3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Previous to putting a question to the Vice-President of the Executive Council, I should like to read the following letter which I received to-day -
Melbourne, 28th August, 1907. dearsir,
With reference to your request that the reports of the two sections of the Tariff Commission should be bound separately, it is suggested that the Senate Printing Committee would probably be able to arrange this matter for you.
Yours faithfully, h.n.p.wollaston.
P.S. - As the papers were printed at the order of the House, this Department has no control over them- H.N.P.W.
Senator the Hon. J. S. Clemons,
Parliament House, Melbourne.
I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he will take steps to see that the Printing Committee have the reports of the two sections of the Tariff Comission printed, as I suggested yesterday and a few days previously, separately and in distinct colours and covers?
– I see no objection to complying with the honorable senator’s request.
– May I take it that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will see that the matter goes before the Printing Committee?
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [2.33]. - I desire, with the indulgence of the Senate, to move -
That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable certain motions to be moved without notice.
I have had the honour to be chosen Chairman of the Committee, and the motions which I desire to move relate to its sittings, and to sending for persons and papers.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motions (by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) agreed to -
That the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications have power to send for persons, papers, and records in connexion with the inquiry into the petition of Joseph Vardon against the choice of the Honorable James Vincent O’Loghlin as a senator for the State of South Australia.
That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications, if necessary, to sit during the sittings of the Senate.
– I beg to lay upon the table, by command, the following papers: -
These documents have been asked for by honorable senators, and I move -
That the papers be printed .
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales [2.36]. - I desire to ask whether the printing of the documents will be expedited so that they will be in the hands of honorable senators by Wednesday next ?
– Yes, on Wednesday next ; that is the object in view.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The Acting Clerk laid upon the table the following paper: -
Return to order of the Senate of 16th August, 1907.- Contract Immigrants, Queensland; Permits to introduce.
Select Committees on Bills.
– I have to inform the honorable senator that the Standing Orders Committee has met, and that the resolution of the Senate was submitted to it. In considering the question the Committee had also to deal with the advisableness of suggesting further amendments. The matter was left tome, as President, to draft certain standing orders, but since then the Committee has not met. A meeting will be held at an early date.
– I have had an opportunity of looking into the matter in the meantime. The papers are most voluminous, and to print them would be a source of considerable expense. But we have two or three copies, and we propose to lay them on the table of the Library so that they will be available to all honorable senators who desire to see them.
– What papers are they ?
– They are the papers referred to in the report of the Imperial Conference and the Navigation Conference.
– I suggest that it would be more convenient to lay the papers upon the table of the Senate rather than of the. Library.
– That would involve putting them on the records.
– I will ask my honorable friend to reconsider the desirableness of having the papers printed. Since yesterday I also have had a look at them, and I do not think that they are as voluminous as are the minutes.
– But they will be more expensive to print, by reason of their character.
– Does my honorable friend think that the expense ought to stand in the way of furnishing honorable senators with information on an important Imperial matter of that kind? I do not desire to press my honorable friend unduly, but I think that every honorable senator would value the possession of these papers, which are absolutely essential to the elucidation of the proceedings of the Imperial Conference.
– I desire, under standing order 394, to make a short personal explanation. I find, on looking through the pages of the last issue of Hansard - which, of course, has an official value, not merely for members of Parliament, but for the public generally - that a lengthy speech has been made by the Chairman of the Tariff Commission, Sir John Quick, in the course of which he alluded to a table, which is printed in full at page 2166.It contains the following; headings: - “Article,” “Former Tariff,” “ Commission’s proposals,” “ Maximum Government proposals.” That table is prefaced in the report by the following remarks, which are printed on the same page-
The following table contains a comparison of the Tariff Commission’s proposals with the former duties, and also shows the increases proposed by the Ministry in order to give British preference.
I find that in this table, which is an important one, the term “ Commission’s proposals “ is placed in juxtaposition with “ Former Tariff.” Now, I wish to say, first of all, that the statement that the Commission’s proposals are there set forth is most inaccurate. Secondly, I desire to say that that statement, if not contradicted by myself or any one interested in the matter, would be entirely misleading to every one who reads Hansard, whether a member of Parliament or of the public. The position is that the information given under the heading “ Commission’s proposals “ in these pages of Hansard really consists of the proposals of one half of the Commission, not of the whole of it. The Chairman of the Commission must, I am sure, regret having made the statement, because he knows as well as any one can know that it was entirely inaccurate and misleading. Seeing that the matter affects me personally as one of the members’ of the Commission, I have thought fit to draw pointed attention to what is a gross inaccuracy, which would be very misleading indeed unless I were to point out in what respect it is inaccurate.
– I have not received any report on the subject, though my latest inquiries were made this morning.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he has any information to give to the Senate as to the position of the bond entered into by certain people in connexion with the mail contract project? What I wish to get at is the text of the bond upon which the Government are relying in their endeavour to obtain the amount due to them.
– Will my Honorable friend be good enough to give notice of his question, in order that I may see exactly what he wants?
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow -
Will he lay upon the table of the Senate tomorrow a copy of the circular referred to in the leading article, headed “Lyne and Co., Stationers,” appearing in the Evening News of Sydney, under date the 27th August current, and described in the following extract from the said article, viz. : - “ There is in the hands of the Commonwealth Government Printer a ‘ Price List for Stationery, 1907-8.’ In this, among other things offered for sale, are- all kinds of cartridge envelopes, scribbling, carbon, blotting, cartridge, copying, drawing, and other papers, cards and cardboard, &c. ; parchments, calico, buckram, letter note-books, judges’ note-books, typewriter paper, carbon papers, and the many other articles usually to be found in a wellequipped shop. The prices quoted are in most instances below Sydney prices, and in some even lower than in pre-Tariff days. It is stated also in the List, ‘ Envelopes, paper of any description, books, &c, not specified in this List, can be obtained from the Government Printer at prices to be agreed upon,’ and it is signed ‘ William John Lyne, Treasurer.’ “
– I, unfortunately, have not been able to secure a copy of the circular. I expected to be able to do so before the Senate met. I desire to give the honorable senator the assurance which I received from the Department, that it is a purely departmental circular.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice - :
In view of the fact that the discussion on the Tariff in another place will be well advanced before the Prime Minister will be able to resume active parliamentary duties, will the Government disclose their attitude on the proposed abolition of the Naval Subsidy, and also the policy they intend to pursue in connexion with the question of Australian Naval Defence?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
The whole question of subsidy and Australian Naval Defence is temporarily in abeyance until the return ‘ of the Prime Minister, which, it is hoped from the latest advices, may be before the Tariff is far advanced, and also until reports have been received from the officers who were sent to England to make inquiries and obtain the latest information regarding vessels suitable for Australian Coastal Defence.-
– Arising out of the answer, can the Vice-President of -the Executive. Council give any assurance as towhen the Prime Minister will be able to resume his duties?
– It is quite impossible for me to say.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to thehonorable senator’s questions are as follow -
– Arising out of the answer, although the Vice-President of the Executive Council says that his attention has not been called to Mr. Kidston’* statement, I wish to point out that my question calls his attention to it. I should alsolike him to amplify his statement as to”careful consideration.”
– I beg my honorablefriend’s pardon, but I did not catch what he said.
– It does not matter.
Sill read a third time.
Debate resumed from “28th August (vide page 2446), on motion by Senator Keating -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Senator McColl had moved” by way of amendment -
That all the words after the word “That” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof, the following words : - “ in the opinion of thisSenate the development of agriculture will be better’ attained by a carefully organized system of. agricultural education and scientific experiment than by the giving of bounties, and that proposals for such a system be formulated and submitted for consideration, and this Bill, or so much of it as relates- to agriculture, be held over until such is done, and the same be communicated to the House of Representatives.”
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [2.50]. - By the courtesy of Senator Millen I am permitted to resume this debate. We had yesterday two most interesting and instructive speeches. One was from Senator Gray, who dealt exhaustively with the whole subject and with the question of the best method of encouraging production from the soil on some system similar to that adopted in 1 the United States of America. We had also a critical and informative speech from Senator Dobson, who went through the report supplied to Parliament by the Committee of experts which was called together to investigate the subject of bounties, and offer recommendations. We Had also from Senator W. Russell what I suppose the honorable senator- would call a speech, but with all justice to him it was like “ the flowers that, bloom in the spring,” in that it had nothing to do with the matter before the Senate. We are not concerned in this Bill with the very large and undoubtedly important question of the best land policy to be adopted, and how the aggregation of large estates is to be prevented. It was exceedingly good of the honorable senator to give us the information, but it has no relation to the question of bounties. It affords me, however, an opportunity of saying that there is no one in Australia with a- clearer and more definite mind than myself upon the desirability of promoting closer settlement and subdividing large estates that can be put to better use. That subject, it may be infortunately, is not within the scope of our duties. If what the honorable senator said yesterday pointed .to anything it pointed distinctly against this Bill. It showed that the diminution - if there is a diminution, for he said the agricultural interest in South Australia was on the wane - = -
– The honorable senator will have an opportunity after Senator Symon has finished.
– I want to put a question to him ; what is fish, for one ought to be fish for another.
– Interjections are frequently made, and if the speaker does not object, no notice is usually taken of them. The honorable senator did not object last night.
– You “did not hear nic sit
– Possibly not. The interjections were not of such a. character as I thought called for my intervention.
Senator Symon is now addressing the Senate, and has a perfect right to ask to be allowed to do so free from interruption. I must deprecate any suggestion by the honorable senator that I make fish of one and flesh of another.
– I am sure Senator” Russell did not mean that. If he thinks that anything I said last night disturbed the thread of his interesting discourse, I am sorry for it.
– The honorable senator’s conversation was very loud. That was the reason I turned to him to try to “dress him down.” He was practically rude.
– I - am sorry the honorable senator did not succeed in “ dressing me down.” That is not a faculty that the honorable senator possesses. He has, as the Scotch say, a “ guid conceit o’ himsel’.” But he is not quite equal to’ the undertaking of “dressing me down.”
– The honorable senator was rude, anyhow.
– I have stated the inference I drew from the honorable senator’s speech. He must really keep calm. I think I have shortly summarized yesterday’s contributions to the debate. I do not suppose any one needs to have it argued that it is desirable, as far as we possibly can, and by* every legitimate means in our power, to increase the primary productions from the soil. At the same time, it is equally unnecessary to contend that we should be careful, in our desire to achieve that object, to abstain from offering encouragement to exotics. We do not want to throw away the taxpayers’ money on hot-house- productions. We shall all have to deal with the Bill from the point of view of what is best in the interests of the country. We want to develop our primary productions as much as possible, but at the ,same time to avoid squandering the taxpayers’ money, which this Bill would do. Looking at the things on which it is proposed to spend nearly half-a-million pounds, I fail to understand why the Government at this particular juncture should have introduced the measure at all.
– Does the honorable senator regard Angora goats as exotics ? “
– I shall say a few words about the Angora goat. I wish first to make a few general observations in order to make clear the general principles by which I am guided in approaching the consideration of the Bill. I am not at all sure that the experience we have had in Australia of the giving of bounties has hitherto been very salutary. Senator Dobson yesterday afternoon went through a long list of experiments made in Victoria, and showed that only one of them had been successful. That is the well-known butter bonus. But I do not think any one of us is prepared to say ‘ that the circumstances surrounding it were at all creditable, or of the kind toencourage us lightly to provide bounties out of the taxpayers’ money for trie purpose set out in this Bill. Two or three questions may very well be put about the Bill. The first is: Has it .been asked for? Has there been any demand for a scheme of bounties such as this? We have had the Tariff tabled, and it has been contended with more or less justice that a revision of the Tariff in the- direction of increased duties and increased encouragement of industries was asked for at the last election.
– The removal of anomalies.
– I assume that the contention is well founded that there was a request for the encouragement of Australian industries by means of the revision of the Tariff, the removal of anomalies, and possibly an increase of duties . In the last Tariff we had “ King Log,” and in the new Tariff which has been submitted we have something very like “ Kin£ Stork.” The question is whether, when we are imposing these burdens by means of the new Tariff upon the people for the encouragement of industries of all kinds* we should, without very strong reason, at the same time adopt another method of spending the general taxpayers’ money for the same purpose. The second point iS whether the present is an opportune time for the passing of a Bounties Bill ; and1 the third is - and this underlies the whole question - is there reasonable proof, such as should satisfy any man of common sense, that these undertakings will be commerciallyprofitable in the long run?
– Is the honorable senator not satisfied with the report of the experts?
– Not orr that point, and I shall refer very briefly to the report of the experts in a moment. It will be generally admitted that it is only moneyed men who will be able to undertake the establishment of the larger industries dealt with in the Bill, and we should be satisfied not merely that an effort will be made by capitalists to secure the bounties offered over the number pf years for which they are to be paid, but that after that period has expired industries will be established which will need no further coddling in the shape of bounties. That, it seems to me, is the main question with which we are concerned in considering whether or not these bounties should be accepted. I have said that, in my view, the present is not an opportune time for the passing of such a Bill. The fundamental reason put forward by protectionists for the introduction of the new Tariff is that the duties it proposes are desirable and necessary for the encouragement of the industries of this country. Free-traders, revenue tariffistsand protectionists alike, are united in adverse criticism of many of the items of the new Tariff . Except by the. extreme protectionists, whose ultimate goal is prohibition, it is generally admitted that the new Tariff will impose unprecedented burdens on the consuming classes of the community. They comprise those who contribute, under the Tariff, to the revenue of the country, and it seems a cynical thing that, by means of a Bounties Bill, we should inveigle or induce people to enter into other forms of production which may, or the instruments of which may, be similarly taxed. It is> odd that we should be dealing with this Bill entirely irrespective of the bearing of the Tariff upon it. We ought, first, to deal with the Tariff before “we undertake to make any distribution of bounties.
– They are very closely inter-related.
– Just so, and we should try to do one thing at a time. The one thing which in the eye of the country at this moment transcends in interest every other question is the new Tariff. Surely we should not peddle and tinker with, this bounties question at this stage? I shall give, at least, one illustration presently to show that we are asked to give a bounty in respect of an article on which the new Tariff imposes double the duty previously charged. I do not say that it may not be necessary to give some special and extreme encouragement of that kind, but it should not be done in this fashion. We should deal with the Tariff that we may know what encouragement to industry is given in that way before we adopt any additional measure which may be required to remedy inequalities. * One thing at a time. If. the system of encouragement of industries by a Tariff is to be adopted, let us, for the present, postpone the question of bounties. Otherwise, to use the old phrase, we shall simply be. piling Pelion on Ossa. We shall be heaping up obligation and outlay upon the people of the country, who, I think, have every reason to resent the method that is being adopted. As Senator Dobson pointed out yesterday, increased expenditure is proposed for this year to the extent of about £900,000. Surely we should have some regard for the poor people of this country who provide the greater part of the revenue derived from Customs and Excise. If we ought to deal generously with’ manufacturers, or to encourage industry, let us do so ; but do not let us heap up expenditure upon the masses of the country, as we should do, if first of all we gave these bounties, this largesse, with a free hand and then passed a Tariff which might be much more comprehensive. We have heard the question asked - “Will fortune never come with both hands full ?” But if we spend the money of the taxpayers in the way proposed, they may very well complain that misfortune is always coming with) both hands full. We should stay our hand in this matter, at least until we have dealt with the proposals for increased duties contained in the Tariff, and discuss the encouragement of industries by bounties when it is found that the provision made by the Tariff falls short of what is required. Another reason why I venture to think that the present is an inopportune time to pass such a Bill is that we are now throughout Australia enjoying a period in regard to the productions of the soil of unexampled prosperity. I feel sure that no one can say that to encourage the primary producers it is necessary that we should give bounties in order that they may be enabled to enter upon the growth of products other than those from which they are making a very good living at the present moment. I have been in Australia for very many years, and I do riot remember any time when the producers on the soil have been better off in pursuing the avenues of production in which they . are already engaged than they have been during the last two or three years. We should not at such a time invite capital and labour, fully employed, so far as the primary productions -are concerned, into other fields, and divert the energies of capital and labour from their present pursuits. Whatever view we may take of immigration and cognate questions, we know that there is a dearth of labourers for the field at the present time: In that belief, immigration into the various States, and chiefly into Queensland, has been sanctioned by the Commonwealth Parliament for the purpose of supplying the labour necessary in order that one occupation in which the producers on the soil are already engaged may be efficiently carried out.
– And they have not enough labour now.
– As Senator Chataway says, they have not sufficient labour now. When we are importing these people to meet the present demand for labour in respect of our existing area of production, why is it necessary for 15 to hold but these large inducements to people to follow other pursuits, when confessedly we have no people to employ in them? Of course, it follows that if efforts are made to secure the bounties by the entry upon other fields of activity in natural productions, the result must be to withdraw men from occupations in which they are at present profitably engaged. I therefore say that there is no immediate hurry for such a Bill as this. There is no demand for it, there has been no outcry that we should grow cotton, coffee, or rubber, or should produce a greater quantity of mohair. The people have not asked for the Bill, and why should we. not wait until some demand for it has been made, as it is said there has been a demand for the new Tariff. Let us develop to the fullest extent the primary productions in which our people are already engaged before we cast about for problematical objects on which we may spend the taxpayers’ money.
– Would not these new industries provide employment for more immigrants who might be introduced?
– But my honorable friend belongs to a -party, that’ does not want immigrants.
– I am asking the honorable senator a question, to which I think he mi uht give an answer.
– I do not believe they would. Flog high- or flog low, there is no satisfying my honorable friend’s party. What earthly reason is there .why we; should invite people, to go into coffee growing? What labour is available for the purpose ? Where is there any suggestion that it is necessary to find’ an outlet for surplus labour?
– I do not think that we should give a bounty in order to induce people to grow coffee.
– I am putting the position generally at present. I shall come to - particular items in a moment, and I think that, probably, my honorable friend and I will be at one. It is always a danger to tempt people with bounties into fields where there is not a definite assurance that they are likely to be profitable Because, if we do, when the period of the bounties expire, either we shall have to keep up the bounties - we may have to increase them - or to afford encouragement, again out of the consumers’ pocket, in some other way.
– They ought to be vanishing bounties.
– Undoubtedly ; but that is a matter of detail. Every ‘ industry which is sought to be coddled into existence by means of a bounty disappears, or, as my honorable friend would say - and strictly it ought to be so - the bounty should disappear, but it is generally the other way about.
– The bounty disappears into the wrong pockets.
– Yes; and we had an experience of that kind in connexion with the butter bonus. The underlying principle in regard to a bounty is the. question, Is it commercially profitable? Another point which ought not to be forgotten is that we already have an enormous expenditure on a sugar bounty in .Queensland. I think that the people in the different States have been most generous and long suffering in regard to that bounty. The wonder to me is that they have not revolted against it long ago, but there it is.
– They are getting sugar nearly as cheap as ever they did.
– I think not.
– Sugar is dumped into South Africa and sold at £5 a ton less than is charged for it here.
– That is because there is a Sugar Trust.
– It is because we have .an import duty of £6 per ton.
– If it is true that there is a Sugar Trust, it is a serious reflection upon the legislation advocated by Senator Story.
– Undoubtedly, but I do not want to go into that matter. We have an enormous bounty which is bleeding the taxpayers, and we might fairly wait until that bounty works itself out before we enter upon a scheme of lavish expenditure approaching £500,000 to encourage the production of the exotics which are enumerated in the schedule. I am as anxious to encourage the development of tropical or northern Australia as any person can be, but that ought to wait until the policy in regard to the Northern Territory is determined, and the people there know whether they are to be governed as a national Territory by the Commonwealth or to remain as part of South Australia.
