2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the Chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Pursuant to standing order No. 38,I hereby appoint the following senators to be the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications: - Senators de Largie, Dobson, Macfarlane, Sir J. H. Symon, Walker, Neild, and Styles.
– May I ask you, sir, for my information whether in view of the amending Electoral Act this is now necessary.
– The standing order provides that it shall be done. The Committee has certain powers - undoubtedly very limited compared with what it formerly had - but there are certain questions which, if they arise, it has to decide.
– Pursuant to standing order No. 31, I hereby appoint Senators Dobson and Neild a panel to act as Temporary Chairmen of Committees when requested so to do by the Chairman of Committees, or when the Chairman of Committees is absent.
Senator PLAY FORD laid upon the table the following papers: -
Immigration Restriction Act 1901. - Return of - (a) Persons refused admission to the Commonwealth during the year 1905. (b) Persons who passed the Education Test during the year 1905. (c) Persons admitted without being asked to pass the Education Test during the year 1905, together with explanatory notes. (d) Departures of coloured persons from the Commonwealth during the year 1905.
Naturalization Act 1903. -Return of the number of persons to whom certificatesof naturali- zation were granted during the year 1905.
Ordered to be printed
– I beg to lay upon the table the following paper: -
Natal Court-Martial Cases. - Cablegrams between the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth and New Zealand and the Secretary of Stale for the Colonies on the subject of reported intervention bythe BritishGovernment in the administration of a self-governing colony.
I understand that the paper has been printed by order of the other House, so that there isno necessityfor me to submit a motion. The papers I am tabling are all printed, I think.
– May I, sir, be permitted to draw your attention to the fact that this document was presented’ to the other House some time ago. Surely the least which the Government can do is to present papers of this kind simultaneously to the two Houses. The Minister is quite right when he says that these papers are all printed. 1 have had the opportunity of perusing the last paper he tabled as printed by direction of the other House. I may be wrong, tout I am under the impression that all these papers were tabled there last week.
– I would call the attention of the honorable senator to the fact that there is no question before the Senate. If I put the motion that this documentbe printed, he will be in order.
– I move -
That the document be printed.
I have only risen, sir, to draw your attention to this as one of the many little things which are happening and which suggest to me that the Government does not recognise, as I think it ought to recognise, what is due to the Senate.
– If the honorable senator will reflect he will remember that the Senate met on Thursday last, but not on Friday, when the other House did meet. I believe that these papers were laid upon the table of the other House on Friday. The Senate met again yesterday but did no business. This is the first opportunity I have had since the opening of Parliament to lay the papers upon the table of the Senate. In the other branch of the
Legislature an earlier opportunity occurred, which, of course, was taken advantage of by the Government.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I believe that all these papers have been printed, and I only moved my first motion in order to be. perfectly sure, thinking, after having looked through the papers, that they were of sufficient public interest to warrant their being printed. I am not sure whether they have been ordered to be printed by the other -House ; but no harm is done by submitting a motion here, and its ‘being passed. I beg to lay upon the table the following paper : -
Reports of Board of Inquiry in connexion with charges made in the House of Representatives against Major James Clarence Hawker, R.A.A.
The reports are in print, therefore I shall not move that they be printed.
– Does the document include the minority report?
– Yes, both reports.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [2.39]. - The Minister says that he does not intend to move that the reports be printed, and states that they are in print. Am I in order, sir, in asking a question ?
– There is no motion before the House.
– Perhaps I can put myself in order ‘by moving a. motion, and, if necessary, asking leave to withdraw it. I move -
That the reports be printed.
It would appear from the morning press that the majority and minority reports are included in this set of papers, but that the evidence on which they have been based has not been printed by the order of another place. While I do not wish to be understood as cavilling at the result of the inquiry, or the views embodied in the two reports, in respect of which there does not appear to be any very material difference, it does appear to me rather unsatisfactory to give us only the reports without any knowledge oFthe material on which they are based. It may be that they are so strictly in accordance with the evidence that there is nothing to be said in favour of the printing of the evidence, but in a general way, when reports are submitted, I hold that the evidence upon which they are based should be printed too, because it is extremely possible that on some day or other reports will be presented of a character which do not possess appositeness with the evidence on which they are based. Every man who has sat in Parliament for any length of time knows that it not unfrequently happens that reports are prepared and agreed to in a hurry, and that occasionally the finding is not in, agreement with the body of the report.- I know that such a document was presented to the Senate on one occasion.
– The honorable senator ought not to pursue this line of argument.
– I do not desire to refer to any particulars, but to point out that there are such cases, as every man with parliamentary experience knows. It is desirable that the evidence should accompany any report that is presented. That is the rule in connexion with the reports of all Select Committees, and also of Royal Commissions, and I know no good reason why the evidence taken by a Board, which is supposed to be the foundation of the report, should not also be printed.
– Does the honorable senator wish to load up the records of Parliament with the evidence concerning every trumpery case which comes along?
– Who is to judge whether a case is trumpery or not?
– A Chamber which attempted to differentiate - to say that in one case it is necessary that the evidence should be printed, and that in another case the evidence need not be printed - would be assuming a judgment upon the case without the facts being known. I think it is desirable that in this case the entire document be printed.
– It will be recollected that a Board of Inquiry was appointed for the purpose of inquiring into certain charges which were laid against Major Hawker in another place. It sat with open doors’, and took evidence in public. A very fair resume of the evidence was printed in the press from day to day. The Government were furnished with a majority report and also with a minority report. In the first place, I did propose to have the whole of the evidence printed and laid before honorable senators, but when I consulted Che Government
Printer I found that it would cost between £200 and£300. After having waded through the evidence I did not consider that it was worthy of that expenditure, because it would unnecessarily load up the volumes of parliamentary papers, and materially increase the amount of the printing bill. I have done the next best thing: I have laid the evidence upon the table of the Library, where it can be perused.. If, after examination, honorable senators should think that it is of sufficient importance to warrant an expenditure of £300, I shall offer no objection to its being printed; but I think that under the circumstances I was perfectly justified in refusing to authorize the expenditure of so large a sum of public money upon the printing of evidence which I believed there was no necessity to print.
Senator Col NEILD (New South. Wales) [2. 44]. - For the reason which Senator Playford has given, and also because it has just occurred to me that this discussion is rather out of order at the presentjuncture, I ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion,by leave withdrawn.
– I beg to lay upon the table the following paper: -
Audit Act 1901. - Transfers in connexion with accounts of the financial year 1905-6. - Dated 12th June, 1906.
I believe that these papers have been ordered to be printed in . another place, therefore there is no necessity for me to move that they be printed. I may add that all the papers I have laid upon the table to-day were presented to the other House on Friday last.
Senator KEATING laid upon the table the following papers:-
Post and Telegraph Act1901. - Addition to Regulation 2 - Statutory Rules 1905, No. 78; Repeal of Regulation 9, and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof - Statutory Rules 1905, No.8f; New Regulation 5A - Statutory Rules 1906, No. 17 ; Amendment of Regulation relating to commercial papers - Statutory Rules 1906, No. 18; Amendment of Regulations relating to commercial papers, insurance of parcels, and rectification of telegrams - Statutory Rules 1906; No. 26; Repeal of Regulation1 and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof - Statutory Rules 1906, No. 27: Amendment of Regulation relating to printed papers - Statutory Rules 1906, No. 35 ; Amendment of Regulation 1 - Statutory Rules 1906, No-. 36..
SenatorCol. NEILD (New South Wales) record in the journals of the Senate of these papers being printed. It, therefore, becomes difficult to know whether a paper of the kind just laid upon the table has been printed or not. I think that a formal motion in our records, that a paper has been ordered to be printed, will give proof that a document is in existence in print, and will save senators the trouble of searching the records of the other Chamber to make a discovery.
– If the papers have been printed and circulated amongst honorable senators, what more is required?
– I do not think that the papers just laid upon the table have been printed and circulated amongst honorable senators. They have appeared in the Gazette.
– Any paper ordered by either House of the Legislature to be printed is circulated amongst members of both Houses.
– Oh, yes; but the papers just laid upon the table have not been ordered by either House to be printed.
– That is another thing.
– I move-
That the papers be printed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
asked the Minister of. Defence, upon notice -
If the Government has yet arrived at a decision as to the disposal of certain microbes which by proclamation it has directed shall be impounded ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is “ No.”
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and’ Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : - 1 and 2. His Excellency the Governor-General assented to the Bills referred to, a declaration of which fact was duly gazetted.
– Arising out of the last question, I should like to ask the Minister of Defence whether it has not been the continuous practice since the inauguration of theFederal Parliament for the consent of the Governor-General to be communicated to both Houses of the Parliament; and, if that be so, why, in relation to the two Bills referred to, that practice was not followed?
– I havenot the information at my disposal to enable me to answer the honorable senator. If he will give notice of his question, I will look into the subject. The answers which I have given to-day were only put into my hand a short time ago, and I have had no opportunity of ascertaining whether the case is as the honorable senator has stated it to be.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
-The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
The section, if I remember rightly, says that officers must get permission before they stand as candidates. Each case will be dealt with in the future on its merits.
– That means that the Government has withdrawn the minute ?
– Practically it has been withdrawn. We are working now under the Act of Parliament.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster General, upon notice -
– The Public Service Commissioner has furnished the following replies : -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Whether as agreed on between the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Australia under the Naval Agreement Act 1903 : -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
In his report on the subject, the Naval CommanderinChief stated : - “ The recruiting of Australian seamen is, of necessity, very gradual, and it is not possible to at once fill up to the full numbers authorized, till those already serving havereceived sufficient training to allow of them replacing home-trained men. “ Also as the men of the Permanent Force complete their five years engagements they are free to join the Australian branch of the Royal Naval Reserve; it will therefore be seen that, to prevent subsequent excess in the numbers authorized, it is inadvisable to enter many more Royal Naval Reserve men from other sources.”
Motions (by Senator Playford) agreed to-
That the days of meeting of the Senate during the present session be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week, at the hour of halfpast Two o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday and Thursday, and at the hour of halfpast Ten o’clock in the forenoon of Friday, unless otherwise ordered. ‘
That on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the present session, Government business take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper,except questions and formal motions, and except that private business take precedence of Government business on Thursday up to the tea adjournment, and that, unless otherwise ordered, private orders of the day take precedence of private notices of motion on alternate Thursdays.
– Senator Millen has objected to the motion with regard to the suspension of sittings being taken as formal. That being so, I understand that as no business can be taken before the Address-in-Reply has. been adopted, it is not competent for me to move that motion.
– Standing order 14 says -
No business beyond what is of a formal character shall be entered upon before the AddressinReply to the Governor-General’s opening speech has been adopted. Formal business which may be entered upon includes the fixing of the days and hours of meeting and the appointment of standing committees.
Senator Millen objected to the motion as to suspension of sittings being taken as formal, but it is a motion which, under standing order 14, can be brought up before the Address-in-Reply is adopted.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That, during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, the sittings of the Senate or of a Committee of the whole Senate on sitting days other than Fridays, be suspended from 6.30 p.m. to 7.45 p.m., and on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
– I wish to explain the reason why I objected to this motion going as formal. The matter is a very little one, and if I had had an opportunity, I should have put my views before the Minister in charge. When you, sir, called on the motion the only thing I could do was to object to it as formal. I know that the motion is one that we have previously adopted, but it leaves us without any machinery or provision should the Senate continue its sitting after the usual hour for breaking up on Friday afternoon. It is true that the Minister of Defence, by the indulgence and good offices of the Opposition, has not frequently been kept here after that time, but it is conceivable that an occasion may arise in which, in spite of the desire of the Opposition to assist in closing the business, we may feel called upon to continue. In such case we would absolutely have to depend uponan understanding, or indulgence, or some other means of arranging to discontinue the business at the ordinary dinner hour. It seems to me that one way of getting out of the difficulty would be to eliminate the words “ other thanF ridays “ ; in which case, if the sitting were continued, the ordinary sessional orders’ would provide for a dinner hour. I move -
That the words “other than Fridays” be left out.
– I have no objection to the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
– I think there are other notices of motion on the paper which might be taken as formal - private motions.
– Standing order 14 defines what is formal and what is’ not formal, and under that standing order, such motions as those to which the honorable senator refers cannot be dealt with before we have disposed of the Address-in-Reply.
Motions (by Senator Playford) agreed to-
That a Library Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, Senators Keating,
Matheson, Millen, Stewart, Styles, and Clemons, with power to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives; three to be the quorum.
That a House Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, Senators de Largie, Fraser, Col. Neild, O’Keefe, Turley, and Staniforth Smith, with power to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives; three to be the quorum.
That a Printing Committee be appointed, to consistof Senators Dawson, Findley, Guthrie, Henderson, Macfarlane, Pulsford, and SirW. A. Zeal, with power to center or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives; three to be the quorum.
That a Standing Orders Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, the Chairman of Committees, Senators Best, Dobson, Lt.-Col. Gould, Playford, Pearce, Trenwith, and Sir J. H. Symon, with power to act during recess, and to confer with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives ; three to be the quorum.
Debate resumed from 7th June (vide page 12), on motion by Senator Styles -
That the following Address-in-Reply be presented to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral : -
To His Excellency the Governor-General.
May it please Your Excellency :
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, beg to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
-I desire to thank the Senate for allowing me, on the last sitting day, to postpone my remarks until the present sitting. I shall be as brief as i can, and 1 hope to detain the Senate only a very short time. As a matter of course, if any honorable senator traversed the whole of the thirty-six paragraphs of His Excellency’s speech, he would occupy a considerable period. So far as I am concerned, I look on the moving of an Address-in-Reply as a mere formal matter - as a courteous acknowledgment of the speech delivered by His Excellency, quite irrespective of what may be contained in the speech. We do not consider the speech at all binding; and there is not one member of this or the other Chamber who could say that he indorsed every item. As I say, I regard the AddressinReply as a courteous acknowledg ment - as an expression of loyalty to His Majesty the King.
– Except that an amendment might probably mean a want of confidence motion, and there is nothing very formal about that.
– That is so. Doubtless the Address-in-Reply will vanish with the advent of elective Ministries. As to a want of confidence motion, 1 cannot help recollecting that on the 28th of June last we had a Governor’s speech of only twelve words. The gentlemen who placed that speech in the . hands of the GovernorGeneral did not know the thing was loaded, and it went off at the wrong end, with most disastrous results to the occupants of the Treasury bench. If I recollect aright, the Ministers of the day were, to use a vulgarism, “flattened out” - they were hoisted with their own petard. We have heard a great deal about the three-party system, but I should like any one to point to a Parliament in Australia where there are not three parties. A lot of unnecessary rubbish is talked about the three-party system.
– There are thirty-six parties in this House.
– And there is one party of which I approve very much.
– Is that the Styles’ party ?
– For once Senator Gould has guessed correctly. If there are three parties in the House of Representatives, and the Government have not a majority,I wonder why the majority do not remove the Government from the Treasury bench. The very fact that the Government are occupying the Treasury bench contradicts the statement that they have not a majority, and any man in the street would arrive at that conclusion. In the State Parliament of Victoria, when I was a member, there were three parties. As Senator Best, who was a member of the State Ministry, will recollect, there was the Conservative opposition, and also the Labour Party-
– What was Mr. Deakin growling about at Ballarat?
– I do not know ; and I do not know what Mr. Reid is growling at, except that he is on the wrong side of the chamber. At any rate, so far as I am able to judge, the present Government have administered the departments very well. We do not hear many complaints about their administration during recess ; at all events, I have nothing to complain about. I have no doubt that some of the honorable and learned senators on the Opposition side will fossick out some ground of complaint - they would not be here long, if they did not complain, but would suffer an eclipse. His Excellency’s speech mentions that we have entered on an era of prosperity. We all know that we have had three fine seasons, and we believe a fourth to be in view, and the State Treasurers seem to be afflicted with surpluses nearly all round. While we are congratulating ourselves on the riches poured on us by an allwise Providence, we are rather inclined to overlook the dreadful calamity which has overtaken our fellow beings in San Francisco. I am inclined to think that the speech of His Excellency might well have made some slight reference to that sad event. A whole city, the result of generations of busy brains and of tireless and industrious hands, has been laid in the dust at once. We might, at all events, have made a passing remark about that disaster, in order to show that we have some little sympathy for those who, after all, are really of the same flesh and blood as ourselves. In His Excellency’s speech, we read -
The future of Papua has engaged earnest attention during the recess,’ and proposals for a new administration will be laid before you.
And not before time, from all I can see; and here I should like to make a suggestion, though I have no doubt no notice will be taken of it by the Minister of Defence. The Government have now the Constitution of New Guinea, and all that is required is a man to work the Constitution. Hitherto most positions of this kind have gone to men who have spent the best part of their lives as officers in the army. Such men are selected because they can teach niggers to stand at attention, and to pipeclay their accoutrements, and because they are no longer of any use in the military forces, though they may be relied on to deal with men and keep them in their places. Or, perhaps, for such a position, a lawyer is selected, because he understands the crooked ways of law courts, though there are no courts in those countries. I am going to suggest to the Government that an ideal administrator of this Commonwealth territory would be a member of this Chamber, namely, Senator Staniforth Smith. In my opinion, we could not select a better man, if we have any voice in the selection.
Senator Staniforth Smith has made a complete study of such questions, about which he knows probably more than does any member of this Chamber.
– A complete modern Marco Polo.
- Senator Neild may not approve of my views in this particular matter, though I hope he does. Senator Staniforth Smith is an Australian, in the very prime and vigour of his manhood, possessed of common sense, and a fair education, and I believe him to be a just man, and - what covers a great deal of ground - withal a gentleman. I am sure such an appointment would give general satisfaction throughout Australia.
– Senator Styles must not think that my interjection was in opposition to the very able proposition he has submitted.
– I am glad to hear the honorable senator say so. I have not mentioned this suggestion to any one, but it struck me that we could not do better than appoint ah Australian native to the position; and in my acquaintance) at any rate, I know of no more suitable man. I do not know whether Senator Staniforth Smith would accept the position ; at any rate, I doubt whether I should do so if I were in his position and at his age. There is another item in His Excellency’s speech with which I agree, namely, that which deals with the prospect of the Commonwealth taking over the Northern Territory of South Australia. I think that the sooner some arrangement can be come to between the Commonwealth Parliament and the Parliament of South Australia, with a view to transferring the 500,000 or 600.000 square miles of that Territory to the Commonwealth, the better it will be for Australia. I regard the Northern Territory as the weak spot in Australia, so far as our defences are concerned. It has been pointed out time after time that a Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway would assist in the defence of Perth, Fremantle, and the goldfields of Western Australia. But in Western Australia they have what is as good as a railway, and a great deal better, namely, tens of thousands of stalwart young men, who, properly armed, could defend that State without requiring assistance from the east. But the same conditions do not exist in regard to the Northern Territory ; and, in my opinion, that Territory should be trans- ferred to the Commonwealth on fair and reasonable terms, and a railway constructed between Oodnadatta and Bine Creek. Then, if the’ States did not see their way clear to afford sufficient facilities for placing people on the land, the Commonwealth would have a large territory on which they might settle hundreds of thousands of people, and put them in a position to earn a living;. His Excellency’s speech also refers to an antitrust measure, which it is proposed to submit to us. That measure is called one for the “ preservation of Australian industries and the suppression of destructive monopolies.” This proposed legislation has been, and will be, denounced’ on all hands, just as was the Commerce Act. But the Commerce Act is an accomplished fact.
– No, it is not.
– If any attempt be made to send delicacies from Chicago to Australia they will probably be blocked before they land. The proposed measure will, as a matter of course, be denounced by those interested in keeping such legislation back., and I can quite understand that action on the part of men whose living may be affected, although, of course, I dd not regard such opposition as right. Canada has had to deal with the dumping question ; and part of the object of the proposed measure is to prevent dumping. The Canadian method, as explained’ bv the Minister of Finance of the Dominion, is very drastic. He said that if an article was declared at the Customs to be worth $80, and it was found that in the country or place of origin - and this had special reference to the United States - the article was worth $100, the duty was assessed, not on the value of $80. but on $100, the real value of the goods. Nevertheless, it was found that it did not prevent dumping. It was, therefore, proposed not only to charge dutv on the real value, but to impose an additional duty, representing the difference between the declared and the true value.
– Did he mean that the value at the port of import, and not at the port of export, should be taken ?
– He meant that the real value at the place of origin, including, of course, carriage to the port of shipment, should be taken. Perhaps it would be as well to read the statement made by Mr. Fielding, who has been for ten years Minister of Finance in Canada, and is regarded as a thoroughly reliable and honest man. .The .report sets forth that he said - -.
If. the article is. sold at $So, and if the fair market value is $100, under the law as it stands, to-day you get your duty of, say, 30 per cent, on the extra $20. Under what we now propose, you not only get the duty on the full $100, but an extra duty, which means the §20 itself. … . The principle is that we will impose as a special duty the difference between the true value and the unfair value.
This step was to prevent dumping.
– I do not think it will help them very much.
– He pointed out that, as the result of this dumping, the producers who use agricultural and other implements might obtain their machinery at a low rate, until local competition had been killed, but that, as. soon as that had been accomplished, prices would rise. To get rid of the difficulty he proposed to adopt the system to which I have just referred.
– And he knows something about Tariffs.
– I was about to say, that the people of Canada ought to know something about the1 question. Although the population, of the Dominion totals only, 5,000,000 or 6,000,000, the Government are not afraid of their powerful neighbour next door, with its population of 80,000,000, and do not hesitate to impose duties to protect their own people. I- wish now to refer briefly to the question of the Tariff. We are told that there is a Tariff Commission roaming about the country, and I suppose we may take it that it was appointed by the late Government with a sincere and earnest desire that it should collect information for the guidance of this Parliament. At all events, a fiscal truce was proclaimed by the leader of the free-trade party. Mr. Reid’s idea of a fiscal truce is rather a curious one. When the general election of 1903 was pending, he declared, “ This is going to be the political fight of my life,” - by the way, he has had many fights of the kind - “ I am going to fight the protectionists all along the line.” He did so, and was hopelessly beaten. It was then that he declared for a fiscal truce. His attitude was very like that of a man who. when getting worsted in a bout at fisticuffs, cries, “Let us have a truce.” Do honorable senators imagine that, had the result been different, there would have been no spoils to the victors? Is it not reasonable to assume that had Mr. Reid been victorious the Tariff would have been.’ submitted to Parliament for revision.
– In that event Mr. Reid would have been entitled to take that step.
– Then how can objection be taken to the Tariff proposals now being brought forward?
– Because Mr. Deakin appealed to the people to declare for fiscal peace. They affirmed that principle, and only by another act of treachery could he go back upon that decision.
– It was agreed that there should be a fiscal peace only until May of this year.
– No, it was to extend over the life of the present Parliament.
– The Reid-McLean administration were to declare in May what their fiscal policy was.
