2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to again draw the attention of the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs to the question which I put to him on Wednesday regarding the steam-ship Pocahontas trading on the Australian const with a Chinese and Malay crew, and which he said had been referred to the AttorneyGeneral. I desire to ascertain whether he has yet received from his honorable colleagues a reply as to her position ?
– I have not.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
Will the Minister kindly inform the Senate what steps the Government intend taking this session to modify certain portions of the Pacific Island Labourers Act as regards the deportation of the Islanders from the ‘Commonwealth?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
The proposals of the Government are indicated by the Bill now before the House of Representatives.
asked the Minister re presenting the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
The Department of External Affairs has no knowledge of the Merrie England having recently called three times at Cooktown, nor of public mails having been refused conveyance, but inquiries will be made.
Call of Senate : Adoption of Report.
– Before I move for a call of . the Senate it is necessary for me to submit the motion which stands on the notice-paper as contingent on any Constitution Alteration Bill being reported from a Committee of the whole. I move -
That so much of standing order No. 271 as refers to a period of twenty-one days be suspended for the remainder of the session for the purpose of expediting the passing of such Bill through its remaining stages.
– Is this suspension intended merely to apply to Constitution Alteration Bills which are now before the Senate? I ask the Minister to consider whether it would not be better for him to submit a motion in respect of each such measure. Suppose for instance that another Constitution Alteration Bill should come from the other House.
– There are none to come up.
– There is on the notice-paper a Constitution Alteration Bill which we have not yet considered.
– Perhaps the shortest way would be for the Minister to name the Bills in the motion.
– The Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Bill is only a machinery Bill, and therefore it would not have to be submitted to the people.
– I am quite prepared to agree to- the suspension of the Standing Orders in relation to the ‘Constitution Alteration Bills, with which we are familiar, and if the Minister will ask leave to amend his motion, I shall be obliged to him. ‘
– The Minister can ask leave to put in his motion the short titles of the Bills.
– That would be rather long.
– Put in “ Orders of the Day, No. 1 and No.2.”
– I ask leave to amend my motion by omitting “ such Bill,” with a view to inserting the words “ Orders of the Day, No. 1 and No. 2,” and by omitting “its “ and inserting . “their.”
– I object. The PRESIDENT.- Before the ques? tion is discussed I wish to point out that the- motion refers to Bills which have already been reported, ‘ and therefore it can only refer to Orders of the Day, No. . 1 and No. 2.
– Would it not apply to a Constitution Alteration Bill if it were reported next week?
– No ; a similar motion would have to be moved in respect of that Bill.
– I object to the motion on two grounds. In the first place, I submit that the contingency has not yet arisen, because neither Bill has yet been reported from the Committee of the whole.
– Yes, each has been reported.
– In each case the order of the day is “ Consideration of reported Bill.” A motion must be moved that the report on the Bill be adopted. I contend that the suspension of the Standing Orders should be moved after the report has been adopted, because the Bill would then have been reported to the Senate.
– No; the Bill has been reported, but the report has not yet been adopted.
– My second objection to the motion, is that, according to your ruling of the 7 th September, it is out of order. On the 5th September Senator Keating had on the notice paper the following motion : -
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, be suspended on and after the 1 8th day of September, 1906, for the remainder of this session.
Objection was taken on the 7th September to the motion, on the ground that it did not comply with standing order 435, which provides that -
The suspension of standing orders shall be limited in its operation to the particular purpose foi which such suspension has been sought.
The matter was debated, sir, and, in consequence of your ruling, Senator Keating gave notice for the nth September of this motion : -
That so much of standing order 271 as refers to a period of twenty-one days be suspended for the remainder of the session, for the purpose of expediting the passage through its remaining stages of the Constitution Alteration (Senate Elections) Hill.
The Standing Orders were suspended, the Bill was passed through all its stages, and the suspension was practically exhausted by that fact. I need not refer to the debate on the objection to the form in which it was proposed to suspend the Standing Orders on the 7th September. It is sufficient for me, sir, to read your ruling on the subject, and to submit that, according to that ruling, the motion is out of order, on the ground that the proposed suspension of the Standing Orders is not -
Limited in its operation to the particular purpose for which such suspension has been sought.
On page 4240 of Hansard your ruling is reported in the following terms: -
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 Stale 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 foi 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 yet appeared in the Senate, and which, so far as we are concerned, are yet 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 is 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.
– Perhaps it will save time if I say at once that I agree with the honorable senator. I entirely approve of everything that I said on that occasion, and it is perhaps my fault that the question has arisen. The Minister of Defence had moved in reference to a Bill. I suggested a reference to two Bills. I did it inadvertently. I will put it that the motion of Senator Playford only extends to No. 1 Bill.
– May I continue m- remarks ?
– That is the only point that I can see.
– I desire to submit the point of order in regard to the motion in the terms that I have stated, without any alteration whatever. Perhaps it is not necessary for me at this stage to labour the question of what is a particular purpose, because we had that fully discussed in connexion with your previous ruling. But I submit that the Minister’s motion does not comply with the conditions laid down by you in your ruling; because there is no reference in it to a particular Bill. The motion is general.
– The Minister had to give his notice of motion in general terms, because he did not know on what particular Bill he might move it.
– But I submit that in consequence of your ruling, the Minister had to give notice of motion indicating the particular Bill. At the time when the notice of motion was given the two Constitution Alteration Bills now in question were on the notice-paper.
– The honorable senator, when Minister of the Crown, moved dozens of times for the suspension of standing orders upon notices of motion similar to the one to which he is now objecting.
– Because Senator Drake did wrong-
– That has been the practice of the Senate ever since we have been a Senate.
– And that, no doubt, is why it was attempted to be done on the 7th September. But objection was taken to it, and in consequence of that objection your ruling was given.
– I do not think that the ruling goes so far as the honorable senator supposes.
– I submit that the Minister cannot give a notice of motion with reference to any Constitution Alteration Bill unless he specifies the Bill. We have before us at present two Constitution Alteration Bills, which have been reported from Committee, to either of which the notice of motion might apply. The Minister has to give a day’s notice for the suspension of standing orders for a particular purpose. His contention now is that he has given the necessary notice. But he has given it in general terms so that it mn<- be applicable to both Bills.
– It is a highly technical objection, I think.
– But when we are dealing with a matter of this kind we are entitled to ask for a strict construction of the Standing Orders, especially in reference to a matter that has been discussed so recently as within the last three weeks, and on which you have given a ruling.
– I adhere to every word of that ruling.
– I am glad to hear that, but I submit that the motion of the Minister is clearly out of order under that ruling, because he has not stated the particular purpose for which the Standing -Orders are to be suspended. An honorable senator may agree with the suspension of the Standing Orders to facilitate the passage of one Bill, but may not agree with reference to another.
– If it be a correct viewthat notice may be given of a general motion, and that afterwards when the motion is moved the name of a particular Bill may be put in, why, I ask, was npt Senator Keating, on the 7th. September, allowed to amend his motion by putting in the name of a particular Bill ?
– I do not think that he asked to do so.
– I think he did.
– It was made perfectly clear by your ruling that his motion was out of order, and that no amendment that could be made at the moment could make the motion a good one.
– Can the honorable senator show from Hansard that Senator Keating asked to amend the motion ?
– If I remember rightly he did ask to amend it.
– Not to amend a. motion of the character of which the Minister of Defence has given notice.
– -Quite a different motion.
– Senator Keating’s motion of the 7 th September was -
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, be suspended on and after the 18th day of September, 1906, for the remainder of this session.
Objection was taken to that on the ground that it did not state the particular purpose, and you in your ruling upheld the objection.
– I know all that, but what has it to do with the question before us?
– Everything, I think. It was a motion moved in general terms to apply to the third reading of any Bill by which an alteration of the Constitution was proposed. You in your ruling stated conclusively that the motion ought to be specific. There ‘ is nothing in the motion now before us to state whether it applies to one Bill or another. Honorable senators have a right to claim that notice shall be given with regard to a particular Bill. On the nth September, the vice of Senator Keating’s motion - that of being too general - was cured bv the Minister inserting in it that the motion was for the purpose of expediting the passage through its remaining stages of the Constitution Alteration (Senate Elections) Bill. I submit that if the Minister can now move a motion in this form, there will be nothing in the future to prevent a Minister at the commencement of a session from giving notice that upon any Bill of this character being reported from Committee, he will move the suspension of the Standing Orders, and then, when an actual contingency arises, without giving a day’s notice, he may at the last moment put in the name of a particular Bill and claim that he has stated the particular purpose. I submit that that is not sufficient. The Senate has a right to discriminate between suspending the Standing Orders to facilitate the passage of one Bill, and doing the same with reference to another. Let me put a case. Suppose that I am inclined to allow the Standing Orders to be suspended with reference to a particular Bill, but am equally determined to make no concessions whatever with regard to another Bill. Suppose that both Bills are on the notice-paper together, and are at the same stage. Have I .not the right to have one day’s notice in regard’ to each of those Bills so that I may know what business is coming on? When the Standing Orders are to be suspended regarding a Bill that I favour, I may. perhaps, find it advantageous to be present and vote : whereas if it is proposed to take that course with reference to a Bill which I do not favour, I mav be inclined to put myself to kil sorts of inconvenience to prevent the Standing Orders being suspended. Have I not a right, when the Minister seeks to suspend standing orders, to twenty-four hours’ notice of his intention ?
The PRESIDE-NT. - The honorable senator has had twenty-four hours’ notice, that on each Bill affecting amendments of the Constitution that comes up the Minister will move the suspension of the Standing Orders in reference to the number of days required for a call of the Senate.
– That is a notice similar to the one of the 7 th September.
– No, quite different.
– I submit that it is not different. The ground of objection then taken was-
– I have heard that half-a-dozen times. I thoroughly recollect the ground on which objection was taken, and I do not think that fresh information can make the point clearer to my mind.
– If the Minister can now give notice in general terms referring to a class of Bills, it is going back to the position that existed before your ruling with reference to Senator Keating’ s motion on the 7 th September was given. I claim, under that ruling, that I have a right to one day’s notice, specifying the particular purpose for which it is proposed to suspend the Standing Orders. I submit again that the motion should not deal with a general class of Bills, but should be restricted to the particular Bill with reference to which the Minister intends to move.
– I adhere to every word that I said on the 7th September. But I cannot agree to the conclusion that what I said on the 7 th September applies to this motion. If I were to do so I should upset the universal practice of the Senate since we have been a Senate, and act contrary to the practice of every State House of Parliament. Senator Drake will see that his arguments, if they are valid, apply equally to the contingent notices of motion which have been given for all Bills. For instance, notice of motion No. 2 is -
To move (contingent on any Bill -
On any Bill - being reported from .a Committee of the Whole), That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent such Bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.
Senator Drake, when he was Minister, gave the same contingent notice of motion, and moved it over and over in reference to particular Bills. That has been the universal practice throughout, and I am not prepared to upset it. Senator Drake said that the particular purpose to which I referred to in my ruling of the 7th September was the name of the (Bill, but that is not correct. I referred to the purpose for which the Standing Orders were to be suspended, and not the name of the particular. Bill. If Senator Drake were right, it would mean that no Minister could towards the end of a session give a general notice of motion, but would have to wait for every Bill to come from another place, or for every Bill to be reported, and so on, and then give a particular notice of motion in reference to each Bill. My ruling is that, in accordance with the general practice of Parliament, the Minister may, under this contingent notice of motion, move that the Standing Orders, so far as they refer to a period of twenty-one days, be suspended for the remainder of the session ‘ ‘ for the purpose of expediting” - that is the purpose - the passing of a particular Bill through its remaining stages. I agree with Senator Drake so far that Senator Playford cannot move for two Bills at the same time. I think that Senator Playford must first move for one Bill, and then for the other as it comes on. So far. I agree with Senator Drake, but no further; and the Minister is quite in order now in moving that the Standing Orders be suspended in reference to the Constitution Alteration (Special Duties) Bill.
– Mr. President-
– I shall not hear any more argument.
– I wish to inquire as to quite another matter. I conclude, from your ruling, that it will be necessary for the name of the Bill to be inserted in the motion?
– That is it.
– - In accordance with the President’s ruling, I submit my motion in the following amended form : -
That so much of standing order No. 271 as refers to a period of twenty-one days be suspended for the remainder of the session, for the purpose of expediting the passing of the Constitution Alteration (Special Duties) Bill through its remaining stages.
– I object, on the ground that no notice was given of this motion.
– But I have put the question.
– I object to the Minister amending the motion.
– The President has ruled that the Minister may submit the motion as amended.
– But I object to the Minister amending the motion.
– I have put the question.
– Then I rise to a point of order.
– What is the point of order?
– I object to the motion on the ground that no notice has been given of it.
– The honorable senator is not objecting to mv ruling; he is objecting to all the decisions of the Senate in the past - to the universal practice, as being wrong. The honorable senator evidently wishes to say that he himself has been wrong on a great many occasions. I think it is a highly technical point of order which ought not to be taken at all. I shall put the question again.
– Then I object to your ruling, Mr. President, and I shall put my dissent in writing.
– I am ‘getting tired of these objections to my rulings, .and I shall put the question to the Senate now -
That the President’s ruling be objected to.
Division called for.
– I was out just now, but I understand-
– A division has been called for, and the honorable senator is out of order.
– So far as I am concerned, there will be no division. In my opinion the question, as put. is out of order.
– I think that, under the Standing Orders, I .may speak in division if I keep mv seat.
– The honorable senator is entitled to speak only on a question of order arising out of the division.
– If an honorable senator is entitled to speak in division, keeping his seat, it is clear he is entitled ‘tospeak about matters which arose before the division was called for.
– Then an honorable senator may speak after a division. I enter my protest against these proceedings, because there is no standing order which enables you to take a division on this matter in the way proposed. It is absolutely monstrous to fake a division on a matter when there is no provision in the Standing Orders for referring it to the Senate at all.
Several honorable senators having left the chamber,
– There being no “Ayes,” there is no division. The question is resolved in the negative.
– I object to the motion.
– The question is the contingent notice of motion, and I shall put it again.
– Seeing that I was denied an opportunity to speak during division, I think I mav speak now. Under ordinary circumstances, I should have helped the Government in their effort to get the standing order suspended to expedite the passage of the Bill which stands as Order of the Day No. 2. Owing to recent proceedings I am compelled, in order to do that, to vote for the suspension of the standing order in relation to other Bills.
– I have two separate motions.
– Then the Minister is really doing what Senator Drake said ought to be done.
– lt was done halfanhour ago.
– Before I came into the chamber I had the motions typewritten, and ready.
-Col. Gould. - I can assure Senator Millen that I understand the .motion to refer o n 1 v to one Bill.
– - I have nothing to do with Senator Play-ford’s intentions, or what Senator Gould thinks. The motion I am asked to vote for is that the standing order be suspended for the remainder of the session, to permit of the passage of any Constitution. Amendment Bill.
– Only the Bill referring to special duties.
– A division has been taken, and the Senate has upheld my ruling.
– There has been no division.
– There is no opportunity to discuss four ruling. You took an unusual course, for which there is no warrant. You bull-dozed the Chamber- into doing something which is contrary to the Standing Orders.
