2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President look the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, .whether he proposes to give the Senate an opportunity of discussing the report of the Imperial Defence Committee which has been tabled in each House of the Parliament?
– I can hardly answer the question at the present moment. We have to receive from our own officers a report on the document in question, and to .make, a great many inquiries’ before we can definitely state how far we will acquiesce in the various recommendations therein made. We are prepared to state to a certain extent how far we will follow the report, but I do not know that any good purpose could be served by an academic discussion of its subject-matter until we have obtained full information.
– Arising out of the answer, I desire to ask the Minister of Defence whether he has noticed in a Melbourne newspaper of this morning a statement affirming that in a communication with a representative of the newspaper he had condemned the report of the Imperial Defence Committee, and given some reasons for his hostile attitude?
– I did see a statement to that effect. I did privately express an opinion that I was more favorably inclined ‘ towards the recommendations of our Naval Director than towards the recommendations of the Imperial
Defence Committee ; but it is a very difficult subject to discuss. That is my personal opinion, but it may be liable to modification on a further consideration of the subject.
Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following paper: -
Statement of views of officers and other members of Defence Forces as to abolition of canteens.
Ordered to be printed.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
If there are any deviations promised by the Minister from the regulations under the Commerce Act recently laid on the table of this House? If so, what are they?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows : -
The Minister for Trade and Customs has made no promise that any alterations shall be made in the regulations; but the Minister for Customs is open to receive suggestions on the subject.
– Trie Minister has made no promise I
– My honorable colleague has made no promise that any alterations will be made, but he is. open to receive suggestions as to alterations. He may make alterations, but he has not stated that he will.
– That does not tally with his statement in the other House.
– I can only give the answer which has just come from the Department.
– Arising out of the answer, may I ask the Minister whether the statement has any reference to the Butter Regulations?
– I am not quite sure, but I fancy that it has reference to all the regulations under the Commerce Act which were laid upon the table. If the honorable senator will give notice of a question I shall endeavour to get a reply.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers .to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow :-
Motion (by Senator Col. Neild) agreed to-
That four weeks’ leave of absence be granted to Senator Gray, on account of illness.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to - r That leave be given to’ bring in a Bill for an Act to provide for an alteration of the Constitution for granting power to Parliament to make laws providing for the nationalization of monopolies with respect to production, manufacture, trade, and commerce.
Bill presented, and (on motion by Senator Pearce) read a first time.
Bill presented by Senator Stewart, and read a first time.
– I move -
That all official matter and correspondence in connexion with the cases of Messrs. Hart and Gavegan, late of the Queensland Post and Telegraph Department, together wilh copies of the questions put to the jury in each case, with theanswers .thereto, be laid on the table of the Senate, and printed.
I do not know whether the Government intend to opposes the motion or not ; but as Senator Keating said “ not formal “ when it was called on yesterday, perhaps it will be better for me to give my reasons for asking that the papers be tabled. It will be remembered that the cases which Messrs. Hart and Gavegan ‘ raised against the Commonwealth had to be defended at a cost of ,£3,500. The two men are now out of the service, and are practically ruined. My object in asking for the production of the papers is to discover, if possible, whether some of the officers of the Department, who have not been inconvenienced in the slightest degree by anything which has taken place with regard to either of the cases, may not have been primarily to blame, not only for the expense which has been caused, but also for the practical ruin of two servants of the Commonwealth. I believe that some officers of the Department are to blame. I think that the documents, if tabled, will disclose that to.be the fact. Probably the Government may oppose the motion on the score of expense.
– It is rather hard that the honorable senator should explore the documents in order to find a case for condemning somebody else.
– What I want to do is to get at the root of this trouble. Here are two men, who claim that they hia ve been practically persecuted out of the Department, and ruined to all intents and purposes.
– But did they not take proceedings to vindicate themselves, and fail to do so?
– They were defeated in those proceedings.
– That shows that they were in the wrong. Are we to re-try in the Senate cases which have been dealt with in the law courts?
– We do not propose to re-try cases which have ;been already tried, but to try to find out whether the Department is managed as it ought to “be. My claim is that in a well-managed Department such notorious cases as these would not occur. I think I shall be able to prove that from the documents if they are tabled. We are all interested in the good management of every Department, and therefore I hope that honorable senators will not be carried away by the fact that these men appealed to a court of justice, and have been defeated. We know that so-called courts of justice do not always administer justice.
– That is a verv nasty reflection.
– It may be nasty ; but, unfortunately, it is true. I could call in question very strongly some of the remarks made by the Justice who sat in these two cases. His remarks showed that he had a very inaccurate knowledge of matters relating to the Public Service. In any case, I think that in its own interest, as one of the custodians of a large public Department, the Senate ought to welcome an opportunity of finding out how the trouble between the Department and these two men was caused. I, therefore, submit the motion which I have read.
– When Senator Stewart’s motion was called on for the first time yesterday an inquiry was made by the President as to whether it was to be treated as formal or not formal. I intimated that, as far as the Government were concerned, it was to be regarded as “not formal.” My object in doing so was not to prevent any honorable senator, or any member of Parliament, from obtaining a full knowledge from the papers of what has taken place in connexion with these cases. But it will be observed that the motion asks that, not only shall the papers be tabled, but that they shall be printed. There are peculiar circumstances in connexion with these cases which it is absolutely necessary that I should bi ins to the notice of the Senate before it commits itself to a proposal that the papers shall be tabled and printed. Senator Stewart quite recently asked some questions of me with regard to the legal proceedings instituted by the two gentlemen named in the motion, and the answers disclosed that in all they had put the Commonwealth to an expenditure of something like £3,500, and that there was little, if any. prospect of recovering any portion of that amount from either of them. That is one peculiarity of the proceedings upon which at the outset I wish to lay some emphasis. These gentlemen have occasioned the Commonwealth a considerable amount of expenditure, and I confidently ask honorable senators to consider whether it is desirable, for the purpose indicated by Senator Stewart, to saddle the country with further expense? It has been estimated that to collate the papers and to print them would cost at the very lowest estimate £100. It is, perhaps, advisable for me to make some remarks as to the circumstances of the cases, which have been engaging the attention of some honorable senators, and of the press in other parts of the Commonwealth. At the outset, I may say that the case of Mr. Gavegan is one that has occupied the attention of the Post and Telegraph Department and of the Public Service Commissioner for an extensive period. Mr. Gavegan was employed in the Post and Telegraph, Department, in the position of line repairer, and he was transferred to a station in Queensland, known as Bauhinia Downs. Evidently he did not like his situation there, and soon after he had been transferred he instituted a series of requests that he should be transferred from Bauhinia Downs to some other centre that would be possibly more congenial to him. As honorable senators are aware, officers of the Public Service have to recognise that the convenience of the public has to be met in all parts of the Commonwealth ; and it is a necessary consequence of that circumstance that some officers shall be located in centres that may not be as congenial to them as are others. This officer was determined at all costs to get removed from Bauhinia Downs. He made repeated requests to that effect, and the letters which he forwarded to his superior officers were in many instances couched in most unbecoming and intemperate language. When he found that he could not obtain the transfer that he desired he proceeded, as had been his constant habit, to ask for sick leave. At first ‘he failed, but he was determined to get away, and he continued to apply. At a later date he asked for two months’ sick leave. At first his application was refused, but on further consideration it was decided to grant him sick leave so that he might go to Rockhampton subject to the condition that he should report himself to the Government Medical Officer there. As soon as he found that that condition, was attached he refused absolutely to take the sick leave. He said he would not submit himself to the Government Medical Officer. However, some little time afterwards he decided to take the leave with the condition attached to it. The Government Medical Officer having seen him, reported as follows: -
I find Mr. Gavegan to be in good bodily and mental health, and there is no reason that he can give or show me why he should not or cannot do his work. There is no doubt in my mind that the whole matter is summed up in the fact that he does not like the station at which he is located…..
That did not end matters.
– What did the other doctor say ?
– I have not the opinion of another doctor upon the papers. He took with him his belongings from Bauhinia Downs, and when he had got to Rockhampton he made capital out of that fact, and pointed out that he ought to be transferred to Rockhampton, and the transfer would not entail the necessity to go back and get his belongings. A considerable amount of correspondence ensued, and Gavegan was requested to go back to Bauhinia Downs. The correspondence ended in his point blank refusal. At that time the Commonwealth Public Service Act had not been passed, and Gavegan had to be dealt with under the Queensland law. The course taken was to suspend him for being absent from duty without leave, and for disobedience of instructions. Mr. Inspector Bourne was appointed a Board of Inquiry into the matter, and he reported upon the charges made against Gavegan as follows : -
Both charges are, in my opinion, proved. Mr. Gavegan was placed in charge of Bauhinia Downs owing to the very unsatisfactory way he carried on the more important stations which were placed under his control, and being unable in any place to work in harmony with the public. One hundred and fifteen pounds were spent in enlarging the residence at Bauhinia Downs to meet his family’s requirements, and £20 were also spent on the office. Mr. Gavegan presents the appearance of a healthy and wellnourished man. I am of opinion he is either a persistent malingerer or .a confirmed hypochondriac ; perhaps he. has qualities of both. He has a wife and nine children, but his conduct on this occasion, and his general behaviour as a public servant, gathered from official papers, is such that I see no course open but to recommend his enforced resignation.
As a consequence of that report by the Board of Inquiry, Mr. Gavegan was requested to resign. That he flatly declined to do, and said that he would throw upon the Department the onus of dismissing him, adding in effect, “If you dismiss me, I will serve you with a writ claiming ,£5,000 damages.”
– Did he keep his word ?
– Not to the figure, but he served the Commonwealth with a writ claiming £3,000 damages. He was dismissed in March, 1903; and in July, 1905, he claimed £3,000 damages for wrongful dismissal, and£84 for allowances and arrears of salary. The matter came before a Judge and jury in Brisbane on the 30th November, 1905. The trial occupied altogether sixteen days. Hundreds of exhibits were put in evidence, and a list of no less than . twenty-seven questions was submitted to the jury. Judgment was given in favour of the Commonwealth. But the plaintiff appealed to the Full Court. The appeal was heard on the 15th and 17th June, 1906, and resulted in an unanimous dismissal. In the course of his judgment, the Chief Justice remarked that the amount of time wasted over the case was greatly to be deplored. So much for Mr. Gavegan’s case. I have said that there were hundreds of exhibits. I draw attention to that fact again, because after I have dealt with Mr. Hart’s case, I shall have to allude to it once more. Hart’s case was in some respect similar to Gavegan’s, and in some other respects its features are peculiar. Hart was appointed an officer of the Post and Telegraph Department as far back as 1888. The case, so far as he is concerned, is contained in a pile of papers, which is of immense proportions, and the printing and collating of which would involve a considerable expenditure of time and money. Hart served in the Department for a number of years without inviting any particular attention. But after he had been there some time, he fell into the habit of writing on all and every occasionapparently inventing occasions for writing - to his superior officers. The letters which he forwarded were not at all characteristic of the communications that usually pass from a junior officer to his superior. In many instances he gave his superior officers advice as to how they should perform their duties.
– Perhaps they needed it.
– They may have, but it was not a proper course for him to follow. In addition to that he made repeated applications for increases of salary.
– Is that a crime under Commonwealth law?
– It is very common, but his accompaniments to such applications are not, fortunately, so common in the Public Service. When Hart found that he could not get the increases of salary and the promotion to which he considered he was entitled, he conceived that there were some secret influences operating against him, and he wrote fully and frequently on the subject. Later, when he was ordered to be removed to Bundaberg,. he complained that the removal was due to some undercurrent, and that someone was constantly plotting against him.
– Did he go to Bundaberg ?
– He did not. Although he was ordered to be removed there, he did not go. He continually wrote to the Department reiterating that secret malice was being used against him on the part of persons unknown to him. Early in 1903, after this Parliament had passed the Public Service Act, a ballot-paper was sent to every officer in the Public Service to enable him to vote for the appointment of the divisional representatives. The regulations had not then been framed in regard to the particular divisions for which particular officers should vote, and the Chief Officer in each State, pending classification, was left to decide in what division the officers subject to him should vote. Hart was appointed to vote in the general division. Accordingly, he received a general division ballot-paper. But he sent it back saying that he ought to vote either as an administrative officer or a clerical ‘division officer. When it is remembered that the administrative officers include only the heads of Departments, one can see at once that this demand on the part of a travelling mail officer was something extraordinary. He actually claimed the right to be placed among the heads of Departments !
SenatorStewart. - The Department did not deal with him on that ground.
– The Department dealt generously with him. It subsequently remitted for the Crown Solicitor’s consideration his claim in respect of being entitled to vote in the clerical division, but it was decided that he should come in as an officer of the general division. So far, he was treated most generously, and very little notice was taken of his peculiar conduct. In November, 1903, he wrote a most extraordinary letter tothe Chief Officer, which is referred to by thePublic Service Commissioner in these terms -
He wrote a most extraordinary letter to the Chief Officer, recounting a certain dream in which snakes and Post Office string become inextricably entwined, and which, in his opinion, was a premonition of some vile conspiracy in which his official destruction was sought.
Later on, his case, after it had been inquired into by different tribunals under the Public Service Act, came eventually before the Supreme Court. With regard to this particular letter, the Chief Justice of Queensland in Full Court said -
How on earth a man, who writes a letter of this sort, can hope to continue in the Public Services passes my comprehension.
Eventually the mar. was given a position in the. Brisbane Post Office, and it proved that, so far as discipline was concerned, he knew none of it. He suited himself as to what time he arrived at the office, and what time he left, and absolutely disregarded an instruction that he was not, without permission, to leave the building for lunch. Mr. Justice Chubb, in reference to this conduct, said, during the hearing of the case, in the Supreme Court -
All I can say is that if you were in my service, and it was not agreed that you should go out for lunch, and you then went out without my permission, you would not stay in my employ for ten minutes, no, not for five minutes.
The Public Service Commissioner, in his report on the case, said -
He turned up late for duty, and desired to fix his own breakfast and luncheon hours, irrespective of existing departmental arrangements or the public convenience. He was suspended on 6th January, 1904, and charged with wilful disobedience of a lawful order, which charge, on 9th February, 1904, was found by a Board of Inquiry to be sustained, as a result whereof he was reduced £8 per annum, with a change in designation to that of Assistant, his transference to Bundaberg being at the same time sanctioned by the Governor-General on 6th April, 1904, to take effect from 2nd March, 1904. fx anticipation of the approval of this recommendation by the Governor-General, the Secretary to the Postmaster-General, through the Deputy at Brisbane, or rather the latter, on the 21st March, 1904, apprised Hart of the decision which had been arrived at, and directed him to proceed to Bundaberg. At that time, Hart was under suspension, and the action by the Deputy Postmaster-General was taken in order that the man should not be kept longer than absolutely necessary in that position. Knowing that Hart was under suspension, the Secretary to the Postmaster-General sent this notification so that Hart might te informed and be prepared to be at Bundaberg almost at the time the Governor-General approved the recommendation, and in this way have his period of suspension lessened. Hart, although this was done to help him, took advantage of the fact that this notification was given before the formal approval -by the Governor-General ; and the Commonwealth authorities, bv reason of the informality, had to proceed de novo. Fresh action was accordingly taken under the Public Service Act to effect the transfer; and on the 8th July. 1904, the GovernorGeneral approved of a recommendation dated the 22 nd June, to remove Hart from Brisbane to Bundaberg. Hart again refused to go, and alleged that the order was illegal. The Law officers advised, for extra Caution, that it would be as well to allow Hart to appeal against the transfer if he so desired. Hart took advantage of the opportunity offered, and on the 14th November his objection was heard bv a Board of Appeal, which recommended that the appeal should be disallowed, ‘and that decision was duly confirmed. Finally the Governor-General ratified the transfer on the 13th December, 1904. Hart, however, still refused to go to Bundaberg; and, in accordance with the law he had to be again suspended, and charged before another Board of Inquiry. Although Hart absolutely declined to go to Bundaberg, and had been so declining from March of that year, still, in order to comply with the law, another Board of Inquiry had to.be appointed to report on the alleged refusal by Hart in December. That inquiry was not held until February, 1905, when the Board unanimously found the charge to be. sustained ; and as a result Hart was dismissed the Service. He then took action against the Commonwealth ; and honorable senators ba.ve already heard the remarks made by the Chief Justice of Queensland and Mr. Justice Chubb, who determined the question in Brisbane. Commenting on the conduct of Hart, the Public Service Commissioner in his report said -
From a perusal of the departmental papers, I have no hesitation in saying that Hart was one of the most unmanageable officers that have come under my observation. His conduct throughout was highly refractory and contumacious, and, as his letters to his superiors show (including also communications to the Governor-General), he exhibited an insolence unparalleled. As the Chief Justice aptly remarked, he was an officer who claimed to interpret the regulations in his own way, and to have them administered in his own way, and, failing this, to sue for damages; and an officer who also would have the last word.
Hart was not satisfied to sue the Commonwealth for £3,000 for wrongful dismissal, but sued for £5,000, and also for £198 allowances and arrears of salary. These proceedings extended over something like eight months, during which all the records and correspondence relating to the plaintiff from the date of his first appointment to his dismissal, a period of seventeen years, had to be made the subject of research and critical examination by the Department, and submitted to the Crown law authorities to be perused, annotated, and briefed. The hearing commenced in March last, and, after occupying no less than twenty-one days, ended in favour of the Commonwealth. As honorable senators will see, this man’s case has been before more than one tribunal. It has not only been made a question for determination bv Judge and jury, and a matter of appeal, but it has also been made the subject of exhaustive and careful investigation by three Boards of Inquiry and one Board of Appeal. When Senator Stewart suggested that it is quite possible justice may not always be done in Courts of Justice and Courts of Law, I endeavoured, by way of interjection, to remind” him that the matters in question had already been dealt with by Boards under the Public Service Act. In every one of those inquiries’, from that of the lower tribunals of the Public Service right up to the Supreme Court and the Full Court, Hart has had his claim investigated, and in every instance the determination has been against him.
– Was there an appeal in Hart’s case to the Full Court.
– Hart makes veryserious charges against the Department.
– As the papers show, Hart has- not only made very serious charges against different officers, but he has for years been inundating his superiors with complaints that his promotion has been blocked, and his increases of salary prevented, by secret, maligning, and malicious influences operating against him from sources that he could not clearly indicate.
– It would be better, foi his own sake, to be out of a service where he is so treated.
– Exactly. What the motion asks is that all the papers in possession of the Department with regard to these two cases shall be laid upon the table of the Senate and printed.
– There would be no harm, would there, in tabling the papers?
– I am just coming to that point. If there were to be tabled simply the papers in the possession of the Department, they would not give honorable senators sufficient information to enable them to judge correctly. Some of the letters which have, been written by Hart to his superior officers would, in many instances, if read by themselves, cast very grave and serious reflections on the administration of the Department. They contain implications and insinuations which could only be properly answered, and the worth of which, could only be properly estimated, bv a consideration of other papers which, are not in the possession of the Department. In order to enable honorable senators to fully appreciate the importance of all the unfounded charges made against the Commonwealth, it would be necessary to have a full copy of the evidence taken in the proceedings in Brisbane, and also reports of the remarks made bv the learned Judges who tried the cases primarily and on appeal. These, of course, would not be contained amongst the papers indicated by the motion. I think I can meet Senator Stewart by agreeing to support the motion, or, at any rate, offering no opposition to it, if he will so amend it as to direct that, not only the official correspondence, but also all available records of the proceedings, such as the reports of the hearing in Queensland, be collated and laid on the talkie of the Library.
– What would it cost to collate the papers?
– I do not know that the collating would be very expensive, but a good many are, I think, at present in the hands of the solicitors in Brisbane.
– Will the Minister indicate what earthly good object would be served by the course be’ suggests ?
– I make the suggestion only because I want to disabuse Senator Stewart and the two men concerned, along with any sympathizers they may have here or elsewhere, of any mistaken idea that the Government desire to shirk publicity.
– There seems to have been plenty of publicity.
– When an honorable senator moves a motion that papers shall be submitted -for the consideration of honorable senators, the Government do not desire to prevent his object being achieved. The wishes of Senator Stewart, and others who may feel that these men have laboured under systematic injustice, will be met if the course I have suggested be taken. If there are, then, any particular papers that Senator Stewart would like to have printed he can make them the subject of a further request or motion. If Senator Stewart will amend his motion in the way indicated, the Government will offer no opposition ; but I do not think the Senate should support a request that all these letters written over a period of seventeen years bv an officer who evidently suffers under an unfortunate delusion, should be laid on the table and printed. If such a motion were passed, the door would be open to a number of similar requests in the future, and_. under such circumstances, it is undesirable to increase our heavy printing bill. If Senator Stewart will fall in with my wishes, I shall see that he is given access to all the papers in the case, and then, as I have said, if there be any that he desires more perticularly brought under the notice of Parliament and the public by having them printed, he may make them the subject of a separate motion or request.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.15]. - No one can gainsay the desire expressed bv the Minister that any member of the Federal Parliament interested in any matter affecting the Public Service should have free access to all documents connected therewith. But I think that, instead of placing on the records of the Senate a motion in connexion with this matter, it would be equally ‘efficacious and more in conformity with the usual practice if Senator Stewart were to withdraw his motion and accept an assurance which I am satisfied Senator Keating will be prepared to give him, that all the papers in these cases which are available will be collected and left open to his, inspection in, the Library or some other convenient’ place. I make that suggestion because I object to a motion of this kind being carried in any shape. There is a very important principle involved in this. . We are all interested in cherishing the great function of every British Parliament to take care that all grievances affecting the Public Service shall be freely ventilated and receive redress where that is found to be necessary. But that great function is very apt to be weakened if we seek to apply it in mistaken direc tions or in inappropriate cases. There is one great means for the redress of grievances of which men may freely avail themselves in this country, and that is by seeking the aid of a Court of law. Senator Stewart laughs at that.
