1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Has the Prime Minister receivedany official or other intimation that a conference on matters of Imperial concern will be held during his proposed visit to Great Britain ; and, if so, does he intend to take part ill such conference ?
Have the subjects to be discussed at that conference been communicated to him ; and, if so, will he inform the Federal Parliament what they are?
If he has not received notice of a proposed conference, is it his intention to attend any fathering in the nature of a conference on I mperial affairs to which he may be invited after his arrival in Great Britain ? “4. Will he engage not to commit the Commonwealth to any act or policy in connexion with Imperial matters till the Federal Parliament has had an opportunity of considering the same ?
– The The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and, onmotion by Senator O’Connor, read a first time.
– In p of notice, and as a matter of urgency, which I think the Senate will recognise, I move -
That so much of the standing ordersbe suspended as would prevent the Coronation Celebration Bill from passing through all its stagesduring the same sitting of the Senate.
– I regret that I have to oppose the motion. I have every respect for the Government, and I am deeply indebted to them for the manner in which they have carried out their pledges with regard to a white Australia, adult suffrage, and other questions ; but on this occasion I cannot permit such a motion to be put, without offering some opposition. While the Ministry seem to ‘ be very anxious to carry out their democraticpledges, yet in military matters they appear to take the part of gentlemen who are afraid to have legitimate discussion. To my mind there is no urgency about this Bill, and if there is any urgency who is responsible for it?
– T - The urgency is that the men must start by the 19th of April, if they are to get to London in time for the Coronation.
– If the men must start by that day, why is it that the Government did not give the Members of both Houses an intimation that it was proposed to send a contingent? The invitation to send men, was received by the Ministry on the 18th March, and yet not a word was whispered until a day or so ago in another place, and we received no official intimation of its receipt until this morning. Do the Ministry deprecate discussion on this military expenditure 1 Are they afraid that somebody may saysomething which will turn the tide against this blatant militarism which is growing in Australia? Inasmuch as, according to the statement of Senator O’Connor, we shall have nothing to do next week, there is no occasion to suspend the standing orders this morning. We should be given every opportunity to consider this proposed expenditure, and be able to come to a decision next week. We should not consult our personal convenience, as I am afraid some of us may be inclined to do. Honorable senators may ask what is the use of our coming to the Chamber- next week to discuss a measure of this kind when by passing it to-day, we might have a week’s holiday. Such an argument will appeal, no doubt, to those who have on all occasions voted in favour of adjourning for a week or a fortnight in order that they might get away to South Australia or New South “Wales, but it does not appeal to those of us who come from places as far distant .-is Queensland, and who are compelled to remain here month after month.
– What is the objection to discussing it now 1 We have a whole day before us.
– The objection is that some of us ‘ are not prepared to discuss it. No doubt Senator Dobson’s mind was made up long since, and if the Ministry were to propose to send 1,000 men to the old country to take part in the celebration, he would have no objection.
– Quite wrong ; I am in favour of the reduction made in the other House.
– I - I am very glad to hear that ; but the honorable and learned senator must excuse me if I have been led into making a mistake by the extremely liberal sentiments which he has expressed regarding military expenditure.
– No, the Empire.
– I do not wish to delay the Senate. If honorable senators are anxious for a holiday they can have it from about 11 o’clock until next Wednesday, and then we can come here to express our ideas regarding this proposed expenditure.
– The Government are getting into the vicious habit of never bringing up Money Bills until the very last moment. On several occasions the standing orders have been suspended, and we have passed Money Bills through all their stages in one day. The last time it was done I registered a mental vow that I would not consent to its repetition, so that honorable senators need not jump to the conclusion that I am opposing this motion simply because I object to the expenditure. The control of expenditure is rapidly passing out of the hands of Parliament, and being vested in the Executive, and as I consider that the suspension of standing orders so often, and the consequent lack of intelligent and legitimate discussion, conduce very strongly to that end, I intend, so far as I am able, to insist that Money Bills shall always be treated in just the same fashion as other Bills. They should be brought in, read a first time, read a second time, passed through committee, and read a third time in the ordinary course, so that honorable senatorsmay be able to equip themselves for the discussion, and have an opportunity of obtaining the necessary information with regard to the proposed items of expenditure. It appears to me that that is absolutely necessary in the existing circumstances of the Commonwealth. A cry for economy is rising from every portion of the continent. Australia is devastated by drought, and thousands of men are out of employment. Thousands more probably will be without work in the near future. In consequence,., our income is not as large as it otherwisewould be, and our expenditure ought to be closely watched. We should examine minutely every item of proposed expenditure. If the standing orders are suspended, we cannot do that with regard to this Bill. We had no official intimation that this proposed expenditure was to be incurred, and if the Bill is rushed through, we shall not be able to make the necessary investigations. If the contingent has to be sent away by the 19th inst., the Government must hare known that fact for weeks past, and must have made up their mind some time ago what they were going to do. If there is any delay we are not to blame for it. We have our duty to perform, and I, for one, intend tocarry it out by closely criticising every item of the expenditure that is submitted to Parliament.
SenatorDAWSON (Queensland). - I hope there will be no serious opposition to the motion before the Senate. The arguments of my honorable friends Senators Higgs and Stewart are very good and weighty as applying to ordinary Money Bills, but this is a special Bill requiring special treatment. Itis not a matter of surprise that the Bill should have been introduced, because it has- 1 been mooted for a considerable time past, and might have been expected at any moment. Consequently, we have not been precluded from obtaining information concerning the details. As the occasion is a. special one, I trust that special treatment will be accorded to the Bill, and that the motion will be carried.
– I trust that the Senate will look at the question from a sensible point of view. To a certain extent I agree with some of the condemnatory remarks that have been made by my fellow senators. The Government are blamable in that they did not give sufficient notice that this measure was to be introduced. But no great amount of inquiry, is necessary in order that we may make up our minds as to the items of expenditure proposed in the schedule. When we consider the Bill at a later stage, I shall ba prepared to say what I oppose and what I advocate on the subject. Under the circumstances, we might permit the standing orders to be suspended, and on a future occasion the ‘Government might take the hint that has been thrown out, and give us a better opportunity of considering measures of this character.
– I am opposed to the standing orders being suspended, because this is the second request of the kind which has been made to the Senate. It is all very well to say that this is an urgent business, but there is no reason why it should not have been brought up next week. The Government have treated private members’ business rather unfairly. What reason is there why we should not go on with that business next week ? If we adjourn for a week that opportunity will be lost. I am opposed to the suspension of the standing orders in order to provide for another holiday when there is a quantity of useful work to be done. It has been said that we have been merely beating time until the Tariff comes before us. I think we have beaten time too quickly, and are doing so now in endeavouring to pass “through a measure of this kind in one day.
– I think that Senator Stewart and others who have spoken have some ground for saying that the Government have too frequently pressed measures of importance upon us in too great haste. Had not that been done in the past I doubt whether any one would have suggested that this was an occasion on which it was desirable to dispute the proposal made. There is very little that is complicated in the Bill, very little demanding inquiry, and very little to find out that would enable us to carry the debate any further than we shall be able to do to-day. Under the circumstances, the Government had no other resource than to propose the motion they have made. I do not see that it is necessary to call the Senate together next week to consider so small a measure.
– I appeal to the honorable senators who have raised objections to the suspension of the standing orders to withdraw their opposition. The Bill is a short one, and we are all seized of the effect of it. I venture to say that there is not an honorable senator who has not made up his mind as to what he is going to do.
– Does the honorable senator believe in. rushing through Money Bills in one day ?
– I do not, as a rule ; and if the honorable senator knew of my actions in the past he would be aware that I have on several occasions stood in the breach and protested against the practice. But there are exceptions to every rule, and this is one. The troops must go away by the 19th inst., and there is no time to waste in making the necessary preparations. If we are going to pass the Bill we might as well do it with a good grace.
– I have raised my protest before, when Supply Bills have been brought before the Senate, against the hurried manner in which measures involving public expenditure are placed before us. I do so again on this occasion. There is no reason why this Bill should not have been introduced at the beginning of next week. It is idle for the Government to ask us to suspend the standing orders on the ground that this is a matter of urgency. The despatch laid upon the table last evening by the Postmaster-General shows that the Government have been apprised of whatwas to be done for a considerable time past. This Bill only conies into our hands this morning, and we are expected at once to pledge ourselves to the expenditure proposed by it. I wish to criticise the Bill, and to suggest other proposals in its place, but I have no opportunity of doing so, because there has been no time for inquiry. The Bill is not the same as that which was introduced into the House of Representatives, as some important alterations were made in it there. The Billin volves an important principle apart altogether from the question of the expenditure of money, and the Senate should carefully consider whether the request for the suspension of the standing orders ought not to be refused. This matter can be dealt with next week, notwithstanding that the troops have to leave on the 19th inst. If the Bill be dealt with in this way, we shall be laying down the principle of making the expenditure et public money a matter for the Executive
Government and not for Parliament. That is undesirable. We hear on all hands the cry for economy, and if there is any extravagance it will not be the Government, but the Parliament itself, which will have to bear the odium. I think the Senate has been treated very cavalierly by the Government) who have failed to give any reason for the suspension of the standing orders. In submitting the motion, the Vice-President of the Executive Council did not give any reason.
– I - I stated the reason subsequent!)’.
– Without closing the debate, the Postmaster-General might have made a statement of the circumstances. The only information we have on the subject is that which appears in the press - which, in my opinion, is not very reliable - that a fortnight ago the Government received a communication from the Home authorities on which they are now proposing to rush the Bill through. Unless additional reasons can be given, I shall feel compelled to vote against the suspension of the standing orders.
– Al Although T. intend to avail 1113’self of the right to place my views on this Bill before honorable senators when we come to deal with the items, I fail to see that even those who are totally opposed to the measure can do any good by objecting to the suspension of the standing orders. Even if their objection be successful we shall still have to deal with the Bill next week. I agree very largely with Senator Stewart, that it is inadvisable that Money Bills should be rushed through the Senate, but I think we might regard this as an exceptional occasion. Perhaps I do not Agree with all the provisions of the Bill, but I do not think that should lead me to oppose the suspension of the standing orders. I trust that the Bill will be dealt with to-day.
– I do not think that the charges which have been made against the Government are well founded. The invitation to the Commonwealth to take part in the celebrations was received on the 18th March. The Cabinet had then to consider the matter, the determination of what should be done resting largely on the question of expense, and an opportune time had to be sought for laying the measure before another place, where the Tariff - the most important work of the session - is still under discussion. We have been discussing this Bill in the clubroom, and I think most of us have made up our minds. I am in favour of the reduction which has been made in the proposed expenditure, for I think that 150 troops will be sufficient to send to the celebrations, and, as I have been considering the matter for the last 48 hours, I am prepared to vote without a word upon every item in the Bill. If the suspension of the standing orders is refused, we shall have to come back next week. I desire to make use of the proposed adjournment next week in order to go to Tasmania, where my presence’ is absolutely necessary, and I think it would be unfair for my honorable friends in the labour corner to prevent myself and others, who have never been absent for an hour during the sittings of the Senate, from taking advantage of an adjournment which we have earned in every respect, and which may well be allowed, having regard to the position of public business. The leader of the labour party expressed the hope last night that the Franchise Bill would be passed through all its stages. That really meant that he desired that the standing orders should be suspended, in order that a measure in which the labour party takes so much interest might be put through. I take more interest in the Empire than - in a paltry Woman’s Franchise Bill, and that is why I support the request of the Government.
