2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
Referring to the reply given on 26th October to Senator Pulsford’s question with regard to Customs duties on State imports : -
Is it not true that the Commonwealth Government withdrew the appeal to the Privy Council because of the belief that the appeal could not possibly succeed?
What was the amount of costs defrayed by the Commonwealth Government in connexion with the Supreme Court action in New South Wales and the appeal to thePrivy Council which was abandoned?
In what way were these costs debited in the Commonwealth accounts?
Is it not true that the action in New South Wales was accepted on both sides as a test case that was to govern a large number of other cases?
What is the amount of the claims made by New South Wales which are now outstanding?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: -
– In consequence of the fairly satisfactory progress which has been made with business during the week, I shall not ask honorable senators to sit on Tuesday next. Therefore, I move -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday next.
It is my intention next week to ask honorable senators to proceed with the second reading of the Commerce Bill, and if possible to pass it through all its stages. I hope that the Appropriation Bill will be received by the end of that week, and if it is, I shall ask honorable senators In the following week to devote their attention to the important matters connected with the finances of the country.
-I do not see any reason why the Senate should not sit on Tuesday next. I observe that another place intends to sit on that day. Really we have not made very much progress with business this week.
– Look at the noticepaper for to-day ! It will be pretty well cleared by the end of the sitting.
– Probably the most important portion of our work has yet to come, and that is the consideration of the Estimates. If it is the general desire of honorable senators to close the session towards the end of November, there will be very little time for. the consideration of the Estimates. We shall have a repetition of what has taken place every year. The Estimates will be passed in the last days of the session without receiving any decent scrutiny.
– If the honorable senator had come here in June we might have been very much further advanced than we are.
– I came here as soon as there was anything to do; in fact, I am not sure that I did not come too soon, because, even after my arrival, we were only marking time. I have always been here when there has been any real business to be done. The only occasion on which I have been absent has been when on a change of Government, the Senate has been adjourning week after week without doing any business, and when nobody has known when it was or was not to sit. Under such circumstances I came to the conclusion that f would be very much better off where I was than here, and I still think that I was correct.
– The honorable senator believes in coming late and going early.
– I come late, and do some work when I am here. I do not wish to refer to the practice of the senators for New South Wales in running away to Sydney every week-end. For what reason are we asked to adjourn over Tuesday? Because a horse race is to be run.
– Because it is a general public holiday in Victoria.
– It is nothing of the kind.
– This assumption of virtuous indignation is very thin.
– If the honorable senator wishes to witness a horse race on Tuesday, I have no objection, and any other honorable senators who care to go also have my permission if it is desired. But why should I be compelled to roam about idle, simply because my honorable friend wishes to attend a horse race?
– The honorable senator can go to a prayer meeting if he likes.
– I did not come to Melbourne to attend either prayer meetings or horse races, but to attend to the business of the country. Towards the end of a session time is more precious than at any other period. We cannot afford to waste time now, and I do not see why we should follow the bad example which has been set by the British Parliament of adjourning over a particular day.
– But it does not do that now, I think.
– In my time it did. I am much obliged to the honorable and learned senator for the correction, and that is another argument why the Senate should do business on Tuesday. There is no doubt that a certain section of the elec tors object to Parliament abandoning its important work for the mere purpose of going to see a number of horses compete with each other in speed. I have to incur all the odium of favouring an adjournment of business for that purpose, when I have no intention of going to see the horse races. I think I am within the mark when I saythat 75 per cent, of the senators will not go to Flemington on Tuesday. If they will not go there, why should they not come here, and do the business of the country? I suppose that a number of senators for New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania will vote for an adjournment simply because they wish to get home, and will not require to be back before Wednesday. That will influence their decision.
– There is not a single Tasmanian senator going home.
– I am not so very sure about that.
– There is only one out of the six going home.
Senator STEWART. If they are not going home we ought to get to work on Tuesday-
– I am afraid that the honorable senator is wasting time.
– I am losing five minutes now- for the purpose of saving a whole day next week. I shall vote against the motion, because it is unnecessary and unwise, and if carried will limit our opportunities of doing useful work during the remainder of the session.
– This is an occasion on which the leader of the Senate ordinarily exercises his very proper right - and one which is very rarely challenged - of deciding what the course of business shall be. While I think that Senator Playford has very properly undertaken the responsibility of moving the adjournment of the Senate until Wednesday, I deprecate the fact that when Senator Stewart was entering a protest, as he was entitled to do, he should have been met with personal recriminations, even from the members of his own party, and personal references made to his attendance or to the attendance of any honorable senator. I heard the statement, and I am sorry to sm it came from a colleague of mine, that Senator Stewart was engaging in a pretence of virtuous indignation. I do not believe that there was any pretence of virtuous indignation iri the action or the remarks of the honorable senator. If we are to discuss the matter from that aspect, I may remind honorable senators that on the 25th October, when the motion was moved for Tuesday sittings, Senator Playford said -
Personally, however, I intend to ask the Senate not to adjourn over Cup Day, or for garden parties, or for anything of that kind. Supposing we agree to meet on Tuesdays, we snail sit on Tuesdays if public business requires it. Business /will have precedence over every other consideration.
The honorable senator now takes the view that, having regard to the progress we have made with public business, it is not necessary that the Senate should sit on Tuesday next, that is, on Cup Day. And yet on the same occasion he made this further statement -
The duty we owe to those who sent us here is more important than a visit to the Melbourne racecourse, or attendance at a garden party. Of course, if we do not get a quorum on the extra day, it will not be my fault, and the names of those present will be taken down and made public.
I am sorry that Senator Playford should have made that threat in regard to the publication of the names of honorable senators in attendance on a public holiday like that of Tuesday next.
– Under the Standing Orders, the names of honorable senators in attendance are always taken down and published in the Journals of the Senate.
– I deprecate the action of the honorable senator, and I hope he now recognises that he was wrong in uttering a threat-
– I desired to utter no threat, but merely to state a fact.
– The honorable senator did not state a fact when he said that the names would be “made public.” That was a distinct threat, and it staggered me.
– The honorable senator will allow that it is possible to make a slip when speaking.
– As Senator Playford admits that he made a slip when he threatened honorable senators, I am satisfied.
-As special reference has been made to me by Senator Clemons. I may say that I made the interjection for which I have been chided, because, in my opinion, there was some assumption of virtuous indignation on the part of Senator Stewart, and also on the part of other honorable senators, who inform the country, through the press, that they are anxious to sit on Tuesday next. For many years “ Cup Day “ has been recognised as a public holiday .in Melbourne, and we must not forget that there are employed by the Federal Government a number of printers and others who have hitherto never been asked to work on that day, and who do not necessarily find their amusement at the race meeting. If we recognise the principle that prominent public holidays,, such as the King’s Birthday, and so forth, should be observed, I see no necessity to make an exception on the present occasion. Although I intend to vote for adjourning over Tuesday next, I think I can claim quite as good a record for attendance as, for example, Senator Stewart, who would make it appear that honorable senators are unwilling to carry out their duties. I am prepared to attend on Tuesday next if it be shown that that course is absolutely necessary ; but my own opinion is that the work of the session will not suffer by our adjourning. It ,isi well known Chat the Government make this proposal in order to meet the convenience of the large majority of honorable senators; and I do not see any justification for the remarks of Senator Clemons in reference to the leader of the Chamber. I shall vote for the motion, as other honorable senators will do if they are honest.
– I altogether object to the remark of “ Senator O’Keefe that honorable senators will vote for the motion “if they are honest.” That expression of opinion conies with very bad grace from an honorable senator who has just severely’ taken to task others who do not happen to agree with him. There is no necessity for honorable senators to charge each other with irregular attendance, because, I suppose, we all devote as much time to the work of the Senate as possible; at any rate, I am prepared to let my record stand. I do not deprecate the desire of honorable senators to observe a time-honoured holiday ; but as there is a large amount of business to be done. I do not see why we should not meet after dinner in the evening. Indeed, I should support an amendment to that effect if it were pro.posed. In my opinion, the occasion does not furnish a sufficient reason for an adjournment over Tuesday. Exception his bren taken to leave of absence to honorable sena.ators on account of urgent public business, and I do not see that a race meeting affords any better excuse for leave of absence for the whole Senate.
Question - That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday next - put. The
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Keating) proposed -
That the report be adopted.
– I do not propose to ask for the recommittal of the Bill, but I direct attention to the fact that, according to the definition clause, a dwelling means, amongst other things, “any ship or other vessel in any port in the Commonwealth.” I think that it is possible that under this definition we shall he unable to secure full statistics as to the large number of people who will be travelling on the coast of the Commonwealth on the day when the census is taken. In South Australia, on the occasion of the last census, electoral application forms were distributed along with the schedules. In the case of shipping, however, that was not done. That is a matter that calls for consideration. I am aware that there is a provision of the Bill under which the first question may be dealt with to some extent. It provides for securing returns from persons who are not abiding in any dwelling on the night of the census day. My experience of the taking of censuses in South Australia leads me to believe that there will be some difficulty in connexion with the matter to which I refer. I am aware that under the clause providing for regulations, the Governor- General may cause regulations to be framed prescribing all that is necessary to give effect to the Bill, and if provision is made that statistics shall be taken of the crews and passengers travelling between Commonwealth ports on the night of the census day in ships registered in Australia, that will cover all that is necessary. I do not think that it would be right to count in the population of the Commonwealth passengers travelling in foreign vessels between various Australian ports. I hope that when the regulations are being framed the matter to which I have referred will receive very careful consideration.
– I have the strongest feeling that it is desirable that Parliament should retain as much power as it can in connexion with the regulation of the census. The Bill, as passed through Committee last night, practically leaves everything to the Statistician or the Minister, and Parliament is ignored throughout. I propose to move for the recommittal of the Bill, with a view to add to the last clause, dealing with regulations the following words : -
But none of such regulations, so far as they relate to the taking of the census, nor any forms prescribed for the householder’s schedule or oaths of secrecy shall be of any force or effect until approved and adopted by Parliament by resolution.
Last night I moved that Parliament should itself decide the day on which the census is to be held. I was defeated, and I do not propose to again raise that question. But I do think that it is desirable that Parliament should have some say with regard to the details of the householder’s schedule, the oaths of secrecy, which are usually set out in the Census Acts of other countries, and also with regard to the regulations. The census is a most important matter, and it is only to be taken once in ten years. The amendment I propose to submit, if the Bill is recommitted, will mean that on some day prior to the taking of the first census in 191 1 the various forms proposed will have to be submitted to Parliament for approval. Parliament will not be again troubled with the matter until prior to the next census in 192 1. We do not know who is to be the Statistician, or who will be the Minister at the time the arrangements for the census are made, and therefore the least we can do as guardians of the rights of the people is to insist that.
Parliament shall have final control of this very important matter. ‘ I move -
That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clause 28.
– I desire to bring under the notice of Senator Keating a condition of affairs which is very unsatisfactory, and which I hope we may be able to remedy. On the arrival in Melbourne of a boat from Tasmania, the purser is compelled by some authority, which I suspect is the State authority of Victoria, to set out in a very long and complicated form, issued, I believe, in triplicate, full particulars of every passenger on board the boat. I believe this is done for census purposes. I assure honorable senators that the purser is required to put down, not merely the name of every passenger, but also his, or her, age and sex. It is, of course, ludicrous tq ask the purser of a boat to guess the age of every passenger on board, when there may be a hundred of whom he can know nothing. To show what a farce the whole thing is, I may mention that in one case, which I do not say occurred on a Tasmanian boat, the purser’s father travelled with him, and in filling up the form the purser, recognising that the whole thing was a farce, put down the age of his father at twenty-one years. There was no check, and this will show the value of these reports. I asTc Senator Keating to consider whether it is not possible, in taking census statistics of persons travelling by Inter-State boats, to prevent the continuance of such a practice.
– In addition to seconding the motion for the recommittal of the Bill I desire to support it. I pointed out last night that this is an enabling Bill, and that out of sixteen machinery clauses, giving directions to officers, fourteen are practically dependent upon regulations, that is, on something to be prescribed, or on the action of the Minister. It is not, therefore, an unreasonable thing that we should at least claim to exercise legislative supervision of the enabling provisions of This Bill. For that reason I trust the Senate will agree to the motion for its recommittal.
– I hope the Minister will agree to the recommittal of the Bill for the reconsideration of this very important point. I think we are all alive to the importance of having exhaustive and complete statistics, particu larly in relation to census matters, which are only prepared at periodical intervals. But we are undoubtedly too much in the habit of leaving to the Executive mattersthe responsibility for which we ought to take upon ourselves. In many respects it is desirable to leave matters to the Executive. In other respects it is undesirable. In order to have a complete and full census, inquiries have to be made which are, like the income tax inquiries, more or less inquisitorial in character. Parliament, I think, ought to have some opportunity to say whether or not those inquiries are within reasonable bounds, or to what points they should be directed. There is a good deal of debate at different times, and ira different Legislatures, on the questions about which statistics are collected in the census. Modern feeling and modern sentiment have developed, for instance, as to religion. Strong views are held as to the desirableness of making inquiries in that particular. I do not desire to say, and the Senate is not called upon to say, whether or not there should be such inquiries. But we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that there is much difference of opinion upon the point. I merely give that by way of illustration. There are other matters, also, as to which different views are held. Speaking as one who has had some little experience in Executive work, I think it is a great relief to a Government itself if, in respect to a subject of this kind, the responsibility is taken from its shoulders and placed’ upon the shoulders of Parliament. From that point of view alone it is desirable that the regulations and schedules should come under the consideration of Parliament before they are carried into force.
– Does the honorable and learned senator want Parliament to settle such matters ais the declaration of secrecy ?
– Not tr> settle it, but to exercise some supervision.
– Is it necessary for Parliament to exercise supervision’ over little matters of that kind?
– Does Senator Dobson call a matter of that kind “little”? My honorable friend seems to be abandoning his political sanity. There is nothing more obnoxious, ordinarily speaking, than an oath of secrecy. It is only called for in exceptional circumstances. Of course, it is very important where in- quisitorial inquires are made. My recollection is that the schedules of the Income Tax Acts are set out in the measures themselves. That is an example of what is usually described as an inquisitorial inquiry, and in respect of it there are oaths of secrecy. On the one hand we have the interests -of the Commonwealth to be satisfied and met, and on the other hand we have to provide that information obtained shall not unnecessarily be made public. It is a natural tendency, which is nowadays a good d?al encouraged, and is very often exhibited in modern society newspapers, to have curious inquiries made, and all sorts of information obtained, as to individual matters that ought not to be made public. But when the inquiries are under the control of a Government it is necessary that they should be safeguarded with all legitimate secrecy, and should not be more extensive than the public interest warrants. At any rate, I hope an opportunity will be given to us, by going into Committee, to express an opinion on the amendment which has been indicated by Senator Pulsford. Parliament should have an opportunity to express its opinion, both in order to save the Executive from ,a responsibility from which I am sure any Government would be glad to be relieved, and also to exercise that supervision in relation to this matter which should, I think, be exercised by it as the representative of the people.
– I do not think that the dignity of Parliament will be increased by the practice which is sought to be carried out here. It appears to me that if we do not have some uniform way of conducting our business we shall get into more disrepute than ever. We have an Act specially framed for dealing with regulations. I venture to say that scores of regulations will be made under dozens of Acts far more important and difficult than any regulations which will be made under the Census Act. The law requires that such regulations when framed shall be laid upon the table of Parliament, and that either House of Parliament may approve or disapprove of them within a specified time. I have quite enough sanity left to know when Senator Symon is talking sense and when he is not. My honorable and1 learned friend has given illustrations from two sets of schedules to Acts. We are now dealing with about the most unimportant set of regulations, so far as concerns the ordi nary citizen, that could possibly be framed under any Act. What man or woman of ordinary sense troubles about the census regulations with all their details? The census is carried out by our officers, who have had years of experience of this work. Senator Symon has endeavoured to make his point good by referring to the extremely complete regulations under the Income Tax Acts, which have to be framed to cover the case of men with large incomes, such as his own, tapering down to the people with small incomes, such as mine. But there is as much difference between a set of schedules under an Income Tax Act and the schedules under the census as there is between a pig and a senator.
