various Houses of Parliament in Australia should be paid officials and not some one who has been elected to represent a constituency. I held these views long before I had any aspirations to parliamentary honours or any hopes of ever being a legislator. Many years ago I tabled a motion at a conference of the South Australian Labour party to the effect that the Speaker of the House of Assembly in that State should be a paid official of the House. I believe that the Speaker of. this chamber should also be an official and not a member. I am fortified in this opinion by the recent occurrences in connexion with the Speakership of the House of Representatives.
– The honorable member would want to reduce the salary.
– That is beside the point at the moment. It is an anomaly that the Speakership of this chamber should be a party political plum. That has been the case in the past, and the best man for the position has not always been elected to it. Reference has been made by the previous speakers to the admirable manner in which the honorable member for Hindmarsh has represented his district in this Parliament. If he becomes the Speaker of the House, his knowledge and ability as a representative will, to a large extent, be lost to his constituents. The work he will be able to do in that regard will be negligible. If this occurs, he may meet with the same fate as Sir Littleton Groom, who, because be would not follow the dictates of the previous Government and vote for it, is now, to put it colloquially, “ on the outer “. That, I suggest, is a serious anomaly. The Speaker of this chamber should be free from party ties or political influence. I can recollect quite well occasions when the Speaker of this House was called in to vote to save the Government. That is not as it should be. The Labour party is a party of reform. Consequently I feel that this is an appropriate occasion to refer to this subject. I suggest - and I maintain that the suggestion is reasonable - that the Speaker of the House of Assembly in each of the States should be the State Governor, and that the Speaker of the House of Representatives should be the Governor-General of Australia. I look forward to the time when we shall dispense with many old customs, and get thoroughly up to date in making practical use of the occupants of such positions. I make this suggestion in the hope that before long it will bear fruit. I repeat my appreciation of the selection of the nominee for the Speakership, and have no doubt that he will more than justify the confidence about to be reposed in him.
Dr. EARLE PAGE (Cowper) [11.16). - I have no intention at this stage of entering into a debate on the subject raised by the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Yates) excepting to say that, in my opinion, it is proper that the elected representatives of the people should themselves elect the officer who is to preside over them. Nor have I, as a member of the Country party or of the Opposition, any intention to nominate another candidate for the office of Speaker. * I recognize that the custom has always been for the most numerous party in the House to nominate the Speaker. Previous Speakers, irrespective of the party to which they belonged, have carried out their duties impartially.
But the present seems the most appropriate time to raise a matter affecting the privileges of members and parties in this building. During the past few weeks, owing to the defeat of the last Speaker (Hon. Sir Littleton Groom), we have been without a Speaker. The result has been that, instead of the status quo having been observed, other arrangements have been made regarding the disposition of the rooms in this building. Unless some permanent basis for the allocation of rooms is arrived at we may, in the future, find that rooms have been so allotted as to cause personal friction - a situation which would be most unfortunate. When I brought this matter under the notice of the Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin) he met me with exceptional courtesy, and he has since done his utmost to provide suitable and permanent accommodation in the building for the Country party. Almost since the beginning of Federation there have been three parties in this Parliament, and suitable accommodation has been provided for each of them. Invariably the greatest courtesy has been extended towards the members of all parties, thus enabling them to carry out their official duties in the most effective manner. I should like to secure from the new Speaker an assurance that the custom of the past will be followed in the future, and that ample provision will be made in this building for the Country party, which I have the honour to lead. I recognize the difficulty that has now been caused by the planning of this building. Hitherto the room occupied -by the Country party has been one facing the same balcony as the adjoining room occupied by Government members. That was a satisfactory arrangement when the members of the two parties occupying those rooms supported the same Government.
The difficulty, however, is not insurmountable ; it should not be impossible to devise some means of overcoming it.
– Some provision had to be made for the overflow of the Labour party.
– I hope that it will be possible to make arrangements satisfactory to both the Country party and the overflow of Government members.
.- I desire to thank the mover and seconder of the motion nominating me as the Speaker of this House, and I humbly submit myself to the House.
Members of the House then unanimously calling Mr. Makin to the Chair, he was taken out of his place by Mr. E. Riley and Mr. Curtin and conducted to the Chair.
