13th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. G. H. Mackay) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Will the Prime Minister expedite the hearing of those cases in which pensioners, previously in receipt of 17s. a week, have had their pensions reduced by 2s. 6d. a week under the financial emergency legislation recently passed ?
– If the honorable member will give me particulars of the class of cases to which he refers, I shall endeavour to comply with his request.
– In view of the fact that the published official figures of the Customs Department for the last four months show a revenue greater than the amount anticipated, and also in excess of the deductions made from old-age pensioners and others under the Financial Emergency Act, will the Prime Minister consider the immediate repeal of the sections of the act relating to pensioners?
– I am not prepared, in reply to questions without notice, to announce the intention of the Government in this matter. As I have previously stated, any intention on the part of the Government to amend the existing law will be notified to the House in the usual way.
– Inasmuch as when the legislation to obtain £1,100,000 from invalid and old-age pensioners was enacted, the Government estimated that the revenue would be £1,869,068 less than has actually been received during the last four months, will the Prime Minister instruct the Pensions Branch that all pensioners who previously received 17s. 6d. a week shall continue to be paid that amount until the matter has been further considered by Parliament?
– To-day, and on other occasions, I have answered similar questions on this subject.
– Can the Prime Minister inform the House whether, as a result of the recent Premiers Conference, there is any likelihood of special relief being granted to the unemployed before Christmas?
– No special arrangements for the granting of unemployment relief during the Christmas season were made at the recent PremiersConference, because it was considered that the works programmes of the States would meet the needs of the unemployed for the whole of the financial year. The ordinary loan programmes of the States, their special winter relief measures, and the special allocations made at the Premiers Conference held in Sydney, represent an estimated expenditure of £20,730,000 for the year, but the actual expenditure for the first three months of the financial year has been less than was expected, so that the States may now spend money more freely, and, if necessary, provide specially for the Christmas period, and yet not exceed the £20,730,000 provided for the whole of the year.
– Is the PostmasterGeneral aware that the Rod Leader, a Communist newspaper, which has been banned by the postal authorities, is still being circulated through the post, and that one of the methods adopted to conceal its identity is to wrap it in another newspaper ? Further, is he aware that “ On Service “ stamps are used for postage, which suggests that the members of this Parliament are responsible for its circulation ? Will the Minister take measures to check this illegal practice?
– The matter will be investigated, and if the practice to’ which the honorable member has drawn attention, exists, steps will be taken to stop it.
– Is the Prime Minister in a position to state the procedure which will be followed in dealing with the Ottawa agreement? Can he say whether honorable members will have the opportunity of dealing with each schedule separately during the committee stage ?
– It is intended that tho agreement shall be debated and dealt with as a whole.
– ls it intended to appoint excess letter carriers from the Eastern States ns ‘linesmen in Western Australia, notwithstanding an assurance to the contrary given by the exPostmasterGeneral (Mr. Fenton) in August last? If so, why have no appointments been made from the returned soldier examinees who were successful at the departmental examination held on the 31st May, 1930?
– It is nol. intended to transfer any excess letter carriers from the Eastern States to the other States lis linesmen. I shall obtain a reply to the second pari, of the honorable member’s question.
– Can the Prime Min.ister :’ay whether either the J.o.’in Council or the Government bus arranged to renew the bounty of 4£d. a bushel on wheat granted last year, or to render equivalent assistance to wheat-growers this year?
– At the recent meeting of Premiers this matter was discussed, and with the exception of the Premier of Tasmania, the Premiers agreed to a recommendation, particulars of which have been published. The whole matter is now under consideration by Cabinet, and I hope to be able to make a definite statement with regard to it within a day or two.
– Is it a fact, as stated in this chamber last week, that there is in existence an agreement between the Secretary to the Department for Defence and a previous government? If so, will the Minister place the agreement on the table of the House?
– I shall bring the matter under the notice of the Minister for Defence and give the honorable member a reply later.
– The Brisbane Daily Mail of the 26th October reports that the Prime Minister has arranged with the Queensland Preference League to send five Christmas hampers to England, one each for Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, Mr. J. H. Thomas, Mr. S. M. Bruce, Sir Donald Cameron, and Lady Snowdon. Does not the right honorable gentleman consider that it would be more humane to provide Christmas hampers for our unfortunate unemployed, who are more in need of this fare than are well-fed and wealthy’ politicians ?
– The purpose of the organization to which the honorable member has referred is to advertise overseas the merits of Queensland products. I was asked by the league to suggest persons to whom it might, send Christmas hampers in pursuance of its advertising policy.
– According to newspaper reports, the former AttorneyGeneral for Victoria (Mr. Eggleston), and the present Attorney-General of Tasmania (Mr. Baker) have received petitions and numerous objections from legal practitioners and the northern and southern law societies of Tasmania in regard to the effect- upon titles to property of certain sections of the- Amending Financial Emergency Act. As these objections are only slightly met by the regulations recently issued, will the Attorney-General inform the House what attitude the Government intends to adopt ?
– A deputation from the Law Institute of Victoria discussed the subject with me on Monday last. The representatives of the profession, agreed that the regulations obviate certain of the difficulties they had anticipated. In regard to other matters, they will communicate with me at an early date. So far as I am aware, no representations have been received by the Commonwealth Government from any law institute in Tasmania.
– Some weeks ago, 1 asked a question of the Attorney-General regarding a person who is at present serving a sentence of imprisonment for an offence against the coinage laws, and has no right of appeal to either the New South Wales Criminal Appeal Court, or the High Court. The honorable gentleman promised to investigate the matter. Has an investigation been made, and, if so, with what result?
– I promised to investigate, not the conviction and imprisonment of a particular person, but the establishment of the right of appeal in criminal cases of this kind. The matter has been considered, but owing to the pressure of other work, no final decision has’ been reached. Certainly, time has not been available for the introduction of an amendment of the Judiciary Act, but almost certainly provision will have to be made for some form of appeal in such cases.
– I ask the Minister for Repatriation whether it is a fact that amputees admitted to Randwick Military Hospital suffer a reduction of pension after a certain period? If so, is not this a contravention of Schedule 5 of the Repatriation Act? Do not patients, other than amputees, continue to draw the full pension of £2 2s. a week?
– I am not conversant with the practice, but if the honorable member will supply me with particulars of individual cases, I shall let him have a detailed reply.
– The Sydney Morning Herald has published a statement by the Prime Minister to the effect that he does not favour the granting of a direct bounty for the assistance of wheatgrowers. I ask the right honorable gentleman if that statement is correct?
– The policy of the Government will be announced first in this chamber, and at an early date.
The following paper was presented: -
– by leave - I have to inform the House that at a meeting of the Loan Council in Melbourne on the 29th October, 1932, the following resolution was agreed to: -
That the Loan Council approve of a loan of £8,000,000 being raised immediately on the Australian market partly for the purpose of funding treasury-bills issued for loan purposes and partly for the purpose of the loan programmes of 1932-33, subject to the following conditions: -
The loan to be issued at 3) per cent, at par.
The loan to be for a period of ten years, and to be subject to the same taxation as the existing taxable Australian consolidated stocks.
The loan to be underwritten by the Commonwealth Bank and the trading banks. The underwriting banks to receive 10s. per cent underwriting commission, plus a . further 5s. per £100 on applications received through the underwriting banks, including applications in their own names.
The proceeds of the loan to be applied to the following purposes: -
£4-,000,000 to be applied to the funding of treasury-bills issued for loan purposes, and to be allocated to the respective governments in proportion to the sums set out hereunder: -
The allocation of the sum of £4,000,000 for works from the £8,000,000 loan about to be raised, added to funds already provided for, will make available approximately £14,000,000 for loan works, apart from any domestic raisings which may take place in the meantime. In the first three months of the financial year the States expended only £2,350,000 on their works programmes, but from now on they will be able to spend at a considerably accelerated rate.
– I move-
That the bill be now read a second time.
It is the desire of the Government to pass this measure through all its stages as soon as possible, and as it has been in the possession of honorable members for about eight weeks, the first reading being taken on the 8th September, I hope that, they are sufficiently conversant with it to permit of its speedy passage. The bill provides for the appointment of an executive council and a legislative council in New Guinea, to consist of official and non-official members. The official members will represent the various government departments in the territory, and the non-official members will represent all other interests concerned in the islands.
I propose to give arésumé of the history of the Mandated Territory since its administration was taken over by the Commonwealth. On the 12th September, 1914, New Guinea was occupied by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. On the 17th December, 1920, a mandate for the Government of the Territory of New Guinea in accordance with the Covenant of the League of Nations was conferred by the Council of the League on the Commonwealth, and on the 9th May, 1921, the military occupation of the territory was replaced by a civil government. Brigadier-General Wisdom then assumed office as the first civil administrator, and the departments of the military government became departments of the civil administration’.
A survey of article 22 of the Treaty of Peace makes it clear that mandates confer much more in the way of obligation than of benefit upon the power that takes one up - a fact that is not always appreciated. Article 22 reads -
To those colonies and territories which, as a consequence of the late war, have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in the Covenant.
The mandate held by the Commonwealth is defined as a “ C “ mandate. This class of mandate applies to territories which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centres of civilization, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the mandatory, and other circumstances, can he best administered under the laws of the mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to safeguards in the interests of the indigenous population, such as freedom of conscience and religions, subject to the provisions of any local law for the maintenance of public order and public morals, the prohibition of the slave trade, the traffic in arms, and the liquor traffic, and the prohibition of the establishment of fortifications and of military training of the natives for other than internal police purposes and the local defence of the territory.
During the military occupation the former German laws were continued in force except where modified by ordinances passed from time to time to meet the special requirements of the administration. In pursuance of the policy for the promotion of the welfare of the natives, extensive alterations were made in the German laws relating to native labour. The power of an employer to inflict corporal punishment was taken away. The recruiting laws were more strictly interpreted and enforced, and evasions or breaches of the regulations were more severely punished than was the case during the German regime. The evils of illegal recruiting were thus lessened.
On the transfer from military to civil administration, an ordinance was made by the Governor-General providing, inter aiia, that the principles and rules of common law and equity for the time being in force in England should, so far as they were applicable to the circumstances of the territory, be likewise the principles and rules of common law and equity in the territory. It was further provided that the tribal institutions, customs and usages of the aboriginal natives of the territory should be permitted to continue in existence provided they were not repugnant to the general principles of humanity.
The mandated territory of New Guinea comprises the former German colony ofNew Guinea, and the former German islands situated in the Pacific Ocean and lying south of the Equator, other than the islands of the Samoan group and the island of Nauru. The islands situated north of the Equator, which formerly belonged to Germany, were mandated to Japan ; German Samoa was mandated to New Zealand; and Nauru to GreatBritain, to be administered conjointly by Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. The area of the territory is 93,000 square miles, of which 70,000 square miles are on -the mainland of the island of New Guinea. The islands important enough to be named on a map number over 600. They range in size from New Britain, which is about 13,000 square miles in size, to tiny atolls.
– Are all of those islands inhabited ?
– More or less. The small atolls may be inhabited by one white man, assisted by a number of natives in the production of copra.
The following may be mentioned as constituting the main heads of the Commonwealth Government’s policy at the present stage of .development of the territory : -
There are no tribal organizations, such as exist in certain parts of Africa, and it is impossible to utilize native organizations in the administration of the territory in the manner that has been found possible in Africa. In some parts of the territory which have not been brought under government control or influence, the natives are still in the stone age. By the appointment of luluais or native chiefs, and the gradual increase of their authority and duties, the Government hopes eventually to create a body of responsible native officials who can be entrusted with duties connected with the actual administration of the territory. The term “ luluai “ comes from bygone days, when it denoted the fighting chief who led his people in war.
There is no native language common to the whole of this territory, and this adds considerably to the difficulty of administration. There is an extraordinary diversity of tongues. The medium of conversation, not only between whites and natives, but between natives who speak different native dialects, is “ pidgin “ English. This is not a perfect medium by any means, but it has the advantage of being at once a lingua franca, and a bridge to real English. An illuminating example of how “ pidgin “ is employed is its application to the office of the Treasury and the bank. The former is referred to as the “ house money gammon,” and the latter as the “ house money true.”
The aim of the administration is to bring all New Guinea under control by a system of peaceful penetration. The district officers from time to time penetrate country not previously visited by the white men. On the first of such visits, the girls, old men and women are invariably hidden, but the natives gradually attain such a degree of confidence in the Government, that on the next occasion when an officer visits that particular district to take a census, all the population appears. I can speak from personal experience on this point. The work of the agricultural and medical patrols has been marvellous in its effectiveness. It has had the result of bringing tremendous tracts of land in New Guinea under government’ supervision, but very large areas still await penetration.
Agricultural development has received the special attention of the administration. The natives have been encouraged to substitute scientific crop rotation for the shifting cultivation which has been customary. Formerly they moved from place to place as the soil became worked out, and this resulted in vast areas of land becoming useless. Crop rotation ensures a greater use of leguminous crops, with consequential benefit to health as a result of a more varied diet. New and improved food plants are being introduced into native gardens, which are worked communally according to the native custom, hut. with an element of friendly rivalry Hue to the division of the gardens into sections worked by groups. Unfortunately, most ‘of the laborious work is done by the women or “Marys,” as they ure called; but it is hoped by the administration that the adoption of improved methods will have the result of gradually lifting the civilization of the island people at least as high as our own. Attention has also been given to many other aspects of native life, and measures have been adopted for the medical care and improvement of the health of the natives. In various places which were becoming depopulated, an improved food supply has been provided, and antimalarial work has been done, such as the destruction of the breeding places of mosquitoes. This medical attention to the natives is having a beneficial effect. It is hoped that the decline of the native races has been arrested, and that the population of the islands, and the wellbeing of the natives will steadily increase under the humanitarian policy of the Commonwealth Government.
I come now to the problem of staff. When Australia was given a mandate over what was formerly German New Guinea, she was faced with a real difficulty in providing a suitable staff to perform the administrative work. We had had no experience of territorial services with the exception that in Papua we had taken over the staff previously employed by the British Government It appeared to be almost hopeless to expect to secure a suitable staff in Australia for New Guinea; but the results that have been achieved in that territory have been most gratifying. The selection of General Wisdom as Administrator has been amply justified. His eleven and a half years’ work has been definitely advantageous to New Guinea.
So many honorable members have, at one time or the other, visited New Guinea, that the majority of members of the House must be fully conversant with the difficulties of administration in a place of such varied complexities. -With these in mind, the Bruce-Page Government inaugurated a policy of cadetships with a view of obtaining,, eventually, a highly trained and fully qualified staff, versed in all the peculiar problems of native and island administration. That policy has been a pronounced success. Six cadets were selected in 1927 and six more in the following year: but in the two succeeding years no selections were made. The present Government has called for applications by the end of this month for six more positions. It is required that the applicants shall be between 20 and 24 years of age. Each successful applicant will be given two years’ training in the tropics in all phases of administrative work, and one year’s university instruction in anthropology.
– What educational standard is required of the applicants?
– The leaving standard is considered to be desirable; but applicants must have other than academic qualifications. In addition to medical examination, the selected applicants will be required to submit to an examination somewhat on the lines of that adopted for applicants for Rhodes scholarships. Qualities of leadership involving moral and mental characteristics are regarded as highly important. The successful applicants will ultimately have available to them positions carrying a salary of approximately £800 a year.
Mr.Beasley. - Who will make the selection ?
– During the period when I had charge of this territory under the regime of the Bruce-Page Government, a special committee of departmental officers carefully considered all the applications, and made recommendations. I may say that although applications will be received until the end of the month more than 400 were to hand yesterday.
– At what salary will the cadet’s begin?
– At £300 a year. That may seem an extravagant figure for a cadet, but £120 of it is in the nature of a tropical allowance, so that the men will really start at £180 a year. The cost of living in the territory is very high. After the cadets have been in the service for three years, they will be appointed as patrol officers, and as such they will have open tothem a most interesting, though at times irksome and difficult life. They will be required to penetrate into unknown territory in a way that I have already described.
– And look for a bit of gold in between times.
– If they go prospecting they will bo obliged to leave the Service. Some may find more lucrative avenues of employment. The New Guinea Act of 1920 authorized the GovernorGeneral to accept the mandate, and to make provision for the government of the territory in accordance with its terms. Amendments of minor importance for the purpose of facilitating administration were made in 1926. The New Guinea Act 1920- 26 provides that until the Parliament makes other provision for the government of the territory the GovernorGeneral may make ordinances having the force of law in the territory.
From the commencement of civil administration in New Guinea in May, 1921, until 1927, the white population consisted mainly of Government officials and quasi-Government officials - officers of the Expropriation Board. Consequent upon the sale of the expropriated properties which are now in private hands, the proportion of non-official to official residents varied by a considerable increase in the number of non-official residents. At present the white population is approximately 2,900 of whom about 300 are officers attached to the administration. The actual increase in the white population since 1921 is 133 per cent.
– Can the Minister give the number of missionaries engaged in the territory?
– About 500.
-What is the native population?
– It is possible to give only the approximate native population. In 1912 the Germans estimated their number at 30,000; in 1915 the estimate was increased to 100,000, while in 1917 an incomplete census brought the figure up to 300,000. In 1928 a more complete census was taken which showed the native population as 436,000, while at the end of 1931, due to a more extensive knowledge of the hinterland, the figure was set down at 520,000. By using aeroplanes it is now possible for patrol officers and others to more accurately estimate the number occupying the villages.
Imports increased from £469,000 in 1921- 22 to £779,000 in 1931-32, and exports from £499,000 to £1,108,619. Some of the commodities which New Guinea exports are admitted into the Commonwealth free of duty.
– Are any bananas imported into Australia from the Mandated Territory ?
– No. To June, 1932, 511,822 ounces of gold, valued at £1,318,816, has been exported from New Guinea.
