2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I desire tq draw the attention of the leader of the Senate to the proceedings at a dinner given yesterday by the Royal Agricultural Society- of Victoria, and to a speech delivered by. the Treasurer, Sir John Forrest, who stated that he was present as the representative of the Government, and that “ on land he was a protectionist, but on the sea he was a free-trader” and to. ask the honorable senator if it is consistent with the avowed policy of the Government to have a hybrid protectionist in their ranks.
– I think that on that occasion Sir John Forrest was speaking on his own account He was not speaking on behalf of the Government.
– But he said that he was there as the representative of the Government.
– I have not yet seen the report of the speech. So far as I know the policy of the. Government it is consistent. If protection were necessary at sea it would be part of our policy just as protection or. land is. I think that, as a rule, too much attention should not be paid to after-dinner speeches.
– I asked the Minister if it is consistent with the policv of the Government to have a hybrid protectionist in their ranks, but he has not replied to the question.
– Does the honorable senator wish to ask another question or to repeat his question?
– I am asking the Minister- if that is consistent with the policy of the Government.
– Surely that is the same question.
– Arising out of the answer, I desire to ask the Minister ‘of Defence if it is intended to have a reconstruction of the Government, and to have only protectionists in their ranks?
– The honorable senator has taken me completely by surprise. If he will kindly give notice of a question, I shall endeavour to answer it on Tuesday next.
– I move -
That standing order No. 233 and also all other standing orders, so far as they require or relate to a call of the Senate before the third reading of any Bill by which an alteration of the Constitution is proposed, he suspended on and after the 1 8th day of September, 1906, for the remainder of this session.
Although honorable senators are fully aware of the circumstances which have necessitated the submission of this motion, still, I recognise that it is only due to the Senate that I should make a ‘full statement of those circumstances. It will be remembered that standing order 233 provides that-
Before the third reading of any Bill by which an alteration of the Constitution is proposed, there shall be a call of the Senate. If the third reading of any such Bill shall not have been carried by an absolute majority of the Senate, the Bill shall be forthwith laid aside without ques-. tion- put, and shall not be revived during the same session.
In a separate chapter, standing orders 27 1 to 276 inclusive lay down the procedure for a call of the Senate. The first one reads -
An order for a call of the Senate shall be made for any day not earlier than twenty-one days from the day on which such order shall have been made.
The others provide respectively for a notice of the call to be forwarded by post, for a call of the Senate, to be made an order of the day, for the order of calling the names of honorable senators, for senators not present but subsequently attending, and finally for senators not attending during the day.
– Where comes in the penalty ?
– I do not know.
– Nor does any one else.
– That leads me to remark that standing order 233 and standing orders 271 to 276 inclusive, if they were interpreted literally, would disclose in themselves many imperfections. The object of my motion is to enable a Bill containing a proposed alteration of the Constitution to be dealt with without a strict compliance with standing order 233, and, so far as they relate to it, the other standing orders I mentioned. So far assuch Bills are concerned, section 128 of the Constitution contains the conditions which have to be complied with in order that an alteration of that character shall take place. Summarized, the provisions of that section are that a Bill containing a proposal for an alteration of the Constitution shall be passed by an absolute majority in each House of the Parliament, shall be submitted to the electors to vote “ Yes “ or “ No, “ in not less than two nor more than six months from the time of its passing Parliament, shall have no effect unless it is indorsed by a majority of the electors voting in a majority of the States, and if so indorsed shall be presented to the Governor-General for the King’s assent. I would respectfully submit to honorable senators that, like every other standing order, No. 233 is made for the convenience of the Senate. In other words, the Standing Orders are for the Senate, and not the Senate for the Standing Orders. We have, of course, to study the convenient discharge of our business, and also to have regard to the duties which are placed upon us, not merely as a legislative body regulating our internal procedure, but as a legislative body representing the great bulk of the people of the Commonwealth. The motion is aimed at the suspension of certain standing orders which, to some extent, regulate our procedure in connexiop with constitutional alterations. I have already stated the constitutional checks which are imposed upon an alteration of the Constitution.
– Judging by his speech, the Minister would remove them if he could.
– Not at all. I have already stated that these standing orders are made, for our convenience, to regulate the procedure of the Senate. The provisions of the Constitution are those agreed upon by the people themselves, as the checks which shall operate in connexion with any proposed alteration of the Constitution. I do not put the Standing Orders of the Senate upon the same plane as the checks contained in the Constitution. If our Standing Orders were to be regarded as imposing an additional check, they would be in conflict, if not with the letter, with the spirit of the Constitution, which itself provides the checks upon its own alteration. It is not for us to super -impose checks upon those which the people’s Constitution itself imposes.
– It remains, however, that our Standing Orders constitute a protection to minorities.
– It may be so, but that is a matter that purely concerns the Senate itself, and, as it happens, these particular ones protect majorities. They are not to be regarded as being in the same category as the checks which the people have decided shall be operative against any hasty amendment of the Constitution. We have now passed through, the first and second readings and the Committee stages a Bill for a proposed alteration of the Constitution, dealing with the question of Senate elections. It is unnecessary for me to remind honorable senators of the provisions of the Bill, as they have’ been so recently dealt with. In order to comply with the Standing Orders, it will be necessary to make a call of the Senate, as provided’ by standing order 233. That call, under standing order 271, must be for a day not earlier than twenty-one days from the date at which such order shall have been given. If the obligation is imposed upon us to suspend the third reading of this Bill till the 28th of the present month, honorable senators will see that it will be some considerable time before the Bill can reach the House of Representatives ; it will have to be dealt with there, and when it finally passes the House of Representatives - possibly returning to the Senate if any amendments are made in it there - two months from that date will have to elapse before it can be submitted to the electors. A general election for the House of Representatives, and for choosing eighteen members for the Senate, is approaching. The end of the session is also approaching. It cannot be doubted, I think, that it would be a great mistake if any proposals for an alteration of the Constitution were submitted to the people on a date beyond that on which they will be called upon to exercise the Commonwealth franchise. If, therefore, we are compelled to withhold the passing of this Bill until the 28th of the present month, or later, it must be obvious that to that extent we shall be pushing back the elections for at least two months - unless, of course, we are prepared to take the course of having the elections on one day and a referendum on these proposals on a subsequent day. The motion which I am submitting is worded so as to apply, not only to the Bill which was recently before the Senate, but also to any Bills proposing to alter the Constitution generally that may be dealt with during this session. The reason why the motion is so worded is this : There are before the House of Representatives other proposals for altering the Constitution. I presume that honorable senators are acquainted with their nature.” ‘But, in case there should be any senator who has not given attention to that matter, I may inform the Senate what they are. One is a proposal to enable the Commonwealth to assume the debts of the States at any particular time, not necessarily as they existed at the time of the establishment of Federation. That is a proposed alteration, which I think has no party aspect or significance.
– Ought that’ to be discussed now?
– I am simply indicating why the motion is worded as it is.
– But there is no limit. Any senator can bring forward a Bill proposing to alter the Constitution.
– The Bill to which I have referred is already before the other House. Another proposed alteration of the Constitution is to enable the Commonwealth Parliament hereafter to impose duties of Customs upon goods that are not at. present dutiable, and to appropriate the whole revenue thereby received for specific purposes. In all probability it will be necessary to submit to the electors something like three proposed alterations of the Constitution.
– In addition to which there is Senator Pearce’s Bill.
– I am speaking of Government proposals. If the motion now before the Senate is carried, it will not operate until on and after the 18th instant. We propose to have a call of the Senate, not strictly in compliance with the letter of standing order 271, but, nevertheless, one which we feel sure would equally effectively serve the same purpose. We feel certain -that if what we propose is carried out, notice of the call of the Senate will be able to be given to every honorable senator in sufficient time to enable him to be present.
– What about the other Bills altering the Constitution?
– I propose to take a similar course with regard to them. -I do not think thai any honorable senator will be prejudiced regarding the sufficiency of the notice. I feel certain that if the motion is carried, the spirit of our Standing Orders will be complied with. I am also satisfied that it will convenience the electors considerably to have an opportunity to vote on this subject simultaneously with the discharge of the duties cast upon them in connexion with the approaching elections.
– It is proposed to have the call of the Senate in eleven days instead of in twenty-one?
– Yes ; it would be eleven days from to-day. That time would give every honorable senator ample notice of the day upon which we propose to bring on the third reading of the Bill in question.
– How much notice does the honorable senator propose to give in regard to the other two Bills? Is it to be at least as much as between .the 7th and the 18th of the month?
– I am not in a position to answer that question, but I can say fiat the amplest possible notice will be given-to every senator before the third reading of those Bills is taken.
– Does that mean twenty-four hours’ notice?
– I should say that it would mean some days’ notice.
– How could that be done?
– If my motion is carried, notices concerning the call of the Senate can be sent out to-morrow. I do not think there is any member of the Senate who will not be aware in ample time of the day on which the question will be dealt with.
– Senator Matheson, for instance?
– I understand that Senator Matheson is absent from the Commonwealth. He also has leave of absence from the Senate. Honorable members will understand why the operation of the proposed suspension will not take place till the 18th instant. That will insure that the third reading of the Bill cannot come on before the 18th of the present month. So far as I can say, we shall bring it on upon that date.
– That merely applies to one Bill.
– Yes. But, apart from that intimation, we shall use every effort to see that every member of the Senate is notified formally of the date fixed for the third reading of any similar Bill.
– That cannot possibly be done in the case of the other Bills that are to come up to us.
– I can only say with regard to them that we shall follow as closeLy as we can the course that I am indicating in regard to the Bill that the Senate dealt with lately. I am satisfied that these proposals grant every facility for obtaining the expression of the people’s opinion at the forthcoming election. I have spoken at this length with regard to the proposed suspension of the Standing Orders, not because I do not feel sure that all honorable senators are well acquainted with the circumstances which have necessitated this statement, but at the same time I think we are respecting, as far as we possibly can under the circumstances, the spirit of the Standing Orders, which, as I said before. I do not think honorable senators will interpret as checks additional to the checks contained in the Constitution, but as regulations made for the convenient conduct of our own business. If the proposed alterations of the Constitution are to be submitted, it will be of enormous advantage in more senses than one to submit them to the people on one election day. I think honorable senators will realize that any regard that we may haw for our Standing Orders would ,not be justified if it entailed either the unnecessary postponement of the elections, or the otherwise unnecessary extra cost that would be entailed in holding a referendum on a separate day from an election ‘day.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [11.0]. - I am extremely sorry that the Government have thought fit to submit this motion. I do not regard it in the light-hearted way in which apparently it is regarded by Senator Keating. The observation that the Standing Orders are made for the Senate, and that the Senate is not made for the Standing Orders’, we have heard before. It is a truth we can all accept. But it appears to me that so far as this motion is concerned, it is not so much a matter of the Standing Orders being made for the” Senate, as that the Standing Orders are really to be disregarded and ignored, although they may have relation to the most important constitutional questions. It is quite true that these standing orders have been made by the Senate, and can be dealt with by the Senate, but they were made for a very definite purpose. I regard them as safeguards which the Senate in its wisdom imposed upon proposed changes in the Constitution. The people, by referendum, and in the Constitution which they adopted, declared that any law passed for- the purpose of amending the Constitution must be passed two ‘months before it is submitted to the electors, and must be submitted to them within six months from the date of its passing. The Senate, for a very good reason, declared that there should be an interval between the stage antecedent to the third reading of the Bill, and the third reading, to secure, in the first place, deliberation and further consideration, and in order that the most exhaustive attention should be bestowed on the proposed change in the Constitution ; and, in the second place, that every effort should be made to secure the personal attention and application of every honorable senator to the proposed change, and his personal attendance to record his vote upon. it. These particular standing orders have, in my opinion, a far higher function than have standing orders relating to ordinary procedure. We should not. lightly suspend them, and we certainly should not apply any such suspension to an alteration of the Constitution which is not absolutely imperative and vital. I understand that it is proposed to have a call of the Senate, but so far as regards the Standing Orders, at an irregular time, and at a shorter interval than is at present provided for. If that be the object, I point out that it is unnecessary to suspend standing order No. 233. Let us at least retain the colour and appearance of conformance to the wise direction of the Senate that there should be a call. Standing order No. 271 provides that no call of thi Senate shall apply to a date less than twenty-one days from the date of the order of the Senate for the call, but a motion might be made, if the Senate agreed that it was a proper thing to do, to suspend the standing order and fix the call of the Senate for the 18th instead of the 28th September. That, I take it, ‘ is the intention of the Government, and if it is, this motion, travels beyond it. Even, though we should depart from the Standing Orders, we should as far as possible . recognise the principle underlying them. We should not- set aside that principle by suspending the Standing Orders if effect can be given to the intention of the Government in another way, and by a more ‘ limited suspension than that mow proposed’. Further, it seems to me to be an extremely undesirable thing that when we suspend these standing orders we should apply the suspension generally to a number of unknown Bills which we have had no opportunity of considering.
– As a matter of fact, I think thai, under standing order No. 435, we’ have not the power to do that. .
– I believe that the honorable and learned senator is right. The suspension of the Standing Orders must be confined to a special purpose, indicated in the motion for their suspension.
– The suspension moved for in this case is for a special purpose, and it is not necessary that it should refer to .a special Bill.
– It is perfectly obvious that if, at any time, there should be a suspension of these Standing Orders - and I refer particularly to standing order No. 233 - it should be in respect of a particular Bill which is being dealt with, on which the Senate has pronounced an opinion, and is about to pronounce a final opinion on trie third reading. Honorable senators’ must admit that we should not,’ so to speak, suspend standing order No. 233 at large ; otherwise we had’ better repeal it altogether. In any other circumstances, it would be a farce to allow it to remain’. Whenever a Bill proposing to effect a change in the Constitution was submitted, and had been passed by ordinary majorities up to the stage of the third reading, all we should have to do would be: to give notice ‘for the day ‘ after the report was adopted of a motion to suspend the standing orders providing for a call of the Senate, and. for the interval for -deliberation. A majority could carry such a motion, and in those circumstances why should we retain standing order No. 233 at all ? If it is *o be maintained only to be broken, it will necessarily become more honoured in the breach than in the observance. If there were a majority of honorable senators in fafour of a Bill, it seems to me that it would be an absurdity for them to postpone the passing of it for twenty-one days, or for two days. If they had the power to pass it right away, why should they delay its passing? If. this view were adopted, it is clear that the standing orders in question would become an absolute nullity, and really ought to be repealed. I cannot conceive a majority of the Senate allowing an interval of three weeks to elapse between the adoption of the report and the third reading of a Bill, about the passing of which they are in earnest, when with a simple majority they could pass it at once by the suspension of these standing orders. The natural conclusion from, these observations is that the only justification, if there be any, for suspending the Standing Orders is that the particular Bill to be dealt with is one that is exigeant, “and which it is vital and essential should not be delayed for three weeks, or eleven days, but should be finally passed at once. That can only be determined in respect to a particular Bill which is before the Senate. We cannot give ourselves ai blank cheque in the way here proposed. Each case should be dealt with on its merits. I entirely object to the suspension of the Standing Orders for this purpose; but, if it is to be done, the suspension should be confined in its application to the particular Bill which is before the Senate. I intend to move an amendment for that purpose. What sense or reason is there in giving this blank cheque? We do not know what these Bills are which may be covered by this motion.
– Some of them might not reach the Senate.