– That is not our only tropical territory.
– My honorable friend instructs me on elementary matters with which we are all familiar. Yesterday he must have heard the statement made that the Bill would be beneficial to the Northern Territory.
– So it will to the northern territory of South Australia and Queensland.
– I am talking about the Northern Territory, as properly so understood. I do not accept the suggestion that the Bill ought to be passed simply because it is likely to be useful to the Northern Territory. No man in his senses would expend a shilling under the Bill in connexion with the Northern Territory until he knew where he was. There is a policy which is embodied in an agreement and promulgated by the Commonwealth Government. It is in a state of suspended animation at present, but some day or other we shall have to express an opinion in regard to the taking over of the Territory for the purpose of national government.
– Surely the honorable senator will admit that it will be a Commonwealth duty to advance the interests of the Northern Territory, whether it is taken over by the Commonwealth or is still held by South Australia.
– I am not talking about the Commonwealth’s duty, but about the utility of this measure. Although I represent the Northern Territory as part of South Australia, still I hold that it is premature to propose anything with regard to the development of tropical products in that Territory until the Commonwealth policy is determined, when everyone who may desire to go there will know exactly how he will stand. This measure would be perfectly legitimate as part of a general policy, equally applicable to alt parts of Australia. But if it is specially referable to the Northern Territory, then the time to introduce the scheme and deal with it is when we have settled the status of the Territory and what its future government is to be. With those general observations, I ask what is this Bill? We have before us no evidence - that is, evidence which ought to satisfy reasonable business men - on which we can say that any of the proposed industries are likely to be commercially profitable. We are always glad to have the opinion of experts, but there are experts and experts. We want not merely the expert botanist, the expert scientist, the expert horticulturist, to tell us whether a plant will grow in a certain locality, but we want businessmen who are familiar with the subject, and with the markets, to advise us as to the probability of commercial success. We have nothing of the kind. I am free to say that not one of the gentlemen who made the report can stand higher in his particular department than Dr. Holtze, of Adelaide. I believe that every one in South Australia has the highest opinion of Dr. Holtze, as a botanist, a horticulturist, and a gentleman qualified to express his opinion on those subjects. I cannot pay a higher compliment to the other members of the Conference than to assume that they are equally qualified in that respect. But I deny that the statement of even Dr. Holtze ought to guide us as to whether a particular product is likely to be commercially successful. It is impossible for him to determine that question ; he has had no practical experience, and his conclusions are purely speculative. I do not believe that there is a man either in the Senate or outside who, in the face of this report, would risk a sovereign of his own money in raising any of these products. Why then should we lightly squander the taxpayers’ money? I shall take one or two examples. Senator Gray alluded to some of the items in his detailed and exhaustive speech, and he used the expression that the experts had damned a particular bounty with faint praise. That, I think, was a very mild expression for him to use. In my judgment the experts have damned the proposed bounties up hill and down dale. If a business man were asked ‘ whether, on the faith of the experts’ report, he would spend a shilling of his own money on any of these ventures, I am satisfied that he would laugh at you. I shall just take one or two items, as I do not propose to go through them all. Take, for instance, coffee, to encourage the production of which we are to spend - I suppose this is intended for North Queensland - ^1,500 a year for a period of eight years. The experts say -
The experience of the chief coffee-producing countries of the world - and these are countries where an abundant supply of cheap labour is obtainable - does not afford rauch hope for the extensive and successful exploitation of the industry under Australian conditions.
Yet we are coolly asked to sanction a total expenditure of ^12,000 on this absolutely condemned industry. Why, sir, the thing is ludicrous. We ought to be in a lunatic asylum, instead of in this noble chamber, if we assented to a proposal of that description. I do not care whether it is intended for the Northern Territory, or for North Queensland ; it would be intolerable. How could we possibly face the consumers of the Commonwealth, and tell them that on that venture w.e had agreed to throw away £1,500 a year of their money? But that is not all. The experts go on to show that Brazil produces more coffee than is consumed in the habitable world - that Brazil not merely produces, coffee) but produces it to such an enormous extent that men have had to root up a great many of their coffee plantations, and are using the land for other purposes. What an encouraging thing for Australia, where, no “doubt, we have products congenial to the soil, prolific to a degree, and in demand in the world’s markets because of their excellence ! There is no better wheat in the world than Australian wheat, and ours is the finest wool produced anywhere So fine is our wool, indeed, that, in spite of the enormous duty in the United States, 100,000 bales of Australian wool went into that great country last year. And yet we are asked to throw away /) 1,500 a year on an industry like that of coffee growing.
– The honorable senator does not doubt the capacity of the industry to absorb the bounty, does he?
– No, I do not. These gentlemen, upon whose testimony and by whose guidance we are to adopt these bounties, refer to “an ominous fact.” Ominous of what? Ominous in regard to the industry to be attempted to be encouraged here - of evil omen in that the industry has no chance of success in Australia. They seem to have been afraid that we should not understand what they meant, and they repeat it over and over again -
The records available of Australian experience in coffee-growing are by no means encouraging.
But, then, at the finish, they say -
With all these disadvantages the fact remains that coffee of a good type can be produced over large portions of Northern Australia.
What relevancy has that? I can produce pine-apples in the Mount Lofty Hills, but not so as to make the growth of them commercially profitable. Many things can be produced under unnatural conditions at unlimited cost. Millionaires can do many things if they like to spend their money.’ But we are not talking of what millionaires can do for their own amusement, but of what the humble taxpayers of this countryought to do for the encouragement of primary industries. I have had sufficient experience of my own to show me how dangerous it is to rely upon the paper balance-sheets of experts. About twenty years ago there was an attempt at wattlebark production in Australia. One of the most distinguished . scientific experts in afforestation in this country at that time recommended that a tract of country should be provided by the Government upon which private individuals should invest money in the growth of wattle bark. A paper balance-sheet was. provided to show what would be the expenditure . the first year, the second year, and the third year, when there were to be no results ; but in the fourth and fifth years, perfectly enormous fortunes were to be made, and in ten years all of us who invested our money in the industry were to be able to retire. Of course, we were tempted by this El Doradolike dream, and a number of persons went into the venture. But when four or five years had expired the whole thing tumbled to pieces. Every one who had invested in it lost a few hundred pounds. I do not mention that in disparagement of experts, but any one is foolish to rely upon their speculative balance-sheets. No doubt, they issue the information in perfect good faith, with a view to inducing people to invest their money, and we individually have a right, for amusement or for our legitimate profit, to enter into projects of this -kind. But, as trustees, we have no right to put the public funds into such investments. Take cotton. We are asked to spend £6,000 a year for eight years - that is nearly £50,000 of the taxpayers’ money, not our own - for the encouragement of cotton-growing. We are told that the experts had “considerable discussion”, on this subject. Evidently they were greatly exercised in mind as to reporting favorably regarding cotton. After discussion, however, they - recognised that the cotton industry is deserving of encouragement. At the same time the members agree -
Thev were unanimous as to this - that the prospects of the industry in Australia are not specially promising.
They follow up that statement by a concrete instance, showing that in the year 1882, under the stimulus of a bounty - and what is more in a time of high prices - 717 acres of cotton were planted in Queensland. High prices and a bounty - and even then there was a very slender margin for the producer 1 Unfortunately, the great facts remain, first, that the evidence upon which we are asked to spend £48,000 of the taxpayers’ money shows that the prospects are not promising; and, secondly, there is the concrete example” of absolute failure in Queensland under conditions of high prices and a bounty. But the report adds, quite truly, that cotton seed has recently become valuable because of the oil that can be extracted from it, and the cake that can be manufactured from the residues, and we are informed that except for these factors - the cotton industry would be utterly without hope in Australia.
That is the kind of will-o’-the-wisp that we are asked to follow in spending £6,000 per annum of the taxpayers’ money ! Then take hemp. As to this article the illustration which the report gives is again one of failure. Why? Not because the soil was unsuitable, not because the plant would not grow in Australia, but because the growers could not get suitable machinery. On this account -
There was a difficulty in preparing the fibre for the market.
It was not that a bounty was wanted at all, but that there was an absence of suitable machinery. Here we are asked to spend £8,000 a year for five years-£40,000- and at the same time we are going to be asked to agree to a Tariff which imposes a prohibitive duty of 30 per cent, on machinery. Surely it is indefensible to go on with this business until we have had the Tariff before us. The reason why the growth of hemp has been a failure is that suitable machinery has not been obtained because of ‘the high duty. If there is to be hemp cultivation, we ought first to take care that the Tariff enables the growers to get their machinery. Then there is New Zealand flax. This is one of the funniest things of all ! We are asked to encourage its growth when, as a matter of fact, it grows like a weed on the Mount Lofty Ranges of Adelaide. You cannot stop it. You can divide the plants into thousands, and still it grows like a weed. It is an indigenous plant in New Zealand.
– A very valuable plant, too.
– Yes; but there are times when the industry has been a failure, even in New Zealand. I do not wish to say for a moment that New Zealand flax is not useful, but I do say that it is an idle absurdity to propose to spend £40,000 of the taxpayers’ money in encouraging ‘the growth of a plant which already grows with the greatest freedom in the Mount Lofty Ranges.
– And it grows like a weed in Norfolk Island; but is not allowed to be brought into the Com-“ monwealth without payment of duty, though Norfolk Island is part of the Commonwealth.
– My honorable friend reminds me that we might very well justify a policy of preference at home instead of talking about preference for Great Britain. Then take mohair. Who has been so foolish - so ignorantly foolish - as to propose the expenditure of £2,000 a year for ten years - £20,000 - for the encouragement of the breeding of the Angora goat? The Angora goat has been bred for the last thirty or forty years in South Australia. As far as it goes the industry is profitable. But why has not the Angora goat displaced the sheep? Because, I suppose, sheep are more suitable to our climatic conditions than are goats, and because pastoralists find that the breeding of sheep is much more profitable than would, be the breeding of Angora goats. If goats were more profitable they would be bred.
– There is a very limited market for the material made from Angora goats.
– We are going to offer a magnificent bounty in order that we may divert the attention of the pastoralists of this country from the growth of wool - which is the great Staple, of which we are all proud as to its quality and extent - to the breeding of Angora goats. Surely this is foolishness. The report says -
A new item recommended for a bonus is mohair, or the hair of the Angora goat. In the arid portions of Australia, and especially where there is an abundance of scrub, the Angora goat thrives, and produces a heavy and valuable fleece.
Well, plenty of mohair is produced. There is nothing in our conditions to make it undesirable to produce mohair, except that it is more profitable to produce wool. ‘ My recollection is that in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Mr. Price Morris bred Angora goats without a bounty at all. Of course, there are plenty of Angora goats in the north. Why are they not bred more extensively? They would be if it were found that they were more profitable than sheep. I wish to refer to the item of dates. They are nice for all of us ; they are a food for the Arab in the countries where they are mostly grown, but they are often in this country a food - a successful food containing a great deal of saccharine - for children. The present duty on dates is1d. a lb. The new Tariff proposes to increase that to 2d. I hope we shall all be animated by the view expressed in another place by Mr. Hughes that nothing will induce him to support any duty that increases the cost of food or the necessaries of life. But in this Bill we are anticipating the Tariff, and seeking to impose another1d. a lb. , on dates by paying £1 5,000 in the courseof the next fifteen years for their production. That out Herods Herod. In South Australia, we produce experimentally, under the auspices of the Government, as fine dates as any in the world. I am always glad to agree with any Government experiments of that description. That was a most worthy experiment up at Hergott.
– The honorable senator had better be careful. He is getting very close to the line now.
– I am quite ready to step over the line when the proper arguments are applied. I do not know what quantity of dates is produced there, but they are most excellent. They have been produced for a good many years, but they want what everything of that description’ wants that has not got the oases in the middle of dry country - an abundant water supply. I dare say Senator O’Loghlin was in the Ministry that started the experiment.
– I have seen the plantation. They are doing very well.
– I have not seen the plantation, but I have eaten the fruit.
– The dates are very sweet.
– They are excellent.
– There are half-a-dozen date trees growing at Barcaldine, in Queensland.
– Then that settles the fact that the trees will grow here, and that dates can be produced. There are a good many more than halfadozen trees at Hergott.
– The New South Wales Government imported quite a large number from Algeria some years ago, and are growing them successfully in the neighbourhood of one of the artesian bores.
– All these experiments have proved the possibility of their growth in Australia. Whether they will be commercially profitable or not is another matter, but that ought not to be ascertained at the risk of the taxpayers. The States Governments have stepped forward and shown that it is possible to grow them.. Let them be grown and let those who grow them take the risk. At any rate, do not let us tax the consumers to the tune of 3d. a lb., which’ is about 100 per cent. on the value of an article of food which is not merely enjoyable, but distinctly beneficial to the children of Australia. Another item is “ dried fruits,” from which currants and raisins are excepted. We all know that the production of currants and raisins is a profitable and successful industry. I am glad to think that it is. There is no reason why it should not be.
– Due to bounties.
– Not a bit of it.
– Mildura was helped with bounties.
– There was not a bounty for the Renmark currants and raisins, which outstripped those of Mildura by miles.
– That must have been very recently. When I was at Renmark a few years ago it appeared to be dead.
– The honorable senator must be careful not to disparage my country. At any rate, currants and raisins are excepted. Nothing of the sort is wanted for them.
– They want a duty.
-The duty was increased, and I believe it is to be further raised by the new Tariff. ‘ We are to give a bounty of£6,000 a year for five years -£30,000 - on the other dried fruits which are produced now to perfection. These are dried apricots, peaches, and so on, produced at Renmark and Mildura. In order to induce us to swallow this bounty,the Government put in that it is “For export.” The thing is ludicrous. Has anybody asked for it ? Is there any evidence before us that the people of Renmark and Mildura haveasked for this bounty on export ?
– Did not the honorable senator get a circular?
– I have received so many lately that I may be forgiven if I do not remember them all. I did not get one on this subject, but whether I did or not, it would take a good deal to induce me to vote for a bounty on the export of articles which are produced successfully already, until I am shown that the demand of the people of Australia has first been supplied. Why should we give a bounty to induce people to send their products out of Australia? If the consumers here want them, they ought not to pay any more for them because there is a bounty for their export. Let us first supply our own people. This1 is not a bounty on their production, because we know that they can be produced profitably. A bounty for export would merely bring the export production into competition with the local demand. Such a policy would be suicidal in any case, and certainly ‘ suicidal in regard to so absolutely essential a food for the Australian climate as dried fruits. Another item is combed wool. Why are we to give these bounties in order to enable people here to enter into competition with Bradford - a competition that would be an absolute failure? We produce the finest wool in the world. Let us be content with that. Let us make the wool, or that portion of it which we do not export, info cloth, but where we have an abundant . market outside, and excellent prices, why are we to give bounties simply for the purpose of entering into an impossible competition with Bradford in the combing of wool? It would be impossible, because, first of all, we have hot got the machinery. We have not got that which the people of Bradford have - the skill that has not grown up in the last ten or twenty years, but has descended in families for generations, and which very much accounts for their superior ability to pursue this particular form of manufacture.
SenatorTrenwith. - Which grew out of protective and export duties.
– The honorable senator is a little gone on that subject. Let us be content. We now have in this country a monopoly of the finest wool. Let us have a little regard for the ordinary doctrine of “ live and let live.” Who wants the pastora lists to make any more profit than they have been making in the last few years? They are rolling in wealth. Passing to another item, I would ask, why offer a bounty on rubber? The capitalists are only too anxious to plant rubber, and have very exalted notions of theprofits to be gained from it. I saw a letter written by Mr. Horn, aSouth Australian, who returned to the State a little while ago. He opened people’s eyes with the account he gave of the enormous revenue he expects to get in three or four years from a plantation in Burmah. He added that the same results would have followed in Northern Australia.
– The rubber bounty does not extend to Papua, does it?
– No, although Papua, according to the report of the experts, is much more suited to the growth of rubber than any part of this continent. The objections to the Bill are so patent when we are dealing with money which we hold upon trust, that I have ventured, with great diffidence, to submit my views to honorable senators. I have no party feeling about it at all. I simply invite honorable senators to say, first of all, whether they are in a position to do justice with regard to this Bill before they deal with the Tariff; and, secondly, if they think they are in a positionto do so, I beg them to look at the schedule that is proposed, and to say whether or not the Bill ought to pass its second reading now. There is one remark I wish to make about clause 3 with regard to fish. Why should the man who tins the fish get the bounty? It is the man who imperils his life to catch the fish that ought to get the bounty. The singular part of it is that under this clause there is to be no bounty unless the fish are caught in the particular waters that are prescribed, and under such conditions - I suppose as to whether the fishermen have had fair wages and proper conditions of living - as may be prescribed. Surely if there is to be a bounty on tinned fish, it does- not matter two straws where the fish are caught. If it is for tinning the fish, let us say so. Everything ought to be fish that comes to our net for the ‘ purpose of tinning, and certainly there should be no limitation upon the locality where they are caught. I wish to refer also to clause 6, with regard to fair conditions of labour and wages. Do honorable senators think it is a fair thing, while safeguarding those employed in any of these suggested industries as to the rates of wages paid, to except the labour of members of the man’s family ? There are no labourers in many places more sweated than the members of a family. Some of the direst and most disagreeable cases in which I have ever been engaged have been those in which disputes have arisen between a father and his son about remuneration during many 3’ears of service by the son to his father on the farm. I could enumerate many instances that have come before me in which the “father has refused to pay any wages, saying that it was enough that his son had house-room, the comfort of the domestic circle, clothes and food. This is an exception that ought not to be made. It would be infinitely better if we could bring it about, to say that even, in the case of children there should be a fair wage. No harm would be done to the father or the mother if a fair wage had to be paid to the members of his family whom a man employed. It would stave off disputes, and be just to those employed. I cannot understand for the life of me why that exception should be made, if we are seeking to provide that all those engaged in a particular industry should have an opportunity of being properly paid. I simply .wish to add that I intend to support Senator McColl’s amendment, with an alteration, which, perhaps, the honor- able’ senator will accept. As the honorable senator’s amendment stands, it seems to me to place the system of bounties in antagonism to the organized system of agricultural education and scientific experiments which he advocates. I suggest to the honorable senator that the two things are not antagonistic, but complementary.
– I did not intend to convey that they are antagonistic.
– When the honorable senator says that the development of agriculture will be better attained in the way he proposes, I think he means to convey rather that we should try what he proposes first before adopting the bounty system.
– I make a suggestion for the honorable senator’s acceptance, in order that the amendment may give effect to what I think are “his intentions. The amendment the honorable senator has moved reads -
That in the opinion of this Senate, the development of agriculture will be better attained by a carefully organized system of agricultural education and scientific experiment than by the giving of bounties ; and that proposals for such a system be formulated and submitted for consideration, and this Bill, or so much of it as relates to agriculture, be held over until such is done ; and that the same be communicated to the House of Representatives.
I suggest, if the honorable senator will permit me, that the amendment should be altered to read as follows -
That, in the opinion of this Senate, with a view to the development of agriculture, a carefully organized system of agricultural education and scientific experiment should be established and. thoroughly tried before the present scheme of bounties is adopted by Parliament, and that proposals for such a system be formulated and submitted for consideration, and this Bill be held over until such is done; and that the same be communicated to the House of Representatives.
– Will not the honorable senator incorporate my suggested amendment?
– I do not know that I should have any strong objection to do so if it were in order; but I understand that the President has ruled that the amendment the honorable senator has suggested could not be moved. Perhaps the honorable senator will himself consider whether the Federal Parliament has any power to deal with the question of land purchase.
