1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether the Government have come to any decision as to the suggestion which was made last night that the duties on food suitable for stock should be remitted during the prevalence of the drought?
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the. honorable senator’s questions are as follow -
Bill received from the House -of Representatives., and, on motion by Senator Shake, read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Drake) proposed -
That so much of the standing ordei-3 be suspended as would prevent the Supply Bill from passing through all its stages during the same sitting of the Senate
– I do not think the Government treat the Senate as they should do when they ask for a suspension of the standing orders to deal with important Money Bills in such haste. This is not the first occasion, on which we have had reason to complain of their conduct. Sufficient time- is not allowed to. us to discuss the proposed expenditure of large sums. It may facilitate the- speedy passage of the Bills, but later on I am sure that it will not lead to progress in the conduct of business, if the practice is continued. Considering that the Bill appropriates a sum of £493,944 for the expenditure of the various departments, the Government might very well have given the Senate longer notice of their intention to ask for a suspension of the standing orders.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I object to the motion Some time ago when Supply Bills were brought forward on a Friday a protest was made from this side of the Chamber, and, so far as I know, from other quarters, on account of our inability to reasonably consider the measure in the time left at our disposal. On this occasion the Government bring forward the Bill on a Thursday, but under exactly the same circumstances. The objection on previous occasions was nob to the Bill being brought in on a Friday, but to its- being brought in under such circumstances that no one had time to consider its provisions. If a Supply Bill is brought in on a Thursday, or any other day, and we are asked immediately to proceed to its consideration, no opportunity is given to us to look into the various items. I can see no reason why we should proceed to the second reading stage to-day. If that stage is delayed until to-morrow, we shall have 24 . hours in which to look into the. Bill, and shall then be in a position to intelligently discuss its proposals.
– I understand that the Bill is merely on the lines of previous interim Supply Bills. In the other House it was passed absolutely without discussion. There was a discussion, I understand, on the motion to go into Committee of Supply, but no discussion on the Bill itself.
– I do not think that the honorable and learned senator ought to allude to the debates in the other House.
– I apologize. I understand that the object of this Bill is to continue the line of expenditure which we agreed upon in the previous Supply Bills. It matters not to me whether it is dealt with to-day, or to-morrow, or next Tuesday. We have no right to consider that we are being ill-used because we are asked to pass at one sitting an interim Supply Bill on precisely the same lines as previous Bills, which we passed on the understanding that the same rate of expenditure was to be continued until we got the Appropriation Bill. The latter measure will include all the items contained in the Supply Bills, and on it the great discussion will take place. Probably the Government do not care very much whether the Bill is passed to-day or to-morrow. In every constitutionallygoverned State the practice has been to pass Supply Bills practically as a matter of course. This is not the first, but the ninth Supply Bill. It is framed on exactly the same lines as previous Bills.
– We never had the chance of knowing what was in the eight other Bills.
– Honorable senators had- at their disposal the means of information, though they may, not have been assiduous enough to apply themselves to its consideration. The practice which we are asked to adopt is really that which the other House, has adopted. I hope the Senate will agree to the motion.
– One of our standing orders says that in cases of urgent necessity this motion may be carried, provided that it has the concurrence of an absolute majority of the whole of the members of the Senate. I naturally ask who is to be the judge of whether this is a case of urgent necessity ?
– The Senate.
– We have heard from Senator Downer that Tuesday will be equally as suitable as to-day for the proper consideration of the Supply Bill, and that the Government does not care whether it is discussed to-day or not. If neither the Government nor Senator Downer cares whether it is discussed to-day or not, then for many reasons it is desirable that the discussion should be delayed until to-morrow. I understand that the Bill is being introduced to-day because we, on this side of the House, objected to a Supply Bill being brought in on a Friday. Our objection to the introduction of a Supply Bill on a Friday was made on the ground that we had to finish the discussion by four o’clock in the afternoon. I admit that if we chose to delay the discussion of this Bill we might be able to master all its details by a quarter past ten o’clock to-night, but we do not wish to do that. We think that the Government might very well postpone its consideration until to-morrow. If they agree to my suggestion this unusual method of suspending the standing orders will be quite unnecessary, and the Senate will not be called upon to say whether this is a case of urgent necessity, which it seems to me it must first do before the presence of an absolute majority is ascertained.
– Senator Clemons does not seem to realize the position in which public servants, Government contractors, and others will be placed by the adoption of his suggestion. What is the urgent necessity for passing the Bill on the 29th day of the month ? Payments have to be made under the Bill, not only in Victoria, but all over the Commonwealth, and it has been found by experience impossible to pay moneys on the first of the month unless abundant time is given to the Treasury to make the necessary arrangements. This is the very latest day on which the Bill can be passed in order that all those persons who depend for their daily living on Government pay shall not be put to very great inconvenience. I could understand the honorable and learned senator taking up this position if the convenience of only Members of Parliament and Ministers were concerned ; but the very serious interests of hundreds of persons who depend on the Government to get their pay on the first of the month are involved. Honorable senators may ask - Why was not the Bill introduced before ? I suppose that even Senator Clemons will admit that it had first to be introduced in the other House, which adjourned for three weeks and only met on Tuesday last. The Bill could not be introduced there on that day, but it -was introduced and passed through all its stages on the following day by the House which has the right to amend such Bills if it thinks proper. Although I am not entitled to allude to its proceedings, I assume that every honorable senator will recognise that the standing orders must have been suspended yesterday to enable the Bill to be passed through all its stages. What delay has there been ? How could the Bill have been introduced in the other House or how could it have arrived here any earlier 1 I am quite in sympathy with those who wish to have time to discuss the Bill. It does not make any difference personally to the Government whether the Bill is taken to-day or at any other time, but it makes a great deal of difference to those who are looking to Parliament to have their pay ready on the first of the month. To punish these people because of some supposed negligence on the part of the Government, would be a most extraordinary proceeding. But there was no negligence on the part of the Government. The Government have brought in this measure at the earliest moment. Reference has been made to the desire to discuss the items of the Bill. We have had eight previous Supply Bills before the Senate, and any honorable senator who wished to raise any question in the course of the discussion need only have taken one of those measures, when he would have found in it the same class of items. Therefore honorable senators knew perfectly well what was to be discussed.
– The schedule was sent to us 48 hours ago.
– There must be some favoured senators then.
– This schedule was circulated as a matter of course by the House of Representatives, as all papers laid upon the table of that House are circulated amongst honorable senators. I assume that my honorable friends opposite received it. That makes the argument I am putting stronger - that not only was the ordinary scheme and arrangement of the Bill well known to honorable senators from their previous experience, but that the very details were furnished to them quite long enough in advance to enable any honorable senator to know all that was to be discussed. Under these circumstances, is it unreasonable for the Government to ask, on this occasion, that what has been done with eight previous Supply Bills should be done now t If there was a justification for it previously, surely there is a justification for it now, as it is quite evident that the Government could not have brought in the Bill earlier than they have done. Under these circumstances I hope that the Senate will not place any obstruction in the way of proceeding with this business, so that the public servants and other people who are dependent upon the Government may not suffer.
– Of course there is a very much larger question connected with this matter than the mere arrangement of business, and that is that the Senate should be particularly solicitous to see that it has every opportunity of exercising its powers in relation to financial matters, whether in regard to the expenditure of money, or the provision to be made for raising money. From that point of view alone, I think that Senators Higgs and Millen, who have raised this question, are entitled to very great credit. Our attention ought never to be dulled in relation to these financial Bills, and we ought never to lose an opportunity to magnify and strengthen the position of the Senate in relation to the duty that rests upon it. I also agree with what Senator O’Connor said, that, of course, as far as the Government were concerned, it was perfectly impossible that they could have introduced this Bill earlier, because it was only passed at a late hour last evening in the other branch of the Legislature. Therefore, I am quite sure that the observations that have been made have not been in the way of complaint against my honorable and learned friend or against the Government, but have been made from the point of view that it is necessary - at least it is very desirable - that we should have an opportunity of ascertaining what the items in a Supply Bill are, and of going carefully through them. Although we may have passed eight previous Supply Bills, we should compare the items in those Bills with the items in the schedule before us in order to see whether there is anything to which exception can be taken. It must be remembered that we are in a very extraordinary position at this stage. We are in the position, which, T believe, no other Parliament was ever in before, of having passed through the whole of the financial year without the Estimates having been adopted by Parliament and the Appropriation Bill passed . The position is absolutely unparalleled, and it is necessary, as was said by a previous speaker, that the items in this Bill should be compared with the items in previous Bills which are said to be identical. So far as I am concerned I do not know that the)7 are, but even if they are, we are practically giving up all control over the Estimates of expenditure. I suppose this Bill takes us up to the end of May - which is practically the end of the financial year - and if the money has not all been spent certainly the greater portion of it has.
– The honorable and learned senator will admit that it would be impossible to pass the Appropriation Bill except as the last business of the session.
– I admit that usually the Appropriation Bill is not passed until the end of the session, but the Estimates are considered long before that period, and instead of its being customary for Supply Bills to be carried, as they have been carried here, eight times in the course of the session, Supply Bills are usually introduced while the Estimates are going through Parliament, and members have an opportunity of seeing what the Estimates contain. The position in which we are placed justifies and demands very careful consideration before we absolutely swallow a Bill of this character, which is practically winding up the expenditure of the year. Personally I do not desire to throw the slightest difficulty in the way of the Government, but I think they might very fairly have been content with the first reading to-day, and have taken the second reading to-morrow. I am sure no one wishes- to interpose any difficulty in the way of payments being made to the civil service; But if the Bill were considered early tomorrow morning there would be an opportunity of dealing with it, and passing it through without delay. No difficulty could possibly arise.
– I have no wish to prolong the discussion unnecessarily, because I can see that the Government have got us in a corner this time as on previous occasions. But we have warned the Government on other occasions ; and we have all heard about the bucket that goes once too often to the well. Senator Downer made one or two remarks which I think if he would only consider them seriously would compel him to come-to the conclusion that we in this Federal Senate ought not to follow the evil example set in the various States. The honorable and learned senator knows just as well as I do - .and perhaps a great deal better - that the control of the finances of the State has passed - I was going to say is passing, but that is not strong enough - out of the control of every State Parliament in Australia. A great deal of the extravagance and waste that goes on in the States is attributable to that fact. We here ought to make a new departure, ‘ and insist on Money Bills being introduced in the ordinary way. Here is a Bill voting half-a-million sterling, and we are asked without any reason being given - except that if we do not pass it, the Public Service .will have to “wait a few days for their salaries - to take up the discussion forthwith. If it were an ordinary unimportant measure it would be introduced in the usual fashion, the second reading would be put off for a future day, and the committee stage till a further date. If that is the procedure which is admittedly necessary in connexion with matters of very slight importance, of how much more consequence is it that a Bill involving the expenditure of half a million sterling of the Commonwealth finances should be dealt with according to the usual procedure ? If the Government had only erred on this occasion, I should have been willing to forgive them, but it appears to me that they are becoming almost incorrigible offenders. The offence has been dismissed with a mere condemnation so often that they come up smiling over and over again, offending in a fresh way. I have to complain of this hurried manner of dealing with our business. The VicePresident of the Executive Council attempts to throw the blame upon those who object to this Bill passing, if through delay the public servants are kept out of their salaries for a few days. But the blame that is attachable to the delay must rest with the Government themselves. We are not here to see that civil servants are paid on the first of every month. That is the duty of the Government. We are here charged to see that the finances of the Commonwealth are administered in a proper fashion; and if we are to attend to this business, we ought to have- proper opportunities for doing, our duty. This Bill includes an item “of £20,000 for the administration of New Guinea. Have honorable senators had the opportunity of looking lip the facts in connexion with New Guinea, so as to be in a position to discuss the administration of the new addition to the Commonwealth ? The VicePresident of the Executive Council says we have passed a number of other Supply Bills, of a similar character to this, after suspending the standing orders. But the fact that we have done wrong previously is no reason why we should continue to do wrong. It is the duty of the Senate to maintain a continual supervision over the expenditure of public money. As the leader of the Opposition says, we are placed hi a most peculiar position. There is not the slightest doubt that one of the chief functions of the Senate is to supervise, the expenditure of money. If we permit the lower House to usurp the entire power in that respect we shall, in a very short time, find ourselves in the position that the two big States will aggrandise everything, to themselves, and the outlying portions of the continent will be left to struggle on as best they may. I have warned the Government once or twice before. This is now the1 third time they have offended, but it will be the last time. I hope that next month, when they bring in their Supply Bill, they will introduce it in the. ordinary fashion ; and that they will not ask for the suspension of the standing, orders, but will allow the measure to go through the usual routine.
– It must be obvious to honorable senators that the opportunity for effective criticism on the Estimates is gradually slipping, in fact, practically has slipped, from us. I take it that the Bill now before us represents the expenditure for the eleventh month of the financial year, and that there only remains another month - June. So that when the Estimates come to us we shall be told that every penny of the money has already been spent, and that criticism is of no avail. It must be recognised that this is really a grave position. It is more grave because it has occurred in connexion with the first complete year of the existence of the Commonwealth. I am obliged to admit, with other honorable senators, that we are in a corner, and cannot very well refuse the request of the Government. But I would point out that there are three items in this Bill which are for the full amount mentioned on the Estimates - that is, £20,000 for New Guinea, £25,000 for rifles, and a. third smaller amount of a few hundred pounds for electric lighting. We are asked to vote those three amounts straight away. The whole position is very discouraging to all those who desire to see the finances of Australia conducted on a thoroughly business-like and careful footing. It is the more regrettable when every one of us is aware that this is a time in which the closest scrutiny should be given to accounts and the severest economy be practised.I am not asserting that the Government are not practising economy, but I do assert that the Government are depriving us of that complete and reasonable opportunity for the examination of the accounts and for criticism to which we are entitled.
– On referring to one of the Supply Bills which we have previously passed - that dated the 26th April, 1902,. “To grant a supply out of the consolidated revenue of £282, 834 for the service of the year ending the 30th day of June, 1902” - I notice that that measure contains certain votes for the full sum of money to be voted, although those amounts are again repeated in the Bill now before us. I do not know whether the Postmaster-General can explain this, but it is a matter about which we should have information. It seems to me that we have already made certain provision, and that the items to which I refer are recurring. For instance, under Division 1, for the Senate, there is a sum of £432, which is identical with an amount which we voted in April, also for the service of the year ending. 30th June, 1902. I think it will be found in many cases that the same sum recurs, and that we are asked to vote again sums which we voted in April last for the same services. It may be that some explanation can be given with reference to this matter. Speaking generally upon the question, and upon these monthly Supply Bills, there cannot be the slightest doubt of the fact that we are entirely giving up the control of our finances, and leaving them in the hands of Ministers to be dealt with during the current year. We are favoured with a look at the Estimates to find out the way in which the money hasbeen expended, but if honorable senators want to cut down expenditure, whether by way of reducing salaries or decreasing the number of public servants they are absolutely precluded from doing so for the time being. All they can do is to sound a note of warning. These monthly Supply Bills practically give little or no information whatever. For instance, with regard to the salaries for the Senate, we have no opportunity of considering what the amounts mean unless we turn back to some previous schedules.
– The Estimates for the year have been circulated, and the honorable and learned senator has been supplied with a copy.
– But I protest against this constant habit of sending up Supply Bills and asking us to rush them through at the very moment that they are submitted. It does not give us a sufficient opportunity of making ourselves acquainted with the Estimates, and of ascertaining where there is any absolutely new departure as compared with previous expenditure. I could understand a monthly Supply Bill providing for the payment of salaries according to the rates in existence during the preceding year, and subject to alterations which Parliament might make later. But we are at present only building up our public service. We have some departments which I believe have not an officer, and others which I have reason to believe have too many. We should have the fullest opportunity of discussing matters, and it is improbable that we shall have it until honorable senators make up their minds once and for all to make a stand. We are always met with the same argument that it is the last day of the month, and if we do not pass the Bill the public servants will not get their salaries. If the public servants do get blocked at any time in getting their salaries they will have no one but Ministers to blame, because the Government have been several times warned of the necessity of making provision, for the passing of these Bills in ample time. The Senate must make a stand if we are to have a better system, and now that we are beginning the Commonwealth we have an opportunity to lay down good and sound rules for our guidance, which have not perhaps been observed as they ought to have been in the State Parliaments. I hope Ministers will avail themselves of the opportunity they have to initiate a sound system. It will be for the benefit of the country, and to the advantage of Ministers, and of Parliament, because it will save much time in the discussion of these matters, which could be devoted to the consideration of more urgent legislation for the Commonwealth.
– The plan adopted by Ministers on the present occasion is undoubtedly strictly in accordance with past practice of this session, and with the practice of the various State Governments. But I was under the impression that under our Commonwealth Constitution we were going to chance all that, and that this Senate would be able to exercise an efficient check on the expenditure of the country. I entirely agree with Senator Stewart as to the position into which modern Parliaments have drifted in connexion with finance matters. The power of the purse has undoubtedly passed out of the hands of the Parliament into the hands of the Ministry of the day. I had hoped that the Senate would have an opportunity, as we all expected would be the case under the Constitution, of dealing with the finances of the country. However, we have Supply Bills brought up time after time, and we are asked to vote money when it has been spent, or is on the eve of being spent, and when it is impossible for us to stop it.
– Under the extraordinary circumstances of this session, how could anything else have been done 1
– I shall not go into that matter, but I think it would not have been very difficult for the Government to have devised some system by which the Senate would have had an opportunity of dealing effectively with the expenditure of the country. If we are to go on in this fashion, passing Supply Bill after Supply Bill up to the end of the session, we shall, perhaps on the last day of the session, have the Appropriation Bill placed upon the table when all the money will have been spent, and our position will be a perfect farce. When I was a Minister in the State Parliament, on more than one occasion I took care to have the Appropriation Bill submitted to the Legislative Council two or three days in advance of the usual practice, in order that members of the Council might have fin opportunity of at least looking through it. I think we have a right to expect that under the altered circumstances in the Commonwealth, the Ministry of the day will take some measures to enable the Senate to exercise, in an intelligent manner, the part control which this Chamber ought to have.
– I should be neglecting my duty did I not enter a strong protest against this pernicious practice of introducing Supply Bills at the last moment, and then making a plaintive appeal that some one will not be paid if the Bill is not passed. In this particular instance, the action ‘taken is a greater outrage even than that committed upon previous occasions, because this time we are asked to suspend the standing orders without notice. Unfortunately, we have. a standing order which permits that to be done ; but I think the framers of that standing order never contemplated that it would be used for the passing of large sums of money - nearly half a million in the present instance - without any notice being given. The only excuse which can be offered is that at the present time practically the whole of the members of the Senate are within reach. But it does not make the offence any the less, and such a proposal might be brought on when half the members of the Senate were absent. I think I am right in saying that there has not been one Supply Bill brought in during this session that has not been introduced in this hurry-scurry manner, and with as little notice as it has been possible for the Ministry to give. If this sort of thing is to continue, I say that the passing of the Estimates after the whole of, the money has been spent will be a pure waste of time. We had better alter the system of voting
Estimates, and allow the Ministry to spend exactly what they like, and then tell us at the end of every month that, if we do not vote a certain amount, someone will have to go unpaid. I trust this* pernicious system will not be followed during the next financial year.
– (In reply) - I trust the Senate will allow this motion to pass, not for the convenience of the Government, but for the convenience of those who are to receive the money, which honorable senators are being asked to vote. In this matter the Government cannot really be held to be blamable. I admit that the submission of this motion without notice is due to an oversight, but honorable senators will remember that I did my best to repair that error by informing them last evening, before the adjournment, that it was my intention to move the suspension of the standing orders to-day. When the last interim Supply Bill was introduced, and the suspension of the standing orders was moved for its consideration, Senator Clemons objected to the practice which had obtained up to that time of bringing on monthly Supply Bills- on Friday.
– Because the debate would be closed at i o’clock. . .
– That is so, and, consequently, the honorable and learned senator claimed that there was not a full opportunity given for debate. I represented that to my colleagues, and I thought that the action taken upon this occasion would fully meet the objection taken by Senator Clemons. I did not take the honorable and learned senator’s remarks on that occasion to go so far as to suggest that we should depart from the practice of suspending the standing orders to enable us to pass these monthly Supply Bills without delay.
– May I point out that on that occasion it was Friday with notice, and this is without notice ?
– The honorable and learned senator must know that to pass a Bill through its various stages without the suspension of the standing orders would require two or three days. So that the suspension of the standing orders will be necessary in order that the Bill may pass to-morrow. With regard to the Senate having opportunities to discuss these matters, and to keep a check upon the finances, I think that honorable senators who have spoken about the practice which has obtained during the present session must recognise that the circumstances of this session have been entirely abnormal, and are not likely to occur again.
– They have been abnormal nine times. That is what we object to.
– While we have carried out the practice universally adopted of moving the suspension of the standing orders to enable us to pass monthly Supply Bills, honorable senators have always been furnished with information as full and as ample as that supplied to members of the other branch of the Legislature. The Estimates for the year have been laid upon the table, and have been supplied to honorable senators, and, in addition, they have had a schedule of each monthly Supply Bill furnished to them at the earliest possible opportunity. I am informed that the schedule of the Bill that I propose we should consider, now was furnished to honorable senators yesterday. That schedule gives under each separate head the amounts that are being asked for in connexion with the month’s supply. In reply to the remarks of Senator Gould, I would point out that it is usual in the case of all interim Supply Bills to ask for supply for the service of the year ending 30th June, but the amount that is asked for on this occasion is the amount required for the particular month to which the Bill refers, though it includes some items which I propose to explain when the Bill is in committee - such items, for instance, as the vote for New Guinea, where the whole sum required is asked for because the whole sum is required at the time.
– Two hundred thousand pounds more is required this month than last month.
– There are a great number of large items included which I propose to explain when we come to them. There is the vote for New Guinea, and the vote covering back pay in connexion with the defence force. Apart from those matters, we are simply asking for a vote representing one month’s supply on the basis of the Estimates which have been furnished to honorable senators. It has been said that one day’s delay will make no difference. But I would point out that it will make a very great deal of difference. If the Bill is passed to-day payments can be made throughout the Commonwealth to-morrow.