– That is so. How are we to say that they will be Bills .for which we should suspend the Standing Orders, and stultify ‘the Senate. I appeal to Senator Higgs, and ask the honorable senator whether he thinks this proposal will maintain the dignity of the Senate, its status and power, and its reputation for good sense. We have framed certain standing orders dealing with legislation proposed for amending the Constitution, and on the very first occasion on which a Bill is presented to amend the Constitution, we are asked to suspend their operation. T point out also that we are asked to do so in respect of a proposed law which is admitted by its most enthusiastic supporters to be a. trifling measure. If the Bill were to affect the coming elections, and made essential provision to enable electors to more fully record their opinions at the coming elections, I should say that that would be a strong reason for considering the wisdom of suspending the Standing Orders, or having any call of the Senate at all, as. we have power to do. But the measure in question will not apply to the coming election. The complaints of farmers which have been referred to are complaints in contemplation of the coming election. I for one am sensible of the justice of many of those complaints, and I am desirous so far as it can be done to provide a remedy for them. But they have reference to the coming election on which the Bill before the Senate will have no- effect whatever. It is said that it will have effect at the following election, but what 1 point out is that the Federal Parliament will shortly have been in existence for six years. We have had the original election, the second election, and it will not matter very much if we have another election under existing conditions, and if this measure ig postponed for a succeeding election.
– That would mean that it would be postponed for two elections.
– I say that if this is to be the remedy let it be applied to the succeeding election, and it will then have effect three years afterwards if there is no penal dissosolution. Why should we alter the Constitution, not for the sake of protecting the farmer, the one sting of whose complaint has been taken away by arranging that the election shall be held in November? Why should we not merely make a constitutional alteration, but suspend our Standing Orders, when the effect of not doing so, even if the proposal were the proper remedy, would be only to postpone the matter for one more election ?
– Why have two elections at an inconvenient time when that can be avoided ?
– The Government claim that the time proposed is a convenient time.
– The time has not yet been fixed, I think.
– I am not in the secrets of the Government, but I have seen an announcement that it is hoped’ we shall conclude our business at the end of the the month, and that the election will be held on the 21st November. If the remedy be the proper one, which I deny, we shall, by adopting the course I have indicated, simply postpone the operation of the Bill for one more election.
The PRE SIDE NT.- Does the honorable senator think that a re-discussion of the merits of the Bill relates to a suspension of the Standing Orders?
– With great submission, I point out that I am not discussing the merits of the Bill, but merely contending that there is no reason for the suspension of these standing orders, because the only effect of refraining from suspending them, even if that prevented the Bill from being put to the referendum this coming session, would be to postpone the remedy for one more election. I say that there is no reason for urgency, because the remedy is in the hands of the Government, who can then fix a time for the election, just as they have done on the present occasion. Whether that be so or not, it is undesirable that we should one day make standing orders with a view to safeguarding changes of the Constitution, and on the first occasion when there is a proposed alteration to set those standing orders at nought. If we adopt this motion, it will mean that we shall have no call of the Senate to consider any- Bill to amend the Constitution this year. It will mean that for all time we shall establish the precedent that the majority in favour of a change may suspend the Standing Orders and pass a Bill at the earliest opportunity, and I warn the Senate as to what the consequences will be. I do not wish it to be supposed that the Standing Orders are to be regarded as unchangeable as the laws of the Medes and Persians ; but if ever there was a standing order in reference to which there should be an unwritten understanding against its suspension, it is standing order No. 233. This is not merely a matter of procedure, but one of real substance; and the Senate ought to protect itself. I decline to assent to this motion, but in the first place I move -
That the words “ Standing Order No. 233 “ be left out.
If we pass this amendment we shall at least be able to say that we recognise the obligation which the Standing Orders place upon us, and that* we consider there ought to be a call of the Senate in order to have the personal attendance and vote of every senator. Those of my friends who think that a shorter period should be fixed for the call may then move the suspension of the standing order No. 271. I shall also move that, the words “ any Bill “ be struck out, with” a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ the Constitution Alteration (Senate Elections) Bill.”
– As As a matter of practice and procedure, if we suspend all the standing orders from 271 to 276 we shall have no rule on which to make, a call.
– If the amendment I have1 submitted be carried,, Senator Keating may then move a motion to the effect that so much of stand-, ing order 271 as prescribes twenty-one days for the call of the Senate shall be suspended in order to secure shorter notice.
– Before we go any further, I desire to ask you, Mr. President, whether you do not consider that this motion is out of order inasmuch as it is in conflict with standing order 435.
– The Senate has power to suspend that standing order.
– That is not the question. Standing order 435 says -
The suspension of standing orders shall be limited in its operation to the .particular purpose for which such suspension .has been sought.
By the motion we are asked to suspend the Standing Orders in cases where we shall know nothing of the contents of the Bills to which the suspension is to apply. I can quite understand that a specific Bill, the contents of which we know, having brought the measure through Committee, could be regarded as a “ particular purpose.” I ask whether the motion is in order seeing that it is intended to embrace several Bills which we have never seen, and which, in my opinion, could not come under the description of a “particular purpose.” I have to assume that “ particular purpose “ means some purpose clearly indicated and specified;’ but in the present case there is no such indication. As to one of the Bills, we have had merely a reference to it by certain members in another place, to the deliberations of which it is almost irregular to refer. If there had been even a first reading here, it might possibly have been urged that there was a “particular purpose,” but it has not come before us at all. To carry the argument a little further, we might be asked to suspend the Standing Orders in regard to a Bill not even originated in another place, and the contents of which were unknown.
– Are the words “ any Bill,” by which an alteration of the Constitution is proposed, not sufficient to describe a definite purpose?
– I am submitting that thev are not.
– That is a general purpose.
– This all-embracing motion might cover 101 measures with 10 1 different titles ; it would really embrace every possible amendment of the Constitution the ingenuity of Ministers could devise. Surely Senator Higgs will not contend that a Bill which traverses over such a wide range of subjects could properly be comprehended in the words “ particular purpose.”
– I certainly think that the motion in its present form is irregular. When we are authorized to suspend the Standing Orders, we are obliged to suspend t;hem having regard to all the limitations contained in the Standing Orders themselves. The words of standing order 435 are as follows: -
The suspension of standing orders shall be limited in its operation to the particular purpose for which such suspension has been sought.
Therefore, the contemplation is that, in connexion with some special measure, urgency has arisen.
– All measures.
– Look at the notices of motion I have given to suspend the Standing Orders in regard to all sorts of things !
– The Minister must surely be mistaken, because it is only in case of urgent necessity that the Standing Orders may be suspended. When we have any particular case, we have to decide on that case as to whether any urgent necessity has arisen. When a standing order is framed in such a general way as to apply to measures at present not even before us, can it be contended that any urgency exists? It seems to me obvious and clear that the spirit of the standing order is that if we suspend it we must do so in regard to some special measure, or for some special purpose, which must be set forth before there is the right to suspend. A general application of any suspension is obviously wrong, for the reason that we cannot say whether measures not yet before us are or are not urgent. The idea is that we must have complete control, and come to a determination as to urgency on a consideration of each case.
– I submit that Sena-* tor Best’s own argument proves that where Bills of a certain class are governed bv conditions which apply to all equally, a motion in the terms of that now submitted toy the Government is in conformity with the rule laid down bv the honorable senator. There is a condition which governs all Bills affecting an alteration of the Constitution. The condition is that it must be passed not more than six months before or within two months of an election, and it affects all Bills of that class.
– But they must be urgent.
– Whether they are urgent or not, the condition affects all Bills of this class. A Bill of the kind which has to ‘be dealt with by the Senate is urgent in this respect, that the. time to deal with it is limited by that condition. That I contend differentiates this class of Bills from every other class with which the Senate may deal. Whilst it may be held to be out of order, on tHe ground that it is too broad an interpretation of “ particular purpose “ for any private senator or Minister to ask for .a suspension of these standing orders in relation to Bills generally, still, when it is borne in mind that that condition governs Bills of this class, it constitutes a reason for urgency which applies not to one Bill, but to all such Bills. If the Senate is to have an opportunity of dealing with the Bills, the time within which it can deal with one Bill, or with all of them, is a factor which is known, and therefore the plea of urgency which applies to this particular Bill applies to every other Bill which’ proposes to alter the Constitution. For that reason, sir, I would ask you to rule that the suspension of these standing orders is limited in the motion to the particular purpose; that is that several Bills dealing with an alteration of the Constitution may be dealt with bv the Senate, and by the other House within the time therein prescribed. There is no necessity, nor is there any reason why a separate notice should^ be given in regard to each Bill of that kind, because each one is governed by the same condition.
– Then it becomes general, and not particular.
– All these Bills come under the same limitation, and are in that sense particular, and not general.
– There is no reference to’ an election in section. 128 of the Constitution. The honorable senator is arguing as if at date has been fixed for an election, and that we have to fit in our proceedings with that date.
– We know, as a matter of fact, that there will be an election in November next.
– No, as a matter of assumption.
– In view of the fact that an election is staring us in the face, and of the limitation in the Constitution, is it not a matter of urgency that these Bills should be dealt with within the time specified ?
– I do not think that the question can be said to have arisen with regard: to Bills which we have not seen.
– All Bills of this class which are before the Senate, or which mayreach here, if they are to be dealt with at all, must be dealt with within the time specified. Have not Ministers often given a contingent notice of motion that in the event of a Bill coming before the Senate the Standing Orders should be suspended in order to enable it to go through all its stages? If that can be done in the case of a Bill which deals with a specific subject, surely it can also be done in the case of Bills which I have shown are also of a specific nature, are governed by like conditions, and have in view the same object. In view of all these points, sir, I ask you to put a liberal interpretation on standing order 435, and to rule that the Bills are for a particular purpose, and governed by like conditions, and that therefore the motion is in order.
-Col. Gould. - The question we have first to consider is what was the object of standing order 435? If it had an object, was it to leave the suspension of the Standing Orders open in a very wide and comprehensive way, or was it not rather to prevent a wide, comprehensive motion being submitted, and by using the words “ particular purpose “ to limit the suspension to a particular subject or Bill? If it were not intended to limit the suspension of the Standing Orders in that particular way, what is the use of the standing order? Of course, the particular purpose- would be a particular Bill or motion, which would be mentioned in the motion for suspending the Standing Orders. Senator Pearce has argued that, because “ any Bill “ pertaining to an alteration of the Constitution is mentioned ‘in the motion, the standing order has been specifically complied with, inasmuch as a “ particular purpose “ is set out. But that, I submit,is not the kind of particular purpose contemplated. According to his view, there might be submitted a motion to suspend the Standing Orders embracing anything with which the Parliament had power to deal, and that would be a “ particular purpose,” because it would bea matter with which the Parliament could deal. The object in using the expression “ particular purpose “ was to enable every’ honorable senator to know the special matter in respect of which a suspension of the Standing Orders was being -sought. In the Parliament of New South Wales it often, became necessary to suspend the Standing Orders, but the motion for that purpose, if I remember aright, always referred to a particular measure. It must be clear that it is a particular and not a general purpose which is required by standing order 435 to be stated in the motion. An amendment of the Constitution might be brought forward in various ways. Would it not be unfair to say that the third reading of such a Bill could be moved at any time? In that case, honorable senators would have no special notice, and, therefore, their opportunity of attending the Senate and debating them might be lost. . It may be said that it would be owing to their own fault, but thev are here as representatives of the people, and it is their dutv to careful:v scrutinize special Bills. It is only reasonable, therefore, that they should get specific notice. It is not fair to attempt, in a wholesale way, to deprive honorable senators of the advantages of the standing order in question.
– Standing order 435 reads -
The suspension of Standing Orders shall be limited in its operation to the particular purpose for which si.ch suspension has been sought.
The. motion of Senator Keating, does not propose to suspend the .Standing Orders for any purpose. . It simply proposes that the Standing Orders shall. be -suspended- so far as they require or relate to- a call of the Senate before the third reading of. any Bill by which an alteration of the Constitution is proposed.
If it had been proposed to suspend the Standing Orders in order that any Bill by which an alteration of the Constitution was proposed might be passed without a call of the Senate, that would have been, the statement of a purpose. The motion before the Senate does not state a purpose. It merely states the portion of the Standing Orders which are to be suspended in regard to certain measures.
– It is just the same as though the particular standing orders were enumerated.
– Exactly. The motion has been improperly framed, because it states no purpose for which the standing orders described therein are to be suspended. That is obvious, if it is compared with an ordinary contingent notice of motion, which is to the effect that so much of .the Standing Orders -be suspended as would prevent the Bill referred to therein from passing through its remaining stages without delay. That is a definite purpose, but there is no purpose stated in this motion. You, sir, have a function to discharge in limiting the operation of any suspension of the Standing Orders. If this motion were carried, the whole machinery for . a call of the Senate would be suspended, and to what would that suspension have to be limited? It would be impossible to say. It is perfectly obvious that a contingent notice of motion to be moved by a Minister is confined to a particular Bill. He cannot move for a. suspension of the Standing Orders, generally speaking, in regard to all Bills which may come up. He can simply give a contingent notice which will enable him, when a Bill has reached a certain stage, or has come up from the other House, to move the suspension of so much of the Standing Orders as would prevent if being considered at once, and all consequent action being, taken. If we were to pass the motion before the Senate, no subsequent motion would be necessary. All it would be necessary to do would be to see whether it was a Bill which had relation to or dealt with an amendment of the Constitution. In his remarks Senator Pearce confused the purpose of the Bill with the purpose of the suspension. That is a fallacy. It is not the purpose of the Bill, but the, purpose of the suspension which governs the suspension of the Standing Orders. My honorable friend said, “ Oh, these Bills areall for the same .purpose.” But that has nothing to do with the question. The purpose of the suspension must be relevant to ai specific Bill. It seems to me that by what is proposed the Government are playing fast and loose with our Standing Orders.
– The purpose is to enable the Constitution to be complied with.
– That is not the purpose of the suspension ; it is the purpose of the ‘Bill. The purpose of the suspension, may be to enable the Bill to be carried through. I have referred to May’s Parliamentary Practice, and 1 find that the principle upon which a suspension of the Standing Orders is adopted is that there is a pressing emergency under the circumstances of a particular case. . Of course, the Senate, in its Standing Orders,has rather adopted the practice of the House of Lords than that of the House of Commons, where there is no procedure exactly of this kind. But, nevertheless, May’s observations are illuminating on this point. He says, at page 487 -
In the ordinary progress of a Bill, the proceedings either follow from day to day, or some days are allowed to intervene between each stage subsequent to the first reading ; yet when a pressing emergency arises, Bills are passed through all their stages in the same day, and even by both Houses, and the Royal Assent has also been signified on the same day. This unusual expedition is, in the Lords, at variance with standing order No. 39, which strictly forbids the passing of a Bill through more than one stage in a day, and which is formally dispensed with on such occasions. On the 9th April, 1883, no notice having been given on the previous day to suspend the Standing Orders in regard to the Explosive Substances Bill, the House resolved, “ That it was essentially necessary for the public safety that the Bill should be proceeded in with all possible despatch, and that notwithstanding the Standing Orders, the Lord Chancellor ought forthwith to put the question upon every stage of the said Bill, on which this House shall think it necessary for the public safety to proceed thereon.”
A judgment is formed as to the case being, one of pressing emergency. In reference to the House of Commons, May says -
In the Commons there are no orders which forbid the passing of public Bills with unusual expedition, and it is nothing more than an occasional departure from the usage of Parliament justified by the circumstances of the particular case sanctioned by the general concurrence of the House as, though one stage may follow another with unaccustomed rapidity. they are as open to discussion as at other times.
– This motion does not refer to the stages of the Bill ait all. ‘ It refers to a call of the Senate.
– It refers to the third-reading stage of a Bil) which cannot be dealt with until after a call of the Senate. Our case is stronger than that of the House of Commons, because there, while there is no strict standing order like ours, declaring that the suspension must be for a particular purpose, yet the House of Commons, by usage, confines it to a particular purpose. I challenge any one to find an instance where a motion for the suspension of Standing, Orders has been moved to facilitate the passage of Bills in which that motion has not been confined to the particular Bill in reference to which it was moved. I urge, therefore, that the motion is irregular and out of order.
