2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the indulgence of the Senate to make a brief explanation. At an early hour this morning - between 2 and 3 o’clock, I think - I spoke on the motion to reconsider the request for a reduction ofthe item for travelling expenses, under the head of the Senate in the schedule of the Appropriation Bill, by the sum of £10 10s. I said that it was my intention to again vote in favour of the reduction of the item. Exhausted nature, however, was too much for me, and, suffering, as I am, from a very severe cold, I happened to fall asleep. My honorable friends, recognising that my vote would not alter the result, refrained from arousing me from the very refreshing sleep which I was enjoying, and therefore it was recorded in the opposite direction.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Treasurer, without notice -
If he will request the Government Printer, Mr. Brain, to provide a statement covering a period of twelve months showing -
Will he lay such return on the table of the Library ?
– I shall make the necessary inquiry if the honorable senator will give me a copy of his question.
-I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether it is the rule, to avoid paying overtime to our compositors, by counting their week’s work at 42 hours, although they may be called upon to put in that time in three shifts or working days?
– If the honorable senator will give notice of a question, I shall ascertain.
Administrative and Instructional Staff
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice -
Will he lay upon the table of the Senate a list of the officers of the administrative and instructional staff, Commonwealth Military Forces, arranged is the order of their present seniority, with the date of joining the permanent forces, and their years of service ?
– If the honorable senator will hand to me a copy of his question, I shall be pleased to get the information for him.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether, now that the Appropriation Bill has been passed, he can state definitely what further measures he proposes to submit for our consideration this session? I should like to be permitted to mention that I shall in no way consider his answer as being exclusive, or as in any way binding him not to go any further than he may indicate if, in the opinion of the Ministry, that should be warranted. I simply ask the question in order that honorable senators may be able to form an opinion as to what further demands will be made upon their time by their public duties this session.
– I am not in a position to give the honorable senator the information which he desires. The noticepaper of each House shows the business which the Government has before the Parliament; but, as regards other measures, I cannot give the honorable senator definite information.
– Is it the intention of the Government to go on with the Government business on the noticepaper of each House?
– I move -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday next.
I trust that after the dinner hour this evening we shall be able to dispose of the twoitems of Government business on the notice-paper. In that case, we shall have no Government business on the notice-paper for Friday, and, therefore, there will be no necessity to ask honorable senators to meet on that day.
– Am I to understand that the Minister of Defence does not intend this week to go on with the motion relating to the national memorial to the late Queen?
– After half -past 6 o’clock I intend to go on with it.
– I understood that this sitting was to be devoted to the consideration of private business only.
– I never said anything of the sort. I said that if there was no Government business to be considered private business could be taken in the evening.
– Am I to understand that at half-past 6 o’clock this evening the consideration of private business will end, and that the two items of Government business will then be taken?
– In the event of the debate on the Queen Victoria memorial not being finished to-night, will the Minister still adhere to his determination not to sit on Friday?
– We shall have plenty of time next week.
– I do not wish to attempt to interfere with the arrangement of Government business, but the session is getting prolonged, and as honorable sena tors are here prepared to go on with business to-morrow, I would ask the Minister to give a further reason, if he can, why he proposes to abandon the sitting on that day. My only desire is to get the business done. We are all prepared to go on with work to-morrow. I ask the honorable senator to reconsider the matter.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia - Minister of Defence). - I have considered the matter in all its bearings. In answer to a question by Senator Pearce, I said that if the Government business were disposed of I should agree to private business being taken on Thursday evening. The Government business has not been disposed of, and therefore I propose to take it to-night after dinner. I believe that it will be disposed of at this sitting, but if it is not, there is no necessity to ask honorable senators to come back on Friday to do what little work may require to be done. On Wednesday the business will include a motion, of which I shall give notice presently, and perhaps the conclusion of the debate on the Queen Victoria memorial.
– What is the good of asking the Senate to sit on Wednesday if the Government have no business to submit?
– We shall have business to submit, but whether it will be sufficient to occupy all the sitting I do not know.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : - “ Tropical Australia “ : Suitability for a Working White Race. By Dr. Elkington.
Ordered to be printed.
Banking Returns of the various States of the Commonwealth and New Zealand, for the quarters ended 30th June, 1904, and 30th June, 1905.
Passage of Appropriation Bill: Proceeding with Business.
– I rise to move that the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until half -past 10 o’clock on Wednesday next, for the purpose of discussing a matter of urgent public importance, namely, the announced intention of the Government to proceed with business after the passage of the Appropriation Bill.
Four honorable senators having risen in theirplaces,
– Yesterday when we were dealing with the Appropriation Bill. I intended to call attention to this matter. But as it was then after 4 o’clock in the morning, I thought I should better study the convenience of honorable senators if I deferred what I had to say until to-day. I desire to direct attention to the fact that although the passing of the Appropriation Bill ought to be the last business of the session, the Government propose to proceed with other measures. To some honorable senators the importance of this matter may not be very apparent at first blush. I have, however, taken pains to ascertain what has been the practice in the mother of Parliaments, and I discover that it is regarded as highly unconstitutional for a Government to proceed with any business whatever after the Ap propriation Bill has been passed. An opportunity for the airing of grievances having been afforded, and supply having been granted, the one regular constitutional course is to at once prorogue Parliament. Honorable senators naturally want to know my authority for the statement that the course now being pursued by the Government is unusual. On referring to May, I find-
On the 12th October, 1799, the Appropriation Act received the royal assent, when both Houses adjourned till the 21st January, 1800.
What was the special occasion of the adjournment on that occasion I am not aware. The next instance on which there was an opportunity afforded to the House of Commons to deal with business after the passing of the Appropriation Bill was in 1820. According to May -
On the 24th July, 1820, the Appropriation Act received the royal assent ; and on the 26th, the Commons adjourned, and continued adjournments, and the transaction of business, until 23rd November.
The next instance occurred in 1882 -
On the 17th August, 1882, the Appropriation Act received the royal assent ; and on the following day both Houses adjourned until 23rd October. On the reassembling of Parliament, the regularity of the adjournment was challenged in the Commons on the ground that the Appropriation Act having been passed, no further business could be proceeded with. But the adjournment was approved by a large majority.
These are the three instances on record in which business has been done by the House of Commons after the passing of the Appropriation Bill. As I have already told honorable senators, I am not aware of the circumstances of the adjournment in 1799, but in 1820 it was absolutely necessary that the House of Commons should be prepared to deal with any matter of business arising out of the proceedings against Queen Caroline. I believe that on that occasion no other business was contemplated, except such as was of a purely formal character.
– Is it not a fact that sometimes the House of Commons, after the passing of the Appropriation Bill, holds a short session for the consideration of further measures?
.- That is a different matter altogether, because then there is another session.
– Whether it be a different matter or not, the constitutional practice of the House of Commons does not govern us.
.- We have no constitutional practice, unless it is the practice of the House of Commons. If the Government had said that they were prepared to-morrow to advise His Excellency to prorogue Parliament, and to hold another session next month, no exception could have been taken, unless, perhaps, on the ground of inconvenience to members. But if that course were taken the Government would have to come down with a speech announcing their policy, and thus afford an opportunity for Parliament to deal with the business proposed, and, if thought fit, to deal effectively with the Ministry itself. But at the present time, Parliament has no more control over the Government than I have as an individual. The Government have been granted supply, and may snap their fingers in our faces. In August, 1882, the House of Commons passed the Appropriation Bill, and then adjourned until the following October. When Parliament met again it was for the specific purpose of dealing with rules of procedure - that was the only object of the adjournment. It will be seen that, on each occasion, in 1799 and in 1882, there was a specific reason for summoning Parliament without entering upon a new session. In 1882 a strong protest was made by Lord Randolph Churchill; and Mr. Gladstone, who was in power with one of his great majorities, admitted that the practice was most inconvenient, and could only be justified under exceptional circumstances, such as I have mentioned. It was pointed out in the House of Commons at that time that when the House consented to the adjournment, Mr. Gladstone assured honorable members that there were many precedents to justify the course proposed. Mr. Gladstone, however, was wrong when he made that representation. It is perfectly true that in 1820 an adjournment had taken place, but the circumstances were such as I have related. It is also true that, since 1832, when the reformed Parliament came into existence, and a little more attention was paid to the rights and interests of the public generally, there has been only one instance in which the Parliament of Great Britain has proceeded with business after the passing of the Appropriation Bill. We are now laying down precedents for our future guidance. No matter what the explanation or reason of the Government may be for proceeding with work now, we ought to be very careful that we are not drawn into precedents by means of which future Governments may urge the passing of the Appropriation Bill on the ground that the public servants must be paid, and the convenience of the public consulted, and then proceed with ordinary business.
– Why should a Government not do so?
– I should like to know the reason.
– The reason is that, until supply has been granted, the Government are not independent of Parliament. When once supply has been granted, the Government may do as they see fit with Parliament. If, for instance, a vote of censure were proposed and carried, even by an overwhelming majority,the Government might say, “Well, gentlemen, we have supply to the 30th June next year, and, as we shall have to go to the country, whether we like it or not, within a few months, we will now enjoy a comfortable recess.”
– The Government could do that now.
– Of course; but if the Appropriation Bill had not been passed, they could not close the session without the consent of Parliament itself. No Minister would dare to go to the country without supply for the public servants. It is the invariable practice that, when a vote of want of confidence is carried against a Government, that Government must either resign and allow their opponents to take office, or must advise a dissolution. If the latter course be taken, a dissolution is never granted unless supply is first provided to cover the expenses of the Public Service over the time of the general election. It is our right and duty as representatives of the public to hold a power over the Government, and not allow them to take any step which the majority believe to be antagonistic to the interests of the Commonwealth. I know that honorable senators are anxious to have certain legislation passed. It is no secret that one very influential party in this Parliament is anxious to see a measure passed to provide for a union label. If that party have the power, they should be able to say, “ We will not go to the country unless that measure is carried into law.” Under the present circumstances, however, if the present Government were a Government with a backbone, they might say, “ We do not believe in that legislation ; thank you, gentlemen, we have got the money and you can do just what you please.”
– But if they did not say that?
– We must be prepared for such an event.
.- That is so. I admit that the present Government intend to keep Parliament sitting until that particular measure and two or three others have been passed.
– Was that why the honorable senator was so anxious to rush the business through last night?
– I was informed by the Government that they were anxious to have supply granted in order that the public servants might be paid. . As to the question of Senator Givens, I ask, in reply, why did not the Government ask for three months’ supply, instead of supply for two months, so as to carry them on until the end of December? The Government’s intention clearly was to close the session by, the end of November.
.- It was repeatedly said, on behalf of the Government, that they hoped to be in recess long before Christmas, and the whole circumstances point unmistakably to the conclusion that it was the intention to prorogue before 30th November. I give the
Government, I was going to say the credit, but would rather say the discredit, of desiring to pass the union label measure at the behest of an influential party in this Parliament.
– The honorable senator is greatly troubled about a little measure of justice to the working man.
.- The honorable senator and those who are fighting for a union label are attempting to commit the grossest act of injustice on the working men of the country.
– I do not think the honorable senator ought to discuss the question of the union label.
– I simply replied to an interjection. Several measures have been introduced since the Appropriation Bill left another place. It is the announced intention of the Government to proceed with an Anti-Trust Bill ; and on the notice-paper there is more than sufficient business to occupy us for a whole session. I should like honorable senators to have regard to the principle involved without paying any consideration to party. There is the broad principle laid down by all standard constitutional writers - that the Appropriation Bill should be the last measure dealt with in a session. In the House of Commons, when the Appropriation Bill is sent up to the Lords at the last moment, no work is done in the Commons while the Bill is being dealt with in the House of Lords, and the Bill is presented for the Royal assent, when members of both Houses are assembled together for the purpose of listening to the speech proroguing Parliament and sending members to their homes. I did not dead with this matter last night, because I had consideration for honorable senators. There is a body of men in this Parliament who are prepared to disregard all constitutional’ principles and practice where their own interests are concerned.
– To what party does the honorable senator refer?
.- When the party to which Senator Guthrie belongs is anxious to pass certain legislation its members are not much concerned about constitutional precedents.
– We are anxious to do what the country desires us to do, and we propose to do it.
– If members of the party to which’ the honorable senator belongs will be content to do only what the country desires they will do a very great deal less than I am afraid they propose to do before this session is concluded.
– The honorable senator must allow us to be the judges of that.
.- The best thing honorable senators can do is to go away to their homes and rest for six months, that they may come back here with renewed vigour to transact the business of the country. I regard the principle involved in this matter as of the very greatest importance. I believe that we should be false to the position we occupy here if in the early stages of the history of the Commonwealth Parliament we did not endeavour to lay down sound constitutional foundations for the work of Parliament. I have referred to the business which the Government have expressed their intention to deal with, and we now have no possible check upon the introduction of further measures if the Government should be so ill-advised as to introduce them. Senator Guthrie may say that we have not lost control over the Government, because we know that they propose to deal with certain measures, but I ask the honorable senator to bear in mind that the merits or demerits of the present Government are entirely beside the question I raise, which is- a constitutional question. The present Government cannot remain in office for ever, and we may have Governments in the future prepared to regard the action of the Government in ‘this instance as a precedent laid down for their guidance. What would be said if, at the beginning of a session, the first measure submitted by a Government were the Appropriation Bill, to provide for the services of the ensuing year ? I ask whether any member of the Federal Parliament would consent at the beginning of a session to place in the hands of any Government the control of the affairs of the country for a period of twelve months, when they would know that by doing so they would have lost all effectual check upon the Government, who might propose to adopt measures which’ the majority might not believe to be in the best interests of tha community ? If it is really proposed that we shall deal with all the measures which have been indicated, we are only now in the middle of the present session, and yet we have given the Government power over the whole Public Service up to the 30th June next, and have lost the power to check them in any respect whatever. The Government can snap their fingers at Parliament. A vote of want of confidence might be carried against them in another place, and instead of such action being followed by a constitutional change of Government or a dissolution of Parliament, the Government would be able to shut up the shutters, and say to members of this Parliament: “We shall not bother our heads about you any more.” I know of a Parliament in which a vote censuring two members of a Government, and therefore practically a vote of censure upon the Government as awhole, was carried. Parliament had every right to expect that that Government would get rid of the men who had been censured, but when members assembled on the following day they were confronted with a Gazette notice, informing them that His Excellency the Governor had prorogued Parliament. The Government laughed in their sleeves at Members of Parliament, and congratulated themselves upon having done a very smart trick. When this Government again met Parliament they had purified themselves by discarding the two gentlemen who were objected to, and they went on as gaily as ever. I ask honorable senators, who profess to be so anxious for purity of administration, to raise their voices in protest against what the present Government are doing. If they will not do so, because they wish measures in which they are interested passed into law as speedily as possible, the least they can do is to recognise that there are special circumstances in the present case, and to insist that the course followed now shall not be accepted as a precedent, to be followed by future Administrations. When a dominant section of Parliament is able to screw anything it pleases out of a Government, and chooses to exercise its power tyrannically, and when we have a Ministry weak enough to submit to such pressure and exaction, the dominant party may be willing to condone unconstitutional action if it suits their purpose. When we have a party in Parliament in a position to say to a Government, “ You must do what we desire, or you must go out of office,” I urge that they should not make a precedent of the course adopted on this occasion. I ask honorable senators not to look upon this as a party matter, but to treat it on the broad constitutional lines on which I have submitted it.
– Has not the honorable senator looked on it from a party point of view?
– No, I have looked at it from a purely constitutional point of view.
– The honorable senator has been girding at parties throughout his speech.
– That is nonsense. I have looked at the matter from a constitutional point of view. I think I am justified in what I have said with regard to the action of the party dominating the Government at the present time.
– We shall say what we choose about the honorable senator’s party presently.
.- I dare say that honorable senators will, and I shall have an opportunity to reply to them. I do not know that it is necessary that I should quote many authorities in dealing with such a matter.
– The honorable senator should quote a few New South Wales precedents. They go down all right.
– In dealing with the way in which supply is taken in the House of Commons, Todd, in his work On Parliamentary Government in England, says -
The constitutional effect of this proceeding is that until the Queen and the House of Lords have assented to the grant of ways and means the appropriation of the public money directed by the vote in supply of the House of Commons is inoperative. . . . The final grant of ways and means to cover the whole of the supplies voted in the session is always reserved for the Appropriation Act, thus, although the House of Commons, at an early period of the session, might have voted the whole of the supplies of the year, they could still hold their constitutional check upon the Minister by limiting the grant of ways and means to an amount sufficient only to last such time as they might think proper to give him the means of carrying on the public service, and they are by such limited grants at all times enabled to prevent the Minister from dissolving or proroguing Parliament.
Again he says -
When the Appropriation Bill has passed both Houses, and is ready for the Royal assent, it is returned into the charge of the Commons until the time appointed for the prorogation of Parliament, when it is carried by the Speaker to the bar of the House of Peers, and there received by the clerk of the Parliament for the Royal assent.
That is the principle laid down, and while I recognise that we have adopted some practices which have not been adopted in the House of Commons, the reason why Parliament should withhold the Appropriation Rill until the close of the session is as applicable to us as to any other Parliament in the world. May contains this statement -
When the Appropriation Bill has passed both Houses, and is about to receive the Royal assent, it is returned into the charge of the Commons until that House is summoned to attend Her Majesty, or the Lords Commissioners in the House of Peers for the prorogation of Parliament; when it is carried by the Speaker to the bar of the House of Peers, and there received by the clerk of the Parliaments, for the Royal assent.
So that the same practice is laid down by May and by Todd. I have pointed out that there are only three instances in the history of the House of Commons for more than a century in which the practice proposed here was followed. I have shown that there were exceptional circumstances, and a specific purpose to be served in each of those instances, to suit the convenience of Parliament in one case, and to suit the convenience of the nation in connexion with the trial of Queen Caroline in another. This shows how very careful we should be in connexion with what we are doing at the present moment. The Government cannot justify their action at the present time by either of the instances to which I have referred, because they propose to go on with a large volume of general business.
