2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Bill presented by Senator Keating, and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Keating) agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspendedas would prevent the Bill from passing through its remaining stage without delay.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Keating) proposed -
That the report be adopted.
. In Committee, yesterday, Senator Millen succeeded in getting inserted in clause 3 an amendment providing that not only the Government Meteorologist, but all such officers as may be required, shall be appointed by the Governor-General. Rightly or wrongly, Parliament adopted! the system of placing all public servants under the Public Service Commissioner. If we leave the appointments to be made under this Bill entirely in the hands of the GovernorGeneral, every officer of the Department, down to a mere recording clerk, will be outside the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commissioner.
– It is expressly provided in the Bill that the officers shall be appointed by the Governor-General.
– All public servants are appointed by the Governor-General, and the provisions of the Public Service Act will apply to the appointments to be made under this Bill.
– Under the Bill, the Governor-General can appoint whom he pleases, without reference to the Public Service Commissioner.
– He does not ; he would not.
– It does not matter whether His Excellency does not or would not. The fact remains that the Bill gives him that power.
– The term “ GovernorGeneral “ always means “ the GovernorGeneral in Council.”
– I contend that in this matter we are going outside the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commissioner. If Parliament thinks it wise to take that step, well and good, but I thought it only right that attention should be called to that phase of the question.
– In moving the amendment, as I did, on the spur of the moment, I certainly had no desire that the appointment of these officers should be taken out of the hands of our properly constituted authority, namely, the Public Service Commissioner. If the effect of the amendment be as suggested, although I do not think it is, I shall certainly join in asking, as I believe the Minister himself would ask, for an opportunity of remodelling it. But if he, in his reply, can give an assurance that the danger indicated by Senator Givens is an imaginary one, then it will give satisfaction to every one in the Chamber.
.- In the Public Service Act we have provided a method for appointments . to the Public Service, as well as transfers, dismissals, suspensions, remuneration, and everything, of the kind.
– Will that Act apply to appointments to be made under future Acts?
– I doubt it.
– If the GovernorGeneral proceeds to exercise the power which is given by this Bill, he will act in conformity with the provisions of the Public Service Act and regulations thereunder. He will not go outside those limits. That is the law of the land in regard to appointments to the Public Service. The Bill contains a provision that the GovernorGeneral shall have power to appoint a Government Meteorologist, and in order to overcome any doubt which might exist in the mind of any one as to the provision being intended to be limited to the appointment of a single officer certain words were inserted. To my mind it does not matter much whether they are in the Bill or not, but it certainly assures honorable senators that it is not intended to confine the provisions of the Bill simply to the appointment of one central officer, who shall be dependent upon States services. I would oppose as strenuously as Senator Givens a proposal to give to the GovernorGeneral personally or to the Governor-General in Council the power to appoint any officers to any branch of the Public Service in a way not in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Act.
– Will the Minister say how the appointment of Government Statistician was made, for that is exactly parallel to this case.
– Applications were made for the position.
– To the Public Service Commissioner?
– He approved of the appointment before it was made.
– There were a number of applications made.
– Did they go through the hands of the Commissioner?
– -I understand so.
– I wish to know whether the Government or the Public Service Commissioner dealt with the applications, because the answer will be a guide as to what will happen under this Bill.
– I understand that that is the position. I do not anticipate for one moment that this Bill will be at all in conflict with the provisions of the Public Service Act.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Keating) proposed -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended us would prevent the Bill from passing through its remaining stage without delay.
– I take it that the object in moving the suspension of the Standing Orders is to conclude the consideration of the Bill this week in anticipation of an adjournment of the Senate.
– To enable the. Bill to be dealt with in another place during the period of that adjournment.
– It is anticipated that there will be an adjournment, otherwise there would be no justification for submitting the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Case of Major Carroll - Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms - Post and Telegraph Department: Sunday Work - Defence Department : Press Reports : Wireless Telegraphy Station : Inspector-General : Tasmanian “Forces: Bandsmen: Rifle Team for Bisley: Arms and Ammunition Factory: Naval Defence.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Bill be now read a first time.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [10.40]. - This is a convenient time for me to utter a few words, which I think are just, to a gentleman whose case was considered by the Senate some time ago, and which I think will be of interest to honorable senators. I refer to the case of Major Carroll, whose troubles were inquired into bv a. Select Committee of the Senate some two years ago. Being in Queensland re cently, I saw something of this officer. Heis now engaged as an instructional officer in the Queensland branch of the DefenceForce. I not only saw him, but I saw Lieut. -Colonel Rankin, the officer commanding one of the regiments to which MajorCarroll is attached for instructional purposes. It will; be, I am sure, a satisfaction to the members of the Senate who espoused” the cause of Major Carroll in the interest of their view of what was right, to learnthat he is spoken of in very high terms indeed by those under whose command heis acting, as doing excellent service, and’ giving every satisfaction in the position which he has been allotted. I think it isonly fair that I should make this statement, because it has very recently come to my notice. I am sure that what I have said Wil be heard with; as much satisfaction by themembers of the Chamber as I feel in making the statement.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Playford) agreed! to-
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill passing through, all its stages without delay.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second lime.
There is no necessity for me to make a long, speech. It will be remembered that the provision which Parliament made for carrying, on the work of the Commonwealth will cease at the end of this month, and that further provision is necessary if we are to pay accounts after that date. This is simply a Bill to enable the Treasurer to pay theexpenditure incidental to the month of July. It appropriates the s;um of ,£459,064 for a month’s service, or nearly exactly the same amount as was voted last year. It will be sufficient for the purpose. It may be thought by some honorable senators that, asthe ordinary public servants are only paid once a month, if we were to pass the Bill towards the end of next month it would* be quite sufficient. But the Treasurer informs me that there are a number of persons engaged in the Commonwealth whoare paid weekly, and a still greater number who are paid fortnightly, and that therefore it is always necessary to have a. Supply Bill passed as early as possible in July, or else the payments could not be made. As I propose to ask the Senate to- adjourn to the nth July, the Bill has been introduced at this stage.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clauses 2, 3, and 4 postponed.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Defence a question with regard to the vote of for the parliamentary refreshment-rooms. We had a report last session from the House Committee, stating that there had been a loss of ^800 or ,£900 on the year. I wish to ask whether tenders have been invited, and, if so, what has been the result? I understand that one tender was called for, but were general tenders invited ?
– I am not in a position to inform the honorable senator, but possibly there are some members of the House Committee present who will be able to give the information desired. I may mention that the amounts set down in the schedule are exactly one-twelfth of the sums voted last year. We are voting one month’s Supply.
.- In reply to Senator Dobson’s question, I wish to say, as a member of the House Committee, that a private tender was obtained with regard to the refreshmentrooms, but it did not appear to be very satisfactory from an economical point of view. It has now been agreed that public tenders shall be called for. Until they have been received and dealt with, we cannot tell whether we shall be justified in Intrusting the work to a caterer. If no tender is accepted, some other arrangement will have to be made.
– I wish to take _ this opportunity of saying that I believe the opinion of a great many Members of Parliament in each branch of the Legislature, I think I may say of the Parliament as a whole, is that it is extremely desirable that the parliamentary refreshment-rooms1 should be made to pay. Members of Parliament do not wish to have a deficiency which the country is called upon to make good. It is one of those very unpleasant things which create an entirely wrong impression outside, and lead the public to believe that Members of this Parliament are getting perquisites to which they are not entitled. I believe that every Member of Parliament ought to pay for what he gets at the refreshment-rooms, and I welcome the announcement that the House Committee is endeavouring to devise means to make them self-supporting.
– Is there a parliamentary refreshment-room in Australia that is self -supporting?
– I do not know. But I would sooner see the tariff of charges increased than have a deficiency in the accounts of the parliamentary refreshmentrooms, with the result that an impression gets abroad that the members of this Parliament are getting something ‘.a which they have no right.
– They can get nothing here for which they do not pay.
– I am quite aware of that.
– And they pay more than they would outside.
– I do not wish to be misunderstood. Perhaps, for the moment, I forgot that ray words will be reproduced where my meaning will not be apparent. Therefore, I wish to say quite clearly that no one in this Parliament obtains anything at the parliamentary refreshment-rooms for which he does not pay, and that, in fact, he pays more here than he would have to do outside. Nevertheless, the fact remains that there is a deficiency which the taxpayers have to make good. I recognise gladly that the House Committee is addressing itself seriously to the task, and if no other means can be devised, I suggest that the tariff should be raised until the rooms are enabled to be carried on without loss.
– - I can assure honorable senators that the House Committee, during last session., and at the commencement of this session, has devoted itself seriously to the consideration of the question of the deficiency in the management of the parliamentary refreshmentrooms. The subject has engaged our earnest attention. There is one phase of the matter which has not been mentioned, and which I think is not understood. It appears to me that it will be absolutely impossible to prevent a loss occurring in the management of the refreshment-rooms when we have to keep up a certain staff to provide meals on an average of three and a half days per week, whilst wages have to be paid for the full week. So far as concerns the purchase of supplies on the one hand, and the revenue derived from the sale of meals on the other, there would be a credit balance if it were not for the cost of management. The loss is involved in the payment of the cook, the waiters, and the necessary staff. The members of this Parliament may as well make up their minds that so long as the refreshment-rooms are maintained, and so long as we have what I may describe as a teetotal Parliament, or a Parliament a large number of whose members are teetotalers, a loss is bound to occur, for the simple reason that no profit is derived from the bar, which in other circumstances would be one of the largest sources of revenue. Personally, I should be quite satisfied to see them done away with altogether, and let Members of Parliament go outside for their meals. If, however, it is determined to maintain the refreshment-rooms we must make up our minds that there is bound to be a deficiency, and must put up with whatever blame the public casts upon us on account of it. I am convinced that there is no private caterer who, under the circumstances, could prevent a loss occurring.
– Under the State Parliament, Mr. Gregory carried on the refreshmentrooms for years without a loss.
– I - If that is so the only explanation can Le that under the State Parliament a considerably larger revenue was derived from the sale of liquors at the bar than has been the case during the occupancy of this building by the Federal Parliament.
– What it means is, that so far as the refreshment-rooms are concerned, this Parliament refuses to drink itself solvent !
– Let Let me put the facts to honorable senators. We have to cater for in Members of Parliament, only a. portion of whom take their meals here. Those members only take their meal’s here for about half the’ week; but any caterer would have to pay the wages of the staff for the whole week. The revenue derived from the sale of meads and liquors balances the expenditure, and we should have a credit balance if it were not for the necessity of paying the staff for a whole week when their services are actually required for only one-half the week.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Aus
Committee for three or four years, I should like to say that this is a matter that has given us a great deal of trouble. The Committee has done its best to make the ledger balance, but so far has always been unable to do so. Senator Fraser has told us that the State Parliament, when it occupied these buildings, was able to run the refreshment -rooms in a better manner. But as a matter of fact we have in charge of the refreshment-rooms the same manager as the State Parliament had, and he has assured us over and over again, and has given us details in proof, that the State Parliament was actually in a. worse position than we have been. The only difference arises from the fact that there was then a larger revenue from the bar than we have been able to secure. We have a very small income from the bar. To that is largely due the fact that we have not- been able to make the lederer balance at the end of each session. There is only one way to a.void a debit balance, and that is to shut the place completely down. So’ long as we maintain the refreshment-rooms there is bound to be a deficit.
– I am not at all sure of that.
– It shows that a Government cannot run an institution, as well, as can private enterprise.
– The matter has nothing to do with the Government. I am convinced that no private caterer could’ conduct the business and make a profit out of it. We had a case in point under theState Parliament, which let the rooms to a private caterer who actually ran himself into greater expense than we have done.
– W - What are the New South Wales parliamentary refreshmentrooms costing?
– There is not aparliamentary refreshment-room in Australia that is paying. As Senator O’Keefehas mentioned, the trouble is that we only keep the rooms open for three days a reek whereas we have the full expense of maintaining the staff for the seven, days. There is no doubt that the rooms would be run at a profit if they were utilized every day in the week. I am convinced that they cannot be conducted better than they have been1. Unless we are prepared to make good a deficiency, I can see no alternativebut to close the refreshment-rooms. It hasbeen suggested that we should raise thetariff. That has been tried, and it was a/ failure. As soon as we raised the tariff many members went elsewhere, and consequently the loss was greater.
– I think that a discussion like this will have a good effect, because, undoubtedly, there is an. impression outside that the Members of this Parliament obtain some perquisites to which they are not entitled by reason of their membership. It is just as well that it should be thoroughly understood that we have to pay for everything which we obtain at exactly the same schedule of prices as any one would pay at an ordinary refreshment house in Melbourne. Senator Walker has asked why we cannot run a parliamentary refreshment-room ais well as a private individual could conduct such an establishment? The answer is perfectly obvious. In the first place the two Houses of this Parliament adjourn for dinner at the same time. There are iri. members, or a lesser number, who all want their meals simultaneously. That involves a large staff of waiters being employed. In the second place, only two meals per day are supplied, which makes a great deal of difference in regard to the staff, the waiters being paid so much per meal, instead of being engaged by the week or month. In the third place, as Senator 0! Keefe has pointed out, we have meals on only three or three and a half days during the week. These facts dispose absolutely of the suggestion that members of this Parliament obtain some advantage, in view of the fact that the refreshment-rooms are managed at a loss, whereas a private individual could conduct them at a profit.
– Was it intended that the refreshment-rooms should earn a profit?
– I do not know that it was so intended. The object of the refreshment-rooms is the convenience of members. We have to adjourn for an hour for lunch or dinner, and in the stress and hurry of legislation, it is necessary for us to have rooms close at hand where meals can be obtained. Verv few members, I think, devote the whole of the hour to the meals, or to friendly intercourse, because they may have authorities to consult in the Library, or notes to arrange in view of a forthcoming debate. Last year, I understand, the refreshmentrooms showed a loss of something like £800; but I ann prepared to say that that is less than the loss shown under a similar head in most of the States Parliament.
– I think the loss is ^2,000 per annum in New South Wales.
– I think that is so. In the Victorian Parliament, I understand, the extra cost of the refreshment-rooms amounts to something like ^1,000 per annum. However, one great reform has been effected in connexion with our own refreshment-rooms. I was not a member of the House Committee at the time, but it was decided to close the rooms, altogether during the recess. The keeping of the rooms open at that period of the year was a great source of expense;, but, in consequence of the reform I have mentioned, I believe that this year the loss will be reduced by, at any rate, one-half under ordinary circumstances. The question has been asked why the tariff is not raised. But when the tariff was raised on a former occasion, the result of the experiment was that members went elsewhere for their meals. This seems to be a Parliament, the members of which are not only teetotal, but also devoted to plain living and high thinking; and they, wisely, decline to pay a high price for the plain food they require. It has been decided by the House Committee to call for public tenders, under the conditions which obtain here for meals ; and when those tenders are received, we shall see whether the rooms have or have not been more extravagantly managed by the Government officials than they can be by private individuals. The Committee were well advised in deciding to call for tenders; and the result will disclose whether, under our exceptional circumstances, the management has been associated with economy and foresight. I should Tike to point out thai the balancesheet of last year did not disclose quite the correct state of affairs. The cost of the refreshment-rooms included the up-keep and cleaning of the billiard-room and corridors. A great part of the time of the attendants in the refreshment-rooms is devoted to keeping the suite of rooms in good order; and if the refreshment-rooms had been closed, one or two of these attendants would still have been required. The salaries of these attendants should pro.perly be debited to the up-keep and cleaning of Parliament House; and had that been done the cost of the refreshment-rooms would have appeared much less than it did last year.