– I am getting tired of these objections and of the bringing of myself and my position into questions nf party politics. I shall not stand it. If honorable senators desire- another President, I am quite willing to resign, and let somebody else be appointed. I think it is most unfair.
– I do not desire any other President, but I do desire the Standing Orders to be adhered to. I claim the full rights I have under the Standing Orders to express my view, and when I see the Standing Orders broken-
– The Standing Orders have not been broken.
– Then there is a proper method of testing the ruling you have given, which you have denied to the Chamber. The Chamber ought to be allowed to discuss any motion dissenting from your ruling, but by your action you have denied the Chamber that right - you have closed my mouth and refused to allow an appeal to the whole wisdom of the Senate.
– The Senate is against the honorable senator.
– That does not matter. I have the right t’o express my views. All I want to say is that, despite your ruling, I dissent from the terms in which this motion is put forward. There is the possibility of a similar motion being submitted in the same way at some future time, and an irregular proceeding being held to be regular in consequence of what has taken place to-day. It will be possible for the Minister to submit a similarly vague motion and, on getting a suspension of the Standing Orders, to bring forward other proposals in connexion with which the Senate would not have approved of the suspension. For that reason I shall vote against the motion.
– I have taken no part in this debate, but I would ask you, sir, a question. Assuming that Senator Playford seeks to apply this contingent notice of motion to the first Order of the Day, is he, as soon as the motion has been carried, going to seek to apply it to the second Order of the Day?
– I shall move a similar motion in regard to the second Order of the Day.
– If such a course is adopted, the ruling given by the President today will be broken in spirit.
– For the ranson that you have ruled that the’ particular Bill shall be named now. I will assume that Senator Playford has already indicated the Bill which appears as Order of the Day No. 1. After the motion before us is carried, Senator Playford may say that he wishes to apply the same contingent notice of motion to Order of the Day No. 2.
– No doubt.
– And if there are more Bills which come within the category he could go on ?
– With separate motions.
– But the Senate could stop me at any moment by voting against each motion.
– This is a separate motion of which honorable senators have had more than twenty-four hours’ notice.
– I am simply seeking information in order to clear up the position. Are we to understand that this contingent notice of motion may apply to a dozen Bills, provided that there is a separate motion for each Bill?
– The honorable senator will see that contingent notices of motion are . given at the end of every session in every Parliament in Australia, and they have always been given in the Senate in this way. The notices of motion are general in their terms, but in each case a motion is moved specifying the particular Bill. Dozens of Bills have been dealt with at the end of a session under one contingent notice of motion. Does not every honorable senator know that? I do not see why we should apply a different rule to the motion now before us.
– - Mr. President-
– The honorable senator has, I think, already spoken.
– I wish to raise an objection on. a point of order.
– The honorable senator has already taken one point of order, and it has been settled. I cannot have the same point of order taken again.
– Then I desire to speak against the motion. The PRESIDENT. - Has the honorable senator not spoken ?
– I have spoken only on a point of order. The motion is made to facilitate the passage of the Constitution Alteration (Special Duties) Bill, and I hope that, even at this, stage, honorable senators will consider the danger of sus pending the Standing Orders to hasten the passage of this measure. It is a very serious matter to amend the Constitution. The proposal now being made is that the Constitution shall be so amended, as to allow of the imposition of special duties of Customs and Excise that are not contemplated in the Tariff Acts of 1902. No measure proposing an amendment of the Constitution should be passed until every opportunity afforded by the Constitution and the Standing Orders is given to honorable senators for a full discussion of the matter. The object of the motion now before the Senate is to set aside the safeguard provided by our Standing Orders for the proper consideration of all measures proposing amendments of the Constitution. We have provided in our Standing Orders that no such measure shall pass its third reading unless there is an absolute majority of the Senate in its favour, and until there has been a call of the Senate to insure that every member of it shall be in attendance. They provide, also, that the call is not to be made for a date earlier than twenty-one days from the date of the notice of the call. The object of the present motion is to do away with that safeguard. If ever there was an occasion in our history when it is desirable that these provisions should be most loyally and faithfully observed it is the present, when we are dealing with a Bill proposing a most important amendment of the Constitution, and are setting a precedent for all time. It is now proposed that we shall begin the amendment of the Constitution by sweeping awav the Standing Orders which . were deliberately passed by the Senate at
– We discussed that before.
– We have not discussed it in connexion with the suspension of the Standing Orders. I am dealing now with a motion intended to do away with the twenty-one days’ notice which should be given to honorable senators of a call of the Senate to deal with any measure proposing an amendment of the Constitution, and I think I am entitled, in the circumstances, to show the evil effects which might result from dealing with amendments of the Constitution in this way. If the amendment here proposed is agreed to, and is embodied in the Constitution, we shall not know what Bill might be brought before Parliament seeking to impose special duties of Customs and Excise for all sorts of fantastic purposes. Within -the last twenty-four hours we have heard of a scheme of defence which, however desirable, will certainly involve very considerable expenditure. The amendment of the Constitution which we are now being asked to rush through without proper consideration would enable the Government to introduce a Bill proposing the imposition of special duties of Customs and Excise for the purpose of carrying out a scheme of that kind. Is an amendment of the Constitution which might be followed bv such consequences to be rushed through Parliament?
– It is not being rushed through. It will not come on again until next Tuesday.
– How many days notice will that’ be? The Senate at the commencement of last session agreed to standing orders requiring twenty-one days’ notice to be given before such a Bill could be submitted for its third reading, and now when a Bill is submitted proposing an amendment of the Constitution which would allow of the introduction of pernicious measures that might lead to the most disastrous results we are asked to sweep away the safeguard we have provided, and the .Minister says, !! You will have until next Tuesday.” If the Minister, when the Standing Orders were being considered, believed that a notice of twenty.one days was much too long, why did he not then suggest that it should be reduced to three or four days?
– There was no necessity to do so. I knew that we could suspend every one of the Standing Orders.
– The honorable senator did not think of that at the time, and he knows also that there are some safeguards provided even against the suspension of the Standing Orders. I say that if, when the Standing Orders were being considered by the Senate, Senator Playford had said that twenty-one days was too long a notice to give honorable senators in the case of measures proposing alterations of the Constitution, and had proposed that the notice given should be only three or four days, such a motion would have been scouted. The Senate was in its right mind then, and it was never thought that such a proposal as this would be brought forward. Before the Standing Orders were dealt with bv the Senate they had been considered by the Standing Orders Committee, consisting of the President and other honorable senators who stand high in the estimation of the Senate. T ask the Senate to resume the attitude of calm reflection in which it passed the Standing Orders providing for the notice of twentyone days, and to agree with me that this is not a proper occasion on which, to suspend them. I shall vote against the motion.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [11.27]. - I suppose that the result of the motion is a foregone conclusion, but I feel compelled to say a few words in protest against the reckless way in which the Standing Orders are suspended at the end of each session. My protest should have all the more force when it is remembered that we are at present dealing with a. measure proposing an amendment of the Constitution. The Constitution itself Drovides that no amendment shall be made unless it is supported by an absolute majority, and a certain procedure is followed. No doubt that provision was wise. The object was to insure that no amendment of the Constitution should be hurriedly made at the will of the dominant party in Parliament ‘for the ‘time being. The Senate, in adopting the standing orders which deal with this matter, clearly recognised the very great gravity which must always attach to any amendment of the Constitution. In addition to the safeguards provided in the Constitution itself, we have made . provision that the third reading of Bills proposing an amendment of the Constitution shall only be taken after a call of the Senate, of whichtwentv-one days’ notice must be given. The Standing Orders Committee, in dealing with the matter, determined that the Senate ought not to sanction any rushing of measures proposing amendments of the Constitution which was accepted by the people of- the Commonwealth as fixing the terms of the agreement under which the States agreed to federate. Every reasonable man must recognise how necessary it is that we should be careful not to sweep away any safeguard : which the Standing Orders provide in dealing with these important matters. If it is said that the session is about to close, and these Bills must be dea.It with, my reply is that it was the duty of the Government to have submitted them in ample time for their full consideration and faithful compliance with the Standing Orders.
– No; unfortunately, they forgot all about it.
– It is no credit to the Government to make that admission. They ought to have known of the existence of this particular standing order, and we can only assume that in their corporate capacitv they did.
– The honorable senator only discovered it in hunting round for something with which to euchre the Government.
-Col. GOULD.- The honorable senator is wrong, and. if he had been present, he would ‘have known that this aspect of the matter was mentioned ata meeting of the Standing Orders Committee. The Government says that they forgot all about the existence of the standing order. But is that a reason why a necessarv safeguard should be wiped away, even at the will of the majority of the Senate ? I. do not wish honorable senators to be slaves to the’ Standing Orders, but to observe them.
– Are we not acting in accordance with the Standing Orders?
– - Certainly there is a rule to permit of a suspension of the Standing Orders, but does that mean that we are to suspend the code at any moment’ under a wave of excitement? On the contrary, are not the Standing Orders intended to protect us against waves of excitement? Why do we have in the Chair a senator whose duty it is to insist upon our obeying the Standing Orders? It is simplv because we recognise that we need as President a man with a judicial mind who will not be swayed on one side or the other.
– The honorable senator has been trying to sway him.
.- It is the duty of honorable senators, I submit, to try to sway the President whenever they consider that his ruling is wrong.
– I do not think that in history there is a precedent for the numerous dissents from his rulings.
.- I believe that the points of order have been taken honestly, and with a desire to bring about decisions which would be followed until altered by the Senate upon ample notice. The dissents from his ruling have not been moved out of disrespect to or want of confidence . in the President. It has been recognised that every man is liable to make a mistake. We are entering upon a very dangerous course. What is to prevent a Government from waiting until the end of a session, and then trying to put through a far more drastic and sweeping amendment of the Constitution than this by resorting to a suspension of the Standing Orders, and thereby preventing the people and the Parliament of each State from having an opportunity to voice their opinions upon it ? Why was twenty -one days’ notice of a call of the Senate required by the standing order? It was not simply for the convenience of individual senators, but in order that the people of the Commonwealth should have their attention directed to a proposed alteration, and an. opportunity to say whether in the interests of the Commonwealth it should be made. Every Parliament must be influenced by the feeling of the people on a broad question of policy. No question could be of greater importance than a proposal to alter the
Constitution. . It will not. redound to the credit of this dying Parliament that some of its last deeds should have been committed in derogation of every principle of protection and honour as between itself and the people. We have often heard of a Government trying to smuggle a proposal through ‘ Parliament. Here is an instance when not an ordinary, but an extraordinary, proposal is sought to be smuggled through. There should be no power to suspend the Standing Orders in this way when the Senate is asked to deal with a national question. All I can do is to protest against this treatment of a Bill that contains the germs of most important alterations, which, prior to their submission to the people, ought to be debated, not merely in the Federal Parliament, but in each State Parliament. I shall always raise my voice in protest against a measure being dealt with in a way which, I believe, to be injurious to the people of the country, to our principles of government, and to the Constitution, even if it should be no more than “ a voice crying in the wilderness.”
– I find it very difficult to speak to the motion, because, to a certain extent. I have committed myself to help the Ministry, but I recognise that they have blundered, and blundered badly, with regard to contingent notices of motion, in order toget to the end of the session.We have been asked, on notice, to suspend the Standing Orders ; we are proceeding to suspend them without notice, and in order to suspend them without notice we have previously broken them. I venture to think that if any one calmly reads to-morrow what has happened here to-day he will come to that, and no other, conclusion.
– The Standing Orders have not been suspended.
– I am assuming that they will be suspended; but we are being asked to suspend them without notice, and that could not be done except upon one condition, and that is that we had broken them, when pretending to give notice. I unfeignedly regret, sir, that you have been put in an extremely difficult position, which I believe that it was almost impossible for any man to get out of. The whole fault is attributable to the Government, which has confused matters throughout. I raised no protest this morning against the proposal of Senator Playford ; I knew that he was going to do what was utterly wrong, and I endeavoured to point that out to him. I would not put any unfair or even unusual obstacle in the way of the honorable senator getting on with business. Yet that deplorable result has been brought about simply because Ministers have utterly failed to understand the Standing Orders, or to have them properly applied. What I am going to do in the division I do not know. I can see that it is my duty to uphold the Standing Orders. I believe that if I support the motion to suspend them I shall be acting contrary to my duty. On the other hand, I know that the time to be fixed for the elections depends upon the date when this or the other Constitution Alteration Bill passes the Senate. If I do anything to postpone the date for the third reading of these Bills, I know that I shall thereby be assisting to postpone the date of the elections. We all agree that they will be held late enough as it is, . and every day we remain in session will push them further forward.
– Hear, hear.
– That is one side of the question. There is, however, an alternative, and. in view of the state of confusion into which the Senate has got, I ask Senator Playford whether he ought not to seriously consider it. He knows that he is not at all certain of securing the passage of both measures. It is doubtful whether he will carry one of them. I begin to think that the only solution of the difficulty is to drop the Bills.
– Hear, hear; that is right.
– O - Of course, I know that I shall be charged with having a party object in view. In this case, it is not fair that I should be charged with offering the suggestion simply because I want to defeat the Bills. I am always prepared to take my chance of defeating a measure to which I am opposed by the ordinary means. But this is a different case, and I ask the Minister to believe that I do not offer the suggestion with , a view to secure the defeat of a Bill to which I object. If my action were to be so regarded, every honorable senator who opposes this motion might be held to be doing something which, in my opinion, he ought not to do if he has any respect for the procedure of the Senate, or of doing something which may postpone the holding of the elections for perhaps weeks.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [11.43]. - I shall only take up sufficient time to enter my protest against suspending the Standing Orders in relation to the making of a call to deal with a Bill to alter the Constitution. The framing of the Constitution occupied a vast deal of time. It was the subject of a great deal of ingenuity by our leading public men. At the last gasp of the Parliament we are asked to suspend standing orders which were designed for the protection of minorities and for securing proper deliberation, and with a few hours’ notice of a call of the Senate it is attempted to thrust through Constitution Alteration Bills in a manner which, I think, could not have been anticipated by the authors of the Constitution. . I cannot credit that if the people of Australia, had even guessed that a carefully devised Constitution would be brushed aside in this thoughtless manner - that it would permit of such inroads being made - they would have accepted it. I feel it to be my duty to enter my protest and most reluctantly to give my vote against the action proposed. I have taken up no time on the points of order which have been raised, but I must, as a matter of duty to those who have sent me here, utter these few words of emphatic protest against proceedings which I take to be ill-advised in the interests of the whole of Australia, and equally ill-advised in relation to the conduct of the business of the Senate.
Question (Senator Playford’ s motion, vide page 5644) put. The Senate divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That there be a call of the Senate on Tuesday, 2nd October.
In asking honorable senators to agree to the motion, I wish to say that as a number of honorable senators will be absent on Tuesday morning, I do not propose to take the call, and to move the third reading of the two Bills to which it relates until after the luncheon hour.
– This is playing with us in reference to appointments which we have made.
– I am trying to consult the convenience of honorable senators who are away, and to give them an opportunity to be present. I certainly have no desire to play with them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the report be adopted.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Report adopted.
