1st Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– As the question seems to involve the interpretation of the Constitution Act, I am not prepared to give an answer off-hand.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Wales since 1896, were previously connected with with the police force of that State.
It is understood to be the duty of the State police to protect such property. ‘
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
In the case of the two Chinese, Ah Sang and Ah Fook, who were prosecuted in the Melbourne City Police Court on 30th June, under the Immigration Restriction Act, for having made false statements regarding naturalization papers in their possession -
Have these two Chinese been admitted into the Commonwealth ?
If so, was the educational test applied to them, and in what language ?
If they have been admitted, under what section of the Act ?
Is it the intention of the Government to take any further action in the matter ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Post master-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Congress, which, however, was postponed after his departure for thut city.
Senator DRAKE laid upon the table
Correspondence between the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Government of the Commonwealth and the Government of South Australia with reference to the case of the ship Vondel.
Ordered to be printed.
Ordered (on motion by Senator Glassby) -
That the Commonwealth Public Service Regulations, laid on the table on the 27th May, 1903, be printed.
Ordered (on motion by Senator Keating) -
That there be laid on the table of this Senate copies of all correspondence that has passed between the Government of the Commonwealth and the Government of Tasmania, and of all documents relative to the granting of gra’tuities to tho representatives of deceased officers of the transferred Departments of the State of Tasmania.
– I move -
That the Bill be recommitted.
I am sorry that I was not present yesterday, but I have read the newspaper reports of the discussion on a subject with which I was fairly familiar, and as my views do not correspond with the decision of the majority, I thought it my duty to intervene at the earliest possible opportunity, with a . view to prevent the Senate from resolving upon a course of action which, in my opinion, is diametrically opposed to the most expressed terms of the Constitution and the intention of its framers. This matter was very much debated in the Convention. The framers of the Constitution had very carefully to consider the manner in which the regular periodical vacancies should be filled, and the provision that should be made for filling vacancies which were not periodica], but casual. Great trouble was taken to so frame the Constitution that nothing should interfere with the due filling of periodical vacancies, and that there should be no possible misunderstanding of the letter of the Constitution or its intention as to the manner in which casual vacancies should be filled. There was no difficulty of course about periodical vacancies : they arose by the mere force of the statute, and machinery was accordingly provided for the election of new senators. Having done with the general question, we had to consider the question of filling a casual vacancy such as has occurred through the lamented death of Senator Sargood. While keeping the Senate full as to its number throughout, we wished to give the constituents an opportunity of pronouncing on the view which the State Parliament, or, if it was not in session, the Governor in Council, chose to take as to the person to be nominated. AVe carefully provided first of all an immediate power to fill up the vacancy, and secondly, that the person so appointed should hold the seat until the election of a successor. And then solely and simply for the purpose of saving the expense of an election - merely as a matter of machinery, and not as a question of principle at all - we provided that the election should take place when there was a general election for the House of Representatives, or an election of senators. It was pointed out, and it was recognised, that it might be only a month or two before such an election took1 place, and that it would be very injudicious to put the State to an expense of £3,000 or i>A,000 for the purpose of an election which, in the ordinary course of things, could be held without additional expense. Section 15 provides -
IF the place of a senator becomes vacant before the expiration of his term of service, the Houses of Parliament of the State for which he was chosen shall, sitting and voting together, choose a person to hold the place until the expiration of the term, or until the election of a successor us hereinafter provided, whichever first happens.
But if the Houses of Parliament qf the State are not in session at the time when the vacancy is notified, the Governor of the State, with the advice of the Executive Council thereof, may appoint a person to hold the place until the expiration of fourteen days after the beginning of the next session of the Parliament of the State, or until the election of a successor, whichever first happens.
At the next general election of members of the House of Representatives, or at the next election of senators for the State, whichever first happens, a successor shall, if the term has not then expired, be chosen -
What for ? to hold the place from the date of his election until the expiration of the term.
Can one conceive a provision more carefully framed to carry out the intention which was involved in the question I asked the PostmasterGeneral this afternoon -
Whether, under the Senate Elections Bill, as reported yesterday, it is the intention of the Government that any person elected to fill a casual vacancy in the Senate should hold his office beyond the period to which his predecessor would have been entitled to hold it had he remained a senator ?
The honorable, and learned gentleman thought it was inexpedient to answer the question. Of course, he knows perfectly well that what the Bill provides is contrary to the Constitution.
– I do not.
– With us, as with all others, it will be found necessary as time, goes on to put our foot down very firmly, and preserve both the letter and spirit of the Constitution. In section 15 it is provided as clearly as possible that -
At the next election of senators, a successor shall, if the term has not then expired, be chosen to hold the place from the date of his election until the expiration of the term.
That provision, first of all, only authorized that the senator elected in place of the senator ceasing to hold office from any cause should step into his shoes ; should be exactly where he was. He was to hold office during the unexpired portion of the senator’s term. Language could not have been more carefully framed to express what was meant, and it could not be clearer.
– Does it not leave open the method of choosing 1
– First of all consider why this was done We all know that it was done to save the expense of a by-election.
– Nothingbu t convenience. There was no intention to establish any principle. The intention was simply to prevent the expense of a by-election, and to let the electors who came to vote for candidates to fill the periodical vacancies be able to vote at the same time for candidates to fill any casual vacancy. It would be assumed to follow as a corollary that although the election took place at that time there would have to be two ballot-papers, one for the election for the casual vacancy, and the other for the election for the periodical vacancies. In my opinion, that should follow as a matter of course. There would be candidates for the casual vacancy, and candidates for the periodical vacancies; just in the same way as, supposing we had not determined to save expense in that way, there would have been, in the first instance, an election for the casual vacancy, and candidates would have had to be nominated for that and nothing else. Because it was determined that the two elections should take place at the same time the principle was not altered. It was determined as a matter of convenience to hold the two elections together, but there were still two elections - one election for the casual vacancies, and the other for the periodical vacancies. The electors are the same in each case, but we save them the trouble of making two trips to the poll. We did everything that was required to provide that the person elected to fill the casual vacancy should hold his seat merely for the unexpired term of his predecessor. Is that carried out in this Bill ? A coach-and-four is driven through the section of the Constitution by the clause which provides that there shall be one ballot paper, and not two, and that at the election the casual vacancies shall be jumbled up with the periodical vacancies. The Bill does not distinguish between them. It provides that every candidate may be considered to be a candidate both for the periodical and the casual vacancies. If it does anything it does that ; and if it does that it does what is absolutely illegal, because constitutionally one candidate cannot be a candidate for both positions. He must make his selection, and say whether he stands for the casual or for the periodical vacancy. The Government may have devised a comfortable way in which to carry out the Constitution. But the election proposed is an olla podrida . in which they mix up the casual and the regular vacancies. The Bill says -
The election of senators to fill the periodical, vacancies and of senators to fill the casual vacancies shall be conducted as one election of senators.
Absolutely illegal, I venture respectfully to suggest.
The number of candidates requiring to be elected at the election shall be the whole number required to fill the periodical and the casual vacancies.
The same remark applies still more forcibly to that.
The writ for the election may be in the form in schedule A to this Act.
Which schedule says it is to refer to both.
Nominations may be in the form in Schedule B to this Act.
That is immaterial. Then clause 9 says -
Those of the elected candidates to the number of the periodical vacancies, who receive the greatest number of votes shall be elected to fill the periodical vacancies.
That is, all the candidates for casual and periodical vacancies are to be on the same footing. It might as well be made to read this way -
Those of the elected candidates, who stand both for casual and periodical vacancies, whoreceive the greatest number of votes shall be elected to fill the periodical vacancies.
So that candidates for the casual vacancies, who by the very terms of the Constitution are only to hold office from the date of their election till the expiration of the term of the senators whom they succeed, are by this Bill, if they are put at the top of the poll, to be elected to the periodical vacancies, whilst the retiring senators who stand for periodical vacancies, and who if reelected should hold office for six years, may only hold office for six months.
The elected candidates who are not elected tofill the periodical vacancies shall be elected to fill the casual vacancies.
So that candidates who are standing for the periodical vacancies may get elected for the casual vacancies and vice versa. And this I venture to say is driving a coach and four through the Constitution, because the Constitution only postpones the election for a casual vacancy as a matter of convenience. In order to save expense ifr was provided that the election for a casual vacancy should take place at a time when another election was going on, and that the two elections should take place together. They were to be two separate elections though conducted at the same time. I venture to say that this BUI absolutely ignores the Constitution, and proposes in a roughandread’ way to do what the Government may think to be fair abstract justice, and what they would have provided for if they had had the drafting of the Constitution - which I am glad to say they had not. They are, by endeavouring to do abstract justice, absolutely overriding the letter of the Constitution. The time of the holding of the election was a mere matter of form, and the matter of substance was that the election m’as to fill casual and periodical vacancies. I move that the whole Bill be recommitted, because it is very difficult to distinguish between clauses. Every clause in it is more or less based on some fallacious reading of the Constitution, and it is impossible to let any clause stand without interfering with the Constitution.
– It is not necessary for me to say that I have listened with attention and great respect to the expression of views with which we have’ been favoured by the honorable and learned senator, but I must confess that I came to the conclusion that he hardly made good his assertion that this Bill was contrary to the express provisions of the Constitution. Several honorable senators have objected to the Bill upon the same grounds as Senator Downer, but they have never gone further than to urge that the Constitution is silent, and that something might be implied from its terms, and from its silence on particular points, to warrant the conclusion that the Bill now under consideration is contrary to what the Constitution provides. Senator Downer’s argument depends on the latter portion of section 15, which says -
At the next general election of members of the House of Representatives, or at the next election of senators for the State, whichever first happens, a successor shall, if the term has not then expired, be chosen to hold the place from the date of his election until the expiration of the term.
There it is- “shall be chosen.” The Constitution says that at that election a person shall be chosen. It is quite silent as to the method of election. Then this Bill comes, along and says that, at the same time as we are holding an election to fill three periodical vacancies, we shall hold an election for the one casual vacancy ; and that the person who is fourth upon the poll shall be the person under the Constitution chosen to fill the casual vacancy. The Constitution knows nothing of persons. It does not know - one person from another. As long as the elected candidate has the necessary qualifications and is properly nominated, he stands upon the same ground as any other candidate. It does not matter whether or not lie was ever in Parliament before. It is the people who choose, and all that we are doing now is to prescribe the method by which the person shall be chosen, the Constitution being absolutely silent on that point. It says that a person shall be chosen to fill the position, but it does not tell us how he is to be chosen, except that he is to be chosen at that election. It was necessary that some method should be supplied to carry out the express intention of the Constitution. This Bill provides for such cases not, I think, against the letter or the spirit of the Constitution, but entirely in accordance with its spirit.
– I confess that I cannot follow with any degree of favour the statement just made by my honorable friend the PostmasterGeneral. I followed Senator Downer in his very clear exposition of what the Constitution provides. He having been one of the framers of the Constitution - I dare say one of the framers of this particular section which we are now discussing - I attach very great weight to his statements. The vacancy which unfortunately has occurred in Victoria has afforded a good deal of room for discussion. I am very anxious to arrive at a definite and correct conclusion. The Bill before the Senate provides what is to happen when four or more senators are to be elected at one election. We have in this Chamber a gentleman who was chosen by the two branches of the Victorian State Legislature to fill the casual vacancy created by the death of our late lamented colleague Senator Sargood. The framers of the Constitution intended that the State Parliament should temporarily fill any such vacancy. The Victorian Parliament has returned Senator Reid to the Senate. The Constitution has been complied with up to the present time. Senator Reid holds his seat until such time as an election takes place. Having followed the arguments, I take it that when Senator Reid stands for election he will merely ask the electors to confirm him in the position to which he has been elected. If the electors do so, Senator Reid, in accordance with the wishes of the framers of the Constitution, should hold office for the balance of the term for which Senator Sargood was elected.
– There is no expression in the Constitution about. “ confirmation.”
– There may not be that word, but unquestionably that is what is implied. Three Victorian senators, in addition to SenatorReid, retire at the coming election. It is just possible that SenatorReid may be elected at the top of the poll, or be one of the first three to be elected for six years. The Constitution never contemplated anything of the kind, nor did the two branches of the State Legislature of Victoria when they returned Senator Reid. The Victorian . Parliament merely intended to fill the casual vacancy. I certainly do not agree that the measure, as submitted by the Government, is a correct one, and if it goes to a division I shall vote as I did yesterday. It seems to me that the Bill is contrary to the will of the framers of the Constitution, and that they never intended that anything of this kind should occur.
– I listened with the very greatest pleasure to the remarks made by Senator Downer, because I was one of those who yesterday strongly expressed a view similar to that laid before us to-day by the honorable and learned senator. In commenting upon this fact, the PostmasterGeneral said just now that, although some of us advocated yesterday the view now put forward by Senator Downer, none of us went so far as he did. That matter may be readily explained. We do not belong to the legal profession, and we naturally had very great diffidence in opposing, on constitutional grounds, a Bill reputed to have been drafted by a legal man, and supported by a gentleman of the attainments of the Postmaster-General. I fail to see how any one who carefully reads the Constitution can differ materially from the views expressed by Senator Downer. It is all very well for the Postmaster-General to say that nothing is prescribed by the Constitution as to the method of election; but I submit that there is a certain amount of prescription in the Constitution. At the end of section 15 we have the specific instruction that the successor - shall, if the terra has not then expired, be chosen ‘to hold the place.
Those are the three specific points, and we may confine our attention to these words. We need not consider the question of dates or anything of that kind. What we have to consider is what constitutes an election to “ hold the place.” We have to ask ourselves is it the election of a specific person to hold a specific place that is referred to when we say in the Bill that the. residue - the man who stands fourth on the list - is to be put into that place. He is not elected to fill the place in any sense of the term. He is a residue. An election of senators is to take place. We have considered the Bill, and we have said that the first three senators shall be deemed to be elected for six years, and that the fourth shall be deemed to be elected for three years. That, I think, is a fair way of expressing the situation. We are not to have what the Constitution requires - a specific election - to fill the seat rendered vacant. That is my point. I may be absolutely wrong. I am not a lawyer, but when I find Senator Downer supporting my view I feel that it is considerably strengthened. If my common sense, as a civilian, agrees with Senator Downer’s acumen as a lawyer, there must be considerable force in the argument. The present situation shows the inconvenience of having to deal with questions of this kind in a thin House. We should have a full representation of the legal ability of the Senate, on both sides, debating this matter, and dealing with it in such a way that those who have not had a legal education might be able to clearly weigh these subtle points. I shall certainly support the proposal that the Bill be recommitted with a view to redrafting the clause in question, in accordance with the Constitution.
– The constitutional authorities in the Senate are once more awake ; but I really do not consider that there is any necessity for their alertness. I should like to point out to those honorable senators who disclaim any knowledge of the Constitution, because they do not belong to the legal profession, that there is no cause for alarm.
– I did not disclaim any knowledge of the Constitution. I said that we required legal assistance to help us in weighing the points.
– I have heard constitutional questions discussed in the Senate, from time to time, since the establishment of the Parliament, and honorable senators who belong to the legal profession have generally been equally divided oh every point discussed, so that apparently they are no greater authorities in regard to the interpretation of the Constitution than are other honorable senators who possess the slightest . degree of common sense. I do not wish to say that my common sense is greater than that” of Senator Styles, Senator Barrett, or Senator Glassey ; and it is by no means greater than that possessed by Senator Downer. But, from my point of view, in discussing this question honorable senators have paid too much attention to the position of individuals, and insufficient attention to the real position that every candidate must occupy at the time of election. At the forthcoming election for the Senate, neither Senator Barrett, Senator Styles, nor Senator Reid will be anymore to the public than John Brown, Tom Johnson, or any one else who ra;iy come forward as a candidate. As to whether John Brown, Tom Johnson, Senator Bteid, or any one else shall occupy a seat in the Senate for six or three years, the Constitution is silent. But I desire honorable senators to consider the question not solely from the point of view of section 15 of the Constitution.We must consider the words that are used. Section 15 provides that a senator is to be “chosen” to fill any casual vacancy. Prom whom is the selection to be made ? Whether it is an election for the House of Representatives or for the Senate the selection is to be made from the number of candidates who offer themselves for election.
– No; who offer themselves for that particular . vacancy.
– Nothing of the kind. I wish to call Senator Glassey’s attention to section 13 of the Constitution. The Constitution does not prescribe the method upon which we are to proceed to make a classification. It simply states that the senators elected are to be divided into two classes. ‘ It gives us no idea of whether we are to place the three highest on the poll or the three lowest in a certain class. What did we do after the first election ? We took the three highest on the poll, and placed them in one class, while we placed the three lowest in the other class. On that occasion, which was far more important than any matter relating to the position of only one or two honorable senators could be, we adopted the very plan that is prescribed in this Bill. What is this Bill for? There were some who had doubts as to the intention of the Constitution, and a hazy idea prevailed among the constitutional authorities that at an election to fill three ordinary vacancies as well as to fill a casual vacancv there would have to be two sets of ballot-papers. Then some member of the Federal Parliament conceived the idea that it would be far better to settle this question by an Act of Parliament under the Constitution, so that there would be no’ difficulty when such an event took place. It was said - “ Come, let us reason together and fix the thing up, so that we may avoid this trouble.” As a result, this Bill was introduced. Will Senator ..Downer, with all his knowledge of constitutional matters and all his astuteness, say that the Federal Parliament has not the right to pass a Bill of this kind ? If so, let him look at section 10 of the Constitution, and he will see that, “until Parliament otherwise provides,” the election of senators is to be carried out under the law existing for the more numerous House in each of the States. Is not that exactly what we are told ?
– That is not what we are doing.
– If no step such as this were taken by the Federal Parliament, we should have to fall back upon that provision. That section gives us power to pass a measure of this kind. What will be the effect of this Bill when it becomes law? It will prevent the con-‘ fusion that would otherwise occur owing to the hazy view as to the interpretation of the Constitution to which I have already referred. We have now only one casual vacancy that has to be filled. Before the election takes place, however, there maybe othervacancies, although I trust that such will not be the case. But we are not going to deal simply with things as they are. In this Bill we are making provision for possibilities that may arise before another election takes place, and we say that in order to avoid difficulty with respect to the classification of those elected, the three who are highest on the poll shall hold their f-sats for the six years . during which a senator ordinarily elected would he entitled to hold his seat. The public have no consideration for candidates so far as their previous membership is concerned, nor with respect to the position they shall occupy during the next term ; but whenever they say, “ These are the four, five, or six men that we prefer to see in the Senate,” this Bill will enable the three who are highest on the poll to hold their seats for the six years during which an honorable senator ordinarily elected would be entitled to sit. The fourth man, and if necessary the fifth man, and if further necessary the sixth man-
– The residue.
– As Senator Matheson has said, the residue will fill the other positions, and will only continuein those positions for the term of those who would have occupied them if they had not retired or died. Seeing that section 10 of the Constitution gives us power to pass an Act of Parliament to order how our elections 3hall be carried out, and seeing that there is no violation either, of the letter or the 3pirit of the Constitution in doing so, I hope honorable senators will see fit to refuse any further recommittal and any further waste of time in the discussion of a Bill of this kind.
– I cannot agree with Senator Downer in the point which he has taken that, in the class of cases referred to in the course of this debate, there is any constitutional obligation to have two separate elections - one to fill the casual vacancies, and another to fill the periodical vacancies. In looking through section 15 of the Constitution, to which the honorable and learned senator and Senator Matheson have particularly referred - and the specific words in that section which Senator Matheson suggests have a bearing upon this matter - we find that the section is mandatory in certain respects. It is mandatory in respect of the duty of choosing a successor. It is! mandatory in respect of the time at which that successor must be chosen, namely, at the first general election for the casual vacancy, or at . the first election of senators. Beyond those two points - the duty of choosing a successor and the time at which he must be chosen - the section is not mandatory.
