3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
MINISTERS laid upon the table thefollowing papers -
Audit Acts 1901-1906 - Transfers in connexion* with Accounts of the Financial Year 1906-7. - Dated 4th September, 1907
Defence Acts 1903-1904. - Regulations for the Commonwealth Military Cadet Corps. - Amendment of section 1, paragraphs 4 and 5, and section 2, paragraphs ig and 21. - Statutory Rules. 1907, No. 87.
– I desire to .ask theVicePresident of the. Executive Council, without notice, whether, before we cometo the item “ Fish “ in the Bounties Bill, he will lay upon the table a copy of theresolutions which were arrived at by the recent Conference on Fisheries ? I suppose that they were published in the’ newspapers, but I missed seeing them.
– I am not in a position to say whether the resolutions have been printed, but I shall make inquiry at once, and endeavour to supply “the information to the honorable senator.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
When does the Government expect to introduce into the Senate the Capital Site Bill referred to in the Speech of His Excellency the’
Governor-General at the opening of the present session of Parliament?
– Perhaps my honorable friend may not have noticed that this Bill has been originated in the other House and advanced to the second reading stage. In view of the state of public business there, it is quite impossible to say when the Bill will be proceeded with. It is one which could not have been originated in the Senate, because it contains an appropriation. I shall mention my honorable friend’s inquiry to my honorable colleague who has charge of the’ Bill, but I am not in a position to give any promise.
– Will the Minister draw the attention of his honorable colleague to the fact that in New South Wales there is rising indignation over the great delay which has taken place in bringing forward that Bill?
– I shall mention that statement.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– As the Department has been closed to-day on account of the public holiday, I have been unable to obtain a reply to the questions of which notice was only given yesterday. I ask the honorable senator to postpone them to a later date.
– I shall be glad if the honorable senator can furnish the information to-morrow.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral if he has yet received a reply to the question I asked concerning the levying of certain cable rates prior to the publication of a regulation of the Post and Telegraph Department?
– The question referred to a message which was sent to Tasmania’, and for which certain rates were charged in anticipation of a regulation which had not been published. I have received the following explanation from, the Department -
It is not the usual practice of the Department to levy increased charges prior to the promulgation of the amended regulation relating to them. In the case referred to by the honorable senator, the issue of the amended regulations was anticipated by the PostmasterGeneral, because the amendment allowed a concession to the business community, which it was asked to be brought into force at once. This, concession consisted in (a) allowing telegramswithin the Commonwealth to contain words not previously admitted in such telegrams; and in. i) fixing a charge for code messages which, except in the case of inland messages containing considerably less than the maximum number of words allowed for the initial rate, is below that hitherto in force. For example, a code message containing sixteen words, all of which, except the address (of, say, three words), are in code, can now be sent for is. anywhere in the Commonwealth, whereas under the previous arrangement, a twelve-word message containing seven code words would cost rs. inland and rs. 3d. in Inter-State. The concession is greater as the number of words in a message is increased.
I understand that where the messages are in words numerically small the advantage is not always obtained ; but in proportion to the size of the messages the advantage of the concession becomes more and more apparent. The message in question was one which I think contained in the body, apart from the address and signature, two code words.
– May I ask the Minister whether I’ am to understand from his answer that the compelling of the payment of is. in the instance I mentioned was outside the power of the PostmasterGeneral ? If I can remember part of his. lengthy answer I gathered that the PostmasterGeneral had allowed this charge te* be made, although it was made wrongly, in anticipation of a Gazette notice of thealteration. Further, if I understood him aright, the Minister said that the PostmasterGeneral did that because he thought in so doing he would be making a concession. Seeing that there was no concession but a greater and, according to his ‘ answer, an illegal charge, will the Minister have the matter properly redressed?
– I shall have the matter properly looked into, but I do not think I can say that the charge was wrongly or illegally made.
– I gathered that from the answer.
– The reply says-
It is not the usual practice of the Department to levy increased charges prior to the promulgation of the amended regulation.
In this case, the Postmaster-General had anticipated the publication, because the amendment allowed to the business community a concession which it was asked should be brought into force at once.
– But in this case it was a penalty, and not a concession.
– It was probably more than it would have been under the old arrangement, but it appears that the Department had been asked to bring the concession into operation at once, without waiting for publication, and the PostmasterGeneral consented to that toeing done. That is how the charge was made in Launceston before the regulation had been published. I shall have the inquiry made which the honorable senator has asked for.
– Arising out of the answer, sir, may I ask this question-
– I cannot allow the matter to be pursued any further.
– Surely, sir, I can ask a question arising out of the answer !
– The honorable senator asked the question at a time when he had no right to ask it. Under the Standing Orders there is a proper time for an honorable senator to ask a question without notice. That time had passed when the honorable senator asked his question.
– You do not understand the position, sir.
– Will the honorable senator say what his position is?
– I am sure, sir, that you do not understand the position. This was a question which I asked Senator Keating some days ago, and in his reply he said that as soon as he could obtain the information he would give it to me. I merely asked to-day if he had received the information which he then promised to obtain. I was not breaking a standing order in asking the question, to start with.
– I certainly understood that the question had been asked two or three days ago, I presume upon notice, and that thehonorable senator was promised a reply at a later date.
– I was invited to ask the question at a later date.
– The time for the honorable senator to renew the question today was before I directed the Acting Clerk to call on the questions upon notice. Those questions were called on, and it then became irregular for any honorable senator to ask a question which did not appear on the notice-paper. I allowed the honorable senator to ask his question, feeling at the time that I was granting a privilege which perhaps, strictly, I should not have done. He will see that if I were to allow a rule to be broken at the will of honorable senators, there would be no order in our proceedings.
– With great respect to you, sir, I do not think that I broke any standing order.
– I must therefore inform the honorable senator that I cannot allow the matter to proceed any further.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 4th September, vide page 2787).
Clause 9 -
The Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, prescribing all matters which by this Act are required or permitted to be prescribed or are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for giving effect to this Act, and in particular for any of the following purposes : -
For prescribing the minimum quantity of goods to be producedto entitle the grower or producer to claim the bounty ;
For prescribing the proportion in which bounty shall be payable to claimants who have complied with the prescribed conditions, in cases where there is not sufficient money available to pay the full bounty in respect of all the claims ;
For prescribing the manner in which the market value is to be determined ; and
For prescribing the time within which after the production of the raw material, the production of the goods in respect of which bounty is claimed shall be completed.
– The schedule prescribes the amount of the bounty which is payable in respect of each item, and to a limited extent the method of such payment. But this clause deals strictly and in a most important way with the payment. For instance, paragraph c empowers the Governor-General to make regulations for “ prescribing the manner in which the market value is to be determined.” If honorable senators will refer to the schedule they will see that in regard to a number of the items the rate of the bounty is dependent upon the market value of the article. In other words, we have in the schedule that which in a Tariff. Act corresponds to either an ad valorem duty or a specific duty. In the case of some litems the bounty is to be paid at the rate of so much per lb., but with regard to the major portion of them the bounty is to be paid at an ad valorem rate. It is said to be so much per cent. on the market value. The Committee might very well ask the Minister what is the intention of the Government with regard to the regulations that will be made as to determining market value ; because it must be obvious at once that the rate of the bounty may differ very considerably in accordance with the market value which is placed on the goods produced. While on the one hand there is a certain definite sum of money per annum to be spent in respect of a particular item mentioned in the schedule to this Bill, yet the way in which that amount is to be paid - by percentage on the market value will have this effect: If the market value is put low, it will spread the total payment over a large area, and if the market value is put high, then you will have a lesser area over which the total amount is to be spread. In other words, if the market value is putvery high, it mayvery reasonably happen that only a limited and small number of persons will be able to get a fair share of the bounty, because the total amount will be exhausted. But if on the other hand the market value is put reasonably low, obviously it is an inference that the total amount may be spread over a larger number of persons. I will take as a specific instance the first item, cotton. The schedule provides that thebounty shall be 10 per cent. on the market value. It does not say the market value per lb. or per cwt. If the 10 per cent. were levied on a market value of, say,£1,the amount that might be due would differ materially from the amount that would be due if the 10 per cent. were levied on a market value of 30s. So that this matter is a serious one for us to consider. The least that the Government should do, if they expect the Senate to pass the clause giving the GovernorGeneral full power to prescribe the manner in which the market value is to be determined, is to give the Committee a clear indication as to the method to be adopted in ascertaining market value. There are many ways of ascertaining market value. We all know that that is so in connexion with the Customs Act. We all know that a close scrutiny is given to the price of goods at the port of export when we are dealing with importations. It may correspond in some port abroad to the greater value here. While the question is com plicated in many other ways, there is this clear point about which we ought to have a pronouncement from the Government. The market value of cotton may by the Government be determined by the cost of cotton in this market, with freight charges added to the price paid abroad, plus the duty paid under the Tariff. I will mention another item, the duty on which I know. On coffee there is at present a duty of 3d. per lb. Suppose that the Government said that the market value of coffee in Australia is the price at which coffee can be sold - not only after incidental charges have been paid, but also after duty has been paid. If the Government are going to determine that that is to be the method of ascertaining the market value - namely, by taking the price of the article landed here plus duty as well as freight - then of course we must make the inference that the 10 per cent. would be very high. It would also mean that the bounty would be divided into a smaller number of parts. In other words in all probability a smaller number of persons engaged in this industry in the Commonwealth would receive the bounty. That is one aspect of the case. But there is another aspect of it. I do not suppose that many of us would assent to the proposition that we ought to give bounties for the production of anything in this Commonwealth unless we have some regard to the cost of its production. In other words we ought to have regard to the price at which the article when so produced under a bounties system would be placed upon the market having regard also to the interests of the consumer. That ought to be the principle. No one would say that we ought to pay a bounty irrespective of the price at which the growers could afford to sell their product. To do so would be absolute folly. It would also be economic suicide, so far as the producer is concerned. But that question is closely intertwined with the one that I have already raised. My opposition to this Bounties Bill would be very largely, if not entirely, removed if I couldbe convinced that the result of it would be the production of any article in the Commonwealth of Australia in as economical a manner as the same article can be produced under reasonable conditions elsewhere. In other words, if the result of the bounties system were to enable us to produce any of the tilings enumerated in the schedule at about the ordinary price which people pay for them, either without a bounties system or otherwise, my objection to the Bill would be largely removed. But if the Government, in the assessment of the bounty at the market value of the article, are going to take the market value plus whatever rate of duty Parliament’ may choose to impose under the Tariff which we have to consider, then I say the bounties system is likely to be a fraud and a disaster to Australia. Because, we shall not only be giving too much by way of bounties, but also lifting up the price of every article enumerated in the schedule. That is one of the reasons why I have, from the commencement of this debate, thought that it was premature for us to be considering these bounties until we have the Tariff before us. But, unfortunately, a majority of the Committee are not in accord with my view on that point. Still, I must point out what the result will be. I do not know what the duty on cotton is going to be, but I can conceive that it will be a heavy protective duty. The result will be to seriously increase the price of cotton in the Commonwealth. If this Bill operates in conjunction with the Tariff in the manner I have described, the result will be to put up the price of cotton enormously.
– There may’ be a. duty on the raw material and also on the manufactured article.
– That is extremely, likely. I seriously doubt whether the Operation of these bounties in conjunction -with the Tariff will do much from a protectionist point of view to help on Australian industries. Many of the items affect ihe raw material of industries. The price of that raw material will be increased. Obviously the price of cotton will be increased. Will the Minister give us some indication as to the intentions of the Government with regard to market value? This is really a serious matter. What I have said is also an argument for doing away in every possible case with ad valorem bounties, and letting us know exactly in definite terms, by way of specific rates, “what each bounty is to be. I see for instance that raw coffee is mentioned in the schedule as about to receive a bounty of id. per lb. When we pay that bounty, we shall know precisely what we are doing. There is a specific rate which is clearly understood. But with regard to the ad valorem rates, we do not know what they mean, because we do not know what the market value will be, nor can we make any comparison. A member Ot the Committee may say, “ I do not object to a bounty of id. per. lb. on raw coffee, but I should like to know how it will compare with, say, 20 per cent, on the market value of jute.” Unless every member of the Committee was fairly well seized of the market value of all the articles enumerated in the schedule, we should be voting, more or less-, in the dark with regard to the rates of bounty. Who is there, for instance, who can at the present time “say what the market value of sisal hemp or mohair is? Yet we are asked to vote for a bounty of 10 per cent, on that unknown value. I hope. that the Minister will give us some information with regard to paragraph c.
– I have listened with a great deal of attention to what Senator Clemons has said as to the difficulty of determining market values in regard to any commodity for which a bounty may be applied for under this schedule. We recognise that the determination of market value at any particular time, and in respect of any of these commodities, must necessarily be surrounded with difficulty; and it is for that reason that it is impossible to set out in the Bill any principle which” the Government will pursue in each instance in ascertaining the market value. It is also for that reason that power is given to the Government to make certain regulations. I say frankly that it is impossible for me to indicate - nor could I be expected at this juncture to do so - what would be the opinion of the Government as to the best method of ascertaining definitely the market value of any one of the articles enumerated in the schedule.
– The Minister might say whether the market value would be plus or minus the duty to be levied on a particular article when imported.
– I cannot speak precisely on that point. But I draw attention to the fact that the provision before us is one which would enable the GovernorGeneral - that is to say the Government - to make due inquiry as to the best method of ascertaining trie market value in respect of each and every one of these items. The method will be set out in regulations that will be prescribed. Those regulations, as honorable senators are aware, must, under our Acts Interpretation Act, be submitted to both Houses of Parliament, within a specific time if Parliament is sitting, or, if Parliament is not sitting, within a specific time after Parliament meets ; and it is competent for either House of Parliament, on notice being given, to disallow any regulation that may be made. Under the Acts Interpretation Act of 1904, it is provided that -
Where an Act confers power to make Regulations, all Regulations made accordingly shall unless the contrary intention appears -
But if either House of the Parliament passes a resolution of which notice has been given at any time within fifteen sitting days after such regulations have been laid before such House disallowing any regulation such regulation shall thereupon cease to have effect.
A number of regulations may be made under this clause, including regulations for determining the market value of any or all of the particular articles mentioned in the schedule. Those regulations would, in accordance with the section of the Acts Interpretation Act which I have quoted, be laid before both Houses of Parliament, and one or a number of regulations so made might be disallowed by the Senate or by another place. .
– Would not both Houses have to agree?
– No; a resolution passed by one House of this Parliament would have the effect of annulling a regulation. It is not necessary for the two House’s to concur. I recognise now more fully than I did the possibility that in each and every instance it may be necessary to adopt a different method for ascertaining market values, and to fix a different time in respect of which the value is to be ascertained for each particular article. But these are matters of such infinitely fine detail that they are best and most safely left to regulations, seeing that those regulations are always subject to veto by either House. I frankly confess that at this juncture I am not in a position to state what is in the mind of the Government as to the best method of determining what should be the market value. We say, “ Give us power to make provision to determine market values by regulation.” It will then be competent for either House to review the work we do, and to disallow any particular regulation that we make. .
– The Committee ought really to hesitate before giving such wide powers to the
Minister to make laws practically by regulation. According to paragraph a it will be left to the whim of the Minister to alter the amount of goods to be produced to entitle a man to claim bounty. Surely the Senate does not intend to allow the Minister of the day to work this bounties system entirely on his own account ? I am strongly against deputing our powers of legislation to the Government in this fashion.
– In some cases in the schedule the quantity is specified. For instance, “One penny per lb.” is fixed for raw coffee, so that if a man grows 1 lb. of coffee, then prima facie, he is entitled to his penny ; yet under the power of regulation in this clause the Minister might say that 1 lb. of coffee was not to be the minimum.
– The Minister might fix a ton as the minimum.
– Quite so, and in that way the schedule would be inconsistent with the regulation. In the case of “ rice, uncleaned,” the bounty is fixed in the schedule at “ 20s. per ton.” In that case, apparently, a ton is the minimum contemplated. If not, what is to be the minimum? Can the Minister in chargeof the Bill indicate to us what principle has guided the Government in the apportionment and distribution of the bounties? We should certainly be given some definite information. If there is no definite principle, then the Bill has beenbrought in somewhat prematurely. On the face of it, there are inconsistencies which are absolutely anomalous, and may prove unworkable.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.5]. - The criticisms which have been offered strike at the root of the Bill. It is not so much, as Senator St. Ledger says, that there are inconsistencies in it, but. honorable senators are actually legislating, and at the same time not legislating at all. They are abandoning their control of this legislation. They are simply passing an Act which is to appropriate nearly half-a-million pounds of the taxpayers money, for the purpose of handing to the Minister of the day the power of distributing that large sum in largesse. We ought to protest against that method of doing business. We appropriate a certain sum, and distribute it as to amount and period according to the items in the schedule, but, at the same time, we hand over to the Minister of the day the entire control of the conditions upon which the money is to be distributed. It is quite true, as the Minister of Home Affairs says, that the regulations are laid upon the table of each House, but we all know that that is a very perfunctory proceeding, and unless some member is very assiduous in examining the regulations, they pass as a rule unnoticed. Even if they are challenged, as has happened in relation to regulations affecting various Departments of the Public Service recently, it is a very uphill game to attack them. We ought, when legislating in this way, to specify the conditions upon which the bounties shall be paid. Under clause 4 the Minister has the right to decide whether goods are “of a merchantable quality.” In the case of food stuffs, the goods have to be of “ the prescribed quality.” Again, under the same clause, they have to be grown or produced, not as Parliament prescribes or defines in the Bill, but “ in not less than the prescribed quantity and subject to the prescribed conditions.” Why should we not specify the quantity of cotton or coffee to entitle the grower to a bounty ? We are asked, to pass what is practically a skeleton Bill, leaving everything else to the Ministry of the day. Such a proposal is indefensible. When honorable senators realize the position, I am sure they will hesitate to give a sort of blank cheque to Ministers to deal with so large a sum of money. There will undoubtedly be the possibility of the regulations being reviewed by Parliament. That provision, however, is seldom carried into effect. We often have other important business before us, and do not have the opportunity to overhaul the regulations as they ought to be overhauled. The regulations under this clause are really to prescribe everything that ought to be dealt with by legislation. What can be more important than prescribing “ the minimum quantity of goods to be produced to entitle the grower or producer to claim the bounty”? As Senator St. Ledger has pointed out, it would be competent for the Minister to say that i lb. qf! coffee was enough.
– That would not break the country.
– I do not say that it would, but that is not what we mean. We intend that there shall be some substantial production of a fair commercial market value.
– To be commercial rather than experimental.
– The honorable senators is quite right. It is to be something which will be valuable for thegeneral profit of the people as a commercial community. Why should we not say what the minimum quantity is to be, as 1. believe the experts have said in at least some cases in their report? Surely thequantity to be produced is an essentialelement in considering whether the bounty ought to be paid or not. Again, why should, we not decide now the “ manner in which the market value is to be determined”?’ The same thing is done under the Customs. Act. Why not transfer the section from the Customs Act, or some modification of it, to this Bill? Why abdicate our functions as legislators and hand over to theMinister of the day the power to settleby regulation so important a consideration ?