Thelast day of the present month falling upon Saturday, which is a half-day, is not a convenient day for the mating of payments, and in all the States I believe there is a desire that the payments shall be made to-morrow (Friday). Otherwise it would be comparatively immaterial whether the second reading and the committee stages of the Bill were taken to-day or tomorrow. I hope honorable senators will have no objection to allowing the motion to pass.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
In Committee. - (Consideration ofthe message of the House of Representatives.)
Clause 3 (Persons entitled to vote).
– The object of the amendments in this clause is to carry out its intention in a clearer way. In its original form it read as follows : -
Subject to the disqualifications hereafter set out, all adult persons - (a) Who are inhabitants of Australia and have resided therein for six months continuously, and (b Who are natural born or naturalized subjects of the King, and
Whose names are on the electoral roll for any electoral division, shall be entitled to vote at the election of Mem bers of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
There was some doubt expressed as to the meaning of the word “ adult,” and it has been removed by the omission of the word and the insertion after the next word, “person,” of the words “not under 21 years of age whether male or female, married or unmarried.” There is also an amendment in paragraph (a) to leave out the words “have resided therein,” and to insert the words “have lived in Australia continuously,” for the purpose of getting rid of questions of residence. I move -
That the committee agree to the amendments of the House of Representatives in clause 3.
-I cannot see any difference between the phrase “ who have lived in “ and the phrase “ who have resided therein.”
Amendments agreed to.
Clause4 (Rights of electors of States).
– The amendments made by the other House in this clause embrace two points. In the first place, it has restored the word “Australia,” before the word “Asia.” It will be remembered that there was a long discussion here on thequestion of whether aboriginals should be deprived of the franchise. I took a very strong view that an aboriginal ought to be allowed to have his vote, and the committee agreed to that view. But the other House has taken the opposite view, and inserted the word “ Australia “ for the reason that, while in New South Wales, Victoria, and other States there are a large number of aboriginals who may be very well intrusted with the franchise which they possess, in Western Australiathere are a large number who, living in a state of semi-civilization in the neighbourhood of towns, might become registered, and that the clause applies not only to the blackfellows, but also to their gins. The prospect of our giving the franchise to the half-wild gins living with their tribe seems to have startled some of our friends in the other House. Under these circumstances I must admit that Western Australia stands in a position rather different from that of the other States.
– That was all put to the Minister here.
– It was not put in such a way as to commend itself to my judgment as it now does. I hope that I am appealing to honorable senators who are wishful to have this legislation carried. The question for honorable senators is the same as it is “for me. Although I admit that some strong reasons were given for differentiating the case of Western Australia, I would very much prefer the Bill to be carried in the form in which it left the Senate. But, like honorable senators, the Government have to consider whether it is worth while to throw over the Bill because we cannot get what we want in this clause. It appears to me that, inasmuch as legislation cannot take place unless we come to an agreement, it is not worth while, for the sake of this particular provision, to stand out for our own way, and so run the risk of losing the Bill. I move -
That the committee agree .to the amendment of the House of Representatives in clause 4, inserting the word “Australia” before the word “Asia.”
– I take it that we cannot agree to this amendment, because it is in direct contravention of section 41 of .the Constitution Act.
– If the honorable senator will read the latter part of the clause, he will find that that question is specially dealt with.
.- -The Bill has been sprung upon us so suddenly that I had overlooked that part. . It is a rather remarkable thing that the ‘Commonwealth, with its great power, should foe less liberal than the States to the aborigines. I do not see that any harm can accrue to the Commonwealth by reason of a few blacks having the right to vote - a right which they very seldom exercise in the States, mid which I have no doubt they exercise with as much intelligence as is in the possession of some “white persons on polling day. While the law stands as it is, and there is “‘no bar to any one in the community, unless -he is in an ‘asylum or a gaol, exercising his vote, whether he is ‘drunk or whether he is sober, it is only reasonable that the franchise should be granted by the Commonwealth to men who vote but seldom, and who certainly, as the original landlords of Australia, are entitled, in my humble view, to vote in the Commonwealth as well as in the individual States. I shall vote against the amendment of the other House.
– The point taken by Senator Neild is disposed of by the fact that, as I understand, there are two, if not three States in which the aboriginals have votes, and will retain them. But the object of another place is to exclude the natives of Western Australia, who are in a different position. Taking a practical view of the matter, -what would be the outcome of giving the aboriginals votes ? I suppose that 98 per Gent, of them can neither read nor write, nor can they have the slighest idea of the problems affecting Australia. If we were to enfranchise the adult native, and also the gin, we should have a ‘state of things at election times which would be simply a disgrace to the Federal Parliament. Senator Neild has some ‘knowledge of the calibre of election agents ; and in the fierce excitement of -electoral contests in districts in which probably the ‘aboriginals could absolutely turn an election, we can imagine how these black men -and women would be treated. They would regard their votes as playthings. Probatory they would be bought for a copper or two, or a pipe .of tobacco. I shall vote in favour of accepting the amendment of another place.
– I .am glad that the Government intend to agree with the amendment made by the House of Representatives. It would be a travesty on our legislation to give the aboriginals votes, and put them on the same plane of citizenship as ourselves. It is admitted that the aboriginals of Australia are amongst the most degraded people in the world. Yet it was at first proposed to ‘give them the franchise, a concession carrying with it the possibility of their sending to the Senate or the House of Representatives a black gin ! These people should not have .a vote, because they do not possess the genius of self-goverement, are not fit to exercise the franchise, and do not want it. The Bill, as it stood, would be all right for Tasmania, .where *here ,are no blacks, ana proba’bly all right for suchStates as New South Wales or Victoria ; but to give -the vote to most of the aboriginals in Western Australia would be a very serious matter indeed. In some of the electorates of Western Australia the blacks are more numerous than the whites. If they had votes they would be manipulated by skilful electioneering agents. Let me give an illustration : There was a Western Australian in Melbourne at the time this Bill was dealt with previously. He said - “ When the next election comes I shall have 70 votes. I have 35 aboriginal men on my station, where there are practically no whites, and they all have gins. I shall see that they all vote.” To give people a vote who do not understand constitutional Government, and who would sell the franchise for beer or a stick of tobacco, would be to do a great wrong. Although the Bill as it originally stood might do no harm in Victoria or New South Wales, where the blacks have died off on account of the civilization to which they have been subjected, the position is entirely different in Western Australia. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has said that this amendment is entirely new, and that it was explained far more fully in the House of Representatives than in the Senate what the effect of enfranchising the blacks would be. He appeared to give us to understand that it was on that account » that he had altered his opinion. I interjected that he had altered his mind because of the decision of the other House, and he then said that that was a foolish remark. But the honorable and learned senator himself said immediately afterwards, “Of course, that is why I have altered my mind,” and that he would accept the amendment rather than risk the loss of the Bill. Therefore, he admits that what I said as to his reason for altering his opinion is true. I trust that the amendment will bd agreed to, and that the Bill will be put upon the statute-book as soon as possible.
– I am pleased that the Bill has come back to us in the form it now assumes. There can be no two opinions as to the unfitness of the aboriginal race to exercise the franchise. The Western Australian aboriginal is altogether a different person from the aboriginal who is known upon the eastern coasts. In the west he is almost in his primitive state, and the short acquaintance he has had with civilization has not improved him mentally or bodily. As foi: his morals, they are an unknown quantity. As one who has lived amongst the blacks of the west for a considerable time,
I can assure the committee that it would be as sensible to give votes to the lunatics in an asylum as to the aboriginals. I say that more out of grief than anything else, because certainly it is not a pleasant thing that the aboriginals of Australia should be in such a degraded condition. If they had votes those aboriginals who live in the neighbourhood of stations would vote as the squatters directed them. In fact, it would not be the aboriginals who would vote, but the squatters ; and that in itself is a danger that we have to guard against.
– I should strongly oppose the amendment were it not that the Constitution has preserved to the aboriginals of South Australia their right to vote. I am glad to know that even the Commonwealth Parliament cannot deprive them of that right.
-Col. Neild. - Only those now alive will have the franchise.
– No ; if I read aright section 41 of the Constitution, it preserves the right to vote of the aboriginals of South Australia. The section reads -
No adult person who has or acquires a right to vote at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of a State, shall, while the right continues, be prevented by any law of the Commonwealth from voting at elections for either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth.
Seeing that that is the case I shall not oppose the amendment.
– It is incumbent upon me to say a word or two, because originally I voted for the clause as it stood when the Bill left the Senate. On this occasion I am going to reverse’ my vote, because the position is altogether different from what I understood it to be previously. I did not know that in some of the constituencies of W’estern Australia the blacks outnumber the whites. In that respect, the representatives of Western Australia in another place, as well as here, have made out a good case. In addition to that, I do not wish to imperil the passage of the Bill. Under these circumstances, I shall vote for the motion.
Senator STEWART (Queensland). - I was rather amused at the arguments advanced by Senator Neild in his opposition to the amendment sent to us from another place. He is usually so original that it was surprising to hear him utter so trite a remark as that the aboriginals of Australia were entitled to the franchise because they were the original owners of the country. I do not admit the honorable senator’s premises. By what authority does he advance the statement that the present aboriginals -were the original owners of Australia 1 I submit that Senator Neild does not know anything more on the subject than Ido myself, and I confess that 1 know nothing at all.
– The honorable senator has written a poem about it.
– Poetry is supposed to be the fruit of the imagination. I have no imagination in that sense. But if I were to give a range to my fancy, I might conceive of a time -when Australia was peopled by a highly-civilized race of beings, and that they were overcome by some such foes as Huns or Goths, who cleared them out and took possession of the country, the present aboriginals of Australia being the degenerate descendants of those conquerors. But even if the aboriginals were the former owners of Australia, what possible use is there in giving them the franchise ? When we admit any person to citizenship along with us, we presume that he is fit to come into our company. What are the qualifications for citizenship of the aboriginals? We expect that every citizen shall be educated, and an opportunity is given to nearly everybody to become educated. But the blacks do not conform to that condition. The aboriginals do not trouble themselves about the British Constitution or about tree-trade or protection, or any of the other problems with which we have to deal. They are a totally uncivilized and barbarous race. I am very glad that common-sense for once has gone one better than sentiment. Sentiment is a very good thing in its place, but it requires to be kept very severely in its place. While I believe in the widest franchise possible for people of our own colour, race, and civilization, I draw the line very strictly at uncivilized barbarians like the aboriginals of Australia.. I am glad the amendment has been made, and I shall support it.
– I have a great deal of sympathy with the view expressed by persons who desire to concede to the original inhabitants of this island all the rights we claim for ourselves, but I recognise that, in a matter of this kind, we have to look to what may be the result of enfranchising a large number of aboriginals, more especially in Western Australia. It is not desirable that the Commonwealth Parliament should take upon itself the responsibility of enfranchising the aboriginals in a State in which the State Parliament has not seen fit to do so. In Western Australia, it appears that it would be possible to organize a body of men at election times who would carry an election in any way in which wire pullers saw lit to direct, by means of the aboriginal vote. Under the Constitution, the rights of aboriginals who have the franchise at the present time are preserved to them. There is, also, a further power under the Constitution for the enfranchisement of aboriginal inhabitants in the future, if the State in which they reside thinks fit to enfranchise them. Section 41 of the Constitution provides that- -
No adult person who has or acquires a right to vote at elections for the more numerous House of Parliament of a State, shall, while the right continues, be prevented by any law of the Commonwealth from voting at elections for either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth.
So that it appears that under the Constitution Act there is an opportunity for the enfranchisement of the aboriginal inhabitants of any State where they are not enfranchised atthepresenttime. Thatenfranchisement might take the form of enabling certain aboriginals, who, for instance, may be employed in a settled occupation, to exercise a vote. We could not well deal with the matter in that way, but certainly where aboriginals, whether in Western Australia or any other State, give evidence of a determination to form homes for themselves and become citizens of the Commonwealth, it would be a reasonable thing that they should exercise a full right of franchise in the same way as our own white citizens. As to. their ability and intelligence there can be no doubt that there are many aboriginals who are as well fitted to exercise the vote as many white men who have the right. For the reasons I have mentioned, while sympathizing with the aborigines, I recognise that it is undesirable that we should enfranchise a large number of persons whom the State in which they reside will not enfranchise, and whose votes might be used for purposes which may not be bona fide.
– Comparing this clause with the
Constitution, what strikes me most is the impression throughout Australia that we have the right to legislate absolutely so as to control the States as to what their electoral franchise shall be. I wish distinctly to state that we have no such power. The persons entitled to vote in each State are those so entitled under the present State laws, or those who may become so entitled under any future State laws, though the laws governing the matter in each State may be as different as possible. The central idea of the Constitution was to obtain the representation of each State according to the way in which that State thought its representation could be best secured.
– At that time.
– Not at that time only, but at any future time as well. The idea was that federation could be best carried out by preserving the entity of the several States, and by leaving it to them to decide the method in which their representation should be determined. Subject to that, the Commonwealth may pass laws of general authority, but its laws are always to be subject to the laws of the States.
– No; the franchise is to-be uniform.
– I know that my honorable friend would like to make a new Constitution, but, thank God, he has not got the power just now. We have a Constitution, and we are going to work under it. That Constitution provides that -
No adult person who has, or acquires, a right to vote at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of a State shall, while that right continues - “ Who has, or acquires, a right.” There is present and future. - be prevented by any law of the Commonwealth from voting at elections for either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth.
The intention there is put in the clearest possible words. The laws, as they exist now in the States, defining the right to vote shall continue, though in each State they may be divergent, and laws in future passed by each State deciding who shall vote shall also prevail, notwithstanding any law we may pass to the contrary. So that any law we pass now upon this matter will be subject to the existing or future law of any State. That I wish to put on record as the understanding on which I shall support the amendment of the House of Representatives.
I have not the least objection to the Commonwealth laying down a general principle so long as it does not invade the Constitution. I can very well understand, however, that aboriginal natives who are absolutely unfit to vote now may, or their children may - if the race does not die out altogether - reach a condition of attainment and improvement which will entitle them to vote.
– And be empowered by State laws to do so.
– They can be empowered to do so, and it would be monstrously unkind, unreasonable, and tyrannical for us to lay down as a fixed law an expression of opinion that these people are absolutely incapable of improvement,,and that neither they nor their children can ever by any force of education or other cause reach a condition in which they would be capable of exercising the franchise. Senator Charleston has mentioned what the law is with us in South Australia upon the subject. This matter is left to the States. They will decide who are the persons competent to exercise the franchise. I should think that at present it would be absurd to give the aboriginals of Western Australia any vote, and probably that would apply to nearly all the natives of Australia ; but I wish it to be clearly understood that the Constitution leaves this question to be determined by the States, and that no law we can pass will derogate from the authority given to them by the Constitution.
Amendment agreed to.
Motion (by Senator 0’Counor) proposed -
That the committee agree to the amendment, of the House of Representatives in clause 4, omitting the words “or person of the halfblood,” and inserting the words “except the islands of New Zealand situated in the Pacific: Ocean beyond the Commonwealth.”
– Am I to understand that the effect of this amendment will be to allow Maories to vote if they become inhabitants of the Commonwealth?
– It appearstome that under this amendment there will be no restriction upon the exercise of the franchise by aboriginal natives of New Zealand. I presume that the Maori race are the aboriginal natives of New Zealand, and they will be expressly exempted by this amendment.
-i have no objection to that. I desire only that it should be made clear that that is covered by the amendment.
– I have a strong objection to this amendment. I do not so much mind the proposal to strike out the reference to persons of the half-blood, that can be dealt with separately. I strongly object to giving aboriginal natives of the islands of New Zealand any larger franchise rights in Australia than we propose to give to the aboriginal natives of the Commonwealth, Asia and Africa.
– Does the honorable senator put them on the same mental level ?
– I certainly put them on the same mental level with the aboriginal natives of Asia. No one can deny that the mental attainments of the natives of Asia are very great, and they are, if anything, higher than the mental attainments of the natives of New Zealand. If we exclude natives of Asia from the franchise, I see no reason why we should give it to the natives of New Zealand. An additional reason is that in New Zealand itself the natives are not given an unlimited right to vote. They have not the power of exercising the franchise out of the district reserved for natives, and in that district they can only record a vote for native representatives. There is provision in the New Zealand Constitution allowing the natives to be represented by four members of their own race, and if an aboriginal native of New Zealand goes to some place which is not a native district he loses the right to vote, and cannot vote for a man of another colour. We have made no provision for anything of that kind in our Constitution, and I fail to see why, if an aboriginal native of New Zealand comes to the Commonwealth,’ he should be placed in any better position than he is placed in in his own country. There is an additional amendment proposed.
Except the islands of New Zealand situated in the Pacific Ocean beyond the Commonwealth.
The effect of the insertion of those words would be to give the franchise to the inhabitants of New Guinea, which is certainly an island situated in the Pacific Ocean. New Guinea is included in the Commonwealth, because we have absorbed it, and section 122 of the Constitution provides that -
The Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory placed by the section under the authority of and accepted by the Commonwealth or otherwise ‘ acquired by the 37 b 2
Commonwealth, and may allow representation of such territory in every House of Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it thinks n’t.
Under that section the territory of New Guinea has been accepted by the Commonwealth, and we are entitled to give it such representation as a territory as we think fit. Later on we will be in a position to make it a State if we choose. I take it that we took over New Guinea on the date the proclamation was gazetted. Under the circumstances, I shall oppose the insertion of these latter words, though I do not oppose the amendment, in so far as it deals with persons of the half-blood.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).It seems to me that Senator Matheson has quite misread the effect of the amendment. If the honorable senator’s contention, that we have absorbed New Guinea, and that it has become a part of Australia is correct, he will see that the clause distinctly debars aboriginal natives of Australia from voting. If we have not absorbed New Guinea there is nothing in this amendment which will give the natives of that territory any rights beyond those given to the natives of Asia, Africa, or the islands of the Pacific. . Having lived for some little time where I had an ample opportunity of judging of the Maories, and having had experience of the natives of the mainland in three of the States, I must say that I am surprised that any one should attempt to debar Maories from voting for anything like the same reason as they would debar aboriginal natives of Australia. One has only to pay a visit to the Maori settlements, or better still, to the New Zealand House of Representatives to discover that the Maories are entitled to any electoral privileges they may succeed in obtaining. We are not likely to have any great influx of Maories, and if we are prepared to extend the franchise to any persons from New Zealand of our own race, it is hardly worth our while to differentiate between them adversely to the Maories.
Senator Major GOULD (New South Wales). - I think that Senator Matheson did not give sufficient attention to the provisions of the Constitution Act before he raised this question. If he will refer to section 3 of the Act he will find that the Commonwealth embraces New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania,, and Western Australia. In section 121 provision is made for the admission and establishment of new States, while section 122 relates to the government of territories. We have not accepted New Guinea as a territory or admitted it as a new State, nor, of course, has it been granted any rights of representation in this Parliament. Therefore the amendment in this clause could not, by any process of reasoning, be held to include the inhabitants of New Guinea. The honorable senator may rest perfectly certain that no damage in that direction can occur. I quite agree with what Senator Millen has said of the Maori race. Any one who has followed their history cannot fail to recognise that the Maories are suitable persons to have the franchise, and that they would take as keen an interest in any proposed legislation as would any white men. When we find that the Maories have representation in the New Zealand Parliament, and that a Maori has held the responsible position of a Minister of the Crown, I have no doubt that it will be recognised at once that the Maories are on the same equality as are the white people, and therefore there can be no reason for denying them the right to vote in Australia. Again, New Zealand is situated so close to the Commonwealth - that it is well for us to cultivate cordial relations with its people - both white and coloured. I think it is too late for us to debate the question of whether we should admit to the franchise the inhabitants of other islands. In view of the legislation we have passed, it would be quite impossible to throw open the door in the wide way that has been suggested. I thoroughly agree with this amendment.
Senator STEWART (Queensland).- We do nob know what islands may belong to New Zealand within the next few years.
– ;This amendment relates to the islands known as New Zealand, and not to the islands belonging to New Zealand.
– If Mr. Seddon continues in power for a very long time, he will have snapped up every island in the Pacific Ocean. If people from those islands come to the Commonwealth and claim to be citizens of New Zealand, of course we shall have some people ready enough to say that it refers only to the islands permanently known as New Zealand ; but the opponents of that reading of the provision will contend that it was evidently meant to apply to all the islands of
New Zealand situated in the Pacific Ocean, beyond the Commonwealth. If it is intended to give the franchise to the. aboriginal natives of the territory which we know as New Zealand, why not make it clearer than it is ? I have no particular objection to extend the franchise to the Maories. Senator Matheson has explained that they are not allowed to vote amongst the whites, and that the Maories in the Parliament do not represent any persons except their own race. I do not know why these limitations have been made. But if they exist, I do not see that a very good claim might not be established for refusing them the suffrage when they come to the Commonwealth. The particular point which troubles me is whether we are going to embrace in this definition all the islands and all the territory which the present or a future Premier of New Zealand may choose to annex. I trust that Senator O’Connor will let us know what he thinks of that point.
Senator MATHESON (Western Australia). - Senator Stewart is perfectly correct when he says that a large number of islands are included in the New Zealand Group. In addition to the three islands which are generally called New Zealand - the North Island, the South Island, and Stewart Island - there are the Chatham Islands, comprising 240,000 acres ; the Auckland Islands, comprising 210,000 acres ; the Campbell Islands, comprising 45,000 acres ; the Antipodes Islands, com prising 12, 000 acres ; the Boun tj’ Islands, comprising 3,000 acres ; the Kermeded Group, comprising 8,000 acres, or in all 528,000 acres. There are also’ the Cook Islands, which have been recently annexed, and which have a very large native population ; the Solomon Islands, and the Penguin Group. It seems likely that Fiji will become part of New Zealand, and it contains no less than 118,000 aborigines. Even if the committee considers that the aboriginal natives of New Zealand should be given the franchise, it might omit the superfluous words “situated in the Pacific Ocean, beyond the Commonwealth,” and so leave the question absolutely free of any doubt. I think everyone will admit that the words are unnecessary, and it seems to me still that they were put in with the view of doing what I suggested at first.
