2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at: 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to ask Senator Keating, without notice, -when we are likely to get a copy of the mail contract entered into between the Orient Steam Navigation Company and the Government of the Commonwealth.?
– As soon as possible.
– T think it has been laid upon the table of the other House.
– The honorable senator will get a copy as soon as possible.
– I. have been furnished with the following particulars : -
Messrs. Hackett and Crawford’s claim. - ‘Land acquired by notification in Gazette, 9th January. 1904; area, 3) acres; claim, ^254 lor value of land, and compensation under section 19 (1) (b) of the Property Acquisition Act, for ‘ damage caused to adjoining land by acquisition thereof for a fort; writ issued in May last, claiming £254; appearance. has been entered; proceedings are at present in abeyance pending consideration by the Department df an offer made by the claimants with a view to settlement by the acquisition of the whole block belonging to- the claimants, arid valuations are now being obtained by the Department.
Messrs. Gilbert and Stirling’s claim. - Land acquired by notification in Gazette, 9,th January,. 1904 ; area, i acre 2 roods 20 perches; claim, £177 10s. for- valuation of land and compensation under section ig (1) (i) of the Property Acquisition Act for damage caused to adjoining land by acquisition thereof for a fort; writ issued in May last, claiming £177 tas. ; appearance has been entered ; proceedings are at present in abeyance pending consideration of an offer to accept a reduced amount and costs, further valuations being obtained with a view of considering, thepurchase of the whole block.
-I wish to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he cannot see his way to: originate’ some measures here next week?
– I am very glad1 to find that the honorable senator is soanxious to proceed to work, but I am not in a position at the present time to promiseany .other measures. We are waiting upon, another branch of the Legislature;
– I wish to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether his attention has been called to a statement in the Age that a Bill to amend the Naval Agreement Act will be intra* duced, and, if so, whether he could not introduce that measure next week?
– I informed the Senate some time ago that the British authorities were going to supply the Commonwealth with vessels more modern and more effective than those supplied under the present agreement, but I have heard no more on t’he subject.
– There is no Bill, then ?
– The Bill will come on in due course, but I have heard nothing more on the subject.
– But is it mot doubtful whether a Bill is necessary?
– I think it is necessary, because an alteration of the present agreement is proposed.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, a question arising out of a statement he made in the policy debate with regard to a notice posted on the Peninsular and Oriental Company’s boats, and to which I drew his attention. He then promised that he would make further inquiries, and communicate with me later on. I desire to ask whether he has done so, and, if so, what he has learned?
– I asked that information should be given to me on the subject, but it has not yet been supplied, and therefore I cannot answer the question. I shall make further inquiry, and furnish an answer as expeditiously as I can.
– I understand that it is included in the papers relating to the High Court, which have been tabled, and are now with the printer.
Business of the Senate.
– Before the business of the day is called on, I wish to make a statement. We have no work set down on the notice-paper for to-morrow, and, therefore, we shall have to adjourn over that day. The question thenarises whether we should not adjourn over next week. The Government has business to submit; but I am doubtful, as I was last week, whether we should be able to occupy the attention of honorable senators for the whole of next week if they should agree to meet. I do not like to bring honorable senators from New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania, unless we have work to occupy their time, on account of the expense to which they are necessarily put.
– What about Queensland ?
– Under existing circumstances the representatives of Queensland might give way.
– We are always giving way.
– To test the feeling of honorable senators I move -
That the Senate, at itsrising, adjourn until next Wednesday week.
If any honorable senator objects to this proposal, the omission of the word “week” can be moved.
-Col. Gould. - Adjourn for a fortnight !
– No. I believe I shall have plenty of work to fully occupy the time of honorable senators if we adjourn for only a week.
– I move -
That the word “week” be left out.
I object to the proposed adjournment as a protest against the way in which the Senate is being treated.
– Hear, hear.
– This is not peculiar to the present Government.
– Oh, yes, it is.
– The last Government asked the Senate to adjourn on five occasions.
– It has been the practice of almost every Government. Except in regard to the origination of Money Bills, the Senate enjoys equal power with the other House. As I pointed out a few days ago, there was plenty of business with which the Government could have kept us supplied.For instance, there was nothing to prevent them from originating here the Commerce Bill and the Secret Commissions Bill. Probably both measures are of a highly technical nature, and that may have been taken by the Government as an excuse for originating them in another place.
– No reason except the vanity of Ministers.
– We have a Minister here in the person of Senator Keating, who is just as competent as any one else to explain the provisions of such measures. With all due respect, I submit that the members of the Senate are quite as capable of dealing with technical measures as are the members of the other House.
– More capable.
– I do not wish to institute any invidious comparisons ; but if the Government had been animated by a sincere desire to get their business transacted, they should have adopted a course which would have kept the Senate fully occupied. If the Bills I mentioned had been introduced here, they would probably have received such a threshing out that there would not have been nearly such a large tornado of talk in another place. Of course, the members of the Ministry may think that they can flout the Senate at their own sweet will - that, as it is not the Chamber which makes or unmakes Ministries, therefore it can be treated as they please. But I take an entirely different view, as I ‘hope honorable senators will do, because in the last resort the Senate has just as much power to make and unmake Ministries as the other House. As a matter of fact, all that ‘the other House has, if it comes to the last resort, is the power of the purse. But the Senate possesses that power equally with the other House, because we could put up our backs and refuse to grant supply just as it could. It is time that the members of the Senate made a protest against the contemptuous way in which they have been treated by every Government.
– I am delighted to be able to follow in the wake of Senator Givens in regard to the sentiment he has expressed and the criticism he has very gently administered to the Government, but I cannot promise him my vote.
– If the honorable and learned senator’s sympathy does not carry his vote it is of no use, and is not wanted.
– Probably, when my honorable friend has heard what I am going to say he may be disposed -to withdraw his amendment.
– I have not the slightest intention of doing so.
– My honorable friend has said that his amendment is moved as a protest against the way in which the Government are flouting the Senate and neglecting to send it work to do. I intend to support the motion for exactly the same reasons as he gave for moving his amendment. I feel with him, that we ought to record our protest, but in my opinion the best way of doing that is to adjourn, not for a week, but for a month. It has been said that other Governments have adjourned the Senate from week to week. If such a thing has occurred, I do not remember that it occurred during the term of the Government with which I was connected. But if such an inglorious departure did take place in their case, I am sure it was justified by a very strong reason, and in the next place, if it was a bad example, I am sorry to see it followed by the present Government. But I dissent strongly from what Senator Givens has said. It is not to the credit of the Government that the Senate, occupying the position it does in the government of this country, should have to adjourn at this period of the session owing to lack of business. I take this opportunity of protesting most emphatically against what I observe has been said by the Prime Minister, that the reason for sitting late in another branch of the Legislature, and for prolonging the sittings on Fridays, is the desire of the Government to send up business, to the Senate. The Senate ought not to be in the position of a hanger-on to the House of Representatives. It was expected, when the Senate was constituted, that important legislation would be initiated in it ; and it is not to the credit of, any Government tha.t we should be put off from day to day with Bills which, to a greater or lesser degree, are not urgent, and should have to wait upon the’ pleasure of another branch of the Legislature. Our occupations and interests are of just as much consequence, as are the occupations and interests of the members of another Chamber, and we should be regarded as just as efficient and prominent a branch of the Legislature as is the House of Representatives. If we are going to forego- our rights in that respect, the sooner we take up that humiliating position the better. It was intended, and said at the Convention, that the Senate should be, to a large extent, if not altogether, coordinate in its power and importance with the House of Representatives. I think that we are whittling away that position. Not only so, but if we do not protest against such a situation, it will lead to its being perpetuated. The question is, however, what are we to do? So far as the representatives of the Government in the Senate are concerned, I do not see what else they could propose than they have done. They are not responsible. But I say emphatically that whatever the intention may be, the result is practically to flout the Senate, and to bring it down to a position of inferiority in the parliamentary government of the country.
– If we take a strong stand we can prevent that.
– We cannot prevent it simply by refusing to adjourn for a week.
– Would the honorable and learned senator join me in supporting a motion to adjourn for a month, so as to hang up the Government’s Money Bill.
– I might do so under some circumstances.
– That is the only effective course we can take.
– I do not wish to make a general promise of that kind, seeing that the effect of it might be to punish innocent persons. I am sure that what has been said to-day will be conveyed by my honorable friends at the table to the Government.
– Hear, hear.
– I acquit them of all personal blame. What I am protesting against is the way in which the Senate has been treated from the beginning of Federation. I say, with great regret, that very often it has seemed as though Governments generally, and members in the other House, have considered that there was no such Chamber as the Senate. Throughout, we have been practically ignored. I declare now that the Senate does not occupy the position which I, as a member of the Convention, anticipated that it would hold in relation to the government of the Commonwealth. I am glad that a protest has been made, but at the same time, as there is practically no business to do, I do not see what other motion the Minister of Defence could have proposed. What is the use of bringing us back when we shall simply be like the men from Manchester, singing, “ We’ve got no work to do.” I shall vote for the motion, and if it had been proposed that we should adjourn for a fortnight I should have supported it, because I accept Senator Playford’s assurance that there is no business.
– There is business, but not sufficient to occupy us.
– We might be employed twiddling our thumbs; but that would not be consistent with the position that the Senate ought to occupy.
– I shall support Senator Givens’ amendment. There appear to be some members of the Government who have a very poor opinion of the Senate, and who would like to decrease its importance. I do not say that that is the case with all Ministers, but it certainly is with some of them. It is quite possible that the lack of business is due to that mental attitude.
– I am sure that it is.
– I should like to know who those members of the Government are.
– It is inaccurate to say that there is no business to be done by the Senate next week.
– I did not say that; I said there was business, though there was probably not sufficient to occupy us next week.
– The Minister said that there was no business for tomorrow, but there might have been had it not been for the generosity of the Government towards the Opposition. That generosity, I think, is mistaken. The Government are confronted in the Senate with a highly intelligent and pertinacious Opposition. It is a great mistake for them to give way, as was done yesterday in regard to the Copyright Bill. Senator Symon said that, as there is no business to be done next week, we should, if we came back, merely sit twiddling our thumbs. Last night, when the Copyright Bill was before us, he asked for an adjournment for a week to consider it and. the amendments that had been proposed… That contentious measure would take more than a few days, and we should do good work if we devoted next week to considering it. If the Government will take a suggestion from a supporter - and I do support this Government, and will support themwhile they attempt to bring in good measures - what they ought to do is-
– Why does the honorable senator think it necessary to give such an emphatic assurance?
– The other day I voted against the suspension of the Standing Orders, and some honorable senators thought that it was very unkind on my part to do so. I think the Government ought to endeavour to get carried in another place a standing order similar to that which we have passed in the Senate, enabling the motion to be proposed “ That the House do now divide.” I also suggest to Senator Symon, who has given us some reasons why we should attempt to get on with business, that he should go to his caucus and place before its members-
– I have no caucus. I will come to the honorable senator’s caucus if its members will let me.
– If Senator Symon will sign the platform we shall be glad to receive him. Let him go to . some members of his party, who are responsible for the delay of public business, and explain to them that the Senate desires to proceed with legislation. It must be said for Senator Symon that when he led this Chamber he did endeavour to give us plenty of work to do. I think he will also admit - in fact, he publicly stated on retiring from office - that the Senate gave him every consideration. But I do not think that the Opposition, once theyfind that the Government artenot prepared to give way to every request, will give the present Ministry the same generous treatment as was meted out to them. These proposals to adjourn the consideration of measures like the Copyright Bill are not such as ought to come from senators who are anxious to despatch the business of the country. I trust that the Government will take up a proper attitude with regard to such requests, and will say, “We are not going to grant an adjournment for a week.” Then we shall see our friends of the Opposition in their true colours. The Copyright Bill is down for Wednesday next. Honorable senators ought’ to be prepared to proceed with it, and if there are clauses which require further debate let thembe postponed. There is also private business on the paper. I have a motion with regard to the High Commissioner, and Senator Pearce has a motion in respect of the tobacco monopoly. What is the idea of the Government in putting off the discussion regarding the High Commissioner?
– That subject will be considered on a Bill which is to be introduced. The honorable senator is anticipating discussion.
– The Bill isnot on thebusinesspaper.
– It has been promised.
– If the honorablesenator will bring the Bill forward next week I will consider the question of withdrawing my motion. I trust that the Senatewill reject the motion for the adjournment. Let the Government be prepared to proceed with business, and they will meet with support. They are only being supported in the belief that they are prepared to pass legislation that the country requires.
– I do not think there can be any divisionof opinion as to the deplorable position inwhich our business-paper stands. Even theGovernment themselves must regret that matters have fallen out as they have done. I can quite believe that Ministers in the Senate are quite as anxious as private senators are to keep us fully occupied.
– Hear, hear.
– While I indorse everything that has been said as to the studied neglect with which this branch of the Legislature has been treated ever since the inception of Federation, I see no reason for meeting next week, in view of the fact that the Government have no business to proceed with. But why should we have drifted into this position?
-“ Stone- walling “ in the other House has been the cause’.
– I have not heard of any “ stone- walling.”
– I saw it yesterday; I was there.
– What is more, anything that takes place elsewhere would not have affected us if measures had been introduced here. Even if there were such a thing as a “ stone- wall “ in the other branch of the Legislature, that is no reason why we should be punished for it. I regret the lack of business, but, as we have no business, what is the use of bringing honorable senators back next week?
– I do not say that there is no business, but that there is not sufficient.
– There is the Copyright Bill.
– The point is that there is not sufficient business to occupy us next week. I would ask honorable senators to remember what occurred last week. When it was proposed to adjourn over this week, the proposal was met with the statement that there was ample business to occupy the time of the Senate. But our experience this week has ‘shown that there is not.
– I did not make ithat statement.
– I do not sa.y that the honorable senator did;. I am supporting the present motion. I point out that last week when the appeal was made to ihonorable senators to adjourn because there was insufficient business to keep us fully employed this week, the proposal was met with exactly the same statements as those which we have heard to-day. We were told that there was sufficient business on the paper, and the result has shown that there was not sufficient to keep us fully employed.
– There was if we Shad gone on with the Copyright Bill.
– Senator Matheson must remember that ifr is only a lightninglike intellect such as his own that could take up a measure like the Copyright Bill, and understand at a moment’s notice the effect of amendments submitted upon it. The honorable senator should have compassion on men possessing less brilliant intellects. It would have been an absolutely unreasonable and unheard-of thing if the Minister had proceeded with that Bill in Committee straightaway. I challenge any one who has had any parliamentary experience to say that he has known a measure of that kind to go straight from the second reading into Committee, and then be proceeded with. It is because there is occasionally a tendency to do that kind of thing that legislators are half their time occupied in correcting legislation passed with indecent haste. If we have not sufficient work to keep us fully employed next week, is it not a more business-like method to adjourn over that week, and put the work of the two weeks into one?
– We should not have been here this week.
– I agree with the honorable senator. Seeing that there is some business to be done, but not sufficient to keep us fully employed, the better plan would be to adjourn over next week, in the hope that by that time the Government will have devised means to bring sufficient work before us.
– I believe we shall have plenty of work after that.
– I am sure that Senator; Playford is anxious to bring work before the Senate, and we are willing to cordially co-operate with the honorable senator in that direction. Tomy Queensland friends, I would say that if the adjournment for a week tended to prolong the session. I should vote against it. I know that they have just to be hanging about Melbourne with nothing particular to do, and I quite recognise the mischief which somebody finds for idle hands.
– The honorable senator speaks feelingly?
– I speak with feeling formy Queensland friends. If we had adjourned last week, we would not have lengthened the session in any way, and an adjournment over next week will not have that effect.
– We shall be kept hanging on to the other Chamber all the time.
– On that subject I agree with Senator Givens as to what will happen if we do not take some action. But bringing honorable senators here at 2.30 p.m., to adjourn at 5.30 p.m., is not a protest.
– Will the honorable senator vote for an adjournment for a month ?
– If the assurance of Ministers to find work for the Senate after next week is not kept, I shall be prepared’ to take almost any action, and action even as strong as that suggested by the honorable senator, to emphasize our objection.
– Would the honorable senator vote for an adjournment until the next election?
– I only hope that Senator Higgs will not have to adjourn beyond it. Whilst an adjournment, such as is now proposed, can be no hardship to our friends from Queensland, their refusal to agree to such an adjournment does constitute a hardship on honorable senators who have an opportunity to reach their homes.
– They have the show to go to next week.
– As that will probably induce Senator Givens to withdraw the amendment, I shall say no more on the subject.
– Everything that has been said by Senator Millen emphasizes the fact that we should deal with the Copyright Bill next week. The honorable senator has pointed out that it’ is an extremely technical measure, requiring a very great deal of consideration even from “ brilliant intellects.” In the circumstances, the least which the honorable senator and other “brilliant” senators from New South Wales can do is to come here and endeavour to put that Bill through its Committee stage on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week. I intend to support the amendment, and if Senator Givens cannot carry it, I shall be prepared to support a’ motion for an adjournment for a month, as a protest-
– Next time, I will move that motion.
– What about the” Copyright Bill, then?
– I am prepared to support such a motion, as a protest against the present position of affairs. There can be no doubt that the Senate is treated with great disrespect by the Government. I point out the reason for this, and it has so far not been touched on. Some two sessions ago we passed a motion affirming that the Government should be represented in the Senate by a larger number of Ministers holding portfolios than we at present have. The leader of the Senate must admit that the reason why we have not Bills introduced for our consideration is that each Minister in another place desires to introduce the Bills relating to his own Department.
– That is quite natural.
– That is the explanation as to why we get no business in the Senate. Successive Governments have treated the Senate with the gravest disrespect by appointing in this Chamber only one Minister in charge of a Department. An honorable senator asks me whether Senator Keating is not a Minister? He is a most effective Minister, to the extent to which he is allowed to be effective, but he is not in charge of a Department, and he does not originate any Bills. What we require to do is to insist that effect shall be given to the terms of the motion passed here two sessions ago.
– How can. we insist?
– I shall tell the honorable senator. The present Government is represented in the Senate by, at the outside, three members, and they aresupported by the members of the Labour Party. If the members of that party put their feet down, and insisted that the Government should be represented by twoeffective Ministers in the Senate, we should have them. That is my answer to Senator O’Keefe.
– That would apply to any Government.
– It is particularly applicable to the present Government.. To secure the support of the fifteen members of the Labour Party sitting behind’ them in the Senate they would have to givein. If the members of that party had insisted before we should have been properly treated in the Senate, and business would’ have been forthcoming to occupy our time.
– Why did not thehonorable senator take up that attitudewith the late Government?
– What can oneman do? I am speaking now of what might be done by a party consisting of fifteen or sixteen members.
– Is there no cohesion among honorable senators opposite?’
– We belong toone party, and are unanimous. Honorable senators of the Labour Party aremerely supporting the present Government, and do not belong to the Government party, and to that extent honorable members onthe opposite side are not unanimous.
– When the honorablesenator’s party was in power there wereonly the same number of effective Ministersin the Senate.
– One wrongdoes not justify another, and no one ismore emphatic than I in stating that thelate Government did wrong in this respect.
– The honorablesenator never said a word about it then.
– They never adjourned the Senate for a week for want, of work.
– Yes, they did ; and for a’ fortnight.