– I am rather glad that Senator Higgs has taken up this stand, in order that the Government may see that honorable senators strongly disapprove of a measure of this kind being rushed through the Senate. At the same time he is a little unfair to those honorable senators who reside in other States, when he desires to compel them to come here next week, merely because he will be here.
– The Governmentshould take that point into consideration.
– No doubt they should, but I hope that the opposition to the suspension of the standing orders will not be pressed. It can make no possible difference in the discussion of the Bill. Those who are opposed to the motion may well say to the Government, “ We will forgive 1 you this time, but do not try it too often. If you do we shall put such a spoke in the wheel. o£ the Government coach, that you will regret it.”
– I intend to support the suspension of the standing orders, because I think that. the matter is an urgent one. AVe were informed by the Vice.President of the Executive Council that if the troops are to be despatched to England to take part in the coronation celebrations they must leave on the 19th instant, or eight days hence, and most of us desire that at that great function the Commonwealth should be represented properly, in , the same way as Canada and New Zealand. At the same time I agree with Senators Higgs and Stewart in regard to the tendency shown by the Government to rush important Money Bills through the Senate without giving adequate notice. There is undoubtedly a tendency on the part of the Executive to take from Parliament the rights that they possess. There is a feeling throughout Australia that we should not lean to extravagance, and we have not had time to consider this Bill, which involves the question of the expenditure of some £24,000. AVe might desire to make suggestions as to the way in which the Commonwealth should be represented at the coronation proceedings ; we might desire that it should be represented, not by a military parade, but by some phase of our industrial efforts, and that is another reason why we should have had time to carefully consider the Bill. The Government have had plenty of time to advise us of this proposition, in view of the fact that they were invited to send a contingent to the celebrations so far back as the I8th March. When, matters of this kind are brought forward on subsequent occasions, I intend to oppose any proposal for the suspension of the standing orders unless we have had sufficient time to consider the question of the expenditure of public money involved.
– I a I agree with everything that has been said as to the undesirability of suspending the standing orders without reason, but I absolutely deny that there has been any occasion on which that concession, when requested, has not been amply justified. The standing orders are to be applied, and applied strictly, but the business of legislation could not go on unless we had power to relax them when the necessity was apparent. That necessity is apparent. I presume that if a contingent is to represent the Commonwealth at the coronation celebrations, even my honorable friends in the labour corner will desire that it should go in such a way as to properly represent Australia. The contingent will have to start on the 19th instant, and it would be impossible, unless expenditure anticipated legislative authority, to get it ready in time if we were to postpone this discussion until next Wednesday. It is imperative that the proposal should receive legislative authority this week if it is to be carried out. It is said the Government are to blame for having failed to bring on the matter at an earlier date. That is a point different from the question of necessity. I deny that the Government have brought about any delay by their own act. The intimation from the Home authorities was received on the 18th March, and the Government were not to anticipate it, and volunteer to send a contingent to represent the Commonwealth. I should like to know what those honorable senators, who now object to the suspension of the standing orders, would have said if the Government had prepared to send away this contingent without receiving any official intimation that it was desired. It will be admitted that when a proposal of this kind is made, it is necessary in the first place to make inquiries as to the circumstances under which troops can be sent, the time it will take, the cost of equipment, the cost of passage money; and in regard to other matters which must be determined, before action can be taken.
– That could be done in a few hours.
– I - It is not a matter in regard to which inquiries have had to be made only in one State. If the troops are to be sent away, they will have to go in proportion to the population of the different States. Inquiries have had to be made in all the States. They were necessary also in South Africa, because it was our desire - and I think the Senate will approve of that desire - that the troops to represent the Commonwealth at the Coronation celebrations should be veteran soldiers who had served the Empire in South Africa. Not only had these inquiries to be made, but it was essential that this measure should be introduced in Parliament. It had to be introduced of necessity in another place, which was occupied with a very important phase of the Tariff, which it was not thought desirable to interrupt by bringing on fresh business. For these reasons, therefore, it was impossible to bring the matter before the House of Representatives as soon as it was ripe for discussion. It was brought forward at the earliest possible moment ; the House of Representatives suspended its standing orders, and the Senate is asked to do no more. No blame can be laid at the door of the Cabinet. What would be the result if the objection to the suspension of the standing orders were successful? The consideration of the Bill would have to be postponed until Wednesday next, with the result that it would be too late to effectively carry out the proposed representation of the Commonwealth at the celebration. There is no reason why this matter should not be discussed now. There are no involved considerations to be dealt with, and I submit that the Senate is really in no worse position than if it had had three or four days in which to consider the measure. Therefore I hope that it will be practically unanimous in suspending the standing orders, and enabling the Bill to be dealt with.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority …. … 16
Question so resolvedin theaffirmative.
Senator O’CONNOR (New SouthWales - Vice-President of the Executive Council). - I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time. It provides for the appropriation of £23,350 for the purpose of defraying the expenses attendant on the celebration of His Majesty’s Coronation. That amount includes £16,000 for a contingent of Commonwealth mounted troops, £5,500 for illuminating the Commonwealth buildings in the State capitals, and £1,850 for the representation of the Commonwealth by the Prime Minister, including clerical and all other expenses. The representation of the Commonwealth by a contingent of mounted troops is proposed to be undertaken in response to an invitation conveyed in a telegraphic despatch which was sent from London on the 17th March to the Governor-General, and which reads as follows : -
His Majesty’s Government hope to see colonies represented at the Coronation by local forces as at Jubilee, 1897. Should your Ministers concur, His Majesty’s Government will be prepared to receive from the Commonwealth any number not exceeding 580 of all arms ; selection left to your Ministers. Quarters for officers, and quarters and free rations for non-commissioned officers and men provided for about one month from the date of landing. Passage and all other expenses to be defrayed by Commonwealth. Horses can be provided for 300. Officers must be strictly limited to one colonel, two majors, one adjutant for entire contingent ; all other officers in ratio of three per 100 men. There must be no unattached or supernumerary officers. I shall be glad to learn probable number and other details at your earliest convenience:
The first question for the consideration of the Government was whether that invitation should be accepted. I think a majority of the Senate will see that it is impossible, in face of the position of the Commonwealth and its relation to the Empire, to refuse an invitation of that kind. We have already shown in the most practical way out- adherence to the cause of the Empire, our pride to belong to the Empire; and when we remember that this great ceremonial of the Coronation of His Majesty the King, is one in which a demonstration will be made from every part of the Empire, surely it is right that the Commonwealth should be represented - this Commonwealth which so recently was brought into being with universal joy and congratulation from every part of His Majesty’s dominions. It would be quite unfitting that this great ceremonial at the centre of the Empire should be carried out in the absence of some military representation of the Commonwealth. In 1897 the States of Australia sent 253 men for their representation at the Jubilee Celebrations. It was proposed at first that the Commonwealth should send 250 men. That proposal has been altered, and it is now proposed to send about 150 men at a cost of £16,000. I submit that it would be impossible for a less number to be sent to represent the Commonwealth in any fitting way. We think it most fitting that the officers and men who are to take part in this display should be men who have served the Empire in South Africa, both as a proof of the part we have taken in serving the Empire, and as a reward for the men who have given, up their time and risked their lives in its service. The number will be supplied partly from South Africa and partly from the Commonwealth. Fifty, or perhaps more, will be supplied from South Africa and England, and the balance from the Commonwealth. Care will be taken to, as nearly as possible, have each State represented according to its population. This Appears to me to be as small a number as we can send consistently with the position which the Commonwealth ought to occupy.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - I rise to second the motion. The occasion which has called for this Bill is a great one. I do not think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has overrated its greatness. What we have to do is to be careful that, in the universal desire for economy, we do not descend to meanness. In India it is proposed to spend about £250, 000 at .Delhi. Of course I need not tell honorable senators that the natives Qf India have no voice in the matter, but at the same time I may say without any doubt that there are scores of native princes who, single-handed, will be prepared to spend the entire sum named in this Bill on the occasion. £23,000 is not a large sum for the Commonwealth to spend. In view of the fact that Canada will have several times as many men, and New Zealand the same number as we propose to send, I do not see how we could, without descending to what I describe as meanness, reduce the estimate. I think it has been brought down, by what has taken place elsewhere, to its lowest limit. Therefore, believing that the proposals of the Government in this matter are fair and reasonable, and that they do exhibit a due regard to the necessity for economy, and at the same time maintain the dignity of Australia and recognise the importance of the occasion, I have pleasure in supporting them.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I think that a member of the third party in the Senate must congratulate the Government that they have been able to bring forward a proposal on which they can effect a coalition with the senators who sit in opposition to them. I was glad, in listening to the speech of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to notice that he did not argue that it was necessary to incur this expenditure in order to exhibit our loyalty to the Empire. I am glad of that, because, at least, we can discuss the question without hearing it said that we must be in favour of what is proposed unless we are to be branded as disloyal. Every one will recognise now that even if we do not send troops to the coronation the loyalty of Australia to the Empire has already been amply demonstrated. That being so, the only question that is before the Senate is, I take it, whether this is the best method by which we can be represented at the coronation. Upon that I join issue with the Government. I do not think that the method proposed is the best
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania).- This is going to be a morning of coalitions, for I find myself, a staunch Imperialist, to some extent coalescing with my honorable friend who has just sat down, and who may be taken as representing the labour party in the views he has expressed. We are a part of the British Empire. I am proud that we belong to it, and we must be worthily represented at the coronation of our King. With regard to the first item of the schedule, I do not think we can possibly reduce the number of men to be sent to London. Whatever the cost may be, we could not do less, and I would not have us do more, than send 150 troops to take part in the ceremony. A few minutes before Senator Pearce rose, I expressed my intention of moving that the item for illuminations be struck out for the purpose of devoting the money to the erection of an arch such as my honorable friend has suggested. I regard the sum of £5,500 to be spent upon illuminating the Commonwealth buildings in the capital cities as money wasted. All of us must recollect the magnificent illuminations which took place in Sydney at the inauguration of the Commonwealth on the 1st January last year, and there is still fresh in our memory the magnificent way in which the city of Melbourne was illuminated on the occasion of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York last May. Bub simply to illuminate ; three or four buildings in each capital city on the day of the Coronation will mean an absolute waste of money. The public will be enjoying their holiday in the way that pleases them, and no doubt there will be great crowds in the streets. If the Government were to engage a few bands at £10 each to play music at the corners of the streets, it would give more real enjoyment than the spending of a large sum of money on illuminations. I should much prefer seeing the money devoted to the erection of an arch. Senator Playford seems to think that an arch would be of little use. But the illuminations would-be of no use whatever. We want to be represented where the coronation is going on, in the very heart of the Empire. Canada is to erect an arch which will be viewed, certainly by a million of people, and I certainly think that we ought to spend £5,000 on a structure which will be worthy of Australia, and emblematical of our industries, and which will tell the people of the Empire that there is such a place as Australia. I therefore propose, when we get into committee, to support the omission of the second item, with a view to provision being made for the erection of an arch in London.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I am surprised to hear the pro-Boer utterances of Senator Dobson ! After- the eloquent speeches that have been delivered by him in the past, I am amazed to find him backing down from his Imperialistic utterances, and objecting to the expenditure of a few thousand pounds in illuminating the Commonwealth in order to demonstrate our loyalty to the Empire. It is time we considered whither we are drifting. If Senator Dobson goes on in this way we shall soon find him moving a motion to the effect that the time has arrived when Australia should become an independent republic.