– I do not think that honorable senators should be so factious over a question of such little importance to the Commonwealth. I should think that the amendment has been inserted by the other House out of consideration for our friendly relations with New Zealand, and not because any importance is attached to it. I am sure that Senator Matheson does not imagine that the Commonwealth will be invaded by a horde of Maories, and that any election will be swayed’ either one way or another by their influence. If the amendment can have no prejudicial effect, and does not disfigure the Bill, I do not see why it should not be agreed to.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - I think it would be inconsistent for us to enfranchise the Maories. In New Zealand the Maories are not giiven equal rights with the whites, but a certain representation is allowed to the Maori race. In India there are very high-caste Hindoos, who are well educated, and who belong to the same human family as we do. If we agree to this amendment, we say that these Hindoos shall not have the franchise, because we are determined that the only people who shall vote in Australia are those of the white or Caucasian race, or such people as the States may enfranchise. Why should we say that the Maories, who I admit are very intelligent, should have this right of citizenship in Australia, and that the highest class Hindoos, who are also members of the British Empire, should be denied the privilege? That seems to me to be an inconsistency. It would be better to say in the Bill that no coloured person shall have the franchise, than to indicate the portions of the world whose aboriginal inhabitants shall not be allowed to vote in the Commonwealth.
– There is no fear of Maories coming to Australia in any number, but if the Asiatics should get a foothold here they would soon swamp us. If I had my way, I should give no coloured man a vote, no matter where he came from. There is not the slightest fear of the Maories, who are a very intelligent race, invading Australia, but there is a fear that Asiatic hordes would come if they got the opportunity.
Motion (by Senator Matheson) proposed -
That the amendment of the Mouse of Representatives lie amended by the omission of the wonts “situated in the Pacific Ocean beyond the Commonwealth.”
– I think that Senator Stewart’s criticism of the phraseology of the amendment is perfectly right. I suggest to Senator O’Connor, that if the clause, were altered to read - “ No aboriginal native of Asia, Africa, or island of the Pacific, except New Zealand,” it would carry out the design of Senator Stewart, and the full intention of the amendment, and it would I think conduce to better drafting. I ask him if he cannot allow us to accept the amendment in that form t
– I admit at once that it would be very much neater drafting to leave out the latter words ; but the difference between taking that course and accepting the Bill as it is, is that if we adopt the amendment in its present form, which is substantially the same as that which is suggested, it will become law directly. But if we, for the sake of securing a little better drafting, which cannot affect the meaning of the clause in any way, send the Bill back to the other House it will have to be considered there as well as here before it can. become law. I have asked honorable senators to agree to the amendment as it is, because it is desirable that the necessary basis of our electoral system should be settled as early as possible. There is a machinery Bill which will carry out the principle laid down here ; but until this Bill is passed, finality cannot be attained with regard to the other measure. That is a reason for accepting the Bill as it is, and making it law as soon as possible, so that the House of Representatives, in dealing with the Electoral Bill, will know where they are. I cannot understand the view of those who see a danger to the principle of a white Australia in the adoption of this amendment.
– It is a question of consistency.
– We have to be careful of creating difficulties and doing a real injury, in order to attain ideal consistency. We cannot have ideal consistency in this world, but we should get as near to it as we can. The practical difficulty in the way is this : We hope that the day will come when New Zealand will be a member of the Federation. At present she does not see eye to eye with us on the subject, and does not think that the time has arrived [ when her interests will justify her in joining. Now, any one who knows New Zealand is aware that the Maories occupy an entirely different position from the aboriginals of any other part of Australia. The Maories are a highly civilized people, and the white New Zealander, who is as democratic as any man in Australia, has long ago come to the conclusion that these people should be allowed political rights. They have certain political rights in New Zealand, and I happen to know, from discussing the question of federation, as I had the honour to do, with some representatives of New Zealand who came here to inquire into the subject some time ago, that the New Zealanders make it a strong point that the Maories shall not have any differential treatment extended to them, or be placed in a lower position in the Commonwealth than other persons connected with New Zealand. It would be a bad beginning for the sake of some ideal consistency to flout the public opinion of New Zealand in regard to a matter of that kind. I will undertake to say that if New Zealand becomes a member of the Commonwealth, it will be only on the terms of giving the aboriginal natives of that country at least as much political power in the Commonwealth as they have at present in their own country. What does the immigration from New Zealand amount to ‘( To a few natives and nothing more. There is no comparison between the danger of immigration from New Zealand and the danger of Asiatic immigration. The whole difference is that in the one case there is an inexhaustible supply and a strong inducement to emigrate, and in the other there is a comparatively limited supply of people who do not wish to emigrate. I hope, looking at the matter from the point of view of substance and as a matter of practical legislation, that the committee will see that it would be much better to take the Bill in this form, even though as a matter of drafting it is possible to make improvements.
Senator STEWART (Queensland).- The Vice-President of the Executive Council has not attempted to touch the question I alluded to. He has looked forward to the time when New Zealand may join the Federation. We all agree with him in that wish. If New Zealand joins the Federation she will bring her possessions with her, and so far as I can discover they will all come under the heading of New Zealanders. In that event the aboriginal inhabitants of the islands possessed by New Zealand may be placed in exactly the same position as the Macries. What I want to have made clear, and what 1 think is not clearly expressed in the present wording of the clause, is that the measure shall not apply to any person who is an aboriginal native other than an aboriginal native of the islands at present known as New Zealand. The amendment suggested by Senator Clemons would meet the difficulty, but if the Bill is left in its present indefinite state, no one can tell what trouble may arise in the future. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has asked us to pass the measure so that it may become law as soon as possible. I am as anxious as anybody can be for the measure to become law. But I do not see any occasion for accepting what he himself admits to be slip-shod drafting, because we are in a hurry to pass the Bill. Parliament will be sitting ‘ for some months to come, and there is any amount of time between now and the recess to deal with the matter, and make the wording of the Bill clear and distinct so that no one can mistake its meaning. New Zealand wants to become a sort of suzerain over all the islands in the Pacific. If she succeeds, and if she subsequently joins the Federation she will bring her satellites with her, and then the question will arise whether the aboriginals of her island possessions have the same right to the franchise in Australia as the New Zealand aboriginals have. I am not prepared to admit that proposition. We are quite willing to admit New Zealand, into partnership with us, together with the Maories, but we should object to the inhabitants of the Pacific Islands being admitted to the franchise.
– Would it not be better to wait until the time comes for making terms with New Zealand 1
– I think it would be better to settle the matter now. The argument as to delay does not warrant us in passing the Bill in its present form. It is of some consequence to have the matter so clearly expressed as to be beyond doubt or question.
Senator EWING (Western Australia).There is no necessity to use doubtful language where we can amply express our meaning. If we simply say “ except New Zealand,” we shall know exactly what the expression means, and there will be.no doubt about it. But if we say “ except the islands of New Zealand,” that might mean any islands that have been acquired by New Zealand.
– It is of no use being dogmatic. The honorable and learned senator knows perfectly well that many a time he has gone into court saying “ No,” when the court has decided against him. We want to make it clear than when we’ speak of New Zealand, we do not mean to include any islands that New Zealand may acquire in the future. What is the use of putting into an Act of Parliament a lot of language which makes the meaning obscure, when by altering a couple of words we can clearly demonstrate our meaning? I trust that Senator Matheson will amend his amendment by proposing to omit the words “ the islands of.”
Senator MATHESON (Western Australia). - I am quite willing to amend my motion so as to provide also for the omission of the words “ the islands of.”
Motion amended accordingly.
– I cannot say that the drafting is as clear as it might be, but I have no doubt whatever about the meaning, nor do I ‘think there would be any doubt about its interpretation. But still, as apparently the committee does not seem to be in a hurry about passing the measure, it might be better to amend the drafting when we are about it, and let the Bill come back to us again. I am, therefore, willing to accept the motion.
Amendment of amendment agreed to.
Amendment as amended agreed to.
Clause 6 -
No person shall be entitled -
To have his name on the electoral roll for any electoral division except the division in which he resides. (b) To vote at any election except in the electoral division for which he is enrolled.
To vote more than once at the same election.
Provided always that any senator or member of the House of Representatives shall, if he so desires, be entitled to have his name placed on and retained on the electoral roll for the electoral division in which he resided at the time of his election, instead of the electoral roll for the electoral division in which he resides.
– The House of Representatives has omitted paragraphs (a) and (b) of this clause, and also the proviso. When the matter was under discussion in the Senate, it was pointed out by several honorable senators that the clause more properly belonged tothe Electoral Bill, which is a machinery measure, than to the Franchise Bill. The clause was left in, however, in order that it might be an indication to the House of Representatives as to what was desired. The other place has struck out the two paragraphs and the proviso, with the view of putting them in the Electoral Bill, to which they properly belong. I move -
That the amendments of the House of Repre sentatives omitting paragraphs (a) and (b) and the proviso be agreed to.
Amendments agreed to.
Resolutions reported ; report adopted.
Resolved (on motion by Senator O’Connor) -
That a committeeconsistingof Senators Mathe son, Stewart, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council be appointed to prepare and bring up reasons for disagreeing to part of amendment No. 6 of the House of Representatives.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This is a measure of practically one clause, which proposes to grant an extra allowance of £10,000, for the purpose of assisting to defray the expenses of the GovernorGeneral’s establishment in connexion with the visit to Australia of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. I do not think it is necessary for me to go into the circumstances which have led up to the appearance of the Bill in its present form before the Senate. I think it is only necessary for me to say that it was introduced in another form in the House of Representatives, and that it there took its present shape.
– At the instance of a private member.
– Does that matter?
– The honorable senator may think so, and may say so byandby if he chooses. I am stating the matter now as shortly as possible, because although the measure in itself is of some importance, I do not think it desirable to spend time in making my opening statement longer than is necessary, because I remember, and I hope we all will remember, that there is a great deal more work still to be done in connexion with the Tariff Bill, and I hope we shall be able to get through a considerable portion of it this evening. I do not see how there can be any ground upon which the Senate can oppose the granting of this £10,000. It is well known that His Excellency the Governor-General expended a very much larger sum in carrying out the hospitality which the circumstances of that occasion made it necessary for him to exercise. In all the circumstances it appears to me impossible to suppose that the Commonwealth will put the Governor-General in the position of having personally to bear all this expenditure, and will refuse to assist him at least to the extent of the proposal which is made here.
– I am perfectly sure honorable senators will not be anxious to take exception to the grant of this £10,000 towards the expenses of the Governor-General in entertaining during the visit of the Duke and ‘ Duchess of Cornwall and York. If there are any who will take exception to it, they must be a very small minority. But the introduction of a Bill of this character brings us face to face with the whole position which has led up to the stand taken by his Excellency, the Governor-General. It is very unfortunate that matters should have been placed in such a position as to cause the retirement of His Excellency. I am quite sure that the whole of the residents of the Commonwealth very much regret that he should have felt it necessary to place his resignation in the hands of the Home authorities. The news of his appointment to the position of Governor-General of the Commonwealth, was received with universal approval and support from one end of Australia to the other. He had maintained his position, and discharged the duties of his office, as Governor of the State of Victoria, in such a way as to commend him to the residents not only of that-State, but also of the other States of the Commonwealth. We are now confronted with the fact that His Excellency, after having held the position of GovernorGeneral of the Commonwealth for only eighteen months, finds it necessary to send in his resignation to the Home authorities, and we are confronted with the necessity of welcoming a new Governor-General in his place at an early date, because we are aware that His Excellency has intimated that his decision is irrevocable. I do not think honorable senators can find very much fault with the action he has taken, considering the whole of the circumstances which have led up to that action. This Bill, as originally introduced in the House of Representatives, made provision for increasing the expenditure of his’ Excellency’s establishment by the sum of £8,000’ a year. ‘ We are till perfectly aware that when the Commonwealth Bill was being’ dealt with the question of the salary of the Governor-General was considered in connexion with the salaries and allowancespaid to gentlemen occupying similar positions in other parts of the world. The matter was debated, and considered in connexion with the salary paid to the Governor-General of Canada, .the salary and allowances of the Viceroy of India, and the salary paid to the President of the United States. It was only after full consideration that the determination was deliberately arrived at that the salary of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth should be £10,000 a year, and that that should be considered sufficient to maintain the dignity of the position. It is also made expressly clear in the Commonwealth Bill that no attempt should be made either to increase or decrease the salary paid to any Governor-General during the period of his occupancy of his office. But we find that negotiations were entered into, or representations were made— .
– I rise to order. I submit that the honorable and learned senator, in discussing this Bill, is not in order in going into matters relating to the appointment of .a Governor-General, and I submit that all we have to do with here is the expediency of granting a sum of £10,000 to assist in defraying expenses incurred by the Governor-General in connexion with a particular occasion. The consideration of matters involving the conditions under which the GovernorGeneral is appointed and regarding his salary and allowances are entirely outside this particular question. Whatever view my honorable and learned friend may take with regard to the history of this matter from the beginning to the introduction of the Bill in the other House, I submit he cannot be allowed to discuss any matter here which has nob some direct bearing upon the question embodied in the second clause of this Bill.
– I submit that it is perfectly in order to discuss the matter in the way in which I propose to discuss it. This Bill was introduced into the other Chamber in another form, and was altered and amended to the form in which it now appears before us. It is also perfectly competent for me to refer to the records of the other House, in which it is shown that such a Bill as I have referred to was introduced, and that this Bill is the outcome of that measure. I further point out that in dealing with the question of allowances to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, it must surely be in order to refer to the salary of the position and the provision made in the Constitution that no alteration either by way of increase or decrease shall be made in the salary during the occupancy by His Excellency of the position.
– This Bill does not touch salary at all.
– Pardon me. I think it can be shown that this is an ingenious way of increasing a salary which could not be increased in a direct way.
– No; it is a special grant.
– It is spoken of here as an “ extraordinary allowance.”
– It is a special grant and an extraordinary allowance ; but an extraordinary allowance may be proposed every year. .
– I must ask the honorable and learned senator to deal with the point of order.
– I submit it is necessary to refer to the position originally taken up by the Commonwealth, and to the fact that this is an allowance, or increase upon the salary that was to be paid, and that therefore there is a justification for my referring to proposals which are connected with this Bill.
– On the point of order, I think Senator Gould has shown clearly that he is out of order. I take it that this Bill does not in any way bring before us the question of salary or allowances. The reference which the honorable and learned senator has made to what took place in another Chamber is absolutely against him.
We all know from the records that a Bill dealing with allowances which opened up the whole question was introduced in another place and met with no reception, and this Bill is the outcome of the decision, of the House of Representatives. The Bill before us does not deal with allowances to the Governor-General, and therefore any reference to the questions which Senator Gould was opening up is precluded. A grant of an extraordinary character which can never come up again is the sole purpose of the measure now before us.
– In the first place, I have always held, and I think correctly that an honorable senator is in order in referring to the records of another place. Our standing order says that no member shall allude to any debate in the other House of Parliament or refer to any measure pending therein. The latter words of the standing order appear to me to be confined to a measure which is under discussion there, and which has not reached us. Therefore, as far as reference to the records is concerned, I think Senator Gould is perfectly in order. Then as to the second question, the rule is that the debate must be relevant to the subject matter of the Bill, and I am not prepared to say that a reference to the Constitution and a reference to the salary of the Governor-General, or to any matter of that sort, are not relevant to the subject matter of this Bill.
– I was pointing out that we had clearly and distinctly fixed by the Constitution the salary we were to allow the Governor-General during the time of his tenure of office, and’ whether that salary was sufficient or not we were precluded from considering by the terms of the Constitution, except as applying to the salary of a gentleman who might be appointed to fill the office at a future date. Notwithstanding that we find from the papers laid upon the table of this House, that as far back as the 30th of November, 1900, a despatch was addressed by Mr. Chamberlain to the Governor-General with regard to this question of allowances, and that upon that despatch a communication was made to the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth by His Excellency. A second communication was written by Mr Chamberlain, in which he alluded to the fact that a Bill had been introduced into the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, providing for an annual contribution towards the expenses upon the basis of population if the whole of the States, contributed a sum of £10,000, and to the fact that that Bill had been accepted by the State Parliament of New South Wales, and had been rejected by the Legislative Assembly of Victoria. Then he goes on to say-
I am perfectly aware that some honorable senators may consider that the latter portion of this despatch is open to a good deal of comment. But so far as my purpose is concerned, it does not matter what the opinion of Mr. Chamberlain may have been in a matter of this kind, or whether it was right for him to communicate in this way or not. It is necessary, however, that I should allude to this despatch, and to the recognition of the principle laid down in it by the Government of the day, for I find that there is this minute, dated 21st February, 1901-
Mr. Barton presents his humble duty to Your Excellency, and requests to bo allowed to acknowledge the receipt through Your Excellency of copy of a despatch, dated 11th January last, from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, on the subject of making suitable provision for the expenses of Your Excellency’s establishment and for the charges of entertainment.
Mr. Barton begs to intimate that the Ministers for the Commonwealth have agreed to submit a measure to the Parliament which, in his view, will meet the situation to which Mr. Secretary Chamberlain’s despatch refers.
That minute is dated 21st February, 1901, and until the month of April in the current year there was no intimation whatever that any Bill based upon that promise was to be submitted to Parliament. Not only was there no Bill submitted to Parliament, but there was no’ intimation whatever made to Parliament that Mr. Barton, with the concurrence of the whole of his Ministers, had distinctly made this promise to His Excellency the Governor-General. During the whole of the- time, the Governor-General, no doubt relying upon the fact that the Government had recognised this principle, and had promised to submit a measure which they believed would carry it into effect - the measure which was introduced a few days ago - naturally concluded that his Ministers would not make a promise of the kind unless they felt perfectly sure of being able to carry it into effect. Parliament met in the May following, and it was surely possible at that time for the Government to have intimated to .Parliament that this request had been made and that this promise had been given by Ministers of the Crown. Was not that the proper time for the Parliament of the country to be made acquainted with the way in which the Government had attempted to commit it in this important matter of expenditure ?
– I must ask the honorable and learned senator to confine his remarks, so far as he can, to reasons why this Bill should or should not be passed. I have ruled that the honorable and learned senator can refer to all these matters, but only as reasons why this Bill should or should not be passed.
– It is a matter of very great difficulty to do that.
– If the whole matter is opened up now I shall have to deal with it so far as I am allowed. I intended, if possible, to avoid going into it now.
– The matter is one of such moment to the Commonwealth that I think it is desirable it should be gone into, and that the position should be clearly placed before the people. From that date until April last not a whisper was given to the people of the Commonwealth that such a promise had been made by the Government to His Excellency.
– I rise to order. The last two or three sentences of my honorable and learned friend, I submit, cannot be relevant to the Bill.
– T have already said that it is very difficult for a speaker to confine his remarks strictly to the matter before the Chair without bringing in illustrations, or without bringing in reasons from the conduct of the Government or from the Constitution or from other sources, why the Bill should or should not be passed. Further than that, I do not think that an honorable senator ought to go unless it cannot be helped. I do not wish to curtail the debate or to stop honorable senators from ventilating this matter, but I would ask the honorable and learned senator to confine himself us far possible to the Bill.
– I am very sorry that Senator Dobson should be so “tender about my references to the Government. Of course he would sooner have us say nothing about the action of the Government but simply vote for the Bill. Time passed and no intimation was given until the Government submitted a Bill in April. In what way was it submitted to the House 1
– The Government never submitted this Bill to the House.
– So much the worse for the Government. The Government submitted a Bill to the House, and, at “the dictation of a private member, allowed it to be emasculated - probably at their instigation.
– The honorable and “learned senator has no right to say that.
– It is so stated in the public prints.
– If Senator O’Connor tells me that it is absolutely incorrect I shall accept his assurance. Was not the Bill altered to its present form at the instance of a private member?
– Undoubtedly it was.
– When the Government introduced the Bill such as it was, in the first instance, they were met with objections by honorable members that they were attempting to do by a side wind that which they could not do directly. They were also met with the objection that no clear and definite reasons had been given to honorable members for accepting and passing the Bill. Will any one say that the Government can be acquitted of blame in connexion with a Bill of this character ? Tt is true that it comes to the Senate in an ^amended form. I have no doubt that [honorable senators are prepared to vote for a measure of so reasonable a character as it is; but I submit that the actions of the Government which have led up to the resignation of the Governor-General deserve the most severe scrutiny, and, so far as we can judge, the most severe reprobation.
– I should think that it - was the action of the other House that led to the resignation of the Governor General.
– No ; the probability is that His Excellency found that he had been fooled ; that his Ministers had not stood by him as they ought to have done. If Ministers had possessed one ounce of pluck - having pledged their word to secure an allowance of £8,000 a year for His Excellency - they would have stood to their guns and not allowed the Bill to be thrown on one side. Whatever may be the result of this measure the action of the Government has led to the resignation of the Governor-General. If the question had been referred to the Parliament in the early days of the session and it had expressed an adverse opinion, His Excellency would have known what position he occupied, but he was misled, and incurred an expenditure which probably he would not have incurred if he had known what was in the minds of the people of this country. We have been led into this position, that people on the other side of the world are looking upon us as having assumed a niggardly attitude, and as having been guilty of a gross breach of faith with the Governor-General. How can we expect to retain the respect of the people on the other side of the world when they find or believe that there has been a parsimony or niggardliness here which they regard as disgraceful to the Commonwealth ? At that distance they do not realize the true position of affairs as we do - that the Parliament was simply following the lead of the Constitution Act, and was prepared to stand by its provisions.
– Does it require that His Excellency should spend all his salary in Sydney ?
– While His Excellency had duties to perform in this State, and the Parliament was sitting, naturally he dispensed his hospitality here. I felt it my duty to enter a protest against the way in which the Bill has reached the Senate, as well as against the way in which the Government have dealt with this question.From the beginning there has been a want of candour shown to Parliament that calls for the severest reprobation, at the hands of not only the members of the Senate and of the other House, but also the people of all the States. I have no doubt that the people of the Commonwealth recognise that we ought to pass the Bill as it comes to us. It is very possible that if the Government had submitted the question in the early days of the session, the people of the Commonwealth would have said that the proposed expenditure should not be incurred, in view of the provisions of the Constitution. They would probably have given an intimation at once that they desired His Excellency to discharge only the duties that necessarilypertaintohis office, and that the exercise of private hospitality was a matter left entirely to his own discretion. The feelings of the people of the Commonwealth have been misrepresented to the Governor-General, and, in the end, he says -“ In consequence of the heavy pecuniary sacrifices entailed upon me in connexion with this position, I feel that it is necessary to request Mr. Chamberlain to recall me.” I hope that this incident will not recur in the administration of the affairs of the Commonwealth by the present or any other Government. It is, of course, my intention to support the second reading of the Bill. I believe that the entertainment which was given by His Excellency during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York, was given in the name and on behalf of the Commonwealth, and that it is the duty of the Commonwealth to refund whatever expenditure was incurred. So far as the money grant is concerned, probably it is less than the amount which was expended by His Excellency directly in consequence of his position as Governor-General.