– I take the liberty of suggesting to the House Committee that a reasonable charge might be made for the use of the billiard-table. I often go into the billiardroom, and I see comparatively a few members playing, who might well be asked to pay for their pleasure. I have not the slightest doubts that some hotelkeeper would be very glad to take the contract in hand, and would probably ascertain, in the course of the sittings, how many members intended partaking of dinner or supper. I am a great believer in private contract.
– T - There was one tender which would have opened the honorable sen ci tor’s Byes
– As a business man, I realize that it is well-nigh impossible to make a profit cut of the refreshment-rooms, or even to pay expenses, under present conditions. 1 imagine, however, that the cost of the refreshmentrooms, which, to my mind, is reasonable, represents in itself a profit to the Commonwealth at large. Under the peculiar climatic conditions which very often obtain in.’ Melbourne, it is unreasonable to ask that members should go outside for their meals. If we were away from the precincts of the House during the adjournments for refreshments”, and thus separated, the work of Parliament would be carried on under a disadvantage, which would react upon those who have sent us here. The refreshmentrooms, even in a modified form, are a benefit, inasmuch as they bring the members of the two Houses together in friendly chat, and sometimes friendly counsel.
– And sometimes something else !
– Very probably ; but the good nature and friendly spirit in which we meet must be of great advantage in the conduct of parliamentary business. Then, again, it would be extremely inconvenient if there were no refreshment-rooms in which members could entertain visitors from other States who might have a desire to see the Commonwealth Parliament Houses. If we had no rooms of the kind, we should, I am afraid, appear somewhat niggardly; and, further, it is desirable that we should be able to show some little hospitality to visiting members of the various1 States Parliaments throughout Australia.
– E - Especially just before an election !
– At any time we are only too well’ pleased to show hospitality to mem bers of the States Parliaments. Of course, I can see that the refreshment-rooms could be carried on even more economically than at present; but if they are conducted on a reasonable basis, the advantages derived are worth the expenditure.
– Like Senator Millen, I am pleased to find that the House Committee are endeavouring to grapple in the very best manner with this very serious matter, seeing that we are incurring a loss of something like £800 or £900 per annum. I quite agree that, under present conditions, it is utterly impossible to conduct the refreshmentrooms at other than a considerable loss. I question very much whether, if some1 private individual undertook the management under contract, he would be very long in finding that he was unable to make a profit. Senator Gray has urged that the refreshmentrooms are an essential adjunct to Parliament House, and gives as one of his reasons that the climatic conditions of Melbourne are such as to render it very inconvenient for members to go outside for refreshment. I am one who believes that if the refreshment-rooms cannot earn expenses, they ought not to be continued, and I am prepared, on the first opportunity, to record a vote in favour of their entire abolition. Hundreds and thousands of times, when I have gone to work, I have had to take my refreshments under much worse circumstances than I should have to do here if the rooms were abolished. I see no particular reason why we could not bring a billy-can and tuckerbag - bring our “ crib “ with us - and quietly sit down and have our smoke and chat in the usual manner of working men, who are doing so much for the welfare of this and every other country.
– I hope that some honorable senators are joking, and that those who are serious will consider the position. We should not be fanatical or ultra-saving in a matter of this kind. If the refreshmentrooms are necessary for the proper and convenient working of Parliament, then Parliament ought to contribute something to their maintenance. I am surprised when I hear honorable senators talking about the extra .6 000 per annum which the refreshmentrooms cost in, addition to what honorable members pay for what they receive. I contend) that members pay quite sufficient for their refreshments ; at any rate, if they had to pay more, I am certain’ they would go outside, or, as Senator Henderson has suggested, bring billy-cans. I am credibly informed that the refreshment-rooms in the New South Wales State Parliament cost an extra .£3,000 a year.
– About £2,000.
– I have figures in my hand which show that the extra cost in New South Wales is £3,000 a year. I do not know exactly what the extra cost was to the Victorian Parliament, when the State members occupied these buildings. The parliamentary refreshment-rooms in South Australia do not appear to cost anything extra, the reason being that our predecessors in that Legislature were judicious enough to cover up the expenditure. Instead of making the salaries, &c, a charge against the refreshment-rooms, they engaged a caterer-
– At £300 a year.
– At ^£300 a year with quarters, fuel, and light.
– That was done in Victoria, with the result that a bailiff was put in.
– But I am speaking of South Australia, where the people are honest - I am speaking of the model State.
– Which, according to the honorable senator, fakes its accounts.
– They granted these perquisites to the caterer, and, in addition, gave him the services of the Parliament House cleaners free of charge. If all these charges were debited against the refreshmentrooms account of the South Australian Legislature, it would show a greater deficit in proportion to the number of members, and the business done, than, is shown by ;h’e Federal parliamentary refreshmentrooms accounts. In view of all these facts, why should it be suggested1 that tenders should be called for the catering? Senator Fraser and Senator Walker are such venerable gentlemen that their judgment should convince them of the unwisdom of bringing here a caterer who might employ fascinating barmaids to lure legislators away from their duties. I would draw special attention to the inconvenient situation, of the dining-rooms and kitchen. The arrangements are so defective that it would be exceedinlgly difficult for any one to make the business pay at a reasonable tariff. Another point is that the gentlemen of the press and of the Hansard staff find’ it a great convenience to be able to obtain their meals on the premises, and that it would be a very serious matter, so far as they are concerned, if the tariff were so high as to compel them to obtain their meals elsewhere. As to the closing of the diningrooms during the recess, I would point out that the majority of members of this Parliament do not reside in Victoria, and that consequently during the recess they are seldom here. If this were a State Parliament, members would be here nearly all the year round, and the receipts would thus be much larger. I do not know whether it is wise to close the dining-rooms during the recess. If the House Committee think it necessary to do so because they are not used to any extent, well and good. But I should certainly allow the bar to remain open, not merely that honorable members might indulge in the good spirits to which Senator Gray has referred, but to enable them to obtain a cup of tea or coffee when they come here. With that object in view, a gas or spirit stove should be kept on the premises ; or, as Senator Henderson has suggested, provision made for boiling the billy. I certainly would not close the bar. During last recess, although it was closed, there was an officer constantly in attendance. Would it not be better for that attendant to serve honorable members during recess rather than that he should be drawing his salary and dobie little for it. I hope that the House Committee will take these matters into consideration, and that if we ever reach the Federal Capital care will be taken to provide in the Commonwealth Parliament House every facility for the caterer. If the people of Australia were aware of the difficulties with respect to the refreshment-rooms, and of the difference between’ the position of members of this Parliament, and that of members of the States Legislatures. I am sure they would not grumble about this matter. The deficit is of such little consequence that the House Committee would be justified in carrying on the business without inviting tenders. Honorable senators opposite are always ready to speak of what a business man would db in such circumstances. It is only during a few days in the week that there is any business to be done, and I am satisfied that even a business man would find the catering arrangements so inconvenient that if he charged the tariff customary outside he would be in difficulties in less than three montHs. Probably he would be unable to pay his bills, and in this way even greater discredit would be brought upon the Parliament. The discussion that has takeo place to-day will do good; it will disabuse the public mind. I have heard it said repeatedly that Federal members enjoy all these advantages and services free of charge. Some members of the Federal Parliament have themselves made statements with respect to parliamentary perquisites that have led the public to entertain the belief that refreshments are supplied to us free of charge; but this discussion will clear away misapprehensions, and I am pleased that it has taken place.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [11.22]. - I regret that this debate should have taken place at the present juncture, because only a day or two ago the House Committee appointed a sub-committee to report to’ it upon all matters connected with the refreshment-rooms. That subcommittee sat yesterday for a couple of hours. I do not know that any conclusions have been arrived at, but even if they had it would not be my place, as a member of the subcommittee, to speak of them here. I may, without offence, mention to the Senate the opinions to which I have been driven, and bv which I intend to stand. I quite agree with what has been said by Senator McGregor as to the large amount paid by the Parliament of New South Wales towards the upkeep of its refreshment-rooms.
– And other Parliaments have done the same.
– Quite so. I speak of the New South Wales Parliament, because, for something like ten years, I was a member of its Refreshment-rooms Committee, and am thoroughly well seized of the facts relating to it. I have confidence in dealing with this question, ‘because, in addition to the experience gained as a member of the Refreshment-rooms Committee of the Parliament of New South Wales, I have been for some five years a member of the House Committee of the Federal Parliament. It is impossible for any parliamentary refreshment-rooms, at the tariff customary in the city in which that Parliament meets, to pay its way, as the phrase goes, when the takings at the outside extend over only three and a half days per week, while the salaries qf its officers are paid for the six. The Senate sits One day per week less than does the House of Representatives, and the expenditure by members of either Chamber is very small on Friday . I am, therefore, well within the mark when I say that the business of the refreshment-rooms extends over only three and a half days per week. In the circumstances, it is impossible to’ balance the accounts. Coming to the question of whether there is a deficit in the refreshment-rooms accounts, I honestly believe that there is not. That is the conclusion I have come to as a member of the Committee. Whether I shall so report is immaterial, but I account for my opinion in this way : A sum of £720 is charged to the refreshment-rooms in respect of salaries voted bv Parliament. I hold that it is no function of a Refreshment-rooms Committee to recoup or endeavour to recoup the consolidated revenue the salaries that have been so appropriated. It might just as well be said that honorable members who stroll in the Parliamentary Gardens should pay for the privilege of doing so, and that the revenue thus derived should be put against the salaries of the gardeners which are appropriated by Parliament.
– Logically we ought to be charged for the use of this chamber.
– We’ ought to be charged something to make good the salaries of the messengers and cleaners of the parliamentary buildings. We might just as reasonably be asked to do so as to make up the salaries appropriated by Parliament for the refreshment-rooms, which are a necessity. There is no Parliament in the Empire, so far as I am aware, which has not its refreshment-rooms - which has no provision for the supply of food and drink. Whether it be spirits/ or that terrible stuff called tea, with which people destroy their digestive organs, members should be able to get it on the parliamentary premises. Win* is there no complaint about the billiardroom, which is not a necessity.
– It costs a mere trifle.
– It is not allowed in South Australia.
– A billiard-room is not nearly so necessary as are refreshmentrooms. But we cannot conduct a billiardroom without having some”one to clean it, to take care of the tables, the cues, and the rest of the paraphernalia. If we had not refreshment-rooms, and “the work of the billiard-room ‘was not being! carried out by one of the officials whose salary is voted by Parliament in connexion with the refreshment-rooms, we should have to find at least £150 ia- year for the charge of that room. It costs nothing at the present time, because unfortunately the refreshmentrooms bear it all.
– Am I to understand that the salary of the man who looks after the billiard table is charged against the votefor the refreshment- rooms ?
– Is the salary of the man who looks after the bowling green also charged against the vote for the refreshmentrooms ?
– No, I think he is charged against the vote for the garden. It is known that Parliament votes£50 a year as a kind of honorarium to the Usher of the Black Rod for acting as controller over the whole of these premises. He is, so to speak, the permanent head of the department. He has to do the whole of the bookkeeping. All the accounts for light, water, insurance, repairs, and furniture go through his hands. He is very busy most of the day, and very often at night, in dealing with these matters. Even that sum of £50 is charged against the refreshmentrooms. The thing is utterly ridiculous. It has no more right tobe charged against the refreshment-rooms than has the insurance of the building. Why has not the insurance of some part of the building, or the whole of it, been charged against the refreshmentrooms vote? It seems to me that somehow or other these charges against the refreshment-rooms have been inflated in a most needless and unreasonable manner. I may say in passing, without any breach of confidence, that I placed this very matter, in conversation, before a very distinguished member of the Government, and he was entirely in agreement with me that it was no part of the duty of the Refreshmentrooms Committee to recoup the consolidated revenue for the salaries that Parliament votes, and that must be patent to everybody. For argument’s sake, we will take the alleged deficit at £870. If we take off that sum the salaries which Parliament appropriates, it leavesa balance of £150. If we do away with the officers whose salaries Parliament votes, and put the business into the hands of a caterer, we shall have to find£150 a year for the billiard-room. These two items - the salaries now voted by Parliament and the salary that would be necessary otherwise in connexion with the billiard-room - make up exactly the amount of the deficit. Therefore, practically there is no deficit - no more than there is in connexion with the gardens, nor the cleaning of the building, because Parliament votes some salaries. There are one or two matters which I think it only fair to mention. I find that when a member of either House takes a drink of whisky, he pays a price which represents a profit of 20 per cent. There cannot be any allegation of cheap drinks under the circumstances. There is a profit of 20 per cent., reckoned upon the spirits which are sold in the bar. In six months, however, the bill for tea has amounted to£30, and the bill for milk to £35.
– The tea which is taken apart from ordinary meals is paid for.
SenatorCol. NEILD.- The takings for afternoon tea do not average 5s. In a six months’ session, if we reckon tea, coffee, milk, and loaf sugar, there is not less than £70 worth of these articles given away, while the people who take a little whisky have to pay an advance of 20 per cent, on cost price. I make this statement, because I think it is only fair in the interests of the whole Parliament that I should do so.
– Be clear on this point, that tea is not given away to any members of the Parliament, unless at their meals.
– Exactly. A Member of Parliament who does not take any spirits pays nothing to the caterer for the tea or coffee which he drinks at his meals, whereas I, to whose digestion tea is very destructive, take whisky, and have to pay. In other word’s, one Member of Parliament pays a shilling, and he has something to eat and a cup of tea, while another member pays a shilling for the same quantity- of food, and sixpence extra for his drink. I do not say that the cup or pot of tea costs sixpence - it may cost much less - but there is a distinct difference drawn. My own view is that tea ought not to be given in unless one shilling and sixpence is paid for the meal.
– A pound of tea costs only 8d. or 9d.
– I am not going into the price of tea, or milk, or sugar, but I am stating the plain fact that in six months lastyear the tea, coffee, milk, and sugar cost
– H - How much did the salt cost?
– And the mustard ?
– I do not think there is any connexion between condiments and a large quantity of tea, sugar, and milk. I make this statement, because I think it is of interest to honorable senators. I found it of interest when I began to put all the figures together. I assure honorable senators that I am not quoting at random. I have got all the details, month by month, in my hand. I hope that honorable senators will see that there really is no reason to raise a cry of deficit in connexion with our refreshment-rooms, and no reason to besmirch the reputation of the Senate or another place by making out or maintaining the proposition that the refreshmentrooms of the Federal Parliament are conducted at a great loss to the community.