– I have been astonished at the honorable senator’s sound and fury, and at his statement that what we have done is highly unconstitutional. I defy the honorable senator to show me in what way it is. We are not, and never have been, governed by the practice of the British Parliament. We have said absolutely that, so far as our Standing Orders, our practice and precedents are concerned, we shall not be guided by the British Parliament, and we shall form our own precedents. That is the position which has been taken up by the Senate on more than one occasion. Senator Gould has undoubtedly correctly interpreted the practice of the British Parliament, and what is considered to be constitutional there - though, of course, they can vary their constitutional practice as often as they please, since they have no written Constitution - but the constitutional precedents supplied by the British Parliament do not apply to us, because we have declared that we do not propose to be guided by them. We ought not to be bound by the. prac tice of the House of Commons, unless we find it most convenient to adopt that practice. The difference between the House of Commons and the House of Lords is very much greater than the difference be-‘ tween the House of Representatives and the Senate. The power of the purse resides in the House of Commons entirely. It keeps that power within its hands until the last moment. But in this country the power of the purse does not reside solely in the House of Representatives. With the exception of one point - that we have the right to make suggestions which the House of Lords has no right to make - we have powers concerning money Bills which the House of Lords does not enjoy. Therefore we are not on all fours with the British circumstances, and the authorities whom Senator Gould has quoted do not apply. We have had honorable senators opposite complaining bitterly that the Senate did not receive the Appropriation Bill from the other branch of the Legislature in sufficient time to enable us to discuss its details. Did not the Government do all it possibly could to have the Estimates passed through the other branch of the Legislature so that the Senate might receive the Appropriation Bill in sufficient time? Did not the Government announce that, although ‘the other House gave up its power over the Appropriation Bill immediately it left that Chamber, there were certain measures which would have to be passed before the session closed ? Did not the Government promise that it would not take advantage of the fact that the Appropriation Bill had been passed to close the session? The Government plainly declared that it desired to have certain measures passed. We intend to keep that promise.
– But what about fresh legislation?
– The measures which the Government intended to introduce were announced before the Appropriation Bill was passed in the House of Representatives.
– But what about other measures?
– I did not know that there were others. The Prime Minister made a statement as to the measures which the Government intended to bring before Parliament, and I do not know that he is introducing any fresh legislation. We intend to carry out the promise which the Prime Minister made. We are going on with the business of the country, although the Appropriation Bill has been passed. Senator Gould has professedly made a speech with the object of calling attention to a constitutional point. But his real purpose was to have a dig at the Labour Party, to assert that the Government was at the beck and call of that party, to insult Ministers in every way he could, to make it appear that they were not free men in any sense of the word, and that the Labour Party was trying to bring the country to ruin.
– It runs the Government as it likes.
– That is what the honorable senator got up for. He wished to have a fling all round. He is quite welcome to his fling. But with the approval of a majority of Parliament - for without a majority we can do nothing - we intend to pass those measures concerning which we have given .promises. Whether we sit over Christmas or not, we are not going to take advantage of the fact that the Appropriation Bill has been passed, and that we have the power, if we choose to exercise it, of proroguing Parliament at any time we like. We have promised that Parliament shall not be prorogued until certain measures have .been passed. Senator Gould knew that. He knew that there was not the slightest necessity of calling attention to the position. He knew that the precedents affecting the British Parliament did not apply to us.
– Does the honorable senator mean that this practice is to be regarded as a precedent?
– If similar circumstances recur, undoubtedly.
– I want no “ ifs.”
– I will not bind myself to any broad statement. A Ministry might have the support of only a very small majority. It might be dependent on one or two members belonging to one side or the other. In such circumstances, I could understand the House of Representatives refusing to give up the Appropriation Bill until the last moment. But we are not in that position now. The Government has a majority. That majority, and the Government which it supports, are desirous that certain measures shall be passed into law. The Prime Minister has promised that those measures shall be passed. We intend that that promise shall be kept. The fact that the Appropriation Bill has been passed will not affect our policy. It was passed in order to give the Senate sufficient time to consider it. But certain promises were made when it was passed, and we intend to abide by them.
– I think we ought all to agree that- Senator Gould has chosen a proper time to submit this subject for the consideration of the Senate. Honorable senators ought to recognise that we are establishing a precedent in regard to the Appropriation Bill, and as to the time when it should be passed. I am not going to discuss the matter with any particular application to the strength of parties in this, or the other branch of the Legislature. But I point out that this is the first time since the Federal Parliament was established, when a Ministry has declared its intention of introducing fresh legislation after the passing of the Appropriation Bill. I am sure that every one will agree with me that, such being the fact, it is very desirable that the Senate should calmly and dispassionately express its opinion as to the desirableness of such a practice. I do not think that any one would differ from Senator Gould as to the weight and value of the authorities whom he! has quoted. Nor do I think it will be disputed that those authorities agree that it is not usual for fresh parliamentary business to be introduced after the passing of the Appropriation Bill. Therefore, we are departing from the established practice of the House of Commons. As to that practice, I have a word or two to say. Senator Playford has asserted, and quite rightly, that when we affirmed our Standing Orders we deliberately decided that we should not be bound by the practice of the House of Commons. We eliminated a standing order to that effect from the Standing Orders which originally applied to us. But though we decided that we should not be bound by precedents of the House of Commons, I distinctly remember that on several occasions, not only various honorable senators, but you yourself,. Mr. President, have referred to the House of Commons precedents in relation to matters of practice.
– And properly so.
– I do not wish to embitter this discussion in any way. I am merely dealing with absolute facts which cannot be challenged. I may refer to the last occasion, when we had a discussion as to the power with relation to instructions to a Committee of the Senate. You, Mr. President^ in delivering your ruling, referred at some length - making a long quotation - to the established practice of the House of Commons on that point. I do not wish to say for a moment that you indicated that we must be bound by it, but I do assert that,i finding that Ave were in somewhat of a difficulty in relation to establishing a proper practice, you had refuge - in spite of the fact that we had eliminated the standing order to which I have referred - to the practice of the House of Commons. Still, wishing to discuss this question dispassionately, I point out that the root of the question is the right of a majority of Members of Parliament to control the Executive for the time being.Senator Gould has pointed out, and I wish to emphasize the point, that once the Appropriation Bill is passed a majority of the House of Representatives may decide that the policy of the existing Ministry is objectionable to it. It may, as Senator Gould said, pass a direct vote of -want of confidence in the Ministry. But if this practice, is established the’ majority may find that its decision is absolutely rendered null and void, because the Ministry for the time being has secured the grant of supply for a period of time as long as .that for which we have now granted it. If I may, without offence, take a particular case, let me point out the circumstances in which we now find ourselves. Suppose that, by accident - I do not wish to put this in the least degree offensively - the desire of a majority of the other House was that the present Ministry should not remain in office. The Ministry having secured the passing of the Appropriation Bill, could prorogue Parliament at once. What would happen ? Next year will witness the termination of the present Parliament. As every honorable senator knows, we shall meet again when the GovernorGeneral, on the advice of the Executive, calls Parliament together. It will be quite competent for the Ministry - seeing that next year is the last year of the present Parliament - to advise the Governor-General to call it together in October. As at the end of next year there must be a dissolu tion, the Ministry could, if it chose, although a majority of Parliament might be opposed to it, take that course, and Parliament would have no power to compel the Government to call it together until it was about to expire by effluxion of time. I am sure that it will be admitted that I am not over-stating the case as a possibility. That being so, I do think that Senator Gould has discharged a public service in directing attention to the fact that, we are now going to set a precedent. Because, in spite of all that Senator Playford suggests, this will be regarded as a precedent. This is the first time in the history of this Parliament when there has been any proposal to introduce fresh measures after the passing of the Appropriation Bill. The very fact that this is a singular state of things is perfectly certain to give added weight to our action. I am prepared, and always shall be, to accept the decision of the Senate on this or .any other matter, when the. majority has had a full and ample’ opportunity of deciding upon the position put before it. For this reason, I think that it is a very desirable thing that we should now seriously consider the position. We have to make a precedent. We have to remember that it is not to be a precedent bearing upon particular conditions or upon this particular Parliament, but a precedent for all time. It is by no means a party question.
– Is the honorable senator going to tell us anything about the tyrrany of the Labour Party ?
– No, I am not.
– Senator Gould stated that he was discussing it in ai calm, nonparty way, though he talked like that.
– The honorable senator must not blame Senator Clemons for that.
– I give him credit for making a moderate and temperate speech.
– I am trying to discuss the question without any semblance of party feeling, and I am asking the Senate to consider it without regard to any particular questions arising at this or any other time. Senator Playford has referred to the fact that the Appropriation Bill has been put through, but he is absolutely committed to this position: that if it is right now for this Government to bring on fresh measures, it will be equally right for any Government to bring on the Appropriation Bill as the first’ measure of a session, or, indeed, in the middle of the session.
– Just so; but the House of Representatives has the right not to allow the Bill to pass out of its possession if it thinks fit.
– Yes ; but it has the right to consider what is going to happen.
– So long as the House of Representatives retains control over the Appropriation Bill there is no danger.
– How can the House of Representatives retain control if it passes a vote of want of confidence in the Ministry by an enormous majority, and the vote can be made null and void ?
– It could not be nullified if the Appropriation Bill were not passed. I am in favour of the Appropriation Bill being introduced as soon as possible after the commencement of the financial year.
– That would be a most inconvenient way of dealing with public matters, and, in my opinion, it would not be practicable. I do not see how under that arrangement we could pass monthly Supply Bills:
– Yes, we could.
– I believe that, with the Appropriation Bill before the Parliament, there would be a general objection to the passing of monthly Supply Bills.
– Frequently we have passed Supply Bills after the Appropriation Bill has been introduced.
– Not frequently; and I remember the initiation of the practice being deprecated. I am anxious that this question should receive serious and proper consideration before we take an important step in establishing a practice.
– I have no fault to find with the speech of Senator Clemons, but I have very considerable fault to find with the way in which this matter was brought forward by Senator Gould. After he had indulged in a ferocious party tirade - after he had said that one party in the Senate, because it possessed certain power, was acting in a tyrannical fashion - he had the cool cheek to ask the Senate to consider it in a calm constitutional way, without reference to party feeling or the exigencies of party government. He referred to the Government and their supporters as being weak, without backbone, and ready to obey the behests of a small dominant party in order to retain office.
– Is it not a fact?
– I ask the honorable senator to state in what way it is a fact. The Government are absolutely independent of the Labour Party. The members of the Labour Party do not belong to the Government Party.
.- I know that they do not.
– And the Government do not belong to them.
– And the Government do not belong to the Labour Party. The majority in Parliament, no matter what party they may belong to, have the right to support any Government which they think will be best .for the country. This is the first occasion on which I have heard a Government accused of the enormous crime of proceeding to do the necessary work of the country, because they have got the Appropriation Bill passed, and Senator Gould cited authorities which, in my opinion, have no bearing on the point at all. The history of the House of Commons shows that frequently after the Appropriation Bill has been passed, its members have adjourned for the shooting season, and come back for an autumn session.
– Yes, for another session, because the Parliament had been prorogued.
– Has the House of Commons any more control over the Imperial Government in that case than if it were to sit right on? Not a particle.
– Can the honorable senator tell me when the autumn session commences and the financial year ends?
– The reason why the House of Commons does not finish its work, but prefers to have an autumn session, is because it is a time-honoured tradition to allow the gilded aristocrats amongst its members to go and shoot partridges on a particular day. Senator Gould has said that now that the Appropriation Bill has been passed the Government will be able to laugh at the Parliament. If it were prorogued, the Government would be able to do exactly the same thing. In what way has the Government the power of dragooning the Parliament now? It has no power to tell the Parliament what it shall or shall not do.
– There is a great difference in the position after the Appropriation Bill is passed.
– The Government cannot compel the Parliament to pass any measures which it, in its wisdom, does not see fit to pass. As Senator Playford justly pointed out, the Government, in order to induce another place to pass the Appropriation Bill, and thus give the Senate an opportunity of considering the Estimates, made a distinct promise before it was passed that the Parliament would be given an opportunity to deal finally with certain legislation, and now, because Ministers propose to redeem their pledge, they are hauled over the coals by a party whose chief desire, from the beginning of the session, has been to prevent anything from being done. That party was in power when the session began, and advised His Excellency to tell the Parliament that it was incompetent and incapable, of doing any useful business. But it went on doing business -under the leadership of another Government. Ever since the Deakin Government took office, the free-trade party, led by Mr. G. H. Reid, has tried by every means in its power to prevent the Parliament from performing any useful work. Senator Gould has said that it would be better for the Parliament to do no work at all than, to do such work as the present Government would submit.
– As would be injurious to the country.
– It is injurious to that little insignificant minority who have never been able to get a party sufficiently strong to carry on the Government, either here or in the other House, since the Parliament was first opened. The Government are not proceeding to do anything which thev were not pledged to do before the Appropriation Bill was passed, and which it was necessary for them to pledge themselves to do before the other House would give up its control over that Bill. If the Government does something of which the Parliament does not approve, it has the power to express its opinion.
– And the Government has the power to ignore that expression of opinion.
– Will any one sr.y that Ministers would so far forget what was clue to the dignity of their position as to continue to carry on the work if the Parliament, even though the Appropriation Bill had been passed, were to say that they were not fit to carry on the Government. We have been told by Senator Gould that the Government are introducing very objectionable legislation. That is really the whole secret of his opposition to their course of procedure. It is not for the minority to say to what legislation shall, or shall not be passed. They have the right to criticise, but not to dictate. It is for the majority in the Parliament, representing the majority of the people, to say what legislation shall be passed. The legislation to which Senator Gould has referred has been before the Parliament for two sessions.
– Not the union label.
– Undoubtedly, it has been before the Parliament for two sessions.
– But it has not been before the country.
– It could not be before the Parliament without being before the country.
– At any rate, there is no mandate from the country.
– Has the honorable senator always had a mandate for every piece of legislation which he has supported? We have always been prepared to give the fullest measure of justice to the wealthiest manufacturer or merchant in the way of giving him a trade mark ; but the party sitting opposite are not prepared to make a similar concession to the worker.
– I must ask the honorable senator not to discuss the Trade Marks Bill.
– I was only replying to something which Senator Gould had said. The legislation which is on the notice-paper of the Senate, and another place, is important, and ought to be considered. The Parliament should not be prorogued while there is useful work to be done. I do not see any particular necessity for proroguing now, nor do I see anything unconstitutional in the course which the Government are pursuing. We have as good a right to proceed with work now, as the House of Commons has to hold a separate session after the Appropriation Bill has been passed. There is no essential difference between a continuous session and a separate session after a short adjournment. I am surprised that such a cheeky request should be made to the Government, as that they should abandon all the remaining important business on the notice-paper. I hope the Government will proceed with the work which we were sent here to do.
– I must confess that I was greatly surprised to hear Senator Gould submit this motion. Perhaps my surprise was largely due to the fact that I thought it was generally understood, both here and in another place, that further business was to be dealt with after the Appropriation Bill had been disposed of. The proceedings in another place do not disclose that the course proposed excited any surprise on the part of honorable members who belong to the same party as does Senator Gould. There have been repeated complaints in this Chamber that successive Governments,’ in’ regard to the Estimates, have not treated honorable senators as they have a right to expect. Again and again, it has been complained that the various Governments have not introduced the Estimates until the tail end of the session, and that consequently, honorable senators have been prevented from bestowing upon them that attention and exhaustive criticism which their importance demands. If there is any justification for the complaints, or any consistency in the attitude of those who complained, we have to assume, according to Senator Gould, that if the Government introduced the Estimates, and had them disposed of early in the session, all further legislative work should at once cease. In short, Senator Gould’s contention practically means thai the Estimates must be introduced at the end of the session.
– My contention is that the Appropriation Bill should be the last measure passed.
– We cannot have an Appropriation Bill without the Estimates.
– Although Senator Gould has to-day, in almost a dogmatic tone, affirmed that there are no precedents for the course the Government are taking, he, when a member of the State Parliament of New South Wales, took no exception to a similar course which was followed there.
– Such a course has not been taken in the State of New South Wales, so far as my memory serves me.
– I direct attention to the Votes and Proceedings of the New South Wales Parliament for the vear 1894-5, when Senator Gould was a member of the Government, which consisted of Mr. Reid, Mr. Brunker. Mr. Carruthers, Mr. J. H. Young, Mr. Garrard, Mr. Sydney Smith, Mr. Joseph Cook, and himself. The session to which these Votes and Proceedings refer, commenced on the 29th August, 1894 ; and on the 26th February, 1895, a message was received from the State Governor, giving the Royal Assent to the Appropriation Bill. From the wording of that message, it is clear that the Appropriation Bill must have been passed before the 27th December, 1894; and yet that session continued until the 4th July, 1895 - that is for seven months after the Appropriation Bill had been passed. I do not venture to presume that the New South Wales Parliament, during that session, simply sat and did no legislative work; and Senator Gould was a member of the Government in office at the time.
– Was there an Opposition in the New South Wales Parliament, fighting that Government in any way ?
– I am not in a position to go into details. Senator Gould does not appear to have then raised his voice in protest against the proceedings of the Government of which he was a member, and it may be taken, I think, that the views he has expressed to-day have been very recently adopted. When the honorable senator declared that there are absolutely no precedents for proceeding with business after the passing of the Appropriation Bill, and disputed Mr. Gladstone’s statement to the contrary-, he must have been very unmindful’ of his own comparatively recent experiences as a Minister of the Crown in New South Wales.
– We have just had a piece of political history which I learn for the first time. I was ‘a citizen of New South’ Wales in 18Q5, and I well remember the position of political parties there at that time. The Reid Government had the support of the Labour Party, and it is perhaps Senator Gould’s experience, as a member of that Government, that leads him to believe that the present Government are as susceptible to the “ squeezing “ process as was he and his colleagues. It is a transparent fact that during the present session the Opposition have pursued the ancient policy of endeavouring on every occasion to discredit the Government of the day, and I regard the motion before us as a part of the usual tactics. The motion, however, is a mere attempt to scatter a little political chloroform, in the hope that, being introduced so cunningly, honorable senators may not be able to see the object. Only a few short weeks ago honorable senators on both sides of the Chamber were complaining that the Estimates were introduced too late to permit of thorough consideration. It must be evident to all honorable senators why the Appropriation Bill was pushed through so rapidly yesterday. Many honorable senators on this side, including myself, desired to criticise the items much more closely if time permitted; but we understood that if the Bill did not become law at once some difficulty would be created about the payment of the public servants. Under the circumstances, the Minister deserves every credit for his declaration that the Government intend to deal with the measures announced before the passing of the Appropriation Bill. The present Government have outlined a much more extensive policv than that of the 1’nte Government, who evidently had the one and only intention of amen(1ing the Standing Orders. The present Government have amended the Standing Orders, and now propose to proceed and complete the work which the country awaits. There is no necessity for the hackneyed statements of honorable senators opposite about the Government not being free men. At any rate, the present Government are not tied to the tail of the “National Ass.,” or to the party of the money-bags.