– What about a progressive land tax?
– We have not the power to deal with a progressive land tax on this occasion. What I understand my honorable friend desires is in this indirect way to elicit an opinion on the imposition of a land tax which would practically break up large estates. That, I think, would be irrelevant to the question, and I think we should confine ourselves to the amendment moved by Senator McColl, altered as I have suggested in such a way as* will carry out the honorable senator’s own view.
– Have we power to establish agricultural colleges and experimental stations to provide for the agricultural education referred to?
– Motions on that subject were proposed in another place some time ago.
– For the establishment of an Agricultural Department.
– That is a different thing.
– This . would really amount to an expression of . opinion that there ought to be experiments of a different kind made before we undertake to face the expenditure of such a large sum in the shape of bounties.
– Made by whom?
– By the Commonwealth, undoubtedly. I am certain that the interests of the Commonwealth would be better served by the postponement of this measure, at least until after the Tariff has been dealt with. I have the. most complete confidence in the opinion I entertain that the people of this country will be better satisfied to be relieved of the proposed burden of nearly £500,000, in view of the fact that under ‘the new Tariff it is proposed to lay upon their shoulders a burden which is condemned from one end of Australia to the other.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) (4.5]. - I propose to some extent to follow the. example of previous speakers, and to address myself, not to- the principle of bounties, but rather to the specific proposals submitted to us by the medium of this Bill. Whatever may be thought of the advantage or otherwise of granting bounties as an net of State policy. I think we can all agree that if bounties are to be paid, they should be designed to secure not merely ephemeral experiment”, hut the permanent establishment of some industry. I approached the question in this way to see how far the recommendations set forth in the report of the Conference of Experts, which is the only document we have to guide us, offer any assurance of the establishment of a single industry upon sound and permanent lines. Having looked into the document with that idea in mind, I have been compelled to the conclusion that nothing so crude, so ill-considered, and so wanting in any business side has ever been presented to this, or to any other deliberative assembly. I assumed, in looking into the report, that those who framed it would have had some guiding principle before them, that they would have set to work to examine the conditions of various industries, and would have said that if certain facts were to guide them in their recommendations with regard to one industry, a similar set of facts should guide them in regard to others. What do I find ? That the very reasons they assign for recommending bounties in respect of certain industries are the reasons that have guided them to recommend that there should be no bounties offered in the case of other industries. Some quotations have been given from the report, and I should like to refer to one or two of them again. Honorable senators will find that at page 13, with respect to rice, the experts say that the industry is not likely to be successful. They recommend a bounty in that case, and I assumed that their reason for recommending the bounty was that because of the tremendous difficulties and handicaps that would surround the production of rice in Australia it was not likely that private individuals would undertake it unaided, and, therefore, the State should step in. If that had been the reason actuating the experts iri making the recommendation, I should have been able to understand them ; but coming to another line, I find that that is the very reason they offer for refusing a bounty. At page 14 it will be found that they recommend a bounty for the production1 of olive oil, an industry which they say has. proved to be successful in Australia. If a bounty is justifiable or necessary in the case of an industry which is not likely to be successful without such assistance, surely, it is not necessary in the case of an industry which the experts admit is proved to have been permanently and profitablyestablished in South Australia. What class of industry are we to support by a bounty, the one which cannot hope” to be successful, or that which has been proved to be successful ? Or are we to support all industries? I find with regard to coffee that it is said - (
Coffee is not likely to become an important Australian industry.
The experts recommend a bounty for coffee; I assumed that on the next item the same reason would guide them, but in regard to sunflower seeds - a subject dealt with in the report, though the item was struck out of the Bill since it was first presented - they say that everything is in its favour, and yet they recommend the same course as they recommended in the case of coffee, where they said everything was against the industry. If I turn to cocoanut oil, I find the statement made that no plantation requires less labour and expense, and that the industry is one of promise. They recommend a bounty in this case, where they are dealing with an industry in connexion with which they say nothing re; quires less labour, or involves less expense. I looked to see whether they had been consistent in their next recommendation, and I found, when I came to coffee, that they recommended a bounty for exactly the opposite reasons - because of the immense labour involved, and because the return would be totally inadequate.
– The report is a curiosity.
– It is. Still looking for some reasons which guided these gentlemen, I find, for instance, that in dealing -with the item of dried and candied fruits, including jams, as an argument for a’ bounty they refer to the fact that the industry has developed so satisfactorily that the exports have readied a total of £53,000. They, therefore, recommend that a bounty should be given. But when I come to another line, jute, I find that the experts justify their recommendation of a bounty in that case because no jute is made here, none is exported, and because we are importing jute to the value of £1,000,000 a year. All through I discover an utter want of any consistency, or any recognised principle for recommending the payment of a bounty. The very reasons given for recommending a bounty in one case are given for declining to recommend it in another. A very simple illustration of this will be found on page 15 of the report, dealing with rubber; where the experts say that the heavy expense and the long periods be fore returns , can be expected are the reasons why they’ recommend a bounty. They further say that there, is a possibility of a synthetic substitute . being obtained, and they point to the fact that German chemists have ruined the indigo industry of India by a synthetic discovery. These are the reasons given for recommending a bounty in the case of rubber.
– Will the honorable senator say something about my proposed amendment before I go?
– If the honorable senator will permit me, I shall touch upon his suggested amendment later, and will say now that it is one with which I have a great deal of sympathy. I have referred to the two reasons which the experts offer for their recommendation of a bounty in the case of rubber, but when I come to consider what is said in respect of camphor, I find that exactly the- same conditions apply - the long period before the crop can be realized, and the risk of a substitute being discovered - and yet in this case, the experts say that they cannot recommend a bounty. It does appear to me that these gentlemen had no_ clear idea as to what they should do. Their report is a haphazard document, a thing of shreds and patches, not only on’ the face of it, but in connexion with .every item and on every page there are absolute contradictions. The reason -assigned for a bounty in one case is utterly disregarded in. another. This, to my mind, proves that the document which they have submitted is not entitled to a moment’s serious consideration at our hands. One of the matters with’ which the experts dealt, and in connexion with which they abstained from making .a recommendation, was as to the .advisability of an export bounty upon flour, with a view to the encouragement of the export of flour as’ against wheat. They dealt with one aspect of the matter, but one would have thought that these gentlemen, specifically charged with an important duty, would at least have paid some attention to the various factors which should have entered into’ their consideration! to enable them to arrive at a valuable conclusion. But honorable senators, reading through the whole page of the report devoted to this subject, will, if they have any knowledge at all of the wheat business, be struck with the fact that the experts make no reference to the very strong probability that in a short space of time we shall be handling wheat in bulk. That is a most important factor for consideration in connexion with a proposal to encourage the export of flour as against wheat.
– Is it not cheaper to handle flour than wheat?
– I do not know that it is cheaper to handle flour than bulk wheat. Senator Henderson may have some information on the subject to the contrary, but my information is that an up-to-date system of handling wheat in bulk puts the handling of flour out of sight.
– In any case it is better if we can’ to send away our raw products.
– If that is so, I ask my honorable friend what becomes of the document which fails to recommend a bounty in that regard? These gentlemen use every argument .they can think of to show why it should be done, but they do not recommend a bounty. In innumerable cases they recommend bounties in respect of industries, which they practically tell us are fore-doomed to failure. Nowhere in the document are they consistent. In respect of no two items have they shown that they’ have had in view a fixed policy when making their recommendations. The document is one which, however interesting it may be to. read, cannot be accepted by us as a safe guide. I wish to deal with the general financial position of the Commonwealth. No doubt there are many things which individually we would each like to have, but the question must always Arise, Can we afford the expenditure? I propose to quote a few figures in order to .show the serious position in which the Commonwealth stands financially. From the beginning it has always had an abnormally large surplus. That, I think, has made us a little careless. A large surplus is always attended with danger. I believe it has escaped the notice of. honorable senators that year by year we have been gradually approaching the point at which our requirements will equal our receipts. I do not wish to pose as an alarmist, but’ I intend to submit a few figures, and honorable senators will then be able to see how far I am justified in stating that within twelve ox eighteen months the Commonwealth will have to face the task of considering ways and means to wipe off a deficit.
– Or to replace section 87 of the Constitution:
-To my mind, that will not get over the difficulty. It must be remembered that this Bill is only one of very many projects for spending money. It ought not to be treated by itself, but as part and parcel of a policy of expenditure. We ought not to consider the Bill . without paying some attention to the -other obligations which are already imposed upon us, or which are likely to be thrown upon us by legislation to which our attention is to be incited. Last year the Commonwealth returned to the States £805,000 in excess of their three-fourths of the Customs and Excise revenue. This year, although we are to raise nearly £1,000,000 more from the taxpayers, it is proposed to return to the States only £103,000 over and above that proportion. To put it in another way, it is proposed to raise £1,000,000 extra and to return to the States £750,000 less. What is the sum with which the Commonwealth can constitutionally deal this year, over and above the expenditure provided for? It . is £103,000 only. There is every reason to assume that next year the surplus will be a diminished amount. If the Tariff is to have the effect desired by its authors, there must be a diminished Customs revenue. When I speak of - a surplus, of course, I mean the only sum which the Common-1 wealth has to call its own, after having provided for the authorized expenditure for the vear. Let us assume that next year we have exactly the same surplus to do as we like with as we have this year. Our expenditure is- steadily growing. If the Tariff is effective, the revenue will diminish, but the expenditure will steadily increase. The papers which have been distributed show that the increased ex.penditure for this year, as compared with last year, is estimated at £980,691-. What are the liabilities . against our surplus of £103,000 for the present year? The defence policy of the Government will involve the expenditure of a large sum. But ‘ it is ‘npt anticipated that the whole’ of- that .money will be required to be spent this year. Parliament is to ‘be asked to approve of a policy which will involve that expenditure”, but because all the money cannot be spent within- the year, it is proposed to hold over to next year the expenditure of’ £125,950. That one item alone will more than absorb our surplus of £103,000. Then, with regard to the proposed small arms factory, for a similar reason it is proposed to put into next year’s Estimates £32,000, which represents one-half of the cost of the factory. Those two items amount to nearly £1.60,000. The Estimates for this vear provide for an expenditure of only £25,000 under the Bounties Bill, but its ‘ author has stated elsewhere that he has only made provision for this year because it is hardly likely that in the first year of their operation he will be applied to for the payment of bounties exceeding £25,000. But it is anticipated that in subsequent years the annual expenditure will range from .-£40,000 to -£50,000. There, ‘ again, an additional expenditure of from £15,000 to £25,000 has to be provided for. We have the assurance of the Acting Prime Minister that during the present session an Iron Bonus Bill will be introduced. The items I have mentioned may be regarded as actual liabilities.” But, in addition to them, there are many contingent liabilities, to some of which I expect the Senate will lend a very favorable ear. Australia has taken over the responsibility of governing Papua, and it will be monstrous if the Commonwealth Parliament does not make up its mind to do its best to develop its resources. We cannot develop them without incurring expenditure. What that amount will be I cannot say, nor do I suppose that any person can. Before we pass this, or any other Bill, we, as business men, ought te take into account that contingent liability. I do not hesitate to say that the Northern Territory represents the greatest problem with which Australian public men are faced. Whatever may be said as to the possibilities of the Northern Territory, in mv opinion for verv many years to come it will be a burden to Australia. If it is transferred to the Commonwealth, our first dutv will be to make provision for the interest on its debt. Money will also have to be found to carry out a policy of development, and then will come the question of railway construction. The proposed railway to Western Australia is one of the matters which mav be said to be within the ranee of practical politics, and which, if carried out, will entail a verv heavy financial obligation upon the Commonwealth.
– Unless it is constructed on the land-grant principle.
– At the present time I am only dealing with what I regard as practical matters. It ought to be clear to every honorable senator that Australia has a large financial problem to face. It is better for us to face that problem to-day than to pass Bills hurriedly, without asking ourselves where we shall obtain the ways and means to carry out their provisions.. Then the establishment of a system of oldage pensions will, I imagine, involve an annual expenditure of from £1,225,000 to £1,500,000. I put that sum down as as contingent liability, but it is one which we cannot ignore. The new defence policy of the Government also opens up a very wide vista of expenditure. Then we have the new mail contract. What that will cost I cannot say, but I think it is fairly safe to assume that it will entail a larger expenditure than we have been incurring. Of course we shall have to carry out that constitutional obligation, the establishment of the Federal Capital, which will require a further sum. We are promised that the office of High Commissioner will be created soon, and that many good things will flow from the appointment. That is an office the establishment and maintenance of which will involve some expenditure. If we were paying interest to the States on the transferred properties we would have, an absolute deficit. At a verv modest computation, the annual interest would run into £300,000. We have only .£103, 000 available to do as we like with; so that practically to-day we are -£200,000 to the bad- I have dealt with these matters because I wish to impress upon honorable senators the fact that it is easy to run into debt, but not so easy to get out of it ; and it seems to me that within a short space of time this Commonwealth will pass from being the possessor of a very ample, and indeed dangerous, surplus into the position of one of the needy States of a few years ago. I wish to avoid that, and, therefore, hope that honorable senators will press the Government” for some clear and definite statement on the financial position. We should insist, before this Bill is passed into law, upon the Government telling us clearly where the money is to come from to pay these bounties. I am unable to see how we can honestly hypothecate nearly halfami Ilion of money in face of the certain fact that within a few months we shall be in that position. I appeal to honorable senators who have set their faces against a borrowing policy - in which course I am entirely with them - to lend their valuable assistance in providing that there shall be no reckless legislation, involving expenditure, until we know fairly and honestly where the money is to come from. As I have said, it seems to me that we shall very soon be faced with either a deficit or heavy taxation. In expressing that opinion, I take the liberty of showing that I am not speaking from the point of ^ view of party politics. I will read a quotation from the Age in support of the argument which I have been putting forward. Now the Melbourne Age and myself can hardly be said to have many views in common. The Age approaches the matter from an entirely different stand-point from mine, and I quote this passage for the reason that when honorable senators find a strong party journal like the Age foreseeing the very facts which I, a strong party man, foresee, it may be assumed that these views are not put forward for the purpose of any party advantage. The article referred to says -
The forecasts, of course, go much further than this. With the termination of the Braddon clause, the whole ^10,000,000 of Customs and Excise revenue will be at the disposal of the Federal Government. As far as the debate of last night was permitted to illumine the financial situation of the future, this would seem to be the end which Ministers and their supporters are slowly seeking to attain. When Sir William Lyne says that the continuance of the Braddon clause is “ impossible,” he evidently means that the Federation in a few years must have funds of its own to discharge the duties which it is taking over from the States, and as it absorbs the State functions it must fart passu absorb their Customs revenue. It is just as well that the people at large should look these facts in the face, so as to discern the trend of events. As a matter of taxation it may not make verv much difference to the citizen which line shall be followed. If the Customs revenue were still left to the States, as now, then the Federation must resort to new direct or indirect taxation for its own needs. If, on the other hand, it elects to terminate the Braddon clause, and absorbs a large portion of the Customs revenue, it will throw upon the States, as such, the necessity of supplementing their finances with new sources of revenue. Whichever way we look, or whatever policy may prevail, new taxation seems a certainty of the near future, lt may come from the States or it may come from the Commonwealth ; or it may come from both. We cannot without money enter into the great developmental schemes which lie immediately ahead of us.
That seems to me to sum up the position admirably and clearly. I do not wish to discuss the position of the States, or the position in which they would find themselves if the Commonwealth, at the end of the period for . which the Braddon section operates, were to determine to retain the whole, or a large portion of the Customs and Excise revenue. But I do reaffirm the opinion expressed in the columns of the Age that we are within measurable distance of the time when new taxation will have to be imposed. Before we pass Bills of this character, involving fresh expenditure, we ought clearly to consider the whole financial position. Our duty, surely, to those who sent us here, is to consider ways and means - to consider how we are to provide money before we decide to pay it away to other people. What I ask honorable senators to remember, as a previous speaker pointed out, is that there is no great urgency regarding this Bill. There is no particular need for it. There is, on the other hand, an immediate and urgent need for a fresh consideration of the financial problems with which we have to deal. For these reasons I sincerely trust that whatever may be the fiscal views of honorable senators - whatever attitude they may take up on the main principle of bounties, or no bounties - they will, at least, see that it is not a sound business principle to decide to pay this money away without knowing where it is to come from. I trust we shall determine that this Bill, coupled with others, ought not to be allowed eitheto cripple the Commonwealth finances 01 the finances of the several States which form the Union.
.- If honorable senators cast their minds back to various Bills of a similar character to that now ‘ before us, they will admit that the more we know of proposed bounty legislation, the less inclined we must be to pass it. Early in the history of the Federal Parliament, a proposal was made in the shape of a Bounty Bill for the encouragement of the production of pig iron. The Government of the day proposed to spend more than £250,000 for the purpose. That Bill was referred to a Royal Commission, which inquired and reported, with the result that for some years afterwards we heard nothing more about a bounty for the production of pig iron. The Royal Commission did its work so effectively that, for the time being, the authors of the proposal were silenced, and the public purse was protected to the extent of £250,000 at least. I hold that had that Bill passed at the time, the public would have been so much the poorer, whilst, so far as concerned the encouragement of the iron industry, we should not have been a bit better off than we are to-day. The report of the Royal Commission showed plainly that there was no necessity for the bounty ; that iron could be produced as cheaply and as easily in Australia as in most countries in the world. Indeed, one of the witnesses examined by the Commission, to whose advice great weight was attached - namely, Mr. Sandford - stated that he could produce pig iron for 32s. per ton. At that time, a much stronger claim was put’ forward for spending public money on a system of bounties than is put forward in connexion with this Bill. But after a little investigation, the public and Parliament were convinced that the measure was entirely uncalled for. Consequently, it was cast into the waste-paper basket for the time being. A similar Bill to that before us was presented last session, when it was proposed to expend public money in bounties for the production of commodities of various kinds, many of which were strongly condemned. I opposed the item preserved milk, especially in- the form of powdered milk. In fact, I went so far as to say that powdered milk was an article that we ought to be more inclined to suppress altogether than to encourage. I dare say many honorable senators thought that I spoke rather too strongly, but I was particularly acquainted with the subject, because for a number of years I had lived in a part of Australia where I was compelled to use preserved milk, and knew that powdered milk . was an article, the consumption of which ought not” to be encouraged. That proposal has been dropped on the present occasion. Evidently the criticism launched against previous Bills had an effect in regard to the preparation of the one before us. The taxpayers are now asked to spend, or to squander, money for the production of various articles, some of which have been produced since before the establishment of Federation. For instance, having regard to the amount of protection we have given to the producers of coffee, a proposal to further assist in its production by means of a bounty is quite uncalled for. I remember that when the Tariff was last before the Senate a duty of 33 per cent, was imposed on coffee at the request of the Queensland representatives. We were informed that Queensland was admirably adapted for the production of the article, and that if the protection which it had received were not continued, great injury would be done to the coffee growers in the northern State. Acting upon the advice then tendered to us, and not wishing to injure an established industry, some of us, against our better judgment, agreed to a duty on coffee. At that very time there was a strong feeling amongst Federal legislators against any duty on coffee, tea, or any similar article. For the life of me, I. cannot understand why there should be a duty on coffee when we have refused to have a duty on tea.
– We cannot produce tea in Australia.
– We can produce it just as successfully as we produce coffee if we choose to go to the expense. Whether we can produce it at a commercially profitable price, I do not know. But we cannot produce coffee and conduct the industry commercially.
– Oh, yes.
– What has been the result of the duty we imposed? Ever since the inception of the Federation there has been a duty of 33 per cent, ad valorem on coffee. , .