– Does not that section in the Customs Act apply to specificgoods, and not to goods generally of that class?
– It must: apply to. goods of that class. To determine the market value of specific goods imported, reference must be made to the market value of goods of the same class. Otherwise, there might be one market: value for one shipment and another for another shipment. Such a system would absolutely disorganize the whole CustomsDepartment. The power under paragraph c is the very gist of the Bill. The Minister expressed the matter epigrammatically in his interjection just now, that the production should be commercial rather than experimental. Paragraph b may be a fair matter of administrativeregulation. My desire, if there isto be a system of bounties, is to assist the Government in devising all necessary limitations and restrictions, so as to insure themoney being legitimately and honestly earned and paid. But why should we nor prescribe the matter covered by paragraph d, which deals with “the time within which, after the production of the rawmaterial, the production of the goods in respect of which bounty is claimed shall, be completed”? If we cannot do that now, will the Government be in any betterposition to do it by means of regulations, and shall we be in any better position tocriticise those regulations when they comebefore us ? I presume that paragraph d applies to manufactured goods, like combed! wool or canned fish. All the necessary provisions could be made in another column of the schedule. We could provide that in the case of tinned fish, the manu- facture must take place, for example, before the fish that had been caught by white labour had gone bad. The provision with respect to a market value would require to be dealt with by a separate clause. The second reading of the Bill having been carried, I desire to assist in any way I can in defining the proper conditions and limitations to impose to insure that the bounties offered shall be effective^ I appeal to the Minister to consider whether a column could not be added to the schedule prescribing the matters dealt with in paragraphs a and c, .and whether the matters dealt with in paragraph d might not be provided lor by a modifica-tion of the section in the Customs Act to which I have referred. I feel that the objections to this clause as it stands are radical, as, if we are going to give these bounties, we should have a direct say in specifying the conditions upon which they shall be payable.
Senator CHATAWAY (Queensland) £3.17]. - When speaking on this matter last night, I referred to the necessity for something more definite than is proposed in the Bill. Looking at the question from the point of view of the producer, the man who is to be asked to go upon the land to grow cotton or coffee, I point out that he should have some means of knowing how the Government propose to arrive a.t the value of his good’s upon which bounty is to be paid. If, for instance, I think of breeding angora goats, I should, as the Bill now stands, have to stir up the authorities to issue the regulations in order that I might .be able to calculate with some degree of certainty the amount of bounty to which I should be entitled after I had bred the goats and shorn them. As the Bill stands a man who desires to earn a bounty under it cannot, with any degree of safety, embark upon any of these industries until the Government have issued the regulations. He must know the conditions to be imposed by the regulations before he can ascertain what he is likely to earn in any of the industries in connexion with which ad valorem bounties are proposed. He must have information to enable him to decide whether the bounty he is likely to get is sufficient to make it worth his while to engage in any of these industries. I direct attention -to paragraph d -
Foi prescribing the time within which, after the production of the raw material, the production of the goods in respect of which bounty, is claimed shall be completed.
I would like the Minister to consider the effect of that paragraph in the case of a man who grows cotton and sells it in the seed to some central factory, where it is stored and ginned, as may be convenient. It is the intention, of the Bill that the grower of the seed cotton shall receive the bounty, and, in the circumstances I have mentioned, the owners of the ginning plant may have so much stock on hand that the seed cotton which the grower sends them may be held over for six, nine, or twelve months before it is treated. In the same way, in connexion with the production of coffee, the grower, whom we desire to assist by the bounty, may be kept waiting for months because the persons who will carry out the hulling and the final processes may have large stocks in hand, and may hold over a particular grower’s coffee for a considerable time. I remind honorable senators that persons entering upon these ventures will look most eagerly for the bounties in the initial stages of the industries, and not later on when, as I hope, they will be producing hundreds of tons of cotton or of coffee. I urge the Minister to carefully consider what Senator Symon has said, in order, if possible, that as soon as the Bill becomes law, men who are likely to be attracted to these industries will be in a position, without having to wait for the publication of regulations, to decide whether it will be worth their while to enter upon them.
– The point raised bv Senator Symon is very important, but this measure is scarcely like any other legislation which we are called upon to pass. We are dealing with a matter in connexion with which we, as well as the persons who may be induced t’o embark in some of these industries, will be continually learning. It is probable that any regulations framed at this stage for the administration of the measure will from time to time require to be varied, as the result of experience. Therefore, to put more’ in the Bill than provisions for expending a certain amount of money for the purposes desired, might be to hamper the effective administration of the measure in the best interests of the community, because of the limits of our present knowledge of the subject. Even those of us who are best’ informed can claim very little actual knowledge of the matters dealt with by the Bill, and we must expect to learn from experience of its operations. I strongly urge, therefore, that, in the nebulous circumstances connected with this measure, it is wiser to pass this clause giving the power to make regulations than to attempt with our limited knowledge to fix definitely many of the matters which it may be found necessary to determine later bv regulations. There is force in the statement that regulations presented to Parliament are frequently overlooked, but in this respect also this measure is unlike most others. It provides for the expenditure .of what may be properly described as a very large sum of money, and we may reasonably assume that when honorable senators hear the statement of the Minister in laying regulations under this measure on the table, their attention will be attracted to them, because their knowledge of the matters dealt with in the Bill will be increasing, and because of the large amount of money involved. I believe that clause 9 as it stands is more likely to prove effective than would any attempt at this stage to rigidly define some of the conditions suggested.
– Senator Trenwith has rightly described the Bill as nebulous.
– I did not refer to the Bill, but to the circumstances as nebulous.
– I do not think that the honorable senator quite met the point raised by Senator Chataway. The object of the Bill is to induce producers to enter upon the growth’1 of certain products so that our productions may be varied, and new avenues of employment opened up. If that be the object, we should make the course of the producer as well-defined as possible, and should give ,him every stimulus to enter upon these industries. The point raised by Senator Chataway, was previously referred to by Senator Pearce. There is not sufficient consideration given under this Bill to the man who makes an honest attempt to establish any of these industries. It is only when the finished product has reached the market that a bounty is payable, whilst a man might break up his land, employ a great deal of labour, and go to considerable expense, in the production of a crop which might be destroyed before reaching maturity, as the result of a flood or a drought or some other visitation of Providence, which he could not control.
Something should be done to separate payments of these bounties in such a way that men might get progress_ payments on account. Such payments would be an undoubted encouragement to persons to enter upon these industries. - Senator Trenwith. - That was the cause of all our failures in Victoria - the growers were paid on account.
– The cause of our failures was something very different. They were due to the fact that people were led to go into a number of industries without due ‘consideration. If the Bill is passed in its present -form, very few of these industries will be entered into to any extent. It will not be the small farmers whom we desire to. encourage who will take them up, but wealthy co-operators and individual capitalists. I urge the Minister not to force the adoption of the clause but to give the points which have been raised careful consideration. I am not against the bounties system, but if we are to pay bounties we should operate on the best possible lines, and our legislation should be as little nebulous as possible. I think that Senator Chataway’s suggestions are deserving of very serious consideration.
– This is not a’ Bill to assist agriculturists, but to encourage the production of certain products.
– What is the difference between assisting and encouraging?
– If we do not assist we certainly do not encourage.
– There is a great deal of difference, and it was indicated by Senator McColl when he said that possibly the persons who would engage in these industries would not be small farmers but co-operators and individuals possessed of means. ‘ It is possible to encourage a man who requires no assistance whatever to embark in a particular industry. Senator McColl must know that the course he suggested with reference to these bounties was adopted in Victoria in connexion with all the bounties that failed in this State. In the one striking instance of unmistakable success, the butter. industry, the bounty was given under exactly the conditions prescribed in this pill
– They had not to wait years until they got the bonus.
– It was not the bonus, but the cream separator, which, helped the butter industry.
– It is possible that both were important factors. But the butter industry in Victoria developed in an extraordinary manner coincidentally with the granting of the bonus. Where the payment was made on account there was no guarantee that there was a reasonable prospect of success being achieved. The Government simply paid a man for digging up the ground and putting in so many trees. The result was that ignorance, want of energy, and unsuitability of soil and climate brought about a very large number of failures in Victoria.
– How does the honorable senator connect his remarks with the clause ?
– I connect my remarks with Senator McColl’s suggestion that we should provide for payments on account being made. What we are seeking now is not so much to assist farmers who are too poor to proceed, but to induce persons with the necessary means and knowledge to embark in industries which will be advantageous to the Commonwealth.
– - The more the clause is discussed, the more advisable it seems to me that it should be withdrawn, in order to allow one or two more columns to be inserted in the schedule. I believe- that one of the first bounties granted in Australia was one given in Queensland for the production of cotton. I am. not sure -whether it was provided for in a special Act or in the Appropriation Act. But it was laid down that before the money could be obtained 5,000 yards of cotton - of a merchantable quality, I suppose - must be produced, and the payment was limited. I think that a provision is required in the schedule of this Bill to determine the quantities of the articles to be produced, and the conditions of the payment of the bounties. I agree with Senator Symon that we ought not to hand over the control of a large sum to the caprice of a Department or a Minister, but should enact the principle on which the payments shall be made. In support of that view, I shall quote a provision from the Canadian Iron and Steel Bounties Act of 1894, which provided for the payment of bounties on iron and steel manufactured from Canadian ore. The amount of the bounty was fixed at 2 dollars per ton of steel produced from pig iron raised in Canada. Section 2 reads -
In the- case of the products of furnaces no.w in operation, the said bounties shall be applicable only to such products manufactured therein between the 27th day of March, 1894, and the 26th day of March, 1899, both days included ; and in the case of the products of any furnace which commences operations hereafter, but prior to the 27th day of March, 1899, thesaid bounties shall be applicable to such products manufactured therein during a period of. five years from the date of commencing operations.
In other words, the Canadian Parliament’ defined the time within which the bountycould be claimed. I hold that in the caseof many products we should provide in the. schedule a time limit as well as the specific amount of the bounty to be paid.
– A time limit is pro- vided in the second column.
– I believe that the most earnest advocate of bounties will admit that we ought toenact definitely our views, instead of leaving enormous latitude to the GovernorGeneral in the matter of regulations. If the Minister is in favour of the bountiessystem, he naturally wants to see a good, measure passed. In regard to paragraph a he will see that it is quite possible to prescribe in a special clause “the minimum quantity of goods to be produced to entitle the grower or producer to claim the bounty.” I do not suggest that a clause can be framed this afternoon, but I hold that the Minister ought to be furnished with sufficient information to be able to say definitely in the case of each item what the minimum quantity ought to be. I ask the. honorable senator to consider the advisability of postponing the clause for the purpose of framing a definite provision. As regards paragraph b, I admit that it is right and proper that the Governor-General shall have effective power by regulation to prescribe the proportion in which the bounties shall be .payable to claimants under certain conditions. That paragraph is very appropriate to the clause. But as regards paragraph c, I ask the Minister to remember the provision which was made in the Customs Act. There we found no difficulty in prescribing in a clause the manner in which the Customs Officers should ascertain the values on which ad valorem duties were to be levied. If we had then followed the method which is adopted in the Bounties Bill, the Customs Act would contain this provision -
The Governor-General may make regulations ‘ for the following purposes : -
For prescribing the manner in which the value of any article imported into Australia shall be ascertained.
A proposal to empower the Minister of Trade and Customs to say at his own sweet- will what the value of an article for Customs purposes should be would have been laughed to ridicule here. But that method is adopted in the Bounties Bill. Surely we ought to follow the precedent which we created in the Customs Act. The subjectmatter of paragraphs a and c of this clause ought to be embodied in separate provisions, just as was done in the Customs Bill. As regards paragraph d, what is to prevent the Committee from prescribing in a s’pecial clause the time within which the bounty shall be paid? The Minister could prescribe in a special clause a convenient time in which to pay the bounty to the producer of each item. If there is one thing we are anxious to do, it is not to repeat that appalling blunder of the butter bonus, and allow an enormous sum to pass into the wrong hands. What is to prevent us from enacting in a special clause that within a certain time from the delivery of his goods a person shall receive the bounty? Why should we delay the payment of the bounty until a manufacturer, at his own caprice, has handled the product? It seems to me that the whole object of the Bill will be defeated unless it is provided definitely that the producer shall get the bounty within a certain time after he has grown and delivered the product. Speaking commercially, it would be much more to his advantage if he knew that he would get the reward of his work within a definite time. Unless the Minister considers that the Bill is extremely urgent, I ask him to postpone this clause, because I feel certain that if he will take that course it can be improved from the point of view of the man who is to get the bounty.
– - I am very anxious to see the Bill passed, but I should like the Minister, if he can see his way, to accent some recommendations from the Committee. I consider that the Committee ought to be as able as any Department to determine in what way the money should be paid. I agree with Senator Clemons that we can very well follow the precedent laid down in the Customs Act. I think that cotton should be treated in the same way as coffee is treated, and a specific amount fixed in the schedule. Then a man would know where he was. If there were a rise in the value of cotton a man would never know under the Bill as it stands what bounty he was going to get. We might give a bounty of id. per lb. upon cotton. . That would be 8s. 4<3 . per hundred lbs. Before a man spends his time and knowledge in the development of an industry he should know that, for a certain, number of years, he will get a certain bounty. But under this Bill he would not know until such time as an officer appointed by the Government determined what the market value was. That is not desirable. If I were a farmer going into a speculation, I should not like to be put in that position. It would be far better to make the bounties specific. The same amount of money as is now proposed could be expended, and no more ; but the method of apportionment would be more satisfactory. Cotton varies in price just as wool does. I am glad to know that much of the cotton grown in Queensland is declared by cotton merchants in England to be of the very best quality. Some fetches 13d. per lb 3 some only 6d. We could provide that cotton of the value of is. per lb. or over should receive a bounty of so much per cwt.,. whilst cotton, of the value of 6d. or 8d. per lb. should receive less. I have no objection to such a provision being made, but I should like to know specifically and definitely the amount of bounty to be paid on the production of an article, without regard to such a varying circumstance as market value.
– I think it would be extremely inadvisable to depart from the terms of the clause. Honorable senators are aware that the regulations made will be subject to disallowance by either House of this Parliament. The very fact that regulations framed under previous Acts have not been challenged in Parliament is an indication that it was not thought desirable to interfere with them. But in some instances, where a particular regulation has been considered to be out of harmony with the necessities of the situation, it has been possible to make representations to the Government ; and what is more simple than for the Government to withdraw a particular regulation and substitute another one? But if we pass a definite statutory enactment with regard, for instance, to the method of ascertaining market value, it will be. a hard-and-fast law which must remain until it is amended bv another Act of Parliament. It may not be found that the provision fails to meet the necessities of the case until a ‘time when Parliament is not sitting, and, consequently, it would then be impossible to amend it; and even when Parliament meets it may be impossible to pass an amending Act immediately. On the other hand, if a par- ticular regulation does not fit in with the requirements of the situation, it is quite easy to amend it. Let me draw attention to what we did in 1905. We then passed a Sugar Bounties Act, which was assented to on the 21st of December. In that Act provision was made for the GovernorGeneral to make regulations prescribing rules and conditions for giving effect to the measure. I particularly direct the attention of Senator Chataway and Senator Sayers to the fact that the Sugar Bounties Act received the Royal assent on the 21st December, 1905, and that on the 28th of December - within a week - the regulations under it were issued. So that practically both the Act and the regulations came into the possession of the sugar-growers at the same time. The regulations set forth, amongst other things -
To sustain a claim for bounty in respect of white-grown cane, the following conditions must have been complied with : -
Notice of intention to claim must have been given to the Collector of Customs for the State-
In accordance with the provisions of the Sugar Bounty Act 1903, and regulations thereunder ; or,
Within two months after the commencement of these regulations, or twelve months before the delivery of the cane for manufacture : Provided that the Minister may waive this condition in the case of cane cut before the 1st March, 1907.
The cane must have been delivered for manufacture at a factory in the district in which it was produced, unless otherwise allowed by the Minister.
The claim for bounty must have been made not later than one month after the delivery of the cane for manufacture.
And so on. Further regulations provide the necessary forms. After this Bill is passed, within a very short time, the regulations under it will be issued. Practically the general public interested in it will have the regulations in their possession at the same time as they receive the Bill.
– Were the regulations to which the Minister has referred approved by Parliament?
– They did not need that approval. They were issued after Parliament was prorogued - on the 28th December. If there is anything in the regulations which is considered to be out of harmony with the objects of the measure, either House of Parliament can take exception to it, and the regulation can be annulled. If Parliament is not sitting, and any member of Parliament or of the outside public draws attention to any regulation which is undesirable, the Minister would have power to. annul it and substitute another one. But if the matter is provided for in a hard-and-fast provision in an Act of Parliament, there is no such ready means of rectifying an error of judgment.
– That argument has its dangerous side.
– This power to issue regulations under Acts of Parliament has been exercised under every State Parliament and under the Commonwealth Parliament since its establishment. I am unaware of any instance in which it has been sheeted home, that any Government has irresponsibly or wrongly exercised that power.
– It would have been done time after time had not the Government had a majority to back them up.
– If regulations have not been objected to, it shows that the majority in Parliament approved of them. In any case, it is convenient to give this power to make regulations. It does not mean giving the Government despotic authority, because not only can a single House of Parliament disallow the regulations, but any individual - can make representations to the responsible Minister who will no doubt see that consideration is given to any objections urged.
. -The Minister will not suspect me of being an opponent of the Bill, though at the same time I am not a very strong supporter of it. My mind is open to argument, and I expect to hear something more tangible in support of the clause before I support it. The Minister has referred to various States in which Acts have been passed, giving the Government power to make regulations. I may refer to what took place in South Australia in 1 90 1. A Factories Act, affecting four trades, was passed through both Houses of Parliament. Regulations were provided, and were passed by one House, but failed to pass the other for five years; and consequently, although the Act was on the statute-book, it remained a dead letter. I am afraid that something of that kind may happen in connexion with this Bill. Although I am not a strong supporter of the Bill, I should like to see it pass on fair and safe lines, and I trust that the Minister will be prepared to meet the criticisms of the Opposition in this respect.
– May I request, Mr. Chairman, that you will put the sub-clauses of this clause separately ?
– If it is the desire of the Committee, I will do so.
– I recognise that regulations have a value in our legislative work, but the first criterion to apply to them is that if we find in any particular case that there is something which we can definitely enact in the Bill itself we should have it in the Bill, and not leave if to regulations. Every one who values parliamentary procedure at all must admit that.
– It depends on its importance.
– There is no question about the importance of these particular provisions. They are the radical elements of the Bill. Where we find that we cannot enact definitely, I do not object to giving power to make regulations. The subject-matter of paragraph b ought to be left to regulation. It would be unwise to try to deal with, it in a clause, but we should vastly improve the Bill for the benefit ot all concerned if we dealt with the subject-matters of paragraphs a, c, and d in the measure itself. I shall have to vote against leaving at c, and d to regulations, but I shall certainly vote for paragraph b remaining where it is. Will the VicePresident of the Executive Council agree to postpone the clause in order to consider the desirability of following the course I have suggested? I desire to improve and not to injure the Bill.
– In accordance with Senator Clemons’ request, I shall put the first portion of the clause down to the word “purposes.”