Senator Dobson. - Never !
– With regard to the proposed military display in London, what object is tobe attained by sending awa,v 150 men to take part in the Coronation procession ? What is the idea in getting men to ride on horseback through the streets of London ?
– The honorable senator would be satisfied if Senator Neild went.
– I should be perfectly satisfied if Senator Neild went to represent the Commonwealth with a few men accompanying him to show that he was not absolutely alone in such a large city, but I do not at all agree that 1 50 men are necessary. The object in making a military display on this occasion must surely be to impress the whole community with the “ pomp and circumstance “ of glorious war. If those in charge of the coronation celebrations in London desire to impress the people in that way let them also show the other side. I venture to say that they can impress the public of Great Britain in a very much stronger way by having some banners in the procession, on which shall be printed “Thirty thousand dead, and some fifty thousand wounded, in the South African war.” Let them also have a procession of widows and orphans and of the maimed and crippled who have lost their limbs in the war in South Africa.. I was very much disappointed when the Duke and Duchess were here with the military aspect of their appearance. Civilians were not permitted to take any part in the processions in connexion with their visit, and, I suppose, civilians will not be permitted to take part in the coronation processions in London. The on!)’ persons permitted to take part in the processions during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York wore people in some way connected with the army.
– No ; corporations were represented.
– The honorable senator must know that no aldermen were allowed to take part in those processions, and neither members of the Federal Parliament nor the State Parliaments were allowed to take part in them, though they were permitted to stand on the steps and look on. Undoubtedly the affair was conducted in that way in order to keep the people attached to the military system. I consider the sum of £16,000 too large to be expended in this way. Where are the economists of Victoria, and why have they not said a word about this expenditure ? We who come from the other States have lately been much impressed by the agitation for economy on the part of the great daily newspapers of this State, and on the part of some agitators who are anxious to take the places of certain men in the State Parliament, but not a word is said against this expenditure for the purpose of sending Home 150 men to take part in a procession. They will pass the eyes of those congregated very rapidly, and will, no doubt, elicit a cheer, but they will soon have gone from the recollection of the people, and as for any advantage to Australia and the Empire, that will not exist.
Let us bear in mind that these troops are only to go away to take part in a procession which will last for a few hours, and that we are being asked to spend £16,000 for that purpose. Do not honorable senators who witnessed the demonstrations in Melbourne agree that a procession representing the arts of peace and industry would be more fitting? Whoever saw a better, a more attractive, or a more instructive display than the eight hours’ procession through the streets of Melbourne during the time the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were here. It had to be admitted on all hands that that was a procession worth preparing for. The proposal to build an industrial arch in the streets of London is, to my mind, very much more to the point. Honorable senators, who remember the Commonwealth celebrations in Sydney and in Melbourne, will know that the most effective means adopted to show the rejoicing of the people were the arches built in the streets. What attracted more attention than the arches built en behalf of France, Germany, and the United States 1 Yet there are certain people who tell us that France and Germany are only too anxious for some withdrawal of the protection of the mother country, that they may sweep down and seize Australia. If we wish to advertise Australia and the Commonwealth, the erection of an industrial arch would be the most effective means to adopt. “
– There is not the material in London, and there is no time to send it.
– The honorable senator must know that if a cable were sent to the old country, half-a-dozen arches could be constructed in a month, and he must also know that these arches are never erected until a day or two before the date of the display.
– They have not the produce there for the purpose.
– There is any amount of Australian produce continually arriving in the London market. Some honorable senators seem to ridicule industrial displays, and Senator Ewing saw something ridiculous in- the pumpkin, and the man who produces the pumpkin. I venture” to say that Senator Playford could give the honorable and learned Senator some information upon that subject. Those honorable senators who take an interest in the primary productions of the country do not find anything embarrassing or derogatory in primary productions. I am reminded that Senator Playford said something to the effect that these agricultural and horticultural displays in the old country were worth nothing ; but if that is so, I would like to ask of what use the colonial Agents-General have been to the different States ? I have heard that Senator Playford was himself one of the most successful representatives of South Australia who ever made his appearance in the old country. But if the honorable senator could not have backed up the statements he made by solid facts in the exhibition of the products of South Australia, his efforts to advance that State would have been futile.
– But that was putting the productions before people who wished to buy them, and not upon an arch.
– If they were exhibited on an arch there are thousands of people who are not able to get an honest living throughout the United Kingdom and London who might see them and be induced to say - “Australia is the place for us to go to. It is evidently a land of milk and honey, in which the good things of the. earth are easily produced, and we will go there.” I must say that I think a military display on this occasion is a very great mistake. I think it would be better to adopt a suggestion which arose in my mind when I heard Sir John Forrest speaking last night about the industrial aspect of the South African war. The right honorable gentleman said that Australia was doing a roaring trade with South Africa. Would it not be well, instead of sending this military contingent, to send a contingent of the frozen-meat patriots who are crying out for the continuance of the war 1 Let us get a contingent of the gentlemen who are at present making fortunes out of the South African war, and get them to take part in the procession, and to say how many thousands they have made out of the war, and to give the reason why they are anxious that the war should be continued until the subjugation of the Boers takes place. But no, we shall not have anything of that kind. All that is wanted is the shine and glitter of militarism. When the Bill gets into committee we may not be in a position to strike out certain items it contains, but we can suggest to the House of Representatives that they ought to be omitted.
– The Senate can alter this Bill.
– I had overlooked that. I think we can very well reduce this item of £16,000 to somethinglike £5,000, which amount would be ample. I think that the presence of the Commonwealth Premier at the Coronation celebrations will be all that is required, and I do not think we ought to begrudge the amount set down for Mr. Barton’s trip. I look upon the right honorable gentleman as a very able man, who has done a very great deal for the Commonwealth. I think that his Ministry and himself are inclined to dispense Commonwealth money with too free a hand, but his services have been of such a character that I do not think there will be any opposition to the amount proposed to cover the expenses of his trip. A proposal was made in the Bill as originally introduced in another place to send away a rifle team to the old” ‘ country, and I am glad that that proposal has been withdrawn, though I agree that it is a very wise thing to encourage rifle clubs by the expenditure of money for prizes to be won within the Common- - wealth.
– That is militarism.
– I am very glad the honorable senator has made that interjection. . That is the militarism I am prepared to support. I am prepared to support a militarism which will train our own people to shoot, so that if at any time Australia is attacked by any power our people will be able to defend themselves. But that is a very different thing from training our people with a view to sending them away to a foreign country in the interests of mining speculators and shareholders who are not satisfied with the millions they have already.made out of their mines.
-We are not sending them to a foreign country.
– Then the honorable senator has closed his eyes to the long list which appeared in the Melbourne press, of young men, farmers and labourers, who are going away, probably to leave their bones on the South Af rican veldt. He does not see that we are depleting Australia of some of her best citizens. I am in favour of the militarism of self-defence, but not of aggression, and if we could see into the honorable senator’s mind we should find that he was of the same opinion.
– Be largeminded and allow the Bill to pass without further discussion.
– The honorable-senator must not expect others to take up the attitude adopted by him. ‘He has not spoken very frequently in this chamber, ‘for the reason, I suppose, that ‘he has agreed in ‘the main with ‘the legislation proposed by the Government ; but when he has been in dis- - agreement “with it he has offered so violent an opposition that ‘no one has dared to interrupt him. I do not -speak very “frequently ; but I think it is -necessary for those of us who object to the deification of militarism to try and put a stop ‘to it.
– Perhaps one of the most satisfactory features of the debate has been the exhibition of the unanimous feeling that the Commonwealth should be represented at the .great coronation ceremony, first of all, in the person of the Prime Minister, and, secondly, by -some display on the part of the people. We recognise that the coronation ceremony will symbolize the unity of the Empire; and that as part and parcel of the Empire we should be represented. I suppose that one of the greatest assemblages which has ever taken place in the history of the Empire will be that which will gather at the coronation -ceremony at Westminster. As a British people we desire to show our rejoicings in connexion with what is taking place, and consequently the question resolves itself into one as to the form which the exhibition of our rejoicings should take. I am aware that incidentally the bringing together of the naval and military forces will in itself demonstrate the influence and strength of the Empire as a whole. That, however, is not the main object of the display. The desire is to have some picturesque pageant which will at the same time be indicative of our rejoicings. While I am not prepared to go the length which my honorable friends in the labour corner have gone in denouncing all militarism, I am by no means enamoured of it ; I realize that in a moderate and modest degree militarism is essential. I do not agree with them in the view that the mere sending of troops to England to take part in the coronation celebrations will constitute any exhibition of militarism on our part. They will be sent simply to make a picturesque display, and not for the purpose of generating any military ideas. I
– To ma - To make a show.
– To make a show. We desire to adopt “the best method of displaying our rejoicings, and could anything be more picturesque ‘than that which is suggested in the Bill ? We have ‘no reason to be ashamed of what has been done by our own military men within ‘the limits of the ‘Commonwealth. They “have not only proved themselves to be really good solid citizens, but reliable men, and when it .has been necessary:they have done their duty abroad. I ‘feel, therefore, that “the charge that this is mere jingoism, with a tendency in the direction of militarism, is -not” altogether justified. I urge the -sending of these troops on the ground that they will make a picturesque display, and are likely to be effective in that direction. It is true that “Senator Pearce and others have emphasized the view that an arch of Australian productions should be erected in London. T do not know that it would be specially picturesque, but the idea is that from a utilitarian stand-point it would be an excellent thing. In my opinion, there is not much to be gained in that direction. Such an arch ‘would not ‘be likely to impress upon those who saw it our importance in primary productions. It is not in that way that commercial and agricultural interests are to ‘be promoted. We have our Agents-General and commercial agents in the old country who are constantly endeavouring to bring our primary productions under the notice of “the British public. They find it a very difficult work, and it is utterly “fallacious to say that any substantial advance in that direction is to be .gained by the mere erection in London of an arch indicating what we can produce. “Senator De Largie. - -“Will the presence of 150 troops in London help us?