Senator Sir RICHARD BAKER (South Australia) [11.40]. - I do not know that any good will result from discussing in the Senate small details concerning the refreshmentrooms, and therefore I do not intend to follow Senator Neild, who, no doubt, is probably correct in everything he stated. I only rose to correct a misapprehension into which Senator McGregor has evidently fallen. The Joint House Committee wished to ascertain whether a greater or lesser expenditure would occur if the refreshment-rooms were carried on here, as in South Australia, by a contractor. With that view, we unanimously decided to call for tenders on the basis that the prices to be charged should be exactly the same as those charged now. If there was to be a difference we could not compare the two systems one with the other. I am not at all sanguine about a tender being accepted ; in fact, I am not at all sanguine that we are not able to carry on this business at as small an expenditure by the present methods as we could by a contractor. As a matter of fact, we have had tentative tenders before us. Although we are now publicly calling for tenders, previously we did so privately. We had one or two tenders, and the expenditure was a great deal more than at present, the prices being much higher than at present. But we vindicate our position that we ought to carry on this department at as low an expenditure as possible by calling for tenders, everything to be on the same bash’s as at present. No extra charges would be made, Members of Parliament would not be driven out of the refreshment-rooms, because they would have to pay exactly the same as they do now.I only rose to correct that misapprehension, because I think it is due to the Joint House Committee. We are trying to do our best. All we want is to give as great accommodation as possible to the members of both Houses, as efficiently as we can, andat as little expense as possible.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [11.43]. - There is one little matter which I forgot to mention; and that is, the experience which befel the Victorian Parliament when they occupied this building a few years ago. They had a caterer - what his prices were is of no consequence - and he incurred all sorts of debts, and apparently paid no one.
– Private debts, not debts connected with the refreshment-rooms.
– Pardon me, it was the caterer’s own indebtedness.
– That did not prove that the refreshment-rooms did not pay.
– No. Mr. Upward was then Sergeant-at-Arms, and controller of the refreshment-rooms. One fine morning, at about11 o’clock, just when he was hurrying off to attend a Select Committee, of which he was clerk, he was informed that there was a constable upstairs who had seized everything in the interests of the creditors of the caterer. What became of the latter I do not know. I do not think that he ever returned. The controller had to get together a small staff, and on his own responsibility, provide a midday meal for the Members of the Victorian Parliament.
– W - Would not the privileges of Parliament have protected the caterer from being arrested?
– I do not know. It is very awkward when an irresponsible person is allowed to come into the premises of Parliament and conduct a business there. I am not in favour of a proceeding of that kind. The premises of Parliament should be under the control of Parliament, and not in the hands of irresponsible people. But so satisfactory was the arrangement carried out by the controller at the time, and so great was the saving as compared with the contract system, that the Victorian Parliament afterwards carried on its own catering, just as we have hitherto done, and has never reverted to the contract system. I may mention here that at the initiation of our present system the controller, who was, of course, appointed by the Government before Parliament met, had to make arrangements for honorable members before there were any funds with which to operate. Mr. Upward actually started our refreshment-rooms, and carried them on out of his own pocket. He conducted them for the convenience of Members of Parliament at his own charge for some length of time. We have had evidence that they have been conducted with a great deal of satisfaction. I am satisfied that we shall not do well to place the control of any portion of the parliamentary buildings in the hands of strangers. We shall not find that the arrangements are as satisfactory as they have been in the past-
– I think that Senator Neild has made a very informative statement with regard to the refreshmentrooms, and, generally speaking, it was correct ; but his undying repugnance to tea has led) him into a statement from which a wrong inference may be drawn. He has said that £30 worth of tea was consumed last year in six months, and £35 worth of milk. He says that 5s. per day is spent on afternoon teas. As a matter of fact, I think the amount is greater. But he must remember that milk is used in various comestibles, such as puddings. Furthermore, 6d. is paid for a cup of afternoon tea, which costs about id., whereas a glass of whisky costs probably 3d1, or 4d. Therefore, a greater profit is made from tea than from whisky. It appears to me to be ridiculous to contend that tea supplied at an ordinary meal should be specially charged for. It is not charged for at any refreshment-room in Australia. It is a portion of the meal, for which a fixed price is paid. One might as well be asked to paxextra for salt or pepper. Senator Neild’s repugnance to tea reminds me of a certain individual’s repugnance to water. He said that water must be very injurious, because when some water got into his watch he observed that fearful injury was done to the delicate mechanism; and he said that he. was not going to drink any water lest such injury should be done to his internal mechanism !
– In connexion with the Post and Telegraph Department, I wish to mention a matter for the information of the Government that may not have been brought under their notice. ‘ If. is a rule of the Department that if a man is brought back to do Sunday work he shall be paid at the rate of time and a half. There ought to be a minimum, and a man should get at least one hour’s pay if he is brought back for Sunday work. The work itself may only occupy five minutes, and yet the man’s whole day may be spoilt. Payment at the rate of time and a half for five minutes certainly would not compensate him for the inconvenience that he was put to.
– Is there not a minimum of one hour’s pay?
– I am informed that there is not. Take the case of telegraph operators who are brought back on a Sunday morning for the purpose of telegraphing that a ship has arrived at Thursday Island. Officers at various repeating stations all along the line are brought back to transmit this message. That is all the work that they have to do. I am told that they get little or nothing in the way of payment, and yet the whole of their Sunday morning or afternoon may be spoilt. The people in whose interests these telegraph messages are sent are compelled to pay a sum of 2s. 6d’. for each officer who is thus called upon to do Sunday work, and in addition to that double rates are charged for the telegrams so sent. The double charge for the telegram would be sufficient remuneration to the Department for the use of its plant and instruments, and I think that the 2 s. 6d. paid on account of each officer brought back should be paid to the officer for his extra service.
– Only recently the circumstances brought under the notice of the Committee by Senator Givens were mentioned to me in my own State. I shall have the matter brought under the notice of the Department not later than tomorrow, and’ hope to be able to satisfy Senator Givens that- the complaints are receiving favorable consideration. I was unaware that there was not a minimum fixed in regard to overtime.
– I am not certain about that.
– I shall make inquiries, and hope to be able to furnish the honorable senator with a satisfactory assurance that the interests of the operators in question are being considered by the Department.
Senator TURLEY (Oueensland) rn.58]. - I wish to ask the Minister of Defence certain questions regarding statements that have been reported in the press as having been made by him when he returned to Melbourne after a tour in Queensland. He is reported to have said -
When I was recently in Queensland, I discovered a wireless telegraphy station in charge of a man who had nothing to do all day. There he was looking out to sea with nobody to communicate with, and the Commonwealth was paying for it all. This man was not on the Estimates as wireless telegraphist, but as an able seaman, and he was supposed to be on board ship. You find military bands everywhere, but not a word appears on the Estimates about bandsmen. The public looks upon the men as being behind guns, whilst they are really behind trombones.
A paragraph appeared in one of yesterday’s newspapers headed “A mythical operator.” I will read it -
Senator Playford recently stated that while in Queensland he discovered a man in charge of the wireless telegraph station who had no one to communicate with, and nothing to do all day. Inquiry at Brisbane shows that there is no such person in existence, the wireless station at Moreton Bay being in charge of the lighthousekeeper.
As to the Minister’s reported statement that not a word appears upon “the Estimates about military bands, I find that as a matter of fact there is quite a number of references to bandsmen. For instance, in last year’s Estimates honorable senators will find on page 128 the items “ two band sergeants, ^£8 “ ; “ forty-two bandsmen at £6 8s.”; on page 130, “band allowance, Australian Light Horse, ^.1 50 “ ; again, “ band allowance, Volunteers, £50.” A number of the men in the Forces in Queensland feel rather hurt over the remarks that the Minister is supposed to have made, because they recognise the necessity for their having bands, and they know that a certain amount is placed on the Estimates for the purpose. But, in addition, nearly every man, from the officers down, put their hands in their pockets towards keeping up their own bands. The officers usually give a subscription of, perhaps, a guinea, and the men, say, half-a-crown, annually, in recognition of the services of the bandsmen,, who devote to the work a lot of time for which they are not paid. As was pointed out to me by one ‘of the men, all the bandsmen are trained soldiers, just as are those in the ranks ; the only difference is that the former have devoted themselves to the band, and given a lot of time in making themselves musically efficient. The men feel hurt at this statement, reported to have been made by the Minister, though had it been uttered by any one outside possibly no notice would have been taken of it. Has the gentleman in charge of the Department any idea of the responsibilities of his office, or is he making statements at random, without ascertaining whether they are correct?
– If Senator Turley takes various statements which are attributed to me in the press, and asks me whether I have made them, all- I can say is ‘ that, in many instances, the reporter’s imagination has amplified any little thing I may have said into something simply unrecognisable. So far as the wireless telegraphy station isi concerned, a reporter* did ask me as to what was intended to be done in the matter. It is well known that one of the Admirals on the Australian Station recommended to the Government of the day, before my time, that wireless telegraphy stations should be established all along the coast of Australia, commencing in Western Australia and running to Cape York, and even to Port Darwin. However, a new Admiral arrived, and he reckoned that, instead of the large number of stations recommended by his predecessor, only three were necessary. It was on the report of this Admiral that the reporter asked as to my intention. In the course of. casual conversation!, I did say that, to my utter surprise, I had found in Queensland a wireless telegraphy station of which I had known nothing previously, and in regard to which I had- seen no provision on the Estimates. But the statement by the reporter about my “discovering” a man in charge is pure imagination. The reporter doubtless concluded that there would be a man in charge, and that, as there had been no provision, made on the Estimates, this man had got there in some peculiar manner; and so the tale goes on. Since that time I have been requested to provide money for the repair of one of the large masts of the apparatus, which seems to have come down, or become- weakened, and I have sent to Captain Tickell, asking for full particulars. I inquired as to whether this station was used at all. and, so far as I could ascertain in Queensland, it is useless for any practical purpose. The question, now is whether, under the circumstances, I shall provide money for the repairs, and T am at present making inquiries. The newspaper account’ proceeds :
The Minister for Defence, referring to-day to. General Finn’s approaching retirement, expressed the opinion that the service would get on very well for a bit without .so much inspection. “ The back-block corps,” he said, “ are lined up for the Inspector-General to Look at, while the State Commandants, the very people who ought to be inspected, are left to themselves.”
I never put the matter in that way at all. I have expressed an opinion that InspectorGeneral Finn used to occupy a great many days and hours in visiting the back-blocks, and inspecting small corps of half-a-dozen or a dozen men, when his time might have been more profitably employed in looking after the Commandants and their staffs ; but I do not think I put the case in the way attributed to me by the reporter. The paragraph goes on to say that I stated I had found Tasmania in a state of “ utter disorganization.” I do not know whether or not I used the word “ utter,” but, when I took office, I certainly found defence matters in Tasmania in a state of disorganization.
– Was there not somethink like a revolution there?
– We heard of revolution and mutiny, and of Major-General Hutton disbanding a corps.. I am now looking into that matter, and reestablishing the force as nicely and quietly as possible. I have had to do some rather serious things which I should not care to make public in connexion with the defences of Tasmania ; but, so far as I know, matters are now going on very pleasantly. With regard to the bandsmen, I never made any such statement as that attributed to me in reference to any particular corps in Queensland ; but I did make a statement relating to some bandsmen in Victoria. The newspaper paragraph goes on to say that I stated I found military bands everywhere, but that not a word appeared on the Estimates about bandsmen. Considering that I make up the Defence Estimates, I was not likely to make such a statement, in face of the fact that provision is made for bands. I can suggest, however, how such a statement may have been written by the reporter. There is a band provided for every regiment, and for each band certain provision is made on the Estimates. A regiment may, however, be composed of men who are very mu:h scattered; a portion may be stationed at the head-quarters at Bendigo, for instance, and a branch or company of the same regiment stationed at Echuca. When regiments are scattered in this way, it very often happens that bands are improvised by the men themselves. A band is already provided at the head-quarters at Ballarat or Bendigo; but in an outlying district, 50 or 100 miles away, the little squadrons organize a band of their own, all the expenses of which they pay themselves. The trouble arises from the fact that men are put into these bands who are not effective as soldiers, and who cannot pass when the corps goes up for the effective allowance. In this connexion the officers complain very much because, while a man may be able to read music, blow a trombone, or beat a big drum, he is not an effective soldier, and does, not earn the grant. In speaking with the reporter, I may have referred to some such case as that ; I have a Victorian case in ray mind. I do not think I did refer to the matter, but if I did, I certainly never intended my remarks to apply to Queensland. Statements of the kind taken fi om their context are. of course, exceedingly misleading. There may have been a general conversation in which I alluded to bands ; but the circumstances are as I have stated. I can assure Senator Turley that when the reporters have to “ dress up,” as they do, what thev may casually hear from a Minister in a’ general conversation, perhaps as thev walk along the street, they make mistakes, and lead people to form wrong impressions. In the present case a very wrong impression has been formed in regard to the wireless telegraphy station, and the wonderful man I am supposed to have found, hut did not find. ^ A mistake has also been made in attributing to me the statement that military bands are not provided for on the Estimates. As I say, recognised military bands are provided for, but there are those other improvised bands, which are not provided for, and which cause some little trouble.
.- Is any provision being made for sending a rifle team to compete at Bisley, or do the Government propose to help private enterprise by contributing pound for pound ?
– No provision is being made for sending a rifle team to compete at Bisley. To send a team would cost a very large sum of money; but if a request be made that any sum which mav be raised bv private subscription to that end shall be supplemented by the Government. I shall place the request before the Cabinet ; but I can make no promise.
– I can make no promise.
– I should like some information as to the intentions of the Government in regard to a very important matter. If our defences are to be of any use at all, there must be some means by which the Forces can be adequately armed without our having to go 12,000 or 14,000 miles for weapons and ammunition in case of emergency. Something should be done by the Government towards, the establishment of a small arms factory, or even of a large arms factory in Australia. What would be our position if the mother country were engaged in a life and death struggle with a European Power or a combination of European Powers? Such a thing may never occur - we hope that it will not - but there is the possibility, and it must be faced. In such a contingency we should have to defend ourselves ; indeed, it would be our duty to adopt that manly course rather than to hang on to the skirts of the mother country, and to ask her to defend us. It is absolutely necessary that in such circumstances we should be in a position to adequately arm our soldiers. What should we do if. our uninterrupted sea communication were cut off? We should be absolutely dependent upon some European country for our supply of arms and ammunition.
– We could send to Japan for them.
– But Japan is oversea, and there is a possibility that in time of war our free and uninterrupted sea communication might be cut off. If we are to be independent and self-sustaining in this respect, we must establish a factory in which both large and small arms of every description, as well as ammunition of all kinds, can be manufactured. Another point is that, even in time of peace, big guns are often thrown out of repair, and that in time of war, when such occurrences would be far more frequent, we should be unable to make them effective.
– If We had noS the mother country to look after us the enemy would soon blow our factory into the air.