– Except that he is to be elected “ to hold the place.”
– Exactly ; it is : mandatory as to the necessity of his being chosen to hold the place.
– And if he is not a ; candidate “to hold the place” he cannot be elected to do so.
– The section is . not mandatory as to the method in which he shall be chosen or elected to hold the place. It is for us to prescribe that method. Senator Glassey referred to the possibilities which may arise in the case of an election for senators in Victoria. But I point out to the honorable senator that his argument seems to be based upon the assumption that in such a case the retiring senators representing Victoria would each go for a renewal of the occupancy of the particular places here which they now occupy. The honorable senator is assuming that the three men retiring, and creating periodical vacancies, would go to the poll in order to get their places again, and that the one man retiring whohasbeen the interim appointee to fill the place previously filled by another honorable senator, would go before the electors for a renewal of the right to hold the particular place of his predecessor which he is now occupying. That is an assumption, of course, which we should not make . in determining the principle which should govern the election.
– We should contemplate, also, the possibility of one man running for both positions.
– That is, of course, to be considered also. It is pointed out by Quick and Garran that it would be competent for a person occupying a place during the interim between the occurrence of a casual vacancy and the next election to stand for both a periodical vacancy and a casual vacancy, and the electors must decide the question. We prescribe by this Bill the method in which the casual vacancy and the periodica] vacancies shall be filled. The Constitution prescribes, as has been pointed out by Senator Downer, as a matter of convenience how - during the period between the occurrence of a casual vacancy and the first election when the people can be consulted - the place shall be filled. Now we are proposing to prescribe, and in the most convenient method possible in all the circumstances, how when the people are being consulted they shall fill both casual and periodical vacancies. Senator Matheson says that the method proposed is not an election at all ; it is just putting the residue into the position. But if the honorable senator presses that argument, he must see that one-half of the members of this Senate are the residue.
– No; because they have been specifically elected.
– All the honorable senators of the first class who retire at the end of three years would, according to Senator Matheson’s argument, be the residue of the Senate. We took up a certain position under that section of the Constitution, which enabled us to determine the rotation of senators, and we made the three lowest on the poll in each case, senators of the first class and liable to retire at the end of three years.
– We did that after they had been elected, and when it was an open question.
– It is true that they were all elected senators, and we determined that they should occupy their seats for the shorter time. We decided that the three lowest on the poll in each of the States should be the senators upon whom it would be obligatory to retire at the end of three years, and by doing so we made those honorable senators in the terms of Senator Matheson’s argument, the residue of the State.
– We did not.
– Now we have to determine how casual and periodical vacancies shall be filled. We say for instance, that there are four vacancies in the Senate in the representation of Victoria : three periodical vacancies and one . casual vacancy. Those who are elected to fill the three periodical vacancies will be elected to serve for a period of six years, and whoever is elected to fill the casual vacancy will be elected to serve for a period of, say, three years. We decide to call for candidates to fill the four vacancies, and those candidates will be competent to offer themselves as candidates to fill either the periodica] vacancies or the casual vacancy. In the terms of the Bill it is prescribed that the three highest on the poll at the election shall fill the periodical vacancies and be elected to serve in the Senate for six years, and that the fourth on the poll shall be chosen to fill the casual vacancy and shall have the shorter term. I see nothing in the Constitu tion which deprives us of competenceto pass legislation of that kind. To take case without mentioning names at all Senators A, B, and C are retiring at the end of their period, and Senator D, who has been appointed to fill a casual vacancy must also retire. According to Senator Glassey’s argument A, B, and C are going for election for a period of six years, and
D is submitting himself simply to confirm his appointment to the Senate made by the States Parliament.
– Hear, hear.
– But it really would not be so. A, B, C, D, and as many others as may choose to stand will be competing for all the vacancies. The electors may choose to say, for instance - “ D is a man who, in our estimation is preferable even to A, and we shall put A in D’s place and let hinj occupy a seat in the’ Senate for the balance of the term of the retired or deceased senator. D has served for a short time, but he has shown his superiority over A, and we shall therefore put him in A’s place, and put him into the Senate for the six years’ term.” The electors should have every right to do that if they think fit.
– So they could if he stood for a periodical, and not for the casual vacancy.
– Then my honorable and learned friend’s suggestion would necessitate that the candidate should select the particular seat for which he would stand, and in that case the people would not have their opportunity. If the candidate said that he was seeking to fill the casual vacancy under the proposal which has been made, the electors could not elect him for the full term of six years.
– No ; but he would have had his choice.
– But if he sought the casual vacancy, no matter how strongly he was supported at the polls by the people, the term which he would serve on election would be only the unexpired balance of the term of the deceased or retiring senator.
– That is all.
– In the interests of the people, and in conformity with the spirit . and the letter of the Constitution, we are perfectly right in allowing every candidate who comes forward to be nominated to fill either the casual vacancy or the periodical vacancy, and it should be left entirely to the electors to determine which places the elected candidates should fill. We cannot get a better expression of their choice as to which candidates should fill the different positions than we shall get by a recognition of the manner in which they have been supported at the polls. More especially is this so when our legislation is so designed as to secure that those who have clearly the fullest confidence of the people shall occupy seats in the Senate for the longer term.
– I should have been well content to allow this Bill to go to the third reading after the debate which took place yesterday. The debate to-dajr has taken place owing to Senator Downer having risen to emphasize and to uphold the contention of- certain honorable senators yesterday that the Bill is utterly illegal. I am sorry the honorable and learned senator was not present yesterday.
– We fought it all outyesterday.
– It was fought out yesterday, but the fact that certain arguments have to-day been reiterated by certain honorable senators upholding the position of the Government, renders it necessary that I and other honorable senators who have taken the opposite view should again point out that it is wrong to assume that this Bill is in accordance with the Constitution. Notwithstanding . the assertions made by those who believe that the Bill is perfectly constitutional, the discussion which has taken place clearly shows that there is a wide margin for doubt as to which contention is right. Senator McGregor, in speaking to the question, was rather hard upon those honorable senators who have raised the difficulty. I make no apology for the stand I took in opposing this Bill on the second reading, and submitting the reasons which have since given rise to discussion, and in connexion with which I have been ably seconded by Senator Styles. I feel that the statement made by Senator McGregor is uncalled for, because retiring senators’ representing Victoria will be in a more favorable position under this Bill than they would be if our suggestions were adopted. Senator McGregor says that too much attention has been paid to individuals in dealing with the question. If the retiring “senators looked at the matterfrom that purely selfish point of view-
– I did not mean it in that sense. I meant that the persons should be lost sight of and the positions taken into account. It is not a question of either Senator Barrett or Senator Styles.
– I accept the honorable senator’s disclaimer, but I thought from the arguments he used that he was imputing that those who were taking the opposite side in this question had certain views in their minds in regard to it. What is the position? If the Bill be passed, the retiring senators will be in a better posicion, because, as has been pointed out repeatedly, they will have a fourth chance. If the view , taken by Senator Downer is correct, that there should be two elections at the one time to fill the periodical vacancies and the casual vacancy, those who retire would be cutting themselves off from one chance by adopting what they believe to be a strictly constitutional attitude in dealing with this Bill. The Constitution is perfectly clear. Senator Downer has pointed out the steps to be taken in dealing with casual vacancies. Yesterday I said that it was simply for the sake of convenience, and to save expense, that a certain course was prescribed. Simply because it was inconvenient to hold an election, and to involve the State in a large expenditure, the State Parliament, or, if it was not in session, the Governor in Council, was empowered to temporarily fill any vacancy. It is possible under the Bill that two senators may be elected at different stages to the one position. Supposing that A, B, and C, are the retiring senators for Victoria, and that D was chosen to fill a casual vacancy. According to the latter portion of section 15 of the Constitution, a successor to the senator whose place A wws chosen to fill, has to be elected. By whom? By the electors of the State, and he is to hold the place for the unexpired portion of the term. I feel a certain amount of diffidence in differing from those who are supposed to know the Constitution better than I do. I think the view which was pointed out yesterday, and which was emphasized to-day, is the correct one. Under the Constitution, the two sets of vacancies have to be kept distinct, and that can only be done by carrying out an election in the way which has been mentioned by Senator Downer. Therefore the Bill is ultra vwes of the Constitution, and it ought not to be passed.
– In view of the lengthy manner in which this question has been ‘discussed, I purpose to say but very few words. I hold the opinion that the terms of the Bill are strictly within the limits of the Constitution. Naturally one listens with great respect to the opinion of a framer of the Constitution. But apart from what may have been the actuating views of its framers, we have to take the Constitution exactly as it is written. I take the words which Senator- .Downer used as supporting his cause to be a com-, pleteanswer to his argument. We can agree about this much, that at the end of this year there will be four places vacant in the representation of this State, three representing periodical vacancies, and the other a casual vacancy. When the general election comes on, there are four vacancies to be filled. The Electoral Act provides how elections shall take place when vacancies occur. In pursuance of section 10 of the Constitution Act, Parliament may provide a method which supersedes the State methods. All that has been attempted to be done by this Bill is to show how the four vacancies shall be filled. It is quite true that it was necessary that there should be some differentiation in the terms of the Bill in providing for various contingencies j but that has been wiped out when we get to the stage of a general election. It is clearly competent for the Parliament to say how the fourvacancies shall be filled - in other words, to prescribe the machinery by which it shall be done. Every candidate is a competitor for each of the vacancies. The Bill provides how the four candidates highest on the poll, who shall be deemed to be elected, shall be dealt with. . It is mere detail : it is simply a question as to how they shall be dealt with. The three men who are highest on the poll will fill the three periodical vacancies, and the fourth highest is elected to fill the casual vacancy. Section 15 of the Constitution Act provides’ that a successor to the late senator shall, if the term has not expired, be chosen, which means elected. Clause 9 of the Bill says -
The elected candidates who are not elected to fill the periodical vacancies shall be elected to fill casual vacancies.
It means that the electors, having this machinery before them, have chosen the fourth man for the fourth position - that is the casual vacancy - in the very terms of the Constitution Act. The Constitution Act says that a successor shall be chosen to hold the place from the date of the election until the expiration of the terra. The Bill simply prescribes the manner in which the man to fill the casual vacancy shall be chosen. It is a mere machinery Bill, which does no injustice to the electors. It provides for a mere assignment of places to the persons who are chosen by the electors. It is clearly within the competence of this Parliament to adopt this method, and certainly it will be a convenience to the electors.
– I am extremely pleased that Senator Downer has raised this issue, because, as one of the three draftsmen, he is in an excellent position to know the spirit of the Constitution. I think, he has clearly shown that it provides for two elections, should an election for the Senate be held before an election of the House of Representatives. Supposing that the latter House had to appeal to the country next month, there would be an election to fill the seat vacated by the death of Senator Sargood, and a candidate would go up for election to hold the place for the balance of the original term. As it happens, a periodica] election for the Senate will be held first. There will have to be two tickets - one with respect to the three seats vacated by effluxion of time and the other with .respect to the seat vacated by the death of Senator Sargood. I hope that the Senate, even at this late stage, will either amend the Bill or vote against its third reading, and allow the Government to introduce a measure providing a method of election which does conform with the Constitution.
– I listened with much interest to what was said yesterday and to-day. It seems to me that Senator McGregor hit the nail on the head when he referred to section 10 of the Constitution Act, which begins with’ the words “ until the Parliament otherwise provides.” The Parliament is now making other provision. .
– Does that refer to the same thins; ?
– It refers to an election of senators. I think Senator Charleston has rather strengthened the position. If the other House were dissolved, undoubtedly there would have to be an election of ft senator in place of Senator Sargood, and there would be only one vacancy to be filled. In the case of a periodical election, however, if the casual vacancy has not been filled, there will be four vacancies to be filled. It seems to me that the Bill gives the electors a better choice than they otherwise would have. Supposing that certain persons stood for the six years’ seats, and some less powerful persons stood to fill the casual vacancy, the electors might lose the services of a better qualified man from the very fact that the best men would naturally go for the six-year seats. In the interests of the electors at large I think that theBill ought to pass.
– As I am responsible for raising the constitutional aspect of this question, I am pleased to think that I have a supporter in the highest authority at present in the Chamber. Senator Downer was one of the three men who drafted ssction 15 of the Constitution Act, and presumably he knows as much about its meaning as others do. A good deal has been said about allowing the electors to decide which three candidates shall go in for the six years’ seats, by placing at the top of the poll the three men whom they favour. According to Senator Downer, and according to the view I expressed yesterday, the electors have already decided that question in the Constitution Act. They have decided it under section 13. In accordance with that section, we divided the various senators into two classes, and those who are re-elected will belong to one or other of those classes. My contention is that the Senate, once having exercised the power of classifying senators, has no right to alter that classification. Senator Best has spoken about periodical vacancies. Periodical vacancies are referred to in section 13 in regard to the rotation of senators. The matter is perfectly clear to any one who reads that section. It does not need a layman to explain it to other laymen ; and, of course, if he did, the lawyers would differ from him. Section 10 of the Constitution has been referred to. There, the words used are “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides.” Parliament did provide for the election of senators. That was provided for when we classified senators in the wav we did.
– That is not Parliament at all ; it is only the Senate.
– Parliament provided. Senator Best. - No.
– Would not a resolution of the Chambers be providing by Parliament?
– A resolution of both Houses, but not of one.
– I am delighted to find Senator Downer supporting me in the statement I made yesterday, to the effect that the first paragraph of clause 9 of theBill is not only contrary, but in direct opposition, to the Constitution. What SenatorDowner has said confirms me in my opinion, and if the question goes to a division I shall be found voting as I did yesterday. I did not expect that I should win when I demanded a division on that occasion, but I wished to place my protest on record. I believe I should have secured more votes if I had not forced a division on the second reading of the Bill. There -were many senators who did not like to vote againstthe Government on the second reading, but who might have voted to strike out a clauseor to amend it in Committee. The question has been fully debated, and no doubt will receive the attention it deserves when itreaches the other Chamber. In the meantime, there is nothing left for us but to bow to the will of the majority when the nextdivision is taken.
– We have . had an interesting exhibition of hair splitting from SenatorDowner, the chief advantage of which has been to fill Senator Styles with agood deal of happiness. But I do not see that it has done any good, and I do nob think that Senator Downer ever got within cooey of the real gist of the question, which is - How can this public matter best be dealt with ? He did not tell us that he had up his sleeve a better scheme than that provided by the Bill. We all know, and Senator Downer must be aware, that Constitutions and other Acts of Parliament have to be carried out, and that differences of opinion may arise which have to be provided for. We are not quite clear sometimes as to how they should be dealt with. What we have to consider is - What will best serve the interest of the public ? The spirit of the Constitution, and the letter of it, so I believe, havebeen well observed in the measure which is now before us.
Senator Sir John DOWNER (South Australia.) I do not think that the honorable senator who has just sat down has added very much to the discussion, except that he has told us that hehas come to a conclusion which appeared to be valuable on a subject which he has not considered, and in respect to a discussion to which clearly he has not listened. It is apparent that the honorable senator did not extend to me the courtesy of listening to my arguments.
– I beg pardon ; I did listen to them.
– Then the honorable senator did himself the injustice of not understanding them. I care very little which is the correct explanation. Leaving the honorable senator to the line of argument to which he is most accustomed, I wish to say that it mattered not at all whether I brought this question before the Senate on the third reading or on a motion to recommit. One course was just as much in order as the other. It was my duty to bring the subject forward in one way or the other. Of course it is quite possible for honorable senators to say that the Bill embodies the common sense point of view, and the one which is most convenient. They say - “ As some senators have to stand for periodical vacancies, why should not we, by Act of Parliament, say that at the same time they shall stand for any casual vacancy that exists as well ? Why should we not pick and choose? Why should not every one do exactly what he likes 1” The point of view I put to the Senate is that there cannot be an election without something to elect people about. When you have a psriodical election you have a well-defined issue - you know what it is about. People vote on each side. If you have a casual election you also know what it is about. You have candidates at a casual election, and candidates at a periodical election. But here we are passing a Bill varying the Constitution by saying that every candidate at a periodical election is also a candidate, at a casual election, and that every candidate at a casual election is a candidate at a periodical election. The effect is that a man might be placed in this position : he might want to be elected to fill a casual vacancy. He might for some reason or other desire to sit only for three years. On the other hand a candidate might wish to be elected for six years. But under this Bill no man can say for what term he will be elected. The Bill provides for something . which the Constitution never provided-, never contemplated, and expressly negatived. I consider that I have done my duty by re-opening the question and expressing my views about it. I do not claim any particular merit for them, either as one of the draftsmen of the Constitution or as a lawyer. I only claim the merit of my opinions so far as they commend themselves to intelligent men, and nothing more. If they do not commend themselves, I come to the conclusion that possibly I may be wrong. But I do not always come to that conclusion in the first instance, and in this matter I have not done so yet. The point of view of some honorable senators appears to be that if the letter of the Constitution - which means the words of the Constitution - requires something to be done which may be inconvenient, it is better to evade it than to cause a little inconvenience such as might arise supposing that at the Senate elections the electors had to give two votes, one for candidates to fill periodical vacancies, and one for a candidate to fill a casual vacancy. I wish to say no more on the subject.
Question - That the Bill be recomitted - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … …8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Bill read a third time.
Defenceforce : Lt.-Cols. Braithwaite and Reay.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This is not a Supply Bill of the kind which we were accustomed to receive last session, and in which a sum of several hundreds of thousands of pounds was asked for. It merely asks for £75,000 in order to enable the Treasurer to pay some little amounts that are due on contracts now in progress and for wages. Honorable senators are aware that under our Audit Act a vote for any payment up to 30th June, absolutely lapses after that date if the payment has not been made, so that since the 30th ultimo there has been no fund upon which the Treasurer could legally draw to meet these necessary expenses. This sum is asked for as a Treasurer’s advance, and it will become part of the amount for which the Treasurer will ask when the ordinary Supply Bill based upon the Estimates for the vear is brought forward. I ml O notice that the Treasurer stated yesterday in another place that he hoped to be able, at the end of the present month, to present his Budget, and to ask for supply in the ordinary way.
– I should like to draw attention to an error that may be only a clerical one, but which should not be allowed to pass unnoticed. I think it is usual for Bills of this kind which have been sent up from another place to bear upon them the printed statement - “As received from the House of Representatives,” but there is nothing to show that this Bill has not originated in this Chamber.
– We received a message, which I read yesterday, sending the Bill up to us.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
There shall and may be issued and applied for or towards making good the supply hereby granted to His Majesty for the service of the year ending the thirtieth day of June one thousand nine hundred and four the sum of seventy-five thousand pounds ….
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the clause by reducing the amount of £75,000 by £1.
I do so in order that we may ventilate two grievances which I consider every honorable senator has against the Defence Department of the Commonwealth, and more particularly against the Minister for Defence. It will be within the recollection of honorable senators that a few days ago I asked that a report on the armament and equipment of the Commonwealth Forces, which has been prepared by the Defence Department and handed to the Minister for De-, fence, should be laid upon the table. I was led to prefer that request by the fact that in the report which was laid upon the table of the Senate last year, Major-General Hutton had emphasized the fact that the equipment and armament of the Commonwealth Forces are entirely inadequate, and that he had reiterated that assertion with considerable force during a speech which he delivered at Adelaide a day or two before. It is reported that on that occasion he said that -
The Commonwealth was absolutely destitute of military equipment of any adequate kind.