Call of Senate : Adoption of Report.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That so much of standing order 271 as refers to a period of 21 days be suspended for the remainder of the session for the purpose of expediting the passage of the Constitution Alteration (State Debts) Bill through its remaining stages.
– The honorable senator knows that I have already ruled that it is the universal practice of Parliament, and has been the practice of the
Senate for a general notice of motion relating to the suspension of Standing Orders to enable Bills to pass their remaining stages without delay, to be given towards the end of the session. I cannot hear any more argument on the point.
– I think you are misunderstanding me, sir. I do not wish to misunderstand you. I rise to call attention to what you said on a previous occasion. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think you said that Senator Playford had a right to amend his motion.
– No, I did not. I have decided that it is universal practice not only inreference to Bills amending the Constitution, but to all Bills, to give a general notice of motion to suspend the Standing Orders to expedite their passage, and to move the motion in reference to each particular Bill as it comes on. That practice has been pursued ever since the Senate has been in existence.
Questionput. The Senate divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Motion (by Senator Playford) agreed to-
That the report be adopted.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
If honorable senators look at the ‘Customs returns, they will see that duties are paid on a very large number of articles in every-day use, which really ought to be produced within the Commonwealth. The climatic conditions of Australia range from those a little warmer than in England to others absolutely tropical. We have areas of land with large rainfall, and areas of land with very small rainfall -we have all kinds of climatic conditions, and all kinds of soil suitable for the production of almost as great a variety of commodities as can be found throughout the world. We ought to do all we possibly can to encourage the cultivation of new products under all conditions, whether temperate, sub-tropical, or tropical. All the money now spent on commodities from abroad might be saved and circulated amongst ourselves, with the result of attracting a large population well able to earn a decent living. How to bring about that desirable state of affairs has always been a problem. There are some who consider that the object can be attained by the imposition of protective duties, while others favour encouragement by bounties. Most of the commodities to which I have in general termsreferred are in general consumption ; and a highly protective duty, while it might ultimately bring about the desired result, would mean increased prices in the meantime. Throughout the civilized world bounties and otherforms of encouragement have been resorted to; and I should say that the sugar industry supplies one of the most striking examples. When Napoleon got practically the whole of Europe, with the exception of England, under his thumb, an embargo was placed on all goods from any part of the British Dominions. England, however, had conquered Mauritius, and the West India sugar islands ; and as sugar at that time was produced solely from the cane, the people on the Continent of Europe suffered considerably. Napoleon called in the assistance of the scientific men of France and other countries of Europe, in order to find some substitute for the sugar-cane, and after much labour and many experiments, beetroot was found to be the one vegetable from which the commodity could be produced in the necessary quantities. One European Government after another gave encouragement to those engaged in the investigations ; and the outcome has been that from a very small percentage at first, the sugar produced from beet has risen to 12 or 13 “per cent. When the Napoleonic wars ceased, the nations of Europe continued to extend encouragement to this industry, in the desire to make themselves independent of the supplies from the cane-growing countries ; and to-day beet sugar supplies the entire wants of Europe, with the exception of that required for some special purposes. Not only is this industry sufficient to supply the wants of Europe, but sugar is exported in large quantities ; and the result, some years ago, was to seriously affect the prosperity of the West India islands. A bounty was given, not only on the sugar produced in Europe, but also on sugar exported ; and this meant unfair competition with the sugar planters of the West India islands, where no bounty was paid. After a time, England threatened to impose a countervailing duty; and thereupon an understanding was arrived at by which the continental Powers abolished the bounty on sugar exports. Sugar presents an instance in which bounties have been of immense importance and assistance in certain parts of the world. The industry today means the cultivation of tens of thousands of acres of land, and the employment of millions of people. There is not only the sugar produced from the beet, but there are by-products of. great value, such as the pulp, which is devoted to the feeding of cattle. Coming nearer home, we know what the bounties have done in Vic-, toria and South Australia in the butter industry. In South Australia a sum of £50,000 voted as a bounty on exports actually built up the butter industry.
– We built up the industry in New South Wales without a bounty.
– I think, however, that New South Wales is a little backward in the butter industry.
– The Byron Bay factory alone pays £30,000 a month for cream.
– But where New South Wales exports £5.000,000 worth of butter. Victoria, with its comparatively limited area, exports £15,000,000 worth.
-I suppose that climate has nothing to do with the matter ?
– New South Wales has an immensely better climate, taking the whole of the territory.
– In France, £100,000 was voted over a period of six years for the encouragement of the production of hemp and flax - two items which appear in the Bill now before the Senate. In 1902 the bounty in France amounted to £1 3s. per acre; and hemp and flax are cultivated, not in small experimental blocks, but in considerable areas. In the cod-fish ing industry, France pays a bounty ranging from 12s. to £2 per head of the men employed, having regard to the nature of the fishing, the idea being to train as many as possible for the French Navy, in case of need. She also pays bounties of from 4s. 10d. to 8s. id. per cwt., according to the port of shipment and country of destination. The fish, as honorable senators know, is chiefly caught on the Newfoundland Bank. In 1903, the amount paid in respect of this bounty alone was 1,700,000 francs. Japan has started operations in this direction, and she paid in 1893, and for a period of ten years, £7,000 a year for the purpose of promoting the export of tea.
– Hear, hear, a Government monopoly.
– It is not a Government monopoly in Japan, because the tea is cultivated by private persons, and is sent by them all over the world.
– The Government of Japan finds markets for it, and have stores abroad.
– We shall be pleased to find markets wherever we can for Australian produce, but that does not involve a Government monopoly. According to a report on the subject from the Japanese Minister of Finance, the result of the action taken in this respect has been eminently satisfactory, and there has been a large increase in japan’s exports of tea as a result of the expenditure of this £7,000 a year in advertising and providing facilities for the advancement of that particular industry.
– Japan is doing in this case what the South Australian Government has done in London for the wine industry of that State.
– The South Australian Government did something similar to advance the wine industry. They established a depot in London, and spent some thousands of pounds over a number of. years in order to promote the sale of South Australian wines in Great Britain. Russia has established a system of bounties on hemp and flax goods exported, and these rates are paid : -
On yarn and thread, unbleached. 7½d. per 36 lbs.’
On yarn and thread, bleached, is.5½d. per 36 lbs.
On tissue, unbleached, is. 61/3d. per 36 lbs. On- tissue, bleached, 2s. 43/6d. per 36 lbs. On tissue, dyed, &c, 3s.01/4d. per 36 lbs.
I propose now to refer to some matters of administration. Honorable senators will recognise that much will depend upon the administration of a measure of this character. I have noticed that Senator Dobson has given contingent notice of a motion, which shows that he has directed his attention, and has given some thought to this question. He proposes to move that the Bill be not read a second time -
The honorable senator’s idea is that we should, in the first place, ascertain whether the various States Governments will assist us in the administration of this measure. I have not the slightest doubt that they will be only too pleased to help us in every way they can. With reference to the inquiries which the honorable senator suggested, I may state that full inquiries have already been made bv a Committee formed of three members of the Ministry, who were appointed with a view to the introduction of a Bounties Bill to encourage certain industries. I have here a detailed statement submitted by the Committee in connexion with the various articles mentioned in the schedule of this Bill. It would take much too long to read it, but I shall read the references to one line to give an idea of the scope of the inquiries which have been made. This is the report made by the Committee on the question of fish : -
Duties : -
Fresh, smoked, or preserved by cold process, id. per lb.
Potted or concentrated, including extracts of and caviare, 20 per cent. Preserved fish, in tins, &c, id. per lb. N.E.I. Tariff, 5s. per cwt. Imports : -
Fresh, smoked, or preserved lb. ‘ £ by cold process … 941,189 12,060
Potted or concentrated, &c. … 9,747
Preserved in tins … 11,872,801 249,054 cwt.
Fresh, smoked, or preserved lb. £ by cold process … 1,275,175 16,505
Potted’ or concentrated, &c. … 8,508
Preserved in tins … 13,463,83s 288,371 cwt.
N.E.I. … … 16,992 … 27,898
Gross amount of fish imported about 16,000,000 lbs., of the value of about . £320,000.
That will continue to increase, because, as our population increases, we are every year consuming more of this imported tinned fish, and sending more money out of the country for articles which we consider can be produced in the Commonwealth. This indicates one of the reasons which induced’ the Government to propose the purchase of a trawler, namely, in order that we might locate so far as we could the portions of our coast where trawling might be carried on with good results. Ihave said that the gross import of fish represented 16,000,000 lbs. in weight, of a value of £320,000. This money is being sent out of the country to pay for something which we can produce in the Commonwealth. We could catch the fish and tin them ourselves.
– We could not get the same kind of fish.
– We could get fish quite as good. The recommendation made by the Committee of the (Cabinet was -
A bounty of £d. per lb. on tinned fish. Period of five years.
Fish oil and manure industries would follow this industry, but no special steps need be taken about them at present.
It is necessary to establish an industry bv bounty of 3d. per lb.
Make investigations in regard to the species of which we know little or nothing.
Acclimatize suitable fish from other parts of the world in these waters.
I have referred to the statement of the Committee to show the care and attention bestowed uipon the recommendation’s on which this Bill is based.
– Did the Committee of the Cabinet take into consideration the manner in which this proposal would affect the_ suggested Tamff “ preferences with the United Kingdom?
– That is only a sham scheme.
– This Bill will not interfere with that scheme at all. On the question of administration, when I saw that the Bill was Iikely to pass in another place, and thai I should have to ‘deal with it here, I asked Sir William Lyne to give me .a statement as to the way in which he proposed that the Bill should be administered. This is the reply I got, and I hope it will be satisfactory to Senator Dobson : -
In regard to administration, every effort will be made to avoid an increase of expenditure. The services of the Customs officers in the various districts, cane inspectors, revenue inspectors, officers employed in the supervision of vignerons and distillation, will be made use of. The State Governments will be asked to render assistance, as in connexion with the Commerce Bill, which, it is anticipated, will be cheerfully given by means of the officers of their Agricultural Departments, factory inspectors, &c, who are in touch with the producing community, and would be in a position to render efficient service. »
That should satisfy honorable senators that there will be no difficulty so far as the administration of the measure is concerned. I shall deal now with the provisions of the Bill, and later with the various items referred to in the schedule. Honorable senators will see that, under clause 2, the sum of £500,000 is to be provided over a period of ten years from the 1 st of next year, but not mere than £75,000 is to be expended under the Bill in any one financial year. The statutory requirements are that the bounties shall be payable in respect of goods of a merchantable quality grown or produced from an acreage to be prescribed, and within the period prescribed, and they must be produced by white labour only. Both growers and manufacturers are considered. Regulations; are to be made prescribing the area in each case, to suit circumstances, which must be cropped in any one year, and the minimum quantity to be produced for such area; the proportion of bonus to be paid to the producer of the raw material, and to the manufacturer of the article respectively ; and the quantity of the article to be produced from the prescribed quantity of raw material. Due notice must be given of the intention to claim the bounty, and this notice must be accompanied by full particulars of area, locality, site of factory or works, and so on. There will be inspection from time to time of the area, factory conditions, &c, and to see that the conditions attached to the payment of the bounties are fulfilled. In cases where to complete an article further manufacture is necessary, regulations will be made to prescribe that the grower may receive his proportion of the bounty on delivery at the factory, and to provide for regular inspection of any factory, &c. In addition to the above, there will be, of course, the matters prescribed under clause 7, where the nature of the regulations to be made is to a certain extent indicated. It will be necessary to amend the Bill. Clause 2 provides for the allocation of £75,000 in any one year, but in the schedule the allocation is limited to £50,000. I “ shall have to ask honorable senators to put in a new column making the annual sum £75,000. It seems that in the other House they altered the £50,000 in clause 2 to £75,000, but forgot to alter the £50,000 in the schedule.
– If the regulations have been prepared, could not the Minister let us see them before the Bill is passed?
– So far as I know, the regulations have not been drafted.
– According to a statement made by Sir William Lyne in another place, thev have been.
– I I did not hear the statement or see it in print. I have before me a statement showing the imports in 1904-5 of the products in respect of which it is proposed to offer bounties. It shows the extensive nature of the import trade, and the value to Australia of the Home market, which is at present supplied with foreign articles. In that year we spent £185,000 on manufactured cocoa, and £1.9,000 on raw cocoa. Surely in the tropical part of Australia cocoa can be grown ! So far, not the slightest attempt has been .made to grow it. Our desire is to encourage its growth, and for that purpose we propose to give a bounty to the growers. Our imports of coffee and cotton in 1904-5 amounted to .about £50,000. Let me now take a big line such as flax and hemp. France gives a large bounty upon their production. Leaving out other fibres, like coir and jute, we imported £128,000 worth of flax and hemp in 1904-5. Our imports- of tinned fish totalled £288,000. Certainly we ought to be able to provide ourselves with preserved milk. Of that article we imported £194,000 worth in 1904-5.
– We must first learn the secret of how to preserve milk.
– If we grant a bounty upon its production, very likely we shall discover the secret. From £80,000 to £100,000 a year is paid by the Commonwealth for imported oils. It would be idle for me to appeal to those who do not believe in the granting of bounties, because any attempt on my part to show how beneficial they have been in certain directions would fail. No doubt they will be able to instance cases in which bounties have been thrown away. I know that in some States bounties have been given under certain conditions, and that no good results have followed. I admit all that, but still there are so many cases where bounties have produced most excellent results that I -for’ one am in favour of granting them, as I have been for a considerable period. Those who do not believe in bounties will vote against the Bill. If those who do believe in bounties think that in respect of certain lines it is hopeless to expect any good results to flow from the granting of bounties, it will be their duty to mention them and to vote for their omission from the schedule. If, on the other hand, they can point out any lines from which, in their opinion, excellent results might follow, it will be their duty to move to include the articles in the schedule. I think I have put all the points clearly, and that honorable senators now thoroughly understand the object of the Bill.
– Has the honorable senator any information regarding the bounty of id. per lb. upon the production of powdered milk?
– I do not see in my papers any special information with regard to that article.
– Is the Minister willing to adjourn the debate on this Bill, and to go on with the consideration of other business?
– No ; I have nothing else to go on with at the moment.
– I suggested an adjournment of the debate because this information has only just been placed in our hands, and we have not had time to read it.
– I rise to move the amendment of which I have given notice, but with the omission of the following words - having regard to the cheap labour and other favorable conditions employed in similar tropical industries outside the Commonwealth.
– It will not be necessary for the honorable senator to ask leave to amend his contingent notice, because he can move an amendment which is not contrary to the Standing Orders in any form he pleases. No notice is necessary.
– I move-
That all the words after the word “That” be left out, with a view to add the following words - “ further proceedings on the Bounties Bill be postponed -
Until Ministers have consulted the Go vernment of each State, and ascertained if they will administer the Bill if it becomes law and lend the aid of their experts to carry out its objects ; and
To enable Ministers to obtain from the
Agricultural Departments of the said States a report upon the desirability or otherwise of granting any, and what, bounties for the production of products from the soil, and as to the probability of a permanent industry being established in any of such products.”