– Prom an advertising stand-point - if we are to look at it from that base point of view - I venture to say that it will appeal to the British public to an infinitely -greater extent than would the erection of an arch.
– Then the honorable and learned senator .believes in militarism ?
– -!Nb ; only to a modest extent, as I have stated already. If there is any general belief that it is desirable that we should have an arch erected in London to illustrate our primary productions, and if we can satisfy ourselves that anything substantial will be gained by carrying out that proposal, we can suggest to another place that the appropriation should be increased to the extent of £3,000 or £4,000. In my opinion the proposals contained in theBill for the picturesque display to which I have referred should not be in any way cut down. Senator Dobson and two orthree others have taken exception to the amount set apart for the illumination of the Commonwealth offices. I was pleased to hear the Vice-President of the Executive Council say that the intention of the Government was to distribute the amount almost equally amongst the various States irrespective of their population. I admit that illuminations are of a most ephemeral character, but we have to remember that it is a recognised practice on the part of the British public to resort to that method of showing their feelings of joy.
– It is also adopted by the Chinese.
– I thought the British custom of rejoicing was to get on the spree.
– Incidentally that may be so. The mere fact that Chinese also resort to illuminations in time of rejoicing should not detract from our intention to continue the practice. Notwithstanding what we may do here, it is perfectly clear that the loyal citizens throughout the rest of the Empire will have illuminations and displays of that character, and I think it is a very reasonable thing to say that in these circumstances the Commonwealth offices should not present a severely funereal appearance. We should fall in with what will be the general spirit of this demonstration, and, consequently, I feel that the proposal contained in the Bill is a reasonable one, and should commend itself to all.
– To my mind Senator Best has put the true position. All of us are agreed that it is advisable that during the coronation ceremonies we should take a part in the demonstration of the solidarity and loyalty of the Empire. The only question is in regard to what form that demonstration should take. There are three methods suggested in the Bill. One is the sending of troops to take part in the Commonwealth celebrations in England, another is the illumination of the Commonwealth buildings, and the third is that the Prime Minister should be present at the ceremony. With reference to the first proposal, I entirely agree with the last speaker, but I agree also with some observations that have fallen from honorable senators in the labour corner, that we ought to do all in our power to discourage the jingoism run mad which has arisen recently. If I thought that by sending Home troops on this occasion we should in any wayfoster that military spirit which is now so much abroad I should oppose it. But I look at the matter in an entirely different light. It may be that in this 20th century, which is characterized very much more by industrial and commercial progress than by military achievements, it would be more fitting and more welcome to our new King to make a display of those things which most symbolize the ageand are most truly representative of the Empire over which he reigns. But unfortunately we are not the promoters of these celebrations. We are merely a small factor, and are asked to play a part in a display that has been decided upon in London, the heart of theEmpire. The authorities there might have chosen to celebrate the coronation of the King by an industrial exhibition, but they have chosen to celebrate it by a military display. In so doing, they have followed the time-honoured traditions, not merely of Britain, but of every country. Whether that custom finds its origin in the savagery of men who recognised no prowess but the physical, or whether it arises from a desire for the picturesque, the fact remains that a military demonstration has been decided upon, and that it is recognised throughout the world that great public rejoicing on an occasion like the one. in view is best exhibited by a military display. We have been asked to send troops. Are we to make ourselves singular by lifting our little voice against the chorus from all parts of the Empire, and to stand out against the means of display proposed ?
– Why not rejoice in our own way ?
– I merely put it to the Senate that as an act of courtesy and graciousness, and certainly of decorum, we should do what is suggested. It has been so chosen, and we should only make ourselves ridiculous by asserting our little opinion as to the way in which this rejoicing should be demonstrated, contrary to what has been decided in the heart of the Empire. So far as the amount is concerned, I do not know much. I have always believed that we cut down too much. I think that £16,000 is little enough. With reference to the illuminations of our Commonwealth buildings, true, it may be said that by giving effect to this proposal, we shall not put one penny-piece into any one’s pocket, but shall take it out ; but that is not the point. On many occasions we have pyrotechnic displays, banquets and flags gaily flying. Intrinsically they mean nothing, but they indicate a great deal, and they have been chosen by all people, and are now recognised, as the appropriate signs of a heartful welcome. Would it not be very curious if when London and all other parts of the Empire were ablaze with glorification, we gave a pat on the back to those who say that our recent demonstrations of loyalty, our willingness to send troops to fight the battles of the Empire were prompted not by love of the Empire, but by certain private and sordid considerations ? Would that not be an eloquent endorsement of the calumnies that are passed on the Empire? I think we are all agreed that the Prime Minister should represent the Commonwealth. I do not wish it to appear - and I think I mentioned it on a former occasion - that I in the slightest degree sympathize with the military spirit which is now becoming too rampant, and it is only because by adopting this method of illuminating the State capitals, and of sending Home soldiers that we fall in with the practice which has been recognised as appropriate to such an occasion that I support the Bill. I think it would be well if there were an arch or two, but the other House has rejected the idea. I do not think we should substitute an arch for the illuminations, or lessen the vote for the contingent for the purpose of erecting an arch, but I agree with the last speaker, that it would be a good thing if we could appropriate a few thousand pounds more to put up an arch. I do not know that it would produce very much benefit, but anything will do good which serves as a proclamation to London that we Australians, 13,000 miles away, are a people who are thinking of the old country, and therefore worthy of being thought of by the best people there.
– I rise more to complain than to do anything else. Whenever there is a demonstration to be made there is always a great hurry, but for carrying out the real business of the Commonwealth there is no such hurry displayed at most times. We have heard a great deal about the defence of the Empire ; I dare say we are all interested in its defence. We have also heard about the defence of Australia, but do we show the same interest in its defence ? Do the Government even at the present time show the same interest in the defence of Australia as in the defence of other portions ~of the Empire? Some honorable senators talk about militarism as if they abhorred it. Yet they are doing everything they possibly can to show that their sympathies run in that direction. They say that they are anxious that the defence of Australia should be carried out by the encouragement of rifle clubs. The object of my remarks is to show the neglect in one direction and the hurry in another. For some time a movement has been on foot in Australia to get our young men into clubs for the purpose of being taught to use their weapons if ever a necessity should arise. I know of several instances where the members of these clubs have applied, to the Defence department for approved rifles. In one instance the applications were made six months ago, and the young men were prepared to pay for the rifles, but the department have not hurried. They do not care whether a force from Japan, China or Russia comes here. These young men are patriotic enough to desire to be taught to defend themselves ; and yet this department takes very little interest in them, or is moving very slowly in the direction of bringing about the improvement which ought to have taken place long ago. But when an affair of this kind is proposed, when they are whooping and howling all over the place, an)7 one who offers to criticise it is disloyal, or perhaps something worse. Something has been said about a proper display in connexion with the coronation ceremony, which would really illustrate to people in the old country not only the feelings, but the habits of the people of Australia. I think it could be done much more appropriately than by a military display. When the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York were in Melbourne, there was an item in the Eight Hours’ demonstration which I believe attracted more attention than any other, and which so far as the people of England are concerned would be more Australian than any other. It was a display of stock riders mounted on their own horses, wearing their own peculiar garb and cracking their stock whips. It was better than any military display I saw in Australia, and it was more in harmony with the tastes of the people. Instead of spending £16,000 to send Home 1-50 military men, could we not with that money - and I do not believe it would take as much - send Home 150 stockmen? They are as much entitled to our consideration as is anybody else. They would be recognised much more readily in London as being Australian than 150 military men who would be lost in the crowd of soldiers.
– - Certainly such an exhibition would create a good deal of amusement.
– It is purely a fete for the amusement of the people. Does the honorable and learned senator think that they are going to kill anybody or to impress them with terror or with admiration? What I have been endeavouring to impress on the Senate is the neglect of the Government, particularly the Minister for Defence, to carry out the real intention of the people of Australia with respect to training our young men. Until such time as the Commonwealth Parliament has a habitation of its own which it can illuminate it is not desirable to incur any expenditure in this direction. If any capital city is to be illuminated it is the duty of the Government of the State, if it is so inclined, to provide for the illuminations.
– T - This sum will not cover the total cost of the illuminations, but merely the cost of illuminating the Commonwealth buildings.
– I understand that this money is being voted for the purpose of illuminating the buildings in the possession of the Commonwealth. The offices at the corner of Collins-street, the Post-office, and some military establishments - I do not know where they are, nor do a great man)’ of the people, or care either - these are all the buildings which fire to be illuminated in Melbourne. When this sum is distributed amongst the six States, it will provide a very poor show. It would be better not” to have it done at all than to have it half done. If the Government of a State makes up its mind to illuminate the State capital, it has a perfect right to do so, and not afterwards complain about the extravagance of the Commonwealth : because, assuredly, if we spend money on illuminations it will be included in the Commonwealth expenditure, and held up to Federal members as portion of their work in representing the States. I entirely agree with Senators Dobson and Pearce that if this sum of £5,500 is not sufficient to properly illuminate the Commonwealth buildings all over Australia, it will be quite sufficient for the purpose of erecting an arch, or even two arches, in London, to show the products of Australia. Notwithstanding the experience of Senator Playford, I believe there is a great deal in erecting these arches.
– They are only erected for show.
– Why were the arches erected here ? To advertise the countries by whom they were erected. I am sure Senator Playford must agree that there is no more effective means of making known the productions of Australia than by advertisement. I am sure that an arch in London at such a time would have as much effect as newspaper advertisements costing that amount.
– Does the honorable senator suppose that the productions of Australia are not known in England ?
– Advertising is the first plank in his platform.
– It is the first plank in the platform of a great many persons. I will support any movement to advertise Australia in London, by the erection of some arches in substitution for what I would call very inefficient illuminations. Why should any State Government throw the responsibility of illuminating the State capital on to the Commonwealth ? When the Commonwealth is provided with, a capital of its own, it will be perfectly justified in voting a sum of money to illuminate its public buildings when a coronation ceremonial takes place. We are all agreed, I think, that the last item is a proper one to vote. No representative of Australia should be allowed to go to London, or elsewhere, without sufficient funds to enable him to conduct himself in the same way as the representatives of any other parts’ of the world. Therefore, although not objecting to the second reading, I certainly shall support those who will endeavour to alter the Bill in committee in the direction which has been indicated.
– I need hardly say that I am opposed to the entire principle of this Bill. I am against it from the first line to the last.