– No wonder.
– The honorable senator may be one of those who think that -
The good old rule, the simple plan,
That they should take who have the .r- .. -
And they should keep who -can should be the rule’ followed, and that appeals to Courts of justice should be swept away. I make no appeal by way of argument to the honorable senator, or to any one who takes such a view ; but I say that so long as we have Courts established for the administration of justice, we should secure that their reputation shall be kept above reflection. Persons who have recourse to them in the ordinary way should certainly not be encouraged to bring their cases subsequently before Parliament, which is a most incompetent tribunal for the decision of such matters. I know nothing whatever of these cases, except from what Senators Stewart and Keating’ have said.
– That is verv evident.
– But I know enough from the remarks which Senator , Stewart made when moving this motion to enable me to say that the object of the motion is practically to bring the decisions of the Courts in Queensland that have dealt with these cases under the review of the Senate. The motion asks for the production of all the papers, and also of the questions submitted to the jury in these cases, numbering twenty-seven, according to what Senator Keating has said.
– And with subquestions, numbering about fifty.
– The learned Judge put to the jury twenty-seven questions, with a great number of subquestions, amounting altogether to fifty, and it is the tail of Senator Stewart’s motion requesting the production of these questions which indicates the purpose of the motion. The honorable senator does not usually do things without some object, and his object in this case is clearly to invite the Senate ito constitute itself a High Court of Appeal from the decisions not merely of the Judges who tried these cases with juries, but of the Appeal Courts, who reviewed those decisions, and also of, I do not know how many, departmental or Public Service Boards, that had the same matters under investigation. It would be an intolerable farce that such a thing should take place. It would be degrading the functions of the Senate to entertain such a proposition for a moment. There may be cases in which the expressions of Judges should be brought under the review of Parliament. ‘lt has been done before, and may be done again, but the honorable senator who says that the judgment of; the Courts of law should be brought under the review of the Senate should give some very goo3 reasons for adopting that course.
– I said nothing of the kind. The honorable and learned senator is talking without his brief now.
– There may be instances in which it would be proper for Parliament to review those things, but when Parliament is asked to take such action, it should be only upon some strong foundation. The Senate should not be asked to constitute itself a court of review of the decisions of the Law Courts to. which these civil servants appealed.
– It was in Gavegan’s case that the Judge, put twenty-seven questions to the jury. In Hart’s case thirtytwo questions were put to the jury.
– The request in the tail of Senator Stewart’s motion for the production of these questions, sufficiently indicates what the honorable senator’s purpose is. Unless he has some such purpose in view, the laying of the papers on the table qf the Senate must be an utterly useless proceeding. We certainly do not desire to have anything more to do with them, until some proof is given that the Courts which have dealt with these cases have done something, I will not say corrupt, but of an improper character requiring investigation. There is another matter to which I direct the attention of the Senate, and that is that we have a Public Service Commissioner. An attempt has been made, by statute, to remove the Public Service of the Commonwealth from the reach of political influence. That is art additional reason why we should not lightly, or at all, unless in some verv grievous case, interfere in matters affecting the discipline of the Public Service. We have heard from- the Minister what took place in connexion with the officers in question. I shall not sit in judgment upon them. Their cases have been dealt with judicially already, and it is abundantly clear in Hart’s case, at all events, that that unfortunate officer, owing, it may be, to delusions or some affliction for which he is entitled to all our sympathy, had been guilty of gross defiance of every rule of discipline in the service. Whilst we may sympathize with him in respect to the cause of his action, we should be wanting in a sense of what is due to the Public Service Commissioner and to ourselves if we agreed to reinvestigate his case again in trie Senate. These officers have prosecuted suits for wrongful dismissal, for which they claimed very high damages, one claiming £3,000, and the other £5,000, and 110 one can suggest that there was not in the case of each of them a most complete investigation.
– There was a jury in each case.
– That is so, and in Gavegan’s case the trial lasted’ for sixteen days, during which all the ability of the Judge was carefully applied to the case, and to such an extent that in order to unravel its intricacies, and that every issue should be put to the jury, he submitted to them some fifty questions and sub-questions. Are we, on the motion’ now before the Senate, to re-investigate the whole matter? It is an idle proceeding in every sense of the term. I hope that Senator Stewart will be content with an assurance from the Minister that he shall have access to the whole of the material available either in the Library, the AttorneyGeneral’s office, or the Public Service Commissioner’s office.
– During the recess?
– I do not know when the honorable senator !s_ investigation would take place. Letters such as that about snakes being mixed up with red tape we have heard of before. . Such! complaints are but the natural harvest which follows when a servant has been, discharged. It is usual always to take the statements of discharged servants with .a discount, or at least as re-‘ quiring careful investigation, and particularly the statements of a discharged servant who has also been defeated or has been’ an unsuccessful suitor in the tribunal to which he has gone for the redress of his grievances. I hope that Senator Stewart will withdraw the motion, and that Senator Keating will convert his suggestion into, an assurance that Senator Stewart will be given every opportunity to inspect all the documents available.
– It is very evident to me from the speech just made by Senator Symon that the honorable and learned senator listened neither to my few remarks in moving the motion nor to the speech of Senator Keating in discussing it. Yet the honorable and learned senator was able out of the wealth of his ignorance to talk fluently on the subject for a few minutes. I distinctly pointed out in moving the motion that my object was to . discover if possible how it came about that a man who, according to the documents read by Senator Keating, was notoriously insolent and insubordinate not on one occasion, but over a period of years, and who was looked upon in the Department as a lunatic, came to be kept in the service for such a long period, and how, after he was suspended, the Department was actually compelled to pay him £165 as salary. If the position is not clear enough to honorable senators now, I do not know what would make it clearer. Here is a man who, now that he has been bounced out of its service, is branded by the Department as a lunatic, as an insolent individual, as a man who would not obey orders. Not only did thev keep him during a period of seventeen years, but they removed his suspension time after time during a period of twelve months, and paid him’ £165 as salary when he had not earned a single farthing, or done any work.
– The honorable senator’s complaint is that they were too lenient and forbearing
– It does not matter what I think about the case. There must be something radically wrong in a Department where such a state of things is possible, and I want to find it out if I can. Senator Keating omitted one very important matter in connexion with Gavegan’s case. The man had a family of nine children-
– The Minister mentioned that.
– The Minister mentioned that fact, but he suppressed a very important piece of information. The man, . although he had a family of nine children, was sent to a station known as
Bauhinia Downs, where there were only two rooms, namely, one in which he had to do the business of the office, and another in which he with his wife and children had to herd like dogs.. Was it fitting on the part of any Government Department to send a man to a station of that character?
– That information comes to me for the first time now.
– It is the truth.
– I told honorable senators that £115 was spent on the residence to make it ready for hm, and £20 on the office.
– Yes j but that was done a considerable time after Gavegan was’’ sent to the. station. He had nine growing children, but there was no school or ac;commodation, except a single room. Such treatment was simply scandalous. The probability is that the man was deliberately hunted out of the service by some of the men who are now in it. We hear a great deal about Hart’s misdemeanour, spread over a period of years. Why was he not dismissed long ago? Why was he kept in the service over such a long period? The turning point of the whole thing was his action in leaving the office to get his luncheon. It is distinctly provided in the Public Service Act that a public officer in, the clerical division shall get three-quarters of an hour for his lunch ! Surely a man has a right to his lunch ! How is it possible for. any man to maintain himself in efficiency as a working machine unless1 he gets a decent lunch? The man who was his overseer - Mr. Colling, I think - is in the habit of insisting that every mart under him shall take his lunch in the building. That is a position which he has no right to take up- Every man has an inherent right to his dinner, and to get it where he pleases.
– It is not so much an inherent right as an internal right.
– This may be a laughing matter to a number of honorable senators, but it is not so to a large section; of the community, who are not blessed with stomachs like ostriches. Nothing will produce dyspepsia so quickly as getting, one’s meals at. irregular times, and getting badly served or reheated meals. If a man gets dyspepsia, his working capacity is, to a very large extent, impaired. It is not only the right,- but the duty, of every. man to get his meals at a regular time every day, and as comfortably as he possibly can. That was all that Mr. Hart did. But Mr. Colling, a servant of the Department, like himself, said, “You shall not. I insist upon you staying inside and taking your lunch here like the others “ ; and, of course, Hart had to go down before the stone-crusher of the service.
– The honorable senator must not forget that he refused to work on many occasions, except when he pleased. He refused to work on Christmas Day.
– I do not believe a single word of the statement.
– It was because he was dismissed that he took action against the Commonwealth.
– The statement bears the stamp of falsehood on its very face. Does the Minister tell me that if a mangoes into a public office when he pleases in the morning, goes out when he pleases, and only works when he pleases, he will be kept there?
– It is because we have such a cumbersome wayof dismissing public servants in such cases. We have to go through boards of inquiry, boards of appeal, and all kinds of procedure.
– If that be the case, it provides the strongest argument for my motion. It showsclearly that this public Department is a sink of incompetency - that it thought fit to keep a man who was insolent and insubordinate, to wink at his coming in an hour or two late in the morning, to wink at his going out early in the afternoon, and to wink at whatever he did. Why, sir, this discloses’ a most extraordinary state of things. The necessity for carrying the motion appears to be clearer and clearer as we proceed. I am quite willing to agree to what Senator Keating suggested, and, therefore, I move the omission of the words “ and printed.”
– Why not withdraw the motion?
– I have an objection to withdrawing it.
– Why not move that the papers be laid upon the table of the Library ?
– No, withdraw the motion.
– I object to withdraw the motion.
– Then, I shall ask the Senate to vote against it.
– If the Minister does that, I shall have to take another step.
– The honorable senator has obtained all he wants.
– I desire to get a record of the motion in the Journals of the Senate. I am willing to meet the Government half way.
– But if the honorable senator is getting all he wants, why does he object to withdraw the motion?
– We should have no record of the motion in the Journals.
– There will be a record in Hansard.
– What is the objection to having a record of the motion in the Journals?
– If the papers are laid upon the table of the Senate, they will become its property. They might be wanted in connexion with the Department.
– I ask leave to amend the motion by leaving out all the words after “ the “ in the last line, arid inserting the word “library.”
– The question is that leave be granted to Senator Stewart to amend his motion.
-Is this in the nature of an amendment, sir?
– No; it has to be done by unanimous consent. Any honorable senator can object to leave being granted, but he cannot speak.
– If it is not an amendment to which I can speak, I must object.
– Then the amendment cannot be made.
Question resolved in the negative.
Debate resumed from 2nd August (vide page 2217), on motion by Senator Pulsford -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– When the Defence Bill was before the Senate in 1903, I supported Senator Barrett in trying to insert a clause to the effect that the sale of intoxicating drink should be prohibited in canteens. In the interval, I have seen no reason to alter my opinion that about the best thing we can do for our soldiers is to take that step. I have, therefore, risen to support this Bill as earnestly and forcibly as I can. In the first place, I desire to refer to a return which the Minister of Defence has tabled so that we may see to what extent the evil has grown. It shows that the average number of men quartered at the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, and other barracks of permanent troops during the past year was 723, and that, last year, of that number thirty-seven men were reported for being drunk in barracks.
– But only eight in connexion with canteens.
– Only eight of these men were reported as having received drink in barrack canteens, and twenty-nine of ‘ them were reported as having received drink outside the canteens. How does Senator Neild think that the return helps his case? In 1903, we were promised over and over again by the then Minister of Defence that the canteens would be properly regulated under military discipline, and that it would be quite impossible for any man to get too much liquor there.
– But eight is a very small proportion.
– It is only “ a little one,” I know, but still, under perfect regulations, we find that in connexion with the canteens eight men were reported . as being drunk. I should like to call attention to the twenty-nine men reported to have received drink from outside sources, and to ask the Minister of Defence whether he will venture to say to what extent the canteens were responsible for those men getting drunk. He said that thev might have had half-a-dozen glasses outside. These returns are not worth the paper they are printed on for the purpose of those’ who are opposing the Bill, but they throw a great deal of light upon the system of introducing wine, beer, and spirits into the midst of a soldiers’ camp, and encouraging the men to become drunkards. The next return that I hold in my hand is exceedingly valuable as showing the extent of the mischief which some of us want to stop. It appears that in Victoria Barracks, Sydney, 278 men drank no less than £479 worth of liquor, or £2 worth each, during the year. At Middle Head, 31 soldiers drank £5 worth per head. At South Head, 55 soldiers spent about £5 each in drink. At Bare Island, 7 soldiers spent £6 each. At
George’s Heights, 30 spent £10 each. In Victoria, 91 men at Queenscliff spent over £5 each. At Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, 72 men spent over £j.i each.
– That figure is accounted for by the large number of men who go to the barracks, but do not belong to the Permanent Forces.
– At Franklin, 25 men drank £6 worth, of liquor each; and at Nepean, 11 men drank £11 worth of liquor each. At South Channel, 6 men spent £9 each at the canteen. At Swan Island, 45 men spent £13 each. In Queensland, at Victoria Barracks, Brisbane, 70 men drank over £4 worth each. At Lytton, 15 men spent £13 each. At Townsville, 17 men spent £9 each, and at Thursday Island, 81 men spent £6 10s. each. In South Australia, at Fort Largs, 23 men spent £3 each. In Western Australia, at Albany, 30 men spent £12 each. In Tasmania, where we do not appear to have canteens, the amount is nil. I find that £4,782 was spent by 887 men, being an average of .over £5 for each man. If we look at the statistics of New Zealand, and other places where the facilities for drinking are decreasing, we find that the average consumption is far below the figures which I have quoted. In New Zealand, the drink bill for 1905 declined by £132,000, or £2 os. 8d. per head, although the population was increased by 25,000. In Canada, the drink bill for the year 1904 was £2,600,000, with a population of 5,000,000, whereas in Victoria, where there are 1,400 hotels more than are necessary to supply the needs of the people, the expenditure on drink was £4,200,000, which comes to about £7 17s. 11d. for each family. For the whole Commonwealth the drink bill is £13,463,000, or £3 8s. id. per head. So that, owing to our unwise practice of allowing drink to be introduced for the use of soldiers in their camps, canteens, and homes, their consumption is far above that of the average of Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian citizens.
– But the honorable senator must remember that soldiers are all adult males.
– The reasons why I support this Bill are, first, that I am totally opposed to giving our soldiers, who are comparatively young men, facilities for drinking. The statistics show that whereever facilities for drinking are given, the consumption of drink increases1, crime becomes more rife, and the police have to be augmented. Another reason in favour oi it is that the Bill seeks to discourage drinking amongst our soldiers, whilst those who are opposing it are, I say most distinctly, guilty of encouraging drinking amongst them. Senator Turley and Senator Neild seemed to take no account of the great temperance movement, which is almost the most important movement in the world to-day. I did not gather that Senator Neild had even a glimmering of the fact that there was a temperance movement.
– The honorable senator should not be so silly !
– I did not gather from him, with his handful of telegrams and letters from officers, that any one of them riad a glimmering of an idea of the dimensions of the temperance movement, either in the Commonwealth or elsewhere.
– Has the temperance movement attained to those dimensions in places where regulation has been attempted, or where prohibition has prevailed?
– It has taken place under all systems; but there can be no doubt that in New Zealand particularly the temperance movement is spreading. Whilst people are becoming more sober, crime is decreasing, and the consumption of drink is being diminished.
– Is not just as much liquor sold in New Zealand now as ever?
– Unless honorable senators will take account of the fact that the temperance movement is spreading, they will never view this matter from my standpoint. The next reason why I support the Bill is that it is most important to remember that we shall have in our camps any barracks numbers of young soldiers. We hope to have numbers of senior cadets, who will be trained to be soldiers there. Do we wish to allow drink to be brought before these young men, so that’ they will be corrupted and brought to disaster? On account of the young mem, therefore, I support this Bill. I have not the slightest belief in a great part of the evidence which Senator Turley quoted, because it came from a land for which I have very little respect in regard to some matters. When. we consider the drink traffic in America, we must remember that we are dealing with men who. will sell their very souls and murder people for the sake of drink.
– Does that apply to officers of the United States army ?
– It does not apply to officers, but it does apply to the habitue’s of the dives or low saloons which are allowed to be established outside the barracks.-
– That has happened since the canteen system has been done away with.
– I will read some evidence on that point from newspapers which support the temperance movement, and which contradict almost everything” that Senator Turley read to us. Of course, if we look at this matter- from the standpoint of a man who is fond of drink, we may come to a certain conclusion.
– -Is it fair to suggest that those who support military canteens are fond of drink”?
– If we look at it from the point of view of the man who thinks that every one should be free to drink as much as he likes, naturally we shall oppose the Bill. But I do not look at it from that stand-point.
– That is not a fair way to regard it.
– I regard this Bill as far more important than the Anti-Trust Bill, over which we are likely to spend weeks. Let me quote a passage from Major-General Miles, who says -
In this most important hour of the nation’s history, it is due to the Government from all those in its service that they should not only render their most earnest efforts for its honour and welfare, but that their full physical and intellectual force should be given to their public duties, uncontaminated by any indulgence that shall dim, stultify, weaken, or impair their faculties and ‘strength in any particular.
We are considering this matter at a veryimportant time in our history, and it is of the utmost consequence that we should not take a step which will have a most injurious effect upon the moral and physical welfare of our soldiers. I shall support the Bill for the protection of our citizen army. As to the American opinions which Senator Turley quoted, I wish to read an extract from a newspaper called the Union Signal. The article is headed “ Abolish the Dives,” and it expresses the opinion of an officer who has been in half the military posts in the United States -
The claim that the low dives and drinking places in the vicinity of our military posts developed subsequent to and because of the abolishment of the canteen, is not correct so far as pertains to any post at which I have ever been stationed. These places existed before the days of the canteen, and during its existence, just as they are to-day, and just as vile. Let the citizens outside the reservations properly police their slum districts, enforce the law against the lawless, cease granting licences to low dives, and there will be no trouble about disorderly soldiers. So long as this is not done the lowest class of enlisted men will seek the congenial companionship found only outside the reservation, whether beer is sold on the reservation or not. The condition is one created by the citizen and not by the soldier, who is a mere incident, and in my opinion he cannot be improved by any attempt to assimilate, on the reservation, any part of the dive system.
Senator Neild told us that if we drive the drink out of the canteens the men will go outside to get it. Does he imagine that, if Parliament passes this Bill, we are going to allow hotelkeepers to get’ licences to establish their drinking places just outside our camps and barracks? I never heard such nonsense !
– That remark simply arises from the fact that the honorable senator is talking about something of which he knows nothing.
– I know that the Temperance Party have had a great victory in New South Wales, and that such results as Senator Neild predicted in connexion with canteens have not followed under the new licensing law of that State. Senator Neild does, not seem to understand the development of the temperance movement in the mother State, where, under the new Act, it would be impossible for the conditions which Senator Neild foresaw to arise.
– I did not state what I foresaw, but what I know.
– The honorable senator cannot possibly know what the licensing authorities of New South Wales will do, or where camps may be placed in the future.
– Then how does the honorable senator know?
– I do not know. I know, however, that the Licensing Benches are not likely to run counter to the Licensing Act which has just been passed, and which represents a great stride in the direction of temperance.
– Was it an American publication from which the honorable senator quoted ?
– Just now Senator Dobson said he would not believe what: was said in America.
– What I do not believe is the evidence which comes from those interested in the drink traffic, which, like the trusts in’ the United States, is. carried on by the aid of much corruption.
– The honorable senator is making a reference which has no basis in fact. The evidence I quoted! was that of officers high in the” American. Army, and not that of persons interested inthe drink traffic.
– I have here a quotation which speaks of a typical garrison town in the United States -
The mayor of Highwood is a saloon-keeper, and the town is notorious as a resort for vicious characters, civilian as well as soldier. Conditions at Highwood are simply a duplicate of” those in any small town which licenses an unlimited number of saloons and offers every inducement to drunkenness and other vices on the part of the men who are residents or regular visitors. Again quoting Colonel Ray, “ the soldier is a mere incident” in the case, and the all-knowing newspaper representative must needs put up a better argument for the sale of liquor in the post exchange, or revise his present statements in accordance with facts.
I gather from that, and dozens of other quotations, that in many places in America: the saloons far outnumber the requirements of the people, and that they are f reqented, as we are told, by low -people, soldiers as well as civilians. I quite understand the argument presented by Senator Turley and Senator Neild ; but these gentlemen seem to forget the temperance: movement. Our desire is to encourage. temperance, not only inside the barracks, but outside; and to that end efforts, are being made to get rid of hotels, and not allow low saloons to be opened at every street corner.
– What have low: saloons to do with canteens?
– I am replyingto the argument that if the canteens are closed the soldiers will be driven to, the saloons outside the barracks, and I am showing that the conditions which prevail in America cannot prevail in the Commonwealth. Surelv that is a plain argument?
– It is an assertion, not an argument.
– Another Military Commandant says -
A Department Commander stated to the Secretary of War that “ saloons and low dives have sprung up like mushrooms around army posts since the canteen was abolished.”
– That is just what we say.
– The quotation proceeds
While, for instance, at Fort Thomas, the post at which i last served, when the law abolishing the canteen went into effect, there were nine saloons adjacent to the post, at the time when the report just referred to was made that “ saloons had sprung up like mushrooms,” there were only seven.
The claim that the law has had a fair trial is equally misleading. It was contemplated that the post exchange would continue to render its useful service, and be supplemented by gymnasiums, libraries, &c.
The writer goes on to say -
The lessons of the late war between Japan and. Russia point conclusively to the doctrine of total abstinence for officers and men in armies and navies. Many officers in our last war urged total abstinence. ‘ The safe rule for our army now, and for all the future, is the encouragement by every possible means of the practice of total abstinence from the use of intoxicating liquors
– Would the honorable senator make total abstinence a condition before enlistment?