Then Mr. SPEAKER ELECT, standing on the upper step, said - I am deeply sensible of the great honour which honorable members have conferred upon me. I shall endeavour in all ways possible to uphold the high traditions of the office of Speaker, and to act with strict impartiality. It will be my constant aim to emulate the worthy example of those who have preceded me in this high and distinguished position. I am profoundly grateful to the House for the confidence and good-will that it has shown me.
– I regard it as a great privilege, Mr. Speaker, to have the honour of congratulating you on your election to the high and honorable office to which the members of this House have unanimously called you. Permit me to say that you have won that high distinction by your own individual worth. You have been appointed to a position which you have earned during many years of devoted attention to duty and by your unfailing courtesy towards every member of this Parliament, as well as by an earnestness, sincerity and outstanding ability that marks you as a man worthy to occupy the high position you now hold. I congratulate you, a comparatively young man, on having attained the high office of presiding officer of the national parliament of Australia, and I trust that you will have a long and successful career as Speaker of this House. In the name of the Government I offer you all the support that you may require in the impartial administration of your responsible duties.
.- On behalf of the Opposition I desire to add my congratulations to those so felicitously expressed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin). I congratulate you on your election to the Chair without a dissentient voice. As Speaker it will be your duty to guard the privileges of honorable members on both sides and to maintain the dignity and prestige of this House. We feel that we can, with confidence, leave those functions in your hands. T desire to assure you that in the discharge of your duties as Speaker you will have the full support of the members of the Opposition.
– I desire to add the congratulations of the Country party and my own to those expressed on behalf of the Government and the Opposition. The Country party will do its utmost to support you in the onerous duties which will devolve upon you. Your experience as a temporary Chairman qf Committees will assist you in fulfilling those duties. You have always been a keen student of parliamentary practice, and we feel confident that your aim will ever be to maintain the highest traditions of the office to which you have been elected. As guardian of the privileges of honorable members we trust that, you will have a happy term of office.
– I desire to express my very cordial appreciation of the assurances of the Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin), the Lead’er of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) and the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) that they will assist me. in the conduct of the affairs of this House. * T appreciate, too, their kind references to me, and hope that in the discharge of my duties, I may justify the high opinion of my abilities which they have expressed. It. will be my constant, endeavour to conserve the interests, the rights and the privileges of every member of this House.
The right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) has referred to difficulties that have arisen in the allocation of rooms for the use of honorable members. I shall at the earliest moment give attention to the matter, and see that the comfort and convenience of honorable members are fully provided for and amply secured.
I again thank the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) and others who have spoken, for their kind remarks concerning me and their assurance that I shall have their cooperation and assistance in maintaining the dignity and the high traditions of the office that I now occupy.
– I have ascertained that it will be the pleasure of His Excellency the Governor-General to receive you, Mr. Speaker, in the Library of the Parliament at 2.45 p.m. this day.
– Prior to my presentation to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral this afternoon, the bells will be rung for three minutes so that honorable members may have the opportunity of assembling in the chamber to accompany me to the Library, and, if they so desire, of being introduced to His Excellency.
Sitting suspended from 11.27 a.m. to 245 p.m.
The House proceeded to the Library, there to present Mr. Speaker to His Excellency the Governor-General.
The House having re-assembled,
– I have to report that, accompanied by honorable members. I proceeded to the Library of Parliament and presented myself to His Excellency the Governor-General as the choice of th, Souse, and that His Excellency was kind enough to congratulate me on my election as Speaker.’
The Usher of the Black Rod being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that His Excellency the Governor-General desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate Chamber forthwith.
Mr. Speaker and honorable members attended accordingly, and, having returned,
– I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General a commission authorizing me to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to members of the House. I now lay the commission on the table.
The Right Honorable William Morris Hughes made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the electoral division of North Sydney, New South Wales.
– I desire to announce that, consequent on the resignation of the Right Honorable S. M. Bruce, C.H., P.O., M.C., as Prime Minister, His Excellency the GovernorGeneral commissioned me to form a Ministry, and I consented to do so. The Ministry, which was sworn in on the 22nd October, 1929, is as follows:-
Vice-President of the Executive Council - Senator the Hon. John Joseph Daly.