, - If the only suggestion, of Senator Clemons is to postpone the clause for the present-
– I shall not offer any further opposition, if the Minister will give any sort of undertaking to consider the advisability of providing for the matters dealt with in paragraphs a, c, and d in the Bill itself.
– I would very much sooner see these four paragraphs struck out altogether, and also the words, “ and in particular for any of the following purposes,” but that would not meet Senator Clemons’ wishes.-
– No. Paragraph b ought to be provided for by regulation.
– Senator W. Russell referred to a case in South Australia where certain regulations had ‘been- made and had to be approved of by both Houses. That would not be the case here. Regulations have to be made by the Governor-General in Council, and placed on the table of Parliament within a particular number of days if Parliament is sitting, or if Parliament is not sitting within so many days of its rc-assembling. It is then competent for either House to pass- a resolution negativing or varying them. One branch of the Legislature must have some good and substantial reason for interference. The sanction of Parliament is not definitely required, but it is within the competence of either House to negative or vary a regulation. A few weeks ago a Public Service regulation was negatived. The anxiety of the Government is to insure the most effective carrying out of the measure. Regulations are prepared for the Government by experts, upon whose special knowledge the Government rely.
– It is Parliament that ought to be anxious to see that the Bill is a good one and properly carried out.
– Of course it is the duty of Parliament to see that it is a good Bill. By the means we propose the wishes of Parliament can be most effectively carried out. The knowledge of experts is secured bv the responsible Minister to enable him to make effective regulations fitting individual cases. Those regulations may have to be altered from time to time to meet varying circumstances. The idea is to make them so elastic that we can accommodate ourselves to any circumstances which arise. The object is not to serve any party ends. Whatever Government is in’ power will have to carry out the Act,, and should have the power to make in the regulations any alteration required by then existing circumstances. It cannot, therefore, be hinted for one moment that the Government have any object to serve in the carrying out of the Act by regulations in the way ‘suggested. I am aware that from time to time the question of legislating by regulation has been the subject ot objection. No doubt it is desirable to avoid it where we can reasonably do so, but in new projects, requiring the most scientific advice and assistance, it would be a great mistake to attempt to put in the terms of a cast-iron section of an Act of Parliament what we at this moment conceive to be the proper way of carrying them out. It is not possible for us to enact in this connexion such permanent legislation as will do justice to Parliament or to the Act itself.
– What are we here for? Apparently to hand our duties over to somebody else.
– We are here to formulate the general and fundamental principles of the Act. Every Parliament has had to decide that it can more effectively carry out certain administrative features of legislation by regulation than by cast-iron sections.
– These matters are the very essence of the Act. They are not matters of administration at all.
– In this case, they are purely matters of administration,’ in which we must from time to time be guided by the expert evidence of those upon whom we rely.
– Better govern the country by experts.
– There is no occasion for warmth. I am sure honorable senators opposite are animated, like ourselves, by a desire to make the Bill as perfect as possible. My colleague the Minister of Home Affairs has already pointed out that, in regard to the Sugar Bounties Act, precisely the same course was adopted as we are. asking Parliament to adopt in this case. The Government see quite as much virtue in the wording of the section in the Sugar Bounties Act as in the wording of this clause. Paragraphs a, b, c, and d are mere surplusage, but they are simply put in to direct the attention of Parliament to various features showing the general trend of the proposed regulations. As a matter of law, we could carry out what is included in those four paragraphs under the general terms of the body of the clause itself.
– Does the honorable senator suppose that the Senate will pass the Bill without making proper and necessary provision for those subjects?
– I do.
– Tr.y it, and see. The Government will not get two supporters.
– This is not a party matter at all. We are acting under the very best advice. There are men whom we rely upon for that advice, and whose sole object is to help Parliament. They are helping Parliament in suggesting this particular form of legislation. The regula tions are not beyond the control of Parliament. If there is. anything offensive in them they can be vetoed, but they have the; great and all-important virtue of enabling us to accommodate ourselves from time to time” to circumstances as they arise.. I have no doubt that my colleague will see no serious objection to postponing the clause for further consideration if the Committee desires. But we should not make the fatal mistake of attempting: to eliminate a clause of this kind, because, if we did, it would have the most serious and unexpected results.
– I am not keen on supporting Senator .Clemons’ amendment. The power vested in the Governor-General in Council to make regulations can be revoked by Parliament. If the Governor-General in Council makes regulations that are proved to be unworkable or detrimental to any producer who claims a bounty, it will be within the province of Parliament to revoke those regulations on re-assembling. We are blazing a new track in this legislation. We have to consider conditions that have never been found in any Bounties Act before. Experience has shown that to pass Acts of Parliament without allowing power to make regulations has sometimes led to confusion. This measure has a special warrant to be accompanied by regulations, because new situations will continually arise, necessitating the amendment of the regulations. Any regulation that is objected to cannot have a longer life than twelve months.. If we included a statutory provision instead of a regulation, and that was found to be equally unworkable, it would have just as long an existence as an unworkable regulation. While we have the Dower to revoke any regulation, I see no reason why we should not give authority to the Government to make regulations under this measure. The regulations cannot go beyond the provisions of the Act. It may be necessary in this country, with so many different climatic conditions, to have regulations so elastic as to provide for every contingency where, in the. production of a particular product, time is an essential factor. It is necessary also that there should be power to amend regulations under such a measure when circumstances warrant it. We are here giving power merely to make temporary regulations from year to year as I understand it, otherwise I should be prepared to vote for Senator Clemons’ amendment. If the regulations when framed are found to operate detrimentally, it will be within the province of any member of the Senate, who is looking after his business, to bring the matter under the notice of Parliament, and if he can submit a good case the regulations shown to be objectionable will be withdrawn or amended. Seeing that the regulations will only be temporary, I am afraid that the clause is being subjected to rather captious criticism, lt should not be forgotten that in twelve months’ time it might be found that the best provision which the Senate, in its .wisdom, could suggest to-day would be quite as objectionable as any regulation framed under this clause. It is very necessary that the Government should have power to make regulations to meet the exigencies of each occasion. I shall support the clause, and if under it the Executive frame regulations that .are unworkable, I shall expect Senator Clemons to come forward later and call attention to the fact.
– It is absurd. We might just as well pass a Bill with a title and a provision giving the Government power by regulation to do all the rest.
.- I do not think that Senator Lynch was justified in characterizing the criticism of this clause as captious, but the honorable senator must please himself about that. I am discussing the Bill in no party spirit, but solely with a desire that it should be improved. Why should not we be able to say as well as any expert whether the bounty shall be at the rate of 10 per cent, or so much per lb. ?
– We can say that when we come to deal with the schedule.
– We shall not be able to do so if we pass this clause giving the power to the Minister and his experts. The men who are to be invited to enter upon these industries should know where they are under this Bill, and it is the duty of Parliament to let them know. Senator Lynch has said that if any regulations framed under the Bill do not suit, they can Se amended. If a regulation were so outrageously unworkable or unjust that public opinion would demand its alteration, it would be unnecessary for any honorable senator to propose its alteration in this Chamber ; but in any other case an honorable senator desiring to alter a regulation would find very great difficulty in carrying out his desire. Possibly the matter would be one which would affect people in his own State only, and in which senators from the other States would not be interested: I have known objections to be urged in a State Parliament against regulations, and members raising them have had no hope of securing any amendment because when the Government put their feet down their followers supported them. I am anxious to see the Bill go through, but in a form that will be advantageous to the people. It is of no use when men ask us for bread to give them a stone, but that is what is being done in connexion with this Bill. We are handing over, all our power to the Government and to experts of whom we know nothing, and who might be persons in whom, if we knew them, we would have no confidence. We should know exactly what is going to be done and should not trust to regulations. There is no reason why we should not say with respect to every article referred to in the schedule - coffee, cotton, fish, and other things - that the bounty should be so much per cent, or per lb.
– I ask the honorable senator not to discuss the schedule.
– The regulations to be framed under this clause will apply to all the items in the schedule.
The CHAIRMAN. The honorable senator is at liberty to discuss the regulations, but he is not at liberty on this clause to discuss whether the bounties shall be paid per lb. or per cent., as that is a matter dealt with in the schedule.
– I shall take another opportunity of discussing that matter when the schedule comes on. As the regulations to be framed under this clause will virtually be the whole Bill, I thought I was within my rights in referring to the matter on this clause.
– It will be within the recollection of honorable senators that last year I raised an objection to some regulations framed under the Commerce Act. I wished that a reference to fruit in one of the regulations should be taken out, but my motion on that subject was rejected by one or two votes. It was found later that in respect of fruit the regulation to. which I objected was unworkable, and it is not at the present moment being strictly carried out
– How much worse it would have been if that regulation had been a section of an Act of Parliament.
– In the case to which I refer the wisdom, of Parliament would have led to the omission of fruit. I repeat that the regulation which I was unable to alter is not being strictly acted upon at the present time.
– Senator Macfarlane has presented a very strong argument in support of the clause as it stands. He has shown that even a regulation made probably in conference with the parties interested, and after the Bill was passed, an opportunity having been afforded to inquire into details, proved to be unworkable, and to require modification.
– I have shown the difficulty of getting any modification of a regulation.
– It is strange that the honorable, senator should consider that a sufficient reason for making provisions still more rigid by putting them into an Act of Parliament.
– It does not matter how rigid they are if they are right.
– The honorable senator is perfectly correct. If provisions are completely wise, the more rigid they are made the better. But I am sure that Senator Clemons does not consider that, in connexion with all these diverse industries, he is competent to say definitely every course of administration that should be followed.
– This is not a question of administration. The Committee is perfectly competent to enact the matters provided for in paragraphs a, c, and d. If it is not, it is not fit to do any business at all.
– I say that this is largely a matter of administration.
– Then what we should do is to vote ,£400,000 to the Ministry to spend as they think fit.
– So far as we possibly can, we must decide the avenues into which this expenditure shall go. Experience emphasizes the fact that in matters of administration of this character, and especially in dealing with novel industries, it is necessary to give as much elasticity as possible in the framing of regulations if we are to secure effective and wise administration. I admit that I feel extremely incompetent to deal with the details of the industries we are endeavouring to foster by this Bill. I do not think that any member of the Committee is competent to deal with them. But the Executive will be able to confer with the best authorities obtainable, and possibly with! the parties who propose to try to earn thesebounties.
– Does the honorable senator think that he is competent to say whether any one of these industries should1, be encouraged ?
– I think we are all competent to say that it is desirable and right to encourage any industry that hasany reasonable, prospect of success.
– Does the honorable senator know that any of the industriesdealt with in this Bill will be successful?
– I do not. ‘
– Yet, the honorable senator is prepared to support the Bill, and I say that he might just as well vote ^400,000 to the Government.
– Senator Clemons has had a good deal of experience, and I have had some. All modern experience teaches us that those- who make hardandfast provision continually find themselves jammed into a corner. In order to» prevent the al 1,-too- frequent necessity in modern legislation of amending measuresrecently passed, all Parliaments similar toours are adopting the practice of legislating with reference to definite principles, and leaving the administration of measures tobe carried out by regulations made from time to time.
– These are not matters of administration. They are the essence of the Bill itself.
– I’ differ from the honorable senator. I urge the Committee to be very careful indeed that, in< connexion with proposed expenditure of thismagnitude, they do not, from lack of knowledge, tie up the administration of this measure. While we are uninformed as to thedetails of these industries, we have ample information to justify us in affirming the principle of the Bill. That is what we. should mainly concern ourselves with, and! we should hand over matters of administration to the Executive, on whom Parliament continually has its hand. I feel that it will be disastrous if we attempt in the body of the Bill to do that which it is proposed’ should be left to be done by regulations.
– The matterswhich are dealt with in the three paragraphs referred to by Senator Clemons are matters of great importance, but at the same time they are, in my opinion, mattersof detail. If the Committee should want them provided for in special clauses I am not in a position to accept the responsibility of bringing such clauses down ; nor do I think that the Government would be in a position, until it had consulted a number of persons, to bring down concrete proposals to cover all those cases.
– Could it not do so after consultation ?
– How long would that take? ..
– Surely it can be done easily within a month or two months?
– We want the principles contained in the Bill to be affirmed by Parliament as early as possible, so that we can get to work. The framing of regulations will be taken in hand immediately the Bill is passed.
– We shall be in the middle of the Tariff discussion then.
– Within thirty days from the making of them we must table the regulations in each House. It would then be open to any honorable senator to take exception to any regulation, and, if he thought.it advisable, to ask the Senate to disallow it. Even if he did not follow that course, the Government, upon having its attention drawn to a regulation which might be thought to be unsatisfactory or even obnoxious or harmful, would overcome the difficulty by withdrawing the regulation and substituting a new one. But concrete proposals to cover the matters referred to in paragraphs a, c, and d would involve a considerable amount of consultation. Surely honorable senators do not expect the Government to come down now with definite proposals to be incorporated in the Bill? The same results can be achieved by means of regulations much more satisfactorily, much more safely, and also with greater certainty, because they can be made adaptable to the varying requirements of different case’s. I hope that honor- - able senators will see that it is more practical to deal with the matters by regulation than by specific provisions. If they negative paragraphs a, c, and d, -they will place the Government in an unfortunate and awkward position. If they desire that the clause should be postponed for further consideration, I am quite willing to move its postponement; but I would point out to them the seriousness of asking us at this juncture to bring down detailed provisions upon which we could with any confidence rely to be applicable, not today or to-morrow, but during the whole period of the operation of the measure.
– The Government will (need to have confidence in the regulations.
– The regulations framed under an Act can always be amended very readily by the Government, and it is open to either House of the Parliament to veto any regulation to which it objects.
– I hope that the Minister is not going to ask the Committee to postpone the clause because he thinks that otherwise it may be lost. If he will be quite open with us, and agree to postpone the clause with a view to embodying the subject-matters of paragraphs a, c, and d in special provisions, I shall not object.
– I cannot agree to do that.
– What is the use of postponing the clause and having the debate all over again? I do not want to injure but to improve the Bill.
– - I wish honorable senators distinctly to understand that we cannot accept a proposal of the kind made by Senator Clemons. If it were carried against the Government the result would be an immediate report of progress. We are advised that the suggestions of Senator Clemons are impracticable, and that the most effective way of carrying out the purposes of the Bill is by means of regulations. We desire the Bill to be a success, but we are advised that it cannot be made a success by inserting cast-iron provisions dealing with matters which we propose shall be the subject of regulations, as suggested by Senator Clemons. From the very first we have had the advantage of expert advice. -
– Surely we have some brains, too.
– I ‘ imagine that there are some subjects on which my honorable friend is not regarded as an expert.
– I grant that.
– I do not pretend that I am competent to deal with a measure of this kind, except on expert advice. At the very beginning the Government took into its confidence the experts in the various States, because they had made these matters a life-long study. Honorable senators will see that we are only following precedent. In the case of the sugar bounty it was found necessary to enact a provision similar to clause 9 of this Bill.
– No ; utterly different.
– Will the honorable senator say that it was practicable at any stage of the Sugar Bounty Bill to enact the machinery which was afterwards provided by regulations?
– It is quite possible to enact that a bounty shall be paid at the rate of so much per ton.
– That is already provided for.
– It is also possible to define what the market value shall be.
– For the successful administration of the measure it is necessary that the Government shall have power to frame regulations. If my honorable friends desire to see this scheme of bounties made a success, they will withdraw their opposition to this clause, because we all have in view the same object, and that is to effectively carry out the purposes of the Bill.
– I . am surprised at the heat and earnestness with which our suggestions are combated by Ministers. We all recognise that there must be regulations framed under the Bill. In regard to every item in the schedule there will be a large number of regulations dealing with matters of detail, which we would not dream of embodying in the Bill. All we desire is to get a little definite information on three simple points. The first point is what is the minimum quantity of goods to be produced to entitle a grower or producer to claim the bounty? Surely.it is easy to enact how much ginned cotton, or jute,’ or hemp, or mohair should be produced for that purpose.
– How much would the honorable senator say should be produced? Let him give us a sample of his knowledge.
– I am not prepared to say how much of each article should be produced, but the Government have had the advice of experts, and they might be prepared to state the quantity in the case of each item. The second point is an important one, and that is in what way is the market value to be determined. At present that is left altogether vague. Honorable senators, not only on this side, but also on the other side, desire to know whether the marVet value is to be the price in Australia or the price outside Australia, whether it is to be the price plus the bounty, or the price minus the bounty. Surely that is a simple question to answer. The third point is within what period shall the bounty be paid? It is only on those three simple points that we desire to elicit definite information. If the consideration of the clause be postponed the Government could consult their experts, and in a day or so acquaint us with their views.
– If the last speaker would only give a little more thought to these very simple matters he would see how hollow is his contention. Take, for instance, paragraph d, which deals with the time in which the bounty shall be paid. Who in this Chamber is wise enough to say what particular time is required in this island continent, where the seasons are widely diversified, where, occasionally, it is impossible to . say with any degree of exactitude whether a man will get the products of his labour?
– Who, outside the Chamber, can say that?
– If the honorable senator agrees that it is impossible to do that-
– I do not agree with the honorable senator. ‘
– I am sure that the honorable senator is sufficiently acquainted with our conditions to know that Australia is the one country in the world at present which has erratic seasons. While we have erratic seasons it is impracticable to prescribe the time in a rigid clause, because the duration of a season has an allimportant bearing on the production of an article. Some States have been obliged to remit the rents of Crown lands because of the bad seasons experienced by the lessees. The seasons vary greatly. It would be impossible to make allowance for the fluctuations of the seasons unless the provision were made elastic. Then again there are different means of determining the value of goods. Take cotton. The method of weighing cotton is not fixed. The bale of cotton is undergoing changes from year to year. We cannot be sure that a bale of cotton produced in North Queensland will not in a few years be recognised at a different weight and price from those that prevail to-day. If cotton were disposed of in the same way as gold - if there were a standard of value in every country - there would be some sense in fixing a standard in this Bill. But the bounty paid on cotton by reference to the size of the bale would necessarily vary from time to time.
There must be an elastic method of determining what the Government should do in these respects.
First paragraph agreed to.
– Senator Keating has suggested that lie would not be adverse to postponing this clause until the schedule has been disposed of. I think that it would be better to postpone it, because difficulties in the way of fixing the minimum quantity of goods by Statute will probably disappear after the schedule has been passed. Judging from opinions which have been expressed, I fancy that the schedule will be much simpler when we have disposed of it. One objection to giving any Government the right to fix the minimum quantity of goods is this : If a dishonest Government came into power it might so fix the minimum as to prevent small men from becoming claimants for the bounty, and to allow the richer producers to absorb the whole amount.
– The decision of the Government would not be final.
– If, on the strength of a regulation made by the Government, people entered into an industry, it would be a gross breach of faith to make the bounty nugatory so far as they were concerned. I am keenly anxious to see the schedule passed, and I regret to gather from some remarks by the Vice- President of the Executive Council that he is inclined to hold a threat over us that if we amend the clause in this particular he will find it necessary to report progress.. I take it that he means that the Government will drop the measure.
– If we lose clause 9 - yes.
– The whole of clause 9?