– The rectification of Tariff anomalies was to be undertaken after ist of May last. I feel satisfied, however, that Mr. Reid does not intend to allow the Tariff to be revised if he can help it, and that he is seeking to draw a red herring across the track by raising an outcry .against Socialism. Evidently his object is to divert the attention of the people from the real question awaiting settlement - the question of whether or not we are to have a scientific Tariff. If he appealed to the country to say whether Australia should have a sound protectionist Tariff rather than a revenue one, he would be hopelessly beaten all along the line.
– That is a mere assertion.
– I believe it to be a fact; the next elections will, at all events, show whether or not my statement is a justifiable one. Mr. Reid is far too clever to allow the issue of free-trade versus protection to go before the electors.
– The Labour Party pull the strings very nicely, and the honorable senator dances.
– On the occasion of the last general election they pulled them in opposition to me.
– Just now the honorable senator is pulling their strings.
– The bogy of Socialism can be speedily allayed by plenty of employment at a fair rate of wages and under reasonable conditions being found for our own people.
– The conditions that have driven the adult male population from Victoria to the other States.
– More fictions.
– I shall give Senator Neild a nut or two to crack. I repeat that in order to allay the Socialist bogy we should endeavour to find for our workers plenty of employment at fair rates of wages and under reasonable conditions. That would do more than anything else to stamp out the firebrands, and there are few of them. The great bulk of the workers, when conditions are satisfactory, do not care to see them upset. Find plenty of employment for them, and leave the men themselves to deal with the handful of extremists. I like to appeal to a free-trader to show what a glorious success protection has been in Australia. In November, 1901, Senator Symon, who I am sorry to see is not present, told the people of Tasmania that protection was designed simply to find work for a few clothiers and bootmakers. That is something very different from the statement made the Other day by Mr. Reid. I do not know of a greater eulogy of protection than the speech delivered at Burwood, on the 25th ultimo, by Mr. Reid. What he said on that occasion is worth repeating, for he showed clearly that, even under the present milk-and-water Tariff, the industries of Australia are making great strides. He said -
The number of factories in Australia had increased during the four years from 1901 to 1905 from 8,000 to 12,000 -
That is a very good beginning.
– From what is the honorable senator quoting?
– From the Sydney Morning Herald of 26th ultimo. According .to this report, Mr. Reid went on to say -
In 1901 there were 133,000 hands employed in factories engaging more than four hands, and in 1905 the number had increased to 203,000, while there were 70,000 more in smaller factories. There were therefore more men employed in the factories than there were on the agricultural lands of the country ; three times more than were engaged in the pastoral industry, and double the number that were employed in the mining industry.
– Does the honorable senator think that it is desirable that the men in coir factories should outnumber those on our lands?
– No, but I certainly think it desirable that the number of men employed in our factories should be doubled. At the same time, I am at one with those who would like to see hundreds of thousands of people placed on the lands of the States. We have been told that the protectionist policy is a shocking one; but no greater praise could be bestowed upon it than was accorded by Mr. Reid, when he showed that our own products, instead of being sent to tha other side of the world to be worked up and returned to us, were being manufactured into finished articles by the people in our own States. We are promised that the cultivators of the soil shall be helped. It seems to me that paragraphs 19 and 35 of the Governor-General’s speech practically amount to the same thing.
– So far as iti is possible to discover their meaning, that is so.
– That shows the cleverness of ‘the speech.
– I admit the cleverness with which the speech has been prepared
– the proposal to assist the cultivators of the soil in this way, is merely another phase of protection, and I am sure that honorable senators opposite will encourage the Government to place the people on the land. We admit that all wealth comes out of the ground, and I think that it is well that our producers should be instructed. The Government should seriously take into consideration the .desirableness of sending one or two intelligent young men to the United States every vear, as well as one each to the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy, to acquire knowledge calculated to assist our producers. Occasionally visitors from other parts of the world teach our producers something worth knowing, and it seems to me that the course adopted by the Government in sending military officers to the old world to gain experience in military matters, and others to acquire knowledge of mechanical science, might well be followed in this regard _ I do not believe in the “sink or swim policv” being applied to either our producers or our manufacturers. I certainly do not believe in the “dry dog policv,” Where should we be had we applied that policy to the butter industry which was launched by means of the bonus system, and has proved of immense benefit, not only to Victoria, but to tha whole of Australia. I think it was Mr. J. L. Dow who conceived the idea of encouraging the butter industry by. means of bonuses, and it was certainly a statesmanlike scheme. The Government will have my support in any step they take to. benefit the producers.
– Before the honorable senator passes away from that subject, may I ask him whether he refers to the bonuses received by the agents or the bonuses received by the farmers?
– I was referring, as my honorable friend knows perfectly well, to the bonuses which were originally granted to the butter producers. I should like to see bonuses granted in many other directions.
– The butter in., dustry has prospered all the same.
– The granting of the bonuses gave the industry a start, but the middleman, I suppose, took most of the money.
– That was only a late development.
– In South Australia the middleman did not take the bonuses, the farmer got them all.
– It is a pity that the railways are not federalized, and on a uniform gauge, in order that country producers might be able to send their produce to the nearest market, quite irrespective of geographical boundaries, by the most direct route, and at the cheapest rate.
– Will not the necessity for that largely disappear when Riverina has become Victorian territory ?
– Perhaps we had better not wait for that event to happen. We should federalize the railways as soon as possible. Every attention should be paid, not only to direct railway carriage, but also to ocean carriage, in order that producers may be able to get their surplus products placed . upon the world’s market with as little delay as possible, and at the cheapest possible rate. While I hold a seat in Parliament I shall assist in that direction all I can. I do not speak boastingly when I mention that I was the first man in an Australian Parliament to point out that farmers’ produce in large quantities should be carried at the rate of Jd’. per ton per mile. It was many years ago that I made that proposal in the Victorian Parliament ; it was taken up at the time, and rates were reduced. We should be able to grow our own tobacco and cotton, and produce our own iron . These are three of the main matters to which we ought to pay attention. Our woollen mills also ought to be of sufficient number and capacity to work up our wool into flannels, blankets, woollens of all kinds, and tweeds, without sending every pound of wool to the other side of the world to be made up and sent back here.
– A - And after we send the wool,and get it returned in a manufactored state, we send cargoes of sheep to feed the weavers.
– Yes. Of course a number of these topics lead up naturally to one subject for which I have a weakness, and that is preferential trade.
– Lead to the lunatic asylum.
– Lead to the lunatic asylum !
– Yes, by express train.
– They lead up naturally, I think, to preferential trade. I notice that the late Right Honorable Richard Seddon and our Prime Minister had several conferences, and, I believe, came to an understanding with reference to reciprocity between Australia and New Zealand.
– It is a very little one, though.
– My idea all through has been to establish preferential trade between Australia and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom imports annually about£100,000,000 worth of food stuffs, such as we could supply, such as, for instance, grain, flour, meats, and wines; while Australia sends only from £4,000,000 to£4,500,000 worth of those articles. What a splendid thing it would be if the old country could see its way clear to grant a preference to our producers - not a big one, perhaps. Take butter, for instance. It can be landed in London from Denmark for about 25s. a ton carriage, I believe. It goes through as ordinary cargo, and of course there is no cold storage to pay for. If a man, situated, say, 100 miles from Melbourne sends butter, by the time it has reached London it will have cost him from£6to£7 per ton.
.- Not so much as that.
– It costs a man at Benalla from£6 to £7 a ton to land his butter in the London market.
– What would the butter producers get for butter, then?
– They get£100 a ton for butter. It costs a Danish producer 25s. a ton for freight to land his butter in the same market.
– Does the honorable senator seriously ask the British consumer to make up the difference to us?
– What does the honorable senator propose to give him in re1 turn ?
– A preference.
– In what direction ?
– We import £9,000,000 or £1 0,000,000 worth of stuff every year from foreign countries. Let us put a duty on these imports, and let the foreigner pay it.
– Is the honorable senator going to give the Britisher a preference in the matter of woollen goods which we make ourselves?
– No; but I would give the Britisher preference in all cases over the foreigner.
– Does the honorable senator expect such a one-sided bargain as that to be entertained for one moment?
– It would not be a one-sided bargain, because we shall always be importing some goods, and in every case we could give the United Kingdom a preference over any foreign country. In Canada a duty of 30 per cent . is levied upon goods coming from France, while Great Britain is allowed to send in similar goods at a duty of 20 per cent. The Canadians are not afraid of the mighty German Empire, for the duty on German goods is 40 per cent. I have heard “some persons say that we must not fall out with Germany, as she is one of our best customers. Of course, she is one of our best customers, because it pays her to be, but the very moment itdoes not pay her she will not deal with us. The result of the imposition of the German surtax in Canada was that the importation of 78,000 tons of bounty-fed beet root sugar was stopped at once. Mr. Fielding said that not one ton of this description of sugar came from Germany but that that quantity of cane sugar was imported from the British West Indie’s. In
Canada they seem to know what they are doing. I wish to show that the trade is not following the flag, by quoting some figures which I have taken from Coghlan, and which, in my estimation, are very impressive. In 1881, the trade between Australia and the United Kingdom was £41 , 000,000, . while in 1903 it had fallen to £40,000,000. In a period of twentytwo years it had decreased by2½ per cent., while in Australia the populationhad increased by 74 per cent. Coghlan shows that in 1881 . £6,200,000 represented the whole of the trade which was done with foreign countries by Australia, and that in 1903 it amounted to £25,700,000. During the period in which our trade with the old country had fallen off 2½ per cent, our trade with foreign countries had increased by , £19,500,000, or by 314 per cent.
– Due, to a large extent, to the fact that shipments were direct in the later period, and via England in the former.
– These bare facts from Coghlan are very impressive to myself and many others. I notice from the Governor-General’s Speech that it is proposed to have in London a) Central Immigration Office - “a unity of effort,” I think it is described - instead of having so many immigration offices. That will, I consider, be a move in the right direction.
– That is when we have room for immigrants.
– Yes, when South Australia hands over to the Commonwealth the 500,000 square miles of land in the Northern Territory. With plenty of land available, and abundance of employment, we need not worry about immigrants - they will come. Speaking from my knowledge of workmen no Britisher, when he is looking for employment, no matter from which country he hails, ever asks what food or clothing costs. All he asks is, “ Is there plenty of employment at fair rates of wages?” If the Central Immigration Office can assure men that . there is an abundance of varied employment, such as can be induced by a proper system of protection, and that plenty of land is available, at a reasonable rate or, if you like for nothing, we shall get all the immigrants we require. Persons will flock here by the thousands. There are six or seven clause? in the speech dealing with defence matters. We all agree, I think, with the reference to our citizen soldiers. I have seen something of soldiers since I entered the Senate. I have sat on several socalled military inquiries, and learned a wrinkle, or two which may be of some little service to me if I should happen, by any misfortune, to fall into the chair of the Minister of Defence. It seems to me that rifle clubs should be encouraged in every legitimate way throughout Australia. We should teach our growing youths to shoot straight and often. The very questions with which the Government, in this speech, propose to deal were suggested’ by the lessons of the Boer war. They are only following the example of the Boers when they advocate these proposals. Senator Dobson, I know, has a great hankering after this cadet business. I think it is quite right, too.
– I advocate a comprehensive national scheme; not a miserable scheme like this.
– Is not this better than nothing?
SenatorSTYLES.- The honorable senator is dissatisfied because this proposal did not originate with him. But we had better take half a loaf than nothing; let us have a beginning. I would suggest to the Minister of Defence that in Australia we should have an ammunition factory established - a Government ammunition factory, if you like - and a small-arms factory. Of course a good many persons will laugh at my suggestion. But I think that a smallarms factory could possibly be established in connexion with some of our Government workshops. I recollect that when the naval contingent was about to be sent to China, some alterations in the fieldguns were required to be made. The guns were taken to the workshops at Williamstown to be altered. An engineer in connexion with the Defence Department drew the plans, and gave the requisite instructions. He told me that the work was carried out most satisfactorily ; in fact, as well as it could have been done in England. There is another matter referred to in the Speech - with reference to Australian officers. It is declared that Australian officer’s are to have the preference in appointments to our Naval and Military Forces. I think that that policy is quite right also. Are we to find the men to do all the drudgery - to do what in railway parlance is called “the bullocking” - while some one else comes along and takes all the little pickings? I believe that our own officers are quite as well able to take their share as men coming from other parts of the world. By all means let us, in the interests of the Commonwealth, send officers to various countries, in order that they may perfect their knowledge of defence matters, but let us, as far as possible, appoint our own officers to those positions in the service for which they are fitted. Japan has successfully followed that policy. She has sent out her own men, and enabled them to get the necessary experience abroad, and has then ‘appointed them to high commands in her own army and navy.
– Give our own men the preference, other tilings being equal ; but let us get the best men, in any case.
– What has placed Japan in the position she now occupies ? Shehas benefited from the pursuit of that policy during the last thirty years. It is a curious thing that we should be so much inclined to send all over the world for persons to come and take prominent positions in this country, whilst other people in other parts of the world are ready enough to send here, and take our best men. We send, abroad for railway managers. We sent to Canada for Mr. Tait, and to England for the late Mr. Eddy. But, curiously enough, when one of the principal railway companies of the world, the Midland Railway Company of England, wanted a new manager, it sent to Australia for him, and secured the services of Mr. Matheson, the former manager of the Victorian railways. Japan sent out large contingents of her young men to pick up what they could learn in other countries. I take it that the Commonwealth Government will send out promising officers to learn abroad.
– They are doing so now.
– I understand that Captain Creswell was sent Home for that purpose.
– Was not Mr. Matheson, the present manager of the Midland Railway Company in England, sent out from England to Australia in the first instance ?
– He came from Scotland.
– But he was a very small man when he came here.
– He was. Senator : Best, as I happen to know, is the man who made the arrangement with Mr. Matheson to come from Queensland to Victoria. Although he came from Scotland, it must be recollected that he was not then getting anything like . £3,500 a year. But the experience which he picked up in Australia was considered to be so valuable that I understand he is now being paid between £4,000 and £5,000 a year. I mention this to show that there are opportunities in Australia for acquiring experience in important positions, and that it is not necessary to send abroad for our principal officers. I have a word or two to say with regard to the Naval Agreement. It struck me that it was not being properly carried out, and, therefore, I gave notice of the questions which I asked this afternoon. Honorable senators heard the answers given to them, which showed that the impression I had formed is correct. I hope that the Government will look into the matter. We were assured that all sorts of benefits were to be derived if we only consented to vote £200,000 a year on account of the Imperial squadron in these waters. I am not saying that £200,000 per annum, if we are going to pay anything, is too much. But, for my own part, as one taxpayer of this country. I would rather pay my share of £400,000 a year towards* a navy of our own.
- Mr. Seddon did not think that we should have our own navy.
- Mr. Seddon was a much abler manthan I am. but, like the rest of us, he was not infallible ; and Mr. Seddon would have been the first to admit that. I am simply saying how the matter presents itself to my mind, and I repeat that I would rather that Australia paid £200,000 a year more, and had a navy of her own, with all the. supplies obtained in Australia, and manned by Australians from one end to the other.
– How long would such a navy last if an ironclad came along ?
– How long would the present squadron last if attacked by an armoured cruiser or a battleship? It was always understood to be a stipulation that we were to have a first-class armoured cruiser on this station. It is true that the present flagship is a protected ship, but she is not such a vessel as was stipulated for. We. on our part, have kept to our contract in paying the £200,000 a year, and I think that the Admiralty ought to have kept its part of the agreement.
– It was always understood that the squadron was to act in conjunction with the British Navy in time of war.
– I am not disputing that, nor am I disputing the soundness of the policy of having; the Australian Squadron under the direction of one naval commanderinchief - the Admiral of the British fleet - in time of war. I by no means object to that. I do not say that we should cut ourselves off from co-operation with the British fleet, and that our vessels should go where they think fit*. But it appears to me that the greatest help which Australia could give to the mother country if she were attacked on the sea would be by means of a navy of our own.
– We ought to contribute in men and ships, and not in money.
– That is so; and the supplies ought to be obtained here. If we are to follow the principle of ‘contributing a share towards the maintenance of the Royal Navy, I point out that our share, according to our population, when compared with the population of the United Kingdom, would be one-tenth of the whole cost of the Navy, which is some £30,000,000 per annum.
– That is not proposed.
– No, it is not proposed, and, therefore, that principle is not adhered to.
– Where would the honorable senator get the ships from?
– From England. We should have to pav for them.
Senator- Sir William Zeal. - Where would he get the money from?
– Out of the pockets of the Australian people. There is one matter to which I wish to refer that is not mentioned in the Governor-General’s speech, and that is the cost of Federation. I have not heard that matter referred’ to lately, although when I have been on the platform in the country it has been thrown at me that Federation is costing an enormous amount of money. I have, therefore, been to some trouble to investigate the matter, and should like these facts to go forth to the public. I got them from the Treasury for the purpose of answering questions which might be put to me as to the cost of Federation - that is the ex penditure that has been incurred, and that would not have been incurred if there had) been no Federation. The expenditure amounts to £1,386,166 up to the end of the present month. That works out at £277>233. or is. 4fd. per head <>f the population, per annum. That is the cost of Federation - the expenditure over and above what would have been paid by the people had there been no Federation.
-Col. Gould. - That is lessthan the cost of a dog registration.
– It is. The figures are official. I obtained them from the Treasury myself. There is some confusion of ideas about this matter. When I went to the Treasury, I said, “ I want to know what expenditure has been incurred exclusive of the expenditure on post and telegraph offices, and so forth.” Of course, an increased number of post-offices has been necessitated by movements of the population. I wanted to know, however, what Federation had cost actally - distinguishing “other” expenditure from “new” expenditure. A new post-office is a work which would have had to be undertaken whether Federation had been brought about or not.
– That expenditure works out at id. per head per annum less than the original estimate.
– Yes. The minimum estimate at Adelaide was ,£300,000 a year. The average expenditure per annum up to the end of the present year is, as I have said, £277,000, which is £23,000 below the estimate. ‘But that was the minimum estimate. Another estimate of cost given went up as high as ,£700.000. I quote these figures’ to show that Federation has not cost the .people such a sum of money as some have supposed. What have we to show as a set-off against this expenditure? We have done a great deal since Federation has been established. I am sure that my free-trade friends will be glad to admit that the abolition of border duties is worth something. That is one thing that has been accomplished. -
– The abolition of the border duties meant a difference of £1,000,000 per annum.
– It was a very good thing for Australia as a whole. The White Australia policy is worth something out of the is. 4fd. per head. The White Ocean’ policy is worth something. Furthermore,
Queensland is now supplying almost the whole of the sugar consumed in Australia. That is a very good thing for her. We have a better knowledge of each other’s States than we had before, because the people have to look into the affairs of other States than their own. I do not like to inflict a mass of details upon the Senate, but I cannot resist the temptation of giving one or two facts as to salaries paid. The people ought to know these things, because many of them are under the impression that the Commonwealth Parliament has been extravagant. To refute that idea, I wish to compare some of the salaries paid by the Commonwealth and by States. The Chief Justice of all Australia receives £3,500 per annum, without a pension; the Chief Justice of Victoria receives the same sum, with a pension. The Victorian Clerk of Parliaments,, Sir George Jenkins - who is really only Clerk of the Legislative Council of Victoria - receives £1,200 a year; the Clerk of the Commonwealth Parliament receives £900 a year. That is to say, Sir George Jenkins is paid thirty - three and a third more for clerking the Legislative Council of Victoria than Mr. Blackmore is paid for clerking the Senate. In the Commonwealth we pay our Parliamentary Draftsman £800 a year; Victoria pays her Parliamentary Draftsman £1,300 a year - 60 per cent. more in a State which contains only 30 per cent. of the people of the Commonwealth.
– It must be remembered that the State Parliamentary Draftsman receives the salary mentioned after thirty years of service, and has worked up to that salary.
– He is well worth the money, too.
– I do not think the honorable senator should enter into these personal matters.
– It is not the men I. am talking about. I am comparing the salaries; paid to officers, and am doing it to show that we have not fixed extravagantly high salaries in the Commonwealth. The highest salary paid in Victoria to a public servant is £1,500 a year to the Commissioner of Taxes. The highest salary paid in the Commonwealth to a public servant is £1,200 a year for a Public Service Commissioner. Our Comptroller of: Customs getsthe same salary now. as he obtained when he was a State officer, £1,200 a year. The head of the Post and Telegraph Department receives £1,000 per annum in the Commonwealth, and the head of the Department received , £1,000 under the State of Victoria. The heads of the Home Affairs Department, the Treasury, and of the Department of External Affairs, receive salaries of £750 and , £800, while similar positions in New South Wales are all remunerated at £1,000 a year. Surely the charge of extravagance cannot lie against the Commonwealth’”” Parliament in such matters. The Inspector-General of Public Works for all Australia is paid £800 a year, while the Inspector-General of Public Works of Victoria is paid £1,000 a year, and the Engineer-in-Chief of the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works, which, after all, is only a glorified municipal council, is paid £2,000 a year, or more than double what is paid to the Commonwealth Inspector-General. In Victoria, the Secretary of Defence was paid £900 per annum - the same salary that is paid under the Commonwealth. Then, again, we know that in the case of new appointments under the Commonwealth, no pensions are allowed. I know it is rather dreary listening to these details, but it is only right and fair to ourselves that the public should be made acquainted with the facts, because a great deal of grumbling arises through misapprehension and misconception. I should now like to conclude with a few remarks about people who will persist in slandering Australia. I am as much an Australian as if I had been born here; all my sympathies and interests are in this country. I should like to relate a little circumstance in, connexion with the trade in Australian wine. Last year I had the pleasure ofmeeting Mr. Burgoyne, of the well-known firm of Australian wine distributers’, in the United Kingdom; indeed. I believe the firm are the greatest distributers of the product. I was informed by Mr. Burgoyne, junr., who accompanied his father, that their advertisements in connexion with the Australian wine trade appear at10,000 or 11,000 railway stations in the United Kingdom. The visit of Mr. Burgoyne and his son to Australia was caused partly by a series of articles which had appeared a year or two beforein the London Daily Mail. When the Watson Government came into power and the Labour Party seemed to be gaining great strength in Australia one gentleman in Queensland disposed of his property at one-third of whathe could have sold it for seven years before. This fact startled Mr. Burgoyne, and he and his son came out to Australia in consequence. I was on a visit to Mr. Burgoyne’s place, in the North-E astern District - and a very fine establishment he has - and he told me that he came out with the fixed determination to dispose of all his properties in Victoria if he could get one-third of what they had cost. I asked him what was his present intention, and he replied, “My manager met me in Adelaide, and told me, what I afterwards found to be true, that I had been misinformed; and if you go outside, you will find ray architect there, with my manager, Mr. Luke, and my son, arranging to duplicate all these buildings.” Mr. Burgoyne, instead of selling off, was so satisfied with the soundness of Australia that he was going to spend a great deal more money here. I pointed out to him that no one in Australia wished to deprive him of his landed property, because he was making good use of it. and that that was all that was wanted. I further told him that some of my friends of the Labour Party, who were regarded’ as rather extreme, would be the first to compliment and congratulate him on the beautiful appearance of his place, and the large expenditure he had incurred and intended to incur.