That statement was brought under the notice of the Minister for Defence by a press reporter, and interviews with the Minister appeared in the Age and the Argun. The Minister for Defence took a view diametrically opposed to that expressed by our expert adviser. He said that -
He could not subscribe to Sir Edward Hutton’s sweeping assertion, and it became evident that there was a very grave and serious divergence of opinion between the executive head and the political head of the department. In these circumstances I think honorable senators will agree with me that it is only right that Members of Parliament should have an opportunity of investigating the exact position of affairs, and forming their own opinions in regard to it. I thought that I was perfectly justified in asking that the report should be laid upon the table of the Senate. I did not for one instant dream that the Government, would endeavour to shelter themselves behind the plea that such a report was confidential. Such a plea amounts to this : that our expert adviser, to whom we pay annually a large sum in order that we may be kept up to date in regard to defence questions, finds himself absolutely unable to bring his views before Parliament. He cannot do so, because the Minister for Defence retains his reports in the pigeon-holes of his Department, and refuses to allow us to investigate the rights and the wrongs of the position as set forth in them. I do not think that this should be the case. When I asked that the report should be laid upon the table of the Senate I was quite prepared - and I am quite prepared now - to admit that it might contain matters which should properly be treated as confidential. I can readily conceive that the gentlemen who were employed to draw up reports as to the forces in the different States in the course of their duty may have dealt with certain information which it is not desirable should come before the public generally. Therefore, believing that the matter was purely formal I drew up a short motion, which, I thought, would be treated as formal, to the’ effect that the Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the Commonwealth should be asked to prepare a report which would not be considered confidential, and which would give us the information that we are really entitled to receive. “When I handed this motion privately to the Postmaster-General he pointed out that it would be impossible for him to treat it as formal without obtaining the consent’ of the Minister for Defence ; and, to my amazement, I was informed subsequently that Sir John Forrest declined to regard it in that light. The long and the short of it is that he desires to keep the discussion of these divergences of opinion that exist between himself and Major-General Hutton as private as possible until he is absolutely obliged, by sheer force, to take Parliament in to his confidence. This is a most undesirable state of affairs. We are responsible for the proper administration of the defences of the Commonwealth, and we shall shortly be asked to vote large sums of money for defence purposes. In the meantime, we have to accept statements concerning which we have no possibility of arriving at the truth. We are exactly in the same position as we were in last year, and while we are absolutely in the dark as to these matters, we have to vote for a reduction or an increase of the Estimates, as the case may be. I have taken some little trouble to go into this question, and I can assure the Senate that every word which Major-General Hutton has said is perfectly justified b)’ the present position of affairs. I can give the Senate some little idea of the statements that the report in question must contain,” if the officers who ‘ were commissioned to prepare it have done their duty. My information is not derived from any private source. I have not gone to officers of the Department and asked for details, of any kind. I. have obtained my information from official reports which honorable senators do not always take the trouble to study carefully, and which have not yet been brought together in a form that would facilitate their proper examination. The armament of the field artillery of the Commonwealth is newly all obsolete. From the returns it will be found that, in Western Australia, we are supposed to have two batteries of eight guns, but six of those guns are muzzle-loaders, and absolutely useless for any purpose other than the firing of salutes. I am given to understand that, in South Australia, the six guns of field artillery, which are mentioned in the schedule, are in exactly the same state. They are muzzle-loaders, and absolutely valueless. In Victoria we have eighteen 12i-pounder converted guns. They are eighteen years old, and were condemned a considerable number of years ago by the experts who reported upon them. I believe that some of them have been sent to England in order that their breech apparatus may be brought up to date. T am given to understand, however, that they are absolutely inefficient, and that the money proposed to be spent in improving the way in which the breech works will be simply thrown away. I am informed on good authority, although I have not been able to verify the statement, that the remaining 22 guns of field artillery in Queensland and New South Wales are practically as old as the guns in Victoria, and that they are also obsolete. Thus, so far as I can ascertain, there are only two guns in the whole field artillery of the Commonwealth - the two in Western Australia to which I have referred - that are up to date modern weapons. If our field artillery had to go into action they would be absolutely outclassed by any civilized enemy. I grant that if they were to be used for the destruction of New Guinea natives, or some such races, they might be found efficient, but that is not the object for which we are spending every year large sums of money in maintaining the field artillery. That is the point I wish to make. Year after year we are asked to pass Estimates, and to vote very large sums of money, to maintain the personnel of these forces, but the men themselves are” valueless unless they are properly armed. We come now to the garrison artillery. Nearly the whole of the guns of our garrison artillery are of old pattern, while those of more recent date have an obsolete breech movement. They have not the penetrative power possessed by guns of the same calibre, and of more modern make. They are artillery which can hardly be said to exist, because they are practically outclassed by any modern guns of any modern cruiser. In addition to that, they are all of different types. In order that honorable senators should understand what that really means, I must explain that each type of gun must have a different type of ammunition, and all these different types of ammunition have to be kept stored. The Defence Committee of England has pointed out to the Government that in time of war it is essential that the types of ammunition should be alike, because experience has proved that in actual fighting nobody actually considers what type of ammunition is being used, and we should have one class of gun taking a particular class of ammunition supplied with ammunition suitable for an entirely different type of gun. Therefore the Defence Committee has for several years repeatedly pointed out that the type of gun should be assimilated, that all might be supplied with the same class of ammunition. But is that ever brought before Parliament 1 No Minister for Defence ever rises in his place and explains what is wanted. As a result we are left here in total ignorance, voting these sums of money without the least information as to how they should be applied. Take the case of Albany, which is one of the most important of our fortified coaling stations. Some years ago the defences of Albany were reduced very considerably so far as guns are concerned, because it was explained that in future a mined field was to be provided. That is to say, an area of water was to be underlaid bysubmarine mines insuch away that heavy guns such as had previously been recommended by Major-General Scratchley would not be required. In these circumstances, after lengthy negotiations with the British Government in 1887, thelmperialauthorities supplied not Western Australia, but the Federal Council of Australia, with four 6-inch guns of the most modern type that then prevailed, and the apparatus for laying down the mined field. The Federal Council practically entered into an agreement with Great Britain that they would maintain a suitable garrison at Albany, consisting of 25 men and five submarine miners. What is the position to-day 1 There are no submarine miners of any sort at Albany, and no use has ever been made of the submarine mining plant. A sergeant is kept employed oiling the plant, and the firing apparatus is kept in perfect order, but there is no apparatus there for laying the mine, and the apparatus for firing might just as well be used for electric lighting. The mines have never been laid down, and if an attack were made upon Albany, it would have to rely for defence upon the four 6-inoh guns, which are admittedly inadequate for the purpose without the mined field. In fact, those guns were only designed to protect the mined field from countermining by torpedo boats, and were never intended as a sufficient protection, or to ward off the attacks of cruisers or ironclads.
– And lately the Japanese were allowed to take a full view of the position of the guns.
– I noticed that the honorable senator raised that point, and in other circumstances it would be an excellent one, but it lacks any great force now for the reason that there is nothing at the fort which the Japanese can see which would affect us in the least. The Japanese can see everything they wish to see from the harbour. With powerful glasses they can see the two batteries and the four 6-inch guns.
– They cannot see the guns.
– If they knew where they were they could see them, because they are raised above the battlements, and are not in embrasures. They are fired from above the projection.
– I have been there two or three times, and I have never yet seen them from the harbor.
– I have been in the fort and have seen them appearing above the projection, and it must be possible to see them from the harbour with powerful glasses. In addition to these difficulties there is another important point to be considered. One of these batteries is an absolute shell trap. I must explain to honorable senators that behind this battery there rises a great pyramid of granite, a great block of the mountain, and > every shell which misses the battery must burst against this parapet behind the battery, and the broken shells would sweep away the men. That is notorious, but nobody ever brings the subject before Parliament, and the Minister for Defence refuses to give us the reports which point out these very defects, which are known to foreign countries, for fear he should subject himself to the ridicule of
Parliament. That is the long and short of the matter. I shall not take up any more time on that question. But I have something to say on the question of equipment. I find from the various official reports available, but which we have to hunt up, that there is a complete absence of any modern infantry equipment. I am informed by one of the members of the Senate that in South Australia there is not a single water-bottle amongst the forces of that State. The water-bottle is considered an absolute essential in the equipment of infantry, and one would think that it should be so considered in such a State as South Australia, where the very Libyan lions died during the summer from the heat. Only the other day the whole of the Libyan lions in the Adelaide Zoological Gardens died from the heat. In the circumstances I appeal to honorable senators to consider the position of the unfortunate men who may have to attend reviews, and who are absolutely unable to get any water until a halt is called.
– But they are not kept in a cage.
– I should think that the heat upon the arid plains around Adelaide would be even greater than in the grassy sheltered “Zoo.”
An Honorable Senator. - Look at Senator Playford.
– Presumedly the honorable senator lives under his own vine and olive tree, and spends a calm, contented, and cool existence during the hot weather. At all events, the honorable senator would never dream of making an expedition into the country without a water-bottle, yet the equipment of the South Australian infantry does not contain a single water-bottle in store. The equipment of mounted troops is equally deficient. I need not go into details, but we hear of defective saddles, and of harness which is rotten, and so on. The equipment of the field artillery is in the same position. Harness and the equipment, in their case, is equally bad, and, so much so, that the Defence Committee of England called the specific attention of the Commonwealth to this fact, and recommended that new artillery should be obtained, because the limbers would not stand transit across country. That was brought under the notice of the Department as long as a year and a-half ago. With what result 1 It has not been brought before Parliament. Parliament says that too much money is being spent without knowing what the money is wanted for, and there is no single member of the Government who is able to get up and give any logical explanation of why the money is asked for. They accept the reduction of these votes simply to remain in office or ta avoid discussion and talk. Some want to get away to England ; some want to dothis, and some to do that ; and they say - “How much do you want cut off? We will agree ; only, for heaven’s sake, lump it all up, and be quick about it.” That is the way the Defence Department of this country is financed. Honorable senators may laugh, but they will find it isso if they read Hansard. They will find it stated in Ilansard that Ministers havesaid - “ Do not let us debate the thing at length, because somebody will miss thentrain or will miss their boat.” In the matter of field engineering the equipment is. not- inadequate - it simply does not exist.There is no field engineering equipment.. If our troops had to entrench themselves in front of an enemy to-morrow, they would befound absolutely lacking even a spade. The whole of the equipment would have tobe purchased on the spur of the moment at . largely enhanced prices. Attention has. frequently been called in the Senate and elsewhere to the fact that reserves of ammunition do not exist. According tothe figures placed before Parliament last session, there was hardly enough ammunition in store to provide for the ordinary practice needs of the existing forces of theCommonwealth. I believe that at the present moment there is not sufficient in stock toprovide for a year’s consumption. To use Sir Edward Hutton’s own words -
Troops in this condition are a mischievous delusion and a hollow sham.
Those are not words emanating from mvself. I may be imagined to have some animus against the Department but there are the words of Sir Edward Hutton.
– Was that something said at a banquet on the subject of a transcontinental railway 1
– No ; those words were not used at any banquet. They are in an official report of Major-General Sir Edward Hutton, which was laid upon the table of the Senate, and which Senator Drake might have been presumed to have read and studied. This is exactly what I have to complain of. Members of the Ministry do not know what appears, even in the reports of their subordinates. These reports, are laid upon the table, are thrown to the Clerk who dockets them, and there is an end of them, unless some honorable senator more interested than others in the subject “ digs “ them up. The very last person in either House to read these reports is the Minister who ought to have studied them, and who should be saturated with their contents. Finally, in connexion with rifles, what did Sir John Forrest say the other day to a reporter 1
The Minister for Defence is not disposed to admit that the rifle equipment of the Federal forces is open to the severe criticism recently levelled at it.
This was the severe criticism levelled at it by the departmental head of his section of the Government. It was criticism by the gentleman responsible for the efficiency of our forces. He states that the rifle equipment is insufficient, and we have the Minister for Defence saying that he is not disposed to admit that the rifle equipment of the Federal forces is open to that severe criticism. Then he pointed out that there were 13,000 Enfield rifles and LeeSpeed magazine rifles. What does this amount to ? We have ari establishment of 29,500 men. That is our military establishment at the present moment. That is the number of men supposed to be on the effective roll of our army. To arm these men we have 13,000 mixed ‘magazine rifles, of, I am told, four different types. There are 7,000 rifles of an entirely different type on the way out, which will only give us 20,000 magazine rifles for 29,500 men, and there is a balance of 34,000 absolutely obsolete Martini-Henrys and MartiniEnfields - absolutely discarded in England and sold for 2s. or 3s. apiece to savages. What remedy have we for this state of affairs 1 1 submit that we have none whatever. We cannot even bring forward a motion without having to wait two or three months to obtain a place for it amongst private members’ business. In the meantime, we have the Government coming to us and asking for money to carry out Ministerial proposals. We have, been absolutely barred by the action of the- Ministry from obtaining that information, upon which .alone we can record an intelligent vote. I trust that the Committee will make this request, ‘ in order that the attention of another place may be called to the matter, and that pressure may be brought to bear on this most obstructive gentleman to secure the preparation of the report which we want. Honorable senators may laugh, but I can assure them that it is a most serious question which, when war does break out, they will bitterly regret has been neglected.-
– The honorable senator has submitted this request avowedly for the purpose of directing attention to the motion which stands in his name on the business paper. It appeared there to-day for the first time, and he considers that it should have been allowed to go as a formal matter. What does it say 1
That the Senate desire the Minister for Defence to instruct Sir Edward Hutton to prepare immediately, for . the information of Parliament, a full and detailed statement of the armament and equipment required for the military forces of the Commonwealth as at present constituted, pointing out specifically in what respect they are already efficient, .and where they are inadequate ; and dealing with each State individually.
I ask honorable senators whether it is desirable that a motion of that very important character should be allowed to pass without discussion, without any senator having an opportunity of saying if it is desirable that all these details with regard to our military equipment should be published to the world. There is not a country in the world that publishes every detail of its military equipment. Senator Matheson referred just now to some action taken with regard to the Japanese. He admits that there was no great harm done there. ‘ But why have statutes been passed to the effect that persons belonging to foreign powers shall not inspect our fortifications and arms if it is not considered that those matters should be kept within our own knowledge t Yet the honorable senator, wil h a light heart, asks that all details with regard to our military equipment shall be brought before Parliament, which means that they shall be available for publication to the world. Whatever may be said with regard to the terms of the motion, it certainly should be thoroughly debated before it is passed.
– Is it true ?
– What does SenatorZeal mean ?
– Is the statement attributed to Major-General Hutton true ? The honorable and learned senator knows all about it, and therefore he need not ask me that question.
– It is not a statement attributed to Major-General Hutton. Evidently Senator Zeal was not listening when I read the motion.
– Yes I was. The honorable and learned senator has no right to say that : he is stating what is not true.
– The PostmasterGeneral said I was not listening to him. He has no right to make that statement simply because he represents the Crown here. I shall not permit him to do so.
– Still the honorable senator must not say. that Senator Drake is stating what is not true. I think I can appeal to him not to do that.
– Is it true, or is it not true?
– I charitably thought that Senator Zeal was not listening.
– - I do not want any of the Minister’s charity. Let him keep his charity to himself
– May I beg Senator Zeal to allow the Postmaster-General to proceed ?
– He is not going to attack, me.
– Senator Zeal evidently did not understand what has been said.
– If the PostmasterGeneral will name a day for the consideration of my motion, I will withdraw this request.
– I cannot name a particular day. There never has been any block put in the way of private members’ business being discussed during this session. It comes up in order, and sometimes out of order, and is taken without the least. obstacle being thrown in the way of its consideration. It will be the same thing with a motion of’ this character. I shall ask the Senate at the right time to consider whether it is desirable that it should be passed. The honorable senator, because his motion was held to be. not formal today, takes this opportunity to make a statement of a very alarmist character.
– I can justify every word of it.
– I do not know that it will do very much harm, because it does not come from an authoritative source, though I admit that the honorable senator is exceedingly diligent in perusing reports and endeavouring to find out anything which may tell against the security of the State from a military point of view. But as regards the patriotism of a course of that character it is rather questionable. The honorable senator has succeeded in, drawing attention to his motion. He has delivered a speech parts of- which we have heard on many occasions here. He says that there is no one in Parliament to direct attention to these things. Many of the statements he has made this afternoon have been made here more than once. His speech was a repetition of a good deal which he had advanced before* I do not question his right to bring forward these matters if he chooses to do so ; but I submit that no useful purpose can be served on the present occasion. His motion will come on for discussion in its proper order and will be dealt with as the Senate pleases. I hope that he will not persist in delaying the passage of the Supply Bill.
– The air seems to be electrical this afternoon when the Defence Department is referred to. For some weeks I have been waiting for an opportunity to point out its disorganization, and to draw attention to the treatment meted out to Lt. -Cols. Braithwaite and Reay, of the Victorian Mounted Rifles. I have been following up their case for some weeks, and- at my instance certain papers have been tabled which, to me, were interesting reading. I feel that both these officers have not received justice, and that they should be in the force instead of having been driven out by certain action within the Department.
– They ought to be in and Major-General Hutton ought to be out..
– That is a. question for Parliament to decide. I honestly believe that both these officers are labouring under a grievance, and chat their statements should be thoroughly ventilated. I acquit Senator Drake of any responsibility in connexion with the presentation or withholding of any papers relating to this case, for we all know that he simply presents the’ documents which have been placed in his hands by the Defence Department or its Minister. On the 28th May I asked whether it was the intention of the Government to lay upon the table all the papers in connexion with the proposed retirement of Lt.-Cols. Braithwaite and Reay; and to that question 1 received this reply -
The Government is of opinion that no good purpose can be served by doing so, and would suggest to the honorable member not to press the question.
To me it was a most extraordinary answerI always imagined that on questions of public interest it was the duty of the Department or the Minister to give all possible information to Parliament. Feeling that there was something in the background, od the 4th . Tune I moved for the production of the papers, and after making a short statement, the Postmaster-General agreed that they should be tabled. I propose to consider for a few minutes the effect which the papers have had, not only on the public, but on the two officers I have named. With regard to the Victorian Mounted Rifles, I make this statement advisedly : that until it was tinkered . with by MajorGeneral Hutton, it was one of the finest regiments in the British Empire.
– Who is the authority for that statement ?
– Officers who are high in the service, and who are supposed to know something about military matters. I have not studied military matters until quite recently. When one gets into the inner circle of the Department, and learns what is going on, he discovers that there is plenty of room for criticism and for reform. Considering the very large amount of public money which the Department has spent, and will spend, it is the duty of honorable senators to give close attention to its affair.?. The Victorian Mounted Rifles were organized by Colonel Tom Price, who had under him as junior officers both Braithwaite and Reay, whose terms of official life are respectively eighteen and twenty-four years. Both officers are citizen soldiers, who have never received a penny for their services. They took to soldiering purely for the love of it, and became efficient officers. In the discharge of their duties they have, time after time, been put to a good deal of expense. Under these circumstances, when officers are treated as these gentlemen have been treated, some consideration should be given to the facts of the case. At the last Easter encampment, MajorGeneral Hutton proposed to put over the head of Lt.-Col. Braithwaite an officer whom he styled an “ instructional officer.”
In a minute issued by the Defence Department, this statement is made in speaking of the Brigade commands -
Officers in each case have been selected who, from the military knowledge, practical experience, and force of character which they possess-
I want honorable senators to notice that phrase, because it plays an important part in the episode which followed - are calculated . to do full justice to their commands. A leader must be able to instruct the officers under him in all the details of their duty during peace, as well as to administer to their military wants and to lead them in war.