If the people of Great Britain like to engage in the barbaric extravagance of a coronation - an unnecessary pageant, in my opinion - that is their affair. Apparently there is plenty of cash in Great Britain to be spent on this sort of thing. But we are a democratic community. We ought to practice simplicity in all our ceremonials, and be economical in our expenditure of money. If we can show an example to the older countries of the world we ought to do so. Por that reason I am altogether opposed to sending a number of men to London to represent Australia. I am particularly opposed to the idea when military men are to be sent. The Government of Great Britain has issued an invitation to Australia to send soldiers. AVe have no soldiers to send, in the ordinary sense of the word. A soldier is a member of a standing, army. We have not a standing army, and I hope we never shall have. Therefore we have not the material at our disposal which the British Government desires we shall send. If we had an army it would be much more to the public advantage if we could, by not countenancing the idea of giving military men pre-eminence in these functions, do something. to dissipate the military spirit- which is so powerful in nearly every nation in the world. I object to sending these men to England for that reason. Another reason is that we cannot afford it. We have not the money to spend, in this. sort of thing. We are a poor community. The cry of’ the unemployed rises from every portion of the Commonwealth: Several of: the State Governments are crying out that the Commonwealth Parliament has ruined them by its action on the Tariff: We are told from every portion of Australia that Government employe’s will have to be dismissed because there is no revenue: We know that the continent is devastated: by drought, and that tens of- thousands, of men do not know whereto turn for the means, of subsistence. Whilst that is the case the Government of the Commonwealth has- theaudacity to ask us spend £23j000 in taking, part in a useless ceremonial. I shall be no party to anything of the kind. The timehas now arrived when the democratic people of Australia should set their foot down, firmly, and object to such extravagance. We hear a great deal about economy. We are told that our printing bill is too high, and that we are spending too much in other directions. Every effort is being made in certain, quarters to hamper the free action, of the men’ into whose power the government of: the Commonwealth has been placed, in their endeavours to cany on the administration of: the country efficiently and economically. But when expenditure of this character is. proposed the dogs that bark so loudly on other occasions suddenly become dumb. What is the reason 1 Whyhas the watch-dog on the- tower become silent when he sees extravagance proposed in this way ? I suppose because a bit of Imperial hash is thrown to him- !
– Why did not the honorable senator, object to the expenditure upon the capital sites tour 1
– I did object : but I went on the tour as I considered it my duty to do so. The honorable senator neglected his duty, but I. performed mine, much against my wish. It appears to me that there is a party in Australia which-, while it insists upon the most rigid economy, almost verging upon meanness, so far as purely Australian expenditure is- concerned, wishes to be lavish in the expenditure of- the last shilling of somebody else, and the shedding of. the last drop of somebody else’s blood. I am not an Australian of that character. I believe that charity begins at home, and good government ought to- begin at home. If; we have money to spend we ought to spend it to the advantage of the miserable poverty stricken, people- within our own. territory: .- The Prime Minister has asked for’ £23,000. Does any one expect that that sum will cover the expenditure on this coronation business- so far as Australia is concerned ? Any one who believes that is a most credulous person. I do not. It is fresh in our. memories that a. certain gentleman who is again going to Great Britain, on one occasion- wired, to Australia, for a refresher. He had been so accustomed to refreshers in his profession, I suppose, that he could not do without one. On this occasion I expect that he will want a pick-me-up before he has been in England very long, and the expenditure on thisexpedition, instead, of being. £23,350, will probably be £.50,000. I record my protest here and now against it. With regard tothe £5,600 that it is proposed to spend in illuminations- in the State capitals, it appears to me that the people who have had the government, of these State capitals for so many years certainly want illumination ; but not of the kind now proposed. This is one of the moat ridiculous proposals that I have ever heard of, in a country which supposes itself to be civilized. Cannot we rejoice without burning something 1 Surely we ought to be a degree in advance’ of. that. But we do not seem to” be one whit removed from the condition’ of the savage people who lived 2,000 or 3,000’ yeans- ago, and who revelled in blood: and fire. Those were the only two deities the)’ worshipped. We appear nowadays- to worship three - blood, fire, and gold. If we have £.5,500 to spend, we ought to follow the examplewhich has been set by the illustrious monarch- who now occupies the British: throne. I refer to. Edward VH. He proposes to feed: half a. million, of; the poorest people in London. There- are actually half a million, people living. in> the great capital of this- great Empire so poverty-stricken that they have not a. meal to- put into their stomachs.
– Nonsense !
– Their stomachs are as empty as the heads of some of those who support this- proposal ! We might very well follow the illustrious- example of- our great King. I read in a northern paper that in Rockhampton, the town from which I come, meetings have been, held to consider the condition of a. number o£ people who are in destitute circumstances. The-same is- the case in Brisbane. In Melbourne, in.the very, precincts of . Parliament - this boarding, house at the head, of Bourke-street - have been invaded by a hungry army of unemployed, but I did not hear, that they: were invited- up to the refreshment rooms. If: they cam here hungry, I believe they went away hungry. If we have any. money to* spend, in rejoicings would, it not- be- better to give- a few thousand poof people a. free meal,. in order to make, them realize that Edward, was being crowned,, and that they ought to rejoice? I suppose,, if: we did that, these-poor people would, wish, that a, coronation, might happen every day. In- regard to the Prime Minister, surely, that right honorable gentleman - I believe that he is- a right honorable member of the- Privy. Council of - the Empire - being the captain of this ship, ought not to desert it and, run away. to. London at. the present juncture. I really must protest against the, chief: executive officer of the Commonwealth being permitted to desert his post at present. If he- wishes to go to London he should resign his position before leaving Australia.
– It is only as Prime Minister that he goes.
Senator - STEWART. - It is not necessary that, he should go- as. Prime Minister. We have a number of- Agents-General in. London^ who,. I am sure, would be- ready torepresent. Australia in this- matter. Wehave a representative of Queensland who* would do the tiling right royally. He is one of- the most regal persons! have ever heard of. The objection that it is- improper for the Prime- Minister of the Commonwealth to be absent during his term of office has special force if- he is. absent while Parliament is sitting, I have no doubt that even if he departed never to return, Australia could get on perfectly well without him, but we do not find Great Britain permitting, her Prime Ministers to leave the country in this fashion, and even if- it were allowed in Great Britain, I think it should not be permitted here. When we- place a gentleman in charge of the affairs of the country, we make him our first executive officer, and we expect him to stick to his post, because thePrime Minister is the centre round which the administration revolves. The Cabinet, I suppose^ could appoint a temporary occupant of the office,.but that is not desirable. There seems to be no necessity that the Prime Minister should go. We have a number of Agents-General in London who could effectively represent the Commonwealth. The1 objection may be raised that an AgentGeneral could nob take part in the proceedings of the Imperial Conference which is to be held with- the same authority as the Prime Minister. I do not know that it would bewise to vest any Agent-General with power to deal with those matters. I think it is- highly objectionable even to vest the Prime Minister with such powers. I ha.vethe very grayest suspicion of these Imperial conferences. If- gatherings of this character are to take place, due notice of them should be given to the public, the matters to be discussed should, be intimated, and individuals should be chosen specially to represent the different portions of the Empire at- them. We send the Prime Minister to attend the- coronation and thisconference practically with a blank, cheque. He can practically commit the Commonwealth to anything he pleases. The right honorable gentleman, will say, of- course, that he will nob do anything of the kind, but’ we know how these things are managed, and some measure or some policy may be initiated at such a conference which it may be very inconvenient subsequently for the Commonwealth to go back upon. We shall practically be committed to that policy, and there is very little chance that the Parliament of the Commonwealth will go back upon it. I do not believe in that sort of thing. There is another reason why I think the Prime Minister should not go. It is that when we send our public men to Great Britain we expose them to influences which invariably deteriorate their public character and impair their efficiency. We are here a democratic community, living in a kind of primeval simplicity. I trust we shall keep that simplicity, and that we shall never ape the garish splendour, the tinsel show, and the hollow magnificence which obtains -at the heart of the Empire. We have seen the apple beautifully red on the outside, but upon closer examination we have found that some insect has bored through the skin and eaten out the heart of it, and there is nothing left but the magnificence of the outside shell. I am afraid that at the heart this Empire is rapidly advancing to that condition, and I say it is unnecessarily exposing our public men to serious dangers to send them Home. There they come into contact with men who have no sympathy with our ideals in Australia, and who look upon the representation of working men by working men in Parliament as something of an exceedingly dangerous character. The principal gentleman with whom Mr. Barton will come into contact when he goes to England, is a certain person known as the Right Honorable Joseph Chamberlain. I know of no man who has such a capacity foi1 invective as that right honorable gentleman, and he declared very forcibly in the British House of Commons quite recently, that a working man’s representative in the House of .Commons was “like a fish out of water.” He thus demonstrated his views in the most forcible fashion to the entire world, because that gentleman’s auditorium is the whole earth, and all the’ newspapers in the world publish his utterances. The Right Honorable Edmund Barton, when he goes to Great Britain, will come into contact with that gentleman and will be contaminated. He will say - “ Why, Mr. Barton, yon are governed out there by the labour party. Why don’t you kick against it, and rebel against this unholy and illegitimate dominance.” He will inspire Mr. Barton probably with ideas that otherwise would never enter his mind, and it will be like the serpent invading the holy precincts of Eden. I do not know whether the ex-Premier of Tasmania, Senator Dobson, has ever visited Great Britain.
– I have been there, and I got my conservatism rubbed off.
– We have had a number of cases of prominent colonial statesmen who have gone to Great Britain, and have come back utterly emasculated, and so completely unfitted to carry on the work of government here’ that they have been thrown out with ‘contempt and contumely by the people of these States.
– What does the honorable senator think of Mr. Seddon 1
– I do not desire that this should befall our Prime Minister. I should like to see him go out of political life with his Dags flying, and carrying all his honours, and without any disgrace emblazoned on his banner. Senator Charleston has asked me what l think of Mr. Seddon. Unfortunately, the time is too limited. If I started to give my opinion of Mr. Seddon I might occupy the time of the Senate much longer than honorable senators would care to listen to me. That will be continued in our next. If one of our Agents-General can not be appointed to represent us at Home upon this occasion, why should we not content ourselves with simply sending Home a cablegram congratulating His Majesty upon the fact that this piece of gold has been placed upon his royal head.
– Would not a postcard do?
– No ; I am not quite so mean as the honorable senator. I would go the length of a cablegram. If we do insist upon sending the Prime Minister Home, what guarantee have we that this amount of £1,850 will not be exceeded? Why did not the right honorable gentleman make it £1,902 ; then it would have been even with this year of our Lord.
– I dare say he will do it if the honorable senator asks him.