– It is a fixed duty of 3d. per lb.
– I think the honorable senator is right. Threepence per lb. is a very substantial amount of protection on an article that should not cost, at the very most, more than is. a lb. Seeing that that duty has been imposed for all these years, and that the amount of Australiangrown coffee has been decreasing, there is very little justification for us to continue to make the consumers pay a tax of this kind on an article of general consumption which enters most homes in the Commonwealth, especially when we have set our faces so strongly against any tax whatever on tea.
– Where does the honorable senator find authority for the statement that we are producing less coffee now than formerly?
– I have it from the Government Statistical Records of Queensland that in the )’ear 1901, Queensland produced 130,000 lbs. of coffee. In 1905, the very latest year for which figures are available, only 82,000 lbs. was produced.
– An adverse season might’ reasonably account for that.
– The production was low in other years. In 1903, a quantity of only 83,000 lbs. was produced. Altogether, there was a very great decrease upon 1901.
– That only proves that the decreased production corresponds with the decrease in the duty.
– There has been no decrease in the duty.
– Before Federation, the duty was 4d. per lb.
– That was under the Queensland Tariff, when the coffeegrowers had only the State of Queensland for their market. When the duty was reduced to 3d. under the Federal Tariff, the growers had the whole of Australia for their market. Those were much more favorable conditions, yet, instead of the production increasing, there has been a gradual decrease every year. In face of these facts, there is no substantial reason why we should go out of our way any further to encourage the production of coffee. I cannot understand honorable senators from Queensland, who fought so strongly against any duty being imposed on tea, even for such a laudable object as providing old-age pensions, taking up so inconsistent an attitude now with regard to coffee.
– We cannot grow tea.
– Neither can we produce coffee-
– Yes, easily.
– Of course, we can produce anything if we like to pay the cost, but it is too great in this case. The Senate will do well if it treats coffee in the same manner as it treated tea.
– Is 3d. per lb. an excessive duty on an article that we can produce ?
– It is altogether excessive in face of the fact that we will not allow one farthing of duty to be placed on tea, which might be said to be almost a similar article. We should endeavour to make the pearl shelling industry in the northern portions of Australia a white man’s industry. We have set ourselves the task in regard to many industries in Australia, and have met with a great deal of success so far as the sugar industry is concerned. We have heard a great deal of talk from time to time about the necessity of filling Australia with white people wherever possible. The whole of the northern portion of Australia, more especially the northwest, is peopled by various coloured races. The town of Broome, the centre of the pearl fishing industry of Western Australia, is practically an Asiatic town. Seventy per cent. of the population are Japanese. The rest is made up of Manilla men, Malays, Javanese, and various other Asiatics. So long as we permit the industry to be in the hands of those people we shall never have any other kind of population on the north-west coast. This is an industry that we have too long neglected. It may be a very difficult task to settle the form that the bounty or assistance to it should take, but I hope that I shall be able, in Committee, to put forward a proposal that will meet with the approval of honorable senators. It is certain that, unless we are prepared to do something to encourage the industry by means of a bounty, we shall never rescue it from the hands of the coloured workers, who undoubtedly derive the whole of the profits at the present time. This is a question that may very well be looked at from not only a fiscal, but also a White Australia, standpoint. Any one who goes to the pearling districts of Australia, and sees that the storekeepers, bakers, tailors, and other tradesmen there are Japanese, Chinese, and other Asiatics, must admit that we ought to do something to rescue the industry from the hands of those people. Unless we provide a bounty I am quite sure that no white workers will stand any reasonable chance of ousting those who now have the industry in their hands. It is a profitable industry, and worth encouraging - much more than any mentioned in this schedule.
– I am prepared to give the Bill a general approval, so far as most of the items are concerned, because I consider that it is only an instalment of that policy which the electors of Australia, when recently appealed to, decided in favour of. The system of giving bounties is only another form of protection, and a very commendable one, while in some respects it does not possess the shortcomings of the system of giving protection to native industries. I notice in this Bill a tendency, in fact what I may call a direct effort, to divert too much energy, and consequently too much public money, into the tropical portions of Australia - far more than is required and far more than is consistent with the best interests of the development of the industries of Australia as a whole. Now, as ever since the foundation of Australia, the vast majority of the people are settled in the temperate zone. It has always required a very strong inducement to drag them into the tropical zones. I am not saying this to decry the tropical or sub-tropical portions of Australia, because I have always recognised that it is easily possible for white men to live, and even to thrive, there. But it is not a wise policy to introduce a measure which aims directly at diverting, as I believe the measure will succeed in doing, something like half of the entire amount which is intended to be spent, into the tropical and sub-tropical portions of Australia. For that reason, and also because some of the items in the schedule cannot be profitably produced at all, I am not prepared to support the Bill in its entirety. I disagree absolutely with the view expressed by an honorable senator on the Opposition side of the Chamber that it would be wise to introduce coloured labour into tropical Australia, or that the industries there . cannot be developed without coloured labour. At the beginning of the American-Cuban war, the first troops chosen by the American Government for service in Cuba were those in the southern portions of the United States - the men around Florida. They were regarded by the American war authorities as the most suitable for service in a. tropical country. That shows that they were not lacking in stamina, or at any rate, it proves that the responsible authorities regarded men who came from a climate exactly similar in most respects to that of Cuba, as the most suitable to hold a tropical or subtropical country. I am prepared to give to the northern portions of Australia a fair proportion of encouragement under this Bill, but not to the extent proposed by the Government. The Bill has a few blots on it. One of these imperfections is that (the money which is intended to be paid to the producers of the several commodities will find its way in the first instance into the pockets of the middle man. This will be the case particularly with the fish and dried fruit industries. The Bill provides that in those two instances the manufacturers are to be regarded as producers. Unless very stringent safeguards are provided, the taxpayers’ money will find its way into the verv channel which it should be our special effort to prevent il) from reaching. I believe also that the offering of a bounty, particularly so far as those two industries are concerned, will be an inducement to men to embark in them for the purpose of getting the bounty and the bounty alone.
That has been Victoria’s experience. In fact, for very many years the experience has been that when any country sets out to give a bounty for the special encouragement of any industry, some speculators are so keen, and have so much business acumen that, instead of embarking on the industry for the purpose of giving. full effect to the intention of the Act, they merely set out to secure the bounty, and nothing else. I notice that as far back as the beginning of last century Adam Smith, in referring to bounties, discloses the fact that the same experience was noted at that time. In his work The Wealth of Nations, he refers to the bounty given for fish. And at page 23J of the latest edition of the work, I find the following -
The bounty to the white herring fishery is a tonnage bounty, and is proportioned to the burden of the ship_v not to her diligence or success in the fishery ; and it has, I am afraid, been too common for vessels to fit out for the sole purpose of catching not the fish but the bounty. In the year 1759, when the bounty was at 50s. the ton, the whole buss fishery of Scotland brought in only four barrels of sea-sticks. In that year each barrel of sea-sticks cost Government in bounties alone £113 15s.; each barrel of merchantable herrings ^159 7s. 6d.
That was a pretty costly experiment.
– Did the industry die out when the bounty ceased ?
– No, it did not. I intend to deal with that point later on. I believe that the industry was founded on such failures as are there described. I have made the quotation to show that in those days, when people were as circumspect as they could be, they spent ,£159 of the taxpayers’ money on each, barrel of herrings caught.
– What were Adam Smith’s conclusions concerning bounties?
– He was against bounties, and especially bounties for export. It is clear that whoever is charged with the administration of an Act under which bounties are granted must be very careful to see that they do not find their way into the pockets .of people whom Parliament never intended” to benefit, and that they shall not be offered merely to enable speculators to start an industry for the purpose of securing the bounty and the bounty alone. I see no reason why, in connexion with a bounty system, the same secrecy could not be observed as is observed in the administration of Income Tax Acts. If the Minister charged with the administration of an Act authorizing the payment of bounties has any suspicion that a person engaged in the fishing industry, or in drying fruit, has started a factory merely, for the purpose of securing the bounty offered, he should be able to institute such inquiries as would satisfy him ihat the applicant for the bounty is not a mere speculator, but one who has embarked upon the industry with a genuine intention to continue in it. If necessary, applicants for bounties should be obliged to furnish balance-sheets to show that those who catch the fish which they cure, or supply the fruits which they dry, are paid a fair price; and if it is shown that a fair price is not being paid to the fishermen, or the primary producers of fruit on which a bounty is applied for, the Minister should be at liberty to withhold the bounty. I have said that I am not prepared to support this Bill in every particular. We have in Australia every variety of climate, but it is possible for us to pay far too much for the establishment of industries if there is no hope that they will afterwards furnish an export trade. Senator de Largie has said that we can grow tea” in Australia, and I believe we can. I have seen tea grown in Fiji, where the climate is identical with that of North Queensland, and I have never tasted tea from China or from’ India equal in quality to that which I have seen grown in Fiji. Honorable senators can rest satisfied that tea can be produced in Australia, but the question is whether it would pay the taxpayers of the Commonwealth to pay in the form of a bounty such a sum as would be required to establish the industry in the face of the competition of China and India.
– We must face the competition of China, India, and Japan in almost everything.
– If that be so, tea should have been included in the schedule of this Bill. For obvious reasons it was not included. The reasons which actuated th<= Government in omitting tea from the schedule, and which will be in the minds of honorable senators who will support the Bill, should also serve to exclude some of the items which are in the schedule, and to which I shall refer.
– And particularly coffee.
– And particularly coffee. I may say that I have not very much faith in some of the experts whose report has been referred to. Persons intrusted with such a duty as that of recommending bounties should possess up-to-date knowledge of the ques- rr i tions with which they are asked to deal, and should present credentials of vast and varied experience. I am afraid some of these experts had not such knowledge, and could not present such credentials. Dealing with ramie, the experts say at page 40 of their report that they find it is impossible to agree that the production of this article can find a place in Australia, and the reason they give is that to compete with the production in Asia by hand processes is out of the question. I say that that reason holds good in regard to coffee, rubber, and, perhaps, another product. As has been stated elsewhere, this is fundamentally an effort to encourage and develop agricultural production, but the Government have gone off that track, inasmuch as they have included a bounty for the manufacture of combed wool and tops. While I believe that it is necessary ‘to encourage that industry, or at least to see if it can be encouraged in Australia, ‘ there are other industries which might be included in the Bill to far greater advantage. When it was found advisable to include combed wool and tops, the Government should have gone to the extent of finding out what could be done to encourage the discovery and working of mineral manures and phosphatic fertilizers. The’ basis of successful production in this country at present is the use of suitable fertilizers. Nearly every form of horticultural, agricultural, and viticultural industry _ depends upon the use of suitable fertilizers. Experience in every State has shown that all these forms of production depend upon the use of cheap fertilizers. We are importing vast quantities of fertilizers, and are producing very little locally, although it is known that deposits of mineral fertilizers exist in Australia. When so much time was devoted to proposals for the development of tropical and sub-tropical- industries in Australia, the Government should have made some attempt, and it is not too late now, to offer some encouragement to the discovery of phosphatic deposits.
– We should not need so many fertilizers if the best land in the country were not monopolized.
– I can tell the honorable senator that the use of fertilizers enters largely into the cultivation of the best land in Victoria.
– I know of land in Queensland that has been cropped for thirty years, without fertilizers, and it is as good to-day as it was at the beginning.
– I am prompted to refer to this matter because the experts who were in conference were called 1 together from the various States, and I presume were charged with the duty of advising as to the commodities upon which money could be spent in the way proposed to the best advantage. In this matter they have absolutely failed in their duty, because they have ignored the necessity for offering some encouragement to the discovery of mineral manures in Australia, as such a discovery would place the primary producers, of whom we have heard so much, on a better footing iri competition with those of other countries. If we consider the condition of the wheat industry, we shall find that although the industry is increasing in Victoria, it has been stationary during the last ten years in South Australia, and is on the decline in Tasmania. As Senator Symon has said, it is an industry of which we are all proud, because our wheat, as well as our wool, is the best on the world’s market. We may be satisfied that the Australian farmer cultivating wheal under advantageous conditions, and especially advantageous climatic conditions, can compete with the wheat farmers in other parts of the world, but he is forced to make use of fertilizers to produce wheat cheaply. I maintain that the Government should have been prepared to offer liberal encouragement for the discovery of fertilizers, and the experts failed in their duty in not recognising that the discovery of mineral fertilizers was a matter to which their attention should first have -been given. I find from the Victorian Journal of Agriculture that the use of fertilizers enters largely into all forms of cultivation in that State. In the Journal for 8th November, 1905, 1 find the following -
For grain, hay, fruit, potatoes, maize, grass, and vegetable growing this ingredient is required to such an extent that the idea has grown up in the minds of many farmers that the use of ph’osphatic manures is the beginning and ending of the whole manurial problem.
The writer of the article from which I take this quotation refers to another very important feature connected with the use of fertilizers, and he says -
The demands of the northern wheat crops are for manure that will become quickly available, and which will stimulate a rapid growth of the wheat plant so that it may attain a certain stage before the hot summer weather sets in, and all further growth is arrested. The scanty rainfall of the north is insufficient in normal years to support an abundant vegetation, and farmers living in these areas have come to adopt the super-phosphate as the manure far excellencefor their climatic conditions and limited rangeof crops.
That is a most important point. It indicates forcibly the peculiar value of these mineral manures for use in the dry regions of Australia, which is, unfortunately, descriptive of a very large area, and it showsthat land in those regions can be workedwith profit by the use of fertilizers. I repeat that the experts failed in their duty when they did not recommend to the Government the necessity for encouraging the discovery of these fertilizers. We know that deposits of phosphatic fertilizers exist in South Australia, in the Great Australian* Bight. I am informed that there are indications of the existence of such deposits in the Torres Straits that would warrant careful search for them. On the western coast also, in the Abrolhas, there areindications which warrant a search for these phosphatic deposits. TheConference should have recommended that a liberal amount be offered as » bounty to promote the discovery and working of mineral fertilizers. In Queensland the production of coffee has been on the decline. It has been stated by Senator Givens that possibly the decline is accounted for by the bad seasons. That may, or may not, 1be the case.
– The reduction of: the duty checked the expansion of the industry.
– -At all events, we have the evidence of the Queensland report that there were 318 acres under coffee in- 1903, and 167 acres irs 1905, showing a reduction of almost onehalf. I do not see how the coffee industry can be fostered except at the cost of » very large expenditure. In fact, coffee isin the same category as tea. Senator. Givens has asked to what extent we need to protect the coffee grower. According, to the evidence of the Queensland expert, we must give a protection to the extent of 14s. per acre. The consumption of coffee in Australia is 2,000,000 lbs., and the average production in Queensland is 7k” cwt. to the acre. Australia cannot hope toembark upon the production of coffee with a view to developing an export trade; even. Senator Givens, I think, will admit that. I do not know that the public taste for coffee is growing. According to the Queensland expert, if we take the average yield in Queensland as cwt. per acre. the proposed bounty will be equal to about 14s. per acre. The figures available indicate that, notwithstanding a protective duty of 3d. per lb. in the Tariff, coffee growing is on the decline.
– Make the duty 6d. per lb.
– I am willing to help the honorable senator to incre’ase the duty but certainly not to give a bounty upon the production of coffee, because I do not wish 4o pay too dearly for my whistle. The bounty, if enacted, will be a perpetual subsidy to the coffee grower.
– How can it be perpetual if the period of payment is limited ?
– With the advantage of a protective duty of 3d. per lb., coffee growing is on the decline, and surely it is quite clear that in order to keep the industry afloat the bounty must be perpetuated. I now come to an item which cannot command the serious attention of honorable senators, and that is the bounty for the production of rubber. In their report, the experts admit that very soon there is likely to be discovered a synthetic substitute for rubber. When a synthetic substitute has been discovered, we shall have flung away so much money in a fruitless endeavour to encourage the growth of the rubber industry. We are all aware that the indigo industry has ‘been destroyed by a chemist’s discovery of a synthetic substitute. I presume that even the advocates of this bounty will favour the export of Australian rubber to foreign countries. But what are the prospects of developing an export trade? At the present time, in most countries, rubber is a wild product. According to an article which appeared in the Age, or the Argus, a few weeks ago, the production last year amounted to 65,000 tons. Up to 1904, there was no plantation “ variety in the market. From 1904 to 1906 the “ plantation “ -variety had increased from 40 to 600 tons, which is equal to about 1 per cent, of the world’s consumption. What has been “happening since then? Although the consumers of rubber were depending upon the world’s production up to 1904, we find that no less than 137 companies have been registered in London for the purpose of ^embarking upon rubber production alone. The wild product comes from the vast forests of tropical Africa, Asia, and the .Amazon Basin. From the latter source no less than 38,000 . tons of rubber juice were drawn last year, .that is over one-half the world’s consumption. The juice is gathered by 140,000 labourers, and the number of trees annually tapped is 28,000,000. The trees are the property of the State, and no licence is paid by either citizen or foreigner for collecting the juice. At the end of 1906 there were 137 companies with a capital of £9,000,000 incorporated and operating in Ceylon, Mexico, Nicaragua, Java, Brazil and the Malay States. In 1906 on ninety-two estates there were 13,670,000 rubber trees of an average age of two and a-half years, and 3,000,000 trees on the remaining forty-five plantations. The directors of the Highlands Company have 322,000 trees on’ their estate, and are making arrangements for the planting of 180,000 trees a year for the next six years. As the report of the experts shows, rubber trees bear in six years when planted from seed. From the information I have given it is quite clear that within the next six or seven years there will be an additional number of 17,670,000 young “ plantation “ trees, which at the moderate average’ of 2 lbs. . per tree - because the yield increases in subsequent years - will produce 15,300 tons. That will be nearly a 25 per cent, increase on the present world’s production. With the “ wild “ and “ plantation “ sources of supply where will our puny bounty-fed rubber industry be? What hope have we that it will be able to compete against the world’s production? In view of the vast areas which so many companies have been organized to operate, the effort of the Government to establish a rubber industry in Australia will be absolutely futile.
– Is there not a continual .expansion of the uses to which rubber is put?
– And also a continual increase of the price, because of that expansion ?
– No, the tendency is in the opposite direction. It has been well expressed by a leading member of a London company that, with a reduction in the price of rubber, a far larger area will be brought under production. With a reduction in the price of rubber - and that is quite within the orange of possibilityI ask honorable senators to tell me what will be the position of our rubber industry if established? I believe that the proposed expenditure, if authorized, will be wasted. . I do not agree with Senator
Symon when he referred to cotton as an impracticable product in Australia. Notwithstanding the gloomy tale of the experts and our unsatisfactory experience in growing the product, I believe it is worth while to give a bounty upon the production of cotton. Mr. Jenkins, the late Premier of South Australia, has given ‘ some information on the subject. In his report on cotton growing in the Northern Territory, which was written in 1905, he says -
If Australia becomes a cotton-growing country it would save double sea-carriage by making its own cotton goods, and have the opportunity of assisting other cotton producers. It would also be near to the Indian market. Last year (1904) the value of cotton yarns and fabrics exported from the United .Kingdom was ^,’84,000,000, and of this amount ^20,000,000 went to India. All this was grown in America, sent to England to be manufactured, and then shipped to India for use.