I have no complaint to make with regard to that order, or as to the statements contained in it ; but I join issue with the Defence Department in regard to the officers in question, and say . that they not only fulfil those’ requirements, but have fulfilled them for a considerable number of years. In my judgment, it was not because of lack of force of character, and not because these officers did not possess the necessary qualifications, but for other reasons, that they were practically superseded in their commands. As soon as the order was issued, evidently Lt.-Col. Braithwaite knew what it meant, and he did what every other man would have done under the circumstances. He at once resented the treatment proposed to be meted out to him by the Defence Department. Just here another officer appeared on the scene, namely, the gentleman who was to act as instructional officer of the Victorian Mounted Rifles. That officer was Lt.-Col. Lee, of New South Wales. Let me say with regard to Lt.-Col. Lee, that I know nothing against him either as a man. or an officer. He may be a good man. I do not know very much about him one way or the other, except what has appeared in the papers. He may be thoroughly competent, so far as his soldier-like qualities are concerned, to take command of a brigade. But there are certain features with regard to his rapid promotion, in order to qualify him for this particular position, that demand more than a passing glance. Lt.-Col. Lee was brought to Victoria to act as instructional officer to the Victorian Mounted Rifles. Major-General Hutton could not have brought him into Victoria and put’ him in this position under the regulations unless he made a change. What did the MajorGeneral do 1 In order to carry out his purpose, he changed the character of the Victorian Mounted Rifles, and by adding twenty cavalrymen to the regiment, made it a brigade. Thus he was enabled to bring in Lt.-Col. Lee to supersede the officers I have already named. I desire, for a moment, to make a comparison between Lt.-Col. Braithwaite and Lt.-Col. Lee. I find that Lt.-Col. Braithwaite has had eighteen years’ service, and that previously, in the absence of Colonel Tom Price, he, on several occasions, commanded the Victorian Mounted .Rifles. He is known to have been a capable and painstaking officer. He began his military career as a private, and worked his way up from the ranks. In every way he has proved himself to be efficient. Any one who knows anything about Colonel Tom Price is aware that he is one of the strictest disciplinarians in Australia, or, indeed, who could be found in any country.
– Is he the man who said - “Fire low, and lay ‘em out?”
– Yes, that is the gentleman ; and if there had been anything faulty in the conduct of the officers of the Victorian Mounted Rifles during the past eighteen years, Colonel Tom Price is the man who would have found it out.
– And who would have “ laid them out “ !
– Yes, in more senses than one. Prior to the occurrences with which I am now dealing, MajorGeneral Hutton actually complimented Lt.-Col. Braithwaite, not only with regard to his soldier-like qualities, but also as to the command of his brigade while in camp. But at a later stage, when he wished to place another officer over the head of Lt.-Col. Braithwaite, he said that he had no force of character at all, and that because of his lack of force of character Lt.-Col. Lee should be brought in to take his position. Now, Colonel Tom Price was a regular martinet, who would not have allowed any officer who did not possess force of character to hold an important command in the Victorian Mounted Rifles for any length of time. Recently I asked the Postmaster-General to produce certain papers with regard to Lt.-Cols.Braithwaite and Reay. I asked him whether he would lay those papers upon the table, and also the reports in connexion with the two officers. Under the Victorian Defence Act, from time to time officers in important commands are compelled to make reports respecting officers serving under them. I was told by the honorable and learned senator that the papers in question were confidential. Although I put that notice upon the paper, I did not expect to receive the papers when I asked for them. But let me say now that I challenge the Defence Department, upon the floor of this Senate, to say all that they can with regard to both these officers. I know that the reports which have been made from time to time with regard to them by their superior officers, have been highly commendatory. We were told that there would be certain disclosures of a private character if the papers were produced, and that the disclosures would have an evil effect upon individuals. But I say to the Defence Department - “ Bring forward all you can against these officers, who have now been placed upon the retired list, and let us see whether there is any justification for the allegations that have been made.” So far, I have been fighting the battle of Lt.Colonel Braithwaite, because Lt.-Colonel Reay occupied a subordinate position. He was junior in command to Lt.-Colonel Braithwaite. But it is just as well to say with regard to him that he took up this position - -that practically his senior officer was flouted by Major-General Hutton, and that he, as an honest man, could not keep the command that had been given to him. Therefore- he determined to ask to be placed upon the retired list. He would no longer remain in the brigade with which’ he had been connected for the last 24 years. I come now more particularly to Lt.-Col. Lee. We discover, first of all, that this gentleman is quite a young officer. He was only a captain in 1902, when he was suddenly promoted to the rank of major with the brevet rank of lieutenant-colonel. This double promotion took place within a very short time. I am told that it is unparalleled in the Defence Department that an officer should receive such rapid promotion. Of course, there must have been some reason for it.
– “Force of character.”
– I shall have something to say about that later on, when I think I shall be able to prove that if thereis one man more than another who can be said to have force of character it is Lt.-Col. Braithwaite. It is quite true that Lt.-Col. Lee has seen service in South Africa.
– Very distinguished service.
– Quite so ; but he is in no better position than scores of other men in the Victorian Mounted Rifles, and in other arms of the service throughout the Commonwealth, except that he has been to South Africa. If it comes to a question of distinguished service, there was another officer in the Victorian Mounted Rifles who was far above Lt.-Col. Lee, and who, in the matter of promotion, should have been placed head and shoulders above that gentleman.
– Had he “force of character “ though 1
– I am referring to Lt.-Col. McLeish, C.M.G., who performed distinguished service in South Africa - a gentleman whom any country would be proud to own and to honour, and an officer to whom Lt.-Col. Lee could not hold a candle. Lt.-Col. McLeish was in the ranks some time before the war broke out. When in South Africa he commanded a brigade. Yet if Lt.-Col. McLeish had gone to camp last Easter he would have had to acknowledge Lt.-Col. Lee as his superior officer, and would have had to. serve under him. It is evident that rankers - that is men who have risen from the ranks, and who have not very much social influence to push i them forward - have not a ghost of a show when their claims are considered by MajorGeneral Hutton.
– They have a lot of “ Lee-way “ to make up.
– Yes, they have. I am now going to make a comparison between two arms of the service in Victoria and New South Wales, and I will prove tha.t in the one case a distinguished officer has been passed over,- and that in the other case a gentleman who could exercise, perhaps, a little influence within the charmed circle of the Defence Department, was placed in command of a brigade. I wish to make a comparison between two branches of the service, one in Victoria and the other in New South Wales, which are practically alike, so that we may see the difference in the treatment meted out to certain officers. I shall then draw ‘ my own conclusions, and honorable senators will be able to determine whether or not the statement I have made is correct. For the purposes of this comparison I shall deal with the brigade which was under the command of Lt.-Col. J. Burns at the last Easter Encampment held at Sydney. I shall show that on that occasion Lt.-Col. Burns had more distinguished officers under him, and that if the question of merit were the only consideration, he should not have been placed in command. I may say, in passing, that Lt.-Col. Burns is connected with the renowned firm of Burns, Philp, and Co. No doubt he is able to exercise a good deal of social influence, and in my opinion his appointment to the position of commander of the brigade on the occasion in question may be attributed to that fact. No question of efficiency was raised in that instance, and the difference in the treatment meted out to the two officers is so marked that there must have been some special reason for it. I find in regard to that brigade that the Brigadier commanding was Lt.-Col. J. Burns, while the Brigade Major was Major and Brevet Lt.-Col. J. M. Antill, CB. - a gentleman who I think is far superior to Lt.-Col. Burns as a soldier, and’ possesses all the qualifications that are essential for a commander of a brigade. As staff officer, Lt.-Col. Burns had Captain and Brevet-Major M. A. Hilliard, D.S.O., who is also a distinguished officer. The brigade was composed of all arms of the service. It comprised the New South Wales Lancers (Sydney and Parramatta squadrons, and Richmond, Windsor, Berry, and Robertson half squadrons) ; the New South Wales Mounted Rifles (Bega, Forbes, Molong, Picton, Camden, and Canterbury half squadrons) ; the 1st Australian Horse (Gundagai, Cootamundra, Murrumburrah, Braidwood, Araluen, Bungendore, Michelago, Goulburn, Mudgee, and Rylstone troops) ; “the “ B “ and “ C “ batteries of the New South Wales Field Artillery ; and detachments of the New South Wales Army Service Corps and Army Medical Corps. The total strength of .the brigade was 44 officers, 1,034 men, 990 horses, and eight guns. This large force was under the command of Lt.-Col. Burns, while distinguished officers, who have not only won their spurs, but have proved that they are soldiers in every sense of the word, occupied subordinate positions. That is one side of the picture. Let us turn now to the other. What do we find with regard to the Victorian Mounted Rifles camp? The Brigadier Commanding was Major and Brevet Lt.-Col. G. L. Lee, D.S.O., the Brigade-Major was Major C. J. Reade, CB., and the Orderly officer Lt. W. St. L. Robertson. The Brigade comprised the 1st and 2nd battalions of the Victorian
Mounted Rifles and the Melbourne Cavalry, the total strength being 581 men as compared with the force of 1,034 men commanded by Lt.-Col. Burns in New South Wales. In the New South Wales case, a gentlemen who was on all-fours with the senior officer of the Victorian Mounted Ki ties was allowed to take the command, but at the Victorian encampment the commanding officer was superseded by an officer brought from New South Wales. I wish the Committee to note some points relating to certain papers in reference to this case which have been presented to Parliament. In a minute to the Secretary for Defence dated 20th March, 1903, the General Officer Commanding the Defence Forces of the Commonwealth defended the appointment of Lt.-Col. Lee, and said -
I regret that Lt.-Col. Braithwaite’.? limited knowledge, small experience, and necessarily limited capacity as a leader of mounted troops is not sufficient qualification for such a responsible command, which is not only administrative, but is also instructional. Officers who may be reasonably expected to do every justice to those they command, must possess not only knowledge and experience, but force of character. Lt.-Col. Braithwaite fulfils neither of these categories.
In a later minute, in justification of his action in placing Major Lee over the head of Lt.-Col. Braithwaite, he said that -
Similar instances of selection of officers for command had occurred. Lt.-Col. Bayley had been nominated for the command in Tasmania over the head of his senior officer, Lt.-Col. Wallack, who had been detailed to act as chief staff’ officer. Lt.-Col. Wallack, owing to the discreditable incident in connexion with the transport Ma,n- hattan and the command of the Third Australian Commonwealth Horse, had shown that he had not the force of character and power of command sufficiently developed at present “to warrant me in placing him in command of a large body of men.” it is difficult to understand the reason that actuated Major-General Hutton in dragging in this regrettable incident. It had nothing to do with the case that we are considering. The incident referred to was the celebrated occasion when some of the Australian troops who had been paraded through the streets of Sydney and treated by their friends, prior to leaving for South Africa, were inspected on board the Manhattan by MajorGeneral Hutton. Some of them were unable to stand erect, and the general, when addressing them, used those memorable words - “ Stand straight, damn you, why don’t you stand straight ! “ Because these men were unable to stand straight, the commanding officer, Lt.-Col. Wallack, who was really not so much to blame, was deprived of his command, and was not allowed to proceed to South Africa. Because, in the opinion of Major-General Hutton, this officer had not shown sufficient force of character, his removal was regarded as a precedent for the removal of Lt.-Col. Braithwaite, an action which, I contend, was illegal as well as unjust. According to the papers, I find that Lt.-Col. Braithwaite subsequently desired to be retired from his command, and that no objection was taken to his application. On the other hand, when a similar application was made by Lt.-Col. Reay, an objection was raised. It was said that certain articles, criticising the Defence Department, had appeared in the Melbourne Herald, of which Lt.-Col. Reay was the news editor, and Major-General Hutton at once jumped to the conclusion that they had been written by that officer. What did he do? After Lt.-Col. Braithwaite had asked to retire, Lt.-Col. Reay determined that he would not remain an officer of the Brigade in view of the treatment which his senior officer had received. He accordingly asked to be retired. But Major-General Hutton refused to allow him to retire on the terms desired by him. He said that Lt.-Col. Reay’s conduct was reprehensible, and that he would not permit him to wear the uniform and to have certain privileges that are usually accorded to officers who retire after long service. In due course the papers relating to the case were sent on to the Minister for Defence, and I am glad to say that Sir John Forrest properly snubbed Major-General Hutton. He pointed out clearly that there was no proof that Lt.-Col. Reay had done what MajorGeneral Hutton declared he had done, and he held that he should therefore be allowed to retire on the terms that he desired. The note made by the Minister for Defence on the minutes of the General Officer Commanding was as follows : -
I do not think that there is anything in these papers which, with any certainty, connects Lt.Col. Reay personally with the articles in the Herald referred to ; and he could hardly be expected to injure his position with his employers by expressing an adverse opinion as to what appeared therein.
It would be difficult to hold an officer of the citizen forces, earning his living on a newspaper, responsible for what appears in it, unless it is established that he was knowingly a party to an attack subversive of discipline ; for to do so would prevent any one employed on the press becoming a citizen soldier.
I think the statement of Lt.-Col. Reay, in par. 11 of his letter of the loth inst., should be accepted as made in good faith. I therefore feel unable to deny him, on retirement, after seventeen years’ exemplary service in the citizen forces, the right to retain his rank and wear his uniform, and I shall advise His Excellency the Governor-General to approve of his retirement on the usual conditions.
A copy of this minute should be sent to the G.O.C. (Signed) JOHN FORREST,
Minister of State for Defence.
-That was a manly minute.
– It was indeed. The Minister for Defence has certainly done justice to Lt.-Col. Reay, against whose record of many years’ service there is no blemish. I wish further to say that Major Lee’s appointment was made by MajorGeneral Hutton without consulting the Government of the day. That is a very serious matter. I desire to know who rules so far as our Defence Force is concerned ? Does Parliament rule, or is it Major-General Hutton? Are we going to allow MajorGeneral Hutton to assume the r61e of a military dictator, or is the Government or Parliament to have any control of our Defence Force?
– Parliament has certainly no control.
– It certainly had no control in this case. As soon as Major Lee’s appointment was made public, correspondence took place between MajorGeneral Hutton and the Minister for Defence. I do not intend to go fully into the papers connected with the case. I have a good deal on hand, and I am leaving out a good deal of information which I might reasonably submit. I do not desire to traverse any statements ‘ at a later stage in connexion with this case. So far as I am concerned, when I have finished dealing with it to-day I shall be done with it for good, except that, when the Defence Bill comes up for consideration, there are certain features to which I shall draw attention, and possibly I may then have to illustrate my argument by repeated references to this particular incident.What happened in regard to this case? Correspondence took place between the Minister and the General Officer Commandinar, and, as a matter of fact, Major-General Hutton was rebuked by the Government. He said, when brought face to face with the position, that he had spoken of this particular appointment to Sir John Forrest as Minister for Defence. But the Minister stated that so far as his memory served him no such representation had been made, and he did not remember the circumstances. I have further to say that, every time there is a criticism passed upon the Defence Force, the General Officer Commanding seems to think that it is a criticism upon himself. He appears to take up the position that he is the army, and that anything said against it is said against himself. I have to complain that the Defence Department is practically run upon regulations. In the administration of the Department there does not appear to be any law or any clearly defined method for its inner working. Although there have been laws passed for the administration of the various Defence Departments in the States, it appears that they have been ignored, or at all events no notice is taken of them. Let me illustrate this by a reference to the Victorian Defence Department. According to the Victorian Act 1083, section 9, provision is made in Victoria for a Council of Defence. Certain officers both naval and military formed this council, which was intended to be a bulwark between the Minister and the forces. That was a very proper provision to make. I know that in the past this Council of Defence has, upon many occasions, done very valuable service. There is at least this to be said for it, that it has often come between the Minister and members of the Defence Force, and in this. State the whole of the members of the force have not been at the caprice of the Minister for Defence or the military commandant; but justice has been done to all arms of theforce through this Council of Defence. I should like to ask what has become of it. The council is charged under our statutelaw to meet on different occasions to carry out certain work. I should like to know when they met last. I should like to know whether, since Major-General Hutton has had command of the Commonwealth DefenceForce, the members of this council have ever met to consider the matters for theconsideration of which they were brought into being. Under sub-section (6) of section 13 of the Victorian Defence Act, I find that a report is to be presented toParliament in the month of July. I havediligently searched the papers presented toParliament in connexion with Defenceaffairs, and so far as I know, there has never been a meeting of this Council of
Defence, and it seems to me that they have been superseded,’ and that the regulations «t present in vogue in the .Department have taken the place of the law. It would appear that the Department is now controlled only by the Major-General Commanding for the time being. I am speaking, of course, particularly with regard to Victoria and I would like to ask, where is the report upon the Defence of “Victoria which the Council of Defence is compelled by statute law to submit to members of both Houses of Parliament? It has not yet appeared. I think we are not going to see it, and that nothing will be done in the matter until, we pass the Defence Bill. I sincerely hope that when it is before us, the matters- to which I have referred in this case will be remembered, and that we shall see that in its ultimate shape that measure will provide for a tribunal, of this character to act as a buffetbetween the forces and the sweet will of the General Officer Commanding for the time being. Organization ought to be part of the work of this particular Department ; but, as I have said in the earlier part of my remarks it seems to me that it is in a state of disorganization. The very nomenclature of the Defence Force has been changed. We have terms used now in connexion with it which we never heard before. For instance, looking over the papers I find that the instructional officers are now called “instructional cadres.” I do not know what that means. It is a new term, altogether unknown to military officers. It is probably part of the experience which Major-General Hutton gained in South’ Africa. That gentleman has imported not only his peculiar ideas, but these peculiar words, to indicate the various officers in connexion with the Defence Force. It seems to me that the Council of Defence, so far as Victoria is concerned, has been ignored, and the law has been broken. Quite recently, looking over our Government Gazette, I found that there were certain regulations that had been made by the Department of Defence, and which were’ countersigned by the Minister for Defence. There were certain regulations with regard to the hoisting of the Royal Standard. From what I can make out it seems that the Royal Standard can only fly over Government buildings, such as the Treasury and a few other places ; but there is this remarkable fact in connexion with these regulations: that the General Officer Commanding, MajorGeneral Hutton, has the peculiar privilege that he may hoist the Royal Standard at his private residence. We know that there is a peculiar significance in the hoisting of the Standard. It is reserved for the Admiral on the station as the symbol of British power to hoist the Royal Standard, but, under our Defence administration, at the present moment this particular privilege is also reserved for Major-General Hutton, who is only the servant of the Commonwealth, So far as I know, not even the Prime Minister, Senator Stewart, nor any other honorable senator is granted this privilege. It is reserved only for the General Officer Commanding the Defence Forces of the Commonwealth. This seems to me to be carrying out the old idea of a Crown colony and a military despotism. Somehow or other, the Major-General, who is a military officer, has obtained this particular privilege. There would appear to be some connecting link between him and the Imperial Army, and he must, therefore, be permitted to fly the Royal Standard at his private residence. 1 have traversed a good deal of ground, but I have taken up the case of these two officers only, because I believe they are suffering an injustice. The conduct of Major-General Hutton was very peculiar when. Lt. -Cols. Braithwaite and Reay were brought before him. They made certain statements, and I understand that the Major-General turned round on these officers and said - “Do you think you could command a brigade ? Have yon ever done so? Have you ever commanded 500 men going at full gallop ? The presumption of you Australians !” In South Africa Major-General Hutton had the highest opinion of the Australian troops. In fact, he was never happier than when standing up to address them, as he did on many occasions. There was no question of presumption then. But because he is brought to book to a certain extent for his action, when these two officers whom he had previously commended for their soldier-like qualities are brought before him, he tells them that it is presumption for Australians to say and do certain things. In my opinion it is not right that the General Officer Commanding should use such language. So long as I hold a seat in the Senate, if an officer of the Defence Force, be he great or small, has a case against those in power in high places, I shall do my best to see that he is set right. I believe that in this case, by the action of the General Officer Commanding, officers have been driven from the Defence Force who should now be serving the country instead of being out of their commands.