– Did Mr. Burgoyne think that we wanted to divide his property with him ?
– On the evening previous to the conversation I have quoted, 1 was at a banquet which was given to Mr. Burgoyne by the vignerons of the district. There was a very representative gathering, and Mr. Burgoyne was very much upset and angered about one matter. A Mr. Bagnail, who represented another large winedistributing firm, was at the banquet, and made a rattling speech, in the course of which he referred to an allegation that the Australian wines sold bv his firm in the United Kingdom were blended with Continental wines, .and d’eclared it to be absolutely untrue. Mr. Bagnall went on to SA , that, with the authority of his firm, he offered to give £500 to any one who could show that one drop qf Continental wine had ever been blended with the Australian wines sold bv his firm.
– I wish every firm could say the same.
- Mr. Bagnall, on the same occasion, said that it was true Australian wines were blended with Austra lian wines. The next day, when I was at Mr. Burgoyne’s place, the question arose, and Mr. Burgoyne then authorized me to say that his firm would’ add £1,000 to the £500 offered by Mr. Bagnall if it could be shown that one drop of continental wine had ever been blended with the Australian wines sold by Mr. Burgoyne’s own firm.
– But apart from those firms, it is a notorious fact that Australian wines have suffered most seriously by rea-. son of being blended with continental rubbish.
- Mr. Burgoyne contended that the Australian wine is good enough in itself, and requires no bush. Mr. Burgoyne buys his grapes from sixty or seventy vineyards, and he told me that he blended Victorian wine, I think, with South Australian wine which is much lighter. At all events, this seems to me to be a matter worth mentioning, even in this Chamber, and one which justifies rae in giving, on the authority of Mr. Burgoyne, a fiat contradiction to the statement that Australian wines are blended with continental wines by his firm. The immediate cause of Mr. Burgoyne’s visit to Australia, as he told me, was the scare raised at Home through the taking of office by the Watson Government. What had assisted in raising fears on the part of Mr. Burgoyne was a series of articles -which had1 appeared in the London Daily Mail; and he told me that when he read those articles, and the Watson Government took .command’, he was fairly startled.
– I sup - I suppose Mr. Burgoyne expected that when he arrived here his property would have all been divided up.
- Mr. Burgoyne said he was very much relieved when his manager, Mr. Luke, met him and told him that the allegations which had been made were a. lot of nonsense. I explained to Mr. Burgovne that he read the wrong class of newspapers, and he admitted that he did, and said he would try the other class when he returned to England. Mr. H. W. Wilson is, I believe, regarded as a financial authority, and here is a short quotation from an article written by that gentleman in the London Daily Mail: -
For some years past there have been indications that Australia was approaching a crisis in her history which will throw into .the shade even the dismal times of 1893. . . . No country an the world, with the sole exception of New
Zealand . . . carries so heavy a burden of debt. Each Australian is saddled with £59, as against the j£ig per head that the British population has to support. … So onerous is the burden of debt becoming that already the first ominous mutterings of the word “ repudiation “ arc beginning to be heard. The Socialists of Sydney are advocating the policy of running a pen slick through the State’s undertakings.
What do the Sydney people say to that? Honorable senators will see what an absolute untruth there is in that quotation. It is there stated that the burden of debt in Australia is £59 per head for every man, woman, and child in the country. As a matter of fact, the gross burden of debt, as shown in the Victorian Y ear-Book for last year, is £56 per head.
– And £150,000,000 is invested’ in railways.
– If the honorable and learned senator will allow me, I shall give the details. As I have pointed out, the gross burden of debt is £56, and not £59 per head’. Then the net revenue from loan expenditure represents £36 7s. per head, leaving the net burden of debt at £19 13s., and not £59. As to the £36 7s., the interest is paid by railways, water works, and other reproductive investments, while the £19 13s. per head has been expended on harbor works, improved navigation, road’s, bridges, defence works, &c, all of which tend to increase the value of property, both national and private. The net burden of debt here is £78,000,000, and the net burden per head is £19 13s. Mr. Wilson is not even right in regard’ to his figures at Home. The net burden is £7 60, 000,000, which comes out at £17 10s. per head, so that the net burden of debt in Australia is only £2 3s. per head more than, it is iri the United Kingdom. A great distinction is that the £760,000,000 has been spent in the United Kingdom on wars and defence works, while our £78,000,000, for which’ we have to pay interest, has been spent on roads, bridges, and so forth, thus improving private and public property to the extent of millions of pounds. At Home the enhanced value of property is a mere bagatelle compared with the enormous’ expenditure.
– A lot of Australian money has been spent in improving the property of anti-Socialists.
– I desire to thank the Senate for the patience with which they have listened to me. No doubt, as I have said, the day will come when, with elective
Ministries, the Address-in-Reply, together with the Mace and the Black Rod, and other old emblems, usages, and customs will disappear. I do not mean that the officials should be abolished’, but that names should be altered. “ Usher of the Black Rod “ is a great misnomer, and so is “ SergeantatArms,” and I have been frequently challenged as to the need for such officers.
– We have no Black Rod.
– The two officials I have mentioned ought to be named what they really are- Clerks of Committees.
– What difference does that make ?
– It makes a difference to those who do not know the facts. It makes no difference to us, but it does to people who think that the Usher of the Black Rod has nothing to do but’ walk about with a black stick in his hand all day, and that the Serjeant-at-Arms marches about the House with a sword at his side and the Mace on his shoulder. We know that that is not the case. I have only to say, in conclusion, that I am sure the Minister of Defence has paid every attention to my remarks, and that I am delighted ‘that they have had a soothing influence upon him.
.- I beg to second the motion.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) [4.16.I. - Like other honorable senators, I have listened with a great deal of pleasure to the address just delivered by Senator Styles, and, whilst he would hardly expect me to indorse the whole of his oration, I must certainly say that I am thoroughly in accord with one or two points that he made. His reference to the Northern Territory is one that I sincerely trust will help to stimulate the Government into action, and induce them to press the matter forward to a business-like conclusion. There are portions of the Governor-General’s speech to which I desire to allude, and I shall probably deal with them better, so far as I intend to discuss the speech, by taking the paragraphs in their order of sequence. As I have already indicated, I am unable to deal seriously with if. There are two reasons for this. In the first place, its inordinate length utterly precludes any one from assuming that it has been put forward as a serious businesslike proposition for consideration this session, whilst, in the second place, its carefully designed vague- ness debars one from taking it seriously. 1 interjected a few moments ago that it was impossible to understand the meaning of one of the paragraphs, and the Minister of Defence immediately took credit to the Ministry for the cleverness with which the Speech had been drawn. I do not dispute its cleverness. I admit the extreme skill with which the Government have managed to adapt their phraseology to the circumstancessurrounding them - circumstances rendering it extremely desirable that they should not speak definitely until they have ascertained a little more clearly how matters are going to develop. I should like to direct the attention of the Senate to the remarkable similarity which certain portions of the Governor-General’s speech bear to the statement made by the Minister of Defence twelve months ago. Honorable senators will remember that the declaration of the policy of the present Ministry was made, not by means of a speech from the GovernorGeneral, but so far as this Chamber is concerned, by a statement read by the Minister of Defence. In the course of that statement, the honorable senator said that the speech which was placed in the hands of His Excellency sixteen months before - namely, in 1904 - exactly fitted the circumstances of the day on which he was then speaking. That statement might well have been reproduced in the GovernorGeneral’s speech that we are now discussing.
– We have a revised edition.
– I admit that some paraphrazing has taken place. Circumstances have necessitated a reference to one or two new matters, and the omission of one or two old ones, but to all intents and purposes we have before us to-day the same document that was placed in our hands twelve months ago.
– What is wrong with that?
– It shows a continuity of policy.
– And the consistency with which that policy is pursued.
– It shows the consistency with which the Government are pursuing an object that they are never likely to reach. Three years ago, the Deakin Government put forward - or pretended to do so - certain measures for the consideration of this Parliament. They renewed the list twelve months ago, and they bring it here again to-day. I mention this to show how utterly ridiculous is a document that pretends to put before the Senate a great deal more business than the Government intend to proceed with - a great deal more than could possibly be dealt with.
– If one wants to hit the moon one should aim at the sun.
– So far as I am concerned, it is not a question of hitting anything, but I think we have a right to expect the Ministry - although with me the expectation has long since disappeared - to recognise its obligation to put before Parliament business-like proposals for a businesslike session. Can it be said that those again brought before us are business-like proposals? Two years ago the Ministry brought forward an interminable list. A very small percentage of the measures enumerated in that list were dealt with, and, as a matter of fact, avery small percentage was intended to be dealt with. The Government now come forward once more with the same list.
– ‘Twas ever thus in the history of responsible government.
– If the honorable and learned senator will search the records of Parliament all overthe world he will not find a document equal to the marvellous one now before us. In the course of the statement he made twelve months ago, Senator Playford told us that it might not be possible to complete all the legislation that he had outlined during the session then opened. Surely a paragraph to that effect should have been included in the present address. If the prophecy were applicable to the Ministerial statement of twelve months ago, it is still more applicable to a speech giving a list something like a third longer than the one then outlined.
– It is always a wise reservation to make.
– My complaint is that there has been an omission in this regard. After predicting that it was not reasonable to expect that the business then outlined could be completed during the session, the Minister said that we might hope, by means of a business-like session this year and a longer session nextyear. to make good progress in the right direction. That statement, if capable of interpretation, was to be accepted as an assurance that the Government would take care that we had a longer session this year - that, as we had so much work to do, Parliament should be brought together earlier in the year, and a reasonable opportunity afforded it to deal with some of the more important work submitted by the Ministry. It is obvious, however, that the present session must be shorter than the last. That being so, if, for want of time, we fail to pass any of the measures outlined in the GovernorGeneral’s address, the responsibility must rest with the Government, for having allowed us to remain in recess when we ought to have been at work.
– I have never seen a Vice-Regal speech which did not contain promises that were not capable of being fulfilled.
– I am not questioning the honorable and learned senator’s statement, made with the authority of an ex-Minister, that Governments are in the habit of making promises which they cannot redeem.
– I did not say that. Senator MILLEN. - My point is that twelve months ago the Minister told us that we should be called together earlier this year.
– So we were.
– Why quibble with words? The statement was that we should have a longer session.
– We were called together a fortnight earlier than we were last year.
– But the present session must necessarily be shorter than the last.
– It is longer at this end.
– I do not expect for one moment that honorable senators opposite are going, to find fault with the Ministry for this neglect. It matters not to me whether they do or not; but it is singular that those who profess such eagerness to proceed with legislation - who are continually affirming their desire to proceed with business which they allege the public demand - should remain quiescent, having regard to the fact that the Government gave Parliament an assurance that we should be called together earlier this year, and have a better opportunity this session than we had last of transacting public business.
– We shall talk less, and therefore the time at our disposal will be longer.
– In paragraph 17 of the Governor-General’s speech we have revived what are obviously the vague generalities in which Mr. Deakin has indulged! in regard to attracting population to Australia. I am as anxious as is any one to see a steady stream of desirable population turning towards Australia; but I am unable, under existing circumstances, to work up any enthusiasm. In the first place, the class that we desire primarily to attract to our shores are those who will settle on the land. Our efforts in the firstinstance would not be directed towards attracting to Australia what I may term city labourers. I do not mean to infer that we desire to bar those of other occupations, but we certainly wish more particularly to encourage immigrants who will settle on the soil and become producers. There are two great difficulties in the way of this class of immigration. In the first place, there is the unsatisfactory position of our lands for closer settlement ; whilst, in the second, we have the threatened legislation with regard to the lands of the Commonwealth. It would not be honest to invite people to come to Australia and acquire land here unless we made it clear to them that there is in practical politics a serious proposal for the nationalization of the very land we ask them to buy.
– It would be well if we could tell them that we were going to wipe out all land agents.
– The honorable senator may tell them that, if he pleases. I cannot become enthusiastic over any proposal to invite people to come to our shores with the knowledge that there is in politics an active, dominant party which has for one of its objects the nationalization, at the earliest opportunity, of the very land which they are to take up. If the Commonwealth is to invite people to come to Australia, the requirements of honesty demand that it shall explain the position to them.
– What is land nationalization ?
– The honorable senator should ask the caucus.
– No doubt Senator Millen is referring to a progressive land tax.
– I am referring to the land nationalization winch is to follow that tax. Having by means of a progressive land tax, caused the division of land now held in “large areas, we are to take that land from the people by means of a scheme of nationalization.
– The States are nationalizing land at the present time.
– It is idle to say that, when a State purchases an estate, and subdivides and resells it, it is nationalizing the land.
– If they resell it, they certainly do not nationalize it.
– Every one of the States that has attempted to purchase land has practically resold it again. Even in New Zealand, where the leasehold system was adopted, proposals were being made by the late Mr. Seddon and the Ministry of which he was the head to enable those who had acquired land on leasehold to secure the freehold.
– Not on the purchased estates !
– On them too. One of the latest public declarations, made by the late Mr. Seddon was to the effect that he was going to give an option.
– I think that the honorable senator is wrong.
– The difference of opinion can easily be settled. Of course, I am only quoting from newspaper reports, which, I assume, are fairly accurate.
– There is not the slightest doubt that, throughout the farming community in New Zealand, there has been a strong agitation to secure an option.
– That is the mere working of human nature. In New South Wales, in 1894, when, as I have already admitted, I was very much taken up with the idea of the State retaining the ownership of the land, and establishing a leasehold system, we passed a law which provided for leasehold tenures of Crown land. What happened? For a year or two nothing was said ; but as the small leaseholders commenced to multiply, there arose a demand that they should have a right to freehold their lands, and the Farmers’ and Settlers’ Association, which included a large number of men of this class, were gradually brought round. For the first year or two, at their conference, they utterly scouted the idea. The opposition, however, only lasted for a few years, because with the multiplication of small leaseholders, each being animated with a desire to secure a freehold, it Was only a question of . time when the association should advocate a system of free hold tenures, and for the last three or four years they have affirmed that principle by an increasing majority.
– In New Zealand it was exactly the same.
– And in South Australia the lessees secured the passage of a Bill to enable them to purchase freeholds.
– Exactly. You may talk of nationalizing the land as much as you like ; you may put men on leasehold tenures ; but in human nature there is something which will always cause a man to desire the absolute ownership of the land which: he occupies, and the more you multiply the leaseholders the more you multiply those who will become claimants to the right to freehold tenures.
– Does not the honorable senator see that his statement destroys his own argument, because, according to him, there is no danger of land nationalization?
– Senator Styles read here to-day some figures showing that the men in employment in the city outnumber the men on the land. If it were left merely to those who were occupied on the land to decide the question, we could make a prediction. But as every man and every woman in the country, whether working upon the land or in a factory, have an equal voice in determining what its land policy shall be, it seems to me quite obvious what the decision of the majority would be.
– A progressive land tax will reverse the figures. It will put a larger population in the country.
– The honorable senator can venture on such a prediction, but I am not prepared to think that it will be the case.
– And the honorable senator is not dealing with the question of a land tax.
– No. I do not wish to discuss the question of the nationalization of land or the imposition of a land tax, I merely mention it as one of the reasons why I could not view with enthusiasm these proposals for attracting population. I desire to refer now to the next paragraph in the speech, dealing with the transfer of the State debts. I am utterly unable to understand the enthusiasm and eagerness with which a large number of persons connected with Federal politics are rushing round and seeking for an opportunity to take over the liabilities of other people. I have never found anybody rushing round and trying to take over my liabilities, and if I did, I should suspect him. I should say that there was something in his desire which I could not understand. Why this feverish anxiety for the Commonwealth to take over anybody’s debts? No one can advance a sound reason for the proposal.
– The option is provided for in the Constitution.
– But why are some persons so eager for the Commonwealth tx> exercise the option?
– Because of the advantage which would eventually accrue ro the Commonwealth as a whole from the lowering of the rate of interest.
– That was one of the things which were predicted in preFederation days, but I venture to assert that there is no man with a knowledge of finance who will say that if the whole of the States debts were converted and handed over to the Commonwealth, there would be a saving of i,cf. in interest! for many years to come.
– There would be a gradual conversion.
– Does the honorable senator, when he speaks of a gradual saving, mean that if there is to be any scheme submitted’, it can be other than an immediate one?
– Yes. That is the onlyhope for economy.
– What the honorable senator really means to suggest is, that a Commonwealth loan could be floated at a lower rate than a State loan ?
– Hear,, hear.
– I venture to dispute that statement. And the saving in interest which could be effected would be more than absorbed by the charges; which we should be called upon to pay in London for the financial operations. We do not float our loans without expense; it amounts to a very considerable sum. No financier will affirm that there would be anyimmediate saving from the exercise of this option. Iti is all in the future. Bvandbv, there is to be sortie imaginary saving effected, and in anticipation of that event, we are asked to relieve the States1 of heavyfinancial responsibilities, and incur the immediate cost of transferring these debts.
– No ; we would take over the debts just before they fell due.
– But the Government have not told us what they are going to do.
– - Exactly, and the State Premiers cannot tell the Government what they want them to do. As a matter of fact, the whole thing is “in the air,” with this exception, that a number of persons connected with Federal politics are rushing round and trying to persuade themselves and every one else that it would be a mighty good thing if the Commonwealth took over these debts. Those who would gain the chief advantage would be the States. Of course, the final decision would rest with the Federal Parliament. The States have not displayed half the anxiety to get rid of these debts which the Commonwealth Ministers have shown to take them over. Let the States put forward a business proposition which we can consider. But that we should concern ourselves about relieving them of liabilities if they do not wish to be relieved of them seems to me to be a reversal of everything which I have ever recognised as business-like. The establishment of a Meteorological Department is a matter which might well occupy the attention of the Commonwealth Government. I am extremely pleased to learn from the speech that at last they have decided to consider a proposal for adopting a general system throughout Australia. A large number of persons living in the cities, perhaps, are not concerned1 about the weather except on -the eve of a public holiday ; but there are a large number of persons throughout the country and a large number of shipping people on the coast to whom it is a matter of vital importance. With certain States carrying on meteorological observations and other States acting with a difference of method, and, perhaps, disjointed communication, our present system is, entirely ineffective, and I shall be very pleased when steps can be taken to place this Department on a Federal basis. I now come to what, in my opinion, is a most’ important matter, and that is the question of the proper recognition of the rights of the Senate as set out in the Constitution. It has been brought before the Chamber in various ways. If honorable senators will refer t’o that portion of the speech which commences with the words, “ Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,” they will see that at that stage the following two paragraphs were addressed to them exclusively by the GovernorGeneral :-
I think I can ask honorable senators to approach this matter without any regard to party interests, or even to personal feelings. I desire to approach it in that way, and as evidence of my good faith, I shall refrain from moving an amendment on the subject. I cannot refrain, however, from asking honorable senators to seriously consider whether the time has not arrived for the Senate to take some more definite and pronounced action than it has done to secure a proper recognition of its rights. Let me briefly refer to the various, occasions on which this question has been raised here. It will be remembered that in the first Parliament, with Mr. Barton as Prime Minister, the first Supply Bill which came to the Senate was altered so as to acknowledge that Supply was granted not merely by the House of Representatives, but by both Houses; because the preamble would make it appear that it was simply the act of the other House. It was, I believe, sir, through your act in drawing attention to the form of the preamble that an honorable senator submitted a motion, with the result that it was altered. I believe that it was altered first in a way which did not meet with the approval of the Senate, and that a further alteration was secured. At any rate, it was altered until due recognition was given of the constitutional standing of the Senate. “In the speech delivered at the opening of that’ session the reference to the Estimates was made in the same way ais, it is made in the speech under consideration to-day, that is to say, the paragraph was addressed to the House of Representatives only.
– But did it make use of the term “originating?”
– I do not think that it did.
– The paragraph in this speech makes use of the term “ the estimates of expenditure originating from you.” .
– It appears to me that little by little the constitutional powers and functions of the Senate are being whittled away.
– It is a constitutional fact that the Estimates of Expenditure originate there.
– Exactly; and I. do not quarrel with the use of the term “ originating from you.” What I say is that this appeal to the gentlemen of the House of Representatives alone is wrong. m Any remarks which His Excellency may desire to make regarding the Estimates of Expenditure should be addressed to both the Senate and the House of Representatives. In addressing such a paragraph to both Houses I have no objection to His Excellency stating that the Estimates of Expenditure originate with the other House, which is merely stating a fact.
– This is the practice which we have followed since we started.
– It is simply a slavish! adherence to custom.
– I am afraid that it is something more than that. I am told by the Minister that it is an old practice.
– So it is. Look at the different speeches.
– But we have had so many promises from Ministers that it would be altered.
– Not that particular practice.
– I cannot believe that this procedure is unintentional, and when I run through the various speeches perhaps honorable senators will see that there is some justification for my appeal to them, not to-day in connexion with the Address-in-Reply, but later on, to take some action which will secure a proper recognition of the constitutional rights of the Senate. In the speech delivered at the opening of the first session of the first Parliament, with Mr. Barton as Prime Minister, the paragraph relating to the Estimates of Expenditure was addressed to the House of Representatives, and at the close of that session that House only was thanked for the granting of Supply. In the session of 1903 the paragraph in the opening speech relating to the Estimates of Expenditure was addressed to the House of Representatives alone. On the 26th June Senator Neild moved that, in proroguing Parliament, due recognition should be given to the fact that the Grant of Supply is the joint act of the two Houses. Senator Drake, the PostmasterGeneral, after a good deal of discussion, in which no one disputed my contention that the Grant of Supply is the act of the two Houses, promised to carry out the wish of the Senate, and the motion was withdrawn. At the close of that session, in accordance with that promise, both Houses were thanked for the Supply being granted. If any precedent were wanted for the course I am about to suggest it is to be found in that fact. In spite of what had happened in the previous session, the Governor-General’s speech again addressed remarks dealing with the Estimates tothe House of Representatives only. The matter was again referred to in the debate on the AddressinReply, as I am referring to it now, and there was some more or less definite assurance given that what was complained of would be remedied in future. But on the 14th April a motion was moved by Senator Neild praying the Governor-General that, when opening or proroguing Parliament, his speech should give “ due recognition “ to the constitutional fact of Supply being granted by” both Houses of the Legislature.” Senator Playford, who was then in charge of the business of the Senate, asked Senator Neild to withdraw that motion, and promised that, if it were withdrawn, what was complained of would not happen again. He said -
We old politicians are in the habit of using the old forms without taking into consideration the altered position of the Senate on the one hand find the House of Representatives on the other.
– That was in reference to the speech at the close of the session.
– Yes. The remark I have quoted was reported in Hansard. 14th April, 1904, page 946. These “ old politicians,” it appears, are not merely used to old forms, but they are also afflicted with treacherous memories ; and I say that the continuation of this process of forgetfulness rather induces me to think that - not on the part of Senator Playford, but of other Ministers - they are not 50 acting merely out of forgetful ness, but from design. The Governor-General’s speech this year was prepared by the Government, as usual, and Senator Playford, as a member of the Government, agreed to it.
– It is the duty of my secretary to keep me up to my promises.