– That is absolute unadulterated bunkum. We have in the Commonwealth nearly a million able-bodied citizens, and if we were only prepared to
– Did the honorable senator’s party fight under the British flag on that occasion?
– W - What has that to do with the question?
– It has everything to do with it.
– Our party did not hoist the Chinese flag.
– I know the flag under which it was fighting.
– If ever I fight, I hope that I shall be found doing battle under the Australian flag, and for the maintenance and defence of our institutions. I think that Senator Fraser will agree that our preparations for defence should be as efficient and as effective as> possible.
– We cannot have an efficient force if our people are liable, in an emergency, to be without arms or ammunition. That liability will be always present until we establish a factory in which we can not only manufacture all the guns that we require, but carry out repairs and make sufficient ammunition to give our troops a full supply even when our free communication with the outside world is cut off. I hope that the Minister will be able to give us an assurance that the Government have in contemplation, at all events, the establishment of the nucleus of a factorv such as I, and, I believe, the p’eople of Australia, desire, and that steps will be taken as early as possible to put in a plant and engage the workmen necessary to manufacture everything we require in the way of arms and ammunition.
– I can assure the honorable senator that I have not lost sight of the matter to which he has referred. As a protectionist, I am in favour of our doing all the work we can in the Commonwealth ; but in this connexion there are positions which even we, as protectionists, cannot take up. The question is, whether the quantity of arms and ammunition that we require would be sufficient to justify the erection of the necessary machinery, and keep it going. Let us take, for instance, the manufacture of cordite, which is now used for all arms. It certainly could be made in Australia, but its manufacture by the Government would . involve immense loss, since we should require but a very small quantity. I could erect one of the smallest factories here foi a given sum, but the manufacture of cordite in that factory would not be payable, unless we had’ an output of something like 50 tons a year.
– How do they manage in Canada?
– I do not know what they are doing there. I do not know that they are making, cordite, but they may be manufacturing it at great loss. I can buy cordite at 2s. 8d. per lb., whereas calculations that have been made show that it would cost something like 59. per lb. to manufacture it here, if the output of the factory were simply that required to meet our own demands. The question is, whether we are going to double our ammunition charges for the purpose of giving a month’s employment annually to a few workmen.
– That is not the main purpose, and the honorable senator ought to know that it is not.
– That is the position as it appeals to me. We have to determine whether it would really be worth while, from a practical point of view, to undertake this work. I have been in communication with two companies, and Nobel’s have offered to supply the Department with cordite at a certain price for a certain quantity, the price to be reduced in proportion to the quantity ordered. But we cannot take the quantity necessary. When the late Mr. Seddon was here, the question of whether New Zealand would give us the manufacture of the supplies it required was discussed. If it would, that would increase our output by 5 tons a year. We have also been making inquiries to ascertain whether the Admiralty could not take from us! the supplies required for the Australian as well as for the Eastern Squadron. Inquiries are still being made, and I hope to be able to establish a cordite factory. I should certainly do so if I could say to the Senate, “ We shall only have to pay a sum not very much in excess of what we are now paying for our cord’ite.” But) as the cost would be so much in excess of what we are now paying, and we have a reserve of cordite sufficient to carry us over, not only this year, but next year- -
– It would not last a fortnight in time of war.
– When I tell the honorable senator what provision we have made he will recognise that our position with regard to arms and ammunition is exceedingly favorable. Nevertheless. I should like to see cordite manufactured here. A war might break out at any time, but it would not be altogether wise to incur a large expenditure because of a mere probability. As long as we keep up a reserve that will tide us over a certain time, we shall have nothing to fear. Nowadays, wars are generally sharp and decisive. We are not likely to have a recurrence of the one hundred years’ Avar, or a thirty years’ war, such .as we read of in history, and as long as we takecare to have reserves of ammunition sufficient to tide us over a certain^ time, and a supply of arms sufficient, at all events, to equip the number of troops, necessary to enable us to meet any likely invasion, we shall have done as much as we ought to do. Senator Givens urged theestablishment of a factory capable of turning out big, guns, as well as small arms. Canada has started the manufacture of small arms, and’ I have made inquiries as to what would be the cost of providing such an establishment here. It is estimated that an outlay of £150,000 would be required to start thefactory, and that even then we should not be able to keep it working full’ time. The trouble is that we require,, comparatively speaking, only a very small quantity. Are honorable senators prepared to support the erection of a big factory, which would be kept going only a month a year? Are they prepared to incur thisexpenditure in order that we may be ready to defend ourselves in a war which, might’ not take place for another forty years?
– Why not have a small” factory, with a smaller turnover, and working all the year round?
– I would if I could, but the honorable senator knows that in all branches of industry nowadays work is done automatically. An article is made, not by one machine, but by a number ; it passes from one machine to another until its manufacture is complete. Once a machine is started in a small arms factory, it must go on at its full capacity. If its speed be reduced power is wasted.
– That is not an argument with our honorable friends opposite.
– Surely it is. The position I take up is that it is a question of whether it would pay us to establish a small arms factory.
– The question is whether we should have one set of the necessary machinery or several.
– I have been alluding to only one set. Small arms are turned out very quickly by machinery, and one set would probably manufacture ten or twenty times more than we should ever require. We should thus have an expensive plant lying idle for a considerable time every year. My inquiries lead me to believe that there is no escape from that position. At the same time, I recognise the advantage that would flow from the establishment of a factory capable of turning out all that we require. Cordite has a more detrimental effect upon our rifles than has ordinary black powder, and’, consequently, new barrels are frequently required. Provision has been made this year for a considerable number off new rifle barrels. I do not know whether it would be impossible for us to make a start in the direction desired by Senator* Givens by establishing a factory, in which we could replace rifle barrels out of repair, and gra-dual.lv extend it as our population increased and our position improved. 1 can assure honorable senators that I have looked into this matter very carefully. I would ask the Senate to vote the money to start the manufacture of these articles if I could see that it would pay the Commonwealth to take that step. But the cost of the undertaking would be so great that I have shrunk from making a proposal. My idea is that, if it is decided to have a little fleet of our own, we ought to establish dock-yards and build the vessels here. So far as I can see from the inquiries I have made, it will not pay us at the present time to manufacture ammunition or rifles. I shall look still further into the matter. If any honorable senators will give notice of particular questions, I shall give them all the information I can get. If they are then dissatisfied, and consider that we ought to incur this expense simply for the sake of the .advantage of having, in a problematical time of war, the means of manufacturing our own rifles more quickly than possibly they could be imported from the old country, they can bring the matter before Parliament.
– Do not coquette with them.
– I am not coquetting with them. I am not in a position to recommend Parliament to do anything of the sort.
– In my opinion, Senator Givens has introduced! a subject of great importance. I believe that Senator Playford has raised some debatable objections to the proposal, but I do not think that it should be looked at purely from the commercial aspect. The whole exigencies of defence are not regarded from that aspect, but from a broad national stand-point. Upon defence every year we spend ^1,000,000, of which only £250,000 is spent upon our naval defence. I recognise that for our safety we are entirely dependent upon the British Navy, but that does not absolve us from the responsibility of being able to defend our own shores in the event of an invasion. If such a misfortune even occurred as that the great British Navy were crippled or evaded, and a hostile force could land in Australia, we, as descendants of British people, should be able to defend our own shores and hearths. We are spending ,£750,000 a year upon internal defenceThe question which occurs to me is: Are we spending that money to the best advantage, and are we providing for a possible eventuality which may endanger our national existence. Senator Playford has said that we have in store enough cordite to last us for two years - that is2 when we have purely encampments and a little rifle shooting. I venture to say that, if the 100,000 riflemen, or persons who have arms, in Australia were fighting for two or three days, they would expend all the cordite we have.
– Oh, they would fire it away verv foolishly, if thev did.
– I intend to ascertain that by asking a series of questions. But at present the point is, if the British Navy were evaded by a hostile force, we would be cut off from all communication with outside, and would have to rely absolutely upon our own resources to repel any invasion.
– Oh !
– I do not think the Minister will deny that, if such an event dEd occur, we would be in that position.
– Who is going to invade us? Supposing that the British Navy were evaded, how many men could a hostile nation land here?
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.For what reason are we spending £750,000 a year, if it is not to enable us to meet such an eventuality?
– And why have we a Minister of Defence if there is no need to prepare ourselves to meet such an eventual itv?
– I quite admit that a subject like this requires very careful consideration, and that it has to be looked at from all points of view, including the commercial aspect. When I told the Minister that in Canada they make these things, he said that he did not know what thev do. It is well for us to know what is being done in Canada and other parts of the Empire in the matter of internal defence. I know that in Canada they make small arms, cordite, and shrapnel. Would it not be well for the Minister of Defence to inquire what is the cost of carrying on these manufactures in Canada, and what quantities are manufactured, and whether it would be possible for us to imitate the example of our brothers in that country, instead of depending upon outside sources for our supplies of ammunition. Surely if in Canada, with 5,000,000 persons, they have had these factories for some time-
– No. The Secretary for Defence passed through Canada only six or eight months ago, and in his report to me he stated that the Canadians were only starting their factories, and that he could not state what the results would be.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.As a. matter of fact, the conditions were being altered on the occasion of that officer’s visit. But the factories have been in existence for a considerable time. It is at least worth the while of the Commonwealth Government to make inquiries.
– So we have.
– Then the Minister does not seem to lie very au fait with the conditions.
– I ,gave as much information as I could get.
– I hope that, when the Estimates of Expenditure for the year are under consideration the Minister will be able to inform us how much money Canada, expends on these various manufactures, and what expenditure will be necessary in order to establish such manufactures in Australia.
– I shall make inquiries again.
.- - I am very glad to hear that the Minister is making inquiries, because in ray opinion they are verv necessary. We have the honorable gentleman and many others in the Senate always declaring that our population is too small to enable us to do anything of this kind here.
– The honorable senator cannot quote me as saving that, because I have never made the statement.
– The honorable senator said that the quantity of ammunition and rifles that we require was too small to justify the, establishment of a factory, but that when our population increased we might make a move in that direction. What are we to infer from that statement? I ask the Minister to inquire what is done in Denmark, which has, very little more than half the population of Australia, in Switzerland, and in Belgium, where they manufacture arms extensively, although their population is not much larger than ours.
– They make them for sale.
– Why could we not make arms for sale? We make a lot of other things for sale. We shall never make these articles unless we try to do so. What I wish to point out to the Minister is that the annual vote of £1,000,000 is not spent for actual war purposes. On the contrary, it is spent for the purpose of preparing us to meet such a contingency. Is it not advisable, whether it is employed fully or not, to provide ourselves with the machinery to make the arms and ammunition for our men? And before we obtain that machinery and begin the manufacture of arms and ammunition, is it not necessary that we should produce steel and iron in Australia? In my opinion the Minister is the proper person to make all these inquiries, and tell the Senate what, in his view, is the best way to proceed in this direction. I was very glad to hear from the Minister that if it is decided to have a small navy of our own an attempt will be made to build the vessels here. In view of the possibilities which have been suggested, we ought to be in a position to construct the ships on the spot. I heard an honorable senator on the other side accuse the Minister of coquetting with the Labour Party. That is all nonsense. The Minister was talking to every senator in the Chamber, and that accusation ought not to have been made. We, as a party, were not asking the Minister for anything in connexion with defence. Some honorable senators are always talking about the great navy of Great Britain, what it has done, and is doing, and how dependent we are upon its efforts. The way in which we can render the greatest assistance to the mother country is by being able to defend ourselves. Every senator who is the head of a family naturally anticipates the time when his children will be prepared to provide for themselves. Look at how we provide for our defence by water ! What do we get for our subsidy, which, I admit, is not a very great one? Are any inquiries made by honorable senators opposite as to what we get for the money?
– We get security against invasion. It is like an insurance fund.
– Quite .right.
– Do honorable senators, who interject, know that, early in this year, when the flagship went on a trial trip, her machinery broke down? It is very easy for some persons to say that we are well defended, and to suggest that the machinery^ of every ship is liable to break down, and that a mishap is just as likely to occur to the machinery of the Powerful as to’ that of any other ship. These mishaps occur too frequently. Suppose that we were dependent upon the efficiency of these vessels for our defence, and that ‘when they went out they broke down one after another, what would; be our position ? No inquiry is ever made. Honorable senators do not know that these vessels are continually breaking down. For the last three or four months the Pylades has been lying alongside Garden Island. Her tubes have been blown out two or three times, although she came out with almost new boilers from the old country. It shows that we cannot depend upon these vessels. There ought to be in Australia some place where they could be repaired efficiently instead of lying alongside Garden Island.
– They are being repaired in Sydney already.
– Yes, but look at the question of cost and inconvenience, and the way in which the work has to be done. We are dependent upon these vessels for our security when they are lying alongside Garden Island to be repaired. Cannot honorable senators opposite see that they are only living in a fool’s paradise? It is the duty of the Minister of Defence to inquire into these matters, and to be in a position to tell the Senate whether in sending out these vessels the British Admiralty are fulfilling their dutv towards the Commonwealth, and whether we have a right to quietly sit here and consider ourselves safe when that’ sort of protection is afforded to us in return for our subsidy. I hope that the day will soon arrive when we shall have the material to build our own vessels manufactured here, because it could be produced with greater economy here than in any other part of the world, as we have the coal and the iron lying alongside each other. Australia is far richer than are many other places in the world where iron is produced to-day.
– The honorable senator means in New South Wales.
– And in other States.
– Nowhere else, I think.
– Steel is being manufactured in South Melbourne to-day by a process which I venture to say the honorable senator has never heard of. Queensland has deposits of coal which are just as plentiful as those in New South Wales. But I am not arguing in the interests of any particular State. I do not care whether the work is undertaken in New South Wales, South Australia, or Vi;toria. But the time has arrived when we ought at least to consider whether it is not advisable to make provisions for future necessities in connexion with naval defence and for the manufacture of our own small arms and guns. Unless we begin to consider it seriously, the work will never be undertaken. I believe that it would pay us to have an arms factory of our own, even if we only kept ir. going for a month in the year. I have heard complaints made that if we had a larger military force we should simply increase the number of idle men. What is to prevent us from forming a force in Australia of such a character that those who composed it could work in the arms and ammunition factories at the same time that they were learning to be soldiers? They could, it seems to me, be useful citizens, while still carrying out their military duties when not required to work in the factories. This would be a means of utilizing a certain amount of labour that is at present lost in every civilized community. I am quite aware that trained soldiers are not employed usefully in times of peace in other countries. But we in Australia should begin to teach the rest of the world a lesson. Many of our soldiers at Queenscliff and other forts would be far better employed if a certain portion of their time were occupied in making ammunition in a factory under the control of the Commonwealth.
– Girls are usually employed in ammunition factories.
– But I contend that these men could fill in a large portion of their time that is at present unoccupied at work which would be valuable. I am sure that they would feel the happier if they knew that their services were being utilized in the interests of the country.
– If we did that, we should! have to have one ammunition factory in Sydney, another in Queenscliff and others at other stations where our soldiers arelocated.