– The question under discussion is a difficult one to decide. Taking the . spirit of standing order No. 233, it is, I think, that when a call of the Senate is made, the senators who are called together should be made aware of the object of the call. According to Senator Pearce’s wide interpretation, it might be held that the motion covered all Bills amending the Constitution, proposed or to be proposed. Standing orders are passed for the regular, speedy, and safe transaction of business. If Senator Pearce’s interpretation be correct, all Bills to amend the Constitution - such ais that regarding the nationalization of industries, that regardin’g States ‘ debts, or such a proposal as one which I have heard mooted quite lately in Victoria, that the State Legislature should elect the senators for the State - might come under that general interpretation. In that event, it would be very difficult for the President, if called upon to do so by a senator, to decide a complicated question such as might arise. Some honorable senators might say, “ We are prepared to vote for the suspension of the Standing Orders for the purpose, of a call to enable a Bill to be passed amending the Constitution respecting Senate elections, but we are not prepared to suspend the Standing Orders for the purpose of a call regarding a measure permitting the nationalization of monopolies which we do not deem to be of similar urgency.” I am inclined to think that just as it is advisable to confine a Bill to the specific object for which it is deemed necessary to make a law, so it is wise for us to keep our Standing Orders, which were passed for a specific purpose, narrowed down to the purposes for which thev were passed. I think, therefore, that it would be more in accordance with the spirit of the Standing Orders if Senator Keating were called upon to mention in his motion of suspension the particular Bills in respect of which he desires the suspension of the Standing Orders.
– In the past honorable senators have been rather liberal in suspending the Standing Orders. It has been the practice to allow them to be suspended for the expeditious despatch of certain Bills - particularly Supply Bills. But I am afraid that the tendency to be rather free in that respect is in danger of becoming a precedent in favour of still greater laxity, which ought to be guarded against, because the safeguards which are contained in the Standing Orders really depend upon the limitations on the power of suspension for which they provide. What we have to depend upon to insure that those safeguards are not swept away by an accidental majority is really the wording of standing order No. 435, limiting the operation to the particular purpose for which the suspension is sought. Standing orders 433 and 434 provide for the suspension of the Standing Orders without notice, and with notice, the former being applicable only “in cases of urgent necessity,” and standing order 435 provides that the suspension shall be limited in its operation to the “particular purpose” for which it is sought. What is the meaning of “ particular purpose”? An honorable senator might say, “ I desire to move a motion to suspend standing order No. 435.” What would be the “ particular purpose “ alleged ? The “ particular purpose “ - and a correct interpretation of that expression is our sheetanchor - might be to suspend every standing order, so that the whole lot would go together. That seems to me to touch the bedrock of absurdity. The real underlying meaning of the standing order is that the Standing Orders, as a whole, shall not be suspended unless there is some particular proposal immediately before the Senate which, in the opinion of the majority, makes it advisable that greater expedition should be permitted than they would allow. Certainly that is the correct interpretation of the words of standing order No. 435. They cannot be construed in the manner Senator Pearce attempted to construe them. I say nothing about the measures referred to themselves, because I may have some criticism to offer regarding them when thev come before us. But unless the protection which we have under the Standing Orders is to be swept away, a meaning must be attached to the words “ particular purpose,” which confines the suspension to an occasion that has arisen, arid which is actually within the knowledge of the Senate at the time; and must not relate to anything that is not within the knowledge of the Senate.
– A - An argument has been addressed to you, Mr. President, as to whether a motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders can be made applicable to a series of measures. . That argument has turned upon the meaning of the words “particular purpose.” While that opens up an interesting point, I submit that it is not one that either the Senate or yourself is called upon to consider. I think that it will have to be admitted, in view of standing order No. 435, that the purpose, whether particular or general, must be assigned when it is sought to suspend the Standing Orders. Some reason, must be set out in the motion itself why the Standing Orders should be suspended. That appears to me to be clear from the standing order to which I have referred, and which states -
The suspension of Standing Orders shall be limited to its operation to the particular purpose for which such suspension has been sought.
That obviously implies that when we seek the suspension of the Standing Orders there must be a reason assigned for it. I turn now to the motion, and ask whether any purpose at all is set out in it. It reads -
That Standing Order 233 and also all other Standing Orders so far as they require or relate to a call of the Senate-
That does not state a purpose, it only indicates the several standing orders sought to be suspended. We should get at the true meaning of the motion if it were altered to read in this way -
That Standing Orders Nos. 233 and 271 be suspended on and after the 18th day of September, 1906, for the remainder of this session.
That is exactly what the motion means, and all the words referring to a call of the Senate dp” not affirm any purpose, but merely indicate the particular standing orders Senator Keating desires should be suspended. They have been introduced probably for the reason that the Minister in framing the motion saw some difficulty in enumerating the standing orders he wished to suspend, because possibly he thought that one or two other standing orders might indirectly bear on the point. He therefore says in his motion, “ I wish to suspend all the standing orders relating to a call of the Senate. I submit that that indicates only the standing orders the Minister wishes to have suspended, and in no sense assigns a purpose for the suspension. In these circumstances, I rely on standing order 435, and submit that the motion is out of order.
– With regard to the objection raised by Senator Best, that a particular purpose is not disclosed in the motion, I think that some honorable senators are confusing a particular purpose with an individual instance. It is argued that the motion as it stands is not in order in contemplating the application of the suspension of the standing orders proposed to other Bills of a> like charcter
– That is one of the arguments.
– I may say that at present I propose to deal only with that argument. Senator Pearce has pointed out how in his opinion “particular purpose “ should be construed, and I venture to supplement his argument by giving an illustration. We have repeatedly suspended the Standing Orders for the purpose of enabling a Bill to be passed through its remaining stages without delay, and honorable senators will recollect that towards the -close of the session notice has been given -
To move, contingent on any message from the House of Representatives, transmitting any Bill or returning any Bill not finally agreed upon, that so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the same being at once considered, and all consequent action taken.
We will assume that that contingent notice was on the paper, and that the procedure in respect to it was the same as that which has been followed in previous sessions. A Bill comes up here from the other House, and is read a first time. The Minister in charge of it then moves the suspension of the Standing Orders in this form for a particular purpose. What is the particular purpose? First of all to get the Bill read a second time, and after it has gone through the Commitee stage, even though it should have been amended, to get it reported, and then to have the report adopted, and the third reading passed. By a parity of the reasoning adopted by some honorable senators in the construction they put on “particular purpose” in standing order 435, it should be necessary in the case to which I have referred for the Minister in every instance to move the suspension of the Standing Orders. He should move the suspension of the Standing Orders to enable the Bill to be read a second time. Again, if ;t should be amended in Committee,, he should move the suspension of the Standing Orders to enable the report to be adopted on the same day, and to enable the Bill to be read a third time.
– Oh, no.
– I am saying that that is the course which should be followed if the contention of honorable senators, opposite be correct, as to the meaning of ‘ ‘ the particular purpose.” /
– The Minister’s illustration deals with only one Bill.
– I submit that “ purpose “ covers more than a Bill or a motion. I am pointing out now that a contingent notice has been given in previous sessions, and a motion .has been made in pursuance of that notice for the suspension of the Standing Orders, not for one purpose, but to cover several distinct actions.
– In the pursuance of one purpose.
– To cover several distinct actions.
– All concan be embraced in the one purpose.
– It is the same in the present case, and my honorable friends are coming back to the line of reasoning adopted by Senator Pearce and myself. All these Bills are of a like character, and can be embraced in the one purpose.
– Are they all of a like character ?
– Yes, inasmuch as ‘ they all propose amendments of the Constitution.
– Then we could include 135 such Bills in the motion?
– The purpose is the same in reference to the particular quality, that they all propose an amendment of the. Constitution equally with the Bill that has been particularly mentioned. That is the only point to which I wish to direct attention.
– Does the Minister not propose to deal with the question whether the motion sets out any purpose at all?
– I indicated that I intended to argue only the question raised (by Senator Best. I agree with Senator Millen that perhaps the motion is not properly worded to specify the particular purpose for which the suspension of the Standing Orders is sought. I propose after the discussion on the point of order is concluded to have the motion so amended as to be restricted in its terms to the present specific case. So far as the other measures to which reference has been made are concerned, other action will be taken in respect of them. If I might be permitted to do so, I would indicate at this stage the nature of the alteration I propose to make in the motion.
– We had better dispose of the point of order first.
– The motion I would substitute would, I think, be calculated to meet the criticisms levelled against the motion now before the Senate.
– As it appears to me, the question on which I am asked to rule is whether this’ motion comes within the scope of standing order 435, which reads - *
The suspension of the Standing Orders shall be limited in its operation to the particular purpose for which such suspension has been sought.
A similar standing order is, I think, in force in every State Parliament in the Commonwealth, lt certainly has been in force in South Australia. The practice in reference to the suspension of standing orders concerning Bills in all the State Parliaments, and in the Senate ever since it first met, has been that each, particular Bill shall be dealt with by a particular motion. A contingent notice of motion is given towards the end of a session, to the effect that when a Bill comes on for consideration, the leader of the Senate will move that so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent that particular Bill being passed through all its stages without delay. So that we have in the first place a specific motion for each particular Bill, and we have no such motion for any Bill other than a Bill that is before us. Now it is sought to extend that practice so that it shall apply, not to a particular Bill, but to a class of Bills, or rather to a number of Bills which have one feature in common, namely, that they propose an amendment of the Constitution. It is not only sought to apply the rule to Bills which are before the Senate, but to Bills which have not vet appeared in the Senate, and which, so far as we are concerned, are vet unborn. Can that be done? I do not think it can. Suppose the notice of motion specified all the Bills which have been referred to, could not any honorable senator claim that it was a complicated motion, and that each Bill must be dealt with separately? An honorable senator might say that he was in favour of the suspension of the Standing Orders to expedite the consideration of one or two of the Bills referred to, but was not in favour of the suspension of the Standing Orders as applied to some of the other Bills. He might, in the circumstances, say, “ This Ls a general motion, and I desire that it should be dealt with as a particular motion applying only to certain Bills.” Another point has been very clearly stated by Senator Millen, and that is that this motion does not state any purpose at all. I agree with the honorable senator. The words of the motion simply indicate the class of Bill, and then go on to show that the intention is that certain standing orders shall be suspended in reference to that class of Bills. As the Minister intends to submit another motion, I need not further elaborate the point, but I say that I do not think the motion which he has moved is in order.
– By leave of the Senate, I should like to’ substitute for the motion on the paper, a motion more restricted in its terms, which will have relation to the particular Bill to which- I referred in moving the other motion, and which will also be in conformity with the procedure which I indicated would be carried out.
– On Tuesday?
– The Minister is asking for leave now.
– I am going to object.
– The Minister is asking the leave of the Senate to move the motion now, and it must be given unanimously.
– Could not the difficulty be overcome bv altering the motion?
– The motion has been ruled out of order, and it cannot be altered now.
– The motion cannot be amended.
– Do I understand you, sir, to say that we cannot move an amendment on the motion?
– Yes ; it has been ruled out of order. I understand that Senator Keating is now framing a fresh motion, which he wishes to move in substitution of the motion which has been ruled out of order.
– It was ruled out of order only because it did not state a specific purpose.
– The new motion I propose to submit is -
That so much of Standing Order 271 as refers to a period of twenty-one days be suspended on and after the 18th day of September, 1906, for the remainder of the session, for the purpose of expediting the passage through its remaining stages of the Constitution Alteration (Senate Elections) Bill.
I ask leave to move that motion now.
– I object, but I have no objection to Senator Keating giving notice of that motion in the ordinary way.
– Will not the honorable and learned senator go further than that, and consent to the motion being moved now ?
– I am meeting the Minister half way. I do not object to his giving notice of the motion now, though I might do so.
– Then, I ask leave to give notice of the motion for Tuesday.
Leave granted; notice given.
Bill read a third time.
– The Bill has been read a third time.
– - - -Then it was done in a hurried manner.
– The business was done in the ordinarv manner.
– I w I wish to ask a question.
– It is too late.
– I - I may explain that I do’ not complain that the President is conducting the business is a hurried manner; I complain of the action of the Minister.
Debate resumed from 8th August (vide page 2475), on motion by Senator Playford -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I hope the proposal contained in this Bill will have a better reception than it has received on two former occasions. We who beiieve in this measure are somewhat unfortunate in having a conjunction of forces against us. There is in the Senate one class of senators opposed to the Commonwealth having anv railway policy, and they naturally and rightly object to the spending of any money for the purpose of investigation in this connexion. Honorable senators of this way of thinking are prepared to block any proposal in the furtherance of a railway policy ; and I must say that seems a logical attitude for them to take up. There are other honorable senators who regard this particular project as one which should be left to Western Australia and South Australia. They urge that it is not right for the Commonwealth to take up a railway policy unless that policy embraces the whole Commonwealth. Then there is a third class of senators who. while they are prepared to concede that the Commonwealth should undertake the construction of railways if a good case can be made out - even if a line goes through only two States - contend that in the present instance the “necessity for a line has not been proved. By a conjunction of those three classes, the proposal now submitted has been defeated on former occasions. I should like honorable senators to keep firmly fixed in their minds, during the whole of this discussion, the fact that for the purpose of determining whether a railway should be constructed, this Bill will be absolutely ineffective - that until a survey has been made, and correct data placed before honorable senators as to the cost of construction-
– Does the Senate desire a survey?
– I know that the honorable senator belongs to a party which does not consider that the Commonwealth should enter upon a railway policy, and, therefore, he does not desire any data. To honorable senators who think in that way, it is idle for me to appeal; but I do appeal to those who concede that, if a goodprima facie case can be made out for the construction of a railway, the Commonwealth may fairly be asked to take the necessary steps. This proposed railway differs in many respects from railways which have been constructed in other parts of the
Commonwealth. It will pass through a tract of country which is more or less unknown - as to which we are in possession of only very meagre information - and that ignorance will very largely prevail until a survey is made. If the proposal before us be postponed for another year, we have no guarantee that we Shall then have any more information than we have to-day. If the survey is made, it will certainly place the Senate and the country in possession of data which will be of great value in enabling us to form reliable estimates as to the cost and character of the work proposed. I ask honorable senators, therefore, to consider the Bill as proposing a survey, and not the construction of a line. I am afraid that I, with others, have erred in this respect - that in speaking of the Bill I have advocated -the construction of a line rather than. merely the making of a survey.
– The honorable senator has admitted thereby that a survey involves construction.
– I never admitted that, but have always held the contrary opinion.
– A survey may furnish reasons why the railway should not be constructed.
– In advocating a survey I have, perhaps unwittingly, advocated the.construction of the line; but while I plead guilty to that crime, I think I can fairly say that those who have opposed the Bill have done so as if the expenditure involved were for construction, and not for a survey. I again appeal to honorable senators to regard this Bill as one providing for inquiry only, and not as one ^committing us to the construction of the- railway. Mr. Watson, the leader of the Labour Party, has announced himself in favour of this Bill; but he made it clear when in Western Australia that he is not yet convinced of the necessity, or prepared to vote, for the construction of the railway - that he has a perfectly open mind on that question. That, I think, is a logical position to take up. To those honorable senators who take the view that theBill pledges us to’ construction, I suggest that, in order to remove any doubt, the Bill might be amended. I am certain there is not a Western Australian senator who would object to an amendment to make it clear that the Bill does not involve construction. While I have said that we should not deal with the Bill as though it were one to enable the line to be made, still the obligation is thrown upon those who advocate the measure to show that there is a prima facie case to warrant the expenditure of the ^20,000. Both Houses have passed a vote of ,£10,000 for the purpose of inquiring into the question of wireless telegraphy, and under the circumstances I think the supporters of the Bill under consideration are entitled to hope for some favorable consideration.