I listened with some surprise to the Minister’s arguments, because they were loose and general in their character. He did not advance any evidence to show thatthere is a reasonable probability of any one of the proposed bounties establishing a permanent industry. Really. I marvelled at the general terms in which the Minister spoke. Of what use is it for him to tell us what has been done in regard to sugar in other parts of the world, or to discuss the subject of bounties generally, unless he applies his statements to the Bill before the Senate and to Australian conditions? I move my amendment for five reasons. First, the Bill contains evidence that it has been prepared in a most hasty and’ thoughtless manner, and needs further consideration. Secondly, there is nothing in the circulated napers to lead us to think that such products as cotton, rice, and cocoa can be produced in Australia, except with the aid of very cheap labour. Thirdly, there is no data to show that a permanenit industry would be the result of the granting of any one of the proposed bounties, Fourthly, the States have not been consulted about the Bill, either as regards the bounties which should be given, the amount of the bounties, or the question of administration. Fifthly, the States are absolutely opposed to what the Minister is doing.
– Does the honorable senator contend that we should necessarily consult the States?
– I intend to deal fully with that point. Every one who has read the report of the proceedings of the Premiers’ Conference at Hobart twoyears ago knows that the States are opposed to the Bill. The Bill, as it was originally drawn, included a bounty upon the production of chicory. If any evidence were wanted to show that it was most hastily, slovenly, and thoughtlessly prepared, it was supplied by the inclusion of that item. Of course, it was struck out in the other House. I know a man in Tasmania who has been growing chicory for the last twenty1 years. Sometimes he grows a crop, and sometimes he does not, simply because there is very little market for the article. I believe that on ten acres of rich bottom land he could grow enough chicory to supply all the requirements of the States. Senator Playford will never persuade me that any expert or Minister who included in the Bill a bounty upon the production of chicory could have given much thought to the subject. Having regard to tha fact that the production of at least five of the articles enumerated in the schedule is confined almost entirely to tropical countries, would not Senator Trenwith, as a guardian of the taxpayers’ money, like to be furnished with some evidence that we in Australia could compete with -the black labour of tropical countries in the production of coffee, cocoa, rice, and cotton? Is that not a most essential factor? How can statesmen talk about developing the agricultural resources of the Commonwealth unless they take into account the labour against which we have to compete? We all desire that our industries shall be developed with white labour, but if we have to pay our men twenty times more than labourers are paid elsewhere, how are we to compete? I can well understand that we import large quantities of the articles mentioned in the schedule to the Bill, and I quite agree that it would be a good thing for Australia if we could produce them ourselves. But that can only be done either by devising a. means by which our workmen can compete against black labour in other countries, or by having tremendous protective duties. We must acknowledge that the wages paid must have some relationship to the fund derived from the industry. If there are some undeveloped industries which would pay good wages, let us develop them for all we are worth, but if we find that owing to the cheap labour in other countries we cannot carry on those industries and pay a proper wage, it is evidently of no use to try to develop them.
– Cotton in America is produced by white labour now.
– Much of it is, but at the same time cotton is also produced in India, the Philippines, and Egpyt by means of the cheapest labour.
– We are growing tobacco in Australia, though it is produced largely by black labour in America.
– We want information to show us that we have any reasonable hope of competing against black labour in regard fo many of the articles mentioned in the schedule. The document that we have before us, crammed with useful information as it is, does not tell us enough. My next point is that we have no data to show that any of the industries mentioned in the schedule will be permanently established. It is, of course, quite easy for my honorable friend, the Minister, to prove that we import large quantities of various commodities, and to dilate upon the idea that it would be exceedingly profitable if we could produce them ourselves. But he has given us no information to establish the contention that the payment of bounties will permanently establish these industries. In the year 1866 the Queensland Government paid bounties for the production of cotton. In 1882 she paid more bounties. At the present moment the Agricultural Department of Queensland is giving all the advice it can to persons who are willing to produce cotton in the State. Some people have been growing cotton for years, and have obtained a very good price for it. Yet the industry cannot be said to be thriving, not because cotton cannot be grown in Queensland, but because, I presume, those who are getting a living by agriculture there find that thev can put their land to more profitable account. The payment of a bounty may cause more cotton to be ‘grown, but many of those who enter the industry will, after growing it for a few years, drop out. The Minister ought to have shown us that cotton-crowing in Queensland can be made profitable in competition with the black labour of other countries, and that, having been established, it will be permanently maintained. Let me give an illustration of the war in which bounties were paid some years ago in Victoria. Many honorable senators will be aware that they were paid for the planting of vineyards. I quite agree that as a consequence acres of vines were planted, but when the bounty ceased, many of the vineyards fell into disuse, and after some time were grubbed up. At my lodgings, I happened on one occasion to sit next to a man who used to be connected with the wine industry in this State, and he told me that one of the results of the payment of the bounty was that many neighbours came to him for vine cuttings, which he distributed by the thousand. They were planted out, but when the bounty ceased the vineyards so started were not carried on.
– Everybody did not succeed, but the industry did, and it was greatly accelerated by the bounty.
– But the wine growing industry of Victoria was profitable and successful years before the bounty was given. The Minister’s desire to promote the establishment of new industries is a laudable one, but it is his bounden duty to show that there is a reasonable hope of the industries becoming permanent. I am quite sure that Senator Trenwith does not want to see industries established which will fade away the moment the bounties cease. Then we ought to have a satisfactory assurance that the States will assist in the administration of the Bill when it is passed. Of course, we can quite understand that they will be agreeable to help to spend other people’s money, but that carries the matter no further. I venture to say that the Minister’s statement in this respect was not accurate. The States have not been consulted, and. I understand that the Minister of Trade and Customs asserts that it is not his duty to consult them. What he says is that he has no business to consult them until the Bill becomes law. Then, if they will not assist him, he is prepared to administer the Bill himself, and to employ experts. The Minister of Defence, however, has told us that the experts of the different States are to be utilized. The Senate has a right to complain that, while a Minister makes one statement in one branch of the Legislature, another Minister in the Senate makes a statement absolutely opposed to that of his colleague.
– I never said that the States had been consulted.
– The honorable sentor said that three of his colleagues had been formed into a Committee of the Cabinet, and had consulted the States.
– I never said anything of the sort.
– He said that they had made inquiries.
– From the States.
– I did not say from the States even.
– Do I understand that the States have not been consulted ?
– I really do not know.
– I have down in my notes the entry, “ Inquiries from States have been made,” and I am perfectly certain that Senator Playford, by has absolute words, led me to suppose that inquiries had been made of the States. I, however, know that inquiries have not been made in that direction, and that is the reason why I place my amendment on the notice-paper. I will pass on to my fifth reason - that the States are strongly against the proposal of the Government. There is no room for misunderstanding as to what took place at the Hobart Conference, because the report speaks for itself. Mr. McLean made a nice little speech from the protectionist stand-point, .and then Mr. Carruthers took up the running.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– The Minister of Defence is not present, and I should certainly like his attention to what I am about to say. [Quorum formed.]
– I beg, to draw attention to the fact that the lift is out of order, and that the bells are not ringing.
– All 1 can say is that I know the officers went round this morning and tested all the bells.
– I desired the Minister to be present, because he said he had read the report of the debates at the Hobart Conference of Premiers, and that he was of opinion that they had no bearing whatever on the Bill. If the Minister will listen tb what I am about to read, I think he will see that he was wrong, because the question of bonuses was referred to again and again at that Conference. An absolute conclusion in regard to them was come to, and it is astounding that this Bill should now be introduced. Mr. Carruthers, the Premier of New South Wales, said -
I look with very great concern at any time on proposals to enlarge ‘Commonwealth functions. I do not think it was ever contemplated that the Commonwealth Government or Parliament should extend its operations by, for instance, the establishment of a Department of Agriculture. The various States, and of course I speak of my own State in particular, have taken great steps towards the enlargement of our cultivation, by introducing new plans and methods, and I think that Mr. McLean has shown consideration to matters upon which our opinions are united ; but when it comes to a question of the Commonwealth Government taking up the business, then I say “ No.” It must be first shown that the States are incompetent to do this work. The Commonwealth Government have plenty to do in other ways. We have in our State Department of Agriculture, and by administration and necessary legislation, done much to encourage our young men to go on the lands of the State. All the States, however, , find that the great difficulty in this connexion is to curtail expenditure, and not enlarge it.
– That has nothing to do with bonuses, but deals with a Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, which it is not proposed to establish.
– But the debate goes on to deal with the difficulties in keeping down expenditure, and at the same time
Supplying extended knowledge: It is now proposed to expend £500,000 without consulting any of the States Departments. Mr. Carruthers went on to talk about flax and other materials, and then, dealing with cotton, to say -
The cotton industry was established in New South Wales and Queensland; but for some reason it declined. It will, however, in my opinion, be again established in Queensland. If the Commonwealth Government interferes in these matters, it will only be in an artificial way. The story of the cotton industry in Queensland is good reading, and is a story which shows that the Commonwealth Government, by taking it up, would be proclaiming inability 011 the part of the State Government. In regard to New Guinea, Mr. . McLean’s proposal seems a good one. My opinion is that New Guinea, for purposes of agricultural development, Sc., should be attached to the nearest State. If we ate to have Agricultural and Lands Departments run bv the Commonwealth, simply 011 account of New Guinea, the result will be a curse to us.
– We do not propose that.
- Mr. Morgan, the Premier of Queensland, said -
I am against the proposal.
– That meant the establishment of agricultural colleges, and so forth.
– It meant an Agricultural Department, with bonuses.
– Bonuses are not mentioned there.
– I shall come to the question ‘of bonuses if the Minister will be patient. Mr. Morgan said -
It would mean the Federal Government entering upon work which I think can be better carried out by the States themselves.
Does the Minister imagine that the Federal Government could carry on a system of bonuses in three of four separate States better than can the Agricultural Colleges and Departments of those States ? Is it not shown by the memorandum read bv the Minister that, in the administration of this Bill, we shall have to depend on State experts and other officers? Did ever such an unbusiness-like proposal issue from a Government? Mr. Morgan went on -
Holding that view, I do not propose to address myself at any length to the subject. Mr. McLean has devoted himself to the question of encouraging immigration, but I would remind him that the Commonwealth has done nothing yet in regard to the appointment of a
Cotton-growing has been referred to by Mr. McLean at some length. In the sixties Queenslandused to give a bonus. While the bonus lasted the industry flourished, but immediately the bonus ceased the industry ceased. We can grow cotton in Queensland, but I do not think even a bonus will tempt the farmers to again attempt it. If the Cotton-growers’ Association of Great Britain will guarantee a minimum price of 1 1/2d. in the State, something might result, but I do not think there is any use of the Commonwealth addressing itself to the question unless the action taken is in the direction of securing a minimum price to the grower. I do not hope that we will be able to compete in the production of cotton with countries that have the advantage of coloured labour.
Then Mr. Jenkins spoke up -
The only thing is whether the ‘Commonwealth could offer bonuses for the growth of cotton in the portions of country suitable^ If Queensland had to be kept alive by the sugar bonus, I do not see why we should not come in for cottongrowing in the Northern Territory.
– Hear, hear. He goes in for bonuses.
– The quotation proceeds -
I think nothing would be gained by the Commonwealth taking over the general management of the Agricultural Departments. We have agricultural colleges, agricultural experts in various lines, and find it all we can do to find the revenue to keep the departments going. My opinion has been that bv general agreement between the States in the matter of export and prevention of diseases, as far as agricultural and horticultural departments are concerned, we can accomplish all without the establishment of a Federal department.
– That all has to do with a. Department of Agriculture, and has no connexion with bonuses.
- Mr. Bent- suggested that it would be wise on the part of Commonwealth Ministers to withdraw the subject, as it did not appear to be the intention of the Conference to agree to the proposal in the shape of a motion. He felt as strongly as Mr. Carruthers on the point.
Then the Prime Minister” said -
If the Conference passed resolutions, it would not alter the position of the Commonwealth, but it might influence Ministers very much if they found there were a number of objections. The fullest importance would be attached to the suggestions of the Stales in matters affecting the Commonwealth.
Mr. Bent presumed that? no matter what the Conference did, the Commonwealth would undertake their powers. Some members were anxious for a bonus, and it was well known what position would be taken in the Commonwealth Parliament. He would be no party to permit Mr. Isaacs to have power in the Commonwealth Parliament to give bonuses.
That is “on the spot,” for what it is worth.
– For what it is worth. That is only the opinion of one man.
- Mr. Bent went on -
He gathered from the President that the Commonwealth would consider, as far as they thought fit, anything said by the State Ministers, and that anything they said would have very little effect. Regarding flax, how many other pieces of land in the district referred to bv Mr. McLean would grow it? He had picked out the very spot where it would grow, and the others would be out in the cold.
Mr. Butler said
We spend in Australia a quarter of a million in connexion with our Agricultural Departments, and these departments are much more alive at the present time than they have been for years past. I think agriculture has taken a very big step forward during the last few years in Australia. The improvements have been very marked, and I am satisfied that it would only be duplicating work if the Federal Department of Agriculture were established. Is it not reasonable to suppose that the Agricultural Department in each State has a better knowledge of the existing local conditions and requirements, and is consequently in a position to conduct its operations more economically than a huge Federal department removed some distance from its centre of operations?
– This Bill has nothing to do with a “huge Federal Department.”
– The arguments here-
– Are not germane to the subject.
– The arguments relate to the very substance of my amendment. I should have thought that the Minister would have written to the Agricultural Department of each State, in order to obtain evidence and suggestions as to whether bonuses would be helpful.
– What would be the good of asking the Agricultural Department of Victoria as to a bonus on some tropical production?
– I should say that the Agricultural Departments of the States would be able to obtain a great deal of information, or might be allowed time in which, to do so. That is another argument in favour of laying the Bill aside for the session - that nobody now has time to obtain the necessary information. Mr. Daglish, the Premier of Western Australia, said -
With regard to the main point at issue, I must express my concurrence in the views given utterance to by the members of this Conference. Tn our State we give a very great deal of attention to the work of the Agricultural Department, with, I believe, the greatest advantage lo the people of Western Australia. I do not know of any work in this direction that could be undertaken by the Federal Government. At all events, until a stronger case is put forward than that which has been presented, I must oppose the establishment of a Federal Department of Agriculture.
Mr. Evans, the Premier of Tasmania, said
My Government are distinctly opposed to the creation of any new Federal department. We think that the Federal Government have sufficient departments under their control, and when their administration has been perfected, then would be the time to consider the establishment of additional departments.
The Prime Minister, after having listened for some hours to those statements, said -
The Commonwealth consider it most important that the’ resources of Australia should be developed. The Commonwealth Government have in view this and other subjects as measures to form the subject of a policy to be laid before the next session of the Federal Parliament. The right of the State Premiers is keenly realized -
Does the Minister recognise that right? they should be consulted in the sense in which responsible men intrusted with responsible duties should consult other men intrusted with similar duties.
– I think there ought to be a larger attendance to listen to this debate. [Quorum formed.”]
– I particularly want the Minister of Defence to listen to what the Prime Minister said, as follows: -
We were verv anxious before introducing measures to the Federal Parliament. to have the advantage of this Conference. Not a word which has been sa’:d by any speaker will be overlooked.
– The Prime Minister did not propose to consult them any further. He has consulted them, and that is enough.