– I am rather sorry that we have gone beyond the actual wording of the Bill. Senator Gould has made a speech which I suppose he had prepared with some care, and if it had not been delivered he would have been very unwell. He apologized for the party on the other side of the
House who were instrumental in defeating a Bill that was intended to prevent the disastrous consequences to which he referred.
– A party on this side of the House?
– Yes ; in the other House. The Opposition in the other House very industriously assisted to defeat the Bill.
– How many Government supporters voted against the Bill in the other House ?
-Leave out the Government supporters, and let us deal with one thing at a time. In the other House the Opposition endeavoured industriously to defeatthe measure. None of them, so far as I know, gave it any support. I can very well understand that after conduct like that the wits of Senator Gould would be very much exercised in devising a flank movement, and making an attack for the purpose of justifying their recalcitrant action.
– Does the honorable and learned senator justify the long delay in connexion with the Bill?
– The thing is simply absolute rubbish. As the Government had been very reticent, and I found myself getting no explanation, I listened yesterday in the other House to the speech of the Minister representing the Prime Minister, and I thought that there was no more to be said, so absolutely conclusive was it.
– That depends upon the glasses we are wearing.
– It does not depend upon where we are sitting at all. There is nothing he said that was not vouched for. There is nothing hesaid that anybody questioned.
– I think the honorable and learned senator ought to consider the provision of rule 136 - that no senator shall allude to any debate in the other House of Parliament.
– I do not propose to allude to the debate any further. His Excellency is dear to all of us. He is dear to the people throughout Australia. He is not only a very able GovernorGeneral. In every point of view, he is a man of high character, politically, morally, and socially. He fills my high ideal of a man; but there is no doubt that he, in someway or another, must have come out under some sort of a misunderstanding, and that was not our fault.
– Whose fault was it ?
– It was not the fault of Mr. Barton. When he was. at, Home he was not in a position to make any promise, or express any binding opinion, and nothing could show more conclusively that His Excellency did not think bc was than the fact that directly he had the solemn duty thrown upon him of selecting a Prime Minister, he did not send for Mr. Barton, but for Sir “William Lyne. The whole thing is reduced to an absurdity when these simple circumstances are mentioned. “What happened afterwards ? There is no doubt as to the position we took up in the Convention. The salary proposed for the Governor-General, I think, was £20,000. The question was argued at great length. It took up as much time as did any other single question. The Convention very seriously and deliberately came to the conclusion that the Governor-General was not to bc an ornamental officer, or an entertaining officer, but a business officer.
– There was nothing said against entertaining.
– Of course not. There was nothing said, I hope, unkindly. The Convention reduced the salary to £10,000, because they said - “We do not want a great expensive Governor-General’s establishment ; we want a practical Governor-General, who will be able to assist us in doing the work which we have to do. Besides, we cannot afford great things, and we are not going to pose when we cannot sustain the position.” That was the view which the Convention took. That was entirely the understanding on which the .Bill was passed by the Imperial Parliament, and I assume that .they knew all about it. The Opposition are driven to their wit’s end to get a complaint against the Government. The complaint was made in the meekest, flabbiest style, and I sympathise with the honorable senator who had to get up under such circumstances to make it.
– What is the complaint?
– The complaint is that, the Constitution being clear, when the Governor-General came out the Prime Minister said he would try to do something better.
– If the Constitution was clear, why should the Prime Minister bave attempted to do anything different from what it provided ‘(
– Why did he not take us into his confidence 1
– The Constitution is clear so far as the salary of £10,000 a year is concerned, but it was also understood that there should be what is very incorrectly called allowances.
– Where is that made clear in the Constitution ? ‘ n
– That was made clear in the debates in the Convention. We have to take, not only the Constitution, but the methods by which it was arrived at, when we wish to find out exactly what the whole thing means. The allowances which are enacted in ordinary Allowance Bills are not allowances at all. I provide an office for my clerks, and I might as well call that an allowance. The expenses of the buildings in which . public officers do their work cannot be called allowances to those officers. It is a most incorrect term which, in the ears of persons who do not understand what it means, produces a most mischievous and incorrect impression. They forget the facts altogether, and say “ The Governor-General not only gets £10,000 a year in salary, but he gets £8,000 a year in allowances, and that makes £18,000.” These so called allowances are not allowances in the slightest degree, but the fixed expenditure of the Commonwealth in respect of permanent officers. Some better term should be used, so that the unwary should not be deceived, and the more guileful should not have an opportunity to create distrust and dissension by making capital out of terms which really are not applicable. In the Convention there was some talk as to whether the sum of £10,000 would cover everything, and it was then estimated that £5,000 more would have to be expended in these so called allowances. The Bill was passed on that understanding, and that was the precise picture which the Home Government had before them when they were sending out the GovernorGeneral. So far as that is concerned there is no breach of faith anywhere. We behaved with absolute good faith. The Government are blamed foi- the action thev have taken. They said that they would try to do all they could for His Excellency, to go even beyond the Constitution, or at all events to strain the letter of the Constitution to do as much as they could. They did not bring this down immediately.
– No ; not till fourteen months afterwards.
– But no Government that ever existed were ever in a more difficult position than this Government were in then. It was a case of “Pull devil, pull baker” with them. They had got everybody round about them - all the merchants and the people of Australia generally - saying : “ Hurry up with the Tariff ; that is the great thing.” They had the people of all the States saying - “ For God’s sake give us Inter-State free-trade as soon as you can !” They could only give that by introducing the Tariff. They had the whole Opposition crying out for the introduction of the Tariff as soon as possible. Suppose they had brought down certain short measures, and said that they would not deal with the Tariff in the first session of Pari liament. What a row there would have been ! This Bill regarding the expenses of the Governor-General was a financial measure, and financial Bills are -usually dealt with at the end of a session. The Government postponed it in order to deal with it as other financial measures are dealt with. The extraordinary delay which occurred simply arose through the inordinate amount of business which the Government undertook - unwisely I think. I would have seen the other fellows further before I submitted to their insolent dictation.
– What other fellows ?
– I am not referring to the honorable and learned senator. The Government were forced into an elaborate and immense piece of work, which has occupied the whole of their time. But who complains about this delay? When this Bill was brought down the Opposition united in assisting to wreck it. They worked most industriously in that direction. There was not a man of them who did not.
– Whom did they assist ?
– They assisted in altering the Bill. That is what I am saying. I do not care whom they assisted. Then the Opposition had to try and find a scapegoat for their own conduct. The Opposition, who are highly moral, say - -“We have a very strong and bitter feeling of the gross injustice that you have done to the Governor-General in keeping this matter back so long. We should have kicked it out earlier if you had introduced it earlier.” And all the while the person principally concerned makes no complaint against the Government.
– Does he not ?
– No, except in regard to the conduct of those whowrecked the Bill.
– But the GovernorGeneral was kept all this time in suspense.
– I suppose Senator Fraser is one of those whowould have assisted in wrecking the Bill. I judge that from his interjection.
– I think the GovernorGeneral should have been dealt with fairly, anyhow.
– That, is a matter very much more between the Governor-General and his Advisers than between the members of the Senate and theGovernment. But the Opposition are trying to make the Government the scapegoat for something that they are a little bit ashamed1 of having done.
– At any rate theGovernorGeneral has suffered ; and atwhose hands, I should like to know 1
– TheGovernorGeneral has not suffered in theslightest degree. He says he has .not suffered. He has authorized the Ministerrepresenting the Prime Minister to say thathe has not the slightest complaint to make.
– The honorable and! learned senator could not expect him to say anything but that. He is too true a mant to say anything else.
– I. haveknown men who were true enough to say what they meant. I have known of gentlemen in very high positions who, when they had a grievance, were strongenough to express it. But I entirely object to the gentlemen who produced! the grievance under which the GovernorGeneral has suffered, if he has suffered, trying to throw back, and to get outof any reproaches they have in their consciences, by endeavouring to thrust the blame on to other people, and making a pretence of what the person principally interested says has no existence. The GovernorGeneral says - “ I have been well treated! by my Advisers.”
-Col. Neild. - So well treated! that he resigns !
– But hesays - “ My misunderstanding or misapprehension about the position which I came out here to occupy makes it inexpedient for me to remain.”
– We can all read between the lines.
– Read between the lines ! But suppose the Bill had been carried instead of being mangled, would the Governor-General, have resigned ? He would not. Then who is responsible for the Bill being altered 1 The very gentlemen who are now protesting against the gross misconduct of the Government ! I think that too much altogether has been made of the matter. It certainly is a matter to be regretted. I assure honorable senators that I bitterly regret that the first GovernorGeneral of the Commonwealth has felt the necessity of - retiring from the position, whether it be from a misapprehension or from any other reason:
– Can we not leave the Governor-General alone ? We all regret it.
– But because we regret the Governor-General’s resignation, I am not going to sit in my place in this Senate and hear the regrets we feel made the means of accusing men who are absolutely innocent in the matter, and who regret what has occurred at least as much as those who are sitting on the opposition benches, who, because of what occurred in reference to a Bill which the Government seriously proposed, and wanted to carry, are throwing stones at the action of the Government whose measure they industriously attempted to defeat. That action of theirs has accentuated any difficulties that already existed. Sir, it is a pity, I think, that we did not, in discussing this Bill, confine ourselves to the simple question about which there is no difference of opinion, instead of entering into the general and broader question that has excited the profoundest regret throughout Australia. It is to be regretted that we should re-open the subject upon this measure, which has been a matter of long and painful discussion elsewhere. The whole question has been thoroughly explained, or if not explained, much talked about, to such a degree that there is nothing more to be said. I am sorry that we have not simply confined ourselves to passing the Bill before us without any comment, except that it concerns expenditure properly incurred, and which we should be willing to vote.
– I entirely concur with the early part of the remarks made on this matter by the VicePresident of the ExecutiveCouncil. Speaking for myself, I hope that the Bill as it is , printed will be passed, not only without any dissentient vote, but without a dissentient voice. But, sir, in concurring with the Vice-President of the Executive Council ‘ to that extent, I must say that I entirely dissent from everything that hehas said with the endeavour to prevent the Senate from discussing the position. We should be untrue to ourselves if we allowed the Bill to pass without comment. I think that Senator Gould, who replied from this side, was perfectly right and abundantly justified -in referring to the circumstances which led to the Bill being placed before us in its present form. But if Senator Gould had not justified that position, the speech which has just been delivered by Senator Downer would have made it absolutely necessary that we should answer ‘ai great deal he has said. Senator Gould, at any rate, spoke in a moderate tone with, regard to the question, but Senator Downer has introduced the party issue in its most virulent form, and has endeavoured to throw upon the Opposition in the other Chambers the whole responsibility for what he imagines to be a grievance. There is a grievance. The people of Australia feel that there is a grievance, but it is not that which Senator Downer indicates. The grievance they feel ia that the Governor-General, who has always been respected by the people of Australia,, and who will probably be respected as much as any man who will ever succeed him, should have been flouted and treated in a very disgraceful and deceitful way. I haveno hesitation in expressing my opinion of the attitude of the Government in thisrespect. No one who knows what has happened feels otherwise than that the Governor-General has been treated deceitfully and badly, and that the Government have blundered badly in the matter. The reasons are obvious. I am not going to enter into a general discussion as to what theallowances to the Governor-General should be, but I have not the slightest hesitation insaying that the Government should have taken the earliest opportunity, especially after the despatches that passed between the Colonial Secretary and the Prime Minister, of indicating to the Governor-General the allowances that he might fairly and properly expect from Parliament. Whatdid they do? For fourteen months they kept the Governor - General in entire ignorance. They allowed him to go to> large personal expense without a word of warning from them, and without saying at any time that there might be a doubt as to whether Parliament would pass a Bill appropriating the amount of expenditure incurred. I hope that the present Opposition in this Parliament will always be actuated in favour of two things - first, economy in all our services, including the establishment of the Governor-General; and secondly, that they will always be a party who will be violently, strongly, and strenuously opposed to any form of deceit. I say that the Government have blundered, inasmuch as they have not pursued a policy of economy, and that they have wilfully deceived the Governor-General himself.
– What a pity !
– l t is a pity ; and it is also a pity that Senator McGregor cannot regard this matter in any better light than as a subject to be treated with levity. Very few people regard the matter as one to be treated frivolously. The resignation of the Governor-General has taken place because of what has happened in the other House. There is no questioning that fact.
– He says that it is not so.
– We know exactly why only this allowance of £10,000 is provided in this Bill. I do not propose to delay the consideration of the measure any longer ; but, I do say, speaking purely personally, that it is the obvious duty of every honorable senator in discussing the Bill briefly, as I have done, and without, I hope, using more acrimonious words than I have thought necessary, to declare that the action of the Government has practically caused the resignation of the Governor-General. With that remark I will let the matter drop.
– I do not propose to let the matter drop. I feel that a very unfair advantage has been taken by the free-trade party in this Senate and throughout the country of the condition of things that has arisen. It is all very well for honorable senators to say that the)’ had no notice of what was going on in the Parliament of the Commonwealth. Honorable senators must know that in another place the question of allowances came up - allowances to the civil service for travelling expenses, and also allowances for the GovernorGeneral. The men who were most determined in another place to oppose allowances of any kind were the members of the free-trade party. The opinion was expressed by prominent free-traders that the allowances paid should be set forth in a Bill introduced for the purpose, and, owing to the debate that took place, and the nature of it - and there was a very unanimous ring in the tone of the House against indiscriminate allowances - the Government said they would introduce a Bill to . deal with the question in the future. After many months, they introduced a Bill into the other House dealing with the question of allowances. In all probability the members of the other Chamber were influenced - and, I think, rightly influenced - by the consensus of opinion throughout the Commonwealth, that we should conduct our affairs as economical people. In this very city - in the capital city of “Victoria - we have had the powerful daily press and the Kyabram people urging economy in all directions.
– Sham economy.
– I must say that evidently their economic proposals are not of a comprehensive nature, because, while they are willing to cut down the salaries of the members of the State Parliament, they are not prepared in any way to decrease the allowances and salaries of people in very high positions of an ornamental character.
– Does the honorable senator think these references to the State Parliament are relevant to this Bill 1
Senator- HIGGS. - I shall not pursue the subject upon those lines any further. I think Lord Hopetoun has mistaken the wishes of the, public of Australia, and he has been led by that mistake into a very large expenditure which was quite unnecessary, and was never contemplated by the framers of the Constitution. The people of Victoria have led the GovernorGeneral to think that he should expend large sums of money in entertaining the persons invited to all these big functions. Indeed, the people of Victoria are responsible for the state of mind into which His Excellency has got. I will not say that he has been spoiled, but he has been misled by his admirers in this State. Both the public and the press have lauded the Governor-General to such an extent that he asks himself the question, as he did at one public gathering -
I commence to wonder whether I was created for the position of Governor-General, or if the position of .Governor-General was created for me.
He seems to have come to the conclusion that, in order to keep up the dignity of his office, he must indulge in very large and, to my mind, quite unnecessary expenditure. It is all very well for some Members of Parliament to indulge in calculations as to the expenditure of money which takes place in connexion with receptions, to which 4,000 people are invited - 3,000’ ladies’ dresses and what they cost, 3,000 bonnets, and all that kind of thing. It is all very well for them to show how this expenditure of money is advantageous to till classes, and gives work to dressmakers, jewellers, cabmen, and so forth. That is a peculiar economic fallacy. If it is a good thing for the people of the Commonwealth to spend £30,000 or £40,000 a year in allowances in this way, and if that expenditure has a beneficial effect, we might as well make it £100,000, and then, of course, the general public would get very much more work to do. I regard it as an erroneous impression that the Governor-General must come to these States and keep up an extensive vice-regal court, costing a lot of money, on the understanding set forth in Mr. Chamberlain’s despatch that he will be expected to entertain a large and wealthy community, much given to hospitality. Probably the Governor-General has been influenced by what takes place in other parts of the British dominions. The Sydney Bulletin puts the case very nicely, and I shall give honorable senators the benefit of the quotation of the following paragraph, which appeared in the issue of 24th May, 1902 :-
Lord Hopetoun seems to have thought that the mental condition of Australians was akin to that of Hindus, and that respect could only be won for the office he held by a. display of gorgeousness on his part. Hence his great teams of horses, his State coaches, his out-riders and postillions, his armies of flunkeys in padded calves and plush pants. B.ut let us hope that Australia’s ultimate pattern will be that of Andrew Jackson, who was his own postillion and his own out-rider, and who, when installed President of the United States, rode up to the White House on his old white horse, hitched it to a fence, was inaugurated, and then untied his moke and rode away.
Of course the language is not very cultured, but I venture to say it expresses the opinions of a large number of people throughout the Commonwealth.
– What about Mr. Reid’s criticism ? That caused the resignation in my opinion. 37 c
– No doubt the honorable senator is right to some extent. It is perhaps unnecessary for me to say that I regard Lord Hopetoun as a very intellectual man. I believe that he works very hard in his position as Governor-General. I have had an opportunity of listening to him on several occasions, and I must say that the speeches he makes are of a very high order, and are not made without the expenditure of a very great deal of mental energy. I wish to say that ; but at the same time he was so complimented upon all hands, that when he was led into accepting the responsibility of the act of the Government in delaying the contingents, and was subsequently criticised for that, the criticism may perhaps have hurt his feelings a great deal. I think the criticism was right, and we should not consider feelings in such a matter. I believe there is no doubt that certain things not altogether connected with the refusal to grant an allowance of £8,000 a year have operated to bring about Lord Hopetoun’s resignation. At the same time Australia, while desirous of economy in its administration, is quite willing that Lord Hopetoun should be recouped. If through the influence of Mr. Chamberlain, of Mr. Barton, or of any one else, he has been led into expending money under a misunderstanding, I believe that the people of the Commonwealth, if the question were put to them, would be willing that he should receive the money which he is out of pocket. But the people of the Commonwealth do not want any more of that kind of thing. If anybody deceived Lord Hopetoun, to my mind, it was the Secretary of State for the Colonies. In the despatch dated 4th January, 1901, paragraph 7, Mr. Chamberlain states -
During the period preceding the establishment of the federal capital, it is intended that the Governor-General should occupy the Government Houses at both Sydney and Melbourne, and it ma)’ be found desirable that he should continue the same arrangement after the new capital is established. I need scarcely point out that maintaining two, and ultimately three, separate houses will involve very heavy expenditure, and I have already suggested to the Governor of New South Wales that, until some provision has been made for entertainment allowance, the Governor-General should, not be expected to entertain largely at Sydney, and I have received an assurance that a Bill will be introduced in the New South Wales Parliament to provide an allowance.
– Where is the deception there 1
– The Bill was passed by the New South Wales Parliament, and the. Commonwealth Government would not allow the Governor-General to accept the allowance.
– Certainly not; why should he?
– We can only deal with the despatches before us. Lord Hopetoun received this despatch from Mr. Chamberlain, in which certain opinions are expressed.
– Which he got from whom - the Government of New South Wales 1
– I am asked from whom he got these opinions. They are evidently his own, as expressed in paragraph 6 -
The Governor-General of Canada is not in receipt of an entertainment allowance ; but there can be little doubt that the expenses of entertainment in Australia will be far heavier than in the case of Canada. Until the new federal capital is built the Governor-General will, of necessity, have to reside in the great centres of population, in the midst of a large and wealthy society much given to hospitality, and, even if the GovernorGeneral’s chief residence is removed to a capital corresponding more nearly to Ottawa, it will be desired’ that he should spend part of his time in the different State capitals, and great expenses will naturally be entailed on him by these visits.
– Where is the deception there 1 The honorable senator should withdraw the words.
– I will put it in this way, that Mr. Chamberlain’s opinions misled the Governor-General. There is no doubt that the Secretary of State for the Colonies impressed it upon Lord Hopetoun that, as Governor-General, it would be his duty to enterain largely, because he would be amongst the wealthy society classes in Australia, who are renowned for their hospitality.
– The Government have evidently indorsed that idea, because they proposed to make provision for the entertainment.
– Of course we know that there are certain members of the Federal Parliament who have very magnificent ideas of what should be done. Without mentioning names, there are certain members of the Federal Parliament who consider that they cannot live upon less than £600 a year.
– I am one of them, and the honorable senator is another !
– There are other members of the Federal Parliament who think they cannot live upon less than £5,000 a year. Some of them have very high ideas, and think the public ought to spend freely and well through the Treasury. But the Federal Government, I believe, comprises men who are anxious to carry on the expenses of the Commonwealth economically as any member of the Parliament, and as any member of the leading section of the free-trade party. The Secretary of State for the Colonies has assisted to create a wrong impression in the mind of the GovernorGeneral. I do not think it is out of place here to complain of the suggestion made by Mr. Chamberlain that the State Governments should make provision to meet the expenses of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth. The idea of the GovernorGeneral keeping an establishment in Sydney and another in Melbourne, and the State Governments of New South Wales and Victoria paying £2,000 or £3,000 each for the up-keep of those establishments ! Surely the right honorable gentleman who made that proposal can have no idea of what the Commonwealth of Australia desires. He does not seem to realize that there are any other States in the Commonwealth besides New South Wales and Victoria. The great States of Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and even of Tasmania, should surely be considered. The Secretary of State suggested that New South Wales and Victoria should do something which might give the Governor-General an unconscious bias. There might some time or other be an Inter-State quarrel between Queensland and. New South Wales, and under such circumstances as Mr. Chamberlain contemplated, how could the GovernorGeneral go against New South Wales 1
– He would not have the power to interfere one way or another.
– He might have the power in connexion with the passage of certain legislation affecting those States. I submit that the Governor-General is an official who belongs to the Commonwealth, and that it would be derogatory to Queensland and to other States that New South Wales and Victoria should contribute towards his expenses. Suppose, for instance, that Queensland were contributing £3,000 per annum to the up-keep of the Governor-General’s establishment, and some kanaka legislation were brought forward.