– There was only one copy of the papers in this case, and they have been asked for in both Houses of Parliament. They were laid upon the table of the House of Representatives, and, I believe, the Printing Committee have been considering whether they should be printed, but have not yet come to a decision. That is the reason they have not been distributed to honorable senators. But, in the meantime, they are being made public, and I gather from the remarks of Senator Barrett that he had an opportunity of reading them, and is acquainted with their contents. The honorable senator has brought up, this afternoon, a question really of military discipline.- I may say that I think it is extremely difficult for Parliament, or for one House of Parliament, to give a correct decision upon a case of military discipline involving the position of any officer. Parliament, of course, can- deal with broad questions of military management and organization, but I hardly think that a House of Parliament is competent, because it cannot have the necessary knowledge to decide upon a question of military discipline as it applies to an individual officer. T do not feel that I am in possession of facts which would justify me in forming an opinion upon the case, and, therefore, I cannot follow Senator Barrett with regard to the subject-matter of the principal part of his address. I was in happy ignorance of the Royal Standard having been hoisted over the residence of the General Officer Commanding. I do not know whether any significance can be attached to the incident. I shall make some inquiries on the subject. Of course, Senator Barrett would not expect me to be cognisant of all these details. I notice that whenever any one has a little grievance against the Postal Department it is always brought up in the other House, where I cannot be present, lt seems that honorable senators, are going to revenge themselves by bringing up military matters in the Senate in the absence of my colleague. I hope that the honorable senator will excuse me for being brief in replying to him. I am informed that the sitting of the other House I is suspended. I hope that under the circumstances there will not be any further delay in returning the Bill.
Senator MATHESON (Western Australia). In the course of his somewhat heated remarks a little while ago, the PostmasterGeneral thought fit to impugn my patriotism in bringing up the question of the efficiency of our equipment.
– I withdraw the imputation.
– It is a very easy thing for Senator Drake to withdraw the imputation, and I accept the withdrawal as easily as it is made, so that we are quits. He is well aware that I should not have attempted to start this debate if the Government had not deliberately endeavoured to prevent our obtaining a report on the efficiency of the equipment of the Defence Force - a report which we are entitled to. The discussion has elicited from the Minister a candid avowal of his intention to oppose the motion. In fact the various members of the Government have put their heads together, and resolved to continue this policy of concealment - to muzzle Sir Edward Hutton if they possibly can. He has sent in these reports. He has pointed out the inadequacy of the equipment, and the Minister for Defence has derided his statement. It is only by taking a man’s opinion of himself that one can arrive at what his judgment is worth. What does the Minister say of himself ?
I do not pretend to be a military or naval expert
– The honorable senator is out of order.
– I regret that I should have broken any rule. The Minister for Defence said that he had been brought up in the paths of. peace, that he did not claim to be a military expert, and that he appealed to honorable gentlemen - where the place was I do not know - to treat him lightly. That is the person who sets up his opinion as being worth more than Sir Edward Hutton’s. That officer is paid to express his opinion, not to the Government, but to us. It is not through the Government that his reports should filter to us. They have no more right to tinker with his reports than they have to tinker with those of the Auditor-General. What would be the position if any Minister were to claim the right of revising the AuditorGeneral’s report? We should have honorable members in each House starting up in their seats and votes of censure passed upon the Government in both Houses. In fact no Government -would dare to attempt such a thing. Although we find a state of affairs which is admitted by everybody except the Minister in charge of the Department, yet we are to be denied any opportunity of satisfying ourselves and investigating the subject personally. -What does the Postmaster-General think of my statement ? He candidly admitted that it was a most alarming statement, but he said it proceeded from one not competent to express an expert opinion. He is perfectly right, but he has completely forgotten a fact which I mentioned, and that is that, with, I think, only two exceptions, the statements I made this afternoon are taken from official reports. I am only the mouthpiece by which I convey to honorable senators what their paid official advisers have put on record, and what the Government are’ consistently determined to ignore. The first of the two points on which I do not rely for official confirmation is that one battery at Albany is a shell-trap, as I know that from personal observation. The second point which has not got official confirmation is that no mine-field has ever been laid at Albany, and that there are no persons in the local garrision competent to lay a mine-field. Those two statements I make on my own authority, and I defy any military expert whom the Senate may choose to employ to say that they are not absolutely correct.
– Does the honorable senator contend that Major-General Hutton’s report should come direct to Parliament, and not through the Ministry 1
– No ; I maintain that his report should be handed to Parliament intact and without delay, and that the Senate is only acting within itf) rights in asking as a mere formal matter for a report by him on the efficiency of the equipment. Special regard must be had to the circumstances under which I make the request. The circumstances are that Sir Edward Hutton has specifically said that the state of the armament is deplorable, and the Minister for Defence has derided his views to the newspaper reporters. Whom are we to believe 1 Surely Parliament is entitled to ask that the statement shall be submitted in the form of a report. That is the very 5p last thing which the Government desireSenator Drake says that I am to wait until’ my motion comes on in due course. What is that due course? It sounds a most generous invitation on his part. Owing tothe state of the business-paper, it cannot come on for six weeks : and even after it was passed - and Senator Drake knows that it would be passed if it could be reached - Major-General Hutton would need to have three or four weeks allowed to him to prepare such a report, and, of course, by that time we should be at the end of the’ session.
– Did I understand the honorable senator to say that a member of the Government which engaged Sir Edward Hutton ridicules him 1
– I do not know whether I am justified in putting that interpretation on the words of the Minister for Defence ; but, no doubt, the honorable senator read them in the press. Senator Drake twits me with moving a request to reduce this amount by £1. I have taken this course advisedly. I desire my motion to be discussed on this occasion, and I appeal to honorable senators to support me in order to satisfy Senator Drake that they desire that- such a report should be made. I intend to divide the Committee, and I confidently rely on those who wish to maintain the privileges of the Senate to support me in this small matter. It will be easy after the vote has been taken for the Minister to move for the recommittal of the Bill, just as his colleague did last year and deprived me of the result of what was a moral victory. I appeal to the Committee; to allow me to win another moral victory,, and let Senator Drake understand that this, policy of concealment cannot be continued any longer, and that we intend to insist upon having these reports to which we are undoubtedly entitled.
– I do not see any just grounds for supporting this request. How is it possible for honorable senators who have no knowledge of the general workings of the Department to come to an honest conclusion in a case of this kind ? It is not exactly right that the Senate should pass a motion for the production of papers, because it is with great difficulty that they are obtained. I had to go- to the other House and ask an officer for permission to look at the papers in the case of Lieutenant-Colonels
Braithwaite and Reay. I find that some officers were charged with having broken proper discipline. In any defence force discipline must be maintained at all hazards. After reading some of the papers hurriedly, I have come to the conclusion that the General Officer Commanding acted very wisely and properly in regard to the change which was made at the time of the Easter encampment. I have nothing to say against Lt.-Col. Braithwaite. I believe that he is an honest and intelligent officer, but there are other officers who are equally intelligent and honest. I would point out that Lt.Col. Lee served with enormous distinction in the South African war.
– Is he a better man than Captain McLeishl
SenatorFRASER. - General French, one of the greatest cavalry officers in the world, has spoken in the highest possible terms of Lt.-Col. Lee ; and very properly the General Officer Commanding chose an officer of his standing because he was thoroughly versed in all the details connected with the work of encampments. I do not think it is right that a number of statements should be put on record in Hansard without a single word being said in reply. Speaking of Lt.-Col. Lee, the General Officer Commanding the Commonwealth Forces says : -
Major and Brevet Lt.-Col. Leo, D.S.O., has been selected by me for the command of the Light Horse Brigade at the camp of training at Sunbury under Brigadier-General Gordon, because I consider him to be the best officer for that purpose available in Victoria, both in regard to his practical experience in the field, his administrative knowledge, his acquaintance with the details of the origin of cavalry and light horse, and his thorough acquaintance with the principles as well as the details of the new manual for mounted services recently issued for the use of the mounted troops of Australia. In this connexion the following remarks made by me on the services, &c, of Lt.-Col. Lee, in a previous minute, dated 13th December last, may be of interest. I then wrote - “This officer is one of the best leaders of mounted troops in Australia. He commanded the detachment of New South Wales Lancers from the commencement of the South African campaign until towards its close. He was specially mentioned to me by his own immediate commanding officer on many occasions, and also by Sir John French This officer has been in more general actions than any other Australian soldier that I have knowledge of. The standard of efficiency of the mounted troops in New South Wales is largely due to this officer’s exertion and zeal as a staff’ officer and instructor.”
He adds a great deal more of the same character. I would further point out that Lt.-Col. Braithwaite was not superseded. Lt.-Col. Lee was brought from New South Wales for a special purpose, namely, to undertake the command of the Light Horse Brigade at the Sunbury encampment, where the troops were to undergo a course of six days’ drill. That encampment was held for educational purposes, and it is admitted by all who possess a knowledge of military matters, that Lt.-Col. Lee was the best officer that could have been selected for the purpose. Why should Lt.-Cols. Braithwaite and Reay complain ? Similar appointments have been made previously without any complaint being forthcoming. There was nothing unusual in the making of such an appointment. It was made in the best interests of the military forces.
– Does the honorable senator admit the superiority of New South Wales?
SenatorFRASER.- In this and other matters I do ; just as I admit the superiority of South Australia in many respects. I do not support the amendment, and if the papers bearing upon this matter were published, as they ought to be, a very different complexion would be placed upon it.
– I intend to support the amendment as a protest against the extraordinary conduct of the Government. Major-General Hutton has recently been publicly proclaiming from the housetops that our military equipment is deficient and faulty. The Minister for Defence contradicts that statement. Under such circumstances, I think that Parliament ought to be made acquainted with the real position. We all admit that in military matters a certain amount of concealment is necessary, but it is quite possible to carry that policy to a dangerous extreme. We know that in Great Britain the gravest scandals have occurred because the inner workings of the military and naval establishments have not been open to the healthy criticism of the public. We do not want to copy the bad methods of the Imperial authorities here. If our military equipment is deficient, by all means let us know in what way it is deficient, how the fault can be remedied, whether it is desirable that it should be remedied, and how much it will cost? We are spending a large sum annually upon defence. MajorGenral Hutton tells us that practically we have no defence, and the Government refuse to offer any explanation in regard to the matter. It is time, therefore, that Parliament stepped into the breach and insisted upon knowing the exact position of affairs. That being my view, I intend to support Senator Matheson’s amendment.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the clause by reducing the amount of £75,000 by £1 - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 3 and 4 and schedule agreed to.
Bill reported without request; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Drake) agreed to -
That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clause2.
In Committee : (Recommittal).
Clause 2 (as requested to be amended) -
There shall be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, to every grower of sugar-cane or beet within the Commonwealth, in the production of which sugar-cane or beet white labour only has been employed for a period of twelve months immediately preceding the delivery thereof for manufacture, a bonus, at the rates provided by this Act, on all such sugar-cane or beet delivered for manufacture after the commencement of this Act and before the first day of January, One thousand nine hundred and seven. Provided that no bonus shall be paid in respect of the production of sugar on land which has been cultivated by other than white labour after a bonus has been paid in respect of the production of sugar thereon.
– I move -
That the resolution “ That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the clause by omitting the words ‘ after the twenty-eighth day of February, One thousand nine hundred and three,’ “ be rescinded.
I submit this motion for the reason that the way in which the Bill has been amended, or the form which the requests have taken for amendments to be made by the House of Representatives, would have the effect of preventing persons who have made provision for earning the rebate under the regulations passed in December last, from obtaining the benefits of the measure.
– Does the PostmasterGeneral not mean January last ?
– The order was passed by the Executive in December. The first amendment requested should have come in after the words “ nineteen hundred and three.” I am not proposing now to insert the word “ or “ for the reason that I believe it is desired to reconsider, from a constitutional point of view, the question of whether on this Bill we should make requests for amendments, whether amendments should be made, or whether it is not out of the power of the Senate to do one thing or the other. However, for the present I submit the motion. I think’ I am in order in doing so, because it simply restores the words as they appeared in the Bill when it came from the House of Representatives.
SenatorPearce. - In the same place ?
– In exactly the same place.
– What is the constitutional point of view ?
– I shall deal with that afterwards, contenting myself in the mean- ‘ time with moving the amendment.
– This is a direct violation of the promise made by the Postmaster-General yesterday ; and I do not at all agree with the position taken up by the honorable and learned gentleman. Yesterday Senator Matheson rose to move an amendment, which would have carried out the intention of the Senate at the time; and the Postmaster-General then said he would insert the words mentioned in his motion, and also the word “or.” Under the circumstances, I shall vote against the motion unless the PostmasterGeneral proposes to insert the word “ or.”
– I do not think there can be the slightest charge against me of breach of faith. Iti is quite true that up to a certain point I asked Senator Matheson to withdraw his amendment, and told him I proposed to deal with the Bill when recommitted, reading to him, from the paper in my hand, words which showed the way in which the clause would then read.
– That included the word “ or.”
– Quite so; but, in dividing my motion, in the way I have done, I am simply doing what is almost invariably done in the Senate, when there are two questions which it is desired to have decided. The proposal to put in the words mentioned is distinct from the proposal to insert the word “ or,” for the reason that I am merely re-inserting words which were in the Bill before.
– Does the PostmasterGeneral intend to follow his present motion with another ?
– :I do not mind who does, that ; I throw no obstacle in anybody’s way. I want to give the Senate an opportunity of deciding whether we should request amendments, or whether there is power to make amendments. In any case, whether this be a request or an amendment, the word “ or “ will have to be inserted. If it is not within our power to make a request, then, of course, it would be quite out of place if I were to propose first of all to insert the word “or.”
-I I think that the Postmaster-General stops a little short when he declines to take the responsibility of moving the insertion of the word “or.” I hope the PostmasterGeneral will not shirk his duty and responsibility, but will carry out the promise he made yesterday. Unless we have a distinct assurance from the Postmaster-General that he will, move the insertion of the word “or,” I shall vote against the present motion. I will not, unless that word be inserted, run the risks of the full effects of the amendment which was accepted by the Senate the other day in such generous terms,’ and thus leave any doubt in the mind of any honorable senator as to whether the Postmaster-General intends to carry out his promise. The amendment which this motion would make is defective, and I want the Postmaster-General to state distinctly whether he will or will not move the insertion of the word “ or.” It is the clear duty of the Postmaster-General to move in the direction I have intimated, and unless I get a promise to that effect I shall certainly vote against the motion.
– We see here again a ‘ policy of concealment. The Postmaster-General, in moving the insertion of the words mentioned in the motion, has said that at present he will not propose to insert the word “ or” - :that it would be more convenient to leave the latter proposal till afterwards. But, as the way in which we shall vote on the present motion entirely depends on what thePostmasterGeneral proposes to do next - because the word “ or “ is absolutely vital - I shall certainly vote against the motion unless I know what is to follow. Itwould seem from the secretive policy adopted that a mine may be suddenly sprungunder us, and that we may be told later that we cannot amend the Bill in any way. Under the circumstances, we ought to havethe clause placed before us in such a form that we shall know what we are doing.
– I have not the slightest objection to tell honorable senators exactly what is in my mind, and to show where, in my opinion, the difficulty arises. The amendment proposed by Senator Glassey was put as a request, and no question was raised as to whether that amendment should figure as a request or as an amendment: The first question is : under which paragraph of section 53 of the Constitution do we hold this Bill to come t
– We have decided that.
– No ; that question has not been decided.
– It was discussed and decided.
– So far as I recollect it was not discussed.
– Senator Symon discussed the point from the constitutional point of view, and decided, so far as he could, that this was -one of the amendments which would require a request.
– I do not remember a debate on the point taking place, and I may have been absent from the chamber at the time. However that may be, this is a question I want decided. If this is not a Bill appropriating revenue or moneys, ov coining within the second paragraph of section 53 of the Constitution, then we can amend it. If the Bill does come within the second paragraph of section 53, then we cannot amend it, but may make requests. But my trouble is, whether the Bill does nob come within the third paragraph, and whether we are not prevented from making any amendment in it to “increase any proposed charge or burden on the people.”
– That was recognised.
– If the Bill comes under that paragraph of section 53 of the Constitution, then it seems to me clear that we cannot amend it so as to increase the proposed “ charge or burden on the people.” If this is a Bill within that category, can the Senate make a request ?
– I should think so, certainly.
– But perhaps Senator Pearce has not looked carefully into the matter. The next paragraph of section 53 contains the following : -
The Senate may at any stage return to the House of Representatives any proposed law which the Senate may not amend…….
Is a Bill which may be amended in one direction but not in another, a Bill which we may not amend? That is a point which has never been raised in the Senate.
– Senator Symon raised that point.
– Not that point surely ?
– Yes ; that is so.
– I never heard the point raised. I do not wish to take any advantage of the Senate, but it is my duty to point out that in a case of this kind, when we are sending a Bill back to the other Chamber and taking a certain action, we ought, at all events, to have our own minds made up, and know on what ground we stand. We should not go ahead in a certain direction, and then afterwards have to admit that we had not taken the matter fully into consideration. My view is that this measure comes under the paragraph of section 53 of the Constitution, which deals with the class of Bills we may not amend. If there be a particular Bill which we may amend to any extent in one direction, but which we may not amend in any other direction, is that a Bill which, within the meaning of the Constitution, we may not amend? Does the expression, “any proposed law which the Senate may not amend,” mean a Bill which the Senate may not amend at all ?
– Well, that is the point. The paragraph referred to speaks of what may be done with regard to a Bill the Senate may not amend.
– We may offer suggestions.
– But the question is whether such a Bill as I have referred to is a Bill which we may not amend. The fourth paragraph of section 53 of the Constitution is perfectly clear, and tells us something that may be done in respect to a Bill which we may not amend. Is this a Bill which we may not amend on account of this general restriction as to the amendment of Bills in a certain direction ?
– Did this not become a Bill which we may not amend the moment we carried Senator Glassey’s amendment ? ‘
– Because it increases the “ burden on the people”?
– This Bill does not increase the burden on the people.
-I cannot myself see that. There is a particular class of Bill which we may not amend, and there are other Bills which we may amend, but not amend in a particular way. Is the Bill which we may amend, excepting in one particular direction, a Bill which we may not amend ? 1 f it is a Bill which we may not amend, then we have the power to make requests. The whole of the power to make requests is in the fourth paragraph of section 53 of the Constitution, which I have already quoted.
– That is the “proposed’ law spoken of in the third paragraph of section 53.
– That is just the point. In the second paragraph we have Bills referred to which the Senate may not in any way amend, and then there is the general restriction in the next paragraph that we may not amend any proposed law so as to increase “ any pi-oposed charge or burden on the people.” That clearly refers to Bills which may be amended, but may not be amended in a particular direction. The third paragraph of section 53 deals with proposed laws which we may amend, but which we may not amend -
So as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people.
Not only may we not amend such a proposed law in that direction, but we have no power under the section to make a request in regard to it.