- Senator Guthrie has called attention to a matter which seems to me to require to be looked into if the Bill is recommitted. It appears that the custom in South Australia is for the authorities to take advantage of the census to distribute papers by which people may get their names placed upon the electoral rolls of the State. The same system may prevail in some of the other States. If such a custom has been in vogue for a number of years, I think that a small amendment ought to be made to enable it to be continued. Another point that requires consideration is this : that a dwelling under the Bill is defined as meaning
A building erection or tenement. . . . and includes any ship or other vessel in any port of the Commonwealth or in any inland waters thereof.
Senator Guthrie proposes that there should be added to that definition the words - or any ship or vessel registered in Australia on a passage between any two Commonwealth ports.
It appears that no census is taken of the people who are on board such vessels, whether passengers or crews. Statistics are taken relating to them, but practically there is no census as to the States to which they belong, or any other information, except that so many persons are travelling round the coast at the time the census is taken. I think, therefore, that Senator Pulsford should include in his motion clause 3, in order to enable such an amendment to be made.
– The motion is in possession of the Senate. If Senator Pulsford desires to amend his motion, he can do so by leave, but Senator Turley can move an amendment if he chooses.
Amendment (by Senator Turley) agreed to -
That the words “ and clause 3 “ be added.
– I hope that this proposal for a recommittal will not be pressed. In expressing this wish, I desire it to be understood that I am not acting in any way from a spirit of hostility to the principles affirmed in the amendments that have been foreshadowed. With regard, first, to Senator Guthrie’s criticism, I may point out that the Bill provides that a dwelling shall be as defined in clause 3. It does not cover the case of a ship such as has been referred to by Senator Guthrie and Senator Turley, but provision is made to meet the case of such ships in clause 15, which provides that - the Statistician shall obtain such returns and particulars as are prescribed with respect to persons who during the night of the census day were no abiding in any dwelling.
It is perfectly competent under that provision for the regulations to provide for sue 1 cases as have been indicated. It is eminently desirable that particulars should be obtained of travellers at sea between port and port. But if we make such a ship a dwelling-place, we are committed by a hard-and-fast rule to a method of determining the statistics and particulars. It may be that a particular ship will be a considerable time out of port. Take the case, not of a steamer, but of a sailing vessel voyaging from Tasmania to Western Australia. A very long time may be occupied on the journey. If such a ship were to be treated as a dwelling, we should have to supply the person in charge with a householder’s schedule. But the vessel might have left its first port of departure some time before the householders’ schedules were distributed, and might arrive at Ker port of destination after the schedules had been collected. It is desirable that we should not commit ourselves to a hard-and-fast provision in dealing with cases of that kind. So far as concerns ships in inland waters, there is no difficulty. If, when householders’ schedules are being delivered, any ship be then in port, such a schedule will have to be delivered to the master or person in charge of the ship. If the ship takes her departure before the census day, the schedule will have to be filled up before the census day. To meet the class of cases where a vessel is not in port on census day, it is eminently desirable that there should Le some elasticity of arrangement, and that can be provided for as prescribed by regulations under clause 15. I shall bring what Senator Guthrie has said under the notice of the Minister and the Department, and press for the consideration of it. in the way which he has suggested, and I have no doubt as to the results.
– Clause 3 positively excludes men on board of vessels which are on the high seas1. Clause 15 refers to men who are not residing on the night of census day in any dwelling.
– A ship, when it is in. any inland waters or port of the Commonwealth, is a dwelling. But a ship, when travelling between port and’ port is not a dwelling. Clause 15 says -
The Statistician shall obtain such returns and particulars as are prescribed with respect to persons who during the night of the census day were not abiding in any dwelling.
That would cover the case of a ship which was not in any inland waters, or in a port of the Commonwealth.
– If a ship is not a dwelling, how can the Statistician get statistics from her?
– According to the Act, the persons on that ship would not be abiding in a dwelling, but in something else.
– They would be in the same position as men who were camping out.
– Exactly. This provision in clause 15 is designed to meet the cases of persons who are not in a dwelling - that is an ordinary tenement, or house, or habitation or a ship in any inland waters or port of the Commonwealth. If a ship is on the high seas the particulars and statistics will be obtained with regard to the persons on hoard her under regulations to be prescribed under clause 15.
– In these days of aerial navigation a man might be in a balloon.
– Yes, and regulations could be prescribed to meet that class of cases. If a shin is in port when the householder’s schedule is being distributed, certainly her master or owner will receive a copy. If at that time he indicates that the ship will not be in port on census day, then that class of cases must be met by some regulation. If we were to attempt to confine ourselves to a hard and fast principle in dealing with ships, we might find that we had omitted the greater portion of the cases which might arise. I assure Senator Guthrie that it will be far better to leave the matter to be settled as provided by clause 15. Senator Pulsford indicated, yesterday, as also did Senator Millen, a desire to limit the power of the Executive in the matter of providing regulations under different Statutes. This is, as I think the latter said, a Bill to enable a certain thing to be done. It is very difficult indeed to lay down hard and fast principles to which the administrative officers must in every set of circumstances conform. I think it must have been the experience of every honorable senator that, no matter how long previously a census has been ordered or authorized by Act of Parliament, invariably when the time has approached for the execution’ of the work, there has been, so to speak, a great congestion of duties devolving upon the administrative officers, and certain officers have frequently to be appointed to meet the requirements of special localities within a few weeks of census day. If Senator Pulsford’s amendment were enacted, then in every such case it would be absolutely necessary that both Houses of the Parliament should approve of the regulations as regards the officers, their oaths of secrecy, and the taking of the census generally. Suppose that the 31st March were fixed as the census day, it is quite possible that between the 1st February and the 31st March the officers might find that their scheme of organization would not be complete unless they added other arms or branches to it to do a peculiar work which Iliad not been foreseen until practically the last moment. The oaths of secrecy for the special officers, and all the work in connexion with their duties, would have to be prescribed by regulation. The Parliament might not be in session, and might not be likely to sit until May. Is it desirable that it should be summoned for the express purpose of approving or disapproving of the regulations? By the time it was summoned, and had expressed its approval or disapproval, the regulations might be perfectly useless, because we might be on the eve of census day, when the very objects which they were designed to meet could not be attained under any circumstances.
– Regulations are made years ahead. They will be made as soon as the Bill is passed, I should think.
– Yes ; but the honorable and learned senator cannot gainsay that, no matter what regulations be framed beforehand, it is invariably found that as the task is approached, whether it be the holding of an election or the taking of a census, it is necessary and desirable that regulations should be framed up to the eleventh hour, so to speak. He has referred to the Income Tax Acts. No one knows better than he does that in connexion with nearly every Income Tax Act, if not every one of them, throughout the States and elsewhere, ample power to provide by regulations is given quite apart from the schedule which the taxpayer has to return.
– But the schedules are put in the Act.
– If such ample power were not given it would be almost impossible for any Administration to carryout the provisions of the Act. I would refer honorable senators to the provisions of the Canadian Census Act. If they will take the trouble to look at the Tasmanian Act, they will find that practically it is a string of provisions giving power to pass regulations, because experience has taught that it is only at the last moment almost that the administrative officers can appreciate the magnitude and complexity of a task of this description. It is not until that time that they can possibly provide by regulation to carry out the general principles of the law. Section 4 of the Census Act of Canada says -
The details of information, the forms to be used, the procedure to be followed for the obtaining thereof, and the period at which, and the dates with reference to which the census shall be taken, whether generally or for any specific localities requiring to be exceptionally dealt with in any of these respects, shall be such as the GovernorGeneral in Council by proclamation directs.
Nearly every other Census Act, if it is examined, will be found to contain that principle, because, no matter how comprehensive and exhaustive may have been the regulations which have been framed, immediately after an Act has been passed it has invariably been found at almost the last moment that they have been very defective, incomplete, and faulty. Under these circumstances, I ask honorable senators not to consent to a recommittal of the Bill, because everything which is aimed at in the amendments indicated will be fully attained.
– Does not the Minister see that there are five years in which to get the regulations ready ?
– Even if we had thirty-six gentlemen as fully acquainted with all the details and methods of taking statistics as Senator Pulsford is, I venture to think that, if they were given five years in which to frame the regulations, and twelve months had to elapse before they were to take effect, he would find them then utterly incomplete for the purpose of taking the census as it should be taken. It is for the purpose of passing supplemental regulations - of which experience only can dictate the necessity - in order to meet that class of case, that I ask that the Bill shall be allowed to remain as it is. We sat last night until a late hour in the hope that this Bill would be advanced as far as possible today. Every recommittal or reconsideration of a Bill involves, according to the Standing Orders, a delay of at least a day.
– But this Bill came from the other House.
– Yes ; but it has already been amended, and those amendments will have to be considered there. Apart from that fact, however, a recommittal means a delay in the return of the Bill. I hope, therefore, that honorable senators will see with me that to pass the Bill as it stands will not only secure all those objects which are aimed at by the amendments indicated, but will also expedite the general legislation of the session and conduce to its earlier termination.
Question - That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clause 28 and clause 3 - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee (Recommittal) :
Clause 3 -
In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears “ Dwelling “ means a building, erection, or tenement, whether permanent or temporary, which is wholly or partly used for the purpose of human habitation, and includes any ship or other vessel in any port of the Commonwealth, or in any inland waters thereof.
Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia).I move -
That after the word “ thereof,” line 7, the following words be inserted: - “or any ship or vessel registered in Australia on a passage between any two Commonwealth ports.”
I submit this amendment to supply what I regard as an omission. Such vessels as I have in my mind are within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, and my proposal, if carried, will secure uniformity. Householders’ schedules are distributed in many cases, perhaps a month before the census, and often collected a considerable time after that day.
– Exactly. I see no difficulty whatever in the case cited by Senator Keating of a vessel bound from Tasmania to Western Australia. Our desire is to work with the States in these matters, and a capital opportunity is here presented to distribute electoral application forms along with the schedules. That was done in South Australia on the occasion of the last census, both sets of papers being delivered and collected by the same officials. In the case of shipping, however, no forms were delivered merely the numbers of the passengers and crews being obtained ; and the serious result was that the whole of these people were left off the rolls. My opinion is that when the census is being taken, the States will avail themselves of the opportunity to make up their new rolls without incurring any additional expense ; but no regulation could be framed which would enable the States to compile their new rolls at that time. I regard the amendment as a much better method than that of leaving the matter to regulations, which Parliament may not see until after the census has been taken.
– I ask the Committee not to accept the - amendment. If honorable senators care to give to this proposal the same amount of support that they did to the proposal for the recommittal of the Bill, the Government will, at any rate, be absolved from responsibility. I thoroughly agree with everything Senator Guthrie has urged as to the necessity for these statistics and particulars, but we are more likely to get them by leaving the Bill as it is. A dwelling is defined as an ordinary “building, erection, or tenement,’ ;and in the case of vessels, as any ship which is in a Commonwealth port or in the inland waters of the Commonwealth. In these cases it is necessary that a householder’s schedule shall be left with the person in charge, who must filL in the particulars, so that the census returns may be made up. To meet the class of cases referred to by Senator Guthrie - that is, cases in which’ persons who are not in a dwelling, as defined by the Act, but who are within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth - a general power is given under clause 15 to prescribe how the statistics and particulars shall be obtained. In fact, the duty is cast on the Statistician to obtain the particulars.
– Does the honorable senator think that’ clause 15 is wide enough to enable regulations to be made to meet the case of persons who may be on the high seas?
– Not if they will be outside the jurisdiction. They will be on the high seas, but, according to Senator Guthrie’s amendment, thev will be going from port to port in the Commonwealth. The Constitution provides that the laws made by the Parliament of the Commonwealth shall be binding on every State, notwithstanding anything in the laws of any State, and - that the laws of the Commonwealth shall be in force on all British ships, the Queen’s ships of war excepted, whose first port of clearance and whose port of destination” are in the Commonwealth.
The Bill, therefore, will have application on board a sailing-vessel between Tasmania and Western Australia, even though that vessel be 100 miles from the Commonwealth coastline, seeing, that the port of clearance and port of destination are within the Commonwealth.
– The passengers will be counted.
– Will a note be taken of passengers, say, on Peninsular and Oriental Company’s boats between Australian ports ?
– The census will be taken on Australian ships, and regulations will be framed to meet all cases which may arise. It may be quite true that householders’ schedules are distributed, perhaps, a month before census day ; and if a ship is then in port it will, under the Bill, be a dwelling.
– Only on the night of the census.
– Every such ship in port at the time will be visited.
– But there will be ships travelling between port and port on that night.
– And their case is provided for in clause 15, which deals with all persons who are not abiding in a dwelling.
– Does that include persons travelling, by train ?
– Yes; that clause includes tramps, people camped out, and those travelling by rail and sea.
– I think it much better to make a law that cannot be evaded than to leave such matters to regulation.
– Every endeavour will be made under the Bill to meet those classes of cases by regulation. The variety, complexity, and number of such cases is so great that it is impossible to lay down, here and now, a hard and fast principle for the determination of their number, and other particulars. If we adopt Senator Guthrie’s amendment, we shall make every one of those ships a “ dwelling,” and it will be impossible to treat as a “dwelling” a ship between port and port.
– It will be impossible unless we are able to send a man out in a balloon to serve t’he papers.
– Could the papers not be served directly the vessel arrives at the port of destination?
– That might be too late, so far as the particular place was concerned. I think it is much more desirable to leave these matters to regulation.
– But is the honorable senator sure that clause 15 is wide enough to enable regulations to be made to meet all such cases?
– Undoubtedly. Honorable senators will surely agree that the number and variety of these cases must be very great. If we- limit ourselves by prescribing that each one of these ships passing from port to port shall be treated as a dwelling, we may find that we shall be debarred from meeting a large number of cases by adopting that hard-and-fast provision. I say advisedly, and after proper consideration of the Bill and the amendment, that Senator Guthrie will best attain his end if he does not seek to establish a hard-and-fast provision for dealing with these vessels, but leaves the matter to be prescribed by regulation under the power conferred in clause 15.
– I am unable to appreciate the logic of the Minister’s argument. The honorable and learned senator says that clause 15 is designed to cover a multiplicity of cases and a variety of circumstances, and that by specially providing for one set of cases we should limit the power given in. that clause to deal with other cases.
– In regard to these ships, I say.
– We should do nothing of the kind. If Senator Guthrie’s amendment-is carried, it will in no way limit the power given to the Minister under clause 15. All that is asked is that, with regard to Commonwealth ships trading between Commonwealth ports, we shall lay it down by law, and’ not by regulation, that there shall be a census taken of the people on board those ships. As to the supposed difficulty of carrying this into effect, I take the Minister’s fear to be that a vessel might leave one port before the census papers are distributed, and might arrive at her port of destination only after the census night has passed. I assume that no voyage on the Australian coast, except in. the case of disaster more or less serious, will occupy more than a fortnight or three weeks.
– It has taken forty days for a vessel to go from Hobart to Adelaide?
– What is the longest average trip?
– Two or three weeks. Senator Guthrie. - Twenty days.
– I am prepared to> take three months for the purpose of my argument. I point out that the authoritiescharged with the administration of the Bill can have the necessary forms ready, and the shipping officers at every port, who, I assume, will be officers for the purpose of carrying out this measure, can be instructed to leave the necessary forms with vesselssailing from a port at any time previous tothe taking of the census.
– They might be handed to the captain of a vessel on her arrival at her port of destination after the census day.
– That also could be done.
– Trie vessels that will take a long time in going from port toport of the Commonwealth will be cargo vessels.
– But their crews must Le counted.
– There will be only a few of them, whilst vessels carrying passengers will occupy only a few days ontheir voyage.
– I ‘‘recognise that; but I have taken the worst possible caseto show that there is no force in the Minister’s contention. Nothing could be simpler than for a shipping officer, in giving the master of the vessel his clearance, to give him also the census forms to be filled up. Then, when he reached the next port, he could present the form, filled up, with his clearance. It is evident that the Minister has imagined a difficulty in this matter,, and in the circumstances I ask the Committee to accept the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, ns amended, agreed to.