As far as sea transport is concerned, -if we succeed in establishing the growth and manufacture of cotton in Australia we shall have a decided advantage over the United States grower. It is said, however, that we cannot grow cotton in Australia without black labour. That statement seems ‘to be foolish in the light of American experience. We can, undoubtedly, grow cotton with white labour, judging from what has happened in the United States. According to the American census for 1900, which gives the latest available figures -
Of the entire cotton crop of 1899 share tenants produced 33.8 per cent., which was divided equally between the white and negro tenants. The negro share tenant, like the negro labourer, is more easily influenced, and cultivates his crop more nearly as directed by the owner than does the white tenant. In each form of tenure (i.e., the share and cash form) the negro produced from two to three -hundredths of a bale less than the white men, and received from 60 cents to a dollar an acre more in income.
I may explain that the volume from which I quote refers especially to this form of tenure as being peculiar to America. It is called the share and cash system, and is adopted by those who have not sufficient capital to embark upon enterprises on a large scale and employ much labour. The share and cash system is mostly resorted to by poor men. This information indicates that out of the entire cotton crop 33 per cent, was . divided between the negro and white share tenants, proving that 16 ner cent, of the cotton crop of the United States was grown by white’ men. The white man also obtains from 60 cents to a dollar more for his crop than does the negro.
– What became of the other 63 per cent. ?
– The other 63 per cent, must be grown on other kinds of tenures. I was rather disappointed at not being able to ascertain the exact number of white and negro cotton growers in the United States. It appeared that I could only find what I wanted by taking the number of growers on the share and cash system. ‘ This system was adopted by the negroes when emancipated from slavery, because they had no cash and could not employ labour.
– May not the white growers have employed negroes ?
– I do not think so in the case of the white growers who adopt this form of tenure, because they cultivate small areas. In .1899, 33.9 per cent, of all’ the farms of the ten leading cotton States of America were operated by negroes. That is to say, the white farmers were 66 per cent, of the whole, whilst the blacks were 33 per cent. These facts go to show that it is by no means true that the cotton crop of America is produced by negro labour, but that the white population has entered comparatively successfully upon cotton growing. It is worth our while to try the experiment in Australia-, seeing that we have suitable areas in Central Queensland for the production of cotton. I do not propose to refer to the fish industry further than to remind the Minister that the Government will have to be very careful about the payment of a bounty that is intended to reach the tinners and canners of the product. Surely it is a sad commentary upon Australian industry, that we import £[500,000 worth of tinned fish annually, and that up to the present, scarcely any steps have been taken to develop an Australian industry. Australia is particularly suitable for the fish canning industry, inasmuch as our large centres of population are mostly situated on the seaboard.
– Have we large quantities of shoal fish in Australian waters?
– It has been a common delusion that by fishing in shallow grounds around our shores to any great extent,’ we shall deplete the fish supply. Nothing of the kind. The bulk of our fishsupply comes from the deep waters, which are the breeding grounds of the fish. According to a statement made by the Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Carruthers, it is recognised in England that ten times the value is derived from the product of an acre of sea around the British Isles than from the product of an acre of land.
– Taking the sea all round?
– All round, according to Mr. Carruthurs. Yet, in Australia we are importing tinned fish and making no effort to tin our own. By establishing the fish industry on a firm foundation we shall be taking steps to encourage a hardy race of people. Any country that has not an efficient navy nowadays must take a back seat amongst the nations of the world. The fishing industry will assist in the training of our youths, and the making of our men hardy and experienced in seafaring. My only suggestion is that if the tinners only are to derive advantage from the bounty, it shall not be paid until such time as the Minister is satisfied that a fair price is paid to those who catch the fish. I give a general approval to the measure, and recognise that this is a form of protection which we shall be wise to adopt. There are some things mentioned in the schedule thatI want to see excised ; but at the same time, the Bill is calculated to do much good in encouraging new industries, and I shall therefore give it a general support.
– This Bill embodies a laudable attempt on the part of the Government to encourage the establishment of new industries within the Australian Commonwealth.’ Last Friday we had a very long, instructive, and informative speech on the subject from Senator McColl. It was exceedingly interesting to hear him praising the Government for introducing the Bill, but winding up his speech by moving an amendment which was expressly designed for no other purpose than to kill it.
– My amendment was not antagonistic to the Bill, but was intended to set it aside for the time being.
– It meant “ I will not kill you now, but will starve you to death.”
– It was only intended to insure a little common-sense and prudence in dealing with the subject.
– The honorable senator is generally an advocate of monopoly, and it is not surprising to find him assuming that he has a monopoly of common-sense and prudence.
– That is quite untrue.
– I must say that the honorable senator’s statement was not a fact.
– I welcome the honorable senator’s interjection, but I would remind him that if he resorts to that kind of retort he will have unpleasant things said in reply.
– I ask the honorable senator to proceed with his speech ; and at the same time I must inform Senator McColl that he ought not to have made such an interjection.
– The honorable senator started it.
– I did not start anything of the kind. The amendment moved by the honorable senator was on the second reading of a Bill which he himself described as a useful and honest attempt on the part of the Government to deal with this question ; but it was moved for no other purpose than deliberately to kill the measure. I agree with Senator McColl that this is a laudable, and, so far as I can see, an honest attempt to establish new industries. The honorable senator pointed out what was done some years ago in Victoria in this direction, and observed that the bounties failed, to a certain extent, although one industry - that of butter-making and butter export - was established by their means. Taking that statement as one of fact, I maintain that Victoriahas been justified in her policy by the enormous success of the butter industry. That one success infinitely more than compensated for all the other failures.
– Dried fruits have been eminently successful.
– Not in consequence of the bonus.
– The butter industry was established almost without a bonus. The bonus got into the hands of exploiters.
– It is altogether beside the mark to say that the bonuses had no effect, because we have it on evidence that, although the Victorian system was attended by many failures, it laid the first foundation for the ultimate success of many other industries. It prepared the way for the great strides which the butter export trade has taken in Australia during the last decade. It also, as Senator Trenwith interjects, led the way for the very large business we now have in dried fruits. I think the time is not far distant when Australia will more than supply itself with all the dried fruits of every kind that it requires, and, in addition, be able to export a large quantity. A policy which has resulted in making a pronounced success of even a few industries which previously had not been successfully pursued in the Commonwealth, is more than justified.
– Post hoc is not always propter hoc.
– The honorable senator is, as usual, adopting the rôle of the pedantic pedagogue. He wants to display the profundity of his acquaintance with dead languages. Senator McColl’s amendment provides for brushing aside the system of bounties in favour of a system of educational agricultural establishments, which will teach the people how more successfully to engage in the industries already established. That is a very proper and laudable object, but it is at variance with the primary principle of the Bill, which is that of encouraging the establishment of new industries. I would do everything possible to make the industries already established more flourishing, but it is altogether beside the question to insert such a provision in this Bill. We have heard a great deal from time to time from honorable senators of the same way of thinking as Senator McColl, about the danger of the Commonwealth interfering with the functions of the States, or infringing States rights. But this amendment is an invitation to the Parliament and Government of the Commonwealth to interfere in a matter which the States have looked upon up to the present as peculiarly their own.
– And, which each State is attending to.
– And attending to efficiently. How will Senator McColl give effect to his amendment if it is carried? How is this Parliament to establish a Commonwealth Bureau of Agriculture or an experimental farm, seeing that the Commonwealth does not own an acre of land, except the land on which are established public buildings to carry on the Departments taken over by the Commonwealth? The States, as Senator Keating pointed out, are very efficiently dealing with technical agricultural education at the present time. They are spending large sums in the employment of experts to teach the farmers various branches of agriculture. They are also going in for experimental farms, where experiments are made to obtain more productive methods of agriculture than those hitherto pursued. I should be quite in favour of a Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau to supplement those State establishments, concurrently with the bounties, but it is altogether too absurd to contend that such a project would be an adequate substitute for this Bill. There is no need for us to offer further encouragement to the dairying industry, because, owing to the bonus system formerly in vogue, and the encouragement given to the butter industry in various States, the whole business of butter producing has now been firmly established, and can go alone. Good luck to it.
– Does the honorable senator call the grants and assistance given by the Government to the dairying industry bounties?
– The Victorian Government gave a bounty of about 2d. per lb. for the export of butter.
– That is a bonus for export, and not for production.
– It was a distinct bonus to the butter industry. According to the honorable senator’s argument, it is permissible for us to give a bonus for the production of something for the fellow at the other end of the world, but not for our own use. Was ever such an absurd and ridiculous statement made on the floor of this, or any other deliberative assembly?
– I simply asked a question.
– That was the whole trend of it. It is extremely doubtful whether all the products for which it is pro* posed to give bounties in this Bill will be successfully grown. It is almost impossible to expect even half of them to be. If the scheme succeeds in firmly establishing two or three of them in the Commonwealth the money will have been well laid out. One item, at any rate, is capable of being developedinto a very big thing for Australia. That is cotton. More than half the Commonwealth is suitable for its growth. If you draw a line midway across Australia, from the border of Queensland or New South Wales to Western Australia, the greater portion of the immense area to the north of it is suitable for the production of cotton.
– Some of the highestpriced cotton in the world has been grown in Queensland.
– Queensland is no more peculiarly suited for it than the north-west of Western Australia, or the Northern Territory. We hear a great deal from the advocates of cheap labour about the urgent necessity for filling up the waste places of the Commonwealth. How better can we do it than by establishing remunerative industries there? In the United States and other places cotton has already been successfully grown by white labour. The idea that white men cannot do any sort of work in the tropics is exploded, because we can see with our own eyes every day white men engaged in the most strenuous work in the hottest parts of this continent. In the southern portions of America where it was formerly thought that cotton could not be grown successfully without slaves, white men are now engaged, and are making the industry pay. Machinery is largely taking tha place of manual labour. “The Queensland cotton expert has perfected and taken out a patent for a machine for picking cotton. The ginning machine did away with a considerable amount of manual labour in the industry.
– Does the honorable senator know anything definite about the patent for the machine for picking cotton ?
– I. was talking to Mr. Jones in Melbourne about six weeks ago, and he assured me that it would prove an undoubted success. Native cotton is growing wild at the present time in Northern Queensland and the Northern Territory. I do not know about North-West Australia, but I presume that it is to be found there also, because the climatic conditions are similar. There are three or four different kinds of native cotton. One kind is a shrub about a man’s height, while another is a tree reaching a height of 100 feet. It produces a very good cotton, although the difficulty of picking it off a tree 100 -feet high would hardly be overcome by any bonus or machine. That cotton will grow well in Australia is undisputed. As a Commonwealth, we are faced with the problem of how best to settle the great Northern Territory, which, sooner or later, must be taken over. There are two tropical portions of Australia which are comparatively empty - the north-west of Western Australia, and the Northern Territory. I have no fear of Northern Queensland not being fully occupied and developed, even if none of the industries named here are established. My chief anxiety is to have some of these industries established in those empty portions of the continent where other industries do not seem to have much prospect of success. I am anxious to see such industries established as will induce
– If the Bill does get into Committee, knock out all the items but cotton.
– I hope Senator St Ledger will explain that interjection to the people of Queensland, who are interested in some of the other industries.
– I will explain my position. The honorable senator need not trouble about me.
– I am not troubling about the honorable senator’s position, but about the position of the electors of Queensland who may have sent the honorable senator in to represent them under a misconception.
– Was that my fault?
– I am asking the honorable senator to take the people into his confidence. If he is sure of his position, I suppose he will do so; if he is not, possibly he will, as he has on former occasions, hedge all round the subject. It has been, said, especially by Senator Lynch, that the industries named in the schedule are mainly for establishment in the tropical or sub-tropical portions of Australia, and that temperate regions have been altogether left out. Only a very casual view of the Bill would enable anybody to take such a distorted view of it. New Zealand flax, and flax and hemp, are articles which I do not think would grow successfully in either tropical or subtropical regions. They will grow in Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales. But they must have a country as cold, or nearly so, as New Zealand, before they can be grown successfully.
– According to the experts, they can be grown in Queensland.
– Anything can be grown by way of experiment in Queensland, but I am satisfied that flax is not suitable for a tropical, country as a commercial speculation, or as a general agricultural crop. The products mentioned in the second and third items are eminently suitable for the temperate portions of Australia. That sisal hemp will grow in Australia is an assured fact, and there is not the slightest trouble in growing it. Further, it should be remembered that the establishment of this industry would lead to the utilization of a great deal of country that is now considered worthless and unavailable, because the hemp plant will grow well in country that is too poor to grow any of the ordinary crops. It grows better on comparatively poor country than on rich country. Its cultivation requires very little care, and it can be grown on rocky hillsides, where other useful crops cannot be grown. The money proposed to be expended in the endeavour to establish its growth in Australia would be well spent, and if the industry were established it would more than repay us for the total expenditure proposed under the Bill.
– I suppose that is why the Government propose a tax upon machinery ?
– That is a very good free-trade argument. Are Australians such a poor, helpless people, as to be absolutely at the mercy of the outside world ? Cannot they produce machinery for themselves? Does Senator St. Ledger know that Australian brains and genius invented the stripper-harvester, a machine which has been the salvation of the agricultural industry in this country ? T am in favour of. assisting the manufacturing industries, as well as the agricultural industries, and I look forward to the day when, instead of having to look to other people to provide us with machinery, we shall set the world an example, as we have dene in many other respects in connexion with the invention of new machinery, not only for our own use, but for theirs also.
– As a matter of fact, we are now sending dredges to Russia.
– I find that mohair is included in the schedule. While I confess that I do not know very much about this item, it seems impossible to hope that there will be any considerable production of mohair in Australia, where sheep thrive so well, and a greater profit can be derived from wool.
– There are a good . many goats in Queensland.
– There are not many n Western Australia, because most of them have come over to the Federal Parliament.
– The honorable senator is distributing his compliments all round.
– I should distribute no such compliments if honorable senators would address themselves to the Chair, instead of addressing me. When honorable senators try to be witty at my expense, I. do- not feel called upon to be over polite to them, and I like to give them a Roland for their Oliver. Senator Gray laid special emphasis on what he called the fatuity of attempting to produce copra here on anything like a successful commercial basis. I believe that the production of copra could be successfully carried out almost all round the coast of Australia. We have sandy islands and beaches, and large areas of country that are at present, and must remain for a long period practically waste land, but which would be eminently suitable for the growth of the cocoanut palm. The Queensland Government on one occasion spent considerable sums of money inplanting cocoanut palms on the islands along the Barrier Reef, on the NorthQueensland coast. There are other islandsround the coast of Australia which I believe would be equally suitable for the growth of this palm. Once the trees are planted, they require rio further trouble until they have reached the bearing age, and then all- that is required is to gather the cocoanuts, collect the copra and bag it, when it is immediately marketable.
– When did the Queensland Government plant the cocoanut palms to which the honorable senator refers ?
– Some years ago, and they are now only about coming into bearing. I may mention that the cocoanut palms were planted on the coastal islands by the Queensland Government! more with the object of affording a food supply for aboriginals and others than as a commercial speculation.
– They have done very well in some places.
– That is so. The . Queensland experiment has been sufficient to show that the industry could be established at comparatively little cost. I believe that if sufficient inducement were offered to people to undertake the initial outlay, the copra industry could be successfully established in Australia. . We have been told that it is useless for us to try to grow coffee as a commercial speculation in Australia. We have been told also that it is as reasonable to put a duty on tea as on coffee. I think I shall be able to show that that is not so. It will be admitted by every one who has bestowed any thought whatever on the subject that while tea may have been grown in some cases in Australia as an experiment or as. a curiosity, no attempt has been made to establish its growth as a commercial industry. It is not likely from the experiments that have been made that ‘ its growth in Australia would” succeed as a commercial speculation. We may therefore . leave the production of tea in the Commonwealth out of consideration. The principle which I think has been indorsed by the people of Australia is that we should give due protection to every industry that has a reasonable prospect of being successfully established in Australia. We do not want any hot-bed or glass-house industries in regard fo which special experimental ideas must be pursued. But there are a number of industries offering a reasonable prospect of success, if established in Australia. Coffee of a very superior kind has been, and is being, grown and manufactured in Australia. .1 venture to say that in Melbourne I can get as good a cup of Queensland coffee as could be produced from coffee grown in any other part of the world. If that be so, how can any one say that coffee is on the same footing as tea?
– If the honorable senator’s statement be true, how does he account for the very large importations of coffee?
- Senator de Largie has pointed out that the production of coffee is ‘decreasing in Australia. There are two reasons for that. In the first place, I point out that the existing duty on coffee is 25 per cent, less than the duty’ imposed before Federation by the Queensland Government for the benefit of the coffee-growers in that State.
– There is now a duty of 50 per cent, on the value of the article.
– The present duty does not amount to anything like that. First-class coffee cannot be imported at less than is. per lb.
– It is not all first-class coffee that is imported.
– It is very inferior coffee that is imported at 6d. per lb. I sent a sample of Queensland coffee to London, where it realized 9½d. per lb., and after paying all charges the man who grew it netted 8£d. per lb. A duty of 3d. per lb. would not be a duty of 50 per cent, on the value of that article. I should like Senator Pearce to show how he makes out that the existing duty is a duty of 50 per cent, on the value of the article r1
– I shall do so when I have an opportunity.
– A duty of 3d. per lb. is an ad valorem duty of 50 per cent, only on coffee imported at 6d. per lb. There is not a very large area thrown out of cultivation for coffee. Most of the coffee grown in Australia at present is grown in Queensland, but there is no earthly reason why it should not be grown in each of the other States, and no reason why it should not become a. very important industry in the Northern Territory. The Australian-grown coffee has had to contend against a diminution of duty which has operated in two distinct directions. ‘ In the first place the duty imposed on coffee in Queensland prior to Federation was 4d. par lb. Immediately after Federa-. tion it was reduced to 3d. per lb. Honorable senators may contend that the reduction was more than counterbalanced by the fact that the coffee-growers of Queensland were given the run of the Australian market, whereas they had previously command only of the Queensland market. But I point out that the command of the Queensland market was quite sufficient for their purpose, because they did not produce nearly enough to supply that market. So that the Queensland duty operated to the full extent of 4d. per lb. for the benefit of- Queensland coffee-growers. Again, the reduction of the duty by the Commonwealth Parliament was accompanied by the abolition of the duty on tea, which rendered tea cheaper, and more accessible to the mass of the people, and thus by increasing the use of tea, decreased the quantity of coffee used. The result of the reduction of the duty on coffee was such that the coffee-growers of Northern Queensland came to the conclusion that for them the game was no longer worth’ the candle. It must not be thought for a moment that I advocate the reimposition of the duty on tea, because I hold that any article which is a necessity to the people, and cannot be produced here, should be admitted free of duty. But the production of an article like coffee, which is grown to some extent, and which could be grown to a very considerable extent, ought to receive all possible encouragement. I fail to see a reason for any person to cavil at the grant of a bounty of id. per lb. to encourage the production of coffee. The coffee-growers of Queensland have had a very hard time. When they started, they did not know very much about the business, and the Queensland Government imported an expert to impart to them technical information about the cultivation of the article. The growers had all those difficulties to overcome, and I think it is very creditable to them that they are producing an article of very high, quality, and, to a very considerable extent, in proportion to the area planted. It has been pointed out that the total value of the coffee produced is only £10 per acre, and that the proposed bounty would amount to about 14s. per acre. That is not a very large bounty when it is remembered that the area planted under coffee will necessarily be very limited. Wheat can it* planted by the thousand acres, but coffee must always be planted in small gardens, [f a man plants 8 or 10 acres in conjunction with his other farming, he will always be able to get labour. His own family may be large enough to pick the crop when it is ripe. Coffee-growing is one of the bye-ways of industry in Australia. It is one of the most suitable industries I know, of to offer congenial employment to a farmer’s family, and to young people. For that reason, I ask honorable senators to pause before they attempt to eliminate the item from the schedule. It may be said that coffee growing is a Queensland industry. It is not necessarily a Queensland industry, because it is just as eminently suitable for the Northern Territory, or the northwestern portion of Australia as for North Queensland. Indeed, it is of less importance to Queensland than to the other States, because North Queensland has many large and important industries upon which it can fall back, whereas the other States have comparatively few industries of that kind. A bounty upon the production of rice is also offered. So far as I know, the growing of rice has been almost entirely in the hands of the Chinese. If it were to continue in their hands, I do not think it would be worth while for Parliament to bother about the industry.