– How would the Minister act if there were an attack upon Brisbane? Would he not send all the soldiers available to that place? And could he not do exactly the same thing if a certain quantity of ammunition were required to be made at a certain place?
– It would cost us a good deal to keep our men moving backwards and forwards.
– It costs us a good deal to keep them doing nothing at the present time. If it cost us a little more to keep them doing something, it would be economical, all the same.
– Would the trade unionists consent to the honorable senator’s idea?
– Senator Dobson need not trouble about the trade unionists.
They are prepared to act in the interests of the Commonwealth to quite as great an extent as are honorable senators opposite. I can guarantee that. They know that if a large number of men are kept in idleness they, as workers, have to provide their sustenance; and they would far rather have the assistance of these men in doing useful work. Trade unionists are no fools. There may have been a time when they were as narrow-minded as some honorable senators are to-day. They might then have objected to a proposal of this description. But they see too far and too clearly now what their interests are, and I am sure that they would raise no objection to what I propose. I hope that inquiries will be made as to the possibility of building our own vessels and manufacturing our own ammunition, small arms, and guns ; that we shall see to it that we obtain good service for the money that we pay : and that the security which Senator Fraser and Senator Gray profess to have so much at heart will at last be attained.
– I rise to support the remarks of other honorable senators upon the subject that is now being discussed. I believe that the time is coming when any Government that does not seriously take up this question of defence in an earnest and practical manner will cease to exist. The radical parties in the politics of Australia especially recognise that their ideals are only possible of attainment if we are in a position to defend our country by force, if necessary. Because a power has arisen in the world within the last few years which offers the greatest possible menace to our ideals. We have that danger to face. I allude to the rise of Japan, the possibility of aggression by that Power, and of her expansion in the Pacific. We have recently seen an armed Japanese demonstration in our own waters. We have recently seen Japanese vessels–
– It is very unfriendly to speak against an ally like that, and very unwise too.
– It is just as well to face the fact that Japanese statesmen in their own Parliament have already spoken of the possibility of Japanese expansion into Australia. Why should we imitate the ostrich, and hide our heads in the sand while Japanese statesmen plainly state that they look forward to the conquest of Australia?
– A Japanese told me only a few days ago that the real motive of Japan in the war against Russia was not that they wanted Manchuria, but that they wanted London.
– We have only to remember what has happened in the case of the English nation to know that when a people have tasted victory it will not be long before they acquire a thirst for further conquest and expansion. When England first tasted victory she began to long to become a world-wide Power such as she is to-day. Do we believe Japan to be different from other nations in that respect? And if Japan desires to expand in what direction is that expansion to take place?
– In Manchuria.
– In Manchuria, with its teeming millions, when she is within eight days’ steam of one of the richest portions of the globe, a vast continent containing 0111 v a small population of some 4.000,000 of people?
– Yet the honorable senator’s party would not allow British subjects to come here.
– That I stigmatize as an absolute falsehood !
– Mr. Chairman, I draw your attention to that statement.
– Senator Pearce must withdraw that remark.
– The statement was made’ that we would not allow British subjects to come ‘ here.
– It is on the statutebook !
– The honorable senator knows the Standing Orders, I am sure.
– I withdraw the statement that the honorable senator’s interjection was an “ absolute falsehood,” but I say that it was absolutely incorrect, and that he must know that it was incorrect.
– I do not.
– He ought to know, or he is not worthy of a place here.
– Shall I quote our own Statute to the honorable senator? That is quite enough !
– This discussion will serve a valuable purpose if it encourages the Government to come forward with a bold, well-defined plan of Australian defence. At present we spend a large amount on our land defences, but whether we are getting the best value for our money I am not in a position to say. There has been a report by Captain Creswell on- the question of harbor defences, placed before us bv the Minister; and we are at present in the position that, while the report is before us, we do not know what the Government propose to do. I venture to say that the great bulk of the people of Australia would support the Government in taking action on the lines indicated by Captain Creswell. What Senator McGregor has said about the British Squadron, towards which we pay a subsidy, is well known to be the fact. One of’ the vessels repeatedly broke down on the way out, and when the recent squadron, to which we paid a subsidy of £120,000 per annum, reached England, the vessels were immediately sold as scrap iron. These facts create a feeling of uneasiness and insecurity in the minds of the people. While we cannot build battleships and so forth, the Government should, at any rate, make a commencement on the lines laid down by Captain Creswell ; and we desire the Government to tell us, at the earliest opportunity, when they propose to do so. The report of itself is nothing, but if the Government are going to take any steps they will have the hearty support of both Houses, and the people of Australia will bear the necessary taxation in order to secure harbor defence.
– I should like to see the honorable senator ask the people to do so !
– I am in such a position that I shall have to ask the people to indorse that policy, which I shall advocate on every hustings throughout Western Australia ; and I have no hesitation in saying that that particular part of mv programme will receive support. I desire the Government to make an early declaration of their intention. As to the charge hurled at me by an honorable senator, that the Labour Party, by their legislation, have blocked people of the British race from coming into Australia, I can only say that the honorable senator cannot have read the legislation of last session. I refer the honorable senator to the Contract
Immigrants Act of 1905, which, in section 5, provides: -
The Minister shall approve the terms of the contract only if -
there is difficulty in the employer’s obtaining within the Commonwealth a worker of at least equal skill and ability (but this paragraph does not apply where the contract immigrant is a British subject, either born in the United Kingdom, or descended from a British subject there born) ;
I voted for that provision and for the Bill, and. therefore, the taunt thrown at me by Senator Fraser is altogether out of place and incorrect.
– Senator Fraser was speaking of the general policy.
– The general policy can only be judged by its results.
– The honorable senator is under a mistake; Senator Fraser included in “ British subjects,” British subjects in India.
SenatorPEARCE.- They are not British subjects, but subjects of the British. However, this does not relate to the question of defence. I hope the Minister will commence at the earliest opportunity a vigorous policy of Australian defence, both in the direction indicated by Senator Givens and that indicated in Captain Creswell’s report. If the Government regard the question from the same point of view as does the Minister - if they take into consideration whether the scheme is likely to pay - then the Defence Department might as well be abolished. We know that the £750,000 we spend on our land defences does not pay. The guns lying at the forts, the field artillery in the drill-sheds, and the rifles stacked there, are all non-paying, and represent so much money lying idle, just as would the machinery in our rifle factories, and the machinery for making cordite. Does the Minister not see that the very argument he usesagainst the establishment of a cordite factory can be used against the maintenance of the Defence Department? The Minister must not allow such considerations to stop him from taking action. Even if all this does mean money lying idle, it is the most useful reserve we could have, and there would be the knowledge that if we were entirely cut off by sea from our base of supplies, we could make our own rifles and ammunition. I trust the Minister will take heart from the discussion, and will be prepared, even at the expenditure of a consi derable sum, to submit a vigorous defence policy on the lines indicated.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [2.7]. - I have only a few words to say in regard to defence matters. I desire particularly to bear testimony to the admirable work being done at the Commonwealth naval yard at Williamstown. I visited the yard only the other day, and I wish I had done so long ago. I hope every member of this and another place will take an early opportunity to see the work there carried on in the public interest at very small cost. I mention this matter in conjunction with the suggestion thrown out that the permanent members of the Military Forces might be utilized in the preparation of war materiel. I quite sympathize with the suggestion of the Minister that these men are widely scattered, and that it is difficult to bring them together in order to carry out work of any great consequence. Still, I think theymight be trained more usefully than at present in connexion with the preparation of war materiel. They have spare time, because their duties do not wholly occupy them during hours that are reasonable for members of the Military Forces. There certainly must be work connected with the preparation of such materiel, to which members of the permanent Military Forces might be usefully devoted under proper authority. Whether they can do much or little, it boots not, perhaps, to inquire; but the fact that they are trained, and have the tuition necessary to enable them to have their services utilized) in the way I have indicated, is of immense consequence. There is another matter I desire to mention, namely, the absolute illegality and unconstitutional position of the Cadet Forces recently established. That force is clearly outside the law, and I desire the Minister to take into consideration the early introduction of a measure to amend the Defence Act, so as to bring the Cadet Forces within its operation. The Defence Act specifically sets out what constitutes members of the Defence Forces, and cadets are not included. Therefore, those lads who are in training are not members of the Defence Forces. What are they? They are lads undergoing instruction. Now, instruction is not a function of the Commonwealth under the Constitution.
– Not instruction in defence?
– Instruction or education is no part or function of the
Commonwealth under the Constitution. The only way in which we can train lads or men for military or naval purposes is by making them adjuncts of the Defence Forces. But the Defence Act does not make the cadets adjuncts of the Defence Forces: - the cadets stand clean outside. They are simply in the position of so many school boys getting so much instruction - instruction in defence, I admit - and as they are not members of the Defence Forces they are being illegally instructed. We have no more right under the Constitution to instruct boys for military purposes than we have to instruct them for some other purpose.
– Does that make the instruction any less valuable?
– I do not know that the question I am submitting is very easy of comprehension, but if honorable senators will do themselves the justice to look at my remarks when they are in print, and refer to the authorities I mention, they will see the point more completely than they can by merely listening,. The Minister of Defence draws my attention to section 62 of the Defence Act, which provides for cadets.
– What is the honorable senator’s answer to that?
– My answer is that though the cadets are spoken of in that section, they are not thus made members of the Defence Forces.
– That is no answer.
– Unless the cadets are made members of the Defence Forces, this reference in section 62 is ultra vires. Try the issue in the Supreme Court or the High Court. Senator Best is a lawyer, and he will appreciate the fact that it is possible for a section that is ultra vires to get into an Act.
– No one disputes that, but does the honorable senator mean to say that the instruction of cadets is not incidental to the defence of the Common - wealth ?
– Cadets are distinctly provided for.
– That is another point.
– Will Senator Neild read section 60 of the Defence Act, which provides for compulsory service.
-‘That section deals with enlistments in time of emergency, and provides -
Such persons shall, in the manner prescribed, enlist in the Militia Forces for the prescribed period.
– Look at sub-section vi. of section 51 of the Constitution, which provides that we may make laws with respect to
The naval and military defence of the Commonwealth and of the several States, and the control of the forces to execute and maintain the laws of the Commonwealth.
That brings cadets without the jurisdiction of the Department.
– The cadets are properly provided for by the Act.
– Senator Neild ought to “ climb down.”
– Most decidedly I am not going to “climb down.”
– The honorable senator will drop down.
– Not a bit. Naturally if I were in the Minister’s position, and he were in mine, I should pooh-pooh the suggestion I am making; but I feel so absolutely satisfied of my position, that I am willing to take before the High Court the case of any boy whom the authorities insist shall come under the section.
– We do not insist on any boy taking part; the system is voluntary, and not compulsory.
– But there is power to make the training compulsory.
– Yes, in time of war.
– I admit that it is no use discussing a semi-abstract, constitutional, and legal proposition here, and I merely throw out the suggestion. But if I cannot prove a positive, honorable senators opposite cannot prove a negative. A point of the kind can only be settled by appeal to the High Court; but I submit it because I believe it to be a sound point. As to “ climbing down,” Ihave no more thought of doing that than I have of resigning my seat in this Chamber. I am not in the habit of “ climbing down.” I never shin up such a rotten sapling that I want to climb down.
– Is not the honorable senator prepared to climb down even when he is wrong?
– No honorable senator is more willing than I am to acknowledge an error and to make every reparation. I am entitled to my opinions, and I respect those of my opponents. When I disagree with the views of honorable senators, I. do not allege that they are blundering. I have mentioned these matters, and the most important at the present juncture is the very admirable work being done at the Commonwealth Naval Dockyards. T suppose that is the .proper term to apply. I did not go there for half-an-hour, and leave with the remark. “ All this is very wonderful “ ; I spent fire hours in seeing all that was to be seen, and I earnestly suggest that members of this Parliament should visit the establishment. It is worthy of the Commonwealth, and is unworthy only in the sense that it ought to be a great deal larger. It is certainly entitled to a very handsome vote for its maintenance.
– The Minister of Defence, whether he be regarded as a protectionist member of a protectionist Government, or as the Minister charged with the conduct of the national defences of Australia, cannot be congratulated upon his reply to my contention with respect to the establishment of a Government arms and ammunition factory within the Commonwealth. His chief argument against the establishment of such a factory was that our needs were so small that it would not pay us to instal the necessary machinery. He seems to think that for all time Australia must be content to have her needs in this regard supplied by people at the other end of the world, or else be ready to expend a large sum to enable us to supply our own small requirements. Apparently, the honorable senator does noi think we should ever do more than that. I disagree with his view. I fail to see why Australia should not supply arms and ammunition to other nations, just as she is now being supplied from other parts of the world. I fail also to see why the inventive genius of Australians should not have an opportunity to devise improved appliances. It is common knowledge that an Australian produced an implement of warfare which was eagerly sought after bv all the great Powers. I allude to the inventor of the Brennan torpedo. If an implement of warfare were devised at the present time, it would be found impossible to perfect it in Australia, and for want of a Commonwealth arms and ammunition factory, the Government would be unable to test it here. There is no reason why we should not encourage Australian genius and give our people a chance to perfect any instrument of warfare they may invent. There is no reason why we should not only manufacture the arms and ammunition required for our own defence, but be prepared to supply the wants of other countries. What is to prevent us from supplying New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada, with a superior ammunition that would be much sought after? The idea that because our own needs are small we must ever look te people on the other ‘ side of the globe to supply them - that we should be merely wood and water joeys - is: unworthy of .1 protectionist. What is the attitude of the Minister? He views the question of national defence from the pettifogging stand-point of £ s. d. Let me show him that a Government arms and ammunition factory would pay, and pay to’ an extraordinary degree. If this country were involved in war it would pay us to sacrifice 95 per cent, of our property in order to maintain our national independence. To what does the defence expenditure of Australia at present amount? Let us consider the question from the Minister’s standard of ;£ s. d., and see what it means. As Senator Fraser justly pointed’ out just now, de fence is a form of insurance. But, apart altogether from the question of the preservation of our life and liberty - viewing the matter only from the, stand-point of £ s. d. - where does the Minister find himself? According to Coghlan’s Statistical Account of Australia and New Zealand, for 1904, the total value of private property in Australia, in 1903, was no less than £1,204,000,000. We may safely say that the value of our public buildings, parks, lands, and railways, is something like £800,000,000, so that the total value of property in Australia is about £2,000,000,000. But let us consider the matter in the light of the information given by Coghlan, that private property in Australia is valued at £1,204,000,000. In round figures, inclusive of the subsidy to the Imperial Navy, we expend on defence less than £1,000,000 a year. In other words, we are spending less than onetwelfth of 1 per cent., in insuring private property in Australia against possible assault.
– About is. 8d. per cent.