Senator -MATHESON. - Senator O’Keefe has said that it is impossible tobring pressure to bear on the Government in this matter, and I have pointed out that it is perfectly possible. I consider that the members of the Labour Party are more responsible for the present state of affairs than are the Government. They have only to insist to induce the Government to bring more business before the Senate. I am prepared to come here every Wednesday. I hope that honorable senators opposite will support the amendment as a first step towards redressing the injustice to the Senate for which they are responsible.
-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - There is a great deal of force in what Senator Matheson has said. Honorable senators supporting the Government should certainly have insisted that the motion carried in the Senate that the Government should be represented in this Chamber by two paid Ministers should be given effect to. Unfortunately, the first, second, and third Governments were represented here by only two Ministers, but with the present Government the representation is .even less. On previous occasions we had not only a paid Minister, but the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who at times has very important duties to perform. Under the present Government the Vice-President of the Executive Council has been reserved for another place, and we have in his stead an honorary Minister.
– It is the difference only between one name and another.
– There is nothing) in it at all.
-Col. GOULD.- Honorable senators say so, but, in my opinion, there is a distinct falling away from the position which the Senate occupied previously in this respect. I do not for a moment say this in derogation of either of the honorable senators who at present occupy the position of a Minister in this Chamber. I agree that, if not only honorable senators supporting the Government, but all members of the Senate, would make up their minds to have two paid Ministers in this Chamber, we should soon have them. I do not think that the responsibility for the present state of affairs rests more on one honorable senator than on another. We are aware that honorable members in another place are anxious to hold the balance of power. We cannot blame them for that, and if we are fools enough to allow them to have their own way we have only ourselves to thank. I hope that the Government will take notice of what is said here this afternoon, in order that there may be no reason for Ministers to come down time after time to ask for an adjournment over a week or a fortnight because there is not sufficient work for the Senate to do. The protest being made will tend to strengthen the hands of Ministers in the Senate. I for one hope that Ministers will recognise that, although certain Bills may belong to a particular Department, they might be introduced in this Chamber in the first instance, in’ order that both Houses might have their hands full of work to do from the beginning to the end of the session, and there might be no waiting of one House on the convenience of another. We are told that we might take the Copyright Bill next week, but, with all due respect to Senator Matheson, I say that that Bill is of such importance to the whole of the States that they should have an opportunity of making their voices heard with regard to it, ‘not merely through their representatives, but by means of petition or otherwise. Every State has at present its own copyright law, and we are proposing to wipe all those laws out, and adopt a uniform system of copyright for the whole Commonwealth. It is only reasonable that the different States vitallyinterested in our legislation should have an opportunity of making known their wishes on a measure of this character. In the State Legislatures, when a measure of great importance is brought forward, time is always given for public opinion to make itself known with respect to changes in the law. How much more necessary is that the case in a Commonwealth Legislature, where we represent States 2,000 miles from the Seat of Government? It would be -in the highest degree unseemly for Ministers to insist upon going on with that Bill in Committee this week. A measure of this kind can well stand over for two or three weeks, as we know of no great desire on the part of the public for a change in the copyright law. If we did meet next week, there would still be a belittling of the Senate, because people would not bother their heads about us, but would wait until the Bill reached the other House before making representations in regard to it. What I desire is that people should recognise that when a Bill is introduced here, this is the proper place in which to make representations as to alterations which they may deem desirable. However, I look upon this matter from the commonsense stand -point, and I do not wish to come here next week merely to do two or three hours’ work.
– The Copyright Bill will provide a day’s work.
-Col. GOULD. - The consideration of that Bill ought not to be hastened; and if the Government tell us that, after next week, there will be plenty of work, we need anticipate no trouble in the future. What on earth would be the good, in the absence of any business, of dragging honorable senators, who are hundreds of miles away, from their vocations? I hope that honorable senators will realize that the motion is the most sensible under the circumstances, and that the result of this discussion will be the introduction in this House of more measures than another place at present seems inclined to send us.
– We are really discussing two matters on this motion. The opportunity has been taken advantage of to express our protest against the insufficient work provided for us by the Government. We must remember^ however, that the Senate itself has very largely consented to the present .condition of affairs, seeing that, at the beginning of the session, we arranged to sit only three days in the week. That, I take it, is practically an intimation to the Government that we do not anticipate so much work as is transacted in another place.
– There are seventyfive members in another place, and only thirty-six here.
– Does Senator Mulcahy not think that thirty-six honorable senators can reasonably do in three days what it would take a House of seventy-five members four days to do?
– I am not so sure as to that ; and the facts remain as I have stated. A number of honorable senators from Queensland and Western Australia are compelled to remain here during the whole of the session.
– The length of the session is determined, not by the business of the Senate, but by the business in another place.
– I do not think that the dignity and importance of the Senate has been properly recognised by any Government which has been in power up to the present time: However, I look at thematter from a common-sense stand-point. Are we to come here next week and, as we did yesterday, sit for a couple of hours, and: practically do nothing? Would it not be wiser to adjourn for a week, or even a fortnight, on the distinct understanding that thereafter sufficient work will be provided to keep us fully employed? Surely the whole programme of the Government has not been exhausted in the Bills already introduced in another place. One of those Bills, the Commerce Bill, might very well have been introduced in the Senate, where, I am- sure, it would have been dealt with very fully and capably.
– But honorable senators would have postponed that Bill, as they propose to postpone the Copyright Bill.
– The postponement of the Copyright Bill is most justifiable. I do not think that some honorable senators realize the full importance of that measure, on which we shall have to sit as a kind of jury, and be enlightened by those acquainted with the practice and law of the various States. We can hardly give too much consideration to such a measure, and we cannot deal with it as we ought until we are >placed in possession of the information suggested by Senator Symon, as to the authorities on which it is based. I hope that, under the circumstances, Senator Givens will withdraw the amendment.
– T have not the slightest intention, of withdrawing the amendment.
– I hardly expected that the honorable senator had any such intention; but, at any rate, we may hope for a majority in favour of the motion.
Senator- STE WART (Queensland).- It is amusing to listen to honorable senators who grumble at the Government for- not providing us with business, and for not insisting on the rights of this Chamber, when we know, all the time, that those honorable senators’ are only- too anxious to get away to Sydney and- Adelaide every week. The whole thing is neither more nor- less than sheer pretence and humbug ; and- we have had those protests so often- that really I am beginning to be tired of them. Unless the Senate takes some effective method of protesting against the way in which it is treated by the other- Chamber, I shall come to the conclusion that we have subsided, into the position of an ordinary Legislative Council - that the Senate is nothing more than the shadow of a name. Before that state of affairs comes about, I think we ought to have a sort of Donnybrook - there ought to be “ wigs- on the green.” - and not only have something said’ but 0 something done. I blame the Senate, in the first place, for the present state of affairs ; and, in the second place, I blame the Government. Honorable senators, like Senator Symon, have talked very- strongly about the position of the Senate. Senator Symon, as a member of the Federal Convention, no doubt, would tell us verytruly that that Convention, and he himself, intendedthat the Senate should occupy a very different position. It does not matter two straws what the Convention meant, but it does matter a great deal what the Senate means. If theSenate is willing to subside into an inferior position, it seems to me that that state of affairs has been brought about principally by the desire of New South Wales and South Australian senators to get home every week. If the Seat of Government were in a place from which it would he impossible for those honorable senators to visit their homes every week, the difficulty we are now discussing would not continually arise ; because those honorable gentlemen would then insist on business being brought in to keep us constantly employed. As it is, however, with the present railway facilities, those honorable senators rush away to Sydney and Adelaide, and probably devote themselves to their own business, with the result that the Senate is placed in a position of inferiority. The Government openly flout us by only placing one or two measures on the notice-paper, while there are a dozen in hand on which very little progress is being made. Honorable senators of the Opposition are, on this question, with members supporting the Government.
– It is not a party question.
– It is not. I blame the Senate very much for the present state of affairs.
– And we blame Senator Stewart, amongst others.
– The honorable senator need not blame me. I did not attend at the beginning of the session, because I knew that if I did my time would be absolutely wasted.
– Had we all done that, what would have happened?
– Had we all done that, the position would have been very much better than it is at present. Senator Guthrie is just as anxious as any other honorable senator for an adjournment over next week.
– Nothing of the sort. I have been in my place on every sitting day since I was elected, and I shall in the future be here on every sitting day.
– I am not questioning the statement that the honorable senator has attended every day.
– The honorable senator does not know anything about my anxiety.
– By our actions we are giving the Government reason to place us in the position we now occupy.
– Do not get away from the point.
– If the honorable senator will not interject, and he, and others beside him, will not talk so much, I shall be able to pursue the thread of my remarks much more collectedly, and bring them to a conclusion sooner.
– Why should the honorable senator make a personal reference to me?
– I did not make any personal reference to the honorable senator, or, if I did, I was provoked to do it.
– I did not provoke the honorable senator.
– I know that the honorable senators from South Australia, whether supporting the Government, the Labour Party, or the Opposition, are equally anxious to rush away to Adelaide at every opportunity.
– That is not true.
– Those honorable senators have not one iota of consideration for honorable senators from Queensland and Western Australia, who are compelled to remain in Melbourne during the whole of the session. What is the good of honorable senators getting up with their tongues in their cheeks, and hypocritically railing against the Government, and complaining about the position of the Senate, all the while knowing that they are only too anxious for an adjournment?
– That is not so.
– Those honorable senators try to influence the Government to bring about adjournments - they say one thing in the Senate, and another thing privately.
– That is absolutely untrue.
– The whole business is contemptible - nothing but a tissue of hypocrisy.
– I do not think the honorable senator is in order in accusing honorable senators of hypocrisy.
– Then I withdraw the word. What I insist on is that if the Senate is placed in a position of inferiority, it has only itself to blame.
– But what if people are always talking about the position of the
– Will the honorable senator assist to do something? Will the honorable senator agree to an adjournment for a month?
– That is the only way in which the Senate can help itself. Some honorable senators are watchdogs, who bark but will not bite. There is now presented an opportunity to members of the Senate to adjourn for a month, and, in that way, make their protest so effective that the Government would be bound to take some notice of it. Instead of that we have honorable senators weakly consenting to an adjournment for a week.
– Why should the honorable senator penalize the employes in the Post and Telegraph office in Brisbane?
– I am not going to penalize anybody. I think that the position of the Senate under the Constitution is of verymuch greater importance than the salaries of any civil servants. I wonder at any one with the capacity of the honorable senator bringing forward such a childish argument. What have we to do with salaries? It would not be our fault-
– It would be their misfortune though.
– Yes, but it would not be our fault. It would be the fault of the Government and of the members of the other House. If honorable senators are really serious in protesting against the action of the Government, the only way in which it can be shown is either by meeting here next week, and, if we have no business, adjourning from day to day, or by now adjourning for a month. What is the earthly good of adjourning for a week? In a statement prepared for the Minister of Defence some time ago, and purporting to set forth the policy of the Government we find a confession of faith consisting of thirty-six articles. Its programme contains a large number of questions which were to be brought before Parliament. It has the support of the Labour Party, but what generalship does it show? It originates all its measures in one Chamber, where the opposition to it is strong, and gives no work to the Chamber where the opposition to it is weak numerically, though not intellectually. In these circumstances, the Government is most seriously to blame. Not only is our time, as well as the time of the country being wasted, but its business is being neglected. We have quiteenough business to occupy our time next week. Does any one imagine that the consideration of the Copyright Bill in Committee would not take a couple of days at the very least? There is work for Wednesday and Friday on that Bill alone. Then for Thursday, the noticepaper contains motions on such questions as Home Rule for Ireland, the selection of a High Commissioner, the classification of the Public Service, the case of Senator Neild against Major-General Hutton, and the tobacco monopoly.
– It will take us two days to discuss whether we should adjourn for a week or for a fortnight.
– We may as well be occupied in doing this as in doing nothing. The honorable senator, can take a steamer and run away to Tasmania, but I cannot leave Melbourne. If we adjourn for a week, the business will be scamped, and instead of gaining from the adjournment, we shall practically lose. I hope that those who are really anxious, not only to go on with business, but also to maintainthe prestige of the Senate, will vote for the amendment.
– Senator Stewart seems to have been very hard up for something to say. He has complained about honorable members speaking, and made that a reason for opposing the motion. He has made an unwarrantable attack on the representatives of South Australia, who not only last session, but also this session, have been most constant in their attendance.
– They have always wanted to get home.
– Because the honorable senator cannot get home, he will not allow any one else to go home.
– Why should I?
– This reminds one, of the fable of the fox and the grapes. The grapes were sour. I do not consider that my home is sour if the honorable senator considers that his is. I do not wish to impute motives to any one, but if ever there was an honorable senator to whom motives could be imputed it is Senator Stewart. During the first weeks of the session he did nothing; he did not even put in an appearance.
– Did the honorable senator do anything?
– We were here to do whatever was to be’ clone, and the honorable senator is now anxious to show that he wishes to do something during the session. We have nothing to fear.
– The honorable senator started the session with an adjournment, and he has worked so hard that he wants a holiday now.
– Those honorable senators who have attended this session . have done very good work indeed.
– This is their second holiday.
– We are prepared - at any rate, I am prepared - to go to the country to-morrow and say to the electors, “We dealt with all the business which was brought forward.” But those who were absent and neglected their duties are frightened of the position in which they may be put on that occasion. Senator Stewart says he cannot get home, but he voted against the representatives of Western Australia getting a survey made of a railway which might enable them to get home. If the Senate should decide to meet on seven days in the week, I am prepared to attend, and in saying that I believe I echo the sentiment of every representative of my State. Senator Stewart was absolutely unwarranted in saying that we were only too anxious to get away, and he knows that he was. He was an absolute traitor to the labour cause, when he said we were anxious to get away to-day. He knows that to-morrow is the 1st September.
– I know that there is plenty of business to_be done, and the honorable senator cannot deny that there is.
– The honorable senator knows as well as I do that in South Australia !the 1st September i;s [Labour Day, and he thought that he would penalise “the Labour representatives of that State by preventing them from attending the commemoration.
– I was not thinking of that at all.
– Well, in that case, let us adjourn before 4 o’clock to-day until Wednesday week.
– If it is warranted by the business of the Senate, I am prepared to remain to-day, and miss’ an event which I have attended for twenty-five years.
– Neither the motion nor the amendment will prevent the honorable senator from getting away.
– No, but Senator Stewart says that we are anxious to get away. As regards next week, I do not care two pins. The probability is that I shall have to come to Melbourne on public business, and while here I might as well be attending the sittings of _the Senate as travelling in .the train. Senator Stewart had no justification for the attack he made upon representatives of South Australia and, I believe, New South Wales. The latter have, I think, been just as constant in their attendance as he has. It ill became him to read a lecture on attendance here. I intend to support the Government, not because it is proposing to meet my personal convenience, but because it is not prepared to go on with any business next week, when, as I said, I shall be in Melbourne.
– The Government did not say that it would have no business to go om with.
– The Government said that it would not have sufficient business to keep us going next week.
– No; Senator Playford said he was not sure that he would have sufficient business to keep the Senate going.
– I am not sure that there will be.
– Would the ‘honorable senator, if he were leading the Senate, risk bringing honorable senators from all parts of the Commonwealth to go on with the! business on the noticepaper for next week?
– Yes ; there is 0 two days’ debate involved in one Bill.
– No doubt the honorable senator has his own engagements here for next week. But is there any guarantee that he would attend if the Senate sat next week?
– Undoubtedly, if the honorable senator will come.
– I shall be here in spite of anything. I intend to follow the Government on this occasion, because I think that Ministers are best able to sa whether they can give us work to do or not. Was it not a farce to bring honorable senators here this week, in some cases a distance of 500 miles, to sit for only two hours yesterday, and to discuss to-day the question whether we shall sit next week or not ? I am sorry for those honorable senators who will have to remain in. Melbourne if the Senate does not meet next week. But that is their misfortune. The honorable senator who preceded me actually regretted that the Tasmanian senators had al steamer to take them over to the island. Is it not carrying matters a little too far, because th’e geographical position of someStates enables some senators to go home when there is no business, to do, for other senators to attempt to prevent them? What is our position ?_ The House of Representatives contains twice the number of members that the Senate does. Consequently, although both! Houses start together’ at the beginning of the session, and both finish together at the end of the session, more time must be taken up in theother branch of the Legislature than in the Senate. The Government have done remarkably well in bringing forward the measures they have done. I have .nothing to cavil at in. their conduct. If they continue to do as well, I shall still support them. The Government take the responsibility of proposing certain measures to Parliament. If through their own neglect they fail to carry those measures, the blame rests upon them. We have nothing to complain of if thev assure us that there is reason for a short adjournment.
– In consequence of some remarks which have been made, I think it necessary, as I intend to support the motion, to give my reasons for so doing. It appears to me to be absurd that the Senate should meet next week when there is no business to proceed with. I quite sympathize with the Western Australian and Queensland senators. I, unfortunately, have to remain in Victoria, while my home and family are in another State. I should like to get on with the work of the session. But it is not fair to those honorable senators who wish to go home to compel them to come back when there is not sufficient business. At the same time, I trust that the Government will in future so arrange business that we shall have plenty to do. Undoubtedly the condition of the noticepaper affords reason for much that has been said. I am quite willina; to support Senator Matheson in any action which he may take to enable us to express our disapproval of ‘the failure of the Government to bring measures before us. But what is the use of making an .ineffectiveprotest by refusing to adjourn ?
– - I am surprised at the unusual heat that has been generated in connexion with thi* short adjournment. ‘Let me call attentionto what has taken place in the past. Where I had the honour to occupy a very prominent position in the Senate, I was successful in obtaining five adjournments, someof which were for a fortnight. WhenSenator Symon, was leader of the Senateat the end of a session when everythingshould be in full going order, he secured” three adjournments over a fortnight.
– I took the same objection then as I am taking now.
– The honorable senator did not make such a fuss about it. The present Government came intooffice when things were in confusion, and” have had only two adjournments. We should have some consideration for theGovernment, and some little consistency in regard to ourselves.
– Consistency indoing wrong ?
– The honorable senator is always doing right. He restrictshimself so severely to what! is correct, that he hardly ever allows a curl to get out of place. It is a pity that he ever came out of a band-box for the wind to blow upon him. I do not like to see honorable senators protest against an adjournment for the purpose, to my mind, of obtaining a; little kudos which they will never get; for the public do not expect us to sit here doing nothing. They have no appreciation” of the man who wants us to leave our homes when there is no business for us todo. I trust that honorable senators will support the Government on this occasion,, and will in future take all the circumstances into consideration before objectingto what is proposed.
– I intend’ to support the Government, and I protest against such ai miserable exhibition as faces us on the notice-paper in regard to the business for next week. It consists simply of one line - “ Copyright Bill in Committee, clause 2.”- It is quite possible that the Bill might, be disposed of in two or three hours, and then there would be no more business to transact. Although-
I support the motion, I hope that the debate will have the effect of inducing the Government to give us more work to do. They should launch some fresh Bills here.
– Hear, hear.
Question - That the word “ week,” proposed to be left out, be left out - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing, the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
Any proposed amendment of the Immigration Restriction Act will be a matter of Ministerial policy, and as such duly announced to Parliament. Pending its amendment the Act will, of course, continue to be administered in accordance with its present terms. These do not forbid the Minister to deal with propositions of the nature referred to in question 3, and if any are submitted to the Government they will receive consideration.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Just before Major-General Hutton left, he made a report, which he brought up to date. I will lay it on the table.
– Will that report be laid on the table directly ?