– Is it grown in Australia at all ?
– It is grown in North Queensland. In the Cairns district, there are two rice mills in which a very good quality of rice is made. White men. own the mills, and Chinamen grow the rice to be cleaned by them. It is pointed out by the experts in their report that it is not at all unlikely that in the future rice may be sown by a seed drill, and that a machine on the lines of the stripperharvester may be invented for the purpose of harvesting the crop. If that is possible, there is not the slightest doubt that it can be made an exceedingly profitable industry for white people. In my opinion, the experiment is very well worth trying. The last item in the schedule is a bounty upon the export of combed wool or tops. It seems to me that the Government are going about half the length to which they ought to go in the way of protecting or developing Australian industries. It would be much more to the point if they were to propose the grant of a bounty upon the export of Australian tweed or Australian flannel, or Australian blankets, rather than a bounty upon the export of combed wool or tops.
– Does not the honorable senator think that a fairly substantial bonus is given in the present Tariff?
– No, there is no bonus given in regard to the export of those articles. Once we began to export, we should compete with the world, and derive no advantage from the Customs Tariff. The Bill provides for an annual bounty of £10,000 upon the export of combed wool or tops. For two years it will be paid at the rate of 1½d. per lb., and thereafter for three years at the rate of id. per lb. Do not let us go half way in the process cf manufacture; let. us go the whole way, and show to the world the very fine variety of’ woollen goods which can be produced in Australia. At the present moment, we are producing, I think, the finest rugs which are made in any portion of the world. Very recently in a warehouse, I examined rugs which had been made in Australia, England and other parts of the world. I came to the conclusion that as regards both quality and price, the Australian rug was infinitely superior to the imported rugs. That is equally true of Australian blankets and flannels. As we produce the finest wool, why should we not also produce the finest manufactured article? Why should we offer a bounty upon the export of our wool in a half manufactured state - just cleaned and combed - and not offer a bounty upon the export of the manufactured article? I am prepared to support the item, because I believe that it is better for us to export our wool in that form than in its purely raw state. The Bill does nor go far enough in order to offer a reasonable chance of success to all the industries which it is proposed to establish by this means. If the total expenditure were confined to one-half or one-third of the item.in the schedule, far better results would be likely to be achieved. In my opinion, a good deal of the money will be wasted, because the expenditure will be spread over too wide an area. But I agree with Senator McColl that so far as they have gone, the Government have made a laudable and honest attempt to deal with the question of bounties. As, the Senate ‘has not the power to increase the amount of a proposed bounty, I am not prepared to omit any item, because I believe that it is worth while to make an experiment in the case of every item. But in my judgment, if the proposed expenditure were confined to about one-half or one-third of the items, our chance of success with some of the items would be very much greater.
Debate (on motion by Senator Pearce) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 6.27 to 7-4-5 t-m-
Debate resumed from 25th July (vide page 974) on motion by Senator Colonel
That this Bill be now read a second lime.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [7.46].- When I last had the honour of addressing the ‘Senate in moving the second reading of this Bill, the kindly suggestion was made by the VicePresident of the Executive Council that I should obtain leave to continue my speech on another occasion. It will be remembered that I was enduring much physical suffering at the time, and I regret that, in one respect, I did not make myself quite clear. The adjournment has afforded me an opportunity of making a few concluding remarks, and particularly of putting straight a point which, through physical suffering, I rather misstated on the last occasion. Several questions were put to me by Senator St. Ledger and Senator Dobson. Amongst them was the following question by Senator St. Ledger : - “ That would include appeals from District Courts direct to the High Court?” Unfor tunately, I made the rejoinder that that would be so. I wish to clear up that point before proceeding further. It will be recognised that the Bill before the Senate is really one to extend the powers of the High Court. It refers, of course, to the Judiciary Act, and, therefore, it did not appear to me to be needful to insert in the Bill provisions which are already the Statute law of the Commonwealth. It did not appear to be necessary to copy from the Judiciary Act into this Bill what is already the law. By an addition to the interpretation clause, it will be quite easy to make clear from what Courts appeals may go to the High Court. Clearly they could not go from the District Courts as I unhappily stated.
I shall not trouble the Senate with details concerning my controversy with that gentleman. I think that the well-wishers of the measure will be satisfied with the fact that, after my last rejoinder to the New South Wales Attorney -General’s utterances, he turned up no more. I cannot say that 1 knocked him out in one round, but certainly I knocked him out in two. On one point my knowledge of law was better than his, since he, admitted that he was not acquainted with the laws governing criminal appeals in the other States; he only knew that of his own. It was my citation of the law in the different States of the Commonwealth - which I shall briefly lay before the Senate - which knocked him out. His primary objection was, I am sorry to say that, in his opinion, we did not want any alteration or amendment of the law in New South Wales. He entirely overlooked the fact that I had not brought in a Bill to amend the law of New South Wales, but to provide a more efficient form of appeal for the whole of the States constituting the Commonwealth. I saidjust now that there was only one law authority in Australia that had questioned’ the Bill. But I have here an extract from the Australian Star, an evening newspaper published in Sydney, in which I find it reported that on the 13th of the present month, chatting to a Star reporter, Mr. Smith, K.C., M.P., said respecting this Criminal Appeals Bill -
I have not studied the measure very closely, but I agree with what Mr. Wade said with regard to the Bill.
For a gentleman to say that he has not studied the matter closely, but at the same time to indicate to a newspaper reporter that he approves of the opinion of an AttorneyGeneral who has been knocked out in the public press by an unhappy layman - or a happy one - is so remarkable that I do not think that I need trouble the Senate any further with Mr. Bruce Smith and his views. At any rate, I stand in this peculiar position : The representatives of New South Wales are very often accused of being unable to see anything good except in New South Wales. But here am I bumping up against two K.C. ‘s from my own State, and rather enjoying the encounter. Therefore, it cannot be said that I am following the beaten track which New South Wales representatives are alleged to pursue so industriously.
Where any question of law arises on the trial of any person, or is submitted before sentence passed on him, the Court shall, on the application of his counsel then made, and may, in its discretion, without any application, reserve every such question for the consideration of the Judges of the Supreme Court.
Upon reserving any such question the Court shall either commit the person to prison or take his recognizance, with one or more surety or sureties, to appear at such time and place as the Supreme Court may direct, and receive judgment, or, if judgment has been given, that he will render himself in execution.
That is practically the same provision as my Bill contains with reference to appeal against a sentence.
Now, it will be seen that the law of New South Wales provides fully for appeals on questions of law. The Judge has to reserve anyquestion of law that is raised at the trial. But I beg that honorable senators will note the great difference between a point of law taken at a trial and the provisions regarding appeals that we are con sidering. The Bill provides that a point may be taken at any time within fourteen days after the trial, just as a somewhat similar limit of time is allowed in the different States for lodging appeals in civil cases. And let me put this argument strongly forward : that there may be good points of law that are never taken during a trial - in the hurry-scurry of the proceedings. There are plenty of points of law that might be taken afterwards that are never taken at the hearing, because, as in a civil suit,counsel and solicitors are rarely prepared to take off-hand all the grounds which could be taken for granting a new trial. I have had enough experience of proceedings, both in common law and equity, to know that in respect of points of law when applying for a new trial, there is involved the most serious consideration and prolonged consultation and conference. But in criminal cases, all this has to be done on the spur of the moment, with no opportunity for consideration or for doing more than giving verbal notice. I do not consider that it is more desirable to afford abundant opportunities for consideration and deliberation in a civil suit than in a criminal case. A criminal case, involving sometimes a man’s life, at other times his liberty, and at all times his reputation and that of his family, is of vastly more consequence than any suit for the recovery of money. however great the sum. It is not only the individual who suffers, it is not only the accused person that I am pleading for; I am pleading for his wife and children, and his descendants all through the ages, that their father or grandfather shall not have borne a criminal record when he was an honest man suffering a wrong rather than justice at the hands of a Court, however well intended the proceedings may have been. I affirm, without the possibility of contradiction, that errors in the civil administration of law are events at every Court in Australia every day it sits. Is it possible that there shall be infallibility in criminal proceedings and fallibility in civil - fallibility over a ^70 note and infallibility over a man’s life and reputation, and the good fame of his family and friends? Section 470 of the New South Wales Act provides -
The Judge by whom any question of law is reserved under the provisions of this Act shall, as soon as practicable, state a case setting forth the same, with the facts and circumstances out of which such question arose, and shall transmit such case to the Judges of the Supreme Court, who shall determine the question, and may affirm, amend, or reverse the judgment given, or avoid or arrest the same, or may order an entry to be made on the record that the person convicted ought not to have been convicted, or may make such other order as justice requires.
This Bill does not go any further than that. It is an obligation placed upon the Judge to do these things. The law in New South Wales is far more liberal than that of any one of the other States, although I take great exception to the section covering the question of appeals on fact.
Whenever, after the conviction of a prisoner, any doubt or question arises as to his guilt, or .any mitigating circumstance in the case, or any portion of the evidence therein, the Governor -
Under the interpretation section, “ Governor,” except in respect of the exercise of the pardoning power, means “ The Governor with the advice of the Executive Council.” In this case, therefore, “ Governor “ means the Executive Council - on the petition of the prisoner, ot some person on his behalf, representing such doubt or question, or n Judge of the Supreme Court of his own motion, may direct any Justice to, and such Justice may -
This is what I call the comic opera aspect of the affair. In the interpretation section, “Justice” means a justice of the peace, practically the common or garden variety of J. P. to be found at every street corner in every important city or town in the Commonwealth. Indeed, it has been said that in one State, which shall be nameless, it will be difficult shortly to find an adult member of the community who does not belong to the noble ranks of the Great Unpaid - summon and examine on oath all persons likely to give material information on the matter suggested.
Any …. difficulty in point of law shall ‘have arisen, it shall be lawful for such Court in its discretion - There is no discretion in the New South Wales Court, or, as I shall show, in
Queensland. The point of law raised must be taken, but in Victoria it is in the discretion of the Court - to reserve such question of law for the consideration and determination of the Judges of the Supreme Court.
As the Statute is printed it contains some interesting and useful notes. One of them is as follows -
A question of law cannot be reserved or case stated by a judge unless the question arose “ on the trial.”
That is precisely what I was speaking of just now, when I urged that the provision-‘ in this Bill, granting fourteen days during which appeals may be lodged, is much more advantageous in the interests of jus:tice than having to take a point haphazard dm ing the progress of a hotly contested case. There is this further note -
The Court will not go outside the case stated.
I suppose that is the rule in every instanceSection 482 of the Victorian Act provides -
. . and the said Judges shall have power to hear and finally determine the said question; or questions.
That, by the way, meets the objectionraised, I think, by Senator Dobson the other night, and certainly raised by Mr. Wade in the press, as towhether it was possible for the Bill before the Senate to limit the hearing of appeals to the High Court and prevent an appeal to the Privv Council. Apparently the Victorian Act makes exactly the same provision - that the Judges “ shall finally determine the said question or questions.”’ Although I might perhaps with more decorum make reflections upon the laws of my own State, the Victorian Act seems to have the same element of comic opera about it. This is section 485 of the Victorian Act -
When a Judge refuses to reserve a questionof law the prisoner may apply to the Full’ Court for a rule or order nisi calling upon such Judge, and also upon the Attorney-General, to show cause why such question should not be reserved for the opinion of the Full Court
When I say that there is an. air of comic opera about that provision. I am really not over-stating the case. I ask honorable senators to imagine some unfortunate man - who has just received sentence of a fewmonths or a few years, and is friendless by reason of his conviction, even though hehad friends before - the bar of whose conviction places him outside the category of an ordinary member of the community, and say what possible hope, unless he be a rich criminal, he can have of appealing successfully to the Full Court for an order- nisi directed against the Judge who tried him, and the Attorney-General who prosecuted him, so that they shall be compelled to state a question of law for the consideration of the Full Court? I should say that it is extremely unlikely that the records of the Victorian Courts will show that, except in the possible case of a wealthy prisoner, such an application was ever made, or if made was ever successful. Under the New South Wales and Victorian laws alike a prisoner in respect of whom there is a criminal appeal may be admitted to bail. A similar provision is to be found in some of the other States laws. This disposes very completely of Mr. Attorney-General Wade’s objection that if this Bill were to become law the gaols would be crowded with people appealing against their sentences. I do not know how Attorney-General Wade managed to discover that if every prisoner appealed, the gaols would be more crowded than if every one convicted did not appeal. If that is a specimen of Attorney-General logic, commend me to some one who has a better idea of arithmetic.
The Court before which a prisoner is tried must, on the application of counsel for the accused person made before verdict, and may in its discretion, either before or after judg-ment, without such application reserve any question of law which arises on- the trial for the consideration of the Supreme Court.
There honorable senators will see the application is to a Judge to reserve points of law. There is a further provision that where a question of law is reserved the person convicted may be committed to prison or be granted bail. That, of course, is a paraphrase, and not the actual phraseology of the section. In the three eastern States prisoners in respect of whom any points of law are reserved may be granted bail. Section 669 of the Queensland Code contains this provision - ‘
Any question so reserved is to be heard and determined by the Full Court at Brisbane.
The Full Court is not to go rambling over the whole of the great State of Queensland. All appeals of the kind are to be heard in the Supreme Court at Brisbane. I take it that it would be quite possible to make somewhat analogous arrangements under which criminal appeals to the High Court would not involve any necessity for that tribunal itinerating all over Australia to hear such appeals any more than the Supreme Court of Queensland is required to go beyond Brisbane for a similar purpose. These are the various methods adopted for dealing with appeals on questions of law - there is no appeal in Queensland on a question of fact, even from an ordinary common or garden variety J. P. The Court may affirm judgment ; set aside verdict and judgment, and order a verdict of not guilty or other appropriate judgment to be entered ; arrest the judgment ; amend the judgment ; make such order as justice may require. I take it that the law of Queensland dealing with appeals on questions of law is as! complete as any one desires. But if does not touch, any more than does the law of Victoria, appeals in respect of fact, or mixed law and fact; nor does the law in any one of the States in the Commonwealth provide for appeals against sentence as the law of England now does. I will refer now to the Criminal Code Amendment Act 1906 of Western Australia. I may say, in passing, that our Western Australian friends have a most prolific faculty for amending their criminal law. I forget how many Acts I had to study to arrive at the last, and leave out nothing. They appear to have a whimsical way of amending their criminal code every twelve months, and sometimes at shorter periods. This only shows how extremely progressive the Western Australian people are. They have very largely copied Queensland in their latest enactment on this subject. I find that, according to section 13 of the Act to which I have referred, it is .provided that - …
When any person is indicted for any indictable offence, the Court before which he is tried may, in its discretion, either on. application made on behalf of the accused person or without such application, and either before or after judgment, reserve for the consideration of the Supreme Court any question of law which arises on the trial. “ After judgment “ is a little further ahead than the law in some of the other States, but even then the action must be taken before sentence. I find that in section 668 of the Act referred to - and it is somewhat of a jump from section 13 to section 668 - it is provided that -
Any question so reserved is to be heard and determined by the Full Court at Perth.
Again, these appeals, it will be seen, must be heard at the head-quarters of the Court, and the administration of such a measure as this is. not open to the objection which Attorney-General Wade, of New South Wales, has urged against this Bill, namely, that the Court would, of necessity, have to r,un all over the Commonwealth, to hear appeals. The rest of the section to which
I have referred is a copy of the Queensland section 669. It is strange that the Western Australian section dealing with the same matter should be section 668.
If the Court before which any person is tried for an indictable offence shall refuse any application for the reservation of a question of law the accused person may after the conclusion of the trial appeal to the Full Court.
That is very much the same as the provision in force in Victoria. In the interest of brevity, honorable senators will probably be glad to hear that I am able to group together the laws dealing with this subject in South Australia and Tasmania. They seem to be uncommonly alike, and uncommonly ancient. The Criminal Law Consolidation Act of South Australia is no less than thirty years old, and is dated 1876. The Tasmanian Act is only a little less ancient, and is dated 1881. Leaving out the words which are not necessary to a simple understanding of the law, section 397 of the South Australian Act provides that-
If upon the trial of any person . . . any question of difficulty in point of law shall have arisen … it shall be lawful for such Judge Court or Justices in its discretion to reserve such question of law for the consideration and determination of the Judges of the Supreme Court.
In these cases also the accused may be committed to prison or be granted bail pending the determination of the question of law. Section 7 of the Criminal Law Procedure Act of Tasmania provides -
If on the trial of any person convicted of any indictable offence in or before any Court of Criminal Jurisdiction any question of difficulty in point of law shall have arisen, it shall be lawful for such Court in its discretion to reserve such question of law for the consideration and determination of the Judges of the Supreme Court.
And again, pending the determination of the question, the convicted person may be committed to gaol or be granted bail. Once again down goes Attorney-General- Wade’s argument that to admit people to bail would crowd the gaols. But I have said enough about that gentleman, and I ant sorry that I have wasted so much time upon him. I hope it will not be considered that I have any animus in the matter. I know Mr. Wade verv slightly, because he came into politics in the State of New South Wales after I ceased to be at member of the State Parliament. I know comparatively little of him, but I believe he is a very hard-working man. I have referred to him, not because I had a bit of a newspaper skirmish with him, but because, with the exception of the remarkable deliverance by Mr. Bruce Smith, I know, of no other lawyer in the Commonwealth who has taken exception to the provisions of a Bill which has had the support of the great lawyers of the mother country, and which is happily now the law of England, with the support and assent of a IT the great parties in the British Parliament. The Bill was originally introduced by the Conservative Government, then taken up by the Liberal Government, and supported’ by the great Labour Party in the House of Commons.
There is no real argument adducible against this reform. If it is said that to review a jury’s verdict and a Judge’s sentence in a criminal case is to disturb public confidence in the proceedings of the Courts, the plea is defeated by the fact that local judgments are reversed almost every day. The Police Magistrate’s de cision is condemned by a District Court Judge, who may be censured by a Supreme Court Judge, who again may be pronounced against by the Full Court, of which the decision may be set aside by the High Court in its turn.
But what is wanted is an open Court where all evidence may be admissible, and where the decision and the reasons for it shall be public.
But what is wanted is an open Court, where all evidence is admissible, and where the decision and the reasons for it shall be public. The criminal law will remain defective, both in England and Australia, until this rational
Te form is granted.
Sir, it has been granted in the United Kingdom. . I have not a great deal more to say, but I hope that honorable senators will bear with me while I read a few extracts. The first extract that I desire to read is from a speech of the Lord Chancellor - Lord Loreburn - which is reported 5n volume 157 of the Parliamentary Debates at page 1092 -
There is an ingrained disposition on the part of members of the legal profession to resist reforms affecting the law. I do not mean that their motives are anything but the best.
Nor do I -
I will recall one instance. Lord Campbell, -who was a great authority, resisted to the last the proposal some fifty years ago which allowed parties in civil actions to give evidence.