– I am pleased to hear the honorable senator speak in that way. I should like to point out that the motion to which I have referred was carried by the Senate, although the Minister had asked that it should be withdrawn ; and I venture to say that it was carried, not out of any discourtesy to the Minister, not through any doubt as to his promise, but because it was felt that, though having had various promises, through a chapter of accidents they had not been redeemed, and that it was wiser for the Senate to place its opinion on record. The motion, as I say, was carried, the following senators voting for it: - Senators de Largie, Findley, Fraser, Givens, Gray, Guthrie, Henderson, Higgs, Macfarlane, Millen, Pearce, Staniforth Smith, Styles, Walker, and Sir William Zeal. The senators who voted against the motion were Senators Dobson, Drake, Playford, Trenwith, and Turley. The majority was large, and I think we may assume that those who voted against the motion were not opposed to it on principle, but thought that, after the assurance of the Minister, it could be withdrawn. At any rate, it stands on record that the Senate on that occasion, by a large majority, thought that the time had arrived for taking some definite action. When that session closed - and, I think it may be said, in consequence of our action - the speech of the Governor-General thanked the Senate and the House of Representatives for Supply. That was the last session in which Mr. Reid held office. At the opening of the following session, in 1905, when Mr. Reid met Parliament again, the GovernorGeneral’s speech contained no reference to Supply. As honorable senators will remember,the speech was historically brief. Consequently, the point at issue did not arise. When the session of 1905 was being closed, the Governor-General’s speech again thanked both the Senate and the House of Representatives. But now we come to the present occasion, on which the House of Representatives alone is addressed. I have now put before the Senate the history of the matter. I feel convinced that honorable senators will agree with me as to the view I have expressed, and that we have all expressed, either by speeches in this chamber or by the reso- lution which was agreed to on the occasion I have indicated.
– Does not the honorable senator see that the phraseology used in the Governor-General’s speech this year is quite different from any phraseology used before? It says -
The Estimate* of expenditure originating from you.
– To whom were those words addressed?
– To the House of Representatives.
– They only describe the face of origination.
– Surely the Senate will not be misled by that excuse. Those are the very words of which I am complaining. It is admittedly a fact that they are addressed only to the House of Representatives.
– It’ is an absolute fact that is stated.
– I admit that. But they ought to have been addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate ought to have been joined with the House of Representatives in the allusion to the grant of Supply. The paragraph should have been worded -
Gentlemen of the Senate and gentlemen of the House of Representatives, the Estimates of expenditure originating from the House of Representatives will be framed with economy.
We have as much right as has the other place to know how the Estimates will1 be framed. We have as much right to know whether the Estimates will be presented at all, as has the House of Representatives. The mere fact that the Governor-General, in his courtesy, goes out of his way to tell us where the Estimates originate does not matter at all. He tells us what we all knew from the Constitution and from practice. But the matter complained of is that the Governor-General addressed the House of Representatives only, as’ though that House is responsible, and responsible alone, for the grant of Supply. I was surprised when Senator Playford interjected in the way he did just now, because if he reads his own speech on the former occasion to which I have referred, he will find therei.ni a full indorsement of every word I have said, and a full and clear recognition that the grant of Supply is the act of the two Houses’.
– Hear, hear; there is no doubt, about that.
– Then the honorable senator need not trifle with the word “ originating.” His own Government, in closing the last session, thanked both Houses for the grant of Supply. Why thank both Houses if the Government does not think it necessary to ask both Houses for Supply ? The two things go together. The Government should either ask both and thank both, or should ask one and thank one. But the Government of which the honorable senator is a member last session thanked both Houses for Supply, because the granting of Supply is the act of the two Houses. I do not think that the Government can take exception to the way in which I am dealing with this matter. I have not brought it forward in any party interest. If I had desired to do so, it would have been easy for me to propose something bv way of an addition to the Address-in-Reply, reminding His Excellency of the resolution which the Senate has previously passed, and which has been presented to him by address. But I have not. done that because I want honorable senators to deal with the matter absolutely, apart from conflicting interests. I hope that the Minister will be able to give an assurance to the Senate that what has occurred is an accident, and that, so far as the present Government is concerned, he will see that greater attention is devoted to the preparation of- the Governor-General’s speeches in the future. If that is done, it will be accepted by the Senate as an assurance, and it will not be necessary as time goes on in the session to ask the Senate to re-affirm the position set out in the resolution to which I have referred. The same remark applies, to the 13th paragraph in the Governor- General’s speech. I only just refer to it. for fear it might be said that I had overlooked it. The paragraph to which I allude deals’ with the redistribution of electorates, and it is addressed only to the House of Representatives. I recognise that here again the old traditional track has been followed, the assumption being that the lower House only is concerned in the electoral machinery which elects it. But what is applicable to a State Parliament has1 no possible bearing here: because honorable senators must recollect that our Elecoral Act itself expressly provides that these matters have to be referred to the Senate for its approval.
– It is stated in the paragraph referred to that the resolutions will be submitted to Parliament, not merely to one House of the Parliament.
– But what I complain of is that those remarks are addressed to one House only. An obligation rests upon the Senate, imposed by the Constitution, that does not rest upon a State Legislative Council. Let me say, also, that the division of a State into electorates is vital to the interests of a State in its entirety.
– I admit that, but in addition to the interest which each House, in common, has, in the redistribution of electorates, the other House has an extra or special interest.
– A personal interest.
– More than a personal interest.
– I dispute that. I see only the difference of a personal interest between the position of the two Houses. Let me point out how grave a thing it would be under our Constitution if we allowed the idea to grow that only the other Chamber was concerned in the division of a State into electorates for the House of Representatives. It might happen that a scheme of division was extremely convenient to the sitting members of that House, but be disastrous to a State as a whole. I say that it ig here where the interests of a State as a whole are voiced, and are supposed to be protected. It is possible o conceive of a case where a number of members in the other House, finding the existing subdivision extremely suitable and convenient to themselves, though most unfair to a State as *a whole, might desire to continue it. Or put the matter the other way. The other House might adopt a scheme which, being highly injurious to a State as a whole, taking it as an entity, was extremelv suitable to the members themselves. In such a case the Senate would be called upon to exercise the responsibilities cast upon it by the Constitution. For that reason, and because the Electoral Act itself recognises and affirms that the scheme shall be submitted for our approval, I say that we have a clear proof that ihe Governor-General’s speech was wrongly drafted when it addressed His Excellency’s remarks upon this matter to the House of Representatives only. I say again that what I have remarked in reference” to this matter has not been said out of a desire to criticise the Government, or to find fault with the speech. Mine is criticism which I hope they will accept from me in the way it is intended. The sole object I have in view is to defend the rights and privileges of the Senate. When our Constitution was adopted, it was predicted that a seat in the Senate would come to be regarded as the blue ribbon of Australian politics. But I venture to say that the history of Federation has gone to show that, in public estimation, and in press estimation, the Senate is quite a subordinate factor. It can only take and keep its proper position permanently by those who occupy seats in it being determined to maintain its dignity. I will not say that we should merely maintain its dignity - because that is quite a secondary consideration. But we can only lose our position in reality by showing that we are absolutely incapable of looking after the responsibilities which the Constitution has imposed upon us. lt is for that reason that I earnestly invite honorable senators to recognise the drift of things, and to realize how, little by little, this Chamber is being pushed into a subordinate position ; and I especially invite the co-operation of those who made strenuous efforts to secure equal rights for the States in this Chamber, in order that we may not forego, in substance, what has been obtained in form in the interests of our respective States.
– The Governor-General’s speech on this occasion is a remarkable one. It is as remarkable for its length as the speech at the commencement of the last session was remarkable for its brevity. But, although it may be said in some respects to be an omnium gatherum, there are matters which are omitted from it to which reference ought to have been made. One is the matter of the repatriation of the kanakas’ at the end of this year, and the other has regard to the bookkeeping system, which, may possibly come to an end at the expiration of five years from the establishment of the uniform Tariff. With regard to the kanakas, I feel very strongly. I lived in Queensland for many years, and I know that for over forty years kanakas have been coming from the Islands into Queensland. Numbers of them have settled there, have married, and have families. But at the end of this year, to all except those ho have certificates of exemption, it will be illegal even to give temporary employment I presume there is no nationality in the world which pays greater attention to humanitarian considerations than the British ; but on the present occasion the facts appear to be in the other direction. The churches, to their credit, are greatly concerned in this matter. I am glad to see that Senator Dobson expressed himself very forcibly in a recent letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, which I, for one, read with great pleasure. Then the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Queensland passed the following resolution: -
The Assembly, having had brought before it the fact that at the end of the year the Act relating to the deportation of South Sea Islanders will come into force, desires to record its conviction that the forcible deportation of men and women, with, in some cases, their children, who, by reason of long residence, marriage, and settlement, have become rooted to our State, and replacing them on islands which, through lapse of time, may become practically foreign to them, would be an inhuman act, which only the direst necessity could even excuse. The Assembly is of opinion that no such necessity exists in this case, and therefore strongly urges upon the authorities the propriety of discriminating between different classes of islanders in the administration of the Act, with a view of allowing such islanders as have been specified to remain in Australia, if they so desire, and of taking the necessary steps to enable them legally to find employment.
That resolution was unanimously adopted subsequently by the General Assembly of the’ same church in New South Wales. As a member of the Senate, I trust that honorable senators will support the Government in bringing in a Bill to give the desired relief, and thus prevent a stigma of inhumanity being hurled against, and attached to, the Commonwealth of Australia. Only this morning I read an extract from a telegram from Brisbane, in which the following appeared: -
This, remember, is said by a Government agent, who can speak officially on the sub ject. I think there is one mistake in the telegram here, because I do not know an island named Fue. Our conduct to these poor islanders is in sad contrast to the conduct of two poor African women to the great African traveller, Mungo Park. With the permission of the Senate, I will just read a line or two in reference to this matter: -
Mungo Park has told us, in his interesting account of his travels in Central Africa, how he arrived one evening, destitute, hungry, and tired, at an African village, and was resting himself beneath the village tree, when he was found by two village women, who forthwith took him into their poor hut, where they fed him, and tended, comforted to his needs with true womanly compassion, as women will ever do under such circumstances. And he has further told us that when he was seeking slumber, they composed and sang a song concerning him, “ The night was cold and dark, the poor white man, hungry and weary, came and sat under our tree ; no mother had he to bring him milk, no wife to grind him corn ; let us pity the poor white man, no mother has he to bring him milk, .no wife to grind him corn.” That is the song, rendered into English, which Park heard, and he tells us that it greatly affected him at the time, and which song was set to music by an English lady, I think it was the Countess of Huntingdon.
I have just been reading in the reports of the proceedings of the Federal Parliament, that the Prime Minister (Mr. Deakin) has said that the expulsion, or rather, the deportation, of the kanakas from Queensland, where they have made homes for themselves, is to be conducted with humanity, and, somehow or another (you cannot account for the vagaries of the human mind), the picture was presented to me of those two benighted Moslem women acting the Good Samaritan to our countryman, and then I thought of the kanakas, who are all Christians, being expelled “with all humanity.” Humanity, indeed ! The whole thing is an outrage upon humanity. It is a disgrace to the entire community. Australia, by its legislation, has, indeed, been made little of before the world, but by nothing has it been disgraced so much as by this atrocious act, which is without parallel in the world’s history.
I do hope we shall all unite in supporting the Government in introducing if only a temporary measure by which these poor people until they can be deported, will at least be at liberty to earn a living. As to the book-keeping period, until Western Australia, where there is a much larger proportionate male population than in the other States, comes into line as to a per capita contribution to Customs duties, I see nothing for it, if fair play is our aim, but to continue the system for the present. The system is admittedly cumbrous, but it is, at all events, fair. In my opinion, it is premature to interfere with the so-called Braddon section ; three years hence will be soon enough to consider whether to abrogate or to continue it at the end of the ten years prescribed. Taking some of the subjects in the order mentioned in His Excellency’s speech, ,’we find references, to the New Hebrides, Papua, and Norfolk Island, and to none of these references do I take exception. In regard to the New Hebrides, I wish something could be done to put British residents there, doing business with Australia, in an equally advantageous position with the French settlers, who do business with New Caledonia. That mav not be very easy to accomplish, but I hope that some attempt will be made in this connexion. We are aware that the French settlers have their goods received in New Caledonia on much more advantageous terms than are the goods of the British settlers, and some means should be devised to prevent a premium being thus offered to British subjects to become French subjects, and thus gain an advantage over those who remain loyal to the British Crown. It seems little short of ridiculous that Norfolk Island, which is, as it were, an appanage of New South Wales, should for Customs purposes, be treated as a foreign land, and in a degree the same remark applies to New Guinea, which is a quasi-territory of the Commonwealth. There are other matters mentioned in His Excellency’s speech which I think worthy of mention. I have long been an advocate of the suggestion that the Federal authorities should, if possible, take the Northern Territory under their control. South Australia has behaved1 very patriotically, in that for so many years that State has borne the expense of the administration of that part of Australia. If the Commonwealth should acquire the Northern Territory, there will then be land under the control of the Federal Government, and those who believe in offering privileges to persons to settle, whether! they are already resident elsewhere in Australia or come from Europe, would be in a position to present attractions which cannot now be afforded. As to old-age pensions, -there is no doubt that in time they ought to be a Federal matter ; but at present our finances do not warrant us undertaking the work. It seems a pity, therefore, that the States cannot arrange a system of co-operation amongst themselves, through a joint Commission, so that pensioners may be paid pensions in proportion to the time they have resided in each State. For instance, if a man 65 years of age has resided 25 years in New South Wales, 10 years in Victoria, and1 5 in Western Australia, or 40 years in all, let New South Wales contribute 25/40ths, Victoria io/40ths, and Western Australia 5/40ths of his pension.
– Why discriminate between the different States?
– Why did we federate?
– I mention this matter because I happen to know, as a fact, that in New South Wales at the present time there are old people who have been thirty years in Australia, but who, because they have not been twenty years in New South Wales, are not eligible for a pension.
– Why not have a Federal scheme?
– I, unfortunately, know that what I am stating is a fact, because I am in a position to be frequently applied to for assistance. Therefore, I think the idea of a joint Commission to administer old-age pensions, until the Commonwealth takes up the matter, is not impracticable.
– Two or three States do not believe in Federal old-age pensions.
– But the idea is growing.
– I do not object to them.
– I do not believe” in a land tax for the purpose of providing these pensions, and I do not think that during the present session anything practicable can be done by the Government in this connexion. Then, in regard to the socalled tobacco monopoly, as the Constitution does not allow us to nationalize any industry at present, there must be an amendment before anything further .can be done. As to navigation and shipping, I shall reserve any remarks I have to make until I see the Bill. But I am, and have always been - and honorable senators will give me credit for this - in thorough sympathy with those who wish to make the conditions of the life of seamen more comfortable, wholesome, and safe. In fact, I am probably quite with Senator Guthrie in thinking that ordinary seamen have been treated in the most shameful manner in days gone by. But, unfortunately, seamen are not the only persons who have suffered. There are other persons on land who are also very unsatisfactorily treated by their’ employers ; but that is a subject on -which.
I do not propose to enlarge now. A seafaring population is admittedly the hardiest a country cam have, as we have learned from European experience. In Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Russia the sailors are the hardiest of the hardy ; and I, for one, regret that in Australia the rising youth is not attracted to the sea.
– Where are the British seamen to-day?
– Out of work.
– Seventy-five per cent. of the sailors on British ships are foreigners.
– As to defence matters, there seems to be such a wide difference of opinion amongst military and naval experts as to the best means of putting Australian defence on a satisfactory footing, that a mere layman like myself scarcely cares to venture an opinion. Until Australia has a much larger population than at present it seems to me that we shall have to look to the home country for naval defence- not merely for the defence of our country, but for the defence of our great commerce.
– Denmark has not half the population that Australia has.
– How does that bear on the subject? Has Denmarka territory like that of Australia to look after? Has Denmark 8,000 miles of coast-line to defend?
– There are foreign nations all’ around Denmark.
– When the time comes we shall, I hope, agree to be more liberal in our expenditure on naval defence. I do not think that any one ‘objects to local defence so far as ports and harbors are concerned.
– And coastal defence. Will the honorable senator go that length?
– Great credit is due to Victoria for her encouragement to the cadet system, and I am glad to think that the Commonwealth is, to some extent, going to take that State as an example.
– Why should not the Commonwealth do what the individual States did in regard to coastal defence?
– I agree with the honorable senator.
– We have not a torpedo boat for Tasmania.
– And even the Cerberus is fitted with boilers that would not carry a 25-lb. head of steam.
– I believe that Parliament would be prepared to supply torpedo boats and so forth for all the States. I learn, with much satisfaction, that the training of the Naval Brigade is proceeding successfully. It is indeed pleasing to read the good account that is given of the Naval Brigade men who have gone on service on the training ships. As to the statement that, in making appointments in our Military Forces, it is proposed to give locally trained officers the preference, I have only to say that if the local officers are equally efficient, they should, by all means, be given the preference. But we should not forget that we are a part of the British Dominions, and that being so, I fail to see why we should not secure the very best that the British Dominions can supply. I think we must all agree with Senator Styles that the system of exchanging military officers with Canada, India, and Great Britain, and of sending officers to England to gain special instruction, is a very sensible one. Passing on to other subjects, I would say that the Government are deserving of every credit for the promptness with which they have introduced and carried their redistribution schemes in another place. Every one must agree that it is well that no time should be lost in putting the rolls and the whole of the electoral machinery in order for the next general election. I am at one with Senator Millen in the belief that the Senate, as the States’ House, is entitled to take a very deep interest in the redistribution schemes. Unfortunately, there are some men so constituted that they are inclined to consider only the question of whether a redistribution will suit them personally. A friend of mine, speaking of one of the redistributions, said, “ It is all very well, but I find that there have been included in my electorate 5,000 men who are opposed to me.” Of course he will have to face the inevitable, but if every member of another place had dealt with the redistribution solely from the stand-point of whether or not he was likely to be injured by it, it would not have been passed so speedily.
– If it were suggested that each of the States should be divided into six electorates for the Senate, would you approve of that being done?
– No; I should object to it. I indorse theremarks made by Senator Millen as to the paragraph in the speech relating to expenditure, which is addressed only to the members of another place. I had made a note of the matter, but what I intended to say has been so well put by Senator Millen that it is unnecessary for me to make any further reference to the matter. I cannot help thinking, however, that the speech would have been differently worded if we had had two responsible Ministers holding portfolios in the Senate. They certainly would have taken care to protect our constitutional rights. I was indignant when I found that we were, , so to speak, set aside, and that no reference was made to the Senate in that part of the speech dealing with Bills relating to expenditure which must originate in another place. If we do not stand up for the privileges to which we are entitled under the Constitution, they will gradually disappear, or, at all events, they will become adead letter. I come now to the question of the Tariff. It is quite true, as Senator Styles has said, that it was the desire of Mr. Reid that the question of free-trade versus protection should be fought out at the last general election. Mr. Deakin, who was then Prime Minister, raised the cry of “ fiscal pence,” and agreed that if that peace was to be broken, notice should be given by the1st May last. It was certainly not to be broken during the life of the present Parliament. It was simply stipulated that notice should be given in time to enable us to deal with the matter at the next general election. In these circumstances, it seems to me that, so far as the Tariff is concerned, we should not do more than remove anomalies during the present session. To my mind, we have had too many Royal Commissions. Those who have acted on them have done good work, and are deserving of the thanks of the country, but I certainly object to the undue multiplication of such bodies. Ministers should not avoid responsibility in this way, but should rather seek to obtain the information they require by means of their own officers.
– What about the Commission that the honorable senator desires to have appointed to deal with the question of old-age pensions.
– That would be a joint States Commission, and would have nothing to do with the Federal Parliament. New South Wales is spending £500,000 or £600.000 on old-age pensions, and has a right-
– The Premiers met recently in Sydney and passed a resolution unanimously, so far as I am aware, in favour of the old-age pensions systems of the States being taken over by the Commonwealth.
– We can take them over when we have the money to pay them, but we have not at present the necessary funds. We all know that the Prime Minister lays great emphasis on the desirableness of attracting population to Australia. Senator Millen has said, very truly, that we do not want to attract to our shores men who will loaf about the towns and cities of the Commonwealth. Whatwe require is a class of men who will go on the soil - who will go into the bush, and be prepared to play the part of pioneers.
– It is only proposed to establish in London an office through which Australia can speak with one voice. The Commonwealth cannot deal with the question of immigration, because it has not the land on which to put the people. The matter must be dealt with by the States.
– At present we have in London an office connected with the Defence Department. If a High Commissioner were appointed, that office could be placed under his control, and those seeking information as to Australia would have no difficulty in gaining it. I do not know why the Government have not the courage to bring in a Bill for the appointment of a High Commissioner. I could name five men, any one of whom would capably discharge the duties of the office.
– Are they the five honorable senators opposite?
– Let me name them. In the first place, I would mention Sir George Turner, who”, if his health permitted, would fill the position well. There is another gentleman whose appointment would be very acceptable to the people, but I am afraid we could not spare him. I refer to the Prime Minister, Mr. Deakin. Still another gentleman whom we could not spare very well but who would, nevertheless, be a capable representative, is Mr. Reid. No one could object to his appointment. He is a splendid platform speaker, a practical business man, a lawyer, and a legislator. Still another gentleman who would fill the position satisfactorily, and whom we all respect I hope, is Sir John Forrest. Why should any exception be taken to his appointment? In London he is persona grata; he has been an ex- plorer; for ten years he held office as Premier of Western Australia, and he has also been a member of two or three Federal Ministries. Finally, we have Senator Symon.
– Why leave me out of the list? I ‘have been an AgentGeneral.
– Because we could not afford to lose the honorable senator. If we appointed a High Commissioner, lie could act in conjunction with the AgentsGeneral of the States, and a committee so constituted would be a capital one to confer with the financial authorities at Home with regard to the federalization of our debts. Senator Millen has said that there is nothing to be gained by that process. Perhaps under present conditions he is not far wrong, but I would remind him that it is still, possible for us to create Australian Consols, which, like British Consols, would be interminable, and that we should thus avoid the heavy expense incurred in refloating loans. If Australia is to go ahead, she must have more population.. x have before me figures supplied bv the Government Statistician of New South Wales, which, from mv point of view, are very unsatisfactory. It would appear that for the five years ending 31st March last, the net increase in the population of the Commonwealth bv excess of immigration over emigration was only 6,576, an average of 1,315 per annum, or 109 per month. Can we believe that this vast territory of ours is incapable of absorbing a greater number of immigrants ? There must be some reason for this.
-The mortgages held by the banks.
– I have no desire to hurt the feelings of honorable senators opposite, but I repeat that there must be some reason for this slow growth.
– There are fourteen reasons in this Senate.