– Yes ; and a great deal more. I have not the slightest idea that this sum will suffice for the expenses of the Prime Minister and his retinue. We 1 know perfectly well that that right honorable gentleman is quite oriental in his ideas. If he had his way it would not be £1,800 but £18,000 probably, and when the bill comes in we shall very likely find that it is a very much bigger amount than is set down in the measure before us. For that reason I think we ought not to permit him to go. As I said at the beginning, I am opposed to the whole spirit of this Bill. If amendments are moved in the direction of having an arch erected in London, and providing that the £5,000 odd mentioned for the expenses of the illuminations shall be spent in feeding our poor, I shall give such amendments my support. To the Bill as it stands I am most distinctly opposed.
– - I do not intend to take up the time of the Senate at any very great length, as I have no doubt that honorable senators desire to dispose of the Bill to-day. I was one of those who voted for the suspension of the standing orders to allow the Bill to be considered to-day, but at the same time I must enter my protest against some of its provisions with which I do not agree. I am one of those who do not think that the patriotism of Australians to Australia, or the loyalty of Australians to the British Empire, can be increased by the expenditure of £16,000 in sending a contingent of our soldiers to take part in the coronation celebrations in England. I am entirely in accord with some of the sentiments expressed hy Senator Pearce in the course of his excellent speech, as well as by some other honorable senators, and I agree that we might do more good to Australia, and at the same time make an equally effective display of our loyalty, by expending portion of this money in showing the industrial life rather than the militarism of Australia. I do not believe that the sending of 150 or even 250 troops from Australia would more greatly impress the people who are in London, on the occasion of the celebrations, with our loyalty than they would be in the absence of those troops. To the third item, providing for the sending of the Prime Minister to the ceremony, I do not think any one can take exception, notwithstanding the remarks which Iia ve been made by Senator Stewart. I think we are all agreed that the Commonwealth of Australia, as an integral part of the Empire, should be represented at the ceremonial, and that the proper person to represent it is the Prime Minister. So far as the question of cost is concerned, I am not in the fortunate position of one who has gained any experience of the expenditure involved in attending a ceremonial of the kind. I do not know whether £1,850 will be too much or too little ; but I am not going to cavil at the amount ; in fact, I welcome the proposal that the Prime Minister should attend. But we would show our sense of the importance of the function, and would not decrease the evidence of our loyalty if we stopped after making that provision. The sending of our soldiers to London will not cause any unit of the British Empire to recognise our loyalty to a greater extent than would the erection of an arch.
– The majority think otherwise.
– M - My honorable friend will allow that those who differ from him are as much entitled to place their views before the Senate as he is. Even although the majority may disagree with my opinion, I am satisfied that there is a very considerable minority in Australia, more especially at the present juncture, when there is so great an outcry against the expenses of the Federal Parliament, who object to the proposed expenditure of £16,000 for the despatch of troops to London. If the people were called upon» to-morrow to vote on the question, there would not be any substantial majority in favour of that expenditure. I certainly think that the proposal to expend £5,500 in illuminations is absurd. If the citizens of any part of the Commonwealth wish to exhibit their extreme loyalty they will do so by illuminating their buildings or towns at their own expense.
– What about the federal buildings 1
– Sur Surely the honorable and learned gentleman does not think that the few lights which would be provided for the whole of the federal buildings of Australia by the expenditure of £5,500 would add very much to the splendour of the general illuminations 1 The expenditure under that heading is unwarranted. We have been told that as other portions of the British Empire are going to be represented by disp]a)Ts of troops at the coronation celebrations at Home, Australia would be very parsimonious if she refused to adopt the same course. In another place, Australia has been compared with Canada. It is unfair to say that because Canada is going to be represented by a number of troops, Australia should be represented in the same way.
It must be remembered, that: we are only as a nation in our babyhood, while Canada: has been federated, for many years, and stands on an entirely-different footing. If; we desire at this early stage of the Common: wealth to- exhibit a. genuine desire for economy this is not- the way to do it.
– The best’ way would be to knock: £100-a.year off our salaries.
– P - Perhaps I would be just as willing as the honorable senator, to. assent to a proposal of that, kind if: a, corresponding desire for economy were shown inother directions. Perhaps I would rather have £100 a year added, to my salary, but that is not the questions before us. Every day we are having it dinned into our ears that the Federal Government has started its career in an extravagant way.
– Is it true 1
– I - I do not- think, itis to any great degree. Those- who talk: about the extravagance o£ the Government are those who support the proposal now. before us» who supported: the Bill as introduced in another place,, where a reduction of £10,000 was made,, and who would have hailed it with delight even if it- had involved au expenditure of: £50,000. They are the people who cry out if: any one, of the States is guilty of a little extravagance. In some of- the States even a vote of: £.1.00-for a hospital is refused. Such things occur daily, but the federation, of - the States- is to set its seal of approval upon what, in my opinion, will be a worthless- expenditure. I think that the representation of: Australia, by the Prime Minister, is desirable, and. that if we had ended there we should have done very well indeed. I realize the hopelessness of entering a:, protest, against the proposals- contained- in the Bill, but that does not prevent me- from, doing, my dutyaccording to my lights. I am not in full agreement with the- sentiment which hasbeen expressed here that the sending, of these troops to England is likely to conduceto militarism. No. one hates militarism more than I do. I abhor war ; I love peace with honour, although I am heart and soul, with the growth of a military spirit, so far as it is necessary, for the defence of our own country. There is not very much, in the assertion that the despatch of these few troops to London will increase the growth of: a military spirit here. I oppose the proposal on entirely different grounds - on the ground that if carried out it will not enhance the opinion, of the rest of- the Empire as to the loyalty of Australia. In- my opinion’ it will not confer any benefit upon Australia.. The £1.6,000 which it will involve might be spent in many other ways to greater, advantage, and if I have an opportunity of voting, on an amendment to strike out that item, as well as the proposed’ expenditure of £.5,500 for useless illuminations, I shall do so.
– In view of the criticism which has been levelled against’ the Bill,. I would ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council to say whether he cannot modify, to some extent, the proposals which it contains. The position which I take up, in common with others- who have objected to the Bill, as it stands, is,, that I am not opposed to the amount of: money proposed to be expended in the- representation, of the Commonwealth in London,, but to the direction in which it is to be expended. We feel that it could be expended to much greater advantage, and in a way which would be far more profitable- to the Empire, while still showing our. fidelity and loyalty to the Empire. The Vice:Pre.sident of the Executive’ Council would be very wise- if he were1 to adopt Senator Pearce’s suggestion, and set apart- a portion of the amount, now proposed-: to- be expended in. a military pageant, for the purposes- of an industrial display, which would advertiseAustralia; and give-us the opportunity which we have long, sought of: opening, up a- market foi; our products in the- old- country. It has been said that it is- necessary to send thismiserable handful of. men in khaki in orderto prove our loyalty.
– No such assertion has been made.
– That statement has been made by several honorable senators. It is- absolutely absurd. When I see a woman continually proclaiming from the housetops- that: she is- pure, I commence to doubt her virtue; I think that use-are protesting, too - much about our- loyalty. I certainly hope, that there will be a modification of: the proposals: contained in the Bill, and. that, first of all, the military “ joss “ will be cut down, by half,, and that the-vote for the illumination of the Commonwealth buildings will be struck out. I have no objection, to spending this amount of money ; but I object to the way in which it is proposed to be spent. If it is spent on advertising to the peoples of the world what
Australia is capable of producing, or showing what kind of country it is, it will do very good work,, and we shall be perfectly justified, not only in spending that amount, but in footing the other bill which is bound to come in later on, for it is absolutely absurd to suppose that £23,000 is to be the total expenditure.
– Why Why not ?
– Does the honorable and learned senator know of: one instance in which the first bill has covered the total expenses- of a representative in london 1
– Yes. Mr. Alfred Deakin returned £400 to the Treasury.
– That is the firstcase I have heard of. In- Queensland, we get a bill of- the estimated cost and it is passed, but we find, sometimes that we have to foot a bill doubling the original estimate. Apparently there is one brilliant exception to the-rule, and that- is- Mr. Alfred Deakin. Gaining knowledge by experience,, and having wisdom to profit by that knowledge, we should, send. Home, not the Ehime Minister, but the Attorney-General; If any honorable senator will make a proposal to send the Attorney-General in place of the Prime Minister, it shall have my very cordial support.
– Send a. representative of the labour party.
– I believe that, if- a. representative of the labour party did. go, he would out-Deakin Deakin! Immediately the Bill gets into committee I shall, make an effort to cut clown the item of £16,000 to be spent on a contingent of: 150 men- in khaki uniform, who will be seen in the streets of. London, for a fleeting, moment and forgotten, the next. Their visit will be of. no advantage- to Australia, and. no pleasure to thousands, perhaps millions, of: persons who may be looking, at the pageant. The money could be very well expended in some other way, proving, our loyalty to the Empire, and being profitable, to Australia.
– If I thought that tha money. which is asked for this display was to be spent in the best possible way; I should, not take up any time, but I hold that the- most useless way for its expenditure has been proposed. If there is anything, which the people in the old country, and I think the people in the Commonwealth, are heartily sick of, it is this constant display of militarism. Surely the display of militarism during, the last three years has been sufficient to satisfy the greatest gluttons for that sort of thing. The miserable display which 150 Australians can make in the streets- of London will not enhance- the opinion of British people as to. the greatness- of this- Commonwealth. It will be a very beggarly-display. It will do no good, but a great deal of- harm. It will be calculated to give the people in the old. country a- very- small opinion- of: the Commonwealth. Even if- a military- display were a new. thing, it would not be wise for us to send military men to the old country to represent a peaceful community such as Australia is* When it comes to the pinch I suppose we can fight a great deal better than- can. some of the people of some of: the- military countries who are preparing, for war all the time. But we have made no pretence to be a military people, and it is a lucky thing that we have not. Surely we can find some more fitting representation of - Australia than, a contingent of- 150 men ? The suggestion to erect in London- an arch typical of Australia’s industries- is a very happy one. It would do this country a great deal more good than would a visit by 150 soldiers for a few days. A picture of the arch would be published in all the illustrated newspapers. The knowledge of its erection to celebrate the coronation of theKing. would be spread over a greater distance than the length of- the streets of London. The illustrated papers would be distributed throughout the length and breadth of the old. country, and in that way the resources of: Australia would be made known to people- w-ho were unable to visit London to see the pageant. It- will be remembered that after- the Federal Parliament was opened-, many persons- came from all points to see the arches- which had been left standing, in the streets of Melbourne. If we are to have these celebrations, let them be carried out with the best taste. The Government are going about the matter in the. worst way. Instead of following, an old hackneyed course, let us have something, which is in touch with the spirit of the times. Various suggestions have been made to devote this sum of £16,000 to a moreuseful purpose than a. military display. It has been suggested that by its- expenditure the poor might be given a holiday.
– It would not give them a farthing each.
– At the time of the Diamond Jubilee, Sir Thomas Lipton, the Glasgow millionaire, gave £20,000 to the poor of the old country, and I dare say it did more real good than did all the other money spent on that great celebration. Our £16,000 would do a great deal more good if it were devoted to that purpose than to sending a contingent to London. Again, if it were spent on the families of those men who have fallen on the battlefield in South Africa, it would do a great deal more good than by providing a picnic for 150 men. There are many ways in which the money could be better spent. I am opposed to voting the money for a contingent, and I hope that a better means will be found for its expenditure.