Motion (by Senator Matheson) agreed to - ,
That the Minister of Defence be requested to lay upon the table of the Senate a copy of the views expressed by the Honorable Alfred Deakin on the present condition of the defence of the Commonwealth, and communicated to the Herald on the 12th June, 1905.
– I lay on the table a statement of the views referred to.
Ordered to be printed.
Motion (by Senator Keating) agreed to-
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to Parliamentary elections.
– I move -
That the papers having reference to the administration of justice in British ‘New Guinea laid on the table of the Senate on 24th August, 1905, be taken into consideration j and that the Government be asked to institute further inquiries.
I regret that it is necessary for me to initiate a. discussion on matters that affect, in some degree, the administration of affairs in British New Guinea. I have always held, and I have on many occasions voiced the opinion, that we should endow the local authorities in British New Guinea with as much power as possible, and that we should interfere with their administration as little as we possibly can. I believe that as we are not in a position to know the actual conditions in British New Guinea, the less we interfere with the course of administration the better it will be for the Possession. I will at once admit that it is a dangerous precedent to even appear to take the part of settlers against the constituted authority, or to interfere with certain judicial proceedings; except in very exceptional cases affecting the life or liberty of the subject, such as the Goarabari Island case and the case to which I now refer, both of which, I think, ‘justify Federal investigation. The man O’Brien was convicted on three charges before a properly constituted tribunal. He was accused of common assault in connexion with certain of the natives. In the first case he was fined j£$, and in each of the other cases he was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, the sentences to be cumulative. He was offered the right to appeal on these cases, and refused to avail himself of that right. The magistrate presiding on the first occasion was Mr. Higginson, and on the second occasion Mr. Monckton. They are very able magistrates, and we can assume that the cases were properly inquired into and the punishment meted out was deserved. That my position may not afterwards be misunderstood, I should say at once that I favour severe punishment being dealt out to any white people guilty of ill treating the natives of British’ New Guinea. This man O’Brien was set to work at scrub-cutting at Kokoda, the magisterial station for the Yodda gold-fields., and he was guarded by a native armed with a rifle. He rushed the guard, and a struggle took place. According to the reports we have, both were wounded. The prisoner received a wound in the head, and the native guard was struck three times on the head with a half-axe. The prisoner escaped with the rifle, lt is further stated that the guard was very seriously injured, though it is a noteworthy fact that a few days afterwards he was able to give evidence before a board of inquiry consisting of two visiting justices of the peace. This is all we know of the case, and anything further is in the region of conjecture and assertion. It has been stated by one of the miners t-hat O’Brien threatened to shoot anybody who attempted to capture him. It is further stated by the magistrates that certain charges were hanging over the head of this prisoner O’Brien, and that he was to be prosecuted for theft, rape, and assault. Those charges may or may not be true. O’Brien may be- an unmitigated scoundrel, as the Government reports seem to convey, or he may only be a violent-tempered, but warm-hearted man, as described in the reports of the miners amongst whom he lived. According to the miners, when one of their number was lost, O’Brien was a member of the search- party, and, persevering after the others had given up hope, he was the means of saving the life of the wanderer. But whether the magistrate or the miners be correct, does not in the , slightest degree affect the present issue. Every man is held to be innocent until proved to be guilty, and merely alleged offences ought not to be taken into consideration. The only charge against O’Brien is that he was convicted of common assault, and that he overpowered his guard and escaped from custody; and on this account, a most extraordinary proclamation, which practically outlawed him, was issued by the Assistant Resident Magistrate, in the following terms : -
Should O’Brien appear to any member of the field, such member is perfectly justified in ordering him to stand or go in front of him to police, and if O’Brien fails to do either of these things he may be shot.
I do not know the exact meaning of “ any member of the field “ - whether the words mean any white resident or any inhabitant of the field, coloured or white. In any case, power was given to shoot this man, in the event of his refusing to walk to the police station; whether O’Brien resisted or not, if he merely refused to walk before his captor, he might be shot. For instance, O’Brien, as was the case when he was originally apprehended, might be in bed, and if he refused to rise, and walk before any miner or inhabitant of the field, he might have his brains blown out. That was really the power given in the proclamation issued by the Assistant Resident Magistrate. Even if the man were working at his vocation, he might there be shot by any one before whom he refused to walk to the police station; that is, he might be shot if he attempted to get away, or merely folded his arms and refused to move. Under the circumstances, any one with a grudge against O’Brien could have shot him at sight, and afterwards declared that he had refused to walk back to custody. We have been very careful, and rightly so, to see that all the rights and privileges of the natives are conserved! When Dr. Chalmers, a missionary named Tomlinson, and ten others were massacred and eaten by the natives, and an attempt was made by a Government party to capture the murderers, the natives, who fired on the party, were fired on in return, and a number of them shot as they retreated. In that case, an inquiry was immediately instituted in order to ascertain whether any wrong had been done to the natives. We are quite right in seeing that no cruelty is exercised by the immigrant whites ; but surely we ought also to be careful to see that we do not treat the whites with less regard than is paid to the native population. A petition, signed by twentythree out of the thirty-four white men on the Yodda gold-field, was addressed to the Minister of External Affairs, and a counter petition signed by fifteen or sixteen residents, four of whom signed the original petition. The former petition was analyzed bv the Resident Magistrate almost paragraph by paragraph. The Resident Magistrate, however, made no comment on the extraordinary proclamation that was issued by the Assistant Resident Magistrate, although, seeing that the proclamation was included in the papers forwarded, he must have known of its. existence. That fact is sufficient evidence that the proclamation was issued, and that the Resident Magistrate expressed no opinion in regard to it. The most surprising feature of this case is the silence of the Magistrates and of the Government of New Guinea with regard to the proclamation. No reproof has been administered, no regret expressed, and noinquiry made; and up to the present there has been no explanation why such a course should have been adopted in reference to O’Brien. Undoubtedly the Assistant Resident Magistrate exceeded his functions in issuing a proclamation giving the right .to shoot a man who has been convicted of only a trivial offence. The Queensland statute law was adopted in New Guinea in 1888, and the magistrates in the Possession have no more power than have the stipendiary magistrates of that State. Indeed, I doubt very much whether such a proclamation could be properly issued by the Administrator, with the advice of the Executive Council. In the early bushranging and convict days of Australia, certain men were outlawed, and could be shot at sight; but that was done by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council. I doubt very much, however, though I speak under correction, whether the Governor-General of the Commonwealth, with the advice of the Executive Council, has power to issue a proclamation of this character. In my opinion, nothing but an Act of Parliament could empower the Government to outlaw a citizen of Australia, and such an Act would, of course, have to obtain the Royal assent. If a prisoner, on conviction of common assault, escaped from the Melbourne gaol, and a proclamation of the kind were issued, I venture to think that a most profound sensation would be caused throughout the Continent, and, further^ that if the convicted man happened to be shot, the magistrate who issued the proclamation would be tried for his life. . Surely it is not contended that when a Britisher or an Australian goes to British New Guinea he is to be deprived of the inestimable privileges which we enjoy here?
– A man must not commit assaults.
– Surely a man is not to be deprived of the rights we enjoy under Magna Charta and the Petition of Rights merely because he has committed a trivial offence?
– What has become of the man?
– There is a mail only once a month from New Guinea, and when it arrives we may hear that O’Brien has been shot.
– I have not had time to look through the papers.
– I am surprised, that the members of the- Government have not taken any notice of this matter, seeing that in the case of the natives there was no hesitation in appointing a board of inquiry. .
Debate interrupted. Orders of the Day called on.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the consideration of Order of the Day No. i, Tobacco Monopoly, be postponed until notice of motion No. 3 has been disposed of.
– We do not know how long the debate on Senator Smith’s motion will be continued.
– I shall not be more than five minutes.
– I presume that the Minister of Defence desires to reply to the honorable senator.
– No; I have not seen the papers. There is a gentleman coming down from British New Guinea who will give the information.
.- Let the honorable senator ask for leave to continue his speech on another occasion.
– I do not see why I cannot continue mv speech now with the consent of the honorable senator in charge of the next order of the day. I shall not be more than five minutes.
Question .resolved in the affirmative.
– I have lived amongst miners nearly all my life. Although I admit that miners are rough and ready, perhaps not so polished in their mode of speech as some of the city men, and may not doff their hat and pull their forelock in the presence of their so-called superiors; still, there are no more law-abiding, men in the Commonwealth, and_ that is proved on every field in Aus.tralia. I want honorable senators to understand that the miners on this gold-field are Australians.
– As this question is so important that other business has ,had to be set aside to discuss it, I think, sir, we should have a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.That the miners in British New Guinea are just as law abiding and as good men as the miners of Australia from whom they are drawn, is proved conclusively by the fact that there have been hardly any convictions amongst them. I wish now to say a few words about the treatment- of white prisoners in the Possession. We must recognise the peculiar conditions that exist there, differentiating as they do from those prevailing in Australia. The whole government of the Possession rests upon one word, “ prestige.” The belief of the natives in the power of the white man is even more important than their belief in his justice. It is a boast that since British occupation of the Possession, no white soldier has been there. That has been brought about, not only by the want of cohesion amongst the natives, but equally by the loyal support which has been given by the white colonists to the Administration. It would be a sorry day for the Possession if the white population were to adopt a hostile attitude towards its Government. When a prisoner is put to the work of scrub-cutting, it is regarded as one of the most menial occupations to which’ a man can be put there. It is an occupation which no one but a native ever undertakes. This prisoner was put to the work of scrub-cutting. He was guarded by a native with a rifle, and his gaolers were actually, if not theoretically, natives. Surely that reverses the usual order of things, , and is likely to create a very bad impression in the minds of the Papuans. It will profoundly and injuriously modify the natives’ view of the paramountcy and the power of the white population. For a white prisoner to work at what is considered a menial occupation, under the control of a native with a rifle, in an open field, in full view of the natives, and in a place where they are continually congregating from distant parts as they come to lodge complaints, or to receive instruction or advice, or to bring foodstuffs for the population at the Government station, is a thing which will revolutionize the views of natives in regard to the power and prestige of the white man. They will cease to recognise the superiority of a person whom they themselves can control with a rifle, and compel to work. Such a system is liable to make a white man an object of contempt rather than of respect to the natives, as he should be.
– I beg, sir. to call your attention Ho the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.”]
– The petition which was sent down to the Minister of External Affairs, and signed1 by thirty-three out of the thirty-four miners on the field, contains this statement in re gard to the degradation of working under the control of a native -
It acts like a dagger in the heart of a whiteman when he . knows that the ignorant savage isplaced in control over him by his own white men.
That is a position which should not be tolerated, and which is unnecessary. We have a white gaoler at Woodlark Island, as well as at Port Moresby, seventy miles distant, and all white men in prison should be sent to either one place or the other. For the sake of producing a moral effect upon the natives, no white man. should be placed “under native gaolers towork as an inferior to them. I regret that, in doing what I believe to be my duty here, I have been compelled to speak as I have with regard to the actions of certain men from whom I have received the greatest kindness. During my last trip to British New Guinea I was treated with the greatest kindness by every one I met, more especially by these very men whose conduct I am now discussing. When I reached the Yodda Field I was struck down with malarial fever, and these men treated1 me with the greatest kindness, so that I have no personal feeling other thai* gratitude to them in this matter. I believe that such an act is likely to be most detrimental to the best interests of the Territory, and to create a feeling of hostility on the part of the colonist’s against the ruling powers, and therefore I felt it necessary to bring the matter before the Senate. What I ask the Government todo is merely to request the Administrator to give a full report of the whole proceeding, with his reasons for taking no notice of this extraordinary proclamation which was issued, and his justification therefor, if a justification can be given. The people of British New Guinea, areentitled to the same rights and privileges, as far as possible, as we are, and an escaped prisoner there should receive the same treatment as we would demand for an escaped prisoner here. Were a prisoner to escape here in similar circumstances, and a right to be given to any person toshoot him, practically at sight, unless hewent back to gaol, it would be considered an outrage. Are we to deprive thecolonists in British New Guinea of such rights and privileges as we possess in that respect? The Chief Justice of the Possession possesses local knowledge, and would be able to furnish a report on thismatter. The miners have the highest opinion of His Honour, and would be quite willing, I am sure, to abide by his decision. If the Government would give a promise to ask Chief Justice Murray to give a report on the whole matter, especially with regard to the document I read, I think the miners in the Possession would be satistied, and the people of the Commonwealth would know exactly what had occurred.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the debate be now adjourned.
– Before the question is put, sir-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - There cannot be any debate on this motion.
– What is the object of adjourning the debate?
– I am going to get some information from the Secretary of External Affairs, who is returning from New Guinea next week.
Question - That the debate be now adjourned - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 7
Motion agreed to; debate adjourned.
Debate resumed from 3rd August (vide page 540), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That a Select Committee of the Senate be appointed to inquire into and report upon -
The existence or otherwise of a combine, trust, or monopoly in the industry of the manufacture, importation, and sale of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes within the Commonwealth.
If such combine, trust, or monopoly be found to exist, as to its effect on the industry, and on the Commonwealth.
As to the advisability or otherwise of the Government taking over the industry of such manufacture, importation, and sale, or any part thereof.
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.
That the Committee report to the Senate on 9th August, 1905.
– In view of the importance of this subject, one would have expected that the mover would see the reasonableness of the suggestion which has been made to him, to adjourn the debate until we had a more representative attendance. The effect of what has taken place in the Senate to-day has been that a large number of honorable senators have left the Chamber, and some, indeed, have left the State.
– With their eyes open ; knowing the business that was on the paper.
– And that their business did not take them to Randwick the week after next.
– That is most pertinent to the question !
– As pertinent as the honorable senator’s interjection !
– I rise to order. What has Randwick race-course to do with the motion ?
The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT.- There is no point of order.
– It is deplorable that a motion of this kind, which concerns not only the appointment of a Select Committee, but the affirmation of something like a principle affecting the nationalization of a large industry, should be debated in a House of which the most that can be said is that technically it meets the requirements of the Constitution with regard to a quorum. However, it appears that as long as the mover of the motion gets it through somehow, that is really all he cares. I can quite understand thepatient zeal with which he has pursued this question, from the time he took his seat in the Senate. But zeal is one thing and sound judgment is another. It does appear to me that the honorable senator is absolutely disregarding what I think ought to be a fundamental principle, that all matters of this kind should be determined after mature consideration, and by a process that entitles the Senate to be called a deliberative assembly,, and not a mere meeting of two or three persons. It may be urged that there has been sufficient delay already, and that therefore there is no necessity for postponing a decision. But let me . point out what has resulted from the delay. When Senator Pearce first brought forward this scheme, his motion was very different from that which he submits to-day. His original proposal was very much wider in its scope. It was in the following terms : -
In order to provide the necessary money for the payment of old-age pensions and for other purposes the Commonwealth Government should undertake the monopoly and sale of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes; and that a Committee be appointed … to inquire into and report on the best method of carrying the foregoing resolution into effect.
It will be observed that Senator Pearce then proposed to raise money for old-age pensions. Not a word about that appears in the present motion. Old-age pensions was made the peg upon which to hang the consideration of a stupendously important question - whether or not we should nationalize an industry. Further, it will be observed, in the second part of the original motion, that it was laid down as an absolute affirmation that it was desirable to do this thing. The motion now submitted takes quite other ground. Not only is there no suggestion that the necessity of paying old-age pensions inquires us ‘to nationalize the tobacco industry, or that we ought to devote the proceeds of the industry to the payment of old-age pensions ; but there is this further remarkable change : that whereas previously the Senate was asked to affirm that it was desirable to nationalize the tobacco industry, to-day Senator Pearce recedes from that position, and merely asks us to appoint a Committee to inquire whether or not it is desirable so to do. It will be observed at once that a vast change has taken place in the standpoint of the honorable senator. It i% quite /evident that this alteration is due to that deliberation which has been afforded bv the fact that time has been at his disposal for the further consideration of the subject. A double gain has resulted from the delay. The first gain is that we can now consider the question of the nationalization of the tobacco industry quite apart from the question of old-age pensions, as we ought to be able to do. The second gain is that the honorable senator in charge of the motion has, as ‘I have pointed out, seen the desirableness of desisting from the affirmation that it is desirable to institute a national monopoly, and has come down to the position of affirming that it is desirable to inquire about it. In view of. the fact that the honorable senator in charge of the motion has gained so much, has altered his mental focus in such a remarkable degree as the result of a few, months’ delay, it is to be regretted that he did not recognise the great advantage which would in all probability have resulted if he had further postponed his motion to enable it to be considered with something, approaching a full attendance of the Senate. As the honorable senator has not seen fit to do so, it remains for me to express’ the hope, which I do most sincerely, that the absence of a large number of the members of the Senate will not in any way tend either to destroy or deflect the sound judgment which the Senate would have expressed if more fully represented, or induce us to take any action which will not be desirable in the interest either of the dignity of the Senate or of the welfare of the Commonwealth. I wish to divide the motion, as it ought to be divided, into two portions, for it raises two absolutely different questions. The first, which is covered by the first and second paragraphs, favours the appointment of a Committee for the purpose or inquiring as to whether a combination or trust exists, and, if so, the effect of that combination or trust on the tobacco industry and on the Commonwealth. The third paragraph of the motion empowers the Committee to inquire into the desirability of nationalizing the industry. There are two widely different things covered by these three paragraphs.. As to the question whether a Committee might advantageously be appointed to inquire into the existence of a combination, I am with Senator Pearce. I do not affirm as emphatically as does the honorable senator that a pernicious trust exists. I think, from the evidence which the honorable senator has sought to submit to the Senate, that he has allowed his zeal to outrun his judgment, and has overstated his case. ButI do think that there is sufficient evidence before us to justify the belief that there is a combination of some kind in existence, and, that being so, in view of the history of trusts elsewhere, I think that it is not an undesirable thing - indeed, that it is a desirable thing - that we should inquire into the operations and methods of this combination. I shall return to that matter a little later, but I want to point out the difference in principle involved in an inquiry into the existence of a trust as covered by the first two paragraphs of the motion, and the third paragraph, which deals with the nationalization of the industry. I regret that in this matter I may appear to be somewhat antagonistic to the motion as a whole, when, as a matter of fact, my hostility is centred in the third paragraph. Before passing on to deal with that paragraph, I should like to suggest an amendment of the second paragraph, which I have no doubt Senator Pearce will be prepared to accept. One of the contentions advanced by the honorable senator and by other friends of the motion, is that to some extent the existence of this combination is detrimental to the growers of tobacco, and it is assumed that under a national monopoly, which Senator Pearce wishes to see created, the growers would obtain better prices, and to that extent would be placed in a position to carry on their industry with greater profit than it is alleged they can secure at present. But there is nothing in the motion which has any reference to the growers of tobacco. There is nothing in it to empower the Select Committee, if appointed, to take any evidence as to the position of any persons outside the manufacturers, merchants, retailers, and dealers in tobacco.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the second paragraph gives the Select Committee power to inquire as to the effect of the combine on growers of tobacco?
– Absolutely no; because the honorable senator will find that in the first paragraph of his motion he has really supplied a definition of what he means by the word “industry.” That paragraph reads -
The existence or otherwise of a combine, trust, or monopoly in the industry of the manufacture, importation, and sale of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes within the Commonwealth.
– Surely the supply of the raw material may be considered . one part of the manufacture?