– One reason why we should not make much profit now bv the federalization of our debts is that all the States loans have been constituted trustees’ securities in Great Britain. There was a time when thev were not so eligible, and I took some trouble to communicate with London financiers on the subject. I was then of opinion that if the States loans were consolidated and made eligible as trustees’ securities, a great saving in the annual charge for interest would be effected. That hope was, to a large extent, dissipated when the individual State loans were elevated to the rank of trustees’ securities. What was thus prospectively lost to the Commonwealth should have been a corresponding gain to the States, but for various reasons that cannot be said to have been the case so far. We cannot take over all the debts of the States ‘Unless the States themselves ask us to do so, for under the Constitution we have power only to take over the debts as they stood at the inauguration of the Commonwealth. Since then there has been a considerable addition to the national debt of Australia. I propose now to refer to the position of the High Court. The time has come for the appointment of a fourth Judge. We have been very fortunate in ‘having on the High Court Bench three Justices who, during the last two and a half years, have been so free from sickness that only on two days during this period has the discharge of their duties been interfered with bv reason of their indisposition. What would be the position if one of the High Court Justices took ill ? The whole of the machinery of the Court of Appeal would have to be suspended, because there must be a Bench of three Judges.
– Can the honorable senator name five men who would be suitable for the position?
– I could name a dozen. Some people say that they object to political appointments. My experience in Australia is that politicians^ when they are elevated to the Bench, endeavour to act judicially, and forget that they have been in politics.
– The honorable senator will see that the objection is not so much to a political appointment as to a political self-appointment.
– I can scarcely imagine that a man would appoint himself. The Cabinet will make the appointment. At all events, the business of the High Court now requires the services of four Judges, and I intend to support the Government when they bring in a Bill for the purpose.
– Does the honorable senator know that the business does require the appointment of another Judge?
– Certainly. In days gone by the Senate and the other House wrangled for a long time over the question of the Capital site, but now “Victoria apparently wants to monopolize Riverina, and if she succeed with her claim, she might, after all, have the Federal Capital in her territory.
– It could not be in Victoria, because the Constitution says that it must be in New South Wales.
– I am afraid that the Federal Capital is going to be in the clouds for a little while longer. I fear that nothing practical will be done during this session. One great advantage in having a Federal Capital would be that we should all live away from home, stick to our work, and get it done as quickly as possible. Our Victorian friends would then have an experience of what we have to do to-day. Let them travel 500 or 600 miles twice a week, and see how they will like the experience.
– Does the honorable senator mind stating what is his objection to Victoria having her rightful claim to Riverina met.
– That is not referred to in the speech. In New South Wales the question of the Federal Capital is still a burning one. In the opinion of not a few persons it is a shame, not to say a legislative scandal, that New South Wales has so long been deprived of her statutory right. I propose to read one or two extracts from a reply which Mr. Carruthers addressed to Mr. Crouch, and which has not vet been published -
In reply to your letter with reference to the proposed selection of a site for the Capital of Federated Australia, I beg to say : -
That if Dalgety be finally and permanently chosen as the future Federal Capital, despite the respectful protest of the Government and Legislature of New South Wales, there must of necessity be created a widespread and deepest sense of a grievous wrong done to the people of this State. What the consequence of such matter will be I am unable to foretell, nor can I commit the Government as to its policy, but it is manifest that the current of Federal affairs will for a long period be endangered by the existence of an unredressed grievance of this character.
The people of this State will be satisfied if a site is selected according to the spirit of the Constitution and agreement understood to have been made to induce New South Wales to become a party to the Federal union.
Mr. Carruthers then quotes the full text of the resolutions passed by the New South Wales Parliament on the 14th December, 1904, and adds -
Those resolutions were communicated to the Prime Minister on 22nd December, 1904, and so far have not been, considered by the Federal Parliament. I feel quite sure that if these resolutions were so considered in the spirit In which they have been passed by the New South Wales Legislature, matters would the sooner reach a stage of amicable agreement.
I think it can be plainly seen that it is my duty to advise that New South Wales stands committed now to any one of the sites already mentioned, viz., Yass (including Lake George), Lyndhurst, and Tumut, and the acceptance of any one of these sites by the Commonwealth Parliament will terminate the present situation. Personally it is not open to me in my position to express a preference for any one site in particular, but it is a duty imposed on me to assist the Commonwealth with an’ facts or information to guide it to a wise decision in respect of the three sites.
So that three sites are definitely offered to the Commonwealth.
– We had Dalgety definitely offered us, and we accepted the offer, but when we did they went away from their undertaking.
– Dalgety was not definitely offered, but merely recommended as a suitable place by a Commissioner.
– It was recommended by Mr. Oliver.
– It was never offered by the State Parliament.
– It was offered by the Premier of New South Wales, but under the Constitution we can go where we like.
– I propose now to say a few words , with which my honorable friends from Western Australia will agree, and that is with regard to the transAustralian railway. It is my earnest hope that the Government will lose no time in bringing forward a Bill to authorize a preliminary survey of the line. The information thus acquired should prove extremely useful. Suppose, however, that it should prove unsatisfactory, we need not go on with the project, but if it should prove satisfactory, perhaps persons outside Australia might think it worth while to come in and offer terms.
– No ; we are not going to have any syndicates.
– I look upon the proposed trans-Australian railway as a strategic one, and in the course of time it would become a mail route. It would also be used for defence purposes. I have more than once addressed meetings in New South Wales, but I have never heard the people object to the little outlay necessary to get this work done. Did not the people of Western Australia largely accept the Commonwealth Constitution Bill under the impression that sooner or later they would get this railway constructed?
– Of course they did.
– The honorable senator is quite correct.
– I was over in Western Australia twice, and I have not forgotten Senator Pearce’s eloquent address on the subject. It ought to have converted any one to support the survey who was capable of being converted. I hope that time will permit the Government to give effect to their proposals to take over the Quarantine and Meteorological Departments. There can be no doubt that quarantine ought to be a Federal matter. I do not think that any State can very well afford to bear all the expense which is required for making meteorological observations. Under the Commonwealth, this matter would be placed on a good business-like footing. In Queensland, when Mr. Clement Wragge was Government Meteorologist, steamers never thought of going to sea without seeing his forecasts, and sometimes postponed their departure. The forecasts were very useful, and wonderfully accurate. Of course there are a number of other Bills mentioned in the speech, but these I look on as mere padding, like the goods one sees in the windows of a drapery establishment - merely put there to attract attention. I cannot believe that we shall not have a large “ slaughter of innocents “ at the end Of the session.
– Will the honorable senator just mention a few of them ?
– Is the Bill relating to industrial designslikely to be carried?
– That will be passed.
– Will the further legislation about patents and trade marks be passed?
– That will be all right.
– Will the proposal relating to the Seat of Government be carried too?
– We only promise to bring these matters before the Parliament.
– Is the Bill for the appointment of a High Commissioner to be passed ? Again, are the Bills referring to lighthouses, weights and measures, and the occupation of Government House to be put through ?
– They will all be brought forward, but whether they will all be passed I do not know. The “ slaughter of the innocents “ is’ not the work of the Senate, but of the Government at the end of the session.
– In Sydney the Prime Minister spoke of his party being the Australian party, and he joined in the narrow shibboleth of “Australia for the Australians.” Who are the Australians ? The aborigines are the true Australians.
– Oh !
– The honorable senator is not an Australian, but a BritishAustralian.
– He is an importation.
– He is a very useful importation. Now, who are the genuine Australians ? Is it the persons who happen to be born here? Is a Chinaman’s son or daughter born here an Australian? If there is to be a political cry at all it should be “ Australia for the British,” not “ Australia for the Australians,” and by the British I mean, of course, the people of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
– The honorable senator would exclude all Continental people?
– These would become British upon naturalization. In South Australia there are thousands of Germans who have become naturalized British subjects. They are, therefore, British.
– In Queensland the sons of naturalized Germans are coming to’ the front very rapidly. I could name a young banister, who I dare say will be upon the Bench before long, who is the son of a German.
– In South Australia we have them upon the Bench already.
– Then they are British. There is a point on which I am afraid that the Senate will not give me much attention, and that is with regard to the Japanese. Recently we had a visit from a Japanese fleet. Japan is now recognised to be in the first rank of the nations. The Japanese seemed to be very pleased with their reception here, with the exception of a slight contretemps, to which I shall not refer. Seeing that Japan is recognised as our ally, could we not have some system of passports established by which they could enter, go through our country, and depart?
– By whom is Japan recognised .as our ally ?
– By the mother country, and I have yet to learn that Australia is not part of the British Empire.
– Australia was never consulted.
– The honorable senator has a “bee in his bonnet.”
– The honorable senator knows very well that I have not. He might think that I have a writ in my pocket.
– Could we not have a system of passports established, under which Japanese could come in, go through the country, and depart ?
– Is not that very thing being done every week ?
– I do not think so. Was there not at one time in Queensland an arrangement with Japan, by which 2,000 Japanese could enter, provided that they departed within a certain time, and when they left, other Japanese to that number could enter ?
– Yes; they came as plantation workers under an agent, and remained while he went home.
– Queensland is large enough to hold 2,000 Japanese. It is not my intention to say very much on this subject, but I think that the time has come when we should get rid of this old prejudice about colour. There are some men in the Federal Parliament who, if we were to draw a sharp line in the matter of colour, would probably have some difficulty in getting in. We have only recently passed a resolution saying that we deeply deplore the death of a gentleman who took a fine and Imperialistic view of things. Mr. Seddon has been held up by the Labour Party as being almost all that a man should be. But he did everything he could to encourage immigration into New Zealand.
– - White immigration.
– But honorable senators opposite will not even encourage white immigration. Some of the best immigrants we ever had while I was living in Queensland were nominated immigrants.
– T - The immigrants who went to New Zealand had a chance under the protective Tariff to get work, and under the land laws to get on to the land.
– I propose to refer to a matter in which Mr. Seddon showed a much broader spirit than, I am sorry to say, our own Prime Minister did. I refer to the Commonwealth interference in the matter of the Natal court- martial. We have papers in our hands giving the correspondence. I cannot refrain from quoting the excellent telegram of Mr. Seddon to our Prime Minister, which shows that he was a highly sensible man. It was as follows: -
Quite agree with you that any interference with the constitutional rights of any selfgoverning colony should be strenuously resisted. Before taking any direct action, however, the press telegraphic communications being so meagre and conflicting, Government of New Zealand wish to be fully acquainted as to the actual facts, and to that end have requested Governor of New Zealand cable Secretary of State for the Colonies for further particulars. Hesitate to believe Imperial authorities would deliberately interfere with constitutional rights of the self-governing colony. When so many human lives were at stake, and the trial having been by court martial, and that not at a time of war, postponement to enable full information as to legality of sentences may have been all that was actually done by Secretary of State for the Colonies.
He was right, and we were wrong. Our Prime Minister, who actually voted in favour of a resolution on Home Rule, by means of which we interfered to some extend with the mother land and her policy towards Ireland, objected to the mother country sending a telegram to Natal to elicit information as to the meaning of certain events ! In other words, we maintain our right to petition the mother country and to interfere in her domestic policy, but when the mother country writes to one of her daughter Colonies for information, we protest ! It is simply outrageous.
– Does not the honorable senator remember Mr. Seddon’s threat to cut the painter?
– No, I do not ; but no doubt he grew more sensible and’ conservative as he grew older. In the begining of a new session it is far from my wish to speak harshly of those to whom I am politically opposed ; but I cannot help deploring an apparent tendency to legislate for one section of the body politic rather than for all classes equally. It is my sincere desire to see Australia progress on such lines that those who come after us will bless, and not curse, the legislation initiated by us in the early days of the Commonwealth ; which I hope our descendants will be able truthfully to describe as great, glorious, and liberty -loving.
– I think there is a disposition to emulate the very good example of another place last night, and not to prolong the debate on the Address-in-Reply. Therefore, although I really have a good many remarks to make I will reserve a considerable portion of them for a better opportunity. Still, there are some things which I think need to be said as early in the session as possible. I think that Tasmania has good reason to be dissatisfied with the very vague references in the Governor-General’s speech to questions of finance. The finances of Tasmania have been much more seriously disorganized than those of any other State, not even excepting Queensland. Queensland suffered to an enormous extent, but not proportionately in comparison with the wealth of the country as Tasmania has done. I do not know whether honorable senators have been made aware of the extent to which Tasmania has suffered. The Treasurer of the Commonwealth last vear, in the preface to his Budget, referred to what had been lost or gained by the various States through the operation of the Federal Customs Tariff. Tasmania, according to the right honorable gentleman, lost in five years no less than £796,000. I do not think his figures were quite correct. I am not arguing about the extent to which the people have suffered. I am pointing out the tremendous additional obligation or responsibility placed upon the Government of Tasmania in frying to make good such portion of that loss as was necessary to balance the finances of the State.
– It was a mere dislocation of finances.
– It was something more than a dislocation. I will not saythat it has not been accompanied by very much advantage to the people, though not by any means a corresponding advantage. I do not think that the £796,000 have been left in the pockets of the people of Tasmania. There has been a considerable diversion of trade to the benefit of our manufacturing friends in Victoria. Previously, they paid 20 per cent, on their goods imported into Tasmania. Now they have the benefit of the open door.
– That is reciprocal.
– Oh, yes; but still, a» every honorable senator knows, the balance of trade is altogether in favour of Victoria. As to the States debts, I regret to observe that, apparently, nothing is going to be done. Previous to Federation many of us had the idea that there would be a consolidation of debts, and that a great advantage would accrue to the States from the security of the Commonwealth. But six years have passed, and as yet no practical steps have been taken in thaidirection.
– At the conference in Hobart, Sir George Turner made a most liberal offer, and the States Treasurers refused to accept it. It is not the fault of the Commonwealth that nothing has been done.
– I am aware of the immense difficulties which stand in the way. Nevertheless, I think that a true Federal spirit has not been shown. The Commonwealth might very well have taken over some millions of the debt of Victoria and some millions of the debt of New South Wales out of the conversion loans that have had to be floated since Federation. Why not proceed gradually?
– B - Because the Constitution would not allow it.
– That seems to be the most practical way to proceed. If the Commonwealth took over a portion of a State’s debt as it fell due, we should be able to form an idea as to whether the Commonwealth security would secure cheaper money than the individual States have been able to obtain.
– A - An alteration of the Constitution would be necessary for that to be done.
– I do not agree with making alterations of the Constitution until there is grave need.
– It would have to be-doi«_ to carry out the honorable senator’s wish.
– According to the Governor-General’s speech certain bonuses are to be offered to encourage industries, and there is some talk of preferential trade. There has also been some kind of promise that Parliament would this session deal with Customs duties. I hope that we shall not. I hope that when we start to amend the Tariff we shall take the whole of it into consideration., and not amend it piecemeal. If this Parliament in its closing weeks rectifies certain anomalies in the Tariff it may make alterations in one direction, whilst the next Parliament, composed of different men may make different alterations entirely. It is advisable that when the amendment of the Tariff is taken in hand the work should not be screwed in towards the end’ of the session. Indeed, to undertake Tariff revision this session seems to me to be almost absurd, inasmuch as we have appointed a Royal Commission, which has done an immense amount of work. l:o inquire into the working of the Tariff. It is not desirable, until the Commission’s work is complete, that we should proceed to deal with the subject-
– It is complete in some respects. The Commission says, for instance, ‘ ‘ You can now deal with spirits ; here is our report complete.”
– There is no doubt that the Tariff is full of anomalies, but I doubt whether we ought to start to alter it r.his session. An alteration of the Tariff ought not to be taken in ‘hand lightly. It is the function of the Government to think over the matter carefully, and to bring down a thoroughly prepared scheme. There are other questions to be considered, apart from the operation of certain duties upon certain industries. If, for example, the alterations made in the Tariff reduce the revenue from Customs, how is Tasmania to make good the deficiency? She already stands with an enormous loss, as compared’ with the year before Federation, through the decrease in Customs and the increase in departmental expenditure. According to the Tasmanian Statistician, her loss last year was £232,759. That is an enormous deficiency for a little State like Tasmania, which already is the most highly taxed State of the group in respect of direct taxation. Our direct taxation has gone up from .12s. per head in 1902 to 24s. 3d. per head in 1904-5.
– There has been a decrease per head in Customs taxation.
– It is impossible to get people to see that they are getting cheaper goods in consequence of reduced duty. I know personally that they are doing so, but the public do not understand that. Besides that we all know that it is human nature to Object to direct taxation. It is human nature in a Treasurer to try to avoid the imposition, of such taxation as far as possible. At the same time, Treasurers have been forced to adopt it, and iri’ Tasmania, although we have been successful in balancing the ledger, we are paving our way, and no more at the present time. We are not reducing our ac cumulated deficiency, and are, unfortunately, neglecting a number of works which have been constructed out of loan moneys, and which it is our duty to keep in repair out of our own revenue. Tasmania has great difficulties to face, and has a right to expect every consideration from the Federal Parliament. I do not mean to say that we ought to ask for any special grant; I should never advise such a step. Rather than that, I would see Tasmania taxed even more deeply than now; but, at the same time, consideration must be paid to the circumstances of the little State. In my experience of Tasmania for over fifty years, I have seen how the greater and more prosperous States, owing to their proximity, have, time after time attracted the very bone and sinew of our population. Stalwart young immigrants, who in my early days were brought to Tasmania by my own people and others under the bounty system, and who found they could there enjoy 50 per cent, or 100 per cent, more prosperity than they could in the old country, soon found that if wages were 8s. a day in Tasmania they were 10s. or 12s. on the mainland.
– How can the Commonwealth help to remedy that state of affairs?
– I should like to see some adjustment of the finances by the Commonwealth. It is not for me, but for the Commonwealth Government of the day, which represents all the States, to take into consideration the financial condition of Th: various States, and to devise a scheme. My complaint is that no account is being taken of the present state of affairs.
– Does the honorable senator not think that the Commonwealth Government made a very good offer in regard to Tasmania when the Premiers were assembled in Sydney ?
– I have not been able to analyze the offer which was made, and, so far as Tasmania is concerned, I do not know whether it has been accepted or rejected.
– It has been rejected.
– There is no intimation in His Excellency’s speech that any attempt is to be made to ease the conditions, which may be only temporary in Tasmania. There is another matter which seriously affects Tasmania, and which, to my mind, is one of the blots on Federation -that is the wretched bookkeeping system, which is absolutely un-Federal.
– It is absolutely fair in the meantime.
– Is it fair in the meantime? We have federated not for this year or next year, but for all time, and the State which needs help now may be able to give it at some future period. It happens just now that Tasmania is one of the poorest, and, as she must always remain, one of the smallest of the States.
– Does the honorable senator want the taxpayers’ money for Tasmania ?
– I know the difficulties of Western Australia, but I am addressing more particularly Senator Walker as a representative of New South Wales. I wish Tasmania to (participate in some of New South Wales’ superfluous wealth, because we do not know when the time may come when New South Wales may want to participate in the surplus wealth of Tasmania.
– It will be a long time before that occurs.
– I hope it will not be a long; time. We are, as I say, federated for all time, and until this wretched bookkeeping system is abolished we shall not rea l I v have a true and full partnership.
– But for the unfairness that would result to Western Australia, it could be abolished at once.
– Special conditions were made for Western Australia, and there is power to make other special conditions even now.
– I desired to have a special arrangement made for Tasmania.
– But a special arrangement was not made for Tasmania, and there should have been.
– There has been a loss to Western Australia of over £400,000.
– Close on halfamillion
– Although we may not share in Western Australia’s prosperity, Tasmania isi asked to bear her share per capita of the cost! of the proposed Transcontinental Railway.
– It was not Western Australia who asked for that, but the late Treasurer, Sir George Turner.
– The Tasmanian Government are faced with tremendous difficulties. While not afraid to tax the people of that Slate, and ask them to pay their way, I know that the consequences would very likely be what they were when a similar step was taken before. People will be driven out of the State; in fact, I regret to say that people are now leaving Tasmania in greater numbers than they are arriving by immigration. I should now like to say a word about preferential trade, which I see is mentioned in His Excellency’s Speech. That is a question we should not look at too narrowly. I am speaking of preferential trade as affecting the Empire and Australia, and I believe that we can, and ought, to give preference to goods which must be, and which are, imported from Great Britain and British States. To say that we cannot do that except in one particular way is almost an absurdity. We annually import a very large quantity of woollens and worsteds, and, whatever the Tariff may be, there will always be imported, for certain classes of the community, particular commodities for which they are prepared to pay, and will insist on having. It would take a great many years, under any system of protection, before we should be able to manufacture all we want in the way of the varieties of woollen goods which are nowimported, and which are necessary for fashion, durability, and other reasons. Of the large amount of such goods imported, much comes from Germany and France ; and there is an all-round imposition of a duty of 15 per cent. Why should we not, if we wish to give preference, and cannot afford to relinquish the duty, charge 20 or ‘25 per cent, on the foreign goods? Would that not’ have the effect, to a very large extent, of diverting the trade to where we would like to see it ? That seems to me a patriotic and businesslike proposal, and an advance towards that proper Imperial spirit we wish to encourage.
– Suppose the local manufacturer objects to give a preference to that extent?
– But the local woollen manufacturer would still enjoy the protection he has now against British goods, while having still larger protection against German and French goods. I do not propose that we shall lower the present duty on woollens ; on the other hand, I think it might very well be increased without causing any hardship. The duty might be made 20 per cent., a rate of which I have had some experience in another State, and which was found not to be excessive..
– Would the honorable senator force protection on the people of England, for instance, who have declared for free-trade?
– I ,am not forcing anything on England, but rather trying to give the cold shoulder to goods from other countries, and to create a diversion in favour of the old country. If the people of Great Britain reciprocated with a reduction on our wines, or some other commodities, so much the better. That is one aspect of preferential trade, but there is another, on which I speak with some delicacy. Between the late lamented Mr. Richard Seddon and the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth there has lately been some exchange of ideas with, the object of submitting certain proposals to establish preferential trade between New Zealand and Australia. It is hard for one to offer any opinion on that matter until we know what articles are proposed to be the subject of preference. It must not be forgotten, however, that certain States, or, at any rate, certain people in some of the States, agreed to Federation, because it established at once Inter-State free-trade - because it removed the fiscal barriers between the States of Australia. Many of those people consider that up to the present time that is the only advantage gained from Federation. There are a great many people, I am sorry to say, who think there has been no other advantage from Federation, and who judge the union, after five or six years’ experience, as if that were ail it was going to accomplish. I do not hold with any opinion of the kind, but there are many who regard the removal of the Customs barriers, as affecting their own business or line of production, as the one advantage of Federation. Are we going to admit New Zealand to a partnership, of which she will enjoy the benefits without suffering the supposed, or otherwise, corresponding disadvantages? That is a question which is being very seriously asked in Tasmania. There are external duties on hops, potatoes, arid other commodities, the Tasmanian producers of which are entitled to ask whether they are to be deprived of the advantages given, to them in the freedom of the Melbourne and Sydney markets. As I say, this is a subject one would like to treat with great delicacy, but I hope to hear some statement of the intentions’ of the Government.
– I do not think the honorable senator need worry very much about that.