His Excellency, as we know, went so far as to express an opinion that we should deal very carefully with the interests of the States. I was under the impression that he rather leaned towards the continuance of kanaka labour.
– Does the honorable senator think that His Excellency’s opinion about the kanakas is relevant to this Bill 1
– It struck me that it was relevant* A proposal was made that a State should grant a. certain sum towardsthe expenses of the Governor-General, and it occurred to me that it was attended with some danger, because at some time or other that State might be interested in certain legislation, which His Excellency would have power to delay, and, unconsciously biased in favour of the State, he might delay its passage. I pass by that point, and return to the question of whether the Ministry are to blame for what has happened. I have said that the Ministry were warned by honorable members as to what might happen. It is reported that Mr. Puller, a member of the free-trade party, said that a question was asked-
– If the honorable senator is quoting from a speech made in Parliament by a member of the other branch of the Legislature he is not in order.
– A member of the freetrade party said last year he had heard that there was a proposal to increase the salary of the Governor-General. He expressed the opinion that the salary of £10,000 per annum was enough, and he and others objected to certain allowances being made. Such a decided opinion was expressed by members of the Parliament on the question that I do not think the Ministry could have done anything else than bring in a Bill. When it was rejected in another place I do not see how the Ministry could grant any allowance to the Governor-General. Referring to the discussion on allowances, the Argus of 2nd August last said -
The incident afforded members a chance of expressing their views on the policy of supplementing salaries with allowances. Evidently the House is unanimous in condemnation of the loose application of the policy which has prevailed more or less in all the States. The policy has been notoriously and scandalously abused. Very frequently the salary has been a most misleading indication of the payment drawn from the Treasury. There have been instances where allowances exceeded salary. Enormous- sums of public money have been paid away under a system 37 c 2 which escaped searching criticism and defied firm control. Therefore it is gratifying to find that the House of Representatives is awake to the danger of increasing salaries by sanctioning allowances- -
– If the honorable senator will refer to Standing Orders 132, 133, and 134, he will see that they forbid any member to read from a newspaper comments on debates in either House of Parliament. The senator was perfectly in order in reading the first part of the extract concerning facts, but when he commences to quote comments on a debate in the House of Representatives he is not in order.
– I regret, sir, that the standing orders do not permit rae to continue the quotation, because I wish to show that if any blame is attachable in this matter it is not attachable to the Ministry. I consider that if any objection is taken by honorable senators to the discussion this evening, the free-trade party must take the whole responsibility, because they are availing themselves of what they consider to be a turn in public opinion, to try to flagellate the Ministry.
– There is a turn in public opinion then ?
– Yes ; the public opinion, at least that of a section of thepublic, which had been advocating such extraordinary retrenchment, found out that the gun was loaded, and now that it has gone off they- are sorry, and wish to allow the Governor-General a very large sum yearly in the shape of allowances. I am satisfied that public opinion generally is against the payment of very large allowances to His Excellency. If we wish to know what is public opinion regarding allowances, we may turn to a leader in the Melbourne Age of the 16th May. I sometimes find fault with the Age, but I recognise the great ability of many of its writers. Commenting on this question, on that date, it said -
There was nothing dubious at all about the terms on which Lord Hopetoun accepted the GovernorGeneralship of the Commonwealth. The salary was actually set out in the Constitution Act at £10,000 a year. It was fixed in the light of a Very full discussion, and considering that our population does not exceed four millions, the amount is rather lavish than parsimonious. A few comparisons with the salaries of similar high officials will make this abundantly clear : -
When it is remembered that in addition to this salary the Governor-General of the Commonwealth has two palatial Government Houses at his disposal, and that these are furnished and kept in repair at the cost of the taxpayers, it cannot for one instant be alleged that the Federation treats its highest officer shabbily. Indeed, if it has erred at all, the error has been on the side of liberality.
The Viceroy of India gets the large salary of £16,720, I suppose because it is deemed necessary to impress the people of India with the pomp and circumstance of royalty, just as at the opening of this Parliament, military displays were made to impress the people of Australia with the great power of those who have been set up to rule over them. A similar spirit obtains in China, where the Imperial authorities were afraid to recognise in public European ambassadors, for fear that their own sanctity in the eyes of the Chinese might be destroyed. I am not going to vote against this Bill. It is said that His Excellency has spent the money, and I am prepared to accept that statement. I think it was spent unnecessarily. I do not know that it was spent in entertainments. Possibly it was spent in other ways - for instance, in keeping up costly equipages, and on grooms, horse-feed, and other things. I believe the people of the Commonwealth are willing that the debt should be paid. But, because we are agreeable to vote this sum, it must not follow that a similar proposal made on behalf of another GovernorGeneral will be met in the same spirit. In Australia we should preserve that simplicity which a working community demands. The heavily burdened taxpayers, whose cause has been championedby certain honorable senators very keenly during the last few days, should be considered. If the GovernorGeneral’s establishment costs. £20,000 or £30,000 a year, and it is understood that £10,000 or £15,000 is to be spent in entertainments, we know very well that the general body of taxpayers cannot hope to participate in them. Honorable senators will remember that a year ago one could not present himself at a vice-regal entertainment unless he wore a frock coat and a tall hat. He also had to be provided with a pair of white gloves, wearing one of them and carrying the other in his hand.
– I went to all thefunctions, and had neither.
– The honorable senator is a stern puritan, who has come to defy all the so-called rules of etiquette. I mention thatcircumstance to show how impossible it is for the general taxpayers to participate in the entertainments which some persons would have the Governor-General provide. Mr. Secretary Chamberlain is wrong when he says that there is a large and wealthy class in Australia. The wealthy people could be numbered, I suppose, on the fingers of one hand. We have very few millionaires here.
– Mr. Chamberlain is quite right.
– In Victoria there are wealthy people, butthey are so few that they do not constitute the large class that Mr. Chamberlain speaks of. The successors of Lord Hopetoun must understand, from what is taking place, that the Commonwealth does not expect them to spend large sums of money in so-called entertainments. Ten thousand pounds per annum was fixed as the salary of the Governor-General to enable him to carry out the duties of his office according to the Constitution, but it was never contemplated that there should be a Court at which a certain few in the community should bask in the sunshine of vice-regality.
– It seems to me that this debate could hardly have taken place had it not been for the somewhat heated, not to say violent, eloquence of my honorable and learned friend Senator Downer. We were just coming calmly to some kind of conclusion, probably to a division, when Senator Downer stuck in the poker, twisted up the coals, and started a nice little conflagration. It is in consequence of his speech that I am disposed to utter a few words. He threw all the blame for this trouble upon the free-trade party. He pointed out that if the original Bill had been passed into law we should not have heard about these troubles in any way. I venture to think that my honorable and learned friend quite forgot that the Government themselves in the other Chamber played the part of the Russian parents who threw their child to the wolves. They took Mr. Higgins’ child instead, and.it is Mr. Higgins’ child, or the remnants of it, that is before us, and not a Government measure at all. The complaint I have to make is a very brief one. It may be put in this way : that the Prime Minister was guilty of two breaches of faith. One was that he did not attempt for fourteen or fifteen months to keep a promise which, if it were of any value, should have applied from the moment it was made, and not have been attempted to be fulfilled upwards of a year afterwards. The second breach of faith was that he undertook to bring in a Bill and then told his supporters that they need not vote for it, but could vote for the proposition that was going to be made by a private member. That is the statement that every one has read in a newspaper this morning. Those were two distinct breaches of faith ; and I submit that the word of a Prime Minister ought to be taken, not only as being as valid as that of a private person, but ,as having attached to it a greater importance, due to the high official and public position of such a dignitary. I do not see how any process of verbal twisting can provide an escape from those two statements, or can relieve the Prime Minister and the Government from the dilemma of having first of all made a distinct pledge to the Governor-General, and then made no attempt whatever, even by an indication to the followers of the Government, or by ascertaining their views, to give effect to that promise. It was a serious official promise. There was a good deal of presenting “ humble duty,” and all the rest of it, but there was no effort to give effect to the promise and to keep the Prime Minister’s word for considerably over twelve months. Even then, when some attempt was apparently made to give effect to the promise, it was thrown to the wolves, and somebody else was allowed to have a try, by proposing something which it was said would please everybody. It is not possible to excuse the Prime Minister of - I think the term “duplicity” was used in the course of the debate, but I will not employ that term, but will say a breach of faith. Suras have been read out to us as to the salaries of different high functionaries, but what about the allowances that are also made on their account ? I think even the Governor-General must have been surprised to find when he came here that, though provided with a house to live iu, he was not provided with electric light foi* it. The people of the Commonwealth never expected the GovernorGeneral to have a bill sent in to him by the Federal Treasurer demanding payment for the electric lighting of certain rooms in the house he occupied. In the same way in reference to the gardens, who ever expected that the Governor-General would be expected out of his stated salary to maintain the grounds attaching to Government House ? It is a most incredible proposition, and I do not understand why these charges were ever made ‘against the GovernorGeneral. We know perfectly well that the colony of Victoria paid its Governor a salary of £10,000 a year and allowances, which I understand on the best authority - that of an ex-Minister of Victoria - amounted to £6,000 or £7,000 a year in one form or another. But I decline to admit, that they were allowances. A sum to maintain the gardens surrounding Government House is not an allowance to the Governor-General ; the gardens are only part of the residence. We do not expect the Governor-General to live in a house with no garden surroundingit ; some place with goats camped on his door-step, with all the rest of the cheerful “ simplicity “ that we have heard of in connexion with vice-regal establishments duringthe course of the debate. New South Wales paid her Governor £7,000 a year and expenses of one kind and another, including the salaries of part of the vice-regal retinue, which brought the expenditure up to ‘ £12,000 a year - every penny of it. I do not sa)’ those were proper sums. That is not the question.^” We have to decide what is a proper thing to do now. The Billbefore us is not the Bill of the Ministry, but the Bill of a private member who has jockeyed the Government out of their true position as leaders of Parliament, and dictated terms to the first Ministry of the Commonwealth of Australia. I havealways understood that there was such a- . thing in parliamentary institutions asMinisterial responsibility. Where is the Ministerial responsibility in connexion with this Bill ? There is no Ministerial responsibility at all. There is only Ministerial subterfuge and cowardice.
– Order ! I do not.” think the honorable senator should use such language.
– I bow to your ruling ; but I think I have had some provocation, as language quite as violent has fallen from the lips of Senator Downer. I say again that the Bill which the Government are asking the Senate to pass is not their Bill at all ; it is the Bill of a private member, who usurped the functions of the Cabinet, and who is responsible, rather than the Prime Minister and his colleagues, for the measure. But we must pass the Bill, because we would not be guilty of such a breach of faith as has characterized the proceedings of the Prime Minister in re] a. tion to the Governor-General.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).’ - I have certainly been amused at the position taken up by Government apologists in reference to this matter. We have had Senator Downer, Senator Higgs, and others throwing the whole of the responsibility for the treatment of the Bill elsewhere upon the Opposition. Who are responsible for what happened ?’ Do honorable senators who blame the Opposition approve of thB Bill as it was originally introduced. If they are prepared to support the Bill as originally proposed by the Government, I can understand them blaming the Opposition for voting against it, but everything that they have said has indicated that they are entirely with the members of the Opposition in rejecting the measure. It seems to me that, in relation to this matter, the Government have laid themselves open to a charge of either extreme bungling or deceit. I prefer to believe that their conduct has been characterized by bungling, which has arisen through weakness on their part. I am not going to assume that they have deliberately set themselves to work to deceive the GoverorGeneral or the public, but I do say that they have proved their own absolute weakness in regard to what Senator Downer -rightly described as an awkward position. Senator Downer.- was very careful to point out that it was made ‘perfectly clear at the Convention, and was quite understood by the public, that the salary’ of the Governor-General was to be £10,000, and that only. It has been stated here to-night, on the authority of a journal which Senator Higgs quoted, that that was the understanding on which the Governor-General came to Australia, and, therefore, that he had no right to expect any increase. But what force is’ there in that contention when we know that the Government have proposed to increase the allowances to the Governor-General? If there is any force at all in the statement as to what took place at the Convention, it disappears entirely when we see the Government themselves disregarding it, and expressing a belief in the desirability of some additional allowances being made to the Governor-General. Intentionally or’ unintentionally, the Governor-General was misled. .So far as I understand the position - and if we do not rightly understand it the Government have only themselves to blame - it was this : The Governor-General did come here expecting that some additional allowance would be made te him. It is immaterial who suggested that to him, or where he formed the idea, that a f further sum of ‘ money would be paid to him in connexion with his occupancy of the vice-regal position. Wherever he obtained that idea the Government at least endorsed it after his arrival. There is no getting away from the fact that even if the idea originated with anyone else, it was endorsed finally by the Government. We have the minute of Mr. Barton in February of 1901, in which he respectfully assured the Governor-General that he proposed to submit legislation with a view to increasing the allowances. That being the case, it is idle to turn round and attempt to abuse the Opposition for the assertion which they have made that the Government did to some extent mislead the GovernorGeneral. We cannot assent to the doctrine which has been advanced that it is our duty to vote £10,000 without any inquiry into the circumstances which preceded, Or which may flow from the proposal. We have a perfect right to know why this measure is before us, and I regret that Senator O’Connor has not seen fit to tell us definitely what the Government propose to do in the future. We have a right to know whether the £10,000 is the last amount we shall have to pay, or what is the future basis on which the Government intend to place allowances. Senator O’Connor might have said, had he been in a position to do so, that that matter has yet to be considered, and that at the proper time he would take us into his confidence. But seeing that a colleague of Senator O’Connor has already made a public statement we too should have been informed as to the relationship which is to exist between the Governor-General and the Commonwealth in the future. I should like to know whether this is to be the last payment - whether the salary as fixed by the Constitution is to be all that is paid, or whether out of that sum the GovernorGeneral is required to pay the costs incidental to the maintenance of Government House, and other expenses generally covered by the term “ allowances.” The GovernorGeneral himself has assumed that he has to meet those charges, because in a communication to the Imperial authorities he has stated that there is to be no allowances in addition to the £10,000 provided as salary. I should like to know if that is the case, or whether it is intended, as stated elsewhere by a colleague of Senator O’Connor, that the Government propose to accept the responsibility with regard to those other charges totalling £4,000 or £5,000. I only ask for information, because I believe those charges ought to be borne out of the public Treasury.
– They are not allowances-
– They are not allowances, as Senator Downer properly interposes, but are charges which we ought to bear, and which, I think, the people are quite prepared to bear.
– Similar charges are borne by almost every State Government.
– These charges are fairly parallel to the incidental charges which surround the public departments of the State.
– We have to do with the Government and not with the Governor-General.
– These are official charges, which ought to be met from official sources. It is not unreasonable to say that we ought to have been taken into the confidence of the Government, and informed as to the future basis of arrangement with the Governor-General.
– Who said the GovernorGeneral was to live in Sydney ?
– The statement that the- Governor-General was to live in Sydney seems to have arisen in the heated imagination of some people not very kindly disposed to that city. This Bill provides for a payment of £10,000, and_ according to a statement by the Attorney-General, who is the Acting - Premier, the Governor-General said that, as there seemed to’ be some misunderstanding as to certain of the items covered by this sum, he was prepared to accept only £8,000. That is another matter on which I should like some assurance from Senator O’Connor. I should like to know whether, the misunderstanding has been cleared up, or whether the Governor-General intends to accept only the £8,000.
– Who stated there was any misunderstanding 1
– The AttorneyGeneral.
– When 1
– Last night, in the House of Representatives. There is one other matter, to which I refer with some hesitancy. I said a little while ago that the Government had either bungled or had been guilty of some deceit, and that I was very loath to believe that they had wilfully sought to mislead anybody. But there is the peculiar circumstance that, when a question was addressed to the Prime Minister some time ago as to whether allowances were to be paid in addition to a salary, he gave a reply which was interpreted as meaning that no allowances were being paid. The reply was given when the Government were under an obligation, and had accepted the responsibility for the payment of allowances. Technically speaking, it is true that no allowances were being paid, but the Government had undertaken to introduce a Bill to pay them. There can be hardly any doubt that the Governor-General, resting on the assurance of his confidential advisers, was incurring expenditure in the full anticipation that it would be recouped to him later on. Yet, whilst this was going on, the Prime Minister gave the public assurance that no allowances were being paid. I cannot myself reconcile that with my idea of fair and open dealing. I have said I hesitate to think for a moment that the Government were attempting any deceit in the matter ; but I do think that on this point the Senate is entitled to some explanation. I am entirely with those who state that all the Commonwealth requires in its Governor-General is that he should be a paid official, and as such discharge the duties of his position. The people of Australia, instinct as they are with democratic ideas, have no desire that there shall be kept up, even in the name of the Governor-General, a species of pomp with which they have no sympathy, and in which they have little participation. My principal regret is that the Government did not deal with this matter earlier. Had they dealt with it months ago, I venture to think that some other alternative would have presented itself to that which the GovernorGeneral felt called upon to adopt. It may be said that the hands of the Government were too full with other business. But if there was time to bring in an Inter-State Commission Bill, and a Defence Bill,, both of which caused some debate, and were then discarded, there was ample time to introduce the Bill which has been the cause of all this trouble. As to the alternative, I would say that if the Government had appreciated the matter as they should have done, shortly after Parliament met, or had taken the course usually adopted in these cases, of ascertaining the feeling of the various sections of the House, the GovernorGeneral might have understood that Parliament was not willing to grant the allowances on the enlarged scale, and that all that was required was the discharge of his official duties. Had that been done, the GovernorGeneral could very well have said, as I think he would have said, metaphorically, at any rate - “ Well, gentlemen, if the Commonwealth is not prepared to give the increased allowances, which I take to be necessary for the maintenance of the position, you cannot at all complain if I reduce my expenditure to the income you have provided for me.” That, I believe, is the position Australia wants and would approve. Judging from the debate in this and the other House, I am bound to assume and anticipate that will be the position which will prevail from this time onward.
– I do not think it is to be regretted that this debate has taken place, seeing that it will clear the way for the future. It is, however, to be regretted that the debate did not take place earlier, and all I blame the Government for is not giving Parliament an opportunity of dealing with this matter before the present unpleasant situation arose. It seems to me that both the Governor-General and Mr. Chamberlain entirely overlooked the wishes of the people as expressed in our Constitution. In section 3 of the Constitution dealing with the salary of the Governor-General, we find the words -
There shall be payable to the Queen out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Commonwealth, for the salary of the Governor-General, an annual sum which, until the Parliament otherwise provides, shall be ten thousand pounds. The salary of a Governor-General shall not be altered during his continuance in office.
With these words in the Constitution, it is idle to say that Lord Hopetoun entered into office, or that Mr. Chamberlain made the appointment without any knowledge of what the circumstances would be. The Constitution clearly declares that £10,000 is to be the salary, and that it is not to be altered during the term of office. If we look over the records of the Adelaide Convention we find not only that £10,000 was the sum fixed, but that the onlyother proposal was that of the Hon. J. H. Howe, of South Australia, to make the salary £7,000. In the light of that section of the Constitution and of the discussion in the Convention, surely Mr. Chamberlain and Lord Hopetoun must have known that all the people of Australia were willing to pay was £10,000 per annum.
– And a very good salary.
– And a very good salary. It is argued that because, during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York, the Governor- Generalhad to entertain largely, we should vote him an additional sum. If that proposal stood on its merits, I should vote against it ; but a defence has been entered. It is said that there was an understanding between the Government and the Governor-General that the cost of this entertainment should be recouped ; and that places an entirely different complexion on the matter. It puts us in the position that if the Governor-General understood he was to be recouped this amount, we should, if we did not pass this Bill, practically force the Government to break a bond into which they have entered. I, for one, should not like to give a vote which would have the effect of compelling the Governor-General to pay out of his own pocket what he clearly understood was to be paid by the Commonwealth. The hands of Members of Parliament are practically tied, and we are placed in a very difficult and unenviable position. I complain that the Ministry, now that the question is practically settled, ask us to give our votes. It is said by the Government that an allowance is necessary, because the people of Australia demand that the Governor-General shall reside in Sydney and in Melbourne. No such statement can be made with the force of the people behind it, and we find that there is no warrant in the Constitution for such an assumption. Sub-section (2) of section 125 of the Constitution provides that the Parliament shall sit in Melbourne until it meets at the seat of government, and I take that as a clear indication that in the meantime Melbourne is to be the seat of government. The Constitution requires that Lord Hopetoun shall reside at the seat of government, or, at any rate, that his official residence shall be there. All that the people of Australia require, so far I understand, is that the Governor-General shall have one official residence, that residence to be at the existing seat of government. I have no warrant for saying that New South Wales desired that the seat of government should be in Sydney, or that she desired that the Governor-General should reside there at the present time. It is an assumption, apparently, on the part of Mr. Chamberlain. He seems to have suggested it, and I do not find any’ record that the members of the Ministry did so. The only record we have upon the subject shows that Mr. Chamberlain, in his correspondence with Lord Hopetoun, suggested that there should be residences in two or three of the States. I am sure that the people of Australia have every respect for the present occupant of the office of GovernorGeneral. I believe there is no man in the list of eligible persons whom they would sooner see in occupation of the office.. But I am sure that the people of Australia do not expect the present, or any other occupant of this high office, to expend his private funds in travelling over Australia, in keeping up residences in the different capitals of Australia, and in providing entertainment for a select few in each of those capitals. Apart from the performance of his official duty, the people of Australia are not in-, terested in the private or social life of the , Governor-General. I have been disgusted with the argument brought forward to justify the payment of allowances to the Governor-General, that by giving him these allowances to spend in social entertainments we shall be doing something which will benefit the great mass of the community. If there is anything in such an argument as that, it will be a wise thing to raise the salary of every Member of Parliament to £10,000 on the same ground, because Members of Parliament could spend as much as the Governor-General, and spend it as wisely ; and, besides, they have to keep up two residences. They have no choice but to do so. They are compelled by the force of circumstances to keep up two residences. I hope there will go forth from the Senate and from the Federal Parliament a clear indication of the feeling of the individual members of the Parliament as to what will be required of future occupants of the office of Governor-General. The people of Australia are concerned only in seeing that there shall be an official occupant of the office who shall fulfil the official duties of the position, and that there shall be a suitable residence provided for him at the seat of government. They are not concerned as to how he spends his salary or as to whether he spends his private income or not. If he does spend his private income they are not in the least responsible for it, and are not concerned in it. I trust that any arrangement made with any future occupant of the office will be made in the light of the expressions of opinions to which utterance has been given in the debates upon this measure in the two Houses.