– It would have been if the honorable senator had not limited it. Senator Pearce has limited himself as many another man does, by using too many words in his motion, and by saying exactly what he means by the word “ industry.” The industry, as the honorable senator has described it in his motion, is that of the “ manufacture, importation, and sale of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes.” If the honorable senator had stopped at the word industry,” he would have covered everything ; but he has expressly mentioned the manufacture, importation, and sale of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes. I am sure that Senator Pearce desires that the Com.mittee, if appointed, shall inquire into the condition of the growers of tobacco. As I agree to the appointment of the proposed Select Committee, to the extent of the powers proposed to be conferred by the first two paragraphs of the motion, I think that while it is inquiring into the business it should inquire into it from the beginning, and- should take into consideration the position of the growers of tobacco. I therefore suggest that the second paragraph of the motion should be amended by the insertion after the word “ industry “ of the words “ and cultivation of tobacco.” I am sure that Senator Pearce desires that his motion should cover an inquiry into the cultivation of tobacco; but he must admit that there is some force in my remarks that it is only by stretching the meaning of the motion, as he has framed it, that it can be held to cover any inquiry into the industry prior to the stage when tobacco has become a mercantile commodity, and is handled for manufacture or sale. I am prepared to move the insertion of the words to which I have referred ; but if the honorable senator will move such an amendment himself I shall be satisfied.
– I am prepared to accept the amendment.
– I should like to have some assurance as to the way in which the motion will be submitted to the Senate. I do not know whether it will be submitted paragraph by paragraph, or whether it will be necessary for me to move to strike out the third paragraph. If it is necessary that I should move such an amendment I shall be prepared to do so ; but that will not be necessary if the motion has been drafted in such a way as to allow of its being submitted to the Senate in paragraph form. If the Deputy President will be kind enough, before I sit down, to indicate how he proposes to submit the motion, I shall be able to decide whether it will be necessary for me to move the elimination of the third paragraph.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- There being two questions involved in the motion, I shall consider it a complicated one, and shall put it in the manner suggested by Senator Millen.
– In that case it will not be necessary for me to move the omission of the third paragraph, and I shall content myself with voting against it when it is submitted. I come now to what, to my mind, is the crux of the whole position’. In approaching this question of the nationalization of the industry, I am brought face to face with a question which I am afraid we are too often inclined to overlook in much of the legislation brought before us, and that is the question whether the proposal submitted is constitutional. I’ may be met at once with the statement that it is not material whether it is constitutional or not, seeing that this is merely a proposal for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into it. But I cannot conceive of anything more like shirking our responsibility, more degrading to the Senate, or more childish in itself, than to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into something which we have not the tight !to deal with by legislative enactment. I shall be as brief as I can ; but it is obvious that a matter of this kind, which is not only of great importance in itself, but of considerable complexity, is not one which can be hurried over lightly. Further, I look upon it as one reason for addressing the Senate at some length, on this motion that the question involved is not merely that of a tobacco monopoly. It must be borne in mind that this represents the first concrete instance of an attempt to encroach upon what are States rights and States prerogatives. If, as I think I can show, there is no power under the. Constitution enabling the Commonwealth to carry on an industry, that that is a prerogative of the States, it is essentia] to the proper discharge of the responsibilities which rest on us, and to our individual and collective dignity, that we should refrain from asserting any right to operate in the domain secured by the Constitution to the States. On that point there is further evidence of the great gain which has resulted in the consideration of this matter from the delay which has taken place. Senator Pearce, when he first brought this matter before the Senate, was absolutely emphatic in his assurance that we had the constitutional power to do what he proposes. The honorable senator is not certain to-day. He will not to-day affirm, as he did when he first introduced the matter, that there is absolute constitutional warrant for doing what he proposes. The honorable senator was at first emphatic that it was constitutional to carry out his wishes. A little later he is wavering ; he is inclined still later to admit that it might be a matter of some doubt ; and finally he finishes up by saying that, in view of the doubt, we should ap point a Select Committee to take evidence and try to solve it. This shows that even the honorable senator in charge of the motion entertains grave doubts as to whether we have a constitutional warrant for nationalizing this or any other industry. It is in the hope of completing a conversionwhich has apparently commenced, and because of the great importance of the subject, that I propose to , refer To a few constitutional authorities to see if I can, ever* at the eleventh hour, convince the honorable senator of the unconstitutional character of the proposal he submits, and in the hope, gradually becoming fainter, that the Senate will refrain from appointing a Select Committee to inquire into a project when it must know that it has no constitutional warrant for giving effect to it. I have been surprised, in. reading through the speeches made by Senator Pearce, to find that one who has been so intimately associated with Federation from its earliest days, should have fallen into a grave and fundamental error as to what is the basis of the Constitution under which we, politically, Jive. It is quite evident that Senator Pearce has not yet grasped the wide distinction which marks our Constitution, following largely, as it does, that of the United States, as compared with that of Canada. The honorable senator’s error is shown by the interpretation he seeks to read into those simple words “ the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth,” forming the introductory portion of section 51. The interpretation which Senator Pearce gives to these words, if carried out literally, would simply mean that the Federation can legislate upon any subject which Parliament chooses to think necessary for “ the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth.” He absolutely denies that the powers of the .Commonwealth are limited to- the thirty-nine articles which are set out in section 51. It is somewhat difficult to speak to empty benches, and I beg to draw your attention, sir, to the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.]. It is curious that Senator Pearce, in his efforts to bolster up an opinion whichappears to be necessary to him for the maintenance of his case, should have quoted a number of constitutional authorities, every one of which, I think, can be shown to be absolutely against the conclusion at which he arrives. This is a remarkable instance of a man1 who, having, first of all, formed an opinion, immediately seeks to turn all facts and authorities to the support of that opinion. The honorable senator referred to a quotation from remarks by Mr. Justice Clarke; and I invite honorable senators to note with what unfailing regularity every one of the authorities relied on by Senator Pearce is absolutely fatal to his case. I shall not trouble the Senate with the rather long quotation from Mr. Justice Clarke, but merely read the words in which Senator Pearce summarized the quotation, and.. I think, fairly enough -
The words (“ peace, order, and good government,”) either mean that we have the power to legislate for those purposes, except where we are expressly forbidden, or, except the power is expressly reserved to the States, or their insertion was unnecessary.
That is an affirmation that we have the power to legislate beyond the expressed thirty-nine articles in section 51, or that the words, “ peace, order, and good government,” are unnecessary. ‘ As elucidating the argument to which I wish to address myself a little more fully, let me point out that the honorable senator appears to have ignored altogether the vast difference between our Constitution and that of Canada. Here a’ll power is reserved to the States, except that expressly and specifically transferred to the Federation; whereas in Canada, all power rests in the Central or Federal -Government, except that power which is specifically and expressly transferred to the States. That being so, there seems to be ho doubt’ that we are limited absolutely and entirely to the articles set out in section 51. Yet Senator Pearce, because none of the! thirty-nine articles expressly provided for the carrying on of any industry, seeks to draw some comfort from the words, “ peace, order, and good government,” and to contend that those words give power to legislate on anything we believe to be necessary for the welfare of the Commonwealth. Let me show the error of that position. If there is one point on which the Constitution is clear, it is, I think, that the Federation is absolutely powerless outside the powers expressly transferred from the States. One of the frequent sources of trouble in the early days of most Federations has been in deter.mining exactly where the limit of one authority ends, and the other commences. But it has never been disputed in America that the powers of the Federation there are limited to the transferred powers. I venture to’ think that Senator Pearce, in quoting the words, “ peace, order, and good government,” has dissociated them from words in the context which absolutely qualify them. The words on which Senator Pearce relies are in the first portion of section 51 -
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth, with respect to -
Then are enumerated the thirty-nine articles. Senator Pearce selects the words “ peace, order, and good government,” shutting out the other words, “ subject to this Constitution,” just as he shuts out the words which follow, viz., “ with respect to.’* The section as a whole does not provide that Parliament shall have power to make laws for “peace, order, and good government “ - nothing of the kind. The section provides that the Parliament shall have power, “ subject to this Constitution,” to make laws for the “ peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth,” and then come the words, “ with .respect to,” followed by the thirtynine articles. It is to be observed that this limitation, so clearly and sharply set to the powers of the Federation, is repeated in numerous other places throughout the Constitution. Senator Pearce said that if the words “ peace, order, and good government “ do not imply some power other than those set out in the articles, they are superfluous and unnecessary. My answer is that if the words mean an unlimited power to legislate on anything that may be regarded1 as for the “peace, order, and good government “ of this country, and are not limited by the thirty-nine articles, why are the thirty-nine articles enumerated? Why does the section not simply read, “ The Parliament shall have power to make laws foi; the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth “ ?
– Even then the laws would be subject) to the Constitution.
– I am leaving those words out.
– But I think those words would have to be implied.
– Senator Pearce suggests that the words “ peace, order, and good government “ either gives us power beyond the thirty-nine articles, or they are unnecessary. But if they mean that we may go beyond the thirty-nine articles - if they give us unlimited power - why are the articles enumerated ? There would have been no Federation if there had not been the qualifying words. I pass now to the sharp limitation placed on our legislative powers. In the course of my argument, I shall use, as far as I can, every section of the Constitution, and every authority quoted by Senator Pearce, because I require nothing better to show the fallacy of his argument. Let us turn to article xxxi. of section 51. This provides that we may legislate with respect to -
The acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person, for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws.
Senator Pearce laid some stress on this article as proving that we have the power to acquire the tobacco monopoly. The article gives power for the “ acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person.” For what? The “peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth “ ? Not at all. There is a limitation. We have power to secure the “ acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person, for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws.” There again is a sharp limitation. If it had been intended to mean, as Senator Pearce has represented, that we have unlimited power to legislatein any direction in which it appears to us the “ peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth” demands, why do those limitations run throughout the Constitution? We have only power to legislate, or even to acquire property, under the section where that property is required “ for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws.” Curiously enough, this is one of the sections of the Constitution brought forward by Senator Pearce in order to show that we have power to legislate outside the Constitution. Senator Pearce also quoted article XXXIX. of section 51, and I admit that it was surprising to me to find the honorable senator appealing to those articles for support of his contention that we have power beyond that there prescribed. Every authority cited by the honorable senator seems to repeat and confirm the limitations and prescriptions which are around us in regard to the extent to which we may. or may not, legislate. Article XXXIX., following, of course, the preamble to the section, gives power to legislate on -
Matters incidental to the execution of any power vested by this Constitution in the Parliament, or in either House thereof, or in the Government of the Commonwealth, or in the Federal Judicature, or in any department or officer of the Commonwealth.
If that article proves anything, it proves that we are absolutely bound by the thirtynine articles, and not, as the honorable senator desires to show, that we have any power beyond. If the words “ vested by this Constitution “ had , been omitted, the honorable senator might have contended that we had a roving legislative commission. But turn where we may in the Constitution, we find ourselves hedged about sharply, and in the most pronounced fashion. Though we have ample sovereign power, as wide as it is possible to conceive, it is in regard to a very strictly limited number of subjects; and the subject on which Senator Pearce desires to legislate is not one of those set out in section 51. I think it must be held that our powers are limited1 to the various subjects for legislative action which have by this section been transferred from the States to the Federation. If it will be admitted (that we are limited to these transferred powers, then I ask whether the power of carrying on manufactures and industries was one of the powers transferred, and, if so, where and how was it transferred? It may be presumed that every one will readily admit that, prior to Federation, the States had an absolute right to manufacture if they pleased. There can be no doubt that any individual State had unquestionable power to start any industry, any manufactory, or any distributing business which it might choose to carry on. If that power did rest in the States, it must rest “there’ to-day, unless it has been specifically transferred. That it rests there unless transferred is made clear by section 107, which says -
Every power of the Parliament of a Colony which has become or becomes a State, shall, unless it is by this Constitution exclusively vested in the Parliament of the Commonwealth, or withdrawn from the Parliament of the State, continue as at the establishment of the Commonwealth, or as at the admission or establishment of the State, as the case may be.
That express and wise provision is the very basis of the Federation. I submit that prior to Federation the power of carrying on manufactures and industries was with the States. If it has been transferred, I ask for the proof of the transference. There is nothing in the thirty-nine articles, not even by implication, to say that it has been transferred. Therefore it has not been transferred, but still remains with the original repositories - the States. For us to legislate in what is unquestionably and constitutionally their d’omain is to do something which would be not only wrong in itself, but pernicious in its ultimate effects, and possibly produce between the States and the Federation friction, which I am sure we would all deplore. It is rather curious that Senator Pearce, who sought to show ‘that we have power to carry on an industry, does make a little concession to the principle of States rights, does show a little inclination to occasionally recognise the binding power of the Constitution, when he admits that we could not take over the management of the mines of the States because they are reserved to the States. Where are they so reserved? In the Constitution there is no reservation in regard to mines that is not also a reservation in regard to every other State power. There is no list of subjects reserved to the States, because that was not necessary. All power remains with the States, except with regard to the thirtynine transferred subjects. I challenge Senator Pearce to show that in the Constitution there is a reservation to the States of power in respect to mines which is not also a reservation in respect of the right to carry on the business of manufacturing or distributing. If it is constitutional for the Federation to carry on manufactures, it is also constitutional for the Federation to interfere with the management of mines, for the power which secured to the States their original rights over mining and such matters is exactly the same as the power which secures to them the right they originally had of entering upon trade and commerce in all its various forms. In dealing with this aspect of the question, Senator Pearce seemed to find some little comfort from the quite imaginary difference between the possession of a power by a State and the exercise of the power by the State* Speaking of manufacturing, he said -
This is a domain that has not been touched upon by the States authorities.
That is burking the whole question. Whether a State possesses a power or not is one thing; and whether it chooses to exercise the power or not is another thing. The honorable senator will see that the objection he takes - that the States have never exercised this power - could be taken against the Commonwealth to-day, with regard to many subjects upon which it has not yet legislated. It might be said that we have no power to deal with quarantine and lighthouses, because we have not legislated regarding them. But that fact does not destroy our power in the slightest degree. It is still ours, and unquestionably we can legislate whenever we see fit. We are proceeding to deal with copyright, but we have not yet dealt with weights and measures, or with marriage and divorce, or with a variety of subjects. Will Senator Pearce, when a Bill is brought forward, contend that we have no right to deal with those subjects, because our powers, having been dormant, have ceased to exist ? Yet that is exactly the point he raises with regard to the power of the States to carry on the manufacture of tobacco, or any other commodity. When he brought forward that remarkable statement, Senator Playford, with> that point which always marks his interjections, said -
The States could manufacture tobacco and” cigars.
Senator Pearce replied
In taking over these powers we should not beinterfering with any powers which the States haveexercised.
He does not deny that the States possessthe powers, but merely says that they havenot exercised them. In other words, hecontends, if his language means anything, that, because the powers have been allowed! to lie dormant, therefore, the Federation can step in and take them. Nothing more destructive of the very basis of our Constitution than that was ever uttered, either inside or outside these walls. I think Senator Pearce began to recognise the extraordinary doctrine he was promulgating, becausefollowing the quotation I have just made, Senator Playford again returned to thecharge with this question -
But we’ should be depriving the States of their right to manufacture tobacco and cigars which., they have at present?
What was Senator Pearce’s reply? Hefound the question too puzzling to answer, and, therefore, he brushed it aside, and proceeded to quote a statement from an> author which had no reference to it. Heignored the unpleasant truth, which possibly was the wisest thing for him to do - and commenced his next sentence by saying, “ There is a sentencefrom a writer on the United States Constitution, Ashley,” which he proceeded’ to quote, and1 which Had no referenceto the very pertinent question put to him. In view of the fact that he retreated under the cover of silence from that question, he must recognise that his position is absolutely untenable. Does he expect the Senate to appoint a Select Committee to consider the advisability of doing something, the unconstitutionality of which he as beginning to recognise? No matter how desirable it may be- if it were fifty thousand times more desirable than he contends at is - surely that is no justification for us to attempt to do that which the Constitution expressly forbids? One of the many errors in which the honorable senator fell was in affirming that this is a domain into which the States have not yet entered. That is absolutely incorrect. It is not a question -of whether they have entered into the domain of the manufacture of tobacco, because that article is a mere incident in the situation. The point is, Have the States entered into the domain of manufacturing j and I affirm that they have. Victoria has brick- works, while New South Wales, in addition to clothing factories, has a dock, which is prepared to manufacture as well as repair vessels, for private persons as well as for the Government. These are proofs that-the States have - modestly,’ it may be - entered into this domain. The facts I mention afford conclusive proof, if it were required, that, prior to Federation, the States had the right to carry on industry of any kind. The Constitution is absolutely silent as to its transfer, and, therefore, we may assume that the power still remains with the States. If the States have that power, it is evident that they may exercise it at any time with regard to not merely tobacco, but a variety of articles. Victoria has just started a brick factory. If Senator Pearce can prove that it is constitutional for the Commonwealth to start a tobacco factory, it must be equally constitutional for the Commonwealth to start a “brick factory. He wants a monopoly in the manufacture of tobacco, and presumably he would want a monopoly in the manufacture of bricks. What is he going to do with Mr. Bent and the Victorian 1)rick-works ? It is quite evident that the very fact that those State brick-works are in existence demolishes at once the slightest pretence that can be advanced for the contention that the Federation has any power to carry on these industries. I shall admit that there is no specific prohibition against the Commonwealth carrying them on. But my answer to that objection is that no specific prohibition is necessary, for the simple reason that there is a general prohibition against the Commonwealth legislat ing on any subject outside the thirty-nine articles. Senator Pearce also said that not only was there no prohibition against the Federation undertaking this business, but that this question of industries was not specifically reserved to the States. It was not necessary to specifically reserve anything,. All that was done was to specify the subjects of legislation which were transferred to Federal control. There was no need to specify other articles, because the residue of powers continued with the States, and amongst these was the right to carry on manufactures or industries of any kind. I pass to the rather ingenious contention which Senator Pearce founded on section 51 of the Constitution, which gives us power to legislate, amongst other things, with regard to old-age pensions. He argued that as we have power to legislate in regard to old-age pensions, we must necessarily have power to raise the money for their payment in any way we like. That is another of those extraordinary doctrines which could only have been formulated by a gentleman who was prepared to interpret anything as supporting the cause which he was advocating. It is quite true that the Federation has very wide powers of taxation, though they are not absolutely supreme, as is generally assumed. The Court has already taught us that there is a limit even to our powers of taxation. It is a limit in one direction only, but it still exists. It is useful to remember it, because no matter how desirable, in our opinion, it may lie to go outside the Constitution, there is a power which will pull us within it again, and that is the Court. In proof of what I say, I remind honorable senators of the case, instituted by New South Wales against the Commonwealth, to test the point whether the Commonwealth could charge duties upon States’ imports. It is a little matter, perhaps, but if shows that our powers of taxation are not absolutely unlimited; and it illustrates the danger of going outside the Constitution. Senator Pearce has made a great mistake by regarding all money, irrespective of the way in which it was raised, as taxation. He confuses taxation and profits - two very different things in the case of an individual, as they are in the case of a State. He quotes Professor Harrison Moore, on the point. Here again I invite the attention of the Senate to the fact that the very authorities whom Senator Pearce quotes take the ground from beneath his feet, figuratively speaking. Yet he seemed to draw some measure of comfort from them. Professor Harrison Moore said that -
An exercise of the taxation power occurs whenever a compulsory contribution of wealth is taken from a person, private or corporate, under authority of the public’s powers.