– I am glad to hear that reply from Senator Keating, who, like myself, is concerned in safeguarding the interests of Tasmania. 1 should l.ke to make some reference to a question in which, as often happens, a politician is apt to be placed in a false position. I have always been a believer in, and an advocate of, special taxation on land, as land. I have also been, a believer in, and, as a member of a State Cabinet, I succeeded in imposing, the principle of progressive taxation, whether applied to land or income. Thirdly, I am a believer in. the principle adopted in nearly all Australian mining legislation that the possessor of land under a mining lease should either use that land or allow others to ‘do so. Therefore, if I am asked broadly whether I am in favour of a progressive land tax for the purpose of securing increased revenue from the people best able to pay, or, incidentally, securing, it may be, the bursting up of big estates, I say that on the whole 1 am. But, although I admit those principles, if, in the Federal Parliament, I find it proposed, as one. is inclined to think it will be proposed, to impose a land tax, not for the purposes of revenue, but for the purpose of bursting up big estates, then I say at once I cannot support such a measure. I was not sent here by Tasmania to do anything of the sort. If there is one principle stronger than another in the Constitution it is the limitations of Commonwealth powers ; and I object to either the powers of the Constitution, or any of its machinery, being used for a purpose not intrusted to us. I hear cheers’ from some honorable senators opposite, but they forget that already some of them have approved of exactly this thing being done. The Post Office, under the Post and Telegraph Act, has been specifically used to check gambling in Tasmania. I am not going to enter into the morality of the question. But the morals of Tasmania were not handed over to the Federal Parliament, and when the machinery of the Post Office was used to interfere in a question which was open to the Tasmanian people only to deal with, it was wrongly used, and a dangerous precedent was established.
– Surely the honorable senator does not suggest that the Common- wealth, Parliament went outside its powers in enacting postal legislation?
– I shall not split hairs with the honorable senator ; I am merely expressing my views. It would have been very much better, from a certain point of view, if the Commonwealth had left Tasmania alone in this connexion. If Federal machinery was used to bring about a purpose not included in the thirty-nine articles of the Constitution, it was wrong.
– Does the honorable senator object because Federal legislation has improved the morals of Tasmania?
Senator MULCAHY__ Federal legislation has not improved the morals of Tasmania, neither has it succeeded in what it sought to achieve. The Post and Telegraph Act, instead of decreasing the business of Tattersall, has increased it. I do not intend, however, to go into that, question at present ; I wish merely to point out how dangerous these principles are. I have not been sent here to assist the Federal Government to levy a land tax for the purpose of bursting up big estates. That is a power reserved for the Legislatures, of the States. It is one of their sovereign rights, and I am surprised that the Prime Minister of Australia should be found on the platform practically advocating such a measure. As a matter of fact the Ministry have spoken on this question with three voices. We have the speech of the Prime Minister in Adelaide; we have the utterances of Mr. Deakin in Sydney, and we have the interview with Sir John Forrest somewhere else. In each case distinctly different opinions have been expressed.
– T - The honorable senator does not say that we have not the power under the Constitution to pass such a measure.
– I do. I say that the Constitution makes no provision for the bursting up of big estates. It gives us full Dower to impose direct taxation. As a source of revenue a land tax is quite legitimate. The imposition of progressive taxation, is well within the powers of the Federal Parliament so far as progressive taxation is intended to make the rich man pay in greater proportion. But if we imposed it avowedly to burst up big estates - and it would have to be a very high tax to do so - we should take a power that has not been delegated to us, and even if we did not go outside the letter of the Consti tution, we certainly should violate the spirit of it. Therefore, although I agree with the principle of land taxation, and should like to see such a policy adopted in Tasmania, I should give my unqualified opposition to such a proposal on the part of the Federal Government.
– If the honorable senator believes in a land tax, why not let us have it by any means that are fair? .
– I am not going to assist the honorable senator or any one else to advance one inch, either directly or indirectly, towards unification without the express consent of the people of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator desires disintegration; he wants the people to give up their powers.
– He does not wish the Parliament to abuse its power.
– One matter with which I desire to deal - and I shall curtail my remarks upon this subject since I shall have another opportunity to devote myself to it - relates to the regulations drafted under the Commerce Act. Honorable senators will doubtless have noticed that I put three questions this afternoon to the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs in the Senate. I am sorry that I cannot congratulate the Minister on having given me a satisfactory reply. I knew when I framed the questions that they were exceedingly difficult to answer. They were as follow : -
What is our position in regard to this?
– Those questions are posers.
– I knew they would be ; but the. Government were warned. Senator Pulsford and I drew attention some time ago to the- wide variety of things coming under the heading of “ apparel.” What was the Commerce Act designed to do? I shall have to be somewhat severe in dealing with this question, but do not wish to approach it from a partisan stand-point. The purpose of the Act is a good one, the desire of the Legislature, in passing it, being to bring about honest dealing, but it should be our effort to make our legislation practicable. If we are going to impose harassing and embarrassing conditions and regulations, and to make it difficul t for tlie people to carry on business without any compensating advantages, we shall act wrongly. I venture to say that that is -exactly what we are now proposing. If honorable senators analyze my questions they will see, however, that a dead-lock has arisen. The replies given this afternoon by the Minister of Defence practically amount to an admission that it is impossible to define to what articles under the heading of “apparel” the Commerce Act is intended to apply.
– There should be no difficulty.
– As an old tradesman, I can assure the honorable senator that there is. The Senate will remember that we passed the Commerce Act last session, and that portion of it, as is probably generally known, has already come into operation. I refer to that part which is really on all-fours with the Merchandise Marks Act of Great Britain. That is a common-sense piece of legislation. Under that Act a man is not compelled to mark or brand his goods with an indication of their quality or weight ; but if he does so mark them, his description must be absolutely true. He is not permitted to mark goods as weighing so much, unless the mark is an accurate one, nor must he describe goods as being “ all wool “ unless they are so in fact.
– That is right.
– Certainly ; no one objects to that. Had we stopped there we should have done well. But we have gone further. The Minister of Trade and Customs has taken power under the Commerce Act to compel descriptions to be given. Under the draft regulations that he has issued, and which are causing much perplexity amongst business people all over Australia, he ‘is going to compel people to place on their goods a description showing their exact nature, notwithstanding that in a. great many cases it will be exceedingly difficult to do so, while in others it will De absolutely impossible.
– Such descriptions have to be given under the Customs Act.
– With all due respect to the honorable senator, I must say that he does not know what he is speaking about.
– The importer has to show what is the proportion of cotton or wool in certain goods.
– No man could do so.
– Could not the maker of the goods say of what they were composed ?
– What power have we over the manufacturer abroad ? In a great many cases it is absolutely impossible to give these descriptions.
– Not at all.
– One can tell what is the percentage of cotton in woollen goods, and so forth, or what is the percentage of silk.
– I have an advantage over the honorable senator.
– I served an apprenticeship to the business.
– And I have spent something like thirty-five years in the trade, and have been a dealer and an importer. If time permits, I, am prepared to demonstrate that in many cases it will be impossible to supply a description, as demanded by the Minister, showing the exact nature of the goods. I started by saying that in regard to a variety of articles it will be extremely difficult to comply with the requirements ; that so far as a great many others are concerned it will be absolutely impossible to do so, and that in the case of nearly all these articles the description for the purposes of the Act - which is designed to protect the public - will be absolutely useless. It is principally to protect the public that we are going to impose harassing conditions with regard to imports.
– We want the importers to tell the truth about their goods.
– But why should we compel them to have their goods branded by the manufacturers at Home? If we do what will happen? The manufacturers there will say to our people, “ Take you trade. We are not going to reveal the ingredients of our goods.”
– In other words, they will say, “ We do not care about telling thetruth.”
– I wish the honorable senator would not speak in that way. I think we might well give the trading community as a whole credit for honest dealing. I do not see why the whole trade should be embarrassed because there are certain persons who will evade every regulation imposed.
– This law was passed in the interests of the honest trader.
– Exactly ; and I am trying to point out the futility of it. The effort to protect the honest trader by this means will be futile As a matter of fact, it has been proved impracticable by the replies I received this afternoon to my questions - replies showing that it is impossibleto define what is prescribed. How can we ask an importer to describe an article which he cannot get described.
– We will make that article here, and then we shall get it described.
– The theory is that this Act is going to protect the consumer. But we cannot step one inch beyond the boundaries of the King’s warehouse with regard to the goods that we have dealt with. It is well known that once these goods - which are to be so marked as to indicate their exact nature - leave the Customs warehouse, every paper around them, every ticket that they bear, can be removed. Honorable senators will probably say that it is the duty of the States Parliaments to pass consequential legislation that will carry out our purpose, so thatthe man who buys a suit of clothes in a shop will be protected, but it is ridiculous to apply these provisions to textiles.
– The honorable senator agrees with it so far as it provides for the purity of our food supplies.
– That is “ the other fellow’s job.”
– Surely we ought not to assume that an. honorable senator is absolutely selfish in dealing with these matters. A man might be slowly poisoning himself, or, at all events, undermining his health, by eating adulterated food. It has been proved that a child was nearly starved by being fed on what was called condensed milk.
– And that another was seized with rheumatism, as the result of wearing what was believed to be a woollen garment, although it was really made of cotton.
– , The average mother knows far better than does any honorable senator what is flannel and) what is cotton.
– What about flannelette ?
– A woman knows more about flannelette than we do. A woman knows more about union flannel than we do. She knows, too, what is Victorian flannel, although it took a Commission and an army of experts to find out of what it was composed. A boy serving behind a counter will know quite well that “flannel” which is sold at 6¾d. a yard must be half cotton.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.4.5 p.m.
– I beg, sir, to call your attention to the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.] I desire to bring under the notice of honorable senators the large powers taken under the Commerce Act by the Minister of Trade and Customs, and to the very important point that the Act is to be read in conjunction with the Customs Act, and also with the Customs Tariff Act, which is embodied in the Customs Act. Section 7 of the Commerce Act says -
The regulations may prohibit the importation or introduction into Australia of any specified goods, unless there is applied to them a trade description of such a character, relating to such matters, and applied in such manner, as is prescribed.
Section 15 limits the operation of section 7 to certain articles, namely, to articles used for food and drink, medicines or medicinal preparations, manures, apparel, including boots and shoes, and the materials from which such apparel is manufactured, jeweller)’, seeds, and plants. It seems to me that when the Minister decides, under the regulation, to deal with the question of apparel, he has to go to the Customs Act for his definition of what apparel is. That Act gives the Minister very large powers with regard to definitions and the settlement of cases. He may give a decision which, upon being gazetted, will be law for the time being. The Customs Department has made, and he has indorsed, a great number of decisions under which various- articles are classified and specified as coming under a particular head. It was to ascertain whether the Minister intended to apply the Commerce Act to all the goods coming under the head of “ apparel and textiles,” or to only a portion of them, that I put the questions I asked this afternoon. If it is intended to be applied to only a portion of them, then he seems to me not to have taken sufficient power in the Act with regard to definitions. Even if he has the right to eliminate, at his own will, certain articles from being required to be described. How is he going to be advised in doing so? This afternoon we learned that he is going to ask the importers to enlighten him as to what shall and what shall not be deemed articles of apparel. «
– Surely there is no objection to that.
– I am not a lawyer, and, therefore, I am not sure that there is no objection.
– He is not obliged to accept their advice.
– If he is not tied by the Act to the definitions already existing under the Customs Act and the Customs Tariff Act, it is very hard to know on -what principle he is going to attempt to discriminate.
– But under the Customs Act he has a very wide discretion as to his definitions.
– Let us go to the Customs Tariff Act, and see how this discretion has been exercised. What are articles of apparel? Under the head of “Apparel and Attire,” I find described such articles as “ buckles or grips used to complete the manufacture of stocking suspenders.” Although perhaps it is a legal point, still it is an important one. Can the Minister discriminate, or is he tied to the definition of apparel as it has been given under the Customs Act, and recorded in the Tariff Guide, or can he call apparel whatever he chooses?
– However fair the Minister mav desire to be, life is not long enough for him to describe all these articles.
– If these things described as apparel and attire are a fraud, why should he not deal with them?
– I am trying 10 point out the difficulty which the Minister, actuated by the best intentions in the world, will have in dealing with these articles.
– The honorable senator will see that necessarily the Minister must have a discretion in a matter of this kind. We cannot possibly tie him down to any cast-iron definition.
– But the Customs Act it seems to me does so.
– Not at all. The very quotation which the honorable senator has made shows that a discretion is left to the Minister. That is a mere decision on his part.
– Evidently the honorable and learned senator has not had this matter brought under his notice, and he may yet have to advise upon it. In the draft regulations, which are submitted I presume to elicit the opinion of business men, it is prescribed) that articles of apparel, in accordance with the Commerce Act, shall be included, and that the exactnature of them shall be described. Well, to whom are we to go to ascertain what these articles are but to the Customs Tariff Act, and the definitions and decisions given thereunder?
– That is where the Minister has a discretion.
– I admit that the Minister has a discretion to determine the class under which an article shall appear for the purpose of paying duty, inasmuch as one material used for the manufacture of attire pays a duty of 5 per cent., while another material used for the same purpose pays a duty of 15 per cent., and the completed article is subject to a duty of 20 or 25 per cent.
– So far as the Commerce Act is concerned’, they all come under the same conditions.
– I ask the Senate how it is possible for any man to give a definition of 100 articles which I could read from the Tariff Guide. Take, for instance, “ hair fabric for covering pipes and tubes.” How is the exact nature of that article to be described?
– It is left to the discretion of the Minister. In South Australia I had to decide the point.
– Unfortunate business men are to be pestered every day - for what pur-pose - to define a certain article?
– It must be left to the Minister to decide.
– Should not the unfortunate importer know what he has to brand or mark?
– So he will. A decision will be given, and for all time it will prevail. The importer will know exactly what he has to put on each line.
– I can understand a general requirement with regard to piece goods - for example, as to whether they are cotton or linen or wool, or a mixture of wool and cotton - but I cannot understand a man being asked to describe a parcel of ladies’ costumes - perhaps 100 different costumes - bought as a. lot in the London market. Very frequently a man imports 300 or 400 ladies’ jackets of all shapes, sizes, and qualities bought at one price.
– They will come under the head of apparel.
– But how is it possible for any man to describe the articles and show the exact nature of the material used in their manufacture?
– The Customs Department cannot exact what is impossible, consequently they will accept what is a reasonable description.
– That is what we are told in this little book, which is practically an apology for the Commerce Act.
SenatorBest. - The honorable senator knows very well that in every Customs Act in the world the Minister is given a discretion to say what items shall come under a particular classification in the Tariff.
– Here is what the Minister of Trade and Customs says, in what I consider to be an apology for this portion of the Commerce Act -
Willi reference to paragraph 3 above, and similar paragraphs in other sections, it may be observed that it is always the practice of the Department to take a lenient view of the case, and that the Minister would not sanction any attempt to unduly enforce the law to the disadvantage orloss of innocent importers.
What Minister ? The present Minister !
– The Minister for the time being, of course.
– The present Minister can only speak for himself -
The surrounding circumstances will always be taken into consideration, and only such evidence will be required as to want of knowledge or intent as should satisfy any reasonable man. It is hoped that it will seldom be found necessary to enforce forfeiture or to prosecute for fine.
I am not, I repeat, introducing this matter for any factious purpose. If I did not think that the outcome of my remarks would be a common-sense adjustment of the great difficulty which I foresee, I should not have uttered them. It will be exceedingly difficult for a man to put on such a description as is required under the terms of the Act and the regulations. If the Minister interprets the word “ apparel “ and the materials used in its manufacture in accordance with the Customs Tariff Act, and the Customs decisions, then in a great many cases it will simply be impossible to describe them. And any description which may be put upon these goods will be practically of no use for the purpose for which the Commerce Act was framed, that is, the protection of the public.
– But the good conscience of the business man will always be taken into consideration. Surely the honorable senator is not going to hang a man because he has made a mistake.
– There will be an administration of the Department at one time in one way, and at another time in another way. Business men know that sometimes there is an administration of the Department which is very embarrassing, and unnecessarily so, possibly through the over-zeal of officers, no doubt actuated with the very best intentions. I desire now to say a few words with regard to the usefulness or non-usefulness of the description when it is given. In the Chamber there seems to be an idea that persons are absolutely ignorant of what they go into a shop to buy. That is not the case. Sometimes the ordinary woman knows a good deal more about an article in a draper’s shop than does the man who is serving her.
– I should think so.
– I know that it is the case. Of what use will it be to her to brand a piece of union, which she knows to be union, as “ a mixture of linen and cotton”? It will be a mixture of linen and cotton whether it be the commonest kind of union at 3d. or 4d. per yard, or the very best kind of union at1s. 6d. a yard. Are we going, to compel every importer to put a brand on every piece of union that he sells, stating the exact proportion of linen and cotton which it contains ?
– The honorable senator’s argument is directly opposed to the legislation of Great Britain and Germany, as well as of Australia?
– But the legislation of Great Britain does not compel marking.
– It provides for the same principle.
– If an English shopkeeper sells a collar as linen it must be linen.
– The English legislation compels a man if he describes an article to describe it truthfully. But it is often impossible to describe an article. Surely we must have some better reason for legislation than that it does no harm. The intention may be all right, but the effect may be mischievous. Take a piece of woollen material. You can get a woollen materia] containing cotton which some peope would say was adulteration. Take a Yorkshire tweed. Most goods of that description contain a percentage of cotton and’ sometimes of shoddy. One Yorkshire tweed will be nearly all shoddy, but it will consist of practically wool and cotton. These materials would all come in under the same general designation. What protection is that to the general public? And if it is no protection to them, what is the use of it? The same remark applies to many other articles. In the importation of various goods, it often happens that names are used which have become conventional, but which do not correctly describe the goods to which they are applied For instance, there are imitation fur goods. They are made to resemble ‘the skins of animals, but in reality they are nothing of the kind. If a woman goes into a shop to buy a sealskin jacket, she knows that it will be impossible to buv a real one unless she is prepared to pay twenty-five or fifty guineas for it. But she buys an article called a sealskin jacket, which is in reality a fabric, and not a skin at all. The purchaser knows quite well that she is not getting a real sealskin. There is no necessity to compel the draper to go to the trouble of branding such goods. The purchaser knows what thev are by the price.
– Exactly ; they mav be known by their price; but if the shopkeeper chaoses’ to stick on the price, it is impossible for the non-expert to tell.
– If one of Senator Best’s clients gets bad advice from him - which the honorable senator is not compelled to brand as good or bad advice - be will co to another lawyer next time. So it is with the shopkeeper’s client! I am sorry that the honorable senator has such a bad opinion of the trade.
– I have not.
– In order to prevent one dishonest merchant from doing a thing which he ought not to do, but which he will do in spite of Commerce Acts, we are going to embarrass ninety-nine honest men.
– We can punish him for his dishonesty.
– He can be punished for dishonesty now. If a shopkeeper sells an article as sealskin which is not sealskin, the purchaser has a common law remedy against him!. I have gone rather fully into these matters, and I intend to discuss the regulations when they come before Parliament for indorsement.
– What does the honorable senator suggest?
– I would suggest that, inasmuch as these provisions are not for the benefit of the ultimate purchaser - the man or woman who uses - they might be suspended until the States come into line with their legislation. At present the States are not in line. Under our Act and under the regulations the supervision goes no further than the Customs warehouse. Once the goods emerge from the Customs warehouse there is nothing in the existing law to stop the importer, whether he be the retail shopkeeper or the wholesale merchant, from altering the marks entirely. I suggest the suspension of the operation of this portion of the Act, unless the Minister can succeed in devising some very broad lines, which I doubt very much ; and even if he could do so the measure would not secure to the purchaser that protection for which the Act is designed.
– Does the honorable senator also suggest that the Act should be suspended as regards food adulteration?
– I do not. I do not know so much about foods as, about textiles, but the case is very different. If a man buys a suit of clothes, he tests them by their quality, and soon discovers what thev are worth. But a man may be eating deleterious food for a long time, and may be ill in consequence, although he may not be able to recognise that the illness is due to the food. Moreover, the makers of food products are better known, and such goods as are imported are. in many cases, standardized- Such goods are branded as it is, and it is only a question of requiring that thev shall be truly branded, and be what they are represented to be. I suggest that the Min- ister, if he insists on applying the regulations to the goods to which I have referred, shall do so on broad lines if he has power under the Act, which seems doubtful.
– He is doing it on broad lines. According to what the honorable senator read out a reasonable interpretation will be accepted.
– If I were to go into this matter of apparel at length I could keep honorable senators occupied until 12 o’clock to-night, and I could show that it is impossible to put any brand or mark on a number of goods to describe them correctly.
– Then they will not be described.
– The importers will be expected to describe them.
– Not if it is impossible.
– I wish to conclude by referring to one piece of proposed legislation which promises to be useful. It is proposed by the Government to try to protect the policy-holders in foreign life assurance institutions. That is legitimate work for the Commonwealth to do. I think it ought to have been attempted earlier, but there are special reasons for doing it now. The fact that the subject has been mentioned in the Governor- General’s speech will have a good moral effect. A number of people who hold policies in good sound foreign institutions - notwithstanding that some irregularities have been exposed - have in a fit of panic been inclined to dispose of, or part with, their policies at a loss. The fact that the Government intends to step in and try to protect them - I do not know how. far it can be done - will have a beneficial moral effect. I hone that legislation of that description will be the prelude to extended legislation, dealing not only with life, but with fire insurance because on both subjects there is ample room for legislation.
– Does the honorable senator think the Government ought to interfere with private enterprise in America?
– I will leave the honorable senator to deal with his own fads. I support the motion for the adoption ofthe Address-in-Reply.
– The position that has arisen to-day throws a strong light on the present unsatisfactory position of Federal politics. We have had the Address-in-
Reply moved by an honorable senator sitting behind the Government, who were, however, unable to find another supporter to second it. That is the position of affairs in the Senate. Of course, I know that there is a large number of honorable senators who do support the Government. But they belong to another party ; and that is the unsatisfactory position to which I refer.
– If they would support the honorable senator’s party it would be all right.
– The Minister knows that the. party to which I belong has a greater following in the Senate than his own party. I have described this as a very unsatisfactory position, and it tends in no way to that desirable legislation which we all wish to see passed I recognise that there is a wish that the debate shall not be protracted, and that it shall close, if not to-night, at an early hour to-morrow. I do not propose to make a lengthened contribution to it. I intend, therefore, to confine myself to a few points. The Governor- General’s speech is a very long one. Every honorable senator who has spoken has referred to its unusual length. Yet I’ find that the most important matter of all - a matter of international politics - has no reference made to it whatever. I refer to a measure which was passed last year, entitled The Immigration Restriction Amendment Act, under which certain legislative arrangements were to be made. A section was inserted under which it became possible to make arrangements with foreign nations like Japan, and with India, to obviate the difficulties and annoyances of the Immigration Restriction Act. On the 18th December last, I asked the following questions of the Minister of Defence with reference to the section in the Immigration Restriction Amendment Act, which sanctioned the making of arrangements with foreign countries as to their subjects being affected by the education test: -
With reference to the clause in the Immigration Restriction Amendment Bill which sanctions arrangements being made with foreign countries whereby their subjects are exempted from the dictation tests -
Will the Department of External Affairs intimate to the Governments of India, Japan, and China that the Commonwealth of Australia is now prepared to consider such arrangements?