– No, but when we have hotels and public houses at every corner, far outnumbering the requirements of the people, I see no necessity to open others in barracks. I see no necessity to create drinking places at Christmas or Easter camps, which are attended, not by old men, but middle-aged and young men. The man who would encourage drinking at those camps is. not taking a wise- view for the Commonwealth.
– No one is endeavour-* ing to encourage drinking either inside or outside camps.
– I am trying to show that in order to attain the object we have in view, we must not be content to rely on legislation relating to canteens, but must pay some attention to the regulation of ordinary drinking shops. ‘In this connexion every State is taking part in the reform. Liquor has been abolished from canteens in America, and my authority goes oh to say -
An. effort is being made in many States to secure, through their legislatures, a limit law, prohibiting the sale of liquor within one, two, or three miles (five miles is better still) of an army post.
The object of the law in America is to abolish drinking in barracks, and to take care that there shall not be a public house within a mile or two of the gates. Some honorable senators seem to take it for granted that the temperance people desire silly reform inside the barracks, while doing nothing to abolish the drinking evil outside. This publication goes on to say: -
– Whose evidence is that?
– It is the evidence of an officer.
– What is his name?
– The name of the officer is not given.
– We gave the names of all our authorities.’
– What I have read answers every single word of the evidence laid before us by Senator Turley and Senator Neild. Cannot we bring about a similar state of affairs in Australia? Are we to everlastingly perpetuate all the vices the race is heir to? Are we to make no attempt to get rid of drinking and gambling?
– Has the Federal Parliament any power to interfere with the drink question in Australia?
– I do not say that the Federal Parliament has any such power.
– If we cannot interfere, what is the use of talking about the matter ?
– I am simply showing that those who take ria.rt in’ the temperance movement in America are endeavouring to induce the States Legislatures to act with them. r,bes Senator Turley know that the temperance movement is about the liveliest movement in every State of the Commonwealth ? We are going to have local option in every State.
– The honorable senator does not believe in local option in connexion with canteens?
– Senator Dobson would not like to take a plebiscite of the soldiers.
– Does the Minister suggest that the soldiers themselves should be consulted? I say that) nothing of the kind should be done. Soldiers are young men, and it would be simply ridiculous to license public houses in their midst.
– Have soldiers not sense enough to know whether or not they are in favour of canteens?
– No, they have not.
– Has the honorable senator ever done a bit of soldiering?
– This is a very important Bill, and those who take the temperance side deserve to be listened to seriously.
– We, every one of us, take the temperance side.
– I should like to read the following quotation: -
The assertion is repeatedly made by the canteen advocates that abolishment of the canteen creates disorder among the soldiers. Let us reply to this in the language of an army officer. Colonel Ray says : “It is an insult to every officer in the United States Army to say that the army canteen assists in the management of his men.”
I think Senator Neild told us something of that sort.
– Colonel Ray is the only officer, whose name has been given, quoted by Senator Dobson.
– Colonel Ray proceeds to say : -
He adds, “ If I had an officer under me who made this statement I would certainly relieve him as soon as possible.” No reliable statistics have been brought to prove that the men were better morally and physically under the canteen system than they have been since its abolishment. Quoting again from an army officer : “ The regular canteen is not allowed to sell liquor to soldiers when they are drunk. Therefore, the men who want to get drunk will go up town any way. A canteen that keeps the men at the post will have to be as low and vile a hole as any saloon in town.”
– Read something sensible !
– Colonel Ray is just as sensible as Colonel Neild, and Colonel Ray says : -
If the canteen is what it was first intended to be, it does not keep these drinking soldiers, about whom so much has recently been said, at the post. They want to go somewhere where they can get drunk.
That is proved by the statistics laid before us by the Minister, showing that out of thirty-nine men who drank to excess, twenty-nine got drink outside the canteen. Colonel Ray proceeds: -
There is no need of liquor in any army post in the country. Do they have a bar at your newspaper offices in order to regulate the drinking of reporteis and editors?
– Colonel Ray goes on : -
In your department stores is a bar maintained simply because a clerk here and there is liable to ‘leave his work, go outside of the store, and get drunk? The statements that are being made about the army and its drinking propensities are libels.
Then I have another quotation : -
I here reiterate our recommendation of several formers years that the States having no prohibitory law will endeavour to secure the enactment of a law prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquor within a radius of three miles from all army posts and Government reservations.
I have another quotation, which states that the whole of the statistics go to show that conditions are improving since liquor was abolished from the canteens.
– Are these American statistics? .
– I propose to read only one more extract, because I think some of my honorable friends have treated me in a very ungenerous fashion. I know that the time will come when the temperance movement will make itself felt in every State, and some of my honorable friends will then recognise that this is a more serious matter than they are at present aware of.
SenatorPlayford. - Not the matter of the canteens. The general question of temperance may be.
-I beg to differ from the honorable senator. I say that the canteen question is very serious. I have known some soldiers who have ruined their lives by drink, and if I can do anything which will make our soldiers temperate I shall certainly do it. Honorable senators are unable to point to a single historical fact which is not in favour of the principles of this Bill.
– Oh, bosh !
– Let Senator Neild read the history of the Siege of Ladysmith, where men had to undergo hardships as great as any soldiers have ever had to suffer, and he will find that officer after officer, and pressman after pressman, asserted that the absence of crime and of all disturbances during that terrible time was almost entirely, owing to the fact that there was not a drop of liquor to be got in Ladysmith.
– The most successful canteen ever established was that conducted in South Africa during the Boer War.
– We have the great historical fact before us that in the war between Japan and Russia the Japanese were almost teetotallers.
– I have it from Colonel Hoad that they had canteens all through the war.
– The Japanese were exceedingly temperate, and they defeated the Russians, who consumed a good deal of drink.
– Sake, and all sorts of liquor, could be. bought right through the war in the Japanese canteens.
- Senator Neild will surely admit my contention that the Japanese were far more sober than the Russians.
– If the Russians could get no drink they had to be sober also.
– The Russians had drink.
– Both Russians and Japanese had drink.
– If Senator Neild desires some evidence -with regard to the results which have followed the canteen system amongst English soldiers, he has only to consider what happened during the Boer War. Perhaps the honorable senator is aware, as I certainly am, of the effect upon one general high in rank, and who occupied a most important post during the war. Perhaps he knows, and if he does not I do, of officers whose nerve was disturbed, whose courage, I might almost say, and whose fitness for the performance of their duty, were seriously impaired as a result of the way drink was carted about in South Africa.
– What has that to do with’ the abolition of the canteen?
– It has nothing whatever to do with it?
– I am arguing generally as to the advisability of trying to make the men of our army temperate.
– Let the honorable senator introduce a’ Bill to make all the members of the Defence Force teetotallers, and I shall assist him.
– Order ! I think there are too many interruptions.
– I am now. going to> take my honorable friends to San Francisco during the terrible time when that great city was destroyed by “earthquake and fireTemperance was at that time enforced by the United States Army, and I find this: statement made in connexion with the matter -
In the disastrous calamity which befell the luxurious city of San Francisco, a problem of greatest magnitude has been at last solved beyond doubt or controversy in a most startling and impressive manner. The mighty lesson was demonstrated by the earthquake, and burned into the memory for all time with fire and destruction. It was the momentous question of the value of temperance, and more - of the good or evil of total abstinence. If there ever was a time when gloom and despair and anguish were uppermost, it was when the devoted city wrestled with its fate. If there ever was a time when the thirsty cried for drink, or the hungry for food, or the hopeless for, good cheer, it was then. Where were the contents of the bonded warehouses, the wine cellars, and the saloons? Had not the people been taught that whisky is “ nine-tenths food,” “ beer altogether food,” and that “wine is to cheer and lift up” “the heart bowed down with weight of woe “ ?
Why are they withheld now ? Why were not these potent factors for good distributed broadcast among a dying multitude in a doomed city? Why not, indeed? The powerful advocates of strong drink were, present in large numbers, and could have extended the magic drink which they maintained “ drives away care and sorrow,”’ ” banishes despair,” “ makes all merry,” and< “ is entirely harmless.” Did they do it ? Nay,, verily ! In amazement we learn that the beer,, the wine, and the whisky were with all hastepossible dragged out and poured into thestreets.
What could have been more significant and more convincing? What confession greater? Where were the saloon keepers’ rights? Where was the much quoted Constitution, and the “ liberty of the people to sell and buy”? All thrown to the winds, when at the very onset there was a petting rid of a deadlier foe than earthquake or fire. There was no callins; on Congress to expurgate the clause in the Constitution which guarantees to the citizens of the United Stales “ life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This distorted misinterpreted clause !
The extremity was sharp. Delay was fatal. No time for “the pale caste of thought” to gather. Action was instantaneous, and total wreck averted. No such radical steps were ever dreamed of by the freinds of temperance in this crusade against the mighty evil which is sapping the life blood of our nation. This immortal act, this victory of peace greater than any victory of war, was the act of the United States Army while the city was under martial law.
There was at the ‘ time, I suppose, the greatest stress that the people of a city ever suffered, and the first thing done’ by the soldiers of the United States Army, who were sent there to keep order, was to pour out into the streets every gallon of liquor they could find in the city. The quotation continues -
That army which has “advocated a return of the army canteen, where tickets are issued that those who have no money may drink with those who have ! God forever bless this noble army ! lt rose en masse above prejudice. It had the valour to act for the right, its keen penetration saw an:l acted promptly. What it had advocated as right it saw was wrong ; and with one mighty impulse rushed to the rescue of San Francisco, not only from earthquake and fire, but from a literal hades on earth had spirituous liquors been tolerated.
These soldier-men wrought better than they knew. They have done for humanity an eternal good, and for the cause of temperance a work which it would have taken generations to accomplish. In a supreme crisis they taught a lesson which encircles the globe in its universal need, the value of which is beyond calculation. It is a victory in peace whose glory is imperishable.
I ask Senator Neild, who, I suppose, knows something about war, whether he does not believe that should’ a crisis come in a war in which the fate of the British race might be involved!, scores of our soldiers would be rendered less effective if the policy he supports was adopted, than thev would be if we made some effort to promote temperance in our Military Forces ? Out of every hundred men, there may be a dozen drunkards, a dozen more soakers, perhaps a majority of moderate drinkers, who care little about it, and a few teetotallers. Are we, in dealing with the defence of our country, and with the interests of our citizen army, and of boys of seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen years of age, to pass laws to meet the wishes of middle-age soldiers, who perhaps for twenty years, have been imbibing more drink than has been good for them? Should we not rather consider the interest of our voting men, our youths, and our sons? Should we not recognise that drink is the greatest curse of the Anglo-Saxon race, that tb: temperance movement is going to spread, and that the sooner it spreads to the Army and Navy the better ? Are not all the first soldiers of Great Britain advocating temperance principles?
– We all advocate temperance principles.
– We have temperance societies in the Army and Navy, and yet honorable senators propose that we should carry drink from outside into the soldiers’ homes and into the soldiers’ camps. I recollect telling Senator Neild before that we were making a terrible mistake in allowing drink to be sold in the camps attended by our young men, and the honorable senator told me that the men would not go to camp at all unless they could get drink there.
– I never told’ the honorable senator any such thing.
– When I was dealing with the question in 1903, the honorable senator interjected, during my speech, that I did not know what I was talking about, and that the men would not go into camp unless they could get drink there. I say that that was an insult to the members of the Defence Force, and an insult to the young men of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator should quote, and not merely assert what I said.
– Senator Dobson is insulting the men of the Defence Force when he says that they have not enough sense to know what they want.
– Might I ask my honorable friends, as a last appeal to them, that they should’ mind what they are doing. If they throw out this Bill, the canteen system will go on as at present.
– Not necessarily. We can make a few alterations in connexion with the canteens.
– I point out that if the Bill is rejected, we shall have whisky and other spirits sold in the canteens for another year.
– Not necessarily. The Minister has power to issue’ regulations preventing it.
– If the honorable senator would listen to me, he would hear what the Minister will do if he can. Senator DOBSON.- I should be more pleased if the Minister would listen to me for a little time. I have been advocating from the first that the very least we should do in connexion with this Bill is to prohibit for ever the sale of spirits in canteens. If honorable senators will insist on maintaining the canteens, and on the sale of some drink in them, it should be confined to light beer and light wine. That is what was done in the United States. Let me remind honorable senators of the fatal blunder the Commonwealth, led by Senator Neild, was permitted to make in this matter. We have allowed spirits to be sold in canteens, whereas in the United States and in Great Britain that is not allowed. If the second reading of the Bill is passed, we can include in it what we desire, and I prefer that we should do that rather than leave it to the Minister. In 1903 we missed by only one or two votes the opportunity to drive all drink out of the canteens, and yet for the last three years Senator Plavford has not thought it worth while to make any recommendations in connexion with the matter.
– I have not been in charge of the Department for three years.
– In permitting the sale of spirituous liquors in the canteens the honorable senator has been aware that he was not following the example of the military authorities of the United States, or of Great Britain.
-i cannotdo everything at once.
– I prefer that the second reading of the Bill should be passed, arid that in Committee honorable senators should introduce such conditions asthey desire rather than that the matter should be left to regulations issued by the Minister.
– There is one thing to which I very strongly object, and that is that Senator Dobson should attempt to brand every honorable senator who opposes this Bill as a person opposed to temperance. We are not opposed to temperance. If Senator Dobson had paid the slightest attention, to Senator Turley he would have known that that honorable senator took the stand he did in the interests of temperance. He has advocated the continuance of the canteen system in the interests of temperance. I have nodoubt that every member of the Senate is in favour of temperance. Personally, I favour local option as a means of decreasing the unnecessary number of public-houses in the Commonwealth. But there is one thing I am not in favour of, and I believe never will be in favour of, and that is prohibition. So far as the canteens are concerned, this Bill proposes absolute prohibition. I ask honorable senators to reflect a little on that question. A year or two ago, I read an account of a visit by two teetotallers to the United States in order to ascertain how the prohibition laws were working in the various States, principally in Maine. They drew a map of the chief city in Maine, and marked with a red cross the buildings in which liquor was sold as openly as it is sold in any part of Australia. When they asked how this traffic could exist, they found that, when the prohibition laws were put in force, sly grog shops sprang up wholesale, that the authorities were not in a position to put a stop to the illicit traffic, and that the corporation agreed to allow certain persons in different parts of the city to put up bars. Photographs of the bars are given to visitors, and once a year every man who sells liquor in a bar is brought before the Courts for having sold liquor illegally, and fined £60 or £70. The men quietly pay the fine, and continue to sell, liquor. That is the result of prohibition in Maine. After getting evidence in other parts, the two teetotallers came to the conclusion that prohibition was a mistake, and advised their teetotal friends in England to go in for regulation and not prohibition.
– But local option may mean prohibition.
– Not necessarily.
– The honorable senator is in favour of local option.
– I am in favour of local option to decrease the unnecessary number of public-houses, but not to prohibit them.
– The South Australian law, which the honorable senator helped to pass, provides for prohibition by a two-thirds majority.
– Tt may be that in certain towns a two-thirds majority may say that there shall not be any pub- lie-houses, and I do not know that my honorable friend need grumble at that. As I develop my argument, I shall mention a few matters which very likely will astonish Senator Dobson. There are two kinds of canteen, namely, the barrack canteen, and the camp canteen. In the former, not only liquor, but groceries, draperies, and such articles as are kept in a general store are sold. I have a list of the various articles which are stocked. The profits which are derived from the sales are utilized for the maintenance of recreation rooms, including libraries, reading-rooms, billiard-rooms, gymnasia, &c, outdoor sports, including cricket, football, handball, rackets, tennis, and athletic sports, payment of wages of canteen employes ; care of soldiers’ graves, “ and grants in aid of men’s mess. Really) a canteen is a co-operative store, with the addition that liquor is sold.
– There has been no profit from the canteen at Queenscliff for a long time. On the contrary, there has been a large debit.
– I do not knew! Out of the profits from the canteen in Sydney, .£500 has been spent in that direction. It must be remembered that there are ill managed and well managed canteens. During the recess, I paid a visit to Western Australia, and then went to Sydney, Brisbane, and Thursday Island. I inspected each barrack canteen, and found that where the commanding officer took a little pains, it was fairly well managed ; otherwise it was very indifferently managed. Under the regulations the commanding officer has to appoint a committee of management consisting of three officers. Amongst other things, I found that the accounts of the canteens were riot system1atically kept. In many instances the accounts were very badly kept ; in fact it was very difficult to understand how they were kept. In some instances the balancesheets were almost as bad as a Chinese puzzle. I found that in many cases excessive credit was given to officers and men. I think it is a very great mistake to give’ credit, especially for drink, and that the system ought to be stopped. A man who goes to the bar of a canteen for the purpose of getting (liquor should put .down ibis money. Sometimes the credit was given for more than a month ; in some instances the officers had very large credits. To my mind the whole system was bad, and called for alteration in that respect. I found that in some cases the commanding officer had deliberately put the canteen money into his own private banking account. Of course, that was utterly indefensible. He got the accounts of the canteen and his private accounts so inextricably mixed up that at Thursday Island two special auditors had to be called in to go through the books. They discovered that he was considerably short in his accounts. He disputed the amount, and paid a portion, leaving a balance of, I think, £40 or ^”50 owing to the canteen. In consequence of the manner in which the accounts had been kept, it was impossible to charge the man - he is out of the service now - criminally, because it would have been difficult to prove a case to the satisfaction of a jury.
– Does the same system pf keeping the accounts prevail in all the States ?
– No. I found out that case, and possibly in other placed it may have occurred, too. It showed the necessity for revising the regulation. Upon my return to Melbourne, I, after careful consideration, decided to revise the regulation, by providing for a uniform system of keeping the accounts, and also a uniform form of balance-sheet, and gave an instruction to the proper officer to draw up the forms. As the men are many, and the officers are but few, I do not see why the former should not be represented on the committee of management of the canteens, therefore I propose to frame a regulation. At the present time the whole matter is left to the commanding officer, who, however, is only allowed to appoint officers to the committee of managament. In my opinion the officers, the non-commissioned officers, and the men ought to be represented. I have not vet determined in what proportion they shall be represented, but the .question was under consideration when this Bill was sprung upon us. In England the canteens are not allowed to sell spirits, as the following extract from the Army and Navy Gazette, of the 16th June last, will show : -
The Secretary of State for War states that the Imperial Yeomanry, when out for training, are under military law, and as regards their canteens, are subject to the same rules as govern the canteens of the Regular Army and Militia. Under these rules the sale of spirituous liquors of any description is prohibited at home. No unfavorable reports upon the management of yeomanry canteens have been received in previous years.
That does not mean that because the sale of spirituous liquors is prohibited the sale of wines and beers is not allowed. I intend to make a regulation to the effect that only beers and light wines shall be sold in our canteens.
– That is prohibition.
– So far as the sale of spirits in canteens is concerned, it is prohibition ; but in the United States Army the sale of spirits was forbidden long before the sale of beer was prohibited. We du not desire to stop the sale of all intoxicating liquors, but we look upon spirits as a most dangerous beverage, and therefore we propose to restrict the men to practically light wines and light beer.
– But, as a matter of principle, will the Minister explain how he justifies prohibition in one case, and cannot justify il in the other?
– As a matter of principle, I should say that I was justified in prohibiting the honorable senator from taking some poison, if he was likely to take it to excess at times.
– That is not an answer.
– I think that I should be perfectly justified in preventing my honorable friend from taking laudanum, if I thought that he might injure himself. We know that alcohol is a poison, which, if taken in large quantities, produces death.
– Beer is a poison also.
– A man would burst before he showed any signs of poisoning from drinking lager beer.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the men will go outside to get whisky if they cannot get it at the canteen? Will they not go to low grog shops?
– There are no low grog shops here, I believe, and we need not trouble about what occurs ir. America. The experience that we have gained in regard to our soldiers is that they are a wonderfully sober lot of men. That applies, not only to our permanent men, who have the privilege of the canteen, ordinarily, but also to the militia and volunteers. The honorable senator who moved the second reading of this Bill made the following remark : -
T am glad to know that the measure has the approval of the late Minister of Defence, Mr. McCay, and also the support of the present Minister of Defence.
As to that, I have to state that I never heard that this Bill had been introduced in another place until it was under consideration there. The second reading was moved, and the measure was rushed through in a very short time. I happened to be working in my room when my colleague, Mr. Ewing, came in, and asked, “Are you in favour of doing away with the sale of spirituous liquors in canteens?” That was the very thing that I was in favour of and I told him so. He said, “All right,” and then he went into the House of Representatives, and said that the Minister was in favour of the Bill. I had not seen this Bill at that time. I suppose that my colleague, was justified after my answer to ‘his Question in saving that I was in favour of the Bill, but I merely intended to refer to the sale of spirituous liquors.
– I think that the Min- .ister’s colleague said that the Government was not against the Bill.
– I am not quite sure how he put it. But if any one quotes me as being in favour of the Bill, I desire it to be understood that what I am in favour of is the abolition of the sale of spirituous liquors at canteens. As to mv having moved the first reading of the Bill in the Senate, I have to say that when the measure came up I thought that it was a, Government Bill, and jumped up to move the first reading perfectly innocently. Now I desire to answer the question whether we have ever tried prohibition in any of our barracks, and with what result. The experiment has been tried im South Australia. We prohibited the sale of alcoholic liquor at Lares Ba*for a time; and I have a letter from a gentleman who was then a noncommissioned officer. He relates what the result was -
I beg to state that about twenty years ago the sale of liquor was abolished in the Permanent Artillery canteen in South Australia, by order of the Commandant, presumably under instructions from the Minister of Defence, South Australia. The result was that as the men could not obtain the liquor they were accustomed to in barracks, they went outside for it to the hotels. As they had to dress properly before leaving barracks, and also had about a mile to walk to the nearest hotel, they did not content themselves with their usual glass or two, but as a rule spent all the money they had before returning to barracks; the quality of the liquor supplied to them by the hotels was also very inferior, the consequence being that the increase of drunkenness became alarming, and instructions were soon received to again allow the sale of liquor in the canteen. Almost as soon as this privilege was restored, the cases of drunkenness rapidly decreased, and in a very short time drunkenness became almost an unknown offence in the South Australian Permanent Artillery.