Assistant Minister. - Senator the Hon. John Barnes.
.- I desire to inform the House that I have been elected Leader of the Opposition, and that the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) has been elected Deputy Leader of the Opposition in this House.
.- I desire to inform the House that I have been elected Leader of the Country Party, and that the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) has been elected Deputy Leader of the Country Party in this House.
Motion (by Mr. Scullin) agreed to -
That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Acts Interpretation Act 1901-1918.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
– I have to report that the House this day attended His Excellency the Governor-General in the Senate chamber, where His Excellency was pleased to make a speech to both Houses of the Parlia ment, of which, for greater accuracy, I have obtained a copy (vide page 6). As honorable members have copies of the speech in their hands, I presume that they do not desire me formally to read it.
Motion (by Mr. Scullin) agreed to -
That a committee consisting of Mr. Holloway and Mr. Eldridge, and the mover, be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General to both Houses of the Parliament, and that the committee do report at the next sitting.
.-I move -
That the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. McGrath) be appointed Chairman of Committees of this House.
The honorable member for Ballarat has had a long public career in Australia, first as a member of the Legislature of Victoria, and then as a member of the Commonwealth Parliament. He may be ranked as one of the fathers of this Parliament in that he has been a member of it for 25 years. He has had much experience of the Standing Orders - in fact he has come into conflict with them on some occasions. Consequently, he is well fitted to discharge the duties of Chairman of Committees with tact, impartiality and sympathy. He is popular with honorable members of this House, and will preserve the dignity of his office in conformity with the traditions established by the distinguished persons who have held it before him.
.- I have much pleasure in seconding the motion of the honorable member for Reid, and in endorsing his references to the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. McGrath). I have no doubt that that honorable member’s long experience in this House, together with the experience he gained as a member of the Victorian legislature, will fit him admirably for discharging the responsibilities of his office. I do not agree that he has found himself much in conflict with the Standing Orders in the past; in fact, his behaviour as a member has been exemplary. I am confident, however, that if there is anything in the Standing Orders in conflict with justice he is the person to set matters’ right. A love of justice is characteristic of the man, so that if there is any part of the Standing Orders which it is necessary to scrap he will do his best to have it done. The duties which he will have to perform could not be in safer hands than his.
.- I have listened to the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman) and the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Yates) hoping to hear from them some adequate reason why this choice has been made. We might have expected to hear that the honorable member who has been proposed for this office had been a temporary chairman of committees, and in that way had qualified for the office of chairman. It is significant that neither the mover nor seconder of the motion could say that the honorable member for Ballarat had had any experience whatever in the Chair. The only reason given for his fitness to administer the Standing Orders was that he had sometimes found himself in conflict with them. This reason does not seem sufficient for putting him into the Chair, his only qualification being, apparently, that he has not obeyed the Standing Orders as other honorable members have been wont to do. Another surprising thing is that no reference was made to an honorable member who was Temporary Chairman of Committees in an honorary capacity for a considerable time while Mr. Bamford filled the office of Chairman. I refer to the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins), and I am surprised that he has not been put forward as a candidate for this high office. The 25 years’ parliamentary experience of the honorable member for Ballarat cannot be compared with that of the honorable member for Newcastle who has been a member of this House since its inception, and who, prior to that, was a member of the New South Wales State Legislature. He is the only honorable member of this House who has consistently represented the one constituency since the inauguration of the Commonwealth Parliament. As he has had considerable experience in the office for which the honorable member for Ballarat has been nominated, one might have thought that he would have been given the opportunity of fillingit.
– The honorable member may nominate him now.
– I do not propose to go against the wishes of the friends of the honorable member for Newcastle, but I repeat, that I am surprised that an honorable member with such strong claims upon the office should have been overlooked.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I desire to offer a few words of congratulation to the honorable member for Ballarat. upon his appointment as Chairman of Committees. For many reasons the honorable member is well fitted for that position. The qualification which has been emphasized is not the only reason for his election to a high and honorable office, although the fact that he has in the past broken the Standing Orders may cause him to deal leniently with future transgressors. Perhaps the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) particularly may have reason to be grateful that the occupant of the Chair is not a strict disciplinarian. I am confident that the honorable member for Ballarat will discharge his duties with impartiality, and will bring to bear on the position that force of character which is his outstanding characteristic and is necessary in one who presides over the committee proceed ings of this Chamber. I recall with pleasure 25 years of close association with him ; through many trials and struggles the honorable member has remained true to his principles and his friends, and I am confident that he will be true to the best traditions of the office to which he has been elected.