– The Government are tied in other ways.
– The Government are tied to principles, and they can gain nothing from the Labour Party except support for those principles. The Government policy is not such as to gain the smiles of the influential! people of the community, or of the powerful daily newspapers. I shall be na party to any obstruction, of which there has already been some suggestion. While I am prepared to criticise the Government, and to vote against them if necessary, I decline to in any way assist in delaying business.
– This debate is very interesting, and Senator Gould has done well to introduce the motion. As Senator Playford says, we have to make our own precedents, but in doing so we should be very foolish not to pay some regard to the practice of the House of Commons. Every precedent of the House of Commons has very good reasons behind it, and unless we can dispose of them by saying that the circumstances of Australia are so different as to justify a departure from them, I take it that in most cases the precedents which we will make for ourselves will be to a great extent founded on those of the House of Commons. It does not require a moment’s thought to show that the practice of doing no business after the Appropriation Bill is passed is not without exception in Australia. Probably there will be further exceptions. The leader of the Senate has given his case away to some extent by admitting that this is not a precedent. The honorable senator has reminded us that, year after year, we have complained that the Estimates were not laid on the table earlier, and that we have not had sufficient time to discuss them. He has reminded us that the Estimates were brought forward earlier this year in another place, and the Appropriation Bill passed in that Chamber before the usual time, and before it should have been allowed to leave that Chamber, in order that we might have the Estimates in time for consideration. The honorable senator also explained that this was done because of a promise given by the Prime Minister that the business on the noticepaper would be finished, and that it was only on that account another place gave up control of the Bill. I point out to Senator Playford that he is getting into rather troublesome waters, because if this promise is to be performed it appears to me that every Bill now on the notice-paper must be dealt with this session. I did not understand the promise to go to that extent, but Senator Playford made no exception and no limitation of the promise. While I admire an honorable senator who can discuss an important principle apart from party politics, I find that the question which this debate raises is mixed up with party politics in every particular. In framing our own precedents we must take account of party politics. Ministers and their followers desire that certain legislation should be passed. The Opposition desire that some of that legislation should not be passed, and that other legislation should be given effect to. The Appropriation Bill is a whip held over the heads of Ministers, and is not finally passed until- the business of the session is concluded. Dealing with the question in a purely party spirit, let me point out the risk we run in trusting Ministers. If the promise to which I have referred has been given, I am quite sure that it will be carried out.
– Then the honorable senator can trust Ministers, and there is no risk.
– When they give a promise I hope I can trust them. But suppose there had been no promise given ? The honorable senator sat in his chair opposite, and insisted that the Appropriation Billmust be passed, in order that the civil servants should be paid their salaries.
– If there had been no promise we should not have received the Appropriation Bill from another place when we did.
– I take the case of an Appropriation Bill passed without any particular promise, and some time before the end of at session.
– That is not the present position.
– Of course, we understand that no party is up for sale; but certain honorable members in another place are supporting Ministers, and in return for that support they expect to get certain legislation passed. Suppose a Government in the circumstances I have indicated found that the legislation asked for was too hot for the country, that peop’e outside Parliament were not quite so anxious for it as were those inside, with the Appropriation Bill passed they would be in a position to prorogue the House at once, break faith with their supporters, and defy them.
– The Chambers of Commerce are not the country.
– I suppose that the party supporting a Ministry in such circumstances might be but a small party, and it might suit Ministers to throw over that small party. I do not for a moment say that the Deakin Administration would throw over the party of which Senator de Largie is such an ornament, but we might have a much smaller party supporting a Ministry, and we might at the same time have ai weak Opposition, and in such circumstances the only hold over the Government which Parliament could have would be the Appropriation Bill. If in such circumstances they allowed it to pass a month before the end of a session, Parliament would have lost the whip, and the bridles would be taken off the horses. Such a thing never happened, except on three occasions, in the history of the House of Commons for over 100 years. I admit that we need not slavishly follow the precedents of the House of Commons, but when we are playing the game of party politics we should stick to the rules of the game. We have here absolutely ignored the rules of the game. I thought before I heard of any promise by the Prime Minister that it would be most unwise for the Senate to push forward the consideration of the Appropriation Bill, considering what was going on ig another place. I spoke to one or two of my colleagues on this side, and to the leader of the party, about it. I even asked him whether he did noL think it would be well to have an interview with the leader of the party in another place, in order that we might have a conference to discuss the crisis taking place. But the Opposition is disorganized, and we never have a conference or a meeting of the party. We have neither organization nor discipline, and if we had I dare to say that the Appropriation Bill would not yet have passed its second reading. Without referring special lv to the union label or to anything else, if we find a party in Parliament determined to press certain measures through which the intelligent Members of the Parliament and members of the Government know to be absolutely illegal, and outside the Constitution, we are very foolish to pass the Appropriation Bill in such circumstances. The position is such in connexion with’ a particular measure, that the Government absolutely shrink from putting in the true definition of a certain proposal, because the definition of a trade mark in the Imperial Act on which the measure is founded shows that what a certain party desires to do is grossly illegal.
– I must ask the honorable senator not to discuss the Trade Marks Bill.
– I refer to it only as an illustration. It is not the first time that Governments have attempted to do an illegal act. It is not the first time that they have pushed illegal measures through Parliament, and in all such cases Parliament has a right to keep control of the Appropriation Bill. It is only because there is neither discipline nor organization in the Opposition that the majority in Parliament at the present time are able to do as they please. It is only by laying down precedents that we can carry on parliamentary government, and the minority, if they are to express any voice at all, must hold fast to all the power they have.
– The honorable senator was one of the brutal majority last night.
– The honorable senator was very angry about the “ stone- walling,” which delayed the passing of the Appropriation Bill.
– I was, and I am angry now, because on account of our want of discipline and organization, instead of helping our friends in the crisis which is taking place, we simply throw up the sponge and permit illegal and unconstitutional measures to go through Parliament.
– If they are illegal and unconstitutional, what harm can they do, seeing that they can never come into operation ?
– Is it no harm that we should strain our powers as against those possessed by the States? Is it no harm that -we should pretend that we have any jurisdiction over State industrial matters, or that we should poke our noses into other people’s business? Is it no harm that we should propose to pass a measure which the best barristers say is illegal and unconstitutional ; that on every possible occasion we should strain our powers to the utmost limit and then say, “ The High Court will put it all right “ ? Honorable senators say, “ We are going on democratic lines. We are passing something which our followers desire, and if what we do is unconstitutional, the High Court will later on be able to declare that it is wrong.” What can honorable senators think of the action of a Parliament which included railway servants in an, Arbitration Bill?
– The honorable senator has no right to refer to the Arbitration Bill.
– I am endeavouring to prove my contention that we have been most unwise in letting the Appropriation Bill go through. I should like Senator Playford to consider that on his own showing this is not to be regarded as a precedent, but is to be regarded as an exception, because in this case we have a distinct promise from the Prime Minister, and it certainly appears to me that if that promise is to be fulfilled, the Prime Minister is under an obligation to deal with the whole of the business on the notice-paper before the conclusion of the present session.
– Senator Gould is under a misapprehension entirely when he says that a certain party is dominating the Government. What is dominating the Government, and Parliament also, I think, is something which corresponds to our” Senator Negative,” and that is a dissolution. Members of this Parliament have no desire at this stage for a general election, nor do I think the country wishes it. If the country desired a general election, and Members of the Federal Parliament were prepared for it, there probably would be one. If Senator Gould requires any proof that the members of j. certain party db not dominate the Government, he will be able to find it in the business-paper to-morrow morning. The honorable senator will see that the Government are bringing down a motion to ratify the Eastern Extension Company’s agreement, and if some of us had any control whatever over the Government, or could dominate them that motton would never be included in the Government business on the paper. I think that the Senate very wisely rejected the standing order providing that in cases not otherwise provided the House of Commons practice should guide us. I think that you, sir, suggested that it would be wise for us, as we are a new institution, to try and found our own precedents. We struck out the standing order to which I have referred, but we should still pay great respect to the House of Commons precedents. That House is described as the “ Mother of Parliaments,” and I suppose that the Standing Orders of most Parliaments of the world have been based on those of the House of Commons, and have been taken almost as a body of rules from those Standing Orders. But this Senate is unique in the world. We have a unique Constitution, and we must try (to found our own practice. We are like a man endeavouring to grope his way in the dark, because there is no analogy between the Senate and the House of Lords or any Legislative Council. If Senator Gould had complained1 that we were doing wrong in passing the Appropriation Bill until measures on the notice-paper had been dealt with, he would have been “on a good wicket.” But he seems to me to be on a very bad one when he complains that the Govern- ment, having passed the Appropriation Bill, should not proceed with the measures which were on the notice-paper before the Appropriation Bill was disposed of. The Appropriation Bill would have been passed last Friday night if some honorable senators could nave had their way, although we have been complaining ever since this Parliament was established that various Governments have treated the Senate in a cavalier fashion in not sending up Appropriation Bills in time to enable them to be properly discussed. This year the Government has responded to our request in theory, but not in practice, because we were told, “ If you do mot pass this Bill through to-day, the public servants will not receive their salaries.” That argument weighed with a great many honorable senators. The Appropriation Bill might justifiably have occupied another week. Most important items of expenditure were passed without full consideration. The New Guinea and Pacific Islands mail service items were not adequately discussed. The PostmasterGeneral’s Department was debated insufficiently, in my opinion. The items relating to the Department of Trade and Customs went through without a single speech. Almost the same thing occurred in relation to Defence. The Government should have had supply until the end of November. Then the Public Service could have been paid without the necessity for hurrying the Appropriation Bill through the Senate.
– When I brought up a Supply Bill, I was grumbled at because the Appropriation Bill was not before honorable senators.
– Naturally, the desire of a Minister is to get his Estimates through. He does not want to hear any criticisms. Each Minister likes to be a benevolent dictator.
– It has been the practice of the House of Representatives to keep back the Appropriation Bill until the last moment.
– Does the honorable senator think that his remarks are relevant to the subject, which is whether we should go on with business after the Appropriation Bill has been passed?
– Perhaps I am not strictly in, order. I think there can be no harm in the Government carrying on business after the Appropriation Bill has gone through, provided new business is not introduced at this late period of the year.
It is not fair to members in either House, many, of whom are desirous of going home to their various States, to introduce important new business at the end of November. The Government is acting fairly and justly by Parliament in trying to carry through those measures which have been on the business-paper for some time. But it is acting most unfairly when, at this late period of the session, it proposes legislation such as that of which notice has been given to-day by the Minister of Defence for the ratification of the Eastern Extension Company’s agreement.
– That is not legislation.
– It may not be in the opinion of the Minister, but it should come before us in the shape of a Bill. ‘ That is the only objection I have to what may be considered to be a precedent in going on with business after the Appropriation Bill has been done with. I think the Government will be making a great mistake if it brings up fresh legislation at this period.
- Senator Gould’s object has been to show the country that it is wrong of the Government to go on with business. But would he not have blamed the Government if it had taken the opposite course ? Let us consider the business on the notice-paper of the other House. There is first the Trade Marks Bill. That is the particular proposal to which Senator Gould and those associated with him chiefly object. The Commerce Bill has passed through the Senate, and is now awaiting consideration in another place. The Electoral Bill has been passed bv the Senate, and has not yet been dealt with by the House of Representatives. It makes radical alterations in the present law. A highly important amendment was carried at the instance of Senator Gould’s colleague, Senator Millen, in relation to the boundaries of the electorates. The Sugar Bounty Bill is also awaiting further consideration. The Excise Sugar Bill has not been read a second time. The Immigration Act Amendment Bill and the Contracts Immigration Bill are not dealt with. Will Senator Gould say that any of those measures are not of sufficient importance to justify the Government in departing from what appears to be the usual practice? I can think of no member of the Senate who would have been more anxious to complain of the action of the Government, or would have chastised it more bitterly, than Senator Gould, if any other course had been pursued. The Government deserves every credit - now that it is in a position to snap its fingers at Parliament - for determining to finish the programme of legislation before the prorogation. If the desire of the Government was simply! to get into recess - which was the entire programme of the Government in office last year, of which Senator Gould was a supporter - strong criticism might be advanced. But the present Ministry is entitled to credit for the course it is now pursuing, and the country will not be slow to accord that credit to it for continuing to do work which it promised to do. I should be very sorry to see this session conclude until the matters now on the notice-paper of another place have been dealt with by both branches of the Legislature. Although it may be said that the usual course is not being followed, still that if is not without precedent has been shown by Senator Keating, who has brought up what Senator Gould himself did when he was a member of a Government in New South Wales. He has made himself almost ridiculous on account of the action which he has taken in view of the fact that he himself was a member of a Government which took almost the same course some years ago. That Government was maintained in office by the very party which he says is keeping the present Government in office; and his Government would have continued to remain in power if that party had not kicked it out, and said that it had no further use for such administration. The honorable senator has, in one sense, done good service in bringing the matter before us, because he has allowed the Senate to see the hollowness of the arguments used by members of the Opposition in this and another place. Governments have been blamed for not giving the Senate more time to criticise financial measures. This vear an attempt was made to give us a tetter opportunity to do so. But, as Senator Higgs has said, the desire of the Senate has been met in theory rather than in practice. While I do not think that’ such was the intention of the Government, still the fact remains that we have not been, able to criticise the Estimates as we should have been. What has occurred should be a warning to the Government or a guide to any Government that may succeed them if it wishes to give the Senate what it should have as a House having almost co-equal powers with the other House in respect of money Bills - a sufficient opportunity for their consideration. We do not want to have a repetition of the experience of last night. When a House of Legislature has to sit all night or beyond the usual hours, things occur which are not satisfactory to Parliament or to the country*. We also know that business cannot be conducted as efficiently and fairly after 11 o’clock or midnight as it can before that hour. It was only because the Government had not sufficient foresight to ask for Supply until the end of November that the Senate had to sit beyond its usual hour, and, even after sitting all night, to allow the Appropriation Bill to pass out of its possession before a number of items had been criticised as they should have been.
– And to reverse our votes in order to insure its speedy passage.
– I believe that several honorable senators last night reversed a vote which they had given on the previous night.
– The motion invites the Senate to discuss a constitutional questier - whether it is right or wrong to go on with business after the Appropriation Bill has been passed - but the honorable senator is discussing the procedure on that Bill. What has that to do with the subjectmatter of the motion?
- Senator Gould has contended that we should not proceed with any business after the Appropriation Bill has been passed, and I am pointing out that if. we were to accept his idea the only course for a Government to take in the future would be to give the Senate sufficient time in which to properly discuss and criticise the Appropriation Bill. I thought I was fairly connecting my argument with the subject-matter of the motion. I hope that the Government of the day will always take warning by our experience of the last few days, and see that the States’ House is always afforded ample opportunity in which to properly conserve the interests of the States.
– I also think that Senator Gould has rendered a; service to honorable senators in giving them an opportunity to discuss a question of this sort. Apparently his principal object was to elicit whether in the future the Government intended to proceed with business after the Appropriation Bill had been passed. The question at issue is, in my opinion, altogether above party considerations. I can conceive of the possibility of the members of the Labour Party sitting on the other side, and I realize that no one will make more noise than they will if the Government should propose to put themselves in a position to prorogue the Parliament at any time they choose, no matter what business may be under consideration. I know that in such circumstances I should not like the Senate to allow the Appropriation Bill to pass out of its possession. For some years I sat in the Queensland Parliament. Sometimes the Appropriation Bill has been brought down by the Government perhaps a fortnight before the end of the session. With what result? The Opposition have absolutely declined to surrender control of the measure until all the business on the notice-paper has been passed or otherwise dealt with. A few years ago a gentleman who had been Speaker of the Legislative Assembly strongly opposed a similar proposal because the members of the House would be absolutely dependent upon the Government keeping their promise with regard to the legislation which might be on the notice-paper. I confess that I look very charily at a promise given by a Government in such circumstances. I believe that the promise which was given by the Deakin Government to the House of Representatives will be faithfully adhered to, and that, whether it takes until Christmas or until the end of January, Parliament will be kept in session until the business has been dealt with. But isit a fair thing for any Government to put the Parliament in such a position that it has to depend upon Ministerial promises after it has given up its control of the public purse? It has been done in Queensland, and, I believe, in New South Wales. I was informed by the late Mr. W. H. Groom - the gentleman to whom I referred just now - that many years ago in Queensland the Premier came down to the Legislative Assembly with a prorogation notice in his pocket. Some opposition was shown towards the matters which he thought should be passed, even after the Appropriation Bill had been put through. As soon as the opposition was manifest, and he saw that in all probability it would get support from his own party, he handed in the prorogation notice, and so let the members go and do what they chose. It is very prudent for the Senate to retain some control over a Government until the last clay of the session. The members of the Labour Party, if sitting on the other side, would do all in their power to see that a practice of that description was established and followed fairly closely. I think that Senator Gould might have brought forward this / question quite. independently of party considerations. It does not seem to me to be one which should stir up party feeling. But he commenced by stating that there was a section in this Parliament which had been forcing certain legislation upon the Government. Now who, under similar circumstances, has given the clearest evidence that no such pressure was exercised for a moment by the Labour Party ? Senator Gould was a member of the Reid Government in New South Wales when it was supported by the Labour Party. I believe he has acknowledged that so far as he knew no pressure was brought to bear upon that Government in order to get any particular legislation put through.
– I recognise that.
– The honorable senator also referred to the Labour Party, as being prepared’ to sacrifice all constitutional methods where their own interests are concerned. That is not a fact, and the statement is not fair to the Labour Party. The honorable senator should not make a broad statement simply because it will appear in leading articles in such newspapers as the Sydney Daily Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald, or the Melbourne Argus. He should have had some tittle of evidence before he made the statement to which I allude. I do not believe that a party has stood more strongly for things to be done constitutionally than has the Labour Party. We have taken up that position because it was pointed out to us in the early nineties by Senator Gould and others that if we followed constitutional methods we should be able to get our grievances rectified far more quickly than we should by using the method of strike and brute force. I am glad, however, that the honorable senator has raised this question, because it will be a warning to this and other Governments not to treat the Senate in a similar way in the future. I think that he put his finger on a weak point when, he said that supply should have been granted until the end of the year in order that we might have had an opportunity to discuss the Estimates. Certainly the Government have overlooked the promise which was given to the Senate last year. I remember Senator Symon distinctly promising that the Reid Government, if in power in the following session, would institute a practice which would enable the members of the Senate to consider the Estimates quite independently of the Appropriation Bill.
