2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice - .
-The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
If the Government will, this session, submit to Parliament for its consideration, all reports of the Tariff Commission presented oh or before the 31st of August next?
– Yes, if possible.
– Upon that answer, which is not an answer to my question, I desire to ask the Minister if the Government will indicate any definite date at which it will submit to Parliament, for its consideration, any reports that up to that time have been presentedby the Tariff Commission?
-I cannot answer that question without having consulted my colleagues. I would ask the honorable senator to give notice of thequestion.
– I beg to give notice of thequestion for to-morrow.
– It is too late now for thehonorable senator to give notice of a question.
asked’ the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to amend the Post and Telegraph Act during the present session in such a way as to provide for the transmission of Hansard through the Post Office at newspaper rates?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
This matter has been noted for consideration in connexion with any amendment of the Post and Telegraph Act which may be found necessary.
– That is not a reply.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster- General, upon notice -
– The whole matter is now under consideration.
Motion (by Senator Stewart) agreed to-
That there be laid upon the table of the Senate a return of the expenses incurred in connexion with transfers of officers of the various Departments in the several States in each financial year since Federation ; and showing the amounts expended ontrain. steamer, coach, and other fares respectively ; also on conveyance of furniture and effects.
– If the honorable senator does not move the motion when it is called on, it will disappear from the notice-paper.
Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following papers: -
Report on the bursting of M.L.E. Rifles, by C. Napier Hake, F.I.C., and Thomas R. Lyle, M.A., D.Sc.
Report by tlie Director of the Naval Forces 011 the Naval Defence of the Commonwealth of Australia, for the year 1905.
Annual Report for the year 1905, by the InspectorGeneral of the Commonwealth Military Forces, Major-General H. Finn.
Report by the Military Board for the year 1905.
The Clerk laid upon the table the following paper : -
Return to order of Senate : Travelling ex;penses of General Officer Commanding and State Commandants.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
I trust that, if possible, honorable senators will allow the Bill to be read a second time this afternoon, so that there may be a chance of getting it passed this session if it should command a majority in both Houses. It is not a very lengthy or very important measure, and therefore I do nol propose to occupy very much time in explaining its provisions. It provides that if a voting machine be approved of by the electoral authorities, then both Houses may, by resolution, authorize its use at approved polling places. It would be a singular thing if, with all the advances in machinery, the inventive geniuses of those countries in which representative government obtains were not trying to discover some less cumbersome, more economical, and safer me’ hod of voting than the somewhat oldfashioned methods which are in vogue in various countries. Australia is, of course, very proud of the fact that practically she originated the secret ballot, but I do not think it can be said that that is the epitome of nil wisdom in methods of voting, and that we shall never get beyond that point. In this country and the United States there have been minds at work perfecting machines for recording votes at elections. In some of the cities and States in the United States voting machines are in actual use, and with satisfactory results. In ‘this country several voting machines have been patented, and some of them have stood very severe tests. Honorable senators have had an opportunity of seeing some of them at work within the precincts of this building, and apparently they met all the tests which could be applied to them.
– What is the particular purpose of the voting machine ?
– It automatically records each vote, and counts the votes, so that immediately after an election is concluded, one can see the number of votes recorded for each candidate in a certain portion of the machine, which, of course, is locked up during the progress of the election, the keys being in the possession of the returning officer.
– It mightdestroy the secrecy of the ballot if it were opened.
– Not more so than in the case of a ballot-box. If the returning officer wished to outrage the secrecy of the ballot he could open a ballot-box.
– There is a possibility of danger where there are two systems in use.
– There is just as much possibility of a returning officer opening a ballot-box as of his opening a voting machine. In the case of some of these machines the plate which covers the numbers could be kept sealed by the returning officer just as he seals a ballot-box. He would have to break the seal in order to open the plate which discloses the number of votes recorded, just as he would have to break the seal of a ballot-box. So that if there is any objection to foe urged on that score it applies equally to both systems
– The ballot-paper would not be the same in each case.
– There are no ballotpapers in the case of a voting machine. There is nothing in the objection, because if a returning officer wished to do so he could just as easily open a bo lot-box as a voting machine.
– There are machines which apparently meet all objections.
– Yes. Two voting machines have been in actual operation within the precincts of the ‘building. Honorable senators were invited to put them to every test, and apparently they failed to find any flaw in them. I recognise, however, that before any voting machine could be adopted the electoral authorities would ‘have to toe thoroughly satisfied that it met all requirements. So far as I have been able to learn, the. only objection made by the electoral authorities to the use of the machines - I have been told this unofficially - was that there cannot be a recount of the votes in the case of a dispute. That objection overlooks the fact that there is noi’ the same necessity for a recount when a machine is used, as when ballot-papers are employed, because with a machine the counting goes on automatically, and there are no informal votes. There can be no fault in the counting, because it is done automatically, -and in the case of some machines a bell is struck as soon as a vote is recorded. Consequently, if the mechanism got out of order, the returning officer would immediately know it. Therefore, there is not the same necessity for a recount when a machine is used as in the case of ballotpapers, where the accuracy of the count’ depends upon those who are conducting it. If honorable senators will turn to Vol. I. of the Papers of the House of Representatives for the session 1904 they will find the report of the Select Committee appointed to inquire into the conduct of elections held under the Electoral Act. The possibility of voting machines being used at elections was brought under the notice of that Committee, and four representatives of inventors gave evidence, and explained the working of their machines. The Committee, in its report, page 323, section 18, said: -
In considering the complaints of delay in expediting the making up of results of elections, your Committee took evidence as to the use of voting machines. Several different mechanical contrivances were placed before the Committee by Messrs. King Hedley, F. A. Peters, J. F. Higgins, and Horace Harding. It is apparent “that such contrivances may be of great value to populous polling-places in securing economy, expedition in the making up of results, and avoid-‘ ancc of informalities; but for various reasons -they are difficult to utilize in the outlying dis.tricts. Your Committee are not in a position to adjudicate satisfactorily upon the practical results of the use of such contrivances in other countries, or upon the value of the respective machines submitted to them, but consider that the Electoral Department should institute immediate inquiries to see if it is possible to adopt any of the machines in the large centres of population. The adoption would, of course, need statutory authority.
One of the representatives of the machines, Mr. King Hedley, gave evidence which is reported on page 407. He was examined as to the practicability of employing voting” machines under our present system, cr with the block vote, or with the preferential system of voting. He explained fully the use of his machine, and said, in answer to question 974, put to him by Mr. Fowler -
Any information which I give to the Committee may be authenticated by application to the proper authorities in the United States. The total vote passed at elections in Buffalo usually represents about 64 per cent, of the electors. When the ballot-papers were in use there were 165 electoral districts in that city, and the number of voters in each district ranged from 300 to 500. When the voting machines were installed, the number of districts were reduced to 108, and each contained from 500 to 800 electors.
Then he gave the cost of holding elections previous to the introduction of the machines, as compared with the cost after their introduction. The total cost from 1895 to 1898 was $198,514. For the four succeeding years, when electoral machines were in use, the total cost of elections was $130,000, or $68,000 less than under the ballot system. Mr. Joseph F. Higgins explained that the cost of the machine which he represented was about £12. Mr. Horace Harding explained that the machines in which he was interested could be supplied at from -£7 to each. It will be recognised that one of the chief items of cost in the conduct of elections is the printing of ballot-papers. If we were able to introduce a machine to meet all the requirements, it would be cheaper, there would be fewer officers, to be employed in the conduct of elections, and as soon as the polling, had ceased the returning officer immediately on opening the machine could give out the number of votes recorded. The consequence would be that as soon as the election was completed, the result would be known. On these grounds we are, I think, justified1 in giving to the electoral authorities power to make the necessary inquiries, when if they are satisfied they can come to Parliament and enable us to say that the approved machine shall be used in the conduct of our elections. One other amendment is made in the electoral law by means qf this Bill. It is one of considerable importance. It will be recollected that when the first Electoral Bill came before Parliament, in order to prevent slanderous printed matter being circulated’ prior to an election, a provision was inserted - section 180 of the Act of 1902 - which was intended to sheet home to those who were guilty of such practices, the re- sponsibility for the publication of the slanders. Section 180 reads -
In addition to bribery and undue influence, the following shall be illegal practices - (<z) Any publication of any electoral advertisement, handbill, or pamphlet, or any issue of any electoral notice without at the end thereof the name and address of the person authorizing the same, and on the face of the notice the name and address of the person authorizing the notice.
The next paragraph, b, is similar except that the following words are inserted between brackets - [Other than an advertisement in a .newspaper.]
It was held that if a pamphlet or handbill were issued without a printer’s name it would be impossible to trace the author, but in the case of the newspaper there were means of finding out the publisher. In the case of the newspaper there was some guarantee that some one would be responsible for the slander or libel. When the amending Bill was being dealt with in r905> paragraph a was amended to make it read similarly with paragraph b ; that is to say, section 57 of the amending Bill was made to read as follows : -
Section 180 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting in paragraph (a), after the word “ advertisement,” “ other than- an advertisement announcing the holding of a meeting in a newspaper.”
– What is meant by “ the holding of a meeting in a newspaper “ ?
– It is the advertisement in the newspaper that is referred to. But a mistake was made when those words were inserted. We did not say that the words should be put in brackets, as they are in paragraph b of section 180 of the principal Act. The result is that not only have we excluded newspaper advertisements, tout we have also excluded all classes of advertisements, placards, handbills, pamphlets, and everything else. By inserting those words .without brackets we defeated the very object at which we were aiming, and we have made it possible for a person to issue placards, handbills, or anything of the kind without hindrance. What we intended to do was to make an exception of an advertisement in a newspaper, but we did not carry out our intention, simply because we did not insert the words in brackets in conformity with paragraph b of section 180.
– The honorable senator’s amending Bill does not make the point very clear.
– I think it does.
– It is badly drafted, that is all.
– The drafting is not mine. I point out 10 the honorable senator that all the Bill does is to amend the Act of 1905 by inserting a bracket at the beginning and the end of the words “ other than an advertisement announcing the holding of a meeting in a newspaper.” I trust that honorable senators will see that thereis serious reason for this amendment, because in the amending Act of 1905, we have practically repealed the legislation of the Act of 1902. It is absolutely essential that we should have some safeguard against highly objectionable practices. I need not detain the Senate longer. I recognise that there is not a great deal to be said on the subject. With regard to votingmachines, the Bill merely gives a permissive power to our electoral authorities, placing them in the position of being ableto make inquiries, and to test any machinethat any inventive genius may bring: before them. If they find a machinethat will answer all the requirements they can take steps to have it adopted. Themachine which was at work in the precinctsof this Chamber some time ago was the invention of two gentlemen named Stacey and’ Adare, and every one who saw it was convinced of its effectiveness, of its secrecy, and of the expedition and economy withwhich elections could be conducted by its means. I have much pleasure in moving; the second reading of the Bill.
– The honorable senator who has introduced this Bill endeavoured, when the Bill amending the Electoral Act was before the Senate, to introduce provisions ‘having the same object as the first clause of this new Bill - namely, the adoption of voting machines, if both Houses of the Parliament, by resolution, approved of” them. On that occasion, I indicated that there was no objection on the part of theGovernment to the inclusion of his amendment, because it was of a purely permissivecharacter. There was nothing obligatory in it. It left the whole matter perfectly open to the Government of the day to investigate the merits of any voting machinethat might be submitted, and even if the Government approved of a machine, the whole responsibility of its adoption for election purposes was left with Parliament. Therefore, I think, that the criticism that I then offered to the clauses the honorable senator sought to introduce is equally applicable to this Bill. With reference to clause 3 of the measure, making provision for an amendment of section 51 of our last Electoral Act - which amended section 180 of the main Act - I may say that the particular defect referred to has already been under the notice of the Attorney-General’s Department, which has had in hand the preparation of an amendment to the same effect as that intended by clause 3 in the Bill now before us. So far, therefore, I can see no reason for opposing the Bill. At the same time, I would point out to Senator Pearce that the provisions of our Electoral Act - that is, of the original Act and of the amending Act of last session - contemplate, of course, the existence of ballotboxes, ballot-papers, and all other appurtenances of our present system of voting. Of course, if such a thing as a voting machine were hereafter adopted, it might or might not be necessary to expressly repeal those particular provisions which would be out of harmony with the system that would then be in vogue. However, I do not anticipate that there would be any inconsistency ; and we could possibly adopt machines, if necessary allowing the present provisions applicable to the system of voting now observed, to have no operation or effect.
– The provisions applicable to the present system might be required for less populous districts.
– The measure before us is purely permissive. Speaking on behalf of the Government, all I have to say is that there is no desire to oppose the Bill, nor is there any particular inclination to adopt it. So far as the last clause is concerned, the Government do desire to rectify that particular defect in the existing Act. But. in so far as the Bill is purely permissive, and not obligatory, it is in no sense a party measure from the point of view of the Government.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.2]. - I do not quite understand the attitude of the Government, who declare that thev are not in favour of the Bill, and not against it. The_ uninitiated look to the Government for guidance in a great question of the kind.
– The Government say that there is no departmental objection to the Bill.
– When Senator Keating rose to address himself to the measure so ably expounded by Senator Pearce, I thought he would have assisted us, or that he would have held up a beacon indicating which way we were to go. Until some such light is held up, I can only say that the Bill appears to me to be very harmless, for, although it deals with an important matter, or affects an important matter, it decides or determines nothing. Anything that would facilitate and make more perfect the method of recording votes at elections - and putting an end to or lessening the possibility of error or informality - is very desirable; but I would1 rather Senator Pearce had waited until he could embody in a measure the determination of Parliament to adopt voting machines, or some voting machine, for the purpose of parliamentary elections. The Bill is really a kind of pious enactment; it places it on record that Parliament may ‘hereafter do something, though Parliament may do that something without the necessity of placing the measure on the statute-book. The Bill merely provides that if both Houses of Parliament, bv resolution, approve of a 5VS.tem of voting by machinery, then the polling at any prescribed polling, places may be conducted without the use of ballotpapers.
– The discrimination is the difficulty ; there would be two systems.
– That is a difficulty on which I intend to say a word. As to the adoption of machine voting, the Bill determines nothing; but it does pledge us to discrimination. Perhaps Senator Pearce may eliminate that part of the Bill, and leave the matter to regulation or subsequent determination. According to the Bill certain polling places may be selected at which voting machines shall be used, while all the other polling places in a division or constituency mav be subject to the existing system. That is a proposal which ought to receive very grave attention if the Senate thinks the measure of sufficient value to warrant it being placed on the statute-book. Is it desirable that one State’s system of voting should be used at one polling place and another system of voting at another polling place?
– That may or may not be desirable ; I am merely putting the question to myself and to the Senate, and Senator Stewart may be able to give some reasons why discrimination is desirable. I myself am not sufficiently informed of the details to express an opinion as to the advantage or disadvantage of the proposal. I think, however, -that honorable senators will agree that this is a very grave and vital incidence in a Bill of this description. As I have said, the Bill itself, as to machine voting, pledges us to nothing ; when the resolutions are introduced, Parliament may or may not approve of voting machines, or any particular machine. But, indirectly, we are placing on the statute-book a law that, in the event of voting machines being adopted, they may be employed at one polling place, and not at another. Senator Keating indicated that, of course, the Bill, if passed, would be of no use for the impending elections ; and, therefore, there is no particular reason why the Ball should be placed on the statute-book this session, or at all for the matter of that. _ Senator Keating is not sure, and neither am I, that the present regulations would be applicable to the use of voting machines, amd I direct attention to the fact that even if the resolutions were passed during this session, the regulations, which must be issued subsequently, would have to be laid before Parliament for thirtyone days, and to be subject, of course, to the approval or disapproval by Parliament of the whole or any part of them. For the reasons already suggested, with the addition of the reason just stated, it is quite obvious that the Bill could be of no service for the coming elections ; and I ask whether it is worth while to pass a measure which does not pledge us to the adoption of the system desired bv Senator Pearce, but does incidentally pledge us in regard to a question requiring very grave consideration - namely, whether we ought to continue two systems concurrently, using a machine at one set of poll ing- pi aces, and carrying on the ordinary system at the other.
– I gather from the remarks of Senator Keating and Senator Symon that, while they see no disadvantage in the Bill, they fail to see any advantage.
– The only disadvantage I see is the discrimination.
– I desire to point out what appears to me to be a great disadvan tage in passing declarations of this kind. We have a regular recognised practice of legislation; and this Bill seems to be a new departure, the effect of which must be, itf the precedent be followed, to multiply the legislation on our statute-book by the addition of Acts which can have no vital force or effect until Parliament does something else. Is lit a business proposal to encumber our statute-book and records, and to occupy out time by enacting, what we know to be already the fact, that if at some future time the sovereign Parliament likes to do something it may ?
– There is also the suggested amendment of the Electoral Act.
– I am dealing with the major portion of the Bill, which relates to voting machines. I address this criticism as a firm believer in the practicability of voting machines, and as one who thinks- the time has arrived when the Government might arrange for some experiment in this connexion on an extended scale. I take it that before the people would be content to intrust to a machine the counting of the votes cast, they would desire to have some very severe test made under actual working conditions. Senator Pearce would have done better service towards the introduction of machines - in which I believe as heartily as he does - had he submitted a proposal in the form df a motion to have a voting machine, or several machines, tested. That could be done without any great difficulty at one of the ordinary elections. That is to say, there could be the ordinary booth, at which the electors could vote under the existing law, and they might then be invited to walk into an adjoining booth, and vote by machine at a mock election. No doubt a large number of citizens would oblige to that extent, and it would not be a costly experiment. At the end of the day it could be determined whether the machine had carried on its work properly and well. Although I am a firm believer in the voting machine, I should hesitate to subject a constituency to the possibility of a second election until , under such conditions as I have indicated, its efficiency had been thoroughly demonstrated. I say this to show that I am not opposing the measure owing to any want of faith in a voting machine, or because I do not approve of the object Senator Pearce has in view. My objection to the measure arises solely from the fact that, if we legislate by a declaration such as this, we might as well do so in regard to every measure, for instance, I might propose that if at any future time Parliament decided to carry a resolution in favour of free-trade, free-trade should prevail. There would be as much justification for a Bill of that kind, as for the Bill before us, which Senator Pearce must see does not help forward his idea in any way.
– It has been a frequent practice to anticipate action being taken by resolution rather than by Bill.
– Only when it has been decided that a certain thing should be done.
– That is so; just as it frequently happens that when in a Bill a date is inserted on which it shall operate action is suspended. That, however, is entirely different from a Bill of this kind, which merely declares -that if at” some future time Parliament arrives at a certain decision, effect shall be given to that decision. Senator Pearce, having initiated the proposal, I ask him whether there is any advantage in proceeding with a Bill which neither helps nor retards the project, but leaves the Parliament as free six months or six years hence as it is to-day.
– Senator Keating furnished the most effective argument in opposition to the Bill when he declared that, while he saw no good he saw no harm in it. Are we to waste our time in dealing with such measures? I should be sorry to oppose any reform or improvement in our electoral methods ; and I believe that what Senator Pearce desires is a simplification of the manner of recording votes. The great blot in the measure is that it applies only in a partial way - that we are to have different systems at different polling places - and that the discrimination is to be left in the hand of returning officers, or, possibly, in the hands of Ministers.
– What danger is there in that?
– There may or mav not be any great danger. At some polling places there is a comparatively small number of electors, and the great principle we have adopted, and intend to preserve, is the secrecy of the ballot. How can we effectively observe or protect the secrecy of the ballot if we use a machine, which takes a record of only one particular place, and does not permit of the record being blended with the records of other places ?
– What does that mean ?
– Under the Bill the machine may be used at any prescribed polling place, and I am inclined 10 believe that if it were used at a polling place at which a comparatively small number of votes were recorded, and ballot boxes were used at other polling places in the same district, the effect might be to interfere to a certain extent with the secrecy of the ballot. What we should all like to see is an improvement of our electoral law, which would provide for even greater secrecy than is now secured. I remember that on one occasion a candidate in Tasmania professed to have discovered at an election that there were exactly 200 liars in a particular polling district, because he had been promised 202 votes in that district and only two had been recorded for him.