– I am not in agreement with the members of the party with which I usually vote, and I wish to give some of the reasons why I take up a different attitude. It has been pointed out that it is not a party question. Of course, parties cannot be bound together except on broad principles. No party could be kept together on ordinary details, because on most questions we must be allowed to exercise our private judgment. The views I am about to express are, I believe, shared by the majority of the electors of this State, and if I have formed a wrong estimate of public feeling, I must accept the responsibility of my vote. Sometimes our judgment is obscured by the introduction of side-issues. This discussion has covered a good deal of ground. It seems to me that a lot of the matter which has been introduced might have been left out, because this Bill raises no question of loyalty. The fact that we are asked to follow a certain course - one which we may never be asked to take again in our lifetime - does not raise the question of showing our loyalty. We are asked by the British Government to. do a thing in a certain way. Senator Stewart is consistent. He says straight out that he will have nothing to do with this business, and will vote against the Bill. But when we come to examine the divergence of opinion amongst its other opponents, what do we find We find that they cannot agree on any single thing. One suggests an arch, a second advocates illuminations, a third desires the Prime Minister to represent the Commonwealth, and a fourth suggests something else. If the proposals embodied in the Bill are wrong, I cannot see that it is right to allow the Prime Minister to go and represent the Commonwealth.
– If If it were £100,000, the honorable senator would not object to it on the same score 1
– That is a different matter. The proposal is not to spend £100,000, and I do not suppose any one in his wildest moments would propose that £100,000 should be spent in sending men from Australia or any of the British colonies. What is the difference between spending £13,000 or £15,000 on the erection of an arch, and spending it on the despatch of a contingent of 150 men1?
– Who proposes that ?
– The erection of an arch has been proposed, and I have heard honorable senators say that this appropriation of £23,000 will not cover the total expenditure in connexion with the coronation ceremonial. We have been told that later on we shall receive a bill for something more than we are prepared to vote on this occasion. If that assumption is right - I am not saying that it is, because we have had the statement of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to the contrary - we can deal with the extra demand when it is made. As to the erection of an arch, it might cost £5,000 or £10,000, and, as far as I can see, there is no particular virtue in erecting such a structure in London. The resources of Australia have been advertised for many years past. The various States have maintained expensive establishments in London, and we have had permanent exhibitions which have enabled the people of Great Britain to know almost as well as we do what we can produce. Therefore, I see no merit in that proposal as an alternative to the proposals of the Bill. AVe ought to be consistent with regard to the matter. If we believe that it is wrong to be represented at the coronation, we should vote straight out against the Bill, as Senator Stewart proposes to do. But it would not be good form, or good taste, to set aside the wishes of the Imperial Government in this direction.
– What about the eight hours’ procession ?
– AVe cannot have an eight hours procession in London. As to the procession which has been advocated, I said by the way of interjection, that
Outside of Australia - perhaps outside of the city of Melbourne - such a display could not be made. I will not take up further time, but simply intimate my intention to support the Bill.
- I I only wish to say a few words about the suggestion to erect an arch. That is a matter which will have to be considered separately. Every one will admit that unless such an arch were erected in such a way as to exhibit the products of every part of Australia appropriately it would do more harm than good. It is doubtful whether there is sufficient time to carry out an idea of that kind in a proper manner. The subject will be taken into consideration by the Cabinet, and if they think anything can be done efficiently it will be mentioned again. But I certainly hope that no attempt will be made to introduce such a proposal in this Bill, because it would be foreign to the object of the measure, and it is very doubtful whether it would be beneficial, according to the information we have at present.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
– I move
That the first line of the schedule be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “The erection of an arch in London, representing the resources of the Commonwealth, ?5,000.”
The matter has been debated, and it is not necessary to enter into details again. I content myself with moving the amendment and asking those who are in favour of a more sensible representation of Australia at the Commonwealth to vote in favour of it.
– I agree with some of the remarks that have been made to the effect that it is not necessary to send a contingent of troops to London for the purpose of showing our loyalty. That has been shown in a truer manner lately. We have manifested our willingness to sacrifice treasure and blood for the solidarity of the Empire. But I think we should be represented at the coronation festival. Our absence would be misunderstood and misrepresented in various parts of the world. It has always been the custom of people in any great festival to introduce the military element. It is hard to see why that is necessary. Certainly the military add to the pageantry. ‘ They produce a certain spectacular effect. They add the pomp, glitter, and circumstance of war. We have not yet freed ourselves from those barbaric tastes which make us enjoy demonstrations of that sort. But the presence of the military has another and deeper meaning, drawn from the past, and typical or emblematical of physical force and domination. I consider, however,, that it is not necessary to have a great military display on such an occasion as this. It would be more magnificent and more calculated to stimulate our pride in our Empire and our race if we had an exhibition of the varied resources of our world-wide possessions - if we showed our industrial powerif we had a procession of industrial soldiers rather than military men, and a display of the triumphs of the arts and sciencesrather than of the symbols of war. It would have been better if we had had an exhibition of the wonderful progress that has been made in the civilization of the world and the growth of the British Empire since the last coronation.
– That would take two years to get up.
– I do not think it would. We have had a year’s notice of these celebrations, and what T suggest could easily have been done.
– But the Imperial Government has asked us to send troops, and we cannot dictate to them.
– Such a procession as I suggest would symbolize our progress, our prosperity, and our advance in the arts and sciences, and would have been’ infinitely better than the symbolising of mere brute force in a military display. It is not necessary for me to say that I dislike militarism, which has been the great curse of civilization. I sincerely trust that Australia will never have either a standing army or a citizen army.
– How would the honorable senator defend the country without a citizen army 1
– I am in favour of nothing but rifle clubs and artillery corps for the defence of our ports ; but “that is a matter which can better be discussed when we are dealing with the Defence Bill. What is the condition -we are actually in1? We are invited as -guests to participate in the Coronation ceremony. It has been decided by other .portions of the British Empire - by Canada and New Zealand, “for instance - to send military forces. We have been invited to join them. If we are represented at all, we must be represented by military forces. That is all we have been invited to send. We cannot go to a wedding without putting on a wedding garment. What number of troops shall we send ? Canada is sending 500, but Canada is 3,000 miles away from Great Britain, whilst we are 9,000 miles away. In my opinion, it would be quite sufficient if we-sent 100 troops, and if an amendment to that effect is proposed I shall support it. I remind honorable -senators that, when we were celebrating the birth of this young nation, Great Britain sent 1,000 troops to assist in our celebrations, and ‘that is an additional reason why we should accept this invitation and send troops to Great Britain. It would have been better if the Government had proposed to send some ‘Of the troops from South Africa. Many of them who have borne the heat and burden .of the day during the war are continually returning to Australia, and it is, I think, advisable that they should be given some recreation after the work they have .gone through.
– I - I have explained that some are to be sent from South Africa.
– It would have been better to have sent all from South Africa, and 300 or 400 of ‘the troops who are being returned to Australia might very well have been brought back from Cape Colony vi& London, and that could have been done without much expense. A display of our industrial progress under the circumstances would be incongruous, and -it would be impossible, in any case, to now make anything but an insignificant industrial display in proportion to the industries of Australia.
– ! desire to take this opportunity of correcting a mistake which I made in speaking on the second reading of the Bill. I find that our President, Sir Richard Baker, represented his “State in Great Britain in 1SS4, and there was no bill afterwards presented in connexion with his visit. I am very pleased to be able to make that correction. I -.understand that there was a bill, but that it was presented, not to Parliament, but to Sir Richard Baker himself. I think the common sense of .honorable senators must induce them to support the amendment moved by Senator Pearce. This proposal to expend £16,000 in sending a handful like 150 .men to represent the Commonwealth at the coronation celebrations is really the height of absurdity. If we intend to do a thing, we should do it thoroughly and well, .and if we desire to show the people of the old country, and those who may attend in London from other countries, the fighting power and military strength of Australia, we shall not do it with a miserable handful of 150 men. .Personalty, I think we should take no part in a military display, because we are not a fighting nation. We believe in defence, and not in aggression, and while we are prepared to defend ourselves, we have no desire to make any outward display of our power in order to intimidate others. I should imagine ‘that when the Czar of Russia and the German Emperor see our 150 men they will be very careful what they say about us in the .”future. Instead df having a lot of painted rags and powder, we should do something which will give the thousands of people who will line the streets of London on the day of the coronation some idea of what Australia really is, and what are its resources and possibilities. This is an opportunity in the lifetime of the nation -for the advertising of our goods and wares which we should not lose sight of. We have been striving for many years to get our products recognised and sought after in the markets of the old world, arid we have not succeeded. Senator Playford has spoken as though the people of the old country know all about the products of Australia, but they do not. The number who come in contact with the AgentsGeneral of the different “States, and who have seen the little exhibitions of Australian products at their offices, are very -few indeed. -But, if we built this arch which has been spoken of, we could show what Australia is capable of producing to the millions of people who will be in the streets of London upon that day, and pamphlets and other literature setting forth the resources of Australia could be distributed to the people at the same time. That -would be better than sending home troops at over £100 a head for “the celebration. I hope ‘that “this item will be omitted, and also the item providing for the illuminations.
– I rise to protest against the shoppy character of the speeches made by-some honorable -senators. T do not think this is an occasion upon which we should arrange to advertise Australia. ‘We have been invited to something like a banquet, and it is no occasion upon which to speak of the things which have here been spoken of. I think we are not treating the men who have been, and are now, in South Africa fighting on behalf of the Empire, and in our name, in quite a proper spirit. From the remarks made here to-day, I have been a good deal reminded of the charge which Rudyard Kipling makes against the “British nation generally with regard to the soldier in times of peace, and his statement that a very different tone is adopted in the presence of danger. He says -
I think those lines are appropriate, because this is an occasion upon which we can do a little honour, nob only to ‘the King, bub to those men who have been in ‘South Africa facing death “for the honour of the Empire. I think it is an entirely suitable occasion upon which to send these men to England, and we 0 it -for granted , hat, 1 if we were to slight them on such an occasion, there would be a .good deal of disappointment, and a strong feeling on the part of our soldiers that we had not treated them fairly. I trust the measure will be carried in its entirety.