Have the Government prepared any draft indicating in any general way the main features or clauses of such arrangements?
Senator Playford replied
This matter is receiving consideration.
Six months have elapsed since then. A new session has begun ; and, though every conceivable subject has been raked up for reference to Parliament, this very grave and important matter is not even mentioned in any shape or form. In the same Act provision was made for the excision of the word “ European “ as to the test language, and for regulations which had to be submitted to Parliament in connexion with the selection of a number of languages. To this I find no reference in His Excellency’s speech. I hold that this Parliament cannot possibly interest itself in any more important business than making satisfactory arrangements between Australia and the great nations of the East.
– Would not that be a matter of administration, and not legislation ?
– The Act requires that these regulations shall be made and notified ; and while His Excellency’s speech refers to all sorts of unimportant questions, it makes no reference to this matter.
– Is it our place to go cap in hand: to those people? Is it not for them to ask us to make arrangements for them?
– In December last I asked the Minister of Defence what had been done in the matter, and he said it was under consideration. Six months have now elapsed, and in the speech presented to us we find no reference to -this Act.
– What importance does the honorable senator and his partyattach to this?
– I know that in the mind’s of a number of honorable members this matter is of no importance. Within the last month there have been several Japanese war ships on a visit to Australia, and .it was Obvious to every man who kept his eyes open that these vessels were warmly welcomed.
– So is a circus.
– In Sydney the Japanese were heartily received by all classes of the community, but there was a most significant and humiliating occurrence during the visit. Eight Japanese returning immigrants - from Noumea, I believe - who were on their way back to Japan, were held prisoners on board a vessel in the harbor of Sydney while the Japanese officers and men were being feted’. That was a very unsatisfactory and’ regrettable occurrence.
– It was very necessary, or the men might have bolted.
– The Japanese who were being honoured in Sydney could not but notice the difference, and surely it is worth while to do something to prevent these occurrences. I am very sorry that honorable senators do not grasp the gravity of the position. I regret very much that the Government ha:ve not seized the opportunity which has been presented to them. Every day, in the newspapers, we see re>ferences made to our trade with the East, and I Observe that the Chinese are now agitating for some degree of reasonable treatment. Here is presented an opportunity to the Government to ease the situation, and save us from trouble and friction, but apparently no steps are being taken to that end.
– Probably the clause to which the honorable senator has referred would not have touched the case of the eight men who were kept on board the vessel in Sydney Harbor.
– Regulations could have been made to meet such a case. If, under the clauses to which I have referred, nothing could have been done, it indicates how necessary it is to draw up fresh regulations, or pass other legislation, in order to avoid such humiliation. Surely we can devote ourselves to no more important matter. What should we say if we heard of eight or ten Australians, who, on a trip abroad, were practically gaoled in a certain port without any excuse?
– Several sailors were imprisoned on board a vessel at Queenscliff, and’ not a word was said about it.
– Senator Pulsford* has not time for sympathy with Europeans.
– The time will come when Australia will recognise its duty in this matter, and, what is more, will perform its duty. Those honorable senators who to-night are inclined to jeer at me will regret their attitude. I should now liketo say a word or two on the subject of preferential trade. I listened with surprise to various honorable senators who have addressed themselves to this question. One and all seem to steer very carefully from the great and controlling fact - the elections in Great Britain, which must terminate the hopes of the party of preference in Australia.
– Those elections were contested on an altogether different issue.
– As to arrangements between Colonies, every bit of information we receive tends to show that, instead of bringing about’ union in the Empire, they cause something, like the reverse. I have read in the newspapers about Sir William Lyne and the late Mr. Seddon, and have seen very strong statements by the former to the effect that he was not going to be drawn into giving New Zealand preference as to certain commodities which Australia produces. That is protection pure and simple. Let protectionists stick to protection, and not talk about preference when they do not mean preference. Senator Styles this afternoon told us that all the wool produced in Australia ought to be kept here and turned into woollens.
– Not all; only all we require.
– The honorable senator this afternoon spoke of all the wool. But the wool we can use in Australia in the shape of clothing is but a trifle of that produced here, and by his suggestion he merely plays with the matter. Senator Styles this afternoon may have said more than he intended, but he distinctly told us that we should keep our wool, and send our woollens abroad. Other honorable senators said, “Well, we must give Great Britain a preference - we must raise the duties against other countries.” But how are we to give Great Britain a preference in regard to an article which we wish to prevent coming to Australia from Great Britain, or any other part of the world? There is not a protectionist who does not desire to keep out woollen goods from Great “Britain, or anywhere else; and it is the sheerest folly in the world to talk of preference.
– If woollens do come here, let us give British woollens the preference.
– There is another point which is avoided by those who talk of preference. I do not hear any one advocate preference to a country like India, which is a very important part of the British Empire; nor do I hear any one proposing to give preference to the British islands in the Pacific, where, from a commercial point of view, British sovereignty is not of the strongest. By our commercial legislation we have distinctly damaged the prosperity of a number of islands in the Pacific; but honorable members are as ada mant so far as granting to those islands any advantages which would increase their trade. Do not let gentlemen who take that attitude claim before this Chamber and the world that they are desirous to build up the Empire by means of preference. Thev are not likely to do .anything of the sort, and they will only create causes of friction which may lead to more or less disintegration.
– The honorable senator would treat Germany, France, America, and all other countries in exactly the same way as he would treat Great Britain.
– I desire to make a few remarks on the subject of finance. I observe that in the various States the politicians have assumed that the care of the Federal finances really lies on them, and that we, the members of the Senate, and also the members of the House of Representatives, have to be watched. That is most unfair. In New South Wales and in Victoria I hear it said that we are likely to take the whole of the revenue, and make the States go short. ‘ I think I speak for every member of the Senate when I say that there is not one representative of a State here who does not intend to do his duty fully and absolutely to that State. I do not think that the observations made in Sydney, Melbourne, and elsewhere, as to the danger the finances are in, by any possible absorption of the revenue by the Commonwealth, are justified.
– The Constitution - the Braddon section - prevents that.
– Just so. I am glad that the resolutions relating to the redistribution of seats are to be placed before us to-morrow, and that they have already passed the other House. From inquiries I have made. I find that it will take a considerable length of time to get the new rolls perfected. Only yesterday, Mr. Gullick, the Government Printer of New South Wales, told me that he calculated it would take seven weeks to print the rolls for that State.
– Did the honorable senator have that information officially?
– I saw Mr. Gullick yesterday, and he told me he had already informed the Board to that effect. I suppose that, in addition to the seven weeks for the printing, three weeks at least will be required for the distribution; and honor, able senators will see, therefore, that something like ten weeks will be occupied from the time of the handing in of the manuscripts. What work there is to do from the passing of the resolutions to the handing in of the manuscripts to the printer, I do not know ; but it is quite clear that, unless the elections are to take place at the very fag end of the year, there is not one moment to lose. I trust, therefore, that the Senate will pass the resolutions to-morrow.
– Have the elections in October.
– I am quite sure that it would be absolutely impossible to have the elections in October; the rolls could not possibly be ready by then. I should like to say a word or two with regard to the question of the Federal Capital. During the recess I found amongst my papers a copy of the resolution agreed to at the Conference of Premiers prior to Federation. Honorable senators towards the end of last session were made conversant with the clause in that agreement, providing that the Capital should be established in New South Wales, at a reasonable distance from Sydney.
– But is that provision in the Constitution?
– It appears in the agreement arrived at by the Premiers, and it is provided in the Constitution that the Capital shall be not less than 100 miles from Svdney.
– Some scoundrel left out the word “reasonable.”
– The word “reasonable “ was not inserted, but we certainly have in the Constitution the words “ not less than 100 miles from Sydney.” We know, also, that Sir George Turner proposed at that Conference that the limit should be 200 miles, and that that proposal was rejected. We have learned that according to the agreement then arrived at the Capital was to be situated in New South Wales at a distance of between 100 and 200 miles from Sydney.
– We know nothing about that.
– There are none so blind as those who will not see ; but I am quite certain, from my knowledge of the representatives of the other States, that thev desire to do that which is fair. “ If they are well satisfied that an agreement was made, and that the basis of it is undoubted, thev will not fly in the face of it.
– Who authorized the Premiers to make such an agreement?
– The honorable senator knows all about it. The traders of Australia are in danger of being smothered with regulations. Regulations are becoming a curse. I have said many a time in this House that government by regulation has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished, but of late the curse of government by regulation has become intensified. I hold in my hand nearly three columns of newspaper matter, comprising the proposed regulations under the Commerce Act. They have not yet been gazetted. I do not know whether they ever will be ; but most assuredly if they are they will inflict upon the traders of Australia a very great hardship.
– Is not that what is intended ?
– The honorable senator is severe. I dare say that that is the intention; I dare say that there are in existence powers having very little sympathy with trade except that relating to purely local manufactures. There are those who believe that there is more ment in the local manufacture of a chair-leg than there is in dealing with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of goods from abroad. All sorts of obstacles are being thrown in the path of these regulations, and it is quite clear that all that has been asked for cannot now be obtained. We are faced to-day with something else - an Anti-Trust Bill, in connexion with which all sorts of possibilities may arise. I had intended to deal very fully with this question, but shall refrain from doing so. I recognise that if the Bill becomes law it will give rise to very serious trouble. Commerce is very much like the weather. It suffers all sorts of changes. It has its fine clays and bad days, and various ups and downs. Goods might be sent here and sold at a price admitted bv the Customs to be allowable; but, as the result of great distress in. the country of origin, the manufacturer there might telegraph to his agent here - “ Sell my goods; do the best you can, and cable me a remittance-“ Then, if the agent stepped into the market and proposed to sell his goods at a 20 per cent, reduction, no man in Australia would be able to buy them. The Minister of Trade and Customs would be able to say, “This is unfair competition; take the goods away.”
– Because, perhaps, a local manufacturer with a little influence had got to work.
– That is one of the possibilities. Australian goods may be sold abroad at whatever price their owners choose to offer them. They may disturb the market abroad, but that is a matter of indifference to us ! We do not say that goods made in Australia shall not be sold abroad at alow price. All sorts of changes are taking place day by day in commerce, and under such rigid conditions as these we cannot carry on our business. If honorable senators give the matter a moment’s consideration they will recognise that the importation of goods into Australia is the final step in connexion with the work of the producer here. What is the use of a. man in Australia producing wool, wheat, or even gold for export, unless he can turn his output into something useful? When the Ministry say, “We will put obstacles in the way of the admission of imports to Australia,” they say, in effect, that they intend to place obstacles in the path of the producers, whom we declare we desire to preserve. I earnestly implore every honorable senator who wishes the future of Australia well to carefully watch and criticise the Anti-Trust Bill that is shortly to come before us.
.- I have no eager desire to engage in what honorable senators apparently regard as an unprofitable debate, but there are one or two matters with respect to which I want information, and others that I wish, to criticise. I should like to ask the Minister of Defence what is meant by paragraph 20 in the Governor-General’s speech, which sets forth that -
The pressure of appeal business upon the High Court precludes attention to its original jurisdiction.
Perhapsthe Honorary Minister, Senator Keating, will tell us whether the appeal business has been so great that the Justices have had to set aside matters relating to their original jurisdiction.
– Does the honorable and learned senator mean to say that he cannot understand that the paragraph foreshadows the making, of another appointment?
– I am coming to that. Is it also correct that it - prevents the discharge of the additional duties cast upon the Justice who is President of the Arbitration Court.
– We have obtained during the recess a very complete report upon the subject.
– From whom?
– From the Chief Justice.
– So far as I understand the marker, one of the Justices has been appointed President of the Arbitration Court.
– The man in the street can see that the Justices ofthe High Court are working at high pressure. They will have to leave Melbourne at the end of this month, leaving a considerable quantity of work behind them. Those interested in cases yet to be dealt with here do not know when they will be taken.
– I am asking whether the statement is strictly correct?
– It is.
– I understand that there is only one question, relating- to the registration of a union, awaiting the decision of the Arbitration Court. It is remarkable that a Judge of the High Court cannot spare an hour or two, or a day or two to decide it.
– There are other cases pending in the Arbitration Court.
– I do not know of any other, but I wish the fact to be put before the Senate so plainly that it will be apparent to all of us that another Justice is required.
– I think that that will be made quite clear.
– I shall vote against every item of expenditure that in my opinion ought to be avoided ; but no one would like to see the Justices! of the High Court working at such great pressure that they could not deal with all the duties allotted to them: It would appear that the report to which the Honorary Minister has referred contains information of which the public are not aware. I should have no objection to the appointment to the High Court Bench of the gentleman whose name has been mentioned in this connexion, but I wish to know whether the Government are going toconsider the claims of their own friends and supporters, or the interest of the public. Since we have three Judges, who all belong to the common lawside of the Court, the Government should seriously consider whether, in making a fourth appointment, they should not select a man from the equity side. I do not care who i s appointed as long as he is a good man - andwe have several such men - but I repeat’ that a man from the equity side should be selected. I wish now to ask the leader of the Senate the meaning of paragraph 30 in the GovernorGeneral’s speech, which states that -
The proposal to more definitely determine the territory for the purpose of the Seat of Government will be submitted to Parliament for final consideration.
What is the meaning of “ more definitely determine”? Are the Government going to ask us to discuss the question of the area selected at Dalgety as the site of the Capital, or are they going to repeal the Seat of Government Act, and deal with the whole business de novo., I suppose it is the old story over again : they wish to see which way the “cat is going to jump,” and when they have a majority in favour of a new site, they will tell us that the meaning of this paragraph is that the whole business is to be gone over again. This is not a candid open way of dealing with us ; we might reasonably have expected something batter. The history of this question will be regarded as furnishing one of the strangest incidents in the life of a young nation. It is inconceivable that at a time when our population is almost stagnant, when our birth-rate is declining, when we have but a handful of people scattered over this vast territory, and more large cities than are desirable, we should think of spending three or four millions in establishing the Capital outside Sydney. If Sydney were selected as the Seat of Government, all that we should need to do would be to build a Federal House of Parliament. I am, as I always have been, in favour of striking out the 100-mile limit and leaving things otherwise exactly as they are, so as to give every member ofthe Parliament an opportunity to vote for the selection of Sydney, if he desires to do so. Of course that alteration of the Constitution could only be carried with the assent of the other States.
– W - Would not the necessary buildings cost more in Sydney ?
– I suppose that the necessary buildings would cost£500,000.
– The ground alone would cost that sum, I should think.
– They would give us the Centennial Park.
– Does one of the builders of the Constitution wish to pull it down already?
– It is a question not of pulling down the Constitution, but of going to Sydney, not permanently, but for say twenty years, until we can see whether we do want a permanent Capital or not. Is there any party of politicians who know what they want in regard to the Capital ? I submit that there is not. The first idea was that we should have a Capital which would vie with the capitals of the world : we were to have a beautiful city with artificial lakes, boulevards, and Heaven knows what else. Then there was an absolute reaction, and it was christened the “ wattle and daub “ Capital. Last session we had! Mr. Groom moving the second reading of the Capital Site Bill, and in his peroration he went back to thefirst idea of having a Capital worthy of Australia. Then we had Mr. Deakin saying, “All Parliament wants is a roof under which to make laws.” Now what do honorable senators want? Nobody knows. First they want one thing and then they want another, and merely because there is an honestbona fide feeling in New South Wales - which has no foundation in fact. - that there is a desire to rob them of the Capital, we are asked to commit an act of folly and commence to build in the bush a Capital which it will be time enough to talk about twenty-five years hence. In paragraph 34 of the speech we are told that a measure for the appointment of a High Commissioner will be brought forward. In every session for the last three or four years we have been told by the Government that a Bill for the appointment of a High Commissioner would be submitted, and on each occasion I have said that I should oppose the measure in every possible way. The appointment of a High Commissioner at this moment is not required. I would remind honorable senators that one of the great advantages which they foretold for Federation was that in the departments of the Agents-General a very large sum would be saved. But we still have six AgentsGeneral going strong, and the up-keep of their offices has to be met. Some States also have one or two commercial agents. These men are all combined together, and protecting us from the slanders which sometimes appear in financial journals. No one man that we could send, not even the five eligible gentlemen to whom Senator Walker has alluded, if rolled into one, could do any more good than the six Agents-General can do. Appoint any man you please, and before he has been in London for three months, whenever he has to answer any slander he will have to g-j cap in hand to Mr. Coghlan for his facts and figures. I cannot conceive that any argument can be addressed to the commonsense of the Chamber to show that we need a High Commissioner at this moment. In the Constitution there is power to appoint a High Commissioner, and no doubt one will be wanted in time to come. But I have always taken up the ground that the office ought not to be created until we have taken over the States debts, and got some financial work to do.
– Sir John Forrest has just returned with a scheme.
– Even on that point I begin to think that there has been a mistake made. The six Agents-General can show just as good a scheme for taking over these debts as can Sir John Forrest. Because, living on the spot, they are in touch with all the banks and financial institutions. Sir John Forrest ran home on a holidaytrip for a few weeks, and came back with, a cut and dried scheme. If the Agents;- General were asked to put their heads together - and! they have already given us one short report on the matter - could they not make a better report than any one single man. Are we going to add a seventh highly paid officer to our representatives in London ? Is there anything in our circumstances to justify the appointment? Are we altering our financial arrangements in any way? I shall oppose the appointment of a High Commissioner, and if it is proposed to give him a high salary I shall do all I can to reduce it. When Senator Playford is so anxious to get co-operation with the States, the least thing he might do before he talks about appointing a High Commissioner is to ascertain- what the States propose in reference to their Agents-General. Because, if you appoint a High Commissioner and have these six officers drawing their moderately high salaries, you will break faith with the electors, and add to the expenditure of the Federation in the very direction in which you told them that you would, reduce their burden.
– Why cannot Captain Collins be High Commissioner?
– I shall come to the appointment of that officer presently. In paragraph. 25 of the speech we are told that-
The Commonwealth has been placed on a more satisfactory footing with regard to ordering, obtaining, and paying for certain warlike and other stores, which it is necessary to procure in England, by temporarily placing the Secretary for Defence in charge of an office in London.
The Secretary of Defence is an officer in whom we all have great confidence. He has been in office for. I suppose, nearly a quarter of a century. He was previously in active service, but he is now a secretary, and from his services in London we are to derive the better ordering, the better obtaining, and the better paying for certain warlike stores.
– There is no doubtabout that.
– I shall be very glad if my honorable friend can explain how there can be any doubt about it. If he can, all I can say is that it is a most extraordinary thing. Here you have each State, represented by an Agent-General, with a staff. The six Agents-General could form a tender board, and a purchasing board. They could do whatever was required with regard to buying stores, and the moment they commenced to buy ammunition, what would they do? In. each case, they would secure the best expert advice which they could get, and would not Captain Collins do exactly the same thing?
– He has only gone Home to prepare the way for Sir John Forrest.
– How is it possible to conceive that one man - who, I presume, is not an expert in these matters, and I do not know that he has had an opportunity to keep up his knowledge - can do as much as the six Agents-General could do?
– Yes, he can, and do it a great deal better than they could. What do thev care about the Commonwealth’s orders? They hand them over to a clerk. Orders have been there for two years, and are not executed yet.
– What an idle argument it is to say that the Agents-General, who represent their respective States, who are supposed to be loyal and to earn their salaries, care nothing about the Commonwealth ! Why. sir, the States form the Commonwealth. It is the very argument which Sir William Lyne used when be wanted to have the pleasure of appointing officers to carry out public works - “ Oh, no ! he could not do any work thro.ugh an architect or a State officer unless he had his whole services.” Therefore, we had a splendid officer taken away from the Military Department, and made
Inspector-General of Public Works. Here is Senator Playford belittling every AgentGeneral and his staff, and saying that thev are incapable of ordering goods, of getting experts to advise them, of saying which tender should be accepted, and of actually paying for the goods.
– They are not incapable, but our experience with them has been very unsatisfactory. The honorable senator cannot get behind facts.
– I decline to believe it. Whenever my honorable friends want to make an appointment they have to fin’. or manufacture arguments, and I do not hesitate to say now! that they are manufacturing an argument. It is idle to say that one secretary sent Home for the purpose can do better than six Agents-General.
– The honorable senator is manufacturing, because there has been absolute dissatisfaction.
– Does my honorable friend say that the Agents-General are disloyal ?
– Are they not all experienced politicians, and do they not together represent the whole of the Commonwealth? Although we have the services of these six gentlemen, with their staffs, at our disposal, yet the Government have sent Home the Secretary of Defence to order their goods, and they say that that work cannot be efficiently done otherwise.
– We are economizing by taking this course. The AgentsGeneral have got to »the credit of their States ^200,000 of our money, on which they are getting the interest, and we are not getting a penny.
– It is a very great blunder on the part of those who allowed things to get into that state.
– Not at all.
– Does my honorable friend mean to say that that is the fault of the Agents-General ?
– All I know is that the Agents-General, on behalf of their States, have an interest in not executing our orders, because thev keep the money with which they are credited in their own bank.
– I look upon that statement as an absolute downright charge of robbery, and it is nothing else.
– Not at all.
– - I am astonished that my honorable friend should so slander the Agents-General as to say that they have ^200,000 of our money to their credit, and will not order for us ammunition, or guns or rifles, because they want the use of the money.
– No, I do not say that.
– Surely my honorable friend will withdraw that statement.
– They have actual! y got the interest.
– That is one sample of the way in which this appointment is going to be justified. Could there be a more futile, silly, and unfair argument to justify the appointment of a High Commissioner before his services are required ? Let me give another example of the administration of this Government. We are going to have submitted a Bill for the appointment of a Federal Statistician. What have the Government done? They have appointed a Statistician before they are ready to employ his services. They have dragged him away from a State appointment. From the press we learn that he is losing ^150 a year in salary. He accepted a Federal appointment, and when the Government wanted to set him to work they found that they had to go back to the States to ascertain what they want. Here they are consulting the States after the event, instead of having arranged beforehand with them the several duties which this officer was to perform, and the branches of statistical work which each State was to retain. Now I come to the question of the cadets. I do not think that I was ever more disappointed in my life than when I heard of the paltry, pettifogging scheme proposed by the Government, who pretend that thev are in favour of universal training. We all know that the Prime Minister has stated in the press that he is in favour of universal training; he will not have it called compulsory training. We all know that the first generals, net only of Europe, but of the Empire, are in favour of universal training, and that leagues have been started in Victoria and New South Wales to bring about universal training based on a system like that of Switzerland, with such exemptions and exceptions as’ shall be suitable to Australian conditions. Although the Ministry hold the opinion - I believe that six Ministers do- that universal training is the proper basis of a system of national defence, still they have not the pluck to move in that direction. On the contrary, they turn their attention to the boys, and in dealing with those at school, in regard to what is a part of their education, and is admitted to be so by every nation in the wide world, they have not the pluck even to apply that system to boys between twelve and eighteen years of age. Is not that enough to disappoint any one who takes an interest in this movement ?