– See how unfair the Minister of Defence is. The Premiers were consulted about a Federal Department of Agriculture, and every one was opposed to the proposal, and two or three of them distinctly said they were opposed to bonuses. Here we have a Bill dealing with nothing but Bonuses and the expenditure of money, and requiring at its inception and in its administration the assistance of the States. Yet the Minister says that there is nothing in the statement made by the Prime Minister when he said “ not a word which has been said by any speaker will be overlooked “ ; and pointed out that the right of the States to be consulted was keenly realized. Then the Premier of New South Wales said -
I think the Federal Government should drop the matter. I will offer bitter opposition to any attempt made by the Federal Government to take over the power to establish a Federal Department of Agriculture. The States have not asked for assistance from the Federal Government in the matter at all. The Federal Government have plenty to do without interfering in State work. When the States have shown themselves unable to do the work it will be time for the Federal Government lo interfere. I am not in favour of bonuses to agricultural industries. I am not in favour of using the machine of government for other purposes than those for which it has been called into existence. It would be better to leave the States alone. They can manage the Department very satisfactorily. There would be rivalry if the Federal Government took the matter up ; and any rivalry means additional expense. The States could not interfere with the Federal Government ; and the Federal Government have plenty to do without taking up any State work. The States cannot promise any assistance so long as the Federal Ministry attempt to establish the Department. If the Queensland Department of Agriculture could be assisted, then the Commonwealth should help.
I do not know whether Senator Drake can tell me what that meant. Did the speaker mean that Queensland could not afford to extend the operations of the Department?
– Probably the assistance referred to bounties. The honorable senator seems to overlook the fact that the Federal Parliament has now the exclusive right to give bounties.
– I find that Mr. Bent said -
As far as I am concerned, I do not agree with the views expressed by Mr. McLean. I do not wish to see the Federal Government create fresh departments. Before expressing a final opinion I would like to be guided by the result of our discussion on the Braddon clause. I would rather a straight motion be put embracing every subject. Whatever power you at present have vested in you, you must exercise it, and in my experience I should point out that bonuses are not always successful in attaining the object for which they are granted. I think that the Commonwealth Parliament have a lot of work to do, and I am sure I would like to see them do it well. I hope that if further engagements are undertaken by the Commonwealth Parliament, they will be proceeded with on as economical lines as those which obtain in the States. I would recommend that the item be withdrawn.
Then, and I direct Senator Playford’s attention specially to this, the Prime Minister said -
Do you not think that we should frame a paragraph defining the views of the ‘Conference ; namely, that the general opinion of States Premiers and Ministers was against the proposal ? I see there is a very strong opinion held by the States Premiers on this question, especially with regard to bonuses.
Mr. Carruthers then said
There is no doubt you have powers with regard to the distribution of bonuses, but I trust you will never be called upon to exercise them fully. Such a system of extending assistance leads to bribery of the worst description. In our own House we have had experience with the iron bonus. I am most strongly opposed to the proposal, and you will find that if it is accepted you will have the worst form of lobby ism. If you give us a bonus that will help us, Queensland will have to pay, and if you give Queensland a bonus, New South Wales will have to contribute. We are quite prepared to submit to the sugar bonus, but I am not in favour of extending the bonus system beyond that which already exists. We will develop our own resources, and be guided by the experience in the past as to what is the best course to take. What will assist the trade of our State is a cheaper transport to outside markets. In Japan we have a splendid market, but the trade is blocked on account of the high rate of freight. There are other ways in which our trade could be extended. Our Commercial Agent has established markets in the East, and is doing far better work in developing our trade than would be the case if bonuses were granted. We are doing this work ourselves with the aid of the Federal Government. We want the Federal Government to stay their hand, and to assist us to do the work which we as States are more qualified to do.
I am aware that the granting of bonuses is now vested in the Federal Parliament. But my argument is that which was used by the speakers at the Conference, namely, that in all these matters the States have a special right to be consulted and considered. I have no evidence before me that the States have been considered or consulted in respect to any item in the schedule to this Bill. The system of bonuses is not new to us. From the State of Victoria, the country of protection, where the people seem to prefer an artificial life to a healthy, natural one, we have many lessons to learn from the giving of bonuses. I have here a return of bonuses given by the State, and I find that they amounted in all to £233,000. I quote some of them -
To growers of grapes and general vegetable products, , £55,000. To factories for fruit canning, fruit drying, dairying, raisin and currant” making, vegetable oil making, preparing for the manufacture of flax, hemp, silk, and other products, £37,000. For dairy produce and fruits of best quality exported to foreign markets, £’79,000. For importation’ of new varieties of seeds and plants,£3,000. For establishing a system of technical education by the employment of experts to supply instruction in connexion with the introduction of new vegetable products, and the improvement of existing agricultural methods, , £43,000. For the introduction of new machinery and appliances to perfect the treatment of new agricultural products, and to improve present agricultural methods, and for prizes for new inventions in general agricultural appliances, £’4,000. For publishing agricultural reports, including illustrations in connexion with the educational work of the experts, and of the distribution of the bonuses generally, , £11,000. Bonuses for encouragement of planting and cultivating forest trees of an economic character, £1,000.
Much of the money provided for these bonuses has been absolutely wasted. In some instances the bonus has failed to establish any permanent industry, and in other instances it has not been availed of. In making his report on the subject, the State officer, Mr. D. Martin, Secretary of Agriculture, says -
Products under the heading of general vegetable products, but which are novel products, have not received the attention I desire. This may be accounted for from the fact that they are not well understood, but there is reason to believe that before long more attention will be given thereto. I refer more particularly to flax and hemp. This colony is in every way suitable for the growth of the raw material ; in fact, in some parts of the colony samples have been produced which in quality and quantity could not be excelled. The want of suitable machinery for treating the material has so far retarded the “industry, but the manufacture of simple and cheap appliances is now receiving the attention of some of the implement makers.
He says, further - £4,850 has been paid as bonuses for exported canned fruits. The shipments were made by two companies only ; and as these have ceased exporting, it is feared a successful trade in our canned fruits will not be established for some time.
That is a second instance in which the bonus offered was useless - £3,000 for importation of new variety of seeds and plants. The expenditure has been £267.
This seems to have been a failure also -
Grant of £43,000 for technical education - £18,566 has been paid from this sub-division, consisting of payments to experts in dairying, vine culture, wine making, fruit growing, flower farming, &c. Their services have been fully made use of by those interested in the several industries, and the advantages of their advice and instruction, with the benefits derived therefrom, have been acknowledged in the most flattering terms from all parts of the colony.
I have read that to show that the giving of expert advice and instruction to our producers is a better and a sounder way of establishing industries than is any system of bounties -
If the advice of experts be taken, so that the settlers may be guided in the choice of articles for production, many new industries might be started, which would assist in the prosperity of the country.
Again, falling back on the great advantage of expert advice. He goes on to say -
Grant of£4,000 for introduction of new machinery, and for prizes for new inventions. Of this sum £1,002 has been appropriated for pattern implements. To this amount the sum of £’50 has to be added, being the amount awarded for prize- for a polato digger. The prize was manufactured in the colony, and competed against imported machines.
Grant of ; £1,ooo for planting forest trees. Originally the sum granted for this purpose was £15,000, but so far only seven applications for planting thirty-four acres have been received. This is disappointing, seeing that trees are supplied gratis by the Forest Department, and all that the land owners are required to do is to plant the trees, and attend to their cultivation.
This bears out the statements made by Mr. Bent and Mr. Carruthers, and I believe that, in half the cases in which bonuses have been offered, they have practically proved a failure. I have here an extract from an old Victorian Government Gazette, showing that the Government offered bounties for almost everything one could name. The list is so long that I shall not trouble honorable senators by reading it. I have another extract, from which it appears that the regulations concerning bounties had to be revised. It was necessary to set to work and alter the terms on which the bounties were to be paid. In the circumstances, the Minister must realize the importance of the subject with which this Bill deals, and I ask him whether he thinks that it is possible to put it into proper shape within the next week. It is absolutely hopeless to expect to do so. I direct attention to the fact that we have taken over, and are now administering, the Government of Papua, and that we have also taken control of Norfolk Island. Have the Government ever considered whether it is w-ise that we should try by experiments to develop the production of india-rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, and cotton in the northern parts of Australia, in view of what it is necessary we should do in Papua? A very grave responsibility rests upon this Parliament to show that we have some statesmen amongst us who are able to apply the experience of the past to the development of’ the rich, tropical territory of Papua. If the various articles referred to in the schedule to this Bill can be more easily and better produced in Papua, it must be idle for us to try to stimulate their production in Australia, where our small population has plenty to do, when we have 500,000 natives of Papua, who, as Senator Smith has often told us, ought to be set to work for themselves. He has explained that roads should be constructed in Papua and plantations formed, if a forward policy in Papua is to be adopted. This is a matter which is worthy Of the grave consideration of the Senate, even though the Government may not have considered it. Senator Smith has a good deal to say about the rubber industry in the report which he has published. Here we are asked to vote a bounty upon the production of india-rubber and gutta percha.. So far as I can ascertain, it is quite hopeless to expect that in Australia we should be able to establish a permanent industry - in any event, it would be attended with very great risk - whereas in Papua, I understand, the industry could be established on a sound basis without incurring any risk, by the expenditure of a little money. If we appropriated a portion of the money which we are asked to vote in this Bill to the development of the rubber and cocoa industries in Papua it would result in far greater benefit.
– Why not also in the Northern Territory ?
– I do not object to the establishment of industries all over the place, but we all can have our favorites. Certainly we cannot give bounties upon the production of products in the Northern Territory, and North Queensland, and not in Papua. With the limited amount at our disposal - although the Ministers do not seem to think that it is limited - I am trying to do the best I can. We are asked to vote bounties to the amount of ^’500,000, and I contend that more than one-half or two-thirds of that sum could be spent to much better advantage. I gather that the rubber tree takes from nine to fifteen years to mature, and yields no gutta percha until it is twenty-five years old. According to some experts, the growing of gutta percha is out of the question, but the growth of coffee is advisable. Like Senator Smith, I want to see coffee plantations established in Papua, because I think that the results would be better. In my opinion some items ought to be struck out of the schedule, inasmuch as they relate to industries which have already been established. For instance, we find that the olive oil industry is ten years qld. The Minister of Defence, if he went to the Agricultural Show here recently, must have seen the several exhibits of olive oil. The industry was established, so far as I know, without the aid of a bounty. I have read, and I presume that the statement is correct, that it was so established in South Australia. It is a simple matter to produce olive oil. In a suitable climate any one can grow olive trees, and the machinery for making the oil costs only a small sum. With a limited revenue and an enormous expenditure on defence and other things staring us in the face, why should we give a bounty upon the production of such a simple product as olive oil ? In South Australia the late Sir Samuel Davenport and one or two other growers, established the industry. At Mildura the growers are rooting up their olive trees. In some parts of South Australia the growers are doing the same, not because the industry is not suitable to the place, but because they can put their land to better use.
– In what part of South Australia are olive trees being rooted up ? They are being planted everywhere.
– Why does the honorable senator want to give a bounty if the industry is being extended without a bounty ? ‘
– I want to encourage the industry still further. The Adelaide Corporation are the largest growers of olives.
– I do not think that either Senator Playford or Senator Guthrie can deny that the olive oil industry is already established.
– Can the honorable senator mention one place where olive trees are being rooted up ?
– In Hansard I read a statement to that effect, though I forget by whom it was made. At all events, at Mildura olive trees are .being rooted up. We all have our favorites.’ It might be said, for instance, that my favorite is the capitalist, and that Senator Guthrie’s is the worker. In a way, both ought to be our favorites : but the question has arisen, how is the bounty to be distributed? If Senator Playford reads the report of what took place in the other House, he will find that some, honorable members desire that no portion of it shall go to the few wealthy men who established the industry in South Australia. They want to encourage the planting of olive trees and to increase the number of plantations, but to confine the bounty to the products of new plantations. That is all very well - in fact, I think I prefer that plan - but would it be fair to apply the bounty in such a way that those who had experimented and established the industryshould get no benefit therefrom ? The consideration of that very difficult question might well engage our attention for hours, but what time is there to debate it? It would be wrong to ignore the claims of the men who have risked their money and succeeded in establishing the industry. Moreover, what is the use of giving a bounty to an industry which is well established ?
– There is any amount of room for extension.
– Is there not room for extension in the case of every industry ? Does my honorable friend mean to say that that is a reason for granting a bounty ? We might as well give a bounty upon the production of grass as upon the production of olive oil. With regard to cotton- growing ; I asked Senator “Playford the other day whether any communication had been made to the British Cotton-Growing Company of Great Britain with regard to growing cotton’ in the north part of Australia, and he said, “ No.” But when I went on to ask whether the Government would communicate with the company and ascertain whether it could not introduce capital into Australia, if we gave the land on fair terms, so as to encourage cotton-growing by private enterprise, he said, “ Yes.” I take it. therefore, that the Prime Minister will communicate with the company. I think that if we gave them the land on fair terms, a very great deal might be done to induce the company to come here and start the industry. Unless I am mistaken, it has already been started. According to’ my information, people are growing cotton now, and the question is first, whether it can be grown at a profit, and even if it can, whether the land could not be more profitably used in growing something else. All these points ought to have been dealt with in the paper which has been circulated. What is the use of our being told that man could make a profit of £3 or £4 per acre on growing cotton, when possibly he might get £10, or £15, or £20 an acre out of another crop? What is the use of telling me that in Tasmania we might have a bounty upon the. production of hemp or flax, if Tasmania will grow hemp or flax - and I do not know whether it will or not. If by growing potatoes I can make £15 or £20 an acre every year, or in some years £4° an acre, am I likely to grow hemp or flax ? In that State I can point to hundreds of acres of land which produce 10 tons_of potatoes per acre, bringing .£5 or £6 per ton in a good season. Of course, that is a very outside price. The average crop on the north-west coast is 6 or 7 tons per acre. Sometimes the price is as low as 30s. pei ton, but latterly the growers have got splendid prices. We may be quite sure that no man there will ask, “ Can I get £3 per acre by growing cotton ? “ He will ask, “ What crop will produce most per acre ? “ and no matter what the bountymay be, he will grow the product which brings in the greater profit. According to what I can glean from the Agricultural Department of Victoria, the regulations are even more important than the Act itse.lt. The latter simply sets forth the amount of the bounty, but the regulations deal with all the details. When I learned that in another place Sir William Lyne had said that the regulations under the Bill had been drafted, I asked Senator Playford to lay them before the Senate next week, so that they might be considered, as I hope he will yet be able to do. In Victoria it seemed a verv simple thing to vote £100,000 for bounties upon the production of butter. But £25,000 went into the pockets of the producers, and ^75,000 to commission agents, shipping agents, merchants, and ship-owners. Ought not that to be an object-lesson, and a warning, to us? The Bill ought to be considered in conjunction with th* regulations. If we are to be practically compelled to take over the Northern Territory, which has an annual deficit of about ,£80,000, what are we to do? We cannot afford to spend £500,000 upon bounties, and then provide £500,000 for Papua and the Northern Territory. Having regard to the interests of Papua, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth generally, what is the best thing to be done?
– The Northern Territory is as much part of the Commonwealth as is South Australia proper.