– Those of us who wish to -give serious consideration to Money Bills desire to use our privileges in a constitutional way. Senator Pulsford has asked why we -should object to the proposal “for the despatch of ‘troops in “the way we have done. The whole thing, however, is only a ‘bald advertisement. The Minister for Defence-stated last night in, another place that Australia was doing a roaring business out of “the war in South Africa, and the proposal to send 150’troops to “the coronation celebrations is only made in ‘the interests of those “people who have been described by Reynolds’ Newspaper as the “frozen meat patriots,” who are anxious that the war should be continued in order that they may put up the price of meat and other products, and reap the benefit. Senator Pearce;s suggestion that we should erect an arch in London is a sensible one : I think that an arch would be of far greater utility than a military display. Some honorable senators have said that 1 there would not be sufficient time to permit of its el’ection, but those who were present at the Commonwealth celebrations must have seen the various arches which were erected, and some of ‘which were completed only on the morning of the opening ceremonies. What could have been more beautiful than the wool arch in Queen-street, Brisbane 1
– We would not be allowed to erect such an arch in a London street.
– I suppose our proposal would be .rejected because the British Government want a military display. They do not desire the arts of peace and industry to be ‘represented ; “they want a military display. There will be nothing but troops, the majority of whom have been bred and trained to kill their fellow men. .An industrial arch would demonstrate our loyalty - which some honorable senators are so anxious should be expressed, not to the British public, but to Joseph Chamberlain, Esquire - and the argument that it could not be erected in time has been refuted. The pageant in London will pass by millions of people, and the Australian military representatives will hardly be noticed.
– Oh, will they.not !
– Unless they wear some badge of distinction they will hardly be recognised by the majority of the people, although they will be cheered wherever they are recognised. No doubt the cynosure of all eyes will be the King and Queen, and next to the Royal party those who will probably attract most attention will be Senator Dobson’s black “fellow subjects “ from India. Honorable senators know that during the Commonwealth celebrations very little could be seen while the troops were passing through the streets. The greatest pleasure was derived by the people from parading the streets after the troops had passed, and inspecting the arches and decorations. I hope the amendment will be carried.
Question - That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the schedule - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 16
Noes … … … 5
Majority … … 11
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the words, “ illuminating Commonwealth buildings,” be omitted with a view to insert in lien thereof the words, “ To provide for the entertainment of the poor.”
The question has been sufficiently ventilated, and as the hour is advanced, I shall not take up the time of the committee by discussing it further.
– I do not think honorable senators can be expected to vote for this proposal unless some reasons are advanced in its favour. If we read the reports of the various charitable institutions, we must recognise that a great deal of poverty exists in the chief cities of Australia. We need not go to the labour bureaus in order to ascertain the number of men unemployed inMel bourne, Brisbane, and Sydney; we have merely to walk through the slums in order to satisfy ourselves that a number of our citizens have not enough to eat. King Edward himself has set us an example, as he proposes to give a dinner during the celebrations to half a million of loyal subjects. Should we not expend this £5,500 in providing food for the poor instead of spending it upon fireworks, crackers, and other Chinese displays of rejoicing? The expenditure of that amount in gaudy and cheap red and yellow bunting, such as that with which the shops and houses of Melbourne were decorated during the Commonwealth celebrations, would be a great waste of money. We can do something far more substantial with it, and by carrying the amendment gladden for an hour at least the hearts of many people throughout the Commonwealth.
– This is a very plausible proposal, and doubtless it is meant to be very catching. I am determined that I shall not be caught napping or trapped by any little plausibility and cheap advertising. If honorable senators wish to show their benevolence to the poor of the various cities rather than to have these illuminations, there is a course open to them. I grant that there may be a better method of spending this money than by illuminating the Commonwealth buildings in the six capitals. But the money will not all be wasted, and it will be kept in the various States. Men will be employed in putting in gas-fittings and other means of illuminating buildings, so that tradesmen and others will get some benefit from the expenditure of the money. Each honorable senator who wishes to give some benefit to the poor of the cities should give one month’s salary for that purpose, and if a blank is created I shall move an amendment to that effect. I have no hesitation in giving a written order to the Treasurer to stop one month’s salary, provided that our good friends who are so liberal will do the same. The amendment is to some extent a piece of cheap advertising. I am not a very great lover of displays ; but ought we to quarrel over a slight expenditure in six cities at the time when the King is being crowned 1 We might vote £5,000 for the benefit of the poor on that occasion, and forego one month’s salary. I should be only too glad to see the Government propose a grant of not merely £5,000, but £20,000 if need be, with a view of enabling the poor, not only in, the six capital cities, but in each centre of population throughout the Commonwealth, to take part in the rejoicings all over the Empire on the occasion of the coronation of the King. It is just as well for honorable senators to be unanimous at this particular time, and to agree that the expenditure of this money is not waste. I hope that the item will be passed in that rational and unanimous way in which I think it ought to be done.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia).I cannot agree with the remarks of the last speaker. If we look at the matter from a rational point of view we should accord our support to the amendment. It is proposed to spend the money purely for sentimental purposes. Which is the better way to spend the money - to bring joy into the lives of hundreds of people, or to put up certain emblems on our public buildings ? Which way would the King himself favour 1 What does he propose to do with his own money ? He has said that he will entertain 500,000 persons who are practically foodless. Surely that is an example which we might copy. I do not know of any better way of spending the money than to feed those who are hungry and starving. What could be better than to take the old people in the old colonists’ homes or immigrants’ homes, and make, at any rate, one day joyful to them - to give them even a supply of tobacco and creature comforts which perhaps they are denied. Certainly it would be better than to. spend the money on emblems and fireworks.
– W - Would the honorable senator like to see the Commonwealth buildings in every city dark on the night of of the illuminations ?
– I do not consider it absolutely necessary to illuminate the buildings. The people would be far more pleased to know that the money was being spent in feeding thousands of hungry persons.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I should not have risen again, but for the remarks of Senator Glassey, who declared that my amendment is a tricky plausible proposal, and that its supporters are seeking an advertisement. I do not believe that there is a man in a State Parliament or in this Parliament who endeavours to advertise himself so much as docs that honorable senator. At the grave of Sir Charles Lilley, or any public function, he advertises himself as much as possible.
– I ask the honorable senator not to refer to personal matters.
– I was only replying to the remarks of Senator Glassey. If a man comes to me in the street, and asks me for a shilling to get a feed, I do not in an ostentatious way take that man along to the first restaurant, and shout out at the top of my voice “ Give this man a feed for a shilling.” Nor do I, when a proposal is before the Senate in favour of women’s suffrage, after the question has been thrashed out to the very rags, stand up here and quote authority after authority for thepurpose of advertising myself.
– I shall make another speech.
– I cannot allow personal matters to be discussed any further.
– I am not mentioning any particular senator. I was charged with advertising myself, and I am pointing out the ways in which I do not advertise myself. I have pointed out that I do not advertise myself in connexion with the women’s suffrage movement.
– Yes ; but the honorable senator must not do so.
– I do not propose to do so. It would be derogatory to me as a politician to advertise myself in such a way. It would also be derogatory to me to advertise myself in connexion with the civil service.
– I ask the honorable senator to confine himself to the amendment.
– I hope that I am doing that. I have been charged with wishing to advertise myself because I propose that this sum of £5,500 shall be devoted to the entertainment of the poor in the capital cities. I had no desire to advertise myself. It is necessary for me to reply to the honorable senator who, in such an ungracious way, attacked the supporters of this amendment. I think he should not have been allowed to goon with his remarks, but since he was permitted to proceed it is only right that I should be allowed to reply to him. If I had received at the hands of my fellow-men the same testimonials as some other members have done, I might be in a position to afford to give £33 for the entertainment of the poor.
– The honorable senator is not deferring to the request of the Chair.
– Why did you allow Senator Glassey to go on ?
– Senator Higgs replied to what he regarded as some reflections on himself, and that finished the matter. It is only fair and reasonable that he should now confine his remarks to the question before the Chair. .
– A proposal was made that instead of spending £5,000 in entertaining the poor, we should put our hands into our pockets and give £33’ each for that purpose. I am not in a position to offer to spendsuch a sum in that way. I give what I can towards charities, but that is not very much. But I say again, that if I had received from my fellow-men, whose cause I had advocated so strenuously, such large sums as some honorable senators have done, I might be able to spend money as suggested. I repudiate the suggestion that the amendment is proposed by way of advertisement, and trust that it will be carried.
Resolved (on motion by Senator McGregor) -
That the committee do now divide.
Question - That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the schedule - put.
The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 16
Noes … … … 6
Majority … … … 10
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Schedule agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, and passed through its remaining stages.
Resolved (on motion by Senator O’Connor) -
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as will enable the Commonwealth Franchise Bill to pass through its remaining stages without delay.
Motion (by Senator O’Connor) proposed -
That the Bill be read a third time.
– May I call the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to the wording of an amendment passed last night at the instance of Senator Matheson ? It reads : - “ No aboriginal native of Asia, Africa, or the islands of the Pacific but there is no definition of what is meant by the islands of the Pacfic. In the reply read by the Vice-President of the Executive Council to Senator Stewart’s question, he stated that the Colonial office had, amongst other things, referred to the question of the relations of Australia and New Zealand with “ other islands of the Pacific,” clearly showing that the Colonial-office considers that New Zealand is a portion of the islands of the Pacific. We ourselves have also recognised that already, because in the Pacific Island Labourers Bill which we passed recently the definition of a Pacific Island labourer is that the term includes “ all persons not of European extraction in the Pacific other than the islands of New Zealand.” We specially exempted New Zealand from the definition of the islands of the Pacific ; and having done that in one case, I would draw attention to the fact that a similar exemption should be made in this Bill, because I certainly did not understand from the discussion that took place last night that there was any objection to Maories who may be in the Commonwealth receiving a vote.
– Se Sargood has mentioned this matter to me privately. I am inclined to think that there cannot be any doubt about the meaning of the words in question, but I quite see the point which he has suggested. I will have the matter inquired into, but I do not think it necessary to delay the passage of the Bill in the Senate. If necessary an amendment can be made in another place.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday, 23rd April.
I understand that the Tariff will reach the Senate by that time. There really is no business except private members’ business to bo done, and I do not think I am justified in asking honorable senators who have to come, from distant States to attend next week for the purpose of discussing private members’ business. I may also mention a matter personal to myself and to my colleague, the Postmaster-General. We have a good deal of work to do in connexion with the Tariff before it is introduced in the Senate, and the adjournment will give us time that otherwise we should not have, because while the Senate is sitting the greater part of our time is fully occupied.
– I am very sorry to find myself in opposition to the Government. On the last occasion when it was proposed from the opposition side to adjourn the Senate, I remember Senator O’Connor saying that it was not in the interest of the dignity of this Chamber to have these repeated adjournments. I do not think that anything has happened since then to alter the position. The business-paper is full of motions to be proposed by private members. Senator Dobson has a most important measure to be considered. There is also the question of the standing orders. Do the Government propose to abandon private members’ business altogether, or to prevent them from discussing it? It is usual in all parliamentary assemblies to give private members an opportunity of bringing forward business, but in this case that course appears to have been abandoned. I venture to think that if the Senate adjourns for a week, private members will have no opportunity this session of bringing forward business.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.58 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 April 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020411_senate_1_9/>.