– I am inclined to think that after we have dealt with the schedule the present difficulty will vanish, and that the Bill will be sufficiently simplified to enable the Government to meet the views of the Opposition. If, however, the schedule is to pass practically unaltered, I believe that the proposals made by honorable senators on this side of the Chamber cannot be given effect to.
– There is no doubt that the criticism on this clause, which has been advanced by the Opposition, has had. a considerable effect. We are discussing one of the most important provisions in the Bill. It deals with the power of prescribing the minimum quantity of goods entitling the grower to claim the bounty, the proportion in which the bounty shall be payable, the manner in which the market value is to be determined, and the time within which the production of the goods shall be completed. Yet the Minister has told us that he is not in a position to give us any definite information upon a single one of those items. He was, I presume, referring to information from the experts. It is not altogether an illogical conclusion that the experts have not furnished that information. The inference must be drawn that they have been neglecting their duty in this respect. Over and over again it has been pointed out that our information on these points was defective, and we expected that the Minister would by this time have been able to furnish us with particulars as to the principles upon which the Government would be guided in administering the measure. It is evident that the Bill is being rushed through for some purpose. Otherwise, why has the Minister come down to the Senate with imperfect information? The Vice-President of the Executive Council is now hanging threats over us. When we consider that one of the most important essentials relates to its administration by regulation, and that not a single guiding line is indicated as to what will be the essential elements in the administration, I think the Committee will be well advised in watching the further progress of the measure most carefully.
– To listen to those honorable senators who wish that all the details connected with the payment of the bounties should be set down in the Bill, one would imagine that the Government had some deep, dark and deadly scheme up its sleeve. Apparently honorable senators have no confidence whatever in the Administration, and want to kill the Bill. No one knows better than Senator Clemons that in measures of this kind it is very unusual to give full details as to how Administration is to be conducted.
– The honorable senator would want details in any other Bill.
– Especially if any provision affected wages.
– I have always been prepared to allow details of that kind to be provided for by regulation. .
– The honorable senator did not leave the minimum wage provision of the Public Service Actto be provided for by regulation.
– That was a different matter altogether. To insist upon the minimum quantity of goods being specified in a Bill of this character is pushing matters too far.
– Details should, when they can, be specified, and be left to regulation whenthey cannot be specified.
– Cannot we specify the quantity of cotton?
– I see no reason for specifying in the Bill the particular quantity of cotton or coffee. That will be a matter to be decided by experience in the course of the administration of the Act.
-And by consultation with parties interested.
– Yes, but always assuming that the Government will keep continually in view the best interests of the Commonwealth and the principles of this Bill. I appeal to honorable senators not to be too critical or to insist upon too much. They ought to be. satisfied that Parliament is ready to spend so large a sum in the encouragement of new industries.
– We do not want to waste money.
– No one desires to do so. Honorable senators should not insist on loading up the Bill with a great deal of unnecessary detail. If provisions such as they advocate are embodied in the Bill, then no matter how badly the sections work in actual experience they cannot be altered without an amendment of the Act itself.
– I ask the honorable senator to confine himself to the paragraph before the Chair. That deals only with the minimum quantity of goods.
-If the clause is altered in the way some honorable senators desire, it cannot afterwards be amended without an amendment of the Act. Any regulations made by theGovernor-General in Council must be submitted to Parliament. They will be subjected to the constant test of experience, and, if they are found not to work well, they can be altered by the Governor-General in Council without all the trouble and delay of bringing an amending measure before Parliament.
– Parliament will have to approve of the alterations. We can alter the Act just as easily as the regulations.
– The approval of the altered regulations would be a formal matter. If honorable senators desire to give this measure a fair trial, I appeal to them to abandon their opposition on minor details. They have accepted the principle of the Bill, and have agreed to the expenditure of a very large sum. Having swallowed the camel, they should not strain at the gnat.
.- We are told that the Government have had expert advice in drafting the Bill. Are we not to be taken into their confidence as to that advice, or must we vote for the Bill blindly ? Cannot the Government give us some idea of the quantity of goods necessary to be produced before bounty can be claimed? After the Bill is passed, men will not want to wait for regulations to be framed. Surely Parliament is powerful enough to prescribe the necessary quantities. If experts have been at work on the Bill, they must have decided on some minimum quantities. If they have not, they are not fit to advise the Government. Why not state distinctly in the Bill that before any bounty can be claimed the minimum quantity of goods to be produced in a particular line shall be 1 cwt. or 5 cwt., as the case may be? Apparently we must swallow theBill whole, or be threatened with the abandonment of the measure. Although I am very much interested in the Bill, I shall be prepared to vote against the clause, even if it wrecks the Bill, sooner than see Parliament hand its powers over to some experts without knowing what they are going to do.
Question - That paragraph a stand as printed - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Paragraph a agreed to.
– I again suggest the advisability of postponing the next two paragraphs until the Committee have dealt with the schedule. By that time the question may be so simplified by the reduction of the schedule to a few definite and easily-understood items that the Government may be able to meet the views of honorable senators who object to the clause as it stands.
Paragraph b agreed to.
– In regard to paragraph c I desire to ask the Minister whether bounty will be allowed in the case of a claimant who holds his stuff over till the following year, in order to secure a better price for it? If not, I desire to move an amendment to add the words, “ whether the goods are sold or not by the producer.”
– Bounties are not given on sale, but on production. It does not matter whether the goods are sold or not.
Question - That paragraph c stand as printed- put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Paragraph c agreed to.
Question - That paragraph d stand as printed - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Paragraph d agreed to.
Clause 9 agreed to.
– I think it will be found more convenient for the discussion of the schedule if each item is put separately, and I propose to adopt that course.
Cotton, ginned, (period) 8 years, (rate of bounty) 10 per cent. on market value, (maximum payable in any one year)£6,000.
– I direct the attention of the Minister of Home Affairs to the fact that this maximum amount of £6,000, multiplied by 8, . the number of years during which the bounty may be paid, represents £48,000. If these maximum amounts throughout the schedule are calculated in the same way, the total will represent £533,000, whereas under the Bill it is proposed to spend on these bounties only £412,500. It will be seen that there is a difference between the total of the maximum amount in the fourth column of the first schedule and the total amount in the second schedule of £121,500.
.- I think that we are proceeding in a somewhat unusual manner. An item has been submitted, which represents an expenditure of £48,000, and with all respect I consider it is the duty of the Minister of Home Affairs to give the Committee a short statement of his arguments in support of the proposal.
– Why should the Minister speak when he has the numbers’?
– I do not suppose that because the Government have a majority they have lost all sense of decency. In the State Parliament to which I have been accustomed, it has been almost a universal practice for honorable members to remain silent until the Minister in charge of a Bill has made his speech in introducing any particular proposal. I have not been accustomed to hear the Chairman put items to a Committee representing an expenditure of £50,000 without a word from the Minister.
– In this -Senate that is the invariable practice.
– I was not accustomed to that in the State Parliament. I consider this a very improper proceeding. We are asked to pass an item involving an expenditure of ,£48,000, and the Minister has not said a word in support .of it, although there have been scores of pamphlets printed concerning the industry, and information on which the honorable senator might easily have made a speech to justify the action of the Government. We should at least be told that there is a reasonable prospect that the spending of this money in the way proposed will have the effect we all desire of establishing the cottongrowing industry in the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator should read the report of the experts.
– Since reading their report I have read two other reports, and information on the subject has been published which would enable the Minister to make a speech of an hour’s duration on this item. We certainly should hear some argument in support of it.
– I’ think that Senator Dobson ‘s criticism is amply justified. We can make some allowance for a feeling of irritation on the Ministerial bench, due to the criticism which has been launched against the action of honorable senators opposite, but if it is to render them sullen, so much the worse for the Minister in charge nf the Bill.
– The Government should issue a booklet dealing with every item in the schedule !
– As I have already said in dealing with the expenditure of .£50,000, if the amount is stated quickly it may not appear to be very much. Still, this is not the attitude which the Committee should adopt in dealing with the expenditure of public money. If this kind of thing is to continue, it will appear that the Government are inviting something for which, probably, they are looking. As they have carried the second reading of the Bill, they need fear no undue obstruction from this side ; but, at the same time, I hope that we shall receive every consideration in trying, to make this measure of real service to the country. We should let the people know exactly what we are doing and why we are doing it; but if honorable senators on both sides remain dumb, what information will the people get as to the reasons by which we have been guided to a particular allocation of this money ?
– I ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the item.
– “Very well ; I shall get right into the question of cotton.
– Does the honorable senator propose any alteration ?
– I propose to speak on this item, because it happens to be about the only one in the schedule of which I know a. little from personal observation. Seeing that the Government have had eighteen months or two years in which to hatch this Bounties Bill, and have during that time been in frequent consultation with experts from the different States, the Minister of Home Affairs should be able to give the Committee some definite information in support of the expenditure proposed in connexion with this item. On the second reading of the Bill, I said that there was some prospect of a successful establishment of the cotton industry. I take this opportunity of sa.ying that, no doubt owing to my indistinct enunciation, I was misrepresented in the A,gus of this morning as having referred to coffee when I really referred’ to cotton, but I find that Hansard has reported me correctly. In regard to cotton we have two conflicting reports, namely, the report of the experts called in by the Government, and, subsequently, a report from the Queensland expert, Mr. Daniel Jones. If we had ‘ to depend entirely upon expert information in regard to this item, it is evident that the Committee would have a very unreliable guide as to how to proceed. I believe that the only State in which cotton has been grown with economic success is Queensland. I believe that cotton growing was begun in that State during the progress of the American Civil War, when there was a dearth in the supply of raw cotton for the Lancashire Mills. It was found that in the south-eastern portion of Queensland the soil and the climate were likely to be very favorable to the growth of cotton. As the value of cotton in the English market had risen, and as its growth had been proved to be an economic success, the industry was started in Queensland. The Government of the day assisted the growers by giving a grant of £5,000 for the first 5,000 yards of marketable cotton cloth. Many farmers made the experiment, and for a time it was successful. But after the conclusion of the Civil War, when the cotton growers in the United States started to grow cotton again, cotton growing in Queensland did not pay, or other crops paid” better. The areas under cotton gradually went out of cultivation.
– Does the honorable senator say that the Queensland Government gave a bonus for the production of cotton ?
– They gave a bounty of ,£5,000 for the first 5,000 yards of cotton cloth manufactured in the State.
– That was given for the manufacture, and not for the production of cotton.
– I have not said otherwise. A cotton factory was established in- Ipswich, and remained in existence for three or four years. So far as the climate and soil of Queensland were concerned, it was shown that cottongrowing was very likely to be an economic success. I want to show honorable senators that, although they have had an adverse report in regard to’ the chance of cotton being grown successfully in- Queensland, the report of its expert and any informationwhich they may get from its Government axe likely to be more reliable. I propose to read some extracts from a report which Mr. Daniel Jones, the Queensland expert, supplied to the Department of Agriculture and Stock, on a visit to the Darling Downs and Maranoa districts on matters relative to the cotton industry. Unless I read the extracts it is quite possible that the item of cotton may receive a bad handling. Although for the reasons I have given I am opposed to the Bill generally, yet, as I think that cotton is one of the most favorable subjects for a bounty, and as an adverse report from the experts on the other side has been quoted, it is well for hon orable senators to listen to so much as has been written in favour of cottongrowing in Queensland.
– I am afraid that if the honorable senator “ stone-walls “ much longer he will lose the item.
– - He is doing his best to kill it now.
– I u I understand that several representatives of Queensland will have a great deal to say on this item. I shall not read so many extracts as I had intended to quote since I have received from the Minister an indication that a bounty of £48,000 in all is likely to be voted for the production of ginned cotton. I feel perfectly certain that for the next ten years, if cotton-growing is to advance anywhere, it will go ahead in Queensland. Perhaps, under the circumstances, as I have got a favorable indication from the Minister, I had better content myself with reading only one extract to show the value of the industry, and the possibility of success being achieved in Queensland.
With regard to the 2 acres grown by Mr. Giles, the schoolmaster at Stake-yard, referred to above, it is stated by a local correspondent at Willumbilla that the crop is estimated to be 1,500 lbs. per acre.
Mr. Jones incidentally remarks that the Sea Island variety is worth ‘one farthing to a halfpenny per lb. more in seed than Upland.
The cost of picking cotton is set down by the Queensland Agricultural Department at lid. per lb.
Dr. Thomatis, of Cairns, in paper forwarded to the Royal Society” of Victoria, and read before a meeting on 21st March, 1904, claimed that his new variety named “ Cavaronica I.” gave the surprising yield of 1,200 lbs. of ginned cotton per acre, and has been pronounced by experts in America, India, and Europe, to be worth lod. per lb. Another variety, Cavaronica II., is of greater value - rs. per lb., but the yield was not stated.
Cavaronica I. is a tree cotton, and being perennial is cultivated the same as an orchard tree. It is planted 7 ft. by 7 ft. apart, about 900 trees per acre. A young tree, six months old, will attain a height of 7 feet, and will bear a small crop the first season. It requires to be pruned back slightly every year, to keep the tree robust and of a workable size. A single tree is said to yield from 300 to 500 bolls in a season, and these ‘bolls are so large that 70 will make 1 lb. That is, from 4 lbs. to 7 lbs. of seed cotton, or about i£ lbs. to 2^ lbs. of clean lint, worth rod. per lb.
That is very hopeful and encouraging, but on page 6 of the same report honorable senators will find some figures relative to the probable cost of production and return per acre: ‘ I have no doubt that Senator Chataway, who, knows infinitely more about the subject than I do, will address the Com- . mittee in favour of the item. I believe that if the bounty stimulates the growing of cotton under what I regard as favorable circumstances in Queensland, it will be of very great advantage to the Commonwealth. The crop is gathered at a time when the farmer nas his hands comparatively free. It is an industry in which boys or girls above the age of thirteen or fourteen years can earn a very fair wage under most favorable conditions. It involves no hardship or slavery. The work is far easier and more agreeable than is the case during some seasons of the year in the dairying industry. If the cotton industry can be profitably carried on it will be a blessing, not merely to Queensland, but to Australia.
– That is why the honorable senator tried to knock out the Bill on the second reading.
– The honorable senator is always imputing that kind of conduct to me. I do not propose to explain the reasons for my action either to him or to any one else here. What I have said I have said, and it can stand for what it is worth. Recently some persons so far north as Charters Towers tried an experiment there in cotton-growing. The other day I received a report, in which it was stated that the prospects were most encouraging. If, in the sugar districts, and even in the mining districts, cotton-growing can be established as a subsidiary industry, it will be of immense advantage to the Commonwealth.
– I have not yet received a reply from the Minister of Home Affairs.
– Here is the cotton itself.
– I shall be very glad to hear from Senator Keating some arguments as to why the item should be passed. It is only due to the Committee and to the public that he should state the reasons which induced the Government to propose the item. Judging from the attitude which he is taking up, it appears to me that he intends to rely upon his majority. Sb far as I can see, every item will be allowed to pass without a word of explanation or argument being offered from the other side. A total sum of £412,500 would be voted before half-past 6 o’clock this evening if Ministers were allowed to have their way. That is not my idea of how public business should be transacted or public money appropriated. If the Ministry will not explain the reason for submitting each item as it is reached, I suppose it cannot be helped. What I have risen chiefly to do is to move that the first item be postponed. There must be some items which, in the opinion of honorable senators, are more important than others. I think that if we can make out a case for cotton-growing in the Northern . Territory, and Northern Queensland, it will be the most important item of all. But I have yet to be convinced that we have sufficient data to show that this bounty will achieve the object of making cotton-growing a permanent industry. I am hopeful that we may get over the difficulty incidental to the experimental stage, but if that is so, the industry will want a great deal of fostering and of scientific experiment. Believing that it will be of great advantage to Australia, I shall be in favour of dealing with the industry even more liberally than is now proposed. I take it, from what has been said, that honorable senators are inclined to knock out some of the items. We shall therefore have more money to give asbounties for cotton-growing.
– We cannot do that.
– We can, by obtaining another message from the GovernorGeneral. Apparently, my honorable friend, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, has made up his mind that we are to swallow the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill. In the Parliament with which I was familiar before I became a senator, if Ministers found that a new Governor’s message was required, they brought it down.
– That cannot be done under, this Bill.
– If we reduce other items by £100,000, and desire to apply an extra .£25,000 towards the encouragement of cotton-growing, why cannot that be done?
– We cannot do it under this Bill.
– We can, if the Government bring down a new message.
– I believe our procedure is elastic enough to allow it to be done. Some of us may be of opinion that the Bill proposes to give too much to angora goats and too little to cotton ; and why should not that opinion be given effect to?
– Senator Dobson has hardly stated the position fairly in implying that the practice in this Parliament, on measures of this kind, has been for Ministers to rise and give an explanation with, regard to every item. We have dealt with many similar measures - the Tariff, the Excise. Bill, various Appropriation Bills, and Bills providing for public works and buildings. The invariable practice has been, in Committee, that each item has been called on, and unless some honorable senator has asked for an explanation, the Minister has not been expected to rise to justify, every detail. During the second-reading debate, honorable senators indicate the items to which it is likely that exception will be taken. When that is done, the Minister is, in Committee, usually more or less prepared to meet the opposition foreshadowed. In listening to the speeches of honorable senators upon the second reading, I was led to believe that there was a general consensus of opinion that cotton was an article, the production of which* in Australia we might wisely encourage by means of a bounty. I wish to supplement some remarks made on this item by Senator St. Ledger ; and I shall be indebted, .as he was, to a report which has been circulated amongst honorable senators. He has referred to some remarks made by Mr. Jones, the Queensland expert, respecting crops produced in Queensland. Mr. Jones especially comments upon crops produced by Mr. Giles, the schoolmaster at Stake-yard, and Dr. Thomatis, of Cairns, [n each instance, reference is made to the enormous yield. Mr. Giles produced a crop estimated at 1,500 lbs. per acre, and Dr. Thomatis had a crop which yielded t, 200 lbs. of ginned cotton per acre. The latter crop has been pronounced by experts to be worth 10d. per lb. An earlier passage in the same report contains a paragraph, the breciate of which is, “ What was done in Queensland.” It is stated -
The Queensland experience somewhat tallies with that of the United States, where - in an average year - 27^ million acres produce about n million bales of ginned cotton weighing about 500 pounds each. The figures are, therefore, Queensland average 296 lbs. of ginned cotton per. acre; Southern United States, 200 lbs. per acre.
It will thus be seen that these crops were remarkable. The average for Queensland is stated to be 296 lbs. per acre. Of course, there is not the area under crop in Queensland that there is in the United States, where 27,500,000 acres are under cotton. In the United States the average production is 200 lbs. per acre, as compared with 296 lbs. per acre in Queensland. It is not to be assumed that because the average in Queensland over a comparatively small acreage is greater than the average of the United States in the proportion of 296 to 200,- therefore land-owners could immediately, with great profit to themselves, enter upon the growth of cotton, and that the industry would at once be successfully established. Further on, the report says -
In the Barbados Agricultural News of March, 1906, it is officially reported that one estate in which 50 acres were planted with cotton yielded 12,563 lbs. of ginned cotton, an average of 251 lbs. to the acre.