– The agricultural industry in the Northern Territory is not yet sufficiently developed to take advantage of the bounties. When it begins, to develop there, I think it will need assistance. I only want all these points to be considered. Cannot this sum of ,£500,000 be spent in a more profitable way ? Is it not more urgently required in half-a-dozen different directions? There are so many problems in the air, so many projects which have to be carried out, so many bundles of carrots which Ministers have to dangle before the electors, that it rests with them, I think, to sit down quietly and consider first what money they can afford, and, secondly, how they are going to spend it. I am glad to see that in connexion with the Defence Department that sensible plan is to be adopted. The Prime Minister has said, “We shall have to determine what we can afford, and then see how we are going to spend it.” All I ask Senator Playford is whether the Commonwealth can afford to provide £500,000 for bounties. There are two ways of doing what we all desire to do - that is to increase our industries and to promote the development of soil products - one is the direct way, and the other the indirect way. The direct way is by giving bounties, for instance, on exports - a bad thing, I think - and also by imposing high protective duties. In many cases that might lead to the establishment of an industry. In other cases, it might bring into being an artificial industry which would die immediately the bounty was removed. The other is the indirect way, and that is by means of edu cation, and the spread of knowledge. Each State has made considerable strides in establishing Agricultural Departments, and agricultural colleges, and doing its best to impart technical instruction and other useful information. The paper from which I have quoted says that by giving expert knowledge and spreading it abroad many industries can be established. The olive oil industry, for instance, was established in South Australia not with the aid of a bonus, but because the soil and climate were suitable. If we only supply the producers with proper instruction and information, industries can be started in the Commonwealth. New South Wales has agricultural colleges with about 5,000 acres of land, and fourteen experimental farms. Victoria has agricultural colleges, and eight experimental farms. Western Australia has an agricultural college and six experimental farms. Queensland has an agricultural college, with ten experimental farms, and fourteen sub-stations. South Australia has an agricultural bureau with one hundred branches. Tasmania has an Agricultural Council, to which one or two experts are attached. It will be seen that the States maintain a fine machinery for the purpose of giving an indirect stimulus to the cultivation of soil products. Of the two methods the indirect is the better; and I warn my honorable friend, the Minister of Defence, that if the Government is to go On submitting proposals for spending money in the reckless way in which it has done during the last two months, the result must inevitably l~e disaster to the Commonwealth. I recognise that it is desirable to develop the tropical regions of Australia, .and I am not opposed to vote for bounties if a good case is made out for them. The article which I pick out from the schedule as being important is cotton. I quite recognise that it would be of the greatest benefit to Australia if we could develop a large and permanent industry in cotton.growing. But I have .shown that as far back as i860, and again in 1882, the Queensland Government granted bounties fbr cotton growing, apparently without success. I am inclined to think, therefore, that the industry will not be permanently established by this means. If I thought it would be I should vote for the bounty. There is nothing in my fiscal creed which would prevent me from doing everything possible in that direction. But I am not inclined to support a vote of £500,000 to be distributed in bounties for the production of the articles mentioned in this Bill. If the Minister will permit the measure to be postponed, and will make inquiries from the Agricultural Departments of the States to ascertain whether it is likely that permanent industries can be established, he will do good work. But if he tries to force the Bill through with undue haste, and on insufficient information, trusting to the States to administer it, without asking whether they will be prepared to undertake that task, he will be doing bad work.
– I beg to second the amendment.
.- I congratulate the Government on bringing forward this measure. I see no signs of haste in their action. The proposal to distribute bounties for the production of rural products was part of the policy of the first Commonwealth Administration. It was a prominent feature in the programme of the first Deakin Government, but it was afterwards lost sight of. We learn from the paper which has been circulated that a Committee of Ministers has taken the matter in hand, and has been very diligent in obtaining information with regard to the items mentioned in the schedule. It is therefore appropriate that the measure should have been introduced. It is intended to encourage those engaged in agriculture to strike out on new lines. The fault relating to agriculture in Australia is. that those who prosecute it are content to work along in a single groove, producing just the same articles as are produced by other people, and which were produced by their fathers before them. The granting of these bounties may induce agriculturists to strike out in fresh directions. I look upon what is proposed, not so much, as a recompense to the farmer for the time and capital he devotes to producing certain articles, but as a, prize given to those who will endeavour to produce in Australia articles which have not hitherto been grown here. M,y honorable friend, Senator Dobson, in criticising the measure, argued, if I understood him rightly, that the subject should be left to the States, and he has quoted from the reports of ‘Conferences of Premiers to show that some of the representatives of the States, including Mr. Carruthers, have expressed opinions adverse to the Commonwealth taking action in the matter. But I venture to think that on re-reading the reports again Senator Dobson will find that what the Premiers objected to was the establishment of a Commonwealth Department of Agriculture which would supersede the Agricultural Departments of the States. Even upon that point I think there was a misapprehension, because what several Commonwealth Governments have endeavoured to do has not been, to establish a Department of Agriculture which would override the Departments of the States, but to establish a sort of bureau of information, bv means of which facts could be collected for the use of persons engaged in Australian industries. The object was not to supersede the States Departments of Agriculture, but to assist them in the work they have in hand. But the Constitution itself, Senator Dobson will recollect, confines the right of granting bounties exclusively to the Federal Parliament. Therefore the work of fostering and developing agriculture in Australia in this way must be taken in hand by the Federal Parliament, the States Parliaments’ having no power to grant bounties. We have lind more than one - Conference at which this matter has been discussed.
– Not the question as to what bounties should be paid.
– Very likely not] but surely the Commonwealth must proceed in some matters on its own initiative. How long should we have to wa.it if the Commonwealth Government were to ask the States to decide for it what bounties should be paid, and for what products they should be given? My honorable friend quoted what the Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Carruthers, said with regard to the cotton industry, and he also referred to what has been done in the past by the Queensland Government. It is perfectly true that the Queensland Government at one time granted a bounty for the cultivation of cotton, and that the experiment was fairly successful. But the State Government cannot do that now, because it is not constitutionally able to grant bounties. It is not true, however, that the Queensland Government is averse to the granting of bounties. On the contrary, it is favorable. I trust that when this Bill is carried the Commonwealth ‘Government will take action in conjunction with the Queensland Department of Agriculture, so as to achieve the object we all desire. Indeed, I hope that this policy will be a means of bringing the Federal Government into closer touch, with the States Governments than has been the case in the past.
– What has been the effect of bounties given for cotton-growing in Queensland?
– The history of the matter is a little mixed. An account of it was given some time ago in a paper by Mr. Bottomley. What happened was before mv time, and 1 do not profess to be able to give an exact account, but I think that cotton-growing was started in Queensland at the time of the great civil war in America. The effect of the war was to stop the supply of cotton to the mills in Lancashire. It was grown with great success in Queensland during that time. One of the effects of the shortage of cotton, and the high price, was that cotton was grown to a great extent in India also. When the war came to an end vast quantities from the southern States df America were placed on the market. This cotton had been held up during the military operations. These great supplies, together with the competition of the cotton from India, had the result of pressing down the price to so abnormally low a figure that the Queensland industry was practically killed. Senator Dobson was not quite correct in saying that another bounty was given in 1882.. That was not for’ cotton-growing, but - for the production of manufactured calico. Mills were put up, and for a time the industry flourished fairly well, but it was ultimately stifled, no doubt by cheap importations. At the time when the first Commonwealth Government, of which I was a member, was dealing with the Tariff, I had samples of cotton goods, turned out by the Ipswich mills, sent to Melbourne, and submitted to experts in this city, who expressed the opinion that it was wonderfully good cotton, well manufactured, and excellent in every respect. The industry, no doubt, had a precarious life. Those at the back of ‘it tried to carry on operations for many years, but ultimately found it to be impossible, owing to inability to compete with cheap importations.
– Is not cotton grown in Queensland now?
– More recently Dr. Thomatis. a cultivated Italian gentleman, has grown cotton near Cairns, and his operations have been attended with great success. What he has grown is quite a new type of cotton, to which he has given the name of
Caravonica. He is getting 10s. a lb. for the seeds of this cotton, and I read in the newspapers some time ago that at one of the great exhibitions he has been awarded a first prize for his cotton. .It is of quite a different character in many respects from that usually grown, having a very large pod, and growing upon a very big bush - almost a tree. Another advantage attaching to it is that it requires a minimum of labour in its production.
– If this gentleman gets such a high price, why is a bounty required ? -
– Whether it has paid him or not I do not know ; but certainly if we wish to induce a number of men who are at present utilizing their energies in other directions to devote themselves to the production of cotton, we must give them special encouragement; and the bounty of 10 per cent, that is offered under this Bill is a very moderate amount of encouragement to offer.
– Is it not want of suitable labour that stands in the way of development?
– I believe that cotton can be cultivated verv well without coloured labour. When cotton was grown in the West Moreton district, in Queensland, at the time I speak of, the difficulty was got over by having ,it picked by the school children after school hours for a payment of id. per lb. The children were not, perhaps, able to do what might be considered a day’s work for an adult, but I believe that the picking was very satisfactorily done under the circumstances. Under a system of bounties, cotton, and some of the other products mentioned here, will, I am hopeful, be grown to some extent on small holdings. Thev will not be produced so much on the plantation system, by means of large gangs of labourers, but will prove very useful adjuncts to general farming. I think there will be very little difficulty in finding the necessary labour for the production of these articles without resort to coloured labour. But Senator Dobson asks, “ How are you going to compete with countries where coloured labour is employed ? “ If we cannot compete with those countries when we have bounties, how car. we compete without bounties? Is- Senator Dobson prepared to allow industries, such as are indicated in the schedule, to pass entirely into the hands of people of other countries? Are we never to produce such articles? If we are, then the greater the difficulty there is in competing with countries where coloured labour is employed, the more necessity there is for the bounty.
– Senator Drake has not yet solved the black labour difficulty.
– The honorable senator hops from one argument to another. He asks how we are going to compete against black labour, and when I point out that cotton is being grown without coloured labour at the present time in northern Queensland, he asks, “ Why do you want the bounty ? “
– I understand that cotton is grown in Queensland by only one or two men, and is of very superior quality.
– It is a new type of cotton, and is so rare just now that the grower is receiving 10s. per lb. for the seed. That fact in itself is an indication that cotton, has not yet been grown to any great extent in this country ; it also shows the very high appreciation in which the article produced is held, and justifies great hopes for the future. I should like to refer to the two items of coffee and cocoa. At the present time, there is an import duty of id. per lb. on cocoa, and that protection is absolutely insufficient to encourage any production. The proposal contained in the Bill is to give a bounty of id. per lb., and that certainly is not very high. There is at present a duty of 3d. per lb. on raw coffee, and it is proposed to give a bonus of id. per lb.home honorable senators rnay regard that as a very large protection, but we must remember that, while coffee is subject to a comparatively heavy duty, tea is admitted absolutely free. It is one of the peculiar anomalies in the Tariff that we give a limited protection only to an article which can be and is grown here by white labour, and we admit absolutely free an article that is produced almost exclusively by coloured labour.
– Could we produce tea?
– The reason is that tea isnot generally cultivated here. I regard tea and coffee as, to a certain extent, exchangeable commodities.
– People sometimes drink tea, and sometimes coffee, and the consumption must depend to a great extent on the duties that are imposed. If a heavy duty were imposed on tea, there would be a diminished consumption of that article, and an increased consumption of coffee - the duty on tea would really operate as a protection to coffee. We should be shutting out an article that is produced exclusively by coloured labour in favour of an article which can be grown in Australia by means of white labour.
– Has the honorable senator passed by cocoa?
– Cocoa could be dealt with along with coffee. The difficulty is that, up to the present, cocoa has not been grown to any extent in Australia.
– The honorable senator’s argument is analogous to putting a duty on bananas in order to protect apples.
– No doubt that is slightly on the same lines; but the argument is much weaker in the case of the fruit, because tea and coffee are, to a certain extent, exchangeable products.
– Does the honorable senator think that cocoa could be grown in Australia ?
– I think so.
– (Can the honorable senator say that there is any place, not within ten or twelve degrees of the Equator, where cocoa is grown ?
– Australia,’ at Cape York, is much nearer than that to the Equator. Although cocoa has not been grown here up to the present, I am quite sure that it could be. At all events, coffee can be grown in the greatest abundance. It flourishes over an enormous area of Queensland, and, under favorable conditions, could be produced in sufficient quantity to supply the wants of the whole of Australia.
– Does the honorable senator know that cocoa cannot be grown with any profit in Java?
– Nor in Ceylon.
– That is no reason why it should not be grown in Queensland. Senator Clemons. - There is the same reason, namely, that the production of Brazil would beat ours.
– Although . the quantity of coffee grown in Australia is small in ‘ proportion to the quantity imported, it affords considerable hope for the future. Coffee is grown splendidly on the Blackall Ranges, about 50 miles north of Brisbane. In 1905 the quantity of coffee imported was 1,754,866 lbs., while the quantity produced in Australia was 83,632 lbs. I am very hopeful that the offer of a bounty of id. per lb. will increase the output considerably. I desire now to refer to the item of fish. Considering the abundance of fish we have on all our coasts, it is a serious consideration that we should be importing fish to the value of £320,000 a year. No doubt the imported fish consists largely of salmon, herrings, and sardines; but, like tea and coffee, these fish are exchangeable, if I may use the word - that is to say, substitutes could be found. If
Ave could give the people freshly-caught fish, or if some of the fish on our coasts could be tinned, there would soon be little necessity for any imports; at any rate, we should have no need to import to the present extent. I am happy to notice that in Queensland several kinds of fish are being canned, and that the industry is also carried on in Tasmania.
– The industry has been given up in Tasmania.
-That is a great pity, and I only hope it will be revived under the bounty. I do not intend to refer particularly to any more of the details in the schedule. I think the Government have acted very wisely in keeping their proposals within manageable limits. They must always be exposed to the criticism that they have not included this or that item; but the further they had gone in the way of including every possible commodity on which a bounty would be desirable, the more difficulty there would have been to get the measure through. The principle is right; the Bill is a good beginning; and if the proposed bounties have the effect that is hoped, there will be- plenty of room for extension in the future. There is one provision of the Bill about which I am doubtful, namely, clause 6, which deals with the employment of aboriginals. My own opinion is that aboriginals should be employed at any work they can do. This was their country before we came here; we have not treated them very well in some of the States, and the least we can do is to give them every encouragement, and help them to make a living for themselves. But when, by the clause I have mentioned, we provide that, while coloured labour shall be excluded, persons having one white parent may be employed, it looks rather like offering a premium on the mixture of the races.
– Surely this Bill will not lead to a mixture of the races.
– Does it not look encouraging the union of diverse rages? The highest and best results are obtained from the union of branches of the same race. All history proves that the union of diverse races leads to unfortunate results, because they cannot properly mix and amalgamate. I believe there is some law, which probably has not been thoroughly discovered yet, by which certain races may mix with good results, but the good results are most to be expected from the union of branches of the same race. Thequestion is a very difficult one, but I cannot profess to go into it now. Honorable senators are aware that we sometimes speak of nations of “ half-breeds “ when what we mean really Is that good results cannot be expected from the off -spring of a union of diverse nations. This is a very big question in the Southern States of America. Honorable senators are aware that at one time the question of disgeneration occupied such a position, if it does not occupy it still, as almost to amount to a threat of death against the person who united himself with a person of another race.