Clause 28 (Regulations).
– I move -
That the following words be added to theclause: - “but none of such regulations, so far as they relate to the taking of the census, nor any form prescribed for the householders’ schedule or oath of secrecy, shall be of any force or effect until approved and adopted by Parliament by resolution.”
It is not necessary that I should labour the question. Honorable senators are fairly well acquainted with the object I have in view, and with the reasons which can be urged for the amendment.
– I must ask the Committee to assist me in opposing this amendment. I have already pointed out that experience shows, in connexion with nearly every Act, and more particularly in respect to an Act providing for censuses, statistics, elections, and other comprehensive and national works of that character, that it is only when the officers charged with the duty of carrying out a particular work are brought into direct contact with it that they realize and appreciate the whole of the difficulties of the situation. As a consequence, in most Acts dealing with matters of the kind, when they are brought into force a large number of supplemental regulations have invariably to be provided ; right up to the very commencement of the work. Reference has been made to the case of the Income Tax Acts, and it has been pointed out that the income tax schedules are included in those Acts. That is perfectly correct, but that stands on a different plane from ‘this Bill. Apart altogether from the provisions contained in the schedules to Income Tax Acts there is invariably given to the Minister administering them ample power to give effect by regulation to the principle contained in the Acts. We have wisely provided as a general principle that all regulations framed tinder any Act of this Parliament shall be tabled in both Houses, and may be disapproved of by either House. I think that is a. sufficient safeguard when it is recognised that a lot of the work which will have to be done under the Bill can only be provided for by supplemental regulations, the necessity of which only experience and almost direct contact with the work would .reveal. I think it is desirable that we should have this power, as provided in the Bill. It would be impossible under the amendment to have any supplemental regulations or any regulations whatever born of experience of direct contact with the work to be performed. Parliament might not be sitting when they were framed, and if it were sitting it would necessitate considerable delay to have to secure parliamentary approval of them. In such circumstances the officers charged with the administration of the law would say, “ We have a set -of regulations which have been approved bv Parliament, but they were drawn twelve months ago, and at that time we did not know this and that, and now that we have come to do this census work we begin to realize some of the difficulties of it. We realize that for particular localities in Australia we must appoint a particular class of officers, that their work is totally different from that which other officers will be called upon to perform, that the oath of secrecy, which has been prescribed by the regulations approved by Parliament will not meet their case.” What are they to do? Under this amendment they would have to frame fresh regulations, and ask Parliament to meet to approve of them. That would be absolutely impracticable, as Senator Pulsford must see. The regulations framed under this Bill as it stands must be tabled in both Houses of Parliament, and if either House within fifteen sitting days thereafter disapproves of them such regulations shall thereupon cease to have effect. If this Bill is passed as it stands, regulations under it will be framed not immediately before the census is taken, but as soon as possible after the passing of the Bill. In the circumstances honorable senators must see that even if they are not disapproved of, within the fifteen days after they had been tabled in both Houses, it will still be competent for Parliament to express an opinion upon them in such a way as to secure their alteration or modification, where that is shown to be desirable long before they are brought info operation. Surely that should be sufficient for Senator Pulsford, when he must realize the difficulties which would arise if his amendment were agreed to. With regard to the taking of the census in 1911, it will not be contended for a moment that we shall wait until 1910 to frame regulations under this Bill. There can be no doubt that the main body of regulations under the Bill will be framed as early as possible, and if they are not disapproved within fifteen days after they are tabled in both Houses of Parliament there will still be ample time for any member of Parliament who believes that any or all of them are not in consonance with the spirit of the Act, or wishes of Parliament, to direct attention to the fact, in other ways than that provided for by the Acts Interpretation Act. If his objections are strong enough to secure the support of a sufficient number of the members of either House, it is obvious that he will be in a position to make a protest which cannot be ignored ; and to secure such a modification of the regulations as will meet the desires of Parliament before they are brought into actual effect in 1911. I ask the honorable senator not to press his amendment.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - It appears to me that the only ground of real objection to the amendment which has been suggested by the Minister is that there may at times be some necessity for the issue of certain supplemental regulations. The amendment refers to the householder’s schedule, and to the oaths of secrecy, and it will be admitted that no supplemental arrangements in respect of them will be necessary. The Minister might agree to that part of the amendment. Then with regard to the regulations, I am not unwilling to add the words “ unless supplemental,” after the word “regulations.”
– That would be very dangerous.
– It is odd, after the remarks he has just made, that the Minister should say that that would be dangerous.
– I am viewing the suggestion from the honorable senator’s stand-point. I should trust any Government.
– I do not trust any Government any further than I am obliged to. If honorable senators are anxious with regard to supplemental regulations, I am willing to amend the amendment by inserting the word “supplemental.” Would Senator Keating like to have that word inserted ?
– Then we should have to define “supplemental,” and that could only be governed by the circumstances of every case.
– I do not see that the word is required. But the condition which I propose is, I think, clearly desirable, . and I also think that Parliament ought to retain some real control over the schedule, the collectors, and the regulations under which the census will be taken. Considering that the census will not be taken until five years from now, there is no ground for the statement of the Minister as to the difficulties in the way.
– I shall have to oppose the amendment. The other day. when we were discussing the Electoral Bill, Senator Pulsford was quite willing to trust any Government with the appointment of the Commissioners named in the measure, or, failing those, the appointment of others, to divide the States into electoral districts. That is, he was quite willing to trust the Government in a far more important matter than this. Now, how ever, he says that he would not trust any Government to do anything. I think heis right to a great extent, but I wish he had held that opinion the other day instead of bringing it up when the subject under consideration is far less important than that with which we were dealing then. I cannot gather from the honorable senator sufficient reasons for supporting his amendment, and therefore I shall vote against it.
Question - That the words proposed tobe added, be added - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … …9
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Bill reported with a further amendment.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania- Honorary Minister). - By leave of the Senate, I propose to advance the Bill as far as it would have been advanced in the ordinary way if the recommittal had not taken place.
– The honorable senator will have to secure the suspension of the Standing Orders.
– I move-
That so much of the Standing Orders be sus pended as would prevent the report from being adopted without delay.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The PRESIDENT announced the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives transmitting a message from the Governor-General, recommending amendments in the Bill relating to the insurance of the lives of children by life assurance companies or societies, together with a copy of such Bill, as presented to the Governor-General for his assent; and acquainting the Senate that the House of Representatives had dealt with the amendments, in which amendments, as amended, it desired the concurrence of the Senate.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill deals with a matter that has engaged the attention of the people of the Commonwealth, more particularly during the past twelve months or so. But although it has only recently occupied the attention of the public very largely, it has been the subject of considerable discussion in the old country, where some of the evils which, the measure seeks to remedy have been in operation to a. much greater extent. The Senate will remember that some time ago the Victorian Government appointed a Commission to inquire into the butter industry. That Commission’s inquiries, in the opinion of many persons in the community, necessitated an extension of its scope. Consequently the Prime Minister of the day, Mr. Watson, gave the Commission a Commonwealth scope and function, by making it a Commonwealth Royal Commission. The Commission reported some time ago, and copies of its report were circulated amongst both Houses of this Parliament. On page 32 of the report, reference is made to some revelations made before the Commission during the progress of the inquiry. The effect is that it was disclosed that there have been many cases of men acting as agents who received not only a commission from their own principals in connexion with transactions, but” that they also received payments from the persons with whom they were in contractual relations on behalf of their principals.
– This Bill would not make those Commissions illegal if they were not secret-
– That is so. It. is not necessary for me to burden the Senate by quoting extracts from the
Royal Commission’s report, but I may remark that most of the passages which are germane to the subject will be found on pages 30 and 32, and more particularly under the heading of “Secret Payments to Directors and Officers.” The- object of this Bill is to make illegal the receipt by any agent of such a commission - that is to say, a commission from a person other than his principal, and with whom his principal is in contractual relations through the agent’s action. The Bill does not make it illegal for an agent to receive such a commission if he does it with the knowledge and consent of his principal. Many people were very much shocked at the revelations before the Butter Commission-, and some went to the length of expressing a strong opinion as to the commercial morality of the community. But I think that it can be said that the commercial morality of the community in Australia is at the very least as high as the commercial morality in any part of the world.
– That does not say much for it. either.
– I say that, putting it on the very lowest ground, and I am not saying that in an apologetic sense, because I believe that the revelations, which were regarded as scandalous, characterized not the general body of agents or of the commercial community, but the exceptions. It is for that reason that a Bill of this kind is necessary in connexion with Inter-State transactions, and agencies and commissions arising out of them, and also in connexion with external trade transactions, and agencies and commissions arising out of them.
– Why is it confined to trade and commerce ?
– Because the Constitution limits the scope of our legislative functions to trade and commerce with other countries and among the States. The Bill is not expressly confined to trade and commerce, because it also applies to that class of cases where persons may be acting on behalf of the Government in one or other of its instrumentalities. The object of the Bill, therefore, is to prevent a recurrence of pernicious practices for the protection of a large body of men in the commercial community - agents and others - who have been considerably prejudiced by the practices of those who have been responsible for grave scandals. If it is possible ir? many instances, say where a party is acting as agent, to receive a commission on both sides, then it is obvious that, in the long run, the consumer - that is, the general public - has to pay for the additional commission. So that the Bill is for the protection of the public, as well as for the protection of the large body of the trading community, who are desirous of being honest, but who have found1 that in acting honestly they have been acting largely to their own pecuniary detriment by comparison with those whose practices and actions we desire to make illegal. Commissions of this character, I repeat, will not be illegal if they are made with the full knowledge and consent of the agent’s principal. The evidence given before the Butter Commission revealed that in many instances these commissions - whether by way of payment of money, entertainment, or otherwise - were given secretly. There was also an unwillingness on the part of the recipients when before the Butter Commission to admit having received them ; and in instances where money had passed there was evidence to show that they were’ very careful to avoid taking or passing any document in the nature of a receipt. All these circumstances tended to show that there was a consciousness on the part of the parties to the transactions that they were doing a thing which, if not strictly legally wrong, was undoubtedly morally wrong. In these circumstances, it is desired to prevent this corrupt practice, and the Bill, I think, will attain that object. It will be noticed that in the definition clause “ agent “ includes corporations and firms, and persons belonging to corporations or firms acting in the capacity of agents, partners, factors, brokers, servants, trustees, or directors; in other words, persons acting in a fiduciary capacity.
– Will lawyers come within that definition?
– If they are in the position of agents, undoubtedly. Then, “‘consideration” is given an extensive definition, which provides that it shall not merely include payment of money, but also cover cases of discounts, commissions, rebates, bonuses, deductions, and percentages, as well as employment, because that may be a consideration extended to a man which may have as its object and its effect the inducing of him to be false to his principal. Definition is also given to “full knowledge.” Clause 4 provides that any person who accepts or obtains or agrees or offers to accept or gives or agrees to give, or offers to an agent any gift or consideration as an inducement or reward to, in fact, be false to his principal, shall be guilty of an indictable offence, and a penalty is provided therefor. Then in the case of false accounts given to or received or used by agents, it is provided that it shall also be an indictable offence, and a penalty is provided which will cover the case of either an individual or a corporation. Another class of cases which has been met is that of an agent who is commissioned by a principal to sell goods, but who sells them to himself, and then deals with his principal as if he had sold them to a third person undisclosed. It is quite competent, of course, for an agent who has received a commission from a principal to sell or buy goods to or from a third person, whose name is undisclosed, unless the principal desires that it shall be disclosed. But if an agent, so far as his principal is concerned sells to or buys from a third person undisclosed, when, as a matter of fact, that person is himself, and he receives and accepts a commission in fraud of his principal, it is provided that that also shall be an indictable offence, punishable as stated.
– Will it apply to transactions in stocks and shares?
– It will apply to any Inter-State trade and commerce within the limit of our legislative power. According to clause 2 -
This Act applies to trade and commerce with other countries and among the States, and to agencies of and contracts with the Commonwealth or any Department or officer thereof.
What the term “ trade and commerce “ may include will, I submit, for a long time, in accordance with the development of ordinary transactions between man and man, remain a question which cannot be accurately defined. I do not think that any one, either here or elsewhere, can precisely delimit what is ordinarily known as “trade and commerce.”
– Would it include a land agent?
– I am not prepared to enter into a consideration of such questions. The Bill exercises to the full extent the power which we enjoy under the Constitution.
– The Minister said just now that it applies to merchandise only.
– No ; I said that it applies to trade and commerce with other countries and among the States. We adopt the words of our legislative power under the Constitution, and exercise the power to its fullest extent. Where trade and commerce ends and transactions of another character begin will always be a matter for determination by the Court, according to the particular cases which may arise. A very important provision is made in regard to secret gifts to agents - that is to say, gifts given without the knowledge of the principal. In the case of transactions where an agent is acting for the principal, the latter can recover the amount or the money value thereof from either the former or the donor. It is also provided that no conviction or acquittal of an agent in respect of the illegal practice of which that gift is the pledge shall be any bar to proceedings on the part of the principal to recover the gift or its money equivalent. It is provided that no person shall be excused in any civil or criminal proceeding from answering any question, or from making any discovery of documents, on the ground that it would tend to criminate him; in other words, that he shall not be protected from answering questions which have for their object the eliciting of information which would go to show that he has received a secret commission in contravention of the Act. It is also provided that if a man does give an answer which would ordinarily tend to criminate himself, it shall not be admissable in evidence against him in any criminal proceeding other than a prosecution for perjury. It is obviously necessary that there should be an exception made in the case of perjury, because a witness might make a false answer, and in order to prove its falsity it would have to be put in evidence. He is not protected from giving answers that would criminate him, but, so far as his answers are concerned, they cannot be given in evidence against him, except in a case of perjury. If he were prosecuted, the thing which he admitted would have to be proved by independent testimony. Clause 9 provides that in any civil or criminal proceeding under the Act, it shall not be lawful for evidence to be brought forward to show that the receipt of a commission or gift is customary in the tr-de. The ordinary provision ‘is made for making aiders and abettors practically guilty of the offences which they have aided and abetted, and every information has to be on oath. The Bill will be found to be very comprehensive. It deals with all classes of commissions, monetary or otherwise. It deals not only with commissions given directly to an agent, but also with commissions given in contravention of the law to some other person at the request of an agent. In many instances an agent may not directly receive the commission, whether it be money, or employment, or discount, or rebate, or bonus. It may be given to his wife, or to his father, or to his child. In order that he shall not escape from liability, it is provided that that act shall be just the same as the giving of a commission directly to an agent. I think it will be found that the Bill gives effect to the principles which were decided upon at the Premiers’ Conference, held in Hobart in February last, when it was resolved that the different States should introduce legislation to deal with secret commissions.
– How many of the States have legislated?
– So far as I know, only Victoria has legislated. A discussion on this matter is reported at page 120 of the proceedings of the Conference. Mr. Swinburne said -
I desire to bring under notice the advisableness of legislation being enacted by the Federal Government to deal with secret commissions. I understand that a Bill is being prepared in England in reference to this subject, but it has not yet become law, and the urgency for such legislation is disclosed by the revelations made by the recent Butter Commission.
After a discussion, in which Mr. Carruthers, Sir George Turner, and Mr. Reid took part, it was agreed -
That each State Government bring in a Bill dealing with secret commissions, and that the Premier of Victoria be asked to draft such Bill.
To cover cases which may not come within the jurisdiction of any individual State, this Bill deals with agencies and commissions in respect of Inter-State and external commerce. If the other States follow the example of Victoria and pass legislation on the lines agreed to at the Conference, the evil, so far as it exists in Australia, will be remedied. I ask the Senate to give the Government every assistance in passingthe Bill into law.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 anr] 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
In this Act - “ Agent “ includes any corporation, firm, or person employed by or acting … on behalf of any other corporation, firm, or person, whether as agent, partner, factor, broker, servant, trustees, director, or in any other capacity. . . .