– How many men were there ?
– It does not matter whether there were ten, twenty, or 100. The point is that we tried to prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquor at the canteens, and that the result was exactly what Senator Turley pointed out in his very able speech, and exactly what my honorable friend Senator Neild laid great emphasis upon.
– What the Minister has quoted is not an official document.
– I do not care whether it is official or not - it is the truth. The. gentleman who writes to me was on the spot at the time, and knows what he is talking about.
– The habits of the people have improved since then.
– The improvement took place when the old system was reverted to.
– Yes. It is but human nature that when you prohibit the use of a thing which people desire, they will try to get it. From the beginning of the world it has been so. The American example has been quoted as one of the reasons why we should adopt this Bill. On the other hand, we have been told by Senator Turley, who has read extracts from the reports of officers in the United States Army, that the result of abolishing canteens has been bad. I have made inquiries, and find that directly canteens were abolished in the American Army drunkenness increased. There is more drunkenness now than there ever was. That is admitted by Major-General Chaffey. Do honorable senators suppose that, if we abolish the canteen at a place like the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, we shall prevent the men from getting liquor if they want it? They will simply cross the road, and get what they like. When canteens were abolished in America, institutions called clubs were established. The men can get anything they like at the “club.” I shall quote from a letter from a young Canadian officer who has come out to Australia in exchange for one of our own officers, Lieutenant Innes, who has gone to Canada. In this letter he refers to what he has seen in the United States. The officer’s name is Lieutenant Clairmont, and he writes to Major Clarke, of Queenscliff, as follows : -
Queenscliff Hotel, Queenscliff, Monday.
My dear Major Clarke : -
I enclose two letters for you that arrived since you left. I overheard you talking about can teens the other night, and you query as to what the American methods were, and it has struck me that it may interest you to know that when I was visiting an American post (9th U.S.A. Inf., N.Y. State) a short time ago, I saw personally there methods of carrying on places of refreshment. Both officers and other ranks had what they called “ clubs “ instead of messes and canteens, which I think were contracted under a civilian, but of this point I am not sure. At any rate, when I was being shown round I was taken into the rank and file “club” to have a glass of whisky. I mention this in case it maybe of use to you.
Clairmont, Lieut. R.C.A.
There we see the result of attempting to establish prohibition. If the men in barracks desire to obtain a glass of liquor, what right have we to stop them? Have they not a right to turn round and say to us, “ Do awaywith the sale of liquor at your own refreshment rooms. What right have you to consume liquor at your clubs and refuse us the right to have a glass, when we want it?” I am satisfied that if we do away with the canteens the men will go outside, and that drunkenness will increase. Possibly the men will form clubs, as has been done in America, and we shall not be able to stop them, except by special legislation.
– Would not that take . place also with regard to spirituous liquors the sale of which the Minister desires to prevent ?
– It may to a certain extent. I am not saying that it will not take place in the case of certain old topers. But to the more temperate and moderate men, it will not, I believe, make any difference.
– If it is an interference with the liberty of the men to stop the sale of beer, is it not equally an interference to stop the sale of spirituous liquor ?
– Sometimes we have to interfere with the liberty of the subject in certain directions, in order that good results may flow therefrom. I have asked a series of questions of responsible officers in regard to the canteens at the barracks at Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, and at Queenscliff. I have asked’ for particulars of the alcoholic liquors sold during 1905. At the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, there were consumed 2,997 gallons of beer, and 121 gallons of spirits. The average number of men who are stationed at the
Sydney Barracks is 278, but it must be remembered that a number from outside attend for. instruction and other purposes, and are allowed to use the canteen.
– Would an officer not be allowed to treat his friends ?
– Yes; but no visitors are allowed to pay for drink. The total amount received from the men at the canteen for drink was £479, and for this it is estimated that they obtained refreshments which outside would have cost £800, showing a verv large difference. The number of convictions or punishments for drunkenness and for other offences of which, it was believed, drink was the cause, was three out of verv ne’arly 300 men during the whole twelve months. In my opinion, that is a wonderfully low percentage and, moreover, there is this note attached to the return : -
In all these cases the offenders had obtained the drink outside barracks, and the canteen was in no wise responsible.
That is marvellous sobriety, and all the officers of New South Wales, whose opinions 1 shall quote shortly, declare that were the canteen abolished there would be considerably more drunkenness than at present. Who are on the side of temperance ? Whose method would deter men, to the greatest extent, from excess in drinking? That of those who are opposing this Bill. Honorable senators who are in favour of the measure are, unconsciously of course, advocating- something that would have the effect of increasing drunkenness. That is the purport of the evidence we have received, and that is the position which has to be faced. In my own State of South Australia, one in’r.er. who is a thorough teetotaller, and who, Like myself, would abolish all drinking in canteens if good results would follow, told, me that he “could not conscientiously advocate its abolition, which would c,nl v mean an increase of the very evil he desired to diminish to the utmost possible extent.
– It is denied that the abolition of canteens would have any such results.
– The foll lowing are questions I asked, and the answers given : -
Whether other refreshments, such as tea, coffee, sandwiches, &c, are supplied, and what efforts are made in the direction of a temperance canteen ? - Attempts have been made at times to encourage the sale of tea and coffee as beverages, but have met with no manner of success, it being . found that the Government rations were apparently sufficient to meet the wants of the men in this respect. The same applies to food supplies, such as ^biscuits, tinned meats, &c. These are kept for sale, but such are usually bought by the married men only
Whether there is a comfortable room apart from the canteen, where men could assemble for recreation? - Yes; billiard room, reading room, room for cards and games, all recently reconstructed and tastefully furnished by the canteen, in accordance with their several requirements, at a cost of about ^500. There is also a fully and thoroughly equipped gymnasium, and a theatre furnished with stage.
That has all taken place in barracks which are situated in the suburb of Paddington, where, if there were no canteen with its recreation room, reading room, and so forth, the men would perforce find themselves in the street, surrounded by numerous public- houses.
– There would be recreation rooms in any case.
– The chances are that, under any circumstances, there would be more drinking and drunkenness than now. I am sorry to say that the Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, came out very badly in this connexion, when compared with the Victoria Barracks, Sydnev. In Melbourne the state of things is not nearly so satisfactory ; and I am endeavouring to find out the cause, but experience much difficulty in doing so. In the Melbourne Barracks and the Queenscliff Barracks together, there are 199 men, who drank 7,932 gallons of beer, as compared with the 278 men in Sydney, who drank 2,997 gallons, in the twelve months. . In Svdney the amount of moneyspent bv the men was £479 2s. 9d., whereas in Melbourne and Queenscliff the amount expended was no less than £1,447 I4S. 4-d-
– That includes visitors, I suppose ?
– Then, as compared with three cases of drunkenness in Sydney, there were twelve cases in Melbourne; and further, in the case of Melbourne, it is only possible to say that in two of the cases it was clear the men had obtained the drink outside of the barracks. This, of course, leaves ten cases in which offenders obtained the drink in barracks.
– Does not that condemn the present system?
– It does- not condemn the system, but it appears to’ me that it may condemn the management. My desire is to put the matter fairly and straightlv to the Senate - to present both the bane and the antidote. If the unsatisfactory results in Melbourne condemn the system, then the magnificent results in Sydney support it in the most unmistakable manner.
– Perhaps the Queenscliff regulations drove the men to drink.
– I do not know whether that is so or not, but I have been making inquiries, because at present the difference in this connexion as between Melbourne and Sydney seems to me inexplicable. I promise honorable senators, however, that I shall make further inquiries, though I have not been able to do much as yet, having received this return only this morning. In Brisbane there areseventy-two men. but they drank more beer than did the 278 men in Sydney, and the fact appears utterly strange to me. In the Victoria Barracks, Brisbane, the seventy-two men consumed 3,200 gallons of beer, as compared with the 2,997 gallons consumed by the men. in the Sydney barracks. How Senator Higgs may explain that fact I do not know. Of the seventy-two men in Brisbane, eight of them were found guilty of drunkenness, as compared with three offenders out of 278 men in Sydney. Of the eight offenders in Brisbane. I am informed that three were apprehended by town escort, so that apparently a picket had to be sent to fetch them home. What was done with the men who obtained the drink at the canteen I do not know, but, as honorable senators will see, there were five. All these figures are very astonishing. I do not know whether my’ Sydney friends: have been minimizing the matter at all; but statistics are very awkward to deal with. The difference in the figures relating to drunkenness, as between two towns, is very often explained by the fact that the police are more active in one than in the other; and I do not know how the statistics I am now quoting are made up. I read, however -
With reference to the average number of officers and men stationed at the respective places mentioned, it must be borne in mind that in addition to the troops permanently stationed there, on many occasions during the year schools of instructions and other parades of the permanent, militia, and volunteer forces are held in barracks, the troops attending which would be privileged to use the canteen.
That statement, of course may offer some explanation of the figures I have quoted.
– What about the amount of money the soldiers spend?
– They do not spend half as much in the canteen as they would spend outside.
– The return shows that the men at the canteen pay about half what they would have to pay outside. Senator Pulsford a little while ago asked for a return showing where canteens are established, and the receipts from them and the number of men at each barracks or fort where canteens are established. That return I have here, and this, too, discloses a most extraordinary state of things in regard to the Melbourne barracks. In this connexion I sent a special memorandum to the barracks this morning, and have received an answer that is fairly satisfactory. The return shows that in the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, there are 278 men, who spent last year £479 2s. 9d. in drink. In the Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, there are only 72 men, and they spent £820 3s.1d. in drink. That was perfectly astounding to me.
– That can be explained.
– It has been explained to a certain extent, and I will read the explanation directly, though I do not think it entirely satisfactory. At Middle Head, with 31 men, the receipts from the sale of alcoholic drinks during last year amounted to £155 10s. 3d., and at the Victoria Barracks, Brisbane, with 70 men, the receipts were £291 2s.10d. At Thursr day Island, 81 men spent £683 10s.,. but I can understand that they would require a little extra drink. Building operations have been going on at Thursday Island for some time, and the men engaged on the works used to give the soldiers1s. to buy them a drink, and that would probably account for some part of the large consumption reported from Thursday Island. I asked a question concerning the discrepancy between the expenditure at Victoria Barracks, Sydney, and at Victoria Barracks, Melbourne. My letter was as: follows : -
Melbourne, 16th August, 1905.
Military Commandant, Victoria.
From a statement recently presented to Parliament re military canteens, it appears that the receipts from the sale of alcoholic drink during last year at Victoria Barracks, Sydney amounted to £479 2s.9d. for 278 men ; whilst in the case of Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, the receipts amounted to ^820 3s. id. for 72 men.
The Minister wishes an immediate report as to this extraordinary difference.
This is the reply I received -
It would appear from the way that the return was rendered that only officers and men of the Royal Australian Artillery were included. It is pointed out that the number of persons using the canteen at Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, is 76 members of the Royal Australian Artillery, and I02 other persons who are allowed to make use of the canteen ; thus there is a total o’f 178.
That brings the number more nearly to that of the number of men using the canteen at Victoria Barracks, Sydney, but the discrepancy is still very great.
– Could the Minister explain who the other persons are who go to the canteen at Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, to help themselves to cheap grog?
– The reply to which I have referred continues -
In addition tr- the above total of 178, it has to be taken into consideration that whenever a Guard of Honour is held, an extra 80 men are on the Station for a day or two days, as the case may be, and during Cup Week, for the whole week.
Also that parades of the militia and volunteer forces, Schools of Instruction, and Courses of Equitation held at the barracks bring extra custom to the canteen, but it is impossible to strike an average, as no record has been kept of the actual numbers making use of the canteen.
It is further pointed out that those persons outside the Regiment who are allowed to use the canteen are principally the ones who buy spirits by the bottle, to be consumed in their own quarters.
Personally I am totally opposed to proposed prohibition.
Without exception, every commanding officer in New South Wales is opposed to the prohibition of the sale of intoxicants in canteens.
– Then they do not agree with the Minister, who proposes to abolish the sale of intoxicants?
– I do not propose to abolish canteens, but to abolish the sale of spirituous liquors. The Bill proposes the abolition of canteens. In the case of Victoria, nineteen commanding officers have expressed the opinion that the sale of intoxicants in canteens should not be prohibited whilst three are in favour of prohibition. The Commandant says -
I am strongly of opinion that in the interests of discipline and sobriety, the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors would be a mistake. Personally I am of opinion that spirits should be prohibited, and only beer and wine sold.
Now I come to Queensland, and I have this report from that State -
Strongly recommend retention of” canteens for the following reasons : -
Induce members Permanent forces regard barracks as home.
Profits of canteen devoted to maintenance of library, billiard table, piano, and* light refreshments, for which no provision on Estimates.
Militia profits distributed to corps concerned for sports.
If canteens closed with object of suppressing drink, fear result disastrous to discipline and esprit de corps; men will join institutions in town not under supervision of officers.
Misdirected influences will replace military influence, and thus military thought, and consequently efficiency, will suffer, and our task will then be more difficult.
Offences caused by drink generally committed outside barracks.
Majority of Commanding Officers favour retention and sale of intoxicants.
In the case of South. Australia, seven commanding officers are of opinion that the canteen is desirable, four are opposed” to canteens, and one asked that he should be relieved from expressing an opinion. The South Australian Commandant states -
From an experience extending over fiveandtwenty years, I am strongly in favour of permitting the sale of intoxicating liquors in canteens.
It has the great advantage of the sale being carried out under strict military control, and at the same time the best liquors are being provided for the men.
I am perfectly convinced that if such sale is prohibited, it will cause most serious dissatisfaction throughout the Commonwealth Military Forces, and will lead to a great deal of illicit drinking in barracks and in camp.
I find that in Western Australia all the commanding officers, ten. in number, and including the State Premier, strongly op pose the abolition of the sale .of intoxicants in canteens. The Senior Chaplain, Bishop
Riley, concurs in this, and the Commandant states -
I also indorse the opinions of my Commanding Officers.
In Tasmania, ten commanding officers are unanimously in favour of continuing the sale of intoxicants in canteens. The Acting Commandant concurs, and there is no dissentient.
– Then ‘ there are only seven commanding officers in the whole of the Commonwealth who are in favour of the Bill?
– Honorable senators will see that the immensely preponderating opinion of those who have the best means of knowing what will be the effect ‘ of doing away with the sale of intoxicating liquors in canteens is that it will be injurious, and will lead to an increase of drunkenness. The experience in South- Australia may be only in a small 7Vav in connexion with Largs Fort, and for a. limited period, but the Commandant of that State is of opinion that to do away with the canteens would lead to an increase of drunkenness. That is also the experience of the United States’, so far as I have been able to gather from mv reading. 7 have before me a report on the subject from one of the most important officers of the United States Army, Lt. -General Adna R. Chaffee, Chief of Staff of the United States Army. He says -
The lowest ratio of alcoholism was for the year 1898, when beer and light wines were sold under regulations established by post authority.
I shall not quote the whole of his report, because I have already occupied a greater length of time than I usually do when addressing the Senate. But I gather from the report that in the opinion of General Chaffee, drunkenness has increased in the United States Army since the canteens have been done away with.
– Why not read the whole of the report?
– I think that Senator Turley has already quoted even a stronger statement.
– Not from General Chaffee.
– He says, amongst other things -
Prohibition creates in soldiers a wish for drink rather than banishes it.
That is the opinion of one of the most important officers of the United States Army.
– Then what becomes of ‘ the honorable senator’s suggestion to prohibit the sale of spirituous liquors in canteens? He is condemning himself.
– We cannot all be logical like the honorable senator. I am content to quote the opinion of a man who is able to describe what took place when the canteens of the United States Army were allowed to sell only beer and light wines, and his statement that, having done away with the sale1 of beer and light wines in. the canteen, as is proposed by this; Bill, the’ result was an increase of drunkenness in the United States Army. This officer expresses the opinion that prohibition increases rather than decreases the desire for drink on the part of the soldiers. After all inquiries, I believe that the result of doing away with the sale of at least certain intoxicating liquors in military canteens in the Commonwealth will not be what our teetotal friends think it will. I believe that it will not lead to a. decrease of drunkenness amongst the men. From the experience of our officers, and from my reading on the subject, I have no doubt that the effect would be to increase rather than decrease the amount of’ drunkenness. It would cause the formation of clubs in. which the men would lie able to obtain drink without the supervision to which they are subjected under I he canteen system. I believe as strongly as does any member of the Senate, or anyone in the community, that it is advisable that we should do all we can to promote temperance, not only amongst the military, but throughout the whole community ; but T still shrink, as the teetotal officers of the Defence Force do, from consenting to the passage of a measure like this, because I believe its effect will be the very reverse of What is expected from it by our teetotal friends.
Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) [5.29I - The agitation being carried on, particularly in the State of Victoria at the present time by various temperance organizations for the abolition of military canteens, is one that has received a good deal of prominence in the columns of the dail v press. If ona were to be moved bv the numerous letters he receives, asking his support for the Bill, without giving consideration to the other side, I feel that he would be casting a wrong vote. I can understand a prohibitionist strongly favouring a Bill of this kind, but I cannot understand any. other person being in favour of the abolition of military canteens. I believe that if the liquor traffic were under strict control and regulation, there would be a less consumption of alcohol than is the case to-day. It ‘ is because I believe that the consumption of alcohol is restricted in military canteens that I do not wish them to be abolished. The ‘speech made by Senator Dobson in favour of the Bill, and some of the arguments he adduced, will not stand verv strict analysis. When he was reminded of the fact that a vote had been taken amongst the parties concerned as to whether thev were favorable or unfavorable to the Bill, he said that they had not enough common sense to exercise a vote on a matter which seriously affected them. That was a very unfair and unmanly statement for the honorable senator to make in regard to a number of men who have probably as much intelligence and capacity as he has. At all events, if they had not enough common sense or intelligence to exercise a vote on the question as to whether the canteen should’ be abolished, then on his line of reasoning they have not enough common sense to be intrusted with a rifle to protect the shores of the Commonwealth. The honorable senator also quoted from a temperance magazine to show that newspapers would not favour the establishment of a canteen in a newspaper office. I know that for a period of fifteen or sixteen years there has been in existence in the Argus office a well conducted canteen, where the men are never in a state of intoxication, and where thev are supplied with beer and every kind of spirituous liquor at a’ cost much less than that which they would have to pay outside, The canteen has been a very great convenience to the machine:men, the linotype operators, the reporters, and the editorial staff, and never during its existence have I heard of a case of drunkenness having been brought before any of the responsible men who conduct that establishment.
– The men are selected from the staff.
– Selected for what?
– They are a good lot of men on the press.
– Does the honorable senator imply that the men in theMilitary Forces are not a good lot of men ? I have often heard him hip-hip-hurrah for the soldier and the flag, but he has just made a disparaging statement in regard te* our own men.
– I did’ not.
– The honorable senator said, “ They are a good lot of men on the press,” implying that the men in the Military Barracks are not.
– There might be the same results.
– If the results are the same in the Military Barracks as in the Argus office, they are in favour of retaining the canteen. I have never been within the precincts of a military canteen, nor have’ I paid a visit to a military encampment, so that my knowledge of the advantages of canteens is very limited.. To the North American Review, for October, 1903, Colonel William Conant Church,, who has occupied a very high post in theAmerican Army, contributed an article, from which I propose to read an extractHe wrote in these terms : -
If we wish to inform ourselves about medicine, we consult the doctors ; if about law, thelawyers ; and none but the ignorant ignores expert opinion. When it comes to reasoning about’ our Army, however, and legislating for it, we would appear to think that any woman, old or* young, who can give her testimony in a conference, meeting, or temperance convention, orwrite a letter to her Congressman glowing with the ardour of self-appreciative virtue, is moreto be considered in determining what the Armyneeds than the officers who command it.
– It is a pity that Senator Dobson did not hear that extract read.
– When I’ want expert information in regard to a matter, I like to obtain it from an expert. Senator Turley has furnished a great mass of information in regard to canteens : it hasbeen .supplemented bv Senator Neild, and’ additional arguments in favour of their retention have been supplied to-day bv the Minister of Defence. It was the desire of’ a number of honorable senators that the opinions of the men concerned in the enactment of this Bill should be obtained. A few week’s ago Senator Millen suggested’ that that course should be taken, the Minister promised that the information would” be forthcoming as soon as possible, and itwas tabled to-day, in the form of a- return. What was the result of the vote taken in each Stare? -
Seven commanding officers state that the noncommissioned officers and men of their command are in favour of the retention of canteens.
Three commanding officers state that in “their opinion the majority of the non-commissioned officers and men of their command would be opposed to canteens.
Western Australia. ‘ As far as can be ascertained, all ranks are opposed to abolition of canteens.”
Tasmania. “ Replies from officers and men practically unanimously opposed Canteen Bill, and only eighteen individuals in the district in favour.”
It is argued by the teetotallers that the retention of canteens is an inducement to young men who enter the Military Force to indulge in strong drink. But the answer to that line of reasoning is supplied by Major Louis Livingston Seaman, late surgeon of the United States Army, who says -
It has been asserted that the canteen presents the saloon to the recruit in its least objectionable form - that he enters the Army free from the drink and debt habit, and is discharged with both fixed upon him. In reply, it may be said, if the recruit was not in the Army, he would probably have the saloon presented to him in a more attractive and alluring manner, as, for instance, it is to the college boy of the present day ; and if he is not possessed of the moral stamina to resist its temptation in one place, he certainly will not in the other. In the canteen, his commanding officer is directed to see that his credit is limited to 20 per cent, of his pav, which amounts to $3 per month ; and, if he exceeds this amount of debt, his commanding officer, and not the soldier, has been derelict in the performance of duty.