.- I offer the congratulations of the members of the Opposition to the honorable member for Ballarat upon his election to the Chairmanship of Committees. The honorable member is an experienced parliamentarian and a skilled debater, and he is further equipped for his new office by his personal experience of the operation of the Standing Orders. Many of us who now sit in opposition have come into conflict with him in debate, but when he is pre siding over the committees of this House we shall forget our past differences as, we know, he will forget them. We are confident that he will impartially administer the Standing Orders and preserve the dignity and decency of our proceedings while at the same time protecting the rights of all honorable members. We wish him well during his term of office and offer to him our support in the administration of the Standing Orders. I hope that he will interest himself in bringing the rules of debate more up to date. An effort to that end was made in the last Parliament and I hope that that work will be carried to completion. In any endeavour to improve the Standing Orders, the Chairman of Committees will be assured of the cordial support of the Opposition. Again I promise the honorable member for Ballarat the assistance of honorable members on this side of the Chamber in maintaining the traditions and dignity of his office.
.- On behalf of the Country Party I congratulate the honorable member for Ballarat upon his election and assure him of our support in carrying out his onerous duties. Because of the length of committee deliberations the position of Chairman of Committees is an exceedingly onerous one. During the period I have been a member of this Parliament I have come under the jurisdiction of three distinguished Chairmen, the late Mr. Chanter, Mr. Bamford, and the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Bayley). All discharged the duties of their office with conspicuous success, and I trust that the honorable member for Ballarat will be able to maintain the traditions and standards set by his predecessors. I congratulate him upon his recovery from a recent serious accident. All honorable members are glad to see him in this chamber again.
.-I am very grateful for the high honour that has been conferred upon me, and I thank my nominator and seconder for their remarks concerning my personal qualifications, and the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Leader of the Country party for their generous references and assurances of assistance. Although I have not previously occupied the Chair, I have been in touch with it very often. I shall do my best to uphold the high traditions attaching to the office to which I have been elected. I shall endeavour to hold the balance evenly between all parties, and I hope that the necessity will not arise for me to impose upon any honorable member the discipline to which I have been subject on occasions. As a result of my recent accident I am very deaf in the left ear, but I assure the members of the Opposition that both eyes have their vision unimpaired.
– I move -
That the House at its rising adjourn until to-morrow at half-past 2 o’clock p.m.
It is the wish of the Government that from next week, the House shall meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The meeting on Tuesday is rendered necessary by the many urgent measures to be dealt with in the short period available before the Christmas adjournment. I should like to have given honorable members longer notice of the proposal to sit on Tuesdays, but I am sure they will realize that the circumstances are extraordinary. I had not an opportunity to intimate earlier to the Leader of the Opposition the intentions of the Government because, until to-day, I was not aware who would be elected to that office. I take this opportunity to congratulate the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) upon his election as Leader of the Opposition, and the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) on his appointment as Deputy Leader. I assure them that they will receive from the Government every courtesy, and, knowing them well, I am confident that we shall receive the same from them.
.- Honorable members of the Opposition realize the need for extra sitting days during the present brief session.Our convenience would have been suited better if it had been possible for the Government to intimate to members earlier the intention to sit on Tuesday next, but in the circumstances in which we meet no exception can be taken to that proposal. I appreciate the kind remarks of the Leaderof the Government, regarding the honorable member for Henty and myself.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
DEATH OF MR. W. J. McWILLIAMS.