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).Will the word “agent” include a stock and share broker who purchases stocks and shares for a client in another State?
– That depends on whether the transaction between the parties is regarded as a matter of trade or commerce. In my opinion, though I am not speaking advisedly, the transaction will not be regarded as a matter of commerce, though it may or may not be regarded as a matter of trade. That is a question which will eventually have to be decided, in the case of a difference of opinion, by a judicial determination. We have taken the fullest powers under the Constitution, in so far as they, relate to trade and commerce, Inter-State and external, and the Bill is made applicable to all transactions of an agency character. If a party to any transaction thinks that the Bill has no application thereto, and proceedings are taken, he may raise that point on his defence.
– This seems to be happy-go-lucky legislation.
– We cannot do anything else under the circumstances.
– Surely such a transaction is a commercial matter?
– That is a point to be decided.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 -
Any person who, without the full knowledge and consent of the principal, directly or indirectly . . gives or agrees to give or offers to an agent of the principal . . . any gift or consideration . . . shall be guilty of an indictable offence.
Penalty : In the case of a corporation, Five hundred pounds; in the case of any other person, two years’ imprisonment, or Five hundred pounds, or both.
– There appears a great disproportion between the penalty proposed to be inflicted when the offender is a corporation and when he is an individual.
– We cannot imprison a corporation.
– I am aware that a corporation is said to have neither soul *o be damned nor body to be kicked. But if we are to make a difference, my in clination is to regard the corporation with less favour, and, as we cannot imprison a corporation, we might make the money penalty greater in its case than in the case of an individual, who may have to suffer a term of imprisonment in addition.
– Could guilty directors or executive officers not be imprisoned?
– That may be so, but I do not know. I made the suggestion, thinking that the Minister might have some good reason to urge against it.
– I know of none.
– I move -
That the words “ Five hundred,” lines 7 and S, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ One thousand.”
Amendment agreed to.
– In the case of a corporation being mulcted in a penalty of £1,000 could guilty directors, for instance, be proceeded against as “ other persons,” and fined and imprisoned? If a corporation be found guilty of an offence, it is certain that some of the officials must have been the principals in the guilt, and it strikes me that some confusion may arise on the point I have indicated.
– Each case will, I suppose, be determined by the particular circumstances. It might happen that directors we’re personally guilty of a contravention of the Act, or that, apart altogether from being personally guilty, they had induced other directors or members of the corporation to do’ or refrain from any act that would amount to the corporation participating. In the latter case, I think the corporation could be held to be guilty, and that the particular directors who had been guilty of what may be called the overt act, might also be personally and individually responsible.
– We ought to make it perfectly clear that they are personally liable.
– I think it is clear that such directors or officials might be dealt with as “persons,” quite apart from the corporation. For instance, one or two directors on a board of seven might propose to give a certain concession in contravention of the Act. and, in such case, they would be guilty of offering secret commissions. If the action were taken with the aid of the funds of the corporation, and with the sanction and authority of the other directors, they would also be responsible corporately.
– That would probably be so if it were not for the wording of the clause.
– I think such officials could be prosecuted.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 5 and 6 consequentially amended and agreed to.
Clauses 7 and 8 agreed to.
Clause 9 (Evidence).
– The Minister might explain the meaning of this clause, under which it appears to be possible that punishment may be meted out to innocent persons.
– I think not. The only effect the clause will have will be that, in the event of any person being prosecuted for giving or offering or receiving or offering to receive a secret commission in contravention of the Bill, he shall not be permitted to raise as a defence that although a secret commission is forbidden by the law, yet it has been the custom in his particular calling or trade for men to receive double commissions. I presume that Senator Pulsford has in mind cases where double commissions are customary. It would not be sufficient to prove under this clause that it was customary; but if it were proved that it was not only customary, but was clone with the knowledge and consent of the principal, that would be quite a sufficient bar to the operation of the Act as regards that particular transaction. But custom without the knowledge and assent of the principal would not be a sufficient defence. If it could be proved that the practice was so far customary that the knowledge and assent of the principal might be proved or implied, the commission passing would not be a secret commission within the meaning of the Bill. To prove mere custom apart from these inferences would not be a sufficient defence.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses10 and11, and title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ message) :
Clause 21 (Restrictions on intoxicants and opium).
Senate’s Amendment. - Leave out clause, and insert the following new clause in lieu thereof : - “ Intoxicants may be purchased imported into manufactured and sold in the Territory only by the Lieutenant-Governor or by officers duly appointed in that behalf and under regulations and conditions to be prescribed by the LieutenantGovernor relating to the purchase importation manufacture and sale thereof.
No person other than as provided in the immediately preceding paragraph shall import into manufacture or sell in the Territory any intoxicants.
Penalty : One hundred pounds.
Intoxicants for the purposes of this section shall mean any wine spirits ale beer porter cider perry or other spirituous or fermented liquor of an intoxicating nature.”
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment to leave out clause 21 agreed to, but the proposed new clause disagreed to, and the following clause agreed to in place thereof, viz. : -
Provided that it shall not be an offence under this sub-section for any person, for any urgent cause or necessity (the burden of proof whereof shall rest upon him) to administer intoxicating liquor to a native for purely medical purposes and without recompense or remuneration.
Senator PLAYF ORD (South AustraliaMinister of Defence). - This Billhas had a very unusual history. It was introduced in the first place on the 23rd July, 1903, by Sir Edmund Barton. On that occasion the second reading was carried, but the Bill was not passed by the House of Representatives. On the 13th July, 1904, Mr. Hughes, as Minister of External Affairs in the Watson Government, introduced the Bill, but the Government of which he was. a member went out of office before it was carried through. Then it was taken up by Mr. Reid, and was passed through the House of Representatives. The second reading of the Bill was moved in the Senate in 1904 by Senator Symon. There has been no trouble between the two Housesin connexion with the Bill, except on one point. As passed by the House of Representatives the Bill contained a provision for the total prohibition of the sale or disposal of intoxicants and opium. It provided that intoxicants should not be imported, manufactured or sold, or otherwise disposed of, in the Territory except practically for medicinal purpose. The Senate struck out that provision, and inserted a clause for Government control of the liquor traffic. The prorogation took place before the Bill could be finally passed, and it has since been revived in the House of Representatives at the stage which it had reached last session when the prorogation took place. A further alteration has been made in connexion with intoxicants, the House of Representatives having provided for local option. Three stages have been gone through during the time the Bill has been before Parliament. It has successively provided for prohibition, Government control, and local option.
– That is so. After inquiries made from those who have some knowledge of the Territory, it was recognised that it would be impossible to properly regulate the liquor traffic in the Territory under Government control. There are only a few Government officials in the Territory, and at the present time, with the exception of two hotels, the liquor licences, which number twenty, are held by storekeepers, who do not get their living solelyby the sale of alcoholic liquors. The House of Representatives have inserted a new clause providing for local option. In the first sub-clause of this clause it is provided that -
After the commencement of this Act, licences shall not be granted In the Territory in excess of the number of licences in existence at the commencement of this Act.
The local option provided for, therefore, cuts but one way. Local option is given to decrease, but not to increase, the number of licences granted in the Territory. The question was debated at considerable length in the House of Representatives, and it was decided that there was not sufficient reason for permitting an increase in the number of licences. It was held that, if there were movements of the white population in the Territory, rendering a change necessary, some of the licences already in existence might be transferred to convenient localities. For the purpose of giving effect to the local option provided, the adult white people, who number 400 or 500, are to be deemed to be the people of the Territory, or divisions, as the case requires, and the times and manner of taking a poll, and of giving effect to the decision arrived at by the poll, are to be as directed by Ordinance, which, under other portions of the measure, the Governor-General in Council is authorized to issue. Very stringent provisions are provided to prevent the supply of intoxicants to the natives. I have here many statements from persons who have a knowledge of the natives of New Guinea, and they all agree that the natives do not take kindly to drink. The number who take drink is very small, and is comprised almost entirely of men who have been with the pearling fleets at Thursday Island, and have thus acquired the habit. I recollect that Sir George Le Hunte told me that on one occasion, when he had to be away from his residence for several months, he left a decanter of whisky on his table, and it remained untouched by the native boy left in charge. That could not have been said if an Australian aboriginal had had the run of the cupboard in the same way. The provision made to secure the prohibition of the supply of intoxicating liquor to the natives is very explicit. lt is contained in sub-clause 7, and is as follows : -
No person shall supply to any native by sale, gift, or in any other way, either directly or indirectly, any intoxicating liquor, and any person offending against the provisions of this sub-section shall be liable on conviction in a summary manner to a line of not less than £20, and not exceeding ^200, and to imprisonment for any term not less than one month, and not exceeding two years.
The next sub-clause provides that it shall not be lawful for any native to have intoxicating liquor in his possession, and in the event of a contravention of this provision the liquor mav be seized, and the native punished. Opium is not mentioned in the Bill as amended. In the measure which we previously had before us it was mentioned. The reason for the omission is that it is intended by the Government to bring in a Bill to deal with the question of the importation of opium separately. That Bill will be made to apply to New Guinea. The question is under consideration, and Parliament will be called upon to deal with the question next session, either by regulating the opium trade in a more drastic manner than we do now, or by prohibiting the introduction or manufacture of opium in the Commonwealth, except for medicinal purposes. In lieu of the principle that the Senate adopted of establishing Government control over the liquor traffic - which was debated ali great length in another place; in fact, it was 3.30 one morning before the Bill got out of Committee - a carefully thought-out scheme has been prepared. The clauses .now proposed have been passed by a large majority. I think we can say that the proposal of the other House is a very fair compromise between what we inserted in favour of Government control, and what the other House originally inserted relating to prohibition. I therefore move -
That the House of Representatives’ amendment be agreed to.
– When this question was last before the Senate, I, amongst others, strongly supported the prohibition clause, which had been placed in the Bill by another place; and I wish to say at once that I am as strongly in favour of absolute prohibition in British New Guinea as I was in the past. But I have come to the conclusion, as the result of my second visit to the Possession, and after the most careful inquiries there, that the means which I was the first to suggest to attain prohibition would not prove effective. I would even go further than that, and say that a provision in favour of legal prohibition would be likely to cause an aggravation of the evil - if evil there is - which is said to exist at present. In other words, I am forced to the conclusion, as the result 6t my inquiries in British New Guinea, that legal prohibition would really amount to illegal profusion. When I returned from the Possession, after my first trip, I advocated in Parliament, and in the press, that we should institute absolute prohibition ; that we should, in other words, make it illegal to import any intoxicating liquors, except for medicinal purposes. I felt so strongly on the matter that I addressed the annual meeting of the Council of Churches upon it, with the result that a resolution was carried in favour of prohibition. I also spoke at the annual meeting of the Victorian Alliance, and I drafted all the petitions which the Senate received from various temperance bodies in Australia. I thought then that as there was only a handful of whites in British New Guinea, if we imposed prohibition at once, those few would have to sink their own personal feelings in the interests of the larger number of coloured people, and that any whites who went there in the future’ would go on the distinct understanding of the limitations which were imposed upon them in that direction. I admit that I was somewhat staggered when the Minister of External Affairs called for expressions of opinion from British New Guinea, and I found that not only were the official, commercial, and industrial classes, and the white people generally, opposed to absolute prohibition, but that every missionary, with one exception, and every temperance advocate, opposed the proposal as it appeared in the Bill. In a matter of this sort we must, ‘I think, give great consideration to the opinions of the missionaries. It will be readily admitted that they have no ulterior object, and no personal reason for the attitude which they take up. The missionaries have gone to British New Guinea, dedicating their lives to mission work in those fields, and their only object is, and can be, to do what is in the best interests of the natives. I admit that when I read their views, I was led to reconsider seriously the attitude that [ had taken up. I knew that not only were they opposed to prohibition, but that thev had an intimate knowledge of the conditions prevailing there. Some of them, like Dr. Lawes, have lived there for nearly twenty years. They have a thorough knowledge of the natives, and were in a better position to speak on the matter than I was. T recognised that my object in desiring to prohibit the introduction of liquor could not have been a more worthy one than theirs, because they had absolutely the interest of the natives at heart. I resolved On my second visit to British New Guinea to make full and exhaustive inquiries regarding this matter for my own information, and to ascertain the reasons of the missionaries for the decision to which they had come. I resolved to ascertain whether their reasons were well founded. I was speaking to a missionary of the Wesleyan denomination in British New Guinea, who was, I think, one of the most strenuous teetotallers I ever met. It might almost be said that he was a fanatical teetotaller. He refused to have liquor kept at the mission-station, even, for use in cases of illness. He said that he would not have the stuff there at all. Moreover, he had been a prominent worker in. the prohibition cause in New Zealand, and was a most enthusiastic friend of the teetotal movement. I may add that he was one of the most earnest and hard-working missionaries in the Possession. I said to him : “ Of course you are in favour of the clause in the Papua Bill prohibiting the importation of liquor into New Guinea.” He informed me that he would be only too thankful if it were possible to secure absolute prohibition, but that a mere legal enactment would probably lead to the illegal importation and manufacture of liquor, and that while we were actuated by the best intentions, we would bring about a result which would be absolutely injurious to the natives. When I was at the Solomon Islands I learnt something which threw additional light on this matter. There is complete free-trade in the Solomons, and consequently liquor is very cheap. You can buy a quart bottle of Hollands gin for is. The traders, when I was there, evinced considerable interest in the prohi- bition movement relating to New Guinea. They said to me : “ How is the prohibition movement getting on? We hope you will carry that clause.” I said : “ The matter has not been absolutely decided yet; we cannot agree upon it.” They said: “We hope you will carry the clause, because we are only a couple of days’ sail from British New Guinea, and we think that there are great possibilities of a very lucrative trade.” When I went inland in British New Guinea - and I tramped some 250 miles through the interior - I began to realize the motives which actuated the traders. I visited all the principal mining camps. The miners told me at once, without any equivocation, that if the Parliament of the Commonwealth differentiated’ between them and the people of the Commonwealth - if it denied them the right to purchase liquor locally, and at the same time retained the full right for the people of Australia to purchase and consume it - they intended, if They could not import liquor surreptitiously, to make it. It is useless for us to say, if we know the conditions prevailing, that it is impossible for them to obtain liquor illicitly. I do not believe that it is possible- -at any rate there is the greatest difficulty about it - to smuggle liquor into the inland mining camps, because goods have to be carried inland on the backs of natives, and it is quite easy for the officials to examine the packs, and to see if they contain liquor. But the statement of the miners that they would make it is one that they could easily carry into effect. There is no difficulty in that country in carrying on illicit distillation. When one travels inland one goes, perhaps, for seventy or 100 miles, and finds only a little nest of white people carrying on their mining avocations on the banks and in the beds of auriferous rivers, surrounded by hundreds of miles of primeval forest, by the densest jungle and scrub, and mountains and ravines. It was perfectly evident to me that there could be twenty stills in. the space of a few miles without the Government officers knowing anything about them. On most of these mining camps there are two Government Officers - a resident magistrate and an assistant resident magistrate, or two assistant resident magistrates. In a place like the Yodda gold-field, or at a mining camp like Maclachlan’s Creek, which the Government officials, perhaps, do not visit more than once in twelve months, it was perfectly evident to me that, whilst smuggling over- land would be difficult, the manufacture of liquor would be quite simple. The sinister aspect of the matter is this: That in British New Guinea manual work is all done by native labour; or at any rate by whites assisted by the natives, the native population being indentured to work for them. If these illicit stills were brought into operation, the natives would undoubtedly be employed in the manufacture of liquor, and they would learn to manufacture it for themselves. The natives in British New Guinea, as I think is well known, have the most extraordinary powers of imitation. They can imitate the handy work and industries of white men with the most remarkable facility. If illicit stills are established for the manufacture of liquor, will not the natives be far more likely to get it than they are at present? One has to pay is. a glass for spirits at present, and white people are not likely to waste their money in giving their natives intoxicating drinks at that price. The miners said to me : “ We are quite willing to pay a duty of 14s. per gallon on spirits, and if the importation of intoxicants is permitted, we intend to see that no illicit stills are set up in the Possession.” I do not think that in the Commonwealth there is a body of men more law-abiding than are those miners, if (hey are treated properly. I feel sure that there is not an illicit still in the Possession at the present time, nor will there be one so long as the miners are allowed to purchase their liquor. I am very much afraid that if the importation of liquor were prohibited they would start illicit stills, and it is hard to say to what extent the evil might grow. At all times, the white population have honestly worked together to obey the laws and carry out the requirements of the Government. If the various reports on the Possession be examined, it will be found that the number of crimes by the white population - and they are all recorded - are exceedingly small, certainly as small as, if not smaller, than the number of crimes committed by an equal number of persons in any part of Australia. It is a proud boast that Sir William McGregor was able to go to an island, populated by probably half -a-mill ion Papuans, whose males were trained from childhood to the use of arms, and many of whom were cannibals and head-hunters, and continually at war, and establish a magnificent system of government, and inaugurate a splendid era of development without introducing one white soldier. Pie converted the wild natives into armed constabulary, not only to maintain law and order among their own people, and to carry out the decrees of the Government, but also to protect the lives and the properties of white men. That is a very proud boast for a legislator and administrator, but that grand result could not have been achieved unless Sir William McGregor had had the loyal and honest .support of the white population’. The success of the Government has teen the result of the influence of prestige. The prestige of the white population - a little handful of 500 persons - enables them to govern a country in which the natives are a thousand times as numerous. The white men have loyally stood together ; practically no white men have been law-breakers, and, therefore, the Papuan’ has a deep-rooted conviction of the almost omnipotence of the white people. If we were to bring about a condition of affairs which led to a large number of the white population setting at defiance the laws made, and endeavoured to be enforced, by the Government, it would bring the natives practically into revolt against constituted authority, and the result would be that, having connived with the whites in breaking the laws, they would lose their present high opinion of the white population. Having travelled through the Possession, and seen the conditions in the adjacent islands, the only honest course I could adopt was to at once change my opinion, and at the first possible opportunity to acquaint the Senate with my reasons for so doing. When I saw Captain Barton, the Acting Administrator, on my return, I told him that as the result of my visit I had changed my opinion, and that when the question came before the Senate again I would state the reasons therefor, and vote against the very clause which I had previously advocated. I admit that the natives in the eastern division have no taste for liquor; they do not like liquor, and I sincerely hope that that will always be the case. But I am bound to say that the natives in the western division, who are ethnically divergent from the eastern race, and many of whom drink a native liquor called “ kava,” readily acquire a liking for European spirits. When they get on to the pearling fleets and go to Thursday Island, there is a very great danger of them becoming fond of liquor. If th’ey do they will smuggle it into the Possession when they come back to their villages after being discharged from the boats. Unfortunately, the boundary of Queensland was extended by a Federal Council Act to the boundary of British New Guinea. The island of Saibai is only two miles from the Papuan coast, but it is Queensland territory. It is competent for the traders to go to the island and import liquor, and thence it can be smuggled into Papua. The Resident Magistrate had to make quarantine and Customs laws and regulations applicable as between the island and the mainland, because liquor was being, smuggled across. That has resulted in a great hardship to the natives, because they go to the island for fishing purposes and other reasons. Their plantations are on the mainland ; they go backwards and forwards, and there are great disabilities put in their way. As a mere matter of administration, I would not allow Papuans, who are indentured to the pearling fleets, to land at any point in Australia. Their head-quarters are at Daru. From there the fleets are working on the Warrior Reef and at other places where they can get pearl-shell. If they were not allowed to go to Thursday Island, and the pearling luggers were not permitted to carry intoxicating liquors, this could be provided against, because there would be no clanger of the Papuans engaged in the industry acquiring the liquor habit. During my last visit to the Possession two persons were fined1 .£50 each for supplying liquor to western natives who were engaged in the eastern district. The officials use the greatest vigilance to keep the liquor from the natives, and impose extremely heavy penalties when they find that the law has been evaded in any way. This proposal is, as Senator Playford has stated, on the most advanced lines of the teetotal vanguard in Australia. We have even added a proviso which they have not advocated, namely, that no new licences shall be allowed. That is a provision which I think will work well. The white people will have the opportunity, not only collectively, but in districts, of refusing licences whenever they desire or at stated periods. In view of the fact that prohibition was insisted upon by the Senate and refused by the other House, the latter, in consequence of later information, has done well, I think, to yield on the point. I sincerely hope that, inasmuch as this modus vivendi has been arrived at, the Senate will allow the Bill to pass, so that the responsibility of this
Parliament for the stagnation and inertia in the Possession shall not be prolonged. Undoubtedly the fact that this Bill has been hung up for so long a period has injuriously affected the interests of the Possession. If it be passed this session I sincerely hope that it will usher in an era of prosperity, and that the position of the Possession will be very much better than it has been during the short time it has been under the control of the Commonwealth.