I invite attention to those words. But Senator ^Pearce twists that statement of Professor Harrison Moore’s into these words - that Professor Moore holds -
That the whole matter of the raising of money in any form by the Government is covered - by the word “ taxation.” Professor Harrison Moore never said anything of the kind. He was not so stupid as to say that the whole matter of raising money in any form is covered by the yord “ taxation.” What he did was to give a general definition of what taxation is. That is surely a widely different thing from saying that taxation means raising money in any way whatever. It is the very contrary. Professor Harrison Moore’s definition of taxation absolutely excludes the idea of profit. Before passing from this aspect of the case, I should like to refer to other authorities quoted by Senator Pearce. In Hansard, he is reported as having quoted Judge Cooley. Judge Cooley was writing with regard to the Constitution of the United States. The words upon which Senator Pearce relied, and which I shall briefly quote, were Judge Cooley’s comments upon the section of the American Constitution which corresponds with our own section. Judge Cooley said -
The import of the clause is that Congress shall have all the incidental and instrumental powers-
To secure peace, order, and .good government? Not a bit of it, but -
Congress shall have all the incidental and instrumental powers to carry into execution all the express powers.
It is a curious thing that Senator Pearce should have relied upon the authority of Judge Cooley, who expressed himself in such pellucid terms, showing clearly that we cannot strain the .Constitution in order to draw to ourselves powers which the Constitution does not convey. Senator Pearce relied upon that authority for saying that the simple words “ peace, order, and good government,” give the right to legislate outside the thirty-nine powers expressly conveyed - the very thing which Judge Cooley set himself to show could not constitutionally be done. Says the Judge -
It neither enlarges any powers specifically given -
Surely that is clear enough - nor is it a grant of any new power to Congress. But it is merely a declaration , for the removal of all uncertainty that the means for carrying into execution those otherwise granted powers are included in the grant.
That is an authority upon which I, as an opponent of Senator Pearce’s motion, could rely. But the honorable senator seeks to widen the powers of the Constitution by quoting an authority as diametrically opposed to his opinion as Judge Cooley is. The same fatalistic course was apparently driving the honorable senator when he selected another author to support him. He quoted from Mr. Ashley. Mr. Ashley says -
No one in our day denies that the United States Government has a right to supplement the powers expressly stated in the Constitution.
If that were all, the authority quoted would have, supported the honorable senator’s contention. But Mr. Ashley goes on to use the words -
By such means as are reasonable and wise -
To do what ? - to carry out those powers.
Not one jot or tittle is added or can be added to powers expressly conveyed. All that is meant by the term “ implied power,” is that Parliament has and must have, by implication, the power necessary to give effect to the powers specifically conveyed in section 51. I must again draw attention to the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.] It may be said that the fight is hopeless, as the Senate has made up its mind. I do not know, nor in one sense do I care, whether that is so or not; but I feel that in this matter, up to the last moment, it is my duty, and the duty of those who feel with me, to advance any argument which we think will influence a single vote with a view to prevent the Senate from making a. regrettable mistake. For that reason, I wish to refer honorable senators to the information conveyed to us. b” Senator Playford, when he indicated1 the opinion “iven by his then colleague the Attorney,-General, and by the AttorneyGeneral of the Ministry preceding. It could not be contended that the opinions of the gentlemen to whom he referred were prejudiced by political considerations, or that there was any party influence at work. I would not suggest that gentlemen occupying the position, of Attorney-General would allow themselves to be so influenced in giving their legal opinions. That considers- tion makes their view all the stronger. Moreover, it was given at a time when there was no possibility of their being ever unconsciously biased. And, further, any influence that might have affected Mr. Deakin would have induced him to regard the proposition favorably; because his opinion was given with regard to a proposal which appealed to his colleagues, namely, the Iron Bonus Bill. Not even the bitterest enemy of the Deakin Government could say with fairness and truth that it was other than a friend of that measure. I think it is a fair assumption, judging from its general policy, that the Barton Government was, if anything, inclined rather to favour the course outlined by Senator Pearce, not with regard to this particular, industry, but with regard to industries generally, than to oppose it. Now what did Mr. Deakin say ? I shall not go through the whole of the long letter which he wrote, but I desire to invite the attention of honorable senators to the two or three more pertinent sentences contained in it, because they seem to me to sum up the position so accurately, and yet so forcibly, that I venture to say that they will stand with us for all time as an admirable and unchallengable exposition of the powers which are ours by right, and also of the limitation placed upon those powers by the Constitution. Mr. Deakin’s letter was written to Mr. Kingston, and I remind honorable senators that Mr. Kingston was at the time acting as President of the Bonus Commission, and had written to Mr. Deakin, as Attorney-General, to know whether or not it was competent for the Federation to carry on an industry, such as the manufacfacture of iron. Of course, the proposition here is the manufacture of tobacco, but it will be obvious to anybody that whatever limitation there is with regard to the manufacture of iron must be a limitation or prohibition against the manufacture of any other article. Therefore, the principles laid down here apply with equal force and validity to the proposition now before the Senate. Mr. Deakin wrote -
Dear Mr. Kingston,
You ask for my opinion for the information of the Bonus Commission as to the powers, if any, of the Commonwealth to establish iron works. ‘
In my opinion no such power is included in the express gift of legislative power to the Federal Parliament.
The trade and commerce power, vast though it is, does not appear to extend to production and manufacture - which are not commerce!
I interrupt the quotation here, to say that Senator Pearce laid great stress on the trade and commerce sub-section. The honorable senator seemed to think that, under it, because the United States of America could build railways, we could manufacture tobacco. He quite overlooked the vast difference between trade and commerce and manufacture. Mr. Deakin points it out in the next line of his letter. He says -
Commerce only begins where production and manufacture end.
He quotes here a legal decision in the case of Kidd v. Pearson, a United States case; but, without referring to these ‘ authorities, honorable senators will recognise at once that crisp distinction drawn by Mr. Deakin.
– Is there not often exchange between production and final manufacture ?
– Undoubtedly, but that does not affect the principle. It is a curious thing that Senator Pearce, who made a great deal of research in this matter, and who went to Webster for a definition of “commerce,” did not also go to Webster for a definition of “ manufacture.” If the honorable senator had done so, he would have seen what Mr. Deakin so admirably points out, that, while the trade and commerce section carries us to the point of commerce, the commerce only begins where production and manufacture end.
– We can sell boots, but we cannot make them; is ‘that it?
– -That is commerce.
– It is commerce, but I am not saying that we have the right to sell boots. The whole of our powers are limited in this way : If the States had the right to sell boots before Federation was accomplished - and they had - then unless honorable senators can show that the power to make and sell boots or to make and sell articles, which the States might prior to Federation make and sell, has been conveyed by the Constitution to the Commonwealth, that power still rests with the States.
– Could we not make, boots for our own use?
– Possibly we could, just as we could make arms or ammunition for ourselves, as the power to do that is necessary to carry out the power with respect to defence expressly given to us under the Constitution.
– That power is not necessary, because we can buy those things.
– The honorable senator could not have caught what I said. I did not say that it was necessary -that we should make those articles.
– The honorable senator said that power was necessary to carry out the power with respect to defence given by the Constitution.
– I said that the power to make arms and ammunition is a necessary power co-incident with the power given with respect to defence.
– - -And I contend that it is not necessary, because we can- purchase those things.
– Does the honorable senator admit that, as a Commonwealth, we can manufacture arms or ammunition ?
– Yes, but at the present moment it is not necessary or expedient.
– I will leave it at that, if the honorable senator recognises that in certain circumstances it might become absolutely necessary for the Commonwealth to manufacture arms and ammunition.
– The power with respect to defence is given to, the Commonwealth exclusively.
– But not the power to manufacture firearms.
– Do I understand Senator Matheson to contend that the Federal Government have not the power to manufacture firearms ? >
– On the contrary, I contend that the power to manufacture firearms is identical with the power to manufacture tobacco.
– Will the honorable senator tell me under which of the thirty-nine articles in section 51 of the Constitution the power to manufacture tobacco, previously enjoyed by the States, has been transferred to the Commonwealth ?
– Will Senator Millen say which sub-section transfers to the Commonwealth the right to manufacture’ guns ?
– Are we not given power with respect to defence?
– Undoubtedly ; but tlie other power is not a necessary sequitur .
– Every decision in the United States shows that it is.
– That has nothing to do with us.
– Our Constitution is built on that of the United States.
– It is curious to have one honorable senator quoting from the United States Constitution, and supporting the contention with respect to decisions under that Constitution, and another honorable senator saying that the United States Constitution has nothing whatever to do with us. I am astonished to hear anyone who knows anything about the Constitution!, and -who must know (that its fundamental principles are identical with those underlying the Constitution of the United States, saying that decisions given in the United States as to the interpretation of the Constitution of that country have no bearing, or throw no light, on the working of our own. It is to me deplorable
– It is.
– I do not even except Senator Styles, who ought to know better. It is to me deplorable that honorable senators should ‘give expression to utterances of that kind, which, honestly speaking, I think they would1 scout in their sober moments. Mr. Deakin in his letter goes on to say . something -which, has a bearing on Senator Matheson’s interjection. I have no wish to quote the whole of the letter, but honorable senators will see the application this has to the point with which I am dealing. Mr. Deakin goes on to say -
The manufacture of iron may be incidental to the execution of many such powers, e.g., defence or the construction of railways. The Commonwealth might clearly undertake the manufacture of any goods for its own use ; and probably if it did so, and it were incidentally advantageous to the interests of the economical working of the undertaking that it should also manufacture for other consumers, such manufacture would also come within its implied powers. Except as above, it does not appear that any power to establish and conduct manufactures can be implied from the Constitution.
I say that these remarks of Mr. Deakin are going to stand side by side with the decisions of Judge Cooley and other eminent American authorities that I have quoted, for the benefit of those whose duty it will be later on to interpret the Constitution. These opinions are absolutely sound and absolutely clear, and they were given in circumstances which show that the author of them was free from any consideration due. to any party or public crisis, and was in a position to judge on the points submitted to him coolly and impartially, and entirely upon the wording of the Constitution itself. Mr. Deakin is not alone. We have another opinion from his successor as Attorney-General, a much shorter one, and so short that I may as well read it. He states -
You ask me - Has the Commonwealth power to establish the manufacture of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes, close all present establishments, and prevent private persons in future manufacturing of such articles.
This question appears to me to be governed, with the exception mentioned below, by the opinion given by Mr. Deakin on the 18th July, 1903, to Mr. Kingston, President of the Royal Commission on the Bonuses for Manufactures Bill in connexion with the establishment of iron works by the Commonwealth. The text of that opinion is printed at page 184 of the report of the Commission.
That is the opinion with which I have already dealt -
With that opinion I entirely agree. The only difference between the iron industry and the tobacco industry, so far as regards the principles there laid down, seems to be that it is not easy to conceive how the manufacture of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes can be incidental to the execution of any of the express legislative powers of the Commonwealth.
With regard to the manufacture of iron, I quoted the portion of Mr. Deakin’s opinion which gives, if any can give, a colouring to the contention of the supporters of this motion. I did that in all fairness, but this opinion of the later Attorney-General makes it quite clear that, while incidentally it might be held that the manufacture of iron was necessary to the proper exercise of the power with respect to defence conferred by the Constitution on the Commonwealth, it is not possible, by the hugest stretch of imagination, to suppose that the power to manufacture and sell cigars is necessary to the carrying out of any of the powers expressly conveyed to the Commonwealth under section 51.
– Who gave the last opinion which the honorable senator quoted1?
– It was given by Senator Drake, when Attorney-General, and it was given expressly in connexion with the original motion on this subject submitted by Senator Pearce. I stated just now that it was a great pity that Senator Pearce, when devoting so much time to hunting up authorities which suited his purpose, or which he thought did so, did not consult Webster’s Dictionary for a definition of the word , “ manufacture,” as well as of the. word “commerce.” I now draw attention to the distinction which -Mr.. Deakin made, in other words but with equal suggestiveness. It is interesting to compare Webster’s Dictionary interpretation with that of Mr. Deakin. Webster’s Dictionary, as quoted by Senator Pearce, defines “ trade “ as - “ Specifically : The act or business of exchanging commodities by barter, or by buying and selling for money; commerce; traffic; barter.” Webster’s definition of “ manufacture “ is - “ The operation of making wares, or any product by hand, by machinery, or by other agency.” Had Senator Pearce turned from “trade” and “commerce” to the word “ manufacture,” he would have seen at once that “ trade “ and “ commerce “ do not include the same subjects, or the same acts, that are covered by the word “ manufacture.” The honorable senator would have been able to understand more clearly tha.ni he now apparently does, what Mr. Deakin meant when he said - “ Commerce only begins when production and manufacture end.”
– The honorable senator surely does not agree with that?
– I must agree with the authorities which Senator Pearce quoted, and the definitions I give are those to be found in Webster’s Dictionary.
– Webster is dead.
– There are honorable senators here - iconoclasts in their way - who refuse to accept any authority - who tell us very candidly that, while they submit to reason, they will not bow the neck to mere authority. On occasions, however, when it suits, those honorablesenators appeal to authority ; and Senator Pearce, in this connexion, relies on Webster, though when I turn to the same authority, a colleague of Senator Pearce asks in other words- - “ Who pays any attention to Webster?” The authorities quoted by those honorable senators appear to be like nine pins- set up only to be knocked out as it suits the players. If the honorable senators are happy in that proceeding, I do not suppose it hurts Webster, and I very much doubt if it hurts even Mr. Deakin, who is not yet dead, and, I hope, will not be dead for very many years. Bearing on the sharp distinction set out by both Webster and Mr. Deakin between trade and commerce and manufacture, it is interesting to note that Webster gives a list of the synonyms of the word “ commerce.” ‘ The synonyms set out are “ trade, traffic, dealings, intercourse, interchange, communion, communication.” In no way is “ manufacture “ suggested as a synonym. I have looked into this matter as thoroughly and impartially as I can, and I feel bound tosay, I have not yet met a single argument which disposes of the contention supported by Webster, and the legal and other authorities quoted by Senator Pearce, that the trade and commerce section of our Constitution cannot be held to cover the manufacture, sale, and distribution of goods. I have already said that I am in sympathy with the first two clauses of the motion, with the slight alteration I have suggested. But I ask honorable senators, if they are at all impressed with my argument, whether they think there is reason in the assertion that the creation of a Commonwealth tobacco monopoly would be constitutional ? J. ask honorable senators to refrain from appointing a Select Committee to inquire into a matter concerning which we have no earthly business. To do so would be to proclaim to the Commonwealth that we know absolutely nothing of the provisions of the Constitution - would invite ridicule, and justly so, from any student of constitutional history, and bring down on us the just condemnation of the press.
– Especially of the freetrade press of Sydney.
– I do not know that the free-trade press of Sydney would con- demn the proposal more than would the journals which sometimes venture to kick the honorable senator, and at other times to pat him on the back. To me it is immaterial what the free-trade press says. What I am concerned about is whether my arguments are sound, or whether it can be shown that there is power to do what Senator Pearce desires. Even Senator Pearce expresses a doubt as to whether we have the constitutional power to create such a monopoly ; and when the author and father of this doubtful infant takes up that position surely it is time for honorable senators to call a halt, and to determine, before proceeding further, whether or not the contentions which I have advanced, as to the constitutionality of the proposal, are correct. For the present, I pass from the constitutional aspect of the question, with a view to saying a word or two as to the existence of the alleged monopoly.
– I thought the honorable senator was going to call a halt.
– When I have convinced a sufficient number of honorable senators of the error of their way, I may be justified in calling a halt. I propose now to deal briefly with the alleged existence of a monopoly and with the methods, operations, and possible effects of trusts on industry. Then I propose, to deal with the possibility of our controlling a monopoly by legislation, and to make a suggestion or two as to the means we should take for dealing with trusts in general. We may fairly take it that there is sufficient evidence to justify the assertion that a combination of some kind exists. Knowing what we do of the history of trusts and combines elsewhere, it is only sound common-sense and good public policy to take the earliest opportunity to study the growth of trusts in Australia in their very inception. It would be foolish to wait until trusts ‘ were thoroughly established before we inquired into their operations and ramifications. No doubt a combine of some sort exists, but that it is not so pernicious or injurious as represented by Senator Pearce, I am willing to believe. It is inconceivable, in these days when ideas travel so rapidly from one part of the world to another, that trusts should not seek to raise their heads in Australia. It is, therefore, desirable, though not merely with regard to thetobacco industry, that we should make ourselves familiar with the methods and machinery employed, in order that we may know what particular form of legislation is necessary to curb and regulate trusts.
– Has the honorable senator any authority to cite as to what power we have to control trusts ?
– I think that the section of the Constitution relating to trade and commerce gives us the power we require. A combination, if it exists for any purpose, exists, more or less, for the restriction of trade, and the power of the Federation to legislate for the removal of restriction is, I think, undoubted. I mistrust trusts and dislike monopolies as much as anybody does. I have been an opponent of monopolies all my life; at any rate, ever since I was old enough to understand what they meant. It is a matter of great pleasure to me to find that at last Senator Pearce is coming to my way of thinking in his abhorrence of monopolies, ft is not always, when one has been battling for years in opposition to a pernicious doctrine, thai one is cheered with the prospect of recruits from the other side. I hail with satisfaction the evident conversion of Senator Pearce, and, I presume, many of his followers.
– When did the honorable senator initiate a crusade against trusts ?
– I never claimed to initiate the crusade, and the honorable senator is quite mistaken.
– Then the honorable senator worked only’ in the ruck behind.