The report goes on to show that cotton does not need such strict attention and care to preserve it from drought and pests as do many other -crops.
– That is one of the great features about cotton growing.
– Exactly, and that is what the experts advert to. Mr. Jones, in his report, says -
My investigations indicate conclusively that in cotton we have a valuable asset by reason of its simple cultivation, its short period of maturity, its hardihood in its ability to stand drought, its high value which permits its transport for long distances without materially adding to the cost of production.
Commenting further upon these features, he says -
These advantages make it a safer crop to depend upon than any other that I have observed in cultivation in these districts.
It will, therefore, be seen that Queensland has already shown its capacity for producing cotton of a merchantable kind. The only reason why those engaged in its production discontinued their efforts must have been on account of the strenuous competition to which they were subjected by cotton-growers abroad.. On page 6 of the report appears a statement setting out the cost of production, the average yield per acre, the price per lb., the gross yield per acre, the net return per acre, and the varieties cultivated. Three varieties are referred to, Sea Island, Uplands, and Caravonica. They were estimated to yield respectively 750, 1,200, and 2,000 lbs. of seed-cotton per acre. The price per lb. ranged from 1½d. in the case of Uplands to 3d. in the case of Caravonica. The gross yield per acre ranged from £7 10s. t0 £25. The net return per acre ranged from £3 13s. 10d. to £20 3s. With regard to ginned cotton, the average yields are given as 300 lbs. per acre in the case of Sea Island, 500 lbs.- per acre for Uplands, and 1,000 lbs. for Caravonica. The net returns per acre were £14 12s. 7d. for
Sea Island, £6 3s. Iod. for Uplands, and £28 9s. 8d. for Caravonica. The report states that -
The Public Ledger of 9th March, 1907, quotes -the price in London of Australian cotton at from 6fd. to 7d. Other prices on the same day were - Bengal, 3 7-i6d. and 4 3-3ad. ; Madras’, 5 3-i6d. to 5½d ; West Indian, 6£d. :to /d. ; and American Sea Island, 9½d. to is. 8d.
Further on, the report says -
The demand for cotton in the world’s markets is practically unlimited, but it is unlikely for -many years to come the production in Australia will be so great that the necessity for seeking foreign markets will arise. . . . The British Cotton Growing Association, Manchester, stated in 1904 that they were willing to purchase all seed cotton of any quality for id. per lb.
The association stated that this would be about -equal to about 3d. per lb. for ginned cotton in the Liverpool market.
A statement was published in the Melbourne Age of 1st July, 1906, to the effect that Mr. Donaldson, manager for Kitchen and Sons Limited - which has established a ginning plant in Queensland - said -
Last year about 42 tons of unginned cotton was grown in Queensland and handled by the Government. This year Messrs. Kitchen and Sons have entered into the business of ginning, and will probably deal with the entire crop. The firm is offering the farmers 1½d. per lb. for their unginned material, and is giving the farmers seed free and paying the railage to Brisbane, where we have erected ginning machinery, which one day we hope to be able to always keep going. Our offer, including railage, really amounts to 1 3/8 d. per lb., and not r4d., and is an impovement on that made by the British Cotton Growers’ Association. This year’s crop will be about the same as last year’s, viz., 42 tons. Next year, however, the firm intends developing the entire business by leasing 100 acres itself and planting cotton seed. This means that the 1907 crop will be at least twice that of 1906. I have already telegraphed to an agent to select suitable land, so that we may go ahead. The acquisition of the 100 acres doubles the acreage under cultivation, and -will demonstrate the possibilities of the revived industry. Mr. Daniel Jones, of the Queensland Agricultural Department, who is rendering ‘us every assistance, believes that on the experience of the last two experimental seasons there will be no difficulty about the labour for picking. The cotton was grown, it is true, in small patches of from one to ten acre blocks, -but several farmers who sent in their crop this year have intimated their intention to increase their areas considerably in 1907. The average yield to the farmers last year was a clear £q per acre. Mr. Jones thinks the crop will pay better than maize and wheat in many districts. I think, of course, that to develop the industry and to encourage those who have ventured into it to greater efforts a small Federal bonus is necessary. Once the cotton is produced there ls no difficulty in disposing of it in Australia. We don’t need to send it to England. At pre sent we are sending the seed to Melbourne to be pressed and used in the making of soap. The cotton seed cake is used for cattle. The fibre is rapidly sold in connection with the flannelette and other industries in Australia and New Zealand.
Then this is an important feature to which I wish to direct the attention of honorable senators : -
When we have supplied - as we shall not for many years - our own market, there is the great Japanese market at our doors. Japan imported 151,000,000 lbs. of cotton in one very recent half-year.
If that half-year is to be taken as a criterion, Japan’s importation of cotton would amount to about 300,000,000 lbs. per year. The Japanese are a very self-reliant race, and therefore must have very little opportunity of growing cotton themselves. If we have the facilities, and can encourage and develop the industry, as I am confident that we can, there is no reason why we should not have at an early date ari excellent chance of placing our cotton in some of those very populous Eastern markets which cannot be supplied locally. We can do it just as easily as other countries.
– Do they object to the products of white labour entering their country ?
– They do not object to the products, but they very often do object to white people entering Japan, and obtaining a foothold there, because they believe in the principle of “ Japan for the Japanese.” The experts in their report mention the drought-resisting qualities of the cotton plant. That is one of the features that make it so suitable for cultivation. It is stated further that -
The picking of cotton is a work in which young fingers are best. Girls and boys from 14 years upwards can be employed in the picking, which is by no means laborious.
Those who have investigated the matter say that it is rather a beneficial occupation in certain circumstances for young people. The work is in the open air, and is not attended by the unfavorable conditions surrounding some other tropical industries. The experts ‘add -
One great advantage is that the picking takes place during the cooler months of the year - April, May, and June, “ when the rainfall in Queensland and the Northern Territory is the least.
All this evidence proves that many parts of Australia can produce cotton of a good merchantable quality; that the conditions of production are such that people of our own race can readily conform to them, that there is an enormous market for cotton in Australia itself, and that, even after Australia is supplied, there is still opportunity for obtaining markets abroad. In all these circumstances we should be wise to provide a bounty for a period of years in the hope that thereby we shall be establishing on a firm foundation the beginnings of a cotton industry that will expand in Australia and become worthy of the Continent itself, as well as of the people inhabiting it.
– I should like to say a few words about this item, as it is one of the few which I favour. The Minister’s closing words are not justified by the item as it stands in the schedule. I have worked out the question of the extent to which the proposed bounty will establish the industry in Australia, and I have been astonished at the result. If we take the Caravonica variety of cotton of which the Minister spoke, and the yield that is set out as the average yield for that variety, the bounty of 10 per cent., on ‘the market value - taking the market value as given in the expert’s report - will amount to about £2 14s. per acre. We are going to spend a total of £6,000 per year for eight ‘ years. A bounty of £2 14s. per acre means that 2,400 acres will swamp the whole of the yearly grant. Is the cultivation of 2,400 acres an industry of Commonwealth dimensions ?
– The total bounty is to be £48,000.
– - Yes, and it will be paid for 2,400 acres of cottongrowing. Instead of splitting up the total grant into so many small items, it would have been better to set apart as much as £25,000 a year for this industry, which is well worth encouraging. If the whole of the ridiculously smail sum of £6,000 a year is used, it will only give us a. cultivation of 2,400 acres, but probably a good many years will pass before that area is under cotton cultivation. In the meantime, what will happen ? The Bill is to come into force as from the 1st July, 1907. More time will slip away before the farmers actually get going, so that the bounty will practically only be operative for about five years.
– In the preceding years the amounts will accumulate.
– At present none of the farmers know what the conditions of the bounty are to be, and consequently none of them will have complied with those condi- tions. Meanwhile the time is going on. I do> not think we can say that an area of 2,400 acres, or anything like it, is under cotton cultivation at present. The object of my criticism is to show that, if the industry is worth what we think it is, encouragement should be offered to it in a. much more thorough manner, and a greater sum set apart for it, so that some resultsworthy of the name could be achieved.
.- Senator Pearce has given some reasons why the item should be adopted in its present form. His calculations prove that thebounty can provide for 2,400 acres ot cottoncultivation the first year. It is obvious that the bounty will hardly be claimed at air in the first year. Therefore, as the total amount is appropriated, if it is not paid thefirst year it can be paid the second year, so that a much larger acreage may be provided for. But if we can establish successful profitable production of cotton over ar> area of 2,400 acres, we shall have accomplished the object of giving the bounty, because we shall have shown that cottongrowing can be successfully carried on. That will warrant men with means and knowledgeentering the industry as a commercial speculation which is likely to be profitable. If” we had as much money as we should liketo have, we could probably grant a. great deal more for cotton. But whilst cotton is undoubtedly a most! important item - which is, perhaps, capable of becoming, if all the circumstances are favorable, as valuable toAustralia as our great woollen industry - still there are a large number of industries in the world, the products of which we require. Our population is already approaching. 5,000,000 souls, and is continually increasing. We ought, therefore, to aim at establishing not merely one industry, however important, but a large number of industries, in order to give variety of employment to» our people. Cotton-growing can be an> enormously important industry, as theworld’s history shows. But large numbers of persons would not care for it or thework incidental to it. In order to meet thevaried tastes and capacities of our people’, we ought to aim at establishing a large number of pursuits that have not already taken. root in the Commonwealth. While we all’ admit that it would be better if we could grant a larger bounty for this item, wehave .given,’ in all the circumstances, as- much to it as we can afford, considering -that it is desirable to stimulate and encourage a large number of other industries.
– - I rather favour the idea expressed by Senator Pearce, as I indicated last night. 1 am convinced that his view is much more in harmony with the importance of the industry than Senator Trenwith’s. There is a very great difference between Senator Trenwith’s version of this item and the conditions governing it, and the Minister’s version, given only a few minutes ago. The Minister, by interjection, told us that we could not alter an item so far as the total amount of bounty was concerned. But Senator Trenwith says that, although the bounty for cotton begins on ist July, 1907, the Government may in 1908 or 1909 distribute the amount of the bounty which has accumulated up to that time. As against that argument, the schedule itself provides that the maximum amount to be paid in any one year is ,£6,000. Consequently, if two or three years pass from the ist of July last without the bounty being paid, the money cannot be used in subsequent years, and the effect will be to reduce the total bounty offered.
– Possibly the honorable senator is right, but I do not think lie is.
– I think I am. I- have a great deal of hope for the cotton industry, which I believe will be of infinite service to the Commonwealth. It offers a wide scope and variety of employment. For these reasons I advocate the increase of the bounty payable for cotton production. The Minister in charge pf the Bill says that the amount of bounty cannot be increased. The Bill enacts that the bounty shall come into force as from the ist of July this year, and :the schedule provides that the amount payable irc any one year is not to be more than £6,000. Therefore, if we wish to give the industry the full benefit of the very inadequate provision which the Government have made for it, it will be absolutely necessary to. alter the date at which the bounty begins -to take effect. Otherwise we shall injure -the prospects of what should undoubtedly :be a great industry, because of the universal demand for cotton. The markets of the world are crying out for it, and this is therefore an industry which we should ido all that we can to encourage and develop in Australia.
– On the second reading of the Bill I stated that I was personally in favour pf a bounty for the cotton industry on what, I called the disappearing principle. In. view of that statement, I move -
That after the word “value” the following words be inserted : - “ in the first year of cultivation, and thereafter reducible annually by lis cent.”
If this amendment be accepted, the industry, at the close of the eight years’ period, will have to be continued without further assistance. I point out that if some such amendment be not agreed to, cotton growers will get a bounty at the. ‘ rate of 10 per cent, in the eighth year, as well as in the first year, and in the ninth year they will get nothing. It is, in my opinion, much better that the rate of bounty should be gradually decreased. I think that, under such a system, it is probable that a much larger acreage of cotton would be cultivated.
– But the honorable senator would deprive growers of about two-thirds of the amount of the bounty proposed.
– I put the suggestion forward for what it is worth, and have submitted the amendment in accordance with the views I have expressed.
– I submit to Senator Walker that the object of bounties of this character is to encourage the growth of the article on which they are paid. It cannot be too well understood that this is not an assistance to industries Bill, but is rather an encouragement of industries Bill. Therefore, what we require to do is to offer the greatest inducements we can to people to enter upon the industry.
– But what is to happen at the end of the eight years’ period ?
– At the close of that period we may reasonably assume that we shall have encouraged many persons to enter upon the industry, and that, having developed it into a commercially profitable undertaking, they will be able to continue their operations without further assistance. We may hope alsothat a large number of other persons, stimulated by their success, will follow their example, and take up the cultivation of cotton. What I. rose particularly to direct attention to was a misconception under which I think Senator Henderson is ‘. labouring. - … …
– I hope the honorable senator will be able to remove it.
– I - I purpose doing so. I thought at the time the honorable senator spoke that he was wrong, but I was not at the moment clear as to the provision in the Bill which enables what I described to be (Tone. If the honorable senator will look at sub-clause 5 of clause 3 he will find that it provides that -
The maximum amounts of bounty which may be paid in any one year in respect of any goods specified in the first Schedule shall be as specified in the fourth column of the first Schedule. Provided that where the maximum amount in respect of any item has not been paid in any year the unpaid balance, or any part thereof, may, be paid in respect of that item in any subsequent year in addition to the maximum amount for that year.
– The honorable senator is right.
– It is easy in dealing with a Bill of this character to be under a misapprehension with respect to the effect of some of its provisions. I rose to clear up the point* as I thought ft possible that other members of the Committee might be under the same impression as Senator Henderson.
– I rise to refer to a matter which was dealt with by Senator Pearce. I have said that the yield of 1,500 lbs. per acre obtained by Mr. Giles at Stake-yard, and of 1,200 lbs. per acre obtained by Dr. Thomatis at Cairns, should be regarded as surprising. These figures are far beyond the average. As I subsequently pointed out, the average yield in the southern States of the United States is 200 lbs. per acre, and the average yield in Queensland 296 lbs. per acre. I understood that Senator Pearce, in making his calculation as to the. acreage affected by the bounty, took the larger figures I quoted as representing the average yield per acre.
– I took an average of £28 9s. 8d. per acre.
– - That would be exceptional. I have worked it out in this way : The total bounty provided for is £6,000 per annum for eight years, and if the whole amount were paid it would represent an aggregate expenditure of £48,000. That will have to be distributed in bounty at the rate of 10 per cent, on the market value of the article. That means that the market value of the cotton in respect to which bounty may be paid would represent £480,000. Ginned cot ton averages from 6d. to 8d. per lb. I do not know that it has never reached a. higher price, but estimating the price at the highest rate quoted, 8d. per lb., every £1 would represent 30 lbs. of cotton, and £480,000 would represent 14,400,000 lbs. of ginned cotton. The total bounty to be paid is spread over eight years, and to arrive at the acreage that would be brought, under crop we must divide the last figure by 8. This would give 1,800,000 lbs. as the average annual yield in respect of which bounty would be paid, and taking, as I have taken, 250 lbs. per acre as a fair average yield - something between the average yield in the United States and In Queensland - it is shown that that would represent an area under cultivation of 7,200 acres.. If we encourage the cultivation of cotton tothe extent of 7,200. acres in respect of which, bounty will be directly given we can assume that we shall indirectly encourage the cultivation of a considerable acreage in addition in connexion with which no bounty, will be paid. As Senator Trenwith haspointed out, although the bounty may not be claimed in the early years of the operation, of the measure, the money will accumulate and will be available later on for those whosucceed in growing cotton under the prescribed conditions. So that after all -our calculations as to the acreage cannot in any circumstances be said to be reliable, but bytaking the higher yields quoted, and which I say were surprising and exceptional, certainly no exact estimate of the acreage that would be brought under cultivation could be formed.
.- I moved some little time ago that for reasons which I gave the item should be postponed.
– An item cannot be postponed. It would be necessary to postpone the whole schedule.
– As we are dealing with the items separately surely we can postpone any of them if that is thought desirable.
– We may deal with a sub-clause separately, but it has never been the practice to postpone a sub-clause.
– The items are beingsubmitted to the Committee separately, and they certainly stand by themselves as matters for consideration. I think it should be possible to postpone any item if that should seem desirable.
– What would be the advantage of postponing the item?
– Senator Givens, of all men, should know. On the second reading of the Bill, the opinion was expressed that if bounties are to be paid, rather than see the money provided for divided in the way proposed over so many items, it would be better to devote it to two or three items to secure the successful establishment of the more important industries. It was felt that some of the items might be left out, and the bounty appropriated in respect of them added to the amount provided for cotton.
– The honorable senator must know that that cannot be done.
– We have so far had no explanation from the Minister as to why it cannot be done. If such an explanation is given, I may be disposed to withdraw my, request for the postponement of the item.
Sitting suspended from 6.29 to 7.45 p.m.
I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
I believe that no language or argument which can be used in support of this measure can exaggerate its importance. If we want a sound foundation, nay, the only possible foundation for our defence scheme if it is to be made efficient; if we want to found a citizens’ army, as I believe we do, and as I feel we ought to do, we have only to accept the principle embodied in the Bill and find the money, when the thing will be done. If we desire to teach patriotism to our young people, though we shall be beginning very late in the day ; if we wish to teach them discipline and respect for those in authority, the Bill points out the way. If, further, we would teach them punctuality, cleanliness, neatness, and devotion to duty, and thus endeavour to make them reputable citizens, the Bill affords us the opportunity. I have embodied my proposal in a Bill, because I found that I was not making any progress in moving an abstract motion session after session. I have had the pleasure and the privilege of discussing the proposal with four Ministers of Defence; but owing to the shortage of money, I have not been able to get a Minister of Defence to introduce the scheme in a Government measure.In the first instance, I conferred with ex-Senator Drake, who seemed to sympathize with the idea, but shrugged his shoulders, and asked where the money was to come from. Next I had interviews on the subject with exSenator Dawson, and I recollect moving an abstract motion during his term as Minister of Defence. Then I had numerous conversations with ex-Senator Playford, but I could not get him to see, as I see, the vast importance of instituting a system of universal training, and putting the cadet system on a compulsory basis. He seemed to think that the boys liked to wear a uniform and to drill, and loved to handle a rifle. He anticipated that there would be no trouble in getting a sufficient number of cadets to train. Every other nation in the world has found that preparing for war is a stern matter of business. In our own time, both in. the case of the nation and in the case of the colonies, it has been invariably found that the voluntary system has failed, and sooner or later we shall make that discovery, even in connexion with our cadet system, if it is not put on a compulsory basis. Let me shortly refer to what the Bill proposes. It is all wrapped up in one simple clause, which says -
All boys and youths over twelve and under nineteen years of age shall join and continue to be members of a naval or military cadet corps and shall receive such instruction in naval or military drill as may be prescribed.
It goes on to provide that the GovernorGeneral may by regulation declare certain boys and youths exempt.
– What ! by regulation ?
– It should be enacted in the Bill.
– What is the use of the honorable senator interrupting me in that way?
– That is what the honorable senator said in regard to the Bounties Bill.