– He could not carry out his promise. It is impossible to do so.
– It is not.
– Sir George Turner said that it was impossible.
– I do not know whether it is unconstitutional or not, but certainly if it is possible a practice ought to be initiated which would enable the Senate, after the Estimates had been considered by the other House, to consider them quite independently of the Appropriation Bill, which, in my opinion, should be the last measure of the session. I assume that Senator Symon gave some consideration to this matter before he made his promise; and if the change of Government had not taken place, I should have fully expected it to be kept. It would afford us an opportunity to deal exhaustively with the Estimates, and at the same time to keep control over the Government until the last day of the session. I know that complaints have Been made that we have not had a fair opportunity of dealing with the Estimates. I have been a member of the Senate for two sessions. I know that on this occasion a number of honorable senators remained silent while the schedule to the Appropriation Bill was under discussion, because there was not a proper opportunity for ventilating the grievances of their States. But if the Estimates were submitted for our consideration, as Senator Symon promised, no one would1 be able “to say that he had not had’ a fair opportunity of discussing any item.
– He never made a definite promise, but merely said he would look into the matter, and see what could be done.
– I am satisfied that Senator Gould has done good service in submitting this motion, although I cannot agree with the reasons he advanced. I understand that his principal object was to get a declaration from the Government that the course pursued on the present occasion, somewhat under compulsion, should not be made a precedent.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - The remarks of Senator Turley explain pretty clearly the object of the motion. I am aware that it is impossible to achieve any immediate result on a motion of this character, which, however, affords an opportunity for full and free discussion. I do not think that I owe any apology, either to the Government or to the Senate, for having brought the matter under their notice in this way. Senator Playford has said that we are not bound by the precedents of the House of Commons. That I admit at once, and I also admit that we should lay down our own precedents. We must, however, take advantage of any information we can gain from the mother of Parliaments, as well as from other Parliaments under similar Constitutions. I repeat that there are only three cases reported in which the British Government have proceeded with other business after the passing of the Appropriation Bill, and that there were special circumstances on each occasion. I admit that this Senate does not stand in the same position as the House of Lords, and that we should have an opportunity to discuss the Estimates amply. I hope, on another occasion, to give the Senate an opportunity to discuss how far this Chamber may be left free to effectively and efficiently deal with the Estimates, without injuring the constitutional control of either House in any way. I should like to make one or two observations in reply to Senator Keating, who pointed out that in February, 1895, it was reported to the New South Wales Parliament that the ‘State Governor had assented to the Appropriation Bill, covering supply up to June, 1895, and that from the wording of the message, it was clear that the Bill must have been passed before the 27th December, 1894. Honorable senators have to bear in mind the fact that that Parliament was elected in August, 1894, and in the Governor’s Speech, which was placed before the members, was a statement that it was intended to alter the date of the financial year. Previously the financial year had always ended on the 31st December, and Mr. Reid introduced and passed a Bill in that session which made the financial year close on the 30th June. It was then thought that, instead of taking Supply for two or three months, the change afforded an opportunity to pass an Appropriation Bill covering the whole vear. This was done without one word of objection or opposition on the part of any Member of Parliament.
– And it was done for a specific purpose.
.- That is so.
– The object could have been gained by means of Supply Bills.
.- That Parliament introduced the land and income tax proposals of Mr. Reid, and came to an end with the session, because the Legislative Council refused to accept the Bills passed by the Assembly. An appeal was then made to the country. So that the occurrence to which Senator Keating referred took place at a period when there was a considerable amount of feeling in regard to the taxation proposals, and when the date of the financial year was being altered.
– These circumstances did not justify a course which the honorable senator described as unconstitutional, and for which he said there was no precedent.
– Senator Keating has pointed out a precedent, and I admit its correctness. But there is no justification for the course now being pursued by the Government in relation to the Appropriation Bill ; and I do not want it to be taken as a precedent. The Governmenthave made certain proposals which I cannot prevent being carried into effect but I ask them not to make a precedent of introducing new legislation at this stage. The Government ought to be content with carrying out the proposalswhich were on the business-paper at the time the Appropriation Bill was passed.I ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
” WHITE AUSTRALIA “ POLICY.
Pearl Fishing Industry.
Debate resumed from 2nd November (vide page 4471), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That, in the opinion of this Senate, the time has arrived when, in order to effectively carry out the policy of “ a White Australia” legislation should be introduced to provide for -
The cessation of the importation of coloured labour, under regulations, to carry on the pearl fishing industry in North Australia.
The return of the coloured labourers imported under agreement to work in the industry.
The assisting of the industry by bonus or otherwise to enable the replacement of the coloured labour by white labour.
– I move -
That the following words be added to paragraph a - “ except to replace existing crews, but so as not to increase the number of Asiatics now employed.”
The amendment will not apply to the Papuans, or any of the men of the islands who are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government.
– That is a big order. Does the honorable senator recognise the same principle in regard to the sugar-fields of Queensland?
– No; that has not been attempted. The pearl-fishing industry is carried on between the shores of the northern part of Australia and New Guinea itself, except that branch which is conducted on the coast of Western Australia. In the latter case the industry is, however, practically carried on, afloat. So far as we know, the aborigines have been employed in this industry since it was started.
-i understand that the industry is carried on within the three miles radius.
– A portion of the industry is, but it is mostly carried on beyond that radius. The natives of North Queensland have always been employed in connexion with this and the beche-de-mer industry. I have known something of this industry for a number of years, and formerly the diving and the principal part of the work was performed by white men, although some Solomon Islanders and Manilla men were introduced. In those days each boat used to carry one diver, and one diver only. Then some of our own countrymen introduced Japanese divers, and the latter saw an opportunity to make the industry their own. A considerable number of Japanese in Northern Australia obtained boats under contract, and employed no white men ; and not only afloat, but also on shore, coloured men are at work. It seems to me that all that is asked for by the motion is that this industry shall not be handed over entirely to Asiatics. At present the white men engaged in the industry are being gradually forced out of it. and the white population of Thursday Island is not proportionately as great now as it was years ago, when the pearl-fishing industry was not as extensive as it is at present.
There is no reason why the motion, amended as I suggest, should not be agreed to. Years ago the Queensland Government went to the expense of bringing out a gentleman having a world-wide reputation as one of the greatest experts in connexion with fisheries. I refer to Mr. Saville Kent. He visited North Queensland waters, made experiments extending over some months, and reported to the Queensland Parliament that the beds where the pearl shell was being procured were being absolutely depleted, and that some system of cultivation of the pearl oyster should be tried. So far it cannot be said that the experiments in cultivation have been a success, but those engaged in them believe that it will be possible to make the cultivation of the pearl oyster a success with further experience. Under the Queensland law no shell which is less that 5^ inches across can be exported, and I suppose that the legislation of Western Australia is practically the same. When the divers bring up small shell, instead of casting it back into the water, as was previously done, they now remove it to spaces reserved for cultivation. Artificial methods of feeding are resorted to, and the shell is left to grow and increase. By this method of cultivation, it is believed that a pearl-fishing industry will be brought into existence quite distinct from the industry as we know it now. That, in my opinion, is a very strong argument in favour of this motion, if amended as I propose, because, in the event of the industry assuming the form I have described by means of the cultivation of shell, it will be quite unnecessary to employ any coloured men in carrying it on. lt seems to me that the motion, in the form suggested, will not deal harshly with those engaged at present in the industry under agreement, because they must return to their homes at the close of the term of the agreement. Nor will it deal harshly with their employers, because, when the men they have now employed complete their agreements, they will be able to get others from the same place to fill the vacancies, though they will not be allowed to increase the number of coloured people engaged in the industry. There may be some necessity for a further amendment of the motion, but in my opinion, the motion, if amended as I propose, will give more satisfaction than if carried as it now stands. I may add that I propose to move a further amendment.
– I point out that the honorable senator, having spoken to the general question, and moved an amendment, cannot speak again, unless some other honorable member moves another amendment after this amendment has been disposed of. If he desires to modify his amendment he should do so now.
– I have no objection to the principle of the amendment, but I think there is a mistake in the wording of it which should be corrected. As it at present stands, it would simply mean that, although the employers could not import coloured labourers from Asia, they could import them from every other part of the earth. I think it would be better if the words used were “ but so as not to increase the number of coloured labourers now employed.”
– Make it “coloured aliens.”
– I wish to amend the amendment by using the words “coloured aliens,” suggested by Senator Keating, for the words “ Asiatic labourers.” As I desire to move a further amendment, I might be relieved of the necessity of moving this amendment by Senator Turley agreeing to accept it.
– I have no objection.
– Some honorable senator must move the amendment before it can be accepted. Senator Turley’s amendment has been moved, and any amendment upon that amendment must be moved before it can be put.
– I intend to move a further amendment.
– There can be only one amendment before the Senate.
– Speaking to the amendment now, will I have the right to speak to the main question ?
– No ; the honorable senator must speak now to the amendment and to the main question. Perhaps the honorable senator will say what he desires to do.
– I wish to amend the motion by striking out paragraph b, but perhaps 1 can achieve my object if the motion is put to the Senate paragraph by paragraph.
– I point out that although I put the motion paragraph by paragraph, there can be only one debate on the three paragraphs of the motion.
– We can strike out the second paragraph.
– That can be done after the first is amended, as proposed.
– I move-
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “ Asiatic labourers,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ coloured aliens.”
I think that that will meet the views of every one. It will permit of the employment in their own waters of Australian aboriginals, and of natives of New Guinea in New Guinea waters.
– It will not.
– It will not prevent natives of New Guinea from engaging in the pearl fishing in New Guinea waters.
– Can we keep them out of Australian waters?
– I think so ; they are not citizens of the Commonwealth, in the ordinary acceptation of the term. Personally, I do not think that it would be a good thing for the natives of New Guinea that they should be imported into the industry, either at Broome, or in the north of Australia. In the interests of the natives of New Guinea. I think that it will be wise to adopt some means to confine them to their own country
– They should not be allowed to land at Thursday Island, or on any portion of Australia.
– I agree with the honorable senator. The motion, if amended as proposed, will not restrict their rights to fish in their own waters. Speaking on the general question, I wish to say that I disagree in toto with the remarks and conclusions submitted to the Senate by Senator Smith. The honorable senator pointed out that Western Australia is receiving a revenue of something like £25,000 per annum from the operations of this industry in North-west Australia, and also that a large revenue is derived by the State of Queensland from the industry. The honorable senator further said that if we pursued a certain course we should be likely to drive those engaged in the industry away from the Australian coast, and Australia would then lose their trade. Nothing, of that sort has occurred, or is likely to occur. It is necessary that the fishing fleets engaged in this industry should have their base very close to the fishing grounds, and it is only close to the Australian coast that the pearl- shell can be procured at a reasonable depth. The fishing grounds on the high seas are all at a very considerable depth. I do not presume to speak of Western Australia, because I do not know much of the industry there, but I do know a little of the industry in North Queensland, and judging from’ the reports of experts it would not do very much harm if a close preserve of the fishing beds were declared for five years. I believe that it would result ultimately in wealth and advantage to Australia. That eminent piscatorial authority, Mr. Saville Kent, has said that there is very great danger of the beds being depleted. He has expressed the opinion that it is very fortunate that fishing cannot take place beyond a certain depth, because on this account a reserve of fish is provided from which the shallower banks can berestocked as they become depleted. In Queensland it was found necessary to pass a law prohibiting fishing for shell 21 inches and less in diameter. Still, as a matter of fact, the fishers, in their greed for profit, were continually taking away shell below the prescribed size, with the result that the banks in Northern Queensland, which formerly yielded enormous profits, are almost depleted, and the industry stands in danger of being extinguished, or, at any irate, stopped for a considerable number of years. I think that so valuable an industry ought to be conserved for the benefit of the people of Australia. We should! do everything we can to maintain it in a prosperous condition. But there is another point of view. Supposing that Western Australia was gaining £25,000 per annum from the pearl -shelling industry being pursued in the north-west part of Western Australia, and that Queensland was deriving an equally large revenue from having” the industry’ pursued in Northern Australia, would not those two States derive an equally large revenue if the industry were carried on by white labour? Pearl-shelling has never been so profitable to Queensland as it was when white labour was. employed. There is nothing in the work to prevent its being carried on by white labour now.
– The question is whether the industry shall be controlled from Australia, or from a foreign port.
– The reply is that it is necessary for the small boats which take part in the industry, to have either a larger vessel, or a convenient coast as a base. Western Australia and Queensland respectively, are the only two places which offer such conveniences. So that we need not fear the loss of the industry in the way Senator Smith suggests. It is owing to the impossibility of obtaining anything like efficient supervision over the coloured crews - many of the boats being owned by coloured people - and owing to the greed of some of the fishers that the beds are being depleted in Northern Australia. I believe that the same result is liable to occur in Western Australia.
– I think it would have been better for Australia if there had been no pearl shell near its coast.
– I do not agree with the honorable senator. We should rejoice that our country has so many resources from which wealth may be obtained ; and we should do our best to enable our people to gain the greatest possible advantage from them. But we should not go out of our way to afford opportunities for coloured people to exploit our sources of wealth, and to take it away from the country, giving no adequate return.
– It seems to me that thatis what we are proposing to do.
– The motion does not go as far as I think it ought to go, but Senator Pearce thinks that, as he cannot get all he would like, he ought to take as much as he can. To that extent, I am with him. Even if every word that Senator Smith had said were true, that £25,000 is secured to Western Australia by means of the pearl-shelling industry, and even if it weretrue that Queensland was gaining a similar amount, by having the industry in the hands of coloured labour, I still maintain that such a revenue is not an adequate compensation to any State for the enormous iniquities that arise from the presence of the coloured labourers, who participate in this industry.
– I said that the monetary consideration is the least important of any.
– I freely admit that that is so. That consideration does not weigh with me even so much as it does with Senator Smith. But there is no reason why we should lose the £25,000. The industry was more beneficial to Queensland when it was carried on by white labour than it has ever been since, and it will be beneficial in the future if we take pains to (Conserve the wealth we have in the pearl fisheries, and insist on their being conducted by white labour. The same policy which we have adopted for the land of Australia should be adopted for the waters of Australia. We have no right to keep coloured aliens out of any industry in Australia if we permit them’ to participate in pearling. I should be prepared to vote a handsome subsidy to enable the industry to be carried on by white labour, if it could not be done otherwise. But pearling was one of the most lucrative occupations in Australia for a considerable number of years, until the coloured races entered into it, practically swarmed over the pearling beds, and depleted that great source of wealth. If we are to be consistent, we should adopt the same policy with regard to those beds as we have adopted in regard to the mainland.
– I do not think that I should have spoken on this subject if I had felt that the motion was quite clear, and could be readily understood by any one who read it. I have gathered from some remarks made by Senator Turley and Senator Givens that there is, however, considerable doubt as to what is really intended. I hope that, in attempting to show what I understand by it in my own words, I shall be corrected if I fail to give to it the meaning that Senator Pearce, who is its author, and its supporters intend. So far as I do understand it, the meaning is, first, that, in order effectively to carry out the White Australia policy, the amount of coloured labour that is now employed in the pearl-shelling industry in Northern Australia shall be maintained at exactly the same amount of such coloured labour as is now engaged: That appears to me to be the meaning of the first portion of the motion. It is not proposed to diminish the amount of coloured labour employed, but we are asked to legislate to maintain it at its present strength. There is no intimation, so far as I can see, of any condemnation, and we are simply asked to affirm that it is desirable that the number of coloured aliens now employed shall be maintained. Therefore, the motion carries with it the implication that, in the opinion of those who support it, we have now reached the stage when we ought to say: “ This is just the right number of coloured aliens who ought to be employed in the industry, neither more nor less.” When I compare that with the definition of the White Australia policy that is usually given by the members of the Senate who support this motion, and apply it to the question of the cultivation of sugar-cane in North Queensland, I find a very radical difference. They profess to aim at the gradual but utter extinction of coloured labour on the sugar-fields. The contrast here is, however, that (Coloured labour is to be maintained at the number now carrying on the industry, for all time hereafter. I do not intend to refer to paragraph b, because I understand that Senator Givens intends to strike it out.
– As it will be negatived I need not discuss it. In paragraph c, I gather that an attempt is to be made by the bonus system to enable the replacement of coloured labour by white to take place. That proposal seems to me to be in absolute contradiction of paragraph a. Paragraph a implies that the coloured labour which is now carrying on the industry is to be continued, but paragraph c says that there is to be an effort to get rid of it by paying a bonus. If there were no other reasons I could not see my way to vote for a proposal which contains within itself such absolute elements of contradiction. As to the bonus system, no indication has been given aa to the amount that would be necessary to stimulate the industry. I am not at present possessed of the figures relating to it. and I have not had~ an opportunity of making even a rough estimate as to the amount that would be necessary to secure the object.
– Senator Smith estimates -that the extra amount required to carry on the industry with white labour would be 30 per cent.
– Does that mean that it would be necessary to give a bonus of 30 per den[. on the production?
– I do not think that is correct.
– Senator Smith says in his pamphlet that the working expenses of the fleets would be increased by at least 30 per cent, if white men were employed.
– Unless we know the figures to which that 30 per cent, would be applied, we cannot calculate what amount would have to be paid. It might he £500 or it might be £50,000. If itwould be £50,000, surely Senator Pearce cannot expect that Parliament is “going to vote so enormous a sum to assist in carrying on pearling with white labour as well as black. On the other hand, if the amount of the bonus would be very small, say £500, it occurs to ‘me that if it is necessary to stimulate the industry by a bonus so small as that, it must be in a very parlous condition indeed. I have briefly indicated the reasons why I cannot support the motion, even if I understand it; but I do not think that its meaning is quite clear. At all events, I cannot give my assent to a proposal which is both vague and contradictory.
– I merely wish to say on behalf of the Government that the first part of the motion as proposed to be amended practically embodies the policy which we axe already carrying but in regulating the employment of men on the pearling fleets.
– Is the Government doing anything with regard to the employment of Papuans?
– I have heard nothing of that. I think that very few are employed - only about twenty or thirty altogether. Of course, the Papuans would be confined to the waters in the neighbourhood of their own country, and I do not see why we should interfere with them. We should have to make an exemption in their favour.
– This motion will do nothing to prevent the Papuans from being employed in their own waters.