– If the honorable senator means that- 1 was only a member of the rank and file, he is perfectly right; I never claimed, like himself, to be a bom leader of men - into mischief. It is not just to the parties who may be concerned in the “combine,” or advantageous to the cause of those who seek for an inquiry into its operations, to overstate the case in any way. It might be useful for the purposes of platform work to draw a graphic picture of imaginary evils, but in a purely deliberative body like the Senate it weakens the case if statements are made without foundation. I wish to deal now with the question whether, if it was constitutionally possible for us to engage in this industry, it would be desirable to do so. I do not propose to go through the list of figures which Senator Pearce has presented, because in the first place it would be unprofitable, as their author admits that they are largely estimates. As they are estimates dealing with enormous operations, and made by one who, I do not think, will claim special opportunities for acquiring information, they are necessarily loose. I do not mean that the honorable senator has purposely put forward figures knowing them to be wrong, or doubting their accuracy. But I submit that it is utterly impossible for any one without special facilities for obtaining actual data to submit a balance-sheet, as Senator Pearce has attempted to do, which would be of any value in guiding the Senate to a decision. I wish to justify my act in challenging the figures by reference to one or two of them. If I can show, as I think I can, that the honorable senator has grievously erred in some particulars, it will justify my. invitation to the Senate to discard altogether the financial result which he worked out. First of all, let me take the percentage which he allows for the cost of distribution. The figures he put forward were, presumably, intended to show the cost of purchase and manufacture of the article, assuming it to be a State monopoly, and the profit to the Commonwealth after disposing of the product. Senator Pearce allowed 15 per cent, for the cost of distribution, but. I venture to say that the cost of distributing tobacco, sold ultimately, as it is, in small parcels, approaches more nearly ‘to 35 than to 15 per cent. That may seem a somewhat startling statement, but I shall attempt to justify it. I do not claim any more than Senator Pearce claims, to have any special channels of information, but I base that statement on an experience which is common to myself, and probably to manyhonorable senators. Frequently, not only for myself, but for a property to which I send rations and supplies three or four times a year, I purchase “Capstan” tobacco at 6s. and 6s. 6d. per lb. from the merchants. The retail price in the shops is 8s. a lb., or 6d. an oz. Discarding the 6s. tobacco, let me take the 6s. 6d. tobacco, and compare it with the 8s. tobacco. What the merchant sells at 6s. 6d., the retailer vends at 8s., so that the retailer charges 22J per cent, on the’ wholesale price. But the merchant does not handle the tobacco for nothing. If he purchases, as he does, from the manufacturer, he gets a profit in some way or other. The usual rule, I believe, is to sell at a set price, allowing a rebate. I estimate that in this case the price to the merchant is the price at which he sells, that is, 6s. 6d. a lb., minus ai discount. What that discount is I have no means of knowing, but I do not think that the merchants of Australia operate on a less turnover in these matters than 5 per cent. The 22 £ per cent, which is added to the merchant’s price, and which is 50 per cent, more than Senator Pearce’s estimate, is only the first item in the real cost of distribution. To ‘that percentage I add my estimate of 5 per cent, for the merchant’s profit, bringing the cost of distribution up to 2 7 J per cent. But before it reaches the merchant there is an expenditure which has to come under the head of distribution, and that is the cost Of freights. Made anywhere you like, the great bulk . of tobacco, or any other manufactured article, has to pay for carriage by road, or by railway, or by water, probably all three, before it reaches the final point of distribution. It is impossible to estimate what the cost of carriage is, but it is one which honorable senators will see must considerably load the cost of distribution. I do not pretend to know what it is but there it is. To the 271 I mentioned has to be added railway freights, plus bad debts and advertisements. When these factors are brought together, it will be found that the cost! of distribution, instead of being 15 .per cent., will approach very nearly ‘to 35 or 40 per cent. I mention that fact to show the unreliability o.f the figures, which, no doubt in all good faith, Senator Pearce has submitted. It will be seen at once that- if his estimate of the enormous profit which the Federation is to make out of the monopoly - ,£2,000,000 - is built up in the same loose way, it will be a very dangerous one for the Senate to accept. Let us take another set of figures. He spoke of the profits from the industry as being £2,000,000. Senator Playford very shrewdly discounted that statement by quoting the evidence given by an expert in the business, who prepared a statement for presentation to the Victorian Committee on the monopoly in the manufacture of tobacco. The very fact that the State Parliament did appoint a Committee to consider that question confirms all I said as to the power to manufacture tobacco being a State right. I would ask any one who is genuinely desirous of arriving at the kernel of this matter to study the report of that Committee, and the evidence, particularly that which was- given by Mr. Bruford. He showed that the selling-price in Victoria was 4s. 7d. for the best, and 3s. 6d. for the lower-grade tobacco. Let us compare those figures with Senator Pearce’s average selling-price df -6s.’ per lb., the price on which he built up the profit of £2,000,000.
– That expert was altogether wrong, because I have bought tobacco in every capital in Australia, and I have never got the best tobacco at 4s. 7d. a lb., or anything like that sum.
– The honorable senator overlooks the fact that he buys his tobacco in a retail store.
– But the honorable senator mentioned a case just now where he paid 6s. 6d. a lb.
– Yes. For the tobacco I smoke I pay 8s. a lb., but for every lb. of the kind I smoke. I send away 20 lbs. for which I pay 4s. 3d. or 4s. 6d. a lb.
– The honorable senator said just now that he paid 6s, 6d. a lb.
– Does the honorable senator insinuate that I told an untruth?
– No; I wished to point out the inconsistency of the honorable senator.
– I can buy Welcome Nugget tobacco from any merchant in Sydney at 6s. a lb., and the honorable senator knows what he pays for that tobacco in a store - 6d. an oz. The honorable senator has built up his estimate of profit by taking the selling-price at 6s. a lb., and/ the cost of distribution at 15 per cent. But Mr. Bruford estimated that the profit to Victoria- would have been £55,000 a year. Senator Playford showed that that was equivalent to a profit of £200,000 for the whole Commonwealth, or just one-tenth of Senator Pearce’s estimate. In view of two or three figures I have given, I am absolutely justified in saying that not only is there nothing in his figures to suggest that we should accept them for our guidance, but we ought to regard them as suspicious, not because of any want of good faith on his part, but because they have been compiled loosely on what can only be described as largely guesses. The honorable senator made another error, and for this one I can find less excuse. He said that France made a profit of £15,000,000 a year out of this business, but at almost the same moment he stated that the population of France was 40,000,000, that the consumption was 2 lbs. of tobacco per head, or 80,000,000 lbs. per year, that the cost of manufacture was od. a lb., and the selling price 3s. iod. a lb., leaving1 France a profit of 3s. id. If honorable senators will take the trouble to work out these figures they will see the error into which Senator Pearce has fallen.
– All of which figures, the honorable senator might say, were taken from the report of the very Committee which he has been quoting.
– I accept the figures, but I wish to show where the honorable senator’s mistake occurred.
– They were not the only figures as to France that I quoted.
– I cannot deal with them all at once.
– I thought that the honorable senator did not intend to quote the others?
– The figures which the honorable senator gave only required checking to prove that one set or the other must be wrong. It is the duty of every honorable senator who intends to quote figures here to take the trouble to work them out, and see that they are correct. But the honorable senator has affirmed that (France makes a profit of £15,000,000 a year out of this business. Had he worked out the figures on the basis of 40,000,000 of people consuming 80,000,000 lbs. of tobacco per anuum, sold at the rate of 3s. iod. a lb., and upon which France makes a profit of 3s. id., he would have found that instead of the profit being £15, 000,000, it was £13,000,000.
– Does the honorable senator know that, as a matter of fact, £15,000,000 is the sum which is usually obtained ?
– The figures contradict the assertion.
– Will the honorable senator say that France does not make a profit of £15,000,000?
– She does not. The figures which I have taken from the official journal show that France has not made that profit.
– Does the honorable senator deny that that is the average?
– Yes, I do.
– What’ was the profit made in France last year?
– I think I can tell the honorable senator.
– How much does England make from Customs and Excise on tobacco ?
– She only makes £10,000,000 a year.
– That is another inaccuracy. The official figures show that Great Britain, in 1901, obtained a revenue from tobacco of £12,813,578. In 1903^ the revenue was £12,451,000, and in 1904, the last year for which I have official figures, the revenue was £12,627,000.
– The honorable senator will admit that there was a war tax in those years.
– The honorable senator jumps about all over the place. He now says that there Was a war tax.
– I took the average.
– Which merely proves that you can, by adjustment, get, through Customs and Excise, from tobacco, nearly as much as the profit which France makes, in proportion to population. But what I wish to point out is this: The honorable senator put before the Senate a statement that France made a profit of £15,000,000, and that England’ obtained a revenue of £10,000,000. What is the position? I have shown, from the figures, that France does not make £15,000,000, and that England makes more than £10,000,000.
– France received £16,000,000 last year.
– The official figures for last year, 1904, were a trifle over £13,000,000.
– That is not correct. The amount was £16,000,000 last year.
– I wal undertake to produce the official statement of the returns for the year 1904. But I come back to the point - why did not the honorable senator check his figures and’ ascertain where the error was?
– Did the honorable senator check Mr. Bruford’s figures?
– There was nothing to check. I have simply taken his estimates.
– Did the honorable senator check his figures as to the retail price ?
– No, because they come within my own knowledge.
– He gave them because it suited his case.
– The whole of the case of the honorable senator reeked with picked information. He even tried to twist and turn the constitutional authorities. In dealing with these figures, I have perhaps been led into, the display of a little temporary warmth, but I can appeal to the Senate as to whether I did not approach the subject in all coolness and1 moderation, with a desire to ascertain how far the figures might be taken as an indication of whether or not the nationalization of the tobacco industry would be profitable. It is in that spirit that I shall continue the inquiry. Looking into this matter, quite apart from its effect upon the revenue of the country, it is not at all unreasonable to ask how it will affect both the people who manufacture tobacco and those who consume it. When Senator Pearce referred to the enormous profits made by France, it would only . have been reasonable to tell us something about the Wages paid. The cost of the tobacco, he has told us, is 9d. per lb. It is sold at 3s. iod. per lb. I ask honorable senators to bear those figures in mind. The explanation is the rate of wages paid to the employes In the State factories. France, in 1902, employed 14,942 women, and the average wage was 3s. 3~d. a day of ten hours. In the same year that she employed nearly 15,000 women she employed 1,746 men.
– I suppose the honorable senator is aware that I took into consideration the difference in wages?
– I think the honorable senator made an ample allowance. But when the big profit made by France is pointed out, it is only reasonable to recognise the low wages paid which enable her to obtain such a return.
– If France paid reasonable wages it would probably bring the profit down lower than the amount which England gets from tobacco through Customs and Excise.
– It would bring it down to considerably less.
– I allowed a considerably larger amount for the cost of manufacture than the actual cost in France.
– I know the honorable senator did. I do not know whether there is anything in the figures as to the persons employed1 in (France which [will appeal to the Senate. We quite recognise that in the altered conditions of society, female labour is becoming, more general. Not only is that so- because the conditions of society demand it, but also to a large extent because women themselves are seeking for opportunities in business to a greater extent than they did a few years ago. But, at the same time, I am not at all keen to see established, especially under the authority of Parliament, industries which in another country are employing 15,000 women to fewer than 2,000 men. In Austria the position is even worse. ‘ In the year 1902, Austria employed 36,000 females at the munificent wage of 10s. per week -of fiftytwo hours. She employed at the same time 4,377 men. That is, she employed one man to nine women. The men were employed at wages of ns. 2d. a week of fifty-two hours. These figures are exclusive of boys and girls who, in the official statistics, are grouped under the head of apprentices. When we are invited to consider the profit which Austria makes as the result of the State ownership of. the tobacco monopoly , it is not only fair, but essential, .to bear in mind that she is making those profits as a result of the labour of 36,000 women at 10s. a week, and of 4,377 men who receive lis. 2d. per week of fifty-two hours. It is easy to make profits when men and women are employed on terms of that kind. Now, I wish to summarize what I have just said by asking this question: Who is to benefit from the nationalization of the to,bacco industry ? It is not at all clear that the revenue would benefit. The difference between the sum which England receives from taxation on tobacco through the Customs, and the revenue which France collects, is not, after all, very large. It may. be that France does receive considerably more than England, but that is not material. What we have to consider is -this : That it would be competent for England, as it is for us, to raise additional revenue through, the Customs from tobacco if we wished to do so. Further, there is this aspect of the question to consider. Is it conceivable that if an industry of this kind were in national, hands we should make the enormous profit that Senator Pearce predicts? Is it at all reasonable to suppose that the employes, would refrain from asking for the highest wages that we could possibly pay them? One of the main arguments of our Socialist friends is that a nation ought not to carry on business for profit, but for use. The very purpose of the nationalization of the industry is that the workmen may have better conditions and better pay, and that the consumer may get a better and a cheaper article
– The workmen would want to divide all the profits between them.
-.- I think I shall be able to show that they would get all the profits. It is inevitable that if this industry is nationalized the large body of public servants employed in it would naturally present demands for more liberality in their remuneration. That would be the first inroad made upon the profits. And when we consider the small difference between the revenue from the industry and the profits derived from it in England and France, respectively, it is hot an unfair assertion that’ Australia, from the mere stand-point’ of revenue, may serve her needs with greater’ safety and more elasticity - certainly with more certainty - -by means of Customs and Excise duties, than she could ever hope to’ do by becoming a manufacturer and distributor of tobacco. The next point to consider is whether the employes would benefit - whether their conditions, under a State/ monopoly, would be better than they are today. I have shown that their position in France and Austria is not enviable. It is quite evident then that the mere nationalization of an industry will not of itself secure reasonable remuneration for the employes in that industry. If it is sought to nationalize this industry in the interest of the employes, I point out that their interest can be conserved very much better, and without jeopardizing the interest of the consumer, by means of wages boards and arbitration courts. It is not very long since the members of the party advocating this proposal for the nationalization of the tobacco industry were advocating wages boards and Arbitration Acts. Before these measures have been in operation sufficiently long to enable us to say by experience what their ultimate effect is to be, we find an absolute attempt made to get away from them. I say that if the members of this party had the faith in those measures which they professed when they advocated that they should be placed on the statute-book, they should admit that the position of the employes in this industry, under private employment, is or can be sufficiently safeguarded. Now as to _the third party to the contract, the consumer. Here I compliment Senator Pearce on his charming candour. The honorable senator makes no pretence with respect to the fact that he does not intend any benefit to the consumer. He says -
I have no objection to people paying a high price for tobacco and cigars.
One does not need to be informed whether the person who makes such an observation is a smoker. No one who does smoke would view this phase of the question as one to be so easily disposed of. It is pleasant to know that the author of this proposal does not contemplate the slightest reduction in the price of tobacco to smokers. It is not the honorable senator’s intention that they should get any benefit from the nationalization of this industry. Not only is there the sentence I have quoted to prove Senator Pearce’s mind on this matter, but in the figures to which I have made reference the honorable senator proceeds on the assumption that, under a Federal monopoly of the industry, the consumer will pay 6s. per lb., which is exactly the price which he admits the consumer has to pay to-day. It is quite clear that Senator Pearce does not contemplate that the consumer is to get any benefit from this transfer of the business from private to public hands. It is also obvious that if he did contemplate any reduction in price as the result of giving effect to this proposal, he would have to lower his estimates, based on 6s. per lb. as the selling value, and his estimate of profit from the industry would be correspondingly reduced. It is as well that the great body of the people of this country who do smoke should quite understand that the whole of the benefits of this industry, when nationalized, are to be devoted, not to the revenue, or only partially to the revenue, and certainly not to the consumer. There is only one other channel, then, into which they can go. I’ am not at this stage quarrelling with or wishing to discuss the propriety of diverting the benefits of this industry into any particular channel, but I merely wish to point it out and emphasize it. An additional light; however, is thrown on the subject of the nationalization of industries by the proposal that is here made, because it will be seen that the first effort we’ have made to socialize an industry is introduced with a statement that it is not intended that the consumer shall get any benefit from the change.
– How many qualities of tobacco will he have to choose from ?
– There would be no quality, but I will come to that point directly.
– There is not much quality in France or in Italy.
– I have pointed out that the consumer is not to get any benefit, and the benefit to the State is doubtful. I should like here to make a short quotation to show what Mr. Bruford has to sayon this point -
Under these circumstances it would be necessary to administer the tobacco monopoly in the interests of growers and makers.
A literal confirmation of the words I have been using.
In the hands of the Slate the administration could, without doubt, encourage local manufacture and culture. There is but one source from which to derive money, namely, the tax on the consumer, but the amount drawn can, according to the policy of the State in fixing prices for the sale of tobacco and the purchase of the leaf,, be applied either to the assistance of the grower, to the State employes, or to the revenue -, or it can be reduced in the interests of the consumer, or increased within certain limits to his detriment.
I think that is a very clear exposition- of the case. He says that there is only outsource from which we can obtain money to carry oh the industry, and that is the consumer. Senator Pearce says that the consumer is not to get- any benefit, and, there- fore, so far as he is concerned, he would still have to pay a price which the honorable senator has spoken of as being excessive. The benefit is apparently to be divided between the State on the one hand, and the employes on the other. The honorable senator, of course, may contend, that the consumer is not at all injured, provided the price is not raised^ and that, so long as he is charged no more than the price which he is charged to-day, he will have no cause to complain. I wish to direct the attention of the honorable senator to an interjection made during the recent debate. Senator Playford had been urging with regard to the combine that it had not raised the price, and, therefore, had not so far proved injurious to the consumer, when Senator McGregor interjected -
It might be injurious also if the price is not reduced as much as it ought to Ee.
If the existence of the combine is injurious because the price is not reduced as much as the circumstances of the trade will permit, surely that argument is equally potent when applied to the manufacturer of the article in the hands of the State? Whilst it might be admitted that Senator Pearce does not propose that more than 6s. per lb. should be charged for tobacco, I venture to say that, in the absence of any alteration of the Tariff, sooner or later, the consumer will be able to get tobacco at a lower price than that which now obtains, but under State control of the industry it is impossible that he can do so. In connexion with an interjection which Senator Pearce made just now as to the cost of tobacco and so on, I should like to point out that Mr. Bruford says -
The tobacco would therefore have to be sold to retailers at something over twice its cost price to realize the present revenue of ^’250,000 per year-
This has reference to a statement I made just now when questioning Senator Pearce’s estimate of £2,000,000. I wish to turn now to the effect which State control of the industry might have on the- growth of -tobacco. I admit at once that it’ is difficult’ “to dogmatize on this question, as the ‘growth of tobacco in Australia is not only surrounded with uncertainty as to its results, but with a great deal of contradiction in the statements made, and the experience of different individuals. Even in this debate we have had varying statements made - on the one hand that the grower of tobacco, owing to the action of the combine, can only get the miserable pittance of 4d. per lb. for his leaf ; whilst on the same page of Hansard I find that another honorable senator interjected that he know of colonial tobacco being sold in London at 2s. per lb. Any one coming here without any knowledge enabling him to reconcile these statements, would be absolutely puzzled. If the combine is here, and is enabled by its operations to force growers of tobacco to accept less than the market value, and to beat them down to 4d. per lb. for a superior article, why is it that the people who can get 2s. per lb. in London are not also beaten down?
– Was that the price for Australian leaf in London?