Senator EWING (Western Australia).I should like to know by whose authority it was arranged or suggested, or who suggested originally, that the Governor-General should have more than one residence. If two residences are necessary and expedient for the gratification of State feeling, surely, then, there are other States than New South Wales and Victoria that are entitled to consideration. I do not for a moment admit that it is either desirable or expedient’ to. continue a friction which has been fraught with so much disaster in the past. We do not desire to continue in our Federation the feeling which has apparently existed between Sydney and Melbourne. Undoubtedly the compromise arranged was that, in consideration of Victoria giving up all right to have the federal capital within her territory, the Federal Parliament should sit in Melbourne, and that, practically, the seat of government should be Melbourne until the establishment of the federal capital. But I notice that Mr. Chamberlain suggests that during the period preceding the establishment of the federal capital, it was intended that the GovernorGeneral should occupy Government Houses at Sydney and Melbourne, and he goes on to say that even after the establishment of the federal capital, it might be desirable that he should continue to do this. With great respect to Mr. Chamberlain, it does seem to me that this is a matter not for him, but primarily for the Federal Parliament to decide, under our Constitu-tion. If there is to be a variation of the arrangement entered into under the Constitution, it should be at the hands of the Federal Parliament, and not at the hands of Mr. Chamberlain. Surely the confederation is not going to be asked to pay £3,000 or £4,000 in the shape of allowances to enable the Governor-General to live in Sydney. We have as much right to ask that he should live in Tasmania or in “Western Australia. The only duty which falls on the Federal Government in the matter is to provide him with a suitable residence at the place where the Federal Parliament is sitting, or at the seat of government. It does seem to me that the intention was that the GovernorGeneral should reside in Melbourne until the establishment of the federal capital.
– The seat of government must ultimately be in New South Wales.
– It must be in New South Wales ; and the concession given to Victoria was that federal affairs should be conducted from Melbourne until the seat of government was established. Although I admit that it is a part of the duty of the Federal Government to see to the maintenance of the house in which the Governor-General is living, I deny that it is any part of their duty to see to the maintenance of two, three, or four houses.
– The honorable and learned senator is not aware of the fact that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has -expressed the opinion that the seat of government is not necessarily the place where the Federal Parliament is sitting.
– I admit that the seat of government is not necessarily the place where the Parliament is sitting until the establishment of the federal capital; but, for all practical purposes, surely the place in which we should provide a residence for our Governor-General is the place where the Federal Parliament meets 1
– That is just what the Vice-President of the Executive Council told the people of New South Wales was not the case.
– Under the Constitution the seat of government is to be determined by the Federal Parliament. I admit there is no seat of Government at the present time.
– There is a temporary seat of government, and it may continue for ten years.
– That is so, but technically there is no seat of government at present. Senator Fraser does not see the point which is being raised. Some New South Wales senators would say that as there is no seat of government, New South Wales has just as much right to the Governor-General as any other State. That being so, the Governor-General should distribute himself over six States. My contention, however, is that the spirit of the concession to Victoria was that for all practical purposes the seat of government should be Melbourne until it was settled otherwise by the Federal Parliament. Surely it cannot be argued that we should provide more than one residence for the Governor-General? Surely that residence should be where the Parliament of the Commonwealth is sitting, and where his official services are required ? I admit that the Federal Government should maintain the Governor-General’s residence ; but it is not their duty to maintain for him more than one residence, and I trust no attempt will be made in the future to do so. I do not intend to say much upon the particular measure before us. I understand that it was arranged by the Government that someallowance should be given to the GovernorGeneral in order to recoup him for the great expense to which he was put in the initial stages of the Commonwealth. So far as I am personally concerned, I do not believe that it is desirable that the Govern jrGeneral should be called upon to extend all sorts of hospitality to the people of the States. He is an official filling a certain official position, and no doubt he has on that account certain social functions that must be attended to ; but I do think that they should be curtailed as much as practicable. I do not think for a moment that it was ever intended that the Commonwealth should provide money for the purpose of giving entertainment to the people of Melbourne. There is no doubt that if the Governor-General has to do a certain amount of entertainment, he will have to provide for it out of the salary of £10,000 which he gets. I think, there- fore, it is desirable that it should be clearly understood, that the Governor-General is not called upon to enter into a sort of social competition with the various State Governors and with the mayors of the cities in which he lives. So far as social entertainment is concerned, except with regard to the matter for which we are providing this £10,000, 1 fail to see that the GovernorGeneral has been put to any substantial expense. I have heard of no entertainment worth speaking of given by the GovernorGeneral since the time the Duke and Duchess of York were here. If, therefore, we pay this £10,000 to the GovernorGeneral I think we shall be doing very fairly by him, because during the past twelve months I am positive that he has not entertained as much as almost any State Governor has done in his particular State. If he has done so I have heard nothing of it. If he is paid this sum I do not think he can complain, as after the first couple of months of his occupancy of the office he has not been called upon by the people of the Commonwealth to spend any substantial sum in entertainment or otherwise.
– I intend to say but a few words, and I hope, as far as possible under the circumstances and at this stage of the debate, to confine myself almost entirely to the motion for the second reading of this particular Bill. I do not quite agree with the attitude displayed by my honorable and learned friend, Senator Millen. If I understood the honorable and learned senator rightly, his attitude is that he does not think we should accept the assurance of the Government that the amount proposed in this Bill ‘ to be granted to Lord Hopetoun is the amount to which he is entitled, unless we get some of the details of the expenses he has incurred to make up that amount.
– I did not say anything of the kind. That is absolutely incorrect.
– I am glad to hear that assurance from the honorable and learned senator. I am very pleased to find that I was mistaken as to his attitude. In the peculiar circumstances existing, I think it is simply an act of justice on the part of this Parliament to pass some substantial grant to his Excellency the Governor-General. With regard to what has been said by Senator Ewing, I would point out that it is not exactly in the form of entertainment that has taken place since the opening of the Commonwealth Parliament, that the Governor-General would have been put to the expense which it is now proposed should be reimbursed to him. Since his arrival in Australia, by his expensive participation as the chief figure in theinaugural ceremonies of the Commonwealth of Australia and his participation in the festivities consequent upon the presence in Australia of the Duke and Duchess of York at the opening of Parliament, and not merely at,the opening of Parliament but in the capitals of the various States, His Excellency must necessarily have been put to enormous expense.
– I never objected to the repayment of that money.
– I am not saying that the honorable and learned senator did, but he said that since the opening of the Commonwealth Parliament, and the visit of the Duke of York, he was unaware that there had been any lavish entertainments by the Governor-General. I am merely pointing out that there must have been an extraordinary amount of expenditure entailed upon him by his participation in the festivities at Sydney at the New Year, and at Melbourne at the opening of the Parliament, and by his visits to the State capitals.
– The expenditure since then is what I referred to.
– He did that with a knowledge of what was in the Constitution.
– From his communications with the Secretary of State, the Governor - General must necessarily have been aware that as soon as he arrived in Australia he would have to take part in some such celebrations as those that were held in Sydney. He was probably well aware that Their Royal Highnesses would visit Australia, and that the hospitality which he could extend to them on behalf of the Commonwealth would not necessarily be confined to Melbourne, or to the few days preceding and following the opening of the Commonwealth Parliament ; and he came accordingly with a very large equipage. It is only a few days since it was announced in the press that he had signified his intention of sending back to the old country some members of his staff and some carriages and horses. He knew that in the initial stages of the Commonwealth he would have to entertain on a scale which hitherto had been unprecedented, and which in the future may never, perhaps, recur; and he had to make extra provision. Whether he has gone or has not gone into anything in the nature of social entertainment lately, the extraordinary amount of expenditure he was put to on that occasion on behalf of the Commonwealth, most certainly compels us to do a simple act of justice to him. A great deal has been said from the opposite side of the Chamber with reference to the unfortunate position in which we find ourselves, owing to the action of His Excellency in asking to be relieved of his position. Many speakers have endeavoured to make as much capital as they could out of the calamity. They have endeavoured, as much as they could, to give a party tone to the debate, and to level against the Government all kinds of charges, the most charitable of which are imputations of. pure, down-right bungling, and a desire not to face the situation, not to carry out_ the . promise that had been made to His Excellency, not to take Parliament into their confidence. Whatever may be the feeling of the general body of the community with regard to the circumstances that have led up to His Excellency’s recent determination, I think they will npt forget the fact that he took up his present onerous duties with especial pleasure, because he recognised that to some extent he was acquainted with Australian life and conditions. He had watched the progress of the federal movement here, and he took a more than ordinary gubernatorial interest in the proceedings of the first Federal Parliament, and the first Federal Executive Council. On more than one occasion he has addressed himself to the people of Australia. Some months ago - in the early part of the session - he expressed the hope that the Constitution would not have too much of a strain put upon it. We know that when he expressed that hope a certain section in the Federal Parliament, and a certain section in the press, who seemed to think that it was a cap which His Excellency had made and which actually fitted them, took, or professed to take, great umbrage at his remarks. Again, when he went to Western Australia about December last, he said that in his opinion the Federal Parliament had already done, during half a session, an amount of work which’ would be considered the work of a good session in any other country. We know that a certain section of the press and certain federal politicians took great exception to these remarks. Later on, at a representative gathering in Melbourne, and at a time when he considered, and when every one considered, that the question, so far as party politics were concerned, was absolutely dead, he stepped forward and chivalrously attempted to shield his chief adviser from the abuse that was being hurled at him by people who did not know all the circumstances in connexion with the despatch of a Commonwealth contingent to South Africa. We know that something in the nature of a veiled attack was made upon His Excellency in another place. All these circumstances to which I have referred must have had some influence on a gentleman of his known sensitive nature, and I have not the slightest doubt that if they did not absolutely control him in his latest determination, they had a considerable effect in bringing him to that particular frame of mind when he decided to take the step which he now says is irrevocable. I have much pleasure in supporting the second reading of the Bill.
– I wish, as a matter of personal explanation, to give an absolute denial to the statement which Senator Keating has sought to fasten upon me. I asked for no details of the items covered by the sum of £10,000. The information I sought from the Government was as to whether there was to be in future an additional grant for allowances ; and, if so, the basis on which they were to be made.
– As you, sir, have permitted the debate to traverse all the circumstances relating to the retirement of the Governor-General, which we all most deeply regret, I desire to say a few words. I should not have cared to speak had the debate centred round the Bill. The two points I desire to discuss are - first, who is responsible for the keeping up of two establishments, and secondly, what position will future Governors- General have to keep up in spite of the protest of my friends in the labour corner. Notwithstanding the compromise which was arranged at the meeting of Premiers, and on which the people of the Commonwealth accepted the Commonwealth Bill ; notwithstanding that Melbourne was given the undoubted right of having the seat of government and everything pertaining to the seat of government
– It only says the Parliament.
– To me the words of that compromise are absolutely plain. Melbourne is entitled to have the seat of Government and everything pertaining to it, until the new capital is established in New South Wales.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council as a lawyer said differently.
– I do not care a flip for the opinion of any one on the point, when the words are so absolutely plain. The moment the Governor-General was appointed, the late Premier of New South
Wales, Sir William Lyne,set himself to work bo arrange that His Excellency should land at Sydney, and so the State Governor went, and the Government House was made ready. It is a little amusing to me bo find senators from New South Wales trying to hurl anabhemas against the Government, when the very beginning of this mischief was the action of the mother State in insisting upon having more than her rights.
– The mother State has never insisted on that, and no one here has said a word in defence of that.
– I mentioned the matter because it has cropped up once before.
– It simply is not true.
– The honorable senator must withdraw that expression.
– I withdraw the expression, and say that the statement is absolutely incorrect.
– Thus is not the first time that not only my friends from New South Wales, but the people of that State have blundered over what are their rights. We have had the same trouble over the capital. Because the capital is to be in New South Wales,they havetaken up a position which Ithink is nob justified by the Constitution, and we shall have trouble unless they get some better lawyer to advise them as to what their rights are. Passing away from that point I wish to say a few words about the position of the GovernorGeneral. In all these matters a continuity of policy is the correct thing. It is all very fine for the six States to go steadily and extravagantly in one direction, and then because a check comes some day, because there is some blundering or some delay, because a certain Bill is not passed, to go back, and say that the State Governor has nothing to do but attend Executive meetings, and entertain his friends at dinner if he pleases, that he is not to give social entertainments of any kind, not to sustain the position and the dignity of the office, which has been kept up with the assent of the whole people of every State ever since we have had constitutional government. Look at the palatial residences of the. State Governors. Look at the palatial building in which we sit - a building on which double the amount of public money was spent which it was justifiable for any people calling themselves true democrats to take out of the pockets of the people in order to make themselves comfortable. Our refreshment-rooms are kept up almost at the expense of the public. Do my honorable friends suppose that the King is to send out his representative, and that His Excellency is to keep up Government House, and absolutely to do nothing because the people of Australia wish him bo do nothing ? The actions of the various State Governors have been absolutely in the opposite direction to that which my friends in the labour corner, and some honorable senators, say the Governor-General should go. I join with my honorable friends, and I always shall join, in trying to have a deal more economyinthe future than we have had in the past. I shall put down all extravagance wherever it is. But we must give to the future Governor-General everything that appertains rightly and properly to his position as representative of the King, just as we must give to a Member of Parliament, whether he be the Prime Minister or a humble senator, all those privileges and advantages, and club-houses, which he enjoys, and which he wants increased. We all know perfectly well that in every nation there is a social life, a professional life, a political life, and scores of prizes, thousands of them almost, which go from the highest down to the lowest. A man is entitled to the salary of the office to which he attains, and to have his dignity kept up. We have no right, because a Bill has been refused in another place, to allow a wave of absolute niggardliness and contemptuousness to affect the way in which we are going to treat the King’s representatives in the future. If we are bo have representative government, what right have we to take for ourselves all those privileges, powers and emoluments which we think we ought to have, and at the same time to deny to the representatives of the Crown the emoluments which have been given from time immemorial 1 When we remember that the Governor of Victoria had £10,000 a year, or £3,000 a year more than the Governor of the rich colony of New South Wales, and when we remember also the way in which all State Governors have been treated, and the lavish generous way in which all of them without exception have entertained the people of their States, we cannot go back all in a moment, even if we wish to do so. These social customs and political habits are not changed in a day. We cannot change our nature and the whole social fabric of our Commonwealth simply because of the ideas of some honorable senators. We have to do the fair and right thing. We first have to find out what the social position of our Governor-General is to be, and having found that out, we have to place him in that position which he ought to occupy, and which will enable him to fulfil his duties with dignity and honour, to the satisfaction of the Commonwealth and the satisfaction of the Crown.
– We all regret that the connexion between the first Governor-General of the Commonwealth and the people over whom he is called ‘to preside - I will not say rule, because he does not rule - is to be so abruptly terminated, but I am not sure that we need be sorry for the cause that has brought it about. I think it is extremely desirable that there should be a clear understanding between the King in the old country, the Governor-General of Australia, and the people of the Commonwealth, as to the position the Governor-General is to occupy. If Lord Hopetoun had not in this abrupt fashion brought the matter so clearly before the people, I am not sure that it would have been satisfactorily settled for some time to come. It appears to me that in this matter some one has blundered. I do not know whether it is the Government or whether it is the Governor-General, or whether it is Mr. Chamberlain, or who it is ; but it is evident to me that a mistake has been committed. Now, in the first place, I object altogether to the private and confidential communications that are in the habit of passing between Mr. Chamberlain and the GovernorGeneral, and between the Governor-General and the Ministry. Any communication from Mr. Chamberlain to the Executive head of the Australian Commonwealth is a communication to the Commonwealth itself, and ought to be regarded as such. I think the Ministry is to blame for not having discovered Mr. Chamberlain’s intentions towards the Commonwealth long ago. It is evident to me, at any rate, that some private understanding had been arrived at between the Governor-General and the Prime Minister. Otherwise, it is difficult to understand ‘the action the GovernorGeneral took the moment he discovered that he is not to be reimbursed, as he thought he would be. It seems to me that there must have been an agreement of some kind entered into between himself and the Prime Minister.
– The honorable senator takes a harsh view, does he not?
– That is not taking any harsh view of the matter. We have the plain facts before us. Mr. Chamberlain wrote to the Governor-General. The GovernorGeneral duly communicated with Mr. Barton. We have the admission of Mr. Barton that a Bill had been prepared many months ago - fourteen months ago, I believe - but for some reason or other was not brought before the House of Representatives. We have the Governor-General in’curring expenditure and continuing to incur expenditure far in excess of his salary and allowances. The very moment he discovers that he is not to be reimbursed for that expenditure he asks to be recalled. That proves clearly that he expected that he was spending money which was not his own, but the money of the Commonwealth. I am not going to lay blame on any one’s shoulders.
– It is a little harsh that the honorable senator does not believe the word of the Ministry.
– I suppose I must take the word of the Ministry, but we must read between the lines in these matters. I think that a little plain speaking at an earlier period might have brought about much more satisfactory relations so far as Lord Hopetoun and the Prime Minister are concerned, but I believe the whole matter has turned out happily for the people of Australia. An opportunity is now given us, the representatives of Australia, of stating what we believe to be the duties of the Governor-General, and what status he ought to occupy. It has been made abundantly clear to whoever comes after Lord Hopetoun that he will not be expected to entertain either lavishly or otherwise. We do not want in this young and poverty-stricken country to ape the tawdry splendour of European courts. We do not require anything of the kind. We are a simple hardworking people who have no ambition to bask, as my honorable friend Senator Higgs said, in the dim light of vice-regal magnificence. We have other work to do. We have the business of developing the resources of this vast continent, the paying of our way, the getting of food and clothing, and all the rest of it to attend to, and we have no time or money to spend upon vice-regal ceremonial. So that I think it has been made clear to the successors of Lord Hopetoun, what is wanted of them. In her Governor-General, Australia recognises nothing more than her chief Executive officer. She is prepared to pay him for Ailing that office, and, I think, to pay him very handsomely. I am sorry that Senator Dobson has left the chamber, because he directed some of his remarks to the labour corner, as he chooses to call it, although I do not think the labour corner has been particularly to the front in dealing with this matter. By inference he accused us of being parsimonious with regard to the Governor-General and his allowances, and eager to snatch at every privilege for ourselves.
– I thought Senator Dobson referred to all of us.
– He referred particularly to the members of the labour party. I am not inclined to let that kind of thing pass without remark. I have not a very high opinion of myself, but I venture to say that; representing here as I do the people of Queeensland, chosen by them to be one of their senators to see that a certain policy is carried out, I am of as much consequence to the Commonwealth as the Governor-General - indeed, if I were not such a very modest man, I might say that I am of more consequence. Let us look at the duties of the two positions. What has the Governor-General to do? He has no responsibility - none whatever. He does not direct the policy of the Commonwealth. The ship of State may go on the rocks tomorrow and sink in the sea, but no responsibility will be thrown upon his shoulders. He has not to busy himself about the work of government. His duty is simply to sign the documents placed before him, take his seat as a matter of form at the Executive Council, and do a little in the way of entertaining. And for that he receives a salary in hard cash of £10,000 per annum, with allowances equivalent to another £6,000. Indeed, I believe that if the whole truth were told we should find that this official costs the Commonwealth of Australia at the present moment a sum of not less than £20,000 per annum. The whole of the 36 senators who sit around this chamber, and into whose hands are being committed the destinies of this country, divide only £14, 000 between them. So that this one official, who is of no real service to the Commonwealth - and I say that without any reference whatever to the present occupant of the office - costs the Commonwealth more than the whole of the 36 senators who are charged with the business of the Commonwealth, who have to pay their own election expenses, who have to travel up and down the Commonwealth interviewing their constituents, entertaining their constituents, making their election as sure as possible next time, having in some cases to keep up two residences - one in Melbourne at the seat of government,- and another in the State from which they come - and have to do all this on a paltry, beggarly £400 per annum. I use those terms advisedly. I call the payment made to senators paltry and beggarly because I know that a number of honorable senators find it quite insufficient for their needs.
– Does the honorable senator think that is relevant to the matter under discussion ?
– 1 was drawn on to this line of argument by the utterances of Senator Dobson, who has accused honorable senators of grasping for themselves, and of niggardliness as far as the GovernorGeneral is concerned. I am trying to point out that if there is niggardliness, it is not towards the Governor-General, but it is towards honorable senators. If I do any entertaining, I have to pay for it out of my salary. If I want to keep up two residences, I have to pay for them out of the allowance I get from the Commonwealth. All my expenses have to be defrayed out of the sum that I receive. I cannot fall back upon the Commonwealth for anything more, and I am just as much a public servant of the Commonwealth as - indeed a great deal more than - the Governor-General. Let us look at the Governor-General’s position. He gets £10,000 a year. He receives allowances to the amount of £6,000, and I suppose the other expenditure will total about £4,000 per annum. I have often wondered what we get for that money. Could we not do it a little cheaper? Could we not exercise some economy in this direction 1 I have certainly no sympathy with Senator Dobson’s idea that we should keep up a sort of semi-regal court here. Of course, Senator Dobson belongs to “ society,” and I do not. If I did, probably I should see matters from the “ other side of the hedge.” It is said that the GovernorGeneral has been in the habit of entertaining lavishly, but of that I have no knowledge, because I have never been invited to Government House. I trust that His Excellency’s successor will treat the people of Australia as they deserve. If the people pay the . Governor-General £10,000 per annum, I hope His Excellency will put £9,000 per annum into the bank, and carry it away with him to Great Britain, as I should do if I had had the honour of filling the position. I was very sorry to listen to the attack made on the Government by honorable senators, principally those from New South Wales - honorable senators who represent Circular Quay. Senator Millen has denied the allegation, and I suppose we must accept his denial, but there is an impression all over the outside portions of the Commonwealth that the whole trouble has been caused by Sydney’s insane jealousy of Melbourne.
– Nonsense !
– It may be nonsense ; it may be that the people of the Commonwealth are “ barking up the wrong tree,” and that Sydney is not one bit jealous. But why have we had the proposition recently, not only that the Governor-General shall live in Sydney for a portion of the year, but also that the Government, and the Government offices and officials shall transact their business alternately in that city and Melbourne ?