Why, sir, standing here to-day, it seems an incredible thing that suits were ever tried under .such conditions that the parties to them were not allowed to give evidence. Here we find Lord Campbell saying that to allow a defendant and a plaintiff to tell their own tale in a law suit would be to destroy the administration of the law. The Lord Chancellor goes on to say -
He declared that it would be the ruin of the administration of justice, but four or five years afterwards you will find in his note-book the confession that he had been entirely wrong, and that the reform had not only proved useful but had been absolutely necessary for the administration of justice.’
I suppose that Lord Campbell was nearly as eminent an authority as is Mr. AttorneyGeneral Wade, of New South Wales.
Therefore, an authority at least equal to Mr. Wade, admitted, after four or five years’ experience of that extraordinary innovation, that he had been wrong, and that the change had been absolutely necessary for the administration of justice. Is there any member of the Senate, or any other person, who would not fear to be locked up as a lunatic if he dared to say that it was desirable to prevent plaintiffs and defendants from giving evidence in civil cases? If such a person could be found outside a lunatic asylum in Australia, it would be strong evidence of the necessity for amending the lunacy law in the State in which he was found. Referring to a Bill identical with the Bill before the Senate, in another part of his speech the Lord Chancellor used these words -
It is said that the Bill is a Bill for the rich and not for the poor.
I do not know what poor cackling politician could have set up so silly a cry, because the very provisions of the Bill showed the con- trary, as the Lord Chancellor pointed out -
If every prisoner is to be entitled to an appeal, to have the report of the Judge, and the evidence taken at his trial, sent forward to the Court of Criminal- Appeal for consideration, how can it be said that it is an appeal for the rich and not for the poor?
– The honorable senator has suggested a happy explanation.
– Does the honorable senator call that a “ happy “ explanation?
– Well, when one finds a silly statement one looks for an explanation of it. Whether the explanation is happy or not, it has had the effect of raising a simmer of laughter which will not do any harm. A little laughter in considering a Bill of this sort is certainly not more out of place than is the customary judicial pun during a murder case; and I do not think that I ever read the report of a murder trial in which the Judge did not make a joke. Not only is the appeal open to all who may be affected, but there is a special provision that it will be the duty of an officer of the Court - who would be the Registrar, I think - to bring to the notice of the Court the cases of those who are not able to provide legal advice for themselves, and it will be the duty of the Court to see that they are provided at the public expense with counsel and solicitors,
After such provision is made, it is preposterous^ - worse, it is vicious - to set up the allegation that this is a Bill for the benefit of certain classes of the community, and not for all. I would not disgrace myself by bringing in a Bill that was, in any sense, a class measure. I have never brought in or supported any legislation designed to advantage one class only of the community; and I never will. My duty here is to do what I can on behalf of all classes. The Lord Chancellor went on -
I think some proposal of this kind is necessary, because of the fallibility of Judges. There is an appeal, substantially, in all civil cases, both on the law and on the fact ; and it is a significant thing that miscarriage of justice has been not infrequently proved in civil causes, even when they are tried before special juries and eminent Judges. I agree that the administration of the criminal law in this country is deservedly lauded throughout the world. What T desire is to make it as perfect as it can possibly be. Is it to be said that Judges and juries who are fallible in civil cases are infallible in criminal cases?
I find that, unintentionally, in an early part of my speech I used the words of the Lord Chancellor as my own. In so far as it was an unintentional plagiarism, I apologize. I was not aware of it, but do not regret it now that I have an opportunity of putting myself right.
– “ Great minds run in grooves.”
– That will account for the fact that the honorable senator and myself so frequently act in unison. The Lord Chancellor also used these words -
Surely, if there is a liability to error in one Court there is a liability to error in the other Court also ; and, as there is nothing more dreadful than an innocent person convicted and sent to gaol, an effort should be made to have some sort of appeal in criminal as well as in civil cases.
He said also, on page 1094 -
I hope I am not an unreasonable person, but I did think, and I still think, that there ought to be as free a right of appeal in criminal cases as there is in civil cases.’
In support of the same view, I will make a quotation from the speech of a great lawyer who was a member of a Conservative Administration. I have been quoting, it will be recollected, from the speech of the Lord Chancellor in a Liberal Administration ; let us now hear what that eminent lawyer Lord James of Hereford says -
T would ask your Lordships’ permission tn say a few words, a few very sincere words, in support of this Bill. Few things in my political life have given me greater pleasure than the prospect at last of seeing a real Court of Criminal Appeal in this country. As AttorneyGeneral, and as a private member, I havedrawn three of these Bills in different directions. Fortune has been against me ; but now, under the circumstances that exist in the other House of Parliament, it is to be hoped that, with your Lordships’ sanction, this Bill will not only be considered, but will pass into law. Let me ask what ought to be the chief aim of our criminal law and its administration? It is, nodoubt, to protect the community and to punishthe wrongdoer. But 1 claim a higher duty than either of those - namely, that the law should take care that no innocent person suffers punishment. Let us see what safeguards we have in this country that innocent persons shall not unduly suffer. My noble and learned friend, Lord Halsbury, speaks, I think, quite correctly of the anxiety of our Judges to do their duty and of the juries to find just verdicts; but they are not infallible, and those who have been in the Home Office know full well that many cases have arisen in which innocent persons have been convicted, and it must be obvious that there are a great number of such cases which are never known. We have a right, on behalf of our national character, to see that all is done under our machinery to secure that justice is administered. We stand unique among civilized nations in that we will accept error without attempting to remedy it. We have no Court of Criminal Appeal. I think in every other civilized nation in Europe, and certainly in America, there are these Courts of Appeal.
Here let me point out that there is this imrnense difference between the Bill now under consideration and the American Courts of Appeal in criminal cases. In America there is no limitation to appeal, so long as a man can pay for further proceedings, but, following the law which now exists in respect of appeals on points of law in some of the Australian States, this Bill provides that there shall be only one appeal - that the appeal to the High Court shall be final. So that it is perfectly absurd and incorrect to allege that this Bill will allow of the introduction of the system of everlasting appeals which obtains in America, and certainly which, in many cases, are of a serious and scandalous character - from our stand-point, anyhow. Lord James of Hereford also adds words which I desire to quote -
I believe your Lordships are not aware of the number of innocent people who are convicted in this country. I know - for I was in consultation with* him on the subject - that SirWilliam Harcourt made most diligent and conscientious inquiry into this question, and was convinced, after he had discharged during the first three years that he was Home Secretary, twelve innocent men whose cases had come accidentally before him, that thev represented only a few of the cases of innocent men who hart been convicted….. I do not know that
I have ever spoken in other than terms of the highest appreciation of the Judges of this country, but I must say they never have been legal reformers. They are more disposed to oppose reform than to support it. Rut there is an authority to be found. Very conspicuous judges have been liberal and generous enough to see the necessity of such a measure as is now proposed. In 1889, a distinguished member of this House, Lord Fitzgerald, who must be remembered by many of your Lordships, appealed to my noble and learned friend, who was then Lord Chancellor, to institute a Court of Criminal Appeal, and he based his arguments upon the report of the Committee of 1S78, consisting of Lord Blackburn, Mr. Justice Lush, and two other experienced Judges. If my noble and learned friends will turn to the last sections of their report he will find that the four Judges who sat on that Committee recommended an appeal upon questions of fact - an appeal against the verdict of the jury - with the qualification that it should be with the leave of the Court or Judge. That is a distinction, but still the infallibility of juries’ verdicts was thrown over by these four Judges. Lord Fitzgerald, in an eloquent speech, appealed to my noble .and learned friend on the subject, but his appeal was in vain. The late Lord F.sher, who had been accidentally absent when Lord Fitzgerald was speaking, wrote a letter immediately, which appeared in the Times, and his view was, “ The appeal should be as large as possible on law, facts, and sentence. The Judges should be bound, in case of conviction and sentence of death, at any inconvenience to business, to attend in a c6urt within seven days after any such appeal.”
Lord’ James proceeds -
My noble and learned friend has described a jury as a constitutional tribunal. So it is. But my noble and learned friend does not hesitate to let a Court over-rule the finding of a jury in every civil case in this country, and if thev think, right they are entitled to enter a verdict of fact against the finding of the jury. Yet, in the case where men are suffering all the torments of a long conviction and all the torture that men can suffer in this world, my noble and learned friend will do nothing for them, but wishes things to be left as they are. We may approve of the exercise of conservatism to a certain extent, but surely we cannot steel our hearts against the demand that justice shall be done to all innocent men who are charged with crimes in this country.
I should almost like to conclude my speech there, and ask to be allowed to adopt those eloquent and soul-stirring words from a great law lord as an appropriate finish in explaining why I apply my not prentice hand to an attempt at law reform. For, thank God, I have in my own State been the author of several Acts involving very large law reforms. The words I have quoted are words with which any man might be proud to conclude a speechBut there is a further quotation that I feel I had better give from the speech of another member of the House of Lords. That Chamber is supposed to be the most conservative in the world, and no doubt it is in some respects. But, at least, it has shown a willingness “occasionally to travel with the times, to progress with public opinion, and to lend a righting hand to human wrongs. Here we have Lord Russell speaking -
My Lords, when I presided rather more than a year .ago over a large public meeting at which a resolution was passed calling for the establishment of a Court of Criminal Appeal, I confess that I did not expect that within so short a time either Government would have brought forward so wide and comprehensive a Bill as the one which has been introduced today by the Lord Chancellor. I confess that I share a good many of the apprehensions which had been expressed by Lord Halsbury in regard to the question of criminal appeals. It is with a good deal of reluctance - reluctance which, I think, is somewhat instinctive when one regards the present criminal system - that I have been slowly driven to the conclusion which it would appear His Majesty’s Government have now arrived at, that some Court of Criminal Appeal, I will not say for a moment how extensive, is necessary, and that the present system of revision of sentences by the Home Secretary, exercising his prerogative of mercy, does not give that full measure of justice and that full protection to innocent prisoners that is required by the law.
Those final words absolutely typify my views. While there is in some of the States of the Commonwealth sufficient provision in respect of criminal appeals on points of law, only in New South Wales is any provision whatever made for an appeal on facts. There is none in any one of the States on the question of mixed law and fact, and none against sentence. Every honorable senator who heard the actual quotation from the New South Wales Act must feel that my strictures on the provision for appeals on questions of fact were reasonably correct, and that there is rather an element of comic opera than of dignified judicial procedure about the ‘extraordinary proposition to hand over to an ordinary justice of the peace the duties that have failed of success at the hands of a Supreme Court Judge. I hope that, before the final determination of the Chamber is arrived at in respect of this measure, honorable senators will make themselves sufficiently acquainted with its provisions, if they have not already done so. Although it contains forty-seven clauses, it is at least five clauses shorter than the English Act. I hope they will be in a position to criticise it with more propriety and intelligence than it has met with at the ‘hands of the one solitary critic in New South Wales to whom I have already made reference. So far as I know, that is the only criticism that has been publicly made by any one. Although I do not read all the papers of the Commonwealth, I subscribe to one of those interesting clipping agencies, which provides me with clippings of the papers from all parts of Australia. I have not seen one objection from any lawyer or any one else, except one, or, possibly, two leader-writers in country papers who thought that the .measure ought not to be in the hands of a layman. Perhaps I ought to apologize to persons who do not know any better, that 1, a layman,. should have undertaken this measure.” But, on the other hand, I should like those silly critics to turn to the most valuable Act in Australia - for years the law of England - dealing with real estate. I refer to the great Torrens Act, passed at the instance of Colonel Torrens, a layman of South Australia. That is the enduring work of a layman in the matter of law reform. I take it that the question of dealing with titles to property is much more complex for a layman to handle than it is fdr me faithfully to copy the provisions of a Bill before the British Parliament, now happily the law of Great Britain, and to submit them to this Senate with great diffidence as to my ability to handle the matter, but with great willingness and a great desire to give a helping hand in perfecting the administration of our criminal laws, and to do my duty, so far as I am” able, to the people of the great land ‘ that we come here to serve. I thank the Senate that, both tonight and on the previous occasion when I spoke, I should have been permitted to place my views in, I hope, a reasonably connected form before it. I beg that this Bill may to-night, or at some future time, receive a consideration which will end in its appearance, or the appearance of its successor, or one of its successors, upon the statute-book of the country we seek to serve.
.- I .take a great interest in this Bill because it seems to me that without the right of appeal in criminal matters our judicial system cannot be considered perfect. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Senator Neild for introducing it, and for so amply and clearly placing before us so many rea sons why it should become law. There can be no doubt about the necessity and advisability of having an appeal on all questions of law. The knotty point is how far we should go with regard to appeals on ques- tions of fact. I think we ought to go to that length, but I should like to see the appeal on questions of fact safeguarded in some respects which I shall point out. Senator Neild need not have made any apology for the course he has taken, because in the debate in the House of Commons, a report of which I had the privilege of reading in the Times, one honorable member said that Great Britain was the only nation in the world that had not a criminal appeal Court. Although that is true in one respect, it is only a half truth, because the King has all along possessed the prerogative of mercy, and the successive Home Secretaries in England have undertaken, during the last two or three hundred years, the duties of an appeal Court, but a very imperfect appeal Court it was. The Governor, or Governor-General, in Council, in Australia, has the prerogative of mercy vested in him, and the AttorneyGeneral’s Department itself exercises in some way the duties which a Court of Appeal will exercise in future if the Bill is passed. But the mode of settling appeals, or doing justice to an unfortunate prisoner who is wrongfully convicted, followed by the Home Office, although everybody says that it has done uncommonly well, shows that it is a very imperfect tribunal, as will be seen by the half-dozen instances I shall give. In the first place a Court such as Senator Neild wishes to establish can quash a conviction, and give a judicial finding. Therefore, if a man is proved to have been unlawfully convicted the proceedings are quashed, and there is an end of the matter. But if the Home Office or AttorneyGeneral were dealing with it, all that could be done would be to pardon the offender as if he were really guilty, and the conviction would remain. In another respect the Court of Appeal would hear both sides, whereas all the Attorney-General could do would be to receive the prisoner’s petition. He would then examine the case against the prisoner, take evidence from witnesses privately, subject himself to hostile criticism, and although he might be working in the interests of the prisoner, the prisoner would think he was working up the case against him, and not doing justice to the petition sent in. In the third place the Court’s decision would be absolutely final, but if the Home Secretary in England, or the Attorney-General here, were to review or alter any sentence, reduce a term of imprisonment, or let a man go free who had been found guilty by a jury of his countrymen, he might be subjected to an agitation ‘by the public or the press. It would bring the administration of justice into contempt, if the Attorney-General was in the habit of making mistakes, or interfering with sentences -in a way of which the press or the public did not approve. In the fourth case, the Court would state its reasons, and would probably be able to justify the verdict it gave .on the appeal, but the Attorney-General does nothing of the sort. He either .lets the man stop in prison, and refuses his petition, or lets him go free, and very often does not state his reasons. In the fifth case the Court might find it necessary to require further evidence. It might desire some witnesses to come before it, and to cross-examine them in the. proper manner, before it could come to a decision as to whether a criminal conviction should stand or not. The Attorney-General can do none of these things, and, therefore, that practice is a most imperfect method of dealing with criminal appeals. This is by no means a new proposal. Thirty of such Bills have been before the British Parliament, and in twenty-five of them power was given to the Court to order a new trial. In the great bulk of the Bills introduced in the British Parliament, although there has bee’n great objection to an unlimited appeal on questions of fact, a kind of limited appeal in that direction has been given. I regret that we seem at present to be engaged in so much legislation as to which the States may offer some hostile criticism. I thoroughly believe in the Bill and its principle. Notwithstanding Mr. Attorney-General Wade’s opinion to the contrary, I believe that most of the States will regard it favorably. But is it not a measure which might very well have been sent by Senator Neild a. few weeks ago, when he had it in draft, to the Attorney-General of each of theStates with a request for comments upon it?
– He has got the comment of one Attorney-General in advance.
– Was not Mr. Wade’s criticism made after he saw the 13 ill?
– I am not quite sure- whether he did see it from the way in which he spoke. He certainly could not have read it. He might have seen the outside.
– Some of the States Governments, and some of their law officers may have their own peculiar views about the matter. They may not be quite in accord with the Bill. It is not that I desire that they should tell us whether we should pass the Bill or not. My suggestion is that we might have the views of the law officers of the Crown in each State about it. They might be able to improve it. They might suggest provisions which ought to be in the Bill, and which the English Act does not contain, because the conditions of Australian life are not the same as those of Britain.
– They are not precluded from making suggestions now.
– My honorable friends will bear in mind that at the last Premiers’ Conference the suggestion was made that the States Governments should appoint an officer whose .sole duty it should be to report to them upon our legislation, in so far as it would infringe States rights.
– And the man they were going to get was not a lawyer.
– It struck me that there was something in the proposal, but it is not what I should have done. I should not, in such a case, retain a man to devote the whole of his time to the work and give him a salary of .,£300 a year. I should give twenty guineas or thirty guineas to a leading barrister to. advise on every case in which it was thought that an infringement of States rights was proposed.
– The honorable senator will permit me to point out that this Bill was read a first time on the 10th July, and was circulated shortly afterwards, so that the States officials have -had plenty of opportunity to consider it.
– I admit that the second-reading debate has been delayed through no fault of Senator Neild, and the States Governments have had ample time to make their comments upon the measure if they had desired to do so. But when we propose to give the States* something for which they have not asked, and which as in this case - according to Attorney-General Wade, of New South Wales - would be disadvantageous to them; it would be wise to do our friends the States Governments the courtesy of sending copies of such Bills to them for their opinion.
– Has that ever been done?
– I do not know, but in my opinion it might be done with advantage.
– Surely they know what is occurring in the Federal Parliament. It is alleged that they took an interest in the Quarantine Bill.
– I might have been accused of impertinence if I had addressed them.
– I am giving my opinion on the subject for what it is worth. No matter how perfect our judicial system may be, innocent men are, unfortunately, convicted and sentenced, and in some cases they have undergone their sentence, and some men have even been hanged, who were perfectly innocent. A number of cases of the kind were referred to in the debate on the Bill in the Imperial Parliament. I find that in 1867, a man named Higgins was hanged, and it was afterwards proved that he was absolutely innocent. In 1877, there was the Leicester case, in connexion with which three men were hanged, and it was afterwards proved beyond a doubt that two of them were innocent. In 1865, there was the celebrated Italian case, which some honorable senators may recollect, in which a man named Pelizzone was found guilty of the murder of a man named Harrington. Baron Martin, one of the most excellent Judges, who sat on the bench, said that he had never heard more direct and conclusive evidence than that which was adduced against the Italian, and he sentenced the man to death. The sentence was for some reason delayed, and in the meantime the man’s solicitor, who was very cute, and had some notion that the prisoner was innocent, set about making inquiries, and discovered that one of the witnesses against his client was guilty of some petty offence, and on prosecuting him for that offence the man confessed to the murder and the Italian was allowed to go free. I need hardly mention the celebrated Beck case. Mr. Beck was tried twice and convicted unanimously by the jury, and, after serving some years in prison, it was proved beyond a doubt that he was an absolutely innocent man. I believe that negotiations are now going on in which he is asking for compensation, and although the Home Office has offered him some £6,000 he has declined to accept that sum. May I suggest to Senator Neild that some provision might be included in the Bill giving the Full Court power to order compensation in circumstances in which they think it is deserved?
– Perhaps the honorable senator will permit me to remind him that the Judge who convicted Beck refused to reserve any law points, and that was plainly stated in the House of Lords.
– I believe that it was shown that if the Judge had admitted some evidence which he declined to admit, Beck’s innocence would have been proved. These cases all show the necessity for such a measure as that before the Senate. As the case of Beck is before us, and hereafter in Australia, by reason of some slip, men may be wrongfully convicted, honorable senators might consider whether some provision should not be made for compensation in the case of the conviction of an innocent man, and whether it would not be better that the High Court should assess the compensation in such a case than that it should be left to the Executive.