– Does the honorable senator say that no machine can safeguard the secrecy of the ballot?
– I do not say anything of the kind, but if a voting machine were used at one polling, place and the ordinary ballot papers at another, when the returns were brought together at a common centre, it might be possible to discover how electors using the machine had voted. If it were used at a place where only a few votes were recorded, and all in one direction, the secrecy of the ballot would be destroyed. The question of electoral reform is a very great and important one, and, I think, should not be tinkered with lightly and without serious consideration.
– Does the honorable senator say that I introduced this Bill without consideration ?
– No ; I do not. Tt is only a very small Bill, and is, perhaps, so small that it will noi receive the consideration which the importance of the question with which it deals demands. I am very much in accord with the honorable senator’s desire for an improvement of existing methods in the conduct of our elections. That is a matter in reference to which there is great room for improvement. For instance, in connexion with the ensuing general elections we have made no provision to give, effect to the principle of elec- tion by the majority which we have already adopted, though I may say that I do not approve of that principle. I look upon the Bill as a chip in porridge, and I shall have to vote against, it.
– - When we were last’ discussing an amendment of the Electoral Act, I supported a proposal submitted to enable parliamentary elections ‘to be conducted with the aid of the most improved voting machine that could be obtained. I am prepared now to support this Bill. I certainly fail to understand Senator Mulcahy’s argument that the use of these machines might lead to the destruction of the secrecy -of the ballot in particular constituencies. What difference would there be in that respect between the use of a voting machine, and the use of the ordinary ballot box? Under the present system, a number of ballot boxes may be used iri different parts of an electoral division, and when the ballot papers are inspected, it may be found that Brown, Jones, and Smith have each received so many votes. If the electors recording those votes had used a voting machine, it would have recorded exactly the same facts. The use of a voting machine would not in any way interfere with the secrecy of the ballot. The persons who had charge of the voting machine which was submitted for our inspection in this building clearly demonstrated that everything necessary could be done with such a machine to correctly record all the votes cast. It was also demonstrated that the Electoral Officer could as effectively prevent any interference with the operation of the machine as he can at present prevent interference with voters under the existing system. He can seal a ballot box. but he could also seal a voting machine. There is no reason why the votes recorded in such a machine should be visible to an one ; but the officers in charge, and the scrutineers. The point mentioned bv Senator Pearce as to the considerable expense periodically incurred for the printing of ballot papers is worthy of consideration, and if bv the introduction of voting machines we are able to considerably reduce, or entirely avoid, the expense of printing ballot-papers, we should certainly do so. I see no reason why an effort should not be made to use these machines at the earliest opportunity possible. If we continue to resist their introduction we shall, I suppose, as usual, go on from generation to generation, setting our faces against alE progress. This Bill affords us an opportunity to introduce these machines, and weshould take advantage of it.
– I point out to the last speaker that in. this Bill it is not proposed to take advantage of the opportunity te which he refers. It is not a Bill to provide for voting by machinery, but merely a proposal that Parliament may at another time consider such a measure.
– It says that Parliament mav approve of a particular machine. I do not? think that the honorable senator can have read the Bill.
– The Bill doesnot enjoin upon Parliament the necessity of considering the question of using thesemachines. It says nothing but that, by resolution at some subsequent stage, both Houses of Parliament may agree to theadoption of a voting machine. Our statutebooks are unnecessarily heavily loaded. It is always a misfortune when new Statutesare added to the number of those with which our citizens require to be acquainted.. That is a misfortune even where the new Statutes are necessary, but it is a greatermisfortune if they are unnecessary. Without expressing any opinion on the merits, or demerits of voting machines, because I do not know enough on the subject, I think it is highly probable that the amount which would be required to purchase one of thesemachines would involve an interest chargeas great as the expense of the periodicalprinting of ballot-papers which is at present necessary.
– The information wehave does not show that.
– We have no very complete information on the subject. After all, the printing of ballot-papers is comparatively inexpensive, and if we are to conduct elections over a very large area bv machinery the first cost of thenecessary machines will be very great.
– Under the Bill voting, machines need not . necessarily be used inevery electoral division.
– That is rather an objection than a merit in the Bill. If it is desirable to vote by machinery, it seems to me that it is desirable that thevoting should be entirely by machinery. We are being asked to discuss the question without sufficient information from thehonorable senator who has introduced the Bill, or from any one else, and we are being asked to add to the Statutes of the Commonwealth, which are already very numerous, one which I think is entirely unnecessary.
– The object of the Bill is to say that Parliament may hereafter discuss something.
– I have said so. Senator Pearce is proposing, quite unnecessarily, that Parliament may do something by-and-bv if it chooses. That, I think, goes without saying.
– The Constitution provides for it.
– Having said it in the Constitution, it is not necessary that we should say it again in a specific Statute. With the greatest possible regard for Senator Pearce, and with very great respect for his industry arid ability, I shall be called upon to vote against what is, to my mind, an entirely unnecessary measure.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [3.29]- - It is an exceedingly difficult thing to imagine that there will ever be constructed a machine so perfect that it will give satisfaction to all parties concerned in so delicate a matter as the conduct of public elections. I direct the attention of Senator Pearce, and honorable senators who support the Bill, to the fact that at the present time, in the capital of a neighbouring State, there is a condition of great turmoil existing in connexion with a widely extended tramway system, over the working of a brake, which is supposed to be as absolutely perfect a piece of machinery as any that human ingenuity has ever devised. But the persons who are working the brake declare that it is anything but perfect.
– Do not their opinions count ?
– I am not discussing whether their opinions count or not.
– The objection of those who work the brake is that when it fails they cannot detect the failure. In the case of the voting machine, however, the failure could be detected at once.
– The Bill does nol provide for that.
– I am pointing out that, while an electrically-worked’ machine which has been in use on both sides of the world for many years, and is supposed to be absolutely perfect, is denounced as imperfect and unreliable, we are now asked by Senator Pearce, without the safeguards which surround the passing of a Bill through its many stages - by a hurryscurry kind of process, very ‘likely by a snatch division - to authorize the use at a future date of some undefined, and, up to the present, undiscovered machine, which, when it was put into operation, would no doubt be found to be quite as unreliable as was the electrical brake. I am quite sure that those who support the Bill will not see anything in my past life as a Member of Parliament, to warrant the supposition that I am opposed to the introduction of new ideas. I think that the statute-book of my State will furnish a convincing reply to’ any accusation of that kind. But, if we are going to have an innovation qf the kind proposed, I would prefer that it should be brought about by Bill. There should be the fullest discussion,’ without the possibility of a snap division, before we authorize the introduction of a system which, if it did not work with unfailing accuracy, might produce the most unjust and serious consequences.
– It might put us out. Look at that.
– I did not know that with the” majority which the honorable senator and I had we need imagine that the adoption of a voting machine would work sufficiently wrongfully to put us out.
– We do not know what machines can do.
– I have never been a creature of a political machine, and I am not very well up in political machinery.
– The honorable senator did very well at the last election.
– I did not know anything about any political machine at the last election, or at any other time.
– The honorable senator was on a good printing machine last time. The Sydney Morning Herald was his machine.
– I must ask the honorable senator not to be led away by irrelevant interjections.
– I have nothing to do with the Svdney Morning Herald. I should be verv glad to think that I had, because it is just about as good a wealthproducing appliance as is the best gold-mine in Western Austraia. I join issue with those who say that the Bill could not do any harm. It clearly could do no good, but it might do harm, and, though I’ do not like to vote against its second reading, I am afraid that I shall have to do so, until the proposition of machine voting is placed upon a more satisfactory and business-like basis than is proposed by the Bill.
– - I find that a good many of my honorable friends are going to part company with me on this occasion, for I intend to support the second reading of the Bill. I am looked upon by some foolish persons as a Tory, but whenever a good proposal is made I am willing to support its adoption. I have had the pleasure of seeing a voting machine at work, and it seemed to me to be as nearly perfect as is possible.
– For the same reason as Senator Walker has given, I propose to support the second reading of the Bill. I have seen several voting machines at work, and, so far as I am able to judge, I think that one of them is quite, perfect. I should like to see the Bill passed, in order to encourage inventors to give to the people a machine which would effectually do away with the mistakes which are so frequently made at elections, and so avoid the heavy cost which is incurred by the Commonwealth on such occasions.
– While I confess that, so far as I know, a voting machine has not yet been invented which would, perhaps, gain our confidence, I do not see why we should not devise a means of testing a voting machine which might be invented. At all times electoral reform is a very laudable proposition, and one which Parliament should always be ready to further. We should have upon our statute-book a law whereby, if a satisfactory machine were invented, it could be tested, or its merits discussed in Parliament. That, I take it, is all that Senator Pearce proposes to do by the Bill.
– The Government can always do that by an administrative act.
– I do not think that the. Government would take that course so readily as they would if they had direct authority from Parliament. The Bi 11, if passed, would be an instruction to Ministers to look into these matters and try to improve upon the present cumbersome system of voting. Any one has only to visit a polling booth on election day, in a big centre, to recognise at once that it could be improved upon. The object of this measure is to encourage inventors to persevere with their discoveries, and for that reason I intend to support its second reading. I admit that it would be a mistake to adopt a voting machine before it had been proved to be trustworthy. At the same time, I think that we ought to pave the way for the adoption of an improvement upon our electoral system.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [3.39]. - Even at the risk of being regarded by Senator Walker as having very conservative tendencies, I feel that it will be my duty to vote against the second reading of the Bill. It has been pointed out that all it really does is to call upon the Government to hold an inquiry into the merits of voting machines. I ask Senator Pearce to consider whether it would not be possible for him to attain his end by submitting a motion requesting the Government to hold such an inquiry, and then, if the results were satisfactory, either a Minister or a private member of Parliament could submit a proposal for the adoption of such a system of voting. It would have this advantage, that it would give the Senate an opportunity of judging how far the investigations would justify the adoption of the voting machine. It is always imperative that the utmost care should be taken to insure that votes are properly and correctly recorded. Suppose that the use of a voting machine were sanctioned. If by any chance it should fail at a polling place it would involve the electoral authorities in a great deal of trouble and difficulty. If it broke down after it had got half way through with its work it would be necessary to give the electors in. that polling district an opportunity of again recording their votes. But it might happen that some persons who had recorded their, votes on the machine had afterwards recorded their votes elsewhere, or that persons who had recorded their votes elsewhere might by some mischance, when a second poll was taken., then come in and record their votes. It would give an opportunity for double voting. I wish honorable senators to clearly understand! that I am opposed to the second reading of the Bill, not because I object to the proposed system of voting being adopted, but because I think that it would be premature to pass the Bill in the absence of the information which we ought to have before we decide to bring in a system which is entirely novel, and might not produce the beneficial results which we all desire.
– I recognise that I am paying the penalty of introducing a proposal which is new. At the same time I thank honorable senators for having paid the attention which they have to it. I am sorry that some of the critics of the Bill did not stay to listen, to my introductory remarks, and thai, having delivered_their own criticism, they have not remained to listen to my reply. I take it that honorable senators do not object to the Bill merely, because I am not in a position to recommend a particular voting machine. If they did it would be equivalent to saying that there must be an Act of Parliament to provide that a certain machine shall be adopted. Is that a feasible thing? Is the Senate the best body to judge the merits of any particular machine? Is not that a matter for the experts in the Electoral Department to determine? If that is the case, why do we need an Act of Parliament to specify a certain machine? That there are in existence machines which do fulfil all requirements no one would venture to deny. I am surprised that honorable senators have treated this proposal as if it had never been inquired into. Senator Trenwith, for instance, seemed1 to assume that, while some of us had investigated the merits of certain machines, Parliament as a body’ had practically ignored the question. In my opening speech I pointed out that these machines had been submitted to a Select Committee of the House of Representatives.
– It was not a Select Committee specially appointed to inquire into the merits of voting machines.
– I did not say that it was. It was not composed of novices. For the information of Senator Trenwith, I may mention that it was composed of Mr. Batchelor, who, as a State Minister, administered, I understand, an Electoral Act, and who has also been Minister of Home Affairs in the Commonwealth, Mr. Brown, Mr. Groom, who is today administering the Commonwealth Electoral Act, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Fowler, Sir William Lyne, who has had a long experience in State and Federal politics, Mr. Mauger, Mr. McDonald. Mr. McLean, -who has been Premier .of Victoria, and also a Commonwealth Minister, Mr. Poynton, Mr.
Sydney’ Smith, who is an old veteran, and Mr. Storrer.
– But the Select Committee made no recommendation regarding voting machines, except that inquiry should be made.
– The honorable senator is not correct. Two years hav.e elapsed; since the Committee of the House of Representatives reported. What is the positionnow? We are’ exactly where we were. I propose to give statutory authority for the use of voting machines, if the Senate passes, this Bill.
– This Bill does not give power to use the machines.
– The honorable senator will presently say that the sun is not shining. I say that it does give power. Senator Symon Kas argued that we should wait until we have an efficient machine. I point out that there are in existence a num-ber of machines the inventors of which are prepared to have them put to any test. But suppose Parliament came to the conclusion that one of those machines should be used, what would have to be done? Should we not still. have to pass a Bill giving authority for the use of the machines ?
– A resolution would have to be ‘ passed under this Bill.
– But there is a great- difference between passing an Act of Parliament and a resolution.
– A resolution is more” easily slipped through.
– It is more easily put through.
– I said “ slipped through.”
– Well, the Government have been trying for three days topass a resolution in the House of Representatives, and have not yet succeeded. What would have to be done if Parliament came to the conclusion that an absolutely perfect voting machine had been invented? We should have to wait for an Act of Parliament. I propose a simpler means. It may be in the interests of economy and of good electoral administration that a machine should’ be adopted. I quite agree that voting machines might be too cumbersome for use inmining camps. It might therefore be advisable to have two systems. But what objection is there to that? The only realobjection to the Bill has been pointed out by Senator Mulcahy, who said that, if voting machines were adopted, it might be possible to identify votes cast at small polling places. There is a large number of small voting places in the Commonwealth. The votes cast there could be put together before being counted, as they are now. It is not proposed to alter that system.
– Are not the ballotpapers from different polling places kept separate ?
– Where fewer than 100 votes are cast, they have to be mixed with other ballot-papers. This Bill does not alter that system. That is the only tangible objection that has been made, and it is easily removed. If it is found more economical to continue to use ballot-papers at small polling places, by all means let that be done. But if it is more speedy and better to employ voting machines in the more populous districts, what objection is there ? What objection is there to the form of this Bill? It merely says, in effect, that we are not the best judges whether a particular voting machine is the best to adopt. The electoral authorities are the best judges. I take it that what would happen if the Bill passed would be that the Government would ask the electoral authorities to institute a test. The coming election would afford a splendid opportunity. When the most perfect machine was ascertained, the Government could come to Parliament and secure the passing of a resolution adopting it.
– Could not the Government do that without this Bill?
– No. because the present method of voting is provided for in the Act.
– There is nothing to prevent the Government making an experiment.
– A certain system of voting is prescribed by the present law.
– If this Bill were passed, the Government could not adopt a particular machine.
– No, because this Bill lays it down that a machine may be substituted for the present method by resolution. Put there is no method in- existence by which the Government could institute a voting machine.
– The Government can carry on an experiment.
– I agree with that; but there is no need to carry on an experi ment if there is no power to adopt the machine which is approved. If this Bill is passed, the Government will have the necessary machinery to put into operation.
-Col. Gould. - Can the honorable senator give an estimate of the cost of supplying voting machines to the Commonwealth ?
– The price of the machines quoted to the Select Committee was from -£j to £12 each.
-Col. Gould. - There are 5,000 polling places in the Commonwealth.
– I am not saying that it would be advisable to adopt voting machines at all polling places, but that their use would be economical in the populous centres. In view of the amendment made by clause 3 of this ‘Bill, and in view of the intention of the Government, as stated by the Minister, to introduce a measure dealing with the same subject, it would be extremely unwise for the Senate to reject the Bill, even if there be a majority against the introduction of voting machines. I therefore suggest that the second reading should be agreed to, and that if there is a majority against voting machines the clauses relating to them should be struck out. Certainly an amendment should Le made in the existing Act on the lines indicated bv me. But I earnestly trust that the Senate will not only pass the second reading, but in Committee will agree to those clauses which <?ive the necessary power to allow of the introduction of “a more up-to-date and economical system of voting.
Question - That the Bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Aves … … … 13
Noes … … … 14
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator PULSFORD (New South
Wales) [3.59]. - I move -
That theBill be now read a secondtime.
The Bill which I have the honour to ask the Senate to read a second time, though small, is of considerable importance. I judge that any measure isof importance that deals with the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. This Bill is calculated to make our army, as a fighting machine, more efficient for the purposes for which it is established. It is on that around that I especially ask the support of the Senate. I am thoroughly alive to the feeling which I suppose every honorable senator entertains in favour of giving fullplay to personal liberty. But when we have before us the precedent of a liberty-loving nation such as the United States, with a population of 80,000,000, abolishing the canteen system. and doing their best to repress drinking customs in the army, we need not be alarmed by the statements made or the arguments used against the present proposal.
– This Bill will not prevent soldiers drinking, but it will prevent drinking in camp.
– It will drive the men outside to drink.
– This sort of legislation seems to give a good political advertisement to certain people.
-. - I daresay that honorable senators have heard of that eminent surgeon, Sir Frederick Treves, who was with the British troops during the South African war. In an address delivered at Westminster, Sir Frederick Treves, referring to his South African experiences, said -
It is well known that troops cannot march on alcohol. I was with the relief column that moved on to Ladysmith. It was an extremely trying time, apart from the heat of the weather. In that column of some 30,000 men, the first who dropped out were not the tall men, or the short men, or the big men, or the little men - but the drinkers, and they dropped out as clearly as if they had been labelled with a big letter on their backs.
Such an opinion carries weight in the United Kingdom, and I am quite sure the views of so eminent an, authority will have equal influence with all thinking men in Australia. We do not know when the Commonwealth may find it necessary to call on our soldiers to meet a foreign foe. We may hope the time will be far distant, but, whether it be near or far, it is desirable that when it comes we shall be able to send our troops into the field feeling that we have done our utmost to fit them for the duties in which they engage. Most decidedly, the sober men and the men who drink but little are better soldiers than those who are more or less given to the drink habit, or who drink a great deal.
– That is not the question. The question is, shall the men drink at all?
– That is not so. The question is whether the Commonwealth, as a Commonwealth, shall encourage drinking among the soldiers.
– The canteen system does not encourage, but discourages, drinking.
– After I have done. Senator Neild will have ample opportunity to express his views in favour of full, free, and unlimited drinking. I am now asking the Senate to consider the desirability of putting a check on the supply of liquor in the name of the Commonwealth.
– That is not the proposition at all.
- Senator Neild can, lav before us his proposition in his own time, but not in mine. What I say is distinctly the truth.
– The honorable senator is stating what is the reverse of fact.
– Is Senator Neild or myself addressing the Chair? I assert that drinking in the Military Forces of the Commonwealth is more or less encouraged by the existing arrangements, and I am asking the Senate to alter those arrangements. I have pointed out that in the United States of America the canteen system has been abolished, and I should like to read some official orders and resolutions in this connexion.
– The United States is not always good to quote. What about the Chicago frauds?
– I am perfectly satisfied as to the ground on which I stand. As far back as February, 1881, President Hayes issued the following order: -
In view of the well-known fact that the sale of intoxicating liquors in the army of the United States is the cause of much demoralization among both officers and men, and that it gives rise to a large proportion of the cases before the court marshalls involving great expense and serious injury to the service, the Secretary for War is urged to take suitable steps to reduce the sale and abandon the practice.
That was an order issued by President Hayes twenty-five years ago.
– Is it contended that the same necessity which existed in the United States exists in Australia for the abolition of canteens?