– I cannot say, but the interjection came from Senator de Largie, who stated that he knew of Australian tobacco being sold in London at 2s. per lb. It appears to me that it is idle to blame the combine in this matter. That, like all other business concerns, they have a keen eye to the main chance, I am quite prepared to believe. The one fact that stands out with more prominence than anything else, in a matter of this kind, is that we need not believe that tobacco manufacturers are philanthropists. I believe that they view every turn they take solely in the light of the entries in their bank passbook. That being so, we are confronted with the position that on every pound of colonial tobacco which they purchase, they can make the difference between the Excise duty on the local article and the Customs duty on the imported article. That amounts to is. 6d. per lb., and I decline to believe that the combine would wilfully throw away the advantage to them of is. 6d. per lb. if the local article offered to them reasonably met their requirements. It is quite evident that the)’ cannot import tobacco leaf from America at 4d. per lb. - the price which we are told they pay for the local article. If, therefore, they have to pay a much higher price- -and I think I am probably safe in saying that the cost of the imported leaf averages from 8d. to iod. per lb. - and they can buy local leaf at 4d. per lb., it is obvious that they will make from 4d. to 6d. per lb. on every pound of colonial leaf they can work into their manufactured tobacco. The fact that they do not work in more local leaf is, to my mind, sufficient evidence that the locallygrown article lacks quality. That, I venture to say, is the experience of any one who has any knowledge of smoking. Whether we can lift the tobacco-growing industry on to- a- better footing or not, I hesitate to express an opinion. I hope it can be done; We have already sufficient knowledge that ‘in limited areas in Australia we can grow excellent tobacco leaf, but whether, in view of the peculiar climatic conditions and the uncertainty of the seasons, Australia will ever become an extensive grower of tobacco, is a matter on which I hesitate, as I believe other honorable senators will do, to arrive at any; final conclusion. We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that very many systematic and strenuous efforts, supported by considerable sums of capital, have been made to grow tobacco leaf in Australia, and so far, I regret to say, that no tangible result has been achieved by the expenditure to which I have referred. I have pointed out that Senator Pearce is prepared to accept my suggestion, that it is advisable to extend the scope of the proposed inquiry to cover the growth of tobacco. If this Select Committee has any useful work at all to perform, I venture to say it will be in the direction of throwing some light on the conditions under which tobacco is grown, and in endeavouring to arrive at some evidence from practical and impartial persons as to the steps which ought to be taken to improve the condition of the growers. New South Wales, and I believe also Queensland, have employed experts from America. These experts have gone amongst the tobacco-growers and endeavoured to teach them to improve their modes of cultivation, but, lip to date, the results aTe disappointing. It may be that the Committee, extending its investigations over more than one State, may discover the source of the trouble, and be enabled, as a result, to indicate a remedy. But one of the dangers of monopolizing the manufacture of tobacco, while we are, at the same time, endeavouring to encourage the growth of the leaf, is that, possibly, interests will come into conflict - that the interests of the growers and the interests of the State tobacco manufacturer may not tally. We should then be in the position that a claim could be made on the Government, in the interests of the growers, to receive tobacco held to be inferior, and thus, instead of inspiring the grower to produce a superior article, the latter would be induced to rest content with an inferior product, in the certain knowledge that the only buyer would be obliged to take it. Hon orable senators must see that, at the present time, under the. financial sections of the Constitution, we must, until 1911, return to the States a .specified, proportion of revenue. But for that proposal, a very large proportion of the revenue of the States would be absolutely at the disposal of the Commonwealth, and the States would be short -to that extent. I do not mean fo say that this, in itself, represents an insurmountable difficulty, but it is one of the problems associated with the transfer of the industry from private hands to public hands at the present juncture. If ever the system be adopted - and I do not think that likely, in view of the constitutional difficulties - it would be extremely undesirable, and unfair to the States, if any effort were made to effect the change until at least the financial relationships between the States and the Federation have been put on a clearer and more permanent basis. I now pass to a question of which we have heard a great deal lately, namely, the operations, of this alleged combine. Before doing so, however, I should like to point out that the motion leaves me in some little doubt as to whether or not, in any proposal to transfer the industry to the Commonwealth, importation, will be allowed to continue. If importation is allowed, further complications mayarise with regard to the growers. There will always be a conflict between, on the one hand, consumers who wish for particular brands of tobacco and cigars, and, on the other hand, the ^growers, who wish to sell their increased crops every year to the national factory. At the present time, there is no difficulty, because the manufacturer and the merchant look after the requirements of their customers. If we have a national monopoly, I can quite conceive that the growing claim of the growers to have their increased products taken by the Government will sooner or later come into collision with the strong demand of consumers for certain brands of tobacco. When that takes place, all I can say, as one of the great army of consumers, is that I am afraid the consumers will suffer. A popular cry will -be raised in this connexion; and, as probably a large number of people will be induced to go into the industry, there will be.no market but the national factory for the crops. The grower will then say to the Government, “ You have shut out all other people, and you are the only buyer ; and the least you can do is to take the product, irrespective of the fact whether the crop be great or small.” Under such circumstances, is it reasonable to suppose that the national factory, with enormous stocks, is likely to look very kindly on any project for importation ? If this industry is once nationalized, it” will simply mean that Australians will have to limit themselves to locally-grown tobacco; and those who have acquired a taste for other, and, I think, better brands, will be placed in the position of having to take the Government tobacco or give up the habit.
– Does the honorable senator not think that if tobacco were grown in large quantities, the quality would be much improved?
– I should hope it would, but I must say that so far as I can see there is something wanting in our climate, or our soil,, or in the aptitude of our people for this particular cultivation.
– In Victoria the curing, and not the growing, has- been the difficulty.
– I include the curing in the growing, and I believe that the former is the weak spot. Curing is a process which apparently requires a lot of close attention, to detail, and I suppose that, if the average Australian has one fault more than another, it is that he generally goes on the principle, “ It is near enough.” That principle does not do in the tobacco industry, which requires very close attention at all stages of the curing process.
– Has that sort of thing not’ Deen said about other industries - the sugar industry for example?
– I do not know any industry in Australia which has been so long under experiment, and .which has developed so little without being utterly abandoned. We have had industries started, which, after a few years, have been abandoned ; and that might be taken as an indication of their unsuitability to the country. The tobacco industry,- however, has neither advanced nor failed, and that would seem to suggest that it is capable of improvement, because if the country had been absolutely unsuitable, the industry would,* have died; long ago. The fact that the industry has not gone ahead, with the liberal, difference between the import duty and- the excise, suggests that there is something wrong, and that we have not yet put, our ‘hand exactly on the weak spot.. As, to ;*he sort of tobacco which would be turned out by the national factory, I ask honorable senators to consider the quality of tobacco which is smoked in France. I know that some ‘honorable senators will say that this tobacco must, at any rate, be good, or the people of that country would not have put up with it for so long. In my youthful days I lived on the coast of Kent, immediately opposite France, and one of the recreations of the boys there, who absented themselvesfrom school without leave, or were not otherwise engaged, in those exercises of which you, sir, no doubt have a lively recollection, was to run with local boatmen across to the French coast. Not once, but frequently have I seen those boatmen haul alongside any home-going vessel from abroad, and obtain, tobacco, whereas they used to go to the ports of France, and never think of taking a pound back to England. There was ample opportunity to smuggle French tobacco, but it was never thought worth while. I was not at that time of sufficient age to speak of the merits of the tobacco; and I merely relate my experience many years ago as a boy. That experience is borne out by every one who has written on the subject, except the officials of France, who themselves control the industry, and’ whom I can hardly accept as unprejudiced witnesses. I should like to quote an article which I think will be accepted as an authority on the general opinion of the quality of French tobacco. This is a statement of Mr. W. A. Penn, published in 1901, as follows : -
Cigarette factories are situated at Paris, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Mortaix, Nancy, Tantes, and Toulon. The tobacco, which has been aptly described as consisting of scorched linen flavoured with assafoetida and glue, is very coarsely cut,, more so than for the pipe of England, and is. very dark. The resultant cigarette is indescribably horrible. English smokers fail to recogniseit as tobacco. Yet of these cigarettes Francesmokes some 300,000 millions a year; in any form, but that of the cigarette it would be intolerable. An Englishman will face unmoved the armies of France or the howlings of her mobs, but from the cigarette he flies apace. In the Paris Figaro, a year ago, “ Nestor “” recounted his success with this horrible weapon. “ There are still too many Englishmen in Monte Carlo. Still, during my trip I had the pleasure of making one old Englishman’s life a misery to him by smoking him out, with my strong French cigarettes, from therailway compartment in which he sat with me. He left the carriage half asphyxiated at Lyons, and I felt that Fashoda was, at any rate, partially avenged. Childish, no doubt, but onemust do’ what one can.” Childish it was not, must certainly; France has no more terrible weapon than her cigarette.
This account, of course, is more or less humorous.
– It was “ sheep- wash “ he was smoking.
– That is all the people get in France.
Seantor Styles. - We should not be content with that.
– But what I have read is an indication that when there is a big Government monopoly, and an impossibility on the part of trie people to obtain their supplies elsewhere, there is removed the incentive which does tend in private hands to keep up quality to a reasonable level. In a paper called the Traveller, another writer states -
As is well known, the products of the State monopoly of France, With the exception of its higher priced cigarettes and smoking tobaccoes, are hopelessly inferior. French cigars of domestic manufacture are the worst in Europe - those of Italy alone excepted. The truth appears to be that tobacco manufacture in France has gotten into a rut, and there is not a man in the Republic who is strong enough to pull it out. For so rich a country as France, its State monopoly in tobacco is but a poor revenue producer.
I could multiply quotations of the kind, but I think I have read enough to convince honorable senators that whatever may be said of the national monopoly in Franca from the stand-point of revenue, it is, at any rate, not satisfactory to the consumer. Of course, it may be asked why the French people do not uproot the system, and. allow private enterprise to have its way. But the same difficulty confronts the French people which confronts us, when it is proposed to establish a State! industry in Australia. One of the big restraining influences is the recognition of the fact that there are vested interests; and, as the abandonment of an industry of the kind by the State would estrange a great many people, the French Government hesitate to destroy the monopoly. It must be remembered that there are an enormous number of electors in France concerned in the maintenance of the industry. Every man who wishes to retail tobacco there has to obtain a licence, and each one, to” some extent, becomes an upholder of the system. It is true that he may be only an individual, but he is a little centre of influence, which works for the maintenance of the present state of affairs. Apart from that, one can quite understand the French Government shrinking from parting with a business which produces such a large portion of the revenue. A stock argument used in the House of Commons, in regard to’ the duty on beer, is that, whatever may be the moral aspect of the tax, the Treasurer cannot afford to give it up. The Treasurer of France might reasonably shrink from a change which might ultimately work out, but which for a few years Would probably dislocate its finances. When a motion, corresponding to this one, was being discussed elsewhere, the question was asked, “ Is not the Senate the special guardian of States rights “ ? and the reply made was “ Yes, and pays about as much attention to them as does the honorable member.” It has been the invariable practice here for the President to check any remarks derogatory to the other Chamber ; and one might have hoped that that House would have followed so excellent an example. A little while ago, I touched on what I regard as the overstating of the case against this combination. It is affirmed that the combination has absolute control of the retail traders, that it binds them to prices at which they are to sell, that it has stipulations and conditions which practically make them, as it were, its bond slaves. I venture to say that there is not one word of truth in thai affirmation. What the combination does is only what is being, done by every large mercantile firm the world over. It has been Said that the retailers affirm that thev are not at liberty to lower their prices. That is perfectly true. But when it is looked into, as I believe it will be by the Select Committee, it will be found that the arrangement by which retailers have fixed certain prices is one arrived at by their union. The combination simply sends out its trade lists and binds merchants, to whom it principally sells, not to undersell it with the retailers. All the evidence I can collect is clear on this point, that the combination has never sought to control the retail selling price. If that be a fact, it is regretable that contrary statements should be made, which- can only tend to inflame the passions of persons who may not view the matter as coolly as do the members of the Senate. I think I may reasonably conclude my remarks now. I have pointed out that this proposal is, in my opinion, an absolute violation of the Constitution ; and that even if it were constitutional it is undesirable that the Federation should enter upon an industry of this kind. I have endeavoured to show that, from the revenue stand-point, it would not be so materially advantageous as Senator
Pearce has represented, that the cost of distribution would be higher, and the amount of profit lower than he set out, and that the consumer could hope for no relief or benefit from the proposed monopoly. 1 have indicated where I think some advantage might result from an inquiry, and that is to the grower, and to him alone. But when I boil down my objections, all centred, as they are, in the final paragraph of the motion, I find myself in this position : That I would sooner lose the whole of the motion than accept it in its present form. I hardly suppose that Senator Pearce is prepared to strike out that paragraph ; if he is, I shall vote with him entirely ; but if he is not I can only vote against him, holding, as I do, that apart from its utterly unconstitutional character, it is a very pernicious proposal indeed. It is - and probably that is one of the reasons why it is made - the first direct socialistic proposal that we have had here. It is well that that fact should be emphasized and recorded. We have been told that the Labour Party is sometimes a party of Socialism, and sometimes not.’ I hardly know what it pretends to be. But here we have put forward, with the support of its members, a proposal which I submit is the first attempt to nationalize an industry of the Commonwealth. We have here a concrete illustration of what is proposed to be done should the electors give the Labour Party the power to carry it out - the nationalization of the tobacco industry ; and not far down on the noticepaper is a proposal for nationalizing another industry. I shall vote against the motion, not only for the particular objections I have to this specific proposal, but because, in my opinion, it is the first attempt to, by the introduction of State enterprise, utterly abolish that which has so far built up this community to what it is, and that is private enterprise. I understand, sir) that it is not necessary to move an amendment for the elimination of the third paragraph.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- No.
– I desire to state that I am willing to amend paragraph 2 by inserting after the word “ industry “ the words “ and the cultivation of tobacco, “ and also to amend the last line of the motion by substituting the “ 1.2th October “ for “9th August.”
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Does any other honorable senator wish to speak ?
– The leader’ qf the Senate !
– I thought I spoke sufficiently long oh this subject on a previous occasion, and my views have been very freely quoted to-day by Senator Millen. The Government treat this question as an open one.
– The point is, do the Government treat the motion as a constitutional or as a grossly illegal one?
– The question is not whether the motion is a grossly illegal one.
– That is the only question.
– My opinion is that it would be unconstitutional for the Commonwealth to establish this industry. I have spoken and voted in that direction before. My honorable and learned colleague voted in a contrary direction on that occasion. We do not look upon this as a party question at all, and we shall vote in the same way again. It is a proposal for an inquiry to ascertain the facts and collect information, and not a proposal to establish a tobacco monopoly.
– Is the Minister going to vote for paragraph 3 ?
– I certainly shall not vote for that paragraph if the motion is put in parts. I shall vote against that paragraph, but not against the other two, which merely relate to an inquiry. The third paragraph, if I recollect aright, is not in the form in which it was originally. At that time Senator Pearce embodied in his motion a proposal to provide funds for old-age pensions, but the present proposal has, I think, been toned down very considerably. I have not compared the two motions. I argued the point on the first occasion. Senator Millen has quoted mv opinions on the subject very fully, and I fancy they are very well known. I look upon the proposal as absolutely unconstitutional. An alteration of the Constitution would be necessary before the Commonwealth could establish an industry of this sort. Whether the proposal is one to establish an industry for the manufacture of iron, or one for the manufacture of tobacco and cigars, I contend that it is absolutely unconstitutional, and therefore I shall be prepared to vote against any motion which would assert the contrary opinion. We know the opinion of the Prime Minister, and Senator Millen, in his most excellent spee”h, hAS nut the constitutional question beyond all cavil. Even if we struck out the third paragraph of the motion, we could not prevent the Select Committee from expressing an opinion as to whether a monopoly they might find to be injurious to the public as a whole had better be taken over by the Commonwealth, or whether other means should be adopted to prevent the public from being prejudiced. I was a member of the previous Select Committee, and the evidence went unmistakably to show that there was no “combine” which was injuriously affecting the consumer. There was in existence a combination, but the evidence did not show that it was of such a character that the consumer was in anyway injuriously affected by its operations.
– If we had an inquiry, and it showed that it was advisable for the Government to take over the industry, we might obtain the constitutional power to do so.
– That power can only be obtained by an amendment of the Constitution.
– That might be shown to be very desirable by the new facts elicited.
– If it were proved that the consumers were being injured by the monopoly, the Select Committee might report that, in its opinion, the best way to cure the evil would be for the Commonwealth to take over he manufacture of the article. But I do not wish by my vote to affirm -
The advisability or otherwise of the Government taking over the industry of such manufacture, importation, and sale, or any part thereof.
– I intend to vote for all the paragraphs of the motion. I listened with very great surprise to those who take exception to the third paragraph, and yet are prepared to swallow the previous two. The motion simply proposes that a Select Committee should make inquiries. I fail to find in the Constitution anything which would justify, on the face of it, the Commonwealth interfering in the matter of trusts. Senator Millen seemed to find some difference between the powers of the Constitution when he dealt with trusts and the powers of the Constitution when he dealt with manufactures. But I fail to see any difference in the position in which the Commonwealth stands under’ the Constitution in respect of those two matter:-. I find nothing in the Constitution which’ would justify the Commonwealth in interfering with trusts, nor can I find anything which would justify, us in interfering with manufactures. But I am perfectly prepared to support Senator Pearce’s proposal that a Select Committee be appointed to look into this business, and to report to the Senate. That is the only logical position that any impartial person could take up. Senator Playford laid special stress on his opposition to interference with manufactures.
– Not interference ; I objected to the establishment of manufactures by the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator objected to interference with the rights of the States. I may remind him that when the Barton Govern.ment - brought in their Tariff Bill State imports were excluded from its operation. But the Bill was amended at the instance qf the Government in the direction of charging duties on them.
– We had a perfect right to do so under the Constitution.
– According to Senator Millen’s statement, the matter has been before the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and a judgment has been given against the Federal Government, which has not had the pluck to takethe case to the High Court.
– I know nothing of’ that.
– Possibly there was no - High Court when the decision referred to was given.
– I think I am quoting Senator Millen correctly.
– I will fetch- the law report, and show the honorable senator thejudgment.
– My point is that Senator Playford was a supporter of the Government that introduced- that unconstitutional clause, and he voted for it.
– We are operating under it now, as far as I know.
– The honorable senator has heard that it is illegal. I emphasize the lack of logic on the part of Senator Playford in protesting against part of this motion as an infringement of States rights, when he was perfectly prepared to support a claim which, apparently, the Commonwealth could not sustain. I have no intention to discuss the question of the tobacco monopoly. I am satisfied to support the motion for the appointment of the Select Committee. But I wish to deal with- another question introduced by Senator
Millen. He most unfairly suggested that Senator Pearce ought not to proceed with his motion, on account of the scanty attendance at the time he was speaking. I wish to put it on record in Hansard that prior to 4 o’clock this afternoon there was as large an attendance of senators as there has been at any time this session. But as soon as Senator Playford secured the passage of a resolution that the Senate should, at its rising, adjourn until next Wednesday week, many honorable senators seized their bags and papers, and cleared off to catch trains for Sydney and Adelaide. It is scandalous that Senator Millen should use such an argument to support the contention that the debate on the motion should be dropped.
– Is the honorable senator thinking of Randwick again ?
– The allusion is one which I fail to understand. This opposition to proceeding with the motion springs from the action of the leader of the Senate which we endeavoured to prevent this afternoon. If Senator Playford had waited until the ordinary time to discuss the question of adjournment, the whole of the New South Wales and South Australian senators would have been in their places at this moment.
– I rise to order. Is that question before the Senate?
The DEPUTY- PRESIDENT. - The honorable senator is not in order.
– Where am I out of order? I am merely replying to the remarks of Senator Millen. I absolutely fail to see why, if other honorable senators do not choose to attend at the well-advertised days for the sitting of the Senate, a debate should be suspended. We who are ready to give our time and intelligence to the business have a right to expect that other honorable senators shall be in their seats.
-I wish . to propose the amendment suggested by Senator Millen. I move -
That after the word industry, in sub-paragraph 2, the words “ and the cultivation of tobacco “ be inserted.
– It is a little refreshino:, after the admirable speech ofmy honorable friend Senator Millen. to find that the leader of the Senate has taken upon himself a wee bit of responsibility, and has announced to us the momentous fact that he is going to vote against a paragraph of the motion which he believes to be absolutely illegal and futile. My idea of the responsibility and duty of the leader of a party is not that he should sit smiling in his seat, and allow a large section of the Senate to do just as they please, and waste time in discussing motions which-
– Is the honorable and learned senator in order in saying that honorable senators are wasting time?
The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT. - Senator Dobson is not in order.
– I bow to your ruling, but I am unaware that accusing honor - orable senators of wasting, time is out of order.
The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT.- Under standing order No. 404 it is provided that no senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament, and that all imputations of improper motives and all personal reflections are highly disorderly. It is, to my mind, a personal reflection upon members of the Senate to say that they are wasting time.
– I bow to your ruling, but I am still under the impression that in the way which I used the term “wasting time” it does not come under that standing order. I do not accuse my honorable friends of wasting time wilfully. I accuse them of being so enamoured ‘of their fads, so much in love with their own policy, so much in earnest about their platform, that they forget what is constitutional and what is not. The most dangerous men are sometimes the most sincere in their’ delusions, and I can quite understand some of my redhot friends opposite being perfectly sincere about some of the most frightful delusions possible. It is not the duty of the leader of a House of Parliament to allow a large proportion of his supporters to push forward a matter which he knows to be utterly unconstitutional. We are told that one Minister intends to vote against part of the motion, and that his colleague will vote for the whole of it. Thus we shall have Ministers nullifying their votes upon a motion which Senator Millen has shown to be absolutely illegal.