– Did we not, in agreeing to Senator Glassey’s proposal, amend the Bill so as to increase the burden on the people t
– That is the point we have to determine. If the amendment has not that effect, the question arises - “ Is this a proposed law which we may not amend as being a law ‘appropriating revenue or moneys V “ If the .Bill falls within that category, it is a Bill in regard to which a request may be made. But if it does not, the proper action to take in regard to any proposed alteration of its provisions is by way of amendment. If the Bill belongs to the class of proposed laws referred to in the second paragraph of section 53, our proper action in regard to it is by way of request, but if it does not, our proper action is hy way of amendment. But, under the third paragraph, no amendment may be moved which would increase any proposed charge or burden on the people. In agreeing to any increase in the charge or burden on the people, we shall be going beyond our powers, whether we deal with the Bill by way of amendment or by way of request.
– Why not make a request in this instance ?
– Thi Senate’s power of making requests is derived from the provisions of the fourth paragraph of section jB, but that power is to be exercised only in regard to -
Any proposed law which the Senate may not amend.
If the Bill is one which we may amend, so long as we do not increase any charge or burden on the people,- it is a Bill in regardto which we cannot make a request. The Constitution does not say - “ Requests may be made with respect to proposed laws which the Senate may not amend, or in regard to which its power of amendment is limited.” The power of making requests is expressly limited to proposed laws which the Senate may not amend, and if a proposed law may be amended in any particular, it is not a proposed law which we may not amend. I am inclined to think that if the proposal of Senator Glassey increases the charge or burden on the people, it was an amendment which we cannot make, and that the Bill is one in regard to which we cannot make requests, but if his proposal would not have that effect, it -was is an amendment which can be made.
– I stated the proposal of Senator Glassey as a request after I had given thought and deliberation to the question. I am, therefore, responsible for the position which has arisen. I have also had a consultation with the President, who, I find, differs from me, and it is my intention to state my views on the subject, and I understand that he will afterwards give the Committee the benefit of his opinion. This matter, concerning which there is room for the greatest difference of opinion, is of very great importance, and it will be the duty of the Committee to decide what course of action shall be taken. It is not a party, but a purely constitutional question, and can be discussed without heat or ill-feeling. I am very glad of the opportunity that is thus afforded to the Senate of coming to a decision as to what are our rights, and what ought to be our practice in the future, in regard to Bills of this nature ; because this is a Bill of a type that we shall have frequently before us. The first section of the Constitution to which I will refer honorable senators is section 53. That section provides that certain Bills for “appropriating revenue or moneys, or imposing taxation, shall not originate in the Senate and then, in the second paragraph, it goes on to say that -
The Senate may not amend proposed laws imposing taxation, or proposed laws appropriating revenue or moneys for the ordinary annual services of the Government.
There are two classes of Bills which, according to that provision, the Senate has not the right to amend. I am clear about this much - that the Bill immediately before us, which is a Bill “ to provide for a bonus to growers of sugar-cane and beet,” does not come within that provision, and consequently this is a Bill that we have a right to amend, subject to certain limitations which are set out in the section from which I have quoted. The section goes on’ to say -
The Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people.
The question that we have to settle is whether the proposal of Senator Glassey does, in the words of the section, “ increase any proposed charge or burden on the people.” Now, clause 2 of the Bill provides for the payment of bonuses -
There shall be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, to every grower of sugar-cane or beet within the Commonwealth, in the production of which sugar-cane or beet white labour only has been employed after the twenty-eighth day of February, One thousand nine hundred and three, a bonus, at the rates provided by this Act, on all such sugar-cane or beet delivered for manufacture after the commencement of this Act, and before the first day of January, One thousand nine hundred and seven.
The honorable senator proposed to strike out of clause 2 the words “ after the 28th day of February, one thousand nine hundred and three.” By striking out those words, we at once eliminate the limitation provided in the Bill ; and, that being the first amendment, preparatory to the introduction of certain other words, I think, as it widens the scope of the Bill and necessarily involves, by striking out the limitation, further payments out of the consolidated revenue, it would have the effect of increasing the burden on the people. Then Senator Glassey proposed to put in certain other words. He proposed in substitution for the -words “ after the 28th day of February, one thousand nine hundred and three” the insertion of the words “for a period of twelve months immediately preceding the delivery thereof for manufacture.” According to my view, clearly the striking out of the words to which I have referred, and the insertion of the other words .which I have quoted, mean that it would be competent for anybody who ‘ has employed white labour for a period of twelve months anterior to the bringing of his sugar-cane or beet to the factory to claim the bonus ; and that would necessarily involve an increase of bonus payments, and, consequently, would increase the burden on the people. I therefore ask the Committee to look at the Bill, .and ascertain “ the proposed charge or burden on the people” therein provided for ; and having done so, determine whether Senator Glassey’s amendment increases that “proposed charge or burden.” It obviously does, in my opinion. That, however, is the simple question. I know that it is suggested that what is proposed will not increase the burden on the people, and one or two reasons are given for that opinion. One reason is that the Commonwealth is entitled to a fourth of the Customs revenue collected, and that we are aware that one-fourth of the total is more than ample for the services ‘of the Commonwealth Government. Indeed, portions of the one-fourth have already been returned to the States. Consequently, it is urged that’ by increasing the amount of the bonuses we do not increase the burden on the people. I do not hold with that view, because it is possible that the whole of the one-fourth might be absorbed by the ordinary services of the Government, and increased taxation might be involved in order to secure the additional amount necessary to pay bonuses for the growth of sugar. Suppose for a moment that under the Bill the amount of bonuses paid would be, say, something like £60,000 per annum ; and suppose that the result of Senator Glassey’s proposal was an increase of something like £20,000. In other words, say that the total bonuses came to £80,000. I say that the increase involved in the pro*posal of Senator Glassey would mean an increase in the burden of taxation. The Treasurer, at the present time, is making up his Estimates for the year. He wants to know the expenditure he’ has to provide for. Suppose he had made up his mind that this Bill would involve an expenditure of £60,000 in the form originally drawn, and that he put that amount down on his Estimates. It is a fact which must be admitted, that the removal of the limitation would mean an increase of the amount to be paid of, say, for purposes of illustration, £20,000. The Treasurer would, therefore, have to make due provision for £80,000, instead of for £60,000, and his taxation proposals would have to be regulated by the amount which he found he- would be liable to pay during the year. Consequently, in my view, this amendment comes within the third paragraph of section 53 -
The Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase airy proposed charge or burden on the people.
Then there is another aspect of the question. It is suggested that Senator Glassey’s proposal does not increase the burdens on the people because the excise duty is £3 per ton . and this Bill practically means a rebate of £2 per ton. Therefore, it is urged, that by reason of this Bill only £1 per ton will bo levied instead of £3. But I deny the premises completely ; they are not correct, because the excise duty is clearly £3 per ton, and this Bill does not provide for a rebate of £2 per ton, but for a bonus of £2 per ton out of the Consolidated Revenue. The excise of £3 has to be levied, and then the tonus has to be provided out of the Commonwealth revenue. The growth of sugar :by white labour might become so great that the bonus would be in excess of the revenue from excise. Such a thing is possible. From that stand-point what is proposed to be paid is not a rebate, but it is a bonus quite irrespective of the limitation, and what is more, the excise and revenue, from that source has nothing to do with the bonus. The bonus is paid out of the Consolidated Revenue, quite irrespective of excise. Then it- is as well that honorable senators should read in this ‘ connexion another section of the Constitution. I refer to section 56 -
A vote resolution or proposed law- for the approportion of revenue or moneys shall not be pissed unless the purpose of the approportion has in the same session been recommended by message of the Governor-General to the House in which the proposal originated.
We have received no message from the Governor-General in respect to this Bill, or the proposed increase involved in Senator Glassey’s amendment. For that matter, it is not competent for the Senate to orginate Bills of this class. Consequently we could not receive a message for the origination of this increased taxation. If Senator Glassey’s proposal means an increase we have no message for it. In this connexion I think I am justified in reading a note on the subject from Quick and Garran’s Annotated Constitution qf the Australian Commonwealth - a book to which we frequently refer. The note is on page 671, and is numbered 249. It is headed Increase any charge or burden on the ;.people.” The note says -
The Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people. This provision may be described as a limitation on the reserved power of the Senate to amend money Bills other than tax Bills and annual Appropriation Bills. Seeing that the Senate cannot amend a Bill imposing taxation, it may be naturally asked - How can the Senate possibly amend a proposed law so as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people? The answer is that the Senate is only forbidden to amend tax Bills and the annual Appropriation Bill ; it may amend two kinds of expenditure Bills, viz. , those for permanent and extraordinary appropriations.
Then it goes on to say -
If the Senate could propose an increase in the amount of money to be spent in a public works’ Bill- say from £1,000,000 sterling to £2,000,000 Sterling - that amendment would necessitate increased taxation in order to give effect to it, and consequently an addition to the burdens and charges on the people. The Senate may amend such money Bills so as to reduce the total amount of expenditure or to change the method, object, and destination of the expenditure, but not to increase the total expenditure originated in the House of Representatives.
That seems to me to contemplate the same view as I have seen fit to urge upon the Committee. When Senator Glassey made his proposal, I put it to the Committee as a request, because I felt that it was not competent for the Senate to make an amendment of the kind. Then comes a further question - a difficult question. It has already been mentioned by my honorable friend, the Postmaster-General. The fourth paragraph of section 53 says : -
The Senate may at any stage return to the House of Representatives any proposed law which the Senate may not amend, requesting, by message, the omission or amendment of any items or provisions therein. And the House of Representatives may, if it thinks fit, make any of such omissions or amendments, with or without modifications.
It will be noted, according to that provision, that we can only return to the House of Representatives with such a message “ any proposed law which the Senate may not amend.” The proposed laws which the Senate may not amend are proposed laws “imposing taxation” and proposed laws “ appropriating revenue oi” moneys for the ordinary annual services of the Government.” Consequently, it may be suggested that, as this is a Bill that we can amend, there is no provision in the Constitution for making requests with regard to it, because requests can only be made on Bills which we cannot amend. If that is true, then we are utterly powerless. We cannot amend it in the direction sought, because such an amendment increases the 1 burdens on the people; and, because it is a i Bill which we can amend, we cannot make a request upon it.
– They ought to send up two Bills.
– I do not take that view. My view is that clauses involving increased burdens on the people, and the two classes of Bills to which I have referred - Bills appropriating the annual services and providing for taxation - are proposed laws in regard to which we can make requests. That is the principle which is laid down in section 53 ; but, even if clauses involving increased burdens are not a proposed law within the meaning of the section, still I contend that we have an inherent right to make a request in regard to them, and by way of analogy it is the proper course to follow - and it is the course which I have followed on this occasion. I think this is a case in which we cannot acknowledge ourselves to be utterly powerless to do any thing in regard to the Bill, and, consequently having regard to the character of the measure, our duty is to make a request. That is the principle provided for by the Constitution in reference to money Bills. That was the reason which induced me to put the amendment moved by Senator Glassey in the form of a request. It is my duty, however, to draw the attention of the Committee to the latter portion of Senator Glassey’s amendment. He proposed, first of all, to strike out certain words and to insert in lieu thereof certain other words. Then he desired that there should be added to the clause these words -
Provided that no bonus shall be paid in respect of the production of sugar on land which has been cultivated by other than white labour after a bonus has been paid in respect of the production of sugar thereon.
– I regarded that as being part of the one amendment.
– During my temporary absence Senator Dobson occupied the Chair, and I understand that he put this part of the amendment in the form of a request, regarding it as an amendment contingent upon the first one. But as this particular portion would decrease a burden on the people, I think it should have been put - if I may say so, with all deference to Senator Dobson, whose opinion I greatly respect - by way of amendment. If that had been done we should not have had this state of affairs : the sending down of two requests to another place ; one request for an amendment, that would increase the burden on the people, and another request for an amendment that clearly would decrease the burden.
– Decrease the burden of the proposed amendment or the original proposition?
– It would decrease taxation.
– It would limit it at all events.
– I think Senator Glassey will admit that it would.
– I think it would decrease the burden proposed by the first amendment, but not the burden pro- ‘ posed by the original proposition.
– I did not wish the Senate to be in this anomalous position : We did not make the first amendment only because it would increase the burden of taxation, and, therefore, we put it in the form of a request. But I think that with regard to thef further amendment proposed we should have made it ourselves, because we have no right to request another place to make an amendment which we ourselves can effect. I simply draw the attention of the Senate to this matter, so that when we send down our papers we shall do so in a strictly accurate way. In support of my view, I mentioned that the Treasurer, in making up his accounts, had to ascertain what he had to provide for; and, before resuming my seat, I desire to refer to the practice in the House of Commons, which is well known to honorable senators. The Treasurer has first of all to know the amount that he has to provide for, and having ascertained that amount, he regulates his taxation accordingly in Ways and Means. This is, of course, a well known practice : but I shall refer honorable senators to a few words on the subject which are to be found at page 515 of May’s Parliamentary Practice, 10th edition -
The Sovereign, being the executive power, is charged with the management of all the revenues of the State, and with all payments for the public service. The Crown, therefore, acting with the advice of its responsible Ministers, makes known to the Commons the pecuniar)’ necessities of the Government ; -
In this case I said, by way of example, that £60,000 or £80,000 was required - the Commons in return grant such aids or supplies iia are required to satisfy these demands; and they provide by taxes, and by the appropriation of other sources of the public income, the ways and means to meet the supplies which they have granted. Thus the Crown demands money, the Commons grant it, and the Lords assent to the grant : but the Commons do not vote money unless it be required by the Crown, ; nor do they impose or augment taxes, unless such taxation be necessary for the public service, as declared by the Crown through its constitutional advisers.
That is the view I have taken in this matter, but I shall, of course, feel greatly indebted to the Senate for its aid and guidance in regard to this very important question
– I feel greatly the responsibility which is upon every honorable senator to arrive at a correct conclusion in reference to this matter. We have to -work out the Constitution, and before we take up’ any position in regard to it, I think we should thoroughly thrash the matter out. Indeed, I feel that every honorable senator ought to bring the best of his ability to bear on the solution of the subject, the difficulty of which I freely admit. I hope, therefore, that the Senate will not hurriedly rush to any conclusion. I have given a great deal of thought to this question, and the more I have considered it the more the difficulty of arriving at a correct interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution Act in this respect has forced itself upon my mind. I intend to adduce to the Senate an argument to show that we can make an amendment and not a request in regard to this Bill ; but having brought forward that argument, I think I shall be bound to place before the Senate certain considerations which create a doubt in my own mind as to whether the conclusion at which I have arrived is correct. I desire to treat this matter from a judicial stand-point, and not from the point of view of a partizan or of one seeking to obtain for the Senate any right or privilege to which we are not -entitled. I believe that it is my du tj’, and, in fact, the duty of every honorable senator, to uphold the Constitution, and to claim every right to which we .are entitled. But we must be firmly convinced in our own minds that we are entitled to those rights, and that the course of procedure that we seek to adopt is the correct one. That is the way in which the position in reference to this Bill presents itself in the first instance, at all events, to me. There are three prohibitions - and only three - in the Constitution against the right of the Senate to amend Bills. The first relates to Bills which impose taxation. These the Senate may not amend at all. The second relates to Bills appropriating money for the ordinary annual services of the Government. These, also, the Senate may not amend at all. I do not think, however, that any one can contend that this Bill comes within either of these two classes. Therefore, the third prohibition is the only one which we need consider. That prohibition is that the Senate may not amend any Bill so as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people. This is a Bill which-
– The prohibition is not against any Bill, but against “ any proposal.”
– The words used in the Constitution are “ any proposed law,” but that is synonymous with “Bill.”
– If the honorable senator objects to that term, I will speak of “any proposed Law.” The Senate may amend any proposed law - the word “ Bill “ is generally used - in any direction, unless it comes within prohibition No. 1 or prohibition No. 2, and provided that the amendment does not increase a charge or burden on the people. I think every honorable senator will agree with what I have said up to this point. The position in reference to this particular Bill is this: There is an import duty of £6 per ton on sugar, and there is an excise duty of £3 per ton on all sugar except that grown in particular circumstances, which has been called “ white sugar.” Under the law as it stands at present, a. rebate of £2 per ton is allowed on what we call “ white sugar,” so that the practical result is that that sugar pays only an excise of £1 per ton. Senator Glassey’s amendment proposed to extend the number of people to whom the rebate might be granted,, and to enlarge the quantity of sugar on which it might be claimed. Thus, if that extension were made, the practical result - the reality - would be to decrease the revenue, and therefore the burden of taxation would be lessened by Senator Glassey’s amendment. The revenue undoubtedly would be decreased if a larger number of people claimed the rebate of £2 per ton in respect of a larger quantity of sugar. That is the reality.
– Is the rebate the reality t
– It is at present. I am speaking of the law as it now exists.
– Outside this Bill.
– Yes. I am laying down the position under theexisting law, and showing what is the present state of affairs. The reality is as I have said, but the form in which the matteris presented to us is different.
– Hear, hear.