These facts and the conditions generally existing in the territory fully warrant granting a measure of local selfgovernment. It has, therefore, been decided to institute in New Guinea a system similar to than in force in the neighbouring Territory of Papua, consisting of a legislative council and an executive council. At the present stage of development in New Guinea it is considered desirable to commence on the lines which have proved so successful in Papua, and to await actual experience of the operation of the system in New Guinea before considering any change in the constitution of the legislative body. From time to time representations have been made to the Government by organizations and individuals with respect to the appointment of some legislative body. A previous government of which I was a member introduced a measure similar to that now before the House; but before it was passed an election intervened, and the bill was dropped. The Government now proposes to fulfil a promise made by that administration. The residents in the Mandated Territory will not elect their own representatives. To conduct an election in a territory of this description, in which planters, traders, and others are so widely scattered, would be almost an impossibility. The Government, therefore, proposes to adopt the nominee system. Organizations will be consulted by the administration, and the GovernorGeneral in Council will appoint non-official representatives. Every effort will be made to see that all sections of the community are represented.
– There will be no civil representation.
– Are the natives not to have their representatives?
– Those who have any knowledge of the New Guinea natives know that it is impossible to give them direct representation; but it is hoped to give their claims consideration when they have reached a higher standard of education. At present many of the natives are being trained in the day and technical schools -under the c’ontrol of the administration. In the technical schools, plum bers, carpenters, and other tradesmen are being instructed, and although their work is rough, it is serviceable. Moreover, natives are placed at work in the hospital at Rabaul where, after three years training in attending to broken limbs, setting of splints, the application of ointments, and the administering of medicines, they are sent back to their villages as tul tuls to render service to their fellow men. Their development at the end of this period is fairly considerable, and it is hoped later to take either these same men, or younger ones, back into the hospitals, and train them to be regular medical officers.
– Does not the Minister think that in five or ten years the natives will have developed sufficiently to take an interest in their own welfare?
– I hardly think so. From my observations of the natives in New Guinea, I should say that they are more backward than those in any other part of the world.
– But the Government is educating them.
– There are about 520,000 natives in New Guinea, and the money available for building and running schools is very limited. If we had millions of pounds to spend for this purpose, we might be able to train large numbers of natives. As it is, wonderful progress has been made by the medical and agricultural authorities. The administrative officers in charge of these departments have accomplished brilliant work. The medical service, particularly, has a very fine record of achievement, and only second to that is the work of the agricultural service under the control of Mr. Murray. Some of the officers of the department have been trained at the agricultural colleges of Dookie and Hawkesbury. Mr. Murray has shown himself to be a most capable officer. He and his assistants have rendered valuable service, not only among the natives, but to the planters as well. They have advised the planters regarding plant diseases, &c, and have given them useful information as to the most suitable varieties of trees to plant. Their services in this direction have been particularly appreciated by those planters who went to New Guinea without experience.
The Executive Council is to consist of nine members, appointed by the Governor-
General, eight of whom shall be officers of the territory, and the other a non-official member chosen by and from the nonofficial members of the Legislative Council. That is the system which has been in force in Papua, and it provides representation for non-official residents such as planters, miners, &c. If the nonofficial members of the Legislative Council fail to choose one of their number for appointment as a member of the Executive Council, the Governor-General may appoint a non-official member of the Legislative Council, or any other person who is not an officer of the territory, to be a member of the Executive Council. Membership is to continue during the pleasure of the Governor-General. The Governor-General is to be empowered to appoint a deputy of an official member in the event of the member’s illness or absence from the territory, and that deputy is to have all the powers of a member. Meetings are to be summoned by authority of the Administrator. Three members, exclusive of the Administrator or the member presiding, shall constitute a quorum. The Administrator shall preside if present, but in his absence, or in the absence of his appointee for the purpose, if any, the senior official member of the council who is present shall preside. The Administrator only shall be entitled to submit questions to the Executive Council for advice or decision. A member whose request in writing for the submission of a question is not granted by the Administrator may require that his request, and the Administrator’s answer be recorded on thi minutes.
– For what purpose?
– So that they may be brought under the notice of the Minister. The minutes of all meetings have to be sent to Canberra for perusal by the Minister.
– In that case, it may be months before a member will be able to obtain any satisfaction.
– The minutes must be despatched by the next mail after the meeting, and as the mail steamer leaves every three weeks, there should be no undue delay. The Administrator may act, in opposition to the advice or decision of the Executive Council, but in. that event, he shall report the matter to the Minister with his reasons.
The Legislative Council is to consist of the Administrator, the official members of the Executive Council, numbering eight, and seven non-official members, representing various interests nominated by the Administrator, and appointed by the GovernorGeneral.
– What representation will the civil population have?
– The Government has gone into this matter, and it is not proposed to confine representation to the interests mentioned.
– Then why not state in the bill the scope of representation which it is proposed to grant?
– That phase of the matter can be discussed more appropriately in committee.
– Are we to understand that the Government will listen to suggestions in this respect?
– The Government is prepared to listen to all helpful suggestions ; our desire is to frame a workable and satisfactory measure. The Administrator may appoint a person within the territory to be an extraordinary member of the council for a special occasion in order to obtain his opinions on any matters to be brought before the council.
– Will such members be able to vote?
– No. The Government felt that it was justified in arranging for such appointments, because the council may have to deal with subjects which demand the special advice and help of qualified persons. Non-official members of the council are to be appointed for four years, as against six years in Papua. Some organizations in New Guinea asked that the period be three years, but the Government felt that four years would be reasonable. Non-official members may be removed at any time by the Governor-General. One-third of the members, including the Administrator or member presiding, shall constitute a quorum. The Administrator shall preside if present, and in his absence the senior official member shall preside.
– Has any provision been made by which the native population may have access to the council ?
– The head of the Native Affairs Department will he a member of the council.
– If the Administrator pleases.
– This official has always been a member of the Advisory Council, and the Government will see that he will be a member also of the Legislative Council. It is reasonable to assume that an official occupying an important position like the Commissioner for Native Affairs would be a member of a council. Questions before the Legislative Council are to be decided by a majority of votes. The Administrator, or the member presiding, is to have a vote, and in addition, if the numbers are equal, a casting vote. The Legislative Council is to have “ power to make ordinances for the peace, order, and good government of the Territory,” but it may not impose import duties discriminating against the Commonwealth. Money votes may be proposed only by the Administrator, or with his permission. Ordinances will require the assent of the Administrator or the Governor-General. An ordinance assented to by the Administrator may be disallowed by the Governor-General within six months of assent. An ordinance reserved for the pleasure of the GovernorGeneral shall not have force unless, and until within one year from the date of its presentation to the Administrator for assent, the Administrator publishes within the territory a notification of the GovernorGeneral’s assent. As in the case of Papua, the Administrator is to be debarred from assenting to certain classes of ordinances, including any ordinance relating to the guarantees to the League of Nations as specified in the act accepting the mandate. Every
ordinance is to be laid before both Houses of the Parliament. Copies of minutes of each meeting of either council are to sent to the Minister as soon as possible. In the case of Papua, the copies of minutes are furnished quarterly. A further proposal is that the annual report on the Territory to the Council of the League of Nations shall be made by the Minister instead of by the GovernorGeneral. This amendment is proposed in view of the present status of the dominions. When the Legislative and Executive Councils have been established pursuant to the provisions of the amending measure, the Advisory Council, which was instituted by the Advisory Council Ordinance No. 5 of 1926, will be abolished.
One might speak at length on many other interesting matters relating to New Guinea, because I know of no development in any part of the world comparable with what has taken place in that territory. The transport difficulties, which were tremendous, have been overcome to a remarkable extent by the inauguration of aeroplane services. In 1927, under my authority as Minister, an officer of the Defence Department spent twelve months in New Guinea studying cloud formation, and marking out aerodrome areas and emergency landing grounds. At that time, only one plane was engaged in flying in New Guinea, and it had to be flown from Rabaul to its base at Lae, a distance of over 500 miles across the ocean. Since the establishment of an aerodrome at Lae twelve machines have been engaged in that service. The following table will be of interest to honorable members : -
– Have any casualties taken place?
– Not during the period covered by those statistics. Honorable members will appreciate the marvellous development that has taken place in New Guinea since these flying companies began operations. Gold-mining in New Guinea was beset with tremendous difficulties. The prospectors had to travel through wild country to the mountains where the foot of white man had not previously trod. When gold was discovered a walking track was made from the coast to the gold-fields.
– What is the attitude of the natives to the white population?
– It is very friendly indeed. The unfortuuate case which was before the House recently was quite an exception. The natives have received humane treatment at the hands of the white men. The planters, traders and Government officials generally have the interests of the natives at heart. They recognize their responsibility, and endeavour to do their best, not only for themselves, but also for the department which is responsible for the administration of the Mandated Territory. Wau, which is about 4,000 feet above sea level and is the nearest airport to the gold-fields, has a white population of 400 persons. The trip from the coast to the gold-fields by the track takes eight days.
– How long does the trip take by aeroplane?
– About 50 minutes. The bigger planes make the trip in a little under that time.
– The honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) made the trip on foot.
– It was a highly creditable performance for a man of his age. When Minister, I inspected the gold-fields, and gained some knowledge of the arrangements made for the care of the natives. No native was allowed to carry a load in excess of 40 lb. Every native carrier passed through an improvised turnstile. His load was taken from his back, and weighed, and if in excess of 40 lb., it was confiscated. It must be remembered that half of the load comprised foodstuffs for the carrier himself.He cannot caché any part of his provisions because of the risk of robbery. The trip from the coast takes eight days. The carrier is given two days’ rest, and he then returns to the coast in four days. It was necessary for the natives to have four days’ rest in Salamaua before making another trip. I advise honorable members who have not. visited New Guinea to take an opportunity to do so. They should regard it as their duty to see for themselves what progress has been made in training the natives, whose welfare must be, under the mandate from the League of Nations, our first consideration.
– Is the League of Nations satisfied with our administration of New Guinea?
– Yes. Favorable comments have been made regarding the way in which Australia is carrying out its mandate in New Guinea. In fact, no mandate of the kind has ever been more faithfully discharged. The officials are doing excellent work in assisting in the peaceful penetration of that country. Numerous stories could be told of the gratifying way in which the natives have responded to kind treatment by the white man.
– And they have been belted to death by plantation-owners.
– The honorable member, I am afraid, is biased against the officials. I stated clearly that the unfortunate case which was brought under notice in this Parliament recently was quite an exceptional one.
– The plantation-owner had been convicted four times previously.
– I remind the Minister that if ‘he answers interjections concerning matters foreign to the bill, the discussion may be unduly prolonged.
– The extent to which medical assistance has been granted to the natives reflects the greatest credit, upon both the officials and the plantationowners. Cases have come under my personal notice in which planters have provided hospital accommodation and services greatly in excess of those required by law. I have been informed on many occasions that for every plantation native who has been medically treated, ten natives from the bush have received medical aid. The result has been that the confidence of the natives in the administration of the white man has greatly increased. I saw a native who had both legs broken, and had been brought in from the bush on a rude stretcher consisting of a couple of sticks tied together with vines. The bush natives who had carried him to the plantation had timidly retreated and disappeared. The injured man was kept under medical care for nearly four months, during which period he was well fed and cared for. Upon his recovery, he returned to the bush to spread the news among his own people of the kindness that he had received. So appreciative were the bush natives of the attention received by the patient, that the head man of the tribe offered the planter the services of some of his men to help him in his work. It may be said of the planters generally that they are carrying on their operations under most difficult conditions, and that their treatment of the natives has been particularly humane.
.- It seems to me that the provisions of the bill are quite inadequate to meet the administrative needs of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. I heartily concur, however, in the suggestion of the Minister that honorable members should take an early opportunity of visiting Papua and the Mandated Territory, in order to obtain first-hand knowledge of the peculiar difficulties associated with administrative work there. Only thos6 who have come in close contact with the native population can appreciate how closely its welfare is studied.- In the first year in which I became a member of this Parliament I visited both these territories, and I was deeply impressed by what I saw. I realized the need for improving the medical services, and submitted to the Parliament recommendations which resulted in a substantial sum being made available for increased hospital accommodation and equipment. I realize that the officers now employed in connexion with the administration are doing the best they can under trying circumstances. As the result of my visit, I formed the opinion that they had an earnest desire to protect the interests of the natives. The Commonwealth has been extremely fortunate in having the services in Papua of Sir Hubert Murray, who has displayed exceptional qualifications for this work. My one regret is that he did not have the supervision of the whole of the administration in the Mandated Territory. General Wisdom I always found courteous and obliging, and I believe that in the circumstances in which he found himself he conscientiously endeavoured to discharge to the best of his ability the duties of- the high and honorable office that he held. I say that even though there were occasions when I found it necessary to criticize his administration. I sincerely regret the circumstances that rendered necessary his retirement. We are extremely fortunate in having men of rneb a splendid type in the public service o’ the Mandated Territory. It is only because these officers are imbued with a keen desire to serve their country that they are content to suffer the isolation the separation from their families, and the other disabilities that are associated with their service, without compensating advantages.
– The tropics will always show whether a man is a waster.
– They bring out the best or the worst in a man. The native races of New Guinea are of a distinctly primitive type. A large portion of that territory is still unexplored by white men, and in it cannibal races still exist. In fact, cannibals are to be found in the Baining Mountains, 50 miles from Rabaul, the chief centre of the Mandated Territory.
– Did the honorable member venture into the cannibal country?
– I believe that I was as close to it as any other white man has been. This will give some idea of the stage of development of the native races. The impression that I gained is that the native who has been trained to undertake certain duties is an exceedingly intelligent person, and intensely loyal and reliable. His mentality is that of the average lad of from 14 to 16 years of age. They are called “boys” and are essentially boys. While that is so, it is desirable that we should exercise every care to prevent the exploitation of them, and the enforcement upon them of conditions that are detrimental, or not in their best interests.
– Does not the honorable member consider that the conditions under which they are employed constitute a form of slavery?
– I do not approve of many of the conditions under which they have to live, particularly the conditions, of labour. In many cases a native is not allowed to be accompanied by his native wife to a plantation where he may have contracted to work for three years. I understand also that two-thirds of a native’s pay is withheld from him until the expiration of his contract. An unscrupulous owner can use that power unjustly and unfairly. I consider, too, that greate protection against exploitation by Asiatic tradesmen in the bigger centres of population should be afforded to the natives. Chinatown, in Rabaul, is probably one of the worst hells through which a native has to pass when returning to his home village from work on a plantation. There are frequently cases of cruel exploitation by cunning Asiatic traders in this quarter.
The various Christian missions that labour in these parts are deserving of commendation for the splendid work that they have done. The Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Anglican Missions, seek to work to a common policy to further the welfare of the native, and I am pleased to say that the best conditions governing the engagement of native labour are to be found on the mission stations. If there is any agency that more than another has made possible the white man’s enterprise in the islands it is the confidence that has been brought about as a result of the splendid example set by these bodies.
– What methods are employed to induce the natives to consent to work on the plantations?
– Possibly the best recruiting agent is the native who, after a term on a plantation, returns to his home village with articles that he has been able to purchase out of what he has earned. Having very primitive ideas, coveteousness is easily excited the members of his tribe, and they need no persuasion to undertake this class of work so that they also may benefit similarly. There are also the regular recruiting agents, but I understand that no compulsion is used.
– Have they no union ?
– In many cases, it would be to their advantage if they had. No doubt they will organize, in due course, with a view to safeguarding their interests against exploitation. This legislation really provides nothing new as the proposed conditions are already operating in the territory in an unofficial way.
Replying to the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), the Minister said that the Secretary for Native Affairs would be a member of the executive council, and when I asked whether that would be at the pleasure of the Administrator, the honorable gentleman admitted that the Secretary for Native Affairs had previously been appointed by the Administrator to act upon a sort of advisory council. So that it is evident that the conditions proposed in this bill are already in existence.
– The present executive is an advisory council consisting only of government officers. It is now intended to include persons outside the service.
– It is proposed to appoint as members of a legislative council and an executive council, officers who are subordinate to the man who will administer the act. That is an objectionable feature. Again, the nongovernment members are to be the nominees of the Administrator. Those conditions will not promote either efficiency or harmony. It would be preferable to establish a system of local government, providing for representation by franchise.
– The scheme has worked very well in Papua.
– Papua is fortunate in having such an exceptionally efficient Administrator. It would not be possible to find a man more fitted to occupy the position than Sir Hubert Murray. If an alteration is intended, the best method would be to have comprehensive legislation for both Papua and the Mandated Territory.
– Does the honorable member realize that this bill is practically word for word with the Papua Act of 1905?
– I have read every word of the Papua Act of 1905, also the legislation relating to New Guinea. I agree that this legislation is practically word for word with the Papua Act, but I ask why the Government should set up another administration? Would it not be better to co-ordinate Papua and the Mandated Territory of New Guinea and give some form of franchise to the white population?
– The conditions of the inundate make that most difficult.
– The Minister’s interjection justifies the Commonwealth Government in proposing more comprehensive powers, and offsets the argument of the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) with regard to the Papua Act.
– In my second-reading speech, I pointed out that any determination of the Legislative Council must be approved by this Government, which has the right of veto, so that the Commonwealth Government maintains full control of its mandate.
– I ask what there is to be gained by having a legislative council and an executive council to determine matters of policy relating to New Guinea, when the members of those bodies will be either government officials under the control of the Administrator, or the nominees of that gentleman who will consider matters initiated by him ? Further, what will be the advantage of the council body if this Parliament has the right to veto its determinations?
– Cannot the Administrator veto the decisions of the legislative council?
– Yes. Clause 29 provides -
– That must be read in conjunction with clause 33.
– That wording is clear and definite. It indicates that the Administrator can veto anything that is done by the council. If we are to have a system of local government in the territory, let it be constituted in such a way that it will give representation to all sections of the people. Let us do what we say that we intend to do.