This medical officer of the United States Army is almost a .teetotaller, and it is in order to restrict the consumption of alcoholic drinks that he favours, the retention of the canteen. He goes on to say -
Of course, the canteen is not an ideal institution. Its advocates frankly admit that the total abolition of intoxicants in the Army is a desideratum devoutly to be wished. Personally, almost a total abstainer myself, and after having passed ten years of my life as Chief of the Medical Staff at Blacky/ell’s and Ward’s Islands, I would gladly have* alcohol eliminated as a product from the face of the earth. Personally, too, I would abolish wars, and therefore armies, and the necessities for canteens; but, unfortunately, this is not a personal matter.
He mentions that a friend of his - also a military gentleman - penned the following statement at Pekin on 19th July, 1901 : -
The W.C.T.U. would have no fault to find with the post here. The men go outside and get drunk on sam shut in town, and go to sleep in back yards or other worse places, but the sanctity of the Government reservation is maintained. The Germans have a Bier Halle on the wall at Hartaman Gate. The Japanese have their canteen. The British have one in their grounds, and bring their beer to their tables. The French soldier has his little bottle of wine at dinner. We alone are virtuous. We are the advocates of reform. We are the great hypocritical hippodrome - none like us.
The writer of the article continues -
Some time ago it was my pleasure to read a paper on this subject before an association composed exclusively of Army Medical Officers, and after a free and full discussion, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted by them : - ” 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.”
A week later, at the meeting of the American Medical Association, representing the 6,000 leading medical men of this country and Canada, I presented the same resolution, and it was adopted without a dissenting voice.
This is a gentleman who is almost a total abstainer himself. Further testimony is forthcoming in regard to the advantages derived from the canteen system in the United States. I will quote a Chaplain representing the Protestant Church attached to the Military Forces in America. Chaplain H. A. Brown, of the United States Army, says : -
The plain simple fact is, that I can see no logical reason for the abolition of the canteen, except from the stand-point of the absolute Simonpure prohibitionist, who believes that all drinking, use, or sale of liquor is wrong in itself. While all drunkenness is wrong, it by no means follows that all drinking is wrong. The soldier should have exactly the same liberty and privilege he would be allowed as a citizen, so far as is consistent with his duties as a soldier. Therefore, on the ground that the privilege of drinking is conceded to a civilian, and on the ground, as shown by overwhelming testimony, that the canteen reduces drunkenness, disorder, and demoralization in the Army, notwithstanding it appears to be doomed, I am opposed to the measure which abolishes it.
The Rev. William Dalton, a Catholic priest, of Kansas City, Missouri, who Has devoted much attention to the habits of soldiers in the United States, declares : -
No one can enforce total abstinence. That is only a theory. We can restrict the liquor trade, which the canteen did, but we cannot wipe it off. I am a knight of Father Mathew, a total abstainer, and would see every one in the world belong, but I know it is impossible, and I do not join these crusades. All the good the women want to do they undid, but all the good that was being done without them they have utterly ruined.
The testimony of the Public Health Association, which met at Washington, 30th October, 1903, is very strongly in approval of canteens -
Declaring that it had proved itself the most efficient prophylactic measure for the suppresion and diminution of vice and drunkenness, and that its abolition by act of Congress, approved 2nd February, 1901, on purely sentimental ground, ‘was deeply to be deplored by all interested in the prevention of physical and moral diseases. The Association unanimously accepted the report of its Committee, to which this subject had been referred, recommending the presentation to the Senate and the House of Represenatives in Congress of the following resolutions adopted by the American Public Health Association in September, 1901 : -
Resolved - “ That this body deplores the action of Congress iri1 curtailing the operation of the Army canteen or post exchange; and, in the interest of general and military sanitation, recommends its establishment on its former basis at the ealiest possible date.”
Resolved - “That this body, in- the interest of temperance and humanity, cordially invites the intelligent co-operation of a very large element of good citizens, who have been active in securing legislation against the sales in the military service of alcoholics of any character, in taking successive steps toward the betterment of existing conditions, and thus assist in controlling and largely curtailing an evil which it is powerless at present to prevent.”
I should think that the members of a Public Health Association, having the best information at their disposal, and being of an inquiring turn of mind, would not unanimously pass .such a resolution without very good ground. Such testimony should carry far greater weight than letters written by well-meaning persons belonging to temperance organizations, who have had no practical experience of whether it would be wise or unwise to abolish military canteens.
– Could that opinion carry more weight than the view of Congress? Surely not.
– Congress, according to the information which I have been able to obtain, was moved more by sentimental than by any other reasons. Those who are conversant with deliberate assemblies know that there are times when it is possible to get a measure through without that serious consideration which would be given to it at another period. Take, for instance, the treatment of this Bill in another place. It was carried on the voices. It may be that that was largely due to the fact that an election is close at hand. Whatever may be the explanation, it does seem odd that such a ‘measure should be carried on the voices without any argument being urged in favour. of the retention. of canteens. Is it likely that that result would have been attained except a few months prior to a general election ?
– The other place passed the Bill hoping that the Senate would throw it out.
– Judging from the reception that the Bill has had in the Senate, it is likely to be defeated on the voices.
– It might be said that that is because there is a general election at hand. But I do not think that that is either a fair or a wise inference.
– In my opinion, it is a perfectly true one.
– It is singular that proposals of this kind are generally made at election times.
– There are certain proposals that are generally made at certain periods. It is strange that this Bill was not brought forward until the final session of this Parliament. The article from which I am quoting goes on to say -
The enlisted men .sent to the chairman of the Military Committee’ of the Senate, through military channels, a petition in which they showed that the post exchange, as conducted by the Army, is a co-operative institution. Every enlisted man in the garrison is a stockholder in it, and from it, when it is a success, he obtains benefits’ which promote 5 cheerful endurance of hardships, make him more content with his lot, and thus a better soldier and better citizen. At the post exchange the soldier can buy at a minimum cost articles of luxury not included in the Government ration, liberal as it is, for it is impossible so to adapt the ration in all respects to individual tastes that it shall not become monotonous.
That phase of the subject was dealt with very fully by the Minister.
– Some people seem to think that nothing but liquor is sold at the canteen.
– The canteen is a general store.
– Yes, and an important consideration is that none but the best liquor is sold there. The life of a soldier is, under any circumstances, not a very happy one, and the existence of the canteen helps to drive away the dull care incidental to it. There are many wellmeaning people in this community who would, at a stroke, abolish all the pleasure and amusement incidental to an establishment of that kind. Human nature is human nature, and if the men cannot find amusement at the canteen thev will probably go to the nearest public-house, where thev will have to pay more for their liquor, and certainly will not get stuff of a better quality.
– The canteens need not necessarily be shut up because liquor is no longer sold there.
– As soon as you prohibit the men from getting that to which they have been accustomed, they will take the opportunity to get it elsewhere. Further, to shut up the canteen would offer an incentive to men, who have been in the habit of taking beer, wine, or whisky, to smuggle it into the barracks and the camps. Colonel Church, in his introduction to the article from which I have quoted, said* -
The outcry against what, for the want of a better name, has been known as the Army canteen emphasizes the saying of Bulwer Lytton that, “ in life it is difficult to say who do the most mischief, enemies with the worst intentions or friends with the best.” Certainly, no one who sought to injure our Army could have <lone more effective work for its demoralization th.tn have the worthy matrons and maidens of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, who, in” their zeal for reform, persuaded Congress to make the Army a victim of their theories on the -subject of temperance. It is no reflection upon these excellent ladies to say that they are profoundly ignorant upon the subject of the Army and the life of garrison and camp, for the soldiers of the Regular Army, who are in the proportion of less than one in a thousand, form a class by themselves, gathered together in comparatively few localities, and having little intercourse with civilians. It was a question, in the case of the beer-selling feature of the canteen, of a difference of opinion between those who thoroughly understand the Army and Army conditions and a small but most persistent and vociferous body of theorists, who have no concern with the Army, nor interest in it, beyond making it the victim of their hobbies. Reason was condemned and prejudice had its way. The question as to how to deal most wisely with that craving for alcoholic stimulants which seems to be in the very blood of our race, is one that profoundly concerns the Army ; for the Army is largely composed of young men, who, because of their age, their physical vigour, and the peculiar conditions of Army life, are especially subject to temptations in the line of self-indulgence. The record of a loss to the Army of over seven per centum by desertions during the last official year, or a total of 5,034 men, the equivalent of six full regiments, is, in the opinion of a majority of our Army officers, the result, in part, at least, of the stimulus given to the drinking of vile liquors by the abolition of the canteen.
Evidence is forthcoming that desertion and drunkenness have both increased since the abolition pf the canteen in the United States. Personally, I believe with the gentleman whose testimony I have just quoted, that the world would be better without liquor. But it is impossible to abolish it bv one fell swoop throughout the Commonwealth. We have the guarantee that at all events no vile liquor is sold in our canteens. That which we sell there is the very best that can be obtained.
– It is as’ good as, if not better than, that which is sold at Parliament House.
– I am satisfied that the best liquors are sold at the military canteens, and that the prices are much below those to which the soldier would find himself subjected if the canteen were abolished, and he had to go to the adjacent public-house. According to the evidence, canteens are an incentive to thrift. There are those who say that working men indulge too largely in. alcoholic liquors, and that if they were to abstain, and place the money in the Savings Bank, they and those dependent on them, and the country itself, would be much the better off.. The North American Review for January, 1903, contains an article by Major Louis Livingston Seaman, late surgeon in the American Army, from which I take the following: -
The report of the Paymaster-General for 1899 shows that the average number of men annually making such deposits for the seven years, 1885-91, was 7,273, while for the six years, 1892-97, the annual number so depositing was 8,382, an increase of over 13 per cent. Gambling, too, has been decidedly diminished by the restrictions of the canteen. The records of the Adjutant-General’s office, 4th December, 1902, show that General Bates, Paymaster of the Army, collected from 75,000 enlisted men (regulars) during the last year in which the canteen was in force, on account of the Soldiers’ Home, dues, fines, and forfeitures, $462,698; while during the fiscal year 1902, since the abolishment of the canteen, there was collected by Paymasters from about 70,000 enlisted men (regulars), on the same account, $632,125. That is to say, the fines and forfeitures imposed upon and collected from the enlisted men of the Army were vastly increased during the year subsequent to the abolishment of the canteen.
Honorable senators both for and against the Bill have quoted much evidence to show the dangers to which soldiers are exposed by reason of sly-grog shops and other places where bad liquor is sold. On this point the article says -
The curse of the Army is the groggeries and brothels that flourish near the outskirts of every camp. An official report on file in the Ad jutant General’s office says : - “ Around the reservation of Fort Wingate in 18S9, a number of little rum-shops thrived on the earnings und weaknesses of the soldiers. Here crime and debauchery 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 in 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 a Government bar-room found the benefits of the new system so startling that it could not be combatted.”
I venture to assert that if a number of those honorable senators who are conscientiously in favour of this Bill had the experience which the military authorities have had in America, they would be the first to raise their voices in favour of a restoration of the canteen system. There is evidence to show that over-indulgence in strong drink leads to insanity, and on this point the article in the North American Review is well worth quoting -
It is well recognised by all authorities that alcoholism and insanity are closely related, through the direct influence exerted by intoxicants in the production of mental aberration. Captain Munson, surgeon, U.S.A., in his report on file in the office of the’ Adjutant-General, states that “ during the seven years of the existence of the canteen the reduction of insanity in the army amounted to 31.7 per cent.” Drunkenness was certainly prevented by the constant military supervision to which the canteen was subjected. As illustrating the marked reductions of convictions for drunkenness or complications arising therefrom since the establishment of the canteen, the report of the JudgeAdvocateGeneral states that, in the year 1889, before the establishment of the canteen, the num ber of ‘trials and convictions for drunkenness and conditions arising therefrom was 423. l- the year 1897 the total number reached only I4>
The Minister of Defence contends that in advocating the retention of the canteen system he is assisting the cause of temperance, and there is no doubt that he is on the right track. I cannot understand, however, the Minister’s apparent inconsistency when he expresses himself in favour of allowing wine and beer to be sold, while denying brandy, whisky, or rum to those who have no palate for the former class of beverages.
– The Minister, at the same time, has, stated that if men cannot get what they want in barracks they will go elsewhere.
– The Minister of Defence emphasized the statement several times that if men were debarred from obtaining in. the canteen the liquors to which, they were accustomed, the result would bet that thev would go where they could gratify their ‘desire.
– In England and the United States spirits are prohibited in the canteen.
– There is no reason why the Commonwealth should slavishly follow the example of those countries.
– It is .an argument’ in favour of prohibiting spirits.
– If we followed the example of the United States we should abolish canteens.
– The honorable senator is furthering the cause of temperance !
– I am satisfied that al! who’ are opposing this Bill are furthering the cause of temperance. Those who advocate the Bill have the same object in view, but, in my opinion, they are not taking the proper course.
– Let us give abolition a trial.
– It has had a trial in America.
– The canteen system has had a trial, but, in my opinion, hot a fair trial. We have been assured by the Minister, however, that in the future men will not be permitted to use the “slate” and obtain drink when they are not able to pav for it. Further, the Minister has promised that stricter supervision shall be exercised over the sale and consumption of liquor at the various1 .canteens. The testimony of officers, as well as of men, is in favour of the canteen system; and it would be unjust to them, and inimical to the temperance movement, if this Bill were carried. There is much more evidence I could read if i felt it to be necessary, but I believe that in this chamber there is strong opposition to the measure, not because of any desire to see the consumption of . alcohol increased, but rather with a desire to have it diminished. There is a conscientious wish that our soldiers, who perform laborious work both in and out of barracks, shall have the same liberties and privileges as are enjoyed by ordinary citizens, and that the soldiers shall not be forced to spend the -small remuneration they receive in places where, perhaps, the quality of the liquor sold would be inferior. In the interests of the soldiers, and of temperance - in the interests of the Commonwealth itself - I hope that this Bill will be rejected.
– I have listened with a good deal of interest to the strong and eloquent speeches for and against the Bill. I must confess that I am a temperate man. I believe in temperance in everything. IT I may be allowed to say so, I think I am a living example of the advantages of temperance. I have lived a good long time in the world, and 1 enjoy perfect health, and’ sleep and eat well. Sometimes I do enjoy a little beverage, but very rarely.
– The honorable senator has never been a total abstainer?
– Never. I have never taken a temperance pledge in my life. I must say that I do not believe in the theory of many eminent medical and other authorities, that when a man reaches the age of forty, or, it may be, fifty or sixty - whatever may be the age they select - he ought to have a little whisky or other stimulant before going to bed at night. For a good many years of my life, as a contractor for large railway works, when I had hundreds of men around me, and there was drinking on every hand, I was exposed to great temptations, ‘and I say that I should not have been alive to-day if I had partaken of grog, as many of my mates did. Some men enjoy it, and may, perhaps, benefit by it. It must be admitted that the world has moved in the direction of temperance. No one who considers the history of the world, and especially of the British race, can deny that. At one time it was no disgrace for a man to go to bed drunk almost every night, or to be seen staggering about in the streets. A century or two ago it was no disgrace for a man to be seen in that condition, but it is now a very big handicap to any man to have such a stigma attached to him. Therefore, I say the world is moving in the direction of temperance, and properly and wisely so. If the world becomes gradually wiser, as we all hope it will, there can be no doubt that the temperance movement will continue to advance. Most of the troubles of the people, and especially of the people of large cities, are due to excess in drinking. All statistics prove this, and, therefore, every person who wishes well to humanity, must encourage every movement in the direction of temperance. I acknowledge that there are intemperate temperance men, who go to excess in their zeal on behalf of the cause they advocate; but, apart from them, we must all agree that it is not right to put the temptation to drink in the way of human beings who may be weak. The more soldiers, sailors, and other men are exposed to the temptation to drink, the greater the amount of drinking there will be. We should not put this temptation in the way of the soldiers, who have to fight for our country, but we should, on the contrary, encourage them in habits of temperance, as well, as in all other good habits. I do not say that canteens should be abolished, but that the supply of drink in. canteens should be prohibited. There is no reason why military canteens should not be made as cheerful, and even more cheerful and more conducive to the improvement of the soldier, if supplied with billiard tables, innocent games, and tea and coffee, than they are likely to be if liquor is supplied in them, and the men are induced to spend their hard-earned money in drink. Sam Smith may be a temperance man, and yet, when continually urged to drink in the canteens by his comrades, he may be unable to resist the temptation, whereas outside the barracks or the camp he could refuse to drink. I think that this Bill proceeds in a wise direction. I was a citizen of Canada in my early days, and I know that, in Nova Scotia, the province in which I was born, there has been absolute prohibition for more than twenty-five years,’ and the people would never dream of going back on that principle. I travelled through, the province some twelve years ago, and feeling chilly and cold, I had to go to a banker friend, to whom I had letters of introduction, in order to get a little drop of whisky.
– Was that in Nova Scotia ?
– That was in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.
– Then there was not absolute prohibition.
– There was, but a banker could give a friend a little whisky without making a charge for it. I have a letter in my pocket, in which a correspondent tells me that in San Francisco at the present time, the police, having nothing else with which to occupy their time, because there is now no liquor sold there, are engaged in helping to rebuild the city. I remind honorable senators also that there has been total prohibition in the State of Kansas in the United States for a very long time. As a result, crime and destitution have been reduced, and the morals of the people have been greatly improved. The people of the State of Kansas would never dream of going back on prohibition, notwithstanding the fact that in some instances individuals in that State have broken the law. Breaches of the law are committed here in Victoria. In this State, publicans are required to sell liquor of a certain quality, but I know that that law is broken. Senator Trenwith is well aware that in this , State laws have been passed dealing with the quality of liquor to be supplied, and he knows, also, that that law is not in every case observed, but are we to repeal a wise Statute because we know that its provisions are not observed in all cases? Surely not? We are not going back ; we should go forward, and endeavour to elevate humanity in every possible way, rather than to lower it. We should not put temptation in the way of weaklings, and honorable senators are aware that all large towns are full of weaklings, who require to be helped out of the gutter. Only the week before last, a friend of mine gave employment to one of the unemployed. The man was on his uppers, was very much knocked about, and very poorly clad. He made a. very poor mouth, and was given employment. He was supplied with a pair of new boots, a pair of blankets, and other things. He was given twelve days’ work, and his dinner each day. A cheque was handed to him for his work, and he was brought to the Labour Bureau, and’ there a railway pass was bespoken for him to enable him to go into the country, where work was awaiting him for months at 25s. a week and his board. He signed the agreement to take that work.
– Does the honorable senator think that this has anything to do with the Canteen Bill?
– I do. This man was a good worker; but when he got his cheque, he spent every shilling he had earned in a few days; the blankets, and everything else that had been given him, were gone, and he was down in the gutter again.
– Does the honorable senator really think that this has anything to do with the Canteen Bill?
– I am quoting a case in support of my contention that we should do all we can to encourage temperance in connexion with military canteens. The more soldiers and sailors are tempted to drink, the more they will degenerate. I hold that we should give the principles of this Bill a fair trial. I do not say that the measure will be found to be entirely successful, but I believe that it should be given a fair trial of a few years. While I am not a total abstainer, I believe in supporting every movement designed for the uplifting of humanity. All 1 contend for is that this proposal should be given a trial, and I shall therefore vote for the second reading of the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 6.28 until 7.45 p.m.
Debate resumed from 15th August (vide page 2832), on motion by Senator Playford -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– When the debate was adjourned last night I was engaged in pointing out that there is not the difference in favour of agriculture as against manufactures which some honorable senators assume. In doing so I referred to the pastoral, dairying, and agricultural resources of New South Wales in comparison with the manufacturing resources, and Quoted the gross output in both instances. By interjection Senator Pulsford implied that that was not a fair method of comparison. In opposition to that view, I venture to say that the gross output, or the net output in both instances affords a fair basis of comparison. It is not very easy to arrive at the net output in connexion with agriculture, because the figures are not recorded in our statistics, although in the case of pastoral and agricultural pursuits there are raw materials, which have to be deducted before the net results can be obtained. Therefore I contend that the method I adopted was the only one possible, and is perfectly fair. When speaking about the harvester people and their profits, I quoted from their advertisement as briefly as I could in order to save the time of the Senate, but Senator Findley repeatedly interjected that I was not dealing fairly with the statement; and, in order to meet that objection, I purpose now to read the whole statement. It is a statement of the cost and the profit which they at that time claimed to be making. Here is how it is presented -
Thenthey go on to show where the profit goes to.” They enumerate the avenues for the absorption of their gross profit -
That, I assume, is thepointon which Senator Findley urges that I am not treating the harvester people fairly. Obviously this is their statement of where their gross profit goes to, apd that one item amounts to £21 17 s. 5d. The only point is that they make that statement as indicating one of the avenues through which their gross profit disappears. In support of it they quote the sworn statement of the manufacturers. They do not deny that that is their- charge. They put it down as an item of their cost, and one of the means of absorbing their gross profit, and they sup port it by the declaration that it is “ as per sworn evidence “ of their competitors and rivals. Therefore it proves, if it is put there for any purpose, the perfect accuracy of the statement. At any rate, if it is not put there for that purpose, why is it there? It is there to show that that is where their gross profit goes to. Therefore, I was treating them perfectly fairly, although I did not make that quotation. In order to be perfectly free from the charge of unfairness, I shall read the complete statement -
That is what they declare to be their profit at that stage. Then they go on to say -
Remember, local manufacturers say - and the Minister of Customs confirms them - that our cost is more than£38 10s.10d.
Remember that we can and will, on his request, verify to the commercial editor of the
Argus (or to the Age) every figure of the first three items of our expenses as stated above. The fourth is stated on the authority quoted.
Remember that out of the above expenses of £39 5s. 6d., all except the first item - that is, £30 4s.1d. - is spent in Australia.
It will be observed that they make a merit of the fact that the money is spent in Australia. If that is a merit, it goes without saying that it would be a greater merit if the whole amount were spent in the construction of the machine here.