– About that. If we take the value of public and private property in Australia, we are paying less than one-twentieth of 1 per cent, by way of insurance against assault and invasion. What is the remedy ? The remedy is to see that out insurance is adequate. When a man insures a building against loss by fire, he takes care to cover, not one-fourth or one-half, but the full value. The two cases are scarcely parallel, because, if we were conquered by an enemy, we should lose, perhaps, not only our property, but our liberty and our life. That being so, scarcely any insurance that we might be called upon to pay would be unjustifiable. That which we are now paying is a paltry one. Indeed, it is simply wasted, because it is neither adequate nor effective. My proposal is that we should have an effective insurance. Notwithstanding what the Minister has said with regard to the supply of arms and ammunition in Australia, the fact remains that in the event of war we should be unable to repair our disabled guns. The Minister suggested that we might have a two-penny-half -penny factory, where our rifles could be refitted with new barrels, tout where it would be impossible to manufacture a complete rifle. Such a factory would be unworthy of the Commonwealth. What we need is a factory wherein we could manufacture big guns, as well as small arms and ammunition. At the present time, if a. gun becomes disabled, we haveto dismount it and send it to the other end of the world to be repaired. What chance should we have of doing that in time of war? Is it reasonable to suggest that we should sit down and allow the enemy to make door-mats of us while we are sending our guns away to be repaired? It is a monstrous idea. The Questions we have to consider are whether we are prepared to defend Australia, and to pay for that defence. The people of Australia are not only willing but anxious to place themselves in a position in which they will be able to repel any assault. I am sure we are prepared topay, and the people who ought to bear this cost are those whose property we insure.
– A property tax for defence.
– We might have a property tax or a land tax.
– It would have to be a property tax,because we protect property other than land.
– That is a phase of the question which I shall not at present discuss. At the proper time I shall advocate that the men who are insured should be called upon to pay. At present I am simply urging that reasonable provision should be made to insure Australia against foreign attack - to enable us to successfully resist assault. Unless we can manufacture our own guns, and repair them - unless we can manufacture the ammunition we need, and replenish our existing supplies without having to send orders to the other end of the world, our defences are absolutely useless. The Minister says that it would not pay to establish such a factory as I have advocated. I hold that it does not pay us to go in for defence of any kind without such a necessary adjunct, because without that necessary adjunct, defence is useless. If such an argument as Senator Playford has used can be urged against the expenditure I have suggested, then it could be used in favour of wiping out the Defence Department, and wiping out the Minister’s office.
– We can get the cordite.
– How can we get it?
– The company has the machinery ready to erect at a moment’s notice.
– Then why not erect it?
– Because we can obtain the cordite cheaper elsewhere.
– Is it any cause for surprise that the Minister was so enthusiastically cheered by the free-trade party when he used such arguments? We should view this matter from a national stand-point.
– We can pay too much for our whistle.
– I cannot pay too much for anything that will insure my national independence and the enjoyment of my liberty.
– The honorable senator need not trouble about his liberty. It is not at stake at present.
– The Minister said a little while ago that there was no cause for alarm, as we were not likely to be invaded. If that be so, why do we need any defence system? Why do weexpend about £1,000,000 per annum on our defence if there is no danger ?
– Because, if we are not prepared to meet an enemy, we might be attacked.
– But we are not prepared. All that an enemy would have to do would be to cut off our supplies.
– We could then manufacture them for ourselves.
– It is too late to talk of blocking up a leak in a dam when the dam is burst.
– Look at the supplies we have on hand, and look at the machinery we have in the country for making cordite.
– Let us make the cordite.
– It will not pay to put up the machinery.
– It will not pay to put up the machinery?
– If you want to double the expense of all the ammunition in the community you will put up the machinery.
– I am prepared to double that expense in order to get ten times the security that we have.
– We should not have security any more then than now.
– Nonsense ! Are we able to manufacture or repair big guns?
SenatorPlayford. - We have repaired them.
– Nonsense !
– We cannot do everything at once.
– Let us proceed to make a beginning now.
– Did the honorable senator go to the depot the other day and see what we are doing in reference to torpedoes? He does not know half of what we are doing. We are repairing, and we are gradually increasing our tools and appliances, so as to be able to do more work in the future.
– Will the Minister assure the Senate that it is contemplated to establish such a factory as I have indicated ?
– Let us have one factory at a time. We purchase cordite at a certain price. If we were to manufacture the article we should double the price. We have the machinery in the country to manufacture the cordite, and it could be erected to-morrow if necessary. If a war were to take place we would commence to manufacture it for ourselves. Are we not protected to an extent which is reasonable, and are we not saving money? We are getting the cordite at half the price at which we could manufacture it. We have the machinery, the raw material, and the men to manufacture the cordite if necessary. A company here has got the plant and everything ready to make the cordite at a moment’s notice.
– That is all beside the Question.
– Is it? We have made provision to meet an emergency.
– The provision to meet an emergency must be ample and adequate, otherwise it is useless. The Minister says that we have incurred the initial expenditure, upon which I suppose we have to pay interest.
– No; a private company has provided the machinery, which it would erect immediately it was wanted.
– The machinery belongs to a private company, over which we should have no control. Suppose that everything the Minister says is absolutely correct, what does it mean? It means that if a war were started, and we were to find ourselves running short of ammunition, we could make heroic efforts to get this machinery started. Then, notwithstanding all the disorganization incidental to starting a new factory, notwithstanding the fact that there might be a break-down with the machinery, and that we might not have men absolutely capable to carry out everything to the highest degree of perfection, we should have to quietlysit down without ammunition, while we were waiting for the factory to be organized.
– Nothing of the sort. We should have two years’ ammunition in hand before we started.
– That is in peace time.
– No; in war time. The provision is for war time.
– Will the Minister tell me how much ammunition we should require for a two years’ war?
– 20,000,000 rounds.
– Every particle of the cordite we had would be blown away before the expiration of two months.
– I do not know how many rounds we have; but I believe we have 500 rounds for every rifle that we have in the country.
– It would all be gone in three or four days.
– That is in addition to a year’s supply.
– What I believe the people of Australia will insist upon is that we shall not rely upon machinery in the hands of private persons, who may or may not supply us with ammunition in time of danger. What the people require, and what I advocate, is that the Commonwealth should set up a factory, and be prepared to enter upon the work of manufacturing at any moment. Ammunition is only one item. What about the arms? The Minister had to admit that the Government has not even contemplated the establishment of a factory ,in which rifles could be manufactured. He said, “ We might set up some buildings where we could manufacture or repair the barrels.”
– That would be a start.
– Why not make a start with the manufacture of stocks and locks as well as barrels? What particular charm is there in starting with the manufacture of only the barrels? What about the manufacture of big guns ? In war time we might not be able to send them to England when disabled and dismounted. Our communications across the ocean in any direction might be cut off.
– If the honorable senator thinks that a small Commonwealth will be capable of putting up an immense factory in which to make big guns he is expecting Australia to do what many of the great Powers of Europe do not do.
– As a matter of fact, soma very small Powers manufacture their own arms and ammunition. The Minister also said that it would be ridiculous to set up a factory for the sake of employing a few men for some months in the year. It is not a question of employing a few men or a thousand men. It is a question of national defence. If the defence of our national existence is not worth paying for, why do we have Commonwealth Ministers? I venture to say that the people of Australia will condemn the present haphazard, slipshod way of dealing with the defences. One of the chief arguments in favour of Federation was that it would insure efficient defence. If the defence system is not going to be made efficient, then so far will Federation have failed to achieve its object, and so far will the people have a right to complain that they have been deceived.
– It is somewhat inconsistent on the part of the Government, which proposed on one occasion to pay away £250,000 for the purpose of establishing an iron industry, to talk about running the Defence Department on purely commercial lines.
– We are not saying that we intend to act on purely commercial lines.
– No, and to judge from their present policy I do not think that the Government propose to run the Department on ordinary common-sense lines. They are simply pottering with the defences without attempting to do anything worthy of the name. I am quite satisfied that it is the business of the Department to supply the war materiels which will be required for the manhood of the country should an emergency arise. All the raw material is to be found here. There is, perhaps, no finer country in the world for the production of iron than Australia. The only proposal which the Government have ever made for utilizing our rich heritage, and making Australia perhaps one of the greatest wealthproducing countries in the world, has been to pay away £250,000 in the shape of iron bonuses. Why do they not propose to spend that sum in the starting of an iron industry, arsenals, and other iron works which are absolutely necessary for the defence of Australia? If we are going to pay away money for the establishment of industries in Australia, let us begin with the establishment of industries which will benefit its defences. Surely common sense dictates that that is the line upon which we ought to proceed.
– How much iron or steel would we use for making what we wanted ?
– The consumption in Australia would be quite sufficient to keep an up-to-date ironworks going. If we were to run these other branches of the industry, and so educate Australians to the art of making arms, we should have ample work to carry on an iron industry, and the cost, I am satisfied, would be no greater than the cost which we have to bear at the present time for our very unsatisfactory service.
– Large ironworks are being erected in New South Wales.
– I have not much’ faith in those ironworks. I am afraid that they are only being built in order to justify the expenditure of £250,000 later on. I have lately returned from a visit to the North West coast of Australia. One can see at a glance the menace which Australia has to face at almost every port on that coast. One can see the Asiatics outnumbering the whites by two to one, and Chinese carpenters erecting the only houses in Broome, Derby, and anywhere else where building is going on. The work is all done by Chinese carpenters.
– And there are 5,000 less Chinese in Australia to-day than there were a short time ago.
– I cannot account for the number of Chinamen in Australia, but I know that there are more Asiatics in Western Australia, more particularly on the North West coast, to-day than there were prior to Federation. Undoubtedly the Japanese outnumber all the others. For instance, at Broome, 70 per cent, of the Asiatics are Japanese. But alongside the Japanese, Chinese carpenters are erecting the largest building which has yet been undertaken there. Not a white man is employed on the job. White men tendered for the work, but they were cut out. What show has a white man to tender successfully against Chinese? Again, at Derby the largest building is being constructed by Chinese carpenters. If one goes to the hotels he will find that they are being run with coloured labour. Some one laughed this morning when I referred to a remark made by a Japanese barman. When serving drinks in an hotel he said, “ In the latewar it was not Russia that the Japanese were after at all. The Japanese ‘had whipped the Russians, and were done with them for the time. What they were aiming at was London. That is their object.”
– Surely the honorable senator does not take notice of what a man behind a bar says.
– These indications show the way in which the wind is blowing. Just as the Russians have had to face the Japanese, so we may have to do sooner or later. I hope that that day will never come, but the danger of a Japanese invasion exists. In their hour of success, can we expect the Japanese to be superior to the Europeans? Has not success in arms always had one effect upon a nation? Europeans, whether French, German, or English, have always suffered from swelled head as the result of military achievements. Success in war will have the same effect upon the Asiatic imagination as upon the European imagination. Why should we shut our eyes to these dangers? I hold that if we are to have a defence system worthy of Australia, the present policy will have to be altered. To adhere to the present system is only to court disaster some day. The cadet system has been referred to. I am sorry that the same line of policy is being pursued here as in every other branch of the Defence Department. We see a pottering system introduced which bespeaks failure straight away. Why not put into operation at once the resolution which the Senate passed last session ? It suggests an inexpensive and very good way to arm Australians for the purpose of defence, but nothing practical is done. The same pottering policy is pursued with the cadets. These are matters in which the Government should take a more lively interest. Unless they do so, I am quite satisfied that Australia will be disgusted with the policy they are pursuing.
Schedule agreed to.
Postponed clauses 2, 3, and 4 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported, without request; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday, eleventh July.
At the end of the time mentioned I can promise the Senate that we shall have sufficient work to keep us occupied for some time to come. I cannot promise that there will not be another adjournment for a week or two in the course of the session, but that will depend entirely upon circumstances over which I and the Senate have no control. But when we meet on the nth July we shall be kept well occupied three days a week, in accordance with our sessional orders. At present I have no work to go on with.
.- I intend to move an amendment, because I consider that the Government ought either to be prepared to bring before the Senate sufficient business to keep it occupied, or else should consent to an adjournment sufficiently long to enable all honorable senators to visit their homes. Last session, when three adjournments were proposed, I objected on every occasion, but I met with very little support, as Hansard will show. The Minister invariably assured us that he anticipated that there would be enough work to do after the adjournment. But when we met again we found that the business occupied our attention only for a very short time, aird that then there had to be another adjournment. If the Government were really desirous of keeping us well supplied with work, there would be nothing to prevent them bringing before us a number of Bills which are awaiting consideration. In order that I and some other senators may go home we should have to leave Melbourne next Wednesday. We should not reach home for eight clays, and, even if we returned immediately, we should not arrive until three or four days after the Senate had met. If there is to be an adjournment, let it be sufficiently long to enable those senators who are situated as I am to go home. I move -
That the word “eleventh” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “eighteenth.” *
– I do not think I have ever departed from the policy of objecting to these adjournments. I object to the treatment which the Senate is receiving from various Ministries. We have a short session before us. We did not discuss the Address-in-Reply at length, because we desired to proceed with the immense programme of legislation outlined in the GovernorGeneral’s’ speech. But now the Government tell us that they have nothing for us to do.