A golden opportunity to amalgamate the administration of Papua with that of the Mandated Territory has been missed. That omission will not enhance Australia’s reputation in the eyes of other nations. Until we are prepared to give the residents of the Mandated Territory more effective representation we should continue as in the past.
Mr.R. GREEN (Richmond) [4.44].- This legislation may be regarded as the third phase of the development of New Guinea since it came into the possession of Australia in September, 1914. The first phase, when the territory was under military control, was followed by the administrative phase, in which an administrator entrusted with high powers, but subject to the control of the Minister, governed the territory. The third phase will give residents of the territory a voice in its administration; it will provide them with an opportunity to bring prominently underthe notice of the authorities any matters which they consider will improve conditions generally in the territory.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) suggested greater coordination in the administration of Papua and New Guinea. That matter was raised by the present LieutenantGovernor of Papua, Sir Hubert Murray, when the transfer from military to civil control was made. The difficulties were not so great then, because, in the meantime, a public service with certain accrued rights had been built up; and in addition, the laws and ordinances controlling the Mandated Territory differ greatly from those in operation in Papua. Since 1905 Papua has had an executive council, and a legislative council, such as will be set up under this measure; whereas the civil administration of the Mandated Territory has been entrusted to an administrator. The ordinances in operation in the Mandated Territory have been issued under the authority of the Governor-General of Australia, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council; they become effective on their publication in the Commonwealth Gazette. A perusal of the laws and ordinances in operation in the two territories show that there has been little or no attempt at co-ordination.
– Are the conditions in both territories similar?
– They are practically the same, although the inhabitants are slightly different. Papua has both Melanesians and Polynesians. The boundary between the two territories is only an imaginary line, the people on both sides of it being similar. In the southern part of Papua there are two main races; but throughout that territory there is practically only one language - Motu. In the Mandated Territory, however, there is not even the semblance of a common language, if we exclude “pidgin,” which was the official language during the German regime. This language is not what is generally known as “ pidgin. “ English; it is an entirely distinct language, similar to the “ pidgin “ of “West Africa. Indeed, the “ pidgin “,of West Africa is intelligible to the natives of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea.
I have long been of the opinion that these two territories should be amalgamated; there should be one legislative council, one executive council, and one administrator or governor for both. The advantages of an amalgamated control are obvious. In the first place, it would overcome the difficulty of having two watertight public services, by making it possible to transfer suitable officers from one territory to the other. Three of the senior officials in the Mandated Territory -the Director of Agriculture; the Anthropologist, who is now in charge of district services and native affairs; and his assistant, who was previously Commissioner of Native Affairs - were formerly in the Papuan service. Each has had over twenty years’ service; hut when they were transferred from the Papuan service, they had to forgo their superannuation and other rights, which have been calculated on an entirely dif- ferent scale since their transfer. These difficulties would not be encountered if there were one service for both territories.
An amalgamation would also enable the laws of the two territories to be coordinated. But whether or not that is done, the laws in operation in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea should he consolidated. At times Australian barristers have gone to these territories to conduct cases, only to find that the laws in operation there differ greatly from those in operation in Australia. The finances of the two territories may prove au obstacle to .amalgamation : each year a subsidy is granted to Papua in order that the budget of that territory may be balanced, whereas the Mandated Territory is not in need of such assistance. Last year it showed a small surplus, and its inhabitants are a little afraid of the financial effect of an amalgamation with Papua. It should not be difficult for the Treasury to keep separate the accounts of the two territories.
– Has the question of a common administration been seriously considered ?
– The matter has been considered, but this bill makes it less likely. This matter was raised in 1921 by Sir Hubert Murray, when the Mandated Territory was placed under civil administration. The mandate under which Australia controls New Guinea does not prohibit an amalgamation of the two territories. Article 2 of the mandate reads -
The mandatory shall have full power of administration and legislation over the territory, subject to the present mandate, as an integral portion of the Commonwealth of Australia, and may apply the laws of the Commonwealth of Australia to the territory, subject to such local modifications as circumstances may require.
That article gives to Australia the same control over its Mandated Territory in New Guinea that South Africa has over the former German possessions in SouthWest Africa. Those possessions are regarded as being an integral portion of South Africa, and the laws of South Africa apply to them. Were we to apply the laws in operation in Australia to the Mandated Territory, “subject to such local modifications as circumstances may require,” we would still be within the spirit, as well as the letter, of the mandate. Article 2 of the mandate provides further1 -
The mandatory shall promote to the utmost the material and moral well being and social progress of the inhabitants of the territory, subject to the present mandate.
Section 16 of the New Guinea Act 1920 provides that the Governor-General shall make an annual report to the Council of the League of Nations, containing full information as to the measures taken in relation to certain guarantees - those relating to the slave trade, forced labour, traffic in arms and ammunition, the supply of intoxicating spirits and beverages to, and the military training of, the natives, the establishment of military or naval bases or fortifications, and the freedom of conscience of the inhabitants - as well as the well being and progress of the native inhabitants of the territory. The New Guinea Act refers to the native inhabitants, but the mandate itself does not do so. To carry out our mandate properly, we must give due consideration to the requirements of all sections. Our aim should be to hold the scale of justice evenly between whites and blacks - between the indigenous population and those who have settled there, engaged in the development of the territory, and improved the lot of the natives. But the New Guinea Act of 1920 refers to the “ native inhabitants “ as if there were no other. The inference is that unless the native population were specifically mentioned, it would not receive just treatment. I have visited New Guinea several times, and most other tropical countries, and being thus qualified to form a judgment, I- have no hesitation in saying that the Australian administration of that territory has been particularly good. It was initiated by officers who had to gain their experience, but they can be justifiably proud of the results they have achieved. The mistakes that have been made have not been serious. The general aim of the administration has been to fulfil all the requirements of the mandate, to act in both the letter and the spirit of our guarantees, so that Australia might be able to go each year before an international jury and conscientiously claim that it has discharged its responsibility at least as well as any other nation could have done.
The latest’ figures I have show “ that the white population of New Guinea is 2,709 ; in 1922 it was 1,489; therefore the increase has been approximately 82 per cent.
– Would not that be due to the discovery of gold?
– To various causes; the increase has been fairly steady. In contrast with our methods of developing the country for the advantage of the native population, Japan has encouraged an influx of its own nationals to the islands which it administers under mandate from the League of Nations. In 1920 the Japanese in the Caroline and Marshall Islands numbered 3,671, and in 1930, 19,938, an increase of nearly 450 per cent.
– And the area is very restricted.
– That is so. Generally speaking, New Guinea is much superior to the islands over which Japan has mandatory power. Copra production is one of the important industries of New Guinea. Unfortunately, mainly on account of drought, the production has declined in the last couple of years by 25 per cent., and this has been accompanied by a fall in prices. The price to-day is about one-third of what it was when the plantations were acquired from the custodian of the expropriated properties. Many of the purchasers probably based their price on an average price of £20 per ton for copra. To-day the price is only about £10 per ton, and this decline, in conjunction with the lower production, has placed many of the planters in difficulties. At the end of this year the moratorium will expire, and the Government has not yet announced what it intends to do. I have placed before the Minister, in writing, a proposal that I also submitted to the annual meeting of the Planters Association held at Rabaul towards the end of July, and I urge that immediate consideration be given to it.
I endorse fully what the Minister said regarding the value of the agricultural department. The agricultural and health services are the two most important there. Not’ only have the natives been taught how to produce a greater variety of foodstuffs, but the planters also have been helped. Although both the price and production of copra have fallen, the overhead costs of plantations are practically unchanged. Plantation labourers are usually signed on for a period of three years; therefore the plantation manager has to pay for labour whether there is need for it or not. But the Agricultural Department has enabled the planters to reduce their line of “ boys “ by the use of two-cover crops which not only enrich the soil, but also prevent the native grass from growing. These are colophonium and centrosema.
The work of the medical section also cannot be too highly praised. It has improved immensely the living conditions throughout the controlled part of the territory. From Rabaul, which under the German regime was a hotbed of malaria, that disease has been almost completely eliminated. The health authorities have systematically taken measures to prevent the breeding of the malarial mosquito, anopheles anulipes. Not only are swamp areas and stagnant waters treated, but even tree-hollows in which water could lodge, have been concreted. This branch also gives to the general administration valuable aid in bringing native races under control. The natives are particularly amenable to the agricultural and medical officers, and patrols from these two sections can go into untamed country with more success than can ordinary administrative patrols. Of the 90,000 square miles in the territory, less than 20,000 square miles is under control. Therefore, the reference of the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) to cannibals is well founded. Some of the tribes living about the head waters of the Sepik River are still quite untamed.
Justice is administered by two judges, the chief of whom is at present south on leave. During his absence the land titles work to which his colleague usually attends will probably fall into arrears, unless other litigation is slack. The work of the two judges in the Mandated Territory would be facilitated if, pending a re-survey of the occupied areas, the Government accepted the land titles issued by the German authorities. Unless some other course is adopted, there will always be the possibility of a recurrence of the trouble experienced in the Mortlocks island case. Mr. Goodson secured, or assumed that he had secured, the freehold to 619 hectares, but discovered, several years later, that the actual area was only about 37 hectares. The land had been sold with the statement, “ no native rights shown.” Later, “ native rights “ were claimed and granted.
Whenever cases are pending of sufficient importance to justify this course, the judges should be required to go on circuit. If, for example, important litigation arises in Madang or Salamua, the judge hearing the case should hold court as near as possible to the scene of action, so as to avoid the expenditure involved in bringing plaintiffs, defendants and witnesses to Rabaul. This is desirable also for the reason that, so averse are many of the natives from going to Rabaul, that - to use a native expression - they will “ change their talk “ to avoid the trip. I regret also that the Mandated Territory is without the services of a stipendiary magistrate. I mentioned this matter first in 1925, and also suggested the appointment of a mining warden, prior to the discovery of gold. I considered that it was urgent, as various companies were prospecting for oil in selected localities, and reports were current, even then, of the discovery of gold in the Morobe district. Since then an important gold-field has been opened up, and the warden appointed is now to have an assistant. It is desirable that officials who preside over district courts in the territory should have the assistance of a stipendiary magistrate, a man with legal training, and experienced in the assessing of evidence. Although the jurisdiction of these district courts may be somewhat limited, it must not be forgotten that district officers have multitudinous duties to attend to. They are the administrators of their respective districts, have authority over patrols, and while holding district courts, are supposed to impart some training in such matters to patrol officers. To make them more efficient in their duties, I suggest to the Minister that, when these officers come south on leave, they should be encouraged to sit in courts presided over by a stipendiary magistrate, so as to obtain a wider knowledge of court procedure. If some such provision were made, I am sure that many district officers, when on leave, would avail themselves of the opportunity to add to their knowledge of legal procedure so as to become more efficient in the discharge of their magisterial and administrative duties. At present, of the 28 officers authorized to preside over district . courts, not one has had any legal training.
– What is the function of the district courts?
– They decide disputes between native and native in civil actions, and between white menand natives. Their lack of legal training often places them at a great disadvantage, as honorable members will readily understand. On one occasion the two barristers engaged by plaintiff and defendant in a civil action occupied much of the time of the court in raising abstruse points of law, the only effect of which was to embarrass the district officer. On other occasions I have mentioned that the two judges appointed to the Mandated Territory to sit in criminal jurisdiction, have not the assistance of a jury. They have to be judges both of law and of facts. Honorable members will recall that when I spoke of this matter several weeks ago, the Minister in charge of the House replied that the jury system was not in operation in any other British possession similar to New Guinea. I have since made inquiries, and I am advised that the Indian Criminal Procedure Code 1898, which also governs the procedure in East African and some of the West African dependencies, provides that all criminal trials before the High Court shall be by jury, and before a court of session, by jury or with the aid of assessors. Recently also I noticed a report of an appeal in a civil case from Jamaica to the Privy Council, the appeal being against the direction given to the jury. This would indicate that the jury system is in operation in the West Indies.
– Would it not be difficult to apply the. jury system to the Mandated Territory, because of its limited population?
– If that were the objection, the assessor system, which is a modification of the jury system, could be adopted. But I am referring par ticularly to the need for juries in trials in which the white population is involved. I make this distinction because, in many instances, what might be regarded by white men as a serious crime is, according to tribal laws, really a duty devolving upon the native concerned. In Kenya Colony all trials before the Supreme Court are with the aid of assessors, except in cases of serious charges against Europeans, who are tried by a jury of Europeans. The jurisdiction of the Kenya Supreme Court is restricted to certain localities and to serious cases against Europeans. In Uganda all trials before the High Court and Court of Sessions are held with the aid of assessors. In Tanganyika the Indian criminal code applies, except those portions of it relating to trials by jury. In Nyassaland, trials for murder are, wherever possible, held with the aid of assessors, but the judge may direct a case to be tried by a jury. In SouthWest Africa the South African Criminal Procedure Act is in operation. In Ceylon, district court trials may be either by a judge alone or with the aid of assessors, and all trials before the Supreme Court are by jury. In Fiji, trials before the Supreme Court are either by jury or by the Chief Justice sitting with assessors. The assessor system is applied in areas where it is not possible to get sufficient white population to impanel a jury. As the jury system is in operation in Papua, which has a male adult population of 574, compared with a male adult population in the territory of New Guinea of 1,761, I see no reason why it should not be adopted there also. If it were not possible to impanel a jury, there would at least be sufficient to act as assessors to assist the judge.
The object of the bill is to appoint an executive council and legislative council of New Guinea comprising- official and non-official members. Some people, including, I believe, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin), are under a misapprehension as to the functions of the two councils. It is thought by many that a chamber appointed by the Governor-General on the nomination of the administrator will not be representative of all the interests in the Mandated Territory. That is not so. In the
Crown Colony of Fiji, where the Legislative Council is partly nominated and partly elective, this system works satisfactorily. [Leave to continue given/]
On the 12th of August last the Sydney Morning Herald published the following report from Suva : -
A definite pronouncement has been made by the Governor regarding the scope and power of the Legislative Council, which, many people think is an important governing body. It is true that there are many things which cannot be done without the consent of the council, but as the Governor has the official majority, government is really an autocracy.
Many of the provisions of the bill have been taken word for word from the Papua Act of 1906, and subsequent amendments of it. Provision is made for the appointment of ari Executive Council of nine members, eight of whom shall be officers of the territory. The other one is to be chosen by and from the nonofficial members of the Legislative Council. I presume that it is the intention of the Government to appoint to the Executive Council the heads of the eight departments in the Mandated Territory, namely the Government Secretary, the Government Treasurer, the Director of Public Health, the Commissioner for Native Affairs and District Services, the Commissioner for Lands, Mines, Surveys and Forests, the Director of Agriculture, the Director of Public Works and the Collector of Customs. I suggest that this will make the Executive Council too large. If the heads of the three most important departments, namely, the Director of Agriculture, the Director of Public Health and the Commissioner for Native Affairs and District Services were appointed, and two other officers, say the Government Treasurer and the Crown Law officer were appointed to represent all the other interests, the position would be well covered. A council of this size, with the administrator, would be large enough. I sincerely trust that in making the appointments to the Legislative Council the Government will provide for the representation of outside interests.
Unfortunately, the Mandated Territory has suffered, like Australia, from too much centralization. In many respects Rabaul regards itself as the territory. The Government Secretary, for instance, who has never done any outside work, is the co-ordinating officer, and in the past he has even interfered between departments. The Inspector of District Services, who is also stationed in Rabaul, has done very little outside work and rarely, if ever, goes on patrol or “ outside “ inspectorial duty. I thoroughly approve of the proposed divisions covering agriculture, mining and commerce, but care will have to be exercised to ensure that these interests are adequately represented. Seeing that provision is being made for the representation of public departments, the Rabaul outlook will be expressed; but what is of at least equal importance is that the voice of the outside districts shall also he heard. I hope that we shall, not have so much government by radio when the provisions of this new measure become operative. In the past, most trivial matters have been referred to Canberra; such, for instance, as the erection of light poles. This is ludicrous. Canberra should drop a little more’ into the background. Some more autonomy can now be introduced into governmental affairs in the Mandated Territory.
I wish to return for a moment to a subject I mentioned earlier, which has become important since the discovery of gold in this territory. It is provided at present that only a certain percentage of foreign capital may be employed by companies operating in the territory. This is, in many respects, disadvantageous. It was put to me by an American gentleman interested in mining, that the development of the alluvial gold-fields of the territory had been hindered because of the restrictions in respect to -the country of origin of capital. This gentleman was of the opinion .that if these provisions could be modified there would be a big influx of foreign capital. While I agree that it is highly desirable that every care should be exercised in the employment of foreign capital, I think it would be beneficial if -the stringency of the provisions could be relaxed a little. Safeguards could be provided to ensure that capital from undesirable quarters would’ not be employed.
I thank honorable members for their consideration in allowing me an extension of time, and I trust that the Government will carefully consider the proposals that I have made.