Remember that the recent increase in the valuation for duty increases the duty paid by us . from the above figures to £8 2s. 6d., or an increase of£2 17s. 11d., and hence reduces our profit, as shown above, to 5s.9d.. “
That is what I stated last night, and it is evidently borne out by their figures. I do not propose to pursue the argument on that head, because I went into it fully last night. I have read the statement in order to show that there is certainly no unfairness in my method of treating that particular point.
– They say that because they use the words “ as shown above “ they do not accept any responsibility for the local manufacturers’ sworn statement.
– That is absurd. They simply appeal to the, sworn evidence in verification of their own statement of that particular expenditure. Last night I fell into an inaccuracy in trying to calculate on my feet. I gave the figures for harvester sales in South Australia in 1905 as 603, as quoted by Senator Symon, but on looking into the matter, I find that I left out some factors, and some very im- portant ones too. It turns out that the aggregate sales were over 800, and that the importers’ sales- that is, Massey-Harris Company and the International Harvester Company - were 299, therefore they were not, as I claimed last night, nearly onehalf, and to that extent my argument on that point is weakened. However, although they were not nearly one-half, they were very considerably more than one”third of the whole trade in South Australia. That achievement in two, or, at the most, three years, does, as I urged last night, show a very great danger indeed to the local industry. I do not propose to pursue that argument except to correct the error I made. I do not wish to present any array of figures- which are not perfectly accurate so far as I am able to make them. It will be recollected that when I quoted the pastoral returns from memory “Senator Millen interjected “ for what year,” and, thinking that I was correct, I said “ for 1902.” He interjected that that was a year of almost- absolute failure, as it was. On looking up the matter, I find that I quoted the figures not for 1902, but for 1901, and, therefore, the objection does not lie. In endeavourng to show that there was no reason for the introduction of the Bill, Senator Symon said that the agricultural implement industry, so far from being injured or retrograding, was advancing bv leaps and bounds, and, in order to prove that contention, he quoted some ‘figures. He said that’ in 1902, 789 hands were employed. Leaving out the three intervening years in order not. to weary the Senate, the honorable senator came to the year 1905, and said that 1.624 hands were employed, or, as he put it with great emphasis, nearly twice the number that there were four years previously.
– More than twice.
– I interjected, “ Does it strike the honorable senator that the year he quotes was a year of absolute failure nearly throughout Australia in connexion with wheat?” and he said that he was not aware that it was.
– ‘ But the subsequent increase is gradual.
– It is singular that the honorable senator did not quote in this connexion the figures for the year which die quoted in connexion with the sale of harvesters in South Australia. I do not believe that he would be capable of inten tionally making an unfair use of figures; but, still, the fact is that if he had quoted for the same year in each case - in 1900 harvesters were not made in- South ‘Australia or imported from America or Canada - he would have found that in 1900 1,551 hands were employed in Victoria, and that there had been a decrease from the year for which he commenced to quote. I do not attach very much importance to that, except that he will see now, on looking at the whole matter, that it would have been fairer to have commenced with the year 1900, and shown the decline as well as the subsequent gradual increase.
– What I wanted to show was that the Federal Tariff had not destroyed the industry.
– As regards the articles to which the honorable and learned senator was referring, there had been a very distinct falling off both in point of reduction and in the number of hands employed. It happens that the agricultural implement trade has been extremely busy in other directions, and that is in consequence of the exceptional seasons we have had since 1902.
– Only the last two.
– In 1903 the season was’ exceptionally good in a large part of the northern area of Victoria; 1904 and 1905 were good years, and the present year is, perhaps, still better. At any rate, there has been an exceptional period of good agricultural seasons coming after a somewhat lengthy period of comparative drought, and that has led to a very large increased activity in every department of the agricultural implement trade, very notably in ploughs. A larger area has been put under cultivation, and therefore many more ploughs have been required. It happens that Australia - especially Victoria and South Australia - has developed extreme skill in the manufacture of ploughs suitable for local requirements, and the ordinary agriculturists will not have any of the ploughs which the trusts, so far, have been able to import. That has been largely responsible for the undoubted improvement in some branches of the agricultural implement trade. But, unfortunately, there is a very imminent danger of a further incursion into that trade by the trusts. It is a matter of common knowledge that these foreign firms - I do not wish to speak of them in an offensive way - have recently made several field trials, secret as far as the rest of the community is concerned, with our ploughs of different kinds, under varying conditions, with a view to discover the best points: in them, to copy them, and send patterns to America, so that they may be manufactured there, and sent out to compete with our manufacturers of ploughs, as thev have already competed with our harvester-makers. I pointed out last night how unfair, and how evidently designed to destroy an Australian industry, this competition in harvesters has been. I pointed out how it has been conducted apart from any ordinary considerations of business and profit in relation to immediate sales - that it has been conducted to all appearances with a view to future possibilities. Harvesters have been sold at an undoubted loss, according to the importers’ own figures, of £12 6s. 3d. ; because if they were only making a profit of 5s. 9d. when they were selling the machines at £81, it is obvious that when they are selling them for £12 12s. less they, must be losing £12 6s. 3d. on every machine sold. And it was proved to us yesterday by Senator Best that that isi not bv any means the lowest reduction which has been made. He gave instances where harvesters had been sold for £50. If the makers were only getting 5s. 9d. profit when selling at ;£8i, how much profit can thev have made when selling at ^50? Is it not obvious that they must have been selling them, not with a view to profit on sales, but with some ulterior end in view? Senator Millen asked how “intent” will be proved. He said that “ intent “ can only be proved by the results of an act. Obviously that is an absurd contention. There are many acts which, if committed unintentionally, are not offensive, although the results mav be disastrous ; -but if committed intentionally they are offences at law, and punishable as such. Take the most serious offence known to the law - murder. Killing is not necessarily murder, and is not necessarily punishable. Killing is only punishable when there is some intent to kill ; and verv often it is only possible to find out the intent by the manner of the act which led to death. The same result, death to the individual killed, is no proof of the criminality of the person who did the killing. Therefore we find out, not by the result, which Senator Millen says is the only means of finding intent, but by the circumstances surrounding the act. For instance, if in some occupation or sport in which two persons were mutually engaged, one killed the other accidentally^ that would be no offence at law. It would be a sad occurrence, for which every one would be very sorry, but there would be no stigma, and no punishment. But if two persons were in company, and one left the other, got a hammer, came back, and deliberately hit his companion on the head, the result would be the same - death ; but the intent would be clearly shown by the manner of creating the result. So it would be in considering intent under this Bill. We shall be able to arrive at the intent by the manner in which results are produced. If those industries that we are considering, and the circumstances of which were mainly instrumental in causing the introduction of this Bill, are destroyed, we shall be able to affirm the intent or otherwise of those who brought about that result by the manner in which the destruction was occasioned. Clearly one evidence of intent would be the act of persons who by their commercial methods brought about that destruction. If they went against all the canons of ordinary commerce and lost heavily, repeatedly, and continuously, in order to achieve the destruction of the Australian industry, surely that would be proof of intent, and would enable us to proceed to punishment if we so desired. Senator Symon urged, as a reason why we should not pass this Bill, that there is no precedent for it. There is no place in the world, he said, where there is such legislation. That is no argument against it. Senator Best. - It is not a fact, either.
– If it- Were it would be no argument. As a matter of fact, it is a contention which, when argument fails, is brought against all proposals for reform. It was brought against our proposal to purify government by better electoral methods, and by introducing what is known in all countries, of the world as the Australian ballot. The strongest argument urged against it was that it was new, that it did not prevail in any other part of the civilized world, and that no other country had ever adopted such a thing. But we adopted it, and we are proud of having done so. To-day civilized countries iri all parts of the world have either adopted the Australian ballot or are talking of adopting this very beneficent method of ascertaining the will of the people. Therefore, I have no hesitation in saying that if it is a fact that there is no precedent for this kind of legislation - and it is undoubtedly a fact that there is_ no country which has a law of which this Bill is an exact copy - there is any amount of precedent for the passing of some Bill of the kind, and abundant evidence that efforts have been made that have not gone the length of this Bill, and have consequently been ineffective to cure the undoubted evil with which we propose to deal. Senator Symon also urged that we should not adopt the Bill, because it is experimental. Are we never to make experiments in legislation? Would civilization have reached the high standard to which it has attained except for experiments? Has not all physical science arrived at its present high standard in consequence of repeated experiments, many of which failed at first, but which, even in failure, showed the way to other .experiments that were successful ? If we are not to pass this measure because it is experimental, we must not do anything that has not been proved to be efficacious bv experience. Every one will admit that that would be an absurd position to take up. It is a position that, I think, Senator Symon would not seriously take up, and I venture to express the opinion that he would not have assumed it in relation to this Bill, except that there were no real and tangible reasons why we should not adopt it. Medical science has advanced within the last half century - surgery particularly - with immense strides. Every one knows that it has only advanced in consequence of the frequently repeated, persistent, determined efforts of experimenters, who have not been deterred from pursuing their researches by any amount of failure and disappointment, or of labour and trouble. In connexion, with mechanical science, exactly the same thing has happened. Men of mechanical genius have experimented again and again, and have endeavoured to ascertain if something could not be devised which would be an improvement upon any appliance previously known. They have ultimately achieved success, and have benefited the world by fresh advances in mechanical skill and knowledge. The very harvesters of which we have been speaking would never have been brought into existence if mam experiments had not been made. Mr. H. V. McKay, who has- been so traduced in this debate, notoriously experimented unsuccessfully for years - experimented with his own money, experimented with the money of his family, experimented with the money of his friends - persisted in the face of failure after failure, and disappointment after disappointment, until eventually he succeeded, and became, as Senator Millen contemptuously declared, Hugh “Victorious “ McKay. He became “ victorious “ in this long drawn-out struggle only after a great number of experiments. By means of experiment we have become enabled to measure the heavenly bodies, to weigh them, to follow them in their orbits, to predict the period of their return, and to declare with perfect accuracy coming events in connexion with them. By experiment we have been able to stretch forward our hand, seize the hurricane in. our grasp, and utilize its force to carry us from shore to shore By experiment we have been able to bottle up the electric current, and to convert it into a ready and useful servant of mankind. By experiment we have been enabled to harness the torrent in its course, and convert it into a servant of great ‘docility and power. And ,as we have done all that ‘n the field of physical science, shall we be told that we must not experiment in economics, that we must not experiment in social science, because we have no guarantee of successful results from experience in other countries? To adopt that counsel would be absurd. I hope that we shall experiment in this connexion. I hope that we shall make many experiments that will improve the position of the people of this country, that will add to its prosperity, and that will tend to give fruition to, the new watchword “ Australia for the Australians. “
– I think that now we have heard Senator Trenwith we have heard pretty well everything that can be said in favour of this Bill. I propose, in. the first place, to refer to some matters brought under our notice in the papers laid upon the table by Senator Playford. In connexion with trusts in America, to which attention has been directed, there are certain features which, I think, we may accept as a warning not to be hasty or rash, in our movements. In 1903 two Acts were passed in the United States, clearly with the object of lessening the trouble which had been found to arise from previous legislation. The first was what is known as the Expedition Act, which was intended to lessen the delay experienced in dealing with cases - delay which, it appears to me, represents one of the greatest risks to which legislation of the kind under discussion may expose the trade and commerce of Australia. Under the Hill very important portions of our trade might be so “ hung up “ as to inflict the greatest injustice on ‘the parties concerned, and most serious injury on the Commonwealth generally. The Act I have mentioned provides that precedence shall be given to anti-trust cases, which have to be expedited in every way, and be assigned for hearing at the earliest practicable day. That, I take it, shows that in the United States the application of the Sherman and other Acts was likely to be accompanied by injustice. The second Act that was passed in the United States in 1903, is that known as the Elkin Act, under which imprisonment penalties are abolished. According to the information which has been circulated, the Elkin, Act provides -
In all convictions occurring after the passage of this Act for offences under said Acts to regulate commerce, whether committed before or after the passing of this Act for offences under this section, no penalty shall be imposed on the convicted party other than the fine prescribed by law, imprisonment wherever now prescribed as part of the penalty being hereby abolished.
That is further evidence that in the United States it had been discovered that the antitrust legislation, as originally conceived, might possibly inflict grave injustice; and that ought to act as a warning to us. I should also like to direct attention to what has been done in New Zealand, a country where there has been considerable experimental legislation. It is worthy of notice, however, that in dealing with the question of dumping, the legislation of New Zealand provided for the appointment of an Agricultural Implement Inquiry Board, consisting of the President of the Arbitration Court, the President of the Farmers’ Union, the President of the Industrial Association -of Canterbury, and a nominee of the Trades and Labour Council, and a nominee of the Agricultural and Pastoral Associations. Before anything could be done under the Anti-Trust Act, the representatives of the agricultural industries of New Zealand had the opportunity to make themselves heard. There is no such caution observed by the Government of the Commonwealth. There is no proposal to “go slow” in the interests of our myriad producers ; the only thought in the minds of the Government is to go “ full steam ahead “ in the interests of a few manufacturers of agricultural implements. In the further memorandum relating to antitrust legislation there is some information given as tq the decisions of the Federal Courts in the United States. The Supreme Court declared -
Although the jurisdiction of Congress over commerce among the States is full and complete, it is not questioned that it has none over that which is wholly within a State, and therefore none over combinations or agreements, so far as they relate to a restraint of such trade or commerce. It does not acquire any jurisdiction over that part of a combination or agreement which relates to commerce wholly within a State by reason of the fact that the combination also covers and regulates commerce which is InterState. The latter it can regulate, while the former is subject alone to the jurisdiction of the State.
In the Bill there are two or three clauses which, in mv opinion, are very likely to impinge on States rights, and it is instructive to observe what the view of the Supreme Court of the United States is on this point.
– Under a totally different Constitution.
– No analogy can be drawn.
– I know there is some difference between the Constitutions, but the rights of the Australian States are very clearly defined. I do not intend to labour this point, but I know that a number of authorities believe, and strongly assert, that certain provisions in the Bill are likely to come in conflict with States interests and legislation.
– Does the honorable senator mean that provisions are likely to come in conflict with States interests, in violation of the Constitution?
– Yes. On page 9 of the further memorandum there is a tabulated digest of the anti-trust laws of the United States; and this information is of considerable interest and importance. In Arkansas the combinations prohibited are all which tend to lessen free competition in importation, production, or sale of goods. The Bill before us, on the other hand, has clearly been introduced in order to increase the difficulties in the way of importation. A similar law to that which I have indicated as prevailing, in Arkansas obtains in Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dacota, South Carolina, South Dacota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. All the anti-trust legislation of those States is aimed largely-
– At the carrying companies.
– It is aimed largely at people who try to check the importation of goods. In the Bill before us the Government are doing their utmost to make an addition to the Tariff for the purpose of checking importations, and prac,tically encouraging combinations against importers. One point dealt with by Senator Playford in introducing the Bill I must refer to. Dealing with the connexion between trusts and Tariffs, the honorable gentleman said -
Amongst my papers, and I think amongst the papers which I laid upon the table, there are some extracts which show that, next to the United States, England is the great1 country of trusts. Our free-trade friends say, and say loudly, that the trusts and combinations which are supposed to work so injuriously in the United States, are the product of protection, and that trusts and combinations are not so prevalent in other countries. In Europe, France is one of the most protectionist countries, whereas, the only free-trade country is England. France, the protectionists’ country, has hardly any trusts, but England, the free-trade country, has more trusts than any protectionist part of Europe. The argument of our free-trade friends, therefore, will not hold water.
I propose to look at these utterances in the light of the paper written by Mr. Tregear, the Secretary of Labour in New Zealand, to the Minister of Labour in that Colony. I have read the report of Mr. Tregear with great pleasure, because it .is drawn up with ability, and bears on its face the marks of honesty. In short, it is a report from which any one may quote with thorough confidence.
– And it is drawn up by a Socialist !
– I am aware that Mr. Tregear is described in some quarters as a Socialist, and that he has been refused permission to come to Victoria on that ground. But whether Mr. Tregear be a Socialist or not, he is at least an honest man. I should have been glad if the subject of the Tariff had not been introduced into this debate, but after what has been said regarding it by various speakers. I must refer to some points. Speaking of Tariffs, Mr. Tregear says -
The preponderance of opinion is strongly in favour of the position that much of the power of trusts is owing to protection by Tariff.
Further on Mr. Tregear says -
So widely has the knowledge of this fact obtained credence that the saying “ The Tariff is the mother of trusts “ is a modern proverb. It is impossible to deny that in the United States the Tariff gives the beneficaries of it a monopoly to the extent that their foreign competitors must pay the cost of production abroad, the freight, and the Tariff duty before they can enter into ‘ competition. In the first year of business of the Steel Trust, its Tariff benefits » amounted to $72,600,000.
This sum equalled two-thirds of its first year’s profits, so that taxes amounting to over $70,000,000 a year had to be placed on other industries ; or, to put it in another way, the revenue lost $70,000,000 of duty in the year in order lo build up the dividends of this Steel Trust ; the average tariff paid on articles controlled by the trust being about 50 per cent.
Then at page 9 he also says -
There is little doubt that many of these trusts paying large dividends do so by means of or by help of heavy protective duties, thus : - The Oil Trust, protected by an average of 17 per cent., pays’ dividends of 40 per cent. ; the Window Glass Trust, protected by an average of 59 per cent., pays dividends of 15 per cent. ; the Sugar Trust, protected by an average of 85 per cent., pays dividends of 17 per cent. ; and the Cement Trust, protected by an average of 23 per cent., pays dividends of 33 per cent.
So far for America. Now I turn to. England, and I find that at page 16, Mr. Tregear writes -
Agreements regarding prices and other objects have been for a long time in force, but of late years the tendency towards consolidation has been very marked, and the coalitions have in many case.- taken the form of trusts or single corporations. Of these, several take prominent places on account of their large capitalization, and of the amalgamated firms they represent. Among these may be noted the following :-
– These are onlyexamples.
– I am giving the information supplied by Mr. Tregear. He says -
These may be taken as examples of some of the larger combinations engaged in England.-
– That is what I say, they are only examples.
– The honorable . senator may as well take his gruel quietly.
The capital invested in well-known and fullyorganized trusts of this class may be roughly estimated at £100,000,000. Such a sum, however, sinks into insignificance compared with the stocks and bonds which represent a capitalization of single American trusts such as the Standard Oil Company and the United States Steel Corporation.
– My comparison was between Great Britain and France, and the honorable senator, after making a comparison in another way, says that I am wrong.
– I know precisely what the honorable senator said. He said that his free-trade friends were wrong. At page 17 of the paper supplied, Mr. Tregear writes -
The cry for “ publicity ! “ which has had such an effect lately in shaping American anti-trust legislation, finds little echo in Great Britain, because secrecy^ in the methods of organization gains no shelter under the English law dealing with corporations. The promotion of companies must be done in full light. The general process of the formation of a corporation is somewhat as follows : - The promoter goes to the persons engaged iri the industries in question and shows them the advantages of coalition. In the United States he probably takes an option to buy all the establishments at a fixed price in cash. He then organizes the affair, selects the first board of directors and managers, and offers the vendors the choice of taking their payments in cash or shares. In England, however, no such definite rule is followed. The vendors either sell at a valuation fixed by appraisers, or the property is purchased on a profit basis, certified accountants having first investigated the books of the company. If contracts are made by a corporation for purchase of property in this way, such contracts must be filed with the Registrar of Joint-Stock Companies, so that the public may examine them and understand the value of the shares offered for purchase. There aTe modes of defeating this publicity sometimes attempted by astute brains, but seldom by men who have reputations to lose or in corporations based on substantial assets, for such combinations have nothing to fear from publicity. If accusations are made concerning “ watered “ stock in English trusts, it will generally be proved that the “ water “ is not more than 20 per cent., of the capital, and represents the good-will of the amalgamating business, while the other 80 per cent, stands for tangible assets. ‘
I think that that statement gives the position with thorough accuracy. We all know that there are trusts in England. Nobody has ever suggested that there were not. But, as Mr. Tregear says, they are infinitesimal^ compared with’ the trusts in the United States; and also, as Mr. Tregear says, the trusts in the United States spring very largely from, and are the off-spring of, Tariff protection. Senator Playford told us that trusts are not necessarily all bad. He quoted Mr. Tregear, who makes statements on that point of his own knowledge, and also statements by Mr. Morrell, of the United States House of Representatives, which I need not read. But I should like to point out that although Senator Playford is willing to admit that trusts are not necessarily all bad, in this Bill all trusts are condemned.
– Only trusts that try to strangle Australian industries. Unless they do that this Bill will not touch them.
– Honorable senators must pardon me. Clause 6 of this Bill provides that -
For the purposes of the last two preceding sections, unfair ,- –’: ‘: .means competition which is unfair in the circumstances ; and in the following cases the competition shall be deemed to be unfair unless the contrary is proved : - (a) If the defendant is a Commercial Trust.
So that if the defendant is a commercial trust this Bill says that his competition shall be deemed to be unfair.
– We throw upon him the onus of proof that his competition is not unfair.
– The honorable senator declares that some trusts are beneficial, or that all are not necessarily bad, but the Bill says that a commercial trust is bad1, and its competition shall be deemed to be unfair.
– It is necessary to prove intent to injure an Australian industry.
– No, no; clause 6 is quite apart from that. There is in this clause the absolute statement that if the defendant is a commercial trust his competition shall be deemed to be unfair.
– And he must prove the contrary.
– It is ludicrous for ‘ the Minister to admit, as Senator Playford has been obliged to admit, that all trusts are not necessarily bad - he could not. look honorable senators in the face and deny that some are beneficial - and then to ask us to pass a Bill which treats all commercial’ trusts as bad. It is admitted that some trusts are beneficial.
– Then they have only to prove it.