– It strikes me that it would if it were strictly enforced; but of course the Government would take care that it was not. We have had a great many reports on the question of employing coloured arid white crews in the pearling industry. We have had a report from Judge Dashwood, the late Resident Magistrate of the Northern Territory ; from Mr. Warton, and from Mr. Lockyer, the Collector of Customs for New South Wales. I have had an opportunity of seeing my frie’nd, Judge Dashwood, since he returned to fill the position of Crown Solicitor and Prosecutor in Adelaide. He told me that, after visiting the pearling fleets at Port Darwin and Thursday Island, he had come to the conclusion that the pearls are not so plentiful as they used to be, and that therefore the boats have to go into considerably deeper water to find them. He said that it will be impossible to carry on the industry successfully if European rates of wages be paid. We have also the report of Mr. Warton, the Resident Magistrate at Broome, on the condition of the pearling industry in Torres Strait and the North-west coast of Australia. Both Judge Dashwood and Mr. Warton have reported adversely on the suggestion, that the industry could be carried on with white labour. At the request of the Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Lockyer, the Collector of Customs for New South Wales, made an investigation at Thursday Island. He reported to the Government that, in his opinion, the industry could not profitably employ white crews, and that, whether as diver, or tender, or crew, the work is not suitable for white men. We also have the opinion of the Secretary of External Affairs, who has just returned from a visit to British New Guinea. When he was at Thursday Island he made a close inquiry into the condition of the pearling industry, and he says that he is obliged to agree with the opinions expressed on the subject. We have a very valuable pamphlet on the Western Australian pearlshelling industry by Senator Smith, who has treated the subject very fully, and given us the benefit o’f his opinions. In the course of his pamphlet he says -
In considering the advisability of excluding or allowing coloured labour on our pearling fleets, two important questions have to be decided.
Does the manning of the boats by coloured crews endanger or is it opposed to the principle of our White Australia policy?
Would legislation insisting on white labour being employed have the desired effect, or would it mean the loss of the industry to Australia?
In answering those questions, he says, in effect, that if we were to insist upon the employment of white crews, .the pearlshelling industry would leave Western Australia, and go to some port in the possession of the Dutch. He points out that so far as pearl-fishing is concerned, we have only exclusive rights within the three-mile limit, and that all water outside that limit is open to foreign fishermen. He goes on to say -
Does this pearling industry give an alien an opportunity of settling in Australia? That is really the crux of the matter; and to make sure on that head was one ‘of the principal reasons that led to my visit to Broome. I went very carefully into the question, and have no hesitation in saying that if the Acts and regulations are strictly administered as they are at present there is not the slightest danger.
Under the circumstances, I think we may agree to paragraph a of the motion. It can do no good and no harm, because under the regulations we only allow a certain proportion of Asiatic labour to ‘ be employed. There is 110 necessity for me to refer to paragraph S, because it is to be deleted. Paragraph c reads -
The assisting of the industry by bonus or otherwise to enable the replacement of the coloured labour by white labour.
We have no information to guide us as to whether that can be done at a profit, and Senator Pearce does not say that it necessarily follows that it must be done by means of a bonus. I do not know that it will do any special harm to pass the paragraph, but the honorable senator must not assume that the Government are going to do very much in that direction.
– It may be by some other means.
– I have read very carefully Senator Smith’s pamphlet on the subject.
– I hope that the Minister will read my remarks on some statements which he made therein.
– In his pamphlet, Senator Smith says -
The working expenses of the fleets would be increased by at least 30 per cent, if white men were employed for the pearling season (eight months) instead of coloured crews all the year round. The average wage paid to a coloured crew, including the diver, is about 18s. a week, while white crews could not be expected to do the work for less than 6s. a day and found, with 10s. a day for the diver, or an average of £2 a week.
So that a white crew would cost about twice as much as a coloured crew. If under the present system the industry is only paying its way, and white labour is substituted for coloured- labour, we shall have to double the wages which the owners of the boats have hitherto been paying. It will be necessary to ascertain . how many men are employed in each boat before we can determine what the bonus is likely to be.
– I thought that the Government were going to accept the motion as proposed to be amended ?
– Yes. I am only pointing out that we have no information on these points, and that it will have to be obtained. The Government would rather that Senator Pearce did not press his motion. We are carrying out the first paragraph of the motion. I do not see any special harm in the third paragraph, but I do not know whether we shall commit ourselves to the assisting of the in- dustry by a bonus. The word “ otherwise “ saves the situation to a considerable extent, although I fail at the present moment to see in what way it could be done except by a bonus. However, if Senator Pearce prefers to have the motion carried, the Government will not offer any opposition.
– I cannot quite understand the position taken up by the leader of the Senate. In Senator Smith’s pamphlet the average cost of labour is put down at 30 per cent. The Minister very wisely, and I think properly, said that the cost of white labour will be practically double the cost of black labour, and although he is not in favour of granting a bonus - he could not, of course, pledge his colleagues - yet he says that the Government will offer no opposition to the motion.
– I could not pledge the Ministry] to a bonus, because I do not know what amount of money would be required.
– Are we to fill up the notice-paper with a number of motions which really embody a most dangerous policy ?
– It is all governed by the word “otherwise.”
– However anxious we may be to have a white Australia, and to prevent the increase of coloured labour in this industry by backing it up with a bonus, it is a most risky policy to enter upon. If the industry, when worked with black labour, is not worth having - and it is thought to be inimical to the White Australia policy - let my honorable friends give up the industry, but do not let them hoodwink themselves and the public. If we make a precedent of this kind, we shall be called upon to vote innumerable bonuses in order to keep up various industries. I am astonished that the leader of the Senate should object to a bonus for this industry, and admit the mischief of it, and then say, “I would rather that the motion were postponed; but if Senator Pearce would like to carry it, I shall not object.”
– I did not object to a bonus. I said that we did not know what amount of money would be required, and that there ought “to be an inquiry on that point.
– If the Minister says that he never objected to a bonus, which is only another way of saying that he is in favour of it if it is not too large, he has entered upon a mischievous policy.
– As a start, they could give a bounty to half-a-dozen luggers with white crews.
– It would be a gross wrong to the taxpayer to give a bonus. We can have our pineapples at the North Pole if we like, but we cannot continue this policy of turning coloured men out of industries, and bolstering those industries, up by bonuses. That is not the work which we were sent here to do. We ought to conserve the public money, and to make the most use of it. Every State, I venture to say, is” now bearing a great burden in order to carry out the White Australia policy in regard to the sugar industry. And at the very time when we are asked to extend the sugar bounty for five years, and to grant a heavier one too, the Minister is suggesting that we should pass a motion in favour of granting a bonus to another industry. He has entered upon a very risky policy, and if any honorable senators on this side say that” the Government are under the thumb of a party, the statement can be justified by a reference to his actions.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
– In the course of the debate, one or two statements have been made to which I must reply. Senator Playford has informed us that the Government are practically carrying out the policy set forth in paragraph a of the motion. The honorable senator has not been accurately informed, because I shall produce figures which prove that the number of Asiatics is increasing, and has been increasing ever since the passing of the Immigration Restriction Act. An attempt has been made to show that this motion will interfere with the New Guinea natives, but, as a matter of fact, those natives have the right to fish in their own waters, and I am sure that no honorable senator would advocate their importation to the Commonwealth.
– It would be much better for the New Guinea natives if none were allowed on the mainland.
– Senator Smith has already told us that the only New Guinea natives addicted to liquor are those who have been employed in the pearl-fishing.
Senator Playford states that Judge Dashwood told him that the industry could not be carried on by white labour.
– He meant profitably conducted.
– In his report, Judge Dash wood states that the industry could be carried on by white labour at a certain price, and on this point I shall quote the evidence given to him, not by tourists, or legislators like Senator Smith, but by the manager of a fleet of pearling boats. Senator Playford professed to find great difficulty in the last paragraph of the motion, and asked the meaning of the word “otherwise.” Hut there are various ways in which the white pearler may be assisted, besides by means of a bonus. Under the Navigation Bill, for instance, allowances could be made to the white pearlers in the matter of port dues, licensing fees, and so forth, and further assistance could be given by legislation for the regulation of the fishery. The motion does not propose that a bonus shall be paid for the whole amount of shell raised in Australia, but merely that the introduction of white labour shall be encouraged by means of a bonus on the shell raised by white labour. The Government, for example, might give a bonus of £10 or £12 per ton ; and if there were four boats at Thursday Island, and four at Broome, with an average take of 6 tons, we can see at once that a small amount would be sufficient to test whether white men are suited for the industry. Senator Smith told us that on the occasion of his visit there were at Broome 2,209 contract Asiatics and 260 non-contract Asiatics. In 1902, Mr. Warton, in his report, stated that there were then 1,515 Asiatics on the fleet, 1,000 of whom were under contract, and 500 of whom were not under contract. I do not think that many of the non-contract men have left the place during the last two years, so I must conclude that Senator Smith has been misinformed.
– Noncontract men can go to all parts of Australia.
– I am dealing with the statement that there were only 260 noncontract Asiatics at Broome.
– I got my information from Mr. Warton, with whom I stayed a week. That was a year later than the issue of the report.
SenatorPEARCE. - As an argument against the motion, Senator Smith stated that the Malay crews spend their wages in
Australia, and mentioned the rather singular fact in this connexion, that these Malays are great gamblers, who will lose as much as £100 in a night. But that gambling is carried on with their fellow Asiatics, and, in any case, the winner sends the money out of the country. Does Senator Smith say that this gambling is a means of distributing the money throughout Australia ?
– I said the monetary was the least important phase of the whole question.
– I now come to the figures bearing upon the assertion of Senator Playford that the Government are now administering the Act in accordance with the policy set forth in the first part of the motion. The papers laid upon the table of the Senate, under the Immigration Restriction Act, show that the number admitted for pearling under bond to be returned was 622 in 1902 ; 1,048 in 1903, and 1,005 in 1904 - a total since the passing of the Act of 2,675. Then Senator Smith’s own figures, which he has told us refer to a period a year later that the report of Mr. Warton, show an increase of very nearly 1,000. The figures generally show a continuous and increasing stream of Asiatic immigration.
– The honorable senator does not take into consideration the fact that non-contract men are continually going away.
– My experience of Asiatics is that very few of them go away until they have acquired a fortune, and those who do go have a very facile method of smuggling in relatives, who, of course, closely resemble them. Prior to Federation, there was in Western Australia an Act called the Imported Labour Registry Act, together with an Immigration Restriction Act. Under the former measure Asiatics were admitted into the northern portion of Western Australia only, under precisely the same conditions as laid down in the Commonwealth Immigration Restriction Act. That Imported Labour Registry Act was in operation from 1894 until 1901 ; and a return which, at my instance, was laid on the table of the Senate in August of the latter year, shows that the number of Asiatics imported during that period was 567, of which 32 were returned, and that 109 agreements were in force at the time the Commonwealth took over the control, thus indicating that 425 agreements had been evaded in the short space of seven years. The Western Australian Statistical Register for October, 1905, gives full particulars up to the end of September in regard to Asiatic immigration ; and it appears that during the nine months of 1905 there was an increase of 128 Asiatics in Australia, in spite of the fact that there has been a decrease in the number of Indians, Chinese, and Afghans. The increase, of course,is in Malays, Japanese, and Javanese - the three races which are imported for pearling. These figures bear out my statement that the importation of Asiatics is increasing.
– The returns show that contract labourers are superseding free labourers, the latter returning to their homes, or moving to other parts of Australia.
– At any rate, the figures show that there has been increased immigration under the Act, and impress on us the necessity to ask the Government to take preventive measures. Senator Smith was under the impression that the pearling boats had been removed from Thursday Island to Arru Island for the purpose of fishing on the Australian coast, and thereby evading the Act. I can tell Senator Smith that he is entirely mistaken. Thereis no intention to use these boats for fishing on the Australian coasts, as is shown in the report of an interview published in the Brisbane Telegraph during this month with Mr. J. Clark, pearler, of Thursday Island, who has gone to the Molucca Islands. Mr. Clark’s concession from the Dutch Government extends, it appears, from Dutch New Guinea, and includes the Arru, Molucca, Celebes Islands. It extends 500 miles from Dutch New Guinea, but in a direction away from Australia, and the nearest point is that distance from Thursday Island. M-. Clark is, I understand, to obtain the fishing rights of the Molucca Group, but he has vet to comply with certain conditions imposed by the Dutch, one of which is that he must register as a Dutch company. Senator Smith gave us the idea that no conditions at all were imposed. The Arru Islands are 500 miles northwest of Thursday Island, 300 miles north of the nearest point of the Northern Territory, and 50 miles from the coast of Dutch New Guinea. Judge Dashwood, in dealing with Merouke, as a place from which to work the boats at Thursday Island, not only declares that that place is unsuitable, because of the shallow depth, and the harbor bar, but points out that in the season, when the pearlers desire to pass to and fro, they would have to beat up against the monsoon winds, which would add considerably to the difficulty in getting to the pearling places. This applies with even greater force to the Arru Islands as a base from which to fish on the Australian coast. Senator Smith indicated that the boats, which have been taken away from Thursday Island could be used to raid the Western Australian coast from Koepang, in Timor, but that place is 200 miles from the nearest point of the coast of the Western State. I believe that Senator Smith said that Koepang was close to the Australian coast. The part of the coast of Western Australia where most of the pearl fishing is carried on is on the Ninety-mile Beach, some distance south-west from Broome, and Koepang is 500 miles distant from Broome. Senator Smith’s suggestion, therefore, is that a pearling fleet can work 500 miles from its base.
– Pearling fleets can work from Koepang on the Australian coast outside the three-mile limit, and they will do so.
– I have no doubt that, as the honorable senator has already said, they could work on the coast of Australia with Singapore as a centre; but the question is, will it pay them to do so?
– Are there not islands on the coast, and will not the threemiles limit have to be measured from them ?
– That is so. I pointed out that the beds in the neighbourhood of Thursday Island would be greatly benefited by a spell, and what Senator Givens has said this afternoon bears out that statement. Since I moved the motion, I have received the report of Mr. Saville Kent, Inspector of Fisheries in Queensland, which was laid upon the table of the Queensland Legislative Assembly on the 16th of this month. That gentleman sums up the position in this way: He says, first of all, that the actual condition of the pearling industry is one of great depression, and as to the cause, he says that it is due to the gradual exhaustion of the shell beds and the low market value of shells. Then he advocates reserves for breeding purposes. He is of opinion that the beds have become so exhausted that they require a spell for recuperation, and he thinks that it is necessary to establish reserves for breeding purposes. I have before me returns which show a considerable falling off in the Torres Strait fishing during the last few years. I do not propose to read all the figures, but side by side with the decreased output they show an increase in five years of 115 boats, and also an increase in the number of Asiatic labourers employed. In 1897, there were 88 Europeans engaged in the industry, and 1,579 Asiatics; whilst in 1901 the number of Europeans had been reduced to 67, and the number of Asiatics increased to 2,121. These figures show a decrease of 21 Europeans, and an increase of 542 Asiatics, in the period mentioned. In connexion with the industry in Western Australia, there were, in 1900, 162 vessels employed, 65 whites, and 1,037 coloured men; whilst the take was 606 tons, and the price of shell £144 per ton. In 1901, there were 200 vessels, 98 whites, 1,358 coloured men; the take was 716 tons, and the price of shell £146 per ton. In 1902, there were 223 vessels, no whites, and 1,515 coloured men. This information will be found on page14 of Mr. Warton ‘s report. From the Statistical Register of October, 1905, I find that the exports of shell for nine months in that year amounted to 20,192 cwts, valued at £90 per ton. The value of the exports in 1902 amounted to £178,699; in 1903, £224,322; and in 1904, £164,505.
– That is a drop.
– There was a drop in that year ; but the honorable senator must not assume from that that the take was less, as the drop in value may. be largely accounted for by a fall in the price of shell. I believe that the present price is about . £105 per ton; but I have shown that in some years it went up to £144, and in other years up to as much as £200 per ton. I come now to consider the question whether the industry can be profitably carried on with white labour, and I propose to quote from Mr. Fred. C. Hodel, manager for Brown, Campbell, and Company, Limited. This firm own a pearling fleet, and their manager is a man who has had considerable experience in the industry. Mr. Hodel gave evidence before Justice Dash wood, and, amongst other things, he estimated the cost of running a lugger with white labour at £532 per year. Mr. Warton’s estimate was tremendous, being up wards of £800 per year. Here we have a man actually engaged in the business, and one who has had actual experience of conducting it with white labour, and considering the rate of wages white menreceive, he estimates the cost of running a pearling lugger with white labour at £532 per year. Taking this estimate instead of Mr. Warton’s, which I used when introducing the motion, and applying it to the operation of the industry at Broome, I give the results which would have followed the working of the industry if the boats had been manned with white labour. I direct the special attention of honorable senators to these figures. On the basis I have stated, in 1898 there would have been a profit of £23 per boat. In 1899, a loss of £46 per boat ; in 1900, a gain of £58 per boat; in 1901, a gain of £66 per boat; and in 1904, a gain of £268 per boat. In working out these figures, I have considered the take in Western Australia for the years mentioned, and divided it by the number of boats engaged, and I have not included the value of the pearls obtained as apart from the shell. I ask the Minister of Defence to consider these figures, and remember that they are based on the cost of running a lugger with white labour as estimated by the manager of a pearling fleet who has had experience of white as well as of coloured labour.
– The estimate does not include working expenses.
– It includes the cost of working a pearlingboat with white crew. If I take into consideration the value of the pearls obtained, the profit on the industry in Western Australia, if white crews had been employed, would have been : - In 1898, £84 ; in 1899, £32 ; in 1900, £130; in 1901,£174; and in 1902, £269 per boat. I have been able to give no later figures, because after 1902 there is no return of the value of the pearls found. I hope that in view of these figures, honorable senators will disabuse their minds of the idea that any very extravagant sum in the shape of bonus is necessary to enable this industry to pay white wages and return a reasonable profit tothose engaged in it.
– The honorable senator does not contend that these coloured people are assimilating with our population, and destroying our standard of life?
– I have pointed out that they are dodging the regulations, and that 400 of them were in seven years added to the population of Western Australia. 1 now propose to quote from evidence given by Mr. Hodel before Mr. Justice Dashwood. At page 1053 of the Senate Papers for 1901-2, vol. 2, the following will be found at question 1474 : -
You consider they could be got if the wages were paid that the white men would require? - It depends upon what source you touch for your labour. I think if tenders receive ^5 per month there would be no difficulty in getting a sufficient number of tenders. At the present stage I Think we could not get white crews. Assuming that at one swoop coloured labour were done away with, we could not at once replace it with white labour.