.- While the Minister in charge of this bill (Mr. Marr), was making his second-reading speech, the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Penton) asked him whether the League of Nations was satisfied with our administration of our mandate for New Guinea. As I, with Mr. P. E. Coleman, had the privilege of representing Australia at the meeting of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations at Geneva two years ago, I should like to enlarge a little on the reply given by the Minister to the honorable member. Perhaps I can do this best by describing the circumstances of that meeting. Mr. Coleman and I enjoyed a great advantage which previous representatives of Australia had not possessed, in having with us Mr. E. W. P. Chinnery, the Government anthropologist of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, who was travelling in England under a Rockefeller Foundation Research Scholarship. We had the benefit of his services for at least a month before the meeting of the commission at Geneva, and it was my duty to learn all that was possible from his knowledge and experience of the subject which would be dealt with by the commission. Furthermore, Mr. Chinnery sat just behind Mr. Coleman and myself at the meeting of the commission, so that we were able satisfactorily to confer with him on any questions which arose and which we could not answer offhand. At previous meetings of this commission the Australian representatives had had to rely on their native wit, or on the formal information which had been furnished to them, in answering the pertinent and far-reaching questions that the members of the commission thought fit to put to them. It was not so much to our credit, as because of the simplicity of our task, owing to Mr. Chinnery’s presence, that we were able to satisfy the members of the Permanent Mandates Commission in a way that I think they had not been previously satisfied regarding Australia’s handling of her mandate. I think I can say quite definitely that the commission was completely satisfied that Australia was dis charging most effectively her trusteeship towards these backward people.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin), and the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green), both mentioned the medical services of New Guinea. This subject was specially prominent in the discussions at the 1929 meeting of the Mandates Commission. What both these honorable gentlemen have had to say is in no sense exaggeration. The last year for which I have at hand figures in relation to the medical services of New Guinea is 1928; but these figures are fairly indicative of the present position. They show that more than £70,000 was spent that year on medical services, and that £50,000 of that sum was spent directly in benefiting the natives. This amount was about 20 per cent, of the total revenue. When obtaining these figures I gathered all the information available, with the object of ascertaining how our expenditure on medical services in New Guinea compared with similar expenditure in other British colonies and in non-British colonies. I discovered that our expenditure was far and away higher than that of any foreign colony at any stage of its development, and much higher even than that of any other British colony. Those, who know the territory better than I do are aware that our medical services there are something of which we can be definitely proud. This statement is supported by the president of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh mentioned the value of the missionary work that has been done in New Guinea. I have heard many men who know the territory really well, speak in the highest terms of the wonderful work that has been done there by missionaries of all denominations. These missionaries, with no thought of their own welfare, but with a true regard for the development of the native peoples, have given lives of self-sacrificing devotion to the endeavour to elevate the natives and reclaim them from the state of barbarism that was their natural lot.
This bill will give the Mandated Territory a small measure of self-government. It will not be representative, nor even re- sponsible, government. Hitherto the government has been autocratic, without a semblance of a deliberative body other than the Advisory Council, which has no definite responsibility; but when the proposed legislative council has been constituted the first step towards self-government will have been taken. The population of this territory consists of 500,000 natives and about 3,000 white people. It is not intended, nor would it be right to say, that this is a step towards a system of government in which the natives will have representation. The best way in which to describe the culture of the natives is to say that practically speaking they are people of the Stone Age. They are susceptible, as the honorable member for Hindmarsh told us, of elevation in simple matters; but, having the mentality of children, they cannot be expected to go beyond that. I speak on the authority of persons who know the state of anthropological development of the New Guinea native when I say that for generations to come the natives will not reach a position appreciably above their present culture. As to their participation in the conduct of the affairs of the territory, which was suggested by interjection, that is out of all reason. But while to give direct representation to the natives on the executive council or the legislative council is impossible, all the official representatives on those bodies will be direct representatives of the natives, and the addition of any other representation that I can conceive would not, in my opinion, increase “ the security of their interests.
As to the number of the personnel of the executive council and the legislative council, I would say that in other British colonies about which I have information, the executive councils are in nearly every case smaller than that proposed in the bill, and the legislative councils are larger. I know, as the Minister stated, that the provisions of the bill have been framed to a large extent on similar provisions operating in the act governing Papua. It is well known that the Papuan Government has worked well, and I accept that as the reason for the departure from what has been the usual British practice in other parts of the world. Another reason may be that, because the territory administered under the mandate is so widespread, it may be thought that some members of the proposed executive council will always be absent from Rabaul, and so the relatively large number of nine members has been chosen in order to ensure that six or seven could always be counted upon.
The Minister stated that during the committee stage honorable members will have an opportunity to discuss the proportionate representation of the different sections of the white community. I also hope that there will be an opportunity to discuss the possibility of the direct representation of the missions. I know that difficulty lies in the fact that these missions belong to many denominations, and there would be great heartburn: ing if a decision had to be made as to which denomination should have representation.
In conclusion I desire to direct attention to the great geographical difficulty of the administration of the mandate. I once took the trouble to draw a map of Great Britain on the same scale as a map of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. It showed that, although the area of the Mandated Territory is only slightly smaller than that of England and Scotland; it extends, north and south and east and west over .an area several times greater. This comparison gives some idea of the physical difficulties of administration there.
Mr. BEASLEY (West Sydney) [5.45j. - I shall not discuss this matter at length, but there are one or two points which I wish to bring under the notice of the House. In moving the second reading of the bill, the Minister (Mr. Marr) said that it is the desire of the Government to provide a form of self: government for the Mandated Territory of New Guinea; yet those who have studied the bill are aware that it does not provide for any such form of government. The Minister further said that the Bruce-Page Government promised the inhabitants of New Guinea that it would’ do something to give them the right to control their own affairs, and that because of a change of government that promise could not be fulfilled. I do not not know whether the Minister blamed the succeeding government for not carrying out that promise; but I think I am safe in saying that the succeeding administration felt that it could not bring down a measure which, while pretending to provide a system of self-government, made no such provision at all. The last Government did not wish to masquerade in a false light in this matter, and felt that it would be better to allow things to remain as they were until some system of real self-government in the territory could definitely be introduced.
It cannot be denied that great development has taken place in the territory of New Guinea, lt is true, as the Minister stated, that the discovery of gold and the use of aeroplanes have helped to induce people to settle in New Guinea. But as this great development has taken place since the mandate was accepted by the Commonwealth, it must be assumed that the white residents of the territory are entitled to some form of self-government. Those who have proved their competence to advance the interests of New Guinea, as these people undoubtedly have, should be on the same basis as the people of the Commonwealth. To raise, as a bar to this, the unfitness of the natives for selfgovernment is to shirk the question. The present intellectual development of the natives generally may well be such that they could not be entrusted with the control of the ordinary activities of the territory; but at the same time, it may be argued that a reasonable percentage have been brought into close touch with civilization, and are capable of rendering such services as may be expected of them. It can also be truthfully said that the success achieved by the white men in mining and agriculture is due largely to the help of the natives. That being so, the question of their direct representation is of importance. The natives should be capable of putting from their view-point the matters with which they are concerned, to prevent their own exploitation. But are we to assume that the 3,000 white persons in the territory are incapable of selecting their own representatives? The 3,000 white persons in New Guinea are as intelligent and as competent as ourselves, and are, therefore, entitled to real selfgovernment instead of a form of government such as the bill provides. The bill, however, provides that eight representatives are to be selected from the 300 who comprise the official population, and only seven from the remainder of white inhabitants, an immense preponderance of official representatives. I do not agree with the method of providing three representatives of the planters, two of the mining-industry and two of the commercial interests. How is a selection to be made? It may be answered that there are organizations representing the planters. I believe there are. I do not know if there is a miners’ organization, and I am unaware of any organization of the mine-owners ; but unless there is some general organization, including the men employed by the mining companies and the leaseholders, the scheme will be unworkable.
– Possibly a person nominated by the administration may not be acceptable to the people.
– That is so. A perusal of the bill shows that there will be a preponderance of officials on the proposed legislative body. Moreover, the Administrator will be able to veto any proposal submitted to the executive council or to the legislative council. Even if it were possible for an employee in the mining industry to be nominated, any proposal made by such a representative could be vetoed by ‘the Administrator. “We have passed the stage of pretending to do things. It was demonstrated during the crisis through which we are passing that the general public is sick and tired of pretence. The people are looking for something real. If we cannot give them the real thing, why not let them know exactly where they stand? The residents of the Mandated Territory will soon realize that they are not to be permitted to handle their affairs in the way they would like; they will still have to run the gauntlet of the Administrator. Their views may be brought before the legislative council, but the Administrator, who will be president of the council, will have the power, if he so desires, to prevent discussion. Representatives may thus be prevented from bringing forward matters which they feel are within the power of the legislative council to determine. The success or otherwise of the administration, of the Mandated Territories will depend upon the suitability of the Administrator. The administration of Papua has been such a success because of the ability of Sir Hubert Murray. That gentleman, undoubtedly, possesses the proper temperament for his work, and takes a wide view of all subjects that come under his control. The little experience E had when in office in dealing with territorial matters enabled me to notice the difference between Sir Hubert Murray and others holding similar positions. When there were difficulties, such as a clash between the natives or quarrels between members of the official staff, there was never any trouble, because Sir Hubert Murray always appears to be able to get to the cause of events. He seemed to be able to prevent the dissemination of false rumours and misleading information. We have to remember that when such information reaches Australia, it is cabled abroad, and reaches the ears of busybodies in other parts of the world who, actuated by national jealousy, do not hesitate to use it to the detriment of this country. There are those abroad who, perhaps, feel that Australia should not be entrusted with the mandate for this territory, and are eager to place before the League of Nations reports which redound to the discredit of Australia’s administration. Eventually, of course, such reports are disproved, but’-by that’ time the harm may be done. The success of an administration such as exists in New Guinea depends upon the ability of the man in control. As I have said, we have been fortunate in obtaining the services of the right man in Papua, but it may be too much to expect that we shall be equally fortunate in New Guinea. This bill proposes to leave too much power in the hands of the Administrator. I agree with the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) that, if we are not prepared to give a substantial measure of local government to the territory, we should not deceive the residents into the belief that we propose to do so. The Minister may feel some pride in that he is introducing a measure providing for a new system of government, but I do not believe that the system proposed will confer any advantages on those living in the Mandated Territory. In opposing this measure, we have no desire to prevent the conferring of self-government on the territory; we wish to emphasize that the bill does not confer even a limited measure of self-government.
– Many of the clauses emphasize the fact that it will be really a one-man government.
– Practically every clause reserves the exercise of all actual power to the Administrator. I was particularly struck by the fact that the Administrator has to approve of even those subjects which may be brought up for discussion. Surely it should be sufficient to allow him the right of veto, without giving him power to stifle discussion as well. The residents may not even bring their grievances before the council without the consent of the Administrator. It has always been a boast that, in countries under British rule, freedom of speech is permitted. This privilege is generally accorded to the people even when it is not acceptable to the rulers of the day. It will be generally agreed that if the people are allowed to express their opinions, an opportunity is provided to bring grievances and injustices under the notice of the authorities. The injustices may not be as great as the aggrieved persons represent them to be, but, at any rate, there will be opportunity of redress if they are allowed to voice them. There is always danger that those in authority may get out of touch with the community at large; that they may develop a singletrack mind; or that, Winded by political prejudices, they may refuse to suit their administration to changing conditions. It is essential, therefore, that councillors who represent th& residents of the territory should be afforded every opportunity of putting their views before the authorities. We desire that people in the Mandated Territory, as ‘well as those in Australia who may feel disposed to support this measure, should know that it confers nothing in the nature of selfgovernment on the Mandated Territory.
– I do not feel qualified to discuss this bill authoritatively, because I cannot claim to be an fait with conditions in the Mandated Territory, but I feel it incumbent upon me to make some reference to that portion of the measure which has to do with the constitution of the legislative council. The bill as a whole is, I think, a fairly good one, and the system it proposes to inaugurate is certainly an improvement on what it is to replace. I can understand that there may be difficulties in the way of giving really representative government to the Mandated Territory. The honorable member for Corio (Mr. Casey) spoke of geographical difficulties, and, maybe, there is also the difficulty that a big percentage of the population is congregated in very few centres, and the balance scattered over large areas.
Several honorable members have voiced a well-deserved tribute to Sir Hubert Murray and his administration in Papua. This constrains me to urge the Government, when choosing officials to administer ‘ the territory, to appoint young men with wide vision, and a real interest in the native races, rather than political refugees, or returned soldiers, whose only claim to consideration is their military service. The Government should appoint men who will be prepared to serve a term of 20 or 30 years in the territory, as Sir Hubert Murray has done;
I do’ not entirely approve of the suggestion that representation should be afforded to all the various interests in the territory. There would be a danger of overlapping, because, for instance, the interests of the planters and the commercial men are practically identical.
On going through the reports of the Council for the League of Nations for the administration of the Territory of New Guinea, I was impressed by the reference to mission schools, and I believe that the missionaries have earned the right to representation on the Legislative Council. Discussing the subject of education, the report states -
The reports submitted by the various missions show that there were 1,431’ mission schools in the territory at 30th June, 1930. Of these, 187 were in the charge of Europeans, and 1,244 in the charge of native teachers.
The members of the teaching staff engaged by the various missions consisted of 246 Europeans, four Asiatics and 1,452 natives.
The number of pupils reported to be receiving instruction at these schools was 38,801.
The mission establishments in these outposts of the Empire have, to a largo extent, taken upon themselves the task of educating the natives, and they are, in addition, largely responsible for the moral standard which prevails. They do immense good, not only in giving direct education to the people, but also in teaching them trades and handicrafts. They also attend to the medical requirements and the health of the natives as a whole. One of the missions has an excellent hospital with a fully qualified medical practitioner and three or four trained nurses in attendance. Incidentally, I might say that that institution has been endowed by one of the members of this House, and in that way he has done much to assist in maintaining the health and well being of the natives under the control of the mission. The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) has compared the proposed council with the Fijian council, and I commend for the consideration of the Minister his suggestion that the natives of New Guinea have not yet reached the stage at which they could directly represent their own interests on the council. They have rightly been described by the honorable member for Corio (Mr. Casey) as being in the Stone Age stage of development, but the time may come when they will be in a position to seek direct representation on the council. ‘It is the object of the British nation in its colonization efforts not to retard the development of native races, but rather to preserve and encourage their ideals and religions. The council of Fiji consists of six elected Europeans, three elected Indians, and three Fijians who are appointed. The Indian and Fijian communities are thus placed on an equal basis. The European population, of course, is not so great, but its representation is equal to the combined representation of the coloured races. In view of the opposition that has been aroused in this House to the proposed legislative council, the Minister might consider eliminating entirely sub-section 3 of proposed new section 19, which reads -
Three of the non-official members of the Legislative Council shall be nominated as representing the interests of the planting industry, two as representing the interests of the mining industry, and two as representing commercial interests.
I am afraid that if these various representatives are appointed to the council, they may exhibit sectional bias, and further their own particular interests, rather than those of the Mandated Territory as a whole. A good deal of friction would be caused by the appointment of representatives of the planting and mining industries and the commercial interests; but if these interests are to be represented, then the missions should also be represented on the council, because they have attended to the education and welfare of the native races, possibly much better than has the administration itself. If the Minister decides to appoint missionary representatives, the actual appointment should be left to the Administrator. Even if subsection 3 of proposed new sub-section 19 were deleted, the seven non-official members of the legislative council would still be nominated by the Administrator and appointed by the Governor-General us provided under paragraph c of subsection 2. I suggest that the Administrator should have sufficient knowledge of the residents to enable him to determine who are the most suitable for appointment to the council.
.- This proposed new system of government for New Guinea deserves our earnest consideration. The Mandated Territory of New Guinea has been entrusted to Australia by the other members of the League of Nations, and before we depart from a system of government that has been in existence in that territory for many years we should make sure that the new system will be satisfactory. “We have to convince not only ourselves, but the other members of the League of Nations as well, that this legislation is in the interests of the territory itself. It has been stated by the Minister that this legislation provides for a representative government for the people of New Guinea; but the bill itself, from start to finish, is a complete denial of that statement. As a matter of fact, this bill -makes no provision for placing the responsible government of that territory in the hands of the various interests there. The dictatorship that now exists will continue to exist, and we have to consider whether that, is the right system of government for the territory. If the old system has been a failure, it must be changed. If this legislation is given effect, the Mandated Territory of New Guinea will still be virtually under the control of the Administrator. The bill contains no remedy for any confusion or ‘ deadlock that might arise in respect of any conflicting decisions of the legislative 4 council and the Administrator. If there were a difference of opinion between the council and the Administrator on a matter of urgent importance, considerable delay might ensue before the Minister or Cabinet in Australia would have an opportunity to give a decision. For that and other reasons I believe that this proposed new system of governing the Mandated Territory would not he so practicable and successful as is the present system of administration. The executive council, which will be the supreme body, and the legislative council, will be nominee bodies. Representatives of various interests are to be appointed to the legislative council, and from the bill I understand that the Administrator, in making those appointments, need not take into consideration the wishes of the particular interests concerned. The bill states that non-official members shall be nominated as representing the planting industry, the mining industry, and the commercial interests. It provides that the representatives shall be nominated, not by those interests, but by the Administrator. There is, in the bill, no provision to the effect that the members of the council must he ‘representatives of or nominated by the interests concerned. If representatives of the various interests are appointed to the council, it is quite likely that each representative will watch the interests only of the section that he represents, and it is quite conceivable that a difference of opinion will arise between those interests. If most of the white people are- living in a few centres, it should be easy to give them representative government, such as we have in Australia.
Sitting suspended from 6.1.5 to 8 p.m.