– My idea is that probably the necessity is greater in Australia, having regard to the fact that the climate here is one that requires greater temperance in the use of alcoholic liquors than need be observed in the United States. The United States Congress in 1890 passed the following resolution : -
No alcoholic liquors, beer, or wine shall be sold or supplied to the enlisted men in any canteen or fort trader’s store, or in any room or building at any garrison or military post.
In 1899 the Naval Department of the United States of America took the matter up.
– The Bill before us does not deal with the Navy.
– I was under the impression that the Bill goes further than Senator Neild is willing to go, but, of course, if the honorable senator desires an .extension of the provisions, all the better. The following notice was issued by the Naval Department of America on 3rd February, 1899 : -
After mature deliberation, the Department has decided that it is for the best interests of the service that alcoholic liquors on board ship, or within the limits of naval stations, be prohibited. Therefore, after the receipt of this order, commanding officers are forbidden to allow any malt or alcoholic liquor to be sold or issued to enlisted men, either on board ship, or within the limits of navy yards, naval stations, or barracks, except in the medical department.
It appeared that the orders issued in 1899 were not as effective as desired, and in 1901 the following law was passed1, and is at present in force: -
The sale or dealing in beer, wine, or any intoxicating liquors by any person in any ‘ post exchange, or canteen, or army transport, or upon any premises used for military purposes in the United. States, is hereby prohibited. The Secretary for War is hereby directed to carry out the provisions of this section with full force and effect
That very drastic law is in force to-day in the United States, and so satisfied are the Defence authorities with the present system, that Congress has since granted nearly $2,000,000 to be devoted to the objects on which the profits of the canteen were previously expended. With the great example of the United States before us, I can. confidently commend this Bill to the support of the Senate. I am glad to know that the measure has the approval of the late Minister of Defence, Mr. McCay, M.P., and also the support of the present Minister of Defence. I have already said that in this matter die climatic conditions of Australia ought to be taken, into consideration. In a colder climate like that of the United Kingdom, or the United States, the effect of hard drinking may not be so apparent as in Australia.
– Does the honorable senator mean to imply that hard dunking is permitted in canteens?
– The honorable senator must not interrupt. I do not wish for one moment to have it implied that I reflect on our soldiers ; but when drink is offered for sale by the authorities, or by persons with the sanction of the authorities - which is the same thing-
– Nonsense !
– Under such circumstances young fellows, who enter the army as abstainers, or, at least, as temperate drinkers, mav be led astray, and, instead of becoming efficient soldiers, may fall victims, to the habit. Would any honorable senator have the hardihood to deny that the presence of drink in. canteens does have the’ effect occasionally - we will say occasionally - of leading certain men astray ? If only a few men are led astray, to that extent our Defence Forces are weakened. On these grounds I commend the Bill most warmly to the support of the Senate. I am not at all anxiousto force the Bill through to-day. If there is a feeling that there are opinions outside which ought to find expression here,
I am quite willing that there should be an opportunity before we finally decide the fate of the measure.
– Will the honorable senator consent to refer the Bill to a Select Committee ?
– I see no occasion to send the Bill to a Select Committee. If I threw the measure” into the waste-paper basket, I would dispose of it just as effectually as I should if I consented to have it referred to a Select Committee, who would play with it for weeks or months until the session ended.
– I have endeavoured to secure evidence In connexion with this subject, because I tlo not think that- we are entitled to deal with it without any evidence at all. So far, we have had no evidence submitted as to the Opinions of the people directly interested, or of persons outside Australia who have had a verv large experience of the subject with which this measure deals.
– Or of the necessity for it.
– Or of any necessity for it. Whilst I do not claim any particular knowledge of the working of these canteens, I have sought information as to the opinion of authorities in England and iii America on the subject. I have tried to discover what the opinion of the American authorities was before the passing of the American Act, and also after they had had some experience of its work- ing. Senator Pulsford has asked the Senate to pass the Bill, because he thinks it will be a check upon drinking. All the evidence I have been able to get goes to show that it will not. The operation of a similar law in America has certainly put down the supply of light wines and beer in . canteens, but the evidence of the United States Secretary of War, and of his Adiutant-General, and some of the commanders of the United States Army, is to the effect that the abolition of the canteens has driven soldiers out of barracks into drinking shops and brothels., and has forced them to become associated with very undesirable people, and that under the old system of canteens the men were very much better off.
– Thev are supplied with “ greased-lightning “ liquor outside.
– That is so. It was not the custom in canteens- in the United States to permit the sale of spirits.
Only light wines and beer were allowed to be sold. Senator Pulsford has correctly stated the steps that were taken in connexion with the passing of the American Act. But the United States military authorities had an opportunity to express their opinion regarding the question before the Bill was passed, and the opinions expressed ‘by competent men were at the time altogether ignored. I propose to quote some opinions expressed before the passing of the American Act, and after it had been in operation. When the Bill was brought before the American House of Representatives it was referred to a Committee, who asked for information from the United States War Office. I propose to make some quotations from “Report I 70[. House Reports of the First Session, 56th Congress, 1899-1900.” In a letter, dated “War Office, :6th May. 1900,” the American Secretary for War, Mr. Elihu Root, says -
I think the enactment of this Bill would be injurious to the temperance, morals and discipline of the enlisted men of the Army. I beg leave to refer to the paragraph upon this subject in the last annual report or the Secretary of War, pages 41 and 42, under the head of “ Post Exchanges,” which is as follows : - “ It will be perceived that the overwhelming testimony of the Army is to the effect that the present regulation has promoted the temperance, discipline, morals, and health of the enlisted men, and that in the interest of morality and effective service it should be retained. No change has accordingly been made in the regulation. In considering the testimony of these officers it should be borne in mind that enlisted men are not always on duty ; that during considerable portions of their time they always are, and necessarily must be, permitted to go outside of their camps and posts just as other citizens do, and that when they are thus at liberty it is impossible to subject them to restraints which are not also imposed upon the other members of the community. In States where the sale of intoxicants is permitted by law soldiers will drink outside the camp or post just as other people drink, and it cannot be prevented, except by confining them to the limits of the camp or post. This would not only be unjust and injurious, but would reduce enlistment to imprisonment, and immediately put an end to enlistments. The practical question to be considered is. not whether soldiers should drink or not drink, but whether they should be permitted to drink beer in the camp, surrounded by restraining influences of discipline and good association, or whether they should be driven to drink bad whisky in the vile resorts which cluster around the limits of every military post and camp, and especially around those in which prohibition is maintained. I have no doubt that the present regulation furnishes the wise answer to this question.
Elihu Root, Secretary of War.”
When this Bill was discussed in another place the opinions expressed by the Ad- jutant-General of the American Army were quoted, and it was represented that he was in favour of the legislation passed in America. The opinions quoted from this officer were expressed some considerable time ago, and I propose to quote those which he expressed at the time the measure was submitted 1:o him, and he had to make a report on the question.
– Were the opinions which the honorable senator has just read expressed at the time the Bill was being considered-, or after the law had been .in operation for some time?
– At the time the Bill was before the House of Representatives of the United States. I quote now from a letter by General H. C. Corbin, the AdjutantGeneral of the United States Army, dated from the War Department, AdjutantGeneral’s Office, Washington, 15th May, 1900. This officer says - “Around the reservation of Fort Wingate in 1889,” says an official report on the file in this office, “ a number of little rum shops thrived on the earnings and weaknesses of the soldiers. Here crimes and debaucheries thrived, and after each pay day patrols were required to literally drag our soldiers from the clutches of the keepers of these dens. The guard-house was always full iri consequence of drunkards and absentees from duties, as well as those who had committed themselves in other ways, traced to the demoralizing effects of the soldiers’ innate craving after amusement and tipple of some character. The exchange system did away with all this. Those of us who were prejudiced against what was termed 1 a Government bar-room ‘ found the benefits of the new system so startling that it could not be combated : and now the improvements along the lines of morality and discipline have been so marked that officers fairly shuddered when, during the past few months, there was a possibility, through mistaken Congressional action of a return of the old system.” An instance in point more nearly , at hand is that of Washington Barracks, in this city. Before the introduction of the canteen, Fourandahalfstreet, for two or three squares from the point at which it enters the post, was lined with small saloons, in which liquor was dispensed to soldiers.
Almost immediately after the starting of a canteen at the barracks the effect was shown upon these establishments, and before the second month of the canteen had ended more than half the little saloons outside had closed up, and their proprietors had moved away. To-day, but one or two remain. The same was true of Fort Myer. Before the introduction of the canteen there were from ten to twenty low groggeries between the terminus of the street railway at Thirty-second-street and the entrance to Arlington, largely depended upon the patronage of trie troops at Fort Myer. To-day, after ten years of the canteen at the post, not more than two or three are left.
He gives a number of instances of the kind. I quote these remarks to show that despite the evidence of men. who knew what they were talking about, as the result of many years’ experience, the Act to which Senator Pulsford has referred was passed in the United States. The AdjutantGeneral concludes his letter in this way -
It should be borne in mind that the canteen is no more or less than a well-regulated club for the enlisted men ; that these exchanges are established by the soldiers themselves with their own means. Neither the Government nor any commissioned officers ever contributed one dollar to any of them. In the judgment of those most interested in the good of the service, this institution is a pronounced success as an active, progressive temperance measure, and the wonder of it all is that the professional temperance reformers are, in this resolution, allied with the aggressive saloon interests in their efforts to secure legislation to destroy it.
That was the opinion expressed bv a man who was referred to in another place as one who understood the subject, and who was a witness whose evidence could not be doubted. The American Bill was referred to the man who, I believe, is nt present the head of - the American Anm . Major-General Nelson A. Miles. He reported, as follows, from the Army Heartquarters’ Office, at Washington, under date 10th May, 1900 : -
Respectfully submitted to ‘the Secretary of War.
I have no recommendation to make in addition to those already submitted. Attention is invited to an extract of the enclosed order (G.O. 87, 1898), by virtue of which all commanding .officers are enjoined to restrict, or entirely prohibit, the sale of such beverages as would in any way impair the health, welfare, or discipline of their commands.
The General Order referred to contains the following : - ,
Commanding officers of all grades and officers of the medical staff will carefully note the effect of the use of such light beverages - wines and beer - as are permitted to be sold at the post and camp exchanges, and the commanders of all independent commands are enjoined to restrict or to entirely prohibit the sale of such beverages, if the welfare of the troops or the interests of the service require such action.
It has been said that there is quite a number of persons who are favorable to the abolition of this system. But in all the evidence which is submitted, I cannot find any one person with a large and varied experience who is not favorable to its retention. Some men who have made reputations in that country, and who, I believe, will be accepted by every honorable senator as an authority on the -subject, point out that it is not in the interests of the liquor traffic that they stand up for the canteen, because many of them have said1 that they would be better satisfied if every man under their command were a total abstainer, but because thev recognise that it is impossible for that idea to be carried out. They declare that if they had under their command men who were not total abstainers, the attraction would be greater when they went outside and drank than it was when the Government allowed them to be supplied with beer and wine in their camps. Writing at Washington, on the 1st Mav, 1900, MajorGeneral J. R. Brooke says -
Respectfully returned to the Adjutant-General, United States Army, Washington, D.C., with the remark that T think that a Bill of the character of that herewith inclosed, forbidding the selling of beer or wine in the post exchange, or canteen, or on transports, or upon any premises used for military purposes by the United States, would have a most unfortunate effect. The experience gained since the establishment of the post exchange and canteen has been such as to warrant me in saving th.it these institutions, under the regulations by which they are conducted, are not only highly beneficial to the Army, but have a decided influence for temperance and good discipline.
This afternoon we have had quoted to us the opinion of an eminent English surgeon, and I propose to quote the opinion of men who, for years, have been connected with the United States Army in that capacity, and who were lin favour of the canteens being allowed to remain as they were. Writing at Washington, on the 1st March, 1900, the Rev. C. C. Pierce, Chaplain of the United States Army, says -
Complying with your command, I have the honour to present herewith a statement as to my own personal observations in Manila along certain lines involving the physical and moral welfare of our troops. . . When I first saw Manila the streets were practically lined with little nipa huts, perhaps about 12 feet square, in which the natives were selling, at a merely nominal price, not only fruit and tobacco, but also native gin. These “ “in shacks” should certainly be included in the number of drinking places existing at the beginning, and their number was very large. The character of this native drink was so fiery and villainous that its effect upon such of our men as used it was deplorable. It became my duty to bun, two soldiers who never recovered from the effect of drinking it. One of them had been in the service about eighteen years, and received from his officers, in personal conversation with me, a commendation so flattering, with regard to his character for sobriety and soldierly honour, that it might bc coveted by any man. He had never been a drunkard, but this native poison was so virulent in its effect that he became maddened, and lingered in his delirium a whole week, never having recovered his reason at the time of his death.
Our authorities set to work to restrict this traffic by a system which finally resulted in its prohibition. I am not personally an advocate of any saloon, but I am forced to give my testimony that the substitution of regimental canteens in which only beer was sold, in place of this traffic in native gin, resulted in a most immediate and perceptible improvement in the sobriety of the troops.
I think that, in face df such evidence from men who know exactly what they are writing about, honorable senators should not be asked to vote for the second reading of this Bill without some inquiry being made from the men and the officers who would have to put up with the inconvenience or whatever might result from its enactment. So far, I have not read a word in Hansard to the effect that the men have been consulted. On the contrary, when the officers proceeded to ascertain the opinion of the men a noise was kicked up because they took that step upon their own responsibility. I propose now to read an extract from an article which the Rev. Henry Swift, Chaplain of the United States Army, contributed to the Army and Navy Journal of 24th February, 1900. It reads as follows: -
Where a thousand men, more or less, are gathered together, there is something more needed than a cot to sleep in, or a ration to draw and eat, or drills, guards, reviews, and fatigues to fill in the time. The men are strong and vigorous, craving for mental and physical diversion, and for some variation from the monotony of barrack’s fare. Generally to meet these wants some neighbouring town will offer an abundance of low, cheap, and vile entertainment, and become a source of demoralization at once. Saloons, gambling dens, low dance houses, brothels, are ever ready to batten on soldiers driven from the vacuousness of the garrison to seek amusement and occupation elsewhere. Why should not healthy, legitimate, orderly, and attractive diversion be provided in the post, and so much better and cheaper that a man would be but throwing money away to seek them elsewhere. … I wish the public, instead of fighting the exchange blindly, because of the canteen, would favour and ask for its better equipment, and they would find that in providing a varied departmental « system they would make the now hated canteen ils best attractive feature and conduce most materially to the order, happiness, and morale of the garrison.
I am inclined to think that it is always better -for us to ascertain what are the opinions of men who have had some experience than to act hastily, and pass legislation which might make things worse than they are. I d’o not know that any person has made a statement to the effect that the soldiers of Australia are drunkards. 1 know very well that, like ordinary citizens, some soldiers may at times drink a glass too many. But they would be fifty times worse if the canteens were abolished, and that is the reason why the evidence of men who know what they are talking about has been put into reports for the guidance of Parliament. Writing on the 26th March, 1900, Mr. O. S. Meskel, who is a member of the Board of Education, Highland Falls, New York, addressed the following letter to Lieut. M. H. Barnum, of West Point, New York : -
In Sunday’s issue of the New York Press I lead Hie views of a large number of army officers, including yourself, regarding the abolishment of the army canteen. How the army canteen has affected the discipline and the well being of the soldier is undoubtedly better known to’ the officers of the Army than to anybody else; and the effects of the canteen on the moral welfare of villages adjacent to military posts is quite as well known, Undoubtedly, to every citizen who has had an opportunity to observe its operation. If the abolishment would tend to destroy discipline at West Point and demoralize the soldier it would, in the same degree, lower the moral tone of this community by bringing back the vile conditions that prevailed here before the establishment of the canteen. The reestablishment of such conditions here would be a serious blow to the welfare of this village and greatly lamented by our best citizens. A drunken soldier is a rarity here now, where formerly drunken brawls and riots were of common occurrence among them. If the good people who are now striving to abolish the canteen succeed in their efforts we will have the same conditions here again, and instead of a quiet, peaceable town, without a single policeman, we will have disorder and drunken soldiers reeling through our streets.
This evidence, I may say, was given before the passing of the Bill. A minority report was submitted, but in their report the majority said that, in spite of the evidence, they recommended the House to pass the Bill, because, in their opinion, it was a bad thing for the Government to have anything to do with the control of the liquor traffic so far as the military were concerned. That, it seems to me, is the object which is sought to be attained by the Bill before the Senate. No matter whether the effect would be good or bad, the only aim is to prevent the Government from having anything to do with the regulation of the conditions under which soldiers in barracks can get the refreshments which are sold there.
– I thought that (here was a strong feeling amongst total abstinence people that the State should control the liquor traffic altogether.
– I do not think so.
– I thought that they were in favour of the adoption of the Gothenberg system.
– I believe that a majority of the temperance people are opposed to the State recognising or having anything to do with the liquor traffic. Just as in this State there is a number of persons who hold that it is better to have tragedies like that which occurred on Flemington race-course the other day, than for the Government to have anything to do with the regulation of the gambling evil, so in all the States there is a number of persons who hold thai’ whatever may be the cost it is better for the Government to have nothing to do with the liquor question than for them to regulate the traffic, and thereby recognise it as an evil.
– A very curious doctrine.
– That is practically the doctrine that is preached. I have a large number of friends amongst temperance people, and they are the strongest opponents to the State taking over the liquor traffic, and running it in the interests of the community. They advocate general prohibition. Whatever might be the result, they think that it would be bad for the State to have anything to do with the actual conduct of the liquor trade. I now wish to deal with the evidence given after the passing of the Act in America.
– When was it passed?
– In February, 190 1. The Adjutant-General of the United States Forces, who was quoted in the House of Representatives as approving of the wiping out of canteens, asked for information to be supplied to the War Department at the end of six months after the law had been in operation. He wanted to know how it had worked, and the officers in command were asked to answer a number of questions. When the American Bill was introduced it was stated that a number of the men were in favour of the abolition of canteens, and that this step had been a success. There is a difference of opinion even amongst the officers. Colonel Ray, who was in charge at Fort Snelling, reported that up to the time he left that station, there had been no increase of drunkenness since the abolition of the canteen, but that a decrease was shown. He stated -
There has been no increase of drunkenness , since the abolishment of the canteen, but a decrease, as shown by the records, which, I am of the opinion, is partly due to the improved condition of discipline as well as the absence of the canteen.
He left Fort Snelling in September,1901. Then there is a report submitted, I suppose,by the officer who took his place, and dated 10th September, 1902. This officer reported -
I believe the introduction of beer into the post exchange, for sale, if the exchange is conducted on proper lines, is a benefit to the service. Its loss is felt more by the individual enlisted man than any one else. i am, sir, very respectfully,
Colonel, Twenty-first Infantry.
I have looked through the whole of this volume, and I find no evidencethat the closing of canteens has been a success. I do find that there are some officers who have reported that since the passing of the Act things areno worse than they were before.Lately. however, a number of officers in command have stated over their signatures that things arevery much worse, and thatthey hope that the old system will be reverted to. I do not know whether there is any later information on the subject. I have hunted through the Library, and theonly additional information I can find consists of an article in the North American Review for September, 1903, and another in the same publication in 1904. These articles were written by two men who apparently have some connexion with the AmericanArmy.I wish now to quote from a despatch dated 3rd December, 1901. It is as follows: -
Washington, 3rd December, 1901.
Sir, - I have the honour to communicate to you the following remarks of the Secretary of War in his annual report to the President, dated 27th November, 1901 : -
The provisions of section 38 of the Act of 2nd February, 1901, prohibiting the sale of or dealing in beer, wine, or any intoxicating liquors by any person in any post exchange or canteen, or army transport, or upon any premises used for military purposes by the United States, have been carried into full force and effect, pursuant to the directions of the statute.
When the orders were issued for the enforcement of this section of the law, the command-, ing officers of the various posts and military organizations were directed to report upon its effects. A great body of reports have been received, which indicate that the effect of the law is unfortunate. I think, however, that a sufficient time has not elapsed to give the law a fair trial, and the observation and report of its working will be continued during the ensuing year.