– Why did the honorable senator not get the amount placed on the Estimates?
– I - I am beginning to think that if this amount had been placed on the first Commonwealth Estimates the survey would have been made by this time.
– What information is it anticipated will be obtained if the survey be made?
– First, I think that we shall get better information as to the character of the country, and also as to the probable cost of the line.
– I am afraid not the latter. .
– The engineers of the six States, when seeking material for their report, went first of all to Port Augusta, in South Australia, where they relied on statements made to them as to the engineering difficulties and so forth, in the country to the west. From ‘ Port Augusta they went to Kalgoorlie, at the other end of the proposed line, and there again they relied on information supplied as to the character of the country to the east. They had before them the report of Mr. Muir, who had made a flying survey between Kalgoorlie and Eucla, and I understand that they also had a report by Mr. Pendleton. The latter report, however, I am informed, was made up of reports from the States Lands Departments, and it dealt with the country between the South Australian border and Port Augusta. So far as regards an engineering survey dealing with culverts, drains, cuttings, ballast, and so forth, reliance had to be placed on estimates furnished, though each point is vitally important in coming to a determination as to the cost of construction. Senator Trenwith, as an old Minister of Railways, will admit that the distance which ballast has to be brought affects the cost.
– I think the amount mentioned in the Bill is altogether inadequate for a survey of any value.
– In saying that the honorable senator, perhaps, does not take into consideration the fact that a sum which might be inadequate in some of the coastal districts would be quite sufficient in such country as that which the proposed railway will cover. Those who, like myself, have been ninety miles east of Kalgoorlie, know that the country is of a very level character, and that a survey there must necessarily be cheaper than in hilly or mountainous districts, where perhaps a dozen different routes would have to be surveyed before the best could be decided upon. Travelling through Queensland, Senator Styles pointed out to me on ranges on the border several places where surveys had been made, and where in some cases after the contract had been accepted, the route was altered in order to secure an easier grade. That occurs in the case of practically every coastal line, Because generally coastal country is undulating, and in some cases hilly. The country to be traversed by this railway is practically level, and, therefore, the cost of the survey will be much less than it would be if made in a coastal district.
– That would be so but for the scarcity of water. It is not known what that may cost.
– The water supply for a survey party will not be a serious question.
– I should fancy that it . would. They might endanger their lives if. they went too far without getting water.
– With camel teams, it is possible to carry water to camps over a very great distance.
– Did not a man drive a flock of sheep right across the route?
– Starting with a family of young children, and with horses, cattle, and sheep, a man did the journey from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie without loss of stock.
– That could be done in a wet season, but a survey could not be made then.
– Honorable senators are losing sight of the fact that while the supply of surface water might be inadequate for forming a permanent reservoir to maintain locomotive traffic, there still might be an ample supply for a survey party.
– But is it not a fact that in some seasons it cannot supply enough water for a survey party?
– I do not think so.
– It is always possible to carry condensers and condense salt water.
– Even without con densing salt water, it is possible to get sufficient water for the purpose of a survey party. It must be remembered that Mr. Muir had to go out on an uncharted track. Although he had to search for water, and he found it, still from the time he left Kalgoorlie until he got to the border, he was not under the necessity to condense salt water. He was successful in getting a sufficient supply of surface water to carry the party through.
– Did not Sir John Forrest say that for a distance of 400 miles there was no water supply?
– The honorable senator knows as well as I do that on the trip to which he refers, Sir John Forrest followed the coast line, whereas Mr. Muir followed the route of the proposed railway, which at the nearest point is 60 miles distant from the ocean.
– What is the rainfall on the route which Mr. Muir followed”?
– We cannot tell, as there are no records. I am given to understand that since records have been kept at Eucla the average rainfall has been about 8 inches a year. That, however, is the only place in respect of which any records can be obtained.
– Right along the coast it is about 4 or 5 inches.
– There have been no records kept. When we get down to Israelite Bay, on our side of the coast, the rainfall averages from 10 to 12 inches, while at Esperance I understand that it is up to 16 inches. I think I have shown that we have a reasonable hope that the survey will be completed for the sum of £20,000. At any rate, the Government have stated that, acting on the advice of the engineers, they have fixed upon that amount. I assume that, if the Senate is favorable to a survey being made, it would be just as willing to vote £30,000 as ,£20,000. Therefore, the Government cannot be asking for £20,000 with the view of misleading the Senate. I think I am justified in assuming that £20,000 will be sufficient for the purpose.
– The Bill does not say that it is proposed to get an estimate of the cost, but merely a survey to discover a route. That is one objection to it.
– That is not a fair interpretation to put upon the intention of the Bill, because, so far as the discovery of the route is concerned, Mr. Muir’s work might be held to be out of the question. He is our chief railway surveyor. At a cost of less than£1,000 he made a flying survey to the border, and therefore he may be said to have surveyed that portion of the route. If what Senator Trenwith suggests is only intended, all we should need would be a survey of the route from the border to Port Augusta, at a cost of, perhaps, £2,000, or less.
– Surely a vote of £20,000 will only allow a flying survey to be made.
– No. According to the Government, the appropriation is required for the purpose of making an engineering survey - taking levels and determining the cost of construction.
– To take the levels is to make a flying survey.
– I take it that the survey will be one upon which tenders can be called.
– Does the honorable senator hope to get that by an expenditure of £20,000, when the total distance to be surveyed is 1,400 miles?
– Knowing the character of the country to be traversed, I believe that it is possible. I take it, and I feel sure that honorable senators believe, that the vote is not to include the cost of drawing up plans and specifications. What is intended to be done, I take it, is to make a field survey - to take levels and compile the data, and then from the field books and the data plans and specifications will be made out.
– The honorable senator spoke just now of a survey on which tenders could be called. That step could not be taken unless a permanent survey was made.
– Does the honorable senator think that I meant it to include the compilation of plans and specifications ?
– Tenders cannot be called for without them.
– Does the honorable senator think that the Senate would authorize a survey for the purpose of drawing up plans and specifications, when the Ministry have yet to ascertain whether the Parliament will agree to the construction of the railway? I take it that, after the data is obtained, the Engineers-in-Chief will be asked to submit an estimate of the cost, and that then the Government will ask Parliament to sanction the construction of the railway. At that stage, I suppose they will issue an instruction for plans, specifications, and conditions of tender, to be drawn up, and for tenders to be called.
– It will cost £100,000 to reach the stage of calling for tenders.
– Before that stage is reached Parliament will have to say whether the railway shall be constructed or net. Therefore, in voting for this Bill, the Senate will not be committing itself to the construction of the railway.
– How could Parliament come to a decision unless it had estimates? These could not be framed unless there had been a proper survey and plans had been prepared.
– The honorable senator seems to overlook what I said - that on the data obtained as the result of the survey estimates will be framed, I suppose by Government officers, in the ordinary course. What is done in connexion with an ordinary public work? Take for instance the construction of the forts at Fremantle. The Government obtained, through their officers, acting upon the data in their possession, an estimate of the cost, and subsequently we were asked to vote a sum which, in their opinion, would cover the cost of construction.
– An estimate based on quantities.
– In this case the estimate of cost would be based on quantities, which the results of the survey would enable the engineers to make out.
– Oh !
-The honorable senator will not expect the survey party to make out the quantities. Surely its business will be to obtain the data on which the quantities will be made out by the Public Works Department.
– How could the honorable senator inform Parliament as to what the construction of the line would cost?
– Not by the tenders, but by the estimatemade bv the Public Works Department, and based upon information which it had obtained.
– They have already framed an estimate of the cost of the survey.
– That was a very rough guess, not an estimate.
– The object of the proposed survey is to supply the Department with additional data Upon which to make a more reliable estimate. I now come to the question of whether Western Australia and South Australia should construct the railway. I believe that if the Senate could be divided on that point the consensus of opinion would be that if the_ railway is to be constructed it should be built by the Commonwealth. That, on account of its magnitude, is a task beyond the capacity of the two States to undertake. Many of the arguments which can be used in favour of the ‘project are really of a Federal and not State character. The benefit which would accrue from the construction of the railway would not be confined to the two States through whose territory it passed. I ‘ am sorry that in introducing the Bill Senator Playford raised what in my opinion was an unnecessary question and that was the standardization of the railway gauges of Australia.
– A very important question.
– Yes; and it will remain an important question if the railway is not constructed. Is it to be said that if we pass the Bill we shall be committed to the policy of standardizing the railway gauges of Australia?
– No. I did not say anything about standardizing the railway gauges. All I said was that I did not believe that South Australia would agree to this railway being made on a gauge of 4ft. 8 Jin.
– The Minister will excuse me for saying that he devoted a considerable part of ms : speech to the subject.
– I had to put before the Senate the fact that South Australia had declined to give her assent to the construction of the railway unless she was consulted as to the route.
– When the Minister says “South Australia” does he mean Mr. Jenkins ?
– No’; I mean the present Ministry.
– The Parliament of South Australia.
– It has said nothing of the sort.
– The present Premier of South Australia has, because I have his letter.
– It was also a South Australian Premier who pledged that State, not only to the survey of the line, but to its construction ; and Senator Turley, amongst others, has been most insistent in urging that the Premier does not pledge the State. If he does not pledge his State on the .question of the construction of a railway he does not pledge it upon the standard gauge. The engineers have pointed out the way in which the question of gauge can- be settled. The Minister of Defence, if he thought it necessary to raise that question, might have looked at what the Engineers-in-Chief had to say. Surely the Minister in charge of a Bill, before he raises, or meets, an objection1 to it, should have made himself familiar with what experts have said.
– Hear, hear ! but I wished the Senate to know the true position.
– Why did not the honorable senator inquire whether the authorities had shown a way out of the difficulty. As a matter of fact, the engineers do show a way out of it.
– How could they deal with it? They all approve of the 4 ft. 81 in. gauge.
– There is no trouble about the gauge. The trouble is about the desert country.
– The honorable senator is a mere echo of the Melbourne Age on that subject.
– I put forward that idea before the Age mentioned it.
– If the Minister of Defence had looked up the report of the engineers, presented by command, and ordered by the Senate to be printed in 1903, he would have found the following expression of opinion on the subject: -
We are of opinion that the standardizing of the existing main lines cannot be long delayed, and, in the meantime, the inconvenience of one change of gauge in South Australia must be put up with. We recommend in our first report the laying of a third rail to the standard gauge between Port Augusta and Terowie, so as t» enable the Transcontinental Railway trains to run right through to the South Australian and Victorian broad gauge. We have carefully reconsidered the whole subject, and are now of opinion that it will be preferable to extend the Transcontinental Railway line from Port Augusta by the most direct route to one of the nearest broad-gauge stations other than Terowie. In this way a treble purpose would be achieved; there would be only one break of gauge, the complication at Terowie station yard, where already two gauges exist, would be avoided, and a new district would be served. We think that the cost of making this extension would not be greater than that of our previous proposal, and that a saving of distance and time would result, but in order to test the accuracy of this view a survey is necessary.
– It depends upon who is going to make this line of railway.
– The passage which I have read shows that the honorable senator was raising a bogy, and that a 4 ft. 8i in. gauge could be adopted without any inconvenience to South Australia.
– Without greater inconvenience than she suffers now.
– Yes, because South Australia already has a break of gauge. There is on the statute-book of Western Australia an Act providing that on the Commonwealth Parliament sanctioning the construction of the railway, and commencing it, the Government of the State mav spend sufficient money to lay a 4 ft. 81 in. line from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle.” If the recommendations of the Engineers-in-Chief were carried out, the practical result would be this : We should carry the 4 ft. 8J in. gauge line from Fremantle to some point on the broad gauge section in the north of South Australia, and there would then be a broad gauge line from that point to Albury running through the State of South Australia and connecting with the Victorian lines. I am surprised that Senator Playford did not point out the probable effect from that point of view, because the statement which he made would appear to represent that this was an unanswerable objection to the whole scheme.
– I never intended that; but, knowing the country as I do, I do not think that South Australia would ever consent to the construction of that line.
– Mr. Price and Mr. Jenkins simply stated that, when the question came up for consideration, they would desire to be consulted as to the route and the gauge.
– It appears that we may make a survey, and that, having made it, we may be refused permission to construct the railway.
– That may be so, but there can be very little doubt that South Australia would agree to the construction of the line, provided we did not unduly interfere with her railway system.
– Provided the Commonwealth found the money.
– I am not concerned with what Senator Fraser has said by way of interjection. I may remark also that, as is usual with him, having made a statement, he has left the chamber without waiting for a reply. My answer to him is that Senator Fraser has never been in the part of the country which this railway would cover. . The gentlemen who write the leading articles for a journal upon which Senator Fraser no doubt places great reliance - the Age - have never been there, either.
– They never go more than five miles from Collins-street.
– I am much more concerned with the statements of men who have been there. I have here a report from the Engineer-in-Chief of Western Australia, Mr. John Muir, who deals with the nature of the country between Kalgoorlie and Eucla. On pages 6 and 7 he describes the country west of the South Australian border from two points 60 miles north of Eucla to Kalgoorlie. I shall read an extract from this document to show that Senator Fraser is entirely misinformed on the point. Mr. Muir was of the same opinion as Senator Fraser when he started out on his journey, but he says -
I was led to believe, prior to starting this trip, that the country to be traversed consisted almost entirely of a desert, composed of sandhills and spinifex flats. This impression proved, however, to be perfectly erroneous, unless a waterless tract of country, though well grassed and timbered, can be called a desert. For the first 100 miles from Kalgoorlie we passed through a salmon-gum forest. The timber is good and plentiful, and suitable for mining purposes. It would be impossible for me to approximate the width of this forest, but it certainly cannot be less than 50 miles wide, and for all I know to the contrary it may be considerably more. Interspersed through this forest are numerous flats covered with grass, as well as with saltbush and other fodder shrubs. The soil is of good quality, and the growth of grass and herbage luxuriant. For the next 100 miles the nature of the country varies somewhat, being comprised of alternative belts of native oak, . salmon-gum. and gimlet wood. Belts of spinifex and scrub are also crossed. At about 200 miles rolling downs of limestone formation are met with, covered with a luxuriant growth of grass, and occasionally a saltbush flat. This country is lightly timbered with myaporum, and presents a beautiful parklike appearance. Close to the coast a narrow belt of mallee runs, and further inland small belts of myall and myaporum are met with. This country is also well grassed, and saltbush and other feed bushes are plentiful. To the north, near the 3rst parallel of latitude, the country is more open. In fact, from the South Australian border, for 250 miles in a westerly direction, it is one large open plain of limestone formation, fairly well grassed throughout. Taken as a whole, this stretch ofcountry is one of the finest I have seen in Australia, and, with water - which doubtless could be obtained if properly prospected for - it is admirably adapted for grazing purposes, and will without doubt be taken up some day from end to end. Game - kangaroos, emus, and turkeys - is fairly plentiful in the vicinity of the rock-holes, and rabbits were very numerous for some thirty miles from the coast. We also saw plenty of evidence of their haying been further inland ; but the marks were old, and 1 think they must have been driven in by- a long drought to greener feed near the coast. At the time of our visit this tract of country must have been at its driest, as the settlers at Eyre and Eucla informed me that it was the worst season they had experienced for the last 20 years. From our observations, it was quite evident that there had been a long dry spell, extending over fully twelve months, I should think. Still the grass was sound and strong, growing for the most part to a height of twelve inches. Judging from the growth of grass and other vegetation on this country, it is very evident that there must be good falls of rain over it at irregular intervals ; but the ground is so porous that the rain, as soon as it falls, percolates thrugh the limestone. In Appendix C, attached, is a list of the grasses and various specimens of saltbush collected, which have been classified, since my return, by the Government Botanist. Appendix F is printed from a set of photographs taken at various places along the route, and, as far as possible, they are indicative of the principal features of the country.