– I am coming to that point. As a matter of fact, we have passed a Bill doing away with the rebate, imposing a uniform excise of £3- per ton on all sugar, and giving a bonus. out of the general revenue - -which is appropriated for that purpose - of £2 per ton on what, has been called white-grown sugar. The real object of this is to increase the revenue of two of the States, which contain about half the total population of the Commonwealth, and to compel the remaining States, representing the other half of the people of the Commonwealth, to make up the amount necessary to pay that increase to the two States in question. Although Senator Glassey’s amendment may increase the amount to be paid by way of bonus, it does not increase the amount of taxation on the people as a whole. If we suppose that all the sugar used in the Commonwealth were grown in the Commonwealth, and entitled to receive the bonus, there would be no import duty. The Customs revenue of £6 per ton on imports would disappear, and the tax on sugar fall off to £1 per ton only. So that the practical effect of Senator Glassey’s amendment is to decrease the tax paid by the taxpayer. How can that be called an increase of the burdens upon the people ? I take it that the words “ burden on the people “ mean the burden on the people who pay the tax directly. If we do not admit that that is the proper meaning of the words, in the consideration of every matter we shall have to go into all manner of abstract propositions to find out who ultimately pays. The freetrader will tell us one thing and the protectionist will tell us another, and it will be indeed most difficult to arrive at any conclusion as to who ultimately pays, and what the ultimate result will be. I have looked through May, and all the other authorities, and I can find no warrant for departing from the proposition that the immediate taxpayers are the persons in view when the words- are used, “ Increase a charge or burden on the people.” This is really a matter between the States. We aru a States House, and is there any doubt whatever that we should have the fullest and freest power of determining any question which is really a matter of State against State ? What is the meaning of “the people” in this section? It must mean the whole people. Surely it cannot mean half of the people ? In this case, if we come to ultimate results, one-half the people have to pay something which has to go to the other half of the people. It seems to me that in considering this Constitution we must look at the people as a whole, and not at the people of any particular State or States. This Bill, purports to appropriate revenue, .and to appropriate it for the purpose of paying a bonus. I will take it for the sake of argument, and I believe it is correct, that in all probability Senator Glassey’s amendment will appropriate more revenue than the Bill would appropriate if it were not amended as proposed. I think that may be admitted for the sake of argument. Now, do these words “ increase any proposed charge or burden on the people “ mean what they say and nothing else, or do they include an appropriation of revenue ? That is the point, and, so far as I can see, the only point we- have to consider. If we take the primd facie meaning of those words they certainly do not include appropriation of revenue, because no man and no nation can increase a charge or burden by any allocation of the proceeds of that charge or burden. This is an allocation of the proceeds of taxation, and that allocation does not, primd facie at all events, increase the charge or burden on the people who pay it. I take it that the onus of showing that these words mean something else than their ordinary primdfacie meaning lies upon those who make the assertion. Three arguments have been used - I do not say in this debate - to show that they have some different meaning. The first is that these words have acquired by long use in Great Britain and in the States a technical meaning, and must be considered as having been used in the Constitution in that meaning. The second is that the Federal Parliament is bound by some analogy with the British type of Government, and, therefore, the practice, rules, and procedure to be found in May and other writers on practice and procedure give a meaning to those words which they would not otherwise have. The third argument is that section 56 of the Constitution precludes the Senate from increasing any proposed appropriation of revenue unless a message from the Governor-General recommending the increase is received. I propose to consider these arguments at some length, perhaps some honorable senators may think at undue length, but this is a matter of such importance that I think it should be considered from every point of view. The arguments which I may now use may not be used by other honorable senators, and we should consider every argument bearing on the question. I first of all deny that in this matter of money bills there is any such technical meaning or analogy, and, secondly, that the facts refute the argument, even if it can be used. The meaning, spirit, and intent of our Constitution is, in this matter, entirely different from the meaning, intent, and spirit of the Constitutions of the States and. of the British Constitution. The Senate is in an entirely different position from that of the House of Lords, the House of Commons, or any State Legislative Council. Admitting, however, merely for the sake of argument, that the British procedure, which has gradually been developed out of mediaeval conditions binds the Senate, let us see what the words “charge or burden upon the people “ mean in the British House of Commons. The Chairman of Committees has given us a quotation from page 515 of May, which I should have used if the Chairman had not already used it. I shall not repeat the quotation, but I entirely agree with the law as laid down- in May, and as quoted by the Chairman of Committees. That shows that under the British procedure there are three stages which have to be taken into consideration before moneys, which it is proposed shall be taken out of the pockets of the people, can be paid for the services of the Government. First, a tax, duty, or impost has to be levied. This imposes “a charge or burden on the people,” in the words of our Constitution. Secondly, the proceeds of such charge or burden on the people have to be granted to the Crown. This transforms the proceeds of the tax into the revenues of the Crown. Thirdly, the grant has to be appropriated to specific services. This imposes a charge on the revenue, and allocates the expenditure of the proceeds of the tax, duty or impost. Nothing can be clearer than the .distinction which is drawn by the British House of Commons between appropriation of revenue, called a charge on the public revenue, and the imposition of a charge or burden on the people. The fact that the word “charge” is often used in these two senses has, I dare say, confused the issue in the minds of some people. But, if we come to the very root of the matter, the standing orders of the House of Commons, this distinction between the two classes of charges is drawn in words which it is impossible to misunderstand. I am now about to read from the standing orders of the House of Commons passed in Mardi, 1866, and which have continued in force to this Senator Sir Richard Baker. day. I do so to show that “a charge or burden on the people” means an entirely different thing from a charge or burden on the consolidated revenue - which is the case here. ‘ This is the standing order -
That if any motion be made by the House, or any aid, grant, or charge upon the public revenue (whether payable out of the Consolidated Fund, or out of money to be provided by Parliament), or for any charge upon the people - differentiating between the two charges - the consideration and debate thereof shall not be presently entered upon, but shall be adjourned until such further day as the House shall think fit to appoint, and then it shall b2 referred to a Committee of the whole House before any resolution or vote of the House do pass therein.
Then by another standing order; made at the same date and still in force, it is provided -
That this House will receive no petition for an3’ sum relating to public service, or proceed upon any motion lor a grant or charge upon the public revenue, whether payable out of the Consolidated Fund, or out of moneys to be provided by Parliament, unless recommended from the Crown.
These two standing orders clearly draw a distinction between a charge upon the public revenue and a charge upon the people. In the first standing order these two species of charges are dealt with as two different things. Motions for either species of charges have to be adjourned before being voted upon. In the second standing order a message from the Crown is required before a motion for a charge upon the public revenue can be dealt with, but no such message is required in reference to a charge upon the people. The two classes of charges are dealt with by different procedure in different Committees. I do not desire to detain the Senate by reading lengthy extracts from May to show this ; but they will find the references in the tenth edition of May, at pages 554, 527, and 666. So that any increase “a charge or burden on the people” is treated as an entirely different matter from a charge upon the revenue - that is to say, an appropriation of the revenue. Even in the British House of Commons “a charge or burden on the people “ does not mean or include appropriation of revenue. That is my point here. That is what I say the Constitution means. But when I say that, I intend to qualify the statement byandby by a doubt which has arisen in my mind, and which I will state to the Committee. If we examine May we will find all manner of different methods of treatment of different classes of taxes or charges upon the people, and different classes of appropriation of re venue, some requiring the recommendation of the Crown, and some not. Some have to be dealt with by the House itself, some by the- Committee of Ways and Means, some by the Committee of the whole House, and some by the Committee of Supply. This all shows that they are treated there as entirely different things. For instance, the duty on tea is treated differently from the duty on sugar, one being an annual and the other a permanent tax. An appropriation of revenue for a telegraphic or mail subsidy has to be approved of by the House, and nearly every other appropriation by a committee. A grant of Supply must, as a rule, be moved by a Minister of the Crown, but a grant for the British Museum may be moved by a trustee of the Museum. I have brought forward these statements from May to show what a difference there is between a charge on the revenue and a charge on the people. We are now dealing entirely with the question : What is the meaning of “ an increase of a charge or burden on the people?” Senator Glassey’s amendment is an increase of a charge upon the revenue, and not an increase of a charge or burden on the people. The right of the Senate to deal with an appropriation of revenue is admitted in the Constitution itself. Section 56 of the Constitution says -
A vote, resolution, or proposed law for the appropriation of revenue or moneys shall not be passed unless the purpose of the appropriation has in the same session- been recommended b)’ message of the Governor-General to the House in which the proposal originated. So that if a message comes from the Governor-General recommending the purpose of any appropriation, either House can deal with the matter, and it was contemplated clearly in this section that a message for the appropriation of revenue could be sent to the Senate. Contrast that with the corresponding clauses in any of the State Constitutions. I shall not read them, because they are nearly all identical, but in the case of all the State Parliaments no appropriation of revenue can take place unless the message recommending the purpose of that appropriation is sent to the House of Assembly. “Under our Constitution it may be sent to either House of the Federal Parliament. The framers of the Constitution had the Constitutions of the
States before them, and why did they make this difference ? They made the difference because it was contemplated that the Senate should deal with appropriations of revenue provided that fi message was first sent to the originating House, which might be either the Senate or the House of Representatives. I do not think I can quote a better authority for that proposition than the Prime Minister, who was the leader of the Convention and the chairman of the Drafting Committee. What did he say in reference to one of the sub-sections of section 53 ? -
The intention of this sub-clause, I take it, is this - The Senate is not deprived of the power of amending appropriations except in respect to the ordinary annual services of the Government. In order that it may have that power in full efficiency, it is intended by this sub-clause to confine the annual Appropriation Act to such matters as relate to the ordinary annual services of the Government, so that appropriations apart from that may be dealt with in the ordinary way.
Words cannot be clearer than those which I have just quoted. It is quite true, and it may be argued that we are not bound by the opinion of Sir Edmund Barton when we have the Constitution itself to guide us, but if we are not bound by his opinion, we are certainly not bound by the opinions of irresponsible writers such as have been quoted by the Chairman of Committees. I take it that if we are going to obtain information from the opinions of the framers of the Constitution, we cannot obtain better information than from the opinion of the leader of the Convention and the chairman of the Drafting Committee, and I claim that his opinion is borne out .by the Constitution itself. It has been argued that the section of the Constitution which refers to messages from the Crown to the Senate recommending appropriations, refers to the small appropriations mentioned in the first part of section 53. But that cannot possibly be correct, because section 53 says that a proposed law shall not be taken to appropriate revenue if it appropriates certain small items which are therein mentioned. So that the section providing for a message from the Crown direct to the Senate cannot possibly relate to the smaller appropriations mentioned in section 53. To what does it relate ? Sir Edmund Barton states in the clearest possible manner that the Senate would have the same right in reference to appropriations of revenue as the House of Representatives has in respect of all appropriations, except those included in a particular Bill - that is, the Appropriation Bill. Another argument has been used - and I believe it would be correctly used if we adopted the practice of the State Parliaments - and it is that although a message from the Crown has been received recommending an appropriation, that appropriation cannot be increased. I submit that that is not correct. It certainly is not correct so far as the House of Commons is concerned, and I shall now read from the tenth edition of May, at page 532-
This principle - id est, that the amount of revenue w’hich the Crown has recommended should be appropriated to a specific object ought not to be increased by the Commons - however, is apparently disregarded when the recommendation of the Crown is given to a resolution empowering the expenditure of public money, which, framed in general terms, places no limitation on the amount of expenditure to be authorized by the resolution. As the resolution sanctions, without any specific limitation, the application of money to be provided by Parliament to certain purposes, when the clauses in a Bill founded upon such u resolution are before the Committee, the freedom of action sanctioned by that resolution can be exercised. The Committee is not bound bv the terms of the provisions which the Ministers oi the Crown have inserted in the Bill ; and any member may propose an increase of the grants specified in these clauses, or to extend the application of the provisions of the Bill, whatever may be the cost resulting therefrom, so long as the power conferred by the Royal recommendation is not exceeded. Acting on this principle, when in 1812 a committee was considering a message from the Prince Regent, recommending in general terms provision to be made for the family of Mr. Spencer Perceval, amendments were permitted for increasing the provision proposed by the Ministers ; and this practice has been supported by rulings from the Chair, though on the last occasion not without remarks which deserve careful consideration.
All the messages which have been sent - and in fact no other message can be sent under the terms of the Constitution - only recommend the purposes and not the amounts of the appropriations, and we must take it, I think, and I have no doubt it is correct, that the House of Representatives did not pass this Bill until it had received a message from the Crown recommending the purposes of the appropriation. That message having been received, it seems to me competent to either House to increase the amount of the appropriation, and therefore the amendment of Senator Glassey is perfectly in order, and he is perfectly justified in his action. Does an appropriation generally increase the burdens on the people t Who can say that it does ? Take I the Post and Telegraph Bill.’ It was introduced into the Senate. It involved appropriations of revenue from the salaries of all the postal officials amounting to an enormous sum, I do not know how much, and it was amended in the Senate. Did any one of these appropriations increase the burdens on the people ? Certainly not, because the Post-office pays it way. I do not know exactly what it does in the Commonwealth, but I know that in South Australia it used to produce a surplus income of £50,000 a year. The appropriation of the salaries of postal officials did not increase the burdens - on the people but diminished them, because we got a surplus income. Take the Audit Act. What was the object in appointing an Auditor-General, with all his officials, and paying their salaries ? It was to decrease the burdens on the people, to insure that the money which had been paid out of the taxpayers’ pocket had been properly expended. -There would be no object in having an Audit Department if that were not so. Therefore I submit that it does not necessarily follow - though it may in some instances - that these appropriations of revenue for the purpose of paying salaries of officers increases the burdens on the people. So far, I have argued the question from one point of view. I shall now state another point of view, which I admit rather puzzles me. If the words “ increase any proposed charge or burden on the people “ include taxation only - and that is what my argument comes to - what was the object of putting them into the section ? It is quite clear that the Senate cannot introduce a clause into any Bill imposing taxation. The Constitution Act provides that a Bill imposing taxation must deal with taxation only, and no clause dealing with any other matters can be introduced by either House into a Bill which imposes taxation dealing with any other matters. Therefore, if my argument, which I have just elaborated, is correct, what is the object of the section at all 1 If it does not refer to appropriations of revenue, it is useless. It cannot possibly refer to imposition of taxation, . because taxation must be imposed by a Bill dealing with taxation only. That puzzles me, I admit. I am very anxious, indeed, that we should arrive at a correct solution of what the meaning of these words is. I hope that before the Senate makes up its mind to any particular course of action this matter will be carefully thought out. I hope that every honorable senator will think the matter out for himself, and give the benefit of his abilities to the Senate so that we may look at the question from every point of view, and act after having deliberately made up our minds as to what our position and our powers are.
– We have heard a very able and carefully prepared disquisition that has brought before my mind considerations which did not occur previously. I am quite willing to express some views on the subject now, but, perhaps it would be better if the discussion were adjourned at this stage.
– As there is a general desire to adjourn this discussion after having heard the deliverance of Senator Baker, and as I think it is very important that the Senate should determine what is its position before sending the Bill back to the other House, I shall ask the Chairman to report progress. It will be remembered that I informed the Senate that it was desirable that the Sugar Bonus Bill and the Sugar Rebate Abolition Bill should be dealt with as soon as possible. We tried to get the Bills passed before the end of the last financial year, but their consideration has taken up a good deal more time than we anticipated. I hope, however, that honorable senators will be prepared to resume the discussion of this question at an early period.
Debate resumed from 1st July (vide page 1617), on motion by Senator Drake -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– This is a Bill of considerable importance, because if we look at the fact that the Commonwealth will, at some period of its history, probably attract a large proportion of foreigners to its shores, any legislation affecting the status of such immigrants must receive our most careful consideration. In the United States there is a very large proportion of foreigners, and so rapidly has immigration been increasing, that in March of this year what was practically a poll tax of 2 dollars per head was imposed upon every person going into that country, the object being to check the inflow. The places in the world which are available for settlement by the white races are filling up very rapidly, and those who are anxious to see our population rapidly increased by the influx of people from abroad will not have long to wait before the stream of immigration which is now being dammed back from America will flow in this direction. Therefore, it is very important that we should have a carefully framed and well considered statute defining the position of foreigners who may settle here.
– An Act not too lax in its provisions.
– -And at the same time not too restrictive. I was very much struck by the remarks of Senator Keating last evening. It seems to me that the honorable and learned senator took upon himself the responsibility of defending certain provisions in the Bill. For instance, he had a good deal to say with regard to those clauses which relate to the status of women, and which, in my opinion, carry us back to mediaeval days. The treatment accorded to women by this Bill has the effect of thrusting them back into the position which they at one time occupied as the property of men. In view of the fact that last session we agreed on the voices to a Bill placing women upon a political equality with men, it seems outrageous to ask us to pass a measure which proposes, so far as naturalization is concerned, to place them in a distinctly inferior position. It remained for the best-looking and most juvenile senator to defend the proposal. The honorable and learned senator indicated that the status of women recognised in the Bill was a relic of the feudal system which we had inherited, and which he seemed to think we could not get rid of. I can assure him, however, that we shall, at any’ rate, make an attempt to do so. We took a great step in advance last session when we gave women equal political rights with men, and there is no reason why we should not also give them equal rights of citizenship. In clause 3 a British subject is defined as a natural-born British subject, or a naturalized person ; and clause 4 provides that among the persons who may become naturalized are those who have obtained in the United Kingdom or in a State, or in a colony which has become a State a certificate of naturalization or letters of naturalization.. In answer to an interjection of mine, Senator Keating said that a certificate of naturalization obtained in the United Kingdom would be recognised throughout the British Empire.
– Yes, but I found out afterwards that that was incorrect.
– I am sorry that the honorable and learned senator did not admit that last night, because I was occupied all this morning in finding proof that he was wrong. I find that by the Act of 1870 the British Legislature gave to every Colonial Legislature power to make its own laws on that particular subject, so that we have full power to legislate. Clause 4 also provides that a certificate of naturalization may be granted to any person who has resided in Australia continuously for five years immediately preceding his application. That is the period specified in the legislation of Great Britain and the United States ; but when were those enactments passed 1 - 100 years ago. I would ask further what was the feeling that existed then 1 Hatred was bitter amongst the nations, and foreigners were regarded with suspicion such as we know exists to some extent even to the present day. Surely we are not so saturated with that feeling as to feel impelled to put upon our statute-book legislation similar to that passed in other countries 100 years ago.
– In the United States persons who desire to obtain naturalization papers are required to declare their intention to apply three years beforehand.
– Yes ; but the three years count as part of the five years’ residence necessary to qualify them.
– It is also necessary for an applicant to reside for one year in a particular locality.
– When we remember the trouble that led to the Transvaal war, we can realize how unreasonable it is to impose such a condition as that to which I have referred. When ex-President Kruger war prepared to allow Uitlanders the privilege of the franchise, and practically of citizenship, after seven years’ residence, he was denounced from one end of the Empire to the other ; and his refusal to grant any further concession was deemed sufficient justification for applying the force of arms. We are proposing to go only two years better, and I do not think that we can claim very much credit for making such a short step in advance.
– But did not the Transvaal Government require that all those who had lived within their borders for years should commence de novo in order to qualify themselves for citizenship 1
– No ; that was the position at first taken up, but eventually the Government withdrew, and, after some negotiations, were prepared to allow past residence to count. They farther conceded that after seven years’ residence an Uitlander should be entitled to the franchise, without being required to swear allegiance to the republic, whereas we are requiring those who apply for naturalization certificates to swear allegiance to our Government, and to renounce their nationality. I shall move an amendment with the object of reducing the term of residence from five to two years.
– Why not make it six months 1
– I would not go so far as that. I think that any foreigner, before being naturalized, should reside here long enough to gain some knowledge of our political institutions. My experience is, that after Europeans have been resident amongst us for two years they become Australians in every sense, and fully realize their responsibilities as citizens.
– We have to consider their countries of origin ; that is the reason for fixing the longer time.
– But we require a man to renounce his allegiance to his own country.
– But foreigners are not always entitled to do so. Their Governments do hot always recognise their right to expatriate themselves.
– That may be ; but I fail to see what claim a foreign country can have over a man who has deliberately renounced his allegiance to it.
– It makes him suffer if it gets hold of him.
– But it could not exercise any control over him so long as he remained here. There is another provision in the Bill which raises a practical difficulty. It is provided that when a person desires to be naturalized, he shall produce, in support of his application, a certificate, signed by a justice of the peace, that the applicant is known to him, and is, to the best of his knowledge and belief, a person of good repute. There might be hundreds of cases in which a justice of the peace could not be found to certify to that effect.
– There would be no trouble in our State, where justices of the peace are as plentiful as blackberries.
– In some parts of Western Australia we have the other extreme, and we find it very difficult even to secure the signature of a justice of the peace to electoral claims. I think that the provision in clause 9 is a monstrosity. It is provided that a woman who, being a natural-born British subject, marries a man who is not a British subject shall, during the continuance of the marriage, and after the dissolution of the marriage, until her remarriage with a British subject, or until she obtains a certificate of naturalization, be taken to be not a British subject. If the woman who marries a foreigner should cease to be a British subject, then the Englishman who marries a foreign woman should also cease to be a British subject, unless we are going to assume - as Senator Keating wishes us to do - that the woman is the property of the man. If a woman be free, she ought to be able to exercise her rights of citizenship.
– Does the honorable senator wish to have two nationalities ?
– Under the provisions of this Bill we compel a woman to merge her nationality in that of the man whom she marries.
– Because she has already acquired his nationality.
– How has she done so?
– By the act of marriage.
– I have had the good fortune to go through the marriage ceremony, and I was not informed that my wife would have to accept my nationality. But, perhaps, Senator Keating has recently been contemplating marriage and can give us some information on the point. My own opinion is that the clause should be excised, unless the legal minds of the Senate can show that by adopting that course we should be acting inconsistently with other legislation.
– We cannot amend the legislation of foreign countries.
– I fail to see how it can be held that the legislation of a foreign country can bind people in Australia. Surely the marriage laws of another country do not bind a marriage made in the Commonwealth.
– It is not the marriage laws which do so.
– I trust that in Committee Senator Keating will defend this survival of the feudal system.
– Is not the man placed in a similar position?