Referring thereto, the Secretary of War directs that the instructions communicated inconfidential letter from this office on 5th. February, 1901, be renewed (with the exception) of section 2), andthat report thereunder be made to this office not later than 1st September,1902.
The Commanding General, Department of……
A general order was issued by the War Department after the passing of the Act. and it was sent to every officer in chargeof a station in the United States. Most of the officers are satisfied that the Act has worked to the detriment of discipline, and of themorality of the forces. Here is areport from Brigadien-General Funsron.. He says -
Trials by Court-Martial.
During the period covered by this report, onecommissioned officer was tried by general courtmartial and acquitted ;194 enlisted men were tried by general court-martial for offencesclassified below : -
Then he gives a long list of particulars,, and adds -
As compared with the preceding year, the percentage of average enlisted strength tried bygeneral court-martial has nearly doubled. Twenty-five men were tried for violation of morethan one article of war at the same trial. Of the 194 men tried, fourteen were acquitted and. ninety-seven were dishonorably discharged from, the service.
It is therefore plain that there has been a deplorable increase of offences in general, and of desertion in particular. In my opinion, there are two principal causes for this state of affairs. First, resentment to unaccustomed limitations and restrictions felt by men returning from field service to the monotony and routine work of garrison life; second, the abolition of the canteenfeature of the post exchange. Since this action, was taken saloons of the lowest type have been established just outsidethe boundaries of the various reservations; their proprietors are, in almost every case, unprincipled scoundrels, wholeave nothing undone to debauch the soldiers and obtain their money. Being, in all cases, outside the limits of any city, the proprietors of these resorts are subject to no municipal police regulations, and sell liquor regardless of hours and’ whether the buyer is already intoxicated or not.
– That could not occurhere.
– I quite recognise that the conditions are different in Australia. But at the same time honorable senators cannot ignore the fact that if men take to drinking there is nothing to prevent them going far more to excess out. of barracks than they would do if they drank ire their own- canteens, where they are under -discipline.
– Where is the inducement to drink to excess in the circumstances to which the honorable senator refers ?
– Has the honorable senator never been in a garrison town ?
– Scores of times, and, so far as my experience goes, the honorable senator is talking nonsense.
– I have been in garrison towns, and have seen a good deal of drunkenness there. I know very well that the canteen system has decreased drunkenness. In fact, the officers in charge of the British) Army d’o not say a word in favour of doing away with canteens. Thev know very well that the system has done good. It has kept men from going outside, where the temptations to drink are much greater than they are in barracks. I quote from an officer who evidently knows what Be is talking about. He continues -
Gambling is universal in these “ dives,” and they are frequented by dissolute women. The soldier whose desire for a drink would ordinarily be satisfied by a few glasses of beer in the canteen of the post exchange, goes to one of these resorts, and does well if he escapes before he has spent or gambled away all his money, overstayed his leave, or engaged in an altercation. As a rule, the local authorities regard the existence of these places with indifference or approval, as it causes the soldier to spend his money in the community. The efficiency of the army or the ruin of a good soldier is nothing to them. There can be no reasonable doubt that most of the trials by general courts-martial and summary courts, at least so far as this department is concerned, are directly traceable to this cause. Since I have had command here, there has taken place the ruin and degradation of several noncommissioned officers of long service and fine record. In short, recent legislation bv Congress -on this question, so far as this department is concerned, has had no effect, except to. lower the discipline of the army, ruin scores of good soldiers, and fill the pockets of a lot of saloon keepers, gamblers, and prostitutes.
– Under our law, saloon-keepers could not open such bars.
– The cases cited do not apply to us in Australia.
– One of the strongest arguments advanced in favour of the Bill is that similar legislation has had good effect in the United States; and I am showing, by means of these quotations, that the experiment there has not been so satisfactory as we might be led to suppose.
– If the effect of the abolition of canteens in the United States has been bad, why is the present law not repealed ?
– That is a curious question for a practical politician to ask !
– The repeal of the present law relating to canteens in- the United States has been recommended. The following is an extract from the report of the Secretary of War of the United States for 1902 : -
Referring to the operation of section 38 of the Act o”f 2nd February, 19,01, which prohibits the sale of beer and light wines in post exchanges, I said in my last report that a great body of reports had been received which indicated that the effect of the law was unfortunate, but that I thought a sufficient time had not elapsed to give the law a fair trial, and that the observation and report of its working would be continued during the ensuing year.
A great number of additional reports have now been received, and they confirm the impression produced by the earlier reports. I am convinced that the general effect of prohibiting the use of beer and light wines within the limited area of the army post is to lead the enlisted men to go out of the post, .to frequent vile resorts which cluster in the neighbourhood, to drink bad whisky to excess, and to associate intimately with abandoned mcn and more abandoned women; and that the operation of the law is to increase drunkenness, disease of the most loathsome kind, insubordination, and desertion, and moral and physical degeneration.
These reports are ready to be sent to Congress whenever that body desires to consider the subject.
The Adjutant-General of the United States Army - and this is the gentleman who has been quoted as in favour of legislation of the description now proposed - said in his report for 1902 -
The restoration of the exchange as it existed prior to the passage of the Act of 2nd February, 1901, prohibiting the sale of beer, is desired and urged by the great majority of officers and men, and by none more than those of pronounced temperance views. Numerous reports confirm the views long held bv this office that the old exchange contributed to sobriety, health, and contentment of the men. The increase of desertions and of trials for infractions of discipline is, by those best informed, attributed to the abolition of the former privileges of the exchange.
These are reports from men at the head of affairs, men who, I suppose, are not governed by sentiment in one direction or another, and who are in receipt- of information from other, officials from various parts of the States.
– Then to make a sober army, the best plan is to fill every, man’s skin with beer?
– Water is a good thing that we cannot live without, but, at the same time, a very large number of men have lost their lives by water. There is a wide difference between filling every man’s kit with whisky and allowing him to have a glass of beer in the barracks when he so requires. I do not think that the Bill would have the effect imagined by those who are strong in its favour.
– Let us try the Bill.
– Is that the policy which Senator Dobson adopts when he thinks’ legislation might have a detrimental effect?
– I do not think this Bill would have a detrimental effect. The precedents which the honorable senator is reading are quite inapplicable to Australia. It is the general licensing law of the United States that is at fault.
– This has nothing to do with the general law of the United States. What I have read is not the only evidence on the subject, because Australian testimony may be given. An officer in a prominent position in Queensland told me, when I was last in Brisbane, that his experience was that, since the establishment of the canteen system, there had been a great deal less trouble with the men.
– Where is the evidence that canteens have been mischievous and ought to be prohibited? ‘
– I do not think there is any evidence to that effect. I have looked for, but I have not been able to lay my hand on, any testimony by military or naval officers to the effect that there is any abuse in the canteen system. What is stated is that the canteens might be made more attractiveby the establishment of up-to-date restaurants;, readingrooms, and so forth. But that has been advocated for years. As Senator Pulsford told us, the United States Government, during the past two or three years,, have voted about $2,000,000 to provide attractions within barracks to take the place of those formerly presented by the canteen; and yet there are reports of the nature I have quoted. These reports are by men who know what they are talking about, and they unmistakably express the opinion that such legislation as is now proposed has proved harmful to those under their command. Numerous associations in the United States have had this matter under their consideration ; and in this connexion I may read the following: -
American Public Health Association,
Columbus, Ohio,18th October, 1901.
Dr. Edward L.Munson, Assistant Surgeon, U.S.
Army, War Department Exhibit, PanAmerican Exposition, Buffalo, N.Y.
Dear Doctor, - The following resolution was adopted by the American Public Health Association, at its meeting, held in Buffalo, 16-20 September,1901 : -
Resolved. - That this body deplores the action of Congress in curtailing the operation of the army canteen or post exchange, and in the interests of general and military sanitation, recommends its re-establishment on its former basis at the earliest possible date.
Yours very truly,
O. Probst, Secretary.
A body of medical men would not, I think, pass such a resolution, unless they believed themselves to be absolutely in the right. If we do not accept their testimony we must say thatthey know nothing about the matter, or that they are biased, or that they have been “ got at.” As for myself, I am prepared to accept the evidence of men of experience as to whether the working of a law of the kind proposed has proved beneficial or otherwise. Senator Dobson has asserted that the cases I have cited do not apply to the conditions which prevail in Australia; but, as I said before, the strongest argument in favour of the Bill is that similar legislation has proved a success in the United States, whereas we find that the persons most competent to speak recommend the repeal of the law.
– But it has not been repealed.
– That is so; and I can quite understand the position. There are laws in Australia for the repeal of which the people have been asking for some time, on the ground that they are detrimental to the interests of the community, but which remain on the statute-book. The Bill deals with a question which politicians do not care to touch, bearing in view temperance organizations, which may prove adverse at the time of an election. But it is theduty ofevery man, who is elected to a responsible position, to speak his mind. At the last election, a lot of temperance circulars were sent out to candidates, and in one appeared the question, “ Are you prepared to abolish canteens ? “ To that question I returned a direct negative, and I am not now prepared to abolish canteens, which I believe to be established in the best interests of the menon whom we may some day have to depend for the defence of Australia. The members of our Military Forces occupy a peculiar position in the Public Service. They do not begin their duties and leave off at a regular hour, whenthey may put on their coats and go to their homes ; on the contrary, they live in barracks, and have to receive permission to go outside. There are no persons in the Government service who have less liberty than our soldiers in barracks; and under the circumstances it is better to provide facilities for the men to lead reasonably decent lives than topass a measure of the kind before us. Men are better and not worse for a fair amount of freedom, and desirable effects would not be produced by the restraint imposedby the Bill. The Association of Military Surgeons of the United States. . at its 10th annual meeting held at St. Paul’s, Minnesota, on 13th May, 1901, passed the following resolution : -
Whereas, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, now in session at St. Paul, recognises that the abolition of the army post exchange or canteen has resulted, and must inevitably result, in an increase of intemperance, insubordination, discontent, desertion, and disease in the Army : Therefore be it -
Resolved : That this body deplores the action of Congress in abolishing the said post exchange or canteen, and in the interests of sanitation, morality, and discipline, recommends its reestablishment at the earliest possible date.
Resolved : That it is the sense of this association to resolve its members in each State into a special committee to confer with their CongressionalRepresentatives and Senators, and interest them in the repeal of the so-called “canteen law.”
Resolved : That a Committee of seven, representing the United States Army, the Navy, and the Marine-Hospital Service, and the members of this association be appointed to confer with a committee from the House of Representatives and Senate in reference to the matter.
Resolved : That a copy of this resolution be sent to the committee on national legislation of the American Medical Association, and ask them to co-operate with the Association of Military Surgeons ; and
Resolved : That a sufficient number of copies of the paper be printed to furnish a copy to each Representative and Senator, and that a member of the association be designated to see that the copies are properly distributed.
James Evelyn Pilcher, Secretary.
– What is the date of that?-
– 30th May, 1901.
– And nothing has yet been done, although this is 1906.
– These men may realize that this legislation has done no good, and yet no action may have been takenby Congress in a matter in connexion with which the votes of a very large number of people are involved.
– If the evils were so great, surely Congress would be moved toremedy them.
– That is to say, the Minister questions the accuracy of these statements ?
– I suppose they are exaggerated.
– I am satisfied that when the Minister of Defence makes inquiries from the men of the Defence Force he will get exactly the same opinions from them. He will find that views similar to those which I have quoted will be expressed by men in his own Department, who are far more competent to discuss this , question than is even the honorable senator himself. There has been no evidence placed before another place, or before the Senate, to account for the introduction of this measure, unless it be that secured by the Committee appointed to inquire into the conduct of a certain officer in charge of a canteen:. Because there has been some inefficient regulation of a canteen, and some officers have apparently taken advantage of their position to live to some extent at the expense of the mew, this measure is introduced in a panic, and an attempt is made to rush it through Parliament without consideration, and without any evidence from the men directly interested, as to how they are likely to be affected by it. I believe that some of them should be given an opportunity to express their opinion on the question. I do not accept the Minister of Defence as an expert in this matter.
– I do not pretend to be one.
– I should much prefer to accept the opinion ofany man in charge of a regiment in Australia to that of the honorable senator as to what the effect of this legislation is likely to be. I do not know that it is necessary that I should make any further quotation from these reports in connexion with the American law. I have referred to the opinions expressedby the American Medical Association., the Association of Military Surgeons, the American Association of Public Health, the Professor of Hygiene at Georgetown University, and others competent to give a valuable opinion on the subject. In . spite of all this evidence to the contrary, we are told that the American measure has been such a success that we should copy it here in the interests of the Defence Forces. There is another point in connexion with this matter to which reference might very well be made. I should like to ask whether we are justified in attempting to enforce a particular manner of living upon men because they happen to be in the employ of the Government. We know that the Minister of Defence would not be prepared to enforce such conditions of living upon any other Government servants.
– We do not provide canteens for other Government servants.
– We do not provide canteens for the men of the Defence Forces. Thev provide them for themselves.
– They pay the whole of the expense in connexion with them. Apparently, the Government believe that, by taking advantage of the position they occupy, they can force these men to becoming teetotallers whether they like it or not.
– If a private employer were to do that, the Minister of Defence would be the first to denounce it as an act of tyranny.
– There is no analogy between the two cases.
– Let me inform honorable senators that recently a committee has conducted an inquiry in England into the existing conditions under which canteens and regimental institutes are conducted. I have before me the report of their proceedings, dated 1903. I take it that some of the men who gave evidence before this committee know something about the working of canteens. I find that, with one exception, they are agreed that drinking in the Army has not increased under the canteen system, and that it would not be wise to abolish the system in the British Army in any part of the world. A great deal of interesting evidence was given before this committee, which honorable senators can read if they take sufficient interest in the matter. I find a statement here by Lord Roberts. I do not know whether he knows anything about Army .matters, but there are a good many people who 1believe that he does.
– Does he know as much about them as Senator Pulsford?
– I am not prepared to swear that he does. He was examined before the Committer* to which I have referred in connexion with a speech which; he delivered at Meerut in 1888, in which he said -
Some two years ago, when passing through Rangoon, I had an opportunity of seeing an institute which appeared to me very much what soldiers require. On entering the building, I found myself in the temperance room - a spacious, airy apartment, in which 300 to 400- men were assembled. Some were playing games, others were talking and amusing themselves ; every one seemed at his ease, and there was an. air of comfort about the place which was very marked. Waiters were bustling about with tea, coffee, and light refreshments. Neither beer nor other intoxicating drinks were, of course,, allowed in this room. Passing on I came to another room, with “ Silence “ written in large letters over the door. This was the reading and writing room, and a goodly number of men were here.. Further on I found myself in theref’reshment room, which was much about thesame size as the temperance room. At one end of it was a coffee shop, where all kinds of oilmen’s stores and regimental necessaries could bepurchased at a cheap rate, and where very inviting looking suppers were being prepared. Small tables were scattered about, each covered with a clean white tablecloth, and with such conveniences as could be supplied without much expense. Here several men were enjoying their evening meal, with which those who wished for it could have beer brought to them from theneighbouring canteen. On going into the canteen, 1 noticed that it was nearly empty ; the men apparently preferred to have their beer with their suppers, or had drunk off their glass, and had gone to join their comrades in some other part of the building. Further on I was shown into a large room, which was occasionally used as a theatre. Here there were a number of men listening to a capital comic song whichwas being sung by a bluejacket from one of the ships. in the river. There was, as I said before, an air of real comfort about the whole place ; and I thought to myself, “ Is a soldier likely to prefer wandering about the dirty bazaars and back slums of Rangoon to joining the fun and partaking of the comfort of the Institute?” There is little doubt, I think, what the choice of (most men would be.
Lord Roberts spoke in the same way at Simla. He is a teetotaller, but he is aware that it is practically impossible to prevent the men in the Army from drinking. Hestates that he believes it is better that soldiers should be given facilities to obtain beer and other refreshments which they require, under the control of their officers, than that they should be permitted to go outside, as he states, “ into the dirty bazaars and back slums of Rangoon,” or of any other place in which they might be stationed. That is evidence to which we should pay some attention. Lord Roberts does not dream of suggesting that canteens should be abolished in connexion with the
British Army. He says that he will be glad to see the day when there is no drinking whatever by any one in the Army, but that is very different from saying that we should not give the men of the Army an opportunity to obtain the refreshments they require under reasonable, clean, and decent conditions. That they should be given facilities to obtain the refreshments they require under such conditions is all that those in favour of the canteen system advocate. Evidence was given before the committee to which I have referred by men belonging to the Royal Army Temperance Association. I believe that Lord Roberts was responsible for the establishment of that association when he was in India, and its operations have been extended to Great Britain by men who have been transferred from India. At the present time, according to the evidence of the secretary of the association, it numbers something like 35,000 of the men in the British Army. These men do not drink intoxicants1, but “the canteen provides for them as well as for those who do. In his examination, Lord Roberts gave this evidence : - 4711. Is there any point that you would like to bring before the attention of the Committee? - No, except to wish it all possible success in carrying out what is greatly my desire, to make the soldiers’ institute a comfortable place which the men will be attracted to go to instead of visiting public houses in the neighbourhood ; to make it in all matters respectable, where they -can have their games and their writing and theirreading. their eating, and their drinking, in moderation, and where everything is done to elevate the soldier. That is my great wish.
That is the opinion of Lord Roberts; but, knowing very well that it is impossible, he states that his idea in connexion with regimental institutes is to provide adequate accommodation and reasonable facilities for the men under his command. A number of questions were sent to Lord Kitchener, who, I suppose, knows pretty nearly as much on this subject as does Senator Pulsford. In reply .to the question -
What are your views as to the organization and management of a regimental institute, especially with reference to the wet canteen?
Lord Kitchener returned the following answer : -
I think all canteens and institutes should be run on co-operative lines. The wet canteens should be dealt with separately, and though enabling men to obtain refreshment, it should not be made into an ‘ attractive lounge. It should, in my opinion, be run more on, the lines of a railway refreshment-room, where tea, coffee, and sandwiches can also be obtained. , The profits -«»’ the wet canteen should be higher than those on dry goods, except in the case of one pint of beer, which, when served at the club, might be issued at the most moderate profits.
If the Minister will take the trouble to go through these reports, most of which, I think, I have read, he will find the same opinions expressed, not only by the officers in command, but also by officers generally, the men, and other persons interested. Nowlet us take the position in Australia. We are supposed to have a Defence Force. We have men in different places, from Thursday Island right round the coast. Annually a number of men are induced to travel from their homes, and to spend a certain time in camp for the benefit of their health, and, I suppose, to make them more efficient in their duties. Yet we have the Government acquiescing in this Bill, without even referring the proposal to their officers or seeking the opinions o’f the men concerned.
– What is the opinion of the men ?
– I believe that if a poll of the men at the military establishments throughout Australia were taken, it would be found that an overwhelming majority of the officers and men are in favour of allowing the canteen system to remain as it is.
– I do not think that five per cent’, would be found to be in favour of the Bill.
– The men who are constantly in barracks are under discipline all the time. It is far better for us to provide them with reasonable facilities, such as reading-rooms, writing-rooms, and places in which they could hold entertainments, or to which, with the profits from the canteen - as” is done in the British Army - they could bring outside entertainer than to say to the men, “ When you go outside you can drink ‘as much as you like, and act as you like, but in the barracks you shall not have any inducement held out to you to get a glass of beer or other liquor in moderation.” Now let us take the case of the other men who would be affected by the enactment of this Bill. In each State every year a number of men are drawn together from all parts. In some cases men travel hundreds of miles in order to get to the camp. The majority of them are tradesmen, labourers, and others who, when not in camp, are accustomed, at the close of a d’ay’s work, to go into an hotel for a glass of beer, and to drink it either there or at home. By this Bill it is proposed to say to all these men, “ In this camp you shall not have any liquor, but you may go outside and drink there what you like.” On this point, I have been able to get some Information from a man who is well posted, and who has no objection to the publication of his name. I refer to SurgeonMajor Thompson.