– The interjection is irrelevant. The exemption I am proposing in this Bill is to be found in every such measure which has been drawn.If it is proposed to make education or anything else compulsory, certain exemptions must be made. Clause 2 of the Bill goes on to provide that, on the ground of physical incapacity, the Governor-General may exempt certain boys and youths. Would the honorable senator have on the parade ground a boy who is only fit to be in a lunatic asylum?
– I agree with the honorable senator.
– That shows how stupid the irrelevant interjection was. The Governor-General may also exempt boys arid youths for other good and sufficient reasons. Clause 3 provides a penalty for obstructing drill. It says -
Any person who directly or indirectly obstructs or interferes with any cadet corps or any member thereof in the performance of any prescribed naval or military drill service or duty shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding Twenty pounds. .
The Bill, as drawn, was incomplete. It did not provide a penalty for boys who neglectedto attend drill, or for parents who failed to do their best to cause their boys to attend drill, and therefore I had an additional clause drafted by Mr. Brown. We referred to the Education Act of Victoria to ascertain the law in regard to parents who do not send their children to school, or neglect to make them attend school, and we drafted a provision on the lines of the section of that Act. The new clause which I propose to insert provides that -
The parents of boys and youths over twelve and under nineteen years of age shall cause such boys and youths (unless exempted as provided in section two) to join and continue to be members of a naval or military cadet corps.
It goes on to provide that -
The parent of the boy or youth who neglects to cause him to join and continue to be a member of a naval or military cadet corps shall be guilty of an offence and may be summoned by any authorized person to appear before any. court of summary jurisdiction, and on conviction shall forfeit and pay a fine. . . .
The fine is not to exceed2s. 6d. for a first offence, and not less than 5s. nor more than 20s. for a second offence. It will be recognised at once that certain boys who have left school, and are working in factories or on the soil, may be earning wages. So the new clause further provides -
If it is proved to the satisfaction of the Court that the boy or youth is in receipt of wages or salary, and if such boy or youth has been examined by the Court, the Court may, in its discretion, direct that the fine shall be paid bv the employer out of the wages or salary of the boy or youth.
It also provides that the employer of a boy or youth who neglects to pay the fine when called upon to do so shall be finable, and it then defines a parent to include - guardian and every person who is liable to maintain or has the actual custody of any boy or youth over twelve and under nineteen years of age.
The whole purpose of the Bill is that everv boy and youth between the ages of twelve and nineteen years shall join and continue to serve in cadet corps, either naval or military, and shall submit themselves to such drills as may from time to time be prescribed.
– Does the honorable senator provide a fine for a third offence ?
– For a second or subsequent offence a boy may be fined any sum between 5s. and 20s.
– It does not meanthat a. boy shall be fined only twice?
– No ; and if there has been a slip in the drafting it can lie corrected. It is considered that if a boy is fined 2s. 6d. for a first offence, he will then prefer to go to the drill class, even it he should have to forego a football or cricket match. I think I have madethe penal clause quite stringent enough to induce the attendance of our young people.
– How does the honorable senator propose to enforce the fine?
– If a boy is employed, the employer will be required to pay the fine out of his wages. That is a most simple way of doing it. Of course, I have not provided for imprisonment, or anything of that sort. I have adopted what I believe to be a very good plan. Whenever a boy leaves a State school at the age of thirteen or fourteen years, it may be assumed that he finds some employment, even if it commands a wage of only 5s. a week, and out of that sum the employer will be required to pay any fine which may be levied against the boy’s parent.
– Does the Bill apply to boys who are in employment or at school ?
– Yes. If a boy is at school, and is not earning wages, the parent will be fined 2s. 6d. or 5s., as the case may be, because it will be the duty of a parent to send his boy to the drill class just as it is his duty to send him to school. I believe we shall make a very great mistake if we require this universal training to be given in school hours. I admit that the curriculum of our schools is very liberal. It embraces a great many subjects, and I do not think that there is room to cram in many more subjects. I agree with the majority of military men and other persons who write about the matter in English newspapers that if boys will not give up some of their halfholidays, which they spend either in looking at or participating in games of football and cricket, they will not make good citizen soldiers in the days to come.
– How will the Bill apply to country districts, which are isolated, and in which there are no schools or conveniences?
– It will apply in just the same way as does the Education Act. One of my great objects is to fit a boy to defend his country by teaching him to move with bodies of men, to use a rifle and shoot straight - in fact, to discipline him and enable him to hold himself erect, both physically and morally - as a part of his education. Just as we compel boys and girls to go to school ito learn to read and write lest their ignorance should become a source of danger to the Commonwealth, so now I propose to compel boys between certain ages to ^attend drill and to learn how to become citizen soldiers.
– But there may not be a school within 10 miles of a boy’s home.
– In just the same way as the Education Department deals with an outlying district, so it will be dealt with under this Bill. In Tasmania if ten or twelve children can be got together, a half-time school - a wretched thing it is - is granted by the State. Sometimes the district gets a schoolmistress, who is subsidized to the amount of £30 a year, lodges at a farmhouse, and is allowed to take a small fee - 3d. or 6d. per week - from each child, and to earn her living in the best way she can. If the children in an outlying district were not found to be numerous enough to justify the employment of a schoolmaster to teach them to read and write, they certainly would not be numerous enough to justify the sending of a drill instructor there. In most cases, however, we should find that the schoolmaster would be the instructor. We could not be expected to pay a man £200 or £300 a year to instruct six children here and ten children there. The instruction would be given through the schoolmaster. A great many of the schoolmasters are now learning to be soldiers, so that they may be able to drill the cadets. It is quite possible -that one system would help the other.
– In South Australia most of the teachers are women.
– The Bill does not apply to women, and I do not think it can be carried any further.
– Does the honorable1 senator contemplate using the State schoolmaster to carry out the object of the Bill f.
– Certainly, that is the system at the present time.
– Can it be done without the consent of the States? Senator DOBSON.- It is all done with their consent.
– In Western Australia the Premier has refused to allow an increase of the cadets.
– At the Premiers’ Conference in Brisbane, the Premiers of Tasmania, Western Australia, and another State objected to further expenditure on the cadets, but a motion submitted by the Premier of my State was not carried.
– If I understand the honorable senator aright, he proposes that the cadet corps shall be associated with the schools. For the boys who have left school there will have to be a separate arrangement for cadet corps?
– After the boys had left school, they would continue to be members of the corps, and as I take it attend all drills which took place on halfholidays or in the evening. It would be necessary to appoint other times for those who could not attend when the school-boys were drilled.
– The honorable senator does not fix any number of days?
– No, I leave that to be fixed by regulation.
– A great number of boys leave school between the ages of fifteen and nineteen. How does the honorable senator propose to provide for them?
– They could drill with a school corps on a half-holiday, or could be drilled of an evening. There would have to be separate classes of instruction for them. It is surely more important to drill youths between fifteen and nineteen years of age, than to drill little fellows of twelve and thirteen. Senator Playford used to say that the boys liked the uniform and the rifle, and would attend the drill classes on that account. But when a boy leaves school, what is to be done with him?
– That is where compulsion is wanted.
– Quite so.’ I am proposing, to engraft, my scheme on the present Commonwealth defence scheme. I adopt the ages fixed under the Defence Act, and do not propose to go up to twenty-one’ years, although I am absolutely in favour of compulsory adult training. I am afraid, however, that we are hardly ripe for that as yet, and I must admit that it would cost an enormous amount of money’. Whether it would cost half-a-million or a million I do not know. Certainly, if we were to compel men above the ages of nineteen and twenty to be drilled, we should have to pay them, whereas we need pay the youths nothing. It is because I think that our people are hardly ripe for adult training that I am asking for a universal system of cadet training.
– The great difficulty is with regard to the boys who leave school between fifteen and nineteen. I want the honorable senator to tell us how be proposes to. deal with them ?
– :In our great capital cities and our large towns, such as Bendigo and Ballarat, there would be no trouble whatever. Instead of the youths wandering about the streets or hanging round the theatre doors, or making a little money by selling race cards, nothing would be easier than to frame regulations providing that they should_ attend at drill halls on certain, evenings and on halfholidays, or Saturday afternoons. There will be no difficulty in compelling such youths to attend. If there is, it will count much to our discredit as a nation. Because a slight sacrifice may be entailed, are we to say that what is proposed is contrary to the genius of the Australian nation, and that we must not interfere with our youths, no matter what our necessities in the matter of defence may be ? First of all, I point out that no nation on the face of the globe has better defence material than we have. Can any one point to a country possessing 5,000 light horse equal to ours in respect of riding capabilities, knowledge of the bush, and intelligence? But though we have such excellent raw material we are doing absolutely nothing to train our men to defend our country as the fundamental duty of citizenship. We have an enormous territory. We have heard a great deal about the necessity of keeping our cradles full, and of peopling the Northern Territory. We must have something in the way of a navy. It is a grave subject, indeed, as to what kind of a naval force we’ should have. But first of all comes the simple obligation of military training for the youths of the Commonwealth. I say unhesitatingly that that is of first importance. We have to defend this country now, 1)230 permanent troops, a militia numbering 14,188, and volunteersnumbering 5,003 - a total of 20,421. Ir* addition, we have 791 rifle clubs, with a. membership numbering 38,915. It is more than probable that some of the militia and volunteers are members of the rifle clubs, so that we may say that we have 50,000 troops, more or less. But to say that we have 50,000 efficient soldiers would be rather too much. Suppose we say, however, that we have 50,000 troops capable of defending this country in a fairly efficient way in case of war. Compare out situation! with that of Switzerland. In Switzerland one man out of every seven is serving hiscountry as a soldier, .or has been trained to do so. If iri Australia we had one man. in seven similarly trained we should have. 580,000 effective troops in this countryThat shows the difference between a nation which is given too much to sport and pleasure and a nation which understands thefundamental duties of civic life, and insists that its manhood shall be prepared to> defend its .liberties.
– What nation is toomuch given to sport and pleasure?
– Australia. Does not my honorable friend think so?
– I do not.
– Then I do.
– So do I.
– They play manly games in Australia.
– It is not playing a. game to stand and look on.
– Our present Defence Force is absolutely insufficient, and it is our fault that we have not a better system. It is our duty to teach our people patriotism,’ and to establish at the earliest possible moment a comprehensive system of defence which will give Us the security we need.. Our present system is fatally defective, though it may give us a foundation upon which to build a better one. Can any one justify the fact that on the day on which the race for the Melbourne Cup takes place - great as the day may be, and proud as we are of it - the State schools in Victoria are closed, and we teach our youths’ to go to the race-course and learn how to gamble?” Is that the way to train our boys?
– The boys do not go to the race-course. Thousands play cricket on Melbourne Cup day, or go down the Bay, or on picnics.
– Why teach them that racing is more important than education ?
– Who is doing that? In Tasmania gambling is carried on under State protection.
– I do not think that our State schools are now closed on that day.
– I have read that they are. Our boys leave school so young that the volunteer system has no control or influence over them. Another great defect has regard to uniforms. If the cadet movement has been kept back, and if some honorable senators are hesitating to support my Bill on the ground of what it will cost, that is largely due 10 the money that is being spent on uniforms. Let me quote some figures contained in a memorandum about our present cadet forces. The actual strength of the cadet forces on the 30th June was: senior cadets, 2,178; junior cadets, 16,432, or a total of 18,610. The actual expenditure in 1906-7 was £23,081. The estimated expenditure per head for 1906-7 was £1 4s. Iod. The number of cadets provided for on the Estimates for 1907-8 is: seniors, 5,352 ; juniors, 30,786 ; total, 36,138. So that the Minister will see that the cadets will be increased this year by 18,000. The estimated expenditure in 1907-8 is £49,506. The estimated expenditure per head is £1 7s. 5d. So that the expenditure per head has increased. The additional cost for the current year is accounted for by camps of training, £4,898; annual rifle meeting, £2,000 ; schools of instruction, £500.
– That is all justifiable.
– It is. The average cost per head of senior cadets is stated at £1 18s., and of junior cadets et £1 5s. 6d., or a general average of £1 7s. 5d. This information was furnished to me by the Department. I also asked them the estimated cost of instruction for 1907-8. The reply is £4,616, which includes the cost of the instructional staff. I asked also the cost of rifles per 1,000 cadets. The reply is that, including spare parts, the cost of rifles per 1,000 cadets is £2,200. They state -
The cost of uniform varies in each State. It may be taken as approximately 22s. 6d. per cadet. The uniform lasts from two to three years.
– That does not seem a very heavy expenditure on uniforms, spread over three years.
– Many boys would grow out of their uniforms in two years, and some in less, so that it is impossible to say that a uniform would last for more than two years. The State pays 7 s. 6d. per uniform out of the military vote, but the balance of 15s. has to be found by the parents. That is at once an absolute’ bar to half the boys in the Commonwealth attending drill at all. Fancy a tax of 30s. upon the income of a man earning from 6s. to 7 s. per day, with half -a dozen children to keep, for uniforms for two boys within the prescribed ages !
– A cadet does not require a full uniform.
– That is what I am. coming to. If the 7 s. 6d. per uniform was struck out it would reduce the cost of £49,506 by £i3,5S°. bringing it down to £35.,956- The parents, who have to pay two-thirds of the cost of the uniform, have to find £27,100. Adding that to the State contribution of £13,550, gives a total of £40,650 for uniforms, whereas the total cost of everything else is only £35,956. so that the cost of uniforms is nearly £5,000 more than the cost of the upkeep of the instructional staff, and the whole movement put together. I received a cablegram from Sir Joseph Ward to-day. I asked him to send me particulars about uniforms in New Zealand, but he has not given me all the information I desired. His cablegram is as follows - -Defence cadets, 3,169; capitation 12s. 6d., plus free issue 120 rounds. Public school. . cadets, 14,800 ; cost 6s. per annum, plus uniform, &c, about 15s.
That is exactly the same amount as the parents of our cadet boys have to pay for each uniform.” I think the 15s. pei uniform in New Zealand has to be paid by the parents, because it is a uniform, not of khaki, like ours, but of every-day dress. It can be worn by the” boy everywhere, besides being a uniform for drill. I have a picture qf it here. It consists of a jumper, knickerbockers, and a Glengarry cap,’ for. which I believe the State pays 2s. Colonel Campbell, writing in The Call, says -
In the choice of uniform the New Zealand Government has been more happy than our Defence Department. The New Zealand cadet uniform is simply a neat blue jersey with white collar and blue knickerbockers and stockings - which, of course, can be used as ordinary dress, and so mean no extra expense to parents - and in addition a Glengarry cap, which is provided by the Military Department, at a cost of 2s.
I think that the 2s. for the cap is included in the 6s. which the New Zealand Premier says the public school cadets cost per Head ptY annum.
A similar uniform, except that a peaked cap with rather more sun protection takes the place of the Glengarry, is in use in Natal, in which Colony the cadet strength is proportionately greater than in any other part of the Empire.
In the Commonwealth, on the other hand, a uniform of military pattern, “ Khaki “ in colour in at least two States, has been adopted for the junior cadets, < at the considerable cost of 22s. 6d. Of this sum the Federal Government pays 7s. 6d., and the parents are saddled with the large balance. Now, this uniform is not suited for ordinary dress, and so its large cost militates against a widespread development of the cadet system. Why an ugly “ Khaki “ should be inflicted on the boys instead of an attractive and serviceable dark blue as in New Zealand and Natal is difficult to understand. In the case of the soldier, “ Khaki “ is necessary, as it makes him as invisible as may be on the held of battle, but as there is no field ot battle for cadets there is no reason for its adoption in their case. Nor should it be forgotten that a boy’s uniform is serviceable for only a very short time, as he soon grows out of it. Accordingly, if the cadet system were to develop largely (as is hoped for) the expenditure on uniforms would soon reach a formidable amount annually, for there are over 200,000 within the cadet ages.
I have from the first, with every Minister of Defence, combated this silly notion of the necessity of a uniform, especially for junior cadets. When a boy first joins the cadets, and has to learn the goose-step, why dress him up as a young soldier, when on the other hand the Government declare that for want of money they cannot introduce a universal system? It appears to be the height of folly. If the boy loves his uniform, as I have no doubt he does, why not make it a kind of prize? Make a distinction in dress between the juniors and the seniors, and hold out the hope to the boy that the sooner he gets into the senior class by proficiency in rifle shooting and attention to drill the quicker he will get a uniform. Under no circumstances am I in favour of spending one penny more than is absolutely necessary on uniforms. I asked mv military friends at the Department the other day about a proposal I had heard of for providing belts and pouches. They said that it was 0:ite unnecessary, and would cost 25s. for each cadet. Where the boys already had them, they were the ordinary soldiers’ belts and pouches. But they are quite unnecessary, because the cartridges are not handed out to the boys until they are on the rifle range and ready to shoot. There is no reason for giving any uniform except so far as to make the dress look uniform. ‘We can enlarge our cadet system by cutting down the expenditure on this item. The number of boys to be drilled is considerable. Mr. Knibbs, the Federal Statistician, gave the following estimate up to December 31, 1906: -
Then this is his next memorandum -
I therefore take it that the boys whom we do not get hold of under the present system, but whom we want to get hold of by a universal system, are about 85 per cent. Those are the boys who do not attend private or grammar schools.
– Do they attend public schools ?
– They are the boys who attend public schools, or are being educated at home, or not being educated at all. If the present cadet system does not get hold of the State school boys, honorable senators will see what a small modicum of training it gives us. One reason, why I have always advocated a compulsory cadet system is that, if Australia is not yet ready to accept adult training, the training of boys at school is the one thing which we shall be able to substitute for it. If ever we have universal manhood training, how “easy and inexpensive it will be if anything like a training has already been given to boys between the ages of thirteen and nineteen 1 We should then have something to go on. Every one of the boys would. know his drill, how to form square, to move in great masses, and to shoot. If a war occurred suddenly, and volunteers came forward, we should very soon be able to train a number of men fit to serve with the colours. We should never again be in the position that we were- in when the Boer war broke out. From every part of the Empire, the old country npt excepted, men had to be sent who were not fit to meet regular soldiers. They had not been drilled and trained sufficiently, and it was a good thing that they did not have to meet regular soldiers in that campaign.
– The honorable senator has not told us how he proposes to get over the difficulty with the States Premiers.
– Ifthe States Premiers read anything about the subject at all, they will find that this is the one item in which we cannot be cheeseparing or too economical. They will recognise that the physical and moral well being of the community is wrapped up in this question. Every other nation, such, for instance, as Germany, Japan, and Switzerland, is teaching its boys patriotism. If the States Premiers want to cheapen the system of defence they had better begin in a small way. It is because we cannot get the larger system, for which Mr. Hughes is fighting in another place, that I am so strong an advocate of this method. We are not ripe for adult military training. It is a most expensive project to take men away from their work and pay them for undergoing military training. The whole system of Switzerland is based on the fact that they try to get hold of young men and make them go through a course of training in their younger days, before thev enter upon the serious business of life, and command the higher wages of full-grown men.
– Would the honorable senator advocate the introduction of the German system?
– Certainly not. Under the German system a man has to leave his home and his business for three years and become a soldier. I hope honorable senators do not confuse a universal system of drill and rifle practice amongst our youths with the German system of conscription. Germany, by an extensive system which we cannot afford, and which our liberty would not stand; is teaching her men patriotism day after day. We are doing nothing to teach our young manhood patriotism or devotion to duty.