– There was another very important case of the kind referred to where a man was charged with injuring cattle.
– The honorable senator refers to the Edalji case.
– Quite so. I believe that such a provision as I have suggested would improve the Bill, and if it were decided that provision should be made for compensation, the matter should be left to the High Court rather than to persons who might be the political friends of the accused. I find that the great criminal lawyer, Sir Harry Poland, did not believe in this measure. He seems to have been an uncompromising opponent of it, but I do not find his opinion anywhere stated in the debates, whilst almost all the speeches reported of lawyers and laymen in the House of Commons and the House of Lords were in favour of the measure. I gather that there are one or two safeguards which it is thought might be introduced. Under clause 23 - and the Vice-President of the Executive Council might make a note of this - provision is made that a report shall be furnished to the High Court giving an account of the trial, and that notes of the evidence of the Judge presiding at it shall also be forwarded. Some of the members of the House of Commons, and particularly the legal members, thought that if a perfect Court of Appeal was to be provided to do ample justice, the notes of evidence in the Criminal Court should be taken by shorthand writers. That would necessitate the employment of a large number of shorthand writers to provide a full and accurate account of the whole of the proceedings at the trial. Whether that would be considered necessary here, I do not know. We manage to get on at new trials in civil cases without shorthand notes of the proceedings at the first trial. All our Judges take notes, and, in fact, set down a great deal of the evidence given at a trial, and their notes are always available. As we may have important criminal appeals on which a man’s life dr liberty may depend, it might be necessary, if we are to do ample justice, that we should have shorthand clerks attached to the Criminal Courts.
– As part of the staff?
– Would it lie the duty of the Commonwealth Parliament to insist on a detail of that kind ?
– It would not; and does not my honorable friend see that that is an additional reason why the AttorneyGeneral of each of the States should have an opportunity to look through the Bill with a view to ascertaining how it affects his State or his Department?. Clause 25 provides that -
The High Court may at any time - assign to an appellant a solicitor and counsel in any -appeal or proceedings preliminary or incidental to an appeal in which, in the opinion of the High Court, it appears desirable in the interests of justice that the appellant should have legal aid, and that he has not sufficient means to enable him to obtain that aid.
The criticism of the House of Commons on this provision was that, if in every case the prisoner is to run. no risk of having his sentence increased, or .any other form of additional punishment imposed ; if he is to have a solicitor and counsel assigned to him to conduct his defence whether he has a leg to stand on or not, he will certainly appeal-. The great majority of prisoners will take advantage of the law, and the High Court will be deluged with appeal business.
– The honorable senator will notice that the clause provides that the High Court “ may “ at any time assign to the accused person a solicitor and counsel.
– I admit that it is in the discretion of the High Court, but honorable senators must bear in mind that if the convicted person has any case for appeal at all he will point out to the High Court that he has spent all his money in defending himself unsuccessfully in the Court below, and there will probably not be one prisoner in a hundred who will be possessed of money sufficient to enable him to employ a barrister to conduct his appeal.
– I think we can leave the matter to the High Court.
– The objection is not to the merits of the Bill. It is only a matter of detail, and I admit that it is provided that the High Court can interpose. Although the Bill has been introduced at considerable length, and with great clearness, and there are many arguments in its favour, I cannot help thinking that with our High Court Judges, States Judges, Attorneys-General and Crown Law officers, we do not make the use we might of the skilled men who are available. In the old country this Bill was referred to- a Grand Committee, and some of those who discussed its provisions complained that that was hardly a competent Committee to .do justice to the details of the Bill. Some years ago a similar measure was considered by a Commission of Judges, presided over by Lord Coleridge, and that Commission suggested that the Home Office should have power to refer cases to Judges who could act and order a new trial. The matter was in England referred to the highest legal experts in the land, presided over by a Chief Justice of Common Pleas. We shall pass this Bill without knowing what our legal authorities think of it until it comes before them, and probably we shall then discover that it contains some blunders which any criminal lawyer or barrister of considerable practice might have pointed out to us. It is only in indictable offences that an appeal is to be allowed. I find that it was stated that ‘in England 85 per cent, of the trials for indictable offences ended in convictions. I make in this connexion another suggestion that where an offender elects to be dealt with summarily in a Police Court, instead of going to a higher Court, he should lose the proposed right of appeal. He should not be allowed to blow hot and cold. In order to prevent too many appeals or bogus appeals, where - the accused person knows that he has no chance, should there not be some provision, such as that which has been suggested by the critics of the measure, which would give the Court power to increase the sentence if it thought fit? I do not suppose that such a suggestion would find acceptance. Another suggestion is. that, while the appeal is proceeding, the sentence should not run on.
– It would not under the Bill.
– A man may get out on bail, or he may not. He may have to remain in prison all the time. The suggestion is made - in order that a man shall not be tempted to ask for an appeal when he knows that he has no chance of success - that whether he is, or is not a prisoner, the sentence should not run until after the appeal was heard.
– That is provided for in the Bill.
– Does the Bill provide for a case where a man is detained in prison ?
– I have made all the suggestions I can concerning the Bill, and I have very much pleasure in supporting its second reading.
– I do not intend to offer anything like opposition to the Bill ; but I anticipate that Senator Neild will have no objection to criticism from a lay as well as from a legal point of view. He need make no apology for undertaking this task, because very many of the best reforms in law have teen achieved by the efforts of laymen. Of course, in all those cases the laymen succeeded in enlisting the sympathy and support of a certain branch of lawyers, who happenedto agree with them.
– I understood the honorable senator to say last Thursday that all private business was a waste of time.
– The honorable senator must have been dreaming. What I said was that the way in which a certain section of the Senate used Thursday evening was a farce. There is always a danger in reasoning from the particular to the general. The necessity of establishing a Criminal Appeal Court has occupied the attention of the most eminent lawyers in Great Britain for the last twenty or thirty years. So far back as 1878, a Royal Commission) was appointed to investigate the reasons for founding such a Court in England. It is a singular fact that it has taken over thirty years for the two Houses of the Imperial Parliament to enact the principle. Very probably the movement would not have succeeded so quickly except for the awful miscarriage of justice in the Beck case. No doubt that was almost a scandal in the administration of the criminal law. When the evidence was sifted outside the Court, the man was proved beyond a shadow of doubt to be “innocent. When it was found that an innocent man had been convicted partly through defects in forms of law, but mainly through defects in the administration of justice by the Judge, public opinion insisted that the question of reforming the law should be carefully considered both by the legal profession and by both Houses of the Imperial Parliament. I am not quite certain as to whether the circumstances in Great Britain and Australia are analogous, and I am likely to join closer issue with Senator Neild, when be goes so far as to propose the establishment of a revising chamber on questions of fact. I ask the honorable senator to consider whether, after the second reading has been carried, it will not be wise for him to allow the Bill to be referred to a Select Committee. If it is regular, there are also constitutional grounds why that course should be taken. I have not gone into the details of the Bill, but from a glance at its provisions I assume that in criminal appeals practically the High Court will be a Court of concurrent jurisdiction with the Privy Council. At the present time, under certain conditions, which are prescribed in the State law, a prisoner has the right of applying to the Privy Council for leave to appeal to that Court from the State Court. Under the Bill, the High Court will only be aCourt of concurrent jurisdiction with the Privy Council. Two courses of procedure will be open to a prisoner : either he can apply to the Privy Council for special leave to appeal to it, or he can appeal to the High Court.
– How does that fit in with the Statutes I quoted to-night, providing that an appeal to the Full Court of a State shall be final?
– When the word “ final ‘ ‘ is used in such Statutes, it does not deprive the King of the right to exercise his prerogative of allowing an appeal to the Privy Council.
– Has the honorable senator any recollection of the criminal appeals which have gone to the Privy Council from Australia? I know of an appeal from New South Wales in 1866, but
I cannot remember any appeal since that time.
– I remember an appeal from the Full Court of New South Wales in Makin’s case. A number of infants had been done away with by the head of a baby-farming institution in a suburb of Sydney. Makin was tried for murder, and convicted; an appeal was carried to the Full Court of the State, and the conviction was sustained. The Privy Council, however, granted leave to Makin to appeal, because a most important question - whether certain evidence was legally admissible - was involved.- That point in evidence had not been decided fully either by the Full Court of the State, or by the Privy Council, and the latter Court laid down a most important point in the law of evidence. I ask Senator Neild as well as the Government to consider how far it is advisable to go. .So far as a large portion of the criminal jurisdiction of the States Courts is concerned, I am afraid that at the present time we have not the constitutional right to make ‘ the High Court a final Court of appeal in criminal matters, and the question arises whether, under the circumstances, it will not be better to secure that right in a constitutional way. Otherwise, there will be two concurrent Courts of criminal appeal, and, notwithstanding the fact that on appeal the High Court may give its decision in a certain case, that will not take away the right of a criminal to ask the Privy Council for leave to appeal to it.
– That is a difficulty which arises from the interpretation of the Constitution.
– From my honorable friend’s argument, it appears to me that we cannot limit the appeal to the Privy Council, but with great diffidence I suggest that we can make an appeal to the High Court a condition precedent to going to the Privy Council.
– I do not think it is possible under this or any other Bill to take away from a prisoner the right to ask the Privy Council for special leave .to appeal to it. It must be evident to every one that the Bill, if enacted, will multiply the appeals in criminal cases, and that very often, the question will arise whether an appeal is advisable. I am sure that every honorable senator strongly sympathizes with Senator Neild in the humanitarian object which he has in view, and that, on that ground, a great deal of support will be given to him. But we have to be careful to guard our sympathies in some respect.?. So far as a criminal who has money iis concerned, the administration of the criminal law of the United States is an absolute disgrace. Where a case involves a grave investigation of facts, and also questions of law depending upon them, it is exceedingly difficult to get a conviction against a man of means. It took no less than twelve months to get a case against the Standard Oil Company brought before a Court of competent jurisdiction. An appeal is still in course of preparation. The devices which the company resorted to for the purpose of preventing the case from being taken into ‘ a Court were a scandal and a disgrace.
– I think that my honorable and learned friend heard me describe that state of affairs as a scandal.
– I am assuming the character, not of a hostile advocate, but of an ‘ advocatus diaboli. I shall trouble the Senate with an extract from art article published in the Nineteenth Century and After, written by Mr. Mead, one of the London Police Magistrates. The article was written in view of the scandal of the Beck case, and in reference to a petition to Parliament for the institution of a Court of Criminal Appeal.
– That author supports appeals except on questions of fact.
– He criticises the reasons for the establishment of a Court of Criminal Appeal, and shows the defects in the Bill that was then before the Imperial Parliament. Senator Neild has assured us that this Bill is identical with that measure.
– Except in a few minor details.
– I hope that the English Act will be studied by the Senate before this Bill is passed. It has probably received the Royal Assent by this time. Senator Neild will not consider that I am adverse if I- ask that we should wait until we can compare this Bill line by line with the English Act.
– The principal alteration made was in allowing fourteen days instead of ten for lodging an application for leave to appeal.
– A very slight alteration might appear to a layman to be of no significance, but looked at critically by a lawyer it might be very important. As Senator Neild gives as a reason for passing this Bill that it has received the sanction of the Imperial Parliament, including that of the most conservative legislative Chamber in the Empire, there is a strong reason why we should wait until we have the Act before us. Mr. Mead, the writer in the Nineteenth Century and After, points out how cases could be dealt with on reaching the. Court of Criminal Appeal. He alludes to the Beck case, and to the report of the Committee of Inquiry upon it. That report was to this effect : That there should be a reform of the law so as to secure a review by the Court of every mistake in law which could be reasonably supposed to have led to the miscarriage of justice.
There is at the present time no means of compelling a Judge to state a case if he declines to do so.
Now, if that is a correct statement of the law in England, as I presume it to be, there is a fundamental difference between the conditions of criminal appeal there and those which prevail in the Commonwealth.
– Oh, no. In South Australia and Tasmania the law governing criminal appeals is identical with the law in England. I read the sections.
– So far as I know, the law in Queensland, New South Wales, and certainly in Western Australia, is that once a Judge is asked to state a case he is bound to do so.
– There is no obligation either in Tasmania or in South Australia.
– Probably my honorable friend will argue that because of the defects of the law in some of the States we should make a code of criminal appeal . for the -whole Commonwealth. But my rejoinder is that the people in the respective States, who may be assumed to have the same sympathy with humane criminal administration that we ourselves have, can take steps to assimilate their law on the subject. I am sure that if the attention of the Parliaments of the States referred to was drawn to these defects, and certainly if a case of injustice was made out, the law would be altered.
– That argument subordinates Commonwealth to State law.
– So far as I am acquainted with the administration of the criminal law in my own State, I can hardly conceive of any mode of procedure which is so eminently fair to the criminal, nor can I conceive of any procedure under which it is so nearly impossible for an innocent man to be convicted. A person charged with an indictable offence is first tried in a Court of summary jurisdiction. In some cases he has the right to say whether he shall be dealt with summarily. In 90 per cent-, of cases the accused is sent up to one of the higher Courts. The case is gone into again before a jury. The whole of the questions of. fact are placed before the jury. If any question of law arises, the Judge is bound to make a note of it, and to refer it to the Full Court. The Full Court can review the case from evenpossible point of view. And there is this great advantage in that practice - that if a point of law arises before the Full Court, which has not been raised by the prisoner or his counsel in the Court below, the prisoner gets the benefit of it, if it is determined in his favour. Is there any mode of procedure that can be conceived that is fairer, and which eliminates all possible sources of error to a greater extent than that? The advocates of criminal appeal say that a jury is fallible, that a jury may make a mistake. Verv well ; but how is it proposed to get over that difficulty? I know of no better tribunal to judge questions of fact than a jury. One of our most eminent Judges, whose judgments are respected everywhere in Australia, once, in mv hearing, made the remark that he would deprive a Court of Judges of any power to deal with questions of fact, because, he said, a Judge’s legal training and his ordinary business are such as to unfit him in nine cases out of ten to deal with and determine questions of fact, especially in criminal law. I believe that to be the opinion of most persons.
– Far from it; in the majority of cases “parties prefer trial by Judges alone.
– It can easily be conceived that in civil cases a perverse jury might be got together, or one or two men on a jury might act together perversely. But it is not so in criminal cases, where the evidence is strictly sifted. Evidence that is admissible in civil cases is often inadmissible in criminal cases. Secondary evidence is not admitted.- That is one of the advantages affecting our criminal Courts, as compared with our civil Courts. The Judge must sift the evidence, and weigh the facts. The twelve men who as a rule sit on a jury are, in the majority of cases, men who, from their station in life, are fairly well able to judge of the facts. The chances are that in every case there will be one or two jurymen who have such sympathy, I will not say with crime, but with freedom, and with the position of the criminal - and such persons are naturally of a more or less obstinate turn of mind - that, until the evidence proves the charge right up to the hilt, they will not convict. If our system of trial by jury, making the jury the sole arbiters of questions of fact, is to be found fault with - of course, they are only fallible men, and it is a human institution - what tribunal is to be substituted for it that will not be liable to all its defects? I scarcely know of a case in the whole of the criminal jurisdiction of Australia of a Judge who did not possess a judicial or impartial mind. There was, perhaps, only one such, of whom I heard another Judge remark that he was unfitted by temper and by temperament to try a criminal. In the one case in which he did show a remarkable bias against the criminal, and where the conduct of the case was commented on throughout Australia, the whole public thinking that he was wrong and raising a howl against him, it turned out after all that he was right. Our Judges throughout Australia are remarkably able men, possessed of judicial and impartial minds. They are desirous only of giving the fullest and fairest play to the criminal; they go to considerable pains to sift evidence, throw out anything as to the admissibility of which there is any doubt at all, have the case argued very carefully if the prisoner is not defended, and, if he is, encourage counsel, as a rule in all cases, to raise every point.
– Does the honorable senator speak for all the Judges in Australia?
– I can only speak from my observation and experience in my own State. I have never been briefed to appear in New South Wales or Victoria. It is very difficult to conceive of anything more fair or impartial to the prisoner than the administration of the criminal law in Queensland. The suggestion in this case is that the High Court may afterwards refer the case back.
Will they refer it back to another jury ?
– Who then is to deal with the question of fact? I should like to hear a great deal more about that aspect. At this late hour I shall not read a number of other extracts which I had prepared. I shall give only the conclusions of Mr. Mead, the metropolitan magistrate, in his comments on the British Bill. He sums up in twelve suggestions which he thinks would be sufficient if embodied in the Constitution of a Court of Criminal Appeals. My object in quoting this is to show that we have nearly every one of them already in the various State Courts, and the two or three points that we havenot got we can get in our criminal jurisdiction in a much easier and more expeditious way than by this Bill. Mr. Mead says -
In conclusion, the following is a summary of suggestions : -
To some extent, he was quite with the establishment of a Court of Criminal Appeal.
I do not think that we can do that here.
We have that here in many of the States.
We have that in many of the States already.
If we have not that in its entirety, we have it very nearly in most of our States’ Criminal Courts.
– I have not read one quotation from the States’ Acts tonight that bears out the honorable member’s assertion.
– I am speaking from actual experience of the Courts of my own State: We have almost everything that is mentioned by Mr. Mead.
– We have no appeal on points of mixed law and fact, or on points of fact, or on sentences.
– It is very arguable as to how far we are to allow appeals on questions of fact. So far, the jury is the safest and best tribunal for deciding questions of fact, and unless very strong reasons are given for substituting some other form of tribunal, I shall not be with the mover of the Bill, as my mind is at present. The next point Mr. Mead states is -
To some extent we have that also.
I am not quite sure whether the British law and this Bill do not allow for a fresh trial.
– No; certainly not.
We have not that in any State Court.
– That is provided for in the Bill.
– That is so, but not, so far as I know, in any. of the States’ Courts of criminal jurisdiction.
The Crown has no right of appeal now in any of the States.
This magistrate is evidently speaking from great experience. I am very much inclined to go with him on that suggestion, and still leave the jury as final judge of questions of fact.
– Although new facts might arise afterwards? Surely the honorable senator does not go that far.
– Under the procedure, both in England and here, it will rest, of course, with the Home Secretary or the Executive to revise the case if fresh evidence be discovered.
– That is just what is objected to.
– It is, of course, very arguable whether it should or should not be allowed.
That means that the prisoner is not to be given what may be called the insult of a pardon for an offence which he has not committed, but that there shall be some legal mode of procedure, when his innocence is determined either by the Home Secretary in England or by the Executive here, by which it may be recorded on the records of the Court; so that he may stand in exactly the same position as if he had stood his trial and been acquitted.
– That is provided for in the Bill.
– The whole question of the grounds and reasons and extent of the jurisdiction of a Court of appeal is laid down in the History of the Criminal Law of England, by Sir Jas. Fitzjames Stephens, who, many years ago, was one of the strongest advocates for the establishment of a Criminal Court of Appeal, but who agreed with the Commission when they reported that they were not favorable to any tribunal setting itself up to revise questions of fact. I hope that the mover of the Bill will forgive me for submitting these criticisms of it, and will take it that my only object was to throw additional light on the question.
Debate (on motion by Senator Best) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Colonel Neild) proposed -
That the resumption of the debate be made an Order of the Day for 19th September.
– - It would be advisable to allow time for a copy of the English Act to reach here.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [10. 11]. - The only alteration that has been made is in one clause, whichI shall be happy to point out to the honorable senator at any time he likes.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.12 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 29 August 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1907/19070829_senate_3_38/>.