– I have travelled through America three times, and I know that the number of half-castes there is very great. So that it can hardly be a question of death.
– The number was probably greater in the old slave days, but we may say, on broad lines, that the Caucasian and negro races in America are not amalgamating at the present time. Very strong steps were taken in the past to prevent them doing so, and what the result would have been if those steps had not been taken we cannot say.
– There has been no law on the subject. It is only a matter of custom.
– There is something very much stronger than law. They have customs in that country which, in some places, they manage to enforce with greater stringency ‘ than thev enforce the laws. The matter is certainly worth considering. We are very particular, and rightly so, about preserving a white Australia. We do everything we can to discourage the introduction or employment of coloured people, and I am inclined to think that we should regard it as a matter of regret if we found these races, that cannot be blended with any successful results, becom- ing mixed up. I suppose that the progress of the measure can be best assisted by making short speeches on it, and I content myself now with expressing appreciation of the general action taken by the Government in this connexion.
-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [3-35]. - I expected that some other honorable senators would have continued the debate, as the subject with which this Bill deals has not been exhausted by any means by the speeches we have heard. Before dealing generally with the Bill, I should like to say a word or two in reply to what Senator Drake has said on clause 6, while it is fresh in my memory. The honorable senator has taken some exception to the clause. I think that the Government should rather be commended than condemned for introducing it. Whatever may be our desire for a White Australia, we must recognise the fact that the aboriginal natives of the country should be given a fair opportunity to earn an honest livelihood in any occupation which may be suitable to them. Half-castes born in the country should be given a similar opportunity, and certainly ought not to be made absolute pariahs, and compelled to clear out of Australia if thev desire to earn an honest living The tendency of our legislation should never be in that direction, but in the direction of giving those who are here every opportunity of employment in the ordinary industries of the country. Dealing generally with the Bill, I would say that the Government might assist the development of agriculture in a better way than by giving bounties’. Some of the States have established agricultural colleges, at which persons may obtain instruction in the best and most intelligent methods of dealing with the problems of agriculture. I think that the Government might render very much better service to the community by establishing a Department of Agriculture, and assisting the States, and especially those in which no agricultural colleges have so far been established, to extend the knowledge of agriculture in the community.
– That matter was brought before the Hobart Conference, and, unfortunately, all the States Premiers spoke against the proposal.
-Col. GOULD. - In mv opinion, it would be verv much better to give the people of the Commonwealth opportunities of instruction in agriculture than to attempt to drive them into one particular line by means of a system of bounties. We have hundreds of thousands of acres of: rich agricultural land awaiting the plough. No man who desires to take up agriculture need be under any fear that it is not possible to obtain good agricultural land.
– Query ?
-Col. GOULD. - The difficulty is that many men who would make first-rate agriculturalists have never had an opportunity to learn what it is best to cultivate, and how to cultivate it. (I am speaking here in all good faith, and solely with the desire to advocate that which I think would help us to attain our end in the quickest and most efficacious manner. The principle underlying a system of bounties is that without assistance from the Government there is no prospect of people embarking in the particular industries in connexion with which bounties are offered. In another place, when an honorable member suggested a bounty for growing oranges, the House refused to entertain the suggestion, because thev are grown, and will continue to be “grown, without the assistance of a bounty. We should not propose a bounty for the growing of wheat, because we know that it is grown, and will continue to be grown extensively, without such assistance. This applies to a number of crops which are cultivated in Australia, and, as time goes on, the attention of people will be directed to the cultivation of new crops suitable to the soil, and commanding an immediate market. In New South Wales agricultural colleges have been established for some years past, and it- is unquestionable that they have materially assisted the development of agriculture in that State. They have enabled men to learn the crops and manures most suitable for different soils, the best way in which to cultivate various crops, and in which to obtain markets- for their produce. That is a fair way of giving assistance to our agriculturalists.
– It is worth, something to hear the honorable senator speak so highly of State enterprise and Socialism.
.- I am glad that for once the honorable senator is satisfied with what I say. He took some exception to my statement that good agricultural land is available in Australia. What I meant to say was that there can be no doubt that we have a vast area of such land in Australia, though there might be some question as to the difficulty of obtaining it. There is any quantity of good agricultural land from which a great number of crops might be produced remuneratively. But when I turn to the schedule, I find that practically none of those crops which might be readily cultivated in Australia, with the assurance of a market;, are included in it. I may be told that that is because a bounty is not required to encourage the cultivation of those crops ; but in reply, I ask whether we are not, by means of the system here proposed, endeavouring to drive agriculturists into the cultivation of special crops, which, but for the assistance proposed, they would not be induced to take up, in view of the ordinary con.titions of climate, suitability of soil, and demand for the produce?
– That is the meaning of the Bill.
– Does the honorable senator mean to tell me that while there are many avenues of employment in which men may be successfully engaged, it is the object of the Bill to. induce them to take up others into which they would not think of entering without the assistance of bounties?
– New avenues of employment.
– le is all very well to say that people in the Commonwealth can grow cocoa, bi.t no one will contend that it will not pay them better to grow wheat. We should not try to take men away from wheat-growing by offering State assistance for the growth of something else which cannot, under existing conditions, be grown as remuneratively.
– Might not people grow something in addition as well as something in substitution?
– Cocoa can be grown where it is impossible to grow wheat.
– I am aware of that, but I say that we should not induce men to give up the growth of wheat, at which they can make money, to take up the growth of cocoa., which will only be profitable by reason of the assistance given in the shape of a bounty.
– Men who are growing wheat, and making money at it, will not go to Northern Queensland to grow cocoa.
.- I have mentioned some of the objections to the bounties system which occur to my mind. A com mon objection to the protective System is that it is an attempt, by. means of an artificial stimulus, to drive people into industries for which the time is not ripe, and the same objection may be urged to the system of giving bounties.
– Would not “ to encourage” be a better term than “to drive “?
– I will say that this appears to me to be a proposal for encouraging people to go into industrieswhich they would not take up under existing conditions, or without the artificial stimulus provided by a bounty.
– We want to encourage immigration from countries where people understand how to grow these products.
.- The honorable senator must be aware that cocoa, coffee, cotton, and .rice, are more largely grown by coloured people, working at low rates of wages, than by white people, and he is proposing to induce white people to go into the cultivation of these crops in competition with countries in which these industries are carried on by black labour.
– The same remarks were made about sugar, but it is grown by white labour now.
.- And the honorable senator knows at what cost to the Commonwealth.
– Sugar is cheaper now than it has been for the last ten years.’
– That is due to the cheapness of sugar, in the world’s market. ‘ Senator Styles must know as well as I do that if the price of sugar abroad were to fall to £5 per ton, it could be readily imported to Australia in competition with locally-grown sugar, and then the price of locally-grown sugar would have to come down.
– Sugar was far cheaper in 1902 than it is now.
– Sugar is cheaper al! over the world. So it will be with many other articles. Senator Dobson has alluded to rubber and gutta percha. I do not think that, unless it be in the extreme north of the Commonwealth, any one will give much attention to the cultivation of those articles. The same remark might be made in regard to others. Take, for instance, oils, which include olive, China, linseed, castor, colza, sunflower, essential, cotton-seed, and such others as are prescribed. Olive oil has been manufactured in the Commonwealth for very many years, I believe that in South Australia one gentleman turns out about 12,000 gallons per annum. It is proposed to give the growers of olive oil, during a period of ten years, a bounty equal to 10 per cent, on the market value of the product, or at the rate of £6,500 a year. Is it fair for the Commonwealth to grant that assistance to a well-established industry? I dare say that the same remark would apply to other products.
– It is not a very large industry at present.
.-I believe that the industry is so large and satisfactory that the oil sells more readily than does imported oil, because of its superior quality, and presumably it is sold at a profit to the grower. What necessity, then, is there to offer a bounty upon its production? Is it to induce a development of the industry ?
– It was stated just now by Senator Dobson that olive trees were being rooted out, but a representative of South Australia said that that is not the case, showing clearly that it is considered a good thing to continue the industry, even under existing circumstances. Is it fair to the people of the Commonwealth to grant a bounty at the rate of £6,500 a year for ten years in order to add to the gains of the producers of olive oil? Under existing circumstances the grant of a bounty is unnecessary and undesirable, and it is a form of protection which ought not to be extended. I understood Senator Drake to say that on cocoa there is a Customs duty of 3d. per lb. It is now proposed to give an additional protection of id. per lb. on dried beans, so that, virtually, we are asked to give a protection equal to 4d. per lb. The Minister might just as well have said, “We will increase the Customs duty to 4d. per lb.”
– The duty is only id. per lb. at present.
– I was only quoting the figure which I understood Senator Drake to use. The rate of the duty is not material to the argument. The duty was imposed, not so much for revenue purposes as to induce the cultivation of cocoa. It is proposed to give in the case of coffee a bounty of id. per lb. for a period of eight years, and in the case of cotton a bounty equal to 10 per cent, on the market value for a period of five years, and so the schedule goes on. In nearly every case the growers of these commodities are deriving some protection from the Customs Tariff. The Minister might just as well have said, “ We propose to increase the duties on the articles for a certain period.” We were told that great care had been observed in the preparation of the schedule, but when it was presented to the other House it included chicory. The Minister of Trade and Customs seemed astonished to learn that a large quantity of that article had already been produced, and for that reason it was deleted from the schedule. That does not say very much for the care and attention which were alleged to have been, bestowed upon the preparation of the schedule. The production of olive oil is an accomplished fact.
– Butter has been made in Australia since its inception, but really the manufacture of it was not developed until a bonus was given.
.- The The grant of the bonus produced many scandals.
– The bounty upon the production of oils is not confined solely to olive oil, but applies to several oils.
– I believe that the principal oil to which it applies is olive oil, and no doubt Senator Styles if he consults the Tariff will find that many pils are alreadv protected, and that the bounty is an additional protection. In Queensland many years ago it was determined to grant a bonus upon the production of cotton during a period of five years. Cotton was grown; the bonus was collected, but as soon as the bonus expired so did the cultivation of the product. By means of an artificial stimulus we may get a product cultivated for a time, but when the bonus ceases the industry disappears.
– The butter bonus has expired in Victoria, but it started the butter industry in Australia.
.- That is an industry which is natural to certain parts of Australia. If a bonus had never been granted it would have progressed and prospered so long as men brought intelligence and skill to bear upon it. I want the Government to give an opportunity to the people of the community to do in connexion with all forms of cultivation just as has been done in New South Wales and
I believe in one or two States where agricultural colleges are maintained.
– Is not that a form of bonus?
– No, it is a means to secure the proper education of men so that they may use skill and ability in producing particular articles. It is no more a bonus than is the money which a father pays, for the education of his son.
– It is a. form of bonus all the same.
.- It is a natural form of bonus, and one which we can all agree to support. Some time ago the Government talked of establishing a Department of Agriculture. I regret that we have not been asked to deal with the subject in a Bill. I do not think that the grant of bounties will materially assist or enhance cultivation or production. It certainly will enable the Government to transfer the money of the taxpayers to the pockets of a very few persons who in some cases may be driven into following an artificial line of cultivation, and who in other cases will very thankfully pocket the money as their industry has already been established. In New South Wales the man who has always grown sugar with white labour, and at a profit, is very glad to pocket the bounty which is offered by the Commonwealth upon the production of sugar with white labour.
– But all the same men are giving up cane-growing ‘with a bounty, to produce butter without a bounty.
.- It has been discovered by the cane-growers that they could be much more profitably engaged in the dairying industry, and therefore they are giving up the cultivation of sugar-cane with a bounty to cultivate without a bounty that for which the soil and climate are best adapted.
– Yes, because they have worn, out the sugar lands.
– No; because they have found that the rich lands are very much better adapted to the production of butter. Artificial stimuli do not tend materially to assist industries. They tend to give a certain amount of fictitious prosperity to a few persons for a limited period at the expense of the community. But that is not a principle which ought to be followed in the administration of the affairs of the Commonwealth.
– I do not purpose to speak many minutes, but a point has been presented by Senator Gould which I think is worthy of consideration and reply, and that is that bounties have a tendency, as he said, to drive, or, as I prefer to say, to take men from one form of production to another. I do not think that that at all follows. Perhaps there is no industry in which there is more need of assistance in the direction of experiment than that of agriculture in all its forms.
– And that can be dealt with by means of a Department of Agriculture, whose duty would be to cultivate various grains and products in order to show the people what could be done.
– Certainly that is a direction in which the Government might very well proceed, but that, to my mind, is not the only one, and the payment of bounties has largely the same effect. They have an educational effect, as they enable agriculturists to make incursions into the region of experiment, which they could not otherwise afford to make, from the peculiar , nature of their vocation. Unlike almost every one else, the agriculturist has to wait almost invariably twelve months for the result of his labour. In the ordinary well-beaten tracks, he is beset on every hand with uncertainty and anxiety. Therefore he is naturally more conservative than are men engaged in any other industry. He knows that if he were to make an experiment, and it failed, it would mean not merely a loss of one year, but practically a loss of two years. The land on which he made the experiment would be lost entirely for the year, and if he then used it in a direction in which he had knowledge and experience, another year would elapse before he could get any return.
– Therefore the Government propose to drive him by the adventitious aid of a bounty into making an experiment which might result in loss to himself as well as to the community.
– This country is as diverse in its climate, and characteristics as is perhaps the outside world. We cannot conceive of a climate and soil which are not to be found in Australia. Therefore there is reasonable ground for saying that with care and education there is nothing that may be produced elsewhere which cannot be produced here. The only thing we lack is the necessary experience and knowledge to produce the article. When a man is engaged in a comparatively few but well-known paths of agriculture, a small bounty enables him to make an experiment, in addition to, not in substitution of, his ordinary method of agriculture. He can make the experiment at the cost of the community. If the experiment fails, it shows that it is an unsuitable undertaking; but if it succeeds it will have succeeded in some measure - probably in a large measure - through the outlay of considerable time and industry on his part, an outlay for which the bounty will not repay him, and for which the price realized by his article will not completely repay him, but which the two combined may suffice to remunerate him, or, at any rate, to assist him in bearing any incidental loss. If through the experiment there results a success, and there are acquired knowledge and experience that lead to the continuance of the industry, the whole community benefits. We have a striking instance of the advantage of bounties in Victoria. Speaking from memory, this State paid £250,000 .in bounties for the encouragement of the butter industry. ‘We had all the possibilities of butter-making in Victoria from the foundation of the State. We had over a considerable area an extremely reliable ra’infall and good grazing land - so good that we are able in this State, as people are not in most parts of the world, to graze, milk, and fatten all the year round on natural grass. But, with all those advantages, ive were not able to make butter of uniform quality, even for local consumption. Rancid, uneatable butter was common at that time, and we made no butter for export. The bounties granted by Victoria did not al], as they should have done, reach the pockets of the people for whom they were intended. Probably half the money was wasted. But, notwithstanding that, the result was that we did establish a system of butter-making that has given us a guarantee against the putting on the market of butter of the uncertain and unsatisfactory quality that was sent into consumption before the time of the bounties.