In regard to photographs, no doubt honorable senators have received a copy of the Australasian Traveller, to which Senator Smith has contributed an article on the proposed railway. He has illustrated that valuable article with a number of photographs taken along the route by Mr. Muir. I ask honorable senators who know the Australian bush to look at them, and then say whether they are pictures of a desert country.
– Every honorable senator ought to read the article.
– Every honorable senator ought particularly to look at the photographs. Mr. Muir’s report was written in 1901-2, at the close of the very long drought that afflicted the whole of Australia, including the interior. Since then I have had an opportunity to meet men who have actually been over the country1 in question at a more favorable time. They told me that during the whole time they were travelling in that country they never had any difficulties with regard to water, and that thev kept their horses rolling fat, because of the luxuriant feed to be found there.
– Mr. Halford, who took his family and his stock with him, went across in 1902.
– I have received from Western Australia a box of specimens of different kinds of grasses which grow in this part of the country. I have had them in the club-room of the Senate, where some honorable senators have see? them. ‘Thev were sent to me by a man who obtained them from a prospector who has travelled hundreds of miles in this part of Australia, and who sent them down, requesting that thev should be forwarded to me. I will read a statement which appeared in a Western Australian newspaper upon the subject -
Mr. W. R. Williams, of Nicholson road, Subiaco, has submitted to the Agricultural Department samples of three grasses said to be growing luxuriantly in the district 70 miles east from Kalgoorlie. One of these grasses attains a height of over 2^ feet, while the others, although shorter, are of a finer nature. According to the teamsters who occasionally visit the district, all three make excellent fodder, entirely obviating the necessity for carrying feed on the waggon. Unfortunately, the samples, collected as they were a short time ago by Mr. Norman, of Randell’s State battery, are carrying neither flowers nor seeds, and this omission has served to preclude any positive identification by the departmental experts. However, Mr. Despeissis is taking steps to have further specimens collected at a more appropriate season. The soil attaching to the roots of the samples submitted is of a dark red, loamy nature, and is declared by Mr. Despeissis to be rich enough .to grow anything. Seventy miles east of Kalgoorlie, it might be mentioned, is. directly on the proposed route of the trans-Australian railway, and with a view to correcting one at least of the misapprehensions existing in the Eastern States with regard to the class of country to be traversed by the line, Mr. Williams has determined to send samples of these grasses to Mr. G. F. Pearce, in Melbourne.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2 -p.m.
– I am sorry that, so far as the opponents of the Bill are concerned, I am able at present to address only two of them. I suppose that the others are holding a caucus meeting. There are possibilities of mineral development on the South Australian and the Western Australian side of the border. On the South Australian side of the border there are deposits of copper at Mount Gunson, which I am informed are of considerable value, but which, owing to their distance from Port Augusta and the nature of the road, are not payable under existing conditions. Those deposits could, however, be worked and made payable with the advantage of railway communication, and they would be on the route of this railway if it were taken via Tarcoola. Then we have to consider the goldfields of Tarcoola, on the South Australian side of the border, 280 miles westward from Port Augusta. These gold-fields are slowly developing, and I am informed that one of the mines at Tarcoola employs over 400 men. There has been some considerable development at this place, and it is our experience in Western Australia that after a new gold-field reaches a certain stage of development its progress is arrested until it is given railway communication. Railway communication cheapens machinery, enables the mines to be supplied with better equipment, lessens the cost of living, and in every way reduces the cost of gold production. This is proved in Western Australia by the fact that the cost of the production of gold in districts having the advantage of railway communication is very much lower than in districts which have not that advantage. I venture to saythat there would be a very much greater development of the Tarcoola fields if they were connected with the railway. This would feed the proposed line, and railway communication with the place would very possibly lead to the opening up of other auriferous areas, which at present have not been discovered. Prospectors in Western Australia have made the railway terminus their base of supplies. They have worked out from there in every direction, and have thus been enabled to cover a great area of country which would have remained unprospected but for the extension of the railway. Given this proposed railway, we have mood grounds for believing that there would be considerable mineral development on the South Australian side of the border, which would assist to make the line a payable proposition. On the Western Australian side Mr. Muir reports with respect to the country on the route from Kalgoorlie to Goddard’s Creek, 130 miles east -
The most irregular formation of the country occurs between the commencing point and Goddard’s Creek, consisting of low diorite and ironstone ridges, with outcrops of granite, sandstone, and quartz. This portion of the country is distinctly auriferous, and quartz outcrops show in many places.
That is to say, practically, that the mineral belt in which the Golden Mile, the’ richest gold-field in the world, is situated, extends for 130 miles east on the route of the proposed railway. When we consider the development which has taken place in Western Australia within the last twelve years as the result of the discovery of gold in that State, it will be admitted that it is impossible to estimate the immense possibilities which lie in that country 130 miles east of Kalgoorlie. The Premier of Western Australia has agreed that on the passing of this Bill and the despatch of a survey party, the Government of the State, at their own expense, will equip a prospecting party for the purpose of prospecting the country on either side of the route chosen. I have no doubt that the South Australian Government would be prepared to do the same. Every find of any consequence on the route which would lead to the development of the country must be a gain to the whole of the Commonwealth, and must render the line more likely to pay. As to the value of the country on the South Australian side for pastoral purposes, I say nothing, because I have no information on that point before me. But we have every reason to believe that, given railway communication, there will be great pastoral development on the Western Australian side. On the South Australian side, given’ railway communication, there is no doubt that there will be considerable mineral development, and there will also be mineral development on the Western Australian side. I remind honorable senators that Major-General Hutton and Major-General Bevan-Edwards, both very high authorities, have said that for the adequate defence of Western Australia it is necessary that this railway should be constructed. That is a consideration which no Federalist can afford to overlook. Every member of the Federal Parliament, from whatever State he comes, must regard the opinion of those authorities as carrying considerable weight. We know that only quite recently the Com- monwealth, in order to secure a more expeditious delivery of mails, increased the high subsidv previously given, in order to secure a gain of two days in the time occupied in the service. It has been estimated that if the proposed line were constructed on the 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge, our mails could be landed in Melbourne by means of the railway two days earlier than if they were taken by sea. I cannot for the life of me understand why honorable senators who have agreed to largely increase the subsidy paid for a steam-ship service that would reduce the time occupied in the delivery of our mails, should regard as preposterous a proposal to construct a railway which would lead to a further reduction in the time occupied, and which experts say would be a paying concern in ten years. Honorable senators fail also to recognise that this railway would be the property of the people. Whilst they are prepared to vote a large sum of money as a subsidy to a private company for a more expeditious mail service, they are not prepared to vote for the expenditure of a small sum of money, even for an inquiry into the construction of a State-owned railway on the working of which it is possible that for a time there might be a loss. The objection is taken that before we pass this Bill, we should secure the consent of South Australia. I contend that we have the consent of South Australia.
– No. no.
– When Senator Playford said that Mr. Jenkins had stipulated that the gauge of the railway should be 3 ft. 6 in., Senator Dobson cheered the statement, on the ground that Mr. Jenkins spoke for the people of South Australia. If he was speaking for the people of South Australia when he made that stipulation, he was also speaking for them when he said that he had no objection to the survey of the line.
– But the people of South Australia reserve their right to decide whether they will approve of the construction of the line after the survey is made.
– South Australians have never said that they object to the survey.
– That is so. The people of South Australia have a perfect right to say that after the survey is made they must be consulted as to the construc tion of the line. It will go through their State, and they have a right to claim some voice in the matter. They will have to hand over the land to the Commonwealth, and it is possible that the course adopted in the construction of the line might, to some extent, disarrange or interfere with their railway system.
– The honorable senator admits that there is a possibility that South Australia may refuse to permit the construction of the line after the survey is made?
– That, undoubtedly, is possible. I quite recognise that. But I do not believe that any State in the Commonwealth would take up such an unreasonable position without some justifiable ground affecting the interests of the State. Neither do I believe that the Commonwealth would insist on carrying out the railway under such conditions as would justify objection on the part of a State.
– Is not the honorable senator very inconsistent? Western Australia has undertaken to guarantee a proportion of the loss for ten years after the construction of the line, on the condition that the Commonwealth fixes the route and gauge. Is that not so?
SenatorPEARCE. - I believe it is, and I shall come to that presently. If South Australia, at this juncture, were to consent unconditionally to the Federal authorities undertaking this work, they might ignore the existing State railways of South Australia, and carry the line across from Broken Hill. I say that the Premier of South Australia has a perfect right to safeguard the interests of his State, and to say, “ We are willing that the proposed survey should be made in order that we may be supplied with accurate data. But when you have determined on the route we must be permitted to say whether we will consent to the construction of the line.” It is not reasonable to ask the people of South Australia to consent to the construction of the line until they know what route it is proposed to adopt. South Australia has no more right than has any other State in the Commonwealth to refuse to allow the survey to be undertaken in order that reliable data mav be supplied. That is a matter which affects everv State equallv, because each will be liable, on a population basis, for the amount involved. But there js one respect in which the position of South Australia differs from that of the other
States, with the exception of Western Australia, and that is that she has already a railway system, and she is entitled to demand to be heard should the construction of the line, as eventually proposed, interfere with that system. South Australia has no. objection to the proposed survey.
– So long as we pay for it.
– It is a Common.wealth matter, and the people of South Australia will pay their share of the cost.
– Yes, about 9 per cent, of the total cost.
– They will pay the same amount per head as the people of the other States. The actual position which South Australia occupies in the matter will be found stated in the correspondence, printed in Parliamentary Papers, dated 19th and 20th May, 1904. I need not read the correspondence, but it is sufficient to say that it shows that South Australia refuses, at the present time, to say whether she will or will not agree to the construction of the line. On the other hand, South Australia has made it abundantly clear that she will consent to a survey, and that the Federal Government may proceed with that work of inquiry whenever it mav think fit. As to the position of Western Australia, I have here a copy of a telegram from the then Prime Minister (Mr. Watson) to the then Premier of the State (Mr/ James) on the 6th May, 1904, as follows: -
Re Western Australian Railway. Representations made to me. feeling of members Federal Parliament towards proposal favours belief that opposition would be materially lessened if your Government indicate willingness contribute stated proportion of loss, if any, during the first ten years. As matter under consideration of Cabinet, early reply desired.
To that the Premier of Western Australia replied : -
On condition that Commonwealth is allowed a free hand as to route and gauge of railway, this State will be prepared for ten years after line constructed to bear a share of any loss in excess of our contribution on a population basis. It would be premature to fix exact proportion we are prepared to pay at this stage, but I am confident that it will be liberal, and satisfy the Federal Parliament of our sincerity in this connexion, and our belief that the work will soon be a directly paying one.
During my recent visit to Western Australia I spoke to the present Premier, and asked him to let me have an indication of his views on this proposal ; and after my return I received the following telegram: -
Re guarantee, my Government agrees indorse Mr. James’ telegram to Mr. Watson, dated eighteenth May One nine nought four. - Newton Moore, Premier.
The position in regard to Western Autralia is that that State is prepared to construct the railway from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle on the 4 ft. 8J in. gauge; and to send a prospector out with the survey party at the expense of the State; and has agreed further, by resolution of Parliament, to reserve the land for 25 miles on either side of the railway, and to bear a portion of the loss, if any, after construction, in addition to her -per capita share. South Australia is prepared to allow the survey_ to be made at any time, and asks that after it has been made, and proposals for the construction of the line are submitted, she shall be consulted as to the route. From a Western Australian point of view there can be no objection to the survey, and I ask what objection there can possibly be on behalf of South’ Australia? The Commonwealth has the constitutional right to make a survey, and we have the consent of the State to make it, and it is admitted that we ought to have more data before proceeding with the construction. I cannot, for the life of me, see any reason to doubt that Western Australia and South Australia will be prepared to consent to the construction of th<line, provided that the States railway systems are not in any way prejudiced. What object could South Australia have in refusing consent to the construction of this railway? Honorable senators seem to talk in a circle”. On the one hand, they assert thai South Australia will not consent to the construction of the line, and, on the otherhand, they contend that the two States which will benefit from the line ought to bear the cost of construction. If there i? to be any benefit, we may presume that the consent of the States will not be withdrawn; and the two arguments seem to be mutually destructive. Objections have been raised regarding- the water supply, and I should like to draw the attention of honorable senators to a report by Mr. A. C. Castella, who conducted boring operations along the route. In that report Mr. Castella states: -
Boring for water at site No. 2, 60 miles from the coast, and 30 north of Madura, 7th September, 1902, and water was struck at a depth of 411 feet on 19th December, 1902, the total depth cored being 430 feet. The water here was excellent stock water, and even fit for human consumption. This bore has since been equipped with a pump, boiler, and engine, and a large Metters storage-tank.
Mr. Castella speaks in that report of several other places where water has been conserved. I now want honorable senators to realize what the feeling is in Western Australia on this question. I ask them to look at the position from a Western Australian point of view. It mav be denied that any promise was made to Western Australia that this railway would be one of the earliest Federal works to be undertaken ; but it cannot be denied that leading politicians, some of whom have held the position of Prime Minister, and all of whom have taken prominent part in the public life of » South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales, declared in their pre-Federal speeches, which were of a broadly Australian character, that if Western Australia became an original State of the Union, this railway would be one of the first works constructed under the Commonwealth. Amongst many others I myself used those speeches as a text on which to urge the people of Western Australia to enter the Union. On the other hand, the anti-Federalists urged as an argument against Federation that Western Australia was precisely in a similar position to that of New Zealand - that while New Zealand was isolated by water, Western Australia was isolated by land - and that without an Inter-State railway the Union would be of no advantage to the Western State. Then, I ask honorable senators to look at the matter from the point of view of the Fold-fields population of Western Australia, which consists almost entirely of people from the Eastern States. I do not think that 5 per cent, of the gold-fields population are Western Australian bv birth, or bv very long residence; and, at the time Federation was being urged, .the whole of the population consisted of Eastern men, many of whom had left their families in the East. Under the circumstances, the strongest instincts of humanity prompted those men to desire a real Federal Union with the Eastern States ; and the strongest card that could be played during the Federal elections was the hope of Inter-State railway communication. It was said that thousands of men and women in Western Australia voted for Federation in the belief that in doing so they were making possible the early consummation of this railway project.
– Ninetyseven per cent, of the gold-fields people who voted were in favour of Federation.
– That is, they were anxious for some one else to do their work.
– They were mostly Victorians, so that the honorable senator is running down his own fellow countrymen.
– Federation is now accomplished, and the first proposal is not for a construction of a line, but merely for a survey. It was only after three years of the Commonwealth that such a proposal was submitted, although it had been on the Government business-paper, and had been made a subject for the platform. When the Bill did come before us at the close of a Parliament, it met with an unfortunate fate at the hands of Senator Dobson, who continued his speech until the Governor-General appeared. I ask honorable senators to conceive what effect that kind of treatment has had on the minds of the people 6? Western Australia who are, I venture to say, the most Federal, because they are the most cosmopolitan population in Australia. In Queensland and other older States, most of the population have been born or brought up there, whereas in Western Australia the population, when the rush of the “ t’othersiders “ began amounted to only 45,000. In less than fourteen years the population of Western Australia has increased to over 250,000, and those people naturally have a kindly feeling towards the Eastern States, where their associations still are. I repeat that in Western Australia there has always been the strongest Federal feeling in regard to the Eastern States; but, as the result of the scant courtesy paid to their claims for inquiry into the railway matter, there has grown up a very strong anti-Federal feeling. I regret to have to make that statement, because I am as strong a Federalist to-day as when I first stepped on to the platform in- Western Australia to advocate the Union. I shall now quote with regret statements made on the floor of the “State Parliament of Western Australia, when a morion in favour of secession was submitted. These quotations will indicate that in the minds of all parties there is an ill-feeling growing, and the principal grievance is that the Federal Parliament has refused even to inquire into the merits of the proposed railway. Mr. F. C.