– Germany also trains her children.
– That is so. I should like to read what Mr. Tate, the Victorian Director of Education, has to say on this matter. He says -
But, at best, the cadet system teaches only a section of the boys in the school. It is no uncommon thing to find that in a school where there are 200 boys capable of cadet service, the corps number is only twenty or thirty. The boys who join, too, are often those who are well endowed physically, and who, therefore, do not need the training so much as the weedy lads who stay outside the corps. Of course, here again at the root of the matter is the financial question, and Victoria has to be content with its quota of cadets - 6,000 or 7,000.
As honorable senators are aware, MajorGeneral Finn, before he left Australia, sent in a final report on the Defence Forces of the Commonwealth, and this is what he had to say with respect to the cadet system -
I am inclined to regard the present scheme as only a beginning, made probably with the intention of being more completely developed later on, for I think that it should be part of the school curriculum that every boy should be drilled and trained. I don’t mean that this should occupy too great a part of a boy’s time, and interfere with his ordinary education, but the training should be given. And, as I indicated, he should be given opportunities for shooting. That, I think, would be a great attraction to the boys, and would probably counteract any disappointment, or any such feeling, that might be caused to them by the absence of a uniform.
It is clear from that that Major-General Finn was not in favour of a uniform for cadets, and as almost all the military men with whom I have conversed on the subject are not in favour of it, I do not know how it came to be adopted. Major-General Finn further wrote -
It seems hardly necessary to say that the proper development of the system which has been inaugurated would be in the growth of the senior cadet system, so that there might be an unbroken chain from the ranks of the cadets until they were young men, of an age to serve in the citizen forces as militia or volunteers.
Major-General Finn there gives expression to the very idea I had when I answered Senator Needham, that when lads have been trained at school, and are then drafted to the militia and volunteers, very little further training is necessary for them.
– And a greater number would be offering to join the various volunteer and militia corps.
– No doubt. That is the experience of Switzerland, where the young men come’ to love the work, and are prepared to volunteer without any special inducement.
– T - The school training would supply nearly all the training required for the recruit corps, and lads drafted from school corps might almost go straight into the ranks.
– I certainly do not advocate this system on military grounds alone. I believe that the physical and moral results which would follow a system of this sort would be found to be of untold good to the rising generation of the Commonwealth. In this connexion I should like to read some extracts from a pamphlet published by the National Service League of Great Britain, The first I select is as follows -
Lord Roberts advocates compulsory military training, not on military grounds only, but also because it is “ the only method of inculcating broadcast a ‘sense of national responsibility and self-respect; of inspiring in the great mass of our workers, who are now for the first time waking to their power, a patriotic rather than a selfish ideal.” Mr. Haldane, too, implies very clearly that he would look upon his suggested voluntary system of almost universal training organized by the different County Councils as a great gain from the civic as well as from the military point of view. He also refers us definitely to the example of Switzerland, which has a system of military service, compulsory indeed, but radically different from those French and German systems which we brand with the name of conscription. As a purely defensive military force the Swiss Army has long since won golden opinions from experts in every European country. It is acknowledged to have solved more nearly than any other army the problem of securing the maximum of security for home defence with the minimum of burden to the individual citizen. But it concerns us here in its purely civic aspect : what is the effect of compulsory training in Switzerland on the individual, not merely as a fighting unit, but as a man and a citizen?
The question is easily answered; for both the Swiss themselves and outside observers are practically unanimous in attributing to their military system a very valuable, educating, and civilizing effect upon the people in general. Twenty years ago, Mr. F. Adams and Mr. C. D. Cunningham noted its advantageous effect on popular education, the sense of order and responsibility which it cultivated in the individual, and the businesslike spirit shown .in the minutest details of an organization which is national, not only in name, but in the most literal truth, from top to bottom. Moreover, in Switzerland itself all parties alike look upon the compulsory training, not only as a necessary institution, but as a welcome school of manliness. They see in it, not only a policy of insurance against national calamities too painful to be calmly contemplated, but also a certificate of national health, _ physical and moral.
I think that every word of that statement is ^correct, and if it be, it seems to me that no other course is open to us but to adopt the same system with such modifications as might be necessary to suit Australian conditions. I make the following extract from the same pamphlet -
The first of these objections has been clearly “put by Mr. Haldane : “ Anything like compulsion,” he says, “must defeat its own object.” This is ‘certainly not so in Switzerland. In 99 cases out of 100 the Swiss youth looks upon it as a privilege to be compelled to serve and a disgrace to be set aside as physically unfit.
That is the argument with which Senator Pearce helped me a few minutes ago.
He anticipates his compulsory training by volunteer drill at school.
That is to say, although he is only compelled to join the recruits at twenty years of age, he very frequently joins before, so anxious is he to be well instructed that he may be chosen for the compulsory training. I continue the quotation as follows -
Again, in addition to the compulsory .rifle practice enforced by Army regulations, there is an amount of volunteer rifle practice in Switzerland incomparably greater than all the volunteer shooting in the British Isles.
Here, from a population of some 3,400,000, we have a larger number of men volunteering for rifle shooting, and submitting themselves to more training, than is found amongst the 42,000,000 of people in Great Britain.
– They consider it a duty of citizenship.
– That is so, and the more that idea is impressed upon them, the better they realize it, and the more they live up to it. The extract continues -
And, lastly, the Swiss officers are all practic-ally volunteers for harder service - for a service far harder than that which is undertaken by the average volunteer officer in England.
The writer goes on to speak of the benefits of compulsion, and says -
This was clearly seen in England also in the days of our greatest military superiority. When the practice of the long-bow was strictly enforced upon all our male population, it became not only their duty, but the healthy holiday pastime of young and old ; and it was our hard-won proficiency in that most difficult weapon, even more than other national qualities on which we pride ourselves perhaps too complacently, that enabled- our armies to carry all before them.
I recollect pointing out in a previous speech on this subject that in former days in England a rich person had to find a pikeman, a richer person had to find a man with a horse, and so the system went on. There was nothing but compulsion a thousand years ago in the old country. As the writer of this pamphlet points out, that is how Englishmen became so proficient as archers, and that is how some of the battles of which we are all so proud were won. I make this further quotation from the pamphlet - “
Good citizenship, like all other virtues, is no product of race and character alone; circum-. stances and training also must contribute to its development. The doctrine of laissez faire, salutary enough as a reaction against p&st-over interference, has, in many ways, been pushed (as almost all will now admit) to dangerous extremes in England. While we pride ourselves justly 6n the training in character .which our great schools give to a few children of the richer classes, the great mass of our children are sadly neglected. For one English boy who is better schooled than his foreign compeers, 31 hundred receive a far inferior education whether we consider mere book-learning or physical development or the training of character. This initial advantage enjoyed by the children of the Continental classes is further emphasized by the military training which follows in early manhood. At an age when our richer Boys are still in a state of pupilage and subject to strict discipline, our poorer boys have long since freed themselves from the only burden which citizenship ever imposes on them - that of compulsory schooling.
I do not think I could read anything more -forcible than that. It must be admitted to be nothing but the naked truth The. only patriotism we teach our youth is that they must go to school, and after tuc school age nothing is done to teach them that citizens have obligations as well ?.s rights and privileges. I should like here to refer to an article which appeared in the Age. Reference is made to the fact that we have not yet a system of defence to give us the security which we ought to have, and it is stated that to perfect our system we need to put ourselves in such a position that any foreign power attempting -an invasion of Australia must be confronted with an armed nation of defenders. The article proceeds -
When we can do that we shall no longer have any serious reason to feat our future ; but until we do it our possession of this Continent will be and remain the sport of chance - the chance “that England will always retain unchallenged her pre-eminent position among the nations, and that she will be always able and willing to defend us.
We are proud to reflect that the Australian character is too virile and self-reliant to relegate to others - albeit their own kinsmen- the primal duty of national citizenship, the defence of the country in which we live. We have, therefore, no doubt, but that the great majority of Australians will be cheerfully prepared to fulfil their obligations at the expense of any reasonable sacrifice of either cash or prejudice when the way is made plain to them by their trusted statesmen and. leaders of thought.
The national peril that menaces us has been long since recognised. It only remains for a practical project to be presented to ward off that danger- to receive the nation’s assent and the nation’s mandate to enforce it. Universal citizen service is a scheme that has been- already mooted. Although involved in it are the principles of compulsory service and conscription - principles that have always evoked the most rancorous hostility in Britain - Australians surveyed it without passion and entertained it ‘ without fear. Their attitude towards it is embodied in the sentence - If it is necessary in the national interest, by all means let us have universal military service at once. . . . Fortunately, however, there is no real occasion to believe that the immediate inception of a system of universal manhood service is essential for the protection of the Commonwealth. Britain’s present overwhelming naval supremacy guarantees us from hostile aggression for the moment, and it will continue to do so for a few years to come. . ‘ . . But the point is, we must train all our boys, not merely some of them. The boys of to-day will be the young men o.f to-morrow ; and since it is unquestionably necessary to convert ourselves into an armed nation in order to purchase immunity from invasion, it follows that the whole of our boyhood of to-day must be taught to carry arms in order that the whole of our young manhood of to-morrow may be able to use them, if need be, in defence of their native land, their homes and their families.
I think that the Bill ought to receive the cordial support of the two Ministers here, because, we all know the opinion which the Prime Minister holds on the subject. In special articles and eloquent speeches which he has made from time to time, he has committed himself to the principle of Unlversal training, not for cadets, but, as I understand him, for adults. He delivered a most admirable speech on the subject in London when attending the Imperial Conference. He spoke with pride of our’ cadet system, which I affirm has a’ great many faults, and he went on to say that it would be developed and enlarged. If I remember aright, .he said that the number of cadets would be increased at the rate of about 10,000 a year, until a maximum strength was reached. I have had a correspondence with the present Minister of Defence, who has indicated that the number may be increased at the rate of 20,000 a year. I should think that that increase is altogether too large. I prefer to go slowly, and to act prudently. I want- the work to be done efficiently when it is done.I should think that if, after having increased the number by about 8, 000 this year, we increase the number annually, by about 8,000 for a little time to come, we shall do very well indeed. It is because the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence are favorable to a scheme of universal training that I look forward with some confidence to seeing my Bill supported by the Ministers in the Senate. If, as I understand, the cost is the only obstacle I ask those honorable gentlemen to consider where they are. In New South
Wales there is a National Defence League which is working hard for the universal training of adults. In Victoria there is a National Defence League, to which I have the honour to belong, and which has rather hesitated to follow our friends in Sydney. We have been “ hauled over the coals “ for our hesitation. We have suggested a scheme whereby the Department of Defence may call upon the manhood of Australia to join the militia, or the volunteers, or the rifle clubs, and when the effect of that call is seen we can consider whether it will be possible to get along with a voluntary system. Colonel Campbell was the first person to introduce to us the Swiss system. During his visit to Switzerland Lieut. -Colonel Reay was present at drills of cadets and recruits, and his letters ‘to the Melbourne Herald have been published in pamphlet form. Colonel Campbell criticises the position I am taking up, because he thinks that in advocating a compulsory cadet system I mav do harm to the movement for the institution of a compulsory adult system. I think that Ministers would prefer first to put the cadet system on a compulsory basis, because to a very great extent that will pave the way for a system of compulsory adult -training. What is the difference between teaching a boy of 17 or 18 years of age to drill and shoot, and teaching a youth of 20 or 21 years of age? The difference is not very much. If my scheme is adopted we shall have taken a great step towards the institution of a system of compulsory adult training. If we find that the training of boys up to 18 years of age is too expensive or irksome, the Government can reduce the “age if they like, but if they do they will be acting contrary to every authority I can find on the subject. I point out to the Ministers that my scheme is thoroughly elastic. If at any time it be found to be getting too costly a short Bill can be passed to discontinue the training of youths at 18 or 17 years of age. But let them bear in mind that they will be impelled onwards by the National Defence Leagues of New South Wales and Victoria to go in for a system of universal adult training, and that will carry them up to youths of 21 or 22 years of age. In my opinion Ministers ought to welcome my scheme as the very least which can be done. It makes a beginning. It starts at the right point - with a boy when he is over 12 years of age, and proceeds step by step. It will be possible to reduce the expenditure by doing; away with uniforms. We need not give rifles to all the small boys. Will it not be quite enough to occupy their time with gymnastics, military drill, simple drill,, moving -together in masses? It does not. follow because we have a cadet system that every boy who is over, the age of 12 years is to shoulder a rifle. If we teach a boy nothing concerning the rifle for the first three years we shall still do good workWhen a boy becomes 15 or 16 years of age,, give him a little more of uniform, put him in the senior cadet corps, and teach him theuse of the rifle; and when he is a yearolder give him a rifle, if it can be afforded. My scheme proceeds step by step, leading; up to what we all desire, and that is a perfect defence scheme. That, however, cannot be secured unless we have a citizens’” army. Let honorable senators bear in mind! that we have only 50,000 men, when, if wewere as patriotic as the Swiss, weought to have 580,060 men. I propose toread a few extracts about the break downof the voluntary system. It has broken downat Home. Again and again there theauthorities h.ave found the volunteers falling off in number. They have found that recruits were not coming forward for the militia. Even immediately after the Boer War they had that experience. Every newspaper which I have read - the Spectator, the Times, and the Standard - says that. Mr. Haldane’s scheme is the last experiment of the voluntary system which will ever be allowed to be made in England.. They state that if he does not succeed ingetting his territorial army of 300,000. men which Lord Roberts says is altogether inadequate, it wi;ll be “ acknowledged at Home that they must face a system of universal training. The following extract is taken from the Argus -
A matter that is causing the Minister of Defence and his expert advisers grave concern is the non-success of the volunteer movement. Whatever may be the cause, the fact remains that at the Easter camps the volunteers muster only half their strength, at parades the attendance percentage is not high, and the consequence is a falling off in the standard of efficiency.. The volunteer movement requires some stimulating influence behind it. In some quarters it is urged that payment for camp attendance would be an inducement for young men with military inclinations to enlist in the volunteer regiments, w.hile others urge that the volunteers should beabsorbed into the militia.
– Remember thealarming number of volunteers who, owing to physical disabilities, were rejected irc
Great Britain during the progress of the Boer War.
– I think that many thousands were rejected because they had not undergone sufficient training ; in fact, I was quite startled when I read of the number of men who, when they volunteered to leave for South Africa, were next morning rejected on the .ground of physical defect or want of training.
– A - According 4o Lieut. -Colonel Reay’s pamphlet, a very large proportion are rejected in Switzerland.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council need not be afraid of my scheme becoming too gigantic, because in Switzerland, despite their patriotism and devotion to duty, only 52 per cent, of the recruits are trained. It has to be borne in mind that unless a man is physically fit he is discarded there, and has to pay an annual tax of 5s.
– I understood the honorable senator to say just now that the proportion is one in seven.
– As regards the total population of 3,400,000, the proportion is one in seven, but of the recruits who come forward only about one-half are found to be fit for drill. The Swiss authorities will not take a person if he exhibits any defect, but they make him pay an annual tax of 5s. An Australian may turn up his nose at 5s., but it is a considerable sum to a Switzerlander. In the Contemporary Review a writer - “ A.O.F.” says -
When this has been done, and not till then, can we look upon our Imperial Organization as complete. But we must go still further ; we must admit, like other nations, that it is the duty of every man to bear arms, and the youth of the whole Empire must be trained to arms. No Continental system of conscription is required, the rudiments need only be short, but the instruction must be universal.
Captain Hare, who is Chief Inspector of Police in Perth, says -
In his opinion, it would be worth the expense and trouble involved to enforce compulsory military or naval training on all boys from the ages of r5 to 18 who gave evidence of continuous disinclination to submit to proper parental control. In this way the animal spirit of the larrikin element would be directed into a natural channel, and these youths, who very often were not devoid of high physical courage, might easily be made the nucleus of a defensive force, which on the occasion would be in a position to render inestimable service to the State.
Captain Hare is dealing with offences committed by young men. He finds that although such offences are not increasing very much, they are not decreasing in propor tion to the spread of education, religion, and civilization. He suggests what an admirable thing it would be to insist upon universal training, not on military grounds only, but in the interests of the young men whose characters we ought to build up by the laws which we pass. I have read scores of opinions to the effect that, when a number of unruly youths, who can hardly utter a word without cursing, pay no attention to orders, and think that military drill is mere fun, are placed under the control of military officers, their whole demeanour is changed in the course of two or three months by reason of the fact that they have been taught to respect their superiors, and to be obedient to authority. The Earl of Errol, who fought so splendidly in the South African War, says - “ The present state of the army is not the fault of this Government or that, nor of this Minister or that. It is the fault of a system acquiesced in by successive Governments, and supported by the people and their representatives in Parliament. … It is not the War Office but the citizen who is to blame, because he will not make the necessary sacrifices to maintain an army adequate to the needs of the Empire. . . . In the present state of public opinion the condition of the army cannot be satisfactory, and I do not believe it can ever be made efficient till the whole trend of public opinion is altered.” It makes one shudder, says the Earl, .to think what would have happened if, instead of the Boers, we had had to face the Japanese in 1899. But why should the Japanese have a better army than we have? Because as a nation they saw the need, and provided for it.
The Rev. Russell Wakefield enters a plea for universal military training. He says - “ The feeling that he is under discipline for England will make a man love her better, and he will by service understand his share in the Empire’s rights and responsibilities.” The writer points to the physical advantages universal military training would bring about, and controverts the theory that it would breed an aggressive spirit, pointing to the experience of Germany and Japan to support his view. “ It might, perhaps, more fairly be argued that the tendency of training is to make for peace. The sense of responsibility grows; the knowledge of war’s awffulness is greater ; it is only the ignorant, the undisciplined, who cry out for strife. Conscious strength is rarely quarrelsome.” The Volunteer giving up his holiday to be of use to his country is,* says Mr. Wakefield, an example of the spirit which should belong to every citizen.
Mr. L. Cornford says “ It cannot be well,” he writes, “ for a nation to pav a certain class of men to give their lives in national def ence, and, with that somewhat’ inadequate payment, to disclaim all further concern in the- matter. Nor can it be well for the class that is so dealt with.” The use of an army is to enforce the national ‘ policy. A national policy must be a national concern. Can we -get rid of that concern - or rather that responsibility - by a money payment - as small as we can make it? Mr. Cornford says most emphatically no.
He gives an emphatic “No” in answer. Japan gave an object-lesson to the world in the way in which she conducted her war with Russia. She is not a .Christian nation, though she has a religion of her own called Shinto; but she has her jiu-jitsu system, and it is marvellous to see what she has been able to do in the training of her sons. I have here an account of the Japanese military system written by the correspondent of the Times, and will quote a passage from it -
In Japan every man between the ages of 17 and 40 is liable to conscription, though 20 is the usual age for entering the army. Men are allowed, however, to enlist voluntarily between their 17th and 20th birthdays.