– If the bounties went in the wrong direction, the industry could not have been developed by them.
– The honorable senator is wrong. The bounties encouraged people to make efforts that they would not otherwise have made. A considerable amount of the money went to maintain and assist them in their efforts.
– Surely the honorable senator will allow that the development of the factory system has been the dominant factor in the success of the butter industry ?
– Yes ; and inVictoria the factory system arose out of the payment of the bounties.
– It arose concurrently with the bounty system. .
– I am not sure that there were any butter factories in Victoria before the bounties were paid. At any rate, I am quite certain that there were not many. That was the cause of the uncertain, irregular character of the butter. We sometimes had to pay 5d. per lb. for butter that was as good as any in the world, and at other times we had to pay half-a-crown for butter that was rancid. But the bounties led to the introduction of the factory system, and out of that system arose a production of butter that was consistent and regular in its quality, and which enabled our great export trade to be developed. No doubt butter is so essentially an industry natural to Australia that the industry must ultimately have been developed. But .mv point is that the payment of the bounties resulted in an immensely rapid development of the industry. Take olive oil. I agree that there does not appear to be any need to pay bounties to initiate the production of olive oil in this country. We have been able to produce it in large quantities, and of unsurpassed excellence. But it is possible that the granting of bounties will lead to the more systematic and extensive production of olive oil, until not only will it cover the whole area of the local market, but it will be an important article of export, and ultimately become a splendid revenue-producing industry.
– Can the honorable senator give us any information as to the history of the bounties paid in Victoria on raspberry pulp.
– Yes. The effort of the State in that direction was not successful, the reason for which was that the supervision was not sufficiently close. We permitted producers to send their raspberry pulp to Europe in a condition that was not a credit or a recommendation to our produce.
– Bounties are not always successful then.
– I have never denied that in some instances the giving of a bounty might prove that an industry was unsuitable.
– Can the honorable senator give us any information about the bounties paid for the cultivation of vines in Victoria?
– Yes. Senator Dobson referred to that with perfect truth. He said that the giving of bounties in Victoria for the planting of vines had led to their being planted merely to obtain the money from the Government, and that as soon as the bounties ceased, the vineyards were abandoned. That that was the case in some instances. I have no doubt; but that the production of wine was very materially accelerated by the granting of the bounties is undeniable. Because a bounty is given to A., B., and C, and A. does not succeed, may prove that A. is unfitted for what he undertakes, but that is all.
– Did not Victoria grant a bounty of 3d. per lb. on tobacco ?
– This State has made several experiments in tobaccogrowing, which up to the present has not been remarkably successful. The State also bought tobacco, and sent it to England under Government supervision, but it was said that the supervision was lax, and that the tobacco arrived in a bad condition. As to the planting of vines, however, although some of the vignerons did not persevere after the bounties ceased, it is nevertheless a fact that from the granting of bounties sprang the considerable export trade we now have in wines. What I am urging is that the granting of bounties is merely another form of educational influence. I quite agree with Senator Gould that agricultural colleges and the grouping together of the best intelligences for purposes of training in scientific agriculture, is a splendid thing. But it is only another form of education provided at the expense of . the State. I shall be very glad to assist in that direction whenever I can. There is nothing so true as the expression “ Knowledge is power,” and wherever knowledge can be extended bythe State the whole community is advantaged. The granting, of bounties is another method of disseminating knowledge, or, rather, of encouraging people to bring out of themselves what is in them. I certainly do not think that the granting of bounties will necessarily divert agriculturists from one line of production to another. But it will encourage them to make experiments which, probably, they would not otherwise be disposed to make. It is because these experiments will probably be an advantage, not only to the men who make them, but also to the country, that I shall support the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Senator Staniforth Smith) adjourned.
– In moving - That the Bill be now read a second time,
I do not intend to detain honorable senators at great length. As was interjected by one honorable senator during a previous debate to-day, the Bill appears in the notice-paper as Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Bill. It might be inferred that this Bill is on all-fours with other Bills relating to the Constituiion, with which we have been dealing, and that it will necessitate a call of the Senate for the third reading. That, however, is not the case, because this is simply a Bill to provide particular machinery by which the views of the electors of the Commonwealth shall be taken under section 128 of the Constitution, in reference to any proposed alteration of the Constitution that may be remitted to the people at the forthcoming or any subsequent election. The whole of the provisions are of a machinery character, somewhat analogous to those contained in the electoral law of the Commonwealth. In fact, I may say that the main feature of the Bill is that it adopts for an election of this character - if I may properly style a referendum an election - the main provisions of the Electoral Act, in so far as they are reasonably applicable to the altered character and purposes of the voting. Of course, there are some provisions of the electoral law which would not be properly applicable to the taking of such a vote. Those provisions that have no application are either not incorporated or modified in order to make them fit in with the different circumstances. In the early part of the Bill, we have, practically, the bodily adoption of those provisions of the Electoral Act which are properly applicable. In another portion of the Bill appears provision for the issue of a writ in connexion with a referendum. When it is desired that the people shall be consulted as to whether or not they indorse a proposed alteration of the Constitution, the Governor-General shall issue a writ, accompanied with either a copy of the proposed law upon which the people are to be asked to vote, or a statement setting out textually the provision of the Constitution proposed to be altered, and also setting out textually the alteration which it is proposed to incorporate in the Constitution.
– Is that alternative not rather dangerous?
– I think not. The idea that was in the minds of the framers was that in case the proposed amendment was absolutely separate from the Constitution, such as an addendum, the correct course would be to set that out as it appeared, but that, if the alteration were in the verbiage of a particular section, then the whole section and the proposed alteration should be set out.
– That there is a statement proposed.
– The statement is exactly defined. It is a statement setting out the text of the proposed law, the text of the particular provisions of the Constitution proposed to be textually altered, and the textual alterations proposed to be made. Although, we use the word “ statement,” that in itself comprises a strict adherence to the proposed alteration of the Constitution. However, that is a matter the advisableness of which may be properly discussed at another stage. Meanwhile I indicate that this statement must in every case accompany the writ which will be issued by the Governor-General. The writ, together with the statement, will be sent to the Chief Electoral Officer, whose duties are set out in the Bill. A copy of the writ will be furnished to each of the States Governors, because it is recognised that in any proposed alteration of the Constitution, the States, as States, must necessarily have a primary interest. The Chief Electoral Officer, having received the writ, will Gazette it, and distribute copies to the different electoral officers throughout the States, who, in their turn, will advertise the issue of the writs and post copies of the writ and statement at the different post-offices, customs-houses, and other con venient places, in order that the public may be apprised of the vote intended to be taken. The voting will take place throughout the whole of the States simultaneously on one day, and the voting will be by ballot, one elector having one vote only. Scrutineers may be appointed, who are not, as in the case of an election of representatives or senators, to be appointed by individuals, but by the Governors of the States, if the latter choose. When a referendum is taken on the same day as an election, the ballot-boxes and polling booths used for an election may be used for the referendum, provided, of course, that the voting papers are of different colours. Another part of the Bill deals with the subject of the scrutiny. I have already pointed out that it is within the power of the Governors of the States to appoint scrutineers, and of course those scrutineers will exercise functions analogous to those exercised by scrutineers for candidates at an ordinary parliamentary election. Provision is made for the return of the result by the electoral officers. Each divisional officer, after he has counted the votes, and has received from his assistants a statement showing the voting, will indorse on the copy of the writ forwarded to him a statement certifying the number of votes in favour of the proposed law. the number of votes against, and the number of votes rejected as informal. The copy writ, with that statement indorsed, together with the ballot-papers -will be returned to the Commonwealth Electoral officer for the State, who may, if he is so requested by the Governor of the State, direct a recount. If a re-count is not directed, that officer will indorse on his copy of the writ the total number of votes for and against given in all the divisions of the State, and also the total number of informal votes. The copy writ so indorsed will then be forwarded to the Chief Electoral Officer of the Commonwealth, who will make the final return to the writ issued by the GovernorGeneral. A copy of the statement will be published in the Gazette, and, subject to the Bill, will be conclusive evidence of the result of the referendum j and copies of the statement will be forwarded to the Governors of the several States. Honorable senators will see that it is proposed to provide permanent machinery for the determination of any submission to the people of a proposed alteration of the Constitution. We adopt, as far as we possibly can, the existing legislation and machinery in connexion with ordinary Commonwealth elections. Beyond that, we make provision for the issue of the necessary writ, and for the Chief Electoral Officer to forward copies of the writ throughout the whole of the States, and we throw on him, and On the divisional officers, and their assistants, the duty of carrying out the submission to the electors and making the proper return through the various intermediate channels. Further than that, r-o provision is made in the Bill, because the Constitution provides what shall be the result so far as a referendum is concerned. If a proposed amendment is adopted by a majority of the electors, in a majority of the States, the Constitution operates automatically ; and it is then for the GovernorGeneral to signify the Royal assent to the Bill. The only other matter to which I need make reference is that of a disputed return. In the case of a parliamentary election, it is Open to any individual, if he is of opinion that an election can be properly disputed, to take action in accordance with the Electoral Act of the Commonwealth or of the State .as the case may be. Of course, it is quite conceivable, though perhaps it may not appear probable to honorable senators, that irregularities may occur which, in the opinion of some persons, would warrant the upsetting of a return to a referendum. The Bill provides what procedure may be resorted to in certain instances to dispute a vote; but that course is not open to any individual. We recognise that there are two parties, or two classes of parties, who are primarily interested in any question affecting an alteration of the Constitution - the Commonwealth on the one hand, and the several States on the other. Accordingly, we make provision that it shall be competent for either the Commonwealth or any single State to dispute the validity of a return, and part 6 of the Bill make’s provision in this connexion. Clause 27 deals with the form of the petition, and what it shall set out, and jurisdiction is given to the High Court to entertain a petition. Notice of a petition shall be given by the Attorney-General of the State, if it is a. State which is disputing the return, and he must file that notice, and also notify the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth and the Attorneys-General of the other States. The High, Court is empowered, in case of a petition, to join parties, as the Court may in the circumstances see fit.
– Any one State may dispute a return?
– Yes. In the last two clauses of this part of the Bill the procedure on petition is set forth. The procedure, subject to the Bill, shall be as prescribed by rules of Court, or, in default of rules, as directed by the High Court or a Justice thereof. As is not uncommon in measures of this kind, it is proposed that immaterial errors, or errors which, in the opinion of the Court, are immaterial, shall not vitiate a referendum. There is the usual clause with regard to regulations, and the schedule sets out in some detail the necessary forms. Of course, as honorable senators are aware, there must be some variations from the forms used under the Electoral Act. We have provided for a ballot-paper, the form of postal ballot-paper, the form of the writ, and the form of the statement to be attached to the writ. In addition to these provisions, I have given notice of a couple of amendments which have been in ‘ the hands of honorable senators for some time. I think it is as well that I should direct attention to them. We propose to insert a new clause to follow clause 14, which reads - “ 14a. (1) Where the polling for one or more referendums is appointed to take place on the same day as the polling for an election for the Senate or a general election for the House of Representatives, an application for a postal vote certificate for the purposes of the election shall be deemed to contain an application for a postal vote certificate and a postal ballot-paper for the purposes of the referendums.”
It is obvious that if a man cannot be present at the polling place to vote in connexion with an election for the Senate or the House of Representatives, he cannot be there to exercise his right to vote for or against an alteration of the Constitution. In the circumstances, we think it is right that the one application for a postal voting certificate should entitle the elector to receive a certificate enabling him to exericse has right to vote in connexion with a referendum, as well as in connexion with the simultaneous ordinary election. The other amendmentis of a minor character, providing that the postal vote certificate for a referendum shall be in the form set out in the schedule, and of course the consequential schedule must be provided for. Honorable senators will see that we are attempting in this Bill to submit nothing which cannot be considered of a purely machinery character. Inasmuch as it is intended to apply, not merely to a forthcoming referendum, but to referendums in general, it is necessary that the provisions of the Bill should be comprehensive. I feel certain that, no matter what views honorable senators may have as to the merits or demerits of any proposed alteration of the Constitution under notice at present, the Government will have their assistance in perfecting this machinery Bill, which -is designed to secure the fullest expression by the people of their opinions on any alteration of the Constitution- proposed now or hereafter.
Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
Thai the Senate do now adjourn.
– - I desire to bring a matter of some importance under the notice of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Senator Keating is aware that in our Electoral Act we have made provision for postal voting with certain limitations. The chief limitation to which I desire to direct attention is that after the issue of the writ, and before a polling day, an application made in the form in the schedule to the Act, must be sent to the returning officer for the issue of a postal vote certificate. I direct special attention to the position of electors resident on King Island. If the interval between the issue of the . writ and the pollingday should be less than thirty days, or thereabouts, and it is very probable that at the next election it will be less, the whole value of the provisions for voting by post will be lost to the electors of King Island, because, in ordinary circumstances, it’ would be quite impossible for any resident of that place to apply to the chief returning officer, who lives at’ Zeehan, in Tasmania, in time to receive a postal vote certificate entitling him to vote by post.
– The same difficulty will apply in other places.
– I have no doubt that Senator Keating will take notice of the fact. We have no power to enable the application for a postal vote certificate to be sent to any one but’ the chief returning officer. If it could be sent to a deputy who might live near at hand, the difficulty would be overcome. As this cannot be done, I think that the only way in which the difficulty can be overcome, so far as King Island is concerned, is to appoint more than one polling place on the island. At the last election, only one polling place was appointed on the island, and, as it is more than 20 miles long honorable senators will recognise the difficulties that must necessarily arise. The Minister has just indicated in dealing with the Referendum Bill that it is proposed to give electors the opportunity to vote by post at the referendum in connexion with more than one important alteration of the Constitution. He will see that if the suggestion I make ought to be adopted to provide necessary facilities in connexion with an ordinary election there is an additional reason for doing what I ask is the fact that it is most desirable that we should give every elector in the Commonwealth an opportunity to vote at a referendum for an alteration of the Constitution?
– Senator Clemons personally mentioned to me his intention to refer to this matter on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate. I recognise the difficulties under which some of the residents of King Island must necessarily labour in connexion with voting, by post. The communication between the island and the mainland of Tasmania is very infrequent, and at times very irregular. It is quite possible that- the postal voting provision might, in certain circumstances, be of very little use to electors resident on that island. I shall be very glad to take the earliest opportunity, probably this afternoon, to bring the matter, through the Minister of Home Affairs, under the notice of the Chief Electoral Officer of the Commonwealth. I have no doubt that he is personally conversant with the difficulties likely to arise.
– King Island is not the only place in which they will arise. The same difficulty will be experienced at Kangaroo Island and Borda.
– If other honorable . senators mention specific instances of the same kind I _ shall, of course, make the same representations with respect to them.
– I suggest that Lord Howe Island, which is part of the East Sydney electorate, may be in the same position.
– I do not know if there will be a polling place there. Senator Clemons is pointing out that it might be desirable to appoint more than one polling place at King Island if it should be found that the postal voting provisions will be of very little use to the electors there. I shall bring the matter mentioned under the notice of the Chief Electoral Officer, who, I have no doubt, will give it his best and most favorable consideration.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 4.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 28 September 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060928_senate_2_35/>.