– Senator Dobson proposes a travelling Parliament.
– The proposal is to have a sort of movable Government, somewhat after the fashion of the Kruger Government, which was administered from a railway carriage. The demand was that the seat of government should be in a state of continual oscillation between Melbourne and Sydney, to such extremes had the jealousy of poor Melbourne been carried. Senators who come from New South Wales should be particularly careful, when addressing themselves to this subject, and not make charges against the Government. I do not believe that the people of New South Wales who live outside Potts’ Point care two straws whether the Governor-General ever shows his face in Sydney, the whole agitation being confined to a few tufthunters in Sydney’ and Melbourne. Any regret, sorrow, or anger at the abrupt termination of the connexion between the Governor-General and the Commonwealth comes from these latter people. The bulk of the people know perfectly well that the Governor-General is only a figure-head, and that he has no influence whatever on the government, the policy, the administration, or the destinies of Australia. Senator Keating told us that on the three occasions on which the Governor-General ventured in the most tentative fashion to express his opinion on public questions he was hauled up with a round turn. Had I been Governor-General and subjected to that sort of treatment I should have resigned on the spot, though probably I would have opened, not my mouth, but my pocket, as my Scotch caution would have indicated to me the proper course to pursue. Senator Dobson has said that there is a social life. We all know that there is a social life, and I have no objection to people who have money enjoying themselves in their’ own fashion, but it must be at their own expense. Senator Dobson also said that there is a professional life. Well, let the vultures - the lawyers and other professional gentlemen who prey on the community - enjoy themselves on the carrion as well as they can. I have not the slightest objection to their drinking champagne and toasting the folly of the multitude in maintaining them in their position ; and they may go on as long as they are able to delude the people. But there was one phase of social life to which Senator Dobson did not refer ; that was the life of the great body of the people which, in many cases, is a life hardly worth living. These were the people I was sent, here to consider.
– The honorable senator was sent here to consider everybody.
-In considering the roots of the tree, I find I am considering the tree itself ; if the roots are well nourished the tree cannot be badly off. Many of our rich people would be largely benefited if some of the superfluities which they enjoy were pruned away, ‘
– Does the honorable senator think that his remarks have anything to do with the business before the Senate 1
– I was drawn away from the track by Senator Dobson, and I apologize. I am very sorry I cannot oppose the proposal before us, as I should very much like to do. I recognise that it was not Lord Hopetoun who entertained the King’s son ; it was the Commonwealth of Australia. I do not want anybody to pay the Commonwealth debts, and for that reason I shall support the Bill.
– I had not intended to speak, because I think it would have been very much better to pass a Bill of this nature without debate; and my reason for so thinking is the exact reason given by Senator Stewart. Really this is a Bill to provide money for the entertainment of the guests of Australia, and not of the Governor-General, who merely acted as the representative of the Commonwealth. A great deal has been said which might very fairly have formed the subject of debate on the Estimates ; and as various opinions have been expressed which require to be commented on, I propose to say a few words. I wish to speak particularly on one aspect of the case which was slightly, and only slightly, touched on by Senator Dobson. That is the responsibility which attaches to Sir William Lyne in connexion with all this trouble. If we look back to the time when the Gazette notice was published in England authorizing the Commonwealth Constitution, and remember what happened when it became known here that Lord Hopetoun was to be appointed Governor-General, it must be within our knowledge that it was notorious throughout the whole of Australia that Sir William Lyne, as Premier of New South Wales, was using all the influence he could possibly bring to bear upon Mr. Chamberlain in order to give priority to the claims of New South Wales. That was commented on in the press to some extent, particularly in connexion with the proposals as to establishing a Government House in Sydney. I remember seeing it commented on in the press of Western Australia, where surprise was expressed that the Governor- General was expected to keep up two residences. Those honorable senators who have criticised Mr. Chamberlain’s action in connexion with the two despatches have deliberately ignored all that portion of the preliminariesof federation, of which they were perfectly well aware. It is only by bearing these circumstances in our recollection that we car thoroughly understand the first despatchof Mr. Chamberlain of the 30th November. The despatch reached the Governor-Generalwhen he arrived in Sydney, and was immediately handed to his Prime Minister. I recall to the memory of the Senate the fact that Sir William Lyne was so persistent in his endeavours to bring Sydney to the front, that despatches met Lord Hopetoun at Adelaide, declining to allow him to land there. Although Lord Hopetoun was in an extreme state of prostration from illness, he was practically compelled to continue a most distressing voyage round Australia in order that he might land in Sydney Harbor. I do not think any member of the State can deny that this is a fair statement of the facts.
– What have the Sydney representatives to say to that?
– It was done by a member of the present Ministry, whose action was never indorsed by the people of New South Wales.
– The people of New South Wales had nothing to do with the action taken ; it was entirely due to Sir William Lyne and his Ministers.
– But Sir William Lyne expected to get the approval of the people of New South Wales.
– No doubt Sir William acted with a view to gaining: political prestige in New South Wales, but that was no justification. Any one who knows Mr. Chamberlain, or who has watched his career, can have no doubt about his extreme caution in interfering with Colonial affairs. He is a man who never “gives himself away “ if he can possibly help it, and when we find him making definite statements in a despatch, we , may be perfectly certain that he has some knowledge which justifies those statements. In the despatch I find the words -
During the period preceding the establishment of the federal capital, it is intended that the Governor-General shall occupy Government House at both Sydney and Melbourne.
It will be observed that Mr. Chamberlain does not say that it is his desire that that course should be adopted. In what way did the knowledge come to Mr. Chamberlain that it was intended that the Governor-General should occupy two Government Houses ? Obviously it came from the Ministry of New South Wales, because nobody else was interested in the Governor-General having his residence there. We are all aware of the negotiations which took place to secure his landing at Sydney. Mr. Chamberlain then proceeded to say -
And it may be found desirable that he should continue the same arrangement after the new capital is established.
Again I ask honorable senators where did Mr. Chamberlain get that idea from? He did not originate that idea - he had no object in doing so. This was information given him by the representatives of New SouthWales or of Australia.
– That is a development of the honorable senator’s inner consciousness.
– It is a develop- ment of my common sense, and that is the view of the position which will be taken by everybody outside of this House, and the contrary view will only be taken by those in political opposition to myself, and just for “ gag,” if I may, use the expression. Mr. Chamberlain having had these views laid before him, and believing that they were the views of the people of Australia, very naturally pointed out that a salary of £10,000 would prove insufficient.
– I did not think he was so easily misled.
- Senator McGregor wonders that he should have been so easily misled, but these gentlemen in New South Wales, who were corresponding with Mr. Chamberlain, were supposed to be representative of Australia, and Mr. Chamberlain always considered that they represented the views of the people of Australia.
– Hear, hear.
– The honorable senatorsays “hear,hear” in the tonewhich he usually adopts when Senator Neild is speaking, but he cannot deny the fact that when the Premier of New South Wales communicates with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, his statements are considered to be authentic,and he is believed to express the views of the people he is supposed to represent. Mr. Chamberlain further says -
I need scarcely point out that maintaining two, and ultimately three separate houses, will involve very heavy expenditure, and I have already suggested to the Government of New South Wales–
He had “ already suggested to the Government of New South Wales.” There Senator McGregor will find justification for my statement that there had already been communications between the Government of New South Wales and Mr. Chamberlain, which raised the question of two Government houses.
I have already suggested to the Government of New South Wales that until some provision had been made for entertainment allowance the Governor-General should not be expected to entertain largely–
Where? at Sydney.
And why at Sydney, I ask ? Because Mr. Chamberlain was perfectly well aware that the seat of government was in Melbourne. It was quite apparent to him that Sir William Lyne was making an unjustifiable claim in suggesting that the Sydney Government House should be occupied, and, therefore, he naturally pointed out to the Government of New South Wales that if they claimed that Sydney Government House should be occupied by the GovernorGeneral they must provide an entertainment allowance.
– They had done so.
– They had voted it, but that Mr. Chamberlain was not aware of it at the time he wrote this despatch is shown by a later despatch, in which he acknowledges that the vote had been granted. He says further that he had received an assurance that a Bill would be introduced into the New South Wales Parliament to provide an allowance. I think I may claim to have made it clear, first of all, that the Government of New South Wales had been in communication with Mr. Chamberlain on the subject of Sydney Government House ; that he recognised that their claim was opposed to the provisions of the Constitution ; and that he rightly believed that the Government of New South Wales, if they wished the arrangement they suggested to be carried out, would make proper provision for an entertainment allowance. That is so far as this despatch goes, and it clearlyexonerates Mr. Chamberlain from the charge of interfering unjustifiably in this matter.
– He was willing to outrage the Constitution.
– He was not willing to outrage the Constitution, but he was willing to give every facility to gratify New South Wales at the cost of that State. That was evidently in his mind, and I put it to honorable senators whether that is not what they would have done if they had been living many thousands of miles away in England, and had simply to deal with this matter by means of despatches.
– I think it would have been much better if he had left it alone.
– I quite agree with the honorable and learned senator, but he makes that suggestion in the light of after knowledge.
– He had to do with the Commonwealth, and not with New South Wales.
– Quite so, that was Mr. Chamberlain’s mistake. He did not recognise that Sir William Lyne was not speaking for Australia, and at Home - and I speak from knowledge there - New South Wales has always been looked upon as the mother colony of Australia.
– Not in the Colonial-office.
– And the Premier of New South Wales has been looked upon as voicing the opinions of the people of Australia.
– Certainly not, it never was so.
– That has been an erroneous impression, I admit, but still it is a fact. What did the Governor-General do when he received this despatch? He handed it, on the 4th January, to his Prime Minister. Are we asked to suppose that this despatch was received by the Prime Minister, never acknowledged, put into a pigeon-hole, and left without comment ? If any honorable senator asks me to believe that, he asks me to consider myself a fool. There can be no doubt that this despatch formed the subject of discussion between Lord Hopetoun and his Prime Minister. There is no doubt in my mind that the Prime Minister, influenced by previous conversations with Sir William Lyne, led Lord Hopetoun to believe that there would be no difficulty in getting this extra allowance. Common sense tells one that that would be the course adopted. What happens next? In the meantime Mr. Chamberlain learns that New South Wales had made a grant of £3,000 for the purpose of entertaining, following the suggestion he had himself made in the previous despatch ; and on the 1 1th January, 1901, he wrote to Lord Hopetoun, pointing out very properly that it was undesirable that the GovernorGeneral should receive grants from any one State, and suggesting that the grant should be made by the Commonwealth, and again suggesting that the matter should be brought before his Ministers. Lord Hopetoun appears to have handed that despatch to his Prime Minister immediately after he received it on the 15th February, which would be about the date upon which it was received. The matter then received official recognition, and what does Mr. Barton say ? Mr. Barton was in possession of both of these documents ; he had, no doubt, carefully read what was said about the two Government Houses ; he was perfectly aware that this was repugnant to the people of Australia, and was contrary to the Constitution, and he must have been aware that it was extremely unlikely that he would be able to obtain the extra allowances from the Commonwealth Parliament, because the matter had come up in the Victorian Parliament, and a proposed grant had been refused. I remember reading the comments which appeared in almost every newspaper on the subject of the refusal by the Victorian Parliament to grant this extra allowance. Mr. Barton should have been fully aware that he had very little chance of getting these allowances for the Governor-General, and he should have pointed that out to His Excellency. Instead of that, what does he say? -
Mr. Barton begs to intimate that the Minister for the Commonwealth have agreed to submit a measure to the Parliament which, in his view, will meet the situation to which Mr. Secretary Chamberlain’s:despatch refers.
– Then the honorable senator thinks that Ministers should go round and buttonhole members ?
– That is not the duty of the Minister, but every Ministry employs a gentleman, who is called the “whip,” and whose duty if is to do that very business. At that time there was no Parliament, and so no “ whip “ could have been employed. Fromthe refusal of the Victorian Parliament to grant an allowance, and the press comments made upon the subject, any one could have told that the Commonwealth Parliament would refuse to grant extra allowances on any substantial scale. That brings the matter down to the date of Mr. Barton’s minute of the 21st February. Parliament was not yet constituted, the federal elections had not been held, and Mr. Barton should, without a doubt, have expressed to the GovernorGeneral his view that two residences were unnecessary, and that Australia did not look to His Excellency to spend large sums of money in entertaining. He should have recommended him to curtail his expenses to the amount likely to be secured from Parliament. But it is perfectly clear that Mr. Barton led the Governor-General to suppose that there would be no difficulty whatever about obtaining these allowances. Now I come to the point, and I say that that is why honorable senators on this side blame Mr. Barton and his Government. We say emphatically that these gentlemen were led into the position in which they are now by Sir William Lyne. Having taken that gentleman into the Ministry, Mr. Barton felt bound to support the views which he must have been well aware Sir William Lyne had expressed in communicating with Mr. Chamberlain. That is why we blame the Government, and not because of any factious desire to attack them. I do not intend to speak any longer upon the subject. I desired to make it clear that Mr. Chamberlain was not to blame in this matter in the way certain honorable senators endeavoured to make out. The blame is not Mr. Chamberlain’s, but Sir William Lyne’s, as that gentleman obviously advised him in this matter.
– I intend to support the Bill before the Senate. As a matter of fact, I do not see that any honorable senator could very well do otherwise. I think the initial cost of starting the Commonwealth ought to be borne by the Commonwealth. It is altogether an unreasonable thing to expect that the great expense incurred at that time should fall upon any individual, no matter how large his purse. It is the duty of the Commonwealth to meet this expense, and consequently I intend to support the measure. It was not for the purpose of saying that that I rose. Had it not been for a remark made by Senator Dobson, in reference to a matter which I think should not have been dragged into the debate, I do not think I should have risen to speak upon this Bill. The honorable and learned senator referred to the conveniences and luxuries which honorable senators enjoy in this chamber. He referred to our club-room and refresh; ment-rooms, and the inference to be drawn from his references by those who know no better is that honorable senators are under no expense in connexion with these matters. We know very well that everything we get in the refreshment-rooms has to be paid for at the same rate as, and sometimes at a higher rate than, it can be got down the street. Such remarks as Senator Dobson made are quite uncalled for, and if they were not contradicted here a false impression might be created that honorable senators are enjoying something at the expense of the taxpayers. I rose for the purpose of making this contradiction, and I hope that honorable senators in debating the subject will treat it fairly, and will not drag in matters which have nothing whatever to do with it. Very nasty things might be said of Senator Dobson for his action in connexion with matters which have come before the Senate. When the minimum wage question, for instance, was being discussed here, the honorable and learned senator was not so generous as he is prepared to be to-night; but nobody has’ thought it worth while to refer to that. I hope the honorable and learned senator will see his way in future not to make these bald statements without any explanation.
– I think that good will come out of this discussion, and that the public of Australia will understand, or begin to understand, the position of both the Governor-General and the Commonwealth. I dare say that before it is finished we shall have a better idea of what was the cause of that position. Some honorable senators seem to have got into their heads the idea that in another place the members of the labour party were responsible in a certain direction for the complications which have arisen. The members of the labour party, either here or in another place, are not ashamed to say what their position was. They did oppose the Bill as it was introduced into the other House. ‘ Some honorable senators have friendsin that very place, and although theirf riends strenuously opposed the original Bill, they wished to shirk the responsibilities of that opposition, and endeavoured to make all Australia believe that the Government were entirely to blame. It is beyond the power of the Senate toamend this Bill, because it is an Appropriation Bill ; but it is within its power to request the other House to amend it. If honorable senators, who have said so much about the action of the Government, are not prepared to share the responsibility of their friends in another place, why do they not propose that the other House be requested to restore the original provisions of the
Bill? They will not do that. ‘ They know that if the Bill could be originated in the Senate, and it were introduced, they would take the very same course of action that their friends took in another place. They would endeavour to land the Government in a somewhat difficult position. I am sure that everybody in Australia has the very kindliest feeling towards the GovernorGeneral. They all recognise his ability. Like the press, and some citizens, I am not going to say that .he has transcendent abilities. I am not going to say that in the great British Empire there is no other man who is as fit as Lord Hopetoun to occupy the position of representative of His Majesty in Australia. I do not think that he would claim that for himself. I deprecate the conduct of shire councils, and corporations, and all that class of people getting on their hind legs and declaring that the Commonwealth is in a very difficult position, and that we shall never be able to raise our heads in the world again.
– They have never said anything of the sort.
– The honorable and learned senator does not carefully read the morning newspapers, or he would know that every word I am saying is absolutely correct. I also agree to a certain extent with what Senator Matheson has said about the influences that have been exercised by the representative men of New South Wales - probably not . the people, but those .who pretended to represent the people. These very representatives went so far as to pass a resolution to increase the GovernorGeneral’s salary out of the funds of their State. I believe that the Government of New South Wales to some extent misled Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, but I do not think it was a wise act on his part to be misled in that way. I do not believe that if he had considered the matter for a few moments he would have been misled in the way he was. Is it since the GovernorGeneral came to Australia that the expense has been incurred? Has he engaged any additional officers for his staff? Has he increased the number of his horses, or his carriages, or his servants ? Has he done anything which would cause any extra expense in the manner of his housekeeping? If he has, I have never heard much about it. I believe that he brought out his horses, and his carriages, and the greater portion of his servants and his staff. If he took that step before he had any direct communication with the Commonwealth Government, then the responsibility, to a far greater extent than the people imagine, was on his own shoulders. He deliberately incurred this expense, or he laid the foundation for it. Neither I nor any other member of the labour party ever expected His Excellency, or any other Governor-General, to spend his own money in Australia, but there are people who did. Even the press expressed their gratification that a man of the immense wealth of Lord Hopetoun was selected as Governor-General of Australia, because no man with limited means could occupy the position in a way befitting the representative of His Majesty. That is something like the tone of the paragraphs which used to appear ‘in the press. That is something like the statements which have been made at public meetings convened to prepare addresses to the GovernorGeneral. Those who made these statements, whether in public, or in the press, must have had an idea that His , Excellency was going to spend some part of his immense fortune, or if they did not, why did they sa,y so ? If they did not think that he was going to spend some part of his immense fortune, would not their opinion have been that any other man - whether he had ‘an immense fortune or not - who had the necessary ability, would be a suitable representative of His Majesty. Why could they not take a poor man with brains ? It did not matter to them what the ability of the man was, the great recommendation to them was the possession of immense wealth. That is what they talked about. I thin’k they must have meant a generous disposition to accompany the wealth. Lord Hopetoun knew when he came here that there was going to be an inauguration of the Commonwealth, but I cannot find out that His Excellency, generous as he may be, was put to any extraordinary expense on that account. If he was, where did the £150,000 that New South Wales spent go ? On the occasion of the visit of the Duke of York Victoria spent over £100,000, and the Commonwealth spent a very creditable cheque, if liberality is to be taken as creditable. The Governor - General was entertained by the Commonwealth, and His Excellency entertained a few dignitaries in high places, and gentry from Toorak, and other suburbs of that description.
Those whom I expected to oppose any extravagance of this description have all declared their willingness to vote for the Bill.
– And the honorable senator is going to vote for it.
– If the honorable and learned senator, in accordance with his economic principles, calls for a division, I shall certainly vote with him.
– I am going to vote for the Bill.
– I wish to ask honorable senators if the Governor-General, with all his goodness, all his ability, is acting rightly towards the Commonwealth 1 Very often people are afraid to speak their minds. I have heard it stated in public that His Excellency has not treated the Commonwealth as he ought to have done. If he thought that he was not to spend any of the immense fortune, which we had heard so much about, and which he stated, in his communications to Mr. Chamberlain, he did not think he would be called upon to spend, he should not have attempted to burden Australia with the expense of the retinue he brought here. And when he found that Australia was not prepared to go to this lavish expenditure, he should not, like any pettish individual, have thrown up his job.
– Order. I ask the honorable senator not to use a word like that in connexion with the GovernorGeneral.
– Shall I say his billet ?
– No. The honorable senator may say his official position.
– When His Excellency found that the Commonwealth was not prepared to go to this lavish expenditure, it was not his duty to the people who respect him so much to ask tobe recalled from his official position. If he was not willing to spend any of his immense fortune, he should have been satisfied to receive during his term of office the amount allotted to him by the Constitution. I know hundreds of men in this world who have occupied official positions and have been’ paid fairly good salaries, in connexion with which they have had little perquisites, or what the press, in referring to Members of Parliament, would call “pickings.” As soon as these pickings were taken away from them, on the representatives of the people becoming awake to the position and realising that the country was being bled, these people took the huff and resigned, apparently considering that they were the only people who could fill their positions. Apparently they imagined for a moment or two that their employer’s, the Government, could not find any one to fill their places. That was exactly the position that Lord Hopetoun . took up with respect to the Commonwealth. What position has he put the Commonwealth in? I am not going to say that he has gone on strike, although that term has been applied concerning a good many other people who have done no more than he is doing at present. But the Governor-General wishes to be recalled because the Commonwealth will not submit to greater extravagance than has been set down in the Constitution. He will go home to England. Look at the difficulty Mr. Chamberlain will find in selecting somebody else to take Lord Hopetoun’s place ! The nobility in England will go on strike. They will say - “Lord Hopetoun has not been treated liberally enough by the Commonwealth of Australia, and we are not going to blackleg on him.” They will not take the position, because the Commonwealth, according to Lord Hopetoun’s idea, has not treated the present GovernorGeneral liberally enough. If Lord Jersey or Lord Carrington had been selected instead of Lord Hopetoun, the people would have had exactly the same opinion of him as they lately had of the present Governor-General. If either of those noblemen had been here at the inauguration of the Commonwealth and the opening of the Federal Parliament, he would have been just as popular as Lord Hopetoun has been. It was canvassed in the public press, before Lord Hopetoun’s appointment, that LordKintore was to be the first Governor-General, and the people were beginning to feel happy that such a fine gentleman was coming out to fill the position. But owing to the action of the present Governor-General, it will be almost im possible to get any of these gentlemen to occupy his position here. They would feel that they were going back upon a member of the same society as they belong to. But the Commonwealth will be able toget out of the difficulty easily enough. I hope that Mr. Chamberlain will not be able to find any one in England to take the place. I trust that every member of the aristocracy will refuse. I should not have the slightest hesitation in supporting a recommendation to the Secretary of State for the Colonies to appoint Senator Dobson or Senator Sargood, or Senator Zeal, or Senator Eraser, or even Senator Stewart. Any one of thosegentlemen would, I believe, carry out the duties of the Governor-General effectively and efficiently. They might not have the immense fortune that some gentlemen have who are not willing to spend it. It sticks in my mind - this immense fortune that was one of the great qualifications of the present GovernorGeneral. Yet the Governor-General himself has stated that he did not feel justified in spending any of his fortune. So that it is all the same to me whoever is appointed to represent His Majesty. If he has honesty and intelligence, I do not care whether he possesses a penny in the world. It amounts to the same thing whether he has money or whether he has not, because if a man with an immense fortune is not prepared to spend anything out of his private income, a man with no fortune at all can do noless. Indeed, I think any one of the gentlemen I have mentioned would do well for the position, and owing to the novelty of it probably would spend a larger proportion of the £10,000 than would an English Governor-General for the purpose of showing his new-born generosity and zeal. No matter what difficulties may arise in the old country, I hope that the people of the Commonwealth will realize that they have to depend on themselves and not upon any Governor-General ; and if they do depend on that and have less toadyism in their natures we shall get along very well.