– And a very able man he is, too.
– When I met Dr. Thompson in the street, about a fortnight or three weeks ago, I asked him to tell me what his own experience in Queensland had been. He said, “When the camps were held at Lytton, before the canteen system was established, we used to have all sorts of persons with drinking establishment in the locality.” There was not a public-house, but a number of persons used to come down, and, as is done in other places where men cannot get liquor openly, establish little shebeens.
– What ! Sly-grog shops.
– Yes. Does the Minister mean to tell me that he has never come across any siv-grog shops ? Even although the law is carried out by the administrators to the best of their ability still in Australia there are hundreds of places in which liquor is sold on the sly.
– I do not know where thev are. At all events, there are none in itv State.
– Thev are to be found aH over South Australia.
– No. There is not one sl,-grog establishment I believe in the whole State. I have never come across one.
– It is no wonder that South Australia is termed the “ model State,” if there is not a place in it in which liquor is sold contrary to the law. I know that in Oueensland there has been a fair amount of sly-.grog selling going on. Now and again I have had a drink in these places.
– Oh !
– I am not posing as an angel, but as an ordinary individual.
– The honorable senator is really too modest.
-I do not profess to be any better than the honorable senator. I dare say he has often had a drink in these places, although he does not care to mention the fact here.
– The honorable senator is too modest when he says he is not an angel.
– Surgeon-Major Thompson went on to tell me that since the establishment of the canteen system in Queensland they had had less trouble with the men, as thev had been able to buy what they required in the camp. He said that the men preferred to hold a sort of jollification amongst themselves rather than go outside, and that it was not necessary now to send out so many picket parties at night to pick up mert and bring them in.
– They were picked up in the camp
– Picked up in the camp?
– Very likel’y.
– That is rather art unfortunate remark to come from the Minister. What he virtually says is that drunkenness must have been prevalent in the camp under the eves of the officers. I do not think that officers, as a rule, are inclined to induce men to become drunk in camp. That is the reason why they wish to see fair facilities provided.
– Thev do not induce the men to drink, either outside or in camp.
– The officers know very well that the men are better off when they can get a .glass of beer in camp than they were when they had to go outside, and probably a picket party had to be sent out to bring them home. The ‘ Minister knows perfectly well that that has been the experience, not only in Australia, but in England and the United States. It is the experience of men, I believe, all over the world that where reasonable facilities are given, the officers have . far more control over the men than obtained when the men were compelled to go outside to get whatever refreshment thev required. The Bill should not be allowed to go any further until the Government furnish us with the opinions of the men who are in active service, and of the officers, and say whether they are prepared to support the measure or not.
– Let us refer the Bill’ to a Select Committee. , That is the proper way to deal with it.
– There is no need to refer the Bill to a Select Committee’
– Honorable senators would get the information they want then.
– No. The Minister wants to appoint a Select Committee, which is to proceed from Melbourne to Thursday Island.
– Not necessarily.
– Would the honorable senator bring the officers down to Melbourne to give evidence?
– If the Government are to , get information, am I to bring the officers here to give it?
– Why was not the information obtained before the Bill was introduced?
– Could not a Select Committee get the information by sending up a series of questions?
– The information could be obtained by the Government without the aid of a Select Committee or a Royal Commission. All they need to do is to frame a number of questions.
– A Select Committee could do that, too.
– Is the Minister afraid to accept the onus of administering hisDepartment? Is he afraid to tell us whether the Government are prepared to support this measure or not, and furnish us with such evidence as he may be able to collect through his officers from the men on active work all over the Commonwealth ? I do not see that there is any reasonwhy either the Department or the Government should attempt to shirk their responsibilities in this matter. It is all very well to say ‘‘appoint a Committee.” but a Committee of this Senate could only makeinquiries in Victoria.
– A Committee could frame questions just as well as I could.
– Is a Committee required to frame questions which may be sent out to officers in different parts of the Commonwealth ? Does it require halfadozen members of the Senate to frame halfadozen questions?
– The Committee could examine persons in Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales without the slightest trouble.
– How could a Committee undertake a task of this kind when Parliament is sitting? The Minister evidently thinks that the onus of proof is on those who are opposed to this measure. We have no evidence as to whether the Government intends to support the Bill.
– The statement was made in another place that the Government did support the Bill.
-i saw in Hansard. that Mr. Ewing, a member of the Government, applauded Mr. Kelly, a member of the Opposition, who opposed the Bill.
– No vote was taken in another place. It seems to me that the best thing that can be done is for the matter to remain in abeyance until the Minister lets the Senate know whether he is prepared to ascertain the opinions of his officers and men, so that we shall not pass such a Bill in the dark. If we did we shouldprobablyfind, by-and-by, that we had acted to thedetriment of the interests of the Defence Forres, and that what we had done had led to intemperanceand demoralization.
Motion (by Senator de Largie) nega tived -
That the debate be now adjourned.
– The Senate is indebted to Senator Turley for the great amount of care and trouble which he has taken in presenting a mass of evidence in regard to this Bill. While I intend to vote against the second reading, I shall not do so on the same grounds as are taken up by the honorable senator. In the first place, I object altogether to the introduction of such a Bill. It is quite unnecessary. If the Minister of Defence had before him complaints from his officers as toany of their men being addicted to drink to such an extent as to impair the efficiency of the Military Forces, he could immediately order that arrangements should be made to prevent that kind of thing occurring. He could even direct the total prohibition of the sale of liquor to our soldiers and the closing of canteens. I challenge the Minister to say whether he does not possess that power.
– I could have done thatby regulation.
– The Minister admits that he could control this matter by regulation. Consequently there was no need for the introduction of this Bill. Had he received any complaints from his officers or fromany one else he could have put an end to the evil without any trouble. Anotherpoint which I bring under the notice of the Minister is thatlast week hetook exception to a motion with respect to the appointment of the Lieutenant-Governor of
Papua. He said that the motion interfered with the powers of the Executive. I voted against the Government on that occasion.
– There is a difference between a motion and a Bill.
– I know that. The motion in question commenced with the words, “ That in the opinion of the Senate it is desirable “ to do certain things. The Minister of Defence then appealed to the Senate, and took some of us to task fpr supporting a motion which interfered with the Executive in the exercise of its functions. To be consistent”, the Minister should, on this occasion, ask the Senate to protect him against a measure which is also intended to interfere with the exercise of his authority over his Department. But T think I understand why this Bill has been introduced. As an old secretary of the Political Labour Council, and a campaigner who has had some experience on behalf of others in political fights, I have always found that in the last session of a Parliament there is what I may call a political silly season - a time when many members of Parliament endeavour to make themselves conspicuous in regard to a number of questions in order that they may placate certain organized forces in the constituencies.
– Properly speaking, it is a death-bed repentance season.
– Possibly the honorable senator is right. He is a very old hand in politics, and I adopt his suggestion. It appears to me that in view of the agitation that is taking place in Melbourne just now, a number of members of Parliament think that it is good business to bring forward a Bill of this kind to placate a certain party. But I am not going to support the measure for any such reason. I do not intend to assist to pass a Bill which, would have the effect of offering a gratuitous insult to a number of citizens who have banded themselves together for the defence of this country. For it is an insult to pass a Bill which involves the suggestion that there is drunkenness in the Military Forces.
– There is certainly an implication of drunkenness.
– Undoubtedly. I have no sympathy with that. But while I would defend the members of our Defence Forces against such an implication as is contained in this Bill, I desire to point out that I am in no way open to a charge of inconsis tency. When the Papua Bill was before the Senate, I voted for total prohibition. I should do so again under similar circumstances, thereby not’ only keeping my pledge to my constituents, but acting in accordance with my ideas of what is right. For many years, in co-operation with some honorable senators who are present - Senator de Largie, Senator Henderson, and Senator Pearce - I fought in Western Australia - and in the end we were partially successful - with the object of securing State control over the liquor traffic, with a view to its probable ultimate abolition. Nevertheless, I do not feel justified in supporting this Bill. First of all, I repeat, it is absolutely unnecessary, because the Minister has power to control the Military Forces in this respect. Secondly, I oppose it because I consider that it is nothing better than a little cheap electioneering on the part of some members of Parliament. Thirdly, I oppose it because it conveys a stigma on the Military Forces of the Commonwealth.’
– The subject with which this Bill deals has occupied the attention of eminent military authorities in Great Britain. Lord Roberts and Lord Wolseley are amongst the distinguished officers who have endeavoured to promote temperance in the Army, I was under the impression when this measure was first introduced that both of those officers were in favour of the abolition of canteens. But the evidence given before the Select Committee of the House of Commons, quoted by Senator Turley - to whom we are greatly indebted for much information - shows that they are really endeavouring to improve the recreations of the British soldier, not to abolish regimental canteens. For that reason, and others, I find myself in a difficulty about the Bill. Personally, I think that it’ would be Better to refer it to a Select Committee. But if we are going to deal with it, my difficulty is that the CEil 1 would prevent men in barracks from getting the refreshment to which they have been accustomed, while it would allow others to enjoy what they want. For that reason, I think we ought to be cautious. In another place the Bill was, I think, passed by a large majority.
– There was no vote. They suspended the Standing Orders and rushed it through. ,
– No consideration was given to it, as a matter of fact.
– I think that we ought to hesitate before passing the Bill. It should be referred to a Select Committee.
– I came to Melbourne to-day with an open mind on this subject. I found that there was so much to be said on both sides that 1 would not determine how I should vote until I had heard the arguments. I no longer have any hesitation. Senator Turley has given us such a clear speech, and has furnished such ample reasons, that we are, I think, justified in opposing the Bill. The measure, if it were necessary at all, ought to have been introduced by the Government.
– There was no necessity for us to introduce it; the Government can do all that this Bill provides for without it.
– That is a very good reason why we should reject the Bill, and I expect the Government to oppose it. If they can do all that it provides for without it, clearly it is quite unnecessary. Another point against the Bill is that it infringes the liberty of the subject. The soldier has as much right to enjoy his glass of beer as I have. Personally,I am next door to a teetotaller, but I am not going to vote in favour of a measure which would treat the soldier differently from other people. I have been consulting a retired colonel with regard to this matter, and he tells me - what I did not know before - that in military canteens there is what is known as a wet counter and a dry counter. Those soldiers who donot wish to take alcoholic drinks can get’ what they require without mixing with those who prefer stronger liquors. In Sydney we have the Victoria Barracks in a very crowded part of the city - in Oxfordstreet. If the men in barracks cannot get what they require at the canteen, they will get it outside. It is known to those who live in Sydney that there are in the vicinity a number of public-houses not of the highest character. If we. abolish canteens, there will be a temptation for our soldiers to go to these places. I should like to see a vote of the soldiers of Australia taken on this subject.
– Local option.
– Yes, local option.
As I say, I came here prepared to vote in the direction which I deemed to be proper ; and the more I look into the matter, the more ‘I am of opinion that the Government ought to have introduced the Bill if they thought it necessary. However, we have been informed that the Government do not think that a measure of the kind is necessary ; and I must say that the decision at which I have arrived is mainly the result of the informative speech to which we have just listenedfrom Senator Turley.
– I intend to oppose the second reading of this Bill, but not because I am an enemy of temperance, or even of total abstinence, where the latter may be necessary. It appears to me that the question presented to us is not whether soldiers are to be made more temperate than they are, and drunken- ‘ ness prevented, but whether we are to prevent the men from getting good, wholesome drink - if any drink may be said to be wholesome - whether we are to prevent them from getting the best of drink within barracks’ boundaries, subject to military discipline, in reasonable hours, and under conditions which are not likely to lead to excess, or whether we are to compel them to go elsewhere and obtain, possibly, inferior drink at a higher price over more extended hours. Military canteens are not restricted to supplying drink, but are a social affair amongst the soldiers themselves, the profits being devoted to useful purposes for their benefit. The following is an extract from a letter which appeared in one of the Sydney newspapers: -
The canteen in the Victoria Barracks, and those at the various out-stations, are conducted on co-operative lines, somewhat akin to the Gothenburg system, all profits on the sale of liquor being returned to the men in the shape of comforts of one kind or another. Liquor is sold at the lowest possible prices, and is of the best quality obtainable. For instance, a glass of spirits,which would cost 6d. in the city, is sold to the soldier in barracks at 3d., and other articles at equally cheap rates. The gymnasium, reading-rooms, billiard-rooms, football and cricket clubs, &c, are maintained out of the profits of the canteen, and each member of the Permanent Military Forces receives a gift at Christmas to remind him of the festive season.
Rightly or wrongly, it is said that the people behind this proposal are those who deal in drinks themselves - someof the outside saloon-keepers.
– That statement is openly made in the Sydney morning press.
– The men whointroduced the Bill would not be aparty to any suchtrickery.
– We may all admit that the Bill has been introduced with the best possible intentions ; at any rate, every honorable senator will give that credit to Senator Pulsford. It must be remembered, however, that the Bill was not introduced originally in the Senate.
– No honorable member of another place would be a party to such trickery.
– I am not imputing motives to any one; but we have seen people, actuated by the best of motives, going to extremes most injurious to a good cause which they may wish to promote. The Bill, which was passed without discussion and practically unanimously in another place, would seriously affect one of the principal Departments of the Commonwealth; and yet it is introduced in the Senate by a private member. I am a thorough believer in Government responsibility ; and if the Government approved of the Bill, it should have been introduced by a representative of the Government who should have given us some reasons for that approval. There are some restrictions in which I do not believe, however strong may be the support behind them. There is a certain amount of individual liberty that the law has no right to take away. Personally, I should1 not allow any man, any body of men, or any legislation to rob .me of anything which I conceived to be an individual liberty, so long as it did not interfere with the individual liberty of others. T should not hesitate to violate a law that would attempt to rob “ me of such a right or liberty.
– The question is whether the example of the honorable senator, might not be injurious to others.
– In regard to this -particular measure, ray example is, I hope, one of moderation. I do not think that drunkenness can be charged against our Military Forces; but, even supposing that some men do get drunk occasionally, this Bill would prevent those who do not from indulging in good, wholesome liquor, and compel them, possibly, to drink bad liquor outside, subjecting them, at the same time, to many other temptations. The speech delivered by Senator Turley is sufficient to annihilate this Bill. It was a capital speech, and the evidence he brought forward is absolutely unanswerable. Therefore, I hope that, whatever honorable senators’ views may be on the question of temperance or total abstinence, they will reject the Bill as unnecessary, and likely to be mischievous.’
Debate (on motion by Senator Col. Neild) adjourned.
Consideration resumed from 19th July (vide page 1489).
– I beg to move -
That the report of the Printing Committee, dated 19th July, 1906, be adopted.
I do not think that many minutes need be occupied in the discussion of flu’s report, which, in brief language, sets forth all that could possibly be said in its defence. I desire, however, to call the attention of the Senate to the fact that, on the 14th June, the Honorary Minister, in laying certain papers on the table, made a statement to the effect that these ‘had appeared in the Government Gazette, but otherwise did not appear on the records of the Senate. Thereupon an honorable member exercised a right common to each one of us, and moved that the papers be printed, in order that they might appear in our journals. That motion was adopted, and it was evident that the Printing Committee of another place considered that in ordering the papers to be printed we had done some wrong - ‘had committed some error of judgment - in view of the expense which would attend the printing. The Printing Committee of the Senate have taken into consideration the fact that while the Printing Committee of another place had the opportunity, if it so desired, to meet with our Committee and jointly discuss such matters, it sat in judgment upon the Senate.
– And passed a vote of censure.
– Yes ; and asked that the Prime Minister should, practically, be the instrument to convey that vote of censure through our Printing Committee to the Senate as a whole. The Printing Committee of the Senate take the view that the Printing Committee of another place has no right to sit in judgment on any action of the Senate in regard to the printing of papers, or any similar matters affecting this Chamber.
– The action of the Printing Committee of another place was *a piece of impertinent indecency.
– I am not prepared to go so far as Senator Neild in his expression of opinion, but I contend that another place had no right to question the proceedings of this Chamber; and it certainly seems out of place that the Prime Minister should be the means of convening the expression of indignation to which I have referred. The Printing Committee of another place has no constitutional right, and no justification for interfering in such a matter. The Printing Committee of the Senate submit this report, believing it to be amply justified by the circumstances of the case; and it is hoped that the placing of this report on record will prevent a similar occurrence in the future. The two Printing Committees may meet jointly to decide questions of the character which arise, but I presume that, if they were to meet ten times a week, neither could interfere in the slightest degree with the rights of the other Chamber, or of its members.
– The Prime Minister could not do it.
– We know that even the Prime Minister is not master ‘of the rights of Parliaments, nor are the whole of the members of the Executive combined. For the reasons I have stated, we have submitted the report, the adoption of which I have moved.
– Perhaps I may be permitted to say a few words on the motion. I deprecate any discussion on this matter. I do not think that the Senate should condescend to discuss it, because it is self-evident that the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives did not understand the position in which they were placed. Neither the Printing Committee of the House. of Representatives, the joint Committee, nor the House of Representatives itself has any right to cen-. sure the Senate, and still less have thev any right to ask the Prime ‘Minister to take a part in any such censure. I think it would be as well if honorable senators passed the motion unanimously, without condescending to discuss the question.
– I think that I should say a word or two on the subject. I do not think that the motion should be passed unanimously until all the facts have been fairly considered. We must all admit that if another branch of the Legislature considers that this branch with which it has no particular connexion, has ordered printing involving unnecessary expense to thu Commonwealth, it has a right to say something about it. I admit that the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives have exercised their right in this respect in a wrong way. If they desired to promote economy, and considered that the Printing Committee of the Senate were authorizing the printing of papers unnecessarily, their proper course would have been to ask for a Conference between the two Houses.
– They could not ask for a Conference. They could only report to their own House. How could a Committee of either House ask for a Conference ?
– It would not need to be a Conference, but representatives of both “Houses might have met to talk the matter over quietly ; or the Printing Com - mittee of the House of Representatives might have ‘ forwarded a representation to the Printing Committee of the Senate on the subject. In this case eight long papers that had previously been printed bv the Government, covering regulations under the Post and Telegraph Act, were ordered to be printed again by the Senate. The Senate had a perfect right to make such an. order, but it added unnecessarily to the cost of printing for the Commonwealth. The Senate was not entirely to blame in the matter, because the difficulty arose from the fact that instructions had not been given to the Government Printer to send copies of these regulations to each member of the Parliament when he printed them for the Government under an Act. It was necessary for the Senate and the House of Representatives to order the printing’ of those papers so that the members of both Houses might obtain, copies of them. That involved considerable extra expense, as honorable senators are aware. Of course I cannot, and do not, pretend! for a moment to defend the action of the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives.
– That is what the honorable senator is doing.
– I do not defend the way in which thev gave expression to their opinion on a matter of economy. They expressed a right and a justifiable opinion, so far as economy is concerned, but they did so in the wrong way, and in a way which I cannot defend. I do not know that anything will be gained by passing the motion. I understand that a similar difficulty cannot arise again, because at the instance of Senator Neild the Senate passed a motion respecting the supply of official publications to members of the Federal Legislature, and I am informed that the Prime Minister has directed that members of both Houses are in future to be furnished with copies of all Commonwealth publications, the Acting Government Printer having been instructed accordingly. The motive which actuated the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives was certainly a good one, because their desire was to study economy, but they had no right to refer the matter to the Prime Minister, who, of course, had nothing to do with it. They made a very serious mistake in doing that. With respect to the resolutions at which the Printing Committee of the Senate have arrived, the first is -
That it is the right of the Senate to order the printing of any paper laid on the table of the Senate.
There can be no doubt that that is our right if we choose to exercise it; but I assume that we have no desire to exercise it in such a way as to involve the Commonwealth in unnecessary expense. The second resolution is -
That the action of the Senate in ordering any paper to be printed is not open to review by the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives.
Ordinarily, of course, it is not; but the members of the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives, as well as every person in the Commonwealth, have a perfect right to say so, if they consider that proper economy is not being practised,
– The Senate ordered the printing of the papers.