– There is another statement made by Senator Playford, which I must look into. It is a statement with regard to dumping. The honorable senator read out a somewhat lengthy list of goods exported from America, which he said were dumped in other countries.
– I do not think I used the word “dumped” in connexion with those goods. What I said was that they were exported for sale at a price lower than the cost price in the country of export.
– The honorable senator said -
That long list, which honorable senators may examine for themselves, shows the percentage of difference between the export prices and the home prices in the case of fifty or more different articles. The preference in favour of the country to which the goods are exported ranges from 13 per cent. to as high as 261 per cent. . . . The figures represent the difference between the home prices and the prices at which the goods are sold to people abroad, and the average difference, I should say, is considerably over 50 per cent. The list will give honorable senators some idea of the dumping that was going on.
I thought the honorable senator had connected dumping with that list of goods.
– It is not necessarily dumping in Australia.
– At page 9 of Mr. Treagear’s report he quotes from a speech delivered by the Honorable J. P. Crowley, of the United States House of Representatives, on the , 14th January, 1903, to the following effect: -
After having investigated this subject for more than ten years, I have reached the conclusion that practically all of our manufactured products are sold to foreigners for less than to Americans. The minimum difference is about 10 per cent. The average difference in price is probably 20 per cent., and on our really protected products about 25 per cent.
That is the estimate of a member of the United States House of Representatives, but Senator Playford is not willing to accept that.
– I submitted a list of particular goods, and if the honorable senator will run up the prices quoted for those goods he will see that the average difference was 50 per cent. The member of the United States House of Representatives from whom the honorable senator has quoted was dealing with the whole of the export commerce of the country.
– Surely Senator Playford, in supplying his list, wished to represent the state of affairs?
– So far as the goods contained in that list were concerned.
– I have gained something when the honorable senator climbs down in that way from the position he assumed.
– I do not climb down. I said, “ Here is a list in connexion with which the difference ranges from 13 to 260 per cent., and the average difference is about 50 per cent.”
– Then the honorable senator does not tell us to-night that 50 per cent. represents the average difference ?
– Yes, for that list it does.
– Then that list is not representative of the American trade ?
-It does not represent the whole of it, and I did not say that it did.
– Then the honorable senator admits that the average for that list isnot the average in respect of American exports generally. We have gained something by that admission. The statement as to the allowances made to foreign countries was undoubtedly made with a view to win support for the dumping provisions of the Bill. Wth regard to this matter of allowances, I shall draw the attention of honorable senators to some of the items in the list given by Senator Playford, in order to show that the difference in some cases is natural, can easily be explained, and does not represent what is commonly described as “ dumping.” Honorable senators know that many articles of trade which are produced in one country and sold in another, or even sold in the country of origin, have to be advertised very largely, and need a great deal of pushing by travellers and representative firms, and that the expense in that connexion is very great. An article may be produced in Australia, and may have to be advertised here a good deal, and if it is sold in another part of the world it has to be freely advertised there. The price at which the article is sold in Australia includes the cost of advertising, as a profit must be made on that. If it is sold abroad it must be advertised there; but a manufacturer does not consider the price he gives abroad as his price plus the cost of his own advertising,. Bradbury’s pianos are sold in the United States for local use at £75, and for export at £60. It is well known what a large trade is done in American sewing machines. I believe that every honorable senator is thoroughly conversant with the course of business in that regard. We see sewing machine agencies here, there, and everywhere, and canvassers going about, and we know that the pushing of the business entails a very large expenditure. The price obtained in America includes the expenditure there in pushing in these various ways sewing, machines,, pianos, and so on. But when manufacturers sell for export they sell at their own price, so that their representatives, or their buyers abroad, have the margin, which they expend abroad in advertising, and very largely it is a misunderstanding of the facts of the trade in regard to harvesters which has caused the misapprehension existing in the minds of a good many honorable senators. Typewriters is another very important article of American export. In America a typewriter is sold at about £20, but for export the price runs from £11 to £13. Every one knows, I suppose, that the agents of American typewriters are amongst our largest advertisers, and that they spend a very great deal of money. Although typewriters are sold for export at from £11 to £13 each, they are not sold at such a price in Australia.The ordinary price of a typewriter here is between£20and £30, and, I believe, generally nearer £30 than £20. The difference is accounted for by the expenses which have to be incurred, and the profits which have to be maintained. The outcry against this sort of thing is largely due to complete ignorance of trade conditions on the part of some persons, and the astuteness of others in taking advantage of that ignorance, and foisting upon parliamentary institutions a claim for allowances which ought not to be recognised. Honorable senators know very well that some articles are so bulky that the cost of transit is so great that it precludes their being sent here. For instance, coal is not sent from England to Australia. Bricks and bread are not sent from other countries. Those articles cannot be sent. Natural conditions are altogether against that being done, and it is largely so with the harvesters, which are articles of very great bulk. The cost of moving a. harvester, packed as closely as possible, from Toronto to Melbourne or Sydney, is very great. I believe it represents a natural protection of about 40 per cent, to the Australian maker. Really, harvester makers are about the last persons in Australia who should cry out for special protection!. I desire to give honorable senators a most extraordinary illustration of the difference that may arise in the matter of price. The facts were brought out in a law suit in Sydney a few months ago. An agent for an American medical firm imported 15 cwt. of pills in bulk. He paid Customs duty on a value of £154. That seems a good deal of money for 1,500 cwt. of material. But what did the Customs say ? They said, “ This stuff, when packed in boxes, is sold in America at so much a box. This quantity will make so many boxes, and at that price it will represent a value of £2,160. You have undervalued the shipment enormously. We want £300 more duty, and we demand from you a penalty of three times the value, or £6,480.” The case was dealt with by Mr. Justice O’Connor, and in lieu of £6,480 he awarded to the Customs a penalty of £5. He stated that it amply met the case, as there was no moral guilt.I ask honorable senators to recollect that £5 is the minimum fine. Possibly if the Customs Act had not prevented his Honour he would have inflicted a penalty of only is.
– He ought not to have inflicted any fine if there was no wrong done. The fact that he inflicted a penalty of £5 shows that there was some wrong on the part of the importer.
- Mr. Justice O’Connor said that there was no moral guilt. The Minister knows very well how he and other gentlemen of his way of thinking built up the Customs Act in order to catch persons on technical points, and to land innocent men in gaol, as they often have done.
– I administered a similar Act for a good many years, but I never landed amy one in gaol, though I made one man pay a fine of £500.
– I have no doubt that if many cases in which imprisonment has been awarded in the Commonwealth had come before the honorable senator in South Australia he would have taken care that no such penalty was allowed to be inflicted, because he would have found means and ways of avoiding the trials which have disgraced the Commonwealth so much. The case I cited will give honorable senators an idea of what is possible in regard to valuations.
– In regard to physic evidently.
– In that case the difference was enormous. A difference, although to a smaller extent, exists in countless, other lines of trade, and the fact is not recognised by Ministers, or by many of those who argue most loudly for this very drastic Bill. I wish to refer to one or two statements made by Senator McGregor, who, I regret to see, is not present. In his speech he referred at some length to the United Shoe Machinery Company, which he held was not a fairly conducted concern. He said -
Whilst the United Shoe Machinery Company was carrying on its business legitimately there could be no objection to it, nor is there any very serious objection to it now. But, like the sugar monopoly and the tobacco monopoly, this company is now spreading its nets over the boot and shoe industry of Australia in such a manner as to threaten to exclude every . one else. I should like to ask honorable senators whether they believe that there is any genius, intelligence, and perseverance to be found amongst the people of Australia? I know that we have people possessed of all those qualities, and it is the duty of the different Parliaments of Australia to give themevery opportunity to display’ them to the fullest possible extent.
I hold in ray hand a circular letter which bears the signature of the leading boot and shoe manufacturers in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. They write as follows: -
In the development of this industry, Australian manufacturers, like their competitors elsewhere, obtain most of their machinery, and a certain proportion of their material, not procurable in Australia, from other countries. They must, therefore, maintain relations with firms or companies manufacturing or handling these goods in Europe and America. Amongst these are at present five corporations in England and America, which are styled “ Commercial Trusts “ in the Australian Industries Preservation Bill. The boot manufacturers are pleased to be able to assure honorable senators that their business relations with these bodies have been, and are, satisfactory, and they wish them to continue so. The manufacturers are, therefore, anxious that nothing should be done by the Legislature to render legitimate business transactions with these corporations difficult or uncertain, as while Australian trade is a small item with these large corporations doing business in all parts of the civilized world, it is of great moment to Australian manufacturers tokeep in touch with these sources of supply. In other words, commercial trusts in Great Britain and America can do without Australian trade, but Australian manufacturers cannot do without the goods produced and controlled by these bodies.
At some length the writers describe how the United Shoe Machinery Company and others bring out special machines, and also expert workmen to erect them, and instruct manufacturers in the use of them. In this connexion they say -
To show the extent to which the company’s experts have been useful to Australian manufacturers, upwards of 5,300 calls for assistance were responded to in Sydney and Melbourne alone in the year 1905. This feature of the business has to be borne in mind in connexion with the leasing and. royalty system, as the services of the experts in connexion with keeping the machines in order are given to the manufacturers without charge by the company.
It is quite evident that the relations at present existing between this company and the boot and shoe manufacturers of Australia are highly satisfactory, and that Senator McGregor need not have troubled honorable senators with any gloomy fears upon that point. Senator McGregor also made a grave charge against the company. He referred to some agreement which Mr. Henry Best, of Collingwood, had with the company, under which, he said, Henry Best obtained a machine which he thought would be more efficient, and set it up in the same room with a Goodyear machine. He said -
It has been said that the notice for the termination of the contract was given not on that account, but because Best owed the company some money. But it is a very peculiar fact in connexion with this incident that, when the other machine was refused, the Goodyear machinery was allowed to stand there, and has been in operation in the factory ever since. I have here a letter from Mr. Edward Fitzgerald to Henry Best and Company - “ Imperial Chambers, Bank-place, “ Melbourne, 15th February, 1905. “Dear Sir, - Referring to our interview with you. this morning by the Melbourne manager of the United Shoe Machinery Company, when notice of cancellation of your lease from the company was served on you, and you forcibly refused possession of the leased machines, I am now instructed to give you notice that if delivery of the said machines is not given to the local office of the lessor on or before Saturday next, the 18th inst., legal proceedings will be instituted for their recovery - for all sums due and owing by you and damage for illegal detention. “ Yours truly, “ (Signed) Edward Fitzgerald.”
That is Senator McGregor’s accusation. I have the following statement in answer from the people concerned : -
Senator McGregor, in. his speech in the Senate on Friday, 10th August, is reported to have said in reference to the matter of Henry Best, boot manufacturer, Fitzroy, that the company cancelled its lease . to him of certain royalty machines, and caused a solicitor’s letter to be sent to him demanding possession thereof on the ground solely that the said Henry Best had introduced into his factory a machine supplied to him by one of the company’s competitors in trade.
The above statement, if correctly reported, is inaccurate, and the distorted facts are assumed to have been furnished by persons seeking to do damage to the company’s reputation and its trading relations with its customers.
The actual facts are that Henry Best was for some months prior to February, 1905 (when the company cancelled his lease) indebted in a large sum of money to the company, his royalty payments were greatly in arrear, and though frequent applications had been made to him at intervals of many months, he had failed to make any payments on account or any overtures for a settlement.
Owing to this failure only, the company was forced to threaten through its solicitor to remove its machines, and this action speedily brought about a settlement.
The annexed affidavit of Henry Best corroborates the true version of the facts, and the annexed extract of an interview with him four months after his financial trouble with the company clearly shows his opinion of its system, and its incomparable benefit to his trade and business.
Attached is the following affidavit of Mr. Henry Best: -
August 14, 1906.
Having seen in Herald of 10th inst., a statement purporting to have been made by Mr. McGregor in the Australian Senate, speaking on the Anti-Trust Bill, that Henry Best, a boot manufacturer, had been deprived of machinery held by him under lease to the U.S.M. Coy. for the reason that he had working beside them a non-royalty machine. I, Henry Best, of my own free will and accord, voluntarily make this statement, under oath, that the statement as reported is not according to fact. The U.S.M. Coy. have never taken any machine from me, neither have they threatened to take machines because of my using nonroyalty machines in my factory. (Signed) Henry Best.
Before me, William Geo. Walker, J. P. - 14th August, 1906.
– Is it not somewhat peculiar that as soon as Best removed this machine from his factory the company allowed him to go on with his business using its machines?
– Another statement of a different character would not affect the fact that Senator McGregor made a certain statement which is disproved by the affidavit.
– Very well, we will say contradicted on oath by the person concerned.
– Senator McGregor distinctly stated that there was another reason given - the non-payment of money due. He said that most distinctly.
– I have read precisely what he said, and I have read everything relating to it. Another statement made by Senator McGregor was the following : -
I have no grudge against the United Shoe Machinery Company. I only want the company to conduct its business in a legitimate manner. So far as I am concerned, it is welcome to remain in Australia, and to do all the business it can, until the day of judgment, so long as that business is done fairly, and in equal competition with our own people and the people of Great Britain. It may be said that it would never act unfairly. In order to show that the United Shoe Machinery Company has not acted fairly, I have brought here a copy of an affidavit made by Mr. William Marshall, who in 1901 had alarge boot and shoe factory in Port Melbourne. It is as follows : -
I, William Marshall, of 30 Russell-street, Melbourne, formerly of Nott-street, Port Melbourne, shoe manufacturer, do hereby make oath and say that -
In the year nineteen hundred and one (1901) I entered into a contract with the United Shoe Machinery Company of America for the leasing of a consolidated hand method lasting machine. One of the conditions of the lease was that I had to pay them about seventy pounds (£70) cash when the machine was installed, and thereafter a royalty of fifty-two pounds (£52) per annum (this is as far as my memory serves me).
The United Shoe Machinery Company further protected themselves by insuring the machine for the sum of three hundred or three hundred and fifty pounds, for which I was conditioned under the lease to pay the insurance premiums.
On 17th September,1901, my factory was totally destroyed by fire, and 111 the general destruction the lasting machine was ruined.
The United Machinery Company not only collected the insurance on the machine, but, acting under another condition of their “ lease,” demanded and took possession of the “remains” of the machine, and would not make any refund of the original payment (seventy pounds), nor would they rebate anything out of the insurance money, which they collected, and the premium for which I had paid.
As far as I remember, the machine was installed only about two months prior to the happening of the fire. It had therefore hardly been used.
Declared before me this 19th day of July, in the year 1906. C. J. Ham, J. P.
– They insisted upon the letter of the bond.
– The company extracted its pound of flesh, and all the blood it could get therewith.
I have an answer to that. It is, I think, rather a grave matter - 14th August, 1906.
Case for United Shoe Company.
Senator McGregor, in his speech on the AntiTrust Bill in the Senate on Friday, 10th August, is reported to have stated, in reference to the matter of the company and Marshall and Company : -
It is understood that the above statement’s were supported by a statutory declaration in Senator McGregor’s possession.
Answer : - The facts set out in a, b, and c are admitted. The statement d is absolutely false. The company refunded the sum of , £80 to Marshall and Company, and hold their receipt (copy annexed).
The company also paid the further sum of £35 to Marshall and Company in respect of another machine returned to it, but thereceipt is at the head office in Sydney, and a copy is not yet to hand.
It is requested that the statutory declaration of Mr. Marshall quoted by Senator McGregor be laid on the table of the House.
– Then Marshall made a statutory declaration that he had never received anv refund from the company ?
– Yes ; and the company say that they think that the statutory declaration quoted by Senator McGregor ought to be laid on the table of the Senate.
– Some action ought to be taken upon it.
– -Some action should, I think, be taken.
– The Government was ready enough to take action on Stone’s complaint in reference to the Tobacco Commission.
– Thefollowing is a copy of a letter sent to Marshall and Company : - 9th July,1902.
Messrs. Marshall and Co.,
We are handing you, through Mr. Beckman, cheque for£80 in payment of the lease premiums on machines returned as per list attached, together with statement showing debit to you of the difference due us on lease premium and installation charges of strap printing machine, after deducting allowances for the unexpired portion of the year’s rental on Consoli dated Laster as paid by you in advance. This, you will understand, is in accordance with the writer’s verbal agreement with you at your place of business in Melbourne on 2nd June,1902.
Very truly yours, (Signed) United Shoe Machinery Coy.,
Appended to the letter is a detailed account as follows: -
Messrs.’ Marshall and Co., Melbourne, in account with the United Shoe Machinery Co.
By cheque, 11.7.02, Marshall and Co.
– There is some hard swearing somewhere.
SenatorPULS FORD.- There is; andI suggest that it is the duty of some one in this chamber - and it ought to be Senator McGregor - to probe to the bottom of the matter.
– Perhaps it would be as well if the other sworn declaration were placed on the table as well.
– Yes, and I shall be pleased to hand it to Senator Playford.
– I accept the challenge on behalf of Senator McGregor.
– During this debate we have had a very plentiful supply of “cock and bull” stories. I am sorry that Senator Trenwith has disappeared - that he has “ shot his bolt “ and fled - because I desire to refer to some statements made by him last night. Senator Trenwith is under the impression that the position of affairs in Victoria is such as to warrant support being given to this Bill. He urged that Victoria generally, owing to her past policy, is in a much superior position financially to that of any of the other States, especially New South Wales. After quoting a number of figures about estates left by deceased persons, Senator Trenwith read as follows from page 517 of Coghlan: -
These figures show a distribution of property not to be paralleled in any other part of the world ; and in a country where so much is said about the poor growing poorer, and the rich richer, it is pleasing to find that in the whole population one in six is the possessor of property, and that the ratio of distribution has been increasing with fair regularity in every province of the group. Victoria has the widest diffusion of wealth of the individual States; South Australia comes next to Victoria; then come New Zealand. . . .
Senator Trenwith stopped at the words “New Zealand,” but there followed -
New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania, and, lastly, Queensland.
That statement rs followed up in Coghlan by a sentence which shows that the figures quoted by Senator Trenwith are worth nothing. The sentence is as follows: -
Too must stress, however, may be laid on the apparently wider distribution of wealth in one State than in another, for it is obvious that a province with a stationary or decreasing population will naturally come out of a comparison of this kind more favorably than another with a rapidly-increasing population.
That was the case with regard to Victoria, which had a decreasing population as compared with a rapidly-increasing population in New South Wales. Senator Trenwith should have read the whole of the extract, which clearly shows that the figures he used are not applicable, and create altogether a wrong impression. To prove how wrong that impression is, I may refer to page 514 of Coghlan, where is shown the value of property in the several States. The value of the property in New South Wales is put down at £368,778,000, and in Victoria at £310,074,000. It will be seen from this that New South Wales was an aggregate of £58,000,000 ahead. The figures in Coghlan dealing with the property per inhabitant show that in New South Wales this amounted to £258, and in Victoria to £256; so here, again, New South Wales is slightly ahead. On page 530, Coghlan gives a table containing calculations as to income. The total income of New South Wales is shown at £64,387,000, or £45.2 per inhabitant, as against £54,169,000 in Victoria, or £44.8 per inhabitant. Here, again, Victoria is below New South Wales. Senator Trenwith relied very largely on statements about production, in order to prove the contention he was then upholding. I have no hesitation in saying that Senator Tren- with had not grasped the figures; indeed, I imagine that he had not possession of them, and scarcely knows what he is talking about.
– Senator Trenwith made a great many errors in his figures last night, some of which he has corrected to-day.
- Senator Trenwith urged that we ought to accept the gross output of the manufacturing industries as sufficient indication of which State is producing most.
– Surely he was joking..
– I think he must have been. But I have in my hand a statement signed by the Statist of Victoria, who gives the gross value of the output for the year 1904. In the case of Victoria, the Statist puts the output at £[23,126,000, and ‘ in the case of New South Wales at £27,159,000. On Senator Trenwith’s own choice of figures, it will be seen that the position in New South Wales is much stronger than in Victoria. But when we look at the whole of the figures, showing, the production of the primary industries and the production of the manufacturing industries, the difference is really remarkable. I am able to give figures which have appeared in the press, showing the relative position of New South Wales and Victoria in this connexion last year. In New South Wales the product of the primary industries reached £36.1 millions, and inVictoria £24.3 millions. The value added by. the manufacturers of New South Wales was £10.6 millions, and in Victoria it was £9.7 millions. The total value in New South Wales was £46.7 millions, or £31 us. 4d. per head; and in Victoria £34,000,000, or £27 19s. 6d. per head. Honorable senators will remember how Senator Trenwith referred to this £27 19s. 6d.as being the largest production per head in the whole world, and how he concluded’ generally that the production in Victoria, was enormous in consequence of her past tariff legislation, while New South Wales, comparatively, was “ nowhere.” Honorable senators will, I think, admit, without much hesitation, that Senator Trenwith’s figures are thus fairly upset. On page 1020- of Coghlan, there are some figures which I may quote to complete the honorable senator’s discomfiture. These figures show the production in each ten years from 187 1 to 1901, and also for the year 1903. In the last four periods, Victoria, out of the whole six States, shows the lowest per head, except in the year 1901, when she was 6d. per head over the State of Tasmania. These figures are, I think, conclusive, and even Senator Trenwith, if he were here, would feel that he has been “ knocked into a cocked hat.” I do not thin’k that sufficient prominence is given in Australia to the importance to the Commonwealth of the primary industries. I think I have said before in this Chamber, that there are people in Australia who attach very much more importance to the manufacture of the leg of a chair, worth, perhaps, a shilling, than they do to the production of a whole cargo of wool.
– I really must ask the honorable senator to refer to the Bill. I did not stop the Honorable gentleman when he was quoting figures as against Senator Trenwith, because the latter contended that the figures he quoted had reference to the Bill. I could not myself see that the figures quoted by Senator Trenwith referred to the measure, but now that Senator Pulsford has performed the operation he describes on Senator Trenwith, I must ask h,im to return to the consideration of the Bill.