– It was on my amendment that the Senate last session introduced the principle of State ownership in lieu of prohibition. I am still strongly of opinion that State ownership is the best method of dealing with the liquor question, both in Australia and in Papua. But I recognise that we have to compromise on this matter, as on many others, and that the Bill contains many principles which it is absolutely necessary should become law as soon as possible. I do not intend to fight for the principle of State monopoly when it would mean withholding the grant of a Constitution to the Possession. I cannot resist the temptation of saying that last session Senator Smith took up an attitude which he has not yet explained away. This afternoon he has told us that, as a result of his later visit, he has altered his ideas as regards the circumstances of the Possession.
– I am still in favour of prohibition, but the method I proposed would be ineffective and injurious.
– That was not the ground on which the honorable senator opposed my amendment last session. It was not opposed merely because of his experience of the Possession, and that fact, I believe, won for him the support of a large number of honorable senators, who attributed to him a local knowledge which they did not possess. Dealing with my proposal, he said, at page 7916 of Hansard -
Senator Pearce, who is undoubtedly actuated by that desire, states that he has been a life-long teetotaller, and I am sure no one is more desirous of promoting temperance in the community than he is. But he seems to me to have advanced a most extraordinary proposition, and one which on analysis is seen to be altogether untenable. It is a negation of the whole policy of government in British New Guinea, and an absolute negation of the system which we are laying down.
Senator Smith then went on to deal with the question of prohibition. The visit of that honorable senator did not in any way alter the circumstances in the Territory. I refer to this matter simply because the honorable senator singled me out for attack, not on the ground of my want of local knowledge, or his superior knowledge of New Guinea, but on the ground that I was opposed to what he believed to be the fundamental principle of government in connexion with a place like New Guinea. It is strange that Senator Smith should have changed his opinion, and have given us no reasons for the change.
– I regard the present proposal as a compromise which we ought to adopt.
– I am not even now convinced that the Government could not safely undertake the manufacture and sale of liquor in New Guinea. .The advantage of the present proposal of the House of Representatives over the last proposal is that there will not be the inducements to smuggle or illicitly manufacture drink that there would be if we imposed prohibition on an unwilling community, or a community which had not been; consulted. To me. as a teetotaller, it seemed then, and it seems now, altogether unfair to force on those people what we are not prepared to ask the people of Australia to accept. On the mainland we have not yet gone so far as to propose a general local option appeal ; and yet we are prepared to force on New Guinea absolute prohibition. The House of Representatives has struck a happy via media in abandoning their prohibitionist proposals, and, while refusing to accept State monopoly, introducing local option. New Guinea is a mineral country, where, owing to the discovery of rich gold-fields, there may be, at any time, a rapid growth of population. There are now twenty-two licensed houses, and it can readily be imagined that a mineral discovery of any magnitude might result in a large increase of white residents. In such cases, those licences would confer very valuable monopolies.
– We can legislate again.
– That is our safeguard. I brought this point under the attention of the Prime Minister, and he informed me that the licences in New Guinea hold good only, from year to year. It appears that under the New Guinea Ordinance, these licences are not even so permanent as those on the mainland, but may be revoked at any time, without any reasons being given. Under the circumstances, there is always the power vested in the Government to take over the liquor business ; and, therefore, I do not intend to submit the amendment which I indicated, providing that the licences should hold good only from year to year. I trust that, in voting for the proposal now before us, it will not be thought I am in any way abandoning my principles. I support it because I recognise the absolute necessity of giving a Constitution to the Territory.
– The decision arrived at bv another place may, I think, be at once accepted by the Committee. There is one point, however, on which I should like a little information. Senator Playford informs us that there are 500 white settlers in New Guinea.
– There are 570 white settlers.
– I am informed, further, that there are five divisions in the Territory ; and it may fairly be assumed that one or two of the divisions contain a considerable proportion of the population, while the others are only sparsely settled.
– Nearly all the settlers are in three divisions.
– In some of the divisions, therefore, the holding of a poll would be almost ludicrous.
– As two-thirds of the inhabitants have to petition for a poll, I do not think any application will be made in the cases referred to.
– I am content to accept the proposal of the House of Representatives, and I believe that, with’ efficient government in New Guinea, difficulties will be met as they arise.
– I congratulate the Government on the support they are giving to the amendment made by another place. I also desire to congratulate Senator Smith on the moral courage he has displayed in confessing that his second visit to New Guinea has opened his eyes more, perhaps, than he anticipated. Personally, I have had a good deal of communication with New Guinea, and all through the discussions on this measure I have differed with Senator Smith. I was always afraid that if we adopted total prohibition, smuggling would become rampant, and I have seen no reason to change my opinion. I presume that there would be no difficulty, under local regulations, in transferring licences from one district to another, according to the movements of population ; and under the circumstances 1 quite approve of the amendment.
Senator STEWART (Queensland).There is one point on which I should like some information. When the measure was last before the Senate, Senator Smith gave notice of an amendment providing for elective members of the Legislative Council ; and I want to know whether it is competent at this stage to make any proposal dealing with that body.
–.! made the inquiry myself,, and ‘was told that it is not competent; otherwise, I should have proceeded with my amendment.
– This appears to me to be a most deliberate attempt to tie the hands of the Committee. I should rather see the Bill go by the board than have it leave the Chamber with such a damning blot as no provision for elective representation on the Legislative Council. Is it not scandalous that the Senate, which is elected bv the people, should seek to impose on the residents of New Guinea a Constitution which deliberately withholds from them any share in the government of the country ?
– I hope the honorable senator will not pursue that topic any further, because the amendment before us deals with a different matter.
– I am merely asking for information. If we cannot deal with that aspect of the question, I do not desire the Bill, and will throw every obstacle I can in the way of its passing.
– We are not dealing with the Bill, but with an amendment. The honorable senator must confine himself to the question.
– That is not worthy of Senator Playford. Does the honorable senator imagine that I do not see through his remark? I know what is before the Committee; but when this immediate point has been disposed of, we shall be told we cannot discuss the measure any further. I do not desire to see the Bill passed, unless the Senate has an opportunity to give a decision on the point I have indicated. If an amendment of the kind is defeated I shall be satisfied, but I cannot be satisfied unless an opportunity for discussion is afforded. If I cannot discuss this aspect of the question,
I oan discuss another; and I should like ar» expression of opinion from the representative of the Government.
– I am in favour of the amendment which has been adopted by the House of Representatives. At first I was a strong advocate of prohibition, but, after looking into the statistics and making inquiries, I find that that remedy would be worse than the disease ; and I regard the present proposal as a ‘ fair compromise. I think, however, that one licence to every twenty-three persons is excessive. It is not likely that the white population of New Guinea will increase to any great extent.
– The question of the number of licences may be left to the people themselves.
– At present I think the number of licences is excessive; but I approve of the amendment.
– This. Bi’ll has been very much delayed, and there is very naturally an outcry from press and people that we should give a Constitution to our new Territory. Owing to the delay, and to the plea of urgency, it .appears that this Bill is to be pushed through without sufficient’ consideration. I am not in favour of the compromise suggested, but it would lie hopeless to vote against it, seeing that some of those who were our leaders in the matter of temperance reform have changed their opinion. I have no sympathy, however, with a proposal to confer local option on the 500 white residents of New Guinea, of whom not more than 250 are men, when we have to consider the well-being of the 300,000 or 400,000 blacks.
– There are very few white women in New Guinea.
– Senator Walker informs me that there are 150 white women there, and adding to them the children, there cannot be more than 250 white men. It is neither right nor democratic to give 200 or 300 men the control over such an important matter as the licensing law in a country like New Guinea.
– Is it democratic to deny them a voice in the matter?
– I am not sure that they should not have a voice in the matter, but, at any rate, thev ought not to have a controlling voice. Senator Smith made a very interesting speech, but I think he will forgive me for saying that he did not show sufficiently strong reasons for his change of opinion. I quite admit that the honorable senator has honestly changed his opinion, and I think that when he did so he must have been face to face with some of the miners in the wilds of New Guinea. It is very natural that the honorable senator should have realized their hardships, and listened to their contention that they should not be treated differently from other communities in the Commonwealth.
– I never told one of the miners I had changed my views.
– The honorable sena-. tor could have spoken to only a handful of the white residents, and I do not think that the honest convictions of those men are such as the honorable senator represented them to be, according to the reports of the interviews he had with them. Am I to understand that the white miners of New Guinea are so anxious to have their tot of grog two or three times every day that they are prepared to put an one side the interests of 400,000 natives ? I am sure that, if we asked the first 200 or 300 men whom we might meet outside of this Chamber whether they would be prepared to sacrifice their grog for the purpose of preserving 400,000 black people from Infinite misery, they would be found quite ready to do so. I do not like this compromise. The great evil of The drink traffic is the element of personal gain dependent on the quantity of liquor sold. We have a splendid opportunity in starting the government of this new Territory, by adopting a system of Government control, to eliminate the element of personal gain. While it continues to operate, we can never hope to have anything like a proper licensing law. It appears to me to be contrary to common sense that, in these days of advanced civilization and wide information as to the benefits of temperance, after months and years have been spent in the consideration of this Bill, we should have failed to grapple with the -eai evil, and should have to adopt this compromise. I am unable to see why we could not have applied Lord Grey’s scheme in the Territory. It has been practically applied in Western Australia, where two public-houses are carried on under the control of the Government, and the element of personal gain has been eliminated. The Western Australian Government have appointed officers to manage these hotels just as they would appoint officers to manage a post-office. They give them fixed salaries, and, while they allow nothing in the way of commission on intoxicating drinks, they give a high commission on beds, meals, and all non-intoxicating drinks supplied. We are told that Government control of the traffic is impracticable ; but I point out to the Committee that the question is one of vast importance to the Commonwealth, and we shall never have such an opportunity as is now afforded to try an experiment in the direction of temperance. I am satisfied that, if the compromise suggested is accepted, the Committee will have done a very impotent thing, and I shall be ashamed of it. I derived some little consolation from the statement made by Senator Pearce, that the Prime Minister has looked into the Ordinances, and is of opinion that no question of compensation for loss of any of the existing licences can be hereafter raised.
– Hear, hear.
– I am glad that the Minister of Defence has made a note of the point, because, as surely a? the honorable senator is sitting at the table, there will Le a strong agitation for compensation by every one of the existing licensees who may have to forfeit his licence as the result of the local option provisions. Why should we not put it on the face of the Bill that no compensation shall be allowed, and that the licences shall be from month to month, or year to year? Senator Pearce understands from the Prime Minister that the existing licences are licences at will, and can be withdrawn at will; but I am nevertheless perfectly certain that we shall have a demand for compensation from every existing licensee as soon as he loses his licence. It should not be forgotten that in time to come some of these licences will be of enormous value. Here, again, the new clause is absolutely incomplete, and there is nothing to show whether the existing licences are to continue in existence for all time, or for only a few years.
– The honorable senator forgets that under the clause there can be no increase in the number of licences.
– If we are going to give way to the demand of 200 or 300 white miners in New Guinea, what shall we do five years hence, when perhaps a thousand miners make a demand for the issue of more licences? What is proposed now is no settlement of the question, but merely a stopgap to get the Bill through.
– Any alteration of the law must come before Parliament.