If Senator Clemons were present, I should refer him to that as a reason why I do not wish to abolish coloured labour at one swoop. Mr. Hodel went on to say -
I think it could be worked gradually in the way suggested, and in ten years one third of the men employed would be white mcn, and there would be reared here a seafaring race. If the licences were restricted to white divers, some of the floating stations would probably leave, and the beds would have the rest required. The lesser the quantity got the firmer are the prices.
The beds at Thursday Island are more exhausted than are those at Broome.
– It is only a question of time when the beds at Broome will also be exhausted.
– They are being exhausted now in the shallow waters. At question 1477 there is this evidence -
What do you think would be the prospect of the pearl-shelling industry if regulations were made compelling its being carried on with white labour only? - It would be all right so long as the price of shell kept at its present rate.
That is to say, if the price of shell was maintained, at the rates ruling at that time, in Mr. Hodel’s opinion the industry could be worked profitably with white labour.
– That is a big risk, because if the price of shell went down the industry would collapse.
– That might happen under existing circumstances where black labour is employed.
– Yes ; but there is a difference of between 30 per cent, and 40 per cent., less expense, where black labour is employed.
– Referring to white labour that had been employed, Mr. Hodel, in answer to question 1491, said -
With reference to the capabilities of white divers, I wish to draw your attention to a statement made by Mr. P. P. Outridge in evidence taken before the Pearl Shell Commission in 1S97 - Question 518 - “ Some white divers, are even better than the blacks.” Question 519 - “ White divers are as. a rule the best divers”; also question 773 - “ Mr. George Smith - I have seen white men working alongside Manillamen, natives, and Japanese, and they are infinitely superior.” (774) “ It would be a splendid thing to have British natives and white divers alone engaged in the industry.” These are the views of persons who are now most adverse’ to the employment of white divers.
– Does the honorable senator desire a vote on the motion?
– There is plenty of time for a vote. Certain statements of mine have been challenged, and I propose to reply to them by a reference to the opinions expressed, not by men who have taken a flying trip to the scene of the industry, but by men who have been engaged in it, and who, it will be seen, hold the same opinions as myself. Before many of these men became owners of pearling boats, they gave the evidence I have quoted, but when they became owners of boats, they took another view of the question. Mr. Hodel, in his evidence, mentioned seventy men who had been actually engaged as pearlers, and made their living in the industry. With the exception of five, the whole of the witnesses examined by Mr. Justice Dashwood were owners of pearling boats. Of the five, four were working men, and one a manager of a pearling fleet. All the others were personally interested in a good supply of cheap labour. I am prepared to accept Mr. Hodel’s evidence in preference to that of interested persons, especially as he has proved that many of these persons, when engaged as divers, gave evidence in favour of white labour. I ask the Senate to accept paragraph a as amended, and paragraph c of the motion, and to negative paragraph b.
– The honorable senator has stated that Mr. Hodel estimated the cost of running a pearling lugger with a white crew at only £532 per annum. What wages would the white men get if there were six men in the crew, and what would be the cost of food and working expenses if the total cost per annum was only £532 ?
– I refer the honorable senator to an appendix to Mr. Justice Dashwood’s report, in which full particulars are set out by Mr. Hodel.
– Has the honorable senator any objection to striking out the word “ bonus “ ?
– I certainly have.
Paragraph a, as amended, agreed to.
Paragraph b negatived.
Paragraph c agreed to.
Question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ Message) :
Clause 3 -
In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears - “Dwelling” . . . includes any ship or other vessel in any port of the Commonwealth or in any inland waters thereof. . . .
Senate’s Amendment. - After “thereof” insert “ or any ship or vessel registered in Australia on a passage between any two Commonwealth ports.”
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment disagreed to.
– I move -
That the Senate’s amendment be not insisted on.
This is the amendment which was moved by Senator Guthrie with regard to any ship registered in Australia that might be on a voyage between any two Commonwealth ports. The reason given by the House of Representatives for disagreeing with our amendment is -
Because it is impossible to state to which State the persons on board any ship or vessel should be credited.
Provision is made in clause 15 of the Bill for obtaining returns with regard to persons who are not abiding in dwellings; and a ship or vessel between two Commonwealth ports would not be a dwelling within the meaning of the clause. There is no intention on the part of the Department to avoid obtaining the necessary particulars as to persons on board such ships, but it is deemed desirable that arrangements for that purpose shall be made by means of regulations, instead of by providing in the Bill that such ships shall be dwellings.
Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia).I do not think that the reason given for not insisting on our amendment meets the case. So far as I can see, there is absolutely nothing in clause 15 which requires the Department to register persons on board vessels. It merely makes provision for obtaining such returns and particulars as are prescribed. The clauseis taken from the New South Wales Act. We have no more guarantee that in the Commonwealth census particulars will be obtained of persons on board such ships than was the case in New South Wales. A number of particulars are required in regard to persons who are at sea on the census night. But we want to know to what State they shall be credited for electoral purposes. We also want to know their nationality and a number of other things. In the past, in all the States, such persons were merely bunched together as being on a certain vessel; but under the Commonwealth a looseness in this respect may make such a difference as to deprive a State of a representative. For statistical purposes also it is absolutely necessary to obtain these particulars. If the Government assures me that a special form will be prepared to meet the case of vessels at sea on the census night, and that the regulations will provide for the distribution and collection of schedules, I do not know that it will be necessary to insist on the amendment. But unless I have an absolute assurance, I feel inclined to insist on it.
– I think that Senator Guthrie ought to insist on this amendment. It relates to the definition of a dwelling, which is made to include vessels travelling between ports of the Commonwealth. The schedules could easily be left with the captains of vessels leaving ports within a certain number of clays of the census day. Of course, proper regulations would have to be framed to carry out what is intended. We do not need to put in the Bill the machinery for carrying out the idea. But we ought to require that a dwelling shall include a ship which may be between two Commonwealth ports on census day. It should be remembered that the census papers are not left at dwellings on one particular day. They have to be filled up on a particular day, but they can be left a number of days before the census. The captain of a ship should be made just as much responsible as a householder for seeing that schedules left with him are properly filled up. They can be collected when the vessel arrives in port. The regulations might provide that the Customs officers shall be empowered to collect them. The provision will apply only to coastal vessels. I am afraid that in the tremendous excitement over the union label clauses in the other House, not much attention has been given to this matter. Senator Guthrie has had considerable ex- perience, and take’s a keen interest in shipping affairs. What is there that is impracticable in this amendment? I think it ought to be insisted upon.
– I agree with what Senator Pearce and Senator Guthrie have said, and if a division is called for, I shall vote for insisting on the amendment. I do not see why persons on board ships travelling between port and port of the Commonwealth at about the time of the census should not be enumerated. Schedules can be left with the captains of vessels on the occasion of leaving ports if the census day occurs while those vessels are at sea. With regard to not knowing to which State the individuals on board are to be credited, I reply, let each passenger choose his own State. If a man says, “ I came from Queensland,” let him be credited to Queensland.
– I do not think that any proper answer has been given to the contention that Senator Guthrie’s amendment should be inserted in the Bill. It seems to me to be necessary for the purpose of making the measure complete. What is desired is very simple. Clause 15 hardly covers the case. It may cover a number of casual cases, but the fact is that there will be necessarily a considerable number of persons travelling between ports on the census day. It is surely desirable that methodical means be taken to ascertain their number. It is within the capacity of the Department to secure this information. I should say that we ought to insist on the amendment. To my mind, the reason given by the House of Representatives for rejecting it is totally inadequate.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania - Honorary Minister). - Clause 15 provides that the Statistician shall obtain such returns and particulars as are prescribed with respect to persons who on the census day are not residing in any dwelling. If they are not abiding in any dwelling as defined in the definition clause - excluding the words that are under consideration - the particulars with respect to them could be ascertained by means of regulations.
– That is a mistake, I am sure.
– I think not. A variety of circumstances may arise in connexion with different ships. These will not all be steamers plying between State and State in the ordinary course of trade. There may be other vessels bound from one port in the Commonwealth to another port which will not be ordinary traders at all, and it is desirable that there should be a comprehensive and accurate method of ascertaining all particulars necessary in regard to the persons thereon.
– This is the best means of obtaining it, I think.
– I expressed the contrary opinion very strongly on a previous occasion, and since then, in spite of what Senator Pearce has said, reference has been made to those who have had experience with the practical working of statistical departments. The opinion which I expressed on a previous occasion has been confirmed in the reports which have been returned to the Minister, and in which it is stated that it would be impracticable to work this amendment harmoniously with these ships as dwellings as described in the Bill, and to supply the ships with householders’ schedules. A householder’s schedule will show to what State the persons referred to in the return belong at the time, because it will describe where and in what State the house is situated. But a ship of this kind may be carrying persons belonging to different States, and perhaps the ordinary householder’s schedule will contain nocolumn for describing them.
– Then it should have a column for the purpose.
-Why should it contain a special column, when perhaps only 1 per cent. of the persons would need to use it ?
– Suppose that a, ship arrives in Port Melbourne with 300 passengers, who are equally distributed among the States, and a schedule with no location is placed in their hands, what course is it intended to adopt? If they land in Victoria, are they to be regarded as Victorians ?
– Certainly not. The regulations will provide for all the possible circumstances which may present themselves in connexion with travellers by sea. I think, as I told the Committee before, that it would be a far -wiser plan to leave the collection of statistics relating to such persons to be arranged for by regulations, and thus provide an elasticity which would enable all varying circumstances to be met, than to describe in the Bill a ship which may be a long time in passing from one port in the Commonwealth to another, such as a sailing vessel, as a dwelling to be dealt with in the same way as an ordinary dwelling on land. I assure Senator Guthrie that there is no desire not to get these particulars; in fact, it is quite the opposite, and that is the reason why we wish to provide elastic machinery.
Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia).What I desire to ascertain is whether it is intended to adopt the old custom, under which the clearing or entering officer merely took from a ship her papers and calculated that she had, say, 300 passengers on board. I know the way in which these returns have been prepared. Take, for instance, a vessel which is trading between Melbourne and another port in the Commonwealth. For some statistical purpose, in Victoria, the purser has to return a sheet containing the names of the passengers, together with their sex and age. A man who is sixty years of age may be returned as being twenty years of age, for no one is ever asked his age. I am sure that no honorable senator who has travelled along the coast by steamer has ever been asked to state his age for the purpose of this statistical return. Yet the returns come in regularly, with the age and sex of every one given. Probably such returns would be obtained under the proposed regulations. For the census, it is just as necessary to get accurate returns in regard to those who are at sea as in regard to those who are ashore. All that it is necessary to do is to provide in the schedule an extra column, in which persons afloat could give the State to which they belonged. All the other particulars would be given in the ordinary way. It is the most difficult thing to ascertain the number of men who are sailing on the Australian coast at any one time. Our passenger statistics are absolutely incorrect, because the persons who are going from,, say Fremantle to Melbourne, are returned first at Adelaide and next at Melbourne. Under my amendment, these persons could be returned only once; otherwise they might be counted two or three times over, or perhaps not counted at all. When I moved my amendment, I pointed out that there was a chance of all those persons who were at sea on censusnight being left off the rolls of their respective States. In the past it has been the custom to leave with the census schedule a form of application to be placed on the electoral roll. If the forms are not left, then the probability is - unless, of course, the persons apply, which very often they neglect to do - their names will be left off the electoral rolls. I hope that the Committee will insist upon the amendment, because it is designed to secure absolutely accurate returns.
Question - That the Senate’s amendment be not insisted on - put. The Committee’ divided.
Ayes … … … 7
Noes … … … 12
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause 16 -
The Statistician shall, subject to the regulations and the directions of the Minister, collect, annually, statistics in relation to all or any of the following matters : -
Senate’s Amendment. - Leave out of paragraph a the word “ statistics.”
House of Representatives’ Message. - Omission of the word “ statistics “ agreed to, and the word “ matters “ inserted in place thereof.
– In paragraph a of this clause the Senate left out the word “ statistics,” which was redundant, as will be seen upon reference to the governing words of the clause. The House of Representatives has proposed to substitute the word “matters” for the word “statistics.” I move -
That the House of Representatives’ amendment be agreed to.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate’s Amendment. - Insert new paragraph ” ca. Postal and telegraphic.”
House of Representatives’ Message. - Agreed to, with an amendment to insert the word “ matters “ after the word “ telegraphic.”
Senator KEATING (Tasmania- Honor ary Minister). - The House of Representatives has made this amendment in order to bring our amendment in conformity with the previous amendment. I move -
That the House of Representatives’ amendment be agreed to.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolutions reported; report adopted.
Debate resumed from 22nd November (vide page 5578) on motion by Senator
Commonwealthof Australia should join with Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, the Cape Colony, Natal, Newfoundland, and other parts of the Empire in the erection of a memorial in honour of the personal worth and beneficent reign of the late Queen Victoria.
Upon which Senator Stewart had moved by way of amendment -
That paragraph 3 be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ Provided that such memorial be a public hospital to be erected in an Australian city chosen by the Commonwealth Parliament, and that the people of the Commonwealth of Australia be invited to contribute by private subscription the balance of such sum as may be necessary for the erection and endowment of such memorial hospital.”
– I heartily indorse the opening remarks of Senator Playford, that the proposal to erect a national memorial to the late Queen Victoria is one which will appeal to the entire sympathy of not only every honorable senator, but all the subjects of the British Empire. I am a subject of the Empire who responds at once to the principle which underlies the motion. The long reign and the nobility of life displayed by Her late Majesty certainly endeared her name, not only to the subjects of the British Crown, but, I may say, to the civilized world. We are able to contrast the British Court in the days of several monarchs, such as the Georges, with the Court as it was conducted under Her late Majesty; and we observe at once a perfect transformation. The purity of the fife of Queen Victoria undoubtedly impressed itself on the hearts and minds of all her people to such a degree as to incline us - wereit not for the consideration which properly is paid to posterity - to regard any material memorial as unnecessary. While, as I say, I heartily indorse the principle which underlies the motion, I must express regret that a proposal of the kind should be made within this Commonwealth. I advance that opinion, not because I am not genuinely and fully in accord with all that has been said of the life, character, work, and usefulness of Her late Majesty, but because I recognise that her memory has been so indelibly fixed in a thousand and one ways as to obviate any need for Australia to assist in the creation of any English memorial. My idea is that a more worthy object for us would be the perpetuation of her memory by the adoption of some plan like that suggested in the amendment. There is scarcely one of our large cities, if any, in which there is not some statue of the late Queen ; but there is no memorial of any magnitude to mark our appreciation of her many virtues. If we contribute , £25,000 towards the £1,000,000, which is to be spent in England, we shall still have done absolutely nothing in Australia towards the end we desire to attain. We shall, of course, have contributed to the erection of a fine piece of statuary in England, but that fact will soon be forgotten. Under the circumstances, I am very much inclined to vote for the amendment. It would be a grand and a noble work for Australians to raise an edifice for the purpose outlined by Senator Stewart - to erect a national hospital, dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria.
– The sum of £25,000 would not go very far towards providing such a hospital.
– I am not now speaking merely of an expenditure of £25,000. In my opinion, that sum is the merest figment, unworthy as a memorial to the noble woman who did so much to create the pride we now feel in the English Throne. Our contribution to an Imperial work of the kind will be completely lost sight of; and in a few generations it will be absolutely unknown that Australia shared in this expression of sympathy and admiration. On the other hand, if we adopted the amendment, I believe there is enough patriotism, and enough love and honour for the woman who has gone, in Australia, to create by voluntary effort’ a fitting memorial in our own land. If we, as a Federal Parliament, desire to keep green the memory of the late Queen, we cannot do better than adopt the amendment, , and provide an institution wherein the poor and the needy may be succoured; at any rate, I am sure that a work of the kind would have been smiled upon and applauded by the late Queen. Therefore, with a sincere desire to perpetuate the name and fame of Victoria throughout Australia, I shall support the amendment.
– I have listened with much interest to the excellent address of Senator Henderson, and1 would now like to place one or two practical considerations before honorable senators. The leading idea of the motion is an Empire memorial - the idea that the outlying parts of the British Dominions shall contribute towards a fund for the purpose of realizing that rather beautiful conception. This is not a matter of individual subscription, but something to be done by the Empire, in order, in a consolidated way, to show the deep appreciation of the late reign4 and pay a tribute to the nobility of the great monarch who graced the Throne for so many years. The amendment is excellent in its way, but, in my opinion, it is hardly practical. It at once departs from the idea of an Empire memorial ; and I am almost disposed to think that it courts defeat. Many of us have had considerable experience in the work of erecting hospitals, and we know that they are exceedingly expensive institutions to build and equip. Even if we conceive that we have managed to erect and equip a hospital worthy of the occasion, arrangements will have to be made for its maintenance.
– Quite right.
– The chief difficulty would be to decide the location of the hospital.
– There would be a revolution if it were not in Sydney.
– We should never hear the last of it if the hospital were in Melbourne.
– The proposed hospital is not to be erected at the expense of the Government alone, but by means of voluntary subscriptions. Let us look at the matter from a practical stand-point. Her late Majesty has been dead for a considerable number of years. I should be sorry to think for a moment that a few years should make any difference in regard to the subscriptions which might be secured towards perpetuating “the memory of her great life. The fact remains, however, that enthusiasm and admiration such as were expressed at the time of the late Queen’s death, must necessarily, to some extent, diminish in the course of years, with the result that the people might not prove so active as desired in supporting a memorial by subscriptions. If we rely on voluntary contributions, the probabilities are that, as everybody’s business would be regarded as nobody’s business, we should be proposing a scheme which would be bound to end in failure. If from a practical stand-point that is correct, it surely is a reason why we should not accept the amendment. I speak subject to correction, but I am sorry to say I believe that some little time ago in Victoria, which niaN be regarded as a typical State, it was suggested that some memorial of the kind might be erected by voluntary subscription. While the idea was taken up by a few at the time, it ultimately fizzled out, and nothing came of it.
– The same thing happened in Queensland.
– And also in Tasmania.