– He is- the secession- “ monger”?
– Yes. I do not indorse’ Mr.’ Monger’s action, but I shall quote from his utterances, and from those of members in each of the two parties in the State Parliament, to show that when this motion was submitted there was a great feeling of dissatisfaction prevailing. On the 1st August, 1906, Mr. Monger used the following words ; and the sting lies in the fact that his statements cannot be denied : -
We all remember, and some of us took an active part in, the agitation on the gold-fields in favour of Federation. On the gold-fields cheap living and a railway connecting with the East were the principal inducements held out. The railway we have not got, nor do we seem likely to secure it in the present generation, seeing that a beggarly ^20,000 for a trial survey is begrudged us by our taskmasters in the East, for the very railway which they made a condition precedent to our joining the Federation six years ago.
I know that Mr. Monger is mistaken when he says that the construction of this railway was made a condition precedent to Federation.
– That mistake is general in Western Australia.
– I do not think that there could be found in the State Parliament another man who has made the same mistake. If Mr. Monger had said that the construction of the railway was held out as an inducement to Western Australia to join the Union, he would have been, quite correct. Mr. Monger went on to say -
Hut we must remember that the bulk of the people in those days were single and married men, whose families were not at that period able to bear the so-called privations of the fields and the high cost of living. Consequently the families remained in their Eastern homes, and also consequently the husbands and fathers on the fields were fettered by double ties of sentiment to the East, in which their kin resided. Anything that would bring them in touch with the East appealed to them, and the railway was the bait that was held out. It was definitely promised by the leaders of the sister States. Regarding that promise as sacred and binding, those settlers on the fields were duped into voting for Federation, which was to cheapen living and connect them with the East. Those enthusiasts, however, have been bitterly deluded. The railway they have not, and never will have unless we build it ourselves.
Again, Mr. Monger said -
And they recognise that in entering Federation they were completely hoodwinked. The promise which chiefly appealed to their sentiment was the speedy construction of the railway - a work solemnly promised by East Australia’s most prominent men. Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis (the times change, and we change with them). The goldfielders have waited impatiently for years for the fulfilment of the promised railway, and now when they ask for the redemption of the promise they are told in effect, “We only promised you the railway to get you into our bazaar, but now that you are in you have got to stop and take your chance.” But they are asking, “Have we got to stay in? and if so, why so? Why should we be content with the doubtful promise of a survey to cost ^20,000, instead of those gleaming bands of steel that were to bind us together.”
Mr. Gull, who followed Mr. Monger, is a Government supporter. Speaking of the attitude of South Austraiian politicians who, prior to Federation, had held out an inducement to Western Australia, he said -
Their attitude since Federation has been a complete reversal. There has been an utter disregard of their pedged word that induced us to join ; and to their shame be it said that they have’ taken up such a position. Since Federation, Western Australia has been so whole-souled to have the whole of Federated Australia brought together as much as possible that this State absolutely guaranteed to the Federal Government the cost of the interest on the construction of the railway.
Of course, that statement was not quite correct.
That was taking a huge contract on our shoulders. Personally, viewing the matter dispassionately, I think Mr. James was placing a large burden on the shoulders of the people in giving such a guarantee. However, whether we were justified in doing so or not, Parliament determined it, and was satisfied that Western Australia should guarantee to the Federal Government the .loss that might accrue on the railway ; not for one year only, but for to years. What do we find after that? We could not even get a paltry survey, costing ^20,000 odd, through the Federal Parliament, especially through the Senate.
– These are absolute misrepresentations which have created the feeling of dissatisfaction in Western Australia.
- Mr. Gull made a mistake as to the amount of the guarantee.
– Is not that a most important thing?
– I can assure the honorable senator that the dissatisfaction is not with regard to the promise of the guarantee, but with the action of the honorable senator and others in refusing to even allow a Railway Survey Bill to be passed. Although the Premier, Mr. Moore, was an anti-Federalist prior to Federation, he took up the attitude that the Constitution should be held inviolable, and declared that he would oppose any movement for secession. He said -
It is questionable whether the present is an opportune time to raise such a question as we are discussing to-night, while we are endeavouring through our representatives in the Federal House of Parliament to secure the passage of a measure to provide a sum of£20,000 to make a railway survey between Port Augusta in South Australia and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.
Then dealing with the point of view of South Australia, he said -
Naturally the Government of South Australia are not going to commit themselves until they have that information. I maintain that we are now in a better position as regards the prospects of getting the railway than ever before. The Bill has passed the second reading in the House of Representatives by 29 votes to 11, and we have every reason to hope that there is a prospect of its passing the Senate. No effort will be wanting on the part of the Government of Western Australia to do all possible to assist in procuring all information in regard to the construction of this railway. We have already informed our representatives in the Federal House of Parliament that the Government are prepared to subsidize . 1 prospecting party to make every inquiry as to the mineral possibilities on either side of the railway. The party will accompany the survey expedition which we have to see launched as soon as this measure is through the Federal House.
Right through his speech he deprecated the carrying of the motion. On page 742 he said -
We entered into union with the other States with a feeling and an assurance that the union would be a real one, and that steps would be taken to complete the Federation of Australia, and that as far as Western Australia was concerned that Federation would mean Federation, and not as it is at present, isolation. We can and we do appeal for justice in this matter. We realize that most of those members of the Federal Parliament who have visited Western Australia have returned to the Eastern States fully convinced that we are deserving of every measure of justice ; and as far as the principal object we have in view at the present time in Federal matters is concerned, namely the construction of the Union Railway, they realize the measure of justice that will alone satisfy the people of this State, comprising as it does an area amounting to 690,000,000 acres, or one-third of the Commonwealth, that the measure of equity that will alone satisfy them will not be complete until the material links of steel will furnish the real and lasting bonds of Federation; until weak sentiment is backed up by strong deeds, and the ties of affection are strenghthened by iron bands. As indicated in my few remarks, I shall vote against the motion ; in the first instance because I think it is inopportune, and in the second place because if carried I. think it is impracticable.
Here we have the statement of a man who is not carried away by any strong antiFederal feeling. Although he was an antiFederalist prior to Federation, he is now against the movement for secession, but he recognises that in this matter Western Australia has not received the treatment which it had a right to expect. Mr. Walker, a member of the Labour Party, and, therefore, a member of the Opposition, in that State, said -
Having that tract of desert or the Bight between gives us an isolation which separates us from the East. We are by geography absolutely separated from the East. We cannot, with that separation, obtain that sympathy with which this State should be governed. We see in every debate that takes place in the Federal Parliament the localism that exists there. We see an antiFederal spirit displayed there. We see how every senator and every member of the House of Representatives fights for his particular State in the East. There are still the same old jealousies between Victoria and New South Wales; and in those fights this State is absolutely forgotten. We might as well be away in Timbuctoo or some other unearthly place as where we are. We are not worthy of consideration.
– H - He recognises that the efforts of the representatives of the State have been unsuccessful.
- Mr. Walker is not dealing with our doings or misdoings, but with the want of success which has attended our efforts.
– He had no right to say that we are all againstthe proposal.
– Of course that was rather a sweeping statement for him to make. In quoting the statements, I do not indorse them. I only quote them to show that in the State there does exist a strong feeling that it has not been treated properly by the Federation. I ask honorable senators to bear in mind that the construction of the railway was the only advantage which Western Australia expected to derive from the Federation.
– And the Tariff.
– Every protectionist from Western Australia will grant, I think-, that hebelieved that the imposition of a higher Tariff would mean the establishment of additional factories in the more highly developed States rather than in Western Australia, and that has been the effect. To Western
Australia the Federal Tariff meant an increased Tariff. In the case of many manufacturers it meant a considerable increase upon the old State Tariff. The result of its imposition has not been the establishment of manufactories in the State. For instance, the Statistical Register shows that the boot factories have practically remained stationary, if they have not decreased, because the Inter-State barrier has been gradually removed, and our boot manufacturers have been subject to the competition of older factories with a larger home market. The position is exactly the same in Tasmania. Western Australia had nothing to hope for from the Tariff. The most which could happen to her would be that she might suffer from the competition of the Eastern States. So far .as any benefit has accrued to Australia from the Tariff it has not been shared by the manufacturers of Western ‘Australia. I cannot think’ of any benefits in which that State has had a very large share. I am prepared to admit, however, that since the adoption of the per capita system, Western Australia has received more than her share of the public expenditure. But it must be remembered that she never made any request for the alteration, which Sir George Turner brought about on his own initiative, because in his opinion the old system was unconstitutional. I ask honorable senators to look at the question .as it affects Western Australia, of course not losing sight of their duty to their own States, and to recognise that there is some justification even for the extravagant statements made by the members of the State Parliament, and that such statements represent to a very large extent the trend of public opinion there. I feel sure that my honorable friends do not desire that feeling to continue to exist. I do not put that forward as a reason why they should blindly vote for the second reading of the Bill ; but I would urge that, if they can see that a prima facie case has been made out for its passage, and for the expenditure of this, comparatively speaking, small sum of £20,000. especially when they recall the sums which have been voted, and which are being proposed, for expenditure throughout Australia, they will recognise that we have, at any rate, a reasonable ground to expect that on this, practically the third time of asking, in the sixth year of our Federal life, the people of Western Australia shall be given a little encouragement to believe that the Federal Parliament is disposed, at least, to sanction an inquiry as to the probable cost of the railway. It is in that spirit that I invite honorable senators to discuss the Bill, and to support its passage.
– - I cannot help admiring the temperate and exceedingly fair manner in which Senator Pearce has put ‘the case for Western Australia on this, the third time of asking. The Bill is quite an old friend. It is now presented to us for the third time. Nothing which either the Minister or Senator Pearce has said has altered the opinion which I held on the two preceding occasions when we were asked to give a vote on this question. Nothing which they have said has convinced me that it would be just, in the interests of the State I represent, to give my assent to this Bill. Senator Pearce has spoken of the sentimental feeling which has been engendered in the people of Western Australia by the action which this Parliament has taken. I can sympathize with the honorable senator and his colleagues, because, when I visited the State twelve months ago, the feeling was very strong indeed. I should think that it is equally as strong to-day. On the occasion of my visit the members of the Federal Parliament attended a smoke social in the biggest hall in Perth, and member after member, in responding to the toast of the visitors, having expressed himself as being in favour of the survey of the railway, I ventured to stand up and express a different view - bearding the lion in his den, so to speak - and I can assure honorable senators that I did not get a cordial reception. I can well understand, therefore, that the feeling in Western Australia is quite as strong as Senator Pearce has represented it to be. But while I admill that it is a .pity that the Federal spirit which we wish to see grow up in this country should not exist, and while I admit that the Western Australian people think that they have good ground for the feeling which they entertain, I must ask Senator Pearce and his colleagues from Western Australia to remember that in some of the other States consequences which have been brought about by Federation have occasioned a certain amount of un-Federal feeling. I regret that such a feeling exists in my own State just as Senator Pearce regrets that it exists in Western Australia. He has quoted what has been said by certain members of the State Parliament. If I chose to detain the Senate, I could make similar quotations from Tasmanian public men and journals showing that, in the opinion of the people responsible for them, Tasmania has not been treated in a truly Federal manner. I am not now saying whether that is really so or not, but am alluding to statements made to that effect, to show that a grievance does exist against the Federation in other States than Western Australia. As to some of the members of the. Western Australian State Parliament talking secession, I mav remark that that ugly word has also been mentioned in Tasmania. In my State it is attributable to the very serious disarrangement of the finances occasioned by Federation, and to the increased financial troubles thrown upon the Treasurer. The people say - and I think with a fair show of reason - that they are paying interest on a public debt of some £9,000,000, more than one-third of which was incurred for the building of State railways. Can honorable senators wonder that the taxpayers of Tasmania view with alarm a proposal to construct a railway to connect the two States, which the proposed line would pass through, costing £5,000,000? Because, although it is true that we are merely asked to pass a Survey Bill appropriating £20,000, we must, as reasonable men, fake it that that expenditure would, if sanctioned, merely be preliminary to the construction of the contemplated line. Can we wonder, then, that people of the State from which I come are very much disturbed at the idea that they will have to contribute their proportion to the cost of this railway, which, they maintain t rightly or wrongly, is for the primary benefit of two States. While admitting that, in a Federal sense, it would confer benefit upon the rest of Australia by permitting the more rapid transit of mails, and the more convenient carriage of passengers, still they hold, and with reason, that the great benefit from the line would be conferred upon two States only. So strong is that feeling in Tasmania that we actually have the spectacle of a gentleman, who is standing as a candidate for the Senate at the forthcoming election, making one of his election cries his opposition to this proposal. I allude to Mr. Norman K. Ewing, who occupied a seat in this Chamber as a Western Australian senator three years ago. At that time, as honorable senators are aware, he was one of the strongest advocates for the construction of the line.
But, having settled himself down in Tasmania, he is now one of its bitterest opponents.
– He was also at one time a protectionist, but now he is a freetrader.
– I b I believe that he was also at one time a land-taxer, though he is now strongly opposed to land taxation. While I admit that this tendency to be a political Jump Jim Crow may be a family failing, and while it may be a failing of lawyers of a certain class to jump down on that side of the fence which appears to suit them best, still the fact that four or five years ago, this gentleman stood on the floor of the Senate, and advocated the railway, whilst to-day he is stumping Tasmania in opposition to it, naturally has its effect upon the minds of the people. Mr. Ewing has urged that, even from the Western Australian point of view, it would Le suicidal to connect the eastern States by rail with Western Australian markets, that it would mean that the miners, who at present spend tens of thousands of pounds in Western Australia would spend their money in taking trips to the eastern States. Of course, I should not for a moment think of taking the word of this geographical politician, as I must describe him, as against that of Senator Pearce and other Western Australian representatives in this Parliament as to the feeling which exists in that State.
– Would Tasmania return any one to this Parliament who supported the Bill?
– I d I do not think that Tasmania would make it so vital as either to return or defeat a candidate on this issue alone. Other matters have also to Le considered. I should hope that my State would .not do such a thing as that.
– Mr. Ewing is steering clear of that rock anyhow.
– J - Just so. While I do not desire to detain the Senate at length, it is only fair to my State to quote a few facts which I find in Coghlan’s Statistical Record of the Rail ways, of Australia. I find that in New South Wales there are 3,280 miles of railway which were built at an average cost of £12,800 per mile. In Victoria, there are 3,381 miles, constructed at an .average cost of £12,191 per mile. In Queensland, there are 2.028 miles, constructed at an average cost of £7,034. In South Australia, there are 1,736 miles, constructed at an average cost of £7,785. In the Northern Territory, the figures for which are given separately, there are 145 miles of railway, constructed at an average cost of £4,057 per mile. Tasmania has constructed 461 miles at an average cost of £8,411 per mile. Now mark the difference. Western Australia has constructed 1,541 miles of railway, at an average cost of only £5,812, and in this respect stands in a better position than any other State in the Commonwealth. May not those States which have built their own railways legitimately, argue that Western Australia should build such lines as she requires? I admit that there is some ground for saying that the proposed line is not on all fours with the States railways, but still the people of the States who are not willing that their money shall be spent upon this line are naturally inclined to use the argument which I have mentioned. Now let us come to the question of revenue and expenditure. I find that in Western Australia, the railways pay better than do those of any other State in the Union. For the last five or six years, every State in Australia, with the exception of Western Australia, has lost money on its railways - that is, to say, taking into account the working cost and the interest charges.