– That is so; but 1 am pointing out that we are now being asked to give way to the demand of 200 or 300 men, and in two years’ time we may have a demand for 500 or 1,000 more publichouses. If twenty-two licences are required for a white population of 400 or 500, how many would be required for a population of 2,000 or 3,000 miners, which might be the number in New Guinea in a few years’ time? I am sorry that Parliament has not decided either upon prohibition or State control. I regret exceedingly that no effort should be made to apply Lord Grey’s scheme in t’he Territory, and avoid the cursed system by which a man is allowed to profit according to the quantity of drink he sells. I ask the Minister of Defence whether the Government have considered the question of taking over the management of the business ? We manage post-offices and Customs-houses bv the thousand, and all that is required for the proper management of hotels under Government control in the same way is the selection of good men as managers. I remind the Committee that twenty-two licences for the existing white population of the Territory represents one licence for every twenty-three people. Is that the way in which the business is to be managed in the Territory in the future? The whole thing is a disgrace, and this Bill will make matters very little better. We are giving the white people at present in the Territory a power which we seem afraid to exercise ourselves, and I say that we have no right to hand over to them the settlement of a question affecting 400,000 natives. I have heard the statements which have been made to the effect that some of the natives of New Guinea have no craving for drink, whilst others have a taste for it; but I place them absolutely on one side in the light of the experience of the whole world. When I am told that there are certain of the natives who have no taste for drink, I ask is it not, after all, a question of opportunity, of encouragement of habit, and of environment ? In a certain environment I suppose that the natives who are said to have a taste for liquor might become teetotallers ; whilst in a different environment those who are said to have no taste for it would become drunkards. We know that as they associate with white men the natives will acquire the white man”s habits and the taste for drink. I suppose that the whole matter is to be handed over to the Lieutenant-Governor and the Executive Council.
– They will have the administration of the Act, and will pass such Ordinances as are necessary to give effect to it. Surely we can trust them?
– I should like to know what meaning will be attached to the expression in sub-clause 5, “ the adult white people.” Will that be held to include women, and wall the white women in the Territory be entitled to vote in this matter ?
– The adult white people will of course include adult women.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).- No doubt Senator Dobson is very sincere in the convictions he entertains om this question, but he has overlooked a very important feature, and that is the difficulty of carrying out prohibition in a tropical country and a thirsty land. I am satisfied that it would be quite impossible to effectively carry out a prohibition law in British New Guinea.
– I was speaking about State control of the liquor traffic.
Senator STEWART (Queensland).- The second sub-clause of the amendment we are asked to agree with reads as follows : -
The number of licences in the Territory may be reduced or licences may be abolished in the Territory in accordance with this section.
The meaning of this provision, so far as I can gather is, that no matter, how much the population increases, the number of licences shall not increase; unless some fresh legislation is passed by the Federal Parliament. As the principle of local option is adopted in the clause, would it not be as well to leave the whole matter in the hands of the people of the Territory ? Would it not be as well to say to them, “ You have power either to increase the number of licences, or to retain them as they stand, or to reduce them.” Instead of that, for some obscure reason, they are deliberately prohibited from adding to the number. If the principle of local option is good at all, it ought to be applied all round. If some new goldfield were discovered in British New Guinea - which is not only possible, but indeed very probable - there, may be a sudden rush of a large number of miners to the locality. Yet no provision could be made to supply them with spirituous liquors, and for the establishment of hotels. This is really a blemish on the Bill. Honorable senators can easily realize what great inconvenience would be caused to a large number of miners, many of them probably new arrivals in the country, if they were unable to get liquor when they wanted it, and were denied the comforts and conveniences which are usually allied with the institution called an hotel. We might, therefore, very well amend the clause in the direction of placing complete power in the hands of the people of the Possession. My object would be met by omitting the words “number of,” thus making the provision read - the licences in the Territory may be reduced or licences may be abolished in the Territory in accordance with this section.
Another important aspect of the question was referred to by Senator Dobson. We have not provided that holders of licences are to be entitled to compensation if deprived of them by the vote of the residents. We ought to have a distinct declaration in the Bill as to the much-vexed question of compensation.
– Why not leave it to the local Parliament?
– There is not a local Parliament in British New Guinea. There is only a nominee Council. But even if the question were left to that body, and it decided that compensation should be paid, who would have to pay it? The local people would have no funds, and an appeal might be made to the Commonwealth. We should then be saddled with payments, in the incurring of which we had no voice. We ought to state clearly upon the face of the! Bill whether persons who are at present holders of licences, and who may be deprived of them bv. the vote of the people, shall, or shall not, be entitled to compensation.
– The honorable senator can best secure his purpose by moving the omission of sub-clause 1. On that we can take a test vote.
– I accept the suggestion, and move -
That sub-clause 1 of the House of Representatives’ amendment be left out.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - It is very important that the Committee should recognise the fact that we are dealing with a Bill for the Government of British New Guinea, and that the whole question is now in danger of being hung up again. We have played with this subject for two or three years. The Parliament of Australia is in danger of showing its utter incompetence to manage a Possession like British New Guinea. If we send this Bill back to the House of Representatives with further amendments at this period of the session, it is almost certain that the measure will not pass, and that the Government of New Guinea will remain in a state of uncertainty. In view of the fact that this special question has been discussed from many points of view, and that the clause with which we are now dealing has been accepted as a compromise, I earnestly ask honorable senators to accept the arrangements made, and to allow the Bill to be passed.
– I support the amendment, and totally dissent from the view of Senator Pulsford! that we must accept a compromise,” whether we think it to be good or bad. I agree that we should compromise wherever possible, but if the compromise offered is not fair, it is not proper to accept it. It is all a question of how far we should go. Senator Pulsford’s threat does not affect my mind, because I should not regret the loss of this Bill very much. I do not think it is a good Bill. I think that the white residents of British New Guinea’ should have some sort of representative Government, and should not be placed under a nominee Chamber. We have evidence of the existence of a bureaucracy in the Possession, and that corruption is rampant amongst the officials. The Bill provides that the Government of British’ New Guinea shall be. retained in the hands of those officials. I know, from correspondence which I have had with miners, that there is a good’ deal of well-grounded dissatisfaction at the methods of the Administration. T hold that it is our duty to pass a Bill which will be acceptable to the people there, as well as to the Commonwealth. A Bill of this character passed by a Parliament working under the most democratic Constitution in the world cannot be satisfactory. I support the amendment, because I do not think that the compromise arrived at is an equitable one. Let me point out that the scheme of local option proposed contains a provision which, in gambling parlance, means “heads I win and tails you lose “ every time. Those persons who are in favour of prohibition or a reduction of licences can demand at any time that a poll shall be taken. But is any machinery provided by which those who want more licences, if necessary, can ask for a public expression of opinion? No. It is very unfair that the prohibitionist should have his own way, and that the other man should have no say. There is no means provided by which the antiprohibitionists can get a new licence issued, no matter how necessary it may be. Every word which Senator Stewart said as to the necessity for new licences is absolutely true. In Australia new gold-fields have attracted very large rushes; big centres of population have,, so to speak, sprung up in a night, and a similar thing may occur in Papua. We have good evidence that it is a country in which auriferous fields are scattered from one end to the other. It is quite possible, therefore, that there may arise twenty or thirty mining centres, to which a large number of persons will go. It has been pointed out over and over again that a little spirituous liquor is exceedingly necessary in a climate of that sort. Some persons may not hold that view. I do not wish to ram ray idea down their throats. They are perfectly welcome to their own view, and to have a fair say in regard to this Bill. But thev must not try to ram their view down the throats of other persons, or to deny them an equally fair say on this subject. I hope that the amendment will be carried.
Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia).I only rise because the Minister has said that the vote on this amendment might be taken as a test vote on the question whether we favoured the clause or not. So far as I am concerned, it will not be a test vote.
– It will only be a test vote on the question whether or not the white population shall have the power to increase the number of licences.
– No, a test vote on the question whether or not we shall accept OCR,1 ( option.
– It is not a question of whether we shall accept local option. Senator Stewart says that the white residents ought to have the right to increase as well as to diminish the number of licences, and the vote will be taken on that point.
– If that is the case I am against Senator Stewart. I understood him to say that the vote on his amendment would be taken as a test vote onhe qquestion whether the Senate would ad here to its own proposal or accept that of the other House. Last year I voted in favour of prohibition, but the Senate, in its wisdom, substituted Government monopoly. I prefer Government monopoly to the proposals which are put forward by the other House. I wish to keep the number of r’-e licences as low as possible, therefore I shall vote against the amendment.
Senator STEWART (Queensland).- By the amendment of the House of Representatives we are asked to place the control of the liquor traffic in Papua in the hands of the white residents, with one reservation, namely, that while the licences may be reduced in number or abolished, they cannot be increased.
– That is one-sided local option.
– It is local option with a limitation. To my mind, it is neither more nor less than an insult to the white residents of Papua.. Practically the Commonwealth Parliament says to them : “ We place in your hands the power to say whether a reduction of licences shall be made, but we shall not trust you to increase their number.” This appears to me, first, to be undemocratic, and, secondly, to be out of harmony with the conditions which are expected to arise there before very long. I should not be at al! surprised to hear of a proposal of this kind being brought forward in a nominee or elective Legislative Council, because class government is the creed of the men who sit in those Houses. But I am astonished that such a proposal should emanate from a purely democratic Parliament. A few years ago the Imperial Parliament placed the fullest powers of self-government in the hands of the people of this Continent. Either we ought to give the white population in. Papua full and unreserved control of the liquor traffic, or we ought not to give them any control of it If thev aire competent to decide whether the licences shall be reduced in number or abolished, surely thev can be trusted to av 1 whether the number ought to be increased. It is exceedingly illiberal to say to these people, “ We give ‘OU S semi-control over theiquor ttraffic.” We will not trust you wholly, bbut only up to a certain point.” I claim that the Senate ought to be democratic above everything, and always keep the fixed principle before its eyes - trust the people fully. It would have been very much better for the
Senate to agree to absolute prohibition rather than adopt a half and half measure. My second objection is that the proposal is not in harmony with probable developments in New Guinea. We ought to make some allowance for expansion. We all hope that within the near future, instead <of 500 whites, there may be 5,000 in the Territory. If the affairs of New Guinea are administered in a liberal and enlightened spirit, and profitable opportunities are afforded for settlement, without interfering with the rights of the natives, I am sure that in a comparatively short period there will be ten times the present population there.
– The population is ten times less now than it was a few years ago.
– That proves that the white population of New Guinea is subject to extreme fluctuation. A few years ago people nocked to a gold rush, but though the gold fever has in a great measure, abated, we do not know when it may break out again. Honorable senators will remember the Palmer rush in North Queensland, when men, women, and children from nearly every State in the Union” flocked there by the thousands, and we know how people jostled each other in their efforts to get to Western Australia in the early days, and also to Klondyke. We do not know when similar conditions may arise in New Guinea; and if we are wise we will provide for any probable expansion. I quite sympathize with those honorable senators who wish to limit the number of licences. Their intentions, I nave no doubt, are most honorable, praiseworthy and humane; but our legislation, if not properly considered, may have an opposite tendency. Why is it proposed that we should reverse the decision we came to last year? Why has Senator Pearce and Senator Smith, the latter of whom is our greatest authority on New Guinea, abandoned the idea of prohibition? Both honorable senators have changed their minds for ‘the simple but very sufficient reason that they have been persuaded that prohibition is unworkable. and will only defeat their own purpose by giving rise to sly-grog selling and smuggling. When other honorable senators and myself suggested to Senator Smith that smuggling was not only quite possible, but very probable, he scorned the idea.
– Smuggling is prevalent there even to-day.
– If it were competent for me to do so, I might refer to the undoubted fact that smuggling prevails to a large extent even at the present” moment.
– Even <;in England.
– And even in Australia. Unless we are pressed for time, I may probably direct the attention of the Senate to this matter when we are dealing with the Estimates for New Guinea. The purpose of the honorable senators whom I have mentioned, in changing their minds, is to promote temperance ; they have realized that absolute prohibition would mean the slygrog shop and the itinerant smuggler. However bad licensed houses may be, the slygrog shop and the illicit still are a thousand times worse, and with those honorable senators, it is a case of choosing the lesser of two evils. I ask honorable senators to realize what the result may be if the people of New Guinea have not the power to increase licences as well as to reduce them.
– I have not changed my opinion.
– But the honorable senator has had to bow to circumstances, and to compromise. I can tell the honorable senator that if I thought prohibition possible I would not consider local option for a single instant; but I think it is not possible. I know that the coasts of British New Guinea are accessible to smugglers, not only from the mainland of Australia, but from other parts of the island of New Guinea itself. I know, also, that if no smugglers plied their trade in New Guinea, illicit stills would be started there. If we cannot altogether prevent the sale of liquor in the Territory, let us regulate it in the best way we can. Where we have houses established under legal sanction, and under Government supervision, we can reduce the evils connected with the liquor traffic to a minimum ; but where we have not licensed houses we have unlicensed houses selling, in many cases, most noxious poisons, and places where all kinds of vice is carried on without let or hindrance, so far as the law is concerned. Not only is drinking practised there, but gambling and many other vices as well. In any case, we are here making laws for an outpost of Australia, for a Territory in which there is, comparatively speaking, a small number of white men “with a large body of natives, and it behoves us to seriously consider every step before we take ‘it. I know that Senator
Pulsford will accuse me of endeavouring to hang this Bill up for another session, and I may possibly be blamed for preventing New Guinea getting a Constitution. I repudiate any share in whatever blame there may be if this question is not now settled. Parliament has been sitting since June last, and, if I do not make a huge mistake, the honorable senator’s own friends in another place are probably more responsible for the late hour at which this measure is being dealt with than are any other’ persons connected with Parliament.
– Could not the honorable senator give us a chance to vote on it?
– I should like to exhaust all the arguments I can possibly bring forward, in the hope that I may be able to persuade honorable senators that to vote for my amendment is the right course for them to adopt. If I did not believe that I was moving, an amendment which, if carried, would improve the Bill, I should not inflict myself upon the Committee for a moment. I should not have assurance sufficient to enable me to lend myself to such a course of procedure. I have been endeavouring, in my own halting fashion, to give reasons to the Committee why I think that, having adapted the principle of local option partially, they should go a step further and adopt it wholly. A thing is worth doing wholly or not at all. I ask honorable senators again to consider the position in which this Bill will place the people of New Guinea, if carried as it now stands. In the event of even a small increase in the population of 100, 200, or 300, the restraints of this measure will be made evident. A new township might be created by a discovery of gold, and the result that would follow would be that we should have a number of sly-grog shops established. They would contribute nothing to the revenue, and yet all the evils associated with licensed public-houses would be practised, with the additional evils which inevitably follow in the train of the sly-grog shop. We have this measure being accepted by men who profess to be ardent advocates of temperance. I am doubtful of their judgment. Why should we not trust the people entirely?
– The honorable senator has said that a hundred times.
– .Continual droppings wear away the stone. I. trust my remarks may have that effect in the present instance. If they do not, they will have been in vain. I again appeal to honorable senators who believe in temperance, and in the Government control of the liquor traffic. Do they not think they are incurring a most serious responsibility whenthey refuse to the people of New Guinea the power to add to the number of licences ? No matter how the population may increase, not one can Be added to the number of licences at present existing. That is a ridiculous position. If we are prepared totrust the people with the control of the liquor traffic, let us do it wholesale, and say to them, “We leave it to you; we trust you ; we think you are competent to do the best that is possible in the interestsof the Territory.” That would be a praiseworthy attitude for the Committee toadopt. But it is absurd to give the people a half-control.
Senator GIVENS (Queensland). - We ought to consider the reasons why the proposals adopted by the Senate last year were not acceptable in another place. The reason why the nationalization of the liquor traffic in New Guinea was not favoured was undoubtedly that the Government were, too cowardly to take the responsibility uponthemselves. The Government is merely the Executive of Parliament, and should not shirk duties-thrown upon it by Parliament. This Parliament was elected by the people for the purpose of enacting legislation. But if all that we hear and all that has been, reported in the press is true, it is not Parliament that is enacting this legislation. It is one or two members of another place, who happen, to have the ear of the Government, and who represent a particular section of the community. They have made a compromise with the Government to override the will of the Senate. Two members of another place earwigged the Ministry, and said, “ We are not prepared to accept the Senate’s decision., and on behalf of a section whom we represent we ask you toaccept this amended proposal.” The Government weakly caved in. They would not agree to the national control of the liquor traffic in British New Guinea, because it was not acceptable to a noisy section of the community outside.