– I am opposed to having particular interests represented on the legislative council. I Suggest that the proper way to create a legislative machine for this territory would he to give the inhabitants representative government as we know it in Australia.. That would be possible if there were numbers of white people in reasonably accessible centres. The suggestion has been made that the natives might be represented on the council. Some honorable members may treat that idea lightly, but I remind them that the natives of Fiji and New Zealand have for many years enjoyed representation in the legislatures of those countries. Eight’ of the nine members comprising the executive council are to be officials, and they will be subservient to the Administrator, who will nominate them for appointment to the council. One representative will be the nominee of the legislative council, which will represent particular interests. The preponderance of members of the legislative council will, therefore, be nominees of the Administrator himself. To all intents and purposes, this body will be largely the creature of the Administrator, who will have power to nominate its members and to dismiss them summarily from office. The executive council will be a similar body, because the Administrator will nominate the members, and will have power summarily to dismiss them. In the event of the legislative council refusing to nominate a member of the executive council, the Governor-General, who, I presume, will be advised by the Administrator, may appoint a member, in which event all the members of the executive council will be the nominees of the Administrator. It is a peculiar provision to put into this bill, and the Minister might have taken the House into his confidence regarding it. He might have let us know precisely what difficulty the Government anticipates when it provides that, if the legislative council refuses to nominate a member of the executive, an appointment may be made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Administrator. Does the Government fear that on any particular subject a deadlock may arise between the legislative council, representing various interests in New Guinea, and the executive council representing officialdom there? Is it anticipated that the legislative council, in the event of such a deadlock, may withdraw its representative from the executive council, or, in the event of a vacancy occurring on the latter body, refuse to nominate another person for the appointment? This provision seems to indicate that the Government does not expect smooth working between the two bodies. Another peculiar provision of the bill is that no member of the executive council shall have the right to initiate business. The sole right in that direction rests with the Administrator; and, in the event of a dispute arising, and the Administrator refusing to allow a certain matter to be discussed, the dispute must be noted by him and forwarded to the Executive in Canberra for decision. The steamer ser.viée between New Guinea and Australia provides for communication only once in three weeks, and it is conceivable that a matter of urgent public importance might be held up for a month or more because of such a deadlock. There seems to be no provision in the bill for dealing in New Guinea itself with a dispute between the Administrator and the executive council. This might prove detrimental to the inhabitants of the Mandated Territory.
Members of the legislative council are to be appointed for four years; but they may hold their positions only during the pleasure of the Administrator, who has the right summarily to dismiss them at any time. Another peculiar provision of the bill makes it possible for the Administrator to appoint an additional member of the council, if he deems it desirable, in order to place a particular matter before that body. If all interests are to be represented on the legislative council, why should it be necessary to appoint a new councillor?
The Administrator has the sole right to determine matters of seniority in the council. As the majority of the members will be government officials, it seems to me that they will be the blind and subservient tools of the Administrator. Matters coming before the council are to be decided by the vote of the members, and here, again, the Administrator, despite all the representation that he will have on the council because of the appointments that he has made, is to have not only a deliberative but also a casting vote. In addition to that, he has the further power, under the bill, if a decision goes against his wishes, to veto the council’s determination. That is a mockery of responsible government. What would be thought of the Commonwealth legislative machine if you, Mr. Speaker, had the sole right to determine what matters members of this Parliament should be allowed to bring forward for discussion, and in the event of a dispute arising relative to your exercise of such a power the matter had to be referred to authorities on the other side of the world for determination, and even after it had been determined that you were wrong you still had power to veto what was done by honorable members?
Summarizing my objections to this bill, I contend that one-man administration cannot be justified. The bill aggravates the present position by leaving the way open for an impasse between the Administrator and the legislative machine. It gives power to the Administrator to create the machine, and then, at his own whim or decision, to destroy that which he has created. It gives representation to trading interests, but no representation whatever to the civilian population. I suggest that the eyes of the civilized world are upon the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. This territory may be regarded as one of the prizes of war, but honorable members on both sides of the Blouse will agree that Australia has accepted the responsibility to govern it in the best interests of the inhabitants. If the past administration has not been a failure, what need is there for the change now proposed? If, on the other hand, the present system of administration by one man has been found wanting, and the Government desires to effect an improvement, we should at least take from the Administrator the dictatorial powers that have been exercised under the system that has proved a failure. Other nations will expect the Commonwealth Government to provide an improved method of administration, if it is intended to alter the present system. This bill is merely a crude attempt to cloak administration by a dictator; it does not provide for genuine reform in the shape of re sponsible government. This matter is of the utmost importance to the inhabitants of New Guinea. We are practically framing a constitution for the government of that country, and its people have as much right to have their wishes considered as would the inhabitants of Australia if Great Britain were framing a constitution for them. If honorable members consider that, under this bill, the right thing is not being done by the people of New Guinea, they should not concur in the proposal of the Minister that the measure be passed to-night. I believe in responsible government; but, under this bill, it is not proposed to grant it to the people of New Guinea.
– The conditions in New Guinea are so different that the Australian system of government could not be put into operation there.
Mr.ROSEVEAR.- If we do not make an attempt to provide for a system of local government, it will never be established. Although it is pointed out that the white population is very scattered, we should remember that, at election times, ballot-papers are sent hundreds of miles into the most remote corners of the Commonwealth, in some of which only two or three votes are cast. If that is possible in Australia, it is possible in New Guinea. I do not think that the House should stand for an administrative dictatorship.
.- I have carefully read the bill, and it appears to me that the difference between what is now proposed and that which exists is no greater than the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. At the present time there is an Administrator, with powers that are openly dictatorial. The bill merely seeks to veil those powers. Therefore, it does not matter whether we pass it or not. Beyond the fact that the minutes of both the executive council and the legislative council that are to be appointed will have to be sent to the Minister, with the result that the views of minorities may come more closely under his observation than is possible at present, I see no advantage in the measure. I admit that I am practically in the dark because, not having visited the Mandated Territory, I have no firsthand knowledge of the conditions that exist there. But before I cast a vote on the bill, I invite the Minister to furnish me with information concerning two points. The first is the genesis of the bill. The honorable gentleman has told us that a similar bill was brought down by the Bruce-Page Government, and from other speakers I have learned that it was based largely on the Papua Act of 1905. The honorable gentleman was a member of the Bruce-Page Ministry. I should like to know whether the request for this class of legislation then came from the Administrator, the Government officials, or the civilian population of the territory. The second point on which I desire enlightenment is the cost that is likely to be involved. I know that many honorable members consider that it is lowering the prestige of Parliament to inquire into the cost of anything. To me, however, this measure seems to contain the germ of another parliament, and I am anxious to know what the cost of it is likely to be.
– That has nothing to do with this Parliament, because in that respect the Mandated Territory is selfcontained.
– It has this much to do with us, that we are laying down what is practically a constitution for the territory. I am aware, of course, that we are not actually finding the money. I heard one honorable member say that the Mandated Territory is paying its way, but as it has been entrusted to our care, we are responsible for it. It does not follow that because it pays its way without a parliament the result will be the same with a parliament; the chances are that it will not. I want to know whether an expensive parliament house is to be erected, and what is the likelihood of different departments developing at considerable cost, some even to the point of extravagance. I invite the Minister to reply to these two questions.
.- I can see in this bill no benefit to the people of the Mandated Territory, because they are not to be given the right to select their representatives. The Administrator is to have the power to choose the mem bers of the legislative council, and any legislation that that body may enact for the benefit of the territory may be vetoed by him or must have his consent. I do not know why the bill has been brought down, unless it be to provide positions for certain individuals. No mention is made of remuneration for those who will be appointed, but there is bound to be a certain amount of expense associated with such an institution. The members of municipal bodies, as a rule, do not receive any payment for their services, but their activities involve the taxpayers in a considerable outlay.
I admit that I have not visited the Mandated Territory; but I am greatly concerned on behalf of the unfortunate natives there, in view of the reports that from time to time reach this Parliament. It must be recognized that the labour conditions practically verge on slavery. I understand that the natives receive only 5s. a month and food, making their total remuneration from 20s. to 23s. a month. Will any honorable member say that those are decent conditions? Some plantation” owners will not allow the poor unfortunate niggers to have their wives with them, but insist upon their remaining with the tribe or living in the bush away from the plantation. That, I consider, is inhuman. Even though they are blacks, they are human beings, and deserve greater consideration. In olden days, much blood was spilt in order that slavery might be stamped out. It must be remembered that we are dealing with a primitive race of people. It is contended, however, that when educated these natives make good workers. The schooling that they receive may develop them to the stage of taking an interest in their own welfare. The number of- natives in the Mandated Territory is 530,000, compared with 2,900 white people. Apparently the whites are exploiting the poor unfortunate blacks.
– Has the honorable member any proof of that?
– If it is not exploitation to work anybody for 20s. a month, I do not know what is. The Minister and other honorable members have referred to the good health that the natives have enjoyed since the advent of the white race.
I understand that physically they were a splendid race prior to that time. Certainly there were no half-breeds, and they did not suffer from some of the diseases that are now prevalent among them. Those results followed the advent of the educated European. From the time when the white man settled in Australia the black began to deteriorate. Of course there are some white people who exercise an uplifting influence. The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) recently endeavoured in this .House to defend a white man who had beaten one of these niggers to death. The native in question had been sent by a Mr. Edgell, of Pak plantation1, with a repaired pinnace to a station-owner named Larkin. He was instructed to give the boat a trial run for the owner, and to return to his master on the Monday, but because he had the temerity to inform Larkin of these instructions-
– The honorable member is quite wrong.
– The judge’s summing up, which is reported in the Rabaul Times, proves that I am not wrong. Because the nigger would not recognize as his master this inhuman monster, he paid for his temerity with his life. Larkin instructed him to clean up his quarters. When that work was finished, the native expressed a desire to return to his master, and offered to prove that the launch, which had been repaired, was in perfect condition. Larkin then gave him the job of cutting grass. This done, he again said that he would have to return. Larkin then sent for him and asked what right had he to dictate to him as to when he should go back to his master, adding “I am your master while you are here”. Larkin’s own evidence, which appears in the Rabaul Times, contains the admission “ I gave him a sort of backhander “. Other witnesses, however, stated that he deliberately punched this unfortunate black in the face, pulled him towards him by the hair of the head, lifted his knee and butted him twice in the body, and then deliberately kicked him in the stomach.
– Order ! The honorable member will have to connect his remaarks with the bill.
– I claim that some protection should be given to these poor unfortunate blacks who have been ill-used by white plantation owners, and that that may be done by appointing those who will watch their interests, preferably a representative of the missions.
– Has the honorable gentleman ever been in a black man’s country?
– I am in one now. Let us consider the summing of Judge Wanliss, as published in the Rabaul Times. He is reported to have said -
The cause of death was the flogging. The shock, gangrene, &c, are all attributable to the flogging, and nothing else, and if ever a native was flogged to death, this one was. Now, I have stated that, in my opinion, the first assault or the first fight was the fault of the accused. The boy may have been, as he says, cheeky. That is quite possible, although he had only the accused’s word for it. There is a possibility that the boy was the attacker in that case, and as it is a possibility I am going to give the accused the benefit of that, but that is no excuse for what happened afterwards.
The flogging, unfortunately, was a considered act, done after the beat of the struggle, after the other party to the struggle bad gone aud after Sambung had been brought back for reasons of revenge and punishment. The revenge or punishment was brutal, cowardly and deliberate. The act is one which is a disgrace to the white race, and one of a type that discredits the territory. These things when they happen do more harm than many cases of violence by natives and I cannot treat it as other than a very serious offence.
I listened attentively and with interest to the appeal that was made by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) to the Minister asking that reconsideration should be given to Larkin’s case. The honorable member claimed that a harsh sentence had been inflicted upon what I term an inhuman monster, who caused a native to be thrashed until he died from his injuries. According to the evidence, Larkin had Sambung beaten from 5 o’clock in the afternoon until dark. He instructed one of his servants, a cook, to administer the hammering, and on three occasions the cook was given a spell. Larkin threatened that if the cook did not hit harder, he would himself be hit. Disgusted at the way the cook was administering the beating, Larkin took the stick and hit Sambung several times, telling the cook that that was the way to hit him. He then handed the stick to a fresh man to continue the beating. At the end the unfortunate Sambung was practically flayed about the buttocks.
According to the doctor’s report-
– No doctor saw Sambung.
– I rely for my information on the court proceedings as reported in the Rabaul Times of Friday, the 4th December, 1931. It states that three days later Sambung was taken vo another island in a schooner and examined by Dr. Lambert, the assistant medical officer-
– Lambert is not a doctor.
– He is described as assistant medical officer. The report says -
Mr. Lambert says when he examined the boy he was really in a dying condition. His left buttock was very shrivelled and discolored and evil smelling, the whole area of the right buttock devoid of skin and bleeding, and the left buttock was a mass of gangrene. The right buttock had no gangrene, but he says the boy was skinned and bleeding. This is the state of the boy who, according to the accused in his evidence after the flogging, was normal.
In his evidence Larkin admitted that what irritated him more than anything else was that after he kicked Sambung the nigger closed with him and they both fell. Larkin cried “ That is enough “. Apparently the nigger had begun to defend himself. Larkin went to his room and the nigger to his quarters. While admiring himself in the glass Larkin saw that he had some of the blood of the nigger on him. This so incensed him that he changed his clothes, ordered his servant to bring Sambung back to the house, had the nigger spread-eagled on the verandah, held by four men, and thrashed in the way that I have described. This brute had thrashed Sambung so murderously that he was practically unconscious, and it was necessary to throw water on him in order that he might be revived. Larkin prevented a second application of water and instructed his servants to stand Sambung on his feet and send him to his quarters. The servants wanted to support Sambung but were instructed that he could walk unaided.
– The facts that the honorable member is now mentioning have already been placed before the House at length. Having sufficiently illustrated his point, the honorable member must now connect his remarks to the bill.
– I am pointing out that the particulars put before the House by the honorable member for Richmond are not correct. So that the public may know the facts, I ask that the case as printed in the Rabaul Times of Friday, 4th December, 1931, be incorporated in Hansa-rd.
Honorable Members.- No.
– Honorable members deny me an opportunity to have the truth published. I want to ensure that these natives are represented on the proposed legislative council. It is claimed that they are insufficiently educated. That 1 concede, but they could be represented by, say, missionaries. I hope that when we reach the committee stage, the Minister will accept an amendment to thai effect.
The bill does not go far enough. It makes no provision for the persons concerned to select their own representatives. The matter is in the hands of the Administrator and the executive council. I congratulate the Government on having endeavoured to abolish the corporal punishment of natives by plantation owners. At the same time, the Larkin case indicates that the evil still continues; and from the fact that Larkin had been convicted on four occasions prior to being sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for having murdered Sambung, it is evident that it had been going on for a considerable time.
– It indicates nothing of the kind. I know the territory, and the honorable member does not.
– I am not prepared to accept the cock and bull stories which the honorable member brings back with him, but prefer what I read in the New Guinea press.
I realize that we should try to develop New Guinea, but it should not be done by exploiting the unfortunate natives. If it can be achieved along the right lines, 1 am prepared to help the Government in that direction. I object to the payment of inadequate wages to tlie natives. I also object to preferential treatment being given to Larkin while he is in gaol, and should like to know who has issued instructions for this inhuman person to be treated better than other prisoners.
– When dealing with this territory, we must bear in mind that it is a mandated territory under the League of Nations, one of those referred to in Article 22 of the Covenant, which reads -
To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under tlie Sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them, and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of u modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization, and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this covenant.
Australia has been entrusted with a mandate over this territory under the “ C” class of mandated territory. It is one of the sacred trusts in which practically the whole of the civilized world is interested, for it is a “ sacred trust of civilization.” The Commonwealth has taken over this mandated territory, with its half -million inhabitants. Australia’s trust, in its administration, is to the men and women who are placed under its control. For the safeguarding of these people, their education, their health, their peace, their order, and their good government, the Commonwealth has to stand at the bar of public opinion of the world. So far, Australia has stood the test, and our mandate has come out well despite adverse but unjustifiable criticism that has arisen from time to time. I happened to be in Europe in 1924 when a damaging article against Australia appeared, and it was necessary to answer it and to show that there was no justification for the attack on our administration. It was my privilege when at Geneva to attend a meeting of the Council of the League of Nations when a matter in reference to New Guinea was being discussed. Australia is entrusted with the administration of this territory, as other parts of the British Empire are entrusted with similar responsibilities. One of the most striking instances of the effect of
British administration is shown in the case of Iraq which was put under the tutelage of the British Government. So effective was British administration in Iraq, that at the last session of the Assembly of the League of Nations, that country was admitted as a member. Surely no better example of the soundness of British administration could be found. The territory submitted to the control of the Commonwealth is of an entirely different character. In the administration of New Guinea, special regard to the interests of the native races must be paid. An interesting stage has been reached in our control of this territory. Originally, Australia’s powers were exercised through an administrator, but all along the Minister in control of the territory has been responsible to this Parliament. That principle was preserved in the New Guinea Act of 1920, section 8 of which provides that -
The Administrator shall exercise and perform all powers and functions that belong to his office according to the tenor of his commission and according to such instructions as are given to him by the Governor-General.
Under the commission issued to him, the Administrator carries on the administration of the territory and is responsible to the Government. The act of 1920 also provided under section 34 that the laws and ordinances .for the government of the territory were to be made by the GovernorGeneral in Council. That means that the Federal Cabinet is responsible for every law in operation in the Mandated Territory.
It is now proposed to go a step further and to provide, not that the Administrator shall cease to be responsible to this Parliament, through the Minister, but that, a new body shall be created for the purpose of making ordinances for the territory, instead of their being made by the Governor-General in Council, as is now the case. For this change there is a precedent. Australia took over the control of Papua in 1905, in which year the Papua Act was passed. The legislation remained in operation until it was amended in 1924. It provided for an executive council and also a legislative council, the latter body to have the same powers as are proposed in this legislation. Section 36 of the 1905 act provided that -
Subject to this Act, the Legislative Council shall have power to make ordinances for the peace, order and good government of the territory.
The 1924 legislation provided for legislative power by a council consisting of a Lieutenant-Governor, the official members of the Executive Council, and five non-official members to be appointed by the Governor-General. Of the non-official members of the Legislative Council one was to be nominated by the Lieutenant-Governor to represent the interests of the Christian missions in the territory. Under this bill a similar legislative council is to be constituted in New Guinea. It will comprise the Administrator, eight official members, and seven non-official members. The government of the day will have a majority through its official representation on the council.
– It will have the lot.
– No. This provision is necessary because, in the control of this Mandated Territory, Australia has a sacred trust. The Government which is responsible for these appointments, and is answerable to this Parliament, must be satisfied that nothing is done in the Mandated Territory which will in any way injure the good name of the British Empire.