– I think I am dealing with the Bill. I am now endeavouring to show the, supreme importance to Australia of the primary industries. We are discussing a Bill in which ‘ ‘ Australian industries” are referred to, and the tendency of all the supporters of the measure is to bear in mind only certain manufacturing industries, especially the harvester industry, ignoring the mainstays of Australian prosperity. In this connexion I think that honorable senators will see that the production of our great primary industries has a vital bearing on this Bill, and that it is the bounden duty of every member of the Senate to beware that in passing legislation of this kind they do not injure those large industries for the sake of conferring some benefit on industries of less importance.
– I see the connexion of the honorable senator’s remarks now.
– I regret that Senator Trenwith should have made his appearance only after I have finished metaphorically knocking him into a cocked hat.
– What does the honorable senator take me for?
– I take the honorable senator for a very prudent man. He knows when to stay out of the rain. The Bill is supposed to be a measure for the preservation of Australian industries. If we are to adopt legislation in the interests of certain important yet relatively small industries, we shall not be attending to the preservation of our great industries if by such legislation we injure them, that is a point which - 1 wish the Senate to bear in mind. I have many figures here which I hesitate to inflict upon the Senate, but in view of the importance of the matter, I should like briefly to refer to some of them. Whilst the primary industries of Australia have been increasing immensely, and are yielding millions sterling more to the support and prosperity of our country than they were yielding a little time ago, the manufacturing industries, although prosperous, and doing better than they have been doing for some time, are yet increasing relatively to a very small extent. I have this somewhat remarkable statement to make with respect to New South Wales. In the year 1900 the average wage paid in the manufactories and works of New South Wales- was ;£8i 16s. Last year the average wage paid was only ,£71 18s. That is explained by the immense increase in the employment of female labour. In the year 1900 the total wages paid amounted to ,£4,974,000, and last year they amounted to ,£5,191,000. In the five years referred to the total wages paid have increased to the extent of £217,000, or only 4J per cent. In the same period the number of males employed in these manufacturing industries increased by 11 per cent., the number of females by 56 per cent., and the total number of hands by 16 per cent. The average wage paid per head decreased to the extent of £9 18s., or 12 per cent. So that, whilst the position in New South Wales is improving, and is, I suppose, from the point of view of the increase of manufactures satisfactory, the improvement is absolutely paltry compared with the improvement in the position in the primary industries. The returns from the primary industries of New South Wales during last year showed an increase of between -f6, 000, 000 and £7,000,000, yet the increase in the total amount of wages paid in the manufacturing industries in New South Wales in the last five years totalled only £217,000, or 4J per cent, in excess of the sum paid in 1900. I suppose that the increase shown is really less than would be represented by the increase in population. I observe that this Bill consists of two parts, the first containing the anti-trust provisions, and the second dealing with dumping. It is difficult to say which is the cart and which is the horse, because in the Bill submitted last vear the order of these parts was reversed. I do not know the reason for the alteration in this measure, unless it be that last year the Government probably thought they were on stronger ground with their dumping proposals than they are. today. Whilst the first part of this measure may be described as that for preventing dearness, the second, or dumping, part of the Bill seems to have been introduced to prevent cheapness. We are told that a commercial trust includes a combination. This Bill is the result of a combination. I venture to say that it is the result of a combination of political and manufacturing interests. I do not hesitate to say that. By the wording of this measure, it is quite clear that anything which can be twisted into the semblance of a combine is liable to be dealt with under this measure. That is calculated to militate very greatly against bona fide amalgamations of important companies. Then, according to the Bill a commercial trust is any combination controlled or controllable by an agreement. There are many businesses in connexion with which agreements of a very simple character are made, and vet there is danger that the most simple agreement may bring the parties to it under the power of the law, since it will constitute them a commercial trust, and they will, as such, be assumed to be criminal under this Bill. I observe, also, from the definition clause that “ a trust “ includes a “person,” and “ a person “ includes “a trust,” which, I suppose, is very satisfactory. The Bill is full of phrases which, to my judgment, are difficult of interpretation, open the door to all sorts of doubt, and leave such an extraordinary amount of discretion to the Minister or to the Comptroller of Customs for the time being as to make almost anything possible. We have in one of these clauses a reference to “ inadequate remuneration.” What is adequate ?
– All you want.
– All you can get.
– I suppose that honorable senators are aware that remune ration which might be adequate in Victoria would not be adequate in Western Australia. I do not know how this provision is going to be worked. Then we have also the use of the term “ unduly disadvantageous.” Does that mean unduly disadvantageous under the conditions prevalent in Western Australia, or under the conditions prevailing in Victoria ? In cases 4 and 5 we have “ producers, workers, and consumers “ introduced. I should like to know why we are not, instead of that, called upon to consider the interests of consumers, producers, and workers, since the consumers, represent the multitude.
– How many consumers are not also producers ?
– Almost every person in the community is, I suppose, a consumer of wheat, whilst the producers, although numerous, are very much fewer in number.
– Those who consume wheat, but do not produce it, produce other things.
– I am aware of that. ‘Let me bring in the harvesters again. When we speak of harvesters, for instance, who are meant by the consumers ?
– The users.
– Exactly; the people who use them, and not the whole mass of the people, who use grain.
– We are all interested, if we use wheat.
– I know that, but what I wish to show honorable senators is that the interests of the few are put first in this measure, and the interests of the many are put last.-
– Is not that the purpose of the Bill?
– I believe it is. I am endeavouring to show that, and I wish to rub it in.
– Does the order in which the names appear in the clause make any difference?
– Oh, yes, and there is something in knowing what is meant.
– Something to talk about.
– The order may indicate the idea in the minds of the draftsmen of the measure.
– I should like again to remind honorable senators of what is inherent in clause 6. This clause makes it absolutely certain that any body against whom a. charge of being a trust can be brought is assumed to be guilty of unfair competition.
– The honorable senator told us that before.
– In this connexion I ‘should like to refer to some remarks contained in a report published by the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce. They met to consider and report on this Bill, and they conclude their report as follows : -
To realize what this Act is, one has only to consider that if it had been in force years ago the importation of nearly all the modern appliances and machines now in use would have been prevented, and their introducers sent to gaol - such, for instance, as linotypes, sewing machines, patented machinery, &c, in nearly all branches of trade - all of which cause disorganization of labour when first introduced. The inventive world is not going to stand still, and are we going to handicap ourselves -against the rest of the world by refusing to admit all future improvements ?
This Bill is so drafted as to make it possible that whan, in the future some great inventions are discovered, and as a result improvements are perfected in machinery, that would bring about some disorganization of labour in Australia, those who desire to introduce such improved machinery may find themselves, in a very awkward corner.
– No, no. The manufacturer who does not keep his machinery up to date will receive no consideration under this Bill. There is provision made for that.
– In dealing with the matter of dumping, I think the Senate should display a little decency ; that whilst we are preparing to dump our goods all over the world to the very largest extent possible, we, should show a little reason with regard to our readiness to fly at the throats of manufacturers or others in certain countries who want to sell their goods to us. In the Age of yesterday I saw a telegram headed, “ Poultry and Egg Export,” and relating to a South Australian proposal. It seems that on Tuesday morning in Adelaide a deputation from some persons interested in poultry waited upon1 the Minister of Agriculture, and wanted State help in sending a trial shipment of eggs to the English market, and that it met with a favorable reception -
The Minister said it was no use producing a lot of eggs unless,they could find an outlet for the surplus. The whole of Australia was going in strongly for this industry, which promised to assume very large dimensions. Eggs would pay even better than wheat. He did not think the request unreasonable, and lie was prepared to undertake the scheme proposed, for he thought he would be acting in the best interests of the State if it could be proved that sending eggs to Europe was profitable.
I think that he did quite right, and I am very glad that he did. On the same page of the newspaper nearly a column is devoted to poultry and eggs, and how to develop the export trade, especially in Victoria. Here we have, perhaps, the leading newspaper supporter of the Bill anxious for us to push our export business, to dump poultry and eggs on the markets of Europe.
– The honorable senator might as well say that we dump wheat.
– We do.
– We do nothing of the sort. We export wheat in a fair way.
– We send wheat to Europe to sell at whatever price it will fetch. If any person sends machinery to Australia at a trifle under the price at which it is supposed to be produced here, that is to be looked upon as a crime?
– I like to hear the Minister .say “no,” because it shows that there is still a little hope for him, that he is actually getting ashamed of his own wretched Bill. The Government are proposing to pay £[500,000 in bonuses on the production of various articles.
– Is not that a good thing ?
– I am inclined to “think that it may be. But look at what the Minister proposes ! He proposes to pay money iff order to produce goods which are to be sent abroad. What may our friends .in England say? “Here is Australia producing goods, partly at the expense of the taxpayers to sell against us.” Does not that tend to dumping?
– ‘* No,” the Minister says again.
– The honorable senator has not yet got into his head a proper definition of dumping.
– I think I have. The Minister does not want to face the facts of the position. According to clause 16-
Imported goods” and “Australian goods” include goods of those classes respectively, and all parts or ingredients thereof.
What does that mean?
– What are the ingredients in an egg?
– Will the honorable senator explain that?
– Senators McGregor and Trenwith are sufficiently keen witted to perceive what I am driving at. But I am not so dull as to be driven from my point by their small witticisms. In Australia a manufacturer may be obliged to use some ingredient or material which is imported, and which will be described as being dumped.
– No ; we let the raw material come in free.
– Here is the Minister climbing down again.
– No; the honorable senator knows the policy of protectionists.
– In Committee I shall ask the Minister to help me to insert a clause to remove all these raw materials from this deleterious action.
– If the honorable senator can give me. a proper definition of “ raw material “ I shall help him.
– That is very easy. “ Raw material “ is anything which is used in the production of an article, and which in itself may be a manufactured article.
– Leather is a manufactured article, but bootmakers say “ That is our raw material.”
– Clause 17 says -
Unfair competition has in all cases reference to competition with those Australian industries, the preservation of which, in the opinion of the Comptroller-General -
– Yes; but that is only for trial.
– The Minister is fighting very hard to minimize the effects of the Bill,and to throw dust in our eyes.
– On this point let me read something to honorable senators.
– Oh, this is fearful !
– Well, it matches theBill ; and, on the homoeopathic principle of like curing like, I hope it will cure the measure. At an interview on the 1st No- vember, 1904, between the Comptroller-
General and the Council of the Chamber of Commerce of Sydney, relative to what was then known as the Fraudulent Trades Mark Bill, the former said -
As regards the administration of the Act, I am only speaking as an individual. I cannot pledge the Department. You must protect yourselves if you consider it necessary to do so at this stage. What the Department may do in future years, or what directions I may have, I cannot say. If you think there is anything to be feared, it would not do to trust to my views, I might not be allowed to have any.
– Quite right. He is a servant, and has to do as he is told.
– I have get the Minister “ by the wool “ again. Let me once more draw the attention of the Senate to the clause. The ComptrollerGeneral has told us that he may not be allowed to have any personal opinions.
– In this particular case he will.
– Can we put in the Bill a clause allowing the ComptrollerGeneral to lock the Minister out of his office ?
– The honorable, senator does not want the Comptroller-General to go against the Minister’s opinion.
– Let it be remembered that the Comptroller-General is probably about the most hard worked man in Australia. The quantity of work which is done in the Customs House to-day is enormous. The number of matters which this officer has to decide day by day is immense. Suppose that Senator Trenwith goes to see him with a woeful tale about harvesters, and tells himthat Mr. McKay is in despair, and will go to a lunatic asylum if some shipment is not stopped. What will this officer do who is not allowed to have an opinion of his own ? The Minister is in the next room.
– He will get at the facts first.
– Clause 18 says-
For the purposes of this part of this Act, competition shall be deemed to be unfair if -
The Comptroller-General would be a fool if, under one of those headings he could not decide straight away, especially with the Minister at his elbow, that the goods should be stopped. Surely honorable senators can see how easy it all is. It is just as easy as falling off a log.
– Yes; but the honorable senator has to think of sub-clause 3.
– Sub-clause 2 brings in “an inadequate remuneration for labour,” “ substantial disorganization,” “throwing workers out of employment,” and “ selling goods at prices greatly below their ordinary cost of production.” How easy for any one of these circumstances to be brought about, or to be imagined to have been brought about ! How easy for the Minister, for the Comptroller-General, or for the Justice to be persuaded of any one of these various matters having arisen ! And what are the consequences to be ? The final paragraph of sub-clause 2 says that if goods are sold - at a price which is less than gives the person importing or selling them a fair profit.
Where was this provision drafted? Is there a lunatic asylum in Melbourne?
– Is the honorable senator looking for it?
– I might remind Senator Trenwith that the percentage of lunatics in Victoria is immense.
– Since Federation !
– I ‘believe that Victoria is the “ boss “ of the Commonwealth in that respect. A few days ago I read a statement to the effect that a large sum of money was wanted for building another establishment. The man who drafted this clause ought to be put into that asylum when it is built. Suppose that a draper brought in a quantity of fashionable drapery, that, owing to the season proving a bad one, because -of the failure of the weather, one-half of the goods was left on his hands, and that when the next season came round, the fashions had changed. What is to be done with the goods? If he were to sell them at half-price, he would be a criminal.
– And if he were to give the goods away, I suppose he would have to be hanged.
– He would not be interfered with.
– The Minister is climbing down again.
– The Minister will not accept the plain reading of the provision.
– The man has to do it with the intent to destroy a special industry of the country.
– The Minister is on the wrong track.
– There is nothing of that sort in this provision. In clause 19 we are told that the ComptrollerGeneral, “ whenever he has received a complaint in writing and has reason to believe,” may take action. How easy for Senator Trenwith to make a complaint in writing ! How easy for the whole race of informers to complain ! How easy for hundreds of men to try to make a living at this sort of thing ! With what conditions are we going to surround Australian commerce? Let us look further into this precious Bill and see what sort of conditions are to be imposed upon that most sinful of all creatures who is importing goods, and who is informed against. What trouble may happen to him ! And if the importer wins his case he may find that his victory is about as bad as a defeat ; because, while he has been winning his case in Court, his goods may have perished in the warehouse, or the market may have fallen. Let me remind the Senate of what has occurred in connexion with harvesters. About thirteen months ago the Minister of Trade and Customs took upon himself, by one of the most reprehensible acts that ever occurred in the commercial history of Australia, to raise the valuation of harvesters. Nothing has yet been done to settle that matter. It remains undecided. Every step that can be taken’ is being taken to prevent a settlement being arrived at. Court after Court is being applied to to stop the efforts of the firms concerned to get the matter settled. Surely honorable senators can see the dangers with which this Bill is crowded. They are no imaginary dangers. The importers under it will be solely in the hands of the Minister. The clause to which I have referred concludes with some reference to prohibitive imports within the meaningof the Customs Act. What does that mean? That any goods that may be prohibited, and that have already arrived, are liable to confiscation.
– That is terrible !
– It would appear terrible to the Minister if he properly understood it, but he is trying to be jocose about it. He shuts his eyes deliberately to the seriousness of his own Bill.
– The honorable senator is making a big sound about nothing !
– I will accept that statement if the Minister means that if the Bill is passed with all these powers in it, it is not intended to exercise them.
– They will not be exercised unless it is right and proper to exercise them.
– Who is to decide that?
– First, the ComptrollerGeneral, then the Minister, and then the Justice.
– I know that the Minister would not ask my opinion. It would be much nearer the mark for him to ask the opinion of Senator Trenwith.
– Hear, hear ! That would show his judgment.
– In clause 2!i the Justice is ordered to “ proceed expeditiously.” What expedition have we seen with the harvester matter? Then look at sub-clause 9 of clause 21 -
The determination of the Justice shall be final and conclusive, and without appeal, and shall not be questioned in any way.
– Quite right !
– But let me draw attention to clause 23. Clause 21 declares that the front door shall be shut, but clause 23 says that the back door may be open, and that the Minister may be approached. It provides that-
The Governor-General may at any time by proclamation, simultaneously with or subsequently to any prohibition under this part of this Act, rescind in whole or in part the prohibition or any condition or limitation of importation imposed thereby.
– Surely the honorable senator does not object to that?
– Was ever anything so monstrous put in a Bill ? A man in open Court may be condemned, and then the Bill says, “ Let him go up the backstairs and see the Minister ; and if he can persuade the Minister he can rescind the decision of the Court.” It spells corruption. Senator Playford shakes his head. He’ is not the Minister of Trade and Customs. His Government will not live for ever, I suppose. Everybody must see that this clause does open the door to corruption. I hold in my hand a statement made by Mr. Rogers, of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce. He says, with reference to clause 21, that it provides that the certificate of the Comptroller-General shall be prima facie evidence of the facts alleged.
Then the Minister seeks to explain that the clause empowering an appeal from the High Court Justice only gives power to reduce a decision if it is thought to be too severe. The actual words of the clause are as follow : - “ The GovernorGeneral may at any time, by proclamation, simultaneously with or subsequently to any prohibition under this part of this Act, rescind in whole or part the prohibition, or any condition or restriction or limitation on importation imposed thereby.” The council protests against any question of trade policy being handed over to the law courts at all for determination. It objects more strongly to any provision by which the Governor-General, or, in other words, the Minister, may absolutely rescind in camera the decision of the Justice arrived at in open court, and on the substantial merits of the case as put forward in evidence. The Minister claims that the clauses are framed so as to prevent blackmailing, and that the assumption that there can be any backstairs influence goes for nothing. I join issue with him on both points. What is the procedure? If the Comptroller-General has received a complaint in writing, and has reason to believe that any person is importing goods with intent to injure an Australian industry by unfair competition, he may certify to the Minister accordingly. I conceive it to be possible for a person for motives of his own to induce an officer in the Customs of perhaps more zeal than discretion to move the Comptroller to promote an inquiry ; and if a public officer is the informer, the name is not disclosed, and therefore the prosecution for penalties in respect of misleading information cannot be proceeded with ; and thus the proceedings which the Minister put in to protect the importer from improper charges are of no avail. And I ask any one who has sense enough to come in out of the rain, whether clause 23, that I have just quoted, does not in unmistakable language suggest to an importer who has lost his case before the Justice that the Minister is approachable.
– The honorable senator can move that the clause be struck out if he likes.
– The Minister begins to see that what I say is true.
– The clause was not in the Bill as introduced.
– Let us strike it out, and go on striking clauses out until we send the whole Bill to the waste-paper basket.
– It was inserted in another place to protect the importer, so that if any hardship should have been done to him unwittingly, there is a way out. It is a very fair provision.
– With regard to the harvester matter, it is worth while to notice what has been taking place. Nearly thirteen months ago the Minister, by an arbitrary Act, raised the valuation for duty purposes.
SenatorPlayford. - The late Government did the same trick. It raised the valuation from £26 to £38.
– That was not the case with the Massey-Harris harvesters. They had always paid duty on £38.
– At any rate, whoever did it, the Minister calls it a trick.
– Yes. The present Government, as I have said, raised the valuation arbitrarily. A shipment arrived to one of the States. The importers were compelled to deposit the duty on the higher valuation. They did so. Then they proceeded against the Minister of Trade and Customs for a refund of the amount paid in excess. ‘ The importers apparently are not afraid of the law, but the Customs authorities do not seem to want to come to grips. They are not willing to have the matter looked into before raising the duty. In various States actions have been brought against the Department, but every step known to the legal mind is being taken to delay settlement. In one State the MasseyHarris Company applied for power to have a Commission sent to Canada to examine into the question of cost. The Customs authorities opposed the application. The order was granted by the Justice. Then the Supreme Court was appealed to, and was asked to rescind it. The Supreme Court said “ No ; Massey Harris and Company are entitled to this.” In another case in South Australia, the firm, wanting its money back, went before a Justice, and asked that certain information should be given. The Justice ordered that the information should be given. Again theCustoms Department appealed to the Supreme Court of South Australia, which only yesterday decided to support the order of the Justice. Then counsel for the Customs moved for a further appeal, either to thePrivy Council or to the High Court. The Chief Justice of South’ Australia was indignant at the request. He said it was frivolous and trumpery, and he would not grant it. Yet these are the steps being taken by the Government to prevent a settlement being; arrived at- or, I shall put it, apparently to prevent a settlement - and to carry the whole matter beyond the coming general election, when it will be immaterial to them what the conclusion may be. The whole procedure in regard to this measure is regrettable in the extreme, and not calculated to give us any exalted opinion of the methods adopted by the Government in managing these matters. It certainly is not calculated to inspire us with the feeling that the Bill can be safely adopted, and that the enormous powers which they ask can be safely put in their hands.
Debate (on motion by Senator Findley) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I take the opportunity to inform honorable senators, and those who intend proceeding to New South Wales to-morrow, for the purpose of visitingthe suggested Capital Sites, that a communication has been received from Mr. Carruthers, the Premier of New South Wales, to the effect that a number of honorable gentlemen who were unable to visit the Canberra site last week have expressed a desire to do so on Monday next, in lieu of going to Lake George, and that arrangements to that end are being made.
– Is that an alternative ?
– We have communicated with the Premier of New South Wales to the effect that the members of Parliament who accepted, accepted an invitation to visit, among other sites, Lake George, and that we presume the arrangements being made for a visit to Canberra’ are not in absolute substitution for the arrangements for a visit to Lake George, but that they will have an option to visit either site. Probably, before the Senate risestomorrow, I shall be able to inform honorable senators as to. the actual arrangements. I have also to say that the train, instead of leaving to-morrow at 4.55, the hour at which it left last week, will leave at1.30 p.m., and willarrive at Albury at 6.28 p.m. The special train provided by the Government of New South Wales will take the passengers from Albury to Cooma, where they will arrive early on Saturday morning, enabling them to proceed to Dalgety and return to Cooma that day. I am not in a position to give every particular just now, owing to the fact that the itinerary has been altered ; but in> the meantime honorable senators may decide which site they will visit.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.25 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 August 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060816_senate_2_33/>.