– And it is open to review as to whether it was. a wise action on the part of the Senate, when it involved unnecessary expense.
-By whom ?
– By everybody.
– By individuals, of course, butnotby an official committee.
– The Printing Committee of the House of Representatives might have called attention to the matter in avery nice way. Unfortunately they did not do so, and I do not defend their action. The third resolution reads -
That it is not proper that the action of the Senate should be brought by the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives under the attention of the Prime Minister.
I quite agree with that. I do not think that weought to pass the motion. Weought not to do anything which might be a cause of friction between the two Houses.
– On the Minister’sreasoning we should abolish” the Printing Committee of the Senate, and hand over the consideration of all printing to the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives.
– No. I have already said that a similar difficulty arising out of the printing of regulations under Acts of Parliament cannot again occur. I ascertained the additional and unnecessary expense involvedin the extra printing ordered in this case, and I do not think it was a very large sum.
– What has that to do with the question?
– It has something to do with it.
– What I am afraid of is that this motion, if passed, may give rise to some little friction between the two Houses. We must recollect that the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives complained on the ground of economy, and honorable senators will agree that such action is always more or less popular.
– How does the Minister know that economy was the only consideration which, moved them.
– I think that they were actuated by a desire to promote economy, and I certainly should not attribute their action to any base motive. The Senate has a right to pass this motion if it pleases.
– Does the Ministerbelieve that the Senate is not to be trusted to consider economy?
– I think that this motion will not secure economy. Attention has been called to the matter by what has already transpired, and that, I think, is all that is necessary. If, however, honorable senators desire to pass the motion, well and good.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (SouthAustralia) [6.25]. - I think it well, andat all events I am not sorry, that the Minister of Defence has thought it necessary to say a word or two before the motion is passed. The honorable senator, it seems to me, takes up a very curious position in assenting to every one of the resolutions submitted by the Printing Committee of the Senate, and at the same time deprecating the placing of them on record by the Senate. If we assent to the resolutions, it is our duty to back up the Printing. Committee by placing them on record. We have intrusted the Committee with the duty .of controlling printing, so far as it concerns the business of the Senate, and when we believe their action “to be right it is our duty to support them, just as it would be our duty, if we thought they had done wrong, to criticise them, and, perhaps, to express some strong opinion against what they had done. I take the view that the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives adopted a very unwise course, not merely in form, but in substance. I am not prepared to accept the position that the Printing Commitee, or any other Committee, of the House of Representatives can sit in judgment upon the proceedings of the Senate, or of any Committee appointed by the Senate. The Senate ordered , the printing of these documents, and it is perfectly immaterial whether the expense involved was 5s. or ^5. The Senate made the order, and the decisions of the Senate are not, it appears to me, to be called in review, as the Minister of Defence believes they may be, by the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives. I entirely disagree that the Printing Committee of the .House of Representatives, or even the House of Representatives itself, is entitled to sit in judgment upon the proceedings of the Senate, except in the ordinary parliamentary way. In that respect the Minister of Defence adopts a mistaken attitude, as he does also, I think, in deprecating our taking action to maintain the dignity of the Senate and of our Printing Committee. When he says that it must cause friction with the other Chamber> I should like to know who has caused this friction? In the first place we must attribute it to what Senator Playford has very justly described as the improper vote of censure passed upon the proceedings of the Senate and of a Committee of the Senate. In the next place it was wrong for the Committee of the House of Representatives to have transmitted that censure through the Prime Minister. We cannot be wise at all times, but I think it .was wrong for the Prime Minister to take it upon Himself to forward Ihe censure or to have anything at all to do with it. It would have been wiser if the honorable and learned gentleman had intimated to the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives that it would be well for them to reconsider their position, and to adopt a better course. The censure was forwarded, and it appears to me that we should now agree to the resolutions which the Printing Committee of the Senate have submitted. I cannot understand why the course that has been indicated should not have been followed ,in the event of the Printing Committee of the House of Representatives feeling that action had been taken concerning which they might make a suggestion to the Printing Committee of the . Senate in relation to the conduct of the business it has been appointed to control. When we appointed our Committee we gave them power to confer with, or sit as a joint Committee with, the corresponding Committee of the House of Representatives. Every facility was, therefore, given to enable a conference of the kind to take place.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
» Second Reading.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Bill came from the other House last week, when it. was read a first time, and, although it is very small in volume, it is of considerable importance for very many reasons. It will be within the recollection of honorable senators that upon the last two occasions when the Estimates of Expenditure for the year were under consideration, the question of the up-keep of the Federal Government House at Sydney received consideration. If I remember aright, it was I who first called in question the necessity or desirableness of maintaining in the Commonwealth two establishments for His Excellency, namely, one at Melbourne, and one at Sydney; but I was not vouchsafed1, I may say with all respect to those who were in charge of the Estimates, the information which I have since had an opportunity of acquiring. Honorable senators can judge of the quantity of that information, if not of its quality, when they, observe the file which I have at my left hand. Most of these papers deal solely with the question of the Governor-General’s residence in Sydney. Some of them certainly deal with the residence of the Governor-General in Melbourne, but the great majority of the papers, which I have gone through most carefully during the last few weeks, deal with the whole question of the residence of His Excellency at Svdney for a portion of the year. Some time ago papers were tabled, I believe in the Senate as well as in the other House, containing correspondence which had passed between the Colonial Office and the Premiers’’ of New South Wales, and other intending federating Colonies, on the question of the place of residence and allowances of the GovernorGeneral when he should come to Australia. It will probably Le remembered, even apart from any official papers which, have been tabled, that just before the arrival of the first Governor-General in Australia, communications passed between the then Premier of New South Wales, Sir William Lyne, and the Colonial Office, urging that, for various reasons, the Governor-General should for a period of the vear reside in that State. The matter was submitted for the consideration of, not merely the Colonial Office, but also the Premiers of the other Colonies, and the correspondence which, has been tabled in Parliament since discloses that at a Conference of Premiers a majority had decided that it was advisable that, during the recess, at any rate, the Governor-General should reside in S olney, and should from time to time visit the other States. Those were circumstances which were not presented to me. nor did I advert to them, or have any knowledge of them at the time when I was calling in question the necessity or desirableness of maintaining two separate establishments in the Commonwealth for the GovernorGeneral. However, the question was again referred to when the item cropped up on the Estimates last year, and then the Government promised that, so far as it was concerned, there would be no payments mar’e in connexion with the maintenance and upkeep of the Government House at Sydney beyond the end of the current financial year, that is the 30th June last, and that, as far as any future expenditure in connexion with the maintenance of a Government House at Svdney was concerned, it should be made the subject-matter of a Bill which could be dealt with bv both Houses, apart from the consideration of the Estimates. This Bill has accordingly been introduced ; but I should mention that between the time when the Senate gave consideration to the matter last year, and the beginning of this session, negotiations have taken place between the Government of the Commonwealth and the Government of New South Wales. As a result of the negotiations, the Government of the Commonwealth is in this position : that if the Bill be passed, it will be enabled to make an arrangement with the State of New South Wales for the acquisition of Svdney Government House, for the purpose of a residence for the GovernorGeneral, for a period not exceeding five years, rent free, and subject only to the consideration that the house and its furniture shall be maintained in their present order and condition, and at the termination of the tenancy so handed back to the State.
– Are not those the existing conditions ?
– Has the Commonwealth never paid any rent?
– No; and it has. not paid any rent for the occupation of the Melbourne Government House. The terms upon which the two houses have been occupied a,s residences for His Excellency have not been precisely similar. So far as Melbourne Government House is concerned,, negotiations were entered into between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of Victoria, and as a result an agreement was drawn up for a three years’ tenancy, with the option of a two years’ extension. It was drawn up so long after the tenancy had commenced that when it was forwarded for execution the Crown Solicitor of the Commonwealth pointed out that probably by the time it was executed the term would have run out, and consequently it was suggested that a five ears term, running from the original date.- should be the term of the lease. A lease was drawn up accordingly, and was forwarded for execution. Although it received official approval, still, for some reason or other, it was not signed, and apparently the counterparts had not been exchanged. So that His Excellency hasbeen in occupancy of the house upon what has practically amounted to a tenancy from year to vear. When it was first contemplated that Svdney Government House should be set aside by the State of New South Wales as a residence for the Governor-General during a certain portion of the year it incurred a considerable amount of expense. I am not quite certain about it, but if my memory serves me aright the amount expended by the State in refitting the house, and making it ready for the occupation of the Governor-General was about ,£20,000. I do not suggest for a moment that the whole of that expenditure was absolutely necessitated bv the fact that His” Excellency was going to occupy the premises. Probably a large portion of the expenditure would have been of value to the State as the owner of the property, whether His Excellency had continued to occupy it for a long or short period, or had discontinued to occupy it. But apart from that expenditure, the State took a lease of premises which have since been occupied by the State Governor as a residence, and Which, situated at Rose Bay, near Sydney, are known as Cranbrook.
– Built bv old Captain Towns, the founder of Townsville.
– That statement is, I believe, correct. Since the last session of this Parliament negotiations, as I have said, have been taking place between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales. ‘ The term of occupancy of Cranbrook will run out on the 30th September next. Naturally enough, in view of the attitude of the Senate towards the whole question of the maintenance of the Government House in Sydney. the Government of New South Wales is desirous of knowing as early as possible in what position it stands with regard to an extension of its occupancy of Cranbrook. When it came to negotiate with the owner for the option of an extension of the term of occupancy, it was met with a distinct refusal. He had decided that he would not let the property any longer, but would cut it up, and sell it. In view of that fact, the only thing which the Government of New South Wales could do was to ask for the right to purchase, and now it has an agreement to that effect from the owner, but it has to exercise the option at a verv early date. It is for that reason that this Bill has been put in front of several orders of the day on the notice-paper. The State Government is desirous of knowing at the earliest possible date what is the position with regard to- a second residence for the Governor-General. If it is desired that His Excellency shall have a second residence afforded to him - a residence in Sydney as well as in Melbourne - then it will be necessary for the Government of New South Wales to exercise its option of purchasing Cranbrook as a residence for the State Governor, at any rate, for a period of years. The preamble of the Bil! says -
For the purpose of providing residences for the Governor-General pending the establishment of a Federal Capital : Be it enacted … as follows.
In clauses 2 and 3 it empowers the Governor-General to -enter into an arrangement with the Governors of Victoria and New South Wales respectively ‘ for the, use and occupation of the local Government House as a residence for himself. It is really a Bill to enable the Commonwealth to make the necessary arrangements for securing both of these houses as residences for the Governor-General, pending the establishment of the permanent Seat of Government of the Commonwealth. The position in regard to Victoria is that at present the Governor-General is occupying Melbourne Government House on what might be called a tenancy from vear to year. There is no definite agreement with the State of Victoria, nor is there any agreement, with, the State of New South Wales. The house that is now being used for the State Governor will soon revert to the owners of the property, who desire that the Government of New South Wales shall notify them not later thani the 1st August of this vear whether or not it intends to exercise the option of purchase. Both of these Government Houses have in the past been at the disposal qf the Commonwealth for occupation by the Governor-General rent free, the only obligation being in each case to maintain the furniture and belongings of the establishment, and to hand them over in good order and condition at the end of the term. All that we are asking in this Bill is for power to enable us to enter into arrangements for the continued occupation of those two houses on the existing terms. Honorable senators will probably remember having seen some time ago a notification in the daily press to the effect that it was intended to claim rent in respect of the occupation of these premises by the Commonwealth. I am in a position to say that there is to be nothing in the nature of rent paid bv the Commonwealth for either of the houses.
– Has not Mr. Bent made a claim for rent?
– It has been withdrawn. In the session of 1901-2 a paper was circulated, dealing with the GovernorGeneral’s establishment and the Executive Council. It was printed, and appears on page 835 of the General Parliamentary
Papers, Session 1901-2, volume 2. There is set out an estimate of the cost of maintaining Melbourne Government House and grounds, together with the furniture and belongings of the establishment, and. a similar estimate in the case of Sydney Government House. The total comes to. £5,5°°-
– What was the actual expenditure?
– Last year the actual expenditure was .£5,868.
– How much for each ?
– In 1901-2 the expenditure for Melbourne was ,£3,101, and for Svdney £2,077, making a total of £5,178; and the proposed vote was £5,500. The expenditure of £5,868 last year included, however, what would be called non-recurring items. There was, for instance, an item for the asphalting of a portion of the grounds. When I say “ nonrecurring,” I mean not recurring annually. The Department has every reason to believe that the estimate of £15,500, which was in 1901-2 described as being a bedrock estimate, will not be exceeded during the present vear. I have here some figures, for which I am indebted to Mr. Dugald Thomson, formerly Minister of Home Affairs, who quoted them during the debate on this measure in another place. They afford a useful contrast with the expenditure incurred by different States in a similar direction. The honorable member did not set out in these figures, as reported in Hansard, particulars for any other States than New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, though he also mentioned the expenditure incurred by New Zealand in respect of Government Houses. In New South Wales, where there are two Government Houses for the use of the State Governor, the annual cost is stated to be £12,^68. In Victoria two Government Houses are maintained for the State Governor, at a total annual cost of £8,732.-
– Does that include interest ?
– The figures are mentioned as the total annual cost.
– The sum clearly does not include interest in the case of New South Wales.
– I do not know whether in Queensland there is more than one Government House, but, at any rate, the total expenditure in that State is £7>r_32. In New Zealand the annual expenditure on Government Houses amounts to £7,000. There we have an account of the cost in three States of the Commonwealth and the Colony of New Zealand, and in contrast ‘we have an annual expenditure by the Commonwealth on two Government Houses, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne, of £5,500. So that, from the point of view of expenditure annually incurred in housing Governors, the Commonwealth appears to be making a very, excellent bargain. If it can get two Government Houses, presumably the largest and best equipped in Australia, absolutely rent free, subject only to the observance of terms and conditions which will involve an annual outlay of £5,500, the Commonwealth appears to be doing remarkably well.
– Why should we have to “cadge” to the States Governments for the use of Government Houses?
– I do not know that we have “cadged.” I may refer to some correspondence that passed between the Premier of New South Wales and the Colonial Office before the establishment of Federation. It discloses that there was a voluntary offer on the part of New South Wales to provide rent free for the GovernorGeneral, Svdney Government House, and before the Governor-General was accommodated there to put the establishment in the best order, at an expenditure of £20,000.
– That included furnishing of all kinds, including the cost of new silver, cutlery, and: so forth.
– Not only did New South Wales, through her Premier, make that offer, but - what was absolutely new to me, until a few moments ago, I had an opportunity to peruse this verv bulky and not altogether inviting, looking file of papers - the New South Wales Government introduced into Parliament a Bill, which was passed, to provide out of the consolidated revenue of the State a sum of something like £3,000 per annum to add to the Federal constitutional allowance of £10,000 for the Governor-General.
– New South Wales voted one-third of £10,000 as an addition to the constitutional allowance.
– She voted what would be her proportionate share of £10,000, over and above the sum provided by the Constitution. That fact, as I have said, was new to me until I read the papers on the file. The fact that that Bill was passed was communicated to the Home authorities. A similar Bill was introduced in Victoria for the. purpose of supplementing the Governor-General’s constitutional allowance, but was not passed. This action indicates the attitude of New South Wales with regard to the residence of the GovernorGeneral in that State. I mention this in reply to Senator Givens, to show that it is not the case that the Commonwealth is going cadging to any State Government for anything of this character.
– I object to the Commonwealth being under an obligation.
– New South Wales, at any rate, had a strong desire that the GovernorGeneral should reside for the best part of the parliamentary recessin that State. Various reasons were given for that attitude. It was stated, as honorable senators may remember, that, although the Constitution providedthat, until the Seat of Government was definitely established, the Parliament should sit at Melbourne, that in itself did not imply that the Seat of Government was at Melbourne. These were arguments advanced Eased on opinions that had been supplied.
– Amongst others by Mr. O’Connor and Sir Edmund Barton.
– I do not know as to an opinion having been supplied by Sir Edmund Barton. But there was a feeling in New South Wales, over and above a desire that the Governor-General should reside there a portion of the year, that New South Wales, as of right and not as of favour, was,under the terms of the Constitution, entitled to claim that the GovernorGeneral should reside there.
– Does the Constitution not provide that the Seat of “Government shall not be within 100 miles of Sydney ?
– Quite so: But I am not prepared to argue the matter with Senator Givens from the legal point of view. What I am prepared to do is to state that the people of New South Wales not only had such a desire, but felt that, as a matter of right, they were entitled to claim that the Governor-General should reside there.
– Not in Sydney.
– I am, stating a fact, and not saying whether the people of
New South Wales were right or wrong. The peopleof New South Wales believed that they were entitled to claim that the GovernorGeneral should reside in that State when the duties of his office did not necessarily call him to Melbourne ; and provision, was, made by the Stateto supplement the allowance of £10,000 per annum, to which the Governor-General is entitled under the Constitution.
– I thought that this supplemental allowance was only in respect of the initial expenditure at the inauguration of the Commonwealth ?
– No, it was a permanent annual appropriationof revenue in. respect of the office of the GovernorGeneral. This provision was made, apparently, withthe concurrence of, at any rate, someof the other States, who were to take a like course, and, in the whole, supplement theFederal allowance of£10,000 by another£10,000. In addition, New South Wales put Sydney Government House in the best of order and condition, and set it aside for the GovernorGeneral, taking other quarters for theState Governor. These were the facts at the establishment of the CommonwealthSince then, as I have said. Sydney Government House has been occupied, in conjunction with the Melbourne Government House, as the residence of the Governor-General, on the terms I have stated - terms which wemay call very unsettled. Now we ask, in view of those facts, that the Government shall be empowered to make a definite arrangement with each of the two States for the occupancy of the two Government Houses on the same terms and conditions as heretofore. Those conditions will bedefinitely expressed, and will operate for a. definite term, pending the establishment of the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth ?
– The Minister does, not mention any State except New South Wales.
– The only twoStates affected are New South Wales and’ Victoria.
– Why not mention theother States?
– I do not know that the Governor-General has been residing inany of the other States.
– Let the GovernorGeneral residethree months in each of the States.
– Is there not a condition of the Constitution which prevents any discrimination between State and State ?
-. - These are the facts as I have them for presentation to honorable senators. The Bill is intended to enable the Government to continue, on more definite terms, and in an expressed agreement with the two States, the arrangements which have heretofore obtained. I have pointed out the amount of money that will be involved, and I have shown the cost of maintaining residences of the kind in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and New Zealand. As I said, this Bill has been introduced in conformity with the promise made to the Senate last session by my colleague on behalf of the Government, that this Chamber would te afforded an opportunity to consider this matter independently of the general body of Estimates.
– Does the Minister know, as a fact, that the two States will enter into a.r agreement to continue the same arrangement? “
– The agreement has been entered into, subject to ratification bv Parliament.
– What are the terms - what is the agreement we have to ratify?
– Would it not be better to make this a Bill to ratify the agreement, and to put the agreement in a schedule?
– The agreement is at present a matter of correspondence. The States have undertaken to continue the present arrangement on the terms which have obtained heretofore, and to enter into a formal agreement for that purpose.
– Under the Bill you could enter into an agreement to pay an enormous rent.
– Yes, but this agreement has been entered into only so far as correspondence is concerned, subject to ratification by Parliament.
– If there is an agreement, surely this Bill ought to be one to ratify the agreement?
– The agreement has not yet been drawn up. I cannot at the moment place my hand on the particular letter, from Mr. Carruthers ; but it is very briefly stated in eight or nine lines that a minute had been drawn up and signed by the Minister of Home Affairs and a representative of the New South Wales Go vernment to the effect that a formal agreement shall be prepared for a tenancy not to exceed five years, on the terms and conditions which have hitherto obtained.
– What are the terms in regard to repairs ?
– The Commonwealth Government have to maintain and keep the building and its contents in the present good order and condition.
– If an unforseen accident, such as a tempest, were to cause any damage, we should have to make that damage good, I presume?