– We have already polished off two Bills.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Bills of absolutely no importance. They were simply non-contentious measures. We came here prepared to do the work of the country, and now we are told that we can go home again. That is the kind of leadership we have ! It is extraordinary that we should be asked to adjourn before we have considered any of the really important measures mentioned in the Governor-General’s speech. This session must close in October or November. Towards the end an immense amount of ill-considered and illdigested legislation will be rushed through, and some valuable proposals will be left over for a future occasion. The source of the trouble is that Ministers do not allocate their legislation fairly between the two Houses. The excuse given is, first, that’ many of the measures are money Bills, which must be introduced in the other House ; and, secondly, that the members of the House of Representatives are twice as numerous as we are, and, therefore, take twice as long to transact their business. That is partly true, but, at the same time, it must be remembered that the House of Representatives sits four days a week, whilst we sit only three. Further, excluding money Bills, there is no excuse for the Ministry not bringing other important legislation before us early in the session. The Senate is simply becoming a recording House. We are called together merely to assent to something which has been passed by the other House. Unless we make an effective protest against this treatment, the Senate will be put in exactly the same position as if it were the ordinary Upper House of a State Parliament. When the States made their compact, called the Constitution, it was understood that the Senate would have equal rights with the House of Representatives with respect to ordinary legislation. But what is the result? We have in the Cabinet nine Ministers, seven of whom are in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate. We have here only one Minister with a portfolio. That is a very unfair allocation. The distribution of portfolios is also unfair, because the portfolioed Minister in the Senate is generally placed at the head of a Department from which no proposed legislation emanates. We do not have an Amending Defence Bill more than once in two or three years. Therefore, that Minister usually has no departmental legislation of his own to submit. In the House of Representatives the Minister of Home Affairs, or the Minister of Trade and Customs, will introduce, perhaps, a dozen or half-a-dozen measures in a session. I entirely disagree with the policy which has been adopted that each Minister shall introduce the Bills affecting his own Department. It may be very nice for a Minister to introduce the Bills which emanate from his Department, but is he to place his own personal rights and interests before the interests of Parliament and the country ? The consequence of this policy is that the Ministers in the House of Representatives introduce their departmental measures, and. apparently, there is no protest from honorable senators, although we are dismissed, only to return when there is some Bill for us to assent to. For instance, the Bill for the protection of Australian industries is of extreme interest to the people of the Com- monwealth. That Bill is being discussed fully and carefully in the House of Representatives, and, naturally enough, the newspapers devote considerable space to the debate. But when that Bill reaches the Senate the people at large are thoroughly tired of it, and have lost all interest, and. as no newspaper is foolish enough, to report a debate on a subject already fully dealt with on another occasion, the public scarcely know that the Senate exists. The effect of making the House of Representatives the initiatory House is that the Senate is relegated to the position of an ordinary Upper Chamber; and so long as I remain a member I shall protest against our occupying that position. I protest against the allocation of portfolios, and of the Bills for introduction, as absolutely unfair and opposed to the contract entered into by the various, Colonies when the Commonwealth was inaugurated. Another result of the policy is that this Senate, in the opinion of the public, becomes simply a recording Chamber; and the position and power of the Senate really depends on the opinion which the people have of the Chamber. Only the other day we had a Melbourne newspaper speaking of the House of Representatives as the people’s House, and of the Senate as a sort of upper or recording Chamber. The absurdity of the position is evident to one who knows the facts, but it is not evident to the people who read the newspapers. Honorable senators are elected on exactly the same franchise, and by exactly the same individuals, the only difference being that our electorates, are States, while the electorates of the House of Representatives are districts. Yet the fact remains that under the system, which it is sought to introduce, this Chamber becomes merely a place for recording the decisions of another place. The Senate is not so much what the framers of the Constitution intended it to be as what honorable senators make it ; and if we submit to being dismissed in a very cavalier manner, on the ground that there are no Bills ready for us, although the Governor-General’s Speech is clogged with measures, the prestige of the Senate is lowered. In the United States the Senate exercises greater power than does the House of Representatives. That is not the position given to the Senate by the United States Constitution : but there were strong men in that Senate, and they made it a strong House. If the Senate is allowed to sink into the position of a mere recording Chamber we shall not get the best men of the community to enter it; and the result will be that the spirit of the compact entered into by the Colonies will not be carried out; the Senate will not exercise the rights and powers intended by the Constitution, and the rights of the smaller States will be jeopardized. The very object, and intention of the bi-cameral system is that the smaller States shall be protected, and not out-voted by the larger States on great national questions - in other words, that the legitimate rights of the smaller States shall be conserved. Those rights are not conserved when we have Ministers who do not allow the Senate to exercise the powers which we undoubtedly possess.
– Who prevents the Senate from exercising its powers?
– The Minister who asks the question is himself one; but I do not blame him more than I do any other Minister.
– How does the honorable senator conserve the rights of the Senate by bringing us here next week when there is no work to do?
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.That is not the question. I complain that the Government do not provide the Senate with business while the other House is being asked to sit early and late. The Audit Bill, for instance, might well have been introduced here, and yet it is proposed that we be dismissed for some weeks. The Senate ought to protest against the allocation of measures, and insist that as many shall be introduced here as in another place, exclusive, of course, of money Bills.
– There have been three Bills before the House of Representatives, and three Bills, before the Senate.
– The Bills submitted to us were of very little importance, and did not entail much discussion.
– Neither did the Audit Act in another place.
– I make this protest, because I represent one of the smaller States, so far as population is concerned. I have no ill-will against this Ministry, any more than I had against any other Ministry, and I hope the present Ministers in this House will not think the contrary. I admit that adjournments are necessary from time to time, but I have always objected and protested when the other House has been dealing with measure after measure, while we have been told there were no Bills ready for us, or that, if Bills were ready, it was desired to introduce them elsewhere. In anything I have said there is nothing of a personal nature. If honorable senators care to take the trouble, they can refer to my speeches, arid they will see that, whenever an adjournment has been proposed, I have opposed it on the ground that the rights of the Senate ought to be preserved.
– Just as’ Senator Smith yesterday evinced a lack of judicial faculty, so today, I think, he is showing a remarkable failure of appreciation of the practical facts with which we are face to face. I agree with every word Senator Smith has said as to the unbusiness-like method in which the Government have apportioned the business between the two Houses. But how it can be regarded as a protest against the action of the Government, if we penalize honorable senators by bringing them together when there is no work to do, altogether passes my .comprehension.
– If we refused to adjourn, the Government would have to provide us with some business.
– Nothing of the kind. Some mention has been made of a vote of want of confidence; but Senator Smith would be the last to think of submitting such a proposal.
– I am a supporter of neither the Ministry nor the honorable senator’s party.
– If anything like a real live motion is submitted, Senator Smith is the first to take his seat behind the Government.
– That is absolutely incorrect.
– The only times I ever have known Senator Smith vote against the Government have been on the occasion of innocent, harmless motions, which did not much matter either way.
– That is absolutely incorrect.
– If it be desired to have a protest of some effect, let Senator Smith table a motion that will mean something. I should then be inclined to regard his protest as one entitled to our serious consideration. But the fact is that, from various causes - and here I agree with Senator Smith - there is absolutely no business on our paper, nor can there be any worthy of serious thought for the next week or two. Are we to be brought from all parts of Australia, or kept waiting here, merely to meet you, Mr. President, in the afternoon and then adjourn ? That is all very well for an amiable bachelor in the whirl of social engagements, who finds Melbourne an extremely pleasant place; but it is entirely different for those who have home ties, and appreciate them, and who have other business besides that of mere attention to public affairs. I do not think any honorable senator would hesitate to attend when there is work to do; but it is a monstrous proposition that we should be brought over week after week when there is no business.
– Let Senator Millen propose a motion that work shall be provided for the Senate.
– Suppose I gave notice of such a motion for the next day of sitting, how would that settle the question of adjournment? If we suspended all the Standing Orders, and passed a resolution that, in our opinion, the Government ought to provide the Senate with work, would that help Senator Smith?
– Surely the opinion of the Senate ought to have some weight with the Minister.
– The Minister al-, ready knows the opinion of the Senate.
– The honorable senator is only too anxious for a holiday, in order to get away.
– Who is?
– The honorable senator himself.
– I always am when there is no work to do; but when there is work I think it will be found that I am just as close an attendant as is Senator Smith, and at considerably more inconvenience than he experiences.
– The honorable senator uses this place ais a club.
– That is absolutely incorrect.
– And as a very convenient and sociable club.
– It is far more inconvenient for me to attend here than it is for the honorable senator.
– Those of us who have homes, and other business to attend to, do not desire to be kept here unnecessarily. The Minister of Defence, if he cared to be frank - if he were not under restraint owing to his Ministerial obligations - would, I think, agree with everything, that has been said as to the necessity for a fairer apportionment of the work ; and I hope that before the debate is concluded he will give us some assurance on the point. I am just as ‘ strong as Senator Smith or any one else - as my votes and utterances will show - in urging a recognition of the rights of the Senate, and I should be the last to do anything to undermine these rights. But I do not see that we conserve the rights or the dignity of the Senate if we punish a large number of honorable senators by bringing them here when there is nothing to do. For that reason I intend to vote for the amendment moved by Senator Givens. The extra week will give greater facilities to members from distant places, such, as Queensland and Western Australia, to visit their homes ; and, at the same time, the extra week can always, if necessity arises, be made up bv our sitting on Tuesdays. It is a business-like proposition that we should’ meet when there is work to do, and meet each .sitting day of the week, and that when there is no work we should adjourn and go home.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. Senator Millen has made two statements which are absolutely incorrect in regard to myself. In the first place, he said that I am a slavish supporter of the Ministry. That is not the case. I have never supported anyparty slavishly since I have been in the House. My one object has been to keep and record every pledge I made tol my constituents; and when I go before them I shall be in the position-
– The honorable senator must not argue when making a personal explanation.
– I am pointing out how absolutely incorrect Senator Mi lien’s statements are.
– In making a personal explanation, which cannot be debated, an honorable senator is only justified in pointing out how he has been misrepresented or misunderstood ; he must not argue the point.
– Senator Millen made statements which I consider damaging to myself, and I have a perfect right, subject, of course-
– The honorable senator has a perfect right to make a personal explanation, but not to use arguments.
– I think I have a perfect right to point out why I do not support any particular party.
– That is argument.
– Senator Millen says that I support one particular party, and I wish to point out that I do not, and why I do not. This is not a party Chamber-
– Mr. President, has any one the right to argue with you in this way ?
– I do not think so. If Senator Smith has the right to argue the point, then every other honorable senator has the same right. But the Standing Orders clearly lay down that, in making a personal explanation, an honorable senator shall explain only how he has been misunderstood or- misinterpreted, and that he shall make the explanation as short as possible, and not argue.
– Well, sir, if you will not allow me to reply, I shall merely say that the honorable senator has no ground for the statement that it is infinitely more inconvenient for him to attend here than it is for me. I have had to give up my business, and to neglect my investments in Western Australia, in order to come here to discharge my duties as a member of this Parliament, yet Senator: Millen, who is able to return to his business at the end of the week, makes the gratuitous and untrue statement-
– Order; the honorable senator must withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it.
– The honorable senator should not have made such a statement.
– Senator Millen made an absolutely incorrect statement, and I certainly take exception to it.
.- We have been told by Senator1 Millen that he is as ready as is any honorable senator to maintain the rights of the Senate, but if he wishes to maintain its dignity he ought not to be so ready to vote for special adjournments.
– The honorable senator voted for special adjournments last session as readily as did any one.
– I do not remember the occasion.
– As a matter of fact, the honorable senator voted with me against such adjournments.
– The representatives of the Government in the Senate do not take up as strong a position as the representatives of other Governments have done. Both Ministers appear to be quite willing that the Senate shall be merely a House of revision.
– So far the Bills introduced this session have been purely machinery measures.
– The Minister, in introducing them, told us that they contained little debatable matter. There are other measures on the notice-paper of the House of Representatives which might well have been introduced here.
– They are Money Bills.
– If we lose our prestige, it will be due to the readiness with which we have agreed to lengthy adjournments. Senator Millen was wrong in attacking Senator Smith as he did. Because that honorable senator happens to carry on his studies here surely he is not to be accused of something which might convey a very wrong impression to the public. When Parliament is not sitting this building has none of the comforts of a club. In such circumstances it is the most cheerless and dismal place one could enter. I sympathize with the desire of Senator Givens to return to Cairns, but I would point out that the journey to and fro would occupy sixteen out of the twenty-one days that would be available in the event of a three weeks’ adjournment. I also sympathize with the representatives of Western Australia. As for myself, I shall be employed fully as a member of the Tariff Commission. In one respect the suggested adjournment would be advantageous to the Commission, since it would enable it to secure the services of the Hansard staff, and thereby save expense. I hope that those who support the amendment do not propose to follow the example of a certain honorable senator from New South Wales, who, it is reported’, intends to avail himself of the opportunity to visit Queensland to prepare the way for Mr. Reid’s electioneering tour.
– Does the honorable senator think that is relevant to the motion ?
– I simply refer to it as constituting a possible objection to an adjournment over three weeks. I can assure the honorable senator that if he does go to Queensland the history of the AtmosphericGas Company will be fully disclosed. I shall vote against a special adjournment, and, in any event, I shall vote against the amendment, because I think it is an unwise one.
– During the last five years I have frequently been asked to vote for special adjournments, on grounds that have generally prevailed with me, but on no occasion has there been such an adjournment as would enable the representatives of Western Australia to return to their homes. The present position is that the notice-paper, so far as Government business is concerned, is practically a blank, and it seems improbable that the Australian Industries Preservation Bill will be sent up from another place within the next fortnight. In these circumstances, as an adjournment seems to be inevitable, surely the representatives of Western Australia have a right to be considered. I am prepared to sit four, five, or six days a week when necessary to dispose of public business. Possibly the carrying of the amendment would teach the Government a useful lesson. It would show them that unlessthe Government are prepared to give the Senate some business to do, we may, so to speak, take the bit between our teeth, and when the Government are anxious to have a Bill speedily dealt with carry an adjournment against them. I shall vote for the amendment, and if it be rejected I shall vote against any adjournment such as is suggested by the Government.
– Motions of the kind now before us invariably disclosethat there is an idea in the minds of some honorable senators that unless this Chamber sits every week on which the House of Representatives does, an attack is being made upon its dignity and its rights. I would remind honorable senators that, whilst there are seventy-five members in the other House, the Senate has a membership of only thirtysix, and that if we apply ourselves to the discussion of all the business that comes before us in the same way as do Members of the House of Representatives, our sittings should only be half the number of those of that Chamber. I know, as other honor- able senators do, thai in the early days of the session the other House meets four days, whilst we sit only three days per week. But even in such circumstances it should be unnecessary for us to sit as many weeks as they do, assuming, of course, that we individually apply the same attention to the discussion- of the measures brought before us as they do.
– Or indulge in the same amount of talk.
– Let me put the matter in another way. I assert, without fear of contradiction, that the Senate gives as much attention as do the members of another place to the business submitted. I am also prepared to assert that we do not waste any more time nor introduce more irrelevant arguments than they d’o.
– This Senate is not cursed with the same loquacity.
– I am simply stating that we do not indulge in any more irrelevant discussion, and that, therefore, in ordinary circumstances, we should not be called upon to sit as many hours per session as they do. Reference has been made to the indifference of the Government to the rights of this branch of the Legislature. It has been stated that the Government has abstained from introducing in the Senate as many measures as it might ha’ve done. I invite honorable (senators to look back at the work of previous sessions, and I assert, without fear of satisfactory contradiction, that no other Government has originated in the Senate as many measures, proportionate to those originated in another place, as we did during last .session.
– Can the honorable and learned senator mention an important one that was introduced in the Senate ?
– One very important measure, which evoked a great deal of discussion, was the Copyright Bill. When that Bill was in the early stage of its consideration in Committee, we had honorable senators) addressing themselves to a similar motion to this, and asserting that the Government had no business before the Senate. And yet the final stage in the ‘consideration of ‘that! Bill - . not reached for many an hour afterwards. The Government will always have charges of this kind hurled against it on such occasions as the present. We introduced this week in the Senate two Bills, one the Designs Bill, to perfect our legislation withregard to industrial property, and the other a Bill relating to the establishment of the Department of Meteorology. How was the Government to foretell the extent to which honorable senators would address themselves to either of those measures? We were not in the position of prophets, and could not be expected to anticipate that the Senate would deal with those Bill’s so satisfactorily and expeditiously as it did. I congratulate honorable senators upon the attitude they took up with regard to those measures. We are glad that they have advanced these measures so far that they have been transmitted to the other House. But that House, for the reasons I stated, does not proceed so quickly with measures as we do. Senator Smith says that the Government is simply crowding the notice-paper of another place with business. But what do we find upon referring to its notice-paper for to-day ? The first order of the day is the resumption of the debate on the second reading of the Australian Industries Preservation Bill.
– W - Which could well have been introduced here.