– Is that not a sound reason why the natives should be directly represented ?
– The Government is responsible, and therefore it must keep control over the territory. Every member of the Cabinet must regard himself as a trustee of the interests of the native races.
– Would not the honorable gentleman like to see the missions specially represented?
Sir LITTLETON GROOM.That is a matter for the Minister. The history of Papua is interesting. Sir William MacGregor, who was originally appointed to represent the British Government there, did marvellous work. He went into the territory when fierce tribal fights were common, and, without military aid, he gradually brought about peaceful relations with the native peoples and laid the foundation of the present administration. When the territory passed to Australia, the Commonwealth was fortunate in the Administrator who succeeded him. In the development of Papua it has been tremendously helped by the Christian missionaries in the territory; their work has been invaluable to the Commonwealth. In the case of Papua, the direct representation of the missionary societies was justified; but how far that principle should be applied to New Guinea, I am not prepared to say. The missions in the Mandated Territory are doing good work.
– The special functions of the missionary societies would be to preserve the interests of the natives.
– That is their mission now.
– But it is not the special mission of the mine-owners or the planters.
– It is their duty, as residents of the Mandated Territory, to honour their obligations to the native races. That duty rests on them, as on others; but primarily the care of the natives is the responsibility of the Administrator and the government of the day. An advance has now been made to that stage of legislation which provides for some legislative control by a council on the spot, as in Papua, but the desire is not to have only officials on the council. The Government desires that the mine-owners, planters and others living in the Mandated Territory shall have a voice in the framing of legislation to provide for the peace, order and good government of the territory. That is the stage that has now been reached. Honorable members say that this legislation will not give the people of the Mandated Territory responsible government. That is so. Responsible government is the mark of the highly civilized nations of the world. As we have it in Australia, each adult has a vote. This enables the will of the electors to be given effect quickly by legislation passed by the elected representatives of the people, or by administrative acts by Ministers. These Ministers are responsible to Parliament, which, in turn, is responsible to the majority of the electors. But we could not have such an advanced system of government in a mandated territory, where, according to the words of the covenant of the League of Nations, “ the peoples are not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world”.
– Some of those who assisted to frame that covenant have not themselves representative government.
– The Peace Treaty was signed by the representatives of some of the greatest nations of the world. It is true that in some countries there has been a departure from the system of responsible government, as we know it. All over the world parliamentary government is the subject of criticism, and, therefore, it behoves us to live up to the highest ideals of responsible government and to show to the world that the system is sound. In this matter we in Australia have a great responsibility. To the credit of the British Constitution it must be said that, both in the Homeland and in the dominions, the British system of responsible government has stood the test of the greatest struggle the world has known. Responsible government is our greatest liberty, and we must preserve it; hut we cannot apply to a primitive native population of New Guinea the forms of government that apply to ourselves. All that we can do is to determine what, in our opinion, is the best form of government that we can give these people, so that, while preserving the sacred trust imposed in us, we shall also give expression to the views of the white settlers living in the territory. The bill seems to be a happy attempt in that direction; it preserves to this Parliament control and responsibility through the Minister and, at the same time, gives the white residents of the territory a voice in the framing of the laws that govern them. They are thus assured that their interests are not overlooked by a central government situated hundreds of miles away. All that this bill does is to transfer, subject to the terms of the act, the law-making power from the Governor-General in Council to a local body in New Guinea. The change is justified by the experience of a similar system in Papua.
Honorable members have paid a welldeserved tribute to Sir Hubert Murray for his splendid work. When Australia first took over Papua, its ability to control a colony was criticized. I am proud to say that Australia has stood the test; we can look with gratification on its administration of Papua. This bill will give to New Guinea what the Papua Act gives to Papua.
– We are only saying of the inhabitants of New Guinea what other nations once said of us in regard to Papua.
– I say emphatically that I would not give complete control over the Mandated Territory to the few white people who now reside there. We cannot do that, because the responsibility to administer the territory is vested in the Commonwealth. It is a territory entrusted to us under a mandate. But while discharging its primary trust, Australia can still give the white residents a voice in local affairs. In considering the form of government of the territory we can remember the general development of government in Australia. In rough outline there was control by a governor, then a nominee legislative council, later still a council partly nominee and partly elective, and, finally, responsible government. This repeats what has been the usual gradual development in colonies. Politically, Australia has advanced from stage to stage as its population and economic development have warranted. So it must be with New Guinea. It is now about to enter the second stage of its political development, and I believe that the Government is acting wisely in following the precedent of Papua, where the system which this bill proposes has emerged successfully from the test of experience.
.- Before I can support this bill, I want more information. I have not had the advantage of visiting New Guinea, as some honorable members have, but I hope that an opportunity to do so will he afforded to all honorable members some day, because I believe that all Parliaments can legislate more wisely if their members have first-hand knowledge of the peoples and countries to whom the laws they .make are to apply. I was interested to hear of the agricultural possibilities of New Guinea. The copra industry is already well established, and the territory is capable of producing other tropical crops. There has also been considerable activity in gold.mining Apparently, we may regard New Guinea as having considerable economic potentialities, but at a time when Australia, like many other countries, is in financial difficulties, it is unwise to create a new legislature. The Minister has said that the proposed legislative council will not mean much increase of expenditure; but in all countries parliamentary machinery is expensive. Even with non-payment of members, the officialdom, procedure, and display associated with parliaments are costly. The population consists of 500,000 natives and 2,900 whites. The Northern Territory, with a much smaller population, is represented in this chamber by a member who can voice the needs of his constituents, although he has not the right to vote. If the people of New Guinea must have a form of parliamentary representation, why not allow them to elect a member to this House?
– A native?
– No ; but there is a good deal to be said for giving all sections of the community an opportunity to be represented in the legislature. Because this bill proposes an expensive experiment which is not warranted at this time, I shall oppose it.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) referred to the wages paid for native labour and particularly deferred pay; he said that the wages of the native are often withheld from him in order to keep him at his job. I invite honorable members to peruse the native labour ordinances for Papua and New Guinea. I doubt if similar ordinances in any other part of the world are more comprehensive or explicit in providing for the protection of the native worker. For instance, section 73 of the New Guinea Native Labour Ordinance reads -
The wages of a labourer shall be deemed to have been earned and to have become due to him day by day, commencing from the day on which he entered into a contract, but the employer shall not, during the term of service, be bound to pay wages at less than monthly periods.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh knows that the native of New Guinea does not care for cash.
– He does not get much.
– He does not want much. I have often known natives to refuse to accept cash payments. The German administration had a useful system of compelling traders and planters to pay the native labourers half in cash and half in kind. Some honorable members have referred to the native labourers as driven to slavery. No native in New Guinea is compelled to work. The recruiter merely goes out and preaches the gospel of work, but he cannot enlist labourers. Those natives who express a desire to be engaged must be taken under escort, for which the recruiter pays, to the nearest magistrate, who catechises them regarding their desire to work. Any native who indicates that he does not want to become indentured is taken back to his village at the recruiter’s expense.
The honorable member for Hunter (Mr.. James) said that the advent of the white man in New Guinea has brought about degradation of the natives. I say positively that the advent of the white man has meant the betterment of the black. I have seen natives from the bush, mere pictures of skin and bone, develop into fine physical specimens under the influence of three decent meals a day. The native labourer may only be worked for a limited number of hours; he must have the Saturday afternoon and Sunday free. Three alternative scales of diet are prescribed with which the employer must conform; he must also provide certain clothing, and one of his first acts after engaging a native is to provide him with a box fitted with lock and key in which his modest possessions can be kept. I assure honorable members that the native labourer in the Mandated Territory is amply safeguarded by labour ordinances.
The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) suggested the introduction of the jury system in New Guinea, and he questioned a recent reply I gave him to the effect that the jury system did not operate in other territories. I remind him that, according to the Jury Ordinance 1907, of Papua, a jury can be demanded only when a person of European descent is charged with a crime that is punishable by death. For other offences, civil or criminal, there is no jury. In such places as Kavieng, Salamaua, and Madang, there are very few whites, and if one of them were charged with an offence and tried by a travelling court, as the honorable member for Richmond suggested, the jurors would be the friends of the accused. In those circumstances, no white man would be convicted of any offence. If the people of New Guinea desire juries for the trial of criminal offences, they may make their representations to the legislative council when it is established.
Some honorable members have wrongly stated that only the . Administrator will be able to introduce legislation to the legislative council. He alone can introduce matters to the executive council, but any member of the legislative council will be able to bring matters of public Interest before the council. That is the practice in Papua to-day.
– Is there any provision as to when the legislative council shall sit?
– That will be prescribed by regulation if necessary.
– Will this mean increased expenditure ?
– Possibly it will mean a certain amount of expenditure by way of travelling expenses of representatives from the mining fields to Rabaul, but that expenditure, I suggest, would be quite justified. Some members have objected that, because Australia is suffering from the depression, we should not incur additional expenditure by proposing administrative changes in New Guinea. I can assure the House that not one penny is provided in our budget for expenditure in connexion with that, mandated territory. It finances itself.
– The Minister has not yet said what will be the additional expenditure.
– I have explained that some slight expenditure will be incurred in respect of travelling allowances, but there is no provision for payment of representatives. I think the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb) suggested that some arrangement might have to be made for a house of parliament. Possibly he had also in mind additional expense in connexion with refreshmentrooms. It is not intended to incur any expenditure in that direction. The system of government in Papua does not cost very much and I do not anticipate that the establishment of an executive and legislative council in New Guinea will mean much additional expenditure.
– What is the genesis of this bill?
– I think the honorable member for Darling Downs (Sir Littleton Groom) supplied very good reasons for its introduction. Under the League of Nations mandate, the Commonwealth became responsible for the administration of New Guinea. Accordingly we appointed an administrator, who took his instructions from the Government, and provision was subsequently made for an advisory body. The next step is to enlist the services of outside interests to share in the government of the territory.
– Yet they are the very men who, the Minister said just now, could not be trusted to act on a jury in a case in which a white man might be charged with a misdemeanour.
– I thought I had made it plain that I considered it would be difficult to operate the jury system in centres where the white population is small. My remarks applied not to Rabaul, but to the more sparsely populated parts of the territory.
– Nevertheless it was an extravagant statement to make.
– But it is true that in such places, it would probably be difficult to obtain a jury that would convict a fellow white man of an offence. If a dozen members of this House happened to be living in one of the isolated settlements of New Guinea, they would have the same reluctance to convict a fellow member. But I put it to the House that the proper time to urge the introduction of the jury system will be when the legislative council of New Guinea is functioning. If the people interested feel that trial by jury should be adopted, they will have an opportunity to bring that matter before the council for discussion.
As regards the administration of New Guinea generally, since we accepted the mandate in 1920, every government has given sympathetic attention to the needs of the territory. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley), who for a time as Minister was in control of the territory, was as careful in his attention to details of administration as any of his predecessors. All Ministers have been actuated by a desire to do the fair thing by the native population.
– That is an argument against the present proposal.
– Thosehonorable members who have criticized the bill have asked whether this demand for a change in administration comes from government officials, the Administrator or outside interests. Obviously government officials have not agitated for a change because already they have representation on the Advisory Council. This step forward in the administrative progress of New Guinea is being taken on behalf of those people who have been clamouring for some years for representation on the council. When a similar measure was introduced during my previous term of office, the people of New Guinea expressed their unwillingness to accept the proposals then made and urged that they should have the right to legislate for themselves; but this Parliament could not, even if it were so inclined, rid itself of its obligations with respect to New Guinea, which the Commonwealth is administering under its mandate from the League of Nations. Nevertheless every one will admit that the people of the territory should have the right to make suggestions as to the laws under which they live.
– Cannot the Administration co-opt outside assistance.
– No, because outside interests are not represented on the
Advisory Council. Therefore the bill is a step forward in the development of the territory of New Guinea. I agree with what has been said about the good work done by the missions in both Papua and New Guinea. When under German control, the missions, which are among the biggest trading concerns in the territory, were compelled to register as limited liability companies. Under existing conditions they are not obliged to pay a head tax for the boys working on their plantations.
– Their chief concern is the interest of the natives; not trading for profit.
– I believe it is. But the planters who are struggling to make a living, and in whose interest the Government was forced to grant a moratorium, owing to the low price for copra, have to pay1s. per head per month for every native employed on their plantations. I agree that the missions should have some representation on the proposed council, and for this reason the bill provides that if any special matter comes before that body affecting interests which are not directly represented on the council, the Administrator shall have authority to co-opt a direct representative from those interests to put their case.
– Have requests been made by the missions for representation?
– I have had requests from certain mission interests, and to a great extent I agree that they should have representation, but I think that we can deal with this aspect of the measure more fully when the bill is in committee.
– The majority of the missions do not want representation.
– Can the honorable member say that with authority?
– The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) urged that the German ground book should be taken as a basis for the issue of land titles. That course was suggested when I was Minister in an earlier government, and I took the view that the Government should have accepted the German ground book in all cases where properties had been properly surveyed. We must give the German authorities credit for desiring to do the right thing. To put planters to the expense of a re-survey of the whole of their properties, and to create a court to hear claims, would he costly and particularly unfair to the planters concerned. If we had accepted the German ground book as a basis for land titles, it would, I believe, have been a step in the right direction.
– What does the Papua Legislative Council cost?
– The appropriation bill for Papua this year makes provision for £276 for the council. It is not at all likely that the proposed council for New Guinea will cost more. Two planters’ representatives will probably come from New Britain and one from New Ireland.
It is contended by some honorable members that these people should have the right to elect their own representatives and that the Administrator should not have the sole right of choosing the representatives, as well as having his own way in regard to legislation proposed to be introduced. I direct their attention to section 8 of the principal act, which states -
The Administrator shall exerciseand perform all powers and functions that belong to his office according to the tenor of his commission and according to such instructions as are given to him by the Governor-General.
The Governor-General does not give instructions except on the advice of the Executive, which is the Cabinet, and as the Government could not place on the shoulders of the Administrator the sole responsibility of selecting nominees, for the council, it proposes to ask all interests concerned in New Guinea to submit panels of names from which, after careful consideration, the selections will be made of those persons most likely to carry out the duties of legislators satisfactorily in the interests of the territory and the Commonwealth. If honorable members have in mind any suitable man, we shall be prepared to consider his nomination, the sole intention of the Government being to ensure the peace, order and good government of the territory. The Planters Association consists of about 100 planters. As their interests are closely indentified with the development of the territory, it is only right that they should have representation.
The honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) referred to the case of a planter who had been sentenced to a term of imprisonment in connexion with the death of a native boy. That case was most unfortunate. I can assure the honorable member that, speaking generally, the white men and planters are anxious to do the right thing by the natives for whose welfare the Commonwealth is responsible to the League of Nations.
I thank honorable members for the way in which they have received the bill. The Government will be glad to give consideration at the committee stage to any suggestions forthe improvement of the measure.
Question - That the bill be now read a second time - put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. G. H. Mackay.)
Majority . . . . 23
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
Section 3 of the principal act is amended by inserting before the definition of “ the territory” the following definitions: - “ Ordinance “ means an ordinance made by the Executive Council ;
Amendment (by Mr. Marr) agreed to -
That the word “ Executive “ be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ Legislative “.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 4 -
After section eleven of the Principal Act the following headings and sections are inserted: - “12- (1.) There shall be an Executive Council for the Territory, to advise and assist the Administrator. “ (2.) The Executive Council shall consist of nine members who shall be appointed by the Governor-General and shall hold their places in the Council during his pleasure. “19. - (1.) There shall be a Legislative Council for the Territory. “ (2.) The Legislative Council shall consist of-
the official members of the Executive Council (including any officer appointed to act in place of an official member in pursuance of subsection (6. ) of section elevenA. of this Act; and
seven non-official members who shall be nominated by the Administrator and appointed by the GovernorGeneral. “ (3.) Three of the non-official members of the Legislative Council shall be nominated as representing the interests of the planting industry; two as representing the interests of the mining industry, and two as representing commercial interests.
Amendment (by Mr. Mark) agreed to-
That the words “ Eleven A,” paragraph 6, sub-section 2 of proposed new section 19, be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ Twelve “.
– I move-
That sub-section (3), proposed new section 19, be omitted.
I do not think that the provision which I desire to have eliminated would have the effect of giving true representation to the residents of the Mandated Territory.
The Minister pointed out in his speech. that the present advisory council must consist of public servants. This prevents the representation of outside interests. I am afraid that proper representation on the legislative council will not be provided if we specify that certain interests must be represented. If the sub-section is eliminated, the Administrator will have a free hand to recommend for appointment any persons who he thinks should be on the council. This should lead to the adequate representation of civilian interests, and will make possible a wider panel of candidates than would otherwise be likely. While I agree that the various missions should be represented, I also think that civilian interests should be represented. The elimination of the subsection would make it unnecessary to recommend persons simply because they represented particular interests.
Amendment - by leave - temporarily withdrawn.
.- by leave - I move -
That the word “nine,” sub-section (2) of proposed new section 12, he omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof, the word “six”.