– Does the honorable senator think that we should interfere with the schools belonging to the States, and make it compulsory for their scholars to attend our drill? Wecould not work except through the States and schools.
– My honorable friend has gone upon an absolutely wrong line. He knows practically what I am coming to, and therefore he anticipates my remarks by using a most futile argument’.
– Oh, dear !
– I mean to say that my honorable friend has done an absolutely wrong thing, and has made a fatal blunder in regarding the training of these boys in military exercises and rifle shooting more as a State educational matter than as an army matter. That is the great blunder which makes the scheme not worth the paper it is written upon. It will break down, and will have to be reconstructed on a broad national basis.
– Nothing of the sort.
– No act that my honorable friend has done will redound so much to his discredit as the fact that he regards the training of these boys, our future soldiers, as a matter for the State school teachers, instead of keeping the control in his own hands, and appointing professional soldiers to be their instructors.
– And he puts a penalty upon theboys who have to serve by making them buy their uniforms.
– Yes. the whole scheme is upside down, and is unworthy of the Commonwealth. I very much regret that Senator Playford has pushed on his schemel,and hasnot given Parliament an opportunity of expressing its opinion. And what a futile scheme it is ! The Minister is going to train 22,500 boys and youths, at a cost of £30,000, though there are 249,000 boys and youths between twelve and eighteen years of age in the country. In other words, my honorable friend’s scheme is to train only 10 per cent. of the boys and youths of the Commonwealth. I may be told that the scheme can be extended. But the whole thing rests on this point : What power has he, in case he keeps the reins in his own hand’s, to make the scheme what he wants to make it, and ought to make it - a national scheme, out of which shall flow our citizen army ? My honorable friend says that ifwe give the boys a drum and fife band and pretty uniforms to wear, we may get a few thousands more. But even then he does not know that he will get the number he wants. Even if we got 149,000 out of 249,000. it would not be too many. Suppose he gets a great many more, after giving the boys their uniforms and so forth, what is he going to do ? Is he going to compel the toys to wait until he sees whether Parliament will vote the money ? Although he has the power to say, “These boys shall attend and be drilled,” he has made no provision for compulsion in his scheme. That is the vital blunder which he has made. As in the volunteer system the man who is loyal and devoted serves his country, whilst the remainder attend only to their own pleasures. So it will be with the boys. Out of 249,000 in the country, 22,500 may come forward. The Minister has no guarantee that even the 22,500 will be properly taught military drill discipline, obedience to authority, and the use of the rifle ; whereas the whole of the remaining 90 per cent. are to amuse themselves out of school hours just as they please, and are not to be taught the principles of patriotism which it is so necessary to instil into ouryouths. My honorable friend has forgotten the most important point of all, and that is, that apart altogether from militarism, apart altogether from our citizen army, it is important that these youths and boys should be drilled, as part of their physical and moral training. It has been found by every nation that has tried it that military training has a most beneficial effect upon the youths who receive it. Look at what the Japanese have done by their system of national drill. In Japan 90 per cent. of the boys are being educated, whereas in some parts of this country we have not 60 per cent. Our system of education is a disgrace to us; and if my honorable friend really knew anything of these things, he would be well aware that it is absolutely necessary for the physical and moral welfare of Australia to make the system compulsory. It is no system worthy of the name unless it is compulsory. And what right has my honorable friend to say that he has no power to compel the boys to be drilled? The laws of this country compel them to be educated, and he has power to compel them to be drilled.
– W - We shall have to have unification, and have the education under Federal control before we can do what the honorable senator is talking about.
– I do not think that anything of the kind is necessary. Wherever a Federal Constitution gives to a Federal Government power to do certain things - and defence is handed over bodily to us - it has power to take any steps which are necessary to give effect to what is delegated’ to it. There are numbers of cases to show that, even if we were to frame a Federal land tax, we could make the police of the States collect it if we wished to do so. It is of no use for my honorable friend to tell me that, the question of defence having been handed over wholly and bodily to this Parliament, we have not the right to go to the States schools and say that during one hour or three hours a week the boys shall be drilled, and that we will compel them to be drilled, although the State merely makes them .attend for the purpose of teaching them to read and to write. I wonder that my honorable friend has so little knowledge of the law, and has thought so little about the question of the character, the training, the teaching, the order, and the discipline of the youth of this country. I wonder that he should have prepared a scheme of defence and left out this, the verv groundwork of it all. I can hardly sufficiently express the disappointment I felt, when scores of us had been looking to the Government to give us some system worth v of the Commonwealth, at being put off with this pettifogging scheme.
– If I were to ask for £150.000 for a scheme of the kind, the honorable senator would be one of the first to object.
– I believe that the thing could be done well for far less than that. If the Minister were to ask for ^0,000, and in a year or two for -£75.000, and then for .-£100,000, all that is necessary could be done. Every one would in the meantime admit the good that was being done to the youth of the country, and would not begrudge the cost, even if it were £150,000. Every one would admit that our youth had improved in character, in respect for their superiors, in the principles of patriotism, and in loyalty to their country, and I believe that the £1:50,000 would be voted most willingly. But such a sum would not be needed for ten years to come. My honorable friend has brought forward no real scheme at all, because he has not the word “compulsory,” or “universal “ in it. Honorable senators opposite profess to be in favour of a system of universal training, yet they have not the pluck to apply it, even to the schoolboys. That, I say, is a. most regrettable thing. I should like to say a word or two about one or two other matters. I wish to ask my honorable friend if the Cabinet have considered whether it would not be wise, instead of dangling before the eyes of the constituencies a great scheme that one State wants, and another great scheme that another State wants, if they, as statesmen, having the honour and financial soundness of the Commonwealth in their keeping, were to eliminate some of these matters from their programme. Here is a scheme for a transcontinental railway, which will cost £6,000,000. Here is a scheme for a Federal Capital, which will cost £3,000,000 or .£4,000,000. Here is a scheme for an Australian Navy, which some honorable senators opposite want, and which will cost £2,200,000. Here is a scheme for old-age pensions, which many of 1.1s favour, and which would cost ,£1,500,000. There is an expenditure of £12,800,000. How long are we to go on pretending tn ourselves and the (people of Australia that we are going in for this enormous expenditure? Would it not be well for us to concentrate our efforts, and the time that we have at our disposal, on some good solid work, instead of talking about these wildcat schemes all over the place? I regret to hear from the Governor-General’s speech that the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill is to be brought before us again. The more I’ think of it the more convinced I am that it is based on absolute injustice. It is first and foremost beyond all contradiction and doubt a State matter. The railway, if built, would develop the State of Western Australia. It would be of enormous benefit to that State. It can lie made to appear a Commonwealth matter only for purposes of defence - for which it might perhaps be used once in a century - or for carrying our mails. If, as I have said over and over again, my honorable friends who support this railway will come down with a scheme, and say, “ This is 80 per cent. a State matter, and 20 per cent. a Commonwealth matter,” I shall be very happy, if the time has arrived to build a railway, and the facts prove that it is desirable to build it, to let the Commonwealth bear its fair share. But to ask us to bear the expense of exploring a portion of a State, in order that we may determine whether it would be a good thing to open that portion by railway, is to ask us to do what we in the other States have already done for ourselves. I have indeed more right to ask the Federal Parliament to take over the main line of railway which is the highroad between this city and Hobart, than Western Australia has to ask us to pay for. the survey of a portion of her territory. For years we in Tasmania have been paying interest on the railway, which carries the mails of the Commonwealth from one end of Tasmania to the other. We have not asked the Commonwealth to pay that interest for us. We have not asked the Commonwealth to build any of our State railways. The only thing that could justify the State of Western Australia in asking us to assist in building that railway would be an admission of her willingness that we should federate our revenues, and have a per capita system. But I find that the Premier of Western Australia holds up his hands one moment for the transcontinental railway, and the next says that he is by no means in favour of a per capita distribution. He wants our little State of Tasmania, which, as Senator Mulcahy has told us, has been deprived of £800,000 of revenue in fiveyears to put its hand in its pocket to assist to build a railway in order to help his State to improve its prosperity ; but when it comes to supporting a proposal which contains the principle of true Federation - not a bit of it ! He will not consent to divide the revenue per capita. because he has a disproportionate number of males there, the bread-winners of families in other parts of Australia. He is a Federalist when we talk about the railway, but he is merely a provincialist when it comes to a matter of federating the revenue. Is that justice? Is that fair play? Is that the sort of conduct we might expect from Western Australia, the richest State in the whole Commonwealth - the State which made so much noise that special provisions had to be made under the Constitution in her favour, and which would not enter the Union unless we gave her those special concessions? But little Tasmania received no assistance, and isnow asked to share the cost of building a railway for this rich State. I regard the proposal as the greatest of wrongs. But here is Sir John Forrest at it again - lobbying and canvassing, and persuading and coaxing in favour of his pet railway. It is the greatest piece of injustice imaginable. Might I, in the most friendly way, ask my honorable friend, the Minister of Defence, who has had a great deal of experience of public life, whether he cannot find some better way of managing the press than he has now ? It appears to me that the press interviews him every morning, and that on many occasions when he would like to send the reporters away empty they will not go until they have got him to talk. If we had an old woman as Minister of Defence I could understand there being a certain amount of idle chatter, but with an experienced politician like my honorable friend at the head of the Department I really cannot understand it. On one occasion what do I find that he did? Although there has been an inquiry, and a Commonwealth officer has been to some extent,I will not say disgraced, but found fault with, held up to public odium, and severely punished, my honorable friend has gone out of his way - to get rid of a reporter, I suppose - to talk of the conduct of this officer as being most reprehensible, and to condemn him over again.
– I never did anything of the sort. I simply wrote a minute on the papers relating to the case.
– I read a paragraph in the newspapers stating that my honorable friend had further condemned the officer. Then he received a letter from Captain Crouch, in which - between the verdict of the jury, so to speak and the giving of judgment - that gentleman expressed the hope that the junior officers whose conduct had been mentioned in the course of the case would not be punished.
– I could not help Captain Crouch writing to me.
– The Minister of Defence might have told Mr. Crouch what he thought of him. What would be thought of me if a client of mine were found guilty, and I wrote to the Judge giving reasons why the offender should1 not be punished ?
– I was not the Judge; I told Mr. Crouch that the report had been handed to the Commandant for him to deal with it.
– The The Minister of Defence told a reporter of matters of which he ought not to have spoken.
– I did no such thing.
– The Minister called the officer names, and spoke of his conduct as reprehensible ; and yet when Mr. Crouch or the reporters came to him, the Minister had nothing to say as to their conduct. The Minister of Defence calls that administering the Department on the lines of fair play and justice to the officers. I am astonished at the way matters are conducted in the Department. Tlie Minister travelled to Thursday Island, and when he returned, he ag,ain had a confidential chat with the reporters, and told them that it was astonishing what might be learned when travelling. He had to travel with a retinue of clerks, majors, and adjutants, in order to learn that the organization of his Department was on improper lines. All this shows that the Minister ought to give more attention to his Department.
– It would appear that I give too much. *
– All this arises from the fact that Ministers like to go galloping home, and do not attend to administration. The Departments are administered in a slip-shod fashion, and more bv the permanent secretaries than bv the Ministers. When we get our capital in the bush, whether it be a capital of palaces or of wattle and daub, we shall never know where to find the Ministers. I should like to point out that in addition to the £12.800,000 expenditure on the four items I have named, we are losing about £400,000 per annum in connexion with the sugar bonus. I do not know what is proposed to be done in regard to nationalizing the tobacco industry, establishing Federal mail steamers, taking over the Northern Territory and thereby- losing £80.000 a vear, or with the bonuses. The Victorian Government voted. I think, £100,000 for butter bonuses, so that I daresay the Federal Government will vote about £200,000 for( other bonuses. As one honorable senator has said, out of the £100,000 voted by the Victorian Government, some £25,000 went to the producers and £75,000 to the speculators. I very much doub’t whether it was’ a statesmanlike act to give a bonus of the kind for a simple industry like that of buttermaking ; I can understand a bonus being offered for a new industry, such as the cultivation of cotton or coffee, which we desire to encourage, and which must be first carried on at a loss ; but I never could understand the justification for the Victorian butter bonus, seeing that butter is a commodity which every one can make. As a fact, the industry got only £25,000 of the amount expended in bonuses, whilst £75,000 went to men who did not act very fairly or squarely in the matter.
– The butter bonus did a lot of good to Australia generally.
– But the facts show that the industry could’ have been started with an expenditure of £25,000!
– New South Wales never gave any butter bonus.
– Quite so; and there should have ‘been no necessity for a bonus to establish one of the simplest industries in life. I am looking forward with considerable interest to the Colonial Conference, which, I hope, will be held in London early next year. As to the most emphatic verdict of the English public on the subject of trade preference, to which Senator Pulsford has alluded, it is to me a matter of grievous disappointment. I cannot imagine any better way of binding the Empire together than by means of commerce and trade. I am not sufficiently up in the matter to suggest a scheme, and I never met a man who was; but I cannot understand people who say that there is no scheme - that we cannot bind the Empire closer by trading with one another, and that preferential trade is not in the interest of free-trade. I am in favour of strengthening the Imperial ties in every possible way. and I cannot understand a free-trader who will not discuss the matter, and who keeps on asserting that we cannot have preferential trade. I say that we can, and I have read one book by Professor Ashley, and numerous arguments and articles, which, to my mind, are unanswerable, in support of my view. But what the scheme is to be I am not in a position to say, though that there can be, and will be, some scheme I firmly believe.
There is, however, such a strong feeling in England against preferential trade, owing chiefly to the “ cheap loaf “ cry. and to prejudice and mis-statements, that probably Mr. Chamberlain will be dead before his side of the question can be placed before the British elector. Just the same sort of unfair arguments seem to be advanced there as are advanced! in Australia - arguments based on untruth and prejudice. The duty of a shilling on corn produced £2,400,000, and did not increase the price of the loaf in any way whatever. It may have made the flour a little more expensive, but it did not increase the price of the loaf. Another is. added1 to the duty might have raised the price. Seeing that the people of England were told that the duties on tea, sugar, and other necessaries would be lightened, I cannot understand their action. So far as I can see, a skilfully devised system of preferential trade would make for free-trade within the Empire, and I cannot understand the prejudice on the part oi the free-traders.
– That is the honorable senator’s trouble - he cannot understand.
– I cannot. I think the attitude of the free-traders arises more from party feeling and prejudice than from any great belief Sn the principles they enunciate. Any principle may be made mischievous if it be carried to an extreme. I find that trade with foreign nations is increasing at a greater ratio than is the trade with Great Britain. While I do not desire to check that foreign trade altogether, I should certainly like to see more business done with the Home country, and I think that result could be brought about by means of preferential trade. A strange circumstance occurs to me at this moment. I recollect reading article after article by Sir Robert Giffen, who is an earnest freetrader, and who declared that it was absolutely necessary to broaden the basis of taxation. He went on to say that some £8.000,000 or £9,000,000 would have to be raised bv imposing duties of 5 per cent., 7 </inline> per cent., or 10 per cent. But the moment **Mr. Chamberlain came forward with his scheme, no more of these articles were seen from
-30]. - There are a considerable number of topics in this marvellously lengthy speech by His Excellency which might be discussed ; but those which are of the most consequence may, perhaps, be more conveniently dealt with in connexion with future attempts at legislation, or with specific resolutions. In His Excellency the Governor-General’s speech there are to be found” two paragraphs, one or both of ‘which I intend to bring before the Senate on motion. The fact that I contemplate such a proceeding will not prevent me from drawing attention at this stage to the persistent attempts being made to belittle the status of the Senate as a portion of the Federal Constitution. I understand that reference has been made to the matter this afternoon, and therefore I do not intend’ to labour it bv reviewing the history of the efforts made by this Chamber to maintain and insist upon the recognition of its status as a co-ordinate branch of the Federal Legislature. But when I ‘find that, not withstanding resolutions adopted by us, including a motion embodying an address to His Excellency, which was passed a little more than two years ago-
– Who moved that motion ?
– The motion was moved bv myself, on the ‘14th April, 1904, and was adopted by the overwhelming majority of seventeen to five. It was in these words -
That an address be presented to His Excellency the Governor-General, praying His Excellency that on all occasions when proroguing Parliament, in acknowledging the grant of Supply, due recognition shall he made of the constitutional fact that the said grant is the joint act of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and not the House of Representatives alone.
Notwithstanding the passing of that resolution, we find that in respect of the granting of Supply, the Senate was absolutely, and, I am afraid I must say, studiously, ignored in the speech that was read by His Excellency in this place a few days ago. I cannot believe that a Ministry possessing so much constitutional talent as that to which some at least of its members may lay claim, would allow an address from the Throne to be carelessly and loosely put together. I cannot suppose that a document of this length did not receive very considerable attention. And yet we find that, in connexion with the granting of Supply, this Chamber is ignored, and that the paragraph dealing with it is addressed exclusively to “ Gentlemen of the House of Representatives.” When the motion to which I have referred was carried the present Minister for Defence, who was holding office as Vice-President of the Executive Council, assured us that what had happened was really an accident, and promised that it would not occur again. Yet it has occurred.
– The honorable senator should give a man a chance. He should allow for one forgetting a few of the things that happened two years ago.
– This is something more than a personal matter.
– I had forgotten the passing of the motion in question, otherwise the line to which the honorable senator refers would not have appeared.
– I was going to say that I know that the honorable senator has been travelling over a wide area in the discharge of the duties of his Depart- ment, and that I do not know that he was present when the speech was considered by his colleagues. Necessarily, I do not know whether the speech ever came before him, andI do not impute to him personally any blame whatever. It is unfortunate, however, that history repeats itself in this matter. On the first occasion that I moved a motion with reference to the ignoring of the constitutional position of the Senate, Senator Drake, who was then in office, promised that it should never happen again, and I was induced to withdraw my proposition. It did occur again, and Senator Drake then pleaded forget fulness.
– When Senator Drake was in office he gave effect to his promise.
– I think that he held office as Attorney -General on the second occasion, and I pressed my motion to a division, and carried it. Several who participated in the debate were not present when the division took place, but the attendance, when the question was debated, was a reasonably large one. It is my intention later on to submit a motion relating to this question, but at present I content myself by drawing attention to it. I am sure, Mr. President, that I may appeal to you, as a high constitutional authority, for, at all events, a mental indorsement of the proposition that when we are working out the destinies of a new Constitution, we ought, undoubtedly, to be careful in the creation of precedents ; we ought to be careful to maintain the obligations that are placed upon us in respect of our own privileges. No one can enjoy a privilege without an accompanying responsibility. We enjoy under the Constitution great privileges of legislation, and without a failure of duty we cannot pass by thosehappenings which trespass upon our privileges, and impair our responsibility to those who sent us here. I shall not refer to any other topic. This is a matter of such considerable importance that I am warranted in mentioning it, and also,perhaps, in referring to the next paragraph in the speech which relates to the electoral divisions. Electoral divisions in connexion with elections to the House of Representatives may have no direct interest for honorable senators, but there is certainly cast upon this Chamber the duty to legislate upon the subject. We joined with another place last session in passing a measure to regulate these very distributions. I shall not discuss the matter, and do not desire to do so, but the very fact that the Senate is called upon to deal with the redistributions - that notice has been given requiring us to deal with them - shows that a duty is cast upon us in connexion with them. This is amatter to which Senator Playford cannot take exception, because it has not been raised before. Why should the Governor-General be asked or induced by any set of advisers, in a clause of his speech, to ignore this Chamber when dealing with the redistribution schemes? The redistributions cannot possibly become law until the resolutions relating to them have been passed by both Houses. That being so. why is one branch of the Legislature addressed and the Senate ignored? It seems to me that the course adopted has been the result of a falling back unwisely and densely upon the practice that has hitherto existed, and must continue to exist, under the States Constitutions, which are unlike our own. I refer to the practice of including in the Governor’s speech a couple of special clauses addressed to only one branch of the Legislature. The necessity for this does not exist under ourConstitution, and I raise these few words of protest against the con tinued and persistent ignoring of our positionunder the Federal Constitution. We shall seriously fail in our duty if we allow that position to be eroded by persistent efforts on the part of Ministries to do that which is not only most prejudicial to the working of the Constitution, but is unconstitutional, and to this Chamber most needlessly discourteous.
Debate (on motion by Senator Higgs) adjourned’.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers -
Correspondence as to preferential trade with South Africa.
Ordered to be printed.
Commonwealth and State Premiers and Ministers Conference report, debates, agenda papers, minutesof proceedings, and appendices.
Correspondence relating to resolutionsof the Parliament of New South Wales with reference to the Federal Capital Site.
Order of Business.
Motion (by Senator Playford) pro posed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence whether, in the event of the ordinary business being completed before the usual hour for adjournment to-morrow, he will have any objection to the Senate considering my notice of motion referring to the proposed importation of rabbit microbes. In the other House, similar business has been under discussion both this afternoon and this evening, and, understanding that to-morrow we are likely to adjourn for two or three weeks-
– Shame !
– I - I understand it is likely that there may be an adjournment of the Senate.
-no. Go on with the business.
– There will be no adjournment if the honorable senator’s motion is allowed to come on.
– U - Understanding that there may be an adjournment from to-morrow, it might be well if such an important matter as the importation of rabbit microbes were considered here at something like the same time as it is being considered in the other House. If there are no insuperable difficulties in the way, perhaps the Minister of Defence may afford that opportunity, provided, of course, that the ordinary business be completed some time before the usual hour of adjournment to-morrow.
– Does the honorable senator expect to finish the debate on his motion to-morrow?
– No. No.
– I am quite prepared to give an opportunity to any honorable senator to bring forward any motion which he thinks is of sufficient importance to warrant its introduction in an unusual way. If by 4 o’clock tomorrowwe have concluded the debate on the Address-in-Reply to the Governor-General’s speech, passed the motions relating to the distribution of the States into electoral divisions for the return of the members of the House of Representatives, and passed the first reading of two Bills of which my honorable colleague has given notice,I shall propose an adjournment - over next week, at all events. But if, on the other hand, honorable senators wish to proceed with any other special business, I can go on next week with the second reading of the twoBills to which I have referred, and possibly I shall be able to get another Bill or two introduced, so as to fill up the whole of that week. It may happen that to-morrow I shall not move for an adjournment at all, but will ask the Senate to meet next week and go on so far as the business that we have upon the paper will permit. It will depend entirely upon honorable senators as to whether” the whole of next week- that is, the three days - may be fully occupied. But I anticipate that, with the Bills - and, of course, with the private business on Thursday - there will be quite sufficient business to occupy our attention for the whole of next week. We have a certain amount of business on the notice-paper, and, under these circumstances, I shall not unless the Senate wish otherwise, move for an adjournment.
– Will there not be a Supply Bill sent up next week?
– We can do without a Supply Bill for three weeks. Last year the first Supply Bill was not passed until the 6th or 7th of July.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.48 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 June 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060614_senate_2_31/>.