Senator CHARLESTON (South Aus tralia). - The honorable senator who has just resumed his seat has charged theOpposition in the Senate and in another place with something like cowardice because we have not framed an amendment to the Bill. I believe that the Senate has power to amend the measure, but none of us desires to amend it in any shape or form. We thoroughly believe that the £10,000 provided for in the measure has been spent by the GovernorGeneral in entertaining the guests of the Commonwealth, and therefore, that it is only fair and reasonable, that we should vote His Excellency that sum of money.
– Where was it spent?
– We believe it has been spent, but I cannot tell the honorable senator where. I have no desire to go into the details. We have been asked why we have not urged the Government to re-introduce the original Bill, which provided for granting the Governor-General £8,000 per annum, in addition to the salary provided for by the Constitution. But none of us has said that we would support a Bill to provide an annual grant of £,8000 to the Governor-General. We do not believe there is any justification for keeping up two vice-regal establishments. What we have complained about is the action of the Government in not treating the Governor - General as he should have been treated. That has been disclosed by the correspondence laid upon the table, and which has passed between the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the GovernorGeneral. What we contend is, that the Government ought at a very early date to have laid the whole matter before Parliament, when they would have been able to ascertain the opinions of the representatives of the people. If then they were unable to get as much money voted as would meet His Excellency’s wishes in the matter, of course they could have informed him of the fact, and he could have reduced his expenditure accordingly. That is our complaint. I merely make this statement to explain our position. I thoroughly agree that the Governor-General should be paid to recoup him for the expenditure he has been compelled to incur. It is most lamentable that during the first year of the Commonwealth we should have had such trouble over money matters with the representative of His Majesty. I earnestly hope that the Government will take this as a severe rebuke to themselves, and never again do as they have done in the past.
Senator O’CONNOR (In reply).-I occupied only a very few minutes in moving the second reading of this measure, because the issue involved is a very simple one, and also because it appeared to me that, whether the Opposition were right or not in the accusations they have made against the Government, it could not butbe painful for His Excellency himself to have this debate going on in Parliament, in which there seemed to be no finality, and in which not only the conduct of his Ministers was discussed - and they can very well answer for themselves - but also, however kindly it was done, references were made to him personally and to his office, that could not be otherwise than distasteful. I admit at once that if there isany public ground for speaking of any person in his relations to the State, there is a justification for the discussion of the matter in Parliament. But there should be no unnecessary discussion upon such questions as this ; and it seems to me that the whole of the debate this evening has shown that the course I took was a wise one, and that it would have been much better if it had been followed by other honorable senators. The attack that has been made on the Government this evening has been simply the most pitiful, feeble echo of mendacities that have been invented elsewhere. We have had it, first of all, in that section of the press which finds in everything that the Government does something to jibe at, something to sneer at, something to find fault with. It was taken up in Parliament by the party to which my honorable friends opposite belong, and almost to a man they voted against the measure. They were responsible for the position in consequence of which the Governor-General deemed it necessary to ask to be recalled. Senators now attack the Government for bringing about a condition of things which was entirely due to their own political act. If they believe that the course they adopt is a right one, no one can blame them, but, on the other hand, they ought not to attempt to escape responsibility by making charges of a most ridiculous character against the Government. Before I deal with the question of the action of the Government, I should like to make some reference to what Senator McGregor said this evening. I venture to say that Senator McGregor’s opinion, that the Governor-General has not acted in the way he ought to have acted, would receive but small concurrence throughout Australia. TheGovernor-General found thathe had been maintaining his position on a scale which was impossible without the sacrifice of his own means to a much larger extent than he could afford. His Excellency then did’ what any other man would have been entitled to do. He said - “ I find that Parliament is averse to making my position a tolerable one, and therefore it is impossible for me to retain it any longer.” That was the straightforward course which the GovernorGeneral immediately took, and no doubt he thought it the rightand advisable course under all the circumstances. Whatever may be said of the conduct of the Ministry by the most hostile critic, no one can blame the Governor-General. What is the charge against the Government? There has been no want of epithets, both parliamentary and unparliamentary. We have been accused of duplicity, and one honorable senator went so far as to describe the’ action of the Government as cowardly. I did not appeal to you, Mr. President, for protection, because, under such circumstances, I think I am well able to protect myself. I was rather surprised to find that this charge came from an honorable senator who should be the last in the world to lightly use a word of that kind.
– “ Honorable and gallant member.”
– Well, “ honorable and gallant member.” We have several soldiers in this Chamber, and the honorable senator to whom I refer will be recognised as perhaps one of the finest illustrations of Shakspeare’s description of a soldier - “full of strange oaths,” “ sudden and quick in quarrel,” -
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth -
I do not know whether that description applies exactly to the honorable senator. He seeks “ the bubble reputation,” but I have never heard of his seeking it “ in the cannon’s mouth.” No gentleman who occupies a seat in this Chamber ought to use expressions of the kind to which I have referred without some sense of responsibility. When charges of cowardice, duplicity, double dealing, and of fooling the Governor-General, whom Ministers are sworn to serve faithfully, are made without any foundation, it is degrading to public life, to this assembly, and to the men who make them. If there are any reasons for using such epithets - if the charges can be supported by facts - then by all means there should be no flinching. But when such charges are made angrily, and merely from party motives without a shadow of foundation, they recoil with tenfold force on their authors. What foundation is there for the charge that His Excellency was misled ? I will first take the accusation made by Senator Matheson, who sets himself up as the champion of Mr. Chamberlain. That right honorable gentleman has had many champions in his time, but I should say he has seldom found a champion like my honorable friend opposite. Where does the honorable senator get the secret information on which he relies? He tells ns he knows about a number of things which, when he stated them, are an absolute shock to one’s sense of probability. I assume the honorable senator has some secret sources of information. I do not know whether those secret sources are in the conservative clubs in which the honorable senator spends his time when he is not engaged in posing as an ultrademocrat before the miners of Western Australia. The honorable senator followed almost line by line the despatch of Mr. Chamberlain with a finnicking sort of comment on the words, merely in order to show that Sir William Lyne, who was then Premier of New South Wales, had informed Mr. Chamberlain something about the position of that State. Is not the whole thing ludicrous ? The honorable senator’s remarks had nothing to do with the matter before us, and he merely took advantage of the opportunity to vent his vixenish spirit on a member of the present Government. What is the position disclosed by the papers and the undeniable facts ? In the first place, I quite admit that when the GovernorGeneral came here there was uncertainty in the mind of Mr. Chamberlain and of the Governor-General himself as to the financial requirements of the position. I say that from no special, private, or secret knowledge, because it appears on the face of the despatches. It has been said that Mr. Barton, when he was in London, not as the representative of the Commonwealth - because there was no Commonwealth then in existence - but as the representative of Australia in conducting, or aiding in conducting, the passing of the Commonwealth Bill through the House of Commons, made some pledge–
– Mr. Barton was representing only New South Wales.
- Mr. Barton was the representative of Australia at that time. He was sent by New South Wales, but he went with the approbation of all Australia as the leader of the federal movement in Australia, and as the man chosen out of all others to champion the cause of the Commonwealth in London.
– And New South Wales.
– If there is one man more than another who has shown by his whole life and conduct that he has no narrow provincialism it is Mr. Barton. The man who .accuses Mr. Barton of unjustifiably favouring his own or any other State in purely federal matters does him an injustice. I do not know whether any conversation took place between Mr. Barton, Mr. Chamberlain and the Governor-General, but that has no bearing on the matter before us. We must start from November, when Mr. Chamberlain wrote the despatch in which he put his views before the GovernorGeneral. There is no doubt that at that time, as I said, there was a great deal of uncertainty, and the only knowledge we had of the position of Governor was practically the tradition handed down from the days of the old Crown colonies. At that time Governors were sent out and held a certain position, and there was an obligation to entertain, what in those days, was called “ society.” That tradition has been .continued . ever since, but I think every one “will admit that a feeling has been growing, and is very strong in Australia, that the time has come when the position of Governor should be put on a proper footing - that there should be no obligation to create around Government House, federal or otherwise, a sort of pinchbeck society which is the worst possible imitation of the state of things which prevailed in the old Crown colony days. At the same time, when the Governor-General came here that tradition did prevail. When Mr. Chamberlain’s despatch came, and it was found that, in the early days of the Commonwealth, it would be necessary for the Governor-General to expend a much larger amount in keeping up his establishment and in entertaining than could possibly be called for after the federal capital had been determined on, the Government felt bound, in justice to His Excellency, to make the promise which they did. That promise was to submit a Bill to Parliament which would increase the allowance to the extent of £8,000 per year. It has been said that the Government had no right to make that promise unless they saw a probability of the Bill being carried. My answer to that is that, on the face of the letter of Mr. Barton, all that was promised was to ask Parliament to pass the measure.
– What about the delay 1
– I am at liberty to say that so far as the promise was concerned, the Governor-General knew perfectly well that everything was subject to the approval of Parliament. His Excellency was informed from time to time of the state of affairs, and he knew just as much as did the Government the position in which the BDI stood. But the Governor-General did what he was bound to do ; he left it to Ministers to decide the time which would be opportune for introducing the measure.
– Opportune !
– It is absolutely false to say that there was any neglect or delay on the part of Mr. Barton in introducing the measure.
– Only fourteen months.
– Senator Gould has been a Member of Parliament for a great number of year’s, and has been a member of a Government, and I appeal to his knowledge and his sense of fairness when I ask him whether he does not know that it is the duty of a Minister to find out the time and circumstances under which it is best to introduce a measure ? It would have been a wrong and altogether unjustifiable step, under ordinary conditions of parliamentary government, if this Bill had been introduced in the very early days of the sittings of the Federal Parliament. What was the position then ? We had to frame measures under which our revenue was to be collected ; and it was uncertain, except in a very general way, what that revenue would be. ‘I ask any man, who has a knowledge of parliamentary practice and of the feeling which existed in the Commonwealth in its early days, whether it would have been wise to introduce, amongst the first measures of Parliament, a Bill for adding £8,000 to the allowances of the Governor-General? The Ministry were bound to introduce the measure at a time when, under ordinary circumstances, a financial measure of the kind could properly be introduced, and that was when the finances of the Commonwealth had begun to assume some kind of certainty ; when we knew something of what the revenue of the Commonwealth would be, and something of its expenditure; when we knew what the Estimates would be, and when we were in a position to tell the Parliament of the Commonwealth that this was an expenditure which ought to be made, which was justifiable, and which bore a fair relation to the revenue and to the other expenditure of the Commonwealth. I say that if the Government had acted in any other way than that in which they did act they would have been disregarding the duty which they owed to the GovernorGeneral. What was the duty which they owed him ? It was to exercise their very best judgment and to use their best endeavours to have that measure carried. It is all very well for honorable senators opposite, judging after the event, to say now that the Bill was introduced at the wrong time. So far as they are concerned, it would always have been introduced at the wrong time. If it had been introduced in the earlier part of the session would they have voted for it ? Would they have supported it ? No more than they would later.
– Neither would the honorable and learned senator’s friends.
– But because it is introduced later, because this time elapses, this miserable straw is caught hold of by an opponentlike my honorable and learned friend here, who thinks he can make some sort of accusation against the Government out of it. I say that had the Government done anything else than exercise their discretion, truly and honorably, in bringing this measure before Parliament, and doing their utmost to carry it, they would have failed in their duty. Then it is said - “ But after all, you brought it in, and you did not carry it “ - and here comes the head and front of our offending : “ You did not carry it, and you did not resign.” That is the point ; that is what makes these honorable gentlemen angry.
– We never expected the Government would .resign.
– I appeal again to my honorable and learned friend opposite, who has had some political experience, whether he can fairly say that it would be a justifiable thing in the middle of the passage of a measure like the Tariff, when the finances of the Commonwealth are in process of formation, and in the position in which Australia stands at the present time, if the Government on a matter of that kind were to resign? Would the honorable and learned senator have resigned ? Of course he would not.
– He would not have put himself into such a position.
– The honorable and learned senator does not answer my question. Would he have resigned under the circumstances ?
– He would not have put himself in such a position.
– The honorable and learned senator does not answer the question, because he cannot answer it. The fact is, there is a certain course which honorable senators adopt when they desire to attack the Government, but when they are carrying out the business of real politics they adopt quite another position. We can understand that from what the honorable and learned senator has said already. That being the position, the Government, as I say, took the right course, and they are not responsible for what took place. It is said that they should have gone round button-holing Members of Parliament to find out in what way the vote would go.
– They do on less important matters.
– I say this, and I say it with the full assent of every one interested, that the Governor-General knew the exact position when that Bill was introduced. The Governor-General knew exactly the chances of the Bill, and he had an opportunity of asking his advisers to withdraw it. The Governor-General preferred that the Ministry should exercise their discretion, and the Government thought it right, as they had made this promise, to put the responsibility on the right shoulders.
– Their own majority.
– And they did put the responsibility on the right shoulders - on the shoulders of honorable senators, who are wincing so hard now.
– * Where was the Government majority 1
– The Government renegades.
– -The honorable senator had better not talk about renegades.
– I do.
– The honorable senator should be the last person in the world to speak in that way. I have dealt . with the matter up to the introduction of this measure into Parliament and its defeat. I should like to say what the position was then. It is said that the Government have treated the Governor-General badly because they have fooled him into spending money which will not be paid back to him. That is . absolutely untrue. The Government will pay everything. They have undertaken to ask the assent of Parliament to. pay every portion of the allowance expended up to the 1st of May, when Parliament passed the vote. Parliament will have an opportunity, and honorable senators opposite will have an opportunity, of considering that matter when the Appropriation Bill comes before them. So that the Governor-General is put in exactly the same position as if the Bill had been passed with a retrospective effect from the 1st of May.
– Why did the Government agree to incur the expense of two establishments ?
– I have not time to deal with the irrelevancies of the honorable senator. That being the position, it will, no doubt, be right, and I am quite willing to answer the question very properly put to me by my honorable friend, Senator Millen, as to the details of these allowances.
– I asked for no details covered by the £10,000.
– I know that. The honorable and learned senator said that before.
– I thought the honorable and learned senator might be adopting Senator Keating’s little dodge.
– Really there is no necessity to be offensive to any honorable senator in this matter. I heard what Senator Millen said, and I am going to reply to him.
– I do not desire to be offensive to the honorable and learned senator, but I resent Senator Keating’s imputation.
– I asked the honorable and learned senator for information.
– I must ask honorable senators not to hold conversations across the Chamber.
– I should like, before I answer the question, to state as concisely as possible the financial position of these different allowances and salaries. In the- first place, we know there is the salary of £10,000 under the Constitution. In addition to that provision was made for certain services - improperly called allowances, no doubt, and I quite agree with the distinction made in that respect by Senator Downer - which amounted altogether to £6,242 a year. That covers items that either have been, paid or are on the Estimates to be paid. That allowance will be continued. It is necessary to put the GovernorGeneral in the position of occupying , a house which is the property of the Federal Government. That is to say there is certain expenditure for gardens, for the upkeep of the house, repairs, official stationery, telegrams, cables, and all other matters of that sort which may be taken to be connected with the official residence, and the carrying out of official duties there. These payments amount to about £6,242 a year.
– Would they have been included in the £8,000 a year?
– No ; I am going to point out that this is a different thing altogether. These are payments which are made in connexion with every Government House, and are very properly made. That is to say, if we give our Governor-General a house to live in at Melbourne, at Sydney, or a country residence, for instance, at Moss “Vale, we keep the house and gardens in order, and we supply all official stationery, and other matters strictly connected with the official working of the residence.
– That has been done all along.
– That has been done all .along, and will be done all along.
– I quite agree that it ought to be.
– There is then the £10,000 salary, and this amount of £6,242. These amounts make together over £16,000, but in addition the Bill brought before the House of Representatives asked for an allowance to the Governor-General of £8,000 a year. That was intended to cover salaries of his staff, such as his private secretary, his aide-de-camp, and other necessary officers whs are his servants. It was intended also to cover the electric lighting of Government House, fuel, flags, private printing and stationery, breakages in the house, the hire of marquees for entertaining, and other matters of that kind. The expenditure upon these items was estimated to amount to £4,250, and the balance of the £8,000- namely, £3,750 - was to meet the expenses of entertainment in the two capitals of Sydney and Melbourne, and the travelling and other expenses by rail, and all expenses except the upkeep of the two houses. That was the allowance which, with all these details, and all this particularity, the GovernorGeneral was informed that Parliament would be asked for. His Excellency knew it would be subject to the approval of Parliament, and His Excellency knew what the chances and conditions of the approval of Parliament were. That Bill, as we know, was lost, and instead of the proposed allowance the Governor-General is to be paid £10,000 to recoup him for expenses he was put to in entertaining. Something has been said, and I should like to deal with it very shortly, about the position of these two capitals of Sydney and Melbourne. I should like to say at once, so far as my own State is concerned, that there has been no more mischievous nonsense talked in this debate than the accusation made by honorable senators about New South Wales being jealous in this matter, and about there being any such pettiness as an endeavour to capture the Governor-General and secure that he should live in a particular part of Australia. All that is absolutely without any foundation. On the ‘contrary, it. being assumed that the Governor-General would spend a great deal of his time in the northern capital of New South Wales when Parliament was not sitting, it was thought right that he should have a fitting residence there, and the Parliament of New- South “Wales made financial provision for his residence there, and the np-keep of that establishment. I have really been astonished to find honorable senators who deny that there is any provision whatever in the Constitution with regard to the establishment of a second capital, assuming that because the Constitution says that the Parliament is to sit in Melbourne, Melbourne is therefore the seat of government. There is only one seat of government known to the Constitution. That is the seat of government which is to be established under the Constitution itself by an Act of the Federal Parliament. Of course, it is quite open to the Government, the Governor-General, or any other executive officer of the Government, to transact his business in -any part of the Commonwealth he thinks fit. There must be a place in which that business shall .be transacted, but there is nothing in the world to prevent that business being transacted in the session here, and in the recess in Sydney, or in any other part of the Commonwealth. And it was only a reasonable expectation, in view of the position and the importance of the city of Sydney, that certainly there would be a time when Parliament was not sitting, and when the Governor - General would not necessarily be detained in Melbourne, when he would reside in Sydney, and proper provision was made for his residence there. It is mischievous nonsense, because I do not think there is anything worse in this debate than the attempt to. introduce this spirit of petty rivalry, which ought to have been dead long ago, which, I believe, is rapidly dying, and which exists more in the imagination of honorable senators, who know nothing of these two capitals, than in those places. That is the reason why this provision has been made, including the provision for the maintenance of the establishments in these capitals for the future. The intention of the Government is to ask Parliament for a grant of £7,602 for the up-keep of the two Government Houses, and the office expenses and other official charges connected with the position of GovernorGeneral. All other expenses, suchas the salaries of the staff, gas, electriclight, fuel, and all matters connected with the cost of entertaining or of carrying on the establishment will be borne by the GovernorGeneral.
– Is that in lieu of the £6,200?
– It covers all the items which will be settled on a scale about which there can be no dispute. I feel quite certain that it will be much better for Australia, and much better for the Colonial-office, to understand once and for all that what Australia requires is an official who will be lodged and paid in accordance with his very high position, and a not too lavish expenditure on what is called society. I believe I am speaking the sentiments of every Australian when Isay that we regard it as something in the nature of a degradation that a gentleman should be sent out from the mother country to take this great position because he has a large amount of money tospend in entertainments. We pay him to uphold his official position. I have no doubt that amongst the public men of England there are many who would esteem it a high honour to occupy the position of the King’s representative in this Commonwealth. So far as the Governor-General is concerned, he has expressed himself over and over again as being thoroughly satisfied with everything which has been done by his Ministers, and thoroughly in accord with every action which they have taken from beginning to end in this matter. I repeat that, although the result may be to clear the air, and to establish better definite relations between Ourselves and the Colonial-office in regard to the position of Governor-General, nobody can fail to feel the most profound regret that in the process of bringing about those relations, we should be deprived of the services of our present Governor-General.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 3 (Allowance to Governor-General).
– A statement has appeared in the press, and I believe it was made by the AttorneyGeneral, that the Governor-General had intimated that, as the result of a statement which he had seen somewhere - that this vote of £10,000 had been passed under a misapprehension by the other House - he was willing to receive only 8,000. Senator O’Connor is, I believe, in a position to say whether that statement was mode by his honorable and learned colleague, and, if so, I wish to know, as the committee has a right to know, whether it is really required to vote £8,000 or £10,000?
– I cannot answer the honorable and learned senator’s question as he puts it, because it seems to me that he is under a misapprehension. All I know about the matter is, that when the vote was given, the Governor-General saw the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, and His Excellency was under a misapprehension then as to what the vote of £10,000 included, and expressed his willingness to return a portion of it if he should have made any mistake. I do not know the details, but I know that that took place at the time. But really it does not affect the question, because there is no doubt that his Excellency has spent very many more thousands than ten in the carrying out of these entertainments.
Clause agreed to.
Bill reported, without amendment.
Senate adjourned at 10.53 p.m..
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 29 May 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020529_senate_1_10/>.