– Is the honorable senator referring to trunk lines or branches?
– I - I am referring to both trunk and branch lines. In 1898-9 New South Wales and Western Australia derived a profit over working expenses on their railways. In the year ended June, 1900, South Australia and Western Australia showed a profit on working expenses. In 1901, New South Wales and Western Australia made a profit. For the veau ending 1902, 1903, and 1904, the Western Australian lines paid working expenses and interest on the cost of construction, and left a slight margin of profit. A reference to Coghlan’s Railway Statistics shows that for the five years ending in 100? Western Australia-was the only State which showed a profit on her railways after paying working expenses and interest. Looking at the question in that way, the people of the other States naturally ask why they should contribute to the cost of building the proposed railway, when Western Australia appears to be in an exceptionally good position to supply her own requirements, in this respect. The public debt of Australia is £131,930,000, and 57.96, or we may say 58 per cent, of that debt was incurred for the building of railways. I refer honorable senators to page 574 of Coghlan’s Railway Statistics. It will be seen that in 1900 New South Wales made a net loss - allowing for interest and working expenses - of .14 per cent. Victoria made a loss of slightly over x per cent.; Queensland, 1.35 per cent.; South Australia also made a loss ; Northern Territory, a loss of 4.86 per cent. ; Western Australia, a profit of 2.29 per cent, over and above working cost and interest on construction ; and Tasmania, a loss of 2.59 per cent. I need not read the figures for all the States, but -it is sufficient to say that, taking the next four years, Western Australia made a profit over and above working expenses and interest on cost of construction of .83 per cent, in 1901 ; .07 per cent, in 1902; .27 per cent, in 1903; and 1.07 in 1904. South Australia in one year, and New South Wales in another, made a slight profit, but during those years, with those exceptions, all the other States made a loss on their railways, taking working expenses and cost of construction into account. Coghlan points out that -
In establishing the financial results of the working of the lines, it is the practice of the railway authorities to compare the nett returns with the nominal rate of interest payable on the railway loans outstanding, ignoring the fact that many loans were floated below par, and that the nominal is not the actual rate of interest. A true comparison, of course, is afforded by taking the Tate of interest payable on the actual sum obtained by the State for its outstanding loans. On this basis the only State which shows out advantageously during the year ended 30th June, 1904, was Western Australia.
Then he goes on to give the figures I have quoted for the other States. My point is that it is unfair to ask the other States at this juncture to commit themselves to an expenditure of £5,000,000 for the construction of this line, for that is what it means. I have already said publicly in my own State, and I repeat the statement here, that a more reasonable proposition, and one more likely to be acquiesced in by the other States, would be for South Australia and Western Australia to join in defraying the cost of the proposed survey. It is estimated to cost £20,000, but if it should cost £40,000 or £50,000, as some persons have said it will, those States should have no difficulty in agreeing to the proportion of that amount which each should pay- Then if, as the result of the information derived from the survey, they could show that there was some justification for believing that the railway would about pay working expenses, or at least that its maintenance would not involve a very heavy loss, they might have some reason to come to the Federal Parliament to finance them for the actual construction of the line. It seems to me to be an unFederal thing for Western Australia to ask the Commonwealth, as a whole, to bear the comparatively trifling cost of the proposed survey. I believe that it is likely that one of the difficulties which has delayed the passage of this measure in the past, namely, the unwillingness of South Australia to meet the views of Western Australia in the matter will shortly be removed. It is very probable that the present Government of South Australia will agree to fall in with the views of the Western Australian Government. But I believe they should go further and should agree to bear the cost of this survey. Senator Pearce dealt with the sentimental aspect of the question. He tried to show that Western Australia has not received from the Federation any benefits commensurate with the sacrifices she has been called upon to make. That contention might be urged on behalf of their State by honorable senators representing every State in the Federation. In view of the methods at present adopted, for the distribution of revenue and t’he allocation of new expenditure, I could not, in justice to the State I represent, vote for this Bill. I should like to do so if I could feel justified in so doing. I was delighted with what I saw of Western Australia, and with the treatment accorded to Federal members who visited . the State. But I say, as I said at a large gathering 1 in Perth, that it would not be fair to my own State, in view of the money she has spent in the construction of her own railways to ask her to share in the financial burden which, according to -the information we have at the present time, would be incurred by the construction of this line. If honorable senators representing Western Australia would, on behalf of their State, consent to a per capita distribution of revenue as well as of new expenditure, I have little doubt that honorable senators representing other States would view this proposal in a manner far more pleasing to Western Austraia. Whilst the present
system of distributing revenue is maintained, it is, in my opinion, un-Federal of Western Australia and South Australia to ask Tasmania and Queensland to share with them the cost of constructing this railway. Senator Pearce has told us that true Federation will never be achieved until we have this ribbon of steel connecting the West with the East, but I think it. would be better that we should first of all have .something like a true Federation ir* the matter of finance.
– Tasmania is getting; off very well.
– Wha What nonsense ! I am not blaming Senator Playford for the fact that Tasmania is not getting off very well, but it is absurd to say that that State is getting off very well in the matter of revenue.
– By the fer capita basis of expenditure Tasmania is getting this year £10,000 more than she would be justly entitled to under the other system.
– Whi While that may be so, the boot was on the other foot for some years, and it is time that Tasmania got some little consideration in that respect. No doubt we have suffered as one of the inevitable results of Federation. The operations of the older established factories of the larger States under Inter-State freetrade, have had the effect of destroying or injuring the smaller factories of Tasmania. That could not be avoided. Although we have in Tasmania collected a very much smaller revenue from Customs than we did before Federation, there are many in that State who maintain that they are not getting their goods any more cheaply. It is contended that the difference between £450,000, the amount which we used to collect from Customs before Federation, and £260,000, the amount collected under the Commonwealth Tariff, does not remain in the pockets o’f the people of Tasmania, but goes into the pockets of manufacturers in the other States.
– The Tasmanian people are getting their tea and kerosene free.
– Tha That is beside the argument, but I may say that nine-tenths of our householders declare that they are to-day paying the same price for tea as they did before the duty on that article was removed. If that could be proved, I should be prepared to vote for the reimposition of the duty to-morrow. I have, to some extent, been led off the track by the irrelevant interjections of the Minister. If we vote the £20,000 asked for this survey, we shall have less justification subsequently for refusing to vote the sum required ‘for the construction of the line, and if we are to contemplate such an enormous expenditure as that would involve, there must be a little more Federal feeling shown towards Tasmania before I, as a representative of that State, can be induced to vote for this proposal. 1 suggest to honorable senators from Western Australia and from South Australia, that they should put it to the people of those States to say whether it would not be a fair thing for the two States directly interested to bear the cost of the proposed survey. If the information gained by the survey enabled them to make out a good case, they could come to the Federal Government to assist them in financing the scheme. In such circumstances, I have not the slightest doubt that the other States would be prepared to give reasonable assistance in the construction of the line, consistent with a fair recognition of their own, interests. That is as far as honorable senators from other States can at present be asked to go. For the reasons I have given, and in view of the enormous sums of money which the other States have spent in the construction of their own railways, I must vote against this proposal for the third time-
– I have listened with considerable pleasure to Senator O’Keefe, and can congratulate the honorable senator on the very good Tasmanian speech he has delivered. I have always been in favour of the proposed survey, and I have seen no reason to change my views. Representatives from New South Wales are equally divided on this question, and our constituents would seem to’ be satisfied that we should please ourselves in the matter. I am sorry to think that Tasmania feels that her share in the cost of this survey would be a financial burden.
– I - It would be verysmall. I referred to her share in the cost of the construction of the line.
– I find that the cost of this survey will amount to 1 i-5d. per capita, and it will be shared by the States approximately as follows: - Tasmania,, £ [,000; Western Australia, £1,250; South Australia, ,£1,800; Queensland, £2,500; Victoria, £6,150; and New South Wales, £7,300. I think that if that be the cost the information will be obtained at a cheap rate, providing that it is a reliable survey, as I do not doubt that it will be. I have here a -publication known as the Australasian Traveller, evidently a mercantile paper, containing a very interesting article, written by our esteemed colleague, “Senator Smith. The editor prefaces the article with the following words : -
To starve a nation’s imagination is as criminal as to pick its pocket. Any people with the sap of youth in its veins can laugh at the’ latter disaster ; but the former mischief has only to be protracted long enough, to degrade what might have been a great nation into a big parish. It has always seemed to us that on this score alone - the chance it affords Australians of beginning to think and act “ continentally “ - the bridging of the gap in our east-west transcontinental railway would be amply justified. We think the readers of the following article will agree, however, that the -author - while not neglecting .the aspect alluded to - makes out such a strong case from the commercial and defence stand-points, that the opposition the project continues to encounter in certain quarters becomes almost unintelligible.
Last night we voted £10,000 for the promotion of wireless telegraphy, and I do not regret that vote; but surely those of us who approved that expenditure will not grudge £20,000 for most valuable information in this connexion. Western Australia, for all practical purposes, is separated by a distance of 2,000 miles from the rest of the Continent, and I do not see how we oan1 expect the people in the West to entertain a strong Federal feeling unless they are brought into closer connexion. As a matter of fact, we in the Eastern States are further from Western Australia than we are from New Zealand, and we know that it was the question of distance which prevented the latter from joining the Federation.
– The northern parts of Queensland are as far from Melbourne as is Perth.
– The northern parts of Queensland are not such a long way from Rockhampton, from which there is communication with the rest of the Commonwealth.
– -Rockhampton is just about as far away as is Perth.
– I happen to have been at Rockhampton, and I know that the people there are just as good Federalists as we are.
– I do not say that they are not; I am merely pointing out the distance.
– In any case, Queensland is connected by railway with the other States.
– Rightly or wrongly, when speaking on Federation some time ago, I said that I hoped the day would come when there would be railway communication with Port Darwin and Western Australia, if only for defence purposes, though I have no doubt that a railway to the West would be of great use in connexion with the mail service, saving as it would some time in transit. At present, we spend a considerable sum in subsidizing mail services, and I am not sure that a little extra expenditure would not be wise, even if we did for a few years lose the interest on, the proposed railway. So far from the proposed railway being estimated to cost £5,000,000, I find that by the six Engineers-in-Chief of the States, the cost is estimated at £4,559,037, made up of - Cost of construction, £3,932,551 ; branch line to Eucla, 55 miles, £165,000; contingencies, at 7 J per cent., £307,316; and loss of interest for one year, at 3J per cent., £154,170.
– Is that a reliable estimate?
– I do not know why we should not regard it as reliable.
– Then why do we require a survey to enable us to estimate the cost ?
– Mr. Deane, the late Engineer-in-Chief of New South Wales, who, it will be admitted, is a competent man. told me that in his opinion there was a great deal of misconception as to the probable loss on the working of the line, and it was his personal belief that the day was not far distant when the line would be in existence. I am one of those benighted individuals, who dare to think that if we cannot afford to build that railway, we might ask for tenders for its construction on the land-grant system; because I would sooner have a railway on that principle than no railway at all. In the country which this line will traverse there is apparently a lot of saltbush, but we know that in the desert parts of Queensland squatters are very glad to have even spinifex for their stock in dry seasons. It appears also that there is some limestone formation, and that would point to the possibility of artesian water. I should like to make one or two quotations from Senator Smith’s article, and the first is : -
A study of the world’s transcontinental railways further reveals the following interesting facts : - (a) That every continent except Australia is either spanned by a railroad, or has such an undertaking in course of accomplishment ; (4) that in every case the work has been recognised as a great national undertaking towards which the whole community or communities have contributed equally ; (e) that in no case has the undertaking been achieved for purely commercial and industrial reasons; (d) that in every instance the work has resulted in enormous benefit to the people ; (?) that in the case of Australia the difficulties to be overcome and the monetary obligation to be assumed are less than those of any other continent.
The great line across Asia has a length of 4,300 miles, and was constructed at a cost of ^56,000,000. The line had to be built across great areas of frozen tundra and barren steppes; immense engineering difficulties had to be overcome, mountain ranges crossed, and huge rivers bridged over. A short line of railway across Afghanistan would complete another transcontinental railway from Calais to Calcutta. This line runs through the “ Black Sand Desert,” near the Caspian Sea for 700 miles - “ a wide and doleful plain, wholly destitute, or all but destitute, of vegetation.”
– All those are arguments in favour of making a railway from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek.
– Senator Smith’s article proceeds: -
An even more stupendous railway scheme is that known as “The Cape to Cairo” line, running right across Africa from north to south. When this was first mooted it was greeted with derision, and was continually referred to as “ fantastical,” and yet to-day the line has advanced north from Capetown for 1084 miles to Broken Hill, in Rhodesia, in spite of deserts and waterless tracts, while from Cairo the line has been extended for 1,500 miles to Khartoum.
Senator Smith’s article goes on to remark on the Federal aspect of the question: -
In Australia we can never hope for a true Federation - a true u lion of national sentiment - so long as the Commonwealth is divided into two separate communities, one dwelling on the eastern littoral and the other on the western, separated by territory more impassable at present than if they were divided by a sea 2,000 miles in width.
Senator Smith then refers to the defence and the mail aspects of “the matter. In regard to the latter, he says : -
The Western Union Railway would not only immensely facilitate correspondence between the eastern and western States, but would also accelerate postal communication between Great Britain, Europe, and Australia to a much greater extent than any ocean mail subsidy. So important do we consider our mail correspondence that we are willing to pay ^125,000 a year in order to accelerate our postal communication, although the same service could be effected at poundage rates for £40,000 a year. We fay £85,000 extra to ensure regularity and a reduction in time of perhaps one day. Let us compare this with the advantage that would accrue to .the people in this connexion by the construction of this trunk railway. The estimated loss on the transcontinental railway is £68,000 for the first year, gradually diminishing until a surplus is reached in ten years. By therefore subsidizing our land mail service to this extent, a saving in time of two and a-half days would be effected each way, or a reduction of five days in replies to European correspondence - a much greater advantage at less cost than the mail service, with the subsidy spent within the Commonwealth. Irrespective of all other considerations, the line is more than justified from this point of view alone.
In regard to ‘the cost of the proposed railway, assuming the survey shows the country to be suitable, we are told in this article that, with a 4 ft. 8) in. gauge, 70 lb. rails, and a ruling grade not severer than one in eighty, the Commissioner’s estimate of the revenue and the expenditure is as follows : -
We are further told that the people of Western Australia are perfectly willing to bear more than their per capita share of the cost. On 1 8th May, 1904, the then Premier of Western “Australia (Mr. James) telegraphed to the then Prime Minister (Mr. Watson) as follows : -
On condition that Commonwealth is allowed free hand as to route and gauge of railway, this State will be prepared, for ten years after line constructed, .to bear a share of any less in excess of our contribution on a population basis. It would be premature to fix exact proportion we are prepared to pay at this stage, but I am confident that it will be liberal, and satisfy the Federal Parliament of our sincerity in this’ connexion, and our belief that the work will soon be a directly paying one.
That offer was confirmed by the present Premier of Western Australia. On the 20th October, 1904, the following additional offer was made bv Western Australia:
Re Trans-Australian Railway, Legislative Assembly last night unanimously agreed to following resolution : - “ That, in the opinion of this House, the Government should at once reserve from sale all rural Crown lands for 25 miles on each side of the proposed route of the Trans-Australian Railway between Kalgoorlie and the eastern boundary of the State, with a view of facilitating the construction of the said railway, and that the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth be so advised.”