– I do not know; that would be a term for the agreement to set out. I do not think I can afford honorable senators any further information. As I said before, I think we shall be getting from both States a very excellent bargain, and very generous treatment. We shall be able to maintain the conditions as heretofore, which have apparently given the greatest satisfaction to all concerned. So far as New South Wales is concerned, we shall be maintaining an attitude which, though it seemed inexplicable to me before I had familiarized myself with, all that took place in the early days of Federation, now seems to me calculated to produce the greatest harmony between that State and the Commonwealth, pending the establishment of the permanent Seat df Government.
– I intend to support the second reading of the Bill. The Honorary Minister has given us a very lucid explanation of . the proposal, and I agree with him that both New South Wales and Victoria have treated the Commonwealth with the greatest generosity. It was necessary for us to provide residences suitable for a person occupying the high position of Governor-General’. That difficulty was overcome by the Governments of the two States voluntarily handing over their Government Houses - which are, I believe, the finest buildings of the kind in Australia - and going to the expense of providing other premises for their own Governors. New South Wales is prepared to enter into an agreement for a further term of five years1, and the arrangement which was made at the verv inception of Federation has been indorsed annually by the States Parliaments since. I do not think that this is a time to propose to annul an agreement which has proved so enormously to our advantage. It is a great pity that the Federal Capital Site has not been selected before now.
– It has been selected.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Then I shall say that it is a pity the question of the site has. not been settled before now ; and in my opinion the fault for the delay lies with the Parliament of New South Wales.
– That is perfectly true.
– I am sure that in our legislation we always endeavour to carry out the spirit of the Constitution; and no one will contend that the framers of the Constitution intended us to sit for five years in Melbourne without having selected the Federal Capital Site. It is provided in the Constitution that pending the selection of a Capital Site in New South Wales the Parliament shall meet in Melbourne ; and putting aside the question of the apportionment of the blame for the delay, we have to consider in our legislation the interests of the whole people of Australia, and not those of any particular State. But the people of New South Wales have reason to complain of. an injustice in that the spirit of the Constitution has not been carried out, so far as the selection of the Capial Site is concerned. The agreement that we shall be asked to ratify is one in which, as I have said, New South Wales is treating the Commonwealth with the greatest generosity. Each of the States Governors, who occupy positions of somewhat less importance than that of Governor-General, has two Government Houses : and that is the case, not only in Australia, but also in New Zealand. The agreement will give the Governor-General also two Government Houses free of expense ; and we should be unjust to a person occupying that high position if, in view of the facts I have presented, we provided him with only one residence. We should not put the Governor-General in a worse position than that occupied by the Governors of the various Slates. If New South’ Wales is willing to continue an agreement which has enabled us to overcome a very great difficulty, we should thankfully accept the offer. I ask honorable senators to consider what would have been the result if the Government of Victoria had said, as they had a perfect right to do, that they were concerned only with the legislation of Victoria, and provided a State Government House only for the State Governor. They might have said, “It is not for us to say where the GovernorGeneral shall reside. That is a matter for the Federal Parliament.” If they had adopted that attitude, no one could have blamed them, but we should have been obliged, at very great expense, to obtain one or two residences in which to house the Governor-General and his staff. New South Wales and Victoria in generously coming to our assistance by providing for he use of the Governor-General the two finest, mansions in Australia have treated the Commonwealth extremely well. I hope that in the interests of Australia, we shall as soon as possible select a site for the Federal Capital in New South Wales.
– I thought that we had done so.
– I mean that we shall reach finality in connexion with that question.
– That the people of New South Wales will come to a reasonable frame of mind?
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.There is a good deal in what the honorable senator suggests. I cannot help thinking that our legislation is to some extent influenced by our environment. If this Parliament were sitting in Sydney, our legislation would doubtless be influenced by the environment of Sydney. The Sydney press would, no doubt, adopt’ a line of action in the interests of that city. We should have deputations of Sydney residents waiting upon Federal Ministers in connexion with matters of local interest’, and our legislation would, to a certain extent, be biased by local considerations. The same holds good with respect to Melbourne. I admit that Melbourne and Sydney, with their great populations, are entitled to exercise considerable influence upon our legislation ; but if we met at the Federal Capital, the influence of those cities would be exercised in its proper proportion, and we should view matters, T think, from a more thoroughly Australian stand-point. It would be much better for us to legislate from our own capital than from any of the large capitals of Australia. For all these reasons, I support the second reading of the Bill, and I again express the hope that in connexion with the selection of the Federal Capital site we shall reach finality this session.
– It will be remembered that when the Estimates were under consideration last year I raised the question of the upkeep of the residence provided for the Governor-General in Sydney. Honorable senators were in such a frame of mind at the time that they agreed to a substantial reduction, of ihe item, as an indication that the Senate did not desire to sanction provision for a second official residence for the Governor-General in Sydney. Subsequently, the item was restored, but wilh the distinct understanding that the whole matter would be again submitted to the Senate in proper form - that we might give a decision upon it after full consideration cf all the circumstances. I said last year that in my opinion we were violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the Constitution, in providing a second residence for the Governor-General outside the Seat of Government of the Common- , wealth, and were in that way discriminating between State and State.
– We ‘are bound 10 do it.
– Not necessarily in Sydney. Senator Keating, in moving the second reading of the Bill, referred to the argument that we are morally bound to provide a residence for the GovernorGeneral in Sydney. I think thai’ the honorable and learned senator, or any other person, will find it very difficult to point to anything in the Constitution which obliges us to provide a residence for the Governorgeneral in Sydney. Under the Constitution, we are compelled to establish the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth in New South Wales, but the Constitution also distinctly and emphatically provides that the Seat of Government shall not be within 100 miles of Sydney.
– The Governor.General’s residence is not the Seat of Government.
– I am replying to the argument ihat as the Seat of Government is to be in New South Wales, the Governor-General should, therefore, have an official residence in Sydney. The Constitution provides that the Seat of Government shall not be within 100 miles of Sydney, and, therefore. whatever claim ‘ New South Wales may have to an official residence for the Governor-General. Sydney has no such claim at all. No honorable senator can dispute that.
– Then Melbourne has no claim.
– For the time being, Melbourne is de facto the Seat of Government. That is distinctly in accordance with the Constitution, which provides that until such time as the Federal Capital is established the Parli’ament shall’ sit in Melbourne, and I take it that where the Parliament sits is the Seal’ of Government.
– The honorable senator may, but the Constitution does’ not.
– It must be patent 10 any. one that the Seat of Government is where the Government is located.
– The Government is not necessarily the Parliament.
– Despite what any Act may say, we know that, as a matter of fact, the Seat of Government is where the Government is located, and that is here in Melbourne for the time being. I am personally very sorry that the Seat of Government has been for so long situated in Melbourne. I should very much like to see the bargain entered into at the foundation of the Commonwealth faithfully carried out. This Parliament has done its duty in the matter, and i’f the Seat of Government has not already been established in New South Wales that is not the fault of this Parliament, but rather of certain individuals in Sydney, who desire that it should be fixed as near to that city as possible. Last year the Premier of New South Wales went so far as to say that we were trespassing upon his property in occupying Sydney Government House. He threatened to send in a very large bill to the Commonwealth, and, in fact, to kick the Commonwealth out of the possession of Government House, Sydney. I quoted his remarks last year, and also a very strong paragraph which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, and which, in an insulting way, questioned the action of the Commonwealth in occupying Sydney Government House without paying for it. Rather than have charges of that kind hurled at us, I should prefer to see the Commonwealth Government make provision for the Governor-General’s residence, and pay for it. The Commonwealth of Australia should not be placed in a position in which the finger of scorn mav be pointed at it by Mr. Carruthers, or bv any one else. There is no reason why we should not enter into arrangements with the Government of Victoria to pay an adequate rent for a residence for the GovernorGeneral. We should then be under no com- pliment. We could provide a summer or a winter residence elsewhere for the GovernorGeneral for two or three months in the year wherever he might indicate a desire to live. He might desire to live for three or four months of the year in Tasmania.
– We tried te rem! the Government House there, and could not manage it.
– I have no doubt that some of the exceptionally wealthy people of Tasmania would be prepared to let a residence to the Commonwealth, and would be glad to have so illustrious a tenant as the Governor-General to occupy it.
– If they got enough rent they would trouble very little about who occupied it.
– Surely Government House, Sydney, is not the only house in Australia suitable for a residence for the Governor-General? There is very little difference between the climate of Sydney and of Melbourne, and if the GovernorGeneral desired” a winter trip he might find a much better place to go to than Sydney. A suitable summer residence might be provided in Tasmania, which State, I have been told, possesses the most delightful summer climate in Australia.
– What about Cairns?
– The climate of Cairns at this time of the year is ideal, but it is rather far away from Parliament, and it would be rather far to bring the GovernorGeneral here in the event of a sudden call due to a change of Ministry. Last vear the Premier of New South Wales told us, almost in insulting language, that we were trespassing., and were taking undue advantage of that State bv our occupancy of Svdney Government House free. If honorable senators cared to hear what he said, f could again quote his remarks, and also the paragraph which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald. When there was such a strong feeling in Svdney last year. I should like to know what has occurred in the meantime to allay it.
– Thev have cooled off.
– If the Premier of New South Wales, and the men who are running that State, are subject to such ebullitions of passion, their present calm condition may be only temporary, and we mav have a sudden boiling-over again immediately the proposed arrangement is entered into. We may again be reminded of .the compliment we are under in obtaining the use of the Sydney Government House free.
– The honorable senator has some guarantee in the equanimity of temper displayed by the representatives of New South Wales in the Senate.
– When this matter was under discussion last year, SenatorWalker had to bear the whole of the burden, because the other honorable senatorsrepresenting New South Wales were conspicuous by their absence. What is the reason of all the anxiety to secure an official residence for the Governor-General in Sydney? The people of New South Wales will not be benefited in the least by it. We know that it will be of no benefit even to a majority of the people of Sydney. The only persons to benefit would be the society people in Svdney. They wish to be able toattend the Vice-Regal functions, to put their knees under the Vice-Regal table, and not to trouble about the taxpayers who have toprovide the funds. I have no objection to society people basking in the Vice-Regal smiles, but I have a decided objection to the people of the Commonwealth being called1 upon to foot the bill.
– It is the people of New South Wales who pay.
– I want the society people who enjoy the luxuries of the ViceRegal smiles, and noi the general taxpayers, to pay. For that reason, especially after the insulting expressions used towards uslast year by the Premier of New South Wales, I fail to see why we should go out of our way to provide an official residence in Sydney. It would be just as reasonable to ask us to provide am official residence in Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Launceston, or Brisbane, as to ask us to provide an official residence in Sydney. The only thing which the Commonwealth has to dois to provide a proper residence for the Governor-General at the Seat of Government, wherever it may be for the time being.
– There is noi one at present.
– Undoubtedly there is. No matter what may be printed on paper, wherever the Government is located for the time being is the Seat of Government. If, after providing a proper official residence for the Governor-General at the Seat of Government. His Excellency should so desire, I think it would be quite proper for Parliament to vote a sufficient sum to furnish him with a summer or winter residence in the mountains, or in Tasmania, or wherever .he might suggest. But to maintain a large official residence in the capitals of Victoria and New South Wales is to go entirely beyond our province. After the remarks which were passed in this connexion by the Premier of New South Wales, last year, I shall vote against the second reading of the Bill.
– I intend to vote against the second reading of the Bill. I find that it is proposed to enter into an arrangement with the Governor of Victoria for the use of Melbourne Government House as a residence for the Governor-General for ai period of five years. I think it is very probable that within that period His Excellency will be living at the Seat of Government.
– That is the maximum.
– I see that the agreement is to be for a period not exceeding five years. I have always been opposed to the provision of a residence in Sydney for the Governor-General, and until some new light is thrown upon the subject I expect to continue my opposition. I listened very carefully to the speech of Senator Keating to-night. What he said failed to convince me of the necessity for maintaining a Governor-General’s residence in Sydney. I think that he made a very much better speech on this subject about two years ago. In case he has forgotten what he then said, I propose to take the liberty of refreshing his memory by quoting it from Hansard.
– I have not forgotten it, but have learned more.
– I have no doubt that the honorable senator could give very good and sufficient reasons for changing his mind. Speaking here on the 13th December, 1904, he said -
Why should one State be singled out for special treatment? The Governor-General must, of course, have a residence in Victoria while the Seat of Government remains in Melbourne. If we maintain a separate establishment for him in New South Wales, we should do the same thing in Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania -
I do not know why he omitted Western Australia, but apparently he did. which he intends, I understand, to visit in the near future. If the money is paid in respect to a Government House used bv the State authorities as well as by the Governor-General, I would like to know why similar arrangements are not .made in regard to the other States, all of which the Governor-General is expected to visit. Is the Commonwealth committed in perpetuity to the maintenance of a Government House in New South Wales merely for the pleasure of a few people in that State? This seems to be like throwing a sop to Cerberus.
To-night the honorable senator appears in the position of a sop-thrower to Cerberus. On that occasion he was throwing bricks at Cerberus, but now he is throwing sops.
We are trying to placate the people of New South Wales, who are dissatisfied because the Seat of Government is not fixed in Sydney, and cannot be located within a hundred miles of that city. Does the Governor-General visit New South Wales more than any other State ?
To that inquiry Senator Symon said “Yes.”
Is there any reason why he should do so? Victoria is the State in which he is domiciled. Even if he visits New South Wales more frequently than he visits the other States, why should we maintain a residence for him there all the year round ? How many months in the year has the present Governor-General resided in Sydney ? He has been in Queensland for a longer period, 3 think, than in New South Wales. Is there any reason why we should provide £250 for the lighting of a Government House which is used only occasionally, or £20 for flags, or £100 for china and glass, and £1,000 for the maintenance of the grounds? Surely the Government of New South Wales is able to extend hospitality to the Governor-General when he visits that State, and does not expect the Commonwealth to provide £3,000 to relieve her of that responsibility.
I might read a good deal more of what Senator Keating said on that occasion, but I think that I have quoted sufficient. The crux of the whole question lies in “the last sentence which I quoted. If the Government or people of New South Wales are anxious that the Governor-General should spend a certain portion of the year in that State, then they ought to defray all his expenses. If Senator Keating were to invite any one to his house as a guest, surely he would not ask him to contribute towards the cost of his entertainment ! No person would dream of. doing such a thing, but that is exactly what the Government of New South Wales is doing. It is inviting the Governor-General to spend a portion of his time within its territory, but a portion of the cost of entertaining that official is- to be borne by the people of the Commonwealth. I fail to see any reason why there should be a residence for the Governor-General in Sydney. If the Seat of Government were at the Capital city - at Dalgety, or wherever it might be - then Sydney would have no right to claim that His Excellency should live there during a. portion of the year. Such a claim, I am sure, would be scouted as ridiculous by the representatives of the people of the Commonwealth. The Seat of Government being in Melbourne, all that the people of the Commonwealth can fairly be asked to do is to provide a residence here for His Excellency. I quite agree with what Senator Keating said two years ago. This is nothing more nor less than a sop to Cerberus. There are half-a-dozen Cerberuses in the Commonwealth, and is a sop to be thrown to each ? Is the Governor-General to live in only New South Wales and Victoria? Is the light of his countenance never to shine on any other portion of the Commonwealth ?
– Is he not in Queensland now?
– I see that His Excellency is making a flying visit to Queensland. I am glad to learn that he has been received in a right, royal fashion by the people of the State, and I am sure that if they were anxious that he should live there they would not come to this Parliament, and, through it, ask the Commonwealth to bear a portion of the expense of his visit. On the contrary, they would plank down the money, even if they had to borrow it, to pay for his entertainment. I am sure that the people of the other States would take up an exactly similar position. I am sure that we are all verv economically minded. Time and again each honorable senator has dwelt upon the importance of being careful about the cash, and yet I find that considerably over £30,000 has al read v been expended upon the two residences for the GovernorGeneral. Half that amount, I am sure, has been spent on the Svdney establishment. Let honorable senators consider how reckless it is to throw away -£15,000 for nothing. I suppose that if I were to figure it Out to the last, farthing it would amount to somewhere about £20,000. This is a great country, with, very magnificent possibilities, and with a huge overdraft, which is usual lv considered to be a sign of respectability; but it cannot afford to throw away -£20,000. Let us imagine what the Senate could do with that sum. I think that I could spend the money much more effectively, and place it where it would do a much greater amount of good than by simply throwing it away upon a residence for the Governor-General in Sydnev. I find that even the Sydney Morning Herald did not look with too favorable an. eye. on this arrangement. On the 27 th November, 1905, the following paragraph appeared in its columns : -
Government House, Sydney. - The end of the year will see the termination of the arrangement entered into between the first Federal Government and that of New South Wales, under which Government House was made available as the vice-regal residence of the Governor-General in this State. It is understood the Federal Government is anxious to continue the arrangement. On the other hand, it is stated that the State Government is not enamoured of the proposal to renew the agreement. In political circles also the opinion is expressed that the arrangement has proved a most costly and inconvenient one to this State. The renovation, repairs, furnishing, rent, and upkeep of Cranbrook, the temporary residence of the State Governor at Rose Bay, has involved an expenditure of over ^20,000. This sum had to bc expended, notwithstanding the fact that the Governor-General’s residence is empty nine months in the year. It is suggested that the possession of Government House for the State Governor should be resumed, and an allowance should - be made to meet the extra expenditure during the three months’ stay of the GovernorGeneral in the same establishment. The lease of Cranbrook, the State Governor’s residence at Rose Bay, terminates at the end of next year. If the suggested arrangement were carried out the rental as well as the upkeep of Cranbrook would be saved. It is anticipated that something definite will be done in the matter in a few days.
I agree with the suggestion of the Sydney Morning Herald. It is a very sensible one. A special allowance should be granted to defray the cost of entertaining the GovernorGeneral during such time as he may choose to live in Sydney. That would be a better plan than continually coming to this Parliament to ask for money for such useless purposes as maintaining a separate residence in, Sydney. I feel very strongly upon this subject. I have come to the conclusion that the proposal is merely made for the purpose of placating the Government of New South Wales. After the insulting remarks made about the Commonwealth and the action of this Parliament by certain members of the New South Wales Government last vear, I do not think that the Senate should entertain a proposal of this character for a single moment. I have not the slightest objection to provide a residence for the Governor-General in Victoria. That is a responsibility which we are bound to discharge to> the very best of our ability, But if the Governor-General is to obtain a residence in New South Wales at the expense of the Commonwealth, I shall move that a, residence be also provided for him in Queensland ; and I am sure that senators from the other States will follow suit. Then, instead! of imposing upon the taxpayers an expenditure of £5,000 or £6,000 for an unnecessary residence for the Governor-General, we shall find ourselves landed in an outlay of about £20,000 per annum. Honorable senators should take a reasonable view of the matter. I remember that on the last occasion when it was discussed, Senator Walker stood alone as a representative of his State. All the other big guns from New South Wales were for the time being dismantled. There was only one “ Long Tom “ to defend the position. On this occasion, however, the New South Wales senators have assembled in force, I intend to vote against the second reading.
– Then the honorable senator will vote against the Melbourne arrangement.
– I do not want an arrangement to be made for any term longer than a year, because it is quite possible that within two or three years we may have moved to the Federal Capital, where a residence will undoubtedly be erected for the Governor-General.
– The last two speakers have said that they have not heard anything new as to why the determination of last vear should be altered. I was not aware until lately that the arrangement to have a residence for the Governor-General in Sydney was1 made before Federation was actually accomplished. When the Australian delegates were in London discussing the details of the Constitution with the Imperial Government, the Premiers of the States met in Melbourne, and telegraphed to London to this effect-
Majority agree to residence Governor-General in New South Wales during recess, but consider he should visit other Colonies.
– Had the Premiers the right to bind this Parliament?
- Mr. Chamberlain acknowledged that telegram, and our first Governor-General came out to Australia on the understanding that there was to be a residence for him in Svdney. It was an honorable understanding.