– I learn that the same thing occurred in Queensland and in Tasmania. It should be remembered that these movements were inaugurated shortly after Her Majesty died, and when all the glamour of her reign was upon- us. If that was the practical result of such movements at that time, will it not be the inevitable result of a similar movement now? It must be borne in mind, also, that Senator Stewart’s proposal is not only that ai building shall be subscribed for, but that we shall by private subscriptions provide funds for its permanent up-keep. I say that weshall be inviting defeat if we carry a. proposal of the kind. An equally serious objection to the amendment is that which I have already urged - that it is a departure from the idea of an Empire memorial. There is a further practical difficulty in the way of the amendment when w-e consider the location of the proposed hospital. Is it to be expected that we shall get voluntary subscriptions from residents of the various States for the erection of a hospital, when they will not know where it is to be erected? I will ask honorable senators whether, if the suggestion were made to the residents of a State to subscribe to the building of a hospital they would not be likely to regard it with more favour if they were to be ^informed that it was to be erected in their own State?
– We have two memorials in’ Tasmania now.
– Every State has some memorial of the late Queen.
– There are very many memorials in England.
– If the memorial is to be erected by private subscription there is no necessity for a motion and a vote by Parliament.
– I would ask honorable senators to say whether they can conceive of subscriptions being contributed by residents of the several States to erect such a memorial as is suggested by the amendment?
– Why not?
– Does the honorable senator ask that question in the face of the fact that similar proposals have failed in the cases I have mentioned.
– If such a memorial can be erected by private subscription there is nothing to prevent that being done.
– That is so. The proposal submitted by the Government is that Australia as a whole shall contribute to the cost of an Empire memorial. If Senator Stewart desires a memorial in the shape of a hospital it is quite competent for the honorable senator and those who agree with him in the several States to call upon the citizens of Australia to join together for the erection of such a memorial. That can be done quite irrespective of, and, indeed, in addition to, the Empire memorial suggested by the motion before the Senate. I have submitted what I regard as practical difficulties in the way of the amendment. Honorable senators should remember that if the amendment is carried it will practically mean the defeat of the whole scheme referred to in the motion.
– It will look very mean if Australia does not contribute, when New Zealand, the little Colony of Newfoundland, Canada, and South Africa have all agreed to subscribe to the proposed memorial.
– That is a consideration which should certainly have weight with honorable senators. Representing as we do one of the outlying possessions of the Empire, we cannot afford to permit the reflection to be cast on Australia that, while other parts of the Empire have agreed to contribute to this memorial. she has refused to do so. Indeed, I am entitled to say that a’ny dilatoriness in dealing with this matter on our part may be open to an objectionable interpretation.
– I suppose we shall be unable to borrow any more money if we do not agree to do what is proposed’?
– In the circumstances, I appeal to Senator Stewart to take the practical difficulties I have mentioned into consideration. Let us waive aside minor differences of opinion, and join in the great conception involved in the creation and erection of an Empire memorial.
– I suppose that the first thing with which honorable senators who oppose the motion will be met will be the old cry of “disloyalty.”
– No, no.
– I have been through this kind of mill before, and I know exactly what will happen. That will be the cry raised in the press from one end of the Commonwealth to the other. Whether it is or not, I am totally opposed to both motion and amendment. I do not think it is necessary for us to take any part in the proposal to erect a monument to the late Queen,, in England, or anywhere else. Of the late Queen as a woman I have nothing whatever to say. I believe she acted honestly and straightforwardly in the performance of her work, and, according to heT lights. Beyond that it is unnecessary for me to say anything. We are asked to vote a sum of money, out of the consolidated revenue contributed by the various States, towards the erection of an Empire memorial in London, and we know perfectly well that the cry it* most of the States, and certainly from the Treasurer and people of the State I represent, is that there is not sufficient money available to do the work which it is absolutely necessary should be done ‘in that State. As Senator Best has pointed out, it is some time since the late Queen died, and yet not one of the States has proposed the erection of a memorial out of public money. There has been nothing to prevent the Government of any of the States bringing forward a motion in the State Parliament that the State should contribute its share to a memorial to be erected in London, or provide for the erection of a memorial in the State, or for the payment of a contribution to a fund for the erection of a national memorial in Australia. Not one State has attempted to deal with the question. We are now asked to contribute to an Imperial memorial, and the Minister of Defence says that we shall be very unpopular with the rest of the Empire if we do not, because other parts of the Empire have thought fit to contribute money towards this object. I do not know that we shall be unpopular. Australia has, up to date, and, I believe, will continue to do so, paid 20s. in the £1 to her creditors, and so long as we are able to do that we shall not become very unpopular even in the London money market. So long as we are able to meet our liabilities, we need have no fear for Australia.
– There is no great virtue in merely paying what you owe.
– That is so; but it seems to me that paying what we owe will tend to make nations popular, so far, at all events, as their commercial standing is concerned. I feel satisfied that if the people of Australia were asked to say whether this money should be voted from the consolidated revenue for this purpose, a big majority of them would be found to be against it.
– No, no.
– I believe they would, and we have some evidence of it. It is all very well for us to say that because, collectively, we represent the people of the States, we should have the people behind us, if we agreed to vote this money. But we have the evidence referred to by Senator Best, that when enthusiasm on the subject was at its height, when the newspapers in all parts of the Commonwealth were printing columns of matter day after day pointing out the work carried ouT during the late Queen’s reign, her virtues, and the work she did personally, committees were got together in the various States, and though they circularized the people from one end of the States to the other, the result was about the most miserable fiasco I ever heard of. Where the people were asked to contribute “to a memorial to be erected in their own State, no one was found to take any particular interest in it, or to put money down for the purpose.
– We have one in Melbourne, one in Ballarat, and one in Bendigo.
– When were they erected ?
– Since the late Queen’s death.
– I can speak for Queensland, and I know that those connected with the movement to which I have referred found out very soon after it was started that it was absolutely useless for them to proceed. They then appealed to the Parliament of the State, and the Parliament refused to take any responsibility in connexion with the matter.
– That is a strong argument why the Federal Parliament should do so.
– It is a strong argument why I, as a representative of a State whose Parliament refused to have anything to do with such a movement, should not be a party to voting public money for a purpose which the State Parliament would not sanction for a moment.
– They probably wished for a national monument, and not a State monument.
– There was no question of a national monument.
– This Empire proposal had not been made at the time.
– I quite admit that. But I say that money could not be raised by private subscription in Queensland for the erection of a memorial in that State, and those in charge of the movement were refused assistance by the State Government and Parliament, who might be assumed to represent the views of the people of the State, as I claim to represent them now. It does not seem to me that there is any particular reason why we should put up a memorial in Australia, or contribute to put one up in the old country. If a memorial is put up in London, I am satisfied that the great majority of the people in this country will not take any interest in it. Very few of them will ever - see it. It will simply drop out of mind; with the result that money will have been taken out of the pockets of- the people by means of taxation, and spent in a useless way, so far as our people are concerned. Now 1 come to Senator Stewart’s amendment : if it were carried, the motion, as amended’, would read as follows : -
That in the opinion of the Senate, the Commonwealth of Australia should join with Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, the Cape Colony, Natal, Newfoundland, and other parts of the Empire in the erection of a memorial in honour of the personal worth and beneficent reign of the late Queen Victoria ; provided such memorial be a public hospital, to be erected in an Australian’ city chosen by the Commonwealth Parliament, and that the people of the Commonwealth of Australia be invited to contribute by private subscription the balance of such sum as may be necessary for the erection and endowment of such memorial hospital.
– That is quite right.
– It would be all right if we could get the other countries mentioned to join in.
– I do not think that Senator Stewart can have any expectation that the various countries named in the motion would contribute to the erection of a hospital in Australia. In the first place, I decline to have anything to do with the motion as submitted by the Government ; and in the second place, I think. that if the motion were amended, as Senator Stewart proposes, it would simply, make the whole thing ridiculous. We do not want to appeal to Canada, Cape Colony, and Newfoundland to assist Australia in erecting a hospital as a memorial to Queen Victoria. We prize our independent spirit too much for that. if the people of Australia wished to put up such a memorial in this country, they would not appeal for assistance to any other part of the globe. I am, therefore, just as much opposed to the amendment as to the motion. I am also opposed to the idea of erecting a hospital as a memorial. There are many difficulties in the way. In the various States it is already extremely difficult to raise money by voluntary subscriptions for the support of local hospitals. And where is the memorial hospital to be erected? Are we to ask the people of Queensland to contribute to the erection of a hospital in Sydney, in Melbourne, or at Monaro? Are we to appeal to the people of Western Australia to assist in erecting a hospital in some populous centre of Australia? In Queensland the Government has had to step in, and take over practically the management and support of institutions which are considered as the basic hospitals of Brisbane, and other important places. The Government did not want to do it, but it was found to be absolutely impossible to obtain sufficient public contributions to maintain the hospitals. The people who went on hospital committees did a great amount of very hard work. They devised various schemes with the object of raising money. Yet they found it to be impossible to keep their institutions out of debt. Ultimately, the Government had to step in and provide the money. When such difficulties are experienced in maintaining hospitals in populous centres, where people have the opportunity of visiting, their sick friends, and seeing the splen did work that the institutions are doing, how much more difficult would it be to induce people in the distant parts of Australia to contribute towards the maintenance of a hospital which they might never see, and of the working of which they would know nothing. Again, the proposal is objectionable, because it would throw upon the Government the odium of selecting the site for the -memorial.
– Put it up in New Guinea for the benefit of the natives.
– It would not be necessary to spend £25,000 there. It would be sufficient to build a place up a tree. I do not think that either of the proposals before the Senate is in consonance with the opinion of the majority of the people of Australia. For these reasons, whatever term may be applied to my conduct, I propose to vote against both motion and amendment.
– I sympathize very much with the remarks of Senator Best, and consider it to be both a pleasure and a duty to support the motion. The Senate ought to be unanimous in regard to the matter. It is true that there are many local memorials to her late Majesty throughout the Empire. But I take a special pleasure in voting for a motion which will connect the name of her late Majesty with a memorial significant of the whole Empire. There are enduring memorials to her in the names of some portions of the Empire. For instance, Victoria and Queensland are named after her. Cities, towns, and rivers bear her name in many parts of the British Dominion. Lake Victoria Nyanza, in the centre of Africa, recalls her to mind. But all these are merely local memorials. The time has come for this great Empire to erect an Imperial monument to celebrate for all time one of the most glorious reigns in the History of the world. Can any one name a reign of any Sovereign that is fit to bear comparison with that of Queen Victoria? London is the capital of the British Empire, and a more suitable place in which to erect a national memorial I cannot imagine. Those who have had the privilege to visit London within the last few years must Have been delighted ‘to find that the great city is growing even more grand in its buildings and in its streets than it was in days gone by. It is, unfortunately, the case that the extremes of poverty and riches are to be met with there-. We must’ admit and deplore that fact. But we mayhope that this very national memorial will have an effect upon the people of London, reminding them that they belong to a great Empire, and that it is their duty to look to the improvement and benefit of the people of that Empire. Twenty-five thousand pounds is, of course, a considerable sum of money ; but, divided amongst 4,000,000 of people, what does it mean? It means 3d. per head. Does any one mean to tell me that there is a person in Australia who would object to contribute 3d. towards a worthy memorial celebrating not only the late Queen but the Empire over which she reigned ? It is a mere trifle ! Nowadays, a man can get a nobbier for 3d. This national memorial will symbolize for all time the unity of the Empire to which we belong. I trust that the motion will be carried unanimously. We have our little differences from time to time, but we are all loyal men. Let us show that we can be of one mind on such an occasion as this. Our young people have a day in the year which they call Empire Day. It is a valuable celebration, as promoting the spirit of loyalty. I believe that Australia is as loyal as any part of the British Dominions. There is a beautiful system of co-operation working towards the erection of this memorial. Canada, Cape Colony, Natal, New Zealand, and Newfoundland will all contribute their share. I have no doubt that the great Indian Empire will join. Those who had the privilege of being in London at the time of the coronation of the King, can never forget the men we saw there who were representative of all portions of the British Empire, its States, Dependencies. Colonies, and subject countries. I do not wish to take up more time, but, as its sole representative here at the present moment, I think it right to say that in New South Wales, at any rate, there will be great disappointment if the Senate does not fall in with this proposal.
– This, I take it, is not a matter in which’ Australia is acting entirely upon its own responsibility. It has been invited to join with the other portions of the Empire in paying a tribute to the memory of a woman who, by all who know anything of her, is considered to have lived a remarkably good life, and to have set, as a woman in a high position should always do, a good example.
This is one of those occasions on which, I think, the Senate should be unanimous. It is really a national memorial which is proposed, and whether it takes a form of which we can individually approve or not, that fact ought not to prevent us from voting the money. Just as Senator Turley will believe, quite sincerely and conscientiously, that he is acting in accordance with the wishes of his constituents, if he votes against the motion, so I shall feel absolutely certain that I am acting with the full concurrence of the general body of electors in Tasmania in voting its proportion towards ‘the cost of the memorial. At the same time, I join most heartily in the main object which Senator Stewart has in view in proposing his amendment, and that is to give a humane, utilitarian aspect to the memorial, rather than to spend the money on mere cold marble. It seems to me an anomaly that, while we learn daily by cable of the enormous amount of distress and the large number of unemployed people in the old country, we should be sending home money to be used for any other purpose than to benefit humanity in a way which I believe would be more truly in consonance with the feelings of Her late Majesty than will the erection of a mere piece of statuary in her honour. However, that is not a matter for us to decide. We are acting as an integral part of the Empire, and giving our contribution to a fund, leaving it to those at the centre of the Empire to expend it as they may think fit on a national memorial. The motion has my full concurrence. In consequence of certain remarks which have been made recently, I desire to express my pleasure at the tone of this debate. I was very pleased with the speech of Senator Stewart in submitting his amendment, and also with the speech of Senator Turley. I like a man who has the courage to express his opinion. There is not the slightest foundation for the remarks which have been made in regard to the disloyalty of individual members of this Parliament, whether sitting here or in another place, with regard to their attitude on this question. Surely we can agree to credit each other with the best of motives. I should like to see a little more of that feeling than there is apparently at the present time.
– I have been somewhat amused at the various prophecies which have been made as to the fate of this proposal. We have been told that sixteen members of the Sen- ate are going to vote against the motion, and to show their disloyalty-
– Who said that?
– A person rejoicing in the name of Hindley, and an archdeacon, I think. I could not help feeling amused at this person’s ideal of loyalty. Apparently to build a monument is to be loyal, provided that it contains no rooms, and is not to be used for any particular purpose. If a monument is to take the form of a hospital, then it is no evidence of loyalty. But if it is to be a solid block of stone, it is an evidence of loyalty. Because a certain amendment had been moved in the Senate the genius to whom I have referred, prophesied that sixteen senators who had voted for the motion relating to Home Rule for Ireland would vote for a disloyal proposal. I think that the gentleman will be disappointed, because, so far as I know, the motion will be allowed to pass on the voices. I have not heard of any intention to call for a division. I have no objection to give a vote on the question, although I may leave myself open to the same charge as I did when I voted in favour of Home Rule being granted, for Ireland, and that is, that I have never consulted my constituents on this point. I have no authority from my constituents to spend this sum of £25,000 on a national memorial to the late Queen, any more than I had authority from them to vote in favour of the other motion.
– They will forgive the honorable senator.
– I trust that they will approve of my action in both cases. I had hoped to have the opportunity of listening to a speech on this question from Senator Dobson, because I thought that if there was one subject upon which he would spread himself, it was this one. I was anxious to hear whether he thought that Tasmania could afford its proportion of this sum. Senator Mulcahy, who comes from the State, tells us that it can, but whenever a proposal for expenditure is submitted, Senator Dobson always makes an ad misericordiam appeal that in the interest of the country it should be blocked, because “poor little Tasmania” cannot afford to pay its share. I had hoped to hear from the honorable senator that on this particular question he would be prepared to put aside his ideas of economy in favour of recognizing the reign of one of the great est monarchs which the British Empire has ever seen, and, perhaps, ever will see. My idea of loyalty is to be loyal to my country, as well as to any person or official therein. When we glance at the Republics and the monarchies-, limited and otherwise, of the1 world, we have to recognise that the freest democracy of all is the British Empire. In no age in the world’s history did that democracy make greater progress than it did while Victoria reigned as the. monarch of the British people. During her reign political ideals, in the British’ Empire, reached a stage which had never been reached in any other country. Political liberty in Australia was developed to an extent of which our fathers could not have dreamt. I recognise that sentiment is one of the most powerful forces in human nature, and that this monument is a sentimental way of concentrating in one place the national recognition of a splendid reign. It is a grand ideal, I think. We may differ as to the method of expressing the ideal. But why should we throw a charge of disloyalty at each other simply because we differ on that point? It is miserable and paltry to make the charge.
– It is only made by outsiders.
– The charge is made by outsiders, and this is the only opportunity we have of replying to it. I do not think that a single senator would be so mean-spirited or narrow-minded as to make that charge against those who differed from him in regard to the method of expressing our loyalty. I should like to see the motion carried on the voices, although I must confess that I regard the proposal contained in Senator Stewart’s amendment as offering ‘a preferable way of expressing our loyalty.
– If it were practicable.
– I think it could be made practicable, but, at the same time, I do not wish to split hairs over details. I would not urge Senator Stewart to press his amendment to a division; in fact, I would urge him to withdraw it, and to let the motion pass on the voices.
– I wish, sir, to withdraw my amendment. ‘
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Consideration of Standing Orders Committee’s report (vide page 5531)-
– It will be remembered that on the 7th October, 1903, the Senate passed the following resolution: -
This Senate is of opinion that members of the Senate should, on motion “ That the Senate do now adjourn,” be permitted to debate questions not relevant to the motion.
In most cases a member of a legislative chamber enjoys the privilege of discussing on the ordinary motion to adjourn the House practically any matter which, in his opinion, is of urgency. That practice has teen followed since the resolution of the Senate was arrived at, although it has never been formally embodied in a standing order. In a recent report the Standing Orders Committee has recommended that the following be a new standing order, in lieu, of standing order 59 : -
I move -
That the report be now adopted.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia).Contingent on the consideration of any report of the Standing Orders Committee, I gave notice of ray intention to move -
That the following new Standing Orders be adopted, viz. : - “319A. On a Bill to amend an existing Act an
Instruction can be given to a Committee to consider amendments which are not relevant to the subject-matter of the Sill, provided that such amendments are relevant to the subject-matter of the Act which it is proposed to amend.” “ 319B. An Instruction to a Committee of the
Whole requires notice, and can be moved before going into Committee on any question.”
I ask leave, however, to amend the notice of motion.
– I now move the following amended motion : -
That the following new standing order be added to the report : - “ An instruction can be given to a Committee of the Whole on a Bill to consider amendments which are not relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, provided that such amendments shall not deal with an entirely different matter.”