– No. The peculiar feature is that if a foreign woman marries a British subject, by the very act of marriage she becomes a British subject. Apparently we are to lay it down not only that a woman shall have no choice in this matter if she marries a foreigner, but that if she marries a Britisher by the very act of marriage she shall forfeit her nationality. Clause 10 is a most peculiar provision. It provides that an infant, not being a natural born British subject whose father or mother has obtained a certificate of naturalization, shall during infancy enjoy the same rights and privileges as a person who is naturalized. But sub-clause (2) provides -
The infant shall, on reaching the age of 21 years, cease to be naturalized by virtue of this section.
– He becomes of age then and can make his own choice.
– The United States law upon this point is at entire variance with this proposal. Under that law, children of a naturalized subject become by the very act of their parents, citizens of the United States.
– They must be bom in the United States.
– Not necessarily. By the very act of their parents they become subjects of the United States. In my judgment, we might very well copy that legislation, otherwise a father and mother may, perhaps, rear children in ignorance of the fact that when they have attained 21 years of age it will be necessary for them to apply for letters of naturalization before they can become British subjects in Australia. I hold that they should acquire the privileges of their parents as a matter of right. If they wish to lay claim to any other nationality, there is a method by which they can do so. The most difficult problem which we are called upon to solve under this Bill is - “ What action shall we take in regard to those people who have had naturalization papers issued to them by the States.
– Let their come in.
– It is said “Let them come in” as a matter of right. Honorable senators will remember the question which I put to the Postmaster-General today, in reference to two Chinese who were recently prosecuted in the Melbourne Police Court. In that case it was proved that one of the defendants possessed a certificate of naturalization which was issued to a man 40 years ago. The man to whom it was issued was 30 years of age at the time, and therefore if the Chinese who produced it had been its rightful owner, he should have been 70 years of age. As a matter of fact he was about 30 years of age. In this connexion, I may be allowed to give the Senate another piece of information which I gained personally. On the steamer by which I recently travelled from Melbourne to Fremantle were some 30 or 40 European gypsies - the most dirty, dissolute crowd that I have ever seen. These people landed at Sydney some two years ago, but were prevented from crossing the border into Victoria. They had since been travelling over various parts of New South Wales, begging, stealing, and generally living on their wits. They “embarked on the boat at Sydney. On their arrival at Melbourne the Victorian authorities instructed the police to prevent them from landing. On the voyage to Western Australia I heard that they intended to land at Fremantle. Upon arrival I asked the Customs officer at that port if he could block them, and he replied that he would try. In attempting to do so he found that every one of them possessed Victorian naturalization papers.
– Then they could have entered Victoria and the police could not have prevented them from so doing 1
– They held Victorian naturalization papers, although they had never been in this State.
– Did they obtain them by fraud.
– I cannot say. The very fact that they possessed them - and I make that statement on the authority of the Customs officer at Fremantle - showed that they had obtained them improperly.
The reason why they did not land at Fremantle was that the steamship company refused to refund them the sum of money which would represent their fares from Fremantle to Naples. These facts evidence that certificates of naturalization have hitherto been issued in a very loose fashion. Whilst I am aware that there are many worthy naturalized subjects in the different States on whom I should be sorry to inflict injustice, I cannot fail to recognise that to do them justice would involve conferring the rights of citizenship upon people who have obtained naturalization papers through slip-shod administration of the States Acts. One of the Chinese to whom I have previously referred, told the magistrates at the police court that he and his companion had bought their naturalization papers at Singapore.
– If we recognise all the certificates issued by the States, we shall be countenancing all the loose administration, and the roguery which has been committed in connexion with certificates of naturalization. There is another point to which I desire to direct attention. At the conference which was held between the Secretary of - State for the Colonies and the Prime Ministers of the self-governing colonies, this question was discussed. A proposal which assumed a semi-definite shape at that conference was, that we should regard residence in any part of the British Empire as a sufficient reason for the issue of naturalization papers. I am glad that the Government have not embodied such a provision in this Bill, because it would constitute a grave danger. I see no proposal in the Bill regarding the issue of naturalization papers to Asiatics. I trust that before the measure reaches the Committee stage, the PostmasterGeneral will indicate whether the power to issue them is reserved to the Governor - General in Council. In the United States law, there is a very definite provision that no naturalization papers shall be issued to Chinese. Of course, at the time that law was framed the Chinese were the only Asiatics who menaced the United States. Unless we understand that naturalization papers are not to be issued to Asiatics - and I should like a clear Statement from the Postmaster-General on that point - we ought to insert a similar provision in this Bill.
– Put it in the Bill. It is much safer.
– Surely what was necessary in the United States is equally necessary in Australia. Whilst we wish to make the Commonwealth the home of the European races, we do not recognise the same principle with regard to Asiatics, and we ought not to afford them the same facilities for becoming naturalized.
– What about the Japanese ?
– I include the Japanese. I intend to support the Bill, and in Committee will endeavour to alter it in the way I have indicated, believing that it is one of the most important measures with which we shall be called upon to deal, because in it we shall lay the foundations of our future national life.
– I listened with pleasure to the speech of the honorable senator who has just resumed his seat. I do not think that he quite realizes what may lie at the root of our insistence upon a considerable residence in Australia before a person so residing can claim the rights of citizenship. The honorable senator should recollect that the foreigners who come here do not renounce their own nationality. Indeed, they are considered traitors to their country if they put themselves in antagonism to it. An Englishman does not cease to be an Englishman simply because he resides in France. Nor does a German cease to be a German because he comes to live in South Australia or Victoria. All such foreign residents still retain allegiance to their own sovereign, and there is always the strain on them that a considerable residence is required before they are admitted to the “holy of holies,” and enjoy all the privileges and rights of citizenship. If that is necessary in an old country it is more necessary in a young country, where the people are more nomadic. I agree entirely with the object of the Bill generally, but I may deal with the measure from two points of view - the retrospective point of view, and the point of view of the future. From the retropective point of view I entirely disagree with the Bill. . Not merely in South Australia, but throughout the States, we have amongst our most settled and worthy citizens numbers who have some from one part of the Continent of Europe or another. These people have lived with us for- the greater part of their lives, and many of them have children and grandchildren born in Australia. They have no idea that they are not entirely Australian, and may have exercised the franchise here before manyof us were born, as their descendants are exercising it now ; and yet they are told that one of the first results of a united Australia, which in their imaginings they thought would make them citizens of the Commonwealth, is that they cannot rely merely on the State qualification, but must go through a whole paraphernalia of formality in order to have ratified a citizenship of perhaps 50 years. From the State of South Australia I have received the most bitter letters on this point, cursing a Federation which is so little of a Federation as to bring about such results. In conversation with representatives in this Parliament, I find that my case is not singular, but that in other States worthy pioneers of the same class have made equally strong representations.
– How is their status altered by any provision in the Sill ? Such residents in South Australia are still naturalized in that State.
– It is true that these residents are not deprived of their citizenship in the States in which they have been naturalized. I presume it is not intended to deprive them of their votes in the States in which they have been naturalized.
– The Electoral Act provides for that.
– Then, I presume, it is not proposed to deprive them of any rights, local or Federal, which they have at present. Yet, it is desired by this Bill to refuse to admit them to the general citizenship of Australia unless they go through a lot of forms which will make federation very unpleasant to them, and in no way afford any protection to the Commonwealth. I shall move at the proper time, if no other honorable senator does so, that every person who is naturalized in a State of the Commonwealth at the time of the passing of this Bill shall be deemed to be a naturalized citizen of the Commonwealth. That is the only true basis on which the Common,wealth can be established ; ‘ and if it does happen by some mishap or another that one or two Chinese are admitted to tine rights and privileges of citizenship in the territory which is represented by the Post-. master-General–
– That may occur in the territory of South Australia.
– No ; it may occur in Victoria.
– If we do happen to admit one or two of these Victorian naturalized’ Chinese, who ought not to have been naturalized at all, it would be much better to endure that than cause the much greater trouble of a disunited Australia on a question on which there should be no disagreement. This is -the only part of the Bill on which I have any strong feeling. It is very gratifying to me in speaking to one and another of my honorable friends in the Senate to find that whatever divergence of opinion there may be between us on other questions, we are agreed that in the first days of the Federation we ought to recognise everybody who is a citizen of a State as a citizen of the Commonwealth. That is the only true union we can bring about ; and if we fail in this respect we shall make a great mistake.
– I am very glad to hear the remarks of Senator Downer on the question of naturalization. When . 1 was on the platform urging the Queensland electors to accept federation, a common citizenship was one of the points most strongly urged. In Queensland the position is such that a man naturalized in that State finds that he immediately becomes an alien on crossing into New South Wales ; then, if he happens to’ live a. year or two in New South Wales and to re-cross into Queensland, he finds himself an alien in the latter State, although in the meantime he may have been naturalized in New South Wales. Senator Downer said he was willing to allow all naturalized subjects of a State of the Commonwealth to be Commonwealth citizens, although that might involve the risk of naturalizing a horde of Chinese from Queensland.
– The word “ horde “ was not used.
– I said that one or two Chinese here and there might be naturalized.
– As a- Queenslander - : -
– The honorable senator repudiates my suggestion ?
– I do ‘not repudiate the suggestion ; I commend the honorable senator’s courage in being willing to take the risk. I wish, however, to assure the Senate that there is no risk so far as Queensland is concerned, but that there is tremendous risk so far as the exceedingly loyal and patriotic State of Victoria is concerned. Owing to the kindness of the Government of Victoria to a large alien population, that State is enabled to have an extra member in the House of Representatives. That extra representation has not, however, been granted to Queensland nor to New South Wales, nor, so far as I know, to South Australia. Victoria is to be congratulated on the fact that its excess of alien population gives it this extra member.
– Who is the member?
– I do not know, but the alien population in Victoria just gives the number over the quota to entitle the State to 23 members. If there is representation owing to a piebald population, that representation is in Victoria, and not in the much abused State of Queensland. The severe restrictions and safeguards in the Bill might well have applied to the States before Federation, or to the countries from the laws of which^ the provisions are taken. But while such restrictions may have suited the particular circumstances of those countries, they do not apply to our circumstances at the present time. In the Immigration Restriction Act we discriminate as to whom we allow to find a welcome on our shores. I am not now talking of coloured aliens, but of all people who desire to come here and become citizens of the Commonwealth. That Act is very strictly administered, and, that being so, we ought, once we ‘allow people to land, to be as liberal as we possibly can in according them, at the first possible moment consistent with safety, the full rights and privileges of citizenship. In the presence of the Immigration Restriction Act, with its examinations, it is most absurd to insist that those who are admitted must reside in a particular portion of our territory for five years before they can apply to be naturalized. Senator Pearce has already contrasted this Bill with the South African law that gave rise to the difficulty in the settlement of which Australia took a great part. In South Africa there was no Immigration Restriction Act - anybody could land without test of any kind. All that the South African Government demanded was that there should be a residence of seven years, at the termination of which not even a declaration of allegiance was demanded. In Australia, however, we demand under this Bill a declaration of” allegiance after a residence of five years, and it must be shown that the applicant for naturalization is a desirable person to settle on the soil of Australia.
– Could a man without swearing allegiance hold land in South Africa 1
– Undoubtedly. Surely Senator Dobson is aware that many of the wealthy people in South Africa were not naturalized, and yet held not only mining rights, but also land rights.
– These were the Uitlanders
– They were not naturalized Boer subjects, but British subjects ; and all that the Kruger Government demanded was that they should prove seven years’ residence in the country. They were not called upon to swear allegiance.
– Could a man hold land in fee without swearing allegiance?
– Between the terms of residence demanded in South Africa and the term of residence under this Bill there is a difference of only two years ; and yet in reference to the former the Empire went to war and lost 20,000 lives, had 70,000 men wounded, and spent £217,000,000 We claim to be the liberators of the world who are trying to reform the barbarians, and yet we are proposing in these early days of the Commonwealth a more illiberal law than that in respect of which we went “to war. If I understand Senator Drake correctly, he said that the mere fact of naturalization does not give an alien political rights.
– That is so; a State Act may give such rights or withhold them.
– It somewhat startled me when I heard the honorable senator make that statement. I wish it understood that I am speaking entirely of white aliens, and not of coloured people. There ought, in, my opinion, to be some differentiation between the coloured alien and the white alien. I believe there are members of the Federal Parliament who, on a strict interpretation of the provisions of this Bill, are not British subjects, and who would have to re-naturalize.
Indeed, I believe that there is an honorable senator representing a very important State, who, if this Bill were strictly administered, would have to be re-naturalized. The main object of the- Bill is to give the alien who becomes naturalized the full political rights of a natural-born British subject, and he can become possessed of them in no other way than by being naturalized under its provisions. Surely it follows that when an alien becomes naturalized he places himself politically upon the same plane as a natural-born subject. If that be not so, I cannot understand the meaning of clause 7, nor can I understand the explanation made by the PostmasterGeneral in moving the second reading. The charges proposed to be made in connexion with applications for naturalization are only a small matter, but I should like to draw attention to them. Surely the PostmasterGeneral is acquainted with the provisions of the Queensland Naturalization Act. That Act provides for a scale of charges for various matters, but the whole amount that any applicant has to pay from the time he makes his application until he becomes naturalized is only is. 6d. A white alien who arrives in Queensland may make application for naturalization next day. That application may be granted six months later, when he becomes a naturalized subject, and his term of residence in an electorate begins to count from that date ; so that if he applies for a vote, and his application is confirmed by the revision court, he is able to exercise all the rights and privileges of the. natural-born citizen within fourteen months of his arrival.
– Those provisions apply only to European and American aliens.
– Yes. That law has been in existence in Queensland for many years, and I ask the Postmaster- General if he thinks that its liberality has been abused, or that its provisions have operated to the detriment of the State. If he does not, why does he propose more stringent conditions for naturalization as citizens of the Commonwealth 1 Under the Bill an alien cannot apply to be naturalized until he has been here for five years ; so that it will be practically six years before he can exercise the full political privileges of a natural-born subject. In my opinion, the provisions of the Bill are most illiberal. I hope that the term of residence, which Senator Pearce suggests may be reduced to two years, will be reduced to one year at most, and if the Minister is not prepared to move an amendment with that object, I shall certainly do so, and trust to the sense of fair play and justice of honorable senators for support.
– I support the Bill with a great deal of pleasure. But when the citizens of the States were being asked to join the Union, in addition to the advantages of freedom of trade between the States, they hoped that citizenship of a State would confer citizenship of the Commonwealth. I am sure that the German population of South Australia expected that, as they were naturalized subjects in South Australia, they would become naturalized citizens of the Commonwealth. They never anticipated that the Commonwealth Parliament would pass a Bill to compel them to go through the process of naturalization again. What a farce it would be to compel them to do so. One of my Attorneys-General was a naturalized German- subject, and are we to provide that his naturalization shall not extend beyond the bounds of South Australia 1
– At the present time he is naturalized only in South Australia.
– Another Minister of the Crown there was also a naturalized German. But he, no doubt, thought that, upon the establishment of Federation, he would become a naturalized citizen of the Commonwealth. I feel certain that those citizens of South Australia who came originally from the same part of the world as he did had the same anticipation.
– The present Premier of South Australia is an American.
– Yes ; but he was naturalized many years ago.
– Still, he is naturalized only for South Australia.
– Yes ; but it would be a farce to compel him, and others like him, to procure fresh naturalization papers. Senator Pearce told us a story about some gypsies which, it seems to me, will not bear examination. According to him, a number of gypsies tried to cross from New South Wales to Victoria, but as the border police of Victoria would not allow them to do so, they came round to Melbourne by steamer, where the authorities instructed a number of policemen to watch them. Then they travelled on to Fremantle, accompanied by Senator Pearce, who evidently inquired very closely into their habits, because he was able to tell us, among other things, that they were rather dirty. At Fremantle he asked the Customhouse officer not to let the men land, and the officer promised to try to prevent them from doing so. But he afterwards told Senator Pearce that he could not prevent them from landing if they wished to do so, because they had Victorian naturalization papers. Surely, if that were the case, the Victorian police could not have prevented them from entering Victoria from New South Wales.
– Perhaps they did not possess the papers then.
– I think that the honorable senator has been misinformed in regard to the circumstances of the case, and that he has no ground for the apprehension which he appears to harbour in regard to the suggestion that persons naturalized in one State should be regarded as naturalized for the whole Commonwealth. No doubt there are some undesirable naturalized subjects in all the States - Chinamen and other coloured people; but they are not very numerous. In the Northern Territory of South Australia there are about 2,000 Chinamen, but I do not believe a dozen of them are naturalized. Leaving them out of account, there are very few Chinamen in the State, and as when I was in power some’ years ago the Government of the day resolved to put a stop to the naturalization of Chinese, there are very few naturalized Chinamen there. The only State in which there is a large number of . naturalized Chinamen is Victoria. Perhaps Senator Barrett can tell us how many naturalized Chinamen there are here. Are there 500 1
– I think so.
– Are there 1,000 ‘
– I cannot say.
– In any case, as these men enjoy all the rights and privileges of natural-born subjects in Victoria, there would not be much harm done if we naturalized them for the whole Commonwealth. But if we compel the German citizens of South Australia to become naturalized’ again they will be greatly disgusted. At the present time there is a great cry about Federation not being the success it was expected to be. The newspapers are fanning the anti-Federal feeling, and a proposal of this kind will make matters worse. People will say that they wished they hod never voted . for Federation.
– What did they expect)
– They expected reasonable treatment. There are thousands of Germans in South Australia who are the very pick of the population, and they thought that, being naturalized citizens of South Australia, they would, when Federation was established, become naturalized citizens of the Commonwealth. Some of them may have been looked upon at one time as dreadful characters, inasmuch as the Erst ship-load consisted of men who had fought against their King during the revolution of 1848. Of them it might be said -
True ‘patriots they ; for, be it understood, They left their country for their country’s good.
They were driven out of Germany, but we were only too glad to receive them in South Australia, and a more law-abiding, industrious,’ and prosperous body of people than our German citizens does not exist in that State. To say to them that, they must be re-naturalized is absurd. Now I come to another important point in connexion with this subject. I allude to the clauses affecting women. Upon my word, these olauses relating to the way in which women are to be’ treated in reference to naturalization are, I will not say disgraceful - because the Minister might take that as an affront to him - but unworthy. Clause 9, to which reference has been made, and which I will read, is very singular. I notice that the Government do not put any marginal note to this clause to show that it has been taken from any other legislation in any other part of the world.
– It follows the English law.
– Apparently it is purely a domestic invention of the Ministry.
– Oh, no.
– This is how it reads -
A woman who, being a natural-born British subject, marries a man who is not a British subject, shall in the Commonwealth -
During the continuance of the marriage ; and
after the dissolution of the marriage by the death of the husband or by divorce until her remarriage with a British subject, until she obtains a certificate of naturalization, be taken to be not a British subject.
Well, this is really too bad. We often say that it is a bad rule that will not cut both ways. The men arc not treated in this way. The women are singled out for special consideration, or non-conBideration, as thecase may be. They are placed in quite a different position. It appears to me that if a woman is to lose her naturalization on marrying a man who is an alien, a man should lose his naturalization if he marries a woman who is an alien. The rule should work both ways. In Committee we shall be able to deal with that point. I am glad that the Government have introduced the Bill this year, so that one naturalization law may extend over the whole continent. I trust that we shall acknowledge by special legislation naturalization by the different States, and strike out those provisions of the Bill which place women at a disadvantage as compared with men.
Debate (on motion by Senator De Largie) adjourned.
Senator Drake laid upon the table
Correspondence relating to curriage of moils between England and Australia via Suez.
Senate adjourned at 9.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 July 1903, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1903/19030702_senate_1_14/>.