Mr. SCULLIN (Yarra- Prime Minister, Minister for External Affairs and Minister for Industry [3.40]. - Since we last assembled in this chamber, death has claimed one of our former colleagues, Mr. William James McWilliams, who died at his home in Hobart on the 22nd October, within a few hours of the declaration of his reelection for the constituency of Franklin. The late Mr. McWilliams was a native of Tasmania, and one of its most loyal sons. The claims of the little island State were put before this Parliament by him earnestly and with considerable ability. He was a zealous and competent advocate of the rights of his State, which will mourn the loss of one who represented it well, as the Commonwealth will mourn the loss of one who rendered conspicuous service in this National Parliament. At the age of 33 he was elected a member of the Tasmanian Parliament and held his seat in the State House for seven years. He was elected a member of the Federal Parliament in 1903 for the division of Franklin, and held the seat for nineteen years, until the general election in 1922. For two years preceding his defeat he was the Leader of the Country party in this House. He was re-elected for the same division at the general election in 1928, and was again returned on the 12th October last. During his public career the late Mr. McWilliams occupied many important and honorable positions. He was a member of the Select Committee appointed in 1910, and of the Royal Commission of the following year, to inquire into Tasmanian Customs leakage. He was also a member of the Pearling Royal Commission in 1913. In 1914 he served on the Royal Commission that inquired into the powellizing of Australian timber and was a member of the Federal Parliamentary Recruiting Committee in 1917-18. The late honorable gentleman was also a member of the Select Committee that inquired into the sea carriage of goods in 1920, and. was a member of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard Royal Commission in 1921. In the discharge of his duties as a member of all these royal commissions and select committees, the late honorable gentleman gave of his best, as indeed he did as a member of this and the Tasmanian Parliament. Honorable members are aware that, he was not robust. Yet, although he suffered physically, he gave close attention to his public duties. He was a man of very high character and personally was most likeable and gentle in his nature. He was always prepared to find something good even in the most critical moments of public debate. He will be much missed by honorable members. All who were associated with him for so many years will deeply regret the loss of one who was their friend. I am sure that the House will join with me in extending the sincerest sympathy to his widow and the members of his family. I therefore move (by leave) -
That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of Mr. William James Mcwilliams, member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Franklin, and places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.
.- I second the motion. . On an occasion such as this we all forget our party differences and our personal views and direct our attention to the man and his work. The late Mr. Mcwilliams had grown old in the service df the people. Indeed there are few who have served this country in the State and Federal Parliamentary spheres for so long a period as 27 years. The list of commissions and select committees upon which the late honorable member served, which has been read by the Prime Minister, will indicate to the House how energetic the late Mr. Mcwilliams was as a private member of this and the Tasmanian Parliament. He was as active as any private member could well be. He threw himself into his work with great thoroughness during his long association with this Parliament. We shall miss him very much indeed, and I am sure we all had the most kindly feel ings for him. I join the Prime Minister in thinking that we should express to his widow and members of his family our sincere sympathy with them in the great, loss which they have sustained.
.- The Country Party desires especially to associate itself with the motion submitted by the Prime Minister and seconded by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham). The late Mr. Mcwilliams was one of the founders of the Country Party in this House. For over a year he was its first leader, and for many years was closely associated with it. The Leader of the Government has spoken of his long period in the public life of this country. His ripe experience well fitted him for the discharge of his Parliamentary duties. The late honorable member was extraordinarily well versed in Parliamentary procedure and knowledge, so that his advice was extremely valuable to the Country Party when it came into being in 1919. We sincerely desire to associate ourselves with the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
Motion (by Mr. Soullin ) agreed to -
That Mr. Speaker be requested to transmit to Mrs. Mcwilliams the foregoing resolution, and a copy of the speeches delivered thereon.
– I desire to inform the House that T propose to issue a writ on Monday, th* 25th inst., for the election of a member to serve for the electoral division of Franklin, in the State of Tasmania, in the place of the late Mr. William James Mcwilliams, deceased. The dates in connexion with the election will be fixed as follows: - Date of issue of writ, Monday, 25th November ; date of nomination, Friday, 6th December; date of polling, Saturday, 14th December; date for the return of the writ, on or before Saturday, 4th January, 1930.
Mr. SCULLIN (Yarra- Prime Minister, Minister for External Affairs and Minister for Industry [3.48]. - As a mark of respect to the memory of the late Mr. Mcwilliams; I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 3.49 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 November 1929, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1929/19291120_reps_12_122/>.