– That may be so ; but at present I am talking of the number of measures on the notice-paper of the other House. Surely that Bill does not crowd’ the notice-paper.
– - -The other House might take weeks to discuss that Bill.
– That is only one Bill. The Senate has already dealt with three Bills. The second order of the day on the notice-paper of the other House for to-day is the second reading of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill. ‘Honorable senators know that constitutionally iti could not be introduced here. The third order of the day is the consideration in Committee of the GovernorGeneral’s Message relating to the Audit Bill, and the fourth order of the day is the second reading of that Bill. Really, those two orders of the day can, for present purposes, be taken together as practically one. The fifth and sixth orders of the day are Supply and Ways and Means, that is to say, further consideration in Committee. These orders of the day must be associated with the Supply Bill, which the other House has passed, and with which we dealt to-day. The Senate had on its notice-paper for to-day the Designs Bill, the Meteorology Bill, and the Supply Bill, while the other House has practically upon its notice-paper for to-day the Australian Industries Preservation Bill, the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill, and the Audit Bill.
– What is the good of the long Governor-General’s speech if the Government have no more measures than those to submit?
– We have plenty of measures to submit. To-day I brought in the Eminent Domain Bill, a comprehensive measure which completely repeals the existing law on the subject.
– Cannot we go on with that Bill next week?
– So far as all these matters are concerned, the Government have not neglected the interests of the Senate. We have to remember the relative numerical strength of the two Houses when we come to consider whether the Senate should be always asked to sit for the simple and sole reason that the other House is sitting. That, it seems to me, is the underlying fallacious idea in the minds of some honorable senators who have spoken to this question of adjournment.
– The majority of the most important Bills are introduced into the other House.
– My honorable colleague has moved the adjournment of the Senate to a certain date. I understood that long before this discussion began there was a common understanding on the part of honorable senators generally and my honorable colleague that an adjournment was to take place about this time, and that it was to be for a fortnight. Of course, if I was under a misapprehension in that respect I must suffer the consequences, but I merely rose for the purpose of pointing out that in determining whether the Senate’s privileges and rights are being assailed we must bear in mind the fact that we have only half the numerical strength of the other House, and that in discussing public matters we are not disposed to enter into so much controversy, perhaps, as its members do on points which are not directly involved.
.- The question of adjourning is getting a very serious one, and upon the whole my sympathies are with Senator Smith. But I quite admit that there is no use in bringing honorable senators here if there is no business for them to do. I believe, however, that with a little more thought and arrangement there might have been, and I believe there is, business to be done next week. The session is bound to be exceedingly short. Every effort ought to be made to hold the elections early in November. It is quite likely, as Senator Smith suggests, that at the end of the session we shall be slaughtering “innocents” because we have more measures than we can deal with. We ought to go on with work if we can get it, and take a holiday afterwards. I admit that it may be necessary to take a holiday occasionally owing to the fact that in ordinary circumstances we must sit much less frequently than the other House. But I contend that we ought to take our holiday later on when there is absolutely no work to do. Senator Keating has the Eminent Domain Bill to proceed with next week, and I understand that there is a Quarantine Bill which he could have to go on with. I was astonished at the statement of Senator Playford the other day that two Bills had been introduced into’ the other House which might have been introduced here, and that he was not aware that they were going to be originated there. I gathered from his remarks that not one moment’s consideration had been given by the Cabinet to the question of how the work was to be alloted between the Houses. Honorable senators have a perfect right to complain thai more attention has not been given to this important matter. I would ask Senator Playford whether he thinks it right and proper for the other House to commence its work with the consideration of the most contentious Bill of the session, and then for him to tell us that there is no work for the Senate? Next week the other House ought to drop the Australian Industries Preservation Bill for the time being and deal with the Statistician Bill and’ the High Court Judge Bill, so as to give us some work by the end of next week. I do not believe that the other House has ever paid the slightest attention to all our protests, and it seems determined to ignore us. The two Ministers I see before me are quite sufficient to protect the dignity and rights of the Senate if they would only act. Why do they not act?
– I cannot go down and bully the other House, can I ?
– I did not suggest any such thing, but I suggest that in Cabinet these matters should have been considered and arranged.
– We like to bring forward our most important and most vital measures first.
– That interjection confirms my suspicion that not the slightest consideration has been given to the rights of the Senate or the convenience of honorable senators. The Government could have given the Senate more work to do if my honorable friends had taken up a firm stand in the Cabinet.
– It will be the same to the end of time, and would be the same even if the honorable senator were in the Ministry.
– I do not think so. I recognise the folly of coming here if there is no work to be done, but I believe that there is work to be done next week. If the consideration of the Australian Industries Preservation Bill were delayed for a week there might be work provided for the Senate for the week afterwards, and then if we saw no work ahead for two or three weeks, we could adjourn. Senator Playford has practically, admitted that there has been no attempt to arrange the business so as to give the Senate work. The moment we assembled he began to talk about giving us a three weeks’ holiday. I have never left my business previously, in such inconvenient circumstances as I did. I put off matters of very great importance. I had to give them over to others in order to come here, merely to be told that I could have a three weeks’ holiday. If we had only ..received a circular saving that in the circumstances there would not be much work to be done for two or three months, we might have made different arrangements. I was rather astonished to hear Senator Pearce say that if “he cannot get an adjournment for three weeks he will oppose the proposal for any adjournment, and compel the Senate to meet, although he knows that there is no business to submit. I do not believe that he will do anything so unjust. As there is a difference between honorable senators, I think that the Government should adhere to their motion.
– I am sorry that honorable senators do not exhibit a little more sympathy with each other. Even Senator Dobson, after his long growl, admits that the Senate cannot sit as continuously as the other House. Yet he wants the Senate to meet next week, and if there is not enough work to be done, to adjourn over the week following, then to sit for a week, and afterwards to take another week’s holiday.
– I distinctly said the contrary.
– What advantage would that be to those whose homes are in Queensland or Western Australia? Senator Smith says that the convenience of an individual senator should not be considered. That is a very selfish view to take. If the interests of only one senator can be served, without interfering with the business of the country, it is the duty of every other senator to meet his wish.’ If by adjourning for three, weeks we can permit some senators to go to Queensland, or even one senator to go to Western Australia, we ought to do so if we feel certain that it will not interfere with the business of the country. I feel sure that it will not interfere with public business, because even Senator Dobson admits that if we were to come back next week the business would be transacted in the course of a few days, and then we should have to adjourn for a week.
– No; I said for two or three weeks.
– Why not have a proper adjournment, then come back to deal with a full notice-paper, and have no more adjournments ? Senator Smith is in a different position from Senator Pearce, because the latter has a wife and family in Western Australia, whom he would like to see. Senator Smith has neither wife nor family. Probably his attachments are stronger in Melbourne than in Western Australia, and his interests can best be served by being kept here every day. I shall support the amendment. I am surprised at the attitude of Senator Higgs. From the knowledge which he possesses he ought to support an amendment of this description. He must know that the proposed adjournment will really save money to the Commonwealth.
– I said it would. I mentioned that the Tariff Commission would get the services of the Hansard reporters.
– Then, in the interests of the Commonwealth, it is my honorable friend’s duty fo support the’ adjournment for three weeks. It would be very selfish to prevent any honorable senators visiting their homes when an adjournment would not interfere with the work of the country, but, on the contrary, would be the means of saving a little money to the tax-payers.
– - I have no desire to interfere with the convenience of the Queensland and Western Australian senators, who have told us that a fortnight’s adjournment would be useless to them. But I am opposed to all such adjournments, and should like to see the motion defeated. If, however, there is tobe an adjournment, we may as well meet the convenience of as many honorable senators as we can. Trouble of this kind will constantly arise while successive Governments take up the same attitude towards the Senate as the present Government does. Untilwe have another portfolioed Minister in the Senate, we shall never be satisfactorily treated. While I have a high appreciation of the work of the two Ministers who are in charge of business here, I think that a proper share of legislative business is no!) being initiated in this Chamber, as would be the case if we had two Ministers with portfolios here. The Bill that is occupying the attention of another place to-day might just as well have been introduced in the Senate. Although we are told that there is a constitutional difficulty about initiating the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill, I am not sure that that difficulty could not have been got over either by submitting a declaratory resolution or in some other way.
– The honorable senator should recollect that all the principal Home Affairs measures were originated here last year.
– B - But those measures were not contentious. The Amending Electoral Bill, for instance, cannot be said to have been a- contentious measure. Nothing like the same number of contentious measures have bean introduced into the Senate as were initiated here in the first . session of the first Parliament. I am opposed to an adjournment for any term.
– I see no necessity for the Senate to adjourn. A forecast appeared in the Australian newspapers prior to the commencement of this session, from which most of us were under the impression that there would be a considerable amount of work to do. We drew the inference that there would be sufficient to keep both Houses going. We have had only six meeting days, and we are now informed that there is practical ly nothing for us to do. If that is the way in which business is to be conducted, the ultimate effect will be that very few senators from distant parts of the Commonwealth will think it worth while to come to Melbourne until a month or two after Parliament has been called together. They will simply say, “ Judging from previous experience, it it of no use to go down to Melbourne for a week or two. There is bound to be an adjournment after a few days.” Theresult willbe that the Senate will be looked’ upon as a great deal worse than many Upper Houses are in the States. It is the fault of the Government, that we have not enough work to do. It is their business to furnish measures for us to discuss. I am well aware that there are only half as many senators as there are members of the House of Representatives, but it must be recollected that while: we sit only about seven hours per day, three days a week, the other place sits eight and ten hours, sometimes longer, four days a week. In spite of what has been said as to suiting the convenience of some honorable senators, it is quite outside the duty of this Senate to arrange its. business in accordance with the distance from Melbourne that some of us happen to. live. We are selected to do the work of the country. I can quite conceive of a senator from Western Australia living, perhaps at Broome, or somewhere in the far north. An adjournment for any time less than two months would not enable him to go home. It is not the duty of the Senate, in arranging its business, to consider where senators live. I shall vote against any adjournment.
Question - That the word “eleventh,” proposed to be left out, be left out - put The Senate divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That the word “ eighteenth “ be inserted - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday, eighteenth July - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 21st June(vide page 534), on motion by Senator O’Keefe-
That, in the opinion of the Senate, as the introduction of the microbes proposed by Dr. Danysz for the destruction of rabbits in the State of New South Wales may prove inimical to humanand other animal life of Australia, it should not be permitted except for laboratory experiments, until such time as Parliament or the Government, if Parliament is not in session, is satisfied that outside experiments will be harmless.
– I do not know that the motion means so much, now that it has been amended, as it meant before. I could understand the arguments that are used by some honorable senators if they referred to land held in very small areas in places where an industry has been created by therabbits as a commercial commodity. But, from the point of view of other States interested, the rabbit pest is a very large and important question. We are told that there are a number of men employed in the rabbit industry in New South Wales and Victoria, but in Queensland there is no industry in this connexion except that which is carried on by men altogether employed in the destruction of rabbits as a pest. No question of food supply arises in Queensland ; while millions of rabbits are destroyed in that State, not one goes into consumption as food or as a means of supplying skins or fur.
– No wonder the people are poor in Queensland !
– I do not know that they are quite as poor as are the people in the State which Senator McGregor represents. At any rate, at one time Queens land had the greatest debt per head in Australia, but that honour, I think, is now enjoyed by South Australia, which is to that extent poorer than any other State of the Union. The rabbit pest has come to Queensland, not from the coast, but from South Australia and New South Wales. Possibly the country over which the rabbits previously ran was so bad that they, like other animals, migrated to where they could obtain the best food supply. Anything that can be done to relieve our big primary industries from this plague would do a great deal of good to Australia as a whole, putting aside those employedin catching and preparing rabbits for export or consumption within the Commonwealth. Up to the present time Queensland has expended a very large amount in its efforts to cope with this pest. I have figures supplied in the annual report of the Queensland Department of Public Lands for 1904; and it appears that the estimated length of all rabbit-proof fences at the end of that year was: - Government border fences, 732 miles; Board fences, 5,250 miles; pastoral lessees’ fences, estimated, 7,825 miles; grazing selectors’ fences, estimated, 1,655 miles - a total of 15,462 miles. All this fencing has been erected with the object of coping with the pest, and, in addition, the keeping of the fencing in order has involved considerable expenditure. During the last few months there have been floodsin that part of the country, and, in order to repair the breakaways, a number of men, in addition to the ordinary boundary riders employed by the Rabbit Boards, and others, have had to be engaged. These breakaways are a source of considerable danger, because they may leave it open to the rabbits to invade country which may be regarded as to some extent clean. According to the same report, the total cost of the measures taken against the rabbit pest in Queensland is, approximately, as follows: - Cost of border fences, £199,424 ; loans to Boards, £49,884 ; netting supplied to Boards, £165,346 ; assessments on run -holders, £427,250; interest paid by run-holders - on netting tothe value of £98,916 3s. 4d., supplied by the Government - and paid over to the Board, £28,631 ; Central Board expenditure, £90,536 ; cost of private fences over and above the cost of ordinary fences, estimated, £335,000 - a total of £1,296,071.
– And that expenditure is still being added to.
– That is so, and? not a penny-piece has been realized in Queensland from rabbits as a commercial commodity. This question was raised last year, and it was pointed out that in such country as that to which I refer,where land is held in very large areas, it is almost useless to attempt to cope with the pest until their is sub-division. It may be comparatively easy to deal with the pest in settled districts, where 5,000 acres is considered a large holding; but in southern Queensland, where one run may comprise 2,500 or 3,000 miles of country, considerable expenditure must be undertaken. We have experienced great difficulty in Queensland, and the cry of the damage caused by rabbits has frequently been raised by some persons with a view of getting their land from the Crown at a reduced rental. As the result of the drought, and the invasion of the State by rabbits, the rental value of land in Queensland has been reduced, and the revenue has suffered by the re-appraisement of land so visited. The havoc wrought by the rabbit pest, as well as by seasons of drought, has caused an area more than half the size of Victoria to be thrown up. I think it is reasonable to provide1 that, as long as the introduction of these microbes might prove inimical to human and other animal life in Australia, we should keep a firm hand on the. experiments ; but I am glad that the motion has been amended by Senator O’Keefe. As it stands, it will enable steps to be taken to rid Australia of the rabbit pest, in She event of the experiments proving satisfactory, and I do not think any one who is familiar with the back country of the Commonwealth, would hesitate to say that every rabbit here should be destroyed,
; - - I have only to say in reply that I trust the motion will be carried. Those who have opposed it have done so only on the ground that we should not prevent the experiments being carried on outside the laboratory, as soon as it has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of all parties that experiments so conducted would be harmless. I think that the motion, as amended, ought to meet the views of these honorable senators. If the scientists appointed to watch the proceedings on behalf of the Government are satisfied that experiments conducted outside the laboratory would be harmless, the motion will not prevent the adoption of that course.
– There would be nothing except a vote by Parliament.
– I - In the circumstances, I do not think Parliament would be likely to interfere.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.]
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 4.22 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 22 June 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060622_senate_2_31/>.