– Was it to last for ali time?
– Until the Federal Capital was established. I consider that we are bound, as honorable men, to carry out the arrangement.
– It was carried out in the case of the first Governor-General.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [9.9]. - While I congratulate Senator Walker on the very able manner in which last vear he solely represented the interestsof New South Wales, I think that Senator Stewart, who has not only mentioned thefact, but rubbed it in, ought to have remembered that at the time one of the New South Wales representatives was on what was pretty generally understood to be his death-bed. If he was not here he could not be blamed for hisabsence. Senator Stewart also talked at large to the effect that if New South Waleswanted to have a residence for the GovernorGeneral in Sydney she should pay for it. I have yet to learn that any State of the Commonwealth has acted with the generosity that New South Wales has done in this matter. As Senator Keating- very properly and lucidly pointed out in introducing this Bill, New South Wales has not only provided . for the Governor-General a. residence free of charge ib the Commonwealth - furnishing that residence afresh for His Excellency’s occupation at very great cost to herself - but she was the only one of the Australian States which, in addition to the taxation necessarily imposed on her people by the Constitution, voted an additional sum of between £3,000 and £4,000 to augment the salary of the Governor-General. I had the honour to be one of the members of the New South Wales Parliament that passed the Bill for that purpose.
– But New South Walesnever paid the money.
– Because there was no other State in the Commonwealth that was game enough to do the same. We passed the Bill, and it was only the refusal of the other States to join in a similar voteto . make up an additional £10,000 that caused New South Wales not to- pay over the money. The legislation was completely enacted. If Senator Keating had less lucidly explained the details, it might havebeen necessary for me to mention certain matters connected with the question at issue. But the Minister has so completely stated the facts, and has done that in so temperate a manner, that he has left nothing for any representative of New South Wales to add. I should not have said anything, except for, what I. hope I shall not giveoffence by calling, the rather ungenerous remarks to which Senator Stewart gave utterance.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) .[9.”]. - Last year, when we were dealing with the Estimates, we had a discussion upon this subject. At that time £2,500 was set down in respect of Sydney Government House for the year. The discussion took place upon a proposition made, I think, by Senator Givens to reduce the amount of that expenditure, and eventually a request for the reduction of the vote by £1,000 was adopted by a substantial majority. On that occasion I adopted a view which I still hold.
– Geography has a great bearing upon this question.
– The honorable senator did not express the same view when he was sitting on the other side of the Chamber.
– Indeed I did; but unfortunately my Honorable friend was not present.
– Yes, I was present when the honorable senator sat on the other side of the Chamber.
– I expressed the same view then as on a later occasion, although I suggested that the Senate would do well to pass the item on the Estimates. Last year the point discussed was as . to the propriety of there being two Vice-Regal residences. Subsequently the Senate withdrew its oppositionto the vote on a statement being made on behalf of the Government that an opportunity would be given to us by Bill to decide the exact method of dealing with the question. It was particularly urged at that time that’ nearly the whole of the expenditure had been incurred, and that, therefore, to make a reduction of £1,000 out of a vote of £2,500 was really ro withdraw from the Government money which had been spent. I congratuate the Government upon having complied with the wish of the Senate by bringing down thi* Bill for the purpose of having the question properly determined. It is quite -evident that, as Senator Pearce has pointed out, it would be difficult to vote against the second reading. It has been said. that no additional information has been obtained between last year and the present time. Senator Stewart has opened up a very terrible prospect - that if we are not agree.able to limit the Governor-General’s residence to Melbourne, we shall have thrust upon us an expenditure of something like £20,000, instead of £5,500.
– Should there not be a residence for the Governor-General in Adelaide ?
– Personally, I do not desire that there should ba a Commonwealth Vice-Regal residence in Adelaide. I adhere entire.lv to the view I have, always taken,_ that where the Seat of Government is, there the Vice-Regal residence should be. It is undesirable, not merely on account of the expense, but for other reasons, that there should be a separate Government House in another State. I am not at all convinced by the telegram which Senator Macfarlane quoted, because that was from a majority of the Premiers, who met together at a time when the delegation was already in London securing the passage of the Bill, and when arrangements were being made with Lord Hopetoun, who came out as the first Governor-General. It was always understood, and the understanding has been acted upon by Senator Keating, and also by myself when in office, that the inaugural ceremonies in connexion with Federation should take place in Svdney, and that the New South. Wales Government should, as it did handsomely and sumptuously, provide for those ceremonies. It was really a stipulation, so far as I recollect, on the part of the first GovernorGeneral himself, that he should be able to reside during the recess, or some part of the year in Sydnev. but that arrangement could not be regarded as holding good in perpetuity. One great objection that I took before, and take still, was the uncertainty that existed with regard to the arrangement as to the two Government Houses. In addition to this uncertainty, there were constant bickerings, and soon - a kind of game of bluff, as evidenced by the passage that Senator Stewart read this evening from the Sydney Morning Herald. It was desirable on ‘ every ground that there should be some definite term put to the arrangement, if it was claimed to exist, and that there should be an end to the kind of “ backing and filling “ and quarrelling that was going on. I wish also to say, in support of Senator Smith, that it is extremely desirable that we should have the permanent Seat of Government settled at the earliest possible moment. One reason which has influenced me in expressing mv opinion as to having two Government Houses, even temporarily, is that by refusing, or, at any rate, by showing that, we did not approve of the arrangement, we might hasten the settlement of the Capital Site question earlier than would otherwise be the case. Holding the views that 1 have always held on the subject, I still welcome the Bill, because even in regard to the Sydney Government House, if the Senate in Committee decides to retain the provision, it will fix a term beyond which the agreement is not intended to endure. We have had five years of the arrangement already - years of uncertainty, and of, I shall not say, negotiations, but constant bickering. If we are able to put a term to this arrangement - to which if it were to continue I should strenuously object- we .shall do a good thing. In any case, T am not prepared to fight against the second reading of the Bill, which authorizes and1 enables the Government to make an arrangement in reference to the Government House at Melbourne.
– A Bill is not required for that.
– The Government prefer parliamentary sanction, and in that I think they are wise.
– The Government ask for parliamentary sanction, not for a residence, but for residences.
– An amendment can be made only in Committee, and Senator Givens will see that it is perfectly clear, unless we desire to flaunt the Government by refusing sanction-
– When I see the honorable senator supporting the Bill I think it is time we did refuse.
– Very well ; I am going to support the second reading of the Bill, and I am not prepared ti oppose in Committee the provision which fixes the term in regard to the Government Houses.
– So far as concerns the remarks quoted bv Senator Steuart, as made bv me on a previous occasion, I welcome rather than deprecate their introduction into the present debate. Honorable senators will see that my attitude on that occasion was one of inquiry.
– It was more like an attitude of condemnation.
– I then asked on what principle we were supporting two Government Houses. I did not know, and no one, not even the Minister in charge of the Estimates, gave the House one iota of information as to the terms on which Sydney Government Hou’se was originally acquired as a residence for the GovernorGeneral. As I said in moving the second reading of the Bill, I had not the slightest knowledge, until I went through, the bulky file of papers dealing with the whole ques- tion, either of the telegram, which has been read by Senator Macfarlane or of any of the correspondence which took place between the then Premier of New South Wales, the Home Government, and the Premiers of the other States.
– The honorable senator must have a short memory. Everybody knew that Mr. Chamberlain had telegraphed.
– That telegram had never been read by me.
– Is the Minister in the habit of making emphatic speeches first, and inquiring afterwards? The honorable senator spoke then of a “ sop to Cerberus.”
– What I said was that it seemed to be a sop then. There was no explanation forthcoming, not even from any New South Wales senator; and any one who peruses the report of that debate will see that I asked repeatedly on what principle we were supporting two Government Houses, and why New South Wales was singled out. The answers to those Questions might have been easily furnished ; but until I had an opportunity to go through the file I was absolutely unaware of die fundamental principle on which the Sydney Government House had come into the possession of the Government.
– Why does the honorable senator not say that he was mistaken, and be done with it?
– I was mistaken, but I was absolutely unaware of the circumstances. In moving the second reading of the Bill - which, as honorable senators will see, is down in the name of the Minister of Defence - I stated distinctly that I did not know what the conditions were until I had perused the papers. I think honorable senators appreciate the situation, and realize, as I do, that we are making a good bargain. At the time referred to bv Senator Stewart I did not know, as the very words themselves show, that Svdney Government House was in the exclusive occupation of the GovernorGeneral. As the quotation read by Senator Stewart makes plain, I asked a question, in view of what I understood to be the circumstances, namely, that the Government House in Sydney was in joint occupation of the State and the Commonwealth authorities. I was unaware of the circumstances surrounding the occupancy, and I must say that when I asked for information no honorable senators seemed able, or, atany rate, disposed, to furnish it. I have no hesitation, in view of what I have learned since, in moving the second reading of the Bill.
Question - That the Bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 -
This Act may be cited as the GovernorGeneral’s Residences Act 1906.
– If clause 3 should be negatived, as I desire, a verbal amendment will be necessary in this clause. We shall have to substitute the word “residence” for the word “residences.”
– The honorable senator should move the postponement of the clause.
– We can decide the matter on this clause.
– I propose a merely formal amendment in this clause, and we can have a further fight when we reach clause 3. When I am fighting anything I try, if possible, to do so from every ditch. I move -
That the word “ Residences,” line 2, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ Residence.”
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -(Arrangement for use of Government House, Sydney).
Question - That the clause stand part of the Bill - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5 ‘
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Stewart) pro posed -
That the following new clause be added : - “3A. The Governor-General may enter into an arrangement with the Governors of Queensland and Tasmania for the use and occupation by the Commonwealth, for a period not exceeding five years, of residences for the Governor-General.”
– The new clause proposed by Senator Stewart is an excellent one so far as it goes, but I do not think that it goes far enough. The Bill, as it stands, provides for a residence in each of two of the States of the Commonwealth. Senator Stewart’s amendment would provide for a residence in each of two other States, but there would still be two more States left out in the cold.
– What is wrong with British New Guinea?
– British New Guinea is not yet a State of the Commonwealth. I hope that it will by-and-bv rise to that dignity, and I trust that when that time arrives there will be no discrimination against it. I move, by ‘way of amendment -
That the proposed new clause be amended by inserting after the word t; Tasmania,” line 4, the words “ South Australia and Western Australia.”
– What is the object of the amendment? I understood that the honorable senator desired that New South Wales should be left out, and he is now proposing the insertion of other States.
– Because I do not believe that there should be any discrimination between one State and another in this matter. If at is right that there should be a residence provided for the GovernorGeneral in one State other than that in which the Seat of Government is for the time being situated, there should be such a residence provided in every other State. That is a right which should be specially recognised by the Senate. I desire that the Governor-General should be *at liberty to reside in any of the States. He has as good a right to go to Perth as to Sydney, and to go to Hobart as to stop in Melbourne.
– What about Papua?
– If the honorable senator were not so dense he would have understood my explanation that Papua has not yet risen to the dignity of a. State. I have said that I hope the time will come when it will rise to that dignity, and if I am alive then I shall be just as strongly opposed to any discrimination which would ignore its rights.
– It. is a Territory belonging to Australia.
– But it is not a State. If the Governor-General desired to go there for a couple of months now, I do not see why we should not provide a residence for him. When the opinion of the Committee is tested on my amendment,
Ave shall see whether honorable senators are as loyal as they profess to be to the Constitution, which provides that there shall not be any discrimination between State and State. Those who vote against my amendment will show that they desire that there shall be such a discrimination, which would be just as objectionable as a discrimination in a trade matter. They will show that they are prepared to single out one State for the enjoyment of a special distinction! and favour, which apparently they are not prepared to grant to every other State. This Parliament should not make any discrimination of that kind.
– I ask whether the new clause is in order, seeing that it will involve an additional burden on the taxpayers if it is adopted. The clause is one which, if carried, will entail a larger expense upon the Commonwealth than would be entailed by the “Bill if passed in its present form. In the circumstances, I think that it is not in order.
– It appears to me that the clause is only permissive, and therefore, if agreed to, it will not necessarily increase the expenditure. I therefore rule that it is in order.
– I suppose I am at liberty to proceed now that the point of order is disposed of. I have no desire to occupy the time of the Committee unnecessarily, but I wish to emphasize my contention that honorable senators should not be guilty of any discrimination between State and State, because the Senate was constituted expressly for the purpose of safeguarding the rights of the States. It is for that reason I have sought to enlarge the scope of the new clause proposed by Senator Stewart, and I hope my amendment will be carried.
– I would point out to honorable senators that, so far, no negotiations have taken place between any Government of the Commonwealth and the Government of any of the States which are indicated in the amendment. The Bill deals solely and wholly, at present, with arrangements which have been entered into by the Commonwealth Government with the Governments of Victoria and New South Wales respectively. It is for the ratification of the effective agreements « which have been entered into, and the nature of which I have already indicated that it is, submitted. Although the amendment might be adopted, there would be no obligation thrown upon the Executive to enter into any such agreements. It would absolutely initiate negotiations for such a purpose. I do not know that any GovernorGeneral, so far, has indicated a desire to have a permanent or even a temporary residence in either of these States. For these reasons, I hope that the Committee will not agree to either proposal.
– I wish to read to the Committee the section of the Constitution with regard to discriminations between the residents of different States. There are three or four sections dealing with the question of discrimination. But section 117 reads -
A subject of the Queen, resident in any State, shall not be subject in any other State to any disability or discrimination which would not be equally applicable to him if he were a subject of the Queen, resident in such other State.
– That relates to taxation.
– No j taxation is dealt with in a separate section, which” I am willing to quote if the Minister likes. Evidently the spirit of the Constitution is that every citizen of the Commonwealth, no matter what State he may reside in, shall enjoy every privilege which any other citizen may possess. If the society people of Sydney desire a Government House in that city, so that they may bask in the ViceRegal smiles and sun themselves in the ViceRegal presence, why should not the society people in the capital of every other State have an equal privilege?
– Does the honorable senator wish to saddle the Commonwealth with additional expenditure?
– I am not particularly concerned-
– Last session the honorable senator moved the reduction of the item for the upkeep of Government House, Sydney.
– I am not particularlyconcerned with providing facilities to allow any persons to bask in the Vice-Regal smiles or sun themselves in the Vice-Regal society. But I submit that if the people of one capital are to be afforded that opportunity at needless expense to the Commonwealth, then the people of every other capital should be afforded a similar opportunity.
– More expense.
– -That being so, and seeing that the Senate was especially created to safeguard State interests, we should be particularly careful that there is no discrimination between State and State, and that we do not accord to the residents of one State a needless privilege, which we are not prepared to accord to the residents of every other State. Of course, as Senator Findley has pointed out, it would probably mean more expense. I deplore unnecessary expense.
– Then why persist with the amendment?
– Because I would sooner be guilty of extravagant expenditure than be guilty of an injustice.
– Where is the injustice?
– Because it is proposed in the Bill to treat one State differently from every other State, and in that way to show an unfair and unjust discrimination between State and State, which is expressly forbidden by the Constitution.
– Surely the honorable senator does not think that Queensland is dying to salaam !
– No. It is an injurious discrimination between State and State which the Senate should not permit, and even if it .involved an additional outlay, I would prefer to spend a little more than to be guilty of an injustice.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [9.50]. - If there was anything in the argument which Senator Givens has put forward, it would really mean, if carried to its logical conclusion, that there has been a breach of the Constitution, inasmuch as, in another place, there is a different number of representatives for each of the various States, and that the Postoffices in the States are not all of the same size, and have not the same number of lettercarriers. That only shows how absolutely silly the argument is. There is, however, no harm in adopting the amendment, because in the States referred to, I do not suppose for a moment that the Governments would find the accommodation which would be necessary to meet their obligations, supposing, of course, that the Vice-Regal residences were to be supplied on the same terms as the buildings offered by Victoria and New South Wales.
– The furniture in the Victorian Government House is about the meanest’ I ever saw.
– I was not referring to the furniture, but to the use of the buildings. I do not know that any Governor>General would be anxious ‘to increase enormously his expenditure by trying to live for a couple of months per annum in each of the six States.
– Why should he increase it bv trying to live in two States at the same time?
– As each of those two States provides two residences for its Governor, there is nothing unreasonable in the Commonwealth maintaining a similar line of action. Surely there is nothing unreasonable in supposing that one of the residences should be noi1 only in the oldest city in the Commonwealth, but in the chief city of the chief State of the Commonwealth.
– The last speaker has expressed a fear that the other States which Senator Givens desires to include within the provisions of the Bill might not be able to provide the necessary accommodation for the Governor-General. I do not feel that I should allow Western Australia to rest under that insinuation. In order to relieve any fear in the minds df honorable senators, I may mention that recently, in that State, we have been able to accommodate Senator Col. the Hon. John Cash Neild, honorary Colonel of the St. George’s Rifles, and that, therefore, we have no fear that we could not also accommodate the Governor-General.
-55^ - I intend to support the proposal of Senator Givens. I do not see any reason why, if we provide a residence for the Governor-General in another State, we should not extend that privilege 10 every State in the Commonwealth.
– Did not the honorable senator say that if the people of Queensland warned the Governor-General to visit t,hem, they would pay all expenses ?
– What I said was that if the people of Queensland invited the Governor-General to their State, I had not the slightest doubt that they would pay all his expenses, even if they had to borrow the money. But I cannot bind the Government or people of the State What I want to know is why Sydney is singled out as a second place of residence for the Governor-General. Senator Neild has suggested that it is because Sydney is the chief city of the Commonwealth. Now His Excellency lives in Melbourne for a considerable portion of the year. The climate here is not particularly good. There is a cloud of smoke continually hanging over this city, and Government House gets a very fair share of it. What sense is there in taking the Governor-Gen eral from smoky Melbourne, and transplanting him to smoky, dirty Sydney? If we provide a second residence for His Excellency, why not have it on the heights at Katoomba, in New South Wales, or on the Darling Downs in Queensland, or in some other place where a breath of pure, fresh air is available - that is if we have any consideration for his health?
– Why not at Oodnadatta ?
– I do not know, as I have never been there. It appears to me that the real reason why the second residence is being provided in Svdney is that in that city there is a certain clique known as members of society, who wish to have an opportunity now and again of bowing 10 the Governor-General.
– Basking in his presence.
– Or, as the honorable senator suggests, basking in the light of the Vice-Regal countenance. If that is the case, there must be some rare virtue in these opportunities. If they are of any value to the people of Sydney, why not extend the benefit to the society people in Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth? It is actually proposed to give the people of Melbourne and Svdney a special advantage over the people in the remaining portions of the Commonwealth. I do not know whether that is, as Senator Givens argued, a violation of the Constitution, but if it is not, it looks uncommonly like it. I am sure that the Constitution never contemplated that the Governor-General should have a residence in Sydney. It only provides that the Capital shall be in New South Wales. So careful were the people of the Commonwealth to protect the GovernorGeneral and the Parliament of the Commonwealth against the evil influences which so abound in Sydney that they actually said that the Federal Capital should not be nearer to that city than one hundred miles. And yet, notwithstanding their expressed will, the Government wishes to plant the Governor-General in the midst of Sydney. When it is proposed that His Excellency shall have the benefit of the balmy airs of Brisbane, the fresh and bracing atmosphere of Hobart, and the delightful climate of Adelaide, the Government oppose the proposal, and various honorable senators refuse to support ii. I hope that honorable senators will vote for the proposed addition to my amendment.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted in the amendment be inserted - -put. The Committee divided.
Majority … 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
Proposed new clausenegatived.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without’ amendment; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– This afternoon, when the division wastaken on my Bill to amend the Electoral Act, a member of the Senate was engaged in a room upstairs, where, it appears, the division bell does not ring. It is a room at the end of the lobby used by the members of the Labour Party in the Senate. I suggest that a bell should be fixed in the room. A meeting of a section of the Tariff Commission was being held, and through the bell not ringing those present were not aware that a division was being taken.
– I will have the matter looked into.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at10.6 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 July 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060726_senate_2_32/>.