The object of this standing order is to make the instructions given to a Committee of the Whole of some practical use - to enable the Committee to deal w’ith subjects not strictly relevant to the Bill under consideration.
At present the instructions are of no use, because the Committee possess the power without instructions. This matter was considered by the Standing Orders Committee, but my suggestion was rejected. I think, however, that we have unduly cramped our powers under the present reading of the Standing Orders, and that the amendment I have suggested is absolutely necessary.
– I think it would’ be wise, after I, and, perhaps, other honorable senators, have spoken, to -adjourn the consideration of this matter. The motion before us now is quite a new one, and is fundamentally different from that of which Senator Pearce gave notice. The Standing Orders Committee considered’ this question of instructions, and I think we were unanimously of opinion .that if some scheme could be devised whereby instructions could be given to a Committee to consider subjects not strictly relevant to the subject-matter of a Bill, and whereby the powers of the Committee of the Whole might be enlarged, that course should be taken. The only difficulty was that the Standing Orders Committee could not devise any scheme which was not open to more objections than is the present system. I entirely sympathise with those honorable senators who say, “ We do not think we have sufficient liberty in a Committee of the Whole on a Bill ; we wish by instruction to have power to deal with matters that are cognate to a Bill.” But if honorable senators will bear with me for a moment while I shortly state the history of standing orders concerning instructions, they will see the difficulty of the position.- In the House of Commons, it was formerly competent to give an instruction to deal with a matter not relevant to the subject-matter of a Bill, but the practice was found to be open to a great many objections. It led to matters being included in th’e same Bill which had no proper relation to each other, and which could not come under the same title. ‘ After the system had been tried for a considerable time in the House of Commons, it was abandoned, arid it has been abandoned by every other Parliament that I know of. Even the United States Congress have adopted the same system that we follow, though their standing order is not precisely in the same words as the standing order of this Senate. I do not wish to express at present a decided opinion about the pro- posed new standing order, because I should like time to consider it. As a matter of fact, I suggested this standing order to Senator Pearce, not, however, as, a wellconsidered proposal, but merely as a matter for consideration. Indeed, the motion as handed to meis partly in my own handwriting. As I say,I should like some further time to think over, not only the scheme itself, but the words by which it is proposed to bring it into force. I think, therefore, that the Senate would do well not to act rashly in the matter.
Debate (on motion by Senator Dobson) adjourned’.
– I made a promise that after Government business had been disposed of, the consideration of private business might be resumed if honorable senators desired. As our last sitting was protracted until early in the morning, I think that this sitting ought not to be continued beyond, say, a quarter-past 10 o’clock.
– Let us go on until half-past 10 o’clock.
– What business is there for next week?
– For Wednesday, I havean important notice of motion on the business-paper, namely, the motion to ratify the agreement that has been entered into by the Commonwealth with the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company. This agreement was discussed on. a former occasion, but was left hanging up like Mohamet’s coffin, pending the receipt of the report of the Pacific Cable Board.
– Surely we are not going to meet for that business alone?
– I anticipate that there will be considerable discussion upon* it. Then, on Thursday, I expect that the Trade Marks Bill will have been received from another place, and it will have to be read a first time.
Debate resumed from 26th October (vide page 4121), on motion by Senator Staniforth Smith-
That the female employes in the Civil Service possessing equal qualifications and aptitude should be placed in the same class and receive equal remuneration as male Civil Servants doing similar work.
That at least one-half of the total number of telegraphists should be in the fourth class.
That the three grades in the General Division should be abolished, and increments substituted up to at least£150.
That district allowances should be more in conformity with those previously allowed by the States, and should constitutea more equitable compensation for increased cost of living, isolation, and climatic conditions.
That the composition of the Appeal Board should be altered so that one member should represent the Government, one member the Civil Servants, to be presided over by a Judge or stipendiary Magistrate,
Upon which Senator Millen had moved by way of amendment -
That the words “ be more in conformity with those previously allowed by the States, and should,” be omitted from paragraph 4.
– In replying to the discussion on this motion-
– I suppose the honorable senator will withdraw his motion ?
– I shall certainly not withdraw the motion, and I am anxiously waiting to see whether the Government will redeem their promise to give the Senate a fair opportunity to discuss it. On a previous occasion, the Government showed considerable anxiety to prevent any decision being registered in the Senate. Senator Keating is an able and forcible speaker, but I never heard him less forcible or less convincing than he was in his reply to my remarks. I listened to his speech more in sorrow than in anger, and a subsequent reading of it confirmed me in the opinion I have just expressed. When I submitted the motion, I distinctly said that the public servants as a whole had benefited as an immediate result of their transfer to the Commonwealth. According to the Constitution, public servants so transferred retain all their existing rights, and it is mandatory that the laws concerning them shall be uniform throughout all the States. These provisions of the Constitution, of course, necessitated a levelling-up, which meant increased salaries in five of the States. I dwelt on this point at some length, and showed unmistakably that the transfer had resulted in an immediate advantage to the public servants. At the same time, I pointed out that the public servants are now receiving less increments than they did when in the service of the States, and I compared the position to a case wherein a bonus is given., and dividends cut off. Senator Keating, instead of addressing himself to the arguments I adduced, devoted the whole of his speech to a laboured tabulation of figures, showing that each particular section of the service had received immediate increases of salary as a result of the transfer - a fact of which we were all aware, and which was inevitable, however parsimonious the Commonwealth might be. I do not blame him for his paucity of ideas, because he had a great many matters to consider, and simply spoke, as barristers do, from a brief which had been prepared for him by the Public Service Commissioner. While Senator Keating made a tedious and laboured comparison between the conditions immediately prior, and the conditions immediately subsequent, to Federation, he failed altogether to refute any one of my arguments, or to show why the various proposals I made in the motion should not be carried out. There is another matter we must consider in regard to the Commonwealth public servants. The Commonwealth pays no pensions whatever, though the practice of the States Governments was to make provision of the kind for public servants. In. this respect alone, the transfer from the States to the Commonwealth was undoubtedly detrimental to the interests of the public servants. The Public Service Commissioner contends that it is mandatory to grade the general division, but, with all respect, I hold the opinion that he is absolutely incorrect. In the Public Service Act and regulations there is not a sentence which makes this grading mandatory, the provision being that the general division may be graded, and, therefore, it was a matter entirely for the volition of the Public Service Commissioner. As to female public servants, we laid it down as a fundamental principle in the Act that there should be absolute sex equality, and that we should, therefore, pay for the labours of our public servants according to the value of the service rendered, without any regard to sex. I say that in this classification the rule we insisted on in the Public Service Act has been departed from by the Commissioner. In the first place, female employes are practically prevented from, entering the clerical division. They are classed in the general division, in which the emoluments and opportunities of increase are less than they are in the clerical division. In Western Australia, out of fifty postmistresses, forty-six are classified, and their salaries fixed. Twenty-six of the forty-six have salaries fixed at less than the minimum wage of £110 decided upon by Parliament. Yet Senator Keating, reading from the brief prepared for him by Mr. McLachlan, stated that it was incorrect to say that any difference whatever had been made between male and female employes in the Public Service. Throughout the classification there is a succession of injustices inflicted” on the civil servants. Here and there it may be that this has been intentional, in order to save money ; in many cases it may be accidental ; but there can be no denying the fact that the classification scheme is honeycombed with injustices. A large number of the officers of the Telegraph Department are excluded from the rank of telegraphists. They are dubbed as “assistants,” with the result that the number of officers in the fourth class is unfairly curtailed. The proportion between the numbers in the fifth and fourth classes is as two to one. The officers who are called “assistants” are really in the fifth class, but are not included in the ratio I speak of. Prior to Federation these “assistants” were termed “operators.” They not only do telegraphic work, but work in the Savings Bank, in connexion with the issue of postal notes, and the parcels post, and if the postmaster is ill, they occasionally take his place, with all his responsibilities. Yet these men are classed in the general division, and are not allowed to obtain the advantages which their position and the examinations they have passed absolutely entitle them to, and which we, in passing the Public Service Act, undoubtedly intended that they should possess. This proposal is very farreaching in its effect, and the number of officers in the fifth class is swollen unduly as a result of this scheme of the Public Service Commissioner. I come now to the question of district allowances. When that question came up, an Inter-State conference of lettercarriers, representatives of these officers throughout the Commonwealth, and those assembled at a meeting of the Electric Telegraph Association of Australia, carried resolutions asking that Western Australia should be put on a different footing to the other States in the matter of district allowances, because of the increased cost of living and the disabilities in other respects which the public servants in that State suffer under. Not only has that not been done, but the civil servants of Western
Australia are in an absolutely, worse position under the classification scheme than they were in prior to Federation. If wo take, as an illustration, the towns of Brown Hills, Boulder City, Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie, and Lake View, we shall find that the civil servants working in those towns prior to Federation received an annual district allowance of £30 per head, irrespective of salary or position. As a result of Federation and the classification scheme, the majority of those civil servants have had their annual district allowance reduced to £18 10s. per head. There is absolutely no warrant for this reduction. The cost of living on the gold-fields has not been reduced, and the disabilities of civil servants in these towns .are as great now as they were prior to Federation. It was embedded in the Constitution that the rights of these public servants should be retained when they were transferred to the Commonwealth. Whether we are breaking the letter of the agreement or not, I unhesitatingly affirm that we are breaking the spirit of it by the way in which we are treating these civil servants in the matter of allowances. In the case of civil servants employed in the most populous towns on the gold-fields, the .allowances have been reduced practically by onehalf, and in Senator Keating’s speech there was not even an excuse offered for this great injustice which has been inflicted on the public servants in Western Australia. I shall deal with the question of the Appeal Board in a word. I was instrumental in having it provided for under the Public Service Act, but I candidly admit that it has not been the success which we hoped and desired. An improvement would undoubtedly be effected if we had a Judge or Stipendiary Magistrate to preside,, with a representative of the Government, who are the employers, and a representative of the public servants. By the constitution of such a Court we should follow practically the principle of the Arbitration Courts, where we have a representative of the employers and the employes respectively, with a Judge to decide as umpire between them. When we ask that a principle which is deemed good enough for a trial of industrial disputes shall be applied to the settlement of the question of whether civil servants are in certain circumstances right or wrong, Senator Keating tells us that it would be unfair. The honorable senator said that a Judge or a magistrate would not be familiar with the minutiae of the case. It is not necessary that a Judge should be au fait with all the minutiae of such a case. What is required is that he should hear the evidence, and give his decision upon it. He should not enter upon the consideration of a case with a preconceived conviction or previous knowledge of it, and it is therefore puerile for Senator Keating to tell the Senate that the proposal to have a Judge or a Stipendiary Magistrate at the head of the Appeal Board would be wrong because he would not know the facts of the case. It should be the duty of those who come before him to impart to him the knowledge of the facts of the case upon which he has to form his judgment. I have given some illustrations from Western Australia, because it is impossible that I should give illustrations from the whole of the States of the Commonwealth. I have pointed out that in every particular the civil servants in Western Australia are in an absolutely worse position as the result of Federation than they occupied under the State Government. I now take for illustration the case of the letter-carriers of Victoria, and I shall show by actual figures and facts, which have been checked and proved, that the letter-carriers of Victoria are in a worse position than they occupied prior to Federation. There are 450 men under the classification, and allowing that they all received the maximum salary of their respective grades, which is not likely, they would receive altogether £56,100 under the classification scheme. Under the State the total was £59,400, so that there is an absolute saving to the Commonwealth in the salaries paid to the letter-carriers of Victoria of £3,300. The Public Service Commissioner says that, at the time of the classification the annual rate of the same number of officers was £56,660, whereas the salaries paid to these men at the date of transfer amounted to £52.994, or an increase of £3,666 per annum. But this gentleman adroitly omits to mention the fact that if they had remained under the Stare Government these men would have received two rises of £14 each, which would have brought their salaries to an amount higher than that which they at present receive. Under the Commonwealth they are now getting an average salary of £125, and if they had remained under the State Government they would have been getting £132, or an average of £7 per head more than they are now getting. Yet the Public Service Commissioner states, and Senator
Keating naturally re-echoes him, .that, as a result of Federation., these men have been immensely benefited. I say unhesitatingly that the civil servants have not been benefited. I admit that, as the result of Federation, what was practically a cash bonus was distributed amongst them, because it was necessary to level up in order to bring those employed in the States which paid the lowest salaries on a level with those employed in the States which paid the highest. That necessitated an immediate increase in salaries ; but the fact remains, and cannot be disputed, that their opportunities of increment of salary are not so great under Federation, as they were beforeIn the long run, if the Public Service Classification is to be adhered to, the public servants will be in a worse position than they were in under the States Governments. If that is so, we have absolutely broken the spirit, if not the letter, of the Constitution, because the public servants of the States who voted for Federation were promised that when they were brought under the jurisdiction of the Federal authority all their rights would be preserved. It was never intended, and never for a moment desired, that they should be in a worse position after Federation than before it was accomplished. I have proposed in my motion. -
That the female employes in the Civil Service possessing equal qualifications and “aptitude should be placed in the same class and receive equal remuneration as male civil servants doing similar work.
If, as Senator Keating has said, that is done at the present time, there is absolutely no reason why my motion should not be carried. It will not alter existing conditions, and can do no harm.
– It will do no good.
– As a matter of fact, I have shown that female civil servants are not treated in the same way as males. There is a prejudice against their sex, and while many of them are doing equally good work, and are quite as competent as are male civil servants, they are receiving less salary, and are being denied the opportunities of advancement afforded to their brothers in the service. I ask in my motion, further -
That at least one-half of the total number of telegraphists should be in the fourth class.
I have done so because that would as nearly as possible place them in the same position as they occupied prior to Fede ration. That is, they would have increases of salaries practically commensurate with their condition prior to Federation. I have asked that the district allowances should be more in conformity with those previously allowed! bv the States, and that they should - constitute a more equitable compensation for increased cost of living, isolation, and climatic conditions.
I have also asked that the composition of the Appeal Board shall be altered. An amendment has been moved on the latter provision, and if it is the wish of honorable senators I have no objection to it being carried, though I cannot see that it is necessary. In conclusion., I say that I think that the Federal Government, as the largest employer of labour in the Commonwealth, should set an example to ‘Other employers. It should carry out ‘its contract when it has made one. When a contract has been embodied in the Constitution, the rights of public servants under it should be carried out. Very often, as we know, the largest employer of labour sets the index as to the wages paid in any locality. If the Commonwealth sets a bad example by paying lower wages than private employers, its action will have the effect of bringing ‘ down the pay of all wage-earners to the same level. The Commonwealth has, in respect of district allowances, set a very bad example indeed. The Commonwealth rate to make up for the extra cost of living on the gold-fields of Western Australia, and at places in the interior of Queensland and South Australia, is £18 ros. per year; whereas the banks there, as Senator, Walker knows, pay to their officers £1 per week extra as district allowance. That is to say, the Commonwealth Government, as the employer of 13,000 public servants, says that £18 ros. per annum is the actual difference in the cost of living. If we set that as a standard, private employers of labour will say that the extra cost of living, and the extra amount that should be paid owing to climatic conditions, is no more than our rate. Instead of paying miners £4 per week as at present, employers will pay them Victorian rates, plus £18 ros. per annum. It would be a gross wrong for the Commonwealth to set such an example. It should be a model employer. It should pay its men well, and should expect good service from them. If we do not adopt such a position as I recommend,we shall have the knowledge that we have been instrumental in reducing wages, and in preventing the equal distribution of wealth in these States, by reducing the emoluments of the wage-earners. I sincerely hope that the Senate will assent to each of the paragraphs in my motion, and that we shall do justice to those civil servants who have been so very hardly treated under the classification scheme.
Amendment agreed to.
– I shall now put the paragraphs of the motion separately.
Paragraph 1 agreed to.
Question - That paragraph 2 be agreed to - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … .,. 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That paragraph 3 be agreed to - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Paragraph 4, as amended, agreed to.
Question - That paragraph 5 be agreed to- put. The Senate divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I wish to refer very briefly to a passage in the recent report of the Public Service Commissioner. It was my intention to refer to the matter when the schedule to the Appropriation Bill was under consideration; but, unfortunately, the endurance of Senator Stewart last night outlasted mine. I left the Chamber for a few minutes, and during my absence the Estimates for South Australia were passed. In his recent report, the Public Service Commissioner refers to some remarks I made when I was dealing with the position of the postmasters under his classification scheme. On that occasion I took six post-offices in South Australia, and gave the salary of each postmaster.
-The honorable senator must not refer to a former debate of this session.
– I wish, sir, to make an explanation.
– The honorable senatoris forbidden by standing order 399 to mention what he said in a former debate in the session, otherwise we might have all the debates over again.
– In my speech I referred, amongst others, to the case of the postmaster at Mount Barker, and in his report the Commissioner says -
Reference has been made to the salary paid to the postmaster at Mount Barker, and his position has been compared with those of bank managers and State Government officials stationed at that place. It is pointed out that the salaries of these persons range from£320 in the case of one of the bank managers, to£240 in that of the railway station master, while the postmaster’s salary has been graded at £210.
Before I made that statement, I had ascertained, by careful inquiry, that the postmaster at Mount Barker was in receipt of £210, subject to a deduction of £21 for rent, thus leavinghis net salary at £189. In his report, the Commissioner goes on to say -
The salary paid by the State Government for this position was £270, with an additional amount of about£50 per annum as commission on sale of stamps and Savings Bank allowance. This office was thus costing the State Government about , £320 per annum. The salary to be paid for the same work by the Commonwealth Government is£210 without allowances, and similarofficers throughout Australia are graded at the same amount. The postmaster at present at Mount Barker continues to draw his State salary of £270, which has not been reduced, and when opportunity offers he will be transferred to an office appropriate to his salary.
When I saw the statement in the Commissioner’s report, I made further inquiries, and I am told on the best authority that the postmaster at Mount Barker is in receipt of only £210. The Commissioner should have made careful inquiries before Be furnished a report, because, if that statement be incorrect, and I am prepared to say that It is, it detracts very largely from the value of the report. If, in his opinion, the postmaster at Mount Barker is worth £270, and is receiving that amount, surely an injustice is being done to the officer when he is really in receipt of only £189. I would ask the Minister who represents the PostmasterGeneral to request the Commissioner to explain why, in his report, he made a statement which directly contradicts the statement which I made to the Senate, and which I felt perfectly sure was quite correct.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at10.10 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 30 November 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1905/19051130_senate_2_29/>.