As I indicated in my second-reading speech, I consider that an executive council of nine members would be too large for effective work. There are eight heads of departments in the mandated territory, namely, Government Secretary, Government Treasurer, Commissioner for Lands, Mines, Surveys and Forests, Commissioner of Native Affairs and District Services, Collector of Customs, Director of Agriculture, Director of Public Health and Director of Public Works. The intention of the Government, I understand, is to appoint each of these officers to the executive council. It is assumed that the eight heads of departments will be appointed as members of the executive council, but I submit that a council consisting of five official members and one unofficial member, should be sufficient. The Administrator is to be empowered to veto decisions of the executive council ; but should he do so, the council can compel him to state his reasons for so doing. The members of the executive council are supposed to possess certain rights, but in fact they will have no actual power. In these circumstances, I submit that the executive council could obtain sufficient information from the heads of the five most important departments in the territory. The Treasury and Crown Law Departments should automatically be represented on any executive council. Of the remaining departments the most important are Agriculture, Health, and District Services and Native Affairs, and these should be represented. The work in the Government Secretary’s Department could, I submit, be done by a senior clerk. The Department of District Services was, until recently, under the control of the Government Secretary, who held a co-ordinating office; but I am glad to learn that the Acting Administrator has altered the position considerably, and that the Government has accepted the classification suggested last year. I believe that the Government Secretary’s Department, as such, could be dispensed with. I do not think that there is any necessity for the Public Works Department to be represented on the executive council. As the customs duties imposed are practically on a flat rate, there does not seem to be any need for that department or the Lands and Surveys Branch to be represented. By reducing the number of official representatives from eight to five, and retaining one unofficial member, we would be improving the service. I am well aware that the nominated non-official members of the legislative council would then outnumber the official members; but there should not be any grave objection to that. The heads of departments on the legislative council could outvote any proposal put forward by the civilian population.
– I think that the Minister (Mr. Marr) might give the committee some idea of the estimated cost of conducting the work of the proposed councils. It appears that they will have powers somewhat similar to civic bodies, and will require official secretaries, treasurers and other officers. As the legislative council will have power to impose taxation for revenue purposes, the Minister should give us some idea of the cost.
.- As stated during my second-reading speech, the bill, which is practically a cloak for dictatorship by the Administrator, provides that the executive council shall consist of members appointed by the Governor-General. What method is to be adopted in making these appointments? Will recommendations be made by the Administrator, through the Minister, to the Governor-General? If that is so, the Administrator will be the controlling factor.
– Subject to the Minister.
– On the contrary, will the Minister assume the responsibility of nominating members? I can;not see any force in the amendment moved by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green), who claims that eight official heads of departments will comprise eight of the nine members of the council. If the official heads of departments ore to represent the administration on the council, all of the departments should be represented.
– Possibly, the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) was temporarily absent from the chamber when I mentioned that the Administrator will consult organized bodies before submitting recommendations to the Minister, who, if he thinks fit, will submit them to Cabinet. The Governor-General will act upon the advice of his Executive Council. The Administrator will invite nominations from all sections in the territory.
– The next sub-section provides for the appointment of eight members, who shall be officers of the territory.
– I think that the honorable member is confusing the legislative council with the executive council. The executive council is to consist of eight officials and one non-official member, as is the case in Papua. The Government cannot accept the amendment of the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) to reduce the number of members of the executive council to six. It would be difficult to determine which of the eight departments in New Guinea could be eliminated.
– I mentioned those which should be omitted.
– Yes; but I cannot agree with the opinions expressed by the honorable member. The Government Secretary’s Department is more or less an administrative department.
– But the Administrator will be a member of the council.
– He represents all departments. The honorable member will agree that the Treasury should be represented, and that the Department of Medical Services, which is most important, should also have its representative. District services and native affairs have now been combined. Mr. Chinnery, the anthropologist, is now Director of District Services, and Mr. Cardew, who was in charge of native affairs, is assistant director of the combined departments. I submit that both these gentlemen could well be members of the council.
– How many medical officers are there in the territory?
– There are 62 doctors, medical assistants, and officers in the Health Department. The Department of Agriculture, which is important, and the Health Department, should have representation. The “Works Department, which the honorable member wishes to exclude, has for some time been carried on in a spasmodic way without the services of a director. For some time the Government has been considering applications for the position of director, and Mr. Knox, a competent engineer in the “Works Department in Canberra, and who also holds the position of secretary of the Engineers Association, leaves next week to take up the duties of Director of Works in New Guinea. It would be practically impossible to evolve a proper policy without the assistance of the Treasury and the Medical and Customs Departments. The Crown Law Department should also be represented. I am sure that the honorable member will agree with me that it would be very difficult to exclude any of the departments he suggests.
– Does the Government intend to appoint the eight heads of departments to the legislative council?
– The heads of departments are already members of the ad visory council. We propose to retain their services on the legislative council, and to appoint seven other members from outside the service.
– This measure is a difficult one for me to vote upon because, in my opinion, the principle is wrong, though I cannot suggest a better one. One difficulty is that 90 per cent, of the white residents of the territory are interested in big business ventures.
– We propose to give to New Guinea exactly the same system as that controlled by Sir Hubert Murray in Papua.
– The legislative council is bound to take to itself more and more power, and is certain to become increasingly expensive. Evidently there is no hope of extending the franchise to the natives because they have not reached a stage of development when they can intelligently exercise a vote, but that is no reason why we should go out of our way to alter the existing system. The Minister has given us no reason for making the departure. He has told us nothing which can justify the risk of embarking upon what will be a new venture in government. I am not concerned whether the number of councillors be six or nine, because I do not believe in having any at all. I believe in leaving matters as they are until we can give the territory real representative government.
– Does not the honorable member favour the representation of any class of residents except government servants ?
– The government servants are already there for the purpose of advising and assisting the Administrator. Their services are always at his disposal, and there is no need to give them a new title by appointing them to an executive council or a legislative council. I cannot see why we should go out of our way to build up a governmental machine that will become increasingly cumbersome and more costly every day it is in existence.
– As for reducing the number of representatives, I hold the same opinion as the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway). If we divide the representation among the heads of departments we shall run the risk of creating dissension that will not be in the best interests of the administration. I myself have had some experience of the disputes which’ arise from time to time between officials. The man in charge of the agricultural service had an experimental plot in the centre of the town, and some of the other officials wished to have it moved out about three miles. The dispute lasted for three months, and was eventually referred to me for settlement, when the Administrator made his annual visit to Canberra. I gave my decision in favour of the agricultural chief, and the plot is still in the town. It was represented to me that, the work being done was of great service to planters, and that the more accessible the plot was the greater benefit it was to them. Similar disputes may occur in the future between the heads of various departments, and all should be afforded an opportunity to voice their opinions, before the central authority.
.- The principle of this measure is unsound. There is no analogy between Papua and the Mandated Territory, because Papua is a dependency of Australia, while the Mandated Territory is administered by us on behalf of the League of Nations. Our duty is to administer the territory, not so much for the benefit of planters and traders - though their interests should be protected - as to do the best thing for the natives. If it is not possible to give the latter direct legislative responsibility, the . existing state of affairs should be allowed to continue. It is better to leave control in the hands of an administrator responsible to a Minister in Australia, than to hand it over to vested interests which may exercise it to the detriment of the natives.
– On a point of order, I submit that the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green) is dealing, not with the amendment or the clause, but with the hill as a whole. Honorable members should not at this stage be asked to listen to a second-reading speech.
– The remarks of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie have, up to the present, been in order.
– The Government should make no alteration in the administration of New Guinea. That territory was previously administered by BrigadierGeneral Wisdom, and I have no doubt that we can obtain another administrator who would be just as sympathetic with the natives. There should be no change in the administration until the natives are able to play their proper part in it. We have the experience of Papua before us. Natives there, who at one time were cannibals, are now members of the police force.
– I submit that the remarks . of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie are outside the scope of the amendment before the Chair.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The remarks of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie being addressed to the clause are quite in order.
– The natives of Papua have reached the stage at which they are delegated the power of keeping the peace in the community. About 100 years ago the Fijians were regarded as savages-
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member must confine his remarks to the clause.
– What has been possible in Hong Kong, where Chinese are appointed to the executive council, in Papua, where black boys police the law and in Fiji, where natives are appointed to a council, will be possible in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea when the natives there are able to play a proper part in their own affairs. In Fiji the natives have power to make regulations regarding marriage and divorce of natives, succession to property, and the jurisdiction of native courts.
– I still submit that the honorable member for Kalgoorlie is not dealing with the amendment.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane) is not in order in contending that the debate is strictly limited to the amendment of the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green). The honorable member for Kalgoorlie is at liberty to discuss the clause.
– In Fiji, the natives retain a large share of self-government. Their system of village and district councils has been recognized, improved and supplemented at triennial meetings of high chiefs and representatives for each province presided over by the Governor. Over 100 years ago, the natives of Fiji were cannibals. To-day there are in that country over 94,000 Christians.
– The honorable member must not continue his references to Fiji.
– We should not hand over the administration of this territory solely to the planters, traders and miners there. We are specially charged with the duty of administering the territory for the natives, and there should be no change in the present system of government until the natives themselves are ready to take part in it.
.- In Fiji there is an executive council. The authorities there also administer the affairs of the Solomon Islands. The Fijian Council consists of the Governor, the Colonial Secretary, the AttorneyGeneral, the Colonial Treasurer, the Secretary for Naval Affairs, and the Secretary for Indian Affairs. There are five nominated official members, which is the number that I have stipulated in my amendment.
– Fiji is a Crown colony and not a mandated territory.
– There is no. great difference between them so far as selfgovernment is concerned. Better results would be obtained from five official members, particularly in view of the difficulties to which the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) has referred. The work of the executive council would be greatly facilitated if five official members and one non-official member were appointed instead of eight official members and one non-official member as proposed in this clause. The Minister said that he would not like to choose eight members from among the heads of the departments, and mentioned one official, Mr. Cardew, who was, until recently, head of a department, but has now, as a result of reorganization in the Service, been appointed second in com mand. I suggest that the Minister’s task would be much easier if he had to select only five instead of eight officials, particularly in view of the limited number of men available for appointment to the council.
– It has been suggested” by the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. E. J. Harrison) that sub-section 3 of proposed new section 19 should be omitted. That would mean that the seven non-official members would be nominated by the Administrator and appointed by the Governor-General, but not as representing particular interests. If the committee considers that the amendment would improve the bill, I am prepared to accept it. The Government is not particularly desirous of providing in the bill that specific interests shall be specially represented.
– The Minister, when pressed by the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb), stated emphatically that he had received representations from various interests in the territory. Sub-section 3 of proposed new section 19 provides that three of the non-official members of the legislative council shall be nominated as representing the interests of the planting industry, two as representing the interests of the mining industry, and two as representing commercial interests. The Minister remarked that if there were other interests which desired to make representations to the council, they should be given the right. I cannot understand why he should agree to an eleventh hour alteration. In my opinion, sub-section 3 should be retained. We should not entrust the nominations to one person. I take it that suggestions offered by the mining, planting and commercial interests will receive due consideration. Their recommendations will come under the purview of the Administrator, who will make his representations to the Minister, and the final decision will rest with the Federal Executive. I shall oppose the amendment.
– I again move -
That sub-section 3, proposed new section 19. be omitted.
I had hoped that my amendment would receive the general support of the committee. Honorable members have suggested that the civilian population in the territory should be represented in the legislative council, and ‘I think that the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) is in favour of that. As the bill stands the representatives of interests other than these specified in subjection 3 could be appointed to the council as extraordinary members, but without a vote. If we gave special representation to certain interests and excluded other interests, bad feeling would be created. I am not opposed to sectional representation, provided all interests are considered. In my opinion, the Administrator should select the best council obtainable from a list of names submitted to him by all interests in the territory.
.- I cannot see that acceptance of the amendment would materially alter the bill. The proposed new section provides that there shall be a legislative council nominated by the Administrator, and paragraph c of sub-section 2 states that seven nonofficial members shall be nominated by the Administrator and appointed by the Governor-General. Sub-section 3 provides that three of the non-official members of the council shall be nominated “ as representing “ . the interests of the planters, but it is .not stated that they shall be nominated by the planters themselves. The bill does not provide that the planters shall be called together in order that they may nominate three of their number to be non-official members of the council. It is conceivable that the Administrator might nominate three totally unpopular men, and under ordinary circumstances, that would not provide proper representation. The bill as it stands, gives the Administrator unbridled power to nominate, not only the executive council, but also the seven non-official members of the legislative council. Even if the matter be left open, it will not alter the fact that the Administrator will be an absolute dictator in the choice of members of the council. Why camouflage the position by saying that certain interests shall be represented, seeing that, as they will not have a voice in the appointment of their representatives, they may not be properly represented? Whatever the Minister’s intentions may be, power is given to the Administrator to nominate certain persons to represent different interests, and no provision is made for the mining or other interests to nominate whom they wish.
– The Minister gave us to understand that representations on the matter had been made to him.
– I am not denying that the mining and planting interests have made representations to the Minister. What I am questioning is the wording of sub-section 3 of the proposed new section 19, under which they may not be given the representation that they desire. The Administrator could nominate a miner to represent the planters.
– There is a purpose behind the provision as it stands.
– Possibly there is. But the fact remains that in the last analysis the Administrator has the appointment of these men, and that it is within his power to nominate persons who are not acceptable to the planting interests. The amendment of the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. E. J. Harrison) would leave the matter more open, and not even afford the protection that the Minister claims is given to the different interests by the sub-section. The Administrator would have unbridled control, and might choose whom he liked as the seven non-official members of the legislative council. Boiled down, the Administrator has the power to appoint, first, the executive council, and then the seven unofficial members of the legislative council; and in the last analysis he may overrule anything that is done. Therefore, it is only a waste of time to appoint a legislative council.
– I am opposed to the amendment. The Government ought to stand by its bill. If it has been given the consideration that is warranted, there is no reason to alter it. Under sub-section 5 of proposed new section 19, the Administrator is given the power to obtain the views of any interests about to be brought before the council, by appointing a representative of those interests for the period during which the council is considering them.
– Such representatives will not have a vote.
– It does not matter whether or not they have either a voice or a vote; the Administrator will have the power to nominate the whole of the representatives, and may dismiss any who disagree with him. I consider that we are merely wasting time on something that is unimportant.
– Although I agree with some of the remarks of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear), I cannot understand why he fears that the persons appointed by the Administrator may not represent the interests on whose behalf they have been selected. If such appointments are made, the act will be overridden. It may interest honorable members to learn that, of the total exports from the Mandated Territory, copra represented 79 per cent, in 1926-27, 80 per cent, in 1927-28, 81 per cent, in 1928-29, and 87 per cent, in 1929-30. A certain quantity of coffee, desiccated coconut, and cocoa is exported, but copra is by far the largest planting interest, and it is only fair and reasonable that the planters should have at least three of the seven nominated representatives. Honorable members may rest assured that the Planters Association would not be silent if the persons nominated to represent its members were not engaged in planting.
– What, would happen if the Administrator nominated three men who were engaged in coffee-growing?
– The honorable member is carrying his argument to an extreme length. Next in importance to planting is the mining industry. It may lie news to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green), that whereas a bounty is paid upon gold won in Australia, a royalty is charged on that produced in the Mandated Territory, and that the revenue from that source this year is expected to amount to £50,000. This branch of industry should have definite representation on the legislative council. Many matters of vital importance to it have to be considered. The absence of road communication with the the coast makes it necessary for all freight to be carried by aeroplane, at a cost of 4d. per lb., or £37 a ton. Even the enormous machinery that was required at Edie Creek and elsewhere on the gold-fields had to be sectionalized and transported in that way. This industry practically maintains the wonderful aeroplane service about which the Minister spoke to-day, and which is deserving of the greatest praise. The mining industry is to be given two representatives on the council. The remaining two will represent commercial interests, the traders of all descriptions engaged in the territory. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. E. J. Harrison) spoke about professional men. Take, for example, doctors. Outside those engaged by the administration there are only four medical men in the whole territory. Many honorable members do not realize that New Guinea is a totally different proposition from Australia. The mining, planting and commercial activities are the chief industries of the territory, the planting section accounting for 87 peacent, of the exports. I agree that the original drafting should be adhered to, and the onus thrown on the Administrator to see that those appointed to the legislative council are bona fide representatives of the respective industries.
.- I admit there is something in the argument of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) that, as the proposed new sub-section is now worded, it might be possible to appoint persons not truly representative of the planting, mining or commercial sections of the community; but it would be very dangerous for the Administrator to interpret the subsection in a way that would permit it to be done. I happen to know the present Administrator. That is not a strong argument in favour of retaining the proposed new sub-section as it stands, for he is not there for all time, but I guarantee that while the present Administrator is there the clause will be properly interpreted. I do not think that it could be more decisively worded.
– Unless provision is made for the calling together of the interests concerned.
– If some one were appointed who was not truly representative of a section the Minister would very soon hear about it, and there would be serious trouble for the Administrator. I trust that the Minister will leave the proposed new sub-section as it stands. If amended, I favour the direction indicated by the honorable member for Dalley, but oppose that suggested by the honorable member for “Wentworth (Mr. E. J. Harrison) against whose amendment I shall vote.
.-When the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. E. J. Harrison) moved that the proposed new subsection be eliminated, I was inclined to acquiesce. I thought that that would provide for a wider selection of representatives. It is also conceivable that a new industry might spring into existence, shell-fishing for example.
– That is provided for.
– It is, but the Government considered that those interests which are developing the territory should have a chance of being represented on the council. About 100 planters belong to the organization which wrote when the previous bill was introduced some years ago, urging that the Government should provide two planters’ representatives instead of one. In view of the importance of the planting industry in the territory the Government felt that that section was entitled to three representatives out of seven. Perhaps if the latter part’ of the sub-section were eliminated the difficulties mentioned by honorable members would be overcome, because if left as it is it would be necessary to introduce an amending bill, should a new industry spring up which warranted representation; but in all the circumstances I must withdraw my acceptance of the amendment and urge that the sub-section be accepted as it stands.
– Naturally, honorable members in my group desire that the workers should be given representation.
– That could be done through the medium of the shop assistants’ organization.
– Most of the shop assistants are black, although the departmental heads are white. There are 412 white persons on the gold-fields.
– The miners should be considered. My colleagues and I are afraid that representation will be given to the employers, to the exclusion of the employees.
– The Government desires to give representation to all sections, including the miners.
– My colleagues and I advance that point of view so that when the matter is being determined those interests will receive consideration.