– There is nothing illegal in paragraphs 1 and 2.
– Is that Senator Playford’sidea of responsible government? Is that his notion of the duty which Ministers owe to Parliament, to the country, and to themselves? I doubt if Senator Playford would have risen at all if I had not suggested that the leader of the Senate should say something.
– Is there anything illegal about a committee of inquiry?
– I am very much amused to find some of . my honorable friend’s saying that, even if this is illegal, it is only a proposal for an inquiry. I should have thought that if a thing was illegal, and the Senate- had any respect for itself, for its time, and for the taxpayers’ money, it would take no step even to inquire into it. I am inclined to agree with Senator .Matheson that the whole thing is out of order.
– I never said it was out of order. I think it is unconstitutional, but I think we should have an inquiry.
– For once in my1, life I am able to agree with the honorable senator, who has got hold of a constitutional point, which is so fine that some of my honorable friends opposite do not appear to be able to understand it.
– Is it illegal for the Commonwealth Parliament to pass legislation to deal with trusts?
– That is a point I am coming to. It is perfectly obvious that there can be no such thing as a .Commonwealth nationalization of the tobacco or any other industry. That is a power which rests with the States.
– If it is constitutional for us to pass legislation dealing with trusts, does that not justify the first two paragraphs of the motion, under which evidence might be secured to show that an existing trust is injurious?
– I am sure every member of the Senate must be perfectly certain, after reading the opinions given by the present Prime Minister when he was Attorney-General, and by his successor in that office, Senator Drake, that what is proposed under paragraph 3 of the motion is unconstitutional. Senator O’Keefe seems to think that the first and second’ paragraphs of the motion may be constitutional, because he claims that the Federal Parliament has power to deal with trusts. If honorable senators will-, consult the textbooks they will. find that a very great deal has been done in America in the direction of controlling trusts and monopolies. Many of the States have passed laws to put down trusts, and the Federal Parliament in
America has also passed laws with the same object. But the Federal Parliament of the United States can only legislate with regard to trusts in so far as they are concerned with Inter-State trade. It cannot interfere with the operations of trusts which confine themselves to one State. As I read our Constitution, the Commonwealth Parliament has nothing whatever to do with the nationalization of an industry, but if a trust exists we can legislate to control that trust within proper limits with regard to Inter-State trade, or with regard to trade between the Commonwealth and foreign countries. But suppose there were a trust or combine in onions or in potatoes in the State of Victoria, we could not legislate with regard to that. We cannot legislate with regard to an industry confined to a State that may happen to be turned into a trust, as we should then be impinging on the power of the State. Suppose there were a trust formed in potatoes in Victoria, and it put up the price so much that none but the very wealthiest could afford to buy potatoes, although thousands of tons were for sale. The State Parliament of Victoria might pass a law at once to put an end to that state of things, but do my honorable friend’s opposite con tend for a moment that the Federal Parliament would also pass a law, on the subject? If it did we should have a State law in conflict with a Commonwealth law, and when the Constitution was referred to it would be found that our law would be a nullity, and it would1 be the State law that would regulate the matter.
– Quite a number of lawyers contend that we have power to deal with trusts.
– So we have, in the way I have stated, and with, regard to Inter-State or foreign trade. But I have given my honorable friend as practical an illustration as I can think of, and if we tried to put down a local trust in this or any other State, and a State law were passed with the same object, the State Parliament and the Federal Parliament’ would be gnawing at the same bone, and the State law would prevail.
– This tobacco monopoly is an Australian, and not .a State combine.
– It may be an Australian combine, and I am inclined to think that under the trade and commerce subsection of section 51 we might try to regulate and control the trust as regards Inter-State trade in tobacco. But if we were to pass a law dealing with the tobacco trade in Victoria, and the State Parliament were to pass a law dealing with the same subject, the State law would prevail. I believe that the first two paragraphs of the motion are not in order, because they are unconstitutional, and with respect to the last I am astonished that any honorable senator who desires to uphold the dignity of this Chamber should for a moment propose to submit it to a division.
– “ The existence or otherwise of a combine, trust, or monopoly “ are the words used in the first paragraph of the motion, and the honorable senator says that to inquire into that matter is unconstitutional ?
– That is what I have said, and I have given my reasons.
– It astounds me, that is all.
– It is not for me to call attention to the fact that certain honorable senators have left the Chamber, and have gone home. It is sufficient that I should realize that they have done so. I think that it was quite excusable for them to do so, because some of us took the point some days ago that there was not sufficient work for us to do. The fact is now clearly seen, and instead of having had a holiday this week we propose to have a holiday next week.
The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT. - The honorable senator is hardly discussing the question.
– I am appealing to Senator Pearce and other honorable senators opposite to say whether it is fair or right that this motion should be pressed to a division when there are a good many of , his supporters present, and when there is hardly a single opponent of the motion in the Chamber.
– I am prepared to give honorable senators opposite a “ pair “ for every supporter they have lost.
– If the honorable senator can assure me that he has lost more supporters than we have, I am content, but it appears to me that there is hardly any one present on this side.
– Why did not honorable senators stop here?
– Perhaps there is a “Mr. Randwick” that thev desire to go and see. The fact is that they are not here. It is a common argument that an important matter should not be submitted to a division in a thin House. If Senator Playford had some regard for the dignity of the Senate, I think he would not permit the motion to go to a division. It is all very well for the honorable senator to smile, and affect to throw all responsibility off his. shoulders, but he cannot do that. Every hour the responsibility of the Government is growing less, and we shall soon have no such thing as responsible government.
– Certain honorable senators do not recognise their responsibility.
– They do recognise their responsibility.
– Then why are they not here?
– Because there is no work to be done. The motion now before the Senate can only end in a fiasco. It can only end in the spending of the people’s money on an ‘abortive inquiry. We are having just the same argument over again as we had on the transcontinental railway matter. Although we have no power to go on with that matter without the consent of South Australia, honorable senators still said, “ Let us have an inquiry.” >
– Are we discussing the transcontinental railway ?
The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT.- I was waiting to hear how the honorable senator would connect those remarks with the motion.
– I am only using an illustration. Honorable senators say, as they said in dealing with that question, “ It may be illegal, but let us have an inquiry ; let us spend the taxpayers’ money ; let us take a step forward, although a small one. “ That is not the way in which we would conduct our private business, and it is not the way in which the Federal Parliament should conduct its business. The leader of the Senate has no right to give his sanction to such a thing. We may have one Minister voting against the motion, on the ground that it is unconstitutional, and the other voting for it. We have a right to expect that Ministers will uphold the dignity of the Senate, and what can be worse than that they should assist in passing laws which they know are unconstitutional ? Every one knows that the present Prime Minister, when Attorney-General, and Senator Drake, as Attorney-General, as well as the authorities quoted by Senator Millen, are against this proposal as being unconstitutional. We have now in office an Attorney-General who is a great sympathiser with the Labour Party. The honorable and learned gentleman manages, if he can, to give an opinion in their favour, and .1 should like to know what his opinion is on this matter. If Mr. Isaacs is of5, opinion that such a scheme as this would be illegal, I ask Senator, Pearce, who I know tries to keep himself within the bounds of reason, and has some regard for the taxpayers’ money, not to insist on going to the expense of this inquiry. The amendment which I desire to move is to add tha, following words to the third sub-paragraph of the motion: -
Provided that before No. 3 inquiry is proceeded with by the Committee, they shall obtain the opinion of the Attorney-General that in the case of a report of the Committee in favour of the said industry being taken over by the Commonwealth being adopted by Parliament, the Government has the power to enforce and carry out the Act embodying such report.
If this unconstitutional motion is to be carried, I desire to stay the Select Committee’s hand until the present AttorneyGeneral has given an opinion ; and I think the amendment is a fair one. If Senator Pearce has any regard for the dignity of the Chamber, or for the legality and reasonableness of our legislation - if he has any regard to the fact that we ought to be most tender and delicate in infringingState rights - I ask him to accept ‘the amendment which I have indicated. I cannot see the slightest justification for a motion which involves the expenditure of £200 or £300 on a project which we cannot legally carry out. We do not) want to appear as fools, by instituting opinions which can only end in fiasco. Senator Pearce himself has a doubt as to whether the motion is constitutional, and he ought to endeavour to avoid expense which may only prove abortive. If Mr. Isaacs should express an opinion in favour of the legality of such’ a scheme, there might be some reason in the motion, though I should have to differ from him, with great respect; but if three AttorneyGenerals declared the proposal to be illegal, there could not be the slightest excuse for spending even £5 on an inquiry. I am astonished that Senator Playford andother honorable senators do not seem to recollect that the Full. Court of New South Wales has decided that duty cannot be imposed on State imports.
– Duty is being imposed on State imports every day, and paid’ in New South Wales.
– I have quoted the law report.
– The Government allowed that decision to pass, but since then have insisted on payments, and no State has troubled to go to law again.
– Then there was another legal decision in the case affecting brewers’ licences, which were held to be in the nature of an ordinary trade permit, and beyond the control of the Commonwealth. These- decisions show how jealous the States are. about the Federal Parliament going outside the Constitution, and, passing Acts which are an interference with the trade or industrial life of the States. Senator Millen has shown clearly the distinction between the Canadian Federation and the Australian Federation. No power which is not expressly given by the Constitution can be exercised by us, but Ave have every right, implied, though not stated, in the Constitution, to carry out any legislation necessary to that which comes within our exclusive jurisdiction. If Ave desired to give the boys in the State schools military training, that would be deemed part of the defence of the Commonwealth. and could be undertaken by the Federal Government ; and if Ave started the manufacture of arms, equipment, and ammunition, we might have the power to undertake the iron or other industries to an extent necessary to the enterprise. Whatever Ave undertake must be inherent in one of the exclusive powers which Ave possess under the Constitution. Let us carry the matter a little further, and try to imagine what would happen in Tasmania if Senator Givens were to move for an inquiry into the question of nationalizing the woollen industry. Though there are not many woollen manufactories, there are splendid machines, and capital stuff is turned out, and Ave are proud of the establishments both in Victoria and Tasmania.
– That industry is not a monopoly-
– But if it were a monopoly, what would the Tasmanian people say if it were proposed to nationalize the industry? The Constitution would have to be amended in order to get the power. My friends of the Labour Party have got it on the brain that Socialism and the nationalization of industries form a good policy, but they have “hedged” enormously since hearing the powerful arguments directed against it. They have thought it wise to put the latter part of their policy in their pocket, and to advocate only the nationalization of monopolies.
– They have not done anything of the kind.
– Senator Givens must allow me to be able to read plain English. The Labour Party have “hedged” immensely, and knocked on the head their proposals about the nationalization of industries.
– They have not knocked the proposals on the head, but have merely hidden them.
– Yes, and all they desire now is to go slow - “One step at a time,” according to Mr. Watson - and nationalize only monopolies.
– That is all the Labour Party ever desired to do.
– How can the honorable senator say that ?
– I am speaking of the Labour Party as constituted in this Chamber and another place.
– I have read the platform of the Federal Labour Party, and the “hedging” is perfectly plain. As to the power said to be implied in the words “peace, order, and good government,” the Federal Parliament may one day desire to deal with the question of gambling. If honorable senators realized the extent to which the gambling mania destroys the manhood whom they are here to represent, they would deal with that evil, which is of far more importance than some of the fads over which they waste their time. Gambling is an evil which has exercised the minds ofmany of us. as I hope it is exercising the minds of members of the Labour Party, because it affects the lives of their kith’ and kin very materially. The only way to deal with this matter is to get the whole of the States to remit its settlement to the Federal Parliament.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Does the honorable and learned senator connect his remarks with the question before us?
– I shall do so in a moment. If that step were taken we should be able to pass a law which would have Federal effect. If there are monopolies, trusts, or combines in tobacco, onions, potatoes, or any other commodity, we cannot deal with them until the States give their legislative sanction, or we amend the Constitution. We cannot deal with State rights outside any power expressly given to us in the Constitution, or inherent in the powers mentioned in the Constitution. Honorable senators who vote for this motion are ignoring the provisions of the Constitution. There are disputes going or in the daily press as to the effect of our legislation on the opinion of the outside world.
– Those hackneyed utterances are threadbare, and belong to the “ stinking fish “ party.
– Does the honorablesenator know to what I am about toallude?
– I suppose it is the “ Petriana myth “ or the six hatters.
– I do not intend torefer to one matter only, but to the general effect of our legislation, on which we are judged.
– Judged by whom?
– By the outsideworld.
– On misrepresentation.
– We are not judged on misrepresentation, but on the legislation” which we pass, and on our administration.
– On statements of men like Fitchett.
– We are judged on. a common-sense interpretation of our legislation. If we pass unconstitutional laws, people in other parts of the world will believe that we are under the control of a party who desire more to carry out their fads than to observe the Constitution. I have been asked for one or two illustrations. If you insist on the inclusion of railway men in a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, when you are told that it is unconstitutional ; if you insist on giving preference to unionists and the High Court declares that you have gone too far, and robbed men of their freedom ; if you carry out the principle of this motion, and infringe State rights - and the whole world knows that no sessionever passes without a certain party tryingto strain the Constitution, and doing what is wrong - you will be severely criticised, and no comments inthe press, and noamount of talk from Sir John Forrest, will get rid of the injurious opinions: which men will hold of us. Supposingthat Senator Pearce gets hisway, that a favorable report is presented, and that are
Act of Parliament is passed, how does he propose to carry out his project? Would he have power over any persons manufacturing or selling tobacco? Would he set to work to buy them all out, and if so, where would he get the necessary money? We know that only the other day the Premier of Victoria was complaining that the trade union label is an infringement of State rights. We have had an opinion from one of the first barristers in the Commonwealth that it is illegal. Well, supposing that Senator Pearce carries his motion, and an Act of Parliament is passed, how is he to accomplish his desire? When he takes his first practical step the States may say, “ No ; that is a matter which rests with us.” How can he interfere with the manufacture or sale or tobacco ? How can he deprive all these men of their living? The Constitution gives us no right of that’ sort - it rests with the State alone. I wish to make two appeals, and if they fell on deaf ears I cannot help that. The first appeal is that my amendment ought to be carried. I cannot conceive that Senator Pearce desires to enter upon an inquiry if it is to end in a nullity. The second appeal is that it is not fair in a thin Senate, when, as I believe, most of our supporters have gone, for the honorable senator to press to a division a question of vast importance, especially when he is in doubt as to the legality of the proposal.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I shall put first the amendment by Senator de Largie to the second sub-paragraph, and secondly, the amendment by Senator Dobson to the third sub-paragraph.
– I desire to move an amendment to the concluding paragraph.
– I rise to a point of order. It appears to me that we shall get into a state of confusion if we are to have two amendments before the Senate at the one time. I think that the amendment of Senator de Largie should be disposed of before any other amendment is accepted. I ask, sir, for your ruling on that point.
– We must dispose of one amendment before another can be moved.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- That is the practice of the Senate. At the request of Senator Millen I have decided to divide the question, as it is a complicated one.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Dobson) negatived -
That the. following words be added to subparagraph 3 : - “ Provided that before No. 3 inquiry is proceeded with by the Committee, they shall obtain the opinion of the Attorney-General that in case of a report of the Committee in favour of the said industry being taken over by the Commonwealth being adopted by Parliament, the Government has the power to enforce and carry out the Act embodying such report.”
Amendment (by Senator Findley) agreed to -
That the words “9th August” in thethird paragraph be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ 12th October.”
The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT. - Does Senator Pearce wish to reply?
– No, sir.
Question - That the first paragraph and sub-paragraph 1 be agreed to - resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That sub-paragraph 2, as amended, be agreed to - resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That sub-paragraph 3 be agreed to - put.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania).- The leader of the Senate told us-
– Is the honorable and learned senator in order in speaking to this question ?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The honorable and learned senator has already spoken.
– I have not spoken to the amendment moved by Senator Findley.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - When I called upon the mover of the motion to reply he declined to avail himself of his right. I then commenced to put the question in parts, and there can now be no further debate.
The Senate divided.
Majority … …8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Sub-paragraph 3 agreed to.
Second paragraph, and third paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). -I move -
That the Committee consist of Senators Keating, Stewart, Gray, Story, Styles, Findley, and Pearce.
I may mention that this is the old committee, with the exception of Senator Playford who, being now Minister of Defence, has intimated that he does not desire to be re-appointed. I have nominated another South Australian senator in his place.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania).- I demand a ballot for the election of the committee.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Standing order 278 states that the senators to serve on a Select Committee shall be nominated by the mover, but on the demand of one senator they shall be selected by ballot. The ballot will take place.
– May I suggest that if there is to Be a ballot it should take place when there is a larger attendance of senators. Personally, however, I have no objection.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - The fact had not struck me that the members of the old Committee have already secured a quantity of information, and I therefore withdraw my demand for a ballot. Nevertheless, I hope that the members of the Committee will obtain an opinion from the law officers which will enable them to come to a conclusion whether it is worth while to spend any more money on the matter.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following paper: -
Return to Order of the Senate of 3rst August - Copy of views on the present condition of the Defences communicated by the Prime Minister to the Herald on 12th June.
The Clerk laid upon the table :
Return to Order of the Senate of 24th August, relating to the purchase of pistols for Light
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
-1 wish to refer- to a matter which I consider to be of some importance, and which occupied the time pf the Senate during the earlier part of the sitting. I refer to the determination to adjourn till Wednesday week. I wish to allude to the way in which that adjournment was arranged^ I understand that an understanding was arrived at earlier in the day with a number of honorable senators that an adjournment should take place, and that it was perfectly understood before the sitting commenced that a motion to that effect would be carried. I heard nothing about that arrangement. If I had heard of it I should have been in a position to go to Queensland if I had desired to do so. But the matter was sprung upon me suddenly. I never expected any adjournment, and made no arrangement. That being the case, I have a double complaint to make against the leader of the Government; first of all that he did not acquaint me, as well as other senators, with his intention to move for an adjournment, and, secondly, that there should be any adjournment, at all. Out of courtesy to honorable senators ‘when an action of this kind is contemplated, the Minister ought to give due notice, so that we may make suitable arrangements to go away if we desire. We cannot make up our minds and get ready ort such short notice.
– I should like to ask the Minister of Defence whether he has not a Ministerial statement to make with regard to the peace which has been arranged between Russia and Japan. I understand that an announcement has been made in the other House, and surely we might expect a similar announcement from the Government in the Senate if they have any official information.
– So far as I know no official information has been received by the Cabinet with regard to the conclusion of peace in the East; at all events, I am not aware of it. In reply to
Senator Stewart, I wish to say that I did not know what I was going to do with regard to an adjournment until a short time before the Senate met.
– There was some sort of understanding.
– There was not the slightest understanding with any honorable senator, so far as I was concerned ; and. I took the earliest opportunity when the Senate mct to make it known what I proposed to do. If Senator Stewart had desired to go to Queensland he could have made arrangements to leave for Sydney at 5 o’clock.
– What business will there be when we meet on Wednesday week ?
– The Copyright Bill and the Electoral Bill.
Question resolved iri the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 31 August 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1905/19050831_senate_2_26/>.