I do not propose to occupy more time in reading quotations, tout I recommend every honorable senator to peruse the article by Senator Smith. One honorable senator, hitherto strongly opposed to this proposed railway, has assured me that he considers this the strongest article he has read in its favour, but, while it impressed him very much, I do not know’ that it will cause him to vote for the construction of the line. I am certain that the people of New South- Wales will not object, when the time comes, to bear their per capita share of any loss during the first fe*w years, in view of the ultimate advantage to the whole of the Comonwealth presented by such a splendid means of communication from one end of the Continent to the other. I congratulate Senator Smith on his article, and also Senator Pearce oh the able manner in which he has on more than one occasion brought this question before the Senate.
– - One peculiarity which strikes me in connexion with this proposal is that, although it has commanded the approval of every Federal Government, it has not yet been able to secure its passage through Parliament. I think that the explanation of that apparent anomaly is that, although every Government, being of necessity Federal, has approved of the measure, yet we have found in both Houses individual members sufficient in number to prevent its passage. The reason for their objection is that they look at the proposal from quite an un-Federal stand-point. They persist in regarding it from the point of view of their own State, that is, from a narrow arithmetical point of view of “ How much will mv State get out of this expenditure”? and if they are not satisfied that their State will get a commensurate benefit, they think themselves justified in opposing it. If that spirit had prevailed prior to 1901 we should have had no Federation. If it prevails in the Federal Parliament, it seems to me that it will stand for all time in the way of the successful workingof Federal institutions.
– It did not prevail during the first session of the first Parliament.
– During that session, our difficulties would have been very much greater if there had not been more of the first flush of Federal- enthusiasm than there is now. I hope that we are working towards a better state of things, and that we shall be able to look at large national questions from the truly Federal stand-point. In Australia, not much railway construction is being carried out anywhere. We have, to a certain extent, overrun the constable, and we are now suffering a period of recovery. I am not inclined to think that the people 06 Australia will be content finally with anything’ like a cessation of railway development. We must have railway development in all the States. Perhaps it is more urgent in some States than in others. But every State will require to go on with railway construction. I am inclined to think that by-and-by most of the States will have to depend upon; loan money for the extension of their railway systems. If a State raises money bv loan or by sale of land for the purpose of railway development, it will require to use all those means for developing its own territory, and more particularly its agricultural lands. I propose to quote from section 51 of the Constitution our legislative powers in regard to railways -
The control of railways with respect to transport for the naval and military purposes of the Commonwealth;
In the section, it is clearly contemplated that the Commonwealth may undertake railway construction as well as the States.. In these circumstances, I think that railways connecting one State with another should be regarded as Federal matters. The States themselves will not be interested so much in making such railways as in making purely internal railways.
– The former are the best paying lines.
– I think that the honorable senator is only referring to the railway between Sydney and Melbourne, which connects two large capitals. But that is an exception to the rule which I laid down.
– And the railway between Melbourne and Adelaide.
– A State with limited resources, and a demand for a. great number of railways to develop its territory, would not prefer to make a railway to its border, because it is doubtful whether the State would derive the whole of the benefit from its construction, or whether the greater benefit might not go to the State which it touched. I think that in the future each individual State will devote its energies to constructing railways for the development of its territory, and that railways which are required to connect State with State will be regarded as more particularly a subject for Federal action. I am inclined to the view that that will be the way in which the work 6f railway development will be divided between the State and the Federal Governments. This proposed railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie is not the only railway of that nature that will have to be made. One of the justifications for this proposal, and one on which great stress has been laid, is its value for the purposes of defence. There is no doubt that, from that point of view, it is exceedingly desirable that the connexion should be made. I have before me a paper which is entitled The Call, and of which, I think, a copy has been sent to every honorable senator. It is the organ of the Australian National Defence League, is published monthly, or at intervals of two months, and is devoted entirely to matters of Defence. From a map, which occupies page 14, honorable senators will see the routes of three lines which are held to be necessary for Defence purposes. One is a line from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie, a second is a line from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek, and a third is a line from Bourke to Pine Creek, via Cunnamulla, Charleville, Blackall, Longreach, Winton, and Cloncurry. At the present time there is a railway to Richmond, in Queensland, and a line is now under construction to Cloncurry, and will probably be finished in about a year or eighteen months. From that point to
Pine Creek the distance is only 750 miles, I think. By making a line for that distance a connexion would be established between Pine Creek and other points on the railway down our eastern coast, and along our south coast, and, supposing a line to be made from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie, to Perth. On the subject of railways, viewed strategically, the writer of an article in The Call says -
The line ,to the North should start from Bourke (New South Wales), and go vid Cunnamulla, Charleville, Longreach, Winton, and Cloncurry, Barclay Tableland, head of Roper River, on to Pine Creek (Northern Territory), as shown on map.
– That is a line worth considering.
– -So is the other. The writer continues -
The route would pass through good fairly watered country, already more or less occupied for pastoral purposes, would link up the three main Queensland trunk lines, and would be of considerable settlement and commercial value, and ultimately a mail route to Europe.
The writer concludes bv saying -
The Port Augusta-Kalgoorlie line is also a necessary strategic line, if the west of Australia is to be satisfactorily defended, but under present circumstances it would seem to be less urgent than the line to Port Darwin.
I do not see why we should approach the discussion of the present proposal as though it was the only transcontinental line which we shall ever have to contemplate. I regard this railway as part of a great policy of national development, which would be complementary to the policy of the States. In course of time that will have to be considered. The first place should be given to the railway to Western Australia, not because I think, so far as the opening up of territory is concerned, its merits are greater than those of either of the other lines that I have mentioned, but because, although there was no pledge given to the State in regard to the railway, it is well known that the leaders of the Federation movement did individually hold it out as an inducement.
– The honorable senator says “the leaders”; does he not think that he ought to qualify that statement?
– May I say “ some of the leaders ‘ ‘ ? Some of those who took a most prominent part in Federation, both before and since the acceptance of the Constitution, had allowed it to be understood that, as soon as it was accomplished, steps would be taken to build a railway which would unite Western Australia to the Eastern States.
-Col. Gould. - And what authority did they have for making that statement ?
– I do not say that they had the authority of the people of Australia, but they were engaged in a great movement, and were endeavouring, to make it a success. They represented what they thoroughly believed, and I think they were quite justified in afterwards endeavouring to give effect to what was substantially an inducement offered to Western Australia to agree to come into the Union.
– They had as much authority as any member of the Senate who may speak for or against this Bill.
– Quite so. I cannot imagine any possibility by which a positive pledge would be given to a State which was not within the powers conferred by the Constitution. We know that”, in the case of the Canadian Dominion, it was expressly stipulated for, as one of the conditions of union, that the Pacific trunk line should be made, in order to connect the eastern and western sea-boards.. Just as that was regarded as a prime political necessity, so I am inclined to think that a railway between the eastern States and Western Australia should also be regarded as a political necessity. There is, in my opinion, ample justification . for spending the small sum of £20,000 in making a survey for the purpose of ascertaining whether the railway would pay or not, and also what sort of country it would go through. We have heard many remarks about a “ desert.” With regard to deserts, I am inclined to be very sceptical. I am prepared to receive proof, if necessary, and it can be obtained, that the country is a desert. But until it is actually forthcoming, I shall be disposed to assume that, in that respect, there has been .a great deal of exaggeration. In my opinion, there is too great a tendency to’ look upon vast tracts, especially in the interior of the continent, which have not been thoroughly explored, as deserts. But, as the country is opened up, developed, and occupied, the rule is to find that the land is not so bad as it has been represented to be.
– In South Australia I know country which was called a desert when I left in 1892, but which is now under cultivation by farmers.
– That has always been the tendency. There have been some interesting statements with regard to the so-called arid districts of the United States, but they are turning out to be more fertile than much of the country which was previously supposed to foe amongst the most fertile land in America.
– The honorable senator should not generalize on that subject. The value of the country referred to has only been demonstrated for a limited period, and with an unprofitable expenditure on labour.
– No doubt much depends on irrigation in the case of many of these so-called desert lands. But on analysis they have been shown to possess all the elements of the greatest fertility. If water can be conveyed to them artificially, there can be no doubt that great results could be attained. As to that and other matters, such as dry farming, about which we have heard something lately, science is hardly in its infancy; and. we should not be deterred from undertakings of this kind by mere pessimistic growls, with regard to the unfertility of the country. Of course the question of whether the railway shall be constructed will remain to be answered after the route has been surveyed. When we come to deal with that question, it will, I think, depend upon two factors. One will be the cost of constructing the railway ; and the other whether, if the necessary amount of money is forthcoming, it will, in the opinion of Parliament, be a justifiable expenditure in the interest of the whole Commonwealth? There is one other matter to which I should like to allude before I sit down. I have not made up my mind yet upon the question of gauge. It seems to me to have been assumed generally that the gauge would be 4 ft. 8 in. But I am not quite sure upon that point. We have built railways on the 3 ft. 6 in. gauge in Queensland, and a very great deal of useful work has been accomplished by them. However fully we may admit that the 4 ft. 8J in. gauge is ideally more perfect, and can do a great deal more work, yet we know as a fact that much has been done with the 3 ft. 6 in. gauge in Australia. If in Queensland we had adopted the 4 ft. 8J in. gauge, and expended the same amount of money as we have spent on railway construction, the probability is that we should have had only about two-thirds of the mileage that we have now. Therefore, I do not consider this question by’ any means settled.
– Many of our mining fields in Western Australia would not be working to-day except for the 3 ft. 6 in. gauge.
– The circumstances of Queensland and of Western Australia are similar in many respects with regard to railway construction. Only a limited amount of money has been available, and there has been an enormous territory to be opened up. I am not satisfied that it would be a wise policy to adopt the 4 ft. 8J in. gauge at all. events for a great number of years for the development of the territory which would be served by the Transcontinental Railway. I believe that part of the distance is now covered by a railway with a 3 ft. 6 in. gauge; and that it is a question of constructing 1,100 miles of line over the intervening country.
– In the flat country on a 3 ft. 6 in. gauge our trains travel up to 40 miles an hour.
– I know that very good work is done in Queensland on 3 ft. 6 in. railways, and that the trains are not only capable of great speed, but carry considerable loads. I do not say that my mind upon the subject is fixed, but at the same time I. do not see why, in discussing the matter, we should assume always that it will involve the expenditure required to make the railway on the 4 ft. 8£ in. gauge and to convert- the existing railway made on the 3 ft. 6 in. gauge to 4 ft. 81 in. That is a matter which, will- have to be considered if the Commonwealth adopts as a national policy the making of transcontinental railways so as to connect the different parts of this vast Continent. It will be a fair matter for consideration whether, in view of the enormous work to be carried out, it would not be justifiable to adopt the 3 ft. .6 in. instead of the 4 ft. 81 in. gauge. When we are able to adopt a policy of that kind, as I believe we shall in the future, I hope that the Commonwealth will not hesitate to undertake the construction of railways to connect one State with another, and to regard them as national works.
Debate (on motion by Senator Staniforth Smith) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed - _
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– - I desire, under cover of this motion, to bring a matter before the Senate. I may say that had I chosen I might have made these remarks by way of personal explanation. But I did not choose to do so, because, personally, I had nothing to explain. I might also have taken another course, and have moved the adjournment of the Senate when it met to-day. I did not adopt that course either because I did not consider that any remarks made by Sir William Lyne would justify such a step. I am referring to the statements made in the other House last night, and to which my attention has been drawn.
– According to the Standing Orders, the honorable senator cannot allude to a debate in the other House of the current session.
– I am alluding to a statement made according to reports in the press.
– In the newspaper’s ?
– The standing order is clear that a senator cannot refer to a debate in another branch of the Legislature of the current session. If the honorable senator takes the report from a newspaper that does not alter the matter.
– Well, then, I will refer to the circumstance that my attention has been drawn to the fact that somewhere an accusation has been levelled at myself, as a member of the Tariff Commission, with regard to my attitude on it. That statement was made by Sir William Lyne. It was that, as a member of the Tariff Commission, I had refused to give fair play to witnesses who presented themselves before us. Now, with regard to the question of taste involved in such an accusation, made against me as a member of the Tariff Commission, in a place and under circumstances when a right of reply was impossible to me, I shall say nothing. Nor do I wish to enter into the question why, when the authority for such a statement was demanded, an absolute refusal immediately followed to disclose the source of such an accusation. I say that, as to the questions of good taste and honorable conduct on Sir William Lyne’s part, I make no comment. I leave that matter to be disputed by those who think that such a point leaves room for dispute, or that, indeed, there is room for holding more than one opinion. But I am going to say this : That if such a statement had been made to an ordinary member of Parliament, if such a statement had been made to any one not a Minister of the Crown, or, to go further, if such a statement had been made to a Minister of the Crown, it would have been his duty at once to investigate it, or to refer the matter to the Tariff Commission, which was then sitting, and was then in a position to offer additional opportunities to any witness who wanted to tender evidence. It is a significant fact that, if the authority is good - if Sir William Lyne’s statement is based on fact - it should invite, and should justify, the criticism, that Sir William Lyne made no .mention of it from the day when he alleges it was reported to him until a few days ago - not to be too definite - when the Tariff Commission had finished taking evidence. With regard to the attitude df the Commissioners, I am prepared, so far as I am concerned, to say this : That I should never consider that I was adequately discharging my duty as a member of a Royal Commission if I were to be satisfied with taking what I must call partial evidence, and did not adopt every means possible to extract from witnesses, not merely that portion of the truth which the witnesses wanted to give, but the whole truth on the matters upon which they appeared to give evidence. With regard to the Commission generally, I will say. that it ‘would be impossible for any body of men to have extended more universal courtesy and consideration to every witness, no matter what his views, who attended before that Commission - provided that the witness himself was prepared and ready to tender the whole of his evidence, to disclose the whole of the facts within his knowledge. That was not only the attitude of myself - I have no reason to defend myself - but I say, so far as my observation goes, that it was the continuous attitude of every member of the Tariff Commission from the time when we began our work until we ended it. Every witness was thoroughly safeguarded by the Chairman. If any fault could be found with the way in which we did our work, I venture to say that that criticism would be directed against our leniency rather than against our stringency. There was no witness who came before the Tariff Commission who was not told that we had no power to force an answer from him, and that if there was any question which, upon being asked, he declined to answer, he was perfectly safe in adopting the attitude of a simple refusal. It was also slated by Sir William Lyne that he was informed bv a person of very high standing that he was afraid to come and give evidence before the Commission. As I have said, he stigmatized myself as a member of the Royal Commission who refused to give fair play to witnesses. But to show the value of Sir William Lyne’s judgments and opinions on the members of the Tariff Commission, I may add - though it is, perhaps, slightly irrelevant - that he denouncedmy four protectionist colleagues, according to one report, as not being individually worth twopence, and, according to another report, as being entirelyunworthy of the name off protectionists. I am justified in saying, under these circumstances, that any criticism that Sir William Lyne may offer as to the Tariff Commission must necessarily be fallacious; and I submit, further, that the only criticism that could be well founded upon his remarks was that he himself, as I Have already indicated, entirely and absolutely neglected to discharge that duty which would have occurred at once to any Member of Parliament as the first duty that he ought to have performed, if he had any good reasons, or any grounds whatever, ‘for believing that an opportunity for giving evidence had been refused by any member of the Tariff Commission, or by that Commission as a body.
– If his remarks were true, the Commission ought to have been cancelled.
– Undoubtedly. I have nothing further-to say on the subject.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 4 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 September 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060907_senate_2_34/>.