– I am sorry that the Minister has withdrawn his consent to my amendment. It boils down to whether the Administrator does or does not know his job. If he does, he will appoint a truly representative council and not representatives only of sectional interests. If it is specified that representation must be given to the mining, planting, and commercial industries, it is simply tying the Administrator’s hands and narrowing his view-point. In my second-reading speech I mentioned that there are 1,500 schools in the territory, with a staff of 246 Europeans and 1,452 natives, teaching a total of 38,800 natives. The whole of the missions’ policy relating to education or anything else will be determined by the representatives of the planters, miners, and the commercial interests. The Administrator, in his wisdom, might think it advisable to appoint a representative of the missionaries in the territory. The Minister stated that such a person could be an extraordinary member. That is not sufficient. Under a proposed amendment he would not have any voting power, and, as the differentinterests to which I have referred are opposed to those of the missionaries, his views would be ignored. Reference has been made to the number of professional men in the Mandated Territory. The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) said that there were only four medical men outside the administrative service, but the Minister has told us that there are 62 persons on the medical staff there. If honorable members opposite are sincere in their desire to make provision for the representation of the natives they will support my amendment, as it gives a wider field for selection and, consequently, greater representation. I think it unwise to tie the hands of the Administrator. Possibly if he had a free hand he would be able to recommend certain persons that he could not possibly recommend if this subsection remains in the bill.
.- I labour under the disadvantage of never having been to New Guinea and must, therefore, he guided to a large extent by the statements of other honorable members who have been there. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) has said by way of interjection that most of the miners in the territory are shareholders in different concerns, and the Minister has said that all the shop assistants except the heads of departments are natives. We have also been told that the work of educating the natives is largely in the hands of missionaries. It seems to me, therefore, that most of these interests would be represented under the various headings already specified. With conditions as they are, it does not seem practicable for us to provide for the effective representation of either the workers or natives. In order to ensure that the interests which the Government wishes to have represented shall be so represented I suggest that the words “as representing” which appear in sub-section 3 of proposed new section 10 be omitted and the word “ by “ inserted in lieu thereof. This would make it imperative for these various interests to get together and make definite nominations. I offer this suggestion in order to test the good faith of the Government. If the measure provides that the nomination shall be made “ by “ the different interests there will be no room for error.
– I cannot accept the suggestion of the honorable member for the very good reason that it would be impossible for the planters, for instance, to come together to make a nomination. Planters in the Madang and Kavieng districts for instance would have to travel hundreds of miles to attend a meeting of that kind. Then again there are a planters’ association and a returned soldier planters’ association. Which of these two should be asked to make a nomination? I assure the honorable member that the Government will take all possible steps to ensure that these various interests are represented as effectively as possible.
Clause 4 -
(5.) Whenever the Administrator wishes to obtain the views of any person within the territory touching any mattersabout to be brought before the council, he may by writing under his hand appoint that person to he an extraordinary member of the council for the period or periods during which the council is dealing with those matters.
Amendments (by Mr. Marr) agreed to -
That after sub-section 5 of proposed new section 19 the following sub-section be inserted: - “(6.) An extraordinary member shall not be entitled to vote at any meeting of the council.”
That after the word “ members “ in proposed new section 20, the words “ (other than extraordinary members) “ be inserted.
Clause 4 -
The Administrator shall not assent to any ordinance of any of the following classes, unless the ordinance contains a clause suspending its operation until the signification of the Governor-General’s pleasure thereon : -
Amendment (by Mr. Mark) agreed to-
That the words “ or military “, paragraph e of proposed new section 32, be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ military or air “.
.- I move -
That the word “ intoxicants “, paragraph i of proposed new section 32, be omitted.
This proposed section relates to ordinances dealing with the supply of arms, ammunition, intoxicants, or opium to natives. Under section 15 of the principal act the supply of intoxicating beverages to natives is prohibited.
Therefore the reference to intoxicants in paragraphi is redundant.
– The word must remain. It is inserted in accordance with our obligations under the mandate.
– Will the Minister inform the committee of the approximate additional cost to the territory of the proposed legislative council?
– The amount provided for all expenses connected with the Legislative Council in Papua for the current year was £276. I do not expect that the expenditure in New Guinea will reach that amount.
.- This seems an opportune time to ask the Government to define its policy in regard to capital punishment. I understand that the position in New Guinea is the same as in Papua. In the Papuan Courier of the 19th February last, the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Hubert Murray, is reported to have said that he had represented to the Acting Minister (Mr. Marr) that the question whether the death penalty should be carried out in any particular case, could best be decided by those who were familiar with local conditions, and that the discretion of the Lieutenant-Governor should not be interfered with. He further stated that the matter would be submitted to the Federal Cabinet, and I understand that his suggestion has been adopted. His statement arises out of the direction by the former Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin) that a sentence of death that had been passed on a native named Semesi should not be carried out. The Labour party is opposed to capital punishment, hut. even if the death penalty be continued, the Administrator of New Guinea or Lieutenant-Governor of Papua should not have the power to decide whether it should be imposed in particular cases. Nor, indeed, should that right be enjoyed by a legislative council elected on such a peculiarly undemocratic basis as the bill proposes. In Papua natives prosecuted under an ordinance are not tried by a jury, and have not the advantage of legal assistance, whereas the prosecution is con ducted by a Crown Law officer who is a trained lawyer. To give to the legislative council of New Guinea power to legislate for the imposition of the death penalty would be wrong, and I ask the Minister to give urgent consideration to the matter.
.- I support the request of the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Baker). Capital punishment should be amongst those ordinances which must receive the assent ofthe Governor-General. Capital punishment is a major question of policy and highly controversial, and any action taken under it in regard to the Mandated Territory might be challenged by an international court.
.- Both in Papua and in New Guinea capital punishment has been provided for by ordinance, but I do not think that either the LieutenantGovernor or the Administrator would order an accused person to be hanged without referring the matter to the Cabinet in Canberra. The right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) when Prime Minister wrote a minute that the Administrator should not have the power to inflict capital punishment. I recognize that this is a controversial matter, and I shall refer it to Cabinet.
.- In the last five years, including the period of the Scullin Administration, 102 persons in New Guinea were sentenced to death, of whom fifteen were hanged; in 82 of those cases the sentence was commuted, and in two cases, it was remitted; two condemned persons died before their sentences were reviewed; and one person escaped. I remind the Minister that the native does not understand right and wrong according to our concepts. His people for centuries have attached certain penalties to certain offences. What may be, according to white man’s law, a very serious offence, may be to the New Guinea native a trivial matter, and vice versa. I hope that this matter will not be dealt with in an academic manner, but with due regard to all the circumstances, so as to ensure justice to all concerned in the territory.
.- In minor eases, the interests of a native labourer are watched by the Native Affairs Department. The .Minister has just stated that he knows of no case in. which the death penalty has been carried out. That may be true, but on one occassion, a native named Nohoro was very nearly executed. That case was tried by a judge, without a jury in 1927. The death sentence was confirmed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, and the execution warrant was signed by the Lieutenant-Governor. One member of the executive council raised the matter before that body, stating that he had formed the opinion that the man should be retried because, first, no motive had been disclosed at the trial - the charge was the killing of a white man - and secondly, the prisoner had not been represented by skilled counsel, while the prosecution had been so represented. The answer received was that the law did not permit a re-trial, and the death sentence was confirmed. However, he had his protest recorded in the minutes, and, in the ordinary course, it would have been forwarded to the Minister. After the lapse of several days, and after a special scaffold had been erected, the executive council was again consulted on a report that the principal and practically the only witness for the Crown had contradicted his evidence. This witness was examined before the executive council, of which Judge Herbert, the trial judge, was a member, and was present at that particular meeting. The outcome was a decision not to allow the execution to take place. The trial judge, when asked by the Lieutenant-Governor for his opinion, stated that he would not condemn a dog on the evidence of the witness in question. Yet Nohoro had been condemned on the evidence of that particular witness. Had the prisoner been defended in a proper manner by a member of the legal profession, there is no doubt that the revelation would have come out at the trial, and not after the execution warrant had been completed. For these reasons, it is essential that legal assistance should be provided for these people, and, if the Government approves of the death penalty being enforced in certain circumstances, a sub-section should be inserted in proposed new section 32 to the effect that any ordinance providing for the death penalty should be submitted to the Governor-General for his assent.
.- The assurance just given by the Minister (Mr. Marr) that he will bring this matter of capital punishment before Cabinet is gratifying to every one. As honorable members know, I hold strong views upon this subject. It came as a surprise to me, when I was in office, to learn that the power to commute a death sentence in New Guinea, or to exercise the prerogative of mercy, does not rest with the Commonwealth Executive Council. I think it should, and I believe that this matter should receive serious consideration. On every occasion when cases came before that Government, Cabinet expressed itself strongly against capital punishment, and in no case was the death penalty carried out during my administration. But I was amazed to learn that, although a State Executive has power to stay an execution in the exercise of its prerogative of mercy, the Executive of the Commonwealth has not that power in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. I presume it has within its own territory.
– I think we could meet the wishes of the right honorable gentleman by instructions to the Administrator.
– I do not think that is sufficient, although, as I have said, during my term of office the Administrator always took his instructions from the Prime Minister. The first case that came under my notice was from Papua in the form of a radio message from the Lieutenant-Governor informing me that a native had been sentenced to death, and was to be executed on a given date. I immediately sent a radio message instructing that the execution be held up. That instruction was observed, but I learned, a few days afterwards, that despite instructions from the Executive, the Lieutenant-Governor could have ordered the execution to proceed. That, I think, is entirely wrong. The Executive of the Commonwealth Government should have power in such cases.
– We will look into the position and see what can be done.
– We did not have an opportunity to amend the act, but now that that is being done by this Government, provision should be inserted reserving to the Executive Council of the Commonwealth the right to exercise the prerogative of mercy.
Clause also verbally amended, and, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 consequentially amended, and, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 7 and 8 agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Marr) agreed to -
That the following new clause be inserted: - 5a. Section 13 of the principal act is amended by omitting the words “by the Governor-General . “
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report. -by leave - adopted.
Motion (by Mr. Marr) - by leave - proposed -
That the bill be now read a third time.
.- I hope that many matters which are of importance to the people of New Guinea will receive early attention at the hands of the proposed legislative council. I sincerely hope, also, that the council will be established as soon as possible, and that an early opportunity will be given to that body to consider vital and necessary amendments of the native labour ordinance, indentured labour, education, clothing of the natives, gold-fields roads, and many other subjects that were touched upon incidentally in the debate on the second reading of the bill.
– I assure the honorable member that the various matters that have been raised during this debate will be brought under the notice of the Administrator. Some of them are certainly important enough for discussion by the legislative council at its early meetings.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
House adjourned at 11.20 p.m.
y asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
With regard to previous information already supplied by him regarding the Naval and Military Colleges -
Is the entrance examination a competitive one?
Can scholars from the State schools compete on equal terms at such examinations?
Is the age of candidates forcadetships in the Navy thirteen years, and for the Military College sixteen years; if not, what are the ages?
What arc the total amounts expended to date on each of the colleges, including (a) the total cost of the Naval College at Jervis Bay up to the date’ of removal, and (b) the total cost of the Military College at Duntroon up to the date of removal?
What are the total costs up to the latest approximate date of the Naval College and the Military College at the new locations?
What is the total number of graduates who. passed through the full course for the Naval and. Military Colleges respectively?
How many of such graduates are at present in the employment of the Commonwealth Government ?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
As salaries of the Governor-General, High Court judges, Arbitration Court judges, judges in bankruptcy, the Public Service Arbitrator, the Auditor-General and Land Tax Commissioner do not come within the provisions of the Financial Emergency Act, which provides for percentage reductions, will he have prepared a return showing -
The individual and total salaries received by the above?
The amounts, if any, being voluntarily contributed to the revenue by the recipients of these salaries?
– In view of the terms of sections 3 and 72 (iii) of the Constitution, the salary of the Governor-General and the remuneration of the High Court and other judges cannot be diminished during their continuance in office, and the question of the making of any voluntary contributions to the revenue is a matter for themselves, and should not, it is considered, he made the subject of questions in Parliament. The salaries of the Public Service Arbitrator, the Auditor-General, and the Commissioner of Taxation come within the provisions of the Financial Emergency Acts, and’ have been reduced in accordance therewith.
Losses on Canberra Hotels.
s. - On the 27th October, the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Baker) asked the following questions, upon notice: -
I now desire to advise him as follows: -
Of this amount, £77,008 represents working loss, the balance, £294,175, depreciation and interest on capital and maintenance reserve charges. The working loss was occasioned mainly during the early years of the hotels, the figures for 1930-31 and 1931-32, that is during departmental control, being £3,948 and £2,918.
Canberra: Prices of Milk and Bread.
s. - On the 26th October, the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) asked the following questions, without notice: -
I have since had an opportunity of obtaining the information desired by the honorable member, and the replies to the questions are as follow: -
Military Trainee’s Death.
s. - On the 20th October, the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) referred to the publication of a newspaper report concerning the death of a military trainee named Robert John Saunders after he had returned from a military training camp, and asked if inquiries would be made as to the possibility of the trainee’s food having been infected. The honorable member also asked if I would make available a list of the foodstuffs supplied to the trainees in camp.
I am now in a position to inform the honorable member, that Private Saunders reported into camp at approximately 10.15 a.m. on Tuesday, the 20th September, 1932. Along with other members of the unit he was medically inspected for contagious disease by a medical officer, and was passed as free. At 1.45 p.m., he reported sick, stating that he felt squeamish, and had been ill after lunch which was served at 12.45 p.m. He was paraded to the medical officer at approximately 2 p.m., and was treated for mild gastro enteritis. Treatment was, apparently, effective as Private Saunders did not report for further treatment during the camp from which he marched out on Sunday, the 25th September. The diet sheet shows that baked mutton, pumpkin, potatoes, stewed apples and custard were served for lunch immediately prior to his reporting sick on the 20th Septemher.
A report by a military court of inquiry, which is based on complete evidence available, including that by the medical officers concerned, indicates that the death of Private Saunders was not due to any occurrence or conditions in camp. The Government Medical Officer’s evidence at the inquest states post-mortem examination revealed no micro-organism or poisons of variety usually found in food poisoning, and that cause of death was acute enteritis and toxaemia.
The following is the menu of the 30th 51st battalion camp which was held from the 20th to the 25th September : -
Tuesday, 20th September. - Dinner - Baked mutton, pumpkin, potatoes, stewed apples and custard. Tea - Irish stew, bread, butter and jam.
Wednesday, 21st September. - Breakfast - Fried sausages, potatoes, bread, butter and jam. Dinner -Roast beef, swedes, potatoes, steam pudding and sauce. Tea - Potato pie, bread, butter and jam.
Thursday, 22nd September. - Breakfast - Steak and onions, potatoes, bread, butter and jam. Dinner - Corn silverside, potatoes, bread, butter and jam. Tea - Curry and rice, stewed primes and custard, bread, butter and jam.
Friday, 23rd September. - Breakfast - Salmon rissoles, bread, butter and jam. Dinner - Fish (salmon) with onion sauce, steam pudding and sauce. Tea - Cold salmon, brown stew, bread, butter and jam.
Saturday, 24th September. - Breakfast - Fried rissoles, potatoes, bread, butter and jam. Dinner - Roast mutton, pumpkin, potatoes, stewed apricots and rice. Tea - Irish stew, bread, butter and jam.
Sunday, 25th September. - Breakfast - Steak and onions, potatoes, bread, butter and jam. Dinner - Roast beef, cabbage, potatoes, plum pudding and sauce.
Coffee every morning at 6.30 a.m.
y. - On the 14th October, the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) asked the following question, upon notice: -
In view of the alarming increase of importations reported bythe Commonwealth Statistician, will the Minister state how much of such increase is attributable to increased importations of -
Mercerised cotton yarns;
Mixture (dyed) yarns for knitting purposes ;
Condenser and preparation waste yarns for the manufacture of blankets and towels, and yarn for twine, cordage andthe like; and
Yarns under by-law concessions?
I am now able to furnish the honorable member’ with the following information. The various classes of cotton yarn mentioned in the question are not recorded separately in the official statistics. The following available information, however, is furnished: -
y. - On the 13th October, the honorable member for Echuca (Mr. Hill) asked the following questions, upon notice: -
I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -
Price of Butter.
y.- On the 26th October, the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr.
Watkins) asked the following questions, upon notice : -
I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -
– On the 27th October, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) addressed to the PostmasterGeneral a question, without notice, in regard to rates of pay to farm labourers in South Australia.
I am now in a position to furnish the following information: -
Under the provisions of the Loan (UnemploymentRelief Works) Acts 1932, the Employment Council for South Australia (including the two Commonwealth representatives thereon) recommended that an amount of £20,000 be placed at the disposal of the council for the purpose of assisting graziers, farmers, and other primary producers to engage additional labour under certain stated conditions. The Commonwealth Government approved of this grant being made available to the Employment Council through the South Australian Government, but pointed out that it had not, at any time, laid down conditions as to labour or otherwise in regard to the expenditure. Under the scheme adopted, the Employment Council in approved cases, and under certain conditions, contributes an amount of 15s. per week towards the cost of employing each man until the 31st January, 1933.
The main conditions laid down by the Employment Council are -
Any person engaged in agricultural, horticultural, viticultural, dairying, pastoral, or other like pursuits is eligible to apply for the services of unemployed men and youths under this scheme.
The subsidy will be granted only in cases where the person to be employed will not displace a regular hand.
Before the application for a subsidy will be approved the employer must agree to provide the employee with suitable board and lodging.
Employers must comply with the provisions of the Workmen’s Compensation Act regarding the insurance of employees’.
Wherever practicable, the employer is expected to subscribe some additional amount, so far as his resources will permit, to the wage subsidy provided by the Employment Council.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 November 1932, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1932/19321102_reps_13_136/>.