Numbers of the Japanese do willingly sacrifice themselves for their country, because they are patriotic in every sense of the word. They regard it as a privilege and a right to fight for their flag. The argument of Senator Pearce is unquestionable, that if you teach a man his duty he will soon begin to do it for the rove of the thing. The instinct of patriotism is implanted; in the heart of each one of us. It may be neglected, like any other instinct, but it can be developed. Some honorable senators may recollect a picture that was published in London Punch at about the time of the Japanese War. John Bull is represented as saying to Miss Japan, “ Your army system seems to work splendidly ; how do you manage it?” Miss Japan replies, “Perfectly simple; with us every man is willing to sacrifice himself for his country, and does it.” John Bull replies, “ Remarkable system ; I must try and introduce that at home.” It is a remarkable system, indeed. No words of mine can express what I think about the gross neglect of national defence on the part of British people. It really is frightful. In Tasmania there is friction between the Education Department and the Military Department, and the cadet movement is being retarded in some places, because of the conflict as to which is to be under dog and which top dog. I take it that, as defence has been intrusted to the Commonwealth, we have a perfect right to insist that every youth in Australia shall submit to military discipline and training as we think fit. But we must work in harmony with the States, and if we do everything we can to facilitate their convenience, we may reasonably expect them to facilitate ours. It is too bad that officials concerned in a great matter like this cannot carry on without friction. I should like now to read a passage which I quoted in my last speech” on this subject. It is from Major-General Sir A. Turner, who says -
At the same time, I am also convinced that, drill and military exercises should be compulsory in all schools up to the age of eighteen. I look, upon this early training as essential for the country, not merely for the training of armies, but for the general physique of the nation. Cadet corps and boys’ brigades are of the greatest, possible use in this respect, but they do not altogether fulfil the purpose that early training would do, as recommended so strongly by Sir G. Taubman Goldie in the report of the South African War. Commission. I entirely agree with Lord Methuen, Sir John French, and Sir Henry Hildyard as to’ the training of boys, and, finally, with Lord Wolseley, that it is advisable to spend more money on cadet battalions, which are most valuable adjuncts to the Army.
I also desire to make a few short quotations from the debate which took place in the House of Lords last year. Of course, there have been debates on this subject in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords quite recently, but the passages which I shall quote from eminent authorities seem to me to be admirable. It will be remembered that there were two Royal Commissions after the ‘Boer War, which, reported upon the volunteer and militia systems, the object being, I suppose, to find out how it was that so many men presented themselves in South Africa “to be. shot at without having any efficient training.. The officers had to set to work totrain them before they could be allowed toface the enemy. Lord Roberts reminds us -
The auxiliary forces as they now exist are not fit to fight an organized enemy. Few of the Army, except the regulars, with their . inefficient training, their lack of discipline and organization could be depended on to defend Great Britain in the absence of a regular army..
We can never have a proper reserve unless it is composed of all classes, high and’, low, rich and poor, men who will consider it not only a duty but an honour and a privilege.- to fight for their country.
Honorable senators have all heard of LordDundonald, formerly Commandant of the Canadian Forces, who resigned his command because he could not induce the Government of the day to carry out his ideas, regarding efficient’ training*1. Se said -
He was against compulsory service for adults,, but no time should be lost in training our youths before they have become engaged in the serious; business of their lives to a knowledge of the rifle and military drill. One hundred military drills between the ages of thirteen and seventeen would be quite sufficient as a minimum. The youth would be benefited by this training, and it would then become possible to call into being at short notice a large citizen army. It would never be possible to create a large unpaid volunteer or citizen army unless recruits had done the drudgery and elementary work of soldiering in their school-boy days.
That bears out the argument which I used some time ago, that if we ever do have to go in for £ citizen army and adult training, we shall save immense expense, and no end of time, if we have in the meanwhile laid the foundation by training our youths and boys. I will also quote a passage from a speech by Viscount Milner. I believe that he is the coming man in English politics, and. is going to take Mr. Chamberlain’s place. I shall quote from him, because he has I he courage of his opinions, “and is not frightened by a phrase. He is not afraid of the term “ conscription “ any more than of the term “ protection.” Lord Milner says -
If conscription means the acceptance of the principle that it is one of the primary duties of citizenship to take part in the defence of your country, and that it is a corollary of that primary duty that every man should be trained to take part in that defence effectively, then, however unpopular it may be, I accept it. … I am a believer out and out in the doctrine of a great nation relying for its own defence on its whole manhood and not on a professional class. What was our South African experience? Was it the experience of an effete country? Not at all ! The difficulty was not to find men willing to fight but to find men who knew anything at all about fighting. If we had a National Army we should have men not only willing but competent to respond to the call to arms. . . . I believe the voluntary principle overlooks the great moral value of the idea of a general patriotic obligation. Every citizen of this country has a right to have a voice in the control of its destiny, and he is, therefore, bound to be prepared to serve for its defence.
– He says that every citizen has that right but it is not a right that is respected in Great Britain.
– At any rate, it is a splendid argument so far as Australians concerned. Here we have universal suffrage. Every man and woman in the country can vote, at elections for both Houses of the Australian Parliament. Our men have the greatest power which the Constitution can give them. Should they not, then, be liable to be called upon to defend the country ?
– I agree with the honorable senator as to Australia, but that is not the case in Great Britain.
– Lord Milner seemsto think it is.
– He is wrong.
– - He continues in the speech from which I am quoting -
It is no loss to spend money in developingthe manhood of the nation ; you get it back in. vastly improved physique. One of the most serious problems which faces this nation now is the development of certain qualities of discipline, order, method, precision, punctuality, and, above all, of a great sense of public spirit, and public duty.
Then he quotes Dr. Shadwell’s opinion rc the German volunteer system - that its effect for good is visible at every turnThe Marquis of Landsdowne said that he thought that the training of English boys would not be complete unless thev had some instruction in the use of the ‘rifle. Lord Roberts also said -
We wanted a nation trained, not only to shoot, which was one of the most vital parts of a soldier’s training, but also trained to act together. How could we attain this result when, we could not expect citizens to submit to a long, period of military service? Why, in this way r - The limited amount of training which was all’ that we could ask the citizens to undergo could be made effective and useful only on condition that as much military instruction as possible had’ been given to all boys previous to their reaching the military age. If we could give all boysa sound physical training, teach them to hold’ themselves straight, both physically and morally, teach them a sense of the worth and dignity that lies in the fact of being a citizen of the greatest Empire the world had ever seen, we should not only build up a valuable reserve and provide the material for a nation in arms, but we .should” improve the physique of the whole population, strengthen the moral fibre of thousands who had little chance of imbibing a healthy, manly tone, and incidentally strengthen ourselves for the industrial struggle with all nations which was growing keener day by day.
I have never read about German industrial life without being impressed by the. enormous fact that the efficiency of the German worker is largely due to the military training he received before he entered the factory. It develops his eye, His arms, his hands, and his muscles, and makes him quick, alert, and apt. All these qualities fit him to be a better workman. It makes a vast difference to the industrial efficiency of a country whether it has half a million of men who have been drilled and trained going into its factories, or men who have been taken off the streets, and have never been taught what duty and discipline areWhich nation would one back in the industrial race? Certainly the Germans, the men who had been trained. Our boys could join either the naval or military cadet corps. Some two years ago we found out that Great Britain was selling thirty or forty obsolete men-of-war. I asked the then Minister of Defence - I believe it was ex-Senator Drake - to request the Imperial authorities to give us a ship, as they were only putting them on the scrap heap and selling them for what they would fetch. Nothing was done. Mr. Bent has now asked for a training ship, and has been told that there are none available.
– He only wants it as a reformatory.
– I fancy Mr. Bent’s idea is to combine both reformatory and training school, on the lines of the Sobraon.
– The ship could be used either as a reformatory or training school. The Sobraon is doing a most admirable work. We must give boys facilities for joining which corps they like. The benefits to be derived from training boys to be sailors so that they can be drafted into the Australian or Imperial Navy - let us give it the one name of “Imperial “ - cannot be exaggerated.
-Why not build our own ships?
– We will talk about that when the Naval Estimates are before us. It would be a good thing first to train the boys to man the ships. By the time we have a few boys trained the honorable senator will perhaps have given a vote to provide the ships for them to man. I have not made a single quotation from Lieut. - Colonel Reay’s admirable pamphlet about the Swiss system, although I have marked scores of passages. I have already taken up too much time, and have given the salient points of the Swiss system. Of all systems it is the one which we should copy, because it recognises the fact that’ young men must not be taken too much away from their work. After the youth there have done their thirty or forty days of recruit drill right off, they arenot drilled again for two years. I think our system of putting meninto camp for half the time every year would be better, although the Swiss officers deny it. They say they like to get hold of young fellows and drill them for a couple of months at a time, let them go away, and then give them another two months two years afterwards. I am inclined to believe in the system, which we shall have to adopt, of giving recruits a certain amount of training at Christmas and Easter every year. Then, when they are partly trained, the number of days’ training can be reduced, and so’ in time they will be made into soldiers. I gather that the Times is in favour of some system of universal training, and most certainly the Spectator is. I have with me an admirable article which appeared in the Spectator. It begins by criticising Lord Rosebery for being such a clever statesman, and yet altogether giving up constructive statesmanship, and. doing nothing with his great talents to promote the interestsof the Empire. But,turning to a debate which took place in the House of Lords on Mr; Haldane’s scheme, the Spectator pats Lord Rosebery on the back, saying
He not only voted against the Government,
That was his own party - but supported Lord Methuen’s amendment to Mr. Haldane’s Bill in favour of the military training of schoolboys. In a speech of great vigour he challenged the Government’s plea that their object is to strengthen the military resources of the country, and that they would not do this by training boys. Lord Rosebery in a single sentence overthrew this sophistical argument. “ If,” he said, “ they’ trained the boys in our schools, three years hence we should have a reserve force capable in the case of war of coming to the assistance of the country not as untrained but as trained Volunteers. Was that so miserable a consideration that the Government were compelled to overlook it in a great territorial scheme?” Here we have the root of thematter. What we have again and again contended in these columns is that we should, through appropriate training, endow our male population with qualities which would enable them, if and when they desired, to respond to a call from the nation at a time of crisis, and to respond to that call not with a useless but with an efficient patriotism. We want to make the love of country signify something definite and practical, and not, as it now too often does, nothing but vague aspirations and “ tall talk “ about the flag and the destinies of the Empire. The most complete and effective way of making sure that when the manhood of the nation desires to render service to the State it should offer service of a kind that is worth having would be to carry out the proposals of the National Service League, and to give the whole of the male population of the country a definite military training on the lines on which the male population of Switzerland are trained. In our belief, the country is far more prepared to accept the Swiss system, or an appropriate variant of it, than is generally supposed.
I think the Vice-President of the Executive Council will find that the people of Australia are prepared to do more in the way of universal training than some people imagine. The idea has been growing every hour since it was first started threeor four years ago -
The resolves of the electorate have on this point outstripped those of the politicians on both sides.
I think the same is true here, seeing that at the last States Premiers’ Conference three of the Premiers objected, according to their resolution, to any more money being spent on the cadet system. It would be just about as sensible for them to say, “ Stop any more money being spent on education “ -
Assuming, however, that the country is not yet prepared to do what the Swiss people do, not merely willingly, but with enthusiasm, a great deal can be done towards making our patriotism effective by the training of the boys in our elementary and other schools. If a boy is taught the elements of military drill and rifle-shooting during the time the State obliges him-to be at school, a foundation of real value can be laid. When the boy who has been trained becomes a man, he will still remember how to handle a rifle and how to “ form fours,” and should a great patriotic need arise, he will be far more useful as a volunteer than if he had never been trained. The task of training boys at school presents no difficulties whatever. The boys are compelled to be at school and to learn what the State directs. There is, in addition, a very real need for supplementing their literary training by a physical training, and by work of a non-sedentary character which will interest them. Physical training of a military character, including the use of the rifle, supplies the hygienic want, and the fact that it is extremely popular among boys, though not of course a conclusive argument, is one not to be despised. Anything which makes schoolwork interesting is to the good. The anti-military arguments against such training can hardly be taken seriously. Considering the games which boys play and the combative nature of their thoughts and aspirations, it is idle to pretend that learning drill and the use of the rifle will turn them from’ mild and gentle beings into bloodthirsty ruffians. On the contrary, the discipline and the sense of responsibility inculcated in their minds ure far more likely to tame them than to make them savage. Again, such training of his body and mind cannot possibly be regarded as anti-democratic. Finally, the small amount of extra money required to give all our boys a physical training of a military character cannot be rightly used as an argument -against the proposal. It can never be wasteful to improve the physique of the individual, and that such improvement would result cannot be doubted.
That is a very strong article, which bears out most of the principal arguments I have been using. If it costs now £1 7s. 5d. per head for our cadet system, and if we are going to reduce the cost of the uniform, as we can, we. ought to aim at having at least 150,000 young men a few years hence being trained in drill. I shall be perfectly content with 150,000. It would be a very good thing to work up to by degrees, so as not to disturb the finances or entail too much expense on the taxpayer all at once. I have another quotation from an article by “An Anxious Patriot,” in the National Review -
The second point is as to the size and quality of our army. Experience in the Far East hasshown that the best and not the worst humanmaterial is needed for the fighting line. Japanhas put her best in the field, and reinforced that best with a spiritual training far above anything to which British troops are subjected - a training which inculcates a devotion, a senseof duty, a spirit of faith in and love for the fatherland and Emperor that have made the Japanese Army invincible. The Russian forceshave shown equal fortitude, but not equal understanding. Japan alone among the Powers hassolved the problem of raising human intelligencewithout eliminating fearlessness of death. Her army is the ideal of the future; her destiny isthat of a State conquering, and to conquer. Our Generals who are in touch with Eastern battlefields have marked the result of this new spirit.. Sir Ian Hamilton has written home that “ this war has burnt into my mind in a way nothing else could have done, that the condition of our army constitutes a terrible danger to the existence of our Empire. We have learnt here that nothing but the very best will do.” But theBritish people hears this and makes no move; itsstatesmen hear it, and run to and fro over the country with vague optimistic speeches as to the- “ magnificent material “ that they have to hand, when the reports of the War Commission and the Auxiliary Forces Commission state the plain, naked truth, that the material is not magnificent but too often indifferent or bad ; that the strong, robust, and intelligent manhood of the nation is content to delegate the duty of being killed! in defence of national interests to weaklings hired at a wage which is out of all proportionto their economic value. The London CountyCouncil scornfully’ issues a report, in which it declares that the ‘* feeble specimens “ that offer themselves for military service are not representative of the physical condition of the population ; in other words, that the recruits are theweakest and not the best that the nation canproduce. Nothing but compulsory service cangive the best of the’ nation’s manhood in sufficient ‘quantity and without laying. an intolerableburden upon industry.
Nobody desires to lay an intolerable burden on industry, or to take men away from their work, and make them lose a day’s pay, without giving them anything in return. Therefore, the only way to do what is necessary is to get hold of the boy, and try to train him before he becomes a man. I have only one more quotation to , make. This is the best article I have ever read on the subject, because it applies to Australian conditions. I have .to thank the Age for giving it to me. The article, which only appeared the other day, begins, ‘.’ Is there a mania for sport in Australia”? I think there is. We are rather mad on the subject of sport and gambling. It is “ undermining the character of our manhood. There is no people on the face of the earth who have greater need of universal military training, and the dinning into their ears of their civic duties, than the Australian youth. The Age says -
Does anybody seriously imagine that a virile and hardy nation can be manufactured out of people who thus elect to waste their leisure hours? Medical science declares with no uncertain voice that the health of the mind absolutely depends on the vigour of the body. But how can bodies retain their native vigour, however great, if they are never properly exercised? Muscles become limp and flaccid, and atrophy from disuse ; the vital organs degenerate and become diseased ; the nervous system decays. That is the history of the individual. We should take care lest it be the history of the race. Rome and Athens stretch out warning hands to us across the centuries. They became great towers through the arts of war, applied to the universal physical disciplining of their citizens. They fell from their high estate through welcoming too whole-heartedly at the summit of their greatness the arts of peace. When building their house of glory all their citizens were architects, and all their architects were hardy soldiers. Then, the pinnacle achieved, they waxed luxurious. They surrendered the care of their martial fame into the hands of picked bands of gladiators and professional athletes. The people gave up being soldiers, and became sportsmen.
Does not that apply to Australian life? Our people are giving up striving to be citizens for the sake of being sportsmen -
Instead of spending their hours of leisure qualifying themselves to defend the Fatherland, they assembled in their hundred thousands on each holiday at the Amphitheatres, to sit and watch their gladiators tight to the death, to back their favorites in the chariot races, and to see Christians baited to wild beasts.
In the last paragraph, referring to the spirit of patriotism, the writer of the article says -
Might it not be turned to the national advantage? It is everywhere admitted that next to a navy our greatest national need is the universal training of our citizens in the use of arms, for only thus can we stave off the peril of invasion and secure our independence. Crowds armed with muskets, and officered by competent commanders are not like crowds of sportsmen. They can be easily moved. Their inherent predilection becomes readily subordinate to the preference of the unit. They would be provided with a finer excuse of coherence and attraction than is now supplied by the knocking of a leather ball about a field. And yet they would still be crowds, and retain their psychic crowd excitement inviolate. The ideal is, possibly, immediately impracticable of realization, but it may be immediately instituted, and brought to practical perfection in the next generation. This could be effected by applying a universal compulsory system of cadet training to all our school boys, and by passing them through rifle clubs after leaving school.
That, I think, is a splendid idea. In my first speech on the subject, I said that we must have compulsory universal training, cadetship, or universal rifle shooting. But I think the Age writer betters that suggestion by saying that we should start with the cadet system, and’ afterwards make the cadets accept compulsory rifle practice. When our lads are trained, we should not lose sight of them. We should not permit them to go back to useless sports, but should see that they become members of rifle clubs. The article from which I have quoted continues -
Then perhaps we should see the existing unhealthy “enthusiasm” for sport replaced by a sane and healthy patriotic activity - and the crowd mania that now infects us diverted to improving ends. We are at present a nation of lazy and decadent sportsmen. It is for our statesmen to convert us into a nation of energetic citizen soldiers. If they are not tainted with the crowd mania of inertia and ineptitude they will essay the task without delay. No other obstacle confronts them, and public opinion is ripe for the experiment.
I think that article is “on the spot” as the boys say. An immediate start could be made, training could be given, and we could teach our young people that they owe some obligation to the State. If we did that we should do something to fit them to become worthy citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia. Of course, everything depends upon what the Government are going to do. I cannot believe that they will oppose the Bill, and I cannot conceive that they will do anything else but help forward my proposal. I hope they will make the best of it. We may move slowly and take plenty of time, but let us start with the adoption of a right principle. We should know what we desire to do, and take care that we provide the means to do it. So long as we leave the whole military education of our 271,000 boys between the ages of 12 and 19 years dependent upon their whim and the voluntary system, so long shall we be neglecting the most solemn duty which the Constitution has conferred upon us.
Debate (on motion by Senator Best) adjourned.
– I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
I mav mention that the first business tomorrow will be the further consideration of the Quarantine Bill. My honorable colleague, the Minister of Home Affairs, will make his second-reading speech on the Bill, the debate may then be adjourned, and the further consideration of the Bounties Bill in Committee can be resumed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.36 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 5 September 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1907/19070905_senate_3_38/>.