– What section?
– The cold-tea section.. Thev were perfectly within their rights in trying to give effect to their will; but I maintain that they have no right to try onNew Guinea a system which they are not game to try on any other portion of Australia.
– They are game to try it anywhere if they can gel a show.
– Are the members of another place to whom I have referred prepared to make the same proposal applicable to any portion of the Commonwealth? I have talked to a dozen of them, and I have not found one who is in favour of adopting this principle in Australia. One of the most important results of this proposal would be to enhance enormously the value of the present licences in the Possession. Those who are so much in favour of doing away with the liquor traffic, and of taking it out of the hands of individuals, are prepared to make a present of thousands of pounds to a few holders of licences. Owing to the discovery of new gold-fields, and the increase of population, there may be a need for fresh hotels in new centres. There will be no chance under this measure of securing an addition to the number of licences.
– Licence? can be transferred from one part to another.
– -Of course; but that would mean buying out the old licences, and the number is so exceedingly limited that there would be. a corner iri licences, by means of which the present holders would be enabled to exact any terms they chose. So that the result achieved by the advocates of temperance would be that they would make a present of thousands of pound? to holders of licences whom they had previously denounced as no better than licensed poisoners.
– A licence can be removed from one place to another.
– A licence is the property of the holder, not of the Government or the Local Option League.
– At the end of each year it is the property of the Government.
– Will the Minister subscribe to that principle in regard to Australia?
– A licence can be shifted to another place in which there is a large increase of population.
– It would have to be taken from its present holder, or he would have to Le compelled to shift to the new place.
– The probability is that the holder would take the licence to another place.
– If he did, that would leave the old place short of a licensed house, and presumably there are only enough licensed houses there at the present time. If a very big rush were to take place, we might have the twenty licensees rushing to the new gold-field and leaving every other place without a licence. What would be the result of this lop-sided system of local option? Smuggling and sly grogselling would be rampant; in fact, every evil and vice imaginable connected with the abuse of the liquor traffic would be rampant. I held strongly the view that the national control of the importation and sale of liquor was the only means by which the interests of the natives could be properlysafeguarded, and I regret exceedingly that the provision we inserted has been removed from the Bill. It was infinitely better than any system of local option or total prohibition. If the amendment of Senator Stewart be defeated I intend to move an amendment to another cla.use which will provide for a departure in the direction of the national control of the liquor traffic. In every State on the mainland it has been found to be utterly impossible to restrict or safeguard the trade so as to prevent the aborigines from being wholly; demoralized by having liquor supplied to them, not in retail but in wholesale quantities. All these evils will, I think, eventuate under the system proposed for Papua. But if national control were adopted, the evils, if they existed at all, would be reduced to a minimum. I fail to see why this Parliament should try to impose upon’ an outpost conditions which have never been imposed upon or accepted by the people of any portion of the Commonwealth. Why should we compel the people of Papua to be subject to a set of conditions which no persons in Australia have, so far, been subjected to? It seems like an exemplification of the old saying that when- you are ip doubt about the advisability of using any thing, it should be tried on a dog. I do not advocate that. I am not in favour of trying an experiment in this Possession without the full consent of its people, and also without being prepared to try it upon ourselves. What is good for the Commonwealth should also be good ‘for the people of a Territory controlled or governed by it. We should hesitate before we impose upon the people of Papua - a people who live under great disabilities and disadvantages, and who at times endure great hardships - a condition which is not imposed by any law of the Commonwealth or of a State. Everybody knows that the white residents in Papua live under conditions which impose a great deal of hardship. They do not possess nice comfortable houses,, like the people in the Commonwealth. They have not the comforts, sometimes not even the necessaries of civilization, which are within the reach of every person! on the mainland. They take their lives in their hands when they go to the Possession. They go into unexplored country and endure untold hardships. They suffer all sorts of climatic conditions. For days and days they are out in the midst of heavy tropical rains. Yet it is proposed to deny them the opportunity of getting a drop of spirituous ‘ comfort to perhaps ward off the diseases which are incidental to a new country. I know that there is a great difference of opinion on this point. There are persons, including some medical men, who consider, that spirituous liquor is of no use either as a medicine or as a comfort, but I think that the weight of opinion is against that view.
– Most of them take a little,, though.
– All whom I know do. When I was a boy in the old country, a clergyman, who was an ardent temperance advocate, would not touch a drop of liquor as a beverage ; but he would put two glasses of the strongest brandy on his plum pudding. These are some of the methods by which such persons apply a salve to their conscience. I do not mind what they do when it is done at their own expense, but it should not be done at the expense of others. I do not think that there is a person in the Commonwealth who does not desire that the Papuans shall be safeguarded from being demoralized by the illicit supply of spirituous liquors, as the aborigines of Australia have been demoralized and practically destroyed. I think that the supply of spirituous liquors and of opium to the Australian aborigines has been the greatest curse which could possibly have overtaken them, and the whole people of the Commonwealth are largely responsible for it. We have evaded our responsibility in not devising a method by which such a regrettable state of affairs could be obviated. But with that example before us, we should take the strongest measures possible to preserve the Papuans from being de moralized and ultimately wiped out by a. similar curse. How is that to be done? No system of prohibition or local ‘option! will suffice. Either system, strictly applied,, only results in rampant sly-grog dealing. New Guinea has a long coastline, frequented by beachcombers engaged in> island trade or pearl-fishing; and grog, would be smuggled wholesale. The country offers unsurpassed facilitiesfor illicit distillation, away up. the rivers, far from police or departmental control ; and. drink of the vilest character would be supplied to -the natives without restraint. The only proper method to adopt is .national control ; and Senator Stewart is right in asking that the whitepopulation shall be given full power over the traffic. Large numbers of miners are continually going over; to New Guineato prospect, and new gold-fields may be discovered at any moment. To my knowledge, miners often return from New Guinea with their health almost ruined, andthey have told me that their greatest hardship and difficulty is in obtaining the comforts of civilization. All those experienced miners tell us that one of the chief necessaries on a trip, in order toprovide against the evils incidental to the. climate, is a little good spirituous liquor;, and if facilities for obtaining it are not provided, we may, to some extent, block prospecting work. I have no desire te multiply the opportunities for getting, drink, because I recognise the enormousevils which arise from its excessive use. But gluttony is as bad as excessive drinking; and it would be just as logical to provide that, because certain evils arise from the former, nobody should be allowed to eat.. I regard Senator Stewart’s amendment as a very fair compromise. I am preparedto go a long way in order to meet the desires of members of another place, but all the concessions ought not to come from, this Chamber.
Senator STEWART (Queensland). -I was in hopes that some other honorable senator would have thrown fresh light on this very important subject. Honorable senators who have made up their mind to support the Government have not, I am afraid, given the question, the careful consideration it deserves. There is aprovision which absolutely prohibits an increase in the number of licences ; but if the population expands as we hope it will, some change will have to be made in this connexion. As to the population <of New Guinea, we hope that in a very few years, we may there see-
– I do not desire to unduly restrict the honorable senator, but I think he has said that several times.
– I am very much obliged to the Chairman for suggesting that I should be prohibited from proceeding with a line of argument which I think necessary to the unfolding of the position I take up. I would really like to know whether Senator Playford, the leader of the Government, is open to argument. If the honorable senator has made up his mind, then, so far as he is concerned, I need say no more. But there are other honorable senators, to whom I may address myself. Those honorable senators are equally interested, and their votes count for as much as that of the leader of the Government. No doubt I was merely restating something I had referred to before, when I talked about an increase in the population of New Guinea. But this is the bearing it has on the question at issue : If the population increases, and the number of these licences cannot be added to, their value will be very largely enhanced ; and if a time comes when it may be found necessary to deprive one of the existing houses of its licence, so that it may be given to another house in a different portion of the Territory, we shall be faced with a claim for heavy compensation.
– No; it cannot be demanded.
– I remember the time when the question of compensation to publicans was very actively discussed in the old country, more than a quarter of a century ago. The advocates of temperance unanimously maintained that they were entitled to no compensation. They took up what was, from their point of view, a perfectly logical position. They said, and I agreed with them, that the publican’s licence was granted for twelve months only, and at the end of that period the licensee had to come again before the Court for a renewal of it, and the Licensing Court might renew the licence or refuse to do so. If the Court refused to do so, it was contended that the licensee had no claim to compensation. On the other ‘hand, the licensees put their case before the public. They said : “ We have been called upon to spend considerable sums of money in building houses, furnish ing them, making them suitable for public accommodation ; we have paid large sums for the good-will of our businesses ; we have invested our capital in the industry, having full confidence in the sense of justice of the people as a whole ; and to deprive us of the licences, upon the possession of which all our’ capital depends, would be to do us a rank injustice.” That aspect of the question was recognised at our own doors, when, as the result of a local option poll taken in Melbourne, the number of licences in a particular district had to be reduced, a number of the hotels in that district were closed, and compensation was paid in each case. Senator Henderson may be satisfied in his own mind that no compensation would be allowed ; but there is no ground on which to found such a belief. If an hotel in New Guinea is closed by the action of the public, I am as sure as that I am standing here that a claim for compensation will be presented-
– It will not be paid if it is presented. I had it from the Prime Minister only a few minutes ago that the holders of the existing licences would not have the slightest claim to compensation.
– Why should we create a condition of affairs in which not only would compensation be demanded, but large compensation would inevitably have to be paid in case the decision went against the Government?
– They would have no claim to compensation ; the licences are granted on that condition.
– We are, by this Bill, deliberately establishing a monopoly. We refuse to permit the people of New Guinea to increase the number of licences, no matter how the population may grow. A father might just as well say to a child three years of age : “ Here are a pair of boots for you ; you must wear boots of that size until you are twenty-one years of age, and beyond my control.”
– There are licences enough in New Guinea now for twenty or fifty times the present white population.
– If Senator Pulsford had made himself acquainted with the literature published in connexion with New Guinea, he would know that the white population of the Territory is scattered over it in driblets, twenty here, fifty there, and seventy in another place. Broadmindedness should be a characteristic of the people of Australia, and it is disappointing to find narrow-mindedness of the worst description in this Committee. It is proposed that we shall say to the people of New Guinea: “ We trust you, but not wholly. You are fit to reduce the number of existing licences, but not to increase the number.” Perhaps’ I have said this before; but I must repeat that this is insulting to the people of New Guinea. We propose to give them local self-government in the matter of liquor licences, but with a very distinct reservation where there should be no reservation. Either they should be allowed to deal with the question as a whole, or they should not be trusted to deal with it at all. Coming back to the question of compensation, it is idle to assume that the hotelkeepers will not put in claims if they happen to be deprived of their licences. Whatever may have been the feeling twenty or thirty years ago, it is now becoming recognised, more in Australia than Great Britain, that if hotel-keepers are deprived of their licences they must be compensated. And there is some reason on their side. They put up buildings and provide accommodation of a certain character for the convenience of the public. They spend, perhaps, thousands of pounds. Although nominally licences exist only for twelve months, in reality they have come to be recognised as properties. That seriously affects the position before us. We propose deliberately to limit the number of licences in British New Guinea. The inevitable consequence will be to increase the value of those licences.
– I shall be glad if the honorable senator will make a few fresh observations.
– If those remarks are stale, I will try to dig up a few fresh ones. There are other persons to be considered in_connexion with the question of compensation. The employes in hotels may be said to have acquired a vested interest in the industry. Take the barmaid, who lives by dispensing smiles and medicine over the counter to any “Johnnie “ who may come in. Has she no claim to compensation ? I suppose there are barmaids in New Guinea, though I do not know whether they are native or imported. If they are suddenly deprived of their living, surely they are entitled to compensation. Then, again, there are the servants employed in the industry. There are also the brewers, the undertakers, the medical men, and the keepers of lunatic asylums, who are all more or less interested in the hotel business. It is true that the leader of the Government in the Senate has told us that no compensation will be paid in New Guinea. But upon what authority? He says that the Prime Minister has just informed him’. Of what value is the Prime Minister’s assertion in this relation? What does he know about it ? All that any man knows, as far “as I can see at present, is that if there is any interference with the hotels in British New Guinea claims for compensation will have to be met.
– Does the honorable senator seriously advocate the payment of compensation ?
– No, I am opposed to it ; but I am trying to look at the question from both sides of the shield. There is in Australia a very strong feeling in favour of paying compensation to publicans whose licences are taken away. Consider what has happened in Victoria. Compensation is allowed here, and if many more hotels are closed more compensation will have to be paid. . The question has created a crisis in connexion with the Victorian Government. These facts indicate the rocks ahead. My own opinion is that if we wish to avoid these difficulties, or, if it is impossible to avoid them, to minimize them, the way to do it is to place the control of the traffic wholly in the hands of the people, and so allow them to act as they please. By limiting their power, as is proposed, we reserve to ourselves, whether willingly or unwillingly, a certain degree of responsibility. It is giving the people of the Territory a one-sided local option. Unless they are competent they ought not to get full control of this traffic. I ask honorable senators to seriously consider what the result of this clause will be. To my mind it will create a monopoly. It will add to vested interests. It will enormously increase the difficulties of dealing with the question at a future time. I ask them to liberalize the measure by giving effect to the democratic ideal that the people should be trusted fully in matters of national or local government.
Question - That sub-clause (i) of the House of Representatives’ amendment proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
Senator STEWART (Queensland). - I move -
That sub-clause 2 of the House of Representatives’ amendment be amended by adding the following words: - “but in no case shall any claim for compensation be recognised.” It is desirable to place on the face of the measure the mind of the Senate on the question of compensation. Otherwise it may occasion litigation. If it is distinctly stated that no claim for compensation will be entertained, the licensees will know exactly where they stand. Senator Play ford has told us that no such claim will be recognised. If that be the mind of the Government, they ought to have no difficulty in agreeing to my amendment. I expect the Government will accept the amendment, which may, however, require re-drafting in order to put it into proper legal phraseology.
– I am very sorry the Government have not seen their way to stand by the great principle which was embodied in the Bill by the Senate when this measure was last before us. It seems to be evident that mere patch-work legislation, with no underlying principles, is all that is desired by this Government, and under the circumstances we should take care that the measures we pass thoroughly represent the opinion of the Senate.Seeing that the principle of nationalization has been rejected, our next best course is to see that the traffic is rendered as harmless as possible ; and if the amendment now submitted be carried it will prevent any misunderstanding on the question of compensation. The Government havealready declared themselves against compensation, and, therefore, there is no need to debate the proposed amendment at any length.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - The amendment cannot be lightly dismissed. There is a danger that the licences in existence may become of great value, owing to the discovery of new gold-fields, and consequent fluctuations of population. The matter of compensation is governed by the local Ordinances, but we must remember that these Ordinances can be altered by those who issued them. True, this Parliament may disallow any Ordinance ; yet one may be drawn up in such a way as to alter the basis of the present licensing system, and create a good-will which does not at present exist. Under the circumstances it is advisable to make the position absolutely clear.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia - Minister of Defence). - I am assured by the Prime Minister that the licences in New Guinea are granted on the condition that there shall be no claim to compensation. I may have misunderstood the Prime Minister, but I gathered from him that this condition as to no compensation is set forth in the licences themselves ; and, if that be the case, there can be no harm in accepting the amendment submitted by Senator Stewart. Undoubtedly the intention of the Legislature is that no compensation shall be paid.
– I am sincerely glad that the Government accept the amendment, without attempting to discuss the merits or demerits of the right of these licensees to compensation in the event of their licences being taken from them. ‘ The amendment meets with my; entire approval, although I must express the same regret that Senator de Largie has expressed, namely, that the Bill was not returned from the House of Representatives with the precise provision inserted by the Senate. A system of compensation in the liquor trade has never, in any cases within my experience, worked fairly, and my own opinion is that compensation, if any, should not be received, but paid by those interested in the liquor trade, seeing the immense injury that trade has inflicted on the community.
– Acting on the suggestion made by Senator Stewart I have re-draftec the amendment, which should, I think be inserted after paragraph 2, wherein i is provided that a licence may be lostby direct abolition or by a reduction inthe number. The words which I suggest should be added are - but so that no compensation shall be payable in respect of the loss or abolition of any licence hereunder.
– I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Senator Stewart) agreed to -
That sub-clause 2 of the House of Representatives’ amendment be amended by adding the following words : - “ but so that no compensation shall be payable in respect of the loss or abolition of any licence hereunder.”
Senator GIVENS (Queensland)’. - I move -
That the House of Representatives’ amendment be amended by the insertion of the following new sub-clause : - “6a. Within four years from the proclamation’ of this Act the importation and sale of intoxicating liquor shall be made a Government monopoly.”
I belL-ve that one of the chief reasons why the amendment inserted by the Senate last year was not acceptable to another place was that the change proposed from private ownership of hotels, and the right to sell spirituous liquors, to a system of Government ownership and control, to come into force immediately after the passing of the Bill, was considered too sudden. The Government were not prepared at such short notice to adopt so radical a change of policy.
– Is there any constitutional difficulty in the way of the amendment ?
– No. As a Commonwealth we can do as we please in New Guinea. There are no States rights to be considered, and we have complete control 1 of the Territory, without any limitation of our powers of government. The amendment involves an important principle, which received the assent of the Senate last year. I have been told that it is desired that the Bill should be put through this session, and therefore I might very well permit it to go, and have an amending Bill introduced next year to carry out what I and others desire. But if there is any necessity for these amendments, they, should be made now, before the Bill is passed. We have no guarantee that any consideration will be given to the matter next session.
– Why put off till to-morrow what we can do to-day ?
– Can we do this today ?
– I intend to try;, and if honorable senators do not go back upon the principles to which they assented last year, we can do this to-day. I believe that many honorable members in another place will be prepared to accept my amendment, and it is therefore futile to> try to dragoon members of the Committee by saying that, if these amendments are made, we will lose the Bill. If the Government are in earnest in the matter, we run no risk of losing the Bill. I ask the Committee to_ give effect to a principle which received the assent of the Senate last year, and to adopt the only method by which we shall be able to effectually safeguard the interests of the natives of New Guinea, and prevent them from being demoralized.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia, - Minister of Defence). - When we sent the Bill back to the House of Representatives last year, we did so with a provision, for Government control. The other House refused to accept our amendment, and to send the Bill back to them again with the same proposition in it would be simply to again court defeat for our proposal. lt seems to me that it would be almost an insult to the other branch of the Legislature,, after they have offered a very fair compromise, to insist upon the retention of aclause to which they have already objected.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I am not greatly concerned about the feelings of honorable members in another place in this matter, but I am concerned’ about getting some sort of a Constitution for New Guinea. Senator Givens has made no secret of the fact that he would prefer to see the Bill dropped rather than that it should be passed without a provision for the representation of the white people of New Guinea on the Executive Council. The honorable senator is taking the mosteffective course to attain that end by submitting this amendment.
– T submit it on its merits.
– If we desired to emphasize our views with respect to State control of the liquor traffic in New Guinea, we should have objected altogether to the amendment proposed by the House of Representatives’. Whilst I still believe that State control- would be the best solution of the difficulty, I am prepared to ac- cept the compromise offered by the House of Representatives, in order that a Constitution may be provided for New Guinea. If the Bill is passed now, there will be nothing to prevent the introduction of a Bill next session to deal with the special subjects of State control of the liquor traffic and the representation of the white people of the Territory. I have given this explanation because I propose to vote against the amendment, although I am not opposed to its principle, and I do so because I desire to see trie Bill placed on. the statute-book.
– I agree with the principle of the amendment, but I think that we should provide that the liquor traffic may become a Government monopoly if the Commonwealth Parliament so determines.
– I have drafted an amendment which, if adopted, would have that effect.
– If we provide that that may be done, we may reasonably expect that, at the forthcoming elections, the people of Australia will so alter the constitution of this Parliament as to create a majority in favour of it being done.
– If the Constitution says that it cannot be done, it will be useless for us to provide in this Bill that it may be done.
– I am not an authority on constitutional points, but I think that the Commonwealth Parliament has power to provide that it shall be done, and I hope that if we say in the Bill that it may be done, Parliament will, when the proper times arrives, use that power to make the traffic a Government monopoly. Is it not well known that, even in Melbourne, most of the hotels are controlled by the brewers and spirit merchants? In Papua, when it is seen that those interested in the liquor trade must make as much as they can in a given time, the number of the hotels will be .closed to reduce the expensed of management, and inferior liquor will be sold, to. increase profits. This is a danger which we should attempt to minimize, and the best way of doing so is to nationalize the drink traffic.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - I voted, on a former occasion, to prohibit the importation of liquor into New Guinea, and I think I should do so again, although many persons entitled to speak with authority are opposed to that course. I cannot conceive, however, that there would be the same objection to State control of the liquor traffic. An objection, to the amendment of Senator Givens -is that the House of Representatives may not accept it. I do not think that we should assume that they will not, because we shall offer them a compromise, even if we agree to it.
– We are going right back to our original position.
– I have drafted an amendment providing that the LieutenantGovernor of Papua may, wilh the consent of the Legislative Council, take over the exclusive control and management of the liquor traffic, so as to eliminate personal gai’n, and, further, that no compensation shall be paid to any licensee whose licence is abolished or not renewed.
– I am prepared1 to withdraw my amendment in order to allow that amendment to be moved.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Senator Dobson) proposed -
That the House of Representatives’ amendment be amended by the insertion of the following new sub-clause : - “ 6a. The Lieutenant-Governor, with the consent of the Legislative Council, may take over the exclusive control and management of the liquor traffic, so as to eliminate personal gain from the sale of liquor; but no compensation shall be paid to any licensee whose licence is abolished, or not renewed, as the result of carrying out this section.”
Senator CROFT (Western Australia).I think that four years, or some other stated period, should be provided for, because, as fair and reasonable men, we should let those in the liquor trade in Papua know when action, is likely to be taken, and, if we provide for the taking over of the business after four years, it will be an indication to the Government of the day to consider the advisability of putting the provision into effect.
– Under the local option clause we can shut up all the hotels in New Guinea without) notice.
– It will be difficult to close all of them, because of the interests involved, though some may be closed in the interests of the brewers and spirit merchants.
– Senator Givens might carry the honorable senator’s suggestion into effect by moving an. amendment on my amendment.
– That will suit me.
Amendment of the amendment (by Senator Givens) agreed to -
That after the word “ may “ the words, “ after the expiration of four years from the proclamation of this Act,” be inserted.
Senator HENDERSON “(Western Australia). - I cannot support the amendment. When the Bill was last before us we made a fait attempt to frame its provisions in accordance with the opinions of a majority of honorable senators. When the Bill came back from the other House it contained provisions which, in my opinion, are as nearly as possible in “keeping with the principles that we endeavoured to lay down here. I voted for prohibition, and being defeated, I supported Government control. From a careful perusal of the debate in the other House, I am satisfied that the best possible compromise between the two parties has been suggested. By the amendment of the other House the question of prohibition is practically left in the hands of the people in the Possession. I should support the proposal of Senator Dobson if I thought that it would be accepted in another place. For nearly four years this Parliament has been endeavouring to frame a Constitution for Papua. I believe that if the amendment of Senator Dobson were sent down to the other House the Bill would be Jost. In that case, another year, perhaps two years, might elapse before a Constitution was framed for the Possession, and during that period the Ordinances which have been characterized as so loose as to permit almost any kind of trade to be carried on would continue to be in operation. I shall support the Government on this occasion.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - Since I was fourteen years of age I have been a total abstainer, and therefore all my sympathies go in the direction of temperance and the eradication of the liquor traffic. But I have to ask myself whether I am to allow my judgment to be ruled to-day by my sympathies in the matter of temperance. This Bill deals not merely with the liquor question, but also with the government of this important Dependency, containing a native population of 400,000. I know that all those persons who are interested in the Possession are exceedingly anxious for this Parliament to grant such powers as are necessary for its proper government. It is not many days since the Secretary of External Affairs, who has just completed a report on the state of the Possession, expressed to me his earnest hope that this measure would soon be completed, so that arrangements might be made for its proper government. The session is drawing to a close. There is plenty of work still to be done, especially in the other House. If we to-day introduce amendments of a highly controversial character, which may rouse a great deal of angry feeling in the other House, and possibly lead to the loss of the Bill, we shall have done the natives and also the white residents the greatest injustice. I, therefore, ask honorable senators to look at the matter in its full, broad aspect, and to be guided by what is best for the Possessionas a whole, and not simply by temperance principles.
– Seeing that this important question was discussed last session in all its bearings, I think it is incumbent upon every honorable senator to state the reasons for his action if he proposes to vote in an apparently different direction to that in which he voted last year. I am just as strongly in favour of the Government control of the liquor traffic in Papua as any honorable senator here’, and last session I voted in that direction. From what I have read in the press and from private letters from old friends who are now in Papua, I have been led to believe that the residents want an alteration in the existing state of affairs. This Bill, while it may not go as far as we would desire, will make it possible to initiate a reform. I feel sure that if we make the vital alteration desired by Senator Dobson the Bill will be lost for this session. That consideration will lead me to vote for the amendment of the other House. When the Bill was first introduced it embodied the principle of absolute prohibition, and the chief alteration made by the Senate was to substitute Government control. The whole of the difference between the two Chambers centres round that one point. Had the other place simply sent the Bill back, and declined to have any Government control. I should have refused to vote for it, but I think the prohibition party have shown a desire to meet us fairly in a spirit of compromise.
– Where is the compromise in regard to nationalization?
– I admit that the prohibition party have not met the nationalization party, but the House of Repre- sentatives as a whole has shown a desire to compromise. The .’residents of New Guinea ask for some alteration in the present system of government, and, believing that the amendment might involve delay for another twelve months, I intend to support the Government in this matter.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia). - There has been no attempt made by the other place to meet the wishes of those who are in favour of the nationalization of the drink traffic in New Guinea, though it is true that for total prohibition there has been substituted a somewhat restricted form of it. From my experience of the Government control of the traffic in Western Australia, I should! say that that is about the only method that could be successfully applied in a country like that of New Guinea, where the conditions are somewhat similar to those of Western Australia. The men who go to New Guinea are more likely to devote themselves to mining than to any other industry, and to those who have had any experience of the condition of a country in the prospecting stage, it must be evident that there will be a necessity for liquor of some kind. The evils surrounding the traffic can be minimized in such a country only by having the hotels under the direct control of the Government; and unless that principle be embodied in the Bill, I do not see that any advantage can be gained by those who favour nationalization.
– I have taken some interest in this New Guinea Bill, which has been before Parliament, in one form or another, for several years. There is such a quantity of work before another place that if we return the Bill with this amendment there will probably be _ a long debate, with the result that there will be no legislation this session. We have succeeded in inserting a very important provision in regard to the administration of the lands, and1 with that we might be satisfied for the present. If the Government do not move further next session, some honorable senator may introduce a private Bill to provide for State control ; and I can assure honorable senators that such a measure would receive my cordial support. After all, the amendment of Senator Dobson is not quite satisfactory to any of us, because it merely provides that after a period of four years the LieutenantGovernor “ may “ take over the control.
– If the provision is only permissive, I do not see that another place would reject it.
– The administration of New Guinea costs ^20,000 or more per annum, and the settlers are waiting until this Bill be passed, so that land may be allotted and settlement encouraged. Although I arn an advocate of State control, and will do my best to see it carried into effect, I cannot, under the circumstances, vote for Senator Dobson’s amendment.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Aus.tralia) - The word “may,” as used in the amendment, is, in my opinion, the most suitable that could be used. If the word “shall “ were used it would be incumbent on the Government to take over every licensed place in New Guinea, and that, of course, is impracticable. It might be possible, however, to start a State hotel in one place, though not in another ; and I. am afraid the Chairman’s suggestion, if carried out, would defeat the object we have in view. The amendment is much preferable to laying down a hardandfast rule, because it is not to be hoped that we can nationalize the whole of the traffic at once. We need not expect to at one step move out of the system of private enterprise in connexion with the liquor or any other industry into a complete system of State Socialism. But it is possible to gradually introduce a principle, and we may have n. favorable opportunity to start a State hotel in some part of Papua. We have introduced the principle in Western Australia, but we are a long way from having nationalized all the hotels in that State.
– I am not going to discuss the question at all. The vote I feel called upon to give might place me in an awkward position unless I said that for years I have been an advocate of State ‘management - and at present we have State control - of the liquor traffic. Yet I shall not vote for this amendment, because I fear that in consequence of the stage at which the session has arrived, the Bill, would be lost if amendments were introduced into it which would be likely to provoke any lengthy discussion in another place.
Senator GIVENS (Queensland).- Senator Trenwith has but repeated what has already been said by Senator Playford and other honorable senators. They are in favour of this being done, but they are afraid that if they put the amendment into the Bill, the measure will be dropped. We have been told that if we insert this amendment in the Bill, it will lead to everlasting talk in another place, so that it will be impossible to get the Bill passed, and we are told that we must therefore “cave in.” If that is so, the only way in which the Senate can assert its power as a co-ordinate branch of the Legislature, is by oceans of talk here also, unless we get our own way. That is the logical conclusion of Senator Playford’s contention. I believe that this is such a moderate amendment that it willbe readily accepted by another place. Its chief value, in my opinion, is that it will make it plain, on the face of the Bill, that we contemplate that the Government shall take over the management of the liquor traffic in four years’ time. It will make known to licensees and others interested what they may expect, and, although not mandatory, it will be a very valuable provision. I hope the amendment will be carried.
Senator CROFT (Western Australia).I thought that Senator Playford would make some statement with respect to the amendment.
– I have said that if it is passed we shall lose the Bill.
– The Government have accepted an amendment which involves the question of compensation or no compensation, and that would give rise in any Parliament to days of debate.
– In this case that amendment carries out only what is the law now.
– A permissive power is proposed to be given to the Commonwealth to take over this industry, but because the amendment involves a principle in which the Labour Party believe, the Minister of Defence is fearful that it will give rise toa long discussion in another place, which will result in the loss of the Bill. If the Government are not occasionally prepared to vote for something in which the Labour Party believes, they may find that some members of that party, and myself for one, will not be prepared, to support them in securing everything, they desire.
– A number of the members of our party voted against Government control of the liquor traffic.
– That was only because they had total prohibition as a set off against it. We have now abandoned any hope of securing total prohibition, and we ask the Government to make it possible to have the industry taken over and managed as a State industry. We have a right to expect that when the Government receive support for their policy from a certain party, they will occasionally put up some kind of a fight for a principle in which that party believes.
Question - That the words proposedto be inserted be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority ……… 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
House of Representatives’ amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Resolution reported ; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Playford) pro posed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Senator CROFT (Western Australia).I wish to bring under the notice of the Senate the undue delay in publishing the report of our debates on Fridays. Last Friday afternoon Senator Styles made a speech on a most important matter, but it is not yet available to honorable senators. Seeing that the printing office supplies to each senator who speaks a proof of his remarks, I think that it would not mean a heavy additional cost to supply to the thirty-six members of the Senate a full report of Friday’s proceedings.
– I think that we should get what I ask for without going to that trouble.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I understand that the President and Mr. Speaker have determined that it would be too expensive to supply a proof of the report of Friday’s proceedings to every member of the Senate, but that they have instructed the Principal Parliamentary Reporter to supply such a proof to any senator who may ask for it
– I would like to inform the Senate that since the arrangement referred to by the Deputy President has been made, I have obtained on Tuesdays or Wednesdays proofs in galley form of the report of the debates of the previous Friday. I do not see why every honorable senator should not have the same privilege. The cost of supplying these proofs must be very little.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 6.8 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 November 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1